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Holiday Shopping Guide For the Empowered Woman

By Jennifer Cassetta 10 days ago 184 Views No comments

By Jennifer Cassetta

This holiday season is a great time to honor the empowered women in your life. Whether she is a super accomplished rock star or just starting out on her empowerment journey, the following list contains great gift ideas to show your support for her! Check out my favorite holiday gifts for the empowered women in your life!

1. 2018 Planner from Anthropologie ($34)

Setting goals is only done by a small percentage of people – usually known as go-getters! Following through on accomplishing those goals requires planning and tracking. Personally, I am old school and love putting pen to paper when I plan out my year. This planner is gorgeous and efficient but there are tons more to choose from. Grab a planner for your favorite goal-getter!

2. You Rock Quotable Mug ($14.95)

Every empowered woman could use a dose of positive reinforcement every morning. There are tons of positive quotes to choose from but I like the simple “You Rock” mug that easy to compute before I have my coffee. It’s a great gift for any coffee or tea lover.

3. T is for Transformation ($13)

I know Shaun T personally, and I can vouch that he is the real deal and truly authentic in his quest of helping people transform their lives from the inside out. In his book, T is for Transformation, Shaun shares the sexual abuse he suffered as a child and how he has overcome that and other challenges in his life through the use of his “7 superpowers.” This is an excellent book for anyone who had a rough year, anyone who is looking to improve their life or for that self-help junkie like myself.

4. Mace® Brand Pepper Spray ($16.99)

I couldn’t decide between my two favorite Mace® Brand products so I am including them both. Every empowered woman should have at least one pepper spray to help keep her safe. I love the Exquisite polka dot pepper spray because when I’m carrying it, I feel incognito because it looks like it could be a lipstick or perfume case. I also go out hiking a lot by myself and when I do I carry the Mace® Brand Sport pepper spray model. It features an adjustable strap so it sits right in my hand if I ever need it. This is a great stocking stuffer or Secret Santa gift for a runner, a commuter or any woman who’s into personal safety.

5. Essential oil Diffuser ($29.65)

Have someone on your list that could use help sleeping, breathing, relaxing, waking up, or feeling happy? Apparently, there’s an essential oil that can help with almost every ailment out there. This essential oil diffuser that I have is one example of the many out there that are easy to use. Depending on your budget you can include a couple of oils as well. A good starter kit can include lavender (to relax), eucalyptus (for clear breathing) and lemon (for mood boosting). It’s a great gift for people that like to read in bed, sleep peacefully and relax.

6. Beauty Counter Polished Pout Trio ($48)

Most lip glosses contain toxic chemicals like parabens, BHT and petroleum, that we essentially wind up eating. Some lipsticks even contain lead. Beauty Counter products are safe from these dangerous chemicals so lip lickers need not worry. They often run out of stock on products so best to order fast. Also, you can order directly from their website and not have to find a consultant.

7. Hear Me Roar Book ($14.95)

An oldie but a goodie! Every high school senior and college student could use an extra dose of empowerment. Hear Me Roar: how to defend your mind, body and heart against people who suck, teaches young women how to be brave, increase self worth and roar and defend themselves against predators. This book is a great stocking stuffer for your daughter, niece or friend.

8. Everlane Backpack ($68 - $80)

Keeping your hands free as you commute, travel or shop is a safety tip we can all heed. That’s part of the reason why I love and carry this stylish and functional backpack. I travel around the country with it and throw my laptop in it and get on my bicycle to head to the coffee shop. This is a great gift for a student but also anyone who bikes, travels or commutes.

9. Graced by Grit ($92)

I must have been through countless pairs of black fitness leggings to date, however, the Graced by Grit Better Than Everything legging is by far my favorite. Graced by Grit is a women-owned brand based in Southern California who sources their fabric from Italy, but products are made proudly in the U.S. Every purchase comes with a free whistle in the hopes that women can use the whistles if ever in a dangerous situation. The brand was inspired by a tragic story of a teenage girl who was murdered while out on a run. Graced by Grit is taking a stand for women’s safety! Anything they make is a great gift for any women who likes to exercise and look and feel good doing it.

10. Lake Champlain Chocolate (From $10 - $150)

From baskets of hot chocolates, to truffles, to a vegan chocolate assortment, every chocolate lover would be over the moon to get a gift from my favorite chocolate company, Lake Champlain Chocolates. Based in Vermont, they use local ingredients when possible and all of their chocolates are free of preservatives, additives and extenders. There’s not one product I’ve tried that I didn’t love. This is a great gift from a stocking stuffer to a gift basket for a family, a good neighbor, or a great employee or boss. And of course, the higher the percentage of cacao, the healthier it is!

11. Society Nine Boxing Gloves ($78)

Quite simply, the Bia Boxing Gloves in white and gold are the sexiest boxing gloves I’ve ever seen. And when you feel sexy, you may be able to fight a little harder. Boxing is a hot workout right now and for good reason. It not only helps you burn tons of calories because of it’s high intensity nature of the sport, but it also does make you feel like a badass and help you learn how to hit, duck and block. These gloves are a great gift for any woman who currently boxes or would like to learn.

12. SeaVees for J. Crew Glittery Sneakers ($88)

Who’s says comfort can’t be cute? I’m all about wearing stylish sneakers as much as I can while I travel and when I’m working. Not only will you be able to run faster when needed, they are also safer for your back if you stand and walk most of the day. Wearing heels can do significant damage to your lower back by tightening your calves if worn often and over time. These glittery shoes are great for the holiday and your back. They’re a great gift for a student, someone who commutes or just loves comfy shoes and glitter.

Holiday Home Safety with Jennifer Cassetta

By Jennifer Cassetta 1 month ago 228 Views No comments

The holiday season is coming quickly! Jennifer Cassetta sits down to share her favorite Mace® Brand safety products to keep her family and home safe.

Watch Video Here

Stalking is Scary

By Debbie Riddle 2 months ago 882 Views No comments

by Debbie Riddle, Stalking Awareness Advocate

This time of year, people celebrate the spooky and scary. But Halloween-related creepy is a far cry from matters truly terrifying, like stalking. Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment or contact directed at a specific person to induce fear.

Since October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I wanted to take a moment to share some truly chilling statistics about stalking:

  • 7.5 million people are stalked in the US in one year.
  • 89% of femicide victims who have been physically assaulted had also been stalked in the 12 months prior to their murder ( stalking is an extremely dangerous behavior )
  • 61% of female victims and 44% of male victims of stalking are stalked by a current or former intimate partner, 25% of female victims and 32% of male victims are stalked by an acquaintance.
  • About half of all victims of stalking indicated that they were stalked before the age of 25. About 14% of female victims and 16% of male victims experienced stalking between the ages of 11 and 17
  • 11% of stalking victims were stalked for more than 5 years.
  • 46% of stalking victims greatest fear is not knowing what will happen next.

My sister, Peggy Klinke, was a victim of stalking. She endured years of emotional abuse, harassment, surveillance, threats and terrifying behaviors before she was murdered by her ex-boyfriend and stalker. I am sharing her story in hopes that my efforts will help others prevent or avoid similar critical situations.

For additional information and stalking resources that can help prevent future violence and keep ourselves, our families and our friends safe, please visit http://stalkingmuststop.org/

There's no excuse for abuse

By Jennifer Cassetta 2 months ago 187 Views No comments

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month, but just because the month will come to an end doesn't mean our work towards ending abuse stops. Watch as safety expert, Jennifer Cassetta, breaks the silence by discussing domestic violence facts and ways you can continue to support and take your stand to help end domestic violence.

Watch the Video!

Myths and Facts of Domestic Violence

By Jennifer Cassetta 2 months ago 315 Views No comments

By Jennifer Cassetta

October can often bring to mind pumpkin spice lattes, sweater weather and Halloween costumes. But, did you know that October is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month?

Domestic violence, still a very much taboo topic, is happening behind closed doors all over the United States and beyond. In fact, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States, according to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

There are many myths surrounding domestic violence. Here are just a few and the actual truth and facts to dispel them.

Myth #1: Domestic violence is purely physical and includes battering, beating and sexual assault.

