Multi-Platinum Artist Fabolous Is All About The Stepping Stones in his hometown of Brooklyn

Multi-Platinum Artist Fabolous Is All About The Stepping Stones in his hometown of Brooklyn

Ask any Brooklynite what’s the best thing about their borough and they’ll likely say, “EVERYTHING!”

We at  crownheightsmom will have to agree. In fact, no matter the season something fun is always  happening across the borough of Brooklyn.

Annual events from the  Cherry Blossom Sakura Matsuri Festival  at  the Brooklyn Botanic Garden  to the highly in demand monthly Target  First Saturdays at the Brooklyn Museum of Art   are the most talked about but on any given day there is always  something happening here. In fact, when it comes to putting its culture on display  Brooklyn hands down seems to be doing it best.

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 Japanese Culture at Sakura Matsuri Cherry Blossom Festival  at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden
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A Traditional Geisha at the Sakura Matsuri Festival at BBG in 2016

That’s why  when we found out about  the  second annual  Central Brooklyn Arts  & Culture Weekend  which took place June 10th and 11th along the famed Eastern Parkway we had to go. It was a  fun weekend spent out with the kids and was celebrated with a movie night  happening on Saturday  and an outdoors street festival showcasing the best of the borough’s foods, arts,  crafts,  culture and contributors occurring on Sunday.

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A Flyer of the 2-day event celebrating Central Brooklyn

At the outdoor street festival  on June 11 the festivities kicked off with Borough President, Eric Adams   honoring   two outstanding talents from Brooklyn — multi platinum MC and Hip-Hop artist, John “Fabolous” Jackson and the late, world renowned abstract artist and Neo-Expressionist Jean-Michel Basquiat, (whose  family represented for him).

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Rapper Fabolous receives the Key to Brooklyn from Borough President Eric Adams

Both Fab and Basquiat(posthumously) were  awarded   with the “Keys to Brooklyn” and  bestowed with individual stepping  stones inscribed with their names  and placed within the  Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s famed Celebrity Path.  The two sons of Brooklyn are now counted along the celebrity walkway amongst 160 others famous Brooklynites  past and present including  poets, performers,  artists, and athletes who lived or were born in the borough and  all made outstanding contributions to  the borough.

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Fabolous strikes a pose with Borough President Eric Adams next to his inscribed stepping stone in the Celebrity Path at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden

 

The outdoor street festival  saw  locals, families  and visiting tourists  coming out to  rejoice in the arts, foods and culture along Eastern Parkway .

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Brooklyn residents check out the vendors along Eastern Parkway
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Seafood lovers were all about getting their  boxed food at Catch It
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The Brooklyn Museum brought its arts outdoors while a balloon vendor brings smiles to faces
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It was all about the sweet kernels at Kettle Korn

My 9-year old son had a blast checking out the vendors and the performances as well as  tasting some of the delicious food options on sale. He definitely liked the roasted corn which he eagerly covered in butter and a hefty shaking of parmesan cheese. So delicious.

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There is nothing better than sinking your teeth into a sweet roasted corn on the cob
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Brooklynites grabbed  Smooth smoothies as they walked the path along Eastern Parkway

The high 80’s temperature definitely led to a beautiful day outdoors with attendees  enjoying and basking in the  music, dance and theatrical plays  happening on the main stage set up at the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch at Grand Army Plaza. The breeze and water spraying from the fountain made for a refreshing feel.

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Those  walking  along the Eastern Parkway corridor beginning at Flatbush Avenue and heading towards  Washington Avenue got to choose from an array of vendors offering food, drink as well as the purchase crafts and fashionable items from jewelry to kids clothing.

 

Lots of activities were  available and  included fun games, bouncy houses  and  arts and crafts for the kids, a  dance party and theatrical performances  courtesy of  the Prospect Park Zoo, the Jewish Children’s Museum, the Brooklyn Children’s Museum and the New York Aquarium

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A band performs on the main stage at Grand Army Plaza

 

The 2-day cultural arts inspired events were brought together and presented by Brooklyn Borough President, Eric L. Adams in partnership with One Brooklyn Fund, Inc.,  All in all it was fun for the entire family.

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The office of Brooklyn’s Borough President, Eric Adams out  on the Parkway

 

With smiles on our faces we left  the festival  eagerly looking forward to next year’s celebration .

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Enjoying the day with my son
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Crownheightsmom Media CEO, Debra Lewis-Boothman’s outdoor street festival fashion included an african head-wrap and  a blush silk romper paired with hightop Converse sneakers.

 

If you also attended  this event please share your thoughts about the  weekend in our comments section below.

Wayyy UP! Tamar Braxton Has Joined Forces With Steve Harvey For A New Talkshow

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Tamar Braxton has landed on her feet …Boo-yah! to the  haters!

 

Yes, you heard correctly. Girlfriend refused to stay down and out  and you can thank her right hand, that would be husband Vince, and the one and only  Steve Harvey  for  putting  girlfriend back in her namesake  strappy sandals and keeping it moving  upwards, no doubt.

 

 

Strappy sandal from the Tamar Collection
Shoes from the Tamar Braxton Collection

Braxton who stars alongside sisters  Toni, Traci, Trina and Towanda in the  WeTV reality  television  show,   Braxton Family Values stopped  by  Harvey’s  syndicated  radio program, The Steve Harvey Morning show, heard on WBLS-FM in New York  to update  Harvey  on how she was coping  since being fired as  a co-host  on the Warner Bros  talkshow  The Real .

 

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The Real host[L-R] Tamera Mowry, Tamar Braxton , Loni Love, Adrienne Bailon and Jeannie Mia during happier times………courtesy of The Real website

 

Braxton set the record straight  about the  firing telling about  how she found out . Keeping her poise Tamar   kept things classy even  speaking well of her former cohosts never once throwing any of them  under the bus for her axing.

 

After  Braxton’s interview Harvey made a huge announcement  to his radio listeners telling  them that  his  newly formed East 112 Productions  has signed Braxton  to produce and star in her own talk show  and other  productions for television.

 

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The Steve Harvey Morning Show team [L-R] Steve Harvey, Shirley, Nephew Tommy and Carla………………………………….photo courtesy of the Steve Harvey Morning show website
That’s right Ms Tamar Braxton is now  the  host of her OWN  talkshow. Talk about pouring on lemonade without  physically pouring it yourself.

Harvey  told his listeners that  he  found Braxton  to be poised and  classy . “Tamar [She ]has a reach in the millennials  space  that is not out there,” the  host of Little Big Shots stated  of  joining forces  with the  former talk show host.Adding, “she has so much to offer and she showed poise, and class when faced with adversity.”

For Braxton this big step up is huge and well deserved . When   news leaked  a week ago of the  reality star being axed  from The Real  most were shocked. The star,  well she  was, “devastated,” she says.

Tamar Braxton during happier times on The Real
Tamar Braxton during happier times on The Real

“I loved going to work and driving myself to work, ” she tells Harvey and listeners of working alongside  Loni Love,  Adrienne Bailon, Jeannie Mai and Tamera Mowry-Housley.

“My heart sunk to my shoes and I pretty much fell over,” she says  when she learned the  news  of her firing from her husband Vince. Adding,  “I did not get a call. I  was in my glam room and came downstair. I saw a look on Vince’s  face . He was distraught and he said to me, ‘I think you got fired.’  I said, fired from what?”

Granted the star and The Real released a joint statement on May 22  stating that the reality star and R&B singer was not returning for a third season in order to  concentrate on  her  solo career per  press reports and  PEOPLE.COM.

Tamar with her right hand, husband (Vince) Vincent Herbert
Tamar Braxton stands with with her right hand man, husband Vincent Herbert.

 

My heart sunk to my shoes.  I pretty much fell over.- says Tamar Braxton of  learning she was fired from The Real

 

Falls don’t mean you can’t get back up . For the multi-hyphenated  star whose accomplishments include— talkshow host, Grammy-nominated R&B singer, Reality Television star and  Fashion Designer  —staying down was not an option. Nor was it  part of God’s  plan for her.

 

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” I feel God is moving in my life more than ever now,” says  Braxton.  “Yes I was devastated  but   I do not feel like my future is not bright. I feel that it is brighter than ever. I did not see this[firing from The Real] is anything negative.”

In fact says the four-time Grammy-nominated  singer, “This whole situation has made me stronger. You have a choice to be positive or negative or to get up and keep it popping.”

The R&B singer is a 4-time Grammy nominee
The R&B singer is a 4-time Grammy nominee

The three-time Soul Train Award winner’s outlook on life  and career after the axing she says is   not wallow  in it.Instead she says turn to others  to hold you up.  “I had my sisters and my family to hold on to.” she  says.

Many look at the star,  a 2016 Daytime Emmy  nominee for  The Real as a celebrity and rightly so  but Braxton  tells  Harvey and his listeners, ” I do not see myself as a celebrity.” Well Tamar, I think your fans may  beg to differ on that.

Happier Times: Fun backstage antics on The Real with the co-host. ....courtesty of The Real website
Happier Times: Fun backstage antics on The Real with the co-hosts. ….courtesy of The Real website

Moving forward  with  friends and loved one in her corner   offers  a little advice to listeners  who may be  dealing  with a job firing, “You have to be positive and push yourself  to move forward .”  Moreso  says Braxton, “You should  speak positivity over your life or you will find yourself in a depression.”

