We’re Headed To Italy!

OMG I'm so ready to get to Italy!
OMG I’m so ready to get to Italy!

Six months ago, LM and I went on an amazing trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi and as soon as we got back, we were itching to book our next trip. There were a ton of deals, and we booked a deal to Lima…but we wound up canceling when we realized how expensive it would be to do Machu Piccu. A few weeks later, we found an Emirates deal to Italy and we decided to book it!

Over the past few months we’ve planned an awesome trip for 10 days in four Italian cities. We start and end in Milan, and we’ll also visit Rome, Florence and Venice. Lots of people have given us tips on things to do and things to see, but I’m most excited to drink wine, eat Italian food and stuff my face with gelato. Ok, I might be excited about the art and architecture too. And I’m really excited about the Da Vinci and Galileo museums in Florence – I get to nerd out on vacation.

I’ll be sharing photos of the trip on Instagram and my observations on Twitter. Follow me on both to catch all the fun! I’m @Jubilance1922 on both Twitter and Instagram!

Our Middle East Adventures, Part 2

I’m back with Part 2 of our awesome trip!

We spent 3 fun days in Dubai, and we planned to spend the next 3 days in Abu Dhabi. But how to get there? Well there’s lots of options – the Etihad shuttle, Big Bus Tour, catching a local bus, hiring a taxi or hiring a private car (like Uber). The bus options are cheap, but you have to get yourself to the bus station and we weren’t interested in lugging all our stuff all over Dubai. We hired a private car which was awesome. We were picked up promptly in a Lexus, and had a smooth drive to Abu Dhabi. True to form, LM fell asleep almost immediately, but I was awake, just checking out the view.

After about 70 minutes, we arrived at our destination, the Sofitel Abu Dhabi Corniche. This is a hotel that we’d initially booked, and then booked again for a cheaper rate thanks to a Priceline Express deal. Even at the higher rate, this hotel was totally worth it, but it was a steal for what we paid thanks to Priceline. The staff is super attentive and welcoming. We checked in and were given an upgrade to a corner room on the 18th floor with a gorgeous view. Our room also had a nice sitting area and a large bathroom with another large tub. We thoroughly loved the Sofitel, and between the two hotels we stayed in, I preferred the Sofitel. It’s probably the nicest hotel I’ve stayed in.

After we arrived, we rested for a bit, changed clothes, and then headed to the Emirates Palace for high tea. We’d heard from several people that high tea at Emirates Palace was a must do, so we were excited to try it. Tip: book reservations for the high tea in advance. There are several options to choose from – we went with the traditional high tea. I also opted to try the cappuccino with 24k gold flakes, which was delicious.

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The next morning, we took advantage of the hotel shuttle to Yas Island, where we visited Ferrari World. That’s right, we went to an amusement park based on a car company. I was a bit skeptical at first, but it was a lot of fun! The complex is huge, with a ton of things to do – roller coasters, simulators, games, exhibits, and even a go-kart track! My husband drooled over the Ferraris on exhibit, and we had a great time on the rides. We spent half the day there and it went by way too fast!

Ferrari World

We also hit a mall in Abu Dhabi, courtesy of the hotel shuttle. It was impressive, but after seeing the malls in Dubai, it was a bit of a letdown. However, this mall did have a Popeye’s, but no red beans & rice #bummer.

We used our last day in Abu Dhabi to visit the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. It’s the largest mosque in the UAE and one of the few open to the public. Before we began our tour, I rented an abaya in the basement of the mosque. Tip: both men and women can rent acceptable dress if they aren’t dressed appropriately to enter. Women must have their hair covered, plus arms and legs down to the wrist/ankle. To rent garments, you give them your ID and they give you a claim slip. When you return it, you get your ID back.

I’d seen lots of pics of the Grand Mosque on Instagram, but I was unprepared for its beauty in person. It’s breathtaking and gorgeous. There’s so much to see and take photos of, it’s a bit overwhelming. The mosque is so grand, and so ornate. There were a ton of people while we were there, but everyone was respectful and enjoying the beauty of the mosque.

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One cool thing that we saw was a sign that displayed the prayer times in Arabic & English

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And this artwork inside the mosque, listing some of the 99 Names of Allah.

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We had to cut our visit to the mosque a bit short, because we had a tour at the Abu Dhabi Falcon Hospital at 2pm. Getting there was an adventure – remember how I said none of the buildings have street numbers? That makes describing where things are…interesting. We also went through like 3 cab drivers before we found one who knew where the falcon hospital was. Once we hopped in our cab we thought we were good…until he suddenly pulled off the road to get gas! We were a bit late for our tour, but we made it to our destination!

So the falcon hospital…this was probably my favorite activity on the trip. Falconry is the national sport of the UAE, and this hospital does tours where you can learn about the birds, the history of the sport, and see how they take care of them. I learned a ton, like how falcons are treated like children by their owners and they often have their own rooms in the house. Falcons also have their own passports, so that they travel to other countries where hunting with a falcon is legal (it’s not in the UAE).

After our intro, we were ushered into the exam room to meet the birds. The falcons hang out on those benches, and they are super chill because they have hoods on, which prevents them from seeing. It was so nuts to see all those falcons just chilling!

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The staff took us through a normal examination of the birds, and afterwards each of us got to hold a falcon if we wanted. I can’t even front, I was a bit nervous – those talons are sharp! But my falcon was chill, and now I can say I’ve held a falcon on my arm!

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The last demonstration in the exam room was the feeding. Falcons are hunters and they eat meat, so they fed one of the birds a quail. Check out my adventurous husband, who volunteered to feed the falcon.

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The tour continued with a walking tour of the rest of the grounds. The facility also houses a family of owls who live outside. There’s also a special room where the falcons can live while they go through their molting season, where they shed their old feathers and grow new ones.

Once our tour was over, we cabbed it back to the hotel where we packed and chilled until it was time to hit the airport. Our flight back to the US left at 3am, so we were at the airport at midnight. The Abu Dhabi airport has an US customs pre-clearance facility, where you go through customs before you even leave the country; when your flight lands in the US, it’s as if you just got off a domestic flight. Our flight back was less full than our first flight, so we had a bit more room to spread out. I did my sleeping, eating, and moving watching routine once again.

Since we’ve been back, I’ve been asked a lot what I thought of the trip. My answer is always that it was an amazing trip and I’m so glad we went. I never thought I’d ever go to Dubai or the Middle East, and we did it! I enjoyed myself so much and got out of my comfort zone. A destination like Dubai is good for someone who is just getting into world travel, because it’s so easy for English-speakers. All the signs are in English, and so many folks speak the language, you can get around easily. I also loved taking an international trip with my husband, that wasn’t a honeymoon. We both love to travel and it was cool to see how we would do on a world adventure.

Now that we’ve (finally!) taken this trip, it’s time to plan our next one, for our anniversary in March. Where should we go? Leave your suggestions in the comments! 

Our Middle East Adventures, Part 1

 

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Hey yall! LM and I just spent an amazing week in the UAE – Dubai and Abu Dhabi specifically.

What were we doing in the UAE? Vacation of course! This story began last Christmas, when Etihad Airlines had super cheap fares to a variety of destinations. I snagged us two tickets to Abu Dhabi for less than what it cost us to fly to Atlanta for Christmas! Because of our wedding & honeymoons in the spring of 2015, I booked our travel for October, when it’s cooler.

After almost of year of waiting, and seeing everyone’s cool photos, it was finally our turn to travel! Prior to the trip we did a bunch of research to figure out things to do/see, where to stay, and most importantly, how to make our flight as comfy as possible. Shoutout to Tripadvisor, Seatguru and Black Girl in Abu Dhabi, which were my main resources for information.

Our journey began on a Wednesday, when we drove from Minneapolis to Chicago, which was the closest city that Etihad flies from. We could have hopped a flight, but it was easier and cheaper to just make the drive. Our flight to Abu Dhabi was scheduled to leave at 1pm on Thursday, so we drove down Wednesday evening and spent the night in a hotel.

Our departing flight from Chicago was a Boeing 767 and it was PACKED. LM and I sat in the back, which turned out to be great. The plane was a 3-4-3 configuration, and we were in the first 2 seats of the 4 seat section. I did appreciate the many amenities provided by the airline – not just a pillow and blanket, but also eye shades, ear plugs, and noise-cancelling headphones. During our 14 hour flight we were served several meals and snacks, plus plenty of drinks. I spent the flight falling asleep to movies, while LM spent most of it walking around and doing shots with a flight attendant in the galley.

After what felt like forever, we finally landed in Abu Dhabi. When we disembarked, we were greeted by a representative from Pearl Assist, who escorted us through customs. After we exchanged a bit of our money, we then hopped on the Etihad shuttle to Dubai. Tip: if you’re flying on Etihad, the shuttle to/from Dubai is free, but your boarding pass is required. It’s also suggested that you reserve your seats in advance. The trip to Dubai took a little over an hour, ending at the Etihad Travel Mall. From there, we took a cab to our hotel, the Bonnington Jumeirah Lakes Towers.

