Tag Archives: author

Penelope Lagos

Penelope Lagos of “I Miss My Best Friend”

In honor of #WorldBookDay, #HipNJ‘s resident author Lisa Marie Latino chatted with fellow scribe Penelope Lagos about her debut book, I Miss My Best Friend.

I Miss My Best Friend is a heart-warming story for children that will help them learn how to deal with the loss of a pet. Penelope also offers ten helpful steps parents can use to help their children cope with grief.

The poignant story and detailed illustrations were inspired by the death of Cassius “The Legend” Lagos, who was Penelope’s beloved best friend for 16 years.

“Losing Cassius was like losing a child to me,” Penelope explained. “You never get over the death, but the book has helped me heal.

“It’s been therapeutic.”

Her love for four-legged creatures goes beyond Cassius. She is a huge animal advocate and strongly believes in being “a voice for the voiceless.” She holds a certification in Canine Fitness and Conditioning as well as Advanced Pet CPR/First Aid.

“Author” and “Animal Ambassador” are only two of the many hats Penelope wears. She is a New Jersey native and Rutgers University graduate who has acted in numerous indie films and commercials as well as volunteering at The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Penelope was the recipient of an achievement award honoring critical funds raised for LLS.

For more on Penelope and to purchase her book, visit PenelopeLagos.com.

Lisa Marie Latino’s wardrobe provided by Privée by Priya. Lisa Marie’s Makeup and hair provided by Blush Brides NJ. Order her debut novel “Ten Years Later” on Amazon

Author Matt Sweetwood’s Book Party in NYC


This week, #HipNJ is featuring Matt Sweetwood – author, entrepreneur, single-father and life coach – whose most recent project, a self-help book entitled Leader of the Pack, was recently celebrated at Till & Sprocket NYC with a stimulating discussion about marriage, divorce, parenthood, and leadership.

Matt’s expertise comes from his own struggles as a divorced father of five children. He escaped an abusive marriage at a time when males were rarely the primary caregivers – let alone capable of simple tasks like changing diapers. His wife walked out when his oldest child was a mere eight-years-old.

His journey from breadwinner to sole parent is inspirational for single fathers everywhere who find themselves facing the same stigmas that Matt grappled with for many years. In addition to parenting advice, Matt discusses his experiences in the business and the dating world. Matt believes that a successful and happy life has to exists outside of the principal role of parenting.

Currently, Matt runs a consultancy, MSweetwood LLC. Consulting, aimed at helping entrepreneurs, small businesses, start-ups, bloggers and more. He shares his abilities with a broader audience through his life coaching and motivational speaking.

You can purchase a copy of Matt Sweetwood’s Leader of the Pack on Amazon or you can learn more about Matt’s services through his website.

Keep on HipNewJersey.com for more content on great local entrepreneurs and authors like Matt!

Rowan University

Robert O. Carr Funds $1.5 Million in Scholarships to Rowan University

Students facing financial challenges, who wish to pursue degrees at Rowan University in Glassboro, now have the opportunity to benefit from the generosity of Robert O. Carr, a internationally celebrated author, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

Carr, through his organization Give Something Back, recently announced a $1 million donation to Rowan to fund scholarships for low-income students. This latest donation represents the second $1 million donation that Carr has made to the University, and Rowan was the first New Jersey university to benefit from Give Something Back’s generosity. The organization also made a $500,000 donation to one of the University’s community college partners, Rowan College at Gloucester County, to fund similar scholarships there.

“We deeply thank Mr. Carr for his vision and commitment to higher education and improving the lives of students and families for generations to come,” said Rowan President Dr. Ali Houshmand. “Rowan and its students owe a huge thank you to Mr. Carr and Give Something Back, whose goals of increasing access to an affordable, quality education align with those of the University.”

Give Something Back scholars are lower-income (Pell Grant eligible), academically driven students who have faced adversity. Many are the product of working-class families who live below the poverty line. Most are first-generation college students, and some have incarcerated parents or have grown up in the foster care system.

The organization selects scholarship recipients early—in the ninth grade—in order to prepare them for college. Give Something Back scholars are held accountable for their academics while still in high school. They are required to maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA in high school, take a college preparatory course load, and demonstrate strong character throughout the program.

Since 2003, Give Something Back has made contributions of more than $35 million in scholarships to help more than 1,500 students across seven states. Carr was inspired to help lower-income students make their dream of higher education come true because of his own experience with poverty. A $250 scholarship helped him to attend the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana.

For more information on this story, click here.