All posts by ToiHouse

My name is Toi Stori. I’m a lover, a writer, a dreamer, a free spirited deep thinker. My love for creativity knows no boundaries. From music to art, food to decor – it’s hard to limit myself to just one egg in one basket. Instead of seeing a random white egg, I think of the many ways I can use it – from a delicious omelette to creating a home-made moisturizing hair conditioner. The basket is no different. How many other things can it hold? What does it look like and how versatile is its functionality? It’s very easy to tell someone to find one thing you’re good at and stick to it. But, what happens when you’re not only good at lots of things, but those things also bring you lots of happiness? The age old advice of sticking to one thing has gotten pretty – well- old. In this world we live in today, it helps to be open minded, creative, self- sufficient and well informed. You don’t want to miss out on living the best life you can while you’re here, because some really really old person told you no one will take your ideas seriously. I’ve been told that over and over again. If you’re gonna sing -sing! If you’re gonna write – write! If you’re gonna cook – cook! But you can’t do all three. My response: Why not? This mind of mine just can’t stop cranking out idea after idea, story after story, experience after experience. I’ll admit, my thoughts could be a bit scattered at times but, lets face it, i’m human. The challenge was to find a way to reel it in, without sacrificing my natural God given desire to want to create anything I wanted. Then I came up with this amazing idea! I needed a controlled environment where i’m allowed and encouraged to think, to create, to explore, to love and to grow without being judged. I needed a place to feel comfortable, at peace, safe and secure – a place that felt like home. Home is where I come up with my best ideas and where I try them out. At home, I can sing to the top of my lungs, write until the wee hours of the morning, research recipes and create a masterpiece in my very own kitchen. In special areas of my home, I am free to experiment with my hair and makeup and try home-made remedies and beauty products. My whole existence -it seems – has the unbelievably strongest desire to create and explore. My goal is to share it all with you every step of the way. Come into the comfort of my home and be inspired to Take On Innovation. ~ Toi Stori

My Heart Was Built For War

I was told that in life, I would come across some trying times — that I should be prepared to be strong and fight with all of my heart. Those trying times are now upon us but my heart…was built for war. ~Toi Powell

Memories of my past and moments not so distant, reverberate within my chest as I summon the pain I once buried. The pain, it hurts. It burns within me like hot lava beneath a violent earth, promising to rupture at the slightest disturbance.

There ought to be another word to describe the breaking of ones heart besides “heartbroken.” The word just doesn’t do the act, nor the result of it, justice. It is much deeper than that. A heart and spirit so shattered and bruised should not, by any logical standard, function, at all.

The calluses surrounding my heart has formed a protective barrier, enshrining the glowing red shards left over from life’s battles. Whatever is left of it still feels, still hopes, still hurts.

When the first thing you have ever loved introduces the sting of betrayal and dishonesty, there is a special kind of “pain” that seems unrelenting. No matter how much modern medicine has tried to heal it, it cannot heal this. The pain of disappointing, hurtful, abandoning parents/loved ones, the first gods before you knew one, that kind of pain, it never leaves you. Therapy is but a tool, although helpful, tricks your mind into looking past it — to move forward so that you can function as a decent human being in society. But the heart, it knows. It never forgets.

Love is, of course, what our souls desire. It is our purpose. It is what the universe is made of. Procreation, mating and passion, begets life, creation and continued existence. So beautiful, so magical, yet at times, so unattainable. How exhausting is the journey, to have found it and in no fault or in every fault of your own, you have lost it?

Oh the heart, my 5 star general-ess, tired, worn and battle ridden. On the front lines, disabled, yet always charging full steam ahead. My general-ess is bold and brave. She feels and fights not only for her host, but for others who have fallen in life’s battles along the way. She expands, beyond her capacity to love those who cannot love for themselves. Her compassion reaches to the darkest corners of the earth, straining to touch them all. But compassion comes at a price.

Compassion cannot exist without feeling. As overwhelming as it is, one must feel. But how can a broken, wounded heart absorb the pain of others, being so close to the brink of its own devastation? Displacing ones own pain to make room for more, is like playing shuffleboard in a small box, the size of a deck of cards. The worlds pain is my Titanic, and I am desperately stuffing it into a small…box of cards.

Everything hurts. I feel everything. From war ridden countries, to babies without mothers. Genocides to homicides my heart aches to a throbbing beat. Civil rights, women’s rights, Immigration, religious rights, African American rights, LGBTQ rights, Native rights, justice for rape and domestic victims rights. Any basic rights denied to a simple human being on the face of this earth infuriates me. It tears at me. It haunts me.

My fore-fathers and fore-mothers taught us what institutions of education has failed to instill within us. When pain becomes unbearable, and betraying thoughts of surrender to the forces of evil begin to weigh down, there is a moment, if you catch it, where your fear blossoms into courage.

My ancestors had courage. They learned how to live with the pain and used it to fight for freedom, for equality, to fight for the right to love. Blockades of injustice tried to sever their spirits from their souls purpose, tearing families apart, litigating against them for being, different. Still, they used that pain to push on, the fire in them ignited forever. Every strike against them, armored their hearts for long, weary battles and equipped them with the capacity for compassion along the way.

I am a daughter of my forefathers and mothers and I am learning, as they did, to live with and to use the pain. Harnessing strength from them and within, I summon the pain from my memories past, and moments not so distant. I exhume the horrifying truths and disturb the slumbering, violent earth. I arm myself with ammunition against tyranny, patriarchy, discrimination, racism, sexism and greed.

My chin ascends to the heavens from which I came as I use these tools life has given me along the way, to fight. My compassion isn’t without consequence as I grasp the red hot blade of the worlds pain to wield it in battle against the rising evils.

Love is my saving grace. For it is because of love that I have the courage to fight. My 5 star general-ess is bold, strong and brave. She lives to fight another day. I was told that in life, I would come across some trying times — that I should be prepared to be strong and fight with all of my heart. Those trying times are now upon us but my heart…was built for war.

~ Toi Powell

toi-bw

 

 

#ThisIsWhat Democracy LooksLike – Women’s March 2017 – NYC By Toi Powell

#ThisIsWhatDemocracyLooksLike

Women’s March 2017 – NYC
By Toi Powell
Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Tasheea N.
Author, Toi Powell at the Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Tasheea N.

There are a million words I could choose  to describe my experience at yesterday’s Women’s March in NYC, but I feel they just won’t be poetic enough. My best, is to string together enough of them to help paint a picture for those of you who couldn’t or didn’t attend any of hundreds of sister marches held around the world. Millions of women and men worldwide descended upon their cities in solidarity and if my words aren’t enough, I put on my photographers hat in hopes that you could feel through my lens what I felt in person in NYC that day.

On Saturday morning, on the 21st of January, my Aunt Amanda, my friend Tasheea and I journeyed into Manhattan from NJ to march the streets of NY in support of the rights of women and everyone else who has felt the sting of discrimination, racism, sexism and all of the “isms” that are unfair and unjust to all human beings.

Book bags filled with our cameras and Project Pixie care packages of tampons, pads and wipes to distribute to homeless women in need of menstrual products, we marched onto the crowded streets to serve our purpose and the purpose of those around us. Women’s rights.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Tasheea N. 1
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Tasheea N. 1

My friend Tasheea has founded such an amazing campaign soon to be an organization to help women with low income- to none at all -access feminine hygiene products. This march is what we stand for, and what an amazing sight it was when we arrived. Tasheea’s campaign is called Project Pixie. Visit her website at iheartprojectpixie.org to see how you can make a change in the lives of women in need today.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Tasheea N. Founder of Project Pixie at the Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

When we arrived, the air buzzed with electricity, hummed with voices of every race, creed, gender, religious background and sexual orientation. Flags waved from poles, bridges, store front windows and apartment balconies. Witty posters, relate-able phrases, fists and handwriting on thin white pages soared through the air, thrust upwards by passionate demonstrators. Demonstrators who merged onto the streets of NYC to voice, shout and demand fair, equal, justice for all including gays, African Americans, women, Muslims, and anyone who has been discriminated against and whose very rights have been threatened by this incoming administration.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Tasheea N.
Author, Toi Powell and her Aunt Amanda at the Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Tasheea N.

Men joined us in step, marching a long side their wives, friends, daughters, girlfriends and children. Chanting and demanding justice for us and for all.

My favorite chant of the day was the call and response from men and women, “My body my choice” as the men would respond with “Her body her choice.” Empowering and uplifting, every person there, sharing the same positive contagious energy.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

Without typing a long drawn out story, I must say my experience will stay with me forever. There were occasions where I teared up as I captured special moments through my camera’s lens. Moments that were not meant for me, but were being experienced in real time by my focal subject. Seeing the amazement, the love, the pride, the teaching, the curiosity and the awe in that “split” second where I was able to capture a moving target is what you will see in the galleries below.

Some of my favorite shots were on the bridge as we walked down 5th Ave, as I used my long lens to capture a group of young men above me, chant to the sea of demonstrators below, “Show me what Democracy Looks Like!” and the crowd responded with love, cheers and chants “This is what Democracy Looks Like!” The pride in their eyes is what held my heart.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

In a similar shot you can see them engaged in  chanting, but it is the gentleman to the far right in the red jacket who caught this moment. I felt a similar feeling when I went to higher ground to capture the sea of people. Yet, higher than I was, I can only imagine what he is feeling in that moment. Awe.

womens-march-2017-nyc-photo-credit-toi-powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

Seeing the amazement on the faces of these children below was priceless. Mouths gaping, a sight to never forget I am sure.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

Even those who could not join us in the streets, witnessed the magnetic demonstration from buildings above, joining us in spirit and solidarity.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

Symbolism in architecture and art, lined the route, giving us more purpose, more energy and more strength to stand, march and fight for our freedoms and rights.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

As we come together for a common cause, with branches of injustice written upon boards, shouted from every mouth and supported by every stranger who marched shoulder to shoulder, the message is clear…

Love Trumps hate. We will not go quietly into the good night. My body My Choice, and this…is what democracy looks like.

Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women's March 2017 - NYC Photo credit Toi Powell
Women’s March 2017 – NYC Photo credit Toi Powell

View My Special Gallery Below

Take a look at these cool shots from the entire day. (Read the signs!)

Don’t Wish Me A Happy New Year! – Toi Powell

It’s the end of 2016, which marks for many of us the beginning of a brand new year. Promises will be made, many of which won’t be kept. But, in this time and space that is the dawning of a newly born era — an invisible millisecond trip to the top of next years calendar if you will — we ceremoniously reflect upon the past 12 months and look forward to a magical new set of days ahead. A clean slate, a fresh start, or better yet, another chance to screw up our dreams. Always wishing for grandiose opportunities and then being too lazy or afraid to see them through.

Yeah, I know. If you sense a hint of sarcasm in my tone, you are correct. I am being sarcastic. But what exactly are you expecting? The same old, “go for it gumshoe!” “Let your dreams be your guide beloved!” or “Just have faith and all will work itself out in the end!” I especially love that last one. Just have faith. Faith that it will all work itself out in the end. What exactly is ‘it’ and when exactly is the ‘end’? I know about faith. I’m good on faith. But faith without your own effort is nothing. You hear me? Ab-so-lute-ly NOTHING. The ‘end’ is when you’re dead. And if you’re waiting for DEATH for everything to work itself out, then you have wasted your life, friend. You have wasted your entire damn life!

By the way, my name is Toi Powell and I am an author. I released my 1st book Blood of a Queen: Book 1 this past summer 2016 but, we’ll get to that later. Right now, I am on my Sagittarius ish and I am pounding away at the key boards. Nope, not angry typing, just making sure all of my letters actually end up on the screen as I type them because this dang laptop’s keys are so frigging thin! (Thanks Lenovo) Rant over.

Anyway, it has been foretold in the stars and also to my face, that I can be quite blunt. Blunt as in, ‘I tell it like it is’, not ‘blunt’ as in “you may experience blunt force trauma, for calling me blunt.” I kid, I kid. But seriously. This is a serious conversation, about serious things that can and will seriously happen to or for you within the next year. My bluntness, as I always try to explain — to no avail — is always out of love.

“Swallow this pill of truth”, I say. “You don’t need no dang sugar! Sugar is for babies!” But not really though cause if you give babies too much sugar and they’ll never fall asleep!

(I digress. You’ll realize I’ll digress a lot. My mind is an active beehive of words and it just needs release sometimes. Unfortunately, since you’re reading this, you’ll just have to deal with my swarmy thoughts and imagination, at least until you reach the end.)

Without boring you with who I am and what I do in long drawn out woooooords, I’ll tell you as quickly as I can, almost like a social profile.

 

Name: Toi Powell (I already said that)

Gender: Woman (Notice I didn’t say female. A cat can be a female but I … I embrace my womanhood)

Status: In a relationship (yes we’re serious)

Age: In my 30’s

Career: Author (Blood of a Queen series. Book 1 on Amazon now! Go get it!)

Day Job: Digital producer

 

Now that that is out of the way, let’s get back on topic of… wait. Did I even give you a topic? Let’s see, I said this is the end of 2016, …oh yes! Now I need to bluntly tell you about yourself and how you need to stop relying on blind faith and dreams and start doing! Now don’t get upset with me, cause it’s wasted energy and I don’t care. The best advice, I feel, sometimes comes from someone who has nothing to gain from your success and accomplishments. There is no underhandedness in their willingness to take the time out of their lives to give you the best gems of knowledge that will help you better yourself. Unless you come across a super-villain and in that case, congrats! You’ve finally become that actor you’ve always wanted to be! No need to read further, cause clearly, you got it going on! How’s them Marvel checks?

Now for the rest of us, we need to really examine ourselves and get to the root of our own problems. Here are a few examples of how we stand in our own way and then resurrect those same resolutions year after year.  And nope. I’m not editing anything to make it sound politically correct. This is how yall sound.

It always starts with “This year…”

  1. I am going to lose all this weight.
  2. I’m getting me a new damn job
  3. I’m gonna open up a business selling my grandma’s secret sauce
  4. I’m gonna stop perming my hair and go natural
  5. I’m getting a brand new car
  6. I’m fixing my credit
  7. I’m leaving him/her
  8. I’m getting married
  9. I’m going on vacation
  10. I’m gonna write that book I’ve always wanted to write.

