Monday, October 15, 2018

Book Nook: Books About Use of Time from Boys Town

Books can be a great way to help kids learn about and develop different skills. Boys Town Press aims to help readers learn about a wide variety of skills, and I recently had a chance to review several books that focus on appropriate use of time.  

  • Michael McMichaels Vol. 5: The Case of the Escaping Elephants by Tony Penn, illustrated by Brian Martin. The latest installment in the Michael McMichaels series follows the titular character as he learns about moderation of screen time and working with others.
  • What’s in It for Me? by Julia Cook, illustrated by Anita DuFalla. From Award-Winning author Julia Cook comes another story about Noodle, who is always being told what to do and having a hard time understanding what’s in it for him. The book teaches the value of practicing small chores now to get ready for life’s challenges later.
  • Time to Get Started by Bryan Smith, illustrated by Lisa M. Griffin, is a book for early readers about a boy named Blake who has a hard time taking initiative and getting things done at work and school. Appealing to the procrastinator in all of us, Blake and his mom come up with a concrete strategy to get things done.
I like the fact that two of the books were parts of series - as kids read more about a certain character, they can really see themselves in that character and learn more as that series continues. The escaping elephants were a cute and unique way to convey the lesson ab out screen time. As Noodle learns about the value of completing chores, he learns about why it's a good use of his time, and I love that message (it's something not a lot of kids really see). I also appreciate the book that encourages kids to avoid procrastination - it's a hard skill even for adults, and helping kids learn initiative and time management early is a great foundation.

These books are excellent for home libraries and also great for classroom and school libraries as well.

Website Spotlight: Megalopolis

Halloween is right around the spooky corner andMegalopolis has everything you need to make the most of this creepy time of year!  The Toy Overlord has curated a Halloween specific toy guide to help every ghoul and goblin on your list celebrate in style! VisitMegalopolis Halloween Guide and check out the best in Halloween collectibles.

Megalopolis is an online adult collectible specialty retailer, focused on delivering an exciting online shopping experience, infused with things collectors do and love.  Megalopolis is the premier destination for collectors of all properties through an amazing and diversified selection of both domestic and import toys, a loyalty program that offers collectors free product and tremendous value, and a focus on integrating seamlessly with the collector lifestyle.

In addition to some of the most popular collectibles from around the world, Megalopolis has developed its own proprietary character called The Toy Overlord who serves as the mascot for the site. He appears on the company logo and imagery has a clearly defined personality developed by the Megalopolis team. The Toy Overlord will be available in several proprietary products, he oversees the Mega Rewards Loyalty Program and writes the company newsletter.

Megalopolis is setting itself apart from other online retailers by offering white glove shipping using custom branded packaging for collectibles, which any collector will appreciate! When the collectibles appear on the doorstep, they come packaged in custom made branded boxes, packed with care with purple bubble wrap, branded tissue paper, packing peanuts, etc.  Each box also contains special bonuses such as a Toy Overlord Squishy or Toy Overlord Mini-figure, and Megalopolis stickers.  This custom packaging is designed with collectors in mind and is at no additional cost to the customer. This unique shipping model creates an exciting curating and unboxing experience for shoppers. Megalopolis’ product portfolio includes a mix of their own proprietary collectibles, as well as figures and generally first to market collectibles and niche action figure brands from top manufacturers, import, specialty, art toys, and other rare goods that aren’t widely available.

For more info, visit Megalopolis.

Saturday, October 13, 2018

Which Cosmetic Treatments Would Today’s Women Say Yesterday’s Beauty Icons Needed?

Every decade there is a celebrity who sets the bar for beauty. Dr. Manish Shah, Board Certified Plastic Surgeon based in Denver, takes nostalgic look at these classic beauties through the decades and points out what today’s women would critique about them given today’s beauty standards. We also have an interesting look at predictions for what the beauty ideal will be as we approach 2020. We already see a shift taking place to a strong body, smaller breasts and a more natural facial aesthetic. Let’s look forward by first looking back.

