New City – New Orleans

A long, long time ago we went to New Orleans. (Over two years ago to be exact- WOW.) I figured I’d finally share about our trip, mainly because we’re still talking about the delicious food we ate and cool things we saw.

A work event brought us to NOLA. We landed on a Thursday afternoon and took off on Sunday, but we squeezed in as much as we could! Also, I was third-trimester pregnant and it was bloody hot in September.

I don’t love cities or crowds or terrible smells that seep up from the sidewalk. We walked down Bourbon Street in broad daylight and that was enough for us. Most of our trip was spent in downtown NOLA, but on the outskirts of the party streets.

While I don’t love cities, New Orleans is stunning. The gothic French architecture and history embedding in every corner literally took my breath away. I could feel the soul of the city. And I could’ve sat and stared at the buildings and cemeteries and ironwork for days & days.

Where We Stayed

We stayed in the French Quarters area at the Marriott. The conference we were attending was on the third floor. It was a clean, beautiful, convenient hotel. Bar and Starbucks in the lobby, roof top pool on the fifth floor, centrally located to lots of sights.

Where We Ate

I’d say 90% of our meals were unforgettably delicious. This city knows how to cook.

Curio | Royal Street | link
Our first taste of NOLA. It was good, but the beauty of the building was even more impressive.

Cafe Beignet | Royal Street | link
First taste of beignets and 10/10 would recommend.

The Carousel Bar & Lounge | Royal Street | link
Such a cool place! We managed to snag a few seats at the rotating bar! The drinks were crazy expensive but good. You’re really just pay for the experience, lol.

Cavan | Magazine Street | link
We took an uber to this one. It was yummy, but I don’t necessarily need to seek it out again.

Cafe Du Monde | Decatur Street | link
We obviously had to try the other BIG beignet cafe. Very yummy. The iced coffee was delish.

The Ruby Slipper | Magazine Street | link
I heard mixed reviews on this one before we went, but we had a great experience with the yummiest breakfast! I was extremely sad to be pregnant and missing out on the mimosas.

Creole House Restaurant & Oyster Bar | Canal Street | link
This one was next door to our hotel and a tasty lunch find.

Crescent City Brewhouse | Decatur Street | link
This was my favorite place we ate & it was a last minute decision on our way to our late night ghost tour. The service was great, the food was INSANE, and the view of the street from our balcony table was lively. (We eventually moved inside because it was also h o t.)

What We Did

Honestly, we did a lot of walking. It was our first time in New Orleans and we just wanted to soak in all the houses and parks and history. We were in awe just taking in the architecture, statues, churches, and cemeteries.

Faulkner House (bookstore)

Ghost Tour
I forget which one we did. It was long and wordy, but we enjoyed ourselves. Honestly, the most interesting part was the information on Hurrican Katrina and the longterm affects.

Rode the Street Cars

We were in town to exhibit at a new convention being launched in our industry. For being its inaugural year, it went pretty smoothly. Our job duties were limited and we were a little overstaffed (because we all wanted to go to New Orleans) so we had quite a bit of time for exploring.

It was hot and it smelled like a city, but in hindsight I would go back. I don’t have any need for Bourbon Street but I wouldn’t mind eating my way through the city, again.

Have you ever been to NOLA? What should we plan to do next time?

-Aud

Exploring Scottsdale, Arizona

Last week K and I spent six days in Scottsdale, AZ. I told everyone we were going to Phoenix, but after we got there we realized we were actually in Scottsdale- which is a totally different animal.

Anyway, we vacationed over K’s birthday, but it was less of a b-day trip and more of a (much needed) escape. We work a lot, K owns the business, and we’re usually tied up with business stuff while on the road (for business). It was nice to travel with no agenda.

We work with awesome people who took over our job duties & put out most of the fires at home. And we have a dog/house sitter who keeps the home calm in our absence. Thank JESUS for the people in our lives.

I’m modeling my trip recap after Alexandra‘s travel posts.
(Thanks for the inspo, friend!)

Where We Stayed:

Omni Scottsdale Resort & Spa at Montelucia

Pros: It was a gorgeous resort with nice (heated) pools, complimentary bike rentals (which we didn’t do), two delicious restaurants, a spa (did not visit), and cafe with drinks, pastries, and custard. The location was great & our room was stunning with a great view of Camelback Mountain. The valet service was so attentive and friendly and quick.

Cons: It was a pricey… and nothing was included. You had to rent the open and empty poolside cabanas if you were interested in poolside shade. The walls were paper thin- kids and adults walking up and down the corridors could be heard and K even got to listen in on a domestic argument next door while I was poolside. I’ll be honest, I didn’t feel like we got our money’s worth. The weather prevented me from lounging around the pool all but one day- and even if I’d spent all 6 days doing that, I’d have to sell a kidney to buy one drink a day while lounging. So… next time we’re Holiday Inn Express-ing it πŸ˜‰

What We Did:

We arrived late Monday night. Tuesday through Friday we did…

  • A Train Ride on Verde Canyon Railroad (Clarkdale, AZ)
    Such a cool experience. We booked first class tickets and had complimentary champagne, appetizers, and our own table & soft seats. Each cabin had an attached open-air car for 360ΒΊ viewing. Our stewardess was great, the info was interesting, and, even though the weather was less-than-great (rainy & cold), we saw some beautiful things. The ride back was a little long and boring (K wasn’t a fan) since it was the same rails we rode out on.
  • A Spring Training Baseball Game (Goodyear Ballpark- Goodyear, AZ)
    When in Rome… right? We’re not huge baseball fans (I went to one game last year), but we figured since we were here with an open schedule (and a hankering for beer & ‘dogs), we’d pop in for an Indians game. Bonus: They won!
  • Penske Racing Museum (North Scottsdale)
    We’re race fans so we took advantage of this free museum. If you don’t care about Formula One or NASCAR racing, this isn’t for you. It takes less than an hour to walk through, it costs nothing, and it’s located in the middle of luxury car dealerships (which we also wandered through). Definitely interesting for car/racing people!
  • Desert Monsters UTV-ing (Tonto National Forest)
    We booked the sunset tour through this guided utv company. It was AWESOME. We got 2+ hours of guided utv-ing through the desert and we were provided with helmets and goggles and bandanas (to keep). Since it rained earlier in the week, the trail was bumpy and puddle-y and everything you want in an off-road experience. There were multiple opportunities to switch drivers, the tour supplied water bottles and snacks, and the guides were so informed on desert life. This was the coolest (literally- it was chilly) experience!
  • Goodguys Spring Nationals (Scottsdale, AZ)
    By happy coincidence, there was a huge car show going on the Friday/Saturday we were in town. Obviously K was gunning to check it out so we got our tickets and spent Friday morning and early afternoon wandering around thousands of cars. I walked over 4 miles at the show.

Where We Ate:

We had a few meals at our hotel and they were admittedly very delicious. The restaurants at the hotel were Prado, Centro, and Crave (cafe).

  • Roaring Fork (dinner)
    If we ever go back to Scottsdale we are visiting this place again. Delicious salmon (me) and steak (K).
  • Daily Dose (breakfast)
    I am still dreaming about the Strawberries & Creme waffle I had!
  • Cartel Coffee Lab (coffee)
    Overpriced, miniature cups, bitter coffee. NOPE.
  • In-and-Out Burger (dinner)
    We were in the place so we did the thing. It was a good meal- I get the hype.
  • Bobby-Q’s (dinner)
    Delicious barbecue AND THEY GIVE YOU COMPLIMENTARY DONUTS WITH YOUR BILL.

When we were in Scottsdale we spent quite a bit of time in Old Town. That’s where the cute shops, cafes, and restaurants can be found. Most of the actives we did were 30+ minutes from our hotel, so unless you just want to shop & eat, plan to rent a car and put on a few miles.

Fun fact? I brought a coat and left it on the d*mn plane. Thank goodness the pockets were empty. The army green coat in all my pics was an emergency purchase from GAP in Scottsdale. I love my new coat more than my old one, though…. So who’s the real winner here >>>?

I was fussy about the weather (couldn’t be helped) and the cost of our hotel amenities (my stupid error), but we had a really nice, relaxing trip. We filled our days with yummy food and activities that we love. We never felt rushed or stressed to get anything done, and I loved every laid back minute πŸ™‚

Annnnd now we’re back to reality this week! Haha.