I’m sooooooo looking forward to the Spring and Summer! 3 reasons to join me at Unscripted this Season.

I think I might have a little S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder) during the winter season, or I’m truly a Spring baby, having been birthed in April. One good winter snow and Christmas celebration, and I’m good on the cold weather. I’m almost immediately ready for the longer days, warmth and sunshine of the Spring, and our recent time at Unscripted Hotel here in Durham gave us a quick taste of what’s to come once the warm weather hits. My birthday trip to Cabo in Mexico definitely has me ‘feening’ for warm days, sitting by the pool and cocktails. I’m sure Unscripted can scratch that itch at home 🙂 Here are 3 reasons why:


  1. The folks: Tabitha Rodriguez-manager extraordinaire of Unscripted- personally invited me and my husband to their chef tasting and “aphrodisiac” cocktail night, featuring Bedlam Vodka, on Valentine’s Day. It was a short-and-sweet preview of the food and cocktails that I’m looking forward to having more of on the rooftop near Unscripted’s pool and pool-side bar, once the sunshine hits.
  2. The food: For the VDay meal, we feasted on the first course of oyster pearls. Then, we were then given a variety of delectable cocktails, including ones with coffee and chocolate. My favorite that night was the bacon-wrapped asparagus. Although these aren’t offered on a daily basis (only on special occasions), the food there, in general, is great. Give the Impossible Burger a try, with some fries, next time you’re there.
  3. My bday: Most weekends, you can find your fave local DJs in the lobby and enjoy drinks on the comfy couches. It’s where I’ll be this Friday celebrating my 40th birthday. Come on out and celebrate with us as DJ Mic Check blesses us on the 1s and 2s.

Soooooo excited for the Spring and Summer!





Parenting While Traveling: Tips for the Kids


We literally just dropped our 2 kids off to stay with their grandparents for the week, as we prepare to travel to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. They’re not quite the ages yet where they could travel internationally comfortably. However, for those that are traveling abroad with their little ones, here are some medical and parenting tips for you:
1. Make sure their vaccines are updated. If traveling between now and May, flu is still a risk for very young children. Please make sure they’re vaccinated, along with Tdap and MMR, if needed. If you’re unsure, ask your medical provider to check their records.
2. Make sure you don’t need to purchase them their own ticket. If still in a carrier seat, you can likely hold them in your lap and check the seat. Check with each airline to see what the age cut off is for needing their own, individual seat.
3. Carry lots of snacks and sanitized wipes. The other passengers on the flight will love you for keeping your little ones content with snacks on the plane. But, please don’t forget the sanitizer and sanitized wipes, for obvious reasons.
4. Electronics are ok. There has been a lot of heated debate lately about how much screen time kids should be allowed and at what age. As a family doctor, I understand where the professionals and concerned parents are coming from. However, as a parent myself, I have allowed and do allow my children to watch TV and play with electronic tablets….after their homework has been completed. If they misbehave or their grades begin to slip, the screens are the first rewards to go away. With travel, screens have saved our lives. The flight and rides are much more calm and quiet if the iPads are brought along. We also tend to lean toward almost all educational programs for them to watch. Go with your gut.
5. Enjoy them. Try to relax and not be so stringent with the schedule and the rules that you forget to have fun. That’s true when traveling and when at home. Our time with our kids goes by so quickly and they grow up so fast. Don’t forget you’re making memories on your vacations. Be present and be safe out there.
Have fun!

The Health of Black Men & Hip Hop…for the culture

With recent events, this topic has been on my heart…….

I recently checked off a box on my bucket list—I made it on a hip hop album!

I was asked by Phonte’ Coleman, one of my all-time fave hip hop MCs (solo artist and of the legendary group, Little Brother) and singers (yes, he has a wonderful voice when singing lead for The Foreign Exchange), to lend my speaking voice for his new album, No News is Good News. I jumped up from my Sunday nap, ran downstairs, screamed with joy to my tech-brilliant hubby, gathered myself back together, and with a make-shift mic and recording booth in the basement, we recorded about 30 seconds of health advice for black America. I’m sandwiched between two very poignant and honest songs on the album; Pastor Tigallo and Expensive Genes, both dealing with very serious commentary on the health of black men right now. It sparked the idea of this article immediately.

The release of this album couldn’t have come at a more important time. In the midst of the hip hop culture recently, many health concerns and realities have surfaced. The recent death of hip hop legend Craig Mack (of Bad Boy fame, “Flava in Ya Ear,” the hospitalization of rap mogul Rick Ross, and many other instances, very important questions have been raised about health in the black community–for black men, in particular. The climate caused me to reach out to my physician colleague, Doc Bintu (Dr. Khaalisha Bintu Ajala), Internal Medicine doctor and founder of Heartbeats and HipHop, to discuss what we as physicians can do to better educate the culture about health.

DocSwiner: Music, specifically hip hop, has and has had a major influence on black culture. Recently, the Triangle’s own hip hop artist, Phonte, released an album telling a story about life’s balances and imbalances. Yet, it seems most mainstream hip hop music (at times) praises lack of sleep, unhealthy habits, the use of drugs and overuse of alcohol. Do you think that musical artists could do more in terms of promoting health?

Doc Bintu: Yes, they could. However, rap is not a monolith by any means. I think everyone tells their own story. You have certain corporations who have a vested interest in popularity preceding content when it comes to selling rap. So they promote a rapper who celebrates drug use more than others. There are some “positive” rappers who don’t speak on health as much because it’s just not their focus but they aren’t celebrating drug use either. I think some of the hip-hop artists who speak on physical and mental health are not as heavily promoted as others. On the flip side, some like Kendrick Lamar are heavily promoted.



DocSwiner: In a recent interview article with Phonte’ speaking about the album, he speaks of his father’s death. He goes to say “….but my dad’s [death] was totally from health complications. It was diabetes, congestive heart failure, kidneys…And so, he died and was 54.” In what ways can we, as physicians, actively engage the community to speak about the burden of death due to health concerns? (https://djbooth.net/features/2018-03-08-phone-interview-no-news-good-news)

Doc Bintu: First, let me give respect and say Rest in Peace to Brother Craig Mack who was a phenomenal MC and the first artist to get Bad Boy off of the ground. He left us too soon at the age of 46 from congestive heart failure. We don’t know the circumstances surrounding his death but we do know that heart failure is when the heart cant pump blood into the body and organs as strongly as it should and that puts a person at risk for sudden cardiac death and other problems. It can be caused by several problems but two that stand out are high blood pressure and a heart attack. Queen Latifah and her mother, Rita Owens, have partnered with American Heart Association for the “Rise Above Heart Failure” campaign. They seek to educate everyone about the risks and signs of heart failure. As physicians, we can reach into our own family history and relate to our patients and the general public beyond our clinic and hospital walls. I recently lost my dad 2 months ago. It’s hard to speak about but I do look at the loss of his life at 65 and his health complications and as I always have, tried to use my experiences to relate to my patients. When he realized that he had end stage renal disease and started hemodialysis in 2013, I realized that he was facing his own mortality. So many black men fight so hard to survive, that having to face their mortality in light of something as intangible as a health condition that they don’t understand, is very hard. That particular health condition can change how they eat, where they can go, if they can travel and remind them that they might not see their kids become adults. We as practitioners have to help them broach that subject and not just in a short visit or on discharge from the hospital. We also need to offer counseling because a lot of our patients are actually depressed about their diagnosis.

DocSwiner: A recent artist, Rick Ross, was recently hospitalized for a few days from an unknown reason. Media was flushed with news about his hospitalization, but as we have seen before, the noise dies down and the hospitalization will be just a past story. How can health care providers and the media possibly work together to keep health concerns present and relevant in everyday life?

Doc Bintu: I think using our own platforms to reach others beyond hospital and clinic walls is the start. We also need to meet people where they are such as social media outlets. We need to use our platforms such as my organization heartbeatsandhiphop.org, Blackdoctor.org, Doc Swiner’s platform and Dr. Kevin Pho who has helped to bring health into the information age. Many people look to us for advice and to be more accessible but many health care providers are usually at work! We work a lot! However, we are community leaders and we need to claim it and run with it right into the schools, churches, festivals and anywhere beyond hospital walls.

