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!

I’m 32!

Guess who just had a birthday…me! I turned 32 a few weeks ago.

On the eve of my birthday, I stopped to reflect on how much my life has changed. Just last year, I was a bit sad on my birthday because it meant I was getting closer to being an old maid. I always enjoy my birthday, but I wanted to have a special person in my life to share it with. This year, LM was with me for my birthday and it was so great to have that experience…finally.

Leading up to my birthday was a very busy time. The week before my birthday we moved into our new apartment which is absolutely fantastic. We now have a 2 bedroom/2 bathroom apartment in a new building that is centrally located for both of us. The bigger space is great, I can still take the bus to work and best of all, we live across the street from a Target! The move went smoothly, but we had a lot of stuff so it was more costly than I anticipated. We also bought a new bed for our room, which was delivered just before we left for vacation. We settled on a bed with pocketed coils which I absolutely love.

The Friday before my birthday (which is also Fourth of July) we flew out to DC, for my BFF’s wedding. The wedding was in Arlington at a supper club-type location, which was a great venue. It started late, but LM and I managed to entertain ourselves until the wedding. The ceremony was beautiful, my BFF wore this great tux and his wife wore a gorgeous form-fitting satin dress. During the cocktail hour, the staff flipped the room for the reception. This wedding had a TON of food – a 2 course plated dinner plus a buffet of Nigerian food (my BFF is Nigerian). Everything was delicious but I was stuffed when we left. I’m so happy that we got to attend the wedding, it was beautiful and I was happy to share that moment both with my BFF and LM.

After the brunch wedding on Sunday, we did a few last-minute things and hung out with the bride & groom for a bit before we headed to bed. We had an early flight on Sunday (my birthday) to Puerto Rico, for some rest and relaxation. We stayed at the Intercontinental, which isn’t far from the airport. The hotel was beautiful and the staff were great – they even sent up a free dessert for my birthday. As soon as we checked in and made it to our room, we changed and hit the beach. We got a lot of sun and time in the ocean, which was great.

Puerto Rico

On our second day we went to Old San Juan and did some sightseeing and eating. In the afternoon we did the Bacardi Factory Tour, which was fun. I learned a bunch of new stuff and I never turn down free drinks!

Bacardi Tour photo

LM and I both wanted to relax on this trip, so we didn’t do a ton of organized things. We ate a lot of great food and had a ton of drinks. We also did some gambling in a few other casinos (the casino in our hotel was tiny and didn’t have a craps table). Overall, it was a great trip and gave us just the relaxation we were looking for.

Originally I’d planned to celebrate my birthday at Essence Festival, but our plans changed when my BFF set his wedding date. Even though we didn’t make it to New Orleans, I had a great birthday, mostly because LM was with me. It was a great getaway and a time to step away from all the things going on in our lives.

 

A Life Update

It’s been a little over a month since my life completely changed. First, my love LM moved to Minneapolis and we began cohabitating, and then we got engaged! I still cannot believe I’m engaged – I stare at my left hand a lot, partially cause my ring is gorgeous and partially cause I’m just amazed I have a ring! I knew we were going to get engaged, we talked about our future a lot, but I’m still amazed that it happened. In the years I’ve kept this blog, I’ve written a lot about my relationships and my fears of being an old maid. LM says he can’t believe that I ever thought that, but the evidence can be found in various posts on this blog. Anyway, that doesn’t matter, cause we’re getting married!

Living together is going extremely well, smoother than I expected. I was nervous because neither of us has lived with a significant other, and I haven’t shared space with someone since college. We got a glimpse of how we share space during our extended visits, and they went extremely well, which made me feel like we’d be ok. We’ve been living together harmoniously so far, the only issue we have is around our lack of space. My apartment is only 750sqft and it’s just not enough space for all of our stuff. We also need a second bathroom. Since my lease was ending this summer anyway, we decided to find a bigger place. We’re moving next week and I cannot wait! We’ll have more space, we’ll be in a better location, and we’ll be out of my old (and kinda shitty) apartment.

Next week, after the move, we got to DC for my BFF’s wedding. I’m so excited to see him and his fiancée get married. After the wedding, we head to Puerto Rico for my birthday. I cannot wait to have a few days away, to relax on the beach, and take our first vacation together.

Work is ehhh…I’ve been putting my energy into finding my next role, which is very common at my company. Other than that, i’m cranking out work, which is really just a lot of copy & paste *sigh*.

The rest of my brain is dominated by all things wedding but I’ll save all that angst for another post.

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.

The Perfect Example Of No Game

Friday night in South Beach.

My three friends and I started our night at Prime One Twelve. We had one of the best meals of my life – filet mignon,  scallops, short ribs, plenty of drinks, and yummy desserts. If you haven’t been, I highly recommend making a reservation & enjoying a meal at Prime One Twelve.

After dinner, each of us change into our party clothes. I decided to wear a black sheath dress – I actually think it’s a tunic, but it fits me like a dress, and with a belt it shows off every curve on my body. I’ve lost more weight since I’ve worn this dress, and I look even better in it. My friend TG looks like a model, literally. She’s tall, thin, yet has a great rack & a killer sense of style. She looks hot in a sexy tailored dress she picked up earlier in the day at Barney’s Coop. My other friends MK & LM look great too, in a strapless dress & a sheath dress, respectively.

Once we’re dressed & looking good, we head out & hop into a cab. Tonight’s first destination: the W Hotel in South Beach. We decided to start there and see what was up for the rest of the night. At the door, TG realizes she doesn’t have her ID, but we make our way instead anyway. It’s a beautiful night – warm, with a nice breeze, so we stay outside & head to the pool bar for our first round of drinks. We sip cucumber and strawberry mojitos, while we grab table & enjoy the evening.

Before long, we have 2 admirers, R & M. They’re friends, in town for the American Black Film Festival…though they seem to be the type of men who don’t need a reason or an excuse to make their way to Miami. They’ve traveled down from DC to mix & mingle, party & enjoy the ladies.

We all fall into a comfy conversation, with TG & I taking the lead. The conversation leads to football, where M & I discover we’re both Colts fans. While M goes to fetch more drinks, R & TG discuss the city of Chicago. M returns with drinks, and rejoins the football conversation. After a few comments, its clear that he’s not actually the Colts fan he claims he is, I playfully remark that I should take his Colts fan card. His reply? “Oh its up in my room, come upstairs with me  to get it”.

Strike one dude.

For a moment, I had to process what I heard. Was it as corny and lame as I thought? Why yes, yes it was! I subtly shake my head & say “no thanks” before returning to the group conversation. My entire energy has changed, and so has M’s, because now he’s browsing on his phone & allowing TG and R to dominate the conversation.

Before I can register that it’s beginning to rain, the sky opens up & we’re forced to make a mad dash inside the club. We post up near the bar & keep the party going with another round of drinks. Some friends join us, but M has checked out & is now scouting for chicks in the club. As the club becomes more crowded, we’re pushed closer to each other. Until finally, he jostles my drink, spilling some on my foot. When I remark to him that my foot is now wet, his answer is to offer to lick off the spilled liquor. Before I can even reply to that, he then proceeds to tell me that he’d love to lick something else too…something that starts with a C & ends in “lingus”.

Strike two and three dude.

Seriously?

Listen, I know when folks go on vacation, especially men, they wanna get laid. The desire is even more urgent when they haven’t gotten any at home in the while. But to be so corny & lame with it? Not the way to get some vacation sex at all. It’s just a turnoff.

I politely gave M a very firm “no thanks, won’t ever happen homie” and sent him about his way. He headed over to the bar where he found a girl attempting her best Kim Kardashian look. Did he take her home? Who knows…but he looked happy as he left.

Maybe she let him lick her.

The Birthday Celebrations

I rang in 29 with a bang…and a TON of drinking. Seriously – I went out every night starting on July 1 & didn’t stop until July 13th. My liver is like “are we back in grad school?” LOL

Some random shots from my birthday parties & from vacation:

My white boy crush from my old job came to my party
Met Anthony Anderson at the ABFF in Miami
Enjoyed too many drinks in Miami
Two of my fave Orlando folks came to my party too
And yet another shot at the club...

No recap this year – tho I will blog abt specific things that happened. I have some hilarious stories.

The Start Of The Last Year Of My 20’s

Last week I celebrated my 29th birthday. 😀

I am one of those people who loves their birthday, and always wants to celebrate. It truly is one day that is about you, and am I always happy & excited to acknowledge that I was blessed to see another year of life.

I was so lucky to celebrate my birthday both with Minneapolis & Orlando friends, and go on vacation to Miami with some friends. I received countless phone calls, texts, emails, FB wall posts & Twitter shoutouts – to everyone who wished me well on my day of birth, THANK YOU! 😀

Going into my birthday, I’m always introspective, and my birthday is the time where I set the goals for that year of my life. I look at where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and where I want to go, and that sets the tone for the next 365 days. This year, I started thinking long & hard about the previous year. 28 was very up & down, full of obstacles in every facet of my life. While I had many good/great/excellent moments, I spent a significant part of my 28th year depressed, unhappy, lonely, and melancholy. I focused more on the negative than the positive, and that resulted in a less-than stellar year.

As my birthday grew closer, a common theme kept coming up in my thoughts. I went through old journals, looked at old photos, and really analyzed the woman who I’ve progressed to become. The biggest thing I’ve noticed is that as I’ve grown older, I’ve become more scared – scared of truly being who I am, scared that others won’t accept me, scared that I will not achieve the things I want in my life. A theme began to resonant with me – the idea of being fearless. I look back at myself at 18, 21, even 25, and I realize that I was much more fearless back then, compared to the past year. I did what I wanted to do, I had no concept of not getting what I wanted, and I was secure in knowing that I was awesome, no matter what others thought of me. Being fearless is what got me where I am, what allowed me to take charge of my happiness, and to be the best Jubi that I can be.

So…for my 29th year of life, the goal is to live each day as fearlessly as possible. To answer only to myself, hold myself to only my standard, and to know & believe in my heart that I can achieve anything I want.

I have some big goals. I’ve talked about entrepreneurship. I’ve decided to add published author to that list. Will those things happen before I’m 30? Who knows…but I do know that they will happen, because fear has been the only thing holding me back.

 

So Much Has Happened…

Since the last time I wrote.  I had a lot on my plate, a lot on my mind, I celebrated my 28th birthday, and did some traveling.  So this is probably gonna turn into a long-ass recap post, apologizes in advance.

The last time I wrote about myself, I was struggling with my dating situation with the attorney & his lack of desire to be in a committed relationship after months of dating.  I gave it a lot of thought, and then I decided to leave it alone.  We continued to see each other, and I just felt like it was a futile effort.  I had trouble making a clean break, mostly cause I was hoping too hard for something to change.

While I was trying to figure that out, I was still going on dates with other dudes.  One guy (we’ll call him Akeem – think Coming to America, cause he’s Nigerian)  pursued me hard-core, but I wasn’t very interested.  The first time we went out, it was late & I was super-tired, and he turned me off when he started talking about how much easier Black ppl have it in this country.  I gave him one more chance, and the second date was even worse – I had to have my friend call me so that I could escape!  I was so done with Akeem, but he was persistent.  He flat-out told me that he was going to pursue me until I told him to leave me alone…so I gave him one more chance.  I’m glad I did cause that date was great, we really got a chance to talk and get to know each other.  We have a lot in common & enjoy each other’s company…and as a plus he’s pro-relationship.

The Friday before my birthday I had a birthday dinner with my Mpls friends.  I had a good time, tho Akeem didn’t make it & didn’t call (long story).  The attorney was there tho…and that night was the night I was finally done. I was finally ready to be done.  It wasn’t worth it anymore to try to keep something going.  I hope that we can still be friends, but I doubt we will, he’s too distant & detached.

Usually I do a birthday trip with LK, but he flaked on me this year, so I decided to go home & see my family.  I’m glad I did, I had such a good time. I drove home because I refused to spend $350 on a flight.  The drive was ok, I had my road rage moments with the slow folks who refuse to leave the left lane, but overall it was ok.

So what did I do at home?  Well let’s see….My first day there I met my mom’s new boyfriend – he’s a nice guy & my mom is like a giddy teenager, she’s so happy.  The next day I met my sister’s boyfriend – he’s very tall & very sweet with my sister, I’m glad she’s happy.  I spent a lot of time with my nieces – they have gotten so big!  They each have their own little personalities, and its funny to see how they act & interact with each other.  I chopped it up with my brothers, spent time with my sister, hung with the homies, and I even reconciled with my dad…we hadn’t talked in several years, but we talked & I’m glad we did.

Sadly my vacation was too short, and I was really dreading going back to work, but surprisingly it has been less stressful.  I’m dissatisfied tho, I really thought this new job was going to excite me, but it doesn’t.  I think I’m really just ready to be out of the lab totally.  But that’s a post for another time.

So…I think you guys are all caught up now.  I’ve just been living & trying to figure out what my next  move is, while enjoying life.