Wednesday, October 31, 2012

here's what's going on.

I kept pulling up my computer all last week to write something up. Tell you about my awesome weekend and how much fun I had with my friends and family at Oktoberfest and at the Thunder exhibition game a couple Fridays ago.

Then Thursday evening, my world got turned upside down. It isn't a death in the family, but it is something very traumatic that I'm not allowed to talk about. I really wish I could give you more detail, but then again I don't really want to talk about it, or to continue answering questions.

Since then, I've been struggling with sleep and attempting to return to normal. But I'm getting help. I know I can't do this on my own.

My family, friends, and boyfriend have been the best support system. I can't imagine being in their shoes, not knowing what to do with me.

So that's what's going on here. But trust me, you're still going to hear about Oktoberfest, Thunder, and Halloween!

Happy Wednesday y'all.

Thursday, October 18, 2012


You guys, I'm so excited for today after work!! Today is the first day of the 34th annual Tulsa Oktoberfest celebration! I always wanted to go to the Oktoberfest celebration while I was in high school, but I never went. Last fall, I went to the festival one of the four days it was open, but I didn't get to go anymore after the first night. I loved the one night that I went, but didn't really have anyone else to go with for the rest of the weekend.

I claim my Native American heritage pretty proudly, but I don't really talk about the rest of my heritage.

I do have some German heritage, but when I go to Oktoberfest, I'm all German. The pitchers of beer, the WONDERFUL scnitzel, wursts, and strudel, the carnival rides, the cool booths with ALL KINDS of arts and crafts that are German inspired.

This year, I have both Friday and Saturday off from work, and so does Katy. So she and I decided to go ahead and buy the WUNDERBAR pass for this's an AWESOME deal, where you get tickets to all four days of the festival, a stein, and other Oktoberfest-esque goodies.

Tulsa brags as having one of the top 10 best Oktoberfest celebrations in this country. Not only is there so much stuff to do while you there, but there are also lots of traditional German activities (weiner dog races on Sunday!). It's also kid-friendly with a few carnival rides and art activities....but honestly I'm glad I don't have children yet so I can enjoy the more adult things of this festival.

The coolest thing about it all?? She and I live within walking distance of one of the shuttles to downtown, so neither of us have to drive or take turns for being DD for the whole weekend.

I am anxiously awaiting getting off work tonight, changing clothes, and heading to the festival! There's a bratwurst and a pitcher calling my name!

Happy Oktoberfest to you all! Anyone else celebrating an Oktoberfest nearby? Coming to Tulsa? Come join us!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Life Lately, with the roommate

-Katy and I have moved in together again. We have a really nice apartment in the downtown Tulsa area. It's super safe, and within walking distance of a few of my favorite places downtown and to some good spots. It's also near the Cherry Street venues and Brookside, which all of them have wonderful places to eat and get drinks.

-We have a fireplace. A FIREPLACE!

-We have a hot tub. Opened year round. And we sat in it while it was cold out :)

-Katy and I have a ridiculous amount of movies. It's awesome.

-Katy and I have invented a new word--pafroomies = past and future roomies. I invented this one night when I was talking to Katy before we moved in. It's stuck.

-We have a ridiculous amount of cups. For two people, it's way too many. But we just pretend like there are imaginary children and the cups are plentiful :)

-We're addicted to Tony's pizza. Anytime it's on sale, we buy it. All of it. Tons of it.

-One night last week, she and I sat up until midnight talking about life, everyone and everything in it. It was great to just chat about all kinds of things. Girl friends are truly the best things in the world.

-Unfortunately, our late night chat caused us to neglect our boyfriends.

-We're addicted to the show Nashville. It's super dramatic and I LOVE IT.

What about you guys? Anything random you want to share?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

7 for 12

My 12 books in 12 months has kind of fallen by the wayside...I just don't read near as much as I did when I lived alone and I didn't have a boyfriend. So I'm still going to try to get as close to possible, but the restaurant thing is definitely way more fun. :)

month one, two, three, four, five, and six

So after I posted in August that I was going to try to catch up a little bit on my new local restaurant of the month. Friday, August 31, roommate and I decided that we needed to go on a best friend date. While she had been home the whole summer for the first time since the summer after her freshman year in college, she and I didn't spend as much time together as we had hoped to.

She and I decided to hit up this new (ish) restaurant in downtown Tulsa called Black Alley Blues & BBQ. Being that I am from Oklahoma, I love me some good BBQ. Nothing tickles my tastebuds more than a good smokey flavor and good barbecue sauce (I am spoiled to Oklahoma's own Head Country barbecue sauce. It's the best ever.) Okay, pictures!

Take home cups!

House special drink. I believe it had bourbon and bitters and orange in it, and it was pretty good.

my dinner--BBQ nachos
OH. MY. GOODNESS look at that plate of nachos. My mouth is watering staring at it!

I got a glass of sweet tea and the bourbon drