Sunday, September 1, 2013

Farewell Femme, Hello West Egg Jewelry!

It's been an absolute pleasure writing as your Femme Fatall for the past (almost) two years, but as you may have noticed I've been on a bit of a hiatus lately. I've been hard at work on another creative project that I'm now ready to premier.

You know all of my jewelry making DIY posts? I've been accumulating designs for quite some time, and now I have a way to show and sell them: West Egg Jewelry on Facebook.

(Yes, I named my business after Jay Gatsby's little hamlet.)

In order to give this project the time and attention it deserves, I'm going to put my blogging pursuits here on indefinite pause. I sincerely hope you'll join me in my next adventure by liking West Egg Jewelry on Facebook and maybe ordering yourself something shiny and one-of-a-kind.

Au revoir!
The Femme

Monday, July 29, 2013

Odds N’ Ends: Are Tall Women More Likely to Get Cancer?

It’s rare for my work life as a health news editor and my personal time as your humble femme to intersect. But last week a story came across my desk I knew I had to cover (and share with you).

Tall Women at Higher Risk for Many Common Types of Cancer

Researchers have reached a startling conclusion after studying 145,000 post-menopausal women.

tallwomanCan height really predict a woman's likelihood of developing cancer? Researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine at Yeshiva University in New York City have drawn a connection between the two. 

Senior study author Dr. Thomas Rohan, chair and professor of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein, told Healthline that looking at how height affects the development of the disease was part of a larger exploration of obesity's role.

Four Inches Means Almost 30 Percent Greater Risk

The researchers identified nearly 21,000 cancer cases during a 12-year period among a group of about 145,000 post-menopausal women. They used formulas to control for factors other than height that could influence a person’s cancer risk: age, weight, education level, smoking and drinking habits, past cancer screenings, and whether or not they used hormone replacement therapy.

The scientists found that for every additional 4 inches of height, the women had a 13 to 17 percent greater risk of skin, breast, ovarian, endometrial, and colon cancers. Further, they had a 23 to 29 percent greater risk of kidney, rectal, thyroid, and blood cancers.

"We were surprised at the number of cancer sites that were positively associated with height. In this data set, more cancers are associated with height than were associated with body mass index," said lead study author Geoffrey Kabat, Ph.D., a senior epidemiologist at Albert Einstein, in a press release.

But body mass index, or BMI, which is one way to measure how much body fat a person is carrying, is actually a much better indication of their cancer risk, according to Dr. David Fishman, a professor in the department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Medicine and director of the National Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Program at the Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.

“BMI is a tremendous risk factor for the development of disease, and that I think is something more tangible,” Fishman told Healthline. “This is an interesting observational study, but BMI is a much more significant factor for the development of cancer, especially endometrial cancer.” (Endometrial cancers are the most common gynecologic cancers in the United States.)

What’s the Connection?

The link between height and cancer risk shows correlation, not causation. So being tall won’t give you cancer, but some underlying factor may be responsible for both rapid childhood growth and the overactive growth of cancer cells in adulthood.

"Ultimately, cancer is a result of processes having to do with growth, so it makes sense that hormones or other growth factors that influence height may also influence cancer risk,” Kabat said.

Again, Fishman is skeptical. “I think that that is reaching for the stars,” he said. “It’s a well-done study, it makes one think, but there are literally thousands of scientists working on a molecular level on [what causes] malignant transformation, so to speak, so I don’t think it’s something having to do with height or a factor that makes you taller. I think there are other, better explanations.”

What This Means for Tall Women

Does this mean doctors should take a woman’s height into account when they decide how often to screen her for cancer?

Not so fast, Fishman says. “These epidemiological studies are making cultural observations,” he said. “It could also be said that blue-eyed women have a greater skin cancer risk, but it’s not because of their eye color.”

Rohan says there is no evidence to support screening tall women for cancer more often than their shorter peers. But Kabat still believes his findings are valuable and may point to a relationship between things that promote or prevent growth in childhood, such as diet, and the risk of disease later in life.

