Bday Weekend Recap

I had a great birthday not doing a whole lot. Since attending so many events I find relaxing is my number one go to. A night filled with good food, a workout out, adult juice and quiet works for me.

I spent my birthday working only a half a day. No half day in the office and a half day at home working, straight half day working period. Once home with the kids I took a shower and my husband brought me my order from Hip City Veg. It was my first time as I continue to add vegan restaurants to my line up. I ordered the smokehouse burger (vegan), sweet potato fries with sriracha sauce and the birthday cake non dairy milkshake.

Smokehouse burger

birthday cake milkshake

Vegan or not this meal was amazingly everything and more. I love great tasty food. I wanted my birthday night to be calm. I did manage to get a workout in so I felt even better! After eating and a few adult drinks I happily fell asleep! My night was made!

Shout out to Go Vegan Philly for making me another amazing vegan cake! I had more cake than I could ever have. I haven’t had cake especially vegan cake since the big switch! I definitely have made up for past times. You can definitely insert the Rihanna song!!

vegan vanilla cake

Saturday I finally was able to attend my son’s soccer game. I didn’t even realize how busy I had become how I hadn’t attended my son’s game for this season! He did amazing by the way!

My husband arranged for my girl friend and I to have dinner together at one of my new faves, True Food Kitchen! What I love about them is their seasonal rotating menu. Since the last time I was there for Valentines Day weekend, there were different meals present for me to choose without feeling like I was only limited to the same options. I have to shout out Marques for working covertly with one of the besties, Kyla to make it happen!

Vegetable soup

Hey Kyla

kiwi mousse with strawberry

I’ve gotten a lot of amazing gifts this birthday and so much of my friends who knew my heart! I’m honored that I was thought of. I’m grateful for an amazing weekend which ended with a little trip to Ulta and ended with a bubble bath, a good book and I was in bed on Sunday by 8pm. If that wasn’t the most peaceful weekend I don’t know what was?

Never forget to sign up for birthday rewards! And brand that you already utilize and patronize, should be your number one go to. I love getting freebies or discounts on the very things I already use or will use!

Until the next one…..let’s get this personal New Year going!!!

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Philly Zoo: WildWorks something to flip about…

I had an amazing time at the Philadelphia Zoo! I know I’m like a resident there, but today I zip lined at WildWorks, an interactive aerial adventure for all ages.

Yes from the little kids to the big kids aka adults, not one of us left with sad faces. 34 feet off the ground of pure exhilaration is what I experienced. If you have been following the blog you know that Philadelphia Zoo has had major change ups offering more than just cute animals in their habitats but a whole shake up of encouraging patrons to be fit all the way around.

From the new eateries such as the Urban Green to WildWorks, the Philadelphia Zoo keeps everyone towards a healthy lifestyle while you learn about the animals. In alignment with a fit lifestyle, Independence Blue Cross has partnered to bring WildWorks to life. I had the honor among other media outlets to attend the grand opening of the interactive aerial exhibit.

Dan Hilferty, CEO of Independence Blue Cross

The aerial interactive park, is a great time and will get you and the kids moving and excited. All we heard from everyone is squeals of laugher! You can visit the zoo, eat great food with amazing choices, walk and get your steps and have fun with family and friends and now with WildWorks you can experience an aerial play park that is nothing you have ever seen. It makes your zoo trip that much more meaningful and definitely an upgrade from your past zoo experience.

Ribbon cutting ceremony

WildWorks is available as a separate ticket. Zoo admission is not required. Pricing for the 20-25 minute activity ranges from $4.00 to $10.00. The Zoo is also offering an unlimited attractions pass per day for $18.00 to $20.00 each. For more information, pricing and tickets, visit, WildWorks

Toxic Mothers; They give some of the worse scars…

So it’s Mother’s Day week and everyone is gathering cards and presents. There are so many whose moms have passed and they are grieving. There are a set of people who grief for their mothers in a different way and that is the toxic mothers.

