Felix Assivo

June 2021-Regina Phelps – BCM Future, Value on Investment, COVID

Posted by Felix Assivo on
June 2021-Regina Phelps – BCM Future, Value on Investment, COVID

Join me at June 24/21 at 1pm EST/Toronto!

It’s that time again! It’s my monthly discussion with recognized BCM industry expert Regina Phelps. For this month we mix it up a bit and talk about what the pandemic means to the field of Business Continuity, how to promote what BC professionals do and offer organization’s, and how we can show Value on Investment (VOI). As always, we start off with a quick update on the status of COVID-19 and vaccine’s around the globe. It’s always a great discussion with Regina, so don’t miss it.


5 Wise Tips For Buying a Business

Posted by Felix Assivo on
5 Wise Tips For Buying a Business

To many, buying an existing business appears to be an easy task. It’s like purchasing a ready-made module rather than building one from scratch. It involves half the amount of effort.

However, one wrong decision, one uncalculated step could turn the tables. You may find yourself investing way too much time and energy, killing the whole essence of buying an established business.

Certainly, you do not want that. Neither do we. So, here are a few handy tips from the experience that could save you from the ultimate disaster.

1.         Know Your Business Skills

Before you seal the deal, question yourself: is this what interests you? Is this your field? Do you have enough command? Can you effectively deal with the current downfalls of your potential purchase? Or, if the business comes to face any of the predicted dangers, will you be able to deal with that?

Answer these questions, not only with yes or no’s. But also, with how? Once you do, you will unravel whether you have ample skills to take upon this business or not.

For example, some businesses demand the capability of constantly dealing with pressure. Some businesses have immense risks of huge blowouts. Some have a reputation crisis. Unless you’re purchasing a leading company, there are high chances that your purchase will have a major drawback that you must know to tackle. If you don’t, you may as well be paying for thin air.

2.         Get the Right Professional Advice

Once you have decided the domain you wish to explore, it’s to get in touch with professionals. Seek professional advice on the matter so that you may make a calculated, informed, and wise decision. Certainly, the professional will charge you quite a bit for this service. But you can consider this as an investment in a fruitful future.

In case you are wondering which professional you should reach out to, then a business broker may suit your interest. A business broker refers to a company or an individual that helps business purchasers with paperwork and investigations. They take up the responsibility of analysis and guiding you the right way in the industry. If you do not wish to trust a broker immediately, you can begin by doing your part of research about the processes at Net Lawman.

3.         Analyze the Legal Position & Documents

If a business is stable and running, it does not mean that the business is legally all fit and healthy. Many times, business owners figure alternate illegal routes to save themselves from paying heavy taxes that minimize their profits. And no, this deceptive move is not often visible on the surface. The business may appear the cleanest on the surface, but deep scrutiny will reveal the dark, hidden secrets.

For that very reason, we advise the ones purchasing a business to acquire all necessary information about the business beforehand. Get the documents verified and tested by relevant legal authorities. The documents you may want to check include contracts of the suppliers, paid taxes, employee agreements, insurance policies, etc.

4.         Don’t Hesitate to Negotiate

Even if you are a complete newbie in the business industry, you need not shy away from negotiating. Remember, sometimes even the brokers may try to suppress the possibility of negotiations solely to boost their benefits, so you must hold your ground firmly.

Participate enthusiastically in crafting the Letter of Intent, i.e., term sheet. And if the intermediary party does not initiate it, you should take charge. In this sheet, you settle terms and conditions with the seller about the assets and proceeding mechanism.

5.         Prioritize Assets Over Business Itself

Lastly, when purchasing a business, determine if it’s a corporation or LLC. If so, do not invest in the stock. Instead, buy the assets of the business and set up a fresh company. No, it wouldn’t be the same as starting from scratch. You could imagine this as starting somewhere midway.

Now, why would you do that? Well, that’s because such a measure will automatically be safeguarding the businesses’ intellectual property, as well as its material property. How so? If the previous owner has been sued by someone or has some negative charges, they will not apply to you since you will not have an inherited company. Instead, you will have a fresh one. The plus point is you can set up a brand new framework. Develop your own new rules. Make use of tools you like, such as TrackTime24. Manage staff as per your conditions anew.

Final Thoughts

Summing up, purchasing a business may not be as hectic as starting a business. But it is, surely, a sensitive process. If you fail to pay attention to the details, you might sign up for even greater trouble. Hence, we highly recommend abiding by the tips above. Good luck!

Movie Review: Luca * This New Disney-Pixar Film Has The Potential Of Being One Of Your Favorites

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Movie Review: Luca * This New Disney-Pixar Film Has The Potential Of Being One Of Your Favorites

Set in a beautiful seaside town on the Italian Riviera, the original animated feature is a coming-of-age story about one young boy experiencing an unforgettable summer filled with gelato, pasta and endless scooter rides. Luca shares these adventures with his newfound best friend, but all the fun is threatened by a deeply-held secret: he is a sea monster from another world just below the water’s surface. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Giana N. comments, “Luca is an entertaining animated film filled with fun, lots of scooter rides and unforgettable moments.  It has great messages and shows you that you can have a good time if you just “Silencio Bruno.” This new Disney-Pixar film has the potential of being one of your favorites.” Heather S. adds, “Pack your bags for a trip to the Italian Riviera! Luca is the feel-good flick to get audiences into the summer spirit. With its comedy, lovable characters, and unique animation, this movie is another Disney pictures hit.” See their full reviews below.

Luca Giana N., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 10

Luca is an entertaining animated film filled with fun, lots of scooter rides and unforgettable moments.  It has great messages and shows you that you can have a good time if you just “Silencio Bruno.” This new Disney-Pixar film has the potential of being one of your favorites.

