Sisters in Sunnies

A week ago, I journeyed to Austin, Texas aka Hill Country to spend a weekend with a group of ladies I hold near and dear to my heart. These ladies consisted of a group of women, I pledged with back in Undergrad. In Spring 2000 at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, I became a member of the illustrious sorority of Delta Sigma Theta Inc. with 22 other women of distinction. You couldn’t tell us nothing, back then, even though some tried, but I digress….

This was our first reunion and since most of us live in Texas we decided to hang out not far from home. Some of us hadn’t seen each other in fifteen years and when we unexpectedly lost two chapter Soror’s to cancer within a few months of one another, we knew we needed to reconnect. So a few of my Line Sisters (LS) took the reins and planned a memorable weekend for all who could participate.
We all met at our rental house which I found on this website called VRBO. The house was located on a hill with a beautiful view of Lake Travis. Y’all!!!! This house was something you would find in a movie. There was a jacuzzi outside, a patio area on three floors and an area where you could have a bonfire. But if you know Texas like I do, then you know it was too damn hot for a bonfire. The rooms were a nice size and for every two bedrooms there was a full bathroom attached. There was even a room with a bed in a cubby hole that you had to climb up to. Let’s just say, no one slept up there.
Since I was among the group of ladies who first arrived at the house, I was in search for a room where I wouldn’t be uncomfortable. However, my LS who traveled to Austin with me didn’t want to share a room with me because (some say) I snore like a baby bear. But it was cool, because I found a room which met my needs and was suitable enough to get a good night’s rest.

Later that evening, we had dinner at the Oasis restaurant where we ate some (just ok tasting) Mexican food, drank margaritas outside in 90 plus degree weather and watched a beautiful sunset. They even had a live band on another floor that played the wobble and other music that I didn’t personally care for. After dinner, we retreated back to the house to play Black Card Revoked and watch our probate. For those that don’t know what a probate is, it’s a showcase where the National Pan-Hellenic Council introduce their newest members to the public. Let’s just say we laughed so hard at our lack of dancing skills, coordination, our fashion choices and hairstyles we barely made it through the entire video. And let me mention that most of us were a FEW pounds lighter sixteen years ago!

The next morning we had a continental style breakfast and prepared to enjoy Krause springs which is a natural spring where you can camp, swim, hike the trail to waterfalls and grill. Some of us hiked the trail and the rest of us sat around talking, listening to music and discussing hot topics. We also of put some burgers and hot dogs on the grill while we were there.  Due to the extreme heat and just us not being the outdoorsy type we didn’t stay all day and came back to the house to enjoy a shower, the cool feeling of the air conditioner and the Olympics. I could have passed on the Olympics but since the majority wanted to watch paint peel (table tennis) I was then forced to watch the back of my eye lids. 
Chillin at Krause Springs

Waiting on the food to get ready

Burgers and Hot dogs on the grill

Swimming in the Springs
When I woke up we played a not so friendly game of Taboo. Since I’m the competitive, sore loser (will flip over a table if I lose) game player it was a must that my team won. And we did because losing is not an option! By this time it was time for dinner and since I worked up a winning appetite, I was more than ready to eat. We car pooled to The Domain and ate at Yardhouse. After dinner we were scheduled to go to the W hotel but we didn’t make it because we’d rather have a quiet evening spending time with one another. Not really! The reason why we didn’t go was because we’re mature (aka OLD) and we decided it would be better to go back to the house, have a few cocktails, play Taboo and laugh and joke with one another for free.
On Sunday morning, one of my LS was kind enough to make French toast, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage and mimosa’s for the remainder of us before we made like a banana and split back to our individual realities. We also took a few group pictures in our Spring 2000 Summer 16 reunion t-shirts along with our sunnies. Overall, the weekend was a SUCCESS! We accomplished our goals which were to reconnect with one another, laugh a lot and reminisce. We even vowed to retreat with one another bi-annually.

It’s my hope that you too have a group of friends, who you are able to retreat with for a weekend full of laughs and if not then maybe you need to re-evaluate some things and get to finding some. You won’t regret it! Until next time….

Bonfire pit
Sisterly Love
Dinner at Oasis restaurant
Watching our probate

Views from San Juan, Puerto Rico

This year I decided to visit Puerto Rico for the 15th anniversary of my 21st Birthday. #foreveryoung #forever21 With this decision there were a few things I wanted to do while I was there but I wasn’t going to compose an “itinerary” because I don’t like to commit to things. Some would call me a free spirit others a commitment phobe. But who cares what other people think?

