Bravo TV, Reality TV

#SouthernCharmSavannah: Haymaker Havoc and What’s Ahead

Southern Charm Savannah returns tomorrow, Monday at 10 PM EST, and a number of its fans from last season are skeptical.

The show didn’t do spectacularly well in the ratings last season – with many complaining it lacked luster compared to the original Southern Charm.

Fans took to Twitter to say that Ashley Borders, who dealt with major life changes and adversity (especially from stodgier members of the more conservative cast), was the most interesting character on the show (definitely the bohemian and most liberal of the group) only to discover that this season she’ll appear in a few scenes. She’s an estranged “friend of” rather than a full time cast member.

According to Savannian sources, one of the other cast members had Haymaker Productions’ ear, made a big stink about Ashley’s potential return, and didn’t want to film with her. There was a bit of a tug of war behind the scenes as a fierce female Bravo executive advocated for Ashley, but ultimately was not triumphant due to the stubborn cast member.

Ashley Borders

In Ashley’s place, Haymaker cast a Brooklyn Decker lookalike named Hagood Coxe and made interior decorator Brandon Branch, who appeared last season, a full time cast member. Some fans regarded Brandon warily, the mean gossip who pettily maligned Ashley Borders to his good friend Catherine Cooper. We’ll get to know more about his personal life and greater insight into his character this season. I just hope he’s a tad more endearing because I wasn’t charmed by him in Season 1.

Last year, viewers saw Lyle Mackenzie propose to Catherine and she turned that down. One source says she also turned down an off-camera proposal!

In the Season 2 trailer, we see another cast member, Daniel Eichholz, plea to Lyle to rethink his relationship and question Catherine’s fidelity.

The very young Hagood, in her 20s compared to her decade-older cast mates, is said to struggle with some identity issues and is concerned about what others think. My sources say that Ashley Borders briefly spoke with Hagood during filming about being proud of who she is and not worrying so much about the rest of the cast’s judgement – which Ashley herself dealt with last season.

The offending but, I believe, well-intentioned Nelson Lewis (who threw out a Yiddish word that didn’t meet with positive response from Jews like myself and Daniel Eichholz, or black viewers) is not back at all for Season 2. Some fans regarded his faux pas of last season as falling under the Hanlon’s Razor principle – Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.

That said, Nelson is a smart man, but didn’t possess enough of the “Woke” World Smarts to help him outside of his select Southern circles. Daniel Eichholz was certainly offended, and he felt like the odd man out being a Jewish Savannian in this group in general. I am interested to see how that storyline plays out for Daniel sans Nelson.

I’ll be tuning in, but mainly to rage that Ashley Borders isn’t back – since she was my personal favorite – and to tune in for her select scenes.

Reality TV

#90DayFiance: Interview with Danielle Jbali

Danielle Jbali from 90 Day Fiance is one of the most talked about members of the franchise. I recently fell far down the 90 Day rabbit hole, and although I’m new to this series, it is riveting for the realness and heightened raw emotions (much more so than arguably “staged” reality shows). Always the last one to the party, I had initially resolved not to take on another addictive television program, but completely reneged. As viewers can attest, Danielle and Mohamed’s crazy journey unwittingly sucks you in.

While Mohamed later pulled the “I got a bad edit” card, most viewers felt Danielle was being taken advantage of by the man who married her in 90 days to obtain his K1 Visa. The couple’s tumultuous dynamic played out for the cameras and after filming their first season, Mohamed became quite taken with the fan adoration on social media.

From there began the demise of their already rocky union. Danielle confronted Mohamed with the infamous “binder” that held incriminating information such as correspondences with other women, and expressed her desire for him to be deported. The now-divorced couple no longer speak, and Mohamed lashed out at producers for not showing some of the good times with Danielle and making him look like a lothario.

I caught up with Danielle to ask her some of the questions viewers wanted to know. She also weighed in on the current season of 90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After?

I know that you and Mohamed are divorced and have essentially moved on. Do you have any contact with him at all?

No, not at all. I tried reaching out last fall, but he quit responding to me so I gave up. We were cool before that and there was something I wanted help with – with a website. At first, he said yes and then he quit responding. He was talking to me while he was in Miami, but after he got to Texas he quit responding. He’s in Texas now.

Can you explain what it means that you are responsible for him for 10 years from him getting his K1 Visa and marrying you?

For example, if he was to go to the hospital or need federal assistance, they would come to me to collect that money.

Molly and Luis have a similar arrangement.

That’s what it would entail, the same thing.

I’m currently watching 90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After? Are there any couples on that show that you have advice for based on your own experience?

Nicole and Azan I have been in touch with. I spoke with them after their very first season and advised Nicole to go over to Morocco more than once and really familiarize herself with that culture. She’s done that. I also spoke to Azan and said ‘Don’t ever do what Mohamed did.  Stick to your culture and your roots and really make sure that Nicole is used to that.’ You see, Mohamed brought religion into our relationship and then he was not sticking to things he was taught, but would turn around and blame me for things. In his culture, men are providers and I was taking care of him by working. When he was complaining about my finances, he wasn’t working. By the way, I found a new job within a month after you saw me lose my job on the show and I’m still working at that job. I take care of mentally handicapped adults. I work as a home health aide too. I’m also in school for my RN degree to become a nurse.

I was watching the scene in which you spoke with him about losing your job. He responded that he wouldn’t leave you because you lost your job, he would only leave if you weren’t telling him things. Did you trust what he was saying then?

I truly feel – I don’t care if my friend Beth gets mad – I know our relationship from the very beginning. I feel Mohamed came here for the right reasons…BUT after the financial trouble, losing my job, issues with my son and him not working, he started getting depressed. Part of the K1 process is that you’re not allowed to work until you get a work permit. When the show came out, he suddenly got messages from women all over the world and I think the fame went to his head. He was never that arrogant until after the show started airing.

When he was receiving all of those messages and responding to them, were you two separated or fully together?

This was while we were fully together. It was almost a year after we were fully together that he finally left because we had a big blow up. I found a receipt from a woman from Canada sending him money.

Were there moments you wish had been captured by the 90 Day crew that weren’t?

They didn’t show a lot of our happy moments. They showed him getting along with my girls and could’ve showed some more of that positive stuff. There was more than just the drama. There was some good stuff.

Can you address the things you heard Mohamed say that you feel were untrue?

I never screamed at him for sex. This is the thing: I’m open with my girls and will talk about sex in front of them and he was appalled by that. I know what my kids do and don’t do because I’m honest and open with them. I think that was shocking to Mohamed because of his culture. He didn’t agree with me being so open because in Tunisia they’re not open.

When he said I needed to see a doctor, it was a big lie to make me look bad. I was having medical issues with my period and I had a surgical procedure to have my uterus removed and he actually took me to that. He said I had an odor and peed on him. That was actually orgasm and he wasn’t experienced with sexual things. In the culture that he’s from, they don’t have sex until marriage. He was a virgin until I came over to see him.

I know it struck viewers as strange when he said at the wedding that it was Ramadan and so he couldn’t kiss his new bride.

That was edited a certain way! We actually had talked about it before the wedding but it was made to look like he sprung that on me. I already knew about Ramadan and when I went over to see him, we were conscious about not touching in public.

How is your relationship with your kids now and did Mohamed end up apologizing wholeheartedly to them as he promised he would?

Over in their culture, they do a lot of things with their family, but there was tension for a while between my kids and I when it was hard for Mohamed to understand that we are more open in our culture. I would talk with my family and friends. He doesn’t open up to family and friends from back home. He could’ve stopped talking to people online and just talked to his family if that were the case! I didn’t appreciate him getting on Reddit forums and things like that to discuss me and the relationship. He did end up apologizing to my kids. It’s not tense anymore for me and my kids. We’ve really moved past it.

When was the last time you saw Mohamed?

March of 2017, in court. Well, I did see him at the Tell-All but he wouldn’t talk to me there!

Do you have any other thoughts about the 90 Day Fiance: Happily Ever After? couples?

I think that Anfisa has been honest with Jorge from the get-go so I don’t hold that against her. The only thing I might hold against her is keying the car and stuff like that…but in some relationships, one person gets more hotheaded than the other person! I mean, hey, I threw a book at Mohamed in Miami. When you’re caught up in this crazy drama, you do things you normally wouldn’t do.

A fan named Jessica Mirmak told me to ask if you still have the binder. She added ‘Please, I need to know!’


What is your relationship status now?

I’m dating someone, but he doesn’t want to be in the public eye at all, so I don’t put anything out there with him. That means no pictures on social media or anything like that. He likes his privacy. If I put it out there, some of these fans go crazy looking things up on the Internet. I do love to interact with my fans though and have met up with some and chatted with others. When they ask me questions, I try to answer them.

Should we expect to see you in a follow up show on TLC?

Possibly because I know they’ve extended my contract. I did the update for What Now? but I’m not sure what’s ahead! Stay tuned.

The rest of these questions are from a fan named Eunyoung Lee: 

Do your kids live with you?

My three daughters live with me. My son lives with his fiancé and their kids.

Where do you reside now?

I still live in Sandusky in the double wide mobile home I bought.

If it’s not too awkward, can you address what was discussed about your past criminal record?

I do have a couple of things on my record. Passing a bad check from 15 years ago and a misdemeanor theft from 13 years ago.

How has your life changed since being on TV and any regrets?

My life has changed from people digging for info and posting it online. I don’t think of myself as being famous. My family is very supportive. There’s nothing I regret, but I do wish they had showed more of the happy times that viewers didn’t get to see.

Psychology, Parents

My Interview with Dr. Phil: #Bullying & Anti-Bullying Awareness

He’s roused millions to “Get Real!” and has tackled the topic on his hit TV talk show — Dr. Phil took time to chat with me about bullying and answer some questions:

Jill Zarin once suggested that parents break into their kids’ Twitter and Facebook accounts regularly to monitor and be on the lookout for signs of bullying. In your expert opinion, how invasive should a parent be and what should they do to keep an eye out for bullying?

There are different ways for a parent to be actively involved. Parents have to educate themselves about the warning signs (check out Dr. Phil’s warning signs of bullying).

They need to know for both sides what the signs are that their child is being bullied or if their child is a bully.

Kids don’t often come home and tell their parents they’re being bullied because they’re ashamed. They may show signs of withdrawal. They may want to avoid going to school beyond the normal “I don’t want to go to school” and exhibit a chronic pattern.

If you see bruises, scratches or that some of their possessions have been damaged or missing, those are all warning signs. They may also start to show signs of depression, crying, aggression, mood changes and lifestyle changes if they’re being bullied.

In terms of whether your child is a bully, watch to see if there’s a really strong clique. Are they gossiping about someone or making fun of them? Are they excluding some child in some way? Telling jokes about or laughing at a particular child? Exploiting some other child in some way?

Before invading their privacy, determine whether or not the warning signs are there. Then you need to follow your instincts

— A child’s trust is earned.

As far as social networking sites (like Twitter and Facebook), those are fertile ground for bullying. Your kid is going to have more knowledge than you do about the Internet, but not the insight on how to deal with it.

When a child/teen first complains of being bullied in school, what are the key first steps a parent/adult should take?

The first thing a parent needs to do is make sure they don’t fall victim to “Hey, kids are kids, let them be kids.” That’s not true.

When a child is bullied it’s one of the loneliest times in his or her life. The most important thing for parent to do is sit with the child and talk with them and find out what’s going on.

If the child says “Oh Mom, don’t say anything. That will just make it worse,” know it’s not true. The child should know that telling is not tattling — Let your child know that telling someone in a position to help the facts that they need to know to help is the right thing to do. In terms of how the child handles bullies on his or her own, it’s a case by case scenario.

The biggest mistake parents make is telling kids “You just need to confront the bully.” Bullies specifically choose kids that can’t do that. You can advise them to stay with a friend, not be alone, to not place themselves in situations where they’re sure to get bullied (like hanging out in a spot where the bully typically hangs out).

The next thing is to get the school involved. Teachers and administrators don’t get into education for the money. They get into it because they care what they’re doing. They don’t want your child to be victimized. They’re on your side. Ask for their help and alert the teachers involved. Ask for the adults in the school to watch and intervene and become your eyes and ears.

What can schools across the country do to prevent and tackle the bullying problem?

I am very passionate about this issue and I need to emphasize this: We need to amend the secondary and elementary education act to include funding and language that specifically refers to bullying and online bullying. Until we put our money where our mouth is, this problem isn’t going to get better. We have to do this across the board and it is absolutely doable. This is something that needs to be funded and we need to make sure all the schools are not only required, but actively engaged in anti-bullying efforts.

Lady Gaga has discussed being bullied as has Anne Hathaway, Eva Mendes, Tim Gunn and other celebrities. How important are famous voices with regard to anti-bullying awareness?

They are necessary but not sufficient. When folks that young people look up to take a strong position that it’s not cool to bully it has a positive affect. I think it’s terrific but it’s got to go further than that and that’s what I mean about having it as part of the curriculum in schools.

This interview of mine with Dr. Phil originally ran a few years ago on Huffington Post. The message, however, is a timeless one.

(Photo source:

Bravo TV, Reality TV

#BelowDeckMed: Catching Up With Captain Sandy

Captain Sandra Yawn is back on the bridge this season of Below Deck Mediterranean and the seas are rougher this time around. So are some of the interactions between crew members, which includes: navigating romantic feelings as coworkers, terse kitchen talks with Chef Adam, and a seasick third stew named Kacey whose resume touts far greater experience than she’s amassed.

Captain Sandy is ultimately responsible for smooth sailing and all the people on board (some we don’t see on TV!), but last season and this one, we observe the many challenges she has faces and how her experiences with the crew differ from those of Captain Lee, the male captain from the original Below Deck franchise.

I caught up with Captain Sandy to discuss the current season:

 SHW: When I interviewed you last season about Below Deck Med,, we discussed the concept of the “chauvinist edit”. I had really noticed last time – and I feel it again this year – that when you issue a command, we see a discussion amongst crew members questioning it. Do you personally feel this has to do with being a female captain? It still seems to me that whatever Captain Lee says goes, while you are constantly second-guessed and scrutinized.

CSY: Yes. Absolutely! You’d have to be living under a rock and blind to not realize.

And I’m being scrutinized by women which is shocking. If you look at Twitter – which is less than 3 percent of Bravo’s viewership – you can see how vile, vulgar and venomous people are towards me. I discovered that most of those tweets are from individuals with very few followers. I think they are probably people who never had the opportunity in their life to try to do something or never believed in themselves that they could…

I find that when people feel down, they put other people down to feel superior. That’s never been my way of living. I don’t put other people down to have a voice.

From what I’ve heard, women in general in the workplace can be extremely catty. There are other businesses where women are supportive of each other. Some of the comments you see are pure hatred from women, but much less often from men. I worked incredibly hard to make it in a men’s world to be a super yacht captain – it’s really not easy! It’s already a challenge being a woman, but then add that you have to navigate a ship to keep everyone safe at sea.

So, my management style with the crew is how I want to be treated. If someone screws up, I know it’s not intentional. I talk to the crew like human beings and not subordinates. I realize I do not have a typical boss-like management style. My style reflects how I would want to be treated if I made a mistake. You don’t have to beat their souls down or take their breath away. You just have to talk to them like human beings.

Now I see where that can backfire and you get to observe that as a viewer, when they get confused and think they’re equal with me in my position. We ARE equal as human beings, but it’s important to listen to the captain so everything runs smoothly.

When we are at sea, there’s no bias, no race, no gender for me. There sometimes are life-threatening situations and it’s essential to be able to rely on others for their positions.  If I don’t treat each of the crew like human beings, then there’s going to be a breakdown. This is about survival. The ultimate goal is to charter, to create the ambiance and a resort-style feeling that is far superior to a 5 star resort.

There’s that challenge for a captain in this environment of: How do I get there with this young hormonal crew that likes to drink a lot? I talk to them like people and rally them together.  I always ask at the beginning “What are your goals?”

With Conrad, he responded that he wants to make money to do what his dad does. That tells me this kid could care less about yachting. He’s here to make money to go buy houses. But that was not my issue with him, and you see things are tense – the audience doesn’t see all of the behavior. My biggest issue with Conrad was that he was constantly on the bow while others were working. He was following Hannah around like a lost little puppy and lying on the dock when a boat was being tied up next to us.

You don’t see everything as a viewer. Conrad was constantly on the bow smoking while everyone else was working. Hannah still did her job! I don’t care who hooks up…I’m not a camp counselor or their mother. I am the super yacht captain who has to deliver a type of service. If you can’t be present in your position and can’t lead your deck team, that’s when I start getting upset.

Conrad comes across as a know-it-all. Are you going to listen to me and learn or are you going to tell me how to do it?  You need to be present in your position and lead your deck team. If you can’t, that’s when I get frustrated. I sat Conrad down many times on the bridge and he was very strategic. When things would backfire, I said to Conrad ‘you are your own demise, you don’t even see that. You are the reason you feel I’m being mean to you. You have to look at where your head is.’ He admitted I was right, but then went back and did the same things.

With Joao, I didn’t know he drank like that until watching the show. I said ‘you might want to address that. I never want to meet Jezebob!’ He explained that ‘When I drink, Jezebob comes out and I don’t remember anything.’ Well, you better keep Jezebob away from me.

During the charter, Hannah never came to me and said he was belligerent, nor did anyone else so I was in the dark about that. When they come on the boat at 2 am after a night out, I am in bed. I don’t go downstairs. I live with these people and I have to run the boat and be up early. The crew are never going to act that way in front of me, none of them.

SHW: Soly Mar, who is a fan of the show, asks: What do you do when the crew goes out?

CSY: I go have dinner in a nice restaurant with a friend. I am always back at a decent hour because I have to work the next day. I’m never out til 2 am!

SHW: I was curious and some fans reiterated my thoughts: With Malia and Adam, you seemed cool, but find Conrad’s interest in Hannah to be distracting. What is different about those dynamics?

CSY: Oh, major difference! Malia and Adam, that was never in front of me. I never witnessed it…but Malia and Wes, yes! There’s an episode in which I say to Wes: ‘I don’t want you working with Malia anymore, you put her with someone else.’

I separated her and Wes because his head wasn’t in the game anymore. It’s about what distracts you from the job and that’s what I was seeing with Conrad. I didn’t get to where I am by strictly what you see on television and if people ever think that’s a super yacht captain’s full time job, they are sadly mistaken.

There are so many details we deal with that you don’t see. There is a certain pressure we’re under.  We’re budgeting the charter and the client’s money, the owner’s money, and reporting to a management company, reporting to an insurance company, managing dockets, agents and fees. In the meanwhile, you have a crew that you just want to do their jobs so you don’t have to worry about the things to satisfy the client. I am a team leader and I like rallying people. I got your back and I expect you to have mine. When I ask you to do something, it’s non-negotiable. Asking is a polite way of saying to do it. That’s why at some point you hear me say to Adam ‘Just say yes, Sandy.’

That’s another thing this season: I said to call me ‘Sandy’ so they feel more relaxed, but you know what? You bet your ass next season they don’t get to call me “Sandy” anymore. I’ve learned that doesn’t work. I don’t know if it’s a generational thing or exactly what it has to do with. I REALLY don’t like the idea of leading with intimidation at all and that’s not what I do, but some distinction needs to be made to establish guidelines. This is not just a TV show, this is a super yacht in the middle of the Med. I think that for some, being on a TV show can get to their heads. I need the crew to remember that I’m responsible for every soul on board. If something happens, it’s my responsibility and not the show’s responsibility. So next season, it’s “Captain.”

SHW: That brings me to a question from another viewer, Siobhan Murphy: How many other crew members are there on the boat who aren’t on camera?

CSY: There are the two engineers and the first officer. So essentially, I personally am responsible for 37 people on board (counting in guests and the camera crew).

SHW: Have any of the crew expressed a desire to be a captain of a super yacht like you are?

CSY: Yes, Malia (from last season) now has her captain certification because of a discussion she and I had. When it comes to some of the junior crew like Conrad, when you’re not wanting a career in yachting, you’re taking someone else’s position that actually wants a career in yachting.

When I had Malia on board, she told me her goals and about her interest in diving. I said she’d make a great captain because she has a great sense of humor, she’s smart and really knows how to diffuse situations. The day after our discussion, I opened up the log book and she had signed up for captain courses. She’s now a captain because I inspired her.

SHW: I wondered, and so did other viewers, what it’s like having both Hannah and Adam back after some issues with them last season. Adam had a problem following the preference sheet, told Hannah she had ‘resting bitch face’ and was attitudinal. Gil Morelli is a viewer who also noted your terse dynamic with Hannah. Did your experience with her last season affect your judgement of her going into this season?

CSY: Absolutely! Watching the show back, I realize I’m really hard on Hannah and it is a lot because of last season. I do demand excellence and communication, and I actually have had a conversation with Hannah and apologized.

I can truly reflect now and own up to how hard I was on her.When we spoke, I said I was blown away that I didn’t pay her any compliments. She seems so tough that I probably didn’t think she needed any compliments at the time, but she’s a human being and she needs compliments. Off camera, we have had conversations. There were moments during the season that we sat on the bridge and had talks.

Candidly, I’m not there to make friends. I have a life outside of yachting, including friends and relationships with people who are in my peer group. This is a very young crew and the dynamics are generally different. When I have a conversation with them, it’s all about them because I’m listening.

When Adam made that ‘resting bitch face’ comment to Hannah in the galley…you don’t fire people over a comment, you reprimand them. If you fired over a comment, you’d have an empty boat. They all get mad and say regrettable things to each other. I sat him down and said ‘Adam, that’s unacceptable.’ I actually said ‘Who are you? You’re not the person I talk to every day’ after watching him. This season watching the show, I can see when he was a dick and not nice.

Hannah can’t control the clients, but she could’ve said (to the guest who was interfering by cleaning up the plates) ‘You clear the plates, you’ll be sitting here for 20 minutes before you get your dessert.’ Adam is thin-skinned and temperamental – most chefs are. But he’s too hard on Hannah. She’s dealing with the guests.

Now the Preference Sheet is a much bigger deal. I didn’t know he was not following it initially, and that’s terms to get fired. He followed them this season!

Typically, boats don’t do what you see with Adam, the menu and the food on this show. On super yachts, there’s a set menu and you cannot request 5 different meals.

What Adam – with help from Hannah – needs to do is draw the line and when it gets out of control, that’s when they need to involve me. Those meals don’t get made in 5 minutes. They require an all-day prep. Hannah’s responsibility is to say to the guests ‘I’m so sorry. These are the options and the chef doesn’t have the other ingredients.’ She needs to convey that there’s only so much room for provisions on the boat. When you explain that in a professional way, they understand.

SHW: I keep thinking of those first charter guests and I was personally appalled at how rude they were. Stephanie Coultas Corley asks: How did you avoid getting super angry with them this season?

CSY: The initial difficulties that you see – so many of them! – were actually never communicated to me. I didn’t realize the guest had made that comment about ‘dog food.’ On a typical charter, the chef would have communicated all of this to me. I would have spoken to the primary about the fact that the guests are bringing down the crew. That’s where I come in as a captain.

I can intervene and communicate this to the guests. That’s why I’m there, to manage the guests. Very often for the crew, it’s about seeing an issue and knowing they need to come to the captain because if they try to handle it with the guests, it’s not going to go anywhere.

There are times when you need to have the captain intervene so the guests are no longer blaming the crew. This takes the pressure off the crew and that’s my job.

SHW: When the ship is anchored, what are you as a captain typically doing most of that time?

CSY: I’m on watch during the day while the crew is working, I will support the deck crew, or help Adam. Other times, I’m filling out paper work. I’m constantly busy, but I’m always on the bridge because I’m on watch.

SHW: A viewer named Lisa Hanlon wanted to know if you split the tips with the crew. She was also curious about the crew members we don’t get to see on the show.

CSY: Yes, evenly. On that particular vessel we had 12 crew members. At the beginning of the show, you see the 2 engineers and the first officer. They know to stay out of the way of the cameras!

SHW: Several fans wondered about your personal life and asked if you are single or taken.

CSY: I’m single and…I’m happy. I’ve been in relationships, but I certainly would NEVER hook up with anyone on a boat. It never lasts. You need that separation. I would never want to work with the person I’m in love with because then it’s disastrous.

SHW: Heather Vezner wanted to know what your workout routine is and how do you stay in shape?

