Thursday, December 31, 2009
There have been so many blessings in my life, both expected and unexpected, that have led me to a place I never would have imagined myself being in... A place of peace and purpose. A place of goal setting and achieving. A place of love and appreciation.
I am looking forward to everything that 2010 has to offer me!!!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
- No girlfriend trips. NONE. Family trips are ok and I need to take some time to vacation with “Bobby” since we didn’t get to do much this year, but my friends have to wait until 2011! They are not taking that well, since there is a 30th Birthday celebration planned in Miami this coming March (that I was attempting to count as my birthday celebration too).
- Move into a less expensive apartment – I was living the HIGH life here in Chicago and despite early attempts to justify the costs, reality set in that I was living beyond my means. Time to find a cheaper place.
- SAVE SAVE SAVE – stop eating out as much. And not just eating out…. I mean the expensive dinner+drink events go on with my girlfriends regularly. You have to treat yourself, but I need to get back to the point where its actually a “treat” and not the norm!
- Take the BIG TEST – Engineers can earn the designation of ”PE” by passing a specialized exam that demonstrates their knowledge of the industry. I WILL take that test. The version I want to take is offered in April and while 2010 is very close, 2011 is VERY realistic. I have developed a detailed outline for my study prep to
acepass the exam in 16 months. Its daunting but I WILL do it!!
So these last 28 days will be enjoyed responsibly, but January 1 will bring a whole new light to my life. It should be very interesting! A year with limited travel??? What on earth will I do with myself?? I need to find a good birthday gift that will keep me entertained throughout the year and prevent me from daydreaming too hard about leaving town… any suggestions? A Wii? A new purse? A new Blackberry? Should I order cable/satellite?
As for the Item of the Day, I got a message a while back about the Burberry sale going on. I am a huge fan of the classic Burberry trench coats, but didn’t pay much attention to the handbags… until now. There are some AWESOME items on sale! Maybe these Powerball numbers will hit in time for me to grab a few nice gifts for myself and my friends :-)
HAPPY HOLIDAY SHOPPING!!!
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Family - my family has always been an important part of my life but a lot of that focus was on immediate family for a long time. Through Facebook I have connected with (and even met) cousins and other extended family whom I rarely ever talk to. We share event photos, talk about what's new and old in our lives and have even made plans to connect when we are in the same city. I have heard a lot of people talk about their lack of interest in Facebook and other social networking site, but I'm a believer in the connections it can provide. Then its up to you to do the work.
Friends - the Lupus walk this fall was an awesome opportunity to support my best friend of 25 years as she continues to win her battles with lupus. I reconnected with old roommates, sorority sisters I hadn't seen in years and took WAY too many girls' trips for one year! Despite the incurred debt, the memories are irreplaceable and I wouldn't trade them for the world!
Love - my relationship with "Bobby" continues to grow and we have found true love but have an even greater friendship and appreciation for each other. This year has been a bit of a struggle for us as individuals with a lot of big decisions that we've started to make together. Most of my friends would never have used the word "romantic" to describe me, but for some reason, he brings out a lot of traits that were hidden for so long.
Career - while I can't go into much detail, all I can say is I am setting myself up for bigger and better opportunities career-wise that will take me on an entirely new path in life. I have the most amazing support group and professional network!
Health - I FINALLY decided to take my health and my future more seriously and start making changes. A little at a time over the years has helped, but not enough. I am determined to change my diet to help myself and to support Sharon as I force her to do the same so we can live many, many more decades as healthy, fun women!
Life - the saying that "everyday is not guaranteed" has never been more apparent. It is so important to live your life to the fullest! There is soooo much to be thankful for but the ability to wake up and experience it one more day is a blessing in itself.
I hope you take a moment to reflect on what you are thankful for this Thursday and share it with family and friends. Let them know how much they mean to you. Oh, and one last thing, don't put the macaroni in the oven after its already done... be sure to ask first. Just had to put that disclaimer on there. (LOL)
My item of the day are these AWESOME cookies by Edith + Ethel.
Not only are the fresh baked, they are HUGE and so very tasty. They make awesome and inexpensive gifts for the holiday to family, friends, coworkers and even clients or vendors! The Oatmeal Golden Raisin are my favorite, but they all taste great!!
I wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!!!
(For laughs, here's me against the turkey last year!)
Saturday, November 14, 2009
In a previous post I mentioned my search for the perfect part dress to wear to homecoming. I settled on the “Crush (Sweet) on You” dress by French Connection. Given the choice between black and red, I went with red, because I absolutely love to stand out! Macy’s had a sale going on that reduced the price quite significantly. Coupled with a credit from a past return, the price was right on target! I completed my ensemble with a pair of Zigi Soho Zipora ankle boots from DSW (used a few coupon codes and saved 30% off plus shipping!) Not the greatest pic of me in the dress, but it will do… LOL
In “The Hole” with my two “adopted big brothers” wearing their respective colors…
This is a party going on at 2PM… if you’ve never experienced an HBCU homecoming you probably can’t understand…
Hanging out with my gorgeous line sister and fellow blogger over at “OH BABY!!!”...
It was a good trip back, after 5 years away. Good to see all the changes to the campus, and most importantly, get one of those good ol’ Jefferson Street fried fish sandwiches with hot sauce and white bread…
For the Item of the day, I am researching “wedge pillows”. As a “victim” of acid reflux for many years now, I have finally decided to quit being lazy and fight back. In my search for behavioral and dietary suggestions (including NOT eating FRIED fish, on WHITE bread, with HOT sauce on it) I read numerous times that elevating the bed 6-8 inches is an easy remedy. Well, i have a fear of my bed sliding off the bricks/blocks or whatever I use to elevate it so I’ve never done it. Well, apparently wedge pillows will give the same effect. Probably takes some getting used to, sleeping in that position, but I’m willing to try it. Adding it to my Christmas list now… I‘m not sure which one to get, some look ok…
while others look downright uncomfortable…
I guess we’ll find out!
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
While I'm holding up very well from a physical standpoint - meaning I'm within 15 lbs of my high school weight and still have most of my thick curly hair - mentally I am FEELING the age setting in with occassional bouts of forgetfulness (mixed with hurriedness). I was most recently reminded of this after a trip to Grand Lux Cafe in Chicago...
It was raining so hard when I left dinner and I would have had to take 2-3 buses/trains to get home so I decided to take a cab. When I got home I rushed out of the cab to change out of my wet clothing and prepare for a night of Hulu and
As I setup my computer I gathered all of my electronics in front of me as always (2 Blackberry phones and an iPod Touch) so I would hear them if they range... and play Scrabble on the iPod while I watch TV. Lo, and behold, there were only 2! I was missing my work Blackberry!! *insert gasp*
I emptied my purse, shook out my business suit, groped at my coat pockets, walked every inch of the condo in serach of this pink Blackberry. No luck. I threw on some shoes and ran down to the lobby, even walked outside to see if it were in any of the street puddles where the cab let me out. NO LUCK.
Feeling defeated, I called the cab company to file a missing phone report. They were closed and an automated message informed me that someone would contact me the following morning. In a last ditch effort I made an outline of my evening, after that last Facebook post I made from the phone during dinner...
1 - Dinner Table? (check - I had it in my hand when I bought the cookies at the carryout counter)
2 - Carry-out Counter (double check - had it in my hand when I was on the escalator, PLUS I called the restaurant and they confirmed there was no pink BB found)
3 - Valet Counter? (check, I didn't stop there since I took a cab this time)
4 - Cab? (hmmm.... don't remember using it in the cab)
5 - Home? (can't find it in the house)
So that means its between numbers 3 and 5... which leads me to the cab ride.... I ran out the restaurant... hugged my mom... darted across the street to flag a cab... struggled to combine my bags + carryout + purse.... oh, wait.... THERE IS IT!!!!!
I jumped up, ran over the refrigerator and pulled out my carry-out bag. Sure enough... the pink Blackberry was there. Nesteled between a bowl of soup and carton of bread where I had carefully placed it, as I ran to the cab. I guess it wasn't NEARLY as bad as the Minnesota bus-car incident, but still... reminds me of how fast I'm moving sometimes.... gotta learn to slow down. Makes me think of an India Arie song that I like. The lyrics in the second verse say:
Thinking the faster that I go
The faster that I will reach my goal
The race is not given to the swift
But to the one who endureth.
I thought that all of my obstacles were behind me.
Walking around like I'm made out of diamond.
I tripped and fell and it reminded me to move over and let the angels guide me.
Take a listen:
Slow Down - India Arie
Friday, October 23, 2009
This holiday season is all about sparkle and I absolutely love it!! I was browsing the pages of Saks.com and everything that caught my eye had some sort of glitter/sparkle/sequin/metal accent to it. I can imagine myself walking to a dimly lit party, loaded with candles and accent lighting, and turning heads all across the room as the light shines off my dress…. OOHHH-WEE!!!
*please, don’t wake me up yet*While the party dress I bought for my November homecoming event doesn’t glisten, I‘m slowly beginning to wish it did! Guess I’ll have to find another party to attend! Here are some of the beautiful, bauble-like items that I’m over here dreaming about…
For the item of the day, this is a “dress” style that I wish would vanish from the fashion industry all together… BCBGMAXAZRIA calls this the “blouson” dress… I love BCBG + Max Azria but THIS, needs to go…
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
If you have lived in Chicago for any amount of time, you have probably received a parking/red light violation notice… A.K.A. ticket. I would venture to say if you’ve lived here at least a week, since I managed to get a boot AND a parking ticket, on separate occasions, both within my first week of relocation. That big orange and white envelope is cause for horror, making blood pressure instantly go up and sweat beads form as you open it and peer inside to see how much they will charge you for parking 57 seconds longer than your meter allowed for.
Poor “Bobby” has had it even worse than me. The first month he moved here his car was towed at 7:02AM. As he walked outside to retrieve it from the 7AM NO PARKING zone he couldn’t find it. I swear they must have had it hitched at 6:58AM ready to go. While I take the bus/train regularly, he is a driver. All day everyday. In sales, its a requirement and his territory reaches well beyond the “metro area”. The signs here can be difficult to read/follow at times and since the city sold the parking meters in a hasty move to raise money, the situation has been worse. So he’s definitely has his share of parking violations, which add up quickly and can cause tons of problems in the meantime. So one nice summer day, less than a week after he finally resolved a huge ticket fiasco with the city, he calls me laughing in the phone with this distinct laugh that I only hear from him when he realizes he’s been punked…
Photo of an orange and white “Wing Stop notice” (taken from Chicago Now’s Parking Ticket Geek blog).
When Bobby was walking to to his car, he saw this notice on his windshield and nearly flipped out, thinking he had been awarded ANOTHER ticket… knowing good and well that the place he was parked in was perfectly legal and acceptable. Turns out, a local restaurant called Wing Stop, decided to try a new marketing tactic and play off of the parking ticket mayhem by creating flyers that were NEARLY IDENTICAL to the tickets with the wordings adjusted to reflect menu items and discount offers. As the person whom I would have expected to drive over to Wing Stop and start a fight, Bobby laughed hysterically at what was, for him, the ULTIMATE prank… and I joined in the good hearted laughter, sad only because I wasn’t waiting behind the bush with a video camera to see his priceless reaction.
Read more about the views on these flyers here: http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/parking-ticket-geek/2009/10/fake-parking-tickets-selling-hot-wings-but-raising-tempers.html Some of the various opinions that were expressed include:
"At first I was shocked. I thought 'Oh my God'--a parking ticket," said new Wing Stop patron Cindy Huerta. "I got my free wings and been going there ever since. If it were a basic flier I would have thrown it away. I thought it was really cool."
"Advertising taking the form of parking tickets can be confusing to motorists," explains Chicago Department of Revenue spokesperson Ed Walsh. "Sometimes it generates complaints. As such, we ask businesses to refrain."
So what do you think?? Good marketing?? Bad idea?? Kinda risky?? Unfair?? Totally cool??
Since we’re posting pics of Bobby now, this is what I imagine his initial expression was… before the curse words… LOL
Item of the day: I currently have 2 Blackberry phones, one for work (Curve), one for personal (Pearl). I have considered upgrading my personal phone to the Blackberry Tour, honestly, for no reason other than to have a newer phone. But all of that will go away once I get the BLACKBERRY WATCH!!! Here is a pic I snapped from Crackberry.com
Check out the reviews here at Computer World… I’m sure I’d use it all of 2 weeks then find it 6 months later in a drawer, but by golly, those two weeks wuld be awesome!
Monday, October 19, 2009
OK, ok, ok…. I guess Bobby has been a mystery for long enough… LOL. I had a few comments and emails, both here and on Facebook, asking why I’m still “covering” him up. No real reason… it was fun in the beginning since we were just dating and I didn’t want folks to “be all in my business” and know who I was dating (since we have some common circles)…. But now, its been a couple of years and things are awesome, so I guess I can start posting “face pics” of him :-)
Here’s the “real” version of the Date Night pic, along with another pic from that evening of fine dining and dancing… (wow, my heels must have been sky high and I was standing on a step or something because he’s WAY taller than me, despite the pic on the right!!!)
Eat your heart out ladies – this tall hunk of chocolate is TAKEN!!!
Sunday, October 18, 2009
With our busy/conflicting schedules its often hard for “Bobby” and I to do a real “Date night”. So this week we put it in Outlook and set the time aside for some food, fun and dancing! He picked me up and we headed to Flatwater, a beautiful restaurant on the Chicago River that is rated one of the “Best Date Spots” by Citysearch. Upon telling the host that it was a late anniversary celebration (I’ve kept him for over 2 whole years!) they went right to work, making sure the entire experience was enjoyable.
We started with a couple of drinks (my Mango Tango Martini was tasty but WAYYYY too strong!) and Bobby ordered a great variety of my favorite appetizers from the simple yet elegant menu – Seared Scallops (TO DIE FOR), Brushcetta (which he told me had mushrooms on it – which I hate – but I later discovered they were roasted beets) and Homemade Guacamole (I LOVE guac with flour tortilla chips any day). With so many appetizers I knew I wouldn’t be too hungry, but the soup of the day was my absolute favorite and I had to order it – Butternut Squash! Bobby, on the other hand, had more of an appetite and went with the recommended entree – Grilled Pork Chop with Fennel Slaw and Whipped Potatoes. We ended up sharing the entree and soup, actually swapping plates at one point!
Next up – The Joynt – a retro piano bar in River North. While there were plenty of music rooms to chose from, we settled in with the live band in the Swing Bar. The band was awesome, we danced a little, laughed a lot and chatted with some folks in town from Cali for the Notre Dame vs SoCal football game. All in all, it was an awesome night! Still not posting “face pics”, but here we are having a blast!! (LOL)
For the Item of the Day, I recently read, over at Stylelist.com about OPI and Dell coming together for a new line of fashion forward laptops based on OPI’s constantly changing, oh-so-cool nail polish colors! The new designs will be available in time for the holiday in Dell’s Design Studio. Absolutely awesome!!
