Bret Freedman

Guest Post: Bret Freedman

Love Life and Lollipops- Bret's Tech Mess

Bret moved to DC yesterday and I'm so sad for me, but so happy for her.   A new start, a new life, a new job.  Good for you Bret!  I'll miss you too much, but lucky for my readers, you guys'll still get to read her thoughts every once in a while.  Here are today's musings: Technology can certainly get in the way of real human communications.

You've got to take back control, says Edward Hallowell, MD, author of CrazyBusy: Overbooked, Overstretched, and About to Snap! "The great thing about modern life is you can do so much," he says, "and the curse of modern life is you can do so much."

It's the new epidemic, Hallowell says. "People joke about being crazy busy. Sometimes they brag about it, like being busy is a status symbol. But they don't realize that it's as harmful for them as obesity or cigarette smoking." (

I have been increasingly concerned about a growing problem I have. That many of us have. Admit it, you probably can relate, even a little bit. But in addiction, admitting you have a problem is the first or something - so here I am.

I am addicted to technology and it’s making me unhealthy. On any given day I leave the house with a pile of technology. Blackberry, iPod, Kindle, Laptop, GPS. I carry a thumb drive on my key chain and a back up in my bag. I watch TV with my laptop on my lap. I have been FAR too close to getting into numerous car accidents because I have become a compulsive Facebook checker – I don’t even realize I’m doing it. I communicate primarily by text message. I check voicemail once a week, but if you text, expect a return message in under 10 minutes.

It’s crazy, I know. I should get hold of myself, change. I thought it would be a good idea to get rid of my blackberry –but my job requires that I have one. I thought about replacing my laptop with a desktop….and I had a valid excuse as to why that was impractical. Etc. etc.  Like any good addict, I am filled with excuses and justifications.

What’s the big deal? This is the new normal, right?

The big deal is that the almost accidents are only one of the byproducts. I sit and read and have to consciously resist the desire to check email, thus I don’t really read. I sit at dinner with a friend and am sad as both of us have one eye on our phones and don’t have any hesitation to stop a conversation to text, check email or take a “quick call”. My attention span is a fraction of the size that it was even 5 years ago and the only real vacation I can take is when I go somewhere that my phone doesn’t work.

I spend valuable time and money watching what I eat, exercising and minding my spiritual health. But the inability to disconnect that is more than just “loving my technology” -  it’s keeping me from connecting with others in real time, from living my life offline, from being holistically healthy.

Baby Gifting

* Eve is still on vacation, I miss her terribly and I'm sure you do too....she'll be back Monday, in the meantime, here's one last post from me *BRET* So, it seems everyone around me is having some major life event. People are buying homes, getting married and having babies. I am super excited for everyone, and one of my favorite things to do is to competitively gift give. I give  great gifts. Not kidding.  I take it really seriously. I've been known to be three months late on birthday gifts because I couldnt find the "perfect" one.....

At the moment, I've got three new babies on the way - um,  yay!

That said,  I have to take some time to find affordable gifts (sorry, newborns dont need $40 onesies, and my bank account can't handle that anyway)  that are useful and really, really cool.

I was pretty excited to discover that for the next 3 months Target (a mecca for organic and concious affordable products)  is currently selling The Little Seed, a line of  100% organic and harmful substance free baby clothing in cool colors, with practical design.  Nothing over $14. Soleil Moon Frye is one of the designers.

My new babies will love this stuff.

P.S. sorry for the lack of artwork this week. I'm a remedial user, clearly.

Six items or less.

I saw this article in the NY Times this morning and loved it. So much so, that I (remember Eve is on vacation, this is still Bret writing) signed up to participate in the next Six Items or Less experiment. I thought I would share.

So funny.

( a reminder,  Eve is off on vacation - I've have been handed the blog for the week, hopefully I'll be as entertaining as she is. *bret*) On a regular basis, the conversations I have with Eve (often over text, but nonetheless) make me laugh out loud. literally. I can often be found giggling at my blackberry in public.

I'm not embarrassed. I'm lucky.

The truth is  it's so nice to have a running dialogue throughout the day with someone that shares your (admittedly) ridiculous sense of humor. I hope everyone has someone that entertains them the way Eve entertains me.

I thought I would share the most recent one.

Background:  I am working in Vegas on very little sleep and even less contact with the outside world.

About 3 hours before this, Eve mentioned she was pregnant as a post script to a request to mind the blog while she's in Cuba.

Me.       Um, Eve, can I ask you something?

Eve.      Sure.

Me.       Since you are going to have another baby, can I have Avital?

Eve.     Let me think about it.

Me.     Thanks, that's all I ask.

As you might imagine, I am still waiting to find out her decision on this matter.

