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Back to School ‘11


Back to School ‘11

Back to School ‘11


The Good Stuff

8 - 10 12 - 13 TM

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Good News

Good Products


Good Gardening


Good People



Good Choices: Can We Help Our Children Make Them?


A Good Living Guide for Parents The Back-to-School B’s: Brains • Bellies • Bodies Breathing • Buddies • Battles


Girls Just Wanna Look Good About the Cover Clearwater residents Madisyn and Bryan Mays, children of Mike and Michelle Mays, will be among the thousands of homeschooled students this school year in Pinellas and Hillsborough Counties. Photo taken by Pierce Brunson.


Addicted to Saving

Publisher Light Shine Media Group, LLC

Editor-in-Chief Pamela Settle

Contributing Writers Kay Doughty Liza Ford Jai Hambley Haris Lender Deborah McNelis Briana Michel Marie Newman

Design and Layout Marcie Frieling

Advertising Sales Tom Eckert Jennifer Harvey Rebecca Taylor Website WP by Design

GoodLiving™ Magazine & P.O. Box 1795 Oldsmar, Florida 34677 (727) 776-3656

FOR ADVERTISING INFORMATION GoodLiving™ magazine is a publication of Light Shine Media Group, LLC and is distributed to readers at no charge to targeted locations in Pinellas, Hillsborough and southern Pasco Counties. It is available as a digital publication at All photographs, artwork, design and editorial are the sole property of GoodLiving™ magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC. No portion of this magazine may be reproduced in any form without written permission. GoodLiving™ magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC are not responsible for statements made by advertisers and writers for any consequences arising from omissions or errors. Readers should verify the advertising information of the advertisers and all specials are valid to the expiration date set by the advertiser. GoodLiving™ magazine and Light Shine Media Group, LLC reserve the right to refuse any advertising for any reason. The views expressed in the publication are not necessarily those of the publisher. All rights reserved.

from the Editor Best wishes for a productive and happy school year to students, parents and teachers.

Thank you for reading the Back-to-School Issue of GoodLiving magazine. By doing so you are helping us celebrate our one year anniversary! With each issue, we are more humbled by the tremendous response we receive from the community. It is an honor and a privilege to publish this magazine and we thank our valued advertisers who make it possible. Please help us thank them, too. This issue is dedicated to the idea of learning, a lifelong journey that isn’t isolated to being a kid in school. We learn, or should learn, new things every day and the culmination of our knowledge at some point becomes wisdom. Wisdom that is more valuable when shared with others as part of an interpersonal relationship. It could be wisdom about a profession, parenting, relationships or religious beliefs. It could also be about art, finances, gardening, health, sports or any number of special interests. Whatever it is, grow it, value it and bless someone else by sharing it. We discuss mentoring programs in our story on page 20. I want to call attention to Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Pinellas County which has more than 650 young people on their waiting list; about two thirds are boys looking for a big brother. The Guardian ad Litem program needs advocates to be a voice for a child when there is no other. Just about anywhere you look in our community a young person can use your guidance. This time of year also accentuates the crisis we have in education. Whatever your position on the issues, your support is still needed for children, from early education through high school. They need tutors and they will likely need your votes to keep the focus on their needs in upcoming elections. We must look out for the children no matter what. Follow GoodLiving on Facebook and we will let you know when action is needed. Somewhere along the way, teachers have been made the villains and are getting hit from all ends. I can’t think of a more important profession than the one responsible for educating an entire nation of people. They need our collaboration not attacks. Join your school’s PTA and get involved! As you read through the pages of this issue, you may come across information or articles that will inspire you to share your talents, passions and expertise. If that happens, don’t let the moment pass. Find an organization or some individual way you can use your own special brand of wisdom. Your life will be richer for it! Until next time, be good!

Pamela Settle

Back to School ‘11


Back to School ‘11

Back to School ‘11


news Are you a Caregiver? The challenges of being a caregiver are many. It’s a responsibility that is growing as 10,000 people in America turn 65 every day and head toward requiring additional care. Only 21% of the nation’s elderly are in long-term facilities, the remaining 79% are cared for by friends and family. Bringing needed encouragement and support to the caregiver is the focus of an innovative and enjoyable gathering for caregivers being held September 23 at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater. The event’s National Keynote Speaker is Gail Sheehy, author of the book Passages of Caregiving: Turning Chaos into Confidence. Other features of the day will help caregivers learn how to create balance, relax and recharge their minds, bodies & spirits. Also on hand will be local and national resources for making informed decisions.

Help Lawmakers Stop Slavery The International Association of Human Trafficking Investigators (IAHTI) is a charity founded by Detectives Jeremy Lewis and James McBride, both members of a Pinellas County task force that manages human trafficking cases. Their goal was to bring the entire community together around an issue that people don’t realize is prevalent right here in our backyard. Florida is ranked second in the U.S. for human trafficking, another name for slavery.Many of these slaves are underage girls who were stolen. So, remember you not only need slaves, you need customers for this to remain a profitable industry. If you want to learn how you can take a stand against this atrocity, join IAHTI and Bay News 9’s Jen Holloway for an evening seminar that includes free dinner and music. Thursday, October 6, 6:30 to 9 pm at the Best Western Bay Harbor Hotel. Call 727-504-7203 by September 30 to make a needed reservation.

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Back to School ‘11

Clothes to Kids wants you to Drop (off ) Your Drawers Clothes to Kids is holding the LARGEST underwear drive ever held in Pinellas County, and we’re talking quantity not size! Every K-12 student who shops at a Clothes To Kids (CTK) store receives five pair of new underwear as a part of his/her CTK wardrobe. This year they will go through 75,000 pairs of underwear at an average cost of $1.25 a pair. Throughout the month of October, community groups are being asked to sign up to collect new, unopened packages of underwear. Then, on October 27th you’ll get to Drop (off ) Your Drawers at a CTK store. To sign up, contact Fran in Clearwater at or Carole in St. Petersburg at

Safe Routes to School Parents, teachers and kids get your plans ready to participate in the International Walk to School Day to be held Wednesday, October 5th. Yes, kids do still walk to school and we all need to be sure they are safe while they walk or bike between home and school. The program teaches safety tips to kids, but it also promotes more physical fitness and less air pollution. It’s easy to get started if you’d like to coordinate or participate in a Walk to School Day event at your school. More than 20 schools in the area are already registered to have events, like Lawton Chiles Elementary in Tampa and John Sexton Elementary in St. Petersburg. Join them by calling your school office to start the planning. Register your school online at The site also has a resource library to help with planning. In Pinellas County, the program led by All Children’s Hospital encourages families to walk to school more often. See more at School is officially in session, so drivers need to keep their eyes on the road and watch for kids. A good reminder to not text and drive.

news Local Author goes National with Etiquette Book “Hold your arms out and make the ‘okay’ sign with your hands. The left hand makes a ‘b’ which is for bread plate on your left and the right hand makes a ‘d’ for a drink on your right.” Whether it’s a school banquet, a board meeting or basic interpersonal communication, good etiquette can help you be perceived at your very best no matter your age. Local etiquette expert, professional speaker and author, Patricia Rossi has a new book Everyday Etiquette: How to Navigate101 Common and Uncommon Social Situations available for sale in September. Rossi says, “The secret to self-confidence is to know and understand the rules of social engagement before you’re in the middle of an uncomfortable situation.” In keeping with her southern charm, her approach is about kindness and not formality; relationships not rules.

Exercise US Kid love being a part of something big and schools can very easily join in on a national effort to have children exercising for ten hours straight. Not the same children, different children at schools throughout the country in reserved time slots. The third annual Exercise US program is set for October 6, 2011 and the goal is to motivate children by making fitness fun. An interested school signs up for a 15 minute time allotment for exercising at their location. When their allotment is over, they have completed their portion of the program that starts at 8 am (EST) and concludes at 3 pm (PST). More information and registration is at The program was founded by Len Saunders, author of the book, Keeping Kids Fit.

Dave Ramsey’s Great Recovery Instead of just watching news about the economy and fretting about it, Dave Ramsey is encouraging families all over America to become a part of the solution. This movement seeks to improve our economy by empowering families to become debt free and start building wealth. If every family changed their personal financial picture, the economy would look different indeed! According to Ramsey, people believe that debt is normal and necessary, but he says that is a myth that has been sold to Americans through lies and creative marketing. “A FICO score is nothing but an ‘I love debt’ score and that we give it way too much power in our lives.” To give your personal finances a makeover, check out the Great Recovery website. You’ll learn steps toward moving from debt to wealth, get some budgeting advice and be inspired by others who turned their finances around. A list of local opportunities for taking the Financial Peace course is also on the site.

Back to School ‘11


news Parents of Students with 504 Plans May Now Apply for McKay Scholarships! Parents of public school students who have a 504 accommodation plan may file intent with the Department of Education to participate in the McKay Scholarship Program. The scholarship amount for 504 students is approximately $4,000 and can be used at participating private schools, or the child may transfer to a different public school, including those in an adjacent school district, if space is available. A student is not eligible if he or she has been issued a temporary 504 accommodation plan. For more information, call the DOE’s school choice hotline at (800) 447-1636. You may also visit to learn about the McKay Scholarship. Whether your child has an IEP or a 504 Plan, you can apply for the scholarship by going to Information/McKay/ and clicking “Apply for a McKay Scholarship” under “Links for Parents” on the left side of the page.

Kohl’s Names Local Winners The Kohl’s Cares® Scholarship Program honored two local students with a $1,000 scholarship for making a positive impact on their community. Janice McCall, 17, of Bay Pines is an ambassador for the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation and travels across the country to advocate for those with the disease and share her personal story about living with HIV. Cailey Weaver, 12, of St. Pete Beach has devoted hundreds of hours volunteering each week at local nursing homes baking, visiting and playing games with residents and providing pet therapy with her dog.


Back to School ‘11

Back to School ‘11



Lunch Boxes Packing lunches will be easier on mom and easier on the environment with the bento-style EasyLunchBox system. Functional, affordable, reusable and fewer baggies in the landfill. Containers are made of non-toxic, food-safe, polypropylene. No BPA, phthalates, lead, vinyl, or PVC. Safe for dishwasher and microwave. Stack for easy storage. Set of 4 containers $13.95 and cooler/carrier $7.95. or get free shipping from

Schoolio is Coolio Show a little style for back to school with Schoolio products from OfficeMax. Colorful, creative and still affordable. Prices vary. Available at OfficeMax stores.

Bucs Ear Buds Show love for the Bucs this season while listening to your iPod or other electronic devices with the new iHip NFL earbuds.

Z Is for Zucchini: a Baby Foods Memory Book Written by local baby expert, Christy Waterhouse, a simple but powerful memory book to capture the early foods your baby eats. Use it as a journal for photos and notes, and then share the story of your little one’s favorite healthy foods to reinforce positive habits. Sturdy paperback with glossy pages. $19.99 at

A Gift for Teacher Bonnie Marcus has several notepads that will make perfect gifts for teachers with thoughtful phrases like, “Inspire Others” and “Teachers Change the World One Student at a Time.” Find these and more stylish papers and gifts at


Back to School ‘11

Coral Kids Fluoride-Free Toothpaste Give kids a healthy alternative to fluoride that is also free of Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) and contains no glycerin, preservatives or synthetics. It’s healthy formula shifts the mouth’s pH to alkaline to neutralize bacterial acids, which decreases decay, aids in gum health, builds tooth enamel, freshens breath and prevents cavities. Coral Kids Fluoride-Free Toothpaste in Berry Bubble Gum Flavor comes a 6 oz tube for $6.95 and be purchased at and through natural foods retailers nationwide.

products PurseN When going from backpack to gym bag to weekend purse, staying organized can be a struggle for students. No more lost lip gloss! Use the new PurseN handbag organizer for your basics like wallets, makeup, and mints. Just move it from bag to bag saving time, too. $58 at

Start To Read! Early Learning Program Emergent readers need lots of practice and they need consistent help from parents, caregivers and teachers to succeed. School Zone Publishing founder, Dr. James Hoffman created the Start to Read! program as a tool to help the process. The multi-component program uses a tried and true, 3-step approach to reading: listen, read, review. The 6-book set for each level contains five beginning reader books, a read-along CD, a comprehension workbook and a parent guide. Level 1 is for ages 4-6, Level 2 for 5-7 and Level 3 for 6-7. Publisher recommends at least 30 minute a day. Buy one level for $24.99 or all three in the deluxe kit for $59.99.

Happy Grandparents Day All Year Long! GrandCamp Adventures is the creator of educational and entertaining storybooks, music, games and activities created especially for bonding grandparents and grandchildren. Products like the book “Here we Go” and “Longbeard’s Treasure Box” are for a new generation of adventurers.

Smelly Towel Cleaner Back to school means more gym towels, which means fabrics can start carrying that hard-to-wash-out smell from mold, mildew and fungus. Throw a half teaspoon of a new product called Smelly Towel Cleaner in the washer with your detergent and you will have a non-toxic and environmentally friendly solution to eradicate foul odors. Medical experts agree that many fungi and molds can cause serious health problems and should be kept away from sensitive people, the elderly and children. A year’s worth of Smelly Towel sells for $16.99 at, or at Ace Hardware stores.

The Gracie Bullyproof System Unfortunately, back to school for about one third of American students ages 8 to 18 means going to back to be bullied. The Gracie Family Jiu-Jitsu masters have put together a comprehensive program that can be done at home (DVDs or streaming video) with parent and child to build confidence and skills. The system is designed to empower children with the verbal strategies to stand up to bullies and a series of non-violent self-defense techniques to keep them safe if they are physically attacked. Specifically they teach how to take a stand and neutralize the harassment without violence; they boost self esteem to increase ability to make right choices in life; they encourage physical activity and give a full body workout; and they strengthen the bond between parent and child who must work together through the stages. There is an extensive online community for support and testing. The program and accessories can be purchased at

Back to School ‘11


Good Choices:

Can We Help Our Children Make Them by KAY DOUGHTY, MS, CAP, CPP Every parent wants to protect their children and teens and watch them grow to healthy, productive adulthood. As parents, we want to help our kids but often we don’t know what to do or we are not sure they will listen or care. There are ways to create a “circle of protection” (a social network) that can give our children and, particularly, our teens the best opportunity to achieve that goal. It is rewarding to know that research has shown that teens look to their parents for guidance, even behind that ‘I don’t care’ façade. The following strategies, adapted to our modern, hectic lives, have been shown to assist children in growing up to be happy, healthier and safer with the opportunity to live out their dreams (and ours).

Assure that your child/teen gets a good night’s rest. Their bodies and brains need rest to work well. Bad things can happen when they don’t get enough sleep. Increased sleep means they are less likely to fall asleep at school or ‘at the wheel’ AND they are easier to live with. Chronic sleep deficiency leads to many health and behavior problems including obesity, depression, increased drug use and suicide. An easy step for parents: put the cell phone on curfew one hour before bedtime. Take it and return it in the morning. This allows for a “calm down” before bed and eliminates the possibility that text messages will interrupt sleep.

