The Complainer

Let me just say and acknowledge that I used to be the one that got on everyone’s nerves with complaining.  I mean as much as I blamed everyone else for the inability to deal with it, the truth of the matter I was the Debbie Downer that no one wanted to be around.  I used to sit around and say well if “they” can’t deal with me that’s on them, this is who I am.  Sound familiar?  You can’t blame folks for no longer wanting to be in your space when your space is dampened by negative vibes and foolery. It’s like hey, you don’t ever have a good day? What does it take for you to smile? Is your life hanging in the balance, no?  Are you ever going to be okay? I can only imagine the things my own husband thought even if he never said it. I get it when I hear others do it because I hear my old responses.

So fast forward to these last few years, I have one, gut bunched myself.  I checked me.  My mom always taught me everyone ain’t telling the same lie.  They may variations but when you hear the same exact thing, there’s truth in that story.  So instead of dragging those around me with misery I checked myself and quick. I one went to counseling to deal with those underlying issues we think is dormant until they aren’t.  Secondly I looked at life from a different perspective.  There are a thousand and one things that can go wrong in your life, but my responses was the only thing that mattered.  So the blame game stopped. I took stock even in the worst of an argument, I took stock.  What did I do?  How could I change me instead of having a laundry list of the things the other person could have done?  For the record this is years of change, not last week.

I got happy or should I say I found real joy in life.  How can I be the best mother and wife if I am consistently draining those in my own home first?  A good gut check will align you in the way you should go.  So now it’s humbling and annoying at the same time when I hear people complain.  I get real quiet and begin to make space.  I can’t entertain those negative people.  In the last few months I have had one friend that I have hung around that has even challenged my interactions with friends.  I can’t do the friends that have a negative response to the most mundane thing.  For instance I sent a friend a card, they were like why did you send it to me.  I had already made it personal with lovely encouraging words, etc but instead of just reading it, they got it, didn’t open it and was like why this and why that.  I immediately took a mental note.  Listen, my friend I’ll call her K has shown me that friendships should be light.  You should be able to send messages back and forth and enjoy the company.  You should be generally happy instead of the “I wonder what issue this person will bring,” type of relationship.

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So I want to first thank my husband who brought up my negative talk to me.  Our mates know us.  When your mate says your annoying, a complainer, a nagger, you can be mad all you want the truth is in the message, learn to receive it.  I took the message and instead of getting mad, and complained some more I got it together.  There is more laughter in our home than disagreements.  Even disagreements don’t last that long. Trust me even I am have taken notice to it.  Also there is a lightness that makes things flow better even in the most difficult situations we have faced.  People think that trouble doesn’t come to us but that’s the furthest from the truth, we are just handling it better. Secondly I want to think K who has been so refreshing and not just K but a lot of my friends I wasn’t able to receive real love back and forth the way I needed to because of my own hindrances.  I feel like my relationships have gotten better for those who are on the same wave length and the others need work.  Some of that work may be from me and some from the other side as well.  We shall see.

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The time you spend complaining and living in a complaining state takes too much time off of your life.  I think to be honest is where I started doing the daily days that I post on my personal Facebook page.  There is something to be grateful for, something to celebrate, something to be better for.  Learn to tap into that.  I now have to be sure my kids don’t take on any of negative behaviors. I make sure to call it out and show them rather than tell them what gratefulness looks like.  I think our home has been in a better place.  As a wife and mom it’s up to me to set a tone as a covering over negativity in it. I hope that my own blunders will help a person to be the best version of themselves.  I know that negativity is a learned behavior and you are ultimately responsible for what comes out of your mouth.  People do NOT want to be in your presence when you are a cess pool of complaining.  Life and death are in the tongue and even the death of the closeness a relationship can be is in your tongue.  FYI just because someone has been around you for so long, is not a good enough reason to continue in your ways.

Let me leave you with 5 examples and if you meet these 5; do some inside work:

Example #1:

You get a text, do you just go with the flow or question why a message was sent without checking the message first? (reading is fundamental, question what needs questioned but you don’t have to question the sender on every thing it could be just informational)

Example #2:

You get invited to a dinner, instead of going with the flow you make comments on restaurant selection, talk about yourself the whole time, etc (PS you could have stayed home and not come)

Example #3

You are in a group text, you make the church announcement that you don’t do group text and that you are tired of being in them but you get mad when you are no longer invited to the next group text or no longer privy to the information in it (you could have muted the conversation to check back later)

Example 4

You get a gift with no card, your first response is “no card” instead of saying thank you and then the next response is “why would you come with no card” (the card could have gotten lost in transit, or the gift may have not needed one)

Example 5

You are getting a group gift and instead of stating how much you wanted from others, you offer to them for them to give what they can.  Your friend gives 10 your response is “I seen how you been spending lately, this is all you have? (you can’t clock other folks money and what they should or shouldn’t be doing with it)

 

These types of responses over time will not get you invited to the next function.  You can’t get mad when you are constantly left out after the continual rude, insensitive, negative vibes are being given.  FYI outside of the gift one I have used these responses in the past in one shape or form.  This way no one will get in their feelings of you used what I did or said.  However if the shoe fits, please wear them and adjust.  No one and I repeat NO ONE has time for any of the above mess.  No one wants to be drained of negative space when around you.

Be better not to save a relationship but because deep down even you get sick of you.   Continue reading The Complainer

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Heat Ain’t Stop the Show

So Philly is experiencing a heat wave. We are in a Red alert. So with that being said hydration is our friend. Staying cool and protected is the name of the game.

There are several events happening this weekend. I took the liberty of researching the options for the month and have linked my husband and I’s calendar to be in sync with the activities. This doesn’t mean that we will attend them all but at least we are aware. Today we decided to attend #phillyscoopfest. It is an ice-cream festival that has many vendors, some samples, music from all diversity, and it was located this year inside the Reading Terminal.

Little secret, I have never been to the Reading Terminal before. I know, I know why?! I’m not sure. But that is a thing of a past. I was there which is super surprising as much as I love my hometown market and one would think I would have ran to the Reading Terminal but nope! I finally made my presence known.

My family and I walked around and our first stop I tried a pineapple basil from Mom Pops. I loved it. They were dairy free, gluten free, everything free but what wasn’t free? Taste. I loved it. Since taking dairy out of my diet I’ve always on the hunt for non dairy dessert. The gentleman gave me a lot of coupons that I’ll be using going forward.

My kids all had a strawberry banana popsicle and I doubt they heard everything that was taken out of them and finished it before we made it to Bassett’s and we had such great ice-cream. I elected to have sorbet for the reasons already stated. It was good. The kids enjoyed their cups and my husband his cone. The staff was super organized and treated us well.

We made our way to enjoy our icecream and listen to music which was my personal highlight of the event! They also had prizes, a kid spot, tables to enjoy your icecream and food and it was great to see the diversity and fun without drama!!

Also if you purchase something at a vendor for at least 10 dollars they validate your parking for a discount. So all together it costs us 5 dollars for parking, for almost 30 of ice-cream, and memories were made for a family of 5 that is a win!!

After going to a friends house warming we decided to give the kids a break and recoup before heading to the Fireworks at Penn’s Landing. Naps went over and we missed the Army Band’s performance. Listen parking in Philadelphia is no joke and definitely during a holiday weekend. It took about 20 or so minutes to find a non paying spot but we found one.

The crowd was plentiful. From Spruce Street Harbor to the actual fireworks it was a great night!

So here’s to more events, family time, and not letting anxiety hold me into the house!

What to do in Your Weekends to Prepare For Your Upcoming Week?

Weekends if you work a Monday-Friday type of job should be used to get your mind right, spend time with family and friends and have a break from the mundane.  If you are an entrepreneur you know there is no such thing as a day off, work is all the time.  If you are in the nursing field or are the type that has to be in public office such police, fire etc then time off is a blessing.  Regardless when its time to break, break! Overworking even if it’s for yourself is crazy.  None of that money you will take with you.  So learn to balance your life so you can make a little living and be here to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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What you should be doing is simple:

  1. Relaxing-yes this is not a curse word.  Relaxing.  I used to try to jam pack so much into the weekend and slowly I am learning that less is best.  I don’t need each second filled with something to do.  I do need to find activities that everyone needs in my house but more specifically I selfishly need to make sure I am good to.
  2. Rest-I have 3 kids  and a pretty busy schedule and used to feel super guilty about taking a nap or going to bed early or resting.  This is human nature and a right. Take it.  Do not feel guilty.  Crawl in that bed, put your feed up, get your rest and get some sleep.  Successful people know how to turn it up and they know when to turn it down.
  3. Renew your mind-you see the pattern. It starts with choices and you must make a choice to renew. Some people go to church or other spiritual filling exercise.  Some do yoga.  Whatever you choose and there are plenty of choices do it and do it regularly.
  4. Plan and work their plan. Sometime I sit and look at the week before and find out how I could have done things differently.  It could be something as simple as making snacks bags the day before whatever it is find it, do it.  Any time saved is enough to shave off stress throughout the week.  This is why my crock pot is sacred.  Shout out to my husband who got me 2.  I ain’t hardly mad. I will turn them both on and that’s at least 2-4 days worth of food per crock pot meal.
  5. Have some fun.  I mean my goodness let your hair down a little. Grab you some adult juice or a mocktail.  Go find a party and dance or create a party right at home.  Do you know how many times a dance party for me and the kids has been a workout and fun?  Plenty.  Lighten up.
  6. Go on an outing. Please do not tell me about how broke you are.  Broke is a mindset.  Yes your account could have cobwebs but be inventive.  Do you know how strong my Google fingers are?  Hella strong.  The amount of free I have found could hurt someone’s feelings. Get out. Go to the park and get some fresh air.  The winter is tricky times but can find something to do.  Even doing some walking around at the malls on a rainy day is fun. FYI, the malls and movie theatres are the most busy during these times.
  7. Create.  I find that I use my Pintrest the most on the weekends or sometimes during the end of the week to find activities that are super fun, cheap, and did I say fun?  Yes there are somethings for everyone.  You could have a movie in night where you invite another family. Make it fun by creating cute little movie themed snacks, and it can be simple and rewarding.

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Whatever you plan to do this weekend-actually do.  I hate going into work and people talk about how boring their weekend was.  I am thinking to myself, they themselves may just be boring people.  Life is about living. Get out and find out what life has to offer. There are a thousand events to go to, things to do, places to be. Whatever it is get out there and find them!

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A Sister Roundup-Don’t Fall Off

Good morning all!

We should at this point have gotten our Valentine’s Day our of our systems and continue on showing love to the ones in our lives daily.  If you didn’t have the Valentine’s Day you wanted I get it, at this point, refocus from this one day and find ways to use self-care to get through.  You still have other days ahead that are going to need your attention.and dwelling on that one day past the 24 hours that followed means that you are allowing this to overtake you.

I wanted to do something different today to have a check in of sorts but instead of highlighting my highs and lows, let’s just talk about various aspects of our mental health.  One this has NOTHING to do with the allegations of mental abuse with the recent school shooting.  As much as I know mental disease played a part in it, I am one for calling a spade a spade and say that premeditated homicide is a different type of beast.  That is a blog for a different day.  However I send prayer and love to the community of Parkland and pray that with prayers, we have an action plan in place and sooner than later.  I am one for prayer but faith without works is dead, we need action.

Love Life

All of us regardless of where we are need to heal and have some closures in a few places.  Let me be clear that this has NOTHING to do with your tax status. A hurting heart will not heal from a wedding ring.  I know we have been conditioned to believe that marriage is the answer to love woes but it’s actually not. Marriage is like having a constant mirror walking around.  A lot of wounds that you haven’t dealt with will come up during marriage.  So if you are looking for marriage to complete you, this is misguided thinking.   It will not.  It will make you face yourself.  The issue with having someone to face yourself is that not all marriages are strong enough for the depth of junk that people bring into them. So I would suggest that you work on the things that you need before.

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Also there are some folks that would rather be single.  There is nothing wrong with that.  That’s not different then the folks that don’t want to be parents.  Your life, your choice.  Just be sure that wherever you want love not to go down the wrong path.  If you constantly see a pattern in whom you are choosing, don’t blame the people you dated, take accountability.  Remember self-care and self-love go hand in hand in your love journey it’s not something to attempt to do after you have entangled someone with you.  Also have a plan or list that you have in the back of your mind but make the non negotiable things that deal with character above physical in your mind especially if you are dating and looking.  I know women who have these laundry lists of their wants and needs and they are superficial to say the least.  Often times they don’t take character into play.  If you have a good-looking liar, you aren’t winning.  However you should be attracted to the person you are with.  So balance it!

