Painting with a Twist; Anxiety Buster! 

So tonight I pushed past my anxiety. Yes I deal with social anxiety at times and it’s annoying but it’s apart of my life for right now. I never went through this in college weird enough but a lot of that had to do with being a freshman and trying to do it all. You know that wild college student that would be on a table that was me.


Fast forward to after college Toi and now at times I find that meeting up with others is a chore. The kind of chore where I back out quickly and because I have kids sometimes it’s real and other times my kids are my get out of jail free card. My husband is the polar opposite. He’s always been super outgoing and still is. It’s crazy when we go to places. It seems that he’s more inclined to be in the front and I’m content with disappearing. So although I am not the wild child that I once was when I was trying to find myself in college, I’m still just as easy-going as I remember and I am finding that instead of allowing my anxiety to get the best of me, I’m pushing past it and getting out. Maybe not the type of college crazy but the essence of who I am is still there.


A bigger issue with getting out was adjusting to motherhood. My first daughter was a preemie and with asthma too. There were more hospital trips than anything. I kept to myself because no one seemed to understand how I balanced working full-time, being at the hospital all night and with literally no sleep pushing through. I learned how to keep my circle tight. Moving to Philadelphia like I’ve blogged about many times was overwhelming. I relied on my husband for everything. I didn’t even drive for the first months even though I had my own car.


Fast forward to my life now I’m pushing through. Losing weight, being a good mom, working full-time, blogging, and meeting new friends. Slowly but surely I’m getting out and enjoying life. Tonight I had the opportunity to meet up at Painting with a Twist with Mocha Moms. Mocha Moms is an organization that is a support for women of color who are mostly stay at home moms. Now you know that I work full-time and there are other moms who work as well. When I first moved to Philadelphia I wanted to join. I was a stay at home mom then but my anxiety kept me from being apart. Tonight I crushed that fear that I had almost 5 years ago.



Tonight’s meet and great while painting and sipping of course was everything. These women are like-minded, warm and I was myself from the beginning and didn’t feel the need to put on airs.  I’ve been in group situations and you find yourself in the back and connect with maybe one another person, but not this group of women.  Plus who can’t have a good time painting and sipping on wine?!

I am truly grateful for not backing out tonight. I’m super happy to have met these great women. As I drove him thinking of the night, a huge smile came on my face. I turned on my adult music, maybe I could let pre mom Toi out every now and again!! Just maybe!! Oh and who won a gift certificate for the next visit to Painting with a Twist?! Oh yeah!!

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Keep it Clean

The last several weeks I have been cleaning.  No I don’t mean just cleaning my natural house either.   I have been cleaning up my social media and what like in entertainment and who I choose to entertain.

I have been slowly pulling away from reality television to start with.  There are series that I watch that I have been deciding not to watch anymore.  That doesn’t mean I have sworn all of it off, but slowly but surely I will get there.  At this point it’s not that entertainment can’t be fun, but it can also be draining.  I am on a new wave as I conclude this year to find other ways of entertaining myself.  To be sure that I don’t, I make sure I don’t record it.  Do you know how much room my DVR has now?  Lots of space for me to record documentaries, movies, or things for my kids and I to watch together as a family.

Another thing I have been doing is cleaning out my social media.  Now let me be honest, I have an impressive block list. This is simply out of respect that my rule is I block in real life than I block in social media and not the other way around.  I do not block on social media just because I am temporarily mad over an issue.  We use the block feature so loosely that it really doesn’t have meaning.  I block after I have come to the decision that I do not want to interact with a person or group of persons in real life.  I am not a social media thug.  So no posting about what is wrong, posting petty memes.  I live in real-time.  So no you do not need to see pictures of my kids, what I am doing, who I am with, etc.  That privilege is lost.  Check out the features you have on your social media.  You can really control who the audience of your page goes to and who you allow to sit under as well.

One last thing about cleaning out my social media is my children.  Social media was developed to bring people together.  My children are the best parts of me.  I have friends and some family all over the world.  I am not going to be able to see them as often as I would like. Allowing them on my social media is a great way for them to see my kids grow.  With that in mind, we have closed up how we post on social media where they are concerned.  We don’t post them in real-time.  We do not allow anything identifying where they live, go to school, etc This prevents as much as we can, from others being able to go online and getting a social print of them.  I am not saying this is super fool-proof because it’s not but it at least allows me to put forth an effort.  Those who need to know the intrigue details know from my husband and I communicating those details.  Another app I use now is BlurPhoto for Apple Phones. (Android Phones Blue Photo) It is used to blur out anything that you don’t want shared.  I use this to block out names, other kids, and anything damaging to my kids’ identity.  Please get the app and use it.  It is free by the way.

