Memorial Day and Moving On

I know that I am extremely late with this post but, I had a nice Memorial Day weekend (and I hope you guys did too). Lorenzo and I packed up the car and drove about 6 ½ hours to Daytona Beach, where Lorenzo’s sister lives, to celebrate her eldest son’s high school graduation. Lorenzo and I also “celebrated” our one year wedding anniversary last Friday as well. Why the quotations? Well, because really didn’t do anything special to acknowledge the occasion. We both worked all day, (well, I worked all day, I don’t know what Lorenzo was doing) and by the time we were done, we had to pack for the trip. We went to dinner at The Palm, just to say we did something, and because we really didn’t feel like cooking. Then we got up at 3 am and were on the road by 4am.

Of all of his siblings, only two were unable to attend. On Saturday, we had a party, and I was able to chat with a few of Lorenzo’s aunts about what he was like as a child. I wanted to get some insight on what our future children’s personalities may be like. Since the graduation was Sunday night, we took Lorenzo’s aunts, mom, and sisters out to brunch about an hour away in Titusville at a place called Shiloh’s Steak House. The graduation was nice; at the beginning of the ceremony the announcer recapped all of the world events that were going on at the time from when all the graduates were born up until this year. I did a little math and realized that most of these kids were born around the time I was getting ready to graduate high school myself! Ugh… Anyway, the announcer made a statement that resonated with me, he said:

“Most people don’t live the life they want; they live the life they were given.”

I liked that statement because it rang true for a lot of people that I know. They think they have to live the life they were born into and don’t try hard enough to do anything else. The life that I was given is the entire reason I work so hard- I don’t want to relive that every day…but I digress.

In other news, I have decided that I’m going to put this blog to bed. I started this blog three years ago before I moved to Atlanta and it covers my move here, my engagement, my new home, all the places I’ve visited, my wedding and honeymoon, my job search and starting my Master’s program. This isn’t necessarily a goodbye, but more like, “see you on my next blog”. I still haven’t decided what to call it yet, but I want to have it launched by July. This one will still be about my life, but not specifically about moving to Atlanta. Maybe I’ll talk more about my marriage…maybe Lorenzo will write something from time to time…we’ll see.

I have some work to take care of for the next two weeks, so I will make sure to post information about the new blog on my next post. Until then, enjoy the summer!

Goals, Goals, and More Goals

I’ve been really busy lately. Like really busy. My whole life seems to be: work, gym, school, work, gym, school, work, gym, school, military, work, and sometimes I eat.

This year is going by so quickly that I didn’t notice it was already May until I received my monthly email that my AdoreMe showroom was ready. Lorenzo and I have a lot of plans this year. We are already booked through August. Some are military events, some family, and others are business related. We even purchased a few finance books from a pop up book store and Amazon on finance and investing in order to brush up our skills and figure out ways to make more money.

Books
Some books about money

 

One of the things I love the most about being married to Lorenzo is that he is a very goal oriented person. Every year we have new plans for things we want to accomplish in the upcoming years. Last year, it was getting a married, going on our honeymoon and getting a raise at work. We did all three. This year we want to save more money, help remodel Lorenzo’s mothers house, start looking for our own home, get business certifications (Six Sigma and PMP) and try to find time for a vacation.

The primary goal is to save $100,000 (this was Lorenzo’s ambitious number that he came up with). When he first presented the idea to me, the first thing I wanted to say was, “impossible”, but I checked myself. Why can’t we do it? We are both pretty smart, business minded people and we’ve managed to do everything else we wanted to do last year so why can’t we? We did the math and if we are willing to make some changes (like move into a less expensive apartment until we are ready to buy a home), we can probably do it in a little over a year. It may take some sacrifice, but wouldn’t it be worth it in the end?

It will involve  combination of cutting costs and seeking more money producing opportunities. I read somewhere online that millionaires always have more than one source of income (3 was the magic number). So we are looking to get other sources of income. I want to say I read that on Business Insider but I could be wrong.

Anyway, our 2015 goal was: Make more and now our 2016 goal is: Save more (while still having fun)

I think this will be interesting.

feature photo credit: Crossfit Wappoo 

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.

image1
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 foreseeable future, I’m pretty bad at it.

image2
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… 🙂  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.

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*.

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.