Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Book Nook: Angels On Your Pillow

Many people across the world believe in angels. Even people who aren't regular church attendees often think of guardian angels. While angels are much more than that, it can be comforting to think of angels as our protectors.

In her book Angels on Your Pillow, which I got to review, Karen Kelly brings an awareness to these wonderful beings that kids can understand and adults can be comforted by. The illustrations are whimsical and fun, and tell the story by themselves, with some narration by the goldfish.

I had a chance to interview Karen to learn more about the book.
What was the inspiration for this book?  
My inspiration for writing "Angels on Your Pillow” and future angel adventure books actually came to me in a dream; I woke up one morning and said, “I have to write a children’s book about love, pure unconditional love.” I knew it would have the words angels on your pillow in the title (my mother said that to me every night and I did the same for my daughter) and it would be meaningful, whimsical and not just for children. It was a work in progress for years and went from 800 words to no words because I wanted the pictures to tell the story, once they did I added about 125 words (mainly from two goldfish named Bubbles and Sushi who kind of narrate the story). 

How can books help kids understand spiritual concepts? 

Books such as “Angels on Your Pillow” help kids process the spiritual concept and give adults a platform to share their beliefs and invite conversations about faith. For example, Brittany, the 5-year-old girl in my story, thinks a feather is an angel and that her whole pillow is filled with angels; which is a relatable misunderstanding because her mommy says “Good Night, Sleep Tight, Angels on Your Pillow” and her mommy would never tell a lie. Real angels are in Britt’s moonlit bedroom; the fish can see the angels but the little girl cannot which I included to demonstrate how some people go through life not realizing how much they are loved and the power of pure unconditional love over everything else. 

How can parents help their kids differentiate between religious beliefs and fairytales? 
One of the most important things a parent can do is spend time sharing their own beliefs and explain to their children (regularly) that faith is something real that we feel but cannot see; that we believe. Seeing God in nature or in the miracle when a baby is born are two examples. If a family doesn’t believe in God I suggest they use the words “love" or "universal love” to differentiate between religious beliefs and fairytales because when it comes down to it love is the essence of all that is good no matter your faith or beliefs.

Area Attractions: Kingsmill Resort (Williamsburg)

Kingsmill Resort, Greater Williamsburg's only AAA Four Diamond Condominium Resort on the James River, is pushing forward its summer agenda of value-driven, fun-filled packages chocked with access and activities that will make that summer vacation great again. We’re talking lazy rivers, amusement parks, living history, watersports and outdoor soft adventure. Vacationers have two packages to choose from:

The Ultimate Family Fun package includes three nights accommodation in a in condo or guest room, breakfast each morning, and tickets to area attractions, including Water Country USA and Busch Gardens Williamsburg and one-day tickets to Colonial Williamsburg. Complimentary shuttle service to and from Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg is provided by Kingsmill Resort. Complimentary use of bikes, fishing poles, kayaks and tennis court is also included in the Ultimate Family Fun package. With availability from May 26 until Sept. 4, families can also enjoy Kingsmill Resorts' amenities such as kids camp, lazy river, golf clinics, and indoor/outdoor pools.

The Signature Family Fun package offers plenty of fun for families who crave a great escape. Each registered guest receives complimentary breakfast and a Flex Ticket to Busch Gardens Williamsburg and Water Country USA with complimentary shuttle service to and from the resort. Accommodations feature a resort guest room that can be upgraded to a condo that includes a living room, kitchen and laundry if desired.

Kingsmill Resort is the only AAA Four Diamond condominium resort in historic Williamsburg, Virginia. The resort’s one- to three-bedroom condominiums, with kitchens and spacious living areas, are ideal for families, golfers, couples and friends traveling together. For more information, visit www.kingsmill.com for specific details or call (800) 832-5665.

Fun Freetime: Frankly Faraci with Special Guest Propaganda

Dove Channel’s new original series Frankly Faraci is wrapping up its first season on Tuesday, April 25th, in a grand finale episode featuring legendary rapper and hip-hop artist Propaganda, a performer who has been outspoken about his faith. In his most in-depth interview to date, the celebrated recording artist deals directly with race, religion, family, and how the church in America should take the lead in healing the nation’s wounds and sharp divisions.

“Fearlessly taking on contentious, taboo issues in American culture has long been a hallmark of Propaganda’s music. A relentless crusader for justice, he has earned the respect of people on all sides, both in the faith community and outside, because he calls them as he sees them,” said journalist Matthew Faraci, host of Frankly Faraci. “In today’s contentious cultural climate, I wanted to sit down and ask him the about those issues, and give him an opportunity to share his heart and his family with his millions of fans. What ensued is mind-blowing, the kind of conversation Americans should really be having every day.”

