Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Morning in Algiers

On our second day in New Orleans, we decided we would take a $2 ferry across the Mississippi River to a historic neighborhood on the other side.  We didn't really know what to expect, but decided to walk around and explore.

Our hostel offered contenential breakfast, so we ate some bagels and cereal and drank coffee before we left.  We got some information about the street car and found the closest stop a few blocks away to catch a ride to the end of the line close to the river and the French Quarter.  

After walking right past the entrance to the ferry twice, we finally figured out where to go and caught the ferry just before it left.

The views from the ferry were definitely worth the $2 ride across!

Now on the Algiers side... 

The first thing that greets you once you get off the ferry boarding station is a giant statue of Louis Armstrong.  

I believe this statue is part of a Jazz walk of fame with other statues of important jazz figures, however we never saw the rest of the statues.  There was a large walking track that follows the river that we walked on for a few miles, the statues perhaps line the opposite direction than the way we walked.

Along the walking track we saw all kinds of action on the Mississippi from tugboats, cargo ships, to large Navy ships.

Flowers growing along the sides of the Mississippi and the walking/biking trail.

When we got back from our walk, we decided to eat lunch at the Dry Dock Cafe, near the ferry loading station.  

This was just your quaint little mom and pop type restaurant where you feel like you've known the waitress for years and you just get that small town atmosphere.

I had the crawfish maureenica, and Tyler had the muffaletta.  This was by far my favorite meal while in New Orleans.  You might not be able to tell how large this bowl is, but I ate most of it until I just couldn't anymore.  

It. was. so. good.

After lunch we headed back to the loading station and Tyler wanted to go look for street performances.

Back on the ferry, waiting on it to take off again.

It was amazing seeing some of these huge ships along the river, and with titles in many different languages.  

Tyler was surprised when I asked if this ship was named 17 February in Arabic, until he realized there was English just above it.

Do you prefer to go on trips with a fully booked day of activities, or schedule a few things and find things to do along the way?

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Street Views from the French Quarter

You might remember from my Shreveport post how we took a trip to Louisiana in March.  Tyler and I had wanted to take a New Orleans vacation for probably more than a year now.  

Our freshman year of college, Tyler visited New Orleans on Spring Break on a post-Katrina clean up trip with Engineers Without Borders.  Ever since he's wanted to go back, and I'm working on a growing list of notable places to see in our home country.  

When we found out we'd be visiting Shreveport for a family event anyway, we decided it would be the perfect time to make the New Orleans trip happen.

The birthday party extravaganza in Shreveport lasted all day Saturday, so we hoteled it Saturday night and left for New Orleans Sunday morning.  We arrived in NOLA about 4 pm and checked into Site 61 hostel.  This was the first hostel experience for us both, so I will write up another post on that by itself.

After we checked in, Tyler wanted to take me to the French Quarter.  We were only staying in New Orleans two nights, so we decided to just focus mainly on this area of town, and did not go on really any additional tours.  

We spent most of the evening just wandering around, looking at the buildings - which are so different from ours in Oklahoma - and getting snacks, drinks, and meals.

Tyler always has to be the planner and find the map when he wants to walk around.  Well, really he can't just 'walk around' easily, he needs to find somewhere that we are heading to.  He's the planner, I'm the wanderer - but planning keeps him happy.

I thought this jazzy chandelier of trumpets was a great representation of the city's history and culture.

For dinner that evening, we went to Muriel's in Jackson square.

It was one of those awkward couple moments, because we had only been to the hostel when we checked in and were still in our day clothes - but everyone else had changed into evening clothes.  

We realized once we sat down at Muriel's that it was really a nicer restaurant, and that we weren't dressed the part.  No evening gowns required, however we were still underdressed.  Luckily the wait staff was still very courteous to us and didn't make us feel more awkward than we made ourselves feel.

Tyler and I have come to the conclusion that vacations are really nothing more than food and new sights, so we typically spend most of our budget on eating - on purpose.  We went to Cafe du Monde every day we were there (I mean come on...look at the name of the blog before you judge) and Sunday evening was my first time to have the real thing!

It was also my first time to try beignets, which were *amazing.*  If I lived close to here I'd be fat.

Cafe du Monde's coffee was so great and thick.  Getting special coffee is always a treat I look forward to!

Although for New Orleans it was still early around 10 or 11 pm, it felt awfully late to me since I was in recovery mode from switching my schedule from nights to days.  After coffee and beignets, we had enough energy to make it back to the car and drive to the hostel for some sleep before our next day's adventures.

Be sure to check in for more New Orleans posts!
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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Spring Bucket List OKC Style

In honor of Spring, it is finally time to get out of the house and do things in the community!

I always love when Susannah over at Simple Moments Stick posts her seasonal bucket lists.  Hers are usually much more extensive than this, but considering we're already one month into Spring and our schedules really only allows us to do fun things on the weekends, a list of five is probably the only attainable goal.  

1.  Visit the OSU-OKC Farmer's Market.

Since we've lived in OKC, I still have not been to the Farmer's Market.  I've always heard good things, and I wouldn't mind getting my hands on some fresh eggs.  Plus it just sounds fun!

2.  Dig for rose rocks near Lake Thunderbird.

We've hunted rose rocks before, but the location we chose last time just had small ones that were not developed well.  I'd like to try another area where the larger rocks form.

3.  Feed the turtles at Martin Park.

I always enjoy Martin Park, a wildlife refuge tucked away in north OKC.  It is especially fun in the Spring and Summer because you can take your shoes off and walk through the rocky stream.  In the warmer months are also when all the turtles are out, and if you bring cat or dog food you can feed them.

4.  Visit H&8th (stands for Hudson & 8th street) and get food from food trucks.

This one is just a Spring/Summer thing to do.  Once a month they block off the roads near Hudson and 8th Street and open it up for pedestrians, a band, and all the city's food trucks.  The local shops in that area stay open late, and you can walk around with a beer and try all kinds of interesting truck cuisine.  You're pretty much a hermit if you live around here and don't go at least once.

5.  Play mini-golf with friends.

We've been meaning to play mini-golf with my old roomie and her hubby, and we really need to make it happen soon!  Plus, mini-golf is just fun!

What's on your Spring bucket list?

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

Simplistic Spring Wreath

It is finally Spring, after all that snow the US had this winter!  Finally. 

I've already had to keep the weather on all evening due to severe weather, had tornado sirens go off in my area, video crazy hail and wind, worn shorts and flip flops, and do some deep spring cleaning in our apartment.

Earlier this year I was inspired by a simple wreath I saw on Pinterest.  I don't make it to the craft store often, but had some extra time this weekend while the husband was on a camping trip and took some time to get the supplies.  What I loved about this wreath idea was that it was mostly fresh looking greenery and wasn't focused on colors or being completely full and covering the whole grapevine.  

Two bushes of greenery (varying textures)
Single stem of light colored flower
Grapevine wreath

Wire Cutter
Floral Wire (or other small wire)

I really envisioned the focal point of this wreath being in the lower left part of the wreath.  I took the longer stem of greenery, snipped the stem about halfway, and then stuck it into the wreath.

Then I cut off a small section of the boxwood and sat it aside.  I snipped half of the long stem off and also stuck it in the wreath, angled just above the dangling greenery.

Then I took the small piece I sat aside and angled it coming out the opposite direction as the larger boxwood.

Next, I took the rose and experimented with how it looked best.  I determined that I would need to curve the stem close to the flower and then stick it directly through the wreath so that it would sit the way I wanted it to.

Once the stem was through the back, I wrapped it under one of the main stems holding the wreath together.

I kept wrapping until the stem was fully hidden behind the wreath.

The stem was curving out past the front of the wreath in one place where it was curving, and since it is more red than the other branches it was noticeable.  I took some floral wire to tack it down in the back.

 I just wrapped the wire around the stem and some branches in the back to help pull it out of sight.

Next, I needed to tack down the small branch of boxwood because it didn't have a stem long enough to ensure that it would stay put.

My camera battery died, so I didn't take pictures, but I also just made a loop of wire in the back to hang it to the door knocker on our front door.

My favorite part about this wreath is how simple and fresh it looks, and really adds some life to our otherwise drab door!


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