meter showing the temperature of health

According to a New Study

Last month, during my yearly R.I.S.E. program (special surveillance for women with a high breast cancer risk) visit at Memorial Sloan Kettering, I asked about a study I’d heard about on the news. Health headlines don’t normally impress me, but this one was compelling. A very large, very long study in Denmark determined that the newer, low dose birth control pills were linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. Doctors had previously thought that the smaller doses of hormones were safer.

The study followed 1.8 million Danish women for more than 10 years and found that there were an additional 13 cases for every 100,000 women among the birth control users. The risk increased with age and length of time on the pill. They did not consider additional factors like family history or lifestyle.

I wanted to know what this meant for the average women.  I met with Joanne Falletta Cregg, MS, MPH, APN-BC, and my interpretation of her response was that the study was based on valid, informed science. She didn’t seem surprised at all, given everything that she knows about breast cancer and the female body. Any introduction of additional hormones bears watching. Together, we concluded that every woman who is taking hormonal contraceptives should be made aware of this new/not-so-new risk. (disclaimer: I work in marketing… so consult your doctor for taking any of this advice!)

Joanne (as she prefers to be called) also said that even though the study was noteworthy, every situation is different. While it is important to work to lower cancer risk, it is also important to balance that with quality of life. For some women, preventing pregnancy is a matter of health and many women take hormonal birth control pills for other reasons. (for cramps, for acne, or simply to stay regular to preserve the option to have children when they are ready)  Some of these concerns might outweigh the increased risk. (We are simply discussing medical conditions here. Personal reproductive choices are just that, personal.)

In addition, Joanne told me about MSK research into the power of exercise to lower Breast Cancer risk (PDF). They learned that 2-3 hours of moderately intense exercise a week can reduce breast cancer risk up to 9% and 5-6 hours can reduce it by 30%. I could tell that she knew I was immediately impressed by this information. She also cautioned against taking on too much by immediately jumping from my current 1-2 hours to 6+ hours of aerobic exercise a week. Drastic changes can lead to injury which will only add stress. Stress is a contributing factor to inflammation and something that every pamphlet about preventing Breast Cancer tells me to avoid.

By the time our visit was complete, I felt that I was armed with the information that I needed to make decisions about my health. It is wonderful to be able to bring these questions to my appointment and walk away with clear answers. I was concerned that once she heard “I heard about this study on the news”, she would roll her eyes. Instead, Joanne was easy to talk to and genuinely interested in my well-being. I feel that this type of relationship that makes collaboration for the best health outcomes possible. I’ll keep you posted!

GREAT NEWS! For first three months of 2018, donations from The Strap Saver to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation will be matched, up to $5000. This means that we will raise $1.50 for the first Strap Saver in every purchase and $1.00 for each additional Strap Saver. We have a chance to make a big contribution in a short period of time, so let’s get shopping! Offer expires March 31, 2018.

Woman in a black dress leaning backwards with her arms over hear head, with red streamers coming from behind her, text get a second chance at love with 20% off, all day Feb 21st get 20% off everything on the website

Come Sale Away with Us on February 21st!

NOTE: We’re giving you a second chance at love this year!  Our annual sale will be on February 21st this year!

It’s time for our annual sale! If you’ve been a fan of The Strap Saver for a long time, you know the drill. We’re not a fan of price manipulators with gimmicks, but we do love a good deal. We don’t love faux holidays so we’ll give you something real to love – 20% off of the Strap Saver!

We’ve worked hard to improve the sale over the years. First, we required coupon codes.  It’s a marketing tactic, so that companies can trace where their advertising is most effective. We’ve decided if we’re going to have a sale, we’re going to make it accessible to all. Second, I don’t think we’ve made sure to cover all time zones although we’ve tried.  In the last year, we’ve shipped to 4 continents, so we’re going to cover February 21st around the world, from morning in Auckland to the end of the day in Hawaii.  This may mean that some of you get more than one day to shop our sale, but that’s a risk we’re willing to take. Every Kiwi is just as important as every resident of the USA.

This is your chance to STOCK UP AND SAVE.  Much like Valentine’s Day, it’s a once a year event. Unlike this Hallmark holiday, once it’s gone, you’ll regret that you didn’t act now!

Don’t forget that you’re shopping for a cause!  5% of your sale goes to benefit the Breast Cancer Research Foundation! Through March 31, 2018, all donations will be matched, included every purchase from this sale, so buy a lot to give a lot!

a person in a hooded shirt leaning over a computer, purple backround with zeros and ones to represent computer code, text reads business owner beware

Fool Me Once

Two months ago, I received an email about sending a large order of Strap Savers to Fiji. My business-woman’s heart was excited! My business-woman’s brain was suspicious. We’ve shipped to North America, Europe, Asia and Australia, so the location didn’t bother me, but we don’t normally get orders for thousands of dollars to island nations in the South Pacific. I had a feeling something was off, but I couldn’t figure out what. I decided to follow it to see where it might go.

The request came from a shop owner named Morris George. The email asked if I could ship internationally and would I mind sending them a price list? I directed him to the website and gave offered a wholesale price. I also requested the shop name, claiming that I had friends that traveled to Fiji regularly. This request was ignored. (red flag) I also looked up the name but found nothing. This was not surprising. The request came from a Gmail account.

When I heard back, I was a little surprised to see that Morris’s order was quite large. Although he wanted to pay by check, I insisted on a credit card number. I was waiting to find out where the scam might be, but I was willing to continue for the prospect of selling out! And, then I found it. Morris was willing to pay for everything by credit card, but wanted me to deliver the order personally to his trusted international freight company. I was to contact the shipper, Chris Mason from KFL Freight, and arrange to meet and pay him to bring the product back to Fiji. Crap! Just look up KFL Freight + scam and there are tons of results. (KFL is a real company, according to the internet and even THEY make it clear not to send anything to Fiji)

I told him that I was unable to meet with anyone in person. We don’t have a storefront, so I would not be able to fulfill the request. I was happy to send it to his shipper and he could make arrangements from there. Morris promptly cancelled the order. Umm… ok. That was the last that I heard of Morris or Strap Savers being sent to Fiji. I did not think it was going to pan out, it felt too much like the cashiers check/furniture ad scam from Craigslist about 5 years ago.

I received an email about 4 weeks later that was very similar but this time from Honduras. I stopped it easily by saying “we do not pay meet/pay shippers” and never heard from them again.  The same last week, but this time from Newark.

While I expected a lot of pushy sales pitches, I didn’t expect so many outright scams as a business owner. I have since learned that the term “buyer beware” applies as much in business to business as it does in business to consumer sales, no matter who you are in the transaction. It’s one of the reasons that we try to be as transparent as possible about every aspect of The Strap Saver.  Please let us know if there’s something you’re not seeing.  We don’t want you to feel as if you’re trying to buy a product from a remote location halfway around the world!

 

GREAT NEWS!  For first three months of 2018, donations from The Strap Saver to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation will be matched, up to $5000. This means that we will raise $1.50 for the first Strap Saver in every purchase and $1.00 for each additional Strap Saver.  We have a chance to make a big contribution in a short period of time, so let’s get shopping!  Offer expires March 31, 2018.

little girl wearing a cape standing on a roof overlookin a city, text reads ready to take on the world

It IS Fun to Wear!

Many moons ago, I discussed the power of underwear and a theory that Beth and I have about Wonder Woman Underoos. We think that if we’re wearing them, we can accomplish anything. (Although our ultimate goal/test would be to wear them on a job interview. After all, who wouldn’t hire Wonder Woman?)

I had these Underoos as a kid and I remember them being my FAV-O-RITE. When I was 7 or 8, I would wear them and run around the house solving imaginary crimes, wishing for gold cuffs and lasso of truth. Linda Carter was my hero: beautiful and a total ass kicker. I wanted to be her when I grew up.

While my goals have changed, I still would not mind access to my own invisible jet and a gold tiara. When I saw that they made Underoos for adults, I could not resist. I ordered myself a pair and (not so) calmly waited THREE MONTHS for their arrival. (There was some movie out this summer that meant they were in high demand and back-ordered. Just kidding, Gal Gadot is an a formidable force of her own.)

