Deadass Podcast Live In Philly

You should know the Ellis’ by now which are the dynamic duo and husband and wife team; Devale and Khadeen!! They are social media royalty and they came and blessed the stage at Underground Arts!!

So let me have a fan moment real quick and then we will get down to the show. I can’t tell you how long I’ve been following them. It’s been a minute! I’ve loved their vibes from the gate. The “millennial married” couple tackles it all from parenting their “3 whole boys,” social media networking, acting, and life. The Ellis’ have kept it real along the way!! They haven’t been shy about staying true and yet staying relevant and visible. I personally just love their attempt at balance. I say attempt because every last one of us has moments of ups and down when it comes to balancing.

Shout out to Brandon who assisted me to getting into the show. Brandon and the Ellis’ go back to college of which when I saw them the love was so amazing. So back to my fan girl moment. You know I love them both but as a woman I connect with Khadeem. It could be the fact that I had to take a huge back seat if you will to career and personal development to birth and take care of my 3 kids. So seeing Khadeen killing it mind, body and soul I just wanted to connect. I got my chance!

Are the Vibes just as consistent as they are online?

Absolutely yes! Both Devale and Khadeen are who they are online, offline. Going back stage and having that moment to introduce myself was everything. Like butterflies and glitter I was in a zone. I try my best not to get all goofy like with folks. In case you’re wondering no I didn’t act weird. Khadeen and Devale are crazy funny but the most humble couple you will meet. They greeted me with absolute love.

Deadass Podcast

Have you heard or listened to their podcast? No? You’re missing out. The Philly show was the first of the live series. They wanted to do a boy meets girl type of show where they bring an available man on stage and connect him with an available woman but there were NO single men. Like none! Like grab some binoculars none! Men I know you read this blog because you send me questions and if there is ever an event; go women are always there! They elected to talk about their life as well as take questions from audience members.

I love raw advice on real life issues. They didn’t hold back. They answered one question regarding getting the spark back in the bedroom! And it was spot on. Both individuals have to do their part not rely on one partner to pull the load. So that means go and explore a lot until you get that green light.

They talked about goals and working hard. The Ellis’s have built their brand on hard work and creativity. It wasn’t an overnight success. They spoke on how in the beginning they couldn’t get signed to a deal because they lacked drama. You know how that works, the more drama and filth you have the more profitable you become. Blame it in social media, reality television, but the real blame is on us as a consumer that green lights the mess!! I’m glad to see that the Ellisses definitely stayed the course.

But don’t think it wasn’t fun. I laughed from the time I came in until I left. And of course Devale has Khadeen did her iconic drop! You know I was here for it! Oh I was in the front and let me say that they treated everyone well no matter where you were. Apparently there wasn’t a clear time for the meet and greet that took place earlier so they accommodated those who had the meet and greet tickets after the show. That’s love! Most people would have did their show and left! Class act!!

To see some of my clips go to my Instagram! To find Devale and Khadeen go to their pages by clicking on their highlighted names! There you will be introduced to their antics, love, their family and support system! I need me a Mimi!! Trust me it’s the best thing you didn’t know you needed to see.

Do you notice Devale? You should he plays Zac on the hit BET show Sisters! Catch him every Wednesday 10/9c. Follow the Ellises on their YouTube channel! Here’s their latest vlog! Of course listen to their podcast; Deadass with Khadeen and Devale!!

Shout out to Underground Arts for being accommodating me. Also let me say the way they executed the night it was one of the best and smoothest nights out. Y’all definitely know how to host an event! To see their upcoming shows; go here!

Thank you Devale and Khadeen for a magical night! It makes me want to work harder in this blog world. You reiterate that working hard and believing in yourself is worth the late nights and balance with my family. Thank you Brandon for making my whole month! As I’m ending my Blogiversary I would have never been okay with asking for anything. You are a jewel not only for this but outside of this opportunity! Thank you Underground Arts for everything.

