Santa’s Speakeasy: Philadelphia Neighborhood Christmas Trolley Tour

Oh what fun can be had when you mix “holiday cheer” in the form of adult drinks, an amazing artist like Jeremy Adam, a guitar, fun adults, and a rockin’ trolley into one fun night! You get a boozy Christmas caroling night of fun and memories! The tour is given be Founding Footsteps! They are a premiere trolley tour that specializes in historic tours that also feature beer, music, and lots of fun! I was impressed by the owner, Tim McAleer who not only has a passion for his tours but in addition has given back to our own communities.

I can’t tell you the last time I took a boozy holiday tour on a trolley! I think this was my first time. I loved it! I never even knew that Santa had a speakeasy but I’m sure glad I know now! Santa’s Speakeasy is located above Philly Gourmet Steaks on 114 Market Street! Oh it’s beautifully decorated for the season. The drinks are amazing!! Shout out to Ploughman Cider! Their ciders are so tasty. I enjoyed it and you know I’m a beer and cider girl! Also their Bluebird is refreshing with hints or peach! I also enjoyed and had pleasure of tasting the Bird Gang by The Larimer!

I enjoyed also a mulled cider that was mixed with spiked rum!

The tours do various stops we happened to stop at Smedley Street as well as Miracle on 13th street. Both locations will leave you breathless as you take in the sights. Both are easily Instagrammable as well!

Look at the awe:

Caroling

We definitely had fun caroling! It was amazing! Nothing gets adults singing like drinks! We started the drinks at the Santa’s Speakeasy and even brought some of our own since the tours are BYOB! This allows for fun times and even more fun if you choose to take a family. They limit drinks to beer and wine but it’s still a good time. No one was drunk but everyone had fun!

If you want to see some singing go to my Instagram and check out my stories as well as the highlights of Santa Trolley Tour!! You will love it!

The Founding Footsteps Tour is sold out for December but you can still get tickets for January. Don’t wait though! Tickets are flying out the door! The experience and fun is worth it!

Shout out to the local artist who came together to put Santa’s Speakeasy in the Christmas spirit: Lauren Lopez, Doug Woods, and Teresa Haag!

We received a Gritty ornament-this is now on my tree blessing with some Philly love

Thank you Founding Footsteps, Santa’s Speakeasy, Ploughman Cider, The Larimer, Brandon Szeker, the local artist featured above, and Philly Influencer Mixer!!

Pictured with Philly food blogger, Pauline of Get the Bread; check her out!

Christmas at Craft Hall

Sooooo it’s not often that my own kids have been to a location that I haven’t but last night at Craft Hall they showed me up. If you never been there let me tell you it’s a cozy spot for a great night out with a boo, friends, or a great play date spot for friends with kids. Craft Hall pulled out all the stops for the holidays!

Massive Seating Areas

This is a very open space restaurant and beer distillery. I was really shocked. It didn’t looked as if it would be as big as it is but I was wrong.

You don’t have to feel like you’re walking on others to get around. A great space to hold a corporate party of some sorts. This is like an old school feel especially in the play area of which my kids love the most.

This is me looking back from the lobby. Again the spacing here is amazing. With open spaces they decorated nicely and didn’t feel the need to go overboard with each spot keeping the cozy feel to it!

It’s Santa

Who doesn’t love Santa? I know I do and I’m grown! We were greeted last night by Santa and my kids eyes just beamed! That’s what it’s really about the Christmas spirit!

And you know I love taking pictures with all so I asked Santa if I was on the nice list-he let me know I am so with that I’m going to 2 step it all the way through the season! I even got a candy cane too! Hey adult kids need love too!!

Let’s Play

My kids said hi to everyone they saw and kindly let me know I didn’t need to escort them to the play area because they knew where they were headed. Don’t worry I hovered right over the looking area to be sure. I was shook at the fact that there’s a video game area, a playing area, a bar for the adults located in the play area (on behalf of all parents thank you Craft Hall) and an area for sitting. Do you know how many times kids just want to take bites and run? Well now they can!!

Craft Hall that right there pushes you to the top of my must go list! It’s everything I need in one place. Tire the kids out and let them release all that energy. FYI my kids were out in 10 minutes at bedtime for the win!! I think the combination of food and play did them in!!

While the children played

It was time for the adults to have a little tour of where the magic happens to give us the amazing beers they had on tap. Let me also mention they have great selections of wines and cocktails too!! While touring we could see live action of the beer being made!

Christmas Tree Lighting

Well what’s Christmas without a tree? They had one of the biggest trees I’ve seen all season. You know I’ve been to quite few events just this week! I was blown away. Even with me standing on the top of the steps the tree still towered me. Let me also mention they have several trees located throughout the restaurant!

Holiday without Food what’s that?

Craft Hall made sure they covered everyone’s taste points with amazing food!

Deviled eggs

Chicken Wings

Cheese Boards

There were also tuna melts, hush puppies with a spicy sauce, pizza, cheeseburgers, panini sandwiches, etc. Enough food to feed everyone and than some.

Desserts

Yesterday was national cookie day and all day I wanted just one cookie to celebrate and I got my chance!

They also had an assortment of the pretzels cookie that wowed me from first bite!

The only regret I have is that I’ve left the house and forgot to grab one for my run around today! They are THAT good!

Other Craft Hall News:

They will have Santa in Sundays for you to take selfies with during 10-2pm. Santa will also pass our candy canes as we walks around! There are opportunities to make an ornament as well as story times etc. Be on the lookout for Crafty the Craft Hall Elf!! And for the adults happy hour just got better with holiday themed drinks, $5 bites, and $10 mainstay pitchers!

Let’s Brunch

Did you know they have brunch? Yess! I did but I didn’t realize how nice it is. With a brunch item you can get bottomless mimosas for $20!!! So not if but when you see me just smile and wave because I will be all into my mimosa while I eat. They have food from their menus that include vegan and vegetarian options as well as gluten free for the win!!

Last night I had the beat time. Even on events where I can bring my kids I usually opt out. This was a great event for the whole family and it allowed me to relax. I was the most relaxed at an event with my kids and I loved it!

Sooo yes everything about Craft Hall is a yes for me and my entire family yes! I will definitely be back!!! This is an entire 2 thumbs up!!

Thanksgiving Message 2019

You should know I’ll give you a Thanksgiving holiday run down tomorrow after I have a full day with my family. Until then I want to take the time to simply be grateful!

I get that often times we make Thanksgiving too cliche but at the end of the day being about gratefulness is not an issue no matter how the day is titled! I would rather wake up in continued daily gratitude over negativity any day!! I’m grateful for being on this Earth and having the opportunity to be there for my family. A little known fact is that I am the Mom who loves to dote on her family. I love making memories with them. Nothing means more to me more than them.

I’m grateful for the ability to do what I love. Blogging is a passion. Blogging is an outlet. Blogging is about stretching out and being vulnerable. Being a lifestyle blogger, I find for me talking about events only doesn’t cut. I am always making sure I mention the vulnerability of what life brings. Not just the good but the difficult challenges that someone thinks they are alone in when in reality we are all connected. We all have felt rejected, upset, down, and less than our perfect self. These are the moment I include. Life isn’t packaged in a bow it can be messy, awkward, and dissatisfying.

I’m grateful for the loved ones who past on in my family that I even had a few moments with them. I want to send love to my family as this is the first year without our Aunt Teenie!

I’m grateful for all of you who rock with me. It’s not something I take for granted at all!

Spend some time today being clear on your why!!! What are you grateful for? What brings you joy? Who is apart of that smile you wear? What makes you flourish? Be grateful for that and continue the walk of becoming better versions of yourself!

2019 Tinsel

We have moved ahead from Halloween back into Christmas At Tinsel Philadelphia. This is my second year visiting this unique space and I got the opportunity to see the new drink specials, and the new improvements.

One of the first things you notice is the new exterior! It’s beautiful. It’s eye catching and I love it!

Completely Instagrammable the new exterior is even more inviting. One of the things that hasn’t changed is it visibility. As soon as I rounded the corner the Christmas lights let me know I was in the right place! Which is key in helping me locate where I needed to be.

As soon as you walk in you get the nostalgia of Christmas. The presents, the hanging elves, nutcracker and the infamous Santa throne! I mean I’m hoping just from first take it pushes me further up the Nice List.

I love the ways the colors of the season pull you in! Of course I wore my favorite sweater and linked up with my girlfriends!

Shout out to Cherryl and Elle

Oh and of course it’s also avoid the drinks!

Holiday Sangria, Deck the Halls, Eggnog, and the Ornament shot

Don’t worry they do have a keepsake drink and it will be available when it opens! They are well known for it and they aren’t gonna disappoint.

Christmas Ale

I like how they kept true to theme as always. There’s not a inch of Tinsel that doesn’t have something on it. I think my second favorite spot to the throne room is this the peppermint walk seen above. It reminds me of my grandfather’s house. He always had candy trays out for Christmas and this way takes me back to those fun moments.

I always love the screen display. This one shows a fireplace and I’m not sure if they will rotate and have different things showing during the season but I always love to look at it while sipping on my drinks.

The greeting card menus are absolutely everything. Have you ever gone to an old school house where they display Christmas cards of the years past? It gave me that feel except they had the drink menu inside. I really loved it.

Here’s a look of Tinsel from across the bar. If you have never been you will immediately be surprised at how much room is inside. We were invited to the media party and there was enough room to host us all. There had to be around 200 participants.

So you know that Tinsel is the a Christmas spot to be in this season. They open officially on Friday at noon but there is a preview this Wednesday from 5pm to 2am! Definitely consider dropping in before you start cooking your Thanksgiving dinner. Or bring your out of town guests this weekend so you can be the talk of the town as you will be considered to be in the know of the hot spot. Don’t miss your opportunity all Christmas season long!!

Don’t forget to be take a picture in Santa’s throne! Especially if you’re like me and you are Santa it will be well deserved adult fun!

2019 Baltimore Christmas Village

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! It’s time to get out and enjoy some holiday cheer. One of the ways you can do that is by attending the Christmas Village in Baltimore, Maryland. We have a mix of shopping, food, drinks, crafts, community, and above all culture. I had the honor of participating for a full day and I loved the experience! This was a preview weekend which means that some of the highlights will only get that much better!

What is Christmas Village

Whether you attend the Baltimore or Philadelphia Christmas Village it’s grounded in culture. The Christmas village is a model that is reminiscent of the outdoor markets that take place in Germany. It’s a place to shop, eat, and engage in German culture. You will see a lot of German delicatessen as well as the spirit of Germans stemming all the way back to 16th century.

So what can you expect in Christmas Village in Baltimore?

Food

You will find German traditions such as Bratwurst, beer, potato pancakes, and sauerkraut.

There are a few loved favorites returning with a few spins:

Raclette Cheese

This yearly favorite is a beautiful mixed of freshly melted in front of you cheese on the freshest bread you have ever eaten!

Some new changes is you can get more toppings! Check out the salami and prosciutto you can add to your sandwich. Oh and everyone for the most part loves the pickles.

Drinks

We for the most part love holiday drinks especially adult holiday drinks. They have the traditional hot chocolates, apple cider, etc. they also have spiked hot cider, spiked hot chocolate where you choose the alcohol you want in it, and a variety of mulled wine. My favorites were the spiked hot chocolate with Kahlua and the cherry mulled wine!

This is this year’s souvenir cup choice:

Don’t forget you can continue to refill your cup with your drink of choice!