Toxic mothers are different and difficult to pinpoint. For one they aren’t necessarily gone in the physical sense but they are gone in the emotional sense. Toxic mothers are the mothers who use emotional abuse to get you to respect them. Growing up they were the ones who might have brow beat you about every little thing. As you got older nothing you do is good enough. They talk down and about you to anyone who will listen. They are never caring in how they treat you. They mask the emotional pain with the “at least I provided,” speech.

Toxic mothers do their best to make sure that if you’re celebrating an accomplishment they are usually the ones that have a negative response and question why you were chosen. Toxic mothers call you every name except the one they gave you. Sometimes with words they blame you for your very existence. They aren’t nurturing in how they deal with you. They blame their upbringing as to reasons why they can’t. They make every excuse in the book but they want all the glory.

Toxic mothers have the same time effect as absent fathers. The scar of having a mother you can’t talk, relate, speak well of is damaging. You can’t ever be you in their presence. You have to walk on eggshells. They suffered some type of trauma but make you pay the bill of it. If you have kids, they pick up on your mom’s toxicity. They can’t ever just be kids around a toxic mom because she treats them 5 seconds better than you but not enough to be definitive.

Toxic mothers seem to want the most recognition. Some even believing you owe them. You must do for them in exchange for them bringing you into this world. Keep in mind if you raise your child they will grow up to respect you and you don’t have to use fear to do so. You must make their days special even when they use words to belittle you. Everything floods back to them. You can’t be a victim around a toxic mother. They tend to forget they were the adult and were in charge. If you speak up about how toxic a mother is they will use the words as “too sensitive” to describe why you didn’t get aligned with the bad behavior. You should have accepted your mother’s bad ways as “that’s who they are.” You will hear “I did the best I could.” You will never get an apology or acknowledgement of wrong doing. Wrong doing for a toxic mother doesn’t exist. You are to grin and bear even as an adult. The amount of self-righteousness that a toxic moms has can’t even be counted.

Mother’s Day is another trigger for so many. There are people who limit their interaction with their toxic mother to avoid having to see her bipolar ways. They don’t want to have to deal with the fake smiles on high days knowing that soon as the parade of pleasantries are over she will be back to her off putting ways. If she is married or in a relationship the mate of a toxic mother is usually aware of their ways and although disgusted by it turns a blind eye.

When people have a toxic mother the phrase “that’s still your mother” is often used to say she’s bad but respect her. It’s not okay to just simply respect her from afar you must be around her, dote on her, and smile with tears in your eyes to make other people feel like you’re “team mom.”

There are many who have made the painful decision to stop dealing with toxic mothers. When you know better you’re supposed to do better. You can cut off any person who brings you down except your mom. I think people in loving mother relationships forget that for how deep the love they experience is how deep the negative experience can be. For the sake of saving face, continue as an adult and come around to make mom happy. Give them gifts even when you they are no longer deserving. Even when they sabotage your other relationships. Give them even more when they use tactics like the silent treatment and alienation to control.

If you are dealing with a toxic mom there are so many in your shoes. You have to do what works best for you. You definitely need a counselor to help you shift in a safe space your feelings and not just someone who you can vent to. Healing is hard. Every person wants the love of their mother. Not being able to have peace with a mother who is alive because she won’t do the work of accepting her bad behavior is traumatic.

I wish all those dealing with a toxic mother peace. If you are a reader and this doesn’t apply that’s great. Have compassion to the many that it does apply. Do not tell a person to get over a toxic mother. However old they are that’s usually how long they been in constant trauma. Pain affects different areas of your life. If you’re a product of a toxic mother and you have children you are doing the next generation a disservice if you’re not actively seeking help. Don’t put your kids through what you already know is life damaging.

Sending you love and peace!

2019 Broad Street

Another year done! I am so proud of my Broad Street Run. I am proud of the training, perseverance, and dedication. It’s no east task to run in pouring rain but there was no way I wasn’t going to finish injuries or not.

Before the race is the bib pick up as well as the Health and Wellness expo. It’s interactive with some amazing vendors having all that you need to make your run that much better. It’s two days, Friday and Saturday. It’s in the Convention Center and convenient hours to make sure all runners have the ability to attend. It also is serves as an information station for runners to help ease with pre race questions.

Broad Street Run is a major ordeal in Philadelphia. The city comes out in swarms to show love and support. I can’t tell you the many people who had the most heart warming signs, funny signs, and the best quick pep talks you will ever hear. I read one sign that said “you’re running better than the government.” I always love reading them. Interesting enough this year I saw some companies with actual tacos to give the runners. I didn’t have any because running and eating is never a great idea, but that was something I hadn’t seen in any race.

I remember the countless times as I was tired that someone would be with an encouraging word. From “hey sis in the red we see you keep going” to “let’s not get tired,” it was all necessary! It pushed me when my socks were soaking wet and my feet were so heavy I felt like I was dragging.

I came down with an injury to my right foot where I discovered I lost arch support. The pain was excruciating. I had to find a brace that supported me in a matter of a day. This was after running a 9.3 mile run 2 weeks ago. So back to back runs may have played a huge part in the before run injury. To compensate, I found myself working and leaning on the left foot during the actual race. That within itself felt like more of a little injury during the race as well. However as I did and nurse my little wounds, I’m still grateful for finishing and pushing through. I think I will attempt to have only shorter runs so close to Broad Street next year.

Huge as always shout out to my run husband Marques. He does not run at all but he’s up with me race day, makes sure I get to the race without a hitch, he catches or attempts to catch me at various locations during the race and he’s there to get all of the post race recovery food and drinks. He’s not a morning person so a 5am wake up call is never his favorite. He’s also my photographer for the day. He amazes me with the shots as during the race my mind was far from snapping. Also we usually have to get the train from near the Wells Fargo on the Broad Street line!

After the race as we proceed to get our post race food it’s always so crowded. From the runners finishing up to the large supporters gathering, it can be intimidating. Philadelphia does an amazing job with large crowd control, police presence, and awesome volunteers who do their best to keep the crowds moving! Shout out to every volunteer from the water holders, to those who pass out the medals. It takes a whole village of support to make it happen! I can’t imagine what the behind the scenes looks like. However the end result the runners always feels super supported from the time their foot hits the road until the last car pulls out.

Since this year I am vegan I had to find something to eat for my post race meal. With it being Cinco de Mayo, I knew I wanted some vegan tacos. I decided to get some from Soy Cafe. Let me tell you the picture doesn’t do it any justice. The Philly cheesesteak vegan taco was absolutely amazing. I also ordered the vegan chocolate chip cookie. Topped both off with some margarita mix with top shelf tequila and it made for a wonderful post race nap!

You already know if you follow me for any run that I did my post soak with Epsom salt. I always hear my great grandmother saying “baby get the Epsom salt.” I was surprised that I didn’t do my usual sit on the couch until I was able to get up. I came home and cleaned up a little then took my bath time soak and facial mask. It’s my ritual that relaxes me!

Shout out to Black Girls Run. You know by now they are the running group and family that I’m involved with. Between their support and the support of my family and friends, the love is real! To my friends you are so loving and awesome. My Fitbit was pinging with messages that pushed me from the time the race started until it ended. It felt amazing to read all of the love during the ride home. Shout out to my twin who kept the kids while I raced! It’s amazing to run for them knowing they were safe and secure!

So another year down and I await for 2020!! As long as I get in I’ll run it!

So what’s next? 2 Days of rest and then back at it. It’s a lifestyle not just to be summer time fine. I’m looking to be lifetime fine!! Now will I be slaying this summer? Yup. Fall, Winter, and Spring too!

Flavors on the Avenue: East Passyunk Food Festival

I love to eat. Don’t we all?! Since going vegan people assume that I eat lettuce and grass and that’s far from the truth. Not only have I tried new dishes, I’ve been grateful for some super amazing dishes. With that in mind I was invited to attend the East Passyunk Food Festival and was blown away.

My original plan was to attend the festival with my whole family. We got ready and was about to head out until we discovered the rain. Now to avoid the pitfall that I used to fall into where if plans changed I would just stay home; I attended the festival alone. Now this may sound crazy but great moms would understand, it made for an amazing me time adventure. No sharing, open walking, food, wine and peace!

So a food festival is all about great food, local music, great drinks as well as local artist who sell amazing finds. I was concerned initially about if I would find some good foods to match my palette and let me answer how of course there were some non vegan and vegan options.

I walked the whole length of the festival which by the way spanned several blocks to be clear on what I wanted. I was like a kid who kept getting all giddy with every food option. Walking it would help to fine tune my options and develop a plan of attack. My first stop was at The Bottle Shop. They had me a boozy pops. Starting my Sunday funday with a strawberry rosé boozy pop let me further know how the day would end. How if you like adult drinks, couldn’t find happiness in reliving a childhood favorite with a twist?!

I purchase flowers weekly for myself. To my excitement Creations by Coppola had amazing bouquets on display. It caught my attention so I had to venture over! Beautiful colors and amazing options!

Definitely check them out if you’re in the area!

I knew off the bat I had to stop at Punk Burger. They are known for amazing burgers and that includes the Impossible burger as well as other vegan options. If you follow me you remember me talking about their Girl Scouts inspired milkshakes they offered as a fund raiser for Eastern PA Girl Scouts. They had several sliders available and I had the portobello mushroom barbecue slider. If they wouldn’t have told me it wasn’t pulled pork I might not have known. It was delicious.

My next stop was none other than Barcelona Wine Bar. The title alone should let you know why. It’s no secret that although I don’t drink daily, I love wine. I love an ambiance while drinking wine as well. Barcelona Wine Bar gave me both. Shout out to Joe and Claire who made my dining experience wonderful. The second I identified that I was vegan they took the time to circle the menu and what would be appropriate. They also directed me according to my wine preferences were and made me feel super welcomed.

They not only had some amazing treats for those at at the Flavors of the Avenues, they also have amazing brunch menu. I decided to go in and have a sit down meal. When I walked in I saw a make your own mimosa bar. A full mimosa bar couldn’t be turned down and I’m always about respecting house rules so I had to indulge. Super chic and super good, make your way to Barcelona Wine Bar on that alone.

As far as wines they have a great selection of wines that you can get from 3oz selections and up. I elected to keep the Rosé theme going and I wasn’t disappointed. Also at the suggestion of my servers Joe and Claire I tried the Spinach and Chickpea Cazuela. It was filling and amazing! Oh and because I am a woman with many roles to fill in my life I was able to scout out a few things while there. It’s kid friendly although I would be the type to leave my kids home and elect to go out with my husband or girlfriends. I am seriously considering making my birthday dinner here in a few days. It was that nice of an option. Oh they also have outdoor seating. It’s important to me to have locations that are versatile in those respect!

Last but certainly not least I made my final stop to Lokal Artisan Foods. This is the must stop for French toast bites. I visited them during the Christmas Village and have been hooked ever since. Oh and they have vegan options too! I’ve always had issues eating French toast growing up. If it was the only option I would just elect out. They are the ONLY place where I not only enjoy but get sheer excitement when it comes to anything French toast inspired. I remember telling my mom would I had some during the Christmas holiday how it would make a believer out of her.

I’m super grateful that I didn’t allow the onset of rain to deter me. It turned out to be more than I could expect. I left full like the top of food where the event ended up being my breakfast and I didn’t eat again until dinner type full.

This was a family friendly event and even an event that several people brought their four legged friends! Not one time was the crowd so overwhelming that me anxiety kicked in. It was the perfect blend of socialization, food, and fun!

I’m hoping next time I give a suggestion on getting out in Philly you will take my word for it. Sunday funday was full of amazing food. Passyunk has some amazing finds from goods to foods. You might surprise yourself. Get out and get to eating!

12 Chairs

We all know how mother and daughter relationship can be. They can be super beautiful or they can be tested. Most of us know what it’s like to have the dynamic tested. It’s almost at points of reteaching yourself when you have your own daughter. 12 Chairs by John O’Hara and directed by Carly L. Bodnar tugged on the heartstrings….

12 Chairs takes you through life with all of its highs and lows and what relationships mean. What sticks to you at the end of the day. Without giving you too much detail each chair represents different aspects of life. Each aspect has a lesson that builds upon themselves even when you’re paying attention. That’s how life works too. As you move through life thinking it just happens, if you’re not careful those closest to you hold invaluable lessons that you must listen in to push through! 12 Chairs is illustrated by Marcia Ferguson and Amanda Schoonover. They switch between parts fluidity. Both actresses are able to build upon one another in the most beautiful, painful, troubled, and empathic way. All of the emotions in each scene was powerful and thoughtful.

12 Chairs will make you reflect on your own journey. It forces you to ask intimate questions about those who revolve around you. Are you too busy? Too occupied? Too self consumed?

This show is ONLY until May 12 and it makes an amazing gift to share with your mother.

Oh and if you’re like me and you dislike parking, fret not you can find free parking by the murals on Buttonwood street! Can you say all excuses taken out so you can attend. Tickets starting at $18, free parking and a nearby brewery to snag some amazing eats is a definite good time!

Purchase tickets Here

FYI this weekend the show was sold out so get your tickets early so you won’t miss the journey!

Thank you to Juniper Productions for the invite. You’re hospitality was amazing! Thank you to Marcia and Amanda for an after play discussion. You are amazing actresses. Much success to your future endeavors!

Also shout out to Love City Brewing who provided some amazing beer for the after show reception. It was my first but definitely not my last.

Oh they had Haley Quinn Food Truck which had amazing selections. You know how I feel about food trucks.

Untitled; by Inua Ellams

No you’re not seeing a typo. Untitled is the name of the play. I love attending any production by Inis Nua because any time I am there, everyone and I mean everyone treats me with love and a sense of family. In addition it’s always great to see amazing talent bear their souls before an audience.

Untitled is a monologue about Nigerian twin brothers (played by Keith Illidge) born on Nigeria Independence Day. During their naming ritual one twin hollers out so much that after several attempts, he is unable to be named. A naming ceremony is almost in parts similar to that of a baby being christened in western culture. Names have meanings. Giving your child a name that evokes purpose is important. Having the twin not being named questions the twins’ purpose. Thus the plight begins.

It’s easy to have two separate actors play off of one another’s emotions to convey a message. It’s even harder to play two parts by the same actor that require different sets of emotion. Without giving you too much information, the twins are being raised in 2 different homes. As a twin myself I would find it hard to portray myself as well as my twin and keep the two different emotions straight without overlapping which twin is to be played by whom.

I definitely saw so much pose in Keith Illidge’s acting. I honestly think monologues help you to see the actor’s range. Untitled was engaging not just because it was written so well but because Keith single handily brought the story to life. I was engaged and the set was super alluring. FYI if you attend and you must, don’t be shy. Sit in the front. Be prepared to watch as Keith effortlessly brings the audience in as if they had rehearsed it all along. Right from the start of the show I saw the audience holding back from answering questions as Keith was performing. Keith was the teacher in a way except there weren’t students hiding from being seen. Keith’s energy pulled you in from the beginning until the end.

I like to listen to the responses at the end. I usually sit and wait as people exit. I heard most of the responses of wanting more. I also heard someone mention how incredible the set was. The set was truly amazing. Kudos to production for making the details matter.

Overall you really are doing yourself a favor by going on the Link and getting tickets for you and bringing a few friends. You don’t want to miss the opportunity as this production will last until May 12th.

While watching Untitled ask yourself the question of can your future be determined by your past, your upbringing and/or traditions alone?! Untitled is a thinking piece.

Also a special treat Inis Nua also has the work of Yemisi Ajayi, Nigerian textile artist that can be viewed before or after the show in the lobby!

Special shout out to the sponsors, production staff, playwright Inua Ellams, Honorary Producer, Louis Bluver, and Director Jerrell Henderson. I also want to shout out for the opening night spread provided by Amis Trattoria and Powers; the official whiskey of Inis Nua. I have to admit the whiskey and the food was phenomenal.