Christmas at Craft Hall

Sooooo it’s not often that my own kids have been to a location that I haven’t but last night at Craft Hall they showed me up. If you never been there let me tell you it’s a cozy spot for a great night out with a boo, friends, or a great play date spot for friends with kids. Craft Hall pulled out all the stops for the holidays!

Massive Seating Areas

This is a very open space restaurant and beer distillery. I was really shocked. It didn’t looked as if it would be as big as it is but I was wrong.

You don’t have to feel like you’re walking on others to get around. A great space to hold a corporate party of some sorts. This is like an old school feel especially in the play area of which my kids love the most.

This is me looking back from the lobby. Again the spacing here is amazing. With open spaces they decorated nicely and didn’t feel the need to go overboard with each spot keeping the cozy feel to it!

It’s Santa

Who doesn’t love Santa? I know I do and I’m grown! We were greeted last night by Santa and my kids eyes just beamed! That’s what it’s really about the Christmas spirit!

And you know I love taking pictures with all so I asked Santa if I was on the nice list-he let me know I am so with that I’m going to 2 step it all the way through the season! I even got a candy cane too! Hey adult kids need love too!!

Let’s Play

My kids said hi to everyone they saw and kindly let me know I didn’t need to escort them to the play area because they knew where they were headed. Don’t worry I hovered right over the looking area to be sure. I was shook at the fact that there’s a video game area, a playing area, a bar for the adults located in the play area (on behalf of all parents thank you Craft Hall) and an area for sitting. Do you know how many times kids just want to take bites and run? Well now they can!!

Craft Hall that right there pushes you to the top of my must go list! It’s everything I need in one place. Tire the kids out and let them release all that energy. FYI my kids were out in 10 minutes at bedtime for the win!! I think the combination of food and play did them in!!

While the children played

It was time for the adults to have a little tour of where the magic happens to give us the amazing beers they had on tap. Let me also mention they have great selections of wines and cocktails too!! While touring we could see live action of the beer being made!

Christmas Tree Lighting

Well what’s Christmas without a tree? They had one of the biggest trees I’ve seen all season. You know I’ve been to quite few events just this week! I was blown away. Even with me standing on the top of the steps the tree still towered me. Let me also mention they have several trees located throughout the restaurant!

Holiday without Food what’s that?

Craft Hall made sure they covered everyone’s taste points with amazing food!

Deviled eggs

Chicken Wings

Cheese Boards

There were also tuna melts, hush puppies with a spicy sauce, pizza, cheeseburgers, panini sandwiches, etc. Enough food to feed everyone and than some.

Desserts

Yesterday was national cookie day and all day I wanted just one cookie to celebrate and I got my chance!

They also had an assortment of the pretzels cookie that wowed me from first bite!

The only regret I have is that I’ve left the house and forgot to grab one for my run around today! They are THAT good!

Other Craft Hall News:

They will have Santa in Sundays for you to take selfies with during 10-2pm. Santa will also pass our candy canes as we walks around! There are opportunities to make an ornament as well as story times etc. Be on the lookout for Crafty the Craft Hall Elf!! And for the adults happy hour just got better with holiday themed drinks, $5 bites, and $10 mainstay pitchers!

Let’s Brunch

Did you know they have brunch? Yess! I did but I didn’t realize how nice it is. With a brunch item you can get bottomless mimosas for $20!!! So not if but when you see me just smile and wave because I will be all into my mimosa while I eat. They have food from their menus that include vegan and vegetarian options as well as gluten free for the win!!

Last night I had the beat time. Even on events where I can bring my kids I usually opt out. This was a great event for the whole family and it allowed me to relax. I was the most relaxed at an event with my kids and I loved it!

Sooo yes everything about Craft Hall is a yes for me and my entire family yes! I will definitely be back!!! This is an entire 2 thumbs up!!

Monday Motivation: Let’s Clean House

I really can’t believe it! We literally are in the last few weeks of the whole year left. As many are preparing for Christmas the reality is above that is the New Year!!! What?!

I know I get that just the mere acknowledgment of the end of the year sounds crazy. However it doesn’t change its reality. My oldest was in my room where I have my vision board and she reminded me how most of my items listed I had actually accomplished. That not only made me feel good but it made me feel even more amazing that my daughter was the one who pointed it out to me. Now with the last few weeks to go I don’t plan to just celebrate the holidays, I want to start shifting into my what’s next! What do I want to do now? Where do I want to go and what will it take to get there?

You don’t have to wait for 2020 to start shifting towards new set of goals. And….there is zero shame in saying that there are some goals that haven’t come to fruition. You can pick them up and add them back onto your radar!! Everyday is a day of new beginnings. So I take each day and attempt to make it better than my next!!

Time is going super fast. It’s not waiting for anyone! So it’s time to position ourselves around the right crowds and have the right folks on the team!

Let’s clean house!

Here’s a listing of a few people you don’t need in your life as you clean house and you absolutely should always be about cleaning your house at all times:

Contentious Folks

Please for the sake of mental and emotional peace cut out contentious folks out of your life. They are super draining! They are life suckers and they don’t mean you well. It’s something about someone who argues just to argue. A spirit of disagreement is just unnecessary. If you’re not an attorney and you’re not being paid to argue it’s not necessary to literally be combative with your word choices daily for no reason! I have a few friends who are like this who I must say I’ve withdrawn from because there is no space in my life to hold them! I can’t entertain people who argue about the smallest of things.

Doubting Dawn

No disrespect to any Dawns but it’s irritating to dream and work towards that dream to only have a few folks that always have the notion to doubt your existence. “Why you?” “You ain’t nobody!” These type of folks are super motivating for sure but to have them on your team day in and day out just for the sake of having them in your life is really not where you thrive! Stop telling these folks your move. To be honest they really don’t have your best interest in mind they are waiting to see you fall. So let they need to either be eliminated or kept at bay. Change the seating of your life. Front row seating need to be reserved! They aren’t the ones who pay top dollar. They are the ones who got in because they know someone and don’t plan on helping to promote you. Leave them in the dust!

Why not Me Whitley

It’s one thing to believe that someone is living your dream AND you are working and putting in the work to get there but when you have that someone who just wants to reap the rewards; leave them behind. These types of folks are actually hard to spot. They usually play their position of support for years. They are the ones that shoot in the gym with you but after you get called and their names are simply in the background the real them peaks. They are cool with your success AS LONG as they can either tag along or use your name to build their own agendas!!

You need to clean house. The type of cleaning where you move and dust off a few things to reveal true cleanliness! You are going to have to clean house and clean it often! People shift life flour and your longevity with someone can’t be the only sustaining power of a relationship. Not only that your growth has to come from growing up. With that maturity comes discernment!

Happy Monday and hopefully happy thinking, cleaning, and clearing!

Servant

From M. Night Shyamalan comes the new series on AppleTV+ Servant. Servant is about a Philadelphia couple who let’s an evil presence into their home following a tragedy with their son Jericho! This series will be full of suspense and it comes out on Thursday November 28th right on time for your Thanksgiving get together. So after you clear your plate, clear your mind to take in all of the action as you put together the clues of the mystery that awaits.

I was honored to be invited to do a special preview of the series. I usually don’t do scary anything but I felt like expanding my horizons. I was hooked. I’ll be rewatching with my husband so we can make this a regular weekly watch! During the special preview we had an amazing mixed filled with great food, wine and drinks, photo booth, and we met baby Jericho!

I loved that they made sure as we mingled we had great options. This isn’t even all of the food available. Allied Philadelphia and the Philadelphia Film Center definitely know how to make a spread! The lines to see the preview were long. I’m glad to have been on the VIP list to get first dibs on a great experience.

Thanks to The Bosco for having a great photo booth available. You can see the gif on my Instagram and in the More Philly highlights!

During our time of mingling I got a chance to meet baby Jericho. Baby Jericho already let me know what I was walking into. I love the babies but Baby Jericho is definitely different. Even just seeing baby Jericho I felt uneasy.

Look how life like? This will be the question immediately to be answered? This is the only clue I’m giving!!! Pay attention. If you ever watched any movie from M. Night Shyamalan you know the clues mean everything to the mystery as it unfolds.

They locked our phones down. I couldn’t even get a pic of the lock down pads used but yes when they say you will not be recording today they meant it!

I had a blast. I was able to connect with other fellow bloggers as well from Philly Black Bloggers:

For me to say I’m hooked and can’t wait to watch this series speaks volumes! So what are you doing this Thanksgiving? Yes that’s right, you’re watching Servant on AppleTV +!

So cozy up with the fam bam and let me know how it goes tomorrow!!!

Thank you Allied Philadelphia for the invite! Thanks to AppleTV +, The Bosco, Philadelphia Film Center and of course M. Night Shyamalan for making a masterpiece!

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Help in Our Own Community

What do you have a mix of community service, 31 consultant, and hygiene kits? You have Crystal Capetillo. Taking on a mission of her own she’s making hygiene kits for those who are displaced.

I personally remember when I was younger and we went into a shelter. It’s one of those moments that keep me grounded. Not knowing what each day would bring was a bit unnerving. However I have to shout out my mom who made sure to keep us clean and put together. Apart of doing that had to come from having hygiene products. Being displaced you have to have a short list of items and not much in bulk to prevent others from taking from you.

Crystal is helping in those regards. What started as a project with World Vision through being a 31 Consultant has turned into a mission to help those in her own community right here in Philadelphia. Crystal along with Erica of whom I’ve interviewed and a team from Bethel Church will lead this charge!

Now here’s how we can help. These kits take time and money. The World Vision kite cost $16. After acquiring the kits they need to be put together. Crystal is in need of both. You can donate for the kits as well as help put together your kit. But there’s one last portion, each kit comes with a hand written letter or note. That made me smile because of someone being displaced that doesn’t mean that they are below humanity.

I watched my mom cry when she thought I was sleep. I know as a mom I couldn’t imagine what she was feeling as she watched over us at night! Having a hand written note letting her know she’s loved and never give up could mean the world of difference!

I personally stand behind this mission of Crystal and will be helping to assemble these kits. I’m asking if you’re able to consider donating by gifting towards her PayPal crystal.capetillo331@gmail.com!!

I can’t wait to see the kits go to fruition and be given to those who need it!!

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!

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!