Friday, January 21, 2011

Just Me.....Randomly....The Love Edition

* Excuse me while I gush 

Wow, I can't believe we are already 21 days into the New Year. Time marches on........Speaking of a year, me and my beau,  Mr. Mixologist spent last weekend celebrating the one year anniversary of the day we met, January 17, 2010.  We have been together for a year, neither one of us went on any more dates after our first encounter. He actually canceled a date he had scheduled for the very day we met ! I admit that I had a couple of guys that I had recently met online that I ceased communication with very quickly after meeting him. We have pretty much been inseparable since then, we moved quickly into exclusivity and it's fun to look back when I first blogged about it here.  His former blog name was Eastcoast because he is from Baltimore by way of Charleston. He was raised in Baltimore and has a strong Baltimore/East Coast accent. I am happy to report, I am still feeling butterflies when I see his name come up on my cell phone and when I hear his voice :)

I had plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day !
I didn't get MLK Day off work, but I was off the Friday before so I still got my 3 day weekend in. Thursday night, Mr. Mixologist grilled some huge steaks for dinner. They were delicious ! We enjoyed them with a nice Malbec, a Callejon del Crimen Grand Reserva which was actually a gift from a friend. It was really good & I was glad to look it up online and find that it was not expensive at all. I love wine and am learning how to pair it with different types of food. I prefer whites, he really enjoys reds because they help with digestion. I am learning to enjoy them more and more.

Friday night, we had an official "date night" to celebrate. I received a beautiful card from my beau that made my heart smile. Since we both love seafood , we went to dinner at Fish City Grille in Vintage Park. I had some Oysters as well as some stuffed Shrimp. He had some type of Shrimp Pasta. The food was pretty good and moderately priced too.  We then headed to the movies to see "The Dilemma " with Vince Vaughn & Kevin James.  Even though Vince plays virtually. the.same.exact.character. in every movie, I still think he is hilarious! LOL

Serious Aficionado's in the house !

 Saturday night we had an Event to attend that Mr. Mixologist has been excited about for months. One of his favorite haunts, Serious Cigars hosts an annual Party each year for their preferred customers. Trust me when I say,we were in line to get into the party 30 minutes early ! LOL There were over 400 people there for sure. It was really nice. Since it was Founder's Day for my sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, Inc., I was rocking a pink sweater and my black boots.  Like most Cigar Bars, it is not that big, so they actually set up a huge tent in the parking lot and had lots of tables set up. We got there in time to get a table so we could sit with our friends. They had catered food and it was deelish, unlimited open bar with my favorite Vodka, and some pretty nice giveaways even though we didn't win anything big. It was sponsored by a couple of Cigar makers and it was really laid out nice. All of his Cigar buddies were there and it was a lot of fun. I got to meet some of the guys that I hear about all the time and their wives and girlfriends. I invited my girlfriend who we both  actually give the credit for me and Mr. Mixologist meeting last year, since she drug me out the house that night when I had every intention of chilling at home. Since we met at a Cigar Bar, it was apropos.  She was teasing us all night, telling us that she threw the party on our behalf ! LOL. We had a great time ! We left there and headed over to the Oz Bar to meet another friend, they had a band that was off the hook, playing everything from Prince, to George Benson, the Commodores, to Maze. We were getting our groove on seriously to the point that we were both sore from dancing that next day & it took us a minute to realize why we were sore ! LOL Life after 40 I swear.

See the beauty beyond the Cigar Smoke !

Sunday was a big football day and it was pretty cold, so we just recuperated from the weekend. Spent time relaxing together and reflecting. Neither of us felt like cooking so we just ordered in. I finally left my house later that night to go meet a girlfriend in from out of town for drinks. Overall it was a really chilled day and a nice end to a lovely weekend. I gave him a card in which I listed out every.single.thing. that he has exposed me to in the last year that has improved my life in some form or fashion.  It may sound cheesy, but I put everything from Shrimp and Grits, to Havarti Cheese, to Shiraz, to how to download movies/music, to his libations he mixes up, to pure castile soap ! LOL It was a really long list. I really just sat & thought about all of the little things he has shown me, shared with me and exposed me to, that have made my life better and more enjoyable. He is such a gentleman and makes me feel protected, supported and appreciated all the time. He is a wonderful listener & accepts me AS I AM. Now he is not as emotional or sentimental as I am of course, but let me tell you that he really appreciated that card, the look on his face as he read it said everything to me.

What happiness looks like :)

I warned you this was going to be a gushy post ! LOL If love is a drug, then I am definitely under the influence :)

What's going on random with you ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex 

Monday, January 10, 2011

Musical Monday

El DeBarge has been given a second chance despite battling drug addiction for so many years. What a blessing ! I am happy for his opportunity. I am really feeling his new CD. You can play it from beginning to end. I love the vibe.  The first single "Second Chance" got every one's attention with it's introspective lyrics. I am really  feeling his new single with Faith Evans, "Lay With You" so simple, but makes you feel good.

I actually am a much bigger fan of his brother Chico, who sings tenor. He had a couple of CD's several years ago that were very good. He too has battled drugs in his life but has also remained remarkably talented, despite abusing his body. He released a CD back in 2009 titled "Addiction" that has been VERY slept on in my opinion. I have been playing it for a while now but it is not on the radar at all.   I mean I have not seen much promotion at all & it seems they only released one single, "Oh No" when I can assure you, there are some slamming cuts on there.  With all the focus on his brother's comeback, it brought him to mind.  I had to hunt and hunt for the link below & was surprised I couldn't even find a video for the single.  My fear is that he may be continuing to battle his addiction,  and that may be why he just disappeared after releasing this gem of a CD & there has been no promotion. I really hope that is not the case.

I hate to see addiction rob people of their dreams and will continue to hope for their continued recovery.
I think good music makes the world go around. Hope you enjoy the videos.

What music/artists are you listening too ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Part II - Holiday Wrap Up

We arrived in Atlanta on Monday afternoon just in time for brief introductions changing of the clothes and packing of the vehicle so we could  get ready to tailgate. I had previously met his brother at a funeral around Thanksgiving but it was my first time meeting his wife and we hit it off real nice.  Mr. Mixologist went with all the guys in the vehicle to get the tent and stuff set up and I stayed with his SIL to get their kids situated with their grandmother and we rode the train to the Georgia Dome and met them there to set up the food.  They guy's were going to stay for the actual game, but she & I were just there  for the food,  fun and drinks !  And I had a blast. Falcons were playing the Saints that night & some people from Louisiana came through our area doing a Second Line Parade and it was hilarious with that and all of the antics, and line dancing & partying that went on. Although it was extremely cold that night, we had so much fun. I understand while tailgating is so addictive.

Brother,SIL, Me, Brother, Mr.Mixologist

Now I have been to Atlanta a few times before, but it has been many years ago & I was much younger. I hardly remembered any of the places that I went back then.  Mr. Mixologist lived there for 8 years after he moved from Baltimore and he loves the city. He couldn't wait to show me some of his old stomping grounds. I got to hang out with the guys for a couple of days because SIL had to go out of town. So when I tell you I went to so many Cigar Shops I lost count, you best believe it. LOL But it was fun. Non-stop hilarity. His brothers are fools & it has been along time since they all were together, so the stories I was hearing had me dying with laughter ! They were trying to "break me in" and one of  his brother's let me know that I was in fact,  being "vetted" LMAO !

Tuesday we went to the Little Five Points area to a restaurant called The Vortex, and the burgers were pretty good. The place inside was kind of interesting, pretty small so there was a bit of a line, but we ended up sitting at the bar which is where we needed to be anyway cause we were being rowdy ! The drinks were pretty good & we were just amped up having a great time, great laughs. We hung around in that area for a bit afterwards. There was a vintage clothing store that we spent some time in and a little coffee shop.

One day  for lunch we went to LaFonda Latina, which was sort of a hybrid of different types of Latin American Cuisine It's a fast casual type restaurant and the food was surprisingly pretty good. The guacamole was very fresh and the Maduros were really good too.  I got some Fish Tacos with Talapia that were quite tasty, but it was the 2 Pitchers of Mojitos we killed that I enjoyed the most ! LOL I was on vacation :)Later we ended up having Happy Hour at Houston's one of my favorite restaurants. It's always pretty consistent with a nice atmosphere no matter what city or state I visit. Our group sat at the bar & ended up having a female bartender who was actually from Houston.

The whole time I was in ATL my friends kept texting me asking me if I had seen NeNe, Sheree, or any of the RHOA ! LOL. I didn't see ANY celebrities the whole time I was there, but Wednesday we met some friends in from Chicago & Charlotte at Prime Restaurant for Sushi . They told us that we just missed Kim Kardashian & some other girl. I am not a fan but  I just knew I was going to see someone famous before I left and I still can't believe that didn't happen !

We spent quite a bit of time with my beau's brothers kids, which are adorable !  They have kids that are 15, 10, 4, 2 & they have a new baby boy who is 8 months old and boy did I get attached to him.  He is super juicy, just like I like lil' babies to be and we got to spend  a lot of time loving on him.  They are blessed to have her mother as a live in to care for their children. The kids are bright, and well mannered. Thursday night, SIL prepared a very nice steak dinner for us at the house. By then, we had been ripping and running and it was nice to just have a quiet dinner at the house, with conversation, laughter and just bonding with them.  We killed 3 bottles of Shiraz that night & when we got back to the Hotel, I slept like a baby.

Me and the handsome boys !

New Year's Eve
 NYE was our last night in ATL.  We went to the home of some of their friends for cocktails, and then stopped by a party that was being thrown by some New Orleans transplants, complete with a Second Line parade at the stroke of midnight. It was fun & kind of rowdy.  It wasn't really conducive to conversation so we decided to do something different. We wanted to find somewhere a little more subdued to spend our last night & they guys wanted to smoke Cigars, so we left the party just after Midnight and went to Cafe Circa. It was the perfect spot to end the week. The music was great, the wine was pretty good, the food was OK, the service was not the best, but the atmosphere was perfect. Very cozy, a little romantic but not overly so. After spending some time on the first level of the Lounge, we all went up to the rooftop patio so the guys could enjoy their cigars.  I think because it was our

final night together, we were all  feeling a little melancholy, since it was the dawn of a New Year we were all feeling quite reflective. It was a wonderful evening. I look forward to coming back to Atlanta when it's warm because there is so much that we didn't get to do. I think it's a cool city with a lot to offer.

The "small world story"  I mentioned in my last post actually occurred when we had been in Atlanta less than 24 hours.  After hitting 2 Cigar Shops to buy sticks & compare prices, we decided to lounge and smoke at the Highland Cigar Bar. We had just gotten seated with some drinks. Mr. Mixologist & I were seated in chairs and both of his brothers were sitting on the sofa across from us. I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to look up & see my ex-husband standing there. We shook hands and we were polite and cordial, and the encounter was very brief, but it was completely awkward and I was surprised to see him ! Although, I knew he moved to Atlanta a few years ago, after our divorce, honestly I thought  ATL was a bigger city than that ! Mr. Mixologist was very cool & considerate about it, and kept making sure I was comfortable and asked if I wanted to leave, but I was fine. Later in the week, I was subjected to jokes from his brother's about it & we all had a good laugh about it. Life is unpredictable.

Anyway, we had a wonderful vacation and it was hard getting back on the grind after having so much time off. I truly enjoyed travelling with my beau and am already getting excited about the next trip !

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex  

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Home from the Holidays

There is no place like home as Dorothy would say. Nothing like your own bed, your own sheets and your own space.  I spent Sunday recuperating from the whirlwind. It was a great trip. We put 2300 miles on that rental car company's Toyota in 10 days & when we turned it in yesterday morning, I know it needed an oil change bad !