CSY: I’m addicted to Soul Cycle, not just for the exercise but also for the way they speak to you and the mental stimulation. You have 45 minutes and this amazing workout. It feels like a meditation workout, exercise for the soul. On the boat, I do pushups in my cabin. You’re moving all the time up and down the stairs. There are also weights on the boat. I also go for a run if there’s time and we’re on the dock. I can also get up early in the morning and have the crew pull me on a water ski which is a fun workout.

SHW: That would have been fun to see. I wish they had shown that!  We see that Kacey is getting sea sick and the last charter there were people who did as well. Is there something about the seas this season? I’m also curious why you didn’t fire Kacey after it was discovered she lied on her resume.

CSY: The Mediterranean seasons are always changing and it’s very unpredictable weather. There are always a few days when you’re not able to leave the dock and that’s typical on the Med. We experienced some really bad winds. But you see that Kacey got better.

When people ask why I didn’t let her go, there’s a lot they need to understand. I have to deal with the deck I’m dealt. If you’re dealt a deck of cards, that’s what you are playing. I don’t get to change my cards.

SHW: Since we mentioned Captain Lee at the top of the interview and I always see him commenting on Twitter, I was curious – as were fans Aja Robinson, Victoria Gibbs and Cassie Townsend – if you know him personally.

CSY: Yes, I’ve met Captain Lee and we get along. He’s great!

Below Deck Mediterranean airs on Bravo Tuesday nights at 9 PM ET.

Gender Stereotypes, Women in the workplace, Uncategorized

#Google: Is the “Images” Platform Reinforcing Gender Stereotypes In the Workplace?

A new study indicates that Google images may be reinforcing gender stereotypes in the work place.

As you can see in the above table, images for a certain profession often align with what people perceive to be prevalent jobs for a specific gender. If you were to, say, type the word “CEO” into Google Images, you would find only 11% of female CEOs represented in the results, as opposed to an actual 28% reported in the US Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey.

The study goes on to show that if you type the word “journalist,” females are underrepresented by 28% in the search results. When it comes to “bus drivers,” our minds typically conjure up a male image and Google Images represents that in its platform results. Women are underrepresented by 29% in comparison to US Labor Force Statistics data.

AdView analyzed United States Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics data, along with the results of Google Image searches for a range of job roles.

Psychology dictates that we come to know and understand things based on what we are shown. It is perplexing to think that societal perceptions could be so influenced by a popular search engine – when we are not getting accurate representations from that popular search engine!

More astonishing is this fact: After the search giant’s most recent annual report was released, it was revealed that Google has had a mere 0.3% growth in the percentage of women employed since 2014.

The misrepresentation of genders within job roles on Google Images is particularly salient because between May 2017 and May 2018, Google held 87% of the search engine market share in the US.

The Most Underrepresented Roles for Females on Google images are:

Baker – females are underrepresented by 33% on Google Images

Bus Driver – females are underrepresented by 29% on Google Images

Journalist – females are underrepresented by 28% on Google Images

Hairdresser – females are underrepresented by 24% on Google Images

CEO – females are underrepresented by 17% on Google Images.

Dry Eye, Dry Eyes, Eye Health, Health, Aging, Anti Agining, Healthy Aging

#DryEyes? Step Away From the Screen! And Other Helpful Tips

DISCLAIMER: The following reflects my personal experience. Please consult your doctor before starting a new protocol for treating Dry Eye Syndrome. Excessive use of fish oil can lead to clotting and other adverse reactions. Before running to the store, consult a licensed M.D. to find out what is best for you and about proper dosage of medication/supplements. I am not a doctor or nurse. I am a dry eye sufferer and supporter of others in the same uncomfortable situation.

When it comes to treating dry eyes, it’s about more than just drops. I can honestly tell you that, as someone whose left eye is dry minutes after inserting artificial tears sans preservatives. Ophthalmologists and women’s magazines will suggest taking natural supplements such as fish oil, flax seed oil and vitamin E — a combination can be found in TheraTears Nutrition capsules with Omega3. It is also recommended to drink lots of water and stay hydrated throughout the day, and we all know that a good night of sleep is important too — we’re all too familiar with that gritty, headachy, day-after-the-party dryness. Furthermore, when it comes to alcohol, the recommendation is to go easy on it — it will dehydrate you in the same way that too much caffeine will.

You may get headaches in the area of your dry eye, as I do quite often near my left eye. If you must drink (either vino or that Extra Bold Sumatran Reserve morning cup of joe), drink water before, after and during.

Above are just a handful of tips for the typical dry eye sufferer, but most dry eyes sufferers are atypical, and I include myself in that category.

So, I’ll let you in on my current routine, and I would love to hear from folks about their own routines. I’ll list my present protocol in an alphabetical sequence:

Air — Keep that humidifier going. In my house, we have a cold air humidifier, which is the best option when there are kids in the home.

Antioxidants — Dry eye can also be caused by free radical damage (oxidative stress) in the body caused by aging, poor diet, lack of exercise, and unhealthy lifestyle factors such as smoking, excess alcohol, medications and chronic stress. Healthful foods rich in antioxidants may help slow down the process of oxidation. Antioxidants are easily obtained from eating a diet abundant in fruits and multicolored vegetables, especially the dark, leafy green plants such as kale, spinach and chard. Some of the most antioxidant-rich fruits include acai berry, goji berry, acerola cherries and all other tart berries. (Source:, read more:

Babies and Breastfeeding — I’ve finished having babies and I’ve finished breastfeeding, but please bear in mind that both can affect dry eye. Hormones do strange things. You may find that your eyes are less dry during pregnancy and drier during breastfeeding, or vise versa. You may have to use more drops during these times (I did) and you will probably have to change your diet. Foods like salmon that are high in omega-3 fatty acids can really help with dry eye during these periods, but I’ll get to that shortly.

Computer Usage — The computer will dry the hell out of your eyes. So keep computer usage to a minimum if you can. I can’t seem to, but when I do take a rare break, I notice a significant improvement.

Crying — Sometimes it helps me to have a good cry, while watching a touching film or reading a sad novel. While the watching and the reading may dry your eyes out further, your own tears are the best and most natural lubricant!

Drops, Drops, Drops — Every hour to half an hour I put in Systane Ultra or Blink Gel Tears (I’ve found the latter to be better) and in between I use something lighter and more natural, specifically preservative free vials like Refresh all-natural tears. Some say that artificial tears with preservatives are counter-effective, but these products do help me get relief.

Exercise — It’s good for you and will keep the oxidative stress at bay, plus you’ll forget about your eyes while you’re busy doing it!

Eye Ointment — Yes, there’s actually a mineral-oil based ointment for dry eye that you’re supposed to apply at night, but sometimes I actually use it during the day. That’s how bad my situation is! These ointments (e.g., Systane PM, Refresh PM) really alleviate the dry eye symptoms, but you don’t want to have eye makeup on while it’s in your eye. Most irritating to

dry eye is when eye makeup gets into it!

E, the vitamin — When taking fish oil supplements for dry eye, it’s recommended that you also take vitamin E. Long term usage of fish oil may deplete you of vitamin E, so it’s best to be on the safe side. Again, it is optimal to consult your MD, as I have, about taking any supplements. Every body is different and some conditions do not mix with specific supplements.

Evening Primrose Oil — This helped bring me into labor with my first son, but I’ve also heard that some use it as a natural remedy for dry eye. I don’t take it yet, but I am curious to find out more. If it brought me into labor (at 40 weeks, I was also ready!), it must be pretty powerful. But that also scares me. I’ve read conflicting reports about EPO for dry eyes. If any ophthalmologists have information on EPO as a remedy, please let me know.

Fish — As gross as this may sound to you, I try to eat sardines as often as possible because the fish is rich in omega-3s. Salmon is also a great choice. Added bonus: Your skin will glow. Also see: “The Perricone Prescription.”

Flax Seed — Fish oil is supposedly more effective in alleviating dry eye than flax seed oil, but I say it can’t hurt to eat some ground flax seed in your morning cereal or yogurt or use the pure highest lignan oil in your cooking. Added bonus: It keeps constipation at bay.

Green Tea — This antioxidant-rich tea has an acquired taste, so I recommend starting with one that has a lighter flavor and working your way up to the strong organic variety. We know of the benefits of green tea so why not drink it anyway? Besides, a 2010 study suggests that drinking it could protect your eyes. In the study, published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers fed laboratory rats green tea extract and then analyzed their eye tissues. The results showed that different parts of the eye absorbed varying amounts of catechins from the green tea. Further studies, however, will be needed to confirm that same protective effect in humans.

Lovaza — Lovaza is a prescription-strength fish oil that my doctor recommended. So far, I’m not noticing much of a difference and I’ve been taking Lovaza for more than two months. I had an eye injury that caused nerve damage to the eye and that is why I have dry eye. Just because Lovaza may not be working for me doesn’t mean that it won’t work for you. Ask your doctor about it.

Makeup — I’ll have an upcoming post on this in which I quote makeup artists and their recommendations, so stay tuned for that. In the interim, use hypoallergenic and opthalmologist-tested products. Try to use cream eye shadow instead of powder and for those who truly, truly suffer, keep your eye area clear as often as possible! I only apply eye makeup for special occasions. I also never use mascara because, no matter the brand, it definitively irritates dry eyes.

Medicines — Be aware that certain medications such as antihistamines, sleeping aids, antidepressants and certain birth controls can exacerbate dry eye symptoms. I’ve noticed that Benadryl does it to me bigtime!

Potassium — Potassium is usually very low in patients with dry eye, according to Dr. Marc Grossman, who was quoted in an article on ( The best food sources of potassium include kelp, dulse, wheat germ, almonds, pecans, bananas, raisins, dates, figs and avocados. I happen to love Mejool dates and I’m cool with bananas, so I try to incorporate them into my diet.

Punctal Plugs — Punctal plugs are small devices that fit into the tear duct of the eye. The plug is designed to block the duct and prevent liquid draining from the eye to the nose. Again, I’m not sure that MINE is making a difference. I’d love to hear if any of you have had success with punctal plugs.

Restasis — This prescription-strength eye drop’s main ingredient is a scary one: cyclosporine. It’s scary because it is an immunosuppressant drug that has been used in relation to organ transplants to prevent rejection, but alas, now we’re putting it in our eye. It has been shown to increase tear production after long term use — for some, “long term” may mean after six months! In the short term, it can add to your immediate eye dryness (and guess who’s experiencing that now)?

Salmon and Superfoods — Salmon is a superfood, as I mentioned above. After I eat an ample serving of the omega-rich fish, my dry eye situation feels improved and I don’t think it’s psychological. Of course, other superfoods would include those rich in antioxidants as mentioned above. I’ve also noticed that after using olive oil (just like with flax seed oil) in my cooking, my eyes feel less dry.

Sunglasses — My friends like to make fun of me for wearing sunglasses on days when it’s not really sunny outside, but I need to protect my eyes from glare. I feel that wearing sunglasses really makes a difference and when I leave home without them, the sun and the glare seem to attack my eyes.

TheraTears Nutrition — As previously mentioned, I tried taking this before switching to Lovaza. I’m really not sure if it makes much of a difference, but I did notice a minor improvement after I had been taking the caplets for a few days.

Water — I cannot stress enough the importance of drinking H2O throughout the day!

Zinc — Zinc is a factor in the metabolic function of several enzymes in the vascular coating of the eye, according to “Prescription for Nutritional Healing.” A few good food sources of zinc include brewer’s yeast, fish, kelp, legumes, liver, mushrooms, sunflower seeds and whole grains. (Read more:

Xiidra – This is a newer alternative to Restasis for those who’ve given up on Cyclosporine, either due to much-prolonged sensitivity or ineffectiveness. “The active ingredient in Xiidra, lifitegrast, binds to the integrin lymphocyte function-associated antigen-1 (LFA-1), a cell surface protein found on leukocytes, and blocks the interaction of LFA-1 with its cognate ligand intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1).” (PR Newswire)

So, there you go — the ABCs of my dry eye routine. I am always on the lookout for new tips and tricks, so feel free to email or tweet me about what has helped you! I will of course pay it forward by letting other dry eye sufferers know.

(Photo source: All About Vision)

Moms, Parents

#Parents: TV Is Not as Bad for Babies as We Once Thought

A study published in Child Development, conducted at Emory University and sponsored by The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (a division of the National Institute of Health), revealed that infants under 2 can learn signs from television time.

While the American Pediatric Association (APA) issued earlier statements advising parents against it, putting your baby down for a few minutes’ worth of an educational video is not so bad after all.

During the course of the three-week long investigation which took place through the Video Learning Lab at Emory University, parents introduced their 15-month-olds to ASL signs at home, either through videos or a picture book.

The best piece of information gleaned from this study is that when it came to video viewing, babies who watched with parents for approximately 15 to 20 minutes recalled a significant number of the 18 signs presented.

They performed just as well as those who learned from books. In addition, those that watched videos alone (without a parent next to them), also retained a significant portion of the information.

The findings suggest that television time for tots is not as harmful as we’ve been led to believe for years.

Once a week, the Emory team quantified their subjects’ learning outcomes by having them pair pictures with their matching signs. Parents also reported each week whether they observed their babies using these signs.

When the three-week period ended, researchers retested the children one week later to determine what they were able to remember. Recall was assessed specifically by having the infants produce signs when they saw pictures of the objects, and by asking them to point to the picture that matched the signs.

A leading author of the study, developmental psychologist Shoshana Dayanim, Ph.D., explained that the study was unique for a variety of reasons: It was a controlled one wherein the only way for subjects to learn signs was through this study during its allotted time periods. While previous research has been conducted with infants and language, — a murky area where it is difficult to control what is learned — the Emory exploration consisted of approximately 15- to 20-minute intervals of exposure.

The study uniquely presented the babies with expressions to actually employ and simultaneously understand.

Dayanim further explained that infants use signs interchangeably with verbal words and can sign words earlier than they can vocalize them. This not only helps communication in the present tense, but research supports that signing positively impacts vocabulary in early childhood.

Knowing that the American Pediatric Association once advocated for keeping infants away from television altogether, it is interesting to see there are benefits to TV learning — in a controlled environment.

Dr. Dayanim made it clear that Emory was not declaring“Watch TV!”, but that under the right circumstances, instructional learning can actually take place through instructional videos with children under 2.

The one drawback of the study was that researchers were not able to determine exactly when to draw the line on video watching.

Parents may want to play it safe by keeping educational viewing to a minimum as the researchers did.

If a parent needs 15 to 20 minutes to unwind, explained Dayanim, their baby can actually learn something in the process.

Just don’t bother with sight words at such an early stage. The research only attests to success with signs.