LA Mommy Blogger Tribe Brunch: Joes Cafe Granada Hills

There is nothing like a good Sunday brunch; especially with a good bunch of people. 

 

Brunch happens to be one of my favorite Sunday Funday outings. If you ask me it is one of the best self-care treats for a mother of two like myself especially when you get to go without the Kiddos.

 

 Last Sunday January 27th I met up with my mommy friends from the LA Mommy blogger tribe (www.lamommybloggertribe.com for more information) for our first brunch of the new 2019 year. Us Mamas were hosted by the amazing Joes café in Granada Hills, CA and believe me when I say I will gladly be taking that drive from Los Angeles to return for more. 

 

When you do breakfast, you have to do it right. Joes Café is all the way right; and I’m not just referring to the delectable food they serve.  From the time we walked through Joes Café’s doors until the time we left we were treated like royalty.  In fact, scratch that we were treated like the hard-working Mamas that we are. 

 

Joes Café gave me very down south vibes; maybe it was because of the warm inviting atmosphere and little décor touches that are just as comforting as the food.  As I walked in some of the first things, I noticed was the warm wood structure, mason jar ice waters (which happen to be my fav glass type) and of course the smell of bacon and fresh baked goods that accompany Joes café host to greet its customers at the door. 

 

Avocado Breakfast Bruschetta ( joes Cafe Granada Hills )

Avocado Breakfast Bruschetta (joes Cafe Granada Hills)

The menu is just as amazing as the vibe. Joes Café breakfast menu (because If I’m being honest lunch was not on my mind that day) is filled with a bunch of classics that have a modern twist. The presentation of the food is beyond picture worthy; the food taste even better than it looks. Some off my favorite dishes were (keeping in mind that I am a vegetarian) Avocado Breakfast Bruschetta which is pretty much a Texas sized (lingo courtesy of LA Mommy Blogger Rosie) avocado toast with an egg on top drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. If you’re into avocados I highly recommend you trying. Another one of the tribe’s favs was the Stuffed French Toast. Picture this; a warm French loaf sprinkled with powdered sugar, oozing berries, and cream. Just writing this blog I am getting hungry. All in all, there is something for everyone on the Joes Café menu whether you eat meat or not you will not be disappointed. 

 

If you are going for Sunday brunch with your family and/or friends, or simply going to grab a bite to eat for dinner I highly recommend Joes café. I am positive you will leave planning your return. Thank you to Naza (@sweetpandsky founder of the LA Mommy Blogger tribe) for coordinating such a fab brunch for us Mamas. Additionally: thank you Joes Café for hosting us.  

Tyler E ( @tylerbeth_j )

Tyler E (@tylerbeth_j)

 

To see Joe’s Menu and/or find out more information about the Café visit www.joescafegr.com

To learn more and find out how you can join the LA Mommy Blogger Tribe visit LA Mommy Blogger Tribe facebook

Crystal Correa: Mom Behind the Scenes

“Keep your eye on the prize,” they say. Who says this? What is the prize? When motherhood is in the mix, this is a challenging, but rewarding experience that no one prepares you for. And in some ways, I feel like I’ve already won.

I’ve always had a passion for storytelling. It’s a drive that has always been inside of me. As a little kid, I would come up with stories and use my toys to act them out. You could say I’ve been a director since I was five, before I even knew what I was doing. I love telling stories to help people bond, so my main focus right now is on writing comedy shows, because humor really helps people to connect. My web series “Crystal the Webseries” is inspired by my own experiences in my 20s. I’m taking great care in telling these stories, because I went through a lot. People can really empathize and learn a thing or two by watching the main character struggle through different situations, because we’ve all been there. Or if they’re like me,someone who always makes mistakes, we can laugh together over our common experiences. Life is hard, and making relatable comedy is very important to me.

Motherhood goes hand-in-hand with my passion for film. I’ve always wanted to have a family, to ground me and keep me growing on another level, which is being a mom. Of course, I wanted to find a loving partner before heading down that road – someone who wanted to share the journey of parenthood. So once I met my fiancé Carlos, I knew this was it. We were blessed with our “Rey” of sunshine in 2016. I was actually pregnant during the production of my web series, so you can say Rey was my Assistant Director. He kept me calm and level-headed, which was intense, because I was also producing the series myself. Indie filmmaking is hardcore, and adding a baby on board makes it tricky, but I had a wonderful talk with my team. I wouldn’t let it slow me down. I welcomed the challenge with open arms, and ultimately we stayed on track and I was able to complete production and post under two months. We had it ready in time to enter a whole range of film festivals, which was great, because I had no time to stress out about having a tough pregnancy...until it was time to do the actual festival run.

Like many moms, I struggled with postpartum depression, and it wasn’t easy. This really broke my spirit, but I had already set this plan into motion. Once I got into festivals, for the sake of my team, Rey, and myself, I went and did my best to represent my work. It was like a form of insurance to myself, to keep going no matter what. I planned out the next two years to promote this project so I could be on auto-pilot until I found my strength again. Carlos is an amazing dad, so he made sure I had nothing to worry about – he’s been in the film business, so he understood how important it was for me to show up and do my best. Going to these festivals and hearing people laugh at my jokes helped me to heal. My art has always been one of my best friends, because I am pretty selfless when it comes to the ultimate goals of my work. No matter who you are, I want to create something that you can enjoy or have an opinion on – my work doesn’t come with restrictions, and it has opened many wonderful doors for me.

All this while, I was also watching this beautiful little boy grow up. He really is the best kid. Even at my lowest moments he would say “mama” and my heart would light up. That kept me going. It’s one of those things where if you have to look nice on the red carpet because film duty calls, you feel better. There was a moment during the first year of promotion, before I was launched the show to the public, that really made me panic. Even though “Crystal” was a hit at these festivals, I kept hearing that voice of self-doubt t that I couldn’t shake. But being a mom, you want to set a strong, powerful example that these are the moments that really showcase who you are as a human. So I launched the show, and the response was just so rewarding. People have been asking for more, so I am working on more of a “Behind The Scenes: Crystal Goes Clear” companion series with director’s commentary, where I go through each episode and discuss what inspired each of the storylines. I’m so excited to get back in front of the camera

and continue to connect with my audience. I want “Crystal” to let people be able to reach out and share their personal struggles and stories, so we can laugh and cry together. I’ll be filming the BTS with the help of my good friend Skyler Barrett, whom I met at my first film festival ( she also has an award-winning web series, called Reckless Juliets). Skyler also helped me recover from PTSD after a horrible experience with a male photographer during my promotion shoot. It took me a whole year to redo the images my way without the negative influences of a toxic person. People really try to keep you down when you aren’t in the right headspace, especially when you’re depressed. You learn a lot about what you’re willing to deal with once the fog clears.

It’s been a couple years since then, and Rey is two now, which is just surreal. My other baby, “Crystal,” is still going strong. It’s been nice to have these two journeys at the same time because they do support one another. It’s never a dull moment and I am always inspired. No matter what happens, I know how to roll with the punches. When it comes to my mental health, I gave myself time to heal at my own pace. It was nice to just have people ask me how I was doing. I always tell people that sometimes that’s all a mom needs to hear. “How are you?” It’s that simple and sweet. You can’t buy that kind of care and concern anywhere, because it comes from the heart. Just like my current art project called “ Imaginary Friends,” which is based on graphics I designed a couple a years back. My old designs are making their way to the spotlight in my 30 minute pilot of “Crystal,” where we get to see the her graphic design work and not just hear about it. It helps that my kid is enjoying looking at them, too.

Photographer: Skyler Barrett  https://www.girlsruntheworldphotography.com/

Too see More of crystals Graphics as well as film life visit

www.cplusmediaproductions.com

Follow and Connect with Crystal on instagram @cplusmedia

https://www.instagram.com/cplusmedia/

Want to connect w/ Crystal Photographer Skylar? Visit her site

https://www.girlsruntheworldphotography.com/

Check out the web series on Amazon

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07MMPH4GT?ref_=imdbref_tt_wbr_piv&tag=imdbtag_tt_wbr_piv-20

Deon Phillips: Mastering Motherhood, Music, & School!

Hey BONNIFIED MOMS I am so honored to be featured on this week’s feature.  My name is Deon. I have two wonderful boys by the name of Ledgen(legend) and Chace and two step daughters with my boyfriend Quan by the name of Neaveh and Lalia . We live in Georgia, but I am from southwest Philly. I am a female rapper/student AND ONE OF THE BEST TITLES THERE IS BEING MOMMY! I wont sit hear and say that my life is perfectly in order because it is not! It is hard and confusing at times, but I have a smile on my face daily that I get through it because I am doing everything, I said I would! From recording music to be the worlds best mom to okay time to be a student. Very hectic but it gets completed daily.

I have been rapping since I was about 16, but I couldn’t let my mom know what I was into that. She wanted me to focus more on sports, school, and being a lady, but WHAT CAN I SAY MUSIC IS LIFE. I Go to the studio at least 4 to 5 TIMES out the week and I have to write songs in between being mom and homework. The Hardest thing I thought to do was to pat your head and rub your tummy while walking! or even TEACHING YOUR CHILDREN HOW TO POTTY! Boy was I wrong, it is chasing your dreams while still being mom and continuing education while looking Good (Just kidding) seriously it is tough. I have joy in all that I do, so the wild is worth it to me. In other words, going to school has got to be the best feeling in the world, I have a 3.5 GPA and I will soon graduate with a degree in Psychology. Some may look at school as a debt collector, however I feel that once you have a plan and put in action with your plan anything can happen! 

I sometimes get doubting questions like How can you do all of this and rap!? I even get people trying to talk me out of it. School is a career, rapping I love going to school and being a female rapper, I literally turn it all into one. I talk about my music in my classes my professors are even cheering me on. I even listen to all my tracks while doing my work It’s like I prefect my craft while perfecting my career! I never thought I would do my rapping career full time because I was worried what others thought, would people like my music? Am I too old to keep fighting this dream? I still deal with days of not wanting to do anything because I am so tired from the days before of being mom cleaning the house making sure the boys are not being boys play fighting , tracking dirt in the house , but once you block the negative thoughts and just go with the flow, you won’t have to worry about not doing what you want and love to do. I almost gave up on school and rapping but to hear my children say mom your music sounds good, or I cannot wait till your songs are on the radio is what keeps me going.

The journey is hard and is so rough making sure the kids get to practices, or even making sure I pick them up from school, then they have homework before I do any recording, but this is after I cook dinner and check the kids home work. By the time we eat its time to either record or write a song. I take my sons with me in the studio just about every time I go. It is so hard to find a sitter you can trust now days. I have my boyfriend, but he travels for his dreams he has been chasing as well, but when he is home, I have great help from him. I have a great support team around me when it comes to going to the studio to record. My children know my lyrics and that’s the BEST FEELING IN THE WORLD! It really brings tears to my eyes because they know my song and I just get emotional because I have come a long way and I know the universe is not done with me yet! The motivation to keep me afloat is knowing I am showing my children that dreams do come true, even while earning a degree.

From Sleeping on friends’ couches, to getting kicked out from my mother house with my children, to sleeping in hotels, to almost losing my life twice, and to people selling me false dreams I won’t let nothing get in the way of my journey. Being a mom has changed my life so much to the point where I can no longer say  “No I can’t do that “ and just do it, or doubt myself about school “ School is so hard I can’t do it,” I had so many trials to getting back into school it is a blessing in the end that I am back and almost done with completing my degree.  Being a mom over powers everything I do, because my motivation are my children. They are the reason I have the energy and drive I do about the things I do because they are watching. Being a BONNIFIED MOM NEVER STOPS EVEN WHEN YOU ARE CHASING DREAMS!              

 

-Dphil

Audrey Renee: The celibate single mom

The first thing that comes to my mind and why I choose celibacy (to obtain from sexual activity until marriage) was the phrase I heard so often, “You need a man...” 

Maybe it’s the single mom perception that makes them say this. 

So let me speak to the woman in you.

I can't count how many times I have taking those words to heart. I had a family member say it and close friends. I always process things to see what triggers me.  

I sometimes see so many women like me who are on this journey of a single parent and take any man just to fill those areas in their lives that they lack. That was the very reason I too became intimate with a man. It makes us feel as if we are not doing enough and so when a man comes with that one thing that we have been wanting or needing. We immediately let them into our lives and give up something of value. 

We need money so we find a man with money to provide, but it comes with him controlling you.

We are getting tired of carrying this load on our own, so we find a man who helps but is abusive.

We are getting lonely so we find a man to fulfill those late night desires and that is all he does with no commitment. He becomes another child you end up taking care of.

As I noticed myself falling for these same things, I would ask myself but at what cost?

I know God designed a man to be apart of a household. He did not however design me to think that my body was for rent while a man tries to figure out if he wants to be a man. I found strength in God to stop falling for the “counterfeits” as my mentor says. That also means I had to do something different, opposite of what I would normally do. I choose to be celibate.

Now I ain’t saying this flesh don’t get weak or the presentation don’t look good enough to buy. Yet, I am willing to sacrifice for something more. The same way a woman is willing to sacrifice certain foods to get her body right. It doesn’t mean we don’t’want it or we don’t deal with the temptation of it. It does how ever make us remember why it is important to us. 

So I let God overflow in those areas where I weak, so I know what his best feels like.  When a man contradicts that, I know.

It is in the moment that I have to tell myself, Audrey you been waiting for the best, imperfect, God fearing man, don’t you dare stop now.

My celibacy is not to say that a man will never fail me. It’s for me and for the times I was intimate with the wrong person because I too thought I needed a man for the wrong reasons. 

 


CrockPot Turkey Chili Recipe: Pintrest Recipes

I  have been super into cooking lately and it’s all because of my crockpot (www.crock-pot.com) Cooking with my crock pot allows me to make meals without adding to the mom life stress pot. I’m truly addicted and about everything I’ve cooked has been in my crock pot for the last couple of weeks. The stove top rarely gets used in my house now a days because I realized how much time the crock pot saves me. 

Something else I’ve been hooked on lately is Pinterest (www.pintrest.com). I’m sure we all know the magic of Pinterest and if not; wake up because your sleep! Nonetheless I have been on Pinterest like crazy pinning everything.

One of my favorite Pinterest Boards is my is “dinner Recipes” board. My family and I love to eat and I have been getting so much gratification from testing my very amateur culinary limits and my family commending me on how yummy it comes out. For The first time ever I used a Pinterest recipe to cook a meal for my family at home and it came out amazing.

This Crock pot turkey Chili recipe was found on Pinterest inspired by chili recipes from The House of Yumm (https://houseofyumm.com/crockpot-turkey-chili/) and The Spruce Eats (https://www.thespruceeats.com/easy-ground-beef-chili-3053290). I combined the recipes and revamped them a little to my taste and let me tell you all for my first time making homemade crock pot turkey chili my Mom; yes I said my mom even said it was almost perfect (recipe includes added modifications to make it perfect!).

ingredients

Here is my rendition of the Turkey chili recipe and the links to the original recipes from the house of Yumm and The Spruce Eats are hyperlinked above!

Good luck, enjoy, and happy Crock pot turkey chili eats!!!

 


Turkey Chili Recipe (crockpot): 

Cook Time: 8 Hours Method: CrockPot

Prep Time: 20 Minutes Total time: 8 hours & 20 minutes

Author: Tyler E. inspired by recipes from www.houseofyumm.com & www.Thespruceeats.com

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound dry kidney beans

  • 4 1/2 cups water

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 1/2 Yellow Onion

  • 1/2 Green Bell Pepper (chopped)

  • 1 Yellow Bell Pepper (chopped) 

  • 1 Orange Bell Pepper (chopped) 

  • 1 small serrano pepper

  • 1 1/2 Pound Ground Turkey of your choice 

  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can Diced Tomatoes

  • 2 tablespoons Chili Powder

  • 2 1/2 tablespoons Cumin 

  • 2 teaspoons Garlic salt

  • 1 teaspoon Pure Brown Cane Sugar 

  • 4 Garlic cloves (smashed) 

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • optional Garnishes: sour cream, guacamole, shredded cheese, tortilla chips, chives, olives

Cooking Instructions: 

  1. Rinse and sort out kidney beans (tossing out beans that look as if they’ve gone bad or are deformed.) 

  2. Combine kidney beans and water in crock pot cover and turn on to high heat. (Allow beans to cook for 4 hours or until they become tender) 

  3. On stove top combine vegetable oil, bell peppers, onions, and garlic in a skillet to be cooked until they are limp. (set a little bit of your pepper mix aside to cook ground turkey with for added flavor if you choose.)

  4. Once peppers are cooked transfer them into crock pot with Kidney beans. 

  5. Add ground turkey to the same skillet used to cook your peppers, season to taste, and cook until all of the ground turkey is browned. Drain excess oils off cooked ground turkey and Transfer to crock pot. 

  6. Add spices to crock pot chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, brown sugar, black pepper to meat and beans then stir. 

  7. Cover with lid and reduce heat to low cooking for 3-4 hours. 

  8. Bon appetite! 


Tunai Anderson: What lies within my heart & who lives within my heart

Hello!

My name is Tunai (Ta-Nay) Anderson. I am 34 years old. A wife of 8 years (married to my first love and High School Sweetheart) and Mother of 2 beautiful children, Karday Ray & Kori Kimora-Raye Eve. Wifehood and Motherhood are two of the roles that have changed my life. Both roles are continuing to teach me the true definition of unconditional love, sacrifice, selflessness, personal growth and moreover, how I can only attain such values with the help of God. 

I recently created a Blog “tunaiscloset”. I use this platform to share my realities with others; through personal stories and testimonies all while remaining transparent and offering Biblical references. “Life is meant to be lived; cherish the exciting moments and rest in those all too brief moments of relaxation. I am here to live my own life, and live it to the fullest. Tunai’s Closet serves as a vessel to project my passions, and clue in readers to the source that inspires me in this crazy world.- God”  www.tunaianderson.wixsite.com/website

blog photo.png

Aside from my daily duties supporting my Husband who is in his last year of becoming a Doctor of Chiropractic, raising my two children, working full time as a Child Development Mentor and Coach, and blogging (geez my plate is full)- I enjoy spending time with my family, music, shopping and anything that promotes relaxation and knowledge.   

Early in my marriage I was full of hurt. Not too often but often enough whenever I became upset, or didn’t have my way I would react in a childish and disrespectful way. I would throw things, leave the situation and speak death into my own life. Not knowing at the time where exactly this was coming from, I grew to learn that my past relationships and hurts were the root of some of these issues, not to mention lacking the spiritual tools to fight off these negative thoughts and emotions. I began to peel back the layers of my life that left negative imprints on my soul and would take these hurts and lay them at the altar of God by giving it all to him through prayer. Slowly but surely God began to reveal himself to me through is word. I also realized that the hurts in my life were created to be used as stepping stones to the next step God wanted to take me in my life. This growth that took place almost six years ago is still happening today. Who knew that I would have the courage and will to want to open up and share things about me and my life to help encourage and inspire others.

As a newly-wed the excitement of marriage was at its peak! My husband and I knew that prayer was an essential part of our marriage; but we weren’t quite sure how to go about it and didn’t have the tools we needed to fight off the enemy. For me and my journey we married considerably young (25 years old) compared to those within our circle of friends. After finding a place of worship where the Gospel (the truth) was being preached we knew that this certainly was the key to change. I grew up in the church but I wasn’t ready to receive the true teachings of the bible at that time. When the truth is being preached there is something internal that takes place. Surrendering took place the day my husband and I decided to both re-dedicate our lives to Christ and got baptized together in the Holy Spirit.

marriage

A year and a half after finding a church home in 2011, I became pregnant with my 2ndchild. Just when I thought I was finally getting into the flow of juggling being a wife and mother I was unprepared for baby # 2, so I thought.  

First comes love then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage! Sweet little playground jingle- one of which I would often sing. Well now that I had love, marriage and 2 little babies out of the baby carriage- let’s get real. 

Parenting has its way of maturing you, challenging you, frustrating you, humbling you, exhausting you and getting you closer to becoming completely self-less. Parenting requires daily duties and routines that require you to be a nurse, chef, teacher, personal driver, referee (if you have multiples), caregiver, advocate, maid, playmate, feeling validator, and if I had more time- so much more 24/7!! Within myself I am overwhelmed and discouraged by all that is required of me, but with God it takes a huge load off me not having to depend on my own strength. There are moments when I doubt myself however; there’s not a moment that goes by that I am reminded that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13). These two little people do not belong to me. God has given me this temporary assignment of instructing them, guiding them and loving them. God’s word has reminded me that it is within my job description as a mother “to teach my children his ways so that when they are older they will not depart from it” (Proverbs 22:6.) I am to discipline my children which is correcting them when they are wrong with love and not to provoke them. According to my job description as a parent in the word of God, I am called to teach them when they wake up, when we sit around, when we are out in the world, and when we lay down (Deuteronomy 11:19) – I have a mighty job on my hands. This by far outweighs the description for my day job. 

Family

As I continue to grow in my faith, grow in my marriage and grow as a mother, there is so much learning that is taking place and that will forever take place as I continue to grow in God’s word. I am so thankful that I was obedient to the voice of God who instructed me to begin to write about my own personal struggles and life experiences as I relay on his word and biblical scriptures. Over the year I have received so many inspiring messages from others who were encouraged by something I said, wrote or posted. It’s in those moments I am able to share that I am just the vessel but God is the messenger and ultimate healer and true source behind it all. I am so appreciative of the platform and opportunity to share someof my journey with you all and grateful for Bonafide Moms Spot where we are not judged and able to simply be “us”! I encourage you all to begin to peel back the layers of yourself, get quiet and pray. 

~ Tunai

Connect with Tunai!

