NOLA

A few weeks back hubby and I got to go away, just the two of us!! It had been a few years since we were able to do such a thing, and boy did we enjoy it.  A company Joe works with flew us out to New Orleans for their annual conference.  We got to stay at this fancy hotel right in the French Quarter.

Pretty much as soon as we got there, we hit up Bourbon Street.  Disclaimer: If you take Bonine or Dramamine, I highly recommend not getting a Hurricane Drink.  I don’t do well on planes or with motion sickness in general, so I popped a Dramamine.  Oops.  I then didn’t really eat a whole lot because we traveled all day.  While I did chug a bunch of water, drinking this extra sugary beverage was not the best idea.  It was all fun in games until I came to a screeching halt! I survived, but didn’t enjoy Louisiana raw oysters….dem roast beef po boys though—mmm!

I felt much better after sleeping and the next morning we had breakfast at some funky little joint.  The french toast was to die for and of course I #putaneggonit

We went looking for my lifeline aka Starbucks, and stumbled onto the Mississippi River.  Haha typing that out reminds me of when my grandma used to make me spell it for her!

After our humbling experience at the Boone Hall Plantation last year, we definitely took note of the history here in New Orleans.

When we took a mini carriage ride/tour through the French Quarter, he shared with us the layouts of the homes.  There was usually a kitchen on the bottom, servants quarters above, small courtyard in between (to be like Versailles) and the owner’s home to the side or front?   Well, one night we were at a jazz bar and I went out back to use the bathroom, which I had to walk through a mini courtyard and when I opened the door to the ladies room this is what I saw!  How crazy, cool, weird and amazing was this?  The old ‘kitchen’ fireplace was still in tact.  Sure enough, there were a bunch of rooms above, which Joe and I thought gosh how hot it must have gotten in the servants areas!  I just loved seeing history like this.

On Tuesday we did a Food Tour with the whole group!  It was so cool.   I made sure to chug my water after my hurricane escapade the night before.

While we didn’t care for the raw oysters, these little guys were quite tasty!  Charbroiled, butter, lemon, wine, parm cheese & breadcrumbs–can’t go wrong there!!

Roast Beef Po’Boy.  So. Freaking. Good.  The French bread makes it!

We relaxed outside while waiting for the next round.

Fried Gator Bites!  It truly tasted just like chicken.  I’m wondering if this Remoulade sauce would taste like what we enjoyed down there.  I’ll have to ask my sister-in-law as she is from NOLA!

These shrimp were so tasty! I love dipping the bread in too…

Then as a dessert, we enjoyed Bread Pudding, which apparently you use the leftover French bread from the Po boys to make it.  I’ll need to find a recipe for this too! Any suggestions??

The owner of the company insisted we visit the Oldest Bar in America, Lafittes Blacksmith Shopso we basically had a giant happy hour here!

Wednesday was Joe’s 42nd birthday!! It was also the day where he had to speak on the panel.  Now, I don’t have to attend, but honestly I truly enjoy the keynote speaker and of course, I love supporting my husband.  I take credit in some of his success; he would not be able to get up and do all that he does, if I did not work 100% beside him doing all that I do.  We are a great team and if I can handle the behind the scenes stuff, then he can focus on his career.  Don’t get me wrong, I do work with our business too, but the main breadwinner is Joe.  Plus, I love getting all dolled up!

He actually won an award, I was so proud of him! He hates the extra attention, but he deserves all the applause.

Joe’s 42nd birthday, NOLA at a conference.

That evening we met for cocktails in hotel lounge and before we left for dinner, we stopped to admire my favorite –white roses!

The company pulled out all of the stops for their 20th Anniversary dinner.  We enjoyed French 75s at Arnauds as well as a spectacular dinner and conversations.

Our random table of new friends.  I was seated next to a Canadian foodie, but he’s not pictured.  We were going on and on about all the foods, drinks…he was a trip!

He was the one who ordered some fancy liquor and we toast to Joe, the company, life.

After celebrating into the night,  Joe had to wrap up the conference and by noon he was able to go grab lunch with me and see more.

That shrimp again!

This guy did me in, and I honestly think I’m still feeling its effects!!  Good old Buffalo sauce slathered on a fried oystery po boy.  #worthit

The one big #BUST of the trip was that for Joe’s birthday, I gifted him a really awesome racing experience, where he was to drive a Lambo around the NOLA race track.  Unfortunately, though it had not rained in 6 FREAKING WEEKS, it poured as we made our way 30 minutes there…thus resulting in no driving the Lambo.  I was crushed, pretty much in tears, and he was sad but not nearly as I!  I swear there will be a next time, maybe then my dad could drive and Bradley could watch.  Ugh, it totally sucked though, how cool would that have been??  He did sit and start it though… #lame.

We wandered around a little and I found William Faulkner’s house.  So cool!

We stuffed our faces, yet again with some po’boys.

One of my breakfasts was super yummy!  Loved this NOLA version of eggs benny…sweet potatoes yum!

We were at Café Beignet but didn’t try any.  #fail We did enjoy the view, live jazz music and some drinks…

Random old bar…

After our carriage ride/tour, we had to make sure we went back to the Oldest Bar in America for an authentic Hurricane.  According to our guide, he said these are the best on Bourbon St.  They use real juice, not a powder, so you don’t get all that nasty sugary taste/flavor and don’t feel sick afterwards!  It straight up tasted like juice, and I could see how very dangerous these could be!!

I was trying to have Joe take a photo of me in front of the bar/sign…this will do though! Haha.  It sums up the end of our getaway quite well:  Messy hair, crumbled red bull can/garbage…oh, Bourbon Street!

We attempted to rally that last night, but I could barely do dinner, I was beat.  My reflux/body had enough of the booze, the fried foods and all the things, so while I did enjoy a Muffalatta pizza, we were back in the hotel quite early.  I just couldn’t get into the whole drunken frat boy/puking scene happening on Bourbon.  BTW these shoes I bought specifically for NOLA and they did not disappoint! $20 and they were comfy, covered my toes from any–errr…grossness on Bourbon– and they seriously went with everything!

#ad

While we had so much fun and were so grateful for this experience, by Friday night/Saturday I was really missing my babies! We love traveling and it’s something that I want to do more of in years to come.  Rumor has it next year’s conference will be in Miami.  I haven’t been to South Beach since I was 20! Oh, I better prepare better for next time around!

4 and 6 (Belated Birthday Re-cap)

Oh gosh, how does the time fly by so darn fast?!  Early 2019 was a pretty rough start for us, to say the least, but we were so grateful that Joe was able to feel well enough to be a part of the kids’ birthdays.  He wasn’t even back to work yet, due to his Crohn’s flare ups, but he was able to smile with his children.

For Brooke’s actual birthday, we brought her in some Chic-fil-A and had lunch in the cafeteria with her and her classmates.

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That afternoon she came home to some gifts, cards & a fun balloon!  I also picked up some stuff at the Dollar Tree to decorate the table etc. She’s really into drawing, crafts and being artsy, so that’s what she got!!

That night we took her out for ‘noodles’ and sushi.

Since we always have their party together, they typically share a cake.  However, I read (and spoke to!) that when siblings share a cake, it kind of takes away the special feel of a birthday…and I can totally understand!! I love birthdays and I don’t want to take that away from the kids.  Besides, this year they each wanted a different cake flavor and character.

Brook wanted Vampirina on a chocolate cake.  I remember it was early January and I was sitting beside Joe at the hospital thinking to myself, what on earth can I do to get these cakes for the kiddos?!  Thank goodness for Etsy!!  I clearly didn’t do anything other than slap the edible image on top of the small round cake (we bought the cake from Wegmans), but with all that was happening, I was happy to get something like this!

She loved it.

Bradley wanted a Black Panther cake in vanilla. It worked out beautifully, as the kids at the party could choose chocolate or vanilla and we had the perfect amount of cake!

They got to bounce around at Leap and Laugh with some of their close friends.

We had pizza and juice, clean up was minimal and everyone had a ball!

Bradley’s actual birthday happened just a few days after and again I had a balloon waiting for him and we decorated the table.  He had been begging for a “Bumblebee” transformer and he loved “Daddy’s red car” so we scooped him up a red Lambo…

They were so excited to match with their birthday crowns.  For his special dinner, he wanted pizza (shocking!) so we made some at home.

I realize it’s already April, but I didn’t want to not document our babies’ birthdays!!  I have to admit, that being able to do a 2 for 1 at a party place is quite nice.  Those places can be a little expensive, but totally worth not having a gazillion people over at our house.  It’s tricky with January because it’s so darn cold and a lot of times, people get sick so we have learned to just keep it simple and go with the flow.

Happy Half Birthday – to Me

37.5 years on this earth.

That’s really freaking close to 40 people.

The older I get, the more I want to not necessarily slow down, but savor life?  The little in between moments.  The quietness in the middle of all the chaos.  Amongst the rush, the crazy, the real world day to day insanity that pulls.

In 6 short months I’ll be 38.

It will be hot, sunny & hopefully I’ll be sipping on some fabulous dry rosé, Veuve perhaps?

My husband will feel like a new man.  My children will be even more awesome than now, (if that’s possible.)

Life will be ebbing and flowing as it always does, throwing curveballs and strange things, but perhaps maybe it will just be that much better too.

2019 has been a bitch so far, I said it.

My heart is overflowing with emotions to share, but I’m not quite ready I suppose.  We are all doing well, so thank you so much sweet friends for reaching out, commenting and checking on us.

I’ve been so lucky to find my better half and feel a love that I’m not quite certain every person actually feels…I wish that everyone could feel it!  It takes hard work, dedication, compromise and a lot of communication, but the love I have for my husband and he for me I know from the depths of my soul is real and true and pure.

I am strong and he is stronger.

I know that each year we will get better together, no matter what obstacles are thrown our way, and trust me there are always lots!

I miss writing, sharing, feeling, reflecting…

Happy half way to 38 Jennifer Lynn; you are doing an amazing job at navigating life. Sure it’s messy, confusing, scary and sometimes all too much–but the good parts?  Oh they are so sweet & juicy!!   And I truly believe they are on the horizon.

Here’s to making mundane moments magical and always finding the silver lining…

Happy Birthday to my Husband

41 years ago this man made his grand entrance into this world.  He is the definition of, “one of a kind.”  I’ve never met someone so confident, self-assured and positive in all of my life.  He is literally a glass half full kinda guy.

I wish we were able to whisk away to the Ritz Carlton, Toronto to celebrate again, but I guess a nice quiet Tuesday night at home will have to do.

He requested Man Pleasin Chicken for dinner and the kids are so excited to give him their gifts.  I’d have to say that year 40 was a huge year for Joe; he’s grown so much as a husband, father & business (man).

I still catch myself looking at him and feeling super sappy about all that we’ve been through and how much true love can endure.  We have such big dreams and goals, sometimes they scare me but I know there’s very little that frightens Joe.

Some of you may not know this about my husband, but he has Crohn’s Disease and this past year, he has truly found some BIG game changers on his health.  I will definitely share more on that later…(CBD Oil!)

As of today, I will have celebrated 10 birthdays with you.  You were 30 when I met you and and it still doesn’t feel like we’ve been together that long!

I am so excited for all of the adventures that await us in your 41st year.

May your day be full of love, your year be full of health, wealth, and most of all: happiness.  Brooke, Bradley, Bailey, Holly & I are very blessed to have you as our main man.  There is no one on earth like you, nor will there ever be another.  I’m so happy you chose me all those years ago and that I chose you too.

We make a good team, you and I.

Cheers to 41 baby!

I love you with my whole heart & soul.

Since I never blogged about it last year, I’ll share these memories right here.  Your 40th birthday at the Ritz, in Toronto.  It was a stunning corner suite king room. I can’t wait to go back again one day with you my love.

xo

Turning 37

I am 37!!

Holy cow.   I cannot believe I am so close to 40. (I still can’t believe I’ve made it this long without Botox, what is going on!?)

I have always loved my birthday ever since I was a little kid.  My parents did a great job of always making us feel special and enjoying our day (month!)

I remember growing up I’d request my mom’s Stuffed Shells and a homemade German Chocolate Cake.  Sometimes we’d go out for Mexican too!

This year we were supposed to go to an outside twinkling lights fancy dinner put on by one of our favorite local restaurants, Good Luck.  Unfortunately, as beautiful as a Summer that we have had, it was predicted to rain 7/24, the night of the dinner.  We were both really looking forward to it, and hope that we can try it again sometime!

We still kept our sitter and decided to hit up my favorite restaurant, The Revelry.    We go there a lot and love the staff, the food and the ambiance is always fun.   As soon as they heard we were celebrating my birthday, out came two glasses of complimentary bubbly.

Cheers to that!

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We started with the oysters (obvi!) and I went with the burger which did not disappoint!  Joe usually get Duck, but there wasn’t one on the summer menu so he enjoyed a pork chop.

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We kept laughing and saying, “it better rain if our other dinner got cancelled!” and rain it did.  Just drizzle, but still it wouldn’t have been enjoyable to sit in and try to dine on a wine pairing & 6 course meal outside!

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We went for a little drive around the lake and honestly listened to this Jim Rohn recording.  It’s a 20 minute listen and totally worth every minute!

 

I kept tearing up thinking how happy we were, how good our business is going and life is just getting better.  We reflected on my 36th year and the challenges we faced and how good it felt to be on the other side…

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On my actual birthday, my sneaky hubby set up a sitter and sent me to the spa for the day!  It was a really relaxing time away to recharge and spend time alone.

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He arranged to get out of work early and had fancy dinner plans with my family, but things happened and we ended up heading to Mexican & Margs.

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My sister was able to join us still and we made the most of it, because what else can you do when life throws curve balls?

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Both kids got a kick out of the Spanish “Happy Birthday” song and the sombrero they brought over.

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Not to mention the ice cream that accompanied the song and hat!

 

I’m not going to lie, I was on quite a “high” and so excited to turn 37.   I had this feeling of, “I can do anything and all things, and this will be an amazing year–nothing bad will happen and life is perfect–!”

But reality is, life is never perfect.   I will have moments of joy, sheer bliss, and bubbles of perfection, but rolling into my 37th year, literally on the day, we’ve experienced bumps in the road.  And while I thought I had my semi-perfectionist ways under control, I’m once again being put in my place, humbled and always continuing my learning and growth.

I have noticed that I have been severely hard on myself lately and I’m working through that; I’m leaning back into some meditations, breathing exercises, yoga practices & listening to my personal mentors, especially Gabby Bernstein.  I need to not judge myself for every imperfection, and go back to my ‘word of the year,’–

BE.

I believe that we are taught lessons over and over (and possibly over) again until we learn them.  So I will brush myself off, and get back up again.  “The enemy attacks those who are next in line for a promotion…”

So for 37, my major goals are to

  • live in the present
  • forgive (myself & others) quickly
  • stop comparing
  • be more grateful
  • stop complaining
  • be happy
  • rest, but don’t quit
  • work on my writing
  • nourish my body with food that is good for me
  • sweat daily
  • spend quality time with my children
  • continue working on myself
  • work on our real estate business
  • wake up early
  • stay connected, calm & centered
  • get outside in nature, daily, no matter what!