Mr. Mixologist drives like a champ and he does not believe in wasting time getting somewhere. I initially wasn't so enthused about driving when we initially planned the trip, but he explained that he wanted the flexibility that comes with driving, and since we would have so much luggage & gifts it would have been cost prohibitive to fly. He also wanted to split the trip between Charleston & Atlanta so that I could spend time getting to know his brother and his wife & kids as well. He doesn't mind driving, in fact, he prefers it & since I don't have to do much more than play DJ, read, and ride, who am I to complain ? After all those people got stuck at the airport for days and days, I was reminded of the uncertainty that comes with flying.

We had a wonderful time in Charleston. It is a very beautiful city, rich in history. We toured the homes along the Battery which is right on the water. There is a nice park with great views.

The weather was perfect for the first few days we were there I definitely can't wait to come back when it is warmer and at a less hectic time than on a major holiday.

We did some last minute Christmas shopping in the Marketplace District and we got the hookup on some Pecan Brittle from this place, because the lady behind the counter was feeling the Christmas Spirit.

Of course, we can't go anywhere without stopping at a Cigar spot. Mr. Mixologist took me to a place he  always comes to whenever  he comes home, where they actually hand roll them in the store.  He was in pure heaven !  Those are tobacco leaves hanging from the ceiling.

One of the highlights for me was tasting the local fare of course. I had to get some fresh seafood and the Charleston Crab House did not disappoint.  The drinks were on point ! I had a Pomegranate Margarita that had me leaning & then we shared the most delicious Crab Dip I have ever tasted. My entree was grilled Mahi Mahi, Shrimp and Scallops. The Red Rice is a Low Country favorite and I must say it is very tasty. Different from the Dirty Rice I am accustomed to, but I truly enjoyed it. Mr. Mixologist's mom told me how to make it, as it is one of his favorites, so I will be trying that out soon, so I can get it down.

Christmas with my beau's family was great. His mom actually had a stocking on the fireplace for me too (green-my favorite color) with some lotion, a scented candle, some candy, and a manicure set. We opened gifts at his parents house before going to his Grandparents for the big dinner. I got some clothes, a neck massager,  a beautiful purse and........ .DRUMROLL ..... a Nook Color ! I was so happy. Mr. Mixologist looooved his engraved Humidor and of course I had to get him some sticks to go in it ! LOL I could tell he was surprised and appreciative.

After opening gifts we got dressed and headed over to Edisto Island, the  place where he spent summers as a child with his Grandparents. It is located off the coast.  We had to go over a bridge to get there, and surprisingly, there is no cell service at all on the Island ! When I called my nieces that morning, they were still sleeping so I didn't get to talk to them until very late Christmas day, after we got back to Charleston because Mr. Mixologist has a very large family and there were soooo many people he wanted me to meet that day.

It is always good to get to see the places, things you have only heard about and it gives you more perspective on a person when you see where they have come from. It was a wonderful day. Mr. Mixologist's family was very happy to have me there, they were very welcoming and they loved the goodies that I baked and brought for them ! The day after Christmas, I was sitting in the kitchen with him and his mom, when one of his Aunt's called. You know how you can hear someone who talks loud on the phone ? She was basically telling him, that the family verdict was in and she was calling to deliver the news to him that I am a Keeper and that he needs to make sure to not let me get away ! LOL The look on his face was priceless ! He was smiling, and blushing, and trying to play it cool and be respectful to her all at the same time.

I was a bit nervous about making a good impression  with the family & really just hoping to connect with them, and it turned out lovely. His little 7 yr old  niece did not want me to leave ! His dad even invited me to the family reunion in July, right in front of everyone ! LOL I really  hope to be there.  After five days in Charleston, we headed Northwest  to Atlanta to meet Mr. Mixologist's brother & his family.  I will blog about that in my next post. There is an unexpected "small world" story to tell as stay tuned.......until the next time.

Thoughts ? Comments? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex