Net Neutrality Is A Big Deal — UPDATED


It’s not over. This does put pressure on politicians in an election year to take a public stand on a free and open internet, an issue 83%  of their constituents support.

Senate bill To Reverse Net Neutrality Repeal will Get A Floor Vote  “Under the CRA, if a joint resolution of disapproval bill has enough support it can bypass committee review and be fast-tracked to a floor vote. If the bill is passed and signed into law, it would vacate the FCC’s vote last month and prohibit the agency from ever trying to repeal the rules in the future.”  More here and here.

State legislatures are looking at net neutrality laws. State laws will make the FCC repeal less effective. Especially for those providers who do business across state lines.



The FCC Is Still Editing the Net Neutrality Order.  Presented with no comment.  edited 1/5 — oh look, here it is. Released on Jan 4th, 2018. Note the “adopted on” date of 12/14/2017.

The Catastrophic Consequences Of The Non-Neutral Net Will Be Very Hard To Spot  1. We’ll be paying our ISP providers twice. 2) Innovation and investment will be stifled.



What The Net Neutrality Repeal Could Mean For You  Another reminder of increased costs, limited access and censorship.


(12/15)     The FCC voted yesterday to kill net neutrality. We’re keeping this space updated with what that means for us, how (and when) it will affect us, and what we can all do about it.

First action item: Call your members of congress.  This link gives you their contact information.  Note: This info. is only for their Washington D.C. office. Click on each member’s webpage to find their local office contact info. Then call both locations for each of your congress members. Pro tip: Put it in your calendar to call them on a regular basis.


Communication, however imperfect, is the fundamental to society. To our society. Enabling debilitating access to information obtained via any format suppresses free speech, places an even heavier financial burden on public school budgets, and contributes to insurmountable challenges for small businesses.

An open internet does not stifle investment or innovation.

In three weeks (Dec. 14th) the FCC will vote to end net neutrality.  That vote could negatively impact us. All of us.

Let’s protect our right to go where we want to go and do what we want to do on the internet. and offer many ways to make our voices heard, from calling and writing our members of congress to ready-made alerts and banners for our social spaces.

The plan to end net neutrality explained here.   The FCC’s proposal here.

Why preserving net neutrality matters: 
Explainer video here (:34).
Another explainer video with more detail here (6:19)
Article here.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s position in favor of net neutrality here.

Nov. 27, 2017 letter from hundreds of businesses to the Chairman of the FCC in favor of preserving net neutrality.

Op-Ed from member of the FCC in support of net neutrality. “Net Neutrality is the right to go where you want and do what you want on the internet without your broadband provider getting in the way. It means your broadband provider can’t block websites, throttle services or charge you premiums if you want to reach certain online content.”
Her profile here.

Regardless of political orientation, this affects us all. We will all suffer the consequences of ending net neutrality. 

© copyright HeyAmyLou  2017/18 – All rights reserved


First Playlist of 2018

Recommitting to do better, be better.

U2 – Pride (In The Name of Love)     youtube     lyrics

Bob Marley – Get Up Stand Up     youtube    lyrics

Odetta – This Little Light Of Mine  youtube    lyrics

Bruce Hornsby and The Range – The Way It Is   youtube   lyrics   (note: the song title is deceptive)

Queen & David Bowie – Under Pressure   youtube    lyrics

Mahalia Jackson – We Shall Overcome    youtube   Library of Congress  also The Morehouse College Glee Club    youtube

Patty Griffin – Up To The Mountain  youtube   lyrics

Gil Scott Heron – The Revolution Will Not Be Televised   youtube

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2018 – All rights reserved

2017 Accomplishments

The past 365 days were such a whirlwind. I know everyone says “where does the time go?” and “it seems like it was just yesterday . . . “.  This year, though? Goodness. So much happened I felt the need to sit down and document some of the things I’m sure to forget because of all the other things that won’t be forgotten.

