Friday, November 30, 2012

So Very Thankful

Another epic holiday has passed. We had a wonderful time, safe travel to and from and wonderful times with the people who mean the most. Family is such a blessing. I had some conversations with my cousins over the holiday and just did some personal reflecting in general. Life, love and family should never be taken for granted. There are so many people that don't have these things in their life, so truly it should be treasured.

We took off a day earlier so I got to spend all day Wednesday in the kitchen cooking and prepping for the Holiday with my Mom which is a complete blessing after her health challenges from earlier this year. I got to hang out with my cousin from California, which was an unexpected treat also. My parents got a new dog, which they were reluctant to tell me about since they know I am really afraid of them. LOL They were jokingly calling her my new little sister. LOL I will admit that she is a very gentle little dog and after about 48 hours of anxiety, I was fine. I am still not that comfy holding or touching her, but everyone seems to love her.  My nieces and nephews are fascinated with her and it is fun to watch them bonding with the dog.  I like the fact that she seems to helping my mom with a routine and something for her to focus on since she is retired now.

We got up early Thanksgiving morning for our annual family tradition of running the Turkey Trot. I did the 1 Mile Fun Run this year because my ankle would not let me be great. LOL My 5 yr old nephew, smoked me like nobody's business. He is quite the little athlete.  My 11 yr old niece shut everybody down in the 5K, we were very proud of her. She has been playing basketball this year and her stamina was through the roof ! She did a great job.
Early morning stretching for the race !

Heading downtown for the Turkey Trot

My parents even brought their new dog  to watch LOL 

Go girls !

My BIL & Niece after she made us all proud 

Me & my little track star niece

My cousin reppin' the OKC Thunder LOL 

Later that day, my Aunt & Uncle hosted in their home as always & we had a great time, eating, watching football, doing Karaoke & of course the annual Taboo Challenge of the men vs. the women. We spanked them of course ! LOL Even my dad got in on the Karaoke & had us rolling singing " Mustang Sally " LOL ! And I don't know why my nieces & nephews were shocked that I know the words to "Hot Cheeto's & Taki's" ???? I love that video on You.Tube. Those little kids are the cutest and can rap too.

Me & my cousin from Cali ! 

The famous "Kiddie Table X 2  " LOL  !

My my my  they are growing like weeds !

Hot Cheetos & Taki's !!!! LOL 

The boys wanted to get in on it too. 

My sister & BIL singing a duet !

Daddy had to get him some. 

My cousins doing Bonnie & Clyde by Bey & Jay Z !

My two favorite guys :) 

On Friday, the day after we did absolutely no shopping. I am not into the Black Friday Madness. We took the kids to an indoor Trampoline Park which was really fun for them & cool to watch. I was sore from the run, so I could not indulge but it looked like a blast. The kids had an impromptu Pizza Party that night & the grown cousins went out for dinner and drinks at Republic Gastropub which was a cool little spot.

Oh to be a kid on a trampoline again ! 

No more Turkey ! Let's have Pizza ! 

This little girl is a handful, best believe ! 

Love these little girls .......

Me and my love at dinner :)

Saturday morning. Me & Mr. Mixologist had a breakfast cook off challenge. We made two different versions of Shrimp n' grits for the family. They thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't have to tell you that he won the challenge, but everyone said that both were really good. I just realized while writing this blog, that I took no pictures of what we cooked. I guess I was too busy cooking.

Saturday afternoon, we went to a Cigar Lounge and watched football.  Mr. Mixologist  got my cousin from California to try a Cigar & she is hooked, LOL. She can't wait to go back to LA & find a local spot to hang out at.
Puffin it up ! 

When we finally got tired of all the Turkey we made our way to our favorite Mexican spot when at home, Ted's Cafe Esconditio. I really love their food.

My BIL & Sister

My sister & cousin 

I hated to have to get back to reality, but we did. It was a wonderful holiday. I can't believe how quickly this year has flown by.  Not it's time to start shopping for the Christmas tree ! Dang.

How was your Thanksgiving ?  

Do you have any holiday traditions ?

Who traveled the furthest to celebrate ?

Thoughts ? Commnts ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex 

Monday, November 19, 2012

Let's Catch Up

Two weeks ago, I went to have drinks with a couple of friends. One of my girlfriends is getting married next year and we went to the place where she is having her wedding and reception, so that we could check it out and I fell totally and completely in love. Brennar's on the Bayou is like an oasis in the center of the city. This place has such  great ambiance, a very good Happy Hour and really nice patio that overlooks Buffalo Bayou. It is the perfect place to have a cozy date night and I can't wait to surprise my love with this place.  I didn't take any photos of the place or my food that night, but I had the Crab cakes and they were phenomenal ! I am so looking forward to my friends wedding at this place next Spring.

