How to Start a Creative Outlet

I get asked how I started the blog. I have told you from day one it was started after I dealt with and got past my postpartum depression following the birth of my middle child. Having to find ways to put life in perspective for me opened up my creative flow. I researched blog sites on how to write one on a free site like WordPress and I started writing.

If you go back to my earlier blogs you can see the growth.  In the beginning I didn’t have a clue about how I wanted the blog to look.  Since then I have been able to have a graphic designer that I call on to help me with various projects such as logos and my newsletters.  I am more savvy about lighting in pictures recently being gifted the appropriate light to make things better and a few steps away from getting the camera that I want to really set things right. You take a vision and you just start.  When its your gift, working hard will bring people into your inner circle who will teach you the ropes. I have had amazing bloggers who gave  and still give me tips and while adopting them they do work.  I have been blessed to be able to make it happen.

Never be afraid to leap. I had no idea anyone would read my real life story. They have. That initial fear was real. I would love to say I just leaped and everything aligned. It didn’t. I first had to combat and set the stage for those in my inner circle to know that I wouldn’t blog them without permission. Also I had to let those in my inner circle know if I am inspired I will blog when necessary. I had folks say why would you tell people that? My answer is simple, it’s my life and my story to tell.  I get to be as intimate with the details as I want. In addition to that I have always been clear not to include anything about my kids or husband that would embarrass them in any way. My kids love that I blog and often ask for me to blog because they think I just post pictures. My husband is my number one supporter, reposting all articles without having to be asked. He loves that I have this creative outlet. I can now focus on it and it rounds out my life. Not once have we ever argued over a blog. I have shared some amazing deep issues and it’s not an issue. He respects my space and my blog. He’s quick to say, you better blog it!

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I blog extremely consistent. This month, a new blog each day. Now that I have moved from the free WordPress to paying for it and owning the domain I can blog, set for it to hit and go live at a specific date and time. People think I live blog meaning I blog and then set it. Nope! My life is super busy. I blog and move on because I can control the time it goes live without sitting at my laptop to do it. I started blogging on my phone, moved over to a laptop and now can alternate between both.  I am grateful for all of the support I have gotten in these last 4 years. Recently I have been networking with other bloggers and we have a few things up our sleeve. If you noticed in the last year, I have been out and about a lot more often.  I have blogged many events that I am invited to and its been fun expanding.  These last few months have been amazing as I learn the who is who of Philly, find new spots to enjoy life, and just be as creative as I want to be.

Take the initial step. Know your audience. Be flexible to learn. Take criticism with strong skin. People will tear you down in this media world. They have an opinion of your opinion. Do not be afraid of the commenters. They mean well but sometimes people will say things behind a screen they would never say to your face. Be prepared if you speak about past pain that involves others. Never reveal who they are unless you can handle the offline pressure. However you still have a right to tell your story from your perspective. Be prepared for friends and family to be mad, jealous, envious and say mean things. It’s not always just an Internet Troll. It can be from the ones you love who think you aren’t an authority to speak on a topic. This is why I speak from my perspective and no one can take that from me.

Imagine a world where people want to shut a person down for their personal experiences. There are a lot of people who grow from reading blogs. They may be experiencing the same types of pain so never be afraid to talk about it. Blogging takes a little curve to learn how often you want to do it.  Write at your own pace. I started doing it 2 times a week sometimes only a few times a month. Then my mentor  told me I needed to step it up when I was ready and now its very few in-between where 3-4 blogs a week doesn’t happen.

If you want to start a creative space of blogging, YouTube videos, etc do it!  You got it in you don’t waste it just because you don’t have all the tools. I started with a phone, no laptop, a free site, no camera, no lighting and just went for it. Research what you need. Amazon has been my friend.  I have found the items that I needed at a fraction of the price for equipment. As you grow, companies may want to help you expand and offer you items you need too. Do not ever be afraid to ask.  Friends and family may be willing to help too. I have had some great friends guide me to little shortcuts to achieving the same goals. As much as the hurdles came, it was in me to overcome it.  Now I expect to add more tools as I expand. Also ToiTime is registered and I am expecting to be able to be in full branding mode soon. One dream can turn into reality. I am walking proof that you got it in you and you can make it happen!

Start today. You can always correct what you don’t know but you can’t correct when you sit idle hoping to begin!

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Valentine’s Day Snub

This day can be so super dramatic. Between the movies that make it bigger than life. So often, we even I get caught up in this day. What I think is important is to be honest about where you are and your expectations.

When my husband and I dated in college he really outdid himself. Without even having to say anything he really did a good job. Before him I really was blessed to date and whomever I dated just naturally got it right. I love holidays of all kinds. I love the art of celebrating. It breaks up life. It gives you small victories to look forward to. So for me it’s another celebration. It’s not just above saying well as a married couple he should show love so this one day doesn’t matter. I post holidays of all kinds and everyday I get excited to find a way to celebrate one of those holidays so Valentine’s Day is one as well.

I used to not be so vocal in my love for the day because everyone would make these claims of how commercial they were. As a preachers kid holidays depending on which ones you celebrated were deemed wrong. As I came into my own, I realized how happy celebrations made me feel. So I don’t allow others’ feelings to fall on me. I won’t allow people to say that a commercial holiday doesn’t matter. I’ve heard it all from what if your husband wasn’t able to make the day special?! How is that possible when he and I can make heart shaped cookies and watch a movie feel special?! End of day I enjoy his presence and I enjoy celebrating these types of holidays with him. It’s a perk of having him in my life.

So there’s never a Valentine’s Day snub for me. Although I understand that some don’t feel the same as I do or as blessed as me in regards of having someone to share the day, I don’t want to snub my feelings to appease others. I can have empathy without dissing my own love of the day!

I respect everyone no matter where they are. There were many years that I spent with family, by myself or just with my girlfriends. Some years in my singleness I felt fine and other times I was heartbroken. Admit where you are. Own it! But be okay if you like me love these love holidays!!!!!

Ask Toi: Valentine’s Day Edition: My wife states she doesn’t want a Valentine’s Day gift should I not get one?

Getting a gift for Valentine’s Day just because you are married is not mundane. I dislike people making the excuse that if your husband loves you he doesn’t have to show you love on Valentine’s Day. If your spouse loves you and wants to shower you with a gift on that day he can.  If you as a couple have come to the conclusion that you don’t exchange gifts that is fine too. Just be sure that when you state you don’t want a gift you are mature to make that decision and not give your spouse Hell come that day because you made a decision to be something you aren’t.  It’s okay to be married and exchange or not to. I encouraged that man to honor his wife’s words, by getting something and not giving to her that day but finding another day to give her a gift. This way if she by chance is one of these women who say things but don’t mean it he will still be covered and if she is standing by not wanting to exchange, he has a gift to give her as a thinking of you gift.

man and woman surrounded by grass

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Ladies, I want to encourage you if you can’t stand by your decision to not give gifts, do NOT ever tell a man something you can’t stand by 100%.  This is the same thing when you get into an argument and you tell that man to leave the house and you don’t want him to leave. Or you get mad and use the big “D” word out of anger. This is a larger principle of not saying things to either look like the “cool” wife or to say things out of anger that you can’t back up.  Out of all of the times that I have argued with my husband I have learned not to say what I don’t mean. If you want a gift, it’s perfectly ok to say you want to exchange on Valentine’s Day.  What’s not okay to do is to play games or say things you think they want to hear. This will disappoint you in the long run.  This you should have known mess that people pull in relationships shows lack of maturity. Relationships are about communication and saying or acting in one manner that isn’t who you are makes it hard for either one of you to walk in love because you spend more time recovering from idle messages!

 

One Month Down

I think ever since I was a kid I struggled with the idea of being a perfectionist. It plagued me my whole life. I figured since I was good at being a student this was what I had to do. That is a blessing and a curse. Often times people with that type of personality trait often find themselves being people pleasers. That is not the way to live. So since becoming a parent and really alduting in this world, I am not as concerned with being perfect as I am with balance. With that being said let’s recap the month and try to make sure we keep things in perspective.

