Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What's Up Wednesdays

Hello Hello!

Last month I got to check out a really amazing show at the new T-Mobile Arena. I'm always really nervous about checking out shows at huge venues because in the South, parking was always a bitch and crowds were a nightmare. On the other hand, Keith Urban was playing and it's not too far from my work so I decided to go anyway.

I have to say, I was pretty impressed with the parking situation. The prepaid pass worked like a dream and everything was really organized at the NY NY garage where I parked. I hadn't been to the property since the arena opened and I didn't know just how easy it was to get around. So many great food options and I've never been to a huge arena that had garage parking access that close!

The show was really really amazing. The sound in the arena is great and everything was surprisingly organized. I was actually pretty impressed with how many amenities are scattered around the venue and how many there were. There was no trekking a mile to get to restrooms, food, bars, or merch tables. They were everywhere and the lines weren't long at all. The arena is HUGE and just walking to and from my seat to the meeting points was so much cardio. I had a few VIP passes for the openers- Brett Eldredge and Maren Morris so I was walking around all night to get from one spot to the next by the meeting times. 

I had purchased my ticket kind of last minute and my seat was all the way at the top directly overlooking the stage. Even in the nosebleeds, the view was amazing. 

Such a fun night!!!









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Thursday, November 24, 2016

Throwback Thursdays

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!!

I wised up this year. I ordered food from Marie Callendar's because I just don't have the time, energy, or mental capacity to cook. We are making the green bean casserole, stuffing (Stove Top of course) and that is just about it. Everything else is catered or store bought. We're probably actually saving a bit of money too since there's only three of us and I know we're saving family harmony.

Last year I cooked. Like, everything. The Tuesday before Thanksgiving, an owner at the resort I worked at gave me a frozen 14lb turkey. So sweet. I was floored. I had no idea what to do with it. Ultimately, I decided to cook it and found a great recipe for spatch cocking the turkey. It definitely saved time in the oven and was easier than the traditional way; however, it was still a ton of work. So glad I am not doing any cooking myself this year!

Check out my before and after shots!


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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

What's Up Wednesdays

Hey guys!

So today I'm continuing the massive road trip from this summer. After our stop in Astoria, we went over the bridge straight into Washington and made our way up the coast towards Olympic National Park. I know one of the biggest things we wanted to see on this trip was the Hall of Mosses in the Hoh Rainforest and we planned a lot of the other things around making that stop.

Our time in the national park was pretty limited and there was a lot that we wanted to see. I think of all the portions of our trip, this one took the longest to coordinate because I wanted to make sure we saw as much of what we wanted as we could. 

We started with the Hall of Mosses which was a pretty far detour from the rest of the park that we wanted to see. It was a pretty easy and beautiful hike and having been freezing earlier that morning, the humidity in the forest was definitely a welcome warmth. The bugs; however, were not.



Next we headed to La Push to Rialto Beach. I had been to La Push before with my friends Kara and Robin and we had spent the weekend camping in the woods. It's one of my favorite trip memories so I was really excited to show Corey the beach. 



We made a pitstop in Forks for gas and snacks and I couldn't resist showing Corey all the Twilight stuff that's still inside Forks Outfitters. 




We headed over the Lake Crescent and got to relax by the water for a little while and enjoy the gorgeous view. 


We had booked a night in Port Angeles at a motel close to the ferry terminal since we had an early morning departure the next day. We wandered around the town for a little while, filled up on the last gas in America (since Canada is so much more expensive) and grabbed a really delicious dinner at the Next Door Gastropub (the hour and a half wait was more than a little excessive though). 





We actually even got to sleep at a reasonable hour which was great since we had been awake since about 3:30AM. We didn't quite make it to all of the places we wanted to see but there's always next time, right?

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Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Tuesday Travel Guide: New Orleans- Where to Eat

Good Morning!

Welcome to my last Tuesday Travel Guide for the year! It's been a long few months and I've been working nonstop so I need a little break to work my queue back up and get started on a few projects that have been sitting on my back burner. The blog is going to be a bit quiet for the holidays!

Anyway, onto the food!!!

Where to Eat

Our first meal of the trip because our flight got in so late we skipped breakfast. I have to say, there is a dress code; however, dress down just a bit so that they make you sit upstairs. The main room where all the ritzy people were eating was INSANE. It was so loud I couldn't even hear myself think. Because we weren't too formal, I think they seated us upstairs as their equivalent of the "back" but I actually really preferred it. The food was out of this world. I literally had a dish of crab on a bed of creamed spinach smothered in hollandaise sauce. OMG. OMG. So good. I am drooling just thinking about this lunch. 




