A Culinary Exploration of Cali-for-ni-a

Recently I was blessed to be able to travel to beautiful Anaheim, California to celebrate the milestone success of my special guy.

The trip was so excellent and so exclusive that I wasn’t able to take pictures during any of the corporate festivities. That means I don’t have anything to show for the food they lavished us with from the time of our arrival to the time we departed. So no photographs of the gourmet meals of filet mignon and grilled chicken. No quick pics of the Asian buffet, Mexican buffet, slider buffet, and sandwich buffet (with the best Orzo E-V-E-R). No visuals of the breakfast samplings so abundant and assorted they would rival any Cracker Barrel and Shoney’s combined (except they were gourmet). And no captured memories of the unlimited Mickey ears ice cream, cake pops, chocolate ganache dessert, churros and liquid elixirs of kiddie strength and much stronger.

Not to fret though, the beautiful Disneyland Hotel and ALL the nibblets of goodness around, and an hour and a half away in North Hollywood proved to be just the perfect sampling of food, food, food!

I won’t do it a disservice by trying to describe it all. Sometimes the pictures simply have to speak for themselves. I will say, the next time you’re in Anaheim for a trip to Disneyland, be sure to visit LaBrea Bakery in Downtown Disney for the crab cake sandwich, the fried chicken sandwich with crunchy slaw and a secret sauce, hibiscus lemonade and the perfectly prepared medium-plus burger oozing with juices and flavor.

When you’re adventurous do decide to hop in an Uber and travel all the way to Los Angeles in rush hour to realize why Oprah felt compelled to give Miss Robbie a show because the TJ’s Sweetie Pie’s fried chicken seasoned through and through, macaroni and cheese with abundant perfectly cinched cheese on top, collard greens choked full of meat, peach cobbler better than somebody’s southern Grandmama and lemony-sweet lemonade were enough to write home about. Or at least call and wake up your Mama like I did.  It truly was the BEST soul food this Bama bred girl has ever, ever had. Hands down. Sorry mama and all of my many matriarchs.

When you’re in the Disneyland don’t leave without the butteriest ear of corn you’ve ever had. And be certain to sprinkle visits to The Counter Custom Built Burgers in LAX and Uno Pizzeria Express in Chicago’s O’Hare airport (home of the planned layover to sample some pizza or Chi-town dogs) into your plans. And please, people, whatever you do, don’t ever leave the Happiest Place on Earth without enjoying the magic that is the Disneyland Hotel’s Mickey Mouse cookies, sans the milk for those of us intolerant:)

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Fried Chicken and Slaw with Secret Sauce at La Brea Bakery in Downtown Disney

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Cookies and Milk from Mickey

@AngelaMMoore316

I Still Want to Be Married

Recently in an episode of the hit show Super Soul Sunday on OWN Oprah Winfrey sat down with Shonda Rhimes the topic of marriage surfaced, and has since surfaced a lot on the internet. Both successful women admitted they did not want to be married. I applaud them for that. In today’s society that’s a courageous statement to make and own.

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I have been single and satisfied, single and unhappy, married and in newlywed giddiness, married and miserable, divorced and devastated, and divorced and happy as a lark (as I am)…and I still want to be married.

With everything I’ve been through and everything I’ve put myself through, because there is a difference, I still want to be married, and the right way to the right man. I applaud myself for that. Nothing which has happened like pain, anger, mistakes and mistreatment, settling into Singleness: Part Deux , seeing I could start over while looking cute, keeping my sanity and sharing my joy, and discovering uncovered talents and strengths has changed my heart’s desire. No doubts of being too old, too late in the game, too “other things I shan’t say” or any other concerns sent straight from H-E-Double Hockey Sticks has altered my dreams. Not even having my own schedule and abundant amount of “do what I want-ness”, embracing who I’ve become, or enjoying time with loved ones has changed my mind about marriage. Nothing I believe will happen like an amazingly, rewarding new career with lots of influence, opportunities to help others, travel, rewarding purpose and M-O-N-E-Y has altered that. I just believe that whomever God is making ready for me (and enhancing me for) will be able to roll with it, as I roll with him.

Oprah and Shonda, if I may refer as if I know them, live professionally successful lives and didn’t attribute any catastrophic event as the catalyst for their declaration regarding not wanting to be married. It saddens me to see women and men who let life rob them of their God-given dreams and desires and settle for what is rather than believe and act on what still can be…regardless.

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I still hold to the hope of meeting someone new, going through that awkward stage of phone talking and new fangled courting, praying for clarity (with a lot of questions…that’s just how I am), and being challenged to stretch and grow even more by the mere presence of this new dude in my sphere. I look to the day of not initially knowing if he’s the one, surveying my girlfriends for their thoughts, not knowing why we’ve met, meeting his friends, and spiritually working through the grown-up challenges which come when more than one person is involved. I still hold to the hope of a real and appropriate proposal (that’s another story for another day), sweating my hair out at a reception with our favorite jams blasting, and embracing my new family of “in-loves” (not in-laws) to share memories with which last a lifetime. I still hold to the hope of cooking dinner or enjoying a cooked dinner, while gazing and giggling across the table, watching football (please, Jesus let him like my school), debuting my head scarf which I’ve had since I was a tiny teen at Ramsay High School, working through demanding schedules, traveling, supporting and being supported, growing spiritually and tackling life’s ups and downs together. Then, at the end of the day, I wait for the certainty decades later as we stroll or ride a scooter slowly through Publix hand-in-hand looking for LeSuere Very Young Small Sweet Peas and canned pears to help with our digestive system that it was all worth it. It was absolutely worth it. A slow-stroll, peas and pears? Yep, I still want to be married.

@AngelaMMoore316

Girl, Somebody Lied to You!

Washing my hands in the restroom at work, gazing in the hazy mirror at my newly cut bangs (from a less than new sew-in) the words, “Girl, somebody lied to you” crossed my mind. I was shocked initially, almost wondering where this inner, loud whisper derived. As women, too many times than not, we have listened to lies from others about ourselves, lives from ourselves regarding others and even from ourselves regarding ourselves. Before you hop on an “all men are dogs” channel that I simply do not and will not ever subscribe to do know that I’m not referring to the “player, cheater or not quite mature enough to handle the responsibilities of a relationship” kind of man we might have knowingly entertained or naively encountered. I’m talking about the bold face lies society, unwise influencers, and our own misguided hopes and dreams might have told us. (BTW…is a bold face lie different from a scared face lie? #ija) I digress.

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I started thinking of a list of a lot of lies we, as incomparably beautiful, God-created, life-giving, purpose-overflowing, love-filled, spiritually gifted women, need to know longer believe about us if we’re going to be the fabulous, fabulous women we were all created to be. I’m not listing lies, as I prefer truth. So below I offer you a sampling of seeing yourself from a different point of view.

  1. A man or marriage won’t make you happy. (Ask a bunch of other married, dating and no longer married women how we know. Happiness is an exclusive right. No help is needed. I promise this one is true so if you were clinging to it like a newborn to its milk machine please let it go.)
  2. Marriage won’t cure your ills. (If struggling with financial mismanagement, loneliness, fornication, low self-esteem or any other issues before marriage, and not taking steps to be healed from it, an “I Do” doesn’t take it away. It just shifts it into another gear.)
  3. You really don’t need makeup. (I “heart” make up. I really, really do, but I know that it is strictly an enhancement to all the goodness, flaws and all, about us which already exist, but it is not a necessity. We’re fine with or without it. Literally, and figuratively.)
  4. Your voice is important. (Often as women we feel our voice, opinion, thoughts, ideas or histories aren’t embraced so they must not be important. They are and must be heard. Ya heard?)
  5. Women can be friends. (Forget the Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday night reality show and social media fighting. Women are social creatures by Godly design. More importantly, we’re communicators, which means we are equipped to get along, stay together, talk it out, establish trust and enjoy the love, support and influence of other women meant to walk this amazing journey called life with us.)
  6. Your hips are hot. (Don’t be fooled. Those areas in which you carry as a testament to your DNA, your life’s struggles, your overcome medical obstacles…childbirth included, or whatever is behind the story of your behind and its less than perfect body buddies is beautiful. As is. No pun intended.)
  7. Being spiritual, smart, sincere and sophisticated is haute. (It is absolutely popular and eternally trending to have a relationship with God and show it, speak properly, use correct spelling and grammar in formal and less than formal writings, be kind, be generous, showcase your knowledge in all types of settings, pursue higher education, be classy, carry poise, and take the lead as lead in areas of which you know you are gifted.)
  8. Your spiritual Father has the first and final say-so. (For those who have bore the pain of the lack of presence from an earthly father or a proper one, do know that your real Daddy is the MAN! He loves you, won’t leave you, is trustworthy, will show up when He promised, won’t forget a birthday, has you on His mind all the time and loves you. Yes, I said He loves you twice just so it can settle in.)
  9. Pouty mouths, duck lips, and frowny faces can’t compete with a smile. (I don’t know who hijacked the smile, but I demand a swift return. Ladies, nothing says “confident, sexy, approachable, mature, friendly, or comfortable in the skin I’m in” like a good, old-fashion smile. Try it. Often. Please.)
  10. Gaining a new job, new house, new body, new man, new car, new degree, and/or new circle of influence is a blessing, but it won’t build you… and guess what, should you lose one, any or all of it, it won’t break you either. (Ask me how I know.)

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@AngelaMMoore316

I’m Onboard with My Vision Board

I’ll admit. I like to party. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not talking about the kind of partying that was partly responsible for my 1.8 GPA my first semester in college, but the kind that brings great people, even better food, and some super cool celebrations together no matter how grand or how much grander. So when the thought of a Vision Board Party came to mind I was excited. I admitted to my guests that I’d actually placed more thought in the menu than actually what my vision board would represent, but once I set my mind to it, in the midst of scissors, glue, glitter, stickers, card board, poster board and magazine madness it was like I’d been transported to another world…the future, my future that is. To say the Vision Board Party was fun would be an understatement! There was just something special about being bold enough to put my “bees-wax” on display for others to see. I was shocked I was brave enough to include this:

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As much of a romantic, “I believe in love, I know I’m meant to be some Heaven-sent husband’s wonderful wife” I’m focused on a few more important things right now and I don’t want to find a man. He has to find me. So I resisted posting this (even though I was truly tempted…LOL!):

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I muddled through the mess that evolved from my dining room floor slightly surprised that there was no mention of material things on my board. Yes, there is an entire section devoted to vacation and travel (a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do), and the word “home” is spotlighted as I’m in need of getting rid of one and securing another quickly and miraculously, but not a mention of cars, purses, shoes, shopping, jewelry or any of the other things the old me would have been pasting like a 4th grader with unlimited glue and glitter gone wild. Instead I was surprisingly focused on things more spiritual, social and physical (like faith, Jesus, healthier food, inspiring quotes and the aforementioned “thighs and butt”), dreams I’ve had and sat on (sometimes nearly suffocating them) like being an author and inspiration, and achieving wealth to receive and share.

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Let me tell you how much I was into this party. I was so engrossed with my vision board coming to life that I sat down on the floor. Yikes! Those of you who know me know I’m a girly girl in every sense of the word, opting against things remotely related to being on the floor, being surrounded by clutter, and traipsing back and forth through glitter on the ground and ultimately in my hair. With the blaring background sounds of the Prince station on Pandora not only did I do it, but I didn’t regret it a bit. Since we’re on the subject of your purple highness, if you haven’t listened to the Prince station on Pandora you need to do yourself a favor and listen.  I digress.

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I was pleased with my finished product and the finished product of the finished product that I tweaked after all of the guests and chicken wings were gone. Her next step? To hang in my office, in all her neon green glory, as a daily reminder of what my dreams look like so that when I finally see them I’ll know it’s partly because I dared to do so.

PS…If you’ve never had or attended a Vision Board Party I would definitely recommend you do so. I can host it, or be your guest. Because after all, I do like to party, especially when it’s with a purpose.

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@AngelaMichele316