Vision Board

I usually try to complete it the first week of January. I actually completed it on Sunday January 27! Yep like a few days ago. So instead of giving myself a hard time about not completing it at the beginning I celebrate it framing the rest of my 11 months. I have said before there is at least one thing in each category that you can do every day to push you to success.  So that means the grind don’t stop.  Keep pushing and take some breaks in between too. Balance will take you place that over killing your mind and body can any day.

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Blog Goals

I completed 25 new blogs this month and this one makes it 26.  That is amazing. So if you missed any of them you know what to do.  Log on and catch up at ToiTime

I went to 2 blog events and conducted one interview this month. That’s on top of working, being a wife and a mother, attempting to drink my water, eat right, work out and schedule me time while being an Uber parent on the weekends. It can be done. So we will be hitting the ground running for February. Since February is love month as well as Black History month we got a lot of awesome blogs. My goal is to have a new blog a day for the month of February especially since it’s a short month at that! So stay tuned! Also if you are following me on Facebook  you know I have started my weekly challenge of making one video post a week. Being on video is hard for me but I am working through it. Expanding my reach and pushing me past my comfort zone at the same time!  Also I post Throw back blogs and blogs for special days too so follow me so that you aren’t missing them!

Workout and Life Goals

So the one thing I haven’t done was added more of my weekend runs. Its been a little hard due to my kids schedules. They are super busy and I love being on the go with them but I plan to increase my runs to prepare for my Spring races. My first race is in April so I really got to use these next months as time to push. I have worked out 3 times a week at home and sometimes more days when I can. So that is saving me. Now with my schedule being so tight, I make working out mandatory on whatever days I set them. Why? I can’t afford to get back to my prework out weight. By Spring and Summer I will be shutting thangs down! Trust me. Plus if you don’t move it, you lose it. I don’t want to have to start all over.

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So let’s say you aren’t having as a productive month.  Do not fret, reset. Reset your goals. Reset your vision for your life. Do not let another month go past and wait to get it together. January is over as of today but February is a shorter month with even bigger promises. How you start it will be up to you. Do not let this new month come and go in vain. Take charge of the vision that you set out for yourself. Reset!

Makhani Modern India: First Indian Food Experience

So I have a list of things that I want to experience.  Indian food has not been conquered.  I had the honor of being invited to the preview for the media night for Makhani Modern Indian.  Makhani is a BYO modern Indian restaurant and it opens today, Friday January 25, 2019. Located in Old City, it definitely sets the bar high for freshly made Indian food with modern flare. 

Shafi Gaffar, owner, has definitely got a winner on his hands.  He’s personable, hard-working, and along with Executive chef, Sanjoy Banik, their made from scratch and made to order entrees sets them apart from other Indian Restaurants.

Executive Chef Sanjoy Banik

Owner Shafi Gaffar

From the time I walked in and until the time I left, the staff at Makhani made me feel like family.  FYI for the grand opening this weekend, all guest will receive complimentary wine and mimosa as well as give aways. We started with drinks and appetizers. It was so hard not to get full on the appetizers without even trying.  Everything was off to an amazing start. Once the entrees came, I really had been calling my friends asking them what to expect.  I got such variety of advice but nothing prepared me for dinner until dinner actually came. I was impressed from plating all the way to the last bite. The food was fresh and from the first to last bite there’s no denying.  Each bite had me wanting more. The serving was generous yet I still kept wanting to eat.  I left nothing on my plate.  I knew that I was happy because I wanted more to take home and I definitely can’t see myself going anywhere else for Indian food but here. Also they included a belly dancer. My night was made! We ended with the mango cheesecake which is a must have! So how can you get in and experience the same?

Chicken Makhani and Chicken Vindaloo not pictured olive oil naan bread

Mango cheesecake

Visit

Come to Makhani located at 7 N. 3rd Street, Philadelphia PA 19106.  They are open 7 days a week.  For the opening launch they will be open 11:30am to 10:00pm daily through Sundays. It opens daily Thursdays through Saturday from 11:3am to 11:00pm. Lunch runs from 11:30am to 3:00pm and dinner from 4 to close. Orders will stop 15 minutes before close daily.  Reservations can be made by calling 267-534-5097.  So what if you can’t stop in but you want to enjoy Makhani?

Delivery

You can have it delivered by logging onto to Eat Makhani

Delivery is available throughout Center City, Old City, Northern Liberties, South Philadelphia and beyond. You can also order at all major delivery hubs such as Uber Eats, Grub Hub, Caviar, and Door Dash.

 Follow Makhani on their social media pages:

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Thank you Makhani and Aversa PR for an amazing night!!! I look forward to coming back very soon!!

 

 

Let People Figure it Out

We are all flowing into the New Year on a high note. You are working out, eating right and attempting to surround yourself with the right people or at least you should. What happens if by now you are around a few folks that have already ended their resolutions, are negative, and aren’t flowing in an upward mobility? You let them figure it out while being the change you want to see.

The power you have stops at the end of your nose. You have no power to enforce change on those around you outside of influence. So this means that you will be around a few folks who will not catch the self-improvement train as fast as you do. It’s okay.  As long as the folks that haven’t hopped on board, aren’t stopping you carry on. You can’t save everyone.  Everyone doesn’t have the same vision as you do.  Everyone wasn’t meant to ride the same ride and board and exit at the same time.

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Does that mean while you are advancing that you have to take on negative traits of those on different paths? Nope not at all. I am a firm believer that while you evolve natural your paths will separate you. It doesn’t mean that you love less but your tolerance for foolishness has changed. Be the change you want to see.  Be that change while not supporting the negativity to others but separate when yourself when you need to.  Also let people be them.  I dislike when people make change in their life they then look down on others.  Let your change speak for themselves.  Also be aware that sometimes not all times with change comes jealousy. We all have the same 24 hours in a day as everyone but not all of us walk in the same gifting. This is why the conception of “he/she is haters” has to stop. To hate on someone who means when you walk in your gifting, or speaking about your gifting, a person or group of folks immediately come in for the “he/she ain’t” talk.  It happens but happens a lot less than some want to project the story to be. If someone isn’t impressed or desires what you have its unlikely they are hating on you.  It could be they just don’t like you. Example: if you just had a baby and announce it, a person who hates would say something about you being a mom but they may not want to be a mom they just simply do not like you.

This is why not everyone is a hater. Some speak from a place of dislike or even hatred of you.  Either way none of that can stop your agenda because if you were surrounded by the right crowd by the time the message got to you, you would be on another goal making moves. You don’t crush one goal and then stand in place waiting for your props. You are too busy accomplishing goals to sit stagnant after climbing one tier. If you were mountain climbing and your goal was to get to the top would you climb one tier waiting for someone to pat you on the back or waiting for someone who doesn’t like you or hate on you to finish? No you would block them and maintain form to get to the top and not fall. Apply the same process to your everyday life.

Win at life by staying focus, slaying your goals, separating from negativity, and being the change around your inner circle and beyond that the world definitely could benefit from!

Take a Break

I love my family. I really do. Today I had to take a break. I have them spoiled and they know that I will make them a huge breakfast every weekend without hesitation. However today when they came in and wanted more emotional support than I had filled in my own tank, I said no!

No means I need a break. That means go grab some cereal until I can gather myself. That means no I can’t manage your emotions until I manage mine. No I can’t figure out all of your needs right off the bat. No means I still love you. No means I will be back in working order after a small break. No I won’t just jump up and act like nothing is wrong. No I won’t just accommodate you until I have some time for prayer and calm.

I will be back after I gather my thoughts, get a shower, plan my day, or simply sit in quiet. I’m simply taking a much needed break!

Communication is great. A few years ago I might have went off to get a break but today, nope! I know what I need and finally realized how important it is to take it. Self-care is not just a Sunday thing but a daily thing. It’s a moment by moment release so I can live my best life. The pancakes can wait. The kids are old enough to manage. My husband is fine. This break is everything!