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Lucille O'Neal and Lorrie Wolf Interview

Wake up early. Make sure the kids are prepared and on time for school. Get dinner ready, help with homework, spend quality time with the kids before bedtime, and try to find a few minutes for herself. Being a great mom is a non-stop effort, often with few accolades. But that’s about to change for Hickory, NC, resident Lorrie Wolfe (on the left), who’s proven to not only be a great mom, but an exceptional one! For her efforts, Wolfe has been named by Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) and Kimberly-Clark Corporation (NYSE: KMB) the 2012 Most Inspirational Mom.

The search, which highlights everyday moms doing extraordinary things, sought finalists and named Ms. Wolfe their winner based on her contributions to their children, families and communities.

Wolfe is a single mother of three, including one child with Asperger’s syndrome. She recently celebrated her sixth anniversary as a domestic violence survivor. Her children have watched the family go from a life of domestic violence with no money, no car and no job to a safe and happy life with a home, car and food in the refrigerator. Wolfe has encouraged her kids to think big and work hard in pursuit of their dreams. Wolfe now works with at-risk youth and she collects clothes, school supplies, researching part-time jobs for teens and soliciting donations from businesses. Wolfe has now been named Most Inspirational Mom.

The Most Inspirational Mom search is part of BGCA’s Family PLUS (Parents, Leading, Uniting, Serving) initiative, which is a family strengthening program derived from BGCA’s long-standing partnership with Kimberly-Clark. Family PLUS encourages Boys & Girls Clubs around the country to integrate family strengthening activities into their programming, in addition to hosting Family Nights to help teach parents a number of skills to strengthen their own families. Currently some 2,000 Boys & Girls Clubs around the country are implementing Family PLUS into their programming.

Lucille O'Neal (on the right) is best known as the mother of NBA Basketball Star Shaquille O'Neal, but she is also the author of a motivational book titled Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go - a story about her exceptional life journey that included life as an unwed teen mother, struggles with alcohol and her determination to get a college degree in her 40s.

O'Neal's early acquaintance with turmoil shaped her perspective and strengthened her resolve to overcome the challenges she would encounter later in life. She endured poverty, rejection, abuse, addiction, and the illness of a child, yet today her faith and compassion for others are stronger than ever. O'Neal writes candidly-and often humorously-about her years of spiritual unrest and mental welfare, and her return to the God of her childhood.

Walk Like You Have Somewhere to Go, O'Neal shares her struggles and disappointments, against the backdrop of her sweetest memories and proudest accomplishments. After fifty-six years, O'Neal has gained the wisdom to recognize her wrongs and guide other women down a different path. Her story is proof that it's never too late for a new beginning.

O'Neal has also contributed to the development of the SHAQ NETWORK as the Chief Operations Officer. She managed the day-to-day operations of the first official Shaquille O’Neal Fan Club until October 2003. In addition to the duties in her son’s organization, Lucille co-founded the Mother’s of Professional Basketball Players (MPBP) and served four years as executive secretary (1996-2000). She was very instrumental in the leadership and development of the organization’s goals and objectives. The MPBP was created to provide support to mothers whose sons and daughters were currently playing or had played in the National Basketball Association and the Women’s National Basketball Association. Since the organization’s inception the MPBP has endeavored to support the communities represented by the players and their mothers. Today she serves as the current President of this restructured organization; The Mother’s of Professional Basketball Players, Inc. 

Lucille’s straightforward attitude and ability to adapt to any situation has equipped her with a tireless ability to serve. Whether chairing fundraising events like “Shaq’s Mama Said Knock You Out!” (an annual premier event featuring a variety of celebrity hosts, including Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley and Dennis Scott, to benefit The Odessa Chambliss Quality of Life Fund; named in memory of her Mother) or rolling up her sleeves to assist other organizations at the grass roots level, Lucille gives her all for the cause. As a newly appointed Board Member of Orlando’s Ovarian Cancer Alliance and a new member of MD Anderson’s Council of Governors, it is evident that her commitment and devotion to others is conveyed through her extraordinary volunteer efforts (past and present) and her involvement with numerous charitable organizations. Lucille’s dedication to diverse causes underscores her heart for humanity. She has made countless contributions to various charities and continues to be an inspiration to many people, young and old. After 30 years of raising two sons and two daughters, Lucille resumed her studies in an Adult Education Program at Bethune-Cookman University where she graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration (June 2003). In 2005 she completed her graduate program (Master of Arts in Organizational Management) at the University of Phoenix.

A longtime supporter and alumni of Boys and Girls Clubs of America (BGCA), Lucille is the ambassador of the Family PLUS (Parents Leading, Uniting and Serving) initiative, which is encourages local Clubs to implement family strengthening activities into their programming. In 2011-12, Lucille will help BGCA and Kimberly-Clark identify the country’s Most Inspirational Mom through a nationwide search.

FREE Webinar on 5/23: The 90 Rules Small Businesses Must Know for Government Contracting Success

Government contracting is filled with regulatory compliance, which can be especially challenging for small businesses that are short on time and may have limited assistance.  Yet, compliance has never been more critical due to the increased competition among small businesses for contracting opportunities – in fact, sometimes the difference between one company and another can come down to its ability to comply with all regulatory requirements. 

To help small businesses avoid compliance pitfalls as they pursue government work, American Express OPEN and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) are offering a free one-hour educational webinar on Wednesday, May 23 on the must-know set of rules governing the federal agencies’ acquisition process – also known as the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR).

As part of Give Me 5, a national program created by American Express OPEN and WIPP to help women business owners get a leg up on selling to the world’s largest customer – the U.S. government, the webinar will walk business owners through the standard FAR clauses they will expect to see in all contracts and explain what they mean. Taught by Barbara English, president of English Solutions, Inc., the webinar will also discuss the processes and systems contractors need to put in place to be compliant with the FAR clauses.

 Business owners who are interested in participating can register here.

Additional Information can be found below:
Date: Wednesday, May 23, 2012
Time: 3 PM ET/12 PM PT
Where: Virtual

I want to be her when I grow up!

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Interview with Devan Sipher, author of The Wedding Beat

We were sent a copy of The Wedding Beat by Devan Sipher.  

Sipher,  a writer of the New York Times “Vows” column, Sipher will sweep readers of their feet with his smart and charming debut romantic comedy where he explores a thirty-something New Yorker’s quest to find his soulmate with humor, intelligence and heart. The Wedding Beat, Gavin Greene works as the wedding columnist for the Pultizer Prize-winning newspaper, The Paper.  He is surrounded by lavish wedding celebrations, romance, and the promise of everlasting love, and yet he still can't find himself a girlfriend, let alone a bride.  Where is the nice girl that he (along with his daft but well meaning parents) dreams of? When he finds and then loses the woman of his dreams at the same New Year's Eve party, Gavin knows it's time to get serious.  Armed with questionable lessons from his brother (a serial monogamist) and coaching from a gung-ho dating guru (whose wedding he happens to be covering), Gavin is following a new set of rules, and the surprising chain of events that follow lead to something he never could have predicted.

We interviewed Sipher.  We are as CW, and Sipher is DS.

Connecting Women: What inspired The Wedding Beat?

Devan Sipher: For five years, I was a single guy writing the Vows wedding column at The New York Times.  (“Always the wedding columnist, never the groom.”)  It occurred to me that my life would seem far more amusing to someone who wasn’t living it. 

CW:  What kind of research was conducted to write The Wedding Beat?

DS: Most of my research was the years I spent writing about thousands of weddings.  But I also immersed myself in the world of romantic comedies, reading books and renting videos.  Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones’s Diary was my bible.

CW:  What are some themes that can be found in The Wedding Beat?

DS: Late in the book, the protagonist, Gavin Greene, says “Everything in life is a choice, and I’m choosing to be happy.”  Happiness is a choice.  That’s what I learned from my time interviewing brides and grooms, and it’s what I consider the central theme of the novel.

CW: What is your favorite scene?  

DS: The quote I just mentioned is one of my favorites as is the scene it comes from.  Gavin takes a romantic leap of faith and finally confesses his feelings to the woman he loves.  He just happens to choose a painfully (and comically) inappropriate time and place. 

CW:  I can see The Wedding Beat turned into a romantic comedy.  Have you thought of turning your book into a movie?

DS: I’d love to see it end up on a movie or television screen.  I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

CW:  What other projects do you have in the works?

DS: I have a two-book deal, and the next book is also a romantic comedy. I’m not supposed to say a lot about it, but I can tell you that it’s about two people who make a lot of wrong turns on the way to finding each other.  The tagline is “Sometimes love at first sight can take a lifetime.”

CW: Anything else you would like to add.

DS: One of the other things I learned writing about weddings is that men can be every bit as romantic as women – and just as comically confused.  My goal was to share that with readers and to write the best beach book possible – lots of laughs and lots of heart.  I’m hoping I succeeded.

Connect with Devan Sipher online at:

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Fordham Researcher Seeks Individuals Age 100+ for Study

Fordham University
Fordham University (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you know anyone who is 100 years or older, there may be a great opportunity to help contribute to the sciences.

Daniela Jopp, Ph.D., of Fordham University, is looking for individuals 100 years and older for her study on life as a centenarian. To date, researchers have spoken to approximately 80 centenarians in New York City and are seeking an additional 20 individuals to participate in the on-going study.

More people than ever reach this very advanced age, yet very little is known about their life situation. Whereas other centenarian studies look at which factors may be responsible for reaching an exceptionally long life, the Fordham Centenarian Study focuses on how centenarians actually live their lives. Specifically, the study considers what things they enjoy, which difficulties they encounter and how they cope with the challenges they face. "We welcome centenarians to share their life experiences and accomplishments, so that we can all learn from them," said Jopp. "We believe the rest of the population has much to learn from these individuals and how they have coped with life's challenges, including the process of aging."

The study is part of a series of studies that investigates the life situation and quality of life of centenarians in several countries, including Germany and Portugal, in order to better understand what is responsible for high-functioning and happiness at a very advanced age. For the ongoing study, Jopp and her team welcome centenarians from the New York Metro area to share their life experience and accomplishments. The study is supported by the Brookdale Foundation and Fordham University.

To participate in the study, please contact: (718) 817-0643 or .

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Vistaprint - Mommy Must Haves

Mother’s day may be over, but you deserve to be spoiled year round! Treat yourself at a low cost this week because six essential premium Vistaprint products are now $3 or less each. Always be just a phone call away with Mommy Contact Cards. At just $2 for 25, you can share important information about your children with teachers, babysitters and everyone on the playground. Show off your kids in style with a personalized a photo book for $3.  You can add all your favorite snapshots and customize a theme.

Treat yourself to some personalized stationery with note cards at $2 and return address labels at $2, too. You can find a matching set or pick from over 1,000 fun and trendy designs. Stamps are perfect for staying organized with mail, packing or storage. Customize one to fit your needs for $2. And who doesn’t want a personalized coffee mug with a smiley photo of your child? Get one for just $3! Plus, enjoy FREE uploads!

Craftsy - Sewing Machine 911 Class

Become a Sewing Machine Master for Free! Learn how to handle your sewing machine with a brand new, free, online Craftsy class, Sewing Machine 911, taught by Claudia Miller, sewing machine MD.

 In this class, learn how to diagnose your machine’s symptoms and how to easily fix the most common issues, including jammed machines, top thread breaks, needle breaks, and more. Claudia also explains the basic parts and functions of every machine. Whether your machine is still in the box, you’re working on a hand-me-down, or even if you’re an experienced sewist who still struggles with tension, this is the class for you! Plus, it’s free, so there’s nothing to lose. Sign up for Sewing Machine 911 now!

2013 International CES Issues Call for Speakers

The International CES®  announced its “Call for Speakers” for the 2013 International CES®, the world’s most important technology event, which returns to Las Vegas, Nevada, January 8-11, 2013.

Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 most desired speaking opportunities for CEOs, the International CES conference program features the consumer electronics industry’s top authorities to address the latest trends, strategies and upcoming business opportunities.

The Call for Speakers focuses on 25+ sessions targeting some of the hottest topics in technology today and in the future. These sessions, combined with tracks produced by our conference partners, will bring more than 900 speakers and 300 conference sessions covering a diverse span of industry topics. More than 150,000 professionals from the accessories, audio, automotive, content, digital imaging, entertainment, health and fitness, video and wireless industries attend CES. Corporate buyers and retailers, media, analysts, venture capitalists and manufacturers from 150 countries also come to CES to conduct global business.

Speaker proposals will be accepted through 5 p.m. EST, June 12, 2012. Proposals should be submitted online at: .

A full list of topics to be covered during the 2013 International CES conference program is now available.

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Free Bowling Games

AMF is kicking off two of the summer's best bowling deals! Summer Unplugged (for kids) and Summer Pass (for 16 and over) gives bowlers two free games per day all summer long starting Monday, May 14 through Monday, September 3 (Labor Day), over 250 locations!

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Harlem Globetrotters Summer Skills Clinics

For the first time, the Harlem Globetrotters are conducting summer skills clinics to bring boys and girls ages 6-14 behind the curtain to see the Globetrotters’ electrifying skills and tricks, while also having fun staying active.

Each participant receives:

  • A free ticket voucher (valued up to $40) to see the Globetrotters during their 2013 World Tour
  • Autographs and photos with the stars!
  • 3-day trial pass to 24 Hour Fitness
Clinic Locations:(These are just the clinics - the games for your tickets are in 200 cities)
Phoenix       Houston     San Francisco       New Jersey
Denver        Dallas        Los Angeles         Seattle
St Louis       Miami        Las Vegas
Save $10 on registration! Enter the Coupon Code USFAMILY on the cart page after completing your registration or mention when calling 1-800-641-HOOP (4667) Click Here:

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Box Tops for Education

Make a difference for you school by by supporting it with Box Tops for Education.   Your designated school will receive all of your online Box Tops earnings.  Click above to find out more information.

