I often hear people say they are bored. One thing about being bored is that you have too much time on your hand to complain and to over think. Not that you have to fill your every waking moment with things to do. Just relaxing is a blessing when you don’t have plans. Those sometimes are the best. However you need to focus on renewing. Saturday vibes are super important.
For my house it’s filled with soccer and events. I am aware of that so I like to spend my Saturday nights doing nothing unless it’s a date night and having adult juice. This is my relax. Often times during the day I have worked out, played parent Uber, attended events, and whatever else comes up. I know that once Sunday comes that’s my day to meal prep, do laundry, clean, and all other events that are scheduled.
Take some time to get your Saturday vibes right. I always try to find some space for myself. This is when I have a lot of money and when I don’t. I try not to let that get in the way. There are always free events in Philadelphia for me to find and go do something. Do not think for a few seconds that Saturdays don’t matter because they do. I try not to add too many events. I used to be on this go-go go run but I find that sometimes that is taxing. Find the balance in learning to chill out a bit. You have no idea how rewarding it is after working all week and running around it is to not have too much pressure. These next couple of weeks are really demanding of my schedule so if you think I’m not searching for that relaxation, you are sadly mistaken. You better renew!
Ideals for Saturday Vibes
Reading my Magazines
In home spa day
Going to nail salon
Datenight with bae or friends
Playing board games with the kids
Reading a good book
Doing my hair or my kid’s hair
The list is really endless on what makes a great Saturday. Whatever you do-get into the vibe, catch it and don’t let it go!
What do you do to self renew? There are a million and one ways to renew. Renewal of any kind means to reset. This is taking deliberate time out for yourself to get your body, mind and head in the game of life. Although it is celebrated as a holiday for today I like to think this goes along with self-care which should be done daily.
For me I try to do self-care and self renewal daily. I like to switch it up it may be with changing the scents of my bath bombs, using my body exfoliation and turning shower time into a home spa. Sometimes it’s shutting the bathroom door and listening to an uplifting song. It may be going to the nail salon and coffee shop. My self-care rituals can be as a big or as small as I need them. How you preserve your mind is important. Sometimes it may come in the form of no. I have had to cancel plans if I feel overwhelmed. It happens! I have a lot on my plate. However what I have learned is saying NO without explanation. This is a big one even to elders. You can be respectful even with a NO.
So renewal is necessary. It really should be a part of your daily process that its normal. So many times I hear things like I don’t have time. Make time. I make me a priority while I jumble a busy schedule. I take time out for me because I know the second I don’t everyone around me is going to catch it. Why have the folks around you suffer and to be honest, why would you have yourself suffer? If you know you can’t do more, don’t take on more. It sounds more simple than it sounds because you have allowed the notion of more is better. Sometimes less is more. Don’t over exert your energies where it’s not being replenished. You can’t fill someone up from an empty cup.
When I feel like I can’t tap into myself, I ask why? What is going on inside of me that makes me feel like I can’t take a break. My husband is good at saying, sit down it will be there later. Often times I give him a look but the reality is others can see sometimes what we can. Do not sit and think that by asking for help you are less than who you are. Help is great. Help allows you more time not to find things to put in its place but to be sooner so you can do something you enjoy. I often now have it so that when the kids go down I like to have my kitchen cleaned and food put away so that remainder of the night I can focus on what I like. That is my time to get my wine glass should I want or take an extra long shower or even go to bed early. Getting rest is self-renewal too. Naps are a blessing that blesses those around you!
Take time today to renew. You hold the power. Today I will be taking some magazine and wine down time. Its quiet and I can shut the door and enjoy my me time. Renew yourself today!
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 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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
This is not a drill. We are exactly one week away. I can’t wait. I love to eat. I love Thanksgiving for a few reasons. A lot of them has to do with how people act. It’s like the one time of the year for the most part that others around you lay their issues down. Now I know some folks turn up and like to ruin the day, but the folks and family I am around these last few years especially come together and celebrate what it’s all about.
We generally have no rules for Thanksgiving. We usually go to our uncle’s house where he graciously does all the cooking. I usually still cook my own meal at home too. Got to have more food for later in the week. Nothing is better than Thanksgiving food days later. We also started a new tradition where we go to the movies the day off too. I love it because it’s not crowded and we can see what’s coming out for the rest of the holiday season too. Also its about coming together and relaxing and enjoying one another’s companies. It’s a time to catch up before Christmas comes. I love it. I love to sip my wine pretty much all day. Thanks to my husband for being that designated driver because by end of the night we always end with a final glass together. It’s our way to tell each other how thankful we are for what we have. Its our own couple’s tradition. We have a lot to be grateful for.
I love the traditional food. You know turkey, mac and cheese, greens, etc. However the only thing I don’t like is the struggle plates folks want to post. We all eating generally the same thing. No one’s plate looks great. It is a plate with every piece of food that could fit on plate number 1. I don’t post my plates and try my best to scroll past the other plates that day. I love how happy everyone is. I love how people give the best hugs that they must have been saving all year because hugs just feel warmer this day. I love watching my kids interact with family and how happy they are. I love seeing my grandpa do his yearly dance and all of the kids try to teach him the newest and latest moves. I record it every year. I know eventually it will be a memory that we will hold on to. I love calling my family and hearing about what they are doing. We generally stay in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving so I call the Lancaster family or FaceTime them . It’s always good to check on them and to see how much potato salad my mom made. I love talking to my friends and checking in on them. We have one set of friends this year who will be parents. So baby watch is in full effect. I love waking up to the smells of the kitchen. The only thing about the holidays that we miss is my Mother in Law, Deborah, my great grand parents, Beverly and Olivia Sims, and my maternal grandfather Fred McGinnis. I always wake up and remember them on these big holidays. I wonder what they would be doing if they were. I know their memory will live on.
I hope that as you prepare for the holiday of Thanksgiving that you remember what it’s about. That you take in the moments that you can. That you remember how grateful you should be on that day and everyday. I hope that you will have a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. I hope that it’s not ruined by anyone. If you know you are bound to cause issues don’t go to someone else’s home starting stuff. Stay home. Thanksgiving isn’t the arena to air out differences. It’s a time to come together. Go to those you need to make it right with, and do it before the dinner. Don’t come to the dinner table ready to start the mess that could have been worked out before the day. Work it out or find another home by which you can have a good time. Drama and holidays don’t have to mix. Also to some of my friends who I know the holidays trigger you, you don’t have to be the one to start issues to not go to a function that will further trigger you. I would rather you do a Friendsgiving than a family one if the family one is going to make you all kinds of upset. I don’t spend my time holidays or not around folks that I feel I can’t get along with. Life is too short to spend it with miserable people.
Also I know some deal with anxiety of getting together with others. I would try to take someone with you if you can. Also if there is a family member you get along with more, stay around them until you get comfortable. Especially if you haven’t seen others in quite some time. Be prepared for the 3rd degree. Those family members that’s asking others a thousand questions, leave folks alone. It’s no ones business why they aint married or have kids yet, worry about your own mate and kids. These types of situations make it hard for some folks to be around your nosey behind. Eat your turkey in peace and leave other folks lives alone.
Let folks come and enjoy their time together. That is what I love, the coming together without the issues. Eat and have a good time-sharing your gratefulness!
One of the biggest things that we don’t always do is make ourselves aware of ourselves. This week I was super agitated. It wasn’t anything that anyone had done. I had to find a balance between the news and all of the events surrounding myself. It was hard to balance. I found myself semi-triggered at times. Thinking to myself how hard it was to not be upset because whatever was going on around me was triggered.
