Martin Luther King Jr. would be Disappointed

So today is MLK day. The day we remember the teachings and words that Dr. King’s legacy was supposed to enlighten us to do. Dr. King faced adversity and his message was clear that we change how we interact with others for the chance for us all to live a life of equality.

On paper it’s the best message that we ever could have. The problem with Dr. King’s message is that it with all of its national and worldwide playback the message can only go so far if we don’t just recite them on today. There will be people who recite it just for the moment but don’t apply his words and how he lived each and every day to their every day life.

Another issue that we have to talk about is racism. The ability to hate and show hate to a group of people who do not look like, nor do they align with your personal measurement of acceptance based on race. So yes even those who state they have a black friend how can they be racist, yes you too can be racist. Having acceptable Blacks but hating the other Blacks isn’t about preference. This is hatred and this is racism. That acceptable black person you have welcomed into your fold still has to deal with the same overt racist actions that others like them have to face. Black folks don’t get to claim they have an acceptable white friend and dodge racist reactions.

Dr. King didn’t want us to have the Travon Martins of our time. He simply wanted any child and adult to be judged on character and not color of skin first while their character was used to later justify the hate. He didn’t want our young black men or women to be assaulted before they could even be determined to have been a criminal first or not. You do realize no one has made signs that our black men or women can carry that identifies whether or not they are good or bad when approached by cops.

I think about my own son. He’s 6 years old and is taller than most kids his age. Hopefully he will make good choices, but even if he does the way the world is set, what makes him so different that he won’t face racism?! I was called a Nigger by a child in elementary school and was told that I wouldn’t be anything even though I had maintained a 4.0 from practically 2nd grade.

Dr. King’s message of acceptance and equality is necessary. We need to hear it and live it. We have come far but the way history shows itself it’s definitely repeating. That makes me scared. My great grandmother before she passed away was able to live to see a Black president. That is hope and dope at the same time. (Dope means awesome FYI!) However we need more hope in order to raise our kids and the kids that come behind them to do more then repeat Dr. King’s speech. We need the Dream to be our reality and we need it now. The increase in race based deaths and hate speech is no longer secluded events. They are no longer happening to a select few. It’s common place. As much as we don’t watch the news with our kids to control a little bit of what they take in, they still are getting the negative messages. We as parents are still having to have more adult conversation due to questions surrounding inequality.

If you’re reading this blog today, make a declaration to do better. Please treat yourself and others around you with dignity and respect. Respect the differences of those around you and embrace people’s uniqueness. Spread love but make each other respect one another. This is a unified message. If not the very pain that our ancestors was killed for and shed blood for will continue to spill today.

Dr. King didn’t just give you a day off. His message was greater then just an awesome African American lesson. This lesson is and should be the very spirit of our own lives. We are connected regardless of how much we want to fight it! Don’t let Dr. King be disappointed that he may if he was here think his fight was in vain. Don’t let his good work be taken advantage of. The times his wife and kids didn’t know if he would return home, or the times all of their lives was questioned for nothing! We are the Dr. Kings of our time! Let’s do our best to spread love! Lets also continue to call those out who spread hate. Why? The ones who hate but are undercover are more dangerous then the evil you know, acknowledge and are prepared for.

So do community service today and everyday. Get out and learn about others history. Get out and extend your services without discrimination to all regardless of race, sexual preference, etc.

Don’t snub your nose at people because you had one bad experience with one person. Allow a sea of different people into your neighborhood without them fearing retaliation on the back end. Let your children play with one another without fear. For those in high power jobs and responsibilities, do your job without these prejudices making your judgement a top priority over your oath of office.

Let’s remember Dr. King everyday!

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Take it to the South…..

One of the best things I love about the holidays is getting together with family and friends. Nothing says holiday time then good food, great drinks, friends to laugh and shed a few tears with and today I was able to get my dose.

So when you live in a city like Philadelphia there are so many restaurants and events that’s it can be hard to keep up. I was wonderfully delighted to go to South Kitchen and Jazz Parlor. Now I had my kids with me for a few seconds waiting on their Dad, but as soon as we walked in the kids said ohhhhhh mommy I love this place. It had everything that I like, low beautiful lights, welcoming staff and visually stunning. My kids went with their dad and I was able to join the rest of the ladies.

Now let me say the drinks were so good. I love a great holiday drink. South Kitchen definitely made sure to make the drinks strong and hey for the price it should be. Some restaurants do try to water down drinks I can say not South Kitchen. From sip one I felt like I was going to have to slow walk this. Now I am an avid drinker so a strong drink usually isn’t intimidating but this one….

Some of the ladies ordered some wonderfully looking appetizers and from their empty plates I believe it was good. We got down to it and ordered our entrees. I ordered the oxtails with hopping Johns aka black eyed peas and collard greens. Now let me confess I’ve never eaten oxtails before but definitely wanted to give it a try. From the first bite, it was nothing less than amazing. I felt this was better than anything I have ever had. I am a little foodie and I swear it took everything not to order another to take home. The portion sizes were more than enough. Like I get why Uber Eats haven’t started delivering but I’m already working my brain on when I can get back there.

Now to my favorite part, the jazz! They had Roxy Coss a New York based saxophonist and composer. Her band was amazing. I’ve grown up with the influence of jazz my whole life and let me say my parents would have been in real musical heaven. One of the pieces, “Unwavering Optimism”, was inspired by Roxy’s Grandma who lived her life everyday as it was her best day ever. Think about that, although her grandma had passed the lesson of taking each day as your best was reached to each and every audience member. Life lessons can come in many forms! I downloaded her album Chasing the Unicorn before the end of the first song. It is that good!! You can get it on iTunes or anywhere you get digital music!

So we had such a great time filled with laughs, a few tears, and some amazing food but most importantly a great time. Although I wanted to say no I did have the apple pear cobbler with ice-cream. Lawd I was willing to have a set back on my fitness but luckily I didn’t have to. All of the ladies helped me partake!

So let me tell you my take from this experience, one friendship. It’s been a long road to establish myself here in Philadelphia. I’ve blogged about it often but I feel like I’m finally settling in after almost 6 years. Yeah I take a minute to warm up but the truth is I’ve been pregnant since forever since I moved here. It was a challenge for me to open up and be a consistent friend to others.

Another take is when I look back on how I was a few years ago with anxiety getting out and pushing myself has been helpful. I’m finally enjoying myself. College was so amazing and not having anxiety was a blessing. Gaining social anxiety afterwards was heartbreaking. Learning myself over again and trusting the process has shaped me to be able to not say no to invites. I would want to go but as the event got closer I would clam up and say no. Every lady brought in good vibes. Every lady, was warm and welcoming. Good times were had by all!

One of the ladies I’ll call her MJ since that name is one of my favorites since it’s what we call my son and that’s her initials surprised each lady with a gift bag. I love trinkets and this bag was so sweet! Thanks MJ!!!

All in all it was a great evening! So if you’re ever in Philadelphia area venture into South Kitchen Jazz Parlor. When I say you will be most pleased I mean it!! Come with your coins though. It ain’t cheap. It isn’t somewhere you would want to take the kids unless it’s a special occasion but it is worth the price for quality food, quality time, and a real great experience.

Thanksgiving Tips To Get Through

It’s here, it’s finally here.  The start of the holidays can begin.  For all of those that have been dreading this or those who welcome it, it’s time to go into full gear. With that said not everyone will be spending the holidays with the most accepting family or friends.  Honestly I would suggest to avoid drama to have a Friendsgiving meal instead of with family if the situation is toxic.  Life is too short to be arguing over the dinner table.  I would rather family be mad and get over it then to have to spend the holidays overwhelmed, angry, and then have this feeling stick with you for days.  This is not that I do not like family gatherings, I do but I am anti stress of any sorts regardless of the occasion.  In case you just can’t just not show up to a family gathering and you know there will unavoidable drama here are my tips to get you through:

