Saturday, October 4, 2014

Where in the World.....................

.....is Beautifully Complex  ?????

Wow. It has been 5 whole months since I touched my little blog here !   I don't even know if any of my fellow bloggers and lurkers are still reading, but I need to update this thing for my own sake.

 ****This will be a LONG POST  because I need to fill in the blanks, LOL ******

I miss blogging, I really do,  but it seems I just don't have the time any more with so many things on my plate.   Time has truly been marching on & full of life's challenges.  Can you believe it has almost been a whole year since I got married ? Our 1st wedding anniversary is just 2 weeks from today ! It has been wonderful to have a life partner because it has been a very challenging first year for us both. Let me catch you up on what my husband and I have been dealing with and going through, the GOOD, the BAD & the UGLY,  in no particular order:

UGLY

Back in April, my mother had another stroke and was hospitalized for several weeks. This has been so challenging for us all especially her,  as she is dealing with alot of emotions, fear, uncertainty & just the challenges of declining health. She is still currently undergoing physical therapy & cannot drive so my Aunt has to take her everywhere, to the doctor, to her therapy appointments, shopping, etc. She has improved quite a bit and I count myself blessed that she has improved so much in this short time frame.

My biological father had a very serious auto accident just 2 months before our wedding. He was in a T-bone collision with an 18 wheeler & had to be cut out of the vehicle & life flighted to a trauma center. He was in ICU for over 2 weeks. He is currently still in physical therapy & has shown consistent improvement. He recently had to have another operation on his knee that went well but is still healing.  I know that I have not gone into many of the details about my relationship with him on this blog, but in the last year or so, we have been working on rebuilding our relationship & he and his wife were preparing to attend our wedding in New Orleans. He survived the accident through God's grace, but was extremely disappointed to not be able to be at my wedding & honestly, I was too.

In June, my husband's step-father had to be hospitalized for kidney failure and was in ICU for several days. He gave us quite a scare. He too, survived by the grace of God,  but is currently on daily kidney dialysis. He has a machine at home that he must use every single night overnight while he is sleeping. He is doing much much better & we saw him in August when we went to a wedding in Charleston & he looked good.

Back in July my step-father was gathering up the garbage on the side of my parents house & fell breaking 2 vertebrae in his neck. The situation was complicated by the fact that my mother did not find him until he had been down for almost an hour. It was terrifying & emotional for her to find him that way after not knowing where he was for an hour. My dad already had other health problems and serious mobility issues due to his knees, which is how he fell  & of course my mother is recuperating from her stroke & her mobility has been affected also.  He was in ICU for several days, surgery was attempted but was unsuccessful so he is currently wearing a Halo on his neck/head & will be in it for up to 8 months. He is currently in a rehabilitation hospital undergoing daily therapy. Needless to say,  this is added stress on my Mom.

My mother lost her closest female cousin 2 weeks ago.  They grew up like sisters.  This death hit my mother very hard. She lived in Chicago, so I had to fly ahead of my mother & Aunt to assist with getting them in and around a major city. It was complicated by the fact that they shut down O'Hare & Midway Airports due to some idiot who set some fires at the air traffic control center last weekend resulting in over 2000 cancelled flights including ours !  It was a nightmare. My sister came to the rescue, driving my family a ridiculous number of hours to Chicago at the last minute, while I was stranded in Atlanta at the Airport all day. I finally was able to fly into South Bend, Indiana & drive in to Chicago. We made the funeral services by nothing short of a miracle. It was a challenging, emotion filled weekend, but  we got to see family we haven't seen in years & my nieces & nephew got to visit Chicago for the first time. It was a crazy 4 days !

All of these situations are complicated because I live 8 hours away from my family & my husband lives 16 hours away from his. It so difficult to not be able to have access to your family when trouble comes your way.

BAD 

I started my new gig in March. I have a longer daily commute (to Sugarland,TX) and my gas and tolls have increased, but the peace of mind I gained from having a new super cool boss who is housed in another city & having a manageable work load has been immeasurable. However, as the saying goes "nothing too bad or too good lasts for too long"  right ? Well,  my company has been undergoing some nationwide changes over the last few years and  I have been effected yet AGAIN. In short,  just 6 months after getting my new job, I along with everyone else in our department had to post & compete for our current positions. We have yet to find out whether we get to keep our jobs or not. There is a possibility that my husband & I  may have to leave Houston if I don't get the job I put in for. We are supposed to find out in the 4th quarter which  just started a few days ago, so say a prayer for us.  HIS will be done. I don't know what to pray for any more !


