Getting Things Off My Chest: Waving Pride On and Prejudice Away

Pride has been a word on everyone’s lips this week and for several reasons. In a landmark decision the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Constitution guarantees a national right to same-sex marriage. The rainbow colors of pride, equality and acceptance have flooded Facebook and national monuments. The flag has been waved proudly in marches throughout the country on Gay Pride Day.

pride flag

 

I’m happy for my friends whose lives are positively impacted. I am also respectful of those whose personal or religious beliefs cannot accept it. We live in a nation of freedom of speech and – more now than ever- freedom of choice.

This same week a symbol of southern pride, the Confederate flag, has unfurled a flurry of reactions following the tragic shootings at a prayer meeting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. A photograph of the murderer holding a Confederate flag was widely circulated.

Growing up in the South I understood the Confederate flag to be an historical symbol of the War Between the States. But I also grew used to seeing the Confederate flag on merchandise in souvenir gift shops, as well as shelves stocked with Mammy dolls and images of little black boys sucking on slices of watermelon. They all became pieces of southern kitsch and not much more. “Dixie” is still a beloved anthem in the south and it always will be.

Confederate flag

But this week made me more sensitive to what the sight of a raised Confederate flag and related imagery could mean to someone of African American descent.  As someone with Jewish heritage I’d be uneasy seeing a flag bearing a swastika, which sadly still happens. I’m growing more uneasy each time I see ISIS militants waving their flag because I fear where it can lead.

Flags can be strong symbols of peace and pride, power or hate, independence or dominance. What I’ve learned from this week is the importance of pride and respect for peoples’ beliefs, whether you agree or not. I’ve also learned freedom of speech and the right to choice do not mean unleashing a torrent of disparaging comments, supporting bigotry or choosing to act unlawfully to harm another person.

This July 4th the American will be waved at events around the nation, and we remember what our Founding Fathers fought for: independence to become our own sovereign nation with inalienable rights. I share this sentence from the Declaration of Independence to drive home the principles for which so many people still continue to fight for today:

"Flag of the United States". Licensed under Public Domain via Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_the_United_States.svg#/media/File:Flag_of_the_United_States.svg

“Flag of the United States”. Licensed under Public Domain via Wikipedia

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

Hopefully the lessons learned will be that history bears respecting but not necessarily repeating.  Symbols and stories of the past are foundations that help shape and build our present and future. Times change and we have to adjust to keep up. Life, liberty and especially the pursuit of happiness mean many things to different people, but we all want the right to choose and define our terms of happiness . Flags are easier to pack up and switch out, but closed minds are sometimes harder to open.

Do you feel images of the Confederacy flag images should be removed from shelves and displays? Please share your thoughts at my  page,  facebook.com/fearlessfabulousmelanie,  or in the comments section of this blog.

If you like this post please share it with friends.

Have a Happy and Safe Fourth of July!

 

 

Fearless Fabulous You! How Homeopathy Can Help You

I’ve been curious about alternative and complementary medicines after researching my books and studying integrative nutrition.  One that fascinates me is homeopathya system of natural medicine dating back over 200 years. It is very common in Europe where its originator, Samuel Hahnemann, created the word “homeopathy” from the Greek words for ‘similar suffering’ referring to the ‘like cures like’ principle of healing.” Ref:  http://www.homeopathyschool.com/. Benefits can alleviate side effects from traditional Western medicine, strengthen your immune system, help healing and reduce pain, among other conditions.

You probably have seen all sorts of homeopathic essences, gels, creams and pellets at your local health foods store. But do you know what homeopathy is, how it works and what conditions it can treat? And is it right for you or a family member?

Noted homeopath, Dr. Lauri Grossman, joins me June 29th on Fearless Fabulous You, 9:28pmET, to explain how homeopathy works, provide examples of how you can treat different summer ailments from bug bites to sunburn, and what conditions respond well to homeopathy.  Lauri serves as Chair of the Department of International Affairs at the American Medical College of Homeopathy where she frequently gives lectures. She has also taught at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, the Hospital for Special Surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital and Columbia Presbyterian Hospital.