I had to remove myself from conversations with certain people this week. I had to walk away and say I can’t do anymore than I am doing. As someone who is an ultimate care giver, I find myself in that mode all the time. My kids can be at school all day and I am still over thinking about what has to be done as soon as I get home. It’s a part of my personality honestly to be on top of it all. With wanting to stay up to date with current events especially with the elections around the corner, researching candidates so I can make an informed decision, self-care, eating right, working out, and training for this half marathon has been mentally draining. I swear my wrist got tired just typing all of that. Nonetheless taking a moment when I took a step back to see when I was breathing heavier trying to prevent myself from reacting, or watching my kids laugh instead of just walking around like a stress bomb made me take more account of myself.
What do I need? It’s always okay to step out and grab what you need in the moments but we pretend that we have to have it altogether and we don’t. Being aware of my husband and the things he is processing is a learned skill. To know when he needs me to just let him talk so he can vent and I just listen has been a task this week. It is hard because we all have stuff pulling on us. Being aware when my kids just want more hugs instead of me so excited for their bedtime so I can decompress. It was a challenge this week. It wasn’t this natural happy flow. I had to work at it. I had to step back and make myself be in the moments.
What are you needing to be aware? What can being aware help you accomplish? You will be surprised of the inspiration that comes from it. You will be more zen to handle your life instead of your life handling you. Take a moment and be in the moments of life. Don’t let time slip by and you don’t even know how you got there!
We all fit this build. I know not one perfect person. I mean it I can’t tell you of a person real or imagined that is perfect. I know some who appear to be better than me, but none that is perfect. Why do we have all of this pressure to be perfect? We make all of these demands on others that we often don’t even put on ourselves. Let me give an example, if you grew up where your parents dictated all of your goals in like education and you know how that felt, why do you then tell your kids they can’t be whatever it is that they want to be? Perfection and waste of money just to find out they going to rebel and do their thing and may not want to be around you. Stop this mess.
Since we are all less than perfect we have to got to stop this list that we keep of ways to attack others. Just because you don’t agree with someone else’s level of sin, you judge them, talk about them, tear them down but won’t scoop out that sin in your own life, we got to stop this. We put sin or whatever you want to call it in categories. If you overeat and walking around with a thousand pounds you know you ain’t supposed to have but point out your fellow-man who lies, why its all wrong, right?. Yes lies are bad and neither one of them are okay. Work on both issues not just the one you want to highlight.
Work on being balanced. Like for me I love the Lord but unlike some others who just seem to have peace and tranquility on their lives all the time, I throw hands. I will if pushed back, swing. I love to argue and I love to fight. Not that I am out here getting into beefs daily because that’s not the case, but if I was somewhere and wasn’t thinking of the goodness of the Lord I could throw hands before I talked you to death. I ain’t out here saving folks if provoked. I am the one for ducking and bobbing and swinging if I had to. I am going to let the spirit of deliverance into my life full-time but I am not there yet. I think what saves others is my kids. I have them with me ALL the time. Its rare I don’t have them. In order to be a good example I have had to walk away so they don’t see Trap momma come out but I am also of the tuck the children ministry and will go for blows if I had to. This is one of the non perfect examples that I am actively working on it. I can admit that.
Like for instance I am the cookie baking mom who loves to celebrate my kids, but I also have to pray my strength in the Lord once again on patience if I tell my kids a thousand and one times to do something so I don’t speak out of context. That is real. I can be around other moms and hear them with them flowery voices and be like, man that’s the Lord working and say welp I got some ways to go. I am not perfect but I am perfectly working through all things. I welcome my flaws for one reason. I used to cry and get upset because I was a straight A student since 2nd grade, no lie, no cap. I was the one who appeared to be an angel but I was the one that if I messed up it was like a huge mistake more than an a small issue. My other siblings were the opposite so they came off as more problematic at times, but I was the one to watch. So as I got older, I felt like everyone liked to get that magnify glass into my issues and it would get to me. But now, I am like I will tell it before you tell it. I will work it out. There can’t be shame in non perfection when you own who you are. Also when you take them flaws and work on them and when you do the work to be better, no one can hold you.
If you feel under pressure by others, change the magnifying glass. People will ride you if you let them. Don’t put them off, throw them off of you and back them off of you by simply owning who you are while you work out what they see. Trust me if they had the light turn from you to them there are a few chapters they don’t want others to see too. They simply forget it. AND don’t think you have to remind them to change the light’s view either. You become the scapegoat to others trust me. So learn not to take it on the chin all the time. By the time a person, goes to work, take care of their kids if they have them, drink a gallon of water a day, clean, cook, and work out that alone will keep them occupied with getting their life. When I do all of that and try to sneak in some husbae time and get my 7-8 hours of sleep I don’t have time to find out what someone else is doing. Apply that same word to your life. You don’t have time to bring out other folks imperfection trying to keep yourself polished and balanced.
So celebrate that you are less perfect. Own it. Do the work to be balanced. Balance is more important than perfection. Folks that work on perfection are often the ones who fail the most in the long run. I would rather you think I am failing in the forefront while I work on me in the background!
So you know that social media can be a blessing and a curse. If you are on it to compare your life you will immediately fall into a state of depression and that is something you do not want to do. You really need to find your daily passions and inspiration. Since making dramatic changes in my life I find that I attract myself to those who are like-minded. It is also allowing me to naturally cut off those who don’t fit that lifestyle.
Inspiration is all around us. It could be with a conversation as you are passing by. It could be in nature. I don’t know how many times I have seen something go down and got completely inspired by a bird. It’s true. You can be inspired by social media and a post. The post I love is anything where flaws are exposed but hope abounds. People are looking for hope because all around them they might be surrounded by hopeless people or even hopeless thoughts. This world is super shiny and pretty all the time but it can shed a little light to add some light to a dark soul. In reality that is what we are supposed to be. When people see you, they should see light. It doesn’t mean they need to see perfection. They need to see your try. They need to know they can quit a job that wasn’t serving them and go on to bigger and better. They need to see someone leaving a raggedy marriage and not settle and even if another relationship isn’t around the corner they still know they will be fine. They need to see that parenting is super hard and trying, but with grace they can make it.
As a blogger I of course love social media because it allows me to put my blogs out, connect with others, and really see people doing their thing as they see me doing the same. You can have people or things that you like or that inspire you. I have a little small listing of the things that inspire me. From home improvements, to celebrations for my kids, anything self-care, and of course people who are doing their thing, failing I said that correctly, dusting themselves off and pushing through. Everything we see on social media has a back story to it. With that being said I will give you 4 women I find inspiring and tell you why!
One because she “be knowing.” If you follow her I don’t even have to explain it. She is a champion for the culture and she is about as real as it gets. She rarely sugar coats things and you know that’s how I live my life. I love her ability to be herself and she doesn’t appear to care if you or me like her or not. She is a jewel. I love her happiness. I love her passions. I love that Amanda is always pushing for people to take accountability. I hope that accountability doesn’t become a lost art. We really need it. She makes me check myself on all levels but especially where politics and culture is concerned. Like a mirror that constantly asks that nagging why. Although she is not nagging she will make you think and correct yourself quick. Amanda is like my big sis or that bomb friend who serves it straight but also is someone who can relate to you without judging everything you do. And she plays Tiffany on HBO’s Insecure. I love her character. That losing your friends with motherhood episode was real! Amanda been in the game a long time. Check her credentials. She really is about this life and about the culture. She is the culture! Check out her podcasts, Small Doses and then follow her on social media you won’t be disappointed. Also if you are on Instagram and you follow her, always and I mean always catch her Instastories daily, Amanda Seales
She is the owner of the internet radio show, “Oh So Radio.” She has alot of things on her plate you really should check her out! She is super dope and I found her one day at work on break with her “Good Day” inspirational moments. You might have seen her recently on the Shaderoom’s post about her helping a couple who’s wedding was semi ruined due to their child nearly drowning at a pool party. Well above her ability to help those in need, her “Good Day” inspirations really moves me. Now let me warn a few stuffy folks, this ain’t your momma’s inspirational moment but when I say no lies are ever detected, I mean it. She is super straight. You might not even want to accept the way she speaks but you can’t deny the truth that is coming out. She is the real deal. I try not to hit the “Good Day” moments every morning because when I do hit she always has the exact word for what I am dealing with. She speaks on owning your stuff and stop allowing others control over what you do. So if you are someone who lacks the ability to move forward, hit her Instagram. You will get the good kick in the ass that you didn’t even know you need it. But TRUST me you needed it!
