The phoneless retreat for the broken hearted

At breakup bootcamp, the first house rule is to digitally detox. No phones are allowed.

The intimate gatherings, which average about 14 people per event, are set up to help newly single women “rewire their hearts.” Retreats are held several times a year in upstate New York and Malibu, California.

Launched in 2017, Renew founder Amy Chan’s mission is to help women mend their hearts through a mix of spirituality and science. A team of all female experts, from psychologists and behavioral scientists to energy healers, conduct group and one-on-one sessions.

Also on site: a chef to cook nutritious meals, and zen activities such as alpaca petting, yoga and meditation.

It may sound like a tall order to help people move on from former relationships in one weekend, but Chan said the goal is to teach attendees how behavior may assist or detract from that process.

“After a breakup, some people go into inspector gadget mode trying to find clues and information to fill an insatiable void,” said Chan, a relationship writer and researcher turned entrepreneur. ” But it’s a mental trap. When constantly checking an ex’s Instagram, instead of neural pathways weakening, you’re just strengthening the old bonds.”

“No digital devices are seen,” she said.

On average, adults are spending two hours and 51 minutes on their smartphone every day. Digital connections, like a partner returning a text message or sending an emoji, result in dopamine boosts, and it makes for complications when it comes to severing ties.

“We’re in withdrawal from that dopamine shot,” said Dr. Naomi Arbit, who specializes in positive psychology.

Renew works with experts like Arbit to help women on the retreats heal. She is focused on teaching the women self-compassion.

According to Arbit, the best way to stop the cycle of seeking dopamine boosts from an ex is to “not continually revisit those pathways.”

Chan came up with the concept for Renew after working through her own breakup about five years ago. Since launching the retreats, it has attracted attendees ranging from women in their mid 20s to their 60s.

The retreat costs between $1,500 and $3,000 (pricing varies based on single or shared rooms). Chan plans to launch a scholarship application program for future retreats to make one slot available each time.

SelfHackathon founder Patrycja Slawuta, another expert at Renew, said that eliminating phone usage during the retreat is important to become present with feelings.

“Lack of technology allows attendees to process their emotions and form meaning,” said Slawuta. “[During my session], deeply-held sadness, fear, and aggression started popping up for women.”

Slawuta said Facebook and Instagram are such addictive platforms because “they speak to the primal need of belonging.” Renew can provide an alternative form of connection and a sense of belonging away from the phone, Slawuta added.

“People can have epiphany moments when they go through a profound experience and find the inspiration and commitment to change their lives going forward,” said Arbit. “That’s the hope.”

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Walt Disney Company raises ticket prices to theme parks

It’s getting more expensive to go to Disney.

The Walt Disney Co. announced that it is raising ticket prices for theme parks in Florida and California, effective immediately.

Disney said it raised prices for one-day tickets by $2 to $7 at its Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom theme parks in Florida. The prices, and price increases, vary for adults and children, and also depend on the time of year of the visit.

For example, Disney increased one-day ticket prices for Disneyland Resort in California by up to $11 for an adult on peak days. The price increases for one-day tickets to Disneyland varied from $2 to $11, depending on the time of year. But it also lowered the price by $10 on value days.

Generally speaking, peak pricing happens during the holidays, such as Christmas, Thanksgiving, New Year’s and July 4. Value pricing, as the company calls it, often happens on weekdays during slower months like May and October, according to Disney’s ticket calendar.

Here’s how the ticket price increases break down.

–A one-day adult ticket to the Magic Kingdom in Florida now costs $129, an increase of $5, during the peak tourist season. –A one-day adult ticket to Epcot, Disney’s Hollywood Studios and Disney’s Animal Kingdom in Florida during peak season now cost $122, an increase of $3.

–A one-day, adult ticket to Disneyland Resort in California is now priced at $117, an increase of $7. –The price of parking at Florida theme parks went up by $2, to $22 a day.

“We know how important making memories at Disney theme parks is to families and we will continue to evolve our pricing in a way that gives families a range of options to meet their budget and helps better spread attendance throughout the year so they can make the most of every visit,” said Disney spokeswoman Andrea Finger.

The company also raised the price of its annual passes at the different theme parks. At its Florida parks, a silver pass now costs $439, a gold pass costs $589 and a platinum pass is $849, or $729 for Florida residents. The platinum pass rose by $70, or $50 for Floridians.

These passes provide unlimited access to Florida theme parks during normal opening hours. Some of them, like the platinum pass, also provide certain discounts for dining and merchandise.

At Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, a Signature Plus annual pass is now priced at $1,149, a Deluxe is $729 and a SoCal Select costs $369.

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Baby boy is born at busy Coral Springs intersection

Baby Dominic couldn’t wait. He was born in the middle of a street in Coral Springs Friday night. He weighed 7 pounds and 11 ounces. 

His proud dad, Ross Fallacaro, was grateful for the Coral Springs Fire Department firefighters who showed up to help his wife, Christina Fallacaro, a licensed midwife. She was expecting Dominique to be born on Valentine’s Day.

Dominic had other plans. Christina Fallacaro started having contractions. Ross Fallacaro was driving when she told him the baby was coming. He said he was forced to stop in the middle of a busy intersection. 

The Fallacaro family was at the hospital and their 2-year-old daughter was looking forward to meeting her baby brother. 


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Officials: The kids were starved. The dogs were well-fed.

When authorities arrived Sunday night to a home in the California town of Perris, they found a family with 13 children, most of them starved and startlingly skinny.

They also found two female dogs. Well-fed, in good shape, seemingly well-trained.

The parents, David and Louise Turpin, were arrested and face dozens of charge each that include torture of their children. The Turpins pleaded not guilty on all counts.

The children — seven adults, six kids — are in the hospital, recovering from years of alleged abuse and neglect.

The dogs are at a shelter, and authorities plan to find a new home for them as a pair.

“They are in good condition, very active and friendly,” Perris city spokesman Joseph Vargo said of the two 1-year-old Maltese mixes.

The dogs will get a new home on February 5 when the winners of a raffle, open to locals only, are announced.

City residents will need to apply in the next week and be prepared to have their homes checked out.

Vargo said the dogs — a black one named Fluffy and a white one with no known name — bark and wag their tails when they meet people and look pretty happy.

The dogs will get their shots and be spayed before being adopted out.

Authorities have accused the elder Turpins, whose children are between 2 and 29 years old, of beating, choking and tying most of the siblings up as punishment. Prosecutors have not alleged the 2-year-old was tortured. The parents allegedly deprived the children of water and fed them small portions of food on a strict schedule.

The 29-year-old child weighs just 82 pounds, prosecutors said and the other children are so thin they all look younger than their actual ages, authorities said.

The parents have pleaded not guilty to 37 charges. David Turpin also pleaded not guilty to one count of lewd conduct with a minor.

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These countries offer the most generous maternity leave

The amount of maternity leave women are entitled to varies wildly around the world.

Laws in some European countries allow women to take dozens of weeks of paid leave. The United States doesn’t guarantee them any.

The issue came back into the spotlight Friday when New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she is expecting her first child.

Under the country’s law, women can take as much as 18 weeks of paid maternity leave. Ardern says she will take six weeks off after her baby is born.

New Zealand is expected to increase the paid leave entitlement to 22 weeks this year, which would move it higher up the rankings of the most generous policies in the developed world.

All the countries in the top 10 are in Europe, according to an analysis of maternity leave in 42 countries by the Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD study covers policies that were in effect as of April 2016.

Many of the top ranking policies are in Eastern Europe. Bulgaria came in first with just under 59 weeks of paid leave, while Estonia and Poland tied for 10th place at 20 weeks.

But there’s an important nuance to note: the pay rate. As the OECD notes, not all the time off given to expecting moms is fully paid.

Mothers in the U.K., for example, get a whole year (52 weeks) of maternity leave. Thirty-nine of those weeks are partially paid. The amount women receive over that period works out at just 12 fully paid weeks, according to the OECD.

