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Inspiring Women

Inspiring Women

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What's in a name? A lot, actually. We are identified from birth by a name on our birth certificate that gets tied to our Social Security number, which eventually appears on our driver's license or state ID or passport, which links to our jobs, loans, education, banks and much, much more. So if you've just gotten married and are looking to take your spouse's name, you've just gone through a divorce, you're transitioning to a new gender, or you just want a new name for an undisclosed reason, there are multiple steps for making the "new you" a legal thing.

So...where do you start? Don't worry, we've got you covered! We won't sugarcoat it, though—changing your name can be a complicated and exhausting process and sometimes you may need to to help you with some legal matters.. Our suggestion: It might be a good idea to take a day or two off work to get everything figured out after you complete steps one and two. Ready to change your name? 

1. Get Your New Name Legally Approved

18073 justmarriedIf you've gotten married, the first legal document you need is a certified copy of your marriage certificate. Many county clerks will either automatically send you a copy after your wedding or ask you when you're applying for your license if you'd like to purchase a copy of the certificate. Get a couple certified copies of this—many places will probably only need a photocopy, but some might require the certified copy, so it's best to have a few on hand.

If you've getting divorced, you can usually ask the judge during the divorce proceedings to take care of that by making sure your maiden name appears on your divorce decree. For any other types of name changes, you'll need to fill out a Petition for Name Change and go before a judge to get a court-granted petition.

2. Head To The Social Security Administration

Your Social Security card is basically your link to obtaining your other legal documents. You can fill out an application on the and take or mail your application to your local Social Security office. 

3. Take A Trip To The DMV

18073 DMVWe know, it's everyone's least favorite place. But you'll have to visit the DMV to get a new license or state ID. Check your state's DMV website for specific paperwork needed, but you'll probably need your old license, your marriage certificate, your new Social Security card, proof of insurance and possibly proof of residence (especially if you're changing your address as well).

4. Focus On Your Money

The next place to go with your name change is your bank and your employer. Likely your employer is already aware of your impending name change and will tell you what documents they will need and what forms you will have to fill out, but chances are they will need a copy of your legal document from step one and your driver's license. The same goes for your bank. Don't forget to get new checks and new debit/credit cards with your new name. Divorce might make the bank step a little trickier, so check with your lawyer before you do anything involving money.

5. Contact...Well, Everyone Else

Now comes the fun part—ing anyone or any office you deal with that has your old name! Don't start on this step until you've gotten the documents from the first four steps. While not an exhaustive list, here's a good place to start:

  • Post office
  • Car registration
  • Insurance companies (health, renter's, home, life, auto)
  • Passport
  • Credit cards not through your bank
  • Utility companies (gas, electric, cable, phone, internet, water)
  • Voter registration
  • Landlord or mortgage company
  • Student loans
  • Doctors' offices
  • Schools and alumni associations
  • Investment accounts and wills
  • Subscriptions (magazines, streaming services, box subscriptions)
  • Social media accounts
  • Family

Whew, you made it! 

If the whole process is simply too overwhelming for you, there are services like and that will take care of everything for you—for a price, of course.

Changing your name is a huge decision, so don't rush the process. You'll likely run into hiccups along the way (misspellings, lost/forgotten documents, etc.), but just be patient. So what's in a name? As Shakespeare wrote, "That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Or in other words: It's just a name. 

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10 breakup songs header

So you just broke up with your significant other, and you’re looking for something to connect to and make you feel better. We all know ending a relationship is never easy, but often times others just don’t understand exactly what you’re going through. They try to cheer you up and offer you advice, but sometimes we just need a moment to wallow in our own self-pity and enjoy a good breakup song. So grab a box of Kleenex and a pint of your favorite ice cream, and enjoy the ten best breakup songs that say everything you wish you could:


Aliya Austin starts her day off right. Her dad, Ron, makes sure of it. Ron's Facebook feed, , is filled with motivational inspiration and advice, but it made our hearts full to see he really practices what he preaches, especially with his 3-year-old daughter.

Ron shared a video of Aliya and him at their home in Virginia getting ready for school with a little more affirmation. Hey, Ron, when you are done can you come to our houses!?!

In case you missed any of that, here is their morning mantra:

Daddy: Look at yourself, look in your eyes. You gotta see it, okay? You gotta feel it. You ready? You ready for school? Is it gonna be a good day? A really good day? You gonna be positive?

Daddy & Aliya: I am strong. I am smart. I work hard. I am beautiful. I am respectful. I’m not better than anyone. Nobody’s better than me. I am amazing. I am great.

Daddy: What’s your name?

Aliya: Aliya!

Daddy: If you fall?

Aliya: I get back up

Daddy: What are you?

Aliya: I’m blessed.

Daddy & Aliya: Thank you, God, for making me the greatest. There is nobody better than me!

Daddy: Alright, give me five. Give me a kiss. Let's go. 

In an interview with , Ron says he does this with Aliya every morning to help build her self-esteem and confidence. Not surprising at all, he works as a program director at the YMCA. The video has been seen to date by 14 million people!

This is what we have to say about that:

17945-super-girl-smart-headerIt is casually called the "Genius Grant" because, like the name implies, you kind of have to be a genius to get it. The MacArthur Foundation announced the 2016 list of artists, creatives, scientists and musicians who each get a sweet reward: $625,000.

Twelve of the 23 recipients are women and all of them are pretty amazing human beings.  Just how amazing? You can watch one of the super smart science girls, , at work in this video by Rice University.

If it doesn't make you tear up, you might not be human.

As you can see, this MacArthur winner’s passion for her work runs deep. Richards-Kortum's scientific efforts have been described as imaginative with her research and execution focused on saving lives, especially the lives of infants and mothers. 

MacArthur Fellows can come from all disciplines, but each has one thing in common: "extraordinary originality and dedication in their creative pursuits and a marked capacity for self-direction that manifests promise for important future advances,” according to the MacArthur Foundation. 

The 20 recipients were chosen from roughly 2,000 confidential nominations. Since the program began in 1981, there have only been 1,000 fellowships given out to date.

 So how do super-smarties like these spend the $635,000 they receive over the next five years?

Poet Claudia Rankine says she wants to use the prize money to help build an institute where creatives can come together to talk about the subject of race in America, while art historian and curator Kellie Jones says the first thing she is buying is a new desk. 

For some, like artist and writer Laura Redniss, it may be something even more simple, like finding a studio so she can work without having to move her bed out of the way first.

Whoever said that art, writing, social causes and even helping the poor don't pay obviously never met these women (and, okay, there were 11 really great guys on the list too!). So this month our Super Girl is a lot of Super Women—each one smart and changing the world, just like we like them!



Womensforum is adding Grace VanderWaal to our list of Super Girls changing the world because she is making a difference using her words to inspire others to see themselves in a beautiful light. The newest winner of manages to inspire us all with her positivity and unique style.


 Grace VanderWaal had a secret she was keeping from her friends, teachers, and just about anybody who knew her. She had a beautiful singing voice. Not only that, the quiet girl had a lot to say. With encouragement from her family, the 12-year-old began singing at Peekskill's Bean Café and suddenly it wasn't just her unique voice, but her words, that were ringing in people's ears.



With the help of her mother, Miranda, Grace appeared on "America's Got Talent", where the young girl walked on stage and blew everyone away with her song . Grace says it was writing her songs and singing on her back porch helped her find herself through the music.


17782-see-more-graphic2The 12-year-old now has a video channel called where she posts videos of her songs about finding her place in the world. Her Twitter motto says it all, "She Said She Could, So She Did!". This summer Grace played in the Ramapo Summer Concert Series where an interview with USA TODAY proves new found fame is not changing this Super Girl!