Friday, May 30

New Orleans, Where to Stay

Where to stay:
In my opinion there is only one hotel option in New Orleans, and that is the Windsor Court The beautiful French elegance oozes from the walls, but not in a theatrical way.  The hotel is classy and comfortable with high tea and harpists at 3pm sharp followed by live jazz for evening drinks.  The suites are enormous and feel akin to a spacious one bedroom apartment in Paris.  An enormous opulent vanity, a separate sitting room and an expansive view of the city make this hotel one of my favorites ever, not just for New Orleans.  
        The food was impeccable, the brunch offering the only healthy options I found throughout the city, and the service on point.  I felt transcended to a French countryside chateau as I enjoyed a complimentary glass of champagne with the tart cherries, mixed nuts and truffled popcorn.      Regrettably, I did not review the restaurant for lunch or dinner, but I was pleased with the Boudin balls and chefs garden butter lettuce from the Polo Club Lounge.  I was pleasantly surprised to find

A long weekend in New Orleans

The air is thick and sticky, making it difficult to breath deeply.  The smell of vomit and sewerage is so pungent that you gag with each step.  Drunken tourists slur and stumble past you, their heavily beaded necklaces clanking together.  Some pudgy guy haggles you to enter the strip club he’s promoting by offering 2 for 1 drinks.  The music from the bars are all competing for your attention, aggravating your already pounding head. You have blisters from your flip flops and you have completely sweated through your shirt.  The sugar rush from your frozen drink has gone to your head and you are dizzy with intoxication. But you are on Bourbon Street.  And you are blissfully happy.

New Orleans is a beast.  It’s loud and boisterous, drunken and crass.  The streets are filthy and sinful and the food will put you at risk for a heart attack.  But the city is alive and vibrant.  The music, the culture, the history… it’s unparalleled by any other place I have visited in my life.   I encourage everyone to put Nah ‘Leans at the top of their travel bucketlist.  And immediately.  New Orleans will be a culture shock, but if you survive, you’ll emerge all the better.

I've got quite a lot to say about this city.  Here is my quick list itinerary of the perfect long weekend.  Below please click on the links for full reviews of hotels, restaurants and activities.

DAY 1:
Check into Windsor Court Hotel
Lunch at Mother's
Walk to Bourbon Street, get a frozen daquiri and/or hand grenade and soak in the action, stroll through surrounding streets
Go to Mardi Gras World
Dinner at G.W. Fins
Hurricanes at Pat OBriens dueling piano room

DAY 2:
Ride the street car to Commanders Palace for Brunch
See uptown, walk through the cemeteries, check out Audubon Park/Zoo

Friday, May 16

20 Life Lessons I learned from my Dog

 20 Life Lessons I Learned from my Dog

1. Be grateful for your kibbles.
2.     If you truly want something, bark until you get it.
3.     Hide a few bones for a rainy day.
4. But don't be afraid to enjoy your best bones when you get 'em.  You deserve it. 
5.     You shouldn’t prejudge anyone you meet until you’ve sniffed their butts.
6. Play with abandon.
7.   Chase the ball as fast as you can.  And don't stop running until you get it.
8.    Jump into the ocean without feeling the temperature first
9.     Be loyal to the ones you love. And protect them.
10.   Keep your fur from getting matted, but don’t obsess about it.
11. Live in the present.
12.  Trust your senses.
13. Start each morning with a good stretch.
14.  Never turn down a belly rub.
15.  Enjoy the ride.
16.     Water is the only beverage that you need.  You don't need coffee.  Or wine. 
17. Don't rush out of bed.
18.  Stop and smell the roses.
19.  If you truly love someone, show them.  With a big kiss and a good cuddle.
20. And above all, love unconditionally, with all of your heart.

Tuesday, May 6

Banana & Egg White Pancake Recipe

On my relentless quest to maintain the thigh gap, my diet generally consists of egg whites, fruit, vegetables, chicken, fish, nuts and seeds.

I had been curious to try banana and egg white pancakes for some time -- but I knew what would happen.  I would make them, then cover them in syrup.  At 28 grams of sugar per serving, even the grade A Vermont maple syrup won't be worth the guilt I'll feel.  And really, who has one serving of syrup? And is it even legal to have pancakes without butter?

Last week, these pressing questions were answered when I discovered sugar free syrup in the cabinet. It exists?!  Later, after reading the ingredients, I decided to make my own sugar free syrup that I could trust wasn't made of genetically modified poison, which I will share with you at the bottom of this post.  But for now - the Smuckers sugar free syrup is delicious!! And tastes just like the real thing!



Weekend getaway to Palm Springs, CA

UPDATE: I originally posted this article on May of 2012, and while my love obsession with Palm Springs hasn't wavered, I have discovered a few new favorites for Hotel & Restaurants.  These additions are highlighted in pink. 

if you don't golf, you aren't retired and you are not an active member of the gay community, then Palm Springs might not immediately top your weekend vaca list.

However, unbeknown to 20 something year old hollywood hipsters, it really doesn't get much better than a weekend trip to the desert. Especially for a young couple. 

Viceroy Main Pool


*Best Boutique Hotel - The Viceroy.  Old hollywood glamour with modern accents make this gorgeous hotel my Palm Springs favorite.  I also love the slightly more affordable, but equally fabulous, Colony Palm Hotel.

Friday, May 2

A trip to Mariposa

Before I dive into my trip to Mariposa, let me spend a split second hitting upon one of my favorite lunch places in Los Angeles, which, coincidentally is also located in a Beverly Hills Department Store.

Greengrass Beanery on top of Barneys (what! you didn't know it existed! Meer Peasants!) has long stood as a staple on my 'top picks for a lovely lunch in Beverly Hills' list.  Boasting a gorgeous view and a simple yet elegant menu, I have never been disappointed.  Plus, their lunch is probably the only thing I can afford in the department store - so a visit helps momentarily elevate my social status.

I was expecting the same vibe at Mariposa, but was quite disappointed.  The decor is miserably boring and sterile - akin to a continental breakfast nook in a Holiday Inn hotel.  Harsh, but I absolutely hate the ambiance.  As if someone shopping at lunchtime wants to eat in a windowless dungeon when there's a staggering possibility that it is 75 degrees and sunny outside.   (Now, Nordstroms at the Grove - that's

Cartagena, Colombia

Three days in Palomino, and I was reenergized and sporting a lovely sun kissed glow.  The caribbean beaches might be the end all be all for some backpackers, but for me, too much resting makes me stir crazy.  So off to Cartagena we went.

How can I describe Cartagena in a way that exemplifies the magic of this walled city?  It has the charm of a historic town in Spain, the vibe of a caribbean island and the nightlife of ibiza all nestled within these grand walls enclosing the city.

The stone fortress walls stood proud against the crashing waves of the mediterranean, as we entered through them. I was overwhelmed with how pristine and gorgeous the city squares

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