xoxo Moongirl

Nicole Burgio. A woman who could be called helpless, defeated, jaded yet she is resilient, strong, and pushing through a life of chaos, pain, and violence. We sometimes live in our mini worlds overtaken by our own experiences. We interact with one another based on those experiences and don’t realize that our past definitely defines us only if we allow it. There is beauty in pain when you embrace it and use it to evoke change.

I attended xoxo: Moongirl at their opening show. If you remember I attended Communitas a few weeks prior. This was more raw than that show. It’s suggested for ages 13 and up. I might add upping the age to about 15 due to violent themes.

Nicole used magic, and acrobatic technique to show points of pain. The pain of knowing your mother was being beat by the hand of her father. The pain again feeling hopeless even after reaching adulthood. Why? Why can’t she take back this power? People sometimes only focus on the immediate dangers of violence in the home. Once you escape you think the journey has ended but does it?

How can you not be in a home and show signs of anxiety, hurt, distrust? Do you gravitate towards the same toxic behavior that you know is wrong but fine yourself in over and over again?! It sounds so deep and heavy and it should be to a point. You can’t sit and not be uncomfortable. However in the uncomfortable feeling there is still beauty. Healing isn’t linear. It’s an up and down path. It’s high one day like Nicole in her acrobat stance and low like Nicole in a anxious fit.

I left in peace. I left feeling hopeful. Yes you can encounter someone’s pain and still feel at peace watching them go up and down in their journey.

Domestic violence happens daily. 1 in every 4 women will experience violence from an intimate partner according to National Domestic Violence Hotline

Nicole is using her powerful story while utilizing her skills in the most provocative and informational way. We need to scream it out so friends can stop turning a blind eye to their abuser friends. We need to speak it so we can stop acting like it’s just a thing that happened in the past. There may be a few in your inner circle covering up the horror. The shame alone holds people in bad relationships where violence is the way to bind them to their partner.

There’s a way for you to see this performance:

  • Saturday, June 15, 3 p.m.

  • Saturday June 15, 8 p.m.

  • Sunday, June 16, 3 p.m.

  • Monday, June 17, 7 p.m.

  • Wednesday, June 19 7 p.m.

  • Thursday, June 20, 7 p.m.

  • Thursday, June 20, 9 p.m.

  • Friday, June 21, 8 p.m.

  • Saturday, June 22, 3 p.m.

  • Saturday, June 22, 8 p.m.

  • Sunday, June 23, 7 p.m.

You can purchase tickets here

You might be saying well I would love to come but none of the above show times fit my schedule, how can I still donate or help?

I can help you! This amazing show is also on its way to Edinburgh. That’s right and they could use some help getting there. Right now they have a donor that is willing to match so that means your one donation will go twice as far. One thing about theatre is that it takes the support of the community! Let’s donate here!

I encourage all to come out and show Nicole and Mel Hsu who single handedly provided live music accompaniment. Mel’s voice is pure amazement and I loved hearing her.

So let’s take some time to flood Funicular Station located at 416 Coulter Street with love. Get out and see xoxo: Moongirl and learn, engage, enjoy a little magic as Nicole travels to the Moon to gain strength and let’s stand up to pain and turn it into a thing of beauty!!

To learn more about Almanac Dance Circus Theatre, click here!

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Ardmore’s Taste with a View

What a night?! Over 20 vendors serving the most amazing food and drink showcasing the best of the best in Ardmore while benefiting Ardmore’s business authority was a blast rain and all!

The event took place at the One Ardmore Apartment Homes. To say that these apartments aren’t beautiful would be a full on lie. The layout of upscale, regale, and located in the heart of Ardmore. The rooftop where some of the vendors of the night were located had the most amazing views! I was blessed to get there early to catch it all before the rain came. As much as rain is usually a nuisance it didn’t stop the party in the least bit.

With so many vendors I’ll give you a drop of what made the night amazing:

My first stop was Buena Vista, a Mexican restaurant who is located at 251 Lancaster Avenue. I had the Mexican rice and it was so super flavorful. However not just the food was superb but the customer service was amazing. I love to watch how people serve you before they know what you do. I was serviced with amazing spirit!! I love going to tasting events because as much as I love Philly; Ardmore is only 30 minutes away from my home giving me new locations to have food, fun, and drink locations to try!

Next up (I was up and down in the venue) was Songsan which is a Korean barbecue restaurant. You can find them at 66 Rittenhouse Place in Ardmore. They also have a location in Paris as well. You know I just got back from there. I had the Jap Chae which are glass noodles with vegetables! They were sooo good! I had a full plate of them. I love glass noodles. The first time was at another Korean barbecue spot. These were flavorful! Looking at their menu this would be an amazing spot to have a group party or even an intimate dinner for two.

Next on my stop was Besito Ardmore. This is going to be your stop for Mexican good as well. I had some of their plantains and they were delicious but nothing more delicious than their pomegranate margarita. Say what you will but I came back at least twice!!! Margaritas are a big deal to me. I order pomegranate margaritas anytime they are on a menu and these gave a few spots a run for their money. I’ll be back on the drink alone!

I stopped at Marokko and it’s a Mediterranean and Moroccan themed restaurant with authentic food. What you get is smiles, hospitality, and love in their food-no lie! I also enjoyed to the fullest the belly dancing!! You have to check out my Instagram to see clips! Everyone and I mean everyone enjoyed the show!

Also Father’s Day is Sunday! They are having a special where did gets a free appetizer with his entree and reservations are requested!

Outside of food there were also pop up shops! I stoped at Trace. It’s your go to spot for housewares, arts and gifts!! Beautiful pieces that I thought we’re unique and bold. I saw a few pieces I might have to slide a suggestion or two for my upcoming wedding anniversary!

I enjoyed the pieces at Styche a woman’s clothing store. Ladies if you’re looking for one of a kind pieces that are well made and beautiful this is your place! I def found at least 4 dresses I need to have it in my closet along with some beautiful accessories! Oh and for the men who can’t ever seem to know what women want they have gift cards!

With all of the food and drinks I was so happy to run into Jen Crompton, owner is Fuel Cycle Fitness. They offer indoor cycling as well as boxing classes. They offer private lessons, group classes and 1:1 trainings. They also have a unique offering of Boxing and Brunch happening June 29 from 10am-2pm! This is a great event to bring out your teen daughter and have a mommy and me time while building skills set, life skills and of course brunch! Tickets can be found here. You know I’m all about women empowerment! Grab your daughter and head out to this event!

Back to the food! I stopped at The Ripplewood whiskey and gin and fell in love. They have food and drinks and they are amazing. Have you ever had a chip melt in your mouth? Whew the goodness! This would be an amazing spot to grab after work drinks or a great date night. I will be back. The orange really opened up the flavor and it was smooth!

Back downstairs to Dressler Estate Cidery. I had the sparkling cider. It reminded me a lot of wine. It was sweet but not too sweet and definitely refreshing!

For my icecream lovers look no further than Parlour! They had two flavors on display:

Amazing service and great conversation. And FYI they have dollar cones. Now grant it they are smaller than traditional sizes but….. for little hands that I have in my family it works great! Oh and the blueberry pie is amazing. They have at least 24 flavors so there’s something for everyone!!

To one of my favorites is Iron Hill Brewery and Restaurant. They have one in my hometown of Lancaster. I took my mom and sisters to it last year. They always have an amazing assortment of drinks and food. It was good to see other locations. What would be the odds that I would meet a rep from Iron Hill Brewery thats also from Lancaster?!

They too have a Father’s Day special. They have a 3 course meals which includes dessert for 32.50. Oh and a contender is Das Boot which is available on tap and in a can! Get out there and shower dad at Iron Hill and enjoy!! As always full menu is available!

So I’m all about trying new liquor! I tried the Revivalist, an amazing botanical gin. I had the Harvest Expression with Lemonade and all I know is I will not let my Summer pass without making this a drink to share. Trust me if you want to have the best adult lemonade this would be the gin to add.

I also had the Dragon Dance mixed with a jalapeño drink and it was pure bliss. I definitely will be emailing to find out the exact drinks and will share when I get it. It’s a little bit spicy but smooth and it was good.

I love an amazing salad. I love a salad that is flavorful and makes you forget for a second that it’s a salad. Green Papaya Asian Bistro will always have a customer as long as their green papaya salad is on the menu. Look at the detail:

You can see quality when you see it?! The taste was magical. Being vegan I’m always on the hunt for some great tasting food and this will be a go to spot for me and my friends or family and it’s also BYOB!

