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. 

mike hot

girl

sign

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!  

helmut

cherry

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. 

truffle

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. 

blown

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

Advertisements

Self Love

Self love will look different, sound different, taste different, etc to different people. Self love means by the very definition is about loving yourself.  The broadest definition of self-love is learning how to care for you, what you need, how much you need, and being okay to not limit how often you love on yourself. How you achieve the goal will be the unique marker for each individual person.

If you are in a relationship and you are finding that the person that YOU selected isn’t loving on you the way that you want, do some things about it.  For instance, if self-love looks like you taking some me time, that’s what you need to do. In relationships we all need our own time but when you don’t have enough self love and aren’t being active in your self love, the second your mate isn’t doing what he or she needs you get upset.  What you haven’t recognized is that you may not have loved on yourself and therefore what you lack isn’t love from an outside source but from yourself.  Your personal love cup is empty.

Image result for self love gif

This is a new journey that I am taking.  When you start to love yourself even the mundane everyday interactions that you tolerated before will cause your eyes to open.  You start setting limits on how much time you are in one place because you see that the person or location no longer serves you.  This is the by-product of loving you.  Our society always seems to put more on an emphasis on what others do, how they do, and when but not enough on what you require, how often, and when.  Change the way you look at yourself.

When you self-love you can see your flaws, work towards making them better, but still embrace them. Self love isn’t always a come to Jesus moment either.  Self love also involves making some drastic changes and changes that sting and hurt in the beginning. For instance, how can you love on you but don’t care what you consume?  These type of bad habits have to stop when you love on you more. Tap into what YOU need and not what people have set limitations for what THEY think you need.  If a part of you needs to finish school so that can be a goal that you cross off for you, than do that.

Image result for self love gif

I was walking in the store this morning.  I heard a woman tell the cashier how her husband doesn’t like it when she reads.  First thing that came to mind was what in the unholy hell is that?  How can a man tell his wife that he doesn’t like her reading. Then I stopped because I have no idea what is going on in their home, if it’s a cultural thing, or if she really is in an unsafe environment.  What I did hear is that she said that what he wanted didn’t stop her. She gets up early almost an hour before he does and reads anyway in another room.  She takes books to her job and uses her lunch time.  She uses her E-reader to read and he thinks she is web surfing.  I could go in on her oppressed like home, but she did something about it that made her happy in spite of the environment she was in. What about you who aren’t living in an oppressed environment.  Are you willing to get up early, stay up late, change your schedule, make yourself temporarily uncomfortable to give YOU what you need?  I mean apart of the process of self-love is learning how to tune out the negative thoughts that come from you and those who you seem to want approval from.

Image result for self love gif

Self love should be the first love you master and re-master over and over again.  This will take loveless relationships and end them fast.  You can’t dip yourself in love and allow someone to give you less than what you give yourself.  Maybe you need to re-check your self-love meter.  If you compromise on you than don’t go off on someone else who does what you allow them and you to do to yourself.  Have you ever been asked what makes you happy but don’t have an answer to give?  I am not talking about winning the lottery.  I am talking about the type of things that make you happy that money can’t buy yet when asked you go blank.  Your self love bank is empty and you need a refill.  What makes you happy? What are your passions?  What makes you at peace when the world is going to hell in a handbag?  I am going to clue you in even as a wife and mom although I love my titles, it’s going to have to be more than changing some diapers and loving on my husband to make me happy.  Relationships change and kids grow.  Simply and only being caught up in either title will leave my self love meter empty.  Why do you think the divorce rate is high when couples get into the empty nest phase.  One they may have not put in enough energy in their relationships or themselves.  However it rolls out to be, self love is the MOST important love you will ever encounter.

Image result for self love gif

 

How to Have the Best New Year’s Eve…

First of all this is one busy night.  There are a lot of preparations to make it perfect, but let’s keep it real there’s no such thing as perfect.  You have to set aside what goals are most important to you.  They say how you bring in the New Year is super important and it is.

Here are some of the ways you can bring in the New Year:

For Couples:

It’s important to attempt to spend it together.  Yes some people have to work and that is totally understandable.  However if you are a couple there are a million ways to spend it. You can go to a hot party and get all dolled up.  This would require that you and your partner book ahead of time.  Going out on New Years means having a party plan.  Will you use a taxi, Uber, Lyft?  What are the prices?  Everything is super expensive on that night. Do you even want to go out and deal with other party goers?  Decide early because after Christmas if most clubs and establishments haven’t already posted prices they definitely will.  Remember anything where you can pre-pay ahead of time is better.  At the door the price will usually go up from $20 to 100 per person.  Ouch.  So plan ahead.

If you and your boo do NOT want to go out, opt hosting a party get together.  You can do this by having other couples come and share in the purchase of food and drinks.  This will cut cost down dramatically.  You can have a great night in.  You can do things like play games, watch movies, whatever you want to do.  It’s all your choice.  This is a great option for a laid back night with others.

If you say Toi, I really just want a quiet evening, than do that.  I know couples who dress up and cook a meal together.  This can turn into something if you want it to trust me. Nothing is sexier than your partner in the kitchen.  Make a meal that you both can try that you wouldn’t have normally tried before.  This way its something out of the ordinary than your normal pasta dish at home watching tv.  You can do a vision board together as a couple as well as an individual.  You can play games and make it fun.  Spice it up.  You can just spend some quality time with the one you love as you bring in another year.

For Singles:

You can do the same thing as above as far as going out but make it a great group effort. You aren’t the only single one in the whole world no matter how much your mind tells you. Get together and reconnect with friends that you may not have been able to catch up with during Christmas.  This is a great time to travel.  Some of my friends are out of the state so if I was single you could travel to their state or pick a new destination altogether. The same rules apply, have fun and be safe.  If you want you can have the ultimate girls night.  There are a million and one ways to have a group of women come together and have a great time. You can pick a theme.  It doesn’t have to be just the New Year.  You can have a makeover night.  Everyone brings make up, wear cute pajamas, etc. The sky is the limit. Be open-minded.

Image result for new years gif

Travel

Like I said I remember hitting Miami up one year.  I had the BEST time with my girlfriends. We went to a great club that had open bar for a price and food.  We danced so much I can’t tell you how bad my feet hurt.  However when I look back at the pictures I smile.  We really had a great time and even walked a little on the beach.   You’re single not dead.  Enjoy life. There is so much to experience that is beyond your backyard.  Now that I am married a few of my single friends have even gone out of the country.  Imagine that.  If you have a passport, isn’t it time for some new stamps?

For Parents:

My husband and I have been parents for 7 years and the ONLY time we have had a night out for New Years has been this past year.  We ended up going to Chickie and Pete’s.  We had no immediate plans.  We made none.  We decided to just get dressed up and head out. As we went to a few places, we noticed how super crowded and how limited space was open to be out.  So I did what any woman would do, I goggled.  I found that Chickie and Pete’s had a special for a flat rate you could eat and drink top shelf liquor all night. I said let’s give it a try.  Let me tell you, it was worth every penny.  Not only was the crowd hype, there was dancing, our own table, and did I mention all you can eat and drink on food we knew would be good?  Yes we had hit the jackpot.  It’s hard to get a sitter and last year we lucked up.  So what do you do when you have no sitter and you have little people?  You make your own party. I have always done a party at home.  I had adult drinks and kiddie mock drinks, New Year’s gear, and we had a full party.  Dancing, music, the countdown all of that. Guess what it was low-key, loads of fun, and I didn’t stress bed time either.  I let them stay up until they fell out.  It was a great time.  Oh and my kids can hang.  They loved every bit of it.

Another option for parents is to invite other parents that are in the same boat.  You can have a kid and parent party.  This is a good idea for parents who want to interact with others but can’t find a sitter.  Everyone can come together and split food and drinks. Everyone can have a great time in a safe location.  Parents can interact with other adults and the kids can get some time out as well.  Trust me the ride home will be quiet, your little ones will be knocked out no matter how late or early you go out.  Also during the day on New Years places like aquariums etc will have specials for the little people and a special count down too. This way if you are venturing out you can tire them out before you go and have some fun too.  Check prices and get tickets early as well.

Image result for new years gif

New Year’s night can be as much fun as you want it to be.  You have to be willing to step it up no matter what your status in life is.  Yes I didn’t mention church, but you didn’t think this fellow PK (preacher’s kid) would forget.  Yes watch tower or midnight services are fun too.  It does depend on where you go.  I am sorry church folks but you can make New Years fun.  Yes have a good message, preach, have choirs but have some fun too.  Nothing is worst is dragging your family out in the cold to church and having them wanting to gnaw their arms off because the service is no different from any other day.  It’s a fun night of celebration.  Just because you in the church you don’t have to cut the fun out. Incorporate something into the service. Have food.  Do something out of the box and bring folks into the church.

I do not have my plans set yet.  Whatever I do it will be fun.  Whether that’s out and about, a night at home, with friends I will have the same joy of beginning the New Year as I have always have even if I have to create it.  That should be a part of your new goals.  Creating happiness in your circle. Trust me the situations I was in I should have been sad but I turned them around and made the best of it and so can you.  Enjoy the New Year celebration as well as make your own mark going into 2017.

Image result for new years gif

Hurting the Babies

So with the holidays in full swing we need to have a discussion about mixing families. It’s no secret that people are master manipulators.  There is no fail proof way to determine if the new boo you have is the one that will honor you all of your days as well as do right by you and your children.  Even for those who aren’t married or have kids you really don’t know.  Love is about leaps.  However while you dip yourself into new love and mix families let’s talk about some of the drama with kids that we tend to forget.

Image result for crying kid gif

Growing up I was taught about being unequally yoked.  That had a lot to do with religion. However the principle is a good one to examine.  How do you link yourself up with a man or woman and don’t know their core values?  You aren’t going to agree on every little thing but let’s be  real, having kids or not is important.  How you will raise them is important.  I know of some men who marry women who have no intention of having children then bam they get side swiped and most end up leaving their wives for it.  The same holds true for men who make it appear they want to have a family but do things to ensure they can’t like get a vasectomy and never tell their mate. It’s a cruel and evil world out there.  Let’s organize how we need to protect ourselves and our children and future children from the foolishness.

Stop Marrying These Disagreeable Men and Women

How does it come off?  You have a man or woman who doesn’t like your family.  Then if something happens to you can you be sure that your child will have access to both sides of the family?  I know of evil families.  I really do.  However you deprive kids of having a relationship.  I am not going to act like there aren’t reasons to withhold kids from being around one side of the family over another.  There are.  But we as ADULTS have to be sure to separate our petty feelings over the kids.  My thing is at least try.  That’s key.  You should always be willing.  If after a sincere try to it doesn’t work then I can high-five a pull back. You knew from the time you were dating them and as time went on the person you were attempting or had attempted to yoke up with would not honor you or your kids by making things easy for your kids.  This isn’t just for folks with kids.  This is for the childless and wanting to be parents too.  Let me give you an example, my mother in law and I at one point of our relationship wasn’t on the up and up.  However whenever her and her son got into something or her and I did the same, I NEVER stopped the kids from being around her. That’s not my call.  It isn’t your call unless that parent will cause harm to the child. Then be around but don’t stop.  My mother in law isn’t here and although it was tough when we lived together I would have deprived my kids of their short relationship had I been in my bag all the time.  I am glad that my kids had the limited time that they had with her.

