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

Drop her a line or two:
Instagram @JoeyNishawn
Twitter @JoeyNishawn

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.

Oct 31, 2015

Host a Party like a Boss

The holidays are coming and so are the parties. If you love hosting gaggles-o-folks like me then here are a few tips to get your through the upcoming holiday season while channeling your inner home chef. Follow the #CookLikeAPro  hashtag to see how using new suite of Kenmore Pro kitchen products will have you hosting like a Boss in no time. Below I share a few of my tried and true tips.

1. Prepare - Nothing saves a headache like planning in advance. Lay out your menu and ingredients or call the caterer. Figure out your theme or color scheme and necessary decor. You get the picture. Do not let your event sneak up on you.

2. Budget - Set a budget and stick to it. Back all your remaining needs into that number. This way you don’t have to eat Ramen for the two weeks following your party.

3. Menu - A no fuss menu is key. After you take into any dietary considerations make sure you create a well rounded menu that is complimentary to each other. For example, pigs in a blanket are great but not when you are having a mainly Thai menu. That's just weird and all the different flavors will make for a stomach ache.

 I also find that individual/self serve situations are great like these mini apple crisps or the brussel sprout and pancetta flatbread above both of which you can whip up super fast with Accela Heat technology from the Kenmore Elite ovens. This feature can save you an extra 40% in time cutting out all that pre-heat time. If you are feeling fancy you can put one of each in the Kenmore Pro Double Wall Ovens and watch that True Dual Convection brown not burn your foods evenly.

4. Drinks - Consider having a signature cocktail that you pre-batch a few days in advance like this Mother's Milk (pictured) or Harvest Margarita.  Both of them can be made using the new Kenmore Elite Blender. To round out your bar you can
couple these with one red and one white wine. Tip: Not everyone is wine savvy. Check your local store and ask for recommendations and don’t forget to ask about delivery. It will save you time in the end.

5. Set up - Ask friends/family to help you lay out  the service areas. It will be important to put the food and drink in opposite areas of the room for a good flow.

6. Childcare - if your event is adult only then make sure you arrange a sitter that evening for you little ones. This way you don’t have to worry about them being bored or running around your party trying to blow out your candles.

7. Capture the moment- assign a friend who takes great photos or hire someone but you will want to have this moment captured for memories.

8. Outfit - any good host rocks out her outfit. Plan your attire in advance and make it grand. When you open the door you must remember you are also on display.

9. Splurge on hiring a cleaning service to come in after the party. It will be the best money you have ever spent. After everything is all done you will be so tired and will be glad you spent the extra dollars here. If budget is an issue you can also enlist friends and family who didn’t help with setup to help with the cleanup.

10. Most parties you end up with lots of leftovers. To avoid waste have guests bring containers with them to take to-go.

You don't have to be Kerry Latch (Kenmore Executive Chef) to have a kick ass spread. You can get this all done with a sleek and chic Kenmore Pro kitchen of your own. Just follow the quick links above and get started today.  #AD

Sep 30, 2015

My new favorite beauty emporium!

A LIFE filled with wonder is a WONDERFUL life
Sometimes you luck up and meet your social media friends in person and they turn out to be really cool individuals (and then of course there are times you are thankful for the 'block' button). This is the lead in to my introduction to my now friend Carmen Blakely of LipstickFashionMascara who I met at an event a few months ago. That chance meeting led to a joint day off from our jobs and a full day of hanging out doing what we called #AlloftheThings. I had so much fun that day and owe it mostly to her.

The day culminated with a visit to the Rituals Cosmetic and Beauty store or Europe's #1 beauty emporium as it says in their window. I'm not going to go on and on here but if there is one luxe beauty shop you want to add to your repertoire, this is it. From the packaging and scents, to the customer service and the gift with purchase bonuses I promise you, you won't be disappointmented.

Since this visit, I have already been back again to refill (what can I say, I'm a loyalist). It seems my 8 year old also loves the products and luxuriates in the shower with my body scrub more than I would prefer. I should make her buy the next round.

In case your are wondering the price points vary with the full size scrubs and creams around $29 and the smaller sizes from about $6-$15. Below are my favorites from the TAO line (clean fresh scent with White Lotus & Yi Yi Ren extract), and if you go now you can get the free candle that is being offered (I got one yesterday).  with a purchase of $60 or more. Trust me you will want this all over your body.



Sep 28, 2015

Washing Dishes by hand really sucks.

I.Hate.Washing dishes.Period.

Oh were you waiting for something else? No that's it. 

For a long time, my mother in law and I were the only ones doing dishes. To top it off, the folks I live with try my patience by leaving dishes in the sink especially after I've washed everything (daddy). We don't have a dishwasher (yet) so recently, I implemented a chore policy so at least the kids would wash dishes 1-2 times a week. This way everyone could avoid my complaining.

I just couldn't fathom working all day then coming home and then washing a whole bunch of dishes. Like who the hell has that time for that? Just think of how many dishes you use in a day or after a cooked meal then multiply it by six people. Of course the major offenders are the children. It looks a little something like this...

That's why I got super excited when I found out about the new Kenmore line of Elite Dishwashers.
If you have a house full like me the new dishwashers are packed with a host of new features like microfiltration, top rack wash, and automated smart dry selection. Your dish washing headaches just got a lot easier.

Even having the kids do them, while less stress for me, I often have to go back over the bowls and glasses because they don't really deep clean them. With the Kenmore Elite® Hidden Control Dishwasher with TurboZone Reach TM for example you get corner-to-corner cleaning with the 24 nail jets in the upper rack to reach deep inside the bottoms of bowls, bottles and glasses, and get every last dish cleaned right the first time. The kids would be so amped to not do dishes and I would be happy not to go in behind them to re-do them.

For you eco-friendly families you can also save water with the New! MicroClean TM innovative filtration system that helps deliver peak cleaning performance with less water and shortened cycle time.  

Some other DISHTASTIC features to die for include: 
  • The Quietest Elite, is rated at 39 dBA, and is so quiet you may not even know its on
  • SmartDryTM selects the best drying cycle automatically that matches the selected wash cycle, to deliver the right drying for every load, while New! SmartDryTM Plus dries 25% better than Smart
  • Exclusive 360 PowerWash TM Plus Spray Arm reaches deep into every corner. Industry’s only motorized driven arm that senses blockages and still moves, making sure cleaning isn’t compromised.
  • New! LED Lighting illuminates the dishwasher’s interior so consumers can easily find items
    they need. You know when you are unloading the dishwasher late at night or looking for that last clean glass.
I wish I had one of these fab new dishwashers in my house. My favorite features would be the Quietest Elite, Smart Dry, and the TurboZone Reach. They totally fit the needs of my so called life of messy ones. 

For more information about and how you can snag one of the new Kenmore Elite Dishwashers click here.
#ArtofHome #AD