Increased Self Care

Who doesn’t love getting a mani/pedi? How about a salon trip? It feels amazing to pamper yourself or just continue your up keep. As much as these activities are awesome and can be forms of self-care, do not limit that to your only self-care. Increase self-care to those things that bring joy into your heart and life.  What about that hobby that brings the type of smile that can’t be wiped away?  What about making time with friends a priority? What about going back to school to accomplish a goal you left sitting? What about making time for rest and unplugging? We all need to dip deeper into self care now more than ever.

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When I hear older folks make complaints such as “what is this self-care business, we didn’t have that growing up,” it irks me. Those be the same women that have the most insecurities, the most hard battles in their spirit that have gone unchecked. When you know better you do better. Why aren’t you practicing it yourself or encouraging the younger generation to focus on their mental health just because no one encouraged you? You remember them lonely battles you fought? Remember that feeling of being overwhelmed? Why would you want another woman or man to go through that?  Even it made someone 5 seconds better, it’s worth it. Encourage and then practice it yourself. 2019 is about accountability and that is even in how we treat ourselves. We can’t expect anyone to treat us well when we treat ourselves badly. Think about it from head to toe. What are you doing to make you whole? If you are still eating, drinking, not working out, have a thousand bad habits that contribute to your body and mind’s demise, these things need to be worked out.

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Self care is about self-preservation.  It pulls you out of darkness and makes you alert. When you don’t practice self-care often times you are numb to things and people around you. It doesn’t stop bad things from coming but it can help you deal with it that much more. Think about the times you let yourself go mentally. You weren’t even ready for hits that life was about to throw. Self care is super important. I don’t care what you call it.  You can call it self-care, self-love, me time, whatever it is find it, be consistent, and then add some more. There is no such thing as too much self-care. That is impossible. Having joy in this world is what keeps people from feeling hopeless. That hopeless feeling leads people into paths that don’t bring about positive results. People need hope. Joy isn’t about walking around with a smile 24/7.  It means that you have things in your life that bring you real happiness no matter what. Self care is about preserving peace in a world full of chaos. Self care is about loving yourself even when the world wants to make you feel unlovable. Self care doesn’t care what your status is in life. Self care is important. Please invest in yourself. Practice some more self-care!

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How to Catch Creation

I had the honor of being invited to attend the opening show of How to Catch Creation. I actually withheld reading any reviews, or any the media write-up before hand because I love coming in without any thoughts of what to expect before hand. I was pleasantly surprised of this production. First of all the set was magnificent. I grew up in theatre so sets matter to me. Secondly the cast looked like me. I loved seeing all of the representation of pretty brown faces.  Third, the play captured my attention and gave me a whirlwind of surprises some subtle and some knocking me over.

Let me give honor to whom honor is due by saying that How to Catch Creation is coming off the acclaimed Kilroy’s list.  It’s a play about discovering legacy as well as what it means to create and how creation shifts during periods of life. Creation takes many forms from art, life, relationships, and how all of the loops come together. As a creator myself it definitely spoke to the hills and lows of life and watching my own work take dips according to what may or may not have taken off.

Christina Anderson, playwright, did an amazing job on capturing the experience of black queer feminist writer and how through her life, life has taken on turns that end up bringing the most unexpected people to unite. When you see the connection I found myself holding back in the audience try not to mess it up for someone who might not have. I laughed so hard during this play.  I loved at moments when the audience interacted right on cue without a notion. I also loved seeing Christina Anderson herself in the audience as well as the director, Nataki Garrett. Seeing them watch their work had to be amazing.

This play is for everyone. I do love how it highlights love and heartache for same-sex relationships.  To be honest sometimes society in my opinion forgets that they have an experience like everyone else. It’s not as easy even with society beginning to open up to what it means to be apart of the LGBTQ community and also be Black.  I enjoyed hearing prior to the show from Amber Hikes who is the Executive Director of LGBT Affairs for the city of Philadelphia. I didn’t even know there was a division first of all.  I also didn’t know that are only 3 other positions in the cities of the United States like it. There is definitely a need for all of us to be aware of what our city is offering. It was great knowing that the city of Philadelphia and the Mayor’s office is representing all walks of life.

So what were some of the themes presented:

Despair, from seeing Lindsay Smiling who played Griffin, try to work his way to normality after being wrongfully accused of a crime and incarcerated for 25 years. His struggle to want to have a child of his own as he learns about his mother and her past was incredible.

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Love, from Tiffani Barbour who play GK Marche a writer who falls in love with Natalie played by Shauna Miles and seeing who their love goes from incredible highs to the lows of breaking up and infidelity. Their love was priceless and unmatched until loneliness lead Natalie into the arms of another.

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Betrayal, Shayna Small plays Riley a young woman who has motivated her boyfriend, Stokes, played by Jonathan Bangs, who is losing his focus and rhythm.  Their beat is thrown off when Riley falls in love with Tami, played by Stephanie Weeks who is opening herself up to this forbidden love.  The beat is so off that now in order to get the rhythm back do they let go?  Do they go back to life before the betrayal? Can they co-exist?

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Explosive, fun, witty, and most importantly colorful are some of the best words to describe my experience. You are not going to want to miss out on this adventure. How to Catch Creation will be playing until April 14th. You can purchase tickets which range from $10-69 by clicking here

I would strongly encourage you to see the play and take some friends or family along as well. Thank you to the Philadelphia Theatre Company for as always inviting me and treating me above well. Thank you to Kory Aversa and Aversa PR for these opportunities as well. Thank you to the amazing cast of How to Catch Creation for such a wonderful time.  You all were professional and most gracious as well after the show.  Thanks to my personal team for always helping me get to these shows and for being the best caretakers for my littles!

 

 

 

 

Don’t Dim your Light

We hear this often yet we still do it or allow others to do it. It’s easy to live under the radar than to let your light shine. As A PK (preacher’s kid) we would sing this little light of mine. Than I remember them changing the words to this big light of mine. It’s important to know that your light is big no matter what you do in life. You matter. While you are out here shinning your light, don’t dim them either.

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I was on social media like I am often. A woman who had lost weight from eating clean, working out, etc made a video because she was receiving backlash from showing her progress. I was like why in the world are you dimming your light? She literally showed each stage which meant if there was a “hater” all they had to do instead of complaining was get off their do nothing and make changes for their own health and get their own progress. We know social media isn’t for common sense.  I was taken back. There are folks that would get mad at a woman getting her life together and shedding pounds. Mind you it was after the birth of her second child. Every woman knows how hard it is to lose “baby weight.” That however didn’t stop women especially from tearing her down.

So that bring me to life off the gram or off social media. How often do you quietly work in silence but when it comes to showing that progress we hide? I often have done it by layering up if it’s from clothes to layering and hiding behind modesty. There is a time and a place for all of it. Living unapologetically is the way and anything less is dimming. You can be great and sometimes its okay to let folks a glimpse into your happiness. There is nothing anyone can do to stop real joy. So don’t cover it up just because the ones who haven’t realized the investment into their own happiness. Don’t dim it just because a few folks will get mad at your progress. Don’t dim it just because the ones “still talking” but ain’t doing will get jealous. Let me do it all. Shine your light.

Someone needs to see you walking with your bright light. It gives courage to those who need to make change. It gives courage to those too scared and afraid to take that first step. For the few that will look down at you, there are 10 that will be encouraged. Don’t dim your light! Shine!

Christmas Village Experience 2018

So as many of you know I came across the Christmas Village last year doing a Google search for free family fun. I then convinced my family to give the authentic outdoor German Market a try. We were impressed and excited to attend again this year. This year I was invited to take an intimate look at what the Christmas Village really has to offer behind the scenes. This year thanks to the renovations of the Love Park sign, it was even more special!

I was able to attend the opening ceremony to light “The Present.” Thanks to Mayor Jim Kenney who hit it home with his opening speech about giving towards others. This is the season to not just think about ourselves and our families but how we can best serve the people of Philadelphia. The Present is 27 feet in height, well-lit holiday present. It is in the middle of the Christmas Village.  Not only is it visually stunning, its set as a reminder to give to others.  If you are in the area you can give by texting and you will receive a gift tag that can be displayed on “The Present” that is a symbol of what the holiday is all about. You can actively give by doing the following:

  • TEXT PARKS to 501501 to donate to Fairmount Park Conservancy will go towards helping Philadelphia Parks
  • TEXT BOOKS  to 20222 to donate to Welcome America’s holiday book campaign for Parks and Recreation. Every $5 raised will purchase a total of 4 books. 
  • TEXT 80100 to donate to Project Home to help end poverty and homelessness

Inside “The Present”

“The Present is open starting today to the public all the way through December 24th. It’s free to enter and as you can see from the above photos it’s a beauty to see, take photos and walk inside!  I felt like the biggest kid. The colors and lights had me mesmerized. 

So I knew after watching “The Present” light up that I was off to a good start. The first stop on the tour was the German Grill. The open grill had all the best of the German deliciousness. From Bratwurst to Schnitzel, I was in pure Heaven. The open grill is such a delight and the smells pulled me in. I was completely satisfied.  As soon as I got home, I was upset as to why I didn’t take a Bratwurst to go. 

This took me to the second stop on the tour and that was to the open beer garden, The Alm. It’s always a good idea for beer. There are a lot of new items on the menu. Let me also point out for families with young children. This is a great spot to combine adulting and kids. It’s closed in. So this means a lot of play for the kids and drinks for the adults. This year they have a new beer mug. It’s a beauty to behold and you know that the bigger the cup, the bigger the gulp!

As if the beer wasn’t enough, I made my way to one if that’s right one of the wine offerings, German Gluhwein.  It’s a mulled wine. They offer a white and a red wine and both were amazing.

Next up was Käthe Wohlfahrt. This indoor gem blew my mind. This unique shop was full of mostly hand-made treasures. From one of a kind pieces to ornaments and decorations, it was a delight. Note there is no videography or photos for the public. However I was able to get you that inside look. What I will say is this is a must on your stops through the open village. Be careful as some of the pieces are pricey. So if you have little ones just hold their hands. I do believe once they see how well-lit and how beautiful the pieces are, they will spend more time asking questions than running through the store.

Next stop was the The Bacon Jams. I’ve never had bacon jam but today I wanted to buy all of them. These easy to spread jams taste super authentic to real bacon. The flavors were amazing. I tried every last one. From the maple bacon to the honey bourbon! All of them were a treat!

I believe I was turning into a foodie by the end of the night. The next stop was to Sweets where we tried some toasted chestnuts. I’ve never had any before but I was a believer tonight. Be sure if you attend that you make your way. There are other sweet treats as well.

Keeping in line with sweets we make our way to John and Kira’s. This was like chocolate Heaven! I tried for her first time honey bee chocolate made from local honey bee. First of all this gooey treat should be eaten in one bite. It’s honey flavor mixed with chocolate had to be the best that I have had in a long time. We also had some amazing sea salt caramel.

If you ever been to the Christmas Village you are full aware of the Raclette. It’s basically the best cheese I’ve ever eaten, that is melted under a special heated lamp and the cheese oozes onto some of the freshest bread Philadelphia has to offer. I was in cheese coma. Let me say that yes I took one for the team of non dairy, but I ain’t feel not ounce of shame.

For those who love unique cards you must stop at Love Pop. You can get pop up 3D cards. I enjoyed the tour and I plan to grab a few to give to special friends.

Our next stop was Mike’s Hot Honey. We were told that when you taste it, it would be sweet and then bitter and it was true. Mike’s Hot Honey is a spread that can be put on almost anything from bagels to chicken. I enjoyed it. I don’t know if I am getting a cold but if I was when I left I definitely felt like my palette was cleared. 

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Of course we needed something a little sweet so we headed over to Helmuts Original Austrian Strudel. They had your classics like cherry but they also had some that were a definite go back and true such as the meat and pulled pork puffs. They even have a mac and cheese one!  

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One of the final stops before ending with hot chocolate was Truffleist. This is what the name says, Truffle. So between some amazing cheeses and salami, the truffle butter was everything. I mean everyone enjoyed it. They have an amazing selection and to be honest I could eat that truffle butter by the spoonfuls. It was that good. 

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One more goodie before I end, I love hand blown glass. The colors are amazing. So I had to take a picture of the Mouth Blown Ornaments. 

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So the tour was everything and more. You and your family or friends will have an amazing time. I tried to give you a snippet of what it would be like. The only thing that I didn’t see was Santa but you can catch Santa in the Santa Hut for pics starting on the weekends and then close to the season being over he will be there everyday. I would make sure you go and see him if you’re trying to get on the Nice List. 

Special thanks to Philadelphia Christmas Village, the sponsors: Bank of America, Acme, Käthe Wohlfahrt, and Hernnhuter and all of the partners who helped to make this day. Also shout out to all of the amazing vendors who bring the Christmas Village to Life rain or shine. Remember its free to enter and you only pay for the food, drinks, and treasures you find. 

Special shout out to Kory Aversa and the Aversa PR and Events for having me. 

So head on over and grab your kids, your friends, your girls, or your boys and  have an experience to remember!

Hours:
Sunday – Thursday: 11:00am – 7:00pm
Friday – Saturday: 11:00am – 8:00pm
Christmas Eve: 11:00am – 5:00pm

Location:
LOVE Park, 1500 Arch Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102

Love Energy

If you ever worked out you know how it can feel. Sometimes you feel super motivated. Other times you have a love/hate relationship.  However if you are consistent in it you will notice how better you feel and eventually you will see results. When you are consistent and you see results it keeps you feeling amazing and keeps you going even when you have days when you slack off.

The energy behind that feeling of working out, eating better, or doing better is the same type of energy that needs to be put into your love relationship. You should feel loved on everyday. The days where arguments seem to be on a thousand, and you’re not getting along, should be way less than the days you and your partner spend loving on each other. One thing that I am realizing is the more energy into the relationship, the better the results. The times in your relationships where BOTH partners are attempting to meet in the middle is key to making it work.

Energy never lies. I don’t care what a person says, if the energy that a person is giving or lack thereof, is the key to how things hold up. You can never go on record with your spouse naming the things that you do in response to responsibilities alone if the energy in how you love isn’t being shown. I learned that in counseling on my own. I went to counseling about my life in general and if I am honest my marriage came up. My counselor was a man and he said to me that I know the energy in which my marriage is giving and if that energy is slacking, it won’t hold up. I either had to do my part, wait to see if my husband’s part would match, and if it don’t match, I knew what I had to do. This doesn’t mean my counselor was encouraging to divorce, etc, but he was making me aware of things that love blinds you to.

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Love is amazing. If you are being loved right, it shows. A woman glows better when she’s loving herself and her partner is loving her correctly. There is no denying that. Energy is all about what you give to your partner. If all you do is harp on what your partner does that is negative than don’t get mad when that person goes looking for someone to encourage them. Let me say it for the folks in the back, this is not a oh well if they cheat clause. I am saying if you’re honest and you know you aren’t speaking good into your relationship and over the person you claim to love and all you do is tearing that individual them, gaslighting them, and downing their every move, eventually that ugly side of you becomes less and less attractive. No ONE wants to be put down. You can’t come with a smile, ever? You don’t have not one nice thing to say, ever? There is something wrong, always? Don’t nobody got time for that. If you have an issue with something, speak up but it don’t have to be drawn into a picture with a neon sign everyday! Speak love. Speak encouragement. Put into the relationship what you want out of it.

One last nugget my counselor told me that we tend to say, if I was with “this” person whatever the “this” represents, we would….. If you don’t work out in yourself whatever negative issues you feel from what you get out of your mate, you can leave them and run right back into that same type of person later. Check your loves of the past, do they all share common traits? If so than maybe there’s something in you that needs to be worked out. Energy never lies. If you feel miserable and you’re working on yourself and find that the person you are with is not and its dragging you down, speak up. After awhile things will naturally take its course. Don’t ignore the warning signs cause you love this person!

Why Podcasts Are Necessary for Mental Management

I love music. I have blogged about how music is really one of those things that aids in controlling your mind-set.   One of my newest mindful tactics is podcasts.  My interests are pretty eclectic and ranges from my favorite blog series, to politics, to music, fashion, parenting and even a few celebrity-inspired ones as well. I listen to podcasts at least once or twice a day.  I find that I exchange it in its place for music sometimes especially when I get a few minutes of peace.

The benefits to me is mindfulness. I am able to explore different topics that I enjoy or learn new things daily.   It allows me to switch it up and feel like I am listening to more purpose filled blogs on the go.  I enjoy writing my own blogs, writing for TCP network or even guest appear on other blogs, but all of that is behind the scenes.  Hearing other people’s voices speak on a subject matter is super soothing.  Now be aware of why you listen to podcasts and be sure to find the ones you are interested in.  I know for me the podcasts I stick close to are the ones that allow me to listen straight through.  Any of them that I find myself fast forwarding I don’t follow or continue to listen to the artist.  No disrespect but my time is valuable so I need to utilize it wisely. I need something that speaks to me as a woman, mother, wife, or just one that provides a good listen to the things that I find the most interesting.  I have also been featured in one and let me say that the podcasts was super nerve-racking.  One I talk super fast and I am not interested in hearing my voice on a daily.  Shout out to podcasts artist who take their artistry serious.  I will leave it up to you great voices and may only do an appearance here or there.

Benefits:

  • Helps to calm your nerves
  • Helps you to maintain information
  • Guards your mindset

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With that being said here’s a list of my favorite podcasts in no particular order and why I like them:

BGIO-Black Girl In OM

This blog I found about a year ago.  I was at work and having a bad day and I literally looked them up and stumbled upon a jewel.  This podcasts talks about mindfulness and addresses what its like to be a creative black women who is making her mark.  I absolutely love it and although they haven’t had a new episode sine July, it’s still worth going back and listening to.

GirlBoss

This podcasts along with the website talks about mindfulness as well as every aspect of what makes a woman a woman.  They give great tips and they are an easy listening podcasts that I listen to when I am on my way home.  I have planned a few outfits to work just from hearing the information given.  Plus who doesn’t want to be a boss?  We aren’t bossy we are bosses! Right?  Right! This podcasts makes me own it!

Mastering Marriage: This podcasts are from a married couple, Amanda and David Taylor.  I found them a few years ago when I got married.  They are a couple that talk about how they were headed down the road of divorce.  I love this real and vulnerable talk about how marriage taking work and that things are never as cookie cutter as we especially women want them to be.  I applaud them for being able to share their real life story of how bad things can get if you aren’t connected and doing the work to maintain.

Women Evolve

So this one is by Sarah Jakes Roberts, the daughter of esteemed pastor T.D. Jakes.  I was a bit leery of this one because I love the lord but I am also the one that will throw hands and I didn’t need an overly church podcasts.  So I just started this podcasts but…. I have listened to all of them.  Let me tell you why I like this podcasts and have respect for Sarah, she is real.  I like her calm approach to the topics that she knows we know about.  She can take a topic from the Shaderoom and spin it to where it’s not a place to hear a dump of information.

TCP; The cultured Professional is the other network that I am on.  I would advise this is your one stop shop to be aware, awoke and therefore enlightened.  This network is diverse, young, and ready to tackle on the  world both professionally and personally.  They give it to you straight just like my personality.

Within TCP is there are over 7 podcasts that have shows weekly on TCP Facebook. I would suggest you connect to the page as well as link to all of the other pages on Facebook page as well if you have time to link and hear the podcasts in real-time.  If not you can do like I do and catch them on the flip side!

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Hip Hop and Politics: this blog challenges what you think about the politics around you in addition to how hip hop plays an important part of that.  Also a lot of these podcasts actually live shows but the way my life is set up I barely can listen to them live.  But fear not that’s what podcasts are for?  I can go back and watch them.  Although in my link its for Apple iTunes, they are on all major streams for podcasts, check it out!

Sayless: This podcast is one of the most happily ignorant podcasts.  This is the one I listen to on the train ride into work. It gets me going.  They cover it all from having sex on the first date, spoken word, or catching your significant other with a sex doll.  Yep they take it there.  This is not your momma’s podcasts. So I would caution if you were looking for politically correctness, this isn’t the place.  For the real adults, get your ear phones and turn up!

Raw Royalty: shout out to women empowering one another.  This is a queens only podcasts. I listen to them on Sunday night as I go through my house getting my life right for the week.  They don’t hold anything back.  From raising kids, dealing with co parenting, to dating dos and don’ts, it all hits the fan.  They make me adjust my crown every time I turn them on.  Raw Royalty is also in conjunction with Regal Finesse:

Regal Finesse is your one stop shop for everything a young king and queen need from work out gear to your shirts.  Check out their designs.  They even have a few more things up their sleeve, literally.  Be on the look out!

Opinionated Facts: This is the Sports and man-cave talk for the men! I do still listen to them.  They talk about things from your favorite shows to current events and sports but I love hearing men talk that talk.  Why as a woman its hard for me to understand the makings of a man.  I love listening to these kings talking and hearing their perspective.  Letting men be men and I love it!

For those who love Spotify theres King Court, 10th Floor and others Spotify

Demetria L. Lucas’ Ratchet and Respectable found on Apple Podcasts

Like I said, make sure that you continue to catch these and add some more to your arsenal.  I literally listen to podcasts while doing a number of duties in my life.  As I am going to work, rotating the kids from bath, etc.  I literally try to keep my mind clear and sometimes podcasts are another notch of mindfulness to add to your daily self-care!

Over 30 Years in The Making

Well last night I was able to see my Aunt Starlett.  The overall happiness that I still feel even as I type this blog, can’t even be captured. To see someone I haven’t seen in over 30 years is amazing.  I am 36 by the way if you need to put things into perspective.

Why I haven’t seen my aunt is mostly location.  She lives in California and my entire family leaves on the East Coast.  She works hard like two jobs hard to make ends meet so vacations aren’t even on the radar for her.  So this was major for her to get here.  I am super grateful for the strides that both my mom and aunt are making in their relationship.  Whatever may have happened prior to the best reunion ever doesn’t matter to me. I have done my job as a niece to keep up with my aunt and that is all that matters to me.

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I am also glad that my mom, aunt, and grandma will reunite together as well.  This is major too.  I don’t have a lot of family on my mom’s side so anytime we can get together is a big deal to me.  I am also glad that my husband and kids were able to meet her.  It helps for them to see parts of me and not just my husband’s side.

So what was going on in my mind the moments leading up to the reunion?

  1. Would see look like I remembered her?  She did and then she didn’t.  I only remember what her face looked like but our interactions growing up weren’t that strong so the memories of doing fun things with your aunt I don’t have.
  2. Would we receive each other warmly?  We absolutely did.  Hugs and kisses all around and my kids received her just as well.  That warmed my heart.
  3. Would everything go smoothly?  Absolutely.  Shout out to my mom for making her infamous lasagna.  Nothing can go wrong with momma’s cooking and a few drinks.
  4. How to pull this off-I live Philly my family doesn’t. So an hour and a half car ride during a school week for my kids, with homework in tow, grabbed some dinner because kids can be picky, and the sounds of New Edition we were on our way. This takes organization to the next level.  I dressed the kids in their pajamas, and this made it easy to get back late, transfer them to bed, and let them be rested for the next day. Super glad that we had very little tantrums during or after.
  5. I took the deepest breath and said a prayer that all would go well.  Not that anything would happen but again anxiety and this was a major event for me so I wanted to be on guard a bit until I saw her, it went away.

Shout out to my job for allowing me to leave early to get on the road so I could get the kids and my husband ready to travel.  Everyone knows I have a do nothing policy during the week when school is in session, but this was a must attend event.

I am super glad for the memories that were made.  The pictures that were taken.  The continued relationship that she and I will have.  I look forward to more reunions.  This was like Christmas and Thanksgiving all rolled into one. My night was forever made.  The kids were excited both leading to and after they met her.  That alone made me feel super good.  I couldn’t never imagined the moment but I am super glad the moment was had.

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One suggestion I would make is to try your best to make good relationships with family.  As I type this I will keep it all the way real. Even though I am all about family, I must say that there are several family members that I don’t have a relationship with anymore for various reasons.  So I will not write this and act like I just have the best relations with all of my family because that would be a lie.  If and when the time is right I am more than willing to make things right as they need to be in their proper place.  My reunion with my aunt lets me know that healing can still happen.  No matter what is said and done there is a slight chance if you’re open to it to make things better.  So I will encourage others as well as myself to try to make things better.

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I love my Aunt Star and I am glad that I was able to spend time with her.  God bless her in all that she does.