Movie Night/Movie Day/Movie Anytime

Movie night or binge-watching TV series is another wonderful way to connect with your kids. Movie night is a big thing for my 11-year-old and her dad. She is always giving me a rundown of the cool movies they watch together when she is with him. Movie night with me, not so cool! I will admit, I have a tendency to try to use movie night to shove some documentary down my 11-year-olds throat that she rather not see. So, I decided to up my game. I dug out my DVD collection, blew off the dust, only to realize I sold my DVD player on Facebook Marketplace over a year ago.

To be open-minded and expand my horizons, I sought the advice of different family members. Here are their recommendations:

Gen Xs

Eat Pray Love
Eat Pray Love

Eat Pray Love was recommended by my Gen X cousin, and I am so glad she did. I absolutely loved this movie because it made me dream of one day packing my $h!t and traveling the world alone in an effort to find myself. While I think I have sort of found myself, without having to go around the globe, I still might pack my $h!t and travel just for the heck of it when my youngest graduates from high school.

Love & Basketball
Love and Basketball

Love and Basketball is another good movie recommended by my Gen X cousin. Loved, Loved, Loved this love story!!! Might try to make my Gen Z watch this with me.


Avatar seems to be an alien movie with a message from what I can tell. Maybe my Gen Z will like this one! Although I bet, she has already watched it with her dad.


These were all recommendations made by my millennial daughter.

Tiger King

Tiger King I really want to connect with this docuseries because it seems to have everyone entranced, but I just can’t seem to do it. It seems that most people in my generation that are able to connect with it are ashamed to admit it. Why is that I wonder?


Ozark There is something about an upper-middle-class white family who goes from living the American Dream to being forced into a world of criminal conduct for the sake of survival that seems to fascinate everyone, including me. Not to mention, the parents are really creative criminals.


Uncorked A great movie about an African-American young man finding his passion for wine (no, not drinking it) and pursuing it despite the fact that his father could not be any more unsupportive. After watching this movie, I wanted to be a master sommelier. For a brief moment anyway.

Gen Zs

On My Block
On My Block

On My Block is about the trials and tribulations of four high school friends in South Central Los Angeles. I was planning to check this out with my 11 year old only to be informed that she had already watched every episode that aired thus far. How did I miss that?


It seems that Euphoria explores the chaos associated with being a teenager in this day and age. The main character is a 17-year-old struggling with substance abuse. That is all I know, thanks to my Gen Z cousin. I like Zendaya, so I might check it out.

All American
All American

All American is a sports drama series that explores so many issues (race, poverty, single parenting, relationships, privilege, etc.) through its main character, who is an African-American high school football star from Crenshaw. I can tell you, even if you are a Gen X that is not that into football, you will enjoy this series. I sure did.

Much Love,


You know I am going to ask. What are you all watching?


Let’s Talk About Auto Insurance

The younger generation has no patience with us Gen Xs! Or maybe it is just my daughters. I will admit, I am a little technologically challenged. Before I ask them to show me something on the computer or my phone, I have to mentally prepare myself for the sigh and eye roll that always seems to precede the answer to my question.

Guess what Gen Zs? There are actually some things we older folks know that you don’t know. For example, we know a thing or two about auto insurance! Yup, auto insurance!

This article on auto insurance is payback. On behalf of all of the parents of Gen Zs that have to suffer through the sigh and eye roll just to get a little help I am going to share some of our unique knowledge with the Gen Zs! And, I am not even going to sigh and roll my eyes while sharing this information.

In order to avoid any generational communication barriers, I have asked my millennial colleague, Attorney Takiya Lewis, to co-write this with me. 🙂

AUTOMOBILE LIABILITY INSURANCE. One of the MANY BILLS your parents PAY FOR YOU unbeknownst to you. The first time most of you become aware that your parents are paying this bill on your behalf is when you graduate from college and land your first job. Because it is then that your parents inform you that they will no longer be paying this bill.

To legally drive around in the vehicle your parents gave you, many states require you to have automobile liability insurance. Why? Simply put, if you cause an accident, the insurance company will pay for the damage you caused but, more than likely, cannot afford to pay.

As you begin to navigate the terrain of taking care of your own automobile liability insurance there are some key terms you should know:

BI (Bodily Injury): Part of your liability insurance is set aside to pay those that have been physically injured if you cause an accident.

PD (Property Damage): Part of your liability insurance is set aside to pay for property that you damage if you cause an accident.

UIM (Underinsured Motorist Insurance)
Scenario: Another Gen Z driver is texting and driving and smashes into your car as you’re headed to Starbucks to grab an iced coffee. You are seriously injured and unable to work for a while. The driver’s insurance company doesn’t dispute the fact that the driver was at fault and immediately hands over a check for your bodily injury. The problem is, the amount that the insurance company is going to hand over is not nearly enough to take care of all of the damage that has been done to you. This is where underinsured motorist insurance comes in handy! The term is self-explanatory, if the person that hits you doesn’t have enough insurance then your underinsured motorist insurance policy will kick in to help pay for all of the damage that was done.

UM (Uninsured Motorist Insurance): This comes in handy when that person that hit you because they were so busy texting has no insurance to compensate you for the damage they have caused.

Collision Coverage: This coverage pays for damage to your car from a crash that you cause to another driver, if you hit something or if you roll your vehicle. It also comes into play if another driver hits you but they don’t have insurance and you decided against uninsured/underinsured coverage. Of those reasons, the most important reason to have collision coverage is if another driver hits you and they don’t have enough coverage to pay for you to get a new vehicle if yours is totaled. In that case, collision coverage would kick in. So… it may be worth those extra dollars each month if the choice is between a new car and a 97 Honda.

Comprehensive Coverage: It helps you pay to replace or repair your car if it’s stolen or damaged in an incident that’s not an accident. Usually, that means fire, vandalism (i.e. your current boo’s ex keying your car), trees or other falling objects (like hail). Just in case you have someone unsure about boundaries and crimes, this would be a necessary coverage to have.

Deductible: I am ashamed to say, I learned about this the hard way. A deductible is what you have to pay out of pocket before the insurance company agrees to pay the rest. Whew chile, the ghetto. 🙂 So if the repairs to your car cost $3,000 and your deductible is $1,000, you have to pay $1,000 before the insurance company will pay the remaining balance. While it costs more to have a smaller deductible, you should really contemplate what kind of financial position you may be in if you have an accident. I know that an extra $15 may seem like a lot every month for a lower monthly insurance payment, but will you be in a position to pay $500 to $1,000 if something out of your control happens to your car?

Real talk, you cannot be empowered if you are not independent. And, you cannot be independent if you are not knowledgeable. Part of being an adult is making hard and responsible decisions. One of the most difficult decisions to make when you’re a young adult is about insurance. Hopefully this information helps you so you’re not caught out there looking crazy if the worst happens, asking us Gen Z’s or millennials for help.

Much love,

Tonza & Takiya


Behind Closed Doors -An Excerpt

Here is an excerpt from my fictional ebook Behind Closed Doors. Behind Closed Doors is 4 short stories about professional households living with domestic violence.

…After five hours in the emergency room, she was relieved to learn that her nose was not broken.

Once all of her paperwork was completed and the nurse had left, she got up from the stretcher, slid her sundress and Gucci sandals on, grabbed her handbag, and left the room. Since it was around 9 pm when she actually left the ER she could not hide behind her big Tiffany shades. She could feel the gaze from the nurse’s station as she quickly walked past searching for the nearest exit from the glaring hospital lights that made her feel her abuse was on display for all to see. 

With the exit in sight, she could feel the tension in her jaw easing and her breathing began to return to normal.

And then she heard someone call her name. Picking up the pace, she braced herself to pretend as though she didn’t hear whoever it was trying to get her attention. Only feet away from the exit, this unknown pain-in- her-ass person repeated her name even louder. Stopping dead in her tracks, she slowly turned in the direction of the voice and saw a woman approaching her. When the woman finally stopped right in front of her, it took a moment before her brain registered who this woman was. When it finally clicked she almost gasped out loud. Instead, she glued a fake smile to her face in an attempt to hide just how uncomfortable she felt. 

During her days as a prosecutor, she had zealously gone after this woman’s husband and sent him to prison for two years, after he had broken the woman’s arm, jaw, and several ribs, one evening after coming home in a drunken rage.

As a young prosecutor, she could not believe what this man had done to his wife. What was even more unbelievable to her was the fact that this woman, who was now standing before her staring at her bruised black eyes, wanted to drop the charges against that prick. She remembered the woman begging and pleading for her to dismiss the charges until the very end. When the jury found the prick guilty of felonious assault, this woman had looked over at her husband and began to cry. 

At a loss for words, she stood in the hallway of the hospital as the woman told her how her life had turned around for the better while her husband was away in prison.

It seemed the woman had taken advantage of that reprieve and decided to get counseling and enroll in the nursing program at the local community college. She was now remarried to a man she absolutely adored and worked as a registered nurse in the intensive care unit at the hospital. She thanked her once again for fighting for her, all of those years before, before walking toward the elevator to head up and begin her shift. 

As she walked away, eyes black and blue, and almost swollen shut, she still could not identify as being a victim of domestic violence. She was different. Or at least she thought so…


Much Love,



Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray to God my soul to take. Amen.

I never understood the essence of one of the most valued childhood prayers until my mistakes gave me a clearer perspective.

“Mr.” had me cringing at the thought of “If I should die before I wake.” 

The clock ticking was a reminder of how my breath in each succeeding second could be my last. I breathed the aroma of the all so familiar beer Steel Reserve.  The smell seeped through his pores and left him soiling the sheets in sweat. 

With hesitation, I would turn my back to Mr. as he lays drunken asleep in bed. 

The hesitation turned into a deep sigh, when I successfully turned over without waking Mr. in the night.  His snoring became tolerable. Another moment to confirm he was asleep and I was alive. “I survived another night,” I thought.

Gazing at the wall, I became sleepy. I attempted to sneak in some rest. But like a thief in the night, Mr. stole that away from me. He wakes up feeling for me and calling my name, but as clever as a possum I pretend that I’m dead asleep.

He keeps repeating, “T, T, T,” which was what he called me. No response from me. I can feel the sheets twisting and mattress creasing. “I don’t want to have sex,” I thought. My legs were folded tightly together, knees facing the wall, left hand tucked inside my inner thighs, right foot crossed under my left foot, and my face buried in the palm of my right hand. 

The tension arises. I feel his aggressive hands planted on my thigh and he rocks me. Wishing my tactics would work, I don’t budge. I can sense him at the foot of the bed, knees firm in the mattress, staring at me. He attempts to pry my legs apart and I respond as if I’m just shifting in the bed to stiffen my legs back together. This only upsets him and he forcefully pries my legs apart. I become an actress—yawning, stretching and opening my eyes slightly.

“What’s wrong baby?” I try to play it off as if I don’t know what is going on. 

“Give me some!” This was his polite way of asking me for sex.

“I’m tired!”

Mr. began sliding in between my legs as I attempted to close them.  He told me “you gone f*** me, because you f*** everyone else.” This was his sick way of accusing me of cheating because he knew that he was just laid up with his co-worker before coming home to me. He grabs both of my wrists with his two hands and presses them beside my head on the pillow; looks me in the face and says, “you gone give me some.” I say to Mr. “NO!”

I jerk from fear of anticipated pain and the reality of pain at that moment. He begins to lecture me with every stroke; “T, you love me? T, I bet you don’t go no where, T, it feel good?” My eyes water because I don’t have the fight in me. 

He’s done. I lay in the same position he left me, scared to move because I know I’m torn. I can feel the heat of tissue rubbed raw. I don’t want to move but I have to go clean up. I’m disgusted and I feel filthy. He didn’t use a condom this time and he had no shame in letting me know he spent some quality time with his co-worker before coming home. I’m praying that my internal wounds will heal and I won’t be the victim of a sexually transmitted disease.

It hurts to urinate and the soap burns but this is nothing. I tell myself, you can endure this.

Proverbs 3:24 tell us “When you lie down, you will not be afraid; Yes, you will lie down, and your sleep will be sweet.” 



Vibin’ With Psychotherapist Keischa Pruden

I had such a great conversation with psychotherapist Keischa Pruden about mental health. I figured sharing this convo would be a great way to close out The Vibe for the week! Grab a cup of coffee or a glass of wine, tune in and take advantage of this free therapy session :-).

Much Love,


P.S. If you prefer to just listen, this convo is also available on my podcast Vibin’ With Tonza.


Because I Said So: Event Etiquette

In the event industry I encounter a lot of people with differing ideas on how to run events. This ranges from organization, invitations, decor, you name it, I have heard it or seen it. 

One element of event planning and execution that is consistently brought up, whether it’s a wedding or baby shower is invitation and registry etiquette. Here are a few tips to help you navigate the ever changing world of RSVPs and gifting; check it out: 

  1. Electronic wedding invitations: Now I know paper products for weddings can be expensive, I get it. I understand that Evites and Paperless Post have some amazing designs. However, nothing shows your guests you care more than an invitation sent in the mail. Invites set the tone of your wedding and I think that’s hard to fully convey over email. 
  2. Listing your registry on your wedding invitation: You should never put a request for gifts on a wedding invitation. It sends the wrong message to your guests and frankly it makes you look tacky. When is it acceptable to ask for wedding gifts? If a shower is being held in your honor and the host puts the information on the invite (at the bottom) that is perfectly okay.

Speaking of showers, that brings me to #3

3. Is it ever okay to throw your own baby shower or bridal shower? The answer: Absolutely Not! I have been to a baby shower that was thrown by the parents-to-be for themselves. It was a bit self serving. They had large families and a number of guests were asked to help with the day-of-duties (myself included) and I imagine someone would have thrown them a shower without mom and dad having to do it. I also found it took some of the magic out the shower because the whole event was about the couple, not necessarily about the baby. Trust me I understand the desire to be celebrated and loved, but your friends and family should WANT to celebrate you without your help and you should let them.

4. Is it okay to give people my registry information? This is only okay if they ask. You should never volunteer your wedding or baby registry information. Again it’s all about the message you want to send people.  

5. My last little etiquette tip for invites and gifting is for the guest. I think I speak for all brides,planners,and hosts when I say, PLEASE RSVP! I know as a guest sometimes you see that Save the Date or RSVP request and you think, “I’ll get to it” or “I don’t know if I’m going so I’ll just decide the week before”. Here is why it is so important to RSVP. It allows the host to make proper arrangements regarding, food, dishes and even decor. Your presence is tied to a dollar amount, especially when it comes to weddings. Be mindful that with every delay or non-response you are putting the host in the tough position of using resources for someone who may not show up or foregoing preparing a place for you, which could cause some serious problems if you attend the event unexpectedly. 

I hope these little tips help you as move forward with your events! 




Break Out the Board Games

In Social Distancing with an 11-year-old I told you that Gabby loves board games! The thing that is so fascinating to me is that many of the board games that we play were games that I remember playing as a child. The fact that they are still so wildly popular (okay, well maybe that is an overstatement) is amazing to me.

Here are a few of the old school meets new school games that we had in our collection that we have been enjoying during this much needed family time:

UNO is by far Gabby’s favorite. Well, that and Monopoly. What I have learned over this past couple of weeks playing UNO with her – Gabby is a $h!t talker! As we prepare to play each game she consistently tells me she is going to “beat me down” despite the fact that statistically I have proven I am the better player :-).

CONNECT FOUR is another simple, fun game that Gabby and I have been enjoying! Again, despite the statistics, she taunts me consistently while we are playing this game. I haven’t told her the reason she is losing so much. While she is busy taunting me, I am watching and planning, waiting for her to make the wrong move.

OPERATION is a true test of one’s patience, something Gabby and I both lack. For those of you that don’t remember OPERATION. This is the game where you try to remove body parts from a patient using a tweezer. If you touch the edges as you are removing the body part, a loud buzzer goes off to let you know that you have failed miserably and killed your patient (okay, maybe again I am being a little extreme).

CHECKERS will be around forever! When was this game founded? I feel like it began in the 1800s but still never a dull moment with checkers.

She doesn’t know it but she is about to get the “beat down”. I’m the silent assassin! 🙂

SCATTEGORIES is one that I began playing when my older kids were younger. My oldest daughter is super competitive when we sit around and play this game. Instead of taunting like Gabby, Sierra just smiles at the end when everyone adds their points up and realizes she has won once again.

BOGGLE is my effort at trying to throw in a little brain exercise while gaming! Although Gabby will indulge me a little, she definitely is not her rambunctious, ish talking self during BOGGLE.


I hope you all are staying safe by practicing social distancing!

Much Love,



Small Business Help is Here

If you are anything like me:

  1. The demand for your services has sharply decreased as a result of COVID-19. 
  2. The decrease in demand means a reduction in cash flow. 
  3. You employ wonderful people who depend on you to pay them timely every month regardless of any crisis. 
  4. Your staff has financial obligations and cannot afford to volunteer during this time of crisis as much as they would love to.  
  5. The thought of laying your staff off and leaving them to deal with the bureaucracy known as unemployment is crushing to your spirit.
  6. YOU ARE A SMALL BUSINESS OWNER who is wondering, as you sit on your couch enjoying the break from the hustle and bustle, how long you can keep things afloat with little to no income walking through the doors.

If you are anything like me, you have heard about all of this relief that is going to be made available to small business owners. Still, the thought of filling out mounds of paperwork to get assistance is making you go into mental shutdown mode. 

For all of those people out there like me, here are some quick resources that I have looked into over the past couple of days. TRUST ME WHEN I SAY THE PAPERWORK IS STRAIGHTFORWARD and not daunting at all. While there are no guarantees you will receive the funds, it is worth it come up out of that fog known as denial and at least apply. 


Simply put, this loan will help you to meet payroll and keep the lights on for some time. THE BIG PLUS, it is possible that this loan will be forgiven! MEANING, it is possible that you will not have to pay it back!

For an overview of the SBA Paycheck Protection Program click on the link below


To go directly to the SBA Paycheck Protection Program Application click on the link below



THIS IS A LOAN, NOT A GIFT! With that being said, the loan application is quick and easy and you can complete it online. If you are approved, the funds can be deposited directly into your business bank account. 

Want to apply for the COVID-19 ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN APPLICATION? Click on the link below



I was listening to Sheryl Sandberg on Skimm’d from the Couch and learned that Facebook is offering 100 million dollars in cash grants and ad credits to up to 30,000 small businesses in 30 countries.

Want to see if your small business is eligible? Simply click on the link below


FINALLY, contact the bank that holds your business accounts. They are there to help!

If you are a small business in North Carolina and want to know if your bank is a SBA lender simply click on the link below



Much Love,



Social Distancing With an 11-year-old

One of Gabby’s teachers called to check in on us last week! In the midst of our conversation, I had to take a moment to applaud her for having the desire to be in a classroom full of middle schoolers all-day. I mean, for years, I have wondered how teachers are able to keep kids engaged all day. With the coronavirus pandemic and the imposition of social distancing parents everywhere are being reminded of just how awesome educators really are!  

When my daughter learned that she would be out of school for at least two weeks, her brain immediately shifted to summer vacation mode! She was excited about the unexpected opportunity to game with her cousins until the wee hours of the morning each day. Much to her chagrin, I explained that I had written out a schedule that required her to have no TV, no phone, and no gaming for the first half of the day. Her response- FULL ON MELTDOWN! Unfortunately for her, I have evolved as a mother. Thus, meltdowns no longer phase me. Fortunately for both of us, Gabby’s meltdowns are usually short-lived and we are always able to quickly return to the business at hand. After reviewing the plan and accepting the fact that my idea and her idea of two weeks out of school looked very different she asked a few questions, got her mind right, and got on board.  After all, she knew that peace for her, during this time of social distancing, very much depended on the speed at which she accepted my ideas. 

With that being said, we have been greatly enjoying this time together at home. I am failing miserably at winning the homeschool teacher of the year award but Gabby’s real teachers will be proud to know that I am keeping her mentally engaged. Here are some of the activities I have come up with to ensure Gabby is continuing to live outside of the bubble of gaming, TikTok, and YouTube:

  1. Games. Gabby loves to play board games because she really values time together as a family. Oftentimes my crazy schedule makes me pass off board game duty to her sisters when they are around. This time off made me take a step back, put everything down for a little while, and get my game on with Gabby. We have had a blast playing Connect Four and Uno! Sadly, I know it is just a matter of time before she begs me to play Monopoly with her. Uggghhhhh! 
  2. Documentaries. One of her required activities in our makeshift homeschool is for Gabby to sit down with me and watch the documentary “Hillary”. This is another opportunity for us to spend some time together while feeding Gabby’s brain with new information.
  3. Reading. I believe people’s stories inspire so I have Gabby reading biographies. So far she has read short books on Frida Kahlo and Richard Branson. In order to make sure she is processing the info she either writes short essays or talks to me about what she has read. I try to keep it casual when we are discussing what she has read because I always seem to get better feedback when I am not treating our conversation like the quiz of the century. 
  4. Math Worksheets! Gabby thinks I am a dinosaur because I have a pile of math worksheets printed out for her to complete each day. She is like, “mom, you know there are activities on the computer that can help me with my math?” The old school in me just likes to know that she is doing the work, as well as, coming up with the right answers. Say what you want, math worksheets are always going to be a part of our lives! In case you are wondering I get my antiquated worksheets from https://www.mathworksheets4kids.com/. This is an excellent site with more than math worksheets available.
  5. Internet Exploration. Sometimes you have to meet kids where they are. And most kids love the internet. Real talk, I LOVE THE INTERNET! As such, I decided to incorporate the internet into my makeshift homeschool lesson plan. Turns out that was a great idea. I had Gabby do a little research to find three women that she found to be interesting. I asked her to identify the women and write down what it was about them that inspired her. She blew me away when she emailed me a google doc she had prepared in response to this assignment. 
  6. Spending time outside without our phones. FUN, FUN, FUN!

Overall, I am just taking this period in our lives day by day! Appreciating this moment to breathe and enjoy my little one. 

If you have little ones in the home with you, what are you doing during this period of social distancing? Please share!

Much love,



Fun Facts From Valencia

I was talking to Ally about our travels and decided to share a few fun facts with you all. For those of you that do not know, Alyssa a.k.a “Ally” is my 20 year-old college junior that I have been exploring Spain with. People often refer to her as my mini me.

Ally’s top travel locations thus far:


Montego Bay, Jamaica

My favorite travel locations thus far:

Maui (I learned to surf 🙂 )

Mykonos Islands  


Ally’s travel “bucket list”:


Bora Bora


My travel “bucket list”:


South Africa


And the list goes on… 🙂

One of the highlights of our trip to Spain was definitely the Flamenco show. Ally said she also enjoyed just wandering around the cities taking in the people and the surroundings.

What I did differently on this trip. Stayed away from a rigid schedule. I used to be like an army general when traveling with my kids, trying to make sure they took in every site there was to take in. This made them grumpy and awful to travel with. When I realized

1. there is no way to take it all in if you are traveling for a week, and

2. My kids are head strong and our travel experiences would just get worse if I tried to hold on to this approach,

life became so much better.

If you ever travel to Spain Ally would recommend you bring your own food! 🙂 It was damn near impossible to get her to try things she was not familiar with. I finally gave up and took her to Five Guys!

Of course I created a video so that I could share some of our trip to Valencia with you. We had so much fun roaming around and spending quality time with our family in Valencia. Hope you enjoy!

What has been your most memorable travel destination so far? Where is your traveling spirit leading you to next time? If you have visited Spain, what did you think about the food? Let me know.

Much love,



Self Reflection in Spain

In addition to being fascinated by exploring new places, I enjoy travel because it gives me time for self-reflection. It is so easy when you are in the midst of your day to day routine to lose sight of the basic things that are necessary for a healthy existence. My self-reflection on this trip began in Barcelona but has kicked into high gear since being in Valencia. The sense of family and community and the stress free lifestyle that exists in Spain came at a time when I have begun to question so many things about my life back home. I believe being here at this moment was meant to reinforce some pretty big decisions I have made. Ironically, I planned this trip well before these decisions were made.

Before I share my big decisions, I will share one of my biggest aha moments since being in Spain. I share this because I hope wherever you are reading this, you will stop and take a moment to self-reflect about whether or not you are loving your body properly.


I am not being kind to my body. As an entrepreneur my health is the single most important thing to me. Without good health I cannot function which means I cannot generate income and we all know that some level of income is necessary for survival.

Around 2016 I realized I wasn’t very healthy and I needed to shed a few pounds. As a result, I switched to a plant based lifestyle and I began “jalking” on a daily basis. I felt wonderful! As time passed and I became busier with my practice, parenting, writing, blogging, etc. I carved out the extra time I felt I needed to get everything done by not exercising, consuming a lot of coffee, kind bars, pre-made meals, junk! I sacrificed sleep and moments of being present. Oftentimes, I felt like I was simply existing. My body was constantly letting me know that it was not very happy. Instead of taking time to recalibrate and reset, I found myself making deals with God. Just let me finish this task and I promise I will take better care of myself. Such a mindset can be extremely harmful, and, quite frankly, deadly.

Spain has been my opportunity to recalibrate and reset. Now, I am not sure why in the world I would come to Spain, a coffee lover’s heaven, and decide to give up coffee, but I did! I will admit my life without coffee has been like a bad breakup. I yearn for it daily and question my decision to completely walk away. But so far, so good! I am 4 days coffee clean! I guess the true test will come when I am reunited with my brand new coffee maker that is sitting in my kitchen just waiting for me to return. I will let you know how that goes! 🙂

Green Tea

In addition to giving up coffee, I have been consuming lots of water and walking every day. I have committed to consuming fresh fruits and vegetables in the place of pre-packaged plant based foods. And, I have been spending time practicing my breathing techniques and being present. So far, so good! My body seems to be pleased with me. My goal is to continue to show self-love when I return to the “rat race” called my life.


I guess in a sense before I headed to Spain I knew that something had to give in my life. But this trip helped to reinforce my decision. Sooooooooooo…After spending the past twenty years in Bertie Co. I have decided to close my law office and relocate to Chapel Hill, North Carolina! Am I scared? HELL YEAH! But, the thought of having an opportunity to begin a new journey and live in my purpose is SO EXCITING to me!

Of course I will be bringing you on this journey with me! In the meantime, tell me, are you walking in your purpose and living your best life? What leaps of faith have you taken in your life? Do you have any regrets? Please share!

Much Love,



Mommy Daughter Travel Adventures in Barcelona, Spain

Hi guys! Ally and I are really enjoying our adventures in Spain! Tomorrow we are hopping on the train and headed to the city of Valencia for a couple of days to hang out with our family. But, before we leave Barcelona, I wanted to share some of the highlights from our stay here.

When we arrived at our Airbnb on Sunday in the El Poble-Sec neighborhood, we were greeted by a community of people hanging out in the square in a festive mood. There was plenty of dancing, eating, drinking, laughing, and socializing. After a brief power nap, I left Ally and went down to join the festivities. Although I did not understand a word of what was being said, the atmosphere was so warm and inviting, the language barrier did not matter. I found myself swaying and dancing to the music with everyone else.

Blai Street was our go to spot for dining when we first arrived. On Blai Street, we were introduced to pinchos, which I initially mistook for tapas. Pinchos are individual portions of different types of food. Pinchos are arranged in the restaurant’s buffet style so that you have the freedom to try anything you want.

Day 2 was a day full of adventure! We got to explore and see so much! But, instead of writing all of the details about Day 2, why don’t I just share a short video I created from our 2 days here in Barcelona. I really hope you enjoy it!

Would you visit Barcelona?

Much Love,



About Last Night!

There was a time where I could party all night, work a full 8 hour shift, and still be running around like the energizer bunny. That time has passed! 🙂 Wednesday, after I asked myself what in the world possessed me to think it was a good idea to commit to going to an event in Raleigh, North Carolina, two hours away from my home, in the middle of the week, I decided to follow through. So I got all “gussied up” and headed to our Governor’s Mansion for a “Music at the Mansion” event featuring The Hamiltones. Boy am I glad I went! If you have an appreciation for good ole’ music that talks about life and love then you have to check this group out!

I got so excited at one point during the performance that I forgot I was singing while I was recording. 🙂 Let’s just say, The Hamiltones will not be adding me to the group anytime soon!

yes, that is me you hear singing loud 🙂

Right now my love is equally divided between Hwy 74 and Best Friend. I’ve been playing both songs all day!

The moral to the story: Dance and Sing like no one is watching! You only live once!

Much Love,




Hi everyone! It has been such a busy time for me. I am really excited about everything going on in my life right now. Today I want to share two exciting things with you.

FIRST THING: I have launched a podcast! Vibin’ With Tonza is a podcast about LIFE, LOVE & EMPOWERMENT! I am greatly enjoying the opportunity to sit down and vibe with some really cool people. If you have enjoyed reading my blog, you should definitely take a moment to tune in and subscribe to Vibin’ With Tonza. You will not be disappointed!

SECOND THING: I am super excited to announce that I am putting the finishing touches on my latest book, Vibin’ With Tonza. Yessss, the title is the same as my podcast title. 🙂 I will announce the release date in the near future. In the meantime, here is an excerpt from the book. Hope you enjoy!

I lived in Fear.

Fear is a powerful force. Fear coupled with a society that, consciously or unconsciously, imposes its standards on you, without regard for your individuality, can be debilitating to the psyche. 

For so many years I suppressed my dreams and desires because I feared rejection and failure. This fear made me work hard to live the way I thought the world wanted me to live. I excelled academically, I worked hard, I tried to make everyone around me comfortable. Periodically I would rebel against societal standards by “acting out”. While these acts of rebellion gave me temporary relief from the sense of suffocation I felt, they also gave me a false sense that I was living my life fearlessly. The reality was I was moving further and further away from figuring out who I was and what made me happy. I was being self-destructive. 

Unfortunately, I am not alone. There are so many women and girls that need a safe space to just be able to figure themselves out. I often wonder what my life would look like today if I had been given that safe space. As a result of my thoughts and experiences, I want to ensure that I am doing my part to create a safe space for women and girls to figure it out. I also want to encourage others to create safe spaces. The harmful effects of our failure to do so is apparent. Why do women feel like they must be silent about abuse? Why do women feel like female friendships are too complicated? Why do women feel alone? Why do women feel they have to work so hard to prove their value? Why are women so unsure of themselves?

I hope my book Vibin’ With Tonza is a step in the right direction. If I am able to convince one woman to be okay with her feelings of vulnerability, I consider that a success. If I am able to convince one woman to choose kindness in a world where cruelty comes so easy, I consider that a success. If I am able to convince one woman that her feelings of insecurity are normal, and, the failure to acknowledge insecurity is where the harm comes in at, I consider that a success. If I am able to show one woman that she is not alone in her quest for a safe space, I consider that a success. 

Stay tuned for more…

I am super thankful to all of you! Your consistent and continued support mean so much to me.

Much Love,


Vibin’ with Tonza can be found on ITunes Podcast, Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcast. You can also click on the links in this post and you will be redirected to the podcast website.


Tonza D. Ruffin, My Story, Not My Bio

Tonza's daughters
My girls

I am a woman, single mother, and daughter living in North Carolina.

Since 1999 I have dedicated myself to advocating for the voiceless as a criminal defense attorney. In 2016 as a result of a series of unfortunate events I decided to pursue my passion for writing and advocating for women by being transparent about my journey here on this earth.

Growing up, I moved back and forth between New York and North Carolina. Hence, my personality is a little bit city and a little bit country (although I prefer the term southern).

For so many years, I suppressed my dreams and desires.

I feared rejection and failure. This fear made me work hard to live the way I thought the world wanted me to live. I excelled academically, I worked hard, I tried to make everyone around me comfortable. Periodically I would rebel against societal standards by acting out. While these acts of rebellion gave me temporary relief from the sense of suffocation I felt, they also gave me a false sense that I was living my life fearlessly. The reality was I was moving further and further away from figuring out who I was and what made me happy. I was being self-destructive. 

home Tonza grew up in in New York
My childhood home on Bell Avenue

As a little girl, I was raised in a home where it appeared that my parents were living the “American Dream”.

Actually, they were living the “American Dream”. My father had his own auto mechanic’s shop in Mt. Vernon, NY, and my mother was a registered nurse. Through hard work, my mother would say on her part, my parents were able to buy a beautiful English Tudor home on Bell Avenue when they were in their 20’s. Wanting nothing but the best for their little girl, they enrolled me in a private Montessori school and kept me active in extracurricular activities. In fact, I loved gymnastics so much I remember believing that I was going to be the next Nadia Comaneci. The name Nadia Comaneci should give you some insight into how old I am! 🙂

Tonza with her parents
My Mom, Me, and My Dad

Despite this “wonderful” life, I remember feeling a sense of loneliness as a child.

There was no doubt that I was being provided for. I was acutely aware of our “material blessings”, but loneliness came because of what the world did not see, what was going on Behind Closed Doors. My father was an incredibly abusive man who managed to mask his rage so only those closest to us knew the hell that existed behind the doors of our beautiful home. From the time that I can remember being aware of my surroundings until the age of 10 when my mother hit her breaking point and escaped, I was thoroughly convinced that my father was going to murder my mother. This fear overrode any happiness that my parents were attempting to provide through education, gymnastics, and a beautiful home.

My law school graduation photo

Once my mother made the leap and escaped from my father’s wrath, we attempted to build some semblance of normalcy, whatever that is.

Although I was academically gifted, I was not a studious, docile teenager. In short, I drove my mother crazy! I gave birth to my first daughter at the age of 19, after completing two years of college. When I finished college, I got married and ran off to Atlanta in an attempt to find the “American Dream”. That marriage was so short-lived that I rarely talk about it. I gave birth to my second daughter at the age of 28, after completing law school. I gave birth to my third daughter at the age of 37 because I believed I had grown and was ready to parent the “proper” way. It wasn’t until my second marriage failed that I actually stopped to catch my breath and try to figure out why my life was such a “mess” and looked nothing like the life I dreamed of. Once I really took a step back I realized;

  1. I had no clue who I was as a person
  2. Because I had no clue who I was, I was trying to fit into a mold that the world around me had created for me
  3. I was utterly and completely uncomfortable and unhappy in the mold that the world created for me, but I did not know any other way to be because I had no clue who I was. 

I wish I could tell you that these epiphanies came about all because of my dedication to self-love. The reality is my location (rural North Carolina), and several hiccups after my second divorce forced me to sit down, soul search, and figure it out. I knew in my spirit the path I was on would lead me to an empty existence. Still, I had never taken the time I needed to take to figure out who I was and what would make me happy during this time that I am given here on this earth.

This is the longest period of time that I have been single in my adult life, and sure there are days where I yearn for companionship, but I must say this has been the most rewarding time of my life. All of the energy I have used in my past relationships has been redirected and reinvested into me. I must say I think I have made a pretty good investment.

If you come across me now, you might be taken aback by the person that I am. I laugh loud, I work hard, I play hard, I am adventurous, I am curious, I am driven, I have moments of deep insecurity, I am loving, I am vulnerable, I am explosive (not one of my finer qualities), I dance around my house alone, I am an awful perfectionist which makes my insecurity worse, I sing out loud in my car without any concern for whose watching, I have trust issues, I do not live through my children, I no longer try to force my children into the mold that I created so that I could feel validated as a mother, I am a risk taker, I am guarded in my personal life, I am kind, I am grateful.

I am perfectly imperfect and so excited about the rest of my life!

Much love,


***This post was updated on March 24, 2020.

book by Tonza

Your Heart Wants You To Floss And Brush

If fresh breath is not enough incentive for you to want to brush and floss, I am here to offer another incentive. Studies have shown that people with gum disease have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious heart issues. This has led scientists to conclude that gum disease and heart disease may be linked. I don’t know about you, but as a fifty-one-year-old woman with an enlarged aorta, I am all for doing anything that may protect my quality of life.

Scientists are still working to understand this potential link, but here are two possible explanations that caught my attention.

  • The bad mouth bacteria that cause gingivitis and periodontitis travel to your body’s blood vessels and cause them to become damaged and inflamed.
  • The inflammation (a natural immune response) may be wreaking havoc on the body.
woman flossing

As I said, scientists are still working to understand. But there is nothing that prevents us from being proactive when it comes to caring for our bodies. So, in addition to all the other things you should be doing to protect your heart, why not add two more things to the list?

  • flossing and brushing at least twice a day
  • trips to the dentist twice a year

 After all, even if you are not concerned about heart disease, bad breath should definitely be high on your list of concerns. 


From Prison To Luxury Brand CEO

I oftentimes find inspiration where I least expect it.


Lately, I have been uninspired. As a creative with career and mommy duties, it is easy to fall into this rut. Sometimes instead of pushing through, I decide to pause and tune in to the world around me. I was in my car for a couple of hours, so I scrolled through my podcast library and landed on Earn Your Leisure Episode #198, Former Inmate Turned Luxury Brand Ceo. My curiosity overpowered my skepticism, so I decided to forego another episode of On Purpose With Jay Shetty and tune in to hear what Darrell Alston, the founder of Bungee Oblečení, had to say. I am now a full-fledged fan and will be purchasing a sweatshirt before my spending freeze begins. 

What inspired me the most was Mr. Alston’s grit, determination, and transparency. Mr. Alston put the “H” in hustle (i.e., grit and determination) because he believed in his brand. Along with that hustle, Mr. Alston was humble enough to know that he had a lot to learn. In order to gain the knowledge he needed, he observed others around him, asked a lot of questions, and used the tools he had available to him to do research. I firmly believe that his humble hustle caused, and is causing, doors with plenty of opportunities to be open for him.

Tune in and be sure to let me know what you think.

How Caregivers Impact Attachment Styles

Last week I shared the four attachment styles. In that post, I promised to share more about how a person’s attachment style develops. So, here we go.

dad and baby


Secure attachment is the gold standard attachment style. As mentioned last week, a securely attached person can

  • trust and be trusted,
  • love and accept love, and
  • get close to others with relative ease.

According to some experts, there are five necessary conditions for raising a child with secure attachment. These conditions are

  1. The child feels safe
  2. The child feels seen and known
  3. The child feels comfort, soothing, and reassurance
  4. The child feels valued
  5. The child feels supported to explore

mom and baby


Caregivers who “flip flop” create people with an avoidant attachment style. Specifically, a caregiver who “flip flops” may be nurturing one minute and unavailable or insensitive the next. To be clear, this does not mean that the caregiver’s inconsistency is intentional. Nevertheless, such inconsistency has been shown to lead to an avoidant attachment style.

dad and baby


Caregivers who “flip flop” also create people with an anxious attachment style. Again, a “flip-flopper” may be nurturing one minute and unavailable or insensitive the next.

unhappy mom and baby


This attachment style is often seen in children that have experienced trauma or abuse. Specifically, fearful avoidant attachment styles develop when a caregiver acts aggressively, chaotically, or bizarrely. It is important to note that this attachment style is seen in about 7% of the population. This is significant in my mind because it supports the idea that certain circumstances do not always create a specific attachment style. It also supports the idea that adult relationships can impact and influence attachment styles.

My key takeaways from all that I have read about attachment styles:

  • The first 18 months of a baby’s life are crucial in the development of attachment styles.
  • The more positive the caregiver is in responding to an infant’s emotional stress, the more secure the child feels.
  • If you cannot be at home full time, selecting a responsive caregiver is crucial.
  • If you are intentional and willing to work at it, you can change an insecure attachment style to a secure attachment style.
  • Our relationships with others can damage a secure attachment style.

Wondering what attachment style you have? Click here to take a short quiz. If you are anything like me, you want a second opinion. Click here if you want a second opinion.

Much Love,


What Is Your Attachment Style

A person’s specific way of relating to others in relationships.

Definition of Attachment Style

Before you start reading, if you are a parent, please know this post will make you reflect and possibly travel down a rabbit hole full of guilty feelings. Stop yourself.

There are numerous studies out there that focus on an individual’s attachment style. And, just as you guessed, how a child is reared plays a significant role in their attachment style. But, here is some good news for parents. The buck does not necessarily stop with parents. It seems that other people can significantly impact a person’s attachment style. The great news! Unhealthy attachment styles do not have to be permanent.

Now that I have shared this disclaimer here are the four attachment styles:

secure relationship


This is the gold standard of attachment styles; believe it or not, research has shown that 56% of adults have a secure attachment style.

In a nutshell, a securely attached person can

  • trust and be trusted,
  • love and accept love, and
  • get close to others with relative ease.
unhealthy relationships


Research has shown that 25% of adults are avoidant attachers.

If you are an avoidant attacher, you

  • struggle with getting close to others in relationships
  • are emotionally unavailable in relationships
  • prefer independence
unhappy relationship


Research has shown that 19% of adults are anxious attachers.

If you are an anxious attacher, you

  • tend to be very insecure about your relationships
  • tend to always be hungry for validation
unhealthy relationship

Fearful Avoidant

Fearful avoidant attachers are also known as disorganized attachers.

If you are a fearful avoidant attacher, you

  • desperately crave affection AND want to avoid it at all costs.
  • have a strong need to feel loved by others BUT are reluctant to develop a close romantic relationship.

Wondering what attachment style you have? I figured you would be. No worries. Click here to take a short quiz.

If you are anything like me, you want a second opinion. Click here if you want a second opinion.

Next week, I will share the parenting styles that lead to each attachment style. Stay tuned!

Much Love,


P.S. In case you missed last weeks post, will you be joining me in the Spending Freeze Challenge?

Spending Freeze Challenge

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have an unlimited supply of cash. Or, as my grandmother used to say, there are no money trees in my yard. Despite the lack of money trees, I love having financial freedom, which means I must “watch my coins”. I can think of no better way to “watch my coins” than implementing a spending freeze. Last night I invited one of my daughters and her friend to participate with me. This morning I woke up and decided I wanted to invite you all to participate! If you are down for a great challenge, join us.

Here are the guidelines (I don’t like the word rules):

Write down your own definition of financial freedom.

My definition of financial freedom is having the ability to control how present I am in my everyday life. My quest for presence is vital because I believe presence is the key to living versus existing.

During the spending freeze, you can only spend money on necessities.

Over the next couple of weeks, write a list of what you consider to be necessities. I am working on my list, which does not include Door Dash, much to my dismay.

We have committed to a 3-month spending freeze (September, October, and November).

I would love for you to join me on this 3-month journey, but it’s okay if that is unrealistic for you. Decide what works best for you and write it down.

Find someone to participate with you.

Your chances of success significantly increase when you have an accountability partner. No worries, I am here if you can’t think of anyone. Email me at tdr@tonzadruffin.com to let me know, and I will create a community of support.

Spend time increasing your financial literacy

Financial literacy is an essential component of financial freedom. Make sure you spend time each week learning something new about money. Here are 2 resources I really enjoy.

Robinhood Snacks is a newsletter that is delivered to your email every morning. It gives you a lot of great financial tidbits and ideas for investments.

Earn Your Leisure podcast and youtube channel. Earn Your Leisure is great for me because it helped me realize how illiterate I was when it came to maximizing my earning potential. But, it also made me feel that literacy was attainable with a bit of research and discipline.

I will be sure to share more throughout our journey but remember, we are all in this together! That means I want you all to share your strategies and tidbits too.

Ooooohhhhhh! I am so excited! Don’t forget to email me at tdr@tonzadruffin.com if you want to create a community of support.

Much Love,


Leave The World With Few Regrets

We are all going to die. Sorry to be so blunt. While we all know that human existence is not permanent, the demands of our lives and fear often require us to turn a blind eye to the inevitable truth. Living without intention and turning that blind eye to the reality of our eventual non-existence has often led to people having many regrets. My unwillingness or inability to consider the inevitable hit me like a ton of bricks when I read the top five regrets of the dying, according to Bronnie Ware. Bronnie Ware, an Australian nurse, decided to create this list after years of conversations with her dying patients.

What initially began as a simple blog post by Bronnie Ware eventually became a book, The Top Five Regrets of the Dying: A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departed. While I have yet to read the book, I did happen to find the list, so I wanted to share it with you. I hope it will make you reflect as it did me.


  • I wish that I had let myself be happier
  • I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends
  • I wish I had the courage to express my feelings
  • I wish I hadn’t worked so hard

And, the most common regret was

  • I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

I hope that you will do something to make yourself happy today!

Much Love,


Watch That MindFu#%er

Someone that intentionally destabilizes, confuses, or manipulates the mind of another person.

Definition of Mindfu#%er

I hate to admit it, but it gives me great relief to know that I am not the only woman in the world that has experienced being mindfu#%ed. Of course, I do not want other women to experience the mental and emotional destabilization I experienced. It is just something about knowing you are not alone that allows you to breathe a sigh of relief and know that you are not as crazy as the mindfu#%er tried to make you believe you were.

After much hesitation(I am still embarrassed to admit I was mindfu#%ed), I decided to write this piece. I hope this will reach that woman who falsely believes she is the only woman in the world stupid enough to fall for a mindfu#%er. Please know that:

  • You are not alone, and
  • you are not stupid

This most recent experience has made me more of a realist. I do not think mindfu#%ing will ever become a thing of the past. Despite that harsh reality, I do believe that we have the ability to shorten the period of time that we are subjected to being mindfu#%ed. In an effort to help myself and other single women who refuse to let a mindfu#%er block their ability to experience authentic love and respect, I have come up with a list. While most people focus on the mindfu#%er when creating lists, I rather focus my energy on a list centered around the person being mindfu#%ed.

Here are 4 feelings to watch out for:

Feeling confused

I spent an unusual amount of time feeling confused. I would venture to say my mindfu#%er enjoyed me being in this state. In fact, there were times he would say that I was such an intelligent, articulate person when I dealt with others, but when it came to him, I allowed my emotion to get the best of me and destroy my ability to reason. This led me to work harder to be clear when talking to him. At some point, I realized the issue was not my ability to articulate clearly. It was his unwillingness to hear what I had to say. Having to do some of the things I wanted and desired would require more energy than he wished to give. Instead of ending things, he simply mindfu#%ed me into accepting his minimal to no effort when it came to me.

Feeling exhausted

The constant state of confusion left me exhausted. I found myself feeling very lethargic and tired a lot. When I wasn’t focused on trying to get him to give me some of what I needed, I was focused on conserving what little energy I had to take care of life’s necessities. I had lost my joy.

Feeling insecure

One time I shared an idea with this mindfu#%er only to have him tell me that I was definitely going to fail and when I did, he would be there. Well, most people that dare to put so much doubt in your head will at least say they will be there to pick up the pieces. Not this mindfu#%er. He made it clear that not only was I going to fail, but he would be there to say, “I told you so.”

All of this negative reinforcement can be a spirit killer for anyone. It left me feeling very insecure and doubtful about my ability to carry out my dreams.

Feeling angry

My anger was through the roof. I cannot tell you the number of times I threw tantrums and cursed him out, trying to prove I was not letting him mindfu#% me. What a waste of time and energy. I was compromising my well-being and still being mindfu#%ed.

If you are being mindfu#%ed

  • know that you are not alone
  • be patient with yourself
  • do not isolate yourself
  • seek counseling

Much Love,


Pinky Cole Put The “Slut” In Vegan

Every time I go to Atlanta, I try to have the Slutty Vegan experience. Unfortunately, the line is always so long that you have to wait hours to get in, which means I am sad to say, I have not had the Slutty Vegan experience yet. But if you know me, you know once I am determined to do something, it shall be done. Not to mention Slutty Vegan is growing by leaps and bounds, with at least 20 locations opening in the near future. So, thanks to Pinky Cole and her business prowess, my chances of finally having the “One Night Stand” burger experience have increased exponentially.

Several weeks ago, the Slutty Vegan made headlines when it was valued at $100 million. I remember seeing that headline and thinking this sister is creating a new fast-food empire that will be around for many years to come. That’s right, Pinky Cole, the founder, and owner of the Slutty Vegan empire, is a black woman.

Reading about this exceptional growth and hearing so many people rave about the Slutty Vegan burgers made me super excited to tune in to the Earn Your Leisure podcast episode with Pinky Cole. Of course, when I am excited about something, I always have to share it with you all. I even went a step further this time. I decided to share the YouTube version of the conversation with you all. Now you can kick back and enjoy this inspirational and informative conversation from the comfort of your home. Trust me; you will not be disappointed.

There are so many takeaways from this podcast episode. That is why I highly recommend you check it out for yourself. But, if you can’t, here are just a few that I think are worth sharing:

  • Failure is inevitable.
  • The ability to get back up after a failure is one of the major keys to success.
  • You do not have to have it all figured out before beginning your journey.
  • Surround yourself with the right people.
  • Multiple streams of income is one of the keys to financial freedom.
  • and, as Pinky Cole said, “THOSE WHO TAKE CHANCES, MAKE ADVANCES!”

Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments once you have checked it out.

Much Love,


Summer, Summer, Summer Time

I don’t know about you guys, but I am that mom that is super excited about the last day of school every year! This year marked the end of my youngest daughter’s middle school career. I can’t believe she is headed to high school next year. Isn’t she adorbs?

My 8th grader
My 8th grader

For those of you that don’t know, Gabby is not a dress girl, so when I tell you all of our family and friends were blown away when they saw her, that is no exaggeration.

Summer vacay means more free time for me. I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love free time!

I had big plans to return to my life of travel this summer. A possible recession, ridiculous price tags on travel packages, and AAU basketball games have caused me to pump my breaks on those big plans.

But who says I still can’t have a wonderful summer. After all, life is what you make it, right? So, I have decided that my summer will include finally redecorating my cute little apartment, spending lazy days by the pool, reading books, and being open to new experiences. Oh, and how can I forget taking on my new role as Gabby’s personal basketball coach.

I am definitely going to share pics of my apartment transition. I ordered a record player, ya’ll! Now I just have to find a Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. album, and life will be divine.

Despite the fact that Cyprus is no longer on the itinerary, I am looking forward to a great summer! I have already started my coaching position. I think it is going great! What do you think?

Much Love,


P.S. Be sure to follow me on Insta @tonzadruffin to enjoy summer vacation with me!

books by Tonza Ruffin

Mother Hunger

I am the mother of 3 daughters.

I was 19 years old when I had my first daughter, 28 years old when I had my second daughter, and 38 years old when I had my third daughter. To say that my parenting style varied from child to child is an understatement. With my first child, I spent no time thinking about how my emotional and mental well-being played a significant role in how I parented. Remember, I was 19 years old when she was born. And while I was a rather responsible 19-year-old, I was still in the developmental stages myself. I focused on establishing a career and providing opportunities for my daughter to blossom through exposure. I took it for granted that she understood my deep love for her.

Maturity, life experiences, and my natural curiosity led to an evolution that began when my middle daughter was between middle and high school.

I realized that in addition to basic provisions and opportunities, I had to spend some time focusing on my emotional and mental well-being if I truly wanted to succeed at parenting. Of course, this epiphany did not lead to an overnight transformation. What I can say is I know that my willingness to acknowledge that my emotional and mental well-being mattered greatly led to what I believe was a much better space for my girls to receive what they needed from me as a mother. Keyword, BETTER! Not perfect, but BETTER! And we are okay with that.

Tonza and her oldest daughter
Me and My Oldest Daughter

I think the Red Table Talk episode, How Destructive Mothers Damage Their Daughters: Could This Be You? is a must-see for all women navigating the world of being a mommy to daughters!

It might be good to watch it on your own so that you can take it in without feeling judged. I was able to freely go through a wide range of emotions as I watched and thought about my experiences as both a mother and a daughter. Once you have had an opportunity to take it in, share it with your daughters if they are older. My 13-year-old would think I am having a mental breakdown if I made her watch this.

Tonza and 2 of her daughters
Me and my middle and youngest daughter

Here were my takeaways:

  • There are three key things that girls need from their mothers.
    • nurturing
    • protection
    • guidance
  • When I was raising my first daughter, I was not ready to defrost the grief that came from me growing up in an extremely abusive home (my mother being abused at the hands of my father). That impacted my parenting.
  • Although my parents provided for me, I did not feel nurtured or protected when I was a little girl. My mother was not nurtured as a little girl. My grandmother was not nurtured as a little girl.
  • A daughter’s need for her mother does not magically end when she reaches adulthood. Daughters always need their mothers.
  • Damage can be undone!
  • I need to get a copy of Mother Hunger: How Adult Daughters Can Understand and Heal From Lost Nurturance, Protection, and Guidance.

Healing and growth are ongoing processes. We should always be open to it!

Much Love,


Vibin' With Tonza Book