Lafayette Cemetery No1 – New Orleans, Louisiana

The Layfayette Cemetary No1 is located in the heart of the Garden District in New Orleans. Which was established at the time of the neighborhood (1833) to bury the family members of the wealthy land owners who built the area up to what it is today. Similar to other famous cemeteries in the area, the burial is done in tombs above ground. The thing that I particularly like about this one above others is that there are trees, and thus it is not in the blazing sun while you tour. It is also the cemetery used in the filming of Interview with a Vampire.

The practices of above ground burial is not uncommon world wide, though it is a bit here in the states. The reasons why the local folks chose above ground burial traditionally is varied, ask anyone and you will get a different answer. But I would image to a certain degree all reasons have some merit and probably played into the decision. For more information check out Prairie Ghosts site.

Regardless of the reasons why, it really is a lovely little plot of land. A large number of companies will provide walking tours if you are interested. I don’t always suggest such a thing but we really enjoyed the one we partook in and would highly suggest using them if you are interested.

The tours provide not only information about the burial practices and types of tombs but also history of some of the more famous residents, so you also get a good deal of local history which I found really interesting. I have been on a few tours, in a few different local cemeteries and this was by far my favorite.  It also happens to be across the street from the Commander’s Palace, famed brunch and jazz location.

Additional Information

  • Google Maps lists address as: Prytania St New Orleans, LA 70130
  • In reality it is a square block between Washington Ave, Prytania St, 6th St and Coliseum St.
  • Take precaution, heat stroke is really common.  Always wear a hat and sunscreen.
  • Muggings are common in all the cemeteries due to the nature of the environment so never go at night and always go with a group.
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Garden District – New Orleans, Louisiana

The Garden District in New Orleans is 250 acres of sprawling mansions, tree lined streets and the most relaxed atmosphere imaginable. Quite the change from the beautiful but very crowded and cramped French Quarter.

Originally established in 1833 on plantation land bought and developed by wealthy tradesmen from all over the country. Who mind you built their large mansions here rather than the French Quarter to avoid interacting with the Creoles.  It wasn’t until 1852 that the area was annexed to become a part of New Orleans. As such everything about the area is a far cry from what you would expect if all you know of New Orleans is the French Quarter.

The large plots still intact with the original Victorian architecture feels like something about of a movie. Which it is in fact often a part of a movie as filming in this area is quite common, as are celebrities, many of whom live in the area. Sandra Bullock being one of them. I did see her house, though not her. Which is too bad, I swear if she just gave me a chance we would be the best of friends.

But the Garden District isn’t just fancy houses and old trees. It is also home to the Lafayette Cemetery No1.  A beautiful example of the traditional above ground burial practices in the area, which also happens to be tree lined and fully shaded unlike the ones in the French Quarter. Uptown, though not a part of the official Garden District is just a hop skip or street car ride down the road and is filled with local shops and restaurants. Food every bit as good as other parts of town, but with more local flair, less touristy.

Many companies offer walking tours of the area which I will admit is kind of fun. There is so much history it is nice to just take a stroll while learning something. Though if you are on a budget there are any number of self guided walking tour printouts you can find on the internet.

If you are looking to experience some of the charm and beauty of the area but you don’t want to listen to party people shouting all night this is the place for you. Quite, beautiful, clean, and safe. Perfect.

Flora Nola – New Orleans, Louisiana

I wanted to split my New Orleans posts up between the north side of Canal Street and the south side. Or more specifically the French Quarter and the Garden District. They are both really fantastic parts of the city but with very different atmospheres. I love the French Quarter, but there is something really special about the Garden District and if you are looking for a more quiet experience of the city sticking to the south end of Canal Street is really advised.

So for no reason other than getting to share some pictures of the flora of the area, here is a ridiculous amount of pictures of plants. The picture above was taken closer to Tulane University right off the main path of the Audubon Park. If you are in the area with young kids this would be a great place to spend some time, there is a zoo, a golf course, a nature institute and I am fairly certain the park as a whole is larger than Central Park, don’t quote me on it though. I had to take a picture of the tree above because my eyes just about popped out of my head when I realized how big it was. From this angle you can see that it stretches from one side of the street to the other but on the other side it also stretches across the next street over AND around the house which shares the property line.

