Valentine’s Day Message

I would like to say Happy Valentine’ Day to all who celebrate this holiday. Sending you love and peace today and everyday.

white and pink floral freestanding letter decor

Photo by rovenimages.com on Pexels.com

To my husband, I love you! Another year of love to push through this life with! To want to still wake up and pray with you and push you to being your best self as you do the same! To wake up feeling safe in body and mind-I don’t take that for granted. To know you are being honorable in a world of Futures……….thank you!

To my children, mommy absolutely adores you! Y’all turn up to that candy so y’all can turn down at bedtime so mommy and daddy can drink our wine and fall asleep on the couch!

To my friends and family, have a loving day!  Some of my best points in waking up to text messages of encouragement from dope friends who are out here trying to be whole and happy is the best!

To my readers, I send you abundant love!

To my single readers and friends-I know today is hard. You question your when.  It hurts and its okay to say it hurts. People will tell you how you should feel and how to process today. I say process it in a healthy way.  Process it in your way! I get it. I used to wake up and decorate my apartment and watch all of the girlie romantic comedies, go out on dates or hang with my family or friends. Night was hard especially if you feel or don’t have anyone to hang with.  It will pass but it doesn’t change the depth of feeling you feel today! I understand!  Sending you an extra genuine dose of support!

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Valentine’s Day Snub

This day can be so super dramatic. Between the movies that make it bigger than life. So often, we even I get caught up in this day. What I think is important is to be honest about where you are and your expectations.

When my husband and I dated in college he really outdid himself. Without even having to say anything he really did a good job. Before him I really was blessed to date and whomever I dated just naturally got it right. I love holidays of all kinds. I love the art of celebrating. It breaks up life. It gives you small victories to look forward to. So for me it’s another celebration. It’s not just above saying well as a married couple he should show love so this one day doesn’t matter. I post holidays of all kinds and everyday I get excited to find a way to celebrate one of those holidays so Valentine’s Day is one as well.

I used to not be so vocal in my love for the day because everyone would make these claims of how commercial they were. As a preachers kid holidays depending on which ones you celebrated were deemed wrong. As I came into my own, I realized how happy celebrations made me feel. So I don’t allow others’ feelings to fall on me. I won’t allow people to say that a commercial holiday doesn’t matter. I’ve heard it all from what if your husband wasn’t able to make the day special?! How is that possible when he and I can make heart shaped cookies and watch a movie feel special?! End of day I enjoy his presence and I enjoy celebrating these types of holidays with him. It’s a perk of having him in my life.

So there’s never a Valentine’s Day snub for me. Although I understand that some don’t feel the same as I do or as blessed as me in regards of having someone to share the day, I don’t want to snub my feelings to appease others. I can have empathy without dissing my own love of the day!

I respect everyone no matter where they are. There were many years that I spent with family, by myself or just with my girlfriends. Some years in my singleness I felt fine and other times I was heartbroken. Admit where you are. Own it! But be okay if you like me love these love holidays!!!!!

Ask Toi: Valentine’s Day Edition: My wife states she doesn’t want a Valentine’s Day gift should I not get one?

Getting a gift for Valentine’s Day just because you are married is not mundane. I dislike people making the excuse that if your husband loves you he doesn’t have to show you love on Valentine’s Day. If your spouse loves you and wants to shower you with a gift on that day he can.  If you as a couple have come to the conclusion that you don’t exchange gifts that is fine too. Just be sure that when you state you don’t want a gift you are mature to make that decision and not give your spouse Hell come that day because you made a decision to be something you aren’t.  It’s okay to be married and exchange or not to. I encouraged that man to honor his wife’s words, by getting something and not giving to her that day but finding another day to give her a gift. This way if she by chance is one of these women who say things but don’t mean it he will still be covered and if she is standing by not wanting to exchange, he has a gift to give her as a thinking of you gift.

man and woman surrounded by grass

Photo by Ricardo Esquivel on Pexels.com

Ladies, I want to encourage you if you can’t stand by your decision to not give gifts, do NOT ever tell a man something you can’t stand by 100%.  This is the same thing when you get into an argument and you tell that man to leave the house and you don’t want him to leave. Or you get mad and use the big “D” word out of anger. This is a larger principle of not saying things to either look like the “cool” wife or to say things out of anger that you can’t back up.  Out of all of the times that I have argued with my husband I have learned not to say what I don’t mean. If you want a gift, it’s perfectly ok to say you want to exchange on Valentine’s Day.  What’s not okay to do is to play games or say things you think they want to hear. This will disappoint you in the long run.  This you should have known mess that people pull in relationships shows lack of maturity. Relationships are about communication and saying or acting in one manner that isn’t who you are makes it hard for either one of you to walk in love because you spend more time recovering from idle messages!

 

Inis Nua Theatre presents the American premiere of Box Clever by Monsay Whitney

I had the elite privilege of attending Box Clever for my Friday night fun. This play directed by artistic director, Tom Reing was outstanding.

Let me set the stage for you:

Marnie is living in a women’s shelter in London with her 4-year-old daughter. She is headstrong and says whatever comes to her head. While attempting to protect her daughter she is also dealing with her past boyfriends and the drama that ensues from their lives. This is a 2 women show. Ruby Wolf plays Marnie and Rachel Brodeur plays all of the other roles. This isn’t simply two ladies talking back to each other. Both of these ladies put so much passion into their interactions that they made me believe I was in London with them and entangled in Marnie’s frustration.

Now for those who would want to attend this production let me forewarn you, Marnie doesn’t mince her words. There is some cursing. However when you take a step back if you’re a mother trying to keep space for your daughter nothing Marnie said I didn’t want to stand up and verbally co-sign. This play hit a personal moment for me. Growing up and being in a shelter for a bit I saw what I remember seeing in my own mother. It took me back and it was done so well that it tapped into that part of my past. I didn’t feel ashamed. I did feel slight sadness thinking of the lack of resources available to her. I felt proud of my own mom for doing what she had to do to get us settled. Every emotion of upset, pain, frustration and anger I felt and so will you.

I’ve grown up around the arts and I will tell you Ruby and Rachel are professional and more than exceptional in their acting. By the end if you didn’t laugh, get mad and cry (some moments at the same time) you aren’t human. I would love to see the play again. I encourage all of my readers to attend this show if you’re able.

Box Clever will be showing up until February 24, 2019. Tickets are from 25-35 dollars a piece. All of the performances will take place at the Louis Bluver Theatre at the Drake, 302 South Hicks Street in Philadelphia. Thank you to the cast, and all staff who from the door to the theatre floor showed care to all of their guests. Thank you again for the reception afterwards as well.

A little more about Inis Nua Theatre:

  • Inis Nua means New Island
  • They produce provocative contemporary plays from Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales
  • Based in Philadelphia, they have been in production for 15 years
  • They have produced 17 American premieres, 13 Philadelphia premieres, and 1 world premiere
  • They won 6 Barrymore including the prestigious June and Steve Wolfson award for Evolving Theatre Company in 2014

To purchase tickets, Box Clever

Ask Toi: How much is too much for a first Valentine’s Day?

I would say rule of thumb spend what’s in your budget.  Do not over spend for any holiday.  Also since it’s your first one I would focus on something that you heard your partner talk about, likes, etc. So if you heard they like to run, maybe a gift card to their favorite running gear store. I can’t say what I would spend, I know my average for a first time Valentine’s day would be 75-100.  It’s a lot more money involved when spending for a man in my opinion.  So that is where I would keep it. I have been known to spend on my husband when we were in college dating. But again, clothes like a sweater of high quality cost more back in the day and that was before I was doing online shopping etc. Do not feel obligated to purchase anything that you will regret. I always asked myself while shopping for a new love interest, if we broke up on February 15th how would I feel about the purchases?  If you answer is clear your spending amounts will be clear too.

Makhani Modern India: First Indian Food Experience

So I have a list of things that I want to experience.  Indian food has not been conquered.  I had the honor of being invited to the preview for the media night for Makhani Modern Indian.  Makhani is a BYO modern Indian restaurant and it opens today, Friday January 25, 2019. Located in Old City, it definitely sets the bar high for freshly made Indian food with modern flare. 

Shafi Gaffar, owner, has definitely got a winner on his hands.  He’s personable, hard-working, and along with Executive chef, Sanjoy Banik, their made from scratch and made to order entrees sets them apart from other Indian Restaurants.

Executive Chef Sanjoy Banik

Owner Shafi Gaffar

From the time I walked in and until the time I left, the staff at Makhani made me feel like family.  FYI for the grand opening this weekend, all guest will receive complimentary wine and mimosa as well as give aways. We started with drinks and appetizers. It was so hard not to get full on the appetizers without even trying.  Everything was off to an amazing start. Once the entrees came, I really had been calling my friends asking them what to expect.  I got such variety of advice but nothing prepared me for dinner until dinner actually came. I was impressed from plating all the way to the last bite. The food was fresh and from the first to last bite there’s no denying.  Each bite had me wanting more. The serving was generous yet I still kept wanting to eat.  I left nothing on my plate.  I knew that I was happy because I wanted more to take home and I definitely can’t see myself going anywhere else for Indian food but here. Also they included a belly dancer. My night was made! We ended with the mango cheesecake which is a must have! So how can you get in and experience the same?

Chicken Makhani and Chicken Vindaloo not pictured olive oil naan bread

Mango cheesecake

Visit

Come to Makhani located at 7 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia PA 19106.  They are open 7 days a week.  For the opening launch they will be open 11:30am to 10:00pm daily through Sundays. It opens daily Thursdays through Saturday from 11:3am to 11:00pm. Lunch runs from 11:30am to 3:00pm and dinner from 4 to close. Orders will stop 15 minutes before close daily.  Reservations can be made by calling 267-534-5097.  So what if you can’t stop in but you want to enjoy Makhani?

Delivery

You can have it delivered by logging onto to Eat Makhani

Delivery is available throughout Center City, Old City, Northern Liberties, South Philadelphia and beyond. You can also order at all major delivery hubs such as Uber Eats, Grub Hub, Caviar, and Door Dash.

 Follow Makhani on their social media pages:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Thank you Makhani and Aversa PR for an amazing night!!! I look forward to coming back very soon!!

 

 

Cry Baby Pasta; No Tears Necessary It was Amazing

Ever hear of Monday Funday?  No me neither until yesterday when I had an elite pleasure of dining at Cry Baby Pasta.  Think really good pasta and some awesome wine and know that when the two merges, it’s a celebration.

Triumphant after Tragedy

Cry Baby Pasta had their grand opening, this past Friday January 18, 2019.  If you’re a Foodie you may remember owners Bridget and husband Paul Rodriquez who also owned Bridget Foy, burned after a tragic fire in 2017. After some regrouping and a little research in the form of date nights, they saw the need for an Italian eatery that provided affordable eating options that kept a modern and fun atmosphere for others to be able to enjoy. FYI Bridget Foy will be back soon so don’t fret. In the meantime, add Cry Baby Pasta to your go to eateries.  You know I love anyone who can take a tragedy and turn it into a positive.  Cry Baby Pasta’s owners teamed up with husband and wife Chefs, David Gilberg and Carla Concalves, and together have hit a home run.

So now to the best part, my favorite food is Italian food hands down. Cry Baby Pasta had an amazing selection to choose from. I was impressed.  2000 square foot of 55 seat dinng room with 12 seat oak bar with a five seat drink rail provided the back drop to amazing Monday Funday. Cry Baby Pasta’s goals is to provide great food, fun and a shareable atmposphere and they hit it out of park.  This is a great spot to have food and drinks with your colleagues for an amazing happy hour, date night,catch up with your girls or boys or just to kick back with new friends and enjoy.

One of the dishes I really enjoyed was, Campanelle. Campanelle is made with brocoli, rabe, bread crumbs, and fiore sardo. Amazingly good and it had such a fresh veggie taste that made me forget the guilt of eating pasta while attempting to work out.

Another dish I enjoyed was,  Rigatoni. It definitely has a kick of spice to it. Mad up vodka sauce, pancetta, smoked chicken, and cherry peppers.

One of the best part of the night was the meatballs. Now I know I am trasitioning over to vegan, but they were absolutely amazing.  They were super well cook, and definitely well seasoned.

Enjoyed the night with my amazing date, my husband Marques. It was great to be able to get out, enjoy a few drinks and also be able to enjoy the ambiance at Cry Baby Pasta. It’s definitly on my list to bring a few girlfriends along.

 

So I definitely give Cry Baby a thumbs up. No need to cry, make sure you tell a friend and take a friend and enjoy!

Cry Baby Pasta will be open seven days a week, with the bar opening daily at 4:00pm and the dining room opening daily at 5:00pm. Sundays through Thursdays the kitchen will stay open until 10:00pm, and on Fridays and Saturdays look for the kitchen to stay open until Midnight. Potential weekend lunch or brunch service may come down the road. Weekday happy hour will launch later this winter. Look for catering and potential delivery down the road as well. Look for outdoor cafe seating to launch when the nice weather returns. 

For more info check out Cry Baby Pasta

Also you can make a reservation through the Resy app and trust me its super easy and quick and will connect you to Cry Baby Pasta, show up and let them take make your eating experience one you will never forget.