Update…The 411

Hi All !

Life is a whirlwind and we sometimes lose time by being so busy with other things.

This past year has been challenging. My brother in law and several friends passed away unexpectedly. My grandmother passed away at the age of 90 a few months ago.

I decided to take Salsa dance classes and brought covid to our doorstep and although my mom and I bounced back in 2 days, my baby and her teacher got really sick with horrid symptoms for over a week. A few weeks after recovery, my baby girl started struggling with fluency issues. The ER doctor tried to shoo it away as nothing but viral response but I know my child. A week later, she started full out stuttering while we were in San Francisco with the whole family. When we returned, I found a speech pathologist and had an evaluation done and we started her therapy sessions. I wasn’t aware that covid related fluency disorder was a thing until I talked to my sister, who is a Pediatric RN. We are very blessed that the disorder is improving as quickly as it appeared. We will still do the weekly speech therapy, as it can hurt, but I am so relieved that it started reversing on its own.

My mother’s health is still seemingly declining. The geriatric depression doesn’t help matters. She is resigned to being old and embracing all the accoutrements therein. I push her to push past how she feels, get up and move and build muscles and stamina. If it were up to her, she would like to sit on an electric scooter or wheelchair and allow her muscles to atrophy. It is completely mentally exhausting being around someone who wants to act like they are 90 with one foot in the grave, when you know they are not. The mental decline. The physical decline… watching your parents morph into old age is not fun. It’s draining. It’s all encompassing.

My daughter is doing really well with school. We hired a private teacher who comes to our home and baby girl completed Kindergarten in 5 months and quickly moved to the 1st grade. She is self paced and is moving a remarkable speed. She is making all A’s and loves learning. She loves science and math and anything STEAM/STEM.

Our family is excited for my nephew who just graduated from college and signed a contract to play professional basketball in the Euro League. It is bittersweet that his father passed away and didn’t get to see all their hard work come to fruition.

Tomorrow, we are traveling to NC for his going away dinner. My baby girl is excited to go visit her cousins. They FaceTime almost daily.

I have given serious thought to adopting a biracial infant or toddler or starting a search once again for a surrogate, but it is difficult as a single woman to adopt. We looked at foster care but for the most part, they are interested in sending the children back to their families and I don’t want that heartbreak for my daughter or self. Looks like it will be just the two of us and I could not have been given a more perfect little one ❤️.

Mommy Make Over – The 411

It has been a whirlwind past few months. Thanksgiving week was spent in Naples, Florida with our family supporting my nephew and his basketball team’s tournament. We drove back to our lakehouse the night before Thanksgiving and I got up at 6am and prepped a full Thanksgiving meal, although I was not supposed to be doing anything but recovering from surgery. My sister and niece drove back up to spend the day with us before departing on an evening flight back home.

I spent the weeks leading up to Christmas relaxing and recuperating. My whole family was supposed to fly in for Christmas, but two of my nephews failed their covid test the day before departure and tested positive for covid. It was heartbreaking because their Dad passed away in September, unexpectedly, and they spent the holiday alone.

New Years was quiet for us, as we spent it at the lakehouse and cooked dinner and chilled in pajamas. I hired Glitzy Christmas to decorate the lakehouse, since I could not, and we put up six Christmas trees throughout the lakehouse. Three of the trees are still up and we light them up at dusk lol. I might not take them down !

I am currently almost 16 weeks post op. I am healing up and for the most part happy with the results. My surgeon did a fat transfer to fill in my hips and to me it looks like love handles. I am going to have them lipo that area with plasma to make the skin shrink to correct it. I also have a little scarring around my navel and I will see a dermatologist to have something done to flatten it out.

Here is a pic of my progress thus far:

I am looking for a trainer so I can whip my body into shape by Summer. I will post pics and updates of my progress.

Mommy Makeover – The 411

Hi Readers !

So…. I did a thing….. On October 18th, I hopped on a plane to Miami and embarked on a long lived dream of repairing and restoring my body, post partum.

I relaxed for a day, went to my pre-op appointment the next morning and had surgery on the 21st. I got an extended tummy tuck, muscle repair )to fix the diastis recti I got from being pregnant), lipo in 12 areas (including inner thighs since I had no back fat), and a Brazilian Butt Lift (fat transfer).

After my surgery, I spent a week in a lovely recovery house, Flawless Recovery, and I had a few post op appointments at Xiluet Plastic Surgery with my surgeon, Dr. Benjamin Liliav. I got daily lymphatic drainage massages, which I am still getting three times a week.

The recovery has not been too bad, thanks to the exparel injection I got at surgery, and the aide of CBD Gummies. Although I am super swollen, my body looks great. It is amazing looking in the mirror and seeing an hour glass shape looking back at you.

The hardest part about being away was not being with my daughter for a whole week. She had meltdowns almost daily. When I returned, you would think it was Christmas and Santa arriving at our house lol. I missed her so much and that is the longest I have ever been away from her. Now she is my shadow lol.

Today, I am 19 days post op and feeling pretty good. I have no pain, just tightness and a little soreness. I have to keep on a faja (compression girdle) 23 hours a day. I can take it off to shower and then use a blow dryer to dry my surgical tape. I must bathe in antibacterial soap.

Just before surgery

Flying first class back home a week after surgery.

I will update with pictures of my journey soon…

Happy Birthday – The 411

Hi Fellow Bloggers and Readers !

This past week, we celebrated my mother’s 70th birthday and also my 28th birthday (again). My entire family flew in from their respective cities and we traveled to Tampa Bay /Clearwater Florida and spent a week on family vacation.

We hired an event planner, Bougie Events Co. to do a picnic on the beach for our mom, chartered dinner yacht the next day and after a day lounging in cabanas and riding jetskis, I hosted a dinner party with my family and friends at Bascom’s Chophouse. We had an amazing time. We spent a day at Busch Gardens Africa and a day at the Florida Aquarium.

My mother is still speechless. On the beach day, my sisters arranged for a four hour spa treatment for her at the Hilton’s spa. She thoroughly enjoyed herself and we made sure she felt appreciated and special.

Here are a few pics:

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

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.