Apr 18, 2016

Disney Resorts: Taking a load off

I've partnered with Essence & Disney again in a three part series kicking off with all there is to see and do at Walt Disney World Resorts. If you've been to Disney you know the vacation starts from the moment you book your trip. You can rest assured that MyDisneyExperience.com has helped you book every detail right down to your daily meals so nothing is left out. There are plenty of healthy dining options for your trip. You don't need to worry about eating your typical 'now I feel guilty' meals that you get from some of the other kid-centric resorts. There are an endless amount of restaurants to meet your palette and nutrition needs.

Walt Disney World Resorts have over 30 hotels to choose from- you are sure to find one to suit your family's needs. For the thrill seeking family you can enjoy Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon with the world's largest wave pool or Summit Plummet at Disney’s Blizzard Beach Waterpark. Even better, Disney has introduced new one-day tickets so you don't even have to choose-you can visit them both!

On my last visit I stayed at the Grand Floridian Resort and Spa (emphasis on the spa). Busy mom's know that after a full day in the park all you want is 1-2 hours of me time to wind down and get a relaxing massage or facial. As soon as I hit my hotel room I call up the spa to make sure I'm all set with my appointment. This particular resort is also has a monorail stop which is super convenient but who am I telling-transportation between the resorts is truly a breeze.

Disney really has thought of everything to make your stay easy and worry-free. If you are looking for a family vacation this summer consider Walt Disney World Resort. They put the vacation in vacation.

Tag along with me as dive into the topic a bit more: Click below:

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Apr 10, 2016

Construction Tales: Stories from Within

Click here:
A few weeks ago, my husband and I embarked upon what we were told was a 4-6 week master bedroom suite construction project. It began with the gutting of the entire top floor. The goal was to have a master bedroom suite, complete with a new bathroom, walk-in closet and an office. My mother in law had been previously living on the top floor and considering she's getting older we opted to make the switch to have her move down a floor and us to move up one.

For now, we've moved her into the living room with her racks of clothes, bags of shoes and trays of perfume. The construction team built a faux wall of plastic, and a 2 x 4 frame with zippers to keep most of the dust out. I"m thankful for that.

The day they ripped out the chimney however left a trail of black dust on the floor that turn the socks of my little ones black as well as our bare feet. When I got in the bath that night I was surprised to find a trail of little black footprints in the tub and my rugs were dirty from the construction boots.

The following day I asked the contractor to lay down paper after I mopped so we wouldn't get some weird foot infection from air born carbon monoxide (made that up in my head). Even still with all that in place some days there a weird smell or a light dust on everything on the second floor. I get nervous because of the children and the house is so old.

We are now going into week four and I'm doubtful they will be finished on time (since they took a week off unexpectedly). I'm undeterred though. Take a look at some of my inspiration for what will become my new master bedroom. Stay tuned for the final reveal.


Mar 24, 2016

Commercial Break

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Dec 24, 2015

Holiday Gift List for Your Favorite Chef

Its Christmas time in Hollis, Queens. Mom's cooking cabbage and collard greens! I love that song and I love the holidays, its the one time of year that you can guarantee that people are in a better mood.
Christmas is also the time when my kids make their obnoxious commercial list of crap they absolutely don't need and send all their aunties and grandma's in a tizzy.

This year, Kenmore and I are focusing our lists on the home chefs in our lives with #EliteGifting. What better way to surprise your favorite chef then with affordable countertop appliances? We are pairing up our favorite cooks with our favorite appliances to help them amp up their cooking game to turn their Christmas dinner or New Year's eve party way up. 

I'm going to get the Kenmore Elite 12-cup Drip Coffee Maker for my good friend Carmen (to the left) who makes a fresh cup every day when she wakes up at 4:30am to head off to work. The 24-hour programmability  will allow her to set the coffee to make her a cup nice and early. Complete with a removable water tank, reusable goldtone filter basket and charcoal water filtration, this coffee maker will make you a boss in your kitchen.

The Kenmore Elite 1.3 HP Blender with Single Serve Cup for my friend Arkell who makes fresh juice everyday. I was so inspired recently when we went on a trip to Rhode Island and she even prepacked her ingredients in a neat little bag and made juice each morning. I can also make my fresh pesto sauce (below).

The Kenmore Elite 4-Slice Auto-Lift Long Slot Toaster for my mom who can't live without her slice of toast or who makes toast for the kids when we visit. Designed with extra-wide slots, this four-slice auto-lift long slot toaster from Kenmore Elite fits everything from bagels to baguettes. The stainless steel surface looks sleek and is easy to clean, while the LED display is simple to read which is super helpful for her older eyes.

The Kenmore Elite 6 quart Bowl Lift Stand Mixer for my good friend Che Che who likes to make rainbow cupcakes with the kids when ever they visit. The 6-quart mixing bowl will easily accommodate larger batches like when I send my 3 kids to her house. In addition to this mixer, you receive handy, dishwasher-safe attachments such as a detachable pouring shield, flat beater, wire whip and more. I can't wait for her 6 layer rainbow cake come New Years!

The Digital Countertop Convection Oven would be for myself (hint hint) because sometimes you want the taste of an oven when you are warming something vs. the microwave.

Get everything for the chef in your life right here with Kenmore Elite's chic and efficient appliances. Your loved ones will shower you with kisses or cookies, this I'm sure of. Happy Cooking #EliteGifting!


Dec 13, 2015

Skin of Color Society: The event recap

Let's face it ladies.  For some of us, waist size isn't the only thing that changes with motherhood and age.  Our skin does too!  That's why it's imperative that we take care of ourselves both inside and out.  As Mothers, we may not have a lot of time to pamper our skin but we have to make the time to keep ourselves healthy and teach our children good skin habits.  After attending the inaugural media day for the Skin of Color Society, three important themes continued to resurface.  Prevention. Detection and Inspection.  Let me explain.

The Skin of Color Society Media Day was an event to spread knowledge about the importance of not only maintaining ethnic skin, but to explain some of the advances made in technology.  Sponsored by Proctor and Gamble, who provided all attendees with awesome swag bags (see below), as well as Merz Aesthetics and Bayer Healthcare, the morning event was full of medical expertise.  Throughout every presentation, the statistics were somewhat startling.  Although we (African-Americans) are least likely to suffer from various skin related diseases, in almost every instance we are more likely to miss opportunities for prevention and miss early detection. Additionally, more often than not we do not reach out to a board certified dermatologist, with special training in treating skin of color as soon as possible.  We absolutely must do better.  The Skin of Color Society aims to spread the word and it is an important initiative.

PREVENTION Women of Color are not immune to the ravages of the sun.  We must wear sunblock of at least SPF 30 just like every other ethnicity.  In addition to preventing serious and irreversible sun damage, taking an extra moment to put on sunblock, a hat, and sunglasses will keep us looking younger longer.  Also, protect your hair while you have it!  Avoid tight hair styles and harsh chemical treatments. Treat your hair with care.  Make sure you are ingesting the proper amounts of iron, vitamin D, and zinc.  Dr. Amy McMichael from the SOCS gave a great presentation about hair disorders in the African-American community.  Prevention is a key factor.

DETECTION  We must check ourselves at regular intervals for skin abnormalities. Yes, Black people can get skin cancer.  In fact, we are more likely to die from it than other ethnicities.  Dr. Andrew Alexis used the late Bob Marley who passed away from skin cancer at the age of 37 as an example.   It started on his toe and later spread to his vital organs.  Here's the important thing to remember, skin cancer is not always related to sun exposure.  Many types start to show at the soles of the feet, in between the toes, and on the palms of the hands.  Check these areas often.  If you find any abnormal spots, get them checked out.  If you notice something abnormal in your hair, have it looked at by a board certified dermatologist.  Furthermore, not all alopecia  (hair loss) is traction alopecia (hair loss due to tightly pulled styles that ultimatley lift hair from the root)!  In the African-American community, we hear a lot about hair loss due to tight weaves, and braids.  Frontal fibrosing alopecia (hair loss or scarring in the front areat of the scalp) can mimic traction alopecia.  If you notice a small change in the pattern of your hair, don't ignore it.  If you detect it, get it checked out!

INSPECTION Go to a doctor.  Don't diagnose yourself.  Don't assume something is minor or that nothing can be done.  Often times a condition could have been easily remediated if caught early.  If you notice an abnormalities in your hair,  again you should have the area looked at by a board certified dermatologist with special training in treating skin of color. If you see a new growth in your skin, or abnormalities in your finger nails, go to a professional.  Don't assume something will go away on it's own or that you have to live with it. 

A qualified and certified dermatologist should have different technologies for different procedures.  If you go to a facility that only has one laser for all procedures, do not pass go.  Do not collect $200.  Get out of there. In addition to preventing, detecting, and inspecting, here are five quick tips to help you on your skin journey:

  1. There are more non-invasive options than there were before.  A biopsy may not be the only option.  Talk to your doctor about procedures that don't require cutting.
  2. All melanomas are curable if caught early enough.  Don't let fear stop you from seeing a professional.  Use your resources
  3. A doctor's goal should be to treat the causes of pigmentary issues and not just the symptoms.  Get to the root of the matter.  Speak candidly with your doctor so that they can help you the best way they can.
  4. Research continues to show that as many as 40% of African-American women avoid exercise due to hairstyles.  Find styles that allow you to take care of yourself and get active.  
  5. Remember.  Pay attention to your hair, skin, and nails.  Don't ignore small changes in your body.  Get these changes examined by a board certified dermatologist. 
This article was written by Chicbusymom contributing mom & writer, Joey Nishawn Thomas of www.DearDumplin.com

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Nov 29, 2015

Host a Party Like a Boss: Part 2

Thanksgiving is done and so are my leftovers. That means I  have to cook, and since today we are  having a few friends over to watch some football and I'm gonna make a big old pot of turkey chili. A pop-up Football Party will help me get my holiday sea legs ready for the hoards of folks who will be coming to my home over the next few weeks. I've been fantasizing about those sleek Kenmore kitchen appliances once again. I can't wait to make this next dish on my new Kenmore Range.

Turkey Chili Ingredients:
2 lbs. of meat (your preference)
2 cans of Amy's Organic Chili or Chili seasoning packet
3 cloves of garlic sliced/chopped
1  onion chopped
1 can of diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato sauce
1 small can of corn
1 tsp of chili powder
Garlic powder, salt and pepper to taste

Toppings: Shredded Cheese, Chopped Green Onions, Fritos Scoops

Saute onions and garlic until soft. Add meat and seasoning and cook till done. Add corn, tomatoes, tomato sauce, cans of chili and stir until well blended. Turn the pot down and let simmer for 10-15 min. Your simmer will be fast & even using the Turbo Boil Flex (courtesy of the 10,000 BTUs) in the new Kenmore Elite Pro Range. Serve over rice and top with shredded cheese and chopped green onions. Add a few Fritos Scoops for a flavor crunch- Yum! Your Kenmore Elite Pro Range will cook you chili to perfection. Elevate your entire cooking game with a do over from the Kenmore Elite suite of products. Check them out here.

Now the key to hosting like a boss is turning this all into a self-serve chili bar. Everyone can top the chili with whatever they want and it makes for table conversation. Here's what you will need:
-For the table base you can use a chalkboard, craft paper or a flat piece of faux turf and use chalk to create yard lines for fun (something like what you see in the photo courtesy of Your Cozy Home Blog)
-Hot plate or warming tray
-Bowls for chili
-Smaller clear ingredient bowls make your green onions, shredded cheese and Fritos pop. It will also for grabbing and going.

How are you getting ready for the holidays? What are your party plans? Show me what your are working with and we may repost your story.

 #AD #CookLikeAPro

Nov 5, 2015

Jamberry: Do-It-Yourself Manicure

Ever get your little girl a manicure and then she smudges them 15 minutes later? This used to happen to me all the time and occasionally still does. I recently, tried out Jamberry nail wraps which requires no polish at all not even clear! This was perfect for my super fidgety 8 year old (like a worm in hot ashes my grandmother used to say).

The Jamberry nail wraps are made with durable materials, so smudges and streaks are never an issue, and can last for up to two weeks on fingernails and four weeks on toes (hers lasted a little less than 2 weeks). For reference the wraps can be removed with coconut/olive oil or nail polish remover.

There are over 300 nail wraps designs, you can customize, pair, and layer Jamberry nail wraps to create a look that’s all your own. All you need is a heat source like a blow dryer to activate the wraps, scissors, a nail file to finish the edges and your fingers or a cuticle pusher to smooth out bubbles.

The wraps are vinyl, non-chipping, vegan, gluten-free and made in the U.S.A. The price point is $15 for regular sheets and if you buy 3 you get 1 free (except for premium collegiate wraps & sorority). A full line of nail wraps can be found here.