Today is National Orange Day– Syracuse University’s 144th Birthday. #GoOrange
“In 2014, I Will…” New Years resolution post, I mentioned that I wanted to travel and make more memories with my friends. I’m excited at the progress I’m making already. In January, I went on a family cruise to Cozumel. At the beginning of February, I went to New Orleans to celebrate my friend Vanessa’s 25th birthday.
I’ve been friends with Vanessa since my freshman year in undergrad. When she randomly told me about her birthday celebration, I immediately said yes. I didn’t even stop to think of the cost or if my schedule would permit me to come. All I knew was that this was an opportunity to celebrate my friend and make memories. I’ve learned to stop overthinking and waiting for happiness to come to me. In life you have to be intentional and purposeful. I know the kind of life I want to have– one filled with love, adventure, and laughter.
Being at school for the past few months, I haven’t seen my college friends in a long time. In our time apart, I’d forgotten how much I like them and enjoy their company. These people knew me when I was Timi the awkward freshman, Timi the teacher, and they love me just the same as Timi the friend in grad school miles away. I have grown with these beautiful people and I am excited to stay in touch and grow old together.
My trip to New Orleans was only a weekend, but it was enough for me. For this one time, I was content to just be with them again. We honestly didn’t have a extensive itinerary: we ate, we went downtown to Bourbon, we went to brunch, tried some beignets for the first time, had a masquerade dinner, and went home.
But the weekend reminded me that sometimes it only takes a couple days of fun to remind you to live more fully.
Special thanks to Vanessa, who orchestrated this whole birthday shindig. It was great and it gives me something to think about for my 25th birthday in May.
Look out for my next trip post. I’m going to somewhere nice and warm for Spring Break!
Every New Years Eve, I enjoy making goals for myself. I’m a big picture kind of gal, so I like to start with the vision of who I’d like to be at the end of the year and I work backwards from there.
This year, I turn a quarter of a century old. I’m not obsessing about it or checking for gray hairs in the mirror. I’m not lamenting the fact that I’m not married. Instead, I’m looking forward to year 25 with great anticipation. I’m looking forward to a new chapter of life.
Here are my Top 10 things I am resolved to do in 2014:
1. Get serious about my faith and prayer life
When I look at my life thus far, I know that I am where I am together because of God, His mercy, and His favor in my life. I want to challenge myself to live more fully for Him, myself, and for others. I often struggle with my prayer life and reading my Bible more regularly, but I’m pushing myself to do it because I know it changes your walk and your talk.
2. Travel (at least one overseas trip)
I want to go see the world. Ever since I started working, I’ve been saving for a big trip. I’m not sure where and I’m pretty open to different countries and cultures. I’ve always wanted to go to Australia (just saying). I will definitely be traveling next year, so if you need a travel buddy, just tell me when and where and we’ll make it happen.
3. Learn (5) new dishes
I will be the first to admit that I’m not a great cook. I can follow a recipe with no problem, but I’m not an instinctive cook. I had some rough days with unseasoned chicken and bland food. I’m tired of eating poorly because I don’t know how to cook. My goal for next year is to learn how to cook 5 signature dishes without the help of a recipe book. American, Nigerian, Jamaican, whatever. I just want to make food.
4. More adventures
I am an undercover adrenaline junky. I see things like jumping out of an airplane and I think of how thrilling that would be. I’d be 10% scared and 90% excited. Most of the time, I get over the little bit of fear that I have inside and go for the big jump. In the past, I’ve let convenience or cost deter me from potential adventure. No more of that. My new motto is “Pay for experiences, not things.”
5. Take a REAL vacation
I mentioned in a previous post that I’d like to take more vacations and have more “me” time. I mean the kind of vacation where I leave my laptop at home, grab my carry-on luggage and hop on a plane without a backward glance. I actually wouldn’t mind a cross-country road trip. Perhaps go see some old friends in London. Maybe even cross the border into either Canada or Mexico. Or explore Cape Town with Toni. No matter where I go for Spring Break or for vacation, it will be epic!
6. Get an awesome summer internship
I am looking for an opportunity that will allow me to experience new things and grow as an individual. I want to be inspired. I want to make things. I want to get my DIY mojo back. I refuse to subject myself to a 9-to-5 where I am answering phones or getting coffee. It’s not that I am too good for such things, but at this point in my life I am ready for something more substantial.
7. Be a better friend/sister/daughter
I am noticing that I am starting to lose touch with some of my old friends. I sometimes feel like I don’t know them anymore. All we have in common now are our memories of the good times in college. We don’t call each other or text each other so I never hear from there until I come home for the holidays. But that has to change. I have decided that I am actually quite fond of my old friends and I’d actually like to have them around when I get older. I can’t be the one waiting for the phone to ring, I need to take the first step and reach out. It only takes one good conversation to start or rekindle a friendship.
8. Legitimize Style Lottery
I launched my nonprofit, Style Lottery, in Fall 2013. I want to build a team of passionate volunteers who can assist me in helping over 15 women next year. I’m excited to see how this organization will grow and step up to fulfill the needs of women in low-income communities.
9. Define my personal brand
For someone like me who is always changing the way she looks, it’s going to be hard for me to not totally reinvent myself like I always do. I have found a look and a style that I really like. I call it the “Professoriate” look. It makes me look like an adjunct professor: colored pants, loafers, tortoise shell glasses, cardigans, and blazers. I’m going to stick with this look (at least while I’m in graduate school. I’m starting to realize that my quirks are also part of my personal brand. My obsession with fine point and felt tip pens, mini notebooks, and planners are a large part of who I am. My shoulder length locs. I’m embracing it all. It’s my brand. You’ll know me when you see me.
