Monday, August 31, 2015

Strong, Beautiful, Powerful... Yes ladies #BornandMade


Leave it IG (Instagram) to be the place to find a great campaign! Beauty giant Carol's Daughter wants girls and women to realize that they are #BornandMade to perfection.  There is no need to look for validation, approval or self-love from anyone or anywhere because it's born within us.  I love it! The company has partnered with a group called I am That Girl to help spread the message and empower women to know their self worth. The website bornandmade.com allows you to generate an inspiring meme with a picture of your choice. 

Although a simple slogan (#BornandMade) says so much. It stirred something in me the same way I felt when I first heard Alicia Keys - Girl on Fire and saw the Lane Bryant #ImNoAngel campaign. Women and young girls must be reminded that we have so much power, control and strength and we must release it to the world. We can't allow anyone especially ourselves to burn out our light before we share our roaring flame!

Girls Rock!


Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Northerner's Review of Southern BBQ- Melvin's (#1)

My experience at Melvin's Place of BBQ was a good one..... So why only 3 stars? Let's start at the beginning... This BBQ joint is exactly what you think of when you're looking for a place that has no time for hype, they simply want to provide good food.

My dad was visiting from Michigan so I decided to bring him along to check this place out.  The restaurant is an add on to his home with the dining area in his drive-way furnished with comfy chairs, umbrella for shade a large table to eat at family style. We were welcomed by three of his friends who were enjoying the weather and instantly felt like I was hanging out with old friends or relatives.  Melvin appeared a few moments later with his cowboy hat and red apron asking how he could help us.  We ordered a slab of ribs, no sides and he left to prepare our order.   Shortly he returned with a Styrofoam container so full of ribs that wouldn't...well couldn't close completely. I was extremely excited!

I shared with Melvin that I was a blogger and that I saw his restaurant in the Alabama BBQ app. I explained that his picture was the reason I decided to give his restaurant a try.  Now when I first encounter Mr Melvin, he didn't seem overly friendly but once I showed him his picture on my iPad in the app... A smile and excitement appeared that I hadn't seen previously. He knew his picture had been taken and that the Tourism Department had been planning something but he wasnt aware of exactly how that worked.  He asked if he could take my iPad inside and show his sister( I said yes, of course) and we posed for a picture together.  This experience was 5 STAR for me.

The Ribs: That container had so many ribs that my father, 14 year old son, husband and myself had plenty.  They were very tender, completely fall of the bone, the seasoning was good but not great and a few of mine were a bit too fatty.  I like a very thick sauce and Melvin's was thin but the taste of the sauce was spot on.  Now,  my Northern Father & Husband Loved Them! They enjoyed the seasoning of the ribs and felt the sauce was unnecessary, a added bonus.

So although I haven't found my Go To Rib spot at Melvin's, it may be the perfect spot for you!

Have you tried Melvin's Place? 

Should I return and check out the sides? Share your thoughts!


Friday, August 14, 2015

#DineHSV 2015 Edition


Huntsville Restaurant Week 2015 begins today and lasts until Sunday August 23rd. This is a great opportunity to try some of the best restaurants/food trucks in the Huntsville & the surrounding areas.  The Huntsville/Madison County CVB's website http://huntsville.org lists the participating restaurants and special meal options for this promotion. They also have a fun contest to win some cool prizes while supporting and enjoying the local cuisine. It's very easy to participate, simple take a pic of your favorite dish at one of the participating restaurants and share on their social media platforms (Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) using the hashtag #DineHSV.... They will select a winner daily so make sure you snap those pics, use the hashtag and share ... I will :-)

Here's a of pics from Restaurant Week 2014 at Sady's in Madison for lunch...




 Share your favorite restaurants!

 I enjoy reading your comments!



Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Do #BlackLivesMatter .... then Prove It!


Did you know that less than 3% of the African American community donate blood?

I didn't!! I  knew the numbers were low but never could I have imagine it being that low!  I invited my cousin April to share here on asthewindblows.org why we need to  Prove that #BlackLivesMatter!!!

April Shares:

We have too many myths regarding donating blood, donating organs and bone marrow.
There are thousands of African Americans in need of transplants of some sort.
My daughter just happens to need a bone marrow transplant.
For those of you that may not understand how serious this is, it's life threatening. She could die.
My goal for writing this letter isn't just to help my daughter. It's potentially to help your daughter, sister, wife, mother, brother, aunt, uncle, father, cousin and friend.
As of most recent, I became aware as to the importance to raise awareness in the Black community as to the importance of donating blood, bone marrow and organs.
Often times, we really don't hold a thought as to the risks we take from a day to day basis. Driving in a car, playing a sport, diet, even genetics.
I recently read an article that stated "About 90,000 to 100,000 in the United States suffer from sickle cell disease, mostly African-Americans. These patients- most of whom are children- need to undergo regular blood transfusions. Often, they develop antibodies to the blood they receive, leading to potentially life - threatening transfusion reactions. But if they can receive blood that's more closely matched to their own, that risk is minimized. And the best matches are found among other African-Americans."
(Source cited: Blood Centers of the Pacific copyright 2015- site by NetRaising)
I know you're probably thinking " why'd she site about sickle cell anemia." Well, that's just one of the many illnesses/diseases that plague our community. Also it explains perfectly as to the risks that are involved when we receive blood by another racial group.
We also are affected by Lupus, Leukemia, High Blood pressure, Diabetes, Aplastic Anemia and several others.
We as African Americans have a more severe threat of fatality because our percentile in which we donate blood, organs, bone marrow is alarmingly low.
I never in a million years thought I would be campaigning to get more African Americans to donate blood, let a lone asking them to donate bone marrow and organs.
But here I am, faced with this arduous task in informing and enlightening our community as a whole.
For those who may feel this article doesn't pertain to them, think again.
Just because you may not be in need of a bone marrow transplant, does not mean that you later on may not be in need of a blood transfusion.
And in either case your odds are still dangerous given the fact that most Americans who do donate overwhelming outrank the African American community.
With that being said, we've got to do better as a community.
Please let's do this together. Not just for the sake of my child but for the sake of our children, our community.
#Black lives Matter!
Here's what you can do to help:
  • Give /Donate Blood
  • Contact your local Red Cross @www.redcrossblood.org Ask your Red Cross blood technician/ nurse and or your family physician how easily you can donate bone marrow.
  • Check off the box on your drivers license to donate organs!

Save your loved ones today by simply giving! Raise the percentile of African Americans that donate blood thereby increasing our chances of survival!
#Black lives matter!

More importantly, Do Your OWN RESEARCH and SEE the STATS! They don't lie. Sooner or later, we all will be faced with some sort of great circumstance that may cause us to reach out or within the community.

Does my Black life matter?

How about my daughters black life?

       It certainly does to me!

Awareness and Knowledge are key, please pass along and share!
Light & Love
April Ray©

Feel free to check out her message in video: 




Thursday, July 30, 2015

North vs South - Give me BBQ

Moving to the Alabama  from Michigan in 2007 was the best decision for my family, my sanity and my future. I've enjoyed every moment so far.  I love the community, the weather, the opportunities but there is just one thing that seems to be missing..... BBQ the way I like it! I've tried a few local places but they  had me frowning in disappointment. I gave up and decided I would just save this meal selection for visits to Detroit or when my family came to Alabama and prepared it for me.

However the new Alabama BBQ movie, book (Alabama Barbecue: Delicious Road Trips) and the new mobile app has me willing to give finding my next favorite rib joint another try. The Alabama Tourist Department has launched this new campaign showcasing the best in the state. These are the cream of the crop when it comes to the hog, chicken, beef and even turkey. I know that I'm extremely particular but I'm going to take on this challenge with a positive attitude. 

Every week I will try a new restaurant on this quest to find the best substitute for my Aunt Denise's slap yo momma they're so good  ribs.
 I will share my experiences and some opinions of my Southern friends too. I hope you will share some of your favorites. 

Check It Out:

The Movie/Website/The App: http://www.ilovealabamafood.com/bbq/

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Call me Obssessed!

I'm minding my own business shopping when a notification gets me in trouble. My Shopkick app has welcomed me to Target with 35 points and the opportunity to earn more by scanning a few products. I decide to accept the nudge and get to scanning while I shop. A magazine here, some wine there and then trouble..... My next item is in the frozen food section.... I make my way to find the Talenti brand Gelato. I quickly find it and scan the container for my points. Normally that's it, I walk away but this time it's different. The flavors are intriguing.... Target has them on sale for 2 for $7 so I grabbed a Mint Chocolate for my husband and my new obsession for me... Coconut Chocolate Chip.....Amazing!

