Monday Motivation: Petty Bettys

You may experience a Petty Betty in all kinds of areas like work and home. They come out of the woodwork to try your patience. Do not let them take you off your course. They tend to be super draining and always taking. They take your time, money, energy, and sometimes focus if you give it to them.

I would love to say press pass them like it’s always easy and any hardship with a Petty Betty is all in your mind and something you are putting too much of an emphasis on and it isn’t serious. However the truth is they are too much. They are taxing and they do weigh on you. For example you get up to go to work and every time you clock in if not sooner Petty Betty is waiting in the wings of the door with a gambit of negativity. You feel like you’re playing Mortal Combat mentally with her or a Petty Bob daily. The smile you once had in the parking lot is gone. The prayer that willed you into the building feels in vain.

However trust me Petty Betty and Petty Bob are all around. They actually help to make you better in dealing with difficult situations. I know some as soon as a Petty Betty encounter is longer than they imagined they want to leave a job, a relationship, a new business, etc.

If you run from a Petty Betty every time something happens you might as well sleep in running shoes. Be direct with a Petty Betty. Sometimes that’s enough for them to get the message. You can’t be passive aggressive with a Petty Betty and expect results. They thrive off your low balling behavior. If you keep pretending it’s all good, what would be their incentive to leave you alone?

Take this Monday to get clarity on what you are willing to tolerate and what you aren’t. Put checks and balances where you need them. Be definitive when you speak and clear in your actions. Don’t find yourself wanting what Petty Betty or Bob has but not wanting to deal with them. Make the lines clear. If they are just coworkers stop inviting them around your home and giving false sense of acceptance when you don’t want to deal with them. Don’t use them as a work buddy when you plan on talking about them to the other coworker later down the line. Stop playing the fence with Petty Betty and Bob in real life and they will stop playing Jenga with your emotions and life in return!

Have a great Monday and nip foolishness in the bud! Be clear when you speak and deal with those in your life. It makes a world of difference!

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Sunday Motivation: Grace

That has been the word of the week. I tried to get away from this word but it came in every message I was around. I ran 4 days this week and during each run I heard it.

Grace is not something that is earned. Most times we are gifted grace by those who love us when we don’t deserve it. That’s the meaning of love right?! Of all the years I’ve gone to church Sunday by Sunday, grace was supposed to be my salvation.

Grace isn’t for those who deem themselves perfect. Grace is for the imperfect. It’s for those who know better but still fall short. It’s for those who had a blue print but deviated from the plan. Grace is for those who heard the plan but went another way. It’s for those who decided that something or someone was more important than sometimes themselves. Grace!

When you see someone who is strung out on drugs instead of looking down grace comes down and picks them up. It’s the same grace that can get a homeless person into their own. Grace can come and hold that single mom who knew the man in her life meant her no good but grace came and showered her and the child (ren) love anyway. It’s grace when a leader that you looked up to your whole life falls and makes mistakes.

Who are you showing grace to in your life?! I mean some of my own personal times were marred by the whispers of those who didn’t have the grace to be there, to encourage me, or love me through. Most of those same people do not have a front seat in my life either. Grace sees where you are broken and instead of walking away, applies pressure, understanding, and peace. Grace doesn’t always have to be an all or nothing. Sometimes grace can be frustrated but still stand in love to get you to your next level.

I listened to a podcast of a woman my same age who had gotten married and when that marriage ended she had to go home. I’m talking about someone who is successful and appears to have it together, old enough to know better, wise enough to solve her own problems but she still needed grace and she received it. I was touched by her vulnerability in sharing her story. As much as I love my family going back home would be an ultimate disappointment or sense of failure. It’s the number one reason while some fail in private. It’s because that failure or feeling of failure cut is too deep! I messed up or I need help is a hard phrase to live in! I know I’ve done it!

Her story reminded me of the times when I walked from grace and was uncovered. I was in a bad way, depressed, in pain, doing things that made zero sense until grace covered me. Grace came in family and friends who didn’t leave my side. It came in the form of my partner’s love. It came in my children’s smile when most days I knew they saw me blow it! It came when a stranger paid for my meal and at the time I had a mere few dollars to my name. Life is hard and it sucks at times! The grace we share with others matters.