So I had to take a little break from Heather for a few months. It wasn’t anything personal but I just take a break from social media folks quite often. Not only do I attempt to take breaks from it altogether during moments of life, I do encourage others to do the same. Heather Lindsey is a Christian who is also the wife of Cornelius Lindsey pastor of The Gathering Oasis church in Atlanta GA and a mother of 3. I was directed by a friend to follow her. I went scrolling along to hear what she had to say. She seems like a genuinely down to earth person who for one will let you know she loves the Lord, she loves her family, and she loves life. I love the way she takes care of herself. That is what caught my eye. Now I know it would be a thing to say why in the world would you be worried about what she is wearing. It was more than her outfit choices although let’s be clear they are super dope. I followed her at a time when I was struggling from looking like a whole mess calling myself a wife and mother. Now there’s nothing wrong with struggling but apart of my struggle was saying how I wanted to get me together and yet I did nothing to achieve that goal. She was so well put together that she challenged me to have balance. I needed that. I still push for that. Balance is more attractive than how much the pieces you have on cost. So for that, she inspires me get it together. I am sure she like we all do have super stressful days. But she travels by herself at times, travels with her husband, dates him often on date days and date nights, goes on girls trips, baecations, and runs a whole business with the Pinky Promise. That’s the type of balance that is encouraging to women no matter your background. Check out Heather Lindsey
I know a lot of folks that are in the church struggle with the ability of loving the Lord and still looking like the promises God said was for you. I grew up in a church where most folks was looking wayward. I know that can’t be the promise that God gave to the world. How can we reach folks looking like “Le’ Struggle” everyday. I mean everyday maybe, but not everyday.
Jenell B Stewart
She is like the all around mommy mogul. I know we give credit to all of the other mommy moguls who seem to have like millions of followers but this queen is one to be on the look out for. First of all as an African-American woman it’s always to see chocolate loves that mirror me or my kids. She is a lifestyle blogger, a mom, she has a podcasts, teaches lessons on things from growing social media, to balancing life. I love and stay glued to her InstaStories. She is just a mom who tries to have it all and do it all. You know that is possible, right? Yes. I found her quite a little while ago and she had me hooked from the first video. A few key reasons why I follow her, her page is eye-catching. Please check out her website
It is like everything you need in one strong dose. Her Instagram is relatable. With me changing my lifestyle to be healthier a lot of the products that she uses or endorses I have tried and loved. Andddddd I don’t know how much her whole family is into the healthier lifestyle but mine are taking way smaller doses than I would like. I like that I can be encouraged that if I alone stick to this lifestyle I at least have someone who is doing it with me in my head!!
Now with these super beautiful women in their own right, I do not even have the slightest energy to be them. For one like Heather always says, their portion is for them and mine is for me. I do not know what they did to acquire the lifestyle that they have. However what I will say is that with my portion, I am finding that I am able to do what I need to do for me and be inspired to be the best version of myself because I am just as dope as these women. However we all need a little nudge in a few departments. So whether that’s in how you press on, how you take in the culture around you, to be being balanced or living healthy, choose wisely who you link your aspirations too. They speak volumes of who you are in real life. Check out these beauties and I am sure you will snag a jewel or two from them. My hope is since Heather has the Pinky Conference is to get to one if not this year, at least next year. In my head, I am going to meet Amanda. I hope to keep being inspired by Jenell and Randi and maybe one day meet them as well.