You know who you are married to or want to be with.  You know that they will not do right by you or your family. What is it about these disagreeable women and men that makes you throw caution to the wind and proceed.  Like most people will reveal a part of their hand if you are listening and really watching.  Instead we let sex, looks, stature determine more than it should.  Then we say I don’t know why this person is like that?  You knew it deep down.  I am not suggesting that all in-laws are evil, mine wasn’t either but what I am saying is stop bringing kids in the midst of your mess.  And you can say well I don’t have kids so I am good, you’re not.  You set the tone now for how you will do when you get kids. It’s true.  I was talking to a friend.  She made some ugly comments about her boyfriend’s kids and now they aren’t together.  She was devastated.  But I kept telling her you can’t say mean things about folks kids and think they will link themselves up to you.  If they were smart, they wouldn’t.  You have to be careful.  Sometimes the way you speak about your future especially where kids are concerned is important.  People don’t realize if you want to find out what someone is thinking just plain old listen.  People allow their heart issues to come out just from bringing up the same issues.

Image result for mad wife gif

Yes things happen that make disagreeable women and men come off as off but they are protecting themselves.  I know of a few but that is a small amount of folks.  Some people keep things going on.  Somebody has to be an adult.  Please stop allowing these issues to affect kids.  They do affect them no matter how much in your head you are telling yourself that it doesn’t.

Now unless you have made it clear that you don’t plan on taking kids around your mate’s family  and your mate is crystal clear than you are creating issues.  Why?  Children are a product of both sides.  To be honest.  You can keep kids from a side of a family and they will still exhibit some attributes of the other side.  You can’t keep kids away from folks just because you don’t want them to be like that side of the family.  If it’s in them you will be seeing parts of their unallowed family.  You haven’t solved anything.  Some family are toxic this is true.  However you have to teach kids how to be in the world and not take on everything about others.  I have friends who attend family functions with their kid to protect them from certain sides of families that may be toxic.  But guess what?  They tried. They didn’t just automatically cut off.  Being a parent means at times setting our issues aside for what’s best for the child.  Try with kids even if before things were bad.  Always be willing until people prove to you that you can no longer take your children around.  When kids grow up and you have tried, they will see things for themselves.  But can you say you tried when deep down you haven’t.  Kids will form resentment towards the parent that withheld them from their family when you don’t at least try.

Image result for sad kids gif

I think people hear what they want to.  There is no way my mate could tell me our kids are not allowed to have a relationship with my family without real warrant.  And I wouldn’t have yoked myself to someone who would be like that.  You better know that you know that the person you take vows is really on the same team.  Everybody hollering Team (insert last name) is really on the same team.  Some will be on the team as long as its beneficial.  That is why being who are gold diggers end up creating at times family households that causes more harm.  Yes I said gold diggers and let’s be clear gold diggers are both men and women. I don’t care what society says there are some greedy men who want what they want to.  You bring kids in the midst and treat kids like pawns.  Kids aren’t bargaining chips.  Please stop having kids just to shut your mate up.  Yes I said it. You didn’t want kids so I will have this one just so they can get off my back.  Many parents don’t even form bonds with these bargain kids because of it.  Kids need sound households not perfect ones.  Make sure the well-being of your kids is the vocal point.

How people treat your kids is key

If you are married to someone who allows there to be separate treatment of your non biological kids versus the biological kids that you share, they are not the man or woman for you period.  Now when you are dating you will have bumps in the road, but once you marry a person and you HAVEN’T worked all of the kinks out you are creating a disservice to yourself and your kids.  Do you know of the petty things adults do to kids? Like get biological kids gifts for the holidays  but not the non biological kids? Do you know some ugly petty adults will make comments in front of non biological kids that makes them feel unwelcome? Let’s keep this 100.  You should definitely not be on the Earth messing with kids.  I really do believe that.  Kids don’t have a choice when adults decide to link together.  If you or your family treat a certain set of kids differently, mean or etc. that is the worst thing you can do. Kids may not understand why but they turn into adults that never forget.

Image result for upset kids gif

I have been in situations where I remembered how some folks treated me as a child.  My step-dad never treated me like step anything. He raised me from a young child and I would go to toe over him. I only highlight step to illustrate for this blog.  However the same can’t be said for the rest of his family.  I am not suggesting that I was abused, nor overtly mistreated, but I remember comments made in my presence.  I remember my mother making sure that no one would overtly mistreat my twin and I different from my brother. We need parents to step it up in this category.  There are some adults that I still don’t vibe well with.  However as an adult now I make sure that no one does it to any of my children. I also don’t have to entertain the same adults now.  I remember getting into a conversation with my dad and he made it clear to me that I could just be an adult and withdraw.  He wasn’t encouraging me to disengage but he made it clear that instead of getting more and more upset, walk away.  It was the best idea.  I never wanted as an adult to put my dad in the middle of any issue with another adult at this point.  What is done is done.  But like the saying goes, you will never forget the way someone treats you.  Be careful of how you treat step kids.  You got grown adults walking around being hurt now over the way step families treat them. I did my job by going to counseling and anything else I needed to do to deal but most do not.  And it matters to a step child to get it right within themselves. If you are a step child (adult) still hurt over folks that will never admit, never apologize please get help.  I refuse to let people who don’t influence my life for the positive to have a hold over me.

To any of my family that I am sure is or will read this, I am not opening up anything so miss me with the texts or the phone calls.  These are my experiences and nothing is going to change that.  I don’t need a pow wow, move on like I did and do what you need to do like I did for me.  No family no matter how perfect we all want to look like will get it right.  

Kid will pick up on the wrong

Every kid no matter how nice and perfect their households were will pick up on the things that aren’t right.  I know for me things didn’t come up for me until I had my own kids. I can’t say my childhood was bad because it wasn’t.  However things that most kids didn’t have to deal with we did.  It made us strong.  My parents did the best they could and as far as I am concerned I came out of it with the will and tenacity to be a good adult.  I am not perfect by any means but watching my parents struggle definitely made me handle tough situations now. I didn’t grow up with a silver spoon and it made me want to go that much harder in life to be great.  Kids pick up on the good and the bad no matter how you try to shield them.  You do your kids a disservice by not handling your issues.

The holidays are upon is.  It’s supposed to be the happiest time of the year.  However this is the time when adults do the most passive aggressive stuff to kids who are victims in the midst of couples who link together.  Please know your limits and be honest with yourself BEFORE you marry.  Stop getting married thinking time will work things out.  You can’t change who you really are when you really don’t want to.  You are just lying to yourself for the sake of marriage or having someone linked to you.  Just stop.  You are bringing in future kids and messing them up before they even have a chance to be in this world and be messed over.  I have had many talks with parents of mixed families before writing this piece.  The sentiments are different  but sadly the situations turn ugly. I have a friend that confided in me that he or she doesn’t want to be married due to the fact that they don’t want to have kids.  The sad part is they gave hope to a mate that they would have kids and now they don’t want to.  That isn’t fair to their hopeful mate. I couldn’t sugar coat it because they are a friend to me.  It’s a messed up situation.  There are years lost now.  I pray that their union can hold on because to me that is a place of betrayal that you can’t deny.  It’s one thing for both partners to be on the same page about not starting a family. However to lie and knowing you aren’t is devastating.

Please step families, stop mistreating kids. I know you really want to get back at the biological parent because you don’t like the fact that your biological family member could have done better in your eyes.  Stop.  Grown folks can be grown and make their decisions. Who someone links up with doesn’t stop your breath, doesn’t make you fat, or bring money into your home.  Leave kids out of your issues.  Let me say that karma never misses so if you intentionally hurt a child please do NOT think that you will reap that.  You and I both reap what we sow.  You get what you dish out so be careful of the servings you dish. Kids should always be respected at all times.  Be underhanded to the adult if that is what you want but don’t do it to a child.

Image result for never forget gif

One last thing, be careful that you don’t fall in love with a monster and it cost your child their innocence.  Too many kids are killed and molested by “step” families and for what? There isn’t enough sex or money in this world for me to sell my kids over to a monster. Please be careful and listen to your kids.  Sometimes what you think is hate from a child could be a cry for help.  I would rather you get a vibrator or a blow up doll before you link up with someone who will mistreat or harm your child.  Oh and it’s sometimes not the step parent but some of these raggedy biological parents are a mess too.  No one is exempt.

Ask yourself the following before you link up with a person?

