Editorial Review by Outstanding Creator.com

April 1, 2024


The Long Island Breakfast Club Show is an online talk show by Tina Valentina and Gregg Cajuste that champions the concepts of entrepreneurship, networking, self-improvement, and learning from the experiences of others!

If we were to sum up this podcast, we would say that this is a show about connecting people, inspiring people, and learning from people.

At the heart and center of this whole show is really Tina Valentina herself, the lead host. Tina Valentina’s real name is Valentina Janek. Under that name, she authored the incredible book titled From Fired to Freedom (which gained a near-perfect score from us), bolstered by contributions from many of her fascinating guests and their many intriguing stories of life after leaving their prior careers. As Valentina reveals to the audience in an episode, her nicknamed “Tina Valentina” actually came from someone at a bar. The nickname stuck as a catchy way to market herself, and we have to admit that it’s catchy and brilliant!

We know from her book that Valentina had left her prior job/career, but we also learned from an episode of this show that Valentina’s long-time husband had passed away several years ago, around the time she started the show.

So, hovering above this whole show—and woven into the fabric of everything that happens in it—is the idea of branching out and starting anew after what some would consider tragic or unfortunate circumstances (like the loss of a loved one and/or a job).

It’s true. It often takes our lives and careers to be totally shaken up and upended for us to really venture out and discover ourselves—our true, authentic, and most fulfilled selves. And you never know who you’ll meet along the way! In fact, not only did Valentina start the show and make a name for herself after her prior career and becoming widowed, she also met a partner named Patrick who is acknowledged in an episode as being the source of a lot of the host’s newfound happiness. So, a lot of great things can come out of tragic and unfortunate circumstances. You never know how God and fate will use those circumstances to further a bigger, broader story and purpose.

And perhaps it could be argued that rediscovering purpose is a theme throughout the show.

Another aspect that weaves in and out of the show is a light Christian message. It never becomes overly preachy or didactic, but it does appear from time to time such as when Valentina describes the Christian meaning behind Partridge in a Pear Tree.

Every episode of the show appears to be around an hour long, featuring at least two notable guests (often more). So, all in all, the show is very well paced and timed. Valentina appears to be a large part of keeping the show on track and well-paced, moving from segment to segment, section to section, and guest to guest with relative flow. There’s even a moment during the recent Christmas episode in which she realized that a guest (Lenora’s) hat routine was taking too long and detracting from the show, so she hurried her along and insisted they move to the next segment. That shows that Valentina is mindful of how a show needs to flow and not get stuck on any one thing for too long.

Something that might go unrecognized or unappreciated in regard to the show is the entrance music/theme song. This fun little jingle is actually not just generic stock music like some YouTube channels and Twitch streamers use! No, it’s actually music produced specifically for the show. In fact, if you listen carefully, the song even introduces the audience to the two main hosts: Valentina and Gregg. We actually really liked it! It took viewing multiple episodes a few times to where we started to notice and appreciate the song.

The brilliance of the show’s logo is also likely to go unrecognized and unappreciated. The logo forms a smiley face using a steamy bowl of food (fitting because a lot of these people met over food) and branches that look like a networking tree (fitting because this show is about connecting with people and networking).

However, one thing that will definitely NOT go unnoticed are the incredible decorations and setups that adorn the foreground and background of each and every episode, particularly the holiday ones! The Christmas episode features an actual Santa actor, costumes/outfits, an angel, snowmen, flowers, a wreath, a Christmas tree, snow, and even a bright, beautiful tablecloth to boot! You KNOW it’s Christmas by just looking at the set designs. We also wanted to mention that the set appears to always change, even on the same month and when celebrating the same occasion! So, a lot of thought, effort, and attention-to-detail goes into it!

During the 2024 St. Patrick’s Day episode, there was green, clovers, and shamrocks everywhere!

During the 2022 Thanksgiving Day episode, autumn leaves and an adorable Tom turkey decorated the table.

The Valentine’s Day set up had hearts and red sprinkled all over. There’s even a plush animal and a card.

Apparently, the person responsible for all of these set decorations is named Susan (or Suzanne), who the hosts call “the grease behind the wheel.” We agree! She really makes the whole show look like a higher-level production just by virtue of what she adds to the presentation!

Another person who probably deserves credit and attention is Chris, who is described as the IT/computer guy who helps to get all of these videos to look the way that they do. We’re assuming that probably also includes the backgrounds and green screen effects, which are seamless by the way. They really add to the quality of the production and presentation along with Susan/Suzanne’s work.

A third person who really deserves praise for this show being possible is Bobby Lucero, the person who runs the amazing studio where the episodes are filmed. Apparently, the studio is a popular party location. The studio really adds to the production value. We’ve actually seen what happens to a show’s production value when it moves from a high-quality filming location (likea studio) to a low-quality one. This is definitely a high-quality one.

Also, there are occasionally guest singers and musicians who add to the theme, spirit, and feel of whatever holiday a particular episode is happening around. For example, a Christmas episode features two great live performances by a singer named Bob Damato including a beautiful closing rendition of Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire. Damato also performs in other episodes as a kind of in-house musician.

