10 Ways to Keep the Family Physically and Mentally Active This Summer

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Picture of WonderWorks, a science focused indoor amusement park

With summer break upon us, many parents will be scrambling for ideas of how to keep their families active over the next couple of months. Staying active, both physically and mentally, can help families avoid the dreaded summer brain drain, where kids tend to lose some of what they learned during the school year, and it can help keep the body healthier.

Plus, you can make some great family memories and everyone can learn something. There are numerous ways for the whole family to keep active this summer in the Pigeon Forge area.

“Summer is a great time to engage your family in something new,” states Ed Shaffer, General Manager for WonderWorks in Pigeon Forge. “By seeing and experiencing different things over the break, their mind and body will stay active and challenged. The Pigeon Forge area offers plenty of opportunities for the family to make memories together.”

Here are 10 ways to keep the family physically and mentally active this summer in the Pigeon Forge area:

  1. Explore Art. Check out the illusion artwork at WonderWorks, some of which have hidden objects. You can also play brain games by answering riddles along the way.
  2. Get climbing. WonderWorks offers a 50-foot tall indoor ropes course, where you can be challenged and have fun. The four stories of ropes over over 50 different obstacles and activities.
  3. Play tag. There’s nothing like a family-friendly game of laser tag to create fun memories. WonderWorks offers offers an interactive laser tag option that is a great experience for the whole family.
  4. Be awed. Don’t miss The Wonders of Magic show at WonderWorks, starring Terry Evanswood. Considered the best magic show in the state, it won’t disappoint!
  5. Start digging. Visit the interactive sandbox at WonderWorks, where every hand motion and sand movement leads to more to explore.
  6. Take a hike. The wonders of nature and benefits of spending time out in it cannot be overlooked. Pick a trail that is appropriate for all ages of those in your family, and head out for a nice hike.
  7. Learn something new. Visit a nature center, where you can take part in guided activities, learning about things in the environment.
  8. Family bike ride. Head out on one of the area’s paved bike trails, such as Riverwalk Greenway, and explore by bike. Those who are not local can rent bikes for the journey.
  9. Visit goats. Give the kids a hands-on experience with animals. Families love stopping by to see and feed the animals at Goats on the Roof.
  10. Go downriver. A fun family experience for everyone, head out for a couple of hours of family tubing or rafting. This experience provides an exhilarating experience for all.

“We are blessed to live in an area that offers many family friendly activity opportunities,” added Shaffer. “Combining WonderWorks with some outdoor activities will help keep your loved ones physically and mentally strong and growing over the summer break.”

man with handcuffs on and fighting off a huge chainsawWonderWorks in Pigeon Forge offers 35,000 square feet of “edu-tainment” opportunities, billing itself as an amusement park for the mind. They offer over 100 hands-on exhibits covering natural disasters, space discovery, an imagination lab, a physical challenge zone, a far out art gallery, and a light and sound zone. WonderWorks is open daily from 10 a.m. until 9 p.m. For more information, log onto their site: https://www.wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge/.

About WonderWorks

WonderWorks, a science focused indoor amusement park, combines education and entertainment. With over 100 hands-on exhibits – there is something unique and challenging for all ages. Feel the power of 71mph hurricane–force winds in the Hurricane Shack. Make huge, life–sized bubbles in the Bubble Lab. Get the NASA treatment in our Astronaut Training Gyro and experience zero gravity. Nail it by lying on the death–defying Bed of Nails. Conquer your fear of heights on our indoor Glow-In-The-Dark Ropes Course. WonderWorks is also home to Wonders of Magic, starring Terry Evanswood, the award-winning and longest running performer in Pigeon Forge. WonderWorks hosts birthday parties and special events seasonally. Open daily from 9 a.m. until midnight. https://www.wonderworksonline.com/pigeon-forge.

Mindful Tips from Mandy Moore for a Well-Balanced Life

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Mandy Moore poses outdoors sitting on a swing

Partnering with Nature’s Way to celebrate its 50th birthday, Mandy Moore shares her passion for paving a better way to wellness.

“As someone with a busy lifestyle, having an intentional, balanced wellness routine helps me be my best self for my job, my friends and my family,” said the actress and wellness advocate.

While no single trick or technique guarantees well-rounded health, it’s really about establishing habits that work best for you and your lifestyle. Your routine may often change daily depending where you are on your wellness journey, but Moore shares thoughtful considerations to always keep in mind:

1 Start from within. It’s important to understand the connection between your mind and body. “I recognize it takes time, trust and baby steps, but the outcome is incredibly rewarding,” Moore said. “I’m a strong believer in the power of therapy and find my most important work is done during the moments when I feel like I’m operating at 100 percent.”

She also recommends downloading a meditation app, calling a friend or writing in a journal to help balance a hectic schedule.

2 Seek new ways to nourish your body. Wellness goes beyond simply what you put on your plate. Drinking water-based beverages is a big piece of Moore’s wellness routine. She loves relaxing with tea sourced from around the globe and drinking water with liquid chlorophyll for an internal refresher.

3 Breathe in the sights, scents and sounds of nature. In today’s fast-paced world, it’s important to take time to breathe and take in nature’s true beauty. Watch a sunset, walk through a park or get away from the city lights so you can really see the stars shine. Be more proactive and immerse yourself in environments that truly allow you to feel renewed. Moore herself loves to go hiking and walks her dogs, Jackson and Joni, each day.

“There’s something that’s innately healing about feeling connected to the ground—feeling grounded, literally, to the world around you,” she said.

4 Unplug to recharge. Even if your schedule constantly keeps you on the go, it’s important for your mental health and well-being to take time to unplug and find different ways to clear your mind. “Take moments to step away from the computer, tablet or phone—put it in the other room, let it charge and do something else constructive for your brain,” Moore said. “Pick up a book, put on an album, call a friend, light a candle and decompress. I’m a big proponent of smell—sense therapy is really helpful for me. One of the first things I do when I get home is light a candle.”

Source: Family Features Editorial Syndicate

Oprah Winfrey And WW Announce Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life In Focus Tour

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Oprah's picture on the Tour 2020 poster

Global media leader Oprah Winfrey recently announced her first national arena tour in five years, Oprah’s 2020 Vision: Your Life in Focus. Presented by Weight Watchers (WW) Reimagined – Oprah will bring a full day wellness event to nine U.S. cities beginning January 2020.

Joined by high profile guests, Oprah will help motivate audiences across the country to make 2020 the year of renewal and celebrate all we are meant to be.

“What I know for sure is we can all come together to support a stronger, healthier, more abundant life – focused on what makes us feel energized, connected and empowered,” said Oprah Winfrey.  “As I travel the country, my hope for this experience is to motivate others to let 2020 be the year of transformation and triumph – beginning first and foremost with what makes us well.  This is the year to move forward, let’s make it happen in 2020!”

On each stop, attendees will spend the day with Oprah as she shares the personal ups and downs of her wellness journey and guides them to develop their own 2020 action plan through motivating conversations, the latest in wellness research and insightful interactive workbook exercises.  Every city will feature a different lineup of high-profile guests, electrifying experiences and invigorating talks as well as highlight inspiring individuals who took charge of their lives and created lasting change.  Each tour stop will also feature a signature Oprah interview as she sits down for an intimate one-on-one conversation with some of the biggest celebrities, headline-makers and game-changers.

“This is an extraordinary opportunity for WW to do what we do best: bring communities of people together with a shared goal of health and wellness,” said Mindy Grossman, President and CEO, WW. “As the leader in weight loss and the world’s partner in wellness, we look forward to giving people the tools, content and inspiration that can help them on their journey during this tour and beyond, through our engaging digital experience on our app or our face-to-face group Workshops.”

“For more than three decades, Oprah has used her unparalleled gift to empower audiences to live their healthiest and best lives,” said Amy Weinblum, Chief Business Development Officer, WW.  “Creating energizing events and experiences with partners like Oprah and Live Nation is the next iteration of WW showing up to inspire community, making wellness accessible to all.”

The tour will be produced by Live Nation in conjunction with Women Nation, the newly formed division dedicated to women-led and women driven live events.  The day-long event will kick off Saturday, January 4 in Ft. Lauderdale, FL and make stops in St. Paul, Charlotte, Atlanta at the award-winning State Farm Arena, Brooklyn, Dallas, San Francisco and Los Angeles before wrapping Saturday, March 7 in Denver, CO.  Exclusive pre-sale access for the WW community begins Monday, September 9 at 10am local time. American Express® Card Members can purchase tickets before the general public beginning Tuesday, September 10 at 10am local time through Thursday, September 12 at 10pm local time.

Remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public beginning Friday, September 13 at 10am local time at ticketmaster.com. For more information, visit ww.com/oprah.

Over $1 million from tour proceeds will benefit WW Good, the philanthropic arm of WW that helps bring fresh, healthy food to underserved communities nationwide.

“It is an honor to partner with Oprah and WW in bringing this one-of-a-kind tour to life in 2020,”  said Ali Harnell, President and Chief Strategy Officer of Women Nation at Live Nation.  “We look forward to sharing Oprah’s captivating message with the country as she motivates audiences to be the best versions of themselves in the new year.”

OPRAH’S 2020 VISION: YOUR LIFE IN FOCUS TOUR DATES

DATE CITY VENUE
Sat Jan 04 Ft. Lauderdale, FL BB&T Center
Sat Jan 11 St. Paul, MN Xcel Energy Center
Sat Jan 18 Charlotte, NC Spectrum Center
Sat Jan 25 Atlanta, GA State Farm Arena
Sat Feb 08 Brooklyn, NY Barclays Center
Sat Feb 15 Dallas, TX American Airlines Center
Sat Feb 22 San Francisco, CA Chase Center
Sat Feb 29 Los Angeles, CA The Forum
Sat Mar 07 Denver, CO Pepsi Center

 

About WW

WW – Weight Watchers Reimagined – is a global wellness company and the world’s leading commercial weight management program. We inspire millions of people to adopt healthy habits for real life. Through our engaging digital experience and face-to-face group workshops, members follow our livable and sustainable program that encompasses healthy eating, physical activity, and a helpful mindset. With more than five decades of experience in building communities and our deep expertise in behavioral science, we aim to deliver wellness for all. To learn more about the WW approach to healthy living, please visit ww.com. For more information about our global business, visit our corporate website at corporate.ww.com.

About Live Nation Entertainment

Live Nation Entertainment (NYSE: LYV) is the world’s leading live entertainment company comprised of global market leaders: Ticketmaster, Live Nation Concerts, and Live Nation Sponsorship. For additional information, please visit livenationentertainment.com.

About State Farm Arena

Home to the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club, State Farm Arena opens its doors in October 2018 following the 2nd largest renovation in NBA history. Inspired by the fans, State Farm Arena is a next-generation venue focused on experience, service and entertainment. With the NBA’s third-largest center-hung scoreboard and an immersive video experience, fan-friendly food pricing and premium restaurant options, Topgolf Swing Suites and celebrity-inspired spaces accessible to every fan, the downtown Atlanta arena stakes its claim as the city’s best sports and live entertainment venue. Consistently ranked among the top 10 concert and event venues in the world by Pollstar, State Farm Arena hosts approximately 170 events and nearly 2 million guests annually. For more information on State Farm Arena, log on to www.statefarmarena.com today or follow us on Twitter @StateFarmArena.

Teacher’s Powerful Exercise of ‘Leaving Emotional Baggage at the Door’ Has Totally Changed Her Classroom

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classroom teacher headshot and an image of a bag with paper scraps hanging on wall

This Oklahoma teacher is being praised for teaching her students a powerful emotional lesson that they will not soon forget.

Karen Loewe has been teaching seventh and eighth grade students for 22 years, but her most recent day in class was apparently the most impactful day of her educational career.

For her sixth day of classes at Collinsville Middle School, she decided to try a new exercise in empathy with her students called “The Baggage Activity”.

Upon establishing that her classroom was a safe space for expression and respect, she asked what emotional baggage meant to her students. She then asked them to write about some emotional baggage of their own—and since they were not required to put their names on the paper, they could describe their issues as freely as they wanted without being identified.

he youngsters were then asked to take turns reading what their classmates wrote, and all of them were given the opportunity to identify themselves as the person responsible for the writing.

“I’m here to tell you, I have never been so moved to tears as what these kids opened up and about and shared with the class,” Loewe wrote in a Facebook post. “Things like suicide, parents in prison, drugs in their family, being left by their parents, death, cancer, losing pets … and on and on.

“The kids who read the papers would cry because what they were reading was tough. The person who shared (if they chose to tell us it was them) would cry sometimes too. It was an emotionally draining day, but I firmly believe my kids will judge a little less, love a little more, and forgive a little faster.”

Continue on to the Good News Network to read the complete article.

Lorica Clothing launches new Henry the VIII inspired pieces to the collection!

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Woman dressed in medieval armour wear

Lorica, launched by revolutionary designer Elena Hutchinson, features a line of sustainable fashion for your hardcore history-loving heart. Using real medieval suits of armor to create modern apparel for everyday wear. Armor-inspired clothing designed to slay, wherever you take the fight!

About: Originally launched as a Kickstarter campaign back in March of 2017 with the hope of raising $10,000. Instead, Elena went on to raise almost $200,000! Due to that success, the clothing line expanded its sizing to include plus sizes and men’s fits. Each marvelous design is based on a real historic suit of armor. Some of which are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“Lorica” is Latin for body armor; in Christian monastic tradition, a lorica is a prayer of protection.

What makes Lorica unique: They are the only athleisure brand that can have you looking like a real historical knight at yoga class. The pieces are not just inspired by real armor, but designed to replicate them in exact detail, down to the number of rivets. In addition to bringing epic medieval fantasy vibes to your daily life, it gives women the chance to try on armor.

Traditionally an icon of male authority and power, the adaption of armor for women is an extraordinary part of the brand.

Henry VIII design: Particularly satisfying for Elena was adapting Henry the VIII’s armor, infamous for his sequence of wives (divorced, beheaded, died, divorced, beheaded, survived). Giving modern warrior women the chance to wear his armor to yoga class, the grocery store, or the club. His suit of armor was also the first to catch her eye at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and make her think, “I would totally wear that.”

The Henry VIII design has been available in leggings, men’s fit, and plus size since the Kickstarter. The new pieces added to the line are the one-piece, skater dress, and sports bra. As it’s the most popular design, it was a no brainer to provide more ways to be adorned in armor!

“This dress is fierce! I never thought that I could wear something that makes me feel so powerful, confident, and feminine at the same time…” – Liz, ★★★★★ (skater dress review)

“…The fit is fantastic, the knee of the image falls in exactly where my knee is, the waistband is not too tight and not to loose, they are just so comfortable! Dare I say it, they are even flattering, which is always a concern.” – Alyson, ★★★★★ (leggings review)

Sustainable fashion: Each garment is made in the USA by female-owned businesses with fabrics derived from recycled bottles. Lorica’s dedication to slow fashion and sustainable fabrics help the eco-conscious customer buy smarter. About 25 plastic water bottles go into each pair of Lorica leggings. Every piece in the line is made with recycled materials.

87,600: approximate number of plastic bottles recycled in the making of Lorica leggings (as of July 2019)

About the owner and designer, Elena Hutchinson: Growing up Elena devoured her brother’s Dungeons and Dragons Monsters Manuals. From that seed, she’s grown her love for all things medieval. Frustrated that she couldn’t stride around daily in pauldrons and chain mail, she created Lorica. A fashionable yet functional line of clothing for warriors, while providing the comfort of yoga pants. A year after the Kickstarter, there was so much demand she left her job as an art director in advertising to pursue Lorica full-time.

For more information visit the website at loricaclothing.com

Rosa Parks and Sally Ride get their very own Barbie dolls

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Barbie Dolls Rosa Parks and Sally Ride

Children everywhere are going to get the chance to have two historical female role models as part of their play sets.

Mattel is honoring Rosa Parks and Sally Ride with their very own Barbie dolls. Rosa Parks was an American activist known as the Mother of the Modern Civil Rights Movement and Sally Ride was the first American woman — and youngest American — to fly in space.

“Both Sally Ride and Rosa Parks made the world better for future generations of girls,” a Mattel spokesperson told CNN. “By celebrating their achievements with dolls made in their likeness, we hope girls will be inspired to pursue their dreams.”

It’s only fitting that these two new Barbies debuted on Women’s Equality Day.

“Women’s Equality Day celebrates the hard-won achievement of Rosa Parks and Sally Ride Barbie dollswomen’s suffrage and pays tribute to the trailblazers who paved the way for future generations,” the Mattel spokesperson said.

According to Mattel, research has shown that starting at the age of five, many girls are less likely than boys to view their own gender as smart and begin to lose confidence in their own competence — this is coined the “Dream Gap.” Showing girls more role models, historical and present, and telling their stories can help close that gap.

Both dolls are available for purchase.

Continue on to CNN News to read the complete article.

Race car driver Jessi Combs, known as the ‘fastest woman on four wheels,’ dies while trying to beat record

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Jessie Combs seated in race car before a race

Race car driver Jessi Combs, who earned the title of the “fastest woman on four wheels” after she set a record with a jet-powered car, died Tuesday while trying to beat a land speed record, officials said.

Combs died Tuesday in Alvord Desert in southeast Oregon, the Harney County Sheriff’s Office said. She was 39.

“She was a brilliant & to[p]-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator, & strove everyday to encourage others by her prodigious example,” said Adam Savage, former co-host of the TV show “Mythbusters.”

Combs appeared in multiple episodes of the show, while host Kari Byron was on maternity leave. She also appeared as a host in shows such as “All Girls Garage” and “Overhaulin’.”

Combs became the fastest woman on four wheels in 2013 at the North American Eagle Supersonic Speed Challenger, when she set a record of 398 mph.

In October, Combs set a new top speed of 483.2 mph in a shakedown run.

On Tuesday, she was attempting to go faster when she crashed.

“On August 27, 2019 at approximately 4:00PM the Harney County 911 Center received a call reporting that a jet car attempting to break a land speed record on the Alvord Desert had crashed leading to one fatality,” the sheriff’s office said.

Her resume was full of firsts: the first woman to place at any Ultra4 event; the first woman to compete in The Race of Gentlemen event.

Savage also tweeted “I’m so so sad, Jessi Combs has been killed in a crash. She was a brilliant & too-notch builder, engineer, driver, fabricator, and science communicator, & strove everyday to encourage others by her prodigious example. She was also a colleague, and we are lesser for her absence.”

Her dedication to women’s empowerment in the automotive industry was also significant. She has a line of women’s welding gear with Lincoln Electric, as well as an online collaborative dedicated to empowering and educating women through industrial skills, called the RealDeal.

Continue on to CNN News to read the complete article.

Rosario Dawson: Called to Action

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Rosario Dawson speaking in to microphone

By Erica Sabino

Rosario Dawson is more than just another famous face in Hollywood. In addition to her high-profile film career, she’s a philanthropist, activist, and entrepreneur. Not to mention producer, singer and comic book writer!

First and foremost, Dawson is fiercely passionate about her philanthropy and her desire to serve her community. Her early life wasn’t easy. Her family lived in a squatter’s apartment in New York’s East Village, where she grew up seeing poverty, sickness, and suffering all around her. “Growing up here in New York, with a mom who was a teenager when she had me, I had family and friends who were either trans and/or had HIV or AIDS and/or had drug problems or housing issues or issues with access to education,” Dawson said in an interview with the lifestyle website mindbodygreen. “I saw the whole maelstrom of privilege and access.”

Growing up in a liberal-minded family, she was raised to understand the value of social change at a young age. “My mother worked for a women’s shelter when I was young,” she said. “To see strangers helping other strangers, just showing up and giving, was so inspiring to me.” It’s not hard to see how her experiences have inspired her to make a change for others. She serves as a board member of V-day, a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. She supports charities like the ONE Campaign, Amnesty International, Oxfam, International Rescue, and Lower East Side Girls Club, and the Environmental Media Association, among many others. She is also active in such programs as Conservation International, Doctors Without Borders, National Geographic Society, The Nature Conservancy and Save The Children.

In 2013, Dawson partnered with her longtime friend Abrima Erwiah to found Studio 189, a fashion and media brand based in Ghana that produces African and African-inspired clothing and lifestyle content. In an interview with Google, when asked about their decision to launch in Ghana, Dawson and Erwiah had this to say: “We were impressed by the culture of creativity, craft, and innovation and the rich history present in Ghana. We felt it was a wonderful place to develop social infrastructure, to add value to natural resources, to create opportunities for work and support capacity building. At the same time, we wanted to support the growth of a local market of consumers as well and help create a space for more people to enter conversations and be included in the growth of the global fashion industry.” For these two partners, Studio 189 is not just a business, but also a social enterprise. Through their brand, they have been able to make changes in the community through educational workshops, counseling, and employment.

Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Gina Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana and Rosario Dawson are seen prior to the Latinas Stand Up rally ALEXANDER TAMARGO/GETTY IMAGES
Eva Longoria, America Ferrera, Gina Rodriguez, Zoe Saldana and Rosario Dawson are seen prior to the Latinas Stand Up rally ALEXANDER TAMARGO/GETTY IMAGES

Politically active for much of her life, Dawson says, “The American future is here, and there’s great news: the future votes.” She co-founded the pioneering civic media nonprofit organization, Voto Latino, in an effort to boost Latino participation in the political process. Established in 2004, Voto Latino’s mission is to provide culturally relevant programs that engage, educate, and empower Latinos to be agents of change. It also seeks to transform America by recognizing Latinos’ innate leadership. Whenever we do voter registration, we ask, ‘Why haven’t you voted before?’ The response is often, ‘No one’s asked us.’ It’s not about telling people what to do—it’s about sharing what they can do.

“Voting is the umbrella to everything else that I’m doing,” says Rosario. “Women’s issues, health and disease, poverty, housing—these all fall under that voting power.” In recognition for her efforts, she was awarded the President’s Volunteer Service Award in 2017.

Also a health advocate, Dawson, a self-proclaimed oat enthusiast, recently partnered with Quaker Oats to create a three-part video series that encourages people to incorporate healthier practices into their everyday lives. “I’ve been eating Quaker oatmeal since I was a young child, ever since my aunt taught me how to make it from scratch, so I’m excited to team up with them to help spread the word about the benefits of oats,” Dawson said. “As an advocate for health and wellness, I never want to short-term my health—I think it’s so important to have long-term plans. And what’s great is that you don’t have to start big, because even small steps can make a difference.”

Rosario, Abrimaand guest
Designers Rosario Dawson, Abrima Erwiah and guest attend as STYLE360 THOMAS CONCORDIA/GETTY IMAGES

Dawson’s first step on her journey to fame happened by accident when she was just 15 years old. Sitting on the front porch step of her apartment building, she was spotted by photographers Larry Clark and Harmony Korine. Aspiring screenwriter Korine thought Dawson would be perfect to cast in the 1995 film, Kids, where she played Ruby, a sexually active adolescent. From there, Dawson went on to star in more films, like Rent, He Got Game, Men in Black II, Seven Pounds, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, and Sin City, among many others. In the music industry, she had a speaking part in the re-release of Prince’s 1980s hit, “1999,” renamed “1999: The New Master.” She also appeared in the music video for Out of Control by The Chemical Brothers and was featured on the Outkast track, She Lives in My Lap.

Currently, Dawson is set to voice the iconic heroine Diana Prince in the DC animated original film, Wonder Woman: Bloodlines, a character she’s voiced since 2015’s Justice League: The Throne of Atlantis. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the actress has also been cast in Sony Pictures’ next installment of the post-apocalyptic comedy, Zombieland 2. She will be working alongside original cast members including Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Jesse Eisenberg, and Abigail Breslin, as well as newcomers Zoey Deutch and Avan Jogia. In addition to these roles, Dawson will both produce and star in the upcoming drama series Briarpatch from Sam Esmail, the creator of Mr. Robot. Based on the Ross Thomas novel, the first season of the series will be produced by Universal Cable Productions and Paramount Television. In this drama, Dawson will be playing a Washington, D.C.-based investigator who returns to her hometown in Texas to help search for her sister’s murderer.

Last year, she announced her guest collaboration on La Borinqueña, an original character and patriotic symbol presented in a classic superhero story created and written by graphic novelist Edgardo Miranda-Rodriguez. Her powers are drawn from history and mysticism found on the island of Puerto Rico. Dawson and her writing partner David Atchison joined Dawson’s uncle, comic book artist Gustavo Vazquez on the project.

Although she has a full workload, she still finds time to make an impact outside the world of Hollywood. From being a political activist to running a sustainable fashion line, Rosario Dawson is continuously showing her passion and commitment to the causes she advocates for.

Using her platform to make a difference, Dawson’s activism has allowed her to not only witness change but also effect it. “I’m really moved by everything I’ve seen achieved over the years, and there’s so much that’s being worked toward now with many more people,” Dawson says in an interview with InStyle. “I’m inspired to just do whatever I feel called to do and to be of service and to be of use… There are so many different ways that we can serve, and I want to figure out as many ways as I can to fit into this lifetime.”

How to Get Your Child Socially and Emotionally Ready for the New School Year

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Mother and kids holding hands going to school in first class with schoolbag or satchel walking to school bus, Parent and son,sister preschool

Labor Day marks the unofficial end of the summer, and the start of a new school year for most people. Many children experience anxiety at this time, being filled with the stress of what starting school again will entail.

From bullying and being nervous about making friends and having a new teacher, there’s a lot that can weigh on a child. This stress can continue throughout the school year and have devastating consequences. According to the American Psychological Association, when children experience chronic stress it can contribute to psychological problems, as well as physical conditions. The good news is that there are plenty of things parents can do to help their child prepare.

“Kids don’t know just how to handle their emotions, so it’s important for parents to take steps to help address them,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author, who offer virtual workshops. “Parents who make emotional and social health a priority will help raise children who are more successful, stable, and experience less stress in life.”

There are many things parents can do to help prepare their children emotionally and socially for taking on a new school year. These include tips:

  • Teaching kids to embrace progress, rather than perfection. If they feel they have to get perfect grades, for example, they will have a lot of unnecessary stress and anxiety.
  • Setting your expectations for them based on your values. It’s important to let kids know what you expect for the school year from them, but that you realize there is room for error, too.
  • Taking the time to talk to your children about your own social mistakes, so they can learn from them. Let them know what mistakes you made and how you would have handled it differently if you could go back in time now.
  • Remembering that winning isn’t everything. Kids need to learn how to be a team member, and how to lose gracefully. Play games with them where they will lose at times, so they can learn good sportsmanship and resilience.
  • Discussing with them what “success” means. Teach them that we all learn through our mistakes on our way to success.
  • Kids need to know how to make friends, so discuss with them how to do that. Have your child pick five qualities you would want in a friend and then discuss the list with them. As social issues arise, refer back to that list of core values to see if the relationship is a good fit.
  • Having a family discussion about finding balance and discussing how much can be fit into one schedule. This is especially important when it comes to the number of extracurricular activities that can be taken on.
  • Making sure your kids know that it’s okay to ask for help.
  • Making a social media discussion a priority if your child uses it, ensuring that they use the T.H.I.N.K. acronym regarding what they post online. T (is it truthful), H (is it helpful), I (is it inspiring), N (is it necessary), and K (is it kind).
  • Having a discussion about bullying. Remind them that bullying is never okay and that they need to speak up if it happens. Discuss having boundaries, speaking up, being a good role model, and getting help when needed.
  • Teaching your child coping skills, which will help them be better prepared to handle stress and anxiety.
  • Letting kids know the importance of focusing on the positives in life. They can do this by keeping a gratitude journal, and having a positive affirmation that they repeat each day.

“Most parents are focused on the supplies that kids need for school, but those pale in comparison to the emotional tools they need,” added Patel. “By making sure kids have the emotional and social tools and skills they need, they will be more likely to enjoy the school year, get better grades, and be happier, all of which are good.”

Patel has a new debut radio show on Dash Radio, North America’s first mainstream South Asian radio station, which premiered in April 2019. The station was founded by Rukus Avenue Music Group, and can be head on 24-7 on the Dash Radio app, as well as on the on the Dash Radio platform at DashRadio.com.

Patel is the founder of AutiZm& More. As a licensed educational psychologist and guidance counselor, she helps children and their families with the use of positive behavior support strategies across home, school, and community settings. She does workshops around California, and virtual workshops globally where she provides this information to health professionals, families, and educators. She also offers concierge parenting services, helping families to reach specific goals, such as focusing on college admission. She is also the author of a book that helps children with anxiety coping strategies called “Winnie & Her Worries,” and author of a book about autism awareness and acceptance, called “My Friend Max: A Story about a Friend with Autism.” Both of her books are available on Amazon. To learn more about her services, visit the website at reenabpatel.com or view her reel at youtube.com/watch?v=eqvx8dqszS4&t=4s.

About Reena B. Patel
Based in the San Diego area, Reena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA) is a renowned parenting expert, guidance counselor, licensed educational psychologist, and board-certified behavior analyst. For more than 20 years, Patel has had the privilege of working with families and children, supporting all aspects of education and positive wellness. She works extensively with developing children as well as children with exceptional needs, supporting their academic, behavioral and social development.  She was recently nominated for San Diego Magazine’s “Woman of the Year.” To learn more about her books and services, visit the website at www.reenabpatel.com, or to book her direct go to reenabpatel.com/book-now/.

To get more parenting tips, follow her on Instagram @reenabpatel.

American Psychological Association. The kids aren’t all right. apa.org/monitor/2010/01/stress-kids

Tips for a Tasty Labor Day Celebration

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Laylas Lebanese

Labor Day, which is always the first Monday in September, is just around the corner, making it the perfect time for planning something special.

This year marks the 125th anniversary of the celebration that honors the American worker and is the unofficial end of summer. Millions of people around the country will take the day off and relax, attend events, and hold their own backyard celebrations. Having a tasty celebration is easier than one may think, and planning ahead can make a world of difference in keeping the celebration stress-free.

“Having a gathering for Labor Day is a great way to have fun, mingle, and enjoy some wonderful food,” explains Mathil Chebat, the mother and executive chef of Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant, a family-owned and operated restaurant. “The centerpiece of your celebration is going to be the food you serve, so you want to pay special attention to that and aim to please.”

Planning a backyard BBQ or fun Labor Day gathering will be welcomed by friends and co-workers. Here are some tips for having a tasty Labor Day celebration:

  • Wow the crowd. Opt for making something that is easy, yet will be a pleasant surprise for those who attend the celebration. Opting for something like barbecuing kabobs will give people a delicious meal that they will remember and you can brag about.
  • Make it a potluck. If you want to share the labor in preparing food for the gathering, consider making it a potluck. Make it more fun by picking a theme and asking people to bring a dish to share. Example themes include Mediterranean, Spanish, summer, Mexican fiesta, etc. You could have one in which everyone brings a dish that is a family favorite, or opt for a Meatless Monday theme, since the holiday will be on a Monday.
  • Choose drinks wisely. What you offer people to drink is going to make a big difference. Aim for a variety of options, so that there is something for everyone, and if you will be serving wine, try to pair it with what you are serving.
  • Consider catering. For you and your guests to really get a day off, consider catering your Labor Day celebration. It’s more affordable than you may think, and it saves you the time and effort of preparing food for everyone.
  • Serve sensational ready-made flavors. If you want to save time, opt for premade things you can put out, such as dips. Opt for ones that are expertly made and have a great reputation, such as those made by Lalya’s. Layla’s Food Company offers gourmet ready-made whips, dips, and more.
  • Employ psychology. There is a lot more that goes into creating a great-tasting meal at a gathering than just the food. Research has shown that the ambiance and even the plates make a difference. If a plate of food looks nice, for example, people tend to think it tastes better. Put a little effort into how the food area looks and the ambiance, and researchers say the guests will be more likely to find the food tastier.

