Posts in journey
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

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

Follow and Connect with Crystal on instagram @cplusmedia

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

Check out the web series on Amazon

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!              



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.