Kaiser Permanente Gives Small Business an Edge to Access Capital and Grow

PASADENA, Calif.,  — Kaiser Permanente Southern California is sponsoring, for the third year in a row, Inner City Capital Connections, which provides free training, education and mentorship to small businesses located in economically under-resourced areas. The deadline to submit applications to participate in this year’s program is July 24, 2018.

Kaiser Permanente is sponsoring ICCC in partnership with the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City, the national nonprofit research and advisory organization that supports ICCC, to reduce income disparity and improve lives by promoting local micro-economies. The free opening seminar for the Los Angeles/San Bernardino group will take place on August 1, 2018, at the Hilton Hotel in San Gabriel, where business owners will receive free in-person coaching and learn how to access capital, allowing them to grow and create new jobs within their communities.

ICCC Los Angeles alumni

Amerisal LLC, a food distribution company of imported goods is spearheaded by a mother-daughter duo — Nora Saca and Vanessa Fagiolly —  graduates of the ICCC program.

“ICCC had such a big influence on me,” said Vanessa Fagiolly, chief financial officer, Amerisal LLC. “When we first started our business we only had four products for distribution. Now we have more than 50 and we’re growing every day. I am so thankful to Kaiser Permanente for its vision to help small business owners succeed.”

“Kaiser Permanente’s mission is to improve the health of the communities we serve,” said John Yamamoto, vice president, community health and government relations, Kaiser Permanente Southern California. “Kaiser Permanente promotes local economic vitality in under-resourced areas because the social and economic conditions in our communities have a profound influence on the health of people who live, work and play there.”

After completing the opening seminar, business owners will participate in a 40-hour business training course over 3 to 6 months which includes educational seminars and webinars with coaches and mentors from banking and consulting firms who will give them the skills needed to help their business grow.

Business owners interested in learning more about the program or to apply please visit icic.com.

 

About Initiative for a Competitive Inner City
ICIC is a national nonprofit research and advisory organization founded in 1994 by Harvard Business School professor Michael E. Porter. ICIC’s mission is to promote economic prosperity in America’s inner cities through private sector investment that leads to jobs, income and wealth creation for residents. The organization supports urban businesses through a wide variety of Urban Business Initiatives, including the Inner City Capital Connections program. More information about ICIC and its ICCC program is available at www.icic.org.

About Kaiser Permanente
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 12.2 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal Permanente Medical Group physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: kp.org/share.

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IMF: World economy likely to grow 3.9% this year

The International Monetary Fund is keeping its forecast for global economic growth unchanged at 3.9 percent this year
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Selena Gomez’s Mom Shares Video of the Singer as a Sassy 5-Year-Old: ‘Why Do They Grow Up?’

Selena Gomez‘s mother, Mandy Teefey, just shared a major throwback from the “Wolves” singer’s childhood.

Teefey, 42, shared an adorable video of the pop star, 25, from 1997 when the singer was just 5 years old. In the video, Gomez, wearing two pigtails, is seen showing off her sass as she talked to her mother on the phone and complained about homework.

@selenagomez talking to me on the phone when I was at work asking about her day at school,” Teefey wrote in the caption. “My sassy, independent, boss lady, adorable gigantic piece of my heart, first born love.”

“Gracie is exactly like this. Diabolical. XO,” the mother of two continued, referring to her second daughter, 5-year-old Gracie Elliot. “My girls are born leaders. Why do they grow up? Her sweet little eyes and massive eyelashes.”

In the footage, Gomez tells her mother about a homework assignment she had to do again at her teacher’s request.

“My teacher said I gotta do all this stuff again. I gotta do it by myself,” the tot said in the video. “I’m going crazy, you gotta help me over here! You better girl.”

Gomez’s father is Ricardo Joel Gomez. Teefey and Ricardo are divorced and Teffey married Brian Teefey in 2006 and shares Gracie Elliot with him.

In December, a source close to the family told PEOPLE the two had become estranged and not just because of Gomez’s then-reunion with Justin Bieber.

“It’s more complicated than just fighting over a guy,” the source said. “Mandy and Selena have had their ups and downs before. This isn’t the first time.”

While the two weren’t speaking, the insider said Gomez “also wants to give her mom some space.”

“When they fight, they fight hard,” the source said. “But when they love, they also love hard.”

Gomez reunited with Bieber last year and spent New Year’s with the “Sorry” singer in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico after she split with The Weeknd (née Abel Tesfaye) in October.

RELATED VIDEO: Selena Gomez Isn’t Currently Speaking to Mom Mandy Teefey and Wants to ‘Give Her Space’: Source

A source told PEOPLE at the time that the two were “doing great.”

Weeks later, Teefey admitted she was “not happy” about her daughter’s rekindled romance with Bieber during an interview with Gossip Cop.

She also revealed she had not spoken to Bieber in “years,” although she said she knew Gomez was old enough to “make her own choices.”

“Selena can live her life however she wants as long a she is happy, safe and healthy,” Teefey said. “She is 25-years-old and knows what is at stake with her health.”

But it seems mom knows best, as Gomez and Beiber’s relationship did not last. And now, not only has the Baby singer reunited with former-ex Hailey Baldwin, this week he proposed to her.


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6 Ways to Grow Your Business Through Repeat Customers and Referrals

There’s nothing like a familiar face, especially when it comes to your business. Nothing against new customers, but there are a lot of reasons to appreciate your existing clients. For one thing, they’re a lot cheaper than new ones. In fact, increasing customer retention rates by just 5% can boost profits by anywhere between 25 and 95%. And according to at least one marketing expert, a customer who is satisfied with your work is 14 times more likely to buy from you than a brand-new lead.

However, existing customers are also a coveted source of unpaid advertising. Nielsen surveys show that friends, family members, and acquaintances are customers’ most credible source of brand recommendations. Eighty-three percent of survey respondents say they trust in-person reviews more than any other form of recommendation. Industry-specific surveys turn up similar results. When internet marketing agency Contractor Nation asked homeowners where they get recommendations for home contractors, the majority—42%—said they ask friends for a name, while another 28% said they query home contractors they know.

It’s easy to understand how pivotal the customer referral becomes when you view the issue through the context of the home remodeling industry’s reputation. Home contractors shared notoriously low trust among customers, a fact that has been documented both anecdotally and statistically throughout the years. That makes loyal customers all the more valuable—these clients have already established a trusting relationship with you, making them more willing to pull the trigger on various projects. However, bolstering repeat projects and referrals takes some work on your part. Here’s how you can leverage existing clients to boost profit margins.

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Deliver Top Tier Service

Repeat business starts with superior customer service. For contractors, that means setting expectations early, before customer assumptions and misunderstandings can tank your project. Keep the communication coming with regular check-ins—with texting as popular as it is, it’s incredibly easy to catch homeowners up every day. Report issues promptly and keep your work as unobtrusive as possible to customers’ everyday lives. Chat with customers in-person when available because there’s nothing like talking face-to-face.

It may seem basic, but these are the nuts and bolts of customer relationship building. In one comparative analysis, customers rated competence, completeness, and frequent, effective communication as the most important factors in establishing contractor trust. And that trust is integral for capturing repeat business and referrals.

Follow Up After a Project Completes

Most contractors follow up with clients after projects conclude as a matter of course—so if you’re not doing it yet, it’s time to start. A follow-up call is a great chance to settle any issues that might have popped up after the job wrapped, allowing you to solidify your reputation for great service. It’s also an opportunity to discuss future projects that might be on your clients’ horizons and to remind customers about your referral program if you have one.

Create a Referral Program

Everyone loves a discount. Initiating a referral program for customers is a double bonus: a chance to seal the deal with an existing prospect while gaining advertising in return. Some contractors offer free upgrades or maintenance if a referral comes through, and others give discounts on the next project or even gift cards to popular retailers nearby. However you decide to reward customers, make sure to remind them occasionally throughout the project.

Provide Discounts on Additional Projects

This is a technique many contractors employ without really thinking about it. Offering customers a discount if they agree to add on additional work is a sales tactic that’s about as old as it is effective. But you can add velocity to your retention rates if you institute a formal discount program. Many homeowners have more than one project in mind when they contact a contractor, so even shaving a small percentage off additional job may be enough incentive to encourage a second project.

You can even create discount packages for follow-up work. For instance, many HVAC professionals offer discounted maintenance packages for newly installed units. Study your customers and look for trends in the buying process. For instance, a homeowner who installs a new roof may start thinking about re-siding their home to match. A homeowner who’s just built a new deck off their back exit may suddenly get an itch for a new patio. Think about these kinds of common pairings when you create your discount strategy.

adult-architect-blueprint-416405

Stay in Touch

The more you are able to stay in front of your clients, the more likely it is that you’ll land those repeat jobs. A quarterly newsletter with seasonal sales or discounts is a wonderful way to make sure your name sticks in your clients’ minds. Personalized birthday or holiday cards are another strategy and are always welcome—particularly if they come with a coupon included. Ideally, you want to be the one person homeowners call when they need work done, so be sure to keep your presence alive in your customers’ memories.

Build Your Relationships with Other Contractors

Given that other contractors are homeowners’ second pick for contractor recommendations, it makes sense to build your relationships with your peers. No doubt you work with many different tradesmen day-to-day—for instance, a kitchen remodeling business may regularly subcontract out to electricians, plumbers or HVAC technicians and probably also works closely with architects, interior designers and perhaps even realtors. Networking with these agents can reap big profits.

However, if you don’t typically interface with other contractors or professionals, it’s time to develop these kinds of relationships. Consider joining a professional trade organization or attending an event at your local chamber of commerce. Local conferences are another way to make valuable contacts—these connections can lead to informal partnerships and more referrals, if you play your cards right.

Ultimately, tapping past clients is all about engaging soft skills in customer service. Strive to empathize with clients, listening to their concerns and noticing the types of problems they have with their homes. Work towards 100% transparency and polite, friendly, frequent communication. Hone these abilities and you’ll find yourself booked solid for months on end.

The post 6 Ways to Grow Your Business Through Repeat Customers and Referrals appeared first on Modernize.

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Scouted: This Digital Marketing Course Will Teach You How to Grow Your Business

If you want your business to take off, you need to have a good grasp on digital marketing. But it isn’t as easy as merely setting up an Instagram account and calling it a day. Get the Digital Marketing 22-Course Masterclass for a comprehensive educational track covering all things digital marketing.

This course runs the gamut from brand identity and email marketing to copywriting and blogging. You’ll master SEO, explore video marketing on YouTube, and learn helpful tips for a variety of platforms including Google, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. Whether you’re growing your business or hoping to secure a job in marketing, this learning package will arm you with the necessary skills to thrive.

The Digital Marketing 22-Course Masterclass normally costs $ 200, but today’s limited time offer brings the price down to just $ 15.

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When Disney stars grow up

Disney’s roster of juvenile talent has always had an unusual knack for getting into trouble.
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David Levin to Retire as DXL Chief as Losses Grow

David Levin, the longtime president and chief executive officer of Destination XL Group Inc., will retire by the end of this year.
Heidrick & Struggles has been retained to search for a successor to helm the country’s largest big and tall men’s retailer. Candidates from within and outside the company will be considered. Levin, 66, has said he will be available to provide support during the transition period.
The company made the announcement at the same time it reported a fourth-quarter net loss of $ 3.3 million, compared to net income of $ 1.8 million in the same period last year, despite a sales increase of 9.5 percent to $ 135.5 million. On a non-GAAP basis, adjusted earnings before income, taxes, depreciation and amortization fell to $ 5 million from $ 10.8 million.
For the fiscal year, the company’s net loss grew to $ 18.8 million from a loss of $ 2.3 million a year ago, on a sales increase of 3.7 percent to $ 468 million. Adjusted EBITDA for the year fell to $ 17.1 million from $ 31.6 million.
Comparable-store sales increased 4.3 percent in the quarter and only 0.9 percent for the year.
The company’s stock fell 19.5 percent in morning trading to $ 1.85, the second-lowest rate in its history.
Levin attributed the earnings

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Helping GALS Grow Into Leaders

When people ask Sheryl Chen how to spell her first name, she answers, “S-H-E-R-Y-L, like Sheryl Sandberg.”

From Sandberg to Sophia Amoruso, Chen idolizes women who lead their own businesses. However, at the STEM-based Staten Island Technical High School in New York Chen attended, few opportunities existed for her to develop skills in this area. So, Chen created one herself. In 2016, Chen and classmate Lily Zhang founded Girls Advocating Leadership and Strength (GALS), a non-profit providing leadership training for middle and high school girls.

Since girls experience their “biggest time of growth, discovery and self-confidence” as teens, said Chen, GALS targets their peers. “We definitely [saw] that there’s a gender gap in the business industry,” said Zhang, “and we really want to help fix this gap.”

