A LICENSE TO DRIVE

Driving

 

A LICENSE TO DRIVE

By  Andrew Temple

We have all seen the slogans, “Highway or Die ways” “Arrive Alive” Safety is our Business” or the more fearful, “Better be late than dead on time.” Many of us who have been behind the wheel for some time often get lured into thinking complacently about driving until that incident happens that wakes us from the harsh realities of driving. 

The fact is that, driving, is the single most hazardous task we do in our daily lives. I believe we can all agree that distracted driving is a pervasive epidemic that has made our roads unsafe and treacherous. The realization of this hit home to me in a recent bus trip looking down at people on the highway texting and it was scary how many were doing it! It is so easy to do. Just a simple little word or comment and then I won’t touch it again, you think to yourself, then again and again. Many of us are guilty of this, including myself. 

Having children that are nearing the driving age, it is deeply concerning to me. I have said to friends of mine “you don’t know fear until you are the passenger with your child driving 65 mph down the highway!” Like every parent, I want to ensure that my children come home safely to us each night. Unfortunately, driver’s education classes are not giving our children the tools, confidence and education necessary to avoid the dangers inherent on our roads.

A friend of mine recently took her daughter to a driving school in Virginia at the Virginia International Raceway called Teen Driving Solutions. When she returned, she insisted that we take our children. We enrolled, not really knowing what to expect, and we will be forever grateful that we did. 

The instructors at Teen Driving Solutions (who are mostly retired police officers and race car drivers) put each student (including the parents) in stressful and very demanding situations and force them to repeat them over and over again until it becomes second nature. I will admit, there were many things I either did not know or had simply forgotten. 

The lessons learned at this school are quite simply invaluable. Time and consideration are taken to ensure open lines of communication between you and your teen are established and are sustainable. Techniques and strategies are discussed and implemented both in the classroom and on the track. Teens learn to change tires, check their oil, inspect their tires and properly position themselves in their cars. These are rudimentary steps that are simply not covered at most driver’s education classes. 

The success of this school was apparent to me during and after our time at The Virginia International Speedway but no more so than two-weeks after the school my son avoided a collision with a deer on his way to school only to be rear-ended by another teenager not paying attention and following too closely. I am grateful beyond measure that no one was injured, as it could have been far worse with a subtle overcorrection of the wheel. 

The tools my Son learned at Teen Driving Solutions that weekend likely saved his life. There are many defensive driving schools around the country and Teen Driving Solutions is only one of many to choose from. If you have a child either learning to drive or even if they are young drivers, I implore you to please consider attending a school. As a parent, and driver, it will be one of the best decisions you will ever make.

BOOST T NATURALLY

Testostrone

BOOST T NATURALLY

by Susan Wilson, MD

      If you’re looking for ways to boost your testosterone (T) level, start by examining your daily habits. Some key changes that are good for your overall health could also provide benefits in helping to maintain an optimal level of this important hormone.

Get enough sleep For many men with low testosterone, poor sleep is the primary culprit. Make sleep a priority, aiming for seven to eight hours per night. Drop the late-night habits of watching TV or answering emails and settle in for a restorative night of zzzs.

Lose the belly Men who are overweight or obese often have low T. Shedding the extra pounds can have a positive effect on hormone levels. Eliminate refined carbohydrates from processed foods. Add vegetables and healthy fats from avocados and raw nuts.

Pump up the exercise Your hormone levels adapt to your body’s needs. If you are a couch potato, your brain gets the message that you don’t need as much testosterone to bolster your muscles and bones. But when you work out, your brain signals your testicles to make more testosterone. Start by walking briskly at least 20 minutes per day. Add in some weight training and make getting into shape a goal.

Conquer stress If you are under constant stress, your body will churn out a steady stream of the stress hormone cortisol, which will cause you to produce less testosterone.  Consider cutting back on work hours. Spend time each day doing something you love — golf, fish, read a book.

Look at your medications Some medicines can cause your testosterone levels to drop:

- Pain meds, especially opioids

- Prednisone and similar “glucocorticoids”

- Statins used to lower cholesterol may also cause your levels to decline

Watch out for environmental toxins. For example, the herbicide Roundup and other commonly used chemicals have been found to interfere with the testicle’s ability to produce testosterone. 

Forget most of the supplements Glitzy ads for “proprietary blend” natural supplements promising to boost your testosterone levels are mostly hype and don’t help. Save your money. A high quality saw palmetto supplement from a reputable source may help, as well as high quality zinc and vitamin D.

Testosterone levels in men naturally decline with age. Low levels of this essential hormone can cause a medley of symptoms including: lack of motivation, loss of enjoyment of life, moodiness, frustration, brain fog, daytime sleepiness, loss of muscle mass, increased body fat (especially around the midsection), and reduction in your interest in sex and in sexual performance.  If you think you may have low T, get tested and get started on these healthy lifestyle changes to try and combat the decline.  

If you don’t see the results you are hoping for, seek out the assistance of a qualified hormone therapy physician. Start by looking online or asking friends. If you come across a website that doesn’t offer a bio with the doctor’s training and experience listed, move on. Experienced hormone specialists are out there and can help you get your hormone levels into an optimal range and get you back to feeling vigorous and on top of your game.

DATING IN THE WORLD OF DIVORCED DADS

Divorced Dad

DATING IN THE WORLD OF DIVORCED DADS

by Debbie Martinez

Let me sum this up in two words, “Not easy.” Being a divorced dad is not easy, then throw in dating and as a client of mine said, “I’M DONE!” After careful evaluation of his last few dates and his mindset going into the dating world, we made some much-needed adjustments. No more frat boy mentality or letting the kids ‘drive your bus’. 

Here’s the caveat. Every situation is different and to be honest, I could write an entire article on each and every one below but given the constraints of space, I have provided just some ‘food for thought’. 

So, here goes:

#1. Letting your children dictate your dating life is a big mistake. Listen, most kids will be resistant to their dad dating for various reasons, but not to date because little Jimmy throws a tantrum as you walk out the door will land you in the World of Loneliness. 

#2. Guys, kids and women get attached. Be sure you have strong feelings for someone before you bring them into the family fold. This is only fair to both your kids and the woman.

#3. This one is a biggie, so listen up. Spend time with your children without your new paramour. Kids need one on one time with you and even though you might think you are giving them attention when you all are together, kids see it differently. 

#4. It’s understandable that the heart wants what the heart wants and typically that is time with your lady friend, but tread lightly. If you have always taken your son to a basketball game and now you start taking her in his place, guess who is going to be hurt and not feel like a priority? If you want to take her, take her another night.

#5. Be sensitive to the fact that the woman you’re dating has children also. Navigating that minefield can be exceedingly frustrating, but be patient and keep things in perspective. Communication is of utmost importance on this one.

#6. Acknowledge that being a divorced dad you cannot be all things to all people.  There will be times that you have to choose your priority. Be at peace with that.

#7. There is nothing wrong in wanting to have time to yourself or with your friends. Take it. You need it. 

#8. In a marriage, it’s easy to lose yourself. Now that you are divorced, find the person you lost and be honest with your dates about who you are. Don’t be who you think she wants you to be. 

#9. I know being a divorced dad equates with having several balls up in the air at the same time and then throw dating into the mix and you’re looking for short cuts to make life easier. Enter the world of texting. I believe texting has its benefits, but when you are newly dating someone, please don’t text “good night.” Pick up the phone. 

#10. Be romantic. Be spontaneous and be open to new things. Enjoy this second chance to love and be loved. Oh and guys, be a gentleman.  (It’s amazing what opening a door will do for a woman).

