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How to Get Your Kids Excited About Summer Reading

June 17, 2019 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LGBT STUFF, THINGS MY KID DIGS

Ah, summer! Is there a three-month period more fraught with dissenting objectives between kids and parents? Moms and dads of course want their children to have fun, be outside, and all that other wonderful summertime stuff. But we also want to make sure they don’t lose every bit of knowledge, motivation, and discipline they gained during the school year.

The go-to solution for many parents is summer reading. But unless you have one of those magical make-believe children who LOVES to read every minute of every day, getting our kids to crack a book during summer break can be a challenge. And as the dad of a 9-year-old with ADHD and serious addictions to swimming, video games, scootering, and anything that’s not sitting still with a book, it can be downright excruciating.

In an effort to make story time more engaging — and less of a chore — this summer we’re trying out a new app called NOVEL EFFECT.

summer reading - Novel Effect

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How Important Is Support for People With Obesity?

May 6, 2019 | By Brent Almond | LESSONS LEARNED

I previously worked with Med-IQ on their campaign about depression. I was excited to work with them again, this time to raise awareness about obesity (and obesity support) and to share my own story. After reading my post, please take a few minutes to complete the survey linked at the end. This is a sponsored post — I was compensated by Med-IQ through an educational grant from Novo Nordisk to write about the realities of obesity as a chronic disease. All opinions are my own. 

Over the course of the last six months I’ve lost more than 85 pounds, and it’s been truly, literally life-changing. I achieved this through gastric sleeve surgery, radical changes to my diet, and regular exercise.

But I couldn’t have done any of this on my own.

A while back I wrote about my obesity journey — the ups and downs of my life and how that affected my weight and health in general. Now I want to focus specifically on how support from others helped me along the way — to where I am today. And where is that? Happier and healthier than I’ve been in… well, longer than I can remember.

Again, the details of all the words can be rather cumbersome and tedious, so I’m employing my doodling skills once more to share my experiences and drop some knowledge. See whimsical graph thingies (and important data) below.

Support = Science = Success

Studies at the Mayo Clinic show that identifying and connecting with supportive and understanding relationships improves long-term success with weight management.

This graphic shows some of the different ways I’ve found support for my own health and well-being.

Obesity Survey

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My Plan to Be 50 & Fabulous

March 22, 2019 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

50 and Fabulous

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2019 is a fabulous year to turn 50.

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The list of things, events and people hitting the half-century mark this year is staggeringly impressive — but not in a commemorative “remember when they were cool” kind of way. Five decades in, and they’re still making an impact, affecting change, and knocking our socks off.

For example… Sesame Street continues to gently teach children us all to understand and include everyone, regardless of gender, race, disability, or fur color.  In the spirit of the original “Peace, Love & Music” festival, Woodstock 50 boasts a lineup of talented, activist artists partnering with charities dedicated to the environment, gun violence, and vulnerable youth populations. The Stonewall Riots kicked off the modern LGBTQ rights movement — which is still going strong, and still very much needed.

Famous folks turning 50: J Lo just got engaged to A-Rod, and hosts nearly every reality show competition. Gwen Stefani hosts the rest of them. Jay-Z gets to stay married to Beyoncé. Peter Dinklage is an Emmy and Golden Globe-winning star on the most epic TV show of all time, which is gearing up for its final, most epic season of all time. Paul Rudd is a freaking Avenger.

A few honorable mentions go to the Moon Landing (let’s see how this Space Force stuff plays out), The Internet, Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Tic-Tacs.

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Gillette Tackles Toxic Masculinity, Brings Out the Worst a Man Can Get

January 17, 2019 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE
GILLETTE AD

As America gears up for another Super Bowl — its most testosterone-fueled holiday — shaving giant Gillette has cut deep into the ironically sensitive soul of the American Man. A full three weeks ahead of time, Gillette released an extended version of their ad to be featured during the February 3rd broadcast. Since being published on YouTube three days ago, the spot has nearly 15 million views and more than 200,000 comments. If the goal was to create buzz, Mission More Than Accomplished. Or is it?

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Revved Up, Refreshed & Ready to Roll: My Spring Break with Kia

April 18, 2018 | By Brent Almond | MAKING MEMORIES, THINGS DAD DIGS

I landed in San Diego fresh off a week-and-a-half of my son’s spring break — however, I was feeling anything but fresh. Spring break as a parent is not the Bacchanalian catharsis you may remember from your youth (or from watching MTV); it’s not even a relaxing week spent lounging in the sun. Instead it’s a lot of scheduling/juggling of play dates, museums, movies, trips to Grandma’s, and whatever the hell you’d call Dave & Buster’s — all of which has the potential to suck the life out of you.

Yet this short jaunt to Southern California was just the thing I needed to recharge my batteries, rev up my engine, and get me back on track for the next adventure. [FYI: This was a parent blogger event paid for by Kia, hence all the car/driving metaphors. Buckle up — there’s more up ahead.]

