When Opportunity Knocks

A few of Lorenzo’s friends from college still live here in Atlanta. They all have the same degree (something fancy with computers, art, design, and programming) and only a few of them are actually working in their field today. When a few positions opened up in Albuquerque where Lorenzo used to work, he told 2 of his friends about it. One was working in retail and the other at a tattoo shop. They would have had to move to New Mexico, obviously, and Lorenzo offered to help with the transition since they haven’t been practicing in the field for a while. They both declined.

One of the major things that I’ve learned about life from Lorenzo is that he is a huge advocate of following the money. He was never a person to waste an opportunity to advance his career even if it meant that he had to pack up his bags and move more than halfway across the country (which he’s done, twice).

Just this year he made another major career move by leaving a (huge) well known organization for a smaller one that gave him more leadership responsibilities and better pay. I was opposed to this idea but I trusted his decision. He doesn’t make these types of decisions all willy nilly. There is a list- pros, cons, consequences, action plan, and contingency plan. His ability to make these types decisions and his follow through are some of  things that attracted me to him early on in our relationship. I’m not even going to get into all the people I knew who had no plan. They were content where they were with no defined goals and or plans for the future. A man with a plan is hot. ;)

I guess I said all that to say this: my old employer called me and asked me if I wanted to come back and work for the company. At first I thought they were kidding, but when I spoke to the HR rep and negotiated a salary I knew they were serious. The benefits for me is that I will get to work from home, I’ll have the same schedule as Lorenzo, I’ll have more time to focus on school and my certifications, and I’ll be making more money. An opportunity presented itself and now I that I’m in a slightly better position, I can make time to put all my other plans into place.

I don’t believe that opportunity only knocks once. I think people are presented with multiple opportunities throughout their lives, it’s just a matter of choosing to take advantage or not. There could be a multitude of things that could stop people from taking advantage of something, fear is usually at the top of that list. In the case of Lorenzo’s friends, they didn’t want to leave Atlanta, even though they would have been a part of an excellent company, working in their field, making more money, and ultimately could have transferred back to Atlanta after a year or so.

Maybe next time….I guess.

Why I Like Being in my 30’s More Than I Enjoyed Being in my 20’s

Having recently just celebrated another birthday, I started thinking about where I am in in life as opposed to where I used to be, say 5-10 years ago.

Am I happier? Yes.

Am I financially stable? Yes, but this could always improve.

Am I surrounded by good people? Yes.

Am I doing a better job of keeping negativity out of my life? Most definitely.

While 5 of my siblings are in their 20’s now (I have one sister in her 30’s, and my youngest sister just turned 20 a few days ago) I can’t help but think about how much happier I am now than I was when I was their age. I know what you’re thinking, but Lorenzo only has something to do with it; it’s not entirely about him.

Here are the 2 things that stood out to me the most:

I’m more confident and comfortable with who I am-this includes my flaws. I read in a magazine once that some actress said she was more confident in her 30’s than she was in her 20’s and my immediate reaction was “What a bunch of crap”. Now I totally see where she was coming from.

When I was in my 20’s I was very introverted and I put ALL of my energy into my friendships and relationships, putting everyone else’s needs and emotions above my own. I let people that claimed to love me tear me down on a regular basis while I tried to comfort them. I’d convinced myself that they were just insecure and needed my help, meanwhile their (unprovoked) negativity towards me wore down my self esteem. I let them walk all over me. Once those people were out of my life, I realized that I wasn’t so bad after all and made friends who actually used to return a compliment once in awhile. It was nice.

I’m no longer afraid of the future. My circumstances were different than most people’s. Right after I’d turned 21, my mother passed away and my 19 year old sister and I took on the major responsibility of being the primary care-takers of 3 of my teenaged siblings. We didn’t want to be separated, so my Dad and grandmother did everything they could to make sure we were okay. I’d just started my senior year of college and then was mobilized to go to Iraq a few months later. I was always terrified. Constantly in fear of what was going to happen to my family, then having to worry about if I was going to die in war. I ended up not going to Iraq, but came home and always worried about paying rent, having a place to live, if my siblings were going to run off and do something crazy like get pregnant or end up in jail. I was very hard on them, and I was even harder on myself. Always in a constant fear of all these crazy things that never happened. I was literally making myself sick. When I actually did end up going to Iraq in 2009, I made a promise to put a stop to all of that- and I’ve been 10x happier ever since.

Here are few more tidbits:

I no longer feel bad about not hanging out if I really don’t want to go out.  

I don’t make excuses for being myself. If people think I’m weird then that’s their issue, not mine. 

I’m no longer afraid to let people go. Every relationship doesn’t last forever and I’m okay with that now. 

The food is better in your 30’s. Or I’ve just learned to eat better…either way. 

Pointless drama bores me. If it’s not going to make me money or progress my career then I don’t care. Save it for reality TV.

Moral of this story is: 30-something year old me would go back in time and tell 20 something year old me to get a grip.

I’ve learned my lesson about letting people treat me badly and keeping them in my life – no more of that. I don’t do “frienemies” any more, or crappy boyfriends. And now I just plan for the future, instead of fearing it. It just makes things soooo much easier.

Food…Food…and Maybe More Food

Shortly after making it back to Georgia from Hawaii, Lorenzo and I returned home, waited for my brother to meet us at our place, then drove up to New Jersey to bury our grandmother. Needless to say it wasn’t the most ideal way for us to get to see our family, but it was the first time all of my siblings were together in about 2 1/2 years.

My siblings and niece, visiting our mother's grave.
My siblings and niece, visiting our mother’s grave.

Out of respect for my family, I won’t go into detail about the trip. Funerals are never fun to talk about (unless someone actually tries to jump in the casket screaming, “take me with you! it should’ve been me!!!” I’m still waiting for that to happen). I will say that my grandmother was truly loved, and I’m going to miss her terribly.

But, when we returned to Georgia (again) Lorenzo and I went right back to work. Of course we didn’t have any food in the house so we were eating take-out almost every day. On Friday night we went to a restaurant called BrickTops in Buckhead. Lorenzo had been here before but it was my first time. I was familiar with the area because there is a bridal shop that Tia and I went to last year in the same plaza. Anyway, we got all dressed up and went out to eat. I loved the ambiance of the place and I really liked our waitress, Patricia. She was so full of life and personality that she made the experience even more enjoyable. We liked her so much that we went back for brunch on Sunday at her recommendation- and they did not disappoint. If you eat pork, I would recommend the Deviled Eggs & Millionaires bacon. The bacon is candy coated and delicious…oh, and also bring a toothpick. For dinner I had Creole Shrimp and Lorenzo had the ribeye- it almost melted in my mouth.

Monday, Lorenzo found another restaurant called Scales 925 in Midtown. I was not as impressed with this place. Don’t get me wrong the place looked amazing and the food was amazing but they really have long way to go with the service. We were seated for 35 minutes before we were greeted and it was only because we stopped 3 people and a manager. Our waitress did the best she could considering, but I felt bad because no one seemed like they were properly trained. Plus, I was was with 3 people who all work or have worked in the restaurant industry so I had to hear about everything that was wrong with that place. My advice: get takeout. :)

That’s all for now… been trying to get myself ready for school for the past few weeks and I still have a long way to go. I’m soooo looking forward to statistics *eye roll*.

Our Visit to Hawai’i

Here it is! The long awaited post about our trip to Honolulu. If you’ve been following me for the past few months you’ll know that I’ve been looking forward to this trip all year. Lorenzo and I decided to not only have our honeymoon there, but to also have a private ceremony as well. We hired a Reverend and a photographer to document the occasion.

This is post is going to be mostly pictures, I’ll do my best not to talk so much. (FYI: the feature picture is of Lorenzo and I when we went parasailing. I’m thinking about blowing this pic up and framing it).

We stayed in Waikiki for the week, the area is full of hotels, shops, restaurants, and there is a mall not far from the hotel we stayed in. We rented a car at the suggestion of some of Lorenzo’s coworkers and it totally came in handy. The only negative part about this trip was that we went during hurricane season, so there was a huge storm that came through the day before we got there and it rained everyday we were there. It didn’t stop us from enjoying ourselves though.


We went parasailing and we also went to visit Pearl Harbor. While were there we toured the USS Bowfin; during that tour through the ship I realized that you cannot be claustrophobic and be in the Navy. Its just not going to work. They also have 2 free museums and a walking tour that you can visit before touring the USS Arizona- the ship that sank in the attack by the Japanese during World War II. After leaving Pearl Harbor, we drove all the way to the other side of the island to attend a Luau at the Polynesian Cultural Center. We weren’t allowed to take photos or record during the show, so unfortunately, I don’t have any photos :(

On the USS Bowfin
Inside the USS Bowfin
Replica of the USS Arizona
Memorial sits on top of the USS Arizona


Souvenirs made of bullet shells
Souvenirs made of bullet shells

The day we were supposed have our ceremony, it’d rained so we had to postpone it for another day. I was really sad because I’d gotten all dressed up and even went to Sephora to get my makeup done for the event. We just ended up staying in our room eating potato chips until the rain stopped and then went to dinner at a local restaurant. The morning we had the ceremony started off well, but then the sun came up and I’m pretty sure I was sweating like a pig. We won’t get the pictures back from the photographer for a few weeks, so I’m excited about seeing them.

Out to dinner
Out to dinner
After the ceremony
After the ceremony
View of the park where we had our ceremony (taken from the hotel room)
View of the park where we had our ceremony (taken from the hotel room)

We also went to other parts of the island to take more photos and the last day we were there, we went to swim with sharks. This is what I was looking forward to for the entire trip. We drove about an hour away from Waikiki, got on a boat and went out about 3 miles into the water. We got in a cage that was floating out in the water and stayed in the water for about 15-20 minutes just for not a single shark to show up. The company offered to reschedule us but since we were leaving they gave us a refund.


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All in all we had a great time. I would definitely go back to visit Maui and some of the other islands. Maybe we can try the shark experience again and see an actual shark. Hawai’i is a place I would definitely recommend going if you can, just don’t go during hurricane season.

Some Good New and Some Bad News

Last Saturday, I celebrated another birthday (yes I know I’m super late writing about it). And as always, I look forward to celebrating another year because it always give me a chance to look back and see how far I’ve come and an opportunity to see where I want to go from here. I always feel like, for everyday that I wake up, there is a chance to do better or another goal to set.

Originally, I didn’t want to do anything for my birthday because Lorenzo and I were leaving on Monday for our much anticipated honeymoon. At the last minute I changed my mind and we went out to dinner with some friends. I chose for us to go to The Melting Pot, because I’d never been before and Lorenzo’s sister gave us a miniature fondue pot for Christmas last year that we’ve never taken out of the box. I was curious as to what kind of recipes that I could use it for and thought that going out to dinner there would give me some ideas.

The day started off pretty slow, I went to the spa in the morning and spent some of the afternoon napping. Before we went out to dinner I did get some bad news from my dad that my grandmother was in the hospital and things weren’t look good. He told me not to worry but I was definitely worrying (I will never understand why people in my family do that: call me with bad news and then tell me not to worry about it. I just don’t get it.)

So we went to dinner and had a good time, but when I woke up the next morning my sister confirmed that my grandmother didn’t make it. So the day before my honeymoon, I had find a way to reroute my trip in order to go back home to say goodbye to her.

I didn’t take any pictures that night because my mind was totally somewhere else. But, Lorenzo did get me some amazing gifts. I received a new perfume, new shoes, a purse, a shirt, and a much needed new laptop. While the one I have now still works, its been through some things and has been causing me some problems. One of them being because I spilled red wine on my keyboard while blogging one night so my keys are super sticky. Yes I know, totally my fault.

My next post will be specifically about the honeymoon, but I need to get the photos in order. Lorenzo and I have them all over the place: my phone, his phone, his camera…everywhere.

I’ll get caught up soon…I hope.

That Time I Went Home & Had a Great Weekend

This weekend went by so quickly.  A little TOO quickly for my liking.

It went by so quickly that I was already planning my next trip before my current trip was over.

My brother, Kevin came to pick me up from the airport and took me to see his new place. Then dropped me off at (my sister) Cassandra’s , so I could see her new place. Then I made my way over to the City (New York City for those who don’t live in the Tri-State Area) to see my old co-workers at Rockefeller Center. It was nice to see everyone,  I stayed with them for a few hours because I was chatting with everyone individually. Afterwards I headed back to Jersey to pick up my Dad from work.

After spending sometime with my Dad and Grandmother, I ended up back at Morgan’s (my other sister) for dinner. We were supposed to go to Hoboken for dinner, but stayed put instead…then the drinking ensued.

Fast forward to Saturday (because I hardly remember what happened after we started drinking), my friend Carmen came to take me out to brunch because she wasn’t able to make it that night. I don’t have  a picture with her, but I was just happy that I got a chance to see her. After spending the day running around getting pretty with Cassandra, it was time to head back to the City for the actually party.

I was really excited because one of my old Army friends, Rashonda was able to come out. I haven’t seen her in person since 2009 before I went to Iraq. She’d gotten out of the Army the year before so we weren’t seeing each other that often any more. When she met up with us that night there was lots of screaming, jumping up and down, hugging, and more screaming. There was one point where we paused and looked at each other and said, “You’re so beautiful!”.

UsiePat & Shonda

My other friends, Shenitha and Kay also met us there. My friend Maggie wasn’t able to make it Saturday because she sprained her ankle during a Tough Mudder Run. I did meet up with her on Sunday for brunch. I told her not to bother because she was injured, but I obviously lost that fight. She really proved to me how much she loved me with that move. I think I’ll keep her.

Kay Shenitha Maggie

The best part of this trip wasn’t even the night itself, but the company that I had. I was so excited to be around family and friends that it didn’t matter what we did just as long as we were together.

Before I came home I went to see my Dad and Grandmother again, and I was also able to spend more time with Jojo. I was happy that she was comfortable with me considering that when my brother Keith went home to visit she wouldn’t go near him for almost 2 days. All the Skyping we do must come in handy.

Me, Jojo, & Bam Bam

I can’t wait for my next trip.

Going Home

I’m going, going, back, back to….Jersey!

Yay! I’m FINALLY getting a chance to go back home and I am so excited. I tried not to fill up my schedule with too much stuff because I know some things are going to pop up last minute and some things are going to take longer than others (in other words, I talk too much). I definitely need to make sure I spend time with my niece, my Dad, and my grandmother, but Friday and Saturday night are for my friends. (Can you say…Party?)

I also got a new hairdo. I was a bit nervous about getting it done because I got extensions and I haven’t had long hair since before I moved to Georgia. Curtis (my stylist) got me used to wearing my own hair over the past two years so I was kind of hesitant to get it done. Please he used a technique called microlink, which I’ve never heard of before but I think it looks amazing. No glue, no sewing, no braiding…I think it’s being held in by magic and Jesus.

New Hair Style

Lorenzo and I also got a chance to go out to E-Villa Lounge this weekend. One of his military friends’ fiance was celebrating a birthday so it gave us a chance to get dressed up and go dancing (and show off my new hair). We had a really good time. I don’t think I got drunk but Lorenzo did end up helping me out quite a bit when we got home. But even if I didn’t get drunk last weekend, I’m definitely getting drunk this weekend! And for me it might only take about 2-3 drinks.

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