Thoughts on Staying Om for the Holidays

Some people view the holiday season as one of high festivity. Others view it with high anxiety. I bounce back and forth and I find many people feel the same way.

Maybe it’s because we are bombarded with temptations to shop more, eat and and drink more and be on our cheeriest best behavior.

Maybe it’s because the year is closing to an end and we start to reflect on what has/has not happened in our lives.

Maybe we lost someone we loved or have yet to find someone who wants to love us back.

For me, I reflect on growing another year older and wiser as my January 1st birthday approaches. I take stock and think about letting go of anything I don’t want to carry into the new year.

I find airports, in particular, make me anxious this time of the year. All the coming and going, leaving loved ones behind, facing the reality some people may no longer be there to greet you. I always see people embracing and crying; are they happy or sad? I see people scowling and staring at their screens intently at airports, on planes. I wonder, “Aren’t you happy to be flying home for the holidays?”

I find a lot of people have holiday anxiety. We all need to calm it down. There’s no better present you can give yourself than a rest from all the flurry and a break from feeling you need to plugged in, lit up or in sync with anyone. Just let it go.

Here are my tips to be calm for the holidays:

1. You do not need to post every photo and every dish you eat in real time on social media on Christmas Day and around the holiday table. Share your time with the people you are with in the moment you are in, and share your photos and comments online later when everyone is gone.

2. Eat and drink what you want in moderation and hydrate with plenty of water.  Don’t expect your hostess to tailor her dinner party to your dietary needs, and don’t make a big deal about it when you get there. Offer to bring a dish you know you can eat and others may enjoy or just eat a small meal before you go.

3. If you are traveling use the time to unwind en route if you are not the one driving. Read a book. Listen to music. Meditate. Sleep. Make getting there part of the fun or time to relax. It also helps to travel at off peak times when lines, crowds and traffic may be less. Allow more time to get wherever you plan to go.

4. Take a break and step outside for fresh air, a walk, a run or some stretching. The days are shorter for those of us in the northern hemisphere. Use the morning to seize the day by taking care of yourself first and then taking care of business.

5. If you feel alone, you are not alone. Many people have no plans, work over the holidays or have families and loved ones elsewhere. Call a friend to talk. Invite someone over or out for dinner. Volunteer for a local charity. The act of giving of yourself is a good way to feel better about yourself.

6. You may feel financial strain from buying and giving gifts. Buying gifts should be an act of joy and not an obligation. Give in other ways that have just as much meaning and don’t feel pressured to over extend yourself.

7. Take a deep breath. Too often we take breathing for granted unless we are gasping for breath. Long, slow deep breaths will both calm you and energize you. Sit still; breathe deeply and center yourself. You do not always have to be on the go. Learn to take it slow and low key if you start feeling anxious. No one has a stopwatch timing you, so why run yourself ragged?

8. Instead of reflecting on the past or thinking about the future, just be in the present and give it the best you can. It’s the only time you truly have, and it is up to you to make it better or worse for yourself and for those around you. One of my favorite sayings is Yesterday is history, Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is your gift. That is why is it called ‘the present.'”

Some of my most “alone” holidays ended up being among my most memorable. And when the new year rolled around, how I spent the holiday became another piece of my past, part of a collection of diaries that one day will make a great memoir.  An entire year of what can be and positive possibilities always lay ahead.

Remember, in the context of the year, Christmas Week is a small amount of time given a very large amount of attention. It’s only a year coming to an end, not the world.




Stress Less Holidays on Fearless Fabulous You! Dec 22

How many of you experience holiday stress or anxiety. I know I do. It’s hard to explain when this should be the “happiest time of the year.” Many feel anxious because they lost a loved during the year, and this is the first holiday season without that person. Others feel the financial strain of buying gifts or a pressure to be “festive” when their feelings are less so. Some may be taking stock of their year or their lives and wondering ‘what’s next?” Many people are simply over-scheduled with holiday events and family obligations and not taking time to relax, exercise or eat a healthy diet, often pushed aside when faced with holiday treats.

You think, “So many temptations; so little time to enjoy them! Indulge now; pay for it later!” But…..there are consequences. and there are ways to stay on track.

On Fearless Fabulous You! December 22 we will discuss managing holiday stress and anxiety with two experts.

Sherianna Boyle

Sherianna Boyle

Psychologist Sherianna Boyle is host of the television show “Thriving from Anxiety” and author of the book The Four Gifts of Anxiety- Embrace the Power of Your Anxiety and Transform Your Life. Her mission is to transform the way we think and feel about anxiety which can negatively impact your health.

In her new book, which is featured in the November/December issue of Psychology Today, Sherianna helps readers work through their anxiety to discover four gifts: resiliency, hope, empathy and purpose. Instead of feeling weak, stressed out, held back or ashamed, she teaches her clients to embrace their apprehension instead of battling uneasy thoughts each day.

Sherianna has worked as a school psychologist, adjunct professor of psychology, yoga and meditation teacher and has a private stress-therapy practice. In addition to “Thriving from Anxiety,” Sherianna is author of Powered by Me® for Educators Pre-K to 12 and The Everything® Parent’s Guide to Overcoming Childhood Anxiety.


One of my “go to” sites for health and wellness is Everyday Health. a leading provider of digital health and wellness solutions. The content is current, balanced and informative and covers just about everything you want to know about managing your daily health and wellness needs and staying informed on news and trends, diet and exercise and every aspect of living a better life.

Jordan Davidson

Jordan Davidson

Jordan Davidson is an award-winning health journalist and editor at Everyday Health where she manages and writes content for hundreds of articles.

She is a also co founder of the not-for-profit Endo Warriors, a support organization for women fighting endometriosis, the leading cause of pelvic pain and infertility in women. Endometriosis is a painful, chronic disease that affects at least 6.3 million women and girls in the U.S., 1 million in Canada, and millions more worldwide.

Jordan earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from Fordham University and has published research in evolutionary psychology

Knowing than many of us overindulge with sugary and fatty foods and excess alcohol during the holidays, we’ll discuss ways to manage your digestive health and get it back on track. We’ll also talk with Jordan about her own approach to managing her health. and cover some other current topics in EverydayHealth.



Fearless-Fabulous You Banner with TimesFearless Fabulous You! hosted by Melanie Young brings you inspiring women and experts on health, wellness and nutrition, Join Melanie live Mondays 9pm ET/6pm PT on W4WN. Podcasts are available on demand at iHeartRadio under Shows and Personalities. Follow Melanie on Twitter (@mightymelanie) and Facebook  (Fearless Fabulous Melanie).

Pray It Forward

I am counting my blessings this season and especially during my week long visit to my hometown, Chattanooga, Tennessee. You see, people in the South have a habit of blessing you often and for many reasons, As in:

“Have blessed day!”-  Cashiers seem to say this a lot.

“God bless you” – Said anytime for any reason. Not limited to sneezing.

“Count your blessings” – What people say when you say life is better or just the same.

“Did you say the blessing?” – Said before meals and usually after I have started eating.

“You have my blessing.” As in “Go for it.” or “I approve.” (My husband committed a crime against southern manners by neglecting to ask for my father’s blessing before he proposed marriage.)

And finally the classic, “Bless Your Heart.” (aka, That’s nice)  or “Bless Her Heart,” which to the contrary can mean, “That’s too darn bad!” (e.g., “She is starting to show her age. Bless her heart.”)

In New York, “Blessing” is usually about Blessing someone out. As in”How dare you increase my interest rate because I am two cents past due on my credit card payment!” After the credit card customer service operator adjusted the interest rate to a favorable number she ended the call with “Have a blessed day.” I was completely disarmed. HIP BLESSED

I tried saying “Have a blessed day” to people to be nice, share cheer and make them feel better. But coming out of my mouth, it just didn’t sound sincere. It’s not something I usually say, So I came up with another way to share kind words and thoughts to give someone a lift. It’s called “Pray It Forward.” It works like this:

Write a nice note, post a message or pick up the phone and call someone to say, “I have you in my thoughts and prayers.” “Or I am sending you happy thoughts.” Or, “Thinking of you and wishing you a beautiful day.”  It’s not only what you say but also how you say it or demonstrate it.  Make it sincere and in your own words.  Just don’t  hold back. There is always someone who needs a spirited or spiritual lift, especially at this “happiest time of the year.”

Then, tell that someone to Pray It Forward to brighten someone else’s day. Just imagine if we shared more happy thoughts than stupid selfies and  more kind words to say “thinking of you” to balance out all the “hey, look at me!”  It’s about refocusing  “getting what you want” with “giving what you can.”  It’s about giving words of encouragement. Not everyone needs a wrapped gift but many I know could use a prayer or gift of kind words.


irish blessings







Gifting Women on Fearless Fabulous You! Dec 15

This is a special giving show featuring gifted women with gifts to give….just  in case you haven’t finished all that holiday shopping!

My first guest is someone I know from both worlds of restaurants and philanthropy. Los Angeles based Barbara Lazaroff, ASID, is a designer and product developer, restaurateur, author and mother.

Barbara Lazaroff

Barbara Lazaroff

A talented business woman as well as creative artist, Barbara is the brand co-founder and interior designer of the acclaimed restaurants, Spago Hollywood, Spago Beverly Hills, Chinois in Las Vegas and Santa Monica, California.  In 1994, Barbara co-founded the Wolfgang Puck Food Co. and was the director of Restaurant Design and Development until 2000. Barbara is also co-owner of all the affiliate companies and a majority shareholder in Wolfgang Puck Worldwide and is one of the owners of the Wolfgang Puck licensed products; i.e., cookware & accessories which are sold by HSN.

Giving back to her community is has been part of Barbara’s DNA since her working class childhood in New York. Today, her giving heart and largesse have helped numerous organizations, both locally in her community and at-large globally for more than 32 years.  Barbara is prominently known in the Los Angeles community for her fundraising to alleviate hunger through two organizations.  She co-founded the American Wine & Food Festival for Meals on Wheels which has raised over $25 million for the homebound elderly. In addition, Barbara has fund-raised for Mazon, a world hunger relief organization based in Los Angeles that recognized her at Disney Concert Hall. For 30 years she has hosted Mazon Passover Charity Seder dinners held at her restaurant, Spago.

Barbara has also been deeply vested in fundraising for cancer research since the early 1980s, having co-founded the 30 year old California Spirit event for the American Cancer Society.  She also fund-raises and serves on the board of the Israel Cancer Research Fund and the board of the Friends of Sheba Medical Center; this vital research benefits the world.

Barbara’s  work with Aviva Family and Children’s Services resulted in her spearheading a one million dollar, five year makeover of the 50 year old Annenberg Home for at-risk girls. Other organizations her work has impacted include: Alliance for Housing & Healing/Serra Project/Aid for Aids, APLA, DIFFA, Shanti, Project Angel Food, James Beard Foundation, KindredSPIRITS, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Fulfillment Fund, NAWBO-L.A. Chapter, Zimmer’s Children’s Museum, Cedars-Sinai Hospital and Cleveland’s University Hospital.

This holiday season, Barbara’s has designed gorgeous line of dinnerware called “Flame of Life,” available on Amazon, with sales supporting many of her charities.


Barbara Lazaroff's Flame of Life dinnerware available on Amazon

Barbara Lazaroff’s Flame of Life dinnerware available on Amazon


What would it take for you to walk away from a lucrative banking career to pursue a passion? For Joan Coukos it was the allure of chocolate.

Joan Coukos

Joan Coukos

Joan majored in Russian and French at Duke University and received an MBA from UNC Chapel Hill before beginning a banking career that spanned New York and Moscow. On a trip to Brussels in 2000, she fell under the spell of old world, hand made chocolates and began creating recipes back in her tiny Manhattan kitchen. Her bank coworkers became the first enthusiastic guinea pigs, and upon receiving repeated accolades, she began taking formal steps to becoming a chocolatier, studying chocolate and confectionery arts with a coterie of world-class French, Belgian, American and Swiss chocolatiers in New York and at The World Pastry Forum in Las Vegas.

In 2003, she founded Chocolat Moderne®  with a mission to create visually stunning, hand-crafted confections filled with perfectly balanced, on-trend flavors. Joan believes that chocolate will always be in style – especially luxe gourmet chocolate.  Like fashion design, Chocolat Moderne’s chocolate assortments are a vibrant, ever-changing, delectable collection wrapped in distinctive packaging.

