Travel Wishlist

There are so many places I am dying to go. Here are my top 5 places I cannot wait to travel to, where are yours?

Mount fuji at Lake kawaguchiko,Sunrise , vintage

JAPAN – Konnichiwa!! My first travel dream place is Japan. I picture myself walking through Japanese gardens dripping with cherry blossoms that gather at my feet, drinking rice wine and jamming out with my new Japanese friends at a karaoke in Tokyo. Did you see Lost In Translation? I had that movie on repeat for months. You will find me checking out the cool Japanese architecture, Mount Fuji and eating the freshest sushi ever.

 

iceland ICELAND – All I have seen about Iceland is how gorgeous it is. Amazing canyons, hot springs, black beaches, waterfalls and more waterfalls. And that Blue Lagoon that everyone Instagrams with clay on their face. It would be a road trip, which of course I love. In pictures it reminds me a lot of Norway. I would die to see the Northern Lights and would totally fall in love with a Puffin if I was able to find them.

 

 

portugal PORTUGAL. It is so close to me! I feel this might be the next one I actually get to visit. The others are at least a flight away while Portugal I could take the car on the ferry to mainland Spain and drive. Another road trip. I guess our family road trips from Oklahoma to Wisconsin or to Harlingen, TX drove me to love them (drove me – get it?) In Portugal I would drink port wine, explore the beautiful caves, visit a castle or two, snorkel in the Algarve and check out the forgotten temple. I’m getting excited just thinking about the possibility being there soon.

 

sa SOUTH AFRICA. My parents are planning on visiting South Africa for a month. And by golly I will be right there with them! I love traveling with my parents, we always have such a great time together. I’m not sure even a month will suffice, there is so much to see – Cape Town, a safari naturally, the amazing Blyde River Canyon, see the penguins on Boulder Beach, Victoria Falls and I’m sure soooo much more. I’m hoping this one is happening in the near future too. Maybe end of 2018?

 

 

The last one I’m struggling with because there are just way too many places I want to go! South Korea, Cuba, Hawaii, Greece, Turkey, Alaska, Australia but this one made it to number 5.

bali BALI, Indonesia – I want to live in a Bamboo house on one of their many sandy beaches and maybe just do that. But I won’t because there is just too many amazing things to see. I want to stand between the Lempuyang temple at sunset, play with the monkeys in the monkey forest, swing on the Ubud swing over the jungle, slide down the canal water slide. And so many jaw-dropping temples to gaze at for hours and hours.

 

 

 

 

A Weekend In New Orleans

SATURDAY

12:00  MEAUXBAR

You MUST hit this place for two hour unlimited mimosas (offered on Saturdays and Sundays for brunch). And I’m not talking about watered down mimosas that they bring to you. No Sireeee, you get fresh OJ and a bottle of champagne, plus some bitters, tinctures and um, shrubs (I asked about the shrubs but forgot what they said).

IMG_2162 So, you can add shrubs (whatever the heck those are), if you like greenery and want to be fancy. Ha. Okay, sorry. It was fabulous. The food is awesome too. Jeannie had the sweet potato hash and I had the petit dejeuner (the grits! the biscuit!).

The place is chic and the dinner menu looked superb as well.

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Meauxbar  –  942 N Rampart St, New Orleans   504.569.9979

2:30  We meandered around a bit in search of a cold brew coffee. And we ran into this funky camper covered in all kinds of stickers. Pretty fun. Not sure if it’s always parked on N Rampart St or it moves around. IMG_2185

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I promise, Jeannie really is happy. She’s just one cool chica.

We found our cold brew coffee! And headed back towards Bourbon St.

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3:30 Bourbon St to find the web cam

Back on Bourbon St. and it was packed with tourists with huge ass beers. Never saw one with a huge ass burger though. I couldn’t believe people were already drinking. I was only 3:30 in the afternoon! Oh, wait. Ahem.

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The day before we flew to NOLA, there was a hurricane building up and there was a chance it would hit New Orleans. Both of our airlines sent us messages about it and that we could change our flight. We decided to stick it out and thank goodness we did because it changed its path and we had no problems getting into New Orleans. BUT, I wanted ot check out the weather while here in Spain and I found this New Orleans web cam. And naturally it’s on Bourbon St. (it’s pretty entertaining to watch at all times) We were determined to find it and do a dance or something crazy. It’s on the corner of Bourbon and St. Peter. We found it, did our crazy dancing – did you see us? Go do it. Feel the web cam love.

