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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sprouts Ellicott City, MD
is FINALLY Open!!

Photo: @mycandishoppe

Photo: @mycandishoppe

After a few weeks of impatient waiting (on my part), Sprouts in Ellicott City, MD is finally open today!  Last night, I had the opportunity to tour (and shop, let's not forget that part) the store during their 'Pre-Grand Opening' event and OMG... I wasn't ready at all.  I had an idea of what to expect but definitely was not entirely prepared until I walked in.  My friend Sommar described it perfectly though... It's as if Whole Foods, Wegman's and Trader Joe's had a threesome.  Sprouts would be the baby!  Nevermind that no one knows who the father is... it's the perfect analogy.

While the store seems to have almost everything you can want, it's actually only 30,000 sq ft which isn't huge for a grocery store but their priority is being able to serve their customers.  For example, they also don't have aisle numbers!  This is because if you need help finding an item, a team member will walk you directly there.  No more "its on aisle 8 or 9" then you go to aisle 8 and still don't find what you're looking for!  They will even provide a sample of any product right there on the spot if requested.  I experienced this amazing customer service last night actually.  It was 8:00PM when I was finally done shopping + checked out.  Come to find out, the store had closed at 7PM for the Pre-Grand Opening (normal store hours will be 7AM-10PM)!!  I was there for a whole hour shopping not even realizing that the store had closed.  Multiple team members had approached me asking if I needed help but not once did they elude to the fact that my time had come to an end.  LOL.  While I felt horrible for not realizing I had overstayed my welcome, I was also SHOCKED that I was not being rushed out the store!  Everyone was so kind + forgiving... mind blown.

Anyways, here's a peek inside the store to give anyone not familiar with Sprouts an idea of what to expect.  This will likely be my go-to grocery store as I feel like there's less of a chance that I will have to visit multiple grocery stores each week like I do now.  Before now, I would go to Wegmans for the Deli, Produce, Sushi + more... Whole Foods for specialty food + drinks and then Harris Teeter for everything in between.  BTW, I grabbed a Crunchy Crab Sushi Roll for dinner at Sprouts and I could've slapped my Momma (sorry Mom but it was amazing).  Sprouts literally has combined all of what I need from those stores into one location.  They are the epitome of that Tyrese Gif "What More Do You Want From Me?!".  LOL. You really couldn't ask for more!  I anticipate on being there again soon + often so I'm sure we will run into each other.  See ya there.  XOXOMCS

Photo: @mycandishoppe
Low Prices

Photo: @mycandishoppe

Photo: @mycandishoppe
Fresh Produce
Photo: @mycandishoppe
Olive Bar

Photo: @mycandishoppe
Salad Bar

Friday, March 9, 2018

A Wrinkle in Time

"Would the 11 or 12 year old you be proud of the person you are today"?!  This was the question Ava Duvernay asked the theatre on the screen before the movie began.  With a thought provoking question like that coming first, I knew the movie was about to get deep... and I was 100% right!  Although I'm rarely wrong... I just didn't want you think I was surprised, but I digress.  There are so many scenes in the movie that will have you remembering vividly those early teen years.  Back when all you wanted to do was fit in, make friends and be perfect!

This is the perfect movie for the entire family!  As much as I know Kennedy will enjoy it, I'm actually excited for Taylor to see it as I saw so many similarities between her and the main character, Meg Murray.  I wonder if she too will notice when she does see the movie. And it's not just for the girls either which made me happy, so I know Gregory will love it as well.  Mom + Dad will also enjoy and may pick up on some introspective lines + scenes that may go over the children's heads.  In fact, I almost highly recommend that you watch it with your children because I could see a child having quite a few questions throughout the movie.  Kids these days are smarter + this is a whimsical piece but there are moments that may need a bit of explanation from an adult.  And definitely be ready for a couple of lumps in the throat throughout the movie!

Seriously, it's a great story that will bring adults back to their childhoods and remind them that while being a kid was a fairly easy time in life (compared to adulting), it does come with it's own stresses.  I definitely left the theatre thinking about ways I can connect with my own children better so I can be a better resource to them when they need.  No need to address the acting because once again we were blessed with an A1 cast of stars, they were amazing!  Just go ahead and grab your tickets and make it a family night out!  Enjoy.