One last thing, do not let anyone on your social media you don’t want on there.  You get tired of seeing their post than delete them. Don’t want them to know you deleted them then limit their access to you and your access to them.  Anything that makes you upset over social media can be tweaked in a way to keep your sanity.  There is an over indulgence in what we look at, what we take in, who we take in, etc  You have always had the power.  Clean it up and create places of peace.  All of those groups you are in, get out of them.  I was in a several marriage groups and they were places of nothing but contention and arguing and trying to show what you know.  I got to the point where I don’t need support for my marriage outside of the actual marriage.  In real life I wouldn’t consort with such a large group of people so why do it now.  Having a person or a few folks you can confide is one thing, but opening up Pandora’s box is unhealthy.

Trust me this will help you weed out real life friendships too.  As you change you don’t engage as much in real life to those things that are no longer serving your bottom line-get there!  Again as I always say this is what works for me  There is something that works for you but we all can use a little back up from social media and the headache that we not social media bring into our own lives.

Also on your phone too, you can mute group messages,.  Those messages will be there when you decide to unmute them.  I refuse to be a prisoner to my phone, social media, and anything else that do not matter in the long run.  This is coming from someone who loves social media.  Step back, try it out for a little while, I promise you its super fulfilling.

Light The Night 2017; No One Fights Alone 

Many times we are all asked to donate to a cause. Especially in these last few months where disaster has seemed to take over. About 5 years ago I was presented with a decision to walk for Light the Night and I haven’t stopped since.

My co worker and friend Jen was diagnosed with cancer. This is someone who turned from merely a co worker to close friend and although I had moved from the city I had always known, our friendship didn’t end with distance. I had never really known too many people with cancer but I knew that being there to support her family was on the top of my agenda.  Even though I was almost 2 hours away, I had to do my part. Seeing Jen change physically was a lot. It kept me humble. Her sons are around the same age as my 2 oldest kids. Thinking of what they had endured made me appreciate life more.  I thought about Eric, Jen’s husband and how hard it was to help but at times feel helpless. Any time I saw Jen she smiled. I know she had dark days but she kept moving. It is with her strength that she has survived and kicked cancer’s ass. Simply donating to Light the Night wasn’t and still isn’t enough. When she formed the Lymphomanics years ago I knew I had to be apart and we as a team have been strong ever since.



Light the Night is more than just an organization that wants to raise money to bring awareness but it’s on a mission to find a cure. Jen had at her diagnosis, family and friends supporting her but what about the many others who do not!  I have personally heard some amazing stories of survivors I wouldn’t have even known existed had I not gotten involved.

So again we organized.  We came together and with various others we lit the night. It was an amazing experience. Seeing people from all walks of life set aside their differences. All of us having either been in support or others who had cancer, were a survivor, or were there in memory of someone who had unfortunately lost their fight.


I was glad to see that a lot had changed from last year. One was that the crowd was much bigger. The second is that the amount of sponsors had increased. Lastly the stage was bigger.  The stage being bigger meant we are raising more money and that means that until we have a cure more families are being supported. Seeing the many lanterns lit was truly breath taking as we walked. 



The walk isn’t something too grueling. I believe we cover about 2 miles. However it’s the stories, the energy, and the sense of leaving for just a moment our own lives and coming together that is overwhelmingly beautiful. From the kids to the adults everyone has a great time. 


This year I want to shout out our team member Holly whose husband, Chadd who is kicking cancer’s ass this year. They welcomed a beautiful baby girl, Ellanora who to date is the youngest and newest member of the Lymphomanics.



Every year they end the walk with fireworks. It’s always a special treat to see. It reminds us that we completed the walk, we worked together and no one fights alone.


So the next time someone comes and asks you for a donation, consider helping. It’s not just about the money but it is about helping one another in this thing called life. Until next year!! Love you Jen and the Lymphomanics!!! 

Ear Muffs

I respond to things that I am passionate about.  The things that affect my here and now or my and my kids future.  I respond to the petty things of the world sometimes and have to remind myself constantly to use ear muffs.  No my ears aren’t cold but they need to be shielded.  Sometimes we yell ear muffs to our kids and they know that means cup them ears mommy or daddy needs to express adult content.

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For adults the same technique sometimes needs to be used.  You are in control of what you entertain.  You are in control of what you allow to get into your spirit.  You’re an adult.  You have the ability to end the things that no longer serve you.  You have the ability to say no to images, sounds, and social media that do not line up with preserving you.  You have a right not to argue and debate a fool who will not listen to anything you or anyone else has to say.  You can be pulled in but as an adult you control the stops in your life.  You have to be willing to look wrong sometimes.  You have to be willing to look off when someone wants to engage you and you know it will lead no where.

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Even on social media. I told you about the time I allowed myself to be pulled into a debate.  Even though I felt I was being targeted or the person was saying things about my kids for one, I still had a right to end it early and deal with that person face to face. So you have the same power.  You have to evoke ear muffs to shield the very things that will cause you to be upset.  Anything that takes space in your mind that has you thinking of it for more than an hour that isn’t something centered around making you better, putting food on your table, getting you that much closer to your destiny-cut it off.  Disengage on social media, stop hanging around the family and friends who do not mean you well, stop arguing with your mate and getting no where, find another job so every day you aren’t crying in the parking lot or miserable at your place of employment. Control the parts of your life that you can.  Trust me I have been in that place before.  It tears your spirit down.  Activate your ear muffs so you can hear what you need to do, where you need to be, and how you are going to get there.  You don’t have time to entertain things that don’t build you.

Shake Shack Virgin

So for quite some time I’ve been seeing Shake Shack and never went. I would say everytime how I was going to stop but didn’t. So on a random Friday as this past Friday was, I decided why not?

Soooo. I get there and the menu is big but yet small enough so my anxiety doesn’t kick in. Oh and I went by myself. I’m on this whole push to do the things I want even if I go by myself. Soooooooo I ventured out. I grabbed my keys and went. Now I’m glad I decided to go to the one near Drexel University especially since I work on a campus already the atmosphere was more laid back. It was extremely busy.  I enjoyed watching the students playing games, talking, and enjoying the 80 degree weather.

So happiness  sunk in and I was ready.  I ordered the vegetarian burger or the Shroom burger which is a fried portobello mushroom, melted muenster cheese, with lettuce, tomato and shake sauce. I added their to die for fries and a salted caramel milkshake with pretzel and I was in heaven.  Like eating it made me feel like I was in a whole other place! 

Now let me say what I liked about the experience:

1. Fast service-they give you one of those light up wait your turn line lights 


2. Friendly staff-funny story so the cashier was super nice and trying to hit on me. No offense taken but he couldn’t get my name right so I said Toi. When I went to pay he looked at my debit card and saw my name but more importantly he saw my husband and kids picture on it and have a look of damn. It was hilarious!!


3. College atmosphere-with working on a campus it gives me constant nostalgia. Makes me miss my Penny Packer crew! 

4. Fries-I almost went back and took that 20 minute drive. They are that good. 

5. That shake-they ain’t the Shake Shack for nothing; complete bliss!! 


For my parents this is not a spot I would regularly take my little ones. In the words of my Cousin Mark this is much too premium for children unless it’s a special event. My meal alone was 17 dollars which ain’t breaking the bank but this is an indulgence that is strictly a Mom thing only! Well at least for me it will be. 


I can’t wait to go back again. I really want another shake. It was worth the drive! Thanks to the staff at the Drexel University Shake Shack who were over the top pleasant and made my first experience one to remember. 

Fall Workout/Weight Goals

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

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

September Goal

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

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

October Goal

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

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November Goal

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

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

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

Fall Frenzy 

So today’s weather was amazing. The sun was shinning and to put it lightly it was hella hot. So other than watching my son’s soccer game, the Storr family headed to the Fall Fest.  


Fall Fest has turned into a yearly indulgence. This year the whole family attended as I have been known to take the kids and have a great time.  My husband is not a fan of outdoor events. I used to get super upset but nope I will pack the kids and continue with my plans. He came along and from the looks of it he may have had a good time.  There are a lot of activities for the whole family. From oversized games such as Connect Four, to Chess to singing for the kids and of course Fall favorites such as Fall beer flavors and all the comfort food you can have.  I elected to make a Whole Foods stop before attending to cut down on eating too many comfort foods. Plus I wanted to see how low the prices had actually dropped there.  I know you know Whole Foods has merged with Amazon. I was pleasantly surprised.  

However there is always room for a little beer and I made sure I had at least one and I enjoyed the hell out of it. My goal was to just get out, enjoy the weather, and spend some time with my family and the goal definitely achieved. 


As Fall approaches it’s going to be important and find free events in your city to attend. This event was free besides the food and drinks. For me all it cost was less than 30 for a full day of fun. Well worth it if you ask me. 

Enjoy all of the Fall activities you can!!