Gelato is a creamy treat in itself but the coconut and chocolate chips together is simply heaven to my taste buds.  This flavor is a Target exclusive and they were geniuses to lock down this combo. I'm sure I will see those red carts more often just to grab this decadent treat. Each time my spoon emerged from the container, my mouth smiled with antisapation of flaky coconuts and rich dark chocolate chips. I'm obsessed and I'm not ashamed to say it! 

Have you tried Talenti Gelato? What's your favorite flavor?

Want to join my Shopkick team? http://get.shopkick.com/colorado23592

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Big Easy Takeover- Essence & Design Essentials


For over 20 years, the Essence Music Festival has brought together influential celebrities and soul stirring music against a backdrop of amazing Cajun food and Creole culture, found best in New Orleans. During the weekend, I had an opportunity to attend a private meet and greet at the Design Essentials “BIG EASY” Celebrity Gifting &  Styling Lounge, featuring the beautiful songstress and Loc Queen, Ledisi. Sponsored by Design Essentials new natural hair care line, available at Sally’s, I was able to meet and sample some great natural hair and skin products. From Polish & Co, a natural nail care line out of Greensboro, NC to makeup/brow expert The Look by Joi, I got the sense that DE was more than just another hair care company, they were also about empowering women as well.

  Such is the case with the Ledisi and DE collaboration to
Photo courtesy of Brainchild Associates
launch the Look Book. The Look Book features style inspirations to accentuate the beauty of natural hair.  As a loc’d woman and Ledisi fan, I was super excited about seeing her, meeting her and flipping through the pages of this book, appropriately subtitled “Inspired by Locs and Love”. From the time Ledisi released her first album, she has shown the world that locs can be beautiful, sensual, trendy, and fashion forward. Now the Look Book will inspire even more creativity and challenge limited perceptions of loc’d hair. As a bonus, DE teamed up with great stylist from across the country to give 15 minute hair styling sessions to sample their new natural hair care line focused on what us naturals crave the most, MOISTURE! Although I didn’t get a chance to get the book, it was an awesome experience!
Special thanks to Taronda Gibbons and Brainchild Associates for the media invite!




Stay tuned for a Design Essential Giveaway!

Thanks to Tawana for representing As the Wind blows in New Orleans! 


*Guest Blogger*

Monday, June 22, 2015

Summer Skin & Extra Cash - Sponsored

Summer is a great time to get the best skin possible. Too hot to cover up your flaws with make-up, so finding a great skin care regimen/ products is a must. Physicians Formula new Argan Wear line with 100% pure Argan Oil can help. Known as "Liquid Gold", this line can assist in achieving brighter, toned, moisturized and elastic skin. As if fabulous skin wasn't enough, you can also earn money for purchasing full-size Physician Formula products with the ibotta app. Simply join or log into ibotta (iTunes or Google Play) , scan the UPC of your purchased item, snap a copy of your receipt and reap the rewards. Earn up to $4 on Physicians Formula Face ; https://ibotta.com/rebates/16591/physicians-formula-face-makeup up to $2 on Eye Make-up  https://ibotta.com/rebates/16590/physicians-formula-eye-makeup

Continue saving on everyday items like fruit, vegetables and cereal.

Join my team and we can earn even more together! https://ibotta.com/r/abqryy

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Will Work for Food? I Will Work for Netflix!

Netflix is truly becoming a powerhouse in the business.... Not for simply offering a great place to watch movies, television shows and specials from your favorite networks and actors but a destination to find exclusive programming.  Netflix offers new content- "Netflix Originals"... these are shows that they produce directly and can only be viewed with your subscription.  Their concept of giving you the entire season on release day builds your excitement and addiction to a high level.  If you are captivated by the show, you constantly have to debate with yourself to determine if you should binge watch it all or restrict yourself to stretching the viewing time.  Twitter can be  your refuge to find others wrestling with the same internal struggle. Some of my favorite shows are House of Cards, Peaky Blinders, Marco Polo and Daredevil.... Each of these shows offer a fulfillment in a completely different way.

House of Cards is my political drama with intrigue, deception, intellect and the best one liners in the
Photo Credit: bloody-murphy.jpg
business delivered my the amazing Kevin Spacey.  This series is on its third season, and although this last seasons lacked some of the thrill I have grown to expect from Season 1 and 2,  anticipation for Season 4 is still high.  Peaky Blinders gives me a gangster show that catches you by surprise with its story lines that pull you in and has you wondering how you watched 5 episodes without realizing it. Thomas Shelby(actor Cillian Murphy)  is also my man crush with those cheek bones and mesmerizing blue eyes, excuse me I digress ...LOL

Photo Credit: screen-shot-2015-02-26-at-1-08-45-pm.png
Marco Polo is an show based on the historical adventures in China during the rein of Kublai Khan in the 13th century. This show mesmerized me and I binged watched its debut season in one night. Season 2 is expected this December and I can't wait. Finally there is Daredevil! This series was built up as a comic book lovers champion. I don't read comics but it was suppose to be so closely related to print that the words would seem to be on the screen in 3D... I didn't know if I would be able to appreciate the show without this advantage but my worry was unnecessary. Daredevil brought the action, the adventure, the fantasy and the connection to characters a superhero show needs to make you a life long fan.

Netflix has so many other great shows... Im currently watching a new release Grace and Frankie with

Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston (my ultimate favorite DA on Law & Order) and its has me laughing and Im sure it will become one of my favorites.  Here's a few other series that you can check out...... Let me know what you think! Chat with my on Twitter (#Netflix #TvFanactic @mslawanda ), I love discussing my favs....

1. Orange is the New Black- 3rd season to be released June 12 (Comedy/Drama) (Mature) Season1 was my fav
2. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - 1 season (Comedy) Made me Laugh!
3. Bloodline - (Drama) I haven't watched yet but Season 1 was released this year
4. Sense8 - Just released June 5 (Mature) (Sci-fi) Made it to episode 2 and stopped not sure if I will return
5.  Lilyhammer- (Comedy/Drama) The subtitles didn't deter me and I enjoyed Season 1 but still trying to finish Season 2

There are so many others... Share your favorites....

Check out TvGuides recommendations: http://www.tvguide.com/galleries/15-netflix-original-series-1091421/photo/a2b46ff8-7e79-4e6c-93c7-7bc429d7f3fe/

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Beauty Secrets- Korean Body Scrub

The quest to find the perfect beauty regimen has been one I  embarked on for years. Sitting in the hallway of my childhood home watching my mother apply Noxzema cold creme to her face to cleanse and prevent imperfections was the highlight of my night. I would watch her and think how beautiful her skin was and that as soon as I become a growup Nozxema and her finishing touch Oil of Olay, would be my first investment into womanhood.

I still use Noxzema and Olay (no longer Oil of Olay) but I now like to experiment and discover beauty secrets from other cultures.  Africa (Ghana) has shared the miracle of Shea Butter with its healing and moisturizing properties. I  love the way it has controlled my dry skin and eczema, worked as a great moisturizer for my hair and its a great binding ingredient for homemade conditioners, body butters etc. 

India has allowed me to explore their traditional ways of having long and strong hair with henna, oils like  Amla and creams like Ayurvedic Cream. (http://www.asthewindblows.org/2012/06/no-indian-in-my-familybut-maybe-in-my.html)

My next adventure is a trip to Korea via the International Market across the street. I was reading a blog post and in the comments a lady mentioned a beauty treatment called a Korean Body scrub so of course I had to reach out to my BFF (Google) to see what he knew about it. 

I read a few articles, watched some YouTube videos and after realizing  this is what my coworker had shared with
me from her childhood I was determined to give it a try. 

The Korean Bath Scrub consists of  soaking in very hot water (not scolding- just hot as you can stand safely) for 20-30 minutes, then using a traditional Korean Italian cloth and bar soap to exfoliate and remove all the built up dead skin from your body. 

I purchased a package of 4 Korean Italian mitt clothes for $2.29 and a bar of their soap for $1.29. They also had the very popular Baby Foot product for 19.99 so I grabbed that too but I will share more on that later. 

Although  Korean women do not share the hue of caramel or chocolate like this blogger of Ghana decent (83% Ghanaian via 23 &me), I think I can benefit from the beauty secrets of other cultures maybe even adopt some of them too. So stay tune for my follow up. 

Here's one of the Youtube vids I watched to learn more about the Korean Body Scrub 



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