Valentine’s Day Message

I would like to say Happy Valentine’ Day to all who celebrate this holiday. Sending you love and peace today and everyday.

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To my husband, I love you! Another year of love to push through this life with! To want to still wake up and pray with you and push you to being your best self as you do the same! To wake up feeling safe in body and mind-I don’t take that for granted. To know you are being honorable in a world of Futures……….thank you!

To my children, mommy absolutely adores you! Y’all turn up to that candy so y’all can turn down at bedtime so mommy and daddy can drink our wine and fall asleep on the couch!

To my friends and family, have a loving day!  Some of my best points in waking up to text messages of encouragement from dope friends who are out here trying to be whole and happy is the best!

To my readers, I send you abundant love!

To my single readers and friends-I know today is hard. You question your when.  It hurts and its okay to say it hurts. People will tell you how you should feel and how to process today. I say process it in a healthy way.  Process it in your way! I get it. I used to wake up and decorate my apartment and watch all of the girlie romantic comedies, go out on dates or hang with my family or friends. Night was hard especially if you feel or don’t have anyone to hang with.  It will pass but it doesn’t change the depth of feeling you feel today! I understand!  Sending you an extra genuine dose of support!

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Mature Love

Let’s face it with the wave of reality television society obviously loves drama. We thrive on. We take it in.  We gravitate towards it. In the last 2 years I have taken on a journey to dismiss a lot of the drama in my life in the form of television and media. In addition to that in the last few years I have eliminated drama in my personal life and especially in marriage.

I think about the wonder years of college. Here I had come from this small town and I had recently been holding on to my high school sweetheart. I was so torn on keeping up this relationship but happy to start this new adult life. With limited time I ended one relationship and set out on a journey to find myself. In the midst of finding myself, I found a new relationship. In the beginning I kept telling myself to keep my options open but I fell hard and heavy with this tall glass of water who I later would end up marrying and having a family.  Oh the relationship goals I hear people speak of when I post my beautiful family is encouraging.  It encourages my husband and I to honor each other more and to be the example to ourselves and children.

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Let me dip my baby toe into the early years when we weren’t as gracious in relating to one another as we should. The drama and fights and break ups to make up were really out-of-pocket. My college years were filled with too much of it.  Our friends God bless their hearts had seen their fair share. From me moving off campus, to not being able to go down the street without a fight, goodness. Yes not anything physical but all that ratchet yelling could have made a lot of this reality television look like Elmo’s World. We were in love and I will speak for me unable to handle and know what adult love was supposed to look like. The cursing each other out, seeing or attempting to see other folks (depending on who you ask), acting a fool in public, breaking up and making up and not telling others, just exhausting to write let alone live. Back in the day it seemed like a whirlwind. It seemed normal. Everyone on campus knew we were toxic and out-of-pocket. Just a mess!

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Separating and allowing space and time and for me to honestly deal with some inner struggles led us back to each other. People think we just woke up one day and decided to give this thing called love a try. We were tested in that love several times almost ending our marriage. What turned things around from college and marriage was living and learning about myself. Finding out what worked for me. I found out my passions. I had learned to live with myself enough to not allow someone else to come into my space that wouldn’t allow me to be me. This allowance has come up several times in our current marriage. The ability to let your partner balance their lives with you is necessary. One day in our car we were at the point of divorce, he looked at me and said, “are we in or out?” He said if we are in lets stick together and make it and if we are out, lets find a way to be honorable with our children.  He looked me in my eyes and I knew he wasn’t playing.

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We at that moment lived by our mantra” us against the world.” We had stated that mantra in college but it solidified with me and him that day. That was at least 2 years into our marriage. There are no cute pictures you can take when two people have kids and are literally walking around like hateful roommates. What picture can you show when you are at the point of no return?  what picture can you show when you have enough and only doing the bare minimal?  So I always go back to the picture below.  When we were happy and made the decision to love each other forever. The time where we were so in love that nothing before that mattered and now nothing after should be to the point where we can’t work together.  We are willing to be with one another and this picture reminds me to take a mental break, wait for an answer, love despite of, and go back to the basics of what makes us, us!

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We don’t have the answers. We live each day but we know what works for us. We were friends first. We have “truth moments.” We give each safe space to be vulnerable.  We are learning to listen and talk to and not at each other. These are things that we learned in counseling the first months of our first year! I stepped out what we should be in our marriage and looked at the value of what we are able to make and hold on to when disaster hits. We are stronger together because we still want to be teammates in this thing called life.  As holidays like Valentine’s Day comes we love love or at least I who loves all holidays love these and any love related holidays, but to know that we are working through things and have matured beyond the college days is a miracle of staying the course! I want to leave a highlight with you, don’t think you have to struggle to get to this great point. If you can avoid it, please do so. Know yourself before you enter any relationship. The best thing is to work on you, get counseling before considering dating because uniting with a person can be a trigger in itself, and be clear about boundaries.  I am not glorifying bad behavior.  You can have healthy love. I am glad that we did the work to get to where we are. Nobody wants that perfect love story, but our love story is perfectly fitting for us!

Ask Toi: How much is too much for a first Valentine’s Day?

I would say rule of thumb spend what’s in your budget.  Do not over spend for any holiday.  Also since it’s your first one I would focus on something that you heard your partner talk about, likes, etc. So if you heard they like to run, maybe a gift card to their favorite running gear store. I can’t say what I would spend, I know my average for a first time Valentine’s day would be 75-100.  It’s a lot more money involved when spending for a man in my opinion.  So that is where I would keep it. I have been known to spend on my husband when we were in college dating. But again, clothes like a sweater of high quality cost more back in the day and that was before I was doing online shopping etc. Do not feel obligated to purchase anything that you will regret. I always asked myself while shopping for a new love interest, if we broke up on February 15th how would I feel about the purchases?  If you answer is clear your spending amounts will be clear too.

Wife Appreciation Day

It’s wife appreciation day! So shout out to all the wives!  If you are married and love being a wife today is your day.  Now before the husbands get up in arms, your day will come.  But today is about the wives!

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Don’t need a Special Day

If more people would be consistent in the love they gave each other than maybe that can be said.  If you are a husband and you are mad at days like today, ask yourself a few questions.  When was the last time you gave your wife flowers just because?  When was the last time you took her out?  Did you offer to cook a meal this week? How about rub her feet? Did you allow her some me time just to refuel?  If you haven’t done one of more of those things this week, Houston we have a problem.  Showering your loved one with attention when things are great is easy.  Showing love in the little things when an argument occurs, when the bills are stressing, when life throws a curb ball, isn’t as easy!  It takes looking at the friendship you and your wife made to push through.

Little Ways to Show Appreciation Today:

  • Look your wife in her eyes and tell her you love her
  • Give her a break today-no cooking, no cleaning
  • Give her a gift card to her favorite place
  • Flowers
  • Complete a few items on the honey do list
  • Run her a bath
  • Let her watch her favorite shows
  • Take her to get her favorite treat
  • Write her a hand written note
  • Hold her hand
  • Take her on a date
  • Offer a massage
  • Play your “song” and dance in the living room
  • Play a game
  • Mani/Pedi at the salon
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There are a million ways that you can show the number wife that you love the ways she has turned your house into a home, how she supports you when the chips are down, loves on your children, keeps herself cute, gives you time to be you, and supports your endeavors.  Matter of fact, don’t do one thing, do a few! Smile hard, and let the love and energy flow.  Like they say, “keep that same energy!”  Keep it from the time you stood and made vows.  The same energy you had when you honeymooned.  The same energy as she was sick and you prayed for God to spare her life.  The same energy as she supported you through hard times and showed how awesome of a friend and wife she was.  The same energy when she dressed nice for you.  Keep the same energy and let the love flow from one another.  Take this day to show that love and then use the same energy to show the same love daily.  Happy Wife Appreciation Day!

Boyfriend Drama

Having a boyfriend or girlfriend should be a nice welcomed addition to your life.  It can be fun, exciting, and new.  Sometimes when the newness wears off you may have a few things that lust allow you to check in the beginning.

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Are You a Real Couple?

Huh? Yes did you know that some folks get together and think its all love between them but in the end you may not even have had the talk.  You actually need to communicate that you and your boo are really an official couple.  Do NOT ever miss this step.  Even if you two had this conversation over sex, have the conversation again outside of the actual bedroom.  This will save you a few weeks in and possibly a heartache.  Being on the same page is the biggest thing that couples will need to be sure they are on.  Also what is your dating goal?  Casual? Dating towards a future? Kicking it?  FYI kicking sometimes means kicking it for sex alone, so be clear!