So my best friend, “Baby Oprah” and I decided to stay at the Hyatt Place San Juan/Bayamon. I don’t think I realized that this hotel was as far away from the beach as it was until we arrived at the airport in San Juan and our cab ride which was suppose to be twenty five minutes away turned into a forty five minute drive, in rush hour traffic, which cost $38. It didn’t help that our cab driver drove like a bat out of hell, whose engine light was on and anytime he stopped in traffic he had to put his car in neutral. WTF!

When we arrived at the hotel, we checked in and was informed instead of the two queen bed guest room we booked they were only able to accommodate us with a king bed guest room which had a queen size pull out couch. You know we were FURIOUS! Well, my best friend was more mad than I was and she let the Hotel clerk have IT. What is it you ask? It was every angry thought Baby Oprah could muster up in a professional no-nense manner to get the Hotel clerk to understand that she “fudged” up. The hotel clerk immediately tried to “please the customer”. She did everything she could to resolve the situation or make us believe she could resolve the situation. For example, she offered us free parking, she exaggerated about the free breakfast the hotel offered and let us know EVERYTHING we needed to know about the area we stayed in. She promised she would do as much as she could to make our stay pleasurable so we sucked it up and made the best of it.

The first evening, we walked to a local restaurant called El Aposento and enjoyed a delicious Puerto Rican style meal. I had a bacon wrapped chicken breast stuffed with sweet plantains in guava sauce with rice and beans, salad and Sangria. Mmm! Baby Oprah had a cornish hen with rice and beans and sweet plantains. Let’s just say afterward, I felt stuffed and it was well worth it.  Later that evening, we hung out at La Placita Santurce which was an area with bars and clubs which played a variety of music. We were able to meet up with some Baylor friends who were also vacationing in San Juan. And when we found a place that played hip hop, had good drinks at a good price, we danced until we were tired.

Bacon wrapped stuffed chicken breast with sweet plantains

The next morning, Baby Oprah and I decided to rent a car because we had already spent $116 for cab service. We went down to the concierge who recommended a company called Target rent a car. They charged us less than $150 total to rent a mid size car, pick us up from the hotel and provided shuttle service to to the airport when we left. #winning

We were not excited to have to drive ourselves around while on vacation but we weren’t crazy enough to continue to pay those exorbitant prices. Later that day, we journeyed to Old San Juan. We enjoyed a meal at Cafe Puerto Rico where I had a slightly salty fried pork chop and Baby Oprah had some mofongo with chicken. We also bought some souvenirs and ventured to Isla Verde beach. And because we had a little energy left we found ourselves at Tropical Casino later that evening which was adjacent to our hotel.

Haitian Art Gallery in Old San Juan

Hanging in Old San Juan

The next day was my actual birthday and we woke up to go to Condado Beach. In case you didn’t know the beach is my happy place! All I need in life is a beach with white sand, blue water, a nice breeze, good adult beverage, some music or a good book and I am good to go. And this beach offered just that! But of course we had a voyage to take to get there.

The ditch we had to walk in and the wall we had to scale to get to the beach

When we found free parking on the street and saw a Caucasian family walking towards the beach we figured it wasn’t that far away and we would take a short cut. What we failed to realize was we had to walk in an alley on rocks, scale a wall, cross a stream all while trying not to “bust our head to the white meat” in flip flops with beach bags. When we arrived at the promise land, we found us the perfect place on the beach which provided us everything we needed. I was in my element and you couldn’t tell me nothing!!!

Taking in Paradise
Drinking Pina Colada 

Baby Oprah and I

When we finally got hungry we found us a little place to grab a bite, went back to the hotel to change our clothes and headed to my second favorite place, THE MALL!! We did a little shopping and had dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. I truly enjoyed the entire day!

On our last full day we skipped breakfast and headed to do some more sightseeing at Casa Bacardi. In case you don’t know, Casa Bacardi is the distillery where Bacardi is manufactured. We took a tour and was given a tasty beverage before the tour began. We learned about the history of Bacardi and even got to taste some Bacardi 8 at the end of the tour.

Casa Bacardi
Casa Bacardi

After the tour, we went to  Castillo San Cristobal, a fort built by Spain which was created to protect San Juan from being attacked. And it was HUGE! It was also hot so I think I became two shades darker after our visit. I was able to learn some history about the fort’s importance and take some great pictures. When we left, there was a wedding taking place right next to the fort which I wanted to crash but was unable to because of the event planner standing by the entrance. So all I could do was take this picture below.

Random Wedding

When we left we had some less than delightful caribbean food at Blessed Cafe in Old San Juan and went back to Condado Beach. All in all, my experience was memorable. And in case you didn’t know Puerto Rico is a US territory which also happens to be in the Caribbean, where no passport is required. From the aggressive, horrible driving to the natives speaking Spanish to me and me saying, “no habla espanol,” to the flavorful delicious native cuisine of Puerto Rico, I would recommend you visit at least once.  Until next time….

Outside of Casa Bacardi Museum

Sisters for Life!

Scenic view
Cute restaurant in Old San Juan
Castillo San Cristobal
View from the top of Castillo San Cristobal
Castillo San Cristobal
View from the side of Castillo San Cristobal
Whose short now?
Happy ending!

America, Land of the not so free!

I’m feeling very uneasy and downright angry about the incidents which occurred over the last week in Louisiana, Minnesota, Dallas and probably other places that we don’t know about yet. It’s ridiculous that in 2016 we are STILL dealing with racism, police brutality and a host of other issues in a country which just celebrated FREEDOM on the fourth of July. I guess what I fail to realize is AMERICA was freed from Britain in 1776 but the people who live in America are not really FREE. We are still bound by the laws and failed justice system which repeatedly ALLOW people to NOT be held accountable for actions which DON’T justify the RIGHT to kill another human being!

I’ve worked with various populations mostly underprivileged, indigent, single parent households in urban areas in NYC and DC.  I could also guarantee that most of them have experienced situations in which their rights were violated or disregarded based on the color of their skin and/or their social economic status.  Hell, I’ve been in situations where I was seen as inferior based on the color of my skin or prejudices people have in their minds about Black people.
Sometimes, I possess a sense of feeling  helpless and hopeless because I’m not sure what can be done about it. When I think about my nephew, godson and other young minority children growing up in a SOCIETY where the system is flawed, it makes me want to not have children. Why would I want to have a child in an environment which I’m unable to constantly protect them from the harm and dangers of the world? I know some people don’t agree with this thinking but, oh well!
And please don’t get stuck on my feelings about having children because that’s not what I want you to remember. I want you to remember that even though we are being treated unfairly, cruel and inhumane that violence does not beget violence! It’s not justified to take another humans life because of the actions which they have committed on earth. Because the GOD I serve has the final say and will pass judgment in the end!
I believe that WE as people can be a catalyst for change but WE have to work together! However, I know what you’re thinking. History has shown us that some of us don’t play well together. I’ve refrained from identifying a specific race because all races have inflicted pain on one another. When instead, all races should be in support of equality and be against racial profiling and other issues which plague our nation. How is that we all breathe the same air and make the same green money but we can’t all treat each other as they way we want to be treated?
I feel like I’m beating a dead horse and most of the ideas I’ve previously stated you’ve heard before but I implore you to find some way to bring about positive change. Whether it be volunteering in your community, voting or community organizing, you too can be an agent of change. And don’t believe everything you hear reported in the news and on social media because it’s mostly half truths or propaganda! But that’s a whole ‘nother topic.
Please believe that I too am thinking about what type of change agent I will be in the great scheme of things. Until next time!

Vino & Vinyl

Looking for a nice hip place to go in the Southwest Houston metro area well, look no further. I’ve found a cool, modern place with a chill vibe for you to visit. It’s called Vino & Vinyl and it’s located at 3340 Murphy Rd. #150, Missouri City, TX 77459. It’s a wine bar which has a big city feel in the suburbs. They sell a variety of wine by the glass and bottles while listening to tunes from Pharrell, Snoop and other artists. They also sell actual records and they support local artists by hanging their art work (for purchase) around their cozy lounge.

For those of you not interested in wine they also sell beer and have a small bites menu to dine from while you’re there. I personally had some charcuterie which was delightful and bread pudding which was very decadent. I would definitely recommend both items. But let me prepare you that my total bill was a little pricey for just those two items and one glass of wine.

This place also has a wine club membership and they sell wine accessories. I don’t want to give to much away but if you’re ever in the area, stop by. You won’t be disappointed!

Oh how I miss the DMV!

Two weeks ago, I took a weekend getaway to the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia) area for Memorial weekend! I was able to catch up with some friends and saw some family as well. It’s always good to reconnect and see familiar faces you haven’t seen in months. Also, I must say there was great spring/summer weather which made the trip even better.

On Thursday, I caught up with some friends for lunch at one of my favorite spots, Bonchon. The fries are not the best so skip them but the cole slaw is pretty good and they have a bar. They have Korean fried chicken that is finger licking’ good. It reminds of a place I call “the spot” in Brooklyn on the corner of Nostrand Ave. and Erasmus Pl.  The “spot” is a Chinese food take out (carry out as DC natives call it) that has the best Chinese fried chicken anywhere! 
Lunch with my CFSA woes

Later that evening, I met up with one of my good girlfriends and we went to happy hour at a place called Provision NO. 14. It was cool but we noticed that it was #beigefest2016. Everyone in there was light skin and my cocoa brown skin friend and I felt out of place. Eventually, some other caramel and cocoa complexion folk stopped by so we didn’t look so out of place. After a few libations, we stopped by &pizza. They have some items they call hits but it’s always best to craft your own pizza. The night was nostalgic until I arrived at my car and saw a parking ticket on my windshield. Damn those DC parking meter maids!

Bola and I at #beigefest2016

The next day I hung out with my favorite high school friend and her daughter. So of course we did what we do best, go shopping! We didn’t break the bank or anything but we did make ourselves tired. However, not to tired to go to happy hour at Bar Deco. Anytime my friends and I have a chance to check out a new place (well new to me) I feel like I’m unlocking a new treasure. Ok, maybe that sounds a bit extreme but I’m entitled to my opinion. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend this place for happy hour because the drinks were hit and miss depending on the bartender. And the wait staff was non-existent. But I hear their brunch is better so maybe you can check that out.

Happy hour at Bar Deco

All in all, we had a good time but it was very humid outside so my plan to enjoy the rooftop was null and void. We opted to congregate inside on the 3rd floor where it was packed to capacity and also very humid. I literally sat on top of an air conditioner to cool myself down after having one drink. We enjoyed each other’s company so much that we never made it to the next stop because we were all exhausted.

On Sunday, my high school friend and I went to the Linganore Winecellars Caribbean Festival and had a ball. The wine festival reminds me of a smaller scale Woodstock or maybe even Coachella but with a Caribbean band and DJ. It was a sea of people hanging out, sweating, eating, drinking, smoking cannabis and dancing the day away until it began to drizzle. Then it was time to go!

Linganore Winecellars Caribbean Festival

I know what you’re thinking when did you make time to see your family? Well don’t worry about that, just know that I did and they were the icing on the cake. I spent some time with my favorite aunt on my mother’s side, my cousin, her children and the newest addition, Da’kari!

Da’Kari Johnson

It’s something about newborns that make my ovaries tingle until they regurgitate on you and when you have to change one of their poop diapers, lol. Da’kari is the son of my goddaughter, Sabrina. For those of you who don’t know Sabrina is my oldest godchild who is 16 years old.

Sabrina Johnson Craigg

When I first found out Sabrina (who lived with me briefly when she was a toddler, who I cared for like she was my own, who I believed was too young to be having a baby) was indeed having a baby, I was utterly disappointed and heartbroken. But I trust and believe that God never places more on us than we can bear. I also know that her life will be a little rougher than it was before but she knows that she has the support of her family and a God who will never leave her nor forsake her. And when I saw that precious little bundle of joy who looked like his mommy did when she was a baby all I could do was thank God that he was healthy and appeared to be well taken care of.

We also got a chance to catch up and hang out with Sabrina’s other godmother, Ashira and her family at the Baltimore Inner Harbor. We indulged ourselves with food, lots of candy, laughs and a paddle boat. All in all,  I had a fantastic trip to the DMV and every time I go, I get to make new memories with my loved ones and friends that I will cherish forever.  Until next time….

From left to right, Me, Ashira, Melanie and Sabrina
Aunt Sandra, Makayla, Bevelyn and Me

Oh my Beyonce!!

Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure of attending the Beyonce formation tour in her hometown of Houston, TX. Let’s just say I truly enjoyed the experience. This was not my first time at a Beyonce concert but every time I attend, I become more of a fan.

Some of her fans take their love for her to another level! Like this fan below. He was so crazy in love with Beyonce he came to the concert paying homage and serving us legs, yaassss!!!!!

Since I’ve been to two of her concerts, I wouldn’t call myself a member of the BeyHive because she sucks as an actress, her interviews are boring and she lacks personality. However, I do believe she is one the best entertainers of my generation and her “team” are marketing geniuses. So much so I paid way too much money for a t-shirt I probably could of made myself. She is so overly exposed it’s ridiculous!
Nonetheless, here are some highlights from the concert.

And I was able to catch up with one of my Line Sisters who gave me and another LS a ride in the private car she hired. The driver was gracious enough to get us safely to and from the concert so we wouldn’t have to fight traffic and pay $30 for parking. 

Also, I was able to rep my hometown in one of my new favorite t-shirts purchased from We Are the Trusted Few

If you are able to attend the Formation Tour, you won’t be sorry. But prepared for the show to start late. The show was scheduled to start at 7:30 pm but DJ Khaled came on at 8 pm for a half an hour and Bey came on at 9:15 pm.

So if you live in one of the cities where a 2nd show has been added buy yourself a ticket. You’ll thank me later!

Misadventures of Day Parties part 2

Everyone knows I love me a good day party because you don’t miss out on any sleep. What you don’t know is I’ve been laying low because I haven’t been in the mood to party. However, last weekend, I let Team Can’t stop Won’t stop talk me into going to a roof top day party. We arrived a little before 4 pm so we could get in for free because I refuse to pay to get into a party. Call me cheap if you want to! The down side to that is when you get there early it means you have to wait around a little before the party gets LIVE!

So we waited and we waited and at around 6 pm when we ventured to the outside area we ran into a few folks that Team Can’t stop Won’t stop knew and that’s when the drinks started flowing and the turn up began. Not only were the drinks flowing but we had some very serious conversations while we were suppose to be partying.

From Left to Right: “needanapfirst”, “Won’t Stop”, “Can’t Stop”

One guy who was an associate of Can’t stop (who also looked like an extra in a UGK video) bought us a round of drinks and proceeded to confess his love to Can’t stop while she had her eye on someone else. All I could do was laugh out loud because she paid him no mind as he held her hand, kissed her on the cheek and whispered sweet nothings in her ear. I was thinking, “Sir, quit wasting your time.” But I minded my business and went on my way.

One guy handed me a $100 dollar bill and told me he would buy us a round of drinks if I went to the bar to get him a drink also. So I happily obliged and when I returned Won’t stop asked him if we could keep the change. He handed her thirty dollars for us to get a bite to eat on him. After we thanked him, I proceeded to tell him as he was smoking a cigarette about the dangers of smoking. After some brief conversation, he thanked me for my concern and he peeled out. Well thanks buddy!

I guess I should mention I was being shady most of the afternoon with my sunglasses on looking over them every now and then when I thought someone was interesting enough to have my attention. I know what you’re thinking, how is she suppose to meet someone if she’s being shady? Well who cares what you think. I had on my slightly saddity t-shirt and I was living up to it.

We ran into Slim Thug and Lil Keke and I didn’t know who either of them were. And for those of you who don’t know who they are either let me enlighten you. Lil Keke has a hit song titled, Southside and Slim Thug made hits called 3 Kings, Like a Boss and his most recent song titled Chuuch with Joel Olsteen. Well I believe you have to be born and bred from Texas to actually know (care about) either of them, but what do I know?

Lil KeKe and Us

All in all, there was a fun time had by all. And after this guy talked a hole in my head about nothing and asked me for my number (I didn’t plan on answering the phone if he called), I knew it was time to go. We were there for a total of 4 1/2 hours (which was two hours over my limit). By the time we got some Vietnamese food with our lunch money from homeboy, we were officially exhausted. Can’t stop was so tired on the way home as we were sitting at a red light she fell asleep (I guess I shouldn’t mention she was the one driving). Let’s just say it was by God’s grace we made it home safely.

Hope you all are able to enjoy some good day parties as the temperatures get warmer, like I did. Feel free to share your adventures below. Until next time…..