The storyline is about a boy named Luca (Jacob Tremblay), who is a bit different from the rest. He is what people call a sea monster and so is his new friend Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer). Luca lives underwater as a sea monster, but he can’t resist going up to the shore to explore the world as a human boy with Alberto, even though his parents tell him not to. When Luca’s parents find out, they tell him he now has to live in the deepest part of the water with his uncle. Luca and Alberto run away to a seaside town on the Italian Riviera, where they meet a girl named Giulia (Emma Berman), who quickly becomes their friend. However, the town is full of fishermen who are trying to catch sea monsters. Luca and Alberto keep running into situations where they almost turn back into sea monsters, so they must work hard to keep their secret or something bad might happen to them.

I like the relationships that are developed throughout the film, such as Giulia and Luca’s friendship. They teach each other new things, which really help them bond. The ending of the movie is a bit sad because the friends are separated, but that just goes to show how great the writers developed the relationships in this movie. The storyline is fun and exciting and shows the adventures of the characters. My favorite character is Alberto because he is daring and funny. He tries things that he never tried before, even when they are a bit risky and that makes him a fun character.

The message of Luca is that sometimes you just need to “Silencio Bruno” which means you need to tell that little voice in your head that prevents you from doing fun things to just be quiet. There is nothing to look out for in this film. It’s completely family-friendly.

I give Luca 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 6 to 14, plus adults. You can watch Luca beginning June 18, 2021 exclusively on Disney+. Be sure to check it out!


By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 15

Pack your bags for a trip to the Italian Riviera! Luca is the feel-good flick to get audiences into the summer spirit. With its comedy, lovable characters, and unique animation, this movie is another Disney pictures hit.

Luca follows two sea creatures, Luca (Jacob Tremblay) and Alberto (Jack Dylan Grazer) as they wander amongst humans in the small town of Portorosso. The secret of their identity hangs in the balance as the entire town fears sea creatures, and some residents even hunt them. The two boys then befriend Giulia (Emma Berman), and the three of them go on an adventure of a lifetime.

This film is the perfect movie for families. The friendship between Luca and Alberto, Giulia’s rebel side, and the love of parent and child stand out. Alberto helps Luca to let loose, mentoring him in all things human. Their friendship blooms and the two of them tackle their issues together. The two boys steal the show and are set to become fan favorites. The movie also shows viewers the beauty of what most of us take for granted. Luca falls in love with the stars and moon which he has never seen. He gazes at them curiously. He reads books and uses a telescope to watch the blazing balls of fire. He also dreams of going to school and learning, something he was never able to do underwater. One of the most notable differences in this Pixar film is its animation. Its artistic style is noticeably different from other Pixar classics. The characters are 3D with long arms and legs, with wide hands, feet and heads. The vibrant colors and settings show the beauty of an Italian summer. The bright sun, clothes and houses fall brilliantly into step with one another. The attention to cultural detail is immaculate. The characters switch from Italian to English. The town is picture perfect, with old houses and tight, winding streets laid with cobblestones. It is clear that the filmmakers put a lot of time and effort into this film, recreating visuals that are classic Italy.

The moral of the film is the importance of friendship and family. Luca, Alberto and Giulia all fight together and for one another against all odds. Giulia defends the boys and helps hide their secret, instead of being afraid of them like the rest of the town. Luca and Alberto face the world head on, and make sacrifices, putting the others’ needs ahead of their own.

I give Luca 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 18 plus adults. It starts streaming on Disney+ June 18, 2021.

Keywords: movie reviews, by kids for kids ,luca, luca 2021,pixar luca, disney pixar luca, luca animation movie, luca animation, luca portorosso, luca movie, disney, Disney, Enrico Casarosa, Jesse Andrews, Mike Jones, Andrea Warren, Dan Romer, Jacob Tremblay, Jack Dylan Grazer, Sacha Barron Cohen, Maya Rudolph, Giacomo Gianniotti ,Jim Gaffigan, Sandy martin, Emma Berman, Francesca Fanti, gino D’Acampo, Deyvi Stib Rodriguez, marco Barricelli, Saverio Rainmondo, Maria Massironi

Movie Review: Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It * Stunning In-Depth Look at One Of Hollywood’s Most Trailblazing Actors

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Movie Review: Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It * Stunning In-Depth Look at One Of Hollywood’s Most Trailblazing Actors

Over a 70+ year career, Rita Moreno defied both her humble upbringing and relentless racism to become a celebrated and beloved actor, one of the rare EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) Award Winners of our time. Born into poverty on a Puerto Rican farm, Moreno and her seamstress mother immigrated to New York City when Moreno was five years old. After studying dance and performing on Broadway, Moreno was cast as any ethnic minority the Hollywood studios needed filled, be it Polynesian, Native American or Egyptian. Despite becoming the first Latina actress to win an Academy Award for her role as Anita in “West Side Story” (1961), the studios continued to offer Moreno lesser roles as stereotypical ethnic minorities, ignoring her proven talent. Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It illuminates the humor and the grace of Moreno, as well as lesser-known struggles faced on her path to stardom, including pernicious Hollywood sexism and abuse, a toxic relationship with Marlon Brando, and serious depression a year before she emerged an Oscar winner. Moreno’s talent and resilience triumphed over adversity, as she broke barriers, fought for representation and forged the path for new generations of artists. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Heather S. comments, “Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It is the ultimate in-depth documentary about one of Hollywood’s most trailblazing actors. This film is the absolute tear-jerking, hysterical, educational experience of the year.” Ashleigh C. adds, “Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It is a trailblazing documentary that will inspire girls across the world who have a dream! Rita Moreno’s life story is a testament to her perseverance and others like her who had a dream and decided to go for it.” See their full reviews and Ashleigh’s interview with director Mariem Perez below.

Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It By Heather S., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, age 15

Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It is the ultimate in-depth documentary about one of Hollywood’s most trailblazing actors. This film is the absolute tear-jerking, hysterical, educational experience of the year. By the movie’s end, you just want to go for it too.

Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It recounts the life story of critically acclaimed actress Rita Moreno. Rita, who is best known for her roles of Anita in West Side Story and Carmela in The Electric Company, stars in the documentary, along with stars like Whoopie Goldberg, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Eva Longoria and more. The film features clips from a large variety of Rita’s films throughout her career as well as from award shows, and photographs and footage from her personal life, including interviews with her friends and family.

This film shines a light on how incredible Rita is, and how human as she leads the way for Puerto Ricans and all Hispanics in the 1960s, stands up for women’s rights and fights to be able to choose which roles she plays. She deals with being type-cast as an island or Hispanic character, and decides and turns down roles that would shove her into a tiny box. We see the good, the bad, and the ugly side of Rita’s life, not just grazing at the surface. It shows how Rita struggled with hating her Hispanic roots, because it limited her as an actress. She tells how she was sexually abused, was forced into an abortion by her then-boyfriend Marlon Brando, and tried to commit suicide. The film shows exactly why Rita is such a beloved actress and person. Despite all she’s been through, she never gives up and learned to value the woman she is. Rita grows into her own person throughout the movie, telling how everything that put her down at the time just made her stronger.

The moral of the film is to stay strong and keep fighting. Rita is not eighty-nine years old and one of 15 EGOT winners (acronym for the Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards), just because she gave up. Being a Puerto Rican actress in New York and trying to find your way in the world wasn’t as easy as Moreno makes it look. She has maintained her humbleness and blossomed into a modern woman who fights for human rights and looks great while doing it.

I give Rita Moreno: Just A Girl Who Decided To Go For It 5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. It is available in theaters June 18, 2021.

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It 
By Ashleigh C., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, 17

Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It is a trailblazing documentary that will inspire girls across the world who have a dream! Rita Moreno’s life story is a testament to her perseverance and others like her who had a dream and decided to go for it. 

This documentary profiles Rita Moreno (West Side Story, One Day at a Time), following her life from its beginnings as a poor Puerto Rican girl to becoming an EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony) award-winning actress. We see her struggles and trials throughout her life and how she confronts and handles them.

Latina Mariem Perez Riera directs this documentary and brings a great deal of passion to it, making the film very personal and authentic. The film employs stop motion animation, film excerpts to show Moreno’s life as a young woman to a legendary entertainment icon and political activist. Not only are the scenes diverse, so are its features. I particularly enjoyed hearing from Morgan Freeman, Lin- Manuel Miranda and Hector Elizondo. My favorite parts of this documentary are actually the sad parts. So many people in the limelight tend to sugar coat the truth about their troubles, which makes them seem perfect. This film is raw to the point that, even though her life has a Hollywood spin to it, it actually tells a story that many young girls can relate to today.

The message of this documentary is in the title – be a girl (or boy) that goes for your dream. Rita Moreno came from less than many, yet lived a life bigger than most. You can do it! You won’t know unless you try. This film does contain a description of sexual violence and some profanity.

I give Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It 5 out 5 stars and recommend it for ages 13 to 18, plus adults. You can watch it only in theatres starting June 18, 2021.

Pick up the Radio and Call for Help!

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Pick up the Radio and Call for Help!

This week’s article is provided by Jeff Wald, founder of Work Market. It is a companion to his interview on Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future titled The End of Jobs: The Rise of On-Demand Workers & Agile Companies that aired on Tuesday, June 15th.

Some people lead with their heart, some with their head.  Some leaders are “my way or the highway”, some are “we all move forward together”.  Every leader has their own style and as long as people follow, they are leaders.

I tend to use vulnerability as a core part of my leadership style.  I do that as it’s authentic, I have a lot of vulnerabilities.  I learned to embrace this vulnerability from an unlikely source; the New York City Police Department.

I spent the better part of ten years as a volunteer officer in the NYPD.  It was here I learned that asking for help was not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of shared strength. But first, some background on volunteer officers of the NYPD.

The volunteers, or Auxiliary Officers, get about 100 hours of training at the Police Academy.  Training includes basic self-defense, arrest procedures, radio usage, first aid, and many other lessons one needs to serve.  The Auxiliary Units are designed to provide an extra set of eyes and ears out on the streets.  They are not supposed to respond to an active situation unless specifically instructed by a regular NYPD Officer.  They are not trained or authorized to use a firearm.  They carry a baton, a small stick about eighteen inches long.  They are told time and time again that their radio is the most important item on their person.

I reflect on the lessons I learned during my time as an Auxiliary Officer and how they apply to my leadership and my life.  There is always one that stands out: Never hesitate to pick up the radio and call for help.

I remember my first serious encounter as an officer.  There was an assault in progress right near where my partner and I were standing.  We knew we were not supposed to approach an active crime unless specifically asked.  However, being the invulnerable young men, we believed ourselves to be, we walked over anyway.

As we turned the corner on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, I saw two men kicking and one man hitting with a baseball bat, a prone figure on the ground.  Real police officers were less than a minute away.  My partner took out his baton and yelled “Stop! Police!” and ran in.  I actually panicked for a second and froze, but the sight of my partner running in spurred me to action.  My action, aside from beginning to run after my partner, was to grab my radio.  The bad guys had started to run away when my partner yelled, so I called into central dispatch (and thus was heard by the approaching real officers), “three male suspects running south on First Avenue”.

They were caught and arrested, the person being attacked was injured but would be ok.

While we were not in any danger (although there were three of them and two of us, they had a baseball bat and we had batons, and I knew we didn’t have a gun but they might have!), I reached for my radio.  The radio’s primary purpose in this encounter was to inform the other officer, but its primary purpose to me was to inform the rest of the 19th Precinct that two very scared Auxiliary Officers were encountering suspects.  Implicitly the call was, “Send some real cops here now and HELP!”.

Ask any police officer anywhere in the world what is their most powerful weapon and you will get one consistent answer, the radio.  Every officer has one, and at the other end of that device is help; serious help.  When they make that call other officers will immediately be on the way.  There is no officer that would hesitate for a moment to call for help, to call for backup.  Think about that for a second.  These are some of the bravest people in the world.  They put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe.  Yet, at the slightest inkling of trouble, they ask for help.

If police officers do that, why don’t the rest of us?

As leaders, we may sometimes fall into the dangerous and self-defeating trap of thinking we need to have all the answers.  Maybe it’s driven by insecurity, maybe by imposter syndrome, maybe by the need to prove our intellect and strength.  For some leaders that may work just fine, but not for me.

I ask for help when I need it and my team responds.

I do need help, we all do.  I cannot do it alone.  No one is that strong, or smart, or well-connected that they don’t need the talents of their team.

Far from being a sign of weakness, asking for help is a powerful sign of strength.  It tells everyone that you are confident enough to ask for help when you need it.  Smart enough to know you don’t have all the answers.  Brave enough to rely on the intellect, creativity, and networks of others.  To me, this is what leadership looks like and it’s worked well.

So be brave like police officers all over the world and pick up your radio when you need help.  For leaders, it can be your most powerful weapon.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

Check out the companion interview and past episodes of Innovating Leadership, Co-creating Our Future, via iTunes, TuneIn, Stitcher, Spotify, Amazon Music, Audible,  iHeartRADIO, and NPR One.  Stay up-to-date on new shows airing by following the Innovative Leadership Institute LinkedIn.

About the Author

Jeff Wald is the Founder of Work Market, an enterprise software platform that enables companies to manage freelancers. It was acquired by ADP. Jeff began his career in finance, serving as Managing Director at activist hedge fund Barington Capital Group, a Vice President at venture capital firm GlenRock and various roles at JP Morgan.

Jeff is an active angel investor and startup advisor, as well as serving on numerous public and private Boards of Directors. He also formerly served as an officer in the Auxiliary Unit of the New York Police Department. Jeff holds an MBA from Harvard University and an MS and BS from Cornell University.

Honoring Dads

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Honoring Dads

Drone family pic !.jpeg

Happy Father’s Day
June 2021


“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society.”  Billy Graham


My Dad was my hero and my champion. My great fortune was to be born into a family where my parents deeply loved and respected one another and their five children. We were farmers, working the land from daybreak to dusk to feed others. At the time, as far as monetary means, we had little but we always were surrounded with love, encouragement, and home-grown fruits and vegetables. When my Dad came in from a day in the fields, we kids would fight over who got to dust him off with a broom. He was a humble, self-educated man who knew how to fix anything. We always felt safe when we were with Daddy. He’d saddle our horses, tighten our ski bindings, build our chicken coops and sheep pens, and take us on the control burns to mitigate fire danger. My Mom was his girlfriend and he treated her like a Queen. When he walked his girls down the aisle to be married, his gentle eyes shed tears of joy. He made everyone he met feel like the most important person in the world. When he died young, over 1500 people came to his funeral to honor this simple farmer who treated everyone with dignity and love.

My hands are rough and calloused from the years of driving tractors, cutting fruit, raising animals, and digging dirt. I wouldn’t have it any other way.  By growing up on a farm under the tutelage of my Mom and Dad, I learned the importance of family, hard labor, responsibility, caring, and integrity. My Dad inspired me to live my dreams and help others reach theirs. He is the reason that I founded Be the Star You Are!® 22 years ago.

This week we honor fathers, those wonderful men who give so much of their talent, time, and treasures to help their children become the stars they were born to be.

Reach out to the Dads who make a difference every day in big and small ways. Show your appreciation. You can pay homage by making a donation in the name of your special father through Be the Star You Are!® In recognition donations can be made by check to Be the Star You Are!®, PO Box 376, Moraga, Ca. 94556. A card honoring your wonderful man will be sent as well as a receipt. If you prefer to use Paypal or GiveButter, here are the links:

GiveButter: https://givebutter.com/be-the-star-you-are-charity

PayPal: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504

I will be forever grateful to my amazing Daddy for being outstanding in his field! He was the best of mankind and a role model for what a good person can be. Thank you, Daddy, for shining your light on me and so many others.

Happy Father’s Day to all the magnificent men who make this world a better place. We love and bless you.

Cynthia Brian

Founder/Executive Director

Be the Star You Are!®

PO Box 376

Moraga, California 94556




DONATE: https://www.paypal.com/fundraiser/charity/1504 Cyn wedding with dad 1975


WANT TO BE IN A SURVEY OF  “Experiences of Children and Teens During the COVID-19 Pandemic”?

A group of researchers from NYU, University of Vermont, University of Ottawa, and University of Colorado Boulder is studying the experiences of school-aged children and teenagers during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you are the parent of a child or teen ages 5-17 or are 18 years old, we would love for you to participate! The survey should take less than a half an hour and you can close and return to it at a later time if needed.

Here is the link for parents of children ages 5-10 to complete the survey: https://qualtrics.uvm.edu/jfe/form/SV_4VGIYrj7OZgW9T0

Here is the link for children and teens ages 11-18 to complete the survey with their parent’s permission (if under 18): https://qualtrics.uvm.edu/jfe/form/SV_6JS2H1zV4M87DDM

Feel free to pass the link along to those in your network with children and teens ages 5-17 or other 18-year-olds who may be interested in participating.

Please reach out to Gabriella Meltzer at gm2477@nyu.edu if you’d like more information or if you have any questions.


All Saints CemeteryI wish I could more vividly remember the afternoons when we ate popsicles together. Or the evenings drying dishes when I wore your slippers.  A photo taken in the parking lot of an amusement park reminds me of the day I won a big plush dog, and how I couldn’t wait to show you.  You were the most important person in my life.

Because you’ve been gone for more than 35 years, it’s hard to picture what I know were many days when you made me very happy.  I didn’t know how I would go on without you in my life.  But I did. And when I look up into the beautiful blue sky, I can almost imagine seeing your kind smile.

Happy Father’s Day Dad!

Karen Kitchel who penned two chapters in the book, Be the Star You Are! Millennials to Boomers Celebrating Gifts of Positive Voices in a Changing Digital World, is the Kindness Coordinator volunteer with BTSYA. She serves meals to the homeless and is a volunteer teacher, writer, job coach, and mentor. www.scatteringkindness.com


Be the Star You Are!® has boxes of brand new books to donate to shelters, organizations, or charities in need. The books retail for $15-20, but to increase literacy, they are FREE to qualified groups. Shipping cost is $25 per box. There will be 10-12 books per box. If your group is interested, email info@bethestaryouare.org. We do not provide a list of the titles but will discuss with you the type of books that would be most beneficial. We have non-fiction and fiction, soft cover and hard cover.  The shipping charge can be paid via PayPal or GiveButter. Details will be emailed to you.
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We have suggestions for you to shop, save, and stay safe. Please use these web sites for all of your shopping essentials.

1. AmazonSmile donates .5% of purchases https://smile.amazon.com/ch/94-3333882

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2. Discounted books at Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/shops/be_the_star_you_are_charity

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3. Giving Assistant: Shop. Earn. Give! Use Giving Assistant to earn cash at 3500+ popular online stores :https://givingassistant.org/np#be-the-star-you-are-inc

4. Shop at over 1300 stores on IGIVE: http://www.iGive.com/BTSYA

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5. Buy “Read, Lead, Succeed” black tanks and books at StarStyle® Store: http://www.starstylestore.net/


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6. Are you a gamer, lover of new software, or other digital content? Buy all of your favorites at Humble Bundle. http://ow.ly/cYs130iN6n4


LIVE on Wednesdays from 4-5pm PT, be entertained, informed, amused, and educated on StarStyle-Be the Star You Are!. Then be inspired and motivated on

Sundays from 3-4pm PT, it’s Express Yourself! Teen Radio with our Be the Star You Are! star teen hosts and reporters.
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You’ll meet authors, actors, artists, activists, musicians, poets, scientists, educators, and other creatives. Enjoy our upbeat, authentic, and fun radio parties on the Voice America Network Empowerment Channel or wherever you like to listen. 
Visit https://www.StarStyleRadio.com for our line-up of guests.
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Thank you logo 2Stay healthy and safe as you venture out this summer. Honor your father and have a wonderful Father’s Day. Thanks for being part of our Be the Star You Are!® galaxy.

Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3 charity, PO Box 376, Moraga, Ca. 94556

Preparing for Your Magic Mushroom Journey- Practical Advice from Psychable

Posted by Felix Assivo on
Health & Wellness
Preparing for Your Magic Mushroom Journey- Practical Advice from Psychable

Psilocybin (also known as magic mushrooms) is a natural psychedelic substance that can be used for spiritual and therapeutic purposes. Psilocybin mushrooms have a long history of therapeutic use and have been used by indigenous cultures for thousands of years. Magic mushrooms are gaining popularity in the Western world, with many people seeking out how to take psilocybin in order to experience its hallucinogenic effects and to benefit their mental health.

Psilocybin mushrooms are currently listed as a Schedule 1 drug and are illegal in the United States and most other countries, but continued research on its health effects may eventually change that status.

Organizations like Psychable and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) are not only focused on spreading awareness and advocating for the decriminalization of psychedelic substances like magic mushrooms but also aim to share information that focuses on harm reduction strategies. One important harm reduction strategy is to ensure that you are adequately prepared for a psychedelic experience. It will help ensure that you are safe and will reduce the likelihood of experiencing a bad trip. We’ve compiled some practical advice from Psychable about how best to prepare for your own personal journey with psychedelics.

Find a Safe Place For Your Magic Mushroom Trip

The first and most important thing you need to do to prepare for your experience with magic mushrooms is to find a safe place where you feel comfortable.

Many people choose an outdoor setting for their magic mushroom experience. Getting outside and connecting with nature is a strong reminder that we are a part of something larger than ourselves. An outdoor setting is often the most popular choice for taking magic mushrooms because it can lead to powerful spiritual experiences.

If you choose an outdoor setting to experience magic mushrooms, consider choosing a place that is far enough away that you won’t encounter distractions. You may want to find somewhere where you can go on a hike or sit quietly and enjoy the views of nature. Having a sober sitter or guide accompany you on your trip is important so that you don’t put yourself in danger around water or roads. You should also make sure that someone knows where you are and how to find you in case of an emergency.

If you choose an indoor setting, a good place would be your own home. Home is typically a comfortable and familiar place where one feels in control. To a certain extent, you can control the environment by altering things like indoor temperature or lighting. You can also control the environment by doing things like diffusing a comforting scent, like lavender, which could help reduce any pre-journey jitters or anxiety.

Your Safe Place Includes People, Too

Finding a safe place also includes making sure you are comfortable with the people you are surrounded with. Especially if this is your first time trying magic mushrooms, it might be helpful for you to have a guide or sober sitter who has experience with taking shrooms. This should be a person you trust and who is committed to staying sober throughout your experience.

Decide if a Psilocybin Retreat is Right For You

Because psilocybin is still illegal in the United States, many people opt to attend magic mushroom retreats, which are often held in South America or other countries. Retreats are held in countries where psilocybin is legal, which makes some people feel more comfortable since they aren’t breaking any laws by partaking.

Magic mushroom retreats are often held in beautiful, tropical settings where the surrounding beaches and lush greenery bring to mind a sense of calm, peace, and closeness with nature. Packages may include lodging, healthy meals, individual check-ins with facilitators or sitters, and guided preparation activities. While this option may not be feasible for all people, for those looking for a holistic wellness experience and who want to focus on their overall mental health, it may be a great choice. You can search for magic mushroom retreats here

Prepare your Mind and Body

Once you are sure you have a safe and comfortable setting, you should prepare your mind and body. This means doing things like getting enough to eat and enough sleep the night before to help with any fatigue or tiredness that comes from traveling if you are going to a retreat somewhere away from home. You also want to make sure to have a good, healthy meal and drink plenty of water. These are all good habits to incorporate into your life anyway!

You’ll want to make sure you have supplies handy that you may need throughout the experience. Here is a list of some things to consider having on hand:

  • Plenty of water or electrolyte heavy beverages (like coconut water) to keep you hydrated, as you may experience fluctuations in body temperature.
  • A notebook or journal and pen so you can record your thoughts and experiences. You may want to come back to these at a later date to fully process your magic mushroom experience.
  • A playlist of calming music. You should choose music that is personal to you and aligns with your taste. If you are using your phone to play music, consider turning it on airplane mode to reduce distractions.

Consider What You Want to Get Out of Your Experience With Magic Mushrooms

It’s important to know what you want to gain from the experience, but also to have realistic expectations. Are you going on a journey for healing? Exploration? What do you hope will be different in your life after your experience with the drug?

If your goal is simply relaxation and introspection, just knowing that should help prepare your body and mind more effectively. But remember that it’s okay if nothing happens- different psychedelic drugs work differently on certain people. Rather than going into the experience with a certain set of expectations, try to approach the experience with curiosity and accept whatever the experience has in store for you.

If you’re going on a journey for healing, then it’s important to be mindful of that intention. If there are unresolved emotions or trauma that need processing, know that your brain may be about to relive some unprocessed emotions, which can be both an intense and positive experience at the same time. Many people find it worthwhile to have a trained therapist help them process and integrate the experience following the journey.

##Understand the Risks of Taking Psilocybin Mushrooms

Psilocybin mushrooms are not addictive but they do carry some mild risk of adverse reactions.

It’s rare for someone to have adverse reactions after taking mushrooms; however, it can happen. The most common adverse reactions are nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. You can reduce your chances of experiencing these adverse reactions by starting with a small dose. How much you take can make a difference in what the effects will feel like.

Take special care to not consume other hallucinogens or drugs while on shrooms, as this can put you at a higher risk of having an adverse reaction and may change the effects.

For more information on how to take psilocybin mushrooms, check out this article.

What Plants are more Fire Resilient?

Posted by Felix Assivo on
What Plants are more Fire Resilient?

Bonica shrub roses.jpeg

Normally the sound of weed-whackers disrupts the tranquility of living the soulful country life, but this year, I am grateful to hear their constant buzzing. With a summer of historical dryness in front of us bringing a looming fire danger, cutting the grasses on hillsides, paths, and in backyards is imperative. I’ve been working on my property since early February weeding, cutting, pruning, mulching, repairing, and planting in preparation for a hot, dangerous year. You are encouraged to walk through your landscape and make sure you are also ready for whatever may transpire. We want to keep our community picturesque as well as safe. We all play a part in protecting our precious land and lives.

Flammable grass on hillside..jpeg

My articles on creating an Emergency Go-Bag (https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1507/Packing-an-emergency-Go-Bag.html) and Wildfire Protection through Landscaping

(https://www.lamorindaweekly.com/archive/issue1507/Digging-Deep-with-Goddess-Gardener-Cynthia-Brian-Wildfire-protection-through-landscaping.html) elicited numerous emails and comments. The number one request was to supply a list of plants that would be fire-retardant and fire-resistant.

When planning a new garden or adding plants to an existing landscape, it is essential to be reminded that no plant is fire-proof. Everything can and will burn if the temperature is hot enough. Also, even if a plant tag indicates that it is fire-resistant, it must be properly maintained, pruned, irrigated, spaced, and positioned in the correct locations to thrive. Plants that have been infested with pests, are too old, or are stressed will be more flammable. Plants that are not nurtured could create a problem for other vegetation. Inspect your botanicals carefully. 



Plants within 30 feet of a structure need to be considered for fire-retardance. This is Zone 1, the defensible space of your garden which will be able to withstand extreme heat and flying embers. Plants need to be watered thoroughly, trees are preferably deciduous, and the leaves of plants will be moist, fleshy, and broad.

Groundcovers for this area include:

Lawn grasses








Dwarf Plumbago


Zone 1 Perennials include:






Dusty Miller

Shasta Daisy












New Zealand Flax

Lamb’s Ear

Calla lilies

Bird of Paradise

Zone 1 Shrubs include:






Mock Orange









Zone 1 Vines include:


Trumpet Vine



Bower Vine


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Zone 1 Trees include:

Fruit trees





Pineapple Guava


Crape Myrtle

Liquid Amber

Ornamental Pear

Pepper Tree

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From 31 feet to 70 feet from a structure, and even further up on slopes, is the greenbelt area which is designed to halt the fire. Plants in this area are the most fire-retardant with low fuels and high moisture content. These plantings can withstand neglect, freezes, droughts, and even insect infestations and still be fire-retardant. Ground covers don’t grow over 18 inches. Trees and shrubs have space between them. In general, although succulents and cactus may not survive a fire, they are the best at retarding one.

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Zone 2 Groundcovers include:


Ice plant



Morning glory


Santa Barbara Daisy

Asiastic Lilies and santa barbara daisies.jpeg

Wild strawberry




hillside in bloom after weeding-mulch.jpeg



Zone 2 Perennials include:


Dusty Miller

California Poppy









Red-Hot Poker



Zone 2 Shrubs include:







Zone 2 Vines include:

Virginia Creeper

Lady Banks Rose



Senecio Confusus

Zone 2 Trees include:


Strawberry Tree


Honey Locust

Chinese Pistache

California Black Oak



Joshua Tree


Although no plant is 100% fire-proof, these plants are less likely to burn. Several are already listed for Zones 1 and 2.  

Bulbs (tulips, daffodils, iris, hyacinth, freesia, etc. Cut stalks to the ground when leaves are dry)

California redbud








Wild strawberry

Common yarrow

French lavender





California lilac

Society garlic





Yellow or Purple Ice Plant

Creeping Phlox







Trumpet Vine




Red-Hot Poker




Lamb’s ear




Evening primrose






Mock orange







African Daisy



Horse Chestnut

Liquid Amber

Honey Locust


Purple Robe Locust

Fruit Trees (varieties of cherry, plum, pear, peach, apricot, pomegranate, fig)

Black Oak






Manzanita (prune without deadwood)


California Bay Laurel

California Pepper

Remember that deciduous plants are less flammable than evergreen. Gray and silver plants have a high mineral and ash content which makes them more fire-resistant. Vegetation with needles or fine, thin leaves is flammable. The more stored moisture a plant has, the more it can withstand a fire. Use less-flammable types of mulch, such as gravel or decorative rock, or a combination of wood bark mulch and decorative rock to dress your garden, retain moisture, and deter weed growth.

Prune trees.jpeg

To burn, fires need fuel. By removing debris, planting and maintaining a fire-retardant and fire-resistant landscape, cutting down dead trees, thinning dried branches, spacing, pruning, watering, and keeping trees away from roofs, you will dimmish the chance of ignition, lower fire intensity, and reduce the spread of a blaze. Your home will have a better chance of surviving a wildfire. 

Best of all, you can still create a gorgeous oasis where you can entertain, relax, and socialize.

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You don’t want fires to crawl fueled by unkempt low-lying vegetation, high grasses, or mounds of leaves.  Get out the weed whackers and go to work.  Be fire safe and enjoy a wonderful summer. 

Happy Gardening. Happy Growing. Congratulations to the graduates and Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads.

Photos and more:


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Cynthia Brian, The Goddess Gardener, is available for hire to help you prepare for your spring garden. Raised in the vineyards of Napa County, Cynthia is a New York Times best-selling author, actor, radio personality, speaker, media and writing coach as well as the Founder and Executive Director of Be the Star You Are!® 501 c3. Tune into Cynthia’s StarStyle® Radio Broadcast at www.StarStyleRadio.com.

cyn-exhausting garden day.jpeg

Buy copies of her books, including, Chicken Soup for the Gardener’s Soul, Growing with the Goddess Gardener, and Be the Star You Are! www.cynthiabrian.com/online-store. Receive a FREE inspirational music DVD and special savings.

cynthia brian's books.jpg

Hire Cynthia for writing projects, garden consults, and inspirational lectures.



7 Factors To Consider When Buying A Family Car

Posted by Felix Assivo on
Health & Wellness
7 Factors To Consider When Buying A Family Car

Nowadays, purchasing something is like finding a needle in the haystack.

There is so much saturation in markets that hunting your ideal match can be a confusing and daunting process. You need to research, compare, and evaluate to ensure you are not wasting your hard-earned money.

Well, are you seeking an amazing family car that fulfills your needs perfectly? If so, then you’ve arrived on the right page. Below we have compiled all the essential factors to consider to make the wisest and the easiest family car purchase ever!

1. Cost (Not Just the Car)

You need to budget for two types of costs when buying a car: upfront and ongoing. Some of the costs you need to consider include:

  • The upfront cost of the car, whether it is a financial deal or cost upfront
  • Finance repayments – if it is dealer finance or a personal loan, you need to factor in the repayments you have to make
  • Insurance, see Car UK for great deals on insurance.
  • Annual Road Tax
  • Servicing
  • Other spending’s like repairs, new tires, and valets

All of the above costs are going to add up, which makes it important to have some breathing room in your budget.

2. Fuel

Different families have different ways of using their cars, so make sure you think about how the car you want to buy is going to be used. Are you going to drive it at low speeds in an urban environment? Avoid diesel-powered cars because they are not good at low-mileage driving and low-speed. If you get such a car, you are going to spend a lot on maintenance costs.

The best option in such a case is a modest petrol power, or if you have the budget, a pure electric or hybrid vehicle. If the family car is going to double up as a commuting vehicle that will spend time on the motorway, then it might be a good idea to go with a diesel-powered car because the fuel costs will be lower. A diesel car is a good idea if you are going to spend something like 20,000km, every year.

3. Seating

The number of kids is going to play a part when choosing a car to buy. If you have just one child, then many of the Honda models should be enough. If you have three or more children, then you have to make a lot of considerations when choosing a vehicle. This doesn’t mean going with a full seven-seat car, there are many Honda vehicles in the market that come with five seats that are going to do the job well.

4. Safety

Don’t make the mistake of not giving safety enough focus, whether you are buying a used or new car. If you are getting a new car, then go through the list of standard safety equipment carefully and then see what is on the options list – this way, you can make sure your family remains safe. Honda has great safety ratings, which is why more and more people are choosing it.

5. Finance

There are many options when it comes to financing a new car. Some of them include cash, PCP, credit union/bank loans, or dealer financing options. Take your time and choose a financing option that works best for you.

6. Consider More Than One Vehicle

It is very easy to be caught up in the process of finding a car that is going to fulfill the many roles in your life when the best option could be getting more than one car in your household. You can get a cheap petrol/electric/hybrid model to use for school runs, while you can choose something suited to long-distance driving to use for your daily commute to work. Sit down and think how easier things can be with two vehicles.

7. Interior Trim

One thing that some parents don’t consider when choosing a car is if the interior trim is good for family life. Things can get messy, especially with young kids. This is why you should choose dark upholstery (leather trim is a good option because it is easy to clean)

Movie Review: Gabby Duran & The Unsittables * On The Edge Of Your Seat With So Many Mysteries In Every Episode

Posted by Felix Assivo on
Movie Review: Gabby Duran & The Unsittables * On The Edge Of Your Seat With So Many Mysteries In Every Episode

Disney Channel’s out-of-this-world live-action comedy series “Gabby Duran & the Unsittables” has return for a second season on Disney Channel and Disney NOW. The series stars multitalented actress and musician Kylie Cantrall as Gabby Duran, a teenaged girl who inadvertently lands a job babysitting an unruly group of VIP extraterrestrial children disguised as everyday kids. In season two, a resourceful and courageous Gabby faces even bigger challenges as she continues to protect her alien charges while also navigating the everyday emotional rollercoaster of middle school. The season picks up immediately after a cliffhanger with Gabby’s mom, Dina, on the verge of learning Gabby’s secret, which the intrepid teen will have to stop in order to avoid catastrophic outcomes. Other adventures this season will include a robot replica Gabby-bot running amok, an alien friend who turns into a “Predator” when she becomes emotional, and a quest to recover Principal Swift’s home after it’s shrunken down to the size of a dollhouse by an extraterrestrial prankster.

KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Makena P. comments, “I love Gabby Duran and the Unsittables so much because it has an effect that keeps you connected with the show the whole time. It has so many cliff hangers; you’re always wondering what will happen next; your always on the edge of your seat. I like that there are so many mysteries in each episode and that something new happens in every episode.” See her full review below.

Gabby Duran and the Unsittables By KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Makena Parel, Age 12

I love Gabby Duran and the Unsittables so much because it has an effect that keeps you connected with the show the whole time. It has so many cliff hangers; you’re always wondering what will happen next; your always on the edge of your seat. I like that there are so many mysteries in each episode and that something new happens in every episode.

The storyline is about a young girl named Gabby Duran (Kylie Cantrall) who gets picked by Principal Swift (Nathan Lovejoy) who is an alien and wants Gabby to babysit aliens. This job is so important and, if anyone finds out aliens are real, then that would destroy the earth. Principle Swift needs Gabby to keep this a secret from everyone; she can’t tell anyone about aliens or her baby sitting job. Keeping that big of a secret might be a little hard for Gabby

This show is filled with lots of animated characters and other things that aren’t there in real life. They use the characters so well, and have amazing ways to incorporate them into the show. It’s cool how some aliens that Gabby is babysitting like Jeremy (Callen Farris), Kail (Mia Bella) and Sky (Elle McKinnon) have different powers. This isn’t a great sentence. First, avoid using the term “is amazing” as it doesn’t tell us anything. I was impressed by how the actors portrayed aliens that are uncertain about how to behave as human impersonators. Considering how young the cast is makes it doubly impressive. 

I enjoyed all of the other cast members, especially Coco Christo who plays Olivia Duran, because she’s so young and plays her part as Gabby’s sister so well. My favorite episode has to be the one with Cry Baby Duran, because it really shows the part of her and her friends being in middle school. The drama really starts to show and gets inside Gabby’s head and she is determined to find out who started the rumor. The other thing I found really interesting is how different directors (Joe Nussbaum and Leslie Kolins Small) direct different episodes, which gives the show great variety. For example, Joe Nussbaum directs 9 episodes and it is interesting because it must have been hard to for Kylie Cnatrall to adjust to the different directing styles. Then, Leslie Kolins Small directs 6 episodes and it captured my interest because all the episodes really turned out the same even though they all have different styles of directing, Kylie Cantrall and the directors worked together to make a great show.

The message of this series is that lying isn’t a good thing, but when there are lives on the line, you have to do your best to help everyone. Lying can turn into a big mess, so don’t let that fool you. This series shows that some people are not worth the risk and people don’t always love the idea secrets. Tell them before they find out for themselves.

I give Gabby Duran and the Unsittables 4.5 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 10 to 14. The new season comes out on Disney + on June 6, 2021.  

Keywords: movie reviews, by kids for kids,gabby duran and the unsitables, disney channel, gabby duran, gabby duran and the unsittables, gabby, Kylie Cantrall, Maxwell Acee Donovan, Heather Hawthorn Doyle, Callan Farris, Nathan Lovejoy, Valery M. Ortiz, Coco Christo, Laara Sadiq, Braken Hanke, Elle McKinnon, Kheon Clarke, Breant Clark, Jeremy Davis, Michael O’Connor, Denise Chan, Joe Nussbaum Leslie Kolins Small, Jonathan A. Rosenbaum, Sean McNamara, Erise Allen, Daryle Conners

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