Sylvia: Hello Andrea, we would like to say thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to interview with Prestige Magazine. Also, we would like to say congratulations on your new business venture “The Tasty Trend” which launched on March 16th. So the first thing that our Prestige readers would like to know is if you could just give us a little background information on yourself.
Andrea: I actually am a graduate of the University of Florida. My degree is in Food Science and Human Nutrition and so that’s basically me. I’m a wife, I’m a mom of about to be four kids and I started this business venture about a year ago.
Sylvia: Okay, so where did the concept for “The Tasty Trend” come from?
Andrea: The concept came from Nick and my middle son. We have three boys currently right now and our middle son Nmar’e, who is about to be six in less than a month, actually was diagnosed with numerous food allergies right after he turned one so that’s where this whole thing came from. He was allergic to wheat and gluten, soy, dairy, eggs, and so as a mom I just was trying to find a better alternative for him to be able to enjoy baked goods because what I found in the store just wasn’t working for him.
Sylvia: Now, once that concept was finalized what was the preparation process like? Did you meet any or many challenges while preparing to launch the business?
Andrea: Yes, I did. I literally—it started actually where I wanted to do a cookbook at first just because I had a problem with being able to create our prepared meals initially with him, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I started doing that and I was like, “This would be awesome to do a cookbook and have resources for other moms out there to be able to go to if they encounter the same issue as me with their child.” And Nick actually encouraged me to take it from a cookbook aspect to actually cupcakes because that’s what I was starting to get good in is the baked goods part of it and during the process I mean I joked around with it for a little bit but then I actually got serious about it and once I did challenges that I faced basically, to be honest with you, I think being a woman and trying to start a business in a—not necessarily start this business, but I think the hardest part for me was to build out. It was new to me when I was building out my space and I was in an industry where there’s a lot of men and I didn’t really know what was going on and I had to learn things as I went so it was just a little bit challenging, basically.
Sylvia: What are some of the items on the menu and what is your favorite one?
Andrea: So right now I’m only doing cupcakes. I do a gluten-free version and an allergy friendly version. The gluten-free version is–everything I have from the retail side of my website is all gluten-free, but the gluten-free version actually does have eggs and dairy in it. The allergy friendly is the same flavor reproduced, but without any animal products. My favorite on the menu is actually my coconut cupcake. I love it. I think it’s good. It’s like me and my mom’s favorite flavor. It’s also one of Nick’s favorite flavors, too as well. But snickerdoodle is actually a top seller for me.
Sylvia: So you can say the snickerdoodle is the best seller for your customers at this point.
Andrea: Right now, yeah, it’s one of the favorites.
Sylvia: How is your son adapting to his food allergies? It hasn’t been an easy battle for him which I know it hasn’t because he wants to have everything that his siblings are able to experience in the food realm as well as things that he’s seeing when he goes out. So how is he adapting to this?
Andrea: It’s funny that you ask that question because it’s such a simple question, but the minute when you asked it, I actually just—I’m sitting here and I get teary-eyed about it because this has been a challenge for Nick and I for about five years. He takes it very well and I have to give him a lot of credit. At first once he got to the age where he started talking and we would take him to birthday parties and we would tell him, “No, you can’t have cake. We have something special for you on the side,” he would ask, “Well why can’t I have that?.” But I think that once you’re able to talk to your child and communicate with them and communicate in a way that they logically can understand, it helps them where they don’t have to constantly hear, “Well, no you can’t have that,” but then there’s nothing else you can have. It’s like, “No, you can’t have that, but here I do have this for you in replace of that,” and so it’s funny now because he knows what he can and he can’t have. He’s growing out of some of his food allergies, but if he goes somewhere and he’s offered something that’s like one of the first things he asks. He’s like, “Is this gluten-free? It doesn’t have any peanuts, does it? Because I’m allergic to peanuts.” So I have to give him a lot of credit, he’s a great sport about it.
Sylvia: How, as a mother, have you been able to allow the other children, your other children to adapt to what your baby has had to deal with on a daily basis?
Andrea: He has two older siblings and one sibling under him right now. The two older ones we talk to them and just basically say, “You know, your brother can’t have this.” It’s not too much that they eat around him that he can’t have. I try to be able to prepare the meals the same so that everybody can have and he doesn’t feel like he’s excluded or he always has to have something special, but they understand and they really don’t bring it up because I think they don’t want him to feel like he’s different, but then they do understand what he’s going through and they are mindful of it. We do have an older son, he’s a picky eater, he loves peanut butter. We don’t take that away from him, but then he’s very cautious that when I’m eating peanut butter I don’t want to be by my brother, I have to make sure I wash my hands, I don’t want to breathe on him and stuff like that.
