I can’t even begin to tell you how much I enjoyed my trip to the deep south. Without a doubt, it’s the best trip for destination food I’ve ever had. Seriously. So let’s start there.
Mothers Restaurant’: Just a few blocks from Bourbon Street. Here was southern chicken and Turnip Greens at it’s finest. I couldn’t decide which side to order, so, of course, I ordered all of them. I had Cabbage, Red Beans and Rice, Green Beans. The history of the place is cool too. It’s written on the menu. The owners sit by the door and greet everyone as you come in and thank you for coming as you leave. High five me for that recommendation.
GW Fin’s: Found on Beinville Street. If you want a swanky place near Bourbon Street, go here. I will say that I’ve had oysters 5 times while in NOLA. And these were the best. Dreamy food all around.
In the French Market District there’s a little seafood place called J’s Seafood Dock. I got lucky; crawdad’s were in season. We got a lesson on how to eat them, twist off the tail, suck out the juice from the body, peel off one side at a time from the tail, enjoy. I DID!!!
While wondering around the state of Lousyanna, as one google map declared, we found a little chicken shop. Jenny’s Overstuffed Po-Boy’s & Chicken Shop. I’ve been heavily avoiding meat since the beginning of the year. But I walked in and immedietly knew I’d be eating Jennies Fried Chicken. It’s what y’all have heard about. Fried chicken at it’s absolute finest. Her slaw was unbelievable too. I don’t even like cole slaw.
The Original Brown Derby. This crazy place was hidden in a gas station. And not the clean kind. I was slightly hesitant but it was the last day of my trip and the smell made it impossible to resist. I went for the Radish Greens and Debi got BBQ ribs. Once again, I enjoyed southern comfort food that only the south knows how to perfect.
Beignets. You can find good ones everywhere. I enjoyed mine at Cafe Du Monde and Morning Call in the city park.
As a second generation southerner, we grew up on grits and cream of wheat. It’s one of my favorite foods, I make some tasty grits, and so I wasn’t interested in trying any while there. But, of course, we did and now I have new things to experiment with at home. I found a shaved ice stand and a popsicle stand that were so yummy too. I only had one meal that was not delicious. It wasn’t bad just not delicious. We went out of our way to find hole-in-the-wall, old school, real southern food and we came out as champs.
There’s so many mixed messages out there about love: Love yourself more, share your love more. Don’t love any less than 100%, you deserve a perfect love. Leave if you aren’t getting what you need from your relationship, relationships take a lot of work so don’t give it up. Do what’s right for yourself, don’t be selfish. Don’t be so picky, don’t settle for less. Find a soul that matches yours, love is chemical. If the feelings are mutual, the effort is mutual. Men are from Mars, Women is from Venus… and on and on and on. Ugh.
All of its right and all of its wrong. Everyone is different. There’s no one size fits all to how find love. There’s no true 36 questions for finding The One. But I’ll share my mind on the matter and let you in on my personal philosophy:
Love like crazy. Love is crazy. Love makes you crazy. Learn to love the crazy.
That may be the greatest thing I’ve realized recently. Love is never as I expect it to be, it’s always changing, never the same from day to day, hurts more than child labor, puts my head in the clouds, gives me bliss out of this world, and at times it’s even better than I ever could’ve imagined.
A short list of laws that were blatantly broken in my youth.
- Tunnel running
- Water tank climbing/swimming
- Pool hopping
- Too many people in my vehicle
- Signage collecting
- -Dixie Rock
- -Every pool in St. George
- -Every golf course in St. George
- -The Gorge
- -Record: 11 people in my VW bug
- -Taco Bell/KFC/GAP….
- -Up all night (go to cheer practice at 6am, work for a few hours) Sleep all day.
I have a little red leather book hidden in my house, stashed away with a journal of mine. I started using both of them in June of 2015. I haven’t filled the first one up yet. That was never my intention. I hope I don’t make it that far. When I started them I honestly didn’t know the value of what I was keeping between the pages. Like a few other of my personal journals, I had researched a topic and set goals. I needed a place to organize my thoughts because I was going to be doing something that was unfamiliar to me. I was going to start dating.
My “little red book of first dates” holds the name of everyone I’ve gone on a first date with since June of 2015. There’s a lot of names in there. After every first date, I’d add their name to top of a new page and try to write three interesting things about that person and then at the bottom I added what I wore that day. I was only challenged by completing this task a few times either by a painstakingly boring date or one that I left within a few minutes of the date (-that story will come later). And the clothing added at the bottom was for the reason that if I happened to go on a second date, I didn’t want to be seen wearing the same thing.
My first few dates after my long-term relationship were awkward and silly. That very first date was documented in photos from a photo booth that make me laugh. Out loud. A legitimate lol. I got lucky with my first first date as he later turned into one of my best friends.
I skimmed through this little treasure a few weeks ago and realized that keeping this journal was the best thing I’ve done for myself while dating. I could see the type of guys I dated, my thoughts about them, what stood out to me and what I liked about each one. I noticed what I thought were priorities for qualities in my dates ended up not being as important as I thought. I’m less judgemental about all my dates in general now and haven’t lowered my standards but defiantly widened my horizons on whom I chose to go out with. Less is more, simple is better and there are days that dating feels ridiculous and I’d prefer to stay in bed, watch cat videos, and eat popcorn or cheat food. But I always had a lot of fun on all my dates. Or at least I had an entertaining story to tell. I usually left each date thinking I said too much. Or too little. Or I didn’t ask enough questions. Or the right questions. I was nervous Every. Single. Time. None of them was I more nervous than my last first date. So it hasn’t got any easier. I don’t expect it every will be.
An atheist, a vegan, and a crossfitter walk into a bar…I only know because they told everyone within two minutes.
It’s funny because it’s true.
It only took me 9 seconds, the time for you to read that joke, to announce my current life as a vegan.
Every year I choose a random diet plan to educate myself about what I use as fuel for my body. It is not about weight loss. It’s about awareness. And this diet was significant. I started with information from the Netflix documentary Forks Over Knives. I read tons of articles and doctors point of views on eating vegan. I looked at recipes for a month before I decided it was something reasonable that I could do. Protein was not going to be an issue and being hungry never happened. I actually felt full most of the time. It was a challenge only to cut out dairy but I loved the experience.
Here are a few things happened while not eating animals:
1-ENERGY. I’m still exhausted the majority of the day, however, I noticed I’m not obsessing about wanting to take a nap every afternoon. In fact, since January 1st, I’ve only taken 4. Compared to usually trying to sneak in at least 3 a week!
2-CLEARER THINKING. I set aside time to meditate everyday and I’ve actually done it. A few reasons why I think I can concentrate more is because I think food allergies give me ADD.
3-SKIN. I believe it’s true what they say about dairy affecting your skin.
The hardest part was no butter. And cheese is a staple around here. I missed them both terribly. Surprisingly after only 2 weeks I didn’t crave any meat or dairy products at all. I’m a self-declared cheese addict who no longer feels the need to add cheese to every meal and snack. I learned that I was addicted to the casein, which is the protein in milk products. I won’t go into any more educational detail but I learned so much about food on this diet that I will not go back to my regular eating habits. I won’t be 100% because what fun is Thanksgiving without turkey and who wants toast without butter. But I can give veganism a hearty 98%.
66 days later and I ordered a vegan roll at Island Sushi. Our waiter informed us that all the speciality rolls were half off. Of course I ordered the baked scallops with eel sauce. It tasted like heaven but I didn’t need to eat it and I’m happy to eat meat on special occasions. (When bff’s come to town, it’s a special occasion, right?)
*Next diet starting in 2 weeks. 14 days of Vegan/Keto. I’m interested in learning about carb and protein balance. If you’ve ever done a Ketosis diet let me know how you liked it, what you did to stay motivated, and any tips you may have.
I’m vulnerable and I loathe it. But I love it more.
Let me share a favorite love story with you:
I fell in love.
I felt loved back, he definitely loved me and he said so, often. He showed me by acting like it too. After a while I got to a point where I was wondering if we were officially a couple. (The dreaded exclusive). I finally forced the conversation with him about what direction our relationship was headed. He wasn’t having anything to do with a commitment! Even worse, he told me he was still in love with someone else!! I was mortified. It didn’t occur to me that he could feel like that about anyone else when he made me feel like the only person in the whole world. At the same time, I knew it. His words confirmed what my instincts knew already. But my heart ached. I was literally crushed. It was the first time that I voiced my love out loud in years. I felt like I had failed in earning love back.
A few days later, I woke up and realized that I did something incredibly hard for most of us to do. I took the risk to tell him everything I felt. I was so proud of myself. It didn’t matter anymore that he didn’t feel the exact same about me that I felt about him. I had told him and that is ALL I can do. I was still hurting but I respected myself for taking the leap forward in my life, for breaking through on a new skill. I was true to myself. I knew I couldn’t sit back and wait for others to make progress in my life anymore. I learned that not everyone needs to like me the same way I like them. Or love me the way I love them. And it’s okay for me to be the one who loves more. In the days that followed I developed true empathy. A little for him, those are hard confrontations to converse about, but mostly for me. I learned to be okay not being bulletproof. I was okay with failing. It’s going to happen over and over. Everyday.
Today, he is one of my dearest friends. It turns out that our love for each other was supposed to be just what it is now. And it’s wonderful. What was seen as devastating and heartbreaking became a lifelong friendship of the best kind.
I spent too many years of my life not telling people how I felt. When I was released from that stage of my life, I told everyone how much I loved them. Or sometimes how little I loved them. I have zero shame in telling now. It’s how I feel. I get to own that feeling. However, new experiences creep up on me, then shyness and fear set in, walls go up, and I have to learn to be vulnerable all over again with the new person. It’s hard work. I imagine when I have a relationship where I risk it ending by voicing my true feelings, it’ll always be difficult. While it devours me in the moment to say the word “love”, it always feels better on the other side no matter what the outcome.
Is there someone out there that needs to know that you love them? You should tell them. Right now. The world sometimes sees vulnerability as a weakness. I only see it as a strength. And while I fail at it all the time, it is exactly what makes me feel the most alive.