Congress negotiators working hard to avert yet another government shutdown

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Fyre Festival’s CMO Grant Margolin appears to be working again … as a business tutor

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Grant Margolin, the chief marketing officer of the colossal disaster that was Fyre Festival, seemed to drop off the face of the Earth after the event. 

The festival’s founder and CEO, Billy McFarland, is serving six years in prison for defrauding over 100 investors out of $ 27.4 million. But Margolin, who is portrayed in both recent Fyre Festival documentaries as McFarland’s right-hand man, settled out of court and has kept a low profile. 

All the documentaries managed to say about what he does now is that he volunteers as an EMT. 

But now it seems Margolin has been found — selling his services in New York City as a tutor, specializing in business and marketing, for $ 90 an hour. But we’ll get back to that.  Read more…

More about Business, Fyre Festival, Culture, Other, and Celebrities


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DeVon Franklin On ‘The Truth About Men,’ Working With Steph Curry and More

In a time when toxic masculinity is at the center of national dialogue, award-winning film producer and New York Times best-selling author DeVon Franklin is shifting the conversation toward finding solutions through his new book, The Truth About Men: What Men and Women Need to Know. The book, which will be released Feb. 5, takes a raw and compelling look at the struggles men wrestle with and offers a manual on how to change, love, resist temptation, and practice self-control.

The Truth About Men

Franklin says his book was inspired by a revelation he had as a teenager when he discovered that his father had cheated on his mother. “That really devastated me [and] rocked me to my core,” he told BLACK ENTERPRISE. “If my father cheated on my mother, then what does that say about me?… Does that mean the apple falls far from the tree or does it not?”

Franklin added that women in his family told him that 99% of all men cheat, which made him wonder why it was so hard for men to be faithful. “I wanted to write a book because there is so much going on in the world about men and men’s behavior,” said the motivational speaker. “I wanted to write a book about the solution.”

Franklin, who has been married to actress Meagan Good for nearly seven years, went on to admit that he, too, faces challenges. “My wife’s amazing. I love my wife, but that doesn’t mean that I have no struggles.” He continued, “The Truth About Men is identifying where we struggle as men and what can be done about it, and also giving women information along the way.” Ultimately, he says, the book is a call for men “to do better.”

Breakthrough

In addition to his new book, Franklin is gearing up for the April 2019 release of his new film, Breakthrough, which is based on a true story about a 14-year-old boy who died in a freak accident but was then resurrected back to life by his mother’s prayers. Franklin said it only took him 24 hours to convince NBA champ, Steph Curry, to sign onto the project as an executive producer. “It’s the first film that he has put his name on and that he has helped bring to the world,” he said. “It’s a blessing.”

The film will be produced by his company Franklin Entertainment, a multimedia company that produces inspirational and commercial content. The company currently has a first-look film deal with 20th Century Fox.

Before launching his own production company, Franklin served as the former senior vice president of Columbia Pictures. During his nearly 10-year tenure at Columbia, he produced box-office hits like The Pursuit of Happyness and The Karate Kid.

Diversity in Hollywood

As one of the few African American executive producers in Hollywood, Franklin spoke candidly about the lack of diversity in his industry. “The progress in Hollywood around diversity, specifically related to executives, is abysmal,” he told BE. However, he is trying to combat the issue as a newly elected member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), where he chairs the executive branch subcommittee on diversity.

“It is a systemic problem and Hollywood has yet to put a successful solution around it and I am committed to being a part of that solution because we need it.”

The Key To Success

The Seventh Day Adventist preacher credits his career success to the discipline he practices in his life. “I believe no discipline, no destiny,” he said. “Too often, when we want something, but we’re not willing to discipline ourselves to get it, we actually never achieve it.” He continued, “part of discipline is not just delaying gratification, it’s also about sacrifice.”

He added, “Discipline is critical, it’s necessary, and it’s difficult. That’s why very few do it because it requires going without…However, “in the long run, discipline will yield tremendous, powerful results.”

