Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market

I had the elite pleasure of taking the tour of the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market. This was my actual first time! Now like the Christmas Village, it’s an open air market. It features delicious foods from of course Philadelphia. It also features artisans, designers, crafters, with gifts under beautifully designed tents.

So as we began the tour the first stop was at Philly Sausage. It features two sausages the Italian Market and the Philly Sausage. Amazing doesn’t even describe the way my tastebuds felt. The cold began to be less frigid as soon as that warm sausage hit my tongue. They were excited to be out there and welcomed us with warm arms. Trust me we needed it!

The second stop was of course to the Beer Garden. Nothing warms me like alcohol. With three different flavors to choose from it’s a match made for everyone. I of course tried the Lemon Meringue IPA that had the highest alcohol content. Judge your mother it was cold. It’s super tasty! You definitely need to try it!

We enjoyed the Deck the Halls Light Show sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. An electrifying display of music, magic and lights all covering City Hall was an absolute delight! I loved the part when as we watched people didn’t just watch and filmed, they also sang along!

The fourth stop of the night was at Popcorn Obsessions. 80, yes that’s right 80 flavors of out of this world flavors. I highly recommend the mint chocolate, peppermint stick, and the chocolate cookie dough. They were sweet perfection. This goes outside of the normal flavors you would find at a local spot. They have sweet to savory flavors! You will not leave disappointed

So by this point I’m happily jittery as we took a walk to the Winter Garden sponsored by TD Bank. This garden has seating for those who want to enjoy their beer. Speaking of beer, at Dilworth the new treat this year is not being restricted to drink only in the garden. You can drink your beer while you walk and shop. The only place you can’t is within City Hall.

I absolutely loved the Winter Garden. It’s visually stunning, plenty of seats to enjoy your drinks, and the reindeer grass displays were super cute.

Now one of the highlights was stopping at Lokal Artisan Foods for the French Toast Bites. Now I know everyone loves French toast however if my French toast ain’t crunchy I don’t like it. This French Toast changed my perspective. It was deep-fried and the owner, Charisse McGill made my French toast bites with love. Have you ever met someone who just had that IT quality?! She’s it. She’s personable, passionate, and makes French toast tell a pancake to get down!! I was impressed and I look forward to seeing more in the future from the whole company. PS she quit her job 3 weeks ago and went from punching a clock to walking in her destiny. I can’t wait to watch her story unfold.

One of the jewels of the night was Gourmet Creations. These spreads which we tried on pretzels can be used on various foods. I tried just about all of them and the highlights for me was the chocolate raspberry and the Cheddar Ale.

On our next stop we made our way to Cynful Bliss. This is a mobile alcohol and non alcohol infused desserts. Now yes I love my “adult juice,” but this was more than that. The passion that was shown through the product is a hit for the holidays and beyond. I had “Greed.” It was peach cobbler and peach brandy. What I loved is anyone who makes desserts with alcohol knows alcohol will burn off during the process. However they add more than enough to have a shot in a glass with premium alcohol. I’ll be ordering some for the family. Who doesn’t like desserts? This was the perfect combination. You can have your cake and drink it too!!

Who doesn’t love cannolis? I know I love them. We had to include the stop to the Cannoli Cafe. Fresh and sweet. I loved it.

Nothing says the holidays like cookies. Our stop at Picket Fence Confections was a pure delight. Homemade and beautifully decorated they were a sweet treat. Kera puts her heart into her creations. These cookies are fresh and amazing. I had the apple cinnamon oatmeal cookie and it was the perfect mesh of perfectly paired ingredients as well as it was one is the softest cookies I’ve had in a long time.

After all of that eating it was time to take a ride on the Carousel. As cold as it was and as much as we thought we would be too cold to enjoy it, our inner kid came out immediately as soon as the ride started. How could it not?! Everyone loves the fun and excitement of a carousel ride. Grown folks riding around, smiling, and laughing made us forget for seconds that we were in under 40 degrees.

So off to Penn Potato Fries. Amazing chicken and fries. It was well worth the wait. They didn’t just have it pre made. It was made while we waited. We were able to talk, ask questions, and dance along to Christmas music but once I ate the fries and chicken immediately I knew that this was a stop we couldn’t have had passed up.

Since the Holiday Market has something for everyone I was even able to stop at Piggy Back Treats to grab a treat for my furry brother Sammy. These are human grade treats for dogs and cats. Definitely don’t forget the pets in your life. These treats can be delivered locally and mailed. Get your orders in soon to guarantee before Christmas.

Now to end the night well at least food wise we stopped at Woops. Woops is the macaroon of macaroons. All kinds of flavors to choose from and I highly recommend the mint chocolate. The only issue is which ones to choose from.

One of the last highlights outside of the Rothman Orthopedics Cabin is of course the Ice Rink. Everyone of all ages enjoying a night of skating, smiles and some of the best Christmas music!!!

So if you love food, you’re covered. If you love beautiful one of a kind gifts, you’re covered. If you want to gather your friends and family for a good time for the Light Show or Ice Skating, you are covered. What’s not covered is getting all of this for too much longer. Be sure to get out and leave the hustle of the holidays and make time for fun!!

With all of the holiday options you got to make sure you don’t miss any of it. Stop by the Made in Philadelphia Holiday Market!!

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Monday Motivation: Movement Necessary

It’s another Monday! Another week! Another chance to make our lives the best that we can. It’s a time to reset and refocus. So many of us start our Monday’s complaining. I get it. You had no real work responsibility all weekend long and now it’s back to the grind. However instead of looking at how blah you feel, find a way to refocus your efforts!

The New Year will be here soon where everyone will make promises to themselves but often times those promises fall by the wayside because we don’t actively look towards our goals. If you don’t like your job what are you actively doing to make that change? If you aren’t happy in a relationship, what are you doing to work on yourself that will give you the strength to see your worth? These things matters. The reason successful people have success is they don’t turn their brains off. They are constantly in active motion.

As you begin your week and Monday what are you doing to have active motion in your life? What steps are you working towards to set yourself to success? Move. Make things happen. Everyday you can move yourself that much closer to greatness! Everyday! If your losing weight daily checking your eating habits and how you are moving will get you towards those goals!! Everyday you have the power to evoke a strong level of change! This change can be personal and in the world around you!

So what are you doing this fine Monday?! Own your flaws. Own your goals and refocus them daily, weekly, and monthly! Get moving! Move towards your goals!! Move! Make the necessary changes!! Move towards the you that you want to be!!

Christmas Fun: Story time with the Polar Express

So not bad for a Friday night but we decided to go to the Barnes and Nobles story time of the Polar Express reading by Chris Van Allsburg for the 30th celebration!!

The reading included hot chocolate and cookies and Christmas carols. It was an amazing time.

The kids enjoyed wearing their pajamas outside the house!!! I enjoyed the fact that there’s no place I would love to be than in my favorite store of Barnes and Nobles.

We ended our night with you guessed it purchasing books!

Take some time to Google free events in your area especially around the holidays. You will be amazed of the fun you can have!!

Monday Motivation: Checking in on Others

The holidays are in full swing. Its going to be so much going on and before you know it the year will be over. Why is it important on a Monday to talk about checking in on others? Strong people have a tendency to hold themselves in and not really open up. You can send a text and get a response that things are fine but there is something uniquely special about a phone call.  People’s voice and really making sure they are okay are important.

shallow focus photography of a woman in green top wearing white coat

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

So slow it down a little bit and make a list of friends and be sure they are okay. There is something that it pushes you when you do. If you speak to your friends and you  hear that they are truly good, it inspires you. If they aren’t it will inspire you too to either help where you can, offer support, or make you change how you live your life. We can’t lost the connection to one another. I love technology its an important tool, but it can’t replace human to human connection. It’s important for us to reach out to our loved ones. I make it a plan to do my best to call my grandmother at least once a week and sometimes more to be sure she is okay. You have to check in on others. I am even going to check in on a few family members that I haven’t done a great job in checking in on this year myself. It’s just a way for us to take a step back and put others above ourselves.

If you are super busy like me, set aside some time and dedicate to making at least a few minute calls. If you think the other person may be long-winded, I love to call folks on my lunch break, on my way home, or on my way into work. It’s a great way to have a mid-day pick me up or a way to make sure you get it done  and I can cut the conversation off and get back to my day. You may be thinking well wasn’t the point to check in? Yes that is still checking in. You don’t have to be on the phone for hours to check in. I believe in my planner so in between blog goals and planning, family planning, and life planning you can add check ins. You will feel better when you do this, trust me. This goal is just as important as anything else you have going on in your world.

Be vigilant in checking in on others. Be sure that those that are in your crew are okay. Make this your Monday goal! Maybe even rotate your check in lists. But make this a priority!

Breakfast with Santa: Legoland Discovery Center

Every year we do at least one Breakfast with Santa but this year we decided to do it at Legoland Discovery Center in Plymouth Meeting, PA.

One of the benefits of having a season pass to Legoland is getting invited to exclude events. This event was free to Legoland Discovery Yearly pass. We were invited for a continental breakfast with Lego Santa himself. Once there breakfast was already ready. The kids and adults were able to help themselves. The guest of honor made his way over and gave our letters so that the kids could write a letter to Santa! Not to mention full access to the play center before regular opening hours. That in itself is a major win!

Even though it was our first year at the event it definitely will not be our last. The kids had a great time making a morning of fun and the adults were able to relax knowing the children are in a secure fun atmosphere. Plus anything with coffee sign me up!! If you’re in the area and looking for a place for your children to have fun in all year would consider coming to Legoland Discovery! We bought the year pass due to wanting to have an option for the Winter months as well as rainy days like today.

There is a huge jungle gym, snack center, active places to build LEGO projects of all kinds, mini 3D movies, laser zone, and of course a live action Lego man that comes out several times to take pictures with everyone all year long. One of the best parts is the interactive ride for the family of all ages to enjoy!

So I would certainly give my stamp of approval for Legoland Discovery Center! It’s a must try if you’re in the area!!

Who doesn’t love festive events? Certainly my family loves them!! Here’s to getting into the full swing of holiday events and things to do! Also if you have a family of multiple kids gift cards to LEGOLAND make a great group gift as well!! This way instead of more toys you give the gift of an outing!! That is the gift that keep on giving!!

Operating In Offense

So today I was reminded of what it looks like to operate in offense. Operating in offense is when you are so offended by someone or something that you can’t hear what others are saying to you. You are snippy, rude, loud and angry. Not one thing is heard from that moment. You aren’t willing to see someone else because you have taken the focus off of the issue and made it about self.  This is a self-righteous stance. There is nothing that will be gained walking in offense.  The world is really walking in offense. A lot of it is real and some of it comes from a deep seeded place that needs to be healed.

Now I wasn’t the person operating in offense today but I was able to see the old me through the eyes of the other person’s offense. Like many who have attempted to speak to me in moments of rage, anger, etc. in the past,  I saw what its like talking to a wounded person. You can’t heal that situation or person until you deal with their pain. Period. I don’t care how many cute quotes, speeches, etc. you give, they aren’t going to listen. I think about some of my past hurt prior to counseling and I seen how extremely closed off I was. Not willing to hear a person because all I kept focusing on  was myself.  Today I was hit with that same reality. I was humbled and blessed to see that for one I had real growth. The old me would have dipped into offense and gave folks a run for their money. My mouth is for sure a sword. I know this about me and with that mindset I do all I can to check myself first before handing out a 2 piece!  I listened to them and saw them for their pain and gifted them grace.  Isn’t it funny how you will confront yourself in another form down the line?

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Photo by Demeter Attila on Pexels.com

I gave the person the grace that wasn’t extended to me. This is probably the part that I struggle with the most. Not giving of grace, because my life is a grace walk, but knowing that lack of maturity didn’t allow or wont allow people to see my past issues as simply me walking in offense. My ability to see myself works wonders for me NOW.  My biggest challenge is feeling like I have to apologize a thousand times and do emotional backflips for folks to see growth. I have now come or am coming to peace with the notion that after you take a step back some folks won’t see you for your growth because they never wanted to see you grow in the first place. They saw the offense and used it to get off their chest what they had in them the whole time.  As I watched the situation unfold this morning and while I stayed calm I just said let me gift this grace. Let me not get offended at their offense. Let me let time, maturity, and step back. It will be fixed eventually. We all have to check ourselves and walk without sometimes getting the apology that we think we need or want. I couldn’t get through to the person this morning.  I probably wont for some time. I can’t do anything past their offense. That is a hard pill to swallow but such is life.  Eventually I pray they have their moment like I had to have mine. Hurt people or offended people can’t operate with your best interest in mind until they deal with their issues.  It doesn’t matter how old or young, how smart, etc. We all have a responsibility to do our daily work and check ourselves.

My message for anyone  who is  walking in offense, you will not grow and heal until you deal with you. I could give you a virtual high-five over your offense. You could be like YASSSS SIS I was right to be offended. I did that to and justified my responses, but the truth is that the offense was there to help you grow. It wasn’t so you could prove anything. It was there to make you whole. Once you tap into that you really will have deep seeded change.

 

I know this sounds super deep on Wednesday when you were just grateful for simply surviving your week but it is a necessary nugget. Sometime you are fighting a person and its like punching air. You are attempting to get through to someone who isn’t ready to receive because they cant get past their offense or even their general disdain of you to keep it real. This is across ALL relationships. Even romantic ones. If you and your boo is always up in arms its because instead of hearing you are defending your offense. You are coming to the table of communication with your guard up so high nothing is reaching past this imaginary wall of offense. That’s what happened today. (FYI I am not talking about my husband) That wall was so high it would have taken Olympic size strides to overpower it.

Today was interesting to say the least especially since it’s not even noon but remember when you head is on right, your at peace in your life, its not just so you can be in a peace bubble.  You will see you and either be grateful for change or have to say ouch and be the change. To the person I encountered today that was and is walking in offense, I pray that you have your moment of inner clarity. I wish you the best as my peace remains!

Christmas Village Experience 2018

So as many of you know I came across the Christmas Village last year doing a Google search for free family fun. I then convinced my family to give the authentic outdoor German Market a try. We were impressed and excited to attend again this year. This year I was invited to take an intimate look at what the Christmas Village really has to offer behind the scenes. This year thanks to the renovations of the Love Park sign, it was even more special!

I was able to attend the opening ceremony to light “The Present.” Thanks to Mayor Jim Kenney who hit it home with his opening speech about giving towards others. This is the season to not just think about ourselves and our families but how we can best serve the people of Philadelphia. The Present is 27 feet in height, well-lit holiday present. It is in the middle of the Christmas Village.  Not only is it visually stunning, its set as a reminder to give to others.  If you are in the area you can give by texting and you will receive a gift tag that can be displayed on “The Present” that is a symbol of what the holiday is all about. You can actively give by doing the following:

  • TEXT PARKS to 501501 to donate to Fairmount Park Conservancy will go towards helping Philadelphia Parks
  • TEXT BOOKS  to 20222 to donate to Welcome America’s holiday book campaign for Parks and Recreation. Every $5 raised will purchase a total of 4 books. 
  • TEXT 80100 to donate to Project Home to help end poverty and homelessness

Inside “The Present”

“The Present is open starting today to the public all the way through December 24th. It’s free to enter and as you can see from the above photos it’s a beauty to see, take photos and walk inside!  I felt like the biggest kid. The colors and lights had me mesmerized. 

So I knew after watching “The Present” light up that I was off to a good start. The first stop on the tour was the German Grill. The open grill had all the best of the German deliciousness. From Bratwurst to Schnitzel, I was in pure Heaven. The open grill is such a delight and the smells pulled me in. I was completely satisfied.  As soon as I got home, I was upset as to why I didn’t take a Bratwurst to go. 

This took me to the second stop on the tour and that was to the open beer garden, The Alm. It’s always a good idea for beer. There are a lot of new items on the menu. Let me also point out for families with young children. This is a great spot to combine adulting and kids. It’s closed in. So this means a lot of play for the kids and drinks for the adults. This year they have a new beer mug. It’s a beauty to behold and you know that the bigger the cup, the bigger the gulp!

As if the beer wasn’t enough, I made my way to one if that’s right one of the wine offerings, German Gluhwein.  It’s a mulled wine. They offer a white and a red wine and both were amazing.

Next up was Käthe Wohlfahrt. This indoor gem blew my mind. This unique shop was full of mostly hand-made treasures. From one of a kind pieces to ornaments and decorations, it was a delight. Note there is no videography or photos for the public. However I was able to get you that inside look. What I will say is this is a must on your stops through the open village. Be careful as some of the pieces are pricey. So if you have little ones just hold their hands. I do believe once they see how well-lit and how beautiful the pieces are, they will spend more time asking questions than running through the store.

Next stop was the The Bacon Jams. I’ve never had bacon jam but today I wanted to buy all of them. These easy to spread jams taste super authentic to real bacon. The flavors were amazing. I tried every last one. From the maple bacon to the honey bourbon! All of them were a treat!

I believe I was turning into a foodie by the end of the night. The next stop was to Sweets where we tried some toasted chestnuts. I’ve never had any before but I was a believer tonight. Be sure if you attend that you make your way. There are other sweet treats as well.

Keeping in line with sweets we make our way to John and Kira’s. This was like chocolate Heaven! I tried for her first time honey bee chocolate made from local honey bee. First of all this gooey treat should be eaten in one bite. It’s honey flavor mixed with chocolate had to be the best that I have had in a long time. We also had some amazing sea salt caramel.

If you ever been to the Christmas Village you are full aware of the Raclette. It’s basically the best cheese I’ve ever eaten, that is melted under a special heated lamp and the cheese oozes onto some of the freshest bread Philadelphia has to offer. I was in cheese coma. Let me say that yes I took one for the team of non dairy, but I ain’t feel not ounce of shame.

For those who love unique cards you must stop at Love Pop. You can get pop up 3D cards. I enjoyed the tour and I plan to grab a few to give to special friends.

Our next stop was Mike’s Hot Honey. We were told that when you taste it, it would be sweet and then bitter and it was true. Mike’s Hot Honey is a spread that can be put on almost anything from bagels to chicken. I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I am getting a cold but if I was when I left I definitely felt like my palette was cleared. 

mike hot

girl

sign

Of course we needed something a little sweet so we headed over to Helmuts Original Austrian Strudel. They had your classics like cherry but they also had some that were a definite go back and true such as the meat and pulled pork puffs. They even have a mac and cheese one!  

helmut

cherry

One of the final stops before ending with hot chocolate was Truffleist. This is what the name says, Truffle. So between some amazing cheeses and salami, the truffle butter was everything. I mean everyone enjoyed it. They have an amazing selection and to be honest I could eat that truffle butter by the spoonfuls. It was that good. 

truffle

One more goodie before I end, I love hand blown glass. The colors are amazing. So I had to take a picture of the Mouth Blown Ornaments. 

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So the tour was everything and more. You and your family or friends will have an amazing time. I tried to give you a snippet of what it would be like. The only thing that I didn’t see was Santa but you can catch Santa in the Santa Hut for pics starting on the weekends and then close to the season being over he will be there everyday. I would make sure you go and see him if you’re trying to get on the Nice List. 

Special thanks to Philadelphia Christmas Village, the sponsors: Bank of America, Acme, Käthe Wohlfahrt, and Hernnhuter and all of the partners who helped to make this day. Also shout out to all of the amazing vendors who bring the Christmas Village to Life rain or shine. Remember its free to enter and you only pay for the food, drinks, and treasures you find. 

Special shout out to Kory Aversa and the Aversa PR and Events for having me. 

So head on over and grab your kids, your friends, your girls, or your boys and  have an experience to remember!

Hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 11:00am – 7:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:00am – 8:00pm
Christmas Eve: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Location:
LOVE Park, 1500 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102