Realizing a niche and finding independence at WordCamp Kansas City



It’s interesting when we go into a situation expecting one thing and coming out of it with something completely different, isn’t it?

Nearly a month ago, I attended WordCamp Kansas City where I also served as a speaker and volunteered in the community support lounge. WordCamps are weekend events held all over the world that bring together people who use WordPress, which is a content management system that drives websites and blogs. I’m also on the WordCamp Fayetteville planning committee.

I expected to attend WordCamp and see lots of friends and learn more about WordPress. Both happened, but it’s not what I remember most about the trip. It turns out, this trip was more of an emotional experience and confidence builder for me, which is something I sorely needed whether I realized it or not.  Continue Reading →

Comments { 1 }

Slow Cooker Korean Tri-Tip BBQ with Simply Lemonade® and KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix & Dry Rub

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and The Coca-Cola Company. All opinions are mine alone. #BestSummerBBQ #CollectiveBias


We are big fans of many kinds of barbecue, and our favorite brand continues to be KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce. We also enjoy dry rubs, so you can’t even imagine how excited I was to learn that there is now a KC Masterpiece® BBQ Sauce Mix & Dry Rub. We decided to try the Original flavor rub (it also comes in Honey BBQ and Habanero BBQ) to make our own version of a Korean BBQ in the slow cooker using our favorite cut of beef, tri-tip. The tri-tip is a cut of beef from the bottom sirloin subprimal cut. It is a small triangular muscle.

By the way, you can find the produce, meat, most of the spices, KC Masterpiece dry rub and Simply Lemonade® at Sam’s Club. Such a great place to get larger quantities of stuff for entertaining or simply making lots of great food for two! Continue Reading →

Comments { 1 }

Finding your calling in a time of darkness

Finding your calling


In many ways, the past 6-7 years have been the best of my life and I have my husband and God to thank for that. It’s also been a time where I’ve faced my most difficult challenges. From a public layoff and an ensuing identity crisis, followed by years of growing health problems, life has certainly had some dark moments.

Through it all, God has taught me a lot. A lot about myself, about others, and most of all about Himself. Continue Reading →

Comments { 1 }

Feeling included (not just accommodated) and new mini-series everyone should watch Memorial Day weekend (my follow up to BFF)



Do you know what it feels like to feel included and not just accommodated or tolerated? I do. But I also know what the opposite feels like. Usually, it’s the latter.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a sponsored post about the Bentonville Film Festival and one of its sponsors. A few days later, I had the opportunity to “cover” the BFF for the organization’s social media team and was able to attend even more sessions. I’ve been meaning to come back and write my thoughts and this weekend seemed perfect because what I want to highlight is a four-night series that starts Memorial Day (May 30) on the History Channel.



Cast member Erica Tazel (center…places Matilda) and the executive producer Mark Wolper join moderator Gil Robertson, president of the African American Film Critics Association after a screening of the mini-series Roots.


The original movie Roots came out in the 70s and new adaptation is coming to the History Channel in a four-night mini-series starting 8 p.m. central time on May 30. This is from the same book by Alex Haley, but is actually four independent segments that piece together the same family’s story. Each episode focuses on a specific character over the family’s history and what’s even more cool is, each episode has a different director. We saw the third episode at a screening during the film festival and I was enthralled.  Continue Reading →

Comments { 0 }

Living life unedited-an interview with Nancy Grace



I recently had the honor of being interviewed but a local blogger who has become a good friend. Nancy Kay Grace is an author, speaker and an online radio show host.

She recently interviewed me about my favorite aspect of God and how that affects how I deal with living with chronic illness and a disability.

I hope you’ll take about 30 minutes to listen! You can find the interview here.

Comments { 0 }

Celebrating diversity in media with EcoScraps® and Scotts® at the #BFFFestival

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #LoveYourLawn #GardensNotLandfills #CollectiveBias



When most people think of the word “film festival,” I bet they don’t usually think of my chosen home of Arkansas. That was true, but Bentonville is rapidly becoming known for the Bentonville Film Festival. This is the second year for the BFF (yes, that’s what we all call it!) and my first year to have the opportunity to attend.

This film festival has a little bit for everyone and I love how it’s not just for industry insiders. They welcome the community to participate; in fact, they encourage it. It runs through Sunday (May 8) so I hope you take time to check it out! Don’t just stop at the panel discussions or all the great movies. Check out the Sponsor Village where you can find great interactive displays from sponsors like EcoScraps® and Scotts®



The focus of the BFF is very clear. It’s championing women and diverse voices in media. Although women make up 51 percent of the population and we live in a world that is incredibly diverse, you just don’t see that represented in media, including the entertainment industry. I might be thinking, “I see women and people of color all the time in movies?” Yes, but not to the point that they amount and quality of roles reflects their representation in society.