Stop at the one on Bourbon because it's in the cutest little jazz courtyard where they play live music. It just feels like quintessential New Orleans. The beignets are a bit heavier but still yummy and the coffee is good too!



We were so tired on our first night, we decided to just come in here and grab food because it was close to the hotel and there wasn't any wait. It's definitely touristy but the food was pretty good (at least better than almost any Cajun food we have on the West Coast). Etouffee, crawfish cakes, and fried gator; two of my favorite Cajun dishes!



This was a spot we wandered into on a rainy afternoon. Get the muffaletta; it was on Bobby Flay. It's delicious. Also, muffalettas are like the perfect late night hotel snack because they keep really well and don't get soggy or gross at all. 


Pralines
I've been stopping at Aunt Sally's since I was young because it's right next to Cafe Du Monde. I really like Magnolia Pralines and they are everywhere (like, in most gift shops). There are pralines all over the place so I highly recommend grabbing one or two here but also stopping into all the delicious candy stores on Decatur to try out a selection.


I love this place so much. It is one of those places where you have to dress up at least a little bit (we did see some underdressed folks but they didn't seen to have any service issues which is nice) but that's part of the fun. We had the most amazing server and one of the best dinners I've had all year. The Bananas Foster is a fabulous experience but pretty much anything you eat here will be amazing. It's literally right across the street from Lafayette Cemetery so be careful that you don't stumble in after a good meal!







Some of my earliest memories of coming to New Orleans are of waiting outside of K Paul's for dinner when they only did timed seatings and did not take reservations. No trip to New Orleans would ever be complete without a stop here. I'm so glad they take reservations now. The art is one of my favorite things and it extends all the way to the adorable napkins. The food was wonderful (as usual), and the service is always great. Grab a seasoning souvenir on your way out!




We were in line at Acme but we were in a hurry for our swamp tour so we wandered over here instead. There was immediate bar seating and friendly fast service. We had raw oysters, chargrilled oysters, and crawfish etouffee. My last oyster experience was rather sad in comparison. I had just barely sat down when the shucker plopped something small in front of me and it took a minute or two to realize it was a pearl. So cute! The oysters were insane. I had no idea the oysters here were so huge. Our dinner was amazing, fast, and we even ended up having some extra time to spare. Get the bread pudding, it comes out piping hot and so delicious!





Johnny's PoBoys
So good. Great service. Every kind of poboy I could ever think of and the prices are decent. We got the surf and turf and it was the weirdest combo but so delicious. 



An impromptu stop. I'd heard there were some amazing oyster happy hour deals and this one kind of took the cake for me. We had a dozen oysters for $6 (they were massive oysters too) and some delicious gator boudin balls. Our meal with drinks was under $20. Such a steal.







I'm conflicted here. We have been loyal Cafe Du Monde fans for as long as I can remember eating beignets in New Orleans. This last visit may not have put me off of coming back, but it will definitely make me tell everyone about the experience. The beignets and the frozen coffee were good, but the service was just disastrous. The server never gave us a receipt, quoted us a total, grabbed money out of my mother's hand, and actually took $10 more from her than she was supposed to take. WTF. The table next to us got a receipt and a proper transaction. I told a manager who sent the server over and she proceeded to surround my mother with her coworkers and yelled at her in front of everyone in the restaurant. She finally relented and handed my mother back the $10 but only after calling her names and shouting at her some more. She then glared at us from across the restaurant for the duration of our meal (way to do her job). Unbelievable. 



I actually liked this better than Cafe Du Monde aside from the summer flies buzzing around (they mostly just hung out on the mirror and never actually got into or onto the food). The set-up is a lot less cramped, the staff is way nicer, and the beignets came out HOT and clearly, freshly made. I should have gotten a frozen Cafe Au Lait here but there's always next time!



This was a fun breakfast stop. The location on Tchoupitoulas has a great breakfast menu, lots of fun coffee drinks, and yes, beignets. Their specialty bacon was yummy and the shrimp and grits was pretty fantastic. The beignets are huge. Definitely come hungry. 




Perfect sundaes on a hot summer day. I had the NOLA and it was just every sugary delicious New Orleans specialty rolled into one. I stopped at another one of their locations on our last day for one of the other mini sundaes and it was amazing as well. Great place to satisfy your sweet tooth!




Hands down one of my favorite food experiences on this trip. Recommended by like, three different tour guides; it wasn't originally on our list. The colorful building on Magazine Street was really appealing and the idea of a gator dog was intriguing. OMG, so delicious. The buns are beautifully toasted, the gator dog was phenomenal, and the crawfish etouffee was so yummy. We actually made two trips here because it was just that good. 




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