Here’s what came to mind in 15 minutes and in no particular order:

  • I rediscovered my love of teaching
  • I remembered why I love non-profit work
  • I read books to first graders
  • I came incredibly close to inbox zero
  • I craved quiet
  • I kept a houseplant alive
  • I dropped my phone and cracked the screen. I’m honestly impressed that hadn’t happened before.
  • I broke my 16-year addiction to the news
  • I kept my first-ever reading log, and I now know I read 70 books in 2017
  • I thought about what I wanted my legacy to be
  • I continued letting go of opportunities, situations and people that  don’t serve me
  • I saw a total eclipse of the sun, and can’t stop thinking about it

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2018 – All rights reserved

cross posted to IrishYogaChick

The Things That Made My Year Great– 2017 Edition

Shamelessly stolen from Austin Kleon’s  100 things.

Reading Journals

Neighborhood parks

Rainy and cool summer Saturdays

Rain on the roof

Starting the day with a clean sink

Loading extra gift card money onto Amazon

The moment when you need something and and everything is in the proper place, right were you left it

Foam roller spinal realignment


Surprise lilies

Being the first person to read a brand new library book (the spine cracked when I opened it)


Conversations between lifelong friends

Total Solar Eclipses (August 21)

Vine ripened chocolate cherry tomatoes right off the vine and warmed from the sun

Local bookstores


Podcasts during never-ending traffic jams

Geese honking


New Clic pencil erasers

Laundry drying on the fence

“Jaws to Flannery O’Connor”  — a relevant comparison I actually made

5 a.m. October Stars

7 a.m. October sunlight streaming through the kitchen

Red hair

A snoring dog in a quiet home

Seed catalogs in the mail

Reading to children

Doing what you can from where you are

WishGarden Herbs Kick-Ass Immune

YouTube’s 10 Hour Yule Fireplace (2 hours more crackle than last year’s)

NORAD’s Santa Tracker and Jen Hoffman’s Action Checklist for Americans of Conscience

Quality newsletters like this one and this one

Book darts

Theme movie nights (Meryl Streep-Diane Keaton / 13 Nights Of Halloween / Winter)


Bullet Journals

This grump tree


MLA formatting

This black bean butternut squash chili, this roasted garlic and cauliflower soup, this roasted tomato soup, these energy bites, The Minimalist Baker’s Everyday Cooking and No Excuses Detox

Building a longer table, not a higher wall

Naming what’s good


End of Year lists (this one and definitely this one)

Mason jars

Homemade croutons

Getting closer to inbox zero

Delivering handwritten thank you notes



Brazil nuts

Tankproof and World Central Kitchen

tea cozies


Good Reading

The New Mid-Life Crisis For Women

Will They Take Me, Too?

A Story Of A Big Dream And A Single, Small Step

Good Books

Odd Birds – Ian Harding

Chief Inspector Gamache Series (I’m on #6)

Cozy Mysteries (Book Collector Series / County Cork / Haunted Yarn Shop)

The Light We Lost

Good Movies and TV 

Rookie Blue  (especially season 6  “74 Epiphanies”)

Landfill Harmonic


Eli Stone

Hidden Figures


Parks and Recreation (this one snuck up on me)

Larry Crowne

Good Podcasts

King Falls AM

Reply All

Crime Writers On

Pod Save America   (anything from Crooked Media, really)


Ear Hustle

Deadly Manners

Making lists– My favorite blog posts authored by me

I Like Newsletters

If You’re Struggling

Net Neutrality Is A Big Deal

The 2017 year-end wrap-up of HeyAmyLou’s newsletter

Other People’s Stuff – my favorite blog posts authored by others

Yo, It’s Ash

Brain Pickings by Maria Popova

The monthly Creative Calendar – Curated by Fast Company


*This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I may receive a small commission (at no cost to you) if you purchase something after clicking one of the links in this post. I only link things I have used and can truthfully recommend. Purchasing from these links helps me keep business costs low for my clients and that’s what HeyAmyLou is all about.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2018 – All rights reserved

cross posted to IrishYogaChick

Blood Pressure – Know Your Numbers

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about how my heart beats.  There’s a family history of heart disease and congestive heart failure. Luckily for me, so far my blood pressure has trended on the low end of normal. However, now that the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have revised the guidelines for interpreting blood pressure (bp) numbers, I’m trending more towards “normal”.

