Tinsel Philly: Happy Hour Meets Christmas

So if you love Christmas and you love drinks and getting out this is your bar. This pop-up Christmas bar is the envy of anything holiday that I have attended. Tinsel Philly Pop-Up bar is your go to. What is Tinsel and how should you prepare? Bring some friends, be ready to drink, bring a fun attitude and leave the decorations, great fun and awesome Christmas atmosphere to Tinsel.

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First of all you are going to want to be in the holiday spirit from the door until it’s time to leave. From the window display to the bathroom, there is no corner or ceiling that is left unturned. I loved it.  The ceiling even has real drop down presents.

It is an eye pop of happiness. If you had the unique opportunity to attend last year, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that its bigger and better. It features a 33 foot bar. Say it with me, dranks!   I was impressed. Being a lifestyle blogger I feel as if it is my job to be able to bring anything that makes your life fun, easier, and gets you out and about and this had all of that. I am going to start from the front of the venue to the back.

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I found super convenient street parking. I only had to walk less than one block away. This was not a turn off for me. Tinsel is not hard to find. Once you are on the block it literally sets itself apart from all of the other venues around it. It’s the most lit Christmas display and that itself reassured me I was in the right place. Once inside, I walked into an overhead of lights. Lights engage me. Once inside, the 33 foot bar is undeniable. The bar was absolutely wonderful. Now I am going to keep it real. Bars sometimes for me can intimidate me, but not at Tinsel. The staff was warm and welcoming and let me know their favorites off the bat. Now I had my sight set on the Tinsel Snow Globe. It is a keepsake.  Let me say the inner child kicked in as I shook my globe and enjoyed the tastings of Grey Goose La Vanile, White Cranberry and the best part edible snow. Yes, you read that correctly, edible snow. The slew of drinks that Tinsel has to offer has something for everyone. From cold Christmas drinks and specials to hot drinks and wines and beers, you are sure to be pleased. I was super happy not just with the themed drinks having great names but making sure it didn’t lack in quality. At Tinsel, that is not the case. You know I love to be on point and if I am spending my coins, I want my drinks to be worth it. You will find my personal stamp of approval. I love adult juice so when I am out and about I want to be able to get out and know that I am getting what I paid for.  Knowing that last year’s Tinsel Philly was packed nightly I can definitely see why.

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So let’s hit you with the Logistics:

Where is Tinsel Located:

116 S. 12th Street, Philadelphia PA, 19107

What drinks Does Tinsel offer?

Like I stated above there is something for everyone. The coveted Take Home souvenir drinks include the Tinsel Globe, Canned “Good” which is what it sounds like, a canned good can that is filled with your choice of either Deep Eddy’s Vodka or Bacardi Cuatro, Cranberry or Cinnamon (proceeds benefit MANNA) and Makers Mark Stocking Shot or the Neat X-Mas Ornament. I personally tried the Tinsel Globe, the Canned “Good” and the Makers Mark Stocking and they all were worth their price because one the bartenders were awesome and they didn’t short change me on the liquor.

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Tinsel Philly is donating $1.00 for every “Canned Good” drink to Manna who prepare and deliver meals to those are in need and are battling sickness and would otherwise not be able to have nutritional meals. Learn more about MANNA.

They have cold and warm drinks like the Hot Toddy, and the spiked hot chocolate that was made with either Stillhouse Mint Cocoa or the Bacardi Coconut. Absolutely everything that the holidays drinks  are about.

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There is also an assortment of holiday beers, wines and what we all need to know about the happy hour which is Monday-Friday from 5-6 pm with $2 off most drinks.

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Oh and for my Mall or any other professional Santa, you get one drink free and 50% off at all times. You must be wearing your full attire and credentials may be asked to verify.

Music

No bar is complete without music. When you come into Tinsel you will be welcomed by Philadelphia DJ Robert Drake aka Mr. Christmas. He also in addition to spinning at Tinsel will host his 26th year on XPN which is the Night before Christmas with 24 hours of nonstop sounds bringing everyone into the holiday spirit. You can check out his music takeover on XPN

Tinsel Holiday Take overs

DJ Drake will be spinning Monday Mixers on December 10 and December 17 from 5-7pm where there will be prizes. Yes prizes.  That means you can have some fun, dance, drink and win a gift for you or for someone else and have one less gift to purchase. Come on out!