Blog: https://tunaianderson.wixsite.com/website

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tunaiprettyt/?hl=en

Moms meet moms: WOW summit 2018 CA with Moms Meet

This past Friday and Saturday was jam packed with education, laughs, and goodies, and moms! I had a beyond phenomenal time at the Moms Meet: WOW Summit 2018 in Garden Grove, CA. Thanks to Mommy In Los Angeles Magazine ( check them out at www.mommyinlosangeles.com) I won a golden blogger ticket to attend the WOW summit this year and words do no justice in describing how amazing every bit of this mom event was. We had two days filled with everything a mom blogger/influencer needs to strive. Not only did I connect with so many new moms but I was also able tp meet some of my social media mom friends. The WOW summit was more than I imagined it to be and I am so beyond thankful for the experience.

Moms Meet Moms: The takeaways

The WOW summit was broken up into two days. Day one was specially curated for us mommy bloggers and influencers, and day two opened up for all moms to join in on the goodness. The WOW summit was filled with educational workshops, heartfelt mommy advice, networking, and an exhibit that consisted of over 30 natural brands!

Day one was truly amazing for a newbie blogger like me. I took in so many information gems learning the ins, out, tips, and useful tricks to grow my brand/blog from moms that definitely know what they are talking about. I truly enjoyed the panel discussion: balancing romance and motherhood; The Crunchy Mommy Aaronica Cole got super bonafide as she shared her truths and tips to balancing romance and motherhood. I highly recommend following this Mama and checking out all of her fabulousness she is truly a gem (www.thecrunchymommy.com). 

The Moms Meet WOW summit was education central. I did not leave with a question unanswered. I finally see the light and understand the importance of things such as media kits, and SEO. I went home locked, loaded, and ready to grow. This was by far my biggest takeaway and I am so thankful to the mothers that get it and share the tools we all need to win. 

Advice was not the only thing being given to us moms and the WOW summit. Both Friday and Saturday I left with large reusable bags overflowing with all kinds of useful goodies. The highlight of my day one was winning a fully stocked basket of Sambucol Black elderberry natural immune system support products (for more information about this product visit www.sambucolusa.com). I never win anything and when I tell you all this basket was right on time I kid you not. 

Us mom attendees were treated like royalty. Moms Meet and their sponsors gave us the best of the best products, treatment, and tools. I left feeling so good about myself because the WOW summit equips me with the tool I need to win, glow, and grow. I am already applying all that I’ve learned and I am confident the advice and education I absorbed this weekend are going to set me up for mommy blogging success

Mommy Feels: Today I have a five year old!

My heart is bursting full of mommy feels. You know those emotions you get when your kid(s) do something amazing or something not so amazing. How about when your kid(s) kiss or hug you, or throw tantrums, let’s not forget when they sleep so peacefully at night. Pretty much mommy feels are the mom emotions we all have and glow through on a daily basis. 

Today my mommy feels are exploding. My first baby Taite has entered into his fifth year of life. I cannot believe I have a five-year-old. This sounds so cliché, but it seems like just yesterday I was kissing under his fat neck rolls; now when I kiss him he wipes it off lol.

You see, I can finally say I understand God crafted Taite William especially for me. He knew exactly what I lacked and where I feel short. God knows us better than we know ourselves and whether I knew it or not he selected Taite to fill in my blanks. However; don’t think it was always sunshine and butterflies because this was not always my truth.

Never in a million years was my goal to work super hard in the class and on the track to get an athletic scholarship just to get pregnant and have to give my carefree life up. For the longest I was okay with that being my reality and if asked I let it be known that I felt i screwed up. During my pregnancy and even about a month and a half after giving birth (if were being completely honest) I did not understand what God was doing for me and to me by bringing this baby into my world. I was so upset with my circumstances. Now as I think back I regret wasting so much time at my own pity party. I’m not sure what clicked for me, but I looked at my baby and realized not only did he really depend on me, but he deserved everything and more. I had to stop thinking so little and open my eyes and heart to the bigger picture. Taite was truly a gift from God and I am forever thankful for this blessing.

Taite taught me how to love and to be loved, he has taught me responsibility, and he taught me the importance of selflessness. My sweet baby has taught me lessons that no one else could ever teach me. I woke up and I realized my reality was so much more than a screw up and Taites purpose and existence is way bigger than I gave him credit for in the beginning. Silly silly me!

So today 10/23/2018 Taite is Five years old! Taite and I have glowed together. Teaching one another lessons that only he and I can teach. Five years of exploring the world, five years of laughs, five years of tears (both of us), five years of the greatest love i’ve ever known!

Happy Birthday to my #Bonafidebaby Taite William. Mommy loves you Pop pop!

Tyler E. JohnsonComment
Naza Holiman: All Things Naza

My name is Naza Holliman.

I am the founder and writer of Sweet P and Sky.

I am the founder of Sweet P and Sky Playdates, or SPS Playdates

I am the owner of Holliman Marketing

I am a daughter to two loving parents

I am a wife to my favorite person, Mr. Craig Holliman

I am a mother to two insanely beautiful, fun and loving toddlers; Princeton, who is four, and Skyler, who is 2 years old.

I am a stepmom to Miss Hailey, our beautiful almost 16 year old, who's hilarious and loving ways warm my heart.

For the past year and a half, I have been working on my passion project, Sweet P and Sky, a blog about family, adventure, marriage and lifestyle.A blog about my life as a mother, a wife, a free spirit, coupled with some fun reviews and things to do as a family.  But mostly, it's a blog I write, to show moms and their families, that adventure does not have to stop when you become parents.

I remember my first couple of months as a new mom.  I was home with my precious baby boy, so in love, but my world had been turned upside down.  What struck me most about those first few weeks, and months, was not how difficult it was to take care of a baby.  It was never the lack of sleep, warm meals or daily showers.  It was not the exhaustion, although there was plenty of that to go around.  What struck the biggest blow to my adventurous self was, the inability to just get up and leave the house.

Everything was based around my tiny infant's sleep and feeding schedule.  Not to mention, I was still healing from an emergency C-Section.  Life as I knew it stopped, and I started to feel trapped in my own home.  I had lost a freedom, that I was never prepared to lose.  By nature, I like to explore.  Whether it's a rugged hike, a chic new restaurant, or a new exhibit, I feel the need to see it, and experience it.

I was ready to take on the baby, full speed ahead.  But no one ever told me that I would lose my ability to get up and go wherever and whenever I wanted.

Luckily, I was only at a loss for a very short time.

As soon as I felt strong enough, hubby and I packed up our two week old, and headed to the Zoo.  That day, was the day I realized that our adventurous life did not have to end, it was just in need of a few modifications.  Since that day, we have been on countless adventures as a family, and as a married couple.

As a new mother, I posted pictures of everything on my personal social media accounts.  We all know how that is.  Well, because we did so much, my inbox became inundated with questions about what we thought about the places we visited, and what would be next on our to-do list.  This, is how Sweet P and Sky was created.

I named the blog after my boys, Princeton and Skyler, because they are who inspired me to continue to be me.

Through Sweet P and Sky, I began to meet hundreds of parents.  Mostly mothers.  I began to see a part of motherhood which is rarely discussed, the isolation and loneliness, especially of first time moms.

Time and time again, I saw friends struggle as they became mothers.  Time and time again, I was reminded of my own feelings of isolation, even as an experienced mom, when I had my second baby boy.

I remembered those first few days of isolations, the days when all the dust had settled, hubby was back at work (if hubby was even able to take his family leave), and people stopped visiting. Those days and nights when it's just you and the baby 24/7.  You are too scared to leave the house by yourself, you are too lonely to stay home.  You have never in your life spent so much time with a baby. You miss your friends, you miss yourself, you miss your freedom and no one seems to understand you.

What's more is, most mothers feel that they have no right to complain.  Here they are, with a precious gift from God, how could they ever complain?

I realized quickly, that no one will ever understand a mother, the way another mama can.  We all know that loneliness, that loss of self, that loss of friendship, and freedom.  No one will ever understand the way we are bound to our children and no one will ever understand how our world and schedule, revolves around them.  No one will ever understand the powerful bond between mother and child, and the space in our heads, where they are everything, pure love, but we pray for them to go to sleep, count the minutes... only to miss them the minute that they do.

I wanted to let all of these women know that it gets easier, and it becomes fun.  Our children wear us out, they give us pure, unconditional love, they show us how to let our walls down and just have crazy, stupid fun.  But even when that happens, and along the way, we all need someone who understands.  Someone who doesn't mind hearing you go on and on about how amazing your little one is, or how tired you are.  This is why I created SPS Playdates.

It started as a fun idea for a Facebook group called Valley Mamas, and has since evolved.

Our play dates are open to all, and have been absolutely free with the help of vendors such as Kids WaterBaja Fresh in Porter RanchQuinn's CookiesMiLo Ink BooksThe Traveling Tea Pot, Smarty Pants Vitamins, The Coop in Woodland Hills, and so many more.