  1. Have an exit plan. If you are traveling with others, make a code word. Something that only you and the ones you came in with know. Honor your sanity to know that you don’t have to spend a whole day, if after some time you are ready to roll, then do so.  You are grown.  Do NOT make up an excuse. Just simply be gracious, thank your host, and then leave.  If you have to make an excuse then you haven’t realized how grown you are.
  2. Take a deep breath.  Folks gon work your nerves. There’s no way around it. Be prepared for it.
  3. Don’t answer everything.  Sometimes we talk to much just to prove a point and why?  It’s not necessary.  You don’t have to be right.  There’s peace and letting folks play themselves.  It’s amazing the folks every holiday that got a word for YOUR life, but yet ain’t got one for their own. Less is best.
  4. As long as you’re not on alcoholic tendencies, grab a drink but don’t overdo it.  Two people tell the truth and that’s kids and drunk folks.  Loose lips sink ships.  So do not become so drunk that you allow your drunk muscles to speak for you.  This is when things go left and what you should have dealt with sober you try to deal with liquid courage.
  5. Bring a hostess gift.  Do you know the worst thing about the holidays is the part where folks talk about the ones who just come through with a plate but don’t ever bring anything to contribute.  Bring something.  Even if its momma house and she insist, slide momma a few dollars. Do something.
  6. Remember that Thanksgiving is one day.  Do not fall into the trap in putting more power in the day that you forget what the day is about.
  7. If things get heated, retreat, leave, walk away.  You know you are going to hear the same stories. the same drama, and the same everything, be prepared for it.
  8. Be realistic.  If you chalk it up to be more than what you know it will be, you will be the only one disappointed.
  9. Have some fun-yes with all of the stress to prepare the perfect meal, be the best host, or just avoid going to jail remember to have a little fun.  Play some games, enjoy that beverage, enjoy that piece of pie-enjoy!
  10. Do not bring anyone to someone else’s house without speaking with them beforehand.  No you can’t bring your new flavor of this week to the dinner.  We don’t want to meet them. No you can’t just bring a random dude to momma house. See them afterwards.  I know people want to bring them a tenderoni to the dinner but unless you clear it with the hoss, meet up for some after Thanksgiving night cap and leave it at that. If you don’t take heed the only tenderoni you gon have is some ricearoni or get hemmed up in a corner.  There are rules so know the rules before you go to someone’s house.
  11. For the single that get the when you getting married question, just be gracious. No matter what you say or do they gon ask.  You might as well deal.  If you are married and you get the whole, when are you having kids find a way to be gracious instead of mad.  If you feel the need to be a little bit more stern than do so but remember stern don’t have to be ignorant unless someone has asked you several times in the same night and won’t respect your no.
  12. If you are married or dating and you are going over your in-laws or future in-laws, take the cue in how to deal with their family from your mate or boo. Stop overstepping your boundaries. Everybody family ain’t saved and you might get a bite you wasn’t expecting.  Attempt to be respectful.  If you feel you can’t remove yourself.

I hope you all have a great holiday. It will take a cool down, being focused on what the holiday is about, having a plan of action, and removing yourself from stressful situations to do that.  Remember self-care sometimes means saying no, not over doing it, enjoying the moment and controlling your own responses.  Have a good one and keep these things in mind.

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When 2018 Comes…

Every year we run the same list. When the New Year comes I’mma do this and that. I’mma give folks what they give me. I’mma lose the weight. I’mma, I’mma …..

You know I’m all for goals. However you can start now. You don’t have to wait to give anyone the same energy they gave you later. That can start right now. What are you waiting on?! For them to continue to do some mean and ignorant stuff, trust they will do that no matter what if that is in them to do.

Whatever your goal is for the New Year, do that now. You are important enough to extend the energy into your own life. Don’t wait to be that more upset, that more motivated, or that more encouraged before you can make a move. You know what I am talking about. You wait until a person does one more thing and then you will feel it’s okay to handle it or them. If you know like I know, that the list of wrongs has been long since Jesus was a baby. You don’t need anger to motivate you into cutting off folks that rightfully deserve it. You just need to remember that you don’t want that same treatment in return. Sometimes you can let it naturally cut off while not doing any extras. If you would simply stop giving folks you’re all when they keep showing you that you’re only an option and not a priority it would naturally end.

They can’t get anything from you or even the things they once got from you, the little value they saw in you they won’t see anymore and will move to the next person that will give them what they want. Don’t ever feel that you are the end of the story. Trust me what you won’t do someone else will. They run that you’re the only one; they have no one else game simply because you allow it to be ran!

You don’t need to be made fun of due to your weight to start later. Start now. Start making changes to your diet now. Thanksgiving isn’t an automatic ear until you get sick move. It’s going to come no matter what. If you start pushing back from the table now you may just have the energy to eat in moderation during the holiday as well. So many people say imma wait until the holidays are over to start. You do realize that you could be working on your goal while going into into the Nee Year instead of just starting at the New Year. Make your goals within the holidays. The holiday doesn’t have to rule you. You are tired of how you look in your own skin is more than enough motivation or will you just be disgusted and settle?! You really want results but you don’t want to work. How is that working for you now?! 2018 is going to be filled with the same drama, the same effort and the same lack if you don’t learn to honor yourself.

So on this Monday don’t wait until tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. Make the steps today. You are in charge how you are handled by the people in your life including how you handle yourself. Keep talking down to yourself telling yourself how unworthy you are and don’t be surprised when others treat you the same. Keep taking negatively and putting failure and pain into the atmosphere but keep looking to receive success where you haven’t sown it. News flash it ain’t coming. You’re going to get out of life the very things you put into it.

Take this moment to get clear your goals and work them now. 2018 isn’t promised to any of us. There’s a lot of folks That left this earth in 2017 with ideas that were never accomplished. Some goals that wasn’t even started. I think failure isn’t when you start but don’t finish it’s not honoring yourself enough to start in the first place.

Ask Toi: You Got Questions….

Is not inviting someone with kids an acceptable reason for disincluding someone in your wedding?!

No. Bottom line is if you’re being told this the kicker is they didn’t want to invite you. Your kids was the easy get out of jail card and they used it. Anyone with kids knows that if you want to be somewhere even if it’s an adult only invite you will make a way.  So by virtue that you were told the lack of invite is because you have kids I would understand one underlining fact, your friendship isn’t as tight as you would like or thought it was.  Weddings are expensive so I get that brides have a hard time cutting the list but good friends don’t make excuses. They reach out and say hey I need to make some cuts and we are friends but I won’t be able to invite you. The issue is that some brides want to make things right after the fact but sometimes it could be a little too late. I actually had a friend who invited me to their shower but not the wedding for a gift and although I applauded her honesty I sent no gift nor did I attend the shower. If you want to keep the relationship have a conversation if not let it ride and let the natural process of elmination take over.

How do you eliminate group vacation drama??

Be super clear with every detail especially when it comes to money. Prior to paying in be clear who you are inviting. Not everyone that you like is the proper get together group. Too many times do people want their other friends to get along. Keep in mind you need more than one person to cross over the lines of friendship. Once your girl power group is assembled split things properly. When my girls and I went to Chicago we had the accounting friend calculate hotel costs according to the days that everyone was staying. We sent emails out and had everyone confirm that they understood. I made the arrangements and we had everyone pay ahead. It was none of that I got you business. To be ahead of the game, just speak up and keep one thing in mind, do not overbook every minute. Let there be a few group activities and leave space for some in the moment adventures too.  Enjoy, take great pictures and limit social media time and reconnect.

If while there something comes up, speak up and separate drinking arguments from real legit arguments and you should be fine. 

3 Years of Blogging-The Background Tea

Happy Anniversary! I love this time of the year.  It’s like a birthday and Christmas wrapped into one.  On a blogiversary I usually rethink what I want to do.  I get a vision together and I work with it.  I also think about what has taken place in the year during this blog  year.

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This has been an awesome year. Not just because today is such a high day either.  It is a good year because I took steps to make it great.  Nothing just happens. I had to put the work into my life in a lot of areas so I can attempt to live my best life daily.  With that in mind, I am super grateful for just life itself.  Now let me also say life hasn’t been a bowl of cherries.  So today I will spill the background tea.  A blog about yourself is super sticky.  You will get strangers who can resonate with your story.  You also get folks who know you, don’t like you and will stir the pot.  You will also get people who know of you, don’t know your full story and will contact you and say I had no idea you were dealing with whatever topic.  I put me out there because I can do it best and that comes with the good, the bad, and the ugly. Or the one thing I get is how do I know if I am putting too much of myself out. I know because I feel like I have to be 100% okay with what I put out and who that will affect. For the most part I only worry about my husband and kids.  This is why I limit what pictures I show of my kids.  I ask them for their permission too.  Respect towards them is important. My husband is my number one fan so his support is incredibly important to me.

What about backlash?