Letters to Santa

This year Tinsel will have brand new post cards to the first 500 patrons. Tinsel staff will take these postcards that can be sent to Santa, or to spread holiday cheer to others. Staff will take these cards and mail them off for you!

Santa’s Throne

This was one of my favorite spots. It was a great place for that coveted Instagram pic! I had to make sure I got one! The room attached to the Santa Throne was well decorated and completely inviting. So make sure you bring someone who can get that great shot and angles for you. Definitely well worth it!

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Holiday Events Coming Up:

Saturday December 22, 2018: Jingle Bars Holiday Crawl. For tickets and more Info

Follow Tinsel and keep yourself updated you don’t want to miss, The White Elephant Party where you bring an unwanted gift and exchange it for something else. Also they will announce Day parties and New Years Eve Party and you don’t want to miss out!

Shout out to Craft Concepts Group which includes,Teddy Sourias (owner of Trademan’s BRU Craft, and Wurst, U-Bahn, Cinder Cooper and Lace, Uptown Beer Garden, Finn McCool’s Ale House) and the local artist  who worked to make sure that they opened up the space to exceed the space from last year to this year’s bigger, and definitely decorated open space. The intrict detail in all of the artwork was mesmerizing and appreciated.

And as always thank you Kory Aversa and Aversa PR for having me.

Make sure that you don’t let the holidays over take you, take some time to have a drink at Tinsel where you can have a drink and leave the cleaning and stress up to them. You deserve to have a ball and celebrate. Grab your friends and family and Pop-up to Philly’s Christmas Pop-Up at Tinsel. You will not be disappointed!

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Monday Motivation: Checking in on Others

The holidays are in full swing. Its going to be so much going on and before you know it the year will be over. Why is it important on a Monday to talk about checking in on others? Strong people have a tendency to hold themselves in and not really open up. You can send a text and get a response that things are fine but there is something uniquely special about a phone call.  People’s voice and really making sure they are okay are important.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

So slow it down a little bit and make a list of friends and be sure they are okay. There is something that it pushes you when you do. If you speak to your friends and you  hear that they are truly good, it inspires you. If they aren’t it will inspire you too to either help where you can, offer support, or make you change how you live your life. We can’t lost the connection to one another. I love technology its an important tool, but it can’t replace human to human connection. It’s important for us to reach out to our loved ones. I make it a plan to do my best to call my grandmother at least once a week and sometimes more to be sure she is okay. You have to check in on others. I am even going to check in on a few family members that I haven’t done a great job in checking in on this year myself. It’s just a way for us to take a step back and put others above ourselves.

If you are super busy like me, set aside some time and dedicate to making at least a few minute calls. If you think the other person may be long-winded, I love to call folks on my lunch break, on my way home, or on my way into work. It’s a great way to have a mid-day pick me up or a way to make sure you get it done  and I can cut the conversation off and get back to my day. You may be thinking well wasn’t the point to check in? Yes that is still checking in. You don’t have to be on the phone for hours to check in. I believe in my planner so in between blog goals and planning, family planning, and life planning you can add check ins. You will feel better when you do this, trust me. This goal is just as important as anything else you have going on in your world.

Be vigilant in checking in on others. Be sure that those that are in your crew are okay. Make this your Monday goal! Maybe even rotate your check in lists. But make this a priority!

Christmas Village Experience 2018

So as many of you know I came across the Christmas Village last year doing a Google search for free family fun. I then convinced my family to give the authentic outdoor German Market a try. We were impressed and excited to attend again this year. This year I was invited to take an intimate look at what the Christmas Village really has to offer behind the scenes. This year thanks to the renovations of the Love Park sign, it was even more special!

