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Family Activity For MLK Day And Beyond: Selma Movie

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Monday is not only a day of vacation from school, it is a day of meaning. “Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around the time of King’s birthday, January 15“. My boys enjoy learning about history so we make sure that we use holidays especially as teachable moments. This MLK day we will be going to see the movie Selma to not only honor Martin Luther King Jr. Day but also the incredible Director Ava DuVernay (who I think should of been included in the Best Director Category for the Academy Awards as well as the movie being included in the Best Motion Picture of the Year category) and the fabulous cast and team that made the movie. Oprah Winfrey and Brad Pitt were part of team of producers.


Selma is “A chronicle of Martin Luther King‘s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965“.  Many kids especially are visual learners so going to see this movie will help them learn about Martin Luther King Jr and the important equal voting rights campaign.


An exciting initiate around the movie Selma is the #SelmaForStudents which “Due to the generous contributions by so many of the country’s most prominent African-American business leaders, more than 275,000 middle and high school students will experience the critically acclaimed film for free at participating theaters while supplies last“.  The Selma For Students initiative is a wonderful way to help students get the opportunity to see the movie. We are going to buy our tickets on Fandango and I also hope that many others buy tickets as well to send ticket sales on Martin Luther King, Jr Day for the Selma Movie skyrocketing!


Selma For Students

What activities are you doing with your family on Martin Luther King, Jr Day to help not only honor MLK but also make the day a teachable moment?


Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3): A Gift To Future Generations


(See Disclosures at bottom of post)


When it comes to managing family health, being proactive and aggressive goes a long way. I frequently point out to my boys and my husband the importance of exercise, eating right and getting enough sleep using real examples of friends and family who role model healthy habits.


We also discuss additional health risks that are genetic and unfortunately immune to lifestyle choices. Like many families, mine has experienced recent battles with cancer. Unfortunately, several women in family have the BRCA mutation, which is a genetic Breast (and Ovarian) Cancer risk factor.  My Aunt had the BRCA mutation and recently passed away after a brave fight with Ovarian Cancer.


Because of this family medical history, my mother and I were tested and found that we did not have the BRCA mutation. We also began investigating other cancer risk factors that can be changed. When I heard of the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3), I decided to both participate and spread the word. I view my participation in the Cancer Prevention Study-3 as a gift to future generations.


Here is the information I received from the American Cancer Society on the Cancer Prevention Study-3 (CPS-3) :

  • Cancer Prevention Study (CP-3)  is a long-term study that seeks to better understand the factors (lifestyle, environmental, genetic) that cause or prevent cancer and ultimately help eliminate cancer as a major health concern for future generations.


  • Past long-term ACS studies have played a major role in cancer prevention, as well as in other national and international efforts. Past studies have demonstrated: 1) link between smoking and lung cancer; 2) significant impact of being overweight or obese on cancer risk; 3) impact of hormones, physical activity, diet on cancer risk; 4) link between aspirin use and reduced risk of colon cancer.


  • Involvement in CPS-3 includes: Reading and signing a consent form, completing a survey, providing some physical measurements, giving a small blood sample, and responding to follow up questionnaires by mail every two years following (for at least 20 years). Participants must be between the ages of 30 and 65 years & have no personal history of cancer to join CPS-3.


  • CPS-3 is one of the most important factors in ACS finishing the fight against cancer in that it identifies trends between lifestyle patterns and incidence of cancer – trends that can limit, and in most cases prevent, cancer altogether.


  • CPS-3 offers an historic opportunity — a once in a generation opportunity — to be personally involved in research that will advance ACS’ understanding of the lifestyle, behavioral, environmental, and genetic factors that cause cancer.


  • The American Cancer Society has played a part in nearly every cancer research breakthrough in recent history and the next one could be found in this study.



  • Enrollment in the CPS-3 study is one of the most important and impactful things you can do to help finish the fight against cancer; you can change the course of cancer.  Here are the San Francisco Bay Area Recruitment Sites:
  1. Alameda (July 20-August 3)
  2. Marin County (July 24-August 7)
  3. San Francisco (July 17-August 10)
  4. San Mateo (July 24-August 10)
  5. Santa Clara (July 13-August 10)


Here is a link to the General CPS-3 landing page for participation across the US for those that want to find out details on recruitment sites in other cities. Join me for this historic opportunity  to be personally involved in research that will advance American Cancer Society’s understanding of the factors that cause cancer.


I was compensated for my participation in learning and sharing about CPS-3 through Women Online/The Mission List. All opinions stated here are my own.




#FamilyFriendlyWork – Social Media “Meme” Edition

I was one of the lucky ones.  As a Senior Manager at a top consulting firm with a 4 year-old son and twins on the way, I was offered options. The firm was very serious about providing a family friendly workplace, so I could have taken maternity leave and then come back to flexible assignment. With twins on the horizon, I decided to leave, but felt fortunate that the choice was mine and I had great options should I decide to stay. Many parents don’t have it so easy, working for companies that don’t have family friendly workplace policies, and forced to make difficult tradeoffs to achieve work/life balance.



After my twins were in preschool, I explored options to get back to work and decided to start my “career 2.0” by working in social media. Writing and consulting projects in social media offer the flexibility to work at home, but there were, and years later still are, many tech events and meetings that I needed to attend.  so I did the juggle of working with my husband’s work schedule and finding a sitter.


