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!

Advertisements

Ask Toi: How do I handle my best friend who needed to stay with me but complains about my home?!

Welp if you are best friends people always assume that you should be able to freely speak on anything. To a certain degree that makes perfect sense but there are times that close friends will have to have difficult conversations. This is one of them.

If you’re not about that put your girl out life, you will need to take your friend out of the home and have a conversation. What I mean is find an environment outside of the home to talk to your girl about her insults. One thing you can’t or I’ll say is shouldn’t do is come into someone home and insult them. Insults can come from how that person does things, to what you may feel needs to be in or outside of the home, etc. Even if your friend is the keeping it real type we have to understand that mutual respect should always be your main goal. Keeping it real can go real wrong and we have to stop this narrative to allow people to be loud and cruel at your expense! Keeping it real means you won’t sugar coat it but even non sugar things can be good to you. Delivery is everything and it sounds like this real friend is being a real jerk!

I find that besties lose sight of what it means to never take respect out of the relationship and in your case she has disrespected you and your home. Speak candidly with examples about what is being said and how it made you feel. Be prepared for a few rebuttals:

  • It’s not that deep I was just telling you
  • I should be able to say whatever to you at this point
  • If you can’t handle my realness that’s not my problem
  • I can leave but don’t forget what I did for you….
  • You making a big deal over nothing

All of which are wrong because it doesn’t change the disrespect. Don’t back down when speaking. Let your friend and the rebuttals know that you gave your bestie the courtesy by not addressing her right away giving her time to adjust but since she won’t she needs to and that going forward that type of behavior will not be tolerated!

You have every right to be in your home without someone telling you what you should do or how you should be doing it. You simply saying that this has been going on for a little while let’s me know that the tension has been there long before she came to visit or stay!

Talk it out and depending on her responses will let you know if bestie needs to find new living arrangements or a hotel. Never let anyone in your home disrupt the flow of peace not even for a visit! Hotel chains are open 24 hours a day and you don’t deserve an hour of inconvenience.

Good luck!

Martin Luther King Jr. would be Disappointed

So today is MLK day. The day we remember the teachings and words that Dr. King’s legacy was supposed to enlighten us to do. Dr. King faced adversity and his message was clear that we change how we interact with others for the chance for us all to live a life of equality.

On paper it’s the best message that we ever could have. The problem with Dr. King’s message is that it with all of its national and worldwide playback the message can only go so far if we don’t just recite them on today. There will be people who recite it just for the moment but don’t apply his words and how he lived each and every day to their every day life.

Another issue that we have to talk about is racism. The ability to hate and show hate to a group of people who do not look like, nor do they align with your personal measurement of acceptance based on race. So yes even those who state they have a black friend how can they be racist, yes you too can be racist. Having acceptable Blacks but hating the other Blacks isn’t about preference. This is hatred and this is racism. That acceptable black person you have welcomed into your fold still has to deal with the same overt racist actions that others like them have to face. Black folks don’t get to claim they have an acceptable white friend and dodge racist reactions.

Dr. King didn’t want us to have the Travon Martins of our time. He simply wanted any child and adult to be judged on character and not color of skin first while their character was used to later justify the hate. He didn’t want our young black men or women to be assaulted before they could even be determined to have been a criminal first or not. You do realize no one has made signs that our black men or women can carry that identifies whether or not they are good or bad when approached by cops.

I think about my own son. He’s 6 years old and is taller than most kids his age. Hopefully he will make good choices, but even if he does the way the world is set, what makes him so different that he won’t face racism?! I was called a Nigger by a child in elementary school and was told that I wouldn’t be anything even though I had maintained a 4.0 from practically 2nd grade.

Dr. King’s message of acceptance and equality is necessary. We need to hear it and live it. We have come far but the way history shows itself it’s definitely repeating. That makes me scared. My great grandmother before she passed away was able to live to see a Black president. That is hope and dope at the same time. (Dope means awesome FYI!) However we need more hope in order to raise our kids and the kids that come behind them to do more then repeat Dr. King’s speech. We need the Dream to be our reality and we need it now. The increase in race based deaths and hate speech is no longer secluded events. They are no longer happening to a select few. It’s common place. As much as we don’t watch the news with our kids to control a little bit of what they take in, they still are getting the negative messages. We as parents are still having to have more adult conversation due to questions surrounding inequality.

If you’re reading this blog today, make a declaration to do better. Please treat yourself and others around you with dignity and respect. Respect the differences of those around you and embrace people’s uniqueness. Spread love but make each other respect one another. This is a unified message. If not the very pain that our ancestors was killed for and shed blood for will continue to spill today.

Dr. King didn’t just give you a day off. His message was greater then just an awesome African American lesson. This lesson is and should be the very spirit of our own lives. We are connected regardless of how much we want to fight it! Don’t let Dr. King be disappointed that he may if he was here think his fight was in vain. Don’t let his good work be taken advantage of. The times his wife and kids didn’t know if he would return home, or the times all of their lives was questioned for nothing! We are the Dr. Kings of our time! Let’s do our best to spread love! Lets also continue to call those out who spread hate. Why? The ones who hate but are undercover are more dangerous then the evil you know, acknowledge and are prepared for.

So do community service today and everyday. Get out and learn about others history. Get out and extend your services without discrimination to all regardless of race, sexual preference, etc.

Don’t snub your nose at people because you had one bad experience with one person. Allow a sea of different people into your neighborhood without them fearing retaliation on the back end. Let your children play with one another without fear. For those in high power jobs and responsibilities, do your job without these prejudices making your judgement a top priority over your oath of office.

Let’s remember Dr. King everyday!

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.

Thanksgiving Tips To Get Through

It’s here, it’s finally here.  The start of the holidays can begin.  For all of those that have been dreading this or those who welcome it, it’s time to go into full gear. With that said not everyone will be spending the holidays with the most accepting family or friends.  Honestly I would suggest to avoid drama to have a Friendsgiving meal instead of with family if the situation is toxic.  Life is too short to be arguing over the dinner table.  I would rather family be mad and get over it then to have to spend the holidays overwhelmed, angry, and then have this feeling stick with you for days.  This is not that I do not like family gatherings, I do but I am anti stress of any sorts regardless of the occasion.  In case you just can’t just not show up to a family gathering and you know there will unavoidable drama here are my tips to get you through:

  1. Have an exit plan. If you are traveling with others, make a code word. Something that only you and the ones you came in with know. Honor your sanity to know that you don’t have to spend a whole day, if after some time you are ready to roll, then do so.  You are grown.  Do NOT make up an excuse. Just simply be gracious, thank your host, and then leave.  If you have to make an excuse then you haven’t realized how grown you are.
  2. Take a deep breath.  Folks gon work your nerves. There’s no way around it. Be prepared for it.
  3. Don’t answer everything.  Sometimes we talk to much just to prove a point and why?  It’s not necessary.  You don’t have to be right.  There’s peace and letting folks play themselves.  It’s amazing the folks every holiday that got a word for YOUR life, but yet ain’t got one for their own. Less is best.
  4. As long as you’re not on alcoholic tendencies, grab a drink but don’t overdo it.  Two people tell the truth and that’s kids and drunk folks.  Loose lips sink ships.  So do not become so drunk that you allow your drunk muscles to speak for you.  This is when things go left and what you should have dealt with sober you try to deal with liquid courage.
  5. Bring a hostess gift.  Do you know the worst thing about the holidays is the part where folks talk about the ones who just come through with a plate but don’t ever bring anything to contribute.  Bring something.  Even if its momma house and she insist, slide momma a few dollars. Do something.
  6. Remember that Thanksgiving is one day.  Do not fall into the trap in putting more power in the day that you forget what the day is about.
  7. If things get heated, retreat, leave, walk away.  You know you are going to hear the same stories. the same drama, and the same everything, be prepared for it.
  8. Be realistic.  If you chalk it up to be more than what you know it will be, you will be the only one disappointed.
  9. Have some fun-yes with all of the stress to prepare the perfect meal, be the best host, or just avoid going to jail remember to have a little fun.  Play some games, enjoy that beverage, enjoy that piece of pie-enjoy!
  10. Do not bring anyone to someone else’s house without speaking with them beforehand.  No you can’t bring your new flavor of this week to the dinner.  We don’t want to meet them. No you can’t just bring a random dude to momma house. See them afterwards.  I know people want to bring them a tenderoni to the dinner but unless you clear it with the hoss, meet up for some after Thanksgiving night cap and leave it at that. If you don’t take heed the only tenderoni you gon have is some ricearoni or get hemmed up in a corner.  There are rules so know the rules before you go to someone’s house.
  11. For the single that get the when you getting married question, just be gracious. No matter what you say or do they gon ask.  You might as well deal.  If you are married and you get the whole, when are you having kids find a way to be gracious instead of mad.  If you feel the need to be a little bit more stern than do so but remember stern don’t have to be ignorant unless someone has asked you several times in the same night and won’t respect your no.
  12. If you are married or dating and you are going over your in-laws or future in-laws, take the cue in how to deal with their family from your mate or boo. Stop overstepping your boundaries. Everybody family ain’t saved and you might get a bite you wasn’t expecting.  Attempt to be respectful.  If you feel you can’t remove yourself.

I hope you all have a great holiday. It will take a cool down, being focused on what the holiday is about, having a plan of action, and removing yourself from stressful situations to do that.  Remember self-care sometimes means saying no, not over doing it, enjoying the moment and controlling your own responses.  Have a good one and keep these things in mind.

Image result for thanksgiving stress

When 2018 Comes…

Every year we run the same list. When the New Year comes I’mma do this and that. I’mma give folks what they give me. I’mma lose the weight. I’mma, I’mma …..

You know I’m all for goals. However you can start now. You don’t have to wait to give anyone the same energy they gave you later. That can start right now. What are you waiting on?! For them to continue to do some mean and ignorant stuff, trust they will do that no matter what if that is in them to do.

Whatever your goal is for the New Year, do that now. You are important enough to extend the energy into your own life. Don’t wait to be that more upset, that more motivated, or that more encouraged before you can make a move. You know what I am talking about. You wait until a person does one more thing and then you will feel it’s okay to handle it or them. If you know like I know, that the list of wrongs has been long since Jesus was a baby. You don’t need anger to motivate you into cutting off folks that rightfully deserve it. You just need to remember that you don’t want that same treatment in return. Sometimes you can let it naturally cut off while not doing any extras. If you would simply stop giving folks you’re all when they keep showing you that you’re only an option and not a priority it would naturally end.

They can’t get anything from you or even the things they once got from you, the little value they saw in you they won’t see anymore and will move to the next person that will give them what they want. Don’t ever feel that you are the end of the story. Trust me what you won’t do someone else will. They run that you’re the only one; they have no one else game simply because you allow it to be ran!

You don’t need to be made fun of due to your weight to start later. Start now. Start making changes to your diet now. Thanksgiving isn’t an automatic ear until you get sick move. It’s going to come no matter what. If you start pushing back from the table now you may just have the energy to eat in moderation during the holiday as well. So many people say imma wait until the holidays are over to start. You do realize that you could be working on your goal while going into into the Nee Year instead of just starting at the New Year. Make your goals within the holidays. The holiday doesn’t have to rule you. You are tired of how you look in your own skin is more than enough motivation or will you just be disgusted and settle?! You really want results but you don’t want to work. How is that working for you now?! 2018 is going to be filled with the same drama, the same effort and the same lack if you don’t learn to honor yourself.

So on this Monday don’t wait until tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. Make the steps today. You are in charge how you are handled by the people in your life including how you handle yourself. Keep talking down to yourself telling yourself how unworthy you are and don’t be surprised when others treat you the same. Keep taking negatively and putting failure and pain into the atmosphere but keep looking to receive success where you haven’t sown it. News flash it ain’t coming. You’re going to get out of life the very things you put into it.

Take this moment to get clear your goals and work them now. 2018 isn’t promised to any of us. There’s a lot of folks That left this earth in 2017 with ideas that were never accomplished. Some goals that wasn’t even started. I think failure isn’t when you start but don’t finish it’s not honoring yourself enough to start in the first place.

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.