Brennars On the Bayou 

That same weekend, Mr. Mixologist and I had a date night. We went to see "Flight" with Denzel and really enjoyed it. I must say since I have first hand knowledge of real alcoholics in my immediate family , his performance rang so true to me. Don Cheadle had a strong performance as usual. He is such a versatile actor and should be more famous than he is. Afterwards we  had dinner at Liberty Kitchen which is a cool little restaurant in the Heights. We really enjoyed ourselves.

This past weekend was fun. Saturday we had an early dinner cooked by my love. Surf and Turf was on the menu along with my latest addiction this lovely red blend called Cupcake Red Velvet

Deelish !

Luscious !

Later Saturday night, I headed to a Birthday party for a friend at this placed called Inner Me Studios for a Pole Dancing/Chair Dancing Class. This is all the rave these days and it was pretty fun, they let us bring in our own drinks, finger foods, and cupcakes, so we got to play around on the poles before the instruction started and then we actually learned a seductive chair routine. Let me tell the truth right here. I have mad respect for Strippers because that pole work is no joke LOL. The upper body strength needed is beyond amazing.  The funny thing about it was our instructor was a very "obviously" gay male...and he was talented. I had to give him his props ! It was a fun time, lots of laughs and I truly was doing the most, to the point that Sunday night my thighs and at first I couldn't figure out why LOL.

Skills and Talents

Yes that is "money" from making it rain LOL

Sunday morning, we went to early church service and then breakfast at my favorite Ol' School Breakfast spot, Franks Grille. I love their pancakes.  Mr. Mixologist is a political junkie and a history buff so he has been patiently waiting on the movie "Lincoln". We caught an early show so he wouldn't miss too much of his Sunday Football. It was a very good movie. That Daniel Day-Lewis had a remarkable performance.  His transformation into President Lincoln was just amazing to me. Later on Sunday, I took an epic afternoon nap while he watched his games.

Wow. Can you believe the Holidays are upon us ? This will be a short week for us. We leave on Tuesday night  to travel for the Holiday. Can't wait to see the family & have some fun cooking in the kitchen with my mom, nieces and cousins. I will be "walking" the Turkey Trot this year as,  my ankle is still feeling a little bit tender in some places. I am truly starting to feel my age creeping up on me it seems. But I am blessed and very thankful to be here for yet another year.

What has been going on with you ?    What are you Holiday plans ?   Are you cooking anything special?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Bridesmaid Bonding Weekend ** Photo Heavy Post***

A few weeks ago, all of my closest girlfriends, my sister, my nieces and my mom, traveled to Houston for an extended weekend of dress shopping, good food, cocktails & just good old fashioned girl time. We planned this so that my friends could get reacquainted with one another and get excited and prepared for the wedding next year and it was a really wonderful time.  My nieces were on Fall Break and were so excited about coming to Houston and searching for the wedding dresses, especially mine.

Mr. Mixogolist was such a trooper despite being inundated by a bunch of women for.four.whole.days ! LOL  He got lots of time to hang at the Cigar Lounge while we were in the streets, but when we were here, he was basically at my beck and call. He cooked unlimited amounts of his world famous creamy grits, grilled steaks and of course mixed his famous libations on request !

Thursday night, I had dinner ready when they arrived &  afterwards we decided to hit the streets and take my mom to a Jazz Club Phil & Dereks to see Houston's own Kyle Turner a wonderful saxophonist, you guys already know I am a big fan so I turned my mom on to his music a while ago. My mom had a complete blast, was acting like a complete groupie,  got to meet all the musicians after the show , took pictures with Kyle & just totally enjoyed herself. It was so much fun experiencing this with her.

Me and my dear friend and Bridesmaid

Me & my mom after the Jazz set 
My Mama the Groupie ! LOL

On Friday, we spent the day focusing on my dress. We started the day with a bit of a challenge as the first Bridal Salon,  Ventura's would not let my nieces, who are 10 & 11 come to the area, where I would be trying on dresses. The rule is no children under 12 in the Brides area. They had to sit outside in another area & couldn't see what I was trying on. I was not aware of this when I made the appointment. Savannah started first with a complete melt down, tears were flowing & then Olivia chimed in & I was heartbroken. They both are very tall & either of them could have passed for 12 and had I known honestly, I would have just lied about their ages. LOL But after the first dress, the lady who was helping us relented and since there were not a lot of customers at the time, she let them come to the back to sit & they were so excited ! I actually found a dress here that is in my top 3 that was very reasonably priced. 

Post "Water Works" 

So, I won't bore you with a bunch of pics of me in multiple dresses in this blog post,  plus I actually do want to save some elements of surprise until the wedding next year but I did have a great experience with my friends and my family at both Impressions Bridal and Weddings by Debbie. Although, I was off my crutches by then, I was still hobbling around with that boot on my ankle and the Bridal Consultants were so very helpful and patient with me. I narrowed it down to my top 3 and will make the final decision on my own to "say yes to the dress", probably by January. It was just a fun experience & I enjoyed it way more than I expected to. I will share one aspect here though. I had already fallen in love with the idea of wearing a " Birdcage Veil " based on all the photos I had already found on Pint.erest and trying them on just sealed the deal for me. 
Take a look.....

Going for a Vintage Look.......

Friday night we chilled at the house, and Mr. Mixologist worked his grill magic & we just caught up with each other, shared laughs & talked wedding stuff. Everyone in the wedding is very excited about a New Orleans wedding next year and of course everyone is trying to lose weight including me ! LOL 

Saturday we focused on the Bridesmaids dresses and the dresses for my nieces and my God daughter. Luckily we only had to go to two stores as we had great luck quickly finding dresses that everyone liked, that were flattering on everyone and did not break the bank ! #winning.  I was so relieved to get so many things marked off of my wedding planning checklist.  We cut the day short  & headed home to get ready to go out to dinner Saturday night at Brio Tuscan Grille in City Centre. As you will recall, I had been on crutches the week before so there were a few things that I did not get to do that I planned to do, but I was still able to put some baskets together for all the girls and my mom, to thank them for standing for me in my wedding. I got them some tote bags with their names embroidered on them with some scented lotion, and body scrub. I wrote each one of them a letter telling them why I love them and thanking them for their friendship & presented it to them at the dinner. It was a pretty emotional night in a good way. I am so completely blessed to have so much love around me. It was fun to take my Mom to see this area called City Centre since it's where we had our Engagement Party earlier this year. She really had a good time being out and about in Houston.  After dinner we walked around in the area, got cupcakes from Sweet and then walked around some more to walk off some calories. ! LOL

My best friend & God daughter 

My sister, niece & Mom

Two of my Bridesmaids 

Lifelong friends ! 

Ready for Dinner 

Sunday was the day my people had to leave but before they could go, we had a nice little Jazz Brunch at the home of my Bridesmaid that lives in Houston. This really wasn't a pre-wedding event, so to speak,  I just wanted an excuse to throw a little Soiree and invite a bunch of my friends from here to hang out with my friends and family from home & you know I love to party !!! We had quite the spread & Mr. Mixologist even got up very early to fry chicken for Chicken n' Waffles. We also had Quiche, Ham, Bacon, Hash Browns, Croissants, Seafood Pasta, Dirty Rice, Gooey Butter Coffee Cake, Monkey Bread, Fresh Fruit, Mimosa's, a secret concoction called "Brunch Punch" and Mr. Mixologist was shaking up his "Purple Haze" libation on demand, LOL. 

My dear friend, Soror and Bridesmaid 

Lets do Brunch ! 

My nieces and God daughter 

Mr Mixologist in action 

Hmmmm too many choices !

Great friends ! 

Me and my favorite girls
They love him almost as much as I do  !
My friends and family left several hours AFTER they had planned to because we had such a great time at the Brunch. LOL  Luckily my sister, who was the driver had the good sense to take off work Monday to recuperate cause it was a late night of driving for her. I won't lie, I definitely shed tears when they had to go. It was such a great time of bonding, reminiscing, and just enjoying each others company, these are my closest friends some that I have known since I was 13 years old & we have been through so much together. It was just a wonderful time of coming together and my heart is still so full, when I look through these photos and the wonderful memories we made.

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?   

Beautifully Complex

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Saturday Matinee - Internet Series

If you find yourself spending a lazy day at home in need of some quality entertainment, the internet is full of quality shows or "webisodes" as they are called. Of course by now many people know about Issa Ray the Awkward Black Girl. I am so totally excited about her success.  Now it seems that her success has spawned awareness of a lot of young people who are also taking control of their own creativity and using the internet and social media to create and increase the audience for their work. I love discovering a  new series that I can watch at my leisure and convenience. Some of them have room to improve and have gotten much better along the way, but most of them are pretty good considering the obvious minimal budget and the fact that a lot of the actors are relatively inexperienced. The content is fresh, interesting, realistic and entertaining. There is also a lot of great new music used in some of the theme songs too. The "BlackandSexy" Channel on You Tub.e is a great place to discover lots of new shows.

Here are the links to some of the shows that I enjoy. I hope you find them entertaining.

"Roomieloverfriends" - This is a hilarious take on how confusing men and women can be when dealing with each other. You definitely need to start from the beginning on this one to know what is going on.

"The Number" - Issa made an appearance in Season One & I am glad to see the new episode that posted just this week. You might want to watch the all of the first seasons episode to get up to speed.

"the Unwritten Rules" - this is a funny take on being a minority in the workplace. The young actress has gotten a lot better as the episodes have progressed, but the subject matter is funny & so true. This is the link of one of my favorite episodes. It is slightly corny but there is some truth in it.

"The Couple"- This is really like following some people around that you actually know. The dynamics are so realistic to me. I would not be surprised if these actors were really together. They seem so comfortable and familiar with one another.  Evidently they had a campaign to raise money and they are going to film a movie now based on the series.

What internet shows do you watch ?  

Any links that you'd like to share ?

What do you think about the content and quality of the latest web based shows ?

Thoughts ? Comments ? Questions ?

Beautifully Complex