Closing a chapter….

This has been a great weekend for me. I was really able to get a lot done that was on my plate. In the midst of all of that I got word that my childhood pastor had passed away. I really hadn’t formulated any emotions as of yet. Either it will come or it won’t. What I can say is regardless of how things happened it can’t stop the fact that the chapter has to close.

I’ve fought mentally and emotionally as I crossed into adulthood about what my childhood church family has meant. I remember being super angry at times about it. At the time while I was a kid, in my mind was the best place ever. Always super involved. In the choir, on the usher board, on other ministries. It served the purpose for my life at the time. I would never be able to go on record and say that it wasn’t the best place for what I needed even at points in it I wanted things to be different. It was the challenge for me that pushed me into adulthood.

I wouldn’t have met some of the best people in my life had I not been in the church. I wouldn’t have had some of the greatest memories of some of the best times like going on church trips or retreats. All of my time wasn’t bad. Not all of my memories come from a place of disagreement! I had fun. I was sheltered.

So I’ve closed the door to being a member at the church. That season is done. However now is the time to really close the chapter of all that comes with the passing of my childhood pastor! I’ve gained a lot of knowledge of who I am even as an adult! It shapes who I allow to pastor me now, what I will allow from church members and who I want to be as an example to my kids.

I’ve been extremely vocal in the past however none of that matters. I hope that my childhood pastor’s family is comforted. I pray them peace to all the members who remain and the ones that were there during my time and before who at the height of his tenure have the same type of memories that I have.

Closing chapters may be hard to do. However we all have to be able to do what’s best for us. Seasonal relationships matter and you can take the focus off of negativity to propel you into a great future!

I’m super grateful that I don’t feel with his passing that there were things left unsaid. I’m glad that at his passing I don’t feel a void or bitterness. I am happy for the beautiful times. I have no bitterness in my spirit and I try to live my life like that daily. I can close the chapter in peace and with the same peace release that back into my life.

~Pastor Albert Andrew Belton~

I’ve said this once and I’ll say it a thousand times even in difficult times we have to look at the good and focus on that alone!

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On the Move: Crunchik’n Style

Shout out to #travelwithchefcherryl and the brunch buddies as we take you behind the scenes to local eateries. Again as a lifestyle blogger you are going to want to know the places to either get out, have new places to grab food with bae, your girls or even the fam bam. I enjoy getting around Philadelphia and yesterday’s spot was brought to us to by Crunchik’n.

Tuna bowl served with rice, lettuce, salsa, Japchae noodles and a dumpling

Crunchik’n is a Korean flare restaurant. It’s amazing food at great prices that is made fresh to order and it tastes amazing. From their homemade dumplings to their marinated sauces each bite is special. We caught up with Jen who is part owner with her father, John Choi. She stressed that the goal was to make quality food that was made on the premises and that the sauces made was fermented and marinated to give the meat their fresh, unique taste. I think they hit a slam dunk. The selections are so good that even if you didn’t want to sit and eat you could order their half or whole chicken cut up and make dinner at home special too. Oh and if you’re wondering they are on Caviar for delivery as well.

Kimchi cheese fries

Since I’m vegan let me tell you that they had amazing vegetarian dishes that I was able to veganize. I didn’t leave hungry in the least bit. My suggestion is that this is a causal dining experience, good for all types since although they don’t have a specific kids menu, kids of all ages would love the chicken and other offerings. We even had some kids along and I heard a few to all ask for seconds. This is a great spot to gather friends as well or makes a causal date night or date day location.

Beef and vegetarian taco I personally had the vegetarian and it was amazing to keep it vegan I had mine without the sour cream and it was still full of flavor

Crunchik’n has been open for a little over a month. This means you need to get in and show them a little love. For new guests who go you will also receive a gift! Who doesn’t love gifts?

Beef dumplings on the right and the veggie dumplings on the left was made with kale and spinach. The veggie dumplings were super good!

So if you love Korean style food that is fresh, high quality, and served by awesome accommodating staff, make sure you add Crunchik’n to the top of your lists of go tos. You will not be disappointed!!!

Korean fried chicken can come in 8 house-made marinated sauces

They serve tacos, rice bowls, sandwiches, dumplings, Korean fried chicken and even small bites! What’s not to love?!

Spicy pork melt sandwich

The drinks are good too!! They have arrangements from Bubble Teas to fresh Sparkling Ade…

Strawberry lemonade and grapefruit

Mango and Matcha Green Bubble Tea

One last thing:

Crunch Balls which comes with either rice or potato and either beef or vegetarian

The hours are as follows:

Rim Cafe: Make it Happen

I love when you leave a place or in someone’s presence and you have the biggest smile because of how someone has treated you. I experienced an experience that is Rim Cafe.

