Oil and Vinegar Does Mix


The rays of sun shine down on the ribbon cutting

Most people have heard the saying “oil and vinegar don’t mix”. Well, Bella Nonnas Olive Oil and Vinegar Tasting Bar will change your mind about that as they bring a new concept in eating healthy to the Shreveport-Bossier area.

In 2013, Barbie Page convinced Carline Procell, while on a girls trip in Florida, to visit a fresh olive oil tasting shop. bn11After tasting the “fresh” oil, they both knew this was something that needed to be explored further. Carline was diagnosed in 2007 with breast cancer and she understood the many health benefits of olive oil and vinegar. She explained to me that olive oil and vinegar both have a long list of health benefits, including containing cancer-fighting nutrients. Carline and Barbie began ordering oils through the mail, learning more about the benefits and flavors. Eventually they attended a conference in California where they were trained to judge and taste olive oil. These gals know their oil and vinegar and want to share their knowledge with the community. Oil and vinegar does mix!

bn02Making healthy eating choices was only part of the journey for Barbie and Carline. The flavors are as important and they want people to learn how to cook with their products.They encourage their customers to understand the tastes and benefits of using Bella Nonnas oils and vinegars. They love to pair oils and vinegars with foods and share the experience of learning, tasting and cooking. In addition to selling oil and vinegar, they offer Olive Oil 101 classes, pairings and cooking demos.

bn04Bella Nonnas says that olive oil is best when fresh and vinegar is best when aged. In fact, most olive oils that are purchased in grocery stores are already rancid and we have become accustomed to low quality. Bella Nonnas’ freshness will  surprise you. The oils they sell have been crushed within six months. Their inventory of oil and vinegar includes over 1000 pairings from all over the world, which makes it part of the fun. A few of my favorites were the Dark Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar, Butter Infused Olive Oil, Chipotle Olive Oil, Serrano Honey Balsamic Vinegar and the 18 year aged vinegar. They offer trial sizes, small bottles, large bottles and gift packs of oils and vinegars. Bring your empty bottle back when you finish to get $2 credit toward your next purchase. In addition, they carry salts, soaps books and original pottery by Gretchen Murchison of Natchitoches  Online ordering of vinegar and oil is available. (Think holiday gifts)

Bella Nonnas is located at 1409 E. 70th Street, Suite 107-B, Shreveport, Louisiana. Bella Nonnas is a member of the Bossier Chamber of Commerce and The Greater Shreveport Chamber of Commerce. Several restaurants around the area are test serving Bella Nonna products. Ask if you go: 

  • 2Johns
  • L’Italiano
  • Roma’s

Want more information about Bella Nonnas Olive Oil and Vinegar Tasting Bar?

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes

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Barbie Page and Carline Procell, owners of Bella Nonnas Olive Oil and Vinegar Tasting Bar

Barbie Page and Carline Procell, owners of Bella Nonnas Olive Oil and Vinegar Tasting Bar


There is Hope in Collaboration

IMG_1161It is so easy to get caught up in our worries and feel like nothing is good in life. I’ve been feeling a bit down lately and it can be consuming. Today I was reminded that while my worries may be valid, there is always someone out there who has things a little (and a lot) worse. My friend, Candace invited me to tour HOPE for the Homeless, a.k.a. HOPE Connections Drop-In-Center, which is a collaboration of organizations and individuals dedicated to ending homelessness in Northwest Louisiana. Candace is a member of the board for the Volunteers of America North Louisiana (VOA) and she wanted to share how they are partnering with other agencies to provide hope in our community.

The Vision of HOPE for the Homeless is that no individual or family has to experience homelessness in Northwest Louisiana.

IMG_1155I really had no idea what to expect. What I found was so touching. The Drop-In-Center is truly a place of collaboration from over 60 agencies that work together to provide a safe resting place and resource center for the homeless.

IMG_1154IMG_1158IMG_1162What I understand about the challenges of being homeless and trying to obtain help is that navigating the system can be daunting, partly due to the travel distance between agencies. This Center provides shower facilities, laundry facilities, telephones, computers, mail receipt, medical services, and job opportunities. It is run by certified Peer Support Specialists that steer clients towards services that will help them obtain and maintain permanent housing.

IMG_1166What touched me most was hearing from Tony. Tony is a homeless veteran who landed in Shreveport after some set-backs in life. Tony, was resistant to accepting help because he has a dog, Obi Wan Kenobi (a three-legged sweetie). Tony had been offered help from other agencies, but with stipulations that he had to get rid of Obi. This was not an idea open for discussion with Tony. As an animal lover, I understand not wanting to give up the companionship. When the case worker from HOPE for the Homeless assured Tony that they would find a way to help them both and then followed through on that assurance, a trust relationship was formed. Because of the collaborations of several agencies, hope was given to Tony in a way that has allowed for a transition into a safer living situation. It has also given Tony a way to contribute back to the community.

HOPE Connections is located at 2350 Levy Street in Shreveport, LA. I hope you will consider taking a tour of this facility, or one of other VOA tours available. The collaborative efforts being made in our community are outstanding. Upcoming tours dates are as follows:

  • Sept 2, 2015 – 11 am – Ballington Center at South Pointe Place – 1133 South Pointe Parkway, Shreveport
  • Sept 2, 2015 – 4 pm – Highland Center – 520 Olive Street, Shreveport
  • Oct 7, 2015 – 11 am – Lighthouse Bossier – 2101 Scott St, Bossier City
  • Nov 4, 2015 – 11 am – Veterans Facility – 453 Jordan St., Shreveport
  • Dec 2, 2015 – 11 am – Lighthouse – 802 Travis St, Shreveport

Want more information about Hope for the Homeless or VOA?






There is hope in collaboration! I’m proud to live in an area where there are people that are working to improve the lives of everyone in the community.

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes

* Source: http://nwlahope.org/ and site visit

We Drank the Harvest

 Four slow-food minded cocktail crafters competed at Drink The Harvest: A Craft Cocktail Competition event sponsored by Slow Food North Louisiana in hopes of walking away with the big win.

The New Levee Serenaders set the mood for the dancing couples

The event was held at Sainte Terre, a spectacularly gorgeous event venue in Benton, LA.  A tasting menu by Chef Holly Moore Schreiber was paired with each cocktail.

Competitor: Albert Eiffes, serving his Shrossierac

Competitor: Brandon Fail, serving his Morning Dew

Competitor: Aulden Morgan, serving the Peach Dandy

Competitor: Angie Stills, serving her Shuqualak Satsuma Slinger

Drumroll please . . . 

Congrats to the winner! – Aulden Morgan

And the winner is Aulden Morgan (Zocolo) with the Peach Dandy. Congrats!

Want more information about Slow Food?

That Just Happened!!
Robin Williams
Marketing Maven, Holiday Lanes

Stated travel intentions 

Vacation is on the horizon. So I have a few simple travel nuggets. 💡You are by no means obligated to follow them, but are welcome to if you like. So here are my stated intentions for the week:

  1. Have fun and be looking for fun. Share happiness & joy. Smile 😀 and laugh as much as possible, or at least until snot slings!
  2. Sing at the top of your lungs and to the best of your ability 🎶
  3. IMG_0750If you see something along the side of the road that is too hilarious to pass,💰 we must stop for pic (as shown). STOP!👀 SEE! and ENJOY!
  4. Stress only creates more stress, ⁉️ so don’t stress
  5. If you have prescribed meds, 💊💉don’t forget to take them. Nuf said. (If they are good meds, share them). Lol, JK, kinda
  6. look for adventure 🚡but don’t assume or force everyone to like to participate in your adventure.
  7. Leave all judgements behind 🙉🙈🐵 (i.e. no judging me if I snore, have bad breath, or show too much cellulite) HAHA.
  8. Be grateful for nature 🌾🌴🐠🌙💧and good company!
  9. If we get lost, embrace it as an adventure and don’t stress.🚗 🚊 🚡✈️
  10. Just love and allow love to come to you.🎌
  11. Clean up the seat for anything you left behind. 💩

Please feel free to add comments and suggestions.

That just happened.
Robin Williams

How many monster apples can you eat?

Boudreaux_rI have this really cool side job promoting The Chocolate Crocodile™ on social media. In case you haven’t heard about The Chocolate Crocodile, in which case I’m not doing an effective job, you need to know that it is the most fabulous candy/chocolate store around. They can dip anything (that’s legal). The Monster Croc Apple is their most popular specialty. More about that in a moment.

