Monday, December 1, 2014

#StayTuned

Over the weekend, I released my second novel, A Fashionable Revelation, and I am still beaming from ear to ear.  The set up was amazing, the food was delicious, and the support was more than I could have ever imagined.  There were so many individuals that came together to help make this event a success, and I am forever grateful.  100 plus people in one spot drinking, laughing, and celebrating one of your accomplishments....Yeah, it was a pretty great night.  And considering I also celebrated my birthday a few days ago, 29 is starting off pretty great.  I must admit that lately I have been feeling as if success is imminent.

In between picking up last minute things for the book release and enjoying the holiday with my family, I somehow had time last week to read The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.  Let me start off by saying that I attempted to read this very book for  a scholarship over a decade ago, and I hadn't picked it up since...  However, it always seems like God knows how to put what you need in your face when you need it to help convey his message.

Lately, I have been experiencing a tingling in my soul that I can not explain.  A tingling that I can only explain as anticipation for unforeseen great things to come.  And with that tingling, my self doubt has been at an all time low.  Usually before a big event, I'm worried about whether everything is going to come together in time, will the turnout be bigger than the last event, will everyone have a good time, etc.  However, this time around it was almost like God was saying, "Be easy child, I got you."  I didn't stress when my book had to go back through re-editing, or when I didn't have books 2 days before the event, or even when my RSVPs exceeded the number of books that I had ordered.  I sometimes complain about not being able to "hear" God, but I can say that I am definitely feeling him.  And this time, I decided to be still and just let him lead.   And when I decided to sit back and just listen, that book that I couldn't relate to umpteen years ago started speaking life into my own.

I always feel like I need to be in control of everything that occurs and have a hard time sitting back and just allowing things to manifest.  In no way am I saying remain complacent and succumb to mediocrity, but learn to relinquish control over the things outside of our control and just trust that there are forces bigger than you at work.  I have cried and prayed over not finding a Counselor position for this school year, stressed over not knowing whether these books sales and reviews will surpass Fashionably Deceptive, and  secretly mourned for a man that was never mine.  And then out of nowhere, I began experiencing a calm that has yet to lift.  I'm starting to realize that the odds are not stacked against me and that maybe I haven't received some of the blessings that I knew were mine because those were not the blessings reserved for me.  Instead of pitying myself when things don't go according to "my" plan, I'm starting to realize that "his" plan includes some lessons, bumps, and bruises that are preparing me for the finale.  It's a hell of a feeling to be excited about blessings that you haven't even got yet but that you can feel on the horizon.

I no longer believe that fate controls my life and that I have to be content with mediocrity when blessings don't come when I want them.  I now know that it is because God knew I wasn't ready.  I no longer believe that God is allowing the devil to personally attack my blessings.  I now know that in order to realize your dreams, you must master your lessons as God has a tendency to test you on everything you should be learning along the way.  You can't get your penthouse if you are still struggling managing your apartment. You're not getting your Lance Gross, if you are still around here messing with..... (That was a holy shout moment, in case you missed it #thankmelater)

I am a work in progress.  I am still learning, still growing, still may fall short at times, but this tingling that I feel.... All I can say is #StayTuned

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Trust Issues Part 2- The Ice Cold Edition

Him.  A constant motivator that keeps me on my toes and will not let me settle for mediocrity.  Him.  That push that I need when I start to doubt my talent, my integrity, my date with success.  Him.  The man that I want but am still too afraid of being hurt to let my guards down and just say the words, "I like you, I want you, let's see where this goes." Him.  The man that I will walk away from before I decide to be in competition with any other woman.

They say, "Matters of the heart can not be easily explained," and who am I to disagree with the statement that has dictated my love life.  Like many women, I struggle with being vulnerable and just allowing myself to let go and open up myself to love.  The thought of being heartbroken (again), even though it is seemingly inevitable, sends a chill through my spine like the frigid breeze of a winter morning.  My mouth says, "It is easier being single than to risk being wrong."  My heart says, "There is nothing like loving and being loved in return."  And then the childish part of my brain is like, "Bish you know it's about to get cold outside, and that bed is about to be really lonely."

These days, my fall back game is reminiscent of the social network memes that show the man falling back out out of the plane.  I've always been good at the initial walk aways.  I can ignore a phone call and text like nobody's business and still smile and give a one armed hug when I see you like it's all good. Yet, each time I've come back and allowed my forgiving spirit to intervene, the final verdict has never been in my favor.  And since experience is one of life's best lesson, this time I decided to fall back and not look back.  I thought "him" was the one, but I'm not interested in not being the only one trying to be the only one.  So until the next "him", it might be one of the coldest winters ever.  To be continued.......


Sunday, September 7, 2014

I Want It All

When I look in the mirror, I see a woman conflicted by a million emotions.  A woman that wants it all, because she has worked for it, she has cried for it, she has been hurt for it, and because she feels like she deserves it.  I've never thought about 30 as much as I have over the past few months, and I don't even think it's because it is almost upon me, but more so, because I am over this 20s shit.  I have came, I have saw, and I have definitely conquered my 20's.  I have lived, baby, I have lived, and most weekends, I am still hanging from the chandeliers.  




30 seems to be looming as the ultimate deadline to have the bullshit out your system and to have your shit together, and I honestly don't know whether I'm progressing or regressing.  Most days I still don't know what I want to be when I grow up, I still live life on an edge always chasing dreams, and I still lack the desire to fully commit myself to anything, let alone a relationship.  But I'm happy, lonely sometimes, but happy, unfilled with my career, but happy, financially irresponsible, but happy....


And it scares me...  I want to be happy, but not complacent.  Over the next year, I have so many mountains to cross in the form of state competency exams, book launches, making adult purchases like houses and big girl cars, etc..  So many milestones...  The second that I allow complacency to creep into my spirit, I will fail.  Everything that I plan to achieve over the course of the next year is going to require more of me, even more of God, and less of my rambunctious spirit that thrives on living life young, wild, and free. I have to get my shit together, I need to get my shit together.... I want my ideal career to fall into my lap, I want a man that loves my obnoxious self for me and one that I love just as much, I want my dream house, I want to make the Essence Best-Selling list, I want my family to get their shit together, I want to see the world, I want, I want, I want..  I want it all, and I am not willing to settle for anything less.  Just call me the girl that wants everything.

-Tonia






 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Fashionable Revelation (Coming November 2014)

It is said that everything that is done in the dark will one day come to the light….

 

Jordan couldn’t be happier to find out that Chris is leaving the dope game.  However, that happiness is quickly replaced when Chris becomes more inattentive than ever leaving Jordan wondering whether she's the only woman holding the key to his heart. 

 

Pharris thought that she had found her soul mate in her fiance’ and is looking forward to graduation and moving in with her love.  Yet, everytime that she turns around his job at the hospital seems to be taking precedence over their relationship.  How many cancellations does it take before a wedding cancellation begins to loom on the horizon? 

 

After years of putting up with the cheating ways of her ex, football star, Dareon Anderson, Kayla has finally moved on and is enjoying life with Terry, who just happens to be Dareon’s half-brother.  Life couldn’t be better until Kayla discovers that one of her closest friends has been keeping a secret that is going to be one Fashionable Revelation. 


Monday, July 28, 2014

Trust Issues

I'm still trying to decide whether Drake and I are kindred spirits, because it seems that so many of his lyrics are reflective of my life. I'm out here living dreams and Drake lyrics and more often than not refuse to slow down long enough to let my mind catch up with my body and my heart with my mind.

I'm beginning to despise the question, "Why are you still single," because the harsh reality is that anyone that knows me knows why I'm still single. I'm stubborn, I'm selfish, often times irrational and live in a world where everything is centered around me. Most days I'm fine with my self imposed "singleness" and the freedom to do what and "who" I want when I want, but once every blue moon someone creeps into my life and throws off my balance.

The difference between me and most women is that I embrace my flaws and my shortcomings. I accept them as part of my being and while I recognize that some things about me are due for change, I know who I am. There is nothing you can tell me about myself that I don't already know. Am I crazy? Sometimes. Am I a mean girl? Sometimes. But will I give you the shirt off my back? Anytime. I am me and have been me for so long that me is the only person that I know how to be. And it doesn't help that I'm a part time loner that has no problem ostracizing themselves from the world just because...hence the reason that most days I am fine being single and without "one" significant other to bide my time.

And then that once every blue moon hits, and he comes along. Who is he? He is the one man out of every ten that causes my pedestal to tilt and my emotions to make me land flat on my ass. I'm never prepared for him or how to deal with him and the "me" that I have become accustomed to ceases to exist. My eyes stop wandering so much and all of a sudden, everybody is subconsciously compared to him. But this time, that "him" is my friend. And I don't trust myself to just let my guards down, lay all my cards on the table, and just see if maybe he's the one....I'm not willing to lose my friend, but am I willing to risk losing him to someone else?  

"Tell me how the fuck we supposed to stay friends when we got a bunch of feelings that we don't show." - Drake

To be continued .....

Friday, May 30, 2014

Fear of Falling

It has been over a year since the launch of my debut novel, Fashionably Deceptive, and I vowed to not be the author that takes decades to release their sequel (especially since the sequel has already been written), but yet, I have somehow ended up in that boat. 

Every email from an awaiting fan pulls on my heartstrings and causes a case of nostalgia to creep into my spirit.  On top of being a writer, I have a career in education, and as searching for a Counseling position becomes increasingly disheartening due to a lack of available positions and connects, I find the date of my next book release being pushed further and further into oblivion.

My days and nightmares have become consumed with updating cover letters, printing out resumes, and submitting applications.  The thought of remaining stagnant causes dry heaves and a throbbing headache that does not subside for hours. 

I can admit that my spirituality and faith sometimes come under questioning, rightfully so. I can also admit that I don't know or understand what's next in my journey ... I'm over qualified, more than competent, a decent person, and know that I could and would make a difference if given the opportunity in a new position ... God, please lead my footsteps, because I'm okay with admitting I don't know what you want from me. 

I feel lost in an abyss, sailing through a sea of grey, when my mind can only understand black and white. Speak to me God.... I'm listening. 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

GIVEAWAY: Win 5 autographed Fashionably Deceptive novels along with a Fashionably Deceptive t-shirt!


Greetings Readers,

As I prepare to launch my new website, I will be giving away 5 autographed Fashionably Deceptive novels along with a Fashionably Deceptive t-shirt.  In order to win, all that you have to do is make sure that you are following my ToniatheAuthor Facebook Fan page, Twitter, and Instagram account. The links are below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The contest rules and deadlines are below.  Good Luck!

Fashionably Deceptive Contest Rules

  1. In order to win, contestants must be following the ToniatheAuthor Facebook Fan Page, Instagram, and Twitter accounts.
  2. There will be five winners, and each winner will receive an autographed Fashionably Deceptive novel and a t-shirt.  Winners will be chosen randomly.  The more accounts you follow, the more of a chance you have to win.
  3. The contest will start on Sunday, April 6th and end on Sunday, April 13th.
  4. The winners will be announced via social media on Monday, April 14th.

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Law of Attraction

“When you concentrate your energy purposely on the future possibility that you aspire to realize, your energy is passed on to it and makes it attracted to you with a force stronger than the one you directed towards it.”  - Steven Richards
Do you believe in the law of attraction?  Is it possible that our mind is so powerful that our perceptions can become reality?  Does your negative thinking have a negative impact on your life?  Do the rich and successful stay rich and successful because they wholeheartedly believe in their abilities?

The world's best kept secret, the law of attraction, is not really a secret anymore.  If you have not read the book or watched the movie, The Secret, the chances are great that you have probably heard of it.  According to the ideology behind this self help book pinned by Rhonda Byrne, positive thinking can create increased wealth, health, and happiness.  Byrne believes and promotes a three step creative process for accomplishing your goals: Ask, Believe, and Recieve. 

"And all things, whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (Matthew 21:22)

Gratitude and visualization are the two powerful processes behind the Law of Attraction.  Be grateful for the things that you have yet to recieve and visualize these achievements into existence.

For example:  Let's say that you are seeking a job promotion.  According to the Law of Attraction, by having positive thoughts about that promotion and being grateful like its already obtained will spread that energy into the air.  Start preparing yourself for that promotion, and the law of attraction will rearrange events in your life to make that happen.  In laments terms, claim your heart desires, believe in your goals and abilities, and they will manifest themselves in your favor.

So the question becomes, it is because we doubt ourselves and our ability that we are not able to accomplish our goals?  Is it the negativity that we put into the air that inhibits our accomplishments?  Is it that many successful people are arrogant and cocky, or is it that they've realized that believing in yourself draws success into your life? 

Many pastors have preached about the power in the tongue, having faith, and not speaking negativity into existence.  In my mind, this is the same concept as The Law of Attraction.  Many times we diminish our values with our self doubt.  "I think I can get this job promotion, but I know there are many other people more qualified than I am.  I want to buy a house next year, but I probably will not be qualified.  I want to fall in love, but all men are the same.  I would like to travel more, but I don't have the time or money."

“The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.” -J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan

I am sure that I am not the only one guilty of questioning their ability.  I have realized that I am qualified in several areas, well-educated, and fairly competent.  However, I find myself using that "but" rationale frequently.  Example:  "I would start applying for school counseling jobs in other districts, but we just got this new pay raise."  Between my content with consistency and fear of failure, I have allowed myself to remain stagnant in not only my career, but also my personal life.   Let's not forget that it took 7 years for me to publish my first novel, Fashionably Deceptive.  However, I am slowly trying to alleviate the word "but" from my vocabulary.  When there are goals and dreams that you feel destined to achieve, there should be no "buts" about what God has for you.  The word "but" negates everything that came before it. 

The Law of Attraction almost sounds to simple to be realistic, but how many of us can actually believe in our heart's desires without allowing that evil thing called self-doubt to creep into your mind?  Let's try it.  Think about something that you want more than anything in this world.  Now, that you have that pictured, did reasons why you can't recieve or accomplish that thing also seep into your mind right behind it?  More than likely, the answer is yes. 

I'm striving to become more mindful of the negativity that I speak from my mouth and/or think in my head in regards to my achievements. I've found an accountability partner/motivator to help correct my vision when I start throwing around that nasty word "but" around or not believing that my dreams and goals will/can manifest themselves. 

"Because you have little faith," he said. "I assure you that if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Go from here to there,' and it will go. There will be nothing that you can't do." (Matthew 17:20)

Even the bible states that your belief in yourself is strong enough to move mountains.  And I would like to think that these mountains are really just the different types of adversity that you sometimes have to face in the pursuit of happiness.

The biggest fan that you have, besides God, that has the biggest impact over your life is YOU.  If you don't believe in yourself, who will.  As my college roommate once said, "If I don't lie to me, who will?"  Start believing in your competency, abilities, and the blessings that are set forth for you, and you would be surprised in the things that can happen.  Keep doubting yourself and you will keep getting the same thing you've been getting.  At the end of the day, even if the Law of Attraction is just merely a myth, a positive outlook on life almost always leads to happiness anyway. 

