I have some exciting news to share, but FIRST...

If you're anything like me, hunting for new and exciting places to shop, eat, sip, and see is a fun, but sometimes daunting task. In New Orleans, where many of the "go-to" websites seem to promote locations regularly inundated with bead-wearing tourists, this can be especially hard. Not to knock any of the well-known New Orleans "hot spots" (Lord knows I love the Pat O's piano bar) but locals here tend to pride themselves on being "in the know" about stores, restaurants, and bars off the beaten path--especially when those locations offer a sweet deal or a unique product. So what's a girl to do when you can't seem to find anything fresh or exciting, you can't bring yourself to stare at one more Hurricane-stained tourist tongue, and the thought of braving Veterans Blvd. just to browse the racks at Lakeside yet again throws you into a tailspin?

Check out New Orleans Tidbits, a website that offers the inside scoop for the gal about town. The website offers information on specials, deals, and new happenings at stores, restaurants and bars around the city. If you really want to take the plunge and become a full-on Tidbits gal (you know you want to), sign up to receive twice weekly editorial articles via e-mail on fashion, food, drink, beauty, travel, music and any other life accessories a Tidbit gal could be interested in. You'll receive the skinny on must-haves, must-sees and must-dos around town. (I pulled that directly from the website, so you know it's a guarantee!) Also, for all you non-Nola ladies, Tidbits has websites for Houston, Austin, and San Antonio !

Now, for that news I mentioned earlier. I won't bore you with the nitty gritty details of how this all came about, so I'll just cut right to the chase: last week I was asked to become part of the Tidbits New Orleans team! Basically what I'm getting to do is help out the Editor-In-Chief scout out those "must-haves/sees/dos" around the city. So, pretty much living my dream of breezing in and out of unbelievably cool boutiques, eateries, and watering holes on a regular basis and using the line "I'm with Tidbits" to get THE SCOOP on everything awesome. (Can you tell I'm a little excited?) I was told that it's just me and one other gal on the New Orleans street team, so that means she and I both have lots of potential to unearth little hidden gems (yay!) I was also offered the opportunity to do a little writing (on topics I want...how cool is that?) for the biweekly emails, which nearly sent my head spinning right out the door. As you've probably gathered, I am beyond thrilled to be working with Tidbits--not only is the concept fun and original, but the Editor-In-Chief, Amy, is darling--and I know I am going to have such a great time being their newest contributor!

fly away


Does this happen in your city? I didn't think so. Yet another reason why I love you, New Orleans.

wisdom in hindsight

 I recently came across this quote, one of my all-time favorites, that acted as a sort of mantra for me during my college years. I had this little passage written on a Post-It note and stuck to my big old Apple desktop (lovingly referred to as "The Dinosaur Egg") to serve as a constant reminder of the importance of strength, self-awareness, and finding purpose in life. Now, I know you're probably thinking that this is quite an impressive run down of after-effects, especially for a one-sentence quote (from a movie, no less), but for me, it holds a lot of truth.

When I think back about times in my life that I've been particularly upset or confused, many of those instances stemmed from the feeling that I had somehow lost myself in a situation, or felt forced into a direction I didn't necessarily want to go (you know...those pesky "you should do this because..." situations, typically imposed on you by other people). In contrast, when I remember times that I have been the happiest and felt the most content, they have always been when I have had a clear vision of what I wanted and needed to do, as well as when I have been grounded in an understanding of my capabilities, character, and convictions. I think I love this quote so much because it reminds me of something my dad would always say to us: "Follow the Peace." That is, instead of following the shoulds in life-- which usually lead to heartache, disillusionment, resentment, and disappointment--run fervently towards what you know will bring peace to your life, spirit, and heart--the things you need and want. When you come to a place where you know you need to be, and when you fully understand who you are meant to be, other things fall away and the little things that pester or upset you suddenly seem very trivial.


On September 1st, my sweet sister Chandler will be embarking on an incredible journey that will take her to 11 countries in 11 months. She will minister to the sick, needy, and destitute. I couldn't be more proud of her. Read more about what she'll be doing HERE.

I love you, slumby!

amen, ben b.

tuesday treats


Today has been overwhelmingly boring completely devoid of any major obligations, save for my little excursion to the Westbank to meet Corey and Linda on their lunchbreak at the benchmark of the culinary world, Chili's. So, to occupy my abundance of free time, I decided to forego all of the mundane tasks lurking around every corner and instead, give you dear readers a little shot of beautiful things, places, and words. Nothing profound, insightful or thought-provoking...simply lovely little treats for the eyes and imagination. If you want a closer look at anything, simply click the image for a larger version. Enjoy.
I am beyond obsessed with anything this shade of acid green, especially when paired with crisp whites or light grays. While I do own two fantastic vintage acidy-green velvet wingback chairs, both just a smidge darker than the shade above and maybe my favorite pieces of furniture E-V-E-R, I think it would be so cool to incorporate the shade in other ways, like this half-wall (I swear I will get around to putting up pictures of the new casa one of these days. I do have photos of the chairs but sadly, they are terrible quality). In the meantime, I have been trying to snap up yummy acid-green (oxymoron?) pieces that I can wear. I bought this Kate Spade necklace while I was in San Francisco, and wear it with anything and everything I can (it looks a little yellow-y on the website, but trust me...it is full-on acid green. Love!) Also still lusting after this Anthropologie shirtdress that I mentioned a few weeks back, which has a great acid greenish/yellowish sash that contrasts perfectly with the cool gray and white of the dress.
I know that this is totally out there in the "land of things imagined"...but how cool is this caravan set-up? There's even a shower on top of the trailer with streamers...what?!?! I would have to bathe at least three times a day. I mean, I know that this little gem was probably set up for a photo shoot but, whatever. It brings out the uber-girly "let's put on pink tu-tus, bake cupcakes, and braid each others hair while we hang out in our custom-made caravan" ten-year-old in me...and I refuse to deny even the slightest bit of that.
Kilindi Resort in Zanzibar. I don't even know where on God's green earth Zanzibar is, but from the looks of things, it's somewhere I am now obligated to visit. Give me anything white stucco and I am instantly obsessed. Add in lanterns, an outdoor dining area, poolside chaise lounges, large trees, and sunset...and I go into full-on Rachel Zoe "I die-I die-Bananas" mode.
Again with the lanterns (I told you...) I think my obsession began when I hung white paper lanterns from my ceiling in high school. I mean, sure I left them on all the time and it made my room quite the fire hazard but so what? That's what fire alarms are for and it made my little corner of the house look tres chic. Anyway, back to these cute little Asian lanterns. Melissa and I have accumulated three fantastic lamps, each with an old Chinese vase as its base. One of these lamps is conveniently located by our sweet screened-in porch...which conveniently already has nails placed perfectly for hanging lanterns that would neatly tie up the little Asian accessories vibe we have going on. Just sayin'.
It recently came to my attention that there now exists the job-of-all-jobs...CANDY CURATOR. After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I read with my own green-from-envy eyes about Dylan Lauren--yes, Ralph Lauren's daughter, owner of Dylan's Candy Bar, and a fellow Theta (hey Dylan, hook a sister up with some sweet treats!)--who now holds the official title of "Candy Curator" at Self magazine. I wonder if instead of a business card they'll print her information on a giant jelly bean, or maybe stamp it into a chocolate bar. Hey, if you've got the title...may as well flaunt it a little bit, right?
Adorable ceramic notepad from Not on the High Street, which is like a British version of Etsy (I think) Seeing as this is made of glass, it would most certainly break upon its mere entrance into my purse...but would look great on my desktop, or mounted on the kitchen wall for grocery and to-do lists. Obviously pens are a no-go, so you scribble all your tasks down with china pencil. Much more sophisticated than the thousand or so Post-Its cluttering up my life.
More love for neon! The shade of the orange dress matches a Mint by Jodi Arnold dress I wore to dinner the other night, and I have a silk top by Fumblin' Foe that is the exact color of Diane Kruger's gown (I'm just SO on trend....I know) I really love the pink and the blue dresses on Gwyneth and Kirsten (less thrilled about the yellow) and must keep my eyes peeled for tops and dresses in these delicious shades. These colors are perfect for putting a little summer zing into the ol' wardrobe. And, most importantly, always make sure to smile when you're wearing day-glo colors...the shades are too happy for you not to! (ahem...Kiki Dunst)
Just lovely, and so true.
Where is this luxurious bathtub, and how do I get myself into it?
"How to be an Explorer of the World"...this looks like something a grown-up Harriet the Spy would have scribbled into one of her notebooks. Sidenote: I was infatuated with Harriet the Spy growing up. I read the book TWELVE times and was thoroughly convinced that it was my life's true calling to be a spy. I even made myself a spy kit and kept a notebook. (I know what you're all thinking, and yes...I was a peculiar little child.) To this day, I can't look at Michelle Trachtenberg, even in full-on Georgina Sparks mode on Gossip Girl, without thinking of her as Harriet in the movie version of the book.  Anyway, this list reminded me of a grown-up version of things Harriet would rattle off in her notebooks...things to do, things not to do, goals to accomplish, places to go, things to learn. I have to admit, I still envy Harriet the Spy a little bit from time to time and think about what would have become of my spy career if I had chosen to pursue it.




Lovely little thoughts for Monday:

(via LaLa Lovely and Just Be Splendid)

he should get a whole month, not just one day


HAPPY FATHER'S DAY to the greatest Padre there is! Thank you for everything that you do for me, all the words of wisdom passed my way, and the countless laughs that you bring to us all. Thank you for constantly encouraging me to have the strength, courage, and drive to become the person I want to be. Thank you for telling us to take chances, to learn to be selfish with our time and emotions, and to experience as much as we possibly can while we still can. You have taught me not to settle for second best, to persevere toward my goals, and to conduct myself tastefully and tactfully. I would not be where I am today without your guidance, support, and love. Thank you for being such a wonderful teacher, example, and father. You are an incredible blessing in my life! I love you!
Me & Mufasa snoozin'
Harbour Island...King of the Beach
Alabama State Fair

restaurant rundown


In New Orleans, food serves a much higher purpose than simply nourishing one's body. Here, it is both the cause and the center of most gatherings, a constant topic of conversation, the source of many an argument (who has the best po-boys/crawfish/gumbo/brunch?) and a significant component of each month's budget. Not to sound cliche (or painfully obvious), but eating out is a huge part of the New Orleans culture. We linger over lunch into late afternoon, drag ourselves to Sunday brunch after a night out in hopes of finding the elusive, yet miraculous cure-all meal, eat like a bird all day to save room for a big, indulgent dinner (something I am regularly guilty of), and proudly run through our dossiers of where we've been and what we've tried. While living in a culinary mecca can take its toll on one's wallet and waistline, you'd be hard pressed to find someone who would give up the oh-so-difficult habit of eating some of the world's best and most unique food. Sure, you might have a thicker billfold and a smaller behind, but if you're going to come to New Orleans and eat bran cereal and salad the whole time, well...you might as well just go back to where you came from.

Since moving to New Orleans, I'd like to say that I've covered some seriously delicious ground. It's no secret that I love to eat out and love even more to suggest new places and dishes for my friends and visitors to try. So, I've put together a list of some of my local favorites, along with what I usually (or always, in some cases) order. Bon Appetit!

Slim Goodies Diner. I can't even begin to describe my love for this place. Great atmosphere, good music playing, and excellent food. They serve breakfast and lunch (awesome burgers), but I ALWAYS order The Guatemalan. Two eggs, homemade salsa, tortillas, sour cream, black beans, and avocados. The dish used to include fried plantains, but they've removed them for some unknown, and very sad reason. A small tragedy, but of course, I still continue to order this meal. Give me a hot cup of coffee and this is hands-down my all time favorite breakfast.

St. James Cheese Company. When I think of history's great love affairs, a few names come to mind: Antony & Cleopatra, Napoleon & Josephine, Romeo & Juliet, Scarlett O'Hara & Rhett Butler. You can go ahead and add St. James Cheese Co. & Hattie to that list. To me, this is one of the happiest places in the city, run by the former cheese expert to the British royal family (yes, seriously.) If heaven is anything like I think it will be, God will have a St. James Cheese Company waiting just inside the Pearly Gates. Go with a friend, and split the Cheese Board with 3 varieties of cheese, various fruits, jams and nuts. I usually order the Brie de Meaux, a simple but delicious sandwich of just Brie and ham on crusty French bread. I also like the Beecher's Cheddar--cheddar, smoked turkey, fresh basil, tomato and avocado on ciabatta.

Il Posto Cafe. I recently discovered this little treasure after moving in to the new casa. It is only a few blocks from our house, which means that fresh, simple, and tasty food is within walking distance. The atmosphere is great--it's as though someone transported a precious and romantic little Italian cafe to Uptown. Their house red wine is delicious, as is the complimentary fresh bread with olive oil and balsamic. Along with this, you really must get the Antipasti Platter to share. There are so many yummy things piled on this platter that you really don't need much else (a mistake I will only make once) but if you must, split the Classic Proscuitto Panini--divine.

J'Anita's at the Avenue Pub. This restaurant holds a special place in my heart--Corey and I frequented J'Anita's when we first started dating, and would flirt over pulled pork BBQ, hot baked beans and greasy (but the best) fish sandwiches ever...sounds painfully romantic, I know. So, imagine my horror when one Sunday we pulled up and saw an EMPTY restaurant...literally, not a single chair or bowl of beans in sight. After a few months of a J'Anita's-shaped hole in my life, they re-emerged at the Avenue Pub on St. Charles with a re-vamped, but still incredible menu. While the new location lacks the charm and individuality of the old one, there's no getting around the fact that their food is to die for. Also, they garnish everything with a little animal cracker, which makes it not only delicious but kind of cute too. Try: The Best Fish Sammich Ever (redfish on La Boulangerie’s wonderful ciabatta, with bacon, grilled onion, Caesar dressing, feta, tomato and romaine) Pulled Pork Plate, or the St. Chuck Duck (a sandwich experience you‘ll never forget...grilled sourdough with currant tapenade, cheddar and bleu cheeses, Cabernet sautéed duck and granny smith apples...TO.DIE.FOR.)

El Gato Negro. Three words: Hand Squeezed Margaritas. Oh, ok and a few more: queso fundido, homemade pulled pork tamales, burritos the size of your head. El Gato Negro gets it right in a city that, despite its other culinary achievements, is seriously lacking in the Mexican department. Nobody can compete with this place's authenticity (I'm talking to you Taqueria Corona...with your brown guac and plates so full of melted cheese you can't see--or taste--the tortillas). It is the antithesis of Americanized Mexican food, somewhere I go when I want to taste a little of back home, watch some soccer and listen to quality Tejano.

Cochon. I almost start hyperventilating when I talk about Cochon, I am that obsessed. Cochon means "pig" in French, and, while true to its name in serving some of the city's best pork, Cochon also dishes out some incredible pork-free plates. I really could go on for ages about how much I adore the interior of Donald Link's dining room, with the rustic-yet-chic decor and classics by Willie Nelson, Hank Williams and George Jones (among others)playing on the stereo. But instead, I'll just tell you what to get: start with the Fried Alligator with Chili Garlic Aioli or the Fried Rabbit Livers with Pepper Jelly Toast...move on to the Smoked Beef Brisket with Horseradish Potato Salad or the Ham Hock with Sweet Potatoes, Pickled Greens & Black Eyed Pea Ham Broth...finish with Pineapple Upside Down Cake and a shot of Catdaddy Moonshine (yes...they have a full menu of moonshine, legal of course, which makes Cochon that much cooler.)

Domilise's Po-Boys. If you're going to Domilise's for the first time, you have to really look for the building, or you just might miss it. The sign on the side of the old white house is much more faded than the one in this photo, making it easy to drive by. I'm infatuated with just about everything that is Domilise's...from the little old ladies making the sandwiches, to the walls covered with newspaper articles, shrines to the Mannings (they frequented during their days at Newman) and the Saints, and the sweet man behind the bar who I see riding his bike all over Uptown. I usually get the Fried Shrimp or Roast Beef with a Barq's in a bottle or a Dixie Beer. If that doesn't sound like perfection, then I don't know what does.

Commerce. This is the kind of restaurant where everyone calls you "darlin" "sweetie" and "baby" (although...there aren't many in New Orleans that don't) and the food is made with that same kind of love. It doesn't look like much from the outside, but it is a well-known fact that little hole-in-the-wall places are always the best...and this is no exception. Their gumbo is so incredible and they have huge, tasty baked potatoes loaded up with everything imaginable that is bad for you.

Casamento's. Nobody is born an oyster person...you have to become an oyster person. I mean, seriously...who in their right mind would look at a raw, slimy lump of seafood pulled straight from the mud and think "delicacy"? Before moving to New Orleans I refused to even consider sitting next to a plate of oysters, I was that grossed out by them. But, thanks to my Granddad's coaxing during dinner one night in Houston, I succumbed to trying just one, and have never looked back. Casamento's is closed during the summer, meaning they are only open during peak oyster months, ensuring that you get the freshest ones available. Established in 1919 and tiled inside and out, you can't help but feel like you're sitting in a piece of history when you eat here. I don't think I even need to suggest what to try at Casamento's...