  1. Do you want kids?  Like actually birth or parent them? Be honest with yourself and the person you are with.  Do NOT give false hope.  Situations may  not be perfect so while you wait for that moment to happen, please be careful that you aren’t hurting your mate in the process.  No one should bring kids in mess, but be honest and open during the hard times too.  It’s not fair for someone to wait for you and you knew you weren’t going to be open to a family.  Allow that mate to make the decision if they want to be open to your maybe or no response.
  2. If you have kids from a previous relationship is the person you are thinking about marrying willing to be a full-time parent?  Are they treating that child with the same respect as if you and he or she birthed that child together? Does the family of your beloved treating the child or children with the utmost respect? Watch how people treat your kids in the bad times because the good times will not cancel out a hurt child over petty inconsiderate comments.
  3. Do you parent a mixed home with the same rules?  Having separate rules for one set of kids over another is creating issues.  Be clear that parenting is a dual partnership in every sense of the word.
  4. Do you have open communication?  Can you child come to you and tell you that one parent has hurt them and you set aside your love for your beloved and investigate? Love is blind.  You should never dismiss a child until you have found out what your child’s issues really are.

Can I Have A Day?

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Summer is slowly winding down.  Don’t get me wrong there is plenty of sunny days and muggy nights left, however if you aren’t careful you will miss out on it all.  What have you done for yourself this Summer?  What trip did you take?  Let me guess, you don’t have someone to go with you, right?  What excursion have you wanted to go on but haven’t?  You haven’t done those either.

It’s time to change those have-nots, to haves.  Do not allow the Summer to go by and you are still sitting and talking about plans but not actually doing them.  For me I want to go to the beach and I am going to go even if I go alone.  My husband isn’t a fan of the beach and to be honest I could use a day in the sun with my feet in the sand and a good book or magazine to entertain.  You have to get out.  So it’s planned on my calendar as a personal beach day.  Listen Summer is my favorite season but even if that’s not your case, you can’t avoid it if you’re alive, so get out and enjoy it.

I am encouraging every last reader of this blog to get out and do something fun.  No more I have no plans.  Make some plans.  Go with girlfriends.  Go with a new boo.  Single, go to one outing that you wouldn’t normally go.  While there don’t worry about if you’re not fitting in. Dress well, eat well, and smile.  You never know where you will meet your new partner. The one place you won’t meet him or her is in your pjs in the house.  I know don’t hit me with the well there’s online dating.  Online can only take you but so far if you aren’t willing to meet others and see if the chemistry is still there beyond the computer screen or phone.

So what are you prepared to do?  It’s crazy to me to see people on social media talking about how bored they are.  I know I live in a big city but I have even looked up events in other people’s cities many of them are free and people still bored, how?  You know there’s one word to sum this up, lazy.  I hate to call people names but if we sit on social media day in and day out then surely you and Goggle can at least go together.  Goggle and then after you do that, go.  I know you need a squad but truth be told not everyone in your squad likes the same thing and there’s no need to let that hold you back.

There are so many activities that you can do in Summer that you simply can’t do in the other seasons, so get out and enjoy it.  I know plenty who at the first sight of snow will complain that they can’t wait for it to be warm, waste Summer’s time, and then the cycle continues.

Here are my suggestion for getting out:

  1. Know your budget.  There are so many ways around saving money.  If you want to take a tour but the price is too steep, get your Groupon on and find alternatives.  See if you can get a group of you together to do the same.  Often times groups of 10 or 20 or more can save money instantly.
  2. Pick a date and schedule the time to go.  Treat yourself as a priority.  You pay your bills on time, or at least you should, right?  Pencil yourself some me time in and stick to it.  Make it just as important as anything else.
  3. Be spontaneous.  I am a planner so my calendar fills up.  However I have had so much fun allowing time to not be the pressure.  My family and I have done some pretty random things and the fun has been huge.  Do not define yourself to a box.  It’s good to have things in stone but be okay with a few accidental fun trips too.
  4. Open up to new activities-I recently went to a location I hadn’t been in years and decided to do new activities I hadn’t or wouldn’t have had fun and guess what?  I had a blast.  Sometimes being a creature of habit needs to be broken too.
  5. Remember the most important rule of life-time waits for no one.  I know that you are prolonging things and you will get to it eventually, but for many eventually NEVER comes.  Do it.  You deserve to live the best life and that’s a personal decision to wake up and determine daily.