Sylvia: Now what was your first reaction to the launching of the business when you first put those cupcakes out there and the public started to really see what you were doing? So what was your first reaction? What was that very first, initial reaction?
Andrea: There are a lot of people that are very happy that there is someone that has come out with this concept and have them in mind. I mean from someone who suffers from celiac disease and they can’t have any gluten in their diet to someone who maybe has a gluten intolerance or a gluten sensitivity or even someone who just chooses a gluten-free lifestyle just because they’re trying to be more healthy or whatever the case may be their response is actually very overwhelming because I get people who hit up my Facebook page or hit me up on Instagram and say, “This is such a great idea. I have a friend who hasn’t had a cupcake in over a year and now I can give my friend a treat.” Or people who say, “Thank you very much for keeping someone like me in mind when you opened this business.”
Sylvia: Andrea what advice would you have for young entrepreneurs hoping to open their own business? Not only young ones, but just anyone, female, male opening their own business one day?
Andrea: The advice that I would have for someone, anyone regardless of age, gender, color, who wants to open their own business is the advice that my husband gave me that if there is something that you’re very passionate about and you’re good at it and you can turn it into a business don’t get discouraged because it’s not going to be an easy ride the whole way. Nick told me this through this whole process, and I have to give him a ton of credit because he has helped me out tremendously and he’s still helping me out, if it was easy everybody would do it. So don’t get deterred when things get hard because it’s not easy the whole way.
Sylvia: That’s excellent advice. Now, Nick, we know about your NFL career. How is this kind of different from what you’ve done in the past as far as pushing your business and really just getting things out there for the public to see making sure that you’re doing things in a positive and just getting that favorable response from the public? So how does that differ for you?
Nick: For me it’s different because I know in this time and age there’s a lot of athletes eating real healthy, watching their diet and everything. I know it’s hard being an athlete because you have to eat a lot of calories just to maintain your weight and I’m a snack person so it was right down my alley talking about the cookbook and all that and I was like I want you start your own cupcake business. And it’s been great. It’s been outstanding and I think for people like myself and people that can’t have the sweets and the gluten it’s just a good outlet to have where one day they’re out and about and they say I feel for a cupcake and Andrea is able to apply that, I mean have that product for them where they can go to a website, they can order online and whatever. So it’s been great. It’s totally different, but it’s been a fun ride. Everything in life is all about a challenge and we was up for the challenge and we gonna see how it plays out in the future.
Sylvia: Now this question is for the both of you. What was one of the most unexpected challenges that you ran into or that you think you might run into while doing this business and what advice can you give to others to try to avoid those challenges?
Andrea: To be honest with you I don’t think that I’ve encountered anything that’s been unexpected, so that remains to be seen. [laughs] That’s my best answer to that question.
Sylvia: What about you, Nick? Any challenges that were unexpected for you in helping your wife out in giving her advice that you would tell others to try to avoid with their business?
Nick: Me, I’m always positive. With the bad there’s always something good that’s going to come out of it so I’m always pushing messages like that and if she encounters something I’m pretty sure she can make it right.
Sylvia: Very good. It’s always good to have that positive backing and those positive outcomes. Now how can The Prestige family, the readers, and the fans continue to get updates on you, the things that you’re doing and your business right now “The Tasty Trend” or if you’ll be adding on anything? How can we keep in touch with you to know what’s going on? Would you like to share things from your social media sites like your website, your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or any other outlets that you have?
Andrea: They can keep up with me through the website www.thetastytrend.com. I do have social media. I’m on Instagram @thetastytrend, Facebook at thetastytrend.com, and also Twitter @thetastytrend.com. Those are the outlets that I’m using right now for people to be able to engage with me and also see what’s going on with the company and how the company is growing and what direction we’re moving. In the future I would love to expand my business. I think right now launching a retail online site was the best way for me to go to be able to gauge whether or not by the end of the year I’m able to do a storefront and probably open more than one location. Also, I would love to eventually go back to my first venture which would be the cookbook and I’m also interested in—I really want to do an apron line and I really would love to venture out into doing kids’ utensils for the kitchen. I like to have my kids in the kitchen. There’s many people that love to cook with their kids but they don’t necessarily have kid friendly safe utensils so I’m interested in that, but that’s way far in the future. We have to see how this does first before we can even begin to think to tackle that.
Sylvia: Also is there anything else that you would like to share or say to The Prestige Family, readers, and fans at this time?
Andrea: I would just like to say, again, I would like to reiterate that if there’s anybody that has a passion to do something I would just tell them to follow their heart and do it. I think when you’re very passionate about the work that you do when it’s produced I think that passion is shown in your work and when you are doing something that you love it never feels like work, it always feels like you’re doing something that you just really do have a love for. So I would encourage anybody to be able to do it and not be discouraged if you don’t have a whole bunch of money. There’s resources out there that are able to help people who are trying to open their own business and you know, just to never give up. Again, like Nick tells me if it was easy everyone would do it, but I think everyone has the opportunity to be able to follow whatever dream it is that they have on their heart.
Sylvia: Okay, very good. We would like to just say thank you from all of us at Prestige Magazine for affording us the opportunity to help you spread the word about your new business endeavor and we pray that you will have much success and blessings upon you, your family, and your business. And we wish you much continued success and that you’ll continue to have this positive attitude and put out good, positive food for the public because there are so many people that are going through these experiences of having different food allergies and different things. So we want to congratulate you.
Andrea: Thank you, I appreciate it.
Covid-19 cases rise aboard first cruise to resume sailing in the Caribbean
So far a total of seven passengers have tested positive for Covid-19 aboard the SeaDream 1 cruise ship docked in Barbados, according to two passengers on the ship.
Passengers who have tested negative for the virus will be able to leave the ship and travel home, Gene Sloan and Ben Hewitt told CNN on Friday. They are both among a handful of cruise journalists and bloggers on board.
The SeaDream Yacht Club cruise was the first to return to the Caribbean since the coronavirus pandemic shut operations down in March and was meant to demonstrate that increased safety protocols, including regular testing aboard the ship, could allow cruise voyages to take place during the pandemic.
Instead one passenger fell ill on Wednesday, forcing the SeaDream 1 to return to Barbados, where all 53 passengers and 66 crew were tested.
Hewitt said the crew had informed passengers that everyone who had tested negative twice would be allowed to disembark the ship and fly home on Saturday.
SeaDream Yacht Club said in a news release Thursday afternoon that “guests” had received “assumptive positive” results to preliminary rapid Covid tests, but did not specify the number who had done so.
SeaDream was asked to confirm the exact number of positive results.
SeaDream responded “We are working closely with local health and government authorities to resolve this situation in the best possible way,” said SeaDream‘s Andreas Brynestad, in the SeaDream release.
Intercom announcement of positive test result
Sloan, who is a senior reporter for cruise and travel at The Points Guy, reported that the Covid scare started when the captain informed passengers of the preliminary positive test over the ship’s intercom system shortly before lunchtime on Wednesday.
Passengers were instructed to return to their cabins and remain isolated there, he said.
The ship, which was in the Grenadines at the time of the first preliminary positive test, docked in Barbados Wednesday evening.
“It’s not a great development for the cruise industry,” Sloan told CNN via email on Wednesday from his cabin on board. “I think the hope had been that the rigorous testing that SeaDream was doing would keep Covid off its ship.”
Multilayer testing for Covid-19 has been an integral part of SeaDream‘s efforts to create a Covid-19 negative bubble aboard its ships.
Passengers were tested in advance of traveling to the ship and also before boarding the ship, Sloan said.
“And SeaDream also was testing passengers four days into the trip,” he said. “We were scheduled to be tested again today. That’s a more rigorous testing plan than most lines had been discussing for the restarts.”
The protocol is due in part to the strict testing required by Barbados, where the ship will be based for the season, Sloan noted.
“I think what this shows is it’s going to happen. And until there’s a vaccine or herd immunity, when cruising starts up you’re going to see things like this happen. The question is how often and how big?”
Voyages from Barbados
SeaDream‘s winter voyages from Barbados started on November 7 with the sailing that has now been cut short.
These new Caribbean sailings follow a successful summer season for SeaDream in Norway, which the company said “resulted in zero positive cases during the entire Norwegian summer season.”
“After completing a successful summer season in Norway, we implemented even stricter health and safety protocols for our Barbados winter season. All guests were tested twice prior to embarkation and we are in the process of retesting guests,” said SeaDream‘s Andreas Brynestad in the statement released on Thursday.
Ben Hewitt, host of Cruise with Ben & David on YouTube, expressed his disappointment and frustration with the virus in an interview Thursday from his stateroom.
“It’s just so disappointing that this has happened because everybody has their hopes up high, and we can’t see anything more that they could’ve done,” said Hewitt.
“It’s just such a horrible virus, it just gets everywhere even with the constant testing.”
The use of masks on the voyage has been far less stringent.
Sloan told CNN that initially no one was wearing face masks, not even the crew. Crew members told him they weren’t necessary since the ship was a Covid-free “bubble.”
Then a few days into sailing, SeaDream instituted a mask policy but didn’t offer an explanation, he said.
Fewer than 250 guests
SeaDream‘s ships, which the company refers to as “superyachts,” have 56 staterooms, with a capacity for 112 guests and 95 crew.
Carrying fewer than 250 guests outside of US waters allows SeaDream to operate outside of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s orders around cruising.
The CDC recently issued a “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order for Cruise Ships.”
