Blessings Upon Blessings Amid Sorrow – The 411

Yesterday, I was driving down I-4 and got a call that a close friend and former choir member had passed away due to complications of Covid. I almost ran off the interstate…. I do not even remember the rest of the drive to pick up my mom from the cancer center. My heart shattered again in to a million pieces. Last week Cicely Tyson, my idol and acquaintance passed away with no warning. There have been so many people I know who have died recently. My cousin and personal stylist passed away a few days before Christmas and had been dead five days in his NY apartment before anyone knew. I had just spoken to him a few days prior.

With all that has been going on, I started to question where was God in all this. Well, He answered big time ! In spite of all that is going on, God has truly reminded me of His favor.

I was interviewed about my career and the article was published today on NBC, CBS AND Fox affiliates ! Check out the article here:

https://www.wboc.com/story/43360934/multihyphenate-renaissance-woman-valerie-renee-is-inspiring-the-masses-with-her-powerful-story-of-success

As if that was not enough, I was personally hand picked by Bon Appetit Magazine for the opportunity to compete for Fav Chef 2021 !! There is a grand prize of $20,000, a feature in Bon Appetit Magazine and title of Favorite Chef 2021!

https://favchef.com/2021/valerie-ren-e

Please vote daily for me ! You can also purchase votes for which funds will be donated to Feeding America !

I am soooooooo excited for this opportunity. In the midst of sorrow, God is STILL God ! ❤

I hope that you are all well and thriving xoxoxo

Happy New Year – The 411

I hope and pray that 2021 brings much better health, hope, love, laughter, prosperity, and unity for all of us.

2020 was an awful year for most, even if we were not directly impacted by covid, watching what has been going on around the world has been a burden.

Each of you are in my prayers for a great year to come !

Thanksgiving 2020 – The 411

2020 has been a heck of a year. We had hoped to host dinner this year, but covid cases started spiking and the CDC strongly suggested that no one gather.

I cooked a big dinner and made dishes for our elderly friends. One of my sisters rented an oceanfront condo for the weekend with her family nearby so we did mask up and drop off a full meal to them, since I cooked two pans of everything so that they could have a meal upon arrival at the beach.

She’s my sweet potato / I yam
Cousin Love

We were able to keep some normalcy in our lives, as we have a tradition of going to the drive thru Christmas light show. My mom and I picked up my sister, her daughters and grandson and we went to the light show. This kiddos enjoyed it.

I cooked dinner for the family on Saturday and my sister and family came over to pick it up. We spent the weekend relaxing. I watched movies and caught up on a few shows I recorded. This morning, I have to go to storage take the remainder of the boxes over and have to follow up with the movers to find out what time they are coming to the storage units tomorrow and Wednesday.

I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving, even though this year was a lot different.

Pandemic Move – The 411

Lakefront View

With everything going on in the world, can you believe I went on a house hunting trip ONLINE?

I have sorta grown tired of the beach after five years of snowbirding and two years of being there year round. For the past few years, I have been dreaming of buying a sprawling lakefront house in a warmer climate to spend the Fall through Winter in. It has become increasingly colder at the beach during Fall/Winter. It actually snowed and had ice storms last year THREE times ! I could stay in NYC if I want to be cold all Winter.

2020 has been a year of the JUMP for me. I have jumped out on faith and put forth effort to do things I had shelved. 2020 represented reflection of the past and perfect and clear vision of the future. With the devastation of the pandemic, it was clear that life is promised to none and it is a time for action.

I hired a realtor in two different states of interest and put them to work finding the perfect dream lake house for our little family. My kiddo has been so excited ! I think having a pool and setting her playroom back up is what excites her most, lol.

After viewing several listings, I opted for one area over the other, mainly because it is much warmer, climate wise, in one locale, which was my main reason for wanting to find a seasonal home. One Sunday, the realtor sent some listings that had me jumping up and down ! Finally, we were on the same page. I selected five homes on the list and put them in order based in which I liked most. I started with #2 because I had hoped they would come down off the price, but they would not and wanted to sell with the furnishings, which I do not want nor need. I then went with #3 because of the price point, although my heart really wanted #1 but it was much more expensive, but nearly the same size as the others. I had the house inspected but was not happy with the list of minor repairs needed plus one major one. I walked away and pulled my offer off of the table. I then prayed and sought God for guidance and in my spirit, I felt that house #1 was THE ONE and meant to be for me. I sent a late night text to the realtor and said I want to put an offer on house #1 but I want to offer $10k less than what they want for it and also I do not want the furniture.

