Monday Motivation: Open Heart

So happy Monday! First let’s be grateful for waking up! If you can read this you are on the right path. We forget that life is but a vapor. We spend more time upset over small things. Shift the mind! I am grateful for waking up! I am grateful for another opportunity to make an amazing path!

With that being said what if you woke up with a closed heart. A closed heart that doesn’t see good in anyone. An open heart that isn’t open to love and living a full life! That has to be a hard place to live in. I used to live like that. Everyday argumentative and angry. It’s a draining way to live! When your heart is open to the right things you can overcome all kinds of obstacles. You can push through difficult moments even when you feel like no answers are near.

When your heart is open to the right things even in dark times you can hold onto light! I’ve had many times where someone has said something to me that alerted me to what was inside of me all along. My heart was able to receive someone speaking hope into my hopeless situation. It’s a blessing to keeping your heart open! When you have closed off your heart it seems like everything and everyone is against you. You find fault in everything all the time and often times you’re not able to take accountability! Today during your Monday shuffle; find ways to open your heart. It could in how you shift from a complaining spirit to a grateful one. One time I had mere dollars if you could call it that. My want or needs list was higher than the money to take care of them. I wanted to be mad as if it was the moneys fault. I took a deep breath and wrote what I could do to proceed in my day in the right mindset and in a matter of hours, money didn’t appear but provision did. This meant what I needed came in ways I wouldn’t have had room to mentally conceive until I shifted my heart to be open!

I hope that if you feel hopeless that you would understand that it’s a dark moment not a dark life. Your moment isn’t a permanent life choice. Things do and always turn. The worse thing you have gotten into you have always managed to come out on the other side so whatever has your heart closed, release it! Replace it with hope of the future and that doesn’t mean months and years-we talking about your today and now! Take charge to let go and open your heart!

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Happy Bastille Day: Ardmore Bastille Block Party

One thing that I enjoyed this past spring was my trip to Paris. Seeing up close how the culture and the people mesh is nothing but a once in a lifetime adventure. With first hand knowledge of how the French love and treat others I was more than happy to attend Ardmore Bastille Block Party! It was a mix of everything France with music, food, drinks, entertainment, and even things for the kids to go as well! Also it’s the first in Ardmore and I hope they continue this worthy celebration for years to come! Let me break it down for you! Special thanks to Delice Et Chocolate and The Bercy for joining forces to bring the Best of the Best of France to the Mainline!

Wine Garden

The Bercy made sure those who wanted to rosé all day definitely was able to. Sponsored by Veuve Clicquot drink selections included rosé, champagnes, and sparkling wines. Tickets were $20 in advance and $25 on location. Anytime drink offerings are available my high suggestion is to take it! If you plan on having at least 2-3 drinks they become well worth it and it was drink as you like which meant for each ticket you could continue drinking until last call. Its definitely cost effective to drink!

For non alcoholic drinkers The Bercy had a cucumber limeade that was amazing good and refreshing!!

Thank you Cory you were an amazing server with amazing personality!!

The Bercy also had a brunch that was available from 10-3pm! This was an all you care to eat buffet style brunch and definitely worth it. We elected to eat inside of the Bercy and let me tell you it was well worth it! They have a great selection of food and their kids menus is more than I bargained for-it’s super great! I took my 3 kids and my niece and all of them got different options. From a cheeseburger, chicken tenders, macaroni and cheese to the butter noodles each meal came with fresh fruit, fresh veggies, fries and a chocolate chip cookie. No child left hungry! Special shout out to the staff who went and above taking care of their needs as well as the adults!

I decided to have the Quiche Du Jour which was amazing! My husband had “The Bercy Burger.” He had nothing but raves over this burger. He asked for it to be well done however at some places well down means non juicy and over cooked-not at The Bercy! It was the best he’s ever had!!!! My quiche was outstanding I have zero regrets!

Delice Et Chocolat

If you ever been to Paris you know they are known for some of the most amazing treats! From croissants to macaroon and chocolate-it’s amazing! I took my oldest kids and we had a blast enjoying these French treats! From the first bite to the last I wasn’t disappointed. It took me back to my Paris trip and on Bastille this couldn’t have been any better! I had some amazing croissants when I attended the Ardmore Preview a few weeks ago and I knew if ever I was missing Paris that Delice Et Chocolat is and will always be my go to!

The Parlour

The icecream supplied by Parlour ice cream shop is always a great treat. Mom hack-they have a mini cone that is only $1 that in my opinion is more than enough for little and big hands. Today’s feature was mint chocolate chip and caramel pretzel!

Entertainment

We didn’t just walk around eating and drinking. Even if we had it would have been more than amazing! Shout out to the can can dancers From Philadelphia Academy of Ballet! They were more than amazing-check out my Instagram for their performance! These beautiful ladies were in sync and everyone loved them!

French Cooking

This blues band was so amazing! I loved them. They had the crowds swinging! My kids surprised me when they just stopped what they were doing to start dancing! Trust me as soon as I heard them I came out of the Delice Et Chocolat to hear them. They are from New York and have such a southern sound that I enjoyed!

Face painting!

Who doesn’t love face painting? I do! My kids and I were able to have our face painted by Mudroom! You can stop at Mudroom to do some amazing crafts any time their open!

Between crafts, drinks, food, music, can can dancers, and all around Sunday Funday-Bastille Day was an amazing celebration of love and freedom and I’m glad I was able to join in all the fun! Thank you Aversa PR, Admore Initiatives, The Bercy, The Parlour, Mudroom and Delice Et Chocolat!

So now I know you’re thinking how much you missed. Well don’t be! This is all a great prelude to Ardmore Restaurant week where you can definitely stop in to The Bercy and Delice Et Chocolat or others by clicking on the link and stopping in!

Summer Love with Joi

ToiTime is in the midst of a Summer take over! I took my adventures to Atlantic City to the Showboat Casino to hear Joilet Harris! Joilet Harris is an amazing singer who serenaded the audience with all of the love.

I grew up around real singing. My family still sings to this day! So to hear someone who could “sang” filled my whole heart with joy! Joi engages with her crowd and makes you feel like you’re the only one there! I absolutely loved her range and ability. Her band “Jays Crew” was odd the chain. Sitting back and listening to their arraignments was pure magic! There timing and ability is clear. They go with the punches and make it easy to come through to the audience!

She even serenaded my husband and I so loved it. So what can you expect when you attend? Engagement. Good sanging-yes it’s spelled correctly. Good music with an amazing live band. Attentiveness. You will experience an all around experience! One thing about cabaret music is the artist can be themselves and you get the pure essence of Joi! This show makes an amazing date night or you can grab your friends who loves good music trust me they will love it! Make it a night there are plenty of things to do on the Boardwalk before or even after the show!

What to expect once there:

  • If you want to order a drink-bring cash
  • You will be served and the servers are amazing so please tip
  • Parking is self parking or valet-valet is about 30 dollars you can pay cash or with your card as well
  • Get there on time-Joi will be ready to start

Joi will be there on Friday on July on the 19th and the 26th with two shows at 730 or 930!

To get tickets click on the link!

Thank you to Juniper Productions for the invite! You can also donate to help them. One thing about productions is that they always attract the most amazing artist but they need to be supported. Let’s not only support artists by attending their shows but let’s also donate so that others who can’t can!

“French Kiss” by Janice Telestar

I attended the new lobby art exhibition at none other than Sofitel Philadelphia. They hosted an amazing happy hour featuring their Summer drinks menu while showcasing the world of Janice Telestar’s “French Kiss.” This was Janice’s love letter to Paris in photographic form!

I had just come from Paris not too long ago so seeing the pieces took me back. Every piece was alluring and beautiful and if you haven’t gone will make you feel like Paris was in the middle of Center City! Janice did an amazing job on the display. I was able to talk with her about her pieces. It wasn’t about just taking a picture of the Eiffel Tower. It was capturing the right lighting and the essence of Paris that some photographers miss trying to get the “right” shot. Some of the pieces had my arms with goosebumps from feeling the joy of what Paris meant to me!

I attended the event alone as my husband was meeting me there later. Without saying one word to him as soon as he saw the pieces an immediate smile came over him. You really can’t help it. Also let me note that the Sofitel Philadelphia encompasses what being in Paris is about. While I visited it was about love, friendship, a welcoming spirit, elegance and helpfulness! Janice display couldn’t have been highlighted in any other location but the Sofitel Philadelphia.

So how can you take a Paris adventure without actually going? Come to the Sofitel Philadelphia and walk in the lobby to view it! It’s that magical as it places you in the heart of Paris. You feel like you have traveled the world right here in Philadelphia! While you are there stop in and try the new Summer drinks. When I tell you they are exquisite I mean it. Sofitel’s “luxury reimagined” comes to life from being greeted by the doorman to your maître d’ serving you.