I was lucky to have a husband who contributed an equal partner in parenting, as well as a mother nearby and some reliable sitters available. While our family’s work-life balance was truly a balancing act, with multiple support options available I have been able to pull it off so far. In my book, “My Parent Plan“, I talk about the process of planning for childcare. Even if it is well anticipated and managed, it is still a challenge because there is never an easy solution to manage both the anticipated and unanticipated in life. Balancing the schedules of younger kids needing a sitter, as well as working through after school programs for older kids, is sometimes nearly impossible to plan.



If I had a national task force to solve this issue, I would try to do the following:


1. Use the power of local communities: I would love to see each local community accept the responsibility of helping organize local (safe) afterschool programs. There are so many people out of work (including teachers). What if local governments could help match qualified local professionals with nearby afterschool programs. Communities could team up with fitness centers (such as the YMCA or JCC’s) to use available space for needed family services.



2. Take Your Kids To Work (when possible). Let’s face it, not every workplace is a good fit for parents to share with their kids (and many kids are in school all day). How about expanding telecommuting options so if it fits with the job –  parents can utilize all the modern communication technology out there and work from home more often. Or what if some conferences and workplaces that were flexible offered childcare, allowed parents to bring their kids or offer supervised activities for kids?  After years of seeing parents taking their kids to the BlogHer Conferences, I was not surprised to see yet another year of childcare announced for BlogHer13. BlogHer is a great role model for incorporating a family friendly “conference” environment.


I have already seen many great examples of parents (moms and dads) taking their kids to work.  The Huffington post shared a picture of Licia Ronzulli with her toddler at European Parliament and Mom101 discussed what a family friendly work environment looks like with a picture of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand being sworn in holding her child. Unicef and many other organizations recognize “Parents should be afforded the necessary protection and assistance to fulfill their responsibilities within the community and to their children“.  The New York Times just recently published an article that discussed “For more than two decades the demands and hours of work have been intensifying. Yet progress in adopting family-friendly work practices and social policies has proceeded at a glacial pace.


To help move the discussion of family friendly work environments forward I want to call on the power of social media to share #FamilyFriendlyWork success stories. I hope this will ignite the discussion and show that creating a family friendly workplace is possible. Keep in mind, I do believe a family friendly work environment does not mean everyone should bring their kids to work, it means that parents can have the support to either find the right childcare or include their kids in relevant work experiences when possible.  What better way to inspire our own kids to create their own career goals?




Please comment below with your family friendly work environment ideas, success stories or links to blog posts (or any social media) or websites that discuss this. For those parents that want to share links to pictures of their #FamilyFriendlyWork please do so. It can happen!




I took my 14 year old son to a tech conference (he even received his own press badge) as my cameraman and video editor!



If you post or share, please use the hashtag #familyfriendlywork and share your ideas (and links) as comments to this post.


Disclosure: This post is just my own way of trying to further the discussion of family friendly work environments…





GetUNREAL: Candy & Snacks With Real Ingredients (And So Yummy!)

I have a regular battle with my kids when it comes to candy. I always tell them that candy in moderation is fine, but I object to that candy being filled with artificial ingredients. I always tell them – sugar is sweet – why do they need so much junk in candy? When the UNREALTM team contacted me about their new candy line coming up (and hired me to host a local event, please see disclosures at bottom of this post), I JUMPED at the chance.


Why? Here are the details from the UNREAL press information

“UNREALTM, is a new generation food company with an outrageous mission: to “unjunk” the world. UNREALTM is starting with candy – the worst offender. As you all know, most people think corn syrup, hydrogenated oils, artificial ingredients, preservatives, and GMOs are there for us, to make candy taste better. Sadly, they’re really there to make candy cheaper (and more profitable) to manufacture.



Our UNREALTM candies have replaced the junk in candy with good stuff: double the cacao, more peanuts, real milk, cane sugar, and organic palm fruit oil. Naturally, without all this junk, we think the candy tastes better! But UNREALTM candies also have substantially less sugar, and more fiber & protein than other leading candies.”


The most exciting thing is that UNREAL has the same pricing as other candies and will be available all over the country soon: Here are the stores where it is already available now: CVS, Micheals, Rite Aid and Walgreens. UNREAL will be available soon at Kroger, Target, Rite Aid, Staples, Fred Meyer, Ralphs, BJ’s, Food For Less and many more national retailers.


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New Tech Product: Striiv Portable Fitness Device – Rewards Thru Everday Exercise

Yesterday I had the opportunity to talk with the team and see a demo over at Striiv, a new Silicon Valley Start-Up that developed a portable fitness device for the “rest of us” (Please check out my post at Cool Mom Tech for more details).

What does “rest of us” mean?

There are already great devices for runners but how about the “rest of us” that count running in and out of the grocery store or up and down the steps to their office as their only exercise? Striiv is a device small enough to hang on your keychain but is filled with big features that everyone can use to fit in more exercise into their daily routine.

The device follows your movement (including steps,  cadence and more) assigning points to track personal goals, unlock rewards, progess steps in a gaming environment and best yet contribute to charity in what is considered a “walk-a-thon” in your pocket. Future features inlcude big plans for social.

The age range is from kids to adults, so the whole family can use the device. I will be testing a Striiv device very soon and can’t wait to share more details. For now, here is the press release for today’s announcement.

Press Release:

 Silicon Valley Start-Up Unveils Product that Motivates and Rewards Exercise through Games, Challenges and Donations

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