Monday Motivation: College Edition

As some of the college bound students pack up to attend various schools make sure you remain grateful, vigilant, and hopeful! It’s every walk of life represented at college. It’s super easy to get discouraged if you start to compare what you have against the next. If you’re support system isn’t strong it will take you for a loop.

The pressure to get into college is already hard. Once you are in you might have had to work your butt off to secure enough to maintain. So many students have to work not only a federal work study position but often times a regular job in addition to have their basic needs met. It’s easy to forget that college starts some students’ first hustle but it’s true! It’s where the first flight or fight can begin. Don’t underestimate the struggle or look down on others who are literally first time college students in their whole family. It can be a time of love and pain.

Not everyone comes from well rounded families built on support. People’s idea of support starts and ends at drop off. People don’t have folks in their lives that check on their well being. No care packages are being sent, money being deposited, or even care being given-just drop off. That can mess with a young person’s heart. People think college is JUST about academics but it’s more to it. It’s walking into adulthood and learning about yourself in the most raw form.

This is a great time full of excitement and some stress as well. Not knowing what to expect is sometimes the first lesson in life in how to move when things aren’t aligned. Being that you are on campus having to survive it teaches you how to boss up and take care of yourself quick. It will give you the skills to be resourceful and how to work hard. You will learn about work ethic and if you lack self care you will bump your head until you dive into it. Some students will realize for the first time that they have a mental illness. It’s important to seek help early and often. Do not suffer in silence just because someone back home thinks it’s weak to ask for help. You can’t preserve you on their mindset when it no longer fits!

I applaud all the college bound adults as you make you mark. Study hard, play hard and learn about yourself! This week is all about you! Make this year a great one!!

Toi first day at Penn State 20 years ago

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Family Style Love at Mamma Maria’s

I went to the East Passyunk Car Show and Street Fest! I posted quite a few pics on my Instagram a few weeks ago! It was so much fun. It was super hot (which I love), great food, amazing vendors, and of course the cars!

Who doesn’t love amazing cars?!

All kinds of exotic cars. Of course I loved them all but also I was drawn to the red cars. Red is my favorite car. I currently drive a red car. I was walking along and was introduced to Mamma Maria! She gave me this warm welcoming hug. It was the kind of hug that warms the soul. It was as if we had known each other all of our lives! On a Sunday it was just the best feeling and expression of love. We chatted about what I do and her cooking!

Mamma Maria already had her set up going and towards the end of the event she was just about sold out. Before leaving Mamma Maria packed me and my oldest daughter some gnocchi, sausages, and broccoli. You couldn’t get the smile off of my face. One of my absolute favorite foods is Italian. My husband even popped the question to me at an Italian restaurant because I love it that much-outside of gummi bears of course! So I’m headed home with this warm pasta on my lap trying not to eat it in the car. As soon as I’m able I open it and goodness gracious-it’s that good. I didn’t even let it get cold so it was ready to eat and I found myself eating and eating!

I took my food outside because as a mom you already know kids don’t care what you are eating they want parts! I was able to eat the pasta outside without little hands in it. It felt like I was having a moment and Mamma provided it for me. Here I was after spending hours in the sun, in my happy spot at home having my favorite dish and content.

I don’t know if there are others who love Italian food as much as I do. The type that work out so they can keep eating fresh pasta, but if that is you-Run to Mamma Maria’s located at 1637 East Passyunk Avenue in Philadelphia PA! You will be in a little slice of Heaven with authentic Italian pasta made with love! Mamma will make sure you eat well and when you leave you will smile. You won’t worry about if the pasta hits your thighs. The only thing you will know is you ate some amazing food and you were treated with love!

Mamma Maria’s is open Monday-Friday from 10:30am-10:30pm and on Saturday from 4:30pm-11:30pm and on Sundays from 3:00-10:00pm!