Watch BLACK ENTERPRISE’s interview with Franklin below.

The post DeVon Franklin On ‘The Truth About Men,’ Working With Steph Curry and More appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Alphabet's Verily has pitched potential retail partners on the health-tracking shoes, which are still early in development.
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For veterans working in US federal prisons, PTSD and government shutdown could be deadly

Stressed by the government shutdown, veterans who work in US prisons struggle to keep their PTSD in check and feel abandoned by the country they served.


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Marching On for Working Moms

Read more Ms. Marches posts here. Join the Ms. Marches Facebook group to find protests—and feminists!—near you.

This weekend, like millions of feminists across the U.S., I will once again be in the crowd at a Women’s March. I’m eager to participate in this march with a global perspective—one that is more critical in the U.S. for women now than ever.

Compared to other industrialized nations, the status of women in America is appalling. We are decades behind other countries—and issues like the lack of paid family leave and universal childcare are the major roadblocks to our equality. These issues need to be at the forefront of our movement.

Across Europe, universal healthcare has already been achieved and includes free labor, delivery and birth control. Most liberal democracies have a Department of Women’s Affairs to address complex issues of women in the workplace and gender equality. Some countries offer nursing hours to new mothers re-entering the workplace and require the employers to provide an onsite daycare center. Others provide part-time positions in the government to mothers of young children.

But women-friendly policies don’t just emerge in the “utopia” of Northern Europe. The countries that provide these benefits to mothers include Kuwait and Turkey, which offer these progressive policies with the aim of keeping young women in the workforce. These are not countries that are known for women’s equality—but they are countries where strong women have fought hard for improved employment conditions for working mothers.

There are only two countries in the world without paid family leave: the United States and Papua New Guinea. Here at home, the lack of paid family leave, coupled with expensive, hard-to-find childcare, has systematically decimated female leadership. Without structural reforms to our society, calls to promote increased female leadership will remain only lip-service.

(Paul and Cathy Becker / Creative Commons)

The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) was passed into law in the U.S. in 1993, but it only provides 12 weeks of unpaid leave for new parents—and given the stipulations of the law, the FMLA really only covers approximately 60 percent of workers.

Even as a diplomat with the State Department and a federal employee, I had zero days of paid maternity leave when I had my first child in 2009. Zero. My husband and I cobbled together sick days and vacation time to be home with our child, but we were neither sick nor taking a vacation. We were merely caring for our newborn child.

A recent study by the National Institutes of Health showed that just 41 percent of women in the U.S. receive paid maternity leave. Those that do are granted an average of 3.3 weeks off and make only 31 percent of their salary during that time. Just to our north, in Canada, new parents receive 52 weeks of maternity leave for an entire year after the birth of a child; across the ocean, most European nations hover around one year of paid leave.

Research shows that American working-class women, women of color and parents working for low-wage jobs are much less likely to have any paid time off with their children. The NIH survey demonstrates that “women from disadvantaged backgrounds are far less likely to have access to paid leave, and can’t afford unpaid leave.” The same researchers recommend that “federal policy that supports paid leave may be one avenue to address such disparities and should be modified to reflect accepted international standards.”

The lack of paid family leave, as well as the absence of affordable childcare, is a death sentence to the careers of many brilliant young women—the very same women that we now advocate should be taking leadership roles throughout the country. When there is no paid family leave, women drop out of the workforce in their twenties and thirties in droves, partly due to unpaid leave and partly due to the astronomically high price of hard-to-find childcare.

In Seattle, it currently costs over $ 2,700 per month to put an infant in childcare; with two kids, young families pay a staggering $ 4,000 per month or more for care, a price tag that is often higher than the cost of a mortgage or monthly rent. I had my second child in Seattle, as a graduate student—and turned over 100 percent of my paltry salary to childcare.