It starts with a base of quality ingredients: Valrhona French chocolate with a high cocoa content and emphasis on growing regions; European style butter; cocoa butter; full cream; granulated pure cane and specialized confectionery sugars. Then you add luscious fillings such as five different varieties of dark chocolate, pistachios, hazelnuts, fruit purees, fruit preserves, premium liqueurs, honey, essential oils, teas, spices, fresh squeezed citrus juices and zest.  The chocolates are covered with extra bitter dark chocolate of 61% cocoa content. Everything is natural and free of preservatives or artificial flavors.

Chocolat Moderne® has received top honors in the specialty food industry by winning multiple sofi™ Gold and Finalist Awards from the Specialty Food Association. Joan’s chocolates and her personal story have been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, The Food Network and The Cooking Channel. In 2013, Joan was inducted into the NY Chapter of Les Dames d’Escoffier International, a philanthropic society of women leaders in food, beverage and hospitality. Later that year, she was named one of Dessert Professional Magazine’s Top Ten Chocolatiers of North America.

How sweet it is!

Chocolat Moderne's exquisite packaging












Fearless-Fabulous You Banner with TimesFearless Fabulous You! hosted by Melanie Young brings you inspiring women and experts on health, wellness and nutrition, Join Melanie live Mondays 9pm ET/6pm PT on W4WN. Podcasts are available on demand at iHeartRadio under Shows and Personalities. Follow Melanie on Twitter (@mightymelanie) and Facebook  (Fearless Fabulous Melanie).

Their Lifestyles Became Their Brands: Dec 8 on Fearless Fabulous You!

My December 8th show features two women who are lifestyle brand ambassadors for their specific way of living, both through their image and products.  They have each built successful businesses loving what they do, living how they want and sharing it with others.  I’m going to ask them to share with you the secrets to their success.

My first guest lives on a farm in the Santa Monica Mountains outside Los Angeles where she has made successful career as a professional interior designer real estate developer. Andrea Schroder has built and sold over 15 custom homes, as well as remodeled residential and commercial real estate including 2 movie theaters, a historic building with loft apartments, a barn, beach house, farmhouse and more.

Andrea Schroder photo

Andrea Schroder

But it’s Andrea’s luxury line of coconut oil candles and soaps that caught my attention. I love coconut anything. So envision my pleasure when an exquisitely  wrapped package of Andrea Schroder’s coconut oil candles and soaps arrived at my office! Nothing calms me more when I am working at my desk than a delicately aromatic candle. Andrea’s line makes we want to fly to a beach and watch the waves crash over the coast or curl up with a book after a day of hiking in the California mountains.

Andrea’s Poetry of Fragrance is a luxury line of hand-crafted, non toxic, American-made coconut oil wax candles and soaps. Andrea’s beautiful products are an extension of her design experience and other values important to her and are packaged with a poem inspired by Andrea’s grandmother, Kathleen Patridge, a well known poet in London. Poetry of Fragrance by Andrea Schroder is available at Nordstrom’s and select Hallmark stores as well as many other boutiques nationwide and Canada.

Andrea’s expertise and cheerful personality led her into the TV world.  As a member of Bravo’s TV Hit “Top Design” Andrea competed in many design challenges under time and budget restraints.  She has since appeared a home and family expert on various TV programs including Hallmark’s Home and Family and the Marie Show.

A mother of four, Andrea and her husband, actor Ricky Schroder, support several children’s charities including Child Help USA and Wells of Hope International.



The great French gastronome and author Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin once said, “Dis-Moi Ce Que Tu Manges, Je Te Dirai Ce Que Tu Es” – “Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are.”


Mireille Giuliano

Well, judging what she eats and how she lives, many women would like to be Mireille Giuliano who embodies the essence of French joie de vivre. Born in France, she says she now  “ages with style and attitude” in New York City, Paris and Provence. And her fans eat up ever morsel of her French wisdom and advice which she dispenses on her blog and in her best selling books.

She is the author of French Women Don’t Get Fat: The Secret of Eating for Pleasure, the #1 New York Times bestseller, which has been translated into thirty-seven languages. A former chief executive at LVMH (Clicquot Inc.), she has been called “the high priestess of French lady wisdom” (USA Today),  “ an ambassador of France and its art of living” (Le Figaro), “an idea entrepreneur” (Harvard Business Review) and “an art-of-living guru” (The New York Times).

She is also the author of French Women for All Seasons; Women, Work & The Art of Savoir Faire; The French Women Don’t Get Fat Cookbook; French Women Don’t Get Facelifts; and most recently, Meet Paris Oyster: A Love Affair with the Perfect Food

Her éclat marketing the French way of life is only matched by her success at the helm of France’s most esteemed exports: Champagne. Under her longtime leadership at Clicquot Inc. she helped increase Champagne Veuve Clicquot’s market share in America grew from less than one percent to more than 25 percent.

What’s her secret to living a healthy, happy, balanced and oh so tres magnifique life? Tune in December 8! After all, you just have to listen a woman who recommends  bread, Champagne, chocolate and romance as key ingredients to a balanced diet and lifestyle!

Website links:

Social Media Links:


Fearless-Fabulous You Banner with TimesFearless Fabulous You! airs live Mondays at 9pm ET/6pm PT on W4WN.  Each week, Host Melanie Young interviews inspiring women and experts in health, wellness and nutrition. Listen anytime by podcast at IHeartRadio.

A health coach, guest speaker and author of two books on health and well-being: Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide to Staying Fearless & Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer, and the recently released: Fearless Fabulous You! Lessons on Living Life on Your Terms.

Melanie can be reached at




Starve the Fear; Feed the Goal

When she changed her thought process from “If Only” to “What If?” her world opened up. #fearlessfabulousyou

Are you suffering from Iffluenza? It’s a common ailment that affects millions who wallow in hesitation and wishy-washy wishing.

IFCommon signs of Iffluenza are A) Using the words “if only” to put road blocks in front of your way.  B) Being iffy about making decisions and taking steps to pursue goals and C) Putting too many “Ifs” – conditions and stipulations – in the way of making progress.

If doubt is blocking your route to the next stage of your life, maybe it’s time for some mental RX. You need to adopt my Adaptable Care Act. Here goes:

1. Adapt to situations: accept your limitations to a point and then adopt new ways to deal with situations head-on to make them work for you. Adaptability means stop being inflexible. Inflexibility – or Stiffluenza – is another strain of the disease. You remain set in your ways without an open mind.`

2. Focus on “What If?” and”Why Not?” instead of “If Only” and “Why Bother?” The late actress, Audrey Hepburn, said it best, “Nothing is impossible. The word itself says “I’m possible.”

3.  Starve the fear: President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” In other words: “Get out of your own way.”

4. Feed the goal. A dream is just a dream until you take action to realize it. Setting a goal and a vision is a start. Each day do one thing to take a step closer to that goal. It may mean taking baby steps at first but keep moving. A sedentary mind is just as unhealthy as a sedentary body.

5. Instead of using the word “if” to create a road block, use it to create a stepping stone. Example: Instead of “If I had more time, I could……..” say instead “If I rearrange my schedule, I can….”

RXIffluenza tends to be epidemic among people who suffer from low self esteem. If you hang around them too long it can be de-energizing. Make sure to give yourself a booster shot of self-esteem; get outside for a dose of fresh air; recharge your spirit and stay active in mind and body. Heal your ifs and use your gifts.

And keep me posted on your progress!


Fearless-Fabulous You Banner with TimesTune in to more Fabulousness:

Dec. 1: On Fearless Fabulous You!: Facing and conquering transformational fear with clinical psychologist, Dr. Carla Marie Greco,  plus UCHic’s #1000Wishes granter and Founder, Christie Garton. 9pm ET/6pm PT on W4WN. Show podcasts available on demand at

THE CONNECTED TABLE BANNER WITH TIMESDec. 3 on The Connected Table LIVE! with David Ransom: Syndicated Miami Herald food columnist, NPR radio host and cookbook author Linda Gassenheimer, and best selling author (French Women Don’t Get Fat), and “French lifestyle ambassador” Mireille Giuliano. Live W4CY 2pm ET/11 am PT and on demand at


Tune in Monday evenings 9pm ET/6pm PT for Fearless Fabulous You! hosted by Melanie Young on W$WN- the Women 4 Women Network and iHeart Radio. Each week Melanie interviews inspiring women and experts in health, wellness and nutrition

Fear- Less; Face Up: Dec 1 on Fearless Fabulous You

Anxiety, Fear and Doubt…Wouldn’t it be great if these three words were replaced with, Confidence, Courage and Self-Trust when it comes to a woman’s well-being? Especially a young woman. My December 1 guests on Fearless Fabulous You! are two women who are addressing these issues in different ways to help women, especially young women, believe they are fearless and fabulous.

There are more than 20 million high school and college-age girls in the U.S., each of whom has her own hopes and dreams. Today young women have more career and life choices with the right education, mentoring and a strong dose of confidence. However, young women also face mounting fears about financing their dreams, especially their education. You need a college degree- or a higher degree- to land a job, but this comes at a significant cost.

Christie Garton, Founder, UChic

Christie Garton, Founder, UChic

My first guest on Fearless Fabulous You! is Christie Garton, is an award-winning social entrepreneur and founder of UChic,  a social commerce company whose product sales empower their teen girl consumers through scholarships.  Christie and I will discuss this survey and UChic’s #1000Dreams initiative to provide 1000 real girls nationwide with scholarship funding or micro-grants.

Joining Christie is JoLynn Smith, a student at Shawnee Mission West High School, who is a UChic Scholarship Recipient. JoLynn will share her story and how she is using her UChic scholarship to pursue her goals.

Christie Garton and JoLynn Smith

Christie Garton and JoLynn Smith

Why it matters:   Young women should face their futures with confidence, not concern or fear about finances.

According to a recent survey of young women in high school and college initiated by UChic and Toluna Quicksurveys:

  • Accumulated Student loan debt acts as an impediment to higher education. 67% worry their student loan debt will prohibit them from reaching their professional dreams
  • Majority (52%) of those currently in college report accumulating up to $14,999 in debt from other college-related expenses (not including tuition)
  • Students second-guess their choice of school due to high accumulated student loan debt. It has a cascading impact on purchase of new houses and student savings. High cost of education acts as an impediment to equal opportunity.  A majority of millennials worry they won’t be able to pay off their student loan debt




Dr. Carla Marie Greco is a Clinical Psychologist based in Sonoma, CA. Who helps her clients face and conquer fear and anxiety.  I met Carla researching my book, Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide.  She contributed to my section on dealing with anxiety during and after cancer.

Dr. Carla Marie Greco

Dr. Carla Marie Greco

Dr. Greco (Carla to me) will address facing your  fear and anxiety, whether it’s due to a major shift in your life, a setback or making a change to move forward.  Carla specializes in working with women to help guide them through transformation periods of their lives.

She says, “Fear quietly controls many aspects of our daily lives, yet we are often completely unaware of its deep impact. In my groundbreaking research, I discovered that the very fears we often unconsciously run from and try to avoid can actually become highly beneficial tools in the creation of self-awareness and fulfillment. I have termed this aspect of fear—the valuable side of fear that we often ignore—“Transformational Fear.” She discusses this in depth in her book, The Fear Handbook.

Through her practice Dr. Greco works with clients of all ages to  guide women through various challenges and tremendously life-altering transitional periods. Her practice is geared toward helping the individual understand, and heal from, the underlying issues and stressors  while also offering a safe-yet challenging-environment that promotes and supports life-changing thoughts and behaviors.

If you have questions for Dr. Greco please email them to or log on to our chat room Monday, December 1, 9:25pmET/9:26pm PT on Fearless Fabulous You.




Fearless-Fabulous You Banner with TimesFearless Fabulous You! airs live Mondays at 9pm ET/6pm PT on W4WN.  Each week, Host Melanie Young interviews inspiring women and experts in health, wellness and nutrition. Listen anytime by podcast at IHeartRadio.

A health coach, guest speaker and author of two books on health and well-being: Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide to Staying Fearless & Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer, and the recently released: Fearless Fabulous You! Lessons on Living Life on Your Terms.


Melanie can be reached at




Making Room for The Invisible Guest

As we gather around our Thanksgiving table with family this week I’ll make a space for my invisible guest. It’s a person no longer with me on Earth but still close by in spirit. My friend, Julie, who spent one of her last Thanksgivings alive by herself with her dog, Joe. She was too proud to tell anyone she had no plans, and I was an ocean away when I called to wish her Happy Thanksgiving and discovered she was alone eating takeout in her small New York studio apartment.

Her voice, silenced at 46 from cancer, still echoes in my mind with the message: “Give thanks for what you have and leave regrets at the door. Savor life; there are no second helpings. Be sharing and caring when you can.”

It taught me to never be too proud or too busy to give help or give thanks, or to care about others. I sometimes think the “Thanks-giving” Holiday should also be called the “Care-Giving” holiday. November happens to be National Caregivers Month.

This holiday season think about that invisible guest and the message that person delivers. And think about what you can do to recognize that person.

It may be the person who has departed your life or an unborn child about to enter it. It may be the invisible neighbor, an elderly person too sick and frail to go out, possibly widowed with no family. It may be someone too timid or proud to reach out and say “Please include me. I am alone.”

It may be the person who works an extra holiday shift so family members have enough food for the week, not just a banquet for the day. Or it could be all the health care workers and service personnel, from bus drivers to restaurant servers who work through the holidays to keep things running smoothly so you can enjoy yours.

Some people are starving for food; others are starving for companionship .If you can add one more chair, do it. if you can share one more meal, offer it. If you can take the second helpings of your meal and make them first helpings for someone else, do it. If you can’t give money, give time. if you can’t give time, give food. If you don’t think you have anything to give, give yourself another look in the mirror and remind yourself that gifted people like you have plenty to give and to give thanks for.


Valerie, Julie and Melanie

Valerie, Julie and Melanie

Tune in Monday evenings 9pm ET/6pm PT for Fearless Fabulous You! hosted by Melanie Young on W$WN- the Women 4 Women Network and iHeart Radio. Each week Melanie interviews inspiring women and experts in health, wellness and nutrition

Caregivers Need to Take Care of Themselves

November is National Family Caregivers Month as well as National Lung Cancer Awareness Month and National Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month.

My November 24th show is dedicated to the caregivers who are supporting loved ones facing a debilitating disease such as cancer. In particular, I want to address the nutritional needs for both the caregiver and the cancer patient. Too often the caregiver is so busy tending to her loved one that she neglects herself.

I saw this happen to my grandmother, Rose, who sadly died from a heart attack while caring for my grandfather who had advanced prostate cancer. She completely worried herself into an unhealthy frazzle and ignored all the warning signs something was amiss until it was too late.

 From 2002 to 2011 Susan Bratton was touched by the impact cancer had on friends and members who suffered from the disease. She all noticed that they all were challenged with dietary issues, including difficulty swallowing, changes in their palate, lack of appetite and digestive issues from nausea to constipation. As a result, many were experiencing significant weight loss and fatigue, weakened immune system and depression.  She vowed to do something about it.

Susan Bratton, Founder & CEO, Meals to Heal

Susan Bratton, Founder & CEO, Meals to Heal

Susan left a successful investment banking career in health care and insurance to devote the next few years conducting research and interviews with oncologists, nurses, registered dietitians, cancer patients and caregivers and volunteering at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. What she learned is that 50% to 80% of all cancer patients experience some form of nutritional issues.

The company Susan founded, Meals to Heal,  is dedicated to making the lives of cancer patients and caregivers easier and less stressful by providing services which relieve then of the significant time, energy and worry associated with assuring proper nutrition for both their loved ones and themselves. Meals to Heal provides delivery of nourishing meals customized to a cancer patient’s specific needs, as well as nutrition support services through its website and team of registered dietitians.

Jessica Iannotta MS, RD, CSO, CDN Chief Operating Officer, Meals to Heal

Jessica Iannotta
Chief Operating Officer, Meals to Heal

Joining Susan is Jessica Iannotta,  a registered dietitian (RD) and certified specialist in oncology nutrition (CSO).  Jessica studied nutrition at Cornell University and completed her dietetic internship at New York Presbyterian Weill Cornell Medical Center. She obtained her Master’s degree through the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey.  Since 2001, she has worked in inpatient and outpatient oncology settings in the North Shore-LIJ Health System. Jessica is in charge of all operations at Meals-to-Heal including clinical and culinary operations ranging from menu development to evidence-based website content, relationships with registered dieticians and social workers and developing processes and protocols for intake, management and outcomes analysis of patients.