1950’s Marilyn Monroe the Ultimate Icon
Marilyn Monroe is still a beauty icon and despite transforming from brunette to the ultimate blonde bombshell, she is still the embodiment of sex appeal. “Marilyn Monroe was infamous for her hourglass physique, sexy lips and dreamy eyes. Today’s women would consider her “curvy” and would suggest Marilyn get inner thigh liposuction to achieve “thigh gap,” which became a thing over the past few years. I say Marilyn was gorgeous, feminine plus she knew how to dress for her frame. At 5’5” 120-130 pounds she was proportioned and looked lovely,” says Dr. Shah.

1960’s Raquel Welch, the Glamazon
Raquel Welch embodied the exotic bombshell. With a Bolivian father and an Irish mother, Raquel’s features were unique and stunningly beautiful. “What’s interesting about Raquel Welch is that she was all natural and women of today would want her body. She wasn’t skinny at all with beautiful full breasts, athletic legs and beautifully symmetrical facial features. She’s also aged gracefully over time, and still looks elegant well into her 70’s,” Dr.  Shah points out.

1970’s Farrah Fawcett the Girl Next Door
In this decade we see a shift from the voluptuous to the slender with a more girl-next-door approachable look. “Farrah’s lips are actually quite thin by today’s standards yet, they work perfectly with her other delicate facial features. Her megawatt bright smile was what supercharged her look. In the 70’s, plastic surgery wasn’t as mainstream as it is today. Women simply went to the hair salon for the Farrah Fawcett feathered hairstyle. At 5’7” Farrah had a 34B breast size which we are seeing a return to,” explains Dr. Shah.

1980’s, Brooke Shields, Endless Beauty
Time magazine put her on its cover with “The Face of the 80’s.” During that decade Brooke was known for her natural bushy eyebrows. According to Dr. Shah, “Brooke’s facial symmetry was and still is exceptional, her nose is perfect for her face and everything just worked together. One thing I can see today’s women suggesting for the 80’s version of Brooke, would be breast enhancement, something she never had nor wanted. Brooke now 53, looks radiant and relies on diet and exercise to maintain an age appropriate, classy look minus the need to overdo it with fillers and unrecognizable facelifts. Brooke looks like an older, gorgeous version of herself.”

1990’s Kate Moss & Pam Anderson, The Waifs vs. The Beach Bunny
The early 90’s beauty aesthetic was highly driven by the Grunge Rock music scene. The “waif” which was embodied quite controversially by Calvin Klein model Kate Moss and actress Calista Flockhardt, known for her popular TV character Ally McBeal. Both were scrutinized and shamed for being “too thin” pressuring other Hollywood celebrities to keep up. On the other extreme was bombshell, Pamela Anderson of the iconic Baywatch TV Show of the same era. A favorite of Hugh Heffner, who considered her to be the ultimate bombshell, put her on the cover of Playboy a total of 13 times in the 90’s and first decade of the 2000’s. “Pamela Anderson absolutely boosted demand of breast implants in the 90’s and made it much more mainstream to look more like an exotic dancer than a fashion model. I’m glad to see that Pamela, now in her late 40’s, didn’t overdo it with any facial plastic surgery and opts now for a more elegant look,” offers Dr. Shah.

2000’s, Livin’ LaVida Lopez
In February of 2000, Jennifer Lopez and her ample derriere got massive global attention for the infamous green Versace dress she wore as Grammy presenter. She was already turning heads on the red carpet as an actress and singer. “Jennifer Lopez was the first woman to bring attention to a curvy fuller butt. The Brazilian Butt Lift came into popularity to meet the demand of more women wanting a curvier, fuller, yet lifted bottom. What’s great about Jennifer Lopez is that she’s now in her late 40’s, with a packed schedule which demands that she is in excellent physical shape. Her physique is very athletic and muscular yet, feminine at the same time. This is a woman who did a triathlon months after giving birth to twins. Jennifer has maintained herself exceptionally well through the years with facials and lasers which can help women ward off any need for a face lift,” says Dr. Shah.

2010 – Present… Keeping Up with the Kardashians
“The Kardashians were the tipping point to both surgical and non-surgical treatments going to another level and they built an empire out of all of it,” says Dr. Shah. If you watch old episodes of the show you see Kim, sisters Khloe and Kylie and momager Kris radically changed their appearance. Plus, they are always touting procedures such as Kim did with the “Vampire Facial.” Kylie Jenner looks like a totally different person than she did as a teen just 4 years ago. Her admitted lip injections gave her a new facial appearance that now has her at the top of the family income chain.

2018 and Beyond… All Eyes on Kendall Jenner
Kendal Jenner is the hottest model right now and face of Estee Lauder. While part of the Kardashian clan, she’s an actual model with extraordinary bone structure, long legs, and a body for high fashion. “I predict we will see a new crop of beauties like Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Kia Gerber, daughter of Cindy Crawford, set a new more fashionable aesthetic. I’m hopeful that the over-done lips and over-filled faces and over-sized breasts will fall away with more favoring of preserving ethnic features and body type for a more interesting, less generic “done look, says Dr. Shah who prides himself on delivering a more natural look. 

About Dr. Manish Shah
Plastic Surgeon Colorado | Dr. Manish Shah, M.D. | Denver

Manish Shah, M.D., F.A.C.S. is board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons, the American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery and the International Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery. After completing his formal plastic surgery training in Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery at the Univ. of Tennessee College of Medicine, he moved to New York City and was selected for the prestigious Aesthetic Surgery Fellowship at Manhattan Eye, Ear, and Throat Hospital. He underwent extensive, advanced training in aesthetic surgery of the face, breasts, and body at the hands of some of the most renowned cosmetic surgeons in the world. Dr. Shah is one of only a select few plastic surgeons in the country who have undergone formal post-graduate training in aesthetic surgery.
Dr. Shah’s specialties include revision facial aesthetic surgery, rhinoplasty (“nose reshaping”), and aesthetic surgery of the breast (breast augmentation, breast lift, breast reduction). He is, however, well-trained in all areas of aesthetic surgery. Dr. Shah’s aim is to obtain a natural appearing transformation that complements the real you!

Friday, October 12, 2018

Smart Safety: Becoming Cyber Smart at Home, Work and Wherever Life Takes You

In a recent panel session hosted by Chubb, "Becoming Cyber Smart at Home, Work and Wherever Life Takes You," held in New York City, cyber industry experts from ADT, Carnegie Mellon University and CyberScout outlined a range of cyber threats facing individuals and small businesses in today's connected world. The panel described real-life examples and anecdotes, and offered some best practices individuals and businesses can take to safeguard their personal information against some of today's biggest cyber risks.
To view the entire panel presentation, click here
Patrick Thielen, Senior Vice President, Cyber and Technology Product Lead in North America for Chubb, led the panel discussion among cybersecurity industry experts, including: 
--Summer Craze Fowler, Technical Director of Cybersecurity Risk and Resilience atCarnegie Mellon, where she is responsible for a team and portfolio of work focused on improving the security and resilience of the nation's critical infrastructure and assets.
--Michael Keen, Vice President, ADT Cybersecurity, is leveraging ADT's long-held knowledge and experience in security and 24/7 monitoring to better protect customers against cyber-attacks, offering peace of mind and a one-stop shop for all security needs, whether physical, identity, or cyber.
--Adam Levin, Chairman and Founder of CyberScout and author of the critically acclaimed book, Swiped: How to Protect Yourself in a World Full of Scammers, Phishers and Identity.

