Girlfriends are the Spice of Life: Happy Galentines Day

Galentine’s Day is the day that we girls can profess our love to our best girl friends! There is something about having amazing girlfriends in your life who can support you, love you, and stand with life turns left. I used to hear woman talk about how they didn’t need female friends and as I get older I realize that most times not having female friends has more to do with the person than anything. It’s not about having a full tribe in numbers as it is about having quality friends.

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Also having girlfriends and being mature to go through things and learn to say sorry. One of the things I am being tested with my girlfriends is knowing that just because you have longevity with one another that being comfortable with one another is a great thing. One of the things I would encourage friends to do is to not lose mutual respect. Comfortability doesn’t mean you don’t consider your friend’s feelings.  No one needs a mother of the group. We need friendship, someone to listen to each other, and someone to simply be there!

 

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I have amazing girlfriends and some who my relationships have withstood the tests of time and I honored for their friendship and how it has evolved even during the moments i didn’t understand.  I am grateful that a lot of my girlfriends have been sisters to me and that at times has mattered most at the times of my life when i wasn’t sure how i would literally make it to the next day. I have evolved with them and that remaining love that we share has been nothing short of amazing. If you have an amazing girlfriend, let them know today and every day you care.  Women supporting women is an amazing thing!

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Happy Galentine’s Day!

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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!!!!!

Chicago The Wind Down; May 9, 2017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

Ask Toi: Hump Day Edition

The question is how does our reader communicate to her boyfriend that he needs to stop promising the world to her during sex…

Well this is a good problem to have. In one sense know that during sex a man would just about empty out there account to you if it meant getting more. However it can be off-putting to hear it every time you have sex. I would just mention it obviously when you’re not in the moment. You have to bring it up so that it doesn’t mess up your head and then no one is having a good time.

Also know too if you leave it alone and don’t mention it at all it really could just be how things happen. Meaning men say dumb things at the point of climax. Most men barely follow through. Men make a lot of promises during sex. If he is saying weird things he wants to give you that you really wanted or needed and then falling by the way side with the come up, there’s a problem. If he is making promises on dumb and unattainable things then understand the other “head” is doing the talking. So if he promises you marriage or brings it up during sex but outside of the bedroom hes mute and you want to be married, let him know it’s not ok and that it has to stop.  If he does tell him how disheartening it is to have these conversations with him when he is doing it for the wrong reasons.  Climax produces a lot of amazing feelings but playing with your emotions isn’t one.

If it makes you uncomfortable or makes you want to stop having sex with him its worth a conversation.  However this is why women hold an amazing power.  We have the ability to really take a man down with that power. Speak up and find other ways to have some sexy talk during your sex sessions.

Side note for men: don’t tell a woman you gonna give her anything you can’t really give her once you wash up and leave. Talk that talk that can be backed up and not when we backing it up…..

 

Ask Toi: What do I do with an ex that won’t stop contacting me?

Ex boyfriend and ex girlfriends can vary from easy-going to super annoying. I would suggest if the communication is unwanted tell him/her.  Direct communication from your part in order to get direct no contact should work. However if your ex is the type that doesn’t take no for an answer, than block them. I think adults should be able to say hey I moved on and so should you, but if that doesn’t work you can’t stop them from calling but you can control what you answer.

One you block an ex, leave them blocked. It doesn’t always work out.  My husband was an ex at one point but I wouldn’t suggest people going to their ex just because it happened to work out for me. There was space and time between us to work ourselves out. However the mere fact that you don’t want contact means you need to close the door altogether.  If for some strange reason, you find your ex, blocking their number to contact you, or making a page on social media to follow you, please note that you may need to reinforce the I am not interested in anything anymore. If need be for safety reasons, police contact. It would be nice to think that just like back in the day where you could break up, be mad, call your girls for a night of fun, or call your boys for a night out and move on. There have been a lot of violence towards men and women during the break up phase. It doesn’t mean it will happen every time, but you have to be able to make safety your number on goal. Be an adult!

Also there has been times when I have had to get a male family member or friend to step in to assist. Whatever you do be sure to close the door. IF you really are done, be consistent in ignoring messages. Do not play the games when your mouth says you’re not, but your actions say something different. Say what you mean and mean what you say. It’s never a good thing to have to end it, and even in times when you feel like you have to be with this person, do what’s best for you. End it if you are done, and make an attempt to work it out if you can. Note that not all situations will be saved. You may always have much love for an ex but your lives just aren’t meant to be. That is okay. Speak authentically to your previous partner and voice your desires, to be left alone. If you find yourself and you are reading this to be on the other side where your previous partner has asked for space or has told you they aren’t interested, leave them alone.  Ain’t nobody got time to convince you to respect folks’ space.

 

Sunday Message: Speak into existence with action

I know we still in the New Year glow. We all have our plans and list going. However what we don’t get is that just simply writing things down helps you focus, it doesn’t do the work. You have to put work into your speech.

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It’s not just naming and claiming it anymore. You have to have action behind words. You can’t go to the car dealership put your hand on the car and walk out. You might want to also clean up your credit, have a job in place to support the payments, and be able to pay for the maintenance. This is how you can write down getting a new car as 2019 goal and act towards it. How about saving money up for a down payment? You can sell items you aren’t using it. You can use skills to bring in more income to get it as well. Action.

So now it’s not what are your resolutions? It’s what are you willing to work towards? What are you willing to get in alignment with to bring the very things in your life. Can you just obtain by asking? Yes. I have sent an email to ask to inquire about things and got the best news of my life.  This happened because I asked. Sometimes asking for help is action. It never had to be about you being able to have all of the answers, resources, and know how. You just have to be willing to do something to make your dreams happen!

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Will action plans into your life in this season.  Whatever you work towards if you don’t give up even at a closed-door or a no will work itself in its season of your life. Remember that no can be a protection for you! NO can shift you into where you need to be!  Just don’t sit there simply day dreaming instead of actively working towards!