Understanding the 8(a) Program Webinar - 5/9

American Express OPEN and Women Impacting Public Policy (WIPP) are offering a free one-hour educational webinar on Wednesday, May 9 on the formal certification process for the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) Business Development Program – a nine year program designed to assist in the development of small companies owned and operated by individuals who are socially and economically disadvantaged. The program provides participants with access to a variety of business development services, including the opportunity to receive federal contracts on a sole-source or limited competition basis, and has been an important driver of growth for thousands of minority entrepreneurs over the past few years.

Taught by Give Me 5 instructor Gloria Larkin, participating business owners will learn in detail what to do before, during and after 8(a) certification. This session will clearly define the eligibility criteria, the program’s timeline, tips to market your certification effectively, the secret of 8a sole source contracts, and teaming to leverage the 8(a) certification after graduation. This webinar is part of Give Me 5, a national program created by American Express OPEN and WIPP to help women business owners get a leg up on selling to the world’s largest customer: the U.S. government.

Additional Information can be found below:
Date: Wednesday, May 9, 2012
Time: 3 PM ET/12 PM PT
Where: Virtual

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Guest Post: 11 Ways to Save Money at the Movies


Andrea Woroch

With summer around the corner, Hollywood is about to roll out a slew of sequels, blockbusters and indie films sure to satisfy most people's craving for easy entertainment. Before making your summer selections, however, you should consider how best to spend your movie money.
According to TIME Moneyland, ticket prices are expected to increase this year thanks to lackluster sales in 2011 -- and that's not including the exorbitant cost of concessions. Don't let the inflated cost of the cinema deflate your family's desire to catch the season's best flicks on the big screen.

Follow these 11 tips to avoid blowing your movie budget.

1. Join AAA
The automobile club offers $8 tickets to Regal, United Artists and Edwards movie theaters. The catch is that you have to go to one of their offices to buy them.

2. Buy Movie Packs
This is the way to go for families. You can buy a four-pack of tickets from Costco, good for a variety of theatres, for just $34.99 and a 10-pack for $82.99. There's no expiration date and you can use the tickets seven days a week. also saves you an average of $2 to $3 off a ticket's face value for seven different chains.

3. Attend Second-Run Theatres
There are several chains that show movies a bit past their prime. If you can wait to see the latest iteration of a Marvel comic, you'll pay anywhere from $3 to $6 for the same movie.

4. Ask for Senior Rates
If you're 60 or over, you'll get a discount from select locations of AMC Theatres. And Cinemark offers Seniors Day every Monday at some locations for seniors 62 and older. Ultimately, it helps to ask the cashier or one of the theatre managers about available discounts for seniors. Just be prepared to show your ID.

5. Skip the Concession Stand
Eat before you head out to the movies so you won't be tempted by the many treats on offer. Granted this is how theaters make their money, but it's also how you double the cost of your ticket.

6. Use Discount Gift Cards
Save 10 to 30 percent by purchasing discount movie theater gift cards from such sites as GiftCardGranny. In addition to saving instantly on ticket prices, you can cut the cost of concessions if the smell of popcorn is too tempting to overcome.

7. Swipe Your Plastic
Credit card companies and banks have increased their reward perks over the last few years and some of those include free passes to the theater. Visa Signature offers their credit card holders two-for-one movie tickets via Fandango on Fridays. Deutsche Bank Debit Card users can get one free pass for every one ticket purchased through Ask your credit card or bank about such reward perks and take advantage of the discount.

8. Be Loyal
Kerasotes Theaters has the FiveBuckClub, which sends weekly emails with a list of movies members can see for $5. AMC Theatres offers points toward discounts, concession upgrades and more if you join their Stubs Rewards Program. Check with your local theatres to see if they provide similar deals for loyal customers.

9. Daily Deal It
Though daily deals for restaurants and spa services overwhelm your inbox, you have good reason to search through the clutter. Sites like Groupon and LivingSocial have featured movie theater savings of up to 50 percent, and will likely offer similar promotions this summer. The vouchers typically expire within a couple months so make note of the date and use them up before then.

10. Early-Bird Deals
Matinees can save you anywhere from 30 to 50 percent off prime-time ticket prices, leaving more money in your wallet for warm summer evenings.

11. Say Something
Have you ever watched a movie where the sound system was off enough to drive you crazy? Perhaps you ended up surrounded by a swarm of teenagers who shouted at the screen throughout the film. Don't be afraid to ask for a voucher or your money back if you have a bad experience. You may be surprised how often theaters will accommodate a polite request.

Andrea Woroch is a nationally-recognized consumer and money-saving expert who helps consumers live on less without radically changing their lifestyles. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. She has been featured among top news outlets such asGood Morning America, NBC's Today, MSNBC, New York Times, Kiplinger Personal Finance, CNNMoney and many more. You can follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips.

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