According to various reports, since 2005, there have been more than 8,000 reported data breaches of businesses in which more than 10 billion consumer records have been compromised. In addition, 64% of American adults have been victimized by one or more of these breaches.
Those stats further underscore the vulnerability of our society. According to the recent 2018 Chubb Cyber Risk Survey, 86 % of respondents reported being concerned about cyber incidents, but most underestimated or were unaware of the most common cyber threats – and very few were taking basic precautions to mitigate cyber risk.  
The panel shared cost-effective ways to help prevent cyber risks and what people can do to protect themselves, their families and their employees. "We boil it down to three M's -- minimize, monitor and manage," said Mr. Levin. "It is about minimizing your risk of exposure through adopting best practices, monitoring your accounts effectively and comprehensively, and managing any damage, such as ID theft or stolen accounts that might occur."
Other ways people and businesses can protect themselves include:
  • Educate yourself and discuss cyber safety with your family on a regular basis, because threats and prevention practices are always changing;
  • Assess the validity of links, attachments, texts and phone calls prior to interacting with them or divulging information;
  • Ensure good password hygiene: use long, strong passwords or passphrases, and do not use the same passwords across multiple platforms. Consider using password software to help with these actions;
  • Enable two factor authentication, where available;
  • Stay away from public WiFi if you are involved in sensitive transactions, and when you do use public WiFi, do so via a Virtual Private Network;
  • Enable the security features built into your network router, such as updating the default passwords and setting up a guest WiFi for people visiting your home;
  • Use security software (e.g. antivirus, firewall), and always install security patches and firmware updates;
  • Back up important files to an offline device, such as a thumb drive or external hard drive; and,
  • Be mindful of your credit score, and ideally monitor and manage the credit of yourself and your family.
For more information on how you and your family can stay cyber safe, visit
About Chubb Cyber
Chubb is a leader in insuring cyber risk. Combining industry-leading underwriting and expert third-party incident response services, Chubb offers policies that are tailored to the specific needs and risks of its clients to ensure they are ready with the tools and expertise necessary should a cyber incident occur. Moving swiftly to minimize data loss and moving rapidly to connect clients with the proper parties is only part of what Chubb delivers. Keeping an eye on the ever-evolving cyber security landscape, Chubb looks for ways to do more for its clients by offering cutting-edge products and holistic services to each and every client.
About ADT:
ADT is a leading provider of security and automation solutions in the United States and Canada, protecting homes and businesses, people on-the-go and digital networks. ADT delivers same-day service and live answers within seconds in customer operations, making security more accessible than ever before, backed by 24/7 support, helping customers feel more safe and empowered. ADT is headquartered in Boca Raton, Florida and employs approximately 17,500 people throughout North America.
About CyberScout
CyberScout sets the gold standard for identity and data defense services—from proactive protection to education to successful resolution. Since 2003, CyberScout has combined on-the-ground experience with high-touch personal service to help commercial clients and individuals minimize risk and maximize recovery. To learn more, visit
About Heinz College
The Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy is home to two internationally recognized graduate-level institutions at Carnegie Mellon University: the School of Information Systems and Management and the School of Public Policy and Management. This unique colocation combined with its expertise in analytics set Heinz College apart in the areas of cybersecurity, health care, the future of work, smart cities, and arts & entertainment. In 2016, INFORMS named Heinz College the #1 academic program for Analytics Education. For more information, please visit
About Chubb:
Chubb is the world's largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and the largest commercial insurer in the United States. With operations in 54 countries and territories, Chubb provides commercial and personal property and casualty insurance, personal accident and supplemental health insurance, reinsurance and life insurance to a diverse group of clients. As an underwriting company, we assess, assume and manage risk with insight and discipline. We service and pay our claims fairly and promptly. The company is also defined by its extensive product and service offerings, broad distribution capabilities, exceptional financial strength and local operations globally. Parent company Chubb Limited is listed on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: CB) and is a component of the S&P 500 index. Chubb maintains executive offices in Zurich, New York, London and other locations, and employs approximately 31,000 people worldwide. Additional information can be found at:

DIY Smart Home

The smart home revolution is really here: scores of smart devices dedicated to making home life easier and keep utility bills lower are readily available at prices that the average family can afford. From smart assistants like the Amazon Echo series of products to the Nest Thermostat, these devices are changing lives of mothers everywhere by automating once pesky tasks, increasing home security, and keeping track of dates and grocery lists so that they don’t have to.

For an example on how these devices make life simpler, the Nest Thermostat actually programs itself, learning the schedule of you and your family in order to keep people comfortable when they are in the house while minimizing energy use when they are aren’t. The Nest can also be programmed remotely from your phone, wherever you are in the world. This is one of many household appliances that have now been rendered smart, a list that also includes light bulbs, doorbells, and even ovens.

Families across the U.S. have spoken: according to, household penetration of smart home technology has already reached 32% and is projected to hit 53% by 2022. No statistics exist on families bringing back the old, dumb versions of household appliances: once you go smart you never go back.

While moms might be intimidated by the potential installation and setup required for smart devices, they are really quite simple to install, requiring a minimum of time and effort to set up. The family can have them connected to the wifi and interfacing with each other in no time at all. Check out this guide for a DIY approach to turning your home into a smart home, and joining the rest of the 32% of American households that have already done so. 

Beermance: Why Men Fall so Hard for Beer

By Joy Stephenson-Laws, JD, Founder
What is it about beer that generates such intense loyalty and enthusiasm among some men to where they can be as passionate about their “brew” as they are about their sports teams.
According to a recent poll, 62% of American men say beer is their preferred choice of an alcoholic beverage. So as it turns out, the love affair between men and their beer may be a bit complex. Men tend to enjoy beer more than women, and they may sometimes go on and on when extolling its virtues. And when you consider the psychological benefits that beer offers, it’s not surprising that men would love beer.  
Why Men Love Their Beer?
Here are a few reasons:
  • Male Bonding: One of the most common reasons that men love beer is that it plays a key role in male bonding and creating a sense of community. This socializing has been shown to release endorphins, which improve mood. Mood improvement is so powerful that one study showed that smiles are contagious in a group of men sitting around drinking alcohol. Interestingly, beer did not have a similar effect on women.
  • Dopamine Rush: The ingredients in beer have been shown to release dopamine in the brain. This is the same chemical that helps give runners their “runners high” and that certain foods and activities release in a man’s (and a woman’s) brain. Apparently, hordenine, a substance present in beer, is able to stimulate a dopamine receptor and may cause a prolonged effect in the reward center of the brain. Once this link between drinking beer and feeling better is established, it usually remains for a long time. This would help explain why research shows that even smelling or tasting beer can trigger the release of dopamine which, in turn, can improve a man’s mood. As an added bonus, beer also tends to be high in vitamin B6, which helps the body produce serotonin, which is a mood stabilizer.
  • Beer Buzz: Beer is usually lower in alcohol than other alcoholic beverages, so it takes a lot more to cross the line between having a “buzz” and getting drunk. This means that men can drink longer in a social setting, which most find appealing and attractive.  
  • Masculinity: If you ever wondered why men prefer beer over a wine spritzer, the answer is that beer is seen as “masculine” and “manly,” especially when compared to “girly drinks.” Do you think most men want to hold a strawberry daiquiri or a fruity drink with an umbrella? This masculine aspect of beer can be so compelling that some men will drink beer even if they don’t necessarily like the taste, in order to be perceived as “real men.” This link between masculinity and beer is reinforced in popular culture in any number of ways, but especially in advertising which often depicts men enjoying beer while at or watching a sporting event. A popular beer commercial circulating now stars rugged “Jurassic Park” star Chris Pratt.  
  • Justification of Drinking Behaviors: Since beer doesn’t pack the punch of “hard” alcohol, it is not seen as being as “bad” as other distilled beverages. How often have you heard someone respond to “Have you been drinking?” with the answer, “ I only had a couple of beers.” You very rarely will hear someone say,“I only had a few martinis.”  
There are some reported health benefits of drinking beer in moderation. These include improved heart health and kidney function. It also has been said to help cognitive function and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. One of the key ingredients in beer, called hops, has also been shown to be a powerful antioxidant, which is associated with brain protection. There are studies which suggest that having a few beers may increase creativity and problem solving. Memory has also been shown to benefit from beer. Drinking to the point of inebriation or drinking too frequently, however, does negate these benefits, so “I want to be more creative” or “I want to have better memory” won’t justify drinking beer in excess.
The Risks
On the other hand, beer does have some health and physical drawbacks, some of which may be especially important for men to know about it. One is that hops, which also give beer flavor, contain high levels of plant estrogen, which is a female hormone.  Drinking too much beer, according to some research, can promote the development of female physical characteristics, such as larger breasts. Maybe all this time, “man boobs” was really referring to “beer boobs!” It also can contribute to what is euphemistically called “brewer’s droop,” or erectile dysfunction. Some men also experience premature aging, sluggishness and the all-too-common beer belly. Too much brew can also damage the liver as well as other organs.  
Other health issues from drinking too much beer may be the loss of critical nutrients, like water, vitamins, minerals, including iron, selenium and magnesium, which alcohol depletes from our bodies if we overdo it. Furthermore, people who drink heavily tend to have poorer diets, lacking nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables.
How to Enjoy Beer While Protecting Your Health
One of the important things to keep in mind when enjoying beer is the adage of “all things in moderation.” Some other suggestions include:
  • Staying Hydrated:  While beer can be quite refreshing, it, as does alcohol in general, promotes dehydration, which carries its own set of health risks. So, it’s important to have your beer with a water chaser and make sure that you keep your water intake adequate.
  • Don't Mix Beer with Sports: Just as beer does, sports are a way that many men bond. Combining the two seems like the perfect combination, but there are health risks in doing so. The combo of the two could lead to accelerated dehydration from both drinking alcohol and sweating. It may also affect physical performance and cause a slower muscle recovery. And let’s face it, if you are feeling that beer buzz you may be more likely to injury yourself while playing that sport.
  • Maximize Antioxidant Value: The more hops used in the beer, the more antioxidants there are. Also, be careful with “light” beers, which may be higher in calories and carbohydrates then you may think.
The bottom line is that the love affair between men and their beer is not going to end and nor should it. There are many social and perhaps health advantages of sharing a brew with your buddies.  But if you drink beer, think about doing it in moderation and be proactive about maximizing the benefits and minimizing the risks.
Enjoy your healthy life!
The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. This team also includes the members of the pH Medical Advisory Board, which constantly monitors all pH programs, products and services. To learn more about the pH Medical Advisory Board, click here.
Joy Stephenson-Laws is the founder of Proactive Health Labs (pH), a revolutionary health care company that provides tools needed to achieve optimal health. Her new book, Minerals - The Forgotten Nutrient: Your Secret Weapon for Getting and Staying Healthy [Proactive Health Labs, Inc., 2016] is available through Amazon or wherever books are soldAll proceeds from the book will be donated to The Bili Project Foundation, an organization devoted to reducing the incident and improve the outcome of Hepatobilary cancers, which are cancers of the liver, gallbladder, or bile ducts.  The pH professional health care team includes recognized experts from a variety of health care and related disciplines, including physicians, health care attorneys, nutritionists, nurses and certified fitness instructors. To learn more about the pH Health Care Team, click here. Connect with Proactive Health Labs on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, and at