Friendships/Sister Friends

I am in the process of weeding out a few bad apples. I find myself doing this often.  As I take accountability for my own actions one of the actions is my actions for friendships. It doesn’t matter how long I have been friends with them either.  Zero passes need to be given.  Since I have gotten older, my desires have changed.  With that some friendships were great for the phase of life I WAS in but not for where I am now nor for where I am headed.  With that in mind let’s cut away the leech friends.  The ones who have zero problems taking but do not ever give.  It’s not cool and as everyone is working on themselves the excuses has to stop.  You can have a million and one excuses but if you are out here being a bad friend, own it  and decide do you really want to change?  If yes then do so if not then be honest and let the friendship fizzle out.  Also friends shouldn’t get so comfortable that you take friendship for granted.  This means thank you, and please go a long way.  I think above all we have to remember that when we deal with others in general.  You’re not so much of my sis that you can forget that.

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We want to be connected but having bad connections is bad for your life in general.  Oh and be extremely leery of these friendship circles.  I was invited to one that I accepted because I know they are about building up.  But I declined one because it was really about selling stuff.  Listen, sis I love to shop but I am also on team savings too.  I want to help you build your brand but you can’t fill my inbox with let’s make money quick schemes and have me stay.  Not one time was it about praying, lifting another one up, or even about making sure everyone felt loved and secure.  I pass on these types all the time. This was one of the major pushes for cleaning up my social media.  I had way too many groups talking about helping that turned into everyone thinking they knew everything, let’s talk crap about another sister, or finding out the tea in someone’s life.  I got a healthy life, so I don’t have much time for the foolishness. I spend more time with solid relationships, my family, going to church, self-care and the gym that’s plenty for me.

Self-Care

What have you done this week for you?  Literally I found that I was super agitated more this week wondering if and why someone else hadn’t poured into me.  Totally selfish of me but it happened. One thing to note is never do anything for anyone and look for something in return.  The second thing that it showed me is that I lacked something that is within myself and I sought after that instead of wasting time being upset at someone else.  I have what I need inside of me. Do not tax others to do for you what you wont do for you.  It’s that simple.  Self care comes from various sources from free to lavish. You find where you can and what you can and you do it.  You really should be finding something you can do for you daily not just weekly.  If you have gotten to this Friday and can’t name one thing you did for yourself that made you better, than you have some catching up to do.  Ladies and gentlemen, self-care is not an option its a must.

Health

I can not stress enough getting ALL of your tests done.  Have you made an eye appt?  What about a gynecological exam?  No physical?  No follow-ups done either?  What in the real world are you waiting for?  You do realize that putting it off will not make anything go away?  Be vigilant about your health and what you want.  Be vigilant in making sure that you will be here in the future.  Go and be seen.  There is no reason to have something sneak up on you when we have the technology to do something about it.We need to make sure that our health is fully taken care of. How active are you?  How many hours a week are you putting into an active lifestyle?  Have you substituted the stairs for the elevators, maybe do a work out tape or a free YouTube exercise instead of constantly sitting in front of the television?  Maybe substituted a bad snack for a better healthier option?  Whatever you are not doing, let’s change that.  Let’s get up and move a bit.  Sitting is the new smoking so let’s end these bad habits and do it now.

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This has been an interesting week to say the least and remember it’s February so all the hoopla from the New Year’s wears off this month.  Don’t let the momentum stop you.  Renew your mindset and refocus on your goals.  Don’t let this super short month get you.  I know even with the flu it was hard to recommit but I did it and so can you.  Bad habits only last as long as you want them.  Good habits can do the same.  Make yourself a priority.

So I am hoping that with everything that is going on personally and professionally that you find a way to recommit to having the best life you can. No things aren’t perfect but you can have a better life if you make the right choices.  Sometimes those choices mean that you may need to say no, turn a few things off, say no to a few invitations and maybe even cut off a few along the way, but whatever it is that you need to do, do it and do it well!

 

2017 ReCap Greats, Misses, Lessons Learned!

It is that time of the year.  We are almost to Christmas and with that signal means that the New Year is soon here as well.  Although this year like with every year has had its challenges, it also has had some very good points as well.

We will always love you Mom Mom

As we began 2017 we were dealing with the death of my mother in law and trying to get through with everything you can imagine going along with it.  We were all over the place physically and emotionally. We pulled through and continue to make strides as we keep her legacy alive.

Kids

Also each of my children’s health has been A1! Let me insert a praise break here.  Both of my older kids have asthma and if you have a child with asthma you know that any and everything can trigger things to go left. They were in school all year and they didn’t miss many activities and that in itself is a blessing. Also along with my kids, my son started his first year of grade school aka kindergarten.  I am proud of his transition to grade school. He is doing a great job.  For my youngest she has been able to transition between daycare and is doing well.  My oldest is doing well and is super active in Girl Scouts.  I can’t say enough I am proud of this year’s progress!

Marriage

We finally was able to take a long needed baecation.  We celebrated 5 years of marriage and although its had a lot of down within our marriage, we are glad to say that we are making it through and are at peace and in love with one another. We had a blast on our baecation.  We were able to do what grown folks do, lounge around, sleep in, eat well, drink well, and enjoy some sun and fun.  I pray that 2018 allows us to go to a few more places, but 2017 you did your thing.  Shout out to my sister in love and brother for keeping our little people as we enjoyed some much-needed time away.

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Also of trips and time together we also are getting on the same page.  That in itself is a blessing. It’s hard to keep the love flowing from a place of contention.  It’s one thing to argue but to have a continual flow of dislike or disagreement and nothing being resolved, it wears you down as a person and wears at your union.  We have a few goals that I won’t talk about but just know that marriage is work and we are doing our work daily and checking in with one another more!

Family

Our family have been good.  Shout out to a new baby on the way. My brother and sister in love are having a new addition and I can’t wait for the Spring to get here so AT can love on another little.  Also shout out to my brother and mom who both graduated this year!! Yall better keep on going and getting your education.  Also to my twin who is making some awesome strides in her life and is doing an awesome job raising my niece.  Also I am making sure to do all I can to open up more to family.  I am not one usually to do that.  I like being in comfort of others but there are times when I absolutely need my space.  This is why it’s super easy for me to dismiss others quickly. My introvert ways creeps up way more than my extrovert ways will ever.

Health

I have been able to maintain and keep my work out schedule tight.  I actually have made changes to my settings on my Fitbit.  If you have one you know that you can make it really challenge you to be super active. Shout out to my Fitbit family for the step challenges-yall motivate me to keep moving and claim that top spot.  Also this year thanking God for getting that hysterectomy and FINALLY not being anemic.  To be able to be cold when you’re supposed to be instead of all day long is a blessing. To be able to not have ice in your cup because ice is life is great too.  Also just the general ability to be able to walk around knowing that you are healthy is a blessing. Please understand that so many wish this was their life and sadly it’s not.
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For 2018 I will be making or should I say already making changes to the way I work out.  When I first got my Fitbit this year,  I only set it for 7000 steps even though I was doing more than that.  I made the change to at least 10000 steps a day since I am confident with my history that 15000 steps is more likely what I will achieve daily.  I also will be doing more challenges within the Fitbit community.  I also will be signing up for barre classes instead of Soul Cycle.  My doctor has suggested that this will alleviate some of the injuries that Soul Cycle has given me. Not to say that Soul Cycle isn’t a great work out because it is but with me working out 5 days a week, running one day a week, I need to add more core training to my regiment.  So that is the goal for 2018 if I could set a fitness goal for the upcoming year.  I still will be keeping a journal of my workouts and what I eat.  This is not for calorie counting.  This is to continue in my Weight Watchers.  Any time that I haven’t written things down, I have noticed that I will not be accountable for what I eat.  I am looking forward to some new menus for myself as well.

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Anxiety

I have talked about this numerous times and I plan on opening up about it a lot more in the future.  When I was in college I was the epitome of the college student.  The one you could find on top of a bar, never missed a party, always ready for whatever and whenever.  I find now that part of my life is downsized, that going out especially doing anything where I attend something by myself makes me freak out.  This year, I have stepped out and attended a lot of events by myself. I have traveled a lot more alone and I have taken chances by being more visible.  I have named 2018 my personal Eat, Pray, and Love year and with that in mind, I am in the works with a lot of activities that will allow me to attack this anxiety and get passed it.

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People don’t even know that I suffer because once I am in a place and I am comfortable I am fine.  However I get sick, I feel like I can pass out, I don’t want to go, I try to back out, I go through it often.  I know that others like me are out there.  Although I have found ways of pressing through it I never want to act as if I am just this bundle of joy all the time.  Social anxiety is very real however I choose to be present and push past fear.

Social Media

Listen, when I tell you I could tell you every tea on most of your celebrities trust I could.  I could blog on that all day long since just like our lives, they are messy too.  However I have taken such a huge step. Often times it doesn’t show up or isn’t trending I won’t really know about it.  I have cut the fat on what I watch, what I entertain, who I engage in.  This has been super helpful.  I am not saying I am perfect but what I will say it has allowed me to be calmer in my own personal life. I don’t feel the need to clap back at things or people as much because I am not watching these images all the time.  This is my PERSONAL choice and not one that I would say hey you need to do at all.  This walk has always been personal but if you’re wondering the benefits of cutting back, they do exist. I also stop following a lot of pages, etc.  I used to make sure I aligned myself with a lot of drama and lately the cut back has served my personal space well.  This spillage has done well in almost every area of my life.  I let a lot of battles go and just realized that not every battle is mine.  Most of the time it’s almost like fighting air. Folks gon be folks.

Relationships

I had the pleasure of reconnecting with my aunt this year.  Again this has been over 30 years in the making. Since that reunion I make it my business to be sure that I communicate more with her and do what I need to do on my side when it comes to her.  Also I have noticed that I have finally taken more steps to find that some relationships I had in the past have served their purposes.  I am not saying that discovering that has been fun.  I feel like there were a few snubs, a few disappointments, a few folks that I didn’t realize I missed and will attempt to reconnect with soon.  This is a part of adulting that people don’t talk about. Letting go is hard.  It is not always easy but it is always necessary.  So to the chapters that got closed, I don’t understand it but soon I am sure I will or maybe I won’t.  To the new chapters that have opened, I have found some awesome new contacts.  There are a few relationships that I closed that I am soul searching to discover if it was me closing it just to be petty or was the pain that was caused needing this close.  There is a large chunk that will remain closed.  I have made sure that I keep in contact with those that I needed to.  I really used to have a bad history of just being a one-sided friend.  I have stepped it up because in reality its necessary not just for what those friendships or relationships give to me, but what I give to them as well.

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Career

I will be starting a new position within the same company starting at the beginning of the year.  Won’t he do it! It’s a bit bitter-sweet but welcoming new challenge.  I also interested in continuing to learn more, grow, and always secure my coins. I got a lot of things to do and planned for 2018 and its going to take all of my coins to do it.

This year has been like I said filled with some ups and downs.  There are things that have happened that has caused me to figure out my life more. I really just want to drink water, mind my business, keep that credit score going up. continue to be debt free, be an awesome mother, a dynamic partner and wife to my husband, a great daughter, awesome aunt and sibling, make sure my career takes off, and be a great blogger! That alone along with keeping this body fit is more than enough to get me through 2018.  So as we soon say good-bye know that I have a lot of goals that are an extension of the work I have been putting in from 2017.  I have some travel goals, some more me time activities planned, and just looking for the yearly renew.  I have always said and its true, birthdays and New Year Day is always the best time to hit the reset button.  I also practice hitting that reset button daily as well.

 

 

 

 

Take it to the South…..

One of the best things I love about the holidays is getting together with family and friends. Nothing says holiday time then good food, great drinks, friends to laugh and shed a few tears with and today I was able to get my dose.

So when you live in a city like Philadelphia there are so many restaurants and events that’s it can be hard to keep up. I was wonderfully delighted to go to South Kitchen and Jazz Parlor. Now I had my kids with me for a few seconds waiting on their Dad, but as soon as we walked in the kids said ohhhhhh mommy I love this place. It had everything that I like, low beautiful lights, welcoming staff and visually stunning. My kids went with their dad and I was able to join the rest of the ladies.

Now let me say the drinks were so good. I love a great holiday drink. South Kitchen definitely made sure to make the drinks strong and hey for the price it should be. Some restaurants do try to water down drinks I can say not South Kitchen. From sip one I felt like I was going to have to slow walk this. Now I am an avid drinker so a strong drink usually isn’t intimidating but this one….

