Bday Weekend Recap

I had a great birthday not doing a whole lot. Since attending so many events I find relaxing is my number one go to. A night filled with good food, a workout out, adult juice and quiet works for me.

I spent my birthday working only a half a day. No half day in the office and a half day at home working, straight half day working period. Once home with the kids I took a shower and my husband brought me my order from Hip City Veg. It was my first time as I continue to add vegan restaurants to my line up. I ordered the smokehouse burger (vegan), sweet potato fries with sriracha sauce and the birthday cake non dairy milkshake.

Smokehouse burger

birthday cake milkshake

Vegan or not this meal was amazingly everything and more. I love great tasty food. I wanted my birthday night to be calm. I did manage to get a workout in so I felt even better! After eating and a few adult drinks I happily fell asleep! My night was made!

Shout out to Go Vegan Philly for making me another amazing vegan cake! I had more cake than I could ever have. I haven’t had cake especially vegan cake since the big switch! I definitely have made up for past times. You can definitely insert the Rihanna song!!

vegan vanilla cake

Saturday I finally was able to attend my son’s soccer game. I didn’t even realize how busy I had become how I hadn’t attended my son’s game for this season! He did amazing by the way!

My husband arranged for my girl friend and I to have dinner together at one of my new faves, True Food Kitchen! What I love about them is their seasonal rotating menu. Since the last time I was there for Valentines Day weekend, there were different meals present for me to choose without feeling like I was only limited to the same options. I have to shout out Marques for working covertly with one of the besties, Kyla to make it happen!

Vegetable soup

Hey Kyla

kiwi mousse with strawberry

I’ve gotten a lot of amazing gifts this birthday and so much of my friends who knew my heart! I’m honored that I was thought of. I’m grateful for an amazing weekend which ended with a little trip to Ulta and ended with a bubble bath, a good book and I was in bed on Sunday by 8pm. If that wasn’t the most peaceful weekend I don’t know what was?

Never forget to sign up for birthday rewards! And brand that you already utilize and patronize, should be your number one go to. I love getting freebies or discounts on the very things I already use or will use!

Until the next one…..let’s get this personal New Year going!!!

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Weekly Recap: Friday February 22, 2019

Blog Life

I hope you are keeping up. A new blog has hit everyday this month so far.  We talked about a lot of mental health topics one way or another. It was necessary. One I got a lot of emails from followers requesting it. Also life hit me this week in various forms. I am one who tries to practice what she preaches. So I made my mental health my number one issue to maintain this week. Nothing in particular set me off it’s just that I am aware from therapy how to recognize when I am becoming elevated. I hope you have the same mindset for your life. It’s important to check in with yourself and slow things down. Life is already crazy enough.

Fit Life

I got into another Broad Street Run! I am more than excited. This is year 2 and although I now know what to expect I want to fix a few things that I didn’t know about the run this year. I want to train a little better.  So I am hitting the pavement sort of talk by running outside earlier. This will work with my stamina. It was pure adrenaline and training that helped me last year. But I want to get stronger and do this right!  Also I have the Hot Chocolate 15K in April. Its run season.  So I am training which means I will cut down on alcohol and focus on more water intake etc. Its hard lets not kid ourselves. The run is on Cinco de Mayo I will reward myself with a margarita and some banging tacos. Until then I go hard and show up for myself. So my training have gotten a little more intense. I am making sure I have what I need ahead of time. Send some running vibes my way!

Shout out to Cake Bams for sending me the best artisan rice cakes that I’ve ever had. These health-ish cakes were covered in goodness. The four flavors, love you matcha, chocolate chip crookie, salt in the dark and birthday erryday! You’ve had flavored rice cakes but never none like this. So such a sweet and amazing treat to end my 4 day workout week!!

Kid Life

We celebrated my youngest 5th birthday. That means we do not have any more babies in our house. She is officially a big girl! This is also the anniversary of the blood clot that almost took my life having her. I am grateful for her. She is like a fresh breath of life. She is an amazing child. She had the day to go to the movies to see Lego Movie 2: The second part. She honestly fell asleep but it wasn’t because of the movie it was because she woke up super early and excited to see what we had planned for her day. The movie itself was good having a lot of parts for the adults too.  She also went out for lunch, took in a lot of phone calls and Facetime from family and got the gifts she wanted. We also had a party for her with her classmates at school and that was what she wanted. I was glad that as parents instead of pushing our agenda. I am learning to take cues from the kids on how they want to be celebrated.  In our house birthdays are always a big deal because it’s the one day that should be yours. We enjoyed cake at home so this week my workouts had to match them slices!  My other kids have enjoyed their 3 day week and a snow day.  Pray for my grocery bill. They can eat. I enjoy watching them enjoy what kids should be enjoying.  As long as my kids are happy and healthy that is a big win!  I am extremely blessed to have the children that I have!

noey

Personal Life

This week I took out time to get me together. It takes a lot to juggle the many hats that I wear at any given time. I am amazed at each passing day just to get to the next. I do not think I am some wonder but its a lot in our house and lives to maintain it all.  However so much joy I have found in reconstructing what I want and what I need and finding alternatives to getting the things I want in a different way.

I was able to celebrate Galentine’s Day with one of my favorite humans, K at True Food in King of Prussia. This is a great spot if you want to eat healthy and without regret meal but still have an amazing food experience.  I had the Dashi Ramen bowl that had the right amount of kick to it. I also for dessert had the flourless chocolate cake. I know what your thinking-how can this be good?  Well it was amazing. It was served warm with vanilla ice-cream on top drizzled in caramel sauce and it was super delicious. Can’t forget about cocktails. I had War of the Roses (keep in mind it was Valentine’s Day weekend) which had pomegranate infused vodka, rose petal, pineapple and orange. From first sip to last it was definitely memorable. True Food also serves an amazing brunch on the weekends and has a kids menu in case you have to travel with the kiddies. Thanks True Food for an amazing dinner date with my boo. Also the restaurant is super beautiful. If you love taking pictures for the gram, this is your place. The green is beautiful and its so open and clean including the see through kitchen area.

date

I don’t always get to see all of my girlfriends as often as I would like. Many of my closest friends live out-of-state. However K and I are able to have monthly dates. Monthly dates help to keep us close and being around each other is pure joy. If you have good friends nurture those relationships. I try to keep in contact with my out-of-state girlfriends with messages and videos as often as possible!

Events

spread love

This Saturday join me and the rest of TCP as we “Spread Love” event. You can either donate goods, help spread love, or attend and bring ideas as to what can be done in the community.  One winner will receive $500 to make that idea happen. Let’s come together and support one another!

cake.jpg

Diana Anello from Bredenbeck’s 2018 best in taste and show

I will be attending this Sunday Variety, The Children’s Charity of Delaware County “Let them eat cake under the stars” event. You can get tickets to this amazing fundraiser as with your cost of ticket allows you unlimited drinks as well as samples of some amazing cakes from the area. Who doesn’t like cake?  I will be doing my morning run and workout just so be sure I can eat cake and help deserving kids and juveniles in my area live a quality life.

I have a special project that I am working with on Monday with some of my fellow bloggers that I will do a special blog for on Tuesday.  All I can say is my workout game got to be strong it’s going to be one yummy treat!

Also March is coming! It’s Women’s History month and we are going to be giving you some amazing interviews this year! Be on the lookout!

Today is also national margarita so if you’re able and like them grab one!!

Chicago The Wind Down; May 9, 2017

So I just had the most amazing time with my girls.  To say that I had fun would be an understatement.  If you are looking to come to Chicago but don’t like to eat or walk this is not the city for you.  There is so much to do and no time to do it all.  I really can’t stress the food enough.  I am glad I came now that I have gotten my weight under control.  The amount of food and good food we had was on overload.  I didn’t eat at an eatery I didn’t like.  The reception from Chicago natives was so warm and welcoming that I felt like I was in the South.

First of all let me send my most heart-felt condolences to the two victims of Chicago gang shooting that took place on Sunday.  I nor my girlfriends were in the area however we definitely kept watch of our surroundings. Let’s be clear, watching our surroundings had nothing to do with us being in Chicago but it was more of a common sense issue.  At no time regardless of where you live or visit should you let your guard down.  I also pray a speedy recovery to those 10 victims who were shot as well.  Chicago is not the mecca of violence as they have been described.  Violence happens everywhere.  However its important for the city of Chicago to come together because the violence definitely needs to stop.

I was the first of the girls to get into town.  I was able to check in without any issues.  If you are ever in the city please stay at the Kimpton Gray.  Is it pricey?  Yes, but if you want to have a relaxing stay with an upgraded flare they are the ones to provide it.  I was greeted with a mimosa.  Drinks are always a great way to start a girls trip.  The room itself was spacious, clean and very eye-catching.  Although I arrived at almost 11 am they allowed me to check in right away where I was able to catch a quick nap before the others arrived.  The staff was amazing throughout our stay.  The free happy hour daily was always a good plug too.  They treated us well.

Our first stop once most of us got situated was to the Broken English restaurant.  It was Cinco de Mayo on Friday so finding an authentic restaurant with good food and good margaritas was a must.  They didn’t disappoint.  It was a bit crowded but to be expected.  The drinks were strong and tasty.  We had a great time.  We did a lot of walking and ended up in Millennium Park.  However not before we discovered that we needed some chapstick due to the winds that Chicago is known for. The joke of the day is that we were able to share one of our girls chapstick aka the dickless chapstick as none of us had any near us or near our mouths before we came.  Hey who else can you talk junk with if not with your girls?!

We loved it at the Millennium Park.  The “bean” or the cloud as it is officially is called was my favorite.  I love the city’s architect.  The buildings were larger than life.  You could see the flare in each building.  I spent so much time looking up and admiring everything.  We decided to end our night with a late dinner at RPM Italian which is an Italian restaurant that is a collaboration that includes celebrity Bill and Giuliana Rancic.  The restaurant is beautiful.  I loved the food and the drinks. The portions were all you needed and it wasn’t over bearing at all.  We didn’t say anything at first that we were there celebrating mine and my girl Toi’s birthday.  The hospitality was great.  Once they did know it was our birthdays they brought us the most amazing gelato mini cones.  I did order orange sickle gelato.  Let me say it may have been my new favorite dessert. I have never had it at any other restaurant and it definitely is a memorable dessert to have again if I can.

The next day it was off to the Bongo Room for brunch.  Their drinks were amazing.  Yes I told you there was a lot of eating and drinking on this trip.  They had a little wait so we went to walk around and ran into a gem of a clothing store called Personal Priviledge (www.personalpriviledge.com) and if you are looking for trendy pieces but don’t want to spend a lot I would recommend them.  Ladies, they have ALL sizes from the small to the beautiful plus ladies too.  We were all pretty much walking out of the store with something.  I got 2 little items that I can’t wait to wear and have a little fun.  Oh did I mention they made each of us feel like we were the only ones in the store and of course the mango margaritas while shopping was a great touch.  Back to the Bongo room where the food was so good.  We took the L and the bus and headed over to the Navy Pier.  We took a ride on the ferris wheel and it overlooked the city. Did a little shopping as well as stopped at Margaritaville for some drinks before heading to happy hour at the hotel.

We enjoyed a wonderful meal at the South Water Kitchen.  I am telling you we looked up all of these places and read reviews.  Why go somewhere and know you may have bad food?  This was a mini vacation.  We weren’t about to cook a meal and we wanted good food and drinks and like I said Chicago’s DNA fit what we needed.  We walked, took the L, bus, Uber and Lyft.  The only form of transportation we didn’t take was the horse and carriage that we passed during our food tour.

Another stop was the Skydeck located at the Sears Tower.  So being up at literally the highest point in the city without a helicopter was such a treat.  The Skydeck was fun.  We had a great time and yes the ledge was everything you read and more.  We had a little time adjusting even the ones who don’t have height issues.  However we made it through and it made it some instant fun as we went to our Tastebuds walking food tour.  I was full by the end.  Our first stop was to Pizano’s for deep dish that Chicago is known for.  This location was the original location.  I am a fan of the deep dish cheese.  We had sausage too but the cheese had more of a kick to me.  They do have thin crust as well.  Apparently people don’t realize that Chicago makes a mean thin crust but they do.  Next stop was to More cupcakes (morecupcakes.com) where they have some of the best cupcakes I have had in a long time.  I am talking about flavors like bacon maple to everyone’s favorite red velvet.  Oh and I included the website because these beauties can be shipped all over the world.  They are worth it.

The next place was the Drake hotel where the ambiance is amazing.  The way that this hotel goes out of its way to excite your eyes with their floral designs is a game stopper.  They also have a beautiful tea room.  Oh let’s not mention their women’s bathroom was nominated for best bathroom and it’s not like any bathroom I have ever been in.  It was off to have one of the best hotdogs I have ever eaten.  My girl Cicely doesn’t even eat beef and was going to just try a bite but at first bite she said if I get sick it was worth it, it was one “damn good” hotdog.  By the way it was at Downtown Dogs that you can find it.  We ate the hotdog at Pippins Tavern.  The bartender was amazing.  I ordered a beer and then my girl Cicely bought me a shot.  However when the bartender found out it was my birthday he gave me a shot of Malort. Malort is what sets you apart from being a true Chicago native.  Apparently they give this to tourist to give them a “taste” of Chicago.  I was the only one who had it and it was awful.  I can take a shot but this was on another level.  I can’t begin to put into words how bad it tasted or smelled.  All I know is that I got through it.  The next stop was the Billy Goat.  This is a hamburger spot that was made famous by the owner, William Billy Goat Sianis.  He befriended a goat and was denied entry into Wrigley Field with the goat and he cursed the Cubs therefore the Billy Goat curse.  It was made further famous due to the SNL skit, “Cheezeborger, cheezeborger! You want a doublecheeze.”  Just a FYI, the cheeseburger themselves are thin so ordering a double is super necessary.  Next up, Fannie May which is chocolate heaven.  I was surrounded by so many different options it was hard to catch up.  Who doesn’t like chocolate though?  We even had a little to try to take home so you know I was a happy camper.

Did I mention that I also had some of the famous Garrett’s popcorn.  I mean if I am being a little foodie here why not?! So all in all we hit the main attractions.  We ate well.  We drank and was responsible so no hangovers and no visits to the hospital.  We were on our grown women level of traveling and more importantly as friends we were able to reconnect, talk crap and help each other through some difficult conversations.  We brought up some old stuff to get clarification, reconfirmed some girl rules and celebrated me and Toi’s 15th anniversary of our 21st birthday.  So as this doesn’t end #toibration but it does make it a great highlight.  The party will not stop until May 10th.  I asked some of my friends and family to send me some things about me and I will include them in my annual birthday year recap.

My favorite part was just being there.  I left the husband and kids at home, didn’t have a wake up time, no alarm, no work, and I had the choice to share my food.  I love my family and life but getting away is something I plan on making more time for.  I am an amazing mother and wife but I will be even more amazing with a little down time and play time.

My recommendation is to come to Chicago ready to eat, enjoy the scenery and the arts and expect to be wowed.  I have said and will continue to say that connecting with your friends is a must and I for one have plans to do more of this year and in the years to come.

Birthday Message: 37 is freeing

Soooooooooo it’s the final day of #toibration. It’s my actual birthday today. What a year it has been! Every birthday is a time to renew! It’s a personal New Year!

It’s a time to reset! It’s a time to figure what didn’t work and redo a few things. My husband made a status on Facebook yesterday about my bucket lists. I don’t know if I can call it that! I took on a journey to be free. Free from all things! I’ve stepped out and crushed quite a few goals! I’m pretty damn proud of myself. Like I’m not just another year older but I’m grown, like real grown! I feel like despite of being where I am in my life I’ve accomplished so much since last year. I can stand on my own! I’m the type of grown that isn’t waiting until I turn 40 to know who I am! I know who I am and I’m stepping into my own and liking it! Let’s back step I’m loving it!

I remember the days my mom would say when you get grown…. and in my 20s I thought I had gotten there only to find I was really just a big girl in a grown world. Now, I’ve touched a piece of the surface and I can say I’m grown!! Although years later I’m sure there will be new affirmations and new revelations, today I can’t help but thank the Lord for mercy and grace. How many times have I been close to death and been spared?! Too many times and this is why I celebrate everyday.

For years I had been taken many L’s. That’s losses for those who don’t know. From being unhappy, to moving and not thriving, for taking jobs with no advancement, to almost having my marriage on the edge, my health in jeopardy etc., walking away from a few folks, these last couple of years have busted my emotions. I made up in my mind to not blame anyone until I could determine what part I played in things.

