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Men's Point of View
Icon...I used to think it was my husband's job to be sweet and sexy, and if he didn't do everything I wanted when I wanted, I would become whiney and bitchy, no doubt prompting him to think "Why the hell did I marry her!" More >>

Tags: feministaMarriageMen's Point of ViewRead On-AirSexSocial IssuesValuesWomen's Point of View
IconThe other night my husband got home at about midnight from a guys' Bible study. When he walked through the door I asked him how it was. He didn't even tell me about what they were studying. More >>

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How to Answer theDreaded Questions
When you Go Home for the Holidays

By The Love Goddess

"I'm going to be asked by my aunt--yetagain--why I'm not married," and am tired of answering thequestion with "Because I haven't met anyone yet. Because the look onher face when I say that is, like, triumphant. 'Oh dear.' she says,shaking her head 'I guess, well,--and here she smiles--no one's reallygood enough. Such a shame. How old are you now?'"
'My brothers are going to tease meabout gaining weight. I need a quick answer that doesn't humiliate me.Help!
'My mother will put down myboyfriend--a fabulous carpenter just starting out--with little snydecomments like, 'And what do you do again, dear?

Okay darling earth girls; time to get smart--now, beforeChristmas. Answers to stupid questions require planning ahead,lest they make you so mad you lose your cool. Here are threetried-and-true ways to five answers to the world's most obnoxiousquestions. Note that they share a theme, and that it's the theme you'reto remember.

1. ANYONE WHO ASKS YOU WHY YOU'RE NOT MARRIED DESERVES A BLOW-OFFANSWER.--AS GOOFY AND INSINCERE AS YOU CAN MAKE IT. Don't takethe question or the person seriously, as it's not a sincere questionbut rather one designed to make you uncomfortable (for, after all, whatanswer can you give that doesn't require an intimate, honestexchange?). So, unless you're prepared to level the person and start afight, evade the question with a breezy, even goofy answer--it deflectsthe hostility and you come out looking cheerful and unfazed.

2. To hone this skill, try anticipating the questioner's real point,and offer the answer she or he wants to hear. "I guess no one's goodenough for me, Aunt Jane" is very good, as it saves her the trouble ofimplying just that. 'No one would ever marry me because I'm fartoo stupid is another good one. Whatever you suspect the hidden agendais.

3. Disarm the questioner with something more interesting than thequestion. "I came close to marrying Fred Auntie, but he got worriedwhen he discovered how rich I am." At least she'll do a double take.You? Rich? How and when? Huh? An excellent answer. Thenturn and pour yourself a drink--and don't join her again.

The theme here is to disarm the rude questioner in any way you can. Thegoofier the answer, the better. "Gosh, Grandpa, I DO want toget married and have found just the right guy....but my psychic told me not to get marrieduntil February of 2011. So I'm waiting. " (Grandpa won't knowwhether to ask about the psychic or the reasoning for the month ofFebruary, or why he didn't know you were engaged--by which point you'llhave dashed out of the room.) Your "psychic" could also be yourguru, or your priest or your Groom's mother. Anybody who hasn'tbeen introduced to the family, nor heard of at all, will do. You wantto sound like it's all taken care of--by some lunatic no one knows.

For a roomful of family friends who all seem to be asking the samequestion and can't shut up, try. "Oh, you haven't heard, UncleBill. I AM married! I just haven't announced it yet! You're thefirst to know--so keep it a secret for me for now, okay?" Bill willwant to know when you're going to tell everyone. Just say, "Soon! Verysoon!"

Same for your boyfriend, the neophyte carpenter. Have him tell yourmother he's working on a chest of drawers for the queen of England. Andtell your brothers that the reason you've gained weight is that you'reon the girls' basketball team and are taking steroids till you reachthe proper strength.


And then walk away and find someone to talk to who loves you just theway you are.

Dalma Heyn, M.S.W., Founder of The Love Goddess, is the author ofseveral bestselling books on marriage and relationships. Dalma is awidely read columnist and sought-after speaker. She hasappeare--without her wings--on national talk shows including Oprah, The View, Charlie Rose, GoodMorning America, and Larry King Live. For more information or Permission granted foruse

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Tax Time Identity TheftPrevention Tips
By John Sileo

This past week, I have beenhelping a gentleman recover from the theft of all of his taxrecords. Before it is all over, this gentleman will have spendhundreds of hours and thousands of dollars simply preventing anyfurther fraudulent use of his identity. That doesn't account for anydamages already done to his finances, criminal record, medical recordsor social security benefits. There is very little that is more damagingand dangerous to your identity than losing your tax records.

After all, tax records generally contain the most sensitive personallyidentifying information that you own, including Social Security Numbers(for you, your spouse and maybe even your kids), names, addresses,employers, net worth, etc. Because of this high concentration ofsensitive data, tax time is like an all-you-can-eat buffet for identitythieves. Here are some of the dishes on which they greedily feed:
  • Tax documents exposed onyour desk (home and work)
  • Private information thatsits unprotected in your tax-preparer's office
  • Improperly mailed, emailedand digitally transmitted or filed records
  • Photocopiers with harddrives that store a digital copy of your tax forms
  • Copies of sensitivedocuments that get thrown out without being shredded
  • Improperly stored and lockeddocuments once your return is filed
  • Tax-time scams that takeadvantage of our propensity to do whatever the IRS says (even if it'snot really the IRS asking)
TopTips for Tax Time Identity Theft Protection: Safe Preparation.Your greatest risk of identity theft during tax season comes from yourtax preparer (if you use one) either because they are dishonest (lesslikely) or because they are careless with your sensitive documents(more likely). Just walk into a tax-preparers office on April 1 and askyourself how easy it would be to walk off with a few client folderscontaining mounds of profitable identity. The devil is in thedisorganization.

Effective Solutions:
  • Choose your preparer wisely.How well do you know the person and company preparing your taxes? Didthey come personally recommended, or could they be earning cash on theside by selling your personal information. Do they have an establishedrecord and are they recommended by the Better Business Bureau?
  • Interview your preparerbefore you turn over sensitive information. Ask them exactly how theyprotect your privacy (do they have a privacy policy?). Are they meetingwith you in a room full of client files, or do they take you to aneutral, data-free, conference room or office? Do they leave files outon their desk for the cleaning service to access at night, or do theylock your documents in a filing cabinet or behind a secure office door?Do they protect their computers with everything listed in the nextsection?
  • Asking professional taxpreparers these questions sends them a message that you are watching!Identity thieves tend to stay away from people they know are activelymonitoring for fraud. Remember, losing your identity inside of theiraccounting or bookkeeping business poses a tremendous legal liabilityto their livelihood.
SecureComputers. Last year, more than 80 million Americans filed theirtax returns electronically. To prevent electronic identity theft, youmust take the necessary steps to protect your computer, network andwireless connection. Additionally, your tax preparer should be workingonly on a secured computer, network and internet connection. Hire aprofessional to implement the following security measures:
  • Strong alpha-numericpasswords that keep strangers out of your system
  • Anti-virus and anti-spywaresoftware configured with automatic updates
  • Encrypted hard drives orfolders (especially for your tax preparer)
  • Automatic operating systemupdates and security patches
  • An encrypted wirelessnetwork protection
  • A firewall between yourcomputer and the internet
  • Remove all file-sharingprograms from your computer (limewire, napster, etc.)
Private information should betransmitted by phone using your cell or land line (don't use cordlessphones). In addition, never email your private information to anyoneunless you are totally confident that you are using encrypted email.This is a rarity, so don't assume you have it. In a pinch, you canemail password protected PDF documents, though these are relativelyeasy to hack. Stop Falling for IRSScams. We have a heightened response mechanism during taxseason; we don't want to raise any red flags with the IRS, so we tendto give our personal information without much thought. We are primed tobe socially engineered. Here's how to combat the problem:
  • Make your default answer,"No". When someone asks for your Social Security Number or otheridentifying information, refuse until you are completely comfortablethat they are legitimate. Verify their credentials by calling them backon a published number for the IRS.
  • If someone promises you (byphone, fax, mail, or in person) to drastically reduce your tax bill orspeed up your tax return, don't believe them until you have done yourhomework (call the IRS directly if you have to). These schemes flourishwhen the government issues economic stimulus checks and IRS refunds.
  • If anyone asks you forinformation in order to send you your check, they are scamming for youridentity. The IRS already knows where you live (and where to send yourrebate)! By the way, the IRS will NEVER email you for any reason (e.g.,promising a refund, requesting information, threatening you).
  • To learn more about IRSscams, visit the only legitimate IRS website, which is Ifyou are hit by an IRS scam, contact the IRS's Taxpayer Advocate Serviceat
MailSafely. A good deal of identity theft takes place while taxdocuments or supporting material are being sent through the mail. Ifyou are sending your tax return through the mail, follow these steps:
  • Walk the envelope inside ofthe post office and hand it to an employee. Too much mail is stolen outof the blue USPS mailboxes and driveway mailboxes that we use foreverything else to make them safe.
  • Send your return bycertified mail so that you know it has arrived safely. This sends amessage to each mail carrier that they had better provide extraprotection to the document they are carrying.
  • Consider filingelectronically so that you take mail out of the equation. Make surethat you have a well-protected computer (discussed above).
Shredand Store Safely. Any copies of tax documents that you no longerneed can be shredded using a confetti shredder. Store all tax records,documents and related materials in a secure fire safe. I recommendspending the extra money to have your safe bolted into your home sothat a thief can't walk away with your entire identity portfolio. Makesure that your tax provider appropriately destroys and locks up anylingering pieces of your identity as well. Tax returns provide more ofyour private information in a single place than almost any otherdocument in our lives. Don't waste your tax refund recovering from thiscrime.

About the author: John Sileobecame America's leading Identity Theft Speaker amp;Expert after he lost his business and more than $300,000 toidentity theft and data breach. His clients include the Department ofDefense, Pfizer and the FDIC. To further bulletproof yourself and yourbusiness, visit John's blog at To book John atyour next event, visit Permissiongranted foruse

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Your iPhone 4: Is itSafe?
By John Sileo

While the new features keep the iPhone at the forefront of technology,they also cause some privacy concerns.

One concern that carries over from previous iPhone models is the Always-on iPhone Apps that trackyour every move through the GPS navigation system. Back in April, Applebegan allowing location-tracking applications to run in thebackground. So, for example, companies like FourSquare, Yelp, andFacebook can continuously track your location, providing automaticnotifications to your friends when you are less than 1/2 mileaway from them, if you allow them.

For example, I just had a highly confidential client meeting at theclient's corporate headquarters. To the uninitiated, that meansthat the company I was visiting is probably having data theft issues(and has brought me in to help). If the media finds out that they arehaving these issues before the company has had a chance to start thedamage control process, their stock will drop far faster than if theyhave prepared for the news to go public. If Facebook or FourSquare isbroadcasting my whereabouts, my followers already know which company ishaving the problem, their competitors know it (if they are following myGPS broadcasts), and the media sits and waits for me to enter thebuilding. Luckily, I'm not well-know enough for anyone to care, butjust in case, I don't broadcast my whereabouts. Other, far moreinfluential people, do so without thinking twice about it. Which goesto show you that there are ways to utilize all of the cool newtechnology without letting it control you. With the right knowledge,you can take control of how your information is utilized.

Apple does realize the privacy concerns with location tracking andgives users a way to control how much information is shared. Whenyou open an app, the top bar will show a little arrow in the right-handcorner, indicating location awareness (pictured to the right). Therewill also be a dashboard where you can toggle location-trackingpermissions on and off for different apps. Regardless, this means thatmore companies will have access you your location than before. Ihaven't spent a lot of time thinking through the negative implicationsof location tracking, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't be aware thatit is going on in the background so that we can make decisions from aposition of power.

High-definition video is a second tool that will be used by data spies.What could be easier than for an identity thief to pretend they are onthe phone as they are actually filming you typing in your ATM PIN infront of them? Why does iPhone 4 change the game? Because Hi-definitionmeans that they can stand further away and still get high quality videowith which to read your data. A simple sweep of an office desk, aclient file, etc. with high definition video gives me all of thedocuments I need to learn more about your company. Think of it as a spycamera that provides thousands of pictures a minute and is hidden asthe most ubiquitous device on the planet - a cell phone. Powerful toolboth for good and bad.

About the author: Tofurther bulletproof yourself and your business, visit John's blog at Tobook John at your next event, visit Sileo became America's leading Identity Theft Speaker amp; Expertafter he lost his business and more than $300,000 to identity theft anddata breach. His clients include the Department of Defense, Pfizer andthe FDIC. Permission granted for use on

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Icon"Be alert to pitches for "off season" discounts. In some destinations "off season" really means hurricane season." - Robbin Montero Generally thought to be the most "honeyed" time of a couple's marriage, the honeymoon is certainly one of the most romantic trips you and your spouse will ever take. With careful planning, you will have many treasured memories of this occasion. More >>

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Simple Avocado MangoSalad
By Cheryl Tallman


1 avocado, cubed
1/2 mango, cubed
1 graham cracker, crushed

Honey-Lime Dressing:
2 Tbsp lime juice
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1Tbsp Honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Prepare dressing: In small bowl, whisk all ingredients together.
Salad: Arrange avocado and mango cubes on a plate or bowl. Drizzle withdressing. Sprinkle with graham cracker crumbs. Serve.
Cheryl Tallman is the co-founder of Fresh Baby, creators of theaward-winning So Easy Baby Food Kit, and author of the So Easy Baby Food Basics: Homemade BabyFood in Less Than 30 Minutes Per Week and So Easy Toddler Food: Survival Tips andSimple Recipes for the Toddler Years. Visit Cheryl online at for more delicious tips. Permission granted for use on

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Six Sound Strategies to Stress Less

By Ellen Simon, M.S., M. Ed., LPC

Stress happens in your body but starts in your mind. In addition to the perception of danger or life threatening events, there are two thinking habits that activate the stress response in the body.

The first is negative attention, or focusing on what you don't want/like, rather than what is good, right or challenging in a growth producing way. The Law of Attraction will bring into your life that which you focus on and play on the movie screen of your mind.

The second common habit to induce stress is an insistence and needing that things be a certain way, rather than preferring the same. Insistence on things being a certain way implies an attachment to a particular outcome, and thus sets you up for disappointment. If instead you prefer an outcome, you still identify your wishes and desires, yet this attitude contains energy of letting go. Preferring carries an element of trust in the unfolding of life and the confidence that whatever happens, you have the resources and ability to handle life.

It's better to have what you need than to need what you want.

The 6 strategies to stress less and enjoy life more follow:
  1. Thinking healthy - focus on what you do want rather than what you don't want, let go of insisting or clinging to a particular outcome. Where are your thoughts? Are you focusing on what is wrong? Or is your awareness on the solution or even on the blessing that if often revealed down the road? Are you turning your wants into needs? When you NEED what you WANT then you create unnecessary stress. Try shifting your needs into preferences, relaxing, breathing and looking at the big picture.

  2. Breathing - breathe in fully and completely let go of your breath. Breathing is a metaphor for life. Take it in fully and let go of what you do not need.

  3. Moving - stretch your body and keep it flexible and resilient like your mind.

  4. Awareness - maintain a consciousness of your habitual patterns. If something is not working, cease the pattern and make another choice.

  5. Communication - be assertive, state your truth with harmless intention and allow another to have a truth that may differ from yours. Respect your needs and celebrate diversity in your loved ones.

  6. Sound Sleep - crucial to managing stress and feelings of well-being. If needed, create a routine for yourself that includes a soothing and calming ritual before bed. If there is something on your mind, talk to a friend or journal - get those feelings out of your body and onto some paper or into a friend's ear! Meditation prior to bedtime can create a nice transition to sleep. A spray of lavender or nutritional supplements may be considered to support a healthy sleep.
Keep in mind these six strategies as you remember that you are the choice maker. One of the few things you can choose is what thoughts you entertain and how you respond to life!!

copy; 2009 by Ellen Simon Permission to reprint if left intact.

Ellen Simon is a nationally recognized expert in the field of mind body health. Ellen's unique brand of audio programs is in use in hospitals and health care facilities across the country. Author of over 25 titles this article is adapted from Food for Thought(r) a 6 audio CD set. For more information visit Permission granted for use on

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Preventing IdentityTheft of a Loved One Who Has Passed
By John Sileo

Here are 5 steps to take after a loved-one has passed away to make surethat their identity rests in peace:
  1. Short Obituaries. Make surethat you don't include too much identifying information when you writethe obituary. Identity thieves use this information (mother's maidenname, address, ancestry, occupation, birth date, death date) to set upnew accounts, licenses, etc. in the deceased person's name. It isimportant to honor the person, just don't give away all of theirpersonal information.

  2. Protect Death Certificates.Guard the death certificate like you would a birth certificate or otherpiece of identity. You will need to fax this document to certainorganizations in order to prove that your family member is deceased,but only send it to trusted institutions who absolutely won't take thename off of the account without it. When you are done with the deathcertificate, store the original and all copies in your safewhere you keep other identity documents. Be forewarned that forsecurities sake, many organizations are requiring an original copy ofthe death certificate as proof, so ask for 10-12 originals copies whenyou request the death certificate.

  3. Notify Credit Bureaus.Immediately notify the three credit reporting bureaus that your familymember has passed away. Request that the credit report is flagged withthe note: Deceased, Do Not Issue Credit. Request a copy of thedecedent's credit report so that you will have a list of all of theaccounts you need to modify/close (see Step 4). The procedure varies bycredit burea, so the numbers to contact them are asfollows: Experian - 888-397-3742; Equifax - 888-766-0008;TransUnion - 800-680-7289. Don't wait for the Social SecurityAdministration to notify the credit bureaus - it takes them too long!And make sure to log all correspondence and conversations and senddocuments via certified mail so that you have proof of delivery, shouldyou ever need to dispute a claim of non-receipt.

  4. Notify FinancialInstitutions. Notify all banks, insurance companies, credit cardcompanies, stock brokers, mortgage companies, loan/lien holders,etc. about the death of your family member (if it was a jointaccount OR an account under their name). The executor or survivingspouse will need to resolve all outstanding debts and how they will bedealt with before the account can be closed or the deceased person'sname is removed from the account. Also notify the Social SecurityAdministration, Veteran's Administration, Department of Motor Vehicles,professional license associations (Bar Association), membershipprograms (Costco, Sam's, Blockbuster, etc.) and any creditors orcollection agencies with which the deceased had an account ormembership. This is a difficult time to put in all of the work toprotect an identity that should be left alone; but the current realityis that the identities of deceased individuals are easier to steal andabuse than those of the living.

  5. Share Wiselywith Family Members. Unfortunately, many cases of deceasedidentity theft are committed by a member of the deceased's family. Itmight be a relative who is in financial trouble, a friend whohas a costly addiction or a child that they were wronged inthe will or estate planning. For that reason, the identifyinginformation of a deceased family member should be kept to as small acircle as possible. It seems to work best when one family member is thepoint-person for collection of documents, closing of accounts, checkingof credit, etc. Generally this is someone other than the personwho organizes all of the other events that surround the death of aloved one.
About the author: To furtherbulletproof yourself and your business, visit John's blog at To book John at your next event,visit Sileo became America's leading Identity Theft Speaker amp;Expert after he lost his business and more than $300,000 toidentity theft and data breach. His clients include the Department ofDefense, Pfizer and the FDIC.Permissiongranted for use

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IconAfter first listening to you about a two years ago, I took your sage advice and started my trek toward being thin and healthy. I was so fat the Army wouldn't take me. More >>

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