Blogiversary Year 4

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

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

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

Greenide

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

TCP

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

Dream Deferred

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

Followers

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

Friends and Family

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

Health is Wealth

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

Blogging Goals

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

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

 

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

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Ask Toi

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

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

Most Requested Blogs of the Year

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

Boss issues:

Those who deflect

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

Where are my Followers the Most Engaged

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

  • United States
  • United Kingdom
  • Canada

 

 

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Love Energy

If you ever worked out you know how it can feel. Sometimes you feel super motivated. Other times you have a love/hate relationship.  However if you are consistent in it you will notice how better you feel and eventually you will see results. When you are consistent and you see results it keeps you feeling amazing and keeps you going even when you have days when you slack off.

The energy behind that feeling of working out, eating better, or doing better is the same type of energy that needs to be put into your love relationship. You should feel loved on everyday. The days where arguments seem to be on a thousand, and you’re not getting along, should be way less than the days you and your partner spend loving on each other. One thing that I am realizing is the more energy into the relationship, the better the results. The times in your relationships where BOTH partners are attempting to meet in the middle is key to making it work.

Energy never lies. I don’t care what a person says, if the energy that a person is giving or lack thereof, is the key to how things hold up. You can never go on record with your spouse naming the things that you do in response to responsibilities alone if the energy in how you love isn’t being shown. I learned that in counseling on my own. I went to counseling about my life in general and if I am honest my marriage came up. My counselor was a man and he said to me that I know the energy in which my marriage is giving and if that energy is slacking, it won’t hold up. I either had to do my part, wait to see if my husband’s part would match, and if it don’t match, I knew what I had to do. This doesn’t mean my counselor was encouraging to divorce, etc, but he was making me aware of things that love blinds you to.

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Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Love is amazing. If you are being loved right, it shows. A woman glows better when she’s loving herself and her partner is loving her correctly. There is no denying that. Energy is all about what you give to your partner. If all you do is harp on what your partner does that is negative than don’t get mad when that person goes looking for someone to encourage them. Let me say it for the folks in the back, this is not a oh well if they cheat clause. I am saying if you’re honest and you know you aren’t speaking good into your relationship and over the person you claim to love and all you do is tearing that individual them, gaslighting them, and downing their every move, eventually that ugly side of you becomes less and less attractive. No ONE wants to be put down. You can’t come with a smile, ever? You don’t have not one nice thing to say, ever? There is something wrong, always? Don’t nobody got time for that. If you have an issue with something, speak up but it don’t have to be drawn into a picture with a neon sign everyday! Speak love. Speak encouragement. Put into the relationship what you want out of it.

One last nugget my counselor told me that we tend to say, if I was with “this” person whatever the “this” represents, we would….. If you don’t work out in yourself whatever negative issues you feel from what you get out of your mate, you can leave them and run right back into that same type of person later. Check your loves of the past, do they all share common traits? If so than maybe there’s something in you that needs to be worked out. Energy never lies. If you feel miserable and you’re working on yourself and find that the person you are with is not and its dragging you down, speak up. After awhile things will naturally take its course. Don’t ignore the warning signs cause you love this person!

Checking in on Your Loved Ones

There is something to be said when you check in on your loved ones. Whether it’s a quick check in or a full on call and listen session we need to be proactive in doing more for each other. We are connected and we need to keep that connection as strong as it possibly can be. We need to do a better job on spreading love to everyone and even the ones we know well. We tend to give better compliments to strangers at times than we do to those we are around. Be the type of person that is nurturing to one another and attempt to find the good in your circle of loved ones.

So for that I am challenging all of my followers to do a quick check in. I know that often times we use text messages and we don’t talk on the actual phone, but it may be time to do a full on call. You can use text messages as a lead way but overall it would be good to hear a voice and be sure that your friends and family are truly okay. Its getting colder out and seasonal depression is real. Even the ones who you think is totally fine and there are no issues present could be fighting a silent fight.

three women sitting on grass

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

You would do yourself a disservice to ignore your loved ones in this season. So spend a little time and make it your business to reach out to a few folks over the next couple of weeks. Be sure that if you do that you ask open-ended questions too. Sometimes people will hit you with the yes and no and true interaction is engaging. Also keep in mind some people are private. Make sure the conversation and space is safe for them to open up and speak. Don’t judge what they have to say. Just be sure that you are truly inviting and be there. Some people don’t want a fix they just need to vent. I want to be able to look back and know that I attempted to be there for my friends and loved ones and I encourage you to do the same!!