I was able to attend the opening ceremony to light “The Present.” Thanks to Mayor Jim Kenney who hit it home with his opening speech about giving towards others. This is the season to not just think about ourselves and our families but how we can best serve the people of Philadelphia. The Present is 27 feet in height, well-lit holiday present. It is in the middle of the Christmas Village.  Not only is it visually stunning, its set as a reminder to give to others.  If you are in the area you can give by texting and you will receive a gift tag that can be displayed on “The Present” that is a symbol of what the holiday is all about. You can actively give by doing the following:

  • TEXT PARKS to 501501 to donate to Fairmount Park Conservancy will go towards helping Philadelphia Parks
  • TEXT BOOKS  to 20222 to donate to Welcome America’s holiday book campaign for Parks and Recreation. Every $5 raised will purchase a total of 4 books. 
  • TEXT 80100 to donate to Project Home to help end poverty and homelessness

Inside “The Present”

“The Present is open starting today to the public all the way through December 24th. It’s free to enter and as you can see from the above photos it’s a beauty to see, take photos and walk inside!  I felt like the biggest kid. The colors and lights had me mesmerized. 

So I knew after watching “The Present” light up that I was off to a good start. The first stop on the tour was the German Grill. The open grill had all the best of the German deliciousness. From Bratwurst to Schnitzel, I was in pure Heaven. The open grill is such a delight and the smells pulled me in. I was completely satisfied.  As soon as I got home, I was upset as to why I didn’t take a Bratwurst to go. 

This took me to the second stop on the tour and that was to the open beer garden, The Alm. It’s always a good idea for beer. There are a lot of new items on the menu. Let me also point out for families with young children. This is a great spot to combine adulting and kids. It’s closed in. So this means a lot of play for the kids and drinks for the adults. This year they have a new beer mug. It’s a beauty to behold and you know that the bigger the cup, the bigger the gulp!

As if the beer wasn’t enough, I made my way to one if that’s right one of the wine offerings, German Gluhwein.  It’s a mulled wine. They offer a white and a red wine and both were amazing.

Next up was Käthe Wohlfahrt. This indoor gem blew my mind. This unique shop was full of mostly hand-made treasures. From one of a kind pieces to ornaments and decorations, it was a delight. Note there is no videography or photos for the public. However I was able to get you that inside look. What I will say is this is a must on your stops through the open village. Be careful as some of the pieces are pricey. So if you have little ones just hold their hands. I do believe once they see how well-lit and how beautiful the pieces are, they will spend more time asking questions than running through the store.

Next stop was the The Bacon Jams. I’ve never had bacon jam but today I wanted to buy all of them. These easy to spread jams taste super authentic to real bacon. The flavors were amazing. I tried every last one. From the maple bacon to the honey bourbon! All of them were a treat!

I believe I was turning into a foodie by the end of the night. The next stop was to Sweets where we tried some toasted chestnuts. I’ve never had any before but I was a believer tonight. Be sure if you attend that you make your way. There are other sweet treats as well.

Keeping in line with sweets we make our way to John and Kira’s. This was like chocolate Heaven! I tried for her first time honey bee chocolate made from local honey bee. First of all this gooey treat should be eaten in one bite. It’s honey flavor mixed with chocolate had to be the best that I have had in a long time. We also had some amazing sea salt caramel.

If you ever been to the Christmas Village you are full aware of the Raclette. It’s basically the best cheese I’ve ever eaten, that is melted under a special heated lamp and the cheese oozes onto some of the freshest bread Philadelphia has to offer. I was in cheese coma. Let me say that yes I took one for the team of non dairy, but I ain’t feel not ounce of shame.

For those who love unique cards you must stop at Love Pop. You can get pop up 3D cards. I enjoyed the tour and I plan to grab a few to give to special friends.

Our next stop was Mike’s Hot Honey. We were told that when you taste it, it would be sweet and then bitter and it was true. Mike’s Hot Honey is a spread that can be put on almost anything from bagels to chicken. I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I am getting a cold but if I was when I left I definitely felt like my palette was cleared. 

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Of course we needed something a little sweet so we headed over to Helmuts Original Austrian Strudel. They had your classics like cherry but they also had some that were a definite go back and true such as the meat and pulled pork puffs. They even have a mac and cheese one!  

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One of the final stops before ending with hot chocolate was Truffleist. This is what the name says, Truffle. So between some amazing cheeses and salami, the truffle butter was everything. I mean everyone enjoyed it. They have an amazing selection and to be honest I could eat that truffle butter by the spoonfuls. It was that good. 