Money Makers: 50 Companies Hiring Part-Time Flexible Jobs

More than one in six people employed in the U.S. currently work part-time. To help job seekers interested in finding professional part-time jobs, today FlexJobs released a list of fifty companies recently hiring for part-time jobs. This list is based on an analysis of over 40,000 companies and looks specifically at the part-time job posting histories in FlexJobs’ database during the first quarter of 2017 (January 1 through March 31).
“Part-time work really used to be associated with temporary, low-skilled or entry-level positions, but today there are excellent professional part-time opportunities available in a much wider variety of industries and careers than ever before,” said Sara Sutton Fell, Founder and CEO of FlexJobs. “This is great news for people who need or want a reduced work schedule or who prefer to more diversity in their jobs, for example working parents, freelancers, semi-retirees, people with health issues, or people who take care of loved ones with health issues. The good news for these job seekers is that diverse organizations, such as private corporations, non-profits, public companies, start-ups and government agencies, are increasingly interested in leveraging the talents of part-time workers,” Sutton Fell concluded.
Healthcare, education, finance, technology and other industries are represented on this list of companies with strong part-time hiring activity so far in 2017. Some examples of the part-time jobs these companies are currently hiring for include pediatrician, teacher, graphic designer, bookkeeper, and clinical research coordinator.
Johns Hopkins University, Hilton Worldwide, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt are among the notable companies with the most part-time job listings between January 1 and March 31, 2017. The job opportunities posted include both employee and freelance options, and the hours vary from just a handful of hours each week, to 30 hours or more.
For the complete list of the top 50 companies to watch for professional part-time jobs in 2017, visit: https://www.flexjobs.com/blog/ post/companies-hiring-for- part-time-jobs/  
Many of these companies were also top employers for remote-friendly jobs, having been included in FlexJobs’ 2017 Top 100 Companies for Remote Jobs.
For more information, please contact Kathy Gardner at kgardner@flexjobs.com.  
About FlexJobs
FlexJobs is the leading online service for professionals seeking telecommuting, flexible schedule, part-time, and freelance jobs. With flexible job listings in over 50 career categories, and opportunities ranging from entry-level to executive and freelance to full-time, FlexJobs offers job seekers a safe, easy, and efficient way to find professional and legitimate flexible job listings. Having helped over two million people in their job searches, FlexJobs has appeared on CNN and Marketplace Money and in TIME, Forbes, Fortune, and hundreds of other trusted media outlets. FlexJobs' Founder & CEO Sara Sutton Fell has also launched two additional partner sites, Remote.co and 1 Million for Work Flexibility, to help provide education and awareness about the viability and benefits of remote working and work flexibility. Sutton Fell is also the creator of The TRaD* Works Conference (*Telecommuting, Remote, & Distributed), dedicated to helping companies leverage the benefits of telecommuting, remote and distributed teams.

Book Nook: Jilly's Terrible Temper Tantrums

When I was growing up, my brother had a lot of temper tantrums. My younger daughter is also prone to overreactions, meltdowns, and tantrums, although she's gradually growing out of them and getting better at self-regulation.

Some kids naturally gain the ability to regulate their own emotions and reactions, while others seem to need a little more help figuring it out. A new book I got to review, Jilly's Terrible Temper Tantrums and How She Outgrew Them, can provide a third-person perspective on tantrums that young kids can understand. As they see Jilly's parents calmly react to her outburst and redirect her energy, she learns on her own how to ask for what she needs instead of resorting to angry outbursts.

The frustrations Jilly faces are things most kids can understand - games not going their way, block towers falling over - and provide a good frame of reference for parents to ask their kids how Jilly could react in each situation, and what they think would help them if they faced a similar struggle. Books can be a wonderful, low-pressure way to instill discipline and values in young kids, and this book is well-suited for that purpose.

Amazing Apps: Medici

Medici, the next-generation HIPAA-compliant messaging app that enables medical providers and their patients to communicate virtually via text or video, today announced its official launch in the U.S. in all 50 states.

Beginning today, users can invite their existing family physician, pediatrician, dermatologist, dentist, veterinarian, mental health provider, nutritionist and other medical providers to join the Medici platform. Providers throughout the U.S. can similarly invite their patients to join Medici, which offers a more convenient, accessible and modernized method of communication and represents the latest innovation in healthcare technology.

Medici for patients is available for iOS and for Android.

Medici for doctors is available for iOS  and for Android.

“The current healthcare model in the U.S. is fragmented and frustrating for both patients and their medical providers,” said Clinton Phillips, founder and CEO of Medici. “Medici focuses on reinventing the doctor-patient relationship and reforming how healthcare is practiced and delivered by offering patients and medical professionals a more streamlined and compliant system of communication and record-keeping.”

Unlike telemedicine companies, Medici enables patients to communicate with their existing medical providers, creating an additional channel for patients and their doctors that allows for more customized and timely medical care through a single app.

Medici offers patients:
●    An opportunity to eliminate follow-up appointments, unnecessary in-person visits, wait times and related costs;
●    Peace of mind and timely responses to medical questions or potential emergencies that arise after-hours;
●    An additional, direct line of communication with your medical providers, avoiding unnecessary phone calls, hold times and conversations with administrative staff.
●    The ability to easily request authorized prescription refills;
●    A centralized location for medical records compiled from the time a user downloads the app;
●    An easy-to-use, transparent payment system integrated directly into the Medici platform.
Medici offers medical professionals:
●    A HIPAA-compliant messaging tool that allows for easier management of patients, accessible from anywhere;
●    Freedom to text with patients on the provider’s terms;
●    An opportunity to increase patient retention and eliminate patient visits to urgent care centers, emergency rooms and telemedicine services;
●    A compensation-based health care delivery model determined by the provider;
●    A better work-life balance that allows providers the flexibility to determine their availability for patient communications via the app;
●    Reduction of overhead from administrative costs associated with medical practices.
“Medici recognizes the importance of the doctor-patient relationship, which is quickly diminishing due to unnecessary burdens placed on medical providers today,” said Dr. Thomas J Kim, chief medical officer at Med2You. “Medici offers providers a unique opportunity to care for their patients on their own terms without the effort, cost and time of conventional service options.”

Users can communicate safely on Medici by downloading the app for free via the App Store or Google Play. Once downloaded, users can send emails to their medical providers to request they join Medici.

Cost per interaction on Medici is determined by your medical provider. For more information, please visit medici.md

About Medici
Medici is the future of the doctor-patient relationship, enabling users to text or video chat with their existing medical providers—including primary care physicians, pediatricians, specialists, therapists, veterinarians, dentists and more—through a HIPAA-compliant app. Medici reconnects the continuum of care by centralizing all patient records, prescription requests, communications and interactions with medical providers onto a single platform. Medici’s leadership comprises executives from Amazon, Google and 2nd.MD. Medici is headquartered in Austin, Texas, with offices in Houston and Paris.

Healthy Habits: Ten Tips for Effective Communication With Your Doctor

By Dr. Karen Trollope-Kumar

Sometimes my work as a family doctor the days don’t always go as expected. On a busy day, I feel like I’ll never catch up, and it’s frustrating that I can’t give adequate time to each individual patient. One afternoon not long ago, I was feeling unusually tired. I looked down at my schedule and saw that my last patient was Beth, a young mother with a seven-year-old son. I thought to myself – Let’s hope this one is just a simple sore throat!

“So what brings you in today?” I asked, after a brief greeting.

“Well, I’m worried about Jimmy”, said Beth anxiously. “He’s getting into trouble at school a lot, and his teachers say he’s not paying attention. Sometimes he has stomachaches. I’m not sure what to do… Also, I’m wondering if you could just check his foot, I think he’s developed a plantar wart.”

I couldn’t help letting out a sigh. “Well, let’s just focus on the main problem,” I say. “What more information can you give me? Have you got his latest report card? Any specific comments from the teacher?”

Beth shook her head. She tried to explain more about her concerns about Jimmy, but she sensed that I was not listening closely, and she tripped over her words. Finally, I said in a voice edged with irritation, “There’s not much I can do in this short appointment. This is a complicated issue. Can you re-book for another time?”

After Beth and Jimmy left the office, I felt very guilty for brushing her off that way. I knew that she was not happy with the appointment, and neither was I. We had a communication problem, aggravated by time constraints. Unfortunately, such problems are all too common between family doctors and their patients and with a little teamwork can get the critical doctor-patient relationship back on track.

Like any healthy relationship, good communication is fundamental and that applies to the doctor-patient relationship as well. When that vital link of understanding is broken between doctor and patient, a cascade of negative consequences can result. If the patient hasn’t been able to fully explain his or her symptoms, an incorrect diagnosis might be made. If the doctor hasn’t clearly communicated his or her assessment of the problem, the treatment plan might fail. Poor communication inevitably leads to dissatisfaction for both doctor and patient.

There are ten quick tips to communicate better with your family doctor, and to make your office visit more effective:

1.     If you are seeing the doctor for a complicated issue (like Jimmy’s problem) ask the receptionist to book you a longer appointment.
2.     Prepare what you’re going to say ahead of time, and keep it concise and focused.
3.     If you’ve done some research on the Internet about your problem and want to share it with your doctor, make sure you use reputable sites to get that information.  Doctors get frustrated when patients bring in reams of information of dubious value.
4.     Avoid coming into the doctor’s office with a list of unrelated problems – focus on your main concern for that visit.
5.     If you are going in to get results of an important test, bring a friend or relative with you. Sometimes it can be hard to remember what the doctor has said, especially when the topic is emotionally laden.
6.     If you have a particular worry about a symptom (for example, Could this be cancer?), express that concern to the doctor.
7.     If the doctor advises a treatment you don’t feel comfortable with, explain your reasons, and see if an alternative approach would be possible.
8.     Keep your follow up appointment, and at that time let the doctor know how well (or not) the treatment has worked.
9.     If you’re not happy with the service you’re getting, communicate this clearly but politely, using “I” statements.  (for example, “I feel concerned about how long it took to receive these test results.”)
10.  If you’re happy with the service you’re getting from your doctor, a word of thanks or a card is always appreciated. Doctors are human too!

Improving communication requires work on the part of both the doctor and the patient. Thinking back on this appointment with Beth and Jimmy, I realized my faults: I was tired and also frustrated because the issue was complex and difficult to address during a short appointment. Yet still, I could have done a better job at communicating with compassion. On Beth’s part, she could have prepared for this appointment by thinking ahead about what information might be useful for the doctor. Working together, patients and family doctors can form great partnerships if they keep communication at the forefront of their relationship.

Dr. Karen Trollope-Kumar is a family physician and author of Cloud Messenger: Love and Loss in the Indian Himalayas. For more information, please visit www.karentrollopekumar.com.

Book Nook: If You Are What You Eat, Should I Eat a Skinny Girl?

I love the title of the book If You Are What You Eat, Should I Eat a Skinny Girl? so I was happy to be able to review it. Nathalie Botros, the "Bon-Vivant Girl," aims to help readers live better with her book and newsletter full of tips and recipes for a full and healthy life.

Nathalie can empathize with people who have tried several diets and ways to get fit but haven't had any luck. She went to a Swiss boarding school where she compared herself to the thinner, prettier girls around her, trying time and after time to get the right look and finally realizing that enough was enough.

Beginning with self-love and self-respect, she tried the concept of "well living" - a more balanced approach to health and self-fulfillment. This philosophy fits pretty well with my own definition of health - not just about the pounds on the scale, but about overall healthy living in mind, body, and spirit.

Nathalie writes with optimism and humor, making her book easy to read. Her experience makes her write with authority and compassion, to gently encourage readers to a happier, healthier life. You can find out more in her own words.

What does it mean to be the “Bon-Vivant Girl?”

If you translate “bon-vivant” from French, it means “well living”. A Bon-Vivant Girl is someone who socializes, travels, and enjoys every minute of her life. Thanks to her healthy and happy relationship towards food, she manages to lose weight and maintain it without any conventional diet.
The Bon-Vivant Girl believes that you won’t be happy because you lose weight.
You need to be happy in order to lose weight. And to be happy, you need to live your life to the fullest: go out, travel, and socialize.

Since adopting the “bon-vivant” lifestyle is more than just weight loss and your relationship to food you suggest an entire lifestyle makeover. So what are some of the important things to remember when cleaning house?

You have to clean your house from everything that blocks you from losing weight. You start by cleaning your pantry, fridge, and freezer from the bad food, but that is not enough.
I want you to get rid of your skinny clothes. Those skinny jeans that you bought 5 – 10 years ago. You think keeping them motivates you, but it doesn’t. Every time you try them and they are too tight, you get depressed. They are taking physical and emotional place in your closet. You are a bon-vivant girl! Go out and buy a pair of jeans that suits you and rocks your body instead.
I also want you to get rid of your scale. We all have different body types and bone intensities, so your weight doesn’t mean much. I also don’t want you to fall in the “water games”, since your body can retain more water some days than others. This doesn’t mean that you gained weight! I know when we try to lose weight, we get addicted to the scale - no need to depress yourself over nothing. If you need to follow your progress, buy a measuring tape. It would be more accurate to see yourself shrinking. Also getting rid of your scale will help you stop obsessing about numbers. No one walks around with their weight printed on their forehead.
I will also advise you to get rid of unsupportive friends for your new journey. They will judge you and hold you back, which will lead to failing your mission. You need to surround yourself with positive, supportive, and inspiring people. You have decided to change your life, they are not obliged to follow you, BUT they have to respect your choice.