The homes in this neighborhood are a lot of vacation rentals. It is an exclusive gated, resort style community. Most homes are sold with furniture. Fast forward to the next day, MY OFFER WAS ACCEPTED !!! I called the home inspection company back and told them that I had changed my mind and want to go with a different home. They scheduled an inspection and all was well. We had a few minor things to repair, but they were easy fixes. When the appraisal was done, the house was being offered for sale over value. Because people are buying homes at record levels, the owners are jacking the prices up but then having to adjust them after the appraisal comes in ! The owners dropped the price down to $1000 over appraisal and I accepted. I closed on the house two days before Thanksgiving and even got $4000 back at closing. I am having the house painted prior to the movers arriving, so that was a perfect surprise!

Things have been going great with my new transportation and logistics company so I am in the processing of scaling the business up. I applied for a loan to buy three more trucks for the fleet and was approved and will also be speaking to my bank today about an SBA loan. We are looking to go after government contracts, so that SBA loan will definitely come in handy to grow the fleet to 10-12 trucks.

I am excited to start this new chapter of my life and am grateful to God for how seamless all of this has been. I feel like God is smiling on me and everything I am doing. I have had no real snags and things have been falling into place.

I am starting my search for a surrogate again and hopefully can find someone who will carry for me so that my daughter can have a sibling. She has been asking for a baby for months now, but she is so jealous, I am not sure how that will work lol.

This time next week, the movers will be almost there to deliver the contents of 5 storage units and we will be officially moving into the new house.

New Business Venture – The 411

BIG RED !! (of course I gave her a name !!)

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love to hustle and I am all about generational wealth and passive income. I am only one person, so I have mastered the task of building a straight path to wealth through multiple streams of passive income.

I learned about another investment income strategy from other real estate investors and hustlers that I work with and network with. I took a leap of faith and took a comprehensive study learned all that I could.

I set up my business, got a Madison Avenue office in Manhattan, filed all the pertinent documents and license applications, and voila !

I purchased my first Freightliner Cascadia tractor from Mercedes Benz/Daimler Corp and “Big Red” was delivered yesterday.

I have launched a logistic, transport, and storage company which will provide transport for major companies like Amazon, Walmart, other 3PLs ( third party logistics companies) and provide transport services for Fema and under Federal contracts. I am very excited about this new venture and my baby girl can not wait to take a ride in her new 18 wheeler with our driver !

We plan to expand our fleet by adding another two tractors over the course of the next two months. I have an aggressive goal in mind, but I have only revealed that to God. Watch Him work !

#BlackFemaleBusinessMogul #BlackOwned #FemaleRun #VeteranOwned #FamilyOwnedBusiness #BlackExcellence

Pandemic Birthday Bash 2020 – The 411

Six months of being stuck in the house due to the pandemic has passed. There seems to be NO end in sight. 200,000 deaths and counting… People in the US being complete CovIdiots and not adhering to guidelines because their privilege extends so far that it can infringe on the rights of other citizens NOT to contract covid. There are a lot of people who think the pandemic is a “democratic hoax”… some who refuse to wear masks … a whole bunch of imbicil leaders who feel that we can “learn to live” with a plague, while other countries are doing what it takes to eradicate the virus. I digress.

With everything going on in the world, I refuse to hide out in a corner and let time be stolen from me. We only have so many days on Earth as is. I worked diligently to plan the most exciting “pandemic birthday bash” with social distancing that I could plan.

I rented a huge three floor house on the oceanfront complete with an elevator. The home had three huge open air porches on each level so I leased cocktail table and chair/stools, vibrant colored linens for tables and hired a party planner to come pull everything together. A balloon company put up a balloon wall and marquee and my daughter screamed in excitement when she came in and saw it.

My family, who have all been quarantined since March came with the kids so of course the cousin reunion was a blast for the three kids. My daughter’s Godmother flew in and our elderly friend who I have been cooking and shopping for were all able to come. My other friends who are back at work or who have not been quarantined were upset that they did not get an invite. My daughter’s Godfather contracted covid after attending his Aunt’s funeral, so he was not able to come.

I decided to go with an adult menu, as there were only three kids so we ordered a pizza for the kids and the adult menu is below… surf and turf !

Here are some pictures of the party…

The day after the party, I donated the balloon wall and marquee to the PICU at the hospital. The children were excited to get them !

2020 Birthday Plans for a Tiny Queen – The 411

baby shark

This year, we were supposed to travel to Ireland and Scotland for five weeks for my baby girl’s birthday, however, covid, being the bitch that she is, halted all of those plans.

Because I am not ever disappoint my child and will move heaven and earth to put a smile on her face and celebrate her in all ways, I decided to rent a gorgeous beach front estate, order Hepa Air filtration systems for every room, have my family and close friend to quarantine for 3 weeks prior to coming, and throw her a socially distanced party.

I asked her what she wanted for her party and showed her several themes and of course she chose Baby Shark !

I went to Pintrest and clicked on everything I could find and put together a portfolio of what I wanted and then hired a party planner.  I have been ordering baby shark items and beach themed decor for months now.  I hired a set designer to make a backdrop/step and repeat for her and we decided to go with the neon pink as the main color and then incorporate all of the other baby shark colors into the decor.  We have neon pink, neon green, neon yellow, and white cloth napkins, clear plates, neon pink silverware, white coral chargers, custom baby shark centerpieces, baby shark custom cookies and sweets, white and neon pink table linens, several cocktail / pub tables that will be strategically placed on the 2nd floor balcony (so that guests can sit two to a table and be spaced apart), a gazillion face masks, shoe covers, custom tees for every guest, welcome toiletry bags for each bedroom, custom thank you boxes and a ton of baby shark themed items that I have ordered from the UK and the USA.  I think I did a bit too much, as I became obsessed, however, it is going to be so adorable !  I forgot to mention that I ordered a balloon marquee to go around the backdrop.   My brother in law owns a catering company so he will be grilling the ribeyes I will sous vide for the dinner portion of the evening.  We will start with appetizers served on individual charcuterie boards and dinner is going to be surf and turf:  lobster bisque, salad, grilled steak, jerk shrimp skewers, baked potato and bread sticks.  I created a specialty Shark Fin Punch that I can not wait for everyone to sip!

My sisters and their families, my daughter’s Godmother from Philly, and my mom are all staying at the house scattered amongst 3 floors.  Coming to the party are my daughter’s honorary godparents, who are our neighbors at the ocean front (and 97 yrs old), and the seniors that I have been cooking for since March so that they can stay away from covid…  They all adore my daughter and they have all been inside, as have we since March.  I love this house because it has three balconies that are the length of the house on each floor so we can place people apart at cocktail tables and we will serve them at their tables.  Where there is a will, there is a way !  lol.  My daughter will be so delighted to get to hang out with her cousins, who are 8 yrs old and 4 yrs old.    Since there are only the 3 kids, we opted to do a more adult menu and have a sweets table with her cake, cupcakes, cookies etc.

The day after the party, we will depart the house at noon to take a drive down to Charleston and I have a surprise in store for my family !  We chartered a private yacht and we will have cocktails, appetizers and boxed lunches on a two hour harbor cruise.  The kids will get to see some dolphins and my family and I will be able to catch up since we have not seen each other at all this year.  I saw one of my sisters for about an hr after we drove 3 hours to meet them half way so that my mom could stop worrying.  Now all three of us will get to hang with my mom and she is so excited.  I only wish my two nephews and my other brother in law could come from CA but it’s too much of a risk.

Planning this party has been a good thing for me because I get to escape the grief of having lost close friends, the latest, this past Friday.  2020 has been very challenging and very rewarding at the same time.  I declared this as my year and it has allowed me to heal in some areas and take leaps of faith that I have been holding back from.  I am grateful !

I will post pictures of set up and of the party to share with you all !