HIV Vaccine Awareness Day

The day is May 18th, 1998 and Bill Clinton gave a speech that challenged the way health pandemics would be handled entirely.

At Morgan State University, Clinton spoke about the HIV/AIDS worldwide pandemic and how our population in America could make a difference.
“So let us today set a new national goal for science, in the age of biology.
Today let us commit ourselves to developing an AIDS vaccine within the next decade,” said Clinton.

The speech was monumental because not only was progress being pursued, but the pandemic was finally being recognized in all of its horror and need for acknowledgment.

Today, it’s common to hear about safe sex and how to live with HIV/AIDS once one has contracted the disease. Luckily, HIV/AIDS is no longer totally a death sentence in countries with access to healthcare. Therapeutic drugs and treatments are available for those that live with the diagnosis. However, in recent years, there has been a costly spike in price in most medications required for HIV/AIDS sufferers.

In the world of science, the best way to avoid contracting HIV/AIDS is by getting vaccinated. In order to be administered the drug, you must be enrolled in a clinical trial. Although over 30,000 people have enrolled in these trials, the Food and Drug Administration still hasn’t approved the vaccine. Because the trials are so recent and progress has changed so much in the last 20 years, there isn’t a consistent or totally available database of longterm results with the trials.
However, the patients enrolled and administered the vaccine have never contracted the disease. 

As of last year, there was a new mosaic approach underway as a vaccination to prevent HIV/AIDS. The mosaic approach suggests that the vaccine contain genes from all over the world; which would then be more effective and universal.

As the search for a cure continues, the next best thing is get vaccinated. In celebration of 20 years since Clinton’s speech, people around the nation recognize today as HIV/AIDS Vaccination Awareness Day. Staying educated is the best way to stay ahead.
Share your acknowledgement by tweeting #HVAD on twitter
and share this article on facebook!

Thanks for reading friends,
and may we be the generation that finally gets ahead of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.



Wag-Worthy Fact: CBD oil is good for your pup!

Earlier this week, I was driving around town in my little red car.
I stopped at a red light and noticed a sign to my right that read:

“Get CBD oil for your dog here!”

I stared and stared, thinking I was reading it incorrectly.
The car behind me honked; I broke my gaze and drove away chuckling.

I live in Orlando, Fl. The city is a great big melting pot, encompassing all walks of life;
including people who sell CBD oil to pet owners. This prompted me to do a bit of research so that I could share it with you all.


CBD oil is created from high CBD and low THC hemp product. CBD stands for cannabinoid and naturally occurs in marijuana plants. The most commonly thought of marijuana plants are grown for the purpose of harvesting and drying the flowers (nugs) and consuming them for the effects of the THC, which is what gets you high. Plants that are grown with a high CBD content and low THC content are utilized in various helpful ways.
For example, CBD oil reduces anxiety and stress while relieving pain.

CBD oil has been utilized on seizure patients and those suffering from Parkinson’s disease. Another notable fact about CBD oil is that it is non-psychoactive; or in regular terms, it doesn’t get you high. Therefore, it is totally safe for you animal to consume.


When would be an appropriate time to consider using CBD oil with your dog?
Maybe your animal has separation anxiety or is very sensitive to loud noises like thunder. Or maybe your animal gets aggressive or anxious around other people or dogs.

CBD oil can help soothe your animal, so that they can live their best life as your best friend. CBD oil is even claimed to fight cancer in dogs as well! The oil can help with heart health and greatly improve your dog’s appetite.


For the best results, a high quality CBD oil will truly benefit your pet. You can adjust the doses by drops or even buy treats for them with the CBD oil already infused.
You dog will be thanking you in a plethora of kisses soon enough!

Thanks for reading, much love!

I do not own these pictures.

Tasting, Toasting and Hosting with Ashanti Middleton


New York’s own entrepreneur Ashanti Middleton,
is a black female with a brand all her own, married to her wife of two years. Her food and drink review channel “Taste and Toast” has gained a following and a prominent internet residency through her website and youtube channel.

What set her a part from all the other channels and reviewers was her distinct passion for the entire process, while staying true to her authenticity.


“I went to college for business management. I found a passion in film and entertainment afterwards,” said Middleton. “I’m like a self proclaimed food connoisseur. It really comes from a passion of wanting to go out and try new foods. So I took that, in addition to me loving the entertainment industry, in addition to me wanting to help.”

She described to me that her ultimate goal is to drive more traffic into these
cheers-worthy bars and delectable restaurants,
while growing her personal platform.

Her many years of experience in retail, customer service and product management gift her the understanding of creating an entire dining experience.
This gives her a leg up to reviewing all types of eateries.
I asked her to describe the overall process of reviewing a location and to detail her experience thus far.

“We profile the business as a whole, the ambiance, the history of the restaurant, and then of course, the food,” said Middleton.
“My favorite reviewing experience was when I went to go visit a Thai restaurant in Brooklyn called Samui. What I usually do is tell the owners to prepare two dishes and two drinks.
They prepared 30 dishes and 20 drinks.
We were eating all day!”

I had a moment of rethinking what I was doing with my life; free food and drinks? It sounds too good to be true. Of course, I then had to follow up with asking about some of the biggest struggles that parent the experience of entrepreneurship.

“Right now I’ve been able to self finance everything. As you grow and as you become more in demand, you need more money. I don’t get any money for shooting but I’m still paying my videographers,
so it’s like an investment. I don’t want to say I’m losing money, but it is money out of my pocket,” said Middleton.

As a Human Resources manager with a local retailer, she is able to fund her channel entirely on her own. Middleton hopes that her next obstacle can be one building atop her current journey. She aspires to be picked up by a major platform; ie a TV or or major digital channel.
Taste and Toast has even been featured in the Huffington Post.
Click here to see the article.

The idea for the channel Taste and Toast originated from Middleton and her close friends several years ago.

“I have two best friends of 25 years and we were brain storming for maybe 3 days. We came up with a whole bunch of names. And finally I came up with the name, Taste and Toast. I said ‘I like Taste and Toast, because that’s what I want to do!
It was a name for keeps,” said Middleton.

Beyond her personal youtube channel and website,
Middleton has other projects as well.

“I have another venture too, my wine. I have two business partners and it’s called Esrever,” said Middleton.


“We were at the table, drinking, probably 6 or 7 years ago,
me and my two best friends of 25 years were like,
‘What would it be like to own your own wine business? How do you even do that?”
Middleton shared more on the beginning of creating her wine brand.

“We just started with the basics, what type of wine would we like to taste and then we came up with some names. We were throwing a whole bunch of names out there. They give me credit for the wine name as well,” said Middleton.

If you look closely, you’ll see that the name Esrever,
pronounced Ehz-reh-veer,
is actually
Reverse spelled backwards. The name is catchy and flows well.

Middleton’s biggest inspiration is her friend that she refers to as her younger brother, David; he’s integrated as an actor in the entertainment industry.
“He’s 27 now and I knew him when he was 18. I was around him when he first dibbled and dabbled into the acting field and now he does work for the Food Network and all types of stations. He’s really prominent in his field,” said Middleton.
“So watching him go to auditions, get turned down and get picked up, get paid gigs and just go through this, I began to love it just by follow him to his gigs.
I grew an interest and took it from there.”

Middleton also hosts food related events as well. Her MC persona thrives when she’s hosting and shooting new episodes at these events.


“I’m happy to say that I’ve been picked up as an
official media partner for Famous Food Festival. It’s this big food festival that happens every year and they go on tour, so they’re coming here July 14 and 15th,” said Middleton.
The festival is put on by Eric and Ryan; Middleton will be their media partner for the festival.

“I’m also the host and media partner for Bronze magazine. They’re having their second annual pop-up event, a pop-up shop, which is May 12th.” Between Middleton’s successes, she unfortunately has received some push back because of her identity. However, she remains collected and unbothered when speaking about it.

“I do have two companies that didn’t want to work with me because I’m gay. I did experience that. But it doesn’t bother me. None of that bothers me at all. It’s their choice, it’s what they want to do. So I just keep going,” said Middleton.

When I asked her about how companies have embraced the gay community, she elaborated.

“Most companies use it as a selling point. Like a a lot of companies. Even if they don’t agree, that’s what’s in now, accepting homosexuality. If you talk bad about the homosexual society, they’ll come after you. So if they find out that your business doesn’t support homosexuality, you have a big battle against you. So a lot of companies welcome it because it just helps their business grow, even if they’re doing it selfishly,” said Middleton.

Middleton’s ambition precedes her persona in the reviewing and entertainment industry. Her hard work and emphasis on direction forward amplifies her strength in character and passion for her work.

The key to this is consistency. There are days where I just want to throw in the towel. Like more than not, honestly. There’s a lot of days that I go through being discouraged, but you have to remain consistent,” said Middleton.

Surrounding herself with positive influences makes all the difference as well.

“I really find the most joy in talking to people that are like me, that are like minded and that are in something that they want to grow. I love that. Like regular people that are trying to build their dream.”

Here’s one of my favorite reviewing videos from her channel.
Episode 6 – Sneak Peak #Extra Taste Coco-Roco

Keep an eye out for Taste and Toast, Esrever, and Ashanti Middleton
as she climbs the ladder to all her successes.

You can find her social media platforms here:
Taste and Toast
Taste & Toast
Taste and Toast Channel

The 10 Best Ways To Use A Planner

In a world full of technology and online advancements, I still use an old school planner. As a spatial (visual) and kinesthetic (physical) learner, I’ve always enjoyed seeing exactly what I need to do and how I can achieve it.
Utilizing a planner keeps me on my A-game and has transformed my level of productivity from moderate to full speed ahead.
Here’s how using a planner can help improve your life.

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  1. I typically start by writing in what days I work and the hours of duration. Visualizing how much time you spend at work will show you when you actually have free time. Be honest with yourself. Include your driving to and from work to know exactly how much time you are investing. Where can you squeeze in breaks? Can you make calls on those breaks? Write it all down.
  2. Once you’ve done this, you’ll be able to spend more of your free time, freely.  When you’re able to visualize how much time you need to work , you can then block time for your chores and appointments. Once you see how everything flows, your free time won’t be filled with miscellaneous tasks.
  3. When you see that you have days with lighter work loads, you can plan your workouts accordingly. Physical health typically affects mental health. To make sure you are at your best, be prioritizing some sort of physical activity often. My personal rule is that working out rigorously should happen 3-4 times per week. On the days I don’t work out, I will walk or spend time outside moving around. When I stick with this , my body releases more endorphins which improves my mental state. Planning time for physical betterment will help the rest of your life flow.IMG_2842 2
  4. I try to coordinate meetings and appointments in a cohesive manner so I can remain punctual. This one is really important. Punctuality is important in the professional world. There aren’t many applaudable excuses to miss a meeting, or to be late. An excuse is still an excuse. If it takes you a certain amount of time to get ready and transport somewhere, include all of that in your planner. Schedule it out so you can arrive or engage in a timely manner. Allow yourself more time than you expect in case you go over the regular duration of your meetings so you aren’t scrambling to get somewhere after.
  5. Health related appointments will become a priority when you begin to use a planner. Scheduling doctors/dentist appointments in advance saves you the hassle of wondering when you even went to the doctors last. Schedule appointments a couple of months – even 6 months in advance – and write them in your planner immediately. That way when you look at your week ahead, there are no surprises. If you need to reschedule when the time comes, you can. But at least it will already be a priority in motion.
  6. Once you’ve begun to fill out your planner, you will find that you have more time than you think. Now you can ponder, where are you wasting your time? How often are you mindlessly scrolling through Facebook or Instagram?
    To solve this problem, allow yourself a designated amount of time daily to utilize social media and stick to it. You don’t always have to pencil it in daily when you want to spend time on social media. However, if you are able to apply this rule, you will find that you often have an extra hour or two daily to utilize in other ways.
  7. You will be able to visualize goals and put them on a tangible timeline. I personally love to think about my goals for the week on Sundays or Mondays. Am I prioritizing something in my professional life? Or have I been working really hard, and need to prioritize my personal life? Is there a passion project I want to finish this week?
    Maybe start with a simple goal like setting a regular bedtime for yourself or practicing a hobby 2 times that week. Write it down on two specific days or write down the time that you need to be done with everything daily so you can make it in bed by that designated time. Feel free to review your planner throughout your day as a reference point.
  8. You can schedule in your passion projects and up productivity. Hold yourself accountable. Accountability is the name of the game here.
    If you write down that you will plan your project Monday evening, buy supplies Tuesday evening, work Wednesday-Friday evenings on the project and be finished by Saturday, then that sounds do-able. Schedule yourself a specific time limit to work on whatever “it” is daily. Be realistic and know that you can’t finish everything in a day. Patience and consistency are the keys.
  9. Utilizing a planner will present a clear vision of what needs to get done each day according to your values and positive habits.
    Your values dictate your actions. Your actions become your habits.
    So if you say you value health and wellness, but only cook yourself dinner once a week and never make it to the gym, you’re not really letting your habits reflect your values. If you need to change your actions, write down the ways you can do that. Then schedule them out in a realistic fashion. Once you have your actions dictated, follow through on them. Do this a few weeks, and those actions will become habits. Bam, your habits reflect your values!
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  10. Lastly, your finances will become understood much more clearly. You’ll be able to pay your bills on time, thus also saving you money. This is the aspect that makes it all possible. Sure, it’s easy to say you’ll make time for that vacation or redo your bedroom at some point. But have you looked at the costs or the planning required? Schedule yourself time once a month to go over your budget and analyze how you can get to where you want to be in a financially responsible manner.
    Will you have to work more? Will you need to save more? Incorporate these answers into your weekly goals and then pick the actions to make them possible. Write down bills ahead of time so you know what costs are coming and again, be honest with yourself.

    I have found that my life came together quite well and is still only improving because of the organization that using a planner provides. Time management and consistency are the not so secret keys to success. Sit down once a week, preferably at the beginning, and schedule it all out. I wish you all the most success and good vibes! Thanks for reading. Much love.

The Main Squeeze: Music Monday

Happy Monday!
Just Kidding, Monday’s usually aren’t everyone’s favorite.
Fortunately, I’ve come up with a list of songs to help you decompress after a long day.

Drip by Cardi B (Feat. Migos)
First of all, Cardi B’s new album is entirely flawless. Since I could only pick one song, I had to pick this one because it’s so catchy. It’s the ultimate hype song. Play this one while your work day is coming to a close. You made it through the day!

Wake Me Up by Avicii
With the recent passing of Tim, it’s completely appropriate to feel a little nostalgic with this song. This song puts me in the present moment immediately and reminds me that no matter where I am, I am exactly where I should be in this life.
Rest Easy Tim and thank you for all the incredible music you created.

Take The Money and Run by Steve Miller Band
An oldie but a goodie. This song is perfect for when you feel like you’re hanging on by the skin of your teeth. Stuck in traffic? Your boss is still blowing you up? Kids making you feel like you can’t take it anymore? It’s all good because you can. Go on, take the money and run. Or just listen to some Steve Miller Band and vibe out for a bit.

Morocco by Moon Taxi
You made it home after a long day but you’ve still got a full list of things to get done. It’s the perfect jam to set the tone for coming back to the present moment and it’ll keep you moving.

Space for Two by Mr. Probz
This is one of those back roads, in your feels, type of song. Maybe you need to go for a drive after your Monday, so play this song while you do it. The lyrics will fulfill your craving for sappy lyrics with a smooth strumming guitar and a flowing beat. You’ll be yearning for your significant other by the end of this song, or at least Mr. Probz.

Nice For What by Drake
Drake is here to tell you, it’s alright. You’ll get through it and it’s all good. This song will have you grinding through all your work you had to bring home or get you going for your evening workout and set your mood to high productivity mode.

Chop Suey! by System Of A Down
So you’re ready to blast through that work out and get the most out of it? Stick your headphones in and just blast this one. A little metal never hurt anyone! Besides, this song will have you push through your sets with all the extra umph you need.

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Marinade by DOPE LEMON
Now it’s time to cool down and chill out. You’ve gotten through your to do list and done all that you can for the day. Take this time to reflect and listen to the spoken word lyrics with the easy-going beat. You’ll be tapping your foot thinking, Monday’s aren’t so bad after all.

Thanks for reading!
Much love.

Disclaimer: I do not own any of these pictures. All images from google images.