Both Susan and Jessica were valuable contributors to the nutrition section of my book, Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide to Staying Fearless & Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer (2013), which just received a USA Best Book Award for cancer topics this month. As both a food and beverage professional and a cancer survivor, I saw first hand the importance of the role nutrition and hydration play both during and after treatment and felt it needed to be a significant section in Getting Things Off My Chest.

Susan and Jessica’s work may focus on cancer nutrition but the message they impart impacts everyone:  sound nutrition management and attention to well-being are important in sickness and in health.



Each week Melanie Young brings you inspiring women and health in wellness experts on Fearless Fabulous You! 9pm ET/6pm PT. Connect with Melanie on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest.


Tune in Live Mondays, 9pm ET/6pm PT with Host Melanie Young and on deman on

Tune in Live Mondays, 9pm ET/6pm PT with Host Melanie Young and on demand on

From Fizzle to Sizzle: How To the Spark Back in Your Life

There may come a time when you realize the life or career you had may no longer be available to you. It may not continue to be in your best interest, or you just want to move in a new direction. But life never stands still enough to let you sit a spell and figure it out. Forward is your only option. You ask yourself: What direction am I headed? What’s my next step?

What happens next is a combination of strategy and serendipity. You strive to make good things happen and then relax and let good things happen to you. Along the way you realize change is what you want and not what others want for you. And you discover how authentically amazing you truly are and dump anyone who does not share that view with you.

You need to recharge your emotional batteries, release anger, blame and doubt, reconnect with what you enjoy and what you do well, reframe bad things that happen to you to put them in a better light and set out in a new direction to reclaim your life.

Suddenly the only rules you want to live by are your own with respect, of course, to those who rely on you and support you. If you don’t want to live your life by the book – or by anyone else’s rules – then start writing the next chapter yourself. How do you want yours to read?

Five years ago I was suffering from overwork, was overweight and felt over stressed. I thought my career was flaming out and my spark was gone. A cancer diagnosis and a death in the family were both the tipping point and the jumping off point that drove me to take a leap of faith to pursue other things.

Here’s how my next chapter was written: Rather than spending the rest of her life as a mouthpiece for clients whose loyalty came and went with the economy, she decided to re-purpose her gift of gab, her writing skills and love for storytelling into a new career and new mission. Today she uses her voice in a number of ways to inspire, entertain and engage others to put the spark back in their lives.

I am now author of two books. Getting Things Off My Chest: A Survivor’s Guide to Staying Fearless & Fabulous in the Face of Breast Cancer just received the USA Best Book Award for cancer topics. It is the book’s second award; the other is the 2014 International Book Award for cancer topics.

My new book, Fearless Fabulous You! Lessons on Living Life on Your Terms, was just released. This tiny book is packed with a powerful message to help you take charge of your destiny. In it I share my five Rs to reignite your special spark and turn your life from fizzle to sizzle. 

I now host two national radio shows on iHeart Radio: Fearless Fabulous You! Mondays 9pm ET.  Link to shows:   and The Connected Table LIVE! with husband, David Ransom, Wednesdays, 2pm ET. Link to shows:  iHeart- The Connected Table Live

Most important, I am healthier thanks to making smarter lifestyle choices. Besides wanting to share what seems like an amazing amount of great news that all happened within a short amount of time, I am sharing all this now because we are heading into that time of year when people give thanks for what they have but also give thought to what lies ahead.

This also gives me a chance to thank all of you who have supported, contributed and share their time and energy with me through the journey to date. There are several more chapters being written. So stay tuned!

If you need help turning your life from fizzle to sizzle contact me. I took me almost six years to figure it out. I can help you sparkle in six months.

Program notes:

Tonight, Nov. 17, 9pmET on Fearless Fabulous You! on  W4WN. My guest is Philippa Kingsley, a VortexHealing® therapist and animal communications specialist, Philippa will discuss dealing with grief after losing a pet.

Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2pm ET with David Ransom on The Connected Table Live on W4CY – Cookbook author, Rick Rodgers, The Big Book of Sides, and Franck Duboeuf proprietor, Les Vins Georges Duboeuf,