Above all says Braxton, “I will not allow anyone to dim my star .”

Wise words Tamar…..wise words

by Debra Lewis-Boothman

 

Come Take A Bite Out Of The 9th Avenue International Food Festival

Memorial Weekend is fast approaching which means summer is almost here. If you live in New York City that means  upcoming weekends of trying to find   fun outdoor things to do . Why not try going to a  street festival .You  will be pleasantly surprised.
 Two weekends ago I  happened by chance upon  the best street festival ever. It was the 9th Avenue International Food Festival, an annual foodies paradise where thousands  of people chow  into a plethora of   international food dishes  and drinks.
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Minutes into starting my trek up  9th avenue at  42nd street  I   bump into a man holding a plate filled with the  most delicious smelling curry chicken with rice and peas.In the other hand he held a  roasted corn dripping  in butter with parmigiana cheese and red pepper seeds . Saying sorry, I ask where he got the food  and then  I was off to get my own.
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Finding  the  roasted corn  I jumped on  the long line and
wasted no time, sinking my teeth into its sweetness.
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As I looked around there are so many food choices it becomes hard to choose ! Can you say Caribbean Jerk Chicken, Colombian BBQ, Asian Pot Stickers, Fried Oreos, Korean Food, Pulled pork, Spanish Paella, Fried Mac n’ Cheese, Zeppoles,  Japanese Oyaki, Irish Pub Food, Authentic Greek Food, Louisiana  Creole Cooking, Vietnamese  Food, Curry Chicken, Italian Sausage, Thai Noodles, Southern Desserts, Indonesian Food, German Sausages  and more.
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9th avenue international food festival/ crownheightsmom
There was a food dish for everyone’s taste palate.My plan then became –try and sample as many dishes  as possible .

If you missed  this street festival don’t fret. You can see the  wonderful pics of  the fun day all along the  15-block long  smorgasburg avenue filled  with food offerings. Spanning from 42nd to 57th streets it was a feast of a  festival that would have food connoisseur Chef Ramsey going “#@$%*!.”.

If you  didn’t get  to be there  this year don’t worry There is always next year, plus  you can sit  back and read  my post  because I have  the perfect  recipe for you to feast and salivate through.
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Grabbing  my  first plate of the day I opted   for  vegetable fried rice andPad Thai which I devoured  while walking  and enjoying the great weather . With  temperatures  hitting  above 73 degrees walking the full stretch  was a great idea and  added to my upbeat feeling.Plus the idea burning off the calories of all I was eating and drinking was a win-win in my eyes.  Feeling great I headed up to 57th street then turned around walking on the right side  to see what merchants were selling, then walking over to the left side,  I headed  back to 42nd street. I was  definitely not trying to miss anything, especially any food and drink options.
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In my opinion  this  street festival  literally  takes a bite out of the Big Apple—- offering up  savory bites, desserts and drinks   from practically every country on the planet. Well, maybe not every country, but you catch my drift.
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Mediterranean food loves flocked in droves to Medi to feast on fresh delicious oysters and more
 Soon after walking  and everyone having so much fun eating, laughing drinking and getting free giveaways  it didn’t take me long to dig in to my second plate of the day. This time it was an  offering  of fried ice cream. When I tell you I died and went to heaven after eating these treats.  Guys! These desserts should be outlawed for being so  darn good. Oh myyy!
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Waiting for fried ice-cream was so worth it. These ice-cream filled mini dough ball is a girl’s bestie on the best and worst days.

We all know that food and music goes hand in hand. So, of course, as I approached 53rd street  a live  band  was performing the classic Frank Sinatra New York, New York  anthem.   I immediately joined in and began belting out the song with gusto.

Start spreading the news/I am leaving today
I want to be a part of it/New York, New York
 ………..If I can make it there/I’ll make it anywhere
It’s up to you/ New York, New York
There was also a merchant selling   old school soul music cds .A huge crowd   packed the street outside the stall  with people singing and getting down to the the old school jams. It was  wonderful to see young and old enjoying the 70’s and 80’s  throwbacks.
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The crowd was grooving to the soullll music
 I too was getting my dance on and enjoying  the joy of what music  does
Minutes after dancing in place and  flexing my singing chops I spotted  Alfie’s Bar, Kitchen & Craft Beer. I ordered a sangria and it was  DA BOMB!
It was all about the sangria at Alfie's which was a very well spent $6 dollars
It was all about the sangria at Alfie’s which was a very well spent $6 dollars
Other  food standouts for me  included  oysters  at  Medi .  It was also a great idea that they had a chef on hand outside  preparing them for customers.
Oysters being prepared at MEDI
Oysters being prepared at MEDI

