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PostHeaderIcon Group donates 20,000 Pound of Baby Clothes

Lisa Klein, an Oakland mother of two and the founder and executive director of Loved Twice, will be featured on the Today Show at 9 a.m. today, July 8 for collecting more than 20,000 pounds of baby clothing for mothers in need. She was honored by Major League Baseball earlier this week when she tossed out the first pitch at an Oakland A’s game. She will also be honored by People Magazine and MLB at the 2010 MLB All-Star Game in Anaheim at 8 p.m. on July 13. The game will be live on FOX at 2 p.m. In addition, one of the 30 community leaders honored by MLB, will be featured in the July 19 issue of People, which will be on newsstands next week. Allnewsnoblues.com sat down with Klein to find out how she does this amazing work.


ANNB: How did you come up with the idea for Loved Twice?
LK: After receiving more than 5,000 pounds of baby clothes in the first year, I decided to officially turn my clothing drive into a  nonprofit. When I did this I was overwhelmed with the generosity of help that people offered.  People from many backgrounds: web designers, lawyers, drivers, copywriters helped out and a contact at a naming company came up with the name Loved Twice and made sure it was legally available.

ANNB: Explain the process you go through for collecting clothes?
LK: The baby clothing is donated by members of the community, who leave items in Loved Twice collection bins located throughout the Bay Area. Check www.lovedtwice.org for exact locations. Loved Twice collects, sorts, and distributes free baby clothing to underprivileged mothers and their babies. We partner with case managers at local hospitals, shelters, prenatal clinics, safe homes, and other nonprofit organizations serving at-risk, low-income, and underserved mothers. Each mother receives a box with approximately 75 items, including clothing for sizes 0-12 months, coats, blankets, socks, shoes, a book and a small, safe toy. 

ANNB: How many pounds of clothes have you donated and how do you know this number is correct?
LK: Loved Twice has donated  more than 20,000 pounds of baby clothes to newborns in need. We know this is an exact number because we weigh each and every box before it was delivered.

ANNB: Who are the mothers you are serving?
LK: I know that most of the women are uninsured, unemployed, have no father figure involved in the babies lives. Some even go straight from the hospital with their baby to a shelter.

ANNB: How many hours a wee do you put into the nonprofit?
LK: I work between 25 and 40 hours per week, depending on the amount of donations that are collected.

ANNB: How did MLB/People magazine find out about you?
LK: I received a grant from the Oakland A’s earlier this year. Shortly after, they asked if they could they could nominate me for the People All-Stars Among Us award. This was a national voting contest with more than  1.7 million votes among the 30 contestants. I was the winner on behalf of the Oakland A’s. One of the 30 will have a chance to be in People Magazine. My fingers are crossed that this will be me.

ANNB: How did you promote the vote drive?
LK: I took the opportunity to tell everyone I knew about the contest. Friends, neighbors, Loved Twice volunteers, national moms’ groups and pregnancy blogs. Facebook was a wonderful social media tool as friends could share the voting link with others.

ANNB:  How do you feel about winning?
LK: I am on cloud 9. It is such a wonderful opportunity to showcase our nonprofit.

ANNB: What do you think the  future holds for Loved Twice?
LK:  I would like to see Loved Twice getting bigger locally. With funding, we would be able to expand to counties surrounding Oakland. Our website gives step by step instructions how others can start their own clothing drive in their own community. I am eager to see how far our concept can expand nationally.

ANNB: How can people help:
LK:  Visit our website, www.lovedtwice.org to find out where to donate baby clothes. Monatary donations can be made via our secure website or mailed to: Loved Twice, 4123 Broadway, Suite 815 Oakland, CA 94611. Even a $10 donation can help with the smallest of our current needs: packing tape.---KB





PostHeaderIcon Losing Weight, Finding Jeans That Work


Last week my weight stayed the same and I'm fine with that. I'm holding steady at 45.9 pounds lost. I worried for a moment about the flat week bringing my weekly average down, but I can't beat myself up over it.

A rare occurrence happened last week at the law firm where I work – jeans day! I know jeans are very common in offices these days, but at my firm jeans are forbidden except for the rare occasion, such as the Friday before a long holiday.

I started obsessing about what jeans to wear early in the week even though I knew I didn't have to buy new jeans. I just wasn't sure which of my jeans would fit and look flattering.

I also worried that some of my jeans may be out of style since I haven't fit into them in three years. I woke up extra early last Friday morning to dig out the jeans and try them all on. I tried about 15 different pairs in different sizes, different cuts and different washes.

Of the 15, three pairs still don’t fit. Those pairs were snug around the waist and created a "muffin top," an unsightly circle of bulge hanging over the jeans around my midsection. Another three pairs were in a very light wash, a look that I believe has gone out of style. Three pairs were actually too big and I moved them to the "donate" pile.

The two remaining were:

1) "Boot Cut" jeans from the GAP with a slightly distressed finish

2) Dark, "Straight Cut" from Ann Taylor Loft.

Although my partner, Jeff, voted for the GAP jeans, I chose the Ann Taylor Loft pair instead. They are a little dressier and more appropriate for the office. (See for yourself in the pics above) I chose a high wedge shoe to give me that long lean look.

I love jeans and I'm happy to be able to wear them comfortably.

Meanwhile, as I approach the 50-pound mark, I made a plan to celebrate the milestone as it falls on my mom's birthday in mid-July. I have about two weeks and 4.1 pounds to lose. Do you think I can do it? Tune in to see if I reach my goal. –AV


PostHeaderIcon July Designers Log - Why Hire a Professional?

Recently, Allnewsnoblues.com contributing writer Diana posted a column that posed the question, should you use a professional instead of just asking a friend in making decisions about your wardrobe.  Diana is a fashion consultant and works with men and women on getting the best out of themselves through their wardrobe and using it to better their life, career and how they feel about themselves.

Reading her post, it struck me how similar what she does is to what I do and her point is well taken.  You wouldn't ask your friends about treatment of a health condition.  You'd ask your doctor.  You wouldn't reference a neighbor on your retirement plan, unless of course he was a CPA.  So why do people rely on the advise of a non-professional when it comes to furnishing their homes?

Over the years I have noticed there is often a misconception that being an interior designer is not really a legitimate profession.  Some people I have met have not always understood the benefits of working with someone trained in this field.  They believe it's something anyone can do, and if they themselves aren't good at it, then just ask a friend... or a friend of a friend... and so on.

Today there are literally dozens of what are called "shelter" magazines; publications that showcase beautiful homes and lead you to believe they just happened overnight.  TV shows on interior decorating are popular and fun to watch.  But, where these programs might make it look like that completely finished room was created in 48 hours and on a budget of $500, it just doesn't happen that way in real life.

Interior designers are schooled in their field, work very hard to learn the business and take pride in their chosen profession.  True, it does take a natural talent and creativity, but so much more goes into it than just tossing a few pillows around or walking into a furniture store and buying the display vignette as shown.

Here are some of the many ways a professional interior designer is necessary and how they can help you achieve the living space you desire:

- Designers have access to wholesale resources not available to the general public.  It may seem easy enough to shop at a chain furniture store or resource online, but the best prices, options and choice is still through your design professional.  Today many designers work as consultants, charge only an hourly fee and pass discounts directly to you.

- Without a background and experience in materials, manufacturers and construction, it's very easy to make a mistake and buy something that won't last or will be out of date in a few years.  An interior designer's knowledge will help you in putting together a room that is not only beautiful but reflects how you and your family live.

- Time is money for most people, and many don't have the hours in the day or the energy to shop endlessly for the right furnishings; to contrast and compare and to coordinate a room.  Your interior designer does this and can make the process easy, stress free and do it in less time.

Think about it:  If you've ever had work done on your home, you know that you can't open the door for the workmen at 8 AM, go to work and come home at the end of the day to a completed, perfect job.  There are problems and situations that come up in any installation or remodel.  Your designer is on call and can be the liaison to handle the questions and issues so you don't have to deal with it.

- Every one has their own style and budget.  Hiring a designer will keep you on budget, saving money in the long run, while giving you the space you have envisioned.  A good designer works with you, understands your needs and limitations and helps make your dream come true without costly mistakes.

I often hear from people that in the end, their room and home just didn't come out as they had expected.  They end up disappointed and frustrated.  Your design consultant sees the big picture and can coordinate and oversee the entire project from conception to completion.  They have the expertise and experience to get you from where you are now, to where you want to be.  They take the time to listen to you and understand what you need and how to get there.

So, next time you think your friend can help because her house looks pretty good or you see a room on TV that looks like something you could do yourself, remember that this is an interior designers job.  We love what we do.  We work with you to create a beautiful living environment and save you stress, money and time.

And who doesn't love that?  - SEW

Steve Wallace lives in Danville.  An interior designer for more than 25 years, his work has been featured in Palm Springs Life and he is completing a book about design for publication soon.  He writes a monthly column about design and style for www.allnewsnoblues.com.  

Find him at Design and Interiors in Walnut Creek, California or at
www.designandinteriors.com or call 925 915 1005. 


PostHeaderIcon 7 Lessons Family Business Owners Need To Know

This post comes to us courtesy of Anisha Vikram Shah of Weber Shandwick, the global public relations firm. 

It's old news that small businesses are facing plenty of challenges, but imagine owning a small business and you need to discuss a problem employee ... and it's your little brother.

More than 70 percent of all U.S. businesses are family-owned, and their proprietors often say that success means being one part entrepreneur and one part family psychologist.  To gain deeper insight into what it takes to successfully manage a family-owned business, MassMutual has conducted a study, FamilyPreneurship: What Every Entrepreneur Should Know Before Starting a Business with a Family Member.  After speaking to over 500 family businesses around the country, MassMutual identified seven lessons that family business owners need to know:

It all starts with the intangibles.  Passion for the business and trust between family members and advisers were cited as the two most important critical success factors by current family business owners.  You have to be 100 percent confident your partners are going to be with you through thick and thin, and that your advisers are knowledgeable and steadfast.

Divorce-proof the business.  Regardless of whether the business is owned by a husband and wife team or not - a partner's divorce from a spouse uninvolved in the business can still have disastrous consequences.  Of the 15 percent of respondents whose business had experienced divorce, fully 44 percent had a negative experience.  More than a third have never given the possibility of divorce and its impact on the business a thought.

Who's next?  Most family business owners have inadequate or inflexible succession plans.  While most are worried about how a death would affect the business, and nearly half are worried about how a disability would affect it, many either have no succession plan in place or have one they consider inflexible.

Don't lose it all to Uncle Sam.  More than a third of respondents have no plan in place to deal with estate taxes, which can hurt a family's ability to continue the business and can also erode inheritances.

Communication is the key.  Respondents said that communication is one of the top elements to success because it helps maintain good relationships with family both in and out of the workplace and leads to more effective decision making.

Decide who's the boss and how to make decisions.  Clear definition of roles and responsibilities is critical, enabling the business to run efficiently and ensuring that it avoids paralysis due to confusion over leadership.  Each person has to do what they are best at.  Decision making and disagreement resolution process is also critical to avoid arguments that can stymie the business and hurt morale.  Some businesses adopt a majority rule process.  Others assign decision making responsibility for particular areas to each partner.  And others advocate for a negotiation process.

Strike a balance.  It's easy to get consumed by work demands and to let them invade family life.  Most family business owners discuss work at home and home issues at work, but most say they don't consider this to be a big problem.

These seven lessons are good to remember in this troubled economy.  With America's small businesses having created 65 percent of all new jobs in the last 15 years, the impact of the future of family owned business is more important than ever.

For more information on this and other surveys, contact Anisha Vikram Shah at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .


PostHeaderIcon Andrea Closing in on the 50-Pound Mark


This week I lost .5 pounds for a total of 45.9 pounds lost. Although .5 is not a huge amount to lose, I'm satisfied with it because I was on vacation all last week. During my last vacation, I gained some pounds that stayed with me for two months.

My family and I planned to camp, which I thought might present some food challenges. In the past I can recall wolfing down more than my share of s'mores and polishing off the leftover Hershey bars and graham crackers once I returned home. In my mind, s'mores are the consummate campfire snack and a delicious compliment to whatever camp meal I make.

This trip, I gave myself permission to have a s'more and looked forward to enjoying it. When I ate my s'more I thought, "what is all the fuss about?" I didn't enjoy it, despite my marshmallow being toasted to perfection. It was dry and the chocolate wasn't the good quality chocolate I would like to use my points on. So that was it for me and s'mores. There were a few restaurant meals during the week but I made good choices when we were out. That combined with the exercise camping requires made it possible for me to actually lose a small amount.

Meanwhile, I checked out the WW newsletter we received at this week's meeting. There are always inspirational articles and recipes in the publication so I make sure to read it from cover to cover. I eyed the "Grilled Veggie Pocket with Fresh Herb Pesto" recipe with interest and because of the huge amount of fresh basil that is growing on my back porch. I decided to give it a shot and it was delicious and filling. I tallied points for all the ingredients (despite my using only half the pesto and half the veggies) and this sandwich is only 3 points.

Here's the recipe:

Grilled Veggie Pocket with Fresh Herb Pesto

Cooking Spray

1 c. thinly sliced red onion

1 small zucchini, cut into thin strips

Pinch salt

Pinch pepper

1/4 c. packed fresh basil leaves

1/2 garlic clove

1 T. reduced-fat grated Parmesan cheese

2 T Weight Watchers Plain Yogurt (can substitute Dannon fat free)

1/4 t. lemon juice

2 t pine nuts

1 Weight Watchers 100% Whole Wheat Pita Pocket, toasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Arrange red onion and zucchini in a single layer across baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Roast until vegetables soften, about 25 minutes. Remove from heat promptly and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, to make the pesto, combine basil leaves, garlic, cheese, and yogurt in a food processor and pulse on medium-high speed until smooth and well blended. Transfer mixture to medium bowl and stir in lemon juice and pine nuts. Add vegetables and toss to coat. Spoon vegetable-pesto mixture into a pita pocket, wrap securely in foil, and take it with you. Yields one sandwich with 1 T pesto. Enjoy. See you next week. -AV


PostHeaderIcon Discover Affordable Maui

Maui has been the top island on Conde Nast Traveler's list of reader favorites 15 out of the last 16 years, and for good reason.  Maui is steeped in history, beauty and possesses the best beaches to be found anywhere.  Think you can't afford all this?  Think again.With new, well priced direct flights from the Bay Area and a little creative planning, you can have it all.  So give up the cheesy luaus, the packed tour buses and all the things that break the bank and experience the Maui of your dreams these ten ways:Rent a condoAfter staying in hotels for years all over the island, we rented a condo.  Our hosts, Leon and Gail own four units in Wailea and treat you like family.  At ours, "Treetop", we were greeted with an Aloha note on the door and were serenaded each morning by tropical birds.  It was bliss from there on out.  The condo not only supplied a kitchenette where we could enjoy our own breakfast and Kona coffee, but was stocked with beach chairs, umbrellas and a cooler.  Every day we packed a lunch with treats from a local farmers market and saved enough money to enjoy great dinners every night.www.waileaescape.comVisit UpcountryA trifecta of Upcountry towns, Makawao, Pukalani and Kula offer ocean breezes, unbelievable views and a feeling like being in Napa or Santa Barbara.  The main street in Makawao, once a cowboy town, is home to art galleries, restaurants and a bakery right out of the 1930s.  We watched a glass blower at work and strolled with home made lemonade.  Situated on the slopes of Haleakala, this area is the Maui of days gone by.Enjoy a cocktail at a Wailea resortWith all the money that could be saved by not having to pay for breakfast and lunch, put on your best Aloha shirt and splurge for a Mai Tai and appetizers at the Four Seasons or Grand Wailea Resort.  The service is top notch and for one evening you'll live like the other half lives.  There is nothing more romantic than sunset here.Go with Pacific Whale Foundation's Eco AdventuresThis organization's snorkel dives and whale watching are the best on the island.  Not your typical outing where you may see more flippers than fish, their environmental guides are knowledgeable and they can take you to locations off limits to other companies.  All profits are donated to local environmental groups, so not only do you have fun; you help preserve the underwater beauty for future generations.www.pacificwhale.orgFeel the manaTo Hawaiians, mana describes all manner of the supernatural or divine power.  Iao Valley is the place in Maui where this is most apparent.  Once a place of political importance and a site to honor the gods with sacrifices, the name means "supreme light" and is named in honor of the god Iao.  One of the most beautiful spots on the island, Iao Valley is four miles west of Wailuku.  Come very early or very late in the day as the light hitting the pinnacles at these hours give it an ethereal glow.Volunteer on vacationAn idea that's catching on worldwide, this is the most rewarding way to vacation.  It doesn't cost you a penny and you'll go home with great memories.  Volunteers may work with locals and visit off the beaten track locations.  Whether picking up trash on the beach or pulling invasive weeds, you'll see areas off limits to the general public.  A typical day consists of a one hour orientation and about three hours of work.  Call (808) 249-8811 (ext 1).Go stand up paddlingEasier and less taxing than surfing, stand up paddling has gained a huge following since it was invented about 60 years ago.  It's not complicated and in the early mornings when the wind is down, the sea is like glass.  Keep an eye out for sea turtles, colorful fish and the occasional monk seal while you enjoy this peaceful sport.  Instruction and rentals are available all over the island.Learn about MolokaiMaui is unique of all the Hawaiian Islands in that other islands are very close by and accessible.  A day trip to Molokai is an adventure you won't soon forget.  There are no stop lights and you can drive for miles without seeing a soul.  Take a mule ride to Kalaupapa National Historical Park, separated from the rest of the island by a 2,000 foot wall of green mountains.  In the late 1800s Father Damian treated victims of Hansen's disease (leprosy) here and in 2009 was canonized for his work.  The park contains over 300 historical buildings and 1000 grave markers.Head for a wineryTodeschi Winery is Maui's only vineyard and one of only two in the whole state.  Located 2,000 feet up the slopes of Haleakala, the main cottage dates from 1874.  There are wine tastings and you'll have the chance to bring home a very special Maui souvenir.Life's a beachWith over 80 beaches, Maui has one tailor made for you.  From sunning to sitting under a palm tree with a book, from snorkeling to body surfing, there is a beach that's just right.  Walk along the stretch of sand at Kaanapali or Big Beach, or climb over lava flows to a pristine hidden cove.  There are beaches for kids and sandcastles or secret areas that are clothing optional.  Just don't forget the sunscreen.For more great ideas on Maui:www.101thingstodo.comwww.visitmaui.comwww.maui-info.com-SEW
For pictures that tell stories you won't soon forget for rejuvenation of body and mind

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