Give your child/teen recognition for good choices. Children and teens get instantaneous recognition for poor choices and they see countless examples on TV or in films. We are quick to point out misbehavior. Let’s do the same for the good we see. As parents we can verbally praise through an “atta boy” or “you rock, girl” but even better, we can write our recognition and leave it in their room or pack it in the lunch box. The written note can be read, re-read and saved and, each time, increases the chance that the recognized behavior will be repeated.

Nurture your child/teen. Protect your child/teen without lecturing or controlling by spending time with and talking. Parents can take the time to have a “date” with their child. Have lunch 1:1 and use the time to get to know each other. You could tell the child of a time in his life when you felt intense love for him. Relate how you felt and why. Or you could ask her about her dreams for the future, and discuss the skills/steps to reach those dreams and how concerned you are about the dangers in today’s world. Think about how you feel when someone listens and “understands.”

Give your child/teen a good diet. Our modern diet contributes to poor choices. We have increased our consumption of foods that increase mental, emotional and behavioral problems and decreased eating the foods that will decrease them. As parents, we can make simple changes in what we serve: use olive oil instead of other vegetable oils to increase Omega-3 in our diet. Eating oily fish once a week (not fried) will also add Omega-3. Show your child/teen that a 1 oz bag of chips contains a shot-glass of soybean oil. Help ration junk food to improve their health (Remember cod-liver oil: there was a reason Grandma gave it to children- it is filled with Omega-3.)

Know where your child/teen is and with whom. The easiest way to increase protection for your child/teen is to know where they are, with whom they are spending their time AND if there are caring adults there. Parents can, and should, talk to the parents where there child is going to find out if there is an activity, is there supervision, how long it will be, etc. Done consistently by all parents this alone, can change the lives of many young people. Your child knows you care and you will assure, to the best of your ability that she is not in a dangerous situation.

The good news is that with these simple steps, parents can make a difference.

Kay Doughty, MS, CAP, CPP is Operation PAR’s Vice President of Family and Community Services and member of the LiveFree! coalition.


Back to School ‘11

Brains • Bellies • Bodies • Breathing • Buddies • Battles Designed for busy, on-the-go families the 25 lessons are less than 15 minutes each and can be listened to in the car to stimulate meaningful conversation. They are meant for repetition, too, so parents can use the lesson to support a specific situation when it arises. Parents can adapt the lessons as the child matures and they can be tied into a family’s religious beliefs.

Teaching Kids the Power of their Minds Wisdom is learned from our own life experiences, or the life experiences of others who share them. But if you lack the wisdom, you may not know it because people don’t know what they don’t know. When Renaye Thornberry began exploring the field of personal development to become a certified life coach, she had an “Aha!” moment. “I could have really benefited from these life skills at a much younger age and realized kids don’t get taught this stuff in school.” She began to visualize a future where kids learn how to handle failure, how to stop the negative self talk, how to manage the ups and downs of daily life and how to visualize success at a young age. These are skills learned in Life Coaching, something that has typically been reserved for adults, but not anymore. “I see in my coaching of adults that many grown ups lack these skills and if that’s the case, how can they teach their kids? Or maybe they know it for themselves but don’t know how to make it understandable for a child.” The result is Adventures in Wisdom™, an age-appropriate life coaching program that uses a character, The Wise Wizard, to teach kids ages 6 to 12 practical skills for navigating through life.

Taught young, the lessons can be a significant help during the teenage years. “The frontal lobe that handles decision making on the fly doesn’t develop until the late teen years. So a child must learn in advance how to handle certain situations when they arise.” Kids who are taught that they own their minds and bodies can learn to take ownership and think for themselves. Using the lesson on decision making can then prepare that child for peer pressure when it comes to risky behaviors like drugs, alcohol or cheating. Thornberry believes that anyone can proactively create a positive belief system that positions events as neutral, even kids. “We assign meaning to the things that happen to us. We can say it’s good or it’s bad, and we can shift the power by changing how we think about an event. That skill can be life changing for a child.” Additionally she says that we can’t give our kids self esteem, but we can teach them how to have it in a healthy way. We can also train them how to control their thoughts to keep events from destroying them. And what child doesn’t have challenging events as part of growing up? Thornborrow, a certified coach, former marketing executive in the K-12 industry and mother of twins encourages parents to see themselves as trusted advisors who are intentional about parenting rather than passive. To experience a lesson, parents can download a free skill book at Thornberry and her company, Adventures in Wisdom™ are based in Austin, Texas. For more information call 860-580-WISE or visit

Back to School ‘11



• Bellies • Bodies • Breathing • Buddies • Battles

Back to School with Brighter Brains and Better Mornings By DEBORAH MCNELIS Owner/Creator of braininsights® Did you know brains like routines and do not like chaos? Thinking about the start of a new school year can invoke dread or relief depending on the amount of routine you establish for your family. Mornings certainly can be a trying time for families. As a caring parent you have the challenge of trying to get a lot accomplished in a short amount of time and want to leave home with everyone in a positive mood, ready for learning … and all wearing shoes! Through understanding brains and using the following tips you can reach this goal.

Establish daily routines. Consistent routines that happen in nearly the same way each day, provide a sense of predictability for young children. The brain feels comfortable and safe when it knows what to expect next.

tips Set a schedule. When children know what happens first, next and last, this reduces the need for you to direct everything. Children become more self-directed as a result of an established routine. Start the routine with a healthy breakfast . Eating a well balanced breakfast that includes protein provides the brain with the nutrients to function well. Research shows children who eat breakfast have a more stable mood throughout the day. However, eating sugary cereal, doughnuts, or sweetened juices will result in the brain needing food again only 30 minutes later. The brain then feels stress and releases stress chemicals. As a result a child may experience feelings of agitation, aggression, and anxiety. Young developing brains do not yet know how to control all of these feelings. This is why it it is called, “out of control” behavior.

Realize that your child doesn’t have a motivation to get out of the house quickly. A child’s brain prefers to play, have fun, and to spend time with you. Your mature brain has the ability to override your desires to sit and have another cup of coffee, read the paper, take a walk… etc.

tips Use games to help motivate children. These also create a fun time spent together before having to separate for the day. Game Example: STOP AND GO Have your child start to get dressed, Say, “Go.” Tell the child to keep going until you say, “Stop.” Repeat this with varied long and short and long periods of time getting dressed. Use empathizing statements with an understanding tone of voice, such as, “I know, sometimes you don’t like to get going early” or “I understand how much you would rather be playing right now.” Sometimes just knowing that someone else recognizes feelings, helps a child cope. Provide choices. When children are given options and are more directly involved in the activity, this results in more cooperation. For example: Ask, “Would you like to brush your teeth or comb your hair first?”

Children’s brains pick up on emotional atmosphere very quickly…. and react to your stress level. Reduced levels of stress lead to better memory, better problem solving, and increased ability to pay attention.

tips Reduce stress levels by doing as much as you can in the evening. You can give baths, pack diaper bags/school bags, read/sign papers sent from school, prepare your work bag and lunches, lay out clothes, socks, shoes, and jackets. Make sure everyone has adequate amounts of sleep. Sleep enhances cognitive functioning and influences moods. Having enough sleep contributes to a more positive mood and increase learning abilities. When the brain lacks the sleep it needs brain systems become out of balance. Children’s (and adult) brains become more easily agitated when sleep deprived.

Deborah McNelis, M.S. Ed, an Early Brain Development Specialist, owner of Brain Insights, and award-winning author of The Brain Development Series and Naturally Developing Young Brains. For information or activity ideas visit her website.