I do not change my blogs to prevent backlash.  This is because these are my stories, my experiences and most importantly my page.  I think it is clear that the human spirit will draw to those it needs to.  I don’t worry about backlash in the form of someone who I don’t or barely deal with having a “word” for me.  This is not a cocky attitude it’s just real. I have had family members say to me, you say this and that on your blog but then you are a different with me.  The reality with writing is you can focus your words to be nice or not-its called editing.   When I am talking I don’t have time to edit.  However whether or not I am qualified to speak on me and tell the good, bad and the ugly is not even up for discussion.  I like most people have a past. If I don’t vibe well with another person will not determine if I should shut down an entire blog.  I am not everyone’s cup of tea and I love my flavor so I will not water it down.  This is why self-care and self-love works.  I practice this daily so that while I give out I can keep my cup always full.

I am wrong, Admit it, Keep it Pushing

I can admit in my blogs when I am wrong. I do not attempt to paint a cookie cutter picture of my life. My life has ups and downs, fault, and failure like everyone reading this blog has.  I do NOT know of a person who doesn’t.  I talk about me because I can.  Do you know how many people in the last 3 years have reached out to me to say thank you. When I wrote about postpartum, do you think I am the only one who has gone through it? Absolutely not. I told on how I even got so bad I threatened to call the police on my fiance (now husband) because I was so far gone and couldn’t manage my emotions. I talked about the moments in motherhood where I feel like I am missing the mark and the frustration of managing my 3 kids with 3 different personalities and trying to figure out that balance.  I have talked about the times I personally wanted to give up on my marriage. I have talked about what its like as a woman in her skin to have those moments where you wake up and see your weight, your face, a mole, or whatever makes you feel less sexy, less confident and how to come out because I went through it and came out on the other side. I can’t tell you about things I haven’t experienced. That’s not real. I know me. I know what’s like to be deemed the perfect child but fail miserably in life.  It sucks. It hurts, but if I wait for approval from everyone I would still be failing.  Oh ps. to other bloggers, you know that folks gonna talk, I say talk on, because at the end of the day I give no front seats to my life to just anyone especially when it’s not earned.

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Dust yourself Girl and Keep Writing

So for me these blogs are the essence of who I am. I make the mark, get knocked down, fall back a few spaces, dust myself off but in the end sink or swim, I’ll make it.  Everyone loves the underdog and I feel like the ones who wished that I would just plain old stop are up for one miserable ride.  I am Lord’s willing gonna stick this out and see what the end is going to be.  For those who I will make amends with because there have been some issues that have come out that I will conquer I will get there.  The others, no love lost, I have love but it’s from afar and I make zero apologies for it.

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Distance is key

I have noticed the incredible amount of peace that has happened in my life. I try to keep my circles small. Even with distance I find that if something is stirring I don’t even answer it.  My family meaning my husband and kids schedules keep me on my toes.  I love it. I am venturing out, attending more conferences, so my life is going in a different directions these days.  It’s been a long time coming.  Like any woman I can be petty, but my life has evolved to the point where I keep it quiet, move in silence, and focus on the people who really matter.  I say this because if you stir some old mess, it usually stinks. I have had readers over the years say they keep putting themselves in situations and wonder why they aren’t getting different results. If you learn nothing more today, change how you move and who you are around. That in itself will change your life.  We have a zero drama policy in our home. We don’t even have conversations about much that includes drama especially around our kids. We won’t allow drama folks in there. Not one person who has visited us has been one to stir a pot and if they do, we have no issues with asking you to leave.  My husband and I started this a few years ago. I wrote about how I got into it with a person and it forever changed me for the better. I will not allow myself to get to the point where I am so mad, I need to curse folk out, go off, or check for gas in my car for a pull up.  Yes followers, I am human.  I post about change but there was a time when all of that negativity was in me.  I choose change. Distance allowed me time to cool off, work on me and make a decision if people need to be involved with me or not.  Some I am slowly working to get into the swing with some and others I haven’t written off I just chose to continue in quiet and distance.

Great Followers

I have had some amazing followers let me say.  You have been rocking out when I lose my blogging way which happens. I love what I do, but life throws a few curb balls.  Last year I had to refuel but I was never gonna give up. I had to find my own passion and it happens and writers block is real. I try not to pull too much from headlines unless I feel extremely passionate so this is why people ask me to recap a show and if I am not feeling it I just won’t.  I have been eliminating a lot of reality television by choice so if you see me recap a show its going to be because I really felt the topic was something I truly have knowledge of, it was something I had been through, etc

To my new followers, go through and spend some time on the page. There is a lot for all kinds of topics. There is something for everyone male and female.

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Ask Toi

I love my Ask Toi questions. I answer these at toitimeblog@gmail.com and when I do I keep my follower’s identity closed. There is no reveals around here.  People have messy and crazy lives and revealing who they are would be completely wrong. So if you have a question, send them to the ToiTime email and I will try my best to answer them.  I always give a more detailed answer to my follower and a condensed version to my followers.  The reason is that some details would reveal and I am all for keeping Ask Toi as discreet as possible.

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So I will continue in my blogging endeavors. I will continue to be transparent. I will continue to be who I am and make no apologies for who I am.  I will continue to push the envelope because I do that off-line as much as I do it online.  I try to match my social media life to of my real life. Too many fakes, but there is only one ToiTime.  I am unique, I am Latoi.  I love all of my ToiTime followers, so cheers to another year!  Never be afraid to take a chance on yourself.  NO ONE ELSE will, you can and should be able to depend on yourself.

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Wait Your Turn

I have been in this mindset of making people wait.  Everyone knows what I mean by that.  The person or persons in your life that need what they need right this second and think that the sun rises and sets on them.  Or a coworker that as soon as you enter the door has to be on extra and won’t give you the courtesy of at least taking off your coat.  These are the emotional blood suckers that zap your energy and life because at the end of the day they have no life of their own.

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If you allow people to not wait when they don’t have a priority in your life, you will be the one frustrated. I had to put this nugget to use in my own life first.  These last few weeks my life has been super busy.  I have been going to more events this year than ever before.  With that in mind, I am super organized.  My kids don’t miss a beat. My husband and I don’t miss it either.  In order to get things done, I plan ahead.  A large greatness to planning ahead is being prepared and knowing when I can take on more, when to say no, and when to make people wait.  A lot of times people live in this McDonald’s now mentality.  Everything can’t be instant.  Sometimes they want your attention because they are lacking in other places.  Sometimes they want your money and ain’t worked for it, or will go above and beyond to get it as hard as they in your face grabbing it from you. Sometimes they feel like “it’s always” been a certain way and when you detach you are the one that is wrong.

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Making people wait allows you to think.  It cuts you from making rush decisions which happens if you don’t first get in control of your own emotions when dealing with others. If you allow others to tell you how to run your own life, next thing you know, you are the one full of anger and resentment for allowing others power over you.  Waiting also allows you to determine what is beneficial and what needs to prioritized or not. So take your time on a few things.  It can wait.  People can wait. If someone wants to use your resources, they too can wait.  You don’t have to stop the world and get it for them at a drop of a dime.  Consider, if you were in the same position would the same courtesy be shown?  It’s not about tit for tat its about principle of allowing the same people to be takers and you are the one that has to allot for their lives.  This isn’t just about money but about emotional, mental, and spiritual robbers that come in and out of your life.  Be careful.  Learn how to weed them out.  Find them and make every effort to put stops and checks in place to guard from this type of behavior.

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I use a step in making decisions if I should rush into things or not:

  1. Is it necessary for basic survival?  Ie. living expenses such as utility bills not including cable or phones.  Those are nice but fully necessary.  If someone wants to borrow money or resources that’s not about keeping basic needs met, the answer is no or make them wait
  2. Is what the person or person want about fulfilling some long-term emotional baggage?  They can wait.  The girlfriend who doesn’t have a man so she wants to monopolize your time can wait.  You just hung out with her last week, but because she can’t get other friends to bend she needs you to stop what you’re doing. She guilt trips you and you cave, no make her wait.  You have other areas of your life to attend to and her need to find fulfillment in you needs to wait or be channelled.
  3. Are you the only source? Some will come to you because you make it too easy. Like a yes man, you give them what they need and you never check or ask anyone or have anyone else.  There’s a reason.  It’s not just because they love you so much either.  It has more to do with you being the source, them not handling their business correctly, and burning bridges with others.

Be careful.  Anything no matter what its is for that makes you mad that you helped, makes you upset to the point where you lose faith in yourself or humanity, is it really worth it?  Most likely not. You are in control make others respect you, and if they can’t sometimes a time out is necessary.  Do not feel cornered to do for others what they won’t do for themselves.

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