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!

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!

Monday Motivation: Thanksgiving Edition

It’s that time of the year! It’s time to carve literal time to be with family and friends. Depending on what your plans look like will determine if you are in a high level of stress or not.

Pace Yourself

If you’re planning a big dinner make sure you plan out your meal ahead of time even if that means you are doing it today. It’s not when you start it’s about being clear about what you need and when you need it. Do not allow stress to take over. Take each stride as slow as possible. This means simply making a list and dividing and conquering. You could grab what you need first which would be your must haves and then slowly decide if your optional items are really necessary. Sometimes what we feel we have to have isn’t something as necessary.

Delegate

It’s okay to delegate. It’s okay to outsource your help. Sometimes we don’t have to do it all! We don’t have to make it hard. Sometimes simply giving someone the reins will aid your self-care. You don’t have to be everywhere and at every second. If you have someone willing to bring a dish or two allow them. If someone is able to do the dishes, let them! If you want to scratch the whole cooking idea; let someone else cook. Go to a friends or even a restaurant.

Remember what Matters Most

Even in all of the busyness of the day and the week you have to take the time to know what matters. What matters isn’t prefect dishes but it’s about making memories. So look beyond a few issues as they pop up. I think about all of the people who would love to be in your shoes. Not just those who have transitioned but the living who don’t have someone in their lives in any capacity or those who feel broken. They don’t care about whether or not the rolls were forgotten or not. They just want to be around people who genuinely make them feel special and loved.

Realignment

It’s no better time to realign with matters to you most. It’s a matter of resifting your desires and how to make it all come together!!

My desire is that you go into this week with a sense of calm as you truck along your to do list. I hope you enjoy your meals should you choose to have one. I hope that things are well within your life. It’s one thing to have a smile on your face that you force but to have genuine joy is what I pray for each and everyone of you!

This Monday let’s take charge of the real!! Let’s take charge of our self care during this week of being thankful in the form of a formal dinner. I say that because we can be grateful in many forms it’s just the time to do so over a meal. A meal is always something that brings people closer.

5th year Blogiversary

This has been an amazing year. I believe I’ve touched the surface of what I plan to do and I have no choice but to keep going. I’ve been intentional, asked for help, leaned in on my mentors, outsourced to professionals what I couldn’t do and learned a lot in the process! The journey has been one of the best!

I’ve learned a lot more about myself. I realize that I’m not an island. I learned that I’m strong enough to handle fluctuating schedules. I’ve had the most productive year. I’ve been to all kinds of events, managed my family, my health, and my sanity. I love where I’m headed. There are already some amazing things lined up this next year!

I also want to thank the brands who helped me celebrate this year. Not just in prizes but in hospitality all year long. A special thank you to Eat Banza, Chima, Blessing Manifesting, and Nicole Lapin! I’m honored that you took the time to help me collaborate! Also I want to give an extra shout out to Aversa PR for allowing me the opportunity to be at so many wonderful events and openings. It’s actually been one year working with Aversa PR.

Thank you to my family who put up with me having a wonky schedule. I’m out in the field for almost 3-4 days a week some weeks more than that. I get asked how do I do that with 3 kids under 10. The answer is simple; they love and support my efforts. As long as I keep meal prepping they are good to go! I don’t book anything during their Girl Scout or soccer events and I make time to keep the spark alive with my husband.

Thank you to the network I’m with in TCP! The Cultured Professional has been an amazing network. They are family! “We Working over here!” is a lifestyle and definitely not a moment! These hardworking individuals have meant and continue to mean the world to me. Check them out here!

I want to say a special thanks to the many blog friends I have. There are a quite a few but I’ll highlight a few; Phillyfoodgal, Kingston Jael Michaels, Cocoamommy, Vidafashionista, and PR Brandon Szeltzer!

There are so many collaborations that took place to name! So many wonderful brands I wouldn’t even have known about without having an amazing network behind me! It’s been one amazing ride!

Thank you to every reader! One thing about it is even when Twitter or Instagram shuts down for hours you keep on reading my content and for that I’m honored!! It’s been a great transformation these 5 years! Thank you to everyone who submitted an Ask Toi!! You’re ability to be vulnerable is appreciated!

If you notice I’ve begun branding. This will continue! This has always been a goal for me! Now that I’m learning how to do it more consistently my promise is that I will always brand with companies that I believe in. They need to be products I’ve used in the past or use currently. They need to be what I would stand on. Something that I want my daughters to be proud of as you ladies! Brands that my son can feel good knowing I’m not compromising myself just to make money or sell my name for!

Let’s rock it out this year and make it happen!!

Non Traditional Thanksgiving

There’s nothing wrong with going against the grain! Making the holidays what you want it to be is really special if you ask me. There’s no rule that says you just have turkey, you just dress up, etc!

You can dress your day up or down as much as you like. When we first had our oldest we were super traditional. We tried to split the holidays. We dressed in super traditional clothes, we watched the Thanksgiving Day parades, etc. We have kept a lot of the traditions from our childhood and merged them together. Fast forward to today and I can tell you we have love in the center of us but we make it whatever we would like it to be and on our own terms.

When you don’t like to keep in line with traditions here are some amazing ways to change the perspective:

Friendsgiving

You can do this in a numbers of ways. Over the weekend my friends and I did a Friendsgiving brunch. This was a way to come together, brunch, and connect! I’ve seen some that incorporate non Thanksgiving Food. You can do a themed dinner or luncheon. I’ve seen where people bring leftovers and put a spin on it. This gives you a way to get rid of your leftovers and spend valuable time with your friends!

Themed Dinner

Yes turkey might not be your thing. You could always opt for something else besides ham or a turkey. There’s always a themed dinner. A themed dinner takes the whole Thanksgiving day dinner to another level. As long as you’re thankful it shouldn’t matter what you have on your actual plate. So eat to your desire. You could always mix both traditional with non traditional too.

Thanksgiving Mixes

This is when you take a traditional dish and flip it. Like a switch up on the day. I’ve had some amazing meals that I wouldn’t have known existed by eating some mixes. For example a sweet potato soufflé. It’s amazing and something my family wouldn’t traditionally have. The spin is still Thanksgiving but has a different level to it.

Thanksgiving Brunch

So a few people I know are having a brunch that day and then spending the rest of the day drinking and Ubering to shop and having a dinner out later in the day! It’s genius and with less clean up. I would only caution if you make this option to secure reservations early. Especially if you want a nice sit down meal. There are a lot of options here in Philadelphia. If you follow me on Facebook I have and will continue to highlight some amazing restaurants that have great options!

So again make the holiday as big or as as small as you would like. Focus on what you want to see happen for the day. Don’t compare yourself to others. There are people fighting major to stay connected with themselves let alone others.