Paris owes me Nothing Part 3

Time to be tourist! After a long sleep we were up and out! We passed Pont d’ Arcole to get to Notre-Dame Cathedral. We took the metro. That was an interesting adventure. It was crazy to see what the fire took of the Cathedral. I hope it will be repaired as soon as possible. They also had a lot of armed guards there and a lot of police in the area.

Esmeralda

It started to rain so we stopped at Esmeralda, a restaurant that looks towards the Cathedral where I enjoyed a crepe filled with bananas and chocolate and wine. My husband had a hamburger and fries which was hilarious as I informed him he at least celebrated national hamburger day! My girl Kyla enjoyed her fries and wine! We decided we were going to keep walking and hit up some more sights but not before I had my real banana gelato! It’s so much better here than in the States.

Shakespeare and Company

I’m such a nerd but I spotted a book store and not just any store; Shakespeare and Company book store. I was in Heaven! Floors of books and old fashioned ladders to get the books that are higher up. It was a little more modern than I expected but I was in pure bliss!

Pont des Arts

Near Pont des Arts I spot a clown. Yes a clown! I want a picture with him. He takes one of me by twirling me, Marques snaps a few pics, and then he has me and Marques take some of just he and I! The clown grabs Marques and snaps some of him by having him hold his leg and attempts to kiss him. The laughter alone….don’t worry no clowns were harmed!

Louvre Museum

The day we visited it’s closed. So of course we continue to take pics at the Louvre Pyramid and Tuileries Garden! It was still an amazing time. Everyone was smiling and having the time of their life even though it soon started raining!

Place de la Concordé

This tall statue is so breathtaking with its golden tip. I’m amazed at how much history and architecture is in Paris. If you love both you will be blown away.

Champs-Élysées

This section of Paris is beautiful and rich. From the shopping and fashion district to the history, cathedrals, beautiful gardens I’m super glad we didn’t miss this. Also we stopped at the Arc de Triomphe.

Body Attack

Most folks would do this high level of working out prior to going on vacation but since working out is a lifestyle and not just a swimsuit ready venture, my girl Kyla had us at Les Cercles de la Forme to take a body attack class. Kyla teaches it in the States. I have taken her class and she’s very official. The class in Paris which was like one door down from our hotel, was just as intense. Kyla needed no help with the routine as she knew it! It felt good to work out with her! Glad she found the class even though she tried to kill me!

Buffalo Grill

It was definitely time to eat after all of that waking and workout! So we ventured to Buffalo Grill! It’s hard to eat for me since I’m vegan and the French love their meat and cheese. I had to make a lot of adjustments to make it vegan approved but we made it happen! I had about 25 ozs of wine and made sure I ate bread and whatever vegan options I could make up. They had steaks etc.

Eiffel Tower Take 2

So although we did see the Eiffel after the wedding on the boat, seeing it lit at night was amazing! I mean having to almost break our necks to get a justifiable picture wasn’t an easy task but we did it! It was amazing in all of his glorious lights! It’s the simple everyone knows Paris by! It is unifying and pure joy! I don’t think I smiled that hard in quite some time!

Paris day 3….

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Paris owes me Nothing….Part 1

I’m going to break this trip down in 3-4 parts! I want you to travel with me at least in your head since I’m back and still in love!!

It started off as a wedding and I ended with a bang! I recently took a trip to Paris and to say it was a once in a lifetime experience is a complete understatement. It was everything and more I could think of. We were invited to a wedding of our dear friend Chrystal and her new husband Ray and then the rest of the time it would for us to be tourist!

Secure the Babies

Let’s back up to the prep work it takes to pull this trip off. Not only are we speaking in terms of coins aka money, but with 3 kids it means a juggling act to secure them as this was an adult trip only. Also my girl Kyla attended as well. So making sure all 3 adults were safe, secure, fulfilled and happy while my kids were safe and secure with family proved to be a blessing and took a little finesse. Shout out to my brother and sister in love who kept the kids. Our kids only ended up missing 2 days of school due to their schedule. Not bad if you ask me. The kids had an amazing time with them. I’m grateful for knowing hands down that they were safe and happy. My sister in love is amazing! Thanks little brother for holding it down!

