Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Folgers as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) guidelines concerning the use of endorsement and testimonials in advertising. I received complimentary products to facilitate my review.

Once upon a time, I fancied myself a singer. I spent waaaay too many hours during the 90s singing my heart out into a hairbrush, and way too few actually performing in front of other people. I gave up that dream a long time ago. My husband is the musician in the family now. I do still sing into a hairbrush, but I’m probably not going to be making a hit anytime soon. But that doesn’t mean you can’t.

Folgers® is giving you a chance to make your musical dreams come true, in the form of a jingle. Most of us know the jingle: “The best part of waking up is Folgers in your cup.” It’s a pretty ubiquitous tune.

Well now, Folgers is teaming up with country music singer-songwriter Chris Young and inviting aspiring musicians to create their own version of the iconic Best Part of Wakin’ Up™ Jingle in the Folgers Jingle Contest.

How it Works

Create and submit a video of your best version of the jingle on the contest website through February 27th. Your version of the Jingle must include the complete melody and complete lyrics of “The Best Part of Wakin’ Up is Folgers in Your Cup.” Head to the website for full details.

Then, from February 27th to March 19th, Folgers will choose 5 semi-finalists, and each will have a mentor session with Chris Young before the contest moves to an online vote. From March 27th to April 24th, fans throughout the nation will vote daily for their favorite jingle. And even the voters will get a chance to win: Every vote automatically enters you to win prizes up to $10,000. Finally, in May, one winner will be chosen for a grand prize of $25,000.

Now excuse me while I go convince my husband to make a video to enter in the contest. $25,000, plus a chance to have his song represent Folgers? Sounds like a win to me!

Disclosure: I received a review copy of Malice in Ovenland, along with compensation for my time and effort in crafting this review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

I have always loved reading. Let my mother tell it, I started reading right out of her womb. Or maybe that’s just the way I interpreted it, since she’s told me the story of reading at two years old so many times. The point is that my love of the written word is a lifelong affair. And I want to pass that love on to my kids. The challenge, of course, is that kids these days (did I just really just type those three words? How old am I?) have a lot more stuff competing for their attention. So if I want to get my 11-year-old daughter to read, I have to give her something fun and interesting. And Malice in Ovenland, the new graphic novel written and illustrated by Michelene Hess, fits the bill perfectly.

First, let me just say Yaaaaaassss! I love being able to share books with my daughter that feature Black girls as lead characters. I truly believe that representation matters, and I can’t remember any comics that I read growing up with any characters who looked — or spoke or dressed — like me. My daughter devoured this story in part because she could see herself in it.

Malice in Ovenland features Lily Brown, a bright young girl from Queens who is mad because her mom is making her spend the summer tending her organic garden, cleaning the house, and doing extra schoolwork to get her grades up. She also has a bit of a habit of being outspoken. And the first few pages reminded me so much of my daughter that I was tempted to look around to house for cameras to see how this writer could possibly know my life!

One day, while cleaning the oven, Lily discovered a path — a tunnel, really — that would take her on a wildly unexpected adventure that would teach her some lessons that she would never forget, including the importance of friendship, self-love and inner strength.

I don’t want to give away the story, but it is riveting and funny, and it is beautiful to watch Lily find herself — literally and figuratively — in the middle of an adventure that is so much bigger than anything she ever could have imagined. The story is colorful and unique — even a tiny bit dark at times — and unlike anything either of us have ever read. Plus, the end was satisfying — both for my daughter and for me as the consummate Black mama.

The artwork is also beautiful and expressive. Every panel is drawn with painstaking detail, and I feel like I got to know Lily a little better with each drawing. I can’t wait for her next feature story.

If you know a kid who loves to read — or one who you’re trying to encourage in that direction — Malice in Ovenland is the perfect choice. And it’s an engaging read for comic-loving adults too. You can head over to Rosarium Publishing to buy it now.

Malice in Ovenland Giveaway

Enter via the Rafflecopter below, and you could win a copy of Malice in Ovenland.

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I’m going to admit something. I’ve never really seen most of the Star Wars movies. By that, I mean that while I remember iconic scenes from most of the films from watching them in passing, I never actually sat and watched any of them in their entirety, on purpose. So when Walmart offered me a chance to have a viewing party with my family to celebrate the release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I figured now would be as good a time as any to get into the franchise. They said #showusyourforce , and indeed, we did just that.

I’m more than a bit late to the party, given that this is the seventh installment in the Star Wars franchise, but better late than never, right? This episode stars Harrison Ford, Daisy Ridley, John Boyega,Oscar Isaac, Lupita Nyong’o and more. It is set 30 years after Return of the Jedi and follows Rey and Finn as they join the fight alongside the Resistance against the First Order. The story involves a search for the missing Luke Skywalker, and the future of the galaxy depends on it.

If you didn’t get to see it in theaters, you’re in luck! The Star Wars: Force Awakens DVD was released today, and you can get special packaging and collectible Galactic Connexions Trading Discs exclusively at Walmart!

To celebrate, my family and I headed to Walmart to grab some simple supplies for some easy, DIY Jedi cosplay.


How perfect is that shot? Seriously! When we started this project, I had no idea that the force was so strong with baby Juliza! Lmao!

Anyway, here’s how you can make your own light sabers and jedi robes.

DIY Light Sabers


Working light sabers can be pricey. This version is inexpensive enough to take a beating when your kids inevitably battle with them.


You’ll Need:

  • Pool water blasters, $0.98 apiece
  • Silver, black and red Duck tape

This really couldn’t get easier to do. I initially planned to use bubble wands, but these were a better size for faux light sabers. I simply covered the handles in silver Duck tape.


Next, I cut thinner, smaller pieces of black and red tape and placed them randomly on the handles for decoration.


Really. That’s it. And the best part? They will still work for water play. If you’re having a Star Wars party of your own, this would be a great take-home gift.

I do offer a word of warning, though. These are made of hard plastic, so if a kid swings and connects hard enough, it can hurt. They can also break stuff, so I’d advise you let your warriors “fight” in an open area. Juliza was a little overzealous, but everyone came away from the battles relatively unscathed.

DIY Jedi Robes


I wish I could take credit for this idea, but alas, I found it on Smart Girls DIY via Pinterest. Her instructions are much better than mine could ever be, but here’s a brief rundown:


You’ll need about 1 2/3 yards of brown felt for each robe, and some rope or cord for the belts. I bought 3.5 yards to make two robes. Felt really is a great fabric for this. It’s durable, so it will withstand roughhousing, and it won’t fray.

Fold the felt in half lengthwise. Do not cut.


For 2 robes, now fold in half by width, and cut in the center.


If you’re making three robes, you’ll need about 5 yards, and you can fold and cut in thirds. For smaller kids, you may need to cut smaller. I narrowed the second robe and made it shorter for my 2-year-old.


Now, simply cut a slit up the front center of the felt. That’s it! Drape the robe over your little (or big) Jedi’s shoulders and tie it at the waist with rope.



This is seriously the perfect way to watch the movie — in costume. It makes the fight scenes that much more awesome.


Head over to Walmart today and pick up your Star Wars: The Force Awakens DVD. Even if you’ve never been into the series, this is a great introduction, and the costumes can only enhance the experience.

May the force be with you!


I’ve never been much of a comic fan, but like most other people, I get into the stories when they’re brought to the big screen (or the small screen via TV shows). My husband is the same way, and his latest interest is the new Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. He is almost annoyingly excited about it and tells me how badly he wants to see it every single time we see a commercial.


If you — or anyone else in your household — are excited as he is, you’ll be happy to know that you can get your fix of Batman v. Superman merchandise at Walmart. There’s something for every fan.


You can head to Walmart.com and choose your hero: Batman or Superman. (Personally, I’m on team Batman. I want to see the guy without the super powers win) You can play games to win votes and digital prizes that you can download right away. Then you can shop all the Batman and Superman products.

If you’d prefer to head to your local Walmart, there’s lots in store there for you too. You can grab a costume for your little one to dress up as their fave:


You can find other Batman and Superman shows and movies to keep you entertained in the meantime.


Or, you could grab a 3-foot tall figurine and put it in front of your house to let everyone know what team you’re on. OK. Maybe not that, but I’m sure the superfan in your house would love to have this huge reminder of the superhero in all of us.


If apparel is more your speed, you can find adult and kids’ character tees for $8.96 and $7.97 respectively. I’m going to grab one for my husband. As if he needed another reason to be excited.

So what you about? Will you be watching Batman v. Superman?


