Surgery update 2.0

So thank you to all who tuned into my first update. I have read your messages and trust me I can feel the love and support. It’s love and support that gets most surgery patients of any kind through.

Since my first update I have gone back to the doctor. He has found a few things. One they did the pathology and concluded there was no cancer. Can we say amen?! However what he did discover is that one I had a few fibroids that I wasn’t aware and never showed up on any ultrasound I have ever had. Another issue is that my uterus would hemorrhage every time I would have my cycle. So when I would have a period I would bleed out and internally as well.  So that would explain why I was having blood issues and couldn’t figure out after I had done all the lifestyle changes it was still messed up. 

These are issues that my Obgyn before him didn’t push and I being my own advocate didn’t until 2017 and I was determined to end all of these issues. So to my ladies or to the men who have special women in your lives push them to take their feminine health very seriously. This could be the wake up call. If something doesn’t add up as it didn’t when I changed, I refused to leave until we figured it out. That is how we came to my personal and medical choice to have a hysterectomy. I’m not saying run out and get it done but for someone who was in my health crisis and already had her tubes tied this is what was best for me. 

So he of course encouraged me to work out. I have no problem with that except it ain’t going down until I am no longer in pain to the touch. I am not doing the most during their healing time. He has encouraged me to walk 3 times a week for 30 minutes and that’s more doable than straight workouts. I am still managing pain. So one goal at a time. 

He has me on hormone replacement therapy (HRT).  For me the choice was in the form of a patch. I absolutely hate taking pills. Plus with the patch it’s the lowest dose possible.  I like the idea of that. The second I put it on I could feel the medicine. Not like some time warp machine type of feel but like a slight rush of medicine.  My hopes is that it will stop my hot flashes and night sweats.


The pain has become more manageable in the last few days. I have switched over to full Motrin.  I am more comfortable with that as I do not like the way that Percocet makes me feel.  I am hoping to have less pain and begin to get back to my normal life. In the meantime I am enjoying my husband and kids make sure I am good. It’s almost like when I was pregnant except without the lifetime responsibility of a child in the end. 

I have driven since my doctor has allowed me to. It’s not something I want or will just do to do. Again my pain levels need to be better before I drive off into the sunset.

A few more things I am noticing:

1. I was about to schedule a pap when I thought wait, I don’t need to come back to see my doctor for a year. This will take getting used to because my yearly appointments are usually made in July.  

2. Mood swings are less right now.  I don’t feel that rush of emotions that takes place as my cycle would be normally about to start. Ladies you know right well what I mean.  I did cry when I dropped my frozen coffee but I think I would have done the same without the surgery. If you have had one from Dunkin you know how amazing they are. No I’m not cheating on Starbucks but there isn’t a close one around me like it was near my job.

3. I have a lot of sanitary pads that I will be giving away to family. I don’t need them and no need to have a bunch not being used. 

4. During this process my kids haven’t been able to be super close to me. The one affected the most is my 3 year old is struggling with the most. She is used to snuggling every night. She has asked me when this is over? If you remember in my birth story of my 3 year old, my son who was barely 2 at the time jumped on my belly when I had her. This was after my c-section. I was in the hospital and the now 3 year old was with her dad until I recovered. Once home she wouldn’t go to anyone including her dad. She is super close to me especially at night but to avoid another internal bleed we kept the kids at bay. 

5. It’s much harder to parent from the bed or from the chair.  I am used to doing it all and working full time. However my husband has had to step up. So now I can’t say a thing about what he is doing even though I want to. Right now my vote isn’t a veto but it is more silent. 

6. Sleep. I haven’t slept this much in a long time. My mom told me sleep was the best way to heal. I get up and get cleaned up and walk around but other than that I have yet to be up a full day. Sleep is my new bestie. I am getting okay with that. 


7. Phone calls-they have been limited to my family. I have texted more to my close friends. The reason is I’m not used to having free time to talk. Before all of this I wasn’t one to be on the line outside of my husband and mom.  Now I have time to be and everyone is doing their normal things and I’m okay with the lack of calls.

8. Hair I haven’t seen hair falling out and I pray I don’t. I have researched that some people’s hair thins out. If it should happen I’ll update but now it’s still curly and thick as it was when I went to have my surgery.

9. Stomach-ladies if you ever had a baby and remember leaving with that bulging baby belly that irritates you that is what I am working with. Again with several cuts on my upper belly, and all the work below that it is still tender and very bloated.  So ice packs and warm compresses have been helping.  So loose clothing works. Since I lost weight it’s been shorts and a tshirt type of life.  I’m not going places. Other than that I use my night gown shirts that my girlfriend sent me. No need to have anything touching me if I don’t have to.


10. I have lost about 5 pounds even with my extended swollen belly. So yay for that. The one thing my husband said the day after surgery is that I looked skinnier and my doctor said the same thing when I saw him the other day. So win for me! 

Let me continue to give a shout out to my husband for all he’s done. For all of the food runs and hand holding. Listen I have wanted to do more and he’s given me the side eye like you better lay there and no get up for stuff you don’t need. So I don’t. I’m grateful that he has gotten me just about whatever I have wanted and has ignored me when I say I don’t need medicine.  

The recovery time for this surgery is 2-8 weeks. So I will see how long it takes me. Every woman is different and how their bodies react is different. However for basic recovery that is the standard and it’s really around 6-8 weeks to be honest. The same as when you have a child. And to be totally healed like when you have kids can take more around a year to really know where you are.  We tend to rush back to life and most like me, work is calling and life doesn’t just sit and deactivate just because you have had surgery. 

One of the biggest pieces of advise I have gotten from women from different walks of life who have been through this is that you will immediately feel better but take the time to heal. Feeling better and being better takes time.  

Ask Toi: What should I do if someone from my past or new love interest knocks and I’m already connected?!

If you’re already connected and the interested person doesn’t know you need to tell them. If they know but still pushing up than know they just like the chase and want to see if you will take the bait.

As an adult it’s your choice who you are with period. This means even if you just want a one night or one time physical relationship as an adult it’s up to you. Not everyone wants a commitment but be true to yourself. Don’t say you don’t want a commitment in hopes that you can later change a person’s mind. 

If you are already connected either by dating or marriage than you know that the answer is a no for now. With that being said it’s best to thank the person for the interest and move along. In a dating situation boundaries need to be made. You have a boyfriend or girlfriend and you don’t have anything to entertain another person.  If you’re married the boundary was made on your wedding day and you end it. 

The past is the past. It can be a beautiful reminder of what was but it takes a lot to dig the past up, revive it and make it work. Ask anyone including me how much work it takes to date someone from your past.  It’s not super easy.  It’s never a good idea to open the door to a past or new interest because if you do it says more about you than the person knocking. People don’t realize that a person who will cheat or entertain someone else but expect loyalty from the person they were originally connected to shows they have NO loyalty at all. You want what you can’t or won’t give. This goes for men and women. So if you’re connected say thanks, nice talking to you, and seal the door of communication. 

Let me guess you can handle it right? Wrong. You start catching up. Then you exchange emails at first, then phone numbers, than social media and now you can’t get this person off your mind.  You absolutely not giving the person you were connected to any of your valuable time because your sharing space with someone else. Now if your just dating and no commitment with anyone than that’s your right. However don’t mess over another individual while taking space with another while connected or committed to a person. You might lose on both relationships. 

Weekly Recap: June 2, 2017

Happy national donut day!! I had one and I mean only one donut and couldn’t really eat much of anything else.  I forced myself to have a healthy lunch because that donut was definitely a lot of empty carbs.  Well I hope you all had a good week.  We are coming off a 4 day weekend some of us anyway from Memorial Day.  I hope you had a great holiday weekend.  We celebrated my daughter’s birthday and had a really good weekend.  No complaints.  So as far as this short week it has definitely been filled with a lot of ups and downs.  So let’s get into it.

Personal Highs/Personal Lows

This week I am going to put these two categories together.  There is a lot going on and I told you lovelies I would update you.  One we had a great time celebrating my now 8-year-old.  Time is flying when you’re having fun right?  We are also gearing up for my son’s preschool graduation. I know some people make a big deal that these types of graduations are pointless but it just gives the little people something to look forward to. I personally feel like celebrations are what makes life great.  Those who know me know I will make his day special.  That’s what I do.  I feel like life is about making memories that they can look back on.  It’s better than buying a bunch of material things.

Also this week I have been vigilant with my doctors to get me an answer.  I have been suffering with migraines for quite some time.  I am also anemic.  However with the new diet my doctor made sure I had all of the supplements that one would need and I increased all of the iron enriched foods so you would think I was good right?  Wrong.  I am not.  My doctors and I have decided that it was time to get a hysterectomy.  I know for some they get it done when they have fibroids.  I do not have them.  I am losing too much blood.  My blood volumes and levels are one step to more transfusions.  For some they would say, why not start a pill that would decrease your period. However the thing is that I have already done that.  I have been on pills off and on.  I got my tubes tied when I had my 3rd and last child.  I know some would say why put this out there?  One its MY BODY and my page.  Secondly being a woman going through women issues is not a place of shame and I refuse to hide like I did something wrong.  That is pure craziness.  Why would I keep it hush-hush when there are millions of women like me going through the same thing.

I am no wonder. I won’t be the first or the last.  Ladies my decision was about what was best for me.  I have to do what I need to do for ME.  Was my husband there? Absolutely.  I know my decision will have an affect temporarily on my home but I had to do what was best for me.  No need to lose this weight, do all of this work and still be underlying unhealthy.  That is sheer madness.  I know what I need to do and I know what can happen if I don’t.  I love me and I need to be here as well as I have little people who need to have a healthy mom.  So with that in mind in the next week that is what I will be doing.  Have I researched all of the options?  Absolutely. This has been an ongoing back and forth thing.  I am prepared for the steps after.  I do NOT claim to know it all. However I am fully aware that the steps towards self-love will help me through the down side of this procedure.  So with MY family’s support we will be fine.  I have learned to tune out some of the naysayers.  They will say don’t let them take nothing out. Meanwhile I can’t count on them to watch my kids when I am somewhere bleeding out.  I can’t slide them a bill when I am off of work and missing time off.  I can’t count on them to pick up a phone call to say how is it going.  You see that was a free nugget right?  I refuse to give folks who show you they are more concerned with their bottom line than mine make my health decisions.  Got to keep pushing towards what will work for me and the ones that have to live through all of this.

So with that in mind you may see an increase in blogs.  I will have more down time. Whenever I have downtime, I write and I read so be on the look out. I plan to blog the hell out of this situation.  Not to get sympathy. I am one strong cookie.  But to raise awareness.  My heart goes out to the women who are medically forced to make this decision and desire to have children and can’t.  I have 3 kids and already put in place the parimeters not to have more already.  There is no child birth loss for me.  So for the ladies with this loss, it is a loss.  I researched this and I find comfort in reading other blogs of women who have gone through this.  And with life we are all connected.  Keep me in prayer and stay logged on twitter (toitiemblog) and facebook ( https://www.facebook.com/toitimeladies/) as I will update.

News

  1. Kathy Griffin out here with a replica of Donald Trump being beheaded and it has set off this major storm on insensitivity.  I think for me and this is where MY opinion comes off.  It was a bit much.  However if the same ones were upset when the nooses was being shown with imagery of Obama was shown and not because he is Black alone but on the principle of right and wrong than okay.  If not than you just being extra.  What people don’t get is that your argument is more valid when it’s based on principle.  Meaning you would extend the same sympathy to another like you want it done for your favorite than you have merit.
  2. Ireland will have its first openly gay prime minister after Leo Varadkar was elected into the office.
  3. Withdraw of Paris climate agreement.
  4. Continuation of the Russian influence of the election.  Continue to stand by for breaking news of this ongoing legal battle.

