Monday Motivation: Switch it Up

Schedules and consistency is a great thing! Not being able to move unless you are on a schedule isn’t. In this life the ability to adjust is what makes those appear stronger not those who have the best resources. Some people get stuck. They don’t ever change because the fear of change is real! You need change in your life.

I had a situation where I was confronted with change and going with the flow was the only way for me to push through. Had I been stuck in my stays it would have left a bad taste to those around me. It’s one thing to not like a plan. It’s another not being able to adapt because a plan deviates from what you are used to! I love plans. I thrive with plans but I also have to be able to deal with life’s blows one situation at a time! So adjusting is a life skill that many lack!!!

Switch things up! You don’t have to do the same things all the time. Go a different route home. Get up at a different time. Eat something different. Do things differently some times. Don’t be so rigid. You can become super stagnant living in comfort. There’s always something new outside of your comfort level! That’s the one thing or I should say one of the things that I learned in blogging. You have to do what’s best for you but you also have to come out of a comfort zone!! Don’t stay stuck claiming you want something new when the newness can’t come in your comfort zone!

This Monday be about your routine but realize you might have to reinvent yourself. You may have to try something different so you can stop getting stuck with the same results that you’re not happy with! Push but switch it up!

Sonesta Philly: Staycation Goals

I love trips. They are so rewarding, relaxing, and worth the time. We make so many plans to take trips from the city that we forget the gems in our back yard and that’s where Sonesta Philadelphia comes in. There’s something special to stay within your own city but I would advise not just going to any hotel. Go where you are made to feel like you’ve taken a flight but keep the sentiments of your city.

I knew this staycation was off to a good start when I checked in. I love red as it’s my favorite colors. As biased as I am you can’t help but see the stunning

Here are my personal reasons for a staycation:

  • I’ve had a lot of movement at home. My twin has major brain surgery a few months ago and I’ve been her caretaker along with my niece. To say that I’ve been overwhelmed is an understatement.
  • The holidays has me on high alert. Between making memories and shopping for my family has been crazy. Shout out to the stores who have that drive up and keep moving option!
  • Rest has been far and few in-between I just wanted to relax

Sonesta has the perfect staycation spot here in Philadelphia. Located in Center City it’s the perfect location to everything that Philadelphia is made of. If it wasn’t for being so tired I would have explored but instead I decided to keep it inside and take in all that Sonesta has to offer. Let’s go inside and show you the high elements!

Bedroom Goals

Now I have the same size bed at home but it doesn’t sleep the same once you add the cat, 3 and kids who like to climb in and out as a moments notice you don’t get the same sleep. Sonesta’s room has that modern feel that is clean and comfy. Take it from a bust blogger and mom I slept like a queen!! I even woke up at my normal 5am thinking I had overslept! That speaks volumes. It’s something about being cared for that allows your sleep to be that wonderful.

When I checked in I had ZERO issues and as I observed from other patrons Sonesta makes checking in seamless! Not one time did I have to assert myself. Staff on hand was attentive even though it was a crowd upstairs having an event. From the start I was asked how can we make your stay better!! They made me feel like it was true.

Surprise Cassatt Room

So as a blogger I literally work from anywhere. I’ve always stated that I can be super creative in great spaces. Even when I’m home I make sure my creative space is super clean and organized. It’s very seldom I can do any work in clutter! I was pleasantly surprised when I realized my room was cojurned to Cassatt Room. It’s stunning and talk about having space to be creative!!!

This is a great meeting space. It’s open, artistic, and modern. Who couldn’t get through a to do list in this much style? I wasn’t expecting it but it was a great addition to my stay. The Cassatt room makes for a great space to have a small meeting among coworkers if you’re traveling and staying at the Sonesta together. Having the ability to separate privacy of a room with a convenience of this room makes for an upgraded business trip.

One thing I love about a staycation is the ability to decompress. If you follow me you know I am like a wine connoisseur. I love wine of all kinds. No better place to have wine dreams than the Art Bar. I know the name comes from the fact that they have amazing local artist works that is not only stationed there but in the lobby as well. They rotate the art so you can catch the essence of the city from the view of local artist. You know I’m all about supporting local artist!

Art Bar

Travelers and locals fill the Art Bar alike. It’s a great place to unwind as well as have a classy turn up. All walks of life sit in the Art Bar and enjoy their favorite beverage. The staff doesn’t disappoint. They made sure my request were fulfilled and even even I had dinner at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse they allowed me to take it over with me. Oh and they have a great selection of wines that’s for sure!

I elected to keep it simple with an amazing Chardonnay.

The Art Bar is known for their “food is art” mantra so if you are not as hungry you can elect for quick bites along with your beverages! They also have a great to go menu perfect for early morning coffees and sandwiches!

Bathroom Goals

Growing up I was taught that a kitchen and bathrooms the the first places you check when you visit someone. When at a hotel the bathroom can make or break an experience. I check behind toilets etc to see how attentive the staff are. If they check and clean the hidden areas you’re in good hands-Sonesta passed my test! The bathroom is completely sleek and modern! I loved how the shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel is in the shower inside of a dispensary. It takes the ability to have just those little sample sizes so you can actually get a good amount to use. Go to my Instagram to see my live tour in the highlight labeled as Sonesta!

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse

This was my first time eating here. I’ve seen it, passed by it, but never stopped. Not sure why to be honest but they are joined to the hotel and I was glad I could cross it off of my to eat list! Let me tell you that they would have gotten a lower review but they turned it around for me and let me tell you why! Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse y’all made my night!

Wine goals for sure

Every restaurant has busy nights. Sometimes restaurants are so busy that they forget about the customer! I was almost a bit irritated because we put in our order and it seemed to be distance in between the courses. However the same care they took in getting us seated, was the same care they took in recognizing and being proactive in their slowness. Before I could even say anything our waiter made sure to acknowledge that the kitchen was behind and complimented me and my husband with a glass of wine. Let me say I hadn’t even finished the first glass!

The food was worthy of the high accolades I’ve heard. The food was hot my entire time eating and I wasn’t eating fast. Each bite was good. I was impressed!

My husbands portion:

Lobster Mac and cheese

Shrimp and steak

Here was my portion

Barbecued Shrimp and mashed potatoes

Sweet potato casserole

Dessert…

Praline bread pudding with vanilla bean ice cream

I needed rest after eating but not before I stopped by at the Art Bar for more wine!

Workout Anyone?

Now I didn’t work out my Husband did but look at the workout facility! 24 hour access and space enough to get the job done!

Look at this artwork:

The Holiday Spirit

Sonesta didn’t just decorate the lobby;

On the floor I stayed on they had beautifully placed trees!

I took a trip on the 2nd floor where they host events! Beautiful trees as well.

I think I counted 10 trees and I know I missed a few!

Oh how sad it was for me to check out! I really felt like I had escaped! It wasn’t until I got back to the lobby that I remembered where I was! All good things had to come to an end. You need to have this experience! You need to not think it selfish to feed your soul with the things that matter.

To me it was Sonesta taking care of my quiet time. It was Art Bar making sure my favorite wines filled my cup! It was a great meal at Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. It was shutting the world out and realigning myself. A break is only as good as the location you take and Sonesta has my highest stamp of approval!

Back home I have more energy to do what I do! I can push through the holidays with grace! I’m less frazzled and less stressed. This experience meant the world to me! Thank you Sonesta for making my downtime the gift that keeps on giving!

Book your stay at Sonesta now! Trust me you won’t be disappointed! You can save 15% if you book 2 nights! A save is a save and the amount you put out won’t be enough for how you feel after your stay!

Parx Casino: You and Me Christmas Tour LeAnn Rimes

So I love LeAnn Rimes. I think her voice is amazing and just watching her evolve as an artist has been really amazing to see. Last night I got the opportunity to see her at her Christmas concert and I just loved it.

First let me thank Parx Casino for inviting me and allowing me the hospitality. Some of the best attentive staff. They take great care with their patrons.

Oliveto

This is an Italian restaurant located inside Parx Casino! I’m talking about fresh breads, Italian sausages, fresh pasta-the works. I enjoyed my time and I must say that Oliveto does an amazing job of making each patron feel special!

