Five Days in New Orleans (pt 1)

It seems like I say this with every post – but I honestly cannot believe that it has been months since I last published something. There are so many places I’ve explored in the last few months, that I hope to share with you all soon – including my time in Kansas City and back home in NYC.

Today, though, I’m excited to share my adventures in New Orleans over Spring Break, which are fresh in my mind. My week in the Big Easy felt like a dream. First – there was sunshine, which has become a rarity in Cleveland. Secondly, there was warmth. Thirdly, the food was amazing, and the people were generous and kind. While the streets of NoLa are famous for allowing open containers of alcohol, there is so much more to the city than just hurricanes and fishbowls. (But if that’s your thing – go for it!)

Since this post turned out to be so long, I’ve decided to split it up into multiple posts. This is part 1, chronicling what we did for Day 1-2. I’ve attached a little chart below that shows an overview of our whole trip! 🙂

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Day 1
We landed in MSY airport at 10:30AM on a Monday, and got to our hotel at 11:30AM. We stayed at the Marriott at New Orleans. We were able to check in our bags with the concierge while they were finalizing our rooms. The hotel is in downtown NoLa, and 10 minutes away from French Quarter. My only complaint is that free WiFi in the rooms would have been nice. (It’s 2018! C’mon now, Marriott!).

For lunch, we went to Bon Ton Café for some authentic Cajun food. For dinner, we made a reservation at MayPop, a hip Asian-American-Cajun-Creole fusion restaurant. The food at both restaurants were delicious and worth every penny!

We did some light shopping at Canal Place and explored the French Quarter at night. While we were in the area, we couldn’t help stopping by the famous Café du Monde for some late-night beignets and café au lait. (Pro-tip: I’d recommend going at night to beat the lines. The café is 24 hours. We snagged a table for 5 in about 10 minutes at around 9:30PM.)

After filling our tummies with beignets, we decided to walk around Jackson Square and the surrounding French Quarter. We didn’t stay out too late, since we had been travelling since 6AM (EST) and were in need of some beauty sleep!

Day 2
Our objective for the trip was to blend both vacation and exploration. We typically woke up around 8-9AM, which I thought was a reasonable yet productive time for break.

We stumbled upon Palace Café for an early lunch. Just like all the other meals we’d had in New Orleans so far, it was delicious and were inspired to come back for a second time the next day.

After lunch, we spent our noon at the Audubon Aquarium. We purchased the Audubon Experience pass ($45), which gets you into the aquarium, zoo, and insectarium within 30-days of purchase. You even get to watch a documentary at the Entergy Giant Screen Theater the same day you visit the aquarium.

My favorites were the white alligator, the sea otters, and the Amazon Rainforest exhibit.

After the aquarium, we took a siesta at the hotel before heading back out to French Quarter. We had an afternoon snack at Café Beignet on Bourbon Street in Musical Legends Park. The beignets were too dense and a little bit undercooked, so it wasn’t my favorite. I did enjoy the café au lait and the live jazz band playing.

For dinner, we went to Luke. I’m still salivating over the magnificent stuffed p&j oysters! I think that is hands down my favorite dish of my NoLa stay, other than the beignets of course.

After dinner, we checked out the night life on Bourbon street and any quirky gift shops. Since we lived so close to FQ, we decided that we’d try to explore some part of it every night after dinner.

I’ve got so much more from my NoLa adventures that I can’t wait to share with you all! I hope you’ve enjoyed this little sneak peak of my five days in the Big Easy, and hope to see you back here soon. 🙂

Fin.

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New Year, New Lenses

It’s been about a year since I bought Marcus. It’s been a faithful travel companion, and has withstand my clumsy hands. In this time, I’ve only been using the kit lens since I figured it’d allow me to learn the ropes. Well, recently, I decided it was time for me to outfit Marcus with a new pair of lenses. It was an impromptu decision, but I had done some preliminary research in the past, so I hit up the B&H Store in New York, and took advantage of their generous holiday sale.

I purchased the 50mm f/1.8 lens and I’m really satisfied with my decision. I loved the kit lens, but the f/1.8 lens is sharper and creates a more editorial look. Since it’s a 50mm, it means that my field of vision is significantly smaller, and I will have to be more judicious in what I allow in and out of my frame. I think these lenses are fabulous for portraits — it captures the perfect amount of softness and sharpness. After using the kit lens for so long, these prime lenses feel like such a treat!

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Singer in front of Ai WeiWei’s “Good Fences Make Good Neighbors” installation // Washington Square Park, New York, NY

Since I have some quiet time at home, I’ve been doing some self-reflections. I think 2017 was a little bit of a chaotic year for me; there was a lot going on, and I got way too burnt out by the end. I kind of did a hard shut-down as the semester and the year wound down to a close, and I feel much more refreshed going into 2018.

If you’ve been reading this blog for the past year, then you’ll probably know that I started a 365-day photo project, that started off quite strong but I kind of gave up midway through the year. Looking back, it was too much all at once, and if I am to come up with some New Years Resolutions, then I’d better start small.

I’ve got four major “projects” that I want to work on in this upcoming year. They are: (1) capsule everything, (2) budgeting, (3) reading more books and watching more films, and (3) experiment more with my photography.

I think that the first two go hand-in-hand. Fine tuning my capsule system will allow me to be wiser with my spending, and in turn, help me get into the habit of budgeting. I’ve been trying to get into the capsule wardrobe system for some time now, and though I’ve done a great job parring down over the years, I don’t think I’ve quite curated a capsule wardrobe that I’m proud of. I think I will start with parring down my makeup collection first, and then stepping into other things like books, before finally revisiting my clothing for a capsule wardrobe finale! I’ll most likely keep the details to that for a separate post, so this one won’t get too long.

In terms of budgeting, I think I need to work on not just budgeting my spending but also my time. I find myself always doing menial tasks (checking my e-mail, scrolling through Facebook) because “5 minutes” just isn’t enough to do something meaningful when in reality – it totally is! These are larger goals, and will probably take me longer to accomplish than others on this list.

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1 Washington Mews // New York, NY

I was particularly inspired by a friend who committed to watching a single film every week over the past year. Watching more films has been something I’ve been meaning to do now, and haven’t, ever quite gotten around to it. Honestly, since I spend so much time watching Netflix and YouTube anyway, I could turn this time into accomplishing things that I’ve been meaning to do. (Same goes for reading – all those memes could’ve totally been a new book.) I think my goal is to watch a film a week, and read a book a month.

And my last goal is to just have more fun with my photography. I want to challenge myself to look at photography a different way. I’ve noticed that my attitude towards photography has always been secondary. That is, I’m always bringing Marcus along to photograph something an experience of mine. This is detrimental, I think, in two ways – firstly, it interferes with me truly being present during the experience and thus also prevents me from really spending quality time with the person I’m with. Secondly, it’s also a disservice to my photography, since I’m viewing the perfect opportunity to be more passive, when I can be creating my perfect shot. So I guess these are a lot of words to say that I’m going to treat photography as an ends-in-itself, rather than just a thing that is convenient for me to do at that time.

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Passenger (or conductor?), on board the Holiday Nostalgia Train // New York, NY

And of course – one thing that I have to work on is posting more often! I think I started 2017 off quite well, but lost track of it by the end. This year, I hope I am on the up and up instead – I love blogging, and posting about my experiences, and hearing from you all.

So, in the spirit of my new resolutions let me know in the comments below on what is your:

  1. Thoughts on capsule wardrobes/etc.
  2. Budgeting tips and tricks
  3. Favorite book
  4. Favorite movie/film
  5. Photo that you’ve taken in 2017 that you’re most proud of

Thank you for reading, and I wish you the absolute best in 2018. Cheers to a new year! 🥂

Fin.

Writer’s note: 
1. I cannot decide if a pair of camera lens should be “lens” or “lenses”… Any grammar experts out there who can illuminate the proper term?