Archive for September, 2015

Fall Fun in the Sun: Emily Kaufman has Ways to Save on a Florida Vacation in Ft. Lauderdale

September 18, 2015

Fall is here, but in case you’re missing the summer weather, ’tis the season for fall fun in the sun and some great off season travel deals. The Travel Mom, Emily Kaufman has the latest on some fall vacation and getaway ideas.

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Fall is a great time to travel since the weather is terrific, the summer crowds are gone, and you can get incredible travel deals. Also, airfares tend to be lower and now, gasoline prices are low making a fall road trip a good value. Greater Ft. Lauderdale is a great fall travel destination because it’s a short flight or a short drive from many mid-west and east coast locations.   With over 27 miles of beaches, 300 miles of waterways, and lots of fun things to do when you get there, it’s a great fall getaway.


Travel Promotions for Sunny Florida. The fall season is typically the shoulder season in travel so you’ll find lots of great vacation deals.   Here are two that really give you a lot bang for your buck.

See You in September Promotion. Free hotels are always a great savings, right? With Greater Ft. Lauderdale’s “See You in September” promotion you can book two nights at exclusive hotels in Greater Ft. Lauderdale and get the third night for free. Rates start at $95/night at the Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach and you can stay at other beautiful hotels like the B Ocean Resort, Courtyard by Marriott, and more. Here are some of the deals you get right now:

  • B Ocean Resort Fort Lauderdale – rates start at $139/night
  • Courtyard By Marriott Fort Lauderdale Beach – rates start at $169/night
  • Crowne Plaza Hollywood Beach Resort – rates begin at $95/night
  • Hollywood Beach Marriott – rates start at $159/night
  • Neptune Hollywood Beach Hotel – rates start at $99/night
  • Riverside Hotel – rates start at $129/night
  • Sonesta Fort Lauderdale beach – rates start at $159/night
  • W Fort Lauderdale – rates start at $229/night

It’s available through October 12th and go to for all the details.

Vacation Like a VIP Program. Everyone prefers to Vacation Like a V.I.P. and this program has affordable pricing at some of Greater Ft. Lauderdale’s top hotels and resorts like the Ritz Calrton, W, Marriott, and Hyatt Regency plus a lot of extras when you stay.   You can get the V.I.P. package through October 12th and it includes complimentary room upgrades; $100 resort credits for spas, golf, food & beverage services; a $25 American Express gift card; and the Summer Savings 2-for-1 Card, valued at $2,000 in savings on over 70 attractions in the area. To find out more, go to


Things to Do When You Get There. Greater Fort Lauderdale’s fall events calendar is filled with festivals, celebrations and shows so there’s always something to do. Some can’t-miss events include:

Duende Festival – To cap off its centennial celebrations, Broward 100, Broward County will host Duende, a three-day public celebration of the arts, culture and community from October 2-4. Duende, which means “a quality of passi​on and inspiration; a spirit; having soul, a heightened state of emotion, expression and authenticity,” will feature street festivals, performance arts, concerts and a Broadway-style show featuring multiple Grammy Award-winning entertainer Jon Secada, recording artist Linda Eber and talent from hit shows including ““So You Think You Can Dance,” “The Voice,” and “X-Factor”

Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show – Greater Fort Lauderdale, with its 300 miles of navigable waterways, is known as the “Yachting Capital of the World” and the “Venice of America.” From November 5-9 the destination will host the largest boat show in the world, the 56th Annual Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show. More than a billion dollars’ worth of boats, yachts and accessories from every major marine manufacturer will be displayed throughout the destination.

Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival – Movie buffs will want to check out the Fort Lauderdale International Film Festival, November 6-22. The highest rated film festival in the state of Florida, FLIFF is a competitive film festival showcasing independent cinema from around the world, in an art house movie setting.

Visit for more information.



Is Your Salad a High Calorie Land Mine? Monique Coleman has a Perfect Healthy Salad Equation

September 18, 2015

March 20, 2015 – Healthy eating has been High School Musical Star Monique Coleman’s passion and, as an actress in Hollywood, she always has to look her best and knows just how easy it is to get derailed on nutrition. Monique is on a mission to share her nutritious eating tips since her own family has struggled with making healthy choices and weight issues.

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We all know that too much processed and fast food can put you in the fast lane for fitness failure, but did you know that the biggest sabotage to healthy eating may actually come from an unlikely source? Your salad.

Question:  How can salads that start out healthy turn into a high calorie land mine?

Monique Coleman:  A salad may seem like a nutritious choice until you begin to pile on high-calorie ingredients. What starts out as 400 calorie light meal can turn into a 1200 calorie land mine when you add alarming amounts of cheese, high fat commercial salad dressings, croutons, dried fruit, and “a pound” of nuts.  You know, eating healthy is one of my passions and, as an actress in Hollywood, I know just how easy it is to get derailed on nutrition.  I’ve put together some tips and recipes plus have a perfect salad equation to diffuse the high calorie salad bomb.

Question:  Let’s start with the perfect salad equation. How do you  make a truly healthy salad?

Monique Coleman:  That’s exactly what it is….an equation. Your salad should be three-quarters fresh fruits and vegetables like a mix of greens including kale and other leafy greens like turnips, mustards and collards which are so good for you and even cut up veggies like squash, zucchini, celery, onion, sliced peppers and tomatoes and a one-quarter combo of lean protein, like chicken, or black beans or tofu plus a complex carbohydrate such as wheat berries or quinoa.

You can add one-to-two tablespoons of calorie-dense items like avocado wedges that are healthy fats. If you need extra flavor, just toss in some fresh herbs into the mix like basil, cilantro or mint; or whisk raw or roasted garlic into oil and vinegar. A healthy salad doesn’t have to be boring because it should be a feast for your senses.

Question:  Why is a variety of vegetables better for you?

Monique Coleman:  I recently read a study by University College in London that found that 48% of people who eat seven or more servings of vegetables and fruit a day live longer than those who don’t. So aim for at least two cups of veggies with lots of different colors like the ones you see here from Nature’s Greens and Versatile Veggies which are always in season. Last summer, I got to visit their farm and fields where they grow their produce and know first hand that eating vegetables that are in season will give you maximum nutrition benefit .

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Question:  What are some easy ways to get a variety of veggies in your diet?

Monique Coleman:  We all have busy lifestyles and it’s not always easy to eat healthy so make it easy on yourself and look for pre-cut and pre-washed bags of greens – my favorites Kale and Collards — and already chopped vegetables. Nature’s Greens and Versatile Veggies make it very convenient to eat healthy.

Also, a very popular trend is fruit smoothies but it’s a misconception that they are all healthy for you because many are packed with crazy amounts of sugar so your best option is to make your own and many people don’t think to do a vegetable smoothie, but they’re a great way to add veggies to your daily routine. You know I have put together some really easy recipes that are packed with nutrition and flavor, including my favorite Kale smoothie at

Monique Coleman is most recognized as Taylor McKessie from the tremendously successful High School Musical franchise, as well as one of the stars of Dancing with the Stars (Season 3). She has also guest starred on such shows as Boston Public, Malcolm in the Middle, Veronica Mars, Bones, and was a series regular on Disney’s The Suite Life of Zack and Cody. Coleman has also co-hosted The View, and appeared on Rachel Ray, Good Morning America, The Today Show, and Elle. Monique grew up in South Carolina and has been inspired to pursue healthy eating because of her own family’s struggle with making healthy choices and weight issues. She loves learning about how fresh vegetables are grown and get to markets so she can make the healthiest choices as well as sharing her nutritious recipes with fans on her blog. She is currently partnering with leafy greens grower WP Rawl to promote their brand Nature’s Greens® and healthy living. Monique is passionate about living a well-balanced life and wants to show her fans eating greens in healthy ways can also taste great!