The Bonnington is in a great area – it’s in a development with restaurants and various shops, and it’s a 10 minute walk to the Metro and tram. The Metro can get you all over Dubai, while the tram will take you to the Marina, Jumeirah Beach and Palm Island. I wish I could say that I was clever when I booked this hotel, but we really got lucky. Initially we’d booked a hotel near the Dubai Mall, but it was expensive. We took a gamble on a Priceline Express Deal and got the Bonnington at a great rate. The hotel was beautiful, and the service was top-notch. Our room was spacious, and the bathroom with huge! It had both this amazing deep tub plus a huge walk-in shower.

After checking in and resting up for a bit, we ventured out to explore Dubai. We found the Metro, and figured out how to buy passes. Tip: get a daily pass; it’s 22 AED (~$6) for unlimited rides all day. We decided to visit Mall of the Emirates, which is 1 of the most famous malls in Dubai. This mall is home to Ski Dubai, the indoor ski slope. Listen, this mall was INSANE. I visit Mall of America all the time, and Mall of the Emirates puts it to shame. Any and every retailer you can imagine was in this mall, from low-end to the high-end luxury brands. I did enjoy visiting some of the luxury stores. Honest moment: shopping while Black in Dubai was a new experience – I didn’t have worry about things like being followed or receiving poor service. We explored the mall and had dinner, before we returned to the hotel for some rest.

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Part of Ski Dubai – there’s snow in there! See the ski lift?

 

 

Day 2 we had an open morning, so we hopped on the Metro to visit the Dubai Mall and see Burj Khalifa (aka the tallest building in the world). We weren’t interested in going to the observation deck in Burj Khalifa so we just admired it from the ground – and yes, it’s super tall. The Dubai Mall was fantastic, with tons of shops and restaurants. In one section of the mall, there’s a line of American restaurants, which surprised me – Red Lobster next to PF Chang’s next to Texas Roadhouse. It’s also home to a large aquarium which we initially planned to visit, but we ran out of time. After visiting for a bit, we hustled back to our hotel for pick up for our desert safari experience.

There are a ton of companies that run a desert safari – we went with Arabian Adventures, and booked the Sundowner. On the safari, we were taken out to the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve. The safari starts with a short falcon show. Next you go driving through the sand dunes (if you get motion sick you won’t like this part) and you make a short stop in the dunes for photos. The last stop is a permanent camp where you have dinner, watch a belly dance show, take camel rides and get henna.

 

LM and I on the desert safari!
LM and I on the desert safari!

The desert safari was fun….but it felt very generic and cookie-cutter. Every moment was perfectly choreographed to keep you on schedule and it didn’t feel super authentic. It was like the McDonald’s of experiences, if that makes sense. It’s also designed to churn as many people through as possible. It’s a cool thing to do on your first time to Dubai, but I didn’t walk away feeling like I’d had an authentic experience.

Day 3 was my favorite day in Dubai. We began the day by meeting a friend of my husband’s – he and his wife have lived in Dubai for 4 years. We had lunch and he shared a ton of information about live in Dubai, being a Black expat, etc. Also we had some yummy sushi at a conveyor belt restaurant, which are always my faves. After lunch, we took the Metro to the gold and spice souks, which are big markets. In the gold souk, every 5 feet there was a guy trying to sell you watches, jewelry, fake bags, etc. Nuts! We also randomly stumbled upon the Heritage House, a home that was converted to a museum to highlight traditional life in the UAE. I liked exploring this museum and learning more about the culture.

Fresh caught seafood dinner on the beach!
Fresh caught seafood dinner on the beach!

In the evening we met up again with LM’s friends for dinner at a seafood restaurant. This restaurant serves fish and shrimp that were caught the same day, and you get to pick out your fish when you order. We ate on the beach, enjoying the breeze and the conversation. We then walked off dinner with a stroll through Jumeirah Beach, where I captured this view of Burj Al Arab. To end the night, we headed to the The Address hotel in Dubai Marina, where we had drinks and dessert at the pool lounge. The hotel has a beautiful infinity pool and I was mesmerized by the gorgeous view of the marina and the skyline. It turned out to be the perfect way to end the Dubai part of our trip.

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Dubai Marina skyline – gorgeous!

Other thoughts/observations about Dubai:

  • All the signs are in Arabic and English – super helpful for us English speakers
  • I saw a lot of American cars, which surprised me. Mustangs, F-150s and Suburbans are popular. Also, almost all the cars were white, which I’m sure is intentional.
  • I did a lot of people watching, and it seemed like almost everyone was a foreigner.
  • There are a ton of US companies with offices in Dubai.
  • Everything is super clean and everywhere we went, I saw people cleaning, sweeping, etc.
  • Dubai is very safe – we walked around after midnight with no issues.
  • Every restaurant delivers, even McDonald’s!
  • The currency exchanges in the malls have the best rates – hold out to exchange most of your money there.
  • Try to arrive so you attend the brunch at The Atlantis – we missed it but I heard it’s amazing.

Next up, Part 2 in Abu Dhabi!

 

 

 

All I Wanted To Do Was Relax On The Beach

…and instead I had the most stressful trip of my life. *sigh*

This all started after I got my new job offer – I didn’t know what my vacation situation would be after I started & I really wanted to go lay on the beach one more time. My friend CM lives in Miami Beach & had issued a blanket “come visit!” invite, so I checked with him & decided to make a weekend trip. I used some FF points & booked my trip a week before I was supposed to go. During that week, Tropical Storm Isaac decided to come into existence & start causing trouble. Yes, I lived in Florida for almost 4 years & yes, I totally didn’t even think about the fact that I was trying to go to Miami during the active part of hurricane season. *sigh*

I kept an eye on the storm, and the forecasts said it shouldn’t hit Florida until Monday, so I figured I could get out on Sunday morning & be fine. So down to Miami I went. Because I booked so late, I had to do a connection in Atlanta – I detest connecting flights. I’ve also been having trouble with my ears, specifically the right one refusing to equilibrate the pressure & staying blocked for days after a flight. My flights on Friday resulted in the same thing *sigh yet again* a blocked right ear & feeling like I was stuck underwater. But nevertheless, I made it to Fort Lauderdale, where my friend picked me up. We made a stop at the worst Target ever – how is it only 830 and there’s only ONE checkout line open for 30 customers because the manager sends everyone else on break? Ugh. And I had some great Cuban food that night #yum.

Saturday I was expecting to hit the beach, but the weather had other plans. It rained all morning, and not a sprinkling, but a serious storm with lightning & wind & stuff. Needless to say, I was unhappy, but the weather began to clear up around noon. My friend & I headed out to get some food before we hit the beach.

While finishing up lunch, I remembered to check-in for my flight so I grabbed my phone. That’s when I discover that Airtran has canceled all flights in South Florida for Sunday & Monday, and rebooked for a flight on Tuesday. Yeah…..NO. I can’t go home on Tuesday, I need to be in the office as its my last week at my old job & I have a ton I still need to wrap up. I immediately begin freaking out – I cannot be stuck in South Florida! We head back to my friend’s house while I’m on my phone trying to see if I can hop on a late flight from FLL…well btwn then & us getting into the house, the seats were gone 🙁 . Everything in South Florida was either sold out or had left already, since it was after 3pm by this time. My friend suggests I try Orlando, so I do – and there’s a flight at 8pm Saturday night! But how will I get to Orlando? We start calling rental car companies & I book the smallest car at FLL. Luckily, my things were still relatively packed well & we raced out the door to pick up the rental.

If you know me IRL, then you know that I have a little problem with road rage. Well I wasn’t even driving & I was stressed out to the max at the folks on the road. I needed to get to FLL immediately & folks were out driving like it was Sunday morning. I spent a lot of time tapping the car door & I also busied myself by checking in for my new flight on my phone. We finally make it to FLL but then we can’t figure out how to get to the rental car counter! We finally decide that my friend will drop me at the rental car return area, and luckily it was 100 feet from the counter. I run in, sign my paperwork, run back out, throw my stuff in the tiniest Toyota I’ve ever seen, and head out to 95. While i’m on 95 I realize 2 things: this car doesn’t have cup holders or cruise control *facepalm*. Yes, I had the privilege of driving 200+ miles with no cruise control.

My flight leaves at 8pm. I arrive at FLL at 430pm & I’m on the road by 445pm. Time is not on my side here. It’s normally a 3hr drive btwn Orlando & Miami, but I can’t take 3hrs, cause I won’t make my flight. This is how I ended up dong 85-90mph the entire time I was on the Turnpike. It was a necessity. Luckily there wasn’t much traffic & also no cops which helped immensely.

I reached Orlando at 715pm, and hopped on the 528 to drive the 5 miles to the airport. I got my car turned in at 730pm, and of course the woman trying to check the car in was new & didn’t know what she was doing. I wanted to scream at her that I was going to miss my flight but I held my tongue. Luckily I know MCO (Orlando airport) like the back of my hand from my years living there. I raced across the street to the terminal so I could get my boarding pass & then ran over to security, which was empty! But I had to take a moment & open my bag to remove my liquid items & my little Ziploc bag had broken so I had things all over. I navigated through security, grabbed my stuff, & was able to meet a shuttle to the gate just as it was pulling up. During the shuttle to the gate I had a moment to check my phone (its 741pm by this time) and tell Mom that I made it. I run off the shuttle & down to the gate, in a skirt that I’m pretty sure was flying up & showing everyone my goodies, but hey, I didn’t have time stop & worry abt it.

I reach the gate, they scan my boarding pass & I make it down to the plane – success! I find my seat & a place to stash my bag & I even got some water, cause by now I’m out of breath & abt to die. By this time, its 745pm. The Universe was looking out for me!

I have a flight thru Atlanta, and I was even more miserable on these flights because my ears were even more screwed up. On takeoff & ascent, my ears would pop violently, causing a sharp pain in my ear. And then on descent & landing, they would clog & not release. On my second descent into Minneapolis, the pain in my left ear was almost unbearable, my ear was under so much pressure. It lessened by the time I ended up on the ground, but I was still in pain & couldn’t hear on my left side.

I hopped off my flight & headed to the parking garage where I parked & drove home – tired, in pain, cranky & hungry. At midnight. But I was home & not stuck in South Florida.

And so, this is how I spent 24hrs in Miami, took 4 flights in 2 days, screwed up my ears even more, and paid a ridiculous amount of money for a flight. I got nowhere near the beach, and instead of relaxing had the most stressful travel experience of my life. But on the bright side, the Universe helped me make it home in 1 (damaged) piece.

I’m not allowed on another plane until I see the ENT specialist on Sept 11.

Labor Day In Chicago

So LM & I are the queens of last-minute trips, and a few weeks ago we decided to hit Chicago for Labor Day weekend.

I discovered on the trip that my point & shoot digital camera is broken 😥 so I was forced to take pics all weekend on my BB.

No recap this time – just pics!

I got to baggage claim & found LM charging her phone right there in Midway airport baggage claim LOL

 

We stayed at the Swisshotel - to access the elevator there is a keypad in the elevator bank; you just key-in your floor & the screen tells you which elevator to use #sweet

 

Had breakfast at Grand Lux Cafe #yummy. They have red velvet pancakes but I was too scared to try them. The chicken & waffles was on point tho!

 

Yo when is the Twin Cities gonna get a real Chick-Fil-A & not that fake one that is in Coffman???

 

Please explain to me why "Ms. Chocolatta" is on the back of that SUV???

 

Old School Vernors sign in the Museum of Science & Industry! #Detroit

 

We hit the Art Institute of Chicago & I got to visit my fave painting as well as the Miniature Rooms #lovethem

 

Yo why did Harold's give me this thimble-sized container of coleslaw? That's like 2 bites!

 

View from the 17th floor of the Swissotel - thanks Chicago for a great weekend!

Chicago Antics

For Memorial Day weekend I went to Chicago to see my good friend RJ get married. Great times.

I love Chicago. It was on my list of “cities I would move to” when I was trying to leave Orlando, but I happened to find a job in Minneapolis first. Chicago is expensive as hell (check out this damn gas sign) but so worth it.

Why the fuck is gas so high in Chicago?!?!

Did some shopping – found my girl TG some fab Badgley Mischka pumps & got myself some Cole Haan peeptoe platforms #yay

Cute right?

The wedding was great – I saw some friends; got to celebrate my friend’s wedding; and ate/drank to my hearts content. It was my first time at a Jewish wedding, so that was a new experience.

My new dress was a hit – got a lot of compliments. Not showing any pics yet cause I will be wearing this dress at my birthday celebration LOL.

Also got to meet a couple of Chicago Twitter followers…overall a good time.

I was kind of an old lady cause I didn’t actually “go out” while I was in Chicago, but I was so tired from running around & whatnot that I knew that was never gonna happen. Next time…

How did you spend your Memorial Day weekend?

Five Things My Next Job Will Allow Me To Do

 

Bye-bye lab!

It wasn’t until I took the job I have now that I realized how good I had it at my old job *sigh* I was so desperate to get out of Orlando & also get promoted (which I totally deserved) that I took the job I have now, and I gave up a lot of perks. Hindsight is 20/20 & while I love Mpls & being out of Florida…if I had to do it over again, I’d still be at my old job & making the best out of Orlando.

