Tag Archives: new orleans

Foto Friday: Mardi Gras

Since this is Mardi Gras weekend, I figured I’d post one of my favorite pictures from New Orleans.  This was the first day and we were *supposed* to pay this guy to take our picture with his sign, but I doubt we did.  Good times, good times!!


I promise to get back to blogging soon… I have a couple of Chicago posts to write and I’ll be live blogging the Oscar Red Carpet on Sunday, so stay tuned.


2008: A Year in Review, Part 2

Welcome to the 2nd half of my year. I just realized that I probably should’ve done these in reverse chronological order, but whatever.

July–I took my blog public, making it a whole lot easier to remember what I did for the rest of the year.  I also started biking to work and we had Kristi’s Bachelorette Party Boat Trip:



August– I took two vacations this month, plus a Tour de Philo.  First up was my staycation and then a second trip to Nawlins for Kristi’s wedding:



September— I started running, became obsessed with Mad Men and reconnected with an old friend via Facebook.  We also had Bunco at Erin’s in conjunction with Philo Fest, but-unfortunately- I have no corresponding photos :-(


I do, however, have a photo of this thing that I found on my fence (I know you all needed to see it again)




October– was downright insane.   There was a crazy gas station incidentmy cat died, and I was involved in train accident on the way home from seeing Cross Canadian Ragweed in Carbondale.  To top off the craziness, this was the first year in a long time that I *didn’t* dress up for Halloween.  Odd.


And then there was the trip to Chicago to see the New Kids on the Block:




November– is always a busy month.  This year, I went to San Antonio for work. And had the usual Thanksgiving with the family.  Oh, and there was that whole historic election thing.

I also made a trip to Chicago for Nikki’s Big Ten Bar Crawl:



And attended my only (gasp!) U of I tailgate of the season




Family and friends of Ryann Smith held a benefit in Tuscola and raised a bunch of money. I realize that I haven’t blogged about Ryann at all.  She was born a couple days after Christmas with a rare birth defect called CDH.  She is a fighter.  Please keep her and the family in your thoughts and prayers. If you want to know more, visit her caring bridge page:  http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/ryannsmith.


I also had Christmases with my Grannie Rich,  my brother, and the rest of my extended family.


(And, because I know you can’t get enough of me and firearms, here’s the infamous gun shot one more time…)



I spent my Christmas break lounging, watching movies (Marley and Me and Seven Pounds), reading (still making it through the Twilight saga… I’ll reserve judgment until I’m finished with all the books), and spending time with friends and family.


I rang in the New Year in Chicago, but failed to take a single photo.  Maybe I should resolve to be a better chronicler this year :)


Reflections on 2008

All in all, the year turned out pretty good.  In some ways, this is one of the hardest years I’ve ever had, but I’ve learned so much.   I’ve learned how to ask for help from those closest to me.  I’ve learned to say “no” on occasion and I’ve learned to enjoy myself in less-than-ideal circumstances. I’ve made some new friends, reconnected with others, and have spent more time with some of my family members than ever before.


This blog has really been a great outlet for me and I appreciate each and every reader, hit, and comment you all have given me.


Here’s to happiness and prosperity in 2009!

Foto Friday: Nawlins Style

Call it a cop-out, but this week’s Foto Friday will also serve as my New Orleans post.  As you probably know by now, I went to The Big Easy last week for Kristi’s wedding.  She’s my cousin, but she’s also one of my best friends, so it was nice to have friends and family in one place.

As with any good memory-making experience, the “good parts” can’t be conveyed in a simple run-down of where we went, what we saw and what we ate (and drank), so I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.  

There are tons more memories I’ve not included here, but here are some of my favorites (in no particular order)

Hotards coffee shop, hair salon, and bus company

Hotards coffee shop, hair salon, and bus company

Riding the Bull at the Bourbon Cowboy

Riding the Bull at the Bourbon Cowboy

Kristi getting serenaded

Kristi getting serenaded


karaoke at the Cat's Meow

karaoke at the Cat's Meow

The food at the reception

The food at the reception

Kristi's Grand Entrance

Kristi's Grand Entrance

Hurricanes and Hand Grenades the first day

Hurricanes and Hand Grenades the first day

Kristi flashing the 3 down the aisle

Kristi flashing the 3 down the aisle

Dylan's Dance Moves

Dylan's dance moves

"Killing It" with the best friends a girl could ask for

 “Killing it” with the best friends a girl could ask for!

Eating and Drinking in the Big Easy

So, I get to travel a bit for work.  Nothing extensive, just a few times a year to work a trade show and what have you.   The best part is getting the chance to go out and eat really good dinners on the expense account. In this respect, New Orleans was amazing. We didn’t have bad food the entire time we were there.

Wednesday–The first night we went to a place called Mila’s, which was new. We had wine with dinner, but since we ate so late, we didn’t really drink much afterwards.  I don’t really remember what I had. Some sort of fish.

Thursday– We went to Restaurant August, which is supposed to be the best restaurant in the Big Easy. The food was definitely good and the atmosphere was wonderful.  I had the rabbit tortellini.  Yeah, you read that right: rabbit!

We asked the waiter for a place we could go and get drinks and he recommended a place called Tommys… said they had a great wine bar, live music, and a cool/laid back atmosphere. Perfect! He said it was “a block and a half” up the street, so we were sold. After about 6 blocks later, we decided that maybe we were headed in the wrong direction and then we saw the sign, so we went in. We were promptly seated and given a plate of bruchetta. We had a bottle of wine, but the waiter kept asking us if we were ready to order… weird. Finally, I asked him if it was okay if we just had wine and he gave me a weird look and told me that he’d be happy to transfer me to the BAR part of the restaurant. Oops!

Apparently Tommy’s Cuisine and Tommy’s Wine Bar are two separate places. Oh, well. We had a few bottles (including my new fave– Barbera); got a little drunk and made it back to the hotel by midnight.

Continue reading


I’m sorta addicted to blogs right now: to reading them, to writing them, to reading about writing about them. You’d think it was 2004 or something. I’m sometimes a little late to the game. During my nightly blog fix, I ran across this post over on Copyblogger:

10 Steps to Becoming a Better Writer

by Brian Clark

  1. Write.
  2. Write more.
  3. Write even more.
  4. Write even more than that.
  5. Write when you don’t want to.
  6. Write when you do.
  7. Write when you have something to say.
  8. Write when you don’t.
  9. Write every day.
  10. Keep writing.


So that’s what I’m doing. . . I should be sleeping, but I’m gonna write. Maybe one day I’ll get the hang of it.

A few notable thinks happened today:

  • Day 1 of New Orleans trip (yesterday’s horrendous travel day doesn’t count): Walked the French Quarter for somewhere interesting to have lunch. Accidentally ended up at the House of Blues instead. Had a douchebag waiter. Douchebag is harsh. How ’bout just flat-out annoying?? He had great cheekbones, though. He even sat down at the table and tried chatting us up for a bit. Weird. In the course of our lunch, he managed to talk about his new God-children (“they’re gonna grow up just like me… skating, surfing, skating), his vegetarianism, getting drunk on Tuesdays, and a “killer” Lebonese restaurant/hookah bar. It was strange at the time, but provided a wealth of laughs later on.
  • On the way back to my hotel room, i learned my coworker was on the same floor. As we were trying to find our rooms, I made a number of wrong turns. He said to me (in all seriousness): “I’ve never met anyone as bad at this as I am.” Awesome!
  • I’m fairly certain I saw a hooker outside the Ritz-Carlton tonight. Short white skirt, white jacket, big hair. She was getting into a cab, though, so that threw me off. Made me remember how sex-obsessed this town is. I just got back from VEGAS for cripes-sake and didn’t see quite so many ads for sex shops, strip clubs, etc. Strange.
  • Ran across this blog by Todd Andrlik, a guy I went to college with. I’m not even remotely surprised that he is one of the top bloggers in the marketing/pr world. He has always been a “techie” kind of guy. And he’s super smart. And a shameless self promoter.It was kinda funny how I found his blog… my colleague was talking about waiterrant, a blog about a waiter in NYC, the author of that blog mentioned that he had made some top blogger list, which also included copyblogger. Over on copyblogger there was a list of top marketing/pr blogs, so naturally I checked those out. It was an AdAge list and the subhead said: “Todd Andrlik ranks the the top media and marketing blogs.” So I hopped over to Todd’s page and sure enough it was the Todd Andrlik I knew. Weird. And it seems that he and the guy who writes Copyblogger are buds. At least blogging buds. Small, weird world. I sent Todd a message. I kinda wish I would’ve made more of a point to be friends w/him in college so maybe he could give me some tips!
  • My 24 hours of internet access were up and I had to re-post this!

Smells Like Peaches

I made it to New Orleans about 10:45 last night–yay!   After getting our bags, we hailed a cab and were on our way.  As I was sitting in the back of an old-school minivan cab (think wood paneling, adjustable can lights), I noticed a familiar smell. I thought it was probably one of those car air fresheners they keep in cabs to try to mask the odor of a thousand different asses on the upholstery.

Anyway, it was taking me a really hard time to place the smell when finally it dawned on me–PEACHES!  They say that smell is one of the best memory triggers and this brought me right back to Jr. High.  Apparently, once girls get a “certain age” people start giving them candles, lotions, body wash, etc. as gifts.  And invariably those gifts always smelled like either peaches or vanilla.  To the point where I can’t stand either one of those anymore (the irony of that just dawned on me… I hate vanilla yet I named my blog after it…. hmmmm)

We made it to the hotel about midnight, checked into our rooms and I started a lil unpacking.  What do I find?  Well, the faint smell of peaches was not from the cabbie’s air freshener after all… it was coming from my very own suitcase!  Apparently one of my hair products had leaked during flight and now all my clothes have the faint smell of V05 iron spray…. which, incidentally, doesn’t smell like peaches at all.

That was the start of my New Orleans adventure…. I have to be at work in less than 1/2 and hour, I’ve had about 6 hours of sleep and I’ll smell like iron spray all week…. and probably have fried hair.  Fabulous!!

Stuck in the airport

So, I’m stuck in the airport and you’re stuck reading this free-form blog post…. (okay, you’re not STUCK reading it, but I’ll feel better if you do!)

Long story short:  Plane didn’t leave on time. Then we sat on the runway for 45 mins.  Missed my connecting flight.  Got an 8:10 p.m. flight… which has now become 8:45.  Should get into Nawlins around 11, which means my big night out will be spend in the airport. Ugh.  But the good news is that I have a traveling partner, wifi, and an expense account, so I’ll survive.

There was the worlds most annoying lady on the plane out here… she was talking SO LOUD about very non-interesting stuff: her job at a scientific association, her husband and farming (telling a whole plane of people from central illinois the ins and outs of farming… stuff that *I* even know… lame). 

I’m a pretty social person, but I’m not one to strike up convos w/people on planes. I’m content to just read my book/listen to  my ipod and chill.   I did chat w/someone who knows someone I know, so that was entertaining for a while… and then I saw this guy I used to know.  Couldn’t place him, but thanks to the wonders of wifi, I solved that mystery.

After we made it to Ohare, it was time to eat, pee, and find our gate.  Then I got coffee.  Now I’m at another gate.  So here I am, bored out of my mind. I should’ve started my book earlier. I bet I’d almost be done with it by now. Oh, well.  My eyes hurt too much to read.

The guy next to me has the exact same laptop I do… except mine is red.  The guy on the other side is reading Discovery magazine and has enormous feet.  Other than that, nothing too exciting going on at the gate.

At the risk of sounding too Polyanna-ish, it does give me some time to reflect (again) on When the Levees Broke  Don’t get me wrong… it sucks to be stuck in the airport.  And my ass hurts from waiting for so long.  BUt think of those people who had to wait for days and days to get help. 

And once it did come, they didn’t have a nice, cushy Hilton to go to.  They got seperated from their families, friends, pets… they didn’t have homes to go to!  The very airport I’m anxious to get to they were anxious to get OUT of…they slept in the terminals awaiting flights to God only knows where.

I’ve been waiting for a little over 8 hours.  These people waited for 4, 5, even 6 days for basic essentials: food, water, medicine.  I cannot even imagine.

So, I’m not gonna complain.  I have tons of food choices, alcohol, and even–yes– internet access.  Life could be a whole lot worse!