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One more goodie before I end, I love hand blown glass. The colors are amazing. So I had to take a picture of the Mouth Blown Ornaments. 

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So the tour was everything and more. You and your family or friends will have an amazing time. I tried to give you a snippet of what it would be like. The only thing that I didn’t see was Santa but you can catch Santa in the Santa Hut for pics starting on the weekends and then close to the season being over he will be there everyday. I would make sure you go and see him if you’re trying to get on the Nice List. 

Special thanks to Philadelphia Christmas Village, the sponsors: Bank of America, Acme, Käthe Wohlfahrt, and Hernnhuter and all of the partners who helped to make this day. Also shout out to all of the amazing vendors who bring the Christmas Village to Life rain or shine. Remember its free to enter and you only pay for the food, drinks, and treasures you find. 

Special shout out to Kory Aversa and the Aversa PR and Events for having me. 

So head on over and grab your kids, your friends, your girls, or your boys and  have an experience to remember!

Hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 11:00am – 7:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:00am – 8:00pm
Christmas Eve: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Location:
LOVE Park, 1500 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Fusing Friendships

One of the biggest challenges when I moved to Philly years ago was leaving what I was comfortable being around. I was used to my set of friends. I was used to my town. I knew how to get everywhere. Lancaster was small enough for me to navigate my life and it was fine. Fast forward to getting engaged to my husband and I knew that I would have to move. In the beginning I was excited to start this new life but I didn’t think about the challenges.  The biggest challenge was friends and wanting to have my own sense of community like I had in Lancaster. As much as people want to leave Lancaster, one of the biggest things about leaving that you can’t deny is community.

Friend Factor

Being that I was comfortable with my friends, I never thought about what would happen when I moved. I didn’t invite anyone to visit me in Philadelphia. I always just went back to Lancaster. Lancaster is home. It feels right. I can go back today and fit right in with zero issues. Friendships matter to me. Having a core set of friends even if they aren’t from Lancaster has always been my saving grace. When I was single and not attached I could take a trip and have girl time with any of them. My biggest hurdle was being pregnant with a toddler in a city I had NO friends in.  At first I focused on making sure my toddler was secure. I made that my number one priority. Then making sure the new baby I was carrying was safe and healthy.  Then I would go back and forth traveling either pregnant, or with a toddler and newborn baby.  When I think about it now there needed to be balance in that. No way should I have made that into one sided trips. Anyone who follows my blogs know the reason I kept going to Lancaster was my refusal to be in Philadelphia and attempt to make things happen.

Fusing Friends

The issue I have less now of but definitely more when I first moved was when my husband wanted me to fuse relationships with his friends. He never asked me to but he would tell me to be open to relationships. My response was so super negative and I wasn’t able to take his advice at face value. Even now some of his friends wives who I think are completely awesome I don’t see myself getting as close to. I never wanted to have my friends to only be an extension of him. Meaning I didn’t want to get in a situation where his friends or their significant others felt obligated to be nice to me out of respect for him. I don’t keep friends like that. I only and always ask for respect and I give it.  I do not expect people to extend themselves to me to save face.  So even know I have met a great level of friends through him but I refuse to force myself on any of them. It’s hard for me at times to push past anxiety.

When I do often times I find folks aren’t as receptive.  Let me give an example. I reached out to one via text. I still have yet to hear back. Like not for nothing I’m in a better place. Petty Toi would be super stank when I see her in the future but why?! Now when I see the same person (s), it’s always hey let’s get together. To my husband he thinks they are being nice. To what actually happens is after a few text messages, the real of let’s get together to be nice in public and the real of let’s get together in real life don’t match. I am the person that will take you at what your action says over what you say to save face.  This isn’t to say they are fake or they don’t like me. It’s the fact that this is the real of what happens when you come into someone else’s circle. It takes time to build a relationship or if you are honest, as a wife no one is obligated to be friends with me just because they are friends with him.  Having my husband be the only thing in common isn’t enough to fuse a relationship. This thought process takes growth.

