Monday, October 17, 2016

Etiquette Rules Never To Break When Visiting Someone's Home

As I prepare to move into a new home, plans are underway for a nice housewarming party.  I am looking forward to meeting my new neighbors as well as sharing this life change with friends and family.

But just as there are certain traditions and expectations that fall upon me as the host, there is a new etiquette study conducted by revealing the top 10 rude faux pas that guests should be aware of.  I share them here in hopes of preventing awkward moments at your next dinner party.

1.  89% of homeowners say it is the biggest no-no is when a guest pulls out their smart phone at the dinner table.

2.  Asking the homeowner for the wifi password.

3.  64% are irked when a guest keeps his/her shoes on when walking across the carpet.

4.  58% find it rude when a guest takes a peak into the bedroom without permission.

5.  52% feel as if they are being judged when a guest looks inside the refrigerator.

6.  24% said they expect a gift when visitors stop by-a bottle of wine the preferred token of appreciation.

7.  22% are offended when a guest turns down food that is being offered.

8.  Finally, 19% of homeowners surveyed would like to be asked before a guest brings a pet into their home.

A spokesperson for the researchers says, "My advice for people with houseguests who commit the occasional faux pas is to try and feel glad that their guests simply feel comfortable enough in their home to treat it as their own."

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Tattoos In The Workplace

When I made the decision to decorate my upper right shoulder with the bold, vibrant, and permanent colors of my first tattoo it was a choice that I invested great amounts of energy and thought into.  Granted, over the years it has gotten considerably easier to stroll into any tattoo parlor in any city I happen to be performing or speaking in and pick out a little "banger" to document the trip or the state of mind I am in.  But that first one was a different story.

I'm a television host.  A considerable portion of my annual income is made while wearing expensive suits, MAC makeup, and an unacceptable amount of hairspray.  Working in game shows, it is assumed-and expected-that I portray the clean-cut stereotype that has been established by the hosting pioneers that have come before me: Carson, Barker, Convy, Clark.  These men epitomized style and cool.  As I write in my award-winning book, The Host With The Most: Tales Of A Tattooed Television Personality, these were the guys every woman wanted to be with and every man wanted to buy a drink for.  Who was I to come along decades later and shake up the norm?  Why did I consider myself to be so special?

Well, I was just a guy who wanted to tattoo his kids' names on his arm.  That's who.

And that's exactly what I did.  I make decisions quickly.  They aren't always the ideal choices, but I will never be labeled as indecisive.  I'd much rather make a choice, run with it, and deal with the consequences later than sit around and let an opportunity pass me by.

Such was the case on a warm July morning in 2005.  I was hosting The Price Is Right Live! stage show at Bally's Casino in Atlantic City, NJ.  Just a few months prior we had welcomed my beautiful daughter into the world and, like so many fathers do, I wanted to do something that documented my love and devotion to her and to my son who was now four years old.

Tattoos were becoming more mainstream.  Gone were the days where only bikers and inmates painted their flesh with script and portraits.  In 2005 athletes and models were bringing body art to the forefront.  The quality of the workmanship had elevated as had the ink and instruments, resulting in finer lines and deeper shadowing.  Men like David Beckham and Dennis Rodman had us all wondering what we would have tattooed on ourselves if, ya know, we were the type of person to do that.

I am that type of person.  I am public.  I am committal.  I do not shy away from permanence and though I am not one to intentionally buck the system just for the sake of saying I did it, I do not base my decisions on the opinions of others.  With that said, I confidently strolled into Hot Rod Tattoo and sat down in a black leather chair and prepared myself mentally, physically, and emotionally to go under the needle held by a man known only as Doc.

The design was simple; a traditional three heart combination with an interwoven banner reading the names of my children and my grandmother.  The three of them are always with me in my heart, I don't need their names drilled layers deep into my skin, I wanted them to be.

The process took a bit a longer than expected, but it was less painful.  In fact, the sting was rather relaxing and I knew as I exited the shop that my first tattoo would not be my last.  I just needed to practice moderation.  After all, I couldn't let the Hollywood community become aware of my wild side.  That, I thought at the time, would have detrimental effects on my career.


I am now completely sleeved on both arms and I have just enough work on my chest to peak out at you when I wear an open-collared shirt.  Whether it be on stage or in the luxury real estate market, there are not many others who wear this style-and wear it so well.  I have been told my tattoos are tasteful, which they are.  They have been accumulated from artists all over the world: Paris, Stockholm, Dublin, Rome, London, even Tuscaloosa, AL!  My tattoos are for me.  No one else.  I do not shove them down anyone's throat.  I would never tattoo my face or my neck, but I do not try to hide my ink from the public any more than I hide my emotions or my passion for my work.  They have become a part of me, and a significantly recognizable aspect of my unique brand.

Thankfully, I have suffered no professional repercussions as a result of my body art.  The opposite is true.  I have been called in for meetings for projects simply because my ink gave me an edge.  Casting agents and photographers have specifically requested that I wear something that exposes my work.  Women have asked to take pictures of certain pieces and children at an orphanage in Haiti learned the English word 'star' by pointing to a tattoo on my arm and asking what it was.  They are my story.

In a recent study conducted by the University of St. Andrews, nearly 200 people who occupy managerial positions were asked to rate images of two men and two women, all of whom were represented by photos which included a super-imposed image of a star tattoo on their necks.  Not surprisingly, the test subjects found the candidates ideal for attracting a hipper, edgier clientele such as nightclubs or bars.  But they felt the neck tattoos may not be the right fit for an upscale restaurant.  I agree.

Dr. Andrew Timming of the University of St. Andrews says the study, which was conducted in the United States as well as England, is, "anecdotal evidence that there has been, in recent decades, what might be called a "tattoo renaissance" in which body art has figured more positively into mainstream society and popular culture."

We're accustomed to seeing tattoos on our favorite musicians, but we now see them on corporate executives. But I respect the fact that tattoos are not for everyone.  Then again neither or dogs or plush bathrobes but I love both of those, as well, and would never give them up.  I wish I liked caviar.  I know it brings many people great pleasure, but fish eggs make me gag.  I don't hold it against anyone, though.  Style, by its very definition, is all about possessing a unique flair that is just as much internal as external.

It boils down to this: to each his own.  You are who you are because you've been where you've been and done what you've done.  I'll most certainly be your friend and share a smoothie with you, but I don't need to follow your lead.  2016 is all about building your brand-personally and professionally.  There has never been a better time to just be you.  The playing field is wide open for every shape, style, and color.  Personally, I choose I'm Not A Waitress Red with a little Silverback Black for shading.

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Don't Drink That Latte!

Fall is most definitely upon us.  Though the leaves have yet to begin their colorful transformations and temperatures in most parts of this great land of ours are still clinging to summer, what has become the one true indicator of Autumn is kicking us right in the teeth at every turn:

The Pumpkin Spice Latte at Starbucks.

Disclaimer: I enjoy Starbucks.  The chain's Pike Place blend is a pleasant medium roast that often kick starts my day.  I have great respect for the vision and leadership qualities of CEO Howard Schulz, whose autobiography, Pour Your Heart Into It, is an entertaining and informative read for anyone possessing even a hint of an entrepreneurial spirit.  But this seasonal drink is a nutritional nightmare.

Starbucks is not alone, of course.  McDonalds offers a similar beverage as does Dunkin Donuts.  All of which contain 340-350 calories and 48-52 grams of sugar per 16 ounce serving when made whole milk.  And that doesn't even include whipped cream!

A recent article in Cosmopolitan goes even deeper than what is printed on the nutritional label and found that while what a Pumpkin Spice Latte is doing to your body is downright nasty, what it does to your mind may not be.

Registered dietitian nutritionist and spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Sonya Angelone (she's qualified) was asked to examine the effects of a Starbucks Grande Pumpkin Spice Latte on the body.  Grande, as you may know, is Starbucks' trendy term for a medium drink.  The beverage Sonya picked up on her way to the lab was made with 2% milk and was topped off with whipped cream.

Setting the ingredients aside for a moment, let's examine (or should I say reveal) what occurs in your body while-and after-you consume this warm, tasty treat.

After 5 minutes-Your taste buds love the sweetness and so does your brain.  In fact, within minutes the beverage activates your brain's reward system and triggers the release of endorphins.  But be aware that some of us are sensitive to a preservative called potassium sorbate, and if you fall into this category a headache may be in your future.

After 15 minutes-You may begin to notice, as you sip the hot drink in your car or on the train while on your way to work, that you're beginning to feel juiced!  That's because the 12 teaspoons of sugar-yes 12!-has begun to raise your blood sugar.  But there is a bit of a back and forth occurring inside of you because the 14 grams of fat from the milk and the whipped cream are slowing the spike.  As a result, the sugar rush you feel may not be as noticeable as that you would get from a can of Coke.

After 20 minutes-That blood sugar continues to go up, up, up.  This triggers the body to release insulin into the system.  Your energy level is continuing to rise as well, but this is more from the caffeine you've ingested rather than the sugar.  For those sensitive to caffeine, the stimulate can also act as a laxative.  Boy, you're really getting your money's worth, right?

After 30 minutes-Your body is now absorbing the fat that you drank and the triglycerides are begin to flow through your bloodstream.  Over time, these sneaky little cells can choose to stick around and high levels can clog your blood vessels which results in elevated cholesterol levels and an increased risk of heart disease.

After 4 hours-Long after you've forgotten about your latte and the friendly barista who whipped it up for you, your body is still reacting.  The rush is gone and your blood sugar crashes so you begin to crave food.  Hopefully, after reading this, you can recognize this hunger for what it is and will realize that your triglyceride levels are still high so a low-fat meal is your best bet.

Who knew, right?  We just thought a Pumpkin Spice Latte was something that went well with our favorite earth-tone sweater and a pair of leather boots.  And for those of us who were hooked on Pumpkin Spice before Pumpkin Spice was cool, it's a relief to know a hot green tea is an equally available, and much less complicated, alternative.

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Why Are More Men Getting Ripped?

I've really enjoyed this summer.  How can you not when you live in Scottsdale, AZ?  The entire town is like one giant resort.  Palm trees, fine restaurants, and beautiful people are the norm and one cannot help but become caught up in the happy, healthy vibe.

As a result, I have found myself feeling better than I have felt in years.  Just like the Huey Lewis tune, "I'm workin' out most every day and watchin' what I eat."  It's quite a contrast from living in Boston where beer and clam chowdah are what is to be expected when a friend asks you out for dinner.

I can't wait to hit the stage when The Price Is Right Live! tour kicks off next month because I know my suits will be fitting me just fine.  It was that same confidence and enthusiasm that led me to spend a few hours at the pool the other day.  The Arizona sun was beating down and it seemed like a nice way to get some color on my face.  No dad bod here.  I was ready.

But so was every other dude.

Is it just me or do men seem to be in really great shape lately?  There's no shame in such an observation.  It's simply observation.  And apparently I'm not the only one to notice as has devoted an entire study to finding out why today's man is stripped, ripped, and well-equipped.  And, like all else, it boils down to money.

According to the research, the poor economy has caused an overwhelming number of men to seek validation in ways other than a fat wallet.  In fact, a slim waistline seems to be the ego stroke of choice.

In a world where poor economies seem to affect many countries in detrimental ways such as chronic disease, unemployment, and higher rates of poverty, America is taking a drastically different approach to coping.  Since the recession of 2008, guys are hitting the gym.  Looking at the years from '05-'15, the most significant number of new gym memberships belonged to men ages 16-25.  And we can tell.  Just look at the number of pictures of guys with their shirts off appearing on social media!

There's even a term for it:  "spornosexuality" refers to men seeking validation from their bodies rather than their work.

Based on the research, this new trend may not be good for business but it should continue to be good for morale.

Jamie Hakim, a professor in the UK who oversaw the study claims, "the projection of what constitutes a 'good life' has become so spectacular even while the means of home ownership, a prestigious career, and a high income are radically diminishing."

Whatever.  Happiness to me is not being the chubby guy at the pool.

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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

You Know You're Getting Old When...

Remember the infamous Chris Rock routine where he says he just doesn't want to become the old guy in the club?  It was so funny to me at the time because I was working in nightclubs as a disc jockey and we routinely had male clientele who were slightly past their prime clubbing days.  Now I may have more in common with that guy than I'd like to admit!  I mean, I started to write this post while sitting on my bed but my back was getting sore.  I had to move to my desk!

The truth is, there are a lot of things that I used to enjoy that I'm a little "out of the demo" of today.  Age is something we all face, some of us more gracefully than others.

I enjoy getting older.  No longer am I the driver that people are wary of or must I endure the awkwardness of being too young for dinner party conversation.  Being treated as a veteran more so than a rookie is nice.  So is being addressed as 'sir' rather than 'dude.'  Not to mention the fact that the gray in my stubble draws the occasional compliment always that seems to put a skip in my step.

Yeah, the age thing is fine by me.

But if there is one thing I have learned about life it is that you can't reach for tomorrow while still holding on to yesterday.  It ain't easy to do and we often appear foolish when we attempt it.  In fact, a recent poll surveyed 2,000 people and asked at what age should people stop doing certain things, wearing certain styles, and acting in certain ways.

Now, before I reveal the results, please understand that no one escapes unscathed.  We are all guilty of at least one violation of the list.  With that being said, here we go:

  • Women should not wear a mini-skirt past the age of 39.
  • No one should be on Facebook past the age of 49.
  • No one should be out past midnight past the age of 52.
  • No man should wear a professional sports team jersey past the age of 42.
  • No one should go to a nightclub past the age of 44.
  • No one should wear skinny jeans past the age of 47.
And my two favorites from the list:

  • No one should get a tattoo past the age of 38.
  • No one should watch reality television past the age of 41.
I'll let you discuss amongst yourselves.  But for the record, I do not violate the skinny jeans rule.  Tattoos?  Well, that's another story.

You may be relieved to discover that those surveyed agreed that one is not officially considered "old" until the age of 65.  And 78% believe that we are feeling and acting much younger for much longer.  

That God for that gene that allows us to care less and less about what others think the older we get, right?

One thing I care very much about is staying touch with you.  Please follow me on Twitter and Facebook before we get too old!

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Is It The End of the Duckface?

I'm not one to point my perfectly manicured game show host finger at another, but I must make an exception in this case.  When it comes to the overused and virtually abused phenomenon known as the Duckface, I blame Kylie Jenner.

As soon as the lovely fashionista began posting photos of herself puckering those luscious lips, girls of all ages began blowing Instagram and Twitter up with dimly-lit and out-of-focus imitations.  Whatever happened to just smiling?  Maybe I'm starting to sound like my father now that I have kids of my own, but why must everything have a sexual undertone?  Damn those Kardashians and all of their extended family members!

I'm sure Kylie is a sweet girl.  And who could blame her for getting a little rush off of causing a social media windstorm?  But just when it seemed Snapchat and all of its many funky filters may have rescued us from the need to contort our facial features for selfish selfie reasons, along comes Kylie...again.

Fingermouthing is now a thing, good people.  You've seen it.  I've seen it.  You're scrolling through photos of people you do not even know on Instagram and every third or fourth woman seems to be carelessly caressing her lips or just letting her fingers dangle around the outskirts of the mouth.  It's almost as if she was caught off guard by the photo.  This, of course, is not a plausible theory seeing as how she is the one taking the photo.

Yes, fingermouthing is running rampant online.  It has become a "must" for today's "stylegrammers", style bloggers, and self-proclaimed "Influencers."  This too must be credited to Kylie Jenner who claims it was unintentional.  In fact, it seems to stem from the deepest, darkest corner of her psyche.

"I was so insecure about my lips," claims Kylie in a recent issue of Elle.  "Even now I always post photos where my finger is always in front of my's a habit.  I would always cover my lips.  I couldn't talk to people.  Or guys."

Well, guys are...never mind.  That's an entirely different post.  But she must have really had some deep-seeded issues with her mouth because even with her now-perfect teeth and lip injections the hands are never out of the shot.  Must be the similar to how I hated peas as a kid and still-to this day-avoid them at all costs when dining in a restaurant.  I feel you, Kylie.

In 2013, Mihn-Ha T. Pham, a professor of media studies who reports on fashion bloggers, explained in Hyphen magazine:

"While there is no single definitive fashion blogger pose, there is a loosely bound set of gestures and postures idiosyncratic to fashion bloggers and their subjects...vulnerable-looking stances, oblique glances, and a single hand on the hip (the teapot)."

So young woman of today somehow believe that appearing vulnerable and checked out is sexy?  I say we sit them all down and bing watch old Charlie's Angels episodes to show girls what being a kick ass chick is all about.

Oh well, I suppose this too shall pass.  But I suspect it will be replaced with something new and equally as seductive and comforting to selfie enthusiasts.  Maybe I'll post a photo of myself standing against a brick wall with my thumb up my nose.  Think that would catch on?  Hey, if girls are still working the teapot anything is possible.

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Monday, May 23, 2016

Is Facebook As Powerful As People Say?

I am quite envious and beyond respectful of Mark Zuckerberg.  The guy is a flat-out genius and an undeniable entrepreneurial wizard, right?  On that we can all agree.  At the age of just 32 he is worth a reported $51.8 billion and his philanthropic work is going to benefit millions over the next several decades.

Setting his fortune aside, I am also envious of the man's foresight.  While sitting in his dorm room at Harvard over a decade ago, he realized a need and a want that would, in a relatively short amount of time, change the world as we know it.  But placing an accurate label on that need/want is where I begin to stray from the pack.

On Thursday of last week I sat in on yet another meeting in which yet another young "marketing expert" spouted Facebook as the golden ticket to business success and the ultimate in exposure.  We have all heard this time and time again and seem to have come to accept it as gospel, but this time I had to speak up because hard-working people are being led astray with regurgitated information.

I have a Facebook page and do enjoy the occasional exchange with folks who enjoy a show I've work on or have read one of my books, but I have never felt the social media site has led me even one step closer to great fame or fortune.  In fact, since joining the site in 2004 or 2005, I don't think my career has benefited at all from my presence.

In my opinion, a personal Facebook page is nothing more than a place to stay in touch with people that you don't really want to take the time to call or visit in person.  By "Liking" a photo or comment we are able to jump in and put forth the image of a caring friend or interested colleague when, in fact, we have little or no interest at all in what they wrote or posted.  Nonetheless, we make our presence known because we are aware that billions of people around the world consider the responses they receive on Facebook to be their moment in the sun.  It is the acceptance they as humans so crave and who are we to deny them of such satisfaction?

Of the 1,511 "friends" I have on my personal Facebook page I believe I actually know less than 200 of them.  Scaling it down even further, I may have a phone number for half of those. To me, a friend is someone you actually care about and have an emotional or, at the very least, professional connection with.  I enjoy being a part of their lives and take pride in the fact that news-good or bad-is delivered between the two of us privately rather than online.  If you seek solace through an online post, you clearly do not have enough true, meaningful relationships.  If you did enjoy that type of bond with another you would not feel a need to seek comfort from other social media junkies in the form of an emoji or an overused motivational quote.

On a business level, I have promoted the books I have written, my charity, and live appearances on Facebook many, many times and have never seen a spike in sales.  Why?  Because Facebook is a place people go when they do not want to spend money.  Advertising on Facebook-unless you've budgeted for a targeted marketing campaign-is like fishing in the desert.  It is not a consumer-based platform. It costs nothing to look up an ex-girlfriend or cyber-spy on your neighbors.  Your Facebook companions are people who already know what you are all about and if they wanted to buy what you are selling they'd be on Amazon.  As previously mentioned, I have a fan page and a business page for Newton Luxury Realty but they are simply for added online exposure.  They do not, nor have they ever, place any jingle into my pockets.

I see some value in other sites.  YouTube, for instance, has given us wonders like Justin Bieber and Jenna Marbles.  Unlike Facebook, YouTube encourages the development of actual content.  Still, I believe a well-crafted website that incorporates SEO, the aforementioned content, and a solid mission statement is the true symbol of online professionalism and should be considered the corporate headliner.  As sexy as the word algorithm may be, Facebook is, at best, a mediocre opening act that we pay attention to only because we have nothing better to do.  Sadly, it has escalated to point of addiction for many.  A recent study revealed that Americans log on to social media sites seventeen times a day.  That's at least once every waking hour!  GlobalWebIndex found that the average social media use among us is now more than 1.72 hours a day.  Don't look at me...I got rid of the app more than a year ago.

Facebook is fun.  Facebook is cute.  But a must in business?  No.  Believe me, I am a self-promoting junkie and have done everything from passing out flyers on Sunset Boulevard to barking on the pier of Atlantic City to get passersby to come see me do my thing over the years, but I've yet to come across a post that beats hustle and talent.  However, when it comes to finding out what your second cousin's hairdresser had for lunch while on vacation in Cabo then FB cannot be beat!