Monday Motivation: College Edition

As some of the college bound students pack up to attend various schools make sure you remain grateful, vigilant, and hopeful! It’s every walk of life represented at college. It’s super easy to get discouraged if you start to compare what you have against the next. If you’re support system isn’t strong it will take you for a loop.

The pressure to get into college is already hard. Once you are in you might have had to work your butt off to secure enough to maintain. So many students have to work not only a federal work study position but often times a regular job in addition to have their basic needs met. It’s easy to forget that college starts some students’ first hustle but it’s true! It’s where the first flight or fight can begin. Don’t underestimate the struggle or look down on others who are literally first time college students in their whole family. It can be a time of love and pain.

Not everyone comes from well rounded families built on support. People’s idea of support starts and ends at drop off. People don’t have folks in their lives that check on their well being. No care packages are being sent, money being deposited, or even care being given-just drop off. That can mess with a young person’s heart. People think college is JUST about academics but it’s more to it. It’s walking into adulthood and learning about yourself in the most raw form.

This is a great time full of excitement and some stress as well. Not knowing what to expect is sometimes the first lesson in life in how to move when things aren’t aligned. Being that you are on campus having to survive it teaches you how to boss up and take care of yourself quick. It will give you the skills to be resourceful and how to work hard. You will learn about work ethic and if you lack self care you will bump your head until you dive into it. Some students will realize for the first time that they have a mental illness. It’s important to seek help early and often. Do not suffer in silence just because someone back home thinks it’s weak to ask for help. You can’t preserve you on their mindset when it no longer fits!

I applaud all the college bound adults as you make you mark. Study hard, play hard and learn about yourself! This week is all about you! Make this year a great one!!

Toi first day at Penn State 20 years ago

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Philadelphia Zoo and the New Gorilla Tree House

When you think about the zoo of course animals come to mind. There is no zoo without them. Providing the animals a place that is safe, clean, and gives them a better space to thrive is important to their well being. The Philadelphia Zoo is doing all they can to ensure the needs of the animals are their top priority. With that being said, the new Gorilla Tree House aids in the Gorillas having enough space to roam and play.

This 20 foot structure is everything that the gorillas need to play, eat, and have the time of their lives! I was there as I watched the gorillas interact with each other. They jumped from the new treehouse as well as played! It was amazing to see. I even spoke to one of the gorillas handlers about how contrary to popular belief they eat vegetables and not fruit. They enjoy eating mostly in the morning hours and they spend about 1/3 of their day resting. I also learned that in the gorilla groupings it’s usually in the case of the Philadelphia Zoo one male to two females and their babies.

Pictured are my three kids, Marques, Naila, and Noelle along with one of the gorilla handlers; Kelsey Wise. Not pictured is Kristen Farley-Rambo another gorilla handler

To start the festivities of the opening of the Gorilla Tree House was Michael Stern. Michael is the Curator of Primates. You can tell he loves what he does. It has to be interesting to be designated as the one to ensure that the Primates have all that they need! He was so energetic and funny. You can catch his speech on my Instagram! I enjoyed the fact that he was so knowledgeable about the primates and has a heart for them.

Pictured are my children again and Michael Stern as he shows the kids how to beat their chest like gorillas do

The Gorillas that are at the Philadelphia Zoo are grouped into a family: Motuba, Honi, Kira, Amani, and Ajabu. There are also 2 bachelor males; Louis and Kuchimba!

Pictured is Louis

Pictured is Ajabu hanging out

Between the fun of watching these animals swing, play, run, and jump in their habitats it appears that they will he loving this new structure for quite some time. The Philadelphia Zoo is committed to the change and as the habitats around us changes so will the Philadelphia Zoo in keeping align with change.

So in addition to the Gorilla Tree House you can see and learn a lot about the Philadelphia Zoo and the rest of the animals. Remember they also have amazing new food trucks at the Urban Green that offer top of the line food options to help keep you stay healthy and full! The Zoo Key is back and that is vital in helping you not just take pictures of animals but an interactive way to learn. If you want to be interactive yourself don’t forget to stop at the KidZoo U, Wildworks Rope Course, the Swan Boats, and it’s the home of the Zoo 360 Animal Trails. There is something for everyone. Your patronage at the Zoo helps the animals and a way to keep the Western Lowland Gorillas who are considered dangerously critically endangered a place to thrive!

Thank you to the Philadelphia Zoo and Aversa PR for the invite. Thank you to the generous donors; the Korman Family, Tom Hartman, and AnnMarie Byrnes, Lisa Gemmill and the Ruth Solomon Foundation!

Family Style Love at Mamma Maria’s

I went to the East Passyunk Car Show and Street Fest! I posted quite a few pics on my Instagram a few weeks ago! It was so much fun. It was super hot (which I love), great food, amazing vendors, and of course the cars!

Who doesn’t love amazing cars?!

All kinds of exotic cars. Of course I loved them all but also I was drawn to the red cars. Red is my favorite car. I currently drive a red car. I was walking along and was introduced to Mamma Maria! She gave me this warm welcoming hug. It was the kind of hug that warms the soul. It was as if we had known each other all of our lives! On a Sunday it was just the best feeling and expression of love. We chatted about what I do and her cooking!

Mamma Maria already had her set up going and towards the end of the event she was just about sold out. Before leaving Mamma Maria packed me and my oldest daughter some gnocchi, sausages, and broccoli. You couldn’t get the smile off of my face. One of my absolute favorite foods is Italian. My husband even popped the question to me at an Italian restaurant because I love it that much-outside of gummi bears of course! So I’m headed home with this warm pasta on my lap trying not to eat it in the car. As soon as I’m able I open it and goodness gracious-it’s that good. I didn’t even let it get cold so it was ready to eat and I found myself eating and eating!

I took my food outside because as a mom you already know kids don’t care what you are eating they want parts! I was able to eat the pasta outside without little hands in it. It felt like I was having a moment and Mamma provided it for me. Here I was after spending hours in the sun, in my happy spot at home having my favorite dish and content.

I don’t know if there are others who love Italian food as much as I do. The type that work out so they can keep eating fresh pasta, but if that is you-Run to Mamma Maria’s located at 1637 East Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia PA! You will be in a little slice of Heaven with authentic Italian pasta made with love! Mamma will make sure you eat well and when you leave you will smile. You won’t worry about if the pasta hits your thighs. The only thing you will know is you ate some amazing food and you were treated with love!

Mamma Maria’s is open Monday-Friday from 10:30am-10:30pm and on Saturday from 4:30pm-11:30pm and on Sundays from 3:00-10:00pm!

Week 7: Storr Summer Adventure

So it’s week 7 already? Summer isn’t playing with none of us. Between the kids fun during the week, blogging events, and weekend fun no one in my house can be bored! This week’s total was $74.37!

Monday

Park time. I knew it would be hot so instead of going out later I decided we would go to the park first thing. I was able to get my 3 miles in and they were able to run and play. It felt good to switch up our day and I was able to switch up my work day as well! They enjoyed it and then went home had lunch and read their books and played together!

Tuesday

Today we took it to the bowling alley. Two games for free, shoe rental, and dino bowling helper for $22! They brought a friend of Noelle so it cost us $14 so for the day $36 total and hours of fun! 40 min drive due to traffic both ways armed with packed snacks and water made for an afternoon outing full of fun! Watching them be competitive was hilarious! The way they kept trying to beat each other had me in tears!

Wednesday

Let’s get to reading. They have been reading about 4 books a week and the younger two have their Summer book reports complete! We made a stop to the library to return books and get new ones! The librarian definitely knows us at this point! I’m glad that I finally stopped in instead of going to other libraries near us. Also through the library’s Summer reading program another free book to add to their collection. At least we were able to get done before the storm came! We also stopped to have lunch at Burger King well they did anyway! Total was $14.26. I had Salad Works for $12.12! Combined total is 26.38!

Thursday

We decided to switch it up. They had balances on their Five Below card so I decided to let them spend it. They each got one toy, a snack and I brought drinks with us. This was after they spent the morning reading and doing their math while I worked! They spent 30 min inside that store because they were making sure they got the “right toy.” I added about 11.99 for whatever wasn’t covered with the gift cards!

Barnes and Nobles is doing a Summer reading challenge. For reading 8 books of any kind, you get to choose one book from a list of books for free! I love this. Between the library’s challenge, Barnes and Nobles and me just making reading a priority they have been doing amazing! Taking them to one of my absolute favorite stores always makes me happy!

Friday

It was a chill day. It was also my anniversary so I wanted to rest and relax. No working for me just spent the day watching them create forts in the living room, reading, we ate in the living room I rarely never let them do and just laughed and had a great time!

We did pretty good and as the Summer gets closer to a close I will be switching more family related activities and focusing on the weekend events! However I’m determined to still get them out and about and I found some new free events to do so!!

I hope you enjoyed this week and I can’t wait to recap the entire Summer!! You can have fun by doing something that you love and a little research!!

Amp up your Self Care

This weekend I found myself caught between love and self care. I celebrated my 7th wedding anniversary so all the lovey and dovey feelings came flooding in. But I also needed to reorganize and bolster my self care.

I needed to increase it and with all that is going on in the world it’s super necessary to feed our souls often. I find that it’s imaginable to think that we can exist only merely being an extension to others. We have to show ourselves more grace, understanding and love that others pull from us. It’s like being on a plane and making sure that everyone else on the plane has oxygen but depleting our own. This is self sabotage. You can be booked and busy but still need rest and recharging! It’s not selfish to bolster self care back into your soul.

Defeated

Sometimes we feel defeated because we have forgotten we need to renew our reasons why! Why do you want to pursue your goal? What does it mean to you? How much work are you prepated to do? How hard is your drive? These are the things that must be thought about and re-evaluated daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly!

Re-alignment

What can you do to take some pressure off of yourself? Can you collaborate with someone else? Ask for help? Prioritize? Take a break? Make a to do list? Whatever you need to do; do it today! You have to be one with yourself to get things done. An organized mindset and working environment can help!

Burnout

Burnout is real! You can blow a fuse without the right amount of energy flowing in your life. Moderation in all things will help create balance! Learning to drink and eat and have a spiritual connection will be key to creating balance! We all need balance! We need structure! If you go hard for a few weeks solid schedule some mental time off. It may not mean take a day off but it could mean schedule some rest stops! You could schedule a nap, an hour of quiet, reading a good book, a massage, an appointment in your favorite spot, or time to just watch something you enjoy! Whatever is is you need it!

You will burnout trying to take on the world especially if you don’t fill your cup up of those things that make you smile. Even if you have someone in your life having things that you like that that doesn’t require your significant other’s participating is better!

Sunday Message: In the Middle of Tears

Crying is a release. It cleanses us from the inside out. It doesn’t mean that after the tears are shed that it changes our circumstances! It does mean we have a temporary relief. Some of my best moves have come from tears.

Life is hard! It comes with ups and downs. I used to view crying as a sign of weakness. That’s not the case! Tears for me personally means I’m hurting and I’m overwhelmed. Feeling overwhelmed for many especially if no sign of comfort is nearby is what makes people stay in the feeling of hopelessness! It’s a terrible feeling. I’ve felt that sense of not having hope. It’s scary and often times it feels lonely. I would be lying if I acted as if the tears were inspirational all the time. They don’t feel like it!

I’m grateful for the times I’ve been able to cry and let it out and in addition to that dried my face and faced my shortcomings, failures, or humiliation! That isn’t weak at all that takes strength! It takes strength to say I’ve messed up and I’m not measuring up! You don’t know what and how others will view you! That is scary! But I am a witness you can look at the bottom and see the top even in darkness. In darkness if have had to ask God to turn on my night vision! That’s why when you are riding in life in light to build yourself up for those dark days! They are coming!! We also experience it!

So if you’re in a dark time right now-I understand! It’s not a great place but remember the time before this? Guess what? You come out! I know you see no way out but it’s coming! A way out is always near even if it seems out of reach! I pray night vision in your darkest time! Grace is there to carry you! This is why the whole cancel culture doesn’t make sense! Be mad at what a person has done but the same grace that covers me in my mess is the same grace that covers others! You can lose everything and be at the bottom but with work, forgiveness, and love you can shine. You might shine with humility or different support but you can still shine!

Happy Sunday! Make it your best!!

Chima Shares All The Love

We went to Chima to celebrate our 7th anniversary. Between the ambiance, good food, amazing drinks; Chima is definitely the spot to enhance any celebration!

Anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, promotions or just because Chima is your go to! They will acknowledge your special day with flare. No matter the detail they will make sure you feel the love from the time you enter and until you leave! We first encountered Chima as a couple at our year 4 anniversary and it was just as special going back for year 7! Chima has the freshest foods you could ask for! There’s something for everyone!!

My favorites has to be the cinnamon pineapple. Like I get extremely giddy when it comes to the table! It’s so warm and fresh. Chima had to remember from my last visit. They were told a little birdy told them. God bless that bird because I had many slices!

Let’s talk about the Passion Fruit Dressing; it’s amazing!

The meats for those who eat it was top of the line and made to order!

Service is always impeccable! Shout out to Christian who was outstanding! He never let my cup go low and he knows that menu like no other. He made the night go super smooth!

I love that we could see the growth over the years and see how much joy Chima brings to our anniversaries!

It’s nothing to like getting dressed up to experience world class cuisine at a restaurant that stands by customer service and elegant delivery. You can ask any of the staff and they absolutely go above and beyond for every patron! They treated us like royalty! They are standing by to do the same for you! Consider them for your next event!

Here’s a few things that stuck out to me this visit:

For my parent friends they have a baby changing station in both men and women bathrooms!

There bar is amazing and don’t think for one second you won’t get amazing service vs being seated at a table because that’s not the case!

Speaking of drinks they are amazing it doesn’t matter which one you try!

Los Olas Old Fashion; bulleit bourbon, angostura bitters, sugar cube, orange peel and garnished with luxardo cherry

White sangria

Chima has you covered for all of your needs! Thank you Chima for an amazing night! Thank you Marques for these 7 years!! Let’s make it a lifetime!