On my Facebook page I highlight national days! I do it because it makes me happy. I do it because there is something big or small that we can be happy about. It doesn’t mean I don’t have bad days! I do! It doesn’t mean that stuff don’t go left because it does. But anytime I can wake up and see life in me and around me, there’s a reason to smile and walk in grace!

This new year I plan on stepping even further out of my comfort zone! I plan on working or should I say continuing keeping my inner peace in tact! I’m not interested in rekindling old relationships unless those individuals have done the work like I’ve done! I’m okay with my circle and those who are gifted into my life! I don’t need high numbers of folks who aren’t invested in me. Any a few that remain may get shaken to be honest. I’m changing and as my needs change and I want the right people around me!!

I want to take more trips this year! Grow stronger as a mother! Be deeper and more connected to my husband. Have amazing sex!

Yup I said it, I’m grown! Be and receive great friendships! I want to fix a few relationships that need mended! I want to be an amazing aunt to my nieces. Yes I can climb that ladder. Yes I can go after whatever is for me! I want to really stretch out and grow in mind and spirit! I would say body but that’s an extra hell no!

So happy birthday to me and my twin!! It’s a good day today and this new year will be full of greatness!!

So cheers to an awesome day, birthday month, end of Toibration, and birthday reset!!

My Birthday/Mother’s Day Wish List

So as you should know especially if you are a follower of mine is that my birthday I call it Toibration.  First of all I love my name, hence the blog name.  Two I love to celebrate things and let me tell you why.  I used to be a bona-fide Debbie Downer.  I am talking about the kind of woman where you could say something so super simple and I would find a way to make it into a bad thing.  Who wants to me around that negative energy?  NOT ME! So I had to grow.  I had to change but I had to change not because of the people around me wanted me to but because I saw value in changing for myself

So now that I have adjusted my inner being, I find the good in a lot.  Let’s not get it twisted I still don’t like some stuff and am vocal when necessary but for the most part everyday is a real blessing and I try to focus on that. I am a twin which means I have a birthday partner for life.  However another thing about sharing is learning to also make space for yourself.  So with that being said Toibration was made when I turned 30.  Everyone makes it like this huge celebration for your 30s but by then I was on baby number 2, engaged, and just overwhelmed.  HOWEVER I realized how blessed I was to be one above ground, and two surrounded by so much love.

During Toibration I indulge in the things that make me happy.  It could be as simple as a few hours at a book store which sounds boring but for me it’s not.  I can get lost in my own world and prior to having my kids I would escape there often.  Now I do it but in way smaller doses.  It could be a trip to a local coffee shop.  I may indulge in a few treats well a lot of treats but I may have to curtail that until the latter part of the celebration as I am still training and getting ready for the Broad Street Run.

Also my birthday runs into Mother’s Day.  I was actually born on Mothers day in 1981 and ever so often it falls on it.  Yay but I do like separate items for each.  I do not like it pushed together.  Thankfully my husband has been super great since the time we met in 1999 not to forget that.

Here are a few of the things I would love or would like to have or do during Toibration/Mother’s Day:

  • Day to myself to do my own thing
  • Uninterrupted time at Target-those who shop there know what I mean
  • Go to the Movies
  • Good non dairy ice cream
  • Moscato-I love my wines usually white or sparkling of any kind will do
  • New wine glasses-I said I love my wines
  • Facial
  • Shopping at Sephora, Mac, or even just at the local mall to get whatever I want
  • Balloons-I think they are super fun
  • Flowers
  • In lieu of cake, a great fruit salad or a super decadent cupcake
  • A nap
  • A good meal at a restaurant
  • Gummi Bears-Haribo are my favorite brand judge me
  • Mani/Pedi
  • New Journal-you can never have two many I carry one on me at ALL times trust me
  • Statement t-shirts
  • Cards/Affirmations
  • Scents-whether candles, bubbles bath, soaps, etc

So as you can see my list is about things that either feed back into my spirit a lot of the items are already a part of my self-care regiment or things that make me smile to no end.  So I hope you have your own way of celebrating yourself.  I know that some people dread getting another year older but I will be 37 Lord’s will and I embrace it in the most fun and laid back way!

Welcome To Miami

Well as promised here is my recap of an amazing girls trip.  I have been to Miami several times and not once have I ever had a bad time.  Let ms say that fun was had by all.  We went to celebrate my friend Cheryl’s 37th birthday. I think she had a good birthday.  Shout out to the friends who weren’t able to make it this time, I am sure there will be other opportunities.  You were missed!

So I wont detail every moment but I will hit you with the highlights.  One this was my first time traveling on Jet Blue Airways.  They have the best snacks.  Southwest used to be my go to for flights with their snack boxes but as you know they switched out the snacks for free luggage.  Now yes I paid the 25 for the luggage on Jet Blue but the flight attendants were awesome and the snacks were even better.  So it was a win-win for me. The airlines are rolling a new program that for the folks that want to fly budget, it will cost you.  For one you have to pay for your luggage to be checked and you are ONLY allowed one carry on that must fit under the seat.  Which means like a handbag or one small bag not a suitcase of any sort.  Do not be fooled when I tell you they mean business.  If you show up trying to go through with a bag larger than a handbag or more than one they will immediately check it at a price to you.  So either get that above budget seat because the use of overhead compartments for budget seating is not happening.

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Once off our flight, the humidity hit us so super hard.  It was a bit overwhelming.  It’s been years since I have had to use an asthma pump but I thought I might need it.  No stopping team no sleep was in full effect. We were all over the South beach strip eating, drinking and laughing.  Later that night we ventured off to Liv Miami.  The guest of the night was none other than Dj Khaled.  We were in the front of the action.  Let me say, he really is his own hype man.  It’s not just something he does on television.  He believes in his brand and makes others believe in it too.  I also had the pleasure of meeting @Lalasizahands89.  She was super nice.  If you don’t know her follow her on Instragam at that handle and you won’t be disappointed.  Word to the wise she ain’t for the stuffy so head over at your own risk.

margaritas

dranks

The next day after we got in at 6am, yes 6am we got some rest and started up for another adventure. It’s been years definitely prekid days of coming in before the sun came up.  I had a blast.  We decided to do one of those double-decker bus tours of Miami Beach area. It was great.  We zoomed past Usher and Diddy’s house. I did my little “take that” dance as we rolled past.  It was good to see the city so high up off the ground. It definitely gave a better perspective than just walking.  The tour guide was super awesome.  We had to rush home because after stopping at Bubba Gumps restaurant, shopped and did some more walking and drinking we had to hurry to get to our reservation for Drinkhouse Fire and Ice Lounge.  This was probably the highlight of my trip.  It was hella cold in there.  Of course we had the fur coats, socks, and fur boots because let’s face it, frost bite is not of the Lord but the dancing, drinks and fun was super amazing.  However the entire room is full of ice.  It was magical with the lights changing colors and the drinks out of you guessed it, ice cups.

miamiice9

ice

Overall the trip was fun. It was good to get away.  It’s always good to celebrate daily and why not take a trip to celebrate a birthday if you can.  I definitely would recommend going to Miami. The culture is amazing.  I learned a lot more on this trip than in previous years.  You could see minimal damage from the Hurricane but they are making it better. We had nothing but great hospitality, great food, even better drinks, and a renewed sense of friendship.  To the next girl’s trip!!!!

Ask Toi: Is it Right that my Boyfriend of 3 years Family Didn’t Invite me to His Birthday Dinner?

Yes this is wrong.  You are not a random girl that he has been dating.  3 years is more than enough time for them to have included you in a birthday dinner.  I would talk with your boyfriend as he knows his family more than you would as to the snub.  Was it assumed you would be there therefore no formal invite took place?  When I was dating my husband they just told me where it was going to be since I was a fixture in his life it wasn’t a discussion of if but when.

How is the relationship with the family?  What underlying issues are happening that you are aware of?  Sometimes we not there is salt in a wound and if given an oppportunity would snub them just the same.  If that is the case and you want to be included than you have to sit down and have a talk with whomever is the matriarch or patriarch of the family and iron out some differences.  However if your boyfriend has any sense than he has already spoken on your behalf. My personal rule is to always allow the person whose family it is to talk it out at first.  I am hoping it was just an assumption.  How did you hear about the party?  This is key too.  If his mom told you but sent no formal invite by mail then its safe to say you just need to go and celebrate your man.  Is it a surprise? Then speak again to whomever is throwing the party and go from there.  Sometimes taking the first step in communication will be beneficial.