Dr. Nina Radcliff’s 7 New Year’s Resolutions

Text by Dr. Nina Radcliff & Photos by K. Cecchini

How many of us can look back at 2014 and say that we feel as though we starred in the spaghetti Western “The Good, the Bad, the Ugly?” Though I am no Clint Eastwood, I for one, can. As we take down our Christmas stockings, many of us find ourselves taking stock of ourselves and seeking improvement (or redemption) with our New Year’s Resolutions. Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.

Here’s a look at my 7 resolutions.

1. To not have to see these resolutions on my list next year. Did you know that only 8% of people actually achieve their resolutions? To improve my chances, I will draw a clear map to help me reach my destination without getting lost. In other words, I will create an easy-to-follow plan and hold myself accountable, quarterly.

2. Love myself. I’ve heard many variations of this sentiment, but if we are not good at loving ourselves, we will have a difficult time loving anyone. We will resent the time and energy we give another person that we aren’t even giving to ourselves. In other words, set the tone and the standard.

3. Put things in perspective. “If you have food in your fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep you are richer than 75% of the world.” Still not convinced? How about “If you woke up this morning with more health than illness you are more blessed than the million people who will not survive this week.” Signed, sealed and delivered: “If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the agony of imprisonment or torture, or the horrible pangs of starvation vou are luckier than 500 million people alive and suffering.”

4. Gratitude journal. I recently started chronicling–every morning and every night–at least three things that I am grateful for. It has been shown that there are a number of health benefits when we have a genuine feeling of gratitude: better sleep and eating, increased energy and lifespan, and decreased overall illness and depression.

5. Get some “ZZZ’s.” Not having a good night’s sleep can make even the best morph into the Incredible Hulk. There is also a Catch 22 with sleep and caffeine consumption; we drink caffeine to keep us alert, but then it keeps us awake at night. In 2015, my goal is to stay Dr. David Banner by removing the sleep wreckers that surround me. Bye bye Lou Ferrigno.

6. Tech cleanse. I admit, I used to be a “tech-a-holic.” My day begins with an eye-opener of checking my email, which wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t check my emails and texts right before going to bed, and throughout the day. I have almost been hit by a car (on more than one occasion) because I was texting while walking across the street. I began recognizing and making changes in 2014, and will continue to unplug and power down in 2015.

7. Protect the skin I’m in. A year back, I had moles that needed to be biopsied. Fortunately, they were negative. But did you know that skin cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the United States with one in five people developing it over their lifetime! More shockingly, one American dies from skin cancer EVERY HOUR! To that extent, I vow to cover up, spread on sunscreen, not let the weather fool me (ultraviolet lights are present even during the winter months), and get annual skin exams. Hopefully, we can label 2015 as “The Good,” and continue to shed the bad and the ugly. Our chances will improve greatly if we make an active, deliberate effort, along with looking at things through rose-colored glasses and holding ourselves accountable. In addition to remembering to write 2015 instead of 2014 as the date, let’s resolve to be awesome.

For more news on Dr. Radcliff: Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

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Photograph by K. Cecchini

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider. Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.

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Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know: About Drinking, Our Safety and Our Health

Text by Dr. Nina Radcliff & Photos by K. Cecchini

Many of us will be raising our glasses to toast “new dreams, new days, new desires, and new ways” for the New Year. It is a time to reminisce about the past and hope for the future. While it is always important to moderate alcohol intake, it is especially important at this time of the year where there are more opportunities to drink. Let’s take a look at some important facts about alcohol that may help us make wise decisions.

Dr. Nina’s What You Need To Know: About Drinking, Our Safety and Our Health

What affect does alcohol have on our bodies? It has a temporary stimulant effect where we may feel upbeat and excited. However, alcohol soon adversely affects our reaction time, inhibitions, and judgment. As more alcohol is consumed, we may see slurred speech and loss of balance. And at high levels, it can alter one’s state of being or consciousness as well as function as a depressant making a person sleepy and even pass out.

Does alcohol have calories? Alcohol is not a zero calorie drink. Approximate calorie counts are as follows: beer 150 calories; wine 125 calories; champagne 85 calories; 1.5 ounce of vodka, whiskey, rum, or gin 100 calories; martinis 125 calories; margaritas 170 calories; and pina coladas 500 calories. Additionally, because alcohol inhibits our judgment, we are more likely to choose high calorie, high fat, and high cholesterol foods.

Does alcohol have an effect on the medications I take? It has the potential to make some medications less effective, not work at all, and, even, harmful. In particular, alcohol can intensify the drowsiness caused by anti-anxiety medications, narcotics, and sleeping aids. It may even stop your breathing and become deadly! Always read warning labels and speak with your doctor or pharmacist to determine if it is safe to use alcohol with the medications and supplements that you take.

How can I speed up the clearance of alcohol? Only time can clear alcohol from our system; consuming caffeinated drinks does NOT serve as an antidote. Additionally, even after someone has their last drink, alcohol within the stomach and intestine continues to enter the bloodstream.

What are some drunk driving statistics? Every year there are over 10,000 preventable, unnecessary, tragic deaths due to drunk driving. And during the holiday season the number increases. Approximately 1200 people die during the holiday season; this equates to nearly 45 people each day. And another 25,000 people will suffer from injuries due to drunk driving.

What happens if I get a DUI? Driving under the influence carries heavy penalties including: fines, fees, and surcharges; license suspension; ignition interlock devices (a mechanism, like a breathalyzer, installed on a motor vehicle’s dashboard that prevents the ignition from starting); jail time; and community service.

Here are some tips I have gathered from events I have attended to keep the cheer while making sure guests remain safe:

Move “last call” up. When offering alcoholic beverages, serve them early and then switch to nonalcoholic as the night goes on.
• Spice it up. Nonalcoholic drinks can be fun and yummy. This allows designated drivers to tickle their palate and have a good time. Additionally, guests who are drinking can mix in tasty, festive nonalcoholic drinks to prevent getting drunk.
• Designated host. Choose a host ahead of time who will not drink. This way they can help notice if any of the guests drink too much and need to be “cut off.” They can also collect keys when guests arrive and assess their condition before returning them. By watching for changes, you can learn a lot about any guest’s level of intoxication. Examples include: being overly friendly, unfriendly, depressed, or quiet; using foul language or becoming loud; drinking faster or switching to larger or stronger drinks; or staggering, stumbling, or bumping into objects.
• Provide options. Whether you offer your guests a sleeping bag or couch to crash on overnight, arrange for a taxi, or create a designated driver system to return them home, be prepared. Having several options available makes it easier to encourage guests to do the right thing.
• Food. Foods that are high in protein remain in our stomachs longer. As a result, it can slow the rate at which alcohol is absorbed into our systems. Consider having a good variety of meats, cheese, and nuts.
• Variety. Avoid making alcohol the main focus by providing music, dancing, games, and yummy food.

What if I am attending a party? If you are going to have a drink, designate a driver or have an alternate form of transportation ahead of time. Set safe, realistic goals when it comes to how many drinks you will have, and stick to it. If you typically have one drink and that is enough, this is not the time to be an overachiever. Additionally, pace yourself by avoiding drinking too much, too early. You may miss out on the Times Square ball dropping or that special kiss.

As we celebrate the New Year, let’s make wise decisions when it comes to drinking. Afterall we have lots to do as we enter 2015 and “…open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.” Happy New Years – and Best Wishes for a year filled with more of your dreams coming to life!

For more news on Dr. Radcliff:
Like her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DrNinaRadcliff
Follow her on Twitter: @DrNinaRadcliff
Visit her official site, http://www.ninaradcliffmd.com

IMG_1549-0.JPG
Photograph by K. Cecchini

Notice: This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither Dr. Nina Radcliff or Kimberly Cecchini take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.
Before engaging in any complementary medical technique, including the use of natural or herbal remedies, you should be aware that many of these techniques have not been evaluated in scientific studies. Use of these remedies in connection with over the counter or prescription medications can cause severe adverse reactions. Often, only limited information is available about their safety and effectiveness.

Best of 2014, Part DEUX

Here’s the first part of the list

I’m sure you have all been driven crazy in anticipation for the second part?!

Without further ado, let us continue with the most important list you’ll see during this ten minute span:

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5.  GAZELLE TWINUNFLESH

UNFLESH is the sonic equivalent of a violent assault; a soundscape dominated by electronic buzzing and industrial beats, but there’s something more…troubling…lying just underneath the surface.

The majority of this album follows a similar path of tracks engulfed with menacing beats and cryptic lyrical poetry.
Elizabeth Bernholz (AKA, Gazelle Twin) is a British musician who wins the award for artist that scares me just a wee little bit.

HIGHLIGHTS: Belly Of The Beast   Anti-Body    Exorcise

 

 

 

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4.  THE TWILIGHT SADNobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave

Post rock droning and delay effects riddle this release and are aptly coupled with very dreary overtones, making this a perfectly suitable ‘winter’ album. This is a downer of a listen (in a great way), even those happier sounding tracks are dragged through the mud with well put together, yet dreary, lyrics

While you may not be inclined to put this album on at any old time, it may have the lasting power to be an annual favorite for when the days get shorter and those cold breezes start to pick up.
HIGHLIGHTS: Last January   Drown So I Can Watch  Sometimes I Wished I Could Fall Asleep

 

 

 

 

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3.  TOO MANY ZOOZ- F NOTE/FANIMALS

Having released three E.P.’s over the course of 2014 (the third being released a few weeks ago, and not a part of this review), NYC buskers TOO MANY ZOOZ has made quite the impact in this household, with their instantly infectious jams.

“To The Top” off of F Note is one of those songs that has my boss over @tonightatdawn moving and shaking her groove thang as soon as the percussion hits the speakers.

As good as the musicianship is on their first release, the arrangements on Fanimals sound more complex and mature. This time around, the band explored different genres and broadened their sound to include Latin (“Mouse Trap”), Mambo,  House (“Turtledactyl”), Dance and Middle Eastern (“Wet”) influences.

HIGHLIGHTS: The Whole First E.P.       The Whole Second E.P.  (They’re both short, get over it)

th-3 2.  COLD SPECKS-Neuroplasticity

DOOM SOUL; who would have thought a genre dubbed doom soul would ever exist, or be the least bit enjoyable.  It sounds like something Darth Vader unwinds to after torturing a village of Ewoks.

Cold Specks vocalist Al Spx is a 20-something who takes her musical cues from deep south Gospel (with a dash of Goth) and cites her musical influences as ranging from James Carr to Tom Waits.  In fact, the band’s second album reflects everything from Neo soul to modern jazz, R&B, and, hell, even indie rock.

HIGHLIGHTS: A Broken Memory   Absisto   Bodies At Bay 

 

 

 

 

th-41.  ProtomartyrUnder Color Of Official Right

Joe Casey’s ability to go from singing to forcefully barking out his words takes the tracks to another level.  These distinct low vocals contribute to his bandmates’ gritty sound. Although a little more polished than its predecessor, No Passion, All Technique, Under Color of Official Right is still far from the average pop punk record.

Musically, the band is all hit, no miss. It may not sound like the most challenging music possible, yet it is extremely well-played and perfectly fits the lyrics’ tone. There’s plenty of fuzz engulfing these garage rock songs. At 35 minutes, there’s no meandering to be found on any of these songs, which plays to the band’s strengths. Each track hits me hard and fast, and leave me with something to think about. Closing track ” I’ll take that applause” couldn’t be a more fitting end statement. As Casey boasts “And I’ll take that applause, cause I deserve it”, who could really argue with him?

HIGHLIGHTS: Maidenhead    Scum, Rise!   Bad Advice    I’ll Take That Applause

***BONUS TIME***

BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT OF THE YEAR:

GONZO-FOXY SHAZAM

What the shit happened to these guys??  The eccentricity and theatricality of everything that came before was muted (more like suffocated) and transformed into this slow moving, boring, mis tempo, 80’s synth-filled atrocity.  At first I wondered why they were releasing their new album for free on bandcamp, and soon after hearing it, I understood perfectly.  And even though I have grown to appreciate some of these tracks as being decent, what a bummer it was hearing this for the first time. Its a pity that they recently announced their hiatus, but it may actually be for the better that they take some time and regroup.

BEST LIVE ALBUM OF THE YEAR:

QUEEN- LIVE AT THE RAINBOW

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As shitty as that Foxy Shazam record was, QUEEN’s long-awaited vault release is that amazing.  Made up of tracks from their first three albums, there are no blockbuster hits to be found on these two shows, which suits me just fine.  What you get is a band introducing themselves to the world.

The audio sounds fantastic, the accompanying DVD looks amazing for being 40 years old, and everything here is played to near perfection (especially the first live set, which is absolutely killer).  With this, the mighty QUEEN earns the KralTunes award for best live release for 2014  (Freddie Mercury can eternally rest easy now).

Marian Call: Have Yourself A Die Hard X-Mas


Text by @KralTunes

By this point in the holiday season, it is damn near impossible to escape the audio assault of festive Christmas music.  Every corner of every block has it blaring from the rafters.  What makes it even more nauseating is the fact that you only hear like 3,827 versions of 12 different songs each year.  That’s why when I actually hear a good NEW Christmas song, my ears perk up a little bit.  With that, I present to you Marian Call’s holiday offering, Yippee Ki Yay.   

Featuring songs from Marian’s Alaskan wintertime show, there is an interesting mix of traditional and off kilter comedic tunes spread throughout the E.P’s 27 minutes.  Traditional holiday songs like ‘Magnificat’ and ‘Ave Maria’ are beautifully sung, proving Ms. Call has some serious chops.  She even nails a traditional German Christmas ditty, “Es ist ein Ros Entsprungen”, in German, no less.

This album turns on a dime like it has the worst case of A.D.D. in recorded history.  One minute you’re in church for midnight mass, the next you’re at the local dive bar on Lexington Ave. @ 2 in the morning swapping tales with the local crazies while tunes like ‘Christmas in L.A.’ are being sung in the back.  The track that initially lured me to this release calls out from that dive bar and will now forever be a staple in my Christmas playlist. This song inspired a couple of WHO questions and one HOW one:

(A) Who doesn’t like a ‘DIE HARD’ themed Christmas song?

(B) How has no one ever thought of this idea before??

 (C) Who doesn’t get any pleasure out of belting “Yippee Ki Yay, mother fucker, it’s Christmas in L.A.’ ?

Marion Call’s clever sense of humor is also showcased; ‘Princess Cupcake’ offers up a sarcastic view of the rugged, tough lives of princesses, while ‘The Last Song on the World’ provides us the soundtrack to the coming apocalypse.  Then the really old school ‘Hey for Christmas’ closes out the holiday party in a traditional fashion with tales of drunkedness and debauchery that one can only be found in a 17th century tune.

After years of the same tired songs, and enduring the torture of listening to contemporary attempts to craft the perfect holiday song, this woman has singlehandedly restored my faith that humanity can still craft new Christmas tunes that I can enjoy for years to come.  Now all we (I) need is a GREMLINS Christmas song and my ultimate holiday playlist will be complete (Hint, Hint, Ms. Call).

This live E.P. was offered for free on her bandcamp page.