#11. It’s OK and at times necessary to share information about your ex, but an entire dinner date? I recognize that if you are newly divorced your ex can still be very much on your mind, but try to keep it to yourself. If you constantly feel the need to talk about her, it might be a sign you haven’t let go and you’re not emotionally ready to date. 

#12. Take stock of yourself. Do you need to get to the gym?  Update your haircut or wardrobe? Expand your circle of friends and/or interests? New life, new you.

Remember, you are not just a dad but also a single guy with an exciting chapter ahead of you. Make the changes necessary to step onto your new path with confidence both as a dad and a boyfriend.

A FEEL GOOD YARN

socks

A FEEL GOOD YARN

 by Maggie McMenamin

 

What remarkable thing could a 30-something innovative Peruvian-American, avid outdoorsman, family man and South Carolinian with an engineering degree from Clemson University possibly do to make an honest living here in the Lowcountry?  What occupation could conceivably incorporate all of the above attributes?  How about start a family-run local manufacturing business?  One that makes engineered-to-perfection socks? Yes, socks! After all, everyone wears ‘em and everyone needs ‘em. Local entrepreneur Samy Cuzmar has done just that.  His James Island-based company, My Comfy, manufactures socks using the finest of Peruvian alpaca fibers. 

Why Alpaca? 

Cuzmar will confidently tell you that alpaca fiber happens to be one of the finest, strongest, lightest & warmest animal fibers in the world. Whether it’s sports, dressy, winter, custom, compression or even exclusively designed socks you’re after, his gem of a company makes high quality socks for just about every foot you can imagine. The alpaca fiber used in the weaving process of the socks helps to self-regulate body temperature, insulates against outside conditions and is also hypoallergenic.  Besides being incredibly soft, yet strong and breathable, alpaca fibers resist odors better than most other fibers (can you say bye-bye stinky socks?) Alpaca fiber wicks the sweat away like nobody’s business too. 

It gets even better…

Using state of the art high-tech sock-weaving machines and some local man/womanpower, Cuzmar’s family-run operation also happens to be environmentally responsible; the socks are made in-house. Alpacas, in case you didn’t know, are naturally eco-friendly in that they are easy on the land and thus leave less of a ‘footprint.’ No pun intended. 

Cuzmar, a friendly, thoughtful and all around good guy makes his living making people feel good right down to their toes, so it comes as no surprise for us to learn that a portion of his company’s profits goes to Breast Cancer Awareness as well as to sponsoring various local school programs. If you ask him why he gives back to the community he lives and works in, he’ll simply smile and quietly answer “because it just feels good to give.”   

Samy Cuzmar is living proof that remarkable men are indeed doing remarkable things right here in the Lowcountry.

*You can find My Comfy Socks here: www.mycomfy.net 

(trust us, they’ll knock your (old) socks off!)

7 LIFE LESSONS EVERY DAD SHOULD TEACH HIS DAUGHTER

7 lessons to teach your daughter

7 LIFE LESSONS EVERY DAD SHOULD TEACH HIS DAUGHTER

by Ben Fanning

As I was driving away from dropping my daughter off for her first day of school, I noticed a boy push her down on the playground.  

I slammed on the brakes and considered running onto the playground to help her up and recommending the boy be spanked.  My wife laughed at my reaction and said, “Ben, how would you handle this differently if she were a boy?”  

Reality check!  My traditional father role as protector and provider came very naturally, but there was another role even more paramount...teacher.  

The truth is that you’re always teaching your daughter something. The question is “are you consciously choosing what you’re teaching”?

My impulse in that moment was ‘to save the day’, but I contemplated if that was the life lesson I really wanted to teach?  When I asked her teacher about the incident, she said they had addressed it.  My daughter didn’t seem to even remember “the push” and couldn’t wait to go back the next day.

 

 Sometimes allowing the space for your daughter to have a learning experience is the lesson.  Here are seven more life lessons every dad should teach his daughter:

#1 How to say “No” – Ever tickled your daughter and she said ‘stop’, but you kept tickling?  Honor her “no” by actually stopping immediately. Ever forced your daughter to kiss and hug old aunt Gertie even when you knew she didn’t want to? Teach her that she has control over her own body and that her affection is hers to give alone.  Demanding obligated affection can have serious consequences down the road. Stand up for your daughter in front of those who insist upon affection. She should get to choose.  

Try this: The next time you’re at a family event with your daughter, let her decide who gets her hugs.

 

#2 How to enjoy work – Your daughter’s foundational beliefs about work will come from you.  How you choose to talk about work at home can make the difference between her selecting a career she is passionate about or ending up in a job she hates.  

Try this: When you describe your work to your daughter, choose to say, "Daddy ‘gets’ to go to work, instead of "Daddy ‘has’ to go to work.”  

 

#3 What to look for in healthy relationships – How you treat and discuss women affects how your daughter sees herself and will mold what she looks for in a partner.  Be aware your daughter is learning from your subtle behaviors. 

Try this: Reflect on your last three conversations with your partner.  How are they modeling a future relationship for your daughter?  

 

#4 How to lead the way – Your daughter is never too young to lead.  Get her accustomed to leading, and she’ll be more confident in this role as she gets older.  Make sure she knows that you think her ideas are important.    

Try this: When you’re exploring a new city, it’s tempting to walk in front and let her follow. Instead, let your daughter have the thrill of reading the map, deciding on the direction, and walking in front.  If you get a little lost, you can always course-correct.

 

#5 How to be herself – There is a common stereotype that women should avoid confrontation.  This can lead to her never being comfortable expressing anger or disagreement.  

Try this: The next time your daughter is angry, encourage her to express it by listening to her instead of trying to change it.

 

#6 You don’t need to be perfect – There is plenty of pressure from society to be the “perfect” woman.  This unrealistic pressure can hold your daughter back from taking strategic risks in life and lead to hiding her mistakes instead of learning from them.  

Try this: Make a list of 3 mistakes you made as a kid and what you learned from it.  Share one in your next conversation with your daughter.  

 

#7 She has an inner warrior – Instead of defaulting to immediately fixing the problem, seek opportunities to help your daughter develop resilience (a predictor of long term success).  The next time your daughter brings a problem to you, resist the urge to immediately solve it. Ask her how she can address it.  

Try this: Share stories with your daughter about strong women…not just strong men. For a book of real stories of strong women try, Rad American Women by Schtaz and Stahl.  I’ve been reading this to my daughter, and it’s been inspiring. 

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS

>>> by Margaret Pilarski

In today’s Charleston, it’s hard to avoid the influence of Tommy Baker. Whether you’ve bought from or had repairs done at Baker Motor Company’s car dealerships, been influenced by his work with the College of Charleston and The Citadel, or benefitted from his support of MUSC Children’s Hospital, Baker’s lifetime of hard work and philanthropy has touched thousands. 

But the larger-than-life man took quite a route to come home. 

Toward the end of high school, Baker joined the United States Marine Corps, undergoing training at Parris Island, all the while being told he was one of two who could qualify for the USMC’s aviation branch. The catch was that it required four years instead of the six months of reserve service he had been anticipating. 

“I said ‘No, I’m going to college, sir,’ but they make you feel special. Anyway, I shipped over. I wanted that white uniform with the emblem and the globe.”

While he was supposed to end up in Vietnam, his orders were changed, and he spent time in Okinawa instead before landing at North Carolina’s New River Air Station. He’d spend weekends in Charleston, at one point hearing about a veteran’s program at The Citadel that would allow him to attend class without being a member of the cadet corps. 

By the time he reached his senior year, he was balancing classes with car sales at Oldsmobile and had saved enough to buy two homes on the Isle of Palms, generating additional rental income. He was 23. 

By 26, he’d found a car dealership in North Carolina that he wanted to buy. 