My friends can tell you that I’m not an irresponsible parent. The second we knew we were going on an international flight, it was important to me that I made sure all changes to my will were updated. It didn’t mean that I was anticipating something happening because I wasn’t. It had everything to do with making sure that if something did happen our children wouldn’t be further traumatized by not being with whom we wanted them to be with. I didn’t want anyone fighting in courts or our children not being raised the way we wanted them to in the respect of major child rearing aspects of parenting. I admonish all parents to have their paperwork in order even if you’re not taking a flight. The worse things you can do is not secure your kids’ future to the best of your ability. Thankfully we didn’t have to initiate any further plans! Since I needed to finalize the will, I’m super glad it was all handled!

Also we informed the school more than a month before so they could get their homework! Our oldest has finals and we don’t want any excuses for her not to get good grades. Their schools were amazing preparing the work ahead of time. I know the kids ain’t happy about it but education is important around here!

Shout out to my neighbor for keeping a watchful eye for my furry son, Tiki! I missed that little cat!!

Not Without a Hitch

Days before while doing my last fun prep like going to the nail salon,etc I got into a car accident. I was hit by a man and in return my car has damage. Now between that and some family issues that popped up I probably could have just flown from the anger I felt. However it’s beautiful to know that regardless of how I felt I still maintained my emotions. Not once did I fly off the handle. Not once did I speak out of turn! There wasn’t much I could do so acting a fool wasn’t going to add anything to the situation so I elected to remain calm! However in the coming days I will need to handle the aftermath of the issues left behind! Some of them will be easier than others. But that’s life?!

Birthday Behavior

The day that we left to go to Paris was also my oldest daughter birthday! We celebrated her the week before with a large 10th birthday party. However we also made sure that on our birthday we would be right there with her. For that reason we took a night flight out!

We took her out to breakfast and made sure we had cake with her and she got a few gifts from friends as well! Shout out to Hershey Pantry for an amazing meal!

Easy quick tips to make an International Trip smoother

Obviously get your passport as soon as you can. Do not wait until the last minute. It took me about 4-5 weeks to get me and during high peak times it could be even 6 weeks to get back!

Packing

Pack a few days before. You will most likely find that you need items if you pack as if you’re leaving in a few hours even though you have days to leave. I find doing this for most flights is a life saver.

Packing cubes

So although not a requirement, anytime I travel I like to utilize packing cubes. This is merely a suggestion however it helped to make packing easier as well as sleek. It gave me incredible space. My bags were only 14 pounds once weighed. This was great as I didn’t want to incur any extra baggage fees. I had everything too but them cubes was the real MVP!

Also I packed the kids suitcase a week before. With 3 kids I have a master list that I use. It may seem extra but it ensures that I don’t leave the most important items! I didn’t want to be that far away and forget the things they needed!

As you’re packing you find out what you still need and can purchase options without having to be super rushed. I didn’t pack anything new because the weather was about 70 degrees or a little under. So my Fallish clothes worked fine! I did purchase some new walking shoes and insoles as the walking we did was amazing but it was a lot. We limited the amount of Uber usage. I probably could have used it more but it is what it is! Step count was off the charts!

STEP

Outside of having your passport, also register for STEP. It’s free!! It basically registers you with the US consulate in the country that you are traveling so that if there is an emergency they can assist. This is also good in case of a crisis in the visiting country too! They will also include someone back at home to contact on your behalf!

WiFi

We used an international traveling WiFi. It was super beneficial. In our case it was 3 adults traveling. In hindsight I might have ordered 2 of them since there were times when our small party was separated. However we had the travel WiFi delivered to our home and we dropped it off to the airport before we left. It allowed us to use our phones after turning off cellular data not only to be on social media or use maps but it also allowed us to utilize FaceTime with our kids! Paris is 6 hours ahead of Philadelphia, we kept the connection flowing at all times. Another tip is using an app called maps.me by downloading prior to your trip so you don’t have to even have WiFi to use and get around. Shout out Travel WiFi for being super responsive, amazing company, and making sure we were secured!

Apps

Please update your apps before leaving including Uber. The time to update isn’t when you need it the most. I suggested everyone in our group to do so. That helped tremendously.

Theft Protection

You can go anywhere and something could happen. However in international areas, be sure to have a theft protection bag. It helped as a lot of areas get overcrowded and pick pocketing is real. Our bags were cute and helped to safe guard us. Also our passport holder which doubled as a wallet also had RFID technology to prevent thieves from stealing our card information.

Here is the link for the cover from Amazon

Passport Holder Cover, ACdream… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CBYVSJC?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

Here is the link of where I got the bookbag from Amazon:

Laptop Backpack for Women Men… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MLQZ1W1?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

Back it Up

No not for the 99 and the 00 (those who know, know) but always make copies of your travel documents and passports and leave hard copies and electronic copies with one or more folks back home. We love technology until it doesn’t work. If a computer glitch happens you want to be ready with what you need without fumbling! May seem extra but being prepared in life is a skill set. Get it and you might troubleshoot a lot of issues in your regular life too but what do I know?!

Travel Back Up Power

Listen between videos and pics you may find that while you’re out and about you could be in jeopardy of losing power. Be sure to purchase a back up power pack. I’ve had the same one since my solo trip last year and it has served me well. I’ve taken it to work, to blog events, and any and all travel! I try my best to always start with full power and make sure I have my back up power. It may seem extra but I’ve only run out of power once and I like to keep that number from never increasing.

My charger is 2 years old here is the updated sleeker version:

Portable Charger Anker PowerCore 20100mAh – Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with 4.8A Output, External Battery Pack for iPhone, iPad & Samsung Galaxy & More (Black) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00X5RV14Y/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Hdt8Cb6JAJ25V

Get that Money

We exchanged our money before we left. It made it easier to have our Euros before we left. We didn’t have to find a place although there were many spot to do so. Also having a certain amount of Euros prevented us from having to “re up” unless we needed to. In addition we also informed our banks and credit card companies that we were traveling in case we needed to use them! Thankfully we didn’t do much swiping so that’s a great thing!

Shout outs go to Omnia Nails and John for giving me that neutral manicure and pedicure with the color “Be There in a Prosecco” so super fitting!

Thanks Dee of ExtraordinarySewinsbydee who put her amazing hands on my head. Had me Paris ready! She always ready and answers the call.

Now that I did my research, got my stuff all handled, parked my banged up car, celebrated our baby girl, and did my prep…

Let’s go to Paris…..

Ask Toi: How do you communicate with someone who is unwilling to see their faults?

First you have to at least make an attempt to speak to them. Sometimes when you’re more willing to hear for the win instead of for understanding, that’s when things go left.

I have been the type that listened for the win. Once you get past who is right and hear people for their point it may make it easier to actually hear. Try that. I would take a break from the conversation too. Sometimes breaks help to put a pause and hold. A pause and a hold doesn’t mean you are ignoring the issue; it just means you want to give space and come back later. Breaks are sometimes necessary!!

One thing I would say is don’t ignore it altogether. Out of sight is never out of mind. Thoughts fester and can make things worse. Set a time to speak about the issues. If you can’t sit down with the other person, recognize what’s important. If maintaining a relationship is important you both not just one party will put in the energy. Don’t chase a person down to make amends. You don’t have to run and find a person to reconcile after adequate time as passed.

Also the severity of whatever happened matters. Anything that is about abuse, physical pain, or detrimental to one’s personal mental health sometimes can’t always be repaired but it is worth a try.

I wish you the best. I know arguments and fights are bound to happen in life. You can’t control everything that someone does but you can control your responses. Sometimes if you try and it doesn’t work, time will make it right and sometimes it won’t. Just try!

