New Year in Nawlins’

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January can be busy with getting into new routines, and I can get more into that at a later post, but I FINALLY made it to writing about our New Years festivities in NAWLINS! GEAUX 2017!!

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We drove from Houston through the swamps of Louisiana all while watching the movie The Skeleton Key, featuring Kate Hudson as a caretaker in a creepy voodoo house (I won’t say much more otherwise it will give away the ending, but driving through the swamps in a rain storm set up the vibes for our holiday stay #ilovecreepythings). After getting lunch in Baton Rouge, we went to the Evergreen Plantation home, where the movie Django Unchained was filmed (and it is also currently the filming location for the upcoming Roots series). We had the BEST tour guide ever, she was very thorough about the history of Louisiana, the people of the land, as well as the true definition of Creole. It was inspiring to hear as well as a beautiful home.

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After touring the swampy marshland plantation, we made our way into Nawlins and promptly had THE BEST shrimp po-boys of our lives at Parasol’s, which was conveniently down the street from our Airbnb in the Garden District. We then did what you SHOULD DAMN WELL do when in NOLA – a ghost tour of the French quarter! I have gone on other tours in the past, but this time we opted for the Voodoo Bone Lady tour. In my opinion, the Haunted History tours are better and provide a more thorough historical description of the area, but the Bone Lady was very entertaining and told more stories about voodoo that I haven’t heard prior. All I could focus on was GHOSTS. My sis and I took lots of pics and saw multiple orbs in our shots, which we then proceeded to make up what we thought they meant because we like to imagine being priestesses ourselves. #whyarewesocreepy

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We then drank hurricanes at Pat O’Briens and partied it up on Frenchman street while listening to live jazz. I also loved the art market off Frenchman, where John and I scored these amazing t-shirts! POE BOY and I want to be BAYOU FTW! (We LOVE puns to the nth degree incase you can’t tell…)

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New Years Eve was probably my favorite day of our entire southern holiday trip. We got up early and had an amazing breakfast of biscuit sandwiches, walked around the square and French quarter, visited the hurricane Katrina exhibit at the Louisiana State museum, ate lunch off of Bourbon street with INSANELY huge ass beers, visited congo square and the jazz park, bar-hopped and shopped off Decateur street, followed by a fancy 3 course dinner with my sis and bro-in law at Bayona. FOOD IN NOLA IS SO RICH OMG YES (BUT OH MY GAWD MY STOMACH).

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After that we met up with friends at the Howlin Wolf for NYE festivities with Rebirth Brass Band! (If you ever watched the HBO show Treme, it’s centered around some characters from this Grammy winning band and the music is rich in NOLA culture. Plus they brew their own beer, which was what we drank all night). We had a blast and loved people watching!

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This was my 3rd trip to NOLA and it did not disappoint. I always forget just how energetic and magical the city feels, almost like it is a part of me, a part of all of us! We were sad to say goodbye after our short jaunt, but loved the architecture, music, food, and made many memories. We can’t wait to come back! Maybe Jazzfest at some point? #ilovenola

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Houston, We Have A Problem

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We had a blast with family while we stayed in Houston over the holidays. While my family lives in the Katy area, John and I stayed at the cutest Airbnb apartment in Montrose and explored so many places I’ve never been, including THEE BEST BBQ that John and I have ever had at Midtown BBQ. TALK ABOUT BRISKET CITY! We also enjoyed the most DELISH burgers from the Burger Joint. I’ve lived in California for 9 years and I can say that burgers (and BBQ tbh) in Texas are WAY BETTER, there is no discussion – thanks!

Why stop at BBQ and burgers when you can stuff your face even more with TEX MEX?! The original Ninfa’s on Navigation did NOT disappoint. I swear every time I go to Texas I end up gaining 10 pounds from the heavy food and lack of exercise! #itsworthitthough #foodforever #nomnom #quesofordayzzz One of my favorite memories was of John getting his combo plate, which came with a crispy taco, and him saying “is this why you like Taco Bell so much? Because you grew up eating crispy tacos?” ROFL – Californians…. (Probably a good time to declare my deep love for Taco Bell as well) 😉

IMG_9424.jpgIs that Jesus, coming eat some Tex-Mex?!

The Houston museum district is one of the top 3 of the country because they get exhibits that won’t reach the rest of the US, like the Degas exhibit we saw at the MFAH. I love how all of the museums are close together, scattered throughout the park among the abundant water fountains. (SRSLY thought there are like 10 water fountains within 4 blocks). The last time I brought John home a couple years ago, we actually saw an off-Broadway version of Best Little Whorehouse in Texas under the stars in the park at the museum district… ❤ memories!

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15780940_10108774696888970_6334422281782792163_nJohn, standing with 1/10% of the water fountain population within the Houston museum district.

Another thing we did was check out the HOUSTON SPACE CENTER because *ahem cough cough* JOHN WILL BE WORKING FOR NASA starting at the end of this month!! In the Bay Area location of course. MY BF IS A SCIENTIST Y’ALL! And since he had never been to the space center prior, we made a trip of it with my sisters and my youngest niece and nephew. But MAKE SURE you get the timed tickets online prior to your visit, it saves you HOURS upon hours of waiting for the tours. #impatientashell

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Houston, you are very diverse and pretty cool. Until we come back again! Over and out ❤

A Night In San Antonio

15622143_10108750468986880_5549738964464900180_nI grew up for most of my life in San Antonio (despite the time we lived in Ohio for 4 years) but since I’ve been living in California, my parents moved to be closer to my sisters in the Katy/Houston area. I haven’t been to San Antonio in about 5 years and John has never been, so when we decided to go to Texas for the holidays I made the executive decision to spend a night in San Antonio and have a good ole classic night on the Riverwalk for Christmas. It’s SO BEAUTIFUL during the holidays if you haven’t been I suggest you visit during this time because it’s a #win.

We stayed at the haunted Emily Morgan hotel, which is on the list of top 10 haunted hotels in America. While we didn’t see anything too crazy, I did have crazy dreams about Santa Anna and Mexico City, and my sister’s TV went on and off in her room! (Emily Morgan is also the name of the Yellow Rose of Texas, who was also a lover of Santa Anna. AND MY NAME IS EMILY!!! Coincidence much?!!) The hotel is next door to the Alamo, which is a quick and free visit and amazing way to explore Texas history. (You can see the Emily Morgan hotel in the background next to the flag. I mean it just looks scary AF, right?! I wish I got a picture of the creepy gargoyles up close but I forgot. OOOPS).

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You can buy beers and margaritas from the BierGarten once you are in the Riverwalk and walk around with them and explore, which is nice because I like to drink my booze and multitask. We had some chips and queso at Casa Rio (my favorite Mexican on the Riverwalk) which felt amazing because you can’t get good queso in California (this is a fact and not an opinion). Then we rode a boat just as it got dark to watch the beautiful lights and point out scenes from where they filmed the movie Selena (A FAN FAVORITE IN THIS HOUSE!). But beware, if you wait too long the line is insane. Also there can be a lot of screaming children so you have been warned…

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Afterwards, we headed to the Pearl area to explore some bars, mostly the rooftop bar at Paramour, and walked around the new developing artsy part of the Riverwalk which was 100% awesome and something I’ve never done before. My favorite was the goldfish art exhibit under the freeway because they light up at night and were so pretty.

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After a night of eating and drinking and crazy dreams, we woke up and ate big ass breakfast tacos from Taco Haven, a San Antonio institution. It was a short trip, but better than not going at all! I love you San Antonio! Until next time…

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Zip-lining: We’re Not Low

Earlier this year, my sister Bry (she is married to a sommelier and has fabulous taste in food + wine) gave my boyfriend and I the gift of zip-lining in the Santa Cruz mountains for our birthdays. John and I have the same birth week so I can’t really be high maintenance about it being “my birthday” since it’s basically his too, and it’s cute to celebrate ourselves together! Even though our birthdays were back in February, we didn’t have time to get down to Santa Cruz until this past weekend, so we thought why not head down while we are in the middle of Indian Summer?! IT WAS SO DAMN HOT. So hot that a horrible wild fire broke out right after we left! #prayforrain

We booked the absolute cutest bed & breakfast from Airbnb in the cute beach town of Aptos, just outside of Capitola + Santa Cruz. With a few left turns into the forest, we made our way to our lovely lodging which was remote enough to feel isolated from it all while still being close to the town square. Anytime I’m in or around Santa Cruz, I can’t help but say “You’re eating MAGGOTS MICHAEL!” because everyone who is obsessed with the Lost Boys as much as I am knows it was filmed in the area.

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We had dinner at a small Italian kitchen called Little Owl (which was better than some places in the city TBH!) and then headed down to the beach to watch the sunset together before returning back to our Airbnb. It was a full on cheesy rom-com backdrop waiting for John and I to morph into Kate Hudson and Matthew McConaughey circa How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days (cheeeeeeeeeese).

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Then we had some drinks on the patio, looked at the stars, and made art. It was kinda funny looking since it WAS dark and all. Maybe a bit deformed if you ask me….but it was FUN and that’s all that matters, folks! #artforthewin

In the morning we had a fireside champagne breakfast (complimentary of our stay) which was DELISH before proceeding to our excursion at Mount Hermon Redwood Canopy Tours. Let me be real, these trainers and guides are absolutely patient and remarkably hilarious. Some of their stories from taking people up 150 feet to the top of the redwoods are nuts but hey, what would you do if you were dangling from cable in mid-air?! I went on a zip-line excursion with Mount Hermon several years ago so I was an EXPERT, and it was John’s first time. He however held it together much more than me and actually looked like he belonged in those woods (hubba hubba mountain man!!) I am a baby about heights and bees and the fact that a big meaty bee kept flying around my face on a canopy stand was all it took to jet me off the stand screaming for dear life (from the bee of course, not the zip-lining. Bees are absolutely terrifying and gross BTW).

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We had a great time and recommend to anyone who is adventurous and curious enough to check it out! I don’t recommend going hungover by any means.

We also made some fun pit-stops on the way back up the CA1 for our road-trip back to SF. John is from Monterey and is a HUGE beer nerd, but he had never made it over to Beer 30 in Capitola. Of course we had celebratory brews post our adventure, not only because we made it out alive (thank you Universe), but because it was also the hottest day of the year.

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Then we stopped by the local beach cove, Panther Beach, for some great views of not only the ocean, but of people getting tickets for having alcohol! FUNTIMES! Between that and the screaming children everywhere, we agreed to move forward so that we could have time to make a few additional stops. But for your viewing pleasure, I’ve included some shots that prove that the west coast is indeed the best coast. I mean – LOOK AT THAT!

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Next we made it to the historical Duarte’s Tavern in Pescadero for an early dinner. Man this place was SO crazy good. And old. 122 years old to be accurate. Apparently most of the time you have to wait around 2-3 hours to get a good spot, but because it was earlier in the evening we walked right in (thanks to that spell I cast!). The calamari was pretty good but the Halibut was even better. And fresh vegetables were seriously what I was craving.

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After what seemed like an eternity of traffic we finally made it to Petco, where we picked up a few things for our beautiful baby cat, who was in dire need of a new scratching post. I love how roadtrips can be all sorts of beautiful new experiences mixed in with the reality of running errands. Also I miss having a car sometimes so it was nice to not have to carry home cat supplies on a bus where people would mistake me as a crazy person with a cat (I mean…they wouldn’t be far off I suppose).

Until our next adventure!

 

 

 

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