Monday, August 12

Summer of Saying Yes And... (or 6 Hotels in 7 Weeks)

Summer has sped on by me. It's already the middle of August. And in retrospect, I have managed to squeeze in quite a lot of hang-outage with quite a few of my favorite people.

My first trip was to West Virginny with my mom and my aunt. THAT was an adventure in itself because my aunt don't get out much...and she can be a little uuuuh, grumpy and not very adventurous. She stepped out of her box a few times, but was also the reason I didn't get to visit the limoncello distillery (I know, that totally sounds awesome, right!?!?) However, while in West Virginia, we shopped and ate great food and just enjoyed not having any real place to be or any real time to get there. You know food is always a HUGE part of my travels and this time was not exception. We visited the Bavarian Inn, had GREAT German food (mmmmmm, SCHNITZEL!) and a great view of the mountains.
While talking to a gorgeous couple at the Bavarian Inn, we found out there was a crafts festival just up the road the next day. We had a ball & we also enjoyed crab cakes from The Anvil and they were pretty tasty! I fell in love with Forks of Cheat Wines, especially their Van Buren & Blueberry wine... in fact I think I will have a glass right now... brb... *zips of to the wine fridge, pours a generous glass of Van Buren, zips back & commences typing* Now, where was I? Oh yes, WV wines & such. Well yeah, it's good and... *sips* ok, let's move on SHALL WE!?!? We ate breakfast each morning at the hotel because the Hampton Inn-Martinsburg had free waffles... can't beat that with a bat. And on Saturday evening I had a yummy cantalope margarita at the Texas Steakhouse.

On the way home we swung by the outlets to do some shopping for my nephew who is cooler than a polar bear's toenail, I tell you! All told, there were a few arguments but mostly good times!
What I learned: You can't travel with everyone and that's ok. But you also cannot and should not compromise the integrity of a great time because of one person or else you may miss out on something awesome like live music & limoncello!

Then I performed with the best church on the East Coast... The Community of Hope AME's Voices of Hope at the Safeway BBQ Battle. Most folks may not understand why this is a big deal, however... it's MAJOR because we are a church that is only 7 years old, but we were invited to sing GOSPEL on the same stage as legends of DC's own musical genre- GoGo! Y'alldonthearmedoe! I love my COH!! Beleeeeee dat!

Next up, was the youth retreat at Sandy Cove. This was an amazing move of God because I learned so much while there. I had some internal conflict that I literally had to get down on my knees & pray about with tears streaming down my face. But once I did, I stood back & watched God work. There was a young lady whose mother initially did not want her to go on the retreat because she was acting up at home. A fellow youth leader and I encouraged her to let her go & all but promised it was for the best. Well, when I tell you that the young lady that came home was not the same young lady AT ALL... believe me! Due to the sensitive nature of the things that wenton at the retreat, I cannot go into much detail about this. But I had a room of 3 girls whom I ADORED and really enjoyed talking with them about college and life after HS! There was some conflict that some of our kids were being forced into, that they all successfully avoided. I was just so proud.
My chicas!

What I learned: Get out of God's way, some things aren't about you. And also, never underestimate the power of a good example. HALLELU!

That next weekend marked the last weekend for a member of our youth ministry. He was off to Cali for a one year program. We had a lovely brunch for him at Bar Code and ended it with a full on papparazzi style photo shoot outside the lounge.

Love you & miss you, Jeff!
I left there to go hang on the porch with my boo that moved to FL and only visits the area once every 2 years or something!

What can I say? New York is ALWAYS an adventure & this time was no exception! I traveled with the one & only MimiCuteLips & her cousin Ty. There was a party at the Doughnut Plant in Chelsea... Don't believe me, peep the receipt:
Michael said I'm fun! :-P
While having breakfast at our second fave breakfast spot just down the street (yes we had doughnuts AND breakfast... you mad??) we got a call that our room was ready. We checked into our room at the Four Points by Sheraton and didn't really think much of the room because we had stayed there previously. That was until we opened the window & saw.... 

The Empire State Building and the Chrysler building just to the right of it! SUHWEET!

We traipsed through the city all weekend long stopping at The Counter in Times Square... where we did some ungodly things to our burgers. 

We got us some Big Gay Ice Cream in the West Village... no pictures of that because, well... we DOGGED IT! Might I suggest the APPLE Gobbler though... 
pic from

And I saw Nev & Max from Catfish... I mean how cool is that? 
Damn, they fine! S'cuse my language!

Sunday night we stumble upon a SWEET deal to see Wendy Williams in the musical Chicago! 

You see that squiggle there? it's Wendy's autograph!  How did I get it you ask? She signed it when we went to the Wendy WIlliams Show the very next day! I luh me some WENDY!

AND she shook my hand, hunty!
After that we got some bueeeeeeenooooo Italian grub at Il Bastardo
We got to see some of NY's Finest spring into action!

And DO THAT they did!

 And met up with my cousins for some firemen ogling and a group pic!

After that we packed up on the crowded Megabus where I eavesdropped on some nerd's phone conversation  about his awesome weekend of beer & folk music *eyeroll* & texted it to Mimi.... because I'm immature! :-P

What I learned: It's okay to just be free. No plans, no schedule, no hurry. When you go with the flow, good things flow back to you... cool things happen... And also, always BE fun... people notice that type of thing! lol

I live here, so why is this included? Because I stayed in a hotel in my hometown and had a ball. Hotel Rouge was the PERFECT place for us! (Cuz see rouge is french for red & my sorority colors are crimson & cream.... get it??) 
You may or may not know (or care) that I am a member of an AMAZING organization DELTA SIGMA THETA SORORITY, IIIIINCORPORATED!  We were founded in 1913 & this year marked our 100 year Anniversary! There were Deltas all over DC & I was one of them! I was working my 9-5 and participating in the meetings & services.... I was in the 500+ voice choir that ministered throughout the weekend AND I hosted some of my chapter sorors. I can't tell you everything that went down but here are the pictures I can share:

I witnessed high-powered women HUMBLED by the honor of being a Delta! That, to me was incredible!
I also went to Bar Code AGAIN! and introduced some of my sorors to the yummy goodness that is Lauriol Plaza!
What I Learned: Delta Sigma Theta chose me for a reason and I am recommitted to doin it big for Delta! Also, I love my linesisters so much and we have all learned to accept, respect and appreciate so much more about one another over the 14 years in the sisterhood (omg I am OLD). 

It's paradise, without a doubt! I fell in love all over again... the resort, the staff, the food.... I need to go there every year! I have stayed at the Iberostar Grand Hotel Rose Hall once before and could not believe it was a real place! It looks just like the pictures and lives up to my idea of luxury and hospitality. We had butlers! BUTLERS! Every day we had pineapples delivered to our room & every night, we had champagne & pineapples delivered to our room.... we would get up, eat breakfast, laze about in the pool, eat lunch, laze around on our deck, eat lunch again, laze around in the pool, take showers, go to dinner... go for a late night dip in the private pools... and have a lazy good time. I actually went IN the ocean... I NEVER do that... sand gets all over errythang ifyouknowwhatImean...I have no pictures other than these few because I was too busy livin it up to pose!

What I Learned: Vacation isn't always about going, seeing, doing... or having the perfect beach body (I'm currently shaped like a  beach BALL). It's about relaxing, completely and totally... no judgement, now worries! They have a saying there: There are no problems, only situations!

Does that say RICHMOND, who goes to RICHMOND? yes, yes it does!I went to Richmond to meet up with one of the coolest, most understanding friends a girl could have! It was just for the day, I was gone about 25 hours total. But in that 25 hours, we had great conversation, great food and great laughs. We remembered what it was we loved about one another and made a vow to try to see one another more often. I also think we learned something new about one another.And we learned that we are both pretty greedy! Look at this food!
Breakfast Melt & Pork & Waffles from Station 2!

What I Learned: No matter how long you have known a person, you can always learn something new about them. And also a good friend will take your suggestions into consideration lol

Enjoy your life.... say yes MORE! Not to people asking you to do something FOR them... but to EXPERIENCES! I had my LIFE changed this summer in some ways that weren't even discussed here... I learned back in my days of improv to say: "YES, AND..." instead of "No, but..." Too many people want to decline opportunities & suggest things that make them feel more comfortable or just do nothing at all as life happens all around them. I am applying "YES, AND..." to my life. Accepting the opportunities life has to offer, that's the YES... adding more to it that's the AND...

I leave you with this:
It has nothing to do with this blog, but my nephew is just too stinkin CUTE to not get some shine!