In addition to giving women the most time off, Bulgaria also received top marks in terms of pay rate. Its policy provided for nearly 46 fully paid weeks off.

The least generous member of the OECD, a group of industrialized nations, is the United States, which does not guarantee women any paid maternity leave. It’s down to individual employers to decide how much to offer.

Also near the bottom of the heap are Portugal and Mexico, where women get six and 12 weeks of paid maternity leave respectively.

But the situation is further complicated by other kinds of leave beyond maternity care that some countries offer. They can include home care leave, which gives parents time to look after their kids at home longer term, though it is often unpaid.

For example, Sweden ranks low in terms of the number of weeks of paid maternity leave it allows (just under 13 weeks). But it is far more generous when other types of leave for mothers are factored in (nearly 56 weeks).

Estonia rockets to the top of the charts when all forms of paid leave available to mothers are taken into account. They add up to a whopping 166 weeks, which work out at 85 weeks at full pay, according to the OECD.

The International Labor Organization calls for “14 weeks of maternity benefit to women,” including “a cash benefit” that should “be no less than two-thirds of her previous earnings or a comparable amount.”

Women “require protection to ensure that they will not lose their job simply because of pregnancy or maternity leave,” says the U.N. agency.

“Protecting them from job discrimination is a precondition for achieving genuine equality of opportunity and treatment for men and women at work.”

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Six teen suicides in six months in one Ohio school district

Late last week, Hayden Porter, a 15-year-old freshman at a high school in Ohio, took his life. He was the sixth current or former teenage student from the school district to kill themselves within the past six months.

Three of the suicides occurred in a span of 11 days in January.

Police say the suicides don’t look like they are linked, and the methods the children used were varied.

Chief Michael Pomesky said over the past five days his officers have responded to more than two dozen calls concerning potential suicides or asking for police to check on someone He said the community of Perry Township is in crisis.

“We pretty much went from no suicides to this,” he said.

Porter’s mother, Ashley Jones, told CNN affiliate WJW she thinks her son was bullied. Her son, worried about what four boys might do to him, had to be picked up from school one day, she told the Cleveland station.

But she had no idea her son would kill himself.

“Please tell somebody because he didn’t tell us. He didn’t speak. Maybe he was scared, I don’t know, but if something is going on, don’t be afraid to speak up,” Jones told WJW.

Hayden’s father, Shaun Porter, told CNN affiliate WEWS that Hayden had told him he was fine.

“Got off the bus, we talked for 30 to 45 minutes. I never thought he would’ve done that that day,” Shaun Porter said.

The teens who have taken their own lives were 14 to 18 years old, Pomesky said.

He said about bullying: “We’re aware that that is a factor in some suicides, but we have not identified that, as an agency, in these cases.”

The chief implored parents to be involved.

“The most important part of this is that parents need to have conversations with their kids,” he said.

Almost one in five teenagers between 15 and 19 has considered suicide, and nearly 10% have attempted it, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among Americans between 10 and 24, suicide was the second-leading cause of death in 2015.

In November, Melissa C. Mercado, a behavioral scientist in the CDC’s division of violence prevention, said some proven strategies for preventing suicide among youth include “strengthening access to and delivery of suicide care, creating protective environments, promoting youth connectedness, teaching coping and problem-solving skills, and identifying and supporting at-risk youth.”

“Suicide is a public health problem that has far-reaching consequences,” she said. “Suicide impacts friends, family members, co-workers, communities and society.”

Officials at a Friday news conference in Ohio said the 1,7000 students at the high school, which is in Massillon, will be provided with an increasing number of resources.

“Know that our district will continue to work, we will not give up,” Perry Local Schools Superintendent Scott Beatty said.

The six students included four high schoolers, a middle schooler and a Perry High graduate who lived in another town.

The school district, in a statement, requested members of the community help its students.

“We ask parents, residents, local organizations and everyone in the community to wrap around these young people to provide supports for those who are grieving and support for those that are dealing with difficult situations.”

The district website includes a link to a help flyer that says: “You are not alone. There is help available.”

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