It also can be what others see when you aren’t walking in grace with others. You too become uncovered too. Not gifting grace when you should can be just as detrimental to you as what you don’t give.

I also listened to Kirk Franklin’s new project; Long Live Love! The whole album is about grace. It’s about returning to grace and about lessons in love and showing love to ourselves and those around me and I knew…. today’s message is about grace. We all want it but few feel the need to gift and be the gift of grace this world needs! Extend grace even to the difficult they need it more!!

Drag Queen Afternoon Tea

So can I admit something?! I’ve never been to an afternoon tea. Clutch your pears for real because it’s true. So after being invited to a Drag Queen Afternoon Tea I was even more nervous.

I wanted to make sure I was right head to toe and that everything went well. It’s pride weekend here in Philly and I’ve always been super supportive of the LGBTQ community in any way I can. I was so happy to attend this tea and I’m sure it showed in my smile.

Today is also national best friend day so sharing it with one of my besties made it special. I couldn’t wait to go to Sofitel Philadelphia and enjoy myself. From the moment I parked I was treated with such courtesy. Every staff member greeted me. Everyone was super welcoming and warm. In their lobby is a love sign. You can’t miss it. I know that love is an action word and Sofitel did that by the way they took great care of each guest!! It’s what I look for when I attend events. How someone treats you when they don’t know your position speaks well of how they are. Sofitel has my backing on their ability to show love and I hope to come back as a patron soon!

I wasn’t in the room long when I was greeted by 3 phenomenal divas. Each of them welcomed me and immediately took pictures with me! I loved them! I loved everything about them! I know there are some who would just love to point their noses but let me tell you, don’t! They are living their lives and doing a fabulous time doing it!

Pictured left to right; The Lady Vayne, SunShyne and A-Dick-Shun

Since I had never been to an afternoon tea I was excited to see how it all played out. We were asked our drink order and our tea selection. We were served on a 3 tiered stand. I knew that I was to start with the sandwiches, then the scones and then the desserts. I did my research. In between I sipped my tea and my Bellini. Nothing I had wasn’t amazing. Each selection was great!

Here’s the fun part. While enjoying the amazing food we were treated by performances from our drag queen guests of honors. It was one of the most entertaining performances and it was just fun. They went in and held nothing back and worked that room like nobody’s business! I knew they would. No one in that room wasn’t pulled in by their performances!

You will have to check my Instagram for the performances. So I know you want to be apart and you can!! How?

There is another rendition of the Drag Queen Tea coming next Saturday. The atmosphere is super relaxing, fun, and the food and drinks are a smash hit! Hit the link so you can come show your love for Pride, and to give a portion of the proceeds to the Attic Youth Center to support LGBTQ youth. Who doesn’t love to give while having an amazing time! To be honest the time frame from 2-4 goes so quick you don’t want it end! I’m proud of all who live in this world being who they choose to be even when the world wants them to conform. It’s not our job to police someone’s choice. It is our job to love with action!

Make sure you click the link, grab a friend and be in the building. Sofitel is doing their part and you can do yours! While we know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea; I sure didn’t have a problem sippin so you now can do the same!!

Sip and relax because this afternoon tea isn’t like anything you have ever been to before!!

Thanks ladies for a wonderful time!! Thanks Sofitel Philadelphia and Aversa PR for the invite.

Paris owes me Nothing Part 4

So to end Paris as if it will ever end, it was the last full day before a day of travel. We decided to send a few post cards back. So of course we stopped at the post office, went to a museum, ate well and one last trip to the Eiffel Tower to tour the inside of it!

Shout out to the postman who handled our post cards. It’s so funny when the French switch to English cause they can see how much of a struggle Americans have to speak fluent French.

Now I could have since it was included in our hotel price to eat the breakfast provided. The way them nightly or all day is wines were set up I needed to sleep it off!! Kyla my girl was on go daily and so she did her morning ritual of going to get her food way before we woke up! Marques and I after the post office stopped at Metro Cafe. The food was amazing and so was the service.

This pumpkin soup needed no salt; no nothing simply delicious

Americans do French fries which isn’t a French dish better

The fresh squeezed orange juice was absolutely amazing

I had so much daily rosĂ© it don’t make no sense

His shirt reads, Broke Phi Broke and that makes sense

So after an amazing brunch like moment it was off to a museum!

We 3 decided to go to Museum Picasso. The Art was exquisite. Different genres all meshed and beautifully stunning, provocative, and engaging!

After which we were hungry again but hey when you are walking around for hours at a time it’s bound to happen! We stopped at one restaurant but it was their dinner time or that’s the way it came off as we sat for quite some time. The French don’t move as steadily on service like we do in America. We are more concerned in increasing numbers of those that come into an establishment over making sure that those around have an experience.

We finally stopped at Pizza Pino!

This lemon sorbet with vodka had me so super rocked……that’s all I can say on that

It was off to our final rendezvous with the Eiffel Tower. Unlike seeing it on a boat, seeing it lit at night and being in touching form, this was about going inside. The tickets that we got gave us access to the first and second floor. The very top was sold out for days!! The experience was more than I could put into words! Seeing Paris in a different light was just breathtaking.

As you can see Paris looks even more amazing inside the Eiffel Tower!

Brioche with Nutella it was necessary

After a long night it was time for one last meal…and more of that lemon sorbet and vodka at Mon Coco!

Veggie burger that would put an American veggie burger to shame

The star of the night; lemon sorbet with vodka…..

After beautiful days in Paris, it was time to return home. Lessons learned, Paris was an amazing experience! I would do it all over again! I’m grateful for this time and happy for a semi easy travel time outside of an extended search on the way home in 🇮🇸 Iceland!

I was loving the fact that in their airport it’s very different than an American airport where food is concerned. Vegan, vegetarian options are plentiful!

Finally back home, finally with our children, finally back on Go it was nice to slow it down a bit!

Paris owes me nothing but I’m grateful that I took the journey!

Thank you Ray and Chrystal for the invite none of this would have happened without your wedding invite nudging it along. May your union be filled with tenacity, and the joy that life brings!

Thank you Kyla for accompanying and being on this trip.

Thank you Marques for making sure that every desire I had you made come true. Thank you for renewing a clear path in how we love and live and being each other’s friend as we go through this life as partners, parents, and solid and dope individuals!

Thank you Paris for such amazing culture, hospitality, and just overall greatness!!

Monday Motivation: It’s Not That Easy

Nothing in life will be. Everything comes from a place of working hard. I’m amazed at the two extremes that people use the term “it’s not that easy.”

People use it’s not that easy when they want to highlight their accomplishments. It’s true when you work your behind off the last thing you need is someone coming with the discredit. It’s humiliating to be honest to put energy and backing into something only to have someone who by the way doesn’t like you to discredit your efforts. I would say often times it’s the ones that closest to you or those you let your guard down the most with. The ones you might have shared a dream or conversation about a dream with. They know that you’re not qualified but they don’t see your passions working behind the scene. None of which, can stop you unless your fuel needs to come from pats on your back! If that is the case you’re going to burn out fast. People’s attention span aren’t strong enough to hold all of your accolades in their forefront until your winning season pushes through. When winning season comes people become like magnets and want to meet up, link up, and talk. Always remember the times you couldn’t even get them to answer an email, a call, or smoke screen. That doesn’t mean be brand new it just means don’t rush to meet them so they can drink off of your success!

The other time people use it’s not easy is when they want to discredit their own ability to push through a difficult situation and usually about trauma or hardship. Example, “it’s not that easy to walk away.” When in reality it may not be but the consequences of staying is greater than the stagnant of staying. This could be staying in a relationship, bad job, not attending or finishing school, starting a dream job or passion. It applies to you when you are pulling at available and readily available excuses. You can make more excuses than a little bit! End it today. You can have zero knowledge about a dream but wake up and feel that dream on your mind. You know you have to walk in it but don’t let fear of rejection, intimidation, or acceptance stop you!

Nothing in life will just fall into line without proper backing of energy that has to come from inside of you. Whatever you are after this week go and grab it. Work hard for it! Push through! Be consistent! Manage your emotions and those around you! Say no a few times. No is a small but powerful word that successful people learn to use! Put a wedge in-between those who sit and listen to your dreams in hopes to deter you from working hard. If the people you speak to don’t encourage and in addition have zero resources to assist, why are you speaking to them? What can they do?

You got this! You can crush it! You can win! Work smarter not harder! Push through even when it’s difficult, hard, or makes you feel like you’re not going to win-you will!!

Paris owes me Nothing, Part 2

Like I said in Part 1 we were initially there for a wedding! Shout out to my girl Chrystal and Ray as they celebrated their love in Paris.

Most of the guests and some of the extras got there before we did. That means they had already done some sightseeing. We got there about 2 hours before the wedding started due to our late flight to celebrate with our oldest.

We arrived at our hotel; Hotel Alahambra. Let me say contrary to some folks, if I go somewhere and I like it I talk about it and tell you to add it to your list of go tos. However I’m going to be super blunt. To help phrase this here are my pros of the hotel:

  • Great location in the heart of Paris
  • Breakfast option
  • Near the metro
  • Near amazing food restaurants
  • Great pricing (we will come back to this)

Cons:

  • Owner/staff wasn’t pleasant
  • Having to turn in your key every time you left
  • Shuttle to airport which we thankfully didn’t take; owner tried to strong arm us

So on paper the hotel is beautiful and quaint. In person it went left. We got the hotel from Booking.com and any time I’ve gotten a booking through them it has been legit. Since we were traveling as a group of 3 and not 2 we placed that information in the browser. A room came up with basically a large queen and then a double bed. It made sense to get it. Kyla my girl stated a few days that many others who visited said that the owner gave them an issue with having more than 2 adults in the room. In my head I’m like this can’t be a thing, we set 3 adults and that room came up.

Well….we get there and it’s an issue. He wants to charge us an extra 300 for the third adult. No lie. Kyla and whomever wrote the last review were right! So I’m attempting to keep calm. If we would have left, his establishment wasn’t going to give us our money back we would have to fight with booking.com which I definitely will be doing before the end of this week.

To say that his attitude was horrible is an understatement. Now being in Paris I’ve caught on to them being more blunt than Americans but this wasn’t about being direct. He was straight horrible. Since we asked questions and didn’t roll over on what he said, every time he saw us he had an issue. Now remember when I said about the whole airport transportation? They have it but you can get an Uber for cheaper and when we asked about it, it was buy it now! We asked when was the last day to request it if we wanted it, he said buy it now so y’all know my response?! Nope! I will never make a financial decision on bad attitudes, tight lips, horrible service or bad dispositions periodt! So no extra hustle money from us. I will happily review them and if I was you unless you’re willing to pay for every adult in the room even if you use a trusty site don’t bother coming here.

They do have a breakfast option that if you’re eating it would save you money on food at other locations. However this momma who wakes up everyday in her regular life between 5-6 even on weekends to run elected to sleep. Plus the “adult juice” I needed recovery time so I have no review on whether or not the food is good!

Wedding vibes

We had enough time to change and get an Uber to the wedding with a mere minutes before it started. With most weddings they gave us some wiggle room before it started. The bride and groom looking absolutely stunning. It was my first time meeting the groom but right from the start he was warm and welcoming. The officiant of their wedding did it in English and French. It was absolutely beautiful.

I knew from the vows that Chrystal the bride has found her true love. I’ve been around her for quite some years and I’ve never heard her describe any man like she described Ray! Also the pure look of love and peace was special. I wish them a lifetime of happiness. Following the wedding they treated the guests to a boat cruise that included seeing a lot of iconic sites like the Eiffel Tower. I think I’ve seen the Tower like 3-4 times this whole trip and each time it has been breathtaking.

The boat ride was just the best. From the food of which there was an option for me! Thank you Chrystal! I kept my vegan behind vegan all trip!

