Now I was born and raised in Philadelphia and if you were to ask me which hood I rep with no hesitation you'll hear me say West Philly.! In my 31 years I would have to say since than I have lived in almost every hood of P from west P, the bottom, southwest, to northeast P , and I could be bias but P is really a cool place to live and experience we have so much history ,culture, and swag. So, I know some out of towners are probably reading this and saying to themselves what makes you think P is so dope; well I'm glad you asked because I'm break it down to you right now. I'm from the city that was voted to have one of the sexist accents around bringing you the famous words , young and the phrase “ why you always ”!; they say Memorial Day is the unofficial sign that summer has started but when you're in P you know that summer has started when those boys bring the bikes out. I'm from the city where they show brotherly love and sisterly affection by asking” you good?” although that question could mean a variety of things, but you be from P to understand that. I'm from the city where on a hot summer day nothing is better than a “ ice” and cheese pretzel; and all out of the out of
towners know where's the best cheesesteak spot. If you happen to ride septa don’t be alarmed if you hear a passenger take his or her frustration out on the bus driver after the driver missed their stop and, yell BACK DOOR DICKHEAD! Don’t worry it's all love. Now if any of these reasons haven't explained why P is dope than you pocket and I can't help nut ass any more.
If I couldn’t convince you that Philly is one of the cities around than I have the right person that will make you look at Philadelphia in ways you never thought possible and yes that goes for the native Philadelphians we could also learn some new things about our city. Let me introduce you to Chrissy the owner of Philly Experiences; Chrissy has so much love and appreciation for her hometown that she went on to curated a business that explores all the things P has to offer. Her catch phrase “Are you don being a tourist yet” is so self-explanatory; yes, you over there are done being a tourist, yes, the liberty bell and the rocky steps are all great but we have much more to offer. Come hang with the locals come “experience our hoods”. Chrissy has so many layers that we peeled back in this interview and I'm pretty sure we didn’t get to the core of everything she has to offer; from her successful business to her selflessness in her personal life. Now let's take this ride on EL with Chrissy to see some of P best Murals and Maybe get a story on Morals while we ride, make a stop at the bar with the best Cheesesteaks& Trap Music, along the way lets a have a fun whimsical photoshoot shot by the one and only Chrissy, you say you want to have a chill night in the house Chrissy has you covered with an X -rated game night and if you have some to get off your chest go ahead and W(h) with Chrissy support group. As you can see Chrissy is the ultimate PHILLY JAWN so let's get into this interview.
clink the links below to Find Philly Experiences.
DiaryofABlackMom: So first I wanna start off by saying thank you for allowing me to even interview you; I'm still new at this and I really appreciate the opportunity.
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): Same, this is my first interview and I'm nervous.
DiaryofABlackMom: Don’t be! So, I'm happy to be able to interview a fellow Philly native and business woman; Chrissy could you give me and the readers a synopsis of who Chrissy is.
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): I'm a human being, Black, healing, and dope. I grew up in North Philly in a large household that struggled with a lot of issues and traumas but still managed to provide us with good memories. My healing journey led me to me, my purpose, motherhood, and every business I owned. I live and love with no regrets.
DiaryofABlackMom: I love that “a human being, black, and dope.”
DiaryofABlackMom: So, you just mentioned that your healing journey led to your purpose which is motherhood, which brings me to my next question. So, I read that you have found so much purpose in being a bonus mother and that you even adopted your cousin years ago. What led to your decision of stepping up to a huge responsibility like that at such a young age?
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): I love this question! Simple answer, I refuse to let her go into foster care because of the negative things that I heard about it by the age of 21. She was already in my mom's household being raised as my little sister since her parents, my uncle and his girlfriend never came back for her. We had a fire in West Philly after only living in that home for less than 6 months. After experiencing that with my two older sisters, little brother, mom and now my daughter I was the first to establish stable housing; living in a scary shelter motivates you. Everyone in my family ended up squeezing in my little two bedroom apartment near 26th Girard until they got a house of their own, it wasn’t really that big of an adjustment to my life due to the familiarity and help of family so I was glad to keep her even after they moved.
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): oh, and although I can't recall his name right now the angel that made the process of kinship care and adoption easy was my landlord who lived downstairs with his wife and children. He was a social worker!
DiaryofABlackMom: He was your blessing in disguise; we always need people like that. I can only imagine how that experience must of felt like; losing your home and having to start all over again. Do you think steeping up like that helped you to mature when it came to all the facets of your life?