Jealousy

There is a healthy dose of jealousy in any relationship but when you find that the jealousy leads you not to both be able to live active lives separately and come together then, sis you get a problem.  No relationship should have micromanaging as part as criteria.  This is unhealthy.  I am married and the thought that I would be micromanaging my husband or he me makes me tired just thinking of it.  Two individuals need to be that-two individuals that are dating to see if they are compatible or just dating to date. Also micromanaging someone is a lot of work.  Its draining! This energy could be used to start a business, get physically fit, make money, something other than knowing where another individual physically is.  I am not taking time to smell body parts, checking mileage, checking phones, etc

Cheating

Cheating isn’t everyone’s deal breakers.  I think it should be.  The amount of disrespect it takes to do the most against the one you claim you are in love with or even a strong like, is sheer madness to me!  Also keep in mind the amount of STD that are out here in world makes zero sense to put my life at risk for a relationship.  Let me plug that no relationship is cheat proof.  Please manage your sexual health.  Do not tell me how long you have been with your love a reason not to get checked on a regular basis.  I wrote a blog on a previous doctor telling me that as a married woman who I didn’t need to be checked regularly.  She got the business.  I would be less worried about body count and more concerned with clean sexual health and great health practices.

Space Please

When I met my husband back in 1999 he was my first and my first adult relationship.  Not having someone manage our time we found ourselves up under one another all the time.  In the beginning I thought how great it was but there came a time where it became unhealthy.  Being up under someone all the time will wear down one or both of you.  Back up! Give space.  Even if you and your boyfriend have decided to live with one another, space is necessary.  Go and still hang with friends, continue the same dreams you had before you got all Ella Mai “Boo’d up.” Did you go to work?  Yes still go and get work done.  Don’t mess up your coins just to be on your phones, losing focus, or taking off to spend days with no love interest.  Being employed and in love is better than Broke and in Love!

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All up in The Business

Learn to keep folks out of your business.  The more hands on deck, the more complicated things can and will be.  Everyone doesn’t need to know every time there is an argument or fall out.  You do know everyone is going  to be as forgiving.  People wonder why there friends and family members can barely have descent relationships with their significant others and one answer is they know all the tea.  It’s hard not to give a side eye to someone who keeps off as raggedy human beings.  So to keep the drama down, keep folks out of your business!

If you are embarking on a new love take precaution.  Get to know the one you are taking this chance on.  Keep your life as rich as it was! Take your time.  Get to know how this new person reacts when they get mad with you and others around them.  Also if they have kids but aren’t active with them, find that out too.  No man should be out here making a whole new life and neglecting their kids.  No man who won’t care about his own flesh and blood won’t care about the things that concern you.  That’s a word! Too many women letting me dick them down that don’t even know what grade their kids are in.  If your new love doesn’t want you to be healthy, run! A man should want to get his life together and definitely would want their new leading lady to live her “best life” too!

Summer Be Good to Me!

Welp in a few days Summer will officially make its mark.  There a few things we can do to ensure we have a great one.  So here are some ways to get Summer going:

Make Me Over

Ladies, all of my ladies, do me a favor and check your make up bag.  Have you checked your bag to make sure that you are getting rid of a few things you might need to switch up.  I know there are a few things that we just absolutely love and don’t want to part ways but don’t let your makeup bag be the cause of increased acne breakouts or other facial issues.  Please let it go or replace it.  Trust me your face will thank you.

Wardrobe

It’s the time for sun dresses, shorts, swimsuits! Who isn’t excited?  There are all of these items in every size.  So you can be cool and cute all Summer long no matter what size you are in.  Enjoy it! Trust me once the heat is gone and the snow is back on the ground you are going to be sad.  Let me say especially to my ladies, there are way too many options to be comfortable for whatever you are doing so there is absolutely NO reason to be in these streets in your pajamas.  I do NOT care how they feel, wear some clothes.  Real clothes!  Thanks the world would appreciate it.  Also back in the day I was taught not to come outside in a head scarf, now we can wear them fashionably.  There are a thousand YouTube videos in how to tie one so that you can match it up and wear it flattering.  Do not come outside in the regular you slept in your scarf look.  Thanks again.  We got to care about how we walk out the house not only due to the fact that you may run into someone you know but just because self-love causes us to walk differently.

Know your Arena

If you are going to concert dress for one. This could go under wardrobe but I wanted to make it separate.  You can’t be at Brunch with sports clothes unless you are going to a game. I know we can do what we want, but know your arena.  Would you go to a wedding in jeans?  No! Then be sure that you are in the right arena with the correct clothing.  It makes a difference and not only that we live in a take a picture world and I remember when I was going through depression that I would be out looking a hot mess. I wasn’t dressed for the right arena and that sent me further in a tail spin. It happens trust me.  So research and use Pintrest.  Pintrest will actually align up some suggestions if you do not know.  Have some fun with your looks and be fly all Summer long.