Let’s Shop

So what’s Christmas Village without shopping? I went around to many of the market vendors to see what they had in store and I found some extremely interesting ones!

Piggyback Treats

This is a one stop shop for all dog lovers! You can get hand knitted scarves that are made from second hand yarn. All of the products are made from rescued material from going to waste. I love that. Taking recycled materials to make even better products is the way it should be. We do entirely too much wasting and anything to help offset that gets a A+ in my book. I tried them last year well not me but my furry brother aka my mom’s dog and he loved his treats. I definitely will get them when I go to the Philadelphia Christmas Market. If you’re living in Baltimore you can get you some too!

Cynful Bliss

Now again there’s nothing like a great dessert. Having an adult only dessert in a jar that is absolutely amazing is just the best! These “sin” in a jar are definitely worth repenting for later!

Mixed with your favorite alcohol these decadent desserts are just what you need to give as gifts or to keep for yourself. They also make great additions to any party or gathering this season! Trust me you are gonna want to have these in your possession. My favorite is the peach cobbler. It’s strong and right.

Pressed Up

You know I love a good holiday shirt! I am the queen of having a shirt for any occasions and I found my new favorite shop. Pressed Up had the holiday looks already ready for me. They also take orders online which is key for me because they will be seeing me shop more often. I bought a shirt but I’ll reveal and tag as the holidays unfold just know it includes one or my great past times! I love to shop local as the same shirt I would have gotten from a large chain and now I have it and it’s supporting women entrepreneurs.

I’ll definitely tag the shirt I selected which was hard since they have the cutest options in sizes from baby to adult!

Bacon Dreams

This is where bacon merges into the dream of all dreams! What’s better than bacon? Bacon on a stick. Thick cut beautiful bacon dipped in sauces and flavorings of a lifetime. Have you ever had vanilla bourbon bbq bacon? No well listen JDs House of Bacon takes bacon loving to another level!

I didn’t even have to eat it to see the quality. This ain’t your run in the mill bacon. This is extremely quality bacon!!

The bacon is worthy of a drive. Now if you’re too far and driving isn’t an option hit the link or go to their Instagram and order some to be delivered!!

Indoor shopping

One of the distinctions that Christmas Village Baltimore is that there is plenty of indoor tent shopping too. This is a heated tent that has plenty of food and drinks and a place to sit and take a break!

Even little kids love being at Christmas Village! There will be Santa this upcoming weekend and a kids corner to help parents find a space just for them. There is also Gingy! He was one of the highlights from the visit as well. I was able to walk with Gingy and see him bring smiles to children and adults of all ages!!

Anyone who knows me knows I love mascots and I’m always going to get a pic. Gingy and I are friends now!! Also on December 4th is mascot weekend where you can come and see all of your favorite mascots! Honestly I’m getting excited just typing it!

It’s one thing to fo from day:

To night:

Walter Sondheim Fountain on the promenade

I love the decorations and trinkets you can get from German vendor Käthe Wohlfahrt. These hand made ornaments and decorations are a beauty to behold. You can get items from as low as $1 to a few hundred dollars!

While there I also attended the tree lighting ceremony!

And there is ice skating nearby to enjoy as well!

Ferris Wheel

Who doesn’t love a great Ferris Wheel ride? Bundle up and enjoy seeing the city from up top! It’s a beautiful view seeing Inner Harbor especially at night!

Baltimore holds a special place in my heart. Not only do I have friends and family here it’s also where I spent my 2nd and 5th wedding anniversary. There’s a lot to do in the city as well as Inner Harbor has a little something for everyone.

The market is also dog friendly!

This is just a snippet as it was preview weekend! There will be more planned. You can find more information here!

I hope you get out and enjoy Christmas Village Baltimore! I’ll give you a behinds look at the Philadelphia Christmas Village in about a week! Let’s get out and explore both cities and spread holiday cheer!!

Help in Our Own Community

What do you have a mix of community service, 31 consultant, and hygiene kits? You have Crystal Capetillo. Taking on a mission of her own she’s making hygiene kits for those who are displaced.

I personally remember when I was younger and we went into a shelter. It’s one of those moments that keep me grounded. Not knowing what each day would bring was a bit unnerving. However I have to shout out my mom who made sure to keep us clean and put together. Apart of doing that had to come from having hygiene products. Being displaced you have to have a short list of items and not much in bulk to prevent others from taking from you.

Crystal is helping in those regards. What started as a project with World Vision through being a 31 Consultant has turned into a mission to help those in her own community right here in Philadelphia. Crystal along with Erica of whom I’ve interviewed and a team from Bethel Church will lead this charge!

Now here’s how we can help. These kits take time and money. The World Vision kite cost $16. After acquiring the kits they need to be put together. Crystal is in need of both. You can donate for the kits as well as help put together your kit. But there’s one last portion, each kit comes with a hand written letter or note. That made me smile because of someone being displaced that doesn’t mean that they are below humanity.

I watched my mom cry when she thought I was sleep. I know as a mom I couldn’t imagine what she was feeling as she watched over us at night! Having a hand written note letting her know she’s loved and never give up could mean the world of difference!

I personally stand behind this mission of Crystal and will be helping to assemble these kits. I’m asking if you’re able to consider donating by gifting towards her PayPal crystal.capetillo331@gmail.com!!

I can’t wait to see the kits go to fruition and be given to those who need it!!

There: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and of the Other

This production is taken from Lebanese-American poet, Ethel Adnan. It is a composure of self reflection. It is cool-created by Blanka Zixka and Rosa Barba with original music, music direction, and sound design by Alex Dowling! I don’t want to call it a play by our understanding of what we think plays are to be. This is a production of mirrored reflection and light.

In light it always reveals. Light always illuminates our pathway. Shinning the light on ourselves and bringing together one another in the light is a daily task. What do we see? How we work with each other has a lot to do with the light that has been shown on us in particular situations. Mirroring what we think we know and learning to ask questions beyond the surface is important!

We can’t continue to stay in darkness and thus hold on to our grudges, or our “ways.” We must use the light that is inside of us to shine on to our fellow neighbors and ourselves to be better. “Are we borrowing the here and now and if so from whom?” You aren’t going to remember every piece of the poetry? You simply aren’t. You will be able to use it as discussion within yourself and amongst your circles. In the light of understanding is how we together can be more unified instead of holding on to our comfortable dark places. In light is also change.

You will love the stage. Set on a ramp you will see the actors and actresses asking and answering and figuring out what is this light and how it reflects to life. I was amazed at how fluidity they moved. How graceful they were. I came to learn that they had a movement coach that helped them to learn to maneuver well. You definitely saw the grace that was used.

I also was impressed to find out that this production was a labor of love that took some of the actors 4 years to bring to fruition! That is amazing! The rehearsals and the actors workshops showed the energy put into this beautiful piece.

I loved the simplicity but the depth of questions. I loved how it was about entertaining but for reflection. I loved how peaceful it felt being in the theatre and trying not to overthink but listen.

This is a must see! You will feel inspired and challenged.

You have an opportunity to see There as well as engage in conversation either with the actors themselves or a panel at every performance. I’ve been to the panels at Wilma Theatre and it’s been one of the most engaging principles that always helps to allow free thinking and free speech. I always leave with more clarity after each one!

Also we need more light in today’s culture of misunderstandings and pain. If we learned to shine the light in these dark corners we might be able to get along a lot better and truly be unified!

Do yourself a favor and check out There before it ends September 22nd! You can get your tickets here! Bring a friend and leave inspired!

Thank you to Wilma Theatre for having me! Thank you to the amazing cast, directors, ensemble, and production team who made this play a beautiful reflective piece!

Also the Wilma Theatre had such a beautiful opening reception!