World Water Day Takes On Global Water Crisis: An Interview with World Vision’s Dr. Greg Allgood

September 18, 2015

March 18, 2015 – We rarely imagine that a water crisis could hit the homeland, but if you think that what happens overseas couldn’t happen here in America, you’d be very wrong. It only takes one disaster, natural or man made, to compromise our water supply. In fact last year, 400,000 people in Toledo, Ohio, were without safe drinking water for days due to toxic algae in the water supply. A chemical spill in Charleston, West Virginia, made water unsafe to drink for weeks.

In the United States, we usually take clean drinking water for granted, but as thousands of people learned during Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina where many drinking water systems were impacted, Americans are just one disaster away from gaining a quick understanding of what 748 million people around the world experience every day – the challenge of getting access to clean water. In both U.S. disasters, World Vision responded and after Hurricane Katrina, it opened a 40,000-square-foot distribution center in Mississippi where $8.2 million in goods were distributed to more than 318,000 survivors.

World Vision Water Day - Greg Allgood 03-18-15

World Water Day is March 22nd and Dr. Greg Allgood, World Vision’s Vice President of Water, is on a mission to let the world know about the opportunity to solve the global water crisis.

Question: How big is the global water crisis?

Dr. Greg Allgood: More than 748 million people do not have access to clean water and the problem in the developing world is so severe that nearly 1,600 children under the age of five die each day from diarrhea caused by contaminated water, poor sanitation and improper hygiene – that’s more than AIDS and malaria combined.

Women and girls are responsible for water collection in 71 percent of households and in sub-Saharan Africa, they have to walk 3.7 miles every day to collect water. So when they have access to clean water in their community, it frees children from deadly disease; less money is spent on medicine which means more for savings and investing in things like education and the girls get to go to school instead of walking long distances to gather water.

Question: What are the latest advancements in reaching people in need with clean water?

Dr. Greg Allgood: We have several ways to reach the best clean water source whether it’s drilling deep wells or protecting springs. There’s nothing quite like providing water to a community for the first time. One of the most exciting innovations is our work using solar panels, a green energy source,  to pump water to communities.

World Vision is now the largest non-governmental provider of clean water in the developing world and we reach one new person with clean water every 30 seconds. Our approach is sustainable.  A recent study showed that even after two decades water continued to flow because of community ownership of the water points.

We also have an innovative and fun partnership with Sesame Street to reach school children in the developing world to teach good hygiene and sanitation practices that will dramatically improve their quality of life.

Question: What are some creative ways people can be a part of solving the global water crisis and help provide clean water to someone in need around the world?

Dr. Greg Allgood:   If you like to exercise, you can join thousands of people who will be walking or running a World Vision 6K on World Water Day for children in Africa. You can use social media to join celebrities like Pharrel Williams, Fergie and Pitbull by using the hashtags #WaterNow and #WaterEffect.

For just $50, you can give one new person with clean water that lasts and a pledge of $25 a month helps six people get clean water for an entire year.

You can be part of the solution at

Quick Info/Stats on Global Water Crisis

  • Globally, 1 in 9 people lack access to clean water.
  • Women and children in sub-Saharan Africa walk 3.7 miles daily to collect water each day – that’s 20 million hours daily. Women and girls are responsible for water collection in 71 percent of households
  • More than one-third of the global population lacks access to improved sanitation.


Dr. Greg Allgood is World Vision’s vice president for water. Allgood leads the establishment of alliances with corporations, foundations and individuals to enable World Vision to bring access to clean water to millions more people around the world. He holds a master’s in public health from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a doctorate toxicology from North Carolina State University. Prior to joining World Vision, Dr. Allgood created and led a global clean drinking water program that provided more than six billion liters of clean drinking water in the developing world and helped manage partnerships with the Clinton Global Initiative, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and other nonprofit organizations. Dr. Allgood is a frequent lecturer on public private partnerships, sustainability and safe drinking water in developing countries.