National Girlfriends Day

Happy national girlfriends day to all of my girlfriends. Girlfriends make life that much better! They are understanding, real, and dependable. They are the glue in your life that you never knew you needed.

When I was in my 20s I used to say things about keeping my circle small because I didn’t want to deal with drama from other females. Truth moment is that the one who was about the drama was me. My relationships with females had more to do with me than what others were capable of doing. Family you don’t choose but friends you do. Anyone I attracted was a reflection and is a reflection of who I am! I’ve taken full responsibility of that today. I was warned many a day about it and was super blind! However as I mature some relationships don’t carry that much weight as they did back in the day!

My girlfriends mean the world to me. Each have different functions but all of them are super dear to me. They are some of the most encouraging people I’ve met. They make me feel like I can do anything. They keep me accountable. I am a better woman, because of my girlfriends. I would like to thank them and they know who they are!

If you are lucky to have good girlfriends nurture those relationships. Spend time, remember special days, be there for them, celebrate them, hold their hand when they need it, and be their biggest cheerleaders! Girlfriends are like diamonds in that they are truly rare! Cherish them and send them a message today of all days letting them know how much they mean to you! Don’t take for granted their place in your life!

Happy National Girlfriends Day!!!

Advertisements

Sunday Message: Living your Best Life

I’ve been waiting to right this one for quite some time! The phrase is everywhere. To be honest it’s a good thing to live your best life! Who wants to live the opposite?! However beyond quotes and knowing your angles on Instagram if you’re gonna live it then do the work that it requires.

Living your best life is best when you start from the inside out. It requires you to leave a few negative folks behind, own your stuff, and be authentic to you. Sound easy but not exactly?! You will find resistance along the way. This is when it’s easier to fake it than to really live in authentic truth! The second you go to live your best life it may cause a ripple effect with those around you! Be prepared!

More than Instagram Angles

Who doesn’t love a good picture on social media?! I know I do and you do too! However don’t forget that every picture has a story. I sometimes go back to my pics and think back on what was really going on?! Was I just really good?! What happened before and after the pic! For instance here’s a pic from my solo trip:

I looked great, felt great and had a good amount of adult drinks. I was in my zone and it was an amazing time. What wasn’t shown was that there was so much work going on. I was in the midst of leaving my job and taking a leap of faith. I actually had secured the bag while there. However dancing between do I leave and start from scratch and how that would affect my family was on my mind. I’m happy to say that leap was super scary and it paid off! However fear and letting go was on the other side of living my best life. Being used to certain behaviors and being completely unsure of myself was on one side and complete freedom, better pay and a better opportunity was on the other side. I could have stayed and made a few waves at my past job but when you don’t move and sometimes take initial fear you could hinder your own blessing. Scared I still leaped! Shout out to those who know that where I am now is a complete reflection of grace! It is not of anything of myself!

What does living my best life do for you as a person?!

It makes you grateful! Plain and simple! You know how many times a door shut. How many times you were alone?! How many times you had to shut down the naysayer in your own head but you still had to push?! It makes you stronger as you get to the next fight! It gives you a confidence to gas yourself!! It reminds you that you can do anything! It doesn’t erase the pain but it almost suggests that the pain was worth it! So it’s okay to acknowledge it!

Fear sometimes drops off

As I kept going on even in fear it eventually dropped off. I never get to a point in my life as if things are just so Gucci. Nope! I walk-in humbleness. I walk like I know where I am going even when it feels like I’m working with a broken GPS! Fear has many of time walked with me until it fell off like a child learning to ride with no brakes! During many moments of my life it’s been like that! However my biggest motivator is myself and next is the little folks that call me mom! I let them know when I make a mistake I use it when I parent. When they can’t get along I openly let them know of the same moments I’ve had. I also want them to know they can keep going!

So while you say you want to live your best life be prepared for the work that comes along with it. Accept your flaws but don’t simply just say this is me oh well, take what is said and done to you and make the necessary changes! This requires a gut punch here and there! I used to say oh well to what folks said but everyone ain’t telling the same lie! Own it and change it! Also stop living your life with the brakes! The more I get out, the more I attack the list of wants without excuses the more doors open! Step through them!! It’s okay to be okay and enjoy this life! You don’t have to be downtrodden all the time. Life will give enough of those moments so that you don’t have to create them! Learn to enjoy moments. Smile a little! Enjoy a treat and have a little balance! Get out and explore! Live your best life!

For the Love of Friends

I am blessed in friendship. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that you can be authentic and secure all while having amazing people behind you who support you and love you and love on you.

Friends who are family

It’s true that you can’t pick your family. With friends, you are in charge of who you allow in your life. With that being said I have an amazing pool of friends. From childhood to college and beyond, friends are the fuel of life. This weekend I was able to spend time with my college loves. In August of 1999 I entered into Penn State super unsure of myself. I had gotten my college roommate assignment and on it was a name super similar to mine. Her name is Toi. I had never seen anyone with that spelling outside of me. I initially thought I had scored a single room. On move in day I saw a girl who looked similar to me and was warm and inviting. We met and were inseparable.

A few days later I met Krystle and Marques. They were apart of my scholarship program. Krystle came off super shy. We know now that’s just her secret weapon. Once friends with Krystle you realize how much of a gem she is. She graced us with her love. Krystle is one of the most level-headed women I’ve met to date. I’m still trying to get her to adopt me (inside joke). Marques was funny. He came up to me and Toi once he heard our names was similar and made a joke about it. His wit got him in but his loyalty kept him in even when he and I who dated in college would break up each week! Over the course of time we quickly formed a group and over the course of 4 or a little over some for others in the group we were a mini family. We dined together, traveled together, got in “trouble” with another and went through hard times together. Although a beautiful fellowship of individuals, we had growing pains together. We were there for each other and still continue to be there during the rough times. And almost 20 years from meeting, we found ourselves back together.

We were able to catch up, talk smack, remember the good and the bad times. It was everything and more that we needed. I know for a fact that they made my college experience that much better and I am super grateful for being able to be a call away from them. I know that as we continue on our journey of life that we remain as strong as ever. I’m super grateful for their loyalty as they have stuck by me when they shouldn’t have. I have nothing but love for our Pennypacker crew and honorary member! P Phi P forever! #peacoatmafia #Pennstatestrong #Weare

Heat Ain’t Stop the Show

So Philly is experiencing a heat wave. We are in a Red alert. So with that being said hydration is our friend. Staying cool and protected is the name of the game.

There are several events happening this weekend. I took the liberty of researching the options for the month and have linked my husband and I’s calendar to be in sync with the activities. This doesn’t mean that we will attend them all but at least we are aware. Today we decided to attend #phillyscoopfest. It is an ice-cream festival that has many vendors, some samples, music from all diversity, and it was located this year inside the Reading Terminal.

Little secret, I have never been to the Reading Terminal before. I know, I know why?! I’m not sure. But that is a thing of a past. I was there which is super surprising as much as I love my hometown market and one would think I would have ran to the Reading Terminal but nope! I finally made my presence known.

My family and I walked around and our first stop I tried a pineapple basil from Mom Pops. I loved it. They were dairy free, gluten free, everything free but what wasn’t free? Taste. I loved it. Since taking dairy out of my diet I’ve always on the hunt for non dairy dessert. The gentleman gave me a lot of coupons that I’ll be using going forward.

My kids all had a strawberry banana popsicle and I doubt they heard everything that was taken out of them and finished it before we made it to Bassett’s and we had such great ice-cream. I elected to have sorbet for the reasons already stated. It was good. The kids enjoyed their cups and my husband his cone. The staff was super organized and treated us well.

We made our way to enjoy our icecream and listen to music which was my personal highlight of the event! They also had prizes, a kid spot, tables to enjoy your icecream and food and it was great to see the diversity and fun without drama!!

Also if you purchase something at a vendor for at least 10 dollars they validate your parking for a discount. So all together it costs us 5 dollars for parking, for almost 30 of ice-cream, and memories were made for a family of 5 that is a win!!

After going to a friends house warming we decided to give the kids a break and recoup before heading to the Fireworks at Penn’s Landing. Naps went over and we missed the Army Band’s performance. Listen parking in Philadelphia is no joke and definitely during a holiday weekend. It took about 20 or so minutes to find a non paying spot but we found one.

The crowd was plentiful. From Spruce Street Harbor to the actual fireworks it was a great night!

So here’s to more events, family time, and not letting anxiety hold me into the house!

Ask Toi: How do I handle my best friend who needed to stay with me but complains about my home?!

Welp if you are best friends people always assume that you should be able to freely speak on anything. To a certain degree that makes perfect sense but there are times that close friends will have to have difficult conversations. This is one of them.

