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#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!)

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!

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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)

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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

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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The Wiz Live – Review / Yahoo! Don’t Bring Me #NoBadNews

The Wiz is a Classic. If you don’t agree…Ease On Down The Road

I watched The Wiz Live last night and absolutely loved it! I joined the live twitter feed and of course like always, the Black Twitter family along with some honorary NON-Racist members of society, tuned in to watch together. When I say the amount of love, support, and connection that was felt through social media and throughout our culture was beyond overwhelming. It was! To laugh, applaud, shout in excitement and cry together with people you don’t know at all– but are connected as kin of the same struggle…it was epic, moving, chilling and glorious. Imagine 2 million people laughing, crying and making jokes at a family BBQ and you’re ALL related… yeah that’s Black Twitter. It was absolutely the best and proudest moment we could experience together and we LOVED @NBC for showing the magic of black actors in The Wiz to the world.

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Shanice Williams, let’s just say, I was very impressed by her musical theater presence. Being so fresh to the scene she showed a certain comfort-ability that most seasoned actors take years to attain.

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Mary J. Blige was spectacular, she was amazing, she sang DOOOOOOOWN and I was sooo proud of her. She has so many great moments in her performance and I was extremely impressed with her acting. Sure I can bypass some tiny moments of coming out of character a bit, because the amazing-ness coming from her and that amazing costume gave me all the life I needed for the night. I love her all over again!

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Neyo, David Alan Grier and Elijah Kelly were amazing as well. I was impressed wtih Neyo’s stage presence and David amazed at his role playing that Lion. Loved them. Elijah Kelley stayed in character the entire time and THAT was impressive!

THE WIZ LIVE! -- Season: 2015 -- Pictured: Common as The Bouncer -- (Photo by: Paul Gilmore/NBC)
THE WIZ LIVE! — Season: 2015 — Pictured: Common as The Bouncer — (Photo by: Paul Gilmore/NBC)

Common, was ok. I could honestly do without his character. Maybe if they gave him more of a role, but how could they. I think he did pretty well for the amount of speaking lines he was given.

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Queen Latifah, I love her love her love her… but something with the songs I wasn’t really getting everything I needed from them.  She looked amazing and she was better playing herself than the Wiz honestly. Can we talk about the makeup and costumes?!! FLAWLESS! All I know is, she better work! She was still awesome to watch!

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Honey!!! AMBER freaking RILEY!!! SANG for the GODS last night! She was everything you would want in a good witch of the North! I didn’t know what else to do but stare, mouth open and absorb everything she spit out! I mean, Brava to her! She was getting DOWN with those munchkins!

Enough about my brief review – (trimmed it due to this nonsense I’m about to get into.)

I was so excited, I went to bed singing “Home” until 2 am this morning. Sang myself to sleep and woke up with the songs still in my heart. I couldn’t wait to read some reviews online because I just knew it was spectacular. And then I came across this article from Yahoo! Critic-at-large, Ken Tucker

Yahoo! Don’t Bring Me #NoBadNews

I am appalled. I speak to Ken now and any other people who don’t understand the magic of The Wiz (and no, I’m not even giving a paragraph to the idiots who said The Wiz is racist and there should be an all white cast of the Wiz. Look up Judy Garland and go back to sleep).

Ken, to say that…

The Wiz “simply isn’t a classic piece of material”

…just makes me sick. Your critique of performances is understandable, although I may not agree, I agree to disagree. But where I draw the line is when you discount a musical, one of the ONLY musicals that represent the black culture, and one of the ONLY successful earlier black productions ever to grace Broadway. To say it “simply isn’t a classic” is ridiculous!

Just because it doesn’t speak to you and people like you, doesn’t mean that it isn’t a classic!

You don’t understand the IMPACT this production, the movie and this newer modern version has had on our culture, on our creative talents and on our youth!

There are so many reason’s WHY the original “The Wiz” on Broadway may not have translated to “contemporary” audiences in prominent venues.

LIKE VIOLA DAVIS SAID: The only thing that separates women of color from everyone else is OPPORTUNITY!

If there is no opportunity, how COULD it translate to “contemporary audiences”?

And who the hell is a contemporary audience anyway? If you were on Twitter last night, It was FULL of an audience who could relate, who loved it, who cried, who applauded, who had viewing parties. It was the top #1 trending topic all day AND night yesterday! So, AGAIN…. who are the members of the “contemporary” audience you speak of.

There was an overwhelming amount of support (crushing the naysayers and racists) for this production and it went on for hours! If you tuned in, you would see how our culture and others appreciated this momentous moment TOGETHER. You would see the hundreds and hundreds of tweets from people of multiple races express how they loved it as a kid, performed it in high school musicals and were actually watching it with their children…ECSTATIC to be able to share this CLASSIC with them!

To be so removed from our culture, our relations, our art, our appreciation, our CONNECTION to this CLASSIC production and movie, shows exactly WHY television needed this, why WE needed this, why this COUNTRY needed this.

Sure, Ken doesn’t need to sugar coat his critique of the performances. Ken, tell it like it is with all of your professional due diligence. BUT, do your homework, understand what’s going on here and WHY it’s important. Understand that YOU sir are just as bad as everyone else who discounts ANY and EVERYTHING we do or attempt to do, putting your “denied a classic” stamp on it because YOU are ignorant of its magic, its impact and its influence on our community!

This line here from you:

“Here’s a challenge: Name a song from The Wiz other than “Ease On Down the Road.” “Don’t Nobody Bring Me No Bad News,” maybe, but that’s about it.”

…. Goes to show your total and complete ignorance of this production and the “Contemporary Audience” your article is aimed at.

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“HOME”… “Home” is the biggest song of the production and movie. Stephanie Mill’s career took off from this song and it’s been a talent show staple song since! The Ballad piece is the most spectacular and popular song from The Wiz and you don’t even name it!

And What about “You Can’t Win”? Michael Jackson Slaaaaayed that song in the movie! That’s MY favorite! C’mon man!

Me AND Michael are looking at you crazy!

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As far as I’m concerned your critique means NOTHING because you KNOW nothing about the magic and the message of The WIZ.

This line you say here:

“The idea of seeking out some powerful wisdom that will grant intelligence, courage, and freedom, only to realize that these qualities reside inside, not outside, oneself—that’s a potent, enduring theme.”

Yes, it’s a potent and enduring theme, but do you understand WHY it’s important to “our audience” to “our culture”? Because when you have people like you who call the most epic piece of African American theater “Not a classic” you, Ken, enforce the idealism that minorities are not AS important and some of us therefore have to STRUGGLE through our OWN insecurities to find the INTELLIGENCE, COURAGE and FREEDOM inside of ourselves to become better versions of OURSELVES. To create art, to succeed at what our hearts desire. Your insensitive remarks enforce and reveal your ignorance of a culture you know nothing about.

THE WIZ LIVE! -- Pictured: (l-r) Uzo Aduba as Glinda, Shanice Williams as Dorothy -- (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)
THE WIZ LIVE! — Pictured: (l-r) Uzo Aduba as Glinda, Shanice Williams as Dorothy — (Photo by: Virginia Sherwood/NBC)

When Uzo Adubo sang “Believe in yourself” she brought tears to not only the cast on stage but to thousands of people on twitter live. Most of whom did not know that UZO is a TRAINED OPERA SINGER! That song, that message speaks VOLUMES to those of us with shattered dreams, to those of us who have to overcome way more obstacles than your “contemporary audience”. As she hugged Dorothy it was as if she hugged US. That moment, that song was pivotal and encouraged HOPE & FAITH in us but in your words:

“Uzo Aduba was positively adorable as Glinda the Good Witch.”

And… that was it. What an UNDERSTATEMENT!

While I accept your critique and agree to disagree, I am going to ask you to “simply” Ease on down the road with that “Classic” BS.
The world loved it and if you don’t believe me, go ‪#‎TheWiz‬ or #‎TheWizLive‬ on Twitter and see for yourself. Your article was mediocre at best. Have several Theater seats. Thank you!

Crock Pot Chicken w/ Gravy! Recipe!

Back in the Kitchen for a day!

Last night I made the most delicious #Crockpot #chicken with #gravy! One of my favorite #passions is #cooking ! I haven’t had much time to #cook recently with the finishing of my new #book taking priority, but i can tell you it feels good when you have time to be in your own kitchen! #yummy #yumm #yummi #yummyinmytummy  #sundried #tomato #tomatoes #onion #carrot #onions #soup mix , #salt #pepper #italian #seasoning #olive #oil  #honey #paprika #cinnamon ! #bonappetit !

Take on Innovation – In your Kitchen!

https://instagram.com/p/8tvpuWiQls/?taken-by=toistori

Quick recipe:
  1. Grab a whole chicken from the market. Clean it thoroughly, remove the bag of gizzards inside, place in crock pot.
  2. Grab your favorite seasonings. Se above for my choice of flavors. Cinnamon was a secret season and it added just the right touch of spic, minus the sweet.
  3. Slather the entire chicken in Olive oil, front and back.
  4. Season each side of the bird generously.
  5. Throw in your favorite veggies. DO NOT ADD WATER See above for my favs! Yum.
  6. Set the Crockpot on high for 6-8 hours depending on the size of your chicken. Then forget it!
  7. Do your laundry, write your book, make body scrubs, go for a run or simply relax with a glass of wine. The hardest part is done.
  8. GRAVY: If you want gravy (and who doesn’t right?), about halfway through once your chicken starts to make a broth, remove  half of the piping hot fluid and place in a microwaveable container.
    Sprinkle some flour in the broth, constantly stirring until it begins to thicken. Don’t put too much flour. Just enough to get it thicker than the original broth.
    Place in the microwave to for 2 min and allow it to thicken some more. This is you thickening the gravy more with heat without putting it on the stove.
    Remove and place to the side. That’s it! If you want it a bit thicker, just repeat with a bit more flour, but not too much. You don’t want dumplings for this recipe.
  9. When you can smell the the delicousness coming in from your kitchen annnnnnnd you see the little thermometer popped up out of the chicken, you are DONE!
  10. Cut what you need, Place on your plate, add your sides, drizzle your gravy and enjoy!
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T.O.I House by Toi Stori

 

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Part 1: Inception & Discovery

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11 Successful Makers Who Prove It’s Never Too Late to Do What You Love

Check out this cool article!

It’s never too late to follow your passion no matter what it is! We’d all love to quit our day jobs and do what we love. Check out this Yahoo article for great inspiration on people who have followed their passions and are making a living from it!

11 Successful Makers Who Prove It’s Never Too Late to Do What You Love

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Photo: Layla Fanucci Article: Christine Erickson – Editor ‎October‎ ‎05‎, ‎2015

 

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Read my 1st post about my book here!

Part 1: Inception & Discovery

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Have you ever read a book and felt like you were actually a part of the story? Better yet, have you ever followed an author and received exclusive behind the scenes access and information designed specifically for you?

By subscribing, you’ll have:

  • Exclusive access to preview selected book chapters
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  • In depth character background – not found in the book
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All because you signed up to read this AMAZING book!

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You will also be the 1st to know when and where to get your copy and you’ll be given a special invitation to attend the book launch party! Paaaaaaaar-taaaay!

What’s the name of this book and what is it about? Wouldn’t you like to know.

Here’s a secret for you: It took me 1 year to write it, 8 years to publish it and …I wrote it by accident.

Don’t miss a beat! Tell your friends and family to sign up too! You don’t want to miss this!

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Part 1 – Inception & Discovery 

For more on T.O.I House

Visit my website: www.thetoihouse.com
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Take On Innovation,

~ Toi Stori

Publishing My 1st Book! – Part 1

Part 1- Inception & Discovery

(I kind of wrote this book by accident.)

Before you go any further!!!!!

Subscribe here to get more information about the launch of my 1st book!

http://eepurl.com/by3VrP

 

 

Hey guys,

Welcome back! It’s time I shared with all of you what most of my closest family and friends already know. I am publishing my 1st book!!! YAY!!!

Where is this book coming from you ask? Aren’t you already doing so much – Working a full time job, blogging, making body scrubs and selling them on Etsy? Yeah, I am, but those things shouldn’t stop me from completing what I started in 2006. Yes, you read that right…2006!

 I wrote this book by accident.

I was 22 years old and it all started as a dream…a very vivid dream… And now that I think about it, a very basic dream. I was being chased by someone in a dark alleyway, mid winter after I’d just left a party. A stranger came to my rescue, fought off my chasers, saved my life and I fell in love. The end.

But was that really the end? I woke up and grabbed my nightstand notebook and wrote it down.
(As a songwriter and dreamer blessed/cursed with the vision of foresight – I kept a notebook nearby to capture every melody and vivid memory). It came in very handy that night.

As I wrote down this “intense” dream, I realized, I had so many questions but no real answers.

  1. Why was I being chased?
  2. What did they want?
  3. Who was this knight in shining armor?
  4. What was his story?
  5. Where did he come from?
  6. Who’s party was I at?
  7. Why was I there?
  8. Who was I?
    And most importantly after this man saved my life…
  9. What happened next?

I thought about this dream all day. Even while I was occupied with life itself, my mind would drift to that notebook. I needed to do something about that dream.

They say when the emotions you feel within a dream linger and stay with you, your inner spirit is telling you to pay close attention.

So I did. I paid very close attention. I went to my computer desk, sat down and opened up Microsoft Word. The cursor blinked there for about 30 seconds before I began writing. At first I just transferred my notes from the notebook – breaking them down into sections.

Dark alleyway
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Party
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Love
giphyDiscovery

I knew then that I wanted to expand this dream into something more interesting, more dramatic and more creative. I felt like my dream would make a pretty cool movie. But the more I typed, the more I realized this dream needed to be told in the form of a story and not a script.

Understanding the structure of the books I read helped me to apply some of that same structure into developing my own story. I knew what time of year my story would take place – Mid-winter. I knew how I wanted to open the book – Dark alleyway (straight into mystery and darkness). I also knew where I wanted my main character to meet her hero – at a party. And finally, I understood what these characters needed… they needed a reason to live or die. That reason would be love.

I sat back thinking, “Damn, this is pretty good.” But I needed more. I needed to develop my characters.

Next: Meet The Author Part 2 – Creating the Characters

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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

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