Recently, I had an overwhelming amount of work that needed to be done in a single day. My regular job, freelance work, and my final paper to complete for my graduate class (due the next day). I woke up early that morning and before anxiety set in, I remembered that my Underoos had arrived the prior week. In order to boost my confidence, I decided to put them on. I felt ready to begin. I could do anything, I was WONDER WOMAN!

I was convinced that the world was ready for me and all the wonders I could do… and I completed everything that day. I finished 8 hours of work, 5 hours of freelance work, and an almost-final draft of my 24-page final project. (although, not starting from scratch, that would require adding hours to the day!) If I drank coffee, it would have been one of those days where I had a constant cup by my side. Every time I wanted to abandon the job at hand, I saw the red tank top peeking out from under my t-shirt, urging me on to greater heights. Wonder Woman does not give up!

Chances are, I would have completed all of that work without the aid of my Underoos. I know myself and my work ethic. However, it made a difference in my level of inspiration, once again showing that we should not underestimate the power of our underwear. Remember, all of our hopes are pinned upon us, and the magic that we do. There is an endless list of things that need fixing in this world, so we should take every edge that we can get!

 

GREAT NEWS!  For first three months of 2018, donations from The Strap Saver to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation will be matched, up to $5000. This means that we will raise $1.50 for the first Strap Saver in every purchase and $1.00 for each additional Strap Saver.  We have a chance to make a big contribution in a short period of time, so let’s get shopping!  Offer expires March 31, 2018.

back of a woman who is not wearing a shirt with her thumbs under her tan bra straps pulling them away from her shoulders text reads stopping slippage

Stop Slipping Strap Savers

Occasionally we hear from customers about slipping Strap Savers, usually shortly after we send out their order. Consider that we advertise that they stop clip creep, this is not the intended outcome! First-time installation of Strap Savers can be tricky and it’s easy to make a mistake. (Luckily, though, once most customers understand how to install them, they can easily repeat the process.)

If Strap Savers are slipping, it’s usually because they are installed upside down. This is not the easiest concept to explain across cyberspace, but I’ll give it a try!

If your Strap Savers are slipping, they may be installed upside down, like this:

The loop from the adjuster is hooked through the top/smaller part of the s and the strap runs through the wider/bottom part of the s.

An incorrectly installed Strap Saver

Correct installation:

The loop from the adjuster is hooked through the bottom/wider part of the s and then the other piece of the strap is woven through the bottom/wider part and then the top/narrow part.

For additional instructions, check out our step-by-step installation videos. For customers that are still having trouble, we’re happy to do a video chat and demonstrate it one-on-one. Please contact us.

We have only found a few situations where they do not work – either the straps are too thin or too thick (or wider than 1″). If you have purchased Strap Savers, cannot install them, and this doesn’t solve your issue, let us know. We would like to work with you to troubleshoot and find a solution. If we can’t find one, you can return them for a full refund (minus any priority shipping).

As always, we hope that we you will love The Strap Saver as much as we do!

 

GREAT NEWS!  For first three months of 2018, donations from The Strap Saver to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation will be matched, up to $5000. This means that we will raise $1.50 for the first Strap Saver in every purchase and $1.00 for each additional Strap Saver.  We have a chance to make a big contribution in a short period of time, so let’s get shopping!  Offer expires March 31, 2018.

purple background with text that reads once upon a time and an alarm clock where the face says making it count

Let’s Do the Time Warp Again!

We’re at the end of 2017 and the cycle begins again. Lose weight! Makeover your finances! Get rid of your clutter! Buy better stuff that will help you drop unwanted pounds, balance your budget, and organize your existing stuff! It’s no secret that I think that all of these things are ruses to take our money. I think resolutions, in general, are a setup for failure. You can see my thoughts on here, here, and here.

I am, however, a big fan of self-improvement. Every year I try to pick something in my life that is frustrating me and work on it throughout the year. Two years ago, I removed items and habits that I no longer needed. Last year, I found more stability and routine. (consider this foreshadowing for the next blog in my tax series!  riveting stuff, I promise!) I want to build on these successes.

This year, I want to improve my relationship with time. I constantly feel rushed and pressured to move faster. I know I take on a lot. I have a full-time job and freelance (although not weekly). I am working towards a graduate certificate in digital marketing while attending to many aspects of The Strap Saver. I also try to take care of my health, travel, and have a life. It can feel overwhelming.

