Dress of the Week – Second week of February

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Although I am not thrilled that I chose a dress by David Tutera, I still fell in love with this dress and couldn’t help but make it this week’s “Dress of the Week!”  I love the silhouette and of course, the back is the icing on the cake!  I think the lace overlay is what initially attracted me to this dress and I love the fact that you can choose a mocha or an ivory underlay!

Dress of the week – 1st week of February

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This Alfred Sung style bridesmaids dress is not only flattering but the cut of the skirt gives us just a little something to look at, the shoes!  So of course, this is my pick for “Dress of the Week!”  I know I seem to have a liking for the dresses that are cut just a bit shorter in the front, but what I like the most about this dress is that the length in the front is not too short.  You still get a formal, elegant look while being about to showcase the shoes, which we all know are the best part of any outfit!




Experience Mardi Gras for the first time, like it’s not your first Mardi Gras

mardi gras blogThis past Saturday’s parades were the official “kick off” of the 2015 Mardi Gras season and this upcoming weekend begins the Mardi Gras main stretch of parades, parties, crawfish, crowds, cocktailing, friends, family and all things Mardi Gras madness! As locals, we know Mardi Gras means all of the above and much more; but, what about the visitors of our fine city during this time?

Up until recently, most of the guests traveling to New Orleans for the first time only had the media and MTV’s Real World to dictate the New Orleans traditions, expectations and etiquette! Now, thanks to Turbo Tax, non-New Orleanians are given a glimpse of what it’s really like (insert sarcastic tone here.) We all know that floats come right down Bourbon Street and we’re free to just jump on at any time with our drunk selves!

Since the locals know that this – nor the seven sheltered strangers from farmland picked to live in a New Orleans mansion – are not true representations of what this city is about, I thought I would re-blog about Mardi Gras and the dos and don’ts. My hope is that the tourists coming in just for the Mardi Gras festivities – and even the new college students experiencing the best of the city for the first time – will understand that there’s so much more to us than what’s in the media. And, the best way to get the most out of the Big Easy is to treat it like your own; learn to be a local!

When it comes to what New Orleans is known for, Mardi Gras is certainly at the top of the list; well, Mardi Gras and Bourbon Street. And, if you use the television as your reference, the two go hand-in- hand; along with a lot of alcohol, nudity, and the occasional spicy food. Every local knows that the biggest misconception regarding Mardi Gras and Bourbon street thought of synonymously is that Mardi Gras actually does not happen on Bourbon Street. It is true that many people party there after the parades; however, most of the people on Bourbon are tourists because the locals are on the balconies above! Regardless, the reality is that New Orleans has a lot to offer off of Bourbon Street, and Mardi Gras has everything to offer nowhere near it.

I’d like to squash a few other stereotypes and place some local rules to the Mardi Gras season so that when you visit, it is not completely obvious that you are a tourist.

  1. DO NOT flash, especially for beads – this is definitely something that someone from out of town started and everyone who ever visited followed suit – locals do not do this.
  2. Do not show up five minutes before a parade and stand in front of the crowds of people who slept on the route the night before in order to reserve their spot – you will get your ass kicked and if you don’t, you should. Save your own spot or stand in the back.
  3. Do not throw beads at the floats as they pass. The idea is for the riders to throw to us and because of that they are not expecting to have something throw at them. You will not look cool or funny, but you will look like an idiot who does not get out much.
  4. Do not follow the float down the street, unless you know someone riding on that float. There will be another float right behind the one that just passed. Wait patiently and get out of the street.
  5. Do not fight a child for a pair of beads; actually, do not fight anyone. Beads cost nickels and dimes – essentially worth nothing. Although fun to have, catching beads is not a life-or-death situation; there’s plenty for everyone.
  6. If the person standing next to you at a parade is calling out the name of someone on a float, help them to get the person’s attention. And if they are struggling to catch everything that person is throwing to them, help them out and give them the “goods.” In most cases, the person will reward you with something from their throws, but either way, at least you were a good person and helped them out!
  7. Pace yourself with the drinking. The weekend leading up to Mardi Gras day/day of, most are out on the route for hours before the parade even starts. In order to make it through the whole day (and the whole season) – pace yourself. Do drink water and eat when you can!
  8. Do not wear flip flops if you are planning to go to Bourbon Street (this is just a rule no matter when you are here).

Now, for your survival kit – pack a backpack and include the following:

  1. A roll of toilet paper – bathrooms on the parade routes are hard to find, so be prepared;
  2. Antibacterial hand sanitizer or wet wipes
  3. Crackers, a sandwich or some kind of snack if you are not packing a full lunch;
  4. A koozie in case you switch to beer;
  5. A few plastic cups in case you or a friend need to make a drink on the route;
  6. A bottle or two of water – stay hydrated;
  7. A sweatshirt – you never know what the weather will be like, but 9 times out of 10, Mardi Gras weather is warm during the day and cooler as the sun goes down; be prepared;
  8. Extra of whatever alcohol or beer you are drinking. Tip: if you do not want to drag a cooler around all day, wrap your beer cans in foil and then put it in a ziploc bag with some ice. This will keep your beer cold and allow you to put them right into your backpack, rather than having to hassle with an ice chest. Shout out to my father who did this every year for Bacchus Bash! Also, to conserve space, put your alcohol in empty water bottles.

No matter what, when you come to New Orleans, you will have a blast. And, if you stick with some of the local traditions and etiquette, it will be even better! The Saturday prior to Mardi Gras, go to Orleans Avenue and spend the day people watching and cooking out before Endymion. On the Sunday prior, watch Thoth on Magazine Street and then walk up to St. Charles Avenue to catch Bacchus. If live music is your thing, go hear some of the best cover bands New Orleans has to offer at Generations Hall in the Warehouse District before watching Bacchus, which rolls right down the street. Head to Spanish Plaza on Lundi Gras for an outdoor concert and to see Rex arrive, and enjoy a huge crowd of locals and the beautiful city setting. Even in Metairie (right outside of the city), parades are rolling every night; so, if a family atmosphere and smaller crowds are more your speed, then that’s the place for you.

Take advantage of everything New Orleans and Mardi Gras has to offer and then you can head to Bourbon Street!