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:

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?

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 ; up to $2 on Eye Make-up

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

Join my team and we can earn even more together!

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:

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. (

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 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Almost Famous

I was gifted a great jumpsuit from Lane Bryant by my oldest child for Mother's Day that I was extremely anxious to wear.  I had eyed this floral ensemble for months after seeing on the  cover of an advertisement I received it in the mail.  I thought I was pretty cute so I shared it on social media and my adventure into Almost Famous began.....

First a tweet, then a request to be featured ,  next spotting myself in my email,  which lead me to see I was on their website and tumblr page ,  finally being recognized in my local Lane Bryant store.... Oh wow I'm Almost Famous!!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Ray of Hope Event - Recap

I had the opportunity to attend a great cultural event called the "Ray of Hope 2015" at Trinity United Methodist Church in Huntsville this past weekend. The event was a chance for locals to learn more about the country of Philippine, sample International Food, try Bhangra & Bollywood dancing and experience the beauty artistry of Henna Design.  This free to the public event was presented by AshaKiran an organization the provides confidential culturally sensitive services to persons of diaspora communities that face crisis situations.

 My mother and daughter joined me and we had a great time.  My daughter and I both received beautiful Henna designs by
  Maitri's Creations (a Henna/Mehndi artist), let loose by trying to dance and my daughter looked beautiful as she learned to wear a sari....

Check out some pics and vids from the event.... Enjoy!

Check out Miss Tia & I giving Bollywood & Bhangra dancing a try on Facebook

We were unable to stay and hear the Alabama A&M choir sing or the Award wining Author/Poet Chitra Divakaruni speak but I'm sure it was a great experience. 

Thursday, April 2, 2015

#NHHExpo 2015 - Val's Views (Guest Blogger)

On Saturday, March 28, 2015, I had the pleasure of attending Visions Beauty Distributors’s 4th Annual Natural Hair & Health Expo in Birmingham, AL at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex. This was the first time I was able to attend a natural hair event of this size so I was very excited to attend the event. The first thing I noticed was the sea of beautiful women attendees rocking their fros, locs, twist-outs, braids, and many other natural hairstyles. One of the highlights of the event for me is when random women were pulled from the audience and asked to share why they went natural. For their participation, they received full-size products from Design Essentials. (I wanted to kick myself for not volunteering!)
The Expo had so many vendors-from hair products to fashion accessories to health insurance. My husband called me while I was there and asked me to use some restraint in purchasing so I had to check myself. I was happy to see so many small businesses represented and I liked how many of the business owners had handmade their products. One of the booths I visited was Kayla Hill’s Natural Elements where I was given a sample of a Papaya Hair and Body Butter. I used the product on my skin and it worked great! It has a nice smell and it left my skin feeling moisturized, but not greasy. Kayla Hill owns a salon in Birmingham, AL and you can find her on Facebook by searching Natural Elements Kayla.

I’m a headband fanatic so I was too excited to stumble upon headband heaven at the Expo. There were many vendors selling headbands and headwraps, but the one that caught my eye was the booth by CutiCouture. The owner was very friendly and she gave me a great deal on 3 beautiful headbands. I’m actually rocking one of those headbands now as I type this article. You can find her headbands at the website, ... she is also on Facebook (CutiCouture), Instagram (CutiCouture) and Twitter (CutiCoutoure).   The Runway Curls booth also drew my attention with beautiful models displaying extensions that mimic natural Check out her website,, for more information.
The biggest highlight of the Expo was the celebrity guest panel. The moderator was Jamie Foster
Brown, publisher of Sister2Sister Magazine. The panelists included Traci Braxton (Reality TV Star and Recording Artist), Malinda Williams (Actress), Cynthia Bailey (Super Model, Reality TV Star, and Founder of the Bailey Agency), and Mushiya Tshikuka (Owner of The Damn Salon, Creator of Runway Curls, and Reality TV Star). All of the ladies shared how they overcome the trials of life and they focused on being positive and surrounding yourself with positive people. After the panel discussion, the ladies took pictures with their fans and I was able to get a picture with Cynthia Bailey.
Overall, the Expo was a great experience and I will attend next year! If you want to know more about my time at the Expo, check out my Twitter (@mrsvaluable) and my Instagram (imvalued) to see more pictures and videos I posted from the day.

Special Thanks to Taronda G. & Brainchild Associates for this Media invite!

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Spring at Bonefish Grill - Sponsored


The Fresh Fish Experts at Bonefish Grill are welcoming the Spring season in a big way by offering a $10 gift  valid March 21 through April 6

While you’re there, savor their new Fire + Ice Pre-Fixe menu featuring three innovatively generous courses starting at $19.90. Bonefish Grill features culinary forward and unique combinations on the three-course menu (from both land and sea) including Cold Water Lobster TailShrimp + Scallop Firepot and Grilled Lamb Chops to name a few. Each dish is served with a choice of fresh salad and perfectly finished with delectable DIY Doughnuts — a Bonefish Grill house specialty of croissant-like doughnut holes, tossed in cinnamon sugar that guests fill with sea salt caramel and chocolate sauce using mini squeezable bottles.

Get your $10 gift here:

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