Following the wedding I went to see if my girl was going to join us but by then she was sleep. We went to the night life near the Moulin Rouge. I won’t go into detail to protect the “innocent” but it was a pure blast! Adult drinks, fun adults, meeting new people and watching random strangers giving the bride and groom their congrats was amazing!!

Overall the wedding was absolutely the best for this year and to top it off it was in the Love city of Paris.

Ray take care of my girl! Now it’s time for you to pass the test of the kids and then I’ll know it’s real!!

Let’s be tourist….

Paris owes me Nothing….Part 1

I’m going to break this trip down in 3-4 parts! I want you to travel with me at least in your head since I’m back and still in love!!

It started off as a wedding and I ended with a bang! I recently took a trip to Paris and to say it was a once in a lifetime experience is a complete understatement. It was everything and more I could think of. We were invited to a wedding of our dear friend Chrystal and her new husband Ray and then the rest of the time it would for us to be tourist!

Secure the Babies

Let’s back up to the prep work it takes to pull this trip off. Not only are we speaking in terms of coins aka money, but with 3 kids it means a juggling act to secure them as this was an adult trip only. Also my girl Kyla attended as well. So making sure all 3 adults were safe, secure, fulfilled and happy while my kids were safe and secure with family proved to be a blessing and took a little finesse. Shout out to my brother and sister in love who kept the kids. Our kids only ended up missing 2 days of school due to their schedule. Not bad if you ask me. The kids had an amazing time with them. I’m grateful for knowing hands down that they were safe and happy. My sister in love is amazing! Thanks little brother for holding it down!

My friends can tell you that I’m not an irresponsible parent. The second we knew we were going on an international flight, it was important to me that I made sure all changes to my will were updated. It didn’t mean that I was anticipating something happening because I wasn’t. It had everything to do with making sure that if something did happen our children wouldn’t be further traumatized by not being with whom we wanted them to be with. I didn’t want anyone fighting in courts or our children not being raised the way we wanted them to in the respect of major child rearing aspects of parenting. I admonish all parents to have their paperwork in order even if you’re not taking a flight. The worse things you can do is not secure your kids’ future to the best of your ability. Thankfully we didn’t have to initiate any further plans! Since I needed to finalize the will, I’m super glad it was all handled!

Also we informed the school more than a month before so they could get their homework! Our oldest has finals and we don’t want any excuses for her not to get good grades. Their schools were amazing preparing the work ahead of time. I know the kids ain’t happy about it but education is important around here!

Shout out to my neighbor for keeping a watchful eye for my furry son, Tiki! I missed that little cat!!

Not Without a Hitch

Days before while doing my last fun prep like going to the nail salon,etc I got into a car accident. I was hit by a man and in return my car has damage. Now between that and some family issues that popped up I probably could have just flown from the anger I felt. However it’s beautiful to know that regardless of how I felt I still maintained my emotions. Not once did I fly off the handle. Not once did I speak out of turn! There wasn’t much I could do so acting a fool wasn’t going to add anything to the situation so I elected to remain calm! However in the coming days I will need to handle the aftermath of the issues left behind! Some of them will be easier than others. But that’s life?!

Birthday Behavior

The day that we left to go to Paris was also my oldest daughter birthday! We celebrated her the week before with a large 10th birthday party. However we also made sure that on our birthday we would be right there with her. For that reason we took a night flight out!

We took her out to breakfast and made sure we had cake with her and she got a few gifts from friends as well! Shout out to Hershey Pantry for an amazing meal!

Easy quick tips to make an International Trip smoother

Obviously get your passport as soon as you can. Do not wait until the last minute. It took me about 4-5 weeks to get me and during high peak times it could be even 6 weeks to get back!

Packing

Pack a few days before. You will most likely find that you need items if you pack as if you’re leaving in a few hours even though you have days to leave. I find doing this for most flights is a life saver.

Packing cubes

So although not a requirement, anytime I travel I like to utilize packing cubes. This is merely a suggestion however it helped to make packing easier as well as sleek. It gave me incredible space. My bags were only 14 pounds once weighed. This was great as I didn’t want to incur any extra baggage fees. I had everything too but them cubes was the real MVP!