Back to adult lemonades; the Proper Twelve Limerick Lemonade is a winner. It’s light and not overbearing sweet. But the Irish Whiskey was superb! Oh and if you love food they had some pulled pork and Mac and cheese at Jack Mcshea’s!!

Are you getting hungry yet? Last but certainly not least, is Delice & Chocolat that gave me a touch of Paris flare with their chocolate croissant. It’s the closest thing to a real Paris croissant since I have returned!!! It was delicious, flaky and good. Makes sense since the owner lived there for 14 years and it shows. You must stop by if you don’t think you will get to Paris or maybe you have it will take you back!!

So as you can see the food and drinks were plentiful. The pop up shops were amazing and Ardmore is the place to be! Ardmore is becoming a little gem of a location and I hope you make one of these restaurants or shops you’re new go to!!

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!

Sunday Motivation: Grace

That has been the word of the week. I tried to get away from this word but it came in every message I was around. I ran 4 days this week and during each run I heard it.

Grace is not something that is earned. Most times we are gifted grace by those who love us when we don’t deserve it. That’s the meaning of love right?! Of all the years I’ve gone to church Sunday by Sunday, grace was supposed to be my salvation.

Grace isn’t for those who deem themselves perfect. Grace is for the imperfect. It’s for those who know better but still fall short. It’s for those who had a blue print but deviated from the plan. Grace is for those who heard the plan but went another way. It’s for those who decided that something or someone was more important than sometimes themselves. Grace!

When you see someone who is strung out on drugs instead of looking down grace comes down and picks them up. It’s the same grace that can get a homeless person into their own. Grace can come and hold that single mom who knew the man in her life meant her no good but grace came and showered her and the child (ren) love anyway. It’s grace when a leader that you looked up to your whole life falls and makes mistakes.

Who are you showing grace to in your life?! I mean some of my own personal times were marred by the whispers of those who didn’t have the grace to be there, to encourage me, or love me through. Most of those same people do not have a front seat in my life either. Grace sees where you are broken and instead of walking away, applies pressure, understanding, and peace. Grace doesn’t always have to be an all or nothing. Sometimes grace can be frustrated but still stand in love to get you to your next level.

I listened to a podcast of a woman my same age who had gotten married and when that marriage ended she had to go home. I’m talking about someone who is successful and appears to have it together, old enough to know better, wise enough to solve her own problems but she still needed grace and she received it. I was touched by her vulnerability in sharing her story. As much as I love my family going back home would be an ultimate disappointment or sense of failure. It’s the number one reason while some fail in private. It’s because that failure or feeling of failure cut is too deep! I messed up or I need help is a hard phrase to live in! I know I’ve done it!

Her story reminded me of the times when I walked from grace and was uncovered. I was in a bad way, depressed, in pain, doing things that made zero sense until grace covered me. Grace came in family and friends who didn’t leave my side. It came in the form of my partner’s love. It came in my children’s smile when most days I knew they saw me blow it! It came when a stranger paid for my meal and at the time I had a mere few dollars to my name. Life is hard and it sucks at times! The grace we share with others matters.

It also can be what others see when you aren’t walking in grace with others. You too become uncovered too. Not gifting grace when you should can be just as detrimental to you as what you don’t give.

I also listened to Kirk Franklin’s new project; Long Live Love! The whole album is about grace. It’s about returning to grace and about lessons in love and showing love to ourselves and those around me and I knew…. today’s message is about grace. We all want it but few feel the need to gift and be the gift of grace this world needs! Extend grace even to the difficult they need it more!!

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 4

So to end Paris as if it will ever end, it was the last full day before a day of travel. We decided to send a few post cards back. So of course we stopped at the post office, went to a museum, ate well and one last trip to the Eiffel Tower to tour the inside of it!

Shout out to the postman who handled our post cards. It’s so funny when the French switch to English cause they can see how much of a struggle Americans have to speak fluent French.

Now I could have since it was included in our hotel price to eat the breakfast provided. The way them nightly or all day is wines were set up I needed to sleep it off!! Kyla my girl was on go daily and so she did her morning ritual of going to get her food way before we woke up! Marques and I after the post office stopped at Metro Cafe. The food was amazing and so was the service.

This pumpkin soup needed no salt; no nothing simply delicious

Americans do French fries which isn’t a French dish better

The fresh squeezed orange juice was absolutely amazing

I had so much daily rosé it don’t make no sense

His shirt reads, Broke Phi Broke and that makes sense

So after an amazing brunch like moment it was off to a museum!

We 3 decided to go to Museum Picasso. The Art was exquisite. Different genres all meshed and beautifully stunning, provocative, and engaging!

After which we were hungry again but hey when you are walking around for hours at a time it’s bound to happen! We stopped at one restaurant but it was their dinner time or that’s the way it came off as we sat for quite some time. The French don’t move as steadily on service like we do in America. We are more concerned in increasing numbers of those that come into an establishment over making sure that those around have an experience.

We finally stopped at Pizza Pino!

This lemon sorbet with vodka had me so super rocked……that’s all I can say on that

It was off to our final rendezvous with the Eiffel Tower. Unlike seeing it on a boat, seeing it lit at night and being in touching form, this was about going inside. The tickets that we got gave us access to the first and second floor. The very top was sold out for days!! The experience was more than I could put into words! Seeing Paris in a different light was just breathtaking.

As you can see Paris looks even more amazing inside the Eiffel Tower!

Brioche with Nutella it was necessary

After a long night it was time for one last meal…and more of that lemon sorbet and vodka at Mon Coco!

Veggie burger that would put an American veggie burger to shame

The star of the night; lemon sorbet with vodka…..

After beautiful days in Paris, it was time to return home. Lessons learned, Paris was an amazing experience! I would do it all over again! I’m grateful for this time and happy for a semi easy travel time outside of an extended search on the way home in 🇮🇸 Iceland!

I was loving the fact that in their airport it’s very different than an American airport where food is concerned. Vegan, vegetarian options are plentiful!

Finally back home, finally with our children, finally back on Go it was nice to slow it down a bit!

Paris owes me nothing but I’m grateful that I took the journey!

Thank you Ray and Chrystal for the invite none of this would have happened without your wedding invite nudging it along. May your union be filled with tenacity, and the joy that life brings!

Thank you Kyla for accompanying and being on this trip.

Thank you Marques for making sure that every desire I had you made come true. Thank you for renewing a clear path in how we love and live and being each other’s friend as we go through this life as partners, parents, and solid and dope individuals!

Thank you Paris for such amazing culture, hospitality, and just overall greatness!!

La Festa Filitalia Street Festival

If you haven’t noticed from my last past posts, it’s officially festival season. It’s the time of the year where you slab on the sunscreen, grab a cute outfit, and get some walking shoes so you can be cute, eat, and drink and bring on the fun. Street festivals in my opinion bring and unite people from every walk of life and La Festa definitely did just that. The only thing I didn’t get a chance to see was the spaghetti eating contest!

Today was no different. I attended La Festa Street Festival with my family. From the sun and the food options and vendors it was a blast. Now what I will suggest is when you take little kids, carve out an hour. I had my niece so with her age she was only giving me an hour. I like to be out in the sun so this season I’m going to have to determine which festival will be more adults only and which ones will be kid approved. This festival I will say was about a few blocks long and they had a lot of kid approved activities.

Of course there were a lot of vegan options as well as non vegan options as well. You know if you have been following me I’ve transitioned to full vegan lifestyle so my eyes can spot a vegan option on the menu super quick.

Nothing is better than ice-cream. I took the fam bam to Chilly Banana. A banana based like ice-cream that you can get with awesome amazing toppings. To a vegan anything made with bananas is always a great time!

I had the parfait and it’s main base was pineapple, berries, and vegan granola!

I had me a pineapple pina colada. Yes to fruity drinks that also double as cute Sunday funday drinks!!

Just know that when there’s a festival I won’t be too far behind. I encourage all to get out and take in the Summer! It will end but it won’t end without me snatching all of the fun from its grasp!!

Oh and I didn’t have a chance to stop by Ground Up coffee shop! By the time I saw it in my vision the little ones were over there stay! I will be stopping by soon! I love cute signs and these make me want to come in: