Friday, July 22, 2011

Sweet Blog Love

I love Bloggers I really do. I have met some of the coolest people through the Internet and social media. I am so thankful for the love and friendship I have found.

I came home late last night from working a long and busy day, to find a package in my mailbox from one of my favorite Bloggers at THREE FOOD WORDS !  I had invited her to my Birthday Dinner last week but she had to decline due to a Catering Event.

When I saw the "perishable" sticker on the box, I knew I was in for something good. I quickly opened the package to find some wonderful homemade cookies. Peanut Butter, Chocolate Chip and one of my favorites, Snicker doodles.  I am not embarrassed to tell that you that as of this morning I have tasted all three LOL!  I cannot decide which ones are the best, lets just say that they are all !

Homemade Goodness & Personal Note

I have been really excited to see many of my favorite Bloggers, write their dreams down and make them happen all over the country ! It is very inspiring and I love to see good people succeed and find their own way in this thing we call life. It is a blessing.

Love the Concept of the Name !

Tarsha is doing her thing & I am super excited for her. She mentioned on that she had ordered her business cards & already she has had some Catering Gigs and is getting referrals too.  "Southern Girl City Swirl" A Boutique Catering Company. I think the name is perfect and befitting to her personal style and grace.

I have been a guest in her home and have indulged in her culinary talents, so I can tell you first hand, she throws down LOL ! I have also made several recipes from her blog that I have really enjoyed. I just wanted to thank her for her thoughtfulness for my birthday and spread some Blog love. Make sure to check out her blog THREE FOOD WORDS.

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex 

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Birthday Randoms

Last Thursday on the 14th I had a Birthday and the celebrating continued throughout the weekend.I only worked half a day. My co-workers took me to the Cheesecake Factory for lunch and since I was off Friday I left feeling real good & ready for an extended weekend of partying.

I received some nice thoughtful gifts, flowers, wine, gift cards to my favorite places, and some cold hard cash ! LOL Mr. Mixologist took me to a nice quiet  dinner at Ibiza Food & Wine Bar.  The food & wine was wonderful. They bring out a huge silver Urn filled with Cotton Candy and a Sparkler for Birthdays. It was a nice surprise.

Happy Birthday to Me !
After dinner, he surprised me and took me to a lounge I had never been to before, Nouveau Antique Art Bar. This place is really unique. They literally have over 200 Antique Tiffany Lamps on the Ceiling and all of the Tables and Bars throughout the lounge with lots of Antique furniture. It sets a very nice romantic mood. The music and drinks were pretty good too.

This picture does not capture how pretty the lights are.
Friday I spent time pampering myself, shopping and then met my Beau for lunch at a new Cuban spot he found. He is always good for finding a great hole in the wall ethnic Restaurant with good food on the cheap. Later that afternoon My BFF unexpectedly called to say she had a babysitter for Friday night & wanted to move around, so me, her and Mr. Mixologist spent the entire evening #birthdaybarhopping ! We went to LaCarafe, Warrens Pub, Khon's and ended up at Cafe 4212 listening to Jazz Guitarist Joe Carmouche. My Beau was the designated driver & we had a blast. We hit a 24 Hour Mediterranean spot, Theo's at the end of the night for some Gyros before calling it a night. We did that ! LOL

Me & my BFF

My Beau is serious about his Cigars. LOL

I was tired, but I had to be a soldier Saturday morning because I had an early appointment at the Hair Salon and then had to make a Birthday Cake for the 13 yr old daughter of my BFF whose party was the following day. As soon as I finished baking, I took a loooong nap because we had to hit the streets to continue celebrating Saturday night ! We stopped by a Birthday Happy Hour for one of my  FB/Twitter Friends at Benjy's before heading to meet several of our friends for my Birthday Dinner at Grappino di Nino.

Ann- Fellow Birthday Girl. Cancers are Cool !

Great Friends !

A friend smelling the wine Bouquet.

Our group sat on the Patio, under the Pagoda. They had live entertainment and the food, wine, company and conversation were all wonderful !  I didn't get to see any of my family for my birthday this year, but I am truly blessed to have some great friends and lots of love in my life. It was a wonderful Birthday !

Me and my friend Blogger TiffanyinHouston

T Mack & M2 had TWO other Birthday events the same day & still came thru to spend time with me ! I was so appreciative.  See M2 in the background trying to mess up our picture ! LOL

Ken & Tammie
Mr. Mixologist picked this spot for the gathering and it was a winner as usual. He has really great taste & seems to really know what I like.  The wines he picked for the table were wonderful and my guests all seemed to have enjoyed themselves.

My Beau & My BFF

Toxie & Sharlene

Chris & Dave

Me & Denise-The wine was kicking in at this point. LOL

Sunday we went to yet another Birthday Party for my friends daughter. I had to bring a cake, so there was no backing out ! LOL But I was worn out by then. It was a Barbecue & we had a good time, when I hit that bed Sunday night I was down for the count. I was tired but it was a good tired. I went to sleep smiling !

Thanks for the wonderful Birthday Weekend Babe !

Thoughts ?  Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Tagged You're It !

Remember when we used to play Tag as children ? This little Tag is going round and round the Bloggerverse so I thought I would chime in. The rules are:  list 7 Random Things about Yourself and answer some questions. I think Tags are  fun & might spark some conversations or at least a Blog Post, so enjoy !

7   Random Things about Me
  1. I cannot sleep with the TV on, if I do, I incorporate dialogue from what is on TV into my dreams and the results are often very crazy ! This is usually the only time that I dream & I usually wake up feeling like I haven't slept at all. Somehow music does not have the same effect on me though. 
  2. I did not ride on a plane until was 23 years old. Up until that point, I had only travelled to the the 3 states that immediately bordered the state that I was born in.
  3. Since then I have managed to travel to 40 US States, Canada, Jamaica, The Netherlands & Belgium. The 10 states I have not been to are: Vermont, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Kentucky, Rhode Island, Hawaii, Maine, Massachusetts, West Virginia and New Hampshire.     
  4. I never wear colored polish on my nails or my toes. I do get French Pedicures on my feet regularly but I only use clear coat on my nails. This has been for the last 10 years for sure. I don't really know why because I used to wear colored nail polish all the time. 
  5. Do you remember Hair-Rep ? It used to be in a small black tin can with a red top that you used to have to remove with a butter knife. When I was about 7 yrs old, one of my older male cousins threw one at me because I was standing in front of my grandmother's console TV trying to get his attention. I didn't think he was going to throw the can AND he thought I was going to move. The result was 8 stitches in my forehead. I still have the scar if you look closely.  My cousin wished he had hit the TV instead of me when my Grandmother got through with him !
  6. I am a true Cancer. Meaning that I fit about 90% of the female personality traits you find when you look it up on the Zodiac charts. It is amazing how accurate some of that stuff can be.
  7. I eat sugar on my Grits. Let me explain. I grew up in the Midwest. We ate Grits, like we ate Cream of Wheat & Oatmeal which meant lots of sugar & butter in it. My Beau whose roots are in South Carolina thinks this is blasphemy ! LOL In fact, I was instructed to not let any of his family see me do this when he took me home to visit ! LOL

Favorite Color: Green

Favorite Song: Being the music connoisseur that I am, this is impossible for me but I am currently feeling this new found song " Yes" by Euge Groove featuring Dax Reynosa !

Favorite Dessert : Key Lime Pie or Cheesecake

Biggest Pet Peeve:  People who drive slow in the left lane & then speed up when you attempt to pass them......Control freaks !LOL

When you are upset, you: I shed tears. I cannot control it, if I am really agitated, angry, hurt, sad, afraid, frustrated no matter the reaction is tears.

Your favorite pet: I have none & I am actually very afraid of dogs due to a childhood trauma.

Black or White: Black. My first two new cars off the showroom floor were black & black makes me look thin !

Biggest Fear: Leaving this world feeling unfulfilled. Being forgotten.

Best Feature: My eyes & my lips

Everyday Attitude: Live your life as if He is watching.....because He is !

What is perfection: Having a peaceful home that you always want to come to.

Guilty Pleasures: Current Obsession Blue Bell Banana Pudding Ice Cream. It's like Crack! LOL

Consider yourself Tagged if If you have a blog & haven't done this yet ! Or if you are a commenter or just a lurker you have my permission to go for it in my comments.

Beautifully Complex

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

True Essence

I am back and still recovering from yet another memorable Essence Festival. My body is still aching a bit but it was all worth it. This was my first Essence Fest with Mr. Mixologist, but he is sold on it & we are already planning next years trip. He has some of his cousins on board already & I have some people in my circle who have never been before but are planning to go with us next year. Like I explained to him, many people will talk about going, but not every body will actually make the trip when it's time to make it happen. I have a core group of friends that have been coming for the last 12 years & I cannot imagine doing anything else on the July 4th Weekend.

We got to NOLA, hit the streets to grab some food, adult beverages, and of  course hit a Cigar Bar & get ready for the show. Me & my Beau mixed it up this year & decided to see a different side of New Orleans, so we picked only one Essence Concert which was Friday night  so we could have time exploring the city. The show was wonderful indeed. Dwele and Mint Condition were in the Super Lounges along with Tank. I missed Fantasia on the Main stage because I was listening to Mint Condition but they never disappoint & put on an awesome show. We then saw Jennifer Hudson, Charlie Wilson and Usher on the Main Stage.  Uncle Charlie SHUT IT DOWN. Seriously, I felt sorry for Usher having to come behind that, I mean there was just no way he was going to outdo him. This was my 3rd time seeing Charlie Wilson perform at Essence and his show just constantly gets better. You can tell he loves performing and did not want to leave the stage ! LOL

My Beau's fave spot

Dwele doing his thing !

Saturday morning Hennessy sponsored a brunch at our Hotel as they have for the past 4 years. I was sitting there tweeting, enjoying my food &some Hennessy concoction, when this guy with a camera accompanied by a guy with a boom mike walk up and say, "What are you doing?" I say, " Umm tweeting about this event ?" He then says, I need to get you to say that for me on camera & I proceed to repeat that into the mike & he filmed me and also the actual tweet! I tried to copy my tweet to the blog, but that's a little too technical for me LOL.  Supposedly I am going to be up on their site this week but I haven't been able to find it yet. And that, ladies and gentleman was my Essence Film Debut ! LOL

Enjoying Brunch

 Next up my Soror was hosting a Day Party, with some Belly Dancers, Saxophonist Chris "Soul" Mitchell and up and coming singer Andre Pitre, who just  happens to be Essence Single Man of the Month (May 2011). All of the performers are people that we actually know personally, so we came out to support them & the party was a success despite my friend being so nervous in the previous weeks!

Me & My Soror
Belly Dancers making moves

Soul Mitchell playing his horn !
  Andre Serenading the ladies !

Mr. Mixologist enjoyed himself tremendously. I knew that he had been before so I really didn't get it, but he explained that he came to Essence in the past he was a younger guy, hanging with the fellas, girl watchin' LOL & hanging out on Bourbon Street, doing the meat market thing. That was pretty much it. He had never attended any of the Concerts, any of the seminars or Convention Center activities, never shopped for Art, or attended any of the private parties. He told me that he saw a whole other side of things this year & is very excited to have some of his friends and family join us next year.

Me and my love :)

We spent the rest of the day Saturday at the Convention Center, shopping, and of course eating and drinking ! LOL I got some very nice jewelry, bought a couple of dresses and we both bought new hats. I was so excited to head to the Jazz Playhouse to get to meet one of my favorite writers/bloggers Demetria Lucas, also known as A Belle in Brooklyn. She read from the book, and I actually got a chance to sit and chat with her for a bit and of course get my book signed ! She was very beautiful and gracious. Also while at the event, I met some wonderful bloggers/twitter friends at the event from LA, Memphis & New Orleans !

Leaving our Hotel for  Cocktails with Belle !

Me & Demetria Lucas/ Belle in Brooklyn
 Saturday night Mr. Mixologist took me to a lovely Spanish Restaurant called Lola's with the most awesome food.! We never go anywhere without Yelping it and the reviews were on point. From the Service to the Crab Appetizer, to the Paella, to the Sangria, it was one for the books & we will definitely return. Paella is a rice dish with a bunch of seafood including shrimp, fish, mussels, calamari, We got the combination to share which also included sausage along with vegetables. It was heaven on a plate ! 

Spanish Paella

This crab dip was so fresh !
On our way to the restaurant, our Cab driver actually got lost, and took numerous wrong turns, which actually was a blessing in disguise and ultimately led us to the most valuable discovery of the trip.  We discovered an area of New Orleans called the Frenchman District which neither of us had ever been to before. After dinner we had a different cab driver take us back to that area & boy did we have a good time ! Some of the most talented local bands and singers ever & so many genres of music. We listed to a Reggae Band, some wonderful  Jazz Singers and Blues that first night. We had such a great time that we came back AGAIN on Sunday night & told some friends about it & they showed up too. The second night we listened to a Cuban Band that had everybody on the floor doing Salsa & Merengue ! 

Normally when you come to New Orleans you do the typical Bourbon Street for entertainment, but it was a nice change of pace to enjoy something very different and we just happened upon it. In my 12 years of coming to Essence, I never even knew this area existed, so it's nice to make a new discovery. So make sure when you visit, to make it on over there. It's located near the intersection of Decatur and Esplanade east of the French Quarter area. By mixing it up this year, I really got the true essence of New Orleans culture, not just the commercial aspect and we made some very nice memories ! 

Jazz Band on Frenchman Street
Reggae Band on Frenchman St.
On Monday afternoon when we checked out we met some friends for lunch, and did some more shopping. Of course Mr. Mixologist had to make one last stop at Don Leoncio Cigars. LOL I got some Pralines, and Beignets of course and had my last Hurricane and a Po Boy before we reluctantly headed home. It was a wonderful trip and I am already excited about next year !

Have you ever been to Essence Festival ?

How was your 4th of July ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex