Week of July 21 - 27, 2014

Looking for free yoga classes in Boston? See the Summer 2014 listing here!

Massachusetts Farmers Markets and food trucks are everywhere. Plus, look at this handy guide to the Boston Public Market!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Win Visa Gift Cards, A FitBit Flex & FitBit Aria Scale!

Thank you UnitedHealthcare for sponsoring this Post!*

Staying healthy has become even more important to me as the years go by. I’m still looking to drop some pounds and making it more fun by adding a tip to the tip jar each time I exercise. It makes me surprisingly happy believe it or not!

While I do have a sweet tooth, I try to eat dessert in moderation and especially eat a lot of fruits (fresh and dried), vegetables and nuts too. My mom is a breast cancer survivor, many family members are on medications to control high blood pressure and diabetes, so I know there is a higher risk for me as well. Prevention is the best medicine and I’m always trying!

I’ve written here before about how I’m one of 59,000 black women who enrolled in the Black Women’s Health Study (BWHS) back in 1995. It’s the largest study yet of black women’s health and will be celebrating the 20th year in 2015 with a major report on their findings. I always look forward to the twice a year newsletter mailings with updates on the study and the latest news about health and wellness.

Their website also has information about studies relating to the impact of racism on obesity in African American women, how vigorous exercise is still a way to fight obesity and research about the question of hair relaxers being related to an increased risk for uterine fibroids.

While not related to the BWHS, something that I just learned about is a UnitedHealthcare website called Generations of Wellness. The focus is on improving the health outcomes of African Americans through educational campaigns using innovative and unique health tools.

I really like that there is a focus on family and health, because the two are so connected. I’ve learned things about generational health issues in my family over casual brunches talking to my aunts, uncles and cousins. Make the most of those family get-togethers!

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An educational campaign going on right now is the “Live Well Pass It On Fitness Questions Sweepstakes.”

The Sweepstakes runs through the end of July and is a good motivator to be more mindful of fitness and get your exercise routine in gear. So much of good health is just getting into the right mindset.

By visiting the Live Well Pass It On website, you can answer some easy health and wellness questions and be entered to win one of several $25 Visa gift cards and the Grand Prize of a FitBit Flex and a FitBit Aria Scale. You can enter the Sweepstakes once per day for the rest of the month.

Take a look at the Official Rules to learn more. The contest is open to most everyone as long as they are legal residents of the 50 United States who are eighteen (18) years or older, except for you must be at least nineteen (19) years or older in AL or NE.

Besides possibly winning these cool fitness gadgets and giftcards, the Generations of Wellness website also has fitness guides for workouts that you can download. The routines include music suggestions, so they are timed. Take a look at the workouts timed for: 10 minutes, 20 minutes and 30 minutes. I’m on week two on a four week to run a mile program and need to switch up my cross-training, so these might work out for me as well.

Also, you can find fitness videos by newlywed Darrin Henson, who you may know from the Showtime series Soul Food and the movie Stomp the Yard. Besides being an actor, he’s also a choreographer and dancer who worked with New Kids OnThe Block, Brandy, Salt N Pepa, 'N SYNC and Britney Spears.

Generations of Wellness has a lot to see. Remember to go to the website and enter to win!

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*This post is brought to you in collaboration with UnitedHealthcare. Thank you for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and special content like this for Anali’s First Amendment.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

What Would Olivia Pope Do? #MarketBasket

Since my first blog post about Market Basket on Monday, the drama has only increased.

As a devoted fan of Scandal, I can't help but picture an extremely concerned looking Olivia Pope being called to one of the homes of the new co-CEOs -- Felicia Thornton and James Gooch.

Based on an article by WBUR, one of the first things Pope would have her Gladiators start on would be getting the company its own website.

Yup! Until a few hours ago, a multi-billion dollar company with 25,000 employees did not have its own website. Hard to believe, but a devoted fan was operating a website on the domain MyDemoulas.com, which is now a Dot Net. Just this morning, Market Basket now officially has its own website.

While I've never been a crisis manager, I would think that the first thing to do would be to take control of the information that you can that is being put out about the company.

If this were an episode of Scandal, I would think there would be a press conference being called in the near future by the CEOs, because right now the workers have taken hold of the story and they have the support of most everyone.

Massachusetts loves a fight the power story! Although this is kind of a strange fight the power story. The people want to restore the status quo and have much love for their ousted CEO. There are lessons for corporate America here.

From what I've read on a recent post on the Save Market Basket Facebook page, there is supposed to be a Board of Directors Meeting on Friday at the Prudential Center in Boston. Disclosure: I liked the page and I'm with the employees! 

 Another huge rally is planned for Friday in Tewksbury. Below is the text of the post.
On Friday, July 25, at 9am we will stage what we hope will be our biggest and final rally. We will meet at the same place, 10 Main Street, Tewksbury, to put the finishing touch on our week of protest and celebrate who and what we are. We are in the midst of what will most likely be the biggest and most important cause any of us will ever be a part of. The eyes of the nation are on us as we march forward with unwavering resolve to get ATD back in charge and put Market Basket back on track.
Our fight has been joined by tens of thousands. Associates, vendors, media, politicians and most importantly, our customers. We call on our customers to join us Friday and make this rally yours. Your participation in supporting us by boycotting Market Basket until this is seen through is the single most powerful weapon we have.

We ask that you continue to shop elsewhere and let your voices be heard both at the rally and in ASDs wallet!

We fervently hope that Friday, when the Board meets at 4pm in the Prudential Center in Boston, our revolution ends with the proper resolution. They can put an end to all of this with a simple vote to do what is right: return Arthur T. Demoulas to his role of President and CEO. The three "Independent" members, Keith Cowan, Ron Weiner and Eric Gebaide have their reputations and potentially their financial well being on the line. They have a fiduciary obligation to do what is best for this company. They must to do what is best for New England. Then must to do what is best for the customers.
If you'd like to understand more about the background of this story, Boston.com has a terrific infographic. The Gloucester Clam, has written a very informative and hilarious explanation Clamsplainer. See Part 1 and Part 2.

While there is certainly room for humor, this situation is serious. The livelihoods of thousands are on the line. In this economy especially, it doesn't get much more serious than that.

It's really brave to go out on a limb for something that you believe in when you have everything to lose. Just days ago, I finally saw the John Adams mini-series and thoughts of the American Revolution are fresh in my mind. It really is moving and I highly recommend it if you haven't seen it.

Yesterday, I was doing some errands and drove by Peacefield. It really is amazing to live in Quincy and think about the history. I could feel it in the air.

Seeing what the Market Basket workers are doing all in the name of a shared belief about what is right brings it all home. The Patriots did not know if this American experiment would work. Neither do the Market Basket workers. But they are trying. And that is all that any of us can do.

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Photo Credit: Scandal Website

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Breaking News: #MarketBasket

I've written about Market Basket here before. It's a pretty amazing chain of grocery stores in New England. It's a favorite of not just consumers, but of employees too, because of the fair way that they have been treated.

The store is family operated and there has been a lot of in-fighting over the years. Recently the former and much beloved CEO, Arthur T. Demoulas was ousted by the Board of Directors. Employees demanded that Demoulas be reinstated or they would walk off the job. Workers were told that if they walked out, they would be fired.

Things escalated over this past weekend. Workers walked off the job, but deny they are striking. They just want Demoulas reinstated as CEO. Since then, several workers have been fired and supplies are running out in the stores.

Customers support the employees and many are talking about a boycott. Things are heating up. The Twitter stream above will keep updating.

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As the day goes on and people continue to rally to bring back #ATD as he's being called on Twitter, I'm reminded of the devotion between Aaron Feuerstein and his employees after a devastating fire to Malden Mills right before Christmas. Feuerstein paid the salaries of employees while he was rebuilding.

An article about the fire on Mass Moments explains his reasoning for the way he treated his employees.
"Feuerstein, a devout Orthodox Jew, explained that he drew on Jewish tradition when faced with the crisis: "When all is moral chaos, this is the time for you to be a mensch," the Yiddish word for an honorable, decent, compassionate person who embodies justice and strives for righteousness."
Sadly, his efforts weren't enough and Malden Mills was lost to creditors. Feurstein was removed as CEO.  I hope that there is a happier ending with Market Basket. The Board of Directors has the opportunity to take advantage of a lot of goodwill for the store right now and bring back ATD. It will be interesting to see how this unfolds.

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Happy National Ice Cream Day!

Today is officially National Ice Cream Day! But don't worry if you have no ice cream to celebrate today. July is National Ice Cream Month! So you still have a few days left. Not that any of us limit our ice cream intake to one month or season.

I was well aware of the day and month in advance, because one of my writing assignments was researching the legal issue of alcohol infused ice cream. Did you know that depending upon the state, you may need to be 21 in order to buy some of these frozen treats?

Since I am well over 21, a few years ago I created a recipe for Coconut Kahlua Ice Cream.

Last night I made my first homemade ice cream of the season. It's also my first time making an ice cream cake.

This picture above may look like a huge ice cream sandwich. Well, I guess it sort of is actually..... But actually, it's an ice cream cake in progress.

For the cake, I cut this chocolate cake recipe in half and baked the cake in a loaf pan in parchment paper. The timing was a bit different -- probably closer to 40 minutes baking time instead of 50. After letting the cake cool in the freezer, I cut it in half.

The ice cream recipe was a variation of the recipe that I mentioned above, but I ended up using 2 cups of coconut milk and about 1 cup of cream. I didn't use any alcohol in this ice cream. Since you need soft ice cream for ice cream cake, it worked out well having the ice cream in a soft consistency already.

I put half of the cut cake back in the pan (still with parchment paper). Then I spread most of the ice cream on top of the cake. I put that in the freezer for a few hours until more solid. Since I wanted something else in the cake, I spread Nutella (about 6 oz.) over the ice cream. Then I let that freeze overnight. I froze the other cake half as well.

Earlier this morning, I took the other cake half and put it on the top of the frozen cake ice cream Nutella combo. That is the picture above. Then I made an almond glaze. I didn't measure the ingredients, but used close to a stick of melted butter, pinch of salt, about 1/2 tsp. of both almond extract and vanilla extract, about 2 T of almond milk and maybe 2 cups of powdered sugar. I stirred it all together until it was smooth and a bit on the drippy side. Then I slathered it over the top of the cake and tried to smooth it on the sides.

I took some pictures at this stage, but it doesn't look great, so I'm not using them. The cake is in the freezer again and I'm taking it to a family brunch in a little while. Hopefully it will stay frozen on the drive over!

I'll take some pictures again when we cut the cake and probably share them on Instagram, which I've been using a lot lately. I'll probably update this post with pictures too!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!

*Updated 7/21/2014* Above is the finished picture. The cake was delicious, but the layer of Nutella froze very hard making the cake very difficult to cut and causing the ice cream to squeeze out the sides. Some changes will be made next time. : )

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Disclaimer: Nothing stated on Anali's First Amendment should be construed as legal advice. No attorney client relationships have been formed on this blog. © 2006-2014. Anali's First Amendment/Lisa C. Johnson. All rights reserved. Do not use writing or photographs without permission. Please read About + Contact for more details.