2nd week Summer Breakdown

So as promised I will be breaking down my week with the kids during the summer vacation months. It’s important for me to showcase that yes you can have a great summer and spend less money. This doesn’t include weekend events or things to do, but now even on the weekend I’m not overspending either. Last week I spent around 183 dollars. Check out last week’s blog for the breakdown!

This week I definitely and happily spent 77.74! Now I did get sick about end of the week but the activities I would have done wouldn’t have been over that amount it would have been under that amount.

Monday

We did a swim day! Which is why I may have gotten sick. It was like an allergy attack or some sort of shenanigans. Either way breakfast at home and lunch at McDonald’s, swimming and park! I spent 18.51 total! It was a great treat to start the week since normally we do most meals at home! Oh a little pro tip any day I can add the park I do. I usually work out while they play. If I check the weather and the weather is an issue I do a home workout but I have been working out 4 days a week not including the weekend!!

Tuesday

We went to the $5 AMC Tuesday movie and saw Toy Story 4! I knew I wanted to see it but the crowds of the weekend and the price told me to wait until Tuesday hit! That 5 dollars hit different on a Tuesday. I am also an AMC Stub member so I had points I used those points towards the $5 snack deal of a small popcorn and an Icee!

$5 movies for 4=20

4 snacks minus my $5 reward= $15.87

After the movie it was back to the park for my workout and kids play! We then headed home for dinner and my husband and I went to Chima for some blog work and date night for the win!

Wednesday

I began to not feel well so we elected to stay in to take meds. I also wanted to make sure my car would be done. If you remember I was hit right before my Paris trip. We still went to Greater Plymouth Meeting for the movies under the stars and viewed Lion King. This was great as we prepare for the new blockbuster coming out this Summer! It was great. They have an amazing DJ! They did a hoola hoop contest and have Chick Fil A truck, Koona Shaved Ice truck, fresh popcorn and candy for sale.

I still always pack my own food and snacks. One cause I’m vegan and two because it’s cost effective for us 4! It’s always a great time no matter what!!

Movie starts at 8 or when the sun goes down and we usually get home at around 11pm and as you can see, from the above picture it was immediate sleep and quiet for the parents!!!!

Thursday

I needed a chill day plus I needed to redo the girls hair and start laundry! I knew what my weekend plans were and that meant there was no way I could have had time to get them altogether! They did a lot of indoor activities and the girls hair was rebraided! Also I got my car back better than ever! This momma was super happy! Shout out to Wolk Enterprises for doing an amazing job!

Friday

It was a mess! I was so sick by this point that I woke up at 130! Do not fret! My husband stayed home with the kids and ordered them pizza! Our oldest was supposed to have Girl Scouts. My son did some errands with my husband and my youngest had a play date!! I had no idea that my Husband was going to stay home to be honest I was going to be a trooper and take them to Legoland and the park! It felt good when I woke up to even realize that he was home! I was able to rest and it helped me for the weekend!!

This upcoming week will be a short week with the 4th! I will not be including the 4th or the 5th so my totals will be smaller than this week!!!! Listen between work and kids it’s important to save money and make sure the kids have an amazing Summer! Also this week with it being Fourth of July there are so many activities to do in Philly and many are free!

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Monday Motivation: Light a Fire

Light a fire today. Never let others control your outcome. We do too much complaining about things that aren’t right and not enough making moves. You don’t like your job? Light a fire……under you. Not the job! Get a new one. Have a plan. When you tired it shows in your actions. You light a fire and make things happen.

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You don’t like your weight? Light a fire. Don’t sit around talking bad to yourself. Get up and use that idle time to work out. I used to work out to Khloe Kardashian’s “Revenge Body.”  This was after dropping weight. Sometimes I would listen with my ear phones on but it motivated me to move more. It motivated to see the reasons why I gained the weight and work on the inside out. I no longer sit talking about my arms is getting big, I light the fire and work on them. If my thigh or any other part of my body is bothering me I get to work on them.

You don’t like your relationship? Work on you actively and in addition suggest couples counseling while you get personal counseling. He/she unwilling to attend, you have your answer. Faith without works is dead you can’t simply pray good behavior into another individual. Either love is worth fighting for the right way or it has to be set aside. I fail to believe that all this living to be done is meant to be spent arguing and being miserable with an individual who doesn’t mean you well.

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I know the number one issue with lighting a fire is depression. That is why things like bad jobs, weight, relationships, and goals seem hard to achieve because you have allowed your mindset to take over. Your mind has made a nest of negativity and you don’t have the mental strength to move. Well your first light of fire needs to be a certified counselor or therapist. It will be hard. I hate when people paint happy pictures of people attending therapy. But all that bad has to come out. Often times you leave hurt. You leave empty. Its a process, but one that is worth the journey. What do you have to lose? Everything-like a fire!

Whatever you need today, light a fire. Get up off of your do nothing and take a few steps. Make a few calls. Send out a few hundred resumes but get the fire started. Every day you should be doing something to ignite fire in your life and in your soul. So light up the gifts inside of you, work on you, and make life happen. The only excuse you have is you. So stop making them. Get back into life and light a fire in your soul to make life beautiful!

Monday Motivation: She is me I am she…

Remember when Beyoncé first left Destiny’s Child and she had her alter ego named Sasha Fierce. She would reference her in that she was shy outside of performing. I think a lot of us adopted the whole alter ego, mine was Natasha.

Natasha was also an alias I used in my single days when I didn’t feel like being bothered. This was back in the day when you could curve a dude and he would just eat it. Now a days when are forced to give their rightful numbers to avoid the male ego and avoid being harmed. Men we need you to go back to the days of being okay of being curved. Women I think are getting better at attempting to be authentic too. I know men read my blogs I am not putting it all on you.

Back to Natasha, as I gotten a little older I still refer to Natasha but I realize that she is me and I am her. She is a part of me. She isn’t this imaginary alter ego that I use to be more bold. Natasha and I are one. We are both bold and quiet. We are both able to speak into the universe what we need and get it. We can read a book and turn up with a quick twerk. We both love book stores and the occasional club scene. We both know how to act in corporate America and we can respectfully fall in line in any small company atmosphere. We can be healthy and have splurges. We can be homebodies as well as out and about. We can want solitude and be okay in a crowd. We use alter egos to do the things that we are to shy to achieve not realizing that if we can call on the alter ego which is us, it was in us to do so. We can ask for a raise from that job because we have done the work. We can ask for someone’s number because we are dope individuals and want someone on our page.

We can make moves in our lives because Natasha is us and we are her. We both combined are awesome. Being older I hear from women older than me telling me not to hold back. If something is no longer serving its purpose in my life, get rid of it. Don’t wait until you are 50 to make your own choices. There is too much love and light on this Earth to allow life to simply happen to you. Regardless if you name your alter ego or not is neither here nor there. We ALL have multiple sides to us. It’s learning to allow you to fold and evolve. It’s a beautiful thing to see yourself in the mirror when you accept yourself with all the flaws and messiness you are.

woman sitting on chair beside mirror

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  • Say NO more
  • Say YES more
  • Eliminate waste in all areas of your life
  • Link with other dope individuals
  • Smile More
  • Cry when necessary
  • It’s okay not to know the answer
  • It’s okay not to have it together
  • Compare yourself to you and no one else

Whatever you need your alter ego for, combine her/him with who you are and shine. Together you are all you need. Be great today!

 

Monday: Re-Direction

If you have kids or have seen a child that is having a moment, you know how important redirection is. Having to get that child’s attention so they can focus on the task at hand is a lot at times. I have had to continue to redirect my own children. To be honest I have had to redirect myself. You can lose your focus looking at what everyone around you is completing. You can lose your focus looking at what you haven’t done. Redirect your attention.  Redirect the energy that you easily give to the things around you that may not even be serving your goals. A lot of adults function in life-like toddlers and then don’t know why end of the year, they feel defeated in life. Redirection helps bring your mind, heart, and goals into focus.

toi

What is on your to do list to complete? What are your core list to complete this week, this month, this quarter, this month, or this year?  That’s a lot of lists? To a point it may be but you need to redirect yourself off of things and people if you EVER want to get things done. Redirect your thoughts so you can stay out the negativity that seems to talk louder than positivity. Redirect your spirit from being defeated every time you hear the answer of NO. You need to redirect your heart every time you willingly hand it over to someone who you ignored the red flags. Redirect yourself every time you have a mate that cares more about themselves than being on a team.