I admit it: I’ve never been much of a Star Wars fan. But what I am is a gamer. Unequivocally and undoubtedly. Which means that in spite of my relatively lukewarm feelings about the whole Star Wars franchise and all its accoutrements, I was still excited when I learned of the latest video game, Star Wars Battlefront, released today. I’m always game for a new challenge, and since I do want to see The Force Awakens when it hits theaters next month, thanks to the awesomely diverse cast, I figured this would be a good way to ramp up my excitement.

Photo by Ruby Wright of GUBLife

Photo by Ruby Wright of GUBLife

If you’re excited too, I have a treat for you: You can get a sneak peek of the game and play it before you buy. All you have to do is go to a Walmart store tonight! EA, the maker of Star Wars Battlefront, is giving gamers a chance to play local co-op battle maps that are available in the game at 3,000 Walmart stores nationwide. Fingers crossed that there’s one near you: Search now! During the event, you can also pre-order the title. Just head to your store anytime from 8 p.m. – 12:01 a.m. tonight.


So what’s the premise of the game? Well, Star Wars Battlefront lets players fight for the Rebellion or the Empire in battles from scenes inspired by the films. You can play multiplayer matches with up to 40 players, or challenges that can be played alone, split-screen, or via online co-op. The game features recreations of iconic Star Wars planets, characters, weapons, and vehicles, so if you’re a fan, you’ll be pleased. It really takes just two words to entice me to play: Light sabers. And it will give you a way to kill some time until The Force Awakens movie is released.

Photo by Ruby Wright of GUBLife

Photo by Ruby Wright of GUBLife

If you haven’t pre-ordered, you can purchase Star Wars Battlefront at your local Walmart or at Walmart.com for $59.96 tomorrow. If you did pre-order, you’ll also get an exclusive Star Wars trading disc by Topps, which is only available at Walmart!



We’ve reached the point in the summer when the days feel really long and I’m struggling a bit to keep the kids occupied. All day. Pretty much every day. So sometimes all I want to do is sit everyone down and find something funny to watch. We pop popcorn and laugh until our sides hurt — also known as Movie Night.

We’ve been a little short on new material, so when Walmart sent me Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 on DVD, I knew that my daughter — who absolutely loved the first movie — would have no objections at all. 


The second time around, Paul Blart is back at it again — taking his low-level security job waaaaay too seriously, and having that somehow lead to him stumbling his way through saving the day. This time, the action takes Blart and his daughter to Las Vegas. And by action, I mean Blart running into, falling off of and rolling over things. That’s honestly the best part of these movies: Seeing just how much punishment he can take. That, and how oblivious he is to the fact that everyone else thinks he’s a joke. Also, #nospoilers, but it’s SO worth waiting for the last few seconds of the movie.

Anyway, to celebrate the hilarity that is Mall Cop 2, we all took #Blartstache photos with the fake moustaches we received with the movie. How ridiculous do we look?

Juliza may or may not have had to be coerced to make this happen.

Those photos will forever make me giggle. We also received a couple of fanny packs, but I don’t think I’m quite enough of a good sport to be caught in a photo wearing one of those O__o

You can actually get both Mall Cop movies in an exclusive 2-pack at Walmart for just $24.87, starting tomorrow.

You can also participate in a Q&A with Kevin James at the official Paul Blart Mall Cop 2 Facebook page tomorrow at 7pm ET. I can just imagine the questions he’s going to get, but it promises to be hilarious!


I grew up watching the 1982 version of Annie, and like the rest of the world, I was captivated by the little redhead who had a way of making everyone smile. I loved the story of this little orphan who found a home in the most unexpected of places, and I loved the music. Fast forward more than 30 years later, and my daughter is getting a chance to fall in love with Annie too, courtesy of Quvenzhané Wallis and Jamie Foxx.


My husband and I took our girls to see the new Annie movie when it was still in theaters, and Ja’Naya loved it! I can’t lie — part of the charm for me was seeing a little girl who looked a lot like my little girl playing a role that I grew up loving. So when Walmart offered me the chance to have a movie night with my family and Annie, we were all excited. Not least of all Ja’Naya.

In this remake, Annie is a foster kid who is an a crappy situation with a horrible foster mom, but who still manages to keep an infectious spirit that affects everyone around her. The original Daddy Warbucks is replaced by Mr. Stacks, a ridiculously wealthy cell phone mogul who wants to use Annie to score him some votes in his run for mayor. He eventually falls in love with the precocious little girl, but of course, there’s always someone who will try to ruin a good thing. I won’t say any more because I don’t want to spoil it for anyone.

Anyway, we received the exclusive Annie Blu-ray & DVD gift set, complete with Sandy plush dog, which is available in-stores now. Plus, much to my daughter’s delight, we received the soundtrack CD and lyrics sheets. I swear, she learned the words to all the songs exactly 2 days in.

But when we sat down to have movie night, I thought it would be awesome to style my daughter’s hair like Annie, in a big curly twistout.


The process is simple for naturally curly hair.

1. Wash and detangle hair with a moisturizing conditioner. Shea Moisture’s Coconut & Hibiscus Curl & Shine Conditioner is one of my favorites.

2. While hair is still wet, neatly twist it into two-strand twists with a moisturizing styler, like Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curl Enhancing Smoothie.


3. Allow hair to dry in twists. This can mean keeping the twists intact for as little as a few hours, or as is the case with my daughter, a few days. I prefer to keep her hair twisted for school and gymnastics during the week, and let it loose on the weekends.

4. Carefully untwist hair, being careful not to pull and frizz. The curls should be clumped and well-defined.


The final result is a gorgeous twistout of which I’m sure Annie would approve!


Ja’Naya got into the spirit of the movie and donned her favorite red dress for movie night, mirroring Annie’s outfit for her big night with Mr. Stacks and the DVD cover.


She’s already watched the movie 3 times, and I know the fourth is coming on a night when she doesn’t have homework. Suffice it to say that Annie is a hit around here, and I’m sure you and your family will love it too. The DVD box set is just $24.96. Now we just have to watch the 1982 version so she’ll have a point of comparison and see why this version is so special.


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Like most kids in America, I loved Disney movies when I was growing up. While it wasn’t lost on me that very few of the characters actually looked like me, I still enjoyed the fantastical stories of adventure and love. Peter Pan was always one of my favorites. The idea that there could be a place where children could be children — doing whatever they pleased — was fascinating to me. And Captain Hook was the villain I loved to hate. Plus, I always felt a little sorry for Smee, and loved Tinkerbell’s sass and Wendy’s levelheadedness.


Well, I’ll get a chance to relive my childhood joy tonight when Peter Pan Live! airs on NBC at 8/7c, and you can too! The stars include Allison Williams, Christopher Walken, Christian Borle and Minnie Driver, and Walmart is a presenting sponsor. It promises to be a good time, and Lord knows I need some of that right about now! NBC provided me with a party pack, and my daughter and I had a great time making some Peter Pan themed snacks with supplies from Walmart to get us in the mood to watch. If you’d like to get in the spirit too, check out these recipes.

Ticking Croc Brownies


You’ll Need:

  • Box brownies (or feel free to make them from scratch)
  • 4-5 colorful ice cream cones
  • Mini marshmallows
  • Mini chocolate chips
  • White icing

When I was little, I remember being terrified of the idea of a ticking crocodile that bit off arms. But by the time I finally “met” him near the end of Peter Pan, my opinion had changed. I was sort of happy he’d given Captain Hook what was coming to him. I found this snack on Pinterest via Creative Stirrings and thought it was too cute! Ideally, I would’ve used green cones, but I had to work with what I could find.


Simply make brownies per the instructions on the box. I actually had to use 2 boxes to fill my glass Pyrex baking dish. Next, cut off about 1/3 of each cone. Four to five cones should suffice.


To make eyes, push a mini chocolate chip into a mini marshmallow, using some white icing as “glue” to hold them together, if you need to. Then use some icing to attach two eyes to the top of each cone.

Finally, lay the “crocs” on top of the brownies in random positions.


How cute is that? Peter would be proud! So is Mr. Crocodile.


But we’re not done yet. To go with the brownies, we’re having…

Fairy Fizz Punch


You’ll Need:

  • Pink lemonade
  • 7Up or Sprite

Mix 1 part lemonade to 1 part soda. Done. Couldn’t be simpler.

Then drink this perfectly pink, fizzy concoction in Tinkerbell’s honor while you enjoy the show.

Watch & Tweet with Me!

My family and I will be getting dressed up in our Peter Pan gear, swords included, to watch live. Baby Pan is ready!


Plus, you can join me, Walmart and a few other Walmart Moms on Twitter as we live-tweet the show tonight starting at 8/7c using the hashtag #PeterPanLive. Hope to see you there!

Disclosure: As a participant in the Walmart Moms Program, I’ve received a party pack, gift card and compensation from NBC for my time and efforts in creating this post. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Affiliate links have been used.