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!

Wellness Wednesday: Trusting the Process

Well, 8 days in and ish started getting hard.

I was able to keep up with most of my coaching work on a daily basis, despite going away to Toronto.  Luckily we had some down time in our gorgeous suite in the hotel.  I plugged in my headphones and made it work! It’s so so easy to quit when things get hard, but I promised myself to focus these 21 days and get it done!

My overall goal is to create a better work/life blend and to not be so stressed out and feel so chaotic.  I don’t like the stress that it creates and neither does my body!  I absolutely love my life, but I don’t like feeling spun out of control.

So how am I doing with that?  Ehhhh to be totally transparent and honest, I don’t feel like I’m doing that great.  I yelled Tuesday. (So much for being calm amongst the chaos).  I felt like that meme where Mary Poppins is all, “Let’s go!” and then 20 minutes later Batman voice yells “LET’S GOOOOOO!!”  It was a crazy early morning as Bradley had his final “Helper Day” at preschool, which I still had to buy snacks/drinks for AND I had his parent conference at 8:30.  Since I had made a choice to go to a favorite workout class the night before at 6pm, it made for a later bedtime.  I solo parent on some evenings as per my husband’s schedule, and for the last 6 years, I pretty much let the kids’ dictate my routine.  Well, since I’ve started putting ME first a few times more, it’s an adjustment for ALL.  I sometimes feel counter-productive, as in maybe if I just do what is always best for kids and husband, then I can keep the peace…but the reality is, I feel like I’ve woken up to a new light.  What if I die tomorrow? Did I get to do what I wanted to do?  I get that being a parent is all about selfless-ness and giving, giving, giving even when you don’t feel like giving any more, but I also see the need to fill my cup.

I used to think filling my cup was a once in awhile thing.  But I’m realizing I do need to give more attention to me, a lot more.  The “Do You List” has been SO helpful.  It’s been eye opening because I’ve noticed that I don’t feel guilty when I do the dishes, fold the laundry, clean the rooms, scrub the toilets, braid the hair, brush the teeth, iron the work clothes, cook the eggs, do the grocery shopping, prepare the meals, walk the dog, work on real estate, cuddle…but when I consistently do things that make me, just Jenn, not anyone else, happy, I feel bad. So I am learning to push through that uncomfortable feeling and see where it takes me. ** This is what Lindsay would refer to as your IMG (Inner Mean Girl) I didn’t think I had any (haha!) but once I listened to her videos, took notes and reflected I realized I am so a people pleaser and then some.

I’ve created my daily habit of meditating 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night.  I find the morning to be harder than night–I actually love listening to a meditation and falling into a nice quiet sleep…I am also noticing perhaps I would do better with a mid-day meditation?  I may play around with this.  My morning routine is not exactly pristine.  My body is fighting me for sleep!! (I’m blaming the uber hard workouts I do some days!) Either way, I am seeing the need for it. Slowing down is helping me A LOT!

I’ve also started saying a daily mantra: I live a calm and intentional life.  (I’m finding Rachel Hollis’ Start Today Journal methods kind of intertwining here!) Basically, you say things in present tense, as if they’re already happening.  There’s a huge brain connection (I’m not getting scientific here, but there’s huge research done on this!) Lindsay does a great job at explaining it in her course, so it’s not all hokey!

So all in all, in just a week I’m noticing huge differences! Even though I felt like I was struggling a bit yesterday (Tuesday) I love that Lindsay has a closed Facebook group where we can share our thoughts.  We were to share what we are grateful for, so I did, but I also was real and said how things were getting hard.  Her response, “I know you want things to change now, but it’s a process. Just keep showing up like you’re doing (even though you feel overwhelmed I know) and it will get better.”  I know that I needed to hear that because I always want to rush things and sometimes, most times, we need to let things go at their own pace and fall into place as they will.  I know I’m so, SO hard on myself and I need to lighten up (a lot.)

All amazing things happen outside of our comfort zone, right?  Well I am certainly stepping out of mine and cannot wait to see what’s to come.  Just don’t quit, right?

Wellness Wednesday: Life Coaching

I think anyone who knows me, knows that I love bettering myself.  Anyone who truly knows me, realizes that I am not perfect and that I have a huge heart.  I love taking care of my family, being able to stay home with my children, run a beautiful home with two crazy dogs and cook meals all day long.  But at the end of every day, I still want to take care of ME.  Being a momma, running a real estate business and a wife to an extremely hard working man is a lot! I do a lot of it by myself, with the help of sitters and the occasional family member here or there.  While I have an abundant life and so many blessings, I don’t want “die with the music still inside of me.” That was a Wayne Dyer quote I heard many years ago.

I have big hopes, goals and dreams and Joe and I often joke we wonder if any of “it” will be enough.  We are never bored, we don’t watch TV, and we have this burning desire to seek so much more out of life.  What other businesses should we create? How many more people can we help? Where else can we travel to and experience new cultures?  We want to expose our children to so many beautiful opportunities.

My head spins and I have ALL OF THE THINGS I want to do before I die and where the heck do I even start?!

My mind starts going and I get started on some new adventure, and then I eventually shut down and back off.  Any time I start something just for me, I tend to implode. There wasn’t enough time, or the baby needed that, or our business this…

No more.

Enter in, Life Coaching.  Yup.  I am smack dab in the middle of week one and HOLY SMOKES have my eyes been opened up real wide.  So many things friends, so many things to tell you!  I’ve taken a few assessments and honestly have spent a lot of time with just myself.  (It’s weird and beautiful!) Some things I was well aware of (I’m an empathetic person) and other things I’ve begun to see like that I tend to self-sabotage, as I mentioned above.  I am starting with Lindsay’s 21 day course titled, Life Luvers. 

I’ll be honest, there have been a few uncomfortable moments.  There have already been a few times where a thought slips through my mind and I hear “Maybe you can’t do it.  Who do you think you are? What makes you special?”  And then I breathe in really deep, shove those negative comments aside and keep pushing.  And digging.  And thinking. And realizing: I can.

One of the road blocks I know I have is time, so I will be very aware of my social media usage, my ‘down time’ and I’ve already begun using timers.  I will use that pretty planner above and really hone in on when I can work on ME. Another area I want to work on is being okay with not being liked by others.  My mood ebbs and flows on this one.  Sometimes I don’t care and I say, do, and post what I want when I want.  Other times?  I worry, I think too much, I over analyze and become frozen. I go radio silent and into a weird space. I don’t want that to happen any more.

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I know it’s only the beginning of my little journey here but I am already seeing big strides.  I want to share as much as I can, as this blog has always been a wonderful outlet for me. I will share on my Instagram stories more as we continue going further into coaching.  I am in this for the long haul! I am putting it out here into the universe and holding myself accountable.

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Follow this “highlight” for more on my life coaching experience!! 

Yes, I am a wifey, a mama and a real estate investor, a reader, a writer, a life long learner…but mostly? I am a woman who, when on her deathbed, will look back and say, I did not die with my music still inside of me.  I lived my life to its fullest and truly followed my passions, lived calmly and peacefully, and with zero regrets.

If you’re wondering if coaching is for you, Lindsay has a free assessment you can take here!  I will be sharing weekly my progress here on the blog. I figured “Wellness Wednesday” will be a good fit and I’ll go into details about my wins, ‘a-ha’ moments and some struggles as much as I can.  I believe in being an open book, but I also know that sometimes I need to work through things by myself.

Have you done any life coaching?

Incredible Soft Boiled Eggs

For some reason, I have been absolutely terrified (dramatic much?) of making soft boiled eggs.  I just recently, well as of having children, starting making hard-boiled eggs so that we could decorate Easter Eggs.

However, these delicious, delicate and perfect little bundles of egg joy we call soft boiled? I was just sure that I’d mess them up and the perfectionist in me just didn’t want any part of that.

And then Joe got really sick with his Crohn’s recently.  I still want to share more on that, but for now, we’ll stick to eggs.

I know that eggs are the easiest protein for his poor body to digest.  I make him eggs for breakfast daily, since I’ve been a stay at home wife. I also know that when we go out to get fancy Ramen, his favorite part is always the egg.  (duh, who doesn’t like the egg!?)

So, thanks to good ole’ GOOGLE, I figured out how to make these silly little things.

I now can whip up some old school Top Ramen and throw an egg or two in it for him.

I’ve even gotten fancy and added some slow cooked organic beef from time to time.

And his scrambled eggs have taken a backseat; as he laid awake one morning feeling ill, he thought about what he might like to eat.  He said his mom used to make him soft boiled eggs when he was little, with the buttered toast all cut up.

I let him have the pleasure of slicing open the eggs, as there is something so oddly satisfying seeing the yolk ooze out! These happen to be his grandmother’s chickens’ eggs.  They’re always extra tasty.

 

So how do you make these fabulous eggs?

  1. Boil a small pot of water.
  2. Gently spoon each egg into the water.
  3. For a runnier yolk (breakfast above) I do 5 minutes boiling.  For a harder yolk, 6-7 mins.
  4. Remove from boiling water and then rinse off until you can hold the egg to peel it. (I was doing an ice bath, but he said the eggs were cold, so now I try not to burn my fingers!)
  5. Enjoy.

*tip* take the eggs out of the fridge when you start to boil the water, I find they crack less often when put into boiling water, as they’ve come closer to room temp!

I won’t lie, these are a total pain in the ass to whip up every single morning! The timing of the water boiling, peeling the eggs, making sure they aren’t too hot for my fingers or cold for him to eat.  Getting the dogs out of their crates & outside, fed plus getting two littles ready for school—I run the gauntlet every morning!! But I wouldn’t have it any other way!

I vowed to be an exceptional wife and taking care of my husband and kids as well as myself is always my number one priority in life.  Some women find working out of the house their thing, decorating their homes like a magazine, and I personally find the greatest joy in cooking real food for my loves.  It’s not easy and no I am not a personal chef, nor do we eat homemade and 100% organic, but I do my very best at meeting all of our dietary needs most of the time.

I just wanted to share this recipe because I had so many questions on Instagram when I shared some photos!

On a funny note, Joe recently saw Soft Boiled Eggs with Caviar…maybe for your birthday honey, but no, not every morning!!

Let me know if you try making some soft-boiled eggs!

Being Brave

In the midst of two very special birthdays, coming off of Christmas and well into the New Year, I finally find a minute to breathe.

It’s within these stolen moments where I can reflect on, count, and re-count my blessings.  Sometimes life doesn’t go the way we intended it to; in fact, it doesn’t go the way we in which we planned at all.

I’m learning to lean deeper into surrendering and to focus on the now, the present, the little bit I can control and letting go of all the things I don’t.

This New Year has been nothing short of intense, painful and quite life-altering. It’s been hard, unfair and there have been more tears than smiles.

This too shall pass.

I believe there is a bigger picture, a plan in place and I have no choice but to let go and let God.

If you’re looking for comfort, then do what it is that gives you that feeling.  Life is short, and so uncertain.  If there is one thing I keep coming back to in these brief 16 days of 2019, it’s to embrace what we are given, with the people we have in our lives.

I’ve begun a small journey with a new devotional, 100 Days to Brave.  I’ll admit I was so angry at the words I was reading and literally said to myself, “You are far from brave.  You are so not brave it’s not even funny…” and then I cried.  After a few moments of stumbling through my own in-coherent thoughts I thought about what I needed most in my life.  And then I acted on that thought.

And you know what dear reader?  That made me brave.  Acting in the face of fear, no matter how small, makes you courageous.  You do not have to go fight an actual battle to be considered brave, but you do have to figure out your next right move, (thank you Oprah) and have the desire to change.  Put one foot in front of the other.  For me it was reaching out to a friend whom I hadn’t seen or really spoken to in quite some time.  It was asking for help.  It was stepping down from “trying to do all things alone because that is what bravery is.”

No.

Being brave is doing the thing you didn’t really want to do, but that still small voice inside of you won’t be quiet and so you must act.

Do the thing, and you will have the power.  — Emerson.

The universe has my back, and I am highly attune to all the small things.  Rachel Hollis said on her live video with her husband yesterday something that made me stop dead in my tracks.

She said that it’s not going to get easy.  If you think for a second if you just work really hard and then one day poof you’ll be flying high with no cares or worries, you’re sorely mistaken.  (I know I’m improvising her words, but still the same meaning is there…) essentially we are all going to have struggles and stumble.  Through sickness and in health marriage will be hard work, babies will be hard work and living a beautiful and meaningful life will be hard work.

Just don’t quit.  You can fail. You can rest. You can do whatever you need to do temporarily, but the moment you give up?  That’s where it ends.

So while I may have a few obstacles to overcome in life, no one and nothing will stop me from going on.  I know that there will be so much good after so much pain.  Without rain, we’d have no flowers.

What helps me be brave?

  • Reading inspirational books
  • Talking to people who understand me
  • Exercising
  • Acting even if I’m scared
  • Trusting God