The above picture was just down the street in the same neighborhood. It is of a Norfolk Pine (you know those little potted trees you see around at Christmas) well it was at least 20 feet tall. Never in my life have I seen such a large one!

Back over in the Garden District you will see these palm leaves every where, not just in plant form but on wrought iron every where you look. It was a popular pattern during the architectural booms of the city and such a great tribute to the area.

I honestly have no idea what type of leaf this is, but I just loved the vibrant green and curling edges. I found it sitting on a path in the Lafayette Cemetery. Which is full of these gorgeous trees. Did I mention too that this was in November, as someone from the Pacific North West it is so lovely seeing so much green when I had just left so much brown and grey.

These little ferns you can see popping up all over garden walls, house walls, steps and tombstones. Really anywhere, though it always amazes me that life finds a way in the worst growing conditions.

Oleander, deadly and so beautiful. And smells so amazing, though a lot of people are terribly allergic.

I just could not get enough of all the plants, over grown and lush. So incredibly. I could and did spend entire days walking around just looking at plants. If you love the outdoors, love plants/flowers or just enjoy spending your vacations strolling around aimlessly with a cup of coffee the Garden District is the place for you.

Cafe Du Monde – New Orleans, Louisiana

Aside from Bourbon Street I would imagine Cafe Du Monde is the next most visited location in the French Quarter. I have no research to back this up, but I have never been day or night when it hasn’t been packed to the brim. In fact more often than not I have walked past, saw the line, turned around and came back later.

Cafe Du Monde opened in 1862 and has been opened every day of the year, 24 hours a day since its opening (with the exception of Christmas day and for the occasional hurricane). They serve a limited menu of mostly french doughnuts known as beignets, coffee and milk.

Excuse me while I drool over the piles of sugar and chicory coffee. It’s not the fanciest of places, the waiters aren’t always the friendliest, though who can blame them given the volume of people they serve each day. But there is something magical about sitting down in the shade drinking hot coffee and eating a pile of sugary fried dough. Don’t believe me? I dare you to try it next time you are there.

Additional Information:

  • Cafe Du Monde History and Menu.
  • 800 Decatur St, New Orleans, LA 70116
  • Open 24 hours a day 364 days a year (not open Christmas Day)
  • There is an additional location on the other side of Canal Street but the French Market site is the original.
  • Cash only!

French Quarter – New Orleans, Louisiana

I have never been to a place like New Orleans, where just a few blocks away from where you stand you feel like you are a whole world away. Even between several of the Garden District neighborhoods the change in environment is stark. From one side of the Canal Street to the other it’s like being in two very different parts of Europe, all while standing next to the Mississippi River Delta.

The French Quarter, or the north(ish) side of Canal street is in a lot of ways why people come to New Orleans and for good reason. It is gorgeous. Built by the French, in the French style, while Louisiana was a French territory. And it is home to Bourbon street, named as such after the Bourbon Royal line in France, the ever popular party spot. But the district is so much more than just late night drinking.

It changed hands over the years between France, Spain, France again and then finally the United States via the Louisiana Purchase (which included just about the entire middle of the country and a small portion of Canada). As such the history of the area is long and sordid. As well as ridiculously beautiful.

My favorite part of the day is always morning, while everyone else sleeps I like to walk around and experience the world while it is quiet and empty. This is my favorite way to experience the French Quarter, poking my head around every corner discovering all the hidden gems of the area.

It is also a VERY popular filming location everything from the classics like A Street Car Named Desire to the more current American Horror Story. So for all the movie buffs out there if you are planning on taking a trip check out this site to find the must see set locations.