4:00  St. Louis Cathedral, Jackson Square, Café du Monde, some shopping on Decatur St. and finally a Bloody Mary.

Headed south on St. Peter to walk through Jackson Square on our way to Café Du Monde. A must stop for all people! Some great sites to see on the way.

The St. Louis Cathedral is the oldest cathedral in the United States, built in 1718. I love cathedrals and this one is gorgeous.

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Jackson Square with of course – Mr. Jackson on a horse (not Michael). That would be Andrew Jackson, our seventh President of the United States. I wonder if this statue will be coming down? He was definitely on the side of favoring slavery and his role in Indian removal. Not what our country should idolize – even though I do understand that it is our history. So, shall it stay or shall it go? That is another blog post entirely.

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Alright, time for some chicory coffee and beignets at the famous Café du Monde. So YUM. The menu is quite simple: dark-roasted coffee with chicory (you can add milk for a café au lait), beignets, white and chocolate milk, hot chocolate, and fresh-squeezed orange juice. And the famous restaurant is open 24 -7, except for Christmas Day and when a hurricane gets too close for comfort.

Beignets at Cafe Du Monde in New Orleans

It’s a scrumdillyumptious as it looks. Now I want to go back immediately for more.

Café Du Monde    800 Decatur Street   504.525.4544

After getting extra caffeinated from our second coffee in a matter of an hourish, plus a nice sugar rush from the beignets we decided to do a little shopping on our way to get a Bloody Mary at Molly’s At The Market. Check out some of these hilarious finds. Decatur street is a fun street with stores, restaurants and for good ole people watching.

Some funny stuff found during our scouring of the stores.

Finally got to Molly’s at the Market for a Bloody Mary.

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7:00  Dinner at Felix’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar

Time for some fried pickles and oysters. And don’t forget the Purple Haze.

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Usually there is a line to get in but it moves pretty fast. And there is not a single bad thing on the menu. My mouth is watering now for an oyster po-boy sandwich.

Felix’s Restaurant & Bar  

10:00   Taxi to Frenchmen St.

There is much more than just Bourbon St. for nightlife in NOLA. Frenchmen St. is pretty happening with lots of bars, music venues, buskers, etc. and here is where you will find the locals. Its more popular section is the two-block stretch in the Faubourg Marigny neighborhood. Our favorite stops where Maison, a live music venue where there is always a good band playing and a busker where you could yell out a word and he word make up a rap to it. We were dying to be chosen and our word for him was going to be …… PLATYPUS. I think he could’ve come up with something good.

I also was almost killed by these women on this portable swing thing. What in the world?

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Busker dude, doin’ his thing. Platypus!!!!

And The Maison. Good tunes.

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SUNDAY

11:30   Brunch at Red Dog Diner

Nothing like hair of the dog to get your day started. And this was a good one. It’s like a salad with your drink.

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My reuben sandwich was really good (but I think the normal rye bread choice would have been better then their choice of focaccia, jeannnie warned me) but Jeannie’s dish was the best – Huevos Rancheros with a side of grits. I stole some of everything when she wasn’t looking.

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Red Dog Diner    3122 Magazine St.   504.934.3333

1:00 Shopping along Magazine St.

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This six-mile-long stretch from the Garden District to Uptown is full of antique stores, boutique shops, art galleries and craft shops. We had probably a bit too much fun in one antique shop where everything we found somewhat scary (think anything with clowns, dolls, and general weirdness) we would hand it to each other saying, “this is for you…” in a creepy voice. It was quite a large store and we found the jackpot near the end. An extremely freaky wicker thing with a baby face coming out of it. Hard to explain and I wouldn’t let Jeannie take a picture for fear it would haunt us forever.

Lots of hip boutiques and the coffee shop across from the Red Dog Diner had great cold brew coffee and free wi-fi.

3:00 Check out a cemetery.

Whether it’s the famous St. Louis Cemetery (voodoo priestess Marie Laveau is buried here plus many other famous New Orleans peeps) or just one you happen to walk by, there are many around, go do a walk around. There will most likely always be someone wanting to give you a tour, your choice, but I think either way I think it’s something to see when in NOLA.

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The above ground tombs are often referred to as “cities of the dead.” Burial plots are shallow in New Orleans because the water table is very high. Dig a few feet down, and the grave becomes soggy, filling with water. The casket will literally float. And nobody wants a floating casket.

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4:30 Garden District

Since we were already down by Magazine St. and had just checked out Lafayette Cemetery we decided to head up to St. Charles Ave and look at all the beautiful homes in the Garden District. You could make this into as long as you want, there are so many gorgeous places. I pretty much wanted to move into every house we saw. I loved the light blue upstairs patio ceiling on this one.

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7:00 Ghost Tour

You know there are ghosts in New Orleans. It’s one of the things they advertise! Ghosts, voodoo, fortune tellers and all that. And I love it all. I might have had to twist Jeannie’s arm to do a ghost tour because I guess it can be a bit cheesy but we did it. And it was so much fun. Plus we had a few ghost encounters on the tour. Are you a believer? Check out my blog post here for the whole scoop on the tour. But here was the place I found the creepiest of all. The Ursuline Convent. Oooohhhhooooooooghheeheh.

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9:30   Dinner at Coop’s Place

Back to Decatur St. for the best fried chicken in NOLA. I love the Zagat’s Guide description “Where the not-so-elite meet to eat”. It’s true. It’s a fun place with wooden bar tables and snarky waiters and a lot of fun and helluva good fried chicken.

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Coop’s Place  1109 Decatur St.

11:30   Fritzel’s European Jazz Club

Okay you guys, this place CANNOT be missed. They have amazing jazz bands here every night playing their heart out. I love listening to the trumpet, the bass, whatever instrument you want to play I am ready to listen. This was our perfect last stop for our fun-filled weekend. It’s the coolest place on Bourbon St. Want to hear the man sing? Click here. Man he is good!

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Fritzel’s   733 Bourbon St.    504.586.4800

Monday morning we hung out at the pool at our hotel – The Roosevelt (nice place! ask for a room higher than the 10th floor for some sort of view). We grabbed a taxi to get a Muffuletta from Central Grocery which is another must during your NOLA trip. You can thank me later. And then sadly our NOLA trip was over and we had to head to the airport.

New Orleans has so much energy and so many things to see and do and drink. Until next trip my friends! I hope you enjoyed the post and places to see as much as I did. xo

 

 

 

 

Taliesin West ~ Frank Lloyd Wright

Frank Lloyd Wright is one of the biggest names in architecture. I had only seen pictures of his marvels, but when I was in Phoenix my Mom and I went to his winter residence (and school) – Taliesin West in Scottsdale, AZ. Of course he doesn’t live there anymore, Wright died in 1959, but it continues today as the Frank Lloyd Wright School of Architecture, an accredited school. It was built and maintained entirely by Wright and his apprentices, making it the most personal of his creations.

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Taliesin is in Spring Green, WI and was his summer residence. He built it for his lover Mamah Borthwick, in part to shield her from aggressive reporters and the negative public sentiment surrounding their non-married status. Both had left their spouses and children in order to live together and were the subject of relentless public censure. In 1914, while Wright was working in Chicago a male servant hired from Barbados set fire and murdered seven people with an axe. One of those being Mamah and her two children. I could continue on but this post is not about Taliesin, it’s about Taliesin West.

With everything that Frank Lloyd Wright designed, he believed in designing structures that were in harmony with humanity and its environment, a philosophy he called organic architecture. Not to overtake but to become one with it. I love this idea.

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Wright and the Taliesin Fellowship (his apprentices) began to “trek” to Arizona each winter in 1933. In 1937 Wright purchased the plot of desert land that would soon become Taliesin West. He paid $3.50 an acre on a southern slope of the McDowell Range, believing this to be the perfect spot to build: a residence, a business, and a place to learn.

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Drafting Room at Taliesin West

I am in love with this red door of the drafting room.

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He wanted Taliesin West to connect with the desert, the structure’s walls are made of local desert rocks, stacked within wood forms and filled with concrete. Natural light was used as much as possible with windows but no glass, only an open space for birds to fly through and sunlight to beam its rays throughout the rooms. Light beige canvas was used for the roofing and could be rolled up or down depending on the day.

