One Month Down

I think ever since I was a kid I struggled with the idea of being a perfectionist. It plagued me my whole life. I figured since I was good at being a student this was what I had to do. That is a blessing and a curse. Often times people with that type of personality trait often find themselves being people pleasers. That is not the way to live. So since becoming a parent and really alduting in this world, I am not as concerned with being perfect as I am with balance. With that being said let’s recap the month and try to make sure we keep things in perspective.

Vision Board

I usually try to complete it the first week of January. I actually completed it on Sunday January 27! Yep like a few days ago. So instead of giving myself a hard time about not completing it at the beginning I celebrate it framing the rest of my 11 months. I have said before there is at least one thing in each category that you can do every day to push you to success.  So that means the grind don’t stop.  Keep pushing and take some breaks in between too. Balance will take you place that over killing your mind and body can any day.

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Blog Goals

I completed 25 new blogs this month and this one makes it 26.  That is amazing. So if you missed any of them you know what to do.  Log on and catch up at ToiTime

I went to 2 blog events and conducted one interview this month. That’s on top of working, being a wife and a mother, attempting to drink my water, eat right, work out and schedule me time while being an Uber parent on the weekends. It can be done. So we will be hitting the ground running for February. Since February is love month as well as Black History month we got a lot of awesome blogs. My goal is to have a new blog a day for the month of February especially since it’s a short month at that! So stay tuned! Also if you are following me on Facebook  you know I have started my weekly challenge of making one video post a week. Being on video is hard for me but I am working through it. Expanding my reach and pushing me past my comfort zone at the same time!  Also I post Throw back blogs and blogs for special days too so follow me so that you aren’t missing them!

Workout and Life Goals

So the one thing I haven’t done was added more of my weekend runs. Its been a little hard due to my kids schedules. They are super busy and I love being on the go with them but I plan to increase my runs to prepare for my Spring races. My first race is in April so I really got to use these next months as time to push. I have worked out 3 times a week at home and sometimes more days when I can. So that is saving me. Now with my schedule being so tight, I make working out mandatory on whatever days I set them. Why? I can’t afford to get back to my prework out weight. By Spring and Summer I will be shutting thangs down! Trust me. Plus if you don’t move it, you lose it. I don’t want to have to start all over.

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So let’s say you aren’t having as a productive month.  Do not fret, reset. Reset your goals. Reset your vision for your life. Do not let another month go past and wait to get it together. January is over as of today but February is a shorter month with even bigger promises. How you start it will be up to you. Do not let this new month come and go in vain. Take charge of the vision that you set out for yourself. Reset!

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What I love about Thanksgiving

This is not a drill. We are exactly one week away. I can’t wait. I love to eat. I love Thanksgiving for a few reasons. A lot of them has to do with how people act. It’s like the one time of the year for the most part that others around you lay their issues down. Now I know some folks turn up and like to ruin the day, but the folks and family I am around these last few years especially come together and celebrate what it’s all about.

We generally have no rules for Thanksgiving. We usually go to our uncle’s house where he graciously does all the cooking. I usually still cook my own meal at home too. Got to have more food for later in the week. Nothing is better than Thanksgiving food days later. We also started a new tradition where we go to the movies the day off too. I love it because it’s not crowded and we can see what’s coming out for the rest of the holiday season too. Also its about coming together and relaxing and enjoying one another’s companies. It’s a time to catch up before Christmas comes. I love it. I love to sip my wine pretty much all day. Thanks to my husband for being that designated driver because by end of the night we always end with a final glass together. It’s our way to tell each other how thankful we are for what we have. Its our own couple’s tradition. We  have a lot to be grateful for.

I love the traditional food. You know turkey, mac and cheese, greens, etc. However the only thing I don’t like is the struggle plates folks want to post. We all eating generally the same thing. No one’s plate looks great. It is a plate with every piece of food that could fit on plate number 1. I don’t post my plates and try my best to scroll past the other plates that day. I love how happy everyone is. I love how people give the best hugs that they must have been saving all year because hugs just feel warmer this day. I love watching my kids interact with family and how happy they are.  I love seeing my grandpa do his yearly dance and all of the kids try to teach him the newest and latest moves. I record it every year. I know eventually it will be a memory that we will hold on to. I love calling my family and hearing about what they are doing. We generally stay in Philadelphia for Thanksgiving so I call the Lancaster family or FaceTime them .  It’s always good to check on them and to see how much potato salad my mom made. I love talking to my friends and checking in on them. We have one set of friends this year who will be parents. So baby watch is in full effect. I love waking up to the smells of the kitchen.  The only thing about the holidays that we miss is my Mother in Law, Deborah, my great grand parents, Beverly and Olivia Sims, and my maternal grandfather Fred McGinnis. I always wake up and remember them on these big holidays. I wonder what they would be doing if they were. I know their memory will live on.