Also if your interested in one of the pieces once they leave Sofitel contact David Telestar at 610-236-0680.

As always when you think luxury, think Sofitel “luxury reimagined.” They can host your event including weddings, anniversaries or a staycation to get away without going away! You will not be disappointed!!

Ask Toi: How can you deal with a stolen best friend?

There is no such thing as a stolen best friend. Your friend could have another relationship that is making you feel like you’re missing out but no one can steal what’s already solid.

This principle applies to romantic relationships as well. Your friend could be growing in ways you aren’t. Whomever she is hanging out with appeals to the new growth. Her going out with other people is called life. No one can be so bound to one person that they can’t branch out and have other interests. You need to deal with your feelings and how it makes you feel. Drake says “no new friends” but the truth is although the new relationship may not ever get to the same status as you and her, the truth of the matter she can and will have other people she will gravitate towards that isn’t you!

Once you deal with your feeling surrounding how you feel you can make the time with your best friend more meaningful. You don’t have to compete with the new friend. You have an established bond like a sisterhood. You are still besties. Your friend has a new friend and it’s okay unless the new friend is a bad influence. If you can’t see a reason outside of she just shouldn’t be, deal with you so you can keep your friendship in tact and not come off as jealous! Nothing is worse than dealing with a friend that is jealous. It turns them into a mean spirited friend and that’s not something you want to be!

Small Bites and a Big Punch all on The Deck!

I had the honor of attending a mix and mingle that was hosted by Roberta Pipito also known as homemadedelish on social media. You may have seen her doing correspondence on television as a lifestyle and food contributor. The mix and mingle was held at the Moshulu aboard The Deck. Now I have to be honest it was my first time. Out of the 8 years I’ve lived in Philadelphia not one time have I ever been aboard the Moshulu. I know it’s crazy to hear but this is why it’s important for me to see more of the city.

As a lifestyle blogger it’s important to blog life as it happens. One of the major aspects of life and living is eating and dining. When I go to establishments it’s important for me to take note of a few things; ambiance, decor, food, service, and fun and I can assure you that The Deck on the Moshulu has high marks for all.

Ambiance

I took a tour of the Moshulu and was able to see the newly renovated spaces. One word to describe it is: breathtaking! They have several decks to fit your needs. Obviously The Deck which I will be featuring has small bites and amazing drinks, they have several bars and dining spaces and event spaces as well.

When I attend spaces my mind goes to my lifestyle and many others. How can I utilize this space for date nights, time with friends or even if I wanted to bring my children? Let me say the Moshulu has you covered for whatever the occasion including just grabbing drinks after a long day. The Moshulu is the only restaurant aboard a working ship so the mere ability to dine or drink while seeing the city as your backdrop and watching the sunset is truly a beautiful thing to see! This is why it’s important to explore your own city. As much as it’s fun to travel do not miss your opportunity to see amazing jewels in your own backyard!

Decor

Having the water and city as your backdrop you don’t need much but the Moshulu has taken it up a notch with amazing unique pieces that will make your dining experience that much better. The uniqueness is something you will absolutely not see anywhere else. I can attest. Beautiful chairs, and looking up to amazing hand crafted ceiling pieces are just outstanding. At night you can see the glow of the lights and city and it makes it like an oasis of pure happiness!

Food

The Deck is the place to be. This is where you can get your small bites and unique drink offerings. This is great for grabbing a few friends or family and just ordering an assortment of bites to share. The food is incredible. The small bites will fill you and let’s be clear especially in the Summer small bites is perfect enough to pair with a drink but heavy enough not to have that overeaten fill! Light and airy but with good food is the way to go in the Summer.

Thanks to The Deck let me highlight a few must haves:

Red and white sangria pictured above

I love a good sangria. Sangria is like Summer’s special. It’s light and it’s good. The Deck took the Sangria and raised the deliciousness by a thousand. Not only is their sangria good it can be served in the pitcher to your table. For me that is good news. Instead of ordering a few drinks at a time, you can order the Deck Jugs and sip as you please. No waiting on someone to refill your cup the choice is now up to you! It can serve between 2-6 or more! If I had to recommend which sangria I loved I would go for the white!!

Another highlight is the Weekend Warrior! It’s a deep eddy sweet tea vodka, Pallini limoncello, mint, honey, lemon and iced tea. The first thing you’re gonna ask if you’re not a mint person is the mint strong? Nope. It’s the perfect combination and it can be served in the Deck Jug as well!