Chima Shares All The Love

We went to Chima to celebrate our 7th anniversary. Between the ambiance, good food, amazing drinks; Chima is definitely the spot to enhance any celebration!

Anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, promotions or just because Chima is your go to! They will acknowledge your special day with flare. No matter the detail they will make sure you feel the love from the time you enter and until you leave! We first encountered Chima as a couple at our year 4 anniversary and it was just as special going back for year 7! Chima has the freshest foods you could ask for! There’s something for everyone!!

My favorites has to be the cinnamon pineapple. Like I get extremely giddy when it comes to the table! It’s so warm and fresh. Chima had to remember from my last visit. They were told a little birdy told them. God bless that bird because I had many slices!

Let’s talk about the Passion Fruit Dressing; it’s amazing!

The meats for those who eat it was top of the line and made to order!

Service is always impeccable! Shout out to Christian who was outstanding! He never let my cup go low and he knows that menu like no other. He made the night go super smooth!

I love that we could see the growth over the years and see how much joy Chima brings to our anniversaries!

It’s nothing to like getting dressed up to experience world class cuisine at a restaurant that stands by customer service and elegant delivery. You can ask any of the staff and they absolutely go above and beyond for every patron! They treated us like royalty! They are standing by to do the same for you! Consider them for your next event!

Here’s a few things that stuck out to me this visit:

For my parent friends they have a baby changing station in both men and women bathrooms!

There bar is amazing and don’t think for one second you won’t get amazing service vs being seated at a table because that’s not the case!

Speaking of drinks they are amazing it doesn’t matter which one you try!

Los Olas Old Fashion; bulleit bourbon, angostura bitters, sugar cube, orange peel and garnished with luxardo cherry

White sangria

Chima has you covered for all of your needs! Thank you Chima for an amazing night! Thank you Marques for these 7 years!! Let’s make it a lifetime!

Giving you The Best That I Got…Year 7!

It’s year 7 and I must say as much as I would love to downplay it, I’m not! I wish I could take a behind the scenes of the early years. I do all I can to not let that old couple pop up. Between not communicating and just yelling and being a team player on paper but not in thought or deed…whew I’m grateful for days like today.

I immediately listened to one of my artist, Anita Baker. When I was younger anytime she and most other R&B artist was played I knew it meant it was time to clean. When I was a kid I told myself I knew who I would married by whether or not I wanted to sing that song to him….thus music became an association I made in a lot of situations. I still do! Anyway the growth as a woman and a person that I’ve made makes me so incredibly happy. I know the trials I’ve made over the years. I can now sing those sounds in confidence since back then my momma reminded me I ain’t know what I was talking about. Now I’m working towards more knowledge AND practice daily!

Now that I am putting into the work I can honestly say I’m giving my husband the best that I got daily. It may not be perfect but the energy to be better daily is what makes the huge difference. I wasn’t doing that as often before. It was a rush to point to him as the reason or if he wasn’t the reason in my mind he needed to fix it. How in the world he was supposed to fix me is beyond me but these type of unstable requests and wars was going on.

Year 7 means a sense of completion. Although we have waves to go through a small sense of accomplishment exists. I am giving the best that I got to myself daily. It’s not selfish to practice self care so we all can live in peace. He benefits from making sure I check my energy and attitude as he does the same. It helps two VERY different people to be able to coexist. We are friends! We have our own language. We have our own code words. We laugh at things that we alone might only find funny! We want the best for one another. As long as we keep that going we can continue this partnership.

20 years of friendship, 7 years of marriage and 3 beautiful children and a lifetime to go!!

So as we celebrate year 7 enjoy my favorite artist-love you Mr. Storr!!

He Said…

I love that you try to find the joy in everything and bring a positive attitude to all that are around you.

Ten Asian Food Hall

So last weekend my blogger and friend Cherryl aka Phillyfoodgal and I went to Ten Asian Food Hall. It’s located at 1715 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia. I had never been before and you know how much I love trying new spaces.

