Weekend Recap: June 7-June 9th

What a weekend?! I love having full weekends. I love getting out and about and this weekend was absolutely perfect!

The weather was amazing. Friday I hung out with my niece and went to Dottie’s Donuts and enjoyed a vegan donut for National Donut Day! What an amazing assortment. I ended up getting the Neapolitan donut and I took a cinnamon bun for the road. Judge your own life! It was absolutely amazing! For a Friday and a donut Friday I definitely was winning!

I also enjoyed some down time. I needed to clean the house and do laundry. I love the quietness of cleaning. One of my kids was at a play date leaving me with just the two! I’m glad that they were such an amazing help.

Saturday Vibes

So Saturday I enjoyed a much needed manicure appointment. Nothing sets my weekend right like a manicure and some wine. Omnia is always my go to with my prescheduled appointments with my favorite manicurist John! He’s absolutely amazing and he knows what I like I don’t even have to ask. This week he talked me into a marble design but he knows I don’t like a full hand of designed nails. So one simple design on my ring hand is plenty. I’m simple in design but I love bright colors. I do not follow any rule on nail colors. If I want bright colors in the middle of Winter you will catch me with a bright color in the Winter. When I look at my hands since I use them so much I want to see neatness and happiness on them.

After that I raced over to TJ Maxx which normally I don’t ever have time to look for fashions because I just don’t like shopping in stores. I like what I like and shopping online is more my stick. I can’t be made that I found the perfect dress for the drag queen tea at Sofitel.

Drag Queen Afternoon Tea

If you didn’t catch the blog catch it here!

The dress was 20 dollars and it was super cute and for so well!! Thanks to my girl Pam for going to the event with me on National Best Friends Day!

Dizengoff Brunch Time

On Sunday the weather was so beautiful and it was amazing! It was also pride weekend! I hung out with my blogger friend and foodie, Cheryl of Travel with Cherryl also known as PhillyFoodGal

We went to Dizengoff of Philadelphia! This is like the Hummus King of hummus and so right up my alley! It was smooth, creamy, and full of flavor! I could have bought another to be honest!

I have the Fava Bean and a Lemonada with gin. It was Sunday Funday right?! It was amazing! All of it. The service was great and the location was perfect. They also have outdoor sitting which is my thing to do when I eat!

Stress Less Space

After an amazing brunch I went to the Stress Less Space which is an alternative to incorporating less stress into your space. It is an organization that will help you utilize and manage the stress we carry everyday. I personally have had some stress in my life lately with new changes, my car issues and life itself. It was good to relax for an hour to journal, head noise canceling relaxation sounds, and the quiet. Jesus the quiet almost changed my whole life!! Like my whole life. I was able to travel to my hometown with the most amazing zen!

I would suggest if you live in Philadelphia to give it a chance! The care of the staff was amazing and it was extremely therapeutic!

TCP Sundays

I did go back home to do a podcast with TCP; The Cultured Professional! You can catch it by clicking on the link! Parental advisory is advised as we talk about a lot of current events without any chasers aka we didn’t sugar coat a thing and some sexual content as well. It was great to be in a different genre of entertainment and information.

During the trip I was able to spend some time with my nieces! I enjoy anytime and I’m making it a purpose now that they are getting older to spend as much time as I can! I came home super late from the podcast so outside of Target trip I had zero time for anything else!

Husbae

Shout out to my husbae for meal prepping for the week for me by cooking out on the grill! Although that doesn’t include my vegan meals it was one less thing for me to prepare. I’m cool with just making my own items! Also shout out to him for keeping the kids moving as I was out and about as I was out both Saturday and Sunday!

So yes to say my weekend was busy was an understatement! I wouldn’t change a thing!

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Piazaa Pod Park: Summer Oasis

Unless you’re a boring person you are going to absolutely love the new Piazza Pod Park. Between the more than 12 food and drink vendors, workout ventures, and regular entertainment; what’s not to love?

Also you have to come and meet BeBot a new 33 feet tall standing robot designed by Andrea Greenlees. BeBot is super amazing to behold by adults and kids alike.

Keep in mind the Piazza Pod Park is fenced in and my mommy brain loved that. I still wouldn’t let the kids roam too far from me but that gave me an extra confidence knowing that outside of time with friends, I would have them! Also for my nursing moms you don’t have to be uncomfortable either. There are nursing pods available! That’s a double win!! Nursing moms can now get out and enjoy some fresh air and fun too!

For the kids there is Tildies Toy Box. Tildies is a toy store located right inside so if you can’t load the kids on fun foods or water ice, you can grab them something to help calm them so you can continue your Summer fun!

As far as foods and drinks are concerned there should be no concern. There is something for everyone and I truly mean it! All of the Summer feels are included. I had some amazing vegan French toast bites by none other than Lokal Artisan Foods. You should already know they are hands down the only French toast bites I will eat. I smile every time I see them. They have vegan, regular, and they even serve them with bacon for those who want it. Oh and their lemonade is A1! Make sure you grab some!

So let me break down a few other vendors for you:

Empanada Box

Who doesn’t love an amazing empanada? You can now add them to your list of go tos while you’re at the Piazza Pod Park!

Check out the menu:

For your water ice needs and it will come from all of the heat, look no further than Mama Maria’s Italian Ice which serves some of your well known staples like cherry but pushed it up with the Philly Special!

For my island inspired eaters there is Tiki Tako! They have some of the most amazing drinks including their pineapple drinks straight from fresh pineapples! Their tacos, take a look for yourself:

My sister enjoyed this chicken taco

For bagels and sandwiches there is Spread Bagelry. Amazing selections and the hummus du jour definitely stood out to me! Since Piazza is open at 7am daily this could be your new breakfast or anytime spot!

And then there was a Lil Sum Sum where you can enjoy a matcha smoothie or chicken Siu Mai! They have an assortment of Dim Sum even some for the vegetarians!

So wait no drinks? Come on now!! I tried to give you the food options so you could then walk like a boss to some amazing drink specials!!

Let’s start with Craft Cocktail and Craft Beer Concepts by Blume. Blume is the new spot that I attended with the Butterfly on the windows! They have expanded and now have two spots at the Piazza Pod Park! So the Craft Cocktails is where you can get your soon to be new favorites like the Slushey Jawn or the new infamous adult sippy bags!

Convenient to hold, walk, and sip but takes you back to being a kid with a much better upgrade

I love wine! I also love an amazing frosé. What’s better than both options on tap to walk around and have in the Summer?! Thanks to Urban Village Brewing they have a friend in me. I stopped by them twice! The frosé was purely good and the customer service was over amazing! When you see people enjoying what they love it shows. Do not just stop by, go twice!

Now for those who have friends or family who are like my husband in the sense that he dislikes sitting outside eating and drinking there is an air conditioning pod that allows you to sit and drink and be comfortable! So not even he can make an excuse not to go. Oh and there is complimentary parking too. So what’s the excuse?! There is none and can’t be none!!

Round out your time and be sure to stop at Essen Bakery! Between sweet treats and an amazing cold brew you will not be disappointed!!

I know what you’re thinking? This sounds too good to be true?! However it is real and it opens this Saturday in Northern Liberties!

Here are the offerings for the public opening this Saturday:

It opens at 7am their normal hours but the grand opening activities won’t start until 10am! Fit Academy will have work out demos from 11am-2pm! 11am-4pm will be a bounce house for the kids-prime time to tire the little ones out. City Rhythm will provide live entertainment from noon-4pm! There will be local DJs from 4-8! Let me take the moment to shout out DJ Jason Weiss who played every song I had not heard in some time! It helped me move between eateries and I had an amazing time!

Also for those who want to bring their pups, there is an adjacent dog park and plenty of cool water for them as well! Just make sure they have leashes and be courteous to other dogs and dog parents alike!

The Piazza Pod Park is located at 1075 Germantown Avenue!

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….

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!

Mother’s Day: Miscarriage, Loss of a child, and Infertility

Again I say that Mother’s Day doesn’t always bring these cookie cutter images that television and marketing companies want you to believe. It’s a place of grief for so many women and men all around the world.

When a woman conceives or attempts to conceive, there’s very little ways to do it without your heart becoming attached. With that in mind there are large amounts of women who mourn the day because it’s a reminder of what they desire (d) and can’t have. It’s a place of pain that can’t be measured. With all of the cards, flowers, and joy that should be given to women I want to recognize the women who aren’t in the celebratory spirit.

Are you pregnant?

It’s down right rude to ask a woman of whom you do not share an intimate space if or when she is ready to conceive. That conversation needs to be when and if she is ready to ever have it. Our culture has no boundaries on other women and their uteruses. It needs to be reminded that some women endure a heartache that they haven’t or may never be able to share. Asking her when and if, may inflict a level of pain that she may want to keep private.

Infertility

She may also have suffered a miscarriage and those wounds no matter how long ago it may have been are always fresh and sometimes gets reopen on days like Mother’s Day. You mourn all over again what your child would be and it’s hard. It’s debilitating to have to keep reliving the pain. We need to do a better job of acknowledging this and being sensitive. Your comments matter. Saying things like “just try again” or “it will happen in its time” may not always be received well. There are women that no matter what just can’t hold life and it’s the one thing that we all feel is reserved for women to “naturally” do yet it doesn’t always come so easily!

Miscarriage

Hearing your baby’s heartbeat is the most scared part of pregnancy. It doesn’t matter if you’re high risk or not; anytime you’re able to hear it, you hold that sound dear to your heart. There are many women who may or may not initially wanted to be a mother but once life has entered inside of you, a real mom will want to protect that life. Not hearing your child’s heartbeat is one of the most devastating events a woman can experience. It signals that even through no fault of your own, life has stopped. The process following that silence is grueling. We don’t speak about what a woman goes through emotionally, mentally, or physically but it’s life changing. It’s real and it can cut a woman to her core.

Loss of a Child

There are women who unfortunately either through miscarriage, still birth, death of a child or late pregnancy miscarriage experience the greatest loss known. Not knowing how to deal with those feelings have sent many women into a tailspin. It takes love, patience, sometimes medication, therapy and some of the most amazing support systems to get through. Outsiders are the first to put a time stamp on this level of grief when it’s no one’s time frame to control. You will forever remember and never forget.

Regardless of where you as a woman or the woman in your life fits, please understand that these are delicate topics that deserve reference during this time. Please be patient with yourself if you fit the above categories. Know that even if you feel you should be passed a point in your healing that healing is up and down and constant. Some days are better than others. If you need help it’s okay to receive it. If you’re struggling it’s okay as well. You don’t have to have it altogether. Just know that I for one understand! I sent you love! I send you peace!

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.

Ask Toi: How to Forgive a Cheating Parent?

Reader’s father cheated on their mother and reader needs help….

It’s hard to not have your parent on a peddlestool especially a father. As a kid you may have been sheltered from the things that were really going on. That’s understandable, that’s what adults should do. They shouldn’t be as open as they want with their lives for the sake of children. We know in these times some folks don’t care and do whatever they want to do. With that in mind, you’re an adult now. The wounds don’t hurt any less by finding out about your dad’s infidelity. Keep things in perspective. It’s okay to feel like you have lost respect for him. That’s actually quite normal. You’re not a kid you can express how you feel. You can also make a decision if you want to continue a relationship. I am not on team cut him off in any way. I don’t know him enough. I know in time it can be repaired if he’s willing to do the work to do so. If you’re willing to forgive and move forward is going to be key as well.

Also keep in mind that at the end of the day, your dad has to live with his decisions and most importantly your mother is dealing with it mostly. Take some time to process it. Deal with it and do not wave it under a rug like it’s no big deal.  As an adult it may help to speak to your dad one on one. Remove him from your mom and have an adult conversation. Speak candidly and maybe even go to a public place to keep you in aligned to attempt to remain calm when you speak. Remember you don’t have to take his issues on as your own but you can be verbal about where you stand.

You may hear, I am your father respect me. You can respect title and lose respect for your dad. He has to work through earning respect as harsh as it sounds.  Keep in mind that his pain doesn’t just sit with your mom and him but the kids adult or not feel the brunt of the betrayal of the family too. I don’t get why people don’t see the other side of it. Talk to someone you trust that can be a sounding board to help you through and not just someone who wants the details of what happened. If your mom and him work it out that’s great.  If they do not, that’s their marriage to work through. Support your mom in what she needs too. She is hurting too. Take a break from trying to fix it all. You are their child but not a child. You do not need to bandage this in any way to make it okay. It’s not your fight.  Be firm when you speak, say what you mean but don’t be mean when you say it.

I pray you receive closure. I send love your mom’s way and clarity to your dad. I pray he is remorseful and willing to do whatever it takes to restore balance in the family structure without taking offense to the responses. I find men tend to think that once the cheating comes out, the children and women are to GIVE this level of instant respect without ever acknowledging the pain. I find it hard to understand the lack of understanding of the pain of the betrayal. Your dad can’t shrug this off like no big deal. The family ideology has been broken. He needs to be in the forefront to fix it. Everyone will need grace during this time!