10. Have an epic 25th birthday party
I’m going all out. A party with balloons, a cake with sparkler candles, a pinata, and a dance floor– that’s all I want. My last birthday was a bit of a bust. I had an extensive birthday week planned out and then I went and caught a serious cold that knocked me out for the whole weekend. Somewhere deep inside me, the little girl in me wants someone to throw me a surprise party. I love surprises! No matter if I have to throw it myself, I will have a blast.
In this coming year, I want my life to be more about quality and less about quantity. The other day, I was sitting in my room and looked around to find that I had a lot of stuff. Nothing substantial, just items (clothes I no longer wear, online purchases, etc) taking up space. I have a growing aversion for hoarding unnecessary things, so I just started packing up things and giving them away. Thankfully, my nonprofit is the solution to my problem. I love meeting the women that Style Lottery gives to. I’m excited that God has given me this opportunity use my love for fashion to help others.
I’m glad Jenn and I got to catch up. This chick is my partner in crime. We go back to sophomore year in college when we first became resident assistants. We had so many crazy moments in that job and made some great memories. We always joke that she will be my Vietnamese bridesmaid and I will be her Nigerian bridesmaid. We’ll see who makes it to the alter first lol.
The restaurant, Benjys on Washington, was a great choice for a dinner with friends. It has a laid back atmosphere, with light upbeat music in the background. It has dimmed lighting, which gave the room an intimate vibe, even though there were people all around. There’s also a rooftop dinning option, which I enjoyed the last time I went to Benjys. The meals were moderately priced. All the plates in the picture above were below $20, I believe. With its complementary birthday dessert and complementary valet, I definitely recommend this place!
I am extremely grateful for the love of friends and family. Thank you all for making it a great 24th birthday :).
[photos courtesy of Dee of DeekoDee tales ]
Thursday (My Birthday!!)
I was showered with love and kindness on my birthday. I didn’t get to do every single thing on my birthday list, because I feel under the weather, but I had a great birthday. I am thankful for my friends and loved ones.
Happy Birthday to me!
Next week on May 2nd, I am turning 24 years old. I usually don’t make a huge fuss over my birthday but this is going to be my last birthday for a while in Houston. I need to spend it with the people I love, doing things I enjoy.
I am the type of person who loves birthdays but I spend most of my time planning for others and making sure people enjoy their birthdays that my own birthday often gets overlooks. This year, I’m not going to wait for someone to surprise me or throw me a party.
This year, I’m going to avoid those incredibly mundane birthday dinners. I’m using my extreme over-planning skills to plan myself the most epic birthday week I can think of. Why? Because I can finally admit to myself that I deserve it.
Here’s a peek at the schedule (below). Click on the picture for the Google Doc for the birthday week lineup. Yes, it’s that serious.
The document will be updated periodically, with times, prices and locations in the document.
If you’d like to see new places in Houston, feel free to come with us. All you need to do is comment with an RSVP on the Google Doc. If you have any events you thing I should add, let me know!
** warning: when you see the Google doc, you’re going to think I’m anal retentive. I am, about certain things. I hope you enjoy my birthday as much as I do!
There are so many reasons why I love this woman, but here are my top 10:
1. She is beautiful
2. She is kind and giving
3. She’s a great big sister
4. She ages in reverse (look 17 even though she just turned 27)
5. She’s ambidextrous
6. She’s a great writer (check out her blog deekodeetales.com)
7. She not-so-secretly wants to be Korean
8. She hates going shopping but has great style
9. She is a ever-growing woman of God
10. She knows how to laugh at herself
Isn’t she lovely!
And here’s my Sunday Best outfit:
We didn’t plan the lemon grass color. It just happened. Both my pants and Dee’s are from Target. They were on sale for $8! I had to snag them.
Happy Birthday to my baby (big sis) Dee!
My friend Soluto had a birthday dinner at The Grotto around the Galleria. He told us to dress to impress, so I paired my classy red dress with some pearls (as seen here).
While we waited for everyone to arrived, we were served an assortment of breads and breadsticks. I’m a big lasagna fan, so I ordered the “Lasagne Al Forne.” I wasn’t too please with the $17 price tag, or the small portion (at least compared to the other dishes that came to the table. I was, however, impressed with the taste! Maybe it was the good company and good conversation, or maybe it was just good lasagna, but I enjoyed my meal. I was surprised to find I was full after the square of lasagna. Perhaps it was all the bread.
At the end of the dinner, before they brought an unsplit check for 25 people (O_o), they brought out a complimentary birthday cheesecake with sparklers. They also sang “Happy Birthday” for him.
Bottom Line: The Grotto has a good ambience (lighting, music, and decor). We had a semi-closed off side room that we shared with one other party. I attach good memories with The Grotto because it was like a mini reunion for my friends and I. The high price plus the small portion size is not ideal for most people. I thought The Grotto’s food was decent (I’ve had better lasagne) but I wanted to give them another chance. I browsed their website and found that they have Happy Hour specials.
Here’s a screenshot of their Happy Hour menu:
I’d recommend The Grotto if you have a full wallet and like a variety of pasta and Italian dishes.
Perks: Free bread, free birthday cake