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


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

… 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 !


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 ! 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

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Our Wedding Second Line !

One of the most exciting elements of our wedding was something that we had both been very much looking forward to..... a Second Line. This is a New Orleans Wedding Tradition & we always knew we would have one from the day we decided where we were going to get married.

My husband and I are music fanatics. He is a huge jazz fan, more-so than me, and has exposed me to so much music that is new to me since we have been together. The love of music is one of many things we have in common. I have been traveling to New Orleans, at least once a year for the last 15 years and since we have been together, we have been numerous times. We love the city, the culture, the food, the music, the people. We just can't get enough of it.

Our wedding was 100% destination. None of our wedding guests live in New Orleans & everyone had to travel there. Now we did have about 5 guests that are Louisiana natives, but the large majority of our 130 guests just weren't  aware of this tradition.  They came from all over.... Charleston, New York, Baltimore, Atlanta, Oklahoma & Texas. We decided months ago to keep it a surprise. What that meant was that we did not tell anyone other than the wedding party & they did not find out until the day before the wedding at the rehearsal. We didn't put anything about it on our wedding website & I knew that waiting until the day before the wedding was the best time to tell the bridal party was the right call. I did tell my sister about 2 months before, but only her & I swore her to secrecy. I still remember the look on their faces at rehearsal when our wedding planner explained it to them & what was going to happen. Everyone was so excited ! We told them that people in the Quarter would join in the parade, take pictures, etc, but honestly, they were not ready for response we got on wedding day LOL.

Our ceremony & reception were both in the heart of the  French Quarter just six blocks apart. After the ceremony the planner passed out flip flops for the ladies  and our monogrammed handkerchiefs to waive in the air. The hubby & I grabbed our umbrellas, white for me and black for him. When the Smitty Dee's Brass Band showed up it was on ! They started out with one of our favorite Second Line songs " Feel Like Funkin' it Up" . If you have ever watched the HBO show Treme, then you are probably familiar with the song. Here it is on You Tube...

When I tell you we had a ball, we did that !  I wish I could post the videos my cousin put on his facebook page to the blog, but because they are not public, FB won't let me embed the link here.  Me & my hubby were jamming in the French Quarter, ya heard ? LOL When we arrived at the reception venue, they closed it out with " Do What You Wanna" another favorite Second Line song of ours. It was perfection ! Our families and friends were sooooo hyped & excited, having a ball, while people on the street were taking their pictures, filming them & even joining in the parade & dancing in the street with us !  We had a police escort and the traffic was blocked off just for us. This is just what they do in New Orleans.

**** Small world story
About 5 days after the wedding my husbands dad gets a call from a friend who lives in Atlanta, who he doesn't talk to often(My husbands dad & aunts went to college there & have lifelong friends who live there). Someone had filmed footage from our Second Line Parade & was showing it to some friends, just to say, " Hey we were in New Orleans this weekend, look at this cool wedding parade we saw" type of thing.  The person that they were showing the video to (a friend of my husbands dad) recognized my husbands Aunt's who were dancing in the second line & called his dad to say, hey did someone in your family get married in New Orleans, I saw your sisters on a video & his dad said yes, my son just last weekend. LOL .....

Then a week after that one of my bridesmaids sends me this link that her husband found on You Tube, I have no idea HOW he found this but it is random footage filmed by an unknown person of OUR ACTUAL WEDDING SECOND LINE ! It seems as though they were filming it from their car.

The clip is very short, but if you look closely you can see me and my husband coming around the corner, jammin ! You can hear our guests screaming ! LOL  I love it. This just made me smile & relive the moment all over again.

I love NOLA !

Thoughts ?

Comments ?

Questions ?

Beautifully Complex