family

Halloween costume inspiration: New Orleans style!

Halloween is a HUGE holiday here in New Orleans and I have to say, we're some of the best when it comes to costumes.  From Mardi Gras to Halloween and all the events in between, the people of New Orleans know a thing or two about dressing up!

So, to offer up some inspiration, here are some of my favorite costume ideas from my family, friends and this crazy city we call home!

Surprise visit offers a look at my old home's rich history

When you live in a 130 year old house, it's just assumed a whole lot of other people lived there too.  If walls could speak, mine would have plenty to say! 

A month or so ago, I got a call from my neighbor who was standing outside with a few tourists.  It wouldn't be the first time.  I once had an entire family stop by.  And another neighbor has said his family lived in my home too.

These sisters, Jane and Mary, told me their grandmother lived in the house.  Their excitement to see it again was utterly contagious.  I brought them inside, where they reminisced about holidays, cats and sewing machines, even getting a little teary at moments.

This morning, I was lucky enough to get an email from Jane, chock full of old photos from their childhood!  It brought me so much joy knowing we're helping preserve these memories... one floor board... one paint job... one renovation... at a time.


Brangelina's French Quarter mansion hits the market

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt sell French Quarter home

New Orleans may be saying farewell to our favorite celebrity couple.  Then again, they might just be sick of the French Quarter! Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have listed their 1830's New Orleans mansion with Latter and Blum for $6.5 million.  It's a steep price, at $850/sq ft.

Located at 521 Governor Nicholls Street, the home is 7,645 sq ft with custom designed marble mantles & fireplaces, crown moldings, grand spiral staircase, elevator, private spacious patio w/pool, chef's gourmet kitchen with top of the line appliances and laundry room.  You'll also get a separate guest house and private parking for two cars.

There's one thing the couple plans to take with them, however.  The dining room chandelier is excluded from the deal.

Jolie and Pitt first bought the house in 2006.

Watch the story here from WGNO News.

Check out another story here from TMZ.

DIY Hydrangea Wreath

DIY Silk Hydrangea Wreath  

I decided to do something a little different for my grandmother for Christmas.  She had commented on a photo of a beautiful hydrangea wreath on my blog and I thought it would be fun to make one for her.  While she was in town for the holidays, we picked out the flowers and ribbon at Hobby Lobby and then I got to work!  I couldn't be easier to put this wreath together.  You'll need 7-8 large silk hydrangeas, wired ribbon, a wreath base, hot glue, scissors, wire cutters and wire.

  1. Lay out your basic design on the wreath to determine placement.
  2. Cut the stems off of your flowers using scissors or wire cutters.  Make sure you save the leaves and don't cut so close to the bloom that it falls apart.
  3. Hot glue your leaves onto your wreath base in a sporadic, but balanced pattern
  4. Hot glue your hydrangea blooms over the leaves in whatever color pattern you'd like.  Make sure they've evenly spaced and you leave room for the bow.
  5. Create a bow with wire or purchase one that's pre-made.   Leave "tails" that are roughly 2 feet long
  6. Hot glue your bow to the empty space on your wreath.
  7. Wrap the ribbon around the hydrangea blooms and secure with dots of hot glue.
  8. Trim the ends of your ribbon.
  9. C'est fini!

 

Winding Down in Wine Country

Chandelier hanging in tree at Viansa Winery Summer is finally over and Joe and I just returned from our last trip of the year to sunny California.  We visited family in Sacramento and fêted our dear friends Mike and Maggie in Sonoma.  Living in New Orleans, we don't get many chances to go wine tasting, so we packed as many stops as possible into a sliver of free time!

Our wine country tour focused around the Carneros Region of Sonoma Valley.  The area is just south of the town of Sonoma, off Highway 121, and makes some of the most delicious sparkling wines you've tasted.  We began our day early at Viansa, where for $10 a person, we sampled their reserve offerings and for $45, brought home a bottle of Cabernet.  The winery is impeccably landscaped and offers sweeping views from the rustic terrace dotted with tables, chairs, strings of lights and chandeliers in the trees.  We sipped, shopped, relaxed and strolled through the vineyards before moving on.

10 minutes up the road you'll find Gloria Ferrer- an expansive estate of the famed Ferrer family, who's been wine-making in Spain since the 16th century!  You may be familiar with their largest brand, Freixenet.  Much like the family she married into, Gloria has a knack for sparkling wine.  Her Pinot Noir-based bubbly, Blanc de Noirs is their most award-winning variety and offered a tasty start to our tour of the facility.  The $20 per person tour lasted roughly an hour and explored different varieties of sparkling wine as well as the wine-making process.

Last, but certainly not least, we made our way to Cornerstone Winery for Mike and Maggie's wedding.  It was a drastic departure from our previous stops.  In lieu of Tuscan architecture, Cornerstone boasts modern art and labyrinth-like gardens.  Everywhere you look there's a sculpture or art installation, intricately woven between shrub-lined walkways.  The ceremony overlooked a modern lily pond, dinner took place inside a tent filled with farm tables, and dancing spilled out of the barn and into windmills on the large lawn.

By the time Joe and I stumbled back to our hotel room, our heads were spinning from all the excitement of the fabulous day... and maybe all that wine as well!