Money Makers: Amazon Hiring Events (MN North Metro)

Amazon will soon start hiring for more than 450 permanent, part-time roles at its new sortation center in Brooklyn Park, which is slated to open this fall. Candidates can walk-in, apply and receive a job offer on-the-spot at four hiring events for part-time positions over the next two weeks. Amazon expects to make hundreds of on-the-spot job offers. Candidates can apply by attending the hiring events or online at

The more than 350,000 square foot sortation center is located at 9001 Wyoming Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445. It will be Amazon’s fourth fulfillment facility in Minnesota, joining more than 2,000 existing Amazon employees.

About the Amazon Hiring Events

Dates:             Saturday, October 13, 2018
Time:               9 AM – 6 PM. Last event at 4:30 PM.
Location:        Courtyard by Marriott
                        11871 Fountains Way, Maple Grove, MN 55369

Dates:             Wednesday, October 17, 2018 & Thursday, October 18, 2018
Time:               9 AM – 6 PM. Last event at 4:30 PM.
Location:        North Hennepin Community College7411 85th Ave N, Brooklyn Park, MN 55445                        Building is the center for business and technology building room 181

Job Details

The recently announced Amazon $15 minimum wage applies for part-time employees at the Brooklyn Park facility and is on top of our industry-leading benefits – which include life and disability insurance, dental and vision insurance with premiums paid in full by Amazon, and funding towards medical insurance. Employees will also have access to Amazon’s innovative Career Choice program, which pre-pays 95% of tuition for courses in high-demand fields and flexible schedules.

Applicants must be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. Applicants can prepare by bringing I9 documentation to the hiring event. Acceptable I-9 documents can be found at:

Healthy Habits: Are You Really a Social Drinker or Could You Be an Alcoholic?

Increasingly, women are going head to head with men when it comes to binge drinking.   It’s not surprising: society normalizes, encourages, and promotes drinking so heavily that it can be nearly impossible, at times, to know what’s “normal” or not. A 2015 report by the National Institutes of Health, says an exploding number of Americans are in the drinking danger zone. According to the report, published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, nearly one-third of American adults at some point in their life have an Alcohol Abuse Disorder, and only 20% seek treatment. Drinking may seem harmless but overindulging in alcohol is responsible for more than 80,000 deaths in this country per year and is the third leading cause of preventable deaths. We turned to Carrie Carlton, Clinical Director (LCSW) of Beachway Therapy Center in Boynton Beach, Florida to outline the differences between social, problem and alcoholic drinking.
Addicted alcoholics hide their habit
Carrie Carlton says, “When people veer from social drinking to alcoholism, they usually try to conceal their drinking from those who are close to them. This is a warning sign because they deliberately wish to hide their drinking habit from their loved ones so as not to alarm or disappoint them. The fact is, the more they try to hide their drinking habit, the more serious their drinking problem becomes.”
Missing work
Alcoholics tend to miss work, damage other people’s lives, and not fulfill obligations because they stay busy drinking. Social drinkers will drink at specific times when they are usually free so that no important work is hampered. Social drinkers make sure that they do not over-drink, which ensures that they can tend to important obligations. “If they start ignoring these obligations because of drinking, they have likely become alcoholic,” says Carlton.
You’re a weekend warrior.
“If you don’t drink daily, but are drinking regularly, such as binges every Friday night, that’s a red flag,” says Carlton. While research shows that having about seven alcoholic beverages per week lowers your risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, abstaining all week only to guzzle five or six glasses in a single sitting negates any of alcohol’s potential health benefits. Moreover, binge drinking can raise blood pressure and interfere with certain medications.
Drinking just “creeps up on you.”
Have you ever told yourself you were going to have only a drink or two at happy hour, and before you knew it you’d downed five? One of the clues that you may be a binge drinker is not knowing your limits—or feeling surprised when you've "suddenly" passed them. “Like diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems, drinking problems develop gradually and alcoholism is progressive,” says Carlton.
Drinking and driving
Alcoholics end up in alcohol-related accidents, while social drinkers do not. However, for a social drinker, they know that drinking and driving is not permitted and can be fatal. So, even if they over-drink on a particular social occasion, they don’t get behind the wheel.  
You wonder if there will be enough alcohol available
“This most likely means that you are probably chasing the buzzed feeling and are unable to enjoy yourself without the fear of losing that high” says Carrie Carlton. “It is most definitely a warning sign of addiction and it can be a sign of obsessive thinking around alcohol, which should absolutely raise red flags.”
You “Pre-Game It”
Perhaps you are going on a blind date and don’t want your date to think you drink too much so you have 2 drinks at home and 2 drinks while on the date. You know you’ve had 4 drinks, but your date perceives you as a “normal” drinker. You are aware of your true quantity and have the buzz to go along with it.
You hide alcohol
If you don’t want your spouse, roommate or family member to see you drinking, perhaps you hide alcohol in a closet or bathroom cabinet and put your drinks in a colored paper cup so only you know you’re drinking. Carrie Carlton says, “alcoholics will do this to be able to indulge in their addiction while attempting to “act sober” and deceive others around them.” 
You switch drinks or try to make rules for yourself that you don’t follow
Many people will negotiate with themselves. For example, “I will switch from 4 glasses of wine to two Vodkas” or “I will only drink on weekends,” “I will only go to happy hour when I have a new client win.”  “Normal” drinkers don’t make these kinds of bargains with themselves because their lives don’t revolve around alcohol or attempts to control consumption of it,” says Carlton.
A ”problem drinker” versus an alcoholic
Carrie Carlton explains that, “A problem drinker is able to self-correct when they are given sufficient reason to do so – negative consequences, painful hangovers, birth of a child, new responsibilities, etc. An alcoholic, on the other hand, is unable to permanently cut back or stop drinking even when they have numerous reasons to do so. When faced with serious consequences and reality, an alcoholic may temporarily stop or limit themselves, but they will invariably return to their regular excessive drinking patterns.”
What to do if you’re not sure you have a problem
Carrie Carlton suggests, “If you are not certain you are an alcoholic, seek the advice of a therapist, or attend an AA meeting and speak with those who have long term sobriety to see if they share similar thoughts and experiences. If you feel that you need more than therapy to stop drinking, in patient treatment (rehab) may be the course of action you need to get both the therapy and tools to live a sober life.
Carrie Carlton, Clinical Director (LCSW), Clinical Supervisor at Beachway Therapy Center
Carrie holds a BSW and MSW in social work from Florida Atlantic University, an MA from Barry University (Miami), and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She also has a background in medical social work. Her understanding of cognitive behavioral therapy, solution focused therapy, and family systems guide her treatment of addicts and families. Her clients thrive under her guidance because of her honesty, empathy, and compassion. Recognizing the severe impact of addictions on both the addict and the families, Carrie is dedicated to consistently serve her clients.
About Beachway Therapy Center
Beachway provides a continuum of care, from PHP (Partial Hospitalization Program) to Outpatient services. The facility offers a fully individualized treatment plan that meets the clinical and medical needs of each client usually lasting between 30 and 90 days. Beachway provides an extremely low client to therapist ratio and under high level professional supervision, clients can begin to recover in a safe, residential-like environment.  CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) motivational interviewing, addiction counseling, 12-Step orientation, DBT (dialectical behavioral therapy,) trauma-informed practices and a wide variety of supportive group therapies are offered.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Healthy Habits: Lung Cancer

Stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer – or “NSCLC” – is estimated to affect over 43,000 patients annually in the United States. This type of lung cancer occurs when the cancer has spread to nearby tissue or lymph nodes within the chest, but has not spread to distant parts of the body. The majority of these patients are determined to have tumors that cannot be removed with surgery, called “unresectable” – and generally, survival rates have been low.

Until earlier this year, the standard treatment for these patients with inoperable Stage 3 NSCLC was chemotherapy and radiation therapy (CRT), followed by a “watch and wait” period, where doctors would conduct regular scans on their patients to keep an eye on the cancer. Unfortunately, up to 9 out of 10 of these patients will eventually have their cancer progress to Stage 4 – meaning the cancer had spread to other organs.

Now there is more hope than ever before.

Anecdotally, Stage 3 cancer has been grouped together in the public discourse about Stage 4 cancer – and potentially considered a certainly fatal disease. However, these different stages of disease are distinct, and correspond with different long-term survival rates. Stage 3 lung cancer is typically “locally advanced,” meaning the cancer has not spread outside the chest, while Stage 4 lung cancer means that the cancer has spread beyond the chest – to other organs, such as the brain, bones or liver. Researchers believe that when the cancer is locally advanced, longer term survival may be possible.

New data that looks at overall survival in the Stage 3 treatment setting after CRT [will be or was] announced in September at the world’s largest lung cancer medical conference, the World Conference on Lung Cancer (WCLC).

To make the most of the latest science, patients and their loved ones need to talk to their doctors about their options.

According to a study published last year, 28% of patients who have inoperable Stage 3 NSCLC did not receive any chemotherapy or radiation. With the advancement of treatment options and data demonstrating their potential, it is critical for patients not to give up – to be aware of their options and talk to their doctor about what treatments may be appropriate for them.

Medical expert Edward S. Kim, MD, Chair of the Department of Solid Tumor Oncology at Levine Cancer Institute is available on Wednesday, October 3rd to discuss what this new era means for unresectable Stage 3 non-small cell lung cancer.

Interview is courtesy of AstraZeneca. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Fun Freetime: The Boss Baby - Back in Business Season 2

One of Netflix's most successful kids and family series to date, Season 2 of DreamWorks Animation Television's series The Boss Baby: Back in Business picks up where the first season left off. Baby Corp has been left without a CEO, giving rise to an up-and-comer from the R&D division: Turtleneck Superstar CEO Baby (Cynthia Erivo). When she unveils her breakthrough Stinkless Serum to keep babies smelling their absolute best, Boss Baby and the gang must work quickly to keep this magic cure-all out of the hands of puppies, kittens, and, what Boss Baby believes to be their greatest threat yet: old people!

This season is from Emmy Award-winning Executive Producer Brandon Sawyer and stars the voice talents of JP Karliak (Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production) as Boss Baby, Pierce Gagnon (Looper, Tomorrowland, Wish I Was Here) as Tim, and Kevin Michael Richardson (All Hail King Julien, Cleveland Show) as Jimbo, Cynthia Erivo (Tony Award winner for The Color Purple) as Superstar Turtleneck CEO Baby, Nora Dunn (Saturday Night Live) as Gigi, and Diedrich Bader (Office Space, Napoleon Dynamite) as Junior Fancy.