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I hope that as you prepare for the holiday of Thanksgiving that you remember what it’s about. That you take in the moments that you can. That you remember how grateful you should be on that day and everyday. I hope that you will have a great Thanksgiving holiday with family and friends. I hope that it’s not ruined by anyone. If you know you are bound to cause issues don’t go to someone else’s home starting stuff. Stay home. Thanksgiving isn’t the arena to air out differences. It’s a time to come together. Go to those you need to make it right with, and do it before the dinner. Don’t come to the dinner table ready to start the mess that could have been worked out before the day. Work it out or find another home by which you can have a good time. Drama and holidays don’t have to mix. Also to some of my friends who I know the holidays trigger you, you don’t have to be the one to start issues to not go to a function that will further trigger you. I would rather you do a Friendsgiving than a family one if the family one is going to make you all kinds of upset. I don’t spend my time holidays or not around folks that I feel I can’t get along with. Life is too short to spend it with miserable people.

Also I know some deal with anxiety of getting together with others. I would try to take someone with you if you can. Also if there is a family member you get along with more, stay around them until you get comfortable. Especially if you haven’t seen others in quite some time. Be prepared for the 3rd degree. Those family members that’s asking others a thousand questions, leave folks alone. It’s no ones business why they aint married or have kids yet, worry about your own mate and kids. These types of situations make it hard for some folks to be around your nosey behind. Eat your turkey in peace and leave other folks lives alone.

Let folks come and enjoy their time together. That is what I love, the coming together without the issues. Eat and have a good time-sharing your gratefulness!

Meatless and Surviving

So I decided to go meatless this week. Like for real no meat this whole week. I did so great that now the debate is will I add meat back in?! I decided to do this once a month in preparation for my fall runs and races. However between a few friends and a few blogs I follow and I have been fulfilled and eating too good.

I think when you tell yourself you aren’t going to have something the more you want it. All the food I’ve made this week has had me in my bag. Everyone who knows me knows I meal prep all year long. Even my family meals, because it ensures that we can eat dinner and meals within reason. I would encourage everyone to meal prep. Although it’s a lot of work to cut and prep and cook food ahead of time the wins during the week surpass anything I could think. I’ve been meal prepping since I returned to work from being a stay at home mom a few years ago! It started with wanting my kids to have the same level of home cooked meals they had when I was home with them all day!

So how strong has the meat demon been on my back?! Hella strong. I was making my family’s plates like Lawd let me touch just one piece but nope I would just say no and fix my plate with my selections and I was fine. My kids asked me if I was going to be a vegetarian all my life?! I let them know I’m not sure but I’m not dieting at all just replacing things to live a healthy lifestyle and of course I offered them a few bites but nope they wouldn’t bite. I’m going to tell my other food is super healthy and see if they leave me selections alone. It’s worth a try!!

So the reason I decided I was going meatless is it was a suggestion from a friend of mine who is training for her Fall runs. We run together and I was talking to her about my goals. I have so many on my calendar that I want to make sure I’m super ready. When I’m preparing for runs I find my body weight won’t change but how lean I appear looks more refined in the Fall then the Summer!!

So instead of allowing the meat demon roll up on me, I listened to a few of my friends and my meals have been great. I’ll keep you updated should I continue this journey more than one week in a month but for now I reign victor!!

Shout out to Quorn I swear there food was awesome all week I had such variety and I know meatless shouldn’t taste good or at least I thought, but this brand hands down can take all my money it’s so good!!

Fall Workout/Weight Goals

So Fall is going to be here in a few days.  Yes. So I can stop hearing all of those complaining folks talking about relax.  Nope now you can go and relax.  Let people live. Let the Fall lovers have their time I don’t want to have to Kanye anyone over my favorite holiday but I will.  I digress. Anyway with the Fall fast approaching I have made some new Fall work out/weight loss goals that I believe will help others too.  Fall is the beginning of cuffing season as well as it’s the comfort food season. People will start making pies, cookies, mac and cheese, and before you know it 10 pounds have snuck up on you.  To combat the heavier weight problems I have made up my personal goals that takes the edge off of everything.

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I am breaking all of the Fall holidays into smaller goals.  My overall goal is to maintain the weight I am in and by New Years not have to make a lose weight goal. Yes that means being at my goal weight and keeping it off.  That in itself is a full-time goal.  However if I look at the whole goal it may be too intimidating so here is how I am breaking up my goals.

September Goal

I have a walk and a 5K at the end of the month.  So all month-long, I have been working out.  I started out 3 days a week but as the month quickly ends I have been hitting the gym EVERYDAY.  This means when I am sick, when the weather is gloomy, nothing is stopping me from the workout.  This has helped as I have noticed how much stronger I have gotten.  This will help me on the run as I do not want to be the last one running.  I want to be able to come out of that race with pride.  I also have a girls trip the first weekend in October.  Because of the closeness of the dates I will be good to go as I know I will indulge in some food that weekend too.  My hope is we do a lot of walking.  If not I will have to do like I do at home on the weekends and work out with the things that are around us.  No I could care less if it’s just one weekend. I worked out just fine when I went to Chicago for my birthday so this girls trip will be no different.  I woke up when others was sleep and did what I had to do.

The only issue I am facing is that with my hysterectomy surgery I find the swelly belly thing to be irritating.  It happens that when you do too much your belly swells.  I can wake up with a flat belly and by end of day or if I work out too much which I do everyday now I look 2 months pregnant. It’s annoying but I will work right through it until I heal fully and that stops.

October Goal

This goal is to look good in my Halloween costume.  Now please note yes I have already ordered it, have it and it fits. That isn’t the issue. It is making sure I look great in it.  Last year I was a girl Mario Brother.  It was cute but wearing it in the plus size section had me feeling super upset.  I looked like I was squeezed into it at that.  OMG.  Not this year.  I am going to be looking sleek and refined in my costume.  I ordered and have a medium and that in itself coming from a size 14 to a 8 is a blessing.  I will share my photos when Halloween comes.  I am not knocking plus size women, however I know for a fact that is not the size I was supposed to be.  Last year I was being lazy, and eating just to eat.  I wasn’t working out like I should have and the result was easily seen.  So this year I will be stepping out and looking like I should.

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November Goal

Thanksgiving is on the rise. I have already put in my holiday orders with my baker. Seriously I have.  I will be baking things on my own but there is something nice when you can take the edge off and pay someone else and get good stuff to share at the holiday luncheons and dinners.  That isn’t even adding all of the great holiday and winter drinks that I have recipes for, others make, and are going to be advertised….So now that my bakery orders are all in order I want to be able to not look like the turkey this year.  Have you ever looked at holiday pictures and been like Lawd, why didn’t someone tell me I looked like that?  I have and that will not be me this year.  I will look cute and ready to eat and not like I ate already and need to be pushing the vegetable truck this year.  I seriously love the way clothes fit on me now.  I have been able to remove the big clothes out of my closet and I have gotten a few cute pieces.  Once you get a dose of confidence after seeing your hard work, its hard to think about going backwards.

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These 3 goals will keep me until Christmas.  This Christmas I want to wear a cute Christmas pajama.  Christmas pajamas is always a serious thing.  Actually all of the holiday pajamas is a serious thing. I already ordered the kids Halloween pajamas and have them hanging in their closet.  I am not one for last-minute anything.  With that in mind the whole family always wears cute pajamas I just always snap the kids only.  Not this year I will be in the pictures with my cookies in tow.  I do not plan to stop eating my favorites. I plan on eating them in moderation.  A little, not the whole thing of anything. I have been really good with portion control and during the Fall when it gets colder I plan on keeping it hot in what I do and how I look this Fall.

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So your goals may not mimic mine but as you can see you can make monthly goals.  We all need something we can attain to.  For me its making sure I continue to look great as the holidays start to roll in.  Having a monthly goal and something I can work towards works for me.  It takes the edge off of the whole I want to have a great end goal of going into the New Year right and keeps me accountable.  Plus you know all of the get togethers, fall parties, potlucks, are all destined to try to take me out but I am aware of it all and ready to knock them out with some healthy dishes to share.

Soul Cycle, 2nd Coming…

So if you follow me on Instagram (ToiTimeblog) then you know that I have increased my healthy living incentive.  I have been working hard and thus far I have lost over 20 pounds since I began over 6 months ago.  How I started was simple.  At my job they push fitness and health.  I was weighed by a health professional and to my surprise I had hit a little over 190.  I was embarrassed, hurt, and blindsided.  Clothes can lie, but numbers don’t.  After picking up my pride, I was determined to be better.  I didn’t set out to be perfect but better.  Trust me, numbers can make you either slow slide into a woe is me or it can make you get up and do something about it. I choose to do the latter.

A few months ago, I was introduced to Soul Cycle which is an intense cycling class.   I had said for months even years how I wanted to take this class.  I had seen other classes like it and immediately wanted to participate.  You can read up on my 1st adventure, Soul Cycle Survivor.  This time around I still didn’t feel as if I was a pro.  I felt like my stamina had increased.  I was able to have my butt hit the sit instead of sitting in the seat.  I’ve said it before, that class is intense.  I was however able to get my shoes off the bike without help.  The first class I took with Ryan and this time I took it with Alexis Rose.  Both were very energetic, fun, and gave a hell of a workout.  Alexis’ ability to speak positivity was super refreshing.  The ability to be able to remind everyone that not only for the class but after that the biggest battle isn’t physical but mental.  That is the message I will take with me during the week and beyond.

Some of the things that I have done well in regards to my health journey is drinking more water.  I have spoken many times about my love/hate relationship with water.  I think that with working out more has helped me get over the water issue fast.  There is no way to lose weight without drinking water and staying hydrated.  Another plus during this journey is my newest planner.   It has helped me to keep focus.  It has been a life saver.  It allows me to be clear about goals, as well as allows me to use my need for visualization and organization in one beautiful place.

As I continue this journey I will highlight more for you.  My hope is that others will join me.  I hope that others can see regular people taking their health important.  I want to shed the “baby weight.”  By baby weight since my almost 3-year-old is no longer a baby, is my “girl, you need to do better” weight.  This isn’t a perfect journey.  This is a human, make mistakes, love yourself, get mad at yourself, but keep on going journey.  So until I reach my newest goal of going down one more clothing size by my 36th birthday, here’s to more healthy options, an active lifestyle, and being happy in my skin.

 

Ask Toi: If you wanted to throw a party for a friend that is married or in a relationship, do you have to ask their mate first?

I would say out of respect you would.  How do you know that the mate or significant other would want to be the one that plans it?  Or what if they were taking your friend out-of-town? Back in the days when your friend was single, planning surprises was easier but it doesn’t mean the element of surprise still can’t exist.  You just have to be creative.

I know in our house my husband usually is really good at planning great birthdays.  Now I do celebrate from May 1st until the actual day of May 10th.  So that leads plenty of time for friends to do their own thing. He however is always the one on my day with the major of surprises.  He welcomes others to do as they please but if its dinner, etc. he’s the one that makes that day special.  If others contacted him he would be willing to make things happen.

It’s about respecting your friend’s relationship.  You can still be spontaneous towards your friend.  I have had friends who send me things to my house or work place and it catches me totally off guard.  The ideal is to honor your friend and celebrate their Earth day.  You can do that and still give space for the special man or woman in their life to be able to do the same.  Who doesn’t like multiple celebrations?  Dinners, luncheons, happy hours, brunches these are a few ideals that still can be done to honor your friend.  You can do one day or in conjunction with the friend’s boo or separate and have a great time.  Now if you don’t like your friend’s significant other, well there’s not much that can be done with that.  However it cost you nothing to ask questions and clear the schedule.  The significant other can even assist you in getting your friend to the location of your choice for a great guy’s catch up or girl’s night or day out.

Now I have heard some vindictive signficant others who say they have no plans and then when you do, they make them for the same day that you set aside.  Keep in mind that your friend will in time see through this.  Do not sweat the small stuff.  Let your friend know way after their birthday what transpired.

The Crackdown: Surviving the Holidays

Oh October is here.   That means Fall is definitely here.   The one thing that the presence of Fall brings is the pressure of the holidays.

Anxiety is real. If you ever deal with it on a regular basis then you know how crippling it can be.   I saw a commercial for Christmas in September.  These companies ain’t loyal.   Everything is designed to suck your pockets quicker than a vacuum.   Even more than money being spent will be family and friends who will soon start those invites for potlucks and gatherings.
Just trying to keep the schedules up can be overwhelming.

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How does one simply survive?

Organize

First get a sense of the activities you plan on doing.   For instance I have some things I do with my family no matter what.   I make my schedule with that first before I allow what others are doing to affect me.   Even if you’re single set time aside for the non-negotiable things now.

Get your money focused.   When you have a family it goes without saying.   However singles or couples without kids have a few myth busters.   For one just because a person is single or without kids even if they are married, that’s not automatic for them having money dripping off of them.   Stop this false thinking.   Everyone has budgets for what they want.  If you’re a family or friend stop trying to hit people up for contributions based on what you think others have.  That was a free nugget you’re welcome.

Learn to say no.   You haven’t invented a time machine yet.   When you do call me.   You can’t be everywhere and go to everything.  Some things will require you to exercise your NO muscles.  Family and friends fall out quickly around the holiday time than any other time.  If you’re the one on the other side of NO just accept it.   We know your soiree will be the best ever but folks have lives and can’t go to your event.

Know your strengths

If you can’t cook this isn’t the time to experiment especially on key items.  You should have been practicing in the summer.  Don’t nobody have time for that.   Offer to cook what you know or sign up for the drinks, paper products or just show up and smile ministry.

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Budget

Yes back to the money.  I have 3 wonderful little people but I have yet to spend more than I set aside.  We use cash only and build a Christmas fund.  Yes to not charging or spending the rent on toys.   If you do charge just keep it in moderation. Remember the little people love opening gifts and it’s not about what they get.   So choose wisely.

Along with budgets for gifts, think wardrobe too.   New-years, Christmas dinners,  Balls,  etc will have you running to the store.   Re-shop your closet first.   Ladies, you know that dress you bought that’s to the back that could get its shine this year,  let that be your go to first.  Think also borrowing or swapping.  In college I did a lot of that and the same can be done now.   I have plenty of friends with great items I could borrow,  clean and give right back.

Holidays means food and food means an expense.  For your friends who just love your mac and cheese and you’re not gifting it to them it’s okay to ask them to supply the ingredients at the least.   Cheese let’s keep this real is climbing and as we get closer to certain holidays it goes up.   You can watch your funds by watching what leaves your bank in the form of providing food for events that you go to.

Squabbles

Again I say nothing says the holidays like aunt so and so bringing up some old drama.   Folks have no chill or no filter. If your family has alcohol well then you know anything is liable to happen.  So be prepared.  Have an action plan in place. If you’re hosting an event the action plan should be to the door but that’s me.   I’ll usher someone to the door better than Sunday morning at church.

Couples get into it too.  Stress, being overworked to have holiday fun,  and mixing families will bring out the worst.  I honestly would start a fight so I could hear the heavenly words of “fine don’t go. ”  I’ve grown since then but trust me staying away used to be like a vacation.   I don’t even have issues with my husband’s family I just don’t like crowds.   So keep it tight.  Diffuse an argument quick.  Trust me nothing is worst than having to sit in the presence of your in-laws while you secretly hoping your boo trips for pissing you off earlier. I’m just being honest.

Have Fun

When I was a little girl I always had a sense of quirkiness.  Around holidays I would just amp it up.  If you follow me on Facebook you already know I love celebrating everything.  So it’s no wonder that my children love them too.   Now I have real life cute minions of happiness to spread it to.

Yes having fun.   I’m in love with holidays.  Not for the food, gifts, time etc., but because it’s just something fun to do.   I love laughing and watching people enjoy themselves.  So while stress from a burnt turkey may come up laugh and sip on that egg nog and keep it moving.

Don’t let the holiday stress over take you this year.   Conquer it with a deep breath, a smile, a glass of wine, and just let it happen.