What I learned the first week of motherhood.

After nine very long months, I gave birth to my first child Xavier Stephen Morris on Sunday, September 8, 2019, at 7:33 p.m.

The first photo of the three of us taken by Carling Zhou in the hospital!

The first week of motherhood has been raw and it’s been incredible all at the same time. It’s been the hardest thing I’ve ever done yet the best thing Carl (my husband) and I have ever experienced/ could not be happier! Since then, we’ve had ups and downs, we’ve laughed and we’ve cried and I am so in love with my son. After taking time to reflect, I wanted to share what the first week of motherhood was like for me as it has not been all butterflies and rainbows!

The hardest part for me was dealing with the crazy, hormonal emotions that come postpartum. The first day we came home, I was breastfeeding and just crying. Then bottle feeding to supplement because X was borderline jaundice. Don’t worry–he’s ok now! But I 100% felt the “mom guilt” everyone has told me about and that I finally understand. It’s crazy how much you hear about “mom guilt” and you don’t understand it at all until it becomes you. I’ve learned to reassure myself that my body IS doing enough and I shouldn’t feel ANY guilt, this is normal and I am doing a great job!

Having friends who are mothers has helped me immensely. I am so thankful for my friends who have been through those first, tough few weeks and can reassure me that everything will be ok. I have asked them for tips and advice non-stop, I’ve even facetimed them just to cry. Being able to lean on my friends during this time has been much needed and appreciated. Even the friends and family who have been dropping off food and offering to help with anything we need. I truly never realized what a friend might need when having a baby until I had my own.

Since those first few days, each night is getting easier as Carl and I figure out our schedule and baby X’s, what works and what doesn’t. It’s very much trial and error with a lot of patience! Carl and I have been taking turns on night shifts with Xavier and it’s been helping us stay sane during the process. We both can’t be zombies! haha

Xavier and I on day 7 postpartum!

Xavier’s first doctor’s appointment could not have been funnier. Carl and I were exhausted and X peed ALL over me, the table and his clothes AND we forgot wipes! We couldn’t help but laugh so hard, and made sure to pack them for his next appointment!

Carl, Xavier and I at his first doctor’s appointment after he peed everywhere!

I wanted to share all of this with you as I think a lot of social media is only life’s highlights–the happy moments and rarely the tears and emotions behind the first couple of days, weeks and months of being a first-time mother. The emotions are real, they are normal and it’s ok to let them out and know you are not alone. I hope me being open helps at least one of you because my social media and my life aren’t made to look perfect, it’s not perfect and it’s real life and I want to share it all with you. Opening up and sharing my thoughts and feelings with my husband, family and friends have helped me so much. Whatever you may be going through, talk about it! It’s important to let out your feelings and emotions during this huge change in life and be ok with it.

Did you have a similar experience with your first time being a mother? I would love to know in the comments below!

Xx, Tonya Michelle

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How to choose the right venue for your dream wedding.

I am finally a Mrs.!

Two weekends ago was the most incredible of my life, and I owe it all to my amazing friends and family, the vendors and of course Breaux Vineyards who helped make my vision for a dream wedding a reality!

Picking a venue is probably the most important part of wedding planning.

The moment Carl and I stepped onto Breaux Vineyard’s amazing winery, we knew this is where we wanted to get married. The scenery was incredible, from the rolling hills to the vines in perfect rows it just seemed perfect for the vision I had created in my head!

Another reason Carl and I chose Breaux Vineyards was because of how at home and comfortable we felt with the staff, namely Jessie and Whitney. The two of them made us feel so welcome and were so excited that we were even considering having our wedding there. Feeling comfortable and attended to is so important in choosing a venue. Other venues Carl and I considered were not nearly as welcoming, often making us feel that we were just another wedding. Customer service is huge, and Whitney and Jessie were always around making sure everything was running smoothly. They took so much time to accommodate us and went above and beyond for us and we could not be more grateful.

Location is also one of the most important in selecting a venue that is right for you.  Carl and I opted for a more intimate wedding and the space could not have been more perfect for what we envisioned.

Unfortunately, the rain did not hold off for our special day, but the staff at Breaux quickly turned the reception area into a place where we could host the entire wedding and it was still perfect!

Breaux Vineyards has a bridal suite and groomsman’s suite, and an incredible reception area that can accommodate most wedding sizes!

Food is also one of the most important parts of choosing a venue! Carl and I are huge foodies and wanted to make sure we loved everything we served our guests. Breaux Vineyards was one of the few locations that allow you to bring your own caterer, which was great! Not to mention, the wine we chose to pair with the food was incredible! Even the least expensive bottle was still so amazing.

Thanks to Breaux Vineyards, our dream wedding was even more amazing than I had envisioned it would be!

What were the reasons you chose your wedding venue?

xx, Tonya Michelle

 

Credits from above:

Venue: Breaux Vineyards

Photography: Carling Zhou

Second Shooter: Brooke Silverman

Floral: Vintage Floral Design

 

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How to feel confident wearing sleeveless styles!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Dove. The opinions and text are all mine.

Now that summer is coming to an end, I’m in the process of transitioning my wardrobe to fall! Fall fashion is my favorite and one thing I love about it is how I can bring some of my favorite sleeveless styles into the fall with layering. Thanks to Dove, I feel confident wearing my favorite sleeveless styles.

When I was a teenager, my Mom first introduced me to Dove deodorant and I never looked back.

Dove is a product I’ve used my entire life, even before I was a blogger and did any collaborations! It provides 48-hours of odor and wetness protection, plus added skin care benefits for softer, smoother underarms which I can absolutely attest to! I always get so many compliments not only on the outfit I love, but on my underarms! I don’t have dark underarms and they’re always so smooth thanks to Dove Advanced Care

My favorite sleeveless style to wear is a halter or strapless dress or jumpsuit. They have been my go-to summer styles and with the right color combinations, can easily be worn during the early fall months as well.

Another favorite of mine are athleisure tank tops. I wear workout tanks on a regular basis around the house, running errands or working out. I always feel so confident knowing that when I’m running around getting things down, I won’t have embarrassing pit stains thanks to the 48-hour antiperspirant!

When I’m on the go, I like to use the Dove Dry Spray. It provides 48-hours of odor and wetness protection with all the care of Dove, while going on instantly dry, so I can apply on the go without waiting for it to dry so I can throw on a top and go!

Thanks Dove, for always being there for my underarms and keeping me confident in the styles that I love!

Follow along with Dove to learn more about their new products and how they can benefit your hygiene as much as they’ve benefitted mine!

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xx, Tonya Michelle

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How I took a leap of faith and tips on how to stay motivated while chasing your dreams.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olay. The opinions and text are all mine.

When the odds are stacked against you, it can be hard to persevere. I partnered with Olay to share how I break boundaries and rise above to live fearlessly.

I’m motivated by not only the stories around me personally but hearing how strangers are also doing the same! Did you know that only 6% of pilots are female? Tristan shaeres her story in this video along with other amazing women.

To view click HERE.

 I am proud to stand with her and all of the other fearless pilots and females throughout the world! I also would love to share a little of my journey as well:

In June of 2017, I took a huge leap of faith and quit my corporate job to follow my dreams. I loved blogging and working with different fashion and beauty brands so much that I wanted to do it full-time. So far, my business has been booming and I have not regretted my decision to be a full-time influencer ever since! BUT it’s very important to know that my leap of faith to follow my dreams was intimidating and also scary in a sense. I pushed through even when I had some friends doubt me and what I was trying to achieve.

Once you’ve stopped listening to the naysayers around you and maybe in your own head you will be able to overcome the odds. It can also be difficult to stay motivated and keep pushing through. Some tips I’ve used that have helped me to stay motivated are below!

Don’t compare yourself to others.

Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 10. Everyone works at a different pace. Don’t get down on yourself just because you think you’re “behind” in accomplishing your goals!

Chase your dream for yourself.

Never let anyone make you feel as though your dream is unreachable or silly. I believe that we have to be our biggest supporters. You must believe in yourself and what you’re trying to achieve. It’s so important to have tunnel vision when chasing your dreams.

Set goals for yourself.

Goal setting has always worked so well for me. Whether it’s creating a to-do list for the day, making a list of what I need to accomplish in one month, three months, six months or one year, I’ve always found that writing things down keeps me motivated. I then recreate my goals onto a vision board to help me visualize what I want to accomplish. If you can believe it, you can achieve it.

Morning motivation: eat breakfast!

There’s a reason why breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Giving your body the fuel it needs to work is imperative to being successful. Additionally, I like to listen to an inspiring podcast in the morning to help me start my day. I highly recommend Gary Vee!

Take time to unplug.

Giving your body a rest is necessary. Don’t overwork yourself. When you feel yourself lacking creativity or getting frustrated with something that you’re working on, take time to unplug and let your brain rest. For me, I usually will go workout, watch Netflix or read a book to help me get my mind off of what I’m working on and come back to it later with a recharged mind!

How do you rise up and overcome when the odds are stacked against you?

Go ahead, take that leap and don’t stop until you achieve it!

xx, Tonya Michelle

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How I overcame bias in the workplace

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Olay. The opinions and text are all mine.

I’ve partnered with Olay today to share how to overcome bias in the workplace. Olay is a brand that celebrates women and female pilots who break boundaries to rise above and live fearlessly. I’m thankful to share my story with you!

As a young business woman, I’ve always had to deal with bias in a workplace environment. Bias is everywhere, but most often affects women and younger employees. I was both of those things. I’ve gotten, “aren’t you a little too young for this?” more times than I can count.

I remember when I got my first promotion at my first job when I was in high school. I was the youngest employee promoted to customer service. The rest of my co-workers in customer service were in their mid-40’s to 50’s, and everyone seemed to question why I was promoted “so young.”

I would often experience helping a customer, provide them with all of the correct answers to their questions, and then watch them walk away and ask an older employee the same questions, just to make sure I had given them the correct information.

Later in life, before I became a full-time blogger, I worked in the real estate industry. Luckily, I had a boss that truly believed in me and my abilities and always stood up for me. She was my biggest advocate, and always reminded clients that they didn’t have to go to her for answers when “Tonya can answer all of your questions for you.” I really appreciate that. I believe that teamwork in a work environment is very important and I was lucky to have it for my last job, my others I wasn’t so lucky.

The biggest takeaway from my experience as a young woman in the workforce is that you can’t take things too personally. Naturally, people want their answers validated and will gravitate toward what they believe is an authority figure to get those answers validated. I always tried to be the best employee I possibly could, and when I didn’t know the answer to a question, I found out that answer for the customer.

Age is just a number. Just because you may be older or younger than someone, does not make you smarter or more equipped to do the job than they can. Focus on your strengths and build off of them. Everyone has different skill sets. Use them to your advantage!

Never let someone’s attitude affect yours, I could have easily been defeated in any of the situations where this happened over and over to me. BUT I didn’t – I stayed professional and proved myself, which I will always do. I know sometimes it’s easier said than done but in the end, not letting someone affect you, will make you stronger.

Have you had a similar experience? Share below! I would love to hear how you overcame it as well. We are learning more and more to stand up and speak for ourselves – I could not be more proud.

xx, Tonya Michelle

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