Once inside it’s so much more open than I expected! The lighting in the restaurant is amazing. It’s clean which completely matters and the staff is interactive. So just for the first observations I definitely give my thumbs up. I walked a little further in and discovered the seating inside is amazing. It has a second floor as well.

So now that the aesthetics is pleasing let’s talk about food:

Variety:

This is a definite to please everyone on your list. There are options for pescatarian, vegetarians, carnivores, and vegans. Everyone can eat. From the appetizers to the dishes there is a little for everyone.

Signature Works

They have what’s called their signature dishes which are what they have already prearranged meals! The price ranges from about 8 dollars and goes to about 11. So it’s definitely price worthy options! You can select Ahi on Fire which is Ahi tuna, green and sweet onion, cucumber, masago, sesame seeds, and sriracha aioli. Everything is fresh!

Pick your Poké

Who doesn’t love an amazing poké bowl?! If made fresh and right it’s a one dish bowl of Heaven! You don’t have to worry about fresh at Ten Asian Fusion Food Hall! It’s made to order! Did you know they made poké bowls, sushi burritos, poké salads or even poké noodles. Your Poké you can have with either 2 choices for 10.95 or 3 for 12.95. You pick a 2-3proteins, 4 mix-ins, a flavor, 4 toppings and a crunch. I love choices especially when the choices!

Ten’s Bento Box

Here is where I like to call it a lunch or dinner on the run! It’s like a sophisticated TV dinner with much more style, flare, and taste! The one below is the La Galbi which is short beer rib over salad with Korean special grill sauce!

Hibachi Meal

You can even create your own Hibachi meal. It includes one protein for 9.25 or 2 for 11.50. It’s then served with stir fried rice, zucchini, onion, broccoli, carrot, and miso soup or salad! Oh and they even have fried tofu for my Vegan friends!

If that wasn’t enough…

Ten’s Ramen

They have Ramen! You get to pick your noodle, broth, protein and 4 ingredients for 10.95!! You can’t beat it!!

Bubble Tea

I love Bubble Tea! I also love Milk Bubble Tea but being vegan I haven’t had one since! That was until Sunday when I had their nondairy Milk! They have some really unique flavors such as Double Purple Milk Green Tea with Bubble!

So my Sunday Funday was great. I was so full from the options I only ate dinner no need to even snack!

Thank you to the staff of Ten Asian Food Hall! Thanks Cherryl aka Phillyfoodgal!!

The Joy of Running

I started running when I was at least in Junior High School. It was largely due to me having “them running legs” as everyone called them. I was tall and skinny and at least looked like I had the potential to be athletic. I joined a local team and they trained me. I fell in love! I found myself running for sport and I enjoyed it. Fast forward to now. I picked up running again in the last 2 years to help maintain my weight but running became much more!

In “The Joy of Running” arranged by Jackie Corley it breaks down a runner’s heartbeat. As an adult with a family my reason for running has changed. The “Joy” of running isn’t just for weight maintenance anymore. If that was the case I would have fallen off a long time ago. Joy in running is beyond the moment when the happiness falls. Happiness in running wains in about the first 3 miles. The pain of running kicks in you need Joy pushing behind you. During my 4 am wake up calls where I’m alone and no one to push; Joy kicks in.

I love when David Bedford says:

Running is a lot like life. Only 10 percent of it is exciting. 90 percent of it is slog and drudge.

He’s referring to life in this quote. “The Joy of Running” breaks down how running affects a person’s whole being. Unlike my junior high running has a more intimate meaning. I talk to God and go over my life when my feet hit the ground. I take on life’s stressors when I hit the ground. I take on all of my inconsistencies when I hit the ground!

Monte Davis says:

Running long and hard is an ideal antidepressant, since it’s hard to run and feel sorry for yourself at the same time. Also there are hours of clearheadedness that follow a long run.

