Thursday, May 31, 2012

30 Day Blog Challenge

I've been blogging off and on for seven years. Every so often I hit a rut and find myself going days . . . weeks without posting or blog hopping. Either that, or life just gets in the way. It's easier for me to update my facebook status than to sit down and write a post. When I do focus on blogging, I am usually trying to catch up on everyone else since I could probably count on one hand the number of regular readers I have since I've come back. During one of my recent blog hopping trips, I found this challenge on Single Ma's blog and it made me WANT to blog. So for the next 30 days, I will be taking the 30 Day Blog Challenge!!!!!

1. List 20 random facts about yourself.

2. Describe 3 legitimate fears you have and explain how they became fears.

3. Describe your relationship with your parents.

4. List 10 things you would tell your 16 year-old self, if you could.

5. What are the 5 things that make you most happy right now?

6. What is the hardest thing you have ever experienced?

7. What is your dream job, and why?

8. What are 5 passions you have?

9. List 3 people who have influenced you and describe how.

10. Describe your most embarrasing moment.

11. Describe 10 pet peeves you have.

12. Describe a typical day in your current life.

13. Describe 5 weaknesses you have.

14. Describe 5 strengths you have.

15. If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

16. What are your 5 greatest accomplishments?

17. What is the thing you most wish you were great at?

18. What has been the most difficult thing you have had to forgive?

19. If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

20. Describe 3 significant memories from your childhood.

21. If you could have one superpower, what would it be and what would you do with it first?

22. Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? 15 years?

23. List your top 5 hobbies and why you love them.

24. Describe your family dynamic of your childhood vs. your family dynamic now.

25. If you could have dinner with anyone in history, who would it be and what would you eat?

26. What popular notion do you think the world has most wrong?

27. What is your favorite part of your body and why?

28. What is your love language?

29. What do you think people misundertand most about you?

30. List 5 things you would hope to be remembered for.

30 Days, 30 topics. Check back each day in June for a new post and if you're really feeling frisky, take the challenge yourself.

Tell'em How You Feel Thursday: What's Hot/What's Not

Everyone needs an outlet and I have usually used my Thursday posts to get things off of my chest. As I get older, I try to eliminate as much negativity as I can from my life and I have realized that these venting posts can get really negative from time to time. Because of that, and because of things I've seen in the blogosphere that I like, I'm gonna change the tone of these post into something more like a trending list compiled of 10 things I've liked about the previous week and 10 things I didn't like about the previous week. Let's see how it goes.

Let's get the bad stuff out of the way first. Here are 10 things that irked me in the last week:

10. Loosey Goosey
Loosey Goosey is a drink at Walt Fraizer's Wine & Dine. It's made up of Grey Goose peach vodka, crushed cucumber and lemonade. I think I'm missing an ingredient. To me, it tastes like an apple Now & Later. Not good at all.

9. Night Games on Holidays
Most of the country is off and you have game 1 of the Western Conference Finals on at 8:30pm. TV is ruining sports.

8. Basketball Wives
When are we going to ask for better things on television and stop allowing other folks to portray us the way they see us?

7. Selfish People
There are some people in my life who are so caught up on themselves that they don't have time for anyone else. I hope they remember that the same people they step on on the way up might just have to catch them on the way down.

6. No Chic-Fil-A in New York City
This needs no explanation

5. Lazy Children
Again, no explaination necessary.

4. Cheek Piercings
Who was the first person to say "let me get my cheek pierced"? I'm not big on most piercings to begin with, but this one is beyond me.

3. Blackberry E-mail
I had successfully avoided blackberries until I started this new job and now I am reminded every day as to why I avoided them. SMH.

2. Supervisors Who Hide Behind A Computer
My supervisor and I don't work in the same building, which does have its advantages, but it would be nice to see her every so often.

1. Wearing a tie to work in the summer
It's not even summer yet and this has made the list. It was 92 degrees today and the air conditioner in my building wasn't working. Not a good combination at all.

Now for 10 things that made me smile this past week.

10. Sunderstorms
Rain and thunder, no lighting and you can see blue skies off in the distance. It don't get much better than that.

9. Clyde Frazier
I had the pleasure of meeting him at his new resturant in the city over the weekend. He is just as personable and engaging as he was during his playing days.

8. Wogie's
My new favorite cheesesteak place outside of Philadelphia

7. Gemini Season
All you other signs can sit back and watch how birthdays are supposed to be celebrated.

6. Cold Stone Creamery
Does it get better than this when it comes to ice cream. I think not.

5. Words With Friends
When my text message buddies get busy at work, I can always count on having a move waiting on Words With Friends. One of my healthy addictions.

4. Lantern
One of my favorite Thai spots in NYC.

3. Posting & Toasting
Unlike Loosey Goosey, this drink is great. Absolut Citron Vodka pomogranate and mango. Simple, yet effective.

2. Pandora Mobile
Helps those late night trips home go by faster.

1. Good friends
My friends humbled me last weekend with all of their well wishes on my birthday and the ones who showed up to my surprise birthday dinner are just amazing.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Weekend Recap: 96 Hour Birthday Celebration

I have not had a memorable birthday in four years and the last birthday that I remember was not for a good reason. This year changed that. I will definitely remember this birthday for a long time and would like to thank those of you who contributed to it with your texts, calls or wall post. I truly appreciate it.

The festivities started right after work on Friday as I found myself Brooklyn-bound to meet up with an old friend of mine who was in town and wanted to be a part of the celebration. When we met, we headed to my favorite restaurant in Brooklyn, Lantern Thai Restaurant (which I did a review of in a previous post). After dinner we headed to the Promanade and chilled until it was time for me to head back to Queens. It was good to catch up with an old friend and a nice way to start the weekend. Saturday, was my day and I made the most of it. After months of hearing about it, I finally made it out to the West Village and went to Wogie's for lunch (I'll review it in a future post). Then I met up with the Mrs. and we did some shopping and had Cold Stone for dessert. When we got home, we watched the Celtics-Sixers playoff game before calling it a night. Sunday was the day the Mrs. requested for her birthday gift to me. She didn't tell me much about it except for the fact that she wanted me to wear slacks and a button up and I had to be ready to go at 1pm. When 1pm arrived, we left Queens and headed for Manhattan (It was funny watching my wife try to navigate her way around Manhattan without asking me for directions since she does not know how to get around in Manhattan). By 2:30 we had reached our destination, the Broadhurst Theatre, which was the home of the latest version of "A Streetcar Named Desire" starring Blair Underwood. The show was great and if you have a chance to get to NYC, I highly recommend it. After the show, we were going to dinner. Again, watching my wife try to get around without asking me, we finally made it to 37th Street & 11th Avenue, which is the home of Walt Fraizer's Wine & Dine (another restaurant that I will review in a future post). I had heard about this restaurant for a while considering that a good friend of mine had gone a few weeks ago with her man. Adding to my excitment was the fact that as soon as we walked in, Walt Fraizer himself was at the door to greet us. As we approached out table, I notice that my best friend and her man were sitting there and there were two empty seats. Those two emptty seats belonged to "Sigma" and his wife. My wife definitely got one over on me with the surprise bithday dinner. As irony would have it, on Monday, which was my actual birthday, I relaxed. We had a family breakfast at iHop then I went home and chilled before going to my mother-in-laws house for dinner. After dinner I came home and had some of my mother's banana pudding before calling it a night. Overall, it was a good weekend and I am already looking forward to next year. That reminds me. Save the date. Saturday, June 1, 2013.

Restaurant Review: Lantern Thai Restaurant

The first thing non-New Yorkers want to do when they come to New York is go to Manhattan, thinking that this is all there is to New York City. Fortunately, I know that real New York begins once you get out of the 212 and into the outer bouroughs. So when a good friend of mine said she wanted to take me out for my birthday last night when she came into town, I knew exactly where I wanted to go.

Lantern is convienently located on Montague Street in the Brooklyn Heights section of Brooklyn, two blocks away from the Montague Street entrance to the Brooklyn Promanade. It's easily accessible by public transportation (which is the best way to go to that part of Brooklyn because parking is very limited) as the 2,3,4,5,A,C,F,N and R trains are all within walking distance. The atmosphere has been discribed as quaint, but it is definitely more intimate than some of the other, more popular Thai spots I have been too. The service has been known to be slow, but the food is definitely worth the wait. On my most recent trip this past Friday, I had a Nightengale's Nest, which consisted of chicken and shrimp with pineapples, peppers, onions and scallions in a noddle nest. My dinner companion had the mango red snapper. We shared an order of pineapple rice, which is half of a pineapple gutteded out with the rice poured into the gutted out part.