"Although it is not a modifiable risk factor [one that can be changed or treated], the association of height with a number of cancer sites suggests that exposures in early life, including nutrition, play a role in influencing a person's risk of cancer," said Kabat. "There is currently a great deal of interest in early-life events that influence health in adulthood. Our study fits within this area."


What do you think? Is Dr. Fishman right, that the study finding was simply a coincidence? Or is Dr. Kabat on the right track when he says tall women are more likely to get cancer because of something in their genes or childhoods?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Event: Explain Like I’m Five

San Francisco’s Exploratorium is the place where kids—and 24-year-old science writers—go to play with things like gravity, magnetism, and really big mirrors.

The museum recently moved from the Palace of Fine Arts to Pier 15 and expanded to include a bay observatory and outdoor sculpture gallery. (Psst…it also moved right next door to the succulent TCHO chocolate factory.)

Asa and I had been wanting to go, so we decided to make a Memorial Day date of it, starting with pomegranate mimosas at Pat’s CafĂ© in North Beach.


Later, on the pier…



This girl had the cutest braid!


Now that’s just freaky.


Tornado in a tube!


Well hello there.




A kinetic model of San Francisco made from 100,000 toothpicks!

At the very end of the pier was a room full of maps and navigational tools and an observation deck with a view of the Bay Bridge—a welcome island of sanity in a sea of munchkins and their minders.


A sunny San Francisco summer.

The museum was fun, but don’t be an idiot like we were. If it’s a holiday weekend, just don’t do it. No one wants to want a Purelle bath!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Fashion: Androidify Your Life

The boyfriend and I Android-ified ourselves the other day as part of a Google app promotion and guess what guys? Big surprise! We’re total hipsters.



You can turn yourself into a little Canadian robot man too—may I recommend their wide selection of scarves and facial hair?

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Event: Bay to Breakers 2013

Bay to Breakers is an institution. A drunken, debaucherous fixture on the San Francisco calendar. Technically it’s a 12k footrace from downtown to Ocean Beach, but the serious, registered runners usually finish by around 9:00 a.m. while the other 39,990 “athletes” spend the next few hours strolling along the route in gorilla suits.


I went as a geisha…ninja…thing.


And Lannette and Marion were aples and ba-nay-nays.


Definitely a fellow redditor.







I wasn’t kidding.

Next year, my goals are (1) a much better, maybe two-person costume and (2) not giving up after half a mile. But the grass in Golden Gate Park is so comfy!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Beauty: The Waterfall Braid

“I found the hair style I want for my (eventual) wedding!” My friend Marion told me I had to help her road test her favorite look on bridal blog oncewed: the waterfall braid.

waterfall braid

This style was seriously tough; it took me three tries to passably recreate it. Much as I’d love to, I can’t imagine doing this on myself.




Oncewed has other tutorials on expert-level up-dos like the French Braid Bun and Crown Braid, most by braid magician Alison Brislin.

french braid bun

crown braid

I need an extra pair of hands…

Happily, the Half-Up-Half-Down is a no-brainer:


Wedding or not, here I come. (Yes, that was a terrible pun.)

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Fashion: The Bigger the Foot, the Cheaper the Shoe

I discovered a quirk in shoe pricing at Buffalo Exchange last week when I scored a brand new pair of Minnetonka suede boots for $25 (they’re $40 new).


Always one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I asked the sales girl why the discount. She told me that they accept shoes larger than a size 10 but sell them at a lower price point because they figure there’s less demand for 11s and 12s.

Allow me to step right up and take advantage.


I’m certain the same logic was at work when Crossroads priced these brand new size 11 Nine West leather boots at $12.50. That’s right, $12.50 (original price around $50).


Of course, this rule works both ways, as I found out when I sold Crossroads a pair of full-length black suede boots and saw them priced below $30.

But since I typically wear my shoes until there’s nothing between my soles and the pavement but a layer of Goo, this policy is yet another reason for me to always buy consignment.