Valentine’s Day, Statistics, and I

I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned this before, but math is not one of my favorite subjects. Never has been, never will be…probably. I hardly got by in high school and I thought I was going to rip my hair out in college. The only things that have ever really stuck with me is how to calculate percentage on a discount or when I’m leaving a tip. So, it’s needless to say that I was not happy about having to take more math classes in grad school. Now I’m not sure if you’ll recall all the crying I did during my Economics class a little over a year ago that led me to take a leave of absence from school (I passed the class but, man was it rough). Now I’m back in school and taking Statistics, and then I have accounting to look forward to for the spring semester (yipee!).

This class has been taking up almost all of my spare time, hence me not being able to write as much as I want to. I am putting all of my effort into this because I really want to do well. I don’t want it to be like high school where I was praying for C’s, and in college, where I did just enough to get a C. So far, it’s been pretty manageable, but now that we are halfway through the term, I think the Excel formulas and standard deviation stuff is going to start making an appearance…oh joy.

Even though school has been consuming almost all of my spare time I have been able to make time for other things, like family. In January (yes I have to go that far back), my sisters Morgan and Val, came down with Jordin (Morgan’s daughter), and my brother Kevin and they stayed with Lorenzo and I for 4 days. My brother Keith currently lives here and he came to stay with us as well. We tried to show them as much of Atlanta as we could. We took them to Pappadeaux, the planetarium, a club, Main Event, a gun range, and the Aquarium. They said they all had a good time and are already thinking about when they can come back.

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Jordin and River (my cousin) at the Georgia Aquarium

Lorenzo and also made time to spend with some of his friends from college that he hasn’t seen almost all of last year. We all went to Top Golf in Alpharetta. There is one located within Atlanta, but it was so crowded that we went to Alpharetta instead. Just a tip: there is always going to be a wait there, so it’s best to have dinner while you wait for a table to become available. Another FYI: I am horrible at golf. I have potential to do better, but for now and the foreseeableĀ future, I’m pretty bad at it.

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Lorenzo and I getting photobombed at Top Golf

This upcoming Sunday is Valentine’s Day. Lorenzo and I have plans to hang out with friends (after I finish my homework of course) for most of Saturday, but I think Sunday is pretty open. I not a huge fan of Valentine’s Day anymore. I used to feel all sad about it because I never had a Valentine, and when I did have a boyfriend it just wasn’t a big deal. The best memory I have of the holiday is when Lorenzo and I were dating and he sent a dozen red roses to my job. I wasn’t expecting it so it was a very nice surprise and I really appreciated it. Now that we are married and living together, I’m totally okay with not doing anything. Most of the places we like to go to are completely booked and overpriced anyway. V-day is not one of those holidays I need to celebrate. Birthdays on the other hand are a totally different category… šŸ™‚ Ā But I will do my best to (promptly) report any new attractions we venture off to this weekend. I love discovering new places and things to do here. I didn’t even know Atlanta had a planetarium until my brother mentioned it- goes to show you how much I know…. I need to do better.

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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 925Ā in Midtown. I was not as impressed with this place. Don’t get me wrong the placeĀ looked amazing and the foodĀ 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.Ā šŸ™‚

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*.

Lorenzo’s Birthday

I’m back…with photos! This is what I was trying to share last week:

Last weekend was Lorenzo’s birthday. It was the first time we were actually able to spend it together in about 2 years. We both seem to always have training scheduled on his birthday, so I was pleased that we were able to spend this one together.

We both were home before Saturday, but because we were both exhausted, he didn’t want to go anywhere that was too far away (maybe for another time?). Ā I reserved a hotel room in downtown Atlanta at the Westin. I also made us reservations to eat at the Sundial– the revolving restaurant.

Our room was on the 63rd floor of the hotel so we already had an awesome view; we were able to see the Braves Stadium from where we were facing. We arrivedĀ in the middle of the day so we walked around, and took a ride on the Sky View Ferris Wheel. We finally found out that the tall, pointy, brass, pencil looking building belongs to Bank of America.

View

On the Sky View Ferris Wheel
On the Sky View Ferris Wheel

When I lived in New Jersey and worked in New York, I never really took the time to learn about the city I was in. I read somewhere that every now and again you should “be a tourist” in your own city. One, it’ll give you something to do, and two it’ll help you learn more about your city’s history…you get to view it from a tourist’s perspective.

So, anyway, fromĀ the restaurant we were able to get a full circle view of all of downtown Atlanta. It was a beautiful view…even at night. It takes about 35 minutes for it to rotate one full time. So by the time you are done with your meal you’ve already went around the city once and then maybe a little more. Lorenzo had eaten there before, but I never have so it was a new experience for me. The funny thing was that our waitress turned out to be the same waitress we had when we stayed at the Intercontinental last November. You just never forget a personality like hers. Her name is Anne and she is a retired school teacher who is now waiting at both locations. She’s been with the Sundial for almost 30 years. I thought she was amazing because you can just tell that she loves what she does.

Lorenzo and I with Anne.
Lorenzo and I with Anne.
Sundial Restaurant
Sundial Restaurant

Lorenzo said that he had a good time, which was my ultimate goal anyway. I did get him some tangible gifts as well. He showed meĀ an Emporio Armani watch that he liked; the band looks like a standard leather band with a buckle but is all medal. I also got him a bracelet from a company called Vitaly Design Ltd;Ā he found the company on Instagram and showed me one of the pieces that he liked. The company specializes in men’s jewelry, so I’m sure I’ll be shopping there again.

All in all, a good weekend šŸ™‚

December is Almost Here!

Holiday Party

I can’t believe its almost December! I was thinking about how this year has flown by so quickly and how I didn’t get to complete all of the “resolutions” I’d made for myself the year before. I didn’t complete my book challenge, or my writing challenge. I got a job…not a great job, but a job nonetheless, and due to multiple car repairs on both our parts, Lorenzo and I didn’t get to go on an actual vacation this year. We went to Daytona Beach for a weekend, and to Myrtle Beach 3 times but in each instance it was for no more than 2 days. I think next year I will set more attainable goals, with time limits, and not thinking of random things I want to do that I really don’t have time for.

On another note I hope that everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving. Lorenzo and I went back out to Myrtle Beach to spend it with his mom. This year the entire family didn’t get together, everyone just did their own thing. Lorenzo’s mom has a Time Share that she used last weeks so we ended up spending it right on beach. She’d already cooked before we got there, so all we did was show up and eat (which I am not complaining about at all). Some of Lorenzo’s cousins came over to hang out for a little while and on Friday we went to visit 2 of his Aunts on the way back to his mother’s place.

Myrtle Beach

I wasn’t upset about missing any Black Friday shopping because it was something I gave up years ago. I don’t like the crowds, I’ve never really found any amazing deals, I don’t need a new television, and I’ll be damned if I’m getting up at 4am to go shopping. I hate getting up that early for military related events and they pay me to be there. Pass. I usually wait until the crowds die down before I venture out, and that’s only if I really need something.

Last weekend I took Lorenzo and a mini “stay-cation” here in Atlanta. I took him to the Intercontinental Hotel in Buckhead, next to Lenox Mall. I thought that we deserved to relax a little bit considering that we’ve probably spend more than $4000 in car repairs combined, and didn’t really get to go anywhere, other than to visit family. I requested a Romance Package, where they leave rose petals all over the room, a bottle of Champagne, and chocolate covered strawberries. He really enjoyed it. He is usually the one who plans things like that, so I thought it would be nice to do something for him for a change. For dinner I took him to Chops Lobster Bar, which was about 4 minutes from the hotel. He unknowingly recommended it when I asked him to recommend some good restaurants in Buckhead other than The Palm. I liked the restaurant; Lorenzo and I usually have a good experience whenever we go out and this place was no exception. Definitely an “every now and again” kind of experience because of the prices, but that’s never really stopped us in the past. I know some of the servers at The Palm by name.

Room Relaxing

We haven’t decided what we are going to do for Christmas, it’ll probably end up being a last minute decision like this one was. I know that we have to sit down and get our plans in order for next year, one of the main things being the wedding or whatever wedding-like plans we are going to come up with. But, I’m not even going to get into that right now. šŸ™‚

How was your Thanksgiving?? Any great family stories to share??

Learning to Live with Loss

While I generally don’t like to report bad news, I still need to be able to express what’s happening with me so that I can get it out of my head. The past two weeks will probably rank high on my “toughest things I’ve had to deal with in life” list. Losing someone is always a shock, especially when its completely unexpected no matter how it happens. I lost a friend recently, not to an accident or something tragic, but due to natural causes. Because I want to respect her family’s privacy, I won’t go into detail about her medical history.

I met her when I moved here last year; I went to a Meetup.com event for women in Atlanta at a bar somewhere in Midtown where there was going to be a live band playing. She and I started chatting, you know that usual-where are you from, what do you do, how long have you lived here stuff. We exchanged numbers and have been in touch ever since. She was originally from Queens, New York and had relocated to Atlanta about 7 years ago-completely by herself. She had friends that moved from NY to ATL, but they all ended up moving back and she decided to stay. She was single and dating, had a good job and was looking for better employment. She would always send me job openings that she found that she thought I would be a good fit for. I used to make time to have lunch with her, visit her at her house, we bought each other Christmas and Birthday Gifts. Because she was so used to living alone, I never wanted to impede too much on her space so whenever she told me she just wanted to rest or stay at home I didn’t push it.

She was so smart and funny, focused and goal oriented. She still had a New York accent so talking to her always made me feel like I was still close to home. There was no drama with her, I felt like she and I could have been friends for years.

Lorenzo and I found her in her home after I received an email from one of her friends asking me to check on her because they haven’t heard from her all week. When I thought about it, I remembered that she wasn’t responding to any of my text messages either. The worst part about finding her was having to call her mother to tell her that her daughter had passed away. She was only 34 years old.

Lorenzo and I did everything we could to help her mother and her family deal with this tragedy. Her other friends that lived here in Atlanta also came out to help as much as they could. We buried her yesterday; her mother decided to keep her here in Atlanta because she knew she loved it here. I felt relieved when I found out because at least now I can go visit her.

Knowing that life is so short, losing so many of my own family members over the years, and being in the military has made me somewhat comfortable with the concept of death. Its not something anyone wants to think about, but its something we are all going to face sooner or later so it just reinforces how we all need to be prepared for it when the time comes, whether it be by having a Will,Ā  life insurance, etc. Having to deal with losing someone you love will be hard enough, your family shouldn’t have to deal with worrying about how to pay for the funeral or how to manage your affairs.

I know that she is in a better place now, where this is no more pain. I don’t question why this happened, I just wonder why it happened so soon. I’m going to miss her so much.

Rest in peace L.T.L.

Dealing with Cabin Fever

Abandon

I’m not really sure if 3 days in the house qualifies me to have “cabin fever” but it certainly felt like it after a while. What started off as a little bit of snow turned intoĀ  somewhat of a catastrophe for Atlanta last week. On Tuesday, we had a “snow storm” of about 2-3 inches of snow that eventually caused the entire city to be shut down. Yes, you read that right… 2 to 3 inches. Now, you will have to excuse this native New Jersean and my sarcastic “You can’t be serious” sort of attitude about the entire thing, but that’s exactly how I felt at the time. I actually went out in the snow for a follow up interview after it first started snowing and when I realized that I wasn’t going to make it, I rescheduled, turned around and came home. What should have been a 20 minute drive took me 3 1/2 hours.

While I was driving 5 miles per hour almost to my front door, I couldn’t help but think of all the other people who still stuck in their cars moving 3-5mph and were super far from home. I didn’t realize how bad it was until I got home and started watching it on the news with Lorenzo, who decided to work from home that day. We ended up watching the news for the next 3 days. We only left the house once…to make a trip to the supermarket to get some things for dinner…and we walked. Lorenzo worked from home for the rest of the week. By Friday, I told him that this incident proved how much I loved him because we were trapped in the house for 3 days and haven’t attempted to kill each other once. Anyone else would have been grinding on my last nerve by that time.

gridlock

Poor Atlanta. Needless to say once it made the news that other states had nothing but jokes, jokes, and more jokes. Two of my sisters called me just to laugh, and I’m not going to lie…I laughed too. The funniest thing for me was the Buzzfeed list, comparing the “Snowpocalypse” to The Walking Dead. That literally made me laugh out loud.

To beat the “cabin fever”, Lorenzo and I went out on Friday night (After the road were cleared of all the abandoned cars) to a small restaurant called The Bottle Bar in Buckhead. We looked it up online before we went and we looked forward to mussels, grilled lamb, and fish & grits but when we got there were totally disappointed because they didn’t have any of those. Well, they had the fish but I had to substitute the grits for asparagus. Lorenzo replaced his lamb with chicken, and we replaced mussels with gumbo. Even though I enjoyed my dinner, I was completely thrown off by how they much they needed to update their menu. I asked the waitress to clarify if they just ran out of the items or if they didn’t serve them anymore and she said it was the latter. Maybe I need to lay off heavy foods like fish and grits in the first place because according to my siblings I’m getting “thick in the thighs” which they think is because of the southern food.

Saturday, we went to breakfast at the Waffle House, just to not be in the house again, and for dinner we went out with some of Lorenzo’s friends who live in Augusta who came over to celebrate a birthday. We had Pappadeaux for dinner (again), and we went to two bars called 3 Sheets and Taboo II. Superbowl Sunday was at another friends house in McDonough. Even though I wasn’t a fan of either team (but I kind of wanted the Broncos to win) I, again, just didn’t want to be in the house. The game was really crazy, and had some really great plays. You could totally tell that the Seahawks came to win…so congratulations to them.

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So now we have about 7 more months until Football season starts again, hopefully the Giants will get their act together this season. I think I will get myself into basketball with Lorenzo to help pass the time. Another good thing about this month is that The Walking Dead and Scandal come back on, WhooHoo!!!

Any thoughts on the game? Is anyone disappointed at the outcome?

His Dreams, My Dreams…Lottery Dreams

Money

They always say that money can’t buy happiness…which is true, but I think that if I had enough money to do all the things I wanted to do in life before I died that I would be very happy. I mention this because on Saturday morning Lorenzo was watching a show called “The Lottery Changed My Life” where it interviews lottery winners and tells their stories of life before and after they won. It was telling stories of a few people who collected millions at once and then started their own businesses afterwards to help secure their future, which I thought was great. The first story was of a woman who won about 80+ million and started a production company. Her story was about how she was engaged to her personal trainer and how they go gallivanting about looking to purchase private jets, Rolls Royce, and Bugatti cars. I know that I was being mean, but I was kind of curious as to why she was engaged to a personal trainer but was still out of shape??? Hmmm. Anyway another story was of a man who also won around that same amount and started an organization which hosts fundraisers and donates the money to charity. I thought that was awesome.

Lorenzo has always talked about wanting to start a business, but he just hasn’t narrowed it down to what he wants to do yet. He is very business minded and is always thinking about the future and how to make money, but doesn’t let the pursuit of financial stability overshadow his morals and ethics. We were talking about how we would take a large sum of money and invest in our financial future by starting some sort of business, or investing in real estate or something like that. Then we would take another portion and bless our family and friends. Even though it would be easy to just give people money to do with what they wish, we know that in some cases it may be best to invest in other ways…like paying for them to go to college or starting college funds for their kids. Once we started to break down each person by their personality, we had to literally make exceptions, because there are some people who are just NOT good with money; those people scare me. It was crazy how detailed we became, putting lots of thought into individuals and how we would handle them…all considering we haven’t played the lottery recently.

In other news, Lorenzo has been taking me out a lot this past week. When I came back from NJ on Sunday he took me to a seafood placed called Spondivits by the airport. We took the food to go but I remember him taking me there about a year ago before I moved down here. We got A LOT of food. We had calamari, lobster tail and crab legs. We never really have a reason to go down to the airport so I guess he wanted to make sure he stopped there. A few days ago we went to the movies to see The Lone Ranger, which was every good- and I’m not just staying that because I’m in the military, and after the movie we went to a tapas bar called Noche in Brookhaven. I’m sorry, you can’t beat a $5 margarita and 3 small plates of food for less than $30. You’d be surprised how much small plates of salmon ceviche, beef empanadas, and chicken quesadillas can fill you. Two days ago we went to C’om in Dunwoody. I’ve mentioned C’om before, the Vietnamese restaurant we normally go to is off of Buford Highway- we thought this one was affiliated with it but the owner assured us that it wasn’t. We ordered pretty much the same thing we always do- rice noodles with veggies and a meat or the fragrant rice. Lorenzo’s rice was green though–I thought was strange but he enjoyed it so I guess it was all good. (I’ll make sure to put links in the RESTAURANTS tab).

But everything is back to normal. Lorenzo and I have been extra lovey dovey this week, I am not sure why, but it reminds me of the Kevin Heart stand up when he said that he hated “new love”.