New Orleans. Food. Food. Food.

Yes’m.

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.

THE FOOD:

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!!!

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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.

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Learn to love the crazy


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. 

Friday Flashback

A short list of laws that were blatantly broken in my youth.

  1. Tunnel running
  2. Water tank climbing/swimming
  3. Pool hopping
  4. Trespassing
  5. Speeding
  6. Too many people in my vehicle
  7. Signage collecting
  8. Curfew

 

  1. -Zion
  2. -Dixie Rock
  3. -Every pool in St. George
  4. -Every golf course in St. George
  5. -The Gorge
  6. -Record: 11 people in my VW bug
  7. -Taco Bell/KFC/GAP….
  8. -Up all night (go to cheer practice at 6am, work for a few hours) Sleep all day.

 

My little red book of first dates

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.

Love= Being Vulnerable

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.

Ferris Bueller, you’re my hero

If you did know me when I was in middle school, you definitely knew what my favorite movie was:  Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. It’s no exaggeration that I could quote every line of the entire movie. That’s what happens when you see something over 100 times within a year or so. (It’s still my all time favorite. And I’d like to formally thank John Hughes).

Remember this movie?  Anyone? Anyone?  If you forgot, pause here and go watch it on Netflix.  You won’t regret it.  These were kids who figured out how to work the system. Even as a pre-teen I recognized these special gifts and I sometimes think this was the key to my happiness.  Here’s what I noticed.

1-He was kind to everyone

What advantage does this give him? Every advantage. Besides the old saying that it’s the golden rule, being kind provided him opportunities that never would have appeared if he hadn’t been friends, or at least friendly with so many people. People cared about him because he cared about them. “Ferris Bueller? You know him?” “Yeah he’s getting me outta summer school”. They exchanged favors. And although nobody knows if he really just passed out at 31 Flavors or was dying of disease, if they had known what was really happening in downtown Chicago, I’m quite certain no one would’ve ratted him out.

2-He was oblivious to challenges.

Nothing was impossible. “The question isn’t “what are we going to do,” the question is “what aren’t we going to do?” “You can never go too far”. “The bold survive”.  Why would getting Sloan out of school be a problem?  The Sausage King of Chicago doesn’t hesitate or backdown to get what he wants.  It doesn’t even occur to him that he had obstacles.  

3-He’s an amazing best friend.  

He encourages Cameron to get up and out of the house.  He helps through what is clearly depression and pushes him to stand up for himself. “Cameron: I am not going to sit on my @$& as the events that affect me unfold to determine the course of my life. I’m going to take a stand. I’m going to defend it. Right or wrong, I’m going to defend it.”

4-He always looked on the bright side.

He got a computer instead of a car so what do he do? He learned how to hack.  Hacking back then was equally easier and harder than it is now.  He changed how many times he was absent…from the comfort of his own home.  And while he didn’t own a car, I’m sure he never had a problem getting rides.   

5-He believed in himself and put himself first.  

But in a good way. “Not that I condone fascism, or any -ism for that matter. -Ism’s in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, “I don’t believe in Beatles, I just believe in me.”  We all should take care of ourselves first.  That way it’s actually easier to take care of others.

I love this movie.  So much.  Ferris Bueller, you’re still my hero. 

You’re still here? It’s Over. Go Home. Go.

Aura Photograph


While in New York last summer I wondered into China town and found myself in the Magic Jewelry Shop to have my aura photographed.  I had read a lot about these photographs with one blog in particular that made me curious.  And who can resist the colors?  The door was locked when I arrived and I had to wait to be buzzed in even though it was midday.  The tiny shop had two display cases filled with, of course, jewelry.

Right away I asked for the picture and a lady had me sit and place my hands to the sides of me on small black metal boxes.  She asked me to hold very still.  The photo was taken and I followed her to a display case where she did the reading.

Much to my surprise I was overwhelmed with the accuracy of the reading.  My aura colors that afternoon were bright yellows and oranges and reds.  There was darkness over my tummy, cloudiness over my heart and my body was tinted green.  The first thing she told me was that I needed to be mindful of eating breakfast every day and that not eating was the cause of the darkness in my photo.  Immediately I was impressed that she would know that I skipped breakfast the past three days.  She then told me that the orange meant I was a friendly, outgoing person.  The yellow represented that I had a major life change about two years ago and that it all was for the best, that I was growing into the person I was much more comfortable with and that it was making me truly happy.  The red was informing me that I needed to reach out to my creative side.  And the green tint picked up on my need to be compassionate.  Not surprising since I’m comfortable doing Hospice Care.  And the heart thing, cloudy, well, no surprise there.  I was given a few more details and it concluded with her telling me that the intensity moving from the bottom right to the left meant that the future was bright and I’d see amazing things in the next year.

She finished the reading while taping the photo to a card and suggesting a few pieces of jewelry to enhance the good and protect me from the bad.  I politely declined and was invited to come back again at a different time of day or the following day because our aura changes as often as our feelings.  While I didn’t get a chance during that trip, I plan to go again next time I get into the city again.