IMG_0318In 2005, Jim and Cyndi Ragon decided to leave their full time jobs in Minnesota, move to Bossier City, Louisiana and share their love for chocolate at the newly established Louisiana Boardwalk. Ten years later, they have opened two more stores: Cypress, Texas and Huntsville, Alabama. They are committed to bringing life´s goodness in an elegant, personal atmosphere. Their love extends by specializing in the finest chocolate and caramel delicacies covering the largest juiciest fruits and wrapped in the tastiest crunchiest nuts.

Here are some things you might not know, but should:

  • The Chocolate Crocodile™ uses only the finest chocolate to cover everything from apples to strawberries, peanut butter balls to twinkees, and anything between that you can dream. [If it’s legal – :)] If you don’t see it, they can custom dip it, just ask.
  • They make their caramel fresh, right in the store each day. Yes, homemade. It takes about three hours for each batch. That’s why it tastes so yummy.
  • choccroc4They dip approximately 1300 bushels of apples each year. That’s 83,200 APPLES!
  • In addition to their most popular Monster Croc Pecan Apple, they have 36 different varieties of dipped apples. Each start with a super sized Granny Smith Apple, homemade caramel and layers of chocolate, nuts, sprinkles or confections. (Consider trying the Margarita Apple).
  • Worried about how to eat a Monster Croc Apple? No worries, they will slice your apples so that you can dig right in. I’ve seen the knife, it’s big. Maybe machete is the better word.
  • 10906483_898323243541969_8634360711497633935_nLet’s talk strawberries and apple sizes. Have you seen them? Extra large may be an understatement. The Chocolate Crocodile™ special orders their strawberries and apples. Quality is very important to Jim and Cyndi. If they run out of the fruit, there will be no run to the corner grocery. The standards for consistency in size and quality are of the utmost importance.
  • IMG_6382The Chocolate Crocodile™ has chocolate tours available for groups. Jim, or one of the chocolatiers, will show you around the store, give you the history of chocolate and allow you to have a hands-on experience with dipping chocolate.
  • Are you a wine and chocolate lover? Well then you will want to book a Wine and Chocolate Experience at Jimmy’s Seafood & Steak inside the Margaritaville Resort Casino To book, contact Ashley Davis at 752-1455 or adavis@woodmont.com.
  • They even doggie treats. Their non-chocolate treats are specially formulated so don’t worry about ill effects to your dog.
  • And the last point that I’ll draw your attention to is that you can order The Chocolate Crocodile™ yummies from ANYWHERE! Yes, they have ONLINE ORDERING. Check it out.

Today, The Chocolate Crocodile™ appeared on the KTBS First News morning show to discuss the upcoming Monster Apple Eating Contest that will be held at the KTBS/KPXJ Independence Day Festival. On-air personalities, Rick Rowe and Brian Fowler took a shot at an early challenge.

Who do you think was the winner there?

So now, let’s talk about how many monster apples you can eat. Let’s find out on the 4th of July. Head down to the Independence Day Festival at Shreveport’s Festival Plaza. 2015_Choc_Croc_Apple_Eating_FlyerThe Monster Apple Eating Contest begins at 3 pm on the Community Stage, under the Farmer’s Market Pavilion near the train depot. Adults and children are encouraged to give it all they’ve got! You will have 7 minutes to eat all the Monster Croc Apples that you can. There will be cash prizes for 1st thru 3rd place for both adult and children categories. Holiday Lanes will provide water for the event and has provided game passes for anyone who signs up, along with prizes for the winners. My good friend Thomas at Maccentric has provided the apples for the event. (good fit, don’t ya think?)

Sign up online now and don’t forget to follow The Chocolate Crocodile™.

That just happened.
Robin Williams,
Marketing Maven at Holiday Lanes

Push Ups for Charity

Push Up for Charity – this morning KTBS featured Fairway Independent Mortgage on the morning show about their contribution through its American Warrior Initiative . They will pay $5 for every push up that is done at the KTBS/KPJX Independence Day Festival, up to $25,000 and 100% will be used to support Shreveport/Bossier veterans.

The event will be held at the KTBS/KPXJ Independence Day Festival (July 4, 2015) at Shreveport Festival Plaza.

You can join teams or donate> Read more

That just happened.

Robin Williams,

Marketing Maven at Holiday Lanes