Sunday, December 27, 2015

My 2015!!

"Describe 2015 in one word," she said.

I contemplated for a while as others threw out the obvious words.  I'm “blessed” every morning I wake up, so I didn't want to use that. Every day is a day I've never seen before, so, "interesting" or "different" weren't words I wanted to use either.  I needed a good one because it's been that kind of year! So I went with MIND-ALTERING.

Some may say it's two words, but I looked it up! It is one word. And one word that fits my year perfectly. Now where do I even begin....

In December of last year, I began my journey of blogging. I was relaunched into my love for writing, a passion I'd thought had long passed away, but God saw differently. I began to write as I was recently licensed as a minister and my dating life had turned quite interesting to say the least. Fast forward to now, I am 3 days away from my one year anniversary of blogging and launching my very own website, and preparing to write my first book! MIND-ALTERING!

I could've never fathomed in my mind to expose myself and my thoughts for others to interject their opinions through my writing, I can be quite sensitive for those that don't know! I would have never thought to turn my writing into ministry and encourage others through my transparency. And I absolutely would have never thought I could start my own website and write a book! These were things I watched other people do and admired from a distance. Something this year said, "Just do it!" I feel more confident in my writing and my words and desire to continue using them for the glory of God. MIND-ALTERING!

Around February of this year, I began dating a guy exclusively. I was finally settling in being open to a new relationship, and yes I said it, I thought he may be the one, AGAIN, but things went south fast, faster than any other relationship I'd been in. It was during that time that I realized how out of control my emotions really were. I thought I'd "done my work" in communicating better and controlling my emotions, but I was sadly mistaken. I needed help, extra help, outside of prayer and fasting, and talking to my friends. I needed professional help. So I decided to go see a professional counselor, MIND-ALTERING!

I always thought simply praying, fasting, and reading self-help books were all I really needed to get through and be better. I can honestly and say that I fell victim to the taboo idea that "shrinks" were for the "crazy" people and as the church folks would say, "All I need is the great counselor King Jesus!"

But when I tell you, counseling was the best thing that ever happened to me! I felt so liberated. I felt so free, and I was proud of myself! I made a decision to take a bigger step to be a better person and become the healthier Kristin I knew I could be. I was telling EVERYBODY about my counselor and suggesting counseling to anyone who would listen. I had her number on speed dial! And that reminds me, I need to ask her about a referral fee!! LOL

And then it got real. In March of this year, my dad was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, cancer that progresses very rapidly and has a high mortality rate. But God! My dad was diagnosed early and his surgery was successful. He underwent chemotherapy and radiation and experienced mild complications throughout the process, but God! He is currently cancer-free and we bless God everyday he wakes up! MIND-ALTERING!

Through this experience, my faith was challenged, and my mind was stretched. Is there anything too hard for God? I can say without a shadow of a doubt, NO! I witnessed the vows of “through sickness and health” played out in front of my eyes through the commitment and love my mother showed my father. I gained a deeper understanding of marriage and commitment. I realized the time I took for granted with my parents and the increased time in which I needed to spend with them. I realized the true meaning of family and the blessing they truly are.

And what can I say about my dating life. I’m still single, but grateful! I was sharing with my parents last night that I’ve actually gained a new perspective on men. I’ve done my fair share of dating and I’m learning to take in account the male perspective as crazy as that sounds! LOL. I understand them a little better and I appreciate them just a little bit more. I'm grateful for every date and every experience. I'm still growing minute by minute.

I’m content! I’m happy! I’m satisfied!

Thank you for going on this journey with me!!! I pray you’ll continue following me as I expect 2016 to be another MIND-ALTERING year! Husband…..maybe….stay tuned!!!

Be sure to take a sneak peek at my brand new website at , fully launching December 30th! Sign-up for my subscriber list so that you may get all the latest blog and updates!

2016 Here we come!!!

Monday, December 21, 2015

The Friend Code

“How do you know him?” I asked.

I was attending the funeral of a college classmate and ran into one of my ex-boyfriend’s friends. Now
ladies, it didn't help that this was the friend that I was initially attracted to when I first met my then boyfriend. He and his friend, along with some other brothers, were hanging out one night; we met coming out of an evening worship service. I was secretly praying that his friend would step up and ask for my number, but God saw otherwise. I dated my ex-boyfriend for two years and grew tremendously as a person. Needless to say, I actually appreciated God for his choice, but was this a fresh and new opportunity??

I remember him being the friend who didn’t have it all together. He was in between jobs, not necessarily a church goer, and his family responsibilities seemed to be overwhelming and taxing to say the least. My boyfriend at the time was the one encouraging and pushing him to stay involved in church and pushing him toward excellence in his walk with Christ.   

As I left the sanctuary after the funeral, I greeted him and we began to talk.  I was infatuated with the sprinkle of gray hairs that graced his chin and lip so perfectly. Lined to perfection!  He was dressed in a nice black suit and looked amazing! Maybe even better than the first day I met him a few years ago! I was stuck. The Lord knows how to package a gift!

He shared that he was actually the cousin of my classmates wife. Can we say small world...I mean, six degrees of separation? More like two!

Later that evening the family of my classmate decided to have a gathering at a restaurant as the repast. When I arrived to the restaurant I saw him again! This time I was going to wait for him to come to me. As I laughed and joked with my friends, I kept him in the corner of my eye.  He slowly made his way over to me and we chatted again.

He didn’t seem like the same guy from a few years ago, which he shouldn’t have.  I detected an increase in maturity, economic status, and a decrease in the family load. I was intrigued, but conflicted. Is it ok to “talk” to or date your ex’s close friend?

Now, mind you, my ex is happily engaged and getting married in less than 90 days (knowledge courtesy of Facebook).  I honestly don't know the status of he and his friend's current relationship, but I can only assume that they are still tight. They grew up together and I can almost accurately assume that he will definitely be a groomsman in the wedding, if not, one of the best men. Yes, I mapped it all out in my head as we talked! And maybe he did too because he didn't ask for my number, but my mind still wandered...and here’s the question...

Is there a girl/guy code that says you can't date the close friend of your ex, even if your ex has moved on? He's getting married. He seems very happy, and we haven't talked in over a year. I don't want him back and I'm sure he feels the same toward me. We served a purpose in each other's life which wasn't until marriage.

His friend and I are two consenting, mature, single (I am assuming he was), adults, right? But somewhere deep down inside it just doesn't feel right. I flipped it. If one of my friends decided to date someone that I've dated or even liked, I wouldn't be a happy camper. Even if I wasn't interested anymore I felt there was a code, let alone a million other dudes in the world to choose from!

Honestly speaking there would be a slight emotion of jealousy, but it would be more a principle of respect.  A person that you have been intimate with, shared intimate moments with, and know their family in and out, now becomes intimate with your close friend? It's too much! It would be quite awkward and uncomfortable to then have your friend engage in what was once yours.  It's also a matter of boundaries.

I'm reminded of a scene from Love Jones when Nia Long began to date Bill Bellamy after she broke up with Larenz Tate. That awkward moment where he brings her to the party, knowing Larenz was going to be there, wrong on so many levels! Nia knew better and so did Bill.  I am also reminded of an episode of Living Single when Max began to date one of Regine ex-boyfriends. Again, another step out of bounds.

But what was clear to me in each of those situations and in my own as well, is friendship. It really depends on how strong of a friendship you and the person have as well as the communication that takes place. A real friend would know who is off limits. Someone I've dated more than a year and discussed marriage with is not someone I expect my friend to come around and date. But if I have moved on and/or am pursuing another relationship, there is a conversation that can be had and a mutual decision that can be made.

Communication, respect, and boundaries really do make the world go round, and decrease the risk of losing a friendship. At the end of the day, the old saying goes, "bros before H*@s", and I say, "sisters before misters!"

As far as his friend is concerned, I was ok with walking away, but a sister can take a sneak peek every once and awhile! Ain't nothing wrong with that! LOL

Monday, December 14, 2015

Blood on the Pews

“Your tears don’t move me,” she said.

The coldness rang through her voice like a dagger straight through my heart. It was an emotional tag team between anger and hurt. How could she be so cold? How could she be so vile? In that very moment, I realized,  I’d officially experienced my first “church hurt.”

I decided to have a conversation with a woman at my church because I’d felt she’d offended me during a meeting a few weeks before. I found myself holding on to a bit of grudge and had to pray. The more it ate away at me the more I felt the need to talk with her.

I caught her standing by herself after church service one Sunday, and I went for it.  I went in with no expectations and my guard completely down. My heart was beating a million beats a minute. I was vulnerable and nervous, but I simply sought for reconciliation. Because she was an older woman and held a title in the church, I assumed I could walk away with a relationship and maybe even mentorship, but I was sadly mistaken.

Instead of the civil, simple, and productive meeting I thought we would have, her tone and attitude immediately turned to judgment, chastisement, and belittling.  As our conversation progressed, the tears began to fall because I couldn't seem to hold back my frustration, shock, and anger toward some of the things she expressed. And that’s when she said, “your tears don't move me.”  Her words were like bullets killing my spirit and it was obvious there was a deeper issue in which she held against me.  Instead of taking me under her wing to nurture and support me, she was shutting me down and pushing me away. And away is where I wanted to go. Away from her, and absolutely away from the church.  She practically opened the door and pushed me out.  So why even go back?

Now, I've heard numerous stories of people expressing their disdain for the church, particularly because of a hurt they experienced from a church leader. But It had never been my experience before this. I honestly looked at people as being extra sensitive and over exaggerating their emotions, using it as an excuse not come to church or an attempt to tear it down. Was it really that serious? Church people are the same people in the world. We give them way too much credit I would say. But as my grandmother would always say, “just keep living.”

I simply thought it couldn't happen to me. I was stronger than that. As the saying goes, "I could take a licking and keep on ticking." Nothing truly hurt my feelings and absolutely no one person was ever going to make me feel like leaving the church! 

But the truth of the matter remains, I was hurt. I opened myself up to someone I sought wisdom and guidance from and was overwhelmingly and shockingly disappointed. Am I still upset, yes! Does it still hurt, yes! Even as I type, my heart becomes saddened and then angry, but I know I must forgive. It’s essential to my life and where God is taking me.

I’ve certainly realized that we inadvertently hold church leaders, and church people, in general, in such a high regard that we strip them of their humanness. We keep them at such a heavenly place that we make them earthly angels instead of sinful humans trying to make it just like the rest of us.  Now, don't get me wrong, as leaders, and simply as Christians, we have responsibilities and obligations and must be accountable for our actions. I say this, as I was the main one scared to take on the title of “minister” for this very reason, knowing that I would mess up and not be the saint many would assume me to be.

As I talked with my mother, she attempted to bring perspective by saying, “She probably has some really deep issues. You should pray for her.” Pray for who?? The woman that literally told me with a straight face that my tears meant nothing to her. Pray for who?? The woman who is suppose to be a leader and an example to other women to look up to but extended her foot and instead of her hand to keep me down instead of lifting me up? Right. Pray for her. That’s actually quite funny, or is it?

I was emotionally drained and couldn't pray if I tried. Although I’m “seasoned” in the Lord, I was still grieving in my spirit and angry. The next day God began to deal with me. Early in the morning, God urged me to pray for her. Let me tell you, the prayer was quite short; something like, “Lord help her, amen.” But I did it, simply at the urging of God and not my own motivation. I’d sought out other friends to pray for me and even to pray for her as well. I knew where I was and it was seriously going to take a village to heal this hurt.

As I acknowledged my hurt and disappointment to God, He had to remind me that this world is dying! People are dying EVERYDAY. Hurt people hurt people. We must learn to love one another, forgive one another, and understand the spirit of darkness is working overtime to keep the people of God from their destinies and to keep the name of God insignificant.  We must be clear that scripture does say, “For we wrestle NOT against flesh and blood, BUT against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” (Ephesians 6:12).

At this stage in my walk with Christ, I have too much to do, places to go, and people to impact. I'm looking at my future like P. Diddy, “can’t stop, won’t stop!” My battle is not with her, but against the spirits that operate within her and others. I'm clear that my battle is on my knees. It’s not a game out here. The war is not just in our streets, neighborhoods, and foreign countries, but it's in the church as well. And just like our neighborhoods and streets, it doesn't necessarily make them bad places, but it does make them places in which we still need God!

In my best preacher voice: " I'm going to give you these three points and then I will take my seat!" LOL

1) Acknowledge your hurt and speak truth to it.
Only you know how much the person hurt you and how it made you feel. Don't negate your feelings. You must acknowledge them and truly acknowledge why you feel that way. Then you can deal with the root of YOUR issue. Because your hurt is more about you than it is about the other person

2) Talk about it to people who will pray about it
When we're angry and hurt we will talk to anyone who is willing to listen. Even through our hurt we must use wisdom. Seek those who can pray for you, with you, and who will even be willing to pray for your offender. It truly takes a Village.

Forgiveness is a process, but it truly is absolutely for your good! As I walk around giving her the side-eye, I'm missing my blessings and stunting my growth. Set the person free so that you may be free. Know that God has the best revenge and it is in His perfect timing, whether you ever see it manifested or not.

I would love to hear your story of "church hurt". How did you deal? How did you pray? What was the outcome?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Worth The Wait.... (Guest Blog Post)

Nicole Schmidt is a former high school English teacher now Poet, Spoken Word Artist, Vocalist and Editor in the DMV area. She is the author of Inside a Young Soul, a poetry memoir collection about life as a teenager
For more information and pieces by Nicole, aka NASwrites visit

By: Nicole Schmidt

Worth the Wait (Part 1)
No longer waiting to write my life away
Living that dream day by day
Now I'm waiting for the love that will forever stay
Waiting, but working to reach the level of spirituality and maturity
Restoring my confidence and even my purity
So that I can be the help-mate that God intends me to be
As you work on you, I work on me
So that ultimately you and I can become WE
And that is definitely
Worth the Wait

I NEVER thought I'd see the day when I would write a poem like this. I have been blessed to live life in natural succession: high school, undergrad, career, Master's...everything that was "supposed" to happen, did. It wasn't because I come from wealth; it wasn't without work or effort on my part, but it WAS one after the other. With that track record, it was only natural to expect marriage and children...marriage by 25, first child by 28…

I'm definitely turning 30 in less than a month and NO, there is no husband and by the grace of God, no children (I learned years ago that I am not anointed to be a single mother). The irony of it all is that I am GRATEFUL to still be single. I always said my life wouldn't begin until I turned 30...words do have power because it is coming to pass…

Who would've thought that at 29 I would resign from my 7 year high school English teaching career to become an adjunct professor? Who would've thought that at 29 I would have published my first book, though I wrote it all when I was a teenager? Who would've thought that I would take a position in China that starts two months after my 30th birthday? And who would've thought that at 30 is when I finally see the value in waiting?

Waiting for sex? Waiting for love? Waiting for marriage? Waiting for children?

Working toward friendship before relationship...working toward acceptance instead of tolerance...working toward individual wholeness before togetherness…

All things that were foreign to me until now. I was so used to the timetable and instant gratification of previous seasons in my life, that I was missing the point of it all. I finally understand the patience that love produces. It's not the same as "keeping hope alive"; desperation is nowhere to be found. The patience of love is like a the patience of a gardener. When the right seed is planted at the right time and nurtured in the right way, the flower blooms and flourishes. Love requires the same care.

Now all this revelation did not come from within. Through observation and conversation with friends as well as a new friend who's shown me that I AM worth the wait, I have reached a new level of understanding and peace.

But stay says Part 1 for a reason.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

The Kissing Game

“The next guy I kiss will be my husband,” she said.

After I caught my breath and fixed my face I simply gave her that “if you say so” type smile and walked away thinking, “now how is that going to work!?

Although my initial thoughts were “EXTREMIST ALERT”, I had to respect and acknowledge that she was making an “extreme” decision because she was seeking “extreme” results, purity before marriage, which in this culture and society, unfortunately, is seriously considered extreme. It was her way of disciplining herself to maintain what is meant for her husband, not just a kiss, but all of her. But it always starts with a kiss….

Now I must say, I LOVE TO KISS!! Affection is my first, middle, and last name. I crave it. Kissing is intimate and passionate and I could do it ALL DAY! I’d even put it above sex! Literally! If there was an Olympic sport of kissing, I’d train all year and shoot for the gold!

Outside of lover of God, good looks, and intelligence, the brother I date has to be able to kiss. On the first date, while he talks and I listen intently, of course, I imagine whether or not I could kiss him. If there’s a hint of doubt, there’s little to no hope! You call it shallow. I call it risk management!

But I will admit with both hands up, kissing has gotten me into A LOT of trouble. “It” always starts with a kiss, then a touch, then a caress, then a grope, then, well, we know what comes next. It never fails. I remember one boyfriend and I agreed to only kiss in public places to keep from succumbing to our flesh.  Well, that turned into just kissing in the car, which always seemed to lead back to the house, don't ask me how!

It’s been so long since I’ve even had a kiss, a good one! A toe curl, marry him tomorrow type kiss, and probably for good reason! I use to ask God to take away my sexual desire because I just couldn't seem to control myself around a guy I was physically attracted to and dating. I’m such a passionate person in general and the kiss just simply takes me there! So her idea of waiting to kiss her husband, as in on the wedding day, isn't such a bad idea after all!

I can't stress enough how the infamous definition of insanity: “doing the same thing and expecting a different result”, has transformed my entire life, particularly the way I date these days. I WANT TO BE A WIFE, not a wifey, a bae, or a boo thang, but a Proverbs 31, only woman to one man who loves me like Christ loves the church, type wife. And even above that, I want to please God and be an example to others. So choosing to be celibate and waiting until marriage is the sacrifice I am willing to make to glorify God.

It always starts with a kiss.  Could I do it? I cringed even typing it.  Let’s just say I know it to be possible because I’ve heard stories and actually met couples who didn’t kiss until their wedding day. When you ask them their story, they will say it was NOT easy but possible.

The fruit of self-discipline seems to fall far from the tree in this thing called life and dating. It’s a discipline that gets the best of us most of the time, if not all of the time, because we want what we want, when we want it, and absolutely how we want it.  It's the American way, right? And all I keep hearing in my head is, “ And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)

In this dating life, I’ve conformed because transforming just seems too hard. Renewing my mind takes work. And the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God seems uncomfortable and scary! So about that kissing thing again. I did mention it gets me into a lot of trouble, right?  And because I clearly don't have a ring on my finger, my kissing obviously doesn't keep men around to put a ring on it, so why not try something different! Kissing celibacy anyone?

Now before I jump the gun, because it absolutely seems easier said than done, God had me look at it like this: As I prepare myself to be a wife and work on Kristin, I must also work on reserving myself for my husband. Meaning, these are his lips, his kiss, and ultimate his body that I may ultimately share my precious gift with. So, in essence, I’ve been giving his kisses away leaving nothing for the imagination, let alone the sanctity of marriage. So, with that thought in mind, I love Him and him enough to at least give this no kissing thing a strong consideration and attempt. And for clarity, I mean french kissing in particular ( I know some of you were already contemplating, now what type of

At the end of the day, to each his own when it comes to boundaries and self-control in dating. But if you know that your personal boundaries and level of self-control has dwindled down to none when it comes to being celibate, why not try something different. See if the results bring you true happiness and God true glory. Join me on this journey and let’s keep each other accountable!

Are yall praying for me? God is up to something!

Monday, November 23, 2015

The Unavailable Man

“Are you going to get out there and dance?” he asked.

It was a Friday night and I was in the mood to shake my groove thang! Yep, I might be a little old and corny, but hey, it’d been that kind of week. Not a bad week, just long and I needed to let loose and cut a rug on the dance floor. I LOVE to dance!

I hit some of the ladies up to see who’d be interested in hanging out that night. It seemed that everyone was bailing out, but one came through at the last minute and we hit my favorite spot, Half Note Lounge. I have a thing for hanging with the forty and over crowd! They simply just know how to party!

As I was standing at the bar dancing to the sounds of the DJ, a gentleman started dancing with my friend. Not phased at all, I proceeded to let her do her thang while I continued to dance solo. I could only imagine the gentleman standing next to me was simply waiting for the opportunity to ask me to dance, and this was his lucky night! HIs deep voice peaked my interest, and as I turned to check out the rest of the package, I had to look up! That sealed the deal. He was over six feet tall! Score!

One thing about a forty and over club, it's not about the bumping and grinding. We actually faced each other and danced, even a little hand dancing. We sang to each other as the band played hits from the 80s and 90s, challenging each other on who knew the most words and who was too young for the time, which was always me!

As we danced to the sounds of one the baddest bands in the land, Secret Society, he constantly complimented me on my height and smile. As much as I’d been tearing myself down lately, his compliments were doing more than he could imagine. I was on cloud nine, enjoying his presence, all six feet and six inches of it all!

He was a gentleman, keeping his hands above the waist and moving me out of the way as people rushed the dance floor and bumped against us as we danced.  It simply made me feel protected and secure. My friends will tell you I “fall in love in the club” and this dude was winning me over.

As we danced to nearly 5 or 6 six songs, he proceeded to tell me that this was his first time at Half Note and, oh yea, HE’s BEEN SEPARATED FOR A YEAR, aka HE’S STILL MARRIED! I tried to play off my disappointment by continuing to dance. I appreciated his honesty. It was almost too honest, as in, he shares this quite often, maybe to give women a chance to decide how they want to proceed, but, on the other hand, drawing a bit of sympathy and/or an emotional connection. I proceeded with caution and then stopped at the red light.

I’ve fallen for it before. I’ve been that girl. You tell yourself, as they constantly convince you, that the divorce is coming. You try to ignore that there are still vows he must uphold all the while his charm is convincing and his ring is non-existent.  You enjoy spending time with him and he makes it all about you. You even convince yourself that he wasn't happy with her anyway and maybe you can be the better woman for him.  But the fact of the matter is, his legal status is still married.

His compliments boosted my ego and my self-esteem, but he belonged to someone else. Another woman. A woman I don't know and may never meet, but respect none the less. It’s a girl code, integrity, respect, kind of thing, and I was obligated to oblige, but the struggle was real!

Another one of those moments when you look up to God and say, “really??”  Out of all the brothers I danced with and talked to that night, the one that actually peaked my interest and I enjoyed the most had to be married! I keep trying to tell y'all, God is a comedian as a part-time hustle! He never ceases to throw a joke my way!

And because God knows me oh SO well, once we stopped dancing and I went back over to talk to my girls, before I could even think about changing my mind about giving him my number, he was gone! It was almost like a dream, or more like a test and I passed!

These past few weeks have been tough emotionally, and although the singleness cloud was getting a bit gloomy, I wasn't willing to compromise my integrity.  I’m growing and I appreciate God more and more along the way.

Ladies, always check the marital status and be ok with walking away.  Although it's hard out here in these streets for a single woman, the man God has for you will be fully available and completely yours, and that is absolutely worth the wait!

But if I see the brother again, I might just ask if his status has changed at all! Y'all pray my strength in the Lord!!! LOL….it’s a process!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Adventures in the City of LOVE!

“Do you mind taking my picture?” I asked.

As I stood in line, and yes there was an actual line, to take a picture in front of the famous “LOVE” sign in downtown Philadelphia, I smiled to myself.  I did it! I went on my first official “solo-cation” aka solo vacation.

I was initially asked to substitute for a friend for a fashion show in Philadelphia on a Friday night. I’d never been to Philly and took the opportunity to make it a short weekend getaway. It was fantastic! The Friday night show was awesome, and Saturday I was an official tourist of the city!

In a previous blog post, I shared my true sentiments on women going on dates with themselves. Still not a fan, but the concept of spending time with yourself is a must, particularly traveling by yourself!

I booked a hotel in downtown Center City and I was one with Kristin. The room was small but just enough space with a bed and pillow from heaven! I slept like a baby!  I lounged in the bed the next morning, simply taking in the day that I did not have to work, run errands, or hear the demands of other people. It was my day to do exactly what I wanted to do in a city I’d never been in, and I was excited. I googled touristy spots in the area and I embarked on the day!

Now, in traveling by yourself you learn a few things that are essential in this process. It was me and the people of “brotherly love, and sisterly affection.” And they were truly just that! So here are few things I learned and experienced along the way:

1) Embrace the city and culture from a tourist standpoint.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to appreciate travel, not just for the simple getaway, but to also embrace another culture and history.  Many folks simply want to ask the locals and go wherever everyone else from the city goes. That’s fine and dandy, but I’ve learned that most locals don’t even know the history of the place they call home. They couldn't tell you any significant facts about the buildings and statues they pass on an everyday basis, and in a city like Philadelphia, the history is so rich and valuable.

As I made my own tour of significant places I knew about Philly, I decided to hop on the Sightseeing double decker bus and get all I could from Sheniqua! Yes, my tour guide's name was Sheniqua, and she did a fabulous job!  From the Liberty Bell to the 72 steps of the Philadelphia Art museum where Sylvester Stallone ran up in the movie Rocky, the history was overwhelming.  The statues of Benjamin Franklin, the Free Library, and the amazing architecture had me in awe.

2) Always keep your phone/camera charged and bring a selfie stick!

Can I just say that my phone is simply on the bootleg side and doesn’t hold a charge to save its life! Being a solo tourist requires a legitimate phone or camera for frequent picture taking and use of Google maps to locate particular stops.  I missed many memorable pictures because my phone was dying a quick and untimely death. In an attempt to preserve what battery I had left, I experienced a few embarrassing moments as I hustled and maneuvered to locate a plug to charge my phone. The struggle was real!

Attempting to take selfies that were impossible without a stick was frustrating. Every now and again most people were generous enough to take my picture, in particular, this one handsome gentleman with a beautiful smile and a British accent. Once he finished taking my picture, he simply said, “Cheers.” I melted and looked up to God, “I’ll take one of those, please!” I think I heard God say move to Philly. I’ll have to get back to you on that, though! LOL

3) Take your best walking shoes

Although the cab rides weren't expensive, it's nothing like walking the city and encountering the people.  I had the bright idea of walking to the famous Geno’s Cheesesteak spot from downtown Center City.  Google maps said it was a 15-minute walk, but as it recalculated at least 5 times, I realized I had been walking for about 25 minutes. I stopped and asked about 3 different people for directions and finally made it to my destination after another 20-minute walk. After I cooled off from my unintended marathon walk, I really did enjoy the journey. I walked through various neighborhoods and encountered a nice market spot that had live music and unique and eclectic vendors. I was having a ball!

Now my only complaint would be that when I finally made it to Geno’s, I was highly disappointed. As famous as cheesesteaks are known to be in Philly, I was not impressed with my hoagie bread, a slab of steak and a slither of melted cheese. I’m learning touristy doesn't always mean best, but I was put on to two other spots that I will definitely try when I go back! At first you don't succeed, try again at a different spot! LOL

4) Reflect and Celebrate!

At 30 years old, life is great, and yes, even in my singleness!  The fact that I was able to pick up and spend a weekend in Philadelphia by myself was awesome. I didn't have to check in with anyone, well, except for my mother, and that's only because she would have blown my phone up a million times if I didn't answer! I didn't have to run my agenda past anyone, and I was able to do exactly what I wanted to do on my own time. I was in a financial place to afford a nice hotel and splurge on myself a bit around the city. I met great people, acquired a wealth of knowledge and history, and was able to truly relax! In that moment, I simply basked in my singleness.

Would the vacation have been better if I had a significant other to share that time with, possibly.  But what I’ve gathered from my married friends is that it’s best to take advantage of these opportunities now, for they may be few and far between once you have a family and kids. Note taken! So right now I'm just going to LOVE and splurge on me! I’ll be planning a few more mini vacations in the near future. Look out world, Kristin is about to come through! I'm thinking Boston is next, before the the blizzards take over!