One night, Charles Wallace, Meg and a fellow classmate, Calvin, meet three otherworldly visitors who have traveled to Earth with an important message for Meg: Her father’s discovery is, in fact, an extraordinary accomplishment, but a darkness has infiltrated the universe and he is now in grave danger. Together they set off in search of Mr. Murry with Mrs. Which, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Whatsit as their guides, tessering to worlds beyond their imagination and confronting the powerful, evil energy face-to-face. But in order to save her father, Meg must first overcome her own flaws and insecurities and harness the strength necessary to defeat the darkness...and it is a journey she must come to on her own. (credit: Walt Disney Media)


Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Countdown to Sprouts in Ellicott City
The Savings Plan

Here we are, nearly a week away from the Grand Opening of Sprouts in Ellicott City, MD on March 14th so let's prepare.  Yes, it's that serious!  I like to have a game plan in mind when I enter any store, let alone a NEW store I've never shopped at so yeah, let's get this together.  Sprouts was nice enough to send over some key points to keep me on track when I go next week.  They clearly know your girl is forgetful and can use a little list as a reminder.  Let's just hope I don't forget the list!  LOL.

Sprouts Ellicott City
First + foremost, you know I'm all about an app that can save us some coins.  Sprouts has an app that you can download here, and get access to exclusive mobile only coupons that you can clip (virtually) + save on your shopping trips.  Now I know Sprouts is suppose to already be a reasonably priced grocery store, but who doesn't want to save even more money?!  So don't be shy, go on ahead + download that app girl.  While we are in the spirit of saving a coin, there is also a weekly e-circular and Deals of the Month flyer where you can find tons more on sale.  Check those out as well before you take your trip.

Now aside from coupons, there are other things to keep an eye out for.  Sprouts actually has their own brand of products with over 2100 products to choose from.  They sent a box of products over for the family to try out and it was a huge hit!  Granted it was a box loaded with delicious treats + snacks, they were all Sprouts brand and everything was organic or gluten-free or dairy-free.  Basically, I felt like Mom of the Year letting the kids eat the food.  The favorite of the box had to be the Ghost Pepper Salsa which you wouldn't think the kids would love but it was SO flavorful, and yes spicy but in a good way.  A close second would definitely be the Organic Popcorn with Himalayan Pink Salt + Coconut Oil.  This stuff can definitely go toe to toe with your current favorite popcorn guaranteed.  And keep in mind that if you ever try something that you don't like, Sprouts will give you 100% money back guaranteed.  

I'm tired of the being blamed for all the spending because I'm sharing something + influencing you to buy.  So here are some ways you can actually save some coins and feel good about your spending this time.  I'll accept all Thank Yous in the form of more Ghost Pepper Salsa.  Now go + prepare for next week using the check list below + let me know if you have any questions!

Next week is the day!!  Hope you're ready.  XOXOMCS.
Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Sprouts is in Maryland


I wouldn't play with your emotions like this!  It's true, Sprouts has made it's way to Maryland, opens on March 14th and none of us know how to act.  Okay, it's probably just me but at least this is a good reason for me to act a fool.  I've heard so many good things about Sprouts but it always seemed like some far away fairytale place that I would never visit.  Well, as they say, dreams come true!  Sprouts has made it's way to Ellicott City, MD and this Momma couldn't be happier.  Wondering what's the big deal?  Currently googling what Sprouts is?  Keep on reading, I got you.

In the DMV area, Sprouts is not a common name at all.  Even though the store is in 15 other states, this will actually be the first Sprouts to open in Maryland.  It's a health conscious grocery store that offers fresh produce (obvi), bulk foods, vitamins + supplements, packaged groceries, baked goods, meat + seafood, natural body products and even household items all at BOMB prices.  And although, this grocery store will obviously sell produce (like almost any grocery store does), prices are said to be 20-25% below your average supermarket.  Besides the produce, the store offers about 90% natural + organic products.  If you are all about Health + Wellness then this will be your new playground for sure.  But don't shy away if this sounds TOO granola for you.  The other 10% does cater to mainstream shoppers and those of us who may have started this journey as a New Year's resolution.

Oh, before I forget, inside of Sprouts will be a Market Corner Deli that has prepared entrees, a salad bar, fresh sushi, fresh juice, made to order sandwiches + more!  I seriously think I will find myself here to grab lunch or quick dinners OFTEN.  Can't remember the last time I was excited about a grocery store opening like this but then again, this will be the FIRST Sprouts store I've ever visited.  If you've shopped at a Sprouts before, let me know what are some of your favorite things to grab there.  Sharing is caring.  I'll be visiting the store next week for a private event so I'll come back + let you know what I thought and if it lives up to the hype.

Until next time.  XOXOMCS.
Thursday, February 15, 2018

Black Panther
Who Should See It?