From the time I walked into Rim Cafe I was taken away. It’s an eclectic atmosphere filled with nostalgia. So from first glance you should already know you’re in for a treat.

We were greeted with smiles and I knew it was going to be a in a welcome atmosphere. Rene the owner has so much light and love that it’s hard to not smile. I’m talking about that show all of your teeth smile. He knows how to “make it happen!” That’s his signature phrase. He sat down with us and talked about making coffee and drinks and about life. I wasn’t sure expecting to get life jewels but I did!

He talked about not limiting our power. He discussed about being the best in what you do and how creativity can’t be copied. I have often spoken about when you’re open to the right things wisdom will fine it’s way to deliver what you need when you need it.

If you follow Rim Cafe you already know that Rene is going to spin you into a heavenly rich concoction of love. Literally he made us 3 dishes. The first was a St. Patrick White hot chocolate that was amazing.

The next was a baked cannoli with melted chocolate in the middle. My goodness I was just floored by the flavor.

Next came the blow torch and I knew I was in trouble. He made banana flambé with caramel sauce and topped with peanut butter. Somebody call and check on me. I had to pretty much drink water for the rest of the day!

Oh by the way the peanut butter is homemade with his own signature way of making it. I’m not a peanut butter fan but this makes any of your name brand peanut butter blush!

I almost forgot about the salted caramel espresso shot! Heaven in a glass!!

Don’t wait, run to Rim Cafe. It’s located 1172 S. 9th Street, Philadelphia PA! You will never see a cafe like this in your life. Thank you Rene for making me smile. The memories will last! Make it Happen!!

Also they have all kinds of treats to take home too!!

Philadelphia Eateries: Neighborhood Ramen

I feel like being in Philadelphia these last 8 years has been a blur. So much that in these last few years I’ve finally taken a step into what the city has to offer. Food is such an important part in how we live and socialize.

It’s important to find the right place to eat depending on your purpose. As a mom I love finding kid friendly locations. However since I’m more than just a mom I love finding the locations that allows me to have a date night, time with my girlfriends or just a solo spot to not have to share.

This weekend I had the pleasure of visiting Neighborhood Ramen.

Neighborhood Ramen

I haven’t had ramen noodles since college. Back in the day ramen noodles wasn’t something that was fancy or even all that good. It was a means of eating to take that next test. However since no longer eat college ramen noodles it was refreshing to try the more sophisticated and grown up ramen that is Neighborhood Ramen. They are located at 617 S. 3rd Street, Philadelphia PA. The location holds about 20 people and they do not allow for take out. Everything is made fresh. Also they tend to sell out so pay attention to their Instagram! I personally wouldn’t have had any to take home anyway. This is not the college ramen I remember 20 years ago.

Service was fast as well as excellent. My ramen, Yasai, which is a vegetarian ramen was more better than I could have anticipated. The only issue I had was I have never used chopsticks and apparently I don’t have the skill set to use them. That didn’t stop me from enjoying my entree.

Who would have known that ramen would take off like it did but it has. If you follow them you will notice if you eat all of your ramen there is a happy face at the end. I never want to be a quitter or maybe I was just hungry but I made it!!

They have many options so I’m sure you will find something for your palette. Come hungry and be ready to eat! Neighborhood Ramen is the adult ramen I didn’t even know I needed! Thank you for your hospitality!!! I will be back!

I recommend this for family with kids who are older and appreciates ramen, causal date days, getting friends together, and even solo eating experiences.

Easy Transition With Go Vegan Philly

So last week on my Instagram I put out a call for any Philadelphia Vegan restaurants. I am happy to report that several did and today’s highlight goes to Go Vegan Philly

So I was able to have a successful full vegan weekend this past weekend.  In addition to that I was able to experience an amazing, flavorful experience with Go Vegan Philly. First of all let me share with you some of my personal reasons or my whys. I am transitioning to Vegan, one I believe with the assistance of my doctors this is the best meal plan for my life. If you ask the others in my house its a NO go. However that is not deterring me from choosing a Vegan lifestyle. My other issue is that I want to be able to eat clean. You know if you have been following me that over the past Summer I began substituting Vegan dishes and substitutes into my everyday eating. One of my issues that I experienced as I begin transitioning is the fear of having to only eat vegetables alone, meaning just salads. I love salads but let’s be real it’s not enough and I was finding even with several options for Vegans it was semi processed and definitely not whole foods that I need and believe will be better overall. I’ll admit a lot of it had a lot to do with ignorance of what it means to be vegan.

I feel I have had every salad combination there is. As I get more and more into it I am finding some amazing foods that can even surprise a non vegan. This is where Go Vegan Philly comes in. I had Jerk Chicken (Jack fruit) over rice with sautéed kale and cabbage and plantains.  Let me tell you I have personally been to Jamaica and had it from the natives and this dish is super bomb and close.  I kept telling myself to separate the platter. Have a little as a late lunch and then have the rest for dinner after a workout. NOPE! I ate the whole thing in a matter of minutes. Here’s my take. I no longer have to compromise flavor for a Vegan lifestyle.

I took the time to interview the owner of Go Vegan Philly and here’s what I learned:

Shaun Thomas has been Vegan for 4 years. He has had his home based restaurant for over a year and its taking off. I can definitely see why. His family is also vegan as well. He makes it all from mac and cheese to fried chicken and its ALL 100% Vegan.  From first to last bite I am super hooked.

Him and his cousin Charmain Quarles are the chefs. I watched them in action as they prepared these dishes. They serve each meal with love and smiles. They worked extremely well and I just blended in the background to see how their chemistry meshed and it was amazing. I love food and I love to eat. I don’t want to just eat salads and then feel like I lost something by switching. That is exactly what Shaun’s vision is. He wants people to feel like they are getting the foods that they grew up with that is flavorful but remains healthy and a great alternative to those who are transitioning. When he made the decision to go Vegan, he woke up and just did it and stuck to his commitment. That is truly admiral. I aspire to take that full-time leap.  So far I am doing well.

Jack fruit “Jerk” chicken, plantains, and sautéed cabbage and kale

The dish I had blew me AWAY.  From the reviews of even non Vegans, its spot on. The food was more than amazing.  I was full and not looking to snack on things or revert to a meat based meal later on that day.  If I am honest,  I ate around 4pm and didn’t feel the need to eat again until the next day at breakfast.  I asked Shaun what are his dishes and his response was simple, tell me your favorite meat based meal and I can make into a Vegan dish.  Take a look at some of their other dishes and you can be the judge:

 

If going Vegan looks like this and has my taste buds in full bliss, you can kiss meat based meals goodbye.  So as the journey begins send good vibes.  Also for those wanting to know, Go Vegan Philly does offer a meal plan service that I will be taking part in.  As I type this, I have already eaten the second platter.  Thank you Shaun, Charmain, and Go Vegan Philly you got a solid customer here!

Follow Go Vegan Philly on Facebook

Also follow them on Instagram

All orders can be placed by calling/text 610-616-3083

Hours are Tuesday-Friday; 5-9pm and Sat/Sun 1-6pm

Go Vegan Philly is located in Delaware County

As with any lifestyle change be sure to make the decision that best suits your end goal. Also be sure to research and have an open mind. Often times we are afraid to try new things because it challenges us to possibly end what we “always” known. Research! Research and then stick to your commitment!

Let’s flood Go Vegan Philly with orders and love! It’s well deserved!

 

 

 

Women’s History Month: Zulma M.

How someone treats you matters. It sets the tone for respect or disrespect. Often times we get upset but there are times we need to look in the mirror. How we respond to the treatment says continue or stop. If we are honest not being direct is usually the culprit. We are still talking about failures and sometimes the failure to not allow others to dictate out lives needs checked.

What is one failure you are comfortable sharing that taught you the most lessons?

One of the many failures that I will have to say that has taught me and continues to teach me is allowing others to dictate or control me.

Again the concept that in order to appear respectful its best to keep quiet or not to rock the boat. That is a misread. You have to be able to speak up and mean what you say but you don’t have to be mean when you say it.

From that failure, what other lesson have you learned?

The lesson it taught me is that I have a voice and I am light and once I saw that and owned that no one could tell me otherwise.  I have allowed the opinions of others dictate how I was to live, to behave, dress and how I was to be all around.  I would have rather pleased them and allow myself to fall into a sunken place because I wanted to be accepted and loved, but deep-down resenting myself.

As I stated I learned to love myself, to accept myself and work on changing me for me not anyone else.  I have learned that I am different and that is okay that is actually great, I learned that my voice matters, maybe not to anyone else, but it matters to me.

Wanting approval is one thing. Wanting approval above our own voice is not okay. You can love you and make others around you align themselves accordingly.

What are is the 3 things you would want to tell other younger woman in regard to lessons learned?

Learn to love yourself…it will be challenging at first, but it is sooo freeing.

Do not allow the things programmed in your mind dictate who you are.  So often we are subjected to the thoughts and beliefs of our parents, teachers, friends and loved ones and it is a battle of who we truly are.  What I will tell you is research, allow your heart to lead you.  We have all the answers within us, but are you open enough to hear.

Pursue your dreams – there is no limit to what you can do.  Whatever you feel in your heart do it.

We can take on the things that we are taught and add or subtract from it what we need to be the adults that we need to be. It’s okay to go against the grain especially if it will yield a happy, confident and well-loved woman in its place.

What are 3 goals for your future?

To complete 2 certifications – Neuroscience certification and my Life Coaching Certification

Release weight – physically, emotionally and mentally

Travel – I want to travel the world and be an international motivational speaker

If you could sit down with any woman past or present who would it be and why?

I would have to say -Harriet Tubman – she was(is) a hero (Shero) – the fact that she was a slave she did not have no support, but she found a way to escape and not only free herself, but she came back and saved others too.   She was selfless and I would love to hear how she overcame the obstacles, the hardship what drove her to do the things she did etc.

Harriet Tubman definitely was one strong woman to do the very thing of helping slaves escape knowing she could be put to death.  We won’t step out and blog, be a creator, or go after that job and our lives aren’t even on the line. Don’t hesitate to step out in life and do things for others as well as yourself.  You got this!

 

IF you have any projects that are coming up in the future, what are they?

I am going to be hosting a workshop for women in late spring early summer. Planning to host a part 2 Vision Board Event as well.

Zulma is also on the Marketing Team for TCP I have not doubts that anything you start you will finsih

What is the one thing as a woman that you feel helps or helped you make your mark in this world?

Learning to be me and accepting me for who I am and the fact that I desire to exude Love to everyone, even those that do me wrong.  Staying positive as often as I can and remember to.   I have learned that what you put out into the Universe it will return to you.  So I choose to remain positive through adversity, give love at all times.

Thank you Zulma for participating and we wish you much success as you continue to live life on your terms and branch out!

You can find Zulma on Facebook or Instagram

Words Do Matter; You Matter More

So while at an event in my hometown I had someone say something to me about my weight. Now you all know I had documented my journey and that when I was over 200 pounds very little had comments about my weight and at that time I was way over where I needed to be. It was devastating. Now I am at weight goal and tightening up and I am still getting comments about my weight.  I was taken back if I am honest. I talked to my husband and he was like “keep it in perspective some folks aint seen you since you were a kid. You’re a grown ass woman with an amazing body and 3 kids, stay the course!”  Can we just clone him?  He made me feel like the beautiful woman who I am.

This is the conclusion I have come to. A lot of folks will only see you at what they last remember. I went to college a size 0 and came back a size 4 that was an issue. Had a baby and was a size 6 and now I am holding at a size 8 and sometimes 10 depending on how the pants are cut. Issue.

I am not here to worry about what other people’s eyes see me as. I am perfect at the size that I am. I am not in competition to be at high school weight. I was unhealthy to be honest. I ate what I wanted, rarely went to the doctors and the only saving grace was a high metabolism and sports. Skinny isn’t always healthy.  I know folks smaller than me with high blood pressure and a whole gambit of health complications.

What I know is from head to toe I am finally in the best shape of my life and I can run and do 6 or more races a year. I can keep and outrun my kids and run up and down a flight of steps without losing my breath. I eat as well as I can and work out 2-3 usually more a week. I am fine!  I am enough!

There is a woman who is struggling right now with a lot of whispers and you may not be as confident as I feel or feel like you’re not. You are just enough. You are enough even in the state that you are. Its one of the things I felt I needed to say. I need to release it. I had a family member say oh you sure are hippy meaning curvy. I am supposed to be. Newsflash, I have regular amazing sex and I have 3 kids. They didn’t know when I had the athletic build in high school I used to want to have a curve. Now I have them and they are here to stay. I looked like a boy body shape and folks would either like it or have an issue.  So to the curves and the butt that I now have, please stay. We are going to tone up these next couple of months but we ain’t dropping you!

Do not let anything stop you from being your best version of you.  Trust me you can change your body, but be the best version of yourself inner and outer and trust me you will always shine in darkness.

What if you aren’t at the place you need to be and someone does make a negative but true comment?  Remember when the lady asked me how far along I was and if I was having a boy? Devastating. I cried. I was hurt. I made up in my mind that I wouldn’t allow myself to get to that point.  To prevent that I only keep my size clothes in my drawers. I don’t wear baggy clothes. They actually let you look bigger FYI.  Wearing form figuring clothes helps hold you accountable. I didn’t say tight, I said form-fitting or figure flattering clothes. The other day I found a size 14 pant in my closet, tried it on and it was drowning on me. I gave them away.  I keep myself accountable by weighing myself weekly just like I did when I was going to Weight Watchers meeting. It’s important for me to stay the course. So when that comment was made through the help of my husband and getting on the scale to see what was going on, I was fine. I knew it was a comparison of what they remember me from my past. I am still at goal weight. I am in training season for these runs. I can’t let words distract me. If I do I might not be able to get through my vigorous races ahead.  I got to keep running forward.

One of my favorite songs by Kirk Franklin, Imagine Me:

Imagine Me