Muse.

I’m the eyes, he’s the muse. It works so well that he automatically goes into “to pose or not to pose” mode whenever I whip out a camera. Random day dates thrown in between business as usual keep me happy. It breaks monotony. It adds sound.

Sharing a meal that one or the other isn’t particularly fond of but enjoys to stay close to the other. Compromise. We do it. Not effortlessly. Not always willingly. The cacophony of compromise adds rhythm to the sound.

His creativity seeps into random spaces. We walk in, he looks up, side to side, and down. His eyes matching his head. We walk in. We sit. He looks up, side to side, and down. We look at each other. Annoyed, yet relieved. I can count on this to happen. He knows that. There’s volume to the rhythm now.

Muse

Krog Street Market Capture

 

We find ourselves outside. Almost always. A walk to make it easy on me. Some people watching to keep the laughs rolling. Always dialogue. Always talking. About me. About him. About them. About everything. Everything. Secrets are nil. Uncomfortable? Sure. Necessary? Absolutely.

That space of necessity? That music? That’s the very definition of magic.

Advertisements

Street food

Years ago when I worked at the CDC, I met an awesome woman who not only made me laugh, but also listened to my insanity. Actually we exchanged anecdotal stories about our dating life (we were both single-ish at the time), office grumblings and random musings keeping ourselves entertained while getting the job done. Now married and with a toddler (and a teenager!) and me with my SO and #TheTeenager we had plenty to catch up on but with limited (lunch) time. We met up for lunch at THE CUTEST little Indian spot called Masti in my old neighborhood just outside of Atlanta. Our mutual love of the cuisine made the choice easy and since I’d already had this place on my list of restaurants to try, we went for it.

Not. A. Single. Regret. OMG, it was perfect. My eyes were bigger than my belly so ordering a deconstructed aloo tikka chat meant that I also ordered my all time fav Chicken Tikka Masala. I finished neither. Our table looked like a mini lunch buffet and we were both more than ok with it.

16487893_10208864444384731_5171484574161369100_o

If you haven’t checked it out or if you just love Indian but what more than the butter chicken biriyani, GO HERE! They specialize in street eats popular in India. Also known for the Atlanta staple Cafe Bombay, know that you will not be disappointed. You are welcome in advance!

20170202_113525

#MangoEats

Autumn

I don’t follow the rules. I have more than one best friend. More than one favorite brother. More than one favorite color…I take it you’ve caught on, yes?

Spring and Autumn have always been my favorite times of year. At least spring and autumn in the traditional sense. The transitional weather, the change in everything around you and the change in me. With no medical background (save the nearly decade working at the CDC), I have come to the conclusion that this seasons speak to ME. Just like people feel energy from light, from colors and most definitely from the sun, these seasons rejuvenate me. I find myself busiest during these times, wrapping up something old while starting something new at the same damn time. My relationships (friendships and otherwise) tend to begin and end during these times. It can’t all be coincidence.

Autumn is definitely speaking to me. I feel some really exciting changes. No I’m not getting married, nor am I preggers; but I still feel a newness that just started a couple of weeks ago.

As I await boot and sweater weather, I’ll be taking notice at everything and everyone around me. I look forward to all the good things to come and the challenges I will conquer. For whatever reason that I cannot articulate, I am stupid excited about Autumn.

 

Red Lips and Drake

So I saw Drake. I mean Future, Gucci Mane and Two Chainz were there too, but *I* saw Drake. You get me? Ok. I went out on a Thursday night, a school night – with no vacation planned for the next day. I changed from my conservative office look to a very “Oh Funmi” not on the town bodysuit and tight jeans. It took discretion to slink out of the restroom lobby and back to my car. I pulled it off effortlessly. I reserved the warmth of the car and garage parking lit mirrors for my makeup. Genius. My slightly smudged red lipstick and thick black eyeliner was flawless when I stepped out though. This is Drake. This is all for Drake. Things just happen for Drake.

I avoided the lingering gazes and ignored the cars honking as I hopped into my friend’s ride. We were going to see Drake. I dismissed how much my boyfriend doesn’t like makeup and even more “red lipstick on dark women” (yes, y’all he said that) and powdered my face and touched up my full lips. I had it in my mind I was gonna see Drake.

We walked into Phillips Arena, me enjoying all the people watching there was to be had and my friend sauntering about while waiting on others in our gang to join us. It was a full night and I was very ready to enjoy every part of the night. Our seats were in a section I was certain was reserved for a certain type of person. *Note: I am NOT that type of person. Aside from the pole and the distance, Drake was RIGHTTHERE.

20160825_221822 (1)

I do. Boo, I forgive you.

This post isn’t about how near or far I was from Drake, nor it is about me switching personas for a night on the town, we all do that. Right? This is about my red lips.
IMG_20160816_111057You see, we did what girls/ladies/women do. We took selfies and snap chatted and giggled in drunken laughter as we waited for our Uber to arrive. We were very excited about our night out and our face and attire were NOT intended to impress anyone but ourselves. Yet, in the back of my mind I was focused on what ONE person felt about MY decision to wear makeup. We are all entitled to our preferences and we choose what we can and cannot tolerate, especially within the dynamics of a romantic relationship, but this one is proving to be a tough tit. I love that phrase, get used to seeing it.

My SO dose NOT like makeup in any sense of its usage. Not mascara, not eyeliner, definitely not lashes or red lipstick (especially on my dark skin). He wants no parts of it. In fact it is guaranteed that if I wear makeup – I will NOT be receiving compliments from him until it comes off. Yep. That serious.

His reasoning is that he likes the way raw skin looks, the texture of it. He likes lips with gloss and nothing more and that’s that. He would rather his women (me) go out looking sick to the world but beautiful to him. HOWEVER, I have a  personal affinity with this stuff. I don’t depend on it, though I feel it definitely compliments my features and my face overall. Without it, I’m not bad – blotchy skin marred by hyper pigmentation and large pores, eyebrows too light to be seen unless I have them tinted and eyes with bags so large they could compare to a LV Neverfull. With it, I see everything else, my full lips, bright, almond-shaped eyes, high cheekbones and that dimple on the side. That’s what I see.

IMG_0512

Drake night

As you can see, I am not a “heavy” user. In fact, if makeup were a drug, my usage would be the equivalent of my usage of Advil, pop a couple as needed.

Turns out this post is a rant. My apologies. I am genuinely annoyed that he (or anyone else) feels that way, and annoyed that he can’t seem to see my rational and look PAST that to see my features. I tolerate it because we are all entitled to our own opinions. No matter how wrong they are.  It’s especially annoying that the idea of “red lips on black women/dark women” is actually more common than not, and thank you Alicia Keys for confusing a bunch of non-wearers and wearers alike on the pros and cons of makeup. It’s not about makeup being bad for you folks. Some people feel that makeup users wear it as an attempt to appeal to the European standard of beauty. I don’t know anyone who feels or thinks that way. Rock what YOU want as long as it makes you feel great. Never do anything because someone else says it’s best or “you would look so much better if…” In fact, avoid those people. Do you. I am.

 

#MangoMoves

Details

I don’t have the funds to splurge on the style that I think is essentially “Funmi”, but I am thoughtful and choosy on the items that do make it to my closet. Remember the purge from just a few posts ago? I had the unfortunate luck of having my U.S. passport stolen and along with it, a gorgeous, black crocodile leather passport wallet. This thing was the epitome of Funmi. Excess but classic, compact, yet multifunctional. I’d discovered it somewhere online ages ago and got a bit of use out of it, but not enough to retire it. So when it was stolen, I was crushed. I scoured the web looking for Rebecca Minkoff passport wallet. Rebecca Minkoff Passport case. Report Minkoff Crocodile leather passport holder. You get the idea. I stumbled across an image, but that was the extent of my luck.

Enter r-ki-tekt. I love social media. If you know me, you know this. If you don’t, you do now. I stumbled across an Instagram profile with a clean, simple aesthetic that prompted me to follow their profile instantly. Scrolling through the posts I see cute jewelry and leather pieces that all speak craftsmanship and echo made with love. Then I see it…

Passport Cover

r-ki-tekt passport cover

Now mind you, I haven’t yet replaced my U.S. passport, but that Naija passport…well look at that cover! This replaces my dusty blue nylon case from ages ago for my Nigeria passport and it is absolutely gorgeous! I think I’m beginning to properly adult with yet another well chose piece of functional accessory. In addition to snuggly holding my passport, it can accommodate 4 cards easily, or you can slip a few bills in one slot and card in the other – regardless, this works!

 

Look out for more pics of my new fav passport holder on #FedorasAndFrames. Hopefully flights reduce and I’m heading home sooner than later. In the meantime, I highly recommend checking out where random pretty things are built on Etsy.

We’re landlocked. Kinda.

If you haven’t already picked up on the fact that I live in Atlanta – you know now. As much as I’ve grown to love the city, I still have my few gripes. I’m entitled to it. Atlanta feels “new” and sort of concentrated. Trust me, I love this town, but other cities have character features that lure me in and allow me to get lost. I have always been enamored by the old architecture of city parts of New England as well as the bridge and tunnel life of bustling NYC. But the part I love most about that region are the waterways. Now, don’t get me wrong, I will not be caught dead swimming in the Hudson or any other major waterway for that matter. But the look and feel of it are things you can’t neglect.

In the state of Georgia, waterways are spotty and not fresh. We’ve got quite a few lakes doting the northern half of the state while a rocky beach (I hear) sits at the butt of the state. None of these are necessarily appealing to me. HOWEVER – these very same spots take on an entirely different feeling when you’re with the right people.

I spent my ENTIRE weekend with my friends. I left the SO behind to adult while I galavanted all around town. Friday night was dinner and drinks with a couple back in town from Seattle (hey y’all!), Saturday was brunch and by that evening I was in an uber, then a club, then back in an uber all AFTER my bedtime and Sunday I was on a boat. I really like sleep.

IMG_20160822_180322

“West Africa” swimsuit by Deus LA

Despite some hiccups, I definitely enjoyed myself. The entire weekend was full of serious “girl time”. I enjoyed a  renewed appreciation of my true blue friends, the ones who were there for me when I thought I’d be homeless (another day for that story), the ones who showed up after my back surgery and the ones who help me feel protected after a home invasion. Phew! Nothing has turned out as planned and that’s ok because SUNDAY I spent my entire day drinking and dancing with some of those awesome people while l was on a boat. For a moment I didn’t feel trapped. I didn’t feel landlocked.

Define “excess”

I used to be THE accessory queen. Name a piece of jewelry, I had one in every tone – gold, silver, rose gold…etc (yea, there are more). Name a handbag style (not designer!), I had it – hobo, crossbody, clutch, purse, tote…I had several of each. Hair accessories were jam-packed in clear containers even though I kept my hair in one of two styles. Up or down? I was of the old school Yoruba belief that “you must have shoe and bag to match”. I’m not talking to match each other either. I’m talking, in addition to matching each other you must also coordinate a lace, or  gele. Or both.

It was too much.

It took me a long time to realize it was too much. I’m actually still struggling with minimizing other accessories that I’ve found difficult to part with, namely belts. I can’t explain that one. In the spirit of full disclosure, whenever my depression got to the point of isolation I’d resort to online shopping. Obsessively looking for deals on top of deals, and discounts I could pair with Ebates while searching for free shipping all the while thinking “which card would give me the most points or miles?” Each package at the door temporarily filled a void of loneliness and satisfied me just long enough to wait for the next package. It was excessive.

Now I am on the hunt of “where can I get the most for this bag or those pair of shoes?” That one has proven smarter, not as lucrative as I’d like (don’t buy cheap!) and far more tedious than I’d prefer. I’ve used my earnings to pay debts, stash away for #TheTeenager or just put groceries on the table. My “excessiveness” has found an outlet. To say that I am grateful I didn’t land in a deep debt whole is an understatement. I still have debt, but now I’m eyeing my belts as one more check in the mail. Minimalist Mango by 2017.

 

ARTiculate

Articulate ATL (stylized as ARTiculate) was a refreshing, yet familiar experience into Atlanta’s burgeoning art landscape. I’ve long noticed the rapid artistic growth just on the fringe of Atlanta’s party scene. It was kinda hard to miss it. From the graffiti lined walls in Edgewood to the mini and many galleries throughout Castleberry Hill, there has always been something to see or hear in Atlanta.

A friend of mine recently mentioned that his work would be on display and for sale at the Mason Fine Art gallery. Now, it would be absurd of me to say “no” to a date night that includes good music and visual eye stimulation (the art y’all, not the men), so we went.

IMG_20160723_213110

Once we figured out parking and hustled ourselves from the heat to the AC, we were warmly greeted and each given THREE drink tickets. My SO doesn’t drink and well, I’m two sip Funmi; so we definitely got our money’s worth by soaking in the walls lined in color and lines and forms. DJ Speakerfoxxx hit all the right notes with Major Lazer, Drake, and Prince (not in that order). The people were well spoken, well dressed and well coifed. There were collectors with serious stares and newbies looking for prints. Everyone I laid eyes on looked comfortable in whatever space they were holding. It was a night to be out in Atlanta.

I quickly fell in love with a piece from Sachi Rome that featured one of my all time favorite people, Nina Simone covered in lyrics hauntingly relevant for today. I want that painting y’all. The very same one you see below.

IMG_20160723_212923

Strange Fruit” by Sachi Rome

Along with Sachi were others that stood out to me. Atlanta staples like C. Flux Sing brought their smiles and their craft, sharing both willingly in an audience that they captured.

“Sally” by Jamaal Barber gave me goosebumps. I stared at it while recounting Sally’s real life story in my head and moved on with the painting captured in my phone and my mind.

IMG_20160723_194552

Sally

I found one of the many things to do in Atlanta and I wasn’t disappointed. I was able to see a few distant yet familiar faces and share a quick dance with my guy while in one of the coolest spaces in Atlanta. We finished our drinks, grabbed a print and said our goodbyes to what was a perfect night. This week it’s Netflix and chill.

byrd.

From time to time I’ll feature one of my talented super cool friends. It’s not for a dollar, it’s not for brownie points, it’s because I want to. If I ever feel so inclined to write about you, it’s a good thing. For as much as I enjoy writing, I have a terrible time sharing it. I have a food blog that gets no love and another blog I won’t even link to because I don’t touch it. Whatever the reason may be, writing about people I know feels good. I like to see people successful, I like to see hard work pay off. I have been in a position before when the support I showed didn’t necessarily translate to the words someone wanted to hear. I have since made it a note to call out anyone I know who is working towards their dream. Now…you can’t claim surprise if you show up here.

I work in the sexy marketing world of payments processing. Yea. Sexy. I have been fortunate enough to meet some super cool, super smart VERY fun(ny) people in my career since joining this field. One of those people is EuGene V Byrd III. I spell out his entire name because HE spells out his entire name. He is the creative genius behind Byrd Eye View a small Atlanta art agency that feels like a monster in the field. From graphic design, to screen printing and video production, EuGene creates beautiful artistry that I will not label urban because it is far more than that. Instead, I’ll call it what it is – relevant.

13641113_10208035983552033_20817483351335138_o

EuGene V. Byrd III

For his recent launch of new ready-to-wear tees and other apparel, you clearly see words and phrases like “Revolutionary” and “Battle Tested” emblazoned across the front. In his office you find character pieces like his fire engine red editor’s desk,  a coffee table that tells a winding story and a piece he created that features child soldiers and tugs at your heart.

13640743_10208035991912242_3057028513114204580_o

All photo credit Louis Perry Photography

Everything in his studio has his personal touch. It’s clear that EuGene thinks about what he produces. Without labeling him, I can tell you that in the short year that I’ve known him that he is a family man dedicated to his wife and daughter, to the success of his business and to remaining true to himself. I don’t know him well, but his work makes me feel like I’ve known him for ages and for that reason, I am proud of him.

Go check out his work at ByrdEyeView.com, local art shows and galleries. He will also be featured at One MusicFest along with other talented people. Remember – support local artists!

13872926_1483236305035361_4294256058505339079_n

Fedoras and Frames

I haven’t traveled as much as I would like. Real life doesn’t ever let up and honestly, I wouldn’t want it to. My trips now are shortened and sporadic. There are fewer destination weddings, fewer carnival trips, and even fewer couples trips.

I’ve decided that every stamp in my passport or every extended ride in a rental, or flight now deserves my gratitude with some writing. I make myself comfortable in Atlanta, and in doing so, I’m out whenever I can be. Those are #MangoMoves. They are plenty and non-ceremonial, yet worthy of mention. When I’m away from home overnight, Fedoras and Frames (#FedorasAndFrames) are my standard.

My hair has warranted a new affinity for big hats and my overall bright outlook on life means I NEED sunglasses. That plus I’ve learned that eye protection is kind of a requirement at my age. Yay. Maturity.

All of my travel posts will be marked with #FedorasAndFrames here on my blog, on my curated IG and on Twitter. Follow for photos and favs. In the meantime, check out some of my travel essentials below.

In my carry-on I have enough for two days. Yep. Two days.

 

IMG_20160621_133251

Literally the essentials. Macbook and iPad Air Cases: EmbriShops, Sandals: Soludos

During the summer I pack Kiehl’s Super Fluid Sunscreen. It’s super light and super powerful, with SPF 50+ there’s no doubt you’re protected. I swear by it, so yes, you my most melinated (is that a word??) of friends, you too need this. I always have a hand cream and a piece of jewelry that can dress up a casual outfit in no time. Pick whatever lotion you’re partial too and roll with it. It does NOT have to be super pricy, you see my Aēsop tube here, but I absolutely love Nivea and Aveeno as well. They both have cute tiny packaging and hold up for a full day without having to reapply.

IMG_3865

Clutch.

I am of the opinion that you should absolutely look like a star especially when you are out of your timezone. I keep a tube of a “set it off” red lipstick and plenty of lip glossses (I think I’m obsessed) on hand. Whatever your favorite shade is, bring it. If it makes you look extra hot in photos, DEFINITELY bring it. I have a Sephora rouge and this tube of YSL that satisfy every photogenic pout, and the rosy pink Rodin gloss is perfect for a simple daytime look that says “I didn’t even have to try for this”. Y’all. Trust me.

IMG_20160621_133915

Headphones by Diskin, Bag BCBG (old)

Standby, I’ll be sharing my fav travel bags and other travel loves of mine sooner than later. Thanks for riding it out with me.

 

Intentions

I have the best intentions when it comes to writing. It’s seconded only to my cooking. When I feel lost, stressed, or in need of a relief only being alone can satisfy; I turn to writing. Or reading. Or cooking.

Pay attention – I think the writing is really about to get consistent. Don’t get too excited though.

Mangoisms

It’s easy to find me online. It’s not easy because I am on every social media site out there, it’s easy because even with as many personalities I feel I have, I am NaijaMango primarily. My disorder and order are both in NaijaMango. I am curated. I am free-spirited. I am consistently NaijaMango. I think out loud with that moniker. I share personal feelings and hide secrets in public with that name. It’s me, Funmi, but NaijaMango.

In my earlier days of online personalities, I was known as NaijaQueen on UnitedTrends.com, and as Funmi on NaijaRyders. The dichotomy of Funmilola existed online in personas that were often times “too much” or most times, just plain insecure. I grew up with those names and created real life friendships that I would not trade for the world. I forged a family with my online names, I created relationships, created rifts, I survived pain and depression with NaijaQueen/Funmi. I still owe a few people apologies for the words those two versions of me felt so easy to spew. Being online and angry were terrible ideas. Being online and thinking reality would never come was just plain ridiculous.

Then I grew up. Kind of. I think I found out who I was and who I wanted to be, and in that very same train of thought, realized that those two people are NOT the same. Those two people were not ready to meet, but they kept passing each other. NaijaMango is growth. NaijaMango is probably my first real step towards owning my character flaws and embracing my strengths. I birthed NaijaMango on Twitter and instantly fell in love with her. She is me. She is Funmi. I allowed people in easier, I still kept and keep secrets, but NaijaMango is far more tolerable, fun even.

I am still watching and waiting and creating me. This one whole person that includes a mother, a daughter, a sister, a friend…and so many other dope ass elements of me. I am searching and digging and discovering gems every so often. It feels good. So damn good really.

Like I said, I am easy to find. NaijaMango.

Let the writing commence!

It’s winter and I can’t tell, there’s a new energy that’s got me hyped about the most simple of things. There are new babies, engagements and birthdays happening on what seems like every weekend. Just so I’m clear, all that positive NEW energy feels GREAT!

I have the good fortune of having a slew of believers (friends) who constantly encourage me, challenge me, keep me grounded and remind me to focus. These are things that I can absolutely do on my own, but when you have a TEAM then why not lean in? Why not? Seriously. The next few months I will post my recipes as quickly as I cook them up, but I will get back to the REAL reason I started this blog. This was to serve as my therapeutic outlet, my “voice” of reason and my instigator of all things good. You will see more posts about music, fashion, travel and my personal struggles. Essentially more about me. I have every intention of overcoming my fears of “sharing” just a little too much (I mean isn’t that what Facebook is for?) and growing my blog to the levels I have in leather bound, personal journals. Prepare my dear readers, this blog is now the equivalent of my favorite Moleskine journal, full of random musings, doodles in word formation and pieces of my dreams in blurred pictures.

My Tumblr, which I have kept private for so many years is now open (170+ pages) for you to consume and digest. Remember as you read, I am human. I am flawed. I love. I hurt. I’ve lost jobs and discovered my career. I am sick and I am healthy. My emotions are just as deep as the ocean and I am not free from error. Remember that as you delve into my online journey.

Forgive the boldness as I run rampant on my own blog. Forgive me and enjoy.

If you want to dive deeper follow my Instagram or my Twitter (I’m funny, I promise!)

Breakfast Muffins!

Because I can’t think of a better name and I figure, “Why not keep things simple for once?”

These breakfast muffins are a fall/winter staple in my home. Why? Because when #TheTeenager is rushing off in the morning I can ensure he has something to eat without taking more than 30 seconds of his time. I make these alongside our Sunday dinner so they are nice and cooled by the time dinner has been completed. Depending on what size muffins I make, I divide them into individual portions (4-5 minis or 1 full sized) per Ziploc bag.

These are perfect for anyone in the hurry, small kids and anyone who is prone to ruining their blouse with a “real breakfast” before they make into the office (ahem, moi).

I tend to keep my ingredient lists short, but let’s face it…heartier foods need some serious pantry usage.

For these muffins, you have two options with your potatoes. Whenever I post a recipe, I’ll post it the easy, less tedious way. Enjoy #MangoEats!

  • 15 oz. shredded hash brown potatoes (half of one of those Simply Potatoes hashbrown bags) or 5 shredded russet potatoes.
  • 6 strips crisp-cooked bacon, diced (turkey bacon works great too! Just crisp it in the oven and drain)
  • 2 tbs finely diced red bell pepper
  • 2 tbs finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Decide what size muffins you’d prefer and evenly spray your muffin pans. For “full-sized” muffins, fill no more than 3/4. These things are RICH, you don’t want them too big, you won’t enjoy them. Trust me. For minis, I was able to make 36 but I filled those to the very brim.
  3. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet and saute the bell peppers and onions until tender.
  4. Place thawed shredded potatoes in a large bowl, add bacon, cheese, sauteed peppers and onions, beaten eggs, salt and pepper and mix well.
  5. Scoop portions into muffin tin, make sure you press each one firmly with the back of a spoon.
  6. Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes, or until tops are golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool on rack 10 minutes. If you sprayed your tins well, each breakfast muffin will pop right out. Otherwise, use a knife along the edges to loosen.

Cooled full-sized muffins are also easy for my brothers to snatch and run on the RARE occasion that they drop by.

See what I was talking about…poor picture quality. Meh, they were good though!

Quiche please!

I’ve pared-down my recipe posting primarily because my photo quality is nil. Restricted to my phone (Samsung S4) would be just fine as long as my home is always bright and the day is always sunny. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Until I am gifted a lightbox you’ll have to take the recipes posted on a case by case basis.

‘Tis the season for baked goods, pastries, casseroles and QUICHE! My first pass at a bacon quiche was me, once again, not following the recipe step by step. As usual (knock on wood), it came out great! I’ve since made more, substituting green onion for spinach, Monterey jack for mozzarella and so on. Below you’ll find the recipe I made for friends on a day we were celebrating, life, love and good health…enjoy MangoEats!

This particular recipe was a first go at quiche so I limited my ingredients dramatically. Bacon, green onion, eggs, heavy cream and cheese (my fav seasonings of course) but that’s it!

For those who need a recipe with precise measurements (I mean really?!!?!?)

  • 1 Refrigerated Pie Crust (I made mine from scratch, won’t do that again until I perfect it), follow instructions on packaging.
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 lb. (yeah, you read right) your fav bacon, cooked, drained and crumbled.
  • 8-10 stalks of green onion (green parts only), diced
  1. Preheat oven to 375
  2. Mix eggs, heavy cream, salt and pepper in a blender.  (Not your seasoning may sink to the bottom, this is ok, I used a heavy hand on my spices to ensure the mixture was well seasoned.)
  3. In your ready pie crust, layer your green onion, mozzarella cheese and bacon evenly. I baked my quiche in a 9 in. pie dish.
  4. Pour egg mixture over dry ingredients.
  5. Bake for  35-45 minutes or until set.

After my first go and as seen above, I learned to place aluminum foil around the edges as I would the edges of a pie. This would prevent burning and drying out but still remaining crisp and flakey.

Let your quiche cool on the counter for about 10-15 minutes. When you’re ready, cut into it like a pie and serve.

#MangoEats!

It’s July.

It’s July and I haven’t posted a recipe since April. You know what that means right? No. It does not mean I’ve been banging around in the kitchen coming up with new fresh ideas to share. It does not mean I’m going to flood my two followers with recipes and photos. Not posting since April means I’ve been busy being supermom, working and just keeping my head above water.

But do not fret! I do have a “few” recipes I can and will share with you in the coming weeks. For starters, that damn corn. That’s what I’m going to call it too. “That Damn Corn”. If you follow me on ANY of my social media profiles, namely “MangoEats” on Instagram; you’re probably tired of the corn pics. Gorgeous corn on the cob, dressed beautifully for a slam dunk for any barbecue.

Guess what’s below. Yep…

That Damn Corn 

What you’re really making is the garlic butter that SOLIDFIES you being invited to BBQs all summer.



Ingredients

  • 8-10 ears corn* 
  • 4 fresh limes, quartered
  • 1/2 cup cotija cheese** 
  • 2 sticks unsalted, room temperature butter 
  • 8-10 cloves of peeled garlic
  • 1/4 scotch bonnet pepper
  • 1/4 bunch fresh chives (about the width of your thumb’s worth)
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
Method and Tools

  1. If you bought your corn with the husks on and want to grill it, that’s fine. This recipe works for both! For husks on: peel husks back while leaving attached to corn to completely remove silks then rinse. Once all of your corn is cleaned; soak in water for 10 minutes before placing on a grill (husks up). Alternative (my preferred, easy method), remove husks and silks then place in boiling water for 5-10 minutes until done.** 
  2. You will need your food processer to make the garlic butter. Combine your butter, garlic, scotch bonnet, 2/3 of your chives, salt and pepper in the processor. 
  3. Pulse until your mixture is well combined, creamy and spreadable. Set it aside until you’re ready to use it.
  4. Place cooked and still hot corn on serving plate and brush on butter, follow with shredding cotija cheese (to your liking) and the remaining diced chives as garnish directly over corn.***
That’s it. Yep. That is ALL. Super easy and soooooo good, perfect with the right glass of booze infused lemonade! 
Enjoy!


Notes
*I cut my corn in halves before boiling, BBQ food usually means plenty of options, no need to overdose on corn.

**I found it at Whole Foods, later at the Farmer’s Market. Guess which was cheaper? Yep…Whole Foods. Stick to buying things on the outer rim of the store for better pricing. Anything in a box is gonna cost you. 

***You will have leftover garlic butter. I use a melon scoop to portion out mini tbsp on wax paper then freeze. Once they have harden I place them in a freezer ziploc bag for easy usage later. This butter goes great on most green vegetables and even in rice. Makes your weeknight meals easy to spice up!





Chipotle Lime Shrimp – #MangoEats

Ok, let’s talk compromise.  I love my son dearly and as I’m preparing him with life skills he has yet to master the art of meal planning. I know, I know. “He’s a boy, he doesn’t need to plan a meal!” yadda yadda yadda, but he’s MY boy, we plan in my household.  He’s ideal meals include rice and ketchup or noodles and nothing else. I say all that to explain the recipes from our meal last night.

You see, I was determined to make my Chipotle Lime Shrimp and I had grand ideas to pair it with a risotto dish or maybe even couscous but the teenager was hell bent on having broccoli and rice with chicken. I looked at him, he glared at me, we both won.

Now as I have no intentions on making this another “Food Blog” to clutter the internet I can’t help but notice that the #MangoEats posts are the most loved. I’ll keep it up throwing in my bits of randomness throughout. I do hope you guys try out some of these recipes as they are super duper simple and SO delicious! Share and comment so that I know the posting is not in vain 🙂

Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1½ lb (about 40) medium shrimp
  • 2 Limes
  • 1  medium length jalapeno chile (stem, ribs, and seeds removed)
  • coarse salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil*
 
 
Method
  1. Wash your lime, chile, and your shimp. Peel and devein the shrimp leaving the tail on for easier handling and better presentation (be sure to wash your hands between veggies and seafood and after everything).
  2. Mince garlic cloves and jalapeno chile. Toss with dry shrimp, lime juice from both limes, 1½ tb. extra-virgin olive oil, adding salt and pepper to your desire. Marinate in refrigerator for 30-45 minutes.
    Shrimp Marinade
  3. Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet (non-stick) over medium-high heat. Remove shrimp from marinade (bring along some of the minced garlic and pepper) and add to skillet. Cook through, about 3 minutes per side.
  4. Plate and serve. Yes! Shortest recipe ever, ideal for the Atlanta Spring and Summer, and perfect with your fav beer/ale.

    Close up definition of shrimp in marinade

     

    #MangoEats

     

     

No beer during lent, but a shandy will do just fine.
 
*The taste of extra-virgin olive oil is HEAVY when fried, so I tend to switch it up a bit. For this recipe I fried the shrimp in plain ole olive oil, it helps hold the taste of the pepper and garlic. 
**The best way to get the juice of your limes is the same method I use for my lemons. I roll them on my countertop to soften them up and make the juice come forth. When I slice into the them they are ready for use!
***Medium length for long peppers to me is about 4 inches. 

Dinner With Parents #MangoEats

As any self-respecting, young, Naija lady knows; cooking for your parents is more than just a sign of respect, it’s a way of honoring them. My parents are especially fond of this gesture from me, and I’m not talking “home” food either. They like to consider themselves “adventurous” and willing to try new things. I assure you, they are not. I don’t cook for them as often as I probably should, my own busy life getting in the way of things most times, but when I do, I have to be careful of what I prepare to avoid questions asked in a particularly disturbed tone “Ki le le?” (what is this). Or comments said in especially Yoruba condescending manner such as “o da bi ijekuje” (it looks like junk food). How lovely it is to have parents over for dinner. 

My father is of what I like to call “an advanced age” to make fun of him and my mother, well, her favorite line is “Anything you prepare, I’ll eat.” This is of course a lie. My parents do not eat pork, certain fresh vegetables, anything with alcohol, nor do they partake in exotic meats such as lamb or veal. Yes, I said exotic. I tend to prepare fish or chicken dishes for them, I did make a pot roast they loved once, perhaps I should share that recipe too. 

They were recently over for dinner and I prepared chicken. Chicken in the most fantastic, yet simple and easily recognizable way possible. I culled and revamped the recipe from a single ladies site similar to the ones I talk trash about. Below you’ll find my recipe for Lemon Herb Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Broccolini. I need to mention that when I cook for my parents I can’t NOT cook for my baby brother, this recipe feeds 6, also I cannot emphasize my adoration of cast iron skillets. My sister gifted me one many years ago and admittedly I had the slightest clue what to do with it. A few YouTube videos and some cooking shows later, my skillet is well seasoned and ready for any hearty or sweet dish!

This meal was consumed in its entirety by both parents, a lot of it was my father taking the broc from my mother’s plate. They do that sometimes. And they feed each other. Yea. I know.


#MangoEats!

Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs (you can also do chicken breasts if you prefer white meat, just adjust the cooking time)
  • 1½ lb fingerling and/or baby potatoes (halved or third, no less)
  • 1 bunch broccolini
  • 3 lemons
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 3 sprigs of thyme
  • 1½ tablespoon dijon mustard
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • red pepper flakes
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • olive oil
 
 
Method
  1. Wash your lemon, broccolini, and your potatoes if you’re leaving the skin on. Put them aside to dry, wash and prep your chicken (be sure to wash your hands between veggies and meats and after everything).
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Mince two cloves of garlic with the herbs and a pinch of red pepper flakes until you’ve almost got a paste. Put the mixture in a large bowl. Add dijon mustard, juice of one lemon (don’t discard lemon), a tablespoon of olive oil, and as much salt and pepper as you would usually use to season four chicken thighs. Add the chicken and coat well. Set aside.
  3. Put potatoes in a pot and fill the pot with (salted) water so it covers the potatoes. Cover and boil the potatoes for around 10 minutes until fork tender. Drain and set aside.
  4. While the potatoes are cooking, heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until the oil is glistening. Add chicken to the pan, skin-side down, and cook for about five minutes, until the skin is golden brown. Turn off the heat, remove chicken thighs from the pan with tongs and set aside on a plate to drain.                                                            
  5. Add cooked potatoes to pan and toss with a little extra olive oil, pan juices, salt and pepper to season, and another squeeze of lemon juice. Nestle chicken pieces in with the potatoes, skin side up this time, add the squeezed lemon halves, and put the entire pan in the oven for another 25-30 minutes.
  6. Trim the end off the broccolini and mince the remaining clove of garlic. When there’s about 10 minutes left of cooking time for the chicken, take the pan out of the over, flip the potatoes, and then add the broccolini on top of them. Drizzle a tiny bit of olive oil over the florets and season with salt and pepper. Put back in the oven to finish cooking.
  7. When the cooking time is up, remove the pan from the oven, give everything another squeeze of lemon and let the chicken rest for five minutes before serving.
Voila! Here’s your final dish! Please excuse my dirty stove, you see…I use my kitchen, every part of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

NOTES
*Your broccolini will wither down and shrink, be aware of this if you want to add more to the beginning to balance our your veggies, otherwise you’ll have far more potatoes than broccolini. I would suggest 2 full bunches. 
 
**This meal actually kept very well so you can add more for a fancy take to work lunch the next day, just adjust the ingredients as needed.
 

***FRESHNESS. Try to keep your herbs fresh! The parentals actually noticed and enjoyed the rosemary because of this. 

We used to call them "Dates"

Then he made it very clear to me as only a 8 year old can, “I am not going on a date with my mom.” “Ok,” I calmly replied, “what do you want to call these monthly outings that we go on?”

“Aren’t they just outings?” he said.

He was right, I’d grown accustomed to going out once a month with my young man from the age of 5, looking forward to my guaranteed date with a guy who’s company I knew I’d enjoy and a guy who I knew would be well dressed for the occasion.

Being this amazing, single, mom that I am means taking on tasks with a different perspective. It means being creative in the lessons so that he doesn’t feel like whenever I speak he’s getting a lecture or some other sort of boring instruction. I’ve put up dry erase calendars in his room when his schedule was really crazy to help teach him some order. It did nothing for his procrastination skills. I break down his chores into an hourly job which determines just how much allowance he has earned to help his math skills…dude is good. Whatever I can do to teach him these “life lessons” in the most non-traditional manner possible, I do.

Our dates started the summer after he turned 5. I remember making a big deal out of it because I needed him to know that a “date” is indeed important. You take time out to plan where you’re going, how you’ll be dressed, how much money you should carry etc. Going out with another person is spending time with that person and time and people are both valuable. I wanted to be sure that when this young man grows up and decides to spend his time and money on someone, that he’s doing it right. No exceptions. Whether he’s out with a girl, his grandparents or friends, there are rules to be understood.

Each date would be a lesson. It’s better this way, Rome was not built in a day and well I have a son who likes to hear things 2-3 times before actually soaking it in. Our first date was simple. Probably too simple, but I needed him to get the point without being distracted. He was a 5 year old obsessed with fancy cars and drawing with crayons, and I had to find a way to use those things to my advantage. I wasn’t driving a fancy car, but to him it was a gem. His lesson on this day would be opening doors for ladies. A manners lesson. Because of his attention span this date was short. We’d already been to Church earlier that morning and the one constant that has remained to this day started at this time. The repetitive standing and kneeling in my small Catholic church was driving him mad. As we left he was whining ready to go home, I chided him “Remember our date tonight.” and his immediate response of “new car” let me know he was still on board.

I was taking my son to SuperTarget to purchase a new toy car. He was over the moon. Mind you all day long, every encounter with a door I’d been reminding him to open it for me or any other ladies that were within a certain distance. He lingered on the first door far too long and slowly but surely came around to knowing when to “let go”.  As we headed to my car in the gravel parking lot of the church he ran ahead of me as most children do. He ran ahead of me to open my door.

By the time we got home and changed to ‘casual clothes’ for our SuperTarget run he was no longer irritated and eager to head back out again. He waited for me by the front door in his t-shirt and jeans. I passed him, and he slammed the door behind us. I remember that door slam. I was certain if there was anything hanging on the wall it’d be on the floor when we got back home. Again, a mad dash to the car as I unlocked it remotely. He’s got it.

“Why do you open the door for mommy?” I probed him as I glanced in my rearview mirror.
“Because you said I have to do it for all the girls.” That’s not exactly right but meh, I’ll take it.

At SuperTarget he pulls out a cart and pushes it towards me, he’s never liked pushing the cart; he’d rather wander off on his own to whatever catches his eye. I follow behind him in slow pursuit watching my small guy walk off like a big man turning every so often to make sure I’m right behind him because I “gotta pay for the new car”. He’s quickly made his selection and gives me that “ok, we can go now” look that all children give their parents once their own personal whims are satisfied. I shot back with the “dump the car in the cart and let’s finish our shopping” glare that all moms secretly master in the toddler years.

He did it. He made it through his first date. He opened each and every door for me. He remembered why and when he should do it, and he kept it up and still does to this day.

Of course as he’s aged, our dates, ahem “outings” have gotten more complex. Once he reached grade school we were going to restaurants so he’d learn how to read and order from a menu and speak to wait staff. By middle school we had compound dates of dinner and a movie where he’d learn to plan the times to coordinate and know how to tip based on our meal (we used a lot of Groupons then). Presently in high school, the dates, sorry OUTINGS, are all up to him. The place, the date, the time. Everything. It hasn’t been smooth sailing the entire way. It was late in grade school when I realized my son is cheap. He’d “forget” his wallet for several months at a time, leaving me to pay. Mind you, I always reimburse him for the dates, he’d just rather not spend HIS money up front. I fixed that in 7th grade, leaving him seated in a restaurant scared that his mother would just pay for herself and leave. I had buckled myself in and turned the engine before I decided to text him to “come on, I paid for you too”. That sigh of relief was for an extra lesson that day.

We have another date coming up soon. I intend to keep full, detailed notes on everything to report back to you guys. It’s been a long time, but I like the progress in this one. I think I’ll keep him a little while longer, looking forward to our next outing. I do like the fact that we used to call them “dates” though.

 

#MangoEats 5 Cheese Mac

There are plenty of recipes online for the crowd favorite Mac and Cheese. Determining which of these recipes is perfect takes a lot of work because just looking at the ingredients list or the steps to prepare it don’t give you any real clue as to what it’ll actually taste like. MY 5 Cheese Mac is a recipe I’ve carved out over the years. It is a culmination of boxed mac and cheese from my childhood, the ‘macaroni pie’ I’ve had in the homes of my West Indian friends, and the “mac and cheese” I savored in the homes of my Southern Fried friends. I’ve always wanted my recipe to have a distinct look and taste. I wanted it ooey, gooey, cheesy, and most importantly I want EVERYONE who has it to like it enough for seconds. I didn’t take as many pictures of this batch for many reasons. The number one reason is that I was in a hurry when I made this. I had a friend in town and only had time to grab a bite to eat before heading directly to the airport and I wasn’t feeling my best with a fever.  Here’s the rundown along with the few pics I managed. Do try the recipe and leave me your feedback and tell me what you added, changed, or took out altogether. I am a FIRM believer that it’s not your recipe without YOUR touch.


Before you go through the ingredient list don’t burn your wallet trying to get “fancy” cheese. If you’re in Atlanta just go to Your Dekalb Famers Market and get what you need. They have cheeses available in several sized containers at far better prices than your Whole Foods, Trader Joes, or Publix. Trust me on that one. Also for the nutmeg, I buy whole nutmeg as it stores much longer and grate it with a handheld cheese grater. I love the smell and knowing that it’s super fresh with all my other fresh ingredients.


Ingredients
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 4½ cups whole milk
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp dry mustard
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ½ cup seasoned breadcrumbs (make your own!)
  • 1 lb dried pasta (I prefer twisted shapes, I used Gigli)
  • kosher salt (for the pasta water)
5 Cheeses
  • 1 cup grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese
  • ½ cup pecorino-romano cheese
  • 1 cup shredded gruyere cheese
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups shredded fontina cheese, plus 16 cubed pieces


Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Grease your  9×13 baking dish and set to the side.
  3. Boil your pasta in water seasoned with plenty of salt (about a tablespoon) for about 4 to 5 minutes. You want it undercooked because it will continue cooking in the oven when you bake it. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the macaroni and quickly rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process. Let it sit and drain while you make the cheese sauce. You may not need the reserved pasta water, but it’s good to have just in case your cheese mixture gets a little too thick and gloopy.
  4. In one heavy bottom pot or large sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. When it starts to foam and bubble, add the flour and immediately whisk so that it forms a paste. Allow this to cook for about 1 minute to get the “raw” flour taste out, whisking frequently.
  5. SLOWLY add 2 cups of the milk while whisking constantly to remove any large lumps. Continue to whisk until smooth and thick, about 20 seconds. Add the remaining 2½ cups of milk and continue to whisk until smooth. Increase the heat to medium-high to allow the mixture to simmer and thicken, about 5 minutes. Season the mixture while it thickens and taste as you go.
  6. Once your mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, add in the parmigiano-reggiano, pecorino and gruyere cheese and remove from the heat. Taste it again, season if you need to.
  7. Toss the cheese sauce with the pasta. Don’t panic if there’s more sauce than pasta, you’re going to spoon it into the baking dish, so you’ll be able to control the cheese sauce/pasta ratio. As you’re layering, it’ll start to thicken up even more. On the flipside, if your mixture is too thick, add a bit of the reserved pasta water to the sauce coated pasta to thin it out. Make sure you’re careful here, adding too much will make it too watery and less likely for it to stick to your pasta.
  8. Ladle a layer of the coated pasta into your prepared baking dish, then sprinkle a layer of the remaining cheeses and repeat until all of the pasta and cheese is used up — lasagna style.
  9. Run a spoon thru the entire mixture just to lightly mix in the cheese throughout the entire dish. Smooth the mixture with the back of a spoon just until its relatively even on top, and sprinkle a thin layer of seasoned bread crumbs on top.. The breadcrumb crust also acts as a barrier to keep the cheese from drying out by helping to keep it moist. This was the most common denominator in the Macaroni Pies and Mac and Cheeses of my 20’s.
  10. Bake on the center rack of your oven for about 20 to 35 minutes or until the center is bubbly and the entire dish is golden brown.
  11. Let it cool for about 10-15 minutes before you dive into it.

NOTES

*You do not have to use ALL of your cheese. Too much cheese will make it oily and gross, you don’t want that.  I tend to end up with a bit (half a cup) left over, and if I made my breadcrumbs myself I blend the excess cheese into the crumbs so that when it comes out of the over there’s that crusty cheese the teenager is so fond of.
**You can use whichever pasta you prefer, I tend to stick with twisted shapes like gigli and gemelli so that my rue seeps in to be savored later. Any tubed shaped pasta would be great as well, I would avoid large width and length pasta not just for presentation but for holding the cheese sauce therefore impacting the taste.



Enjoy~

And it didn’t even snow that day…

Let’s talk about Mondays for a second. I typically have no particular anger or disapproval of Mondays as a whole, even when I’m not working in my preferred job. I treat Mondays like I do any other Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday (Friday will forever be the exception).  I always see the “Ugh, Monday” posts on social media, by and far the majority of the hate happens on Facebook and Instagram. Hell, I’ve even join in the melee for the heck of it. My perspective is not determined by the day of the week. Usually.

This Monday was different. Its story actually starts on Sunday. I spent my weekend at home with my fav teenager (I promise there’s no sarcasm in that) doing what we normally do on the weekends, annoy each other. He was fighting me in his ever so calm, ever so emo toned voice about getting a haircut; he never thinks he needs them especially when he needs them. We’d negotiated to postpone the haircut until the following weekend when he’d be in a semi-hostage situation with his grandparents (my parents) and his dad. Instead of haircuts and other lovely errands I had my monthly outing with him “taking me” to brunch at a lovely local spot called “Home Grown”.  I’ll delve into the purpose of our monthly dates in another post. (I promise. Scout’s honor. #ImNotAScoutThough) Aside from the garden variety Atliens, you know the sort; the after the club girls in their Loubs, ruffled weaves and loosely attached lashes the crowd seemed average. The men half aware of where they are yet clearly aware their “last night” was not intended to spill over into “this morning”. I followed the teenager’s eyes as he soaked it all in and let out an occasional sigh as if he were saying “what’s wrong with people”, I also followed his eyes to ensure I didn’t see anyone I knew. You know, on the off chance that may happen.

We had a decent brunch, wrapped up my leftovers and started back towards my car, Frank. I wasn’t eager to start the car because earlier in the week prior I’d began to notice a noise that was all too familiar to me, the professional used car owner. I was certain my cv joint was on the way out. We piled into my sweet ass ride, and I turned the key. Sputter. Ok, let’s try this again. SQUEALLLLLLLLL!!! I promise it sounded like a pig being bled (don’t google it). I felt my entire body sink into my well, worn leather seat. I didn’t glance at the teenager because as emo as he is he can be just as “It’s ok mom” cheerful that it’s depressing. I gave it another go, and it started, squeal and all. I went through the motions of driving the 5 miles home but in utter disbelief that it was my car making all that noise.

We finally make it home, the both of us with a newfound appreciation for hearing, and as we’re passing through the gates of our neighborhood, we both notice the sound has completely disappeared. As I parked, neither of us questioned the sudden ceasing of the screeching, we quietly emptied Frank and hurried into the house.

I’d reluctantly agreed to dinner with a friend, what I’ll call a “pseudo date” (dude doesn’t stand a chance), and instead of thinking about his required “dress up” attire, my mind was flooded with my squealing Frank.

A few hours later I’m QUIETLY driving to Castleberry Hill to meet up with my friend. He’s prepared a nice meal, and we’re enjoying conversation and wine afterwards when I blurt out “My car is broken!” He calms me down the best way he knows how which for this obsessive compulsive cleaner means he clears the tables and we say our goodbyes. My feet ache as I dive into my car ready to head home and shower, it is Sunday night and the work week begins in a matter of hours.

I turn the key ready for the squeal, and on cue my car lets out the oh so annoying noise. I’m paralled parked along the side of the road and trying to exit my perfect spot but the steering wheel has no give. None. It feels like one of the first cars I owned – one without power steering. I want to give in and cry, instead I pick up my phone and dial.

“Hello?”
“I’m stuck!” I say with every hint of frustration intended.
“Hold on there what do you mean you’re ‘stuck’?” he replies calmly.
“I mean I can’t get out, the steering wheel won’t move and it’s really hard to turn and I’m stuck!”

I want to shed real tears but they won’t come. I won’t allow them.

I hurry off the phone, “It’s ok, lemme try again and I’ll call you back.”

“Ok cupcake.”

Ugh.

I muster up my last bit of upper body strength and begin turning the wheel, the squeal isn’t as loud and I’m in a neighborhood where they probably wouldn’t have noticed. There’s a kick and I’m off. I don’t know what happened, but it happened. I loudly hurry home, only to meet my community’s gate with silence. Yep, the squeal has suddenly stopped somewhere along the 10 mile commute. I back into my usual spot and rush inside.

In my head I know “This belt isn’t expensive, go fix it first thing in the morning.” I shoot an email to my boss, there’s practically no need as she doesn’t respond to any communications that aren’t client related. I let her know I’ll be in late and I’m not feeling well. It is true that I’m not feeling well…my auto issues have created an anxiety that can only be soothed by shelling out a couple of hundred dollars to my local German speciality mechanic.

Monday.

Early the next morning I see the teenager off and I wait a bit to allow traffic to die down before picking up my trip, “Afterall the mechanic isn’t more than 8 miles away, it’s just a belt it shouldn’t take more than an hour to replace, I should be at work by noon at the latest.” I’ve reasoned all this in my head.

I pull into Karma and I speak with the usual suspects as they go back to assess just what the problem is (because you know this short, young, lady CAN’T know what’s wrong) I turn and settle down on the worn but clean sofa. My phone battery is at 38% but I’m not worried because this won’t take more than an hour, remember? Instead I pull out my tablet and begin feeding Candy Crush addiction only to be disturbed with, “Can you come here let me show you something?” Crap. I know from the beckoning finger that it’s not just the belt. My relatively clean mechanic leads me past a couple of other sweet ass rides to my car. He points inside with his lit flashlight, ‘you see those pieces down there?’

Pieces. Perfect. The pieces he’s referring to are the pully system that the damaged belt revolve around, I’d have to replace that (not cheap) in order for the belt (cheap) to actually be fixed. We return to the front office together, they have determined they don’t have the part and it won’t be in until later that afternoon. After more conversation I make the decision to go home and wait for them to call and have a friend take me to pick it up.

Now let’s diverge for a second and talk about this lovely city of Atlanta. A city often billed as the “New York of the South”. Aside from the brown people I don’t get the equation. Atlanta as a city is basically closed after midnight or 1 at the latest during the week. Our public transit system looks like a primary schooler’s attempt at the letter “t”. Everything is so spread out, even well within city limits, investing in a bike and living ITP make sense because you certainly will NOT be able to walk everywhere.

Ok, with that bit of knowledge I begin my trek to the Marta station. It’s within walking distance of the mechanic’s shop and since I’m not far from home, surely there’s a bus that can drop me off near home. I check my phone, there’s no REAL Marta app with maps and schedules. Disappointed but not suprised, I wander the train station looking for maps or a schedule or a Marta employee. I find maps…none of the buses leaving that station are going my way, taking the train means I would have to travel west into the heart of the city, transfer then head north. My 12 minute drive is nearly an hour by train and bus. Way to go Atlanta. I ring my best friend and ask her to pick me up, but the sketchy characters following me around the station and the lack of police security have me hesistant to stick around.

I hop on the train and head to her office. My back is beginning to hurt and I remember that not only have I not eaten, but I certainly did not take my meds this morning. I text and ring her, nothing. I use my working knowledge to lay low and let my BRF (Bitchie resting face, google it) take over for the rest of my ride on Marta.

I won’t even begin to go into the assortment of random people lingering, walking and shuttling their way through the stations. One was so far into my personal space on a very open train that I decided the next stop was mine. I meandered around while my phone charged at the AT&T store in the square. One pit stop at my bike shop and another at the newly renovated and renamed “T Mac” put me at ease. Wonderous things alcohol and food. Wonderous I tell ya. I retrive my phone and continue my trek, two hours have passed and no call from the mechanic. I feel a sinking feeling in my stomach, my car may not be ready until tomorrow.

On the train I maintain my BRF and low profile all the while gazing at strangers in their colorful bits and pieces, having their loud conversations about who just got out of jail and when they can “hook up” with so and so. Marta is the poor people’s best option to people watching if you don’t have a ticket to get you into the terminals at the Atlanta Airport. Before I know it I’m transferring trains, walking briskly to avoid the crazies the 5 Points station is notorious for.

I walk into Marie’s office relieved, tired and with a full bladder. This is my first time in her office and I look like a bum. I make a mental thank you to myself for putting on a bra and deodorant before going to the mechanic. She’s excited to see me, or at least that’s what it feels like and I’m glad for it. She feeds me a sugar laden doughnut and I relax.

I begin to unload on her as she wraps up her day and I get the call. “Your car will be ready tomorrow.”
“Great, because I’m not coming back today. See you tomorrow!” I quickly reply.

My phone shuts down and that’s that. It’s nearly 6pm and I’d been out on the road and on my feet and on the train since 9 am. Herniated disk and fever in tow. Yep, that’s how you do a “Monday”.