“Cultivate an optimistic mind, use your imagination, always consider alternatives, and dare to believe that you can make possible what others think is impossible.”  -Rodolfo Costa

-Tonia
photo credit: devilicious.symphonick via photopin cc

Monday, March 10, 2014

20 Things You Don't Know About Me

1. I am a free spirit that loves artistic creativity and am extremely fond of body art.  I will one day be the super sophisticated therapist that removes her trendy blazer and has a full tattoo sleeve.
2. I am slightly egotistical.  Even though I try really hard to understand thoughts and viewpoints that are vastly different from my own, most of the times I just don't get it and won't pretend to.
3.  I wrote Fashionably Deceptive when I was 21 years old, however, I did not publish it until 7 years later.
4. I have not yet grasped the concept of think before you speak and have had to apologize more than once for the not so nice things that come out of my mouth.
5. Even though I can't carry a tune in a bag, I still aspire to be a singer one day.
6.  I have a Masters Degree in Counseling and am currently working towards opening my own private practice. (Don't worry, your secrets won't end up in my next novel)
7.  My next two and a half novels are already written, including the sequel to Fashionably Deceptive, but I have had to make significant updates due to the fact that they were finished years ago.
8.  I am super shy and often come off as being stuck-up and super bitchy, when really I am just waiting for you to talk to me.
9.  I value consistency in my relationships more than love and compromise, which is often the reason that most of them have met their demise.
10.  Somewhere really deep down I am a fitness guru, and I am waiting for the moment to emerge from my cocoon.  (Well really this just means I like thinking about working out and being summer time fine more than I like going to the gym)
11. I am a fashion enthusiast and firmly believe that money can buy me happiness.  I've never stayed sad when I have the means to shop.  It's called retail therapy, duh, but most of us just can't afford it.  You can't compare unhappy celebrities to me, because I'm actually happy most days and usually only sad when I spend my bill money at Asos. (But I be cute tho)
12.  I'm addicted to the Sims and Pinterest.  Don't judge me.  Most artistic minds are slightly delusional and who doesn't want to play God with beings of their own creation and plan their wedding and Vintage Chanel wardrobe even though they're on government salary and single.
13. I don't eat ethnic foods: Chinese, Ethiopian, Thai, Lebanese, etc.
14.  My weakness is men with perfect teeth that smell nice and wear designer shoes.
15.  I have a list of places in the world that I want to visit before I have kids, because I plan on allowing my world to revolve solely around my little people whenever they make their appearance.
16.  I keep a notepad on my nightstand because I often wake up in the middle of the night with ideas that I want to commit to paper before I forget them the next morning.
17.  I have severe insomnia because I can never seem to wind down before bed.  My mind continues to run a mile a minute even when the lights are off and I'm laying in complete darkness.
18.  I am an activist for anyone that has an unfair disadvantage in society whether it be because of their religion, skin color, sexual orientation, disability, etc.  Hence, the reason that I volunteer with different agencies, like juvenile probation and the Montrose Center (Houston's GLBT Youth and Young Adult Facility), to make sure that I will be a well-rounded therapist with a plethora of resources.
19.  My name is pronounced Ta-Nia, not Tonya.
20.  I have severe ADD and have accomplished at least 10 other things while writing this post.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Men Lie, Women Lie, Numbers Don't


review, fashionably deceptive

Guilty as charged.  Out of the 100+ books that I have downloaded on my Kindle and/or have on my bookshelf, I have only left a review for maybe 10%.  My reviews, or lack thereof, does not attest to the quality of the book, and there are not any excuses that I can make for not taking 1-2 minutes to let these authors know my thoughts about their works of art.  I'm guilty, guilty as charged. 

So as an author, now that reviews matter, it is almost hypocritical of me to go into an uproar about the fact that out of 2000+ downloads, only 40 readers have left a review on Amazon.  So before I ask for change, it is imperative that I also begin to make changes by practicing this sermon that I'm about to preach.  Reviews are critical to the success of an author, especially a new, unestablished author.  It is reviews that help readers decide whether their $5 will be best spent buying a copy of Fashionably Deceptive or at their favorite fast food restaurant indulging in what they know will be satisfying. 

The old adage, "When you know better, you do better," is only fitting for this situation.  Until I became an
review, fashionably deceptive
author, I never realized the importance of leaving feedback, especially positive feedback.  It is easier to voice a complaint about a negative appeal to your emotions than sometimes just writing in to say, "Job well done."  It is those job well dones that hold the key to sometimes lifting insecurities and validating that a person has chosen the right path.  I have a confession: Even to this day, I still check the reviews for Fashionably Deceptive multiple times per week, and it was those 4 and 5 star reviews that helped me keep my head up, when I got my first 1 star review.  That 1 star review was a blow to my ego and caused a lot of insecurities to attempt to resurface about whether I should continue writing and striving to become a best-selling author.   Yet, I did not allow negativity to prevail, and allowed the 4 and 5 star reviews that came before and after that to be my motivation.  And when I finally gained the courage to look at other reviews that had been left by that reviewer, I was able to breathe a sigh of relief when I saw that just about every review that she has ever given has been low.   I can't please everybody, and I try to remain mindful of the fact that my book has sensitive topics that may not appeal to all readers. 

review, fashionably deceptive
I say all of this to encourage my readers to leave reviews. As I push for a publishing contract from a reputable publishing company, I would like for the reviews from readers to make my voice even louder.  If you have read Fashionably Deceptive, please leave your review.  If you have not read Fashionably Deceptive, read it and leave your review.  If you know someone that would enjoy Fashionably Deceptive, please encourage them to read it and leave their review.  Help me spread the word, and let's push for 100 reviews.  I can not do it without you!  Numbers don't lie.

