because I bought my one millionth striped shirt today.
But, look at the little buttons on the sleeves!
I could not resist.
I love my neighborhood – Uptown – in New Orleans. The streets are lined with oak trees, the lovely Audubon Park is a short walk away and Creole Creamy, which serves the best ice cream I’ve ever had, is an even shorter walk away (the walk takes exactly the amount of time it takes to eat one scoop of ice cream).
Sometimes I love Uptown so much I’m guilty of not leaving it enough. This morning I woke up thinking about a bacon, egg and cheese sandwich that I had at Satsuma Cafe in the Bywater right after Thanksgiving. It was served on an everything bagel with cheddar cheese and was so flavorful and delicious and everything I love about breakfast all at once that I couldn’t believe I haven’t had it since.
So I got in my car and took a ride to the Bywater and was charmed by its quirkiness and funkiness all over again. If you’ve never been, the Bywater is home to a colorful collection of shotgun houses and a Bohemian vibe that is almost palpable. Its residents define the word hipster and while I definitely don’t fit in there (I was wearing Nantucket red shorts on this morning’s trip), it’s a fun place to visit.
Here are some photos from the morning, ending with the delicious BE&C. Also, if you haven’t made lunch plans yet, check out Satsuma Cafe’s website. The photography is gorgeous and, if nothing else, it will most definitely make you want to eat a tomato.
Do you ever feel like you get in your own way when you’re planning a trip? Sometimes I become so overwhelmed about choosing the right place to eat, stay, visit that I start to shut down a little. This is a shot of my coffee table and about a dozen magazines I rounded up with Italy recommendations. And, I just got one of those Travel & Leisure compilation books in the mail and it’s called “Europe: The Places We Love.” Perfect! But how will I ever remember everything!?
Should I rip all of the pages out and create an Italy folder to bring with me? Make a spreadsheet listing each destination with some kind of clever note to myself as a reminder of why I wanted to go there in the first place? Just use my computer to figure it out when I get there? Or should I not bother and wander around doing what looks cool like people did in the olden days?
Am I annoying you yet? Because I’m annoying myself. So, how do you prepare for trips?
Dislcaimer: I am completely aware that this is what my husband likes to call “a first world problem.”
View of downtown New Orleans at dawn this morning, spied from my balcony.
I’m excited to get to Rome, don’t get me wrong. But. I will miss this place. October and November weather is what New Orleanians wait all year for. It’s mild and not so humid and sunny and cheery. The whole city wears Saints jerseys on Sundays. The person who checks you out at the grocery story asks “How you doin’, baby?” as if you’re her oldest friend. You ride your bike to dinner on a Saturday night and through the park on a Sunday morning.
And, separately, although I sometimes feel like it isn’t, New Orleans is in America. I can watch American TV shows whenever I feel like it. (I am LOVING Ringer and Revenge, by the way. Awesome secret pasts/sinister plots.) I can order things off Amazon and be reasonably sure they’ll be delivered to my house. I can drive a car without being scared out of my mind. I can drink Fresca! The list goes on.
Anyway, enough with the nostalgia. I haven’t even left yet. But if anyone has any brilliant ideas about super American things I should do before I leave, I’m game.
There are few things more magical than talking a walk through uptown New Orleans at dusk. Last night, I was set to meet some friends at Patois for dinner. Despite the still steamy temperatures, I decided to relish my last week in New Orleans this fall by walking there. I love wandering through my neighborhood, looking at the beautiful houses and imagining the lives that are going on inside them. Here are a few photos from my walk to Patois last evening. If you can’t tell, I really sweat front porches.
Ps – the food was dreamy too! We started with crispy pork belly & seared scallop topped with Steen’s cane syrup and then I indulged my red meat craving with the grilled hanger steak with red wine & marrow reduction. Go big or go home, right? As you can tell, I’ve been quite deliquent about starting my cleanse. Too many things to do in Nola this week. Hopefully next…
Have you seen this book around? I feel like every time I go into a book store it’s there, prominentantly displayed with its “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize” badge gleaming, challenging me to read it if I consider myself serious about reading anything other than chick lit. I avoided picking it up for months, and really the reasons were pretty superficial: the title contains the word “goon,” the cover artwork is weird, and most of all it’s based on the music industry. If there’s one thing I’m not interested in, it’s reading about hipsters complaining about how hard it is to produce their “art.”
Then I started reading that the author, Jennifer Egan, kind of dissed Jennifer Weiner and is a little embarrassed at her own success. Interest piqued. I finally picked up the book a couple of weeks ago, and it was fantastic. Really, one of the best books I’ve read in I-can’t-remember-how-long. Better than all of the books I so ringingly endorsed here.
And, to top it all off, I had one of the most amazing moments for a book nerd while reading it. I had actually read an excerpt of the book in The Best American Short Stories 2010 anthology, and loved it. I remember nearing the end of the story in the anthology and being sad. I really wished the story were an entire book. Cue to 8 months later, reading this book: my dream had come true! Sidenote: if I had not been judging A Visit From the Goon Squad by its cover (literally) for so long, I would have found out it actually was an entire book much sooner.
One of the coolest thing about A Visit From the Goon Squad (and really the reason why it could be excerpted in a book of short stories) is the narrative style. Each chapter focuses on the experiences of a particular character during a particular period of time. Then, the next chapter kind of starts anew, picking up the narrative from a different character’s – whom you’ve already met in the story, in most cases in a minor role – vantage point, which in some cases is years before and in others is years later. What results is a story that’s not so much about the music industry or goons (not even sure where the title came from) as much as it is about the experience of moving through life. It’s basically like meeting someone and wondering what her deal is – wondering why she is who she is, what she’ll go on to do – and then getting the chance to actually find out, over and over again.
Bottom line: it won the Pulitzer Prize for a reason and you should read it and I suggest doing so ASAP!
Ps – there is one chapter that’s written in Powerpoint (it’s not as weird as it sounds), so it might be difficult to read on a Kindle. I read the paperback.