The U.S. is the only industrialized nation and one of the only liberal democracies that does not subsidize or provide universal childcare, and that is a major factor in women’s work lives. It is shocking how many educated, bright women leave the labor force in the U.S.—but it is understandable why they do.

New in their careers when they start having children, these women have salaries that barely cover childcare. With the prospect of barely breaking even financially after they pay for childcare, or sometimes even losing money, mothers make the understandable choice to raise their own children and leave their careers. If their husbands or partners make more money, it is often an economic decision of which partner will quit working. Most often, it is the woman.

During this time, women who remain in the workforce lose critical job promotions, stop developing their professional expertise and miss foundational leadership experiences that could lead to achieving executive leadership positions later in their careers.

In countries such as France and Germany, childcare is subsidized; as a result, childcare is affordable and its quality is publicly accountable. For any parent who chooses to stay home, the German system provides a tax credit, but the lion’s share of working professionals choose to stay in the workplace after having children.

Can you imagine how our lives would be different if all new parents—regardless of race, class, religion or sexual orientation—had access to free, quality childcare? What talent are we losing in our country’s business, security or political leadership by forcing young women to make these impossible choices?

In 1971, Congress voted to fund free universal childcare, and then-President Nixon vetoed it. “If you are a woman who did not live through this era, you may not know that this ever happened,” Emily Badger wrote in the Washington Post. “The sudden realization of which somehow makes the disappointment all the more biting.”

Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of New America, summed up this feeling in her book, Unfinished Business: Women, Men, Work, and Family. When it comes to American exceptionalism, she wrote, “the United States is largely exceptional for what it is not doing.”

Women fighting stateside for their equality can and should use the best practices of other nations as a blueprint for creating better basic rights and policies here at home. By examining the status of women in other countries, we can write our own playbook here in the U.S.—and craft a pragmatic vision of what true equality can look like.

We do not have to reinvent the wheel. While no society has achieved full gender equality, there are numerous superb policies in other countries that address the systemic inequality of all women in the workplace and society.

Dutch and Danish women, for example, have succeeded in gaining so many more rights than their American counterparts. In the Netherlands and Denmark, there are strong, enforceable anti-sexual harassment laws in the workplace and policies ensuring fair labor practices. Many nations in Northern Europe mandate that women have a 50 percent representation in political parties. This creates a measurable positive impact on women’s equality laws and policy reforms.

I am a long-time observer of Scandinavian politics, and I find it painful to witness how the U.S. still lacks many basic rights and policies for women’s equality adopted decades ago in these countries. A little-known benefit across Scandinavia is roughly translated as a government “child subsidy.” Across the region, parents receive a monthly check for 18 years to pay for their children’s needs. In Sweden, families are paid approximately $ 150 a month per child for clothing, food and school supplies until the child is 16, and Swedish parents are also entitled to 480 days of paid parental leave when a child is born or adopted.

How much would these types of subsidies help working families across the United States? It’s not a question of cost: We can afford it. (We’re the richest country in the world.) It’s a question of political will instead—and our own determination in demanding such policies.

In her book Agenda Setting, the UN, and NGOs: Gender Violence and Reproductive Rights, Jutta M. Joachim describes the urgent and critical stage for social movements in which they define their grievances, map out a plan to achieve their goals, unite members and delineate the limited financial and human resources they have on-hand. It’s time for all of us to ask these hard questions and come together to advance our equality—at work and in the culture at-large.

What is the women’s movement going to stand for in 2019? How will we create a roadmap for long-term systematic change for women? When we take to the streets tomorrow, we should be as ready as ever to answer these questions.

Dr. Elise Carlson-Rainer serves as Assistant Professor of International Relations and Doctoral Faculty Member in the School of Security and Global Studies at American Public University and is Affiliate Faculty with the Department of Scandinavian Studies at the University of Washington. She is a former U.S. diplomat with the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor and also worked with the U.S. Mission to the UN and the United States Agency for International Development. Elise earned her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in the field of human rights and foreign policy.

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The post Marching On for Working Moms appeared first on Ms. Magazine Blog.

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‘I Stand Behind These Women 1000%.’ Lady Gaga Apologizes for Working With R. Kelly

Lady Gaga apologized Thursday for working with R. Kelly on a 2013 song, and said she believes the women who have accused the singer of sexual misconduct.

“I stand behind these women 1000%, believe them, know they are suffering and in pain, and feel strongly that their voices should be heard and taken seriously,” Gaga wrote in a statement posted on Twitter. “What I am hearing about the allegations against R Kelly is absolutely horrifying and indefensible.”

Gaga, who has identified herself as a victim of sexual assault, issued her statement in the wake of the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly, which reignited public conversation about sexual misconduct allegations against the R&B star. The film includes interviews with people — both alleged victims and people who worked with him — who allege that Kelly preyed on underage girls and kept women and girls locked in his homes.

In an interview with Billboard, Kelly’s lawyer dismissed the claims in the documentary as “another round of stories” used to “fill reality TV time.” Kelly and his camp have denied the allegations against him for years, including after the release of a video that appeared to show Kelly having sex with and urinating on a teenage girl in 2002. (Both Kelly and the girl denied that they appeared in the video.) He was acquitted on child pornography charges in 2008.

Despite the long history of allegations against Kelly, he has continued to enjoy a successful music career — even working with popular artists like Gaga, who featured Kelly on her 2013 track “Do What U Want (With My Body).”

In the new statement, Gaga said she made the song and video “at a dark time in my life,” following her own sexual assault, and called her thinking around its production “explicitly twisted.” She apologized for working with Kelly and said she will remove the song from iTunes and other streaming platforms.

“I can’t go back, but I can go forward and continue to support women, men, and people of all sexual identities, and of all races, who are victims of sexual assault,” Gaga wrote in the statement. She continued, “I’m sorry, both for my poor judgment when I was young, and for not speaking out sooner. I love you.”


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The Financial Movement for Anyone Who’s Sick of Working 9 to 5

The typical road to retirement looks like this: Graduate college. Get a job. Get promoted. Get raises. Buy a house. Fill it with stuff. Work for at least 40 years to pay for the stuff.

Then you retire and finally have time to do all the things you’ve been dreaming of… if you have the money to do them.

For many people, this path has lost its appeal, and they’re turning toward a different one.

It’s called financial independence, or FI for short.

Financial independence is having enough wealth to live on for the rest of your life without the need for traditional employment.

That usually means you can live off your investments, but as FI gains popularity, people have included passive income, real estate, and even freelance and part-time passion projects into it.

People who pursue financial independence have decided their time is worth more than their money. And they’re willing to make sacrifices to have more of it.

In the early ’90s, friends Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin capitalized on the concept of valuing time over money. They hosted talks during which they asked people to consider how many hours of work something costs them instead of just thinking of the cost in terms of dollars. They turned those talks into the best-selling book “Your Money or Your Life.”

Over a decade later, blogger Pete Adeney, also known as Mr. Money Mustache, further popularized financial independence by equating it with early retirement. Adeney and his wife practiced extreme frugality to save 66% of their incomes as software engineers. They retired with a paid-off home when they were both 30.

Nowadays, the goal of FI-seekers is to save enough in investments and lower their expenses to the point where they can live off passive income without the need for paid employment.

Why This Couple Is Sacrificing Now

A man and woman work out.

Shane Courtney discovered FI from Mr. Money Mustache, though at first he didn’t put his extreme practices into action.

But by October 2017, Shane had been working nights as a diesel hydraulic mechanic for over a decade, and he began to consider financial independence again.

“Only being able to see my wife on Saturday and Sunday was probably the biggest driver of trying to figure out something different,” he said.

So he looked for other stories of people pursuing FI. He found the financial independence subreddit, where people of various ages, locations, incomes and professions share the ways they’re trying to escape traditional employment.

Shane, 33 at the time, and his wife, Melissa, 32, realized that without kids they could reach FI and retire early at 50 to fulfill their dream of moving to the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina.

Their first steps were deciding how much they’d need to spend in retirement and how much to save to get there.

The Courtneys make a combined income of $ 160,000, and they would like to live off of $ 45,000 to $ 50,000 per year in retirement. For their investments to produce that much growth every year accounting for inflation, they estimate they’ll need to save $ 1.25 million.

To lower their expenses, Shane and Melissa cut out most of their recurring bills aside from their mortgage, utilities and internet.

Shane had a car he loved, but it got horrible gas mileage and had dropped significantly in value. It was too expensive for Shane to justify keeping, even though as a mechanic, he’s passionate about cars.

They’re also planning ways to save after they reach financial independence. Going to the grocery store is easy now in their suburban Tampa, Florida, neighborhood, but they’re learning new skills to be more self-sufficient in North Carolina.

Melissa is taking canning classes, and Shane has learned to make sourdough bread. “It’s so much cheaper than buying bread,” he said.

And they’ll start to look at properties near Pisgah National Forest soon, in hopes of buying land and paying it off before they start building their house in five years. They plan to move into a mortgage-free home when they retire.

Reaching financial independence isn’t just about raising your income and lowering your spending. It takes a lot of grit and perseverance to do something so wildly different from your peers for such a long time.

But their vision for the future drives their day-to-day decisions. Shane sees himself riding mountain bikes around Pisgah, and Melissa dreams of being able to rescue and foster animals.

How to Save For Financial Independence

So once you’ve calculated how much you need to save and you’ve cut your expenses in order to save it, where is this money going?

The easiest and most common way is to invest it in retirement accounts. The Courtneys max out two Roth IRAs, one 401(k), contribute to a second 401(k) and max out a family HSA. They put these savings into low-cost index funds.

But there are alternatives. Chad Carson, aka Coach Carson, used creative financing to purchase duplexes and single-family homes and his own money for renovations. His portfolio generated enough passive income for him to become financially independent in his 30s.

And Michelle Schroeder-Gardner created a blog and online course that generates more than enough passive income for her to travel full time in her 20s.

And then there’s the hybrid approach, sometimes referred to as “Barista FIRE”: This is when you save enough to cover some expenses in retirement and work part time at a job you love — hence the name “Barista” — regardless of what it pays to cover the rest.

Even if they don’t need to, Shane plans to coach CrossFit and Jiu-Jitsu to supplement their income, and Melissa may earn money doing animal rescue.

The supplemental income is also helpful in times the stock market doesn’t produce as much growth as planned.

… but What if You Don’t Make Six Figures?

Sure, Shane and Melissa have great incomes. He’s been a diesel hydraulic mechanic at the same company for over 10 years, and she’s an accountant. They can afford to save a large portion of their money.

But most of us aren’t making six figures, even in two-income households.

So what options are there for the rest of us? Fortunately, investment growth isn’t the only passive income option to reach financial independence.

Passive income from an online business, royalties from creative works like art or music, rental properties or a number of other sources can provide non-employment income and lower the amount you need to reach FI.

In 2016, Jonathan Mendonsa and Brad Barrett started the Choose FI podcast. They talk about complex and intimidating financial independence topics twice a week and make those topics understandable for a broader audience.

They highlight entrepreneurs who build passive income streams to escape traditional employment, early retirees who work part-time jobs to get out of the house or supplement their income, and people who downsize homes and cars to cut their fixed expenses.

FI-seekers stack these strategies on top of one another to optimize what they have to work with.

FI is often dismissed as unattainable for average income earners. But while saving a significant portion of your income is difficult, the math shows it’s possible for more people than you might think.

Take a 25-year-old single person who earns $ 30,000 and wants to live off of $ 30,000 per year in retirement. Even if they have nothing saved for retirement, they can become financially independent at 52 if they max out a Roth IRA during their working years and earn average returns of 8.1%.

A couple in their 30s bringing home a combined income of $ 70,000 per year with $ 0 saved for retirement can become financially independent in just over 16 years under the same market conditions if they stay within a $ 40,000-per-year budget (including in retirement).

These scenarios aren’t as sexy as retiring at 30, but they show that with perseverance and focus, financial independence can be achieved at a diverse range of incomes, ages and marital statuses.

Even if pursuing financial independence doesn’t result in everyone retiring at 30 or even 50, no the movement is motivating people to open up about their finances and save a little extra every month.

And that’s never a bad thing.  

Jen Smith is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She gives money-saving and debt-payoff tips on Instagram at @modernfrugality.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

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Chris Elliott Reflects On Working With His Dad On ‘Get A Life’ | PeopleTV

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http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

CHARITY UPDATE:

Click today to request your free ACRX discount prescription card and save up to 80% off of your medicine!

SPECIAL DONATION REQUEST UPDATE:

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Your Money, Your Life: Episode 3 – ‘Key Questions To Ask Before Working With A Financial Adviser’

How to know when you are ready to hire a financial pro and what you need to ask to find the right one for you, with guest Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche, founder of the Live Richer Challenge Movement.



 

The new personal finance podcast, Your Money, Your Life is sponsored by Prudential and hosted by Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond Jr. This special series features a lineup of great guests including The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee; DeForest B. Soaries Jr., founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement; Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche; and Jacquette M. Timmons, president & CEO of Sterling Investment Management. The show will cover money topics ranging from how to control your debt to our psychological relationship with our finance. A can’t miss!

The post Your Money, Your Life: Episode 3 – ‘Key Questions To Ask Before Working With A Financial Adviser’ appeared first on Black Enterprise.

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Bristol Palin’s Ex Is ‘Working on Their Relationship’ After ‘Teen Mom OG’ Diss

Backtracking like the best of them! Bristol Palin’s ex-husband, Dakota Meyer, continued to apologize for comments he made about her parenting abilities on Teen Mom OG.

“In regards to the comment on tonight’s @teenmom episode insinuating Bristol is anything other than a great mother is deeply regretted on my part,” Meyer, 30, captioned a photo of himself paintballing with Bristol, 28, and her son Tripp Palin — whom she shares with ex-fiancé Levi Johnston — on Monday, December 17. “Looking back and seeing my behavior does not represent the man I strive to be. Going forward I have made the commitment to Bristol to work towards a better relationship and putting our children’s best interests before my own.”

In a followup post on Tuesday, December 18, the Afghanistan veteran — who split from Bristol in February — posted a photo of himself in a hospital bed and revealed that he suffers from anxiety. (He has previously spoken out about this struggle with PTSD.)

Meyer’s comments come one week after he shared a similar sentiment about Bristol after facing backlash for calling Teen Mom OG “trailer trash” on social media and slamming his ex-wife and her costars for “sitting around [and] bitching about their ex’s.”

While the MTV star didn’t respond to Meyer’s remarks, she posted her own message about the show at the time and expressed her disapproval. “If I cared what people thought of me, I wouldn’t be here today — let’s be real. I’ve stood strong and held it down for my kids since day one. No matter how bad @teenmom tries to portray my ‘life’ … my babies, my family, my close friends — they know the truth,” she captioned a photo with Tripp and her daughters with Meyer, Sailor, 2, and Atlee, 19 months. “I’m a pretty great mom, work my ass off, show up, and hustle everyday to give my kids a pretty great life.”

She added: “@mtv doesn’t want to talk about faith, show work ethic, or juggling three kids alone, they don’t want to show the humble process of starting over after a divorce, building a career, or any real issues. All they want with my little segment each week is some fake fill-in Farrah Abraham/Jerry Springer BS, and it’s simply not true.”

Bristol confirmed in July that she’d be joining Teen Mom OG for season 7.

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I’m working on my sobriety, so I talked to experts about staying sober during the holidays

I’m working on my sobriety, so I talked to experts about staying sober during the holidays


I’m working on my sobriety, so I talked to experts about staying sober during the holidays

When I celebrated Thanksgiving with my family in 2017, I had recently survived a nervous breakdown, had just begun taking antidepressants for my bipolar disorder, was keeping myself afloat on three months of unemployment, and had started to see the cracks in my abusive relationship. It had been a tough year. I wanted to escape those feelings, so I attached myself to the family bar cart in the living room. I overindulged on whatever wine I could get in my glass so I could avoid the interrogation: “How’s the job? Where’s Adam?” etc.

It wasn’t long after Thanksgiving dinner when I decided to become semi-sober. I surrounded myself with other sober women (shoutout to Sarah Ordo, Cara Alwill Leyba, and the Slaying Sobriety Group) and started thinking about how I leaned on alcohol to cope with my life. I became more successful in my career, had a clearer mind, and generally felt more in touch with myself. I was thriving in my new lifestyle.

Then my father died by suicide in July, and maintaining my sobriety got a lot harder.


Holiday season is in full swing, and navigating this time of year can be difficult for anyone. Keep in mind, however, that holiday socializing is often associated with alcohol, and, more often than not, it is associated with overindulgence. For those of us who have chosen sobriety, semi-sobriety, or just more mindful drinking, the holidays can be a minefield of difficult situations.

“The holidays pose a particular risk to those in recovery for a variety of reasons. First, the holiday season can amplify loss, grief, stress, and loneliness in people working to maintain their recovery. To prevent relapse triggers, it is critical for those in recovery to avoid isolation and maintain a normal routine,” states Dr. Brent Boyett, Chief Medical Officer at addiction treatment center Pathway Healthcare.

So I connected with some more experts and got their advice on navigating sobriety during the holiday season:

1. Establish boundaries

“Sobriety is a lifelong journey that requires you to abstain from alcohol and drugs. Once you make that your number-one priority, you’ll know what your next steps are. If you really want to see your friends during the holidays, explain to them that you would love to spend time with them, but you can’t drink or hang out in a bar,” says Carolee Paruta, Clinician and Regional Director of Outpatient Services at Mountainside.

Paruta suggests offering alternatives to friends who ask to make plans. “Maybe you all can go to an early dinner or catch a movie. Make sure that they are aware of what your boundaries are,” she says. “Establishing boundaries will help you and your friends know what to expect and prevent you from being put in uncomfortable situations that could derail your progress. The same goes for family.”

Paruta explains that “friends” who can’t understand this part of your life are probably not supposed to be your friends, or at least not people with whom you should spend your time. “It might be difficult to hear that, but you have to remember that doing what is best for your recovery is what is most important,” she says. “Being sober isn’t all that you are, but it is a big part of you. You need friends in your life who don’t just accept that fact, but support you.”

2. Create a dialogue

Be honest, but that doesn’t mean you have to divulge your personal reasons for sobriety. Laura Taylor, founder of Mingle Mocktails, says, “When someone asks me why I am not drinking, my response is always short and sweet: ‘I am taking a break’ or ‘I just don’t drink.’ I’ve learned that most people just ask out of light curiosity and are satisfied with these simple responses…I’ve found that those individuals who continue to probe with more questions are asking because they’re considering their own drinking issues or thinking about someone in their lives who may have drinking issues.”

Taylor acknowledges that these questions are less stressful now that she has been sober for a few years, but regardless, she believes that brevity is key: “There are other, more interesting topics to discuss at parties than my drinking habits.”

3. BYOBeverage

“I am amazed at how few hosts stop to consider what non-drinkers would like to drink. The default options are typically soda or seltzer, and neither are exciting,” Taylor continues. “Hosts [should] consider their non-drinking guests, and have at least one premium non-alcoholic option on hand, like flavored seltzer, ready to drink mocktails, or fresh juices.” My mother and I are personally fans of La Croix in a wine glass, Canada Dry Cranberry Ginger Ale, or DRY Sparkling Soda in the lavender flavor, and in 2018, we have so many options.

Taylor suggests that hosts ask party guests for non-alcoholic drink preferences in advance. “This need is what inspired me to create my own line of ready to drink mocktails, Mingle Mocktails,” she says. “Non-drinkers deserve something fun, festive, and sophisticated so they can feel…socially connected in these situations.”

4. Seek support and have a network

I suffer from complex traumas, so I lean on my amazing therapist. But I also surround myself with like-minded women in the Slaying Sobriety Group on Facebook, a nationwide network of women who encourage and support each others’ sobriety.

It’s important to have this support from some kind of network since family and friends can unknowingly—but harmfully—attempt to enable unhealthy behaviors. Dr. Boyett tells me, “Though sometimes hard, people in recovery should avoid family and friends who frequently use drugs or alcohol. Many times, family and friends just don’t understand how fragile the recovery process can be. Offering drugs or alcohol to a person in early recovery can result in life-threatening relapse.”

Posted by Sarah Ordo on Friday, July 27, 2018

5. Remember that you are not alone

If you or someone you know is struggling this holiday season, there are organizations ready to help you. This is not something you have to face alone. You can call Alcoholics Anonymous at 212-870-3400 and Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) at 800-662-HELP (4357)—which is available 24 hours a day.

You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255), available 24 hours a day.

The post I’m working on my sobriety, so I talked to experts about staying sober during the holidays appeared first on HelloGiggles.

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The new personal finance podcast, Your Money, Your Life is sponsored by Prudential and hosted by Black Enterprise’s own Alfred Edmond Jr. This special series features a lineup of great guests including The Breakfast Club’s Angela Yee; DeForest B. Soaries Jr., founder of the dfree Financial Freedom Movement; Tiffany “The Budgetnista” Aliche; and Jacquette M. Timmons, president & CEO of Sterling Investment Management. The show will cover money topics ranging from how to control your debt to our psychological relationship with our finance. A can’t miss!

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Octavia Spencer Working With Mark Wahlberg to Transform Her Body

Octavia Spencer and Mark Wahlberg working out
Octavia Spencer and Mark Wahlberg Courtesy of Mark Wahlberg/Instagram

To be the best, you need help from the best — which is exactly why Octavia Spencer has recruited the help of her Instant Family costar, Mark Wahlberg, to help transform her body.

The Shack star, 46, has teamed up with the Mile 22 actor, 47, for a unique training partnership — and the results are already starting to show. Spencer has been documenting her workouts on Instagram and in a video she posted on October 28, she credits Wahlberg’s Performance Inspired supplements for the assistance in slimming down.

“I never go sleeveless. But here is what I want to show you. I’ve been working out for years and the cellulite on my arms has NEVER gone away. It’s melting away from my thighs, too!” she captioned the clip, which features her showing off her arms.“The changes I’ve made? @performinspired supplements. Combined with balancing nutrition and the right workouts the changes are amazing.”

The Boogie Nights alum can’t help but praise Spencer for her commitment and dedication in losing weight. “It’s 5:24, I’ve gotten hundreds of requests from very, very close and dear friends about coming over, working out with us and joining the 4 a.m. club,” Wahlberg says, referring to his early-bird workout group. Turning to the Oscar-winning actress, he gushed, “This one [was the] first one to show up, shows up at 3:30 and puts in the work with Brian like no one has ever seen. I am so impressed. Oh, wow … talk about an inspiration.”

“I really am so impressed, you know what? You are really an inspiration. Talking about everything she’s going to accomplish, she went out there and made it happen and this is just another extension of that,” he continued in the Instagram video, posted on September 24. “You are a true champion.”

To check out Spencer’s weight-loss transformation, follow her on Instagram here.

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