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I have to note  that whether it was  a gyro being freshly made,  chicken jerking in a  smoke drum or corn-on the-cob roasting —many of the faces behind the merchants   represented the city’s vast  immigrant population. The array of foods and drinks from various countries made it even more evident that NYC is indeed a melting pot for all.
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 Some well known merchants  like  the New York Daily News,  Real Time Pain Relief,  The Big Bite Tour which included Snyders of Hanover pretzels ,  Gold Bond Men’s Essentials  , Turkey Hill Dairy promoting their new  Haymakers line of drinks,were at tables  along the  street . Also spotted  Rolaids,  Mentos and In The Raw products  with  their  first ever  drink beverages to hit store shelves . Haagen Dazs Ice Cream was a big  hit on the avenue as well with volunteers handing  out free mini tubs of its vanilla  flavor to lines of people at times  snaking  two blocks long to get the  cold delicious delight.
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Haagen Dazs was a must. I grabbed two samples.
Haagen Daz was a must. I grabbed two samples.
The 9th Avenue  International Food Festival wasn’t just about the  food.  It is also  a place  to connect with those you love. For example all around young love was spotted on display. Couples were out in numbers.One such couple was Steve and Meghan . These two I met  while standing by watching  families and  friends jump onto  this huge chair to take selfies and pics. They waited  rather excitedly  to have  a picture taken on this big comfy chair.
Megan and Steve werer having a blast at the food festival . Even taking pics iin the oversized chair
Megan and Steve were having a blast at the food festival.
After  attending this fest there is no doubt how much I love NYC! There is no other city like it . I am glad  no “walls” will be going up in the Big Apple  to keep people out.What  makes the  Big Apple attractive is its diversity and in a nutshell this  is also what brings thousands  of people year after year to the 9th Avenue International  Food Festival . It is where everyone can come  and eat, drink, make friends with people from all over the world,  get free stuff , listen to great music and then go home with a full satisfied tummy.There is something to eat for every faith, kosher and non-kosher, vegetarian and meat eaters. I love it!
Here’s to good food, drinks and my satisfied tummy…..by Debra Lewis-Boothman

Digging in on another offering of delicious food

So many wonderful food choices to choose from

KUNG FU PANDA 3: SO NICE I SAW IT TWICE!

 

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For two weekends in a row  Kung Fu Panda 3‘s  slay at  the box office continued. Crushing its competition the film  threw  down like the  Broncos  but by  weekend 3, and now this past weekend, its fourth week out,  competition got tougher for  our cuddly hero Po  as he went up against the super hottie-hero,  Ryan Reynolds  in Deadpool.

Coming in second for two weekends since Deadpool’s arrival our Kung Fu  fighting Panda bear fought hard to retain a top spot  even beating out  newcomers ” How To Be Single’ and ‘Zoolander.’

Pat on the back to me  for taking the kids over the weekend, thuds counting ourselves  amongst those helping  Po to  stay  on top at the box office-

Our hero Po must find his Chi to save the  Masters
Our hero Po must find his Chi to save the Masters

 

I have a confession  and will admit that  seeing the movie on Saturday  was  my second helping of KFP3 . Need I say more!  It was so  nice, I saw it twice!!

For families  who haven’t seen this  latest installment of  the Kung Fu Panda franchise, a trip to the cinema is definitely in order.   In this version our dumpling popping Kung Fu hero’s long-lost poppa-Panda materializes. Reunited, he takes Po to a secret Panda village to meet scores of other  cute Panda  characters.  Looming though, to wreck the happy  family reunion is the appearance of   Kai (J.K. Simmons), an evil villain who has  returned from the spirit world to steal the powers of all  living Kung Fu Masters. Po’s mission? He must master his chi thus  find the secret to his own powers within,in order to stop Kai.

Raking in over $294 mil worldwide  thus far,  it is obvious  to all that  this third installment of the  cuddly warrior-hero  Panda  and his posse of kick-butt pals  including  Tigress (voiced by Angelina Jolie),  Viper (Lucy Liu) and newcomer Mei Mei ( Kate Hudson) is  destined like  its sister installments —Kung Fu Panda  and Kung Fu Panda 2 to be  a family favorite. A breakdown of the franchise and its box office numbers  can be seen here  at  Box Office Mojo.

 

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Crownheightsmom aloing with a number of other mom bloggers caught up with  stars Lucy Liu and Kate  Hudson during  the stars’ press stop in New York  to promote KFP3  earlier this month .  The actors,  both parents   popped in together  to  chat with Melissa Gerstein of the MOMS  after a  screening  of the movie at the Regal Union Square theater.   Liu,  dressed in an elegant knee high black dress and Hudson in a baby pink pantsuit paired with a  grey cashmere sweater  were all smiles and excited  to be chatting  it up  about the movie and their involvement.

