Her Own Empire

So I was watching Starz’s Survivors Remorse and on the show Missy Vaughn played by Teyonah Parris and Reggie Vaughn played by RonReaco Lee are married.  It came out after Reggie was playing cards and lost $123,000 with “big wigs,” that Missy’s father had him sign a prenuptial agreement since Missy comes from money before they were wedded. Now the issue was the signing as well as the fact that as a married woman she didn’t work. Her claim is she keeps the house together aka a stay at home wife.  By the way they have no kids.  The father once he sat down with Missy and explained that the reason he made Reggie sign a prenuptial agreement is so that if the marriage failed, her husband wouldn’t be able to take her money and leave her high and dry.  Her mother interjected that she needed to work too.

So the issues that stirred:

  1. Prenuptial agreements.  Are they a thing to get if you have money or property?Some would argue that you are setting your marriage for failure.  Some would say it is in everyone’s best interest to get one.  Marriage is a partnership and apart of the partnership includes money.  Love is beautiful however being broke is ugly.  We need to talk about the importance of being financially sound before marriage.
  2. Stay at home wife-contributions and withdraws of said money-I was a stay at home wife for many years.  For me it was the best solution to paying high daycare fees.  It was more cost-effective to be at home.
    1. The Pros:
      1. Get to be the COO of your home.  You are the one that organizes and get the home together
      2. You if you have kids don’t have to wonder what your kids are doing cause you are the ones doing it for them
      3. You save money in the long run
    2. The Cons:
      1. Not having your own money comes with the challenges of having to depend on your husband to give you money or allowances. This works for some and not for others.  It depends on the husband that you have to be honest.  Most men talk a good equality talk on the surface but you have to get to the real nitty and gritty if that man means it.  Sorry to say most do not but they pretend to.  You have to be able to talk about it and be clear on what that looks like.  Does the wife still get to get out and do things women like to do such as keeping herself up, shop, or get a coffee if she wants?  If so what does the budget look like.
      2. Not having adult interactions because you are in the home most of the time.

Now let me put this is terms where my life fit in it and what I got from this.  Money in our home has always been an issue. I am going to be transparent because I KNOW for a fact that a lot of women go through this.  I love things.  I like the ability of being able to get the things that I like or want.  The drawback to this when I was a stay at home mom is that my husband rarely said no.  However what he had to do in the background to make sure that every time I swiped was part of the conversation that I didn’t want to have to have. I got to the point of not having of my own and having to rely on him.  This is a dangerous place for most women including myself.

Who puts it back if its gone?

The ability to do for myself is a beautiful thing. I know some women do not care, but for me I do. I am striving to be the type of women that if my husband does it is a bonus and not out of need.  The reason is my husband plain and simple is not the husband from the 1950s who takes shoveling out money on the chin.  That doesn’t mean he has an issue giving me the things I need and some of the things I want.  However there has been times when in conversation he would say it.  In the beginning I would read messages he would text on his phone. AKA get into his phone and find negative messages about what I was doing on all fronts of the relationship not just money by the way.  These are the things they don’t tell you about marriage or relationship especially ones that have only one partner being the only bread-winner or the main bread-winner.  If you have one that is constantly spending and not putting it back-who puts the money back?  The working husband and sometimes the working wife since men stay at home too.  If the husband or wife is stressed trying to figure it all out than the issue isn’t in the spending its in balancing.  I think both partners should be honest about that.  However ladies I know I have heard it and if you’re not careful go back to doing whatever at no respect for his hustle too.  The man may want to do more but if he stressed trying to put it back all the time maybe that’s the issue in your spending and not just in him giving or not giving.

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Now back to Reggie and Missy I could relate to the shock when Missy mom told her to get a job.  It’s the life of Riley when you can swipe and kick off to wonderland until you realize your mate doesn’t respect the fact that you have him working harder than ever to put the money back you keep using.  I know, it would be east to blame the man until you take your emotions out of it and come to reality that at the end of the day, money is made not wished upon.  She had the look of disgust when it came to the fact that she needs to work and secure her own so her father or her husband couldn’t make any issues with money. I am realizing more and more and maybe it’s because of my personal dealings that there really is no real we.  To be honest, he that makes the gold makes the rules.  Its frustrating but it matters on who you are with to be honest. And regardless of who you are marrying to recognize the financial state that your family is in.  Red bottoms when you are saving may not be in the cards. Asking for them and getting but not caring if that man has to work extra hours or cut back in another area to get them is an issue.

Get your hustle on too

I would encourage every woman to know the financial dealings of your home.  You should know the ins and outs of what accounts are in effect.  Know the numbers, know where the important documents are in the home.  Please use one of your gifts to make your own money even if your money isn’t as long as your husband.  Every now and again say no to your husband’s swipe.  This means that you will have to have something of your own to swipe with.  I know this world would tell us that we are women hear us roar, that’s cute too but roar with some dollars it’s one of the ways to keep respect in the finances of your marriage.  To those who do not have that issue, kudos to you.  For the rest of the world, always securing your own bag is best.  Trust and believe these men will respect you more when you can do a few things independent of you.  Even the ones who claim they are here for your personal growth lie constantly so get your coins all the way up.

The big issue is to ask questions and be transparent with your spouse about money. This goes for both parties not when and after your completely frustrated.  Money was always scary to me and I never wanted to take the time to get the full picture. I do not want to paint my husband into a tyrant that by no means is the reason of this blog.  It’s to highlight an area that causes more divorce in the country within marriage. Not having a conversation and having expectations that don’t match with reality.  Men you must have a conversation and be honest too.  Ladies we have to be willing to listen without emotion.  Most husbands want to see their wife happy they just don’t want to die killing themselves to get you to that point. Come to the table with something or find ways to always reinvent the wheel to bring things to the table, coupon to cut corners.  Then when you cut the corners don’t spend that too, save.  Help the household not just you or your bottom line. Also shout out to my dad who before marriage ALWAYS then and NOW drills the importance of having your own.  He would never want me to be totally dependent on my husband.  It has zero to do with my husband controlling me it has to do with being free to make decisions on my own and being totally depenedent is and will never be healthy.  Shout out to my husband who has behind the scenes has helped me be financially debt free, and to make sure that I am empowered to have my own.  He doesn’t stop me but encourages me to be my own woman.  Some can’t say that. Work out the dealings of your home and if you feel like things aren’t being heard on any side, than I would suggest getting someone who will not take sides to be a mediator.  As much as people think the issue of money is no big thing, it is a huge part of living with another person and working things out.

Also know that things will NEVER make you happy. Get your spirit together as well. Sometimes the desire to excessive spending could reveal something on the inside that you are dealing with that shopping bags can’t fill.

Kevin Hart: The Pull Up Chronicles

Every woman is different.  What one woman will put up with doesn’t apply to all.  You never know what you will do until you are in it.  Let me explain why I would be ready to do a pull up edition on Kevin Hart.

The cheating or the act of having sex outside your marriage isn’t the full issue for me. Maybe it should be, but it’s not.  My issue is that Kevin wanted to prove so much to the world that he was the poster boy for changed behavior and KNEW he had been slipping and tipping around with another woman.  For me that is cause for a pull up.  I would be ready to get him on that alone.  He wanted to act as if this new wife was so much better than his last.  He wanted us all to believe he had changed his mind-set so much yet in reality he was doing the cheating in plain view.  Cheating in plain view is when you have a conversation with your mate and denounce people who would do the same. They stay visible.  They are on social media talking about you being the light of their world.  Then without warning the light must have dimmed because they get caught with another person.  Nothing irks a woman more than being embarrassed.  I can say the same for men too.  It’s the type of hurt that won’t go away with flowers and jewelry.  It’s the type of hurt that burns your soul.  You go all out telling others how wonderful your mate is and then you are blindsided.

Listen what Kevin doesn’t understand is his kids are older.  When he cheated his kids may have been unable to read or know what is going on.  However they are in private school.  One thing about private schools is they are usually smaller in attendance and everyone knows everything about each other.  They have to walk around where other kids ask them if its true.  They may feel the need to defend their dad even in his wrong doing.  Once you involve kids in your messy affairs that’s when the gloves comes off as a mother for me. I feel bad for Eniko that she is being embarrassed.  I feel bad that she thought the same way you got em, wasn’t going to be the same way she would lose him. That is a principle in life that doesn’t care about your economic status.

So to Eniko who is pregnant and doesn’t need this stress, have your baby and work in your own mind what you want to do.  We all have opinions but YOU have to live with his cheating and that will always overshadow your relationship.  To other women who are going through this or will, know that cheating is horrible but make your next steps a decision you can live with daily.  Don’t do what others think you should do as they will forget the cheating you can’t!

Self Care/Self Improvement

September is a lot of things.  I don’t know what it is about September but its a jammed pack month.  However this month is self-care and self-improvement month.  So if you follow this blog, and on any social media feed I am always pushing self care.  I think it’s becoming a thing or a term that is thrown out a lot but not a lot of people understand what that means.  Although it can mean different things to the person who is using it, the bottom line is you have to care and love yourself enough to engage in what YOU need or disengage in the things YOU don’t want to be involved in.

The opportune word is YOU.  That is essentially what self-care is all about.  Only you can determine what you need or what you don’t need.  For instance I can go to an event and if I am ready to go I position myself to know what type of environment I am going to be in to know if I should drive myself or not even for family events.  I try to in the instance of family events to stay as long as possible especially since my husband attends my side of events without issue and I do the same for his side of his family events.  However depending on what the event is he and I have it set that if one of us is not wanting to stay longer to communicate and make an exit.  If the individual wants to stay than its fine too but we make sure that no one person can put pressure to stay longer than mentally capable.  Sometimes walking away, leaving, or excusing yourself is self care.  I literally refuse to stay in a place I do not want to be in.  I used to feel guilty however I have learned to do whats best for me.  Self care may be not attending an event.  I can’t tell you how many times I have not gone to something because I may have needed to relax or do my own thing.  I may have needed not to be in an environment that is toxic.  I happily will decline an invitation at this point.  If asked I will say sorry but not sorry I can’t attend.  A part of self care especially for me is realizing I am an adult I don’t owe individuals an explanation.  If someone sends an invite its my decision to politely decline.

Another part of self-care is knowing when enough is enough.  I had someone contact me. I didn’t even respond.  I knew I may have responded wrong or come off as if whatever was done in the past was an issue when reality is the person didn’t add or take away from my life.  However silence is always golden and I didn’t even need to engage so I didn’t.  It doesn’t have to make sense but it was to continue in my peace.  Anything that will have you mentally up in arms I don’t engage in.  Anything where I would give more than 15 minutes to hash out is probably not for me.  That’s why I am clear and don’t go back and forth with adults.  There is no need to.  That is a right that I have earned from stepping into adulthood.  I can’t think of a reason for back and forth at this point in my life.  I can agree to disagree and still go home and love on the ones I interact with daily.  I can even disagree with the ones in my home without messing up the atmosphere of my home.

Self care may look like disconnecting.  I am a lover of social media but I take small breaks away from it.  Yes its great for pushing my blog, interacting with family, but sometimes it can be doing the most so I disconnect.  I had a situation where I was arguing with a family member that I would have argued with offline but the point was, online for what?  That one was on me.  I was offended, but so what offenses will come. The world didn’t need to know that I was mad.  I could have handled that better so I take ownership of it and will not allow it to happen again.  I simply state what I feel and if someone comments, oh well.  There are probably screenshots of that very conversation floating around and for what?  So sometimes I don’t delete my social media that’s just crazy.   I am in control.  I never understood why adults can’t simply just not get on an app but that could be a part of their self-care so it is what it is. It’s no different from deleting or blocking.  I could just not engage but for me blocking works.  For me its simple my rule is simple I don’t socially block who I wouldn’t block in real life.  I check my block lists every now and again and if I sit and engage with you than no need to block you.  If I don’t and don’t plan on breaking bread with you, and I block your access to my real life, you can stay blocked on social media.  I don’t need a door opened where I wouldn’t give you access to me otherwise.  So no you don’t need to know about what me and my kids do when I don’t even reach out to you, talk to you, text you, email you, etc and don’t want to.  Its simple.  My life is simple these days because of the steps I take to keep it that way. Do you know the quietness but fullness of life I still have?  Trust.

