“October marks the beginning of what I like to call Donation Season; 92 days when charities around the world receive over a third of their yearly donations,” says Gregg Murset, certified financial planner and Chief Executive Officer of BusyKid. According to some recent reports on philanthropy, 34 percent of all donations are made in the last three months of the year, including roughly 25 percent of those between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Talk about last minute gift giving.

By all accounts, donations are back on the rise after the bad economic times of a few years ago. However, how much of the counted money comes from kids? There are an estimated 73.6 million kids under the age of 18 living in the US. Just imagine how charities would be impacted if just 10% of our kids gave $1 a week for an entire year? That’s a $382.7 million game-changer.

“I really believe that our children are the answer to the prayers of organizations that depend on precious donations year after year,” says Murset. “But if our kids don’t know why they should give or how to give, can we expect them to do so or be good at it?”

So, as parents, how do we do it? How do we make our kids understand and develop into a good givers? Here are a few suggestions Murset provides for us to consider:

Make It Real. You’ve seen the TV commercials from the animal shelter or about the kids in other countries. Those are effective because it makes a cause real to us. If we want our kids to be passionate or supportive of a charity, make it real to them and show them how their money can help.

It’s Their Idea.We all know what happens when we try to make kids do anything. So when it comes to giving, make it seem like it was their idea by exposing them to a particular charity and asking them for ideas how to help. At a minimum your goal should be to get them to share their allowance, birthday savings or money saved for a special toy a few times a year.

Be Family Strong. Donate to someplace as a family, especially if you have young children. Once you’ve passed along your words of wisdom and created a plan for your children to give, you need to drive home the message by doing it together. Let them see you and older siblings dropping coins into the bucket of a person ringing a bell or donating online. Either way, being family strong will pay off!

Work for It. Instead of parents always reaching into their wallets to make a donation, let the kids pitch in with hard earned allowance. BusyKid is a perfect example of how a child can use modern technology to build a routine of earning and sharing. By starting a routine of giving as a kid, he/she will likely discover that giving a small portion of a paycheck as an adult comes with other benefits too.

Money’s good, but don’t forget about time. My kids have no problem giving a part of their allowance each week at church, however, nothing bonded our family more than when we used part of our Summer and Fall vacations traveling the US to do work for families in need. Overall, we traveled nearly 10,000 miles in a packed RV to do chores for some struggling families. You don’t need to go to this extreme, but getting your family to help others when it’s not the holiday season, can be impactful in more ways than one.

He adds, with Americans giving about 4 percent of their yearly income to charities, it’s clear that kids can make a huge impact on the success of many organizations. As parents, we should get our kids vested in the game much earlier and more often.

Photo by London Scout

Hair Loss-Pevonia

August marks National Hair Loss Awareness Month. Did you know more than 46 million women across the US are affected by hair loss, and of course more are at risk?This statistic indicates hair loss in women has increased by OVER 50 percent in the last 10 years from the previously reported number of 30 million women suffering from the condition.

Having empowered hundreds of thousands of women across the country to regain control of their hair loss since 2009, Keranique partnered with a well-known research firm, Wakefield Research, to get answers from women on this growing issue and to raise awareness about women’s hair loss. The survey findings prove hair loss issues affect more women than one might think.

According to the survey:

  • Nearly 40 percent of U.S. women 18+ have noticed signs of hair loss or thinning
  • Over 50 percent of US women 58 or older have experienced it
  • That number jumps to over 60 percent  for women age 65+
  • These signs include: a widening part, hair being thinner than it used to be, significant signs of overall hair loss, and seeing through to the scalp where they couldn’t before especially in the temples or at the crown of the head.

Who is at risk?  Research indicates women in one or more of these 3 categories are more susceptible to hair loss and thinning:

  • Women are 97 percent more likely (almost twice as likely) to experience signs of hair loss if they have a relative with hair loss compared to those who don’t, and 61 percent of women who have relatives with hair loss are experiencing symptoms of hair loss.
  • Women who have had chemical treatments are 71 percent more likely to experience hair loss than those who have not, and over half of women who have had chemical treatments are experiencing signs of hair loss.
  • Women who have been ill or taking medicine are 81 percent more likely to suffer from hair loss and thinning than those who have not, and over half of women who have been ill or taking medicine are experiencing signs of hair loss.

Unhealthy Hair Habits.

  • It doesn’t help matters that a majority of women have done or experienced things that can eventually lead to hair loss or thinning issues. These include: having color treated or highlighted their hair (47 percent), have had chemical treatments such as perms or relaxers (15 percent) or have had weaves, tight braids or hair extensions (6 percent).The survey also identified the following important facts about hair loss that every woman should know. Key takeaways include:

Don’t Stress (seriously).

  • Survey data indicates there is a clear connection between stress and hair loss.  Women who have been more stressed than usual lately are 32 percent more likely to experience signs of hair loss than those who have not.

Unflattering Perceptions.

  • Of women experiencing hair loss or thinning, 97 percent would choose to either make their hair healthier, thicker, fuller, shinier or longer if they could. This may be because more than three out of every five women experiencing signs of hair loss would agree that women with thinning hair look older. Over 99 percent of women experiencing signs of hair loss feel more confident when their hair looks great.
  • Thinning hair can send the wrong message to others. In fact, 81 percent of women feel that thinning hair affects a woman’s appearance in a negative way.

Head in the Sand.

  • Thinning hair or hair loss aren’t topics many women like to talk about. In fact, 80 percent of women experiencing hair loss don’t talk to their doctor or dermatologist about it, and 66 percent don’t talk to their hairstylist.

Desire for Change.

  • Women say the way their hair looks does impact how they feel. In fact, nearly all feel more confident when their hair looks great. But, most also wish there was something they could change about their hair. This includes: making it healthier, having it be thicker and fuller, making it shinier and having it grow longer.

“Healthy, beautiful hair can boost a woman’s self-confidence, that’s why hair loss or thinning can be such an emotional blow,”  says international hair artist, Franco Della Grazia. “It’s an issue that is not commonly talked about, that in actuality, many women face.”

If you’re dealing with hair loss, or are seeing the first signs, talk to your medical doctor and don’t be shy to speak to your hair stylist too. With these staggering facts, perhaps you’ll feel better knowing that you’re not alone.

Photo by Alex Holyoake


When it comes to aging, Americans harbor plenty of concerns: Going broke. Succumbing to Alzheimer’s disease. Spending the final lonely years in a nursing home. But, there’s no need to think that grey hair automatically translates to a dreary existence. And how about wrinkles? We do have remedies, you know.

“There are a number of things people can do right now that will increase the odds that their senior years will be healthy, productive and rewarding,” says Chris Orestis, a senior-care advocate and author of the books Help on the Way and A Survival Guide to Aging.

Orestis, CEO of Life Care Funding, has for years worked with families to help manage long-term care, something that about 70 percent of people over 65 eventually need. But, he says it’s also important to help seniors and their families make the most of what should be the best years of their lives.

A healthy diet and exercise are two of the better known ingredients for improving the chances you’ll lead a long and fruitful life. Others include:

Attitude. Life hands everyone challenges, but it’s how you deal with those challenges that makes the difference. “Keeping a positive attitude is important,” Orestis says. “Do you approach each day with zeal or with dread? Are you active or sedentary? It’s critical to live life with a purpose because it will make you strive to be healthy of mind, body and in your attitude.”

Adaptability. People change as they age and so does the world around them. “You need to be prepared to manage a whole host of changes in a positive way,” Orestis says. “Your body changes. Your mind changes. There are changes in your career, in the community you live in and in the technology we all use every day.” Those who do the best job of adapting are the ones most likely to thrive, he says.

Relationships. People who nurture relationships are more likely to live higher-quality lifestyles. “As we age, relationships will change and it’s important to stay engaged, whether in person or from afar,” he says. “We also need to build new relationships throughout our lives.”

Activities. Filling your time with activities—coaching a youth soccer team, learning guitar, traveling—can help give you a more meaningful and healthy life. “One of the keys to people who live long lives is that their life continued to have meaning,” Orestis says. “Hobbies, volunteer work, learning new skills or getting more involved with your family are all paths to an active and meaningful life.”

“Aging shouldn’t be a one-way ticket to poor health, loneliness, boredom and a declining quality of life,” he says. “The key to enjoying a long and fulfilling life is in your own hands.”

Photo by Annie Spratt

Krystal Monisera-Pevonia

Meet Krystal Monisera, 29, a Jupiter, Florida mom who navigated her way out of a severe postpartum abyss through physical fitness. Right after her second child was born, the young mother of two recalls that a “scary” depression began to overtake her. Knowing that depression ran in her family and unsure of her next steps, Krystal was fortunate to discover weight training and physical fitness, which she says “jolted me out of the fog of postpartum depression.” Now she wants to spread the message to other new moms experiencing the baby blues and significant postpartum depression.

“I was lucky because some of my girlfriends who were also new moms suggested we all get into physical fitness and begin working out together as a group.”  Krystal claims that if it hadn’t been for her friends pushing her to join them in the gym, she doesn’t know what would have become of her emotional state at that time. The women began a CrossFit regimen and Krystal noticed that her depression began to lift, sans any medical intervention.

In describing her depression shortly after giving birth, Krystal expresses, “After having my 2nd beautiful baby, looking in the mirror was hard. I was overweight with no baby growing inside of me to give me an excuse for why I was so big. I would have this overwhelming feeling of tears building up inside and it scared me. Your body goes numb and this sadness takes over. My mother suffered with depression, and at that moment I felt what my mom went through. I never told anyone how I felt. I kept the feelings to myself and always rocked a smile, but inside I was drowning.”

Though she was no stranger to athletics (she has been a competitive tennis player since her early teens), it was while working with a personal trainer for CrossFit that Krystal says “I fell in love with the whole personal training side of things.” She realized that she would use her own experiences to help other women, particularly new moms, to overcome depression through fitness.

Krystal was inspired to get certified as a personal trainer through National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM).  Since becoming certified, she has made it her mission to help people “take back their lives.”  The passion she sees in her clients fuels her fire to continue helping those who want a transformation, inside and out.

Through her own Fusion Fitness, Krystal is able to encourage moms on a daily basis. And, for new moms reading this today, here are her top three tips to making a difference, now:

  1. Exercise releases endorphins, so put the horse before the cart! Workout even if you’re not feeling up to it. You need the endorphins to feel good. Staying indoors and sedentary until you’re feeling happy is a mistake.
  2. The tummy is a huge concern for new moms. Planks, leg raises and Russian twists help tighten lower abs, reduce tummy fat and make you sweat, and they can be done at home with no weights.
  3. Working out your legs and booty will help reshape your body after childbirth, and will give you a confidence boost in clothes.