Red Dress Run is one of the most Nola events in Nola. Only in this beautiful city do thousands of people wake up on what is guaranteed to be the hottest afternoons of the year, put on red dresses and spend the day celebrating life on Bourbon street. Organized by the New Orleans Hash House Harriers, Red Dress Run is officially a charity run benefiting small non-profits. Unofficially, it's a great excuse to just spend the day in the quarter with mostly locals. However, a great afternoon is quickly ruined by realizing that you've chosen the wrong dress.
Throughout the years of dressing Daniel for this occasion, I've learned a lot of essential lessons for choosing the perfect men's dress for Red Dress Run. Here's my tips for optimal dress selection:
1. COMMIT TO THE DRESS - THE TACKIER THE BETTER
You have already committed to wearing a dress, you might as well make it a good one. A simple dress is a boring dress. Look for something with a little pizzaz - some sequins, a good fringe, a pearl broach. Be your best self - the flamingo in a crowd full of pigeons.
2. FOCUS ON THE FABRIC
The best dress is a dress that breathes. 100% cotton is ideal, but the most stylish dresses will rarely have this asset so you will have to compromise. Be smart - as perfect as a silky red number will seem in the store, I guarantee that it will not stand up to the test of 90+ degree weather and excruciating humidity. Silk acts an insulator and will trap all of that delicious August Nola glisten on your skin. If your dress comes with a lining, cut it out.
3. SHOW SOME SKIN
So, your dress doesn't exactly zip. Have no fear, it doesn't matter. Look for dresses that show some skin, the less fabric, the better. Make sure you're flashing just enough spice to keep everything nice - A side cut out is a beautiful thing when it's 95 degrees out.
4. TUTUS ARE CHEATING
I'm a firm believer in this one. Tutus are for quitters, especially if you are wearing them with shorts. If that guy over there can have a great time in a prom dress, so can you. The fun of this event lies in the IDGAF attitude it is known for. The tutu is a sad in-between that comes off as a lack of reverence for the holiday. Even if you wait until the last minute to find a dress, there will still be a sad red number hanging at the platos closet/goodwill/forever21 that everyone else was too scared to commit to. Embrace it.
5. ACCESSORIZE - COMPLETE THE ENSEMBLE
Nothing brings an outfit to its peek potential like a great headpiece. Find yourself a sequin headband, hair bow or Sunday hat. I'll warn you now that a wig is a lot to commit to in August, but I'll celebrate the effort all the same. It's also a good idea to consider how you'll carry your belongings without the pockets that you are accustomed to.
Here is a sneak peak at the dress that Daniel will be debuting this year:
May the red dress shopping odds ever be in your favor.
Found a killer dress for this year's RDR? Share in the comments!
There's a certain point in the summertime in New Orleans when regular ice just won't cut it in a cocktail - I need the entire cocktail to be ice. My affection for frozen cocktails has taken me far and wide in Nola to the point of seeing a well put together frozen drink on Instagram and following it all the way to its home (multiple times).
Since arriving here, I've been on the hunt for the best of the best in frozen drinks. Here are my top contenders:
5. THE MINT JULEP SNOBALL | BARELPROOF pictured above
I first saw this drink on The New Orleans Scout Guide's instagram and instantly had to have it. When I ordered it, I asked for the "mint julep snoball that I saw on instagram" but apparently they just consider this a plain mint julep. I crave about two of these a year, one for the Kentucky Derby and one when the real heat of summer begins. I won't call myself a MJ aficionado because beyond that, I don't know if I actually like eating little pieces of mint from a straw. This one was special because it was served in the signature silver julep cup, with a St. Germain straw that had a spoon on the end and a whole mint bush on top. I'd go back to this just for the ice and the fun of drinking it with the accessories.
4. FROZEN VODKA LEMONADE | NOLA DISTILLING
When the Nola Distillery opened around the corner from my house, I was delighted. When they posted that their frozen vodka lemonade was the five dollar cocktail of the day, I became a believer for life. These people have hit the perfect frozen cocktail trifecta - a delicate balance of perfect of tart, sweet and kick.
3. FREEZLING | THE DELACHAISE
Froze, or frozen rose wine, is an unmistakable phenomenon in this city. I've watched it jump from bar to bar, leaving nothing but destruction in its path as it took the place of much better and more beloved frozen cocktails. I will always thank the Delachaise on St. Charles for getting the memo that if we are going to freeze wine, we might as well make it good. Their riesling version of a froze is sweeter and more balanced than it's rose counterpart. It's also white, which is just an added uniqueness.
And while we're here, other notable frozen wine mention: FROZE | THE VINTAGE - These little cuties add a sliced strawberry to the top of your Froze and let me tell you - it makes all the difference.
2. FROZEN MIMOSA | SUPERIOR SEAFOOD
The mimosa is a universally loved drink, a perfect pair of bubbles and tart. Want to make it 80 times better? FREEZE IT. This cocktail forever changed my relationship with frozen drinks. It became the end all be all, the must have, the pièce de résistance of my life in the world of frozen cocktails. In it's hayday, this drink was available all day every day at Superior Seafood - but suddenly, it wasn't. Replaced instead by the delightfully uninspired trend of frozen rose, it was pushed to a brunch only offering. As I have mentioned to the poor bartenders there multiple times and in my yelp review, I will not rest until this injustice is resolved.
1. FROZEN FRENCH 75 | SUPERIOR SEAFOOD
Despite their aforementioned wrongdoing with the frozen mimosa offering, this place just understands what it takes to make a great frozen drink. The frozen french 75 is no exception. I don't even like gin and I'm still super into this drink. It also doesn't hurt that this place offers a 10 pm happy hour as a great streetcar stop at the end of the night - including large frozen drinks for the price of a small.
Honorable mention while still here: POMEGRANATE MOJITO | SUPERIOR SEAFOOD (pictured above)
Whats your go to frozen drink in Nola? Share in the comments!
According to the internet, my rental kitchen isn't that terrible. I've got decent countertops and appliances made after 2000. In the rental world, i have a lot to be thankful for. The only major issue is that its red, super red, all the way up to the the top of the 14 ft ceilings. To add insult to injury, it's also a very questionable paint job. I lasted two years in the red, but I started to really hate it was about to beg my landlord to paint. But let's be honest, she's made it very clear that she loves this color and I have no concept of how to paint ceilings this tall.
After some rigorous googling, I found some options for stick on subway tile. Unfortunately, most of them were pretty costly and pulled the paint off the wall when you took them down. Somewhere along the way I came across Devine Color Peel and Stick Wallpaper in a really convincing subway tile print.
I was convinced as soon as I read that another blogger was able to peel it off the wall and restick it down when she messed it up (which is 100% true). I also saw 6 month updates about it holding up over time and coming off easily when people moved out.
I will say, as soon as I started installing it I realized that I had underestimated how difficult it would be. Thankfully, it was totally worth it int he end.
Here are my tips for taking on this project:
1. GET YOUR SUPPLIES READY
You'll need an xacto knife, cutting mat, screwdriver for outlet faceplates and some sort of credit card or other card to smooth out the vinyl on the wall. This will also go a lot easier if you have a second set of hands to hold the sheets while you line them up.
2. PREP YOUR WALLS
If your like me and live in an old home, you may have 80 coats of paint on your walls. If you don't have a totally flat surface, it will show through the paper. I used a hammer to flatten out old paint droplets and sandpaper to gently ware down really thick ones. Also, wipe down the surface with a dry microfiber cloth first.
3. LOGIC IT ALL OUT
You never want this paper to overlap because the transparency of the seems will change and It's super noticeable on dark walls like mine. You also want to avoid making mistake like I did where my corners didnt line up. It was way smarter to fold a single piece across a corner.
4. BUY MORE THAN YOU NEED
I could have covered my entire backsplash with one roll of this paper, but you need more of this specific pattern to make it work. You have to work with the pattern or you end up with tiny tiles that make no sense.
In whole, it took me around five hours (including some re-do time after my corner incident) to complete my entire backsplash. I'm thrilled that it made an actual impact on the red and toned it down significantly. The total transformation has me totally hooked on the Devine Color paper and wanting to use it in every room.
Have you tired removable wallpaper yet? Share in the comments!
People in New Orleans have a very particular way of being protective of their favorite things. In the summer, this is particularly true for sno-balls. It was very surprising to me that this delightful treat could quickly turn into a divisive discussion at the dinner table. Want to really test your friendship with someone in New Orleans? Insist that you like a different snoball stand than they do.
I grew up eating snoballs and for a long time, I insisted that all snoballs were the same - It was just ice with some flavoring on it. Now, I will be the first to admit that there is no snoball like the Hansen's Sno-Bliz snoball. I've fully crossed over, I'll go down swinging for it.
I have never been one for waiting in line, not a Disney, not at Old Navy - but at Hansens, I'm in. And it's true, you will usually have to wait at least 30 minutes for the snoball of your dreams, but it's a small price to pay. It also adds to the charm. Once, after a torrential downpour, we biked down to Hansen's and walked straight in. We were the only people in the entire place and I felt like the queen of England. I don't think I'll ever forget it.
This institution has been around for over 70 years and I am telling you, it is because of the ice. I've never seen real snow, but I am pretty sure it is identical to this fluffy perfection. It could also be the secret recipe flavors that they make by hand.
My favorite thing about Hansen's is that I can mix and match to my heart's content. No one bats and eye when I order the most specific snoball known to man.
Here's my best success so far:
Do you insist someone else does it better? Leave a note in the comments below!
Somehow, Daniel and I went over a year in Uptown, New Orleans without bikes. When we finally got them, it felt like every weekend could be a new adventure. We're lucky enough to live near the dead middle of Magazine street, just 2.5 miles away from the Audubon Zoo. I get it, 2.5 miles sounds like a lot - but it ain't so bad when I'm just oogling at all the houses along the way.
Last Christmas, Daniel got a two person hammock that ties to two trees. At the time, I thought this was the worst gift ever as it seems highly unlikely to be able to find two trees close enough together to make this work on a regular basis. I will admit it - i was wrong. It turns out the straps are pretty long.
Lately, we've been packing up the hammock and biking down to the zoo to hang out with my new BFFs - THE GIRAFFES! Have you ever napped in a hammock next to a giraffe? Because I have.
It turns out, the Audubon Zoo giraffe encounter backs right up to a nicely tree-full area in Audubon Park. It's the perfect place to set up with a kindle and watch the giraffes eat the trees. If you catch it at the perfect time, you can even hear the handlers call the giraffes by name to feed them dinner. They come when they are called - which was an adorable sight to see.
Here we are posted up in the hammock waiting on the giraffes to walk by:
As it's on the way, I would also highly advise stopping by Hansen's Sno-Bliz for a snowball on the way (read more about my obsession here). It definitely enhanced the experience.
We're big lovers of Audubon Park, but this was a big discovery for us. Have you ever hung out with the giraffes here? What's your favorite part of the park? Share below!
There is no culture shock quite like moving from a condo built in 2005, to a classic New Orleans shotgun home built in the mid 1850's. I went from the builder-grade land of nod to a crash course in 100 years of renovation and plaster walls. Quickly, I found myself needing to make my rental feel like home and transform it into my own.
Finding a home to rent in New Orleans is a tricky thing. Nicely renovated and historically persevered homes are expensive, but part of the charm of living in a 300 year old city. We lucked upon our home when friends of friends happened to hear we needed a place as they were packing up to buy a new house. We saw it on a Saturday afternoon with their things in it and had two immediate thoughts:
1) It's incredible because it has two bathrooms and who knew that was going to be like finding Atlantis in our budget
2) The crazy paint colors on the 14ft walls were barely noticeable
After horrible luck house searching prior to this, we were relieved to finally see something worth living in. We signed on immediately and about a month later we were moving in. I'll be honest - I cried when we opened the door on day one. Gone were the prior resident's great choices in furniture that made the space seem bigger, gone were the rugs covering the original (and less than well cared for) wood floors and gone was the artwork hiding the loudest paint colors I had ever encountered.
Immediately, I was making peace with what we had done.
We moved in to a rainbow home full of unforgivable paint colors we weren't allowed to touch. Here's the orange of the living room and the lime green of the bedroom for reference:
Once we settled in and started making piece, I found myself leaning on a few solutions to help transform any rental into a cozy home:
1. TOUCH UP THE PAINT
Beyond the crazy paint colors, we also ran into a ton of chipped paint and trim. The front door looked like it had been chipping since 1850. While I'm not allowed to change the paint colors, I saw no issue with taking those paint chips to Lowes and having them match the shade. Touching up the baseboards, fireplace mantles and doors made a huge difference. With a quart of paint only costing around $10, it was well worth the trouble
2. HANG UP YOUR ARTWORK // FIND ARTWORK
It is so tempting to be lazy and not hang things up - I get it. I am a crazy unpacker, I can be unpacked and fully organized into a home in 48 hours. But the hanging, oh the hanging, that's a different story. Here we have the struggle of antique plaster walls - so I'm also scared to hang anything up. Thankfully, the past residents left a lot of nails in the wall so I resuse as may of those holes as possible. I also have found it really important to ditch the Hobby Lobby placeholder art and replace it with pieces by local artists that I love and collect along the way.
3. RUGS! RUGS! RUGS!
Let me tell you how everyone that raves about original hardwood floors on HGTV is full of lies. Real, true, original floors are likely not kept up to HGTV standards. Mine would require sanding, restaining, and constant maintenance to get back to that level (something my landlord is not up to). So instead of fretting over the floors, we invested in neutral rugs to balance the paint colors. We found deals at World Market on a nice jute rug that covered most of the living room and at At Home. We even got anti-fatigue mats for the kitchen to cover that space too. Pro-tip: At Home has a surprising rug selection at great prices.
4. CLEAN LIKE THERE IS NO TOMORROW (OR PAY SOMEONE ELSE TO)
The thing with historic homes is that you also get historic dirt. Can you reach that 14ft trim on the ceiling? Neither could the last 4 people that lived here. Everything already looks old, no need to make it look old and dirty. Invest some time or money into cleaning your home from top to bottom. It makes a difference.
5. BE RUTHLESSLY JUDGEMENTAL WITH YOUR STUFF
There were so many piece we had that looked great in our old condo that just didn't fit into the new place. Our charmingly comfortable leather sofa that looked fantastic against our grey slate walls suddenly looked like an out of place, giant dark oaf in our new small living room. We swapped the pillows to the lightest linens and replaced it with a full linen couch six months later. It transformed the room and made the whole space come together. Make peace with the things that don't fit, make a plan to swap them out.
6. FIND INNOVATIVE SOLUTIONS TO THINGS YOU CAN'T CHANGE
The bright red paint in our kitchen started to feel like it was going to eat me alive. I found a removable wallpaper at target that looked like subway tile and installed it on the backsplash. Read all about that project and see photos here. It completely changed the room and made me a huge believer in finding workarounds to my lease. Try wallpaper, or hanging curtains to make a fake window (or make a window seem bigger), or cover your countertops in contact paper - there's always a workaround!
Almost three years later, I am infinitely more happy with our home. Never give up on making your rental feel like your own. I promise you- it's possible!
Have you made any transformations to your rental? Share in the comments below!