What the REAL ID Act Means For Your Travels In 2016

What the REAL ID Act Means For Your Travels In 2016

If you’re planning to fly after 2015, heads up: A driver’s license might not be sufficient identification for boarding an aircraft, even if you’re flying domestically.

That’s because new restrictions on IDs used to board commercial aircraft are slated to take effect sometime in 2016. It’s the next and final phase of the REAL ID Act, which was enacted in 2005 by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to establish federal security standards for government-issued IDs. Here’s what you need to know to be able to breeze through security even after the new regulations take effect.

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A Primer on REAL ID

According to the DHS, REAL ID is the result of a 9/11 Commission recommendation that the federal government establish regulations to improve the accuracy of state-issued identification documents.

The act lays out standards for the production and distribution of identification cards and prohibits federal agencies, commercial aircraft, and nuclear power plants from accepting identification that doesn’t meet those standards. The regulations apply to 56 jurisdictions, including all 50 states, Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Territories of American Samoa, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

The new rules require that every driver’s license contain the following information:

  • Full legal name
  • Residential address
  • Birth date
  • Gender
  • Driver’s license/identification card number
  • Digital front-facing photograph
  • Signature
  • A barcode
  • A star in the upper-right-hand corner which signifies that the cardholder’s identification has been verified
  • Security devices that help prevent anyone from tampering with or counterfeiting a card

Requirements for issuing IDs have gotten stricter too, as new applicants are required to present a birth certificate, social security number, proof of U.S. citizenship (or proof of temporary residence within the U.S.), and an ID that includes the applicant’s full legal name and birth date.

Sounds straightforward enough, right? Not so fast. Shortly after REAL ID went into effect, 17 states passed laws restricting or outright banning the implementation of the act’s regulations within their borders. These laws stemmed from worries over the costs required to overhaul existing ID systems as well as privacy concerns (REAL ID requires that states share their databases of licensed drivers—including all information that appears on the licenses and the driving records and histories of everyone licensed to drive—with all other states). Because different states are at different stages of compliance, the act’s effects have gotten a bit murky.

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Graphic: User Kurykh via Wikimedia Commons

What You Need to Know Before Traveling

So what does all of this mean for the average traveler? It depends partly on where you’re from and the kind of ID you already have on hand. Here’s a breakdown of the most critical information as it pertains to compliance with REAL ID.

  • The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will continue to accept driver’s licenses and other state-issued identifications cards “at least until 2016.” It’s unclear exactly when the new regulations will go into effect, but the DHS has promised to give the public advance notice.
  • Currently, one territory and several states are deemed “non-compliant,” meaning IDs from those places may not qualify as acceptable identification in the airport. Driver’s licenses from New York, New Hampshire, Minnesota, Louisiana, and American Samoa lack the security features required under REAL ID, so travelers with these licenses may be asked to show a secondary ID (more on that below).
  • Alaska, Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington have all passed laws banning the implementation of REAL ID within state borders, which means IDs from these states may also be deemed insufficient for air travel. These states have received extensions to give them time to comply with the act, but it’s unclear whether any of them will choose to do so.
  • Travelers with licenses from any of the aforementioned states or territories may be required to show a secondary ID in order to pass through airport security. Acceptable forms of secondary ID include a passport, a passport card, military ID, permanent U.S. resident cards, an Enhanced Driver’s License(EDL), or trusted traveler cards issued by the Global Entry, NEXUS, or SENTRI programs. An up-to-date list of acceptable IDs can be found on the TSA’s website.
  • Condé Nast Traveler reports that there will be a three-month grace period after the regulations take effect during which the public will have time to adjust to the new regulations.
  • Anyone planning to travel internationally shouldn’t have to worry. Since international travel already requires a passport, your ID will be compliant with REAL ID regulations.
  • Still have questions? Reach out to the DHS’ Office of State Issued Identification Support by emailing osiis@dhs.gov.

While people with driver’s licenses from the states not listed here shouldn’t have to worry about presenting secondary IDs prior to boarding, the best way to avoid worrying about the REAL ID Act (no matter what state you’re from) is to invest in a passport and bring it along for every trip. (If you’ve never obtained a passport before, read up on the passport basics.) Not only will having this form of identification prevent headaches prior to boarding, but it will open up a whole wide world of international travel. As far as government red tape goes, that’s a pretty great silver lining.

This post was posted by TheHipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on November 23rd.

The Shining to Become the World’s First Horror/Museum/Hotel

The Shining to Become the World’s First Horror/Museum/Hotel

Built in 1909, the Stanley Hotel in Estes, Colorado features views of the Rocky Mountains on all sides, as well as a beautiful and stately interior. Its real claim to fame, however is that it served as the inspiration for Stephen King’s 1977 classic horror novel “The Shining.” On October 16, the hotel announced that it is applying for state funding to incorporate a film complex, the Stanley Film Center, which will feature the world’s first horror film museum.

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Horror History

Stephen King stayed at the Stanley in October 1974 with his wife, Tabitha. It was the last night of the season, and they were the only guests in the hotel. The empty grandeur of the space sparked King’s imagination, and he published “The Shining” three years later, in which the Stanely is transformed into the fictional Overlook Hotel. They stayed in the pivotal room 217 (changed to 237 in the film), which was already rumored to be haunted.

The equally famous 1980 film adaptation directed by Stanley Kubrick has also boosted the hotel’s profile. Although the exterior and interior shots of the movie set were based on the Timberline Lodge and the Ahwahnee Hotel, respectively, it is strongly identified with the Stanley. The hotel now uses its horror associations to attract visitors. The movie plays on a loop in guest rooms, and the hotel recently recreated the famous fictional hedge maze from the film.

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The Plans

The proposed film center will complement the already successful Stanley Film Festival, currently in its third year. The festival screens movies, hosts panel discussions, and organizes a student film competition. Writer/director Josh C. Waller, who will serve as a Founding Board Member of the new film center, describes the festival as the “Sundance of horror.”

Waller is joined on the board by an impressive roster of horror enthusiasts, including Elijah Wood, Simon Pegg, Mick Garris, Stuart Gordon, and George Romero. The Center is projected to cost $24 million, and organizers have applied for $11.5 million in funding through the State of Colorado’s Regional Tourism Act. The 43,000 square foot space would include both indoor and outdoor venues, an interactive museum with rotating exhibits, and a film production studio on site. Charlie Adlard, the artist behind “The Walking Dead,” has committed to an exhibition at the museum, as well as special effects makeup master Rick Baker, the recipient of seven Academy Awards.

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Plan a Visit

While the project awaits state approval, there are already plenty of reasons to visit the Stanley as is. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places, and the views of Rocky Mountain State Park are stunning. Fans of the novel and the film will enjoy the ghost and paranormal tours offered for both hotel guests and visitors, and the Rockies themselves provide gorgeous hiking, skiing, and fishing.

Estes, Colorado is also only an hour and a half by car from Denver, making it an easy and fun side trip for those looking to explore the capital. The Film Center will be a big draw once it opens, so book a room now before it fills up and to the splendid mix of scenery, architecture, history, and horror at the Stanley. The luckiest visitors (or the unluckiest) may even end up in room 237.

This post was posted by TheHipmunk on Hipmunk’s Tailwind blog on October 30th.

Friday Five: Million Dollar Arm Edition

Friday Five: Million Dollar Arm Edition


I recently had the opportunity to attend a movie screening of Disney’s Million Dollar Arm.  It’s been a while since I did a 5Q Friday post but I figured I would try something different and work on a new feature on my blog at the same time.  I really enjoyed the movie and all you really need is one reason to go see it and that reason is that it’s a fantastic movie.  Ig that’s not enough I will give you five more reasons why you should check it out this weekend or sometime in the near future.  Here’ s my Friday Five Million Dollar Arm Edition.


Cricket & Baseball – if you’re a fan of either sport then you will enjoy this movie.  I loved it because of the cricket in the movie.  I know very little of baseball except that the players make home runs and they have to get on base.  I was born in Trinidad and grew up watching Cricket with my father.  Although they didn’t focus much on cricket it was nice seeing the sport again and watching all the participants in the Million Dollar Arm contest pitch for a chance to travel to America.


Aasif Mandvi – really did an amazing job in this movie.  His character was very funny and relatable.  He is the family man in the movie while Jon Hamm (JB Bernstein)  is the playboy.  He’s the one who takes care of the business matters while JB is in India scouting pitchers.  He makes sure they stay on budget and he makes sure their business stays afloat.  You’ll enjoy him in this role because it’s not other roles you’ve seen him in before.  You can see him in a clip below:

Million Dollar Arm – Film Clip “A Billion New Fans”


Bill Paxton & Alan Arkin both play characters that bring a lot to the movie.  Paxton’s character helps coach the boys once they arrive in the U.S.  He’s a baseball coach at USC and the boys practice with him and his team daily.  Arkin character is the baseball scout that helps find the boys in India as well as help them when things started to look grim with their baseball careers.  You can see clips of them below:

Million Dollar Arm – Film Clip “We Might Have to Tweak That”

Million Dollar Arm – Film Clip “Lefty With Juice”


It’s inspiring and really shows what hard work, determination and the willingness to step out on faith can do for someone.  The movie did a great job showing how these two young men from rural India who had never left their villages achieved goals they never dreamed up in their life.  Lake Bell who plays Brenda, was spectacular as the nurturer of the young men in the movie and she also helps JB realize that he need to grow up seriously.  Check her out in some clips below:

Million Dollar Arm – Clip “Your Porche Looks Like a Mini Van”

Million Dollar Arm – Clip “They Need To See You Care”


There’s a love story and it blossoms right before our eyes in the movie.  We see the couple grow and become family in more ways than one.  It’s a lovely story of how love and family can come from different sources and for anyone who thinks they won’t or can’t find love you see that sometimes what you need it right in your face.  I really loved the ending of this movie and I have to say that it was a pleasant surprise to watch it all unfold.  It’s even better to know it’s based on a true story.  Make sure you stay during the credit to see real photos of the real people.  Here’s a few more clips including the “Dreams” featurette that includes an interview with Jon Hamm and some official information about the film.  Million Dollar Arm opens nationally today – May 16th.

Million Dollar Arm – Featurette

Million Dollar Arm – Film Clip “Taj Mahal”

Million Dollar Arm – Film Clip “Equipment”

About Million Dollar Arm:

Based on a true story, sports agent JB Bernstein (Jon Hamm) finds that business has changed and things aren’t going well for his career. In a last ditch effort to save his livelihood he concocts a scheme to find baseball’s next great pitching ace. Hoping to find a young cricket pitcher he can turn into a major league baseball star, JB travels to India to produce a reality show competition called “The Million Dollar Arm.” With the help of cantankerous but eagle-eyed retired baseball scout Ray Poitevint (Alan Arkin), he discovers Dinesh (played by Madhur Mittal from “Slumdog Millionaire”) and Rinku (played by Suraj Sharma from “Life of Pi”), two 18-year-old boys who have no idea about playing baseball, yet have a knack for throwing a fastball. Hoping to sign them to major league contracts and make a quick buck, JB brings the boys home to America to train. While the Americans are definitely out of their element in India, the boys, who have never left their rural villages, are equally challenged when they come to the States. As the boys learn the finer points of baseball, JB, with the help of his charming friend Brenda (Lake Bell), learns valuable life lessons about teamwork, commitment and what it means to be a family.