Our Engagement Story: October 16, 2010 (Sweetest Day)

So on October 15, 2010 my friend Colleen came to pick me up.  She had called me several times before about the birthday party I was supposed to attend for my boyfriend at the time’s uncle birthday.  I really want to downplay what I was going to wear. However Marques had already gotten me a dress that we picked out a few weeks ago and with the dress I figured let me get to the salon and get my hair done.She took me to one of her girls and she did my hair.  I got my nails done and proceeded with my normal day.

On Saturday October 16, 2010 I drove to Philly but I had to make a stop to pick Marques up from the train station.  He had went on a business trip.  We got to the house I talked with his mom and then we went to the mall because he said he had to get a gift for his uncle.  We left the mall with no gift.  He said he couldn’t find anything.  We managed to eat and then back home to get dressed.  On the way there he says that one of his cousins might try to be late and he had to call them.  He pulled over on the side of the road and asked if the cousin had arrived and then he had to fix his clothes.  In my normal what are you doing, I asked him if he could wait until we got to our destination to fix his clothes.

Well we pull up to Maggiano’s and I ran into a long time friend. I wasn’t paying any attention until we walked into the room and I saw his family than I looked over and saw my college girlfriends sitting at the table and I knew this couldn’t have been for his uncle birthday.  I looked back and saw my parents and family and best friend sitting at a table and I knew immediately but I didn’t want to play myself.

He came in the room turned on the most beautiful photo spread and video and asked for my hand in marriage.  I was floored.  I couldn’t believe it. All the things I had in my mind I could barely say much but yes!!  His family was clowning him I do remember that asking what would he have done if I said no, but Marques knew I wouldn’t have said no.

The back story is that my college girlfriends had arrived Friday and were staying at the house.  When I got there they had left and basically it was arranged for them to get dressed and not be in the house so I wouldn’t see them.  But we had crossed paths and  I had no clue.  He had my parents and family there and the only times I remember them interacting was for the sake of our daughter.  It was a really beautiful time. Oh and there was no business trip.  It was a way to divert me from going to house.

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He put a lot of effort into this day.  I totally appreciated it all.  The other part to the proposal is the ring.  The ring was incredibly beautiful.  When he and I were dating back in the day, I would get my Essence magazines and read them.  In the magazine were always Tacori ring advertisements.  I fell in love with them.  They are super expensive sets.  Trust me. However he would ask me questions as to why I liked those rings.  My answer is simple, I loved how the band had diamonds all around it.  I like the princess cut and halo rings.  I liked how it looked different from other rings to me.  He never forgot that conversation. I later found out not how much he spent but trust me he wanted my social security number like Martin did Pam in the Martin comedy series but the effort.  It was the fact that he went and literally put this ring together.  He got the center stone from one place, got a setting and had it put together to my specifications like a Tacori ring.  So for that this ring means the world to me because of him listening to me, and knowing my style.  He could have gotten any ring and I would have loved it but the ring was made for me and it makes it that much more special.  Oh and my favorite food is Italian.  My favorite color is red he incorporated it all into the day.  We went to Maggiano’s at our first anniversary and the flood of emotions still gets me.  Marques has always been great with large gestures, the proposal was an extension of that.  To this day we celebrate Sweetest Day even when others don’t.  It’s our own special Valentine’s Day.

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I asked him why he proposed, and it was simple, he loved me and it was time.  Also he told me that I was by his side throughout the years he wanted to give me the ring that I loved and he did!!!

 

Shout out to all of our family and friends who helped in the background to pull that day off!!

 

The Dirty Mirror

Well good morning.  We are all coming off from either a good Mother’s Day or one we would not rather talk about. It is evident in the posts I saw on social media. However let’s shift our gears a bit to relationships this morning.

You ever found yourself admiring another couple?  You love how they love on each other.  Love is supposed to be inspiring.  However inspiration is only a small part in life. I have found myself really admiring a couple to the point where you forget that people are human and just like you are working stuff out on your end they are too.  So here is the dilemma. How much can you take in for face value?  How much of what appears to come from someone or a relationship can we take as the real?  Up to this point I thought I had the whole premise of admiring from afar down pact but I found out that I may not.

So here I go my emotions all over the place in what I thought another couple was showing me.  So here’s today’s nugget, the grass is never greener on the other side.  Yes water your own but stop looking at the grass altogether.  I have to admit often times when you are looking at someone else, what others have, what you don’t have is because of your own insecurities.  How many times had I argued with my husband on what he doesn’t do when in reality I could do it myself.  Not on the level of I don’t need him but doing it for myself to show what I needed from him or anyone to be honest.  People treat you the way you treat you.  So during this new focus on myself I have changed that about me.  I am not looking at what someone can do for me.  I am not looking at other couple and picking at the parts that I like about them because their struggle to get to what I think I see may be flawed.  That is the lesson that I learned over the weekend.

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I have asked myself before I got married what I wanted.  However I never really explored the actual question past fantasy and whimsical things.  The things that I had set up in my head never went as planned.  Nothing has gone as planned.  I could use that as an out and say well it wasn’t meant to be and there is someone else for me.  The reality is no one knows if there is someone else out there for me.  I am not looking let’s be clear.  I am not taking applications.  I am simply noticing that if I treat my mate the way I want to be treated that if he doesn’t treat me in the same high regard than that alone will be what I will use to determine any changes in my marital status and not because he isn’t doing what another man is doing for his wife for me.  That other man can be showing the world all this love and literally could be going through hell behind the scenes.  Same with the woman.  I am learning to have my own expectations.  I am finding out what I do like and what I don’t like.  How about I am doing all this NOW.  This is something I encourage the ones that are not married to do while single.  This is dangerous to do while married but its better to do than to keep going and lying to yourself.  I am not suggesting that while I am doing this, I am finding that my husband is not measuring up. Right now he and I are fine. We are stronger actually than we have ever been and that speaks volumes.  This is about me.  However some other couples can go through this and find that they are no longer suitable.  Please single people figure this out before you get married.  This will save you some time.

What happens if I get to the end of this and find out that my husband and I don’t mesh, I don’t need to worry about that right now.  I believe we will be fine.  We will be fine because this is an important part of maturity. I would hate to have been such a nag, and prolong this out without knowing myself.  Relationships will change. I used to be upset at the thought but they are supposed to change.  I am not the same as I was when we got married almost 5 years ago and 3 children in.  I am different.  I am expected to change. The work gets harder in love.  Love and lovey dovey feelings aren’t the glue to hold it together. It’s about knowing yourself and working things out inwardly.  It requires faith to believe that love is meant to be.  It’s being okay and not falling apart just because it may not. I am not overly concerned about getting to the end so I can feel as if we are okay.  We are okay and that is all that matters.

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So for the other couples that are finding themselves in this wave, ride it out.  Through the ups and down you will find out that the person you looked starry-eyed at will be there and maybe they won’t.  If you are really doing the work on yourself you will find that if things do end it can be amicable and you can move on without carrying the weight of the what ifs.  You will know in your heart that you loved hard and did what you needed to do.  I am not scared in this process.  Oh and for those looking for cracks in my marriage, there are none. My husband and I talk about this more now than ever before.  I am not looking to get out, this is just how it needs to be.  Is it uncomfortable? In the beginning it was because I kept thinking the worst was going to happen. Not that we were or are going to divorce.  Divorce wasn’t the issue, being miserable in my own skin was. Not because I was unloved but because I needed to set my personal parameter on what respect, love, etc looked like for me.  I thought no one can go through this shift and survive it.  No one can began to question marriage and still be okay.  However life is what it is.  Questioning is not an issue, doing nothing and simply existing is the issue.  I needed to take charge of my love life and I am.  I have had moments where I wanted to talk to my friends about it but I choose not simply because there wasn’t any advice they can give me.  Even my married friends this wasn’t about getting everyone’s opinion. This was about my voice, my issues, handling this OUR way.

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For any couple in this shift, it’s okay. Every fear you have someone else has had.  For every question you ask, someone has asked those same questions.  You can love someone to infinity and beyond, but you have to be able to know you are giving that same love to yourself.  This will either propel your husband or wife to do the same or show you that they aren’t and never was.  Could I honestly say that my husband was doing all he can if I wasn’t?  No and there was the issue it started with me not him.  I don’t have all of the answers but I love that I have someone who sees the shift, embraces the shift, and we are doing our work together and although it seems as if it may being done separately it’s not.