Also I love sparkling wine and they made sure my cup was full!!

Kalie Shorr

Kalie is an American country singer who started doing covers at the age of 13 years old on YouTube. Listen don’t knock any opportunity to do YouTube covers. Some of the most successful have used YouTube as an amazing platform! She bursted on the scenes in 2016 with her hit “Fight like a Girl!” She’s been names one to watch amongst other awards by country’s best.

What I loved most beyond what she’s accomplishing is that she’s humble. I listened to her tell her story about her single mom and how she didn’t have much but they had love. You can hear her sincerity when she talks about her humble beginnings. It resonated with me being a product of a single mom myself. I was able to meet her last night and talk to her. She’s beautiful, down to Earth, and I just love her vibe! Oh and she can sang! I spelled or correctly. It’s one thing to be able to sing and another to sang! She sang!

LeAnn Rimes

Thank you LeAnn for putting on one amazing show! She let it be known that she had gotten sick and even that morning she has no voice. Growing up in church it was common for singers to say they were sick. It’s like a prerequisite in case your voice isn’t as strong. Now her sick voice is amazing. My mom is a choir director and I and my family sings-her sick voice is really good.

The concert was changed a bit to accommodate. It was peaceful, beautiful, and brilliant. LeAnn please incorporate more of the set like Philadelphia received in the future shows! Oh and I know it was a Christmas tour but the whole time I’m sitting there like please sing “How do I Live.” And guess what? She sang it! Oh I was over the moon. She also sang “Can’t Fight the Moonlight!” So yes I was over the top happy. Let me say LeAnn is stunning!! That white she wore was amazing!! LeAnn’s musical reach is to all types of crowds. I sat in front of some older ladies who kept me laughing. They were on their feet the entire time. We had the best conversation. I love speaking to seasoned women because they have the best stories to tell. If you ever have a question on life talk to a seasoned woman she will tell you real and won’t sugar coat it like a girlfriend might!

Thank you Parx Casino and Aversa PR for the invite. Thank you Kalie and absolutely thank you LeAnn for a magical Christmas night. Thank you for reminding us to look at our blessings, love ourselves more, and extend love to others!!!!

Also for a snippets of the concert, go to my Instagram stories! I am not one for posting full concerts but you can hear the amazing voices of the evening!

Remember if you love to gamble and want to go to a state of the arts location, Parx Casino is the place to be. They have the best full size restaurants as well as the amazing Sportsbook lounge!

Christmas at Craft Hall

Sooooo it’s not often that my own kids have been to a location that I haven’t but last night at Craft Hall they showed me up. If you never been there let me tell you it’s a cozy spot for a great night out with a boo, friends, or a great play date spot for friends with kids. Craft Hall pulled out all the stops for the holidays!

Massive Seating Areas

This is a very open space restaurant and beer distillery. I was really shocked. It didn’t looked as if it would be as big as it is but I was wrong.

You don’t have to feel like you’re walking on others to get around. A great space to hold a corporate party of some sorts. This is like an old school feel especially in the play area of which my kids love the most.

This is me looking back from the lobby. Again the spacing here is amazing. With open spaces they decorated nicely and didn’t feel the need to go overboard with each spot keeping the cozy feel to it!

It’s Santa

Who doesn’t love Santa? I know I do and I’m grown! We were greeted last night by Santa and my kids eyes just beamed! That’s what it’s really about the Christmas spirit!

And you know I love taking pictures with all so I asked Santa if I was on the nice list-he let me know I am so with that I’m going to 2 step it all the way through the season! I even got a candy cane too! Hey adult kids need love too!!

Let’s Play

My kids said hi to everyone they saw and kindly let me know I didn’t need to escort them to the play area because they knew where they were headed. Don’t worry I hovered right over the looking area to be sure. I was shook at the fact that there’s a video game area, a playing area, a bar for the adults located in the play area (on behalf of all parents thank you Craft Hall) and an area for sitting. Do you know how many times kids just want to take bites and run? Well now they can!!