Connect with Million Dollar Arm online:

Website and Mobile Site:           www.Disney.com/MillionDollarArm

Like us on Facebook:                www.facebook.com/MillionDollarArm

Follow us on Twitter:                  @DisneyPictures


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Health Mart Pharmacy Champions of Care Challenge

Health Mart Pharmacy Champions of Care Challenge

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Disclosure: This is a sponsored post written on behalf of Health Mart

While in college one of the biggest things I loved getting involved with was volunteering in my local community.  My college was located in a high crime and at risk area of the city and there was no shortage of people in need of assistance.  It really didn’t matter how big or small a task was it was just important to help someone else that was in need of assistance.  One of those needs was getting elderly citizens to and from doctor’s appointments so they can properly manage their health problems.  I still remember to this day the wonderful feeling I would get when I helped someone who needed it.  Health Mart Pharmacy Champions of Care Challenge is looking for local heros that are helping the health of their communities and participating in the challenge could mean some much needed financial support for a charity of your choice if you or someone you know wins.  Getting started is very easy and I encourage you to nominate someone or yourself and pass the information along as well.

Health Mart’s independent pharmacists recognize that people all across America are doing amazing things for the healthy of their community and to say thank you they are awarding $50,000 in grants to community health non-profits to help them continue to improve the health and well-being in their communities.  Entering is simple. Just tell us your story about the good deed you or someone you know has done, and you could win the right to select the non-profit of your choice to receive thousands of dollars to continue critically important work for the health of the community.

The Health Mart’s Champions of Care Challenge will shine a bright light on those unsung local heroes whose everyday actions have built healthier families, workplaces, neighborhoods and communities.

The Grants your Charity of Choice Could Win:

  • A $30,000 grant chosen by the grand prize winner
  • A $3,000 grant chosen by the 2nd place winner
  • A $2,000 grant chosen by the 3rd place winner
  • A $1,000 grants chosen by each of 15 finalists

Check out this video to learn more about the challenge and what sparked it from Health Mart.

Here’s How It Works:

Visit www.healthmartcommunity.com TODAY to nominate someone or yourself for the Champions of Care Challenge from Health Mart!

Starting on March 17th, the public will have two weeks to vote for their favorite Champions of Care at www.healthmartcommunity.com.

Also connect with Healt Mart on Facebook.

Do you know anyone you want to nominate?  It can be anyone.  A friend, family member, an associate or yourself.  I know a woman in Washington D.C. that distributes meals and condoms in parts of the city where there is heavy drug use.  Her goal is the help take care of people who may be at their lowest and not thinking of their own health due to addiction.  I also know a college friend who started her own non-profit to help supply personal hygiene products to those in need.  Her goal is to give people the basic personal hygiene products like toothpaste, deodorant and things of those nature so they are clean and taking care of their personal hygiene.  Either one of them would make great candidates for one of these grants.

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Sara Lee Chocolate Chip Snack Cake Review

Sara Lee Chocolate Chip Snack Cake Review


Disclosure: I was provided a sample for review purposes.  Any and all opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced.

I love chocolate.  Honestly though I have to say that I think lots of people like chocolate.  February is National Chocolate Month and Sara Lee Snacks was encouraging people to celebrate with their snack cakes.  When I saw them I knew I wanted to try it.  I was sent a box to review and my biggest complaint is that it was only one box.  It was gone before I knew it.  LOL.  These are by far the best snack cakes that I have ever tried before.  They are soft and moist and they taste fresh.   As someone who bakes regularly I don’t like spending money on snack cakes that are dry and lacking in true flavor except for the loads of sweet icing.  I promise you that you won’t have to worry about that.  If you like chocolate, you will love these snack cakes.  They are just delightful.  When the box arrived I fought the urge to have one but quickly gave in and before you knew it hubby and I were debating over the last snack cake.  LOL.  I have been looking for them in my supermarkets since with no luck.

As you can see in the picture it’s a moist cake.  It isn’t dry and the crumb is very soft.  They taste like I picked them up from the bakery that very day.  I don’t know how they did it but this one is a winner and Sara Lee hit it on the mark for sure.

Even my toddler was tearing them up as well.  So next time you’re at the store and your shopping for a nice snack, pick these up if you see them you are not going to regret it at all.  The only thing you’re not going to like is when the box is finished.

Photo courtesy of Sara Lee

About Sara Lee Chocolate Chip Snack Cakes:

Chocoholics unite! Bimbo Bakeries USA (BBU), the nation’s largest baking company and part of Grupo Bimbo, has chocolate lovers covered for Valentine’s Day and National Chocolate month with mouth-watering decadent and delicious treats. Fans can make chocolate their guilty pleasure all month long with the fantastic Sara Lee Brownie Chocolate Chip Snack Cake treats that combines a unique and delicious double batter mix of brownies with rich chocolate chip cookies. Who could ask for more?
“We’re happy to help indulge fans with a full assortment of Sara Lee Snack Cakes, including mouth-watering chocolate cakes, cupcakes and brownie and chocolate chip fresh cakes for National Chocolate Month – and all year long,” said Lorraine Hale, Marketing Category Director for Bimbo Bakeries USA. “Everyone knows that chocolate helps boost your mood, too, so why not celebrate with something sweet?”

Sara Lee’s Snack Cakes are fresh-baked and ready for consumers’ cravings all year long with a complete selection, including the Devil’s Food Crème, Golden Fudge, Chocolate Crème Cupcakes and more. For more information about Sara Lee Snack Cakes, consumers can become a fan of the brand on Facebook (http://bit.ly/SaraLeeSnacksFacebook) and/or visit http://www.SaraLeeSnacks.com. Enjoy and Happy Snacking!

About Bimbo Bakeries USA

Bimbo Bakeries USA (BBU) is a leader in the baking industry, known for its category leading brands, innovative products, freshness and quality. Our team of more than 28,000 U.S. associates operates 75 manufacturing locations in the United States. 13,500 distribution routes deliver our leading brands such as Arnold®, Bimbo®, Boboli®, Brownberry®, Entenmann’s®, Francisco®, Freihofer’s®, Heiners®, Marinela®, Mrs. Baird’s®, Oroweat®, Sara Lee®, Stroehmann®, Thomas®, and Tia Rosa®.

About Grupo Bimbo

Grupo Bimbo is one of the largest baking companies in the world in terms of production and sales volume. As the market leader in the Americas, Grupo Bimbo has 102 plants and 1,000 distribution centers strategically located in 17 countries throughout the Americas and Asia. Its main product lines include sliced bread, buns, cookies, snack cakes, English muffins, bagels, pre-packaged foods, tortillas, salted snacks and confectionery products, among others. Grupo Bimbo produces over 7,000 products and has open of the most extensive direct distribution networks in the world, with more than 44,000 routes and more than 109,000 employees. Grupo Bimbo’s shares have traded on the Mexican Stock Exchange since 1980 under the ticker symbol BIMBO.

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Inspirational Greeting Cards from LouLouBlue

Inspirational Greeting Cards from LouLouBlue

I’m a sucker for a great greeting card.  I love sending them and receiving them in the mail.  It’s actually my preferred way of contact.  I miss those days when letters always came via the postal mail.  As a Christian woman I love the cards I saw at LouLouBlue because they feature inspirational quotes from the bible and they have cards for Mother’s Day, Sympathy, Thank You and more.  Read more about these beautiful cards below:

Divine Words of Love and Encouragement for the Moms in Your Life

LouLouBLUE’s inspirational greeting cards provide sweet sentiments using the power of scripture

img_0568Mothers give words of love and encouragement on a daily basis and Mother’s Day is our chance to return these back to them. LouLouBLUE greeting cards add an important dimension–divine wisdom–to the warmth of our own message. As its website claims, “God has a nice way of putting things”.

 LouLouBLUE has a couple of selections for Mother’s Day. Take, for example, the beloved summary of Proverbs 31: “Many women have done exellently, but you surpass them all”. Let the women in yourlife know that this is how youfeel about them—such a message of esteem and love will buoy them for days!

youarebeautiful-027And “Yes, you are lovely!” from King Solomon’s ode to his beloved tells Mom that she is not taken for granted but seen for the beautiful person she truly is, a message every mother needs to hear regularly and often. Inside both cards there is plenty of room for you to write your own warm thoughts.

scoutguide-houston-ad3LouLouBLUE was founded in 2012 when Mandy “Lou” Osterhout faced a personal tragedy and received comfort when friends sent her Scripture that reached deep into her broken heart helping her overcome her despair. She learned then that such Bible verses can be more than just words. Her greeting cards will help others to experience their powerful impact as well.

 LouLouBLUE cards are printed in the USA with modern fonts, quality paper and colorful envelopes. A boxed set of eight cards with this versellb-photo from Proverbs costs $17.50, and individual cards cost $3.95. They are available through select retail stores in the United States and online at www.louloublue.com.

You will find a host of other inspirational cards for every occasion on her website. They can say best what will bring comfort and gratitude to the people you most care about.


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Positive Play with Just Play Toys

Positive Play with Just Play Toys

Disclosure:  I was provided with product samples for review purposes, any and all opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced.

It’s Black History Month and as an African American mother I try to teach my kids about their past, so they are aware of their roots and know about some of the struggles of their people.  Black History Month is about celebrating our past, but I want my children to also see role models in their present so that they can become role models in the future and those present day role models can be either real or fictional as long as they are positive and promote education and helpfulness.  See my kids not only have an African American background but I was born and raised in Trinidad so they also have a Caribbean background as well.  My husband and I try to encourage and promote learning about both cultures.  We want our kids to enjoy playing and I love that they can find positive play with Just Play Toys.  As one of the manufactures of Doc McStuffins toys Just Play Toys aids in the creation of positive role models for children, especially my children.  I remember growing up in Trinidad and not being able to toys in my skin color.  I just love being able to find toys that they can identify with and toys that look like them.  Just Play Toys sent us two items from their Doc McStuffins line and they were a huge part of our Family Love Dinner to celebrate Valentine’s Day.


One of the toys we got was the Doc McStuffins: Doc & Family Playset.  I really love this set because it promotes family.  That’s one aspect of the Doc McStuffins show that I love and why I love that my kids love it.  Not only is Doc a super smart pretend doctor for toys, her mother is actually a doctor.  They show them as a family.  So many kids don’t have entire family units and some shows on television also leave out parents.  I love that the parents are celebrated on this show and with these toys.  You can purchase the Doc & Family Playset from Toys R Us it’s priced at $29.99.  *Product Description – Meet Doc McStuffins Family! Dad is a chef and makes the healthiest food for Doc & her friends! Mom is a doctor & helps her figure out her toys problems! Donny is her 4 yer old brother who would spend ALL DAY with her if he could!*


My son got his very own Stuffy’s Check-Up Set.  I loved this because it’s for the boys that are fans of the show.  My daughter already owns the Doc Check-Up Set and it’s pink with lots of glitter.  This is perfect for my son and great to help him pretend to be a doctor as well.  The set is identical to the one Doc uses in the show and my son loves it.  He’s been playing doctor and fixing up all his toys since he got it.  These toys really build imaginative play with children as well and it provides a positive outlook.  You can also purchase the Stuffy’s Check-Up Set on Toys R Us online.  It’s priced at $19.99.  *Product Description – Stuffy, one of the most beloved characters from the hit TV show Doc McStuffins, is ready to help fix your toy friends in need with his very own check up set! Stuffy’s set includes his unique doctors bag, light up and sound stethoscope featuring silly phrases, play syringe, blood pressure cuff with working gauge, otoscope, bandage cuff and sticker sheet. Requires 3 AG13 batteries. Ages 3+ years*



Since it is Black History Month and on the show Doc McStuffins they always highlight doctors I shared some facts about African Americans in medicine with my children.  Here’s some of the facts I shared with them when teaching them about parts of their history:

  • James Derham (1762-1802?) First recognized Black physician in the United States – Born a slave in Philadelphia, his early masters taught him the fundamentals of reading and writing. Derham was owned by a number of doctors, ending up in New Orleans with a Scottish physician, who hired him in 1783 to perform medical services. When he was 21, he bought his freedom and went to New Orleans where he set up his own medical practice. He was invited to Philadelphia in 1788 to meet Dr. Benjamin Rush, one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Rush was so impressed with Derham’s success in treating diphtheria patients, that he read Durham’s paper on the subject before the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. In 1789, Durham returned to New Orleans, where he saved more yellow fever victims than any other physician in colonial Philadelphia. During an epidemic that killed thousands, he lost only 11 of 64 patients. He moved back to New Orleans and was lauded by prominent local doctors. Despite his skill, his ability to save so many lives, and his flourishing practice, his practice was restricted in 1801 by new city regulations because he did not have a formal medical degree. He disappeared after 1802. The idea that Black people were incapable of understanding medicine remained widespread for decades. (SOURCE: African-American Registry)
  • Dr. James McCune Smith (1813-1865) First African-American to earn a medical degree, 1837 (University of Glasgow, Scotland). Not only the first black American to obtain a medical degree, he was a prominent abolitionist and suffragist, compassionate physician, prolific writer, and public intellectual. He was denied admission to colleges in the United States, his native land, and earned his medical, master’s, and baccalaureate degrees at Glasgow University in Scotland. On his return to New York City in 1837, Smith became the first black physician to publish articles in US medical journals. Frederick Douglass, Gerrit Smith, and John Brown personally collaborated with James McCune Smith in the fight for black freedom. As the learned physician-scholar of the abolition movement, Smith was instrumental in making the overthrow of slavery credible and successful.(SOURCE: US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health)
  • Dr. Rebecca Lee Crumpler (1831-1895) First Negro female to earn a medical degree, 1863 – Rebecca Lee Crumpler, M.D. was born in Delaware in 1831. Dr. Crumpler is recognized frequently in history books as the first African American woman to earn a doctor of science degree. According to National Library of Medicine (NLM), she graduated in 1863 from the New England Female Medical College. Crumpler in her published writing entitled, “Book of Medical Discourses,” mentioned observing the aunt who raised her, skillfully care for the sick and credits that experience for awakening a passion for the field of medicine. Additionally, she cared for newly freed slaves after the Civil War while living in Richmond, Virginia. After several years there, she relocated to Boston with her husband, where according to Partners of the Heart, “Crumpler established a practice at 67 Joy Street dedicated to serving women and children, especially through nutrition and preventative medicine.” (SOURCE: National Medical Association)
  • Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, M.D. (1898-1980) Dorothy Boulding Ferebee, M.D., was born Norfolk, Virginia. She graduated from Tufts Medical College at the age of 37 and as with many young health care professionals of African descent born during that tense racial era, this consistent honor roll student was denied professional access into predominantly white hospitals. Determined, she moved to Washington DC for an internship at Freedmen’s Hospital (now Howard University Hospital). Dr. Ferebee was actively involved in countless organizations until her death at the age of 90. Here are some of her life’s work: Founder of the Southeast Settlement House; 10th President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc; President of the National Council of Negro Women; Medical Director of the Mississippi Health Project; Vice President of the Medico-Chirurgical Society of the District of Columbia; Vice President of the Washington Urban League; Chair of the Washington Community Chest; Chair of the Women’s Division of the United Negro College Fund; Board Member of D.C. Social Hygiene Society, the Washington Housing Association and the Council of Social Agencies. (SOURCE: National Medical Association)

The next time you’re shopping for toys for your children I encourage you to take a look at the many offering of Just Play Toys, especially if you have a Doc McStuffins fan in your house.  They also offer other Disney related toys & Skylanders.  You can connect with them via Facebook & Twitter.


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Dine at Bonefish Grill This Valentine’s Day Weekend

Dine at Bonefish Grill This Valentine’s Day Weekend

Disclosure: I was provided a gift voucher in exchange for this post.  Any and all opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced.

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and if you haven’t made any plans for the night yet you make want to consider some of the offerings at Bonefish Grill.  They are currently running their Valentine’s Day Prix Fixe Offer from February 12th through the 17th.  Dinner for two is available for $29.90 per person and includes the delectable favorite Steak and Lobster Duet as well as a House or Caesar salad per guest and one brownie dessert to share.  Bonefish Frill restaurants nationwide will be open for lunch on Valentine’s Day.

Bonefish’s Cold Water Catch menu available through mid-February is a chance for seafood lovers to dine on more healthier, lighter options to back on track after holiday season treats.  Bonefish Grill takes the freshest by the reigns with favorites like Kate’s Wild Haddock – garlic crumb-dusted, wood-grilled, and topped with a lemon basil sauce with feta and artichokes.  Of if cod suites your fancy, savoring the lighter side of things is easy with Steamed Icelandic Cod.  This mild, savory fish is seasoned and topped with a citrus Thai sauce and Asian Salsa mix and only 550 calories.

The Sunday Brunch is now available at all Bonefish Grill locations (available on Sunday’s only, year-round).  The menu not only offers the classic favorites but some of those with a touch of inspiration and flair as well.  Diners can choose between the Traditional Eggs Benedict, Surf and Turf Eggs Benedict and Spinach and Mushroom Eggs Benedict.  Other menu choices include the “American Style” Kobe Beef and Egg Burger as well as the Cajun Shrimp Omelet, Garden Fresh Omelet, and Organic Whole Grain Oatmeal.   Health conscious guests can request all omelets be made with an egg white substitute.  Mixologists at Bonefish Grill are also giving the classic Bloody Mary a zesty new twist.  Each one will be prepared fresh-to-order and garnished with either a stuffed spicy cherry pepper or jumbo shrimp.

If you don’t make it for Valentine’s Day then I hope you check out the Sunday Brunch offerings at Bonefish Grill.



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One God One Plan One Life Devotional Review & Giveaway

One God One Plan One Life Devotional Review


Disclosure: I am a Tommy Nelson Mommy and I receive the book below for review and they also provide one for a giveaway.  Any and all opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced.

Personally I don’t have any children that are teens but my oldest nephew is a freshman in high school and his first semester was rough.  He was a victim of a very vicious attack that has truly broken his spirits and left him feeling quite down for some time now.  He was attacked and robbed on his way home from school before Thanksgiving and since then he’s been even more withdrawn and detached.  When I got this devotional I knew it was going to be a gift for him for Christmas.  He needs his spirit lifted.  He needs to connect with God again and find the strength to be strong and over come that tragic event.  This devotional was perfect to help him find strength when he needed it and help him connect  with God again.  I think this would make a great gift for any teen to have on hand at all times.  Teens face some of the biggest challenges dealing with peer pressure, bullying, changes in their body and so much more.  This devotional is a reminder of God’s love.

one god devotional

About the One God One Plan One Life Devotional:

One of America’s favorite pastors, Max Lucado offers his first 365 devotional for teens, encouraging them to trust God and His perfect plan for their lives.

Life is hard, and today’s teens could use daily guidance and reassurance that God is with them, through it all and despite it all. In One God, One Plan, One Life, bestselling author Max Lucado offers teens an accessible way to connect with their Lord. Daily devotions address such topics as faith and obedience but also offer wisdom on topics that teens battle, such as purity, bullying, alcohol and drug use, and self-image. Each day includes a short devotion and accompanying scripture as well as a take-away application that will inspire and challenge teens to trust in God and His plans for them.

One God, One Plan, One Life helps teens to cut through life’s distractions and rely on the one thing that is truly important—a relationship with God.

Features & Benefits:

  • Max’s first 365 devotional for teens and tweens
  • 365 scriptures, devotional thoughts, and life-shaping applications
  • Encourages daily quiet time and developing a personal relationship with God

You can purchase the One God One Plan One Life Devotional online for the Thomas Nelson website for $15.99, you can also check out a preview below.

one god giveaway

One reader will win a copy of this amazing devotional for their teen.  You must be 13 or older to enter and a resident of the United States.  Entrants under the age of 18 must get parents permission to enter.  The giveaway will end on January 31st.  Enter via the tool below and be sure to share the giveaway.  Good Luck!


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The Courier of Caswell Hall Book Review


The Courier of Caswell Hall Book Review

Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book for review from Litfuse Publicity.  Any and all opinions are my own and have not been influenced.

Title: The Courier of Caswell Hall (American Tapestry Series)

Author: Melanie Dobson

Publisher: Summerside Press

Published: September, 2013

ISBN: 978-978-0824934262

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 336

Price: $14.99

About the book:

An unlikely spy discovers freedom and love in the midst of the American Revolution.

As the British and Continental armies wage war in 1781, the daughter of a wealthy Virginia plantation owner feels conflict raging in her own heart. Lydia Caswell comes from a family of staunch Loyalists, but she cares only about peace. Her friend Sarah Hammond, however, longs to join the fight. Both women’s families have already been divided by a costly war that sets father against son and neighbor against neighbor; a war that makes it impossible to guess who can be trusted.

One snowy night Lydia discovers a wounded man on the riverbank near Caswell Hall, and her decision to save him will change her life. Nathan introduces her to a secret network of spies, couriers, disguises, and coded messages—a network that may be the Patriots’ only hope for winning the war. When British officers take over Caswell Hall and wreak havoc on neighboring plantations, Lydia will have to choose between loyalty and freedom; between her family’s protection and her own heart’s desires.

As both armies gather near Williamsburg for a pivotal battle, both Lydia and Sarah must decide how high a price they are willing to pay to help the men they love.

My thoughts:

This book is another in the American Tapestry Series and I have to say that I liked these books way more than I expected at first.  This book is built around the Revolutionary War era and Dobson did an excellent job marrying the story of the war and the romance between the main characters in the book.  If you are a fan of history, you will love being drawn into the story as well as enjoy the historical details in the book.  If you aren’t a fan of history this is a great way to enjoy it and not even know you are learning about the history of our country.  I just loved Lydia’s character and I felt like she was someone I wanted to know and befriend.  These books really show the role women probably played during these pivotal times in history because often women get overlooked when the facts are told.  I also liked that this wasn’t just about a simple romance novel but about the difficult decisions that all these characters faced during this time period.  I truly have a new appreciation for the past



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The Classic Historian Memory Game

The Classic Historian Memory Game

My husband is a big history fan, he really enjoys it over any other subject.  Since our children are young they haven’t started learning much in the area of history, so when we had the opportunity to review the American History Memory Game from Classic Historian we were excited to see what it was going to be about.  The game is priced at just $14.95 so it’s reasonably priced for something that doubles as fun and educational as well.

My kids had fun playing the game with us.  Of course we let them win but it was fun talking to them about the pictures on the cards and explaining some of the history behind it.  We started off with smaller sets of cards at first so they kids could get the hang of the game and as they got better with time we added more and more cards to challenge them some more.  We still haven’t played with the full deck yet but we are getting there.  This game is perfect for their age group but Classic Historian carry other products for older children who are older and in higher grades.

About the American History Memory Game: the game comes with two different ways to play.  We have stuck with the classic version and since our kids are so young we probably won’t try the Categories version with them.

A. American History Memory:  Play the classic matching game. The Player that finds the most matching pairs wins!  This is a fantastic game for ages 3 and older.
Your child will become familiar with important historical people, monuments, maps, artifacts, and symbols. This game teaches very basic historical facts, image recognition, and memory skills.The tiles are very sturdy and beautiful. After playing with a very young person, he will be extremely interested to learn more about all the images on the tiles.

B. Categories:    This game teaches chronology and association skills.  Place four Category Tiles (Foundation of the U.S.A., Westward Expansion, The Civil War, Post Civil War) at the top of the playing area. Mix up the 64 Matching tiles.  One player says, “Go!” and starts timing. The other player places all tiles under the correct tile. The person with the fastest time wins. For wrong placement, add 10 seconds per tile.This is appropriate for ages 8 and older and requires some knowledge of history.  Follow our instructions page for the Answer Key!

Classic Historian also features online classes, full curriculum, games for all ages, and the website even features a free lesson for parents to try and learn more about the program.  Be sure to check out the site there are lots of goodies for homeschooling parents and so many ideas and areas to explore.

Connect with them on Facebook.



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The 2013 Master Books Scholarship Essay Contest Ends April 12th

Additional Details

3 Ways to Win:

  • One grand prize winner will receive the $3,000 scholarship as detailed
  • One winner from each state will be awarded, on behalf of their local group, the entire Master Books digital library
  • Each local group that yields a winner will receive a single-use coupon for buy one, get any product of equal or lesser value free!

Deadlines and other important dates:

  • Scholarship due date: Applications, transcript, and essay are due April 15, 2013
  • High school transcript or the equivalent is required. Transcripts or the equivalent must be signed by the high school counselor, homeschool evaluator/supervisor, or principal. Scholarship submission name must be exactly as noted on the transcript in order to qualify for the scholarship.
  • Scholarship applicant information, essay and transcript must be submitted by mail to:Master Books Scholarship Essay Program
    P.O. Box 726
    Green Forest, AR 72638
  • Scholarship will be awarded on or before May 1, 2013.

Conditions of Scholarship Eligibility:

  • MUST be a U.S. Citizen
  • MUST be a high school junior or senior or the equivalent
  • MUST be enrolled or enrolling in a U.S. accredited two-year, four-year, or trade school for the Fall of 2013 (seniors), or the Fall of 2014 (juniors)
  • MUST have a minimum GPA of 3.0 out of 4.0 (or the equivalent)

The Master Books Scholarship will be submitted to the winner’s accredited school upon receipt of a copy of their acceptance to that school. If the scholarship winner does not complete a full semester at the accredited school, the monies must be returned to Master Books to be awarded to the 1st runner-up. The winner agrees that all of his/her scholarship combined benefits do not exceed the cost of tuition, fees, and university-provided room and board as stated in the institution’s cost of attendance.

To download your application and chapter of book please visit New Leaf Publishing website.


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Five Cities I Would Like to Visit

I’ve been thinking about travel plans a lot lately.  I am not sure why.  Maybe its because we are planning a trip to visit my husband’s family down south and the kids are so excited.  So I though I would share five cities I would like to visit in the United States with you.  I am choosing cities I  have never been to and adding them to my bucket list.  So here goes.


Chicago – I want to visit the windy city but not in the winter time.  LOL.  I get enough cold weather where I live.  I can imagine all the fun things I could find to do and of course I want to try the pizza from Chicago.  My husband is always talking about taste of Chicago so I think that would be the ideal time for a trip there.  I also read about the L-trains is a must for Chicago, oh and of course the Sears Tower will be on the list.  I am sure I would find more things to do and places to visit. And the show Chicago Fire has me even more obsessed with the city.

Landscape photograph of Chicago, Illinois. Tak...
Landscape photograph of Chicago, Illinois. Taken from Shedd Aquarium. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Austin – I’ve read is the Live Music Capital of the World.  Who wouldn’t want to visit a place making this amazing claim.  I love music and I’ve head the Austin is the best place to discover new and exciting sounds.  I’ve also read that you can find so many places to take it music on the cheap or for free.  Imagine grabbing a bit to eat and enjoying a live band in the same space.  Austin has a eclectic mix of music and shopping scenes that seem to be all the rage.  Plus there is South By South West (SXSW).  Places like the historic Capitol Building and Barton Springs would be high on my list and of course finding some killer BBQ.  I’m sure my husband and I would enjoy ourselves in this amazing city.

Altus in Austin
Altus in Austin (Photo credit: Stuck in Customs)


San Francisco – What is there not to love in San Fran?  Anyone would love to visit this beautiful city and find some amazing things to do.  First off you know we’re heading to the Golden Gate Bridge.  I think the would be a family trip.  Fisherman’s Wharf would be great to check out for food.  There are lots of parks and the famous “Full House” house is also located in San Francisco.  Broken down into sections like the Mission District, Chinatown, Union Square and more.  I’m sure we all will have so much fun all around the city.

The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, CA a...
The Golden Gate Bridge and San Francisco, CA at sunset taken from the Marin Headlands (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


New Orleans – This city is growing back into the city it was before and in some cases even better.  I would love to be able to try all the delicious food and culture of New Orleans.  My husband loves seafood and this would be a great trip for us to relax and enjoy the local food.  Gumbo and Crawfish Etoufee are amount the many things we could experience.  I can’t wait to taste benyas freshly made with powered sugar all on my hands.  Stroll in the French Quarter and find a nice place to listen to some music.  I think New Orleans would be a great place to rekindle some romance.  I should also mention that we would try to visit some of those old plantation houses.  The architecture in New Orleans is stunning and I am sure we would get some great pictures.

English: French Quarter - New Orleans
English: French Quarter – New Orleans (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


My number one choice would be Savannah.   Yes Savannah with its huge Spanish Moss willows and old plantation houses every picture I have seen has been simply stunning.  I should add that if the opportunity ever presented itself I would most definitely move to Savannah.  I would love to take a tour of the whole city and try some of their low country dinning and soak up all the history and beauty of the city.  I also read they have a Black Heritage Festival that runs for most of February.  I could see myself in Savannah at any time of year.  I would like to visit places like the Andrew Low House and the Owens-Thomas House.  The Railroad Museums and much more.  I think I could just soak in all the Savannah so I can keep the great memories.

English: Owens-Thomas House in Savannah, Georgia
English: Owens-Thomas House in Savannah, Georgia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Savannah (Photo credit: bjepson)
Savannah (Photo credit: bjepson)

I know you probably have some cities you would like to visit.  Are any of mine on your list?  Do you have any not on my list?  I am sure I will do this again because there are still some cities that I didn’t include in this list keep reading to see if your favorite makes an appearance soon.


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Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil Review

Growing up in the islands I am very family with coconuts.  I could just close my eyes and remember picking a fresh coconut from our Asian coconut tree and my

Coconut Water
Coconut Water (Photo credit: TaranRampersad)

father cutting off the top and me drinking the cool coconut water.  Did you know before the coconut gets hard enough for it to be grated and turned into coconut milk and other coconut items its a soft jelly like constancy.  Its soo good to scoop it out with a spoon after drinking the water. I could go on and on telling stories of those days and being young and carefree.  At the time I didn’t even realize how healthy it was and that when my siblings and I made the choice to have a coconut instead of junk food we were doing something good.

So you imagine how excited I was to try Tropical Traditions Coconut Oil. I remember people using it back home but I didn’t have a recipe stored in my head to use it for.  See coconut oil has so many uses.  People back home would use it on their skin or use it in their hair to help them achieve softer skin and prevent their scalp from drying out.  I started looking online for some inspiration about what I could try my coconut oil in.  I found that it’s very popular in gluten-free cooking.  Since I don’t have a restricted diet I wanted to make sure I whatever recipe used could be converted and used without problems for my cooking needs.  I really wanted to make some fudge but I was missing an ingredient and so I ended up making a healthy version of fried chicken using the coconut oil.

I just brought a new induction oven and I thought it would be perfect to air fry the chicken in my induction oven.  I didn’t coat the chicken with flour or anything just left it naked.  Here’s some photos of my chicken fried in coconut oil

Solidified Coconut Oil
Solidified Coconut Oil


Coconut oil


Oil in pan ready to be melted
Oil in pan ready to be melted




Air Fried Chicken

We loved out chicken.  It was so tasty and delicious and the coconut oil added more flavor to the dish.  If you’re looking for recipes visit Tropical Traditions free coconut oil recipes pages.   There are tons of great recipes to try and they are all free.  If you want to find more uses for coconut oil then visit here.  Check out this video for more information about coconut oil.



Get Virgin Coconut Oil 

If this is your first time purchasing from Tropical Traditions you will get a free book with your order “”Virgin Coconut Oil: How it has changed people’s lives and how it can change yours!” It includes 85 recipes.  That’s a great gift with your order.

Disclosure: “If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.”

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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Get Fit New Years Resolution

get fit news years 2013


If you make that promise to your self every year that you are going to lose weight and have a hard time actually losing weight.  This is a great giveaway to get your started and help you achieve that success.  If you are not looking for lose weight but get more fit and healthy there are prizes for you to win as well.  Please share with your friend and family members.

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Co Hosted by: Mom Blog Society | Jackie’s Reviews | Geeky Gamer Mom | She Informed | Country Stew | Confessions of a Messy Mama | Zoe’s Printable Coupons | Fishful Thinking | The Deal Fanatic | Route 249 | SOS Mom | Swank Savings

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For your chance to win the Get Fit New Years Resolution Giveaway Simply enter via the Rafflecopter below. GOOD LUCK!

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Disclosure: I received no compensation for this publication. My opinions are my own and may differ from those of your own. Nick’s Random Musings is not responsible for sponsor prize shipment.

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