Ask Toi: How do you survive the argumentative double date?!

So the back story is a reader is married and friends with another girl and her husband and they often go out on double dates except the dates have become uncomfortable due to the invited couple arguing and making a scene every where they go!

My advice is speak to the friend aka the wife. But before you speak to her go into the situation knowing that you will not change how that husband and wife interacts. You really shouldn’t want to. The second you go into that conversation with any other expectation you are setting yourself up for failure.

You being married already know that the second you attempt to explain that the arguing and fighting is wrong it at least wrong while on dates the wife will take offense. You don’t have to be around a bunch of yelling and drama just because it’s their right to be the type of couple they choose to be! I know some folks reading this is thinking maybe the friend will be receptive but the truth of the matter is that other friend knows her and her husband are doing the most and they don’t care. There’s no way you can be out with folks being loud, arguing, making a scene and it keeps happening and they just don’t get it?!

So you need to let her know that it’s uncomfortable and the next time they ask you to go out say no. If the wife asks you why just say you needed a break from the drama. This sends the clear message and gives you the power to make it about you and not them. They can be and interact any way they want but what they can’t do is expect you to be okay with it especially in public. Not only that who wants to be around that all the time outside of them?! If they love it then kudos to them but folks hate being out and attempting to be about fun and uplifting marital bliss and having to have all eyes on them cause one part of the party is doing the most. My thing and this is a little extra information to anyone who knows they are that argumentative couple, stay home. I get that things can pop off at any given time but at some point that has to get old. You will lose friends and other couples who want to be around you because you can’t shut it down for a few hours! If you have that much dysfunction go to counseling. Seriously!

You as the friend do need to speak up since it’s bothering you or you and your husband but friend or not you don’t have to subject yourself to that behavior double date or not. To be honest double dates are fun but telling your friend no can allow you and your own husband the ability to go out without being embarrassed or uncomfortable!


Sunday Message: Moving Slowly

There are many weekends when I move like super fast.  I am on point and getting things done seem like a breeze. Then there are those times when I feel out of place, out of water, and quite frankly there are times when things don’t get done, and I feel overwhelmed.  You have to understand that when you have things moving slowly around you that its not going to take over you.  You will eventually get your to do list done.  You may need to rest or you may need this slow time as preparation for something up ahead but you will be fine.

You don’t have to do it all right now.  Some things can wait.  That is a lesson in itself. Sometimes its one of the hardest to learn and accept. Sometimes you think you have it down but then life throws you a curve ball. Trust the process that it will work out especially if you are constantly doing what you can do to continuously and with effort.

Women’s History Month; Cheryl A., an Update

Good day to all.  We have none other than Cheryl A. who is coming back to us with an update.  If you remember we interviewed her on March 3, 2016.  At the time a lot of her goals had not come into fruition.  Let’s see what Cheryl has been up to from 2 years ago.

I wanted to know what she would tell her younger self if she could go back in time:

GO FOR IT..your dreams are never too small.  Take the chance, explore the world, study abroad, go to school in another state or another country.  Be confident, walk with your head high, there is only one you and you are unique. You are not everyone’s cup of tea and that is ok.  Enjoy the people who love you for you.  Failure is a part of life but learn the lesson.   Learn yourself, love yourself, become a whole person.

A recurring theme with all of these blogs are little nuggets on areas such as life, love, and career. These areas are some of the most thought about moments of our lives.  I wanted to know what Cheryl’s take on each:

Life-I could go on and on about this topic! Life has thrown me so many curveballs from death, health issues, relationship drama (friends, family, work, etc..).  Life has taught me to own my stuff.  If you are wrong admit it and resolve it if possible.  However, life has taught me that no matter how much you own your stuff there will always be the naysayers.  Some people just don’t like me and I’ve learned to finally accept that. Gone are the days where I wanted people’s acceptance.  I have learned to live my best life and not live beneath my capabilities to make others comfortable.  I’ve learned to accept the apologies I will never receive.  I’ve learned that verbal abuse and toxic people are real and I will not allow that in my life.  I’ve learned that I do not have to prove my forgiveness.  I’ve learned that no matter what positive changes you make in your life, someone will always hold you to the “I remember when” of your past.  I’ve learned to that people will show you and in my case tell you how they feel about you, through that I’ve learned to be okay with it. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I have accepted what I’ve been shown and told and have moved one.  So of course, those relationships ended and some will never start.  I refuse to be in one-sided relationships, so if I’m the one doing all the calling, reaching out, scheduling, etc..that will no longer work for me.  The end of 2017 resonated some things in me and I knew that 2018 had to be different for me. I’m talking different in the way I navigate life and situations.  My circle has always been small, but I am no longer giving front seats to my life nor allowing situations to move me.  I’ve learned to be confident not cocky, humble but not a pushover.  I’ve learned to take my power back. 

So I am sure there were a few things you could have gotten from those words. Think about not giving front seats to those who don’t deserve it.  You go out of your way to be there for others or people have an expectancy that they don’t do in return.  You have to be careful of the energy you give.  You can not operate from an empty cup.  Keep your cup full!

Love-This year will be 10 years of marriage! It’s amazing to even last this long.  My marriage has had its share of troubles over the years and moving 1200 miles within 30 days didn’t make it any easier.  However, I wouldn’t change anything.  Marriage has taught me unconditional love, friendship and compromise.  Yes, marriage takes work but it’s only hard if you make it hard.  I can admit that at times I made things unnecessarily difficult.  See the problem was, I wasn’t my own complete person. I fell into the trap of he has to be this and that to me when reality is I’m responsible for me and my own happiness.  I had the degrees, job, friends, etc…but there was still a void, a void that my husband could not fill nor was it his responsibility to fill.  I had to get real with myself and get to my real issues and deal with them.  The key for me was to take responsibility for myself and God will work everything else out.  Marriage is a commitment, so if you are committed you will face the challenges and do the work to keep that commitment.  Curveballs will be thrown in the form of family, finances, friendships, etc..but you need to pick your battles wisely.  Every battle isn’t worth the fight and some battles are won with silence.  Be mindful of who or what you allow in, everyone or everything doesn’t get an automatic pass because of who are what they are in your life.   There are boundaries that should never be crossed and ultimatums should never be given.

Career-All you need is ONE yes.  It doesn’t matter how many times you hear no, keep on pressing.  If it’s a no, that door is not for you so stop knocking on it.  My journey to a new career took 6 years.  I had faith and I worked my faith, completed many applications, traveled to various cities and states for interviews, did video interviews, essays, tests, etc…and I heard no for 6 years.  Disappointed and frustrated but I pressed on (thanks to the people who supported me and didn’t give up on me when I wanted to give up).  Those 6 years was a process I had to go through, lessons I had to learn.  Relationships that were restored and some that needed to be ended.  I remember my former Pastor, Alex Rivera saying “A blessing too early is a burden.”  I didn’t get it then, but I get it now.  My blessing in my new career was already there and set up by God BUT 6 years ago, I wasn’t mentally, emotionally or spiritually prepared. Being unprepared would have resulted in my blessing being a burden.  So I’m grateful for the journey and the lessons I learned along the way.  I won’t lie and say it’s been smooth sailing, but I will say that when everything is done in order and you embrace the journey and the lessons, it was worth the wait.

She has waited 6 years to step into her dream job.  What will your future look like?

I would like to say retired, but I have 19 years until that happens. I hoping that at least a full girls/my bestie trip will finally happen (YES that was shade)! Seriously, I do plan to work hard to see where this career is going take me. I know I am now in a position with many opportunities and I plan to take advantage of that.  I plan to build both my professional and personal networks. 

As I stated, I was on a new career path that started back in 2011 and didn’t come to fruition until 2017.  You may think the accomplishment is working as a Lancaster County JOP for 12.5 years and now working as a USPO in Miami, Florida is the accomplishment.  In a way it is, but the biggest accomplishment is, that I didn’t give up.  Many times I wanted to throw in the towel and just settle for what was and has been for 12 years.  Comfortability and complacency is easy.  Taking a risk like moving from everything you have always known to a place where you know nothing or no one but your husband.  Not being able to fully embrace the greatness in the career chance because you are questioning is this the right decision? What if it doesn’t work? What if I don’t like it? How do I start over?   Self doubt, fear, worry, etc..starts to creep in…BUT again, I didn’t give up, I just kept pressing through.  So 9 months later, here I am, still pressing through and it has gotten easier with time.

Hubby and I have some business ventures in mind, I won’t go into detail, but they are there and we are committed to seeing them through.  As some know, I am also an Adjunct Professor, I want to get back to as well.  A short term goal I have is to go parasailing and hubby and I are going to concur that on our anniversary trip.

What are your feelings on the #metoo movement?

As a Criminal Justice Professional for almost 14 years, I have been able to provide a non-judgement zone.  I continue to be a listening ear, a liaison and a person of support.

Self love is always my goal for my readers.  How do you practice self love?

Self-love for me is the basics, regular hair appointments, trips to the nail salon, reading to expand my mind and overall enjoying the life that I have been given.  As previously stated, I also avoid drama and toxic people.  It doesn’t matter who you are, if my experience with you has been drama or toxic, you will not be a part of my life. I can be respectful and cordial, but that’s all I have to offer you.  I’ve learned to be okay with whatever is, meaning, if I don’t hear from that person, if I don’t get included, if people talk about me, if people still want to  live in the “I remember when” of my life, I’ve learned to accept it.  Self Love is knowing that I am no longer that person and I love my self enough to know that being tied to the past is contrary to where I am going.  Self Love is embracing those that have shown that despite whatever has transpired they will always be there to support me, lift me up and celebrate me.

Thank you Cheryl for using your voice.  I hope that you are enjoying your new career and I wish you much success!!!


Sunday Message: Get you a Life

Good Sunday morning! Today I am having a pretty calm day. I spent most of my Saturday having my own personal day of sorts. It was great; music, fun, movies, lunches family, friends, and a few drinks! But as I sit today keeping my son from spreading germs on everyone I am reminded of a few things.


I absolutely love Snapchat! It’s super fun and can give you a glimpse into other people’s lives. It’s a way to be light, have fun with filters and really let your personality shine. A few things to remember as you live is that life is way beyond filters. Do not all yourself to look at someone else’s life and envy a life you think they have. There are times when filters can be cool but deceiving. How many smiles are hidden by pain? Live a full life. If you see something someone has and you truly desire it i.e something material then find a way to incorporate it! You do realize there’s always ways to get the same thing on a budget?! But get it if you like it not to feel as if once you obtain it you will be better because you won’t! Material gain is only a small portion of life. Life is about how you treat others, what you give to those around you and how you treat yourself since how you treat you will help or hinder the relationships around you!


This is through Instagram and another way to be able to get a glimpse into another person’s life! They are fun but again same principle. Don’t spend so much time worrying about this instalife but not about the life you should be creating in real life.

Life has so many opportunities to create smoke screens. They are fun but remember to find ways to enjoy life in real life time. Don’t be so serious all the time that you make yourself miserable. If you woke up and really felt like your life was missing something but didn’t look at ways to create the life you want you are wasting precious time!

Take the steps to have a real life. To find ways that you can genuinely smile. Ways that you can live in your true purpose and gift. Ways that serves others and make sure you fill your own cups too. Life was meant to be lived not just on social media day dreaming about what others have.

We are about to come upon a new season. What have you done well in the Winter? What could you change? What are your goals? What are you doing daily to reach them? When was the last time you did something you enjoyed? When was the last time you spent time by yourself? What about with real friends? Want flowers but you are waiting around for someone else to buy them, go get them for yourself! Decorate your home the way you want! Clean and declutter your life! These are things that as you complete them your real life goes up!

Live your real life to the best of your ability!! Smile! Don’t give your joy away!

Stop Being Afraid of No

In life the word no is probably one of the easiest to say yet the hardest to hear, just ask a toddler. No feels so definitive. It sounds so final but there is a lot of character, life, and perseverance that grows from no.

I’ll be the first to admit that no can be intimidating. It hurts. It’s disappointing and it can be blinding at times. However if I’m honest I’ve heard no so many times I know I can’t count them all. Every time has had different responses. If I was strong mentally and emotionally no didn’t even bother me. If I was anticipating a difference response it at times knocked the wind out of me. No works that way. It builds character. Makes you work hard and sometimes line you up. It makes you re-think and come with a new plan!

This is why I definitely believe in giving kids a no answer sometimes. Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should. Brats are birthed at the inability to hear no, adjust and keep moving. There are quite a few adult brats in this world.

Today understand that no doesn’t kill you. It doesn’t stop you unless you allow it. It doesn’t make you less of a person from hearing it either. No isn’t a total denial. There were times I’ve told myself no I wouldn’t make it through something and here I am standing stronger even with battle wounds. I’ve told myself no you can’t be a better person and here I stand working daily to make it through. I’ve been told no to jobs, relationships, and dreams. I’m still pursuing my goals. I’ve had to stop and wipe tears from my eyes but I kept going and I am still going forward. No doesn’t stop you unless you allow it.

Can you finish college? Yes. It may take you a few years but you can still do it. Can you get that dream job? Yes you can. Think about the Black Panther movie, tribe elder Dorothy Steel is 92 years young. She started acting at age 88. Stop and think about that. I don’t know her full story but to start at that age bracket and hit that goal is nothing short of amazing. So what if your goal wasn’t realized until later down the road?! I know of a friend who applied to the same field for 6 years and finally got it right at the deadline to apply. 6 years of frustration, pain, time and money spent and finally it happened.

What about the couple trying to have a child and finally after years it happens? What about the couple who has tried and it doesn’t happen for them?! They still have to keep moving in love regardless of this dream deferred. No is powerful! But no isn’t a joy-kill unless you give it power!

Don’t sit on a dream because of your initial fear of hearing the words, no. Know that it will sting but if something is worth it, you can push through and make it happen. When I first moved to Philadelphia I was settling into being a stay at home mom. I had a toddler and a baby in my belly. Then when I was ready to get back into the working field I found it hard! I wasn’t accustomed to hearing no. I was the type that could walk into an interview and get hired on the spot. But then with years out of the work world, priority changes, I heard no way more times then I thought I should. It hurt like hell. I could get all the way to a second interview and think I’ve nailed it only for another candidate to get it. Telling myself that maybe it wasn’t for me to soften the blow didn’t always work if I’m real about it! I wanted what I wanted and that no at times would make me want to give up. The thing about no is that it doesn’t care who you are, your skill set, etc. no is no until you take no and make something out of it.

Whatever no you told yourself, change it. Whatever no you have heard that allowed to stop you in your tracks, get up. I didn’t say it would be easy. I never told you that motivation was supposed to paint this easy picture. It’s not! Motivation allows you another deep breath to prepare for what you want and strengthens you in case no happens again. Sometimes no comes in certain seasons of life. Sometimes no comes in waves. Ride the waves and turn your no around. This is why the Mo’niques of the world have to find ways to make their own wave. No is hard but don’t take the world and burn bridges. Dust the sting of no and find your own opportunities!

Move past your no today!

What to do in Your Weekends to Prepare For Your Upcoming Week?

Weekends if you work a Monday-Friday type of job should be used to get your mind right, spend time with family and friends and have a break from the mundane.  If you are an entrepreneur you know there is no such thing as a day off, work is all the time.  If you are in the nursing field or are the type that has to be in public office such police, fire etc then time off is a blessing.  Regardless when its time to break, break! Overworking even if it’s for yourself is crazy.  None of that money you will take with you.  So learn to balance your life so you can make a little living and be here to enjoy the fruits of your labor!

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What you should be doing is simple:

  1. Relaxing-yes this is not a curse word.  Relaxing.  I used to try to jam pack so much into the weekend and slowly I am learning that less is best.  I don’t need each second filled with something to do.  I do need to find activities that everyone needs in my house but more specifically I selfishly need to make sure I am good to.
  2. Rest-I have 3 kids  and a pretty busy schedule and used to feel super guilty about taking a nap or going to bed early or resting.  This is human nature and a right. Take it.  Do not feel guilty.  Crawl in that bed, put your feed up, get your rest and get some sleep.  Successful people know how to turn it up and they know when to turn it down.
  3. Renew your mind-you see the pattern. It starts with choices and you must make a choice to renew. Some people go to church or other spiritual filling exercise.  Some do yoga.  Whatever you choose and there are plenty of choices do it and do it regularly.
  4. Plan and work their plan. Sometime I sit and look at the week before and find out how I could have done things differently.  It could be something as simple as making snacks bags the day before whatever it is find it, do it.  Any time saved is enough to shave off stress throughout the week.  This is why my crock pot is sacred.  Shout out to my husband who got me 2.  I ain’t hardly mad. I will turn them both on and that’s at least 2-4 days worth of food per crock pot meal.
  5. Have some fun.  I mean my goodness let your hair down a little. Grab you some adult juice or a mocktail.  Go find a party and dance or create a party right at home.  Do you know how many times a dance party for me and the kids has been a workout and fun?  Plenty.  Lighten up.
  6. Go on an outing. Please do not tell me about how broke you are.  Broke is a mindset.  Yes your account could have cobwebs but be inventive.  Do you know how strong my Google fingers are?  Hella strong.  The amount of free I have found could hurt someone’s feelings. Get out. Go to the park and get some fresh air.  The winter is tricky times but can find something to do.  Even doing some walking around at the malls on a rainy day is fun. FYI, the malls and movie theatres are the most busy during these times.
  7. Create.  I find that I use my Pintrest the most on the weekends or sometimes during the end of the week to find activities that are super fun, cheap, and did I say fun?  Yes there are somethings for everyone.  You could have a movie in night where you invite another family. Make it fun by creating cute little movie themed snacks, and it can be simple and rewarding.

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Whatever you plan to do this weekend-actually do.  I hate going into work and people talk about how boring their weekend was.  I am thinking to myself, they themselves may just be boring people.  Life is about living. Get out and find out what life has to offer. There are a thousand events to go to, things to do, places to be. Whatever it is get out there and find them!

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A Sister Roundup-Don’t Fall Off

Good morning all!

We should at this point have gotten our Valentine’s Day our of our systems and continue on showing love to the ones in our lives daily.  If you didn’t have the Valentine’s Day you wanted I get it, at this point, refocus from this one day and find ways to use self-care to get through.  You still have other days ahead that are going to need your attention.and dwelling on that one day past the 24 hours that followed means that you are allowing this to overtake you.

I wanted to do something different today to have a check in of sorts but instead of highlighting my highs and lows, let’s just talk about various aspects of our mental health.  One this has NOTHING to do with the allegations of mental abuse with the recent school shooting.  As much as I know mental disease played a part in it, I am one for calling a spade a spade and say that premeditated homicide is a different type of beast.  That is a blog for a different day.  However I send prayer and love to the community of Parkland and pray that with prayers, we have an action plan in place and sooner than later.  I am one for prayer but faith without works is dead, we need action.

Love Life

All of us regardless of where we are need to heal and have some closures in a few places.  Let me be clear that this has NOTHING to do with your tax status. A hurting heart will not heal from a wedding ring.  I know we have been conditioned to believe that marriage is the answer to love woes but it’s actually not. Marriage is like having a constant mirror walking around.  A lot of wounds that you haven’t dealt with will come up during marriage.  So if you are looking for marriage to complete you, this is misguided thinking.   It will not.  It will make you face yourself.  The issue with having someone to face yourself is that not all marriages are strong enough for the depth of junk that people bring into them. So I would suggest that you work on the things that you need before.

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Also there are some folks that would rather be single.  There is nothing wrong with that.  That’s not different then the folks that don’t want to be parents.  Your life, your choice.  Just be sure that wherever you want love not to go down the wrong path.  If you constantly see a pattern in whom you are choosing, don’t blame the people you dated, take accountability.  Remember self-care and self-love go hand in hand in your love journey it’s not something to attempt to do after you have entangled someone with you.  Also have a plan or list that you have in the back of your mind but make the non negotiable things that deal with character above physical in your mind especially if you are dating and looking.  I know women who have these laundry lists of their wants and needs and they are superficial to say the least.  Often times they don’t take character into play.  If you have a good-looking liar, you aren’t winning.  However you should be attracted to the person you are with.  So balance it!

Friendships/Sister Friends

I am in the process of weeding out a few bad apples. I find myself doing this often.  As I take accountability for my own actions one of the actions is my actions for friendships. It doesn’t matter how long I have been friends with them either.  Zero passes need to be given.  Since I have gotten older, my desires have changed.  With that some friendships were great for the phase of life I WAS in but not for where I am now nor for where I am headed.  With that in mind let’s cut away the leech friends.  The ones who have zero problems taking but do not ever give.  It’s not cool and as everyone is working on themselves the excuses has to stop.  You can have a million and one excuses but if you are out here being a bad friend, own it  and decide do you really want to change?  If yes then do so if not then be honest and let the friendship fizzle out.  Also friends shouldn’t get so comfortable that you take friendship for granted.  This means thank you, and please go a long way.  I think above all we have to remember that when we deal with others in general.  You’re not so much of my sis that you can forget that.

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We want to be connected but having bad connections is bad for your life in general.  Oh and be extremely leery of these friendship circles.  I was invited to one that I accepted because I know they are about building up.  But I declined one because it was really about selling stuff.  Listen, sis I love to shop but I am also on team savings too.  I want to help you build your brand but you can’t fill my inbox with let’s make money quick schemes and have me stay.  Not one time was it about praying, lifting another one up, or even about making sure everyone felt loved and secure.  I pass on these types all the time. This was one of the major pushes for cleaning up my social media.  I had way too many groups talking about helping that turned into everyone thinking they knew everything, let’s talk crap about another sister, or finding out the tea in someone’s life.  I got a healthy life, so I don’t have much time for the foolishness. I spend more time with solid relationships, my family, going to church, self-care and the gym that’s plenty for me.


What have you done this week for you?  Literally I found that I was super agitated more this week wondering if and why someone else hadn’t poured into me.  Totally selfish of me but it happened. One thing to note is never do anything for anyone and look for something in return.  The second thing that it showed me is that I lacked something that is within myself and I sought after that instead of wasting time being upset at someone else.  I have what I need inside of me. Do not tax others to do for you what you wont do for you.  It’s that simple.  Self care comes from various sources from free to lavish. You find where you can and what you can and you do it.  You really should be finding something you can do for you daily not just weekly.  If you have gotten to this Friday and can’t name one thing you did for yourself that made you better, than you have some catching up to do.  Ladies and gentlemen, self-care is not an option its a must.


I can not stress enough getting ALL of your tests done.  Have you made an eye appt?  What about a gynecological exam?  No physical?  No follow-ups done either?  What in the real world are you waiting for?  You do realize that putting it off will not make anything go away?  Be vigilant about your health and what you want.  Be vigilant in making sure that you will be here in the future.  Go and be seen.  There is no reason to have something sneak up on you when we have the technology to do something about it.We need to make sure that our health is fully taken care of. How active are you?  How many hours a week are you putting into an active lifestyle?  Have you substituted the stairs for the elevators, maybe do a work out tape or a free YouTube exercise instead of constantly sitting in front of the television?  Maybe substituted a bad snack for a better healthier option?  Whatever you are not doing, let’s change that.  Let’s get up and move a bit.  Sitting is the new smoking so let’s end these bad habits and do it now.

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This has been an interesting week to say the least and remember it’s February so all the hoopla from the New Year’s wears off this month.  Don’t let the momentum stop you.  Renew your mindset and refocus on your goals.  Don’t let this super short month get you.  I know even with the flu it was hard to recommit but I did it and so can you.  Bad habits only last as long as you want them.  Good habits can do the same.  Make yourself a priority.

So I am hoping that with everything that is going on personally and professionally that you find a way to recommit to having the best life you can. No things aren’t perfect but you can have a better life if you make the right choices.  Sometimes those choices mean that you may need to say no, turn a few things off, say no to a few invitations and maybe even cut off a few along the way, but whatever it is that you need to do, do it and do it well!