So anyone who has ever dealt with social anxiety knows it takes a large level of bravery to put yourself out to others. The Toi that I was when I first moved here was a lot more cut throat than I am now. I have completely softened but not to the point of stupidity. Back in the day when I needed to feel apart I was more hurt and out of that hurt I would cut a person off. Now I don’t worry about vibes that don’t return to me. I get that I am coming into already long lasting relationships and for that I don’t get moved as much.  I don’t over extend myself to people. There is a fine line between hey girl, and feeling like after 4-5 attempts and not getting the message. We all have lives. I am married. I have 3 kids. I blog. I work a full and a part time job. I am not looking for someone to be an instant bestie.

Here are my tips when you struggle to make new friends in an established group:

  • Be yourself
  • Always be cordial
  • Attempt to make yourself a friend
  • Don’t get caught up when the friendly relationship is only when you see certain folks
  • Look to find your own friends by getting out in social events
  • Do not feel obligated to overextend yourself to others if they show you who they are-believe them
  • Don’t take things personal
  • Work on you this will bring others that are supposed to be around you
  • Remember you are awesome

Be gentle with yourself as you fuse into a new life, new city, etc

It’s hard to figure out the life balance. You don’t have to have all of the answers.

Know that you will get better as you practice self care, take risks, put yourself out to be a friend, etc

It’s not the number of friends you have but the ones who are super solid! They outweigh having large entourages any day.

Shout out to my friends new and old who are all around awesome!! You have made this transition in your own way, better.

Monday Motivation: Mario Kart Life

Today is a day like any day to make the best out of our situations. Let’s not front and act as if everyone woke up with their affairs in order. You might have gotten up this morning with stress on your heart and feeling overwhelmed. I sympathize with you. I want you to know that no matter what’s going on in your life, mind, or heart we have to press through. There may not be someone to come and save you but don’t have to let your situation overtake you.

I know you’re saying that it may be easy for me to say but it’s not. Most days lately have been pure crazy. If I could touch on the things you would be like wow. I know that life happens to all of us. I know that even with crazy life circumstances, what will pull me through is resetting myself daily. It’s going to take me being in charge of what I entertain in my mind and who I allow around me. Your thoughts matter. It’s the first line of defense in how you continue in your day. If all you speak is negativity and worry that’s all you look to see. Even in bad situations I’m like what’s the lesson and where is the good that can come out of this. I know I’ve been in worst situations and I know some how I’ve come out. That’s the reassurance that motivates me to wake up and intentionally push.

Some mornings especially in this holiday season I can feel grieve and sadness around me. So I do what I need to do for me to push out of it. Prayer is how I start, music and speaking to my children is also how I push through. Sometimes journaling. Whatever you need, grab it while your situations work themselves out. Take care of you while life happens. The worst thing you can do is fall apart and while life is happening to you. The stress of life is going to be there. Losing your mind or losing yourself is not worth it.

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Take Monday by the horns and have a great day on purpose. You ever play Mario Kart?  In the game all kinds of objects are being thrown. The objective is to dodge the objectives and keep going. Sometimes life is like that. I think about that when I am driving in Philly and trying to avoid the potholes. Life is like that sometimes. You have everything being thrown to you at one time only to find that some you miss and others you don’t. The objective is to keep going and win. It didn’t say it would be easy. It didn’t say it would work out, life is about not quitting. Usually regardless of skill set, resources, and help the person who wins in life is the one who doesn’t give up. They are the ones that push through.  How about you?

Ask Toi: How Do You Deal with Being Uncomfortable Bumping Into Someone you Dated?

This encounter no matter how brief is always uncomfortable. I think its always in good gesture to if you can’t avoid seeing them to be gracious. If you don’t want to get into any heavy conversation to control the conversation and exit as soon as possible.

Also keep in mind the level of relationship. Dating someone may not necessarily mean that you were in a committed relationship. If that is the case, you may not have built up a strong enough relationship and that in itself can take the sting of the encounter down a bit. If this is someone you were in a committed relationship and they are an ex, it could get sticky. No matter who is at fault for ending things, you should remain calm, smile and again control the conversation. It’s perfectly fine to not have “time” to talk. This casual encounter should never to air out greivances unless both parties want to. It should be casual. If you see an ex or even someone you dated that caused you grief and you can’t be mature about it due to an issue that took place during your encounter together, its best to let them know that you would prefer that you keep it on a hi or a bye and then keep it moving.

