An Enchanted Experience: Cirque du Soleil—Toruk

Some things are just so beautiful that they take your breath away — leaving you searching for the words to fully justify their magnificence.

That’s exactly the case when it comes to describing the experience that is Cirque du Soleil: Toruk—The First Flight.

I had been looking forward to attending the show ever since the invitation popped up in my inbox a few weeks ago. Unfortunately, the days preceding opening night, I had fallen ill with the flu. Thankfully, the night of the show I was well enough to make the three-block trek to the Barclays Center.

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Photo Credit: Errisson Lawrence © 2015 Cirque du Soleil

From wondrous waterfalls to lava spewing craters to amazing acrobatic feats, the show was packed with fanciful performances and stunning sets. The light displays and set designs were so spectacular that my daughter incessantly asked if what she was seeing was “real.”

Photo Credit: Errisson Lawrence © 2015 Cirque du Soleil

Photo Credit: Errisson Lawrence © 2015 Cirque du Soleil

Plus, the costumes and masterful puppetry were spellbindingly good. The show was akin to a beautiful dream coming to life right before your eyes. It’s no secret that the imagination and sheer talent needed to bring this show to life had to be extraordinary. I tip my hat to the entire team who made the experience an evening to remember.

Photo Credit: Errisson Lawrence © 2015 Cirque du Soleil

Photo Credit: Errisson Lawrence © 2015 Cirque du Soleil

Despite the show being the night before my daughter’s first day back to school, the late night was well worth it in so many ways.

If the show comes to a city near you, get your tickets now! Click here for tour dates and more information.

The Moodsters: Teaching Preschoolers All About Emotions

Dealing with everyday emotions as adults can be difficult, but for children and toddlers, it can be even trickier.

Thankfully The Moodsters, an educational line of toys and books designed to teach preschoolers about emotional intelligence makes learning about their feelings fun.

Through engaging storytelling—love, fear, sadness, anger and happiness are all personified via friendly characters that go on a quest to help discover and navigate the ups and downs of emotions.

Founded by Denise Daniels, an award-winning broadcast journalist and parenting and child development expert, The Moodsters are the perfect back-to-school gifts for your preschooler.

My almost 3-year-old son adores these books and accompanying toys. He enjoys pointing to each character and muttering their roles: “scary, happy, angry…” The books are really helping him understand the range of his emotions—and we moms know that their moods can change in a millisecond!

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Available at Target and Amazon, these books will be a great addition to your little one’s library and toy chest!

How do you help your child understand and communicate his feelings?

A Treat for Your Tresses: OGX’s + Quenching Coconut Curls Styling Milk

Over the years, I’ve tried countless hair concoctions that read more like a dessert menu than a product for your strands. From papaya-infused shampoos to milk & honey conditioners, I’ve tested a ton of products aimed at making my (and my daughter’s) natural hair more moisturized, healthier and of course—smelling heavenly.

Once in a while, the sweetly named products will actually deliver results beyond their charming packaging and sweet aromas. Enter Organix Quenching Plus Coconut Curls Styling Milk. This creamy, coconut-enriched hair dress is one of the best moisturizers I’ve ever used. Aside from the downright delightful scent, it successfully hydrates my daughter’s fine (read: easily tangled!) coils, leaving them soft, shiny and defined.

The coconut oil, sweet honey and citrus oils coat her curls without weighing them down or creating that dreaded crunch. I’ve been using it for only 3 weeks and I’m nearly out! Admittedly, I apply it liberally and am mesmerized by the smell so I tend to over use it.

If you’re looking for a product that performs and won’t break the bank, check out this moisturizer. Trust me, after one use you’ll be obsessed too!

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OGX + Quenching Coconut Curls Frizz-Defying Curl Styling Milk available here, $5.79

Have you ever tried this brand? If so, what’s been your experience and/or your favorite product? 

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration: 4 Surprising Things I Learned About My Family

There are trips and then there are EXPERIENCES OF A LIFETIME! Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending the 7th Annual Disney Social Media Moms Celebration (DSMMC) at the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida and it was an experience that I won’t soon forget.

First, being invited to the exclusive, invite-only conference was an honor in of itself. Created with us moms in mind, the 4-day celebration was more than I could’ve ever imagined. Plus, this conference welcomed my family as well! The sheer excitement of surprising my kids with this unexpected trip was literally keeping me up at night. The thrill of knowing how much their little faces would light up with the news that we were going to Disney World had me beaming with glee.