The order, which applies to cruise ships in US territorial waters that have capacity to carry at least 250 passengers, is considered a tentative step toward the resumption of cruising.
Trade group Cruise Lines International Association said it will work with the CDC to resume US sailings as soon as possible, but that its members would continue a voluntary suspension of operations through the end of 2020.
On Friday, a letter signed by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Rep. Doris Matsui (D-CA) called on the CDC to reinstate its no-sail order for cruise ships and reverse efforts to restart the industry’s US operations.
The letter cites the outbreak aboard SeaDream 1.
Despite precautions, “the virus was still able to infect multiple people on the ship, with the possibility of more confirmed cases emerging as passengers and crew are retested,” the letter reads.
“Unfortunately, this troubling development is not surprising and reaffirms the need to exercise extreme caution before sending passengers and crew back out to sea on cruises.”
Obama Rips Trump For Refusing To Congratulate President-Elect Biden
Former President Barack Obama is reminding the nation he congratulated President Donald Trump as soon as he won the election … a courtesy the President’s refusing to extend to President-Elect Joe Biden.
The former president ripped Trump for failing to acknowledge Biden as president-elect with so much as a congratulatory phone call in an interview with “CBS This Morning,” telling Gayle King Trump is damaging our democracy with the way he’s eschewing what’s traditionally been a peaceful — and cordial — transfer of power.
Obama recalled election night 2016, saying he stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to phone Trump and congratulate the president-elect. Obama says he was doing what presidents do, just as George W. Bush graciously did during Obama’s historic 2008 victory.
Trump’s refusal to concede and call up president-elect Biden is clearly not sitting well with Obama.
As you know … Obama previously chided Trump and the GOP for continuing to make baseless claims of election fraud in an interview with “60 Minutes,” telling Scott Pelley it undermines the country.
Obama points out Biden and 2016 Trump will end up with the same number of Electoral College votes, 306, but says half the country likely won’t take that into account if they keep consuming conservative media … which Obama says presents voter fraud allegations as fact.
Bottom line. Obama explains why Republicans can’t stop Biden and Vice-President Elect Kamala Harris from being sworn in.
Joe Biden wins the 2020 US Presidential election
Following a tense week of vote tallying, Joe Biden won the state of Pennsylvania and vaulted ahead in the race to become the next president of the United States. Biden’s win in the critical state put him over the threshold of 270 electoral votes, cutting off all avenues for his opponent.
Biden prevailed by flipping key states that went to Trump in 2016, including Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Trump again won in Florida and Ohio, but in the end was unable to chart a path to an electoral victory. Biden also leads by millions in the popular vote, with a record number of votes cast this year, many through the mail.
As his vice president, Kamala Harris will make history in myriad ways, becoming the first woman — and the first woman of color — to occupy the office. Harris, a California senator and the state’s former attorney general, built a career in the tech industry’s front yard.
Shattered barriers aside, this year’s election will likely go down in infamy for many in the U.S. The race was the strangest in recent years, characterized by rising storms of misinformation, fears over the fate of scaled-up vote-by-mail systems and a deadly virus that’s claimed well over 230,000 American lives. Biden’s campaign was forced to adapt to drive-up rallies and digital campaigning instead of relying on door-knocking and face-to-face interaction to mobilize the vote.
The circumstances of the election also created the perfect ecosystem for misinformation — a situation made worse by President Trump’s false claim of victory early Wednesday morning and ongoing claims of Democratic voter fraud. Trump appears to be in no mood to concede the election, but in the end the vote is what it is and Joe Biden will take office on January 20, 2021.
While a sitting president rejecting that unwritten democratic norm would be alarming, Trump’s decision will have little bearing on the ultimate political outcome. Whatever the coming days hold, the U.S. is entering into a new and unprecedented phase of uncertainty in which misinformation abounds and political tensions and fears of politically-motivated violence are running high.
The former vice president’s win brings a four year run of Trumpism to an abrupt end, though its effects will still reverberate throughout American politics, likely for decades. It also ushers in a new era in which Joe Biden plans to draw on the influence of an unlikely coalition of Democrats from across the political spectrum. The Senate still hangs in the balance with two tight races in Georgia headed to January runoffs.
Biden has laid out plans for sweeping climate action, and a healthcare extension that would cover more Americans and provide an opt-in Medicare-like public option. But his ability to enact most of those grand plans would hinge on a Democratic Senate. While either party was likely to continue pursuing more aggressive regulation for the technology industry, we’ll be watching closely for signals of what’s to come for tech policy.
But even without the Senate, the president-elect may be capable of making a swift and critical impact where it’s most needed: the coronavirus pandemic. In the continued absence of a national plan to fight the virus and a White House that downplays its deadliness and discourages mask-wearing, COVID-19 is raging out of control in states across the country, signaling a very deadly winter just around the corner.
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