Welcome to my blog! My name is Jen and I live in southern Louisiana - just north of New Orleans. I try to live a healthy, balanced life, but also enjoy some southern indulgences, such as Mardi Gras, Gumbo, and Mint Juleps. I love serendipity, nostalgia, traveling, good friends, coincidences, red wine in big glasses, and doing things I've never done before. Oh yeah, and running! Can't forget running.
So I forwarded my NOLA Bucket List to Jenna, who just so happens to live in downtown New Orleans, for a last-minute overview of which items are a MUST before we leave Louisiana. She gave me her best recommendations on my list (and added a few too!) – and now we just have to set-up a BFF Date in order to cross off a few more items! Below are her suggestions:
Ride a street car into the Quarter
Jazz brunch at Court of Two Sisters
Aquarium of the Americas
World War II Museum
Happy Hour at American Sector (John Besh restaurant)
Rebirth Brass Band @ Maple Leaf Bar (live music) on Tuesday nights OR
Soul Rebels Brass Band @ Le Bon Ton Roule (live music) on Thursday nights
Bacchanal (wine shop with backyard grill, courtyard, live band!)
Columns Hotel (great drinks on front porch!)
Help me pick which option would be the best for a “Goodbye” to NOLA and to fun day trips with the bestie…
Here it is mid-November, and I realized that I have yet to post my October monthly reads!
My first read of the month was an Amazon Kindle free read – Diary of a Public Radio Slave by Kerri Wood Thomson. The first lines:“Friday, October 19th, 12:15 p.m. Lunch time. Usually it’s my time to decompress, build up mental strength so I can survive the remaining hours until 5:00 p.m. But not today, I’m at the eye doctor’s office, and he’s laughing at me.” Summary from Goodreads: “When Sloan Kennedy is handed a pink slip from her employer and her fiancé, she has to find a way to pay the mortgage on a new house and cancel all of her wedding plans. After a minor breakdown (she allows herself a week-long pity party), Sloan applies for an administrative assistant position at the local Public Radio station. The position is a step down from her former job as an announcer, but Sloan is desperate, and at least it’s in broadcasting.” My thoughts: I thought this book was…just ok. In my head I was thinking there would be more strife and funny stories….but it all seemed like a fairly normal job experience to me (not that I’ve ever worked in a public radio office….) (2/5 Stars)
My second book was Revenge Wears Prada: The Devil Returns by Lauren Weisberger. The first lines: “The rain fell in sideways sheets, cold and relentless, the winds whipping it in every direction, making an umbrella, slicker, and rain boots nearly useless. Not that Andy had any of those things. Her two-hundred-dollar Burberry umbrella had refused to open and finally snapped when she tried to force it; the cropped rabbit jacket with the oversize collar and no hood cinched fabulously around her waist but did nothing to stop the bone-chilling cold; and the brand-new stacked suede Prada pumps cheered her with their poppy fuchsia color but left the better part of her foot exposed.”Summary from Goodreads: “Almost a decade has passed since Andy Sachs quit the job a million girls would die for - working for Miranda Priestly at Runway magazine - a dream that turned out to be a nightmare. Andy and Emily, her former nemesis and co-assistant, have since joined forces to start a high-end bridal magazine. The Plunge has quickly become required reading for the young and stylish. Now they get to call all the shots: Andy writes and travels to her heart’s content; Emily plans parties and secures advertising like a seasoned pro. Even better, Andy has met the love of her life. Max Harrison, scion of a storied media family, is confident, successful, and drop-dead gorgeous. Their wedding will be splashed across all the society pages as their friends and family gather to toast the glowing couple. Andy Sachs is on top of the world. But karma’s a bitch. The morning of her wedding, Andy can’t shake the past. And when she discovers a secret letter with crushing implications, her wedding-day jitters turn to cold dread. Andy realizes that nothing – not her husband, nor her beloved career – is as it seems. She never suspected that her efforts to build a bright new life would lead her back to the darkness she barely escaped ten years ago – and directly into the path of the devil herself…” My thoughts: I had pretty high expectations for this book as I quite enjoyed the first one; however, I was pretty disappointed in the material. Perhaps it was the title, which I found misleading as the majority of the book does not follow the fashion industry, or even much interaction with Miranda… Overall, it was an easy read, but readers beware that the material takes on a completely different view of the characters from the first book. (3/5 Stars)
I then listened to an audiobook – The Cuckoo’s Calling(Cormoran Strike #1) by Robert Galbraith. The first lines: “The buzz in the street was like the humming of flies. Photographers stood massed behind barriers patrolled by police, their long-snouted cameras posed, their breath rising like steam. Snow fell steadily on to hats and shoulders; gloved fingers wiped lenses clear. From time to time there came outbreaks of desultory clicking, as the watched filled the waiting time by snapping the white canvas tent in the middle of the road, the entrance to the tall red-brick apartment block behind it, and the balcony on the top floor from which the body had fallen.” Summary from Goodreads: “After losing his leg to a land mine in Afghanistan, Cormoran Strike is barely scraping by as a private investigator. Strike is down to one client, and creditors are calling. He has also just broken up with his longtime girlfriend and is living in his office. Then John Bristow walks through his door with an amazing story: his sister, the legendary supermodel Lula Landry, known to her friends as the Cuckoo, famously fell to her death a few months earlier. The police ruled it a suicide, but John refuses to believe that. The case plunges Strike into the world of multimillionaire beauties, rock-star boyfriends, and desperate designers, and it introduces him to every variety of pleasure, enticement, seduction, and delusion known to man. You may think you know detectives, but you’ve never met one quite like Strike. You may think you know about the wealthy and famous, but you’ve never seen them under an investigation like this.” My thoughts: I highly recommend this book! I was immediately sucked into the writing from the moment I started reading it…and honestly didn’t even know that the author was the one and only (under a pseudonym) J.K. Rowling. Fantastic characters and a plot that really has you guessing until the end! (4/5 Stars)
What has been your favorite read of 2013 so far? Any recommendations for me?
If you follow my blog, you may have noticed the new widget along the side: HBBC. This stands for the 2013 Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge! I participated in this challenge back in 2011 – and it was an AWESOME motivator to get me through the Holidays without packing on the pounds.
This challenge was designed by Amanda at Run to the Finish to help inspire us to keep fit during the upcoming Holidays (November 17, 2013 - January 5, 2014)! There are 3 plans you can choose from (Basic, Basic + Clean and Lean, Basic + Clean and Lean + Training Plan), and 4 groups you can assign yourself (Yogi/Getting Started, Fast & Furious, Endurance on Verge, or Endurance Junkie) to rack up “points” for activities that you complete. You get points for Activities, Eating Veggies, Drinking Water, etc., which are then accumulated, and used to enter you into drawings for prizes, such as clothing, books, gift cards, workout gear, etc.
I hope you join me…you will not regret it!
Go ahead and sign-up if you are looking for a challenge to keep you active during the upcoming Holidays!