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Dr. Lauri Grossman, Homeopathic Specialist (photo: Steve J. Sherman)

Lauri’s  journey into studying homeopathic medicine came after she experienced first-hand how a treatment helped her infant son, David. She became a lifelong student in various alternative medicines and is also a licensed chiropractor. But she was drawn most to homeopathy and pursued her medical studies both in the USA (Cornell University) and Europe (Hahnemann College of Homeopathy), and she has become an authority on homeopathy. You can watch her full story here. Continue reading

Fearless Fabulous You: Cancer Community Activist Mailet Lopez

Every cancer survivor I speak with remembers their “cancer-versary.” It’s the date you were diagnosed. And every cancer survivor will tell you hearing the news is gut wrenching. Your head spins; your heart skips a beat, and many people, including myself, go numb or break down in tears.

Imagine being a beautiful young  woman whose life is filled with promise hearing this news. Maybe you are newly married or a new mother. Maybe you are a fun loving single gal who looks forward to finding that someone special. The future and its possibilities seem limitless. Then cancer pays an unwelcome visit and tries to shut a door on everything,

I Had Cancer.com founder Mailet Lopez

Mailet Lopez, Founder, I Had Cancer                         (Photo: Meg Baggott)

Mailet Lopez was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer at age 33. She had a great doctor and very supportive family and friends, but still found herself overwhelmed and alone in fighting the disease. She wanted to connect with someone whom she could relate to – someone around her age, from the same location, someone with a similar background – but there was no easy way to do so.

As the co-founder of an award winning digital media agency, Squeaky Wheel Media, she used her skills in website usability and the resources of her company to create I Had Cancer, a global community where cancer fighters and survivors of all ages and backgrounds can connect and find peer-to-peer support.  My 2011 video on I Had Cancer was the first time I spoke out about my experience. My emotions were still raw, and my hair was still in its frothy “chemo curl” phase. That video that gave me the resolve to become an advocate and public speaker for women’s health and a supportive breast cancer survivor mentor.

Prepped for my I Had Cancer video

Prepped for my I Had Cancer video

Continue reading

Getting Things Off My Chest: Why I Am Not A Party Popper

Recently I received three invitations to “pop-up” events.  All were taking place within a few days after the invitation arrived in my inbox. I explained to the senders that my schedule was booked and I wish I’d been given more notice. Two replied: “But these are pop-up events.”

I don’t understand why pop-up events are so popular. There are countless pop-up restaurants, stores, parties and beauty bars being promoted from cities to resorts. The problem is you never seem to have enough notice to plan to attend them. Many of us have pretty full schedules.  Popping into a pop-up isn’t always feasible.

I’m a professional event planner. All pop-up events take advance planning, so they are not really pop-ups anyway. Besides, being invited last minute to an event makes you feel a little second tier. I’m sure the “People Who Really Matter” are invited well in advance, even to pop-up events.

A real invitation, either paper or paperless, is better than inviting people to events on Facebook. I’ve found few people respond to Facebook invitations, and many respond “Tes” when they really mean “Yes, I am there with you in spirit, not Yes, I plan to attend your event.”  It’s referred to as the aspirational RSVP. You can read more about it in this New York Times article.

www.freedigitalphotos.net

Remember the paper invitation? www.freedigitalphotos.net

I send out invitations for several events a year. Only a few people respond until I reach out with a personal note or a call. Why people feel they no longer need to RSVP for events has been debated in many event and etiquette articles. The only thing worse than not replying to an invitation is replying “yes” and then not showing up.  “No shows” are a problem because you have to pay for the food and service for the person who rudely doesn’t bother to call and cancel. Schedules may change, traffic snarls and emergencies happen, but it’s proper etiquette to RSVP “accept” or “decline,” call to cancel if your plans change, or notify your host if you are running late.

 

 

Here are my Fearless Fabulous Event Planner Tips for Managing and Responding to RSVPS:

Continue reading

Fearless Fabulous You! Do Your Legs Look Like Road Maps?

As I’ve grown older I’ve noticed so many unwelcome marks on my body: brown spots, red blotches, strange folds and dimples and lines marking their territory. One of the areas that give me grief- and other women as well- are my legs. Forget cellulite! I’m talking spider veins. I’ve tried needles but now I just wear longer shorts and hemlines to cover them up.

But, what can be done to avoid or minimize spider veins and varicose veins?

I’ve invited Dr. Danielle Bajakian, Director of the Critical Limb Ischemia Program at Columbia University Medical Center, to join me June 22, 9:28pmET on Fearless Fabulous You! to help us understand the causes and differences between spider veins and varicose veins. We’ll discuss:

Who’s more at risk for spider or varicose veins?  

What lifestyle change can we make to reduce getting them and managing them when we DO get them?

Do they provide a health risk? And when should you seek medical attention?

What treatment options are there and are any of them covered by health insurance?

Dr. Danielle Bajakian, Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Danielle Bakajian, Columbia University Medical Center

Dr. Bajakian comes to Columbia from Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City, where she was Clinical Assistant Professor of Surgery. Her clinical specialties include endovascular techniques for treating peripheral arterial disease, aortic aneurysms, carotid artery disease, and lower extremity venous insufficiency. Her research interests focus on novel techniques for restoring circulation to the ischemic limb including angioplasty, atherectomy, and stent placement.

Have questions about veins? Don’t be shy! Email me at melanie@melanieyoung.com.

Tweet me: Unsightly veins don’t belong in my shrimp or on my legs. How about #fearlessfabulousyou? @mightymelanie

Listen to Dr. Danielle Bajakian June 22, 9:28pmET on Fearless Fabulous You, W4WN.com- the Women 4 Women Network and anytime, anywhere on iHeart.com and the iHeartApp (LInk: http://www.iheart.com/show/209-Fearless-Fabulous-You). Follow me on Twitter  (@mightymelanie) Facebook (FearlesssFabulousMelanie) and Instagram (MelanieFabulous)

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Mark your calendar! I’m moving to Mondays, 4pmEST starting July 6th

Fearless Fabulous You! She Has the Recipe for Building a Successful Food Brand

Building a successful #specialtyfood brand is more than having a dollop and a dream @mightymelanie #fearlessfabulousyou

Are you a dynamo in the kitchen with a dream of cooking up a successful food business? Does everyone tell you one of your signature dishes or a product you make should be packaged, bottled and sold to food hungry-for-new things consumers? According to the National Specialty Food Association sales of specialty foods are at a record high of $109 billion and account for nearly 15 percent of all U.S. retail food sales.

Women are more likely to purchase specialty foods than men, according to a separate report by the Specialty Food Association. Women also appear to be gaining in the production and marketing of specialty foods as well. When I walk the aisles of the annual Summer Fancy Food Show in New York City, coming up June 28-30, I am always impressed by the number of women owned business I find with amazing products.

But having a fabulous food recipe  is one thing. Knowing the recipe for building it into a marketable brand in a highly competitive industry is not easy and takes razor sharp business focus.  There are as many startup failures as there are successes.

Terry Frishman, founder of Culinest, helps food & beverage entrepreneurs strengthen their concepts and move their businesses forward with strategic and tactical assistance. Some of her clients include award- winning brands Sarabeth’s and Chocolate Moderne. Listen to my Fearless Fabulous You! radio interview with Joan Coukos, founder of Chocolate Moderne, here or cut and paste here:http://www.iheart.com/show/209-Fearless-Fabulous-You/?episode_id=27115270

Terry joins me June 22 to discuss what it takes to launch and build a specialty food brand: what you should consider and mistakes to avoid. She’ll explain how she works with companies and will provides some examples of successful products she has launched in her 20-plus year career.

Terry Frishman, Founder, Culinest

Terry Frishman, Founder, Culinest

Terry earned her MBA from Columbia Business School) and earned her chops managing a $120 billion brand and launching a $20 million product line for Kraft General Foods where she won six team awards. Most recently, Terry was invited to be a member of the Culinary Institute of America’s Society of Fellows to serve as both Ambassador for the school.

Ladies, we’re not talking “small potatoes.” Terry helps you dream big and build right with smart strategy and tactics. If you want your brand to be top of the food chain with sales that soar this is a show you will not want to miss.

