Monday, February 13, 2017

Girls' Weekend In The Big Easy


Every girl, whether fresh out of college trying to navigate through a quarter-life crisis or an over-worked, exhausted mother and wife, knows the importance of a girls' weekend.  It's a reality-check, a chance to put everything in perspective with some of the people who know you best.  We might not be involved in each other's daily lives like we once were, but that doesn't seem to matter, we pick up right where we left off.  There is a level of comfort between us, and the moment we're all back together the weight of the world disappears and laughter takes over.

This year only three members of our tribe of five could make it, and since we all happen to live on the Gulf Coast, we chose New Orleans.  Horrible storms (remember those tornadoes that reeked havoc in MS and GA) delayed our start for the weekend, and we had to cancel our lunch reservation at Sylvain the Quarter.  It was a bit of a bummer, but luckily we were safe and sound and old-favorite, Rum House, was a good substitute.

 By the time we sat down, I was so hungry I wanted everything on the menu, which is why I thought I could take on the pulled-pork nachos.  I have a tendency to get crazy-hungry.  I get cranky and start shaking, and at that point, I lose the ability to make reasonable decisions about food!  Nevertheless, the nachos were delicious and the margarita wasn't bad either.

 As we've mentioned a few times (here, here, here), Traci and I both love to visit breweries and try new beers, and I've been a fan of NOLA since the beginning when they only had blonde and brown lagers to offer.  The girls and I felt so carefree and spontaneous as well pulled into NOLA Brewing for a taste... just because we could.  I still enjoy the Blonde Lager, but the 7th Street Wheat is my favorite.

For dinner we went to Cochon.  People have been raving about it for years, and I had never been there, so I was excited to try it.  I was warned ahead of time that it was going to be a lot of meat, but I'm a carnivore, so I figured I'd be fine.

I struggled with the menu, which I hate.  I just didn't really see anything that grabbed me, but we started with the wood-fired oysters with chili garlic butter, and I really enjoyed them.

Next came the mushroom salad, which was full of flavor - maybe a little bit too much flavor.  I could only eat a little before the flavor overwhelmed me.

Amy had the rabbit and dumplings, which was a little bit more like a rabbit pot pie but pretty good nonetheless.  In fact, I liked it more than my brisket and potato salad.  I don't really know what I thought I was getting, but I was kind of disappointed.  The meat was good, but not spectacular, and my mama's potato salad puts this one to shame!  In the end, I've been to Cochon, and that's all I'm saying.


In addition to two large bags of to-go food from Mother's, I brought back a King Cake from Sucre.  I loved the beautiful iridescent icing on top, and the kids were so excited (as you can see by the little photo-bomber).




Linking up

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Valentine's Day Gift Guides

Valentine's Day is just around the corner and we are here with some gift guides to get you thinking about the special people in your life.  I definitely do not go overboard but something personal is nice to show a little bit of thoughtfulness.  Pajamas, perfume or an adorable Beauty Counter gift set would be perfect!  Enjoy the gift guides.  I had to include a video of Jason Isbell and Amanda Shires performing "Cover Me Up".  I promise it is one of the best love songs out there today.  I cannot get enough of it.


For Her


For Him


Girl


Boy



Linking up with Doused in Pink & Curly Crafty Mom for Thursday Fashion Files
Home of Malones & East Coast Chic for Thoughts for Thursdays



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Monday, January 30, 2017

PSA: Transcendental Meditation

Makapu'u Lighthouse, Oahu
The #1 thing that I learned in 2016 is the Transcendental Meditation technique.  The TM teacher for our area is none other than Prudence Farrow Bruns.  She lives on 30a but comes twice a year to teach the TM class.  I was very interested in meditation but to be honest I was just as intrigued with Prudence.  She is the subject of the Beatles song "Dear Prudence".  In 1968, she went to India to study with Marharishi Mahesh Yogi and became a certified teacher of Transcendental Meditation.  It was at this time that she met the Beatles.  Prudence spent so much time in her room meditating that John Lennon was inspired to write the song about her (see complete lyrics here).

Prudence does an introductory talk on TM the first night.  It is free and open to anyone who is interested.  I attended the talk last September and signed up for the class immediately.  TM is easy to learn and I saw benefits in my everyday life almost immediately.  I would try to list all the benefits I have found but I am afraid I will fall short.  Instead, call it life changing.  I remember feeling as if my insides were in knots. After about two weeks of practicing TM, the feeling was gone.  It is pretty amazing.  This is a practice people, not a belief or something that will interfere with one's religion.

Oprah was so impressed with TM that she hired certified teachers to train all of her employees.  She has commented on how much more harmonious the environment is at her company.  Filmmaker David Lynch has been practicing TM for almost 40 years.  He created the David Lynch Foundation which teaches TM to veterans with PTSD.  The physical and mental benefits are great and there are many studies that support this.

Less stress, less anxiety, increased focus, inner peace...who doesn't want that?


Linking up with Biana & Style Elixir

Blalock Goldmine Road, Lake Burton, Georgia


Now when I yell at my kids their response is "Mommy, did you meditate today?" 😂



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Friday, January 20, 2017

30A Songwriters Festival - Did I Have Fun?


The 30A Songwriters Festival has become a tradition for us over the years.  We've made it to the festival every year since it started (except for one), and every year the weekend is full of a lot of music, very little sleep, many late-night dance parties and usually one-too-many adult beverages.  That combination makes for a really fun yet really exhausting weekend, and this year was no exception.

All that being said, I have to admit that this year I was not as excited about the event as I have been in years past.  The holidays really took the wind out of my sails, and the thought of getting the kids packed and ready to spend the weekend with my parents was overwhelming.  My lack of excitement made me start wondering if it was really worth all this effort.  I waffle back and forth between feeling like my life is a monotonous treadmill and a roller coaster.  Too many days of carpool lines, homework, laundry and after school activities, and I want to scream.  Yet, I feel like I push myself to have "memorable" experiences, and I'm not even sure that I'm enjoying them.  I know what you're thinking that I'm just never happy, but I promise I am.  I just can't help but wonder if the anticipation and the memories are sometimes better than the actual event.  What do you think?




We did a version of this brunch for New Year's Day, and it was so good that we decided to repeat it.  The brioche for the French toast was made ahead of time and frozen, so all we had to do was let it thaw the night before.  Because we did not have a left-over beef tenderloin like we did from NYE, we cooked a chuck roast in the crock pot over night in beef broth, red wine and some carrots, onion and garlic for flavor.  The next morning the meat was so tender and tasted great over creamy cheese grits.  

Festival footwear times four!  I've said it before, and I'm sticking with it, closed-toe shoes are a must at a music festival.  These platform Vince kicks (seen in black and limestone) have been my go-to shoes for the last several months.  Traci picked up these super-cute New Balance sneakers at J.Crew, which was conveniently just a few steps from the festival site.  Finally, you can never go wrong with a classic, black running shoe (here).

We loved getting to enjoy the festival with our good friend Laura, who owns one of our favorite shops, Bluetique.

Here are some highlights from John Prine and Levi Lowery.




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Friday, January 13, 2017

Highlights and Favorites 2016

Green Man taproom in Asheville
The second half of 2016 passed in a flash! We missed blogging and talked about it whenever we were together but days turned into weeks, weeks into months, and here we are in January 2017. This is the time when resolutions are made and we attempt to bring about positive change in ourselves and the world around us.  One of our resolutions was to start posting again on WMTH and in doing so be more honest (for more on this click here).  We had good times traveling, drinking, eating and hearing some great live music but those were the exclamation points.  There was a lot of real life in the middle and we are intent on sharing that as well.

Last August, we were able to sneak away for an overnight in Asheville after dropping our kids at camp.  I had not visited Asheville in almost ten years and a lot has changed! There were so many new restaurants and breweries to visit.  Hotel prices in Asheville are pretty steep but we were able to find a good last minute deal at Aloft.  If you have not visited Asheville in a while or ever, it is worth the trip.

It would not feel like fall without a Jason Isbell show in the books.  Emily and I were holding out for him to announce another October show at the Ryman but it did not happen.  Fortunately, we were able to see him in Mobile.  We loaded up the Seville bus with several other couples and made the hour long drive on a Friday night in September.  No photo documentation because we were in the moment (aka talking and sipping champagne) but scroll to the bottom of this post for a video from the show.  Also, we always feel a little goofy taking pictures of each other in front of other people.

Now on to a few new favorites in the skin care department.  Have you heard of Drunk Elephant?  I'm in love with this line.  I use the C-Firma Day Serum, B-Hydra Intensive Gel, TLC Framboos Glycolic Night Serum and the Virgin Marula Facial Oil.  Click the links at the bottom of this post if you are in search of a new skin care routine.  I am still seeking an eye cream that actually provides results.  Just finished Clarins Extra Firming Eye Cream with no visible improvement.  If you have one you love, do tell!  On a positive note, I have found a great under-eye concealer in Kat Von D's lock-it concealer creme.

The #1 thing that I am most excited to share from 2016 will have to wait until next time.  Until then, keep moving forward.  I love this quote from Craig Sager's speech at the 2016 ESPY Awards...

"If I've learned anything through all of this, it's that each and every day is a canvas, waiting to be painted-an opportunity for love, for fun, for living, for learning."


Wicked Weed's Funkatorium in Asheville
Fried Green Tomatoes at Chestnut in Asheville
Remember that small dog from last spring? Here she is now, 50lbs+. She's a sweet mess.
Rooftop sunset at The Henderson in Destin.





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