Craft Hall that right there pushes you to the top of my must go list! It’s everything I need in one place. Tire the kids out and let them release all that energy. FYI my kids were out in 10 minutes at bedtime for the win!! I think the combination of food and play did them in!!

While the children played

It was time for the adults to have a little tour of where the magic happens to give us the amazing beers they had on tap. Let me also mention they have great selections of wines and cocktails too!! While touring we could see live action of the beer being made!

Christmas Tree Lighting

Well what’s Christmas without a tree? They had one of the biggest trees I’ve seen all season. You know I’ve been to quite few events just this week! I was blown away. Even with me standing on the top of the steps the tree still towered me. Let me also mention they have several trees located throughout the restaurant!

Holiday without Food what’s that?

Craft Hall made sure they covered everyone’s taste points with amazing food!

Deviled eggs

Chicken Wings

Cheese Boards

There were also tuna melts, hush puppies with a spicy sauce, pizza, cheeseburgers, panini sandwiches, etc. Enough food to feed everyone and than some.

Desserts

Yesterday was national cookie day and all day I wanted just one cookie to celebrate and I got my chance!

They also had an assortment of the pretzels cookie that wowed me from first bite!

The only regret I have is that I’ve left the house and forgot to grab one for my run around today! They are THAT good!

Other Craft Hall News:

They will have Santa in Sundays for you to take selfies with during 10-2pm. Santa will also pass our candy canes as we walks around! There are opportunities to make an ornament as well as story times etc. Be on the lookout for Crafty the Craft Hall Elf!! And for the adults happy hour just got better with holiday themed drinks, $5 bites, and $10 mainstay pitchers!

Let’s Brunch

Did you know they have brunch? Yess! I did but I didn’t realize how nice it is. With a brunch item you can get bottomless mimosas for $20!!! So not if but when you see me just smile and wave because I will be all into my mimosa while I eat. They have food from their menus that include vegan and vegetarian options as well as gluten free for the win!!

Last night I had the beat time. Even on events where I can bring my kids I usually opt out. This was a great event for the whole family and it allowed me to relax. I was the most relaxed at an event with my kids and I loved it!

Sooo yes everything about Craft Hall is a yes for me and my entire family yes! I will definitely be back!!! This is an entire 2 thumbs up!!

2019 Christmas Village

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas..everywhere you go and that includes Christmas Village!! Oh the sights you will see, the food you will eat, the drinks, the nostalgia, and most importantly the culture and memories you will make!!

I took a trip to my now 3rd year to Christmas Village and even in the rain and cold I had a blast of a life time!! Let’s recap and get you ready!

Mulled Wine Please

It’s no secret that I love wine! I like to think of it as my super power or even just simply a reward for mulling through my day. However nothing is better than mulled wine on a cold night. Christmas Village not only has mulled wine but they have variety of mulled wine!!! Having options is the name of the game!

Hot Chocolate Please

I don’t discriminate against chocolate so of course I had a warm cup. Keep in mind although mine wasn’t spiked this particular time or if it was the mulled wine didn’t allow me to pay close attention you can have your hot chocolate spiked as well! Nothing is better than hot spiked chocolate. For those who would rather pass on the alcohol you can have it with whipped cream or marshmallows or both!

Here’s Phillyfoodgal with her hot chocolate

So on our first stop of the media tour we stopped at the Present!

One of the first things you notice that’s different than last year is the colors. If it could be possible it’s brighter and more vivid with hints of green when it’s dormant! See my Instagram to see it change colors! The Present is a gift from Philadelphia Parks and Recreation! Just like last year the Present also serves as a reminder to give to others. You can support Philadelphia Parks and Recreation by visiting and donating $10 right inside of the Present. Your donation will go towards either the organization to help with green spacing or to Project Home to help end homelessness!

You will also with that donation be able to control the lighting of the Present for 30 seconds!

You can’t miss the Present!!! Trust me!

You got to love the I Love Philly Display!

Feeling Hungry?

You know there’s nothing better than good food! Christmas Village brings the German culture to life at the Grill!

Options! Look at the options! Bratwurst, Schnitzels, Kartoffelpuffer aka potato pancakes, Spätzle aka egg noodles, etc are at your disposal! Served nice and hot you won’t be disappointed!

Bratwurst and sauerkraut

Potato pancakes and applesauce

Thirsty?

After you eat you may be thirsty. Grab a beer at the Alms! You will be met with variety!

Raclette Cheese

The Christmas Village favorite hasn’t disappeared it’s tucked inside of the Alms next to the Grill! This will help get longer lines through easily. It’s such a favorite part and everyone knows why. Hot gooey cheese on fresh bread is like the grown up grilled cheese. This year you can have it topped with prosciutto or salami.

To see the cheese in action go to my Instagram page and see all of the behind scenes videos under PhilaChristmas highlights!

There is plenty of seating available to take a break from all of your shopping and drinking!

Bacon Jams

I’m going to highlight a few of the shops. Bacon Jams is a favorite at the Christmas Village. Spoonable bacon jam is the gift you didn’t know you needed. It makes an amazing gift to a foodie! As with most things in life it comes in varieties and sizes that not only fits your budget and tastebuds!

John and Kiras Chocolate

These special handmade chocolates are a real beauty to see. They taste even better. You can get them in flavors that you hadn’t even dreamed of! A sea of chocolate awaits you! If you can’t get to the market, you can order online!

Torch Bearer Sauces

So you like it hot? Try your luck at Torch Bearer Sauces. From the small tickle in your throat to the point of asking for water you have your sauces at every level. These sauces make for great dips or even marinades or just a chill day of chips and dip!

German Strudel

I love a good strudel! Not like the commercial grocery store that comes frozen with a frozen sauce, German Strudel is fresh and packed with flavor!

Tranquility Please

Park and Madison makes their debut in the market this year! Candles and scents is what we stopped at next. As soon as you walk in the hut the aromatherapy fills you. It was almost as if it wasn’t cold and raining. These candles are made of soy and so they last longer. They also have diffusers, room sprays, and essential oils!

Mikes Hot Honey

I love visiting. First last year when I did the media tour my throat had a slight tickle. One taste of the hot honey and I was literally cured. The sweet honey mixed with the hot sauce is really something you have to try. This sauce can be put on just about anything! If you’re unable to attend the Christmas market don’t worry you can get your honey in a lot of sizing from packers to jugs! Order online here!

Eagles Pro Shop

I know it may be too soon especially after that devastating lost to Miami this past Sunday but making its debut to the Christmas Market is the Pro Shop. You can get your official Eagles gear and holiday flare. From ornaments to socks to stockings to jerseys you are covered. As a die hard fan you are going to want to be prepared for all things Eagles why not get it here?

So from some great walking, shopping, drinks, and eating Christmas Village will help you take a little break and help you create memories! In the meantime enjoy this snippet but take your family out and enjoy it yourself. Make it a day and enjoy some ice skating near by or the new Ferris wheel that I will be experiencing next week! Until then thank you Philadelphia Christmas Market for such an amazing time and experience! Thank you Aversa PR!

Pictured are me friends Elle and Cherryl

Also don’t forget about Santa and other special appearances. Log into the website to follow the schedule. Don’t wait until the last minute Christmas Village will be here until Christmas Eve located at 1501 John F. Kennedy Blvd!

Monday Motivation: Let’s Clean House

I really can’t believe it! We literally are in the last few weeks of the whole year left. As many are preparing for Christmas the reality is above that is the New Year!!! What?!

I know I get that just the mere acknowledgment of the end of the year sounds crazy. However it doesn’t change its reality. My oldest was in my room where I have my vision board and she reminded me how most of my items listed I had actually accomplished. That not only made me feel good but it made me feel even more amazing that my daughter was the one who pointed it out to me. Now with the last few weeks to go I don’t plan to just celebrate the holidays, I want to start shifting into my what’s next! What do I want to do now? Where do I want to go and what will it take to get there?

You don’t have to wait for 2020 to start shifting towards new set of goals. And….there is zero shame in saying that there are some goals that haven’t come to fruition. You can pick them up and add them back onto your radar!! Everyday is a day of new beginnings. So I take each day and attempt to make it better than my next!!

Time is going super fast. It’s not waiting for anyone! So it’s time to position ourselves around the right crowds and have the right folks on the team!

Let’s clean house!

Here’s a listing of a few people you don’t need in your life as you clean house and you absolutely should always be about cleaning your house at all times:

Contentious Folks

Please for the sake of mental and emotional peace cut out contentious folks out of your life. They are super draining! They are life suckers and they don’t mean you well. It’s something about someone who argues just to argue. A spirit of disagreement is just unnecessary. If you’re not an attorney and you’re not being paid to argue it’s not necessary to literally be combative with your word choices daily for no reason! I have a few friends who are like this who I must say I’ve withdrawn from because there is no space in my life to hold them! I can’t entertain people who argue about the smallest of things.

Doubting Dawn

No disrespect to any Dawns but it’s irritating to dream and work towards that dream to only have a few folks that always have the notion to doubt your existence. “Why you?” “You ain’t nobody!” These type of folks are super motivating for sure but to have them on your team day in and day out just for the sake of having them in your life is really not where you thrive! Stop telling these folks your move. To be honest they really don’t have your best interest in mind they are waiting to see you fall. So let they need to either be eliminated or kept at bay. Change the seating of your life. Front row seating need to be reserved! They aren’t the ones who pay top dollar. They are the ones who got in because they know someone and don’t plan on helping to promote you. Leave them in the dust!

Why not Me Whitley

It’s one thing to believe that someone is living your dream AND you are working and putting in the work to get there but when you have that someone who just wants to reap the rewards; leave them behind. These types of folks are actually hard to spot. They usually play their position of support for years. They are the ones that shoot in the gym with you but after you get called and their names are simply in the background the real them peaks. They are cool with your success AS LONG as they can either tag along or use your name to build their own agendas!!

You need to clean house. The type of cleaning where you move and dust off a few things to reveal true cleanliness! You are going to have to clean house and clean it often! People shift life flour and your longevity with someone can’t be the only sustaining power of a relationship. Not only that your growth has to come from growing up. With that maturity comes discernment!

Happy Monday and hopefully happy thinking, cleaning, and clearing!

Servant

From M. Night Shyamalan comes the new series on AppleTV+ Servant. Servant is about a Philadelphia couple who let’s an evil presence into their home following a tragedy with their son Jericho! This series will be full of suspense and it comes out on Thursday November 28th right on time for your Thanksgiving get together. So after you clear your plate, clear your mind to take in all of the action as you put together the clues of the mystery that awaits.

I was honored to be invited to do a special preview of the series. I usually don’t do scary anything but I felt like expanding my horizons. I was hooked. I’ll be rewatching with my husband so we can make this a regular weekly watch! During the special preview we had an amazing mixed filled with great food, wine and drinks, photo booth, and we met baby Jericho!

I loved that they made sure as we mingled we had great options. This isn’t even all of the food available. Allied Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Film Center definitely know how to make a spread! The lines to see the preview were long. I’m glad to have been on the VIP list to get first dibs on a great experience.

Thanks to The Bosco for having a great photo booth available. You can see the gif on my Instagram and in the More Philly highlights!

During our time of mingling I got a chance to meet baby Jericho. Baby Jericho already let me know what I was walking into. I love the babies but Baby Jericho is definitely different. Even just seeing baby Jericho I felt uneasy.

Look how life like? This will be the question immediately to be answered? This is the only clue I’m giving!!! Pay attention. If you ever watched any movie from M. Night Shyamalan you know the clues mean everything to the mystery as it unfolds.

They locked our phones down. I couldn’t even get a pic of the lock down pads used but yes when they say you will not be recording today they meant it!

I had a blast. I was able to connect with other fellow bloggers as well from Philly Black Bloggers:

For me to say I’m hooked and can’t wait to watch this series speaks volumes! So what are you doing this Thanksgiving? Yes that’s right, you’re watching Servant on AppleTV +!

So cozy up with the fam bam and let me know how it goes tomorrow!!!

Thank you Allied Philadelphia for the invite! Thanks to AppleTV +, The Bosco, Philadelphia Film Center and of course M. Night Shyamalan for making a masterpiece!

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