A Year of Transformation

Today, December 15, 2016, is my divorce anniversary date. I don’t know that you “celebrate” a date like this, but I guess you do acknowledge it. It is a reminder of how far I have come, the progress I have made and the fact that I have an entire year full of uncertainty and heartache behind me. Now that, is worth celebrating! So, if you are here, tonight, reading along, and following my blog, let us toast:

“To facing fears, shedding tears, embracing heartache, and looking forward to a new year with endless possibilities! CHEERS!”

This past year was a challenging and rewarding year for me. There were a lot of ups and downs. When you hear people talk about divorce and the “rollercoaster” of emotions that you face, let me tell you that it is real and there is no other better explanation. One day you are happy, one day you are sad, another day you are angry and so on and so forth. It is absolutely nuts! However, divorce, in all its craziness, uncertainty, heartache, and pain, has a tiny silver lining, that does in fact exist.

You see, divorce, like many other positive or negative things that happen in our lives, is just a life experience. It doesn’t necessarily mean anything relevant to your well-being. It doesn’t hold some type of magic power or have control of your life. Divorce is just divorce. It just simply means that you are no longer bound to a promise or commitment of a marriage. Now, that doesn’t mean that divorce is easy. It also does not undermine all of the pain and heartache that you feel, but it is just an experience and in order to get through it, you have to feel it.

When Obed and I got married, it was without a doubt, one of the happiest days of my life. We had not been through a lot together, but enough to know that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with him. I suppose he felt the same way too. I don’t think either of us ever thought our marriage would end in divorce.

In fact, not long after we married one of my best friends in the whole wide world broke news of her divorce. I never-ever saw that coming and it broke my heart. I cried! Even though I wasn’t going through it, I felt her pain. I remember her text message so vividly and clearly, “My whole world just turned upside down. _____ and I are getting a divorce.” As a newlywed, it scared me, but I was so sure that Obed and I would never go down that route.

As soon as I read the message, I burst into tears. She didn’t want to talk about it then, but when she finally felt ready, she shared her story. At the time, I didn’t understand why she had chosen to keep quiet of her struggles in her marriage. We talked often and I knew of some issues, but I never knew of the contemplation of divorce, the real struggles behind closed doors and the fact that she was grieving her marriage all by herself.

Every story of divorce is different but they all share one truth: YOU GET THROUGH IT! I won’t tell you about her story, because it is not mine to tell but I will tell you, that when I finally went through it myself, I understood why she chose to keep quiet about her reality. It is not easy to talk about. I just felt horrible, because I wish I could have been there more for her. Now, more than ever, I understand that if she had never experienced divorce, she couldn’t have possibly given me the love and support I needed in my time of grief and desperation, while I suffered through my own divorce.

I wholeheartedly believe that God gives us these “crosses to bear” in order for us to share our story, give our testimony and help others facing similar struggles. As time goes on, the more I share, the more I blog, the more I open up and share my truth, I realize how much I needed this divorce. I didn’t necessarily want it and I certainly didn’t initiate it, but I did speak of it. The idiom “be careful what you wish for” never made better sense to me than now.

Marriage is a lot of wonderful and beautiful things. However, even with all the rainbows and butterflies, it ain’t always pretty. Marriage challenges you in so many ways. It helps you to be more selfless, it motivates you to think more rationally, it tests your patience and grows you in so many ways.

Today, on this somewhat somber and painfully memorable day, I have so much to be thankful for. Despite the many nights I spent crying myself to sleep, questioning God’s authority and plan over my life, I can sit here and type these words out in confidence and affirmation that regardless of my divorce, my story is still far from over. In my pain and suffering from the loss of my marriage and a husband that I thought would be mine forever, I found a lot of wonderful things.

I have rediscovered so much about myself and I have found my own identity without being attached to anything or anyone. I’m single! I am 100% my most authentic and truest self. There is not a person defining me. I hold my own value. Right now I am living as a single, individual, unique and beautiful person. I am whole. I thought I needed my marriage for my life to be complete. Divorce taught me the complete opposite.

I am stronger, I am bold, and I am brave. I am living a good life! Sure, I love Obed but I’ve never needed him. I needed the lessons. Marriage taught me a lot of great things about love and the meaning of sacrifice, but Obed taught me strength.

There are a lot of things that one endures in a marriage. Those things are not always the same for everyone. We all experience very different struggles. However, both parties are responsible for whether or not a marriage fails or succeeds. Blame does not fall solely on one person. Marriage is a team effort and if I had never gotten divorced, I would have never found my own strength. I guess I have Obed to thank for that.

Now, I am at a place of peace, comfort and solitude. I am my own MVP. I went from being married and chasing dreams with a man I thought I would spend the rest of my life with to being divorced and chasing my own dreams. Everything I thought I wanted with Obed is no longer. My vision and direction has changed, but he helped me to find focus. If I was still married, I likely would have never shifted gears and listened to my own self. There were things that I needed in my life that Obed simply could not give me.

I needed myself. I needed to be complete and happy with who I was so that I could reach my highest potential. Of course, I still miss Obed and sometimes I hate that my dreams with him are shattered, but now, I have a full life ahead of me with endless possibilities.

In this past year, I have traveled more than ever. I have cried more than ever too but I have laughed a lot as well. I’ve experienced a whole different side of life that has transformed me into a much better person. I do everything for myself. I am kinder, I am wiser and I am constantly changing more and more each day into who I want to be. I’m growing and learning daily in this process, but more than anything I am free to be me.

Unapologetically, me.

Photo Credit: Little Laugh Box Photography

 

 

 

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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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Summer Lovin’

After our first date, Obed and I became a hot item, very quickly. Things happened faster than a New York second! We spent all of our free time together, and even then, it was never enough. You see, since I have known Obed, time was always against us. His work hours were always crazy. He was off one day a week, sometimes twice, if he got lucky. I was going to school full time and looking for the perfect paralegal job. I always refer to our courtship as our “Summer of Love”. 298223_1957673543059_1245175_nWe met mid-June, a few weeks later we started chatting and texting. He proved to me that chivalry was not dead and he was the absolute sweetest man ever.

Obed was quite the gentleman. He opened doors for me, made sure I was always walking on the inside of the sidewalk, and he paid attention to every detail. He knew exactly what I was wearing the very first day we met, how I had my hair fixed and even the color of my nails. Dating him was so different than any other guy I had ever dated. There was something so refreshing about him. He made falling in love so easy. Every day we spent together was magical. Some days we would go for a walk in the park, other days we’d spend hours hanging out at his pool, swimming and grilling. We would go grocery shopping and cook dinner together. Of course, he mostly did the cooking and I would help with the dishes.

So finally one night, after dinner and a movie, we were hanging out on his sofa, talking. Then, suddenly, we had our first kiss ever. It was such a sweet moment, but was interrupted by Obed pushing me away, looking me straight in the eyes and saying to me, “Mira, tu me encantas,” (Look, I adore you) “but I don’t want to be hugging you, kissing you, touching you…I don’t want to do anything like that with you, unless you are going to be my woman…” I didn’t understand what the hell had just happened. We were in the middle of a moment and he completely ruined it. Then he continues to plead his case.

“I know you don’t want a relationship, but if you just let me love you…I promise, you won’t regret it.”

Before I had a chance to even respond, he looks up at the clock and says, “I will give you some time to think about it, but if in 2 months, maybe even 4 months, you don’t know that you want to be my woman, then we can just be friends.” Still, I had no idea what was actually happening. Then he says “It’s getting late and I am sure your parents are waiting on you, so you should probably go ahead and head home.” & then he sent me on my merry way…

The whole way home, I thought about what had just transpired. I thought “this guy is crazy…who wouldn’t want a relationship with no strings attached?” At the time, I had been single for a while. My previous break up was hard on me and I just knew I would be single forever. Dating was the least of my concerns. That night, however, Obed changed that for me. Immediately when I got home, I called him to let him know I made it home safely. I also called to let him know, that I would accept his proposal to be his woman. This was on July 23, 2009, just one month after, that one fine summer day when we first met.

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Roses are red, Roses are radishes

Before I get started, on how Obed stole my heart, I want to thank you for reading along and following my blog. I really appreciate all the love, feedback and support. It encourages me to continue sharing my story and hopefully inspires you to one day do the same, if ever you find yourself with something burdening your heart so heavy, you just have to let it out. Now, let’s get back to biznishhh!

Our first date was the sweetest thing. At the time I had no idea that Obed was passionate about the kitchen. I only knew that he worked at one of my favorite seafood joints in Dallas. I was excited about what we would do because I hadn’t had a first date in a while but I was a little nervous, to be honest. He asked me to meet him at his place in Irving, so I had quite the commute ahead of me. I lived in Seagoville, where I grew up and lived my whole life. That is this little ol’ country town on the outskirts of Dallas. We are barely considered Dallas County, actually. It is the “City of Opportunity”, where ironically enough, we have a Federal Penitentiary right next door to our Central Park. It’s comical! Irving and Seagoville are two extremes on the DFW Metro-plex spectrum. It was about a 40 minute commute for me but it was always worth it. I would usually see him on Monday’s or Tuesday’s when he was off and they were the best days ever.

However, this is the story of my little rose radishes on our very first date; the second bunch of flowers Obed ever gifted me.

For those of you who don’t know me, I am a foodie. Nothing makes me happier than breakfast, lunch, snacks or dinner! I even have a hungry dance too and if the food is really good— sound effects, “Mmmm…!”

The fact that I married a chef was just the icing on the cake!

(See what I did there?) So at this point, O and I are barely getting to know each other. We’ve been calling and texting each other for a few weeks now. He had already delivered the most gorgeous flowers I had ever received to my home and I felt like the least I could do was give the guy a chance.  He was off that day and had planned a romantic night in, where he prepared dinner for us and won this curvaceous womans heart over! When I got to his place, he was busy in the kitchen. Of course, I offered to help, but he insisted I sit down and wait for my plate to be served. He had some carne asada (grilled flank steak) going, he was chopping up cilantro, limes and radishes, and had the tortillas on the comal (Spanish for flat iron griddle us Mexicans use for warming tortillas). He was on it! His ability to do so many things at once, was impressive. I would have surely caught the place on fire!

Then, he cut up the carne asada into little pieces and started setting the table. He put all the limes in a dish with the finely chopped cilantro and next thing I know –

I see the cutest little radishes, carved into pretty little roses. It was the cutest thing ever!

& finally, dinner was served. We had such a wonderful time and I learned all about his passion of food, and he learned all about mine, as I stuffed my face with best carne asada tacos, dressed with cilantro, lime and homemade green salsa. It was then that he showed me how to eat the little rose shaped radishes. It was also then, that I learned I had a very handsome, sweetie pie of a prospect!

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The Meet Cute

You know when you begin watching a movie, a chick flick to be exact, and you get all giddy because you just know it’s gonna be one of those movies that is gonna give you butterflies and inspire you to believe in love? Well, all of these movies have one thing in common, and it’s called a “meet cute”. The meet cute is that scene in a romantic film, where the two characters, who are destined to be together, meet for the very first time. It’s that unplanned moment where they accidentally bump into each other or lock eyes from across the room.

Well tonight, I am gonna share with you my “meet cute” moment of when I met, who I consider, the love of my life.

It’s mid-June, one helluva hot Texas Summer in 2009. I am single, I am happy, I am comfortable in my own skin and I am wrapping up my last semester in the Paralegal Studies Program at El Centro College. My sister, Yadira, and I go to lunch at my favorite casual seafood joint here in Dallas—Hook, Line & Sinker!20161018_192005  It’s afternoon, the lunch rush is gone and we are greeted with smiles and a bunch of “Eeeeyyyyy, how are you? Long time, no see!” by the very friendly staff that recognize us as regulars. We smile, laugh, place our order, and take a seat. Our order is ready in less than 20 minutes and instead of walking up to the counter for our food, there comes this friendly face delivering our order to our table. He smiles, sets the food down in front of us, and politely asks if there is anything else we need. I respond with, “No. We’re fine, thank you!” and he smiles again and says “Provecho!” as he walks away. & for all my non-Latin sisters out there, this simply means “Enjoy!” Moments later, that same friendly face is gazing over, cleaning all the empty tables around us, and asks if we are doing alright or need anything else. My response remains the same but only this time in Spanish to be polite, “Estamos bien, gracias!” He continues cleaning the already clean tables around us and finally asks (in Spanish of course) “Where are you from?” I quickly answer, trying to get that bite of food down, “Dallas,” even though I am really just a small town gal, trying to make it in the big bad city. He wouldn’t even know where Seagoville, Texas was anyways. Dallas is the much better response. He then says, very proudly, that he is from Aguascalientes (this translates to “hotwaters”). I didn’t know where that was, but I knew it was in Mexico. I really just tried to be like “oh cool” and go back to minding my business of tearing up that delicious seafood. Then he says, “I can take you one day, if you ever want to go.” So me being the friendly gal that I am, just go along with the convo and say, “Yea, sure! Whenever you want to invite me, I’ll go!” but rolling my eyes internally. Finally, he introduces himself:

“Yo me llamo Obed.” I respond with “Ana, nice to meet you” in Spanish.

Then he starts making small talk, asking whether or not we frequent this place a lot, what part of Mexico my family is from, etc. At the time, I had no idea that Obed had worked there for about 2 years, when we met, but we never saw each other until that day. At this point, I was just ready to leave, but I kept smiling and answering and finally, signaled to my sis with just a look, LET’S GOOOOOO!!!! She likes him. She thinks he is cute, and she says, “Ana, he is nice, I think you should just leave him your number.” I look at her like (insert rolling eyes emoticon here) “Girl, please!” We leave the restaurant, say goodbye and I walk out of his life fuh-eva, until the weekend of July 4th. I was still single, still happy, enjoying my life and on holiday. I am visiting family in El Paso, Texas and Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. Then suddenly, I get a text a message in Spanish

“Hola! Como estas?” My automatic response was “You have the wrong number”

because no one ever texted me in Spanish. Then he hit me with “Ana? It’s me, the guy from Aguascalientes!” Immediately, I dialed my sister in less than 2.5 seconds and ripped her a new one. She laughs hysterically, “Ahahahahahahhaha! Sis, just talk to him! He is nice and he’s cute too! Maybe he will give us the hook up on some food!” My sister was worried about a hook up and I was concerned with whether or not he was a psychopath serial killer (that’s just how my mind works). I was mad! You DO NOT just give out one’s phone number like that. It is a clear Girl Code violation. Especially between sisters! Like, who does that? Later, I found out she had gone back to Hookline for dinner one night and Obed remembered her. He asked her about me, and she gave him my number.

So then, I had this guy named Obed from Aguascalientes, Mexico texting me what seemed like every damn day, until I finally gave him the time of day. & to make long story short, a few weeks later, we are texting frequently and talking and I received the most beautiful flowers ever gifted to me and delivered straight to my home. 20161018_190949My mother was in awe and was curious as to who sent me those beauties. I so weirdly respond, “Mom, it’s this guy named Obed and he is from Mexico and he works at a restaurant.” At this point, I am still thinking I am totally out of his league. This guy couldn’t possibly think he stands a chance. I am a U.S. Citizen! Although, Donald Trump would argue that I am an anchor baby, but we will save that for another blog. I hate to sound vain and all but let’s face it, we all think we know what kind of guy we will end up with. For sure, I never thought I would marry a Mexican. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love my people. I am proud to be Mexicana. I love everything Latin. The thing is, when you are born and raised in the U.S. and you are Latina, you just don’t grow up submerged in your culture. It is very different. I don’t discriminate when it comes to men. I like them all. No matter race or color. I just didn’t think in a million years that I would marry a straight up Mexican from dead smack in the center of Mexico. Aguascalientes, Mexico to be exact. I quickly learned that Obed was such a hopeless romantic and everything he did, he did with such a sweet and enormous passion. He paid attention to everything, and he was ever so detailed. Obed always made it a point to let me know how special I was to him and wasn’t afraid to tell me that he knew he loved me, from the very first time he saw me. I never believed in love at first sight. In fact, I thought that was a thing of fairy tales and simply didn’t exist. Looking back, however, and realizing all the details, I see now that everything Obed ever told me was true. He loved me from that day forward. Obed always told me throughout our marriage, how he could never forget the day he laid eyes on me. He said that he knew from the moment he first saw me that I would be his wife. He recounts our “meet cute” much differently than I do. When I walked in to the restaurant that day, he says he was immediately drawn to me. He said my smile was contagious and that my aura illuminated joy and happiness and he could not wait to get close to me.

Finally, after much conversation about him with my momma, I decided I should give the guy a chance. I needed to thank him for the beautiful flowers and so I agreed to have a first date. The rest is history. Two years later, we married on a lovely Fall evening in the middle of a beautiful garden in good ol’ Palestine, Texas on September 17, 2011. Fast forward four years later and we find ourselves divorced.

Now before y’all start feeling sorry for me, please know that I actually am ok. I am still very excited to share my life adventures of what being married to a chef was like. It was absolutely the most challenging, yet rewarding experience of my life. I hope you enjoy my stories and are able to take something positive from them that can be applied to any marriage. I wish to inspire you on my quest for steaming things up and cooling things off, all for the sake of perfecting an eternal recipe for life and love!

Thank y’all for following, subscribing, liking and sharing! I appreciate all the love and support. Provecho!

XO – Ana Verduzco

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O & A Heartbreak

If you and I have never actually met and you know absolutely nothing about my life, this will just be a story of marriage and divorce. If you know me personally, well let me explain the situation a bit before you get all “mo” on me.

First things first, people don’t get married thinking their marriage will end in divorce. You marry because you feel it in your heart that this person you love is your forever. Unfortunately for me, my forever barely lasted four years and my happily ever after ended right when I thought Obed and I had a pretty good grip on our life plan. I lived a pretty sweet life by his side. We ate at all the greatest places. He always gifted me gorgeous “just because” flowers and I always tried to be his biggest fan and supporter as a Chef Wife. We were working towards some pretty big dreams but somewhere along the way, we flipped the script and suddenly found each other on very different pages. We were both so fixated on our goals and dreams that we lost focus of the most important thing, which should have been our marriage.

Here’s the thing, O and I are indeed divorced. We are not “friends” but we are on good terms. We respect each other and we are cordial. Our divorce was far from ugly and I am pretty sure we still love each other but we are in two very different places in life. My choice was never to divorce. No woman ever wants to be in my place but it happens y’all! If it does, you trust in God, you accept things for what they are and you focus on getting yourself to a better state. It doesn’t mean that you have failed because your marriage has. It does not mean that your life is over and it definitely does not mean that you are NOT loved. Ironically enough, I have never felt more loved in my life. I have the best family and friends to support me and lift my spirit. They are my living proof that show me daily that I am definitely loved. So shout out to la familia and all my cool ass homies for gifting me love! Divorce is a bitch, I am not gonna lie. It sucks, but you know what else sucks? Pitty Parties! So– let’s just move right along, shall we?

I originally intended this blog to be about all the fun, happy and sappy moments of what being married to a chef was all about. Now,­­­­­­ this blog has inadvertently changed into my refuge. It is my self-therapy. It is my diary, my advice and my everlasting lessons of the many joys and pains of life, love, passion and la cocina! I still plan on sharing with you all the highs and lows of what to expect when marrying a chef, because contrary to everyone’s belief, he will cook for the entire world except for you! I hope you stick around and bear with me as I navigate my way through this new journey of singlehood, rollercoaster of emotions and explore all the new endless possibilities that the pain of divorce leaves you with. I know my situation is not ideal, but nonetheless, I am here and if I know one thing about divorce – I know that I won’t be the first or the last woman to ever go through it! Now that I’ve put that out there: BRACE YOURSELVES FRIENDS & LET ME BLOG ABOUT IT!

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