Disney Junior Introduces Notable African-Americans to Young Audiences

Even though Black History Month is coming to a close, the opportunity to teach our children never ends. As a mom, it’s my responsibility to educate my son and daughter about the pioneers who paved the way for our freedom and inform them about the present day individuals who continue to contribute to our society. But, positive reinforcements outside the home are just as important.

Thanks to Disney Junior, my kids are learning about some pretty awesome people in an entertaining and relatable way. Throughout the month, the network has featured authentic segments that celebrate African-American history while still catering to their young audience.

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Photo Courtesy of Disney Junior

From showcasing Stephanie R. Grant, a pilot who led the first all-female African-American flight crew to operate a commercial airliner to Disney legend Floyd Norman, one of the first African-American animators at Walt Disney Studios during the 1950s, the network has done an amazing job of presenting historical facts and trailblazers in a fun and engaging manner in between series that kids can understand.

While it’s great to have trusted networks like Disney help highlight and acknowledge our accomplishments, the most impactful lessons start at home.

How have you and your family celebrated Black History Month?

Soarin’ High at Disney’s Epcot

Two weeks ago my family and I attended the 2017 Disney Social Media Moms Celebration and made memories that will last a lifetime. After attending my first #DisneySMMC last May, I had high expectations, but nothing could prepare me for what was in store this time around. This year was the celebration’s first Land and Sea Adventure (yes, we went on a Disney Wonder cruise too!) and it was everything one could imagine and more. Over the next few weeks I’ll be sharing tips, reviews, insider Disney news and tidbits from what I learned from the celebration’s panel of esteemed speakers.

First up, I want to share one of the highlights from our trip: experiencing the breathtaking Soarin’ Around the World ride at Epcot in Orlando (it’s also at California Adventure Park in Disneyland and Shanghai Disneyland). For me, it’s the one attraction that you can’t miss during a visit to Disney World. Sure, it’s been open since 2001, but last year it was reimagined with new destinations and updates for an incredible multi-sensory journey.

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The attraction takes thrill seekers 40 feet into a projection dome simulating the sensation of being airborne high above the clouds. As you’re being whisked over oceans, deserts and even the Great Wall of China, the landscapes are accompanied with wind effects, sounds and even scents—creating an immersive experience.

It truly felt like we were soaring and exploring various continents all under six minutes. Prior to our trip, I told my husband that I hoped to find a ride that would satisfy my love of heights without the speed of a winding roller coaster and Soarin’ delivered. After experiencing it with my fellow mom bloggers during a private ride, I knew immediately that my family would enjoy it too.

At first, my 7-year-old-daughter was a little nervous, but as soon as she was flying high, she was totally entranced. Surprisingly, my 3-year-old son was excited from beginning to end. If I could, I’d ride Soarin’ a million times! It’s definitely my favorite ride and I look forward to many more flights.

Tip: If possible, try to snag the front row for an even more mesmerizing ride.

*I was invited to attend the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration where I received heavily discounted items, promotional gifts, etc. All opinions are my own. 

Have you ever experienced Soarin’? 

Sprout’s ‘Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave’ Second Season Set to Premiere Saturday

When it comes to producing quality, authentic programming for preschoolers, Sprout is in a class of its own.

The 24-hour preschool TV network’s original series, Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave serves as the flagship show for delivering fun, informative and engaging content for the pre-K set. My son has been watching the interactive animated series since it premiered in 2015 when he was barely two years old!

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He’s grown with the show and enjoys guessing along with the adventure-loving title characters as they embark upon journeys unlocking their imaginations and discovering new things along the way. The ten-minute game show format keeps him entertained and successfully holds his attention. As many moms know, that’s no easy feat. That’s why I appreciate the show’s structure. The multiple-choice questions throughout allow my son to use his cognitive skills to decipher outcomes, in turn developing his reasoning abilities. Plus, I know that he will be able to follow the storyline, while learning in a way that captivates him.

To celebrate the premiere of season two, we hosted a small viewing party to honor our favorite pup, Ruff-Ruff, our lovable chick, Tweet and our unique blue panda, Dave. One of the new premiere episodes tackles the scenario of encountering a friend who speaks a different language. The upcoming season will surely keep preschoolers inquisitive and eager to learn!

Check out our party picks below:

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Can you guess who had the most fun? Ask the hat, ask the hat! If you guessed MJ, you were right! He slept with his new plushie friends and woke up the next morning with them in tow. Ava had a great time too, but she was a bit under the weather. They’ve both enjoyed “Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave” throughout the years and look forward to watching new episodes.

Check out the trailer for season two:

Sprout’s Ruff-Ruff, Tweet and Dave Season 2 premieres Saturday, Feb. 18 at 12pm EST.

Disclosure: Sprout provided Brown Girl Gumbo with food and party decor for review purposes only.  All opinions are 100% my own.

jane iredale’s New Eyeliners Are In a League of Their Own

As a teen, beautifying my peepers was all about swiping on basic eyeliner pencils from the local beauty supply store. Perfecting my lash line came with much practice: shaky hands and countless crooked strokes, but it’s a skill that I eventually mastered.

While my love for eyeliner hasn’t changed, my penchant for quality has. As a working mom on the go, I need eyeliner that stays put and offers that deep, dark hue that I crave.

Enter: jane iredale’s new Mystikol® eyeliners. Not only do these uniquely designed pots of pigmented goodness provide a rich color, they go on seamlessly. Admittedly, I’m an application pro now, but the tiny brush affixed to the top makes applying simple for even the most amateur eyeliner fans.

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jane iredale Mystikol® eyeliners available here, $24 each

With a slight dip into the jar, the micro bristles are instantly covered in the powder-cream formula. With the precision and staying power of a liquid liner, it glides on effortlessly and flawlessly defines my eyes.

So far, I’ve only tried the jet black shade, but can’t wait to give the other three colors a go too. The royal purple shade will add an unexpected pop of color perfect for spring.

What’s your go-to eyeliner? Is it liquid, pencil or gel? 

WATCH: Rihanna Guest Stars in ‘Bates Motel’

Rihanna fans rejoice!

The singer-actress has been laying low lately, but it looks like the Barbadian beauty has been busy filming the fifth and final season of A&E Network’s “Bates Motel.”

Rihanna will be stepping into Janet Leigh’s famous role of Marion Crane, the real estate secretary who takes that fateful shower in Alfred Hitchcock’s seminal 1960 thriller “Psycho.”

In the clip, dressed in a blue velvet getup, the Grammy winner looks like she’s in need of an umbrella…ellaella as she’s soaking wet in the scene.

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The fifth season of “Bates Motel” starts Feb. 20th at 1o pm ET on A&E Networks. Photo courtesy of A&E Networks

It appears that fans of the critically-acclaimed drama will be in for a haunting season as the singer-actress puts her contemporary spin on the iconic character. As a pure coincidence, the new season starts on Rihanna’s birthday, February 20.

Check out the trailer below:

Will you be tuning in? What’s your favorite horror series or film?

Dove Celebrates 60 Years of the Beauty Bar

When it comes to classic brands that stand the test of time, Dove is one of the first to come to mind.

This year the trusted brand is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Beauty Bar—its iconic cleanser. Dove has been a mainstay in my bathroom for as long as I can remember and for good reason. The Beauty Bar works wonders on my acne-prone skin and it smells so darn good. Ah, that fresh, clean smell! For me the gentle cleanser’s scent instantly takes me back to my childhood when I was first introduced to the timeless beauty essential.

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Find Dove’s Beauty Bar here.

Nostalgia aside, Dove’s Beauty Bar continues to evoke emotions from women every day. From the empowering commercials to the tried and true formula, the Beauty Bar is the unchanged standard.

To commemorate this milestone, Dove has released a limited-edition bar with the word “care” engraved on it.

To commemorate this milestone, Dove has released a limited-edition bar with the word “care” engraved on it.

In the spirit of the brand’s new campaign, #RaisetheBeautyBar, I plan to continue instilling confidence in my 7-year-old daughter and letting her know that she’s smart and beautiful inside and out.

They say, “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it,” and this sentiment rings true for this cherished product. Happy Birthday, Beauty Bar—here’s to another 60 years!

Check out this cool retrospective video celebrating the contributions women have made in beauty throughout the years.

How do you plan to #RaisetheBeautyBar?

Mount Airy Casino Resort: The Perfect Getaway

Nothing can recharge your batteries like a quick getaway.

My husband and I were in desperate need of a little R&R and Mount Airy Casino Resort in Mount Pocono was just what the doctor ordered.

Located only 90 miles from New York City, we packed our bags and hit the road to the quaint Pennsylvania town—and boy are we glad we did. Upon entering the resort we were instantly captivated by the cascading waterfall in the hotel’s foyer and overall welcoming atmosphere. We knew immediately that we were in for a great weekend.

The welcoming waterall in the foyer of Mount Airy Casino Resort.

The welcoming waterall in the foyer of Mount Airy Casino Resort.

Rooms fit for royalty

Our home for the next couple of days was spacious and inviting. The vaulted ceilings added a lavish feel while the dark wood throughout the space added richness to the room. Having the comfy king size bed all to ourselves was a forgotten luxury since we usually end up sharing our bed at home it with our 3-year-old. Oh and my husband of course loved the huge flat screen with countless premium channels. Plus, we had an amazing view of the resort’s golf course just across the way. Our room was the perfect home away from home.

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My hubby reading one of the complimentary newspapers provided at Mount Airy Casino Resort.

The view of the Mount AIry Casino Resort golf course from our room.

 

Relax and recharge

Some trips are all about being on the go and exploring, but we all need those excursions where we can relax and unwind. Mount Airy Casino Resort is the best of both worlds. With a spa and salon onsite, you don’t have to leave the resort to spoil yourself. I was treated to a deep tissue, signature massage where the masseuse added just the right amount of pressure to relieve my trouble spots and kinks after a stressful workweek.

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The serene spa entrance at Mount Airy Casino Resort.

From rubdowns to makeup applications, the pampering options are virtually endless and just steps from your room.

Relaxing and reading before my massage at Mount Airy Casino Resort.

Relaxing and reading before my massage at Mount Airy Casino Resort.

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The pool was surprisingly warm, which made for an awesome January evening.

Although I indulged in a treatment or two, my husband simply wanted to relax poolside right down the hall. I eventually joined him and was pleasantly surprised by the warm water—and privacy provided by the cabanas.

Food for the soul 

Like most people, I love food. If there’s seafood on the menu, I’m in heaven. With several restaurants located on the second floor of the resort, I had plenty of seafood options. Being a Food Network fan, I was excited to check out Guy Fieri’s Mount Pocono Kitchen. I ordered mahi mahi tacos as an appetizer; salmon for my main course while my husband skipped apps and decided on a classic burger for his entree. He was a bit wary because Fieri is known for his outrageous creations, but we were both pleased with the taste and quality of the food. The following evening we dined at Bistecca by Il Mulino, the resort’s upscale steakhouse. The “white tablecloth” service was only surpassed by the mouth-watering meals. Spaghetti and prawns was my main dish while my husband ate “one of the best burgers” he’s ever had.

Mahi mahi fish tacos at Guy Fieri's restaurant at the Mount Airy Casino Resort.

Mahi mahi fish tacos at Guy Fieri’s restaurant at the Mount Airy Casino Resort.

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Scottish salmon at Guy Fieri’s restaurant at Mount Airy Casino Resort.

Spaghetti and prawns at Mount Airy Casino Resort’s Bistecca by Il Mulino.

Room service at Mount Airy Casino Resort.

Room service at Mount Airy Casino Resort.

For breakfast, we ordered room service and it was absolutely scrumptious. Having breakfast in bed is truly one of my greatest pleasures and this didn’t disappoint.

Never-ending entertainment

When it comes to my preferred source of entertainment, gambling isn’t high on my list. Since we were visiting a casino, I was game for a few cracks at a slot machine. However, I was so busy checking out the candy and yogurt shops that I never actually sat down at one of the casino’s nearly 200 machines! My husband and I did make our way to Gypsies, the resort’s premier nightclub, for a night of dancing. The venue was chic and outfitted with cozy banquettes and booths for large groups. Throughout the night we enjoyed music that was a perfect blend of old school and current R&B, pop and hip-hop hits—my favorite since my personal playlists consist mostly of ‘90s and early aughts tracks.

Me and the hubby before heading out.

Me and the hubby before heading out.

The south entrance of Mount Airy Casino Resort.

The south entrance of Mount Airy Casino Resort.

The hubby and me at Gypsies lounge located inside Mount Airy Casino Resort.

The hubby and me at Gypsies lounge located inside Mount Airy Casino Resort.

Make lasting memories 

If you’re in the tri-state area or looking for a fun and relaxing escape to the east coast, Mount Airy Casino Resort should definitely be a top consideration.

Me before heading out.

Me before heading out after a wonderful weekend.

From the all-around top-notch service to the exquisite food to the endless entertainment, our experience is one that we’ll forever cherish. In fact, it just might be our perfect getaway for years to come.

Disclosure: Mount Airy Casino Resort provided Brown Girl Gumbo food and accommodations for review purposes only.  All opinions are 100% my own.

 

Do you have any upcoming getaways planned? What’s your favorite weekend getaway destination?