Need last minute UNIQUE shopping ideas? I got you covered

Retro pretty woman and red telephone

 Tired of mall parking lots or endless waiting in line? Feeling overwhelmed by online shopping – especially Amazon?  Need help this holiday season for ideas that are not the “same old, same old”?  Then you have stumbled upon the right blog to direct you to some great gift options.

There was a time when women had limited career choices and often found income by selling beauty products or home goods, such as Tupperware or Mary Kay Cosmetics.  Now with the calendar turning to 2016 women are continuing to sell these products, but there is a distinct change. Instead of the reward being a bit of “pocket money” these women are making some serious income.  And, the selection of products is outstanding and millennials will enjoy them as much as baby boomers!

I introduced you to Anita Garcia in the Part One of  my blog about the women entrepreneurs from Beach Cities Breakfast Club (BCBC). What I didn’t relate was that she has been selling Tupperware for more than four decades. YEP! That is 40 years of selling these timeless home products! Tupperware maintains their tried and true product line, yet introduces fresh ideas on a regular basis. Tupperware of 2015 is not your mother’s (or grandmother’s) company.  Want to revisit the land of Tupperware? Connect with Anita by clicking here!

Mary Kay Cosmetics also has a reputation of empowering their representatives to be self- reliant entrepreneurs and smart business women. Lori McConnaha is the BCBC rep for Mary Kay Cosmetics and well on her way to receiving the infamous pink cadillac.  Now I must admit that I was not a consumer of Mary Kay until I met Lori.  But, now I have an insane addiction to  their mascara and eye cream! In fact, Lori and her Mary Kay cosmetics are the what the 411 Voices social media correspondents use to look camera ready on the red carpet!  Lori is so popular that we have to reserve her months in advance for special occasions and you can, too! She creates the cutest gift certificate packages when you give a make-over to a special someone!  Connect with Lori for special events hair and make-up 

 

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Lori McConnaha, Mary Kay rep and stylist for 411 Voices –  on the red carpet for the FRIEND MOVEMENT with Jennifer Ettinger and              Louise Sattler

 

Often our 411 Voices has a need for a photographer. We only make one call – to Joy Daunis from Joyous Photos in El Segundo.  Another longtime member of BCBC,  Joy has an eye for snapping a photo that depicts in a single shot the essence of an event. Recently, she photographed for our group the Asian Film Festival the Global Change Gala event.  I loved how she captured the “action” during this Red Cross Benefit.  Joy also loves to photograph reunions and family group photos – which is a gift I gave my hubby last year.   Also, know that Joy can offer lessons on how to work that camera you got as a holiday gift.  Here is Joy’s contact info: http://www.JoyousPhotos.com

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Photo of Kimberly Cheng, host of the Global Change Gala for the Red Cross during the Asian World Film Festival. Photographed by Joy Daunis

 

Your special someone likes bling?

 Lyn D Jewelry, owned by Lynette Vandaveer,  offers one of a kind pieces of wearable art at very reasonable prices!  I love Lynnette Vandaveers’ vision of creating beautiful creations.  Her heart and soul pours in to each piece.  Lynette has an active website that showcases her jewelry.

 

When it comes to fashion I must admit that I have another addiction to confess.  I love CABI clothing.  First because of the uniqueness of the designs and secondly because the clothing has a lasting quality.  Although 26-3034-AS-front.jpegCABI can be touted as a bit “pricey” the reality is that these clothes will outlast nearly anything else in your closet and still be “trendy”.   Plus, where else can you buy clothing and get the help of a great fashion advisor such as Kathy Gonzalez!  This dynamo knows how to pair the right clothes to the right person. CABI is a gift idea for the hard to buy woman in your life… Order that coveted gift certificate from Kathy buy clicking here.  By the way I LOVE the zigzag jacket that just arrived at my door this week!

And… to wear UNDER those fabulous CABI clothes are Ruby Ribbons foundations who are sold by BCBC member Tracy Farman.  They have special camisoles that take the place of cumbersome bras.  Also, their lace undies and other clothing pieces are so stylish.  Again… I may need a 12- step program to help save me from my Ruby Ribbon addiction!

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A GIFT FOR YOUR HOME

 

gallery2 copyLinda Straley is a decorating genius! I had her in my home to help “erase the beige” and before I knew it we were living in shades of teal and purple!  What a difference it made  and she can help you, too!  In fact –  give a gift certificate to yourself and maybe to someone who you know would love to facelift their living area but doesn’t usually treat themselves. AND…Linda also sells amazing sculptures and functional pieces of art. Her chandeliers rock!

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LindaStraleyDesign.com

Visit Linda Straley Designs for contact info and samples of Linda’s great work!

Now if you live in the Beach Cities consider giving loved ones gift certificates to these great places.

The FACE PLACE and MORE offers personalized facials and hair removal.  Owned and operated by seasoned professional, Linda Hirsch, this is THE place to go for pampering! Linda’s facial (with a neck massage) is fabulous for forgetting holiday stress!  Her prices are very reasonable and well worth every penny!

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Located in El Segundo, CA

After your fabulous facial – walk to HAIRLINES where you can continue your pampering with hair styling by the incomparable Geri Dahl.  Not only do you get great service here but, you are treated to the luxury of hanging out in a funky designed salon that pumps out the best of Motown!  (Sing – a – longs are optional!).  While at the salon treat yourself to her FABULOUS hair products. (The conditioner is divine!)   Geri makes info videos, too!

 

GIVE THE GIFT OF CARING

Last but not least is a very special gift option from  FirstLight HomeCare.  Chanel Garcia of BCBC has often said that Firstlight offers services beyond what other agencies provide.  Here are some examples:

  • New Mom assistance. Firstlight will bring a care giver to the home to help mom out. Even take care of the simple errands or watching older children.
  • Post-operative care.  Just  back from a stay at the hospital and need an extra hand to help around the house, do errands or drive you to appointments?
  • Respite care. This is HUGE. Imagine giving parents who care for adult children with Autism a day of respite. Even a few hours. This would be huge in helping to rejuvenate those who have much responsibility.
  • Helping seniors.  Give your elderly relatives the gift of assistance with everyday living needs or special care.
  • Special events.  Need an extra helper to care for an elderly relative during a wedding.  Firstlight can help.

If you have questions or would like to learn how to access a gift certificate contact Chanel Garcia.

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Senior care, respite care and new mom assistance – a gift certificate from Firstlight Homecare can make a huge difference this holiday season!

That leaves me.

Yep… as the social media marketing member of BCBC,  I represent a larger group of professionals- 411 Voices.  Our media marketing services are extensive.  We also have a full roster of experts who are nationally known media personalities and speakers.  Check out our full portfolio at 411Voices.com

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Happy Holidays!

 

Too Close To Home… #SanBernardino

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Too close to home. San Bernardino is too close to home.  

As a psychologist and the owner of an educational company that focuses on matters of communication and safety, I have trained First Responders on how to engage and communicate with those who have unique circumstances – such as Autism or Deafness. I have trained thousands of emergency responders how to help evacuate people who don’t communicate verbally, use sign language or don’t speak English as their first language. Most of the practice scenarios were in case of an earthquake. tornado or vehicular accident.

But yesterday it wasn’t a practice scenario. It wasn’t a workshop video.

Yesterday it was REAL LIFE.

 Real people. Real suffering. Real blood. Real tears. 

Yet unreal.  Surreal.

 While my eyes were affixed on CNN and the reporters – I couldn’t help but notice the people in the background. The First Responders I trained were there. On TV.  Helping so many of the helpless who had been shot by two or more assailants. There they – my students –  evacuating those with functional needs and their caretakers. WOW!

Everything seemed to be going according to protocol.  I was so impressed!

But then I realized that there was a question gnawing at me.

WHY did the First Responders have to practice what they learned at all?

Oh wait… let me answer my own question…

First – We don’t address mental health needs in this country. We often have programs in place that are less than effective. We don’t staff mental health centers with enough service providers. We often don’t use multi-modal treatment plans. We don’t have enough resources to help those who need help. Ask anyone who works in public mental health if they have enough of what they need to help their clients and I bet they say. “no”.

Secondly – We have easy access to guns and copious amounts of ammunition. Please don’t quote me the right to bear arms stuff. I know all of that. Any 8th grader who has taken an exam on the US history knows that. What I am asking is WHY do we need to have as many guns in homes as we have cars? Why don’t we have stricter laws about guns? Why can’t we find a solution vs. spinning our proverbial wheels about guns?

and…

Lastly – We don’t teach people in life that disappointment is part of LIFE and not a reason TO TAKE A LIFE.
So a HUGE thank you to ALL First Responders who risk their lives everyday. And to their families who know that when the alarm sounds their loved one is going towards the disaster vs. away.

Now folks- let’s stop talking and start doing! Demand constructive changes that SAVE LIVES.  Let San Bernardino not be another example of the “new normal”.

Enough is enough!

 

Qubits – a unique and creative toy for children and adults! #STEM

About a month ago I spotted on my Twitter-stream a photograph of a young boy who had created a bicycle using a toy called Qubits. (I took the liberty to crop the photo to disguise the identity of the young lad).  At first the boy reminded me of a little boy I worked with more than two decades ago who had developmental delays and significant visual impairments. While it was the boy who caught my interest in the photo, it was the bicycle he made from plastic shapes that piqued my curiosity!  Within minutes I was engaging online with @Qubits_Toy and learning more about this real product for learning that is the brainchild of  Mark and Lisa Burginger.

As a School Psychologist who has worked years within the realm of special education, I asked the creators if they wouldn’t mind sending to me a set of Qubits for closer inspection and review.  So, thank you to the Burgingers for satiating my curiosity and sending to me a lovely pack of Qubits who has made “snap happy” for several days!

The first thing that struck me about Qubits was its’ many educational applications.  For example, the toy itself could help with the development of visual motor planning, organizational and processing skills.  Advocates of STEM  will love that this toy incorporates fundamental concepts necessary for the foundations needed for careers such as engineering or architecture.

Learn about STEM education?

The basic pack I received came with scores of brightly colored shapes that snapped and connected together.  Frankly, I could have played with them for hours! I also couldn’t help but think that Qubits may not be “just for kids” as it could be of great value for occupational therapists working with adults.  Imagine seniors who are having memory / dementia issues being occupied by this stimulating product.  And while this product may be similar to Legos because they both are toys that “connect” and are made of plastic, I truly think they are complimentary and not competitors.

Today, I had the pleasure of talking to one of my favorite toy store owners.  She was searching for any games or toys that a child with visual impairments could play without supervision or help from someone with sight.  I immediately answered, “Qubits!” 

I connected with Mark Burginger and asked him questions about the development, marketing and future of his company.

Q1- What inspired you to start Qubits? 

The California school system cut art/design/music in the 90’s, so Lisa and I would occasionally volunteer at the local elementary school for free to soften the lack of these classes – Well at that time I had already designed this geometric shape that I developed during my college architecture days, anyway we looked at it (the Modular Form Building Element – patented) and we thought it would make a good concept for a creative children’s construction toy. A toy that would introduce kids to art/design while they played at home.

 Q2- What is your background?

 Lisa is a graduate from a Fashion/Design College in NY 

Mark is an architect registered in the State of California

 Q3- How do you envision this toy for children with special needs?

 We have visited autism schools, gifted schools, charter schools with special needs, Christian schools and Chabad schools. We are currently trying to arrange for a presentation at the Florida School for the Blind. Each time we do this we find that the challenges presented by Qubits helps kids focus on problem solving their geometric design. The time spent carefully positioning pieces allows many kids to “chill out” from the activities that over stimulate them such as video games.

 Q4- What is your next project for the company?

Video, we have not captured the essence of Qubits in a video yet. It’s a tough task since we value childrens privacy and rarely bring a camera into the play area while we are working with Qubits.

 

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Q5- How do you market Qubits

We pay for the display of millions those little click ads you see on web sites, via Amazon – thousands of people click on them and hundreds buy each month. We are just now reaching out to the small speciality stores that are just now rebuilding themselves after the severe recession.

Q6- Do you work with educators?

 Yes since 2007 we have visited close to a 70 different schools, libraries, street fairs, after school facilities, childrens day care facilities, hospitals and museums. Have entertained over a 2 thousand of kids in the process. A middle school teacher introduced us to STEM back in 2007 and we have focused on it ever since.

 Q7- Anything else to share?

 We are proud that we were awarded the Chase Bank Mission Main Street Grant during the year 2014, with that award we have been able to spend more quality time on the improvement of our toy. We have worked hard to produce this toy right here in the USA and we hope that we can market it correctly and grow our company and improve our brand.

 BRAVO Mark and Lisa!
Qubits can be purchased direct from the website here
Disclaimer:  I received a free set of Qubits to be reviewed.  It will be donated to a young family who I know will enjoy it immensely!

First week of the ASL Challenge

Have you joined the SIGNING FAMILIES 31 DAYS ASL CHALLENGE on YouTube?!  Each day during the month of October 2014 –  I am uploading sign language videos for easy learning.

Here are this weeks signs and a video of #5 – FAMILY

 

In case you missed them here are the other signed videos from the first week of the ASL CHALLENGE!

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WANT

FINISH

TO SIGN

EAT

DRINK

FAMILY

 

 

Will you accept the ASL CHALLENGE?

Starting tomorrow, October 1st,  I will be hosting a 31 days, 31 ASL CHALLENGE on  YouTube.     It is my goal to teach people FREE how to communicate using basic sign language.   The signs will be geared for daily living and school terminology with a sprinkle of signs in the event of a disaster or medical emergency.  Sign language has traditionally been considered only used within the Deaf community. However, more and more children and adults with Autism and Down Syndrome are now learning sign for communication, too!  So many reason to learn!

Where to start?

First, set aside up to five minutes a day to learn some basic sign language and practice! If you subscribe to my Youtube channel you will receive reminders every time a new video is uploaded.  Secondly, if you are so inclined, please share these one minute videos with others. And lastly,  enjoy the journey of learning this visual language.

Learn more on FACEBOOK, SIGNING FAMILIES and of course, on my TWITTER stream.

 

 

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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December Newsletter: 2013 in Review, ASL Style

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Happy December! I know every year has 12 months, yet this year  seemed to have gone by in a flash!  I use to keep better track of the seasons, and time in general,  during those “parenting years”.  Back then I knew what month it was by which PTA project I volunteered to do.  October was the Halloween parade, December was buying teacher holiday gifts, and so on.  Now that my kids are grown and my status is that of having a “low occupancy home”, I realize  that I must  resort to keeping track  of time the old fashioned way- by using the Calendar app on my ipad!    Which explains why the alarm went off yesterday with a reminder that read:  “WRITE ANNUAL YEAR IN REVIEW BLOG TODAY”.

I know myself too well,  so I set another alarm and it went off  today with a bit of attitude  as the reminder message  read – “YOU FORGOT TO WRITE YOUR ANNUAL YEAR IN REVIEW BLOG – DO IT NOW!!”

So here it goes…  Nearly 4800 people have found our SIGNING FAMILIES  Facebook page.  I have used this social media page to help people to learn about sign language  (ASL) and the deaf community.  I also focused during the year on issues regarding Autism, Down Syndrome and education.  Then I sprinkled a hefty dose of humor, inspiration and giveaways!  We grew and grew with more than a thousand new friends joining us!

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Surprisingly, one of the most popular posts  was that of Daniel Radcliffe, aka Harry Potter.  In an effort to improve awareness about sign language usage in the United Kingdom, Daniel was asked to pose with a simple sign that asked readers to learn how to sign GOOD MORNING.  I found this article interesting and posted it, too.  WOW – what a response!  In fact, worldwide this campaign went “viral”.  I was glad our little “hamlet” could participate.

As with every good company, we were busy adding products and also revamping our website to reflect the change in how people do business online.  Our SIGNING FAMILIES website now offers online downloads for workshop attendees, more interactive elements and our newest product, the SIGN LANGUAGE EMERGENCY CHART  in American Sign Language with captions in English, Spanish and Mandarin (simplified).  Why did we create a quadra-lingual product? Simply, First Responders asked us to do so to help those with access and functional needs (AFN).  Plain and simple.

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This card has found its’ way in to thousands of emergency vehicles, uniforms and disaster response shelters nationwide. We were the most proud to have been able to donate many to our friends in Oklahoma, where I visited following the awful the series of tornadoes they experienced last May.  I invite people who work as emergency personnel to email me if you wish to learn more and to receive a complimentary copy:  Louise<at>Signing Families <dot> com.

It would be remiss of me to forget to mention that, it has been an honor to have met via workshops and conferences scores of  our First Responders, including CERT / NERT members. These people bravely  go towards disasters when most of us would flee.  I hope that my disaster preparedness and response workshops gave food for thought to all who attended as I know you all taught me so much, too!

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imageMeeoMiia came to us during 2013 to let us know that they were so  inspired by our logo and wanted to use it as a basis for their newest LOVE necklace. We were thrilled!  And, to celebrate we gave one as a giveaway to one of our subscribers!

It seems that wherever life takes me, including to events via OmgInsider or 411 VOICES I find people who are willing to take a few moments and give some love – ASL style. I posted some of my favorites photos below for you to enjoy!

It is no secret that social media overload can happen to anyone.  I am humbled that you found your way to this little ‘ol blog and read it to the end. Feel free to add your blog url below or to comment. Thank you and…

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!

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DRUMROLL PLEASE… Back on the air with “THE LOUISE SATTLER SHOW”

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This Sunday, July 7th, marks my first show after a bit of a hiatus from the world of online radio.  I am thrilled to be returning to the 411 VOICES radio network with the all new  LOUISE SATTLER SHOW.

I consider this new format to be a “potpourri” of topics and guests.  Each guest bringing their wisdom (and hopefully humor) to the segment.  I must confess, I am a bit nervous starting back in radio… but, I am grateful to the people who said they would tune in live or download. (For live listeners simply go to the online radio show on Sunday evenings at 9pm Eastern / 6pm Pacific)

amy-magic-seren-lo-res4My first guest is Amy Shojai who I have admired via TWITTER for her work as an animal advocate and behaviorist. You have to LOVE someone who titles here website as follows..  AMY SHOJAI’S BLING, BITCHES and BLOOD – Pet-Centric, Writer-icity & Thrillers with BITE!  

WHAT DOES ALL THAT MEAN?

Well, for starters Amy loves animals so much that she writes about them (including having a German Shepherd in her newest book, LOST AND FOUND). Her website is full of  age advice , information and even a bit of entertainment! (Check out STRAYS THE MUSICAL)   Seriously, Amy is multi-dimensional and fabulous! (Note: I loved how Lost and Found integrated a character with Autism)

UPCOMING GUESTS INCLUDE:

 All shows are sponsored by ASL LEGAL SHIELD – SIGN LANGUAGE ACCESS – please check them out for all your legal needs by clicking here

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Disaster Preparedness: Helping People with Access and Functional Needs (Video included)

Disaster preparedness for people with access and functional needs is what I am hugely dedicated to providing to First Responders, including EMS, CERT members, Firefighters and Law Enforcement.  AFter numerous years of  providing training to those in emergency management and others, I decided to make a simple video to continue their learning. I now share it with all of you.

Read more   about my focus on disaster preparedness to help people with challenges, such as Autism or Deafness.

For more information about the chart below click here.

 

Emergency Communication Chart -ASL- ENGLISH- SPANISH and soon with Mandarin Chinese
Emergency Communication Chart -ASL- ENGLISH- SPANISH and soon with Mandarin Chinese

Welcome to the NEWLY UPDATED SigningFamilies.com

SIGNING FAMILIES has a NEW look!
SIGNING FAMILIES has a NEW look!

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In 2006 I officially launched SigningFamilies.com.  Since that time we added to the website and revised it several times.  TODAY, I am proud to announce the  official launch of SigningFamilies.com with a fresh and sleek new look! (And to match we changed our WORDPRESS theme, too!)

WHY? Over the years my focus has expanded.  I use to be one of the many “baby sign language’ companies out there, although I took a more developmental psychology approach with our DVD and courses aimed at teaching language models.  Of course, we also offered programs and products for people who wanted to learn the basics of sign language.

However, it became more and more important to me to provide quality information, workshops and affordable products to not only parents, but to many other groups, too!

First Responders, Community Responders (CERT), Law Enforcement and EMS (including Fire Departments).  I totally admire the work of our emergency and disaster response providers and it is a privilege each and every time I speak to these brave and dedicated organizations. Thank you all.

Educators.  I recognize that educators work in a variety of milieus- including as home educators / homeschool teachers.  I appreciate that teachers are in need of affordable and accessible materials as they often need to shoulder the responsibility of purchasing classroom materials themselves. Therefore, I try to offer many items, such as YouTube videos, FREE and communication charts, inexpensively.

Community Organizations  From hospitality management to those who are in the entertainment industry, it has been my pleasure to consult and provide resources.  I especially have enjoyed educating people in our communities about how special populations often use sign language, as well. Many are surprised to find out that the Autism and Down Syndrome communities use sign language, too. Sign is not only for the Deaf!

KIDS!  I have worked with thousands of children over the years. There is nothing like the joy and enthusiasm of a young child learning to sign for the first time!

What is NEW about SigningFamilies.com?!

To start, we have made it (we hope) easier to find content and specific information about workshops and products.

We also added new features such as information about Deaf Dogs and Deaf Dog Adoptions.   Our video and photo gallery sections will be enhanced in weeks and months to come – so check back frequently to take advantage of learning ASL with our short videos.

Soon we will have regular features from USTREAM on our website.  To keep the sign language learning flowing!

Want Sign Language Tutoring? Check out our SKYPE tutoring option!

And.. we added a CONTACT FORM so you can let us know what you wish to see on SigningFamilies.com.

None of this would have been possible without the help of my hubby and webmaster, Marc and our friends at Weiss Business Solutions.  THANK YOU SO MUCH!

So, please go ahead and explore SigningFamilies.com  

Let us know if there is content you wish to have us add.

Happy Signing!