What if you’re the type that likes your drinks frozen since it is Summer you may want to cool off:

No worries I tried the strawberry margarita slush and it’s amazing from first sip to last!

Also the mango piña colada is delicious as well! It’s smooth and creamy! It’s one of those drinks that’s so airy that it doesn’t hit you right away! So here’s your: PSA don’t drink and drive and maybe catch an Uber Or Lyft!!

Now on to the food!! The Deck has food for every single palette. There is no one in your party whether it’s a party for 2 to 10 that they can’t accommodate! From soft pretzels to sushi to calamari they have you covered!

Warm soft pretzel bites and a cheese sauce

Pita bread and greens over avocado hummus

Truffle fries

Chips and avocado hummus

Cheeseburger slider and chips

Calamari

Not your average corn dog

Veggie Sushi made with mango, cucumbers and avocado a personal favorite of mine

There’s always room for dessert and you are going to want to have some! We were given boozy Rice Krispies and an ice cream sundae that is definitely shareable! The boozy Rice Krispies came in mud slide, pina colada and margarita. The picture below doesn’t even do it justice. It’s worth trying for yourself! These definitely aren’t your kids Rice Krispies. The immediate escape to fun and your childhood was felt by all the smiles!

Service

I always remain low key to see how I am treated at the door before anyone knows why I am there or who I am! There was not one issue! All staff that I saw didn’t do the walk past you bit. Everyone was all smiles and acknowledged me and definitely was accommodating. I had nothing bad to report. How someone treats you before they know you will grade them says more to me about an establishment and The Deck and Moshulu get a definite A+ rating!

Fun

From walking on the ship until I left I had a ball! I had a ball because the ship is beautiful! I had fun because the weather was great and had it not Moshulu has options to still dine outdoors without the rain stopping the show! I had fun because the food was fresh and the drinks were amazing. Overall Moshulu and The Deck is the perfect Summer escape. It’s the best place to feel like you have taken on a long lost trip of adventure without having to leave far from home. It’s a beautiful place to hang out, connect or reconnect, and host your event or even a wedding!

I want to thank all of the staff at Moshulu and The Deck for having us. I would also like to thank Roberta for being an amazing host of this mix and mingle! Thank you to Melissa’s Produce for the great swag bag.

I met some amazing new blogger friends as well as spent time with @Phillyfoodgal!

I definitely will be back and I’m hoping it’s with a few of my girls!

The Moshulu is located 401 S. Christopher Columbus Blvd in Philadelphia PA!

It’s open for lunch from 12pm-2:30pm Monday-Friday and for dinner from 5-10pm Monday-Sunday!

Brunch which I am soooooo excited to try soon is on Saturdays from 11-230pm and on Sundays from 10am-2:30am!

The Deck is open daily starting at 3 for amazing small bites and drinks!

There’s no doubt that Summer fun can be found at The Deck on the Moshulu!!

Week 3 Summer Adventures Break Down

So it’s week 3 or should I say it was week 3 and also 4th of July week so in my mind it was a short week which meant more fun! I enjoyed week 3 as we tried to switch it up a bit! So how much did we spend?! Drum roll please…..68.23!!!!! Oh yes I keep challenging myself and it feels amazing to save and have a ball so let’s break it down:

Monday

So with it being 4th of July this week there were a lot of events in the city for free. We decided to go to a Photo Pop Philly from 9-11 and it was free. I attended Photo Pop Philly in blogger mode before it opened as a preview but to attend it in mom mode was just as fun. It felt great to see some more of the interactive photo extravaganza.

Let me remind you that once there you can take pictures, gifs, and video in over 20 high quality photo spreads. I was able to get shots of them and me individually and collectively because the staff is on point and are there to get your angles. Also should out to Phillyfoodgal for the info and meeting up with us as well!!

The kids absolutely loved it! With that day also being free museum day the parking was tight. I spent $23 dollars in the parking deck. Since I didn’t pack a snack for the kids they of course opted to get ice-cream from Philly Scoopdeville! Shout out to the staff they were so welcoming. I have had their ice-cream before and blogged it but it was the kids first time! I know they will be asking me to take them back. I was able to get 2 medium cups and split it into 4 smalls for the win! I got a vegan blueberry and the kids all got Cookie Monster! The total was $15.81!

Also keep in mind the theme for Photo Pop Philly is Sweet Paradise! Philly Scoopdeville has collaborated with Photo Pop Philly for the Sweet Paradise flavor that you can get at the Bourse!

So super backwards we ended up heading home for lunch but hey everyone has room for ice-cream right?!

Tuesday

Today was jam packed! It was time for a visit to our local library! We went to Eastwick Library. Let me be honest. I’ve gone to many libraries in Philadelphia but I kept bypassing the one close to us. Not sure why but boy once I walked in I was taken back. It’s beautiful in there and the staff is amazing. They have a summer reading program that rewards them for reading and other summer fun with books and prizes! Also we were able to get in addition to their summer book list for book reports but other books as well. We will be adding this into the rotation weekly! Each kid got one free book and a prize as well as 30 books combined. Oh and yes they have read them! When there’s down time it’s reading time!

Also we got free passes to the Philadelphia Museum of Art! I definitely will be utilizing these passes in the coming weeks!

I was going to add in bowling today but we had to go to a birthday party as well as pay our respects to Monsignor Corley and it would have been too much!

Rita’s

You know I love me some Rita’s! It’s always a fun time getting water ice. The kids and I love it! This time I was armed with coupons!! So we spent 12.71 and got 3 large gelati and I got a regular water ice! Insert happy dance. This week, they had unicorn and you know kids love anything unicorn flavored!

Monsignor Corley

He’s been such a jewel to our family. He was our priest/pastor. He called himself both to our family. I personally met him a few years ago. My husband is Catholic and I’ve been raised Baptist and Non-Denominational all my life. I had never heard of any positive thing about Catholics. I know it sounds bad but it’s the truth. It comes from pure ignorance to be honest. I think the miscommunication and misconception was knocked out the park when I met Father Corley.

He knew I wasn’t Catholic and he told me straight up, I don’t care what name is on the religion how someone treats others different from them will tell you what you need to know about a person. He was right. Father Corley took our family and treated us like family. When my mother in law passes he told us not to worry he was grandpa Corley and he kept his word! He was there for my children in ways I can’t ever explain. He encouraged my husband and I to be faithful as well as gave us amazing marital counseling. He was the one that would call our cells and make sure we were okay. Losing him was devastating. However today we made sure to pay our respect to him!

The service I took the kids too was just enough for them. My oldest elected not to view Father Corley because it was too much and reminded her of her Mom Mom! I respected that! I had her wait for me in the back and we were able to see several of her teachers which made her happy! My younger two kids did great! My son was down but I was glad that we were scheduled to attend Sonny’s birthday party afterwards!

Happy Birthday Akira and Sonny

Thank you Akira and Kenny for inviting us to the mother and son joint party! The amount of care that was put into this super hero 1st birthday party was amazing! Sonny turned one and they had a party for for the little king he is!

Sonny and his dad; Kenny

Shout out to @thehandsthatgodmade for the face painting…. She was amazing and patient and so bomb!

Shout out to Impressed by MC! Hands down they did their thing to ensure Sonny’s party was amazing! Check them out by clicking on the link! Look at the detail:

So from the library, to Rita’s, to the funeral and to the party, which was held at Smith Playground the kids ran and ran and when it was bed time…they were out like a light!

And one of the highlights was Iron Man provided by @bouncys1_onwheels!

Malia; Sonny’s big sister!

Tuesday was definitely filled with a lot and I was hoping they would want to relax but….the way they are set up…

Wednesday

So I knew that we would be in Lancaster for the 4th I took them to the pool! Nothing is better than being in the pool for 2 hours. I use it to do water aerobics and swim. Afterwards we play at the park while I walk! It made for a great day! Since we did grocery shopping in the morning I took them to McDonald’s for lunch. I spent 16.71!

4th of July: Thursday

We spent it in Lancaster! It was great! To add we also got a chance to see my grandma; my mother’s mom! Having us all there was amazing. The kids had cousin time and I sibling time as well as a great drive there and back! We also went to the fireworks display in Philly since we got back in enough time! I love my grandma and this makes 2 times I’ve seen her this year! So I am a happy girl!!

Friday

Between the long week and the drive and letting them stay up late; it was a much needed down day! No work or no events we had fun running errands and hanging out!

So let’s add:

Parking: 23

Philly Scoopdeville: 15.81

Rita’s: 12.71

McDonald’s: 16.71

Total: 68.23 for a week of immense fun and outings for one adult and 3 kids!! Let’s see how we do next week!! I plan to rotate some activities and add a new activity as well!!