Friday, May 26, 2017

Healthy Habits: Four Ways To Stay Sober Through The Summer Holiday Drinking Season

By Michael Graubart
Hey, recovering alcoholics! Here comes the summer drinking season—Memorial Day, June graduations and weddings, Fourth of July, the beach, and barbecues!
What could go wrong?
Plenty, if you don’t have a plan for getting through the summer sober.
In Alcoholics Anonymous, we call the period from Thanksgiving through Christmas and New Year the "Bermuda Triangle" of sobriety—many alkies come in, but not all make it through.
If anything, summer is more dangerous for people in recovery, because there are so many social cues to drink.
What’s a recovering alkie or addict to do?
Here’s some kitchen-tested advice that gets passed along the Twelve Step meetings as holiday periods approach.
  • No. 1: Have an exit strategy.
    Even before you get to the event, whether it’s a barbecue, a wedding, or holiday party, have a plan for leaving as soon as you feel uncomfortable. When everybody’s drinking, the pace of conversation and behavior in general seems to suddenly accelerate.

    This is an extremely uncomfortable moment for people newly in recovery, and sometimes for people who have been clean and sober a long time.

    When that moment arises, you want to have a plan for leaving. Did you come in your own car? Can you call an Uber or a cab? Will public transportation work? Or can you just walk out of there? Determine your exit strategy even before you enter. Don’t stick around once the drinking heats up. You won’t be missed. Everyone else will be too drunk to remember whether you stayed or left.

  • No. 2: Get a drink.

    As soon as you get to the event, go to the bar or beverage area and get yourself a soft drink or juice—and carry it with you everywhere. People are far less likely to offer you a drink, or force a drink on you, if you’re already holding a drink.

    If people ask you what you’re drinking, tell the truth. The more insistent they get that you should be drinking, the more likely it is that they need a program, too.

    If you put your drink down, even for a microsecond, it’s no longer your drink. Go back to the bar or beverage area and get a new one. That’s because alkies have this very slick trick of switching out their beverage "accidentally on purpose."

    "I thought it was my Coke!" we exclaim pitifully. "How could I have known that it was actually someone else’s rum and Coke?"

    It doesn’t even matter if you are maintaining visual contact with the drink—once it hits the table, it’s no longer yours. Go back and get a fresh one.

  • No. 3: Remain anonymous.
    You don’t have to tell people that you are now sober in Alcoholics Anonymous or clean in another Twelve Step program. It’s nobody’s business. Sometimes, the newly sober tend to "over share" with people in our lives. You are not in a Twelve Step meeting when you are at a party featuring alcohol (or other substances). You are out in the big, bad world, where no one cares that you are clean.

    You do not owe anyone an explanation for your choice not to drink. Your sobriety is, in fact, none of their business. You do not need to share that vital information with anyone. Remember that the last name of every Twelve Step program is "Anonymous."

  • No. 4: Stay home.

    There is no law that says that newly clean and sober people must test their sobriety or abstinence at every family or social event that comes along. If you’re feeling shaky about your recovery, don’t tempt fate. We love to do it, but ultimately, it could be a self-defeating choice.

    If you feel that a particular event may be too much of a test for your recovery, make up an excuse and go to a meeting instead. Give your own sobriety a chance.
So there you have it—four ways to stay clean and sober through the often treacherous summer holiday season. Come Labor Day, you’ll be sober as a judge…instead of having to appear in front of one!
New York Times bestselling author Michael Graubart has published Sober Dad: The Manual for Perfectly Imperfect Parenting (Hazelden).

Parenting Pointers: Encourage Your Kids to Celebrate Graudation Safely

Graduation is a time to celebrate. But before your high school seniors begin their parties, take the time to talk with them about keeping events alcohol-free—it just may save a life. No amount of underage drinking is legal or safe. And we know that any underage drinking can lead to consuming too much alcohol, which can lead to poor decisions, alcohol overdose, and possibly death.
Even as high school students reach this milestone, they still need their parents’ guidance. Being a positive role model, talking to other parents and teens, supervising parties to make sure no alcohol is served, and supporting alcohol-free school celebrations can help prevent a life-changing mistake.
Be sure to tell graduates to play it safe and party right—and alcohol-free—at graduation. A well-deserved celebration shouldn’t end in tragedy.
About the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
The mission of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) is to generate and disseminate fundamental knowledge about the effects of alcohol on health and well-being, and apply that knowledge to improve diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of alcohol-related problems, including alcohol use disorder, across the lifespan. The institute is one of 27 institutes and centers in the National Institutes of Health. For more information, visit

Thrifty Thinking: 6 Ways To Reduce Stress And Anxiety In Your Financial Life

Trading in your morning coffee run to Starbucks for the pot of coffee in the office is never fun, but when finances get tight that drive-thru stop might be one of the first things to go.
But do you really need to give up the little things in life that make you happy? Al Zdenek (, the author of the book Master Your Cash Flow: The Key To Grow And Retain Wealth, doesn’t think so.
"It’s important to be able to hang onto those things you enjoy," says Zdenek, the president, CEO and founder of Traust Sollus Wealth Management. "You should be able to, just as long as you continue to make smart decisions on bigger issues that affect your future wealth."
There is a lot of financial stress and anxiety in the country. Zdenek says if you can eliminate financial stress from your life, your anxiety levels will go down. Here are some of the things he recommends to accomplish that:
  • Know what you need. The unknown is the biggest stress driver. There is a cash flow per month that would allow you to live the way you want now and in the future. This is something you should know.
  • Fix broken cash flow. Unfortunately, we have all made poor financial choices, some of which have been more costly than others. There is no need to continue this. There are ways to find solutions in everyday decisions that will allow you to start your cash flow going in the right direction.
  • Use debt smarter. Many types of debt can be good; such as real estate, investments and investing in your business. Make your debt decisions like a well-run company and create wealth.
  • Make sure you have a road map. Having a good financial plan is like having a good map and researching your trip ahead of time. You can wing your financial plan, but if you work less in life and get to your destination sooner, your life will be less stressful if you have a plan.
  • Don’t let your decisions come back to haunt you. The bad decisions you make could come back to haunt you decades down the road. Learn how to avoid costly decisions and always make the correct financial choices, 100 percent of the time.
  • Work when you want. People like to know when they don’t have to work anymore. A good advisor can set you up with a plan that will give you this option well before you reach retirement age.
"By consistently making the best financial decisions, people can find more cash flow to spend or save," Zdenek says. "That way they may achieve financial independence sooner, work less in life and have less anxiety and stress in their financial lives."
About Al Zdenek
Al Zdenek ( is the president, CEO and founder (1982) of Traust Sollus Wealth Management, a boutique wealth management firm dedicated to empowering people to transform their lives and live the life they wish now and in the future. This is done by consistently making the best financial decisions. His book, Master Your Cash Flow, shows readers how to achieve the wealth they need and then find additional cash flow and, if saved, build wealth sooner, work less years or have more wealth to live the lifestyle they desire now and forever.

Amazing Apps: First Derm

May is Skin Cancer Awareness Month, and I found out that First Derm's teledermatology service recently saved the life of an entrepreneur with malignant melanoma.

The average wait time to see a dermatologist is 29 days. This is especially troubling for those with a skin condition they fear may be cancerous.  First Derm’s mobile app allows individuals to snap a photo of their skin concern and receive a board-certified dermatologist’s evaluation within 24 hours. We've helped over 20,000 people in 160 countries find out what was going on with their skin. So far, over 500 cases of potential skin cancer have been found using the First Derm app.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Contest: OFM Office Selfie

OFM, one of the nation’s leading furniture manufacturers and distributors, is holding the ultimate “Office Selfie Contest” and is asking people to take their best group photo on their phone in an office setting.
“Outside home, we spend more time in the office than anywhere else, but we often take our coworkers for granted,” said Blake Zalcberg, president of OFM. “We hope that by snapping an ‘office selfie,’ people will take a minute to appreciate their work family.”
OFM is holding the contest on Instagram and Twitter through May 31, 2017. To enter, contestants must take a “selfie” on their cellphone in an office setting with their coworkers, then upload the photo to Twitter or Instagram using the hashtag #OFMOfficeSelfie. Winners will be selected in three categories: best selfie with the most people, most creative and best overall.
Each category winner will have the option of selecting three stools from OFM’s Jupiter, Hex or Quin series, offering a versatile seating option for any workspace. These soft-covered stools boast a contemporary design and can be used as standalone seating or in combination to create longer lines, circular shapes or even more abstract designs.  
According to a Pew Research Center estimate, some 55 percent of Millennials (ages 18 to 33) have shared a selfie on social media. Taking a selfie, especially at the office, used to be much harder, but thanks to cellphones readily found in any workplace, it’s become an everyday experience. OFM hopes to capture this phenomenon and find the best group selfie taken in a workplace setting.
“This is just a fun contest to bring together coworkers in the workplace and do what everyone does on a regular basis—take a selfie,” added Zalcberg. “We’re look forward to seeing the fun submissions and what people come up with on their break.”
To learn more about the OFM Office Selfie Contest, visit:

About OFM
OFM, a family-run furniture manufacturer and distributor headquartered in North Carolina with distribution centers there and in California, Kansas, Pennsylvania, and Washington state. For more than twenty years, it has provided affordable and quality furniture through a nationwide dealer network, offering the latest concepts and designs for a variety of markets including home and hospitality, businesses and government, and health care and education. Working with manufacturers in Mexico, Taiwan and China, OFM designs furniture to meet the highest industry standards which are sold through a variety of retailers, mail-order catalogs, and online dealers including Staples, Wayfair, Overstock, and National Business Furniture. 
To learn more about OFM, visit:

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Contest: Southern Recipe Street Meet

During the summertime, Southern Recipe Small Batch pork rinds will celebrate BBQ season with the Street Meet recipe contest. Throughout the contest, consumers are invited to enter their favorite BBQ recipes on Facebook for a chance to win.

At the contest’s conclusion, one winner will be selected to win a trip to The Texas Craft Brewers Festival in Austin, TX.


Consumers can enter through June 23rd, 2017.

To learn more about Southern Recipe Small Batch, visit or follow us and vote on Facebook at

Monday, May 22, 2017

Parenting Pointers: Say NO to the Bully

By Lori Hoff author of Teen Code: A Rock-Star’s Life
Bullying has taken on a whole new meaning in the past decade and the conditions have changed.  The weapon isn't a fist or a bat it is the cold heart and unrelenting mouth. The phrase sticks and stones will break my bones but names will never hurt me – no they actually hurt you so deeply – they can kill. Point in case, a young girl in Texas had peers create fake profiles set up in her name on dating sites giving graphic descriptions of her name “for a good time”.  The young girl was bombarded with so many inappropriate calls and emails to the point where she took her own life.  These peers thought this was a good “prank” – no this was cyber bullying.

Young people don't have the fortitude to deal with this. Bullying used to stop at the park or after school now it follows you home it's in your computer/phone and won't leave you alone. The demographic of the audience has changed it used to be one on one and now it is open for the public.  Parents and caregivers need more reminders and tools to help them combat.

Here are some helpful tips to combat cyber-bullying:
1.     Always talk to your youth about the importance of knowing who he/she is and talk about the perils of social media including bully examples
2.     Teach them how damaging “made up” stories or distorting the truth can be. This is not a minor “distortion’ and can get out of hand very quickly. 
3.     Let them know everything they see on TV and social media isn't real. A lot of young people believe everything they see to be real. 
4.     As parents/caregivers we need to make sure we know what our children are exposed to. Sit down and watch the TV show they are watching with them and ask questions about the topics discussed in the shows to see the perspective of your child. 
5.     Know your child’s social media group: look at their Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts on a regular basis. You will meet resistance but who is paying for their phone/computer access? In most cases not your child.
6.     Know who your child is “hanging out with” after school and pay attention to changes in your child’s appearance, attitude and disposition.
7.     Teach them how to stand tall in face of adversity by listening closely to what they are saying and seek help from authorities at school or in the community if you feel threatened in any way.
8.     Remember bullying happens in all socioeconomics and demographics – it is not the under-privileged – it can happen to anyone.

I have raised at-risk youth in my home for over 15 years and when we talk a lot.  We talk about how telling lies can be just as harmful as hitting someone with a baseball bat. The visual works.   I teach the youth to listen to what their peers are saying about each other (not just them) because “out of your mouth the heart speaks” – if someone is unkind chances are they can be the same to you.  Remember, a bully is only as powerful as you let him/her be.

Lori Hoff is the CEO and founder of OMI (Outreach Ministries Inc) a nonprofit helping at risk youth OMI is leading the first National Youth Week for across the US on June 13th. Hoff also just released: and author of Teen Code: A Rock-Star’s Life. Hoff  was the Board chair for Big Brothers Big Sisters and established a food pantry for the working poor in Middlesex County.  She also worked with the State of NJ as a therapist for at-risk youth helping them to stay in school and become productive members of society. Along with her nonprofit work she is also a full-time Manager in the Technology And Engineering space for AT&T in Dallas, Texas and was the  National Mentoring officer for Women of AT&T for 4 years.  A Native of Washington, NJ, Hoff graduated from Calvary Theological with a Bachelor of Science degree in Ministry, and earned a Masters in Child and Adolescent Therapy from Cornerstone University.
Connect with Hoff on: Facebook,, Instagram,  Twitter
Website: Books will be available at all major bookstores and through Amazon.

Amazing Apps: Toca Life - Hospital

Toca Boca recently released Toca Life: Hospital, the latest in their award-winning Toca Life app series.

Whether kids are welcoming a new sibling, visiting a grandparent, know a friend or classmate who is sick, or have to go to a doctor's appointment with their parents, hospitals are part of everyday life. True to Toca Boca’s mission of empowering kids with realistic, open-ended play experiences, Toca Life: Hospital puts kids in control of every aspect of the hospital experience and introduces these important concepts in a positive and fun way.


They’ll get to explore the operating room, visit the maternity unit, discover the secret lab, stop by the waiting room, or grab a snack at the cafĂ©. Toca Life: Hospital gives kids unlimited space to discover the happenings of a busy medical center at their own pace, helping to increase their comfort level around hospitals. Most importantly, the app provides an opportunity for parents to have an open conversation with their kids surrounding similar experiences.


Toca Life: Hospital is available for $2.99 on the App Store, Google Play and Amazon.

Fun Freetime: PJ Masks Tour

Entertainment One (eOne) and Round Room Presents are proud to announce that ‘PJ Masks Live! Time to Be a Hero,’ a brand-new, fully-immersive musical production, will take to the stage, touring across North America starting in September 2017. Exclusive pre-sales begin Tuesday, May 16, at 10am EST, with the general public on-sale starting Friday, May 19, at 10am EST.
The live show is based on eOne’s top-rated animated TV series, which airs daily on Disney Junior. Catboy, Owlette, Gekko, and the Baddies will delight fans of all ages with live performances featuring world-class production, familiar and original music, acrobatics, and immersive interactivity.
PJ Masks, the hit series, follows the thrilling nighttime adventures of three young friends who transform into their dynamic alter egos, Catboy, Owlette and Gekko, when they put on their pajamas at night and activate their animal amulets. Together, they embark on action-packed capers, solving mysteries and learning valuable lessons along the way.
The PJ Masks live show marks a new partnership between the Entertainment One Music and Entertainment One Family teams as well as with stage show producer and promoter Round Room Presents.
“I am thrilled to be partnering with eOne to bring a live version of the series to PJ Masks fans throughout the U.S. and Canada for the first time, said Stephen Shaw, CEO of Round Room Presents and Lead Producer for the live tour. “PJ Masks is an amazing brand that transfers naturally to the live stage, and we can’t wait to delight audiences with this fun and exciting new show.”
For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit,

About Entertainment One
Entertainment One Ltd. (LSE:ETO) is a global independent studio that specializes in the development, acquisition, production, financing, distribution and sales of entertainment content. The Company’s diversified expertise spans across film, television and music production and sales, family programming, merchandising and licensing, and digital content. Through its global reach and expansive scale, powered by deep local market knowledge, the Company delivers the best content to the world.

Entertainment One’s robust network includes film and television studio The Mark Gordon Company; content creation venture Amblin Partners with Steven Spielberg, DreamWorks Studios, Participant Media, and Reliance Entertainment; leading feature film production and global sales company Sierra Pictures; unscripted television production companies Renegade 83; world-class music labels Dualtone Music Group and Last Gang; and award-winning digital agency Secret Location.

The Company’s rights library is exploited across all media formats and includes more than 100,000 hours of film and television content and approximately 40,000 music tracks.

About Round Room Presents
Round Room Presents is a live entertainment firm that specializes in the production and promotion of live arena shows, concert tours, theatrical performances and touring exhibitions. Round Room are currently the Executive Producers for Exhibitionism: The Rolling Stones blockbuster exhibit.

Fun Freetime: Dino Dana

A brand-new “dino-powered” Amazon Original Kids series, Dino Dana, will debut on Prime Video this Friday, May 26, in the U.S. and U.K.!
A follow-up to the 2015 Emmy Award-winning series Dino Dan: Trek’s AdventuresDino Dana takes preschoolers on a whole new level of dinosaur adventures. Combining live-action with CGI animation, the STEM-sational series features two sisters – a first for the franchise – along with 11 new prehistoric creatures.

After a chance encounter with Trek and his Dino Field Guide, Dana (Michela Luci), a “paleontologist in training,” begins to see dinosaurs all around her, leading to plenty of action and adventure. Each episode of the awe-inspiring series features illuminating facts about dinosaurs and applies them to kid-relatable experiences. Created by J.J. Johnson (Dino Dan, Annedroids), the series is executive produced by Sinking Ship partners Johnson, Blair Powers and Christin Simms with animation executive produced by Matthew J.R. Bishop.