Food Allergy Awareness Week is May 11 – 19, 2014

food allergy awareness weekFood Allergy Awareness Week is designed to inform and educate families, schools, businesses, restaurants and our community about food allergies, safety and training.

As a mother of a child with severe peanut and tree nut allergy, I know the importance of reading every label and researching & calling a food manufacturer if there is no “may contain” statement. This statement is not mandatory in the US, so if it does not say “may contain” on the label, the food item could still have a danger of cross contamination.

I ask every restaurant about what is in the food and cross contamination dangers in the kitchen for every meal.

I show friends, family and caregivers how to use epinephrine in case of a food allergy reaction and leave it with them every time.

The only prevention is total avoidance of the allergen and there is no room for error when it comes to protecting those that we love.

Many families do not carry epinephrine even though their family members have known food and/or insect allergies.

Many people do not know that they need to carry two epinephrine pens in case of a reaction that lasts longer than the time it takes to get to an ER at the hospital.

Here are some valuable resources from FAACT.

Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team Supports Food Allergy Awareness Week

Life-threatening food allergies affect more than 15 million Americans, including 6 million children

West Chester, OH – The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT) encourages citizens across the nation to get involved with Food Allergy Awareness Week, May 11- 17. Simply learning a few “FAACTs” about food allergies and sharing them with family, friends, and caregivers could save a life.

Food allergies affect as many as 15 million Americans, including almost 6 million children. Food allergies can be life threatening – and are on the rise. The prevalence of food allergies appears to be increasing among children under the age of 18. A May 2013 report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that “between 1997 and 1999, food allergies affected about 3.4 percent of American children. By 2009 to 2011, that number rose to 5.1 percent – an increase of 50 percent in just over a decade.” That is two students in every classroom across America – and there is no cure for food allergies. The only way to prevent an allergic reaction is to avoid trigger foods.

That’s why it is so important for every member of the community to know what food allergies are and recognize a potentially life-threating reaction called anaphylaxis. The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team is committed to raising awareness about food allergies and anaphylaxis in schools, restaurants, hotels, catering venues, amusement parks, and local communities across the country. To assist educators and advocates during this year’s Food Allergy Awareness Week, FAACT has shipped free resources to families and schools across the country, including:

 Over 65,000 free educational bookmarks

 25,000 FAACT brochures

 FAACT flyers, magnets, and food allergy booklets

In addition, a food allergy Education Resource Center for schools and families is available on the FAACT Web site.

“Our goal for Food Allergy Awareness Week is to encourage all citizens to recognize the value and importance of food allergy management, anaphylaxis prevention, and awareness,” stated Eleanor Garrow-Holding, President and CEO of FAACT. “Families and schools are important partners in this effort. We urge everyone to get involved and work together in their communities to create safer environments for individuals with food allergies.”

This starts with a visit to FAACT’s Web site and free education resource center. Ways to get involved include:

 Downloading free educational materials and sharing them with school staff and family members

 Contacting FAACT to learn more on how to obtain stock epinephrine for your school

 Becoming a better advocate by educating yourself about food allergies and anaphylaxis

 Sharing FAACT’s information in local communities

About The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Connection Team (FAACT)

FAACT’s mission is to educate, advocate, and raise awareness for all individuals and families affected by food allergies and life-threatening anaphylaxis. FAACT is also your voice for food allergy awareness, from keeping children safe at school to dealing with workplace issues or simply taking the family out for a bite to eat. Managing a food allergy on a daily basis involves constant vigilance. FAACT is here to support you in managing your food allergies – today, tomorrow, and into the future. For more information, please visit us at or call (513) 342-1293, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube.


 Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Connection Team

 Food allergy statistics from FAACT

 The American Academy of Pediatrics, “Management of Food Allergy in the School Setting”

 The American Academy of Pediatrics, “The Prevalence, Severity, and Distribution of Childhood Food Allergy in the United States”

Media Contact:

Eleanor Garrow-Holding, FAACT’s President and CEO

(815) 276-3015 or Eleanor.Garrow @

FAACT is able to consult on news stories and provide medical experts, spokespersons, and subjects while supplying up-to-date information on food allergies and anaphylaxis for your future media needs.