You're probably reading the title of this post thinking... DUH, everyone!  I know, I know... we're rooting for everyone black.  But there are a good amount of people that may buy tickets to support but not actually go see the movie because they think it's not a movie for them.   Look at me, look at me (in my Captain Phillips voice), you need to go see this movie.  At this point, our excitement can barely be contained and for good reason.  Black Panther premieres this week across the US and is already set to do better than ANY marvel movie to date.  Now if that doesn't get you all excited and giddy on the inside, I don't know what will.  Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of being invited by Disney to go to an Advance Screening here in the DC Metro Area.  Comic, Super Hero movies have never been my thing but I knew that "for the culture", declining was not an option.  There was a lot of hesitation on my part though because I knew NOTHING about this storyline, the backstory, the history and I went by myself so asking questions during the movie wouldn't be possible.  But let me tell you... IT DOESN'T MATTER.  This movie taught me that an AMAZING movie can be a GREAT movie for anyone regardless of what you know about the characters.

Can I Bring The Kids?

Black Panther is rated PG-13.  After watching, I can only imagine that it has that rating due to fighting scenes.  Even those scenes aren't gory!!  A little shooting, a little arm/leg breaking, and maybe some sword fighting.  Nothing crazy!  There's a little kissing and when I say "kissing", I mean the type a Mom + Dad do in front of their kids... again nothing crazy.  I would feel totally comfortable bringing my 7 year old or my 13 year old without hesitation.  This is honestly a movie the entire family will absolutely LOVE.  I went for free and I'm paying to go see it again.  That alone should say something!

I'm Not a Marvel Enthusiast.  Will I Like The Movie?

GIRL.  I know the hesitation all too well.  I have never gone with the kids to see any of these hero movies and my husband is always willing to take them.  Surprise surprise.  But after seeing Black Panther, I'm wondering what I've been missing out on all these years.  I knew absolutely NOTHING about these characters at all.  I also attended the screening by myself.  Yet, I left that theatre with my heart still pumping from all the action.  From the moment the movie starts to the moment the movie ends, you are captivated by the action, incredible acting, story line and the insane amount of BLACK MAGIC all up + throughout the scenes.  You need to know absolutely NOTHING about the history of Black Panther or the characters in order to thoroughly enjoy this movie.  Ryan Coogler + the writers did an amazing job of making sure the movie itself provided you with enough details + understanding of the characters whether you're familiar or not.  If you are already a Black Panther fanatic, you will NO DOUBT enjoy the movie.  If you are not familiar with Marvel Comics, Heros or Stories, you will NO DOUBT enjoy the movie.  It's THAT good!!

With The Cast Being Predominately Black, How is The Acting?

Honestly, I know exactly what you're thinking!  So many movies have been made with a predominately black cast and the acting misses the mark occasionally.  We've all seen it happen before.  In case you missed it, this is an ALL STAR STUDDED cast of black actors + actresses.  Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Forest Whitaker, Daniel Kaluuya, Angela Bassett, Sterling K. Brown, Winston Duke, Florence Kasumba, Letitia Wright, and John Kani round out the main cast of Black Excellence.  Among those names are maybe a few that are not as well known but let me tell you... they showed up + showed OUT.  They came with their A-game making you wonder why you haven't seen them in other movies!  Don't you worry, the acting here will not let you down.  PROMISE.

The theatre where I viewed the movie was a good mix of races, I would say 50/50.  That is 50% black and 50% other races.  I showed up in my movie theatre finest but the majority had on jeans, sweats and sneakers.  That's fine because I don't usually base my standards on what others are doing.  Throughout the movie there was clapping, loud laughing, cheering + excitement.  For those feeling like they need to find the theatre in the blackest neighborhood in order to have that feeling of togetherness, you're wrong!  JUST GO SEE THE MOVIE.  The way you become engulfed in the movie, you won't care who is sitting right or left of you.  When you want to applaud, you will!  When you bust out laughing, you will!  And guess what?  Who gonna check you boo?!  

This is my first advance screening movie review + I was super nervous to not divulge deets so please be easy on me for not sharing more information.  The experience itself is what most of you had questions about but you can click here for more information about the movie itself.
Friday, February 9, 2018

January (2018) Faves

I've always wanted to start doing these monthly faves posts but have either been inconsistent or never followed through.  Either way, the start of a new year has me all excited to start another chapter with you!  January was a great month because I received quite a few PR packages in December and did a little Christmas shopping for myself as well.  I feel like I've shared most of the products below over on my Instagram Stories (if you don't follow me on Instagram, umm why?) but I've included links below if you want to grab any of them yourself.

Revlon Brush Dryer

I have no clue where the hell this dryer has been all my Momming life.  When I say that this thing makes Wash Day 10X easier, I'm not lying... I'm not playing... I know no one has time for any of that when it comes to Wash Day.  If you haven't grabbed one yet, DO IT NOW.  Why is it so good?  I would best describe it as an AMAZING detangling brush with a powerful blow dryer attached to it.  You can grab one here in my Amazon store and have it time for Wash Day.

NARS Natural Radiant Longer Foundation

When NARS said they were sending over this foundation for me to try, I can't lie, I was shook!  I've always wanted to love their All Day Luminous Foundation because of the coverage it offered but it honestly had me looking WAY too luminous at the end of day.  Think GloWorm.  So after reading the description of this foundation, I was all the way hype!  Now I will admit that it took some time for us to get to know one another.  When she says 'matte', she means 'matte'!  I had to change up what I normally put under foundations because usually I have an army of mattifying products but with this particular foundation, those products made my face too dry.  Can you believe I'm saying that?  TOO DRY!  But girl yes, with this foundation I had to step away from my usual army of products so that my face would be properly moisturized and wouldn't feel super dry + tight.  It doesn't help that I've also had a few breakouts on my chin here + there so I had to make sure those spots didn't look all crusty with this foundation.  Ya'll know what I'm talking about.  So yeah, the foundation is bomb... coverage on 100, super lightweight, silky finish and definitely lasts all day.  If you've been waiting for NARS to come out with a full coverage option for us oily girls, THIS IS IT.

Three words.  They.  Were.  Right.  Every single person who has ever raved about this product was right.  It took me a minute to grab this baby because of the price and I actually waited until Sephora had that $25 off coupon for VIB Rouge Members.  But, GIRL.  They weren't lying when they said you wake up looking like you have NEW skin the next morning.  I've been very careful with the directions and suggest you do the same.  This doesn't seem (or feel like after you applied it) like one of those products that say leave it on for 20 minutes but you can leave it on as long as you'd like.  No ma'am.  Follow the directions + use your sunscreen!

I mentioned earlier that I've had some breakouts on my chin, so cue the hyperpigmentation that follows.  This product has been working double time (along with another product, can't share yet) to get rid of these dark spots.  It's lightweight for my oily skin but super effective.  I began noticing changes after about a week, nothing crazy but visible FOR SURE.  Currently, I have the 1 fl oz jar which was the perfect size for me to try it out but I will be back for that larger size as soon as this one is done!

Yet another acne savior... I know, I know, I'm all about a good acne product!  LOL.  The Glycolic Acid in this baby does an amazing job at gently exfoliating over time.  It's not an overnight miracle worker but with continued + consistent use, this stuff WORKS!  For the price you really can't beat the results.

Creme of Nature Blow Out Creme

You know a product is good when you create a whole video for it!  And, that's exactly what I did for this here Blow Out Creme.  I could tell you but showing you would be better.  Click here to watch the video + see my review.  Bottomline, this was the best thing to happen to my Straight Natural life.

Algenist GENIUS Liquid Collagen

If you've been following me on Instagram (again, you should be!) then you know that I've been obsessed with Collagen.  20g of it goes into my coffee almost daily so I when I saw Algenist had formulated a way to apply it on my skin as well, I signed right up!  Once you get past the poor syringe (and you should, it gets better after here), you'll notice visible results immediately and over time.  How exactly does that work, you ask?  When you apply it, your skin instantly looks better, brighter, more even toned.  But also, as you use it consistently your skin will start to actually feel smoother!  I will admit the price point is up there BUT I've found that most (not all!) expensive beauty products don't take long to see results and that's certainly the case with this one.

Express Chunky Fringe Oblong Scarf

If you follow me on Instagram then you've seen this scarf often in my Instagram Stories + Images.  Since I purchased it, I haven't taken it off except to shower.  LOL, okay that's an exaggeration but the scarf just gives me life!!  It's probably more the color than the scarf itself but who cares?!  It just jazzes up any outerwear situation... Sweats?  Throw on the scarf!  Jeans + Tee?  Throw on the scarf!  Boring ass Business Casual?  Dress it up with the scarf.  Anyways, it's on sale NOW and still available in this hot pink shade over at Express.

That's my round up of January faves!  Does this seem like something you would check back for each month? I will try to keep the list well rounded... a little beauty, a little home, a little food, etc.  Anyways, hope you'll be back for next month's edition.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Biggest Lesson I Learned in 2017

Edit: I started this Blog Post with the title "7 Things I learned in 2017" because it sounded 'good'.  As  Blogger/Creator, I'm always looking for images, captions, titles, etc... that capture the attention of you all.  These days, we have very little attention to catch to begin with so it's not an easy task.  But as I began writing I realized that there was one area of my life that grew in a way that deserved it's own Blog Post.  Motherhood.  So, I switched gears and decided to give this area of growth the attention it deserved because I honestly feel like it could help a fellow Mom.  Momming ain't easy and while we are always looking for shortcuts to the 'right way' to do things, sometimes there is simply no shortcut except to do the work!  So, as you read this please keep in mind that I did plan to share other areas in my life that deserved applause (marriage, finances, business) but for me, this is the one I'm most proud of + want to share.

Whew, that year went by fast didn't it?!  And I'm not just saying that because we are now in 2018 but literally each week I would say "the week is flying by" or I found myself saying "where did the day go?" quite a bit.  Not sure if time is speeding up or what but it's starting to feel like we don't have as much time as we thought!  Even though the year flew by, I gained some MAJOR lessons last year and am already looking forward to what this year will teach me about myself.  Most of the lessons I learned had to do with my role as a Mother, Friend + Wife.  Business was great, can't complain about that, but I honestly feel like becoming better in those other areas left room for me to grow my creativity as an Influencer.

A Pro at Raising Children || A Rookie at Raising Teens

LAST. YEAR. WAS. HARD... for me as a Mother.  I have three children and for quite some time now, I've considered myself a "Professional" Mom.  Friends + family have reached out to me over the years as a resource in raising their children so you can imagine my confusement when I felt lost in Motherhood at the beginning of 2017.  I'm not talking about 'google the answer to your problem' lost but more like 'on the phone sobbing to my own Mom' lost... there's a difference.  All of the work I put in seemed to not be 'working' on Taylor anymore and I just didn't know what to do because I had never done 'this' before... you know, raise a Teen.  This was all new territory for me and I felt like I wasn't warned.  Similar to how I felt about the first time I had real contractions... nobody warned me it would be THAT painful.  Keep in mind, I mentioned death or dying to my nurse multiple times during delivery.  LOL.

I digress, it was almost as if I was a rookie Mom again.  Trying out different tactics to see which would work.  Not knowing if what I was doing was right or if my child would hate me forever + end up on the stripper pole.  And yes, these are real life fears I have since every family has at least ONE kid who ends up taking the crazy route!  It was also much scarier because feeling like a rookie to a child who is 1, 2, 3 years old isn't so bad... you have years to improve!  Feeling like a Rookie to a Teen is scary AF because you know there isn't much time left for you to fix this shit.  Boy did we struggle as a unit but I found leaning on other Moms who had already raised Teens (including my own Mother) helped me A LOT.  The "village" aspect of raising a child sort of fades as you begin to feel like a Pro.  In fact you stop wanting advice because you got this shit.  But boy did I go crawling back for advice this year!  It was in those times that I was reminded that I needed to trust myself again just as I did when they were children.  I didn't know what I was 'really' doing back when they were toddlers, but I trusted that what I was doing was the 'right' thing to do.  This was the mindset so many women reminded me to maintain and to stop doubting myself.

Here I was, 14 years in the game and doubting my skills as a Mother.  It was a scary feeling and the first thing I wanted to do was hide these flaws + pretend like shit was all good.  But who would that have helped?  It was hard for me to actually say "I don't know WTF I'm doing right now, can you help me?!".  Sure, if I was putting together a dresser from IKEA then I would have no problem admitting this weakness but somehow asking another Mom for help in this area of my life made me feel so vulnerable.  And, I know what you're thinking... what about Google or Self Help books?  Who writes that stuff?  Do you know?!  Yes, sometimes it's a person with tons of accolades and receipts to prove they know their stuff but sometimes it's a person who doesn't even have children.  Nope, no thank you.  So I went directly to the source... people I knew that I had raised Teens themselves!!

I can't say Taylor + I are 100% better right now... that would be a lie but things are SO much better than they were.  Honestly, we may not hit a good stride for maybe another year or so but I'm working hard to get there.  The constant attitude, eye rolling, dirty ass rooms, privileged behavior, talking back + more is still happening but I'm learning how to better react + not jump up and pop off at her every time.  Gotta preserve my sanity + that wasn't doing it.  So if there's one piece of advice I can give to Moms is to keep your village close by because you just never know when you might need them again.  Let me know if you want me to continue this journey as a series where I update the Blog with how things are going + what is working!


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