About a month ago, I met up with my friend, Laura, for a vacation in New Orleans. I’d been meaning to go for years and finally followed through. Years ago, while still living in Charlotte, I won free airfare to New Orleans at a charity event. But due to a flight problem, we were bumped from our flight and had to get vouchers. We decided to trade in our vouchers to go to Las Vegas instead. No regrets on that! I knew that I’d get to New Orleans eventually.
Cut to 5 years later….
One thing I learned, everyone and their neighbor has a recommendation on where you should eat, drink, go in New Orleans. I can’t do it all people! There’s only so many meals to eat during a few days. So, if blah blah blah is better than where we picked, oh well I still had a blast & it was delicious!
Oysters & turtle soup at Felix’s.
Taking a walking break to listen to jazz at the Maison Bourbon.
The St. Louis cathedral…so lovely. It was great walking around there at night too with all the fortune tellers out. I got my palm read for the first time.
Beignets & cafe au lait at Cafe Du Monde. I was sweating my ass off, but still had to get cafe au lait too. It was the experience of it!!
Drinks & dinner at NOLA. My meal was great! I had the cauliflower soup & the garlic crusted drum.
Besides eating some great food, I was most excited to go to the cemeteries. The history of them…so many unknown stories…the pain of them but also the beauty…the peacefulness. I felt calm there.
Smoked Pork Eggs Benedict
Listened to music at Pat O’Brien’s piano bar & drank hurricanes.
We took a bus tour around the city, which was nice. We also took a steamboat cruise along the river, which was pretty darn boring. Not recommended. It did give me a chance to rest up for more drinking though.
Hand grenades. Love love love, I wish I’d started drinking them the first night.
At dinner, I drank wine though. I’m classy at dinner.
Not a good picture, but this coconut cake at Dickie Brennan’s Steakhouse was the best!!! So tasty. And how confusing is it with all the Brennan stuff! We made the mistake of going into Brennan’s Bourbon House first and they had to redirect us. And don’t mistake Dickie Brennan’s with Brennan’s—because that’s closed now.
And PS they also own previously mentioned Commander’s Palace. (I listened on my bus tour of the city. )
We took a trip over to the Oak Alley Plantation as well. The trees were amazing and would have loved to have just sat under a tree and read a book. The house was underwhelming for me. It’s hard to get excited about exploring an old house when you’ve been to the Biltmore. They don’t compare! At Oak Alley, they did make a good mint julep though!
It was a fun trip and my stomach feels full just from writing this wrap-up, whew!
In October 2014, I’ll be vacationing with Laura again…but this time in Key West!
Where was your last vacation? Where’s your next vacation destination?? I know where Linda is going!!
Let’s play catch-up, shall we?
1. A couple of months ago, I went to the Oddball Comedy Fest show to see Flight of the Conchords, Dave Chappelle, and others. This is the only picture I could check. Security was
on a power trip really strict about no photos during the show.
3. I went to Cleveland for work for a few days. Top on my list was going to Michael Symon’s B Spot restaurant. I was a bigger fan of the S’Mores milkshake than the burger. Yummmmm!
4. Several of us had a blogger meet-up date in South Austin. We went to a dive bar. Really divey…..the regulars were really into their shuffleboard. Unfortunately the smoke in there got to us quick, so we moved over to the Moontower Saloon which I loved.
5. I went to the One Republic & Sara Bareilles concert at the ACL Live theater. Great show!
6. I had brunch at Elizabeth Street Cafe with my friend, Bonnie. I should go to this restaurant more often. I’ve only been twice, but it’s charmed my socks off both times.
7. Haley girl turned 11 on September 30th! I had a sinus infection, so it was just a normal day for her. But I gave her lots of treats.
8. I went to Bath & Body Works this weekend to stock up on hand soap. The sweet clementine one is by far my favorite. Love it so much!!
I had every intention of bypassing the candles too. But the soap area had customers around it so I smelled some candles until they left. And once I saw the pumpkin pecan waffles one, I was a goner. It smells as good as it sounds!
9. I’m set for the holidays.
1. Who’s excited about Breaking Bad coming back tonight?!?! Here’s my plan for tonight…Big Brother, Breaking Bad, The Newsroom, wine & pizza.
It was a great Q&A! He spoke about AD, of course…favorite scenes, the writing & callbacks that are done so well on the show, the characters he loved like Mrs. Featherbottom & Bob Loblaw, how even he was unaware that he was going to lose his hand on the show until he read that script, etc etc.
He also shared some insight that he’s learned along the way about contentment. He shared several stories that he referred to as kind of his own Oprah a-ha moments.
Tony telling a story about Liza Minnelli.
3. After the event, my friend, Sylvia & I got some food at the Llama’s trailer. Then we met up with Mary Helen and checked out the Russian House.
They have a large selection of infused vodkas there, of course. I sipped on some apple cinnamon vodka. It was tasty, but I would have preferred it in the fall versus summer.
Mary with a Russian bear that attacked her.
4. We ended the night at the Iron Cactus.
Thank goodness for misting fans & frozen margaritas.
Hope you all had a great weekend!!
Today at work, I started writing out that today was Friday. Wow, I’m really getting ahead of myself. What a bummer to think that a Monday is a Friday!
I didn’t do much this past weekend. I had to finally take advantage of the quiet in my apartment building.
So I’ll recap last weekend instead!
2. I went to Linda’s 30th birthday party. (Linda’s in the middle.) Linda is always so happy and her spirit is infectious. Her party theme was BALLS. Kind of like….oh balls, I’m turning 30. It was so fun. All the food was ball themed. I went the easy route & just brought cherries & grapes…and also peanut M&M’s and lemon drops.
My fellow Julie, me, and Amy
3. On Sunday night, I went over to Mary Helen’s for burger party. Her nephew is in town, so she invited everyone over. This picture was an afterthought. I was too busy chowing down…nom nom nom.
4. I binged watched Orange is the New Black last weekend on Netflix. After 4 people on my Twitter feed were raving about it, I knew that I had to watch. I immediately started reading the book once I finished season 1. I’d actually bought the book a few years ago and hadn’t read it. I’m almost done already!
5. A few weeks ago, I bought these notebooks (Target impulse buy). I wanted to start a personal journal. I remember after my grandma passed away finding some notebooks of hers. It wasn’t deep thoughts…it was more like, went for a walk today. But I was still fascinated. Although mundane details, it was compelling to me. So, I’ve started my own journaling. Maybe I’ll stick with it for years (hopefully) and maybe not. But in the hopes that I will…I returned to Target to buy out the remaining notebooks. My journals have to match!
Okay, I’m off to
watch the season finale of RHOC….er I mean to write in my journal.
So another 2 months has passed since my last blog post. It seems I only get the itch to blog after 2 month hiatuses.
June started off strong with lots of fun with friends and traveling. But for the last 6 weeks, I’ve been battling my upstairs neighbor with an annoying dog and tennis elbow in my right arm.
I had no problems with my neighbor for months and months. And then it seems his girlfriend broke up with him and moved out. And I was left with this jerky jilted neighbor and his jerky dog. (I don’t know that he was jilted, but I like to imagine that the girl came to her senses & left him.)
The neighbor guy worked at night and the dog didn’t deal well with being alone at night. The dog would bark and howl from about midnight until the owner came home from work at 4 am. UGHHhhhhhhhhhh!! I would call every week to complain to my leasing office. And I left notes on the neighbor’s door. But he didn’t seem to care.
I had to leave my TV’s and ceiling fans on at night to try to dull the noise. And I wore earplugs every night. I really feel for new mothers now. I was going bonkers. But the guy finally moved out a few days ago! It’s been blissfully quiet for the past few days. Haley seems to be in better spirits too. I know I’ll only get a few weeks of peace before a new neighbor moves in. Is it too much to ask for that it’s a 70 old woman with no pets?
As far as the tennis elbow, it still hurts. I have a brace that I wear during work, since I type all day long. And I have exercises to do from the doctor. I also ice it at night. But it’s frustrating. I’m pretty sure it should have healed by now. I’m just ignoring it basically. :/
Let’s move on to the FUN things I’ve done the past 2 months though!!
2. My BFF’s Chris & Sarah came to Austin to visit.
We went to the Mumford & Sons concert! It was my favorite concert to date! Loved every moment of it!
I ate this amazing quinoa salad at Snack Bar!
We had Sunday Funday by starting with brunch at Max’s Wine Dive. Get the SXSW…jalapeno cheese grits with pulled pork! I want to eat that again right now. Yum!
We continued Sunday Funday at Kung Fu Saloon for drinks and games.
I took Chris & Sarah to Gourdough’s. It was my first time too!! We may have went twice in one day…it was vacation after all.
We finished off the trip with a visit to the Oasis on Lake Travis.
3. Only 2 weeks after Chris & Sarah came to Austin, I flew to Charlotte to visit them. We plan visits around concerts. Mumford & Sons in Austin……ANDDDDDD……NKOTB/98 Degrees/Boyz II Men in Charlotte. I met up with Sarah, Kelly, and Trish my first night in Charlotte to see this boy band extravaganza. It was so much fun!!! NKOTB put on a hell of a show. We really got our money’s worth.
***Here’s when I started getting tennis elbow so hence the few pictures in Charlotte or back at home.
4. A week after returning from Charlotte, I drove home to Wichita for 10 days. My Mom had recently broken her hip, so wanted to see her and be home for the 4th of July. She’s recovered now and is walking without a walker or cane, yay!!
For the 4th of July, I offered to be in charge of appetizers and dessert. My parents are very meat & potato-y, which is delicious, don’t get me wrong—but after a week, I was craving fruit & vegetables. So I happily went to town on the appetizers.
Dessert was a make your own ice cream sundae bar! I thought of this idea on a whim, but it was really fun!!
I always love going home to see how much my 4 nephews have grown!
That’s all for now. I’m going to do my best to not wait another 2 months until next time. But if I do, I’ll have fun updates as I’m going on 2 more trips over the next few months.
I’ve recovered from my first SXSW in Austin! If you’re not familiar with SXSW, it’s a 10 day interactive, film, and music festival that invades Austin every year. It’s overwhelming, but awesome! I’m going to share a few posts with you about my experiences. I didn’t buy a badge for SXSW, but there are plenty and I mean PLENTY of free events to get into!
It was a drizzly day, but that wasn’t going to stop people looking for cheap eats! After helping hand out wristbands at the Long Center, Mary Helen, Meredith & I (and our new friends) headed over to Kenichi for sushi.
I had the Maguro “Yakiniku”-Zuke (Korean style BBQ marinated tuna, avocado, crispy garlic, asian pear) and the Pork Belly Kushiyaki (sesame mizuna, teriyaki).
I’d heard about this event from other bloggers. Christy & Elizabeth are two of my blogging friends who were also judges! There were 15 entries with creative & tasty uses of bacon. The contestants had to make ample amounts for the crowd to try too! I mean, I wasn’t there just to look & smell bacon….I need to EAT some bacon!!
Slaw P Bacon entry
An array of bacon samples that I devoured….including bacon gumbo & cabbage bacon rolls.
Drunken Crusty Pigdough….what??! Cookie dough & bacon….the judges were a fan of this entry.
Bacon Scotch Eggs…loved the look of this one and the flavor of the mustard.
My overall favorite was the Bleu Bacodilla entry. You can find pictures and recipes here.