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Best Superbowl Ads of 2014 – Crowdsourced

Here is another reason why I love social media. A ranked list of crowdsourced Superbowl ads from Nick Kellet! It will be fun to watch the commercials and to see the ratings come in from viewers all around the world. And now I won’t have to worry if I miss any – I can watch them any time! #superbowl #commercials #2014

Free Publicity Tips Ebook from the Publicity Hound

free publicity tipsI am a frequent reader of the Publicity Hound’s blog and newsletter. Joan Stewart is one of the top experts for generating publicity whether you are running a startup or a private corporation.

Stewart is offering The Best of the Publicity Hound’s Tips of the Week 2013 on her website as a free ebook that I highly recommend. She includes many tools that help public relations professionals save time and money such as the social media image maker that helps you resize images for all types of social media accounts.

She also gives out valuable tips that are hard to find elsewhere. The tips she shares are hidden gems that PR pros would usually pay money to acquire.

Here are some of the neat tips and tricks that are in the free ebook:

—Where to find a huge directory of freelance writers

—Where to find a giant list of local and regional magazines so you know all your pitching opportunities

—36 places to publicize your startup

—Where to find a free 39-page report on how to research and pitch bloggers, step by step

—Where to find inexpensive and very creative marketing help if you need a new slogan or tagline

— A powerful business title generator to make your headlines more effective

and much more.

As you begin your PR planning for 2014, make sure you have this handy guide as it will save you loads of time, resources and money for your next campaign!

The Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta 4th Annual Allergy Friendly Halloween Event on Saturday, October 19 from 1PM-4PM!

food allergy kids of atlanta halloween partyBring the family & join the fun during the Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta 4th Annual Halloween Party! We’ll celebrate this year with activities being held both indoors & outdoors at The Summit Autism Center in Roswell, GA!

  • Costume Awards (3 PM)
  • Room to room Trick-or-Treating
  • Dancing
  • Games
  • Arts & Crafts
  • Climbing Fun
  • Trace’s Bounce House
  • Basketball
  • Games
  • Fire & Rescue Trucks

RSVP to with number of adults & children attending!  A members only event – Membership is FREE!

Social Media and Public Relations Update

pr social media agencyI realized it has been a few months since I last posted on my personal blog and here we are in June. Where is the time going?

The kids are out for summer vacation and my oldest is going into fifth grade and my youngest is going into first grade.

As for me, I have been writing about social media and public relations for Creative Concepts, a Public Relations, Marketing and Social Media Consultancy. If you are interested in learning the latest and greatest, I recommend reading their agency blog and following their social media news feeds.

I will be sure to update my blog more often in the future and until the next post, happy summer!

Girl Scouts Go Social, Celebrate First National Girl Scout Cookie Day

national_gs_cookiedayThe Girl Scouts are celebrating their first National Girl Scout Cookie Day today. As a marketer, I am glad to see that they are embracing social media as part of their strategy.

Highlights include a #onemorebox contest with winners announced the day of, and live coverage of the day’s events. @GirlScouts will even be tweeting the location of The National Girl Scout Cookie Day Truck as it makes its way through New York City, staffed with Girl Scouts selling cookies.

The girl scouts also have a new app that helps you locate thin mints pronto. After you download the app on Android or iPhone, put in the ZIP Code and it will ask if you are looking for sales going on today, the weekend or the next seven days. You can also sign up to receive an alert when there is a sale in your area!

We can even accept credit card payments at our cookie sale booth. Did you know you can donate cookies to the troops?

The cookies have a new package design and as a food allergy mom, ingredients are listed and “may contain” statements are included so kids with food allergies will know if the cookie is safe to eat (the may contain statement is not mandatory and that is where cross contamination occurs.)

