Sunday, November 29, 2009

Help Jennifer: Be A Match: A Mom Needs YOU!

In September 2009, just a few days before her 41st birthday Jennifer Jones Austin, mother of 2 ages 7 and 12, was unexpectedly stricken with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Doctors have said that, unless Jennifer undergoes a bone marrow transplant within the next few months, her chances of surviving this disease are slim.

During this season of giving, give the gift of LIFE. You can help Jennifer by becoming a registered donor with the Be The Match and getting tested to determine if your bone marrow is compatible. Even if you are not a match for Jennifer you may be able to help another person in need of a life saving transplant.

The test to determine compatibility is as SIMPLE as a Q-tip swab inside the cheek. The donation process is as SIMPLE as giving blood. A surgical procedure is NOT required.

Unfortunately, because African Americans and Hispanics are dramatically underrepresented in the National Bone Marrow Registries, African Americans have less than a 45% chance of finding a match in the current pool of donors. While there are more than 5 Million white bone marrow registrants, there are only about 500,000 registrants of African descent.

To date two drives have been scheduled in New York:

Sunday, December 6, 11:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m
Abyssinian Baptist Church
132 Odell Clarke Place (138th Street-bet. Lenox Ave & Adam Clayton Powell Blvd)
New York, NY
(212) 862-7474

Sunday, December 20, 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m
Bethany Baptist Church
460 Marcus Garvey Blvd
Brooklyn, NY,
(718) 455-8400

If you cannot make it to a drive, register as a donor by going online to You can receive an at-home testing kit at no charge. The "promo code" is JJA1068.

Jennifer is a long time friend of the Chocolate Chip Family. She has been married to her husband, Shawn, for 15 years, and they have two beautiful children: a 12 year old daughter and a 7 year old son. She is an accomplished child advocate and has dedicated herself over the past 20 years to serving the needs and interests of families and children. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and Fordham Law School, and she is a long-time and devoted member of Bethany Baptist Church in Brooklyn, where her father, the late Rev. William Augustus Jones II, served as pastor for over 40 years.

There are few opportunities, where a simple act can save a person's life. Please don't miss this chance. There but for the grace of God go I. Let's join together to help ensure Jennifer has a long and healthy life in front of her.

Click on this link to view an interview of Jennifer on WNBC that aired on December 12, 2009

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Chocolate Chip Recommends....Our Guide to the Christmas Season

Welcome to the Chocolate Chip Guide to Christmas....Here are a few of our favorite things:

Disney's The Princess & The Frog- In theaters nationwide December 11th - Make sure you check out our review.

A Charlie Brown Christmas- airs on ABC Tuesday December 15th 8pm EST

Truly a classic!! My brother, cousin and I used to ROFL watching those kids rock it out to Schroeder's tunes on the piano!!! (I know EVERY dance- Do you?) It's not Christmas until my mother hears Linus respond to Charlie Brown's plea "Isn't there anyone who knows what Christmas is all about?"

Christmas at the White House: An Oprah Primetime Special- airs on ABC Sunday December 13th at 10pm EST

Definitely won't be missing The Obama's first Christmas at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

Alvin Ailey- at New York City Center thru January 3, 2010.

"I've been 'buked and I've been scorned...."

It is not Christmas without the beauty and power of Revelations. Without a doubt my most favorite activity of the season!

Take the children to the family matinee on December 26th

The Nutcracker- Anywhere USA. My mother and I take the children annually. This year we're headed back to the Westchester County Center to see their rendition the weekend of 12/18-12/20

Annual Riverside Christmas Concert Candlelight Carole Festival-

The Riverside Church 490 Riverside Drive New York, New York 10027

We used to love attending this event annually with our Brooklyn neighbors!! What a lovely way to usher in the holidays!

The Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanical Gardens

Without a doubt the BEST way to see NYC!

While you're there check out the Gingerbread Adventures and The Little Engine That Could™ Puppet Show

March of The Wooden Soldiers performed by the Rockettes at the Christmas Spectacular at Radio City thru January 3, 2010

Brings back such fond memories of my high school years....Shout out to Cardinal Spellman's Flag Corps who perform it annually

Ice Skating- Anywhere USA- Just found out yesterday that my husband has NEVER ice skated in his life!! We've never been able to bare the cold at Rockefeller Center, but Bryant Park or your local ice skating rink will certainly do the trick.

A Visit to the tree and the herald angels at Rockefeller Center- definitely a NYC must see
The Christmas Windows: Saks, Macy's and Lord & Taylor

MarieBelle Soho: The Cacao Bar

484 Broome St, between Wooster St and West Broadway

Simply divine!!!! We've driven very far distances to get a sip of the European-style Aztec Hot Chocolate- YUMMMMMM!!!!
484 Broome St, between Wooster St and West Broadway

A Warm Gathering of Family and Friends- potluck with the girls night crew or your neighbors- In all the busyness of our demanding schedules make sure you make time to share joy with those you love.

Your favorite things didn't make the list? Share so we can indulge too!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Finances and Divorce

Chocolate Chip strongly supports marriage and family. The unfortunate reality is some couples will divorce. Finances are a tough subject in marriage but can be an even trickier topic in divorce. We wish financial prosperity and stability for all of our fans and families, so we're sharing links to a 3-part series from The New York Times Money section on managing finances through divorce. Stay enlightened and informed.

Experience in Love & Money

Financial Decisions to Make As You Divorce

Money Talks to Have Before Marriage

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Prep School Negro of the Week: Melissa B. Ivey

We couldn't think of a more fitting way to wrap up this 3 part series on African American children and independent schools.

Check out The Prep School Negro of the Week: Melissa B. Ivey

This is a powerful testimony about the highs and lows, blessings and sometimes harsh realities of the prep school experience for African American children. Taken from both a student and mother's perspective it puts prep schools in its proper perspective. On a personal note, I'm so very proud of Melissa's story as parents and students can benefit greatly from her candor. She is an AMAZING woman, friend, wife and mother and we appreciate her for her transparency.

For more on the film The Prep School Negro Check out:

For more information about independent schools check out the Chocolate Chip Archives:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Kudos to the 2009 Blue Ribbon Schools!!

What exactly is a Blue Ribbon School? Well we're glad you asked:) Your friends at Chocolate Chip have done the research for you.

Check Spelling
"The Blue Ribbon Schools Program is a United States government program created to honor schools. The Blue Ribbon award is considered the highest honor an American school can achieve"

The Blue Ribbon Schools Program honors K-12 public and private schools that are either academically superior in their state or demonstrate dramatic gains in student achievement ... "these schools serve as models for other schools throughout the nation."

Blue Ribbon Schools "meet either of two assessment least 40 percent of their students from disadvantaged backgrounds that dramatically improve student performance in accordance with state assessment systems; and it rewards schools that score in the top 10 percent on state assessments."

Sounds great doesn't it, well the program is criticised because the criteria doesn't "take into account the socioeconomic status of the students and that studies show that students who come from homes with higher income and better educated parents do better than students without these advantages by virtue of their backgrounds. Thus, the award is usually given to schools with students from wealthy backgrounds."

With this in mind, Chocolate Chip salutes the principals, students and families of three NY urban schools serving children of color on being selected as 2009 Blue Ribbon Schools:

Pennington School
Mount Vernon, NY

PS 31 Samuel F. Dupont - Magnet School
for the Arts & Humanities
Brooklyn, NY

PS 380 John Wayne Elementary School
Brooklyn, NY

Check out the link below for more details on the program and a complete listing of current and past recipients.