After the Bacon Takedown, I convinced Mary Helen & Meredith to come with me to the Intercontinental Hotel bar for a drink. It’s right next to the Paramount Theatre where Paul Rudd was screening his new movie. I thought that maybe we’d eye spy a celeb in the hotel bar. No such luck…but it gave me a chance to charge up my cell phone.
SXSW tip: you MUST bring your cell phone charger with you! SXSW is tech overload and you will be on Twitter constantly checking for updates on free events, etc. So, you’ll want that charger on hand!
While on the hotel balcony, the girls saw the Jeni’s ice cream truck and flipped out! I mean, seriously, they were excited! And thanks to Twitter, we learned that they were going to the Royal Blue Grocery store that was less than a block from us.
I opted for the salty caramel!
We finally decided to make our way back to our cars. But along the way, we learned that there was free food and an open bar at the Bing lounge. Hey, might as well stop by….:) It was PACKED in there. People love free food & alcohol. We made our way up to the 3rd floor, fought through the crowd…and got a free Coolhaus ice cream sandwich! Yay for more ice cream! It was my first Coolhaus experience and it was worth making my way through drunk people! But it wasn’t worth trying to capture a photo in a crowd like that!
We devoured our ice cream sandwiches and were outta there!! So it was a solid first day of SXSW’ing—-bacon & ice cream!
More to come with my other adventures!!
In November, one of my bestest friends in the whole wide world, Sarah, came to visit. Sarah did a little research online first and asked if we could go to La Condesa for dinner her first night in town. Far be it from me to say no to tacos, guac, and beer!
I asked Sarah…..will you get up and stand in line at 9:30 am to eat BBQ with me tomorrow? Sarah said yes, of course. Yesssssssss!!
I finally got to try Franklin Barbecue!
Franklin’s is known for having some of the best brisket in the country. Just ask Anthony Bourdain. It was delicious, but I liked the ribs even better.
After devouring some meat, we headed off the duck tour of Austin. I don’t think Sarah blew her duck whistle once. But I made up for it for the both of us.
The State Capitol building
During Sarah’s visit, we also took in two concerts. We saw Snow Patrol (great concert!) at Austin Music Hall and Counting Crows at Stubb’s.
I was very nervous for Snow Patrol as I’d read bad reviews about Austin Music Hall. So maybe the reviewers were whiny….or the hall was improved…or both, but I really enjoyed the venue!! The only downfall is that since it’s near condos/apartments, they have to stop concerts at 10 pm. I wish that Snow Patrol could have played longer.
Our other adventure during Sarah’s visit was the Austin Eats Food Tour. I’d been wanting to try the downtown Austin tour for awhile and had a Groupon to boot! The tour met on a Saturday morning the Republic Park farmers’ market.
Our stops on the food tour:
1. Dai Due Butcher Shop
3. Hut’s Hamburgers
4. Haddington’s–I’d already been to Haddington’s twice before, but this was my first time trying a Moscow Mule! Loooooooove!!
5. Walton’s Fancy and Staple — The shortbread cookies are so good!
For Sarah’s last day in Austin, I suggested a Sunday Funday of brunch and bar hopping! We had brunch at Bess Bistro (otherwise known as Sandra Bullock’s restaurant–as is Walton’s). Then we headed over to Kung Fu Saloon and met up with with my friend, Brandi, and her hubs.
To end on a killer high note, Sarah and I had dinner at Uchi. Oh Uchi….I love thee!! Uchi, you are way better than Uchiko (sorry, Paul Qui). If you’re in Austin and you love sushi, you must go to Uchi. Go early (happy hour prices), get the shag roll, get the maguro sashimi and goat cheese…thank me later!
Sarah, I hope you come again in 2013!! Maybe for a little ACL concert action!
Over Columbus Day weekend, my friend, Kelly, came to visit me from Charlotte.
(Yes, Columbus Day weekend….one of my New Year’s resolutions is to be more timely with my blogging!)