After careful consideration, I think that may be the key: it feels overwhelming. Some people seem to move through their to do lists with ease, despite the same obstacles. Maybe it’s about perspective as much as it is about process?

A few years ago I won a coaching session at an entrepreneurship event. I confided my concerns about feeling rushed and less productive than I wanted to be. She suggested that I keep a log of my activities so I could learn where I might unintentionally waste time. It was an eye-opening exercise. How many hours pass without us even realizing? (and not in the good, sit on the beach and watch the waves come in and go out kind of way!)

Now that I’m finding time, the next problem is being overwhelmed by the size of my to do list. Another obstacle is deciding where to start. Sometimes, I end up procrastinating rather than face what needs to be done. I have become better about picking the first thing on the list and taking care of it, even if I don’t want to. (some days the mantra is: suck it up, buttercup!)

This dance results in a lot of stress and wasted energy. It adds an unnecessary layer that changes nothing. I am not the type that works harder/faster/better under pressure. Instead, I end up more tired and make careless mistakes. I prefer to be methodical and unrushed.

I think that if I change a few things, I’ll be able to do what must be done, with less stress, and have more down time. I’ll also probably be a healthier person, too. I’ll no longer look at the clock wondering where the time has gone, but maybe see all the hours left to relax and watch the clouds float by.

How can I adjust my attitude so that the thought of tasks do not hold me back? How can I become better prepared so that less time is wasted on deciding? I’ve almost mastered the art of “no” and asking for help. (maybe?)  What else can I do to be more efficient?  Here are some thoughts:

  • Make lists (always a winner with me!) and revisit the lists – it’s ok to decide that something is no longer a priority or even worth doing.
  • Try to make a plan for the next day.  It will help me to start the day with purpose. (With less waffling, unless that’s the plan. Waffles! Yum!)
  • When having trouble prioritizing, or trouble in general, ask for help. An outside perspective can be useful.
  • Remember that being kind is more important than being productive.
  • Put things away when I am done with them. I have a bad habit of leaving items wherever I last used them – and then I waste time searching for them. (It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I’m not mindful. Once I’m done with something, I’m on to the next task and simply forget. Mindfulness, in general, is not my strong suit.)
  • Sometimes it’s ok to call in sick and hit the beach, even to your own to do list.

As I mentioned, I juggle a lot of projects. Is this the right way to spend my time? All of this takes away from my time with Marc and my friends. Does anyone look back at their life and wish that they had worked more?

Marc and I have discussed this many times. The freelance work doesn’t take up a significant amount of time and gives me some financial freedom to travel. I’m learning useful things in my graduate classes that are helping me in my day job and have led to improvements in our site. If our customer has a better experience, it helps us to raise more money for the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. I have specific goals and am making progress towards them.
I hope that by improving my relationship with time, by spending it carefully, mindful, I will have more opportunities to relax while still achieving my goals. I’ll report back in a year!

What did you improve in 2017? Do you have any plans for 2018?

GREAT NEWS!  For first three months of 2018, donations from The Strap Saver to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation will be matched, up to $5000. This means that we will raise $1.50 for the first Strap Saver in every purchase and $1.00 for each additional Strap Saver.  We have a chance to make a big contribution in a short period of time, so let’s get shopping!  Offer expires March 31, 2018

feet in red and green warm socks on a wooden bench with a mug in a knitted cozy in front of a fireplace, the text reads unwind and relax

Reflections on Christmas Wrapping

Feet in warm red and green socks and a mug in front of a fire with the words unwind and relaxThis time of the year can be hard – it moves so fast and there’s just so much cheer. It can be overwhelming for those that celebrate as much as on those that do not. There was even a study on the negative effects of non-stop Christmas music.  It can cause stress by adding pressure to produce the perfect holiday. (and still, no ninjas to help us through….)

Before you think this is a bah-humbug blog, please read on. As I don’t usually post on Christmas eve (our usual Sunday publishing schedule), I’m reflecting on this long holiday weekend and what I see around me. (In addition to the religious significance, we stick to party rules here, no religion or politics!) For me, the best Christmas advice came from my favorite holiday song, Christmas Wrap, by the Waitresses.

The main character had a year that was a “busy blur.” It was full of missed opportunities: no time for lunch dates, car breakdowns, awful sunburn. Despite having multiple invitations, she needed to catch her breath, so she chose Christmas as her time to unwind. She was going to take care of herself, regardless of what she was “supposed to be doing.”

Yeah, I know the song is also about meeting a guy and the world’s smallest turkey (thanks A&P!), but that only comes after she’s decided to do what she needs for herself. She didn’t do what everyone else was doing just because of expectations. If it’s hard now to buck the norms, imagine how much harder it was in 1981? (That was a long time ago. Oy, I feel old now.)

In the US, Christmas is one of the few days where most of the outside world stops. Stores are closed. Often, there’s no place to be. Instead of being down on the holiday if it’s not for you, why not pick what’s important to you and do that on this day? It’s a great time to enjoy the quiet, reflect on the last year and celebrate what went right. Or, gather all of the movies that you missed over the year and watch them back to back. (I recommend Wonder Woman, a movie about kicking butt for what’s right.) Take some time to get back to a favorite hobby – providing it’s indoor or cold weather if you live in the northern hemisphere! Another option to clean out a closet or a room and let go of some things that you won’t need in 2018.

Christmas doesn’t have to be all festivities and eggnog, unless that is what you want it to be. Make 2017 the year that you do Christmas right this time.

 

mysterious eyes behind holiday ribbon and text that reads personal ninja on call

Help for the Holidays

picture of a female ninja holding a sword with a pink bow as a border and the text "personal ninja on call"It’s December, which means it’s time to run breathlessly from place to place, preparing for our favorite holidays: Hanukkah, Christmas, Boxing Day, Saturnalia, the Winter Solstice (northern hemisphere), the Summer Solstice (southern hemisphere) Kwanzaa, and National Cotton Candy Day, just to name a few. What will it take to survive the pressure to have the picture-perfect gathering? Online shopping helps but it will only take us so far in cutting through the crowds and the traffic.

It’s times like this that we wish we could hire our own ninja to cut through the noise. According to popular culture, the ninja is a black-pajama-wearing assassin with an arsenal of throwing stars. Just because it’s in the movies doesn’t make it right! Ninjas were covert operatives that dealt in stealth maneuvers and unconventional use of conventional items to get the job done.

They possessed the perfect skills run to the store, drop by the post office, finish our holiday cards, clean the house, wrap the gifts, and make just the right recipe for the big family dinner. Wouldn’t it be great if we could hire someone (or many someones!) to do all of those things for us? It may sound blissful, but it’s often not practical or within our budgets.

While we can’t offer you a ninja-on-call service, we can offer a solution to one of your problems – finding the right gift for your favorite sibling/ significant other/child/friend/coworker/favorite celebrity. Everyone loves the perfect fit from their clothes. With a few clicks, you can give the gift of custom-length straps to the ones that you love! It’s not too late to have a Strap Saver delivered in time for the holidays.

If you have concerns about buying the appropriate size, we offer free shipping on exchanges. If you’d prefer to play it safe, buy a gift certificate instead. They are delivered to your inbox immediately! (Although our shopping cart doesn’t offer the prettiest email, so if you’d like us to send you something nicer, please contact us with your order number and we’ll email you print-worthy gift certificate with your codes.)

Solve one of your holiday problems. Buy The Strap Saver for all of your loved ones with strap issues today!

Breast cancer research foundation logo

Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Choices & a Cure

Breast cancer research foundationAbout 2 months ago, Cancer Research UK published a study stating that breast cancer can recur up to 20 years after the initial diagnosis. According to the results, the probability of a metastasis occurring later directly correlates to the size of the original tumors and if cancer was found in the lymph nodes. The researchers were surprised that the cancer could remain dormant for so long.

When my mother was first treated for breast cancer in 1998, we were told by her doctors that 7 years was “cured”. In 2005, I remember having a small celebration via telephone. She was free! According to this new study – and what they found in her 16 years later, she was not. The doctors were making the best decisions that they could with the information that they had at the time.