The truth is domestic violence is not just limited to someone being hit or battered by his or her partner. Domestic violence is the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another. It includes physical violence, sexual violence, threats, and emotional or psychological abuse. Batters use a range of tactics to terrorize, frighten, manipulate, humiliate, harm and sometimes kill an intimate partner.

Myth #2: Domestic violence victims are only women.

All genders experience domestic violence from both sides; as the victim and as the abuser. Statistics show that 1 in 3 women and 1 in 4 men have been physically abused by a domestic partner.

Myth #3: Domestic violence only happens to low income, women of color.

The truth is that wealthy, well educated individuals of any race are just as prone to violence as anyone. Celebrities who have spoken publicly about being victims of domestic violence include: Rihanna, Robin Givens, Nigella Lawson, Halle Berry, Shakira and Sarah Hyland.

Myth #4: The victim of domestic violence can simply leave the relationship.

The truth is that only the abuser is to blame for being abusive. And the emotional rollercoaster that the victim is taken on leads to damaged self-confidence and many times, downright fear of standing up to or leaving the abuser.

The abuser often uses a cyclical pattern where he or she will abuse, feel guilty and/or scared of getting caught, create excuses for their behavior, act normal again, fantasize about abusing again and then set up the partner for abuse again and justify it.

Many times a victim has no safe haven to go to where they may be safe from their abuser. Many are scared for their lives and don’t have the financial resources and supportive network to leave and start a new life.

Myth #5: Alcohol, drug use, or mental illnesses are usually causes for domestic violence.

The truth is that alcohol, drug use or mental illness do not cause domestic violence, even though sometimes they may go along with it. In general, the cause for domestic violence is when an abuser has learned this behavior and chooses to abuse.

Blaming alcohol or drugs is an excuse and a way to deny responsibility. Both may sometimes be a trigger for an attack, but they are not the underlying cause. Many sober people are violent and become abusers as well.

Realtor Interviews on Safety

By Jennifer Cassetta 3 months ago 292 Views No comments

By Jennifer Cassetta

Being a realtor is a great career. Most great rewards can come with great risks. When working closely with strangers in any field, we assume some type of risk, but because realtors often times meet with strangers in private homes we wanted to talk directly with realtors to find out what risks, if any, they have come across during their career.

A great self defense tool is to envision different dangerous scenarios that you could possibly be in and how you would deal with them. If you are a realtor, new to the profession, read the following stories and ask yourself what you would do if faced with the same situations.

Story #1

Jessica Nelson, a broker with Liberty Realty in Hoboken, New Jersey had a potentially very scary story to tell. About four years ago, Jessica was in charge of leasing out a building in West New York, when a potential client called to view an apartment. She met him after work and instead of it being just him, he showed up with two other men. The electricity wasn’t even working yet in the new building either.

The three men were from three different countries and were all going to live together. This set off red flags for Jessica, but she finished the showing unharmed. Later on, she found out the men were on the national terror watch list!

Another time, Jessica showed an open house and instead of the one man who called to say it was just for him, eight people showed up together. She immediately was on high alert, knew where all of the exits were and left straight out the back door.

Story #2

Denise Rogers of Element Realty on Long Island, NY, has been in the business for twenty-two years. She recalls a story of a man who stalked her over the period of a few months. Denise had an open house about nine years ago when a man showed up alone. He came in an older car, which he would leave on the street and he stayed at the open house for about two hours. She definitely thought it was strange.

At the next open house she had, he came again and started to act more comfortable by sitting on the couch for a while. Later, he began calling the real estate office and asking which open houses Denise would be giving and when. Denise alerted the rest of the realtors about him and when a colleague of hers had an open house and he showed up, she called the police to have him arrested because they found him in a closet. The cops couldn’t arrest him because he didn’t actually attack anyone, but they scared him off enough so that he never came back.

Story #3

PJ Kennedy, a certified property distress expert, has been with Keller Williams Realty for five years in Charlotte, North Carolina. He has come across squatters using drugs during a viewing. Another time a man who was most likely on drugs threatened him, and he felt the need to protect his client who was pregnant at the time. He was able to get them out safely. PJ knows that this particular area has a high rate of crystal meth use and realizes that can be dangerous when going into certain properties. He encourages everyone to know how to protect themselves.

Story #4

Lori Rowe has been working for 31 years as a realtor in North Barrington, Illinois. During one open house, Lori recalls a man showing up who she says, didn’t fit the part. He was too scruffy looking for the high-end property she was showing.

He then began invading her personal space and that is when her intuition kicked in. She called her boss at the office and used a code word they had set up prior to the incident. He asked if she was scared and he continued to call her and check on her. The third time he called Lori, the potential perp ran out the door. She thinks realtors are in a vulnerable situation in open houses and knows of two stories of women realtors who were bound and gagged while robbers stole from the home.

Real Estate Agent Safety Tips

By Ryan Tollefsen 3 months ago 355 Views No comments

Real Estate Agent Safety Tips

Going into the community and touring homes with perspective buyers is the main day-to-day work of a real estate agent, but many agents find that this work is more dangerous than they first anticipated. When walking into a home, an agent never knows what situation may present itself, and sometimes the buyers are complete strangers at the start of this process. Here are some tips real estate agents can use to make sure they can do their job safely, without fear of running into some unexpected danger along the way.

1. Meet New Clients Safely

Meeting a new client for the first time puts an agent at risk, because the agent has no way of knowing whether that client is who they say they are. Consider meeting in a public place or at the real estate office first. Ask for identification, claiming company policy, and photocopy it for the client's file. Introduce all new clients to co-workers, then ask them to fill out an identification form. All of these actions will deter potential criminals, but will not be a concern for law-abiding citizens.

2. Avoid Confined Spaces

Confined spaces, like the basement or attic, are somewhere an agent can easily become trapped if the buyers are unscrupulous. Agents can avoid these areas by talking about the home's selling point, then allowing the buyer to explore these area while remaining by the front door. Agents should position themselves by the door to any room they are exploring, while the buyer does the primary tour, allowing the agent to flee more quickly if needed.

3. Bring a Friend

In situations that make an agent uncomfortable, strength in numbers is the best defense. Bringing a friend, coworkers, or even a spouse, but have someone else along to help provide another measure of safety.

4. Use Caution in Vacant Properties

For most agents, the clients are not the biggest risk they face. Often the risk is in the homes they are touring, especially when those homes are supposed to be vacant. First, vacant properties are often welcoming to unwanted guests. Squatters can be quite dangerous, because they are unwilling to leave their new abode, but vermin and insect infestations can also be dangerous.

To avoid problems, visit vacant properties during the day only, and always let someone else know which property is on the schedule. Understand whether the home has a security system or not to know how careful you'll need to be. Inspect the exterior before entering for signs of problems. Finally, don't confront a squatter or previous owner who may be inside the home, but instead call the police to report any trespassers.

5. Practice Personal Safety

Real estate agents must use their own images for marketing purposes, because they work in a highly personal field. However, marketing materials that contain personal photos can draw the attention of predators and other criminals. Because of this, agents need to know basic personal safety measures.

First, agents need to wear shoes and clothes they can run in if a showing turns dangerous. They also need to avoid using personal and home contact information in marketing materials, opting instead to use their office phone and company cell phone. Agents should use caution about friending their clients on social media, where they may post photos and information about their families and personal life for all to see. Taking a self-defense class, carrying a Mace Brand Realtor safety kit and understanding what to do in a serious situation are all good ideas for agents who spend their time in the public eye.

Real estate is not a dangerous field, but it does carry some risks. Practicing smart real estate techniques with a focus on personal safety will help keep today's agents safe and successful.

6 Steps for Realtor Safety

By Ken Kittelberger 3 months ago 300 Views No comments

6 Steps for Realtor Safety

By Jennifer Cassetta

If you’re an area Realtor, you have no doubt heard the story of Betsy Carter, who was abducted and murdered while showing an open house. Her story, sparked a lot of safety events around the country to help women and men avoid danger when possible. September is Realtor Safety Month. Realtors can practice the following safety tips to decrease their chances of being a target of theft, stalking and assault.

Don’t get too personal.

Try not to share personal info with your new clients. There’s no need for them to know where you live, where your kids go to school, if you’re single, or where you hang out on the weekends.

Be social media savvy.

If you have a business account for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter or any other social media service, keep it about business. Feature the homes you are selling and keep your private business private. Give potential clients access to your office line only and keep your cell phone number off of social media.

Tone down the bling.

Dressing for success is great. Putting your best foot forward and showing potential clients that you are a successful agent can be helpful in making a deal. However, wearing overly expensive jewelry, driving flashy cars, and carrying designer handbags can signal a potential thief that you may be a good target for theft. If you choose to wear your best, try to do that at the office when surrounded with people and not during open houses when you are alone.

Know how to protect yourself.

Learning basic self-defense has helped many women and men in the moment of a life-threatening attack. Know your weapons that you have naturally on your body and how to use them. Knees, elbows, feet and hands can strike your opponent and help you get out of grabs and holds, long enough for you to possibly flee the situation. Carrying a Mace Brand Realtor Safety Kit while showing open houses can help you fend off an attacker in the moment. I highly recommend having one handy.

Fake it till you make it.

Always use strong body language when showing open houses. Even if you are feeling nervous or vulnerable in a situation, using great posture and making direct eye contact with clients will show you are still feeling confident and in control. Your brain may even start to believe it too.

Don’t let clients tell you where to go in a house. Lead the conversation and the showing but let clients walk ahead of you if you are entering a room with only one exit. Stay close to the exit while allowing the client to walk around the room and explore. If showing a closed-in backyard or area, the same principle applies. Never back yourself into a corner. Stay close to the exit and let the client explore.

Create a code.

If you ever find yourself in a situation that you want out of immediately, having a code with colleagues or loved ones can help. Have a secret code word or phrase that you can text or say on a phone call that would sound innocent to the attacker but would signal your colleagues and loved ones that you are in danger and that they should send help. Perhaps you can play along with this potential attacker, disguised as a client, and tell them you have to call the office to confirm the details of the home you are showing. Say your code and know that help will be on it’s way, hopefully in the form of police officers.

Another tactic to get out of a showing as fast as possible is to lie. Have a phrase ready that you are comfortable saying that gives you an immediate out regardless of what the client says. Perhaps it is something like, “my child’s school just texted and there is an emergency. I must leave now.” If the client refuses to leave, leave the house anyway and go get help.

We want to hear from you. Are you a real estate agent? Have you ever felt unsafe while on the job?

Car Safety Kit for Road Tripping

By Jennifer Cassetta 4 months ago 312 Views No comments

By Jennifer Cassetta

The summer may be coming to an end but that doesn’t mean that your road trips have to stop. Whether you’re traveling along the coast for an end-of-summer beach vacation or heading to the lake for a long weekend, road-tripping safety can be easily prepared for in advance and is just as important as packing your suitcase.

Keeping a car safety kit in your car allows you to be prepared for an emergency or unfortunate situation. Whether you have a new or old car, having the following items in your car safety kit can help you in emergencies such as crashes, break-downs, break-ins, and attempted assaults.

1. Mace Brand Utility Knife:

This genius multi-purpose tool is a must have for any car safety kit. It has a seatbelt cutting tool if you or a passenger was stuck with locked seatbelts after an accident. And, of course, it has a durable, stainless steel blade that can cut through difficult objects. Perhaps you will need to cut clothing off of an injured person or cut through sticks or branches that have gotten lodged somewhere, keeping this utility knife on you can be a life saver.

2. Non-perishable snacks:

Snack bars or protein bars are great food items that can be stashed away in your car safety kit or even in the glove department. If you and/or your kids are ever stranded and hungry, a nutritious bar can keep the hanger away.

2. Water for drinking:

Having at least a gallon of clean water in the car at all times is important. I recommend keeping it in a non-toxic, non-plastic container. Plastic water bottles will leach toxic chemicals into the water when exposed to hot temperatures. If ever stranded far from a town or convenient store, having water to keep you hydrated until help arrives is helpful to keep you coherent.

4. First aid kit:

A first aid kit is a necessity for every car, but especially when you have kids. If ever hurt or injured, having at least the basics like anti-bacterial wash and bandages can keep a victim from dangerous bleeding wounds while waiting on an ambulance or heading to the hospital or urgent care.

5. Jumper cables:

This should be an obvious one for everyone who drives and who does not have a AAA membership.

6. Duct tape:

Because, you just never know.

7. Flashlight & extra batteries:

Needing to see in the dark is important and so is having extra batteries in case!

8. Mace Brand pepper spray:

I always carry a pepper spray product with me in my car. I’ve heard too many stories of women being pulled over by someone impersonating a police officer or being car-jacked. Keeping it with you inside the car and not in the trunk is key.

9. Warm blanket:

You never know when you may need to car camp unexpectedly. Keeping toasty with a warm blanket will make a night in the car that much better.

For cold weather road-tripping there are a few more items to keep handy:

  • A windshield ice scraper to combat frost and snow
  • Cat litter which works like gravel to help you get out of a slippery icy road situation

We want to hear from you! Have you ever been in a car emergency? What were the items that you are thankful that you had and/or what do you wish you did have that you didn’t?

A Letter to Parents Sending Their Kids to College

By Jennifer Cassetta 5 months ago 394 Views No comments

By Jennifer Cassetta

Dear Parents,

I am sure that this can be a bittersweet time for you. Sending your beloved children off to college can be exciting as you see something they have worked so hard towards come to fruition. It could also feel liberating that you may have some more free time on your hands and at the same time you may feel sad because you will miss them so much.

While you shop for the extra-long bed sheets and stock up on snacks try to set aside time to talk to your kid about his or her safety while at school. As a parent, it’s your job to teach them about personal safety now that they are leaving the nest, because most likely their new school will not.

Here are a few ideas to get you started on how to prepare your kids to be safe and confident while still enjoying themselves at school:

1. Talk to kids about sexual assault

Whether you have a son or daughter, having a conversation about the difference between consensual sex and anything else is important. According to the Rape Abuse Incest National Network (RAINN), college aged women are at a higher risk of sexual assault than women of any other age group. In fact, 23.1 percent of female and 2.2 percent of male undergraduate students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence or incapacitation. The most disturbing fact is that many assaults go unreported, which means the statistics are probably higher than reported.

2. Talk about safe partying

Since many incidents involve alcohol and incapacitation, speak to kids about setting safe limits on alcohol use. Teach them how blacking out can occur without any physical warnings and how to keep their drinks safe from being spiked.

In my book, Hear Me Roar: how to defend your mind, body and heart against people who suck, I wrote the 10 Cocktail Commandments to help people of any age manage their liquor including:

  • Never drink on an empty stomach
  • Watch when your drink is being prepared
  • Keep your eyes on your drink at all times. (Yes, that means taking it to the bathroom with you)
  • Have a glass of water in between every alcoholic drink to avoid dehydration and quicker intoxication.

Another great tip for safe partying is to always head out in a group and make sure that same group heads home together. If one member of the group can stay sober and be the eyes and ears for the group, even better. I’ve had sorority women tell me that person is called the “party mom”.

3. Send them off with a safety kit

Yes, snacks and a cozy comforter are nice but sending your kids off to school with a curated personal safety kit could actually help keep them safe from harm and able to protect themselves.

A first aid kit is an essential for any safety kit. A good safety kit should have all of the essential bandages, alcohol swabs, anti-bacterial ointments, cold medicine or vitamins, some anti-inflammatories and a scissor.

A Mace Brand personal alarm is something to definitely include for your student to keep on his/her keychain when out and about to set off if ever in a vulnerable situation.

Date rape drug detector strips are available online and great to add to your safety kit for your son or daughter to detect if their drink has been spiked.

Mace Brand pepper spray would be my last essential item for your safety kit to arm your student when alone, in a new town or city, driving or walking to and from work, classes or parties. You can never be too prepared.

Chances are your new student will be just fine and will stay safe throughout their college years as they learn how to fend for themselves and develop better street smarts. It’s always better to err on the side of caution and empower your kids to take personal safety into their own hands!

Cheers and good luck to you all,



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