DocSwiner: Beyond giving information of diabetes and hypertension in the black community, what possible solution(s) do you see for diminishing the health care disparities seen in under-represented populations?

Giving information for funny sounding words like “ Hemoglobin A1C” on a pamphlet in a font size that is hard to read to some patients who have various levels of education is missing the entire point of health education. You have to make it plain. You have to make it real. You have to make it relatable. Tell your story or the story of an entertainer who has publicly discussed their own health issues. Ask more questions rather than assume your patient’s understanding of their condition and by all means please start with nutrition! Ask about what they actually eat and how they feel about what they eat. There are a lot of cultural ties to what people eat. There is a lot of convenience within a busy lifestyle tied to what we all consume. We can help change lives if we realize that we can only help them to change their lives with what they put in their mouths. The medication we prescribe can save lives and it can allow them to live better ones but it all starts with what they eat and what they understand about what they eat.



DocSwiner Headshot


–curated and created with the help of Janie Outlaw

Find more info about Doc Bintu and her work at http://www.heartbeatshiphop.org

No News is Good News by Phonte’ is available on ITunes, Spotify among other online sites.

Happy International Women’s Day: Introducing the Female Condom!

I figured I’d celebrate this day by highlighting a trending and important way to protect women from sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDs–the female condom.

Below is a post from my physician friend, Dr. Renee Matthews, who appeared on the Tom Joyner Morning Radio Show this morning and helps to spread the good word about proper use and importance of prevention.



Did You Know There Is A Female Condom That Is FDA Approved On The Market?

There are lots of different ways to practice “Safe Sex”. The term safe sex primarily refers to protection against sexually transmitted diseases. Most people believe that this is the responsibility of the man. Well, back in 2005 the first version of the female condom was on the market. This was the first time a barrier method of contraception was for women. FC2 came out in 2009 and it is made with nitrile. This material is natural feeling and warms to body temperature.

3 Reasons to use FC2

  1. One of the reasons to use FC2 is because we as women should take control of our sexual health. The female condom also protects better against Human Papilloma Virus and Herpes Simplex Virus because of the way it protects the outside of the vagina, including the labia minora and labia majora compared to the male condom.
  2. There is a trend that is probably not so new, but now has a term called stealthing. Stealthing is the non-consensual condom removal or “stealthing” is the practice of one sex partner covertly removing a condom, when consent has only been given by the other sex partner for condom-protected safer sex.
  3. Most men do not like using male condoms but don’t mind the female condom because it doesn’t feel different. One size fits all with FC2 so it doesn’t matter what size the man’s penis. FC2 can be placed 2 hours prior to sexual intercourse so it does not interfere with intimacy. It is latex free and can be used with oil and water based lubricants.



Many women still do not know about the FDA approved female condom known as FC2. There are several ways to acquire these condoms. The women of South Africa have been using the female condom with great results. After one year of the female condom program in South Africa protected sex acts went up 92% and 74% of men felt that female condom was either better or much better than the male condom. Please visit their website FC2.com for information on where and how you can purchase FC2.

If you have health insurance there is a good chance that you will be able to receive FC2 for FREE! Please download Hey Doctor App and use Promo Code: FC2 and you can have the condoms mailed to you or sent to your local pharmacy. Currently these are the states where Hey Doctor is available, AK, AZ, CA, CT, FL, GA, IL, IN, KY, MO, MT, NE, NY, NC, OH, OR, PA, RI, SC, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WI and WY (more states coming soon).



Dr. Renee Matthews is the social media doctor, prescribing remedies to help you to live the life you deserve. She has appeared on television shows such as, The Oprah Winfrey Show and TVOne’s NewsOne Now with Roland Martin where she discussed different health topics. She started her media career with her own radio show on SiriusXM/ReachMD, a programming source for health professionals. In addition, Dr. Renee has been a featured medical correspondent on SiriusXM’s Sway in the Morning and Café Mocha Radio with Loni Love and YoYo (syndicated radio show).

Dr. Renee hosts The Ask Dr. Renee Show, a weekly YouTube show to motivate and inspire viewers to “Live the life they deserve”. Dr. Renee is also the host of Out of Office with Dr. Renee which is apart of Outcome Health and seen in 45,0000+ doctors offices across the US. She is a regular correspondent for HuffPostLive.com and a regular writer for Good Enough Mother, and DiaryofaFirstTimeMom. Dr. Renee has been a contributing health writer for MadameNoire.com, BlackandMarriedwithKids.com, BlackDoctor.org, DiaryofaFirstTimemom.com and GoodEnoughMother.com. She is also a sought after speaker for various health organizations and schools. In addition to writing about health, Dr. Renee is a social media coach, conducts speaking engagements on social media, branding, motivation, and becoming an entrepreneur. Visit her at Ask Dr. Renee







BougieMama blog shares my 5 Tips on NOT becoming Superwoman. Check it out.

5 Tips on being a superwoman without becoming SUPERWOMAN

February 25, 2018

Dr. Nicole Swiner

If you’re a working woman, Mom and/or wife, someone is getting your nerves right at this very moment—your kids, hubby, Mother-in-law, employer, employees, Deaconess—someone. But, if you’re like most of us, you’ve allowed him or her or them to bother you with their issues. The kids need you to pick out their outfits and pick up after them. Your husband or your partner needs you to fix dinner and iron his or her shirt for work. Your staff needs all of their vacation hours approved right now! When is it your time?

Our job doesn’t end with our 9-to-5, does it? The days are never-ending, seemingly, and there’s never enough time in the day.

Welcome to the acknowledgement that you’re a Superwoman. This is your Superwoman Complex world, and I’m your host, DocSwiner—another Superwoman in rehab, herself.

Let’s dive into how we’re going to fix this.

Chapter 1-Tip 1: Get Out of Your Own Way!

We’re killing it. We’re rocking it. All day. Everyday. I see you superwoman—handling your business as the Mistress of your household if you’re a stay-at-home Mom. I also see you if you’re working outside of the home, juggling family obligations, extracurricular activities and trying to stay fit and sane.

Well, enough is enough. Stop doubting yourself. If you sit down, get quiet and write out a business plan or chapter outline, or go outside to start walk/jogging, you can get it done. Don’t jeopardize your own goals because you’re taking care of everyone else’s. Get out of your own way by literally scheduling in your quiet or work out time. It should go on a calendar weekly or monthly, just like everyone else’s doctors’ appointments and games do. I’m here to tell you to stop self-sabotaging and just get started.

 Chapter 2-Tip 2: There’s No Time Like the Present

So, now that you’ve made the decision to make time for you to accomplish that goal, the next question is “When am I supposed to do it?” The truth is that it rarely feels like the “right time.” So, why not start now? Don’t wait. Start that business you’ve always dreamed of, leave that job, change that habit, write that book, or finish that degree.

Time and money will always be obstacles. As time passes and we get older, we tend to have more and more familial and financial obligations. I’m not sure there’s ever a perfect time to take that leap. For me, when I decided to write my first book, I didn’t have the whole amount needed saved at the time. I chose to do a campaign online and asked for donations from my followers and family. It worked like a charm and kept me motivated to continue writing as the donations poured in. In 3 months, I was ready to launch the book. 3-6months prior to that, I wasn’t sure it was the right time. However, I believed, had the faith, and took the first step.

 Chapter 3-Tip 3: “No” is a Complete Sentence

We-especially those of us that are caretakers, wives or mothers-often have a difficult time saying no to those we love and care about. But, it’s necessary. Nay, it’s lifesaving. We work our fingers to the bone at work and at home, and of what’s left of us someone is always willing to take. Don’t let them do it.

As an act of self-preservation, I am encouraged to say no more and set boundaries. I no longer allow patients to have access to me via social media after work hours. I am much less likely to teach a skill or give my professional advice without the other person putting their “skin in the game,” too. My time and opinions are valuable, as well. I’m worth something and so are you. Let’s stop giving ourselves away all the time, for free. I’ll keep working on it, if you promise to keep working on it, too.

Chapter 4-Tip 4: Frenemies are Not Your Friends

I love and hate this topic. I thought that jealousy and envy improved after high school and college. But alas, they continue to rear their ugly heads well into adulthood, and jealousy and envy disguise themselves in different ways. The sayings “let the haters hate” and even worse, “haters gon’ hate” are a few of my pet peeves that are used commonly. This is mostly because many of these haters that we speak of, are part of inner circle or on our friend lists. Why do we allow it to happen?

I heard a couple of friends talk about this on social media recently. They said they’d encountered some soul suckers and energy vultures in their midst. Geez! Stay away, toxic folks. Get those kind of people out of your environment. Shooo, fly, shoo!

Chapter 5-Tip 5: Admit it. You Hate Your Job

When I wrote my first book, “How to Avoid the Superwoman Complex: 12 Ways to Balance Mind, Body & Spirit,” I was rounding out my eighth year of working full time as a family doctor. I was having fun seeing patients all day long, but not so much fun managing hours of insurance-related paperwork and phone calls, which is not taught in medical school or residency – doctors learn the ins-and-outs of business once we start working in the real world. So, I had to get creative to prevent “burn-out.” That’s when I started writing and doing things like this.

With that, I’ll add this: If you hate your job, change it. Shorten or change your work schedule. Ask for a promotion or demotion to a different department. Ask for a change of duties or responsibilities. Or get another job or change careers. Are these changes always easy? Nope. But, is it true that it may be worth your sanity? Absolutely. If you can’t leave your job right now, how about creating a “side hustle;” a “side-gig, ” if you will? If you’re really successful, maybe it becomes your real gig. It could save your sanity as well, because it’ll allow you to do more things you love and are passionate about—like how I am, now, about this.

Be blessed,



Dr. Swiner is a family medicine/general medicine expert, covering a broad spectrum of both medical and mental health issues. As a wife and mother of two, she uses real-life experiences to clearly communicate keys to better health and wellness for mind, body and spirit.  Check out her website and book to learn more.

It’s not too late to celebrate Valentine’s: 4 reasons to do it at Morehead Manor :)

Hubby and I love to travel and have stayed in hotels, resorts, rental home and Air BNBs. However, we were blessed with the opportunity to visit our very first, certified Bed & Breakfast at Morehead Manor here in Durham, NC. We did on the weekend right before Valentine’s Day as our overnight date night. If you didn’t properly celebrate love this month, alone or with a loved one, here are 5 reasons why you need to consider Morehead Manor in your plans:

  1. The refrigerator: Sounds crazy, right? But, I’m a fan of vintage, and the fridge pictured below caught my attention immediately. Monica, the owner of the 108+ year old home and B&B, noted it was the original one bought for the home in the early 1900s. It was also stocked full of glass jars of water, drinks and adult beverages to quench your night time thirst.
  2. The owners: Monica and her husband, Daniel Edwards, are as warm and inviting as their Inn. Daniel greeted us outside to lead us in, and Ms. Monica greeted us at the door and walked us around. She did turn down service with a cute bear and Valentine’s Day card and cooked breakfast and prepared coffee by herself that next morning. It felt like being home with family.
  3. The big ol’ bed: The bed in our suite was huge, king-sized and comfy. Monica joked that we could use its overhead lights for reading or other extra-curricular activities. We were so exhausted after hanging out at our fave near-by spots in Durham with friends (Gonza Taco and Tequila and drinks at Unscripted Hotel) that we plopped down to sleep after returning and slept in nice and late the next morning. It was heavenly.
  4. The breakfast: Monica needs to moonlight as a chef, because the cream-cheese filled french toast and toppings with sausage were to die for. We sat together and chatted while I ate about the history of the house, her journey as an entrepreneur here in the Bull City and her most interesting guests that she’s experienced. Over breakfast, where I cleaned my entire plate, we agreed that she was indeed in the right business and that she needs to write a book about her most hilarious moments as an innkeeper.

Overall, a very enjoyable time, and we’d definitely return for a romantic getaway. Although, down the street, it felt like home.


PS. Tell them we sent ya. Here’s the website: moreheadmanor.com, and they often add last minute specials and new packages on their Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/MoreheadManor/




My 1st contribution to Reader’s Digest: This Is How Doctors Keep Their New Year’s Resolutions