Friday, October 16, 2009
An eventful and travel-filled summer has come to a close. What better way to start of Fall than with a wedding!!! One of my favorite line sisters (aka, sorority chick who was on my pledge line) had a beautiful wedding this past weekend in chilly Chicago, but the weather didn’t even stand a chance as ruining these activities!
We started with a trip to Chocolate for Your Body for $31 No-Chip manicures, as part of the Pretty City’s Pretty in Pink spa discount specials to raise money and awareness for bright pink - breast cancer research. I tried out Salon O Sixty-Five, where they were offering a Kerastase Oleo-Slim treatment for $31 (normally as much as $100!). While the treatment worked great on my hair, making it shiny and silky, the stylist Todd was not so great. He used a ROUND brush to try and straighten my wet hair (a no-no for Black women) and an inadequate flat-iron to “finish'” it. It was a waste of time AND I got a parking ticket. I ended up fixing my hair myself later that night.
Then there was a bachelorette party at Flirty Girl Fitness where we all dressed for the class in 80’s gear with the theme FLASHDANCE. We walked to Red Kiva for $5 Absolut vodka specials and flat bread pizzas, then we then rented a HUGE party bus limo and cruised the town, causing lots of trouble!
Friday we had a “girls’ brunch” at Flattop Grill in West Loop (not one of my favs but this time my food turned out pretty good) and then a rehearsal followed by the rehearsal dinner at Captain Hard Times – a South Side Chicago, family-owned soul food restaurant. The wedding was held at Apostolic Church. Saturday was the BIG DAY and many of the girls went to get their hair done and we all met up at the AKA Community Center for makeup and hair retouches. There was a makeup artist (not to be named) who was scheduled to do most of the bridal party but a few of us opted out and used our soror Kiana (who has done makeup for years but hasn’t set up a professional name yet). It was like a battle. Them vs us. In the end, we won. While the hired makeup artist went for a palette of caked-on foundation, dark smoky eyes, BRIGHT round over-blushed cheeks and burgundy lipstick on ALL THE GIRLS; Kiana went for a more neutralized look that matched the eyes and lips to the personality of the person, keeping the overall look very neutral and “pretty”. I felt like a super model!
Luckily, the makeup artist was unable to attend the wedding, so back at the church, the other girls did not hesitate or even feel guilty as they started wiping away at their faces. They convinced Kiana to soften their looks too, and in the end we had a BEAUTIFUL bridal party!!!
The reception was held at the Grand Ballroom on Chicago South Side. A true hidden gem. This ballroom was big, elegant and had an awesome staff! The reception was very interactive with games being played throughout and, lets not forget, an open bar (which we took FULL advantage of)!!! As always, I had a wonderful time with my beautiful sisters of Alpha Kappa Alpha… next month, we celebrate our 10th year as members of the sorority with a huge weekend of fun at TSU’s homecoming!
Item of the day is the “Homecoming party dress”…. I tried on a number of dresses to determine which would have the best “party effect”… I think I have made my decision, but you won’t find out until November!!! Here are some of the contenders that didn’t make the cut but deserve some attention… (A lot of them were by Rachel Roy as she has seemingly taken over Macy’s Young Contemporary Department, and with good reason!)
Rachel by Rachel Roy 24 Hour Dress…. it just did not drape right on me
Rachel by Rachel Roy Studded Sleeveless Dress… had issues with the band at the bottom
Rachel Roy Art Deco Dress… one of the top choices. I tried it belted with a wide black belt and loved it.
French Connection Wizard Cotton Dress – I’ve loved this dress in every color over the past year, but the top just didn’t fit right, no matter how far up in size I went! Macy’s had the Red and the Color-blocked Red-Black-Navy versions on sale for about $80.
BCBG Tulip dress… not flattering AT ALL on me… or the girl in the pic for that matter
BCBGeneration Halter Wrap Dress… the fit just didn’t work for me and the pattern was a bit much for me. I prefer solids for my party dresses.
Ladies get those dresses together, Nashville is gonna be a blast!!!