We didn't have dessert as both Crumbs and Haagen Daez are a block away and the Brooklyn Promanade makes for a good after dinner spot to enjoy your dessert. The price was reasonable and the overall experience was good. I would definitely recommend this restaurant for a date spot or an evening where you just don't want to cook. Groups might not find the atmosphere condusive to what they want to do, but if they can keep it down, it would work for them as well.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Tell'em How You Feel Thursday: R&B Music's On Life Support

I don't really care for award shows, but on Sunday night, I found myself watching the Billboard Music Awards. There were a few things that bothered me about the night. First of all, what the hell was up with Katy Perry's performance. Secondly, Goodie Mobb < Beastie Boys. Thirdly, it was supposed to be a tribute to Whitney Houston, not George Benson, why the hell was John Legend singing "The Greatest Love of All"? My last issue with the awards actually has something to do with the awards that were given out.

Chris Brown won the award for R&B singer of the year (or something like that). His competition was Rhianna, Beyonce, Miguel, and Cee Lo Green. Let me repeat, his competition was Rhianna, Beyonce, Miguel, and Cee Lo Green. Where are the R&B singers. Billboard nominated four pop acts (evident by the fact that Rhianna was also nominated for Pop Artist of the Year) and a rapper. Nowhere on this list did I see Anthony Hamilton, Eric Benet (who Billboard obviously knows about since they allowed him to present an award), Tyrese, hell, I would have even accepted Usher in this category even though he hasn't done an R&B album since Confessions. Radio and mainstream media are making it more and more difficult for real singers to be noticed. I don't know what this stuff is that they play on the radio, but it isn't R&B music. The Tamia's, Avant's, Carl Thomas' of the world are still around, but they won't be heard. Everyone is complaining about music content, when there is great music being made and not heard. Thank God for Pandora.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

What Would You Do Wednesday: LDR(Part II)

I'm repeating the situation from last week because there has been an update that may or may not change your thought pattern. Here's the situation: You met a person from a dating site. You start chatting, eventually exchange e-mail addresses and phone numbers. After a few weeks, you decide to start visiting one another. You visit them first because you don't live in the same state, but close enough to make a drive of it. Things go well. A few weeks later, they visit you. Again, things go well. On your second visit to see this person, things start off good again. After a night out, you come back to your hotel room and things get heated. Sex is so good it puts you to sleep. When you wake up the next morning, you notice that person on their laptop chatting on the same dating website that the two of you met on. What would you do? Now before you answer, take this into consideration. A month later, you find out you're pregnant.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Weekend Update: Couples Retreat

This past weekend can be summed up in one simple word: wonderful. It was one full of good food, great company, beautiful weather and an overall good atmosphere. Most importantly, there was no stress . . . at least AFTER 5pm on Friday. This weekend easily jumps to the head of the list of best weekends in 2012 so far.

A little over a year ago, my church reinstated its marriage ministry. Although I was only engaged at the time, they couldn't wait for the wedding so that my wife and I could become a part. Once we did get marriage, we quickly became active members of the ministry. This past weekend, the ministry had its first Couples Retreat at the Hudson Valley Resort & Spa in Kerhonkson, New York. Although I was looking forward to the trip, I (like most of the participants would admit over the weekend) had my apprehensions. Fortunately, those concerns were quickly forgotten, once I arrived. The weekend was filled with laughter and learning. I can't speak for the other 8 couples who went, but I definitely feel closer to my wife than I did on Thursday night.

I got stuck at work on Friday so I had to take a bus to the resort while everyone else carpooled. Once I arrived, I quickly caught up with everyone. Our first exercise was to role play the day you met, only instead of playing yourself, we had to play the role of our spouse. That in itself led to a lot of jokes. After that we watched the movie "Fireproof" (excellent movie. I will probably dedicate a post to it one day). Saturday was a busy day. We had 3 workshops that focused on the biggest problems that couples go through; communication, intimacy and finance. All three workshops were good and my wife and I both learned a lot. Saturday night we had a semi-formal banquet, then an impromptu wrap session (the guys went to the bar to watch the Lakers-Thunder playoff game while the women went to someone's room to talk).

Sunday morning was peaceful and after a brief church service, the retreat was over. Only thing was nobody wanted to go home. After we packed and checked out of our rooms, so couples stayed behind and enjoyed a massage at the spa or hit some golf balls at the driving range. Ultimately, my wife and I started heading back to the city. Even the traffic couldn't dampen our mood. When we got home, we continued talking for another couple of hours until she took a much deserved nap.

How was your weekend? Hope it was a good one.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

What Would You Do Wednesday: LDR

Here's the situation: You met a person from a dating site. You start chatting, eventually exchange e-mail addresses and phone numbers. After a few weeks, you decide to start visiting one another. You visit them first because you don't live in the same state, but close enough to make a drive of it. Things go well. A few weeks later, they visit you. Again, things go well. On your second visit to see this person, things start off good again. After a night out, you come back to your hotel room and things get heated. Sex is so good it puts you to sleep. When you wake up the next morning, you notice that person on their laptop chatting on the same dating website that the two of you met on. What would you do?

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

TMI Tuesday: Fine Dining

You are having dinner at the best restaurant you can imagine. Do not concern yourself with over-eating, or other restrictions. We want to know what you like best. What will you have for:

1. Before dinner wine, aperitif, or cocktail?

I'd save the wine for the meal. Give me water or a lemonade for a pre-meal drink. If I go harder than that, it would probably be a Miami Iced Tea.

2: Appetizer?
Lately, I have been in the mood for Coconut Shrimp

3. Soup?
Not really a soup fan, but I do like cream of tomato.

4. Salad?
Since its not the entree, I'd go with a simple Ceaser Salad

5. Wine or other beverage with dinner?
It would definitely be white. If I drink red wine, my dinner companion could have her way with me by the end of the night (which, depending on who I am dining with, wouldn't be a bad thing).

6. Entree?
Encrusted Atlantic Salmon stuffed with crabmeat and pepperjack cheese.

7. Side Dishes?
Spinach and coconut rice

8. Dessert?
A warm Slutty Brownie with chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream

9. After dinner drink?
Frozen chocolate martini

10. Which 3 people would you invite to dinner: (must be famous, well-known, living or dead, not fictional)
Meagan Goode - For sex appeal
Barack Obama - For great conversation
Tim Tebow - Because you detest them

Bonus: Your lover brings you breakfast in bed. What’s on the tray?
A glass of orange juice, a can of red bull, a toasted bagel with cream cheese and her panties.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Prince Charming?

I was having a conversation with a friend of mine last week and she told me something that made me laugh, although I don’t believe it. She told me that I could literally charm the pants off of anyone. I’ll admit, I have been known to be a flirt in my day (who am I kidding, I’m still a flirt), but, even though I’ve meant damn near everything I’ve said to those I have flirted with, most of them haven’t taken me serious or called my bluff. If I was as good as this person thought I was, I would have definitely used my “powers” before getting married. Anyway, I say all of that to say this – have you ever been charmed by someone you weren’t initially interested in or attracted to? What does one have to do to charm you?

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

TMI Tuesday: Right Now

1. Are you wearing any jewelry? What?

My wedding ring and a watch.

2. What are you listening to now?

My co-workers

3. What is the last piece of entertainment media (i.e., cd, download, book, DVD) that you purchased? Do you recommend it?

I went to WalMart over the weekend and brought "Valentine's Day". Haven't watched it yet, so I don't know if I can recommend it.

4. What kind of undergarments are you wearing right now? Care to post a photo?

Boxer shorts and I'm not sharing.

5. What is your current mood?

Stressed

6. What is the best looking thing about you today?

Depends on who you ask, but I'll go with my smile.

7. Fill in the blank. Tonight I’m looking forward to watching Private Practice.

Bonus: Tell me something good…anything you want to share. Just do it

My birthday is in 27 days. Feel free to be the first to send/give me a present.

Operation 2012: April Update

Where does the time go? April is over now and the best month of the year is upon is. My birthday is on the 28th so you know I’m going to go hard this month. Celebrate hard, work hard and definitely exercise hard. But before I get too caught up in what might happen this month, let me take a look back April one more time. In my opinion, April was a bad month. Between spring break and being under the weather, I didn’t have a lot of time to exercise like I wanted to. In my monthly weigh-in, I am down six pounds for the year; which is actually only 2 pounds behind the 2 pounds a month pace that I set for myself this year. In April, I also realized that I should pay attention to WHAT I eat as much as HOW MUCH I eat. This month I will focus on making healthy substitutions to the foods that I eat. Any suggestions you have would be greatly appreciated.