All About... Me!!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Okay so this post is going to be all about me. I figure you all might want to know a little about me. I figured 'Twenty Questions" type format would be fun to do. I am not going to be telling you where I live or my real name. Oh and as lady you won't be knowing to my age and weight.So let's begin..

1)What are your past times?I  like to read, bake, travel, do crossword puzzles, write and collect antique books (pre 1920)

2)What are some of your favorite bands? My music tastes varies but I do have a few bands that I do like - Depeche Mode, The Cure, Duran-Duran,early U2 and surprise surprise-Rammstein! Yep, I am Rammstein fan. I have never seen them in concert but I would love to.

3) What are some of your favorite songs? Rosenrot (Rammstein), Red Hill Mining Town (U2), A Little Respect (Erasure), It's A Sin (Pet Shop Boys), Sex on Fire(Kings of Leon), The Love Cats (The Cure), Rush (Depeche Mode)

4)Who are some of your favorite authors? Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allen Poe, Anne Rice, Louisa May Alcott

5)What are some of your favorite books? A Woman of Independent Means, Little Women, Little Men, anything by Beverly Lewis and the Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke

6)Have you ever traveled outside the US? Yes, on two occasions. Once when I was small we went to Victoria, British Columbia and again when I was in high school I went Quebec and Montreal.

7)What are your favorite movies? Queen of the Damned, Imitation of Life (1957 Lana Turner version), Them!, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Peyton Place

8)Should married people have friends of the opposite sex? Yes! The reason is that you can ask them if you need an opinion on say what gift to give your spouse or if you need a second opinion on a matter (not major matters just minor ones). Besides sometimes friends of the opposite sex can help you see things in a way you might have missed.

9) Do you consider yourself religious? Yes but not to the point of piety. I look at religion this way. Yes I am a believer but I will not go forcing my views on people if they don't want me to. If someone wants to talk to me then I will answer whatever questions they might have .

10) Can you cook and what dishes are you best at? Somewhat. I can make a mean 3 cheese macaroni (which I often bring to potluck dinners)a pretty wicked omelet,  slow roasted chicken and according to my kids I make decent cookies.Oh our youth group keeps asking when I plan to make more gluten free peanut butter cookies for them.

11) What states have you lived in? LA, GA,MS,WA, VA and TN

12) What is the most unusual job you ever had? I work temporarily at a video store in the Christmas room. Trust me Santa does not make his toys here . We just told kids that so they would turn around and walk the other way

13) Do you have any siblings? Yes, one of each both younger.

14)Do you have any nieces/nephews? Four nieces

15) Are your parents still living? Yes and they celebrated 40 years of marriage back in August

16)How many of your grandparents are still living? I am blessed to have both my paternal grandparents still living and my maternal grandmother. My maternal grandfather passed away in 2010.

17)What is on your bucket list? Travel to Europe, learn to play cello, learn German and Italian, learn to snow ski and go on a cruise

18)Pet Peeves? Long lines, mean people,

19) Favorite foods? Oriental rice crackers, wasabi peas, Southwestern jarlsberg dip, French food, Chinese food

20) Favorite TV shows? Criminal Minds, Numb3rs, Rocko's Modern Life, Tom & Jerry

Turning dreams into Reality

Monday, January 28, 2013

I got a chance today to stop in at Law's Interior & Design Studios in the Shops at Western Plaza in Knoxville. There I got to talk with Helen Frazier who is the Project Manager for Law's.
 Law's Interior & Design Studio has two locations, nearly forty employees and almost 45,000 square feet of warehouse and showroom space. Nearly 12,000 of the square footage is their showroom which is treat to visit.
Law's retails furniture from companies such as classically inspired Hickory Chair based in Hickory, North Carolina to the modern modern feel of Baier Furniture. They also have hutches, tables and artwork such as painting available for purchase.
Helen explained they work with contractors for new builds and remodels as well. So if you are in need of a design team to take your home interior design ideas and make them a reality call the team at Law's Interiors & Design
Visit their website to see a photo gallery of the great design work they do.

Until next time...