Guest Post: Bret Freedman

Greenwashing. Image courtesy of

The post below is by no means new information, so I apologize if it is repetitive for some people, but I think it’s worth discussing, particularly from this point of view…….

Being conscious is, super super trendy right now.  It’s great and seriously, about time. People everywhere are rethinking everything from the food that they eat to the clothes that they buy and the car that they drive.  It’s wonderful, both for you as an individual, us as a society and the earth we inhabit.

Here’s the thing……. and I say this as a former marketer, with great respect for marketing as a discipline…..a marketers job is to tap into consumer psychology and get their product sold. They know that right now, buzz words for Americans are “Natural” “Green” “Organic” and so on…..that said, it’s important to keep in mind that marketers have a casual relationship with facts (it’s not their job to tell the truth all the time) and for the most part they aren’t regulated by government….– their task is to keep the product’s image fresh and in demand, even if the product itself hasn’t changed.  It’s been called Greenwashing and it’s totally legal – making a product or a brand look like it’s on the green wagon, even if it isn’t.

As the consumer, our job is to be educated and to be responsible for our purchasing habits, we can’t leave this to marketers and we can’t blame them for doing their job, if we aren’t going ours.

Want examples?   Take a walk through your local supermarket…..(which I did this week, thus this post) I was drawn to a bunch of iconic brands with revamped packaging that favored muted, neutral colors, recycled looking cardboard, and lots and lots and lots of the colors brown and green.  When I flipped over the package I saw paragraphs about the brands commitment to the environment and sustainability……then I looked at the ingredients and was jolted back to reality when I saw that the product itself was the same it’s always been.

I silently saluted the marketer who almost had me, and then I trotted back to the natural foods section and got what I came for.

Image courtesy of Image courtesy of

Guest Post: Bret Freedman

Vegetables and Social Justice. Holton Farms, CSA

Hey there.

One of the issues that I learned about early on in grad school and now continue to follow is about how supermarkets in low income neighborhoods almost always have “sick” produce – old, bruised, ugly produce that is not only unappealing to look at, but isn’t fresh and doesn’t taste good.  Not to mention limited selection. There are a few reasons for this – but the bottom line is that it is hard to live in these areas and be healthy.  Not surprisingly, diabetes and obesity are more prevalent in these areas than in more affluent neighborhoods. Access offers options, and there are a lot of people who struggle for access.

So I was thrilled to trip over Holton Farms CSA this morning….. they have a fairly substantial service offering which includes a brand spanking new farm stand in Harlem (which was expected to open in May, I’m writing this quickly and enthusiastically and haven’t been able to confirm that it is, in fact open) . Manhattanites can also visit their travelling farm truck to pick up CSA packages or visit them at the Union Square Greenmarket.

Aside from the convenience factor, a portion of every purchase goes to subsidizing prices for low income families in NYC.  Their farm stand will also be accepting food stamps. How’s that for access.

The Holton Farm Holton Farms Veggies and Fruit Holton Farms Maple Syrup(images curtesy of

Guest Post: Bret Freedman

Love Life and Lollipops- Bret Freedman

Everyone meet Bret. Bret is one of my all-time favorite people.  She is an old old friend and I'm honestly not sure what I'd do without her.  Whether it's true or not, here's what I tell people: Bret knows everything about everything.  So...I figured I'd share her.  Once a month Bret's agreed to be a guest blogger right here on Love Life and Lollipops!!!  Yay for us!

Here's a picture of Bret.  Bret, I know this isn't your favorite picture, but it's just such a Bret face!  I love it.

Here's what she's got to say this month:

On Gratitude

What’s interesting about me? Not much. That said, I’ve been talking a lot about how grateful I am – it feels like a fairly new concept for me. So let’s talk about that.

Like many people, the recession hit me and my family hard. I’ve had to give up a lot. It started in grad school (the economy tanked in the middle of my first semester) when work was scarce and paying internships virtually disappeared –First, I gave up obvious things– the ridiculously expensive haircuts, vacations, cab rides before 11pm. Later, I gave up bigger things, including having a home. That was by far the hardest, and unfortunately it hasn’t stopped there. But you get the point.

I am surprised, with everything I give up, after a little grieving, sometimes some crying or shouting, what I feel most is grateful.  With every ‘thing’ I give up, I’m amazed at how much I still have, how lucky I truly am and how good that feels. Really, really good.

Sometimes it’s little things – street parking in Manhattan or sunshine on a day off.  Other times it’s bigger things –family who took me in, amazing, special, brilliant friends, or every single freelance job that helps keep my head above water. Don’t get me wrong, I hope things get easier, but not if I don’t take the gratitude with me.