The zoo is in town

Tigers and elephants everywhere! The BCS championship is tonight in the Dome and the city is going crazy.

People are taking off work, businesses are closing early and streets are being cordoned off to make room for all the tourists and locals alike.

We got a preview last night when the Bama fans across the street from us set off some fireworks for a few hours – that was fun.

I’m really torn about who I want to win tonight. I mean, I was raised a Bama fan, so ideally I would like them to win. But their win would also mean hours of loud partying for the Bama fan across the street and if those fireworks were any preview, it would be a loud, long celebration.

On the other hand, if the Tigers take the game there will undoubtedly be scores of fans streaming out of the bars down the street every hour, on the hour. And of course, they will stop on our corner to scream their drunken rants and loudly call their friends/a cab – because apparently our corner is the best place ever to do that.

On the up side, the forecast calls for rain tonight so that would be awesome. Rain = no permanent loud noises outside of our house, only passing noises as fans run to their cars/homes. The rain would also drown out those kids across the street.

So I’m rooting for the rain…and the tide.

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Let Carnival begin!

Phunny Phorty Phellows on the St. Charles streetcar on Twelfth Night

Last night was Twelfth Night, a.k.a. Kings Day, a.k.a. the official start of the Mardi Gras season in New Orleans.

Wesley and I headed to the Eiffel Society for the Muses party and watched the Phunny Phorty Phellows ride by on the streetcar. The great thing about watching the PPP with the Muses is that they riders went all-out and actually got off of the car to greet people.

At the party, we  had the good – or bad – food experience of trying sausage wrapped in bacon for the first time. It tasted good, but I could feel my arteries clogging after one bite. We also got to have our first bites of King Cake for the season.

I can’t wait for this year’s Mardi Gras line-up; it includes Will Ferrell (my absolute favorite) as the Grand Marshall for Bacchus and Joan Jett headlining at the aMUSEment party! If I get a glimpse of Will Ferrell it will make up for me being the only person in Nola who has never spotted a celebrity in town.

The parades kick off in February with Krewe du Vieux – a personal favorite for me and Wesley. This year’s theme is “Crimes Against Nature” – last year it was a bunch of penises parading down Bourbon, so I can only imagine what this year’s outfits will be.

The same weekend, Muses will have their bead distribution and float viewing party. I can’t wait to get all of the swag I ordered last year and viewing the floats is one of my favorite parts of being a member.

Back in Uptown…

Today we took our bikes in to the shop on Oak Street – finally – and learned that they will be pretty easy and cheap to fix. The guy there was super nice, hopefully this experience is better than our bike-buying experience at Wally World. We also headed to Patisserie for lunch and had some really excellent sandwiches – I really cannot recommend them enough.

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Getting ready for the end of the world

According to ABC News, the “countdown to the apocalypse is on” and I can’t help but wonder if I’m ready.

As an educated, mildly religious and somewhat rational person, I can honestly say I’m not too worried that the world will end on Dec. 21, 2012 as some believe the Mayans have predicted. But on the other hand, I can’t say that I’m not a little irrationally uneasy about it. But there isn’t much we can all do about it except sit around, wait and maybe plan.

So I’ve been thinking about my New Year’s resolutions – something else that I’ve never been able to take very seriously or keep to. I’ve vowed to exercise more, clean more, learn more, etc, etc but nothing has ever stuck.

This year I’m starting off with some bold, difficult tasks for myself. But maybe the looming end-days will give me the motivation that I lacked before? Time will tell.

All I know for sure is that a lot of stress is in store for this coming year – not sure yet if it will be good or bad stress, but stressful it will undoubtedly be. So to be as prepared as possible, I have a range of resolutions from eating healthier, being more active, sticking to my Italian and … drum roll please … taking candy completely out of my diet. Now I’m not so crazy to think I can cut sugar or desserts completely out, but candy specifically will be avoided – things like candy bars, cookies, Hershey kisses, etc. Wish me luck!

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NOLA Christmas + 5 year anniversary

Wesley and I have officially been together for more than 20 percent of our lives. Pretty crazy stuff. 

We celebrated by going down to the Quarter on Saturday and finishing up my Christmas shopping. Then we headed over to Domenica for the happy hour (half off drinks and pizza!) which I cannot say enough about. We’re definitely going back to this place. And it’s in the Roosevelt Hotel, which was beautifully decorated with a bunch of flocked trees and white lights – I prefer the multi-colored strands myself, but still pretty.

After dinner, we headed to NOMA to see “Romeo and Juliet” performed in the great hall – basically in the middle of the museum. It was pretty awesome and the acting was good. The costumes were a little weird…some were in period dress and other were in modern suits and ties…

After the play, we headed over the Celebration in the Oaks since we were already in the area. We originally went there to go ice skating, which was advertised as a “professional” synthetic ice for adults. Yeah, it was like 25 square feet and definitely not for adults. But we walked around the park and botanical gardens and saw the lights. Santa and his gators in a Cajun Night Before ChristmasWe also learned about Cajun Christmas, which is very different from the holiday that we grew up with. In Cajun Christmas, Santa rides a “skiff” pulled by French gators that then climb up the side of the house as Santa magically disappears for a while. Santa then attempts to go down the chimney, but can’t and falls on his butt because he is drunk. Seriously. Can’t make this stuff up. I would have liked it, but it made me sad to think how some of these Louisiana kids have no chance at speaking proper English. I couldn’t even understand half the words they read in the story. Schools here really have their work cut out for them.

On Sunday, we went to brunch at Antoine’s – the oldest restaurant in New Orleans. We got to sit right by the big (multi-color lighted) Christmas tree and the band, and we got the best service ever. Antoine’s is probably the nicest restaurant in the Quarter – a lot of famous people have eaten there, like General Patton, the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, President Roosevelt, Judy Garland, Carol Burnett and Pope John Paul the II. We also ordered the Baked Alaska!

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Long-overdue update

Sorry for the unannounced hiatus! I realize that I haven’t posted in about two months, but hopefully everyone hasn’t given up on me yet! So much has happened since October, so here’s a brief (and random) overview:

Destruction in Italy

Here I am in Cinque Terre in 2007

Shortly after my last post, a massive weather system hit Cinque Terre in Italy and caused a lot of mudslides that basically destroyed one of the largest towns in the area, Vernazza. If you know me and/or have ever heard me talk about my experiences studying abroad in Italia, then  you know that I was very partial to this area of the country. It is a beautiful five-town chain along the northern coast that, while offering services for tourists, hasn’t been spoiled by over crowding of foreigners. How it is literally buried under about 8-10 feet of mud. They’ve been slowing digging out since then, but it’s really awful. You can see updates on the progress here, and there is also a trustworthy donation site in case you want to help.

Hunger Games movie!

If you follow my Twitter updates or Goodreads, then you know that I L-O-V-E the Hunger Games series. Definitely top 3 for me.

Well they announced earlier this year that they would be making a movie and throughout the year have announced one-by-one who would play each character. I was a little put-off when they announced that Jennifer Lawrence would play the lead, Katniss. But I went ahead and rented Winter’s Bone to see how good of an actress she was and I was definitely impressed. Hopefully she can pull this off! Check out more info on the movie or watch the super awesome trailer.

 Work fun

One of the most fun things at work is when I get to collect letters to Santa from local elementary schools. Louisiana kids are definitely different than the group I grew up with – so many asked for guns and I was the only person in the office shocked at that!

This year, I got to do a similar activity for Thanksgiving. We asked kindergarten and 1st grade kids to write down what their favorite Thanksgiving food is and how it is made. Best response:

“I like turkey but it was fast…and the turkey ran away. He ran up the tree and he falls so he could get dead and we could cook him. Now we know it was an avatar” 

Did not see that twist coming lol.

Eratic weather

SNOW in Abq!

The temperatures in New Orleans over the last few months have been totally ridiculous. One day the high/low is 60/39 and the very next day it could be 82/68. Not a fan of the warm winter weather – at all. But I did get to experience a real winter for once this year. I visited Rebecca in Albuquerque again and this time got snow all four days that I was there!

I made snow angels, took pictures of “yellow” snow and attempted to build a snoman! I also got to see the River of Lights Christmas display at their botanical garden!

[And to add a little extra excitement to the trip, Southwest was nice enough to cancel my 6 a.m. flight there at 4 a.m. on the day I was supposed to leave. Got to wake up to a nice email saying “Sorry, no flight for you.” But at least they worked it out fairly hassle-free and I still caught my connection!]

I hate John Brantley.

I hate John Brantley and blame him for the last two years. And that’s all I have to say about that.

It’s Christmaaas!!

So now I’m back in Nola for the holidays and wondering if I will ever get a Christmas bonus this year. I’m glad that I got most of my shopping out of the way early but this month (and next month) is going to be rough if my boss decides not to give out the $ this year. 😦

And in case you need a pick-me-up today, watch this super cute video that reminds me so much of my cousins: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_YQpbzQ6gzs&sns=em

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Winter is coming

If you’ve read the Ice and Fire books, then you know the title is a reference to the fact that I have completely fallen down the rabbit hole and am obsessed with this series. Fortunately, I only have a book and a half to go before there are no more left to read.

But the title is also a reference to the exciting weather predictions in New Orleans over the next week and the fact that I will see snow in about a month! That’s right, snow…but not in Nola – in New Mexico! My second annual trip to Albuquerque is set for the first weekend in December.

I am most excited about seeing snow on the mountains and the lights in Old Town – it’s not every year that a Florida girl gets to see snow during the winter! I’m also excited about having cold enough weather to wear my earmuffs and scarves.

Key limes from Key Largo

On an unrelated side note, I tried Key limes for the first time this week and I’m in love. If you know me, you know I love to eat lemons and limes. Wesley’s parents came to visit from Key Largo last week and brought us a whole bag of fresh limes. Key limes are the most sour things I’ve ever had and I couldn’t stop eating them.

I know the topics lately have been a little scattered, but I have a lot on my mind. I will clue you all in if anything comes to pass.

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Purging the closets

One thing about my job is that we are always a week or two ahead, so it’s pretty much November for me over here! I can’t believe how quickly time flies working at a newspaper. I also can’t believe how incredibly nice the weather is outside. Sure, it is super cold in our apartment due to our lack of insulation, heat and almost all other basic necessities…but we cranked up the space heater and super un-safe 1970s open-flame heater last night and kept it toasty warm.

The best part about fall in the Big Easy is that I can actually look forward to outdoor events – as opposed to summer outdoor events which only give me mosquitos, sweat and heat stroke to look forward to. I am hitting up the thrift store this afternoon in an attempt to find some fun fall outfits. I also need something cute to wear tonight when Wesley and I go to one of his law school functions at St. James Cheese Company. I’ve never been, but I’ll let you know how it is. (I just hope we get prosciutto! SO excited.)

A little mid-purge shot of our bedroom and closets

Speaking of the thrift, I need some new fall clothes because I recently did a closet purge and donated four full garbage bags of clothing to Red, White and Blue in Harahan. I was a little hesitant at the thought, but now that it’s done I am so glad I got rid of all that stuff!

I have had about three (big) boxes of winter clothes (and clothes that no longer fit me) in my closet since sophomore year at UF. They were super cute and I keep thinking, “Oh, I’ll lose a few pounds soon and then I can wear them again – can’t get rid of them!” Unfortunately, the likelihood of me losing the 20 pounds it would take for me to wear these clothes AND the clothes still being in style at that time are slim to none. I am a big proponent of wearing clothes that fit your age and lifestyle, and unfortunately polka-dotted and striped rainbow fuzzy sweaters are no longer that appropriate for me now that I’m not in high school or 120 pounds.

Dropping off those bags was so awesome. I really felt a load lift of my back that had been there for years – a load of shirts, shorts, sweaters, jeans (five freaking pairs that have been too small for me to wear in years!), shoes and old purses, to be exact.

Unfortunately, I learned something about Wesley that may be a struggle in the future. Wesley isn’t exactly a hoarder – he just hates getting rid of stuff apparently. Especially if it’s perfectly good stuff. For example, he has a drawer that is always overflowing with stuff – looks likes the place where gym shorts, bathing suits and old t-shirts go to live out their remaining years. The first task I gave him when cleaning out our closets was to go through this awful drawer, knowing that something in there could go to charity.

Ten minutes later as I’m tying up my first full garbage bag of donations, I look over to find Wesley moving on to his closet. When I pick up the small pile of shirts on the floor by the drawer asking if they can go to charity, you would have thought I asked if we were kicking Kitten outside. He explained that nothing in that drawer was fit to be given away. And it’s not that he claimed to wear all of these things, he just didn’t want to get rid of them because there was nothing wrong with them.

Insert argument here about the merits of keeping masses of clothing that one never wears just because there is nothing wrong with them.

After going through the drawer myself, I found three bathing suits (two of which he has never worn), multiple shirts from high school (all identical) and gym shorts with huge questionable stains down the front. Then I proceeded to rip these things from Wesley’s cold, clenched hands and wrestle them into the charity bag. The list of excuses was endless: “Those shirts have sentimental value!” “What bathing suit will I wear if these other two get messed up?!” “I wear those gym shorts to sleep in!”

I get sentimental value, but if all four shirts look the same then can’t we just keep one or two? Also, we don’t live near the water – ANY water. You don’t go swimming in Lake Pontchartrain and we only go to the beach a few times a year. What exactly is going to happen to the other two pairs of bathing trunks if we get rid of this one extra? And even if something did happen to the other two pairs, wouldn’t going and buying a new pair for $15 at K-Mart be a more prudent move than keeping this lone, unworn pair for a decade in your drawer? And stained gym shorts, don’t even get me started. You cannot wear them outside because they are so stained and he has plenty – plenty – of shorts.

Long story short, I did surprisingly well in the closet purge of 2011. I donated four full bags of clothing, shoes and purses, but I now need some replacement fall wear that actually fits me. And about six items in those four bags were from Wesley’s closet. Trust me, I’m just glad to have gotten that many items from him lol.

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