travel

Review: Microtel Inn and Suites, Philadelphia Airport

Even though I adore luxury experiences and love sharing those reviews with you, it’s important that I try a variety of things because you may find it necessary to scale back the luxe and enjoy more economical experiences.

 In this spirit of this, I am reviewing a lower priced hotel in the Philadelphia area. I stayed at the Microtel Inn and Suites near Philadelphia International Airport (on Tinicum Drive). The hotel is modest but boasts a continental breakfast, close proximity to the airport, and free wifi.

I reserved a room with a double bed, and I was impressed with the simplicity and tidiness of the room upon settling in. However, there were a few issues that I want to note, for anyone interested in visiting this location.

 For starters, only the suites have microwaves, coffeemakers and refrigerators. Since my room technically wasn’t a suite, there was no way to preserve the takeout that I ordered. Also, the walls are very thin: I heard the television next to my room for quite a few hours. I know that complete soundproofing isn’t possible – nor is it desirable – but I would have enjoyed a quieter stay (for the record, the room next door did turn off/turn down the TV before 12 AM, so I didn’t have to listen to their set all night).

The main issue came after my first night at the hotel. The following morning, I went to use the internet and . . . it wasn’t working. I contacted the front desk and I was advised that they were aware of the issue but they were waiting on a technician to resolve it. It took nearly 4 hours (from the time I woke up around 6:30 AM to sometime before 11 AM) for the internet to be fixed. It wouldn’t have been a major issue except I needed to access systems for my job and send reports. I ended up using my cell phone as a hot spot, but that is my least favorite way of accessing the internet.

My overall takeaway is this: Microtel Inn and Suites Philadelphia Airport location is fine for one night, two maximum. It works out just fine for someone that may need to rest before continuing on their journey, or if you’re traveler that plans to just crash for the night after having a whirlwind tour of the city.

reading list

Book Review: Lifestyle Design for a Champagne Life by Cassie Parks

What’s better on a Friday than a book review? I can’t think of too many things I enjoy more than reading and talking about the books that I’ve read!

I really enjoyed rereading “Lifestyle Design for a Champagne Life” by Cassie Parks. I read the book previously and found the tips to be tremendously helpful, but I was due for a refresher.

For those interested in law of attraction (LOA), Parks gives a great formula for engaging and leveraging LOA to create a dream lifestyle. This is a fantastic intro to LOA principles and a step-by-step guide for using some common but powerful LOA tools.

champagne

Here’s a toast to your dream life!

Parks’s overall approach is as follows:

-Envision your dream life

-Script your story

-Experience the life now

The steps are simple enough, but Parks gives additional details to add additional magic. Her system invokes more emotions – therefore, more intensity – than some of the processes used by other LOA coaches. That additional intensity means that your manifesting is more effective and you can align yourself with your desires faster. And when you align faster, the things that you desire come to you easier and quicker.

My favorite aspect of this book is how Cassie makes it easy to get in touch with your dream lifestyle. Her methodical approach is clear and easy to follow, and her genuine desire to help is endearing. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in using LOA tools to attract your dreamlife!

art

A Day at Freeman’s Auction, Part 2

After enjoying a fun first day at Freedman’s Auction, I was eager to return the next day for the actual auction.

I arrived just after bidding started and I went to Client Services to retrieve my paddle. The young woman that assisted me the day before recognized me and grabbed my paddle and a form for me to sign before I started bidding. Once the form was signed, I returned to the main room where the auction was being held.

Ooh, what fun I had! It was amazing to see how high some of the prices would go! I couldn’t help but think about how this collection – carefully assembled, with pieces loved and well worn – would soon be parceled out and sent to new homes, to become beloved pieces in different collections. There were so many people eager to make these lots part of their own personal collections; it’s just a testimony to the lasting good taste of Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton (the original owner of the pieces).

And my beautiful platinum bow brooch? I didn’t get it. I’m not disappointed: I’m sure that the right piece will come along at the right time. I’m also sure that someone will absolutely LOVE it when they get it and see that beauty in person (a bidder on the phone was the lucky winner). It’s a treasure that I’m positive will be going to a good home where it will be loved and cherished.

My time as Freeman’s was so much fun! I’m already planning to attend again, but next time, my budget will be much bigger, and I will have a winning bid!

That’s all for my experience with Freeman’s Auction. I hope you all enjoyed, and have a Happy Wednesday! Talk to you all tomorrow!

life curation

Living Your Best Life: Cultivating Calm, Part 2

calm2

Happy Wednesday, beloveds! In part one of my Cultivating Calm posts, I mentioned how to become more aware of when you are feeling stressed, anxious, or frustrated. Once you identify the patterns and triggers, you can begin to control or manage them. Here are a few tips for controlling and managing triggers that threaten your feeling of calm.

angry

-Avoid people who stimulate an anxious or agitated feeling. You know who I’m talking about: there are some people who have a nervous energy that’s contagious: they walk into a room and everyone starts feeling “on edge”. I noticed that a lot of inexperienced or insecure supervisors and managers tend to generate this energy. You also notice it from people that treat everything like a crisis or a tragedy, consistently overexaggerating the seriously of thing occurring in their lives.

news

-Avoid consuming overstimulating food, beverages or media. I adore chocolate, but I can’t have it late at night because of the caffeine. I feel jittery and agitated when I can’t get to sleep, so I avoid chocolate late at night as well as caffeinated beverages. Likewise, examine your diet and see what stimulants you consume regularly. Then, aim to wean yourself off of those stimulating foods and beverages: overstimulation frequently causes agitation and anxious feelings. It goes without saying that media can also make you feel anxious: sometimes the news makes us feel stressed and frustrated. So employing some selective ignorance can go a long ways in helping you preserve your calm.

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-Clean up your physical surroundings. Disorderly environments can disturb your sense of peace and tranquility. So clean up and enjoy your new, calmer environment.

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-Practice deep breathing and relaxing stretches to help you unwind. Intentionally increasing your oxygen intake can really help with “resetting” your energy and improving your mood (there are studies confirming this, so do your research!). Relaxing stretches help to reduce the tension in tightly contracted muscles.

food · travel

Review: Al Forno Pizzeria

Have you ever had plans to be great – truly great – and life sat you down like, “Maybe next time you’ll be great, but today? Today you need to chill.” That’s precisely what happened to me when I planned to go out and enjoy some of the local eats in Philadelphia. I was too tired from my grueling morning commute and subsequent travel into the City of Brotherly Love.

So instead of going super-luxe, I did a low-key meal delivered to my hotel room. Unfortunately, the delivery options available for visitors staying near the Philadelphia International Airport are truly pathetic (unless you opt for Uber Eats, which was an absolute savior when I decided to use it). I was blown away by how few options were available for delivery to the airport area, especially since Philadelphia is such a large city. Anyway, I kept it simple and ordered Italian food.

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Funny, I don’t mention Italian food on this blog much, because I don’t eat much of it. I love authentic Italian food so most stateside Italian restaurants don’t pass muster.But I decided to take a chance on Al Forno Pizzeria, located in Darby, PA. I ordered the shrimp basket and the ravioli with lobster (I obviously ventured away from my vegetarian preferences), a couple of juices and a slice of strawberry cheesecake.

For starters, the food was good. Now, I wasn’t expecting blow-my-mind deliciousness, but I was pleasantly surprised at how well executed the lobster ravioli was. The dishes definitely didn’t disappoint, and I’m glad I tried this restaurant.

Fried shrimp with a big of ravioli sauce spilledon the outside (takeout isn’t always pretty)

The shrimp basket was your standard fried shrimp and French fries. Bonus points to the restaurant for providing a BIG container of cocktail sauce. The shrimp were tasty and reasonably priced considering the amount of food that I got ($8.50). I wish I could have gotten the fries fresh out of the fryer: even when lukewarm, they were really good. I can only imagine how outstanding they would have been if eaten while piping hot.

The biggest problem with takeout food? Presentation generally stinks LOL!

The lobster ravioli was savory, creamy and satisfying. The portion was huge and the fact that this entree came with a salad made it an excellent choice for the price ($11.95). I ate a bit of this on the first night and finished it the next day in lieu of a traditional breakfast.

The strawberry cheesecake was good: not unique but a solid dessert option. I would have gladly eaten two of them. The price was right for the size ($3). The juices were bottled (by EverMade) so there’s nothing to say about them, other than I enjoyed them like I always do.

My final impression of Al Forno’s Pizzeria is that it’s worth a try. The delivery was fast, the food was good, and the price was right. I was very pleased my meal and I would certainly try another meal from there when I return to the area.

art · luxury

A Day At Freeman’s Auction, Part 1

As you all know, I went to Philadelphia a few days ago. I didn’t just go for the sake of having a getaway (though I desperately needed a getaway!). I went to attend an auction at Freeman’s, the oldest auction house in the United States. Freeman’s has been in business over 200 years, and they find new homes for all sorts of treasures.

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The star of the auction, sold for $802,000

I stopped by on May 8th to view the items to be auctioned on May 9th (you have to come at least the day prior to an auction in order to view and inspect items to be sold). The auction I planned to attend was the sale of jewelry and accessories previously owned by billionaire heiress Dorrance “Dodo” Hamilton. 

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I had my eye on one piece in particular: a platinum and diamond brooch shaped like a bow. I figured I would bid on it if the price was right but I needed to check it out first. The staff in the display room was friendly and professional. I was given information on how to bid and I stopped by Client Services to drop off my bidder registration form. Again, the staff in the Client Services office was friendly and professional.

 

The object of my affection

Freeman’s is a throwback to bygone years (they have an elevator with an actual elevator operator!) but it’s fascinating to see how they’ve managed to blend the past and the current day. The same building with an elevator operator has huge monitors so that bidders can see the items being auctioned as well as online bidding capabilities.

In Part 2 of this post, I’ll discuss the actual auction and the outcome. Talk to you all soon!

life curation

A Mother’s Love

Maternal Caress by Mary Cassatt (1896), on display at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Mothers are so special. There’s not a lot to say, other than this: make sure to appreciate your mother (or the mother figures) in your life. Cherish the women that pour into you, and uphold a higher vision of you than you could ever imagine for yourself.

The Marquise de Pezay and the Marquise Rouge with her sons Alexis and Adrien by Elizabeth Louise Vigee Le Brun (1787), on display at the National Gallery of Art

Here are a few touching portraits of mothers that I have seen over the past week, as well as thoughts on motherhood from a few famous women. I’m going to link my post to Phylicia Rashad’s thoughts on motherhood here. In this post, I’ll share more thoughts from Maya Angelou (you can read my previous post about her here).