Mocktail Recipe

 

Summer weather is here and there is something so refreshing about a ‘fancy drink’ on a hot day!  Don’t get wrong, I love a nice glass of wine especially on a hot day, but this is also fun for kids! I enjoy sparkling water, but sometimes I want a little something extra…without the alcohol. 

Here I took a Peach flavored sparkling water and I used some Cranberry juice (hello health benefits!) and I love my drinks extra ice cold, so a few ice cubes were added!

It’s not a complex recipe, but it’s oh so good!

Do you have a favorite mock-tail recipe? 

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!

Ugly Disco

The Disco is over!! (insert sad face!) We have now been to the Ugly Disco 8 times.  I was so excited Friday night, I had trouble sleeping, and I actually went back through my old blog posts to count and see! (Pics are below!)

It’s a great cause as the money is raised to support the Golissano Children’s Hospital here in Rochester.

Friday I got my nails done in a white gel polish to match my go go boots!

I wanted to get a really fun and flirty light pink pout, so I found some of these drugstore lip products to play with.  I really liked how they came out!!

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Cheers!

I got this super fun dress on Amazon & I also needed a new pair of Go Go Boots because my old pair literally broke for good last year!! These were super comfy and I could have kept on dancing all night long!!

White Go Go Boots (I wear a size 9 shoe and I got the large; they fit perfectly!)

Dress I ordered a small in the dress, and it was small! It said up to 120 lbs which I’m around 138 here, so it was snug.  I always wear booty shorts under the dress anyway, but it did come with a cute headband, clip on earrings (I didn’t wear) and these super fun pink glasses!

And can we all just say a big giant thank you for spray tans!! Goodness an all over tan glow makes a girl feel SO good!!

I’ve been trying to work out and eat better, more consistently; I’m not where I *want* to be, but I am happy with the progress I’m making with the efforts I’ve been putting in.  I have been loving my workouts at the gym and look forward to continuing my health journey.   It’s no joke staying fit and living a busy life!  I have to thank all those years of dance for making it easier for my legs to get into good shape though.  Muscle memory is real.  (And Catalyst is the bomb!)

We took an uber there and back.

Joe and his get up gets so many compliments and I took so many photos of him and other ladies it was quite hysterical!

Joe’s long time friend Chris and his girlfriend are always fun to hang out with.  Thanks for a fun night guys!!

I ran into my friend Becki who was dressed up as the 1970’s Honey Nut Cheerio Bee!!!

It’s so hard to take photos when you’re all dancing to great music haha!

And some flashbacks from year’s past…

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2019

It’s seriously the best time and we look forward to going every year!  The only years we didn’t go were right after we had the babies (both were born in January and the disco was in February, so mama wasn’t quite ready to boogie in a little disco dress!) And another year his cousin got married, but other than that you can expect us to bring the house down each year at the Ugly Disco!

Bliss: Wine Bar

Last week I had a big night out–I went to a book club/wine night!  For some it may sound super dorky, but I honestly was looking forward to it so much and it was way better than I had even anticipated.

I have lots of gals who love to read in my life and one who lives local started a little “Book Therapy” Facebook Group.  We don’t have to read the same books, but when we do read, we share the books we love and can chat about them etc.

A new swanky little wine and dessert bar opened recently, and the owners are SO sweet, down to earth and just adorable.  I could tell they put so much time, effort, energy and thought into all of the details of Bliss.  (It helps that I love the name, since it was my maiden name!!)

The wife came up with the idea to have a little book club at the bar, and this was their second meet-up.  She asks trivia questions and there are even prizes to be won!!

I had literally just bought my copy of this book, Elin Hilderbrand’s The Perfect Couple, so it was simply meant to be.  The book, in my opinion, was an excellent Summer read!! It had mystery, love, and lots of characters to help you get lost in the story line.  I won’t give away anything, but if you love a good chick lit mixed with a “who done it” vibe, grab yourself a copy and enjoy!

I reached out to a few my girls and a good book & some wine were all we needed to hear!  I realized as I was driving there, how little of this kind of thing I do for myself.  I’ll workout, I’ll go on date nights with Joe, I will do my hair/nails etc.  However, I do not spend nearly any time hanging out with other mamas/women and talking about something I love so much–reading!

For $25 we got to choose a glass of wine, (I went with the rosé), a small plate (I did the pizza) and a dessert (chocolate all the way!)  How fun is this?!

The cauliflower crust was something I wanted to try, as it’s all the rage, and it was SO good.  I love pizza and this legit curbed my craving. Artichokes, broccoli, herbs…amazing!  I was hungry so I actually finished the whole thing! It very much reminded me of a thin crust pizza.

The desserts both looked to die for– I had a hard time choosing which to indulge in, but I went with the chocolate.  I could barely eat half, I was so stuffed from dinner!

The atmosphere is so chic and cozy!  Dark walls, funky light fixtures and cool sculptures create such a cool vibe.  I think it will make an excellent retreat come Winter months! I can totally see myself and my hubby curling up in a corner booth with some red wine, or even meeting some girlfriends out for some snacks and drinks.

I can’t wait until the next “Book Club” meeting! Not only was the place itself fabulous, but allowing all of us readers to indulge in ‘dorky’ conversation about all the books we have read, plus one particular book was so fun.  We all had our phones out taking notes and taking screen shots of what we should read next, where to find the best deals/free books and how some books are just so whacky!

Being a former English teacher, I was right in my element and had so much fun discussing literary elements, character development and basic plot summaries.

More than the book discussion though, it was the female bonding time.  I know, I know I probably sound super cheesy, but seriously!  All of us feel like, “The worst mom ever.”  We all are so hard on ourselves and live in our own little bubbles…but here, we can air out our frustrations of motherhood and this beautifully crazy thing called parenting!  We lifted each other up and gave support, we shared how sometimes we give cereal for lunch or pull the takeout card too often, and inspired one another to maybe give a little bit more.  Isn’t that what it’s about?  It was also so crazy to hear how a mom of a 15 year old girl feels, vs the current state of being a mom to littles.  I know that all too soon, it won’t be cool to sit outside with me by a campfire, so I’ll take the ‘being pecked to death by chickens’ as much as I can for now. (with some more breaks like going to Bliss mixed in!)

If you are in or near Rochester, certainly take the time and check out Bliss!!  I will be retuning for the Cava bubbly–one of my FAVES!  Oh, and I will definitely be utilizing UBER so I can enjoy more than one glass of these amazing wines.

Cheers!