Healthy Cooking Options in Baltimore.

12 May

Baltimore Sun Newsmaker Forum: An Evening with Anthony Brown

24 Jan


Last week I had the pleasure of attending this event where Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown shared his vision for moving Maryland forward and fielded some heavy questions from the moderator, Baltimore Sun’s editorial page editor Andrew A. Green, event and online participants.
I am reporting a summary of the evening and as with any blog post, I did a little research. I concluded that Anthony Brown is the man he says he is and the statements and facts presented here are intended to give you amazing readers an opportunity to make an informed decision on why Anthony G. Brown should be Maryland’s next Governor. Happy reading and don’t forget to comment!


I walked in as Lt. Governor Anthony Brown was speaking about healthcare as it relates to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Maryland Health Benefits Exchange, Health Information Exchange (HIE), Health Enterprise Zones (HEZs), and the Maryland Medicaid Waiver.

Affordable Care Act & the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange

Anthony Brown is a strong advocate for the ACA as now Marylanders can purchase affordable health care and not be turned down for pre existing conditions.

In regards to the Maryland Health Benefits Exchange Anthony stated that so far they have enrolled 175k since the site launched on  10/1/13. Anthony publicly apologized for the trouble some users faced in purchasing insurance plans. He expressed that he was deeply disappointed with the issues the site was having as the site was set up with a board and staff, and it was not until one week before the launch that he learned there would be volume issues.

Anthony has spoken with residents across Maryland who thanked the Administration for continuing to make progress on healthcare issues and how importation the Affordable Care Act is for their families as Maryland expects leaders that will continue get the job done.
Anthony acknowledged that this was an opportunity to reevaluate and make appropriate changes concerning the site so that in March, Marylanders can purchase insurance from the federal site.

Health Information Exchange

The Maryland Health Information Exchange took effect in October 2010 and connects all 48 Maryland hospitals, laboratories, doctors, and radiology centers to exchange patient information. The Chesapeake Regional Information System for Our Patients (CRISP), is a non profit organization that was selected by Maryland Health Care Commission to manage the Health Information Exchange. They have reported that there are measures in place to protect patient privacy while allowing physicians real time access to records. Ideally, the record sharing will help doctors with efficiency in providing diagnoses, treatments, and prevention remedies.

A great article on this topic can be found at


Health Enterprise Zones

The information on this topic has been directly obtained from

On 1/17/12, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown introduced legislation that created the Health Enterprise Zones.
The primary focus of the legislation was the creation of the Health Enterprise Zones (HEZs). HEZs are designed to reduce health disparities among Maryland’s racial and ethnic groups and between geographic areas, improve health care access and health outcomes, and reduce health care costs by providing a variety of incentives to defined geographic areas with high rates of disparities.

According to the United Health Foundation, Maryland ranks 35th in infectious diseases, 34th in health outcomes, and 33rd regarding geographic health disparities, despite numerous positive measures, such as having the 2nd highest rate of primary care providers per capita and one of the ten lowest rates of smoking.

Originally funded with $4 million allocated to the Community Health Resources Commission, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown announced on 1/24/13 the first five HEZs which are:

Capitol Heights in Prince George’s County,

Greater Lexington Park in St. Mary’s County,

Dorchester and Caroline Counties,

West Baltimore, and Annapolis.

Community coalitions in each area will receive a range of incentives, benefits, and grant funding to address unacceptable and persistent health disparities.

Maryland Medicaid Waiver

In the 1970’s Barbara Mikulski introduced this  initiative as MD is the only state that sets reimbursement rates for hospitals. Charging higher reimbursement fees gives hospitals the ability to operate within budget constraints as hospital profits are no longer based on volume.

Anthony highlighted that in Southern Maryland during an increase of asthma cases, they implemented Wellness programs and prevention campaigns in schools and throughout the community. This is a comprehensive approach to providing prevention to conditions like diabetes and asthma.

MD leads the way in a number of ways when it comes to healthcare and when the legislation was recently renewed, it was called innovative.

Global payments are incentives for hospitals to push care out into the community. 80% of health care costs are for diabetes and asthma, illnesses in which can be prevented and or reduced.

Anthony hit on a number of points for education specifically concerning prekindergarten expansion, testing, charter schools, and school construction.

Prekindergarten Expansion


One of Anthony Brown’s campaign objectives is to by 2018, have implemented universal prekindergarten for the entire state of Maryland. As Governor, Anthony Brown has stated that he will use enhanced gaming revenue to help fund this initiative.              

In addition, on January 16, 2014, in a news conference in Annapolis, MD with House Speaker Michael Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Anthony Brown announced that Governor Martin O’Malley has allocated 4.3 million to expand prekindergarten to about 1,600 children who reside in households that are up to 300 percent of the federal poverty. As reported by WBAL-TV, Brown emphasized the educational advantages prekindergarten has for children.

This way, by the time they get to kindergarten they are ready to learn,” Lt Governor Anthony Brown.

This measure would bring about creating a pre-K expansion fund for businesses and philanthropic entities to contribute money to support future expansion and will be managed by The Maryland State Department of Education.

Question from Audience: Should we administer the Maryland School Assessments this year?


Anthony’s response:
Everyday, when my son Jonathan studies, I make sure he is using the right books. We should not administer the test until we have accurately designed the assessment and see effectiveness of the delivery of the curriculum.

States can request a waiver but assuming the risk of forfeiting federal dollars must be assessed as in 2010, MD was 1 of 8 jurisdictions that received  Race to the Top to support educational progress.

Anthony addressed that educators need training, resources, and time to prepare lesson plans.

Question from the audience, Do you think the state charters schools are a good idea?

Anthony’s response:
I support charter schools and we should look at the laws that govern them.  In addition, we need to support the facilities in which the schools open.


School Construction

1.1 billion dollar investment in Baltimore City Schools due to dilapidated buildings and facility upgrades as all students should be able to learn in a technology setting.

First year of the O’Malley Brown Administration, we invested 400 million statewide in school construction and have  averaged 340 million each year. 280 million being allocated this year.

Revenue source for capital investments are a predictable steady streams that can be leveraged in the bond market. Maryland is one of eight states to receive a triple A bond rating. Increased enrollment in Montgomery and Prince Georges in addition to dilapidated facilities and overcrowding are why school construction has been a priority for the Administration.

Background on School Construction Spending

1/10/12 press release obtained here reports the following:


Governor Martin O’Malley Announces More Than $370 Million in School Construction Funding and Upgrades for Maryland Public Schools

January 10th, 2012

Funds will support an estimated 11,650 jobs for Maryland the O’Malley-Brown Administration will propose more than $370 million in school construction funding and upgrades for Maryland public schools in the FY2013 budget to support an estimated 11,650 jobs with the local dollars these funds will leverage. The Governor is proposing more than $350 million in capital funding for the Public School Construction Program (PSCP), the second highest single-year funding level in State history, bringing the Administration’s six-year school construction commitment to $1.94 billion and creating an estimated 2,400 direct construction jobs each year over the last six years (including FY2013).

Additionally, the Administration will include $15.3 million in the Qualified Zone Academy Bond Program (QZAB), under which the State sells bonds and allocates proceeds to public schools…Maryland is one of only eight states to maintain a Triple A Bond Rating.

School Construction Success Story

On 2/17/10 Lt. Governor Anthony Brown had given


Oxon Hill Elementary in Prince Georges County a check for $2.1 million to provide walls for the school’s open classrooms. Overall, 28 million dollars was set aside for the Prince George’s County School System for facility upgrades.

Crime in Baltimore

Anthony’s response: We need robust partnerships where the state does not dictate but support community policing.
Maryland has experienced statewide downwards trend in violent crimes by using  violence prevention tactics in conjunction with technology, information sharing, and training. We need to look at drug abuse as a health issue and not just a safety issue.

Question from the audience: Should the state build a new jail in Baltimore?

In the Baltimore City Detention Center we will continue to increase usage of  technology to keep inmates and correctional officers safe and no more hiding behind bill of rights for rogue officers, and  decrease contraband.

7 years ago, we closed Jessup, a notoriously violent facility.

We should seek to also invest in other facilities that prevent jails like schools and recreation facilities.

Medical Marijuana and Decriminalizing Marijuana

Anthony supports medical marijuana, the issue here is looking at the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado and should we be treating small amounts of marijuana as a criminal acts with arresting and processing. Must step up education in our schools that we are not condoning using marijuana but we are looking at when we arrest people for marijuana, the rates are the same in white and black neighborhoods;however it creates a greater problem when a black man gets a possession record and goes to apply for housing or a job.

This now concludes the summary of the forum but before you go, check out these pictures of the Brown Campaign participating in the Baltimore Annual M.L.K. Day Parade where Lt. Governor Anthony Brown and kids joined in the fun, and I got to take a picture with Anthony!



Adega Wine Cellars & FLO Wines

4 Jul

Last year I had the pleasure of seeing world reowned jazz artist Marcus Johnson again although this time it was for the love of wine, FLO Wine that is.

FLO Wine, part of FLO Brands, produces and sells two types of wine – a Chardonnay and a Red Blend. The wine is bottled in northern California and created using grapes from the best appellations around the state.

FLOsophy: Our philosophy is to create wines that are an exceptional value for our consumers and that appeal to a wide audience. For the 2010 FLO Red Blend, we started with a smooth, silky Merlot and blended Cabernet Sauvignon to add a backbone and lengthen the finish. Petite Sirah contributed bright upfront fruit on both the nose and palate. The 2010 FLO Chardonnay is a well-balanced, fruit forward wine. We blended a small amount of Viognier to add floral notes and the slight sweetness of Riesling to enhance the fruit flavors and soften the finish.

I tasted both the red and white was they both were delectable!
Now if you don’t know about Adega Wine Cellars & Cafe, you my friend are simply missing out one of the best gourmet food and wines in downtown Silver Spring.

Adega Wine Cellars & Cafe opened in August, 2003 by Walter Rhee, who wanted a neighborhood establishment where he could meld his love of gourmet cooking and passion for fine wine. Over the years, Adega has transformed from a quiet cafe to a bustling neighborhood gathering place, all the while maintaining its unique concept, character, and style. We are proud to have been one of the pioneers of the revitalization of Downtown Silver Spring, and look forward to continuing to be an integral part of this vital community, and a leading voice for independent, locally-owned business.

Adega Wine Cellars & Cafe
8519 Fenton Street
Silver Spring, MD 20910

Visit them today as I highly reccomend the

Smokin’ Turkey Reuben
Grilled panini-style sandwich with oven-roasted turkey, havarti cheese, white wine-reduced sauerkraut, and asian pear cranberry chutney on rustic bread.

and it pairs well with the 2010 FLO Red Blend.

















Doin’ it BUBBA STYLE! Custom Cars, TV Stars, Old Town Charm

11 Jun


Most geniuses I meet wear a suit and have a snazzy set of initials after their name. This modern day Albert Einstein, goes by the name Bubba, no fancy suit, just a normal young man who happens to be the youngest ASE Certified Master Technician with one of the highest rated shows on cable. I suppose it does not hurt that Bubba is not bad on the eyes either.

Bubba was born 7/28 and from as early as age 4, he showed a strong aptitude for cars. At age 7, his father, Tom Lloyd, made a choice many parents are tasked with, believing in your children. Tom took on a part time job at Advanced Auto and would often take Bubba with him to expose him to the industry. By age 8, Bubba was awarded his Doctorate of Motors and would continue to show just what a child can accomplish with the right prodding. He was inducted into the Gusiness World Book of Records for holding the premier distinction of being the youngest ASE Certified Technician.

When Bubba was 15, he told his dad he wanted to open a hot rod shop. Tom was working downtown as an accountant making 125,000 a year, stable job with benefits. Yet he did not hesitate to walk away from that and help Bubba realize his dream.  He took a job at an auto shop that paid significantly less than 125K a year but by the time Bubba was 19, he became the World’s youngest ASE Certified Master Technician.

So how is working for your son, who happens to be a tv star and master mechanic? Tom replied: “No fighting or arguing. Yeah sometimes I yell at situations but never at my son. We build for everyone and I’m a blessed man.” Now I know where Bubba gets his good looks, smarts, and humble personality. Truly a father and son team.

Bubba walks right up to me and says “hey don’t I know you,” what a charmer.  Given that his business is certainly a stand out, I asked him who he felt was his closest competitor?” He replied, “no one as everything is done here.” Something that clearly sets him apart from the others. The shop was opened in 2003 with only $2500. Bubba further explained that there was never a job he didn’t feel he could do and loves a challenge.

Bubba’s Custom Cars, boasts an old town charm that is replicated in the vintage décor.  From Coca-Cola collectible to a miniature jukebox, its like a blast from past only they still provide the modern accessories like rims and music systems. The shop is situated next to the proposed Kitty Poser Park, which currently is a gravel parking lot next to Fire Station #3 restaurant. A new park will replace it. The new park is slated to have a concert area, markets, and street fair, ice skating rink and a splash fountain. All they need is a drive in movie theatre and I’d pack my poodle skirt and saddle shoes quicker than a New York minute.

While Bubba has high profile clients like a good friend of my friend, James Brown of CBS Sports, they are very active in local community. Bubba’s frequently does tours with children to encourage them to stay in school. When I snapped a picture of Bubba using a saw, it reminded me of why math, science, and art are so important in the early years.

The rest of the shop members that I was fortunate to meet were equally awesome. Diesel, an English Bull Dog is the official mascot of the shop. What a beauty their Pinstripe and Pinup Model Layla Von Athey is. Her work has been featured worldwide and was mentored by pinstripe legends such as East Coast Artie and Tramp. I hugged her and thanked for representing beauty and brains! Rob the office manager was so polite and gave me a nice pre-tour of the shop.

The shop features a studio and in 2009, Bubbas Custom Cars won a Silver Telly Award for their tv show.  They started with 15 million homes a week and the new show  is projected to reach 80 million homes, not bad. Opening a new shop in FL, expect more locations in the future as this guys have a bright future and I truly thank for letting me hang out with them. Tom promised to invite me to the viewing parties, can’t wait  🙂

View the pics:

Check them out at:

Bubbas East Coast Rods & Customs Phone: (703)766-0295
9494 Fairfax Blvd. Fax: (703)766-0327
Fairfax, VA 22031
Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:00pm EST

Montpelier, VT- A Sensational Travel Destination

4 Jun


Montpelier, Capitol of Vermont and home to some of the finest offerings of the arts and live entertainment.  Come experience the old city charm of the present statehouse which dates back to 1859 and boasts a variety of family friendly recreational activities. For the sophisticated traveler, the Capitol city nightlife is vibrant with concert halls, chic lounges, and exotic culinary options.

When booking your next vacation to Montpelier, be sure to let  customize your travel package. The city is within close proximity to Burlington International Airport (BTV) and Lebanon Municipal Airport (LEB).  Booking your next flight is a breeze with where you can find the best fares. Of course the premier destination guide for hotel accommodations is none other than

Experience what life in Vermont was like in the early 1800’s by visiting the many museums and art galleries Montpelier is home to. highly recommends you start your tour with the Vermont Historical Society, adjacent to the State House. Tours are available Tuesday—Saturday, 10:00 am-4:00 pm and the museum is closed on state and federal holidays.

Next we suggest the none other than the Vermont State House as the House and Senate chambers are the oldest in the nation and still in their original condition. From July through October, tours are available on the half hour, Monday –Friday 10:00-3:30pm. The summer and fall are busy months in Montpelier so strongly urges groups to call ahead and reserve a tour.

Throughout the year, the Montpelier Heritage Group features lectures, slide shows, and discussions on historic preservation. Their signature annual event is the Victorian Ice Cream Social and Croquet Tournament in July. Montpelier is infamously known as the birth place of Admiral George Dewey and they honor Naval servicemen and women at the USS Montpelier Museum. These and many other attractions help Montpelier rank 6th in the nation for historical destinations. Book your trip with today.

What vacation is complete without recreation? Check out Green Valley Campgrounds which features water, electricity and sewer hook-ups. Satisfy any sweet tooth by heading over to Bragg Farm Sugarhouse and Gift shop. View the maple woods, the sugarhouse and sample the finest grades of Vermont maple syrup. March and April are prime times to visit as they hold Sugar-on-Snow parties every weekend. is pleased to recommend Montpelier as choice destination for the refined traveler seeking arts and other cultural venues. For over twenty years, the Montpelier City Hall Arts Center has been home to The Lost Nation Group, offering contemporary and classic plays.  This venue is best known for its Summer Theater Series which runs from June through October and features five shows a week.

The city boasts a bevy of art galleries and theater houses. From casual dining to steaks and seafood, don’t forget to check out the very best Montpelier has to offer. Children’s boutiques, crafted wood furniture, and upscale salons ensure shopping options for the entire family. To ensure that you experience the charm of Montpelier at the best rates possible, start here: Let take care of the arrangements so you can get on to the important things like what to pack to Montpelier.

Dear World, I Have a Story to Tell.

1 Jun
Waiting on the World to Change

Waiting on the World to Change

They say fake it to you make it.
Showtime, One leg, watch me break it
Coming through with the news like special delivery.
Its been a long night, @#4+#@+ pardon my obsenties.
I just heard gunshots, car was park like Yosemite. This words come from the pit of me, like an ephinany.
Bullets rang, glad they wasn’t sent for me.

So I walk carefully when I rather stroll cheerifully Thank GOD everyday for the air I breathe. Lovelorn at living in a war zone, communities under seige.
We should love each other, not kill our brothers, doesn’t we agree?

So I paint a picture in richer hues, subtle clues of I need the world to see.
Mothers with tears in their eyes, fathers on one knee, asking why they kill my baby. Could have easily been you or me, someone in our family. Imagine gradually, trying to tell a child, in the simplest terms about casualties. Now even a winner of the Academy could have pull off that masterpiece.

My eyes may well, my voice may quiver. But trust me I’m not quitter, I have to protect Atianda and her little sister.

Nival Spa and Salon: Where the Pampered People Go

25 May


By: Amanda C. Broadnax

On Wednesday, May 16, 2012 I attended the Nival Spa and Salon relaunch party located at 4481 Wisconsin Avenue in the heart of Chevy Chase, MD. Nival has the distinction of winning a “Best Salon in DC” award and for being recognized as the best place for a manicure/pedicure.  They offer a full range of service guaranteed to rejuvenate your spirits such as acupuncture, body treatments, facials, microdermabrasion, and massages.

The party was hosted by Big Tigger with DJ Mims and DJ Pedram spinning the hits.  I grew up listening to Big Tigger on WPGC, seeing him on BET, and definitely involved in the community across the DMV.  Follow him on twitter @BigTiggerShow and visit

DJ Mim was amazing, any lady that knows good dance music is a friend of mine. Plus she wasn’t bothered by me swaying along to the music and shrieking “this is my song.” Okay so almost every song tends to be my song, but music just makes me feel good.  Go follow her on twitter @DJMIMDC

DJ Pedram has this coolness about him like he is not even trying. Lots of people crowded near him and yes he knows how to move the crowd.

The open bars featured various flavored Ciroc vodkas, my favorite is the peach. The décor of the salon simply blew me away. Sleek, elegant, and tranquil is the experience you feel by just merely being there.

Swag Bag

I’m always so appreciative of the parting trinkets often found in the swag bag.

  • L’Oreal Liss Ultime shampoo sample
  • Phyto Paris Phytonectar shampoo sample for ultra dry hair
  • Phyto Paris Ohyto 7 vegetale haute hydrating botanical cream
  • L’Oreal Professionals rinse out Lumino  Contrast hair mask
  • 30 minute skin care session with Nival Aesthetics
  • I private dance lesson with Arthur Murray Dance Studio

Go check out their Spring Awakening Collection available only until the end of May!  Twitter: @NivalSalonSpa


Check out these pics from the party.


A full album can be found at

DC OSSE Poised to Present Revised ESEA Waiver Application | osse

25 May

I Wrote a Poem Ya’ll

21 May

Taken 11/5/11

Now before anyone gets all excited, please note the following disclaimer: I can’t play the guitar.” I used to play the flute, recorder, and piano but that was many moons again. I do however think I look rather cool holding the guitar so maybe one day I’ll play you a song. Until than, enjoy this poem I wrote this morning. 🙂

Would you vote for me?
Would you vote for me, no seriously , asking please, would you believe?
That I too might have a dream, and together, nothing we can’t achieve.
I’m passionate about many things, from our schools to the air we breathe.
I see wrongs, simply can’t let them be, so I sing a song of helping humanity
Silly of me, to conceive that policies should truly benefit our communities?
No, because quite actually, I’ve seen adversities, and they don’t have to be.
People sleeping in the street, seeking money to eat, it really bothers me.
Sometimes I turn off the news, so tired of the lies and senseless tragedies.

See the entire interview of Rep. Aaron Schock with A.B. Stoddard

21 May

A.B. Stoddard’s conversation with Rep. Schock about energy, gay marriage, and taxes.

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