Back to School ‘11

Brains •

Bellies • Bodies • Breathing • Buddies • Battles

Nourishing Kids, Not Just Feeding Kids By BRIANA MICHEL America is an advanced country, yet our standards for our food are extremely low. We start when we are born and we eat every day to fuel the growth of brains, bones, muscles, nerves, hormones and tissue. Then for the rest of our lives we eat to sustain our bodies through the cycle of our lifespan. So then, why do we treat something that is such an integral part of our health with such disregard? And when I say we, I mean we as an American society. As a health coach, I do “pantry raids” with my clients and find that most people don’t realize that what they think is healthy really isn’t. Packaging can be so deceiving because what manufacturers can claim is so outrageous. Words like “natural ingredients” and green colors on the box don’t necessarily mean the food item is free of dangerous chemicals, dyes or processed foods that are treated as harmful sugar by our bodies. A strategy is to avoid the aisles where the packaged foods are found and stick to the outer perimeter of the store. Another strategy is to know how to read the labels. (See sidebar.) Other countries are more restrictive when it comes to their food supplies. I ask myself all the time why as a people are we okay with the poor quality of our food?

Good Food is Good Mood Americans have been conditioned to live on convenience foods. We have busy lifestyles which increased demand, but at the same time, our food supply has been depleted of nutrients. Even our meats have changed. Mass produced cattle are given a cocktail of growth promoting hormones to speed up their development and they are fed unnatural diets of corn instead of grass, which is harder for our bodies to digest. Our produce is genetically modified and much of what we get in the store lost its nutritional value in transit. And then there are the countless products on the shelves that are processed to the point of being void of any real nutrition. It may say “100 calories” on the package, but it’s probably 100 calories of chemicals and junk. What happens in most American households is that we are just filling bellies. Eating to be full, but not getting the balanced nutrition we need to have optimum health. Those pantries I raid are full. We do not have a food deficiency; we have a nutrition deficiency. When I work with clients, I find that most of them are malnourished. A person can be overweight and still be malnourished of the protein, vitamins, fiber and minerals their bodies need. Many of my clients are children who come in with their parents to learn how to eat for healthy bodies. From my experience and their experience, I’ve learned that our students are among the worst when it comes to eating the right foods during the day, if they eat at all! The school day is packed and then they rush off to after-school activities, rarely taking the time to eat right. It’s too tempting to hit the drive thru, grab junk from a vending machine and get a kick from energy drinks, but that lifestyle is slowly killing our kids. Their brains need nutritious food throughout the day to be ready to learn.

Reading Labels: What to Avoid Ingredients you need a chemistry degree to read and understand

“Enriched flour” items - this means the product has been so refined and processed, stripping it of its higher fiber, protein and nutrient content until it will essentially act like a sugar in your body. Enriched means the manufacturer attempted to add back in some nutrients, but this really is NO GOOD!

Artificial dies and sweeteners. Skip anything with ASPARTAME or a color followed by a “#.” They are brain and body poison

Hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated should get kicked to the curb! Those are fancy words for trans fats – the most detrimental kind of fat there is to ingest. Found in crackers, baked goods, cereal bars, desserts and other boxed items.

High Fructose Corn Syrup - found in many processed foods like jelly, juice, sodas, wholegrain breads, cereals, ketchup, crackers, yogurt, salad dressing, ice cream and lots more. HFCS may be partly to blame for rising obesity and diabetes rates.

MSG - the food ingredient monosodium glutamate which can cause migraine headaches, upset stomach, fuzzy thinking, diarrhea, heart irregularities, asthma, and/or mood swings.


Brains •

Bellies • Bodies • Breathing • Buddies • Battles

Nutritious Snacking Kids need nutritious snacks. The small size of their stomachs and their high energy levels mean that kids’ snacks need to play an integral part in meeting their daily nutritional requirements. Snacks that contain a lot of empty calories, such as candy, cookies and pastries, and soft drinks, tend to blunt appetites for regular meals without providing needed vitamins, minerals, and protein to support a growing child’s development.

Have an open discussion with your kids about the value of the foods for their body. Start explaining at an early age that eating the right food gives them energy for growth and strength. For younger children, label foods as “good guys” and “bad guys” to help them understand and remember. They enjoy the game and deep down it’s gratifying when your four-year old says, “Mommy, french fries are the bad guy!”

Set up areas in your pantry and refrigerator with appropriate snack foods and let your children help themselves. Stock the fridge with pre-cut finger vegetables, fruit that is washed and ready to eat, small cartons of yogurt and cheese sticks, cubes, or string cheese. In the pantry, provide whole-grain crackers (free from chemicals), graham crackers, and, for older kids, trail mix, nuts, seeds, and raisins.

Older children can learn and understand that good nutrition benefits them and will help them be more successful with sports, while playing with friends, at their dance lessons and at school when their brains need fuel to think, learn, read and remember. It’s especially important not to focus on being thin or dieting with kids. Instead, make it a family affair to be healthy and energized together. Be aware of your own roller coaster diet habits, children are especially susceptible to mimicking parents.

Creative Kids’ Snacks Kids’ snacks can be both simple and appealing. Presentation can be half the battle in enticing a picky eater with healthful snacks. Keep a collection of small cookie cutters, and let your kids cut organic cheese, lunchmeats, and sandwiches into a variety of shapes. Be inventive by arranging foods on a plate to make a “picture.” Create a sailboat by using a small sandwich triangle for the sail, a carrot stick as a mast, and an apple slices or other fruit as the boat. Create a happy face with cut raw vegetables like carrot sticks, celery, mushrooms, radishes, jicama, and zucchini. Top crackers with hummus, avocado, peanut butter or salsa and add bits of vegetables to decorate them.

Take brown rice cakes, spread them with peanut butter, add banana slices for ears and use dried fruit to make bear faces for a fun, healthy snack.


Back to School ‘11

Brains •

Bellies • Bodies • Breathing • Buddies • Battles Are your children getting enough protein?

Healthy Snacks

found at Sweetbay Supermarket Health Coach Briana Michel did some shopping to identify some high quality snack foods that can be found at Sweetbay Supermarket. She says “Don’t be afraid of the healthy food aisles, there is a lot of good stuff there!” Lara Bars (1/2 bar for kids at a time as a snack) Blue Diamond Nut Thins crackers (1 serving) Emerald 100 calorie raw nut packs almonds or walnuts Pirate Booty Popcorn (1 serving) Greek Yogurt – Fage, Chobani and Oikos Kind Bars (look for flavors under 210 calories and split in half – add with a whole piece of fresh fruit with skin still on it) Apples, Oranges and Bananas Fresh cut fruit cups found in the produce section Naturally More Peanut Butter Lundberg Family Farms Organic No Salt Brown Rice Cakes with Hummus and cut veggies like cucumbers, celery, green/red peppers and cauliflower Back to Nature brand nuts and trail mixes (1 oz per sitting) Bare Naked brand of trail mixes key is portion control. 30g serving per day. Planters NUTrition Digestive Health Mix, South Beach Diet or Heart Healthy Mix True North various nut clusters Vitacoco Pure Coconut Water (coconut water is the best way to rehydrate with electrolytes – better than dye-filled sports drinks)

Protein in children is critical for important functions such as: •Muscle and tissue growth and repair •Providing energy when carbohydrates are not available •The creation of enzymes or enzyme subunits •Regulating hormones •pH regulation in the blood •Controlling metabolism related processes in the body •Building their immune systems via protein antibodies

In other words, proteins are very important for your child’s growth when it comes to building their immune system to help protect them from illness to keeping their hair, nails, skin, bones and organs healthy. So how much protein is needed each day? It depends on how active your child is and adjustments should be made in accordance with their activity level. Very active children involved in high energy sports will require more proteins and nutrition. The normal Recommended Dietary Allowances (RDA) for protein, determined by body weight and age are: • 1 to 3 year-old children: 0.55 grams of protein per pound of body weight •4 to 6 year-old children: 0.50 grams of protein per pound of body weight •7 to 14 year-old children: 0.45 grams of protein per pound of body weight •15+ year old children and adults: minimum 0.40 grams of protein per pound of body weight

Using this chart, a 50-pound five-year old would need 25 grams of protein each day. As a guide, one egg has six grams of protein, one cup of milk has eight grams, two tablespoons of peanut butter has eight grams and one chicken breast has 30. Kids, and their parents, need to learn the tools NOW for successful, healthy living. As a health coach working with kids, I saw the need for them to have their own healthy protein source that can fill their bellies with building blocks even when on the go. Working with a company that makes a superior whey protein, I created ProTween, a protein powder mix specially formulated for young people that tastes good! Kids can make their own delicious shakes and students can easily mix the powder with water or milk at school between classes for a healthier option than caffeine- and sugar-filled energy drinks.

Briana Michel has 11 years in the fitness industry. She is currently a holistic diet coach, personal trainer, infomercial weight loss coach, founder of A Cause for Protein, Vixens Against Violence and I Heart Me Kids. She can be seen on national infomercials as a diet coach and fitness model, Home Shopping Network and around the Tampa Bay area speaking to adults and children on the importance of “being fit, fueled and involved in your own life.”

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How to be Your Child’s Trainer All the attention on childhood obesity has made one thing clear for parents, it’s time to make sure we are building healthy bodies at the same time we are building their brains and developing their character. The modern American lifestyle has taken has toll: too much competition from technology that leads to sedentary activity; reduction in PE activities; parent work schedules that leave little time for physical activity and the loss of safe, open spaces for kids to play outside unsupervised. It’s time to be intentional and deliberate about our kids’ physical activities. It’s time to have a plan and stick to it. It’s time to grab the whistle and the clipboard and sign on as your child’s trainer. First, take this job seriously. Understand there are obstacles in the way, but with creativity and dedication, your family will respond to you setting priorities.

Find activities that suit the individual because not every child has the ability or the desire to play traditional organized sports. Individual sports like swimming, karate or yoga may have more appeal than baseball to a child who is not coordinated or is intimated by kids who are more physical. Free play like tag, jump rope or bike riding counts, too, and is suited for the younger child who lacks the attention and skill for more complicated sports. Children need activities that work on endurance, strength and flexibility. A fun game of “It” is a play activity that is aerobic. Practicing handstands or crossing the monkey bars works on strength. Bending to tie shoes or reaching for a ball help with stretching. Incorporate activity into the daily routine like climbing stairs or walking an extra lap around the mall. Household chores burn energy; sweeping the garage (236 calories) and walking the dog (207 calories). When weather and schedules limit activity, exercise can still happen with the Wii gaming system. Rhythm Boxing for the Wii Fit was voted as one of the best games for having a cardio workout.

Consult with your pediatrician to get clearance for any new physical routine.

Focus on overall good health and not a certain weight goal. Teach and model positive attitudes toward food and physical activity without emphasizing body weight.

Set the schedule. Children over the age of two need 60 minutes a day of physical activity, even if it’s in 15 minute increments. Put it on the calendar and treat it the same way you would any other important appointment.

Avoid setting an overweight child apart from the rest. Involve the whole family to make gradual changes to the family’s habits by shopping for groceries and cooking together. Eat and exercise together as frequently as possible.

Set goals. Consult with a trainer or a physical therapist who works with children if you want to set specific strength or endurance goals of if you have developmental challenges to overcome.

But most of all do it to build the strength of your family, and not just physically. Spending time together opens the door to communication and staying active and busy will keep them out of trouble.

Thank you to Ervin Zubic, Vice President of Fitness Services of Lifestyle Family Fitness for contributing to the list.


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Kidding Around Yoga

Breathing to Relax

Kids have stress in their lives just like us! I

We take breathing for granted. We can go days without water and weeks without food, but we can only survive minutes without oxygen. But when it comes to healthy living, breathing is more than just a delivery system for 02.


have been teaching yoga to children for 12 years now and am always amazed at how badly they need they need techniques for relaxation and stress management. Deep breathing gets to the very bottom of our lungs where we store toxins so just imagine if you never fully exhaled. Let’s learn how! Inhale from your belly, pushing it out a bit, and then into your ribs, and finally up into your lungs. And then exhale from your chest to your ribs, to your belly. Now that you know how, here are a couple tricks for

We are born belly breathers but over time we switch to shallow chest breathing that actually affects our overall health and well being. Parents need to first relearn how to breathe properly and then they must teach their children. First, emphasize the movement of the tummy by giving them visual cues. Place a sticker on the tummy or give a small toy a ride. Using a count of three, take a deep breath and watch the sticker rise up. Now, let the breath out slowly and watch the sticker fall down. Place a hand on the tummy and practice again. According to Drs. Caron and Tom Goode, co-directors of the International Breath Institute, one of the best ways to calm an upset child is with deep breathing. When you see or feel your child becoming tense they suggest you encourage five deep breaths, rest, and then take five more. This breathing exercise will help the child relax, and can be repeated until he is calm and can express his needs more clearly. This works for toddlers and teenagers because stress is stress; it just has different causes.

teaching it to kids. 1. Place a Pom Pom in a child’s hand and have him take a deep breath in with the nose. Next blow out the mouth trying to get the Pom Pom to land in the bowl placed two feet away. Kids LOVE this! Or try blowing the Pom Poms back and forth to each other. 2. Hand out make believe gum and pretend to blow BIG bubbles. Use hands to show how big the bubbles are. With the last breath, encourage the child to exhale their worries into

In addition to relaxation, deep breathing can help children: -Sleep better -Strengthen their immune system by increasing their oxygen supply -Relieve symptoms of asthma -Improve concentration, which can result in an increase in academic achievement and a decrease in behavior issues -Deal with anxiety and stress, which can result in improved test performance -Control situations and overcome obstacles because deep breathing is an excellent coping mechanism -Obtain a sense of calm, which is reflected in every part of their lives

the bubble before letting go of the bubble. Kidding Around Yoga trains play therapists, P.E. teachers, parents, babysitters, OT’s, PT’s and pre-school teachers how to do yoga

Websites for more resources

with kids in a three-day training. Mention GoodLiving and receive a $150 discount for either the September or the December training.

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A Mentor for All Seasons Walking alongside someone to offer experience, knowledge, compassion and encouragement can happen at any age. You don’t need to be a sage adult to be a mentor. Some of the most successful campaigns enlist older children to help younger children, such as with managing a medical issue, learning to read or handling bullies. Teens are quite effective at influencing ‘tweens when it comes to preventing risky behaviors like smoking, drinking and driving and taking drugs. In adulthood, being a mentor has unlimited potential in all aspects of life, whether it’s professional, relational, financial or spiritual and whether it’s mentoring another adult or a child. Unfortunately the lack of mentors today has spawned the term, the “mentoring gap.” Seems our crunch for time and money has taken a toll on mentoring, even at the corporate level. The Washington Post reported in February 2010, that the “Toyota Way” was derailed in part because the company had thinned its ranks of expert mentors. The article suggests that sufficient high-quality mentoring is the make-or-break difference when it comes to ensuring consistent quality, as well as passing on values and norms.

today are born into unmarried families. That many of the parents who lose parental rights were themselves foster children who never had role models or mentors to show them the way. That the number of children being raised by non-parent relative caregivers is going up. That numerous studies continue to validate mentoring as a highly successful intervention that reduces juvenile crime, increases school performance and positively impacts emotional development. In other words, a changed life because someone cared.

Yet millions of young people who desire a positive influence are waiting for mentors to step up. In Pinellas County, Big Brothers/Big Sisters is experiencing their largest waiting list ever. “We have 673 children on our list and two-thirds of them are boys,” said their CEO, Susan Rolston. “Our Just as in business, all forms of mentoring are not accidental. 100 Men in 100 Days campaign will run through September 8 and There is an intentional decision that happens as one “passes the our goal is increase the number of men in our program. We hope torch” into the future. It’s a long- men realize how important it is for them to be a mentor. They don’t term investment that cannot be need to perfect and they don’t need to commit more than a few hours a month.” A lot of people have done overnight or on Twitter. When we look at the future of The Sports Buddies program is an initiative they have for Big Brothers gone further than they America, we need to ask the to share sporting events as part of the mentor experience. Local thought they could same question likely asked by because someone else executives at Toyota, “If there is sports teams like the Rays have donated tickets for the program. For information on all the programs and fundraisers for Big Brothers thought they could. no good time for mentoring, is Big Sisters of Pinellas County, go to there a good time for failure?” ~Unknown Research conducted at Loyola University Chicago on the reasons Are we building a strong people become mentors found that men are less likely to become America that is built to last? mentors for the personal gratification of the relationship. Instead How are our torches being passed down? If we believe families they are influenced by peer and social experiences. For example, are our core strength, then consider that half of all children born men are more likely to get involved in mentoring through an organization of their peers. They are also more likely to become a mentor if they had a mentor of their own in the past who was a positive influence.


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100 Black Men of Tampa Bay offers men a chance to work together mentoring high risk students at elementary schools in Tampa. Sean Dickerson, president of the Tampa Bay chapter, says students who interact with their male mentors twice a month are starved for extra attention and in most cases do not have a positive male role model in their daily lives. “Black men need to make mentoring a priority. The children we mentor need to interact with an adult who cares about their future. They may not have seen a successful adult black male in something other than sports or music, so we come in and show them they can be successful as a lawyer, doctor, business owner or human resources manager. We tell them the hard things too because we care.” Volunteer mentors go through training, but they also work on leadership development and peer-to-peer mentoring. To meet the growing demand, they developed the Campus Collegiate 100 at Hillsborough Community College. Professional adult males mentor and train the college To the world, you students, and then together they may just be somebody. work to mentor the 3rd through But to somebody, you 5th graders. “Demand for male may just might be the mentors is high,” he said. “We can all point to the problems in world. ~Unknown our community, but we need to hit the pause button in our own lives and do something about it right now. There are plenty of opportunities to mentor, so choose one that fits your interest and make a difference.” Dickerson is married with two children and is pursuing a master’s degree, all in addition to his day job, his radio show and serving as president of 100 Black Men of Tampa Bay. “We are losing the human factor in our lives. Technology is great, but nothing replaces human interaction. We need to be better parents when it comes to teaching human skills to our kids and we need to be mentors. Don’t let time be an excuse.” If their motto What they see is what they’ll be speaks to you, visit their website at to get more information. They meet the first Tuesday of each month. Check their site for the location.

Buddies • Battles

Both Pinellas County and Hillsborough County are filled with organizations that utilize volunteer mentors. To get started ask yourself these questions:

Who do I want to mentor? Do you want to mentor adults, teens or children? Not everyone is cut out to mentor a young person, so consider that adults also desire a mentor to help them with within a particular season of life.

What are my interests? If you enjoy the outdoors, then maybe scouting is for you. For gardening or nutrition, check out the local 4-H clubs. Passing the torch of your hobby to someone else can be a fun way to start a mentor relationship.

How can I best share my wisdom and knowledge? Many professions offer opportunities to mentor up and coming professionals. Sadly the “mentor gap” is occurring here too, as training programs fall victim to budget cuts. Parent training is needed to strengthen families. Mom’s groups and other organizations utilize seasoned parents to help teach parenting skills. The same applies to people with expertise in financial matters, fitness and health and matters of faith.

Am I willing to step outside my routine? Connecting with another human being takes a time commitment. Finding someone who can benefit from your mentorship takes some planning and intentional actions. Getting training might also be necessary.

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Stopping Bullying Quickly and Comprehensively By MARIE NEWMAN, Co-author When Your Child Is Being Bullied: Real Solutions Bullying is a very challenging societal issue for families and is clearly on the rise. In the U.S., 160,000 chiIdren stay home from school each day due to bullying. During the course of a year, one in three kids will report being bullied moderately to severely. The severity of bullying is getting worse, too. With technology a bully can globally victimize another child in seconds. It is the fastest growing reason for suicide between the ages of 11 and 18. As parents, we cannot tolerate bullying of any kind. If your child shows signs of being a bully, there are ways you can intervene because this behavior is not normal and should not be acceptable. If your child is a victim, you need to be swift and methodical because the situation can quickly escalate to damaging levels. No matter what anyone else says, parents have the ultimate responsibility for advocating for and protecting their children.

Getting Started: Be Your Child’s Most Powerful Advocate Knowing where to start can render many parents helpless when a child is first bullied. Do not ignore it and hope the bullying will stop. Follow these initial guidelines, but consult the book for more comprehensive information about specific situations.

Tips to be more successful in the process: • Working collaboratively and respectfully with the school is crucial. • Parents need to make it clear that they are dedicated to a finding a solution and truly appreciate the school’s assistance and support for their child. • Parents need to help the school understand that as parents of the victim, you are going to be actively involved in the solution, expect all parties to be accountable and that positive results are expected. • As upsetting at bullying is, staying calm throughout the process earns you respect.

The statistics are one thing. What it does to a family is another.

Develop A Checklist of Clear Steps

It really is hard to describe the level of isolation, despair and frustration bullying brings to a family. My family lived it and I understand. Our school system did not have procedures to address bullying and as a result, we had to develop our own solutions to stop the torment and get beyond it.

A checklist of activities will assure that all parties involved in the solution to your child’s problem will know what to do and when/how to do it. This keeps everybody accountable.

These solutions work and are now part of a book that incorporates the research, practical solutions and guidance designed to provide other parents a step-by-step approach to stopping bullying. The book, When Your Child Is Bullied: Real Solutions (Vivisphere Publishing, 2011 – available on is a tool for parents and educators to use in both individual cases of bullying as well as school-wide issues to quickly and comprehensively stop bullying.


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Checklist Ch kli t off things thi to t do d First and foremost, tell the bullied child they did not “invite or deserve” this situation. The bully is acting abnormally, not the victim. Repeat this statement often. Make certain the child feels protected and loved. Ask to see the existing anti-bullying protocols and procedures at school. From there, ask them to execute those procedures fully. If there are not any procedures, ask them to develop a procedure/ process for this specific case. Request the following from the administrators: The victimized child should never have to meet with the bully ever. This old-fashioned peer-to-peer discussion only re-victimizes the bullied child and humiliates him again. The bully simply states what the adults want to hear in these sessions and then completely ignores anything that was supposed to be learned. Peer-to-peer resolution is futile. The bullied child should never ever be told to ignore the taunting, name-calling, aggressive exclusion, online bullying, physical bullying or any form of disrespect. Ignoring the bullying tells the bully that it is acceptable to be bullied and the bully will take that as a permission slip to keep bullying. Further, the bystanders will assume it is acceptable to bully that child as well. Make certain there is a key administrator who is the parental liaison and contact throughout the school year. Require that the parents/guardians of the bully are called and fully informed of the incidents as well as the consequences their child will be receiving. Require that the child who was bullying receive a real consequence that helps him understand why bullying is detrimental to both the victim as well as himself. Mandate that the bully and the bully’s parents/guardians commit to completely stopping the torment, gossiping, online/cyber-bullying and all bullying activities. They also must promise to never discuss the victim and/or the incidents ever again. (Sometimes a written contract can be helpful here, see our book for an example). Further, the bully needs to guarantee he will not recruit others to bully the victim or there will be consequences.

Clearly explain the state’s anti-bullying laws and the consequences to the bully. Itemize the escalating consequences for the bully if he chooses to bully again. Make certain all bullies affecting the child are addressed and understand all of the above. If the school claims they can’t help, very politely, calmly and respectfully remind them that you pay taxes or tuition and therefore, they must help. If you meet with resistance at the school level, elevate it to the superintendent and school board by emailing and calling one or all of them. Protecting the victim: The victimized child should have a few “safe people” he can go to during the day when he feels threatened. Be diligent about monitoring all texts, online communications and social media at all times to prevent issues Make certain the teachers and staff are apprised and commit to keeping a watchful eye over the child as well as intervening immediately. Make certain the bullied child has friends or kind children around him when he feels vulnerable (the school can help facilitate this). All of the above should be checked daily and weekly. A quick chat with your child at the end of each day and a brief call to your key school contact will suffice. If all of the above is not working, contact a local member of law enforcement or an attorney to counsel you on options. Finally, make certain the school commits to a mutually agreed-upon timeline for all steps. Make certain the school feels the urgency, but also feels that you are understanding of their schedules. Compromise, but do not give in. Always, make certain your child is receiving professional counseling if they show even the slightest signs of anxiety or depression.

Every bullying case is truly unique and can be complicated. As a resource, the book offers many more specific solutions to specific situations beyond the aforementioned steps. We provide specific resources and tools throughout the book that will help parents stop the torment of their child once and for all. Always remember that as the parent, you have the last say when it comes to protecting your child. Please visit our website, or, for our book and other highly effective resources designed to help parents and educators stop bullying quickly and comprehensively. MARIE NEWMAN

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Girls Just Wanna Look Good Healthy body image applies to weight and size, as well as skin, hair and clothing, and can be a tricky road to navigate in a culture that favors beauty. According to a 2009 survey by the Girl Scouts of the USA/Girl Scout Research Institute girls attribute media and fashion to the pressure to be thin. Nine in ten girls say the fashion industry and/or the media place a lot of pressure on teenage girls to be thin. They also have a love/hate relationship with the fashion industry. With three in four girls saying that fashion is really important to them, 48 percent wish they were as skinny as the models in fashion magazines. However, 65 percent of girls think that the body image represented by the fashion industry is too skinny, unrealistic and unhealthy. The comparison is there, though. Females are constantly looking at these images and desiring similar perfection and sex appeal, and many times for the wrong reasons. And to make matters worse, boys and men have developed unrealistic expectations, increasing the amount of pressure girls face every day.

One of the challenges for today’s young women, and their parents is how to combat the ever-growing media bombardment of images that depict girls, teens and adult women as sexualized objects who are also “photoshopped” to an unrealistic level of perfection. Girls see more than 400 images a day that tell them how they should look and as a result, half of young women between 16 and 21 say they would consider cosmetic surgery and eating disorders has more than doubled in the last 15 years.

So what can a parent do? First, find organizations in the community that will share your desire to develop a physically and emotionally healthy girl like Girls Inc., Girl Scouts, 4-H or a youth group at your place of worship. Programs like this for girls give them tools, knowledge and support to build their own inner strength to take a stand against the culture. Second, speak to girls as the strong and intelligent people they are with honesty and in love, taking time to hear them from their point of view. The ads are treating them mindless objects; do the opposite and train them to be wise consumers of media from a young age. And third, get involved as an advocate. You can vote with your dollars, send letters to companies, get involved with organizations working on the issues and support legislation as it comes up like the current Healthy Media for Youth Act (H.R. 2513) that would authorize grants to promote media literacy and youth empowerment programs, authorize research on the depictions of girls and women in the media and provide for the a National Task Force on Girls and Women in the Media.

Advocates encourage personal responsibility through education. They contend if girls know from early age that advertisements are intentionally trying to deceive them, they can be empowered to make decisions that are generated from their internal beliefs and not from external influences. Moms with daughters know this is easier said than done!

Check out



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Doing Our Part to Take a Stand: Back-to-School Style Boot Camp for Girls GoodLiving magazine teamed with local style expert Wendi Braswell for a Back-to-School Style Boot Camp for Girls, held July 29. The first part of the event involved a contest that would give two lucky young women an all day makeover experience with Wendi. Their “reveal” would happen at an event open to other ‘tween and teen girls, and their mothers, that same evening. “Girls are naturally attracted to fashion and they want to be beautiful,” explained Wendi during the planning. “So we will talk about fashion and beauty, but we will also talk about some practical rules that encourage self respect and good choices.” Alexis Economis, a high school freshman this year, entered the contest because, “being a teenager is one of the hardest times in a girl’s life because of peer pressure to be perfect.” She goes on to say that her athletic build doesn’t fit the image for “ideal” teen. “I’m always afraid that the clothes I pick out aren’t cute enough or they’re from the wrong store… I also worry that if my hair and makeup aren’t the same style as the ‘cool’ girls then they will make fun of me. I’m not looking to fit in with their group, I just want to be able to walk the halls and be comfortable with the way I look.” Genesis Mondt, 13, entered the contest because she wanted help with her look and confidence. “I am going into 8th grade. I have naturally wavy hair, brown eyes and am 5’8. I want to know what I could do to make myself stand out from others and look beautiful. I’m going to be a teenager and it’s time for a fresh look that will inspire me to look good everyday.”

“Both girls were tall for their age and had really beautiful features and hair. Throughout the course of the day, while they had their mani/pedis, facials and hair styling, I was able to talk with them about how to accentuate their own beauty with some tips and style advice. But more importantly, I was able to build their confidence by talking about the value of who they are on the inside,” said Wendi about the makeover day. The highlight of the Back to School Style Boot Camp event was showing their new look to family and friends. “I am so proud of her. She looks so beautiful,” said Genesis’ dad with an ear-to-ear grin. In addition to the reveal and the presentation on style, Patricia Rossi, a local etiquette expert and author played games with the girls to teach them the importance of a good introduction and first impression. Sponsors of the makeover day were Venus and Mars Day Spa and Soonye & Company Salon and Day Spa both in Westchase; Crosspointe Church in Clearwater for the facility; Urban Exchange for the girls’ clothing and Brandi Morris for photography.

Wendi Braswell’s Style Tips for Girls A label is more than a brand. Your clothes can label you in ways you may not want like “easy” or “lazy.” Think about who you are on the inside and dress to reflect it on the outside. Like everything else in life, style also requires a balanced approach because it’s just a part of who you are. First impressions are a reality, so find ways you can look your best and do it within your budget. But don’t tie your self esteem to how you look and don’t obsess over your external appearance. Use it for your benefit. You are in control and you make your own choices! Follow my 3 B’s for style that respects who you are as a young woman and focuses attention on your inner beauty: No Belly Lift up your arms to be sure your shirt is long enough No Bust A low cut neckline is not flattering and sends the wrong message No Butt Squat to make sure you’re covered and no letters on the backside! Have a plan for your style and work at it: Know Your Style such as romantic or classic and buy pieces that build your wardrobe Know Your Body and dress accordingly. An outside opinion is always helpful. Know Your Accessories Often overlooked, sunglasses, scarves and jewelry can stand out more than the clothes. Know Where to Shop for the best bargains and quality.


Know Your Skin and take care of it.

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Good Gardening

with Jai

Easier Gardening with the No-Bend Box Do you have limited yard space? Poor soil? A bad back or knees? Would you like to grow twice as many vegetables and flowers per square foot as ordinary beds? Do it with a smaller and more manageable garden by adding raised beds to your yard, something we call “No Bend Boxes.” They are made to be counter height and make gardening very because they eliminate bending, kneeling or squatting. Simply walk around the box to plant, weed or harvest.

The many advantages of raised bed gardening: Reduced duced soil compaction. Plant roots need air. You can’t avoid stepping onto the soil when you are gardening. Raised beds allow you to do all of your gardening from the garden path. Cultivating and weeding are easier because you’ll be able to easily reach into each and every corner of your bed. Plants can be spaced closer together because you don’t need to set aside space to walk. This increases productivity per square foot of bed and reduces weeding when the plants begin to mature. (Beware of planting too close as plants will grow larger.) Raised beds tend to drain better than ordinary garden beds. Water and fertilizer can be applied more carefully because they only need to be applied to the garden beds. You can create geometric shapes to define your yard making it unique and pleasing to you and your family. They are attractive, easy to maintain, and can be designed to fit your landscape and your needs. Persons with back problems or other disabilities which may otherwise prevent them from working in the garden will find it much easier and more enjoyable to have a raised planting bed due to less stooping, bending and straining in every aspect of your gardening.

Raised beds can even be designed to be cared for by people who are confined to wheelchairs. The plants are less prone to insects, snails, and slugs. Nighttime critters do not climb up into bed; dogs do not trample plants; cats do not use as kitty box. You can also add screens to keep out raccoons, birds and squirrels. Weed seeds do not blow that high; dirt stays in box not on clothing or shoes. Their versatility is limited only by your imagination. Raised Bed Gardens can be created using landscape timbers, stone, concrete blocks, logs, etc. Untreated wood lasts only a few years, stone and concrete will last almost forever. We recommend treated wood which will last about 20 years. Boxes need to be lined to prevent any chemicals from leaching into the soil. The beds may be as long as you’d like, but they should be limited to four feet in width, so that the maximum reach to any plant (or weed) is within 2 feet of the border. Your raised planting bed may be a garden accent, or a necessity. They may be as small or as large, as many or as few as you’d like. The options are infinite, and they are all yours. Enjoy.

Jai Hambly is a master organic gardener and the owner of Organic Living in Clearwater. Find more information about gardening, her custom services and workshops at


Back to School ‘11

people Carissa Caricato Most parents would have some concerns if their 25 year-old college-educated daughter quit a good job to become a full-time a hoola hooper. Not the parents of Carissa Caricato. In fact, they gave her the money to make her first few overseas trips with her bright-as-sunshine smile and a stack of hoops bound for Africa. It started with a hoola hoop fitness class in South Tampa. But then she got good. Really good. Which led her to the idea of carrying some travel hoops on a mission trip to Haiti with the South Tampa Fellowship, just weeks before the deadly earthquake. “I was devastated when I learned of the earthquake and couldn’t wait to go back,” she said. That following May, she took more hoola hoops to bring smiles to newly orphaned Haitian children who really needed some love and a dose of her infectious joy. The tiny seeds of thought about doing ministry full time blossomed at an E-woman Network International Conference, where she went on scholarship for being Tampa’s Emerging Leader of the Year. She sat in on sessions that encouraged female entrepreneurs to create a vision for their lives. “The discussions about finding your dream and being bold and courageous really got me thinking about making this ministry idea a reality. Before I left the conference, I had a logo, a website and a plan.”

Since then she has been to ten countries and made numerous appearances in the U.S. and right here in Tampa Bay, supporting the effort with her savings. She has recently partnered with Feeding Children Everywhere, traveling with them and now serving in a marketing capacity for them too. “I didn’t have this arrangement when I decided to leave my job. It was total trust that God would provide and He has. One thing I have learned already is that I can be very happy with much, much less than I had before.” Carissa’s last day at her old job as director of marketing for the Crisis Center of Tampa was July 29th, so her new full-time career in ministry is new indeed. She was on her own one week before heading back to Haiti with a stack of new hoops ready to bring more smiles. Tampa will remain her home base and when she is in town, is available to speak and perform for area youth at events and programs. She recalls her own youth. “I was seeking adventure at parties with drinking and craziness, but was missing something. I love to be extreme and have always refused to live a safe life. I finally learned I could have all the adventure I need through Christ and the joy I have now is never ending.” Follow her on Facebook at Hoola for Happiness. To donate to the ministry, hoops are $30 a piece, go her blog site at To learn more about how you can help feed the hungry, go to


Back to School ‘11


Couponing and Back to School Deals by LIZA FORD It’s that time of the year again! Our air conditioners are overworked, we have returned from our road trips and the kiddos are headed back to the classroom. What does this mean for bargain hunters like me? It means it’s time for Back to School deals! For school supplies, the BEST time of year to find good deals is August and September. Here are a few tips to help you save on those school supply lists: Check out, as we highlight the Back to School sales items for 12 different stores each week, from Office Depot to Office Max, Staples, and more. Use the SEARCH tool bar to help you find your favorite store. Utilize our online database to find great coupons! Did you know there are coupons for pens, pencils, tape, notebooks, and even computer paper? Just go to, click on COUPON DATABASE and start searching! Don’t be afraid to shop at drugstores like Walgreens and CVS; by using their Register Rewards and Extra Care Bucks, you can get a lot of items like pencils, paper, crayons, and even backpacks for dirt cheap. Stock up! Back to School sales happen only once a year, so you should be able to score cheap supplies that you know you’ll need all year long. Don’t buy with the first couple of months in mind; buy with the whole year in mind! Because of the great sales and using coupons on top of sales, you’ll actually spend less money and have more items.

In addition to school supplies, this is a great time to look for lunch box fillers. Manufacturers and stores know that the average family will buy items like pudding cups, fruit snacks, lunch meat and juice boxes this time of year, so be on the lookout for coupons to pair with store sales. Remember you can use two coupons with a BOGO sale; this often enables you to get the item cheap or sometimes FREE. When it comes to clothing, remember, it doesn’t have to be new to be cute. Consignment shops like Plato’s Closet are full of trendy, gently worn options for your teenager or preteen at a fraction of the retail price. For younger children, consider organizing a “Cloth Swap” with your neighborhood friends or families at church. Since kids typically outgrow clothing before the clothing becomes unusable, you can swap your children’s outgrown digs for another child’s, and it won’t cost you a dime! If shopping online is your preference, consider going to, which allows you to purchase a box of clothing (in your child’s size) for $5 plus shipping from another family. The best part is you can sell your children’s clothes as well! Remember to check too, as I post daily deals from Groupon, Living Social, and more. Many times you can get 50% off coupons from stores like the Gap and JC Penney. And stay tuned to my blog for great contests in the upcoming months from GoodLiving magazine.

Take advantage of Pricing Matching policies. Stores like Walmart, Target and many office supplies stores will generally price-match competitors’ sales. Call ahead to see if your favorite store will match competitors’ sales and bring their fliers in with you – this is a great way to get the best deals in one place.

Liza is a full-time coupon blogger and owner of She seeks to empower her readers with the knowledge and tools to spend money wisely. Help your friends learn how to save money with practical advice on how to use online deals and coupons by having Liza speak to your group. Contact her at to schedule an Addicted to Saving 101 class for your group or organization. It’s perfect for mom’s clubs, churches, civic groups or office lunch-and-learns. The next Addicted to Saving 101 seminar is scheduled for September 27th at Calvary Baptist Church in Clearwater. Go to her site and click on SEMINAR REGISTRATION for more details.


Back to School ‘11

Back to School ‘11


Back to School ‘11

2011 Back to School Issue  
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