I want low normal back and I bought a blood pressure monitor to motivate me to get there.

Mostly though, I’m a science geek and I want to see how much my blood pressure drops after doing yoga, and for how long that benefit lasts.  (This is the real reason I bought the bp monitor).

Then I discovered there’s quite a bit more to taking one’s blood pressure than sitting down, wrapping the cuff around an arm, and waiting patiently.

Did you know there are eleven elements that go into taking blood pressure correctly? And that only one out of 159 medical students tested in 2015 got all eleven? Most students averaged a 4.1. Meaning out of the eleven things that are supposed to occur before, during and after taking a blood pressure reading, most students remembered to do four of the eleven.  Four.

Also, blood pressure surges in the a.m. So, taking a bp rating in the morning and in the evening is recommended.

And then there’s how to record it. My bp machine has a memory, although I’m not at all sure how to access it. Plus, it’s much more meaningful to me to physically write down those numbers.

So now I take my blood pressure in the morning., 30 minutes after breakfast, and again in the evening, sometime around 8p or so. (and at various times throughout the day because my yoga schedule changes from day to day. Seriously, I’m a geek). I take it twice each time after sitting still for five minutes, with a one minute break in between readings.

And, because I’m a geek, (have I mentioned that?) I made a blood pressure tracker. And I’m sharing it with you.

Remember, I’m a marketing professional and a mindfulness instructor. I’m not a doctor, nor do I have medical training. This is for educational purposes only and none of this is to be taken as medical advice.

Also, home blood pressure monitoring is not a substitute for visits to your doctor. Always consult your physician if you believe there is cause for concern.


Don’t Just Get Your Blood Pressure Checked; Make Sure It’s Taken The Right Way

New ACC/AHA High Blood Pressure Guidelines Lower Definition Of Hypertension

Nearly Half Of US Adults Could Now Be Classified With High Blood Pressure, Under New Definitions

Why You Should Check Your Blood Pressure In The Morning

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

Thinking About Year-End Charitable Giving

Giving this year is especially important, in my opinion. And it requires more due diligence than ever to identify organizations intending to truly benefit those they serve.

Recently, I evaluated a small non-profit  that looks great online. Professional website, slickly produced testimonial videos and expertly written marketing copy. After maybe 45 minutes researching I was disappointed, though not surprised, to learn that this organization has consistently lost money on their fundraiser year after year, that even though the organization continues to lose money salaries go up, and that over the last fiscal year their revenue was tens of thousands of dollars less than their expenses. How, exactly, are they truly benefiting those they serve with those numbers?

The ways in which a non-profit spends the money it is given is a good indicator of intent.

During my days in non-profit administration, I had the benefit of being mentored by one of the best around. He consistently stressed the importance of overhead ratios : a minimum of 70% of each dollar raised goes back to the programs for those being served by the organization. In other words, no more than 30% of funds an organization raises can be spent on overhead (and frankly, he preferred no more than $15% be spent on overhead).

Charity Navigator, one of the resources I recommend, has developed guidelines outlining how a non-profit’s fundraising dollars should be allocated. Named Financial Efficiency Performance Metrics, Charity Navigator believes “those spending less than a third of their budget on program expenses are simply not living up to their missions”.

Charity Navigator evaluates over 8,000 organizations. However, they only rate organizations with over $1M in revenue. For those non-profits you’re considering with less than $1M, below are some other ways to understand how they manage their money and to determine if the organization is a good fit for your charitable giving.


990 Finder   My favorite tool, honestly. Next to an annual report (which some smaller organizations can’t afford to produce) a 990 tells me how an organization spends their money. I look for organizations that spend at least $.85 of every $1.00 on programming, and the 990 helps me figure that out.

Charity Watch – I use this for the “articles by keyword” feature. When searching for an organization, Charity Watch will also return results for articles with that organization’s name as a search term.