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Summer Parties

This could be in the form of a cookout or a good party, make it your best one.  If you are the one who is throwing one, pick a theme and commit to it.  Nothing is more fun than a good Summer party with all of the frills.  Also realize you can be super creative and stay in budget.  Trust me when I have a theme even for my kids, I find ways to keep my budget on point but nail it every time.  Have some fun and make it a great party.  Also drinks are important non alcoholic and alcoholic. You can really find some new ways to drink a refreshing drink that makes you feel good and wow a crowd.  Do your research.  Also if you choose to consume alcohol do so conservatively and use Uber or Lyft or a trusted friend or family member for a ride.  DUI are super expensive.  Don’t let that Summer turn up cost you or someone else their life. Have fun and be responsible.

Get Out

There are many events in your city or town that is free.  Please explore and get out. Do not sit around salty all Summer long complaining about how there’s nothing for you to do. Get on  Google and find something to do.  There may be events in towns and cities near you to explore as well.  All I am saying is the boredom that kicks in by adults are self inflicting. You have the choice to sit and be miserable or be creative.  If you are single and are saying well I have no one to go with, I understand.  I used to say that too.  One part of doing better socially is sometimes pushing past that and getting out.  It’s scary I won’t lie.  However be open to meeting new people while out.  Even married my husband hates all activities that require you to be outside in the sun or around bugs.  Every festival that I want to attend I used to not go or break him down to go.  Now yes he will go, but the ones that he won’t I have learned to get out and have a great time.  One time I went somewhere and eventually he showed up.  I refuse to not attend these types of events.

Solo Trips

Yes I took a big solo trip in April but I also take solo day trips or beach days.  These are important as getting together with my girls, family time, and baecations.  You got to know you and what you like.  The best way is to push past being uncomfortable and explore.  I love it NOW.  I will not pretend that it’s always been this way because that is a lie.  However EVERY time I have come home I have been better. I do NOT answer any non emergency calls while I am out.  That is my time and my family respects it.  If I am on my phone the whole time, when am I having my time?  Reserve your time and don’t let anyone infringe on it and that’s family and friends.  The only thing that should happen is confirmation that you are safe and if an emergency then yes a call.  Your time is your time.

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My Summer Playlist

So here is my personal Summer Playlist.  I love music and nothing is better than having that AC on or having the windows down and have the base jumping:

Nice; The Carters

Summertime; DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince

New Rules; Dua Lipa

Nice for What; Drake

Wait; Maroon 5

Rock with you;  Michael Jackson

I like it; Cardi B

This is America; Childish Gambino

Can’t stop the feeling; Justin Timberlake

Big Poppa; Notarious B.I.G

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My Summer Must Haves

Pool time-tan lines are made at the pool or beach. I love tan lines because they remind me that I have enjoyed a little bit of life.  I look forward to them and allowing all of this melanin to pop!

Ice-cream sundae bar: yes this can be done all year-long but nothing is better than eating it and stepping up my ice-cream sundae bar in the cutest of dishes

Outside Movies: in Philly they do series of movies for all age ranges throughout.  You will find me at one or more of these in the city

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Summer Fests-another thing that I love about Philly is that all summer long there is a festival for many reasons and many of them come ready to go with alcohol. I love the ones that are kid friendly since I have kids.  We all have fun, it wears them out, mommy and daddy can have our time or have a quiet house afterwards.  It’s a win, win!

Cookouts-who doesn’t like grilled food?  It’s the best and couple that with some awesome Summer salads and you got a good meal.  Nothing like getting together with a few folks and having a great time while the kids play!

So break out the sunscreen and fill up the water jugs it is happening.  Today alone it’s almost 100 degrees and the smile on my face can’t be wiped off.  So bring on the sweat, the fun, the sun, and all of the things to do. I will be hitting the streets and blogging it along the way.  Enjoy this season!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Securing the Bag, Secure it All!

