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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Product Review: The Naked Bee's Orange Blossom Honey Lotion

"All The Good Stuff, None of The Bad Stuff"TM

Product Description: The Naked Bee - Orange Blossom Honey Lotion combines organic aloe vera and sunflower oil with moisturizers and skin conditioners like honey, spirulina and hyaluronic acid to soften, heal and promote healthy skin. The Naked Bee - Orange Blossom Honey Lotion contains no propylene glycol, dyes or pigments and it is not tested on animals. Orange Blossom Honey is Naked Bee’s most popular fragrance.

The Naked Bee hand and body lotion is 70% organic. Naked Bee products are also Paraben-Free, have no propylene glycol or mineral oil, no dyes or pigment and no lauryl or laureth sulfate.

Personal Product Review:

Packaging/Price - For Orange Blossom Honey Moisturizing Hand & Body Lotion to be marketed as a natural product, and the fact that this lotion isn't available everywhere, I think the pricing is fair for the 8 oz. lotion pump bottle.  The lotion comes in a durable plastic bottle, with labeling that has complementary colors (think orange and honey).  The average retail price is $13.50.  I paid $13.00 at Amazon.  Other sites such as Uncommon Scents retail this item at $14.95.  If you shop around, you just may be able to save a buck or two.

Aroma - I absolutely love this smell.  My personal description is that of freshly peeled oranges (think how the citrus smells on your fingertips after peeling an orange) tamed by the smell of sweet honey.  When first applying the lotion, it smells like "Smarties," the candy, as my daughter says.  However, after a couple seconds, the pungent smell become more of a mild, pleasantry.  Note: I first smelled this product when a colleage applied it daily and I thought it was perfume.  I finally asked her what she was wearing, and sure enough, she shared with me Orange Blossom Honey by The Naked Bee.  She also relayed that she first smelled this lotion when another colleague applied it.  So I'm warning you, people will ask you, "What is that you're wearing?" or you may get a, "What's that smell?" in a good way, of course.

Results - The consistency of the lotion is not too thick or creamy and my skin doesn't feel too oily after the application.   The added bonus is that this product smells great.

Availability: Direct individual consumer product purchases from The Naked Bee are not available; however, you may locate retailers who carry their products here - Store Locator.  You may also purchase from various online retailers.

Would I recommend this product? Absolutely.

Friday, January 13, 2012

No Name-Calling Week 2012


No Name-Calling Week is an annual week of educational activities aimed at ending name-calling of all kinds and providing schools with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate bullying in their communities.


No Name-Calling Week was inspired by a young adult novel entitled "The Misfits" by popular author, James Howe. The book tells the story of four best friends trying to survive the seventh grade in the face of all too frequent taunts based on their weight, height, intelligence, and sexual orientation/gender expression. Motivated by the inequities they see around them, the "Gang of Five" (as they are known) creates a new political party during student council elections and run on a platform aimed at wiping out name-calling of all kinds. The No-Name Party in the end, wins the support of the school's principal for their cause and their idea for a "No Name-Calling Day" at school.

Motivated by this simple, yet powerful, idea, the No Name-Calling Week Coalition created by GLSEN and Simon & Schuster Children's publishing, consisting of over 40 national partner organizations, organized an actual No Name-Calling Week in schools across the nation. The project seeks to focus national attention on the problem of name-calling in schools, and to provide students and educators with the tools and inspiration to launch an on-going dialogue about ways to eliminate name-calling in their communities.


Anyone who wants to work towards eliminating harmful name-calling, harassment and bullying in their school can be a part of No Name-Calling Week, whether you are a teacher, student, guidance counselor, coach, librarian or bus driver. Curricular materials are primarily aimed at middle school students, specifically grades 5-8, but may be modified for older or younger students. These materials may be downloaded at, or you can order the Resource Kit and create your own activities for your school or community.  For questions about ordering the Resource Kit, please e-mail 

For general information, please e-mail:

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Book Review: The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

The Other Wes Moore by Wes Moore

Review by Tavares S. Carney

Roadblocks, Detours and Open Doors

Being the mother of a young, impressionable black male living in an urban area, I was intrigued by The Other Wes Moore being based upon events detailing the lives of two young boys living in the same neighborhood, whose lives began similarly yet became stark contrast as adults – one being an upstanding scholar, the other serving life in prison. I began to think that perhaps I would read about some “enlightening” or “defining” moment when one Wes Moore veered right, and the other Wes Moore veered left. To my surprise, that single “moment” was never exacted.

The author does not attempt to debate the topic of nature vs. nurture, or either as the primary reason either Wes Moore’s life is as it is today; however, he does share each boy’s story, the roads traveled and how they ended up where they are present day. Some of the stories were very serious, some funny, some eye-brow raising and some even sad. There are many tales, and I’m sure all readers can relate to at least one.

What I gather from this novel is that some opportunities are more available to some than others, be it through parents who have good jobs, or through parental networks of friends and colleagues. Opportunities taken, missed and lost come to mind when speaking of opportunity. From an education standpoint for example, private school may be an option for some, while public school is the seemingly only option for others. Still, this is not an excuse to not succeed because there are often ways to get around these so-called and perceived “roadblocks.” Let’s take earning scholarships, and seeking the assistance of friends and family to help pay tuition, for example. These are examples of how to get around perceived roadblocks.

Utilizing resources available to us can help shape us into the citizens we will become in the future. Knowing that these resources exist is even more crucial. Many do not take advantage of these resources because they do not know they exist. The “Call to Action” at the end of the book details numerous organizations offering educational assistance, mentoring services and more.

I also enjoyed reading about “the other” Wes Moore, the one whose life could have easily been the successful Wes Moore’s. As the other puts in his own words, “the chilling truth is that his story could have been mine, the tragedy is that my story could have been his.”

About the Author (excerpted from

Wes Moore is a youth advocate, Army combat veteran, promising business leader and author.

Wes Moore was born in 1978 and was three years old when his father, a respected radio and television host, died in front of him. His mother, hoping for a better future for her family, made great sacrifices to send Wes and his sisters to private school. Caught between two worlds, the affluence of his classmates and the struggles of his neighbors, Wes began to act out, succumbing to bad grades, suspensions, and delinquencies. Desperate to reverse his behavior, his mother sent him to military school in Pennsylvania. After trying to escape five times, Wes finally decided to stop railing against the system and become accountable for his actions. By graduation six years later, Moore was company commander overseeing 125 cadets.

On December 11, 2000, The Baltimore Sun ran an article about how Wes, despite his troubled childhood, had just received The Rhodes Scholarship. At the same time, The Sun was running stories — eventually more than 100 in all — about four African-American men who were arrested for the murder of an off-duty Baltimore police officer during an armed robbery. One of the men convicted was just two years older than Wes, lived in the same neighborhood, and in an uncanny turn, was also named Wes Moore.

Wes wondered how two young men from the same city, who were around the same age, and even shared a name, could arrive at two completely different destinies. The juxtaposition between their lives, and the questions it raised about accountability, chance, fate and family, had a profound impact on Wes. He decided to write to the other Wes Moore, and much to his surprise, a month later he received a letter back. He visited the other Wes in prison over a dozen times, spoke with his family and friends, and discovered startling parallels between their lives: both had difficult childhoods, they were both fatherless, were having trouble in the classroom; they’d hung out on similar corners with similar crews, and had run into trouble with the police. Yet at each stage of their lives, at similar moments of decision, they would head down different paths towards astonishingly divergent destinies. Wes realized in their two stories was a much larger tale about the consequences of personal responsibility and the imperativeness of education and community for a generation of boys searching for their way.

Seeking to help other young people to redirect their lives, Wes is committed to being a positive influence and helping kids find the support they need to enact change. Pointing out that a high school student drops out every nine seconds, Wes says that public servants — the teachers, mentors and volunteers who work with our youth — are as imperative to our national standing and survival as are our armed forces. “Public service does not have to be an occupation,” he says, “but it must be a way of life.”

Moore lives with his wife Dawn in New Jersey.

*No payment or gift-in-kind received for this review.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Book Review: One Day It'll All Make Sense by Common

One Day It’ll All Make Sense by Common
with Adam Bradley

Review by Tavares S. Carney

“Letters to Grow On”

If one were to make a summation of this book in Common’s hip-hop lyrics, I would definitely say One Day It’ll All Make Sense is the author’s “Retrospect for Life” as he reflects upon his life from where he is today. The reason I emphasize present day is the fact I gather this entertainer has aspirations he has yet to even pursue.

In this semi-autobiographical memoir injected with letters from his mother’s perspective, Common shares his life experiences as he garners fame as a hip-hop artist, and later actor. He shares his wins, his losses, his struggles and his triumphs. In between he talks about growing up as a young black male in Chicago, his friends, his loves and his family. In retrospect, he takes nothing and no one for granted.

What I like in particular about this book are the letters the author writes to individuals who have in some way or another helped shape the man he is today. Whether or not these individuals remain constants in his life, the author openly shares lessons learned from each of them. These people may or may not have known prior to this release that a part of the author’s growth can be attributed to each of them. I also enjoyed reading his mother’s take on people, places and things, some of which only a mother of a teenage boy can relate. The clear message throughout One Day It’ll All Make Sense is that our life experiences shape us as human beings.

Because I am a fan of the hip-hop artist, actor, and now author, this book intrigued me because Common is widely known and accepted as a “conscious rapper,” who by my own definition speaks of relevant issues and not always the stereotypical.

The title is aptly fitting, sending a message that no matter what we go through “one day it’ll all make sense.”

For more on the author, please visit

Review by Tavares S. Carney

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*No compensation or gift-in-kind received for this review.