Where could you use some direction this morning? Focus. You win when you redirect even if you have to redirect while carrying frustration, tears, pain, or hurt. It will drop off but you need to get your goals in aligned. Align this morning. Align and just start with one thing on your list, you won’t even notice how productive you are or how smaller your circle naturally gets. Big crowds don’t like to work they like attachment. Only those on the same wave length will stick around when you redirect!

I know that this Monday we could all need a redirecting. Have an amazing day, week and month!

 

Monday Motivation: Morale is Important

We understand morale in the sense of working with a team.  If you are at work and morale is lost it could be a number of factors that affect morale. It could be from not having an understanding manager, having to do other team members’ work, or from lack of incorporating fun activities into a work day. Either way, morale is important. It’s the heartbeat of how you move at work. How much more do we need to keep our personal morale going? We scroll through social media getting super hype over stories we see that is why we comment and argue with strangers. Yet when in comes to personal morale, we give ourselves whatever is left over.  Oh I’ll complete that maybe next year when this is supposed to be your year. You hype everyone else but yourself. This has to stop. I’ll hype myself past my own flaws. Meaning I own them so no one can ever use them against me and use that to disqualify a gift that is in me or being used to flow through me. That is lesson one in anything you ever want to do in life. Folks don’t have to like me in order for my gift to rise above a few folks that are walking in disagreement. Disagreement doesn’t cut off the gift inside of you. It only sharpens you to be better and walk better and to utilize discernment.

marketing school business idea

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Morale is the motivation to keep going. You know morale is the spice in to your why. You have your why.  Why did you take on that personal challenge. Why you decided to lose weight. Why you decided that this year you will travel. Why you decided to leave that relationship. Why you decided to change jobs.  Whatever your why, work at it and keep the morale going. It may come in the form of getting organized. It may be in changing your circle. You should know that matters. If you’re circle always has something negative to say about your ideas, it may mean they are attempting to sabotage the plan. Stop sharing things with them negative folks. Morale pushes you when you are tired. Morale pushes you when you hear a thousand NOs in the journey but you know what is in you to keep going.

Morale pushes effort. Think about a relationship. Morale is what keeps scheduling dates because you see how that time alone makes you adore your partner that much more. Morale keeps patience with your kids when they jump and back flip on that last nerve. Personal morale is the self-starter to anything you are attempting to accomplish. We however let morale get trampled on by energy that is sucking the life out of us. Days turn into weeks and weeks into months and months into years. You look up and can’t understand why you are stagnant. You lost morale. The joy of what you were trying to do has been taken on with life. You need a morale booster. You need to get some new goals. You need to refresh yourself. You need to find the happiness in starting that idea.

person holding stay focuseds paper

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When I started this blog in the beginning, it was so fresh and I was excited. After a year, I saw how my posts became less and less and I asked myself-are you done or do you just need a morale booster? I changed the layout of the blog, got a blog planner, and wrote. I keep myself motivated by never writing a blog that feels forced. When I write it pours out of me because I do what’s necessary to keep my personal joy. I write and sometimes re-write my vision. I keep my eyes open and I put permanent sunglasses on when someone in my personal circle says things like: “why did they choose you.” “What makes you so special.” These are actual things that have been said to me. Them sunglasses allows me to see and hear them but blur them as I keep going. I still get invited to the tables of places I hadn’t in my first few years of writing because I stay consistent. I had one PR firm tell I always come to your writing or reviews because you have a keen eye for what the public wants to see. That is a morale booster. Sometimes when the accolades aren’t coming, having personal morale helps to keep the rays of joy in what you love burning.

Do not let anything burn your candle of morale out. You have what you need inside of you to keep pushing and making it happen. Tune out and drown out the naysayers. Keep going! Keep the personal morale going!!

Remember morale is the discipline, enthusiasm, and confidence to complete your goals. Who caused you to lack the discipline to work late and get up early and prepare? Who took the enthusiasm to push past tiredness? Who attempted to knock your confidence while you are in the shift of change? No matter what the outside factor, YOU control your life.

Networking is Scary At Times

So I wanted to talk about networking. It’s essential to what I do with blogging especially if you want to get out about. Your talent will take you in front of amazing people.  In order to stay you have to be able to talk to a few folks and learn the finesse of making relationships work.

three woman talking near laptop on desk inside room

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I met some of the most amazing people while on an assignment at various locations in Philadelphia. I can’t even imagine not taking the first steps which started out of paying attention to social media. Its more than getting caught up in the darkness of liking posts. It comes from searching hash-tags of areas you are strong in. I started looking at other lifestyle bloggers. From there I made sure to follow AND engage. You have to be proactive in what you are doing online. Once I made solid connections I always make a few promises to myself:

  • Blog an event within 24 hours of attendance-keep things fresh
  • Always know who the movers and shakers are and introduce yourself
  • Be sure to get the information in the blog right the first time i.e. names, etc.
  • Keep a notebook and a pen on you at all times or you your phone for notes

Here are a few things to understand Networking in 2019

  • Have a business card but expect to follow someone on the spot on your social media platform-people tend to follow immediately. I got 10 potential blogging events from immediate follows
  • Always send a thank you note. People love acknowledgement
  • It’s okay to be scared it’s not okay to wait for someone to approach you. Fear is debilitating but if you at an event, speak up
  • If you showed up to an event, show up for yourself in that you do the best job possible. I blogged an event I attended with my family, caught a PR’s attention and I have been rocking ever since.
  • If you RSVP, show up. I have only not gone to one event and had to bow out. Life happens but don’t make it frequent.
  • Treat your blog like a job in that not that you get into a mundane flow with it but make it priority. If and when others see that you do, they will take you seriously. I am a creator. I blog. I am consistent. People notice consistency and that alone will take you before amazing people
  • Make friends that are doing the same type of things as you network

One of the things I struggle with is not always wanting to get the shot with me in it. This is one of the things I changed this year. Do not be afraid since I tend to travel to events by myself to talk and ask someone to get the picture of you in it. Having a few pictures with you in the shot for a personal blog is personable and necessary. Treat it as if you were at an event with friends. The same excitement you would have you must take in order to get what you came for. I have had many high level executives thank me for how I approach their event and get the information. My job in my mind is how would a reader of my blog need to approach a restaurant, event, or social gathering. I take the initial hit so that a reader can easily flow into it when they attend.

photography of people using smartphones

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Also if you are being asked to attend an event of lets say a PR firm, act accordingly. Learn the art of socializing at an event.  Meaning if there are drinks and 9 times out of 10 there are, have a few without looking like you had a few. Learn to pace yourself. Learn to speak well of yourself. Always stay clear of conversations that will trigger bad behavior.  The last thing you want to do is to be found being the one that is labeled an issue. Smile. You weren’t invited to be grumpy. Always know the camera is on you. Most events I have attended there is always at least one if not more photographers on site so dress for the event!  If it’s a play that’s an immediate dress up. If it’s a dinner, if its black tie, dress to impress. It’s always business casual unless otherwise stated. If you are at an outdoor event, than always keep your gear clean and tidy and dress down for that event but keep it nice. All of this should come without saying but you will be surprised of the things you see when you are out and about.

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So networking is hard. But its necessary. I have had a great time getting to know my city and as I hope to expand, the only way to do so is speaking up, smiling, and letting my normal personality shine. I feel as if people are getting what they need from me by me being who I am to begin with. Remember do what you love it will take you places not just because you have ability but because you have heart!  So clear heart and mind, smile, and fun should be on your agenda. Also organize yourself so you present the best picture. I always pack my media bag the night before.  I get my lighting, extra battery pack, charge my phone, grab a camera, get your business cards, grab a notebook, etc. Being prepared will assist you.

 

 

How to Catch Creation

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

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

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

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

So what were some of the themes presented:

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

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

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

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

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