4.15.2010

Thankful Thursday: Friendship

Every now and again I stop and have to thank God for those people in my life who seek to actively want to know how I'm doing, what I'm doing, and what's next in my writing ventures. "Active" friendships are hard to keep and maintain, being friends with someone is different when you're an adult than when you were in school sending your peers notes stating "You're not my friend anymore." There is deliberate effort involved in these friendships--including frequent phone calls or e-mails, outings in the midst of busy schedules (or any type of quality time) and a sincere interest in each other's lives. There are few people I call friends, its such a loaded title. With social networking at an all-time high and people thriving on "fleeting" connections, I have to thank God today for those people who are: 1) willing to get on a bus/train/plane to see me 2) concerned about/can comment on something I've written 3) curious to see how my romantic relationship thrives 4) can ask about my family by name 5) happy to cook for me 6) can plan a surprise for me and 7) can appreciate my input and company.

The following people may not even know how much I treasure their deliberate actions. So, this is one of the best ways I know, to say thank you. They are below, in no particular order.

Mi Madre

My mother (pictured here with her hubby- the Chef) still has great influence in my life, even all the way from Florida. We don't have to talk over the phone everyday to still be involved in each other's lives. Whenever I visit or she comes to NY, she teaches me, by model, how to keep and maintain a Godly household. She also loves volunteering and working creatively. I want to live in an inviting and sweet-smelling home like she keeps. My mom works hard and I pray that she continue to allow herself to take vacations and treat herself every now and again.


Summer Marie

Little Miss Summer came into the world last December, and is an-almost 4 month old (this Saturday) bundle of chubby goodness. She can't articulate much right now but she's bought so much joy to her parents and to those blessed enough to be in her presence. She's not super-needy, she can hang out with the grown-folk, and just loves being held! I'm thankful for her presence in my life because through her I'm reminded of the sweet beauty of a smile, a knowing look and the great responsibility of being a mother.




Ms. Price, Esq.

Yes, I am friends with a lawyer. And she's not my boss. We met at a wedding of a mutual female friend that she and the boo share, it seemed like all the young hot couples were seated at one table. Her boyfriend and mine clicked right away-- the even did an impromptu "performance" of Michael Jackson's 'BEAT IT' fighting scene right on the dance floor that night. However, Ms. Price and I's friendship took a little while to flourish, probably because we are both shy around strangers and are private by nature. Eventually, I believe the fact that we are both Christians allowed us to let our guards down a bit. As young, professional couples we have already had a couple of outings together, and I look forward to many more! She has been extremely supportive and interested in my writing and I truly appreciate that.
MR. JACKSON

As cheesy as it might seem, I spend so much of my time with the boo that I would be wrong if I didn't include him in this list. We have increasing influence over each other-- because of me Dave travels and writes more and because of him I don't watch too much garbage on TV and think about how I can make money in everything I spend time doing. There are plenty of relationships where boyfriend and friend are not synonymous but I'm glad that with us, that's not the case.

SAFYA

I've spoken about Ms. Safya in a previous post and since she celebrated her birthday yesterday, I want to give her a shout-out again. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! FELIZ CUMPLEAƱOS! and {insert Creole here}! I've known her for about 3 years now and this is just the beginning. I look forward to being honored as godmother/bridal party participant eventually but in the meantime I love being part of the clique and leaving all those responsibilities aside until their time comes! How many friends do you have that'll travel from Boring, I mean, Boston on the infamous, life-threatning Chinatown bus? (PS- If you want to hear my opinion about the Chinatown bus, read my latest post)

Last but not least,

MAURA (pronounced Maa-u-Rah)

My cousin from Costa Rica is really something special. No, really, she's special. She's infamous for making up her own expressions "Hello, my name is Maura and I'm calling regardless your account with our company..." and for seamlessly using them with grace and confidence. She is also celebrating a birthday this month, next Wednesday the 21st. So, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, SAPO VERDE TO YU and JAPY BIRTDAY in all three languages you speak! I am so very proud of you starting your own business (she's an official Debt Relief Specialist) and I pray you continue to grow and mature your business. After all this time she's been here, I still consider her a source/connection to Costa Rica's culture/lifestyle. I am glad to have you in my life because you are the voice of reason, at times. If you really name your first daughter after me then I will be forever honored and probably smother/spoil that child. She'll be just like you! :)


Thank you guys for everything you do!


