The Legacy of Campus Rape [More, February 2015]

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming (aka, the things you’d expect me to write about): Campus rape!

I’ve been following the current campaign to address this issue for quite awhile now. Emma Sulkowicz, Ariel Koren and the other women leading the fight on this are doing such brave, important work. They’re dealing with the immediate aftermath: What to do about frat parties, and less-than-proactive university administrators and all of the other factors that contribute to rape culture on our college campuses, right now. But I’ve also wondered: What about the (far too many) women who were raped in college a decade ago? Or four decades ago? What are the ripple effects of this experience on their adult lives, especially since these attacks happened long before colleges were prepared to protect and empower victims?

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Apple Crisp Baked Oatmeal (Recipe.com)

Apple Crisp-Baked Oatmeal (Recipe.com)If you (like me) are squeamish about gooey oatmeal, get ready to rethink everything you thought you knew. Post by me, delicious photos by @redanchorphoto #makeahead #winterbreakfast #oatmealhttp://www.recipe.com/blogs/cooking/make-ahead-breakfast-apple-crisp-baked-oatmeal/?socsrc=recfb0204151

From time to time, I do some fun food blogging for Recipe.com. Yes, it’s a little outside my wheelhouse as a women’s issues writer, but I’ve been a serious fan of food since I was about 12 years old (before that, I only ate strawberry yogurt and spaghetti, just ask my parents). So it’s actually a pretty fun change of pace to get to go play in the kitchen for an hour and call it working.

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A New Little Blog Thing

In the name of ruthless efficiency, I have decided to sync my professional Instagram feed with this here blog.

The back story, for those of you who are less tech-savvy (in other words, you are just like me): I’ve been using Instagram for several years now and it is my hands-down favorite of all the social media platforms. It started as an app for sharing photos — but I’ve been finding that it really functions as a kind of micro-blogging site, because you can type captions that are not limited to 140 characters and run them with pretty pictures. I now keep two Instagram feeds: One for friends and family only (so please don’t be offended if I don’t approve a follow request there; it’s mostly kid pictures and we keep it private), and one for the whole wide world, where I post about my work life, things I’m reading, things I’m writing, plus some general out and about doings. (A kid picture may even occasionally slip on through — she is darn cute, after all.)

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The Energizer Body [Real Simple, February 2015]

The Energizer Body Real Simple February 2015 Cover Virginia Sole-Smith

Initially, I was a bit trepidatious about taking on the February cover story for Real Simple (even though they are one of my most favorite clients!). They wanted 2000 words on the science of metabolism; I couldn’t quite figure out how that wouldn’t end up being yet another New Year, New You weight loss story. Which — not that I never write those (plumber writer, remember?) — are not my favorite. All that obsessing we do over metabolisms and how to boost them or torch them or otherwise set ourselves on fire in some way seems to me to be entirely at odds with Health At Every Size.

(Refresher: HAES is a school of thought developed by a subset of obesity and health experts, which says it makes more sense to prioritize healthy lifestyle choices than weight loss at any cost. It doesn’t say that everyone can be healthy at every size — but rather, acknowledges that healthy people come in a range of shapes and sizes. So if you make healthy choices, you will be healthier, even if you don’t lose a ton of weight in the process.)

The Energizer Body Real Simple February 2015 Virginia Sole-Smith First Spread

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Pleasure in a Pill? [Marie Claire, December 2014]

As a journalist, you always try to go into a story unbiased — but the truth is, we all of us have biases, almost all of the time. It’s unavoidable. You’ve got some kind of back story that brings you to the subject and that informs how you choose your sources, the questions you ask them, and how you write the piece. Of course, if you’re good at your job, you play devil’s advocate with yourself the whole time, ask both sides of the debate equally tough questions and stay open to having your mind changed. But that doesn’t happen terribly often. (See: All of the evening news.)

This might be the first feature I’ve ever written where I honestly did not have my mind made up. I mean, as a woman, a feminist, and a married person, obviously, I have pertinent back story (and no, we’re not getting into it here). But even after spending months reporting this, interviewing tons of different researchers and regular women, I have not found a good answer to the question I explore in this new investigation, out now in the December issue of Marie Claire: Do we need a female equivalent of Viagra? 

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The Passion Project [MORE, November 2014]

I have a fun coverlined feature in the November issue of MORE Magazine, which has long been one of my very favorite places to write. (Lots of previous MORE bylines in the career and fitness sections of my portfolio.)

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The $15 Test That Could Save Your Baby [YAHOO Parenting]

After my article about Violet was published in Parade this summer, I received so many amazing letters from parents of CCHD children and from several adult CCHD survivors. I read and saved every email (yes, even if I didn’t have time to respond to you personally) because it meant so much to have these total strangers reaching out to say “I’ve been where you are.”

Then I got an email from Annie Kersch, who was writing to say “I’m there, right now.” And also: “How can we make sure this stops happening?” Because her daughter Ari also did not receive a pulse ox test at birth — which meant she became dangerously and horrifically ill before her heart defect was discovered. Annie is committed to raising awareness about the importance of pulse oximetry screening (as well as improving prenatal detection of congenital heart defects), so I knew I had to tell her story. I’m so pleased that this piece is now live on the new (and very cool!) Yahoo Parenting.

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Wanna Work For Me? (Part-Time Writer’s Assistant Needed)

UPDATE: This position has been filled! Thank you so much to everyone who applied. 

This idea has been brewing for awhile, but something about this week has inspired me to make it happen. Maybe it’s that back-to-school energy that still inspires me to buy new pens and notebooks every September; maybe it’s that this month marks my ninth year as a freelance writer (here’s my origin story, if you haven’t read it).

Or maybe it’s just that I’ve been busy out of my gourd this week, and realizing how much more efficient I could be at everything if I had somebody helping me make the sausage over here. Whatever the inspiration, I’ve decided that I need some consistent help with admin, story research, and really, a whole long list of things that keep silently shuffling forward on my to do list without ever getting accomplished because I need a second brain and more hours in the week in order to accomplish them all.

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Saving The Smallest Hearts [Parade, August 2014]

I wrote the first draft of this essay quite soon after we came home from Violet’s first (22 day) hospital admission. Our life had just exploded, everything was raw, and I was filled with questions. My (excellent, patient, compassionate) midwife and Violet’s (excellent, patient, compassionate) team of doctors were endlessly kind about my questions. But they didn’t have all the answers. And during a time like that, people are quick to tell you when there’s no fruit there — you need to focus on moving forward, on being strong for what is and what’s next. They are right and I have tried hard to do that. But trying to understand why your baby’s heart didn’t develop correctly isn’t like trying to understand why your ex-boyfriend stopped calling. It’s a big, never-ending question with a million answers (depending on your faith or lack thereof) and also no answers — at least not scientific ones, at least not yet.

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Heavy & Healthy [Marie Claire, August 2014]

Getting back to my roots here, with a new feature for the August issue of Marie Claire that asks: Can you be heavy and healthy?

Longtime blog readers know that my gut response on this would be yes — but it turns out there is a decent amount of science to support that idea. Of course this is a pretty controversial claim, so let’s go over some ground rules right now:

  • No, I am not saying that every overweight person is healthy (or vice versa).
  • No, I am not saying that every thin person is unhealthy (or vice versa).
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