Get your copy here: Amazon
My favorite reviews go on Pinterest:

Follow Tonia TheAuthor's board Reviews Fashionably Deceptive on Pinterest.

- Tonia

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Flawless - Sneak Peak of the Relaunch of ToniatheAuthor.Com

We teach girls to shrink themselves,
to make themselves smaller.
We say to girls,
'You can have ambition,
but not too much.
You should aim to be successful, 
but not too successful.
Otherwise you will threaten the man.'
-Chimamanda Ngozi


video

The photo shoot was quite an experience, and my glam squad worked for hours to make sure that I was FLAWLESS.  I can't wait to see the final proofs of the pics and for my graphic designer to finish making my website come together.  Stay tuned to my IG page for more pics from the shoot and info about the website relaunch: @toniatheauthor.

- Tonia

Monday, March 3, 2014

Liebster Award


Over the past month, I have begun to blog more to allow readers and other bloggers a more in depth view into my life.  So, I was more than honored to be nominated for the Liebster award by fellow blogger Selina: http://seliscorner.blogspot.co.uk/ .  There are so many great blogs out there, so each follow and comment on my blog means more than I could ever express in words. 

Below are the rules that accompany accepting the Liebster Award: 

  1. You must link back to the blogger that nominated you.
  2. You have to answer 11 questions that were given to you by the blogger who nominated you.
  3. You have to nominate 11 other blogs and set 11 questions for them to answer.
  4. You can't nominate the person who nominated you.
  5. You have to tell the nominees that they have been nominated by you.

Here are my answers to the questions posed by Selina:

1. What is your favourite perfume at the moment?
Honestly, I don't wear alot of different perfumes, because my nose is really sensitive and I find that perfume scents can be overpowering.  However, I am a Bath and Body works junkie, and anyone that knows me can tell you that my favorite scent of all times is Japanese Cherry Blossom.  I even have the plug ins to permeate my house with this scent.

2. What are the 3 main qualities you look for in a partner?
I love a man that is consistent, has a sense of humor, and that is understanding.  My personality can be very complicated, and I value the man that truly "gets" me.

3. If you wear make up, name one item of make up could you not live without?
I just really started wearing makeup within the past year or so, and I still only will wear it when I go out.  It is definitely not an everyday staple, and I never wear it to work.  However, my makeup essential is my Mac Skinfinish Mineralize power.  It makes my face look FLAWLESS.

4. Which do you prefer Bags, shoes or clothes?
I am something like a shoe whore and have a fetish for overpriced designer shoes.

5. If you had the chance to meet someone famous who would it be?
Even though I could name a handful of attractive men that I would probably like to meet, I think at this stage in my life, Iyanla Vanzant might be a good option.  I could use some "life fixing."  One of my biggest personality flaws is that I am not very forgiving, and that can be hindering.

6. Favourite season & why?
Since, I am a fan of any beautiful beach, my favorite season would have to be summer.  In the summertime, I am off work and love to travel to tropical places where clothing is minimal.

7. Who is your favourite style icon?
As an avid pinner on Pinterest, there are several fashionistas that I channel when selecting outfits: Rihanna, Victoria Beckham, Kim Kardashian, etc. However, one of my all time favorites is fellow blogger Karla Deras.

8. If you had £100,000 what would you do with it?
I would put pay off my debt, put a large down payment on a condo, find an investor to make some wise investments, and spend a month taking a budget vacation to get some writing done.  And no, I wouldn't quit my job.

9. If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
I would like to take a tour of Europe: Paris, London, Greece, Italy, etc.

10. What is your favourite clothing brand?
I do not have a favorite clothing brand, however, my favorite place to shop is Asos.

11. Describe yourself in 3 words?
Creative, Determined, Complex


My 11 Liebster Award Nominees:



My 11 questions for my nominees are:
  1. What is your dream accomplishment?
  2. What famous individual has served as an inspiration to you?
  3. What is your biggest personality flaw?
  4. If you could recieve an expense paid vacation to anywhere in the world, where would it be?
  5. If you had $100,000, what would you do with it?
  6. What types of items are your biggest splurge?
  7. What characteristics would your ideal mate have to possess?
  8. What do you think is the biggest hinderance to success in your dream field?
  9. What is one cause that you are passionate about and why (community service, activist, etc)?
  10. What are your favorite leisure activites?
  11. What factors contributed to you becoming a blogger?



-Tonia

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pinspiration




"Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman."
- CoCo Chanel

As I focus on the rebranding of Tonia, the author, and begin to spend more time networking with individuals of like minds, I have begun to rely almost solely on Pinterest, my secret addiction, to keep me stylish and fabulous in the public eye.  For those of you that are not familiar with Pinterest, it is a pin-board style photo sharing website that allows users to strategically group photos onto custom made boards. Thanks to Pinterest, I have planned my wedding, babyshower, decorated my dream home, and planned my 30th birthday party, even though I am not anywhere near marriage, pregnant, rich, or quite near 30.  You can call it delusional, but I would just call it being proactive.

Visit Tonia TheAuthor's profile on Pinterest.

Until recently though, the only board that I had actually put to use had been my recipe board.  I think that I am something like a Chef Roble when I step into the kitchen, even if I'm only boiling water for my nightly tea. However, the recent influx in networking events and mingling with the trying to be rich and famous has caused a surge in my Pinterest usage and inspired the idea of #Pinspiration.

I did not coin the term #Pinspiration, however it has become a integral part of my life.  If you have read past blogs, then you are aware that my time for things that are not business or branding related is extremely limited.  Before #Pinspiration, I often caught myself at the mall on borrowed time trying to put together a outfit for an same day event that I found out about last minute.  However, three significant things have led to a drastic change in my preparation process:

  1. Rebranding has cut my shopping budget down significantly
  2. My three closets and dresser are over capacity
  3. I was one outfit away from being the next star on Confession of a Shopaholic

As these three things begin to sit on the forefront of my mind, I had a strike of genius.  I decided to put my fashion Pinterest board to use.  Instead of spending my limited time and funds at the mall or online shopping, I made the decision to use Pinterest and my current wardrobe to recreate fashionable outfits. Follow my ToniatheAuthor Instagram page to see all of my #Pinspiration recreations!


Tonia The Author

-Tonia

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Fine as Vintage Wine

"Whenever I feel like exercise, I lie down until the feeling passes." -Robert Hutchins

Every time that someone overhears one of my conversations about working out or committing to a healthier lifestyle, it is always followed by the same types of comments, "But why, you're so small? You need to eat, etc."  This is just another example of the double standards that seem to plague society.  My slender build suggests that I am a workout guru, food deprived, and starving for more than affection.  However, if I was to respond to an overweight person with, "Maybe I should eat some of your lunch chunky monkey, because you don't need it," I would be escorted to HR trying to plead my case.  The skinny girl battle is one that I have fought all of my life, and I don't think anyone but another skinny girl, can relate to the struggles of gaining healthy weight.

Currently, I am 5'4, 108 pounds.  Even my mere 108 lbs can be viewed as an accomplishment, because the freshman 10 lbs that was promised to me in college decided that I wasn't worthy.  It wasn't until I hit my 20's that for the first time in my life, I was able to reach a weight over 100 lbs.  Ideally, I would like to be between 115-120 lbs, but this has been more than a difficult feat.  Anytime that I have come anywhere near my desired weight, I get food poisoning, suffer from a bad breakup, become overtaken by stress at work, or some other ailment that snatches my lbs off like I owe money.

Along with thousands of others, wellness and fitness were part of my New Years Resolution.  I started off hitting the gym hard everyday for cardio and abs and was enjoying my newfound energy.  However, when my work schedule increased, my workouts decreased and next thing I knew, I was back to being a sofa bum after work.  However, I had gained weight, my appetite was healthy, and I was enjoying the way that I had started to fill out my clothes.  And then the inevitable happened.  A bout of food poisoning would sweep through after Valentine's Day and literally shake me back down to size.

So, for the month of March, I have picked up a challenge that many have already started and quit since their New Year resolution inception date.  My schedule rarely allows time for careful meal preparation in conjunction with a workout schedule, so I have joined many other Americans and turned to a meal preparation company.  These companies prepare your meals for the week and restore a piece of your schedule, in return for a piece of your paycheck.  As a picky eater, my weekly dinner choices are going to be limited to tilapia and chicken, but that has to be better for my new workout plan than one of the normal heavy pasta or red meat dishes that I usually whip up following a day saving the world, one child at a time.


In my delusional mind, I pictured myself having a six-pack for my photo shoot this coming weekend, but just like about every other woman in America, I have perfected the suck-in (yes, skinny girls can have a little pooch too).  So, tonight when you get ready to go to bed, say a little prayer for me and my fitness aspirations, because I'm going to need it.  After my initial 30 days of working out, I will start posting pictures of my progress on my IG page, ToniatheAuthor.  They say it takes 30 days to form a habit, so let's hope that they are right (whoever "they" are).  And if you don't see any shirtless pics on my IG page in April, that means I've probably fell my ass off the bandwagon (insert clenched teeth emoji).
Tonia




Sunday, February 23, 2014

To Publish or not to Publish

Many of you do not know me personally, and therefore, are not familiar with the many hats that I wear on a daily basis.  In order to help you understand the complexity of my life, let me first tell you a little bit about me, outside of just being an author.  While I am attempting at making a name for myself in the literary world, I am also an educator, counselor, coach, after school program cooking instructor,  and youth activist. Most of my work days are 10 hours or longer, and more times than not, I am forced to take work home.  Even though I stopped grading papers at home after shaking off my newbie teacher wings, I have my hands in almost everything that goes on at my campus....I'm the sponsor of our girl's club that helps to build character and resilience among impoverished adolescent girls, I write and direct our annual black history program, I am the go-to unofficial counselor for grade levels 6, 7, and 8, and there is always planning, plotting, or organizing that takes place after regular work hours.  I think I forgot to mention that I am also studying to take my LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) exam in June, so that I can own my own practice at 30.

"Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage.  If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it.  Go out and get busy." -Dale Carnegie


And on top of all of this, I still believe in my dream enough to keep writing, keep grinding, and keep pushing to satisfy my loyal readers and hook new ones.  I've known for a while that I would only be able to play superwoman for so long, and I have forfeited sleep gladly.  However, there comes a point when you must refocus and re-stratergize to help reach the goals that you have set forth to achieve. 




Through self-publishing and launching my first novel, I have realized that there is much about the book industry that I do not know like, how many novels does it take to become a bestseller, what are the best ways to market a novel for an unknown author, who should I be networking with to launch my novel into the next selling bracket, etc.  I have made many mistakes and had to learn a lot of hard lessons along the way, but that has not detoured me from continuing to write and push sales.  However, I want more for my novel and more for my readers. 

The urban fiction market is becoming over saturated with poorly edited, rushed release novels making it hard for new authors to gain recognition and a fan base of readers.  Let's face it, the reality is that readers would rather spend their hard earned money on authors that have already proven themselves in the industry.  Don't forget that I am a reader too.  And since I don't #writetoeat, I #teachtoeat, unfortunately, I don't have the time or resources to spend selling books out of my trunk 12 hours a day until I've sold enough books to get put on the map.

It is my longing to be a successful author and my limited amount of time that are starting to sway my mind towards seeking a major publishing contract.  When I first set out to release Fashionably Deceptive, I was offered a contract, but I quickly declined after reading that I would basically have to sign my life away.  That reason, along with the advice of other authors that felt they had been duped into selling their soul, quickly had me all gun-hoe for self-publishing.  However, the reality is quite bleak.  I don't have the resources, the time, or the unlimited funds to continue pushing quality novels and still remain focused on accomplishing dreams more pressing than my book career, at this point.

 
So, this weekend I did the inevitable.  I decided to halt editing and graphic designs for A Fashionable Revelation (no death threats please) and seek publishing from a major company.  I can admit that I am afraid of the future, because I am leery of a publishing contract, but I am also leery of continuing to half-invest my time and energy in my writing.  My readers and my writing career deserve so much more.  Contracts are negotiable, and I have one of the best entertainment contract lawyers on hand, but how much am I willing to sacrifice in pursuit of my dream?  Am I willing to give away all the rights to my book with limited royalties to become a best selling author?  Will my sacrifices pay off in the end? 
 
 

God, I am putting it in your hands, however, I will not allow my time to be idle.  Over the next couple of  months while I wait for a response from publishing companies, I will still be promoting Fashionably Deceptive and building my brand.  People will have a more in depth look into my life: the woman, the youth activist, the aspiring fashionista, the educator, and the counselor in the making.  Stay tuned for this is only the beginning.....

Tonia
 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Livin' Single- (A Single Girl's Valentine Tale)

Why haven't I got a husband and children?" mused Greta Garbo to the Dutchess of Windsor, "I never met a man I could marry.”
-Greta Garbo

In my world, every holiday is a celebration and an opportunity to let your hair down and enjoy good times with good people. I'm a joyful giver on Christmas, food connoisseur on Thanksgiving, drunk Irish on St. Patty's Day, egg hunting champion on Easter, the list goes on and on. And even though Valentine's Day is usually reserved for happily dating or happily "pretending" couples, it still falls onto the list of being one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. Chocolate covered strawberries, gourmet chocolates, heart shaped confections, and confessions of undying love; it's hard for many woman to not get wrapped up in the charm of this liturgical holiday commemorating a saint of love. As much as social media would like to portray us career-oriented women as illogical happily-independent single tyrants, I can admit that I am a sucker for Valentine's Day. It would be untrue to say that I didn't wish that I had already met my soul mate and was embarking on a life of romantic getaways, candlelight dinners, and undying love, but unfortunately, we have not yet crossed paths. So instead of spending the day with any man, just for the sake of having a Valentine's date, I decided to spend the holiday with people I love doing things that I love on the day of love. I'm just very traditional that way.

"Maybe our girlfriends are our soulmates and guys are just people to have fun with."
single

Sometimes I tend to treat holidays like birthdays, and celebrate them over a stretch of a few days, instead of just on the one assigned day. That is exactly what happened this Valentine's Day, because there were just so many fun things taking place. The holiday festivities started on Thursday with the Houston's Museum of Natural Science Mixers and Elixirs. This "themed" event takes place ever so often, and as of yet, is has not let me down. One of the highlights of Thursday's event was being able to name a roach after one of your least favorite exes and race it against others. And while I think that roaches are the most vile creatures known to man, I couldn't resist donating my $1 towards a good cause (I have to remember to send him this blog). I figured that my roach wouldn't be the winner though, because after all, it was named after a loser.

valentine, single

Friday, the official day of love, was marked by celebration amongst our antsy students as they overindulged in sweets and ran amuck in the hallways. While some students were graciously escorted to their buses at dismissal, my girls club and I, accompanied by a couple of other organizations, decided to spread some cheer at a nearby nursing home by delivering handmade Valentine's Day cards to the residents.
 

After returning from our short but eventful field trip, I celebrated the holiday at one of Houston's premiere cocktail lounges, the Rosemont Social Club.


On Saturday, I ended the holiday celebrations with another excursion to the Houston Musuem of Natural Science, but this time it was to embrace my cultural side at the Fabrege egg exhibit showcasing eggs that included those of the Romanov family.

I can admit it, I have a slight infatuation with the story of Anastasia and can be quite fanatical when it comes to things that involve the Romanov family. Contrary to popular belief, single girls can also enjoy Valentine's Day. Leading up to this holiday, social media has been saturated with the posts of bitter individuals complaining about how they don't celebrate Valentine's Day, and its just a Hallmark holiday, and that everyday should be Valentine's Day blah blah blah... Any holiday should be an excuse to enjoy life a little more, smile a litte more, and celebrate a litte more. I don't have to be in love with someone else to sometimes just live.....

“I think we are going to have to love ourselves. Fuck.”
-Liz Tuccillo

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Team #SingleForever

In a conversation amongst acquaintances on a lovely Taco Tuesday, where adult beverages and tacos seemed to continuously replenish themselves, the conversation about black women and marriage was brought to the table. This conversation ended up sparking an intense debate that continued to play through my mind this morning.

All three members of the conversation, myself being one, were all educated, career oriented individuals, however, perspectives were vastly different. 

According to the one male in the conversation, black women in their late 20s and 30s are becoming increasingly content with being single and independent, causing a majority of men in their age range to seek younger, more impressionable women. 

While I have noticed a trend in men dating younger women, I have also noticed the degenerative state of many relationships this era. Many relationships are plagued with infidelity, and there seems to be a recent rise in the come ups of the side chicks. 

And even though, many women would like to blame the recent influx of side chicks on the callous actions of other women, in reality, a side chick is nothing more than the product of a unstable relationship.  A woman can't take a man from you that wants to be with you, and contrary to popular belief, these men are sleeping with and having kids with these women out of their own pure lust. While many women choose to be angry at the "other" woman, the reality is that she owes you nothing. Your commitment was with your significant other, not with this woman, and even though her actions may be morally wrong, the fiber of your relationship was already in trouble before her appearance. 

Thus, my argument became that it is not that black women are content with being single, however, many of us that have been in "damaging" relationships, are less apt to join this trend of faddish relationships. By a faddish relationship, I mean a relationship that originates just for the sake of saying I have a significant other and is plagued by lies and infidelity. 

I've cheated and been cheated on, I've loved and loved hard, and I know how it feels to be in a mind state of being broken beyond repair. And while my experiences have not made me bitter, they have made me wiser. I'm no longer the "girl" in my early twenties looking for gratification from a man, because I have truly grown to enjoy the company of myself. More than I want a boyfriend to use as an accessory like a overvalued Louis Vuitton bag, I want honesty, I want someone that motivates me, I want someone that loves me more than I love them, I want butterflies, and I want to wake up every morning without doubts about where my man is, and who he is with. 

I take marriage very seriously, and I am only exchanging vows one time. And since people in my family tend to live a full life to well in their 80s or 90s, the man that I date is one that I have to be with for at least the next 60 years. So, I think I am justified in saying that it is okay that I haven't met him yet (or at least I don't know it). In the meantime, I will continue to become a better me, so that when he comes I can be ready. I will never attest to being team #singleforever, but I will testify to not settling because society says I'm too old to not be married.

Tonia

Pictures from freedigitalphotos.net and madamenoir.com




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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Less of You, More of Me

“You will find that it is necessary to let things go; simply for the reason that they are heavy. So let them go, let go of them. I tie no weights to my ankles.” 
-C. JoyBell

Happy New Year!  I am more than a little late, but they say better late than never right.  The start of a new year allows us all the opportunity to refocus and remove some of the dead weight that we have allowed to linger in our lives.  So many people are pessimistic about these things that we call "New Year Resolutions," but if you are like me you have to set a starting point to accomplish long term goals.  So, along with the usual resolutions, you know the ones I'm talking about, "I'm going to be summer time fine in the winter, I'm going to start watching what I eat, etc," I decided to use this year to remove dead weight that I have "allowed " to weigh me down for so long.

One of my struggles in life has always been holding onto dysfunctional relationships.  And even though those relationships include my relationships with men that I choose to date, last year helped me to realize that some of those relationships included family.  So, in preparation for completely removing the heavy weights that were sinking my life like an anchor, I begin to prepare for accomplishing my new year's resolutions in advance. 

In order to "set up" my life for the removal of some people closest to me, I had to first begin the ostracizing process.  Over the course of a couple of month, I adjusted living arrangements and life arrangements to sever the ties of dependency that were still linking me to those that I knew needed to go for the sake of my sanity.

I have a habit of allowing people to use me until they use me up.  Well, the bottle is empty and can no longer be refilled.  I am no longer interested in being a vessel for anyone else, but myself.  As I continue to reach pinnacles that I didn't see coming to fruition so soon and accomplishing goal after goal, there are some that will not be allowed to come along for the ride.  You will not ride me until the wheels come off, because from this day forward, I will be the only driver of this passenger-less vehicle. 

I thought that I would be sad and depressed in moving on with my life and leaving some behind, but I am never felt more free.  Free at last, free at last, thank God almighty, I am free at last.

1. Become Independent
2. Slowly Ostracize Yourself
3. Make Peace with your Decision
4. Let Go


-Tonia