So I pray you all enjoy your weekend.  There are some good movies. I saw Wonder Woman and as I thought without giving things away, I walked away feeling great about being a woman.  I may see it again if you’re looking for a quick should you go or not-there you go.  I am taking the kids to see Captain Underpants tonight.  Summer movies are really heating up.  I plan on some me time and I have to work.  So find an activity that you enjoy and make yourself feel like the beautiful gem that you are.

 

When Basics are Celebrated

Please do not get me wrong.  I think anyone doing anything positive is good news.  I love that people are attempting to move past the backward thinking that has seemed to take this world over.  However, can we just be real for about a few seconds?  When basic behavior is like the best thing since sliced bread than we have a problem.

You are in a dating situation the man of your dreams is wining and dining you and pulls your chair out, etc now you are like see my man loves me?  I don’t doubt he does.  In a world where men and no not all men are too busy getting caught up in the negative things, playing video games and no job, making babies with no responsibility this could seem like a breath of fresh air.  However the issue isn’t in the mere manners, it needs to be our own personal standards that have gone on a decline. Even when I dated the most thugs of boyfriends they pulled my chair out.  It was the way I carried myself that lead them to know from the gate that if they never pull a dime like myself they was going to step it ALL the up.  So opening up doors is normal for me during my dating processes. Opening doors was basic.  It wasn’t because I carried myself in a stuck up way, I didn’t I was laid back but my mere demeanor said hey buddy, this is going to be a classy outing. Now this didn’t always mean I was at 5 star restaurants all the time either.  I could go to a night of dancing in the hole in the wall but still be treated like I wasn’t living in the hole of the wall.  I set the standard!

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If you are married and your husband is super caring, we uplift them. We start labeling relationship goals right off the bat because a husband kissed their wife.  Okay I get there are sexless and boring marriages (all by choice) but a simple kiss even a romantic passionate one making relationship goals only means that there are a lot of married couples who do not enjoy the union they are in. Kisses are done simply at the altar or union as a seal of commitment.  So….yeah we have got to raise the standard.  I had a conversation with my own husband and we acknowledged the highs and lows of our relationship and how outside things and distractions are often celebrated when we lack the self-sufficiency to love on each other and ourselves in the way it should be.  A husband who simply comes home is celebrated as if he isn’t supposed to return home after his outside of the home obligations are done.  He is celebrated and the phrase, “well at least he’s not cheating” comes into play. Like is he supposed to be cheating?  I know cheating is big but let’s not give more respect to the cheater than the faithful?  We live in a messed up world.  The only way to make the world smaller is to learn to leave the outside world OUTSIDE. Spend more time making YOUR world what YOU want it to be.

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If you are married and have kids and your husband doesn’t lift the finger to assist you with the kids some of it on you because you won’t speak up and other reasons is because he doesn’t think he should, I hear well at least he’s in the home.  So many men are locked up or leave after they make the babies.  This is true.  However him being in the home still living like an absentee father is even more crazy.  You do know they exist.  They are simply bodies but they don’t do a thing but get the greatest father in the world book just because they stayed.  Um, if you have a baby and make a baby it is YOUR responsibility to be there, provide, and dare I say interact and assist in the raising of that child.  It is simply not okay to come in the home, say hi, watch tv and send the child to bed and think you have arrived in parenting.  NO you need to be a force in the home.  You need to be helping with whatever it takes to make sure you have healthy, loved and supported children.  Ladies, if you have a man who is simply there don’t expect it.  Also speak up and don’t berate him because he doesn’t do things like you do either.  It’s give and take once ALL parties pay their part.

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I believe in rewarding kids but kids are supposed to do good things if they are influenced in the right way.  For instance every time your child does something he/she will NOT always be rewarded.  Teaching integrity means that at some point they learn to do the right thing simply because it’s right and not because someone is watching them or will give them something.  This is why some kids feel a sense of entitlement because you love your little love muffin and use rewards for everything.  Reward systems are awesome.  It can be used to motivate but should not be in the place of all parenting techniques. These little angels grow up and think the world owes them something and you and I both know that really isn’t how it works.