Let’s talk about this for a second.

 

I am going to lose all this weight.

Why is your resolution the same as last year? What didn’t you do and why? Can I speak, bluntly? Why you aint lose that weight? Seriously. What stood in your way this year that kept you from physically losing your weight? Notice I said “your” weight. It’s because it’s your load to carry. Yes, the weight itself is a heavy burden, but also the load of broken promises to yourself weighs down on you emotionally. Don’t you hate it when people break promises to you? So why the hell would you allow YOU to break a promise to yourself? Unless you were physically or mentally unable to do it, there is no reason why you couldn’t have at least tried.

People lack discipline. They lack drive, ambition and the vision to see a much more vivid, vibrant larger picture. If you live day to day, expecting to start tomorrow, you’ll be right back at the top of a new imaginary calendar repeating yourself. Stuck in an endless loop of broken promises and dusty dreams. Find a nutritionist, sign up for a gym or grab some Shawn T. DVDs. Get into it!

 

I’m getting me a new damn job

What stood in your way this year from getting a new job? I’ll be a bit sensitive here because I know the job market tends to suck, but, I say BUT…did you go on any interviews though? Did you make any phone calls, network, print and deliver resumes? Did you do any research on the field or companies for which you wish to work in? Did you take any online courses, watch youtube tutorials and self-teach yourself a skill? Or did you sit around your home or current job and mope, wishing to be somewhere else? Wishes are for babies. Go find yourself a cake and some candles because that’s the only time when wishes are somewhat acceptable and even then, I side eye and turn that ish into an affirmation.

You have to put in the work and the time to get anything you want out of life. And your new year resolutions are no exception. I know I listed about 10 resolutions earlier and I won’t bore you with an explanation for all of them, but I will touch on at least 2 more.

 

I’m gonna open up a business selling my grandma’s secret sauce

Yah grandma’s secret sauce. Now, this is not a bad idea to have but I have heard so many people claim that they are going to take their family recipe and sell it in stores because everybody tells you how good it tastes. Someone in the family is poor (maybe you, or not) and this can bring them some money and/or you have this grandiose idea of becoming rich because you know how to stew up some tomatoes and add a little Italian seasoning and some oregano and the whole world will love you for it. Honey. There are at least 25 different sauces on the shelves in my local Shoprite. Each of these sauces probably tastes very similar to the next. What you bringing to the table?

Digression Confession: I can not tell the difference between Barilla and Bertolli pasta sauce. Only Shoprite can and those prices are what drives my meal. Ragu needs to be condemned to the fiery gates of hell. They can use the extra water in the sauce to put the gates out.

What will make your sauce stand out among the other 25 sauces? Better yet, how are you going to get the sauce on the shelves? But let’s back up some more. Are you cooking and bottling these sauces yourself or will you need a distributor? Where are you getting your bottles from? Which farms will grow your sweet grandma’s tomatoes? Clearly, you can’t feed the world off of that little patch of land behind the house? What is your business model?

I lost you at business model, didn’t I? Watch all of those encouraging family members and friends who loved your sauces slink backwards into the darkness once they realize how much WORK actually goes into getting your grandma’s secret sauce on the shelves.

If you stand by your sauce, then stand by the damn sauce! Do your research, reach out to people, companies, get a lawyer, discover some local farms, build relationships, start small. Work your way up, but the point is you are doing something. You have taken this friendly, family conversation out of the kitchen and into something more tangible. You have bookmarks in your browser of websites that will help you become established. You are taking the steps to ensure that grandma’s sauce will make it out, to at least your local market. You can either put in that work or get lost in the sauce. The choice is yours.

Let’s just run through these resolutions really quick, ‘cause I think they’re pretty popular with repeat offenders and I don’t want to leave anybody out. I’ll give you a quick, blunt answer so you can get what you need and move on before I get to the last one.

Digression Confession: I’ve been drinking red wine all night and I have a slight headache. Probably from this last round of cheap red in my house. I also have a killer cold and have been drugged up on cough syrup for 3 days. I do not have the will nor the energy to type out long paragraphs for every resolution I listed. I assume we are all adults (hiccup) and you get what I call.. the gist. Also, do not ask me which red wine I am currently drinking. I started with Pinot Noir and at this point it’s all a red blur… I mean blend. It’s all a red blend. Jezus. Here we go…

I’m gonna stop perming my hair and go natural

Ok. We all know, relaxers give black women a green film over their skulls from years of chemically treating their hair. If this doesn’t convince you to stop, then perhaps your goal is to become the Grinch Who Stole Christmas…from the inside out! Stop perming your damn hair! You act like a big tooth comb is gonna kill you! Do the Hokey-Pokey, Grow that baby out, oil up that scalp, do a 2 strand twist out and that’s what it’s all about!

 

I’m getting a brand new car

Great, do it. Check/fix your credit, save some money for that down payment. Look into Money Market Account (MMA) savings accounts for higher interests and research the types of loans you’ll need to get your dream car. Don’t forget to research how much your insurance rate will go up. Plenty of people forget to do that.

I’m fixing my credit

Awesome! You’re on your way to getting that brand new car! You get a car, YOU get a car! Make sure you research everyone you owe money to and your state’s statute of limitations. You may not have to pay ish! You can also request a statement to prove what you owe and original documentation of your debt. Do your research. Remember, I’ve been drinking a red blend. I do not have the energy to do it for you. This is your resolution so, get tah gettin!

I’m leaving him/her

This is one of my favorite ones. If you have to keep talking yourself into leaving someone, then…(sips wine) Chal! You need to just be done and over with it. Just walk away. Just put 1 foot in front of the other and hut, 2, 3, 4! Do NOT about face. You have been about facing all year. What are you waiting on? Are there kids involved? Pets? Deeds? Accounts? Businesses? What is it? Figure that ish out and leave! Here comes the Sagittarius… be warned. You are NOT the only person on the face of this entire dang planet that has been in the situation you are in. You are not special in this case. You will not be the only single mom or dad out there, you will not be the only one starting from scratch and you will never be the only one who will have to dig deep down inside of themselves to find the stronger YOU in the face of adversity. There are millions of humans on this planet. And they have done it. What makes you any different? Find that stronger you, get over it and move on. Enough is enough.

I’m getting married

Oop! Look who’s moved on! Ok, you’re getting married. That’s cute. I mean beautiful! It’s beautiful, especially if you plan properly, seek assistance in the form of a PAID wedding planner. Not your cousin Ti Ti cause she pulled off your mama’s, friends, brothers daughters wedding 2 years ago. Cause that sounds like a mess, cause it was. I saw the pics on instagram. Make sure you have a viable budget, follow the plans and take the steps to getting it done. You do not want to be engaged for 3 years and then out of frustration, here comes the next new year and you’re standing on a mountain shouting…This year, I’m getting married! Girl…get down. Either plan it or drop it. We are getting too old for promise rings. When you do get married, make sure you have funds left for a cute lil honeymoon and a house! Don’t spend $20K on a wedding and don’t have nowhere to live. That’s tacky. And you know what else is tacky? White church stockings under your wedding dress. Don’t do it.

I’m going on vacation

Now, I LOVE this one! Sag’s love to travel! Especially when I know where I’m going. Do you know where you’re going? Pick a spot. Have you done the RESEARCH? How many stars does that resort have? How many days are you going for? How much is the all inclusive… per person? Air BnB? Don’t use an ethnic name at booking or else they won’t book you (Yes SHADE!). Do you have time off from work? Most importantly, do you have a passport? No? Do you know how to obtain one? How much for a rush passport cause I know you booked your trip before you got your passport…trying to get that groupon deal! Tsk Tsk. Please make sure you look into everything before you depart into the world ie, world events, hurricanes, wars, you get the gist.

I’m gonna write that book I’ve always wanted to write.

This resolution is very close to my heart. Because in a way, it was my own, only let’s replace the words write with publish. I’m gonna publish that book I’ve always wanted to publish. That was me last year. I wrote a 3 part series for my book Blood of a Queen back in 2007. I started it as a hobby — something to do in my spare time. 1 year later, I had a 3 part series but I had no clue what to do with it. I did my research into literary agents, publishing houses, query letters, the whole nine yet, I was exhausted and I lacked motivation to see it through.

Every year after that, the book crept up into my mind and I would say, I am going to publish this book I’ve always wanted to publish. But I’d continue making excuse after excuse and psyching myself out — believing maybe I wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t until I came to a realization that  almost 9 years after writing my book, I had nothing to show. No reviews, no feedback, no cover art, no…book. I began to mentally and emotionally reset myself back to a time when I was fearless, where I challenged myself just for the hell of it. Not to prove to people that I can do it, but to prove to myself that I…can…do it.

I prepared myself mentally and spiritually to make a promise to myself and keep it. I held myself accountable and I recruited others to hold me accountable as well. My promise was…you guessed it, to publish this book I’ve always wanted to publish. And you know what? I researched my butt off and learned what I needed to know in order to do it. I even thought outside the box and took my book to another level by adding music, videos, documentaries and 3D augmented reality. I explored new ways to deliver my work to the world and I was so proud of myself that actually followed through.

It was by far the hardest thing I’d ever had to do in my life. Don’t trust me? Watch my book launch journey videos here and you’ll see some real ish! I still work a full time job, I am still in a relationship, I still love my family and friends but, this was something I had to do for me. Yes, I cried, I laughed, I studied and wrote diligently, I worked long hours at the job and I came home and worked until 4 am most nights. Why? Because I made a promise.