Always know you are in control. Seeing someone that you haven’t seen may bring a plethora of feelings back but you are in control in how those feelings are managed. I have a few ex boyfriends and every time I control the tempo of the conversation and know that I am in control. I always remember that so when I don’t want to hear the mess that I left in the first place, I just roll. Now its easier since my kids are with me all the time. I have run into a few inside of a grocery store, and my kids are an automatic get out of a conversation card with just about anyone to be honest. With kids or no kids, you don’t owe anyone more time than your willing to give. Also know the encounter is going to linger inside of your head especially if very little conversation is had. I always hit the ex boyfriends with the basic, hey how are? How is your family? Let them ask me and then say it was nice to see you and roll. That’s really all it takes. Anything else and that means you wanted the conversation to linger. Turn the uncomfortable into a workable situation for you.

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Also they may attempt to not see you in that case, you won. If they see you and decide to not have a conversation which is possible too, keep moving. Do not I repeat make the situation more uncomfortable. This goes for folks in a fresh breakup-give that person the space they and you need! Get out!

Friends List-Anxiety Buster

So we all friends and how they interact with you determine how you should proceed with them. I have been guilty of having a large list of friends on social media but in real life barely interact with then. I have since changed how I look at my friends and let me share with you why.

Anxiety and New Friends

Since graduating from Penn State in 2003 I have noticed that at times my anxiety is lot more pronounced than I gave notice to it. I am a creature of habit. I like when things are comfortable. Being in college knowing that I had a small list of core friends allowed me to attempt to make new friends because my thought of rejection always tended to the point that at the end of the day, I had some solid friends. Now in my real adult life trying to manage all things, I don’t have the time that I once had to goof off, party and be irresponsible and my friends reflect that. There are a few friends that are about to be cut. It’s nothing personal as I change so will my list of who I call friends change. This post isn’t to air that out. My anxiety has caused me to be super selective in who my real friends are.

Friends of a Friend

Since I am attempting to make new strides in friendships I am realizing that a lot of my friends are friends of a friend. They are not really my friend but are super bomb and cool people. Meaning they are friendly, we speak when we are in circles but they are not the ones I go to when things go left. For a couple of months I had been trying to fuse relationships with a few friends of a friend and getting upset when it didn’t pop like I wanted to. Rejection made me one get upset because I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working out. Now I come to mind that I had to stop making something fit that wasn’t going to fit.  I realize that I can be friends to them, and not try to take it personal because the flow of friendship isn’t the same as it was for other friendships to blossom. I think as much as we holler “no new friends” the objective isn’t necessarily in not having new relationships as much as knowing how much energy it’s going to take and knowing if you want to invest in that new relationship.

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Photo by Alexander Dummer on Pexels.com

If you are the type that people don’t want to become friends with, that’s an entirely different story. Vibes matter and if you are constantly setting off get away from me vibes you won’t match the potential that friendships have to offer. As the holidays get closer, it’s going to be important to be connected with the right people. I know for myself seeing how much friendships can really be supportive not having that here in Philadelphia through my own fault in the beginning and now has made the difference in how rich my life is. I am blossoming that much more because of great people who I can call that if nothing else can call me out on my stuff but also be supportive of my wins. You have to be able to step out of your comfort zone with others.

How I managed my anxiety and meeting new people:

  • Be yourself-you don’t know others enough to start switching off in the beginning. Them seeing you for who you are will matter if you want to attempt to know if people like you for you. Let them see the real you!
  • Take your time. Quality is more important than quantity
  • Nerves are fine. If you feel like you are becoming overwhelmed, take a few moments to yourself. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. Take a few seconds to gather yourself in a social setting.
  • Hang with whomever makes you comfortable at first and then slowly introduce yourself to others. If you feel rejected, than still remain in control of yourself but be gracious to everyone.
  • Smile- a smile goes a long way, he or she who presents themselves friendly will invite more friends. I have been known to have rest you know what face, but I have changed my approach. When I go to events, I let my home life, at home. I leave work at home. I do not bring these things with me when I am out and about because it hinders me from showing myself in the best life. If I am spending my coin I refuse to waste my time these days and especially not my me time. My me time is scarce and sacred.