My family was in the girl scouts – my mom was a leader, my sister was a Junior and I was a Brownie. My daughter is in her third year of girl scouts and is a Junior. She has learned leadership skills from cookie sales and project work. She has gained compassion through community service. She has gone outside of her comfort zone at camp and in a canoe and emerged a stronger, more confident girl.

I have already seen changes in my daughter. She has cleaned up our street on her own as a result of one community service clean up project and started a side business selling bracelets. The sky is the limit in her eyes and it is exciting to see her grow into an active, responsible citizen and future entrepreneur.

I am thankful for organizations such as Girl Scouts that give our children the life skills they need to succeed that they might not get otherwise, in the classroom or elsewhere.

February 8 is National Girl Scout Cookie Day!

Join in on the fun and festivities on National Girl Scout Cookie Day, when we’ll celebrate the world’s largest girl-led business and make it easy for you to buy or order cookies from your local Girl Scout Cookie Professional. Here’s how you can stay in touch throughout the day:

Atlanta Food Allergy News and Events

auviqFood Allergy Kids of Atlanta has events coming up for teens and parents.

Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta Teen Event
Feb 17, 2013, 1:30 PM – 5:30 PM
Snow Mountain, Stone Mountain GA

Join us as we spend the day braving Avalanche Alley and tube runners with Dr. Luqman Seidu and the FA Kids of Atlanta volunteer team!
Many thanks to GA Allergy, Immunology, & Asthma for supporting the FA Kids 1st Annual Teen Event!

Fore details and to confirm, email Karen (at)!

FA Kids Support Group Meeting
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Presentation will begin at 7:15 PM.
GUEST SPEAKER: Dr. Luqman Seidu, Georgia Allergy, Immunology, & Asthma 
Food Allergies: How to recognize and treat a food allergy reaction and when to give epinephrine; Auvi-Q and Epipen discussion and demonstration.
(Please note – this will be an adult only event)
Following the presentation and questions & answers, attendees will have time to meet privately with Dr. Seidu and also meet other food allergic families in GA.

Beverages will be served and allergy friendly samples will be provided.

Food allergy resources, books, cookbooks, educational materials, 504 samples, newly diagnosed resources and more will be available for purchase & giveaway during the meeting!

Eggnots from will be available at $15.00 per dozen!


We hope to see you there! RSVP is requested for this event. Please send an email with event, number of guests attending, & any questions or concerns you would like addressed to, or by registering here:

Northside Medical Complex
3400 Old Milton Parkway
Building C, Suite #310 (third floor – Educational Classroom)
Alpharetta, GA 30005

Review and register for scheduled meetings & events here:

In Search of Alternative Radio in Atlanta.

It’s a revolution.

Atlanta’s alternative radio went totally outer limits a few weeks ago. Dave 92.9 FM announced they were switching to sports talk radio (ugh). Project 9-6-1 (formerly 96 Rock) switched to a top 40 format. Then 99X (98.9) announced they were switching to 98 The Bone and filling the hard rock format left open by Project 9-6-1. Having a hard time keeping up? Well if you live in Atlanta it has been one shuffle after another.

Some people don’t understand why I’m so upset. I enjoy alternative rock and have listened to it for years. I remember listening to records, tapes and later cds from bands that weren’t on the radio. They were good – really good – and didn’t have a voice like the pop and traditional rock artists.

I got in trouble in fifth grade in Philadelphia, PA listening to Adam Ant’s Prince Charming album on cassette tape in the library (hee). In middle school I learned about all kinds of cool music from mixtapes traded with friends. Listening to punk bands like The Cramps and Sex Pistols, alternative 80s music like The Church, Depeche Mode, The The and so much more. I wrote letters to radio stations in high school in 1985 when I moved to Greenville, SC asking for them to play different music and new bands. (Good news – Greenville FINALLY has an alternative radio station that just started THIS YEAR!)

When radio stations starting playing these bands dubbed “alternative rock”, it was an awakening. It gave new bands a voice and us bored listeners new music. I moved to Atlanta after graduating college at Auburn University in 1993. 99x was my favorite station and finally was a home for alternative music fans in Atlanta.