“I had to sell the two homes to get enough for the down payment. So I went to the bank, and I had my little financial statement, and I gave it to the banker. He said, ‘Mister Baker, you have no money.’ I said, ‘That’s why I’m here, you have the money.’”

After the bank turned him down, Baker went to Toyota’s corporate office to plead his case, where in addition to being told he didn’t have money, they also said he was too young. “I got turned down maybe ten times,” he says. “Eventually the bank and the manufacturer got together and said, ‘You know, this fella won’t go away, and it’s just Clinton, North Carolina; let’s give him a shot.’”

In the midst of eastern North Carolina, he had to convince farming families that drove Fords and Chevrolets to buy Toyotas, a brand so new that some couldn’t even correctly pronounce it. But after a few years, he was meeting and exceeding goals, at one point attempting to sell 500 cars in 30 days and falling just two dozen short of the goal – a feat that turned heads at Toyota.

“That was kind of a turning point,” says Baker. 

It was the early 1980s when he ran into the owner of Charleston’s Mercedes-Benz dealership at 82 Queen. Baker coerced the man to sell him his dealership, offending him in the short-term, but winning him over in the long-term. In 1988, Baker took over the dealership (located where Edmund’s Oast is today) and added INFINITI and Land Rover to his product portfolio. 

Today Baker’s dealerships include Mercedes-Benz, INFINITI, Land Rover, Jaguar, Porsche, Maserati, Roll-Royce Motor Cars, Mercedes-Benz Vans, smart, Buick, GMC and Cadillac in Charleston; BMW and Porsche in Wilmington, NC.. “Being from Charleston, I just figured people would come and buy cars from me. But you have to earn that every day – one car sale and one repair at a time,” he says.

It’s a lesson that Baker learned and then taught at the College of Charleston for 25 years as an entrepreneur-in-residence. “It was amazing,” he says of his time teaching at the College. 

At the same time, Baker continued to support his alma mater, helping to shape The Citadel’s business education programs and making a transformative donation to their business school,now christened the Tommy & Victoria Baker School of Business. 

“What I want for The Citadel is what I want for education for Charleston,” says Baker. “To me, whatever I do is not for one school, it’s for our community. Whether through work, wealth or talent, the most important thing is what you have done for your community – I think that we all owe that.”

And Baker isn’t slowing down anytime soon. “Most people, when they retire, say they want to teach and get involved in the community, but I’ve been doing that,” he says. “Now my kids are grown and everybody’s taken care of. So now it’s my time, it’s Tommy time.”

MANSCAPE : Xan Laughlin

Xan Laughlin

Xan Laughlin, OPERATING PARTNER, THE PARK CAFE

When you were a kid you dreamed about ?  Playing in Major League Baseball…and art, but mostly baseball!

Favorite Sports Team?  Charleston Riverdogs

Early Riser or night owl?  Night owl for sure

Favorite Date Night restaurant?  FIG

Instrument you wished you played?  Any would be great. I’m tone deaf and envious of anyone who can play an instrument of any kind.

Boots or Flip Flops?  I’m a beach kid through and through so flip flops. 

Craft Brew or Ultra? I am not a beer snob. As long as it’s cold, light and refreshing, I’m happy. 

Black or cream/sugar?  Hipster style— iced, with a little chai tea, almond milk, honey syrup…try it before you judge!

Steak or Kale?  Growing up it was steak…these days it’s kale (specifically our delicious kale salad on the dinner menu)

Last book you couldn’t put down?  Anything about WWII…I will pick one up and read it in a matter of days. I literally can’t put them down. 

Where do you want to visit? African Safari is top of the list.

I will hopefully return to Greece this fall.  My soul cries for Spain.  Anywhere in Asia for the food. Australia and New Zealand for wine country.  Basically anywhere except Antarctica…I have no hair so I get cold easily!

Are you afraid of anything?  Failure

Go-to cocktail? An Aviation (gin, lemon, Creme de Violette, Maraschino liqueur)   This is the drink I order when I’m testing a bar. It’s pretty simple but if it’s not prepared properly, I’ll drink beer the remainder of the night.

Spirit Animal?  My dog Adara. She’s 20 pounds of vicious white fluff.

Favorite TV show?  Breaking Bad.

Who’s your best friend?   My father

One thing you can’t live without?  Books

Sail or Motor?  Motor.  I like leisure.

Best thing about your job? I get to make people smile every day through food, drink, and good company. It makes me happy to see others happy in the environment I know and love.

LIFE | WORK SUCCESS

Man About Town - Family Balance

LIFE | WORK SUCCESS

by Rachel Toalson

We’re sitting around the table, talking about our days like we always do, when my husband says, “We got some negative podcast feedback today.”

“Oh, yeah?” I say. 

He tells me about this guy who wrote in to say that as much as he wants to recommend to his friends the business show my husband co-hosts, he just can’t do it because of my husband’s involvement—because my husband, according to this man, hasn’t had the kind of success people would expect from a business owner giving business advice.

This exchange comes at the beginning of our meal, just before we get to our gratitude practices, and it thoroughly and completely derails me. 

So it gets to my turn, and I can barely think of anything that deserves my thanks, my whole mood shot through with one ridiculous comment. I think about my layoff a year ago and our businesses that are still struggling to find their feet and money worries and what might or might not come next in the lineup of success, and my stomach twists.

My husband knows, of course, because he’s that kind of man. He smiles and says, “It doesn’t really matter. I know I’m successful.”

He’s right. But something about it just won’t let me go.

There’s a lot of talk about the pressures on women. Sometimes we forget that there are increasing pressures on men, too. My husband is a business owner. He’s also a dad and a husband and a helper around the house, because he has a wife who works. He has to find time for friends, for work projects, for watching Netflix with me, for spending quality time with his sons, for holding down the fort half a day every day. That’s a lot of pressure, too.

And, on top of all that, he’s expected to chase this thing called Success.

 

Success is a slippery thing in our world. The definition changes periodically. Sometimes it’s the person with the most money in the bank. Sometimes it’s the person who lives the most fulfilling life, as though that sort of thing can be measured. Sometimes it depends on how many cars are lined up in your driveway or how well your children behave or how many employees you have working for you or whether or not you bought a new, bigger house this year. 

In the last several years, men in my family have lost their jobs and fallen into such a deep depression that they disappear from the face of the earth (because society doesn’t like depressed men, either), unable to show their “unsuccessful” face in such an unkind world. Men in my family have felt discontent but stuck in their work, because what else is there for a man to do? Men in my family have become stay-at-home dads and braved the judgments of those who believe that this cannot be success.

But the truth is, success lives in who you are, not what you have.

 

Success is found in the way you look at your partner in the middle of an argument. It’s found in the way you talk to your children when they’ve done something wrong. It’s found in the relationships you keep with family and friends and neighbors and strangers.

It’s found in the deepest places of a heart. The world, the ignorant words of others, the critical eyes of people, can make you forget this.

Sometimes people will look at your choices—having and raising multiple children, turning down a promotion because it would take too much time away from your family, keeping an old clunker because you don’t have the money for a brand new car—and stamp you unsuccessful because you don’t look like the ideal.

But success can never be measured on the outside. It is held within.

So tonight, in front of my boys who will one day be men walking in a superficial world with its cardboard definition of success, I look my husband in the eye and say, “You are successful in all the ways that matter.”

And then I tick them off, one by one: Loving spouse. Adoring father. Faithful friend. And so much more.

We may not have a bank full of money we couldn’t spend in a lifetime or two luxury cars sitting out front or a vacation home in that place we always wanted to live. But what we do have, this life full of laughter and presence and joy, means more than all that anyway.