Dancing More Passion into our Marriage

Learning to dance has always been something my husband and I wanted to do, but we just never got around to it. It’s hard enough squeezing in a date night every now and then, so learning to dance was a bit low on our couples to-do list.

We’ve been to the club plenty of times throughout our 10 year relationship. We’ve bumped and grinded, and almost made another baby out on the dance floor, but we never learned formally.

I am Puerto Rican and my husband is Dominican. My mother taught me Salsa growing up, which I’ve since forgotten, and Jonathan learned Bachata. It’s a right of passage growing up in a Latin family to dance with your Titi’s and Tio’s at a party. But the dancing we were taught was just basic, enough to get you through a dance or two at a family get-together.

So once we moved to Arizona, we were on a quest to find a club that played Salsa and Bachata music. As luck would have it, my husband found a place that not only plays Latin music but also offers group lessons in both Salsa and Bachata. So we took our first class, and we loved it. Obviously, Salsa is more complicated than Bachata, and the lessons we’ve been taking have been mostly Bachata. But it’s been wonderful learning so far.

I credit our great communication to learning so quickly. The other night, the hubbs put on a Bachata dance tutorial video for us to follow at home. He can be a bit overzealous, but I love his enthusiasm nonetheless. I kept messing up and Jon was getting frustrated. I told him “listen, I know you’re very excited about learning, but you just need to be patient with me so I can catch up.” And he did, no offense taken at all. We’re in this together. And honestly…

Dancing with my husband is making me fall in love with him even more.

Latin dances are all about passion and moving those hips. Gaining confidence when learning the steps is so much fun too. Going out on the dance floor with the music roaring means you can’t use your words to communicate. You have to use your bodies to sense where your partner wants to lead you. Trusting your partner means going with the flow.

Last Saturday, we danced and danced, and danced some more. By the end of the night, my whole body was sore but it was so worth it.

It’s amazing to learn something new with my husband. And it’s so great that he’s just as excited as I am to learn to dance. He’s the one who lets me know the next time we’re going.

“Next Saturday, we’re going dancing!”

Seeing him dance is so sexy. And the way he looks at me when we’re dancing… whoo, I feel like the only woman on the whole dance floor.

It’s safe to say that Latin dancing is great foreplay. So if you’re looking to put more passion into your relationship, find your nearest Latin dance studio and club, and dance the night away.

¡Vamos a bailar!

-Toniann

A Lesson in Gratitude

Hi everyone, I haven’t posted in a while because a lot has been going on. We went to San Diego for Memorial Day weekend to celebrate my oldest daughter’s birthday. The weekend started off great, we went to the beach, which was my youngest’s first time, so it was wonderful. The next day we went to LEGOLAND waterpark and we were really having a fun time. But as we went to one last area to wrap up our day, my diaper bag was stolen. Someone went into my stroller and stole my bag with everything in it: mine and my husbands phone, my wallet, my car keys and my daughters diapers and change of clothes.

I was fucking furious. Enraged that someone could actually do that at a family park. I felt violated; I couldn’t believe that someone felt they had a right to just take our belongings. And most of all, I was mad at myself. I was mad at myself for being foolish enough to let my guard down. I was stupid to believe that there are no bad people out there anymore. I was so mad, I started to cry.

We spent the rest of the night with security from the park, and later the police to file a report. I knew that since our phones were turned off, there was no way to track them, and our stuff was gone forever.

I went to the LEGOLAND hotel and used their phone to call a locksmith to get a new key cut for my car so we wouldn’t be stranded. I was on the phone and computer cancelling credit cards and trying to get replacement phones. We had to print directions out to and from our hotel. You don’t realize how much you depend on your smartphone until you don’t have access to one.

Since all this happened and my anger has subsided a bit, I’ve had some time to reflect on what happened.

I’m GRATEFUL it wasn’t worse.

I’m constantly reminded that no matter what happens, things could always be worse. I’m grateful that my daughters weren’t injured in any way. I’m grateful I didn’t have any cash in my wallet, whatever money they spent on my credit card can be replaced by the bank. I’m grateful my husband had his wallet on him and not in my purse like much of the day. I’m grateful that while I was on the phone and computer for hours at the hotels in LEGOLAND, my daughters were having fun playing with the slide by the stairs and the countless LEGO bricks. I’m grateful for the staff at LEGOLAND who helped us with everything we needed. I’m grateful for a dear friend in San Diego that happened to have an extra phone that we were able to use for the rest of our trip. And despite being robbed of my possessions, I’m grateful that my daughters still had an amazing time.

Everything that was taken from me can be replaced. It’s easy to stay angry at this situation, but I want to remember this trip as a fun one. That’s how my daughters see it. They’ll look back at all the rides they went on, the prizes they won and all the fun we had together.

And to the person(s) who took my diaper bag: you may have stolen my belongings but I refuse to let you steal my joy. What goes around comes around, so I’ll just sit back and let karma take care of it.

I’m grateful either way.

Birthday dinner with my favorite people in the world.

-Toniann

10 Things I’ve Learned in a 10 Year Relationship

May is a busy month for my family: we’ve got my birthday, both of my daughters birthdays, my anniversary with Jonathan, not to mention Mother’s Day. Jonathan and I have been married for a little over 8 years now but we are coming up on 10 years together this weekend.

We got together when I was 19 years old and I’ve learned so much since then. Back then I thought I knew everything, but I didn’t know shit. To be fair, I still don’t know shit but I’m learning slowly. I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned since Jon and I first got together.

Us 10 years ago

1. People Change

People often view change as a bad thing. But when it comes to relationships, change is important. In the 10 years Jon and I have been together, we have grown together and I feel like we’re becoming better people together. No one is the same person they were even yesterday. At 19 years old, I was spoiled, hot-tempered, and stubborn. Ok, I’m still stubborn but I’ve gotten better. Since then, we’ve become parents to 2 little girls, moved throughout 4 different states and faced so many other challenges. All of that has changed us individually and as a couple, and we’re better because of it.

10 years later

2. Communication

I cannot overstate the importance of communication in a relationship. When Jon and I first got together, it was difficult for me to talk to him about things that bothered me without catching an attitude. Or I would just ignore him, which only made things worse. Overtime I’ve learned to be kinder with my words and talk to him more calmly about important issues in our relationship. I’ve also realized its important to talk about problems in person, not over the phone or text, and not to talk when I’m too upset. Communication is key.

Climbing mountains together

3. Be Honest

Honesty relates to communication, but it’s just as important. Being honest can be messy and painful but it’s also liberating. Honesty is the foundation of trust in a relationship and Jon and I have worked very hard over the years to be honest with each other. And because we’re honest with each other, we’ve gotten to know each other on a deeper level over the years. We were both honest with what we wanted out of a relationship, marriage, how we would raise our kids and our goals in life. We’re always finding out something new about each other because we work at being honest with one another.

All dolled up for my best friends wedding

4. Pick Your Battles

When Jon and I first got together, I was always picking fights with him. I would make things out to be a bigger deal than they actually were. Recently, I’ve been making an effort to check in with myself when I’m upset with Jon. I ask myself if this is really something he’s doing wrong or is it just me overreacting for some reason. And usually, it’s something else that’s bothering me but I’m taking it out on him. Slowly, I’ve learned to let things go because life is too short.

Thanksgiving 2017

5. Alone Time is a Necessity

Having kids can make it difficult for any couple to have any alone time but it’s so important. Jon and I make it a point to go on date nights as often as we can, we try for once a week but that’s not always possible. So even that time between when the girls go to sleep and we do is special. We watch some of our shows or movies and cuddle. Its important to spend time with one another, even if it requires more effort with have 2 kids. Sometimes you just have to get creative.

Celebrating one of our anniversaries

6. Sex, Sex and more Sex

For those new to my blog, I wrote a whole post discussing The Importance of Sex in a Relationship because I truly believe its one of the most important keys to a relationship. Sometimes it’s difficult with work, kids and other commitments. There are some days when we just want to pour ourselves into bed and go to sleep. But we make an effort to keep an active sex life, and we are happier for it. More sex, less stress.

I can’t get enough of this guy

7. Our Love is Still Strong

I’ve heard from many people in relationships longer than us, trying to convince us that our love for each other will fizzle a bit. That we won’t want to be around each other as much as we are now. But that hasn’t happened yet. To quote my husband yesterday “I feel like I’m falling more in love with you the longer we’re together.” And yes, I teared up because that was romantic as hell. And it’s true for me too, the longer we are together, the more opportunities for us to grow together and love on each other. Even after all this time, I still can’t get enough of him.

My 26th birthday

8. Laugh More

Anyone who truly knows me, knows that I’m a really silly person. Its fun to be with someone who I can be completely myself around. I can act like an idiot dancing around, and no, I don’t mean the sexy, cute dancing, I mean like a fish out of water dancing. We both jam out in the car and do dumb dances and crack up laughing when other drivers see us. And laughing helps with tense situations, and if we can laugh during an argument, then it really wasn’t a big deal after all.

Christmas party 2017

9. Flirt Often

I’m always flirting with my husband. I make it a habit to tell him when he’s looking good and be affectionate with him. Light touches, sexy text messages, getting dressed up for each other are some ways we like to flirt with each other. Flirting keeps things exciting, and lets my husband know that I want him, not just sexually. Flirting helps to remind us what we love about each other and keeps the spark alive.

Universal Studios Orlando

10. Relationships are Hard Work

Yes, relationships aren’t easy. I consider Jon and I a strong and happy couple, and it’s because we put the work in everyday. We make an effort to listen and talk to one another, make sure that we show our love for each other. Because saying it isn’t always enough. Some days are easier than others. There’ve been countless times where I felt like I couldn’t be loved, but he’s still there. I wake up everyday and choose to be with Jonathan, to love him and be there for him, as he’s there for me. And we never give up on each other.

Thanksgiving 2018

So there it is, 10 things I’ve learned in my 10 year relationship with my husband. Every couple is different and this is definitely not a guide to follow for your relationship. These 10 things I’ve listed are what’s important in my relationship. We work everyday to communicate with each other and love on one another as often as possible. I love how far we’ve come in this past decade and it makes me excited for the next 10 years. Happy 10 year anniversary baby.

Cheers to 10 years!

-Toniann


Birthday Anxiety

My birthday is a time that I’m always excited about. I count down the days and look forward to celebrating with the people I love most and going on great adventures. But coming up on my 29th birthday this year, I don’t feel the same excitement that I usually do. Last week I was anxious thinking about this being the last year in my 20s.

I would never have considered myself an anxious person, but since I got pregnant with my last daughter over 2 years ago, anxiety seems like a normal (and horrible) part of my daily routine. But despite countless anxiety attacks, I was happy about my birthday last year.

Why is this birthday different?

Turning 29 was a happy thought at first, but then I realized that this is the last year in my 20s, and I only have a year left to accomplish certain goals in my life. And that was frightening. I started to think about my best friends, who are earning their masters degrees, one of whom has 2 kids. I started to compare what I have accomplished in my life, and I couldn’t think of anything.

What have I truly accomplished in this decade, besides raising two wonderful daughters?

And panic set in at this thought. So I began to dread turning 29, my last chance at doing something meaningful with my life. To create lasting friendships in my new home state, to get my career and education back on track, and work on becoming a better version of myself. Its overwhelming to think about all I have to work on.

I spoke to my sister-in-law about this. I told her all my worries and how I’m feeling lost. And that I’m scared to pursue my own goals, because my anxiety has convinced me that taking care of myself meant that my relationship with my husband and children will suffer. But I owe it to myself, and my family to work on myself and my goals. She reminded me of all that I have accomplished in my life already. And I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately.

In this past decade of my life, I’ve lived in 4 states: New York, Massachusetts, Florida, and now Arizona. It’s such a big achievement in my book that I’ve moved out of my hometown, something that many people will never do in their lives. I’ve met some amazing, and not-so-amazing people, and they’ve all taught me something. I’ve realized my passion for fitness and while I have neglected that passion these past few years, it’s a goal of mine to become a personal trainer again. I’ve become vegan, something I never thought would happen, ever. I married the most amazing man in the world and we’re coming up on our tenth anniversary. I’m proud of the work we’ve put into our relationship and we’ve become better people since we first got together. I’m raising two children, a job that is so important, and I’m doing a kickass job (even though I feel like I’m not most of the time).

And most important of all, I’m learning more about myself. I’m learning the kind of person I want to be, and I’m taking steps everyday to become that person. I’ve realized what kind of relationships I want in my life. And because of that I’ve let go of relationships and set boundaries with people. I know that I alone am in charge of my happiness. I’ve realized how strong of a person I am. The most difficult thing I’ve gone through was losing my father. I deal with the grief of that loss everyday. And all the struggles I’ve faced have made me a stronger person.

So I write this blog post to remind myself, and anyone else reading, not to compare your timeline to someone else’s. We’re all on different paths, dealing with our own struggles. It’s only natural to compare ourselves to others, but it’s unfair to do so. I’m trying to focus on my own journey, to count my blessings and to be okay with imperfection. I hope the same for you.

Alright 29, I’m ready for you.

-Toniann

The Importance of Sex in a Relationship

This week I got the great idea from my husband to talk about sex. Or as he so eloquently put it: “talk about doin’ it.” However you refer to sex, I wanted to talk about the importance of sex in a relationship. And how more intimacy and more sex leads to a happier, long-lasting future with your partner.

Jon and I have been together for almost 10 years and I certainly credit our great sex life to how happy we are together. Sex is one of the most important parts of our relationship; it helps keep us connected emotionally and makes our relationship stronger. Any issues that we may be having can affect our sex life and vice versa. So we make an effort to keep an active sex life since sometimes it can be difficult with work and kids.

Why is sex so important though?

Sex helps to keep a level of intimacy that’s necessary in committed relationships. Everyone wants to feel loved and secure in their relationship and sex helps by increasing the overall happiness with your partner. Frequent sex is a self-esteem booster and makes us feel attractive and more confident. I, as well as so many others, have lots of insecurities. I’ve had many moments where I felt very unattractive, especially after having two kids. My body has gone through changes and I have a lot more stretch marks than when Jon and I first started dating. But regardless of how I see myself, he still finds me attractive, and I know it by how often we have sex. I feel more desirable and more confident the more we have sex.

Sex is an awesome stress reliever. Sometimes after a long, hard day, you need a long hard… night. Kissing, cuddling and sex release oxytocin (the hormone also known as the “love hormone”) which helps us to relax and have a more restful sleep. Dealing with the issues of day-to-day life can be difficult. Work, household chores, kids (if you have any) and potential financial problems can put a damper on any relationship. But having an active sex life with your partner can help to ease that burden. Maintaining a close and intimate relationship makes it easier to tackle any issues together. While an inactive sex life can make a you feel like you’re more of a roommate than someone who’s in a loving relationship.

Sex is also great for physical health. Are you looking to switch up your exercise routine? Looking to workout with your significant other? Well, having sex is a great way to get a workout in and burn lots of calories. Sex also benefits heart health and improve overall fitness. Don’t forget to squeeze those glutes, yours and theirs.

I cannot stress the importance of sex in a relationship enough. Now, I’m no expert on love, sex or marriage. This post is simply my own interpretation of how sex enhances my relationship with my husband. Hopefully, some of you reading can relate or at the very least, have more of an open discussion with you partner about sex. It’s certainly one of the most important parts of my relationship. I feel loved, feel confident and secure in my marriage because we have sex as often as we do. And it helps keep that spark alive.

So set the mood: light some candles, get out the massage oils, have a glass of wine and put the kids to bed early. Happy humping!

-Toniann

Take a Damn Social Media Break!

The first month of 2019 is almost at a close and I’m trying to think which of my goals for this year I’ve been working on. And I’m sad to admit I haven’t been putting in as much work as I had hoped. The only consistent thing is my blog here, and I am very proud of that. Now there are many excuses I can make as to why I haven’t been working out more, eating better and being more present with my family. But one of the biggest culprits is social media. It’s so addicting!

There are so many benefits to social media, but constantly scrolling is tiring. I’ll have days where I post multiple times a day and then I won’t post anything but I’m always scrolling on Facebook and Instagram. There are mornings where I spend at least 20 minutes scrolling social media before I even get out of bed, then checking throughout the day. And it wears on my mental health. I start comparing myself to everyone I see. Why don’t I have as great a body as that mom? I’d love to go on vacation there. I need to try that new vegan restaurant, that food looks amazing. Fuck, that moms house is immaculate, how does she do it? And I fall down this rabbit hole, and I start to feel bad about myself.

But the truth is, social media isn’t reality.

It’s something I have to remind myself of constantly. We are all in control of what we post and how we post it. Editing pictures to look better, posting about how amazing things are when they’re actually in the shit. I try to be real with shit I post on social media, but I’m guilty of trying to make things seem better than they are. If I post a gorgeous picture of my girls, know that I took at least 10 and I yelled at them to look at me. “SAY CHEESE FOR GOD SAKE!!!!” It’s exhausting.

I’ve taken a social media cleanse before. I never even tried before then, but I always thought to myself it would be a good idea. And there were many times were I used social media less, but I was never completely off. But last year, I had a little breakdown, where many friend and family relationships were deteriorating. People were showing their true colors and it all happened within a short period of time. And I remember deleting Facebook and Instagram from my phone and I told my husband, “if people want to know what the fuck is going on with me, they can call me or text me, fuck this.” And I was off social media for over a month, no posting and no checking at all.

And it was so fucking liberating!

My husbands birthday was during that month, his 30th, a big milestone. I was able to completely be present for that time, no social media distractions. I started working on my Plant-Based nutrition certificate. That was my most successful social media cleanse. I’ve tried to do more cleanses recently but I keep convincing myself that I might miss something. Or that people really want to see what’s going on with me. But its all bullshit isn’t it? The people who truly care about you will make time for you, will take time out of their day to check on you. And when I took my social media cleanse last year, there were only a handful of people that did that.

So the time has come for me to take another social media cleanse. I need to start taking better care of myself. I need to be more present with my daughters and my husband. I need to start working on my goals for this year without the distraction of social media. I think everyone would be better off if they took breaks from social media. I’m going to be off of Facebook and Instagram for the whole month of February, maybe longer. But I will still be posting weekly on my blog since this is more of an online journal right now than it is a social media page since I only have about 10 followers. And I’m excited to focus on the more important things in my life.

I’ll leave you all with this: don’t let social media steal your joy, it has for me countless times. Unfriend, unfollow or mute any people or accounts that bring negativity into your life. No one needs that shit. I’ll post a picture below with 7 steps to doing a social media cleanse. And I challenge you all to disconnect from social media and reconnect with the people in your life who matter most.

-Toniann

J & T Eight Years Later

Tomorrow is my eighth wedding anniversary with Jonathan. And later this year, we will have been together for ten years, a whole fucking decade. Sometimes I can’t believe it’s been that long. We have come a long way since we first got together and have experienced so much together. It’s been an incredible journey, so I thought I’d share some of our story for anyone who is interested.

Jon and I met as teenagers, I was fourteen and he was sixteen. He was best friends with my brother at the time but we never uttered a single word to each other until I was eighteen. I’m not fucking lying, WE NEVER SPOKE TO EACH OTHER. We were both really shy, and whenever he would come over our apartment we just exchanged awkward smiles and that’s it. But I definitely had the biggest crush on him and I referred to him as “Sexy” since my brother had more than one friend named Jon. I had even told my mother that I was gonna marry him someday.

But once he graduated from high school, Sexy moved to Florida to go to school over there and I thought that was it. I thought I’d never see him again. But a couple of years later, he came back to visit, after he had moved to Boston. We had our first unofficial date at IKEA and our first kiss after dinner that night. We made it official after my nineteenth birthday and I fell in love, and I fell hard.

Jon and I at my 19th birthday dinner May 2009.

Things went pretty fast with our relationship. Almost like we were somehow trying to make up for the time we missed as teenagers. We moved in together almost immediately in Boston. We got engaged about seven months later, then moved to Florida and shortly got our own place there. And three months after having a place of our own, I was pregnant. And while I was in shock at first, I was so excited to be a mom.


We wound up getting married a few months later after pressure from my dad. We were so broke at the time we got married at the little chapel down the street from our apartment. I remember the sweet old British couple who owned it and I was thankful the wife let me use this huge bouquet to hide my pregnant belly. I was five months pregnant and actually thought control-top pantyhose hid my belly well. It didn’t matter to me, pregnant or not, I was marrying the man of my dreams.

I walked down the aisle arm-in-arm with my best friend who would be giving me away since none of my family was there. I made my way to Jon and as soon as the officiant started talking I just started bawling. It could have been the pregnancy hormones making me cry my eyes out but I couldn’t believe I was getting married. I was so incredibly happy.

My best friend, Kayla, walking me down the aisle.

And we were married!

And five months later, we were parents.

Isabella Rose

And six years after that, we became parents to one more.

Emilia Rae

Things haven’t always been easy for us. I’ve grown up a lot since being with Jon. He’s helped me realize the importance of complete honesty, no matter how painful it may be. We work everyday to make shit work. There are plenty of times when I just want to wring his neck but I don’t. I still try to communicate better, without getting angry. We work together to make sure we’re a strong couple which makes us better parents to our daughters.

With everything that goes on in our lives, I am thankful to have Jon by my side. When anything happens, good or bad, he’s the first person I turn to. He really is my best friend, and I couldn’t imagine my life without him in it. I feel really fucking lucky.

Eight years tomorrow, a lifetime to go. Happy anniversary, I love you, baby.

-Toniann