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4.13.2010

Post-It Note Tuesday

Found this treat over at SupahMommy's blog. A post in a sticky note- can't beat that!

What's your relationship with sleep like now-a-days?



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4.11.2010

Fabulously Florida: 5 Vacay Highlights


This year was my first time traveling to Florida during Spring Break. I'm happy to say that I benefited more from the season than it did from me. How, do you ask? Well, we flew out on a rather busy Monday afternoon and our trusty airline overbooked our flight. Because the boo and I were in no rush (no hotel to check in to-we were staying with family) when the offer was extended for 2 free round-trip tickets (each) we jumped at the chance to volunteer our seats. We were offered a flight about 4 hours later, not bad, and even got a meal voucher for dinner at the airport. So, here's a quick travel tip: If your schedule allows it, be inconvenienced! A couple of hours at the hour ended up paying off for us. We have a year to take these free flights (officially known as Future Flight Credits). Not even the fact that Spirit airlines is boasting "Bring Less, Pay Less" as they begin charging for carry-on luggage come August 1st, 2010 can rain on our parade!

On to our TOP 5 HIGHLIGHTS:

  1. Our adventure began at the airport as we feature a video that teaches you everything you need to know about airport security:


2. Thank God we escaped the dangers at the airport and got back to Ft. Lauderdale with all our belongings intact. Including our wallets. If you didn't know this before, Florida is the best kept secret for thrift shopping. You have never experienced a real thrift shop anywhere if you haven't spent a day in a real organized, reputable thrift store. My mom lead us to World Thrift in Lake Worth. This store featured clothing for men, women, children and babies, shoes, books, and even home goods. We went on Senior Citizen Wednesday, but man, was it worth it! The boo and I spent over $100 each and here is just a few things that I got:

I have a hard time finding work pants in my size (2)! Among these brands are Tommy Hilfiger, Gap, BCBG and The Limited. 5 work pants were a total of $54 (only b/c I splurged on the BCBG pants and paid $20)


What I live for: Comfortable leather loafers. Now, these are some Chinese brand I never heard of (OUdihong) but they were worth every $7 and .95 cents I paid for them!

This is the first time I've admitted this issue publicly: I have a problem with buying shoes too small. Now, this would be more of a serious problem if I bought and frequently wore high heels that were too tight, but either way, whenever I see a shoe I like that I'm convinced I won't find that shoe ever again in the history of ever... I have to buy. Case in point: These moccasins are a size 6 (No Safy, you can't have them either!) My pinkie toe on my right foot literally screams for space, but I negotiated with myself that I couldn't pass them up for only $9.95. And so, they will sit in my closet until I decide that my pinkie toe has been a bad boy. Side note: these shoes are actually tricky on the eyes, the sole is actually smaller than the length of the shoe, if the sole was as long as the shoe it would so fit me!

My last splurge was on this Dooney & Burke belt, which is leather and cost $19.95. Hey, I can't afford their bags so can a girl just live a little?









Last but not least, my love for books drove me to add these to my "To Read" list, one of the books is actually next on my Book Club's reading list (The No.1 Ladies' Detective Agency)!

Your eyes don't lie-- these books were .95 cents and $1.95. What a steal! For the fellas: Dave scored a few great items as well. He bought a half-zip ribbed mock-neck sweater by CK ($9.95), Members Only jacket ($19.95), Hugo Boss dress shirt ($19.95), and a Banana Republic silk cotton sweater ($14.95).

I also found this cool Polaroid Spirit camera, but I don't think they even sell this film anymore. Pass!

3. Cooking with Chef Brian- We took one night to get some cooking lessons from a real life Chef (my stepfather). Chef Brian has over a decade of experience and has cooked for celebrities like Oprah and P. Diddy. He works as a freelance chef and does private parties on yachts and mansions in and around the Miami area. We had the privilege of making a "red" sauce for pasta and a "white" lemon-zest sauce (or as Brian called it, Regatta Sauce) for our fresh shrimp! Well, this was truly an experience with the best pay-off/end result: fresh food! I was the note-taker and Dave did most of the hands-on work but in the end it ended up being a great family bonding event.

What I learned from this experience: Garlic is under-appreciated and that I've been using basil all wrong all these years. To get the real taste of basil on a sauce you have to wait for it to cool...and then put the basil in. Makes the world of a difference. Well, you can drool over our meal now: (Anyone interested in the recipes, send me a message)



















Mmmmm... eat your heart out! We ate this late at night and it kept us full until lunch the next day!

4.The Ultimate Adventure was an all-day excursion we took in Key West. We drove down to Key West (with our trusty chaperone: Mom) for two days and we booked this trip on a catamaran as a way to take advantage of water sports neither of us had ever experienced. The trip included parasailing (you go "weeee" on a balloon-type mechanism while being pulled by a boat), snorkeling (you go "ahh" while looking on the surface of the water at the fishies in the coral reef), and jet skiing (you go "shh.." as you speed through the water on personal watercrafts). This trip also included breakfast and lunch and overall it cost a pretty penny (about $150/pp).

The funniest part of the trip is the "waiting station" which is basically the place that they have you wait as they take certain groups to do the activities aforementioned. In the waiting station you can get out and swim outside the boat, jump on the trampoline in the middle of the sea, climb the rock-obstacle or slide down the slide. I decided to conquer the salty waters in my floatie (b/c I'm not a great swimmer) and when I finally got to the slide it took me like one hour to lift myself up to the top! It was slippery and I felt like I was never going to make it! Well, I'm glad to report that I did, and you can enjoy my trip down, also known as my graceful fall:

5. Sunsets in the South: If you're not already aware Key West is the southernmost point of the continental US. In fact, you can take a picture with a buoy that demarcates at what point you're 90 miles away from Cuba. Cool huh? Another way to remind you of a place you can't visit. Another cool thing about the "Conch Republic" is the fact that they celebrate sunsets, like everyday. There's a place in the middle of town known as Mallory Square where people get together to watch the sun set. As part of the all day adventure, we got a "complimentary" sunset cruise for 2 hours that allowed us to enjoy the sunset up close and personal. It was indeed a beautiful sunset to watch with my mom and boo. We met some cool people on the boat as well, like a father on vacation with his 2 kids and a friendly captain who let David steer the catamaran. Next time, I probably won't choose to spend so many hours at sea again, but we surely had a time to remember!








4.08.2010

Thankful Thursday: Celebrate Life

Seems like all I do around here is write Thankful Thursdays, and I'm okay with that for now. Just when I think I have no "theme" for this week's post I stumble upon a heart-wrenching story. Last weekend a young couple named Mike Muchioki and Nia Haqq (pictured here, left) from Jersey City were senselessly killed outside of their home Sunday early morning as they returned from their engagement party. It was a botched robbery for their car. They were college graduates, in love, working and looking towards a wonderful future together. And yet, their lives were taken so tragically.

This story hit me so close to home, as a young woman in love, hopefully soon to be making such an important decision as if and when I should get married. The hardest part is looking at their pictures. This story has made me very retrospective and sad. I question God. When there's death (and especially murder) involved, things don't make sense. There's no words that can pacify, soothe or appease the victim's survivors. So today, I have to humbly ask God for forgiveness and thank Him for another day on this Earth. Another day to breathe, think, write and learn. No one likes hearing stories like these-- so I pray they both knew God, and that their friends and family can hold tight to God's ever-loving hand, because no one can grant peace like He does.

Want to read more?

The full story featured on Essence can be found here along with exclusive photos.

Want to donate?

There has been a memorial website set up in honor of their lives. If you want to donate towards their families wishes to obtain joint plots, please do so here.


Please remember that the present is surely a gift. Cherish it as such!

Be blessed,

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4.06.2010

Alicia Keys Search for Head Blogger

Mami called me this morning to share this amazing job opportunity with me that she saw on Good Morning America. Self-proclaimed Superwoman Alicia Keys is looking for a spectacular Head Blogger to launch her new blogger website IAAS.com which stands for I AM A SUPERWOMAN. She's using Monster.com to do it, interested candidates can visit the job listing site for more information.

Best wishes if you're applying!

Photo courtesy of this site.


UPDATE: In Sept of 2010, I got a chance to meet the favored woman who got the job. Read more here!

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