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Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Suz could write you a song about her love {platonic} and admiration {deep} for her pediatrician, Dr. Ross. From a peanut allergy to passing out spells to googling gone wrong, he's been a calm, cosmic guiding light in her role as a mom. He is here with us today to share some online resources so you, too, can be a realistic, well-informed parent.

My name is Dr. Michael Ross. I am a general Pediatrician at Husson Pediatrics, in Bangor Maine. In my practice, I have the pleasure of working with 7 superb pediatrician colleagues. My partners and I work together to provide coordinated care to the patients in our practice, for the betterment of their health and wellness.

In the last decade, we have been joined by a new partner. She has grown to play a tremendous part in our group. Perhaps you’ve met her?

Her name is Dr. Google.

Dr. Google has been a great asset to our practice. I know that before I enter the exam room, my parents have usually consulted Dr. Google for advice:

• Is my toddler coming down with allergies or a cold? Do I need to be worried about either one?

• Why is my 15 month old biting?

• How do I get my 6 year old back to sleep in his own bed?

Dr. Google is a superb pediatrician. She provides exhaustive differential diagnosis for just about anything. And she’s so fast! There is no waiting in the office, no paranoia that your child just contracted Yellow fever from the office’s playhouse. She doesn’t need an appointment. She doesn’t require pre-registration, and her co-pays are never “out of pocket”. She doesn’t bill your insurance. She is eternally patient, infinitely accessible, and always on call. She even does house calls.

Who could ask for a better partner?

Unfortunately, Dr. Google has some disadvantages as well. While parents appreciate her speed and detail, she is sometimes accused of “lacking a filter”. She often produces contradictory advice, even when questioned about the same topic. She doesn’t organize information based on the latest research – a dangerous approach, given the rapidly progressive and evolutionary nature of medicine. Some of her information carries a commercial bias, increasingly frowned upon in this age of transparency. Dr. Google has been accused of collecting the information you search for, raising confidentiality concerns. And most unfortunately, some of her information is just…wrong. Not all of it - not even most of it. But a good amount (I would estimate about 10-20%) of Dr. Google’s advice is questionable. And while that doesn’t sound like much, consider a search result yielding 10 hits - 2 will be of questionable validity.

In this guest blog, my hope is to introduce to you some other “partners” to serve as information sources for you and your family. And while I would encourage you to continue to use “Dr. G”, I would urge you to consult these sources first.

The AAP’s parent/patient-friendly website. Chock-full of advice on most general pediatric topics, from well-child care to acute illness care. Includes the best “symptom checker” of all the sites I investigated. A great first-stop.


UpToDate is a well-regarded source of information that doctors use to review topics pertinent to patient care. If your doctor ever steps out of the room to “review the latest research”, you can bet they are headed to query uptodate. The newer patient portal side is equally impressive. A great source for both quick synopsis and detailed reviews.
The best site available for concerns regarding developmental delay. Highlights of this fantastic site include useful videos that compare behavior of children exhibiting developmental delay with those at age-appropriate levels. The best place to go for those nagging questions about your child’s development.


Your tax dollars at work! Two public health sources of information. The cdc site is very dense, but a great source of information. The “healthy living” section is particularly detailed. Pub med health is the patient portal for pub med, a longstanding aggregate of articles physicians use to access the latest articles.

WebMD: Better Information. Better Health.

A popular site, but with a very heavy commercial bias. Drug company advertisements abound here, as evidenced by the 4 links to ADHD information on the main page, all of which bring you directly to medication “webvertisements”. Beware of bias!

Of course, after all your research, it is essential that you discuss your concerns with your doctor. While the web can get things started, nothing can replace the detailed history, years of training, clinical exam, and experience of a clinician. And while your symptoms and the web might match on one level, the detailed understanding of health from a physician is needed to put these symptoms and concerns into perspective.

Happy searching!

Dr. Michael Ross MD, FAAP

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Friday, April 22, 2011


This Earth Day, let’s celebrate our planet… and our wallets! At Well to Do, we’re all about fun, fabulous green living, especially when it comes to fun, fabulous green savings! So, we have compiled a few ways to turn your regular household items from trash to cash!

Recycle Bank: Earn points by recycling at home, referring friends, entering purchase codes, attending eco-friendly events, and environmental education modules. Earn enough points and score free products and gift cards from companies such as Macy’s and Aveeno.

The Freecycle Network

Freecycle: This website serves as a forum to barter and trade items and give a hand up to your community and neighbors in need. Search by city to find a desk up for grabs in return for raking a yard or barter a handbag for a fun new spring jacket. Either way, usable items are kept out of the landfill, and at no cost to either participant.


Electronics Recycling: What to do with that broken iPod or outdated camera? Numerous online sites offer cash for your used or broken electronics, such as or If prefer a face-to-face transaction, Best Buy is also accepting used electronics for their trade-in program. Recycle any electronics regardless of where you purchased the item and receive a Best Buy gift card.

Those are Well to Do’s 3 simple ways to save green this Earth Day. Your wallet and our planet will thank you!

xx S+S

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Thursday, April 21, 2011


If you're like us, Spring Fever has us cleansing our closets like it's nobody's business. We recently discovered this "Classics Checklist" of go-to closet classics via the uber fabulous Matchbook Magazine. We LOVE and wanted to share with you. ENJOY!

Click here for larger viewing.

Cheers to a classic closet with a side of trendy!

xx S+S

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Sunday, April 17, 2011


Welcome new friends... and old! We recently made some fabulous "green" radio with Deb Neuman on her Back to Business show along side Zeth from Central Street Farmhouse and Michael from Maple Landmark Woodcraft. Three cheers for Earth Day!

We've been busy getting ready for Spring—cleaning everything from our windows to our garages to our closets—so we thought we'd leave you with one of our most favorite posts, Shed Happens. Read on for more, and we hope you'll continually stop back in for our fun and fabulous tips, tricks, and giveaways!

cleaning a messy closet
We tend to hoard—particularly when it comes to our clothes—although it's something Suz's gotten much better at now that she and her husband share a closet. A 2010 House Beautiful article about clearing out the clutter deeply inspired us. Julie Morgenstern asserts that personal change starts with your closet since it holds the clues to your past and future self. She also warns that the whole process can take a good four hours... so plan accordingly.

Here are five of our favorite tips:
1. Begin by thinking on paper, which will help speed up and simplify the process: what do you love? When tossing items, refer to your list. When debating about an item, ask yourself: which is more valuable? The item or the cleared space?

2. No one lets go of something without reaching for something else. Think of the overarching theme, of what sort of feeling in your life you want next (i.e. serenity, creativity, space, new fall fashions) so you can create the space for it. 
3. Ask yourself these questions: Do I love it? Is it flattering? Is it the image I want to project? If it's a "yes" to all three, then it's a keeper. For the keepers: invest in matching wooden or padded hangers and quality containers.

4. When you're 3/4 of the way through clearing your closet, you may begin to get overwhelmed by the space (What am I going to do without my stuff?) Remind yourself that you are who you are, not what you own. Get through the panic, and you'll experience calm and relief.

5. Practice SHED. Separate the treasures, Heave the trash, Embrace your identity and connect to who you are without your stuff, and Drive forward.

By getting rid of outdated items, Julie Morgenstern says, you open yourself up to possibilities for the future. Remember: paring down your stuff is an important part of life, living green and going small, and will contribute to your overall happiness.

Go on and SHED. It happens!

xx S+S

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