Feed me...Part 1 of the Menu Planning Journey

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I was recently looking at article online and it gave a week worth of dinner menus. That was a great idea since it gave complete shopping list along with the menu. After a closer look I realized that there was no way that any normal family would eat these dishes. Plus it required you to have on hand things that a lot of us simply don’t have like walnut oil,  dry sherry (I thought sherry was wet since it is a liquid. Dry sherry is made with lighter grapes than regular sherry) and other odd things
So I decided as a project to search thru all my vintage cookbooks, magazines and the internet to create a menu for the month of February that would meet the following requirements; (1) It must have dishes that we would actually eat plus a new side or main course each day for variety (2) Anyone could make the dishes on the menu without having to have a degree from the Cordon Bleu cooking school (3) The cost per day broke down like this -breakfast would cost $5.00, lunch would cost $5.00 and dinner would cost $10.00 and last but not least (4) It had to feed my family of six for under $600.
 I am now armed with my goals as far as my menu plan for the month of February. I will be doing research and figuring the costs of each meal. My goal is to each Sunday evening to post the upcoming week’s menu with a cost breakdown. I hope by doing this I can give my readers ideas for planning their own menus for the week saving them time and money.
Until next time…

The Human Condition-Part 1 of 3

This is part 1 of a 3 part blog series. The posting will not be back-to-back as I will be doing more research on this topic
The blog you are about to read is not just for ladies but men also. Ladies you need to share this with your husbands and boyfriends because they can help in ways we ladies can’t. Not that we ladies can’t help it’s just that in this case men can help without raising suspicions.
Today I am going to write about a topic that might make some of my readers uncomfortable. After reading an article on human trafficking and the very few calls that the hotline in Tennessee received I decide this was a topic that I wanted to write about.
If you’re like me my first thought was “There is no way people are being trafficked. I mean it’s 2013 people!”. The sad reality is that human trafficking is huge business in America. In fact it is so huge that it surpasses the sales of illegal arms at $32 billion dollars in revenue annually. Over fifty percent of the revenue coming from industrialized countries. The illicit trade of small arms averages a billion dollars a year.
To give you a number to compare this to, Bill Gates is worth $65 billion dollars.
Over  293,000 American children each year are trafficked yearly in the United States for sexual purposes. Forty percent of all human trafficking cases opened for investigation between January 2008 and June 2010 were for the sexual trafficking of a child. There are other forms of trafficking or as the FBI website called them “modern-day slaves”. These people are often beaten, starved, and forced to work as prostitutes or to take grueling jobs as migrant, domestic, restaurant, or factory workers with little or no pay. When we go to work we expect certain things like getting paid, lunch breaks, some type of benefits and a safe work environment. Sadly this is not the case with the people who are trafficked. They endured daily beatings, starvation, lack of basic human comforts and worse. A lot of these people who are smuggled into the United States do not speak English which is a “benefit” to their captors but a hindrance to them.
 I wan to focus on the sex trafficking trade especially with children.
As a mom I cannot even comprehend what would even drive someone to even entertain the thought of having sex with a child. I mean the mere thought is reprehensible and revolting.
Most of the young women who are smuggled into the United States are from Central America and Asian countries. Not all victims are from those countries though. Victims from the United States are also involved especially girls who are runaways or come from dysfunctional homes.
Not all the victims are women and young girls. However, there are an increasing number of young males being forced into the commercial sex industry as well.
How do these people end up being trafficked? What do the traffickers do to these people? What is the average age of a person (especially of a female) being forced into sex trafficking. What happens when these people are “found” by the authorities? What happens to the traffickers IE what is the usual protocol to catch them and their punishments? What happens to the victims afterwards? Most importantly what can we do as citizens to help combat this problem
There are many ways that a person especially a woman can be ensnared in the sex trafficking trade. Some women are simply kidnapped and sold to a trafficker who in turns sells her to a pimp. Others are offered offers of legitimate and legal work as shop assistants or waitresses. Some are given offers of marriage, an education and a chance at a better life. Some are sold into trafficking by boyfriends, neighbors, friends and even their own parents.
Also pimps lure vulnerable young women by pretending to be their best friend/protector/boyfriend /Prince Charming all in one. However once these women are “caught”, the pimps are anything but a Prince Charming.
The victims are often passed along thru various “trade routes” winding up further and further from their home countries. An example would be Daryna from the Ukraine may be sold to a Gazanfer who is a trafficker in Turkey, who then passes her on to Phailin who is a trafficker in Thailand. Along the way she becomes confused and disoriented. Along the way her passport and documents are taken from her and she is told she is in the country illegally causing her to be even more dependent on her captors.
Often these victims are often kept in captivity and also trapped into debt bondage. Victims also report being charged additional fines or fees while under bondage, requiring them to work longer to pay off their debts.
Traffickers also use the threat of hurting the victim’s family and/or children if they do not cooperate. They also physically tortured, starved, locked into closets, drugged and raped into submission.
Some women are drugged so they do not escape and are forced to “serve” up to thirty men a day.
"Children exploited through prostitution report they typically are given a quota by their trafficker/pimp of 10 to 15 buyers per night. Utilizing a conservative estimate, a domestic minor sex trafficking victim would be raped by 6,000 buyers during the course of her victimization through prostitution. "
Prostituted Children, Shared Hope International, May 2009, page 20.
So what happens when the victim is found?
One is to arrest and deport the victim. Seriously like this will freaking help!! Why is this even considered as an option? The reason is that prosecutors don't want to take on the difficult challenge of prosecuting a trafficker when they can win the easier charges of prosecuting the victim for prostitution, document fraud, or immigration & labor violations.
Second is to jail the offender. Good in theory but not in thought. Often governments offer protection to the victim and allow them to temporarily stay in the country, on the condition that they testify against their traffickers.
In the U.S., the TVPA (Trafficking Victim’s Protection Act) allows for the provision of temporary visas (T-visas) to victims of human trafficking, with a possibility of permanent residency.  However, they only offer 5,000 of these each year, regardless of how many human trafficking cases come forth.  In 2010 only 213 T visas were granted.  The 2010 TIP Report claims that testimony against the trafficker, conviction of the trafficker, or formal denunciation of the trafficker is not required in order to be eligible for a T visa. However, the report immediately follows this by stating “however, such support counts in an applicant’s favor.” In other words, chances are victims will not get a T visa unless they are willing to testify.  This reveals the TVPA to be about prosecution, though they claim to focus on victim protection. So unless the victims are willing to testify they are not offered asylum in the U.S.
Okay so the “bad guy “ gets arrested and everyone is happy right? Not so fast folks. Basically these jerks get a slap on the wrist if anything. A man in Austria , guilty of human trafficking, bodily harm, rape, forced abortion, forgery, and damage to property received only 8 years in prison, though two victims had enough courage to come forward. EIGHT years people is all he got!! Depending on the country is how many years the trafficker will serve in prison:  2-15 years (Czech Republic) to “up to 10 years” (Austria, Korea) to 13-23 years (Colombia) to 12-25 years (Australia) to a maximum of life imprisonment (Nigeria). explains how each country is measured as far as tier levels much better than I ever could.
 What happens to the victims afterwards? These victims are going to need numerous things like psychological and social services, temporary employment, legal services, safe houses, and protection during the prosecution of their traffickers. They are also going to need basic things like clothing, personal items, education and medical care. These are things that help the victim go from “abused” to “triumphant”.
 What can we do to help combat this problem? The easiest is to contact our Senators and Congressional Representatives. Let them know that we need tougher laws against human trafficking of any sort. Also support local law enforcement in their fight against this problem.  Be a responsible consumer, there are many companies who work with victims of the sex trafficking industry to give them better lives. Last but not least educate yourself on this problem and share what you learn. Like the old saying goes “Knowledge is power” and the more knowledge we have the more powerful we can be.
(The facts and figures used in this posting came from numerous websites including newspapers, televisions. governmental websites. A complete list will be available upon request after the third blog is posted. This will be an extensive list)
Until next time…

Friendly Reminder...

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Just a friendly reminder the Earth Fare prize giveaway is less than a week away. I will be lettting the nifty random number generator pick two winners on Friday February 1st, 2013. You can't win if you read and comment.
The blog posting to comment on is . Good luck....

Until next time...

Delicious (Měiwèi) No Matter How You say it

I don't eat out too often but when I do there are some restaurants that are simply incredible. There is one local place that is absolutely amazing. That special place is Hibachi Grill.
When you first walk in you are greeted by one of their friendly staff who quickly and happily will seat you. Large parties are not a problem as I have been there with a party of nine before and they were very accommodating.
After you are seated, your server will come and take your drink order. They do not serve alcohol but they do serve various sodas, iced teas and hot tea in its own teapot.

Now it's off to the buffet area! Trust me , they do not disappoint when it comes to great food here. They have a vast array of wonderful dishes in different cuisine.
Let me give you a highlight of a few the wonderful dishes you can find here.

Our first dish is the hibachi style dishes. You can select ingredient to be cooked to perfection right in front of your eyes. You can choose from chicken, beef, shrimp, eggs and a selection of fresh vegetables that is stir-fried with your choice of sauces including teriyaki and hibachi sauce.
Fresh prime rib awaits you to slice off and enjoy . Next to that sits a beautiful sweetly glazed ham decorated with pineapple. If those two choices aren’t what you are looking for, there is also pizza and pork tenderloin awaiting you. The prime rib is some of the best you’ll have the pleasure of eating. Tender and easily sliced is the best way to describe it
 One of my husband’s favorite dishes is cheesy clams. These are clams with cream sauce that are broiled with grated cheese on top of them. Their wonderful sweet pocketbook rolls that simply beg for honey butter to be spread on top of them. You can also find their unique potatoes skin here. I haven’t quite figured what is in them but I can tell you there is onion, sour cream, loads of crispy bacon and cheese. These would be awesome with hot wings for a Super Bowl party .
 A great fresh salad bar also adds to the deliciousness of the food here. You can find fresh salad ingredients along cold seafood such as shrimp, octopus and oysters. Various sauces are also here such surachi sauce, ketchup and various salad dressings
Now there are the standard Chinese dishes like Mei-Fun, Steamed Dumplings, General Tso’s Chicken, Lo-Mein, Egg Rolls, Wonton Soup and others here. The difference is the quality of the food here. The staff here takes great pride in serving delicious and fresh food to their customers. Food is replaced quickly and often here so you are always guaranteed fresh and hot food to enjoy.

Now it’s time for dessert.. Here we have various flavors of ice cream as well as different types of cakes, cookies, puddings, Jell-O’s, fresh fruit and their special peanut. Yes these are special peanut that have salt and seasoning to them. I could eat these peanuts by the pound and never tire of them. I plan to stop by again and offer to buy just a pound of peanut from there since they are that good.
If you are looking for a great place to grab a quick lunch or have a friendly relaxed date than Hibachi Grill is the place for you. They also have take out as well.
This charming restaurant is located at 9645 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, Tennessee,  37922 where the old Ryan's Buffet used to be at. It is across the street from Michaels and Babies R Us . The phone number is :(865)357-3555 and their fax number is :(865)357-8088
If you decide to eat here be sure to let them know that Mmommy Musings sent you.     

 (I couldn't take photos since my camera decided that it wasn't going to work for me. Sorry everyone.Check out their website for some great photos) 
 After my great meal, I ventured into few of the local stores nearby including Smart Toys and Books, Coachman Clothiers, Gentry Furriers among others. I will be telling you about these great places as time allows me to.
 Until next time... 

Warming up for Valentine's Day

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Cupcakes are HOT! These tasty little treats have taken the world by storm. In fact , cupcakes are so popular the have inspired games (Cupcake Frenzy, Cupcake Maker and millions of others), various perfumes from people like Jessica Simpson and companies like Vitabath as well as a television shows like Cupcake Wars, The Cupcake Girls and DC Cupcakes.
However , not all cupcakes are the same. I got a chance to learn this when I visited I Cities Cupcakes in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Cities Cupcake is a locally owned bakery in the heart of the Bearden district. Located next door to Abloom florist , they are easily spotted by the giant fabric stuffed cupcake in front of their store.
Walking in the door the first thing I noticed was the menu boards explaining the various cupcake offering and specialty goods they have available. The first board describes their Top Ten Cities Flavors. These flavors are always available for pick up. The second board described their monthly flavors. Each month, Cities Cupcake offer four specialty flavors. The last board described their specialty items they carry

 Each of their cupcakes are named after a city hence the name Cities Cupcake. Each city has a special unique feature that is highlighted by the cupcake that represents it. For example there is a cupcake called the “Dubliner” which is described in their brochure  like this “Irish mouths are smiling with a bite into our Bailey’s Irish Cream Dublin Cupcake. The cupcake is made with real Bailey's in both the brownie and the espresso butter-cream frosting. Dunked in chocolate sprinkles and crowned with a chocolate covered espresso bean, the Dublin Cupcake is a sophisticated flavor trip.” Trust me, when the Dubliner comes on the monthly flavor board, I am definitely going to try one. I will let you know how great it tastes !!
After studying the various flavors of cupcakes I decided to try three ; two from the Top Ten Cities Flavors, Knoxville and Cincinnati and one from the January flavor selection called Half Moon Bay Cupcake. I also got one called New Orleans from the Top Ten Cities Flavors.
The Knoxville is a moist orange cupcake topped with sweet vanilla butter cream sprinkled with bright orange sugar sprinkles.

 Now I have had your standard orange cupcakes before but they were no comparison. Sadly most orange cupcakes out there have little to no orange flavoring to them. The Knoxville has a nice sweet orange flavor that is not so overpowering that is distracts from enjoying the cupcake.
 The butter cream frosting is a sweet creamy frosting that balances nicely with the orange taste of the cupcake itself. This butter-cream frosting was smooth and creamy unlike some butter cream frosting that develop a firm hard crust to them. The bright orange sugar sprinkles are a fun touch to the cupcake .
The actual cupcake was my favorite part of this cupcake, This cake is good enough to eat without frosting! I can imagine some of these in a mini cupcake size unfrosted served with coffee at a brunch.
The next one I tried was the Half Moon Bay. This is a lightly spiced pumpkin cupcake with sweet cream cheese frosting and a dollop of orange marmalade. Now, I’ll be honest and tell you all I am not a pumpkin fan. I decided to take a chance on the Half Moon Bay and I am glad that I did so. 
The Half Moon Bay has a taste similar to an old-fashioned spice cake. I could taste a hint of clove and cinnamon in the cake. These would be great no matter what month is it.One of these and some hot cocoa...

 The sweet cream cheese frosting was surprisingly not as sweet as I expected. I was expecting a super sweet cream cheese frosting akin to what you would find on the frosting aisle of the . Thankfully this was far from the frosting topping the Half Moon Bay cupcake. Instead a overly sweet frosting, the Half Moon Bay has a nice and gently sweetened cream cheese frosting , Surprisingly the orange marmalade on top added a nice balance to the frosting.
Chocolate…That’s right the next cupcake I tried was a Cincinnati. This is a German chocolate cupcake with the traditional coconut-pecan frosting.
 The Cincinnati’s cupcake was a lighter version of the heavy traditional chocolate cake that is used for German chocolate cake. A nice hint of vanilla helped to bring out the chocolate favor of this cupcake.

I have always loved the frosting for German chocolate cake and this frosting did not disappoint! This was a wonderful frosting with toasted pecan and loads of coconut in it. If I could, I would order a batch of the Cincinnati’s frosting to eat straight out of the container.
 And by the way if you ever are having a craving for just the frosting, Cities Cupcakes sells “Frosting Shots”. Yep, you read correctly. These are little shot glasses filled with the Cities Cupcakes signature frostings. Imagine the frosting from the Dubliner or the Johnson City which is made with Dr. Enuff  (which is a lemon-lime energy boosting soda) as a treat for yourself.

All great things have to come to end and my last cupcake was the New Orleans. This is a red velvet cupcake with cream cheese frosting and for a fun touch little funfetti dots on top.

 The cupcake was a very moist traditional red velvet cake. This was definitely a super moist cake that is far superior to the cardboard boxed mix from the grocery.
Depending on where you are come from is what determines what type of frosting your red velvet cake will have. Where I come from in Virginia we use a cooked frosting made with flour, sugar, milk, shortening and vanilla. Probably not the healthiest thing to eat but hey red velvet cake was served at special occasions like birthdays, receptions and church dinners not everyday
When I moved down here I learned that cream cheese frosting is frosting of choice. I admit it took me a while to get used to the cream cheese frosting school of thought.
 The cream cheese frosting on the New Orleans was the perfect balance for the red velvet cupcake.  This was a very smooth and creamy frosting with the right amount of sweetness to it. The funfetti dots were a nice crunchy sweet added bonus to the New Orleans’ overall  flavor.
 Cities Cupcakes are incredibly amazing. The owner , Linda Hurst, truly loves creating delicious cupcakes and her passion shines through in each of her flavors of cupcakes she offers.
In case you’re wondering , yes they do offer gluten-free cupcakes . They also would be more than happy to talk to you about helping you plan what the best cupcake would best suit you.
 The next time you are in the Knoxville area make it a point to swing by Cities Cupcakes in Bearden. Their hours are:
10:00am - 6:00pm
10:00 am - 4:00pm
Be sure to checkout their website : . Where you can learn all about their cupcakes, specialty items and follow them on Twitter as well as like them on Facebook.
The photos of the half cupcakes are from the Cities Cupcake's website since they are so good that I ate them before I got a chance to photograph them. I will take a photo of every thing I review from now on.
Until next time…

From the store windows

To the store front

To the giant cupcake in front of Cities Cupcake screams
"Cupcake" everywhere you look

A Pretty Sweet Tooth

I have a very busy day yesterday between church dinner, rewriting a few articles for publication and life in general. I just wanted to let you all know I have had a chance to review some great things recently and am so looking forward to sharing my thoughts on these products.
 For all of you who have a sweet tooth, you'll definitely will want to make it a point to read today's blog. I'll be reviewing a local bakery that is becoming quite popular for their cupcakes.
I feel pretty,
Oh, so pretty,
I feel pretty and witty and bright! 

  On Friday's blog I'll be doing the first of three reviews on some great products that will help you smell and feel pretty. Hey guys don't think that this post isn't for you. Oh no, since Valentine's Day is just around the corner these would make great gifts for the special lady in your life

Until next time...

It's Time for a Party

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Good Tuesday morning everyone! Today I'll be joining a Link-Up party at The Time-Warp Wife  Look for my post as number 6.
I am also at Tots and Me Tuesday's Giveaway Link Up as well.

Be sure to visit both these great blogs.

Until next time..

My Adventure in Wellness and My First Giveaway!!!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Yesterday I promised you a great big blog posting about my Adventure In Wellness.For a lot of us out there we think of wellness as well boring. Images of bland foods that taste cardboard and straw, boring exercise routines or even worse. I'm here to dispel those images and whatever other thoughts might be running your little minds right now.
 I got the chance to spend a lovely afternoon yesterday at the Third Annual Wellness expo at Earth Fare in Bearden-Knoxville, Tennessee. I honestly would never have even entertained the thought of attending a wellness expo before but the email that the wonderful folks at Earth fare sent me telling me about it looked so inviting I decided to go.Boy was I glad I did.
 Earth Fare in case you didn't know started in 1975 by Roger Derrough in Asheville, North Carolina. Mr. Derrough was unhappy about the lack of fresh food options and that was the inspiration he needed to start Earth Fare. Back in the 1970s when he started out it was called Dinner for the Earth. The first store was a 1200 square foot building. In 1993 Dinner for the Earth became known as Earth Fare.
As one of the largest natural food retailers in the nation, Earth Fare has 28 stores in eight states, they offer everything from a bakery that includes great gluten free options (be sure to try one of their vegan brownies- these are so good that if you didn't know you would never know they were vegan) and a whole selection of lovely cakes and tortes. My personal favorite is their seasonal offering of Chocolate Peppermint Truffle Torte. Yes this is as decadent as it sounds. Dark chocolate cake layers with a rich chocolate peppermint truffle filling, chocolate ganache, chocolate curls make for an absolutely fabulous dessert. A slice of this and a good steaming cup of coffee would be the perfect ending to any meal .They also sell and support growers of both local and organic farm fresh fruits and vegetables, and full service meat, poultry and seafood departments. They also have a deli department that is filled with tasty and wonderful foods including salads, side dishes etc.Click here to find the store nearest you.
The staff at Earth Fare is always more than willing to help you find exactly what you need no matter what it is. I have been to both Earth Fares in Knoxville as well as the one in Johnson City,Tennessee and have gotten the same great service at all three locations.
 So let me tell you about all the fun I had at the Wellness Fair. When I got there I noticed that there vendors of various types in the wellness area of the store. However when I glanced up I noticed hanging from the ceiling a bicycle! Yep, you heard me right, a shiny bright red bicycle was hanging from the ceiling

The grand prize at the end of the day was this shiny red bicycle
That shiny red bike at the end of the afternoon would be going home with some lucky winner. A bike wasn't the only prize that was given away. No there were gift baskets of all sorts that you could enter to win from a bath set baskets to baskets with electrolyte replenishers (which replenishes the electrolytes we lose during our daily activity. Gee I only thought we lost them when we got sick. Learn something new everyday)

The young man in the photo doing his best game show host impression is Thomas , one of the friendly employees you'll find there.
Thomas explained to me about exactly what the wellness fair is. The topic was "New Year-New You", he explained that Earth Fare is a community resource for folks wanting to improve their health.
After talking with him a little about the Wellness Fair I decided to start off on my adventure...
 The first person I met was a young lady named Rachel who is with a company called Soothing Touch. Soothing Touch sells high quality all natural bath and beauty products. Rachel was kind enough to let smell some of the products she had there. I decided to smell one called Peppermint-Rosemary Bath Salts. They smelled wonderful but were a bit strong for me. I mentioned something to Rachel about using them in the baths for when people have colds and she said she used them recently when her daughter got sick. I then smelled the Lavender bath salts and loved them! She gave me a small sample container to take home to try and see how I like them.
 She also various scents of sugar scrubs. Sugar scrubs are made from brown, maple, or white cane sugar with skin softening body oils and scented essential oils. They are great for sensitive skin since they aren't like a salt scrub where they salt crystals are more angular as the sugar crystals are rounder and gentler.
 I decided to smell the chocolate-peppermint sugar scrub and take a small sample home to try out.I cannot wait to try it. It smells just heavenly, like a minty hot cocoa.
 The one product samples I have tried and used is the Muscle Comfort Massage Oil . This oil according to their website "One of our most complex blends of rich, therapeutic essential oils. This blend stimulates, releases and helps heal the muscle fibers. It contains the essential oil blend of Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Clove, Camphor, Geranium, Fennel, Orange, Rosemary and Ginger. It contains the infusion of Arnica Flower, Juniper Berry and Thyme Leaf to aid with muscle pain by penetrating deep into the area."  It did smell great and did help ease the pain where I still am recovering from the walking pneumonia to the point that I was able to enjoy the afternoon comfortably.
The young lady is Rachel. Take a look at the great products that Soothing Touch offers. There is something for everyone .

" Eat your greens !" has been a parental mantra for generations and kids for generations have refused to do so. Now what if I told you there was a tasty and easy way to get your kids to have some green healthy things like organic wheat grass, organic barley grass, organic alfalfa, organic oat grass and organic rye grass in  their diets? If you're like most parents you're waving your hand saying "Tell me!" Well, I'm going to do just that.  
I got the chance to talk to Cameron who represented AmazingGrass  
 You're probably like I was at first thinking  "Eww, grass! Are they for real?" However once I tried the Amazing Grass Berry Green Superfood , I thought differently. It had a nice pleasant berry tase-not too strong but just enough to be pleasant . If you are looking for a super sweet drink I will tell you up front that it is not sweet like say Gatorade or sweet tea or a soda.

This is Cameron telling a person about Amazing Grass.

  By this time the first four gift baskets were drawn for and four lucky people got to claim their prizes.
I then got a chance to talk to was the gentleman from New Chapter. New Chapter vitamins are whole food complexed - cultured in probiotics with organic fruits, vegetables, and herbs. These vitamins are gentle enough to be taken on an empty stomach.

The young man from New Chapter Vitamins
The next person I had the pleasure of meeting was Debby. She had a basket with some odd looking nuts in them. I thought they might have been chestnuts . Turns out I was semi right. They were actually Shea nuts just like what they make Shea butter from. These little nuts are one of the main ingredients in Alaffia skin care line. I as never seen a Shea nut so I was pretty fascinated about them. Debby answered all my questions and even explained how they are harvested. The women in Africa where the Shea nut butter comes from gather the nuts that have fallen on the ground and help turn them into all natural unprocessed Shea nut butter.
These are Shea nuts as they appear in their natural raw state

 Alaffia is active in many ways to help women in the communities where they are active. They provide maternity care for women there. Maternity care may not seem like a big deal to us but in western Africa the average rate of maternal deaths in 5,500 per 100,000 pregnancies. They also have given over 3,000 used bicycles to students to use for getting back and forth to school. The average distance for a secondary school is about 7 kilometers from the local village. Most families simple cannot afford the luxury of transportation so the students dropout.By getting good used bicycles to students who need them Alaffia is helping stem the high dropout rate especially among girls where over 90% dropout of secondary school.
 By the way I looked up the meaning of the word Alaffia when I returned home and found it means in central Togo, Benin and Nigeria, Alaffia is a greeting. It is the first thing that is said when greeting another person. It is also the last. Alaffia means a state of peace, health and well being. A very fitting name for a company that is working to improve the well being not only of folks who use their products but also of the women who help to produce them. 
Debby was kind enough to give me some samples of their Cocoa & Shea Butter Intensive Body Lotion. This product is great. It is more like a creme than a lotion, very thick and creamy. It has a nice fresh cocoa smell. It also absorbs quickly so you aren't feeling greasy or slick like some lotions out there.
By this time I was hungry for some lunch. There were plenty of options to chose from. There was the salad bar, the hot bar , the deli as well as sushi, sandwiches and pizza. I chose my favorite thing - wings! I chose 6 meaty vegetarian diet fed chicken wings. They had 4 different flavors to choose from, Thai Chili, Teryaki, Barbecue and Buffalo style. I decided not to try the Thai Chili ones since Thai food is reputed to the some of the hottest in the world. The wings I got were delicious. The best ones were the barbecued flavored. They had a wonderful sweet tomato tasting sauce that reminded me of homemade barbecue sauce. The teryaki were just as good with little sesame seeds in the sauce. The buffalo ones had just the right amount of heat to make them enjoyable. 
This young man was making wings galore yesterday. The best seller seemed to be the teryaki flavored ones. While I was waiting he made an order with 18 of them. Next time I might try the Thai-Chili wings if I'm brave enough

After a tasty lunch , I thought about where I should go next. There were still plenty of folks I hadn't met yet and products that looked great
 Being of the feminine persuasion, I made my way to a brightly colored table where a young lady in a purple dress was telling folks about Acure Organics. The lady who started Acure named the brand '"Acure Organics as a way to honor my grandmother, who battled breast cancer for over 10 years. I wanted to help raise money for breast cancer research and awareness while also providing healthy products that promote healthier living and a greener planet. We are proud to donate to Bright Pink and to help provide free mammograms to at risk women.”—Kristy Guerra  ' (from the company's brochure.
She explained to me that they use Argan Stem Cells. Okay I'll be honest and thought "Stem Cells? I don't about this." She explained to me that Argan Stem Cells come from plants only.  She explained the benefits of the Argan stem cells. She gave some samples of their very easy to use skincare line to use.
The Acure skincare line.

 By this time more gift baskets had been given away. If your name was called and you were unable to pick up Thomas called them to congratulate them and let them know they were winners.
This the VegaOne and VegaSport line that I got to try out

 I has passed a young man earlier who giving out samples of what looked like a milkshake. They were VegaOne all-in-one nutritional shakes. He let me try a chocolate shake and a vanilla-chai shake (which personally I liked better as it was a touch sweeter than the chocolate) as well as their natural plant based  pre-workout engerizer part which is part of the VegaSport line. The VegaSport line was formulated by Brendan Brazier, professional Ironman triathlete and best-selling author on plant-based nutrition. The Vega Sport performance system is 100% plant-based, free from dairy, gluten and soy, and contains no artificial flavors, colors or sweeteners. Interesting fact, Brandon won Canadian 50-km Ultramarathon Championships in 2003 and 2006. Fifty kilometer is about thirty-one miles a lot whole more than most of us want walk much less run at one time.
 He asked what I did for a living and I explained that besides writing this blog I also write article for ezines, help Uriah run our business plus take care of the kids and house. He smiled and gave me a sample of their lemon-lime pre-workout energizer. He said that it would help me more focused and have better energy levels. I haven't tried it yet but am looking forward to doing so.
Greens Plus -the chocolate bars are the best tasting

 There were only a few more people I hadn't met yet. The next vendor I met was gentleman who had Greens Plus products including Chia seeds. I asked him if these were the same things as what grew on ChiaPets-they are. Sorry but I have memories of that bad commercial jingle "Ch-ch-ch-chia!" as the chia pet magically grew "fur". The surprising fact is that Chia seeds are amazing good for you and they can be used in baking and cooking. According to the USDA, a one ounce (28 gram) serving of chia seeds contains 9 grams of fat, 5 milligrams of sodium, 11 grams of dietary fiber and 4 grams of protein. The seeds also have 18% of the recommended daily intake of calcium, 27% phosphorus and 30% manganese, similar in nutrient content to other edible seeds such as flax or sesame. To me that is an excellent reason to check out chia seeds
Next to him was a young man telling people about Nature's Plus Source of Life supplements. He told me about some of their product line including Source of Life liquid vitamin. It actually had a very nice berry flavor to it and was not bitter like you'd expect a liquid vitamin to be like. He also told me about Nature's Plus E Fem Capsules which are natural Hormonal Balace amd Boost of Youth for Women. For the men they have GHT Male Capsules which help improving the testosterone and HGH levels.  He gave me some samples of their products try. 
Last but most certainly not least was a young man from Gaia Herbs. Gaia Herbs make all sorts of products including Black Elderberry Syrup to various herbal teas. I had heard of Elderberry before but never Back Elderberry Syrup.
  To cap off my wonderful afternoon, I was given a chance to get some more samples to try. I picked up a few that looked interesting to me to take home.
I took a few minutes to take some more photos of the friendly Earth Fare staff and some pictures about some of the great upcoming events
Starting February 9th when you sign up for the Earth Fare emails you can get a free dinner for 4!Visit their website for more details
The friendly butcher at Earth Fare with a Tomato Bank Scratch off-card. Tomato Bank is a great way to get credit to spend at Earth Fare. I have over $16 to spend!

Cupcakes!!A few of the wonderful gluten free goodies that you can find at Earth Fare

 Here is a chance to win a great Super Bowl party prize pack including 25 delicious wings!!

Hard working and friendly cashiers helping people to check out quickly and efficiently.

 About this time, the sun was starting to lower in the western sky and I was anxious to let my readers know a little something about my adventure and tell them about my first giveaway!!
That is right you did read correctly . I have two wonderful prizes from Earth Fare to give two lucky readers of my blog The rules to enter are super easy, just leave me a comment that has your name and email below. The wonderful Random Picker will pick a random number for each prize on Friday February 1, 2013. This gives everyone plenty of time to enter and tell your friends about this great contest.
Good luck everyone and until next time... 

Sunrise Mountain

Sunrise Mountain
This is located where my husband grew up in New Jersey

Koenig's 3rd Birthday

Koenig's 3rd Birthday
We went to a local heavy equipment dealer for Koenig's 3rd birthday so he could see the bulldozers there
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