INSPIRE! The Giving Season


If  Summer and Fall are considered the growing seasons, Winter is the official giving season. In fact, Tuesday, December 3, has been named The National Day of Giving  #givingtuesday with an international movement and website dedicated to motivating companies and individuals to work toward giving back to help the common good. I like the idea of #givingtuesday starting a movement. It is a comforting detour from Black Friday, Monday Madness, Cyber Tuesday,and Gridlock Friday because it is about paying it forward. http://www.givingtuesday,org

If you are like me, you may be getting bombarded with heart warming solicitations for donations this time of year. While we are stuffing our faces with food, clinking glasses at holiday parties and shopping for gifts, those slim #10 envelopes with my name often misspelled and the e-cards often made out to my former company stuff my inbox and remind me to remember those in need and to make that tax deductible year end donation.

I grew up in a family where every season is the giving season. My mother believes in doing small acts of kindness every day as a way of life. As I mature (yes, I am still maturing!) I am trying to follow her example even if it is as simple as sending a personal note of encouragement to someone.


Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, We make a life but what we give.” 

“Philanthropy” is a big word that you think is applied only to the wealthy (as in: a “philanthropist”).  The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of philanthropy is “the practice of giving money and time to help make life better for other people….an act or gift done or made for humanitarian purposes.”  That sounds pretty simple. But how does one high on hope and low on funds pay it forward and make it matter in the spirit of philanthropy? I have a few tips:

1. Support fewer charities and make a longer term commitment. Find something you believe in or are passionate about and donate year round with money, goods or services.

2. Think local. Align yourself with a cause that supports your community. Your contributions may go further.

3. Consider crowd funding donations as an option. While not all crowd funding is really “charitable” since you are contributing funds to help someone with a business, it can be invigorating to help someone realize his or her dreams come true. There are numerous crowd funding sites covering various interests offering a tier of options for contributing. Some examples: Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Rockethub, Peerbackers. Here is a helpful article (among many)

4. Do your homework. Before you write a check, learn more about the organization and how funds you contribute will be used. I have been solicited by a few cancer and animal rights groups whose funds are really being used for government lobbying. That’s not how I want my contributions used. Here are some charity rating websites: and

5. It’s not always about giving money. While the usual solicitation is for a financial contribution, there are other ways you can donate. It is worth asking the organization how you can help aside from writing a check. Here are six ways to donate if you have a large heart and a lean income.

  • donate your expertise, time and talent  to the charity who cannot afford staff or consultants to do the necessary job
  • donate goods.  This is a season for toy drives and coat drives. Year round many charities need office supplies, furniture and equipment. Next time you clean out your home or office, think about what you can donate
  • sell items and donate the cash. If your heart is in writing a check but your checking account is lean, fatten it up by selling items on Ebay or holding a tag sale or bake sale and donating the income to the charity of your choice
  • pool your resources. Start a charity giving group at your office or among friends who join together to volunteer or pool funds to donate
  • become a mentor. There are many organizations geared toward helping others grow and learn through mentoring. The great thing about mentoring is that you share your wisdom to cultivate someone’s knowledge and talent.  Mentoring is a commitment of time but the rewards at both end can be very fruitful.
  • be social and share. If you support a charity “Like” its Facebook Page, Follow it on Twitter and “Share” its news and initiatives with your friends and followers. Charities rely on social media more than ever, so your shout out is great way to support a cause




“You cannot do a kindness too soon because you never know how soon it will be too late.”  Ralph Waldo Emerson
I think we need to stop thinking about one day, one month or one time of the year for raising awareness or paying it forward. Charitable giving is not about dishing out food at a church or delivering meal baskets only on Thanksgiving Day or Christmas; hunger, homelessness and loneliness occur 365 days of the year. It’s not about turning a month pink in October and purple in November and then moving on to another disease (note to journalists!). People are diagnosed with cancer and other major illnesses every day. And it’s not about feeling guilty because you don’t or can’t donate if your friend or relative repeatedly asks you to support their charity walk, chain letter, or new business endeavor. Giving must come from your heart and head and not from someone else’s heavy hand. And if your heart is not into it, so be it.

But if your heart is into giving, do your homework, thinking perennially not seasonally and give to what you love and believe in, not what someone else wants you to support or because it looks good for your image or your product

I attended the annual Citymeals-on-Wheels Women’s Power Lunch last Friday in New York City. Citymeals-on-Wheels deliveries nutritious meals to greater NYC’s homebound elderly who are often too frail or lonely to enjoy the bounty of the city. As I watched the photos of the elderly whom Citymeals feeds, I thought, “That person could be me or my husband one day.”

Photo: Citymeals-on-Wheels

At the lunch Citymeals-on-Wheels Co-Founder Gael Greene summed up her vision of philanthropy noting she couldn’t take it with her so she gives while she is alive where she can see the difference it makes.

My husband and I have no children who can inherit our so called “worldly goods”  and I have no siblings to care for. I hope when I die I have nothing left to give because I gave it my all when I was alive.


“All you have shall some day be given;
Therefore give now, that the season of giving
may be yours and not your inheritors.”

                                                                                                                                    Kahlil Gibran


posted by Melanie Young


What’s A Nice Girl Like You Doing Eating with Her Fingers?

MUMM- placecard I’m at sitting at the end of a long, elegantly attired communal table eating dinner with my fingers and  drinking some very good Mumm champagne. What’s more, I am sitting in a Jewish delicatessen just  north of  Manhattan’s Lower East Side eating an assortment of shellfish dishes from oysters on the half  shell and  pickled shrimp to  lobster salad and beet cured scallop.

So trés treif!  So deliciously decadent with all the slurping, sipping and licking of the fingers after each    course without the structure of forks, knives and spoons. And so thankful the organizers gave us all    hot towels to wash our city hands as we sat down to eat.  Pity anyone who keeps  kosher at the  delicatessen that night.   Mile End would have felt like a wrong turn off the deep end. But for the 40 or  so guests, an assortment of food and wine writers and bloggers, it was a Mile High Mumm experience:  a classic champagne with contemporary twist to dining in an unconventional setting.


On its website Mile End is a self-described “Montreal inspired Jewish Deli.” I don’t know any Canadian Jews and I always thought “Jewish Comfort Food” was pretty universal:  chopped liver, pastrami, lox and bagels, gefilte fish, smoked fish and brisket. But, why was this night different from all other nights?  Because on this night Mile End was tuned into a trés chic pop up dinner party of pop in your mouth foods served sans utensils paired with some very good champagne.

Mumm’s Chef de Cave Didier Mariotti, a charming French man (aren’t they all?) guided us through the menu pairings of G.H. Mumm Blanc de Blancs, G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge and, my personal favorite, G.H. Mumm Le Rosé.  As a bona fide pescatarian who loves a good dose of quality fizz, I was in my element.  I grew up with a Mom who preferred  Mumm Cordon Rouge (Mom’s Mumm), so Mumm was was my training champagne when I was taught by my wine instructor father  to drink responsibly and selectively.

Being that we were in a Jewish delicatessen, there was chopped liver.  Well, sort of.  It was more like chicken liver mousse on toast next to the lobster salad on challah and a shrimp toast.  Being that our host was a French champagne there was foie gras tucked in my pot sticker  side by side with the whitefish croquette.  Ooh la la! meets  Oy veh!

Chef de Cave Didier Mariotti Deftly Uncorks the Mumm with a Wine Glass
Chef de Cave Didier Mariotti Deftly Uncorks the Mumm with a Wine Glass

Naturally we goaded Didier to sabre a champagne bottle. Since when do you go to a champagne event where someone doesn’t brandish a sabre to pop open a bottle? Au contraire, Didier brandished no sabre.  Instead, with true savoir faire and a magic flick of his wrist he used the bottom of a wine glass  to  uncork the bottle.  For the uninitiated, don’t try that at home unless you have a broom, dustpan and extra set of glassware.

Dinner concluded with puffy donuts and passion fruit sorbet with more Mumm of course. It was hard not to ask for seconds of both.  But I resisted and only wished my last parting dish had been a small bowl of warm scented water and a hand towel on it to wipe my fingers.

Champagne Selection and Menu for the Evening

Menu of decidedly non traditional Jewish comfort fare created by Mile End’s Noah Bernamoff and James Merker.

G.H. Mumm Blanc de Blancs  ( SRP$75) –  served with Oysters of the Half Shell, Sake-Cured Trout Roe and Pickled Shrimp with Smoked Cocktail Sauce,

G.H. Mumm Cordon Rouge ( SRP $45) – served with a trio of Lobster Salad, Sunchoke, Black Truffle on Challah;  Chicken Liver Mousse on Rye Toast Point and “Shrimp Toast” with Hoisin and Cilantro. Also served with the soup course, a duo of Cauliflower with Caviar and Chive and Butternut Squash with Pecan Granola and Creme Fraiche

G.H. Mumm Le Rosé  (SRP $75) – served with Beet Cured Scallop with Blood orange and Poppyseed paired with Fried Oyster and Brussel Sprout Slaw. Also served with the fourth course: Smoked Potato with Bone Marrow Rillette, Foie Gras “Pot Sticker” with Apricot Mustard and Whitefish Croquette with Pickled Red Onions

Dessert with our choice of Mumm (I chose Le Rosé) – ethereally addictive donut puffs with ricotta, lemon curd and passion fruit sorbet

Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Soups
Butternut Squash and Cauliflower Soups
Fried Oyster, Brussels Sprout Slaw and Beet Cured Scallop with Blood Orange and Poppyseed
Fried Oyster, Brussels Sprout Slaw and Beet Cured Scallop with Blood Orange and Poppyseed


Mile End Delicatessen is  located at 53 Bond Street in Manhattan 212.529.2990 . There is a second location in Brooklyn at 97A Hoyt Street, Boerum Hill.  718.852.7510 Website



Thanksgiving Wines: Don’t stress out, here’s a list!

With Thanksgiving season upon us, many tend to stress out over the elaborate meal about to be consumed – “Do I wet-brine or dry-brine the turkey? Do I brine the turkey at all? How big a turkey? What sides should I serve? What’s a Parsnip, and who named it that? In what grocery store aisle does one actually find those little fried onion pieces that get sprinkled over the green bean casserole? What exactly IS a green bean casserole?

And then there’s the wine selection. The last thing one really needs to worry about when heading to town to buy that toilet paper roll-long list of groceries needed to complete the holiday feast, is what wines to buy. And while many store owners are happy to steer their customers in the right direction, let’s remember that they also are selling products, and will invariably point you in the direction of something that they probably got a good deal on and have a big stack of.

So, Let’s not turn Thanksgiving into ‘Thinksgiving!’ Let’s de-mystify it a bit, and go off the beaten path while we’re at it, as Thanksgiving, for all its significance and pageantry, is really quite a simple meal, and the wine selection process should be a simple endeavour, too. That said, let’s categorize it, breaking down the day into three parts: Before Turkey, During Turkey, and After Turkey. That’s how my family does it each year, and it helps define the day, and the drinking.

Before Turkey:

This is the part of the day that’s devoted to prepping the meal by those in the kitchen, each with a certain job, like peeling chestnuts for the stuffing, making the mashed potatoes, etc (the turkey went in the oven before everyone arrived); and to lending moral support to those in the kitchen by the family members that are less culinarily inclined. They do things like set the table, report the game score, and open the bottles of wine that go with the appetizer spread that’s out for everyone. Some families might not do appetizers. We do, and it usually involves a good amount of wine consumption help wash them down. We usually drink non-vintage Champagne, but any sparkling wine will do. We’ve also done Cava, Italian sparkling wine, and even sparkling wines from New York and California.  Mixing it up each year is a good thing. Here are a few that are good options (all bottle prices retail 750ml):


Mumm Cordon Rouge (NV), France, $45. One of the great NV Champagnes, made since the 1840s. You can’t go wrong.

Nicolas Feuillatte Brut Réserve (NV), France $37. One of the top champagne makers in the world, a personal favorite.



Pere Ventura Tresor Reserva, Cava, Spain, $17. A beautiful wine, and major bargain. Truly an artisan Cava. This is a small production family owned producer who makes some of the best bubbles south of Reims.


Italian Sparkling Wine:

Ferrari Perlé Brut Trento, $42. A well known and well-made sparkler from Trentino. One of Italy’s top producers. Great name, even better bubbles

Note: there are many good choices for Italian sparkling wines, including wines from Franciacorta, and Prosecco, which we drink all year. Want a Prosecco? Try Ruffino’s DOC Prosecco, $15.


New York:

Chateau Frank Blanc de Blancs (NV), Finger Lakes, $30

Chateau Frank Celebre (NV), Finger Lakes, $21. (Crémant style sparkling wine)

Both these wines are award-winning sparklers, consistently rated at the top of the game.



Iron Horse Classic Vintage Brut, Sonoma, $40.  Classic Indeed! From Joy Sterling, one of Sonoma’s great ambassadors.

There are many many sparkling wine options. Too many to list. Good sparkling wine is made all over the world now, with great representation also coming from countries like Austria, New Zealand, and South Africa. 


Still Wines:

For those who do not like Bubbles, there are also many still wine options. We tend to offer something fresh and lively, like Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Brancott Estate Sauvignon Blanc ($13), is a good choice here. For Chardonnay folks, try the Isabel Mondavi Chardonnay ($30) from California, a truly wonderful wine from Carneros fruit made by Isabel, Michael, Rob, and Dina Mondavi. This wine is also a good choice for those who want a white wine during the next phase of the day, as its body and richness on the palate hold up well against the food.


During Turkey:

Once the feast is finally on the table, most folks will say it’s time for red wine. I agree, but what kind?  Cabernets tend to be too much for the turkey, but there are lots of wines that do work. One that gets a lot of attention is Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau ($11). The first wine release of the year’s harvest in France’s Beaujolais region, and cause for celebration in its own right, it is soft, fresh and vibrantly fruit driven, and tends to work well with Thanksgiving and the spirit thereof.

For something a little more traditional, try one of the Beaujolais Cru wines, same grape (Gamay), but vinified to be aged for release the following year, not the following month. More structure, more finesse, and in some cases, like those from the villages (Cru) of Morgon,  Julienas, and Moulin a Vent, an ability to age for a few years. Again, producer Georges Duboeuf is a good bet for these wines, He bottles offerings from all ten Cru Beaujolais designations. Prices vary, and start around $16.

Want something with a little more body and tannic structure? Maybe a little less traditional are these wines, all of which tend to work quite well, and will be a hit at the table:


Bertani Amarone Della Valpolicella Classico, ($130). A splurge, but well worth it. I find the unique flavor profiles of Amarone to be wonderful with this meal. Current Vintage is 2006, but many stores will have older vintages available, as well.

Fattoria Le Pupille Morellino di Scansano, Tuscany. ($16). Morellino di Scansano is one of the unsung Sangiovese-based wines of Tuscany. Great wine, greater value.

Italy is obviously renowned for making reds, so a little experimentation  is always a fun thing, and will probably lead to true Thanksgiving enjoyment.



Ecocci Tinto Premium, Catalunya, ($34). Owned by designer Elsa Perretti who has owned property in Catalunya for 40 years. This winery makes very good wines strictly from French varietals. The winery is also Zero Carbon certified, Spain’s first to be credited as such.



Willamette Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir, ($20). The Skinny on WVV: Pinot Noir is a great Thanksgiviing wine. Oregon makes some of the world’s best. Jim Bernau has been doing it there longer than most. A win-win.


New York:

Channing Daughters Blaufrankish, Long Island, ($25).  Esoteric European Grape varietal, grown on Long Island. How can you go wrong? One of New York State’s most unique and delicious wines.

Again, there is great red wine made all over the world. So, if you have a style you like, then try it. The Thanksgiving meal tends to be  quite a versatile pairing opportunity.

After Turkey:

 Once the carcass is cleared, most families tend to take a bit of a break to digest. This is a good time for a digestif, right? Here’s one of the best:


Amaro Nonino ($35). Nonino is, hands down, one of the most lauded spirits producers in Italy, and a legend in the world of Amaro. 


Pie Time:

Finally, when the pies come out, it’s time for dessert wines. Almost every wine producing region in the world makes them. Find one you like from a grape you like: notable are Sauternes (made with Sauvignon Blanc, Tuscany’s Vin Santo wines (from Moscato grapes), German and New York Late Harvest Rieslings (also Ice Wines), and many others. All full of rich flavors that bring out the best in any dessert course.


All Done:

After dinner, the marathon meal over, our family has a tradition of opening a good bottle of aged vintage Port. There are a lot of good producers of Portugal’s  famous fortified wine. The new release, one of the best declared in a long time, is the 2011 vintage. If you buy one, plan on having it for Thanksgiving 2030, it’s way too young to drink now. If you have an old bottle, open it, decant it, let it breathe, pour and enjoy. If you don’t have any, try a 20 year old Tawny, one of the hidden gems of the Port industry, aged by the producers and bottled ready to drink. It takes the guesswork out of  ‘how old is just right’ – and allows for immediate gratification.  My go-to is the Sandemen 20 Year Old Tawny ($52). All nutty and soft, and a perfect end to a long, gluttonous day.

Happy Thanksgiving!



INSPIRE! The Healing Power of Dance

Melanie shares this inspirational  post from her blog Getting Things Off My Chest at


“Dance is the hidden language of the soul” ― Martha Graham


I’ve always felt my most vibrant, most creatively free and most beautiful when I am dancing. But I never truly understood the healing power of dance until later in life when I turned to dance movement to rebuild my body, mend a broken heart and reclaim my creative energy.

“It’s the heart afraid of breaking that never learns to dance.” ― Xiaolu Guo

pink tutu

As a young girl I trained first in ballet, then modern and jazz.  I was a somewhat ugly duckling, lacking in the “cute category” and taunted by male classmates. But when I was on a stage performing, I felt like a swan. My first “beautiful moment” was coming out for my curtain call in a bright pink tutu at the age of six after my debut as Trixie in Tennessee Williams’ “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” at the Chattanooga Little Theater. My father, Mel, stood at the footlights to present me with two bouquets. I opened my arms, took a deep curtsy and gathered my flowers. That night taught me I was destined for center stage, not the sidelines.

nancy sinatra

In the 1960s I frugged and boogaloed to television’s “Shindig” and “Hullabaloo” with my baby sitters when my parents went out for the night. I idolized Nancy Sinatra and practiced dancing like Nancy in front of my relection in large living room windor wearing my go go boots and mini skirt. I fell in love with Tom Jones and danced to “Delilah” and was thrilled to be able to see him on stage in Nashville with all the women tossing bras at him.

At age 12 I begged and finally convinced my mother to let me take ballroom dancing classes at Mrs. Howell’s Dance Studio where I learned to Box Step, Fox Trot, Waltz…and kiss a boy after class. I strapped on heels, wrapped silk scarves around my neck and gyrated and Hustled  to Donna Summer and Kool and the Gang in the 1970s. My high school classmates and I expended our pent up adolescent energy bobbing and bumping hips to Soul Train. I performed in my local high school dance troupe, Terpsichord, and tried my hand at choregraphy.

Donna SummerSoul Train

“Life is sweet when you pay attention. When it doesn’t seem sweet, put a sticker on your nose and do a funky dance.” ― Whitney Scott


Soul Train clip:


Fosse groupIn college I donned a hat and practiced jaunty hip juts and palmed the air in the  manner of choreographer Bob Fosse. At school dances we performed the Carolina Shag. My heart lept when I  first saw “A Chorus Line” and “Pippen” (the original) on Broadway, I watched the movie “The Turning Point” with Mikhail Baryshnikov over and over.Turning Point

The ugly duckling blossomed, but my legs and body shape were never right for dancing professionally. Eventually after college my ballet slippers and jazz shoes were donated to Goodwill, and my dancing was mainly at friends’ weddings or forays into New York City’s club scene, such as The Surf Club or Millennium.

And then for many years the dance music slowed down as my business pace sped up. The only rhythm in my life seemed to be the steady pulse of work and running my agency. We tap danced our way through client presentations and did victory dances each time we won accounts. Working with my clients was a different kind of dance where every move needed to be calculated and purposed.

I danced again, happily, at my wedding in New Orleans in 2007. David and I carefully curated the playlist of songs with New Orleans music we both love so much along with a mix of popular tunes. The playlist included two songs that meant more to me than I ever would realize at the time: “The Chattanooga Choo Choo” and “The Tennessee Waltz,” songs of my birthplace. These songs were the last two dances I had with my father when he was alive.


I turned to dance to heal my body and spirit after losing my father and my breasts, both to cancer in the same year. My weakened arms could not lift anything. My body ached. But I managed to move my limbs to the slow beat of music.  I started with careful, supervised movements to build strength in my core and arms and then turned to more active free flowing movements to maintain energy and stamina. And I grew stronger until I finally healed my broken wings and heart. Lately I have turned to Zumba and ballet which force me to concentrate and follow specific movements; two disciplines I have had to relearn.

“Dance, when you’re broken open. Dance, if you’ve torn the bandage off. Dance in the middle of the fighting. Dance in your blood. Dance when you’re perfectly free.” ― Rumi

Today, I take dance breaks during the day to counter the stiffness of sitting at the computer, lingering neuropathy in my arms and stress. On weekends, my husband and I crank up the music only audible to us and the legions of trees surrounding our house. I freestyle dance to my heart’s content, and grab my husband to join me. I don’t share a stage. No one can judge me. I am free to move as please.

Every day brings a chance for you to draw in a breath, kick off your shoes, and dance.” – Oprah Winfrey  

Studies have shown that steady daily exercise has marked health benefits to women, reducing the risk of certain cancers, heart disease, obesity and other ailments and disease. Dancing has been one of my most enjoyable and easy forms of exercise; in fact, it’s almost too enjoyable to call it “exercise.”

The healing power of dance was brought to my attention with these three examples:

deb coah flash mobBreast cancer patient Deb Cohan leads a flash mob dance in the operating room just prior to her double mastectomy. Talk about a stress buster!


Getting Things Off My Chest 2x3In my book, “Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide to moving for lifeStaying Fearless and Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer,” I interview exercise physiologist and dance educator Dr, Martha Eddy, who created Moving for Life, an aerobic movement program incorporating dance to help women recover from breast cancer. The program is free for women and a offers companion video, Dance to Recovery.

Moving for Life clip:



My esteemed PR industry colleague, Patrice Tanaka, documented how ballrom dancing helped lift her spirits, change her outlook and reclaim her life in her book, “Becoming Ginger Rogers.” Today, Patrice is not only a women to reckon with in the public relations world but also on the dance world as a competitive ballroom dancer. This is an inspirational book on many levels,





Dirty DancingLast night I curled up and watched “Dirty Dancing” and “Grease,” two of my favorite nostalgia dance movies that really get me hopping. It was a Saturday dance-athon on television, and I was alone. I got up and started to dance in front of the TV. My audience was my dog, Sazerac. It is simply impossible to stand on the sidelines and watch when there is room to dance and express yourself. Patrick Swazye said it, and I will rephrase it, No one puts Melanie in the corner.”

“Dirty Dancing” clip:

Pehaps if members of the U.S, Congress loosened up and listened to the words of the French actor and playwright Molière, our government would run more efficiently.  “All the ills of mankind, all the tragic misfortunes that fill the history books, all the political blunders, all the failures of the great leaders have arisen merely from a lack of skill at dancing.” A Congressional Flash Mob anyone?

isadora duncan- wildSo the next time you feel stuck inside, stick out your legs and lift your arms. Turn on some music; open up your shoulders, tuck in your stomach, toss back your head and sway your hips.  And move to your heart’s content.

“We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” ― Friedrich Nietzsche



INSPIRE! Melanie’s Tips For Staying Fearless & Fabulous

Melanie was featured on Voice America Radio’s “The Kathyrn Zox Show” November 6. A great show on taking charge of your health, staying positive and fit and finding your purpose. Zox-show-description

Here are Melanie’s Ten Easy Tips To Taking Care of Yourself to Stay Fabulous

1. Hydrate: Drink plenty of healthy fluids avoid dehydration. Your skin will say “thank you”

2. Gyrate: Get moving. Daily exercise is beneficial for boosting your energy and maintaining a healthy weight which is important for your overall health.

3. Masticate: Eat healthy, wholesome, unprocessed foods in small portions. Think green, lean, less fatty meat, more healthy oils, less processed foods for starters. Learn to eat well to live well. Think of food as the fuel your body needs to keep functioning and make sure that fuel is clean and healthy.

4. Drink alcohol in moderation. There are many conflicting reports: Moderate alcohol consumption can increase the risk of breast cancer in women. Moderate alcohol consumption can help decrease the risk of cardio vascular disease I women. A basic rule of thumb is this. Limit alcohol intake to one glass of wine a day if you are a woman. And if you work in the wine business (like me!) try to drink in moderation and make sure what you drink is great quality!

5. Be kind to your skin: Wear sunscreen daily. Moisturize for your skin type. Exfoliate but don’t overdo it. And don’t self treat the problem. It can worsen the condition.  If your skin has a breakout or rash, seek the advice of a licensed dermatologist rather than trying to fix the problem yourself.

6. Turn off the computer; tune out the TV and get some sleep. Sleep is one of the most inexpensive and effective beauty treatments around.

7. Don’t smoke or take recreational drugs and practice safe sex. Get your highs from exercise and better sex (safely) with the right partner. Or pursue a new passion or hobby to stimulate your creative side.

8. De-stress for success. Smiles will open doors for you.  Stress will shut you down. I truly believe stress contributed to my cancer and, looking back, nothing that stressed me out in the years leading up to my diagnosis really matter any more.

9. Be vigilant about your health screenings and checkups. Annual mammograms should start at age 40. Examine your breasts every month. If you see or feel something, don’t wait to see a doctor to examine you.

10. Make quality time for yourself and your loved ones. It’s not selfish to put your well being first; it’s smart. If you want to live a long life to enjoy with your husband, partner or children, then start with making your health and well being a priority.

MELANIE YOUNG- COLOR Melanie Young is author of the just released book, “Getting      Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide to Staying Fearless  and Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer” (Cedar Fort  Inc./$16.99) Available nationwide in paperback and ebook.  Follow Melanie @mightymelanie and