Blogher Biz 2019 LA

So much energy, truth, and business leveling up took place. As you know I attended the Blogher Biz LA experience and it was just that a worthy experience. I’m not a conference person. This means I don’t go from conference to conferences if I don’t feel like it’s going to benefit me to some degree.

How you start is How you Finish…

Who are you? Erica Williams Simon started the morning helping us reframe this answer. Are we what we do? Who are we? I was moved. I know she was talking to me. To have someone call you and your insecurities out was refreshing. It was at that moment I knew let me dig in! I wasn’t leaving with just a good time. I was leaving healed in some places and with a strategy to make it happen!

Why Blogher Biz?

The Blogher Biz conference was an intimate conference full of bloggers and influencers who are ready to level up. Everyone wants to level up now thanks to Ciara right?! Wrong. There’s a lot of folks who want to level up but don’t do the work and aren’t coachable. The women at Blogher came in with a purpose to level up and I believe it will happen!

What is leveling up with Blogher Biz?

This comes in the form of learning about SEO. If you’re a blogger and haven’t heard SEO than you need to take a step back. Having your blog go to the top of the search board is important. Leaving how to add more headers, have quality pictures, and making your blog more streamlined is important!

Oh and if you need a free plugin that I love use Ink! They are not sponsored by Blogher but I use them and they are great and works with WordPress and easy to use!! They help with SEO!!

Getting the Coins

Blogging can be for a number of reasons. You have me when I first began it was a great hobby and outlet. For some like myself we realize that we can create amazing content and turn it into a full budding business. You need coins to do so. We learned the art of negotiating. How to ask for what we what and not leave money on the table!

We also heard from an amazing panel of financial gurus. The notion that we can’t enjoy our lattes, save and make upward mobility and have the money we need was broken!

From left to right: Nicole Lapin, Sherita Janielle, and Dee McLaughlin; sponsored by Capital Group

Save me Complex

One of the best thing I loved was that the Blogher Biz was located at The Riverter LA. One of the first things you see in the beautiful creative space is this:

There’s no save me complex. Women have always been saving themselves the rest of the world is just catching on. With that in mind I loved Kate Somerville! Kate built her skincare line by the notion of saving herself. She took an idea; didn’t have a lot of capital and went to friends and family to help. Here’s the kicker…she came with a plan. She had it written her what, how, and when. She not only paid everyone back she did it earlier than she originally stated. None of that borrowing and dodging.

Justine Goodman and Kate Somerville

Women investing in other Women

I had no idea about women investing in other women was a thing until I started coming to the Blogher conferences this year. I was delighted to learn from Jesse Draper. Jesse is a venture capitalist of Halogen Ventures. She recalls seeing women owned businesses asking for way less than men would. Men have zero issues knowing what they want and asking and most times receiving it. We as women have to know what it takes. Jesse said the things that stick out to her is someone who knows what they want and is willing to challenge her.

Jesse Draper and Audrey Cleo Yap

Influece Unplugged

A lot of folks don’t want to hear it but sometimes you have to accept free merchandise before you can ask for a rate. It’s not totally unheard of. Once you get to a certain place it’s perfectly fine to know your rate and ask for it. Companies will negotiate with you. Have and make an investment into a great attorney to go over your contracts! Ask questions and know what you are doing and what is expected of you.

Pictured; Pia Baroncini, Lauren Perinchief, and Jennifer Powell

Let me say that Blogher always and I mean always gives the best treats both during and as take home by the wonderful sponsors!

Boost Friends

Hi Boost Friends! We all need Boost Friends! Thanks to Kwanza Jones curator, creator, and investor of IamSupercharged had us on our feet after lunch helping us resift our energy! Making sure we understand how we need people in our lives bringing positive vibes into our lives!!

Tika Sumpter and Karin Gist

We all should be familiar with the show Mixedish! This show follows a mixed couple and their family and the challenges that even in 2019 are prevalent when dealing with race and identity. Tika and Karin shared their passions on how they climbed and still climb in their professions!

One thing about Tika I didn’t know what she was set to go to college and unable to pay her bill she got a waitress job and found acting. Hearing her say that she was someone who wasn’t supposed to be where she was resonated with me. Sometimes life will carry us into our purpose!

Karin has to follow passion even after passion had lead her into some amazing circles! Knowing that success will be defined by you and not by others!

The Future is Female Founded

We learned that sometimes having a degree in finances isn’t always necessary. Shout out to those who do go to school because we need people on the front line too! Google should be your friend. No need to be in this world not asking questions and finding out what you need to make your business pop. Learning to take a chance on yourself is necessary!!! These ladies came with the goods. My notes section of my phone is dedicated to Blogher at this point! I needed my notes to be in retime!

Nicole Lapin, Christina Stembel, Sashee Chandran, AmyAnn Caldwell, Maggie Q

Molly Sims

We know Molly as a model, actress, and philanthropist, but Molly is a super hero to me. More than just the nostalgia of seeing her I resonated with the fact that she’s married and has kids and still killing it! I struggle since often times creatives are younger and younger and often times I’m the mom of the group! However mom or not Molly let it be known being relevant is in how you carry yourself! She’s a force and she encouraged us to take projects that speak to us! Go over contracts and have a plan!

Krista Smith and Molly Sims

I learned sooooo much! I made amazing connections!

Me pictured with Mschurchdress; give her a follow she’s amazing and stunning look at this beauty

Here are my tools for going to a conference like Blogher:

  • Get close-sitting in the back should be because you needed to for things like frequent bathroom breaks or you were late (always better late than not coming)
  • Get social (I connected with more than 30 people)
  • Take great notes (you ain’t come for nothing)
  • Use social media at the same time-this is a learned skill. It didn’t take away from me getting the information-you will be surprised of who notices!!! Trust me!
  • Don’t waste your time-go with intention

Realize when you’re in a Blogher conference the best thing is to smile and speak. I have yet to have a bad encounter with anyone including the organizers who I know by name at this point because I make it my business to make sure I’m seen!

LA owes me nothing. I had a great weekend and though I’m jet lagged at least I’m inspired! I stayed at the Holiday Inn which I will review them separately! Amazing time though and great service!

I also had a great time seeing my family while there! Can you look at this amazing sushi from Rok Sushi Kitchen!!

Here are a few goodies:

Mochi icecream by Bubbies

Amazing flavors and they had the best display! I need like a case for the holidays!!

These by Smart Sweets take my candy craving to a great high! I’m still learning about vegan options that taste great! This brand has ALL my favorites. I’ll be ordering soon!!

What I’m currently reading…

Thanks Nicole Lapin for my autographed copy!!! I’ll be gifting one to one lucky reader soon stay tuned!!

Blogher will always have my support for always supporting women!

Blogiversary Year 5

This entire month we are going to celebrate my Blogiversary! 5 years ago what started out as something to do has turned into a whole experience! I had a vision and that vision has shifted through the years but it hasn’t stopped!

When I first began it was just about doing it for the love of writing and more of a hobby. Now I blog full time while managing life be that from work, my family, and responsibilities. I’m projected to be full time blogger alone by 2020. That’s a huge ordeal for me and what I work towards daily. A lot of people see the finished project but have no idea the amount of time and dedication it takes. I am up all hours of my day and definitely at night editing and arranging content. When I first began I blogged in real time. I had no concept of editing and setting my blogs to release at certain days and times like I do now.

I have learned a lot from being consistent, dedication, and obtaining mentors along the way. It takes a village to go from to a once a week blogger to giving daily content! As ToiTimeblog has evolved and is evolving into a brand I am in awe. I treat every event I attend with the same dedication as the first. I do not take anything for granted. Every sponsored post, brand post, or hosted post are near and dear to my heart. I enjoy what I do and I know it has to come off in my posts! Any future ads that I do have to be a product that I have used or use currently that I stand behind. That’s the beauty of choice! I made the choices and call the shots on what I believe in. I’ve had some brands I’ve had to turn down! It’s apart of how this works!

I have to say that my followers and readers make it special. I recently went to an event where someone asked if it was okay to talk to me. I don’t care where I go and how ToiTime evolves I’m a small town girl in a big city and as long as you can deal with my quirkiness l’m just a normal young lady. For every woman I’ve interviewed as it’s my desire to make sure I uplift women even when negative decision making has taken place; I stand for us! I want to see us win every single time! I want to see us go from the bottom and rise to the top! I started out as a stay at home mom and have worked my way to a beautiful life of independence and I’m thriving. When I was told my kids were too young for me to do what I do I kept going. Now on kid appropriate blog adventures they go along. I want them to see how I move and for them to do the same in their own way! The way I carry myself now is completely different from the beginning because I have purpose. With that purpose I’ve gotten further in this blogging life than I could have imagined.

The amount of push back that comes from behind the scenes has made me stronger! It has also developed a new sense of advice for new bloggers:

  • Never work for numbers alone! I have walked in arenas that my dedication has opened doors quicker than my social media numbers have
  • Have a blog plan in place especially when dealing with brands. If I attend an event unless the client gives me a certain deadline I’m infamous for my less 24 hour turn around time
  • Don’t overbook events unless you can handle it. I get told I see you everywhere and it’s true but I go in fresh no matter what. Put space between events if you can to decompress
  • Know your audience and know your brand. Even if it’s a sponsored event or trip know the audience
  • Have a tight turn around time
  • Know the movers and shakers in the room. Don’t be shy networking is apart of this game
  • Be on time. Don’t come to events purposely late. If you can make your way to the front it will keep your focus and help smash anxiety
  • If you work with a PR get to know them and always be yourself. This has been a godsend for me. The one time I was super sick and the PR wanted to know what was up. Don’t lie be honest but always remain yourself
  • Blog what is natural for you. Do not try to mimic another blogger.
  • Your gift will make room for you. What others are doing with their blogs isn’t your business. Do what’s best for you at all times
  • Be professional even when you’re getting criticism. I attended an event and was told I didn’t look up to par. Instead of an attitude I took the advice and it’s help me to always represent my brand even when I’m not at an event

Now let me give you even more advice!! The best advice I can give: your blog is your vision and you can’t expect friends or family to have the same level of vision that you do. I see this from entrepreneurs all the time calling out their squad for not in the blogging world, reposting their blogs. You got to get thick skin. I am aligned with a lot of products, brands, and companies and I ask myself daily; am I promoting myself just as hard? People are fickle like water! You can’t expect them to help you brand years down the road! It’s not their vision. Take moments and time out to resonate within yourself daily, monthly, and yearly that your blog will look differently!

If you have a free domain when you start set a plan to pay for it the following year. You should be investing in your blog and brand consistently! I purchase new lighting, soon a new camera, upgraded my site, go on conferences, etc. because Toitime is worth it! You have to do the same! One thing we won’t change is unlike other blogs who only focus on pretty pics we will remain a staple to keep talking about life as it’s happening. No pretty picture will ever take from that. There’s a single mom who is at her wits end, a divorced woman who needs encouragement, or even a father trying to do his best! We are here for the everyday struggles.

Thank you to my support team. I am moving daily because I have support! Thank you to Aversa PR for seeing me and rocking with me! Thank you to my blogging friends who we collaborate with and engage in this world together without competing with one another. I love seeing them grow and glow and they do the same with me! Special thank you to Phillyfoodgal you have been a godsend. To my friends who don’t hesitate to be there for me-thanks! Thank you to TCP! I’ve been with you through name changes and rebranding but it’s been love all the way through!

To my husband and kids who have to deal with my fluctuating schedule-I love you! You make it easy for me to do what I love!

To my followers thank you! Every year I upbrand and this year is no different! You will be seeing changes to the blog at the beginning of 2020! I have more brands that I’ve secured and with that comes growth.

During this month of the Blogiversary follow me on Instagram! We have prizes and sponsored gifts coming to you for rocking it out with me. The only way to win is to follow me and the brand on Instagram. Let’s have some fun!! This month is going to be an amazing celebration!!!! Year 5 we about to do this!!

Blogher Part 2 (Day 19 Self Care Challenge)

So by now you should have read Part 1 of the Blogher conference but in case you hadn’t you can read it here!  I was determined to be more involved for today’s activities. I think one of the issues when you travel alone to conferences or trips etc. is the inability to have someone to vibe with or the ability to have someone to help you get the perfect shot.

I knew that today was the las day and there was no way I was going to allow myself to have spent the money it took to pull this trip off and not get what I came for. I decided to make my rounds to any brand I had not had the opportunity to see the day before. My first stop was to Ninja Foodi. They are your go to brand for all things kitchen appliances. I am talking about in home grills and pressure cookers etc. They had one stop shop appliances that I need to add to my Christmas list. Theses appliances can do multiple things to make your life move with much ease.

My next stop was to visit with Adorama and they provided me with my first headshot. I have already updated all of my pages to reflect the new picture as I always make sure that all of my pages are aligned.  The care that they took to give me not just one but many shots.  I will release more later but for now, here is the shot with the Canon Mark IV that I loved the most.  I also am in the market for a new camera and the reps were A1 with suggestions that will help me bring better quality pictures to my blog.  I hope to purchase and start shooting before the end of the year.

Now the day started off extremely cold. I was wondering if it would heat it. It finally did. Look at this view:

I decided to go back to the Almost Family booth and take a picture with today’s outfit too. Why not?  I had packed multiple options right? Oh and Almost Family starts October 2 on Fox and follows a group of women who discover they are sisters and the ups and downs that comes from that discovery. Check them out!

The speakers were amazing.  We heard from women from all walks of life. Let me hit you with some of the info I learned. I  learned how to watch some of my social media stats. I thought I knew but I learned a little more to find out what my audience wants to see on the very platform that I use. I also learned how to read my status so that I can see that I am actually doing much better than I thought. I think to be honest I had been only worrying about Instagram that I wasn’t seeing my success in other platforms. I also learned that companies look for the full picture and not necessarily on just Instagram.  This was news to me. By the way this gave me the courage to start my media kit. I do not know how I hadn’t had one all this time. It was on my goal list to start in year 5 which starts in November. However I reached out to my graphic designer plug and right there emailed him my stats, logo (that I created during Blogher), new headshot and other items to have it by next week.  No  more sitting on the side lines. I have decided to reach out to my fellow blogger friends and make my dreams a reality. No  more waiting until..

Oh and I found a new brand that I love for pizza, pizza crusts and chicken tenders. I’m talking about Caulipower.  The CEO, Gail Becker told her story of having sons who had celiac disease and she was “waiting” for a company to produce foods that were safe for them to eat. She then created it herself after making her own cauliflower pizza and seeing how time consuming it was. She knew that others would have that love and need and guess what?  She was right. I plan to not only use my coupon for a free product but to purchase more.  You know the cure for more female businesses?  Support and purchase the products that female businesses owners produce. Its that simple.

Caulipower also hosted an amazing on stage pitch contest. I loved seeing these powerful women compete to have their product picked.  I learned a lot about each one. I pray they continue in their business endeavors. Its not easy to get up on stage and bear your soul and hope someone can see your heart and your product like you do.