ProPublica has a nonprofit explorer that I use for visual representation of a non-profit’s spending.

IRS Exempt Organization Search  Basic due diligence here. Used to find EIN numbers, federal deductibility status, and a link to those non-profits who have had their status revoked.

State SOS offices:   Most states require non-profits to register with the state. Conducting a “business name search” on the SoS website will allow you to determine if a non-profit is in good standing with the state and will show if they file the required paperwork on time. It may also give you access to the organization’s articles of incorporation, etc.

Additionally, annual reports and audited financial statements are a great way to gain insight into a non-profit’s intent.

It cannot be overstated–Older, established non-profits deserve just as much scrutiny as smaller, less well-established non-profits. In some cases, I might argue that they deserve more scrutiny, if only to guarantee that their mission and program funding have remained stable and in line with those they serve.  Case in point: Red Cross Executive Director doesn’t know what portion of donations go to Harvey Relief (8/30/2017).

VIP.S. Tax reform will impact charitable giving. PBS has conducted an analysis here.

Also, this.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

13 Nights Of Halloween

My all-time favorite Halloween decoration.

I love Halloween.

Last year we blatantly borrowed from Freeform’s 13 Nights Of Halloween and created our own. It was so much fun we’re making it a tradition. This year we added a couple of books and some TV episodes to our movie mix from last year.

Here’s Our List for 2017:

Note: Harry Potter is our Thanksgiving movie marathon tradition.
Note 2: All of our choices are available thorough Hulu, Netflix, or the Public Library. 

If you’re interested in creating your own 13 days of Halloween here are some ideas to get you started:

Here’s a whole list of TV movies and marathons for Halloween 2017.  Turner Classic Movies does Halloween right.  Note to self: We might make next year’s Halloween movie list all classic suspense movies . . . .

Another list that includes TCM and adds in the Hallmark Channel Halloween movies, too.

The Witchiest Movies of 2017

A good list of non-scary stop motion movies to watch is here.

TV Shows/Episodes
15 Best Halloween TV Episodes and another list here.

If you’re into scary, here’s a list.

ANY of the Doctor Who Weeping Angels episodes, BlinkThe Time Of Angels / Flesh and StoneThe God Complex  and The Angels Take Manhattan.  Bonus, The Empty Child and Tooth and Claw are super scary, too.  The Empty child has one of my all time favorite Doctor Who lines, which will spoil things if I quote it here.

Cozy Mystery Halloween book list, and here and here.

Modern Mrs. Darcy’s list of spooky but not quite scary books is here.

A list of Halloween picture books, Common Sense Media’s recommendations here, a YA list here, and several kids / YA lists mixed in here.

And, because Pinterest is the place for everything, here’s a board with all kinds of Halloween cozy mystery suggestions (with some Autumn suggestions, too).

If you’d rather, and you have access to Freeform, here’s their 2017 schedule.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

Update – My 16 Year News Addiction

Recently, I wrote about my 16 year addiction to the news (you can read about it here).

It’s been over 30 days (38 to be exact) since I’ve logged on to any news website or turned the TV t0 24/7 news.

As I sat down to work this morning, it occurred to maybe it’s worth spending a moment to think about what’s changed.

I noticed that even the thought of TV news makes me a bit nauseous now.

I noticed a need to supplement my mindfulness curriculum with activities based around kindness (a most mindful thing) and took steps to incorporate kindness in every mindfulness class I teach.

I noticed I have a lot more ideas for blog posts, both here and over on Irish Yoga Chick.

I’ve noticed I’m a lot more creative in general.

I noticed it’s been 4 days since I’ve checked Twitter. At all. And that it’s been a little tougher than ditching the news on the web and the TV.

I noticed a significant increase in the number of entries to my yearly book journal. Most of them are cozy mysteries I’ve read on my tablet (Yep. I made it into the 21st century and now read ebooks. Sometimes.) Some of my favorite series are Molly MacRae’s Haunted Yarn Shop series, Hannah Reed’s Scottish Highlands series, Sheila Connolly’s County Cork series, and Louise Penny’s Chief Inspector Armand Gamache series.

I’ve learned about the Agatha Awards, named for Agatha Christie and presented to authors in the cozy genre.

I’ve noticed I ditched a lot of TV shows on my Hulu watchlist, mostly those with over the top violence. Definitely not Jane The Virgin, though. And Kevin (Probably) Saves The World. tThose shows are just FUN.

If I were into analyzing myself, I’d think what I choose to read and DVR directly correlates to how the constant culture of violence and flat- out meanness has negatively and deeply affected my spirit, and it wasn’t until I removed the platforms that serve as constant reminders that I realized just how damaging the impact has been.

I’ve noticed I now make my bed every day. I don’t know how, or if that correlates. I’ll take it, though.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

cross posted to Irish Yoga Chick

If You’re Struggling

  1. Walk away from the tv, the computer, the cell phone. Even just for 5 minutes. Take a few deeply conscious breaths, go outside, or call someone you trust. Your Mind Matters.
  2. Recovery International offers in-person, online, chat and phone meetings.
  3. IMAlive offers immediate chat with volunteers.
  4. 7 Cups of Tea offers instant support and online counselling, too.
  5. Therapy For Black Girls is committed to making mental health issues more accessible and relevant for Black women. There’s a podcast here (weekly, I think).
  6. The Trevor Lifeline 1-866-488-7386 gives support to LGBTQIA youth.There’s also a text option. Text “Trevor” to 1-202-304-1200.
  7. AAAl-Anon and Alateen host in-person and online meetings all over the US.
  8. The National Alliance For Mental Health (NAMI) offers a phone HelpLine at 1-800-950-NAMI (6264) available Monday through Friday, 10 am–6 pm, ET if you want help finding resources in your area.
  9. NAMI’s 24/7 crisis text line is reached by texting NAMI to 741-741
  10. The National Suicide Prevention Line answers the phone 24/7 800-273-TALK (8255).

Each of these resources is free or low cost (sliding scale) and are available to all religions, sexual orientations and skin colors. Some are staffed by trained volunteers, some are staffed by licensed counselors.

We are all in this together, and there’s no shame in admitting that sometimes we all need a little help. #IDontMind

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved

cross posted to Irish Yoga Chick

My 16 Year Addiction To The News

A photo I took shortly after the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017.

Last week, subscribers to my newsletter learned about my 16 year addiction to the news. (You can read it here).

As of today, it’s officially been 14 days since I’ve watched any news on tv. Additionally, I haven’t randomly gone to any news websites, either.

I’ve also made some progress in breaking my addiction to Twitter news. I’ve rearranged  how my tweets are delivered, making a specific “news” tab that I check a max of 2x a day for 15-20 minutes. And I have not checked Twitter in the middle of the night once in the last two weeks. Yeah, that’s progress.

Instead of my constant need to have the news on in the background, both day and night, I now subscribe to 3 news aggregation emails that I read every morning. I also have a couple of podcasts lined up, however I just realized I haven’t listened to them in the last two weeks, either.

My favorite news aggregation email is The Morning News (probably because it’s delivered just like Twitter. The irony is not lost on me.) Politico’s Playbook and Morning Media round out my three. Both of the Politico subscriptions are pretty wonky. The Skimm is another good one. It’s less less wonky, too.

As for podcasts, The Daily is a short, in-depth look at one current topic each day. Vox’s The Weeds (semi-weekly), Lovett or Leave It and Pod Save America (weekly — and really, all of the Crooked Media podcasts are informative) are my go-to. And, of course, my local NPR podcasts.

My fear that I wouldn’t be prepared, or that I’d somehow be “sticking my head in the sand” if I wasn’t focused on the news 24/7 hasn’t played out that way at all. If anything, I’m more aware of what’s going on in my neighborhood, my city and my state now because I’m choosing where to focus my attention and not depending on ratings-hungry media companies to decide for me what’s important.

Completely random, Austin Kleon’s newsletter today has several links on just this topic as his #1 of “ten things worth sharing.

© copyright HeyAmyLou 2017 – All rights reserved