Can you explain the usage of the Kubler-Ross grief strategy in acceptance of yourself?

The five stages of grief of Kubler-Ross came from my psychology background. When I was getting my master’s degree, I lost my father and went through all those stages to grieve his loss. When I was stuck with my weight, I decided to use the same steps.

The five stages of grief according to Kubler-Ross are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We can go through the first four stages in different orders until acceptance happens. I have used this analogy because when we gain weight, we grieve for our old body and self. The day that we accept who we are, we can finally start our new life.  It is the beginning of our journey.

What are some of the tips you want women to follow in order to change their outlook and to begin to truly love and respect themselves?

I would talk about three tips:
The first thing that everyone should know, “perfect” doesn’t exist. Even the women that you see in magazines are not perfect; they are photo shopped. Maybe they have very long legs, but who tells you that they don’t dream having your breasts or eyes?
So instead of comparing yourself to the others, compare yourself to yourself. Stand naked in front of the mirror every day and love at least one part of my body. It might be hard at the beginning, so take your time. I want you to embrace your curves and love them.

The second thing that you should know is that being skinny is not going to make you happy. If that theory is correct, every skinny person in the world should be happy. So instead of waiting to lose weight to be happy, think what would make you happy TODAY?

The third tip is about wearing clothes which flatter you. I want you to emphasize your assets. With the right cut and color, you could already look as if you had lost weight. I want you to enhance whatever is hot on your body.

Final Thoughts
I want the readers to identify themselves in my stories, get motivated, and laugh. I want them to stop dieting and start creating a lifestyle. “Diet” means “restriction”; “lifestyle” means “way to live.”
I want readers to understand that not being able to lose weight is not a failure. It shows that they followed a diet that was not suited for them. They are the only ones who can make it happen; by first loving and accepting themselves, then by creating and studying their food journal, and finally by starting their new Bon-Vivant lifestyle.

This book is not only a different approach to losing weight; but also a book to help the readers to find happiness in everything they do. The big message is “You can’t wait to lose weight to find happiness, you need to find happiness, and then you will lose weight.”

Learn more: facebook.com/thebonvivantgirl, twitter.com/bonvivantgirl, instagram.com/thebon-vivantgirl.


Giveaway: Delectables Dog Treats

The Hartz Mountain Corporation introduced Delectables, the first lickable stew treat for dogs, available at Walmart, Amazon.com and select retailers around the country.  “Delectables Stew Lickable Treats for dogs represents a true innovation in the canine treat category,” says Susan Burris, Brand Manager, Dog Treats, Hartz Mountain Corp.  “Perfect for small dogs, Delectables Stew is a delicious and lickable wet dog treat that provides a new occasion for treating and healthy snacking and is ideal for dog parents who love to pamper their pets.” 

Ideal as an in-between meal treat or as a savory topper for dry food, Delectables Stew Lickable Treats’ convenient, single-serve pouches provide dogs with appealing, low-fat treats made with real chicken, beef, cheese and vegetables, without meat by-products. Delectables Stew Lickable Treats are available in four varieties, including Chicken, Chicken with Cheese, Chicken with Beef  and Chicken Senior Formula.  
I have a chance to host a sweepstakes with entrants invited to share a photo of their dog for the Delectables “Tongue Out Tuesday” sweepstakes. They will send the winner a 12-pack of Delectables Stew Lickable Treats.  US entrants only.
Please find the full news release on this product launch here where you can download product photos and see a video of Ripley enjoying Delectables. 

Monday, April 24, 2017

Healthy Habits: Free Skin Cancer Screenings (Twin Cities)

Dermatology Consultants is offering free skin cancer screenings on Saturday, May 6th at their Woodbury and St. Paul offices. It's the perfect time to think about it, since May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month. More information & RSVP: http://www.dermatologyconsultants.com/full-body-skin-exams-may-6th/

Additionally, one of the dermatologists published a great blog post dispelling common myths about sunscreen and offering top tips for sun protection. http://www.dermatologyconsultants.com/2017/04/14/7-myths-sunscreen/