{You Pick Six} An Interview with News Anchor: Maria Stephanos

Interview with WCVB news anchor Maria Stephanos.

Early in 2016, Maria Stephanos joined WCVB as their evening news anchor.

My mom and I were talking about Maria and both mentioned that we love her laugh. It’s contagious and lights you up! We adore her!

Then a few months ago, my mom and I were talking about my interview series.

Out of the blue, she says, “You should ask Maria Stephanos. She really loves food.”

I thought it was a great idea! So I contacted Maria and she agreed. Plus, she said to “give her best” to my mom, which thrilled her to no end!

I’m truly honored that Maria is “here” and sharing a bit more about her love of food. So let’s resume this ongoing series with the 16th interview of You Pick Six.

* * *

What brings you peace every day?
The ocean. I have a very intense job where we are digesting some pretty tough news every day. I find myself driving to the ocean a lot and just walking on the beach or throwing myself into the cold new England waters no matter what time of year it is. It resets me, refuels me and brings me back to life.

What is a favorite childhood food memory?
When we would go out to my father’s garden that was bursting with tomatoes and we would spend hours picking them and eating them. We would bring a salt shaker with us and just sit on the grass and eat the fresh tomatoes we just picked. Nothing like it.

What is a favorite simple recipe to prepare at home?
A Greek cookie called Koulourakia. They are my favorite recipe because it ties me back to my Greek heritage and my family. My grandmother taught me how to make and braid them. They aren’t flashy, don’t have a ton of flavor, but every time I make them ( I make them weekly) I think of my roots and my grandmother and they fill me with love.Koulourakia, Greek cookies, cooling on a rack.

What do you think that most people don’t understand about food?
Food is love. To cook it is to provide sustenance for the people you love and to eat is a magical experience that can trigger memories of people or experiences that revolved around food.

What is the best meal you ever had and where was it?
My Aunt Debbie’s house. It doesn’t matter if she’s making keftedes (Greek meatballs) or homemade phyllo. I have never left her table without thinking that is the best meal I’ve ever had.

Tell me about where you grew up.
I grew up in Groveland Massachusetts. At the time, we didn’t even have a traffic light! It was tiny, rural and very beautiful. I thought I would live there forever.

* * *

Thank you so much for participating Maria!

+ + +
Photos: Provided by Maria Stephanos.

Self-care With Virtual Therapy Dogs On Instagram

Self-care with virtual therapy dogs on Instagram.

How are you doing? I mean really.

I’ve been feeling stressed. Yoga and meditation help, but sometimes they’re not enough.

Between the humanitarian crisis unfolding before our eyes in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, the wildfires in California, Trump’s constant online and offline bullying, ignorance and cruelty, and the recent news of Harvey Weinstein’s decades long brutality towards women, it gets to be too much.

There have been several posts that I planned to do over the past few weeks, but didn’t have the time and emotional energy to do them. But I do have a tried and true method of self-care.

In health care, self-care is any necessary human regulatory function which is under individual control, deliberate and self-initiated.

I don’t have a pet, but find myself drawn towards cute little dogs.

Emotional support animals are used by people who have a diagnosed medical disability. Therapy dogs aren’t usually service animals, but are often brought to people in stressful situations for comfort.

There are three dogs on Instagram that I go to for comfort when I find myself feeling overwrought. If you follow me on twitter, you can probably guess the timing!

Just looking at these cute little dogs calms me down. Anyway, my personal virtual therapy dogs are: Norbert, Bibi Shasha and Popeye the Foodie. You’re welcome!

What are you doing for self-care?

+ + +
Image: Collage made from Instagram pictures.

Show Your Obamacare Rebate! Thanks Obama!

We made it to October 1st and saved the Affordable Care Act! The special rules in place to pass the legislation with just 50 votes, using Pence to break the tie, expired yesterday.

The Republicans frenzy to repeal the ACA was cruel on so many levels. The failure to repeal will no doubt save many lives. I’m sure that Jimmy Kimmel speaking out about his experiences had a lot to do with keeping Obamacare alive.

One of the many benefits of the ACA is that it places requirements on health insurance companies that benefit those of us who subscribe to health care plans. One of the most beneficial requirements is the 80/20 Rule.

The 80/20 Rule generally requires insurance companies to spend at least 80% of the money they take in from premiums on health care costs and quality improvement activities. The other 20% can go to administrative, overhead, and marketing costs.

The 80/20 rule is sometimes known as Medical Loss Ratio, or MLR. If an insurance company uses 80 cents out of every premium dollar to pay for your medical claims and activities that improve the quality of care, the company has a Medical Loss Ratio of 80%.

Insurance companies selling to large groups (usually more than 50 employees) must spend at least 85% of premiums on care and quality improvement.

If your insurance company doesn’t meet these requirements, you’ll get a rebate on part of the premium that you paid.

Yesterday, I received a rebate check in the mail! It was a nice surprise and much needed. I’ve received a few rebate checks over the years and most likely many other people have as well.

Have you received an Obamacare rebate?

It’s quite striking to me that after just finishing their latest attempt to repeal Obamacare, now republicans are trying to give the richest of the rich a tax cut and raise taxes on the rest of us.

The Obamacare rebate is a boost to everyone regardless of income. I think this rebate should be more widely discussed. Shouldn’t we be talking about extra money in our pockets because of Obamacare?

How many of us are receiving it? Let’s share on social media if we receive this rebate and thank President Obama for the Obamacare rebate. Thanks Obama!