From the start, this two-day immersion excursion sparked my creativity at every turn.

First off was the rock & roll theme — meticulously carried out in every aspect of the experience. Most of our time was at the Hard Rock Hotel, which was cool and contemporary and comfortable all at once — a music museum with turndown service and a mini bar.


My Spring Break with KiaMy Spring Break with Kia READ FULL ARTICLE >>

My Warrior Kid

March 14, 2018 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, POP CULTURE

warrior kid thor ragnarok

Having taught my son about superheroes since birth, it’s no surprise that he values a warrior’s strength and power. Whether it’s an over-the-top wrestler, nonsensical ball-encased creature, transforming car/alien/robot thing — or hammer-wielding demigod — nothing gets my kiddo more pumped than good triumphing over evil.

While my 8-year-old’s heroic ambitions are clearly evident in how much time he spends leaping from and jumping on our living room furniture, he also embodies the warrior spirit in other ways. Pardon me while I brag.

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Depression Survey: You’re Not Alone

March 13, 2018 | By Brent Almond | DESIGN STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

depression survey

I was compensated by Med-IQ through a grant from Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. and Lundbeck to write about depression awareness. All my opinions are my own. 

Touched By Depression

Just before Thanksgiving, I shared about my struggle with depression, and what I did to find help. If you missed that, you can read about it here.

I also encouraged readers to take a survey by Med-IQ, an accredited company that provides continuing education courses for healthcare professionals. The questionnaire served as a tool to determine whether someone might be suffering from depression and what treatment options are available.

Thank you to all who took the survey! The number of responses far surpassed our goals, and I wanted to share the results gleaned from the almost 4,000 completed.

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Are You Depressed? You Owe It to Your Family to Find Out

November 15, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF, LESSONS LEARNED

Depression

I was compensated by Med-IQ through a grant from Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc. and Lundbeck to write about depression awareness. All opinions are my own.

My Depression Story

My husband and I had talked about wanting kids very early in our relationship — like two weeks in early. Fast-forward 10 years, two apartments, a house and a dog later, and it looked like we were finally going to take the plunge into fatherhood.

Yet as we got closer to each decision and milestone, uncertainty started to creep in. The pressure of when and how to take these first, definitive steps; wondering how it would affect our relationship; the question of how we would go about forming our family; the potential challenges of being a two-dad adoptive family. All of these things stressed me out, overwhelmed me, and eventually shut me down.

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‘Stranger Things’ Giveaway from Your Fiends at Netflix & Designer Daddy!

October 21, 2017 | By Brent Almond | POP CULTURE

Netflix Stranger Things

As we creep closer and closer to both Halloween and Season 2 of Stranger Things (OCT. 27!), I’m having a difficult time containing my ghoulish glee. So to pass the time I thought I’d give away some FREE NETFLIX!

It’s so easy to enter, it’s scary.

WIN 3 FREE MONTHS OF NETFLIX FOR YOU & A FRIEND:

STEP 1: Scurry over to the Designer Daddy Facebook page where I’ve posted about the giveaway.

STEP 2: In the comments, tell me something that scared you as a kid.

STEP 3: Tag a friend who (GASP!) doesn’t have Netflix.

One winner and their non-Netflix-having pal will win 3 FREE MONTHS of NETFLIX just in time to binge on Stranger Things and all of Netflix’s other awesome programming.
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Monstrously Delicious Back-to-School Meals with Barilla

October 3, 2017 | By Brent Almond | DAD STUFF

Monstrously Delicious Back-to-School Meals with Barilla

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Barilla; the content and opinions are my own.

Jumping back into a school year schedule can be scary. Trying to serve school night meals that are quick, simple, healthy, and delicious can be downright terrifying.

Adding to the terror is the fact that I’m not much of a chef. What I am is a crafty mad scientist. I don’t so much mix ingredients as I do assemble supplies. Hence my most successful creations end up looking more like experimental DIY projects than respectable meals prepared by an adult.

And yet, all that playing with food and making things more fun than they need to be works well with being the dad of a picky eater. And I’m not talking prefers-blanched-asparagus-over-steamed picky. I’m talking eats-roughly-the-same-number-of-things-as-he-is-years-old picky.

Luckily, my persnickety seven-year-old loves pretty much every variety of pasta. Also lucky? Barilla has 38 different pastas and 14 different sauces with which to satisfy my hungry, finicky beast.

In addition to their endless meal combinations, Barilla products fulfill that whole quick, simple, healthy, and delicious list I mentioned earlier. It’s not surprising they’re the #1 pasta brand in both the United States and Italy… as well as the preferred brand of my first generation Italian husband!

While our family certainly enjoys tried-and-true meals like spaghetti with meat sauce, lasagna, and baked ziti, I like to get creative from time-to-time to hold my son’s interest. Who am I kidding? It’s just as much fun for me! Here’s one of my favorites… MONSTER PASTA!
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