If you aren’t the intrepid explorer type like I am, the area obviously houses any number of other ways to entertain yourself. From top notch food, a variety of museums or of course the night clubs. If you are looking for something other than random wandering check out the French Quarter Website. And maybe if you have a little extra time just stop and look around for a second, I bet you will see something beautiful and unexpected.

International WorkBoat Show – New Orleans, Louisiana

Last November I took a rather ‘unconventional’ trip to New Orleans. I didn’t go for a bachelorette, graduation, retirement party or what ever else people visit the French Quarter for. I went to a boat show, and not to buy a yacht or a speed boat but to look at all things to do with working boats.

Random? Yes probably to some, but not for our family. When my step-dad asked my step-sister and myself if we wanted to go I am pretty sure our reply speed broke the sound barrier. And believe it or not, it was so much fun!

The show is a free convention (for attendees, if you sign up early enough) geared toward anything you could possibly need to run a boat based business from commercial fishing to oil transportation. You name it, they have it.

We spent two days milling about the booths and chatting people up, though it is a three day show.  And despite the fact that all three of us currently work in totally different industries we all found products that we were interested in. There are hundreds of booths with an inordinate number of products and services. I wager anyone could find something they would be interested in.

We all said on more than one occasion “we are coming back again next year right?”.

Information:

  • International WorkBoast Show website.
  • Morial Convention Center – New Orleans Louisiana
  • Generally the last weekend in November or first of December.

MD HANEY & Co. – McMinnville, Oregon

If you happen to find your self strolling around McMinville make sure to stroll off the main street and up to NE 7th street. It is easy to miss, MD HANEY & Co. as you drive by on the main highway into or out of town. It just looks like a cute house. Which it is, an exceptionally cute house turned into a truly stunning home goods store.

The house itself was beautifully remolded by the owners of the store, and each room is set up as if it were a house. I want to live in this house! But scattered about are small collections of store stock in a way that you don’t really notice at first and everything is for sale.

The offer a variety of carefully home decor items, luxury small batch kitchen goods and will help you with any specialty painting you may need done. I stop in every time I go into town just to experience the beauty of the store and usually walk out with a perfect gift for someone I love.

Additional Information:

  • 4925, 636 NE Baker St, McMinnville, OR 97128
  • (503) 857-8176
  • Closed Sunday through Tuesday.
  • Open Wednesday through Saturday 10 to 5.

Ireland Hiking – Quarter Four

I honestly cannot believe that in in a month and a half I will be in Ireland. Every time I go somewhere new it feels so surreal that in no time I will be standing in a new place, looking at a part of the world that I have never seen before.  All the planning and research culminating in standing in the place I had been dreaming of.

But this time will be different, this time I will be standing in the place I have been training very hard for entire year. Without further adieu, the last of my Ireland training plan!

The weather turned again, but instead of turning my exercises from outdoors to indoors I just doubled down. I have been steadily walking my dog at least 6 miles a day since last summer. And on top of it I added an indoor exercise routine that you can do anywhere as long as you have the internet.

I decided to do a three month high intensity workout plan focusing on cardio and strength which will be ending here in a couple weeks. Then to get me through the last month and a half before the trip I am switching things up again to focus more on balance and flexibility.

All exercises are done once a week for a month, prepare to be very very sore.

Month 1:

  1. This Hit and Abs workout is only 15 min, but I was doing it twice through.
  2. Jessica Smith has some killer workouts, for a low impact leg workout I chose this workout which I did three times through each week.
  3. Then to loosen things up a bit I did a dance heavy workout also from Jessica Smith.
  4. I followed that up with a pilates workout focusing on hip strength and joint rotation.
  5. Then did a killer leg day, again with Jessica Smith…I clearly really like her workouts.
  6. After that leg day another dance heavy cardio was needed to stretch out the muscles.
  7. Day 7 was stretching, relaxing and resting.

Month 2:

  1. Low impact leg strength.
  2. A full body cardio weights routine with PopSugar.
  3. Abs with Fitness Blender again.
  4. I kept the leg day workout from last month, it is a killer but so good.
  5. Pilates for strength and flexibility.
  6. Switching traditional cardio up for a good old fashioned core power yoga.
  7. Day 7 stretch, relax and rest.

