Blogiversary Year 5

This entire month we are going to celebrate my Blogiversary! 5 years ago what started out as something to do has turned into a whole experience! I had a vision and that vision has shifted through the years but it hasn’t stopped!

When I first began it was just about doing it for the love of writing and more of a hobby. Now I blog full time while managing life be that from work, my family, and responsibilities. I’m projected to be full time blogger alone by 2020. That’s a huge ordeal for me and what I work towards daily. A lot of people see the finished project but have no idea the amount of time and dedication it takes. I am up all hours of my day and definitely at night editing and arranging content. When I first began I blogged in real time. I had no concept of editing and setting my blogs to release at certain days and times like I do now.

I have learned a lot from being consistent, dedication, and obtaining mentors along the way. It takes a village to go from to a once a week blogger to giving daily content! As ToiTimeblog has evolved and is evolving into a brand I am in awe. I treat every event I attend with the same dedication as the first. I do not take anything for granted. Every sponsored post, brand post, or hosted post are near and dear to my heart. I enjoy what I do and I know it has to come off in my posts! Any future ads that I do have to be a product that I have used or use currently that I stand behind. That’s the beauty of choice! I made the choices and call the shots on what I believe in. I’ve had some brands I’ve had to turn down! It’s apart of how this works!

I have to say that my followers and readers make it special. I recently went to an event where someone asked if it was okay to talk to me. I don’t care where I go and how ToiTime evolves I’m a small town girl in a big city and as long as you can deal with my quirkiness l’m just a normal young lady. For every woman I’ve interviewed as it’s my desire to make sure I uplift women even when negative decision making has taken place; I stand for us! I want to see us win every single time! I want to see us go from the bottom and rise to the top! I started out as a stay at home mom and have worked my way to a beautiful life of independence and I’m thriving. When I was told my kids were too young for me to do what I do I kept going. Now on kid appropriate blog adventures they go along. I want them to see how I move and for them to do the same in their own way! The way I carry myself now is completely different from the beginning because I have purpose. With that purpose I’ve gotten further in this blogging life than I could have imagined.

The amount of push back that comes from behind the scenes has made me stronger! It has also developed a new sense of advice for new bloggers:

  • Never work for numbers alone! I have walked in arenas that my dedication has opened doors quicker than my social media numbers have
  • Have a blog plan in place especially when dealing with brands. If I attend an event unless the client gives me a certain deadline I’m infamous for my less 24 hour turn around time
  • Don’t overbook events unless you can handle it. I get told I see you everywhere and it’s true but I go in fresh no matter what. Put space between events if you can to decompress
  • Know your audience and know your brand. Even if it’s a sponsored event or trip know the audience
  • Have a tight turn around time
  • Know the movers and shakers in the room. Don’t be shy networking is apart of this game
  • Be on time. Don’t come to events purposely late. If you can make your way to the front it will keep your focus and help smash anxiety
  • If you work with a PR get to know them and always be yourself. This has been a godsend for me. The one time I was super sick and the PR wanted to know what was up. Don’t lie be honest but always remain yourself
  • Blog what is natural for you. Do not try to mimic another blogger.
  • Your gift will make room for you. What others are doing with their blogs isn’t your business. Do what’s best for you at all times
  • Be professional even when you’re getting criticism. I attended an event and was told I didn’t look up to par. Instead of an attitude I took the advice and it’s help me to always represent my brand even when I’m not at an event

Now let me give you even more advice!! The best advice I can give: your blog is your vision and you can’t expect friends or family to have the same level of vision that you do. I see this from entrepreneurs all the time calling out their squad for not in the blogging world, reposting their blogs. You got to get thick skin. I am aligned with a lot of products, brands, and companies and I ask myself daily; am I promoting myself just as hard? People are fickle like water! You can’t expect them to help you brand years down the road! It’s not their vision. Take moments and time out to resonate within yourself daily, monthly, and yearly that your blog will look differently!

If you have a free domain when you start set a plan to pay for it the following year. You should be investing in your blog and brand consistently! I purchase new lighting, soon a new camera, upgraded my site, go on conferences, etc. because Toitime is worth it! You have to do the same! One thing we won’t change is unlike other blogs who only focus on pretty pics we will remain a staple to keep talking about life as it’s happening. No pretty picture will ever take from that. There’s a single mom who is at her wits end, a divorced woman who needs encouragement, or even a father trying to do his best! We are here for the everyday struggles.

Thank you to my support team. I am moving daily because I have support! Thank you to Aversa PR for seeing me and rocking with me! Thank you to my blogging friends who we collaborate with and engage in this world together without competing with one another. I love seeing them grow and glow and they do the same with me! Special thank you to Phillyfoodgal you have been a godsend. To my friends who don’t hesitate to be there for me-thanks! Thank you to TCP! I’ve been with you through name changes and rebranding but it’s been love all the way through!

To my husband and kids who have to deal with my fluctuating schedule-I love you! You make it easy for me to do what I love!

To my followers thank you! Every year I upbrand and this year is no different! You will be seeing changes to the blog at the beginning of 2020! I have more brands that I’ve secured and with that comes growth.

During this month of the Blogiversary follow me on Instagram! We have prizes and sponsored gifts coming to you for rocking it out with me. The only way to win is to follow me and the brand on Instagram. Let’s have some fun!! This month is going to be an amazing celebration!!!! Year 5 we about to do this!!

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Ask Toi: How to Co-Parent with my child’s father?

My reader asked specifically how to get her child’s father on a schedule without having the child feel bad if he doesn’t show up?

Kids love their parents no matter how inconsistent they are. I wouldn’t tell your child when he’s coming that way your child will not be hurt by his inability to show up. Nothing is worse than having a child hurt by their parent who doesn’t care about the pain their inconsistencies leave. Protect your child. I would take control and petition the court to have established time so that a schedule can be worked out. If you want to take a non court route I would sit down in a public space without the child and talk and make an agreement and get it in writing and even have it notarized.

If and when he doesn’t come through and wants to show up unannounced refer back to the agreement. I would keep the dialogue of “I want you in our child’s life-but kids need balance and dependability.” When he hits you with the you’re keeping my child from me let him know that he needs to work with you so your child gets the best of both of you. Co-parenting is not easy but for the sake of your child keep the lines of communication open. Always speak highly of him in front of your child and allow your child the ability to come to terms when he’s old enough! I hope that helps!

Ask Toi: What do I Tell my Husband who invited his friend and his friend’s mistress to dinner?

This is a bit much. It’s one thing for your husband’s friend to cheat on his wife. That’s his choice but to have your husband basically aid him is not cool.

Birds of a feather flock together. You can have friends who do questionable things often times if they know you are going to be the morality police they may tell you but not involve you. That’s how my friends roll. They also know since I’m going to call them out on their mess they ask me if certain things done in my presence would be offensive. Sounds like your husband’s morality line is wide enough to be accepting of his friend’s ways. If your husband’s friend knew that your husband was cool with it it’s no wonder that this invite wasn’t an issue.

The other flip is that your husband isn’t aware of your morality line. I’m team wife all the way. My husband knows I will call him and his friend out so no need to even involve me. Even if there’s a wife that I don’t particularly like I’m still team wife. Ain’t no way in Hell we breaking bread with active cheating. I’m loyal to my husband but the loyalty goes both ways he wouldn’t betray me knowing how I feel about certain things. Your husband has very little respect. Any man reading this and thinking “well my wife should be good since I’m good” is pure trash. I would imagine if we set up a sting you doing questionable stuff towards your wife too!

I believe your friend has a right to cheat meaning I don’t condone it but it’s his choice. However I’m pissed as all get out that he would be that open. This is not I made a mistake with another woman this is a whole mistress aka a side relationship. Just the amount of diseases (condoms don’t cover everything) he is potentially bringing home is enough for me to cut him! Yes I said cut him.

I would say you tell your husband that you’re not comfortable with it and that you decline the invitation and have a conversation with him about his participation. Something about this makes me leery about his own morality and you need to see this as an immediate red flag!

There no way to involve other folks without their knowledge and I wouldn’t want to be uncomfortable. Men if you cheat than either be bold enough to speak up and if you can’t the less you involve others the longer it allows you to be secretive until you get caught because 9 times out of 10 you’re going to get caught. This is 2019 somebody is recording, snapping, and setting you up in case you think they aren’t! Don’t be dumb!

Wilma Theatre Presents Dance Nation

The amount of energy that I felt the second that I walked in…I’m talking about the type where your head and body is moving in-sync and the vibes are out of this world type night. Dance Nation is a get out of your seat ball of fun from start to finish. Dance Nation is a hit!

If you can sit and not laugh you can’t be human! Dance Nation takes on what it’s like to be a dance phenomenon as a young impressionable young person. They deal exclusively and attack such topics as suicide, people pleasing, dance ethic, feminism, periods, body image, self confidence and they do it with grace. This speaks to everyone on what it’s like to be a young person and have stressors on your life in order to compete. This is definitely about celebrating girl power!!!!!!!

What would you tell your 12 year old self if you could send him/her a message? I know I would tell her to be herself and relax. That grades are great but balance is better. To have friends and be a leader. As a young person’s body and mind grows they are inundated with this overload of information of what we should do or be. Sometimes that pressure is great and other times it’s too much!

I absolutely loved Dance Nation. There are moments of brief nudity and suggestive language as well as dark themes. To be offended by these themes is not understanding the complexity of what our young people face daily. Competition only magnifies the dire state of what it means to do what you love or push yourself into overload trying.

I knew from the opening act that this was going to be a ride. I was right! I enjoyed the intensity of the acting. The ability for the actors/actresses of Dance Nation to draw each member of the audience in. I didn’t want to look away. Dance Nation takes it there!

The entire night was so much fun. Since I attended the opening night I enjoyed the reception. I also enjoyed how they kept it in theme. From the candy display to the dance room with drinks I couldn’t sleep right away even after I got home. I wanted to dance and sing all night!! I felt empowered and as a mother I felt like I had more work to do to help my daughters.

They might not want to be like the Dance Moms show as the play was loosely based on but they definitely need to own her body, exude confidence, learn to find their passions beyond believing that they need to do what others including me what them to do and to be clear in what it means to balance passions.

Thank you to The Wilma Theatre for inviting me but also for the most beautiful reception. You’re staff knows how to welcome your patrons!

Monday Motivation: You’re Not Alone

One of the things that messes with our mindset at any given time no matter the differences we face is that we are alone. We are the only one going through hard times. Everyone else is advancing and we are left alone. This is false. We are all touched by quire a few common issues. What you’re seeing is people on different rungs of the ladder.

When you feel like you’re on the bottom it’s hard to imagine even moving up. You start to get upset. You find fault in those around you because they should have done more to pull you out. News flash folks got their own issues they are pushing through. You might not always find a hand. The feeling of defeat is real. It’s upsetting to feel like you’re being picked on or isolated.

I want to encourage you today that there’s nothing you have gone or are flint through that someone else hasn’t passed the test. When I was in the thick of any trial it was my mindset that kept me down longer than the circumstances allowed. After the whole self defeating talk didn’t take me out; my self confidence or lack thereof was pushing me to my lowest point.

It’s hard to see greatness in a dark place. I get it. I have been there but you have to know even when you can’t see it; don’t give up. Don’t totally fall apart even when you feel like falling apart is comfortable. Being uncomfortable and pushing past that especially when I had nothing to lose made me the best version of myself. Hearing no a thousand times made me frustrated, sad, envious, and angry. It still birthed a sense of knowing that once I got the first yes; that yes came from hard work.

You’re not alone in this fight you’re just on a different rung of the ladder. You can’t see pass your point of entry in the race of life. You are watching others instead of investing into yourself. I am a research person. The second something doesn’t pan out I began to research others or talk to others who have experienced the same thing. This is why although you don’t need a nation of folks in your business having a mentor helps you. You are in the number of those who have failed and are speaking life in dark places. You were broke but can speak financial security into your life. You might have to learn how you got into the broke phase, have a better relationship with spending, and have the mentality and spacing to do better with it. However it doesn’t change that someone else is doing the same thing and you will push through.

Mondays are hard but life is worse if all you’re focused on is what everyone else is doing! You can focus on your lane and stop inheriting the mindset that you automatically will fail. Have you ever thought about pushing through that you find yourself surprised that you failed? That’s the push daily. To work smarter and do it so consistently that you find yourself surprised you failed!

Let’s knock these thoughts of being alone out the door. Since you know that there’s someone else working hard like you do daily; don’t stop at the first sign of pushback! Trust me I look like things are working out but that’s the turn of events and the difference in rung of the ladder. This was after failing and failing so many times. This was after crying. This was after working hard and being told no and having to gather my feelings and push through again. This was definitely after being told “why you.” I had to answer the notion of why not me! I felt alone because even though I’m married my vision isn’t his vision on everything. I had to say there’s plenty of folks building from the ground. They were. They had the same levels of feelings I had. Fight like you got a crowd holding you up! Push like you got the blueprint already! Don’t give up!

Philadelphia School of Circus presents: Haunted Circus Mansion

I had the pleasure of taking the fam bam with me to visit the Haunted Circus Mansion. It was a whirlwind of amazing surprises. The last time to visit is this weekend Friday October 25 and Saturday October 26th. Here is your behind the scenes look as a few major tips to make your visit more enjoyable! The St. Madeleine Sophie Church in West Airy is transformed into this amazing Halloween spectacular!

Friday Nights

This is for the adults only. Get a sitter or just grab your adult friends this is for you to kick back and enjoy some adult spooky fun. This is not for kids at all as the exhibits are amped to give you a haunted fill. Located inside the mansion will be a lot of scared to get you into the Halloween fun!!

There’s performances, an escape room, and a haunted trail. This is from 7-10!

Saturday Family Fun

Bring the family and decide to either wear costumes or not and enjoy performances, face painting, crafts, trick or treating on the second floor with a kid friendly escape room, and fun. Here are my tips so you can have a great time.

The trick or treat times are spread out through the night. It’s first come and first serve. So if you get there for example at 6pm your trick or treat time may not be until 7. In between those times you can enjoy the other fun activities while you wait. Pack some patience! This is a huge mansion with enough space for lots of kids. With that in mind bring cash if you want to purchase popcorn or water. It would be a great idea to feed the kids prior to coming. With the increase of children, it will get hot. Dress accordingly. Be courteous to staff. There will be staff dressed in costumes that some smaller children may find scary! It is meant for fun and not harm! During the trick or treat is a kid friendly walk through that is very Halloween related!

Kids love face painting but be prepared for lines! Same goes for the arts and crafts!

We elected to do the Escape Room. It was fun but my of course 4 year old niece wasn’t here for it. We were able to remove her so I wouldn’t suggest it for kids under 5! However for the rest of it we loved it!

And it is being done by the Philadelphia School of Circus so expect some amazing whirls and twirls! The talent of the performers is amazing and that’s from the oldest all the way to the youngest.

We also ran into Mina Say What…

No children were harmed and everyone left with a smile. So all roads lead to the Haunted Mansion…

May you bend your way over to Mt. Airy this weekend and have a great time!

To purchase tickets; you can get them at the door or online

Philadelphia Theatre Company: Bebe Neuwirth in A Small Fire

Emily Bridges a woman who has learned how to keep in check all of the key players around her has now found life dishing out some unusual new battles. As she loses her physical senses she learns about how she intertwines with those around her going forward.

Emily played by Emmy awarded Bebe Neuwirth is absolutely engaging. You may remember her as she played Frasier Crane’s wife on Cheers and on Frasier the spin-off! She also started her career as a dancer and was in the Tony awarded “A Chorus Line!” Emily is an owner of a construction company. In a male dominated field its no wonder why she had to set the tone early on. What she says goes and there is very little wiggle room. The same applied to much of her marriage and relationship with her daughter.

Her sense of smell, her sight; it’s all leaving and so are her rocky relationships. Who is she outside of her role as this strong matriarch and business owner? Can she allow others to lead? Does love really cover us when that’s all we have?! Who will remain by her side as she continues to diminish. She’s now vulnerable and at the mercy of those she used to call the shots for! A small fire…a burning if you will that is more than just physical. The fire to reconnect. The fire to make anew. The fire to take away tarnish and leave new beginnings…..

Trust me when I say you will get those references alone when you attend and see this glorious production. Also congratulations not only to the hardworking cast, writer; Adam Bock and director, Joanie Schultz but you the staff at the Philadelphia Theatre Company who celebrates 45 years of bringing Philadelphia some amazing production over the years! It’s not an easy task to keep the success of a large theatre company going. My hat goes off to you and to the donors, and supporters who stand behind keeping theatre alive and well in the heart of Philadelphia!

Me and John Dossett who plays John Bridges

The opening night reception was great. If you have ever attended an opening reception you know you will find music, champagne, amazing food, and a chance to meet the cast.

Me and Oge Agulúe-plays Billy Fontaine Sarah Gliko (2019 Barrymore Recipient) who plays Jenny Bridges

I’m proud to be in the presence of theatre’s best! The Philadelphia Theatre Company is definitely one of my favorites.

You can see A Small Fire now until November 10th. I wouldn’t wait until the last minute to purchase your tickets. Remember thanks to PnC Arts Alive 10 seats will be available for $10 tickets. Also those who have ACCESS cards can present their card and purchase a ticket for themselves and up to 3 tickets for $2 a person. This means that everyone has access to great meaningful shows throughout the season.

Also for A Small Fire get to the theatre for this production on time as its 90 minutes with no intermission!

Also you can make a generous donation as well.