The gap is even bigger in leadership positions. While women make up 54 percent of employees at S&P 500 Finance companies, they make up only six percent of CEOs. Stacy Musi, president of the Financial Women’s Association, thinks misperceptions about women’s ability to lead cause this disparity. “Very often this leads to women being offered staff roles,” she told Ms., “such as human resources or marketing rather than roles that really can make an impact on a business.”

Through GALS, girls are advocating for their own advancement. “Hearing the stories of successful businesswomen, I feel that it’s encouraged me to not be afraid,” said Victoria Wong, one of more than 700 GALS alumnae in the five boroughs. As a high school senior, Wong networked with Allyson Ahlstrom, founder of the non-profit Threads for Teens, and Marina Marmut, leader of Operation Enterprise, a project of the American Management Association, at a GALS symposium.

This exposure to role models early on is important, said Musi. Lack of positive female examples can be a barrier to women’s career advancement. “As soon as a company has a woman CEO or a woman in a high powered position, all of a sudden all the girls or the younger women in the organization go ‘I could become CEO one day,’” said Musi.

These female role models encouraged the audience to take risks, said Wong, now a student at Boston College’s Carroll School of Management. Wong cites confidence as the primary lesson from GALS, a lack of which limits young women in business. Under four percent of millennial women identify as entrepreneurs, compared to five percent of their male peers.

GALS girls are encouraged to advocate for their own career advancement, a skill that directly affects women’s pay equity and promotion, said Selena Rezvani, vice president of consulting and research at Be Leaderly and author of “Pushback: How Smart Women Ask—and Stand Up—for What They Want.” Only 40 percent of young women negotiate their salary with an employer. “It sounds like a soft skill, and in fact it’s not so soft,” said Rezvani. “It has a bearing that is a cumulative effect over the course of your life.”

These less tangible skills of communication make women more effective executives. “Your entire life, your ability to make an airtight argument,”said Rezvani, “that is such an essential leadership competency.”

When Himani Nayyar, then a high school junior, learned about GALS from a friend of Chen’s, she started the second GALS chapter at Ranney School in Tinton Falls, New Jersey. Seeing Chen and Zhang make an impact as teenagers inspired her to become a leader herself.

This is exactly the impact Chen and Zhang want to have. Even though both have left New York for college elsewhere, University of Pennsylvania and UC Berkeley, respectively, they are working to expand their work domestically and internationally—Kuwait and Bulgaria, specifically. “We’ll see where the future takes us,” said Chen.

Elizabeth Meisenzahl is an Index on Censorship Youth Advisor and student journalist based in Rochester, New York.

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Calls for gun control grow louder after Florida shooting

PARKLAND, Fla. (AP) — Pressure is growing for tougher gun-control laws after a mass shooting at a Florida high school, with thousands of angry protesters at state rallies demanding immediate action from lawmakers, and more demonstrations planned across the country in the weeks ahead.
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Scientists grow human eggs to full maturity in a lab

LONDON, (Reuters) – Scientists have succeeded for the first time in growing human eggs in a laboratory from the earliest stages in ovarian tissue all the way to full maturity – a scientific step that had previously been taken in mice.


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Bitcoin hits new record high as warnings grow louder

LONDON (Reuters) – Bitcoin blasted to another all-time high of almost $ 18,000 on the Bitstamp exchange on Friday, up 9 percent on the day, as warnings grew over the risks of investing in the highly volatile and speculative instrument.


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Hear Broken Social Scene’s Cover of Tom Waits’ ‘I Don’t Wanna Grow Up’

Broken Social Scene have unveiled a cover of Tom Waits' "I Don't Wanna Grow Up" and a new rendition of their

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Zooey Deschanel Takes a ‘Know It or Grow It’ Approach When Feeding Her Kids

Zooey Deschanel and husband Jacob Pechenik are firm believers that the greatest wealth is health, and they’re dishing on the importance of “know it or grow it” in their new educational series “Your Food’s Roots with Zooey Deschanel.”

When Deschanel got pregnant with their first child, Elsie Otter, 2, the pair began to research whether or not the food they had been consuming all of these years would “the best thing for our child’s brain.”

“When I started looking into where our food was coming from, we all of the sudden starting seeing all this opaqueness – there were all these walls to finding out where your food came from, but that is a part of how we socialize, how we interact with our peers,” Deschanel told PEOPLE about how being a mother has changed the way she sees food.

“There are a certain amount of restaurants that tell you which farm your food came from, but most places don’t know, and a lot of places can’t tell you where your beef or chicken comes from,” she continues. “We started realizing that wall was making it difficult, though we were curious and slight obsessive and even we were having trouble finding out.”

RELATED: Alicia Silverstone Says Feeding Her Son a Vegan Diet Is ‘Such a No-Brainer’

The 5-episode original series — which is a collaboration between the health conscious couple’s new initiative The Farm Project and ATTN: — will focus on reconnecting people with the food they consume, where it comes from, and how it affects our body as a whole, as well as educating viewers on the benefits of a sustainable lifestyle.

WATCH: Zooey Deschanel Reveals Her Daughter Has an Adorable New Obsession

“The more you eat local produce, the more fruit and vegetables you eat, the better you feel and the healthier you are, which makes it easier to stay fit and also the better it tastes,” says the New Girl actress.  There was only like four percent of sustainable food production and the other 96 percent was industrialized, and that was just a big shock to us.”

In each episode, Deschanel will interview experts and everyday people about the origins of our food and the harmful production process behind it, essentially encouraging viewers to become “knowers” and “growers.”

“We have an organic farm in Texas that grows a lot of stuff, but at our house we grow leafy greens and lettuces, different herbs, tomatoes, squash, zucchini,” she says about the garden they have growing on the property of their own home in Los Angeles. “When you grow your own food, it’s exciting and your kids get excited.”

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And while kids tend to enjoy food that comes from a box rather than the earth, Deschanel makes sure to throw a fun spin on eating healthy by allowing her daughter to take a field trip to the backyard to handpick her food from the ground each time it’s time for a meal.

“Our daughter might not eat a piece of broccoli if you bring it to her on a plate, but if she gets to pick it herself she gets so excited and wants it!” Says Deschanel. “And then she wants to try everything – the arugula, the herbs.”

In fact, Elsie Otter has become so obsessed with her leafy greens that Deschanel and Pechenik often have to hid the salad from her because certain kinds of lettuce have the tendency to get stuck in childrens’ throats.

“She can eat romaine, so I’ve just started making more romaine lettuces, and the arugula just has to be chopped up really small,” says Deschanel.

“Your Food’s Roots with Zooey Deschanel” premieres on Facebook Watch on November 7.


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The One Thing You Need To Do To Really Make Your Business Grow

My nephew Kendall is 7 years old and very bright. He loves playing sports, but he had issues with schoolwork and his behavior during first grade. Kendall doesn’t have any identifiable learning disabilities, so it was baffling that he wasn’t thriving in a public school classroom environment. To help him, he was placed in a private school offering him a classroom size of just six students, blackboards (yes, the old-school chalk blackboards) and old-school wooden desks—the type you might see on a rerun of the show Facts of Life. His new learning environment is very basic.

After one month, Kendall logged all “A” grades and is engaging in all activities. It turns out, my nephew is just a different type of learner and getting back to education basics was all he needed. No smart boards, laptops, or tablets to muddy the learning waters.

Simplicity and taking a step back is helping my nephew thrive in school. When I look at some established businesses, I’ve noticed that getting back to basics and taking a step back from the “bells and whistles” of running a business in the digital age can be reinvigorating and can make your business grow.

Losing Sight of What Matters

 

Today’s business owners are so caught up (and likely overwhelmed) with leveraging social media and online marketing platforms that they have lost sight of what REALLY matters. Remember, it’s not just about getting likes on your Facebook page—it’s about getting people to BUY whatever it is you are selling. People make a purchase not because a business has 20K likes or followers, it’s because they trust what a business sells. Most importantly, there is no social media platform that serves as a substitute for maintaining a stellar competitive advantage.

(Image: iStock/Woman watering houseplant)

 

Recently, I advised Chef Christy Jones*, the owner of a restaurant located in a suburban town in New Jersey for over 15 years. As a classically trained chef, she opened her 70-seat farm-to-table restaurant to much fanfare and anticipation, having worked at noted restaurants in her region. Her local fame afforded her a steady flow of patrons eager to consume her culinary creations. She opened with only one other restaurant nearby—today there are 14. She was the first in her market to boast a farm-to-table menu, now her competitors promote similar offerings. Chef Christy has now lost her market share and is not seeing many new customers.

Chef Christy shared with me how she tries to use social to win new business by posting information about her menu specials—with limited results. After getting a few more details, I learned that many of her competitors in town were not owned and operated by chefs. In fact, many of the eateries were started by food industry novices.

As I walked around her restaurant, I recognized some underutilized competitive advantages such as desirable outdoor eating space, on-site parking, and walk-by traffic. The large glass windows out front were also not being used effectively. Nowhere on property or menus does it say the restaurant is owned and operated by a chef. As I continued chatting and walking around, I figured out where Chef Christy’s challenges stem from—it’s her. She has lost sight of why she opened her restaurant. But most of all, she has become complacent and now takes her experience and reputation for granted.

Complacency will kill any business. Chef Christy’s original competitive advantage was and still is that she is a noted, trained chef—yet she is doing nothing to maximize it. Like many business owners, Chef Christy needs to get back to business basics to regain her competitive advantage.

Getting Back to Basics – The One Thing You Must Do

 

Your business is a moving target, but being focused helps you hit your target. Getting back to basics means focusing on what made you a success in the first place and using it to reignite your business. Here are some growth strategies any business can implement to get back to basics:

  1. Talk to Your Customers – Before there was Yelp! and Google Reviews,  entrepreneurs would actually speak with their customers to find out what they liked and didn’t like. What a concept! Your regular customers and clients may never post a review, but they know your business the best. Speak with them to find out what they want, like, and dislike and then tailor your offerings to them.
  1. Leverage Your Competitive Advantage – It’s been a while since you opened, but what made your business shine then is likely still the same or better. If you have a unique offering or reputation, use it to remind old customers and gain new ones. For example, I advised Chef Christy to add elegant lettering in her window stating “Owned and Operated by Executive Chef Christy Jones” to assist passersby in discerning between the restaurants operated by non-chefs.
  1. Upsell, Upsell, Upsell – The easiest way to increase sales is to upsell to your existing clientele. Research conducted with established businesses by marketing analytics firm SumAll found that repeat customers are the foundation upon which profitable businesses are built. The data also revealed when businesses have 40% repeat customers they generated 47% more revenue than similar businesses with only 10% repeat customers.
  1. Adapt and Change – Perhaps some of your longstanding approaches are stale. Be willing to change with the times. Getting back to basics should include innovation. Revisit how you made magic in your business when you first started to reinvent some of your services and projects.

If you feel like you’ve been running on a hamster wheel for a while, it is probably time to get back to basics. Rediscover what made you a success early on and most importantly stop chasing what you don’t have and nurture your existing customer base to reach your revenue goals.

* The name of the chef has been changed to protect her identity.

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7 Business Grants to Help Women Launch and Grow Their Startup

business grants

The number of women entrepreneurs has grown tremendously over the last decade. According to the 2016 State of Women-Owned Businesses report commissioned by American Express OPEN, the number of women-owned firms increased by 45% between 2007 and 2016, compared to just a 9% increase among all businesses in the U.S. Today 11.3 million women own 38% of businesses in the country. Back in 2007, women owned 29% of American businesses. Meanwhile, black women are the majority owners of 1.9 million firms, which employ 376,500 workers and generate $ 51.4 billion in revenues.

 

business grants (Image: iStock/shapecharge)

 

Despite the substantial growth of women in entrepreneurship, it’s harder for female-controlled startups to access capital to launch and/or scale their businesses. When compared with men, female founders are less likely to receive bank loans, venture capital, and angel investments. In 2015, for instance, venture capitalists invested over $ 58 billion in startups, but only 2% of that money went to women.

To help close the gender gap in entrepreneurship, a number of organizations are providing women with the funding they need for their businesses. Here are seven grants specially targeted to aid female business owners.

 

  1. The Eileen-Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant

Amount: $ 10,000 – $ 100,000

Deadline: Applications open Spring 2018

Female entrepreneurs who have been in business for at least three years can apply for the Eileen-Fisher Women-Owned Business Grant, which awards 10 women with grants of up to $ 100,000. To be considered, your company must be majority women-owned and women-led and promote social and environmental change. In addition, applicants cannot have earned more than $ 1 million in revenue in the year prior to applying.

  

  1. InnovateHER Grant

Amount: $ 70,000

Deadline: Applications re-open in 2018

The InnovateHER Business Challenge is a nationwide competition sponsored by the Small Business Administration that allows budding entrepreneurs to pitch their ideas in front of a live audience and judges. In 2017, the national winner received a $ 70,000 grant.

 

  1. Amber Grant

Amount: Up to $ 3,000

Deadline: The last day of each month

Each month, the Amber Grant awards $ 500 to a female entrepreneur planning to launch a small, local business. At the end of the year, one of the monthly winners is selected for an additional $ 2,500 grant. The application cutoff for the next $ 500 qualification grant is Oct. 31, 2017.

 

  1. Smart Women Smart Money

Amount: $ 3,000

Deadline: TBA

Each year, Utah’s Zions Bank awards one $ 3,000 Smart Women Grant in six categories: Business, Community Development, Continuing Education and teacher support, Child and Eldercare, Health and Human Services, and Arts and Culture. Grants are open to anyone with a business proposal that promotes women empowerment or directly benefits women, low-income, or underserved populations in Utah and Idaho.

 

  1. Open Meadows Foundation Grants

Amount: $ 2,000

Deadline: Applications for the Spring Cycle: Jan. 1 to Feb. 15. Applications for the Fall Cycle: July 1 to Aug. 15

The Open Meadows Foundation awards grants on a biannual basis to women and girls with projects that promote racial, gender, or economic equality. However, the company’s operational budget cannot exceed $ 75,000.

 

  1. 37 Angels Grants

Amount: Up to $ 150,000

Deadline: Rolling basis

37 Angels is a great resource for female entrepreneurs and offers grants as large as $ 150,000.

 

  1. Belle Capital Grants

Amount: Varies

Deadline: Varies

Belle Capital offers various grants to women-led companies. It also helps entrepreneurs gain access to an angel investment fund to launch or expand your business.

 

Small Business – Black Enterprise

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Questions about the President’s competence grow louder the more he ignores presidential norms

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CEO Talks Money Mindset Needed to Grow an 8-Figure Business

Psyche Terry

Psyche Terry is the founder of UI Global Brands L.L.C.,  a portfolio of quality brands that includes apparel and skincare solutions. Prior to launching UI Global Brands, Terry launched a line of plus-size intimate apparel sold in 5000+ stores across the country including Macy’s, Walmart, TJ Maxx, Ross, Target, and Sally Beauty.

Psyche Terry (Image: Psyche Terry)

 

Now, with a company reportedly evaluated at $ 10 million, Terry shares the money mindset shifts that helped her reach the eight-figure mark.

Fear Never Goes Away

 

“I moved completely out of the apparel business to grow my beauty line. I was afraid all over again just like a brand-new business owner.

I was afraid that maybe all of my beauty businesses would shrivel and not respond the way they have been over the past eight years. I also feared that I wouldn’t be able to use my love for fashion and trendy product creation. But I realized that I can add my fashion flair to everything I do.

Manage Your Money, Don’t Let Your Money Manage You

 

In the beginning, I didn’t watch my cash flow every day. I was more of a salesperson for our business. I knew I worked, so what was the point of “checking in” to see if my money was there? I took a class that helped me read financial statements so that every day when I received my QuickBooks reports I could follow to the line item what is or isn’t happening.

Before we raised money to grow the business we were living check to check, credit card to credit card. I was spending money constantly on new product ideas, shipping, and marketing. Once I realized the ins and outflows and timing and check cashing and bill paying seasons of our months, I helped our business be more strategic.”

 

 

Old Ways of Thinking Won’t Open New Doors of Opportunity

 

To grow an eight-figure business I had to change my money mindset from “I can’t to I will someday.”

I have my goals posted in front of my desk on the wall next to my kids’ art. The goals say to have a higher profit margin and to have millions in sales. I’ve had that same goal up for years even when we were barely making $ 100,000 a year.

But having a mentor changed my mind into thinking “why not me?” She helped me understand that if I see myself at the table then I’d start acting like I’m just patiently awaiting my invitation. When your mind changes, your expectations change. When your expectation changes, your behavior changes. When your behavior changes, things start to move into place.

Small Business – Black Enterprise

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4 Signs It’s Time to Quit Your Job to Grow Your Business

quit your job

I  understand the importance of getting a business up and running before leaving a full-time job, because I did just that. For about 10 years, I was running a small virtual PR & branding consulting agency as a side hustle. I was lucky to receive referrals from friends and my website. It was so lucrative that I was able to pay off my student loans early, positioning me to be financially stable enough to leave my full-time job as director of corporate communications and marketing at a publicly traded company.

(Image: iStock/AndreyPopov)

 

I had retained a few good clients and figured out how to leave my job and never looked back. Now four years later, running my branding agency full time, I am extremely fulfilled.

The decision to leave my paycheck was a gut feeling and I had a sense of confidence that I would succeed. However, I find some entrepreneurs miss the indicators when it’s time to venture out on their own.

Two Full-Time Jobs, One Full-Time Business

Recently, a client asked me to advise the owners of a 32,000-square-foot cold/dry storage commercial warehouse. They wanted to learn more about business development, social media strategy, and how to gain peer influence in similar businesses.

These business owners were only willing to meet with me after 6 pm or, worse, on a Saturday, not because they are too busy running the business, but because they are too busy working for someone else. So these entrepreneurs own a full-time brick and mortar business with employees and customers, yet they are still punching someone else’s clock.

The 4 Signs It’s Time for You to Quit Your Day Job

These business  owners were expecting me to sacrifice my evening hours or a Saturday (of all days) to meet with them about their business. Yet they were unwilling to sacrifice their day job hours. Unfortunately, that is not how it works.

Don’t get me wrong, I can be flexible—especially with small business owners with an operational time crunch. But if you are too busy working for someone else to meet with me during normal business hours to receive the advice you need, then it seems your business is not a priority for you.

If you find yourself in a similar job vs. business quandary, here are four signals that it is time to cut the umbilical cord otherwise known as employment:

You Own Commercial Space

Real estate is a huge investment. If you have launched or grown a business that has its own location, you have hit the big time. You now have a space where you need to be—if not every day, then most of the week. Remember, you are responsible for the bills for the location.

You Can’t Get Out of Work to Network

All of the amazing organizations, breakfasts, luncheons, mix-and-mingles are important to attend. If you can’t legitimately get out of your day job to attend them, then it’s time to be in control of your schedule 100%. Only consistent networking reaps rewards that can turn into opportunity for your enterprise. An inability to skip out of work when it’s best for you is hindering your progress.

You Have Employees

Congratulations on earning enough revenue to employ people to run your business! But don’t celebrate too soon. If you can’t work in your business for what you are paying others to work for you, perhaps business ownership is not right for you. Entrepreneurship is full of sacrifices and if you won’t sacrifice for your business, why would anyone else?

Your Growth Is Stagnant

When you focus on a business, it is more likely to grow. As long as more than half of your focus is on the success of someone else’s company, yours will suffer. Perhaps you aren’t winning new customers. Or you aren’t generating referrals and leads.

The moment I decided to leave full-time employment to scale up my firm, my world changed. I suddenly received more referrals plus new website leads.

Leaving the comforts of your full-time gig may be scary, but ask yourself why you started your side business in the first place. Was it for extra income (which, in that case, keep it as a side business)? Or did you desire freedom to do what you love? If the later, it is time to take a leap of faith to follow your passions. Your future self will thank you one day.

 

Small Business – Black Enterprise

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Reuters: Business News

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Business | New York Post

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Our 2017 List of Nation’s Largest Black Businesses Offer Strategies to Grow Your Business

For 45 years, the BE 100s—the nation’s largest black businesses—have demonstrated enduring qualities of fortitude, dexterity, ingenuity, and, yes, swagger. Throughout it all, one word best describes their predisposition to forward momentum: Evolution.

 

That’s evident with the composition of today’s BE 100s. The first Top 100 had total revenues of $ 473.4 million. The 2017 Top 100 produced total revenues of $ 27. 5 billion. List leaders: Privately-held IT powerhouse World Wide Technology, with an electrifying $ 9.3 billion in revenues, and workforce solutions juggernaut The Act-1 Group, which generated a whopping $ 2.8 billion in revenues.

The Top 100 is overwhelmingly composed of tech companies and manufacturers serving as vendors for the world’s largest corporations. In fact, the next three companies in the BE 100s billion-dollar revenue club supply parts to the automotive sector: Bridgewater Interiors, L.L.C. (No. 3 on the Top 100 with $ $ 2.2 billion in revenues); Piston Group (No. 4 with $ 1.6 billion in revenues); and Modular Assembly Innovations L.L.C. (No. 5 with $ 1.2 billion).

(Image: Bridgewater Interiors)

 

The other rankings include our BE AUTO 50, led by billionaire serial entrepreneur Robert L. Johnson’s mega dealership RLJ McLarty Landers Automotive Holdings L.L.C with $ 1.6 billion, and BE financial services firms: the 15 largest banks; 10 top asset managers; 10 leading private equity firms; and five top investment banks engaged in underwriting of taxable and tax-exempt securities, respectively.

In covering these top companies, our editors discovered example of evolutionary trends that can help your business succeed:

Tech Marks the Spot

 

Companies that clinch the sector or apply tech innovation to its operations will be the ultimate drivers. For example, tech firms continue to surge as the largest segment on the Top 100, representing 37.8% of total revenues.

(Image: iStock/monsitj)

 

BE financial services firms have been increasingly powered by Silicon Valley. Take Vista Equity Partners: the No. 1 BE PRIVATE EQUITY FIRM grew capital under management by 50%, from $ 20 billion to $ 30 billion. Among its portfolio companies: Events management leader Cvent and cloud-based social media innovator Lithium Technologies. And in March, Williams Capital (No. 3 in taxable securities with $ 2.97 billion in lead issues and No. 5 in tax-exempt securities with $ 801 million in lead issues on the BE INVESTMENT BANKS list) was among the underwriters of one of the largest U.S. tech transactions: The $ 28 billion IPO of Snap Inc., parent of the mobile app Snapchat.

Growth Through Strategic Partnerships is Vital

 

In this unpredictable business environment, companies will need alliances for expansion. Take Loop Capital Markets L.L.C.  (No. 1 in taxable securities with $ 6 billion in lead issues and No. 2 in tax-exempt securities with $ 4.1 billion in lead issues on the BE INVESTMENT BANKS list). To take advantage of the need to rebuild America. The New York Post reported in April that the firm teamed up with Magic Johnson Enterprises to launch the JLC Infrastructure Funds to access trillions that will be spent on roads, bridges, and other transportation-related projects.

Another Means of Preservation and Progression: Global Investment

 

In April, Illinois Service Federal (No. 11 on the BE BANKS list with $ 105.7 million in assets) teamed with Allpoint, the world’s largest surcharge-free ATM network to enable its customers to use 4,000 ATMs across the city for free. Moreover, the Chicago-based bank plans to increase homeowner and small business lending by $ 20 million this year.

(Image: iStock/courtneyk)

 

These steps have been taken by the bank’s new owners, Nduom Group, a Ghanaian family-owned conglomerate in industries such as investment banking, hospitality, and media throughout Africa, Europe, and North America. They became ISF Bank’s largest shareholder after making an investment of $ 9 million of fresh capital to save it from a possible closure or takeover by another institution. “The closure of other black banks leaves us with a great responsibility to bear in Chicago because the black community will be looking to us to serve their needs,”says Papa Kwesi Nduom, chairman of ISF Bank. “It’s a big responsibility, one that we accept.”

Reinforcing Brand Leadership

 

Last November, Radio One Inc. changed its corporate name to Urban One (No. 9 on the Top 100 with $ 456 million in revenues) as part of its thrust to solidify its position as the nation’s largest media company serving African American audiences.

(Image: urban1.com)

 

In an interview last year with Washington Business Journal, CEO Alfred Liggins maintained the move was “a long time coming” given that 50% of the company’s holdings were not in broadcast radio and investors in the publicly traded company had requested the shift. In addition to the name change, Urban One initiated a buyout of Comcast’s stake in TV One—no longer listed separately on the Top 100—and this May it announced that its iONE Digital division acquired Madame Noire, Bossip.com, and Hip Hop Wired websites, adding it to existing digital properties that include HelloBeautiful, NewsOne, and GlobalGrind, making it one of the largest digital outlets for black consumers.

Strengthening Ties to the Black Community “By Any Means Necessary”

 

As a result of the Black Lives Matter Movement, African Americans, including grassroots activists, professionals, and celebrities, have been promoting collective economics. As a result, BE banks became the beneficiaries of the burgeoning #BankBlack Movement. Assets and deposits rose in 2016 as African Americans placed millions of dollars in these institutions. Now, black banking leadership like Teri Williams of OneUnited Bank (No. 2 on the BE BANKS list with $ 655 million in assets) want to make sure that the movement evolves into a mindset.

(Image: Instagram/killermike)

 

At a panel at the 2017 Black Enterprise Entrepreneurs Summit, she asserted the institution is “unapologetically black” and committed to addressing the needs of black communities. Although OneUnited does not have the resources to compete with majority banks, Williams argues that it offers services that address pressing needs in our community, including financial literacy, credit repair, and wealth-building consultation. “It’s the threshold for a community to do business with ourselves,” says Williams. “Once you bank black, you don’t go back.”

Additional reporting Jeffrey W. McKinney, Lisa Fraser, and Selena Hill

Click here to access the entire digital version of the 2017 May/June issue of BLACK ENTERPRISE featuring our 2017 BE 100s report. 

View the full list of the 2017 BE 100s here

Small Business – Black Enterprise

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PERU: Economy To Grow More Than 4% In 2018 – Kuczynski

The Peruvian economy will grow at a rate of more than 4% next year, returning to the path economic dynamism, despite the natural disasters caused by the El Ni?o climate phenomenon and corporate corruption investigations, said the South American country’s president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski in a speech.
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Work With a Difficult Boss? Use These Four Key Strategies to Grow and Succeed

home-based

Having a difficult boss can make you ask yourself questions like: “Why is my hard work not good enough?”; “I’ve done so much, how can I finally get that promotion?”; or “I did exactly what my boss said and I still don’t understand how it’s not up to par.”

Difficult bosses shouldn’t bring you down. See the situation as an opportunity to try different strategies to handle your boss’s challenging personality yet still achieve your own goals.

home-based (Image: iStock.com/Squaredpixels)

 

 

 

Think like Your Boss

 

Take a minute to stop and think about his or her motivations, concerns, priorities, etc. Your job is to make their lives easier, so think hard about what they might like to see from you and how you can show them you’re doing quality work.

For example, make a list of items you think they might appreciate seeing on your next report. Give information your boss can share with their managers to make him or her look good. Give them project updates on a weekly basis instead of waiting for them to ask you. Showing such drive gives you higher chances of praise, appreciation, and even promotions.

Get Ahead of the Game

 

At this point in your career, you already know how to do your job and what your manager expects. You likely have the capability of anticipating the different types of tasks, questions, and objections your boss may surprise you with. Practicing this strategy will make you look polished and prepared, not to mention responsible for working so methodically.

Mentorship (Image: iStock.com/Yuri_Arcurs)

 

 

Learn from Mentors and Co-Workers

 

Hearing what your boss is like with other people may help you get a better idea on how to work with him or her. Listening to other people’s advice and perspectives will help you understand what to do and what not to do when working with your boss. It’s essential to learn how he or she prefers to communicate (phone, email, in-person, etc.), what they like or don’t like to hear, and so on. This can help you learn from other people’s mistakes and understand how you can win your boss’s trust.

negotiating (Image: iStock.com/FangXiaNuo)

 

 

 

Speak Up

 

If you’ve tried everything and still feel puzzled about how to give your boss what he or she is looking for, voice your thoughts and concerns with them privately. Start by setting up a meeting with your boss and prepare a list of questions ahead of time. By scheduling a meeting, you show that you’re respecting their time and giving them a chance to discuss things that may help make both of your lives easier. Questions you can bring to this meeting may include:

  • What are you expecting to see in these types of projects?
  • What can I do to give you exactly what you’re looking for?
  • How do you measure success?
  • What keeps you up at night and what can I do to make your life easier?

The key is to be polite and show that you care. Your boss has a heart and hopefully they will be grateful to you for coming to them with these questions. This strategy can make you stand out from the crowd and show your boss your incredible determination to succeed.

Using these strategies may make a world of difference for you. By doing some deep thinking, planning, and communicating, you’ll feel a lot smarter and better prepared on how to work with your boss. If after applying these tips you still feel stuck and no progress has been made, consider getting help or advice from HR. The goal is to do everything in your power to get a better handle of your boss’s difficult personality. Try not to lose focus and do your best to prove yourself in this job and all other jobs moving forward.

Career – Black Enterprise

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Floral Bridesmaid Dresses Are The Wedding Trend That Will Grow On You

These bridal parties are bringing the flower power

According to the 2017 Pinterest Wedding Report, searches for printed bridesmaids dresses are on the rise. And one of the most eye-catching iterations of this wedding trend is the floral dress. Below, 17 bridal parties who stylishly sported florals on the big day. 

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Style – The Huffington Post
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Grow A Tree For Baby – Personalized

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The Mocha Manual to Turning Your Passion into Profit: How to Find and Grow Your Side Hustle in Any Economy

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Who among us haven''t dreamed of turning our passion into an income-producingenterprise? Whether it''s arranging flowers, creating our own beauty products, or taking care of children, we all have our special talents. But how do you turn your hobbies into something more lucrative? And when would you ever find the time?In an uncertain economy, there is no better time than now to get started andThe Mocha Manual to Turning Your Passion into Profitoffers the step-by-step answers you need to turn your ideas into a business plan and your business plan into a bona fide business. Whether Kimberly Seals-Allers, an entrepreneur herself, is directing you toward resources that will tell you which licenses you need to get started or advising you on how to pick an accountant once your business starts to grow, you can count on her counsel to be clear, concise, and inspiring. Her wisdom on everything from marketing ideas to managing employees is combined with advice and anecdotes from everyday women who have founded companies ranging from small IT consulting businesses to massive operations such as Carol''s Daughter. Whether you want to quit your job and start your own company or supplement your existing income with a side hustle, this inspiring book is for you.
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Geologist Discovers Plant That May Only Grow On Top Of Soil Laden With Diamonds

There she grows!

A picky plant found in West Africa may grow only on top of mineral deposits often loaded with diamonds, according to research soon to be published in the journal Economic Geology. Stephen Haggerty, a professor at Florida International University in Miami and the chief exploration officer of Youssef Diamond Mining Company, said the discovery could be a game changer for the region.

The thorny plant, Pandanus candelabrum, only grows atop deposits of kimberlite, a type of volcanic rock found in giant underground “columns” around the world. Diamonds, formed hundreds of kilometers deep by intense heat and pressure, are pushed upward with the kimberlite during subterranean volcanic activity, resulting in gem-rich veins of rock.

plant

Pandanus candelabrum, left, is seen in the Liberian jungle.

Until recently, there was no reliable way to locate these concentrated deposits of diamonds, which can be just a few acres in size and buried in thick, remote parts of the jungle.

Haggerty made the discovery in the bush of Liberia after venturing to the country in 2010 to continue research he began in the 1970s. He told The Huffington Post that Liberia, infamous for its trade in so-called “blood diamonds,” had extensive mining operations in place, but the miners had no real way of knowing where to look for the gems. The region is covered in dense forest “so inaccessible, you can’t see more than 10 feet in front of you,” he said.

Moving through the jungle and taking soil samples with an 8-foot steel rod, Haggerty eventually discovered a kimberlite “pipe” about 500 by 50 meters, or 1640 by 164 feet. Four diamonds, two of them around 20 carats apiece, have already been found in the soil above the pipe, according to Science magazine.

Aside from the pipe itself, Haggerty’s most interesting observation was the discovery of Pandanus candelabrum, which thrives on a unique mixture of minerals found in the kimberlite soil. “For reasons that we don’t yet know,” he said, P. candelabrum appears to grow only atop these diamond-rich deposits.

Various plants have been used as discovery elements for other metal-laden soils, Haggerty said. Scientists uncovered some eucalyptus trees in 2013 that contained gold in their leaves, having tapped into mineral deposits deep underground with their far-reaching roots.

Haggerty said he hopes to use satellite mapping of the plants (via their spectral signatures) to help unearth new pipes of kimberlite throughout Liberia.

“That’s the way geology works. We don’t operate in singularities,” Haggerty said. “If there’s one pipe, there have to be others.”

Still, not all kimberlite deposits contain diamonds — in fact, only about 1 percent of the world’s known kimberlite pipes “are rich enough in quality diamonds to be worth mining,” writes Eric Hand at Science.

But if the mapping goes as hoped, it could pave the way for new diamond exploration in the country that could help boost local economies without harming the environment. Whereas a lot of current diamond mining involves unearthing and discarding all kinds of substances, some of them terrible for the environment, the main by-product of mining at kimberlite sites would be the kimberlite itself — which is basically composed of the same nutrients as garden fertilizer. In a country still battling Ebola and malaria, Haggerty said, that could be a saving grace.

“That’s what Liberia needs, and that’s what West Africa needs,” he said.

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Style – The Huffington Post
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Peter Pan Moms: We Won’t Grow Up

We Peter Pan Moms make up the first-generation of hot moms, MILFS and cougars — congratulations and condolences to us. Take, for example, the Facebook timeline. We Peter Pan Moms update our vanity avatars more often than we floss, alternating between a youthful headshot taken from above (always from above) and a peek at our latest ink. We channel our rock star within on the dance floor, at the karaoke mic and sometimes party a bit too much like it’s 1999. Make that 1989. Sun City has no idea what’s coming, but they better amp up their WiFi, add tattoo artist to their spas and start training their DJs.

Once a vanity reserved for celebrities, now the illusion of forever (lifted, rejuvenated, de-veined) young falls within reach of the masses. During their “hot mom” years, our grandmas wore modest dresses and stockings. Mom wore “mom jeans” because that’s how jeans came — high in the waist and ample in the hips. The only women in America getting routine plastic surgery lived in Beverly Hills or could afford to. As kids, we occasionally begged off of our mothers (and fathers) wardrobes, but they certainly didn’t beg off ours. Maybe — maybe — a classmate mentioned your mom as pretty, but MILF? An unthinkable moniker, and If anyone did think about it, they certainly did not celebrate it aloud. We called our friends’ parents Mr. and Mrs.; The line between parent and child, teen and adult, and those who should and should not wear mini-dresses seemed obvious. When Dirty Dancing came out, we certainly hadn’t seen our parents doing anything remotely like it at Auntie’s wedding.

I fear that Peter Pan Moms — as we joust with standards of hardbodies, wrinkle-free foreheads, full manes of no-greys (and nary-a-hair-elsewhere )– have created our own hawt purgatory, NeverNeverEVERLand. I foresee us as centenarians in NeverNeverEverLand, clenching our hot mom sashes and stilettos in arthritic joints, instead of gracefully handing them over to the next generation in exchange for Clark’s Wallabees and elastic waist pants.

Our grandmas couldn’t conceive of this NeverNeverEVER Land. Our moms fought too hard to be taken seriously to risk wearing pants that showed crack. Legs got shaved — maybe armpits — but if my crotch-height memories serve me correctly, our moms worried even less about their bikini lines than they did about the rubber swim caps suctioned to their natural salt-and-pepper hairdos. While sometimes I revel in my Peter Pan Mom rebellion of middle age, I also wonder how long I can keep it up. Instead of using our real life matriarchs as role models or adopting the Women’s Studies 101 ideals we once tormented our loved ones with around the dinner table, Peter Pan Mom desperately searches for ways to look less and less MOM.

My mom has always dressed and behaved with dignity and class (at least in public and so far as I know). She exercises for good health, not for hard abs (which neither she nor any prior generation sought, nor even found attractive). Growing up, I never heard her complain about her body, nor lament its aging. I hope that we Peter Pan Moms figure out how to marry our vanity with our aging bodies, obsess less over how our bodies look and shift our focus on to gratitude for how well they (hopefully) still work. I hope we learn to share the spotlight and know when the time comes to sit in the audience and clap when Tinkerbell publishes her first blog post. Most of all, I hope that we embrace the softness of our laps, while our Wendys Michaels and Johns still want to sit in them.
Comedy – The Huffington Post
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Grow with Me Sippy Cup 2-Pack (Girl) 10 Ounces

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You Grow Girl: The Groundbreaking Guide to Gardening

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This is not your grandmother’s gardening book. "You Grow Girl" is a hip, humorous how-to for crafty gals everywhere who are discovering a passion for gardening but lack the know-how to turn their dreams of homegrown tomatoes and fresh-cut flowers into a reality. Gayla Trail, creator of YouGrowGirl.com, provides guidance for both beginning and intermediate gardeners with engaging tips, projects, and recipes — whether you have access to a small backyard or merely to a fire escape. "You Grow Girl" eliminates the intimidation factor and reveals how easy and enjoyable it can be to cultivate plants and flowers even when resources and space are limited. Divided into accessible sections like Plan, Plant, and Grow, "You Grow Girl" takes readers through the entire gardening experience:

  • Preparing soil
  • Nurturing seedlings
  • Fending off critters
  • Reaping the bounty
  • Readying plants for winter
  • Preparing for the seasons ahead Gayla also includes a wealth of ingenious and creative projects, such as:
  • Transforming your garden’s harvest into lush bath and beauty products
  • Converting household junk into canny containers
  • Growing and bagging herbal tea
  • Concocting homemade pest repellents …and much, much more. Witty, wise, and as practical as it is stylish, "You Grow Girl" is guaranteed to show you how to get your garden on. All you need is a windowsill and a dream
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