Friday, November 30, 2012


Thursday, November 29, 2012

Michelle Obama unveils White House 2012 holiday decorations

The official White House Christmas tree is more than 18 feet tall.
White House Christmas Decorations 2009
This replica of Bo, the Obama family dog, is life-sized. | AP Photo
This replica of Bo, the Obama family dog, is life-sized.
Michelle Obama, accompanied by first dog Bo, walks past reporters in the State Dining Room at the White House. | AP Photo
Michelle Obama, accompanied by first dog Bo, walks past reporters in the State Dining Room at the White House.
Bo, the Obama family pet, is replicated on the nearly 300-pound gingerbread White House on display in the State Dining Room. | AP Photo
Bo, the Obama family pet, is replicated on the nearly 300-pound gingerbread White House on display in the State Dining Room.
The first lady's vegetable garden is replicated as part of the gingerbread White House.. | AP Photo
The first lady's vegetable garden is replicated
as part  of the gingerbread White House.
A tree honoring first ladies is on display in the Grand Foyer of the White House. | AP Photo
A tree honoring first ladies is on display in the
Grand Foyer of the White House.
The Truman China is set on a table in the China Room of the White House.  | AP Photo
The Truman China is set on a table in the China Room of the White House.
Olivia Marlow, 6, looks at a tree on display in the Grand Foyer of the White House. | AP Photo
Olivia Marlow, 6, looks at a tree on display in the
Grand Foyer of the White House.
This stained-glass window made to look like a wreath is hanging in the East Wing. | AP Photo
This stained-glass window made to look like
a wreath is hanging in the East Wing.
This snow globe is on display in the Library of the White House. | AP Photo
This snow globe is on display in the Library of the White House.
A tree decorated in bright colors sits in the East Garden Room. | AP Photo
A tree decorated in bright colors sits in the East Garden Room.
White House Christmas Decorations
2012 White House decorations
2012 White House decorations
First lady Michelle Obama attends the preview of the White House Christmas decorations
WASHINGTON -- "Bo-flakes" featuring the first dog and ornaments fashioned from zippers are among the new twists on traditional favorites at the White House this Christmas season.
First lady Michelle Obama unveiled this year's decorations before an appreciative crowd of military families Wednesday, then spent some time doing holiday crafts with military kids.
The theme for this year's decorations is "Joy to All," but first dog Bo seems to steals the show. There are 40 "Bo-flake" ornaments throughout the White House that feature cutout images of the dog. There's a life-size replica of the dog, with a string of lights in his mouth, in the East Garden Room.
And there's an outsized statue of the Portuguese water dog next to the 300-pound gingerbread house in the State Dining Room.  Mrs. Obama said that reflects Bo's high standing at the White House. "He's almost as big as the house," she declared. "He is such a huge personality." Visitors also will get a Bo bookmark that sends them on a scavenger hunt for "Bo-ornaments" stashed in eight rooms.
Bo himself made an appearance during Wednesday's festivities, sporting a jingle bell collar, and was quickly swarmed by young guests.
This year's decorations include lots of handmade items that could easily be done at home, including patriotic wreaths and ornaments wrapped in red, white and blue yarn to fit with Mrs. Obama's emphasis on supporting military families.

The gargantuan gingerbread house, however, is not a feat for amateurs to attempt: It contains more than 175 pounds of gingerbread and modified gingerbread and more than 50 pounds of chocolate. Pastry chef Bill Yosses mixed up a combination of wheat, rye and white-flour gingerbread that mimics the color of the sandstone house prior to 1798, when the house was first painted white.

More than 90,000 visitors are expected to pass through the White House this holiday season.  Executive chef Cristeta Comerford said she's drawing on the recipes in Mrs. Obama's gardening book, "American Grown," as she prepares food for all the guests. The treats will include sweet potato quick bread, green beans with almonds and a winter salad featuring fennel.
The massive decorating job - there are 54 live Christmas trees in the White House - comes together in just five days, with the help of 85 volunteers from around the country. This year's volunteers included Nellie Funk, a military wife from Carlisle, Pa., who was working beside retired homicide detective Tracy Jacobson from Southern California.  Asked which job was more fun - detective or decorator - Jacobson deadpanned: "This has been much more fun."

Read more here:

Read more here:

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

First Lady Michelle Obama Receives 2012 Official White House Christmas Tree

Mrs. Obama will welcome military families to the White House when she unveils her holiday decor theme...

First Lady Michelle Obama gave a thumbs up on Friday morning to the official White House Christmas Tree, delivered during a festive but chilly morning ceremony by horse-drawn wagon. Joined by daughters Malia, Sasha and First Dog Bo, Mrs. Obama received the 19-foot Fraser Fir in front of the North Portico as a Marine Corps string quartet played "O Christmas Tree." The First Lady led Bo on a leash as she and the girls circled the North Carolina-grown tree and examined it closely, accompanied by father-son farmers Randy and Beau Estes, the 2012 National Christmas Tree Association Grand Champions. (Above: Mrs. Obama gives the thumbs up)

"It is gorgeous," Mrs. Obama told the farmers. "It's perfect." As she raised her hand to give the thumbs up, Mrs. Obama said "It's a go. We can have Christmas now."

The First Lady wore a festive red printed skirt, black turtleneck, wide belt and knee-high boots, and at one point bent over and gave a branch a sniff. Malia and Sasha poked at the tip of the huge tree. The centerpiece of this year's holiday decor, the tree will be displayed in the Blue Room, and decorated with ornaments made by children living on U.S. Military Bases all over the world, the White House said. It is "in tribute to the courageous service of our armed forces." The First Lady will unveil the tree and her 2012 holiday theme next Wednesday, Nov. 28.

The Estes harvested the tree earlier this month on their Peak Farms in Jefferson, Ashe County, North Carolina after members of the White House grounds staff selected it in October. The duo won their Grand Champion title in August for a different tree.

White House staff and volunteers invited from across the US will deck the halls of the White House over the weekend, transforming 1600 Pennsylvania into a glittering and festive wonderland. Mrs. Obama has invited military families, including Gold Star and Blue Star parents, spouses and children to the White House next week for the first viewing of the 2012 holiday decorations on Wednesday.

She will deliver remarks in the East Room, and then ask the military children to join her in the State Dining Room as White House Executive Chef Cris Comerford and Executive Pastry Chef Bill Yosses, and White House Chief Floral Designer Laura Dowling demonstrate holiday crafts and treats.
Members of the National Christmas Tree Association have presented the Official White House Christmas Tree for display in the Blue Room each year since 1966.

President Obama on Friday morning was working off his Thanksgiving feast, playing golf at Joint Base Andrews with three White House aides. He departed the White House just as Mrs. Obama was receiving the tree. (Above: Mrs. Obama and the girls with the Estes)

Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama

The National Christmas Tree Gets Prepped For Dec. 6 Presidential Lighting Ceremony

Singer-songwriter James Taylor will headline the festivities...

President Obama and the First Family will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the lighting of the National Christmas Tree on
December 6th. On Sunday, as volunteers and staff were bedecking the halls of the White House following the delivery of the Official White House Christmas Tree to First Lady Michelle Obama, a crew was preparing the National Tree for the big day.

Longtime Obama supporter James Taylor, who performed at numerous reelection fundraisers and rallies, will headline the lighting festivities. Taylor will be joined by Kenny"Babyface" Edmonds, Colbie Caillat and American Idol Season 11 winner Phillip Phillips. The ceremony will be broadcast online at PBS stations around the US will also broadcast the event.

The National Christmas Tree sits on the Ellipse right behind the South Lawn at 1600 Penn, and is surrounded by 56 smaller trees--one for each state, five territories, and the District of Columbia. The National Christmas Tree Railroad has provided model trains that surround the base of the tree. Above: Workers unpack carts holding the railroad trains, surrounded by some of the smaller trees.

Photos by Eddie Gehman Kohan/Obama Foodorama

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


10 Things Entrepreneurs Should Be Tweeting About


Apart from creating a vibrant branded Twitter account for your startup, business owners should consider creating their own personal account on Twitter. Fans and followers often want to connect with the person behind the brand.

Giving customers and prospects a glimpse into the entrepreneur's life and mindset can allow them to cultivate a deeper relationship with customers separately from the brand. The goal, of course, is to increase customers' loyalty to the brand.

Here are 10 things every entrepreneur can tweet about, which can allow your clients and prospects to see another side of you:
1. Personal news: Share the big events of your personal life -- vacations, weddings, births -- the type of info you'd share with close friends. It can help keep your followers feeling like they're "in the loop." You're also more likely to make a connection with followers who have experienced something similar.

2. Mistakes and lessons: Sharing mistakes and what you learned is a sign of growth, not weakness. Try doing a "What I learned this week" tweet and see how your followers respond.

3. Answers to questions: If someone asks a question on Twitter and you know the answer, share it. This can also be a way to develop a FAQ within your industry, which you can later point them to via a link.

4. Links to articles: They key to sharing articles is to also include your unique opinion. Let others know why you liked or didn't like an article.
Just remember that your opinion paints a public image, which means you should be cautious about which opinions you choose to share -- ideally only those which are congruent with your market. Keep the rest to yourself.

5. Pictures of unusual things you see: If something catches your attention, it's probably going to catch the attention of others, too. So why not share it? This includes visually impressive products, food and architecture.

6. Wisdom from the book you're reading: When you hit a "golden nugget" of wisdom in a book, share it. It not only shows that you're well read, but that you value wisdom. Those are two things that can only help your reputation.

7. Interesting advertising: When a billboard or any other advertising catches your attention, take a picture and tweet it. Everyone can benefit from seeing smart marketing

8. Fun purchases: Sharing your recent purchases, such as music, video games or sports equipment can stir up comments and conversations from others that have bought similar items and enjoy the same kind of entertainment.

9. Share wisdom from outside the world of business: Quotes from sports heroes, military leaders and artists can teach us about innovation and leadership, which are essential to business success.

10. Your work: The greatest links you can share are links to your personal work, but don't limit that to what you do professionally only. If you have a hobby or passion for something creative, share it

General Assembly + American Express Present:

In Collaboration With:
Selling with Social Media

Monday, December 10th, 4pm-5pm EST
Everyone says you shouldn't sell on social media. Then why are some of the largest companies in the world developing social selling strategies?
This class will provide strategy and guidelines on how to use social media to increase sales, generate leads and referrals, as well as include some practical exercises that will send you home with tools to create actionable social media content. If you've always wondered how many cute dog pictures you need to show someone before they become your customer, then this class is for you.

What We'll Cover:

  • What is social marketing actually worth?
  • Gathering insights about your target audience on Facebook
  • Using quantitative decision analysis to achieve your social advertising goals
  • Creating content that works on social media
The Instructor
David Verchere
Founder & CEO, PostHelpers
David is the founder and CEO of PostHelpers.

PostHelpers provides organizations with sales force automation tools for social media. He is donating his share for the class to the GOProject.

Enroll for Free!

Understanding Affordable Care Act for Small Business Forum

Date/Time:  December 4, 2012, 1:30-3:30 p.m.


Location:   U.S. Small Business Administration, Georgia District Office

                    Peachtree Center-Harris Tower, Suite 1900

                    233 Peachtree St. NE, Atlanta, GA 30303


Presenter: Derrick Cordy


Derrick has extensive knowledge in Environmental Health, Health Policy and Bio statistics. Mr. Cordy, a native of Stone Mountain, Georgia, holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Environmental Science and Policy from Duke University with a concentration in Public Health and Human Risk Assessment and a Masters in Occupational Health from the Harvard School of Public Health.


Purpose: Discover 20 facts every small business owner needs to know regarding the Affordable Care Act signed into law in March 2010.
If you would like to register for this forum please register by clicking  the link below:


Monday, November 26, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

How to sell on Facebook

Social commerce – it's a buzzword that many small business owners will have heard. Selling goods and services via the burgeoning social networks could be the next big commercial space for all businesses, no matter what their size. A new study from Deloitte estimates that the Facebook economy could be worth £12.7 billion at the moment with that figure set to rocket over the coming years.


All businesses should have a presence on Facebook, but moving from a brand awareness exercise to selling your company's goods or services is the next logical step. The National Retail Foundation in the US recently found that over half of Facebook users have clicked through to a retailers website, with nearly a quarter having made an actual purchase from within Facebook.


F-commerce looks likely to be a retail space that all businesses will need to be a part of, as their customer bases will simply expect this in a world were integrated retailing becomes the norm.  


Payvments Facebook-commerce solution

Nathalie Gaveau, founder and CEO of Shopcade says: "The difference that we are starting to see now is that consumers are shaping the future of retail in ways never seen before. The adoption of social media now means that consumers are more recommendation hungry than ever before – and when you combine this with technical advancements and the modern need of instant gratification, there's little doubt that social shopping will be a huge part of our futures."

The most important consideration for any individual or brand considering selling on Facebook is to engage with customers - Eugene Kaznacheev, Product Manager Ecwid
With Eugene Kaznacheev, product manager at shopping cart software company Ecwid also commenting: "The most important consideration for any individual or brand considering selling on Facebook is to engage with customers. Facebook is a communication platform, and it is a huge turn-off for customers if a page is transformed into a list of links to products. Merchants should build a community around their items first and foremost, and then offer customers a convenient way to purchase them."

Commercial Facebook apps

There are a number of ways to add a commercial component to your business' Facebook page. Since the introduction of the Timeline, the layout of Facebook pages has become much clearer, which lends itself to F-commerce as your business can more easily showcase the goods or services it has for sale.
The current leading F-commerce applications include:
All of these platforms offer either free or low cost start-ups that can give your business a chance to test F-commerce for itself. The key is to look closely at the features that each platforms offers and more importantly, at their limitations before making your choice.
Apps are now available that either link your Facebook profile directly to your store, or they can pull products in from either eBay via Facebook's ebay items or Etsy's Theme Shop to create a standalone store on your Facebook page.


Add your ebay items to your Facebook page

First steps to F-commerce

With the rush to tap into the millions of potential customers using Facebook every day, bear these points in mind when developing F-commerce for your business:
  1. Facebook is still a social space and should not be treated as just another marketing exercise.
  2. Interaction with customers is vital to maintain your business' social credentials. Don't let your business become just another faceless retailer.
  3. Remember that Facebook users talk to each other. The power of the shopper has never been greater, so treat them with respect or your business could suffer the commercial consequences.
  4. Integrate Facebook into your enterprises other activities. Today, retailing is all about delivering a seamless experience for the consumer.
Julia Priddle, head of key account management EMEA, at ChannelAdvisor advises: "The key to selling on Facebook is to engage and socialise with customers by offering promotions, giveaways, flash sales and even customer support, all of which are only available to your Facebook fans. It is also very important to keep your content as fresh as possible, just as you would with your website. The most successful retailers have been those who regularly update the products on their page and, more importantly, the discussion topics on their pages. New competitions are a great way of engaging fans."
What is vital to understand is that Facebook is not the goose that laid the golden egg when it comes to the next wave of e-commerce. It is early days for this space, but savvy businesses should begin to experiment now. With a range of free apps now available to test how your business' customers react to placing goods or services onto your Facebook pages, small businesses in particular can learn from these experiences and be ready to embrace F-commerce when it reaches critical mass in the very near future.


Thursday, November 1, 2012


Free Webinar Your Competitor is Protecting Her Trademarks, And You Should Too!


By Suzan Hixon
1:00PM - 2:00PM
Top 10 Reasons Why Your Business Should Care About its Trademark

Your tangible assets alone are simply not enough to build company value these days. Your competitors are building value in their companies, and increasing potential revenue streams through licensing, by building value in intangible assets, that is, their intellectual property. Trademarks in particular are a cost-effective way to market your business, and build brand recognition and value, over the lifetime of your product or service!
In this jam-packed 45 minute webinar, Suzi will explain just how your
trademarks and branding can build value in your company, and how you can use them as a weapon in your business-building arsenal. Plus, she will teach you how to identify, protect and enforce your trademarks and she will cover the top 10 reasons why your business should do so!

Here is just an example of some of the burning questions Suzi will help you address:

1. I came up with this awesome brand, but someone else is using it already, so can we not hurry up and just register it already!? Sorry, it doesn't work that way! Suzi will explain why, and how you can optimize your brand protection strategy.
2. I did a quick Google search and my proposed mark didn't "come up." I'm good to go, right? No, you need to search different iterations of your mark across different platforms. Suzi will explain the benefits of comprehensive searching, and why a quick and dirty Google search just doesn't cut it.
3. I have a business "friend" who just wants to use my trademark; can I just let them do it? No, you can lose your trademark rights! Suzi will explain how you can protect your rights, plus earn an extra revenue stream, through trademark licensing!

Here's what you'll take away from this webinar:
1. What these little icons are, and why you should use them properly: ™, SM, ®
2. How trademark appreciate in value over time, unlike other forms of intellectual property
3. How trademark are a creative and flexible form of intellectual property
4. How trademarks can help you effectively market your business on the internet
5. How you can use your trademark as a weapon against unfair competition

The Law Office of Suzan Hixon, PLLC (

As a business owner and entrepreneur herself, Suzi appreciates the unique difficulties emerging companies and small businesses encounter. This experience, combined with nearly 10 years as an intellectual property attorney, has given her the knowledge needed to help others succeed in their own business endeavors. Her experience with business entities is wide-ranging, as Suzi has handled the intellectual property portfolio of a Fortune 100 company, as well as numerous small businesses. She has also been a nationally-ranked trademark attorney, and a registered patent attorney with the United States Patent and Trademark Office.