Would you know 8 months later I had a book on Amazon? I got sponsors, I sold my book at Circle of Sisters Expo in NYC. It all took time but I felt accomplished. I said I was going to do it and I did. No excuses and no quitting when it got too tough. I pushed myself, followed through and because I had FAITH that I could do it, I did it. Nothing happens on faith alone. You must mentally and spiritually prepare yourself to change course into a direction that will make you that much better, that much stronger and much more fulfilled.

I know I’ve been coming down pretty hard on you because I want what’s best for you. I want you to tell your story and encourage, motivate and inspire another repeat offender. We’re not all perfect by far and you may be wondering if I have any resolutions. Sure I do! But I am happy to say that it is not the same as last years. I’ve completed that one. Check! But I have new ones that stem from my past accomplishments and I am watching it grow. I am watering it, tilling the soil, fertilizing my creation and if you follow through with your resolutions and affirmations, you will literally reap what you sow.

I will not wish you a happy new year. Remember wishes are for babies and cakes. I will leave you with these affirmations instead.

 

My dreams will come to fruition.

I will not stand in my own way.

I will follow through in all that I do.

I will exert positivity within me and all around me.

Today I am waking up with strength, spirit, and a sound mind.

I will know my worth and will accept nothing less.

 

Go forth into this new year high stepping and radio city rockette kicking down every obstacle! You got this!

Happy New Year!

Xo

Toi Powell

Author of Blood of a Queen: Book 1  

ToiPowell.com

TheToiHouse.com

Preview the Music!

Preview the Music!

Surprise! We have music for Blood of a Queen! So freaking excited for this! I get to combine my love for music and writing into this very unique reading experience and I can’t wait to share it with you all! After spending hours of songwriting, recording, producing and mastering we finally have a finished product!

Why is it So Important to Have Music to Blood of a Queen ?
Music, the magical combination of sounds, harmonic voices, instruments and emotions– is the invisible force that connects the listener to a specific experience, usually one that the writer wants to induce.

We’ve cried, laughed, been afraid and even sat on the edge of our seats in suspense while watching a movie unaware that it is the music that is drawing us in even more. Sometimes the music alone can affect you in ways the dialogue and scenery can’t.

That’s the magic of music. Without it, our experience becomes 1 dimensional. But not anymore. Experience my novel Blood of a Queen like you’ve never experienced a book in your life.

Tweet: #ToiPowell #Author of #BloodofaQueen http://ctt.ec/TEUXR+ previewed her music 4 her #debut #novel and we LOVE it! http://bit.ly/2aHHjgb

How Will Music Work For Our Book?
Just like how a movie soundtrack supports scenes in a movie by describing a current mood or emotion, our music will do the same by enhancing the mood of the book. Placing you in a similar emotional experience as our protagonist, Ruby.

As our characters experience love, heartbreak, betrayal or courage we want the  music to add another layer to the readers experience. See the book like a movie, flow  with the story and be taken deeper.

For additional reading: Check out this article, written by Megan Leigh, on The Importance of a Good Soundtrack 

Launch Buddy, by clicking below, you will be among the 1st to experience the music behind the book!

Click the audio link below to preview our song, Blood of a Queen!

Written by LaToya (Toi) Powell, The TOI House
Co-written by James Aaron Foster.
Performed by LaToya (Toi) Powell
Produced and recorded by James “A-Natural” Foster for Natural City Music. Mixed and mastered by Stefon Moeselle for Secret Sounds Productions

Available at the following locations: on 8/7/16

iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play,
Amazon mp3, Tidal

Don’t forget to share the journey with your friends and family by clicking on the share buttons!

EBOOK NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER ON AMAZON!

Cover_Design_v4

Share your thoughts and feedback in our Secret Book Launch Community!

RSVP FOR OUR BOOK LAUNCH EVENT

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, August 13, 2016, 5pm
VENUE: Katra Lounge, NYC

SAVE THE DATE - Book Launch - FIVERR

Take On Innovation and enjoy!

~ Toi

Behold, Our Winning Book Cover! Available for Pre-Order Now! AND Music!

Behold, Our Winning Book Cover & First Listen to the MUSIC (written and performed by yours truly)! Available for Pre-Order Now!

Ladies and Gents, we have ourselves a winning cover and music!!!!
You’ve rocked with me during this launch, spread the word on social media, watched my videos and when the time came, you voted on your favorite cover. Wow, you put in a lot of work with me– I could call you my co-authors at this point, but then I’d have to send you a 10 page task list  of things still left to do!

Yeah, I didn’t think you’d have the time to take on that load, which is why being a launch buddy is right up your alley! You get to watch videos, laugh at with me, listen to music, read some fiction and vote on a book cover. Life is sweeeeet!

I do hope you enjoyed all of the Book Launch Journey videos so far. But, if you missed any of the videos, click here.

AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER NOW!

Let’s Make Our Book a Best Seller!
Before I reveal our winning book cover, there are a few extremely important things we need to do to ensure that our book becomes a best seller!Tweet: I Just voted on a #Bookcover for #TheToiHouseBooks. Can't wait 2 see the winner! You should sign up 2 http://ctt.ec/7IRbr+ @TheToihouse

  1. Share Our Journey! – 92% of consumers find word of mouth to be the best form of advertising! That’s were YOU come in. All you have to do is TELL PEOPLE! Invite your family, friends & co-workers to sign up for the launch mailing list, and join our Secret Book Launch Community! Tell them about this amazing author to reader experience we’re all a part of! Tell them to watch the videos and laugh with the rest of us. And when the book is launched on 8/7/16, tell them to go get it and tell their friends about it.
  2. Social Media – Invite your friends and followers to join us on all of your favorite social media networks! Let them know about what you’ve been working on, what you’ve been a part of over these past few weeks! @TheToiHouse #BloodofaQueen #ToiPowell on Twitter!
  3. Review – Once the book launches on 8/7/16 , I can’t stress to you the importance of leaving an amazing Amazon review (Not that I’m trying to sway your opinion of the book lol). But, this is one of the top reasons why a book becomes a best seller in its category. Leave a review on the book and tell reviewers about our journey! Let Amazon and potential readers know that this book is amazing and available because of YOU!
Now, without further ado…

Our Winning Book Cover is…

DESIGNED BY YOURS TRULY (TOI POWELL)

Cover_Design_v4

Listen to the music for Blood of a Queen!
Available on 8/7/16 on iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, 
Amazon mp3, Tidal 

Pre-Order_BOAQ - Ebook-Series-Mockup_V1b

 

Don’t forget to click on the images to pre-order the ebook!

The print copy and music will be available to order on 8/7/16. 

Share your thoughts and feedback in our Secret Book Launch Community!

RSVP FOR OUR BOOK LAUNCH EVENT

SAVE THE DATE: Saturday, August 13, 2016, 5pm
VENUE: Katra Lounge, NYC

SAVE THE DATE - Book Launch - FIVERR

Can’t wait to see you there!

Take On Innovation and enjoy,

~ Toi

I’m back with a sneak peek! SBLJ: Ep 4

I’m back with a sneak peek! SBLJ: Ep 4

Social Book Launch Journey: Episode 4

**Count how many times I drank wine in my video, leave it in the comments to be entered into the sweepstakes to win a free signed copy of the book and an invite to the Book Launch Party in NYC July 2016!!**

Hey everyone! Welcome to episode 4 of our Social Book Launch Journey! In this episode, not only do I update you on our book launch progress, but I FINALLY give you a sneak peak to our Book’s plot. Read below and don’t forget to check out the links I mentioned in my video and make sure you SIGN UP FOR OUR MAILING LIST for freebies, new videos and a chance to win a signed copy of the book and invite to the Launch Party in July 2016!

Make sure to watch the video all the way to the end to see Bonus footage of some of my most funniest moments while filming episode 4!

Take On Innovation and Enjoy,

Toi
Links below!

BOOK MAILING LIST: http://eepurl.com/by3VrP

UPWORKS.COM – Site to find Freelancers and for your projects.

SECRET BOOK LAUNCH FB GROUP:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/17108…
Website: http://thetoihouse.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TheToiHouse
Instagram: ToiHouse & ToiStori
FB: http://www.twitter.com/TheToiHouse
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/Toicollection
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/toihouse/
GENRE: Literary Fiction / Contemporary Urban Fiction / African American Women’s Fiction
PLOT
A young woman’s new found independence takes her into the heart of a dangerous city in New York; a place her parents forbade her to return to. Ruby, beautiful, yet, sheltered and naive, unearths a web of deception, betrayal, love triangles and stumbles upon a family secret so deadly, she makes it her mission to prove the serious accusations against her family untrue.

A forbidden love interest emerges on her quest for truth and Ruby struggles between following her young heart, or remaining loyal to a long lost childhood friend who is the very one who recruited her help to solve a crime; a crime that would put their friendship in jeopardy.

With the help of her favorite cousin Sheila, the duo uncover hidden secrets from not only her past, but Sheila’s as well and re-sets the wheels in motion to overthrow a troubled, yet, powerful Kingpin upon her arrival.

Skinny Fox Detox Review & Social Book Launch Journey: Ep 3, Toi

Skinny Fox Detox Review & Social Book Launch Journey: Ep 3, Toi

Hey everyone! Welcome to episode 3 of our Social Book Launch Journey! In this episode, not only do I update you on our book launch progress, but I share my Skinny Fox Detox results with you! How exciting!

Check out the links below and make sure you SIGN UP FOR OUR MAILING LIST! This new reader experience has never been done before and you don’t want to miss out!

Make sure to watch the video all the way to the end to see Bonus footage of some of my most funniest moments while filming episode 3!

Take On Innovation and Enjoy,

Toi

Links below!

BOOK MAILING LIST: http://eepurl.com/by3VrP

SKINNY FOX DETOX: http://www.skinnyfoxdetox.com/

SECRET BOOK LAUNCH FB GROUP:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/17108…

YOGI TEA: https://www.yogiproducts.com/

Website: http://thetoihouse.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TheToiHouse
Instagram: ToiHouse & ToiStori
FB: http://www.twitter.com/TheToiHouse
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/Toicollection
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/toihouse/

Social Book Launch Journey: Episode 2

Social Book Launch Journey: Episode 2

Hey loves! Welcome to episode 2 of our Social Book Launch Journey! In this episode, I talk about all of the fun and interesting things that happened this week for our book launch!

I share a few links with you guys in hopes that they will help you with your own projects, giving you resources that may take weeks to find online!

Make sure to watch the video all the way to the end to see some of my most funniest moments while filming episode 2!

Take On Innovation and Enjoy,

Toi
Links below!

BOOK MAILING LIST: http://eepurl.com/by3VrP

BUFFER.COM: https://buffer.com/ Social Media Platform to manage your multiple social media accounts

SECRET BOOK LAUNCH FB GROUP:
https://www.facebook.com/groups/17108…

BEST TIME TO POST ON SOCIAL MEDIA:
http://www.adweek.com/socialtimes/bes…

UPWORKS.COM: https://www.upwork.com/ Freelance resources

ASANA.COM – https://app.asana.com/ Project Management Platform
Website: http://thetoihouse.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TheToiHouse
Instagram: ToiHouse & ToiStori
FB: http://www.twitter.com/TheToiHouse
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/Toicollection
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/toihouse/

Social Book Launch Journey: Episode 1

Social Book Launch Journey: Episode 1

Hey everyone! If you haven’t heard by now, I am launching my 1st book! Scary and amazing all rolled into 1. PLEASE SIGN UP FOR THE BOOK MAILING LIST BELOW…

Anyway, I have been working on my book launch since last summer– slowly but surely and now it’s time to kick things into high gear. We are on schedule for a June 2016 Book release and there is still so much to do!

The book has already been written…for 9 years to be exact but launching a book is a completely different monster in itself. I’ve researched the best ways to do this and I’m trying my hardest to accomplish these tasks as well as the unique tasks I’ve set up for myself.

I figured, there have to be other self- publishers out there, just like myself who are just as lost or maybe they’ve been there– done that. So, I wanted to document my journey in episodes, telling you what I’ve done, which tasks I’ve yet to tackle and how close we are to our book launch.

Doing this with you is me forcing myself to be held accountable by you…the viewer… the reader. And in doing so, I am pushing ahead to complete all of my tasks (which I will share with you) because I don’t want to make myself into a liar. I said I’m launching book, dangit….I’M LAUNCHING A BOOK!

If you want to be a part of this Book Launch Journey and email campaign I mention in the video, see the links below. And make sure you follow me, subscribe and comment too! I want to hear from you!

Til next time. Take On Innovation,

Toi

BOOK MAILING LIST: http://eepurl.com/by3VrP

Website: http://thetoihouse.com
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/TheToiHouse
Instagram: ToiHouse & ToiStori
FB: http://www.twitter.com/TheToiHouse
Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/Toicollection
Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/toihouse/

Motivation Monday – You…A Flicker of Existence

Motivation Monday – You…A Flicker of Existence

When you stop to think about how vast the universe is, how many planets, comets, asteroids and stars there are, remember your place within it.

You are but a grain of living energy sailing within a single galaxy, within a minute solar system drifting among millions, on a tiny infinitesimal planet, orbiting but 1 star, literally floating in the blackness of space.

You actually exist within a colossal body of glorious life which literally spins of its own accord with 8 sister planets in a harmonic dance that has lasted for millions of years.

And then, there’s you…you, who is only here but for a mere half of a blink, a flicker of existence. Living life, giving life and ultimately exploring it. Would you waste this miraculous moment, which is you, dispirited, tormented, dissatisfied and unmotivated to be anything but?

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Your life is the most precious, most miraculous gift the star-dust of galaxies has ever formed, ever created. Live in your moment. Breathe your purpose. Explore your being and never waste it on anything less than the miracle that is you.

Overall, the endless vastness of space and all of the immaculate life it holds is so much bigger than any type of adversity you shall ever face.

Be encouraged and be motivated to make your moment, your time, your existence in this universe worth it.

~ Toi Powell

 

Sign up for my book mailing list here!