Connect: with Terry: www.culinest.com  Read her Culinest newsletter here. Follow her on Twitter (@culinest), Facebook (Culinest) and LinkedIn (Culinest)

 

Fearless-Fabulous You Banner with Times

Hear Terry Frishman on Fearless Fabulous You: Live Monday, June 22, 9pmEST on W4WN- the Women 4 Women Network  and anytime, anywhere on iHeart.com and the iHeart App.  Each week hear from inspiring women and experts on health, wellness and nutrition,

Follow me on Twitter (@mightymelanie) Facebook (FearlessFabulousMelanie) and Instagram (melaniefabulous).  And….please share with your friends.

Do you know a fearless fabulous women who should be a guest on my show? Do you have a question or idea? Let me here from you! email me melanie@melanieyoung.com.

 

 

Getting Things Off My Chest: If You Can’t Be With the Wine You Love…..

I have a game I like to play socially called “Define Your Wine” I ask people to describe themselves as a wine and why. Try it sometime with wine drinking friends.

I tell people I’m a Viogner: soft and lush filled with a vibrant character filled with notes of peach, apricots and violets. A Viogner can be finicky about her climate. She doesn’t like  too much cold or direct sun. She’s a DIVAlicious blonde grape; please don’t compare her to everyday Chardonnays. This article actually refers to Viogner as the “Beyoncé of grapes.”

http://wineguide.virginwines.co.uk/

http://wineguide.virginwines.co.uk/

The wine writer Lettie Teague recently joined David and me on our Wednesday afternoon show, “The Connected Table LIVE!” Ours was a lively conversation on wine even if the glasses we each had in our hands were filled with ice water. Here’s the link to the show and here’s the cover for Lettie’s new book of witty wine essays, Wine in Words:

 

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We talked about wine varieties we like- and don’t- and how annoying some wine people can be (see Lettie’s article in the Wall Street Journal). We talked about how wine marketers create stereotype wines for type cast consumers whether you like it or not (e.g., Bitch for women and Fat Bastard for men). There are countless more and most are geared to women who make the bulk of the purchasing decisions in the household. (Mommy’s Time Out, Mad Housewife, Middle Sister, Little Black Dress.).

I am not a fan of stereotyping people or their wines. I dare to be different and adventurous in both how I live and what I drink. I love good quality but I appreciate all the best intentions even when they fall short of expectations. I believe I have an educated palate but I don’t believe in being a wine snob. It’s that way with people as well. Snobbery has no place in society but education, tolerance and mindfulness do.

There’s as many varieties of people as there are varieties of grapes, and wine drinkers are as vast in their preferences as the wines they consume.  Like grapes, people each have a distinctive DNA from where they were born and raised, impacted by the environment, stress, care and cultivation. Some age better than others. Some blend well; others stand out just fine on their own. A bad year can happen and it may take time to recover. A good year should be savored.

You may not like every wine you try and you may not like every person that you meet.  But sometimes you have to accept the person as they are and not what you wish them to be. The best of the bunch may not always be within grasp so learn to adapt and make the best of what you have.

And if you can’t be with the wine you love, learn to love the wine you’re with.

Dark and light grapes have equal appreciation for each other. Why can't people be the same? Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

People should appreciate different types of people as they do different styles of wine. Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 

 

 

Fearless Fabulous You! Dr. Karin Hehenbeger, Founder, Lyfebulb- 10 Tips for Living with Diabetes

Living with a chronic illness does not mean your quality of life or your outlook on how you choose to live needs to be compromised. @mightymelanie @lyfebulb #fearlessfabulousyou

At age 17 Dr. Karin Hehenberger was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes (T1D). A competitive tennis player and outdoors woman living in Sweden, Karin kept her diagnosis under wraps for 20 years out of fear and shame of living with chronic disease. As she grew older diabetes impacted her body and Karin under went both life saving kidney and pancreas transplants.  Watch Karin’s story here.

Dr. Karin Hehenberger

Dr. Karin Hehenberger, Diabetes Expert, Founder, Lyfebulb

Her body may have taken a hit but not her determination. Karin’s competitive spirit fueled her desire to gain control of her T1D and also dedicate her life to the health profession. She earned her M.D. and PhD degrees from the Karolinska Institute in Sweden and conducted post doctoral work at the Joslin Diabetes Center at Harvard Medical School. Today she is considered an expert in the field of metabolic diseases.

Karin has team up with other medical experts to establish Lyfebulb, an educational and social platform to help people living with chronic illnesses. Continue reading

Fearless Fabulous You! Molly MacDonald, The Pink Fund’s Angel for Women in Need Fighting Breast Cancer

No woman facing a life threatening illness should be forced to make a decision between getting the treatment she needs and feeding her family. @ThePinkFund @mightymelanie #fearlessfabulousyou
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Diagnosed with early stage breast cancer in April 2005, Molly MacDonald was thankful in

knowing the disease was unlikely to take her life. But it did take away her livelihood.
In between jobs at her time of diagnosis and facing an already tight family budget
and mounting medical debts, Molly and her family came close to losing their home and
relying on a local food bank to feed her family of five children. When Molly’s quest to get
financial help was met with blank stares she became determined to give help to others
suffering from lost income as a result of their diagnosis and treatment.
Molly McDonald Founder/CEO, The Pink Fund

Molly McDonald
Founder/CEO, The Pink Fund

Molly established The Pink Fund, a 501c3 charity that provides 90 days of non-medical financial aid to cover patient’s basic cost of living expenses such as health insurance, housing, transportation and utilities. Providing for the basic financial needs of patients at such a critical time helps reduce their stress and focus on healing. Since its founding in 2014 The Pink Fund has made $845,504.45 in bill payments on behalf of 843 survivors.

The Pink Fund was recognized by Time and Money magazines, together with Charity Navigator, as one of five national breast cancer charities in the country who put your donated dollars to good use. Molly now serves as fully time CEO of The Pink Fund and writes a column on financial wellness for Breast Cancer Wellness Magazine. She has received numerous honors and accolades for her work and The Pink Fund is now one of four charity partners in Ford Motor Company’s Warrior in Pink program serving patients in all 50 states. Connect:

www.thepinkfund.org      facebook.com/ThePinkFund    twitter.com/ThePinkFund

Listen to my June 15, 2015 edition of Fearless Fabulous You!  show with Molly to hear about the great work The Pink Fund is doing:  Or click here: http://www.iheart.com/show/209-Fearless-Fabulous-You/?episode_id=27264489
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GTOMC- Who Will Remember When I Am Gone?

Last night watching the Tony Awards on television the “memorial section” came up flashing all the photos of those in the theater who passed on in the last year. I turned to my husband and asked, “Who will remember me when I am gone?”

I don’t mean to be maudlin but June 8 would have been my father’s 85th birthday and Father’s Day is around the corner. I remember my father this week for his wise and helpful guidance through my business, his devotion to my mother and me, his loyalty to country and community and for his tenderness when I needed a shoulder to lean on.

How people are remembered when they pass on has been in my head because I seem to be writing a number of sympathy cards to friends who have lost their parents. In a recent trip home to Chattanooga my quite healthy and active mother assured me every thing was under control when it was her time, even down to the Lavender Love inscribed on her tombstone and where she’s hidden everything in the house.

I guess I’ve been too busy living to think about my after life. Frankly it doesn’t matter. I have no children to leave anything to and whatever I have left isn’t coming with me. I’ll be a photo on a wall and a piece of paper in a legal file. My legacy is based on what I am doing for others and for myself in my current life. I don’t think people will remember me when I’m gone. And I won’t be around to remind them!

A new widow writes a heartfelt letter about losing her husband suddenly. You realize that life can change in an instant. There’s no sense in putting off, giving up or being too busy. Make time for family and friends. Act on your dreams. Push away regrets. Live with pleasure and purpose.

I’d rather live a full life for a shorter amount of time than a wasted life for many years. And I’d rather be young at heart at 80 than an old soul at 25. #fearlessfabulousyou

 

BEN FRANKLIN