I don’t know if she would have done anything differently if this study had come out 5 years earlier. My mom was already doing everything that was recommended. She went for her yearly mammograms and performed monthly self-exams. Would she have had more detailed scans? I believe she was part of the trials for tamoxifen but had to stop it due to complications from other medical issues. (which I do not have, should I ever need to try a similar drug therapy) At the time, the doctors just didn’t realize that they should be looking deeper.

Beth and I have decided that we want to do our part. We’re hoping to help overcome the lack of funding for research. Starting in November, The Strap Saver joined forces with the Breast Cancer Research Foundation to help raise awareness and money for research. Stage IV (the stage that takes so many women from us) is underfunded and the BCRF has pledged 30% of their grants (almost $18 million) for advancements in this area. In addition, BCRF has established the Evelyn H. Lauder Founder’s Fund, the first large-scale and largest privately funded multi-year international program dedicated to understanding the biology of metastasis (in addition to funding other important research).

We’re hoping to help be the light in this otherwise dark subject. Five percent of all sales, retail and wholesale, will go to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. (So, if you haven’t, it’s a great time to pick up some Strap Savers!) If you already have all of the Strap Savers that you need, but love Amazon, go to smile.amazon.com and pick BCRF as your charity. Amazon will donate 0.5% of the purchase price of eligible items. If you’re like us, you’re shopping there already and the prices are exactly the same so it’s an easy way to help. Maybe next year BCRF will be able to donate more to Stage IV research. We’ll be one step closer to never again losing another person to this awful disease.

We also know that you are trusting us with your money, so we have vetted the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. Ninety-one cents of every dollar is donated to research. Charity Navigator gave them an A+ and Charity Watch gave them 4 out of 4 stars. BCRF has the highest rating of any breast cancer charity. In addition, I had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Susan Domcheck, a member of the Scientific Advisory Board, personally. She was my doctor for the DNA study at University of Pennsylvania. She was both capable and kind. From my interactions with her, it’s clear that she wants to make a difference.

Shop with us, shop with Amazon, or donate directly – do whatever you can to help this great organization find a cure.

a blonde woman looking at the camera through a magnifying glass with the text straps undercover

Does A Stitch In Time Save Anything?

We’ve often talked about using the dry cleaners to alter straps as an alternative to The Strap Saver. We’ve mentioned how it might be inconvenient or expensive. I decided to go undercover (not really) when I went to my favorite, Ace French Dry Cleaners in Manalapan, to get some pants hemmed and get the answers!

I spoke with Chris, one of the owners. He said that he does get asked to shorten straps and the price and time depends on the garment. If it has an adjuster and the seam is easy to reach, it can cost approximately $8 for both straps. If it doesn’t and/or the seam is harder to find, it’s  approximately $12.1 It can take anywhere from a day to three days, depending on need and the requirements of the job. The prices can vary, of course, depending on the fabric, turnaround time and intricacy of sewing needed. It sounded reasonable to me, considering all that it takes to make a bra. Pulling it apart and putting it back together nicely can’t be easy.

As he and I were chatting, we did a quick compare and contrast.

The Dry Cleaner was better/more cost-effective for:

  • A one-time adjustment
  • An event that is happening in just a day or two.
  • If the bra or bathing suit has very thick or wide straps (wider than 1”)
  • You can also get your favorite dress altered to fit you perfectly at the same time (Ace saved my favorite formal wear!)

However, The Strap Saver became the winner in other circumstances:

  • It shortens more than one bra/bathing suit/tank top. The Strap Saver can be moved from bra to bra as needed, daily.
  • It leaves the strap adjustable, allowing for continued shortening
  • The stainless steel construction means that it will outlive many bras/bathing suits/etc.  It’s a solution that will be around for years to come.  
  • You don’t have to leave your house to get it! (my favorite – it takes me a long time to take stuff there and longer to pick it up…)

Some may think I’m crazy for praising “the competition”. I think it’s about finding the best way give the customer a custom fit. Also, I don’t think we’re exactly the same. It all depends on the need at the time and garment. If your strap issues fall in category 1, find your local seamstress or dry cleaner (If you are in the central NJ area and , I recommend Ace!). If not, might I suggest picking up The Strap Saver to cure your strap woes?

 

1Your mileage may vary.  Consider that this estimate is from Central New Jersey, halfway between New York City and Philadelphia.