Let’s survey the audience – do you use quotes in your social media content?

“A #2 pencil and a dream is all you need to go forth in to your future”

~recent quote spotted in a school

Everywhere I go I tend to see quotes.  Postings on Facebook.  In my Twitter stream.  On classroom walls. And, even on billboards as I drive up and down the LA freeways.  From Gandhi to Einstein to Dr. Phil – there are quotes everywhere!

Which begs these questions:

1- Do you use quotes  in  your social media content?

2- Do quotes really help build an audience and  engage your audience to want to learn more about YOU and YOUR BRAND (versus only pressing FOLLOW, but not really engaging any further)?

3- Do quotes appeal to men and women equally?

4. Which are YOUR favorite quotes?  (I would love to see many of you answer in the comment section!)

So go ahead… educate me (and others) about the value of using quotes in social media… and if you are so inspired – complete the attached poll that will start the discussion by answering question #1.  If you wish to answer any other questions – feel free to use the comment section to do so.



A Face. A Social Story. Helping children with Autism to express feelings

I have worked many years within the Autism community.  It is often my observation (and that of many others) – that people on the spectrum sometimes misread or fail to notice social and emotional cues in others.   This can lead to difficult, awkward and at times, comical situations. Many therapists, psychologists, educators and parents work diligently to try and bring social awareness and correct communication techniques  (including semantics) to those who have challenges in these areas.

Over the years I have snapped thousands of photos for programs and products via SIGNING FAMILIES.  Today I am making many of  the photos with only “faces” available in the form of a slideshow.   Feel free to download and share this slideshow. To stop the slideshow or pause it- simply press the middle two lines on the photo.

It is my hope that these photos will help promote conversation, social stories or simply with identifying feelings and emotions in others.

Consider these pictures a starting point. Notice there are no captions below any of the pictures. I will leave it up to the viewers to decide where the conversation should lead and decide which emotion the photo is portraying.  Perhaps whole stories can be generated with a single photo.  Let the child lead, if you can.

To learn more about my programs for children and adults with Autism, please connect via SIGNING FAMILIES or my website.

Feel free to add your ideas on how to promote communication below.

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Honoring our Veterans – Part 2

Earlier this week I posted a pictorial blog of our recent trip to the monuments in Washington DC.  Most of the memorials we visited were  tributes to those who have served in combat.

After posting this blog I recalled that I had caught a group of World War II veterans on an honor flight to commemorate Veteran’s Day  at the World War II Memorial.  I happened upon this group in November of 2010  arriving at BWI airport when I was awaiting a departing flight at the same gate.

I know the footage is shaky and also not professional.  But, this is what happens when organic moments are caught on simple FlipCams!

There are many more videos, like this one, on YouTube.  Simply use the search words – Veterans returning home

Feel free to post links as comments to your “coming home” videos.  And as always, respectful comments welcome.


Washington DC Monuments – Night and Day

If you are one to be touring the east coast of the United States this summer (or ever) be sure to place on your “Must Do” list a visit to the national monuments in Washington DC.  Below you will find a photo essay with hopes that these pictures will entice you to journey to these national treasures and soak in the historical lessons that each tell.


The Washington Monument tours over all buildings in the nations capital.  Recently re-opened after the 2011 earthquake.

The Washington Monument tours over all buildings in the nations capital. Recently re-opened after the 2011 earthquake.

The Washington Monument at night

The Washington Monument at night

A tribute to 9/11 victims, including my neighbor, Sara Clark

A tribute to 9/11 victims, including my neighbor, Sara Clark


No other words needed

Each bench at the Pentagon Memorial has a name of a victim.  There are reflecting pools below each one.  How the seats are placed reflect how the victims were seated during the crash.

Each bench at the Pentagon Memorial has a name of a victim. There are reflecting pools below each one. How the seats are placed reflect how the victims were seated during the crash.


FDR Memorial at night

FDR Memorial at night

The monuments at night - full of art and culture. Including these at the FDR memorial

The monuments at night – full of art and culture. Including these at the FDR memorial

The towering Dr. Martin Luther King memorial

The towering Dr. Martin Luther King memorial

The memorial is lined with quotes which adds to this ever amazing tribute

The memorial is lined with quotes which adds to this ever amazing tribute

The riveting Korean memorial - a MUST visit

The riveting Korean memorial – a MUST visit


Korean memorial

Korean memorial at night with many visitors despite the late hour


Arlington National Cemetery at night

Arlington National Cemetery at night

Vintage + Contemporary = Steampunk!

DSC_0325  If you had asked me four months ago to describe Steampunk I would have answered with a blank stare. I had NO idea that this was an art form let alone one that is quite unique, intriguing and most of all taking the design world by storm!

In essence, Steampunk is the melding of vintage objects with a contemporary flair.  How can I best explain Steampunk – well think of taking your grandmother’s glass trinkets and placing it with your father’s baseball. Glue them together and add a bunch more interesting novelty pieces. Hard to visualize this as art? I had a difficult time wrapping my head around this, too. To get some clarity I did some homework and found myself  spending a bit of time with someone who could answer a whole bunch of questions about Steampunk – Beverly Holman, a longtime resident of Hermosa Beach, CA.

First lesson I learned – 80 is the new 50! Despite being a senior citizen she is no way near retiring, as she has jumped in with both feet and wizardry hands to create the most funky of designs!  Imagine placing an eyeball and a license plate on to an old camera. Strange grouping you may think? Well look below and see how this odd matching of objects becomes a work of art!

I had an opportunity to interview Beverly  and found out that after many years in behind a desk she longed for her first love – art! Without much ado, once retiring she decided turn back time and go back to her artistic roots. She decided to start by seeking out various retro and antique items that could be repurposed.  (Her house is stacked with bins that hold the most fascinating collection of objects!).  Once she has mapped out a general idea she assembles items that she believes will carry out a chosen theme – then she sits down and starts to create! Hours and days later  a new Steampunk design is born!


Here is where I get sad – I see these wonderful creations and then reflect back to the many times I threw out little objects thinking they were were worthless. Who would want that odd monopoly piece or glass figurine from a five and dime store?  Beverly does!

And in case you are wondering Steampunk is a legitimate art form.  Some find a more goth following with their talents while others lean to the more Victorian and vintage aspects of Steampunk.  There are magazines such as Just Steampunk! that dedicates many pages to artists (Beverly will be in their upcoming issue.)

So if you are sporting an AARP card and wondering what to do in the next chapter of your life – consider your more creative side! Nothing keeps a brain and body fresher than setting goals and using your innate talents!  And, if you are interested in learning more about Steampunk or wish to have a great conversation with a fascinating woman please check out Beverly’s website!  I am glad I did!

Below are some photos I took of just a few of the dozens of creations that Beverly has made. Many of her designs are available on ETSY and in California shops – a list is on her website with links.

Enjoy and note – I truly love Steampunk and was fascinated by the art form. This is NOT a sponsored post.

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Dear 2014 Graduates,

Dear Class of 2014 Graduates,

CONGRATULATIONS! Have you noticed a theme in commencement speeches this year?  Like those from First Lady Michele Obama,  Jim Carrey and John Legend (who sings throughout his speech)?  The themes are quite simple, poignant and introspective.  In the spirit of their words I offer a few words to echo their sentiments and some of my own  pearls of wisdom.  You are invited to add your own words below and to also check out a list of the BEST commencement speeches ever!class of 2014

Successful people surround themselves with people they love and pursue activities they love.

Education is important – period.

Worry is a useless behavior.

Common sense is necessary to succeed in life.

Laugh more.

Put down the electronics and have real discussions with real people in your real life!

Play more- outside!

Be creative or at least go see creative endeavors such as the performing arts or museums.

Be responsible for your actions – don’t pass off your guilty actions on to someone else

Be humble.

Be motivated.

Remember everyone is a teacher and a student – forever.

Don’t be negative in public or on social media- ever.

Thank those around you – you didn’t get here alone!


Why Instagram is a GREAT Choice for Engagement

Why Instagram is a GREAT Choice for Engagement
I started to be a shutterbug in 1967 – the year my parents took us to Disneyland.  I must have snapped every photo on my roll of 24 within minutes of arriving to the gates where Mickey Mouse stood!  Since then I have snapped THOUSANDS of photos including countless pics of places I have visited.  Which is why when Instagram,  a photo driven social media site that depends on engagement,  became all the rage and I quickly became – “an early adopter”.


Instagram is a virtual photo album that you share with your friends and family. It also enables you to engage an audience by using a common entity known as the hashtag #.  The pros of Instagram are that you can use endless hashtags which helps like – minded people find you and your product or service. You can instantaneously share your image on to TUMBLER, FACEBOOK and TWITTER, as well. Your photo of your trip to Italy can be a useful tool for those wishing to learn about places to visit and was found simply because you uploaded a photo of Venice and tagged it #Italy #Travel #Venice.
 The cons of Instagram is that it is best used as an app and not very computer friendly.  Another con is that you cannot really comment effectively.  A big ‘ol heart for “ I love it” usually is all one can say.  Those who like to read comments are best to post on FACEBOOK.
Caution- for those who think that Instagram is about snap- upload- hashtag and SELL you are WRONG.  Instagram engages an audience and may entice them to seek out more information but the company frowns heavily on direct sales and will “ding” you if you repeatedly try. So don’t add any pricing or personal contact information on any of your posts!
Lastly…Want to have a lot of people enjoy and remark on your Instagram photo? Simply do a group selfie with half a dozen celebrities at the OSCARS! Just ask ELLEN!  (photo credit below- @theEllenShow)




The last weeks of school – how to keep kids motivated to learn?

smallIt is that time of year again when spring break is over and the students are now clamoring for summer vacation. It also is the hardest time of the year for teachers to teach and parents to get their kids to school without complaint.

How can you compete with the sweet smell of grass growing or hours of sunshine?

So, I would love to open this blog up for suggestions on how teachers can entice kids to read just a few more books, learn additional math concepts or allow themselves to create a science project for that end of the year fair. In essence, how to keep kids learning this time of year?!

Parents - What motivates your child to learn? How do you manage to get your child up and out every morning without argument? (Or don’t you?)

Teachers – How do you keep your students to stay on task and remain interested in learning when the outside is so alluring?

Let’s all share and learn from each other… And, for those who teach school year- round, I would love to hear about YOUR techniques for keeping students motivated, too!



WordsWound1What if you could offer your tween or teen a book that would help them get through the complexities of peer relationships? Perhaps  a template, so to speak, on how to make your way around the school hallways without wondering if someone was snapping a photo or instantaneously uploading something you said in the cafeteria on to a social media site. AND… what to do IF you found yourself as online fodder for others.

Also, what if this same book can help as a catalyst for discussion between parents and their children or teachers and their students? Worth the price of two vente lattes?

Online cyberbullying is a problem and one that is aptly addressed in WORDS WOUND by Justin Patchin and Sameer Hinduja.

In less than 200 pages this paperback gives students skills to help prevent cyberbullying as well as how to react if they are ever a victim. The authors stress being proactive, but know that sometimes they can’t stop every problem – so what to do if a teen does find themselves in the midst of online bullying?

Parents will read this book with perhaps some astonishment. As a Psychologist who works in social media, I had NO idea of some of the sites mentioned that teens are using that are a bit “off the grid”.   I do now!

Now my shoutout to teachers – this book should be on your shelf! It gives you ideas on how to prevent and stop cyberbullying. The insights shared are invaluable. The authors have included excellent talking points that are mature and thought provoking.  Guidance counselors also should add this to their books on helping those bullied in schools and for peer group sessions.

WORDS WOUND is available via FREE SPIRIT Publishing and other online stores.



Also by FREE SPIRIT PUBLISHING and worth the read by the younger set!

ARMOND GOES TO A PARTY - this book is written to help children understand Asperger’s Syndrome or as a social story for a child on the spectrum. BUT, I really think the true audience is the parent who will love a story about hope and inclusion.  Delightful book, well written and adorable illustrations.

Early childhood and Young Children books by Elizabeth Verdick.  From CUDDLE to BYSTANDER POWER .  These books are just the right size to pop for a parent to pop in to a bag and have handy for times when you have to wait – such as a restaurant or doctors office. In fact, when I saw BEDTIME, from the TODDLER TOOLS series,  I thought that it would be an excellent addition for a pediatrician’s office!  Elizabeth Verdick’s catalog of books can be found at this link.



Disclaimer- I was not compensated for this review except to receive a free copy of the books mentioned.  I donated the books received.

Why 1 in 6 Couples Need our Support

I am blessed. In 1989 and again in 1992 I gave birth to my wonderful curly haired children! With the exception of a premature birth with our second, my pregnancies were easy and uncomplicated. That is not the case with one out of every six couples in the United States who are faced with infertility! I was really taken by surprise when I encountered this statistic! One in every SIX couples are not able to have children without medical intervention or other help?  WOW! This month the RESOLVE – the National Infertility Association wants to educate the general population in an effort to show support and compassion for the “one” in every six couples who are challenged with infertility.   National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) was created 25 years ago to help create a supportive and understanding environment for those who opted for the many fertility treatments and options available.  Twenty -five years later the technology, medicine and options have expanded which now means more than ever how important education is to information and services to those who are in need. I must confess, prior to my partnership with HRC Fertility of Pasadena, I knew very little about what was available to those who had infertility problems. I knew about “IVF” and had a few friends who used donor sperm/egg programs, especially when they were in their late 30’s and 40’s. But, I had NO IDEA of what technologies were now being offered and how amazing the science truly was! I  was not aware about how each state and/or country allowed for different treatments.  California is very progressive while other states make the legality of some options much more difficult.  The United States, as a whole, is more advanced and accepting. For example, embryo adoption or surrogacy are often not available in some foreign countries. That is why international fertility tourism has become increasingly popular with couples seeking treatments, especially with couples in search of In Vitro Fertilization, traveling to States. Same – sex couples also have had many more options available in order to build their families.  Donor egg/ sperm/ embryo programs  have been gaining popularity. Surrogacy also has become much more mainstream thanks to celebrities being open about using this option themselves! For a list of celebrity who have used surrogates read here. NIAW begins April 20-26th with many online and live events being offered all over the United States.  HRC Fertility of Pasadena will be participating and posting via their social media platforms including Facebook and Twitter.  I plan on joining them by  tweeting and using the hashtag #NIAW to help others become more informed. I know for some this is anything that is of interest to you – infertility. But, for the sake of the millions of people who find becoming a parent a challenge please consider helping out.  Let others know of NIAW and the information available via the RESOLVE website . Also, May 7th  has been designated as  ADVOCACY DAY where RESOLVE will be campaigning for infertility issues on a legislative level. And, if ever you doubted what the “end game” was for fertility specialists, let me be the first to tell you that it is about the smiles of their patients and the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you cast your eyes on their newborn child! The photos below are compliments of “medical magic” that has helped create families via fertility options, including some familiar faces!

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Note:  I wrote this sponsored blog as an effort to educate readers about infertility issues. I was compensated by HRC Fertility of Pasadena but gladly would have done so for free! My goal is to help them with their efforts to build families!


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