2019 Light the Night

It’s something to be said when your life is turned upside down. You can choose to overcome or you can choose to give up. Jen fought. She pushed through. She beat cancer. However so many others aren’t as blessed.

Light the Night raises money to not only fund towards a cure but to assist those in their fight. So many people only focus on the physical healing. During a fight with blood cancer you’re entire world is fighting. When I got the call about my girl Jen, it was one is the most devastating calls. As I remember how I felt I can’t imagine how she felt. She’s married with kids around my same age. She’s having to navigate a harsh reality and she didn’t have a long time to figure it out! Having a family that depends on you and having to fight had to be hard. Thankfully her entire village stepped in. We made sure we helped with the boys, dinners, and tried our best to provide smiles and cheer along the way.

Team Lymphomanics

The team Lymphomanics is our name. We have gathered yearly to Light the Night. Even when our team was at his biggest to the smallest it hasn’t changed the rigor of the determination. We are here as a support team and here to stamp out cancer so one less person has to deal with its effects. No one walks alone is the motto that we take to heart. Jen will never have to ask me if I’m walking? It’s an automatic yes! Light the Night is personal for me. I wouldn’t even have known about blood cancer if it hadn’t come into Jen’s life.

It’s something to see them as for the yellow lanterns. It symbolizes someone who has passed due to their fight with cancer.

To see those taken represented is emotionally heartbreaking. I want to take this time to recognize Lois, Father Corley, and Fred McGinnis! All fought a great fight and we will never simply forget them!

It’s also a beautiful thing to see the white lanterns! It symbolizes those who had but overcame cancer!

I want to recognize our teammates Jen and Chad who rocked it during their individual fight!

Then we have red lanterns. They symbolize support. When we say no one walks alone we mean that. It’s not enough to just have cancer but you are strong as your support system who stands behind you. When the nights your sick from treatment or the days your body aches and you can barely stand-support is what gets you through!

When you combine all of the lanterns together you get a mighty showing of a force to be reckoned!

The mission becomes clear! It’s time to walk until cancer ends it’s reign in the lives of all of us!

If you haven’t given but want to continue to give toward this great cause, you can do so here!

It is a fun night for all who attend. From booths of information to fun activities for all ages they make the night just full of hope!

The organizers did an amazing job! It takes a lot of work to pull this night off. Thanks to John Wright for allowing the space to be used to gather those from Lancaster and York to come together!

For those who raised over 100 you are given pizza, drinks and snacks!

I also make sure I go to the Light the Night Tent to honor those who have passed!

Special shout out to my kids who came this year! I don’t always bring them since they changed the walk from Saturday to Friday! It takes me to have get them from school and travel to Lancaster. It makes for a long night! They did great! I’m proud of them for not only wanting to go but understanding why we walk!

Special shout out to Jen and her family as well!

Pictured is Jen, her husband Eric, son Brody missing is Ethan

Thank you to all who donated towards the cause! I love and appreciate you all especially Robyn S.and family, Mr. And Mrs. Carlos M. and Mrs. Kyla A. and my husband and kids!

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Tinsel: Halloween POP Up Bar

It’s officially Halloween season and that means you are going to want a spot to hang out and enjoy the festivities. You’re perfect one stop shop that gives you all of the nostalgia is Tinsel.

Tinsel known for its amazing Christmas nostalgia has turned their sights on Halloween. I must say they have done an amazing job giving you head to toe fun. It’s Halloween’s Halloween. So what will you see exactly:

This is the entrance of the bar from the outside. It already gives you clues that when you walk in you’re in for a spooky treat!

This is the spider walk way! I’m actually afraid of spiders real or imagined so I kind of walked fast. I got this shot right before I left!

They left no corner bare. From chopped up body parts to babies….

In case you’re asking where are the bottoms…

Yes there is so much to see. It’s like all of the Halloween movies in one. Every feeling of Halloween comes alive. And to think that this bar has amazing drinks to add to your fright…

They also have beers for non cocktail drinkers but the cocktails are the fun parts to me!

This is the Ecto Cooler Shot and you get to keep your shot glass! Oh and there’s a gummi brain at the bottom! It was sooo good. You have to check my Instagram for the smoky fun! In case you’re asking for research purposes I had all of the drinks. I am a drink specialist and let me say they are alllllllll good and strong. Seriously my next day headache is proof positive. I ranked my favorites:

  1. Ecto cooler shot-cause duh smoke, gummi brain and taste
  2. Candy corn
  3. Caramel apple
  4. Undertaker
  5. Craned del Azukar

Caramel apple

These are the bar tops

So you need to get into Tinsel before it’s too late! Tinsel Halloween Pop up Bar opens this Thursday starting at 5! Costumes are optional but you know me when they say come dressed I come dressed!

I was a firefly and yes my tail is lit literally!! Pictures courtesy of my blogger friend Phillyfoodgal!

To say I had a good time was an understatement! The vibes were amazing and shout out to the bartenders who not only were in formation but they also had a good time dancing-you can see that on my Instagram stories and in my Philly Review section should you need to see it past the 25 hour mark-we all know how Instastories work!

Shout out to the photographer who tried it when he said say I love Satan-that was my response like Satan you tried it nice one though!

Run not walk and have the most Halloween fun you didn’t know you needed at Tinsel!

There: In the Light and the Darkness of the Self and of the Other

This production is taken from Lebanese-American poet, Ethel Adnan. It is a composure of self reflection. It is cool-created by Blanka Zixka and Rosa Barba with original music, music direction, and sound design by Alex Dowling! I don’t want to call it a play by our understanding of what we think plays are to be. This is a production of mirrored reflection and light.

In light it always reveals. Light always illuminates our pathway. Shinning the light on ourselves and bringing together one another in the light is a daily task. What do we see? How we work with each other has a lot to do with the light that has been shown on us in particular situations. Mirroring what we think we know and learning to ask questions beyond the surface is important!

We can’t continue to stay in darkness and thus hold on to our grudges, or our “ways.” We must use the light that is inside of us to shine on to our fellow neighbors and ourselves to be better. “Are we borrowing the here and now and if so from whom?” You aren’t going to remember every piece of the poetry? You simply aren’t. You will be able to use it as discussion within yourself and amongst your circles. In the light of understanding is how we together can be more unified instead of holding on to our comfortable dark places. In light is also change.

You will love the stage. Set on a ramp you will see the actors and actresses asking and answering and figuring out what is this light and how it reflects to life. I was amazed at how fluidity they moved. How graceful they were. I came to learn that they had a movement coach that helped them to learn to maneuver well. You definitely saw the grace that was used.

I also was impressed to find out that this production was a labor of love that took some of the actors 4 years to bring to fruition! That is amazing! The rehearsals and the actors workshops showed the energy put into this beautiful piece.

I loved the simplicity but the depth of questions. I loved how it was about entertaining but for reflection. I loved how peaceful it felt being in the theatre and trying not to overthink but listen.

This is a must see! You will feel inspired and challenged.

You have an opportunity to see There as well as engage in conversation either with the actors themselves or a panel at every performance. I’ve been to the panels at Wilma Theatre and it’s been one of the most engaging principles that always helps to allow free thinking and free speech. I always leave with more clarity after each one!

Also we need more light in today’s culture of misunderstandings and pain. If we learned to shine the light in these dark corners we might be able to get along a lot better and truly be unified!

Do yourself a favor and check out There before it ends September 22nd! You can get your tickets here! Bring a friend and leave inspired!

Thank you to Wilma Theatre for having me! Thank you to the amazing cast, directors, ensemble, and production team who made this play a beautiful reflective piece!

Also the Wilma Theatre had such a beautiful opening reception!

He Said…She Said

Marriage goals…the thing we say when we think we see marriages being successful. Who defines marriage goals? Is it because people post with their husbae and the lighting is poppin? Is it because of longevity? Is it when someone inspires you that there is still hope that marriage is beautiful? It changes for everyone. What you set as your marriage goals varies from couple to couple! How your marriage is viewed can be misconstrued!

He Said…

I would say the whole #marriagegoals has a great premise but I know the average person is stuck on image instead of what’s behind the image. Nowadays people live on social media to the point where people think every picture they see is real life. As little as I post about my marriage you would think I’m getting divorced tomorrow. In my opinion the people who post the most have the most to hide. Maybe I’m just old. Overall I think people care more about hashtags and following over living in real life. NOONE has a marriage that doesn’t require work and EVERY marriage has room for growth and development. The true goal everyone should have with their marriage is the goal to be the best person you can be on your own. Yes every marriage will have times when one person picks up the slack for the other but if both people are not constantly putting in the work to make sure their marriage is full of respect, trust and communication then those pictures you love to flex with will be the only thing you have left in your marriage.

She Said…

I remember posting many times pics of my husband and I sometimes because we hadn’t had a post. Sometimes I posted and we had just argued the day the pic was taken but we smiled many times as if there was no issue. Of course we take pictures and they are not conducive to whether or not things are “good.” Some of our best pics was during times I was drowning in depression and in the most pain. Wanting this light of those around to see me “good” while I suffered in silence was a way of life. Since getting myself together and realizing more and more I had a need to please others around me that’s no longer my thing. I probably take a lot of pictures of he and I and don’t post them. They become just for us. When I do post it’s because I really want to. It’s not to prove anything because now we aren’t in a flight or fight mode. We work things out.

We don’t push ourselves to be more than we are! I’m not comparing my marriage to my friends. It’s not that I care how we measure up but I care more if we actually like each other than simply falling back on love. Love isn’t enough when you’re empty and feeling empty in your marriage! Love is the last thing because depending on how deep the offense is you might be too blind to see the love! So now when someone shouts marriage goals I say thank you but I always talk to my husband and do a deep dive into where we really are vs. what we appear to be! I would rather look disoriented to others and be stronger together than to be goals for someone and can’t find peace with the one I lay next to at night!

So that’s today’s question and answer session and we have really only just begun! I hope you learned something!

He Said…She Said

So my wedding anniversary is next Friday August 2nd! Yay! We will celebrate 7 years of marriage! With that being said I am doing a he said..she said series! This series will be done with none other than my husband Marques! I ask the questions and we both answer them.

Marques and I next month will have known each other 20 years! That’s a long time! Although we haven’t been together that long we have always maintained a friendship. We dated for almost 4 years while attending Pennsylvania State University. We went our separate ways and had other relationships and situationships and found our way back to each other. Now count in soon to be 7 years of marriage, 3 children, rough patches, almost ending our marriage, a few fights and bumps along the way we are here. Our love wasn’t a struggle love! We fell hard and fast but maintaining that love wasn’t without challenges. So here we go he said….she said!

What is one thing you would change in the marriage?!

He said

I don’t know if I should answer that in now or when it began because obviously in almost 7 years there’s been several stages! Very early in the marriage I would have changed when we got married! Initially it felt like more of a checking off of a box instead of the blissful feeling you should feel on your big day! I would have liked it to be a better presentation as well as it being earlier. I would have rather it been before we had our daughter vs after! It may be prehistoric in thinking but I think being married before kids set the standard and tone for your kids! Of course they may not see a difference especially now but it’s a personal preference of mine. I wanted us to be married first to help shape their ideals of relationships.I feel like we definitely have done the work but I would have loved to change the arguing, fighting, and yelling from both sides in the beginning. We definitely didn’t have the tools and I’m glad we did counseling! I like where we are now. You know what now….I would change my manner of dealing with stuff. You (Toi) tend to get over things faster. Of course in my opinion they are things that you have done so that makes sense. My tolerance over the years has decreased. I would love to change my tolerance of behavior. If something bothers me I tend to let it bother me for a long time. You (Toi) has challenged my mindset by asking me how long I will take to get over things and that has helped me to see things differently!

She said

I would change my mindset of marriage before we even got married. I grew up in a marriage minded church. It sounds good but it doesn’t produce sound people. No disrespect to the teaching but everyone was so super focused on marriage than being a whole person that may be able to unite with someone. Everything was about marital success that you had two unhealthy folks coming together for the sake of marriage. The ideals of marriage was flawed. I wasn’t out trying to live a happy life being single. Singleness was a life sentence that only could be cured by marriage. Once married having this lovey dovey marriage that isn’t realistic placed concerns on how I operated early on. For my part in the beginning I was more concerned with maintaining this “everything is okay” look while I was drowning on the inside with unresolved personal issues. Marriage is a mirror and I was super upset with what I was seeing but too stubborn and scared to fix it that I just blamed my issues on Marques!

I hope you enjoyed today’s he said…she said. I hope you learn something about us and about marriage. Our marriage is ours and it will never mirror another couple’s marriage! Marriage goals differ from couple to couple!

We will bring you a new question and answer segment every day for the next week leading to our prayers for year 7 on August 2nd!!

2nd week Summer Breakdown

So as promised I will be breaking down my week with the kids during the summer vacation months. It’s important for me to showcase that yes you can have a great summer and spend less money. This doesn’t include weekend events or things to do, but now even on the weekend I’m not overspending either. Last week I spent around 183 dollars. Check out last week’s blog for the breakdown!

This week I definitely and happily spent 77.74! Now I did get sick about end of the week but the activities I would have done wouldn’t have been over that amount it would have been under that amount.

Monday

We did a swim day! Which is why I may have gotten sick. It was like an allergy attack or some sort of shenanigans. Either way breakfast at home and lunch at McDonald’s, swimming and park! I spent 18.51 total! It was a great treat to start the week since normally we do most meals at home! Oh a little pro tip any day I can add the park I do. I usually work out while they play. If I check the weather and the weather is an issue I do a home workout but I have been working out 4 days a week not including the weekend!!

Tuesday

We went to the $5 AMC Tuesday movie and saw Toy Story 4! I knew I wanted to see it but the crowds of the weekend and the price told me to wait until Tuesday hit! That 5 dollars hit different on a Tuesday. I am also an AMC Stub member so I had points I used those points towards the $5 snack deal of a small popcorn and an Icee!

$5 movies for 4=20

4 snacks minus my $5 reward= $15.87

After the movie it was back to the park for my workout and kids play! We then headed home for dinner and my husband and I went to Chima for some blog work and date night for the win!

Wednesday

I began to not feel well so we elected to stay in to take meds. I also wanted to make sure my car would be done. If you remember I was hit right before my Paris trip. We still went to Greater Plymouth Meeting for the movies under the stars and viewed Lion King. This was great as we prepare for the new blockbuster coming out this Summer! It was great. They have an amazing DJ! They did a hoola hoop contest and have Chick Fil A truck, Koona Shaved Ice truck, fresh popcorn and candy for sale.

I still always pack my own food and snacks. One cause I’m vegan and two because it’s cost effective for us 4! It’s always a great time no matter what!!

Movie starts at 8 or when the sun goes down and we usually get home at around 11pm and as you can see, from the above picture it was immediate sleep and quiet for the parents!!!!

Thursday

I needed a chill day plus I needed to redo the girls hair and start laundry! I knew what my weekend plans were and that meant there was no way I could have had time to get them altogether! They did a lot of indoor activities and the girls hair was rebraided! Also I got my car back better than ever! This momma was super happy! Shout out to Wolk Enterprises for doing an amazing job!

Friday

It was a mess! I was so sick by this point that I woke up at 130! Do not fret! My husband stayed home with the kids and ordered them pizza! Our oldest was supposed to have Girl Scouts. My son did some errands with my husband and my youngest had a play date!! I had no idea that my Husband was going to stay home to be honest I was going to be a trooper and take them to Legoland and the park! It felt good when I woke up to even realize that he was home! I was able to rest and it helped me for the weekend!!

This upcoming week will be a short week with the 4th! I will not be including the 4th or the 5th so my totals will be smaller than this week!!!! Listen between work and kids it’s important to save money and make sure the kids have an amazing Summer! Also this week with it being Fourth of July there are so many activities to do in Philly and many are free!

National Celebrate Your Marriage

Marriage is beautiful. You see couples all in love holding hands and with their kissy face and that’s the images people tend to hold onto! What they don’t see in the background is the work it takes to keep a marriage alive and fresh.

Marriage is two people uniting to become one. In this oneness no one talks about the mirror that goes up immediately. You see yourself as you work out the kinks of unity. Sometimes it’s the first time you see yourself in all of its rawness. This is why it’s important to pick the right partner. The right partner will stand with you and not against you as you face this mirror of reality. The right partner will do the work to walk beside you without outing you to their friends and family. The right partner will love you through.

One of the things that even a right partner can’t do is make you happy. There isn’t a happy wife, happy life. Too many couples extend that mantra with an unhappy wife or husband at the core. This means that the husband is bending and bending for a woman who even with best interest will make the union unhappy. It goes both ways for wives with husbands. Marriage is work. Weddings are fun. Never put more energy into the wedding that you forget you are building a marriage.

When we first got married we didn’t have all of the right tools. We thought our love and history would be enough and sadly it wasn’t. In the first year we were already in counseling even though we had premarital counseling to start off with. We saw each other as the enemy. I had my own issues that couldn’t keep up with my own ideals of marriage. Happily we were given the tools but we still bumped heads very often.

Today I know we are more partners than we were in the first year. We make sure our own cups are full before we try to gift, work, or sex our way through issues. We enjoy the marriage more. We are able to bounce back quicker from an argument than before. We have separated interests and friends that we enjoy. We do things together as a couple and as a family. We fight on the same team instead of breaking down each other. We keep core issues within and limit outsourcing to the wrong people. We pray and keep spiritually connected. We have sex often. We enjoy each other’s presence. We fight fair. We give each other a time out to come back and talk about issues. We don’t mirror our marriage with another couple. We know what works for us and that’s something to celebrate! Perfection isn’t the outlook, but imperfectly working on the same team to make sure we stay strong, in love, healthy in mind and spirit is always what Team Storr is about!

To all marriages may you pour back into yourselves and celebrate every small victory like you do the big ones!