Some of the ladies ordered some wonderfully looking appetizers and from their empty plates I believe it was good. We got down to it and ordered our entrees. I ordered the oxtails with hopping Johns aka black eyed peas and collard greens. Now let me confess I’ve never eaten oxtails before but definitely wanted to give it a try. From the first bite, it was nothing less than amazing. I felt this was better than anything I have ever had. I am a little foodie and I swear it took everything not to order another to take home. The portion sizes were more than enough. Like I get why Uber Eats haven’t started delivering but I’m already working my brain on when I can get back there.

Now to my favorite part, the jazz! They had Roxy Coss a New York based saxophonist and composer. Her band was amazing. I’ve grown up with the influence of jazz my whole life and let me say my parents would have been in real musical heaven. One of the pieces, “Unwavering Optimism”, was inspired by Roxy’s Grandma who lived her life everyday as it was her best day ever. Think about that, although her grandma had passed the lesson of taking each day as your best was reached to each and every audience member. Life lessons can come in many forms! I downloaded her album Chasing the Unicorn before the end of the first song. It is that good!! You can get it on iTunes or anywhere you get digital music!

So we had such a great time filled with laughs, a few tears, and some amazing food but most importantly a great time. Although I wanted to say no I did have the apple pear cobbler with ice-cream. Lawd I was willing to have a set back on my fitness but luckily I didn’t have to. All of the ladies helped me partake!

So let me tell you my take from this experience, one friendship. It’s been a long road to establish myself here in Philadelphia. I’ve blogged about it often but I feel like I’m finally settling in after almost 6 years. Yeah I take a minute to warm up but the truth is I’ve been pregnant since forever since I moved here. It was a challenge for me to open up and be a consistent friend to others.

Another take is when I look back on how I was a few years ago with anxiety getting out and pushing myself has been helpful. I’m finally enjoying myself. College was so amazing and not having anxiety was a blessing. Gaining social anxiety afterwards was heartbreaking. Learning myself over again and trusting the process has shaped me to be able to not say no to invites. I would want to go but as the event got closer I would clam up and say no. Every lady brought in good vibes. Every lady, was warm and welcoming. Good times were had by all!

One of the ladies I’ll call her MJ since that name is one of my favorites since it’s what we call my son and that’s her initials surprised each lady with a gift bag. I love trinkets and this bag was so sweet! Thanks MJ!!!

All in all it was a great evening! So if you’re ever in Philadelphia area venture into South Kitchen Jazz Parlor. When I say you will be most pleased I mean it!! Come with your coins though. It ain’t cheap. It isn’t somewhere you would want to take the kids unless it’s a special occasion but it is worth the price for quality food, quality time, and a real great experience.

Ask Toi: You Got Questions….

Is not inviting someone with kids an acceptable reason for disincluding someone in your wedding?!

No. Bottom line is if you’re being told this the kicker is they didn’t want to invite you. Your kids was the easy get out of jail card and they used it. Anyone with kids knows that if you want to be somewhere even if it’s an adult only invite you will make a way.  So by virtue that you were told the lack of invite is because you have kids I would understand one underlining fact, your friendship isn’t as tight as you would like or thought it was.  Weddings are expensive so I get that brides have a hard time cutting the list but good friends don’t make excuses. They reach out and say hey I need to make some cuts and we are friends but I won’t be able to invite you. The issue is that some brides want to make things right after the fact but sometimes it could be a little too late. I actually had a friend who invited me to their shower but not the wedding for a gift and although I applauded her honesty I sent no gift nor did I attend the shower. If you want to keep the relationship have a conversation if not let it ride and let the natural process of elmination take over.

How do you eliminate group vacation drama??

Be super clear with every detail especially when it comes to money. Prior to paying in be clear who you are inviting. Not everyone that you like is the proper get together group. Too many times do people want their other friends to get along. Keep in mind you need more than one person to cross over the lines of friendship. Once your girl power group is assembled split things properly. When my girls and I went to Chicago we had the accounting friend calculate hotel costs according to the days that everyone was staying. We sent emails out and had everyone confirm that they understood. I made the arrangements and we had everyone pay ahead. It was none of that I got you business. To be ahead of the game, just speak up and keep one thing in mind, do not overbook every minute. Let there be a few group activities and leave space for some in the moment adventures too.  Enjoy, take great pictures and limit social media time and reconnect.

If while there something comes up, speak up and separate drinking arguments from real legit arguments and you should be fine.