Self care and self-improvement by far is the biggest goal in life outside of raising healthy children and having a good marriage between my husband and I.  It’s self-care daily practices that I use ALL the time.  I buy myself weekly flowers, I love them and they make me happy.  I journal daily because it keeps me grounded.  I work out 2-3 days a week because I am maintaining a healthy lifestyle and it keeps stress down.  I will go to bed and be okay with my husband putting the kids to sleep because I don’t have to do it all.  I can take a mental time out because that is what is necessary for me.  I can make sure that I am engaging in the little things that make me strong and healthy.  Please find that out for yourself and instead of engaging in bad behavior. Find and engage in what is going to make you a better person.  Also remember it may not make sense to a single soul, but if it makes sense to you, is keeping you grounded, positive, and hurts no one else than do it.

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For self-improvement we all can improve on ourselves, daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.  Everyday you should be striving to be better than your last.  With that in mind I don’t really ever feel like I have fully accomplished my goals.  I may complete some of them but there’s always another goal right in its place.  Even in relationships I know there will come a time where the relationships that need mended will mend.  The ones that don’t won’t. Everything is up to be changed and I am more than willing to walk in that change.  You have to do the same for what your life needs.

So again as this month is supposed to encourage you to be about self care and self improvement.

Hurt People Hurt People But You Can Do Better

It would be nice if we lived in a world where we all could uplift one another.  This is simply and unfortunately not the case.  We live in the world where with the change in political climate we spend hours of a date arguing and tearing one another down. Even politics aside the nature of the human spirit is tested to do the right thing and help one another.  Listen outside of religion and race we are do really share a lot of common experiences.  Think about a new mom who is struggling with life for those first weeks. I don’t know a mom who either experienced or not doesn’t understand what that feels like. What about a new marriage?  A couple unites and struggles with the fusing of this new life.  This is a common experience.

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We need to do a better job in uplifting one another not just when things go wrong like for instance the example of Hurricane Harvey.  Although it’s a beautiful thing to see and is needed, we need to learn to not allow a disaster to come along and THEN we step up.  We have a human right to extend the very best to our fellow sisters and brothers all around the world.  Let me also put things into perspective.  I have some folks that I have a general disdain.  I do not like them, they do not like me, but I give them and anyonelse respect.  I do not have to break bread with some folks to show respect. This costs me nothing. However at the end of the day if I was in a fire, or sick, or drowning would it matter at that moment who saved me?  Most likely not.  My disdain would only come into play when I can control the playing field. With that in mind, I try to make sure that although I may close the door of fellowship based upon personal experience with others that I do not do that with people who have done nothing to me.  Meaning for some when they are hurt they take out on the rest of the world their pain.  Pain is very overwhelming.  However pain I am having with family doesn’t need to spill into my social life.  It’s hard too when that pain resembles and is reminded.  It’s like having a band-aid on and having it peeled off temporarily and the wound hasn’t healed.

I win when I show in spirit, thought, and deed in others’ winning with me or around me. I can’t tell you the countless times as a blogger that I have been asked questions about what to do in a situation.  I am about to celebrate 3 years I don’t even consider myself to be the best, YET, but helping someone get to where I am in hopes that they take off with their site, makes me happy and fulfilled.  Uplifting and wanting what’s best even for those that I may not know is important.  To the ones I don’t vibe well with, I never practice ill will towards them.  It’s a hard balance at times when you have been hurt but me holding onto hurt does nothing but brings me down.  I am not perfect in that category but I am definitely working towards being a better version of myself.  With this in mind, there may come a time when I get to a place where I can sit in their presence and enjoy it.  I can sit in anyone’s presence when I have to and not let it get to me but to be willing to do so when I don’t have to is called personal choice.  I feel that it shouldn’t be forced.  It should be natural.  I can be in a room and say hello, and keep it moving. However to be in the room and chat it up unnecessarily is a personal choice.  I can uplift them and want what’s best for them without interacting outside of the need.

As I see stories of families, friends and strangers coming together during Harvey I am hoping that this continues to spread after the effects of Harvey dies.  I hope this continues in how we interact with one another even on social media.  I am a professional debater but I refuse to tear someone down just because we don’t agree.  Now I may decide to keep it real and not interact with someone who I don’t have to, wish them well and move on but I am at a point that I am not going out of my way to be malicious.  I am going to show support of who you are and your right to be who you are.  No different from knowing a person who is nasty in their spirit.  From a far I can not interact with you, show you respect, but make a personal choice that the vibes you send isn’t right for my spirit and not interact on a personal level.  However I have no right to dislike you and treat you badly, and then say I am a positive person.  Closing a door to a person who means you ill will doesn’t mean you are wishing them ill will either.  You have a right to protect your spirit.  You don’t have a right to be indirectly or directly mean and bash a person for being who they want to.  So I pray for all of those who is reading this blog, that they would be in a place to deal with hurt but don’t continue to hurt others or tear them down.  You have a responsibility to do the right thing towards even your enemies even when you choose to not interact with what they bring to your life.

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I am practicing these things and I am constantly checking myself so that I don’t respond when it’s not pure in heart.  I trust that even if I get it wrong that I can make it right by just doing what works for me and allowing others to do the same.

Protect your Spirit

Happy Monday to you.  Happy I am just making it Monday.  Happy I am alive Monday. Whatever your Monday looks like to you, make it that and rise above it.  Yes the weekend has left some of us dry.  If it wasn’t the news that is constantly being pushed in our faces, to relationships, situationships, kids, jobs, etc you may be at wit’s end.

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So we all know that we need to protect our spirit.  Your spirit is your essence.  It’s your wits.  It’s you in a nut shell. I know there are many times when I have to take a time out. I give my kids one and have no shame in taking one.  You need to protect your essence. All of life’s drama can take the beauty out of you if you let it.  Today I am even more guarded to keep being informed but to filter some of the junk to avoid getting too overly emotional or let things take me out of my element.

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Life is hard but cover yourself today and everyday.  Cover your children who don’t fully understand but are in the presence of the same junk you are touched with.  Never underestimate that they are able to pick up on negative vibes just as much as you do. Protect what they see and hear.  Protect who they are around.  Who you allow your kids to be around speaks volumes as they take on what on who is around them.  Protect what words you say around them as well.  Words have life and death in them and you have to be careful that the tearing down isn’t occurring in-house.  We are worried about the outsiders but truth be told you can cause more damage in house than you will ever know if you aren’t careful.

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Filter what you take on when it comes to social media. I love social media but the down size is that it doesn’t always allow you to be social.  It can become battle grounds.  It can become warfare. It can zap your energy.  It can take up so much of your time.  It can allow you to not be able to disengage with those around you.  It is a choice and you must make good choices on what you entertain on social media.  Everything isn’t worth a response. Everything doesn’t need a clap back.  You have to clean your social media act up. Delete some accounts you don’t need.  Take a few folks off that you allow to get you all up in arms.  Learn to take a step back with who you call friends on your social media accounts.  Never post anything you don’t stand by 100% and be prepared to live with any backlash.  Learn that some things that inspire you may just be for you.  Learn that you can choose to spread hate or love.  Love on yourself.  Practice self-love everyday.  Mental illness is real and it can be elevated by social media because when the mind is weak it allows the defenses of everything to be low.  Be careful.  Speak life today.  Speak life into your situations and find ways to make your bottom line better.  Reach out to help others when your able.  It’s no different from when you’re on a plane, they tell you to put the oxygen mask on you first.  Same rule applies in life, stop handing out all of your resources to others and leave yourself depleted.  Help you than you can help someone else.  Have a great Monday and practice self love and love on others around you.

Our Engagement Story: October 16, 2010 (Sweetest Day)

So on October 15, 2010 my friend Colleen came to pick me up.  She had called me several times before about the birthday party I was supposed to attend for my boyfriend at the time’s uncle birthday.  I really want to downplay what I was going to wear. However Marques had already gotten me a dress that we picked out a few weeks ago and with the dress I figured let me get to the salon and get my hair done.She took me to one of her girls and she did my hair.  I got my nails done and proceeded with my normal day.

On Saturday October 16, 2010 I drove to Philly but I had to make a stop to pick Marques up from the train station.  He had went on a business trip.  We got to the house I talked with his mom and then we went to the mall because he said he had to get a gift for his uncle.  We left the mall with no gift.  He said he couldn’t find anything.  We managed to eat and then back home to get dressed.  On the way there he says that one of his cousins might try to be late and he had to call them.  He pulled over on the side of the road and asked if the cousin had arrived and then he had to fix his clothes.  In my normal what are you doing, I asked him if he could wait until we got to our destination to fix his clothes.

Well we pull up to Maggiano’s and I ran into a long time friend. I wasn’t paying any attention until we walked into the room and I saw his family than I looked over and saw my college girlfriends sitting at the table and I knew this couldn’t have been for his uncle birthday.  I looked back and saw my parents and family and best friend sitting at a table and I knew immediately but I didn’t want to play myself.

He came in the room turned on the most beautiful photo spread and video and asked for my hand in marriage.  I was floored.  I couldn’t believe it. All the things I had in my mind I could barely say much but yes!!  His family was clowning him I do remember that asking what would he have done if I said no, but Marques knew I wouldn’t have said no.

The back story is that my college girlfriends had arrived Friday and were staying at the house.  When I got there they had left and basically it was arranged for them to get dressed and not be in the house so I wouldn’t see them.  But we had crossed paths and  I had no clue.  He had my parents and family there and the only times I remember them interacting was for the sake of our daughter.  It was a really beautiful time. Oh and there was no business trip.  It was a way to divert me from going to house.

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He put a lot of effort into this day.  I totally appreciated it all.  The other part to the proposal is the ring.  The ring was incredibly beautiful.  When he and I were dating back in the day, I would get my Essence magazines and read them.  In the magazine were always Tacori ring advertisements.  I fell in love with them.  They are super expensive sets.  Trust me. However he would ask me questions as to why I liked those rings.  My answer is simple, I loved how the band had diamonds all around it.  I like the princess cut and halo rings.  I liked how it looked different from other rings to me.  He never forgot that conversation. I later found out not how much he spent but trust me he wanted my social security number like Martin did Pam in the Martin comedy series but the effort.  It was the fact that he went and literally put this ring together.  He got the center stone from one place, got a setting and had it put together to my specifications like a Tacori ring.  So for that this ring means the world to me because of him listening to me, and knowing my style.  He could have gotten any ring and I would have loved it but the ring was made for me and it makes it that much more special.  Oh and my favorite food is Italian.  My favorite color is red he incorporated it all into the day.  We went to Maggiano’s at our first anniversary and the flood of emotions still gets me.  Marques has always been great with large gestures, the proposal was an extension of that.  To this day we celebrate Sweetest Day even when others don’t.  It’s our own special Valentine’s Day.

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I asked him why he proposed, and it was simple, he loved me and it was time.  Also he told me that I was by his side throughout the years he wanted to give me the ring that I loved and he did!!!

 

Shout out to all of our family and friends who helped in the background to pull that day off!!

 

Ask Toi: What do you do if a wedding invitation was sent and replied to but you receive a letter saying you are no longer invited?

So the back history to this question is the reason given is that the bride and groom is over their numbers.

Let me give a sad face to the couple. Okay that’s all they get from me. I would not attend the wedding and forego the reception.  I personally think it’s super tacky to invite someone, have them send in their reply card on time and then you send a letter about being uninvited.  The reply card is exclusively for the reception. No one is charging per head to step in most public churches so this is about the reception per plate cost. Do I understand the expenses of weddings? Absolutely. There are so many that you love but just can’t accommodate. However have your final count before sending out the actual invitation. For me it’s as simple as not going and DEF no gift being sent. If you are planning a wedding please understand that this is the most tackiest thing you could do. It’s tacky even if you call your guests and try to explain BUT a letter is just plain craziness to me. 

I’m not saying don’t be their friend or if they are family cut them off BUT you can best believe an invite for anything else going forward would be getting the side eye. Who does this type of craziness?