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): Not really much more mature than I already was but definitely accountable. I have always been the mature one out of my friends and cousins; older people constantly spoke of my “old soul” which I had no clue what that meant until I was much older. I never had my own place, bills, (except my cell phone) or another person who I had to feed, clothe, and love every day.
DiaryofABlackMom: Old soul that’s something my nana says all the time or something like you been here before; you were wise for your age.
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): Yes, and I feel like I have sometimes!
DiaryofABlackMom: So, did this lead you to working with foster children , and being a bonus mother. How did that opportunity present itself?
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): Before I even had the opportunity to adopt my daughter, I wanted to be a foster parent. It was just something that spoke to me; I always felt like there are so many kids especially black babies who need a loving yet logical and reliable adult to provide them with a stable home. If I never had children of my own it wouldn’t have kept me from being a parent.
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): I feel you; I feel like a lot of black children aren't given the same opportunities to have a loving family. I would like to see more black babies be adopted by more black families; be loved by people they can relate to, people that know the black experience. Do you think mothering your biological children differ from mothering your bonus children?
DiaryofABlackMom: Okay, btw I love that the term “bonus” is being used more often.
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): Me too!
DiaryofABlackMom: So now let's move on to your other babies! Your businesses Philly Experiences; you use the catch phrase “are you done being a tourist yet” What's your meaning behind that?
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): That catch (phrase) simply means going beyond tourist traps. Are you ready to step outside of the comfort zone of what Philly or any destination you visit; it's time for a different perspective.
DiaryofABlackMom: That caught my eye because I'm from Philly born and raised and I sometimes still feel like a tourist in my own city; because half of the time I'm like where's that at?, I never heard of that or idk how to get there.
So, let's get into one of the experiences that comes with Philly Experiences, and that's your Morals and Murals Hood tour. So, Philly is known for its 4000 murals; I believe we have the most in any city and that the program started in 1984 to eradicate graffiti. So, can you give a small description of the tour? Also, what are reactions to some of the murals, and what's the morals aspect of the tour?
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): Right, change is constantly happening in our backyard; We should explore our hometown again, I just started preaching it. My Morals+ Murals: Tales from Our Hood Experience speak to my purpose. The goal of this experience is to tell my personal story of surviving Philly while highlighting the beauty of the “hood”. We influenced society since the idea of it yet we have yet to receive our flowers while we can appreciate them. This current hood tour meets at Dilworth Park in front of City Hall; we then use Septa intentionally to see the city like a local. We visit West Philly, travel through North Philly, and end up in Kensington. The reactions are emotional for both the morals of the stories told by me and if we’re lucky strangers on the street or Septa, and the dozen or so beautiful murals we experience together.
DiaryofABlackMom: Philly is a beautiful place especially when it’s highlighted the right way with all the history we have. I can see why some parts can be emotional for some; even being from here seeing some areas can have you thinking like there has to be more that can be done.
DiaryofABlackMom: Next on your tourist experience would be your Cheesesteak & Trap Music Bar Crawl. When people come to Philly the first thing a lot of them want is that famous Philly Cheesesteak, and who doesn’t love a good bar with good vibes and a dope DJ. Can you tell us more about this tour?
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): Cheesesteak and Trap Music Bar Crawl Experience is a fan favorite! Philly is more than what travel bloggers highlight in their blogs or vlogs. This experience caters to the curious travelers who want to party like a local in the “hood.” The idea started when I traveled as an adult and wanted to hang out with people who worked at the hotel more than the people visiting like myself. It dawned on me that someone visiting Philly probably wanted the same. I partied in this city for 10+ years religiously on the weekends with friends and then eventually by myself. I have never been in one establishment that I felt unsafe as a single female. My guest love every moment of the night because its curated with them in mind; they get access to an amazingly delicious cheesesteak that’s far better than what's offered in South Philly plus so many Soul food and Seafood choices to please not only their musical taste with Trap music being the theme of the nigh but their taste buds. Oh, the memories!
DiaryofABlackMom: That sounds like so much fun; it's so much fun to party like the local because they know all the best spots.. I never like cheesesteaks and people always say but you’re from Philly tho; with that being said I always heard that people (tourist) always go to the places in South Philly for a cheesesteak, but they're far from the best, and that places like Max’s have the best. Would you agree?
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): Food is a personal preference and there's a reason those places are open. I think my purpose for my entire business is to offer more options than what’s currently given;This city like most is eclectic and full of so much variety. It feels like a disservice to visitors to not give them all the choices and allow them to decide where to spend their money. The added and one of the most important benefit to Philly Experiences is it intentionally bring tourist dollars to local black owned or operated businesses.
DiaryofABlackMom: That’s always uplifting when you can run your own business but at the same time help support other small and black owned businesses.
DiaryofABlackMom: Ok now we have been on the beautiful tour of Morals and Murals, and we have gotten our entire lives on the Cheesesteak and Trap Music Tour. Now you're also a professional photographer and you capture amazing pictures. What made you get into photography and does it tie into the Philadelphia Experience?
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): Before Philly Experiences my first career love is photography. I attended the Art Institute of Philly; before the fire and homelessness with hopes of a degree in photography, but life didn’t pan out that way. I felt like I had no choice but to drop out to survive. The year after the fire around 2006, photography was still on my heart so I made the huge decision to buy my first Canon. I was scared, didn’t feel secure in what I learned in school but after a two-hour debate in the store with the salesman (bless his patience lol) I bought a $1500 camera. Almost 15 years later photography has grown from fashion to events to weddings. I love and still shoot them all! Philly Experiences includes photography because life does; we capture moments all the time.
DiaryofABlackMom: I love pictures I think it's important to capture meaningful moments. Sometimes obstacles get in the way of a dream but if you're really passionate about it that dream will come full circle for you. I'm happy you were able to fall back in love with your passion.
DiaryofABlackMom: What's great about your businesses is that you have something for everyone and some people they still like to have fun but in the comfort of their own homes. So, you curated the perfect solution for that with your X-Rated Game Nights. I like to play a god game but when it comes to my family, we don’t follow rules and most times we don’t know how to play the game properly; so, I think having someone there to facilitate the activities is a great idea. Can you elaborate more on this part of your business?
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): Great question! X Rated Game Night Experience came to mind due to the lack of positive and inclusive conversations around a topic we were often raised to shy away from and that’s sex in all forms. Games are common fun activities for bonding so I combined the two for a really dope safe space to connect with “strangers.”
DiaryofABlackMom: Sex is sort of a taboo topic because for myself I shy away from it; sometimes I even get uncomfortable talking about it with my own sisters so having it in a game form makes it more relaxed and chill.... especially when there's a few drinks and good snacks involved lol.
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): Exactly! You are the perfect guest I want and attract. I use to be you; sexual liberation is our right. Our sexual fantasies and appetite are normal + our needs need to be explored; the drinks and snacks are a bonus for sure but I've hosted sober too.
DiaryofABlackMom: It would definitely get me out of my comfort zone; it could possibly help with relationships to allow couples to open up and share their likes and dislikes.
DiaryofABlackMom: Women can do it all; run households and be beast in our careers. You have so many babies literally and figuratively and correct me if I'm wrong but you just added a new baby to your business which is your women's support group named. “Gurrrlll W(H)INE.” this support group is described so beautifully with the simple quote “we aren't strangers just friends who haven't met yet.” why was it important to start this support group?
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): Surprisingly the experiences we have already discussed isn't even half of what's available or what's coming; I just want to master them first. But yes, on top of everything coming, bonding and genuine friendship is the core of my existence. I struggled with separating friends, foes and people who just fulfill the fun of party buddies. After much needed ending of friendships, mourning those losses, therapy and realizing my faults it felt like time to try again. It's been more than I can imagine; the best part is that it only cost you your time, that I do not take for granted.
DiaryofABlackMom: True genuine friendships are hard to come by and sometimes you out grow friends and most times maybe they weren't really your friends to begin with. But I like that you're starting a non judgment zone where women can really build friendships; social media has become really powerful because I've met a few good friends through social media that I would have never gotten a chance to build friendships with if it wasn’t for this platform.
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): Yup, I hope that you can join us one day soon! All are welcome it's just not for local women anymore; our besties are out there, everywhere looking for us.
DiaryofABlackMom: Exactly! I love making new friends.
DiaryofABlackMom: Now as we wrap up this interview could you tell us what your “hood” (Philly) means to you? What would you tell tourist or even the locals?
DiaryofABlackMom: Also let everyone know how we can connect with you.
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): The hoods or ghettos across the globe needs more recognition; our perseverance, skillset, labor.,And talent that has contributed to society since the beginning of time and the tables we are building for our future. Poverty is everywhere not just a black American thing; Philly Experiences is bigger than Philly it’s a movement needed everywhere. Tourist, newbies in a city and locals should demand more diversity in all areas of tourism including food, culture, activities, and Entertainment.
PhillyExperiences(Chrissy): You can find me on IG @PhillyExperiences and PhillyExperiences.com launching 6/1/2020.
DiaryofABlackMom: Thank you so much! Chrissy and I can't wait to use your Experiences in the very near future.
clink the links below to Find Philly Experiences.