Month 3:

  1. For AAA (*ss, Abs, Arms) I picked a PopSugar workout.
  2. For Cardio Flow day I am keeping the trend of Core Power Yoga, so I chose this 45 minute Power Yoga.
  3. LEG DAY! I got a little tired of the one I had been doing for two months so switch it up with a Fitness Blender lower body workout.
  4. A new core workout for the month, once again with Fitness Blender.
  5. Pilates for cardio core day!
  6. And for booty day I am adding another Pilates routine but with workout bands.
  7. Day 7 stretch, relax and rest.

 

Last few weeks leading up to the actual trip I am cutting back on traditional workouts and went strictly with Pilates and Yoga. So while I am getting a great workout, I am also trying to focus on flexibility and stability. All without risking knee injury which would put a bit of a damper on a hiking trip. So below is the series of workouts I plan to employ up until the day I leave!

 

 

Book Soup – Los Angeles, California 

Book Soup is an independent book store and mainstay on the Sunset Blvd since the 1970s. Popular with tourist and celebrities alike the store specializes in hard to find and high end art books but also has a very comprehensive fiction section as well.

The store will suck you in from the street with a beautiful New York style newsstand display at the front door. Where you can then see the curved and towering bookshelves that are begging to be explored. Once in a person could spend hours (and I did) browsing the displays and finding all sorts of new books you want to read.

I found no less that 10 books immediately that I had not heard of and wanted to read. And that doesn’t include the pile of glossy art books that I would have snatched up had I not been on foot and several miles away from where I was staying. I went in more than once, spending at least an hour on my own. But I also wet in once with my family. Every time we were ready to leave we would be missing a member of our party, and in going to try to find them we would find more books that caught our attention and then again someone would be missing and the cycle would continue. Like I said it sucks you in, in the best possible way.

I sadly did not have the pleasure of being there on days with any special events or while one of the many famous locals made their way into the shop. But it is known to be a popular location for celebrity sightings and hosts a large number of events including talks on art and literate as well as book signings.

If you are a fan of books this is a Los Angeles sight not to be missed, but come with dollars because you will windup spending a lot. Even if not on their perfectly curated collection of books, their gifts and souvenirs are impossible to pass up and I wound up spending way too much money on greeting cards which I in no way regret doing.

Sunset Blvd – Los Angeles, California

Back in June of last year as I have mentioned in the previous few posts we were in LA for a part work part play trip. We were also lucky enough to stay with extended family rather than the hotel my husbands office wanted to put us up in.

So while we was off working for half the week (with our rental car) I was on foot. Luckily the house we were fortunate enough to stay in was in a nice part of town and near some pretty  fabulous areas to walk, the Sunset strip being one of them.

The strip, long famous for its night clubs such as the Viper Room, is still packed with venues of all sorts. But the streets are clean, the sidewalks wide and it is dotted with shops, countless restaurants, and plenty of watering holes if you fancy yourself a drink.

I spent a couple days walking around the area, one day I walked east and found myself down at the Farifax Farmers Market. And another day I walked west and found myself on palm lined streets of Beverly Hills.

My favorite spot to stop was of course the book store called Book Soup which famously takes its name from the Groucho Marx movie Duck Soup. I went to the store more than once, wandering around the winding stacks. I never did quite figure out their system. There was certainly a fiction section in the center of the store. Off to the right seemed to be books on California and celebrity biographies. Where as the left offered up art books of all kinds. I didn’t buy any books as I was already toting three library books with me, but I bought some fabulous cards to send to some friends in the upcoming months.

Needless to say, whether you are a person who likes urban hiking like myself or if you would rather tour via a tour bus. Or anything in between, I think the Sunset Strip is well worth exploration while in Los Angeles. There is a lot of see, a lot to eat and plenty of opportunities to see filming locations or possible celebrity sightings.