Naked Pizza. I know you're probably thinking, "Is she seriously suggesting that I come to New Orleans and eat pizza?" Actually, yes. That's exactly what I'm doing. There are always those nights when you don't feel like getting all gussied up and just want to lounge, watch a movie, and devour some great pizza. Usually after this happens, however, pizza guilt inevitably set in, along with the little food baby growing in your belly. Enter these guys. Naked Pizza boasts the very impressive characterisitcs: no preservatives, no high fructose corn syrup, no added sugar, no trans fats, diversity of an Ancestral Blend™ of grains, cheese, veggies and meat, all-natural. Pizza that is actually good for you is truly a miracle, so throw guilt to the wind and dig in! The BBQ Chicken is my absolute favorite.

Gaspare's Gelateria. Not only is Gaspare's owned by our dear friend Christopher Cazenave ("Caz" to everyone), but the gelato and paninis are divine. With his attention to detail in capturing flavors, Caz has quickly established himself as one of New Orlean's best gelato makers, getting recognized by several local publications. His paninis are pretty killer too, my favorite being the Roma (turkey, mozzarella, basil) Caz continually comes up with great flavors, but the one that always impresses (and sells out) is his King Cake gelato served during Mardi Gras. I'm not even going to try and attempt to describe the gelato-making process, but all I do know is that the ingredients include the actual thing you want the gelato to taste like...meaning, Caz puts entire King Cakes (from Randazzo's...the best) into the mix for this particular flavor. People go nuts over this stuff, myself included, so stocking up is a must!

I hope you enjoyed the rundown of some of my favorite spots (I really may have to do a Part II to this post...)If there are any out-of-towners reading this, I beg you...please, please venture out and away from tourist traps like Landry's and Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. when you visit. It will be worth it, I promise.

i'm a hustler baby...i just want you to know

Adelaide and I spotted this little gem on the way to the airport the other morning. Hustlin' in a Honda mini-van and proud of it! Needless to say, we were both hysterically laughing ourselves to tears and almost ran off the road trying to get the perfect snapshot of a true gangsta's ride. Ohhh New Orleans...

bad blogger


Ok, I'll admit it...I've been seriously lazy the past few weeks about posting. Since I know that there are so many people out there hanging on my every word, I vow to try a little harder at putting my thoughts and findings out into the blogosphere, however silly or inconsequential they may be (making promises via the internet is very serious stuff, you know.) BUT, and I'm not trying to justify being a blog slacker, I have had quite a whirlwind few weeks...

We spent some time in the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee for Chandler's graduation from Lee University, and make a quick stop in Athens to see our dear friends Becky and Daniel, as well as some of Corey's buddies from his time at UGA...

After just 24 hours in New Orleans to unpack, do laundry and re-pack, enjoyed a wonderful reunion in Tulsa with these ladies...

Then we sped down to the Hill Country for a little R&R, birthday celebrations for Adelaide, wine tasting at Becker Vineyards, French tacos at the Hunt Store, and hanging at mini-Stonehenge (that's right, we have a replica of the mythical monument 2/3 to scale about 15 minutes from the house)...

After a few days in Hill Country heaven, we made our way to Baton Rouge for Corey's brother Casey's graduation and got to spend some fun time with he and his sweet girlfriend Grayson. On our way there, we made a little pit stop at my family's old farm, La Nuez Grande, sold a couple years ago. I can't put into words how much this place means to me and how many incredible memories it holds.

Finally back in Nola, it was time to get organized for the big move from here...

to here!

With these two lovely ladies:

In between packing, de-cluttering and adjusting to the now inescapable New Orleans heat, we took a day trip to the still-clean beaches of Bay St. Louis

We also received some news about Corey's health (while we were relaxing on the beach no less...I guess if you're going to get "news" that's the best place to hear it!) He's been diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes and the past few weeks have been full of learning about how to check blood sugar, give insulin, regulate diet and keep health risks associated with the disease at bay. Through everything, he has had such an incredible attitude and I am amazed by how he has handled it all. We've come to understand how manageable diabetes really is, and while I'm sure that the lifestyle changes that come with it will be somewhat challenging at first, I'm in this with him every step of the way.

Currently, I'm getting settled into the new casa, enjoying some time with my madre and sister who have been visiting and LOVING the fact that I finally have my sweet little Benny with me in New Orleans! (he lived with my parents during my 2 years of graduate school)

I think that brings us up to speed! I cross my heart there will be more to come sooner rather than later!