Through Sweet P and Sky, and SPS Playdates, I truly hope to give mothers and their families, a sense of community, understanding and a bit of their lives back, in a time when their lives are anything but their norm.

It's been a fun road, one that will grow into something bigger and better with every blog post and play date.

Tyler E. Johnson
Tiana Gurley: "I cant see, Mommy its black."

When I was younger, the thought of having a child used to make me nauseous. I couldn’t fathom the pain that women endured in the process of giving birth, and I couldn’t imagine having something squirming inside my stomach. It would honestly make my stomach turn, and I was fearful of the moment it would happen to me. Nevertheless, I knew that at some point when I was an adult wanted to have at least two children, preferably one boy and one girl. At the time I didn’t think about the health of my unborn children. All I thought about was the fun and adorable times that we would experience. Soon I would learn the gender of the child doesn’t matter one bit. Your ultimate desire is a healthy baby.

I was a young college student away from home and always worrying if I had done something to harm my daughter when I was pregnant the first time. As I grew further along in my pregnancy, it became engrossed with negativity and talks of high risk, so my prayers began to turn into begging God to bless my baby to be healthy. Well God did just that. Blessed me with an 8-pound beautiful, strong and healthy little girl. I wouldn’t have loved my baby any less, but no mother prays for a child that will need visits with specialists or more emergency visits. I thought my child was perfect, although I knew no one was truly perfect.

It was when my daughter was a little over the age of one when I noticed that she still struggled to gain focus with her eyes. During her well-child visits, her pediatrician stated that children are still learning how to use their eyes when they are that young, but if it persisted that I should take to her to an eye doctor. I took her advice, but ultimately knew I would do what I felt was best as her mother. At the time, I wasn’t too bothered. I chalked it up to her having a lazy eye. Then as time went on I grew a little concerned. If you ask any mother about her child, she’ll tell you she knows when something isn’t right with her baby. When I covered my baby’s left eye, she said “Mommy I can’t see, it’s black.” My heart dropped into my stomach.  I responded, “Are you sure baby? Is it black, or is it just fuzzy?” Her response, “No mommy I can’t see, it’s dark.” I called my husband and we scheduled her eye appointment immediately.

The doctor concluded that the optic nerve in her right eye didn’t fully develop, limiting her to only 5% vision in that eye, while her left eye was pretty much perfect. He said that the vision in her right eye would never improve, but it wouldn’t get worse either. We were given a prescription for some glasses that only had little medicine in order to give her a little balance, but for the most part they were vital in order to protect her left eye. At the time we were told that if anything happened to her left eye she would only “feel” like she was blind.

Years passed, and everything remained the same, but me. My daughter was thriving and refused to be viewed as one who was handicapped, but I grew more insecure. I worried about how she would succeed in the classroom, if she would be able to play safely with others, if children would bully her, if she would think she was ugly, and how she would be able to deal with it all. When I looked at my child I saw perfection, but it was tainted with MY insecurity. I suffered for years with my own insecurities and low self-esteem, so I knew I had to get my life together. I didn’t want to pass my negativity onto her, nor did I want her to think that I viewed her as less than. I began practicing affirmations with her. It started off vocal, and the more she improved her reading and writing skills, I made her write them out. I am beautiful. I am strong. I am smart. I am loved. I am confident. I am enough. I am Taniya Beautiful Gurley.

Between the ages of 5 and 6, she began to take notice of her eye not remaining straight. I would catch her in the mirror trying to force it to look in the same direction as her healthy eye. I would reassure her that her eye was fine, but deep down, it hurt my feelings because I know that she has matured and cares more about her physical appearance. I remain strong and fight the urge to stress and grow insecure again. I did however schedule another visit with her ophthalmologist- pediatric specialist.

The results came back the same, but final. Taniya is legally blind in her right eye. So now if she damages her left eye, she will not feel blind. She will be blind until it heals. The only surgery that can be done is to correct the appearance of the eye. He said if it doesn’t bother her, leave it. But if she wants to change it, he’s available. He also reassured me that she’ll be able to drive, fly an airplane, dance, cheer, swim, gymnastics and more. She will simply struggle with athletics that use a smaller object, such as tennis, hockey and softball.

Today, I am reminded that my daughter is still perfect and healthy. My child is blind in one eye but is a first grader who reads on a third-grade level. She reassures me every day that she is okay. I reassure her every day that she is a queen in training. She is smart. She is confident. She is enough. She is Taniya Beautiful Gurley.

Tyler E. Johnson