Hudson and Liu talking all about KFP3
Hudson and Liu talking all about KFP3

 Hudson sitting crossed legged shared with the audience,  “when I saw the character she was so fun and funny.”  Hudson voices the girl diva Panda,, Mei Mei.

“I got a call from Jeffrey Katzenberg who said ‘we would you like you to come play the part of Mei Mei.’  It all kinda happened last minute and having known Jeffrey forever I said yeah sure,  why not! “

 “To get one [character] that is so funny, I got really excited because she is so adorable.”

Kate Hudson plays the adorable ribbon dancing panda diva Mei Mei
Kate Hudson plays the adorable ribbon dancing panda diva, Mei Mei.
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The adorable Mei Mei voiced by Kate hudson

The conversations with the two mom stars  ventured  from the movie and onto parenting. When Gerstein touched upon mom regrets in parenting,    Hudson   shared  about the time she  took her now 11 year old   son  Ryder–he was   5 or 6 at the  time —along with her to see  American Idiot,   the Green Day play on Broadway.

“When Ryder was younger he loved  Green Day .So I took him to the play.”  Recalls Hudson , “as I  enter the theater everyone is looking at me like, ‘why does Kate Hudson have her young child at this  play? ”

“So a few minutes into the play and here I am with my sweatshirt over his [Ryder’s] head and I am like ‘I am out! ” she tells us laughing.

Lui  didn’t share any parenting faux pas but she did dish on  why she loves doing animation  flicks. KFP3 is  Liu’s  third ride alongside  Jack Black and Angelina Jolie .

For Liu,  she shared , there is  comfort in doing  animation.  “You get to show up in your sweatpants.”

“You are  also in a room by yourself  and I was in NYC  so I would do skype and facetime session with the director, [Jennifer Yu Nelson] and that is how she directed me. ” Adds Liu, “you really have a limited idea of what they want in terms of the visual aspect  because the film isn’t done at that point .so they were very flexible.

 

This is Lucy Liu's third time around playing Viper in the the KFP franchise
This is Lucy Liu’s third time around playing Viper in the the KFP franchise

Liu also  talked a bit about her ethnicity telling the audience. “Everybody is always asking me how is it to be an Asian American actress.  I am like,  I really don’t know!  I really don’t want to talk about it anymore. I can talk about being an actress .I can talk about being an artist. About being someone in the industry but  I do not want to talk about the fact  that I am Asian American and an actress because it is the same thing .”In the end it is about talent and that is what really stands out.”

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So  run, don’t walk and go see  Kung Fu Panda 3. My  kids really enjoyed the movie  with my son Kai getting a kick out of the bad guy being named Kai but making sure to point out that he’s a good boy…..

By Debra Lewis-Boothman

Warrior Kai from the Spirit World
Warrior Kai from the Spirit World wants Po’s Chi

 

 

Out of 5 Popcorn Stars the kids give Kung Fu Panda 3 – 5  –

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HODA KOTB’S INSPIRATIONAL NEW BOOK MOTIVATES TO FIND YOUR CALLING IN LIFE

Are you searching for a new book to inspire you? One that will motivate you to make a change, in you! Then, look no more because  crownheightsmom has the perfect book for you.Trust me, there is no better time than now, to start reading a  book like this. Let me present, best-selling author and TV host Hoda Kotb’s newest book,Where We Belong : Journeys That Show Us The Way  . It is a definite must-read that will leave you inspired, motivated  and possibly rethinking  your life path and and where you belong.

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I  just got through   reading this book which I  received   recently at a  MOMS  and Secret Resorts & Spa   luncheon  and book signing with Kotb.  The event, held  at Manhattan’s Hunt and Fish restaurant  in mid January  made for an wonderful afternoon that was filled with  laughter, tears , the sharing of personal stories and a delicious meal  amongst a group of mom bloggers—all fans and cheerleaders, of Hoda Kotb .

The book, released on Jan  5 is filled  with  inspiring stories of  individuals who answered “the call”  from within.  Individuals, whom were able to  the answer the questions each of us will ultimately ask ourself one day. The questions of what is your life purpose and where do you belong?

Hoda explains it  best  when  she writes in the book—-Most of us wonder what we’re doing. We float around in the glass half-empty, gaze out into the world of possibilities, and wonder if we should get off of our raft and climb out. Maybe even today you asked yourself: Is it too late to do that thing that made me so happy when I was young? Could what matters most to me finally be the center of my life? Can I really trust this yearning voice in my head and longing in my heart? Do I feel like I’m where I belong?

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In person,  Kotb is very much what you see daily on Kathie Lee & Hoda. During the fourth hour of Today alongside  Kathie Lee Giffords she is witty,  fun and  full of big smiles. In person she is the same way.

Hoda Kotb at the MOMS HodaMamarazzi
Hoda Kotb at the MOMS HodaMamarazzi

 

The mom bloggers chewed down on  delicious eats from Hunt and Fish including servings of salmon, chicken, pasta , salad and even french fries . To wash it down they  sipped on speciality  fruit drinks .Midway through the luncheon  Hoda walked in dressed in a vibrant fuchsia and purple dress that popped against her  tanned skin tone . Greeting the more than 30 moms in the room she took out her cell phone  and started takings pics of everyone in the room  before sitting down with MOMS co-creators Denise Albert and Melissa  Gerstein for a frank 20-minute girl  chat about the new book, surviving cancer, getting  divorced and her wish to have children.They were joined by her  co-writer Jane Lorenzini.

More than 30 mom bloggers attended  the  special MOMS' Hoda Mamarazzi luncheon
More than 30 mom bloggers attended the special MOMS’ Hoda Mamarazzi luncheon

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The yummy salmon, a favorite was the first serving on the delicious menu to go.

 

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These fruity non-alcoholic drinks from Hunt and Fish were a big hit

The breast cancer survivor and former Dateline correspondent   really impressed the   bloggers .She shared so much of herself  and  even  gave out  hugs in addition  to signing books  for everyone.

About  surviving  breast cancer she shared.  “I wrote in my journal every day.” Adding,  “at the bottom I would write one word . That one word  everyday was FORWARD, because I wanted to keep moving . I wanted to move forward .  Kotb would have that word  written on a ring  which she wears daily . Says the  journalist, “whenever I get scared, I look down.”

On regrets she tells the  group, “all of a sudden life gets away from you and you ask, what happened? I  look at my life now and every time I see a baby carriage or a baby stroller I melt. It happens every single time and it is hard,” Kotb  shares about not having kids of her own. She goes on to say, “I feel like something is missing but what do you do when you can’t fill that space?  How  do you do it?”The answer  she says  can be seen  with  a family in the book who  adopted late in life or as  Kotb recalls from personal experience when, ” I looked at PEOPLE magazine and I saw Sandra Bullock, [adopted ] and you go look what she  did .  I always thought about maybe starting a summer camp for kids. I thought that would help or that I wanted to be a school teacher.”

 

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Hoda and the MOMS’ Denise Albert and Melissa  Gerstein share a laugh

So  adoption  just might be an answer  for  Kotb. Says  the journalist, “Something is missing!  And you know, the people in the book did say   often you don’t know what is missing until you find it.  All of a sudden you  go ‘How have I lived this long without X. So there are a lot of things I am thinking  about.”

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Sharing a smile and a hug with Hoda

Kotb uses her life path as a  teaching tool .”I  got married late in life. ….. I had a failed marriage ….and I  had breast cancer.” Adds the  on air personality, ” If I didn’t  get sick I wouldn’t have  had the guts to go in and ask for this job.”

Hoda couldn’t agree more that  the book comes at a great time of the year as  people make their New Years resolutions and self reflect.  “Now around the first of the year  people are rethinking their lives and wondering what they should be doing. ” Or ,as she also puts it quite eloquently,  “suddenly you feel like, am I just taking the path of least resistance,  just sorta  hopping on the train  and letting it go or am I choosing? ” Adds Kotb, “the thing about this book is everybody  chose.They put their hands on the steering wheels and they drove!”

 

Part of the reason  I love what I am doing now [with Kathie Lee] is for the first time in my life we get to bring JOY.–HODA KOTB

 

Kotb is  in the drivers seat .Joining the  fourth hour of Today  alongside  Kathie Lee in 2008 she says she loves it there  but can still remembers to that time when she did not find her purpose. She tells the story of covering  Hurricane Katrina  and the effect it had on her [She used to live in New Orleans].  “When you cover something that is personal you really feel it. Covering Katrina  made me think about all the other stories I’d  covered that weren’t personal to me  but were personal to somebody and I wished I had handled it differently because sometimes as  journalist you go in and you go out because you don’t have time to put your whole heart into it . It hurts your heart to do it over and over  and part of the reason is that you kinda get hardened .”

I love what I  am doing now ( with Kathie Lee)because  for the first time in my life we get to bring joy.We get to lift people up and it is cool.”

 

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Hoda alongside the MOMS and her co-writer Jane

 

Even with two New York Times  bestsellers behind her– Ten Years Later: Six People Who Faced Adversity and Transformed Their Lives and Hoda: How I Survived War Zones, Bad Hair, Cancer, and Kathie Lee she  continues to be the genuine no-airs-about-me, lovable and approachable on-air personality  viewers are drawn to.

Hoda says it best when she says,  “There is something to be said for being exactly who you are authentically, because if you are not, people sense it.” .