How ironic that today is the 20 year anniversary for 99x. I am now listening to Barnes & Steve Craig reminisce on ex99 on Live 365 and it’s their last day broadcasting on this station. Steve did say he was going to start podcasting The Steve Show, so that is good news for fans.

I know radio industry naysayers site losing listeners to internet radio, satellite radio and other competition, but I still prefer to listen to the radio in my car without paying a subscription.

“Arbitron, which tracks radio trends, says at least 93 percent of Americans still listen to traditional AM/FM during any given week.” – AJC

What alternative do we have left to listen to in Atlanta? What are you listening to?

As for me, I am listening to ex99 on Live 365 with some of my favorite DJs from 92.9 and 99X. But it ends today as they seek funding. I appreciate  88.5, 89.3, 91.1, but sometimes don’t get a good signal north of Atlanta. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Read on from some smart Atlanta people:

Is 99X Truly Dead? – Rodney Ho questions if 99X is really gone for sure. The website is still live and so are the Facebook and Twitter pages. I really hope it doesn’t go away.

The End of Dave – Aaron Elya reflects on working at Dave 92.9 FM and also being a fan.

“…Get out there and support LOCAL and REGIONAL music. Don’t let the money driven decisions of major radio corporations make up your mind for you. Choose for yourself…and let them know you did. We have the power of technology to let our opinions be known to the world…it’s time to use it.”

Radio Trends behind the recent upheaval on the AM/FM dial – A summary of Atlanta radio changes.


Some of the recent format changes among Atlanta’s radio stations:

Was: 106.7/Atlanta’s Greatest Hits (oldies, 1960s-’80s) Now: All News 106.7

Was: Project 9-6-1 (hard-edged rock) Now: Power 96.1 (top 40)

Was: Journey 97.9 (’80s, ’90s pop) Now: A spinoff of Q100 which plays the top 20 songs at 97.9 from sister station Q100 at 99.7 (top 40)

Was: 99X at 98.9 (alternative rock). Now: 98.9/The Bone (hard-edged rock)

Was: 640/WGST-AM (news/talk) Now: 640/ESPN Deportes (Spanish-language sports talk)

Now: 92.9/Dave FM (adult rock) Now: 92.9/The Game (sports talk)

Food Allergy News for September 2012.

food allergyNow that back to school is in full swing, I am thankful that my daughter’s school worked with me to create an allergy action plan to keep her safe. As a food allergy parent, I find that opportunities to educate and advocate about food allergies come daily (and are very much needed). And I am proud of my five year old daughter for the advocate she has become to protect her health and well-being. One of the ways to educate is to stay on top of industry news.

Here is a roundup of the latest food allergy news.

From Kids with Food Allergies – Mylan Specialty L.P. has partnered with, Julie Bowen, star of ABC’s hit show, “Modern Family,” as well as a mom in real life to a young son with life-threatening allergies, to launch a new educational initiative, Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis. The Get Schooled in Anaphylaxis Challenge™ is a competition for students (grades 1-12) to write an essay describing an original idea to help make schools more aware of and better prepared for anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction. Fifteen students will win a $2,000 scholarship. More info is available at Deadline for entries is Friday, Nov. 9, 2012.

For Atlanta food allergy families, Food Allergy Kids of Atlanta announced its 3rd Annual Allergy Friendly Halloween at Pirates Cove Adventure Golf in Duluth, GA!  Saturday, October 20, 10AM – 12PM! For more information and to RSVP, visit the website.

My favorite resource is Snack Safely for safe snacks. They announced an update for its list. Remember to always, always read the label and if you are not sure, call the manufacturer or avoid the item altogether.

The FAAN Walk for Food Allergy is lined up – ours is coming up in October. Get involved and raise money for this important cause!

UnPitching: How Not to Suck at Pitching the Media – Vocus Webinar with Scott Stratten.

Yesterday’s Vocus webinar was titled “UnPitching: How Not to Suck at Pitching the Media” by Scott Stratten from UnMarketing. Stratten is the President of Un-Marketing. He is an expert in Viral, Social, and Authentic Marketing which he calls Un-Marketing. He is an author, blogger and was named a top influencer by Forbes.

Stratten quickly got to the point about public relations and marketing and what it’s all about. People react, people respond, people reach out. It’s about relationships. It always has been and always will be.

Stratten is an industry influencer with his blog Un-Marketing. As a result, he has been added to media lists and has witnessed firsthand what it’s like on the other side. He has received nightmare pitches of email blasts to a large BCC list, generic emails in ALL CAPS (unless you are giving birth, don’t use all caps in an email subject line!) among others.

The danger with media lists (and I fully agree) is that some people send an email blast without further qualifying the list and getting to know the journalists and if they indeed are a good fit for your client or company.

A few years ago, it was all about getting the media’s attention and now it is about reaching media as well as influencers.

He discussed a case study about a product launch of a new single cup coffee machine. An agency pitched the client that they wanted help the client gain more share of conversation. They were currently mentioned 0.04% in Canada when people talked about coffee. The agency proposed that they would increase the numbers by reaching bloggers and influencers and canceling the TV budget. (Stratten warns that in order to pitch executives about social media, you need to match the metric with the mind.)

The client eventually agreed and the agency ran a social campaign. They contacted 100 influencers and wrote individual letters. They got to know these people, offered to send a free coffee machine and then followed up two weeks later with a “What did you think?” No pressure to write about it or anything. Stratten was one of the recipients. He loved the machine. Then the agency had him pick 10 friends on Twitter and then sent those people a coffee machine. That is how buzz starts. (“I got to be Oprah!”) Eventually the campaign resulted in 12.6% mentions in Canada when people talked about coffee.

He went on to tell a few more stories about companies doing awesome things, and ones doing not so awesome things, including an unhappy customer at a pizza place that posted an image on Twitter that went viral.

Some other sound bites from the webinar:

  • Your brand can’t have a great person on Twitter and a sucky customer representative – you have to linear!
  • Pitching should be like a first date: get to know someone before you ask them out.
  • Social hasn’t diminished PR; it’s just shifted it. PR is no longer a megaphone. It’s a telephone & it’s on speaker. It’s about engagement.
  • Start the relationship before you need the relationship. (true in PR and also in personal networking)
  • Face-to-face isn’t dead. It’s more important than ever.
  • Don’t just pitch me. Be sincere. Get to know someone first.
  • There are two types of people you don’t want to upset. Geeks and Moms. If you anger a geek mom, good luck.
  • Outrage does not take the weekend off!! If you’re gonna play in Social Media, it’s 24/7
  • what you tweet is a billboard. you are always an employee – what you tweet can/will impact your employer.
  • You are not PR, you are the PR expert. Everyone in your company who represents your brand is PR.
  • Internally, PR pros should be social media training everyone, not just media training your CFO.
  • You have to match the metric with the mind! It’s not about Likes or Tweets. It’s about the conversation and sentiment.
  • You can’t stop the “geekalanche” – don’t censor your customers.
  • If you are in PR, spam is not okay. Do your homework. Make sure the people you pitch have expertise that aligns with your pitch.
  • Unless you are giving birth, don’t use all caps in an email subject line!
  • If you put your employer in your Twitter bio, every tweet represents your business.
  • Companies aren’t awesome, people are.
  • When you write to a company in anger, sometimes all you want is to be acknowledged.
  • Don’t put influencers on the spot on Twitter for help. If you wouldn’t do it in a crowded room, don’t do it on Twitter.
  • We are a forgiving society if we are “Immediate. Authentic. Appropriate” when something goes wrong in Social Media.

He shares these insights from his second book The Book of Business Awesome / The Book of Business UnAwesome. It is surely a great read and one to go on the bookshelves for marketers and public relations professionals alike.

Vocus offers a free webinar series for PR professionals. I recommend it to anyone involved in marketing, PR and social media.