So are you going to have more memories of the Summer of 2016?  Are you going to be in a position to let your hair down a little?  If you say, yes-start with a little weekend fun and build upon that every week!!

Soul Cycle Survivor

Yes I said Soul Cycle survivor.  Even as my adrenaline has calmed down, I’m writing this blog on two very sore booty cheeks.  When I say sore everything  I really mean it.  Not a part of my body has been left untouched. I think they mean Soul Cycle to really mean they taking you to the ground and bringing it back.  Who knows, right?

When I walked in at the Ardmore location, I was immediately impressed and a bit intimidated.  There were people buzzing around getting signed in.  What I liked was the girls registering us was so used to it and spotted the unregistered and helped me along.  She explained what I was to expect and everything she said was true.

I went and found me a locker, grabbed my water, and put on my cycle shoes provided to me.  I felt great at this point.  Let me say the Ardmore location is beautiful.  Okay as I entered the room that was getting dark, one of the workers helped me right to my assigned seat.  The last time I was in an assigned seat was in elementary school.  The Soul worker helped me click my shoe into place.  You ever watch a prison movie when the doors slam and you hear that click? Yes that was me.  Take a second and visualize that with me.  The sound made me want to roll but to be honest if I wanted to I couldn’t figure out how to get them shoes off even after it was over.  There was no point of return, I was stuck.

image

So if you ever seen a cycle class online when you see the cyclers in formation getting it? Well it’s just like that but what makes you get your life right in those moments is the energy of the instructor.  Shout out to Ryan as he came with his A game.  The music was another level today.  At the time when Jayz came on it felt like I too had channeled all that Hova had to get me to the next part of the workout.  Then I don’t know if it was because Beyonce is going to be in concert here in Philly or not but we went right into Bootylicious and it was on.

image

That workout isn’t for punks but even if you we’re a newbie like me you don’t have to fret.  The bike was your archenemy for about 45 minutes of an  intense gut punching workout.  So I couldn’t ignore it even if I wanted to.  Now let me give you a few tips so you won’t be too much like a fish out of water like I was.

1. Arrive early.  Don’t do like me and arrive all fashionably late.  By the way I wasn’t trying to be late but that’s just how it worked out.  Also if you’re not on time they are starting with or without you but would prefer for you to be time.  Plus anxiety will set in.

2. Stretch before you come.  It helps to get your muscles ready.

3. Hydration is key.  The amount of sweat that you expel is enough to clean a little baby in a tub.  No joke.  Ryan had all kinds of sweat under his bike like the rest of us.  Hydrate almost a good solid 24 hours before class if you don’t you will regret it.  Had I not, someone would be picking me up off the floor after they wrangled me out my shoes.

4. Enjoy it.  Yes I wanted to throw up the deuces but we were all there together and working it out.  I didn’t know many in the room but by the end I felt like I had gotten everyone’s social security number, we we’re a family.  Family sticks together and we had fought little Ray-Ray a few times around the block today.

5. Try it at least once.  I know we as people don’t like to try new things but this is a must.  Its fun and if you are looking for a real workout, this is the one to be at.

6. There is a waiver.  Duh.  They don’t want you coming back talking about they responsible for your arm and legs actually failing off.

7. Know your limitations.  I kept moving even when I had to sit and just move my legs.  I had my left shoulder dislocated a few years back.  I’m aware of what will cause pain or further injury but I didn’t let it stop me.  If I could have found a way to use that same arm to detach my foot from that bike, I may have.  Shout out to Jon the brother of Alanda Cocoamommy blog she arranged this opportunity and he kept me grounded.

8. Go with at least one person you know.  I didn’t know Jon before but I knew he was good people and he pushed me when he saw me slacking.  It was even more fun because when I yelled out yes God he understood. I told you the workout was intense so I may have called out to a few angels to come and get me a few times. Judge me but do it after you take a class.

9. You will not be cute during the class. So leave the make up and tie down your natural, weaves, or frontals.  Yes I know you trying to scoop a cutie on bike 4, but you walking out worst than you came in.  Get cute after.  No one and I mean no one is looking at you when Ryan starts counting down.  Trust and believe.

10. Wear the right clothes. Ladies no your Vicky bra ain’t ready for spin class.  Let me repeat that Vicky needs to stay home.  Get you a good sports bra.  You should be working out with a good sports bra anyway.  So unless you got the new sports bra from Vicky, leave the lace and frills at home.  Dress like you came to work out not you came to take selfies.  You won’t have time to grab your water bottle barely let alone become the next Instagram model.  Trust me.

Overall I really enjoyed the class.  I definitely can cross this off of my list of workouts to try. I’ve been eyeing Soul
Cycle for quite some time.  Again I want to shout out Soul Cycle, their happy, pleasant staff, Alanda for setting this opportunity up, Jon for pushing me, and my little 45 minute villagers for taking the 1145 class today.

If you are interested in seeing what all of my hoopla was about come to

Soul Cycle
2 Coulter Ave
Ardmore, PA 19003

Oh and one more thing about the actual building.  It sits inside of the Ardmore shopping complex.  Parking is across the street and it’s free.  If you want to shower or clean yourself up like I did the facility is clean and very eye-catching.  You ever go to your girlfriend’s house and forget a few items? Soul Cycle is like being at your friend’s house.  In the shower area they had towels, face wash, body wash, shampoo, and conditioner in every shower area.  They also have recycled take home bags to put your wet soaked clothes in for a good wash when you get home.  I know there are plenty who get frazzled at showering at public places but trust me this was more like showering at a high-end hotel. I was more than pleasantly surprised with my germaphobic self.

Here is the link to their website: http://www.soul-cycle.com

You can select a class, and reserve a bicycle of your choice.

If and when you take one then let me know.  Until then Epsom salt, yogurt with granola, a wheel chair and some relaxation and down time are in my immediate future.

Too much egg nog, too little regrets!!

Holidays brings about some of the best parties there are.  Really it’s something about the holidays that makes folks step their game up.  With that being said one thing you don’t want to happen is to over drink and say things you can’t take back.

It’s often said that kids and drinkers speak the truth.  It’s a true statement.  When people drink they get loose lips.  However at a holiday party isn’t the time to use your alcohol muscles.  Alcohol muscles gives you the courage to tell someone at a party how you really feel.  Well the problem with alcohol muscles is that once the alcoholic high wears off and it will, you’re left with broken relationships.  You often don’t get to take it back.  It’s out there.

It goes without saying that if you’re attending a patty whether for a job or friend related that less is best.  I know companies that have alcohol to no end, but the quickest way to lose your job and be in the faith line is to start some office drama because you can’t hold your liquor.  The rule of thumb is to have one drink that you sip on lightly before eating and then one after you eat.  Also try to eat a small snack before you go so if there’s time in between courses you aren’t getting drunk or tipsy.

After that it’s safe to stick to a limited amount of drinks so you can know what’s going on around you.  I’ve seen plenty of hook ups at office parties that have ended marriages and ended good relationships at work.  Now if you are at your girlfriend’s house and partying hard you want to limit the drinks as well.  Even if you’re staying overnight you don’t want to be the one that was doing too much and have all of the guests talking and whispering.  Trust me they will.

Have fun by all means but watch the amount of alcohol you consume during the season.  Also even you are married and you go somewhere together still be careful as arguments can ensue and that can be uncomfortable for others to witness.  Know your limit and If you notice that you’re getting to your limit by all means get a cab, Lyft, or Uber home.  You don’t want to drive in that state.  Have a plan in place so you can maintain some type of decorum.  The last thing you want to do is have your “fun” night turn into an instant tragedy.

Have a safe and happy holiday!!

image