Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Snapshots of NOLA // April 2017

I'm sure a lot of you are tired of hearing about/reading about NOLA. But I can't help it, it's my favorite city! Here's a quick post to show/tell a bit about what we did on our third trip to Crescent City.









This guy cracks me up. :) 





















THE PASTA OF MY DREAMS!


SO MANY TURTLES!!






















Eat: We ate at some really great restaurants, a few were not very exciting. Overall the food in NOLA was great!
  • Cafe Amelie - we went here on our second trip to NOLA. It's a little bit pricey, but everything I've had there has been phenomenal. From the cocktails, to entrees, and desserts. I keep dreaming about the pasta I had there (I can't remember what it was called, but it had shrimp, corn, and andoullie sausage. YUM!). Also, the gumbo was DELICIOUS! We each got a dessert and I tried the bread pudding (mostly because it seemed southern-y) :) It was pretty good, but bread pudding is not my favorite dessert in general. Oohs and Ahhs were heard over the key lime pie, molten chocolate cake, blackened catfish sandwich, and pork tenderloin. You can't go wrong here.
  • Cafe Du Monde - KC and I don't love Cafe Du Monde for beignets the very most, but it's an institution, and Brittany and Tyler wanted to go. So we did! With a simplistic menu of beignets and drinks, it's hard to go wrong. I like the frozen cafe au lait. Bring Cash!**
  • Cochon Butcher - Brittany and Tyler picked this place, it's in the central business district, but worth the trek or bus ride. It's a butcher shop with super legit sandwiches. Cochon (next door) is more of a traditional sit down restaurant. Butcher has a hipster vibe, tons of interesting menu items and all of the food was really good! I had a smoked turkey, avo, something sandwich, which was really refreshing after walking there in the heat. The sides were good, and I think everyone enjoyed their food. We tried the rum cake as well, and boy does it taste like RUM. It was really good, but SO RUMMY! 
  • The Court of Two Sisters (Jazz Brunch) - we had wanted to try a jazz brunch on our trips, but never ended up with the time. I'm glad that we gave it a try this time. For about $30 per person you can visit a huge buffet room filled with hot and cold entrees, desserts, salads, and an omelette/eggs benedict bar. You can choose in or outdoor seating, we chose outdoor. The patio is lovely and covered by wisteria vines. I loved the atmosphere the most. Honestly, I didn't notice the jazz too much, but it was nice too I suppose. There were a lot of food choices, and it was definitely worth the value that you paid (drinks not included FYI), but I wasn't blown away by any of the food in particular.
  • Dat Dog (Magazine Street) - KC and I love Dat Dog, so we were glad to fit in another visit for lunch one day. We each have our staples a seadog (me) and the german something or other (KC). Brittany and Tyler enjoyed their food too (though for some reason they dye their relish green... odd). The best part is sitting outside at their patio. It's so colorful and breezy. We stayed and had drinks for a while. We even played Uno (they have a collection of games in the restaurant). There are at least 3 locations for Dat Dog, so check it out if you find yourself near one in NOLA!
  • Columns Hotel (St. Charles Street - Street Car) - Brittany wanted to stop by the Columns Hotel on our street car ride. It's a huge hotel where a movie was filmed MOVIE, back in YEAR. Inside it's very atmospheric and old fashioned. Outside it's a nice porch/patio to sit at and enjoy a drink or meal. We just got drinks, Brittany and Tyler split the Brie with mango chutney and enjoyed it. I'm allergic to brie, otherwise I'd be able to weigh in. hehe I had a mojito and it vas DIVINE and also HUGE. Everyone enjoyed their cocktails/mocktails. It was fun to visit a new place!
  • Cafe Beignet (Bourbon Street) - Cafe Beignet is KC and I's favorite beignet place, and also the rest of the food is great too. It's pretty fast and inexpensive, and they have two convenient locations (that are open later!) so it's really handy and frequented by the two of us. We enjoyed the red beans and rice, fried shrimp po' boy, and beignets. Brittany and Tyler shared beignets and a fried fish plate. We listened to music in the courtyard which was nice.
  • The Gumbo Shop - This place was recommended to us by our airport Uber driver. It's supposed to have the best gumbo and also creole food in the city. We were excited and each ordered a sampler meal (where you pick your starter, entree, side, and dessert). Most of the food turned out to be pretty lack luster. But they get consistently good reviews on review sites. So, I'm not sure if we had just been eating SUPER fresh food, or what... but we didn't care for this place. The meal we ordered was a good deal, but pretty underwhelming. KC said he thought it was ok, and didn't dislike it quite as much as everyone else. - which is good! But his brownie had nuts all over it, so he couldn't really eat it. Which is a bummer. For us, this was a hard pass, but we are in the minority on this one I think.

See: The Quarter, Audubon Park, The Columns Hotel, The Street Car (St. Charles), Magazine Street, the old cemeteries Jackson Square, St. Louis Cathedral.

Shop: We didn't do a ton of shopping, though I promise NOLA has some lovely little shops!
  • Faulkner House Books - as the name implies... Faulkner used to live in the building that is now the bookstore. Teeny tiny and packed with books, this place is a lovely treat for book lovers. I bought a Penguin cloth bound copy of persuasion and it's beautiful!
  • Beckham's Bookshop - this place is kind of a dive, but piled with tons of used books and media. There are even two floors. The greatest treat is the sweetest shop cat you ever did meet. Her name is Juniper, and she apparently has her own blog. Read that, here.
  • Frenchman Art Market - this is a place I've been meaning to go for AGES. But I never knew where it was. I'm so glad that we made it to Frenchman Street! This open air art market has awesome hand made wares as well as some cool art to view. I loved exploring here!

Do: while walking around the city itself is PLENTY to do, we did see some other great places as well!
  • Explore the quarter, St. Louis Cathedral, and Jackson Square.
  • Take the St. Charles street car from Canal past the lovely huge houses. You'll also pass Tulane, Loyola, and Audubon Park/Zoo.
    • We visited Audubon Park and it was beautiful! Huge live oaks, geese, ducks, turtles to feed (I've never seen turtles behave like this!), pretty flowers and fountains.
  • Visit Frenchman Street - I mentioned the art market above, but the whole street is full of nightlife and fun. We enjoyed people watching, and stopping into a club for live music.
  • See the above ground cemeteries across the city. Lafayette #1 can be easily reached via magazine street! 
  • Drinks & Jazz at Fritzel's on Bourbon Street - Bourbon is kind of a hot mess, it's fun to walk through once or twice, but honestly, you'll want to find the right places if you're planning to stay for a while. Fritzel's was recommended to us by our Uber driver (this time it was a better suggestion). The live jazz was great, but the place is teeny tiny! Be prepared to pack in like sardines, and you MUST order a drink, or you're out.
  • Jazz and Beignets at Cafe Beignet - also on Bourbon, a calmer, more open, less "YOU MUST DRINK (constantly) vibe. Also, our favorite beignets.
  • Stop and listen to music on the streets, and watch street performers too!

Stay: We used airbnb and booked The Cottage at Benachi House.
  • The price and space were great for 4 people. The cottage was nice and homey as well.
  • Benachi house is lovely and they host events, so you might spy a wedding from your window.
  • The location is decent, it's about a 30 min walk to the quarter, or $6 uber ride. Because the location in between Benachi and The Quarter was a bit run down, we chose to walk in the mornings, and take uber at night. We didn't really have any problems, other than having to jog across a split "highway". 
Favorites: Cafe Amelie, Butcher, mojitos, Audubon Park, and Juniper the shop cat.

New Experiences: Going to Frenchman Street, hearing live jazz in a bar in NOLA, Audubon park, seeing so many turtles to be fed, jazz brunch!

Have you been to NOLA?

Do you enjoy night life? If not, do you try to experience it anyway? Or just plan other things?

Have you ever seen turtles being fed like fish?!

If you are heading to NOLA, you can check out my trip recaps, here & here.

Happy Travels!

XO,

Alexandra

    Monday, April 24, 2017

    Currently // April 2017



    I hope that you all had a great weekend. Ours was super relaxed. We had a bridal shower for my SIL and I think it went really well. Plus we got to take home tons of extra salad... yum. So I've been eating that with every meal! We spent the rest of our time watching TV, doing chores, reading, doing Project Life (me) and D&D prep (KC). It was a little boring off and on, I think I just have the itch to hit the road! 

    Drinking: iced non fat no whip mocha from Starbucks and iced water. Still trying hard to drink a lot less soda recently. I think it's going well overall. I had lots of yummy cocktails in NOLA. :)

    Eating: around vacation time we obviously ate out a lot. This week we are trying some mini taco cups and Asian lettuce wraps. We'll see how it goes! I want to get my hands on the Skinny Taste cookbook, but maybe I'll start with more of their online recipes.

    Watching: iZombie (from the beginning) with KC's parents, they're loving it and I am enjoying the second watch. You know how much I like izombie, and I'll tell y'all for the 40th time to just watch it even though it sounds/looks stupid... it's not! :) We've also been re-watching Hart of Dixie, New Girl, and Gilmore Girls off and on. I want to start a new show or a new season of something, but we haven't decided yet.

    Reading: In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. Ick. It's pretty interesting, but hella long (I feel). We'll see how it continues, I think Capote is a fabulous writer, so that really helps. Next up is my 6 word title, the last one, for Erin's 6.0. I only have a few days... so we'll see how it goes! Down to the wire. (What I'd Like to be Reading: Big Little Lies, Fan Girl, Everything, Everything, We Are Okay, ... anything fun and quick, basically!)

    Listening To: we have mostly been using blue tooth in the car for our music, so lots from our itunes libraries. I made a good playlist for the dentist, it's just Broods and James Bay right now. Considering adding Ellie Goulding and Vance Joy... because that's how I roll.

    Feeling (physically): bleh. I don't know if it was post-travel, or whatever.. but I've had an off and on angry stomach for about a week. It's gotten progressively better, but it's still a pain.

    Feeling (emotionally): Alright. A tad bored I think.

    Looking Forward To: my friend Juliet's lingerie shower is Friday night, which should be lots of girly fun. The first weekend in May is the 4th annual Kansas Food Truck Festival (eeeep!) (see year 1, year 2, and year 3) and Jess's bday! (woot!) Other than that it's a lot of graduation related things and then Juliet's wedding. Such a busy set of months! 

    Wearing: I went thrifting with Jess, hadn't been in FOREVER, and picked up two cute navy dresses. the one pictured above, and a 3/4 sleeved navy and white striped dress. I also got a flannel button up dress for winter (also navy, lol), and a crazy '90's teacher dress... we'll see when/if I wear that. hahahah I have been wearing my utility jacket everywhere (also pictured above), and I broke down and bought some basic tennis shoes. They worked pretty well for travel. I also got these booties (in putty suede) for Christmas and I love them so much. I want them in EVERY COLOR.

    Buying: I've bought tons of fun new sandals, I can't wait to wear them all! Also, new bras, shorts, and a strapless bra for my bridesmaids dress. Lots of graduation presents too!

    Wishing: that we could take another trip soon... maybe we can... we shall see! We've been talking about a summer road trip. Though, you know my mind... it's become several road trips. I'd love to get back to The Great Lakes. :) 

    What have you guys been up to lately?!

    XO,

    Alexandra

    Friday, April 21, 2017

    Have You Heard? // Jaenki - "Miracle Maze"

    HAPPY FRIDAY FRIENDS! I hope that you had a great week! I'm settling back in at home... but the wanderlust hit hard at the airport on the way home.... typical. (hahhahahaha)


    I really really like this song. I kind of forgot about it. The sound reminds me a bit of Death Cab... but different. I just love the sound of it! This music video is pretty cool too. :)



    What are you guys up to this weekend?!

    I have a date with KC tonight seeing Colossal (which I think looks quirky and hilarious), and getting a shower gift for my SIL, for her bridal shower Saturday, and then hopefully just a lot of fun time at home with KC. Do you guys know how it is when you're like with other people, or super busy, or preoccupied with other things... and then it's like even though you've been together... you kind of miss each other? (does that even make sense?!?!?), anyhow, that's where we are right now...!

    Also, I only have 2 books left for Erin's 6.0 and I really want to finish them in the last 10 days of the challenge!! WOOT! :) 

    Other Posts This Week: Spring Fever // Mood Board, and Back from NOLA.

    XO,

    Alexandra

    Wednesday, April 19, 2017

    Back from NOLA // Laissez Bon Temps Rouler!

    Happy Wednesday friends! We got back from NOLA last night, and so today is one of those "unpack, do laundry, and rest kind of days".

    If you read my post before we left, you'll know that we met up with our good friends Brittany and Tyler who live in Boston. They've got a little one on the way! Eep! It was super fun to spend some time together and explore our favorite city once more.

    Also, can I just say... that we had not been anywhere since AUGUST. Which for us... is about as long as it's been in between trips in several YEARS. Woah. Much needed to get away. :)

    We spent a lot of time wandering around the quarter, magazine street, the garden district, and Frenchman street.




    We saw several live music performances. Some were at bars, some were on the street, we also did a jazz brunch. :)




    We ate at some of our favorite places, we also found some new ones. A few were great, a few were not the best.







    We rode the street car, had cocktails (and a mocktail ;)) at The Columns Hotel, walked around Audobon Park, and played Uno at Dat Dog.




    Overall it was great to catch up with Brittany and Tyler and show them bits of our favorite city. We loved being back in Crescent City!



    Stay tuned for full recaps and more NOLA tips!

    Have you been to NOLA? What did you do there?

    Do you ever travel with friends? How do you coordinate it?

    Any fun trips in the works for you this spring or summer?!

    XO,

    Alexandra