Happy National Kick Butts Day!!! – What are you doing to kick the habit?



Kick Butts Day is a national day of activism that empowers youth to stand out, speak up and seize control against Big Tobacco.

On Kick Butts Day, teachers, youth leaders and health advocates organize events to:

  1. Raise awareness of the problem of tobacco use in their state or community;
  2. Encourage youth to reject the tobacco industry’s deceptive marketing and stay tobacco-free; and
  3. Urge elected officials to take action to protect kids from tobacco.

Kick Butts Day is organized by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids. The first Kick Butts Day was held in 1996.


The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a leading force in the fight to reduce tobacco use and its deadly toll in the United States and around the world. Our vision: A future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco.

We work to save lives by advocating for public policies that prevent kids from smoking, help smokers quit and protect everyone from secondhand smoke. To achieve our mission, we:

  1. Promote public policies proven to reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. These include higher tobacco taxes, comprehensive smoke-free laws, well-funded tobacco prevention and stop-smoking programs, and tough regulation of tobacco products and marketing.
  2. Expose and counter tobacco industry efforts to market to children and mislead the public.
  3. Strengthen tobacco control efforts in the United States and worldwide by providing support and information to our many partners.
  4. Mobilize organizations and individuals to join the fight against tobacco.
  5. Empower a tobacco-free generation by fostering youth leadership and activism.
  6. Inform the public, policy makers and the media about tobacco’s devastating consequences and the effectiveness of the policies we support.

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that accepts no government or tobacco industry funding. We rely on contributions from individuals, philanthropic foundations, corporations and other non-profit organizations.

Get more information from Kick Butts Day

My Friendship, My Mistake & What I’ve Learnt by Anthony Bozzola (BLW Contributor)


Throughout my life I’ve been fortunate enough to have a number of friends from a number of different places at a number of different times. I’ve moved around so naturally some have come, some have gone, some are still here and some aren’t. I’ve never really been bothered when any of them have disappeared except in the case that I’m about to talk about. The friendship in question may not have ended quite the way that it should have but what it did do was confirm a belief that I’ve always had; that we meet some people in our lives for a reason and even if we don’t realise it at the time, we’re supposed to learn something from these people. I think I may have recently figured out what it was that I was meant to learn.

The person in question was totally different from pretty much any close friend I’ve had before or since and I think that’s perhaps what made them so special. Standing at barely 5 foot, hailing from a city I’d never heard of in a country I’ve never been to; this person was a far-cry from the 6,3, kind-of lanky white boy that writes what your reading. Yet from the second our hands came into contact and our eyes locked onto each other’s (complete with that thing where you linger on each-other for what feels like an hour) I think we both knew we were going to be close.

Not only were our physical appearances a direct contrast but so were our initial personalities. I, on one hand, was chatty, loud and maybe a little too brash and obnoxious for my own good. She on the other hand was shy, softly spoken and sometimes a little too unsure of herself for hers. Yet we clicked; almost instantly we were bantering and making jokes that any outsider wouldn’t understand and maybe even think were a little strange or offensive. By one month we were hugging when parting ways. By three months we knew things about each other that we didn’t tell a lot of our closest friends and colleagues. By 4 months we were holding hands in public, using any excuse to make physical contact and doing other weird ‘they-may-be-just-friends-now-but-its-building-up-to-something-more’ type s*it reserved for crappy rom-coms. By four and a half, maybe five, months we’d seen each other at our best and worst and knew we could show each other every side of who we were without fear of judgement.

The amazing thing about friendships of this nature is that the parties involved often have an uncanny ability of bringing the best out of each other. I became more thoughtful, less inpatient (maybe it’s a cultural thing but she could put saints to shame!) and felt like I could take on the world. All the while she became more sure of herself, more talkative and witty, her vocabulary broadened hugely (picking up a lot of my conversational Welsh slang along the way) and she seemed to rarely not be smiling, even with the impending pressures that were waiting around the corner for her.

Unfortunately even as much as we tried to ignore them these pressures got bigger and uglier as they got closer. Due to matters involving ridiculous legislation way above either of our control she would soon have to leave my country (that she contributed more to than many people born in it) and return to the one mentioned above. We made the most of the time we had left; we went out to eat, partied a little, went for coffee, cooked each other meals, took up a night class together, signed up for Zumba (for nothing, since the instructor fell pregnant before we ever actually went!), I even met her mother. Inevitably and without a Polaroid in sight things started to develop. After almost a year of being around each other and interacting at least a few days of every week I was ready to move past the ‘Friendship Stage’ and, for what it’s worth, I believe she was pretty high on me as well. We even admitted to each other that in different circumstances we would both be more than willing to give each other a chance at being ‘more-than-friends’. To cut a long story short and due in most part to the issue described above this was not to be.

Sadly, and I chalk this down to inexperience (I’d never really felt the ‘love’ thing before), fear of loss and maybe even trust issues I did not react well to this stimulus. We argued and fell out over an issue that on hind-sight wasn’t really there in a scenario that I’m not too proud to admit was at least 60 maybe even 70% my fault where I jumped to a conclusion that I had no right or basis to jump to. This was particularly distressing as it resulted in this person, who I honestly adored and who was already under an immense amount of pressure and needed my support more than ever, scolding me and despite my protests (I’ve never ‘begged’ for anything but I came mighty close over this) denying me the chance to say goodbye to her properly before taking off to a place that isn’t exactly nearby, it’s not even the same continent and I haven’t seen her since.

After spending far too much time drinking, smoking cigarettes (maybe the odd other thing) and listening to Bruno Mars I pulled my head out of the gutter and got my life back on track. I did the upset thing, the angry thing, the ‘Quick, I need to get laid by somebody right now!’ thing and all points in between. Truth is with a clear mind I finally understood that this girl and my time with her was meant to teach me something.

At the end of our time together I spent too long reading into things that weren’t there when I should have been focusing on the positives. The laughs, the talks, the immense sense of trust and protectiveness that we seemed to have over each other and the fact that she bought a warmth and positivity into my life that would take a long time to learn to live without.

The point I’m trying, so very badly, to make is that if you have a close friend or family member; even if they do something that kind of p*sses you off or puts some doubt in your mind never let that be the thing that defines your relationship and never be so inward thinking that you forget about what they’re going through when they do these things. This is what I did and I paid the price. I’ll be saying goodbye to my family and my best friends in around 6 weeks and even though they do things that bug me and I’m sure I do the same to them, I’d never let anything negative overshadow the good stuff as it’s this stuff that matters; appreciate what the relationship is and don’t squander it over what you want it to be.

I’ll likely never see the girl discussed in this piece again but from the bottom of my heart I wish her the best and thank her for the time she spent in my life. I loved that girl, I really did…

I’m Tha Bozz and that’s my opinion.

Check out other great articles from Anthony Bozzola

Survival of the Fittest – List of common Chemicals that are making you Fat & Depressed



We’ve all heard that if we eat too many calories, we’ll get fat. But there’s more to it: it’s not just the calories, but the chemicals, in our food that contribute to obesity.

Some of these chemicals — called “obesogens” — trigger our bodies to store fat even though we might be restricting calories. The effects are complex: some of these chemicals increase the number of fat cells, others expand the size of fat cells and still others influence appetite, cravings, fullness and how well the body burns calories. In addition to obesogens, other synthetic food ingredients have been shown to help us pack on the pounds and leave us feeling depressed, even when when we think we’re eating healthy.

To stop feeling that way, here are the top five chemicals to avoid in food.

  1. Growth Hormones & Antibiotics

Several drugs, growth hormones, steroids and antibiotics are routinely given to conventionally raised animals to fatten them up on less food. Residues from some of these drugs have been found in meat samples, so you very well could be eating these growth-promoting drugs every time you eat a steak. These drugs are believed to contribute to the obesity epidemic and are poorly regulated in the U.S.

How to avoid: Choose only certified organic grass-fed meat and dairy products (preferably local). Treatment with growth hormones and growth-promoting antibiotics isn’t permitted in organically grown animals. As an added benefit, organic grass-fed beef has been shown to contain more conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), which may actually help you lose weight.

  1. Artificial & Natural Flavors

All of the chemicals that make processed food taste good — monosodium glutamate (MSG), artificial flavors and natural flavors — are just cheap replacements for the real thing and can cause you to eat more than you would otherwise.

With the innocuous-sounding term “natural flavors,” companies can put whatever they want in your food that’s generally recognized as safe, including naturally occurring glutamate bi-products like MSG, known excitotoxins. These excitotoxins cause your taste buds to experience irresistibility when it comes to food.

How to avoid: Steer clear of processed foods, particularly those that have artificial flavors, natural flavors, monosodium glutamate or other “processed free glutamic acid” additives like autolyzed yeast extract and hydrolyzed proteins.

  1. Artificial Sweeteners

Think you’re going to lose weight by switching from regular soda to diet? Think again. Researchers have discovered that artificial sweeteners like those in Diet Coke, can affect gut bacteria, leading to more weight gain. If that isn’t bad enough, the artificial sweetener Aspartame has been linked to mood swings and depression.