Shout out to Constant Contact who not only provided an amazing photo below but allowed me to make a new logo and a new back to showcase that logo. I plan to have that bag with me as I go to my blogging events. Also they provide so many amazing services that can help you strategize if you are seasoned or starting out day one. I highly recommend them for starting websites, etc. They do an amazing job. I already had a log in issue and they have the best customer service reps who took me one on one and got me altogether.

One of the best parts was seeing young people start the journey to inspiration early. I was happy to see J. Marcelle Lashley-Kabore who is the curator of the Global Goddess Experience with Girls with Knowledge.  I loved that she is the champion of change for young ladies who mirror my oldest. As a mom I know that my girls will see me as a great resource for them but its nice to know there are others that can mirror what its like to honor yourself, go after your dreams, and be unapologetic about it.

Keep in mind that there were other speakers and I will release the lessons that I learned from them over time. I enjoyed Diane Guerrero, actress and advocate for all things feminism. I loved how she pushed us to not settle and not go after things because of our own hang-ups. One thing she said stuck out to me was why not me? No one can do what I can do well.  I can take a chance on me.  Also I saw her afterwards and she was truly gracious!

I cant put into words the fire that was lit. I didn’t want to come home and change things in how I was doing as much as I wanted to add new tools to what I do.

At the end they announced several prizes.  Me being me just thought well the prizes would just be an overflow but…….. I won the grand prize. 2 tickets to LA, a new bag by Away bags, and spending money. (Don’t even ask I still aint got not money to lend) I am so stocked. I will be doing an unboxing of my new suitcase. You have to see the trinkets and the capabilities. Trust me you are gonna want this as your number one go to travel bag!

Thank you Blogher for an amazing time. I made great contact with several brands and I cant wait to see what leads to. Thank you to my amazing readers.  This girl glowing and growing and being a boss doing it.

Thank you to Emma Lovewell who showed us how to have a good day all day and on purpose. How to set our intentions first thing and how to do for self first thing before we pour out to others!

Blogher 2019 (Day 18 September Self Care Challenge)

Okay so I’ve been talking and talking about the conference and here we go! So I drove to New York on Wednesday September 18th! I was a little nervous because the last time I went to New York I took a Mega Bus. It was easy on the Mega Bus. Anywho since I didn’t really know how long it would take me to be done on Thursday of the conference I elected to drive.

Traffic wasn’t an issue not even when I got closer to New York. It was congested but no different than Philadelphia. I only had to slam on my brakes once! So for me that was a win. I checked into Pod Brooklyn and the process was seemingly easy. They had rooms available so I didn’t have to wait and I wasn’t charged an early check in fee. See my full review here! FYI the below recap is simply a recap there were so many speakers and panels! Trust me if you are thinking about going next year please do and make sure you bring pen and paper, use your notes function in your phone like I did or bring your laptop which many did!

After checking in I was going to wear what I traveled in since it started at around 2 and it was really like a meet and greet day. However I decided against it and changed! Hunger had set in since the only thing I had that morning was coffee and a pumpkin bagel! Thankfully Pod Brooklyn has a restaurant: Clinton Hall New York! The food was great. I had a veggie burger and fries and some red wine. I knew that since I had parked my car I wasn’t about to move it. I would be in an Uber for the duration of my stay! So I definitely had room to wine!!

As soon as you walk in and get checked in they have your swag bag ready! Listen these bags had amazing products! All of the products represented were amazing. I had to dump all of the items into a bigger bag to pack it day one!

I loved the fact that Fuji Film was present to take amazing pictures of us! I really have to get my hand on their new Instax mini lilplay! It prints and it’s like an upgraded Polaroid picture from back in the day!

This is from day 2 by the way

It was time to network before we heard from our amazing speakers! So many wonderful brands were represented. Let me highlight a few!

This is from Water Wipes who’s mission is to normalize the real side of parenting. They also had an encouragement board which above all things was the most important to me. Being a mom myself knowing that often times parenting can feel like you’re alone and like my friend @cocoamommy says taking care of your “broke best friends” can be challenging!

Another brand I would love to highlight is Vagisil! We ladies know who Vagisil is! They have so amazing new products that help us ladies to feel confident and healthy with our vaginal health! We should #showourshameless and take the sting out of caring for our vaginas! They have products that we can use for traditional cleansing as well as on the go maintenance that will not mess with our PHs!

Can I highlight Tawanna? She’s an amazing product rep and guru who has thee best attitude. Have you ever met anyone who was just amazing from first word to last? No? You’re missing out! Tawanna just has that IT factor and her personality is like a magnet of good!

Tawanna is pictured in the middle

Of course got to show major love to Dunkin Donuts! America runs on Dunkin and they were present to keep our pumpkin requests flowing! From the Dunkin backdrops to the Dunkin Trucks-our donuts, muffins, and cold brew were always fully stocked! Also they gave a Sausage less sandwich. It was amazing! Everyone is getting on the plant base train and now I can add Dunkin to the mix. Before I would just get their coffee and keep it moving! Now I can indulge in a breakfast sandwich without guilt or messing with my healthy eating plan!

There were panels of beautiful women who either paved or are continuing to path the way for all of us creators! The big names of the evening were of course Sarah Jessica Parker and Keke Palmer! I enjoyed them both! Keke is literally the same way that we see her all the time. She really reminds me more of a young Angela Bassett. I know she gets that often but up close she’s stunning, funny, and I loved her advice. We have so much in the world going on but we gave to find a way to smile and live!!!

I enjoyed Sarah Jessica Parker who reminded us with all the fabolousness that we see in here and the characters she has played she is always championing for others. Someone asked her how does she balance it all and I absolutely had to stand up on her response! “It’s not how I’m managing but how is the everyday woman who is balancing 2-3 jobs to keep afloat is managing?!” I found not one lie!

FYI my pics get much better as I pushed from the back to the front and make new friends

She also premiered her new wine; Invivo X! It was delicious!! Oh and it was the sponsor for the happy hour for the evening!

As much as we all wanted to just be in the presence of greatness it was time to make sure we learned! I felt like Day One was all about renewal of your why! At least that’s what I took from it!

The next set of ladies were phenomenal! Seeing these young and upcoming Hollywood superstars shared their experiences about being young and what challenges they are faced with. It was great perspective!


I made this it’s own separate section because it was an important conversation. In order for companies to talk the talk of inclusion it goes well above having shades of makeup swatches. We need people of color to be paid the same rate as their counterparts. We need to see inclusion on company’s social media pages. It’s hurtful to see companies pushing inclusion as a means of propaganda but not mean it by having full representation! Shout out to Nikki Brown Stylecaster senior beauty editor, Yaminah Mayo, writer and model who you might have recently seen in Traces Ross’s new campaign for Pattern Beauty and Ofunne Amaka CEO of Cocoa Swatches! Real and raw talk about what it means to be black in arenas of fashion and beauty who are marketing off of what it means to be black and beautiful but may not necessarily stand behind it fully!

By the time we were done (FYI there’s a few speakers I didn’t mention-it’s a lot) I was tired! I had learned so much. My wheels was spinning! I already had a mental reset! I felt empowered to visit with more brands and make more connections!

Like Sarah Jessica Parker, why not me? If I don’t throw my hand into the competition I only do myself a disjustice! Hearing no hurts! It stings but it stings a lot longer than simply not pushing past the initial fear!

Day 2……

How to Start a Creative Outlet

I get asked how I started the blog. I have told you from day one it was started after I dealt with and got past my postpartum depression following the birth of my middle child. Having to find ways to put life in perspective for me opened up my creative flow. I researched blog sites on how to write one on a free site like WordPress and I started writing.

If you go back to my earlier blogs you can see the growth.  In the beginning I didn’t have a clue about how I wanted the blog to look.  Since then I have been able to have a graphic designer that I call on to help me with various projects such as logos and my newsletters.  I am more savvy about lighting in pictures recently being gifted the appropriate light to make things better and a few steps away from getting the camera that I want to really set things right. You take a vision and you just start.  When its your gift, working hard will bring people into your inner circle who will teach you the ropes. I have had amazing bloggers who gave  and still give me tips and while adopting them they do work.  I have been blessed to be able to make it happen.

Never be afraid to leap. I had no idea anyone would read my real life story. They have. That initial fear was real. I would love to say I just leaped and everything aligned. It didn’t. I first had to combat and set the stage for those in my inner circle to know that I wouldn’t blog them without permission. Also I had to let those in my inner circle know if I am inspired I will blog when necessary. I had folks say why would you tell people that? My answer is simple, it’s my life and my story to tell.  I get to be as intimate with the details as I want. In addition to that I have always been clear not to include anything about my kids or husband that would embarrass them in any way. My kids love that I blog and often ask for me to blog because they think I just post pictures. My husband is my number one supporter, reposting all articles without having to be asked. He loves that I have this creative outlet. I can now focus on it and it rounds out my life. Not once have we ever argued over a blog. I have shared some amazing deep issues and it’s not an issue. He respects my space and my blog. He’s quick to say, you better blog it!

black laptop computer

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I blog extremely consistent. This month, a new blog each day. Now that I have moved from the free WordPress to paying for it and owning the domain I can blog, set for it to hit and go live at a specific date and time. People think I live blog meaning I blog and then set it. Nope! My life is super busy. I blog and move on because I can control the time it goes live without sitting at my laptop to do it. I started blogging on my phone, moved over to a laptop and now can alternate between both.  I am grateful for all of the support I have gotten in these last 4 years. Recently I have been networking with other bloggers and we have a few things up our sleeve. If you noticed in the last year, I have been out and about a lot more often.  I have blogged many events that I am invited to and its been fun expanding.  These last few months have been amazing as I learn the who is who of Philly, find new spots to enjoy life, and just be as creative as I want to be.

Take the initial step. Know your audience. Be flexible to learn. Take criticism with strong skin. People will tear you down in this media world. They have an opinion of your opinion. Do not be afraid of the commenters. They mean well but sometimes people will say things behind a screen they would never say to your face. Be prepared if you speak about past pain that involves others. Never reveal who they are unless you can handle the offline pressure. However you still have a right to tell your story from your perspective. Be prepared for friends and family to be mad, jealous, envious and say mean things. It’s not always just an Internet Troll. It can be from the ones you love who think you aren’t an authority to speak on a topic. This is why I speak from my perspective and no one can take that from me.

Imagine a world where people want to shut a person down for their personal experiences. There are a lot of people who grow from reading blogs. They may be experiencing the same types of pain so never be afraid to talk about it. Blogging takes a little curve to learn how often you want to do it.  Write at your own pace. I started doing it 2 times a week sometimes only a few times a month. Then my mentor  told me I needed to step it up when I was ready and now its very few in-between where 3-4 blogs a week doesn’t happen.

If you want to start a creative space of blogging, YouTube videos, etc do it!  You got it in you don’t waste it just because you don’t have all the tools. I started with a phone, no laptop, a free site, no camera, no lighting and just went for it. Research what you need. Amazon has been my friend.  I have found the items that I needed at a fraction of the price for equipment. As you grow, companies may want to help you expand and offer you items you need too. Do not ever be afraid to ask.  Friends and family may be willing to help too. I have had some great friends guide me to little shortcuts to achieving the same goals. As much as the hurdles came, it was in me to overcome it.  Now I expect to add more tools as I expand. Also ToiTime is registered and I am expecting to be able to be in full branding mode soon. One dream can turn into reality. I am walking proof that you got it in you and you can make it happen!

Start today. You can always correct what you don’t know but you can’t correct when you sit idle hoping to begin!