So true Hoda…..so true .Continue to  stay exactly who you are. This is why we love you! ———by Debra Lewis-Boothman

 

 

 

SPICE UP THAT SUPERBOWL MENU WITH CURRY SERVINGS FROM BROOKLYN’S KING OF TANDOOR

Brooklyn residents looking to spice up their menu servings on Superbowl Sunday, need look no more. Problem solved! King of Tandoor Indian restaurant  is the answer to finding  delicious, affordable bang-for-the-buck Indian cuisine in Brooklyn  when you don’t want to take that trek to Manhattan’s Curry Row.

Nestled right in the heart of Brooklyn,  King of Tandoor  is a cozy spot  offering up some of the best Indian food crownheightsmom has sampled . So if you are a curry lover like myself or you are having a hard time  finding that curry-in-a-hurry spot that’s easy to get to,  then  pop over to the Prospect Lefferts Garden section of Brooklyn –just a hop-skip and jump from Prospect Park, along Flatbush  Avenue and not far from  –Crown Heights, Park Slope, Bed-Sty or  Downtown Brooklyn. Not in the mood to come out, no worries, forego the walk,  pull out the cell phone and dial  them up for delivery.

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The family owned 32-seat  restaurant has been in the neighborhood just over eight years says  Naz who greeted me as I entered  to grab takeout on Friday night.

“Most of our revenue comes from  deliveries,” he says as the phone rang-off-the-hook while offering me a cool delicious glass of mango juice as I waited on my  order.

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A busy evening as Naz takes  yet another phone order

Located in what was once a predominately Caribbean-American neighborhood where the lively sound of soca and reggae music echoes through speakers  of small business  ranging  from —barber shops, Jamaican  bakeries, Korean fruit markets, African hair braiding salons, Dominican bodegas and international fashion shops –the neighborhood is  experiencing a boom in new businesses as high-rise buildings go up  every few months and gentrification prices out many of the moms-and-pops businesses that once lined  the avenue.   These changes  though says Naz,  “is bringing an influx of new families and we are welcoming it.”

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The restaurant  is looking to expand  later this year . “Our kitchen isn’t that big but we have two  persons on every station, ” Naz lets me know  about keeping up with filling orders for seated customers, takeout and delivery .  As customers come in and out of the A-graded restaurant Naz engages them  in small talk and a smile.

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Naz, the manager of King of Tandoor

“We know everyone that comes in or we at least get to know them,”  he adds  as another customer enters the restaurant after jumping out of one of the many Dollar Vans swooping down the  avenue -the sounds of reggae music echoing from the  speakers as the door slams shut. “If ever there is an issue that our customers have, they can talk to us, ” adds Naz . “We love the people in the neighborhood . They are are very friendly and we like that.”

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Adorning the walls of the restaurant are  traditional Indian pictures of palaces in Bombay while the tables are outfitted  with red and white tabletop settings. “We are planning on making the restaurant  bigger so we will be renovating soon, ” he says.

As the winter season gears up Naz says  they are excited. “Winter is one of our best and busiest seasons for deliveries especially Fridays and Saturdays.” In fact when the snow blizzard hit New York City a week ago the restaurant closed just on Friday  but by the next day they were open and filling orders around the clock . They experienced one of their busiest  days of 2016 thus far . “We were very busy, ” says Naz,  adding “the phone rang non-stop with orders and a lot of customers came in.”

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Deliveries and takeout orders come out of the busy kitchen

For  local residents dining and getting takeout  King of Tandoor has become their own little piece of India, especially when they get to chow down on favorites like vegetable samosas and thandoori appetizers or curry specialities like  Vindaloo Curry or Do-Piaz Curry with a choice of lamb, chicken, beef or keema  cooked with  onions and tomatoes in a spice flavored sauce. Washing it down one has  the choice of a soft drink  or a delicious mango drink.

For  one customer  who lives in the neighbor the restaurant is definitely  King! Says Kate who lives nearby. “I have lived in this neighborhood for two years now and it is  just amazing. It is the best Indian food I have  found in Brooklyn thus far.” Kate insist  that  “next to Indian food from restaurants in London, King of Tandoor  on Flatbush Ave takes a close second.”

So spice things up  with a few servings from King of Tandoor as you celebrate 50 years of the big game on Superbowl Sunday . We  certainly will!

Crownheightsmom give Brooklyn’s King of Tandoor  restaurant  opened daily  noon -11pm 7 days a week a rating of 5 out of 5  Serving Spoons for delicious food and great customer service.

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Disclousure : No monies were exchanged for this review.—CrownHeightsMom ordered  her food, picked it up  and paid for it. This review is a result of the food being so darn good! Loved it!

GRAMMY NOMINATED SOUL SINGER LEON BRIDGES TALKS ABOUT LOVING YOURSELF, HAVING PATIENCE AND HIS MOM’S YUMMY GUMBO -by Debra Lewis-Boothman

Want to know who inspires newest singing sensation Leon Bridges? CrownHeightsMom did so I sat down to listen to   Coming Home  the debut album from the newcomer who’s nominated for a 2016 Grammy in the Best R&B Album category  alongside  acts like  D’Angelo, Jazmine Sullivan, Andra Day and  legend Charlie Wilson.

Pumping through my beatsbydre pill was that  deep 50s and 60s’ soul  sound harkening back  to  the height of the civil rights era when R&B  music had a major significance on the movement and integration across the country. Bridges’  throwback singing style puts one in mind  of   Otis Redding and  Sam Cooke . I pumped the volume up on high and noted to myself that a chat  with this young  star was in order . I   wanted to meet  him to  find out more  about his Grammy nod  and his inspiration for this album.

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A throwback in time. Bridges is this and more and what a year he had in 2015 — releasing  his debut album  Coming Home, to performing on Saturday Night Live,  touring across the UK and contributing music to  the  Concussion Movie sound track –these are just a few of the highlights that  kept him busy.

I met the 26-year old  when he  made a stop in New York   just before the Christmas holiday. The newcomer was in town  attending  the Concussion Movie  premiere along with  lead star, Will Smith.   Spotting Bridges  ahead of Smith as they  walked the red carpet  outside  AMC Lincoln Center movie theater I snagged  the opportunity  to get a few questions answered .

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So whom does the humble Bridges look up to musically? “I like a lot of 1950’s and 1960’s gospel and country,” the 26-year old  tells CrownHeightsMom exclusively  as Will Smith, Liam Neeson, Kevin Lyles, Elew  and others  descend the red carpet to the screams and flashes of photographers begging them to “turn this way”. Adds the newcomer  who is quickly  becoming a household. “I love Bobby Womack, Townes Van Zandt, Jesse Belvin, and Johnnie Taylor. “All that different type of stuff.” 

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The late soul legend Bobby Womack

 

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R&B singer Jesse Belvin died at 27 in a car crash

 

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Taylor was known as the “Philosopher of Soul”

 

I did not think that my album would be worthy enough to be nominated in the R&B category—-Leon Bridges

 

The singer counts  his mother Lisa Sawyer  as his biggest cheerleader. “Even when I was  playing at open mics with five people in the crowd, she was  supportive,” he tells me . The soul and gospel crooner even dedicates the  track  “Lisa Sawyer ” on the album to his dear mom.

I wonder what  mom thinks of his current success. “Says the former dishwasher from Fort Worth Texas, “She said to me, ‘ It is all God ‘ and she  is just  totally blown away by the Grammy nomination and  with everything that has been happening,” he adds.

Not just his music reminds one  of the 50s and 60’s. So does his fashion style. He’s a  sharp dresser who loves   1950’s  style suits and putting together a look that is smart and GQ-ed out to the max.

 

With the  new success  and the new gear  Bridges says he does not forget from  whence he came. As he says   to me  he knows a thing or two of living the “struggling artist” life.  Before success hit he  made ends meet being a dishwasher but he never gave up on his music and making it. “You have to be in love with yourself and in love with your art,” Bridges tells  tell   CrownHeightsMom is one of the messages he wants  to share with struggling artists out there.

If you always think about making it, then you are going to get disappointed…………—-Leon Bridges

 

 

 

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Leon Bridges and actor Will Smith at the Concussion Movie NYC premiere.

The main thing, Bridges says artist should remember is,  “If you always think about making it, then you are going to get disappointed and you are going to get impatient .” He says, “It is all about patience,  being in love with yourself and using that time and the small platform for the better.”

 

With  the holidays now over the young artist is preparing for  a busy 2016. He was looking forward seeing  him mom over the Christmas holiday  exclaiming,  “I am going home! I am going to see my momma and to eat her gumbo for sure. My momma is from New Orleans.”

 

 

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Leon Bridges performs at SXSW

So how does the  future look  for Leon Bridges ? The blueprint so far looks great for this young recording artist and   Crownheightsmom  plans on following his progress . He hits the road in March, heading overseas  on a  tour that will last  through mid-June . This may seem quite a busy schedule so soon for a newcomer, but  Bridges says, he loves performing and this  is a “life long dream.”

 

Dreams do become reality  and Bridges says that he isn’t quite  finished yet on achieving his. One  dream  he has  his heart set on achieving  he says is a life  goal of helping others. “I want to provide ways for kids to go to college, ”  he shares,  adding “and  I  also want to provide ways to help out single mothers.”

Way to go Leon Bridges!……Way to go! We  here at Crownheightsmom.com have no doubts  that you will achieve these dreams and more.