The 2021 Veteran’s Day episode even featured a trumpet performance by a younger performer named Jayden, appropriately playing Taps in honor of the troops.

The pandemic-era Halloween episode was able to incorporate a more creative, cinematic, and comedic approach with the help of some amateur filmmakers/fitness enthusiasts. The opening featured a few jokes that actually managed to land such as when the actor playing a mummy says that the virus is especially dangerous for him because he’s 1500 years old and when he is exploited for his wraps because of the shortage of toilet paper. Now, that’s genuinely funny!

Aside from Valentina herself (and Gregg), what really drives the show are the extraordinary and fascinating guests! Similar to From Fired to Freedom, the Long Island Breakfast Club Show is bolstered by many of these same guests and contributors, each with their own stories to tell!

And do you remember how we mentioned that Valentina got her nickname from some guy at a bar? Well, it seems like many of her extraordinary guests are people she met at a bar, at a bakery, in a restaurant/diner, or snack shop! It’s kinda a running joke, and we can’t help but laugh and play along with it. These hosts and guests LOVE food! A lot of the show seems to revolve around food. In fact, a key segment of some episodes is the “breaking of bread” (usually Italian bread) with guests, shown as a way of the hosts bonding with their guests. In other words, come prepared with some snacks or food of your own cause these guys will make you hungry!

She even met her publisher, Stephanie Larkin of Red Penguin Publishing, at a cookie shop!

A few guests specifically appear with food as their main topic. One invented a special, tasty sauce that can be placed on both empanadas and ice cream (imagine that)! Another guest started a baked goods/snack brand called A Trace of Sweetness (a play on her name, Tracy/Traci). This guest was inspired after their niece asked them to bake them something special for their wedding/bridal shower. This shows that something big can come unexpectedly from something small! This person also teaches nutrition. In a great line, she talks about how the key to her teaching approach is how she makes the subject about her students. So, if they’re athletes, she makes it about how certain nutrients can impact their performance.

We feel like many of the guests have overlapping or similar interests (well, other than food) with the three keys interests being entrepreneurship, writing, and film making. There are a lot of writers, authors, filmmakers, actors, and actresses among the show’s guests, some of whom connected with Valentina at film festivals. Others just so happen to run businesses of their own. One of the guests is the director and co-producer of Pancakes of Syrup. One guest is an actress from They Devour and iCarly. One guest is an actress in Necromancy. One guest is an actress in Good Samaritan.

Valentina herself was able to use her connections to be an actress in at least three films including one that reflects her experiences with a corrupt politician she once worked for.

One of the regulars of the show is an ex-exterminator who became a comedian and now runs two shows: The Thrill of the Kill Podcast and Cooking with Comics!

Valentina may have connected with this comedian when she was working with Governor’s Comedy Show (despite claiming that she’s not funny or comedic). There are subtle ways in which Valentina shows herself to be funny such as when she admits to a certain dog not liking her, saying, “That dog need Zanax because it hates me.”

There are also quite a few authors among the guests including the author of The Ties That Bind.

But we wanted to focus on the guest who amazed us the most of all: Karen Quinones, the founder of Bridging the Gap in Esports and the author of Confessions of an Esports Mom. Remarkably, this former correction’s officer left her career in correction’s to support and capitalize on her son’s passion for Esports and AI. She gives us the extraordinary quote regarding AI: “The horse is already out of the barn. It isn’t going back in.” In other words, regardless of how you feel about the advancement of AI—whether you love it or hate it—it’s not going back to the way it was before. So, you should seek to learn more about it and advance with this new technology.

The second guest that we really, really admired and fell in love with was Lana Noone, who appeared in the 2021 Veteran’s Day (11/11/21) episode. Lana Noone enlightened us a lot about Operation Babylift, which, during the end of the Vietnam War and the fall of Saigon, numerous volunteers with Pan Am assisted in the evacuation of 3,000 children from Saigon in 30 days! It’s one of the greatest yet lesser-known humanitarian efforts of the 20th century. There were about 15 babies per volunteer. One of the babies even grew up and met some of the people who saved her!

Gerald Ford even took pictures when the babies arrived. The way that Noone spoke and presented this information was also top-notch. We wondered why she didn’t run for office! She was such a great speaker. Something else we learned from this presentation was about how Gerald Ford was actually adopted and, like many of these guests, was able to turn lemons into lemonade!

They are really working on improving their presentation, production values, and line-up of guests. In fact, the difference between their 2020/2021 episodes and 2024 episodes is clear.

Perhaps what they really need to step up their game with is expansion, distribution, and exposure. It was genuinely difficult to find them and watch their content until about 2 weeks ago when they started releasing more of their Facebook episodes to YouTube. Facebook is generally not the greatest video-streaming platform. It’s simply not set up for things like background play or sharing to a broader audience on other platforms (the way that Facebook and Twitch are). It’s also hard to keep track of the episodes. One other way in which this show could improve is in using graphics or tags to indicate who is who. We were so mixed up and confused about what the names of the various people on the show were, especially one-time guests. Maybe having a box appear at the bottom of each person or a brief cutaway to a graphic describing who they are might help. You know like how news outlets do it?

Anyway, this is a worthwhile show with a lot of fascinating, insightful guests.


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