An Ode to Myself: Celebrating Ana

Well, my birthday has come and gone but I am still celebrating! First, I want to give a big THANK YOU to all who took the time out of their busy lives to send me well wishes. It was awfully kind and sweet of you. It also made my day! Last year was a little rough for me and the point of my solo “Austin Adventure” was to remind myself to be comfortable in my own skin, be kind to myself, be happy with very little and to love myself more, without anyone or anything validating my self-worth.

I started my morning with some prayer and meditation, then breakfast with my parents. I left Dallas by 8:00A.M. By 11:30, I was getting a pedicure and sipping on some vino. I stopped in Georgetown, Texas to visit Grape Creek VineyardsOn the Square. As a wine club member you get a free tasting everyday or a free glass of wine. The vineyard is actually located in Fredericksburg, Texas but they happen to have a tasting room in Georgetown, so it seemed fitting to make a quick stop. Afterward, I explored the town square and made my way into a little antique mall, called Rough and Ready Antiques. I bought myself a book published in 1907 called Poems With Power To Strengthen The Soul. It is a very special treat and I have enjoyed reading it before bed every night since my birthday weekend.

Then I made my way to Austin and visited the art exhibit I mentioned to y’all in the last blog. I walked around Austin for a bit and was able to check in a little early to my hotel. I made it just in time to drop off my luggage and make my next appointment. Now, don’t get jelly, but I scheduled myself a 1-hour massage and it was ah-mazing! It was part of my “love yo-self” challenge! Then, I went shopping for a birthday outfit and bought myself a Calvin Klein, LBD (little black dress). It was perfect for the occasion. Then I went back to the hotel to get dolled up for my next event. This is where all the birthday magic happened.

I arrived to a beautiful home nestled in the Austin hill country in West Lake Hills. This was the private and intimate soirée featuring pianist, Graham Yates and soprano artist Lucy Bergin. I can call them by name now, because not only did they put on an amazing performance, but we also made friends. It is even Facebook official! When I got there, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I was there alone, but as soon as I walked up to the front door, I was greeted by the pianist himself. He welcomed me in and directed me to grab a glass of wine and find a seat, as the show was soon to begin. The next person I met was Lucy, the soprano artist. She was very warm and sweet. When I finally made my way to a seat, I ended up front row and center, sitting right next to the next person I made friends with. Her name is Pat, and we became instant besties. The show started and Oh. My. God.

It was absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. Totally gave all the feels. It was a very heart-felt and magical performance by both artists.

At intermission, everyone would get up and mingle, get wine refills and some snacks. Well that was when I met Pat. We ended up at the bar together. We had not formally met, although we were sitting next to each other. Neither one of us had really noticed to be honest. We realized it when we made our way back to our seats. Before we did, though, I met the owner of the home, chatted up with Lucy and that was when I told them, I was celebrating my birthday. I truly could not have chosen a better way to celebrate. Ironically enough, all the songs chosen for the performance were related to love, loss, heartbreak and finding yourself. It was absolutely amazing. As if God and the Universe conspired together to perfectly tailor the weekend, just for me.

But wait, it gets better—

Once the next intermission came around and everyone was making their way back to their seats, I hear the show starting without me, wine glass and snacks in hand! I walk into the room and was greeted with the most amazing “Happy Birthday” serenade ever! A mini opera, singing to me for my birthday, on my actual birthday with a room full of strangers and newly made friends. It was the absolute sweetest gesture. I was truly humbled and just overwhelmed with excitement. It was the most amazing birthday serenade ever! It will forever be one of the most memorable birthday experiences of my life. Honestly, I don’t know that anything could ever top that. After the show, Pat and I met up with Lucy to watch her band perform at a cool little bar in downtown. However, before we did, Pat and I made our way to the rooftop patio to check out the breathtaking view of downtown Austin. The next part of the night was pretty spectacular too. The Lady Jams put on a killer performance and gained a new fan. The night ended with more “Happy Birthday” serenades, selfies and of course, tacos!

The following morning, I woke up and had me a hearty-healthy breakfast, compliments of my swanky hotel. I debated whether or not I would take a hike or maybe attend church service, but time really did not allow for my jam packed itinerary. However, I was ever most gracious to God for another year of life, a wonderful birthday celebration and I was looking forward to what other surprises my weekend would hold and it did.

After breakfast, I checked out of my hotel and was right on schedule. I drove over the Texas State Capitol and enjoyed the free tour. If you have never been, I encourage you to do so. It is rich in history and pretty freaking awesome, especially if you are Texan! I had a wonderful time, learning new facts and exploring the Capitol. Right after, I made my way over to the University of Texas at Austin, for the last play of the season, Lost Girl. It too, was a wonderful play and happened to be the perfect ending to my birthday adventure. I even snagged a front row seat!

Finally, I made my way back to Dallas and as if that weren’t already the best birthday ever, to top it off, one of my sweet, dear friends, Alice, invited me over for a birthday dinner. She prepared an exquisite Italian dinner (my favorite) and we drank expensive dessert wine all the way from Napa Valley. It truly was an all around amazing birthday and I thoroughly enjoyed every single part of it. I cannot wait to see what this next year has in store for me. If it is anything like my birthday weekend, it will be full of sweet surprises!

Right now, I am at a place of peace and comfort, embracing and enjoying each passing day. Every day I learn more about myself and I am able to find joy in simply being myself, without any validation from any being. I just love me some me and I am happy just the way I am, flaws and all.

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“La joie de vivre”

           ——————-WE INTERRUPT THIS BLOG FOR A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT——————-

Well, I’ve officially made it to 31! How fortunate am I to live not just another day, but another year of life? I am not lucky, I am blessed.

THANK YOU JESUS! 

This past year has been a tough one, but nonetheless, I have found the silver lining in the midst of my storms. Today, on my burfday, I want to reflect on some of the things I have learned and share with you how I plan to celebrate 31. I had been contemplating how I would spend my birthday and on Tuesday, I finally decided. I booked myself a room @ a historic and beautiful hotel in Austin, Texas. It is one of my most favorite cities. The hotel looks very sophisticated and charming. I booked a room with a king size bed just for me and I can’t even begin to tell you how excited I am for this trip. By the time you read this, I will be well into my Austin adventure.invitecollage

I am going to start the day off with simply loving myself. I will pray and meditate upon God’s goodness. I’ll feel my own energy, block all negativity and tune the whole world out! I might even eat cake for breakfast! I’m going to explore the city and be kind to myself on my special day. I have a deep tissue massage scheduled before I check in to my hotel, then I am off to La Peña Gallery to see the Revolución de los Muertos art exhibit.

Later tonight, I’ll find a nice place for dinner and then I will attend an event presented by A Room With a Few, called French Connection. It will be a night filled with exquisite French wines, curated by an on-site sommelier. This will be an intimate soirée with a soprano artist and pianist in a private home in West Lake Hills. Sounds fancy, huh?

Then on Sunday, I may go take an early morning hike but I haven’t quite decided which one yet. I also have a new book to read called Faces In The Crowd I plan to read over the weekend.  After check-out, I am going to tour the Texas State Capitol! Finally, to end my trip I am going to watch a play called Lost Girl, a story of Wendy Darling from Peter Pan’s Neverland. It is said to be an “exploration of love, loss, identity and magic”. I thought it would be an interesting end to my solo birthday celebration. Perfectly suited if you ask me, given where I find myself in this season of my life. faces-in-the-crowd1-331x535

Overall, I’m excited about taking this trip alone. Even more so, that I am taking the time for myself to reflect on how truly blessed I am, despite my circumstance. A lot can happen in a year and I am glad to share that I have grown so much in my experience of divorce and I am rekindling my relationship with myself. I have laughed more than I’ve cried. I’ve been brought low and I have raised myself high. I am beautifully and unapologetically my truest and most authentic self. I have done a lot of soul searching and right now, in this moment – I. AM. HAPPY!

Moving forward, I know without a doubt, that just as fine wine gets better with age, I too will do the same. I cannot wait to see what this next year has in store for me. I’m looking forward to embracing whatever comes my way and receiving it all with simplicity. There is a beautiful quote I once read by Michael A. Singer in his book tilted, The Untethered Soul: The Journey Beyond Yourself that reads:

“Do not let anything that happens in life be important enough that you’re willing to close your heart over it.”

If you don’t understand it – read it again until you do. Let it be a reminder to myself and to you, my sweet, avid readers, that regardless of where you are, whatever you are going through, there is still hope. Troubles may come and go but always remember that

“weeping may last through the night, but joy comes in the morning” Psalm 30:5

Don’t let life knock you down without a fight and don’t let your troubles harden your heart. Open up your mind, your heart and your soul and receive whatever the world offers you, but never close yourself off. Be grateful for your life in every season and rejoice in the simple act of living. Today, tonight, whenever you may read this, take a moment to enjoy all the beauty that surrounds you and be thankful that you are alive and well. Celebrate the little things and be kind to yourself. Love yourself, be yourself, and always enjoy your own company.

& with that, I will say, HAPPY DAY FRIENDS & HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME! CHEERS!

     ——————-WE NOW RESUME TO NORMAL BLOGGING——————-

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Lamb & Tuna Fish

I often joked with Obed about how we went together “like lamb and tuna fish”. lamb-and-tunaTwo extreme opposites, yet could totally work with the right ingredients. I’ve also heard that if you like two things separately, you would most likely also like them together. You know, like peanut butter and pickles, chocolate covered raisins and popcorn or French fries and mayo – just to name a few of my favorite tasty snack combos!

The fact that I am currently divorced sucks. I cannot even begin to explain to you how excruciatingly painful, emotional and all around shitty the experience of divorce is. It fucking sucks! Plain and simple. There ain’t no sugar coatin’ it y’all! & pardon my French but sometimes, there just ain’t a better word! It doesn’t even matter what happened, who did what, who you think is at fault, who wanted out and/or how good or bad the marriage was. Divorce is divorce and it is the one thing you never get married for. No one marries with the intention to divorce. Especially not when you grew up in evangelism and understand the great value and sanctity of a marriage.

The fact is that Obed and I are lamb and tuna fish. We are two complete and extreme opposites, but if we both wanted to make it work, we could have. Maybe, we just didn’t have the right ingredients. Would lamb and tuna fish taste good together? Eh. Maybe, maybe not. One day, I may put it to the test! As for Obed and I, we were definitely a strange concoction but

“We loved with a love that was more than love.” (Quote from Edgar Allen Poe’s Annabel Lee)

In everyone’s eyes around us we were a perfect couple although we were far from it. Our love was beautiful, passionate and deep. Our marriage was a lot of fun things too, but it was also difficult, like most marriages. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication. As well as time and effort and as a Chef or Chef Wife, time always works against you. Which is funny to me, because time is the one thing we have the most of in the world. Yet, it never quite seems like enough, right?

Fortunately for me, time is said to heal all wounds, so I am counting on that to get through this period of my life. My marriage to Obed was and will always remain one of the most intimate, deep and absolutely delicious experiences of my life. Like the very first bite of a delicate and exquisite dish, you savor it. You always remember the best and worst foods you’ve ever eaten in your life and just like that, divorce is a reminder of all the best and worst moments in your marriage. Overall, I will say that whatever happened in our marriage was simply just like adding too much or even too little salt, pepper or chile to a dish. It doesn’t always work out but at least you tried.maria-felix

I am actually doing quite well, given my circumstance. I have good days and bad. Some, more emotional than others. There are days where you don’t want to do a damn thing but just cry. Then I remember, I am Latina, and María Félix (Mexican film actress and singer) says we should only cry for a man for 3 days and on the 4th day, we put on our high heels and new clothes and we keep on strutting!

I don’t have it all figured out yet, but I do know that with every ending chapter in our lives, a new one begins, but it is up to us to write how our story will end. We have to own our failures and our successes, but always remembering to keep loving ourselves through the process.

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Serendipity

I’ve always heard that “love happens” and sure enough, it always happens when you least expect it. As previously stated, I wasn’t looking for love when I met my now ex-husband, Chef Obi-Wan. For me, Obed will always hold a special place in my heart. He is the only man that I have ever truly loved. Before him, I had only exclusively dated 2 other guys. Shortly after meeting and dating Obed, I realized that he was my lobster. I understood then, why it simply never worked out with the other guys before him. I believe that we will experience love many times in our lives, but I also believe that when you experience “true love”, it is a love so deep that you feel it to the depth of your being. A love so strong, so penetrating that you sense each other in each others absence.

I am talking about a love that stays with you for a lifetime and is not so easily forgotten. Now, I know when you read these words on my blog, you understand that I obviously still love Obed. As I have stated before, I consider him the love of my life. It doesn’t mean that he never wronged me, or that he was a perfect mate but you will never hear me speak ill of him. I will share some of our not-so-perfect moments, as time goes on.

Tonight, however, on this particularly cozy and gloomy night – I want to share how serendipitous our “meet cute” really was. You see, I am also a believer in everything happening for a reason and predestination. I believe that people come into our lives with a purpose, a lesson and sometimes, just for a season. We never really see the lesson or the purpose behind these occurrences, until life reveals it to us, ever so gently. I guess you could call these occurrences, “Aha!” moments. Surely, you remember the blog about our “meet cute” moment, right? The one where I walked into a cafe, Obed and I lock eyes, meet for the very first time and fall madly in love? Well, that restaurant,  Hook, Line and Sinker is the exact place that I had my very first date with my ex-boyfriend. The guy I dated right before Obed. Isn’t that something?

So if I had never dated this guy, I would have likely never known about this restaurant. In fact, when Obed and I met, he had already been working there for about 2 years. All of the guys there knew who I was, and when Obed and I became exclusive, they all wondered how he had never noticed me before. I believe it was all in God’s timing. We met at the exact, predestined moment and we came in to each others lives when neither of us were looking for love.

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Butterflies & Heart Races

When I initially met Obed, I had no desire to date or even consider finding a mate. As Queen Bey says, I was “focused on my focus!” That “focus” was me, in an effort to better myself and prepare to jump start my career. I would go on occasional dates, but they were never anything serious. I actually had several men-friends or “babes”, as I always liked to call them. They were the ones I could call to fill up my gas tank or take me to nice dinners, when I felt like having company. Between school, partying and sometimes teaching DWI Intervention classes for some cash flow, I didn’t have time for a relationship. I loved my freedom and I enjoyed my singleness.

However, after I accepted to be O’s girlfriend that night, everything changed.

I cut off all my “babes” and dedicated all my free time to this very handsome, interesting, and super sweet Latin lover!

Obed w307433_1957631582010_2604704_n-1as like no one I had ever met before. He was such a hopeless romantic. He was very frank and a great communicator. I loved how educated and smart he was. Obed captivated me with his intelligent mind and creativeness. He was handsome, nerdy, and such a sweetheart.

We weren’t spending a lot of time together, but we talked and texted every single day. We spent every day that he was off together, if my schedule allowed for it. Dating him was so much fun and I was always in for a sweet surprise with him. I remember the first time he ever bought me a piece of jewelry, he sent me on a scavenger hunt to find it. It was a cute silver necklace with a little butterfly pendant. Along with that, was a love letter and poem, written just for me.  Obed always made me feel special and loved. In fact, he told me very early on in our relationship that he loved me and his actions definitely spoke louder than his words. I never had a man treat me the way he did.

Obed respected me – all of me: mind, body and soul. I feel like Obed contributed so much to my growth as a woman, a leader and as his partner. He would encourage me, when I needed it. He was a great listener, he always inspired me and when he got close to me, my heart raced. I was awestruck by him and shortly after becoming an item, it wasn’t hard to fall in love with him.

Every time I spoke of him, I got butterflies in my stomach.

To this day, I will always believe that our love story is one of the greatest. Sure, it doesn’t end with a “Happily Ever After…” but he set the bar high for the next gentleman that walks into my life. Divorce teaches you many things. Especially in the areas where you fell short, but the lesson is the reward in all of your suffering. & if nothing else, I can say that I can move forward, knowing I experienced real love in my life.

 

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