How to avoid: Don’t eat anything with artificial sweeteners (sucralose, aspartame, acesulfame potassium, saccharin) in the ingredient list. Limit your sugar intake overall, but choose unrefined sweeteners such as coconut palm sugar, maple syrup, raw honey and dried fruits such as dates.

  1. Pesticides

Out of all the common pesticides Americans are regularly exposed to, the majority of them are “endocrine disruptors“, making them obesogens. Even in tiny amounts, endocrine disruptors have the ability to disrupt major weight controlling hormones (catecholamines), interfere with the natural hormone systems that regulate metabolism and lead to weight gain.

How to avoid: Minimize your exposure to pesticides by choosing certified organic produce and products. (Synthetic pesticides are prohibited in organic farming.) If organic isn’t available, choose fresh produce that’s on the Environmental Working Group’s “Clean 15″ list of produce with the least pesticide residue.

  1. Plastics

Whether it’s a bottle of salad dressing or container of leftovers, most of us are exposed to plastics on a daily basis. Many of these plastics contain substances such as phthalates or bisphenol A (BPA), known endocrine disruptors that have beendirectly linked to increased fat storage. These chemicals have the ability to leach into food and have infiltrated our society so much that they’ve been found 93% of urine samples tested in America.

How to avoid: Choose your water bottles, storage containers, straws and eating utensils wisely, and stock up on those made from glass or stainless steel instead of plastic. Glass jars make an affordable option for storing food.

Credit: Mind Body Green

Better Me by Elephant Journal (BLW Contributor)


Flickr/Bo Boswell

I stopped asking, “Why me?”

I stopped stating that life was unfair.

I stopped thinking that my luck couldn’t get any worse.

I stopped looking at myself as a walking magnet for all things unjust,

And I started saying, “Better me.”

Better me to deal with the darker things that life seemed to direct my way.

Better me to handle these demons—I’ve been battling monsters my whole life.

I’ve learned to navigate through chaos and obscurity.

I’ve learned to thrive with nothing.

I’ve learned to roll with the punches, and build castles from the stones that were thrown.

Better me to carry the weight of these burdens, than someone else who may stumble and falter.

Who better to slay dragons, than the girl who learned to be a warrior so early on?

I no longer allow the thought “Why me?” to creep into my consciousness—

Now, I simply say, “Better me”—because I’ve got this.

Photo: Flickr/Bo Boswell

Check out other great articles from Elephant Journal

This is your Chance to Post on BLW!!! – Share your Thoughts, Stories & Ideas with us






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Sunday Funday!!! – Happy National Vodka Day – How to make Skittles Vodka Recipe


Bipolar Disorder: From Tot to Grandmother (Non-Fiction) by Tessa Can Do It (BLW Contributor)



This is an overview of my life from when my Mental Illnesses first showed up til now. It has spanned my whole life.

My name is Tessa and I was born back in the mid 1950’s. Mental illness was not talked about then. Shhh, mommy had an aunt commit suicide many years ago. Shhhh, daddy has depression and alcholism. Shhh girl don’t talk about what you feel like or ask what is wrong with you. WE don’t talk about that. Don’t you understand?

I was a small child and something was definitely wrong with me. My mom gave me tranquilizers as a baby to keep food in my stomach. I didn’t sleep all night. Whenever life went wrong mom was there with a tiny pill to calm me down.

When I was around seven or eight years old I spent everyday getting yelled at for not going to sleep at night. I told them I wasn’t tired. I could NOT sleep. I didn’t need it. This would go on for months and then I would be depressed and not want to get up. I just wanted to be left alone with a book, but no, we had to fight over it and in the end I was shoved out the door and told not to come back until I was called. I was terrified to be out there.

I was not a bad child. Though I understand I threw some memorable temper tantrums and wouldn’t breathe. A glass of water was thrown in my face to shock me out of it. If I got hysterical crying and laughing I was smacked across the face to snap me out of it.

Looking back now I can see the signs of Bipolar Disorder and anxiety at the very least. As I approached the teen years it got worse. They still tried to force me to sleep. I didn’t sleep and got up everyday and went to school. Then would come the depression and emotional times. Right as clockwork.

My parents were frustrated, but didn’t know what to do. My mom used her little pills to calm me down as necessary.

As a teenager, that is when things did become a bit worse. When told to stop talking at school and I wouldn’t they would make me change seats. I did it with much noise as I stamped across the room and slammed my books on the desk. My teachers complained to my mom and she would just ask them to change the other child. It would be much easier on them. I still do that today when I am mad. I slam things.

Then I lost it and had a mini breakdown in German class. My brother was in the same class. I yelled at the teacher that she wasn’t teaching us anything and the class was worthless. We didn’t know it, but these incidents were Bipolar Disorder related.  I could be the sweetest thing in the world and then the devil took over. After the teacher talked to my mom it was decided to put me in study hall. My poor brother was stuck there.

Then my boyfriend who had just came back after I broke it off with him, told me that we have sex or we’re breaking up again. I was in a terrible quandary. I was 17 and I was taught it was wrong before marriage and I was afraid of my parents finding out. However, I couldn’t face another breakup so I allowed it to happen. He messed me up even more emotionally and I turned on him and didn’t want him to ever touch me again in any way.

In the meantime  I met someone else. He wouldn’t date me until I dropped the boyfriend and I was very willing after what he did to me. Well things didn’t go as planned and when I told him I wanted to break up with him he offered marriage. He knew I was emotionally easily manipulated and then threatened suicide if I didn’t say yes. I couldn’t take it and be responsible for that and I had to say yes.

Now if I could see the future I would have known that I married a Narcissist, but we were just 17 at the time, going on 18. Against my parents wishes, we got married at age 19 and had our first child at age 21.

Yes he did touch me occasionally and eventually I had three children. Those were the happiest days of my life and marriage.

Marriage continued to make me unhappy. He became obsessive and manipulated me all the time. My wants and needs were not considered important. I dreaded his touch. It disgusted me. In my mind he raped me. It was worse than physical rape would have been.

I worried there was something wrong with me and one night he tried to touch me and I flipped. I told him do not touch me! You look at me like I am a slab of meat. I hate it when you touch me.

That started my years of mental illness treatment. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and the medicine parade started. I couldn’t take them.

When I started changing and becoming stronger he wanted me to stop. He was losing some control. He was embarrassed that his wife was seeing a therapist. He wouldn’t come with me. He claimed it was all me and he had no problems.

I knew the only way out of that marriage without him trying suicide, was for him to want to leave. One night he lost it and I almost called the cops. He was screaming and carrying on about me leaving and yelled that he would commit suicide first and he went out to his truck and it was the coldest night of the winter and I only had a night shirt on, no slippers. I was out there barefoot in the snow and ice and no coat trying to keep him from shutting the truck door. His mind had snapped.

Finally he snapped out of it and saw me and we went back inside. He would not discuss it.

I wanted to be with another man to see if there was something wrong with me. I didn’t want to cheat on him so I told him I wanted an open marriage. He could do whatever he wanted and with whoever. There were rules. Safety rules for one. Plus we had children and they needed to be kept an eye on.

Eventually he broke the rules. I found out he was lying about where he was going and that the woman was lying to him about her and her husband wanting to swap spouses. Her husband knew nothing about it and demanded a divorce when he caught them.

Perfect for me. I wasn’t the one who left. He ruined the marriage and no committing of suicide. Not even me. He was watching me and waiting for a breakdown. Wasn’t happening. I was getting what I wanted. It sure hasn’t been easy, but I am happier.

After the divorce I had visitation rights to my 12 year old son. At 16 he demanded to live with me. He told his father if he said no he was running away he wasn’t staying there. I got my son back at age 16.

Did things go easy? No, they didn’t. I was getting worse from my un-medicated Bipolar Disorder and having problems with my jobs. I started therapy and then one day I was deeply depressed and didn’t want to spend the next 25 to 30 years living like I was.

I tried to commit suicide. I was unsuccessful and committed for 9 days and started on medications again. This time though I had someone who really took the time to try different things and she stayed away from the new drugs which I already knew I couldn’t take. I am on an old mood stabilizer and one of the only new drugs I hadn’t tried. I have been stable for 5 months now.

Check out other great articles from Tessa Can Do it

Credit: IB Times

Opie remembers… by Bare Naked in Public (BLW Contributor)




A Midwest summer afternoon, the weather report promises a day hotter than yesterday and a good dose of humidity; I happily trade the breezes of southern California beaches for any time spent with my mom’s family, my family in Wisconsin.

The garage wide open, decorated with photographs, and crepe paper streamers, my sister Susy and I mill about the tables and chairs, chatting and waiting for guests to arrive. Before long, this quiet space will be filled with family and friends gathered to celebrate my maternal grandmother’s one hundredth birthday. I imagine more than fifty people will come today, seven of her eight children, sons and daughters-in-law, grandchildren and their spouses, great-grandchildren, and a few old friends, all here to honor Henrietta Jensen, also known as Opie.

The last time I saw my grandma was during a visit with my sisters nearly two years ago. Before seeing her, our aunts explained that she struggled with remembering names and faces these days, and often wished to avoid social situations. Frustrated and uncomfortable, she was aware that her memory was failing. Still, I hoped that she would remember me. In my Aunt Jackie’s home I cheerfully greeted her and thought I detected faint recollection and she certainly behaved as if she knew me. We talked for quite a while, yet I do not recall the details of our conversation, only that she interrupted me and proudly stated,I know you. You’re Orlando’s daughter. To which I smiled and replied, Yes, I am. Funny that she made the association with my dad, but did not mention my mom, her daughter.

I know that today will be different; she may not remember me at all. I am ready to accept that possibility. The first guests arrive, my Aunt Jackie and Uncle Jerry, and my grandma, riding shotgun, so tiny, peering over the dashboard with her oversized sunglasses. Susy runs to the van. I stand back watching as my grandma is helped out of the car, her walker arranged to receive her. She slowly and carefully makes her way up the driveway and into the garage. Susy directs me to clear some space so that the walker can be easily maneuvered. With my aunt’s support, my grandma gently sits in her place of honor.

Once seated, I hold her hands, gently squeezing them, I wish her a happy birthday. No sign of recognition. She doesn’t know me, but she smiles anyway and says thank you. I call her grandma and I can see the wheels turning, wondering who is she? I quickly tell her my name, and ask her what she wants to drink. She replies, without a second thought, a beer.

After delivering my grandma’s beer, I watch as guests continue to arrive and greet her one by one. Her children she sees with some regularity and can remember them by name. She struggles to remember in-laws and grandchildren. When politely prompted with a name, she quickly says; I know who they are, doing her best to preserve her dignity. While her memory fails, she is still witty, quick with a joke, and loves to playfully tease. She repeats herself quite a bit. But, shit, she’s one hundred years old.

I make my way back to her, kneeling at her side; somehow our conversation leads us to discuss her work as a nurse, my work as an educator, public service and the similarities. She asks me where I live, and I tell her California. She tells me proudly, my oldest daughter lives in California with her children, she really loves it there. She is talking about my mom, me, and my siblings. In that moment, she has no memory of her daughter’s passing. I smile and tell her, I love California too.

We talk some more and I ask if we can take a picture together. I show her my phone and the camera feature and explain to her what a selfie is. I tell her I am famous for taking selfies. She seems a bit confused about the idea, but she humors me. With my arms outstretched with phone in hand, she smiles in amusement to see our faces looking back at us as I snap a picture.

Wonderful stories are shared throughout the day. I am touched as folks recall fond and funny memories of my mom and dad. I overhear my sister Susy talking to my grandma about my parents and when they died. My grandma seems confused and as far as I can tell, she is not connecting my sister’s story to me or our conversation in any way. I imagine her day is a collection of little stories that seem completely unrelated.

In the late afternoon my uncles help my grandma move from the garage to a chair under the shade of a giant tree. I join my sisters and my aunts now gathered around her, talking and laughing. With no memory of our earlier conversation, she asks where we are from and we tell her California. Again, she says, my oldest daughter lives in California wither family. She loves it there. I want so badly for her to remember Susy telling her earlier that my parents had died, to make the connection, but she does not. My sister Mary gets a little teary, and Susy sighs. None of us correct her, or remind her that my mom has passed away.

The day ends so beautifully, each of us taking a turn to give my grandma a warm goodbye, final birthday wishes, and say I love you, said again and again. I am grateful to be a part of such a wonderful loving family.

I am comforted that my grandma does not mourn the loss of her oldest daughter. I am happy believing that in my grandma’s heart and mind my mom is alive, loving her children and her life in California.

Happy Birthday Grandma . . . from Judy and her family in California.


Check out other great articles from Bare Naked in Public

WooHoo – We’re Back BLW Fans!!! (Thank you)



Sorry for the lack of postings but I got so busy with work and trying to write two new books, which are coming out next year. Just letting you guys know that we are back and we are going to change up the format postings to bring more interesting stories just for you because as you know we love our fans.

Thank you for sticking with us! We hope we can entertain and educate you at the same time.

Stay tuned for our new posts and our latest projections!!!

Thank you again BLW Fans!!!

This is your chance to Post on BLW!!! – Share your Thoughts, Stories & Ideas with us!!!






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