Like I have always pushed, balance is key.  Never do more on one side over another. I know this whole not wanting to be “basic” is a thing but the reality is there are times when going back to the old landmark really does still work.  The standard you set in your life and how you work through it should still be set by a measurement.  If a person is worth your time they will know what your standard is.  That is why some people go ga ga over things like good sex.  Is sex supposed to be bad?  Yes there are some sexual partners that don’t always do it right off the bat and you have to set the standard even in that on what you will accept or not.  However some folks get one strong sexual partner and will throw caution to the wind over some wet sheets and weak knees.  It’s like having a stack of cards and as long as one suit is good, you don’t pay any attention to anything else.  Set the standard.  Know you are worth to be treated the way you want and make no excuse for it.  In time once your basic needs are met the other items will line up because you are looking through balanced eyes.

Weekly Recap: May 26, 2017

Happy Friday to you all! Who is ready for the weekend?  I surely am.  Let me just make a world-wide declaration to my beautiful daughter, Naila-happy 8th birthday.  My daughter and I am rightfully biased is one of the sweetest, amazing little girls to date. She loves everyone and is such a jewel to be around.  We plan to celebrate her all weekend long.  I pray continued love, strength and peace to her life always.

It’s also Memorial Day weekend.  So this means that there are going to be a few activities that will be taking place in a city near you.  If you live in or around Philadelphia there are a lot of FREE events taking place.  We ALL can afford free right?  The point is to get out and enjoy yourself.  Don’t go back to work on Tuesday with the boring didn’t do anything unless that is what you wanted to actually do-NOTHING.  Rest, relax, organize, plan for the rest of the Summer time.  Memorial Day is the unofficial start to Summer so get out and get busy.

Personal Highs

This has been a really interesting week for me. I am still coming down on my weight.  I am about to shift from just losing weight to maintaining for the month of June.  I am looking to get to my goal so I can purchase this Boho style swimsuit.  I haven’t bought a swimsuit in 5 years.  Also I was in a lot of control when it came to dealing with the things that life through just this week.  I almost had a little mental break down but some encouragement came and helped me along the way.  I had such an amazing time with my husband this past weekend and some much-needed me time as well.

News

  1. Prayers to those in Manchester.  A bomber decided to bomb the Ariana Grande concert that was being attended by mostly teenager and young children.  My heart goes out to those who lost their lives as well as those injured from the deadly blast. I can’t understand why there is so much evil in this world but there is.
  2. Trump’s administration is supposedly under the microscope.  Even with getting into all of the politics of it all I do believe that Trump believes that he has the power to do as he pleases.  I do not believe he under the concepts of checks or balances.  So we shall keep watching to see what comes of all of this.
  3. Greg Gianfonte is out here body slamming reporters-allegedly.  It’s sad when offices used to be respected therefore they carried themselves to a higher standard.  Pretty soon they going to be pulling even more stunts but what do I know.
  4. Chris Cornell died of an apparent suicide.  His wife is saying medication he was on is what led to his death and he would have not killed himself otherwise. I pray peace during this difficult time.

Personal Lows

  1. I spoke last week about awaiting for test results well I got them back. It doesn’t look good.  I have to be seen this week for some blood related issues and so when I have a treatment plan in place than I will blog openly about what is going on.  I have no problems sharing anything in my life and especially about health due to the fact there is always going to be someonelse who will go through it too.  I will inform you all of any changes especially any changes that distributes the blog.  If you aren’t already following me on Facebook please do as many of the changes will be announced there, https://www.facebook.com/toitimeladies/

Blogs

  1. Ask Toi-about family or friends who come over uninvited and especially as parents who have small kids and have a sitter.  It’s always good to call first.  You don’t know what is going on with people and it shows a respect for other people’s time. If you come over unannounced than don’t expect to have access to someone’s home no matter how close you are if who you are visiting has a sitter.  If that sitter isn’t aware of you stopping by its going to be a closed-door that greets you.
  2. Ask Toi-taking a sex break while married.  You have a right and a choice to engage or disengage but I would suggest that you work out the issue that is causing you to want to take a sex break than to go to you mate and not have a clear definition of what that means.  Do NOT expect your mate to be okay with it but you have the right to your body and to be vocal in what your intentions are.
  3. Annoying co-workers anyone?  Yes we ALL have them. Simple things to keep in mind as you go through the work day.
  4. Mirage screens-we put too much stock in what others are doing, what they are portraying, what they show us, etc.  Worry more on your own life and less on celebrities or couples or individuals you admire.

As we end this week and dive into the long weekend a few reminders:

  1. Sunscreen should be worn all year round not just in the Summer months.  However since pools and beaches will be swarmed this weekend and beyond, don’t forget it. I use a SPF in my makeup as well.
  2. Keep your kids close.  Do NOT get comfortable and get caught up in celebrating that you forget about them.  There are sick people everywhere and the last thing you need is a child to be unaccounted for.
  3. Drink but be safe.  I like a beverage or two but if you think DUI check points aren’t real you are sadly mistaken.  Be careful.  If you are tipsy call a Uber, etc.
  4. Violence unfortunately especially in some cities that are already plagued with violence more will break out.  Watch the company you keep and be vigilant in having peaceful get togethers.  If you are having a fault with someone and can’t be mature than don’t even attempt to resolve it at that time.  I pray that all innocent bystanders will be protected as well.  You can be at the right place at the wrong time, do nothing and still end up hurt or dead.  Prayers to all my ToiTime readers and followers.

Continue reading “Weekly Recap: May 26, 2017”

The Mirage is really A smoke Screen

People, good people, good morning.  Listen let’s have a serious talk about what appears to be and what is.  We ALL have put out into the atmosphere our very best self.  We post the best pics out of the 100 we took.  We use filters because let’s face it they are pretty. However there is one thing that we all need to be reminded.  Everything that glitters isn’t gold.  This isn’t the first time we have heard it but let’s talk about it some more.

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We get caught up in the ideas about of what people put out. Some people post about solid marriages and have the most flakiest ones.  Being real is about being loud and yelling instead of just being honest and transparent.  Just because you yell you keeping it real doesn’t mean you are.  That’s a free nugget of wisdom for someone.  People struggle. Relationships and marriages struggle.  People don’t air out their dirty laundry or rather they shouldn’t.  We base our lives off of others and do less work on our own.  If you see a woman get flowers, you go home and complain you aren’t getting them.  However you haven’t expressed you wanted them before.  You don’t go and get them yourself because you enjoy them.  You are waiting, hoping that the man you are with will finally take this initiative and do and missing out on the love you really do and can give yourself.  You realize that if that love won’t measure up and you practice self-love, nature will separate you from what you don’t need to be with.  Again another freebie for you.

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Please learn to take some stock in YOUR life.  I give great advice but I try to eat and nibble on it before I give it.  I hold myself accountable.  For instance let me give you some realness.  I was having the worst anxiety attack.  I didn’t want to go to an event because I knew some of the people there I don’t vibe with.  I had to be reminded that its more than talk, I will NEVER vibe well with them.  I can’t live with brakes on.  SO I got dressed and made it happen.  I wanted to be in my defeated world and just go to bed.  I ended up having an amazing time.  The point is simple, it’s about getting past the hiccups with action and not just lip service.

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We have to get past our favorites smoke screens.  I love LL Cool J and Morris Chestnut and both are married.  Like my marriage there are days even with all of their fineness that their wives are ready to trip them because of something they did or didn’t do.  No different from my own marriage. I have friends who I look up to but when they close their doors they have things they are working out in their lives.  So you have to understand that and learn to live life on your own terms.  A lot of people selling this message of love your spouse, or job or life to the fullest don’t always mean they receive it or live it everyday.  Be careful who you put your highest stock on.  Everyone on your pedalstool will disappoint you if you don’t keep things into perspective.  No different from when the report of  America’s sweetheart Jesse Williams called it quits with his wife.  Everyone like lawd if they can’t make it what we gon do?  You gon get over it and make your marriage work.  You need to use the information to make yours solid.  Love harder, listen more, don’t take things for granted, etc  That’s what you do instead of attributing everything good and going into doom and gloom when it doesn’t add up.

Live your OWN best life!!

 

 

Chicago the Wind Down

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 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.