Needless to say, I have been comforting myself and self-medicating with ridiculous amounts of good food,  untold amounts of alcohol, and hours upon hours of laying up with my new husband & hardly any exercise (other than what newly married folks do, LOL ) The end result...... ALL of the weight I lost for our wedding last year has been gained back and then some !!! It is shameful what my stress alleviating behavior has done to my waistline.  Now I am stressed because I can't fit any of my clothes.  I have promised myself that after we get back from our Anniversary trip to New Orleans in 2 weeks, I am going HAM on this weight gain so I can feel better by the first of 2015. Please say another prayer for me because I am feeling disgusted right now.

Now lets wrap this blog up this on a positive note........

GOOD

It has not been all bad this year. There have been many blessings to appreciate. My husband finished his Master's Degree this past Spring and got certified to teach, which has been a dream of his for quite awhile. He got a job teaching 8th Grade Social Studies & History. He has a heart for children and is such a  History Buff this is the perfect fit for him.  I am so proud to see how he has challenged himself to follow a dream. His first year has been a bit overwhelming, but he is happy, which makes me happy too.

In August we travelled to Charleston for my husband's cousin's wedding. It was the first wedding we attended as a married couple and such a great time. I got my seafood fix for sure.  That same weekend, we became God Parent's to two beautiful children of my husband's  closest cousin who lives in  NYC. We had a beautiful ceremony in the church that my husband was baptised in as a child on Edisto Island, SC.  We are already planning our trip to visit NYC for sometime next summer.

We are blessed with many good friends, a strong support network here in Houston & we have still been able to take the time to celebrate & enjoy the good life that we do have despite life's challenges. We hosted a " Spring Fling" Happy Hour, we had our "Annual Crawfish Boil" (my hubby & I won the dance contest !). We  got together with friends for my Birthday, I hosted a "Sunday Brunch" for some girlfriends Birthdays and in August  we had a " Downtown Bar Crawl" with some good friends.

Here are some pics from the last few months........


SPRING FLING ON THE PATIO



My girls rocking those Spring Colors ! 

Good Friends ! 

My ride or die partner ! 

















ANNUAL CRAWFISH BOIL 



Me & my Bestie 

Killin' those Crawfish 

We won the dance contest ! LOL



















BIRTHDAY HAPPY HOUR


Beautiful Birthday Venue ! 

Beautiful Friends 

Best Friends ! 

Lovely Ladies helping me celebrate my Birthday !















































SUNDAY BRUNCH WITH THE LADIES


Sunday Brunch Hats !




My Girls ! 

Birthday Brunch Honorees ! 






DOWN TOWN BAR CRAWL 













VACATION ON EDISTO ISLAND, SC





Edisto Beach 

Beautiful Canopy of Trees ! 

Beach at Botany Bay -untouched 





WEDDING IN CHARLESTON



My Mother-in-Love & her twin, my husband !

My niece & nephew 

My husband is the baby whisperer ! LOL

Our Beautiful cousin the Bride ! 


Welp, that about catches you up on the life I have been living for the last several months.

What is going on with you ?   Do I still have any readers/lurkers here, don't be shy ?

Thoughts ? Questions ? Comments ?


Beautifully Complex 



Monday, April 28, 2014

Musical Monday - " A Night of Love & Soul"

I am a HUGE Lalah Hathaway fan (since day one) and discovered Eric Roberson several years ago.   So I was super excited to hear that they were coming to Houston along with Ruben Studdard. Tweet also performed, but I am not really a fan of her music.

My husband and I had a  really nice time.  I really enjoy dressing up & going out somewhere special such as a concert.  The show was really good. Eric Roberson is a really creative & funny guy.  His set was way to short in my opinion.  My husband is now a fan too.

Lalah & Ruben were basically co-headliners, which surprised me a bit. This was more of a concept tour in which they both sang several remakes of some old school soul standards. They sang several duets and basically tag-teamed, coming back & forth to the stage to perform.  I was only disappointed that Lalah did not perform more of her original music, but this is not that kind of tour. Even though I have seen her several times, I never get tired of her or her music. She is a vocal beast and FINALLY a Grammy winning artist.  If you have not heard the song that won her the Grammy this year. Check it out below. The band Snarky Puppy actually started in Texas where several of the members attended college. What is cool about this song "Something" is that it was actually on her very first album  back in 1990. I remember when she came to my hometown on her promotional tour to perform. This lady is a vocal acrobat. I am amazed by her range. Toward the end of this video, she really shows out, LOL.  I follow her on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram and she is pretty funny/snarky, LOL

Take a listen.....



Honestly, neither of us were impressed with Tweet. She sang a lot of songs that neither of us recognized & I am still puzzled by why she did not open the show instead of Eric Roberson. I am not sure how many shows she is doing with them on this tour, but I just don't think she fits with this tour concept.  She actually complained about having to sing the song " Oops Oh My" stating that she feels like the song is too old & she doesn't want to sing it, but the fans still want to hear it. I can tell you that probably 75% of the Arena that night only knew that ONE song. She did have some rapid fans, that obviously came out to see her & knew the songs, but they were a very small minority that night.

Ruben has a very nice voice. The sound system was not the best on his mic that night, so his voice sounded somewhat different than usual. But I know he can really sing and his new album is really good. Check out the reviews on Amazon. He is getting 4 1/2 stars out of 95 reviews !

Here is the trailer for the concert.







Have you attended any recent concerts ?

Are you a fan of any of these artists ?

Thoughts ? Comments ?  Questions ?


Beautifully Complex




Saturday, April 26, 2014

Cooking with Beautifully Complex : Strawberry Dream Cake

If you like Strawberries and are looking for a nice cool Spring or Summer dessert this is quick and easy to make. I am pretty sure it's not low calorie though, LOL.  It is very moist and has a lot of flavor.  I recently made this for Easter Dinner. I got the recipe from my mother several years ago and thought I would share it on the blog.


Cake mix & jello powder

Beat eggs & add to mixture

Split mashed strawberries in half


















Add 1/2 berries, oil & water, mix for 5 minutes

Pour into pan & bake for 30-35 minutes

Poke holes using a straw while cake is warm




Poke holes all over the cake

Add sugar to berries, stir and spread over cake

Let cool completely & add whipped topping


















COMPLETE RECIPE

1  box Yellow or White Cake Mix ( I prefer Duncan Hines Butter Golden)
1   3 ounce package Strawberry Jello
4   eggs
1   cup vegetable oil 
1/4  cup water
1   16 ounce package of frozen strawberries (completely thawed, smashed & halved)
1/2  cup powdered sugar
1  medium container of Cool Whip

Combine cake mix, jello powder and eggs. Mix well.

Add oil, water and 1/2 of the smashed strawberries. Beat with mixer on medium for 5 minutes.

Spray a 9 X 13 pan or glass dish with non-stick spray.  Pour batter into pan & bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

While cake is warm use a straw to poke holes all over the cake. Mix the other 1/2 of the mashed strawberries with the powdered sugar. Spread over the top of the cake, allowing the mix to fill in the holes in the cake. Let cake cool completely.

Once cooled. Spread cool whip over the top and refrigerate for at least 2 hours before serving.
You can place a few fresh strawberries on top in the center for a nice presentation. 


Slice & Enjoy !


Have you tried any new recipes lately ?

What is your favorite cool dessert ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?


Beautifully Complex



Friday, March 28, 2014

March Madness

Hey Blog Family,

Just peeping in my little space here to check in.  I hope to be back soon for a proper post. It has been March Madness around here & I have been pretty busy lately. I got a new gig (same company, different Manager, different location which now involves a commute) and have been settling in to that. Also, our nieces and nephews came for their annual Spring Break Trip & we did it big.  That will probably be my next blog post, whenever I can comb through the pics & find the time to do a full recap. Until then......

Our Annual Spring Break Photo Series continues..................



How is your Spring coming along ?



Thoughts ?  Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex

Friday, February 14, 2014

The Love Post

Hey Blog Peeps !

Hope your 2014 is going well. I have been great, just too busy to blog.  Just landed a new position (same company) but I am getting a new manager and that I am very happy about :)  I start in about 30 days.

I read a really funny post about Valentine's Day from my girl A Belle in Brooklyn, I thought it was pretty on point. You can read it here.

I wish we could move beyond the focus of romantic love ONLY on this day. In the true spirit of Valentine's Day.   Here are some things that I love.....




.THINGS I LOVE….

...my family…all my nieces, nephews and cousins, aunt’s, uncles, of course my parents & sisters, you mean so much to me. Along with the huge new family I have married into, it is a blessing that is immeasurable.

....my closest friends who support me, encourage me,  listen to me, keep my secrets, share with me & challenge me, even the ones I don’t see or talk to everyday. Just knowing that those bonds are there is comforting.

...the internet, I love to read & write. I have always been an information junkie and the world wide web just makes it so much easier. It could be a recipe for something I want to cook with the kids, an archived article from Ebony magazine from 1962, or a music review, all at my fingertips ! This digital age  & the access we have in 2014 constantly amazes me.

...social networking, i enjoy sharing photos, blogging, sharing ideas, thoughts & concepts with people near & far. Keeping up with my friends and family on twitter, instagram, yelp & of course facebook.

...a nice, intense foot massage (thanks babe). Man I am in heaven !  I just love being rubbed on period, but there is something about the nerve endings in your feet ! LOL

...music makes me high…enough said.

….New Orleans…. the food, the culture, the people, the music, the architecture, the weather,  I have so many beautiful memories from my favorite city.

...wine.. vino.. I love so many different types: Malbec, Shiraz, Syrah, Prosecco, Riesling, Chardonnay and still learning…. just call me a wineaux, LOL

…..my husband Michael… who has taught me what true, unconditional love is & the laughter he brings to my life each & every day.

….God’s grace and His perfect will…. I have a testimony…I am His child….. the things He has done, only He could do ! Praise Him.  

MY PERFECT DAY…...relaxing outside on a patio,  my bare feet in my husbands lap, he is smoking a cigar, I am sippin’ on some vino, listening to the sounds of my girl Lalah Hathaway, my friends, family or both are in the midst and we are telling stories, sharing opinions,  laughing,  reminiscing and making new memories !

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY. CELEBRATE ALL OF THE LOVE IN YOUR LIFE ! 



Beautifully Complex  

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ? 
 

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Jumpin' the Broom ....New Orleans Style !

Just thought I would dust off the blog before the years end. It has been a whirlwind for me since the wedding. With no more planning to do, I have been focused on all of the other things around here that took a backseat to the big day.

In November we traveled to my hometown for Thanksgiving to spend time with my family. We did our annual Turkey Trot & dinner at my Aunt's home. We just got back from Charleston, SC for the Christmas holiday with my husbands family. There were so excited to see us, as they did not expect to see us so soon, since we just finished paying for the wedding 2 months ago. We had a wonderful time & I truly hated to leave. I had some type of seafood (shrimp, crab cakes, salmon, stuffed flounder, fried soft shell crab) & grits every.single.day ! LOL Man, I was in heaven.

As I reflect on the end of 2013, I am SO VERY GRATEFUL for all of His grace & blessings in my life, most importantly an awesome husband who treats me like a treasure. I am so happy to be standing in the middle of His will for my life. We had the most wonderful destination wedding surrounded by our family & closest friends. We made some beautiful memories to last a lifetime for sure.

Here is the link to our photographers website with some photos from our special day.....



Thoughts ?  Comments ? Questions ?


Beautifully Complex

Friday, November 15, 2013

We've Been Blogged !

The title of the email was " Coming Soon" I opened it up and to my delight found the following message.....





I have been trying my best to be patient with our vendors (photographer and videographer) since the wedding, because I don't want to rush them. We want them to take their time and do a great job right ? LOL 

But I was super excited to see this little clip on their website. It's pretty short but we are happy with it & can't wait to see the final product.




They were literally the LAST vendor we hired- about 4 weeks before the wedding & it seems as though we picked a great company. Honestly, we were running out of money in the budget & I had to put my sad eyes on the hubs to express how important this would be in the future & I am soooo glad I did ! I am very impressed with the editing, especially the vintage black & white effect in the courtyard. I am so glad that my hubby was willing to stretch the budget in the final weeks &  after seeing this clip, he admitted to me that he was glad I put the squeeze on him too ! LOL


Thoughts ?

Comments ?

Questions ?


Beautifully Complex