Give the Gift of Art – Alvin Ailey Dance Theater Returns to Atlanta

Alvin Ailey Dance Theater in Atlanta

Courtesy: AAADT Photo by Paul Kolnik

It’s coming down to the wire, you’re tired of braving the malls and traffic, but still need a perfect present for that special someone in your life.

Art is a wonderful gift and the Alvin Ailey Theater is returning to Atlanta’s Fabulous Fox Theater on February 15-19. This is going to be an awesome show for any lover of the performing arts.

The show is called, My Story, My Dance: Robert Battle’s Journey to Alvin Ailey. It’s based on the children’s book that details Battle’s life.  The storyline revolves around a young boy who has physical challenges and overcomes them to live a life filled with music, church and dance.

Raised in South Florida’s tough Liberty City, Battle overcame a lot to pursue a career in the arts. Watch his story:

This will be an amazing performance for the young and grown alike. The five night engagement includes special programs for Ailey fans, inviting them to experience the magic during Ailey Fan Night at an exclusive price of $25 as well as special ticket prices during the Family Matinee program which includes a post-performance.

And I have a special gift for you! One lucky MushyMamma family will win four tickets to the show!

Ticket giveaway for a family pack of 4 tickets. The family pack will be for the Ailey Fan Night performance on Wednesday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m

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Date Night at City Winery Atlanta

The Channels at City Winery Atlanta

The Channels at City Winery Atlanta

What woman doesn’t like surprises, and the better question is what woman doesn’t like a surprise date night?

I’ll be the first to tell you that my husband isn’t the best at either, so when he told me to find a babysitter for our son in early November, I didn’t know what to expect.

I can usually figure out what tricks he has up his sleeve, but not on this night. So I met him at a designated location, and that’s when he told me where we were going… City Winery Atlanta.

I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew it was at Ponce City Market, and that I was in for a treat.

Fun Times at City Winery Atlanta

In addition to a restaurant, they have a speakeasy and an amazing intimate concert venue downstairs. The concert venue is set up like a large comedy club and there are no bad seats. You can purchase tickets online and select your seat, no seat is more than 45 feet from the stage.

Photo taken by Kimberly Murray

Depending on the size of your party you may end up sharing the table with some new friends. Nothing wrong with meeting new people that you know you already have something in common with, since you are there to see the same artist.

When we arrived I found out that GZA (The Genius) from the Wu-Tang Clan was performing Liquid Swords.  We got there a bit early (doors typically open at 6pm and most show times are at 8pm), so as we settled in, I ordered a glass of wine of course, and we both ordered food (if you get there before 7pm you get a 20% discount on your food). Since we arrived about an hour before the show started there were not too many people there.  I didn’t even think the venue was going to fill up, but boy was I wrong.  Before I knew it, practically every seat was filled.

The show started with the interlude to GZA’s solo album Liquid Swords, and for an hour and a half, he rocked the crowd of Wu-Tang fans with hit after hit, song after song.

Though we’re in Atlanta, the chilled out audience knew the words and chanted along. There were some true fans in this audience. Amongst the many songs performed were, ODB’s “Shimmy Shimmy Ya,” Wu-Tang’s C.R.E.A.M, and the title track from Liquid Swords.

Being that I’m a New Yorker (from Long Island), this was a great night to celebrate hip-hop at its best. If you haven’t already I recommend you check out City Winery Atlanta. The service at City Winery was excellent, the food was great, and the show was amazing.

City Winery Atlanta has an eclectic mix of performances and if you keep your eye on the schedule, you’ll find the perfect date night entertainment for you and yours.

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A Halloween on the Darkside – Carving Kylo Ren Pumpkin

img_9410Devin loves this time of year. Most kids do, but when your birthday is right after Halloween, and that is followed up by Thanksgiving and Christmas, it’s pretty much a win-win-win-win.

Halloween is upon us, and Devin has taken a trip to the dark side. I’m not really sure how he got seduced to the dark side of the force and this year he decided to be Kylo Ren.

When we got the pumpkin, I already knew what my task would be.

Pumkin carving has become a tradition of sorts for Devin and me. We’ve been doing it since he was a little guy, and he’s always loved the orange gooey stuff.

This year is no different. I think he had the design picked out before we even got the pumpkin. If you’ve ever wondered how to make a cool jack-o-lantern, you just need a design, and a few tools and some patience and precision.

Devin is learning the art of speaking on camera and did an excellent job explaining the process.

It will be another awesome start to the holidays. May the force be with you.

This post was written by Mushy Mamma contributor, and my husband Amani Channel

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1st Instructional Guide On How To Raise Children

I am sure at some point all parents have said to themselves, “I wish they came with instructions.”   I know I have thought it on more than one occasion.  raising children is no joke.

Well guess what… one mother thought the same thing and decided she was going to do something about it. Darlene Brooks, a mother of four and parent coach and mentor, has written a book called, A Mother’s Manual.  This book serves as a straightforward and easy-to- follow guide of 100+ passages for mothers everywhere.

High Resolution Front Cover.5783557

This comprehensive guide helps point you in the right direction on how to nurture and positively shape your child’s life the best you can.  The books cover is a beautiful display of a mother’s love.  (Check back later this month when I share with you the story behind this artwork and how the author and artist are using it to help other moms.)

Being a good mother and raising a healthy, happy, and productive human being can be an overwhelming, thankless challenge at times.  Positive parenting not only affects your family but it can have a major impact on society as a whole.This book is sure to uplift and encourage moms at any level of parenting as well as serve as a reminder for those who already have the job down pat.

When reading this book, I thought to myself you know… I really need to do better with …

Visit my page again soon  I will share some of the passages that really resonated with me and how I am applying them as a mother.

A Mother’s Manual is currently available on Amazon, every mother should have a copy.

Buy one for yourself but also support another mom and buy them a copy as well.

Spread the word the 1st Instructional Guide On How To Raise Children is now available.

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{Family 4 Pack Giveaway} Cirque du Soleil KURIOS Atlanta


Cirque du Soleil is back in Atlanta with their  newest Big Top show, KURIOS™ – Cabinet of Curiosities.  KURIOS™ Cabinet of Curiosities will perform under the iconic blue and yellow big top at Atlantic Station March 3 – May 8.

This year we are in for a special treat for the first time ever Cirque du Soleil presents a welcoming act on top of the big top before the show starts.  When weather permits, 3 artists climb up the big top and greet the guests from above while playing music and acting. Guests get a taste of the KURIOS™ experience as soon as they enter the site.

Photo: Martin Girard / Costumes: Philippe Guillotel © 2014 Cirque du Soleil

Photo: Martin Girard / Costumes: Philippe Guillotel © 2014 Cirque du Soleil

About the show:

In an alternate yet familiar past, in a place where wonders abound for those who trust their imagination, a Seeker discovers that in order to glimpse the marvels that lie just below the surface, we must first learn to close our eyes.  In his larger-than-life curio cabinet, the Seeker is convinced that there exists a hidden, invisible world – a place where the craziest ideas and the grandest dreams await. A collection of otherworldly characters suddenly steps into his makeshift mechanical world.  When the outlandish, benevolent characters turn his world upside down with a touch of poetry and humor in an attempt to ignite the Seeker’s imagination, his curios jump to life one by one before his very eyes.


KURIOS™ – Cabinet of Curiosities is Cirque du Soleil’s 35th production since 1984. Cabinets of curiosities are the ancestors of museums, also known as cabinet of wonder in the Renaissance Europe. Aristocrats, members of the merchant class and early practitioners of science formed collections of historical relics, works of art or mysterious travel souvenirs or artifacts.

Want a sneak peek of the show check it out below

3 Curious Facts:

-Antanina Satsura, the artist who plays Mini Lili, is 3.2 feet tall and weighs 39 pounds. She is one of the 10th smallest people in the world.

-The mechanical hand weighs 750 pounds and measures 15 feet by 6.8 feet.

-More than a hundred costumes were created to dress the cast of KURIOS.

Get Tickets:

The kids are Kurios too!!  Mom and Dad, step into the curios cabinet of an ambitious inventor who defies the laws of time, space and dimension in order to reinvent everything around him.  Share the experience today with $25 kids tickets with the purchase of a full price adult ticket.   CLICK HERE and take advantage of this offer now!

**Offer Disclaimers:  Offer valid on select show dates and times while supplies last.  This offer may not be combined with other offers or applied to previously purchased tickets. 

TICKET GIVEAWAY: (tickets are for 8pm show on Thursday April 21, 2016)
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Have you seen Cirque du Soleil before? Ifso which production? What did you enjoy most?  (Comment below and let me know)


{Disclosure: I was  provided tickets for review and giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.}

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Alvin Ailey Back On Tour with new productions

Alvin Ailey Back On Tour with new productions

Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater is back on tour and here in Atlanta until February 14, 2016. It’s not to late to get tickets and if you haven’t already gotten a gift or decided how to celebrate… what an awesome gift idea for your Valentine.

Tickets are  available at The Fox Theatre box office, 660 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta GA or online at, or by calling 855-285-8499

Sunday’s performance is at 3pm and is perfect for the entire family.


Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater’s Matthew Rushing and Linda Celeste Sims in Ronald K. Brown’s Open Door. Photo by Paul Kolnik

Check out the Sunday’s performance line up:

Open Door, Ronald K. Brown’s sixth Ailey world premiere, driven by the music of Arturo O’Farrill and the Afro-Latin Jazz Orchestra. Ronald K. Brown is renowned for his signature blend of modern dance and West African idioms in works that often lead into deeper examinations of issues of spirituality, community responsibility, and liberation.The title Open Door hints at the power of dance and music in opening pathways to culture and compassion.

A new production of Cry, the physically and emotionally demanding solo created on Judith Jamison in 1971. It was a birthday present for Alvin Ailey’s mother and is dedicated to “all black women everywhere – especially our mothers.”
Awakening, Robert Battle’s first world premiere since becoming Artistic Director, featuring a dozen dancers on a cathartic journey accompanied by the complex orchestral music of composer John Mackey.

And just like all the other Atlanta Alvin Ailey performances the finale will be, Alvin Ailey’s signature must-see American classic, Revelations.

Revelations is always a crowd pleaser,but I must say my favorite piece this time around was Open Door.  The music was so upbeat and the extraordinary dancers really brought the story to life.

Have you had a chance to see any of the new productions? If so leave me a comment telling me which was your favorite.  If not what are you waiting for , get your ticket today.

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Valentine’s Day Around the World {Infographic} #ValentinesDay #GiftBasketsOverseas

Valentine's day traditions from around the World
Created by

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Write About an African-American Who Inspires You – You Could Win a Scholarship! #RidingForward

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by Regions Bank.  All opinions and descriptions are my own.

Write About an African-American Who Inspires You – You Could

Win a Scholarship!

Every student deserves an opportunity to move forward in their education and Regions Bank is helping make that a reality for some students.

In recognition of Black History Month, Regions Bank is continuing its tradition of celebrating the men and women who paved the way for future generations with the 2016 Regions Riding Forward® Scholarship Essay Contest. The scholarship program is in its fifth year and continues to gain momentum in helping students reach their education goals. In 2015, Regions surpassed more than $500,000 in total scholarships awarded.

Regions RFS Picture (2)

African-Americans have made an important impact in all areas of our lives.  You may have been most inspired by a historical figure’s contributions to science, technology, engineering, and math.  Or perhaps by his or her determination during the Civil Rights Movement.  Whether breaking world records in sports, performing heroic acts in times of war or serving our country in prominent government positions, African-Americans are moving the world forward.

Regions Bank is asking students which African-American inspires and motivates them and why? Students who answer this in a 500-word essay and enter the contest have an opportunity to win a scholarship.

Who’s Eligible?  High school seniors are eligible to enter for a $5,000 scholarship, while college freshmen, sophomores and juniors are eligible to enter for a $3,500 scholarship.

Entries will be accepted Jan.18 through Feb. 25. Official rules and complete entry details
and eligibility requirements are available on the Regions website:

Regions will select one high school winner and one college winner from each of the 16
states served by Regions Bank branches, for a total of 32 winners. Winners will be announced in May – June and scholarships awarded in July.

Regions is committed to diversity, inclusion and financial education.  Did you know … Regions offers an online African-American history course, developed by EverFi, to high school students at schools in select areas?

Which African-American has made an impact on your life, and how have they inspired or motivated you? Comment below and let me know!

Hear more from Regions Bank @AskRegions.

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Spring Surprises at Six Flags Over Georgia

Over the last year and a half Six Flags Over Georgia has been doing some major expanding and they are not done yet. First they added the all new Hurricane Harbor in 2014,  then two new devious rides in Gotham City in 2015, now they are about to go all out for the younger kiddies. Spring 2016, there will not only be one new kids’ area but two.

They are going to take the original Dolphin Show area, which has remained at the park since the 1990’s, and transform it into the epicenter for the all-new DC Super Friends kids’ area.  Also they are revamping The park’s current children’s area, Bugs Bunny World, and it will be re-themed to Bugs Bunny Boomtown

SFOG DCWB Combo Key Art

Bugs Bunny Boomtown will feature seven attractions, including:

  • Daffy Ducks Bucket Blasters, a wild and crazy family water battle;
  • Speedy Gonzales Speed Boats, where guests will be screaming “Andale Andale” on six speed boats;
  • Bugs Bunny High Sea Adventure, a chance to fly through the air on a junior sea-worthy quest;
  • Yosemite Sam’s Wacky Wagons, an old western spin on a junior ferris wheel perfect for junior cowpokes;
  • Looney Tunes Adventure Camp, an interactive playground with Bugs Bunny and all the Looney Tunescharacters;
  • Acme Trucking Company, a monster truck driving voyage to help Wile E. Coyote try to capture the Road Runner; and
  • Tweety’s Tweehouse, a 20-foot up and down journey into the little chirping bird’s nest.

DC Super Friends is the world’s first DC themed kids’ zone, and feature DC superheroes including Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.  This new area will include 5 pint sized attractions including:

  • Superman Tower of Power, which releases the dare devil in the bravest of souls throughout this 65-foot tall bouncing thrill ride
  • The Batcopters, an opportunity to help save the City of Gotham by flying high in the sky
  • Wonder Woman Flight School, where pilots can take flight and control their own invisible jet
  • Harley Quinn Mirror Maze, filled with dis-proportioned mirrors and devious stares
  • The Joker Funhouse Coaster, the ultimate family thrill ride to show no fear and conquer the Super-Villain through 900 feet of track at 30 miles per hour.

Bugs Bunny Boomtown  is scheduled to open for the 2016 season in early spring and the DC Super Friends themed area is scheduled to open Memorial Day weekend.

I know what we will be doing this spring.  Start planning now because the way time is flying spring will be here before you know it.

Six Flags Over Georgia is now selling 2016 Season Passes for as low as $61.99.

Visit to learn more about what the park has to offer and to purchase your pass now!

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Atlanta Schools Get a Boost from Think It Up #StaplesforStudents

Every school year, public school teachers spend hundreds of their hard earned dollars on school supplies for their students.

That can be a financial burden because we all know that teachers are hardly boss ballin.

So what do you do when one of the nation’s largest, office supplies stores steps in to lend a hand?…. Celebrate of course.

Staples, along with “ambassadors” for the Entertainment Industry Foundation’s (EIF) new “Think It Up” initiative and, held a pep rally of sorts at Ralph J. Bunche Middle School in Atlanta to make a major announcement that will positively impact teachers and students around the country.

Danielle Campbell, Carrie McElwee, Tom Chiodo, Kristina Joye Lyles, Meria Carstarphen Think It Up is a program of the Entertainment Industry Foundation.  Think It Up in partnership with, have decided to  launch a platform to fund student-powered, teacher-led learning projects in classrooms across the country.

Staples has a long history of supporting students, teachers and classrooms. Staples for Students is an ongoing campaign that helps students and teachers with the school supplies and essential items needed for a successful education. Staples has pledged to donate some 10-million dollars to schools nationwide through the “Think It Up” program.

This first of its kind coalition of organizations EIF announced that Atlanta Public School district has been chosen as their first recipient in their flash funding event through their “Think It Up” initiative which is just in time for the start of 2015 school year.

Atlanta Public School district is really winning with this generous donation.  In fact Staples came in and funded every project submitted on for the Atlanta Public School district.  More than 200 Atlanta Public schools will benefit from over $260,000 in donations.  Teachers and students will now be able to get the much needed supplies and resources they need to have a better, brighter school year.

This really excited APS Superintendent Dr. Meria Carstarphen, and she wasn’t afraid to show it.  I really loved her energy you could tell she cares about the teachers, students and of course education.

It’s nice to see businesses and nonprofits working together to help our teachers and students have an amazing school year.

Danielle Campbell, Carrie McElwee, Tom Chido,  Jovita Moore, Kristina Joye Lyles, Meria Carstarphen, Mario Watkins

Want to join in and help support  the Think It Up movement, you can donate one dollar at a Staples store near you or visit to learn more.

Disclosure: In exchange for me sharing this good news I received a promotional item.

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