Prim Goods — Made Better By Our Story

May 15, 2016 by

Sometimes you find truly incredible products that are MORE than the products themselves. This is one of those times.

PrimGoods copy

A blogging friend of mine (thanks Fawn!) introduced me to Prim Goods, a skin care line made by the ladies of Primrose Hill Teen Challenge, a nonprofit, faith-based organization affiliated with Teen Challenge USA that helps give women and children affected by drugs a second chance and introduces them to God. Prim Goods asked me and several other bloggers to try their products and give a review.

So I tried them — and I was impressed. Even more, I was moved by what they’re doing at Primrose Hill.

Primrose Hill is located in Clark, Missouri. According to their website, their “goal is to help women, mothers and their children whose lives have been affected by the life-controlling issue of drugs and alcohol. At Primrose Hill, we believe in the power of change. We know that, if given the chance, every woman can go on to lead a productive and rewarding life.”

Primrose Hill is a 12-month, residential recovery program for women, and it is one of the few facilities where their young children can live with them while they get their lives back together.

And these women are getting their lives together. One of the coolest things about Primrose Hill’s website is you can listen to the women talk about what brought them to the home and how their lives are improving now that they are sober. Those stories are part of what makes Primrose Hill so fantastic — and why Prim Goods’ motto is “Made Better By Our Story.”

So what is Prim Goods?

Prim Goods is a micro-enterprise that was created to help raise money for Primrose Hill. As you might expect, it isn’t cheap to run a residential recovery program. In fact, it costs $2,000 a month per woman and an additional $100 a month for each child.

But more than a money maker, Prim Goods helps the women by teaching them vital job skills that they will need once they have finished with the program. It also gives them the confidence of knowing that they can create something that is useful and valued. What a wonderful lesson to give women who are working to put their lives back together! Each item, except for the lip balm, is signed by the woman who was making that product. How cool is that?

And yes, the products are awesome. I loved everything that I tried, but I think my favorite was their bar soap. I’m one of those weird people who prefers bar soap to shower gel. But I’m really picky about the soap I use. I like soaps that smell and feel great. And Prim Goods soap does both. It is super silky on my skin and the Primrose scent is floral, but not overpowering. Read what one student has to say about making soap.

Oh and the lip balm was heaven! I just loved the Honey Bunch scent. I think my next order will include the soap in that honey scent. *smile*

Don’t worry if you can’t handle scented products — Prim Goods has non-scented ones as well, perfect for people with sensitive skin.

So please, take a moment to check out Prim Goods. Their products would make a great gift for yourself or someone you love. And you’ll know that with each purchase, you are helping another woman improve her life and the lives of her children. What is better than that?

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Saying Goodbye

May 1, 2016 by

Today I wrote the final post over at Little Rock Mamas. Even though the three of us (Cathy, Heidi and I) haven’t been blogging there all year, it was still very bittersweet to write the final goodbye. Little Rock Mamas is officially no more.

This seems like it has been a year of goodbyes. From my best friend moving halfway across the country (missing you bunches, Heidi) to coping with Ben’s death (still not ready to write about it), this has been a rough year.

So so long, Little Rock Mamas. We went through a lot of ups and downs, but through it all, it was a lot of fun.

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Paradise, a Poem

Apr 8, 2016 by

This has been a rough few weeks. On March 14, my brother-in-law Ben Chase shot himself. Our family has been in pretty deep mourning ever since. Ben left behind a lot of people who loved him dearly, including his fiancee, his children, his parents, his brother, other family members and pretty much everyone he ever met.

I still really don’t have the words to write about what Ben meant to me, and how much his absence affects us all. But I wanted to share with you a poem that my husband wrote for the funeral.



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Jan 31, 2016 by

Welcome to Simply Yavonda.

If you’ve made your way here from Little Rock Mamas, I thank you for following me. If you’ve just stumbled upon this site, thank you for checking me out.

This site is currently a work in progress, but I hope you’ll stick around for a while as we get to know each other.

A little snowball fun

A little snowball fun

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Christmas Gift Guide 2015

Nov 27, 2015 by

Note: This is a sponsored post; however, all opinions are mine and all items were selected by me.

Christmas, Christmas time is here. Time for love and time for cheer.

Time for figuring out the perfect gift for everyone in your life.

Oh wait, I don’t think that’s the line. But that’s definitely what many of us try to do at the holidays, which can be a little stressful. Well have no fear, Little Rock Mamas and The Promenade at Chenal are here to help with our Christmas Gift Guide.

