New Me… New Look – The 411

The “big chop” or a unit?

With all of the change going on around us, now was a good a time as any to change my look for a while !

What do you think?

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.

The Blessing and the Curse of 2020 – The 411

This year has been a whirlwind.  On my birthday, last week, my dear friend passed away at the same time and day that I was born.  So ironic.  It has been a very crazy past few months, as he was given only 2 weeks to live.  My daughter and I were the second call he made to break the news.  God gave him about two months.  He seemed to be doing well, other that being tired at the end of the day and having shortness of breath at times. He would video chat or call us daily and always wanted to check in on my daughter to see how her day went with her private teacher.  He ordered THREE of my cookbooks and I was heartbroken when I learned that they arrived the day before he passed and that he never got to read the inscription.  He did, however, receive ebook copies of both of my books and made a few of the recipes over the past several weeks.  I just wanted him to hold the copy I mailed to him.

On Wednesday night late, he seemed to be agitated and very confused.  The next afternoon, nothing seemed to have changed so he was taken to the hospice hospital for observation.  He was nothing like he was before, which was alert, and normal.  Sadly , at 10:25 am Sunday, he died.  He was not ready to depart Earth.  He cried like a baby when he learned that the cancer he had that had been responsive to treatment for years and was possibly about to be over had now taken a turn and ravaged his entire body.  He thought maybe it was covid.  He was in the hospital a few days in April and when the tests came back, the cancer was everywhere, even in his face and on his brain.  I was stunned.  He had been under an inordinate amount of stress and also going through a divorce from a contract marriage, more or less.  He had lost a friend who had been like a brother to him for years, as the friend turned out to be a complete ass.  The hurt in his voice was piercing.   As time marched forward, I convinced him to let that go and look at it as it was… the enemy testing him and trying to make him bitter and angry.  What had happened had and it was time to press towards the future and forgive and never forget.  He made peace with the situation and decided to live each day he had left by doing only what brought him joy.  We were humbled and grateful that we were a part of that.  He was so excited to see my daughters development daily.  Over the past two weeks, she has started to read and becoming a phonics whiz.  She is only 3 so that is amazing !  By the end of summer, she will be reading my mail.  LOL.

While covid-19 has been the most terrible thing, in a lot of ways, it has benefited me greatly.  I had saved more money than ever before, paid off all of my bills, and I have had nothing but time on my hands so I have been spending time with my child and my mom and having zoom visits with the rest of the family.   I completed both my cookbooks and am now working on some other lucrative projects.  I just wish 2020 were not bringing so much loss.  The people who are most deserving of death are still up walking around tormenting people and being evil.  That bothers me.  I hate seeing the number of people that have passed.  Hearing their families talk about how wonderful the person was and how productive they were in society is so heartbreaking.

I will be glad when things return to some semblance of normalcy so that we can travel !  After learning covid can be contracted more than once, we are staying in as much as possible.  After being sick for nearly 6 weeks, I never want that mess again.  Plus, there is no guarantee that you will only have mild symptoms.  I am soooo ready to move, but we are stuck here until it is safe to move.  We are no longer considering Florida as a place to buy a home.  We are now looking in other places for a hobby farm or a waterfront home. I am tired of being cramped up but it could be worse !  We are at the beach, and not in midtown Manhattan, which is definitely a no right now.

I pray that everyone is well and that you are able to do productive things during this down time.

Happy New Year !

We got back from London and took a drive to Orlando, Florida for New Year’s celebration.

We spent NYE with my nephew and his basketball team, as they had a conference game in Orlando.

We spent a few days in Orlando before heading to the beach.

We got back and had to do massive amounts of kiddy laundry plus our clothing from our trip and then we had to pick up the packages which arrived while we were away; mostly Christmas gifts.

I had the entire back of my SUV and the back seat loaded down with packages.

My baby was overwhelmed opening all of her packages and was mesmerized!

She still has toys that she has not opened yet. In fact, there are toys in storage from last Christmas that she never got around to opening so we boxed them up. They will all come in handy once we move to the lakehouse or farmhouse this Spring and we set up her playroom again.

We are excited for this new decade and all that is happening. I am manifesting great things !

My cooking show platform will launch this year and I will release 3 books before Spring. I am finishing up some studies in real estate development and will start the real estate license prelicensure course this week. I am doing some research on another field that is related and looking to launch a new LLC. Things are going well. We are just on week two and we have already sold one of the properties we bought this Fall. I started the REI to build generational wealth for my daughter. She gets so excited when I tell her that she sold another piece of property and now she can go shopping for some more. I think she believes that means she is going shopping for real lol.

I hope everyone is doing well and that you are implementing your goals /plans for your life !

Happy Birthday To Me – The 411

As I get ready to celebrate another birthday, I often reflect on the previous year and make a plan for the next.

I have spent time over the past month or so reevaluating my life, the people in it, my goals, and my future and what I want.

I have distanced myself from everyone and everything that disturbs my peace. Sad to say, several friends/associates and also my friend, that I was co-parenting with, is on that list ! I can not tell you how much more peaceful my life has been and how quiet things have been since I stopped being the garbage disposal for everyone that wanted to dump their problems, their failures, and their issues at my doorstep. As a parent to a little girl who deserves ALL of my attention, ALL of my peace, and ALL of my wholeness, I had to continue to cut some cords. Some people created drama and left on their own, and I am not one you can gaslight and try to flip the switch with. As quickly as I can love someone, I can also turn those feeling completely off and go into self preservation mode. I will work through the disappointment, but I give it all to God and keep it moving and never look back !

I am happier, less stressed, and an even better parent because of if it. Everything happens for a reason and in God nothing happens by happenstance. All of the people we are connected to are there for a reason and a season. We just need to know when to let a season end. It is when we continue to allow people into our orbit who have expired is when they cause headaches for us unnecessarily.

This year, I had planned to have a quiet day for my birthday, but my mom and daughter have some secret something planned and I am supposed to be ready to go at 10 am.

Tomorrow is my mother’s birthday and I got her a gift card to Amazon, sent her an Urban Stems floral arrangement and am taking her to dinner and a show tomorrow evening. The baby and I went to Kay Jewelers and baby girl got her a gorgeous pair of solid gold earring studs. I bought her a car for Mother’s Day so there is no way to really top that LOL.

We are in the final planning stages of my daughter’s birthday trip and things are coming together and I am so very excited ! This year we will be gone to Europe for an entire month ! How exciting is that? I will post about the trip later in a separate post.

Trimming the Fat – Two Year Old Chronicles – The 411

Time to trim the fat! Once your child turns 2, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that you reduce her fat intake to less than 30 percent of her daily calories. You don’t have to zealously monitor fat intake. Just switch from whole milk to 2 percent, and look for low-fat versions of cheese, yogurt, and ice cream. For the rest of her diet, provide a balanced offering of whole grains, lean meats or beans, fruits, and vegetables. Don’t cut out fats entirely; your preschooler’s growing brain and body depend on them for proper development. And many dairy products that contain fat are also terrific sources of calcium.

Soon your child will begin looking more like a “big kid,” as her limbs and torso start to lengthen and her proportions begin to resemble those of an adult. She’ll gain about 2 1/2 inches and 5 pounds this year. If you’re concerned that your preschooler is overweight, talk to her doctor rather than instituting any dietary restrictions on your own. Kids’ nutritional needs are different from adults’, so you should get his guidance.

Adventures in Positive Parenting – The 411

As we get closer to the magical age of TWO… the dreaded TWO aka Terrible Twos, I find myself becoming anxious.

I have been working on “positive parenting” and have fallen off the wagon twice. It was then that I realized all I learned about positive parenting was indeed true. I do not want to spank or pop my child and she is a stubborn one who intentionally locks in and gives you back what you give her. Imagine that ! A stubborn child… I wonder where she gets that?

She does not like loud noise and fussing frightens her so I get down on her level, in her face, and talk to her and explain what she is doing, that it is not acceptable and I help her correct it.

It is A LOT of work to do this and you end up repeating yourself a million times ! In some things, she now tells you the rule before she is about to do something… like “just eyes, no fingers.”

As an only parent, it makes it so much harder because I am the only one with her every day all day. I have to balance being a disciplinarian with being her loving, supportive Mommy. I remind myself that I am merely here to guide this child through life and help her become her best self and not here to mold her into who I want her to be. I am here to encourage her strengths and find ways to help her cope with and move beyond any weaknesses.

My baby is headstrong and very determined to do things her way. She has a temper and a half when she can not have her way.

I am now watching for triggers to help avoid meltdowns. She normally falls out with me about my cellphone or my mom’s iPads. She would watch YouTube until all devices are dead if she could.

Now that summer is over, after our trip to the UK, we will be homeschooling using A Beka and Your Child Can Read programs. I am taking away use of technology and encouraging consistent use of books, crayons and pencils. I purchased a car seat contraption that slides over her and is a desk. I think once we get into a more structured routine, she will be more engaged in creating versus watching educational videos on YouTube.

I would love to hear from other Moms who use positive parenting in lieu of spanking.

I grew up getting spankings. It was effective and my mom is all for spankings but I do believe that I can achieve the same level of discipline without hurting, shaming, and beating a child into submission.

Prayers Please !