Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Prawlins in Nawlins

I'm happy to say I just indulged in 2 days off in New Orleans.

First, a swamp tour through Cajun Swamp Tours. The company owns a few acres of the Manchac Swamp, which was recently named one of the World's 10 Creepiest places by SmarterTravel (see article here: The tour was way more interesting than I thought it would be. We saw many an alligator, met the "famous" cat Mugsy who millions have watched scaring gators via YouTube, got to see what is said to be an original graveyard from the Julie Brown story, and held a baby alligator. Our tour guide was very knowledgable without being corny (unlike my Duck Tour in Philadelphia..).
 The swamp was actually really beautiful

 Gator catching some raw chicken

Of course I had to hit up some spots from the Food Network. First was Johnny's Po Boys. Johnny's was featured on Best Thing I Ever Ate for their Muffaletta from Scott Conant. You could tell this was an old joint inhabited by tourists and locals alike. I had the Catfish Po-Boy which was deliciously crispy and fried without being greasy. The bread was a little stiff for me, but I know everyone has their own preferences..

After a long day, I stopped in Mahoney's, featured on Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. I got the grilled shrimp, fried green tomatoes, and roumelade Po Boy. I almost had a heart attack when I found out the large was $25. $25?! I have to say, the sandwich was large and delicious. Probably the best Po Boy I've had, but, not quite there..

The next day included Cafe Beignet which was featured on $40 a Day with Rachael Ray as well as Best Thing I Ever Ate for their Beignets a la Alton Brown. I ordered the mushroom omlette and the pecan tart. The omlette was less than impressive. The omlette was served with plain grits that had absolutely no flavor and 2 slices of french bread that were as bland as could be. The pecan tart, on the other hand, was one of the most amazing things I've ever had. I would not eat a meal here, but would check out the bakery items. The cafe was super cute, but (some of) the staff was less than friendly. Next time I'll just get the pecan tart to go!

I also had amazing pralines and candy at Southern Candymakers (Sweet Potato Pralines? Count me in!), did some shopping in the French Quarter/Magazine St, and had a couple of drinks on Bourbon St.

This experience has been really different from the last time I was in New Orleans, but I love it just as much.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Travel update

Two events in two days in between two 10 hour drives in Jonesboro, AR. Whew!

Baton Rouge-> Day 1-event 8am-4pm, 7pm-11pm-> huge event set-up. Day 2-wake up at 3am, finish set-up 4:00am-8:00am, event 8:00am-7:00pm. Drive halfway to New Orleans for event the next day.

The days were long BUT our event was super cool! I love my job and I love being a part of big events. Everything about them is so interesting to me.
New Orleans->New Orleans has always been one of my favorite cities. It's so special. Call me a weirdo, but I've always wanted to go to the Superdome because that's where people were housed during Katrina. I was in New Orleans in 2007 to do relief work and I saw some crazy things that really put the city in a special place for me. 
Our event at the Superdome was probably my favorite event so far. We were incredibly successful in terms of our goals and I had a blast. I wish we had gotten to go inside of the game, but once my "event high" wore off, I realized that I was actually still quite tired from the two days prior.

Doesn't my trailer look great with downtown New Orleans as the background?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Always a hunt..

Since this blog is supposed to be about all things that make me happy, we'll get to today's post: bargains.

I don't know how to say this without sounding overtly girly, but I love discount shopping and all of my friends are always surprised by my awesome deals.
Sunglasses. I love them, but I can't spend too much money on them. I don't take care of them. Today I was shocked by the selection of sunglasses at TJ Maxx in Jonesboro, AR (of all places). Prada, Stella McCartney, Burberry, Coach, Juicy Couture, and most importantly, Carrera on super clearance. I've previously spotted Ray Bans, Tom Ford, Oliver Peoples... you get the idea.. But, back to Carrera. These styles retail for $120 (I'm fully aware that many of the other brands I've listed retail for way more) but there's an EXCELLENT selection at TJ Maxx and Marshalls. Pretty much every style currently being sold on I saw a bunch of styles on clearance for $29 and some for $39. The original (TJ Maxx) price tag on these is $49.99, which is still great considering the selection. I picked up this pair for my best friend who has been eyeing these forever. $29 before tax

Don't quote me on it, but I think these are the same exact style and color combo:

Call me a MAXXonista...

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Recap: 7 days in Knoxville/Pigeon Forge

Knoxville, TN has been home for the past 7 days. I'm liking it. I'm about 15 minutes from Pigeon Forge, one of my favorite places in the country.
I have a long drive ahead tomorrow to Jonesboro, AR, but I'll leave you with some pictures from TN:

Arriving at Dollywood. I thought Dollywood would be a little more "hoaky" than it was; I was impressed.

No lines in October!

Waiting for "Dreamland" to start. Dreamland was one of the free shows at Dollywood. I grew up a little spoiled by Broadway shows in NY, but this show was great.

Blue Coast Burrito Grille. Everything I put in my mouth was delicious. Fresh tortilla chips, pineapple salsa (!!), the burrito, and absurd (in a good way) fish tacos. Margarita was ok.
I can't believe I'm saying this about a place in Knoxville, TN, but the fish tacos were comparable to some of the better ones I've eaten in San Diego/Orange County.

A shot of downtown Knoxville, TN.

Yes, this is my boyfriend snuggling the giant stuffed monkey he {supposedly} won for me at Dollywood.

Bye Pigeon Forge/Knoxville.
I want to make a note that "Zorb Globe Riding" (the politically correct name) was not in my itinerary this time around, but it's the reason I fell in love with Pigeon Forge. If you've never been to the area before, it is an absolute MUST. There's really no way to make this look exhilarating, but take a plunge on the "Zydro" and thank me later.

Off to Arkansas. 


Tasty Bliss. Taste the happiness? Blissfully tasty? Ok, maybe not.
Starting a blog has been on my "to do" list for way too long to justify the fact that it hasn't actually been done.
With a semi-steady work schedule, I have no more excuses.
Although this blog is mostly intended to document my personal life/travels for myself, family, and friends, I'm hoping to post some fun travel tips, recipes (once I learn to cook, of course) and some things girly as well.

I felt the need to have a bland "Welcome to..." post, so here it is. More to come..

Please note that although companies I work for/programs I have worked on may be mentioned in my blog, I am self-employed. This blog is intended for personal use and any posted opinions/content are solely mine.