There are TONS of fantastic stores at the Promenade, so if you don’t find the perfect item in this gift guide, just head on over there. I’m betting you’ll find EXACTLY what you’re looking for.

First up, let’s start with the kiddos.

Crazy 8

Crazy 8 sells adorable clothes, sleepwear, socks and shoes for girls and boys. Whether you need to pick up jeans and a T-shirt or something more dressy, they’ve got you covered and at great prices.

Crazy 8

Crazy 8


The Children’s Place

The Children’s Place also has the cutest clothes and accessories for boys and girls. This year, I noticed that they had some really great watches if you’ve got a little girl into princesses or Frozen. And some of their Star Wars T-shirts just cracked me up.

The Children's Place

The Children’s Place



Justice is a great place to find gifts sure to delight the tween girls (and younger) in your lives. They’ve got clothes, purses, bath stuff, perfumes, stuffed animals, fun pillows, etc.




Now we’ve got some great gift ideas for all of the women in your life. Whether you’re trying to find jewelry or handbags for mom, a heartfelt gift for your best friend or fabulous decorations for the home, you’re in luck at the Promenade.

Charming Charlie

Charming Charlie is all about accessories. If you’re looking for a handbag, they’ve got it. Scarf? Watch? Jewelry? Hat? Check. They even sell some clothing items now. Even better, they carry stock in a wide assortment of colors, so you have plenty to choose from.

Charming Charlie

Charming Charlie


Lily Rain

Lily Rain is the newest store at The Promenade. It opened earlier in November. If you’re looking for lots of variety, check out Lily Rain. They have clothing, handbags (including reversible leather totes that are so stylish), Swell water bottles, funny mugs, ceramics with touching messages, jewelry, candles, bath stuff, stuffed animals and puzzles for kids.

Lila Rose

Lily Rain


Tipton & Hurst

If you thought Tipton & Hurst was just flowers, you’ve been missing out. Their store at The Promenade is a decorator’s dream. I only WISH my Christmas tree could be as beautiful as the ones in their showroom. But what a great place to find gorgeous ornaments and other Christmas decorations, festive serving dishes, unique frames, candles and a wide variety of Aromatique products.

Tipton & Hurst

Tipton & Hurst


Are you still scratching your head about the perfect gift? Sometimes the best gift you can give grandparents, especially if they live far away, is a family portrait. Who doesn’t love pictures of their family?

Portrait Innovations

Portrait Innovations is a photo studio located in the Promenade. They have a knowledgeable and friendly staff who will take good care of you. There are a variety of backgrounds to use during the photo shoot. After the shoot, you immediately sit down at a computer station with an employee to look at your photos. You select the pictures you want to purchase, and they are printed in minutes at the store.

To make an appointment, visit their website or call (501) 821-0168.

Portrait Innovations

Portrait Innovations


The Promenade also offers some free photo opportunities this holiday season. Santa and the Missus will be available Saturdays throughout the season, while the Snow Queen, Ice Princess and Olaf the snowman will be at the 8th Annual Celebration of Lights, which has been rescheduled for Saturday, Dec. 5.

And don’t forget your coupons for lots of great deals at the Promenade!

The Promenade at Chenal

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Talk With Your Mouth Full

Sep 12, 2015 by

This is a sponsored post. All opinions belong to me.

The Promenade at Chenal and the Little Rock Regional Chamber of Commerce paired up to present Talk With Your Mouth Full on Thursday night. It was a night of great food, wine and networking.

If you’re never been to one of the Talk With Your Mouth Full events, you are missing out.

There were so many yummy bites, it was hard to know where to start. Promenade restaurants — A.W. Lin’s Asian Cuisine, Big Orange Burgers, Bonehead’s Grill, Bravo! Cucina Italiana, Cafe Brunelle, Del Fresco’s Grill, Local Lime, Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream & Treatery, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt and YaYa’s Euro Bistro — all had booths at the event, offering up some of their tasty cuisine.

Heidi, aka Margarita Mama, and I were able to sample food from A.W. Lin’s, Del Fresco’s Grill, Local Lime and YaYa’s. Everything was delicious, but I think the Ahi tuna tacos from Del Fresco’s were my favorite. The tuna tartare and guacamole were so refreshing on a warm evening. The restaurant just opened, and I’m thinking Matt and I will have to pay them a visit very soon!

Great food offering at Talk With Your Mouth Full

(Clockwise, from top left) YaYa’s Euro Bistro serves up tomato bisque; Chef George at the Bravo! Cucina Italian table; Del Fresco Grill offers tuna tacos; Local Lime makes carnitas for the crowd

There were also tons of networking opportunities. I will admit — I’m really bad at networking. I get very shy in crowds and would prefer to people watch. Luckily, I ran into one of my fellow Arkansas Women Bloggers and my roommate from the past three years of AWBU. Christie Ison, the founder of, and her husband, Joe, were at the event. So we chatted for a while, and they introduced me to some of their friends.

Fun with friends at Talk With Your Mouth Full

(Clockwise) Christie poses with the Menchie’s mascot; Christie and Joe; and me and Christie

It was a fun evening. Heidi and I capped it off with cocktails and spinach dip at Bravo!

Fun with friends at Talk With Your Mouth Full

Selfie time! Me and Heidi at Bravo!


The Promenade at Chenal

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Amazing night at the circus

Aug 21, 2015 by

Note: Thanks to the Angela Rogers Group for providing my family with tickets to the circus for this review. All opinions expressed in this post belong to me.

Wow, just wow. The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Built to Amaze! circus is well, amazing.

The show has the perfect blend of silliness, talented animals and death-defying stunts to delight the whole family. And if your family is anything like my family, everyone will have their favorite act.

Amazing crossbow act at Built to Amaze!

Ovidiu Pasarar shoots an apple on his own head via an elaborate display involving multiple crossbows

For Alaina, the best acts involved the horses, dogs and elephants, aka all of the animal acts. And she’s right — the animals were pretty incredible.

The most impressive of the animal/human acts was the Zoppe Equestrian one. Picture gorgeous horses running around a ring while incredibly talented acrobats perform back handsprings, back somersaults and flip from one horse to another. It was well, amazing.

Amazing horses at Built to Amaze!

Two members of the Zoppe equestrian act stand on the horses backs

Then there were the adorable (and funny!) dogs. They elicited quite a few “awws” out of Alaina as she watched them prance around in dresses, ride a scooter, take turns on the slide and other fun tricks.

Amazing dogs at Built to Amaze!

The Olate dogs strut their stuff in a hilarious comedy act.

The animal stars of the show were the elephants, Asia and little April. Earlier this year, Ringling Bros. announced that it would retire all of the elephants by 2018. This was the first show I’ve seen since that announcement and I thought the elephants played a greater role than in past performances. While Asia was the grand dame of the show, April was so stinking adorable. I’ve never seen a young elephant before, so this was quite a treat.

Amazing elephants at Built to Amaze!

Aren’t Asia and little April simply beautiful?

While Matt and I enjoyed the animal acts immensely, we were both awed by the Wheel of Steel. I think the best way to describe it is take two giant hamster wheels, suspend them like a Ferris wheel and then let two guys loose in the contraption. At one point, Cristhian Marquez and Carlos Morales are on the outside of the wheels, jumping rope. Yup, it was amazing.

Amazing aerialists at Built to Amaze!

Marquez and Morales jumping rope on the Wheel of Steel. Can someone say death defying?

Then there was the hand-balancing act. I can’t imagine having the kind of strength and control that it would take to balance on your head on a replica of the Eiffel Tower.

Amazing balance at Built to Amaze!

Check out this incredible feat of strength by Hector Gutierrez of Duo Solys.

While the clowns were certainly funny, I think the act that made me laugh hardest was the King Charles Troupe. How can you go wrong with a spirited basketball game on unicycles? Especially when the unicycles get taller as the game heats up?

Amazing comedy at Built to Amaze!

Basketball, unicycles and comedy — yes, please

If you’re heading to the circus, I recommend going early for the pre-show. Your kids will love getting to sit ringside for a few minutes. During the Thursday night show, we got to watch Asia show off her painting skills.

And speaking of painting, check out the face painting booth. For $10, your child can be transformed into a clown, an orange tiger, a white tiger or a dog. Alaina decided she wanted to be an orange tiger.

Amazing fun at Built to Amaze!

For $10, your child can get his/her face painted, plus a clown wig and nose

Amazing tiger at Built to Amaze!

A very happy tiger

We had an absolute blast at the Built to Amaze! show. The show really was, you guessed it, amazing. The circus will be at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock all weekend with three showings on Saturday (11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.) and one at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Ticket prices range between $16.80 and $50.65 (for ringside).

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