Friday, March 29, 2013

Guest Post @ Swell and Stylish

Friday, March 29, 2013
Sorry for the detour! Today I'm not blogging here, instead I'm blogging over at Swell and Stylish! You may have also noticed that Rachel's blog has been one of my newest sponsors this month. Definitely head over to the post and check out the post in which I share some photos and stories about my favorite spot in my home!
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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Blissfully Proud

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lately, I've been feeling so proud. It could be leftover from last week, it could be our upcoming wedding, it could be me finally getting my degree... Whatever the reason, I am so proud of what both S and I have accomplished. These past years together (almost 6 years) I've watched him paint, draw, doodle, sculpt, etch, and grow. From painting with acrylics in undergrad to sliding on a tablet in graduate school, I've seen him evolve as an artist and as a person. I couldn't be happier about who he has become and what he has done with his talent. 
We've taken adventures together, close and far. In all of our adventures, there were times we've laughed underground in the metros of Paris, even times I've cried in a tiny apartment in Paris. We've stayed up late laughing until our bellies were sore, and we've stayed up late slamming drinks back with friends and smiles. I cannot wait for all of the upcoming adventures with him. The adventure of marriage, of moving into our own house, of traveling farther than before. 
One of these last weekends S and I got to spend two days in a row off together. For most couples this might be a normal thing, but for us there are only a few weekends like that and I've learned to cherish them ever since I used to work every weekend at the hair salon. Together we went to our favorite brick street, our little downtown area for lunch. We were going to sit outside at a table, people watching and snacking over drinks. We stumbled upon the brick roads to find a yearly festival taking place. The street was packed with tents and people spilling out from restaurants onto the sidewalks. We walked threw the throngs of people to enjoy the sense of community. But, being that we just wanted to enjoy some time together, we made our way away from the thriving street to a less crowded restaurant. We still sat outside, sometimes in silence over our brunch and drinks. It was exactly what I wanted: some quiet to keep time moving slow: slow motion to cherish it all the more. 
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Friday, March 22, 2013

Party With... Emma Watson

Friday, March 22, 2013
Emma Watson would be the sweetest girl to host an Easter morning garden party brunch. A few girl friends would be invited to celebrate the day peacefully in a garden of butterflies and chirping birds. The table of friends would be surrounded by beautifully blooming flowers, and of course the weather would be in their favor on that day. 
Somewhere in the English country side, Emma would host this morning brunch. Friends would wander through the lighted garden to the table set up with food and drink in a courtyard.
One of my favorite brunch foods is waffles with fresh fruit. Emma would serve big waffles, topped with mixed fruit, perfect for snacking on while surrounded by nature.
When anyone thinks of brunch, the first drink that comes to mind is mimosas. Emma would serve plenty of mimosas across the table, as well as coffee for those getting a late start. The friends would cheers and smile over food and inside jokes. 
Emma and her friends would wear feminine floral dresses to brunch, perfect for hosting a garden party in the sun and cool breeze. If you celebrate Easter, I hope you have a wonderful holiday! If not, I hope your Sunday is just as good and includes waffles and mimosas anyway!
Adieu, Yelle
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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Glimpse Into Event Coordinating

Wednesday, March 20, 2013
This past weekend I worked a wedding (a Jewish one!) and I figured I'd snap a few shots of behind-the-scenes instead of just the wedding itself. Don't get me wrong - the wedding was beautiful like most of our weddings are, but it's hard to justify another shot of our market lights against the sky. Although, the sight never gets old to me. 
As an event coordinator my responsibilities include everything from event sales, marketing, guest services, to risk management. From beginning to end our client relationship looks a little like: 1) initial site-visit to show the client the venue spaces, 2) creation of contract, invoice, and work order, 3) discussion of event needs (this is where the client fills out an event specification guide with questions like "What kind of set up do you want? banquet/theater/classroom" and "What are your vendors? company/contact/number"), 4) creation of a diagram by using the specification guide, 5) creation of a production schedule by using the spec guide (contacting the vendors to see their set-up needs, scheduling them for load-in, etc.), 6) and finally, the last part is coordinating all of the details on site the day of the event. On-site I have a set-up crew as well as an event intern to help in all the things that need to get done. I would have never thought that I would need an intern, but our building is so big and we are the liaison for so many contacts that it is so helpful to have an intern assist!
I snapped a photo of the production schedule from this weekends wedding, as well as my name tag that sits prettily in a small holder made from a branch. It's actually left over from one our weddings and was used as the name and seating arrangement place card holder. A sweet little detail to remember that wedding by!
Every few months, I get really lucky to have a florist and a bride + groom who don't want to take home 15 centerpieces. That means, I bring home a beautiful, fresh bouquet for my dining room table. This wedding had a colorful ensemble of orange, yellow, and even pink floral centerpieces that matched everything from the napkins to the cupcakes. A true sign that spring is here! 
For a while, I was feeling like I wanted more, like I needed more to life. I know that I have a lot of changes coming up in the next few months, even within the next year. Although, there was still something in my head making me feel that I still need to accomplish something else. And then, I suddenly had the realization that a year ago I was in a completely different place too. A year ago I wanted to be exactly where I am now. In regards to my career, my degree, our wedding, even money, everything has fallen right into place, exactly how I wanted it to. And it made me realize that it's enough. It's enough that we've advanced this much in our careers, it's enough that we have both obtained degrees, it's enough that we're both traveling to new places. I'm really driven, so it won't be enough forever, it will hardly be enough for this week, but for now, I am content, and I am proud of how far we've both come in the short time of one year.
Adieu, Yelle
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Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekend Recap @ Farmer's Market

Monday, March 18, 2013
This weekend S and I did some of our favorite things to do together. One of them was of course going to the farmer's market. When S and I were long distance, I used to visit him and he'd show me the farmer's market in town. Since the beginning, I've always loved visiting them with him. It's one of the sentimental reasons why we chose to get married at one. Speaking of... that's in 47 days! 
We bought fruit and vegetables for the week, and even splurged this time on local farm fresh eggs. Not only are they from a local farm, but the ones we bought are duck eggs! They are much larger than the typical organic eggs we buy from the super market, and are un-fertilized like typical eggs. The farmer told us that the duck eggs are denser with a larger yolk. We're thinking we'll make a pasta carbonara with them, as well as a pizza with one of the eggs in the middle. 
We picked up a batch of strawberries to snack on while we walked around. They were gone quickly while we strolled along the lake looking at turtles and baby ducklings that swam fast to follow their mama duck. Others threw pieces of bread for the animals; we watched as they munched like we did. 
This week I saw the first bloom of star jasmine. Our neighborhood has star jasmine growing up and along all of it's fences. When in bloom, I smell jasmine every morning and every evening on the walk to and from my car. It's so serene. I'm a sucker for super floral scents like jasmine and lavender. I love them so much, I even drink them in my tea! In about another month, our fences will be covered in full white blooms. 
This past week I've swapped my treasured New York coffee for the can of chicory coffee that I got from New Orleans. The grinds themselves are so much darker than what I am used to, but it looks so black and beautiful.
This coffee has chicory in it to balance out the bitterness of coffee beans. It's so delicious that I drink it black without almond milk. I typically put a little almond milk in all of my cups of coffee, no sugar. But this coffee is so balanced it doesn't even need it. 
If you haven't heard yet, Google will be retiring Google Friend Connect on July 1st. You can import all of the blogs you read on Google Reader onto BlogLovin so be sure to follow me there! You can now even create a profile on BlogLovin so it's not anonymous anymore!
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Also! Not sure if you noticed it, but one of my sponsors, Krystal of Sunny Soirees, pointed out that my blog post about New Orleans was featured on the front page of HelloCotton as one of the top blog posts for the week! If you prefer HelloCotton over BlogLovin, feel free to follow my updates over there!
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Adieu, Yelle
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Friday, March 15, 2013

Party With... Drew Barrymore

Friday, March 15, 2013
St. Patrick's Day is this Sunday and you bet that it is a reason to celebrate! Most celebrate like they would in Ireland, with beers. The best hostess of a St. Patty's Day I can think of is Drew Barrymore who is of Irish decent. She's got a lot of charm, can throw back a few beers, and looks great with red hair. She'd host a late night beer, burgers, + brie party in honor of the drinking holiday!
Shot glasses come in handy for tasting different kinds of brews. Many liquor stores have the deal where you can make your own six-pack, filling a cardboard tote full of different types that you want to try. That would come in handy at a party like this. A sort of bring-your-own + make-your-own six pack for tasting! Sharing with friends would make for some newly loved beers and some that will be forever avoided. 
To serve with the beers would be burgers at this late night fete, but for those that aren't hungry at night for a burger can snack on individual baked bries and other cheeses, paired to compliment the beer. It's real pub food, but at home. With all of the beer tasting, dinner party guests are definitely going to need some grease to soak up the alcohol in their stomachs. 
At the end of the night, everyone can rate their favorite brews for future reference! This way, people can remember their favorite new brew, and even the one to avoid. 
The kind of lady that would host a beers, burgers, and brie St. Patty's Day dinner party wouldn't wear just any dress. This hostess is tough enough to drink beers with her friends, but flirty enough to dress up when entertaining.
The music would definitely be some rock band tunes in loud in the background, to give the party the feel of a pub. The lights would be turned down low, the dartboard would be taken out from it's grave under the bed, and hopefully the guests won't write on the bathroom walls.
Adieu, Yelle
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Wednesday, March 13, 2013

New Orleans Brews

Wednesday, March 13, 2013
Friday started out with croissants and chicory coffee like always, le sigh. As I write this I am now home and reminiscing about dipping my croissant in black coffee. I could do this at home of course with the orange can of Cafe Du Monde chicory coffee that I brought with me, but the feeling isn't the same. 
After starting the day with coffee, we walked to a local coffee shop for more coffee - for our long journey of course. The local shop was through a courtyard with a lot of chairs and tables outside for enjoying the cold breeze. We got our coffees to go for our long drive to Abita, Louisiana for the Abita Brewery. We arrived early for the tour, which they do almost daily and multiple times a day on Saturdays. They did a tasting as well as a tour, all for the cost of nothing. The whole thing was free! 
Of course, I had to purchase something from the gift shop and I will definitely be stopping by the store this week to pick up a few six packs of their beers that I adored. One in particular was called S.O.S. (save our shores) and the proceeds of that one goes to cleaning up the gulf oil spill. That's a cause that's really important to me because I live on the other side of the gulf and think it's important to fix our environmental mistakes. If you see Abita S.O.S. I'd suggest trying it! 
They started the tour with tasting. The employees can't serve the guests, so we served ourselves! It was really fun to pour a glass from the tap, something I've never done before. They let you pour as much as you like and  let you try as many times as you like. After finishing our first taste, we got back in line and tried the others like Purple Haze and a special that week, an Oyster Stout!  We must have gotten in live four times, drinking our beers while standing in line for the next! After that, we watched a short movie on the brewery and they took us into the back to see the large tanks full of brews. Even after the tour they kept the tasting room open for another round. We bought our gifts from the gift shop and enjoyed our last beers on the outside patio. 
After those beers, we were starving for something good, after all, we skipped lunch. We hit up the Abita Pub five minutes away for some amazing burgers. We both got BBQ burgers and onion rings and it was the best choice. 
We drove back to the French Quarter and by the time we got back it was dinner time but we were still full. We went to Frenchmen Street where all of the jazz bars are and looked at the retro bands through the windows while walking up and down the street. We stopped at the night art market on the street and checked out all of the vendors. The courtyard was decorated with market lights strung above all of the crafts and most of the artists had their stuff on Etsy. I ended up buying a chevron upper finger ring that I really loved the look of. She's on Etsy, her shop is called Thora Ford
From there we ended up at a bar with a live band with a stand up bass and an accordion. We each had a beer and decided to keep looking for another bar. We made our way away from Frenchmen Street towards Cafe Du Monde and stumbled upon a 24/7 bar called Aunt Tiki's. From the outside I couldn't see a sign for a name, and inside all I saw was darkness and red-light letters. We had to stop in and we ended up staying there for a few hours. We had a few drinks while listening to good music, making friends with the person next to us, and teasing the bartender. I've said it before, New Orleans people are some of the nicest people that I've met. That's a bar that I would go to again, every time that I'm in Nola. 
Adieu, Yelle
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Monday, March 11, 2013

A Quarter-Mile of Oak

Monday, March 11, 2013
One of the places that I've always wanted to visit is the Oak Alley Plantation, a property in Louisiana with beautiful rows of oak trees that are over 300 years old. It's absolutely breathtaking, and what was even more special was that the day that we were there, there was a bride and groom all dressed up and getting photos taken. I couldn't imagine a more beautiful backdrop for the couple. 
We started the day with chicory coffee in the house and warm croissants from the bakery that the owners bring every morning. The croissants were wrapped in tin foil so that they stayed warm until you unwrapped them to eat.
Our first stop of the day was Oak Alley Plantation. We walked the grounds for a little before heading inside the house for a tour. We stopped in each room and it was so nice to hear about how the first owners used the house. I could practically see the polite and charming dinner parties held in the dining room.There was even a large fan in the middle of the table that was on a pulley system. It would be swayed hard enough to create a cool Louisiana breeze, but soft enough to not blow out the candles on the table. 
On the dining room table you can notice the silverware is upside down. This is Creole style and as an event coordinator, these little details make me smile! On the bed in the bedroom is a pineapple, the symbol of hospitality. Being a hospitality student, I definitely had to take a photo of it. Upon arriving, guests would be given a pineapple in their room as a welcome present. Being that travel took so much longer back in the 1800s, guests would stay longer than just a week. If the hosts ever felt that the guests were over-staying their welcome, they would give the guests a second pineapple as a symbol of "It's time to go."
Our tour guide was the prettiest southern girl with an enchanting smile and the loveliest accent. In Florida we have southern accents, but hers was so elegant with just the right kind of twang. By the end of the tour she told us about the mint juleps that they make. It was pretty much a given that we were going to sip on some mint juleps while strolling the cascading oaks and the garden cemetery. I love bourbon, so I definitely enjoyed it, but it also tasted like a day in the 1800s on the grounds of a plantation. 
Down the road is Laura Plantation, smaller, but with bigger history. All of the family documents and paperwork were found in France, and even the handwritten memoir of a women born on the plantation (Laura) was discovered. The story of the house and the family was preserved just as well as the house was. I find that with plantations, the houses seem so grand and large from the outside, but once you are inside, the rooms seem quaint and homey. 
We ended the night by stopping by Coop's Place, a bar and restaurant highly recommended by many locals. We ordered fried jalapenos stuffed with crab, as well as rabbit and sausage jumbalaya accompanied by Abita beers. For dessert we went to Cafe Du Monde for some beignets and black chicory coffee. The beignets were deliciously sweet, the powdered sugar melted in my mouth like every doughnut should! 

Adieu, Yelle
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Thursday, March 07, 2013

From My Travels... New Orleans

Thursday, March 07, 2013
We arrived just outside of the French Quarter and stopped at La Madelines for breakfast. We ate quiches, oatmeal with roasted nuts, toast with jams and jellies, and other pastries with coffee. The coffee was weak but the food was delicious, a perfect start to the day. From there we drove into the quarter passing Audubon Society and Tulane University. We arrived to the house to drop off our things.
Our house is in the middle of the French Quarter, a few blocks up from Cafe du Monde, and in between Canal and Esplanade. It the perfect walking distance to everything. The house itself used to be a garage for horse drawn carriages and at some point was converted into living quarters.  
The house also has a courtyard in the back area that joins the owners house. There's brick everywhere, inside and out, and lots of old touches like tall doorways and wooden trim. I adore all the shutters, on our house and others, with bright colors like teal and purple.

From the house we went straight to the French Market to walk around. We stopped to get daquiris first to accompany us as we walked through the wares and crafts. Becca bought a lot of gifts for her family and friends at the market. After feeling it in our legs, we stopped at a Mexican restaurant across the street from the market called El Gato Negro. It was there that we had such a great meal with the sweetest server, Corey. We ordered cilantro pineapple margaritas which were so heavenly, and then munched on chips and salsa, guacamole, queso, and tuna and avocado ceviche. The queso was so delicious, buttery at the beginning and a little spicey at the end. 
Of course, I completely agree with almost everyone I've spoken to about New Orleans. All of the people here are so friendly and the atmosphere is so different. It's hard to describe, but it's unlike any other city. I attribute it to the combination of a rich history with southern hospitality, and a dash of alcohol to create this unforgettable city. 


We came back to the house to relax a little since we had a long night on the road. After we refreshed ourselves we hit up a ghost tour. We had time to kill before the tour got started so we stopped in Pat O'Briens for some hurricanes in to-go cups. The hurricanes were so sweet and had a ton of rum - not sure if I'll be doing that again! I love that in New Orleans you're allowed to walk around with open containers; we brought our drinks along for the tour. Halfway through, we all stopped at a bar called MRB for restrooms and another drink when our hurricanes ran dry. We joked around with our tour guide and made friends with the only other person on the tour that was drinking.
After the tour, we stopped in Muriel's down the block to grab a cocktail that was highly recommended. It was called Honey Child and it was made with honeysuckle vodka (immediately intriguing), Chambord (a favorite), blackberries, and basil - so good! Muriel's kitchen closed at that point so we made our way to Angeli for late night pizza and beers.
So far, a successful and packed first day! I did leave out the part where I tripped, twice. I nearly sprained the same ankle, once at the beginning of the walking ghost tour, and once at the end of the night when almost to the house. I'm looking forward to the days to come and I already feel like it's almost over! 
Adieu, Yelle
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