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For Wright everything he did was intentional. He was fascinated with the petroglyphs found on the Taliesin West property, the clasped hands of the American Indian symbol of friendship. This is often referred to as the running arrow; however, Mr. Wright preferred to call it the whirling arrow. Found in many places around the property but seen here on a rock and near the water fountain at Taliesin West.

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Wright enjoyed entertaining. Almost every Saturday he would invite people over for cocktails, dinner, maybe a movie or a dance production. They would start in the Garden Room, one of the most popular rooms at Taliesin West. Here you have a long bench but also Frank Lloyd Wright’s famous butterfly chairs.

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Every year upon his return to Taliesin West he would walk around with making changes and shouting orders to his apprentices. Taliesin West was a continuing project for Wright, always changing things with new ideas and improving the space with different concepts. Throughout the years he added to the dining room and one brilliant addition was the cabaret theatre with six-sides in an irregular hexagonal shape, it provides its occupants a “95% acoustic perfection”. Someone in the very back can hear even the slightest whisper from the stage.

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Piano space cut into stone in cabaret theatre

And speaking of the stage, his apprentices would learn more than just architecture. The Taliesin Fellowship were taught to learn all aspects of life, integrating not only architecture and construction, but also farming, gardening, and cooking, the study of nature, art, music, and dance. He would have parties almost every Saturday and half of his apprentices would cook and the other half would serve and clean up. Or if he wanted a special dance or music set for his guests, the apprentices would learn the dance or the song and perform.

I thoroughly enjoyed visiting Taliesin West and would recommend it to anyone, especially if you love architecture. There are many different types of tours, we did the Insight Tour which lasted about an hour and a half. Ticket prices are $34 for advanced purchase but if you are an Arizona resident you get 50% off, so don’t forget to mention that if you are! Enjoy and I would love to hear about your favorites of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Taliesin West. 12621 N Frank Lloyd Wright Blvd, Scottsdale, AZ. 480.627.5378

 

 

Ghost Town in Jerome ~AZ

I ain’t scared of no ghosts.

Jerome, AZ is touted as the “Largest Ghost Town in America”, as well as “America’s Most Vertical City”, sitting at more than 5,000 ft above sea level. It started as a copper mining camp and by the 1920s it was home to more than 10,000 people. Jerome’s personality has changed a lot from once a thriving mining camp between the late-1880s and early 1950s, the town is now a bustling tourist magnet and artistic community with a population of about 450. But its external appearances have remained much the same for the last 100 years.

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My parents and I decided to make a day of it. Jerome is about 100 miles north of Phoenix on state route 89A between Sedona and Prescott. Mom gave me the job of finding a cute place to stop on the way up for brunch. And I think I succeeded supremely. If you are looking for a super good place for breakfast or lunch food then try out Nora Jean’s coffee kitchen in Black Canyon City, AZ. I was extremely jealous of Mom’s patty melt with grilled veggies, Dad had a Reuben with homemade potato salad and I had a breakfast sandwich of egg and bacon on an English muffin. They had fresh, iced, green and peach tea, my newest favorite discovery of cold brew coffee and the lemon bars looked amazeballs.

Alright, bellies are full, we are decently caffeinated and ready for our adventure in Jerome. Did I mention it was a ghost town? I have a bit of an obsession with ghosts. I am believer, and a belieber. Hahaha. Ok, seriously. Let’s find some ghosts.

First stop was the Jerome State Historic Park. The Historic Park is located in the Douglas Mansion and boasts tons of artifacts and history of the town. Don’t miss the 20 minute video, which takes you through the history and development of Jerome – funny ghost narrator dude too.

Speaking of ghosts, when I checked my phone later I had 144 blast photos while I was in the Mansion. This blast photo thing happened on a ghost tour in New Orleans too. Kinda weird, right?

The outside of the mansion is gorgeous with lots of mining parts scattered around the area.

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I thought this model of the town with the mining shafts, faults, etc was pretty cool.

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Next to the Historic Park is the Audrey Mine Shaft. It is inoperable now but you can go check it out and even stand over the void of the 1,900 ft shaft!! No worries guys, there is a thick plate of glass and a metal crate to keep you from falling in. Thank goodness!

The Audrey was the center unit of the main United Verde Extension mine shaft. It was concrete-lined for fire prevention and was state-of-art for its day. The Audrey (I love how they call their mines THE Audrey, THE Edith … can there be THE Kim?) was the main ore hauling shaft. During the prime of its time, it would haul one up to the 1,100 ft level, the ore would then be dumped into a chute cut into the rock where the ore was loaded at the 1,300 ft level into carts which were pulled through a tunnel by an electronically driven engine for transport to the Clemenceau smelter in Cottonwood, AZ.

It’s truly fascinating what they did back in the day. Here is the Audrey.

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And just to give you an idea just how deep 1900 ft is!

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Isn’t she a beaut??

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After the Historic Park where a ghost took over my phone for a bit, and I stood over a 1,900 ft shaft, we moved onto the main drag of Jerome. It isn’t too hard to find, just keep heading up and when you hit all the art galleries, a few restaurants and a few hotels; you are there. Now it’s REALLY time to find some ghosts.

First stop is the Jerome Grand Hotel. This hotel on Cleopatra Hill used to be the United Verde Hospital opened in 1927 where sick and injured miners were treated. The hospital closed in 1950 and sat vacant for 46 years. The building had a reputation for being haunted with ghostly sounds of moaning and coughing. Plus a man named Claude Harvey was killed when he was caught under the elevator in 1935. Super scary.

At the Jerome Grand Hotel keep a lookout for a bearded man who wanders the halls, a young boy who likes to run around on the third floor, sounds and lights around the elevator thanks to Harvey and supposedly the hotel lobby is a place the spirits like to hang around and play tricks. Alas, we had a drink in the upstairs bar but did not see any strange people or occurrences. Great views from up there though!

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Next, we parked by all the shops and wandered around. It was Saturday evening and it was Art Night! Sweet, they had free drinks and snacks at every art gallery. And there are plenty of them: lots of great paintings, jewelry and a few oddities.

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You can stop by Mile High Inn which became home of one of the most famous ladies of the night during the 1900s. She was Madam Jennie Banters (reportedly one of the richest women in northern Arizona) and the inn became her popular bordello; Jennie and her ladies entertained many men during the mining boom in Jerome. She can be seen upstairs usually in the “Lariat and Lace” room. But there is also the phantom cat where guests stoop to pet the cat but then it suddenly vanishes. We stopped by the Mile High Grill (the restaurant below the inn) where I inquired about the cat. I was looked at like I had three heads and then I explained, “you know, the ghost cat”. “Ahhh, haven’t seen it in awhile but if you did it would be upstairs and not here,” she answered. Boo hoo and one isn’t allowed at the inn unless you have a hotel reservation.

We moved on.

In between more art galleries – more glasses of champagne and crackers with slices of cheese and pretzels and sometimes a little sandwich and one time shrimp with cocktail sauce; we walked around the tiny downtown and then ran into another of Jerome’s haunted places, the Connor Hotel. Rumor has it, the spirits come and go here.

But the rooms are haunted. Room 1 is said to be haunted by a lady in red and her friends. You may hear women whispering and laughing or she possibly comes to see you in your dreams. Scary! In room 5 people say they feel cold spots and the appliances like to go off by themselves. Reminds me of my freshmen year dorm room, my clock could “talk” and one time just went off and told us the time without us pushing the button. THAT dorm was defo haunted!

That’s it y’all. Jerome was so much fun even if I never experienced a ghost encounter. I’ll leave you with my pic of the Connor Hotel. Do you see anything strange in the windows??  OOOoooooooooOOOOOO

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Night Lights

I may or may not be over my jet lag.

What a whirlwind of fun from my recent travels to New Orleans and Arizona. Mostly it was to check in on my mom, who is recovering from a double mastectomy and starting radiation but also quite a lot of fun was had with Jeannie and my parents. Naturally.

Coming soon lots more information than you probably want on the exciting times of NOLA and AZ. Til then, enjoying this cool pic of coming into Phoenix, AZ at night. I really love this picture.

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Fritz’s Jazz Bar – NOLA

Hello there.

Just sitting here in Phoenix, AZ sweating my face off in lovely 100° weather, trying to recover from my weekend in New Orleans. We pretty much hit every spot to be hit so keep tuned. But wanted to share this video of Mike Fulton & John Royen from Fritzel’s Jazz Club on Bourbon St. It’s always a favorite place of mine for some most excellent jazz.

You know what I say – Turn it up!