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Monday, June 10th, 2013
Editor’s Note: In a post for an ongoing series, Dr. Harley A. Rotbart, a Parents advisor, will be guest blogging once a month. He will be offering different advice, tips, and personal stories on how parents can “savor the moment” and maximize the time they spend with kids. Read more posts by Harley Rotbart from this series.
As a dad and a pediatrician who has worked with families of all types and sizes for more than 30 years, I want to tell you about a great book written for moms that dads should read, too. After all, why should moms be the only ones who know the secrets for turning chaos to calm?
From Frazzled to Focused: The Ultimate Guide for Moms Who Want to Reclaim Their Time, Their Sanity, and Their Lives is written by Rivka Caroline, a Florida-based time management and organization expert who juggles seven kids, a speaking and consulting career, and graduate school. I discovered this book when the author asked me to review it for a possible endorsement because of my own time management book, No Regrets Parenting.
I loved Caroline’s book, and endorsed it with this quote: “From Frazzled to Focused is a brilliant blueprint for recapturing minutes, hours, and days otherwise lost to inefficiency and disorganization. This book will change your life.” Yes, it’s that good. But notice nowhere in that endorsement do I mention moms — or, for that matter, dads. This is a really wonderful book for moms and dads because efficiency, effectiveness, prioritization, and systemization are gender-neutral goals. This is not a book full of platitudes and bumper stickers. Instead, it’s a concise, organized, and focused 180-page playbook with an action plan for achieving, de-cluttering, and systemizing your work and home life.
Whether at home or at work, these From Frazzled to Focused guiding principles and recommendations apply to all parents:
- Switch from doing it all to doing most of it (and know that’s okay)
- Lack of time is actually a lack of priorities
- 80 percent of results come from 20 percent of your time and effort
- Work expands to fill the time available for its completion
- Create a “to don’t” list
- Streamline your home and your head
- Avoid decision overload
You’ll learn when to “do,” to “delegate,” and to “delete.” And deleting some of the items crowding your thoughts and your desk may be the most important paradigm of all for many of us. You’ll come to recognize that “practice makes good enough,” that perfection isn’t the be-all and end-all. This realization is really liberating.
Dads can particularly benefit from Ms. Caroline’s advice for systemizing, and her supermarket analogy is spot-on: When you go grocery shopping, you put more than one item in your cart at once so you’re not constantly driving back and forth to the store. Get ahead by always thinking, “What can I do now that will make things easier later on?” Batch your tasks, and block out chunks of time for doing them — returning phone calls and e-mails, paying bills, and filing should be done in batches, not piecemeal as the e-mails or bills arrive. Although the second half of the book is devoted to specific spaces in your home, taking control of those spaces isn’t just mom’s work; dads live in those spaces, too. Both Mom and Dad can use the principles in this book for equally effective rethinking of the workplace and the work mentality.
So, with Father’s Day approaching fast and the usual panic setting in about buying yet another necktie, take this message from Caroline’s book to heart: “Last-minute problems are a lot easier to take care of when they aren’t actually happening at the last minute.” Get this book for Dad. Do it now, while you’re thinking about it, so you don’t have a last-minute problem on June 16.
Happy Father’s Day!
Dr. Harley A. Rotbart is Professor and Vice Chairman of Pediatrics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital Colorado. He is the author of three books for parents and families, including the recent No Regrets Parenting, a Parents advisor, and a contributor to The New York Times Motherlode blog. Visit his blog at noregretsparenting.com and follow him on Facebook and Twitter (@NoRegretsParent).
Image: A busy daily schedule book via Shutterstock.
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GoodyBlog, Holidays, Must Read
Thursday, August 9th, 2012
Looks like Dad is going to get a little more appreciation than just on Father’s Day! A recent study from Brigham Young University shows that dads play a huge role in helping their young children develop persistence. According to researchers, fathers who practiced “authoritative parenting” raised persistent kids who had better grades in school and lower rates of recklessness later in life.
The key to being an “authoritative” parent and not an “authoritarian” is granting kids personal freedom, while still holding them accountable for their actions. Dishing out appropriate levels of discipline will help children build persistence, so try to refrain from making empty threats that they will inevitably tune out.
Of course, it’s tempting to get your kids to break out the toothpaste by telling them dirty teeth will fall out, but it won’t benefit them in the long run, as one of our readers quickly found out. The funny dad’s best threat? “Either you get dressed right now, or you’re never going to get dressed again.” (For more seriously silly warnings, click here!) Rather than pretend to revoke clothing privileges, though, why not give your discipline tactics a makeover that will encourage perseverance instead? Your kids will thank you for it later.
Image: Father and son via Shutterstock
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Thursday, June 14th, 2012
I’m a huge fan of “Once Upon a Time,” and if you watched the show as avidly as I did each week, you’ll recognize actor Raphael Sbarge in his dual role as Jiminy Cricket and psychologist Archie Hopper. The show, which has been renewed for a second season, is centered on the power of storytelling and finding the extraordinary truth in ordinary fairy tales.
Here, in an exclusive essay for Parents.com, Sbarge writes about his own roles as father, storyteller, and entertainer for his two kids. He shares how making up bedtime stories (such as The Adventures of Seymour and Alice) helped instill imagination, creativity, and a love for books. Just in time for Father’s Day, read an excerpt from the essay below.
I have two children, a son and a daughter. Django is now 7 and Gracie is 9. One problem I had when they were younger is that a book for one child wasn’t necessarily for the other, and bedtime was a precious window. I discovered one day, quite by accident, that I could make up my own stories. These stories would invariably come from a kind of free association, as random and ridiculous as whatever would occur to me in the moment, like the tale of a female pillow that had lost her owner and decided to find him. Or a bird that woke up one day and was able to talk to humans but would occasionally lose control and speak bird again.
But I really hit pay dirt with my ongoing series, The Adventures of Seymour and Alice, about a brother-and-sister adventure duo that would often get lost and find themselves in fantastic and perilous circumstances, yet by ingenuity, gumption, and a deep desire to help one another, would always find their way home. Click here to read the full essay by Raphael Sbarge.
Follow Raphael Sbarge on Twitter (@RaphaelSbarge) and on Facebook (facebook.com/officialraphaelsbarge).
Photo Credit: T Love Photography by Tena Fanning
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bedtime, bedtime stories, celeb dad, celebrity dad, dad, Dads, fatherhood, once upon a time, parenting, parenting advice, parenting style, raphael sbarge, Storytelling, telling stories | Categories:
Entertainment, GoodyBlog, Holidays
Friday, April 27th, 2012
This week, I had an interview with Curran Dandurand, one of the founders of Jack Black and her husband Jeff. Here’s what they had to say:
Q. What made you decide to found Jack Black?
A. “We saw that there was a big void in the market and an opportunity to cater to men. Men as a consumer group were really underserved when it came to high-quality, male-oriented personal-care products. Additionally, we saw that men were changing their attitudes and behaviors regarding skin care and taking care of their appearance. Men’s magazines have helped build awareness and educate guys about the importance of good skin care and grooming. Baby boomers wanted to fight the aging process and younger guys were very receptive to using all sorts of personal-care products to enhance their appearance.”
Q. Where is your company and family based?
A. “Our company is based in Carrollton, Texas, which is a suburb of Dallas. Our family lives in Plano, Texas.”
Q. How many kids do you have, and their ages?
A. “We have two kids: a son, age 20, and a daughter, age 17. Both grew up in the business and have seen what entrepreneurs have to do to build a successful company and the many sacrifices that have to be made. They’ve helped out in a number of ways–when they were 5 and 7 years old they would help with inspecting and sorting product. Now they work as summer interns in operations or marketing…wherever they are needed.”
Q. What type of guy are your products aiming for?
A. “Our products are designed for men that appreciate quality and want something that works extremely well and works fast. Jack Black customers span all age groups, geographic locations, and lifestyles. The common denominator is they want visible results without a lot of extra effort, complication, and fuss.”
Q. If you had to choose a product that dads shouldn’t live without, what would it be?
A. “I would say our Double Duty Face Moisturizer SPF 20 because the single most beneficial thing a guy can do for his skin is to protect it against the damaging rays of the sun on a daily basis. We’ve incorporated the sun protection into the daily moisturizer and after-shave products so we’re keeping his morning routine quick and simple. Eighty percent of what we see as visible “skin aging” is due to incidental sun exposure–the kind you get from just going about your daily activities, like driving to work, getting the mail in, driving your kids to basketball practice. UVA rays are the aging rays that cause wrinkles and discoloration, while UVB rays are the rays that burn the skin. So you need a daily sunscreen that offers broad spectrum protection to shield both types of rays. By using a multi-purpose product that incorporates the broad spectrum SPF into a daily moisturizer/after-shave conditioner, a dad is doing a very important thing to preserve skin health and prevent premature aging–and it only adds a couple of seconds a day to his morning routine.”
Q. Are there any ingredients we should avoid in our skin care?
A. “I would suggest avoiding artificial colorants and heavy fragrances, as well as alcohol (appears on the label as SD Alcohol or Alcohol Denat) in facial skin-care products. These ingredients can be irritating when applied to the face and eye area.”
Q. How do you convince a man that skin care is important?
A. “I think that men understand that looking good can be a competitive advantage–both in their professional and personal lives. A better groomed guy is going to get the job or the promotion over an equally qualified but poorly groomed candidate. Taking good care of your skin is part of being on top of your game and presenting yourself in the best possible way. You can spend hundreds of dollars on a suit or shirt you wear for a year or two, but you have your face your entire life and people see it every day. It’s worth investing a little time and money to take care of something this important to your overall appearance. Plus, there is a real health benefit to protecting the skin from sun damage. A little extra effort to take care of your skin can yield significant appearance and health results.”
I also tried the Double Duty Face Moisturizer this week, and I’m impressed. I don’t like the smell of sunscreen, so moisturizers with it always make me nervous. Fortunately, this product didn’t have that beach smell at all, and it was surprisingly light. As you read, it’s very important to protect you face from the sun’s rays, and this moisturizer will do that and more. You can find it at Jack Black’s website for $27.
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Beauty, GoodyBlog, Health & Safety, Shopping & Gear, Time for Fun, Your Life
Friday, April 20th, 2012
I recently had the chance to interview Jenny Balding, the Redken for Men consultant, about men’s hair and styling. Here’s what she had to say.
Q. Guys usually seem to get that strange “I just got my hair cut” frizziness. Are there any tips or techniques that help make your style look fresh from day one?
A. “There really shouldn’t be any frizziness after a good haircut, but if there is, guys should try not to shampoo their hair every day so they can create a ‘lived-in’ look. Use a little putty or paste to calm down any fly-aways, like my favorite Redken For Men Outplay Texture Putty, for example. This will really help if your hair tends to get puffy. For longer locks that get puffy, try a little Redken For Men Loose Ends Liquid Pomade.”
Q. Most guys have short hair…how necessary is it for them to use conditioner? Are there benefits for conditioner beyond just keeping long hair healthy?
A. “The only male clients I recommend NO conditioner to is if they have fine, straight hair. It will make it too soft and flat. Conditioner is great for taking the puff out the hair and controlling frizz, however short your hair is.” (Try new Redken For Men Cool Finish Invigorating Conditioner.)
Q. When shampooing and conditioning, is there a preferred amount of time you should leave the product in your hair?
A. “If you have a lot of product in your hair, shampoo twice and leave the first lather on for 2-3 minutes to get through any heavy wax type product. Also, if you have thick and/or coarse hair, leave the conditioner on an extra few minutes to really moisturize the hair.”
Q. As a woman and a professional stylist, what are your thoughts on men with grey hair? And if a guy is still hanging on to his youth, what can you tell us about Redken’s Color Camo Treatment?
A. “I think men going grey or who are grey usually look really great in fact! If they feel like they have to disguise some of the grey, though, Redken Color Camo is perfect for this. It really takes the edge off the grey and only takes 5 minutes at the shampoo bowl in the salon, so it’s very discreet. It fades naturally and doesn’t fade to a warm reddish tone that so many colors for men do.”
Q. If you had to choose your favorite male celebrity haircut right now, who would it belong to?
A. “If I had to choose, it would be David Beckham, as it’s a more commercial version of the style that actor Michael Pitt had his hair in the HBO show Boardwalk Empire. That haircut heavily influenced many of the looks from 2011 through to 2012, and it continues to inspire. Whether it’s messier on top or smooth and slick and parted to one side, it is a very versatile look.”
Q. What do you feel will be the next big haircut trend for men?
A. “I think this trend (à la David Beckham’s cut: shorter on both sides and longer on top) will continue for the rest of 2012, as it can be tweaked in various ways. It’s such a good look for most guys, and depending on their hair texture, you have it designed and styled accordingly. For example, maybe a guy would choose to go not quite as short on the sides and more texture on top, but the ‘old-school’ 1920′s feel is still there.”
Q. Finally, do you have any non-evasive techniques or products you’d recommend for a dad with a receding hairline?
A. “Of course! Redken INTRA FORCE, our breakthrough anti-thinning line for men and women that just launched last year. It’s a three-step system that helps eliminate DHT and nourishes scalp and hair to visibly improve the appearance of thinning hair in just 30 days. And it really works.”
I also had the chance to try out the new Redken Invigorating Shampoo and Conditioner for Men. I liked how the product smelled like peppermint, which is a hard smell to beat when it comes to feeling clean. Plus, it has the added benefit of making your scalp tingle. You can find the shampoo and conditioner at a licensed Redken salon by going to Redken’s website. The shampoo is $11 and the conditioner is $12.
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Friday, April 13th, 2012
I love when I find a great product that’s made by hand, and it really shows you that sometimes you can’t beat an artisanal item. About a year ago, Maak Soap Labs and Tanner Goods, out of Portland, Oregon, joined forces to create a line of soaps that capture the scent of Cascadia. They ended up with two outdoorsy smells, Upland and Wildwood. They are both made from all-natural ingredients and scented with oils from plants that are indigenous to the region. One added bonus of the bar soaps is that they’re airplane friendly. No liquid means no hassle from the TSA.
Saying they smell good might be an understatement. I kept them on my desk for several days just to make sure I could take a whiff when I needed a “trip” to the mountains. After I finally used the soap for it’s intended purpose, I was pleased with the lather and how the scent didn’t intensify with the water. Plus, my skin felt clean, not dry, after rinsing.
Overall, I think that both scents are worth your while. Wildwood (the green one) is more piney smelling than Upland, but both are very fresh so it’s really up to your personal preference. You can find these handmade soaps at Tanner Goods, where they retail for $9 a bar. You can also read more about their process here.
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Beauty, GoodyBlog, Shopping & Gear, Time for Fun, Travel, Your Life
Friday, April 6th, 2012
I recently had the opportunity to ask the President of Zirh, Brian Robinson, a few questions about men’s grooming. He’s a dad of two boys (ages 10 and 3) and one girl (age 7), and his family lives in Westchester County, N.Y. Here’s what he had to say:
Q. What made you decide to found Zirh?
A. ”In the mid ’90s, the concept that men would take care of themselves to the same extent as women was foreign. I believed that men were looking for efficacy and price was of secondary importance if the product performed. Most important in my thought process was to demonstrate the product on the men so they could see the difference. Men’s skincare has come a long way since then, but the majority of men are still using soap and water so there is still a huge upside.”
Q. Whats the optimum morning regimen for a man? What step can’t be forgotten?
A. ”The optimum regimen consists of a good cleanser to wipe away dirt and dead skin cells. Every other day I suggest supplementing a cleanser with a gentle scrub. Then, I would finish off the routine with a moisturizer, preferably with SPF. The step that can’t be forgotten is exfoliating. There are different ways to do it through cleansers, scrubs, or peels, but revealing new, fresh skin helps you look younger and more vibrant.”
Q. If you had to choose a product that dads couldn’t live without, what would it be?
A. ”I would recommend Zirh Shave Gel, which is a unique shave gel in that it doesn’t lather up when applied. This way, you can see where you are going, reducing cuts, and abrasions. It also helps with sculpting for those with goatee’s or shaped beards.”
Q. If you had to give one ultimate grooming tip to a guy what would it be?
A. ”Shaving during or after a shower is a fantastic way to get a better shave!!!”
After hearing Brian’s thoughts on skincare, I got a chance to try a few of the products he suggested. I first tried the Zirh scrub, and I found it to be very effective. The thing I like most about it is that the particles were so small and it made me feel like I was getting an even exfoliation. The aloe vera in the scrub also helped moisturize my face, leaving it feeling fresh.
Next, I tried the pre-shave oil and the shave gel. I was a bit nervous about trying something new with five days worth of scruff on my face. I applied the oil after my shower (it was very slippery), and it didn’t take much to cover my beard. Then, I waited the suggested one to two minutes before applying the shave gel. Once the shave gel was on, it looked like I had absolutely nothing on my face but some moisturizer and I started to worry about possible razor burn. After the first pass of the blade, I was surprised to find a smooth, non-bleeding cheek. The smooth shaving continued until I finished without a single knick. So besides my initial nervousness, this shave gel worked incredibly well. I can definitely see how it would be useful if you shaped your beard.
You can find all of their products at zirh.com. The products I tried: scrub, $20; pre-shave oil, $18.50; and the shave gel, $15.
If you have any personal shaving tricks up your sleeve, please let me know in the comments below. They might make their way into a future post!
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Friday, March 30th, 2012
Paul Mitchell has created a new line for men called Mitch, and it’s a great addition to an already praise-worthy brand. The line is geared for men that like slick design and clean–not overpowering–scents. I recently tested the Double Hitter 2-in-1 Shampoo & Conditioner, and it really knocked it out of the park. The shampoo has a clean soap smell. It also has amazing lather, worthy of any sudsy shampoo commercial. After rinsing, my hair felt clean, but not dry–definitely a plus for having the conditioner in the same bottle.
I also tested two of the styling products (well, I tested one and had a dad test the other). I currently have the Don Draper haircut so I tried Barber’s Classic Pomade, which has moderate hold and high shine. It worked easily into my hair and provided enough hold to keep my hair in place while still having some flexibility. It is very lightly scented and kept my hair looking shiny all day. My dad tester used the Clean Cut styling cream, which has medium hold with a semi-matte finish. He goes for the natural disheveled look, and this cream worked well for him. He said it was easiest to use when his hair was dry and that it held his hair up all day without looking styled.
Overall, these products from Mitch stepped up to the plate and did exactly what they said they would. The Double-Hitter shampoo retails for $15.50, and both styling products go for $16.99. You can find these products and the rest of the line at a local retailer by visiting www.mitchtheman.com.
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Beauty, GoodyBlog, Shopping & Gear, Time for Fun, Your Life