Our stay in Mid City and a jam-packed, 1 Day Guide to New Orleans

The month of May kept me BUSY. Ben closed on the house on the 6th, I coached a soccer tournament in Nashville that weekend, we went to two weddings, had a three day lake weekend, and spent the last weekend in New Orleans, which this blog is all about! If you’ve never been to New Orleans, there are a few things you should know right away: it gets next-level HOT in the summer, when walking around the city, you will experience a frequent waft of garbage mixed with the aroma of sweat, and you will learn very quickly that people can be anything they want to be – especially in the French Quarter.

We got in to our Airbnb late Friday night, after attending a beautiful wedding in Plaquemine. We stayed in this cute little studio apartment in MidCity, which is one of the more residential neighborhoods. I highly recommend staying here as a solo traveler or as a couple if you’re ever visiting New Orleans!

 

 

We were about 15 minutes from the French Quarter, and walking distance to several restaurants and shops. On Saturday morning we walked about 7 minutes down the street to Biscuits and Buns on Banks for some brunch. They have everything from breakfast classics to unique dishes like the Crab-cake Benedict with Chorizo sauce (pictured below) that I ordered. After eating, we asked our waiter how to use the “trolley” and he was nice enough not to make fun of us for calling it a trolley. He explained that it was an easy walking distance away, and you can buy a day pass for $2.00 and it’ll get you basically all over the city. Sweating and completely stuffed, we made our way to the Streetcar like happy little tourists.

 

 

The streetcar itself is a beast on its own. It only takes cash, first of all. Secondly, the first one we rode had no AC, and it makes several stops along the way, so if you decide to take the streetcar be sure to add about 40 full minutes to your travel time. It also gets pretty crowded, which makes it even hotter honestly than just standing outside in the sun. Also, when riding the streetcar, remember what I said about frequent aromas of sweat. This is not a good time for anyone to forget deodorant. ANYWAY, we rode the streetcar into the French Quarter area, and walked about two miles down the river and through all the shops and bars and interesting people. There are so many unique bars and pubs and restaurants in the French Quarter, offering beautiful architecture, unique food, and straight up New Orleans culture. You can stay entertained for days just taking everything in. We eventually stopped in at 801 Royal for a drink (and some air conditioning). One  thing that is really awesome about New Orleans is their open container law. We took our drinks to go, and kept on our way.

 

 

After exploring in the French Quarter, we eventually took the Streetcar back to MidCity where we both showered and changed clothes (you’ll want to do this after a few hours of walking in that kind of heat) for the sunset jazz cruise we preordered tickets for. There are a couple different options for the cruise, we rode on the Steamboat Natchez which happens to be the last remaining authentic steamboat left on the river. I decided to wear my lightweight romper and wedges on the boat, and I didn’t have time to wash and dry my hair but a few sprays of dry shampoo did the trick. We bought the day pass to ride the Streetcar, but we didn’t want to risk missing the boat so we called an Uber. We were in front of the river in no less more than 10 minutes. For dinner, we grabbed a sandwich at the food court inside the old brewery right across from the dock and boarded the boat a few minutes early, so we grabbed a cocktail and two seats on the deck railing.

 

 

The sunset cruise was my favorite thing we did on our short little trip, and even though we didn’t opt in for the dinner I think it was worth the $50. The boat docked and let us out around 9:00 pm, and we walked back into the French Quarter and onto Bourbon Street for a small taste of the night life. We wandered into 2 different bars and had a beer at both of them, and that was about as much nightlife as we wanted. In true New Orleans fashion, Ben and I had silver beads draped around our necks by a random dancing guy before we left the last bar. Sunday morning we slept in and headed back to Birmingham early. We didn’t get a chance to visit the Garden District or stroll down Magazine Street like I wanted, but that just gives us a reason to go back! New Orleans is a magical, quirky and culture-filled city with so much to offer. Next time, we’re doing the swamp tours and we definitely won’t make the mistake of referring to the streetcar as “the trolley”.

Digging It – May 2019

Somehow we’re already in June of 2019 (what?!) but a few weeks ago, I did a poll in my Instagram stories and several of you voted for a compilation blog post of all the random stuff I’ve purchased in the month of May that I love. I’ve decided to start a blog series called “Digging It” where I do this periodically (or every month, if I find that much cool stuff) so that we can all stay up to date on neat and useful stuff. *thumbs up* These things can be anything from new tech stuff to health stuff, or cooking utensils.. Just anything that I have discovered really.

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Starting with this jewelry organizer from amazon that has been a true game changer. If you’re anything like me, you’ve had jewelry boxes in the past, wire wall-hanging apparatuses that are cute but not really functional, or you have a spot on your dresser where your most used earrings and necklaces pile up and get tangled, broken, etc. Pro tip: don’t be like me. Unless you buy this thing. This thing hangs at the front of your closet, and has a thousand little clear pockets to keep all your pieces in so you can see them, easily access them, and keep them separated. How much does seamless jewelry organization and peace of mind cost, exactly? $11.90, if you have Amazon Prime.

Okay this, y’all, THIS. I feel like I need to formally apologize for hating on Burts Bees for as long as I have. I’ve never been on board with their chapstick, so I never bothered looking into anything else they make. But this overnight mask is revolutionary. I have combination skin, it gets oily usually during the day but then  also randomly gets dry – in pretty much every season. Sometimes at night after I take my makeup off or when I get out of the shower my skin feels drier than usual, and that is when Burt’s Bees comes into my life in a major way. The mask is a moderately thick paste that you apply right before bedtime, and it soaks in overnight and makes your skin GLOW by morning. Totally worth it. Totally a fan of Burts Bees now. Also, I just checked the product link on Burt’s Bees website and it’s marked down to $1.99 right now!!!! Not sure what that’s about or how long it will last, but you can also purchase it for $14.99 at Walmart, Walgreens, etc.

Publix Dental Flossers, Mint

I’m sure a lot of people discovered these things a long time ago, and I’m so happy for them. I, on the other hand, just recently purchased this useful little dental hygiene tool for the first time. It’s pretty self-explanatory. It makes everything 700x easier. It makes my dentist happy. It’s cheap. If you don’t buy these already, you really need to. I bought Publix brand, I couldn’t find the price online but I think they were under $5.00.

Chevron 2-In-1 Candle and Fragrance Warmer For Candles And Wax Melts from Candle Warmers Etc.

As someone who buys candles every second trip to the grocery store, I have loved this thing from Walmart. It’s decorative, and you can buy little scented wax squares in bulk and let them burn inside the heated tray and it’s the same thing as having a candle, without the smoke. They have so many different scents, and you just plug it into the wall and let it do its thing. I can’t wait to get pumpkin wax squares, and cinnamon wax squares, and vanilla wax squares… and you don’t have to throw away the candle after it’s burned out! I guess some people reuse the container, and thats cool, but I don’t. This is the one I have and it was $18.00 at Walmart, but they come in various sizes, colors and prices.

Wine Aerator Pourer (2-pack) - Decanter Premium Aerating Spout - Gift Box Included

OKAY. I’ve saved the best for last. If you’re a wine drinker, I cannot stress enough how amazing this thing is. $12.95 with Amazon Prime, it’s called an aerator, and it fits on your wine bottle like a little top. The spout basically filters the wine through little holes, opening up all the flavor inside the wine and making it taste 5x better. I feel a little bougie because now when I don’t use my aerator, wine tastes flat to me. So honestly, maybe you shouldn’t get one. It’s up to you.

 

Casual Summer Outfit Pairings + 3 Summer Must-Haves

It is 86 degrees today in Birmingham, AL and it’s only a matter of time before we are up in the 90’s. I’m sweating just thinking about it. Alabama summers are unlike any other, because you get the outrageously high temps AND you get swarmed by humidity so thick you can reach out and grab it. Permanent back sweat, glistening foreheads, pit stains – these are the things Alabama summers are made of!

Okay all whining aside, I really do love summer. It’s my favorite time of the year because there are so many fun things going on. Especially summer in Birmingham, because you’ve got Barons games every week, breweries, rooftop bars, events at railroad park all the time, amazing food + outdoor patio scenes, the list goes on. Every summer I have a few items that I know I HAVE to have in order to brave the heat and look cute doing it.

SHOES 

 

Up at the top of this list is summer shoes. Let’s go by the 3 C’s rule: I like to have 2-4 pairs of shoes every summer that I can count on to keep me comfortable, cool, and cute both day and night. I always like to have a casual option and a more dressy option. These two shoes are recent additions to my closet for the season, and they did not break the bank! These brown sandals are seriously so comfortable, they have a padded sole and are perfect for a casual daytime look. I bought mine for $14.99 at Ross, and I couldn’t find the exact pair to link, but I found a comparable pair on Amazon for the same price. You can find them here. These grey wedges are from amazon and I love love love them! They are perfect for dressing up some jeans and a nice top, or with a summer dress for church or dinner. You can seriously pair them with so many outfits – and they are under $30.00. They come in several colors and are very comfortable to walk in. They check all my boxes: comfortable, cool, cute.

OUTFITS

 

I shared this leopard print shirt earlier this week, paired with some work pants and my nude heels and it got so many comments!! This has been such a statement spring/summer staple in my closet. You can wear it so many different ways, and the ruffled sleeves are so fun and feminine. I snagged it at TJMaxx for under $20.00, but It is made by a boutique in Los Angeles called Green Envelope. I found a similar leopard shirt for about the same price here, and it’s so cute I honestly might go buy that one too.

 

This is a tried and true summertime staple!!! A reliable and comfortable blue jean short, (left) made by Old Navy and only $25.00. These shorts are the perfect length, not too short, and will be worn all summer long. I have another pair in the darker wash, and both will be on rotation. My white linen tank is another staple piece, and it’s on sale right now for $15.00!! I’ve paired it with nice pants and heels for work, and also barefoot with linen shorts on the beach. It can seriously be worn so many ways, and it comes in several colors. The green linen shorts (right) are from Altar’d State, and are $40.00 online. I have another pair in a rustic navy blue color, and I will wear both all summer as well. They are the perfect casual look, paired with a tank or T-shirt.

 

This shirt is made by a designer called Sigrid Olsen, her website can be found here. Unfortunately, I cannot find the link for this exact shirt, but I bought it at TJMaxx for $15.00, and I love it. Honestly, this shirt makes me so happy! I love when I find very cute and unique statement shirts, because otherwise, I stick to my neutrals. This one really stood out to me and I’m so glad I bought it. It’s 100% linen, and very breathable, which is perfect for Alabama summer. While I was looking for something similar to link, I did find this linen tank on Amazon and I miggght go buy it in every color. Linen is no joke.

 

These green pants!!! These were another recent steal at TJMaxx, and they are made by a brand called Max Jeans, but I found an identical pair on Nordstrom online for the same price, about $30.00. These are a lightweight, comfortable material and can be worn casually or dressed up as well. A secret to looking good is feeling good, and these pajama-like pants do the trick! My tank is 100% thrifted, about $4.00 even. I hope you enjoyed my summer outfit inspo, and I would love to know what you’ve got in your closet this season!

It’s the End of the Week… Check in With Your Lover! (+ Dinner details from El Barrio)

A few weeks ago, I shared a post on Instagram about how proud I was of Ben for how he was handling his busy season at work. He has been working 10-11 hour days, coming home smiling, and taking the extra mile to do sweet things like leaving me notes and cooking dinner. I had expected the opposite. I had expected that he would need me, more than ever, to be patient, understanding, selfless, etc. I was in awe!

Last night we went to dinner and hardly spoke the whole time. We went to El Barrio, which can get pretty loud and crowded, so I didn’t think much of our lack of conversation. He stepped outside a couple times to take work related calls, and I remember thinking that he must be so exhausted. I thought about all the effort he puts in, the small things he does during the week to make me smile, how he always thinks of others before himself. Again, just in awe of the person he is!

After dinner, on the walk back to the car, I asked him if he was okay. He told me that he was exhausted, and that since I had been so proud of him for handling work so well, he felt like he couldn’t show me that he was struggling. I quickly assured him that that wasn’t the case, and that I understand completely, but the more I thought about it the more I understood how he felt that way.

I thought I was showing him support and love by telling him how proud I was, but what it eventually did was make him afraid to be anything less than that version of himself. He was afraid to let me down. Everyone wants to be recognized when they exceed expectations, but we need to be told that it is okay to have a bad day, too. It makes perfect sense! I’m so thankful he was able to tell me how he really felt – it reminded me that there are always two people involved in relationships and it’s so important to check in regularly and be aware of what the other person needs, even if you think you already know. Check in with your lover this week…. you never know what you might be missing!

**** Food details: I ordered the Romaine and Lettuce salad with Shrimp (amazing!+so filling) and he had the Ceviche. My salad was so big I saved it and ate it for lunch today (still so fresh and good). I also had the strawberry margarita, which is only available during the summer months! It was more sugary than what I typically like, but overall a good seasonal drink. Luckily, even though our wait was about 25 minutes, we really missed the typical Friday night crowd. They were lined up out the door by the time we were leaving!

How to Style Boyfriend Jeans

I’ve always wondered how girls wear those loose fitting boyfriend style jeans. What top do you wear with such loose fitting pants?? Are they comfortable? (YES) Can I pull it off?? (I think so???) During my Black Friday shopping this year, I decided to just go for it and I purchased my first boyfriend style jeans from H&M. The first thing I realized is how comfortable and casual they are!

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I ended up wearing them to the sports bar that weekend to watch the Alabama football game – the perfect setting to be both cute & casual. Since my jeans are high waisted, I styled them with a short basic black Tee. Boyfriend jeans are loose-fitting in nature, so I made sure to pair them with a shirt that is a little more form fitting for the “chic” look I was going for. If you are going for a more casual-cozy look, you can pair them with a cropped or oversized sweater. Fall weather in Alabama means mostly-warm-but-sometimes-breezy so I threw on my sheer, super lightweight cardigan. Lastly, I always love a statement shoe!!! My new printed flats from Forever 21 were the perfect final touch for this outfit – adding an accent color + a dash of sass. You can also pair them with statement or basic colored booties with a sweater. What’s your favorite way to style boyfriend jeans?? Let ya girl know.

Classic Pimento Cheese

I’m always searching for new ways to snack in the afternoon. Sometimes the work day gets away from me and the only reason I look up at the clock is because my stomach is growling. I came across this easy pimento cheese recipe and HAD to make it. It’s a Southern staple and one of my absolute favorites – I can snack on this all week long, on celery, crackers, or on a sandwich with lettuce and tomato. The best part – it takes less than 10 minutes to make. **Personal choice: the recipe I followed called for 1 teaspoon of finely grated onion and pecans but I excluded both of those.  I also added a small sliver of cream cheese.

Things you’ll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of mayonnaise
  • 1 bag of shredded sharp cheddar
  • 1 bag of shredded extra-sharp cheddar
  • 1 can of pimentos
  • 1/4 teaspoon of ground red pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce
  • Small sliver of cream cheese
  1. First, stir the mayonnaise, pimentos and red pepper into a medium serving bowl.
  2. Add both bags of cheese, stirring in gradually.
  3. Add a small sliver of cream cheese, a little less than 1/4. Stir everything together until blended thoroughly.
  4. Serve on crackers, celery sticks or spread over bread.

Creamy One Pan Chicken + Spinach Parmesan

This recipe is DANG good and pretty easy. It is the perfect meal to make for two with a glass of wine. ***A couple tips to make it even easier/better: Sometimes I feel like being lazy as I did the night we made this, so I bought pre-chopped onions and used a couple spoonfuls of canned minced garlic that I already had in my fridge. (This saved me roughly fifteen minutes and spared my eyes from crying about the onion) We also added mushrooms and we added 1/4 of a block of cream cheese because we are obsessed with both.

Things you’ll need:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • Salt, Pepper and Oregano (1 tsp)
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small jar of sun dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • As much spinach as your heart desires
  • Mushrooms (optional)
  • 1/4 block of cream cheese (optional, for creamier taste)

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  1. First, season the chicken breasts. Using about a teaspoon of oregano, salt and pepper, season both sides of both chickens.
  2. Place 3 tablespoons of butter into a large skillet with a dash of olive oil. Add some sun dried tomatoes. When the butter is melted, place chickens in pan.
  3. Let them cook fully, until the center is white. Once cooked, remove chicken and keep on a plate nearby.
  4. Next, make the sauce. Add 3 more tablespoons of butter, another teaspoon of oregano, onion, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, and mushrooms.
  5. Slowly add in chicken broth, heavy cream and cream cheese, letting them gradually melt in. Once the sauce has thickened, add chicken back in.
  6. Add as much spinach as you’d like. When the spinach is wilted and cooked in, the dish is ready to serve.