“If you want the most stress-free and most delicious Labor Day celebration, let us help you out,” added Christiane Chebat, the daughter and catering director at Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant. “We have catering options to meet all of your needs. Your guests will love our menu, and you’ll love being able to relax and enjoy!”

Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant offers catering services for all sizes of gatherings and events, including parties, graduations, and work lunches. They are known for serving up some of the best authentic kabob’s in the area. There are catering options for those who are health-conscious, vegetarian, vegan, or wanting all organic.  Their catering options include hummus, grape leaves, falafel, meat pie, stuffed kibbeh, salads, moussaka, beef shawarma, kabobs, and more. The company also offers a line of ready-made products that are available in stores and farmers markets throughout Virginia and New York. The Layla’s Food Company product line includes Layla’s Garlic Whip, available in original, honey garlic, jalapeño cilantro, cranberry, and sun-dried tomato, and Layla’s Hummus, available in original and black bean.

Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant, located at 2217 Old Bridge Road in Woodbridge, Virginia, is owned by the Chebat family. The restaurant was started by Michael Chebat and his wife, Mathil, and it is run by them and their eight children. Together, they have created a menu that appeals to many, including those who are health-conscious, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and seeking organic options. The restaurant is open Monday-Thursday from 11:00 am to 9:00 pm, Friday and Saturday from 10:00 am to 10:00 pm, and Sunday from noon until 4:00 pm.

The company has defined a set of core values that include love, family, trust, quality, and flavor. Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant offers a menu filled with authentic Middle East dishes, including kabobs, falafel, hummus, grape leaves, beef shawarma, meat pies, stuffed cabbage, a Lebanese version of steak tartar, and a wine and beer menu. The restaurant also offers full catering services for birthdays, graduations, business events, work lunches, and more. Those who sign up for their email list will receive 10 percent off their next visit. For more information about Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant, visit the site at: https://www.laylas.net. For more information about Layla’s Food Company, including which stores carry the product line, visit the site: laylasfood.com.

About Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant

Located in Woodbridge, Virginia, Layla’s Lebanese Restaurant has been serving up authentic Middle East cuisine for over 10 years. Family-owned and operated, the company offers a wide variety of traditional dishes made from family recipes. The restaurant also offers catering and has a dip product line that is available in stores. For more information, visit: laylas.net.

An Arkansas Lawyer Bought 1,500 Pairs of Shoes From a Payless Going Out of Business. Now She’s Donating Them to Kids in Need

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woman holding her children with boxes around them

When Carrie Jernigan was doing some last-minute, pre-vacation shopping with her kids at a Payless ShoeSource near their home in Alma, Arkansa, she had no idea she would soon be taking home upwards of 1,500 pairs of shoes.

“What have I done?” the 37-year-old lawyer and mother of three says she initially thought to herself.

But this was possible because in February, Payless ShoeSource announced it would be shutting down all of its stores across the U.S. and Puerto Rico. It was the second time in two years the company was filing for bankruptcy — the latest casualty in what’s been dubbed over the years as the “retail apocalypse.”

Jernigan was taking advantage of the sweeping sales one day this past May when her 9-year-old daughter asked if they could buy Avengers tennis shoes for a classmate that needed a new pair. Inspired by her daughter’s act of kindness, Jernigan, jokingly, asked the clerk how much it would cost to buy the entire store. Hours later, she had purchased nearly 350 pairs of shoes with the intention of donating them all.

“We made a deal to buy almost all [that] was left on the shelves,” she says.

When she returned to pick up the shoes, she found out that a new delivery was coming in — days before the store was set to shut its doors. When her kids asked to take those too, she told them they could take a peek to see if there were any children’s shoes.

“Of course, the first box I opened up was JoJo Siwa shoes,” she says, referring to the mega-popular Nickelodeon star. “Pink glitter was everywhere.”

When it was all said and done Jernigan took home nearly $21,000 worth of merchandise — the majority of which she saved from the store’s blowout sale. She intends to donate roughly 1,100 pairs to kids, and local schools and give the remaining shoes to adults in need.

Being the local school board’s president, Jernigan knows how much some parents struggle to afford school supplies, let alone new shoes, for their children. When she realized that she had way too many shoes for her school alone, she decided to hold off for few months to do a back-to-school fundraising event.

Continue on to Money.com to read the complete article.