Also I packed the kids suitcase a week before. With 3 kids I have a master list that I use. It may seem extra but it ensures that I don’t leave the most important items! I didn’t want to be that far away and forget the things they needed!

As you’re packing you find out what you still need and can purchase options without having to be super rushed. I didn’t pack anything new because the weather was about 70 degrees or a little under. So my Fallish clothes worked fine! I did purchase some new walking shoes and insoles as the walking we did was amazing but it was a lot. We limited the amount of Uber usage. I probably could have used it more but it is what it is! Step count was off the charts!

STEP

Outside of having your passport, also register for STEP. It’s free!! It basically registers you with the US consulate in the country that you are traveling so that if there is an emergency they can assist. This is also good in case of a crisis in the visiting country too! They will also include someone back at home to contact on your behalf!

WiFi

We used an international traveling WiFi. It was super beneficial. In our case it was 3 adults traveling. In hindsight I might have ordered 2 of them since there were times when our small party was separated. However we had the travel WiFi delivered to our home and we dropped it off to the airport before we left. It allowed us to use our phones after turning off cellular data not only to be on social media or use maps but it also allowed us to utilize FaceTime with our kids! Paris is 6 hours ahead of Philadelphia, we kept the connection flowing at all times. Another tip is using an app called maps.me by downloading prior to your trip so you don’t have to even have WiFi to use and get around. Shout out Travel WiFi for being super responsive, amazing company, and making sure we were secured!

Apps

Please update your apps before leaving including Uber. The time to update isn’t when you need it the most. I suggested everyone in our group to do so. That helped tremendously.

Theft Protection

You can go anywhere and something could happen. However in international areas, be sure to have a theft protection bag. It helped as a lot of areas get overcrowded and pick pocketing is real. Our bags were cute and helped to safe guard us. Also our passport holder which doubled as a wallet also had RFID technology to prevent thieves from stealing our card information.

Here is the link for the cover from Amazon

Passport Holder Cover, ACdream… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CBYVSJC?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

Here is the link of where I got the bookbag from Amazon:

Laptop Backpack for Women Men… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MLQZ1W1?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

Back it Up

No not for the 99 and the 00 (those who know, know) but always make copies of your travel documents and passports and leave hard copies and electronic copies with one or more folks back home. We love technology until it doesn’t work. If a computer glitch happens you want to be ready with what you need without fumbling! May seem extra but being prepared in life is a skill set. Get it and you might troubleshoot a lot of issues in your regular life too but what do I know?!

Travel Back Up Power

Listen between videos and pics you may find that while you’re out and about you could be in jeopardy of losing power. Be sure to purchase a back up power pack. I’ve had the same one since my solo trip last year and it has served me well. I’ve taken it to work, to blog events, and any and all travel! I try my best to always start with full power and make sure I have my back up power. It may seem extra but I’ve only run out of power once and I like to keep that number from never increasing.

My charger is 2 years old here is the updated sleeker version:

Portable Charger Anker PowerCore 20100mAh – Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with 4.8A Output, External Battery Pack for iPhone, iPad & Samsung Galaxy & More (Black) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00X5RV14Y/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Hdt8Cb6JAJ25V

Get that Money

We exchanged our money before we left. It made it easier to have our Euros before we left. We didn’t have to find a place although there were many spot to do so. Also having a certain amount of Euros prevented us from having to “re up” unless we needed to. In addition we also informed our banks and credit card companies that we were traveling in case we needed to use them! Thankfully we didn’t do much swiping so that’s a great thing!

Shout outs go to Omnia Nails and John for giving me that neutral manicure and pedicure with the color “Be There in a Prosecco” so super fitting!

Thanks Dee of ExtraordinarySewinsbydee who put her amazing hands on my head. Had me Paris ready! She always ready and answers the call.

Now that I did my research, got my stuff all handled, parked my banged up car, celebrated our baby girl, and did my prep…

Let’s go to Paris…..