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! 🙂

NoLaItineraryFinal

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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Photos from My Phone (V.)

It’s been months since my last update – the semester came and went, and is nearly over. And though I’ve done some light traveling in the past month, I must admit that I am starting to get rusty with both my blog-writing and photography skills!

I’ve sat down a few times to write an update, but each time I do so, I don’t seem to be into the subject I was writing about. I had some photos from Kansas City, MO that I was going to make into a post, but I just didn’t know what to write and how to approach the subject. I will probably write a photo-dump post soon to reflect on my (hopefully) growth as a photographer in the past year.

For the first few months of moving back to school, I had left my charger for my camera at home. I procrastinated on buying a replacement charger (which literally only costs $7 on Amazon), and instead used my phone’s camera a bunch. With the new camera software updates from Android, I’ve been able to experiment with some new camera modes (i.e. the selective focus mode – which is akin to iPhone’s Portrait mode).

I didn’t think much of these photos until I saw Camila Cabello’s Havana music video in vertical mode, directed by Sam Lecca. (I actually love this video so much more than the original music video, which I thought was kind of boring and forgettable.) I was really inspired by the unconventional use of a vertical filming and it made me realize the potential we each hold in our compact cell phones!

So I selected some of my favorite photos and I played around in VSCO with some new filter packs that I purchased (Vibrant Classics and the Aesthetic series). I’ve been able to snap some pretty cool pictures with my phone, since it’s always on hand and I never miss a beat! While Marcus (my Pentax KS-2) delivers superior quality, I find that, in general, people tend to be more receptive to the camera on a phone than the lens of a heavy-duty camera. Some of my favorite portraits have been from my phone. (Plus, a phone is generally more inconspicuous than a camera, so it makes taking sneaky candids way easier.)

I hope you’ve enjoyed this set of photos – and don’t forget to let me know what you think!

Fin.

Writer’s notes: 
1. Curious about the specs of the photos? Or want to see them in greater detail — click on the photos to enlarge and learn more technical information about them.
2. Triva: the cats in the last set of phots are actually two different cats!
3. I’ve been playing around with the theme of the blog — let me know if you have any thoughts about the dark background. I think it helps to make the photos pop, but I’m worried that it will compromise readability. LMK what you think!