Fusing Friendships

One of the biggest challenges when I moved to Philly years ago was leaving what I was comfortable being around. I was used to my set of friends. I was used to my town. I knew how to get everywhere. Lancaster was small enough for me to navigate my life and it was fine. Fast forward to getting engaged to my husband and I knew that I would have to move. In the beginning I was excited to start this new life but I didn’t think about the challenges.  The biggest challenge was friends and wanting to have my own sense of community like I had in Lancaster. As much as people want to leave Lancaster, one of the biggest things about leaving that you can’t deny is community.

Friend Factor

Being that I was comfortable with my friends, I never thought about what would happen when I moved. I didn’t invite anyone to visit me in Philadelphia. I always just went back to Lancaster. Lancaster is home. It feels right. I can go back today and fit right in with zero issues. Friendships matter to me. Having a core set of friends even if they aren’t from Lancaster has always been my saving grace. When I was single and not attached I could take a trip and have girl time with any of them. My biggest hurdle was being pregnant with a toddler in a city I had NO friends in.  At first I focused on making sure my toddler was secure. I made that my number one priority. Then making sure the new baby I was carrying was safe and healthy.  Then I would go back and forth traveling either pregnant, or with a toddler and newborn baby.  When I think about it now there needed to be balance in that. No way should I have made that into one sided trips. Anyone who follows my blogs know the reason I kept going to Lancaster was my refusal to be in Philadelphia and attempt to make things happen.

Fusing Friends

The issue I have less now of but definitely more when I first moved was when my husband wanted me to fuse relationships with his friends. He never asked me to but he would tell me to be open to relationships. My response was so super negative and I wasn’t able to take his advice at face value. Even now some of his friends wives who I think are completely awesome I don’t see myself getting as close to. I never wanted to have my friends to only be an extension of him. Meaning I didn’t want to get in a situation where his friends or their significant others felt obligated to be nice to me out of respect for him. I don’t keep friends like that. I only and always ask for respect and I give it.  I do not expect people to extend themselves to me to save face.  So even know I have met a great level of friends through him but I refuse to force myself on any of them. It’s hard for me at times to push past anxiety.

When I do often times I find folks aren’t as receptive.  Let me give an example. I reached out to one via text. I still have yet to hear back. Like not for nothing I’m in a better place. Petty Toi would be super stank when I see her in the future but why?! Now when I see the same person (s), it’s always hey let’s get together. To my husband he thinks they are being nice. To what actually happens is after a few text messages, the real of let’s get together to be nice in public and the real of let’s get together in real life don’t match. I am the person that will take you at what your action says over what you say to save face.  This isn’t to say they are fake or they don’t like me. It’s the fact that this is the real of what happens when you come into someone else’s circle. It takes time to build a relationship or if you are honest, as a wife no one is obligated to be friends with me just because they are friends with him.  Having my husband be the only thing in common isn’t enough to fuse a relationship. This thought process takes growth.

So anyone who has ever dealt with social anxiety knows it takes a large level of bravery to put yourself out to others. The Toi that I was when I first moved here was a lot more cut throat than I am now. I have completely softened but not to the point of stupidity. Back in the day when I needed to feel apart I was more hurt and out of that hurt I would cut a person off. Now I don’t worry about vibes that don’t return to me. I get that I am coming into already long lasting relationships and for that I don’t get moved as much.  I don’t over extend myself to people. There is a fine line between hey girl, and feeling like after 4-5 attempts and not getting the message. We all have lives. I am married. I have 3 kids. I blog. I work a full and a part time job. I am not looking for someone to be an instant bestie.

Here are my tips when you struggle to make new friends in an established group:

  • Be yourself
  • Always be cordial
  • Attempt to make yourself a friend
  • Don’t get caught up when the friendly relationship is only when you see certain folks
  • Look to find your own friends by getting out in social events
  • Do not feel obligated to overextend yourself to others if they show you who they are-believe them
  • Don’t take things personal
  • Work on you this will bring others that are supposed to be around you
  • Remember you are awesome

Be gentle with yourself as you fuse into a new life, new city, etc

It’s hard to figure out the life balance. You don’t have to have all of the answers.

Know that you will get better as you practice self care, take risks, put yourself out to be a friend, etc

It’s not the number of friends you have but the ones who are super solid! They outweigh having large entourages any day.

Shout out to my friends new and old who are all around awesome!! You have made this transition in your own way, better.

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Keep your Thanksgiving Wits

So this is the last weekend before Thanksgiving. Keep in mind that the grocery stores will be super crowded. So take your patience with you as you travel out. Between stores and traffic it will be a testing time.

Prepare for the holidays with more than what you will eat. Think about who you will invite and if you can find it in your heart to give towards others who may not be as fortunate. Think about ways you and your family can assist others either by donating food to food banks, volunteering to serve meals to others on Thanksgiving morning, or finding a family to sponsor. Either way let’s open our hearts to one another.

Another way to get ready for the holidays when going to the grocery store is to go with a list. I would attempt to get all that you need and treat it as if it was the day. This will help you to make those trips and you may find it may take more than one.  You will always need extra milk, eggs, and butter. So stack up early. I for one know that I need to get the list going so I don’t forget the key items. Thanksgiving eve is not the time to go to the store. All of the last-minute folks will be on super edge. Avoid them if you can.

chicken close up dish food

Photo by Public Domain Pictures on Pexels.com

Also think if you are doing a fancy seating chart, how you want things decorated and who will sit where. Also don’t forget about the kids. It’s best to have activities to keep the littles occupied.  This will save from the necessary meltdowns. If you are having dinner at a specific time and you know you are the late type person, have appetizers for others to enjoy while they wait. It’s super annoying to go to someone’s house, arrive on time, and they still making key dishes and they have ZERO snacks. Think about your guest and have good appetizers as well as great drinks.  Trust me you will be the hostess with the mostest if you have the necessary food in place.

If you can’t cook let me stress this isn’t the time to train. You should have been practicing all year-long but not today. Today is the day you stick to the things you do well. Maybe that means you should bring the wine.  Either way don’t be out here telling folks you got a speciality dish and your food ain’t hitting. I don’t know about you but the way my family is set up, you getting clowned. Stick to what you know and stick to the basics. If you have kids also bring them extra activities. Not all host will keep your children entertained although they should if they invited guests with kids. Even with our kids being a little older, we come prepared with extra outfits, entertainment, and we have a code word if we think things are getting out of hand. We have a code word between my husband and I for everywhere that we go. We use this word if one of us is ready to go or something is happening that is too much. This has been our saving grace.

If you go to someone’s home bring something. I always try to bring something. Like the times we go to my mom’s house. I bring a dessert, something. I have 5 folks in my home. There’s no way I am coming to someone’s home squad deep with nothing in my hand. Unless the person insists, bring a dish. Or even bring a bottle to share. That is always a gift. If the person of whom you are going doesn’t drink, make a non alcoholic drink that is festive to share. There are ways around no alcohol. Get on Pintrest, online, anything and make it special.

bowl of red round fruits

Photo by Jessica Lewis on Pexels.com

Think about what you are going to wear. Some people wing it and that is fine, but if you want to be dressed up, make sure you have your outfit together. My uncle doesn’t require fancy attire so unless I get the kids Thanksgiving shirts, I just stick to being comfortable.  If your gathering is requiring more formal affair, be cute and comfy. Do not over do it and especially with kids. They are going to get dirty. They are going to play. They do not ever care about dressed and dress shoes. So go into the situation knowing that and always bring a back up outfit for them so when the pictures are done being taken you can move along and enjoy your day!

Above all be grateful for what you have. Think about the day and what it is all about. More than prepping food, it is about making sure that you spend it with those you love. It’s about being grateful for all advancements that we have. It’s about sitting around the table enjoying one another’s company. So enjoy as you prepare it doesn’t have to be filled with stress! Don’t forget to call your loved ones who couldn’t be with you on the day as well and tell them you love them!

Ask Toi: What do you do if you reach out to a friend and they constantly ghost you?

Stop reaching out to them. They could have things going on or they could just not be in the space to talk at all or specifically to you. There is no way of knowing. However its okay to reach out a few times to someone. After the ghosting continues, just go on. I know it sounds super harsh that I wouldn’t encourage you to chase people but in 2018, give people space to process their lives. The ghosting may not be about you but there is no reason to chase an adult around for any reason. You can always pick up with a person if they had stuff going on that prevented them from being a good friend. When you see that adult being super cool with another person in the midst of ghosting you, than just leave it be. Who is supposed to be in your life will be. I also belief in provision. If you need a friend and you continue to be a good friend, God, the universe etc. will send you what you need to replace. This is why I always believe you never really lose friends.  So acknowledge how frustrated you are and then release that person and the relationship.  Also do not feel obligated if you see that person in person to do more than a hi and bye. You don’t have to do acrobats to get that person’s attention. People are allowed to process life, go on in life, befriend who they need to. You also have every right to continue on in your life and be at peace. Part of peace is about preserving your spirit.

Monday Motivation: Keeping Space

So here we are on another Monday. Tired from the weekend and dreading another manic Monday. However instead of playing the I don’t want to go out and adult game, change your perspective. Start today or even reset your day with how you think about the tasks at hand.

You can’t get to glorious Friday unless you go through the week. All of the challenges will be overwhelming at points but in the end you will make it through. Start your Monday in the right head space. I have had the toughest few weeks I’ve seen in a long while. However my attitude has been hands down the deciding factor on pushing through or feeling pushed over. I am in control of my responses and my reactions. So if you’re struggling this Monday morning, no worries don’t let that mindset stay with you all day or all week.

I was listening to a podcast and it talked about how moments don’t gave to run our lives. We live in moments too long that we could have dealt with and moved on. Bad traffic in the morning shouting be still on your mind by lunch time. Your kids messing up with the morning commute shouldn’t be on your mind at dinner time. So change your moments and make them the best that you can!! Change your mindset and change your day!!

Saxby; Change your Environment

Today’s message comes from the beautiful Saxbys. I am here in this space and the environment is super conducive to crushing my goals. A lot of followers know I always plan my blogs ahead of time. It helps me to continue in my creativity. I found Saxbys online and from their Instagram I really thought it was somewhere outside of Philadelphia. I was wrong. This was about less than 15 minutes from my house. I planned in my head to give them a try.

Two places for a self-proclaimed nerd are bookstores and coffee shops. The reason is I love the atmosphere that is present in both places.  Saxbys gave me the 3 things I look forward to while being in coffee shops. One is natural lighting. I love the way it makes me feel therefore I can create in that type of space. The second is COFFEE. I had their sweet mint cold brew and it tasted so good it made me second guess my selection. I didn’t have to add anything in it other than my almond milk. You know I am still on team no dairy. First sip had me in love. Sweet mint had enough of the chocolate mint flavor that I felt like it was  Girl Scout cookie. I’ll get back to sipping.  The third thing that I love about Saxbys is the third element that I look forward to with coffee shops and that’s the people in it. I know its hard to separate a place from the folks that comes in, but truth be told the right coffee shop’s elements will attract certain types. I loved that Saxbys gave me what I needed.

Now how does Saxbys help in today’s message, changing your environment. I have been and always will remain creative because that is who I am. However sometimes stepping out of your controlled spaces helps to get you moving towards your goals in ways you wouldn’t have even given thought. For one moving out of my house today allowed me to take care of one of my needs today and that was to get away from my family. I love the kids but after a while mommy needs her ear phones and adult interaction. My husband doesn’t drink coffee like that and its rare that he’s going to a coffee shop with me. It’s like my own mental retreat. One of my other needs was coffee. Sometimes I wake up with headaches that I know that often times caffeine helps. Saxbys cold brew had some of the coffee I’ve had in a while. It was exactly what I needed. As I sat and realized that my headache was subsiding, I felt a lot more relaxed.

What if I hadn’t been open to trying something different? What if I allowed my anxiety to get the best of me and allow me to sit home with my family, drinking my home coffee, and not feeling like my cup literally being full. Sometimes it takes moving out-of-the-way to go after the things that you need to be whole. As a mom I know its easy to look around and get in a zone about the needs of my house, but I am striving to take time outs that I need to allow me to refuel and come back whole. Sometimes life won’t allow me to take an escape on one of my solo trips. Being practical about moving things around so I can grow is an essential goal of mine. I used to think being in the house and being present with my family was the only way i could prove to be a great wife or mom. You already know with my self-care notion that being whole requires you to find space, say no, and be able to fuel yourself in a guilt free way.

So let me tell you how finding spaces in the city you live in is crucial. I hear from women who have a thousand complaints about not having a place to go, no one to go with them, or just that they are bored. I am a living witness that you can change that, one outing at a time. So I encourage you to get out of your own way and change your environment. It will help you see the world around you in a different way. As I sat in Saxbys writing, organizing, listening to music and people watching, it was that little space of heaven that made me for a second forget about my long list of to do. It allowed me a place of peace that I needed. It allowed me time to do a mental check in with myself.  I had a lot on my mind that I felt like I could map out without the voices of those around me that I know and love. Strangers talking about all kinds of things, sipping on that coffee goodness was what I needed. Saxbys allowed me a mental retreat today that I so needed. I would encourage you to get out and try Saxby’s for yourself.

Now if you do come to Saxbys let me help you with a few things:

  • Intimate space
  • Variety of drinks including teas, smoothies and food
  • Cheaper than the competitor coffee shops
  • Outside seating and indoor seating (University of Penn location)
  • Great customer service
  • Music low-key playing in the background
  • Clean environment
  • Beautiful artwork
  • Natural Lighting
  • College vibe but adults from all walks of life
  • Plenty of sit down seats as well as outlets to plug into
  • Knowledgable Baristas-I stood there making life choices on coffee and they were super patient with me

Also for those who love apps, Saxbys has an app to get you in and out. You can link your card to it as well as earn points for more coffee. In addition just for signing up you can get $3 to go towards your first purchase!! I would say that’s a win!! So enjoy!!

Friends List-Anxiety Buster

So we all friends and how they interact with you determine how you should proceed with them. I have been guilty of having a large list of friends on social media but in real life barely interact with then. I have since changed how I look at my friends and let me share with you why.

Anxiety and New Friends

Since graduating from Penn State in 2003 I have noticed that at times my anxiety is lot more pronounced than I gave notice to it. I am a creature of habit. I like when things are comfortable. Being in college knowing that I had a small list of core friends allowed me to attempt to make new friends because my thought of rejection always tended to the point that at the end of the day, I had some solid friends. Now in my real adult life trying to manage all things, I don’t have the time that I once had to goof off, party and be irresponsible and my friends reflect that. There are a few friends that are about to be cut. It’s nothing personal as I change so will my list of who I call friends change. This post isn’t to air that out. My anxiety has caused me to be super selective in who my real friends are.

Friends of a Friend

Since I am attempting to make new strides in friendships I am realizing that a lot of my friends are friends of a friend. They are not really my friend but are super bomb and cool people. Meaning they are friendly, we speak when we are in circles but they are not the ones I go to when things go left. For a couple of months I had been trying to fuse relationships with a few friends of a friend and getting upset when it didn’t pop like I wanted to. Rejection made me one get upset because I couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working out. Now I come to mind that I had to stop making something fit that wasn’t going to fit.  I realize that I can be friends to them, and not try to take it personal because the flow of friendship isn’t the same as it was for other friendships to blossom. I think as much as we holler “no new friends” the objective isn’t necessarily in not having new relationships as much as knowing how much energy it’s going to take and knowing if you want to invest in that new relationship.

woman working girl sitting

Photo by Alexander Dummer on Pexels.com

If you are the type that people don’t want to become friends with, that’s an entirely different story. Vibes matter and if you are constantly setting off get away from me vibes you won’t match the potential that friendships have to offer. As the holidays get closer, it’s going to be important to be connected with the right people. I know for myself seeing how much friendships can really be supportive not having that here in Philadelphia through my own fault in the beginning and now has made the difference in how rich my life is. I am blossoming that much more because of great people who I can call that if nothing else can call me out on my stuff but also be supportive of my wins. You have to be able to step out of your comfort zone with others.

How I managed my anxiety and meeting new people:

  • Be yourself-you don’t know others enough to start switching off in the beginning. Them seeing you for who you are will matter if you want to attempt to know if people like you for you. Let them see the real you!
  • Take your time. Quality is more important than quantity
  • Nerves are fine. If you feel like you are becoming overwhelmed, take a few moments to yourself. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. Take a few seconds to gather yourself in a social setting.
  • Hang with whomever makes you comfortable at first and then slowly introduce yourself to others. If you feel rejected, than still remain in control of yourself but be gracious to everyone.
  • Smile- a smile goes a long way, he or she who presents themselves friendly will invite more friends. I have been known to have rest you know what face, but I have changed my approach. When I go to events, I let my home life, at home. I leave work at home. I do not bring these things with me when I am out and about because it hinders me from showing myself in the best life. If I am spending my coin I refuse to waste my time these days and especially not my me time. My me time is scarce and sacred.

 

Blogiversary Year 4

Do you know what today is? It’s my blogiversary! Yesssssss! We have reached 4 years of blogging. What an accomplishment! It has been my extreme pleasure to blog and bring you so much content. From starting this blog as an outlet from my stay at home mom days to now has been nothing short of a miracle. God is good!

I have learned about myself as a person. I re-read my blogs ALL the time. I literally want to see the growth that has taken place. From how they look, how they are edited, to what I am writing about, and what I put out. It needs to reflect who I am, what I want to represent, and what I hope you all get and that is the notion that we all just trying to be our best version of ourselves. Failure isn’t final. I love that about life. You can literally fail at something, take the time to heal and deal and then get up and make life happen.  It’s a personal choice that we all have to make. There is nothing we can’t bounce back from.

So every year I feel like I am getting stronger. In the first 3 years I was blogging but not as consistent as I am now. I like to attempt to give at least 3 fresh blogs a week and if you follow me on Facebook you know that I also reblog that are appropriate for Throwback Thursdays and Flashback Fridays. So there is rarely a day where blogs aren’t going out. What I like about my blogging tools now is that I can write them all up, edit them and set them to release on a day and time of my choosing. This is essential for me as my life on the daily is super busy. I love that I don’t have to choose between my regular life and my blog life. I plan my blogs a lot of them ahead of time. I also will still write when inspiration comes to me too. It’s really a mix between prep and go and being consistent with blogging. I use my blog planner everyday. My kids even say which planner is this one?  I have it on me at all times.

Greenide

I recently in this year collaborated with Greenide.  This relationship has been huge for me. Being able to step out of my comfort zone and write for other blogs have been amazing. If you haven’t gotten a chance than check the article on Sex and Kids and the one on losing weight

TCP

I also regularly collaborate with TCP, The Cultured Professional. It is filled with blogs from writers such as myself as well as podcasts and really a one stop shop to get all of the information that any and all cultured professionals are talking about.

Dream Deferred

What have I learned about myself this year, is that I can make any dream happen. From losing over 50 pounds, to running and competing in races, to being a better mom, taking solo trips and getting my zen back in my life, to forgiving and moving on from past issues, there’s nothing I can’t do.  From having to take some time to get used to my move to Philadelphia, to conquering motherhood (I am still learning), to being a wife the journey has been a bit crazy. I value the changes that has taken place even when I wasn’t in the place to receive it. I have been out of sync to where I needed to be because I wasn’t able to catch up due to holding onto the past.  I held myself back for quite some time because I hated change that I didn’t feel as if I was in control of!  I love control. I love being able to call the shots, but in life that’s not how it works. Often times I have had to be vulnerable to change. From getting my life back on track after discovering my weight had gotten so far out of control that it was causing me some severe health issues to letting go and allowing someone to teach me a few things about myself.

Followers

One thing that makes this all great is having amazing readers. From those who send me questions for the Ask Toi segments, to those that interact with me across all of my social media platforms you are the REAL MVP! Having people still believe in your dream from all around the world is amazing. Thank you to each and every one of you.

Friends and Family

I have to shout out my amazing family who stand behind me. From my husband who sometimes fills in reading things if I think something doesn’t sound right to being an impromptu camera man, thank you. He has been truly open to this as I blog about anything and everything and that includes him to a certain extent. My kids for loving that mommy has blog friends and for the many times that I attend events.  Thank you to the Storr kids for understanding that a balanced mom makes a better mom. To my amazing friends who read my blogs without me having to send you the links, thank you. To the friends who share my links without me asking, thank you. It takes one second to share and I appreciate you for that. To the ones that was shooting with me in the gym, thank you! To my blogging mentors, you are amazing. I have so many that if I forget I would be amiss but you know who you are. Your advice has made this blog that much better. To my graphic designer Angelo. You have been amazing, when I call and slide them fees over, you never cease to amaze me with everything that I need!

Health is Wealth

We added a new component to ToiTime and that is Health is Wealth by S.L. Efua Joe who is our health is wealth contributor. We will be back in the near future with more content. It is a page that is dedicated to challenging you on what is actual health and having you spend more time finding ways to eat better, take care of self so you can spend less of your money at a doctor’s office. It’s not an anti doctor but often times the very diseases we have can be attributed to the bad choices we take daily.

Blogging Goals

  • To get a better camera and take me from behind the scenes and more into the scenes. I will be posting more intimate pictures where I am in them instead of always getting the shot without me in it! I dislike the camera and I have no reason to so this upcoming year expect a lot more of ME.
  • Collaborations are coming. I am working with more brands and working with more bloggers.
  • Attend at least one blog conference so I can network with other bloggers.
  • Being consistent. This has been the greatest push of my life to do so and its paying off so we not going to stop we are going to keep growing

If I had to choose a dream job it would be being able to blog full-time, and travel with my family. Trust me I am working on it. My vision is for me to blog all around this beautiful world and allow my children to come along for the ride!

 

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Keep in mind in case you didn’t know you can follow me below:

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Ask Toi

You can also send all questions for Ask Toi to toitimeblog@gmail.com

Keep in mind that all questions submitted will be confidential. I will always give you a longer response than I do for the blog. I am here as an outlet. I will do my best to answer you and of course all answers are based upon my own experience. You at the end of the day should always do what’s best and safe for you and your life!

Most Requested Blogs of the Year

Drum Roll on the Most requested Blogs of the year in order; these are the most requested blogs of all time to a certain degree. So these are the issues that most of the readers come back to:

Boss issues:

Those who deflect

Going to a party without your wife as she wasn’t invited

Where are my Followers the Most Engaged

Out of the 30 countries that my blog has been read, these are the top 3:

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada