Teach me

Yesterday was a pretty exciting and emotional day. It was my son’s last first day of school. And It was the last first day of school that I had to prepare for as a parent. I’m a little emotional knowing the baby boy is almost done with high school. But more than anything…


Yes I am Marshawn

I love new beginnings and the start of new things. So I thrive when it’s the beginning of the month, a new moon, a new season and a new school year. It’s a time to learn from my mistakes of the past and make the new-new  better. And even though I’ve had first day of schools since 2000, when my daughter started, there is always something to learn. You can search Pinterest or get your Google on with back to school tips that will be full of advice from organized parents and experts telling you to check book bags, pack lunches at night, lay out clothes at night, and put up a family calendar, blah, blah, perfect life, blah. I know all of that. Most of those are ways to save time and be organized. What I wanted to know was what I can do as a parent to make sure my child has a great year and succeeds. Who would know better than the educators that work with them day in and day out. I am old enough to be able to have friends that are teachers and principals and a few of them shared their top tips to have a great school year. Here is what they had to say….

1. The beginning of a new school year is very hectic on teachers and staff, so try to be patient and understanding as things get settled early on in the school year.

2.  Always make sure your child’s teachers and school have the most current contact information in case they need to get in touch with you.

3. Be supportive of your child’s teacher and the work they are doing for your child. This includes, but is not limited to, showing up to parent teacher conferences and making sure your child completes homework and projects.

4. Let the school know if your child is in need of anything.  You have to let the teacher know if your child’s needs are not being met. Always be your child’s biggest and best advocate. If your child isn’t able to  tell you what they did in class it should be a concern and you may need to call the teacher to see what is going on in the classroom and try to find the reason your child is not aware.

5. Establish a time and space for your child to do homework and/or read. This sends the message that education is important and should be a priority.

6. Encourage your child to set high expectations and goals for themselves.  ‘I want to have at least 100 AR points for reading 10 books by the end of the first semester.’ ‘By the end of the year, I want to score higher in science class than I did last year.’  ‘I want to maintain an A average for the remainder of the year so I can quality for the Beta club.’ Make sure to show your child how to monitor their progress.

7. Encourage your child to keep pounding towards excellence and don’t be afraid to be great in the classroom

As parents and teachers we are a team that has a goal to make sure we help our child become productive members of our society.  Thank you to my friends for the tips and advice. I hope it helps you to help your child have a successful year!
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School Daze Sunday

I just spent a couple days in my hometown for Grand Homecoming. Grand homecoming is an event held every three years in my hometown.  Every three years, people that have moved away come back home for a week of family, friendship and fun. The biggest day of the week is Saturday, when all the high school classes get together for a parade, friendly competition and food! The week ends with people attending church services and saying their goodbyes.

I will spend this Sunday in fellowship with my high school classmates, spending a little more time with my family before heading back home. My son starts his final high school year on tomorrow so once we get home, we will prepare for his final, first day of school.

A Sunday Well Spent Brings A Week of Content! 

What are your Sunday plans?

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44 adventures…A7 Hiked to a waterfall

I’m officially intrigued with waterfalls. A few months ago I saw a picture of one on one of my social media sites and started looking up waterfalls close to me. The closest one was right across the state lines in Auburn Alabama. I immediately made a mental note to visit.

The waterfall was located in Chewcala State Park in Auburn, Alabama. It’s less than an hour away from me, which is the perfect day trip distance. After a quick stop for gas and lunch and we arrived at the entrance to the park.

The park ranger or whatever he was called was not very friendly at all. He took the $4 entrance fee and didn’t offer a map, instructions or anything. Perhaps it was the Florida flags on the vehicle I was in. Here I was, a Georgia bulldog, with a Florida fan, in Auburn country. I should have yelled Go Dawgs out of the window at him, but he had a gun.

But anyway, back to the adventure.

Driving through the park was creepy to me. It was short winding roads surrounded by woods. We drove for several minutes and finally saw a pavillion and a map but no waterfall. We decided to park and check it out. We finally found a sign that told us where the waterfall was. There were several ways to get to the waterfall. How many of you know I chose the shortest hike? *counts everyone’s hands*

As we made our way toward the sound of water, it was a fairly easy hike. The trail was rough as it was uneven with a lot of rocks and tree roots but it was all down hill. As we got closer, we could hear the water and I was pretty excited.

Yes, there was a photo shoot….

The planned ‘off guard’

‘get the words on my t-shirt’

‘hold on let me fix my hair’

After hanging out at the falls, and a pretty TOUGH climb back up to the top, we decided to check out some more of the park. We found where the waterfall flowed from and spent some time hanging out at that part of the park.

that’s the top of the waterfall in the back of the picture

swimming hole with diving board….NOPE FROM ME, DAWG

Since we were so close to Auburn, we decided to head into town and check things out. I love Auburn(bump the football team though). I really love the downtown area of most cities, but it’s something really special about a college football town. I think it’s the energy there. I also love all of the local restaurants and spots right around the campus and surrounding the famous Toomer’s corner.

I love brick streets too

As we were looking for a place to park, I spied with my #fatgullswag eye, a donut shop. If I had been driving you would have heard tires screaching as I slammed on brakes in front of it. But since I wasn’t, we found a place to park and walked around the corner to it. It was called University Donut Company and it was EVERYTHING!

hole lotta lovin’ indeed! 

Aint God good?

I wanted them all….

Cakes too….BAEBEH!

Ms Blueberry hill was amazing! 

Lemon Lavender Cake

The owner was so sweet. She told us the story of the College Game day crew stopping in and later coming back and buying her out of her version of the maple bacon donut she calls, Sticky Pig. She was sold out of that flavor but she did have a similar one. AND I HAD TO TRY IT! BRUHHHH, IT WAS A DONUT WITH A SAUSAGE INSIDE OF IT! #LORDT!

My new best friend…Sweet Souie

She warmed it up for me and well….

Poor little Souie….

After murdering donuts, we made our way down to the famous Toomer’s drug store.

I was just going to peak inside to say I had been and keep it moving. But I could smell fresh lemons as I got closer to the door! I love lemonade and apparently this was the place in Auburn to get it. The line extended from the front of the store to the rear and you know I got in it that line! (I’m very impatient unless i’m waiting for food) The lemonade is made fresh right behind the counter and it was delicious. Swear if I had some pineapple Ciroc…nevermind. They also have hand dipped ice cream and a bunch of Auburn crap. (Go Dawgs).

This was an amazing Saturday. A little hike for the body, seeing God’s work for the spirit, a little history of Toomer’s drugs for the mind, and donuts for the #fatgullswag created a truly harmonious day! Shoot, the following Sunday wasn’t too bad either because I had the goat cheeese, fig, elderflower cheesecake from UDC for breakfast! LOL

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44 adventures with wine A6:W7 Ochos Rios, Jamaica

A6: Ochos Rios, Jamaica

When we planned the excursion to Negril we also planned one other excursion. We began discussing climbing Dunn’s River falls as soon as we planned the trip. After another great breakfast, we loaded up on a party bus that took us on a tour from Montego Bay to Ochos Rios. The bus was fun and full of people looking to have a great time. On the way we saw a creepy house that was famous because some lady killed all of her slave owners, one by one, until she eventually become the owner of the house. And in a shocking twist, she was killed by her servants. The place is now considered one of the most haunted properties in Jamaica. Rose Hall was probably my least favorite story on the tour, because #ScaryCat. We also rode by the high school, where Jamaica’s own living legend, Usain Bolt, began his quest to be the fastest man in the world. I didn’t get a picture of his high school but I did spend a grip on a couple of his t-shirts for my son and nephew.

Signature collection they said….chile that ain’t nothing but overpriced Nike

After a slightly less scary ride than the Negril trip, we arrived in Ochos Rios, where we boarded the boat. The crew was so cool and fun. They played music and encouraged us to dance and have fun as we cruised the beautiful waters. The unofficial term for the excursion was ‘booze cruise’ but since we were going to snorkel and then climb a waterfall, there was no booze initially. #SafetyFirst I declined to snorkel because I was feeling a little queezy.(it wasn’t the Overproof I’m sure). I sat on the side of the boat and entertained some of the crew with my lack of knowledge of geography as they side eyed my fake name for the day. They laughed a little too hard when Ms. Kiwi didn’t know Jamaica was on the Caribbean Sea. LOL

Chukka tours


After the snorkeling, the boat took off for Dunn’s Falls. I think this was my favorite part of the trip. The waterfall was beautiful and serene and climbing it was fun and challenging.

The guides were so helpful as we navigated the slippery rocks. They pushed us past our fears and we had THE best time. We don’t have many pictures from the climb from our phones, just some once we reached the top. There was a videographer that scaled the waterfall, camera in hand, and captured some really cool and funny moments for us. I hate I can’t share those with you, but I don’t have any idea how to save them to my laptop from that video. But feel free to come by with coffee and Jamaican rum cream and I will be happy to play it for you! 🙂

After we reached the top, Lord, we had to walk back down the steps to the bus. We made our way to the bus, dried off, and were handed the first of many cups of rum punch! The booze cruise started! As we made our way back to the dock, we ran into some really rough water as a storm was brewing, but it didn’t stop the party. We danced and sang, and drank rum punch until we reached the docks. It was so much fun. All excursions need to be by booze cruise. #majorkey

rum punch and sea legs

After we docked, we had lunch at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville, then headed back to the bus, where we danced and sang all the way back to the resort!

We took a quick shower, grabbed some dinner, and chilled at the bar with the bartenders and had a few more drinks for the night.

My fave bartender, Abraham. He worked hard to get the mojitos perfect!

I thought our final day would be spent lounging, drinking and eating. While we did that, we also ended up in a water aerobics class. It was fun but difficult since the instructor tried to murder our rotator cuffs with all the shoulder exercises. I gave him all the side eyes!

Side eye under the shades and curse words under my breath…because I should have been at the jerk hut behind us.

After the workout, we went for a quick soak in the cold whirlpool, and then spent a few minutes in the steam shower, just because we could!


Then it was back poolside to drink, people watch and try to memorize the view of our last day in paradise. When we left the pool, on our way to our room, we ran into our friend ‘Drake’ and his fiance. We called him Drake because he’s from Toronto. (I don’t know his real name and he didn’t know mine. I was Lisa the day he met me, and he called me Lisa the entire trip!)He told us that if we needed a boost, to try some espresso martini’s or espresso martini shots. I wanted to take a nap before dinner but who says no to Drake? I went for the shots. Whew boy! They woke us right up! And when we decided they needed a little something extra, we asked Ms. Petrina to add a shot of rum cream on top! Perfection! Where can I get those in the States? If you know, let me know!

The resort had a buffet but also three other restaurants. Since it was our last night we decided to try one of the other restaurants. I wanted an excuse to dress up a little. Shoot, I packed a pair of heels and I wanted to wear them.

#Trap LOL

After a little wait, we enjoyed a decent dinner. I was also able to finally try a new bottle of wine.

W7: Cabernet Sauvingnon, Finca Las Virtudes.

It was my first Spanish wine. It tasted like most other cab sauvs I have had. It is what I like to call a keep on. Keep on drinking until it gets really good. I mean by glass three aren’t all wines good? NO! Just to me? Ok!

‘Just leave the bottle, it will save you some steps’ ~Me

After dinner, we made our way out to the beach, where there was a beach party and ‘bon fire’. We danced and laughed and took pictures. The heels came off and we ended our vacation with our toes in the sand!

Bon fires are small in Jamaica and no, I don’t know the white couple

Petrina ‘espresso shot slayer’ and some photo bombers from South Carolina…at the bar. Again

The next morning, we had one last breakfast, tried to fit some of the employees in our suitcase to bring back(it didn’t work) and headed back to the good ole USA.

Sunrise at the resort. Shout out to Elisha for getting up for this pic!

I’m so blessed to have been able to make this trip. I’m thankful for my friends that I traveled with and i’m looking for our trip next year!

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44 adventures: A5 Negril, Jamaica

Part deux

A5: Negril, Jamaica

Day 3 of my trip to Jamaica was spent away from the resort. We took the opportunity to book an excursion to Negril. The inspiration for the trip to Jamaica was the book and movie, How Stella Got Her Groove Back. There were many scenes filmed in Negril, including the one where she allows her son to cliff dive at Rick’s Café. When the event planner mentioned the trip to Rick’s we knew we had to do it. So after a good breakfast, we threw on our swimsuits, cover ups and loaded up on the bus to Negril.

Met some folks from London at the bar while waiting for our tour.

The ride was about 90 minutes long and what a ride it was! I knew they drove on the wrong side of the road so I was able to remain calm about that. What I didn’t know was that they drove so fast and aggressive on such narrow roads! At one point, we went around a curve on what felt like two wheels. I just knew we were going to flip and take out the goats that were walking on the side of the road! I was trying to remember if my uninsured motorist coverage would cover me out of the country!(that’s the insurance adjuster in me). Along the trip, the driver and tour guide pointed out some interesting sights. We saw an all-inclusive, free resort(the jail), one bedroom underground condos(graveyard), and something all of us American’s recognized, the Keep From Cooking company(KFC-Kentucky Fried Chicken).

We also passed by the homes of some celebrities, though we really couldn’t see much more than their gates. Sophia Lauren and Ralph Lauren have estates right across from each other, Sylvester Stallone has an amazing ‘hut’ on the hills overlooking the beach, and we also passed Bill Cosby’s estate, but no one cared.

We arrived at Seven Mile Beach where we stayed for a couple of hours. It was beautiful! The water was cool and crystal blue. We joked that there was someone out there cleaning that water every day.

We enjoyed the water until Mr. Stingray came over and tried to make friends. And even though we were told that he was harmless, I just didn’t feel very friendly so I let him have his home back and went back to my beach chair under the almond trees. Yes! Almond trees!

There is an almond inside of there!

After enjoying some local vegetation, O_o, we ordered lunch. Well, we picked our lunch out of the ocean and had it grilled right on the beach. There was an amazing lobster shack that we had to try.

As you can see, I made friends with my lil buddy before I ate him up. The butter concoction that he put on top of the lobster is amazing, and in his words ‘world famous’. It was definitely amazing!

After we endured a pretty heavy downpour, we made our way back to the bus and headed to some local markets. I picked up some souvenirs for my family and some locally grown Blue mountain coffee and Jamaican rum cream.

The new best part of waking up…rum cream in my cup!

After shopping we made it to Rick’s café to enjoy the cliff divers, some music and watch the sunset.

The clouds didn’t cooperate so we only got to see a little of the sun descending but it was absolutely beautiful. Just sitting on the side of the cliff, watching the party boats come in, folks diving and swimming in the clear blue water, sipping on frozen drinks and seeing the sun slowly fall into the water was one of the best evenings I had ever spent.

We made it back to the resort, just in time to change clothes, grab a quick dinner, more drinks, and catch some entertainment at the resort.

Stay tuned for day 4!

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44 adventures: A4 Montego Bay, Jamiaca

Hey Mon! I’m so excited to write this post. I’m just getting back from the island of JAMAICA! It was an amazing trip with an amazing group of women. I had some amazing adventures and even tried a pretty decent bottle of wine while I was there.

A4: First international trip

We flew into Montego Bay on Wednesday and checked into our resort, the beautiful Riu Regage resort. The hotel lobby is open so that as soon as you pull up you see the breath taking view of the beach and emerald blue water.

After we got off the shuttle, we were greeted by Ms. Yanique with a class of champagne.

This was my first trip to Jamaica and my first trip out of the country. We spent the first day touring the resort, enjoying the bar, beach, dinner buffet, and enjoying the entertainment on the resort. This resort was small but it was adults only which was perfect for a girls trip!

Ms. Nadine giving us our first cocktail before we had a chance to get our bags to the room!

The second cocktail….about 3 minutes after the first!

We spent the next day at the resort by the pool, enjoying drinks, dancing, laughing and meeting some great people.

It’s 10:30am #DontJudgeUs

I now only want to get in pools with swim up bars. #spoiled

There was also jerk chicken cooked and served beach side and fresh coconut water.

Gotta stay hydrated #MajorKey


Yes, we are still at the bar!!

I don’t want the posts to be super long so I’m going to break them up into separate posts. Stay tuned for the next adventure!

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44 adventures with wine…A1-A3 W1-6

My intention when I set the goal to go on 44 adventures and try 44 new wines in this 44th year of Bliss was to write about my adventures and wines right after they happened. Well, I’ve had 3 adventures and 6 new wines and I get a grade of, D for didn’t do it! 🙄 

I don’t know why I haven’t written. I can make up some reasons but I’m sure you don’t want to read those. So instead of a super long post about the adventures and wines I will just share some pictures and a few captions for your enjoyment and promise to do better next time. 

W1: This Marietta blend was the first new wine I tried. It was a splurge at $25 but well worth it! Thanks Liz! YOLO! 

I’m not a expert on how to describe wines. Im not even an amateur! I just know what I like. I think you can enjoy this with a really heavy meal, like beef or pasta with a rich red sauce. Liz and I  enjoyed it with fried chicken and hookah because, black.

A1 with W2-5

My cousin invited me out for a day at Chateau Elan. It was a great way to spend a beautiful spring Sunday afternoon. We had brunch at the restaurant in the hotel, followed by a tour of the winery and then a wine tasting. 

W5: Spent some time exploring a new beverage center here in Columbus and picked up this Rose from one of my favorite vineyards. It’s very light and refreshing. I enjoyed it with a Stevie Wonder playlist and good conversation but feel free to have it with a light meal, a salad course or fried chicken and hookah.😉


RWTD!! I finally got a chance to check out an WNBA game. The Atlanta Dream vs the LA Sparks. THE DREAM WON!! So grateful to have a chance to watch Candace Parker play in person. This chick is huge! It was a really fun experience. Before the game we grabbed lunch at California Kitchen and since we were soooooo close, we had to grab some donuts from the famous Sublime Donuts after the game.  The only downside to this perfect Saturday was it took some time to get the Yellow Jacket scent out of our clothes. #THWGT #GODAWGS

A3: I have taken a lot of spin classes. But this one was TOTALLY DIFFERENT. First it was a birthday party. My friend decided she would give her friends a little taste of her Tuesday and Thursday morning Xtreme spin class. Secondly,  It was like working out in a night club. Check out Total Fitness Revolution in Mableton, Ga if you get a chance!

I have so many more adventures planned and so many more wines to try. Looking forward to updating you again soon!


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