Just when I thought my excitement couldn’t get any more intense, we received the cutest Mickey Mouse-inspired luggage as a surprise gift from American Tourister, one of the conference’s sponsors. That unexpected pixie-dust drop-off completely elevated my anticipation. At that point, I could no longer keep our secret (I of course told my husband) to ourselves.

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American Tourister Disney-inspired luggage available here, $99.

After spilling the beans to the kids, (whom by the way fell to the floor upon hearing the news), my packing and planning shifted into high gear. I bought all new dresses for Ava to wear for her anticipated character meet-and-greets. Then, I immediately downloaded the My Disney Experience app to learn all about what the resort and parks had to offer. To say I began immersing myself in all-things-Disney would be an understatement!

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From the moment we received our MagicBands until our departure home on the Disney Express, our time at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was out-of-this-world amazing and sprinkled with pixie dust throughout!

Filled with so many memories and an abundance of information, it’s hard to include everything into one write-up, so this will be my first recap in a series of posts.

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Here are the four most unexpected things that I learned about my family while at DSCMM:

  1. My daughter is a daredevil. While I’ve never been a huge fan of rollercoasters, my daughter, Ava, on the other hand is a true thrill-seeker. At only 6 years old, she was so excited to ride some of Disney Parks’ most popular attractions. In fact, she braved Expedition Everest at Animal Kingdom and rode The Seven Dwarfs Mine Train rollercoaster THREE times at Magic Kingdom!
  1. My son is character-shy.  Prior to our trip, my two-year-old had been happily reciting all of the Disney characters he wanted to see: “Mickey, Donald, Goofy, Pluto!” But when we arrived, his tune changed. He was afraid of them—even Mickey! Even his big sister tried to encourage him to take photos with them, but to no avail. The goods news is that after seeing them over the course of our visit, he slowly began to warm up. During our Typhoon Lagoon outing, he actually waved to Donald!
  1. I have a sappy side. It’s no secret that many moms turn into mush when their kids do something sweet. Well, when I saw the Huggies-produced Mother’s Day video, you’d need buckets to catch the tears that fell from my eyes. Watching my babies say, “Happy Mother’s Day,” on that big screen reduced me to a mound of mush. I’m not overly emotional, so the tears that streamed down my face were proof that I do have a sappy side!
  1. My husband is my superhero. Well, this isn’t exactly a shock or surprise; I mean I did marry the guy! But the way he cares for our children and me is just mind-blowing. He’s so attentive to our needs and that was displayed 100 times over during our time at Disney. From schlepping our bags to going on rides with Ava, he is truly my Prince Charming.

As previously mentioned, I will be sharing more posts about my DSMMC adventure so be sure to check back for updates!

Have you ever attended the DSMMC? If not, have you ever visited Disney World? Please share! 

*I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. All opinions are my own. 

Event Recap: Texture Media Presents Texture On the Runway 2016

New York Fashion Week is in full swing and this past weekend I attended a show, but the focus wasn’t on fashion—it was all about the HAIR! Yep, Texture Media’s 4th Annual Texture On The Runway Show sponsored by Target was a showcase of curls, coils, kinks and waves.

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Held at City Winery in Soho and hosted by Michelle Breyer of Naturally Curly and Patrice Yursik of Afrobella, the evening was a celebration of textured hair. Not only did the runway feature ravishing crowns, but also the entire room was jam-packed with women of color rocking beautiful natural styles.

The 45-minute long show was broken down into five parts featuring styles from popular hair care brands such as Dark & Lovely, Cantu, Crème of Nature, Design Essentials and Garnier. Dark & Lovely got the party started with their energetic presentation set to the upbeat Beyoncé track, “Grown Woman.” Big, bushy Afros moved to and fro as the dancers grooved to every beat. It was an incredible way to start the show and set the tone for the rest of the night.

Texture On The Runway

Next up was Cantu with cute short curly styles and bold, eye-catching updos. They were followed by a red-hot set from Crème of Nature. Their lineup included Diana Ross-esque blowouts, big bouncy curls and a stunning, precision cut Afro. Then, Design Essential models donning unique styles such as a lop-sided faux bob, textured topknot and a lavender cascade of waves strutted down the catwalk. The show’s finale included a lovely wash-n-go, a center-parted teased bun and a flirty, curly ponytail.

Plus, all of the show’s vendors were on hand to give attendees information about the products used in the presentation and how to recreate some of the looks at home.

The diversity of textured hair is remarkable and this showcase is just a wonderful way to put our manes on a celebratory platform.

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The night of the show I was suffering from a bad hair day, but managed to salvage my curls by tying a colorful, wiry headband scarf around them. 

Whether you wear your hair straight, curly, in braids, in an Afro or somewhere in between, what do you love the most about your hair? 

5 Things I Learned from the Burlington & WomenHeart Panel

If you’re a BG and haven’t had your heart checked in the past six months, keep reading.

Last week I had the opportunity to attend an eye-opening panel discussion on heart health and how it affects women, especially us African-Americans. Presented by Burlington in partnership with WomenHeart, the esteemed group of speakers included popular TV talk show host and personality, Wendy Williams; four heart disease survivors and a renowned cardiologist.

While Wendy Williams doesn’t personally suffer from heart disease, she aims to use her platform – “The Wendy Williams Show,” to help educate women about the illness. She provided some hilarious sound bites throughout the discussion that served as a bit of comic relief for a very serious topic. “Eating shrimp can give you ‘the heart’ right, doc?” she jokingly asked. Although heart disease is no laughing matter, Wendy’s humor and candor opened the conversation to some troubling facts.

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Here are some of the top five things I learned from the panel:

1. Heart disease doesn’t discriminate. It kills more women than breast and lung cancer combined. In fact, one in four women will die from heart disease.

2. Thin doesn’t necessarily mean healthy. You can be thin and exercise and STILL be faced with heart disease. One of the panelists, Essence Harris-Banks was a dancer and very active prior to being diagnosed with coronary artery disease.

3. Watch your weight. The more you weigh, the more your heart has to work pump. Even losing 5 pounds can make a big difference.

4. Don’t Stress. We all know stress is a killer. Meditation, yoga and deep breathing can help relieve stress, ultimately reducing your chance of heart disease.

5. We BGs have a higher risk. Women with diabetes have a 2.5-fold higher risk for developing cardiovascular disease. African-Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes, which contributes to the 81.9% higher risk of developing heart disease .

Even though National Wear Red Day for heart disease is behind us, the fight against this disease is ongoing! That’s why Burlington customers have the opportunity to donate $1 or more at a checkout and their funds will support WomenHeart. The contributions will go toward further educating women about heart disease and their health.

Want to learn more and help the cause? Throughout February, tune in to the Wendy Williams Show to get fun and easy daily healthy heart tips. If you’re a Wendy-watcher, simply snap a photo of how you are using that tip or show what heart health means to you be posting a #HealthyHeartSelfie. For every photo posted with that hashtag, Burlington will donate $1, up to $25,000, to benefit WomenHeart.

In the words of Wendy, “Don’t talk so loud and breathe. Love yourself now, tomorrow may be too late.”

How do you take of your heart? 

Flying High: It Cosmetics Launches Superhero Mascara & Confidence in a Cream Moisturizer

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to attend a first-class press event for It Cosmetics. I was so excited to go; not only because I was going to get a sneak peek at some of the brand’s latest offerings, but also get a chance to partake in in-door skydiving at iFly in Westchester, NY!

Unfortunately, I was unable to attend – but was happy to send my NYC correspondent, Yelena, to get the scoop. She said the simulated flying experience was out-of-this world, but the true high note was getting a mini makeover with the new products.

First up, the Superhero Elastic Stretch Volumizing Mascara. “The mascara was incredible,” she recalls. The inventive mascara has unmatched technology that boosts the volume of lashes with a single stroke. “While one application can get the job done, I like to build for an even bolder look,” she admits. The super black pigment separates and attaches to lashes effortlessly creating a lengthened, thick and full lash line. “I have I’ve had some bad luck with mascaras lately,” she says. “They’re either too dry or too clumpy, so this is a welcomed addition to my beauty arsenal.”

IT Cosmetics Superhero Mascara

It Cosmetics Superhero Mascara launches February 16th and will be available here, $24

Their other exciting launch product is Confidence in a Cream. This transforming facial moisturizer is created to rejuvenate your skin – ultimately boosting your confidence. Developed with plastic surgeons, you know it has to be good! “It smells refreshing,” Yelena describes. No one expects immediate results with a face cream, but she’s looking forward to seeing positive changes. “I can’t wait to see how my skin gradually improves with each use.” The cream boasts a proprietary anti-aging formula that rejuvenates skin while simultaneously providing penetrating hydration.

IT Cosmetics Confidence in a Cream

It Cosmetics “Confidence in a Cream” available here, $42

It Cosmetics’ products aren’t just pioneers in the technology beauty space, but their offerings have an all-around “it” factor that makes them one of a kind!

Have you ever used It Cosmetics? If so, what’s your favorite product?