Category Archives: Lifestyle

It’s important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This includes staying fit, eating healthy, being in a peaceful state of mind and having a clearer and positive outlook on life.

#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.

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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!)

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

 

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Monday Motivation – Hitting the Pavement

10 min Scope Passion vs Work life Hitting the Pavement!

Quick #Periscope video for #MondayMotivation. Have you been putting off something you’ve been wanting to pursue? Why not do it today?

 

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#Monday #Motivation – Why don’t we pursue our passions?

Why don’t we pursue our passions?

Quick #Periscope video for #MondayMotivation. Why don’t we pursue our passions? Let’s stop making excuses.

Follow me (I promise to follow back!)

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11 Unfortunate Things Every Woman In A Happy Relationship With Her Career Comes To Understand

People say that your career won’t love you back, but you don’t need it to.

Source: 11 Unfortunate Things Every Woman In A Happy Relationship With Her Career Comes To Understand

#MondayMotivation – Wake Up!

#MondayMotivation – Wake Up!

Quick #Periscope video for #MondayMotivation. Have you been putting off something you’ve been wanting to pursue? Why not do it today?

Follow me (I promise to follow back!)

Website: TheToiHouse.com
Twitter: TheToiHouse
FB: Facebook.com/TheToiHouse
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To View Mountains: Day 1 – The Entry

Source: To View Mountains: Day 1 – The Entry

Hitchhiking is a beautiful thing. With a pen and an old styrofoam to-go container that we fished out of a trash receptacle, we made a sign. “Glacier Point”, it read. After 7 minutes of thumbing, we hitched a ride with a glowing young couple. An hour later and we entered Glacier Point as our trailhead, with high spirits and a craving for the unknown. Into Yosemite Valley, the granite smiled at us as we ventured onward, thirsty for whatever may lie ahead.

Columbia student becomes first woman to free climb ‘Murder Wall’ in Swiss Alps

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Emma Miller is a student at Columbia University and a fall 2015 USA TODAY Collegiate Correspondent.

The 22-year-old professional rock climber became the first woman to free climb the perilous Magic Mushroom route in the Swiss Alps.

Source: Columbia student becomes first woman to free climb ‘Murder Wall’ in Swiss Alps

Summer Vacation – Cancun, Mexico – Paradisus All-Inclusive

What I did this Summer…

Heyyyyyy ya’ll heyyyyy!!!!

It’s so exciting to write you once again and this time, to share my vacation experience with you! My luv and I went to the beautiful country of Mexico, but not just to Mexico…to CANCUN! I know it sounds cliché, – Spring break = Immature fun, but we went during the summer when it was raging-teenager-hormone free! If we saw any, they were there with their parents… praise Jesus cause I can’t deal!

Anyway, my luv and I weren’t alone. My mother and her husband actually double vactioned with us although we left them during the day to embark upon our own private time which equaled – EXCURSIONS! They had a blast all on their own! They actually  had more time to enjoy the resort than we did!

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Aeromexico – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

We were only there for 5 days so we had to jam pack everything into one huge experience. The 1st day was a bust because whoever’s idea it was to fly and connect in Mexico city must’ve been drinking while they booked our flights. #1. Mexico city is the worst place to catch a connecting flight. Hardly any structure for US immigrants, no English speaking employees to guide us through the line and it was so big we had a hard time finding our gate…which we eventually did with moments to spare! – But enough of the negative reviews on Mexico city because the rest of the trip was amazing —- exxxxxxcept when we flipped over on a jet ski in the middle of the ocean but – we’ll get to that later.

Paradisus - Cancun, Mexico - Toi Stori for T.O.I House
Isla Mujeres- Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

The color of the water was spectacular – the beaches amazing, although there was so much seaweed it made it a difficult swimming experience,  just being in another country was everything I hoped it would be – Hot weather, beautiful water, amazing culture, kind and humbling people and excitement to last me until my next trip!

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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

The Paradisus Resort was BEAUTIFUL! It was a 4 star hotel with real vegetation hanging from every balcony, level and floor. It was like living in a real life Oasis. We bought the Royal Suite package which allowed us a butler, exclusive access to private dining areas, private pools (no kids – pa-raise Jesus) and every service you could’ve wanted. 24 hour room service we hardly used and scented pillows with Lavender and Vanilla, Eucalyptus with white tea were some awesome services included in the package! Yummmmm happy snoozing!

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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

#cancun #mexico with my #love #summer #vacation #paradisus #relax

A post shared by Toi Powell (@toipowell) on

Day 1 we arrived pretty late so that was a bust thanks to our booking agent getting us on a connecting flight but, whatever. We were beat by time we arrived. We had dinner at one of the all inclusive restaurants (Taco’s – not my choice) but I noticed their portion sizes were extremely small. If you wanted a big adult sized meal, head to the buffet. You can make your own plate and you have waaay more options.

Day 2 my bf and I got up and dressed for the pool. We decided to book our excursions 1st thing. I think we did the best thing by booking the entire week at once because every day we knew what we were doing, where we were goin and what time we’d be back. Scheduling your life is key, why not your vacation UNLESS you’re on vaca specifically to rest. Then you’re best bet is to just go with the flow.

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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

Our 1st excursion on day 1 was the worst experience for me (insert overturned jet ski). It was no surprise to me that my bf couldn’t swim. Although he was in the Navy for 6 years, somehow he got through it without really grasping how to swim “correctly”. He’d told me months before this vacation that he couldn’t swim but I begged him to try a water sport. Just TRY! He’d have on a vest, so he’ll be fine. After MUCH deliberation he obliged, so here we were, finally in Mexico and we sign up for ….Parasailing. Parasailing. What does swimming have to do with parasailing…. shut up and wait…you’ll see. lol

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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

In order for us to parasail, we had to get on a JET SKI to get to the boat that was already in the middle of the ocean. Insert sigh. I’ve never been on a jet ski but I was willing. I’m SUPER adventurous and always open to a new experience but when they told us that we both had to ride behind a guide …I counted 3 grown ass adults on a jet ski…scary but we went on. They told us to bring a camera but if it got wet they weren’t responsible…ooookay so I brought my brand new Nikon DSL D3200 and wrapped it in a plastic bag and the guy placed it in a compartment of the jet ski.

We got on and OMGGGGG he was flying all over the place, jumping waves and I was holding on to him for dear life and my bf holding on to the guys jacket with me in between them for dear life. WTF! Then he stops. Mid water…land just a blink in the distance. He hops off and disappears under the water. BABE! Where the hell did he go?

He appears and in broken English says he needed to take the seaweed off the rotors and for ME to hold the jet ski steady while he basically somersaults over us to get back in front. JESUS give me balance! Be a weight, an anchor, a bouey… cause I can’t!

He finally gets seated in front of me and I think ok, we’re safe, we’ll be there in a moment. Not even 3 minutes later, he stops again and does the same thing! This time as he’s trying to re-board, i’m trying with all of my might to hold it steady, but this Cirque du sole trick he did over my head caused us to flip ALL THE WAY over! The ENTIRE jet ski was upside down, me and my bf were underwater and of course he’s trying to swim up to the surface but he’s pushing me beneath him! I thought OMG this is it. We’re gonna die right here, right now!

I swam away from him and when I came up for air he apologized of course but he was holding on to this rope on the back of the jet ski I hadn’t even noticed previously. I was ok because I can swim, but I more more worried about him. To my surprise, he was very calm. (Must have been that Navy training kicking in I guess) insert eye roll.

I get back on the jet ski 1st, and wait for everyone else to get on behind me. I am absolutely terrified, but everything works out and we continue our journey. Of course i’m crying all the way to the boat because I convinced my bf to try water sports and this is what happens! I couldn’t believe it. I didn’t come all the way down there to lose him to the ocean! Oh hell no!

We finally get to the boat and discover that my camera didn’t survive the journey. It stayed in the compartment but water got inside of it. So you know I was annoyed but not as pissed off because at least we were alive.  I did a no no and tried to turn it on which I’m sure ruined it.

Parasailing was even more stressful because after that near death experience, we go almost a hundred + feet in the air with no belts, no harness – just a 2 seater something. Everytime the wind blew or the boat accelerated, I thought we were gonna fly out! That was it. Get me off and get me out!

Needless to say, we went back to the company we booked with, told them of our horrifying experience and demanded we change our next excursion. Guess what it was…..Jet ski’s! yeeeeeah, no.

So they booked us for a day trip to the island of Isla Mujeres which we did on day 2.

It was absolutely beautiful! We took a boat there which was spectacular! Tequila on the boat, entertainment from the crew and a relaxing ride along the gulf. When we arrived, there were hammocks, beach chairs and a nice little beach to relax. We passed that up and rented a golf cart to explore the island. It was beautiful. We saw Iguanas, some ruins, tons of unoccupied houses, and the views were breath taking.

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Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Isla Mujeres, Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

When we got back, we had a buffet lunch and hopped back on the boat to take us to the downtown area of the island. We walked, did a little shopping, but mostly just explored for 2 hours. So many merchants tried to get us to come into their “little shops” (their words, not mine) and buy over priced knick knacks. Yeah, if everything was handmade, how come every store had em? LOL

I opted to haggle some guy for 2 gorgeous necklaces $15 for 2. I’d seen them sold at so many shops that when someone approached me on the street with a bag of them I couldn’t resist. The stores were selling them for $20 each.

(here I am at happy hour at work with my fun co-worker wearing one. It’s twisted cause I’m having a good time at happy hour! But the middle is supposed to drip towards the center)

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Work Buddies – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

 

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Isla Mujeres Necklace – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

The next day we went on another day tour to Tulum! It was Marvelous! – and HOT! 1st we got picked up late by our tour bus and then had to listen to a very vocal, highly IQ’d gentleman from Australia who talked everyone’s ear off all day. I thought he was interesting but the hotter it got the less he talked!

1st we went to see the pyramids in Tulum. Awesome, breathtakingly beautiful but there was not an ounce of shade so as my bf and I speed walked throughout the entire complex of ruins, I forced myself to take in the hot breathtaking experience. I was beautiful but damn it was hot as hell!

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Tulum – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

Next they shuffled us off to a little jungle in the middle of nowhere to eat a quite decent buffet lunch – even though they rushed us. We then strapped on our gear to go zip lining! It was amazing and for my 1st time, I had a blast! After that, we rappelled into a cave and then changed to snorkel in a fresh water cave with tiny little fish and bats, bats, bats! Guano anyone?

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Zip Lining – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Zip Lining – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Zip Lining – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

It was a long ride back but it was such an amazing experience I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Tulum - Cancun, Mexico - Toi Stori for T.O.I House
Tulum – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

On our last day, we managed to fit in a speed boat excursion! That was fun and scary because I’ve never driven a boat before, let alone in open water (read above about my new fear of open water) speeding behind boats being inches from the water.

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Speed Boat – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

Once we stopped and anchored to other boats, I was the only one from my family that hopped into the ocean and  snorkeled along the great barrier reef. Talk about amazingly beautiful!!!  It’s like a whole other world down there. Quite alien-like and awe-inspiring. I always seem to have a new appreciation for the Universe, creation, God and life itself when I snorkel.

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Speed Boat – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

I hated to leave that wonderful oasis of beauty, grandeur, lost and rediscovered ancient ruins. I was more emotionally attached to this place than anywhere I’d ever been before. I watch the History channel and I researched the ancient pyramids, drawn to their mystery, history and architectural achievements. I never thought I’d see one up close and I did…and it was AMAZING.

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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Paradisus – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House
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Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House

If you are drawn to a special place and feel the urge to travel, do it. We only have one life. Make the best of it. I know I will!

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Isla Mujeres – Cancun, Mexico – Toi Stori for T.O.I House