I practice self-care and self preservation on the ground when I run every single time. There’s not one time when something has been on my heart or mind that running hasn’t allowed me to figure it out or give me peace that it can’t be worked out.

“The Joy of Running” is a runner’s reminder of remember your why. I dedicate to leaving this book by my bed. It’s usually where a runner’s biggest struggle comes from. If I wake up and get up even if my time is slow or my miles low; I showed up for myself and “The Joy of Running” pushed my spirit to hear herself!

I highly recommend this book and if you or someone you love stresses a desire to run-gift them this book! It’s a collection of love letters as I call tjem to a runner’s soul! A runner would understand and align themselves back to the “Joy” and their why!

To get your own copy you can get it here!

2019 2nd Street Festival Preview

Nothing is better in the Summer than an amazing street festival. It brings everyone together for music, food, drinks, and entertainment! If all of that and more sounds like more your lines of fun, don’t miss the 2nd Street Fest THIS Sunday August 4th in Northern Liberties!

I attended the preview and let me be the first to say that the food and drinks are a hit! Oh and if our crowd of reviewers had this much fun on a Monday I can only imagine the amount of fun you will have on Sunday Funday! The Street Fest is rain or shine but it looks like we will have more shine than rain come Sunday so lather up in some sun block, grab your shades, and some comfy shoes and have a ball!

El Camino Real

We tried several dishes that will be available this Sunday! If you love tater tots than you will be smiling from ear to ear! I felt like a big kid! Also make sure you visit El Camino Real they have inside and outside seating and the staff are super engaging! Try them at the Street Fest than come back for a sit down meal!

Nacho Libre

This tater tot is full of flavor! It has queso sauce, lettuce, jalapeno, and crema! Even with the queso it doesn’t take away from the crunch of a great tater tots! These easy to carry will have you come back for more!

Walker Texas Ranger

These tots come with a big punch of flavor! Served with jalapeno, onion, queso, and pulled pork! I mean it’s like a street fest faborire!

Pina-Rita

Drinks are super important! Finding ones that are super refreshing as well as amazing won’t be hard! The Pina-Rita has tequila, triple Sec, lemon, like, and pineapple puree! It’s an amazing blend and the taste is exactly what you will need to make any heat bearable! During the 2nd Street Fest you will be able to have your drinks served inside of fresh pineapple!

Peach Bourbon Zombie

This is a great mix of rum, passion fruit puree, grenadine, and lemon-lime! It has the perfect amount of sweetness and it’s refreshingly cool!

Urban Village

I was first introduced to them by way of the Piazza Pod Park! I’ve had their amazing beer so I know on Sunday if there is a beer drinker amongst you they will not be disappointed! Urban Village will be offering these following options:

Don’t be fooled the sweet corn definitely adds amazing flavor! The garlic is definitely an added bonus. Served in a convenient container-you will be able to enjoy with one hand and have a beer in the other!

The peach jalapeno sauce is what turns an ordinary corned beef sandwich into next level! If you’re like me and wonder if the bread gets soggy the answer is no! The sandwich withstood the test but didn’t slack on the juicyness!

I’ve never had a chubbie! However I will be back for more! Anything deep fried is always a great idea for a festival and Urban Village came with the goods! This is a must! From first bite to last is like a bite in Heaven!

Who doesn’t love an amazing French fry?! I definitely do and these easy to grab and eat fries paired with the manchego cheese are like an upgraded fry experience! No lie save room!

What says Summer like watermelon? Watermelon is one of the fruits that is found in plenty during the Summer. Watermelon has the ability to quench the tbirsr but paired with your favorite alcohol it pops even more!

Words that come to mind when this drink-light, refreshing and just enough watermelon not to be overwhelming! This is your go to for someone who may not be the big beer drinker but wants to have that hint of beer!

Add that spicy ring of goodness and this drink will be ideal for some who likes a hint of spice and sweet! Served cold will keep you coming back!

You are reading it right! It’s the 2nd Street Fest beer! It has an amazing citrus taste that keeps you cool and indulges your taste buds to euphoria!

Jerry’s Bar

From the door I loved the way this bar was set up! Jerry’s Bar is also known to have an amazing brunch on Saturday and Sundays! Here is what you can expect at the 2nd Street Fest!

This hamburger patty has that homemade taste and flare accompanied with farm fresh cheddar pickle, and caramelized onions; it’s a must try! This is like a walking barbeque! The bread is also what makes it taste that much better!

This is a bourbon watermelon smash! I loved it! I actually had two they were that good! It had more of the watermelon flavor and mixed to perfection! I could taste a little of the watermelon texture and I enjoyed that part!

Cantina Dos Segundos

They had me at tacos! Tacos might be my favorite second food to eat! They make me happy! Holding onto them and eating them makes me dance! If you love pulled pork you will fall over in flavor of the pulled pork tacos! Bursting in flavor and taste these tacos will make you wonder why you hadn’t visited Cantina earlier!

Keeping with the watermelon theme (not all vendors will be watermelon flavored) these margaritas were a smash!! How could you not like tacos and margaritas on a Sunday?! I could eat tacos daily!

The highlight was the sweet corn! I’ve from Lancaster and living here in Philadelphia not many can provide a fresh corn that is great all except Cantina Dos Segundas! I started out with one and tip toed back for another piece! My picture doesn’t even do it justice!

Heritage

I want to go back and hear more music and enjoy an amazing evening! Until then I’ll catch them at the 2nd Street Fest! We tried the Makers Mark Mule. Makers Mark is already a favorite in my home and the mule wasn’t a disappointment! You can check my Instagram for the amazing sounds!! I loved how engaging the staff was! From the door to the bar to the band everyone was extremely amazing and that sets the bar high!. Thank you Heritage Philly!

North Bowl

I loved walking into their gates! I also loved the outdoor bar as well! Anything outdoors with drinks is what we all look forward to when Summer comes! North Bowl didn’t disappoint! We were all having an amazing time and then bam-tacos appeared! You already know how I feel about tacos and thus my happy dance appeared! I really should get it on camera!

They were phenomenal! Fish tacos with flavor is all anyone can ask! Also the margaritas were a hit! Our bartender was amazing as well! If you ever get a chance to go to North Bowl do so! If you want to bowl great but if not sit outside at outside bar and enjoy your night. You can even play Cornhole! Fenced in greatness with amazing tacos and margaritas you are in for a treat come Sunday!

If that isn’t enough look at these tater tots:

Our last stop of the evening goes to:

Standard Tap

There’s nothing standard here! It’s spacious with seating upstairs as well! They also are known for farm fresh food. I love that and will frequent back to try dinner!

For Sunday try their Smoked Tofu Cuban! It’s made with Tofu, Swiss, dill pickles, cilantro, and mustard on ciabatta bread! If you haven’t guessed it I have an issue with wet bread! I don’t like it. So I always check the bread and do my personal wet bread test it double passed! It’s crunch from the first bite alone was amazing! The Swiss although I don’t eat cheese was just enough of a hint to add flavor but not take over the sandwich! This Smoked Tofu Cuban gets my thumbs up!

Now let’s get to the drinks:

They have a wide selection that will make your Sunday Funday even better! You can take your pick at the 2nd Street Fest! I enjoyed the watermelon punch! If you love a light fresh taste this is your go to! The cucumber, watermelon, lemonade and gin is the perfect Summer drink!

So you will have options! There’s expected to be over 200 vendors, crafts, entertainment including stilt walkers, live bands and DJs at the 11th annual 2nd Street Fest! Oh the Fest is free and you pay as you eat and drink! It’s going to be super big and amazing fun! Grab your family and friends and expect greatness! All of the vendors are working overtime to bring you the goods and the preview revealed you have nothing to worry! Bring the smiles and they got the covered on the rest!