If you’re not about that put your girl out life, you will need to take your friend out of the home and have a conversation. What I mean is find an environment outside of the home to talk to your girl about her insults. One thing you can’t or I’ll say is shouldn’t do is come into someone home and insult them. Insults can come from how that person does things, to what you may feel needs to be in or outside of the home, etc. Even if your friend is the keeping it real type we have to understand that mutual respect should always be your main goal. Keeping it real can go real wrong and we have to stop this narrative to allow people to be loud and cruel at your expense! Keeping it real means you won’t sugar coat it but even non sugar things can be good to you. Delivery is everything and it sounds like this real friend is being a real jerk!

I find that besties lose sight of what it means to never take respect out of the relationship and in your case she has disrespected you and your home. Speak candidly with examples about what is being said and how it made you feel. Be prepared for a few rebuttals:

  • It’s not that deep I was just telling you
  • I should be able to say whatever to you at this point
  • If you can’t handle my realness that’s not my problem
  • I can leave but don’t forget what I did for you….
  • You making a big deal over nothing

All of which are wrong because it doesn’t change the disrespect. Don’t back down when speaking. Let your friend and the rebuttals know that you gave your bestie the courtesy by not addressing her right away giving her time to adjust but since she won’t she needs to and that going forward that type of behavior will not be tolerated!

You have every right to be in your home without someone telling you what you should do or how you should be doing it. You simply saying that this has been going on for a little while let’s me know that the tension has been there long before she came to visit or stay!

Talk it out and depending on her responses will let you know if bestie needs to find new living arrangements or a hotel. Never let anyone in your home disrupt the flow of peace not even for a visit! Hotel chains are open 24 hours a day and you don’t deserve an hour of inconvenience.

Good luck!

Take the Step out of Stepdad; Tribute to my Dad!!

Stepdads especially when they are great dads should be treated with the same respect as a regular father. Stepdads who take on the responsibility of a father are admiral. So today we salute the men who stepped in stepped up.

Stepdads from Hell

So before we get all gushy in our feelings let’s deal with the stepdads who only play their part to pretend for the women they marry that they are really there for the kids. This is awful. Many of these men can create more issues and make it hard for the marriage or relationship they entered. The kids are isolated. Many develop feelings of anger. Now if a mom is about her kids first she would get to the bottom of it. Sadly there are some who are concerned with keeping a man and won’t even on the surface look into the situation.

Stepdads who Step it Up

So I’m going to make it personal. My mom met my dad who is my step dad legally but my real dad in real life. I was around 5 or even younger so for me, my dad (I’ve yet to call him step anything) was and still is the only father I’ve ever known. There have been many things up and down that has occurred in our relationship but let me publicly say THANK YOU! My dad is an amazing man! He is active duty military, he has been to every function my sister and I have ever had, he helped us with our school work, took us on vacations, and has been an outstanding father and man!! He’s been in our lives so tight that some of my friends wouldn’t have ever known that he was my stepdad. The only time I talk about step is for things like this or if asked. It’s not a secret in anyway. He has just been a pillar in our life.

I can say that he set the bar high for any dad. His dad my grandfather is an amazing man and I’m not hyping them for the blog either, offline they are both amazing!! When I grew up I couldn’t use the I ain’t know my real dad as an excuse to act up, make a scene, or be less than I needed to be. My dad slipped in my life as if he had been there from our very existence. He was tough and it’s those tough moments that I’ve ever was really mad at him. Now with my kids I get it! He had to be stern. I was definitely the handful out of my siblings. I always appeared to be the one who didn’t give issues but it wasn’t true.

If you have a step dad make sure you make him feel that he is the most amazing father. Do your best to salute him the best way you can for Father’s Day. My real dad has never been in the picture and because of the love of my step dad the only thing I’ve ever have had was curiosity and never a lack of love. I never felt empty. I’ve never felt like as a daughter I needed anything. I think when I moved from my hometown to Philadelphia the only thing I’ve always remembered as I got older was my dad and I’s dates. It would be our time and it was the time he would let me pick his brain about men and relationships. Trust me it made for interesting conversations.

I’m sure as a daughter I have hurt him. I know I have. The time when I was younger and gave him an issue because I was a kid trying to figure it all out. I’m extremely head strong. He definitely pushed me to be vocal. That can be a blessing and a curse. I know that I’ve had moments where I’ve embarrassed him. For all of those moments I hope I have given you all of the apologies you were due!

My dad and I when we talk we never say goodbye we just say see you later. If he would say goodbye I would be like what’s going on? See you later leaves it up that we are just waiting for the next conversation or meet up. My dad makes me feel like the best daughter in the world.

I love you dad!! Happy Father’s Day!!

Good Reports: My Hysterectomy Update

So I’ve blogged about having a full hysterectomy last year. Although it might be quite private for some, this was one of the best things that happened to me. It helped me to push my life in the right direction.

I’ve been super honest about the journey. I’ve talked about how I started to attempt to lose weight and then hit a wall. I found that I was getting a lot of the areas of my health in line and then bam I was sick, having horrible headaches, and my cycle was so off it made no sense.

After losing so much blood and my blood being so low and at the point of having a second dose of iron infusions, I decided to have a complete work up. I went to two specialists who worked together and came up with the plan and because of them and always God my life has improved tremendously. My hematologist walked me to my OBGYN specialist in person and we all sat down together and came up with a plan. They were hands on and made sure I didn’t feel stuck.

Yesterday I went to the doctors and was told that everything looked great. I had lost the weight and more, my body had healed, and that I was the model patient. I also had a note from the nurses who said I was a joy and made them laugh even though I was in so much pain. To be honest that had to be more pain medication induced than anything. I also was told that I would still need to come back to have my exam done but that I didn’t need to send off anything to a lab since go figure there is no uterus. Such a great turn from last year when I was at my wit’s end, sleeping all the time, etc.

Sleep Patterns

So let me tell you real of what I had to get used to while I healed. There are a lot of women who have had and will have a hysterectomy for various reasons. I personally had already had my tubes tied before the surgery and yet I felt a weird sense of lost after the surgery. I had various dreams of babies quite often and if you add that my body’s clock was off, the insomnia took over the first few weeks. I was sleeping like a baby. No not let men do (some) when a new baby comes home, the kind where day is night and night is day type of sleep. I didn’t regulate my sleep pattern until well over 2 months and I had been back to work by then. It may have been well into 3 months after the surgery.

Sex

Please like I’ve said if you’re coming to read this part to hear about my bedroom secrets let me stop you now! Sex does change after surgery. Some women experience dryness that makes sex super painful. Some have no drive. A lot of that depends on the healing process. Let me also note if your doctor hasn’t cleared you don’t try it. That means do NOT have any form of sex or place anything in your vaginal area. If you do you will regret it. Get a new hobby as you heal. Make your partner wait a minute too. It’s either that or find yourself back in the hospital or injured! It ain’t worth it! Sex was the last thing on my mind during healing. I was trying to master things like getting in and out of bed, going to the bathroom, and pain management! I had zero issues waiting. However my paranoia did creep in once I was cleared. I did have to find a good rhythm and relax. I was scared that there would be a lot of pain. My husband and I waited 1-2 more weeks after I was cleared.

Hair Growth/Hair Falling Out

My hair didn’t fall out. That is a blessing. I honestly thought it would since I had braids AND when I was postpartum with my kids my hair was falling out in clumps. I figured hey this surgery is sending me into menopause surely my hair is going to hit the floor! It did not!! However I found hair in other unwanted areas. It has leveled out and I personally think it had a lot to do with me being on hormone replacement therapy patches for a while. I got off of that soon after the hair discovery subsided and also it caused me to have heart palpitations. I thought there’s no way I’m going to look like a Chia Pet and feel like I’m having a heart attack too!

Weight Gain

After I had lost quite a bit of weight before the surgery I was paranoid that I would look pregnant as I recovered. I had a plan! I ate what I wanted for the first few weeks and by few I really mean 2! Uber Eats got all my money after my husband went back to work. Standing to prep food or cook was team too much! However I could use my strength to track those deliveries answer make my way to the door. After that food fun was over I stuck to the portion size and types of food for the remainder of the time since working out was out of the question.

Do I still get hot flashes? Yes. I think they honestly started back up in the last month. I had several months where it didn’t happen at all. I do think with the start of the new job and adjusting is contributing to the increase of the flashes. I am confident I will level out soon!

Overall I would do it again. I had 3 c-section with my 3 kids and I felt like I was prepared for the surgery and knew what to expect. Thankfully due to a little prep I had everything ready after I came home too. Shout out to Dr. M for all that he has done. I’m glad of the support of my family and friends during the journey. Now I’m just glad to be able to live a true healthy life! I’m glad that unlike many women who find themselves having to have a hysterectomy that I have my 3 kids. Not every women will experience childbirth and I’m grateful. Again I encourage all to be on top of their health. If something isn’t right or doesn’t feel right then speak up. I don’t even want to think would could have been had I not put myself first!