Ladies are securing bags everyday. The term securing the bag is in the context of getting your money or closing deals. I battle back and forth on using the term in the everyday life of just working since in my mind everyone is supposed to work, but again it’s my own personal thought. While your securing your bag be sure to secure your own emotions and definitely your body.  How many women worrying about securing the man, the job, the car, the section 8 payments sorry I had to go there because there are many who think that is life.  Ladies, being healthy, working out, eating right, drinking water, talking right to your kids, traveling, etc is a full-time job.  All of the things that we do to be secure in life comes at price points. What’s more pricey than you body and sexual health?  How many times does a woman have to lay down with a man thinking he is the bag.  He is not if you had a doubt.  He is not. What you secure on your own by hard work is but don’t in heat and not remember that.  Sex is great but its better in the right way.

Nothing in, Nothing Out

So back in the day the old mothers would tell you to save yourself for marriage. They meant it! Not the new way of saving yourself where you do everything but sex! If you don’t have nothing going in, won’t nothing come out. That’s a given. Now that goes for traditional virgins and born again virgins. If this non sex life is your life be sure that’s a decision you want. Don’t do it cause you are afraid of what someone will think. You’re the only one that has to combat them urges when they come. You can say what you will but you alone are in charge of that. Don’t let peer pressure to give it up or hold it move you one or the other. Sexual health is a personal decision-more on that later!

If you aren’t of that mindset then you better play by the rules of the land where you secure some birth control. The pull out method is one of the weakest methods. So don’t be found out here with a new boo telling you that it will work. Don’t even let the old boo tell you that mess either. It don’t work like you think. Many a baby has been made from that weak move.

We decided…

It’s so nice to have a partner that will agree or support your decisions. Please understand as a woman who you and you alone will have that child. All the support in the world hasn’t stopped women from having to take care of babies alone. Every woman didn’t lay down with a jerk or at least what they thought was one in the beginning. Some of these men have been Prince Charming!  Some have been husbands who have decided for whatever their reasons are, they don’t want to be apart anymore.  You the woman have to decide that if you aren’t ready to be a single mom at any given point in life, do not at that point or continue to have babies with any man.  Be careful.  This is a lifetime commitment that society has allowed men to be able to walk away from.  Note to my men this isn’t to bash you but to bring awareness.  This is the conversation that regardless of status you should be having.  Married women aren’t exempt.  My mom told me the realist message after I got engaged.  Marriage isn’t the end all be all.  You could be single at any moment.  The life you have built, can change and you better be sure that you are able and ready to take on that life by yourself should something change.

So yes go in with the we with the mindset of an I at any time am willing to bring this life on and take on all it takes on.  If you can’t say that with the partner you are with, then that’s your number one issue and your second issue is that if you say this will work, I can do this than be sure your anchor holds or you have the ability to mindset to push past any hindrances that may come.  Yes we know women are strong they can take it but the number one thing divorced women or women who partners have walked off or may have passed away say is that they never thought about this moment.  Life is beautiful but keep those moments in the back of your mind. Secure your future.  One more note, do NOT let a boyfriend or a fiance push you into any decision. This means no tubes tied, no having babies if that is not something YOU can live with.  Listen husbands don’t get a full pass. I know of many husbands who force their wives to continue in childbirth and at the end of the day those same men weren’t supportive after the baby is born.  It’s cute to have a baby with your husband until you’re in the house bare feet and pregnant with no job security, going through depression and can’t get that same husband to change one diaper.  Count up the cost.  Your mental piece is worth it.  Not to mention the physical needs…  The one thing I didn’t do was secure my own sexual health with my own husband. Gasp.  I alone should have taken my birth control, gotten my tubes tied before I did because that’s what I wanted to do and should have done.

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Don’t look for the tea.  I am good.  There’s no of my goodness what if her kids read this and think they didn’t want them.  STAWP!!!!!!! That is nowhere near the case.  However as much as I loved my boyfriend who turned my fiance who turned my husband,  it wasn’t his decision to make on the continuance of childbirth.  When my second child came it was what it was.  I was in-between decisions and careless on making a decision for birth control when my 3rd came.  She wasn’t a mistake at ALL.  None of my kids were regardless of how much the church folks was whispering.  NONE of my kids were a mistake but I failed myself in how I secured my sexual health.  I love the family that my husband and I have built. I wouldn’t change it but I can help other women be wise. That’s about real as it can get. It is what it is.  Thankful to my husband who he was the one who made me see it that way.  Yes he had his part we both get that but if we can get the younger generation to see the big picture from this, then it was all worth it.  Secure your sexual health married, divorced, seeking, not in the sex game, don’t know where things stand, whomever you may be secure everything not just the bag.