Tuesday Motivation: Drop the Complaints

So since many of us had a 3-4 day weekend I decided to have today’s motivation ready.  Its always hard to get back into gear after having so many days off. I do hope those who celebrated Memorial Day found it to be about fun and spent doing at least one thing that you loved for yourself. It’s never a good thing to spend so much time catering to others only to find that your cup is just about empty.

So how do you shift back into gear? First by accepting the fact that you have to actually shift into gear. The worse times to complain is when you act as if what you’re complaining about will change simply by stating your displeasure. If you’re going to complain today do it with an action plan. Follow up with job applications, put out a resume, make an investment to do something you love, or simply start the process of detaching from those things that no longer serve you. Whatever you do, do it with action. Do it with passion and turn complaint into something that will make you stronger, better, healthier.

I used to complain about the most mundane things. It not only got on my own nerves but the nerves of those around me. Nothing good can come from a person who complains like you’re going to get an award for it. It’s draining. It’s depressing and it doesn’t add to the value to you as a person. People detach or should detach from negative folks. Everyone around you can see the very game plan you need to start but your complaining ways make the path so thick when it’s not.

Today shake the Tuesday like Monday blues and utilize your time better. I would hate to use my last breath in a negative funk. Let’s step it up and change our thoughts, our conversations and especially those around us. You can draw better results even in the worse tragedies but what you say, do, and act.

Let’s conquer the day!!

 

 

Happy Birthday Naila

Today is such a holiday in my world. My oldest is 10! 10 years of love. 10 years of peace! 10 years of pure joy!

I love that I was chosen to be her mother! She has been amazing since I first laid eyes on her. I had her 6 weeks early due to me suffering from preeclampsia. This is a condition that caused me to have elevated high blood pressure and other complications. It caused me to be on borderline seizure activity. From the time of them attempting to stop my contractions they told me they didn’t think her lungs were developed enough. I met with the NICU nurses who reassured me that no matter what happened she would be in great care.

After they realized my contractions wouldn’t stop they assumed it would produce enough to make her come down the birth canal but she didn’t. They then started to speed up the process and the pain was terrible. All of that and still no baby and I was in active labor for at least 2 days. Finally I was told I would have to have a C-section. At this point, I didn’t care what they did the only thing on my mind was her safety. Although I was in pain and having a lot of headaches due to my blood pressure, she was my main concern.

I got bumped several times to have the surgery, but at 11pm on May 26 we had a 4 pounds and 3 oz baby girl. She did everything the opposite of what I feared. She was hollering which meant her lungs were strong. She was still taken to the NICU. I barely saw her but I remember being sort of out of it but I was crying just hearing her. I kept asking if she was ok and everyone was all smiles. Thank you to all of the nurses in the NICU who hands down were everything we needed and more!

I went into recovery and a week and a half she was home. It was the longest time but having her home meant the world to me. She would go on to have several complications that required me to lose time at work, many hospital stays, etc. but I wouldn’t change a thing. Through it all, she has smiled and had the best disposition that you can’t help but want to smile back at her. Everyone who knows her or been around her, knows that she has a heart of gold.

To the best 10 year old who made me a mom, brought out to best in me, gives me constant joy, the best big sister, awesome friend, and an amazing mini-me daughter-Happy Birthday Gummi Bear!

Sunday Message: Get Some Discernment

Discernment is the ability to see and hear beyond what people do and say. Discernment is necessary in dealing with others. It’s the link behind knowing when to walk away, leave a situation, proceed, or caution yourself. It’s like having the answer within you.

Discernment is the principle in making and living in healthy relationships, knowing when to make a business venture, or if you should continue in whatever goals you have on your plate. When you lack discernment often times you end up in situations that could have been avoided but it’s like you missed major cues. This is why you need it. The time and energy you save having discernment is necessary in life.

It’s like a compass and an alarm. I listen more when people talk. Discernment will slow their words down and reveal their true intentions if and only you slow yourself down to tap in. An example I was with a friend who I thought was a friend I should say. That friend suggested that we attend an event. As I listened more that friend suggested we “bump” into another friend. Had I not been listening I would have ran into an altercation. Something on the inside allowed me to not ignore the warning signs. That “friend” wanted me to help them ambush someone they were having an issue with.

Not that I couldn’t be a wingman, the issue was bigger than that. This “friend” didn’t even value me in that moment. They needed me to fight and didn’t even have sense to warn me before hand. FYI that “friend” became an immediate associate and ended up getting in trouble behind the situation. She went on pure emotions and had I been there I would have gotten in trouble too. And the higher issue had to do with a man and that I was getting cues when she kept talking but wouldn’t pinpoint why she was mad to begin with.

Discernment saved me from a situation that I might have even been blamed fully on since the non friend wasn’t the most loyal person to begin with. I attempted to use my discernment to warn the non friend but she wasn’t in the place to hear. Keep in mind you can miss cues when you’re not aligned to hear the message.

If you lack discernment, it’s in you. It’s around you. It’s within your grasp. You have to clear out some of the clutter of your mind and heart. I know people who can see other people’s issues but can’t see their own. It’s possible to live like that however discernment is mostly for you. It’s your life guide in this world. It’s the voice of reason and halt. Get you some discernment! There’s not a place that discernment can’t be applied.

Curio Theatre Company Presents: The Winter’s Tale

Where do I start? I had the most magical time at this production. I love everything about a Bohemian garden and what’s better than a Bohemian garden?  A Bohemian beer garden and taking my love of all things Shakespeare to another level.  That’s right it was like getting a two for one in fun and theatre at the same time.

I am so grateful for being exposed to Shakespeare in High School. It really changed my outlook in plays and poetry. When you combine it and have an outstanding production like Curio Theatre has, it was amazing. Every last actor, played their part. They really played them well. I was in the front row where I love to be and the action captured me. I left the theatre unable to go to sleep.

actors

I laughed so hard even though a Winter’s Tale is about Leontes, King of Sicillia gets into a jealous rage thinking that his friend, Polixenes had an affair with his pregnant wife, Queen Hermione. If you never read this Shakespeare classic I won’t spoil it but it includes a lot of turns of events that feature violence, death, betrayal, and forgiveness. It’s true what they say about jealousy, it is a killer. What we think when we don’t control our thoughts turns into negativity and can hurt the ones we love! Nonetheless the pure emotion that each actor gave was amazing. Each actor captured their roles and even if you cant get past the Middle English of the time, if you listen with intent, they played their part enough for you to modernize it and understand it beautifully.

sign

Taking the production from inside and then outside to the Bohemian Beer Garden was the best surprise I didn’t even know I needed. The air was crisp, the wine was sweet and the actors continued to stay in their parts while we enjoyed the best acting intermission I had ever been too. Curio Theatre, this had to be the best part of my night. I had the most magical time. Everyone who attended smiled from ear to ear the entire time. It was a pleasant experience and if they ever have another production, I want to be in the seat.

garden

You only have 2 days to catch this treat. That’s right make your Friday night magical by getting tickets for the 8pm show or tomorrow’s final night at 8 as well. You can get your tickets here. One thing that Curio Theatre does is that when you get your tickets they encourage their new ticket initiative and that’s with Curiositix.  This is a new initiative that allows those who would have not been able to see amazing theatre and make it affordable. When you order your ticket at the time of ordering you can select how much you want to give toward the ticket. You can also even pay for your another ticket so that someone who can’t afford it can.  This is making sure that everyone has the opportunity to get that amazing exposure to theatre.  Also if you want to just donate, you can do that here as well.  No donate is too small.

I would recommend this production for over 15 years of age due to scenes of violence against women and adult themes.

Follow Curio Theatre on their social media channels so you don’t ever miss another production.  Who knows you may see me in the audience real soon:

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Thank you to all of the actors for a job well done. Thank you Curio Theatre for having me and thank you Carrie Gorn for the invite!