“French Kiss” by Janice Telestar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Paris owes me Nothing Part 4

So to end Paris as if it will ever end, it was the last full day before a day of travel. We decided to send a few post cards back. So of course we stopped at the post office, went to a museum, ate well and one last trip to the Eiffel Tower to tour the inside of it!

Shout out to the postman who handled our post cards. It’s so funny when the French switch to English cause they can see how much of a struggle Americans have to speak fluent French.

Now I could have since it was included in our hotel price to eat the breakfast provided. The way them nightly or all day is wines were set up I needed to sleep it off!! Kyla my girl was on go daily and so she did her morning ritual of going to get her food way before we woke up! Marques and I after the post office stopped at Metro Cafe. The food was amazing and so was the service.

This pumpkin soup needed no salt; no nothing simply delicious

Americans do French fries which isn’t a French dish better

The fresh squeezed orange juice was absolutely amazing

I had so much daily rosé it don’t make no sense

His shirt reads, Broke Phi Broke and that makes sense

So after an amazing brunch like moment it was off to a museum!

We 3 decided to go to Museum Picasso. The Art was exquisite. Different genres all meshed and beautifully stunning, provocative, and engaging!

After which we were hungry again but hey when you are walking around for hours at a time it’s bound to happen! We stopped at one restaurant but it was their dinner time or that’s the way it came off as we sat for quite some time. The French don’t move as steadily on service like we do in America. We are more concerned in increasing numbers of those that come into an establishment over making sure that those around have an experience.

We finally stopped at Pizza Pino!

This lemon sorbet with vodka had me so super rocked……that’s all I can say on that

It was off to our final rendezvous with the Eiffel Tower. Unlike seeing it on a boat, seeing it lit at night and being in touching form, this was about going inside. The tickets that we got gave us access to the first and second floor. The very top was sold out for days!! The experience was more than I could put into words! Seeing Paris in a different light was just breathtaking.

As you can see Paris looks even more amazing inside the Eiffel Tower!

Brioche with Nutella it was necessary

After a long night it was time for one last meal…and more of that lemon sorbet and vodka at Mon Coco!

Veggie burger that would put an American veggie burger to shame

The star of the night; lemon sorbet with vodka…..

After beautiful days in Paris, it was time to return home. Lessons learned, Paris was an amazing experience! I would do it all over again! I’m grateful for this time and happy for a semi easy travel time outside of an extended search on the way home in 🇮🇸 Iceland!

I was loving the fact that in their airport it’s very different than an American airport where food is concerned. Vegan, vegetarian options are plentiful!

Finally back home, finally with our children, finally back on Go it was nice to slow it down a bit!

Paris owes me nothing but I’m grateful that I took the journey!

Thank you Ray and Chrystal for the invite none of this would have happened without your wedding invite nudging it along. May your union be filled with tenacity, and the joy that life brings!

Thank you Kyla for accompanying and being on this trip.

Thank you Marques for making sure that every desire I had you made come true. Thank you for renewing a clear path in how we love and live and being each other’s friend as we go through this life as partners, parents, and solid and dope individuals!

Thank you Paris for such amazing culture, hospitality, and just overall greatness!!

Lancaster Vegan Fest

I had the best time of my Saturday! The one thing I adore about Summer is being out and about and festivals. Like who doesn’t love good food, good people, and fun? Non humans I suppose!

Today I went to Lancaster Vegan Fest. Since becoming vegan I’ve kept up with my lifestyle and it feels amazing to even know about these types of festival even exist. Not only do they have vegan fests in my city of Philadelphia but all around too! I guess it’s true you don’t know until you know! Today I attended the event in my hometown of Lancaster with my twin, my youngest daughter, all of my nieces, my brother, my sister in love, my sister in love’s mother, and cousin brother. Talk about a fam bam explosion!

Now my brother Mr. Not Vegan still had a great time too. He constantly makes fun of my “leaf eating life!” They had live performances, great food, and great drinks even some adult juice tasting as well. They had a kids corner with face painting? Arts and crafts and even a bubble spot which was a big splash with my nieces

Talk about an amazing happy crowd? It really doesn’t get any better!

Now on to the food! The kids had icees, juices, and my highlight chocolate covered fruit. There were over 50 something vendors so I had to be selective! But goodness….

Shout out to the Pop’d Shop who had an amazing selections of soda and some super bomb popcorn! I bought the caramel one and whew it was super delicious!

Also I stopped at the one and only Chef Oliver of Culinary Services of Chef Oliver and I had the Sausage Ragu over White rice-it was vegan and I’m really sad I didn’t get any for the road. It was full of flavor!!!

Overall even if you’re not plant based, just want to taste different options, or just curios, attend your nearest vegan fest! Trust me the selections will surprise you and the crowds are amazing!! I hope to see a few followers at the next one! There is a Philadelphia Vegan Fest on June 8, 2019!

Paris owes me Nothing….Part 1

I’m going to break this trip down in 3-4 parts! I want you to travel with me at least in your head since I’m back and still in love!!

It started off as a wedding and I ended with a bang! I recently took a trip to Paris and to say it was a once in a lifetime experience is a complete understatement. It was everything and more I could think of. We were invited to a wedding of our dear friend Chrystal and her new husband Ray and then the rest of the time it would for us to be tourist!

Secure the Babies

Let’s back up to the prep work it takes to pull this trip off. Not only are we speaking in terms of coins aka money, but with 3 kids it means a juggling act to secure them as this was an adult trip only. Also my girl Kyla attended as well. So making sure all 3 adults were safe, secure, fulfilled and happy while my kids were safe and secure with family proved to be a blessing and took a little finesse. Shout out to my brother and sister in love who kept the kids. Our kids only ended up missing 2 days of school due to their schedule. Not bad if you ask me. The kids had an amazing time with them. I’m grateful for knowing hands down that they were safe and happy. My sister in love is amazing! Thanks little brother for holding it down!

My friends can tell you that I’m not an irresponsible parent. The second we knew we were going on an international flight, it was important to me that I made sure all changes to my will were updated. It didn’t mean that I was anticipating something happening because I wasn’t. It had everything to do with making sure that if something did happen our children wouldn’t be further traumatized by not being with whom we wanted them to be with. I didn’t want anyone fighting in courts or our children not being raised the way we wanted them to in the respect of major child rearing aspects of parenting. I admonish all parents to have their paperwork in order even if you’re not taking a flight. The worse things you can do is not secure your kids’ future to the best of your ability. Thankfully we didn’t have to initiate any further plans! Since I needed to finalize the will, I’m super glad it was all handled!

Also we informed the school more than a month before so they could get their homework! Our oldest has finals and we don’t want any excuses for her not to get good grades. Their schools were amazing preparing the work ahead of time. I know the kids ain’t happy about it but education is important around here!

Shout out to my neighbor for keeping a watchful eye for my furry son, Tiki! I missed that little cat!!

Not Without a Hitch

Days before while doing my last fun prep like going to the nail salon,etc I got into a car accident. I was hit by a man and in return my car has damage. Now between that and some family issues that popped up I probably could have just flown from the anger I felt. However it’s beautiful to know that regardless of how I felt I still maintained my emotions. Not once did I fly off the handle. Not once did I speak out of turn! There wasn’t much I could do so acting a fool wasn’t going to add anything to the situation so I elected to remain calm! However in the coming days I will need to handle the aftermath of the issues left behind! Some of them will be easier than others. But that’s life?!

Birthday Behavior

The day that we left to go to Paris was also my oldest daughter birthday! We celebrated her the week before with a large 10th birthday party. However we also made sure that on our birthday we would be right there with her. For that reason we took a night flight out!

We took her out to breakfast and made sure we had cake with her and she got a few gifts from friends as well! Shout out to Hershey Pantry for an amazing meal!

Easy quick tips to make an International Trip smoother

Obviously get your passport as soon as you can. Do not wait until the last minute. It took me about 4-5 weeks to get me and during high peak times it could be even 6 weeks to get back!

Packing

Pack a few days before. You will most likely find that you need items if you pack as if you’re leaving in a few hours even though you have days to leave. I find doing this for most flights is a life saver.

Packing cubes

So although not a requirement, anytime I travel I like to utilize packing cubes. This is merely a suggestion however it helped to make packing easier as well as sleek. It gave me incredible space. My bags were only 14 pounds once weighed. This was great as I didn’t want to incur any extra baggage fees. I had everything too but them cubes was the real MVP!

Also I packed the kids suitcase a week before. With 3 kids I have a master list that I use. It may seem extra but it ensures that I don’t leave the most important items! I didn’t want to be that far away and forget the things they needed!

As you’re packing you find out what you still need and can purchase options without having to be super rushed. I didn’t pack anything new because the weather was about 70 degrees or a little under. So my Fallish clothes worked fine! I did purchase some new walking shoes and insoles as the walking we did was amazing but it was a lot. We limited the amount of Uber usage. I probably could have used it more but it is what it is! Step count was off the charts!

STEP

Outside of having your passport, also register for STEP. It’s free!! It basically registers you with the US consulate in the country that you are traveling so that if there is an emergency they can assist. This is also good in case of a crisis in the visiting country too! They will also include someone back at home to contact on your behalf!

WiFi

We used an international traveling WiFi. It was super beneficial. In our case it was 3 adults traveling. In hindsight I might have ordered 2 of them since there were times when our small party was separated. However we had the travel WiFi delivered to our home and we dropped it off to the airport before we left. It allowed us to use our phones after turning off cellular data not only to be on social media or use maps but it also allowed us to utilize FaceTime with our kids! Paris is 6 hours ahead of Philadelphia, we kept the connection flowing at all times. Another tip is using an app called maps.me by downloading prior to your trip so you don’t have to even have WiFi to use and get around. Shout out Travel WiFi for being super responsive, amazing company, and making sure we were secured!

Apps

Please update your apps before leaving including Uber. The time to update isn’t when you need it the most. I suggested everyone in our group to do so. That helped tremendously.

Theft Protection

You can go anywhere and something could happen. However in international areas, be sure to have a theft protection bag. It helped as a lot of areas get overcrowded and pick pocketing is real. Our bags were cute and helped to safe guard us. Also our passport holder which doubled as a wallet also had RFID technology to prevent thieves from stealing our card information.

Here is the link for the cover from Amazon

Passport Holder Cover, ACdream… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07CBYVSJC?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

Here is the link of where I got the bookbag from Amazon:

Laptop Backpack for Women Men… https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MLQZ1W1?ref=ppx_pop_mob_ap_share

Back it Up

No not for the 99 and the 00 (those who know, know) but always make copies of your travel documents and passports and leave hard copies and electronic copies with one or more folks back home. We love technology until it doesn’t work. If a computer glitch happens you want to be ready with what you need without fumbling! May seem extra but being prepared in life is a skill set. Get it and you might troubleshoot a lot of issues in your regular life too but what do I know?!

Travel Back Up Power

Listen between videos and pics you may find that while you’re out and about you could be in jeopardy of losing power. Be sure to purchase a back up power pack. I’ve had the same one since my solo trip last year and it has served me well. I’ve taken it to work, to blog events, and any and all travel! I try my best to always start with full power and make sure I have my back up power. It may seem extra but I’ve only run out of power once and I like to keep that number from never increasing.

My charger is 2 years old here is the updated sleeker version:

Portable Charger Anker PowerCore 20100mAh – Ultra High Capacity Power Bank with 4.8A Output, External Battery Pack for iPhone, iPad & Samsung Galaxy & More (Black) https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00X5RV14Y/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Hdt8Cb6JAJ25V

Get that Money

We exchanged our money before we left. It made it easier to have our Euros before we left. We didn’t have to find a place although there were many spot to do so. Also having a certain amount of Euros prevented us from having to “re up” unless we needed to. In addition we also informed our banks and credit card companies that we were traveling in case we needed to use them! Thankfully we didn’t do much swiping so that’s a great thing!

Shout outs go to Omnia Nails and John for giving me that neutral manicure and pedicure with the color “Be There in a Prosecco” so super fitting!

Thanks Dee of ExtraordinarySewinsbydee who put her amazing hands on my head. Had me Paris ready! She always ready and answers the call.

Now that I did my research, got my stuff all handled, parked my banged up car, celebrated our baby girl, and did my prep…

Let’s go to Paris…..

Curio Theatre Company Presents: The Winter’s Tale

Where do I start? I had the most magical time at this production. I love everything about a Bohemian garden and what’s better than a Bohemian garden?  A Bohemian beer garden and taking my love of all things Shakespeare to another level.  That’s right it was like getting a two for one in fun and theatre at the same time.

I am so grateful for being exposed to Shakespeare in High School. It really changed my outlook in plays and poetry. When you combine it and have an outstanding production like Curio Theatre has, it was amazing. Every last actor, played their part. They really played them well. I was in the front row where I love to be and the action captured me. I left the theatre unable to go to sleep.

actors

I laughed so hard even though a Winter’s Tale is about Leontes, King of Sicillia gets into a jealous rage thinking that his friend, Polixenes had an affair with his pregnant wife, Queen Hermione. If you never read this Shakespeare classic I won’t spoil it but it includes a lot of turns of events that feature violence, death, betrayal, and forgiveness. It’s true what they say about jealousy, it is a killer. What we think when we don’t control our thoughts turns into negativity and can hurt the ones we love! Nonetheless the pure emotion that each actor gave was amazing. Each actor captured their roles and even if you cant get past the Middle English of the time, if you listen with intent, they played their part enough for you to modernize it and understand it beautifully.

sign

Taking the production from inside and then outside to the Bohemian Beer Garden was the best surprise I didn’t even know I needed. The air was crisp, the wine was sweet and the actors continued to stay in their parts while we enjoyed the best acting intermission I had ever been too. Curio Theatre, this had to be the best part of my night. I had the most magical time. Everyone who attended smiled from ear to ear the entire time. It was a pleasant experience and if they ever have another production, I want to be in the seat.

garden

You only have 2 days to catch this treat. That’s right make your Friday night magical by getting tickets for the 8pm show or tomorrow’s final night at 8 as well. You can get your tickets here. One thing that Curio Theatre does is that when you get your tickets they encourage their new ticket initiative and that’s with Curiositix.  This is a new initiative that allows those who would have not been able to see amazing theatre and make it affordable. When you order your ticket at the time of ordering you can select how much you want to give toward the ticket. You can also even pay for your another ticket so that someone who can’t afford it can.  This is making sure that everyone has the opportunity to get that amazing exposure to theatre.  Also if you want to just donate, you can do that here as well.  No donate is too small.

I would recommend this production for over 15 years of age due to scenes of violence against women and adult themes.

Follow Curio Theatre on their social media channels so you don’t ever miss another production.  Who knows you may see me in the audience real soon:

Twitter

Facebook

Thank you to all of the actors for a job well done. Thank you Curio Theatre for having me and thank you Carrie Gorn for the invite!

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.

heart shaped candle

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

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.

firetwo8

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

Photo by Godisable Jacob on Pexels.com

  • 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!