Kelly was my first friend to visit, so I was stoked! I gave her the option of day tripping to San Antonio or to Fredericksburg to go to the wineries. I was thrilled when she chose Fredericksburg!
In addition to touring wineries, we also ate at Torchy’s, shopped on South Congress, went on a tour of the city, had drinks at the Driskill, and went to the movies to see Pitch Perfect.
Cheers! Having oyster shooters at Perla’s.
Pork belly “sushi” at Uchiko. Nom nom nom!!
On our way to tour the barrel room at the Grape Creek Vineyards.
Can I climb in and take a swim?
We also visited Four Point Cellars, William Chris Vineyards, and Woodrose Winery.
Brunch at Matt’s El Rancho
Always get the Bob Armstrong dip!
Banana Pudding with Rum Sauce at 1886 Cafe & Bakery
My only regret during Kelly’s visit was wearing new shoes that ended up cutting into my ankle her last afternoon in town. I hated being a grumpy hostess for the last few hours that we hobbled around. Hopefully I will lure her back with more wine!
For Christmas this year, I stayed in Austin. My parents came down to spend the holiday with me and my aunts & uncles.
Haley loves visitors!
Family brunch at Kerbey Lane Cafe. Everyone loved it!
My aunt & uncle at the Armadillo Christmas Bazaar
Every arts & crafts fair should have a live band!
Shopping at the Domain
Dad & I taking a break from shopping to sit outside & enjoy a beer.
Love this new dish towel that my aunt Ann got me!
My Dad asked if we were going to have our breakfast date at Whole Foods to get coffee and a muffin like when they visited this summer. Yes yes! A new tradition!
Brunch at Magnolia Cafe
I made Christmas Eve spaghetti & meatballs!
New owl nightlight lamp from my parents! My owl obsession is going strong!
My cousin Kristy has had a great 2012….getting fit! I’m so
jealous proud of her!
My cousin-in-law makes a great turkey!
Mom & Ann
I made fudge for the first time!
Thanks again Mom & Dad for making the long drive down to spend Christmas with me. But next year…leave the flu at home.
Shortly after I got back from Cleveland, I was off to Omaha to spend the weekend with my BFF Chris. I wanted to visit Chris in Omaha before he moved (back to Charlotte). And it didn’t hurt that Bryan Adams was in town for an acoustic concert. I love me some BA!!
It was a weekend filled with food, drink, shopping, and music. My favorites things! We checked out DJ’s Dugout Sports Bar, The Zin Room (yum!), and Upstream Brewing Company. I know we also went to an Irish bar that was in a basement and it kind of freaked me out…like I could see a random fight breaking out at any moment! So, it must have been an authentic Irish bar.
Chris lived right by the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, which is also known as the Iowa/Nebraska bridge. I loved this bridge and part of town. This was the view from Chris’ balcony. Of course, I made him walk the bridge with me. Wait, I’m in Iowa…no I’m in Nebraska!
After our walk, we went to Aksarben Village to walk around the art festival. Aksarben = Nebraska spelled backwards…Google is a wonderful thing. The first thing on my agenda though was coffee!
I was immediately drawn to Jones Bros. Cupcakes. This place was a-jumpin’ too!
My favorite piece from the art festival.
My favorite stop in the Aksarben Village was by far the Luvbird Boutique. It was so cute!! I could have done a lot more damage in that store.
After trying & failing to get donuts on Saturday night, I still had donuts on the brain come Monday morning. So immediately after Chris got up on Monday morning, I said…let’s go get donuts!!
My last day in Omaha was spent shopping and gambling at the casino. We didn’t win any money. :/
Happy Hour at Roja Mexican Grill before the concert
En route to the concert
6th row for the concert! It was a great show…acoustic is the way to see Bryan Adams. It was my 3rd time seeing him and the best yet. And can’t wait to visit Chris again in Charlotte this time in 2013!