The messages were positive and encouraging, and the energy was in high gear. I loved seeing celebrities, film makers, sponsors and the local community (that in my mind represent the consumer) all come together to celebrate the idea that we need a more accurate and diverse representation in media. And, everyone had a grand fun time doing it! The panels I attended were all informative but also entertaining. I haven’t seen any movies yet, but plan to remedy that this weekend. There were also many opportunities to take pictures with celebrities or even with cool displays like the Scotts® Step and Repeat Wall, which was outside the beautiful 21C Hotel just off the Bentonville Square. Continue Reading →

Comments { 1 }

Roasted Red Pepper #HummusMadeEasy Falafel (recipe)

Disclosure: This blog is compensated by The Women Bloggers and their advertiser. All opinions and words are my own. #HummusMadeEasy


Have you ever heard of falafel? I hadn’t until a certain ’90s movie with Freddie Prinze Jr. came out and even then, I didn’t really get what falafel was. Fast forward about 10 years and I finally got a chance to try this fried delectable treat made with chickpeas or fava beans. I’m incredibly excited to offer my first original falafel recipe using the #HummusMadeEasy product from Bush’s Beans. I thought making Middle Eastern food would be hard but with this product, it was crazy easy and even more delicious.

I’ve tried various forms including the traditional balls (they look like hushpuppies) and patties that were a vegetarian option in a sandwich I purchased. When I started thinking of ways to use the Hummus Made Easy product, I at first thought I would use the hummus as a dip for falafel or perhaps homemade chips. I then figured out that falafel is made of most of the same ingredients as hummus; it’s just in a different form! Oooohhhhh, this was going to be good. Continue Reading →

Comments { 0 }

The whirlwind that is GiveCamp NWA


About 50 people gathered recently during GiveCamp NWA to fix or create websites for local nonprofits.

It usually takes a few weeks to produce an entire website from scratch but at GiveCamp NWA, we do it in a weekend. GiveCamp is one of my favorite activities each year and I am already looking forward to next year.

So what is GiveCamp NWA? It’s a weekend where technology professionals from the region gather to create, fix or somehow alter websites for nonprofit organizations. The organizations have to apply and get approved then they are assigned to a team.

GiveCamp Logo

Last year, the team I was on created an entire website for an animal rescue called Rosco P. Coaltrain’s Community Outreach. This year, my team was assigned to work with the Northwest Arkansas Women’s Shelter. The first year, I was just a writer and this year, I worked as a project manager.

As you can imagine, the shelter already had a website but it was in drastic need of updates both behind the scenes and the way it worked for the average user. We made many updates, gave them a whole new look with better function, and made many other changes. They had several needs that we were not able to fulfill in a weekend, but were able to refer them to someone who can.

Here is a post from the GIveCamp Facebook page that shares a photo of our team working

I really enjoyed this experience and think it’s great that the NWA technology community is willing to give like this to such great organizations.

Comments { 0 }

Sweet meets savory: Southwest Black Bean Hummus Brownie Snack Bars (recipe)

Disclosure: This blog is compensated by The Women Bloggers and their advertiser. All opinions and words are my own. #HummusMadeEasy 


Have you ever made hummus? Better yet, have you ever considered hummus as anything other than a yummy dip? I hadn’t done either until a few weeks ago. I was completely intimidated by what I perceived as a complex and messy process. And tahini? Is it just me, but doesn’t that sound kind of like a tropical island and not a fancy ingredient?

Well then, I heard about this new product from Bush’s Beans that you can find at Walmart. Hummus Made Easy is just that…you add the contents of a (drained) can of beans and the Hummus Made Easy pouch then blend. I just use my hand blender but others use a regular blender or food processor. Not only is it easy to make, the blend has no preservatives. I have more and more sensitivities to that kind of thing so no preservatives is important to me.

#HummusMadeEasy comes in three varieties: Classic, Roasted Red Pepper, and Southwest Black Bean. Most people use black beans with the Southwest and Garbanzo (Chickpea) with the other two. Feel free to use any variety or combination you like.

#HummusMadeEasy comes in three varieties: Classic, Roasted Red Pepper, and Southwest Black Bean. Most people use black beans with the Southwest and Garbanzo (Chickpea) with the other two. Feel free to use any variety or combination you like.

It’s crazy inexpensive, too.

Hummus Made Easy is less than $2 at Walmart and the Bush's canned beans are less than $1 per can. One recipe makes about two cups of hummus. That's two cups of fresh hummus for less than $3 and about five minutes of your time.

Hummus Made Easy is less than $2 at Walmart and the Bush’s canned beans are less than $1 per can. One recipe makes about two cups of hummus. That’s two cups of fresh hummus for less than $3 and less than five minutes of your time.

I bought all three varieties and have enjoyed them immensely. I know I’m being compensated to talk about this product, but there is no compensation for my honest enthusiastic opinion. I would take this hummus over the more expensive brands any day. I really do love it. It’s also inspired me to figure out ways to use hummus in other ways besides “just” dip.

That’s where today’s blog comes in. Yes, I made brownies out of hummus. I figured if more folks are liking Southwest or spicy chocolate (not my favorite flavor profile but many, many people love it), and if using black beans to make brownies a bit higher in protein and healthier overall is a popular thing, why not make Southwest Black Bean Hummus Brownies? Continue Reading →

Comments { 5 }

Oven baked hamburgers stuffed with peppers and cheese (recipe)


We love burgers at our house and we also love peppers and cheese! We got the not-so-wild idea to infuse cheese and peppers in our burgers. Not just stuff, infuse. As in the cheese and sweet peppers are throughout the burger patty, not just a big lump in the middle.

We tried grilling and then tried pan frying but each time, the cheese would burn and make the patties fall apart. We then decided to try one more method and like many situations, the third time was the charm. We baked the burgers and the end result was delicious!

The measurements and time on this are not exact because it really is to your preference. Here is what we did: Continue Reading →

Comments { 0 }