Now that I’ve learned not to take just any old job, I know that I don’t have much longer in Corporate America. My goal is to become an entrepreneur, but until that happens, I have to continue as a cog in the corporate wheel, but continuing in my current position is not an option. So I’m on the job hunt yet again. Not only do I want to get out of the lab & develop new skills, but there are some other things that I’m looking for the new job to offer.

So, five things my next job will allow me to do:

* Wear dresses/skirts to work – When I started working, I spent 100% of my time in a lab environment. My lab time is down to about 50-75% but that’s still a big chunk of my time. Being in the lab means I have to wear long pants, along with a lab coat, safety glasses & safety shoes. And I often get dirty or work with harsh chemicals, so I don’t wear nice clothes to work. I’d love to wear a skirt or dress to work, along with heels, because I’ve never done it before.

* Have an office with a door – Having a cubicle is a sign that you’re so completely unimportant. Like you don’t even have a full wall! You can’t do anything without your coworkers being all up in your biz. Cubicle life is a sad existence. Which is why I want an actual office – 4 walls with a door that I can close so folks can stay outta my biz & I can work in peace. It doesn’t have to have a window, but 4 walls & a door are an absolute must.

* Use my phone in my office – I really took for granted how important it is to use your phone at work. At my old job, I had my phone in my lab coat pocket all day & I was a tweeting, Gchatting, texting, BBm-ing, emailing fool all damn day. And then I got the job I have now, and I realized that I now sit in the basement of the building so I don’t get any kind of signal at all. Luckily my company policy allows access to Gmail, Twitter & FB, so I haven’t gone completely crazy. But I’m close. It’s a damn shame that I can’t use my phone during my work day.

* Telecommute and/or have a flex schedule – Since I am a chemist & I run laboratory instrumentation, it’s kind of hard to telecommute in my current role. Which is one of the many reasons why I want to transition to a new career, cause I’m tired of having to commute to work everyday. And working M-F? SUCKS! Especially when I used to work a 9/80 schedule at my old job so I had every other Friday off. I’m telling yall, I had no idea how many perks I would be giving up when I took this damn job….hindsight…Anyway, I need to have the option to either work from home, or have a flex schedule (9/80 or 4/10) or a combo of both. I’m so tired of going to work every damn day.

* Travel for work – I really miss traveling for work. At my old job (damn I’ve said that a lot huh?) I was on the university relations recruiting team, and I’d visit colleges doing career fairs & interviews. I also got to attend training courses at various facilities. So far, 16 months into the new gig, I have gone NOWHERE. I finally get to take my first two trips this summer, to Baltimore & Chicago. I wouldn’t want a job where I’m constantly on the road, but I hate being static, especially when I work for a company that is so global.

Damn…after typing all that, I don’t know how I even get out the bed & go to work everyday…my job sucks! I need a new one stat.

What are you looking for in your next job? What perks do you have now?

Jubi’s Trip Home – A Recap Of The Antics and Comedy

I’m back from MI! I had a great time when I was at home, and as usual, it was too-short a trip.

Let’s start the recapping, shall we?

Wednesday

I actually managed to get some work done, because I needed to get things squared-away with my technician before I left. After work, I hit the last Timberwolves game of the season with DN & a couple of ladies from my Meetup group. Game and team sucked, so we headed downstairs to our fave sports bar to see our fave bartender. We had a bit of a run-in with some random dudes who think calling me “bougie” is a diss (it’s not btw). After several rounds of drinks & shots, I asked our bartender friend for the bill – and was amped to discover that he charged us FIVE WHOLE DOLLARS for all the drinks we had #winning. I don’t care why he did it, but I heart him…it pays to be friends with a coolass bartender.

Thursday

Pretty uneventful until I got to the airport. There were some delays in my original flight, so I was booked onto another & literally had to run across half the airport in about 10 mins in order to make it. Yeah…I need to work out more! But I made it to Detroit, but sadly before my bag, so I had to get it delivered to my mom’s house. I stopped by my mom’s house for a bit, and then I headed out to meet my friend CH. CH & I met when I was in Atlanta – he worked at my fave coffee shop on Auburn Ave & we’ve remained friends since. CH took me to the cutest little restaurant, the Soup Spoon Cafe, where I had some yummy soup & the best seafood risotto I’ve ever had. We then headed to a bar down the street, where he introduced me to a drink called a Purple Rain. Apparently its like a Long Island, but replace the tequila & Coke with Chambord & Sprite. Very #yummy, which is deceptive – you keep drinking & are totally oblivious to how drunk you are. Anyway, great times with CH & I was happy to see him.

Friday

Delta delivered my bag bright & early #yay so I able to get dressed & go have lunch with my mom & auntie at one of my fave hometown spots, Dimitri’s. BTW, I’m a huge fan of Detroit-style coney dogs, and I also try to have as many as I can while I’m at home #random. After lunch I went over to my sister’s for a bit, she wasn’t feeling well & I hadn’t seen her on my last trip home so I wanted to make sure I saw her. After that, Mom wanted to hit a new casino that had just opened, so I indulged her & we went. It was itty bitty & I couldn’t get on the damn $5 Blackjack table #boooo but I did discover that there is a Sex and the City slot machine! Who knew?

SATC Slot Machine

After the casino, I chilled for a bit before I went out with my friend JC for his birthday. JC & I went to high school together, & he’s one of the few ppl from high school I still talk to. We hit a downtown restaurant/bar for drinks & to catch up, since I hadn’t seen him in over a year. The place we hit, Edmund’s, had these amazing adult shakes, which have liquor in them! #yum

Creamsicle Shake - Yum!

Saturday

I packed up my stuff, hung with mom for a bit, and then headed over to my sister’s for some quality time. My sister is the baby, and she’s now 21…it kind of blows my mind how she’s now really an adult in every way. After hanging with my sister for a bit, I hit the road to make it to @LisaLisa1908’s graduation happy hour in the D. Somehow I was the first one there, even though I was late & had to drive 70+ miles! But I had a lovely time, especially since I got to meet @CocoaLure!

@CocoaLure, @LisaLisa1908 & Me!

Cocoa & I hit another spot after the happy hour, where I met @Brotha2thaNite & I swear those two are made for each other, but they not hearing me. After drinks with those two, I met up with my Twitter crush, who I went out with the last time I was at home. I was all set to hang with him for the rest of the night…until I discovered that he thought of me as a “white acting black girl who was ready to get it in”. How did I discover this? I read a text on his phone. And I don’t feel bad about it either – I’m glad I found out how he felt about me, and he should have just been honest with me instead of having me thinking we both liked each other. Crush over. I told him I didn’t wanna kick it & I slept off all the liquor instead.

Sunday

I started my day with breakfast with my Dad & stepmom. For several years my Dad & I hadn’t gotten along, but we reconciled last July & I’m happy that our relationship is so much better now. We had a long breakfast & caught up, and I could really see that my Dad has learned to love & accept me for who I am. That used to be our biggest source of conflict – he wanted me to be something I’m not & I felt he should love me as I am. I’m happy to say that now we’re on the same page 😀

I spent the rest of my day, and really my trip, at my brother’s, hanging with my nieces & nephew. My nieces had just turned 2, and they are absolutely adorable & hilarious. And my nephew, that’s my fat man! He’s only 5 months but he wears 9 month clothes! He is just the happiest baby, anytime you look at him & talk to him he just dissolves into a million giggles. I love hanging out with my little people and as usual they didn’t disappoint with the comedy.

Monday

I had an uneventful trip to the airport, but getting back to Mpls was another matter. First my plane was late getting to Detroit. Then when we finally boarded, there was a broken smoke detector in the cargo area & they had to fix it. I swear I thought we would never get off the ground, but we finally did & I finally made it back to Mpls.

I had a great time at home, and somehow I managed to do 90% of all the things I planned to do #yay. I won’t be home again until probably October for my mom’s 50th birthday party, so I was happy I got a chance to see my family.

Heading Home!

Today I’m heading home to Michigan for a few days, and I can’t wait.

I don’t get home very often, due to my schedule, so every trip home is a great time.

I have a super busy schedule planned, so I won’t get much rest, but it will be worth it. I’m spending a couple days in my hometown of Lansing, and then the rest of my time in Detroit.

I can’t wait to see my family, especially my mom, my sister, as well as my nieces and nephew.

I’ll be back next week to tell you all about my exploits at home.

See you next week!

My Trip Home And Other Tales From Jubi’s Life

I haven’t done a recap post in a while – this is gonna be fun #yay.

This past weekend I went home to MI, to attend my brother’s graduation & to visit with my nieces & new baby nephew. I was really looking forward to this trip – I don’t get to see my family as often as I would like & plus I needed the time away from work.

This story really begins on Wednesday. So all week I had been on cruise control in the office because my boss was out & we were having a new instrument installed & that was keeping me occupied. Wednesday evening I got a call from the new guy, the artist, and we wound up kicking it until abt 2AM (why I did that on a school night, IDK). So I was dragging on Thursday, which was also the day I needed to clean, pack and go to bed early so I could be up for my 7AM flight.

Friday morning I dragged myself out of bed, got dressed & headed over to the airport. I parked in the garage at the offsite parking place, because I knew it was going to snow that weekend & I didn’t want my car to be covered in snow when I got back. I didn’t know that it was going to be the storm of the century in Mpls, but I digress. Anyway, flying out of Mpls was easy & I made it to Detroit around noon. Picked up my rental & headed to my brother’s house, to chill & see the kids.

My brother (DCT) is the one who was graduating. He’s also the father of the twins & the new baby nephew. I couldn’t wait to see the girls & to hang out with the new baby. I think I mentioned this before, but all of my nieces & now my nephew look like my side of the family, like spitting images of my brother, me, my mom, etc. Crazy, my family must have really strong genes. Anyway, since the last time I saw the twins, they have become expert walkers & have also started saying a lot of one & two-syllable words. And they are a handful! Constantly touching stuff, running around, talking to you & each other, etc. They kept me in stitches the entire weekend, it was hilarious to just sit & watch them interact with each other.

My nephew is an absolute doll, he is the cutest thing ever. He’s the first boy born in the family in a long time, and my brother is the proudest father ever. My nephew is a very easy-going baby, he only cries when he’s being changed (he hates being cold) or when he’s hungry…and he’s hungry A LOT. He’s a big baby & getting bigger everyday.

So my mom & I decided to send my brother & SIL to a nice hotel for the night & we would watch the kids. I figured that my mom would be the one to stay up with the baby, since she’s a mother & she knows what she’s doing. I was planning to catch up on my sleep once we put the twins to bed…but she & my nephew had other plans. Around 1AM my mom woke me up & told me that she couldn’t get the baby to take a bottle or go to sleep and she was ready to call my brother & SIL. I didn’t want to ruin their night, so I took the baby, and he immediately took his bottle, burped and then fell asleep on my chest. Apparently I have a very soothing effect on babies/toddlers, cause each of my nieces used to do the same thing. I wound up napping with the baby on the couch, while my mom got hours of sleep in the bed #imhating. How does the person with no kids get stuck being up with the baby all night? What part of the game is that?

Saturday I was still dragging from a lack of a full night’s rest, but I soldiered on. Next up was a visit with my other brother (BLT), his wife & their daughter, who is my other niece. She’s a true Daddy’s girl, and shy like her dad, so it took some time for her to warm up completely to me. But she’s the cutest thing & very smart & loving. While we were visiting, we discovered that my brother had all these old family photos at his house, so we spent some time going through them & reminiscing. I had a really great childhood, and my parents captured most of it in photos, and going through those pics brought back so many memories.

I managed to sit down for abt an hour Saturday evening, before I headed out again. I had a date #yay. I think I’ll devote the specifics of Saturday’s date to a separate post, so we’ll skip that for right now.

Sunday was DCT’s graduation from Wayne State. The big snowstorm had already reached Detroit, and the roads were slushy but passable on Sunday morning. My mom, dad, SIL & I attended the graduation, and it was very emotional. My brother went through a lot to finish school & it was great to be able to be there & celebrate his achievement with him. After graduation, my mom & aunt (who watched the kids while we were gone) headed home, while the rest of us chilled in the house as the snow picked up. In the afternoon my brother’s satellite went out thanks to accumulation on the dish (and THIS is why I don’t have Directv!) so I was forced to find other ways to entertain myself. I chilled with the kids, read, hopped on the Internets, and txted/bbm’ed for a while, before I finally fell asleep on the couch while watching Knocked Up.

Monday I headed out early to make it to the airport & my flight on-time. The roads were surprisingly more clear than I expected, and DTW wasn’t too busy, tho there were a lot of folks there who were trying to get rebooked onto new flights. I got out of Detroit late, but made it back to Mpls at a decent time. I hate to wait for 3 shuttles tho to get back to my car #grrr…but once I made it to the car it was a quick trip back to my apartment. #shoutout to all the transportation folks in the Twin Cities – I was amazed at how clear the roads were, even the surface & side streets. There is an insane amount of snow out there, the snow banks are ridiculously tall.

So….all in all, a great weekend, weather excluded. The highlights were graduation & the kids. Hanging with my nieces actually made me rethink my “I don’t think I want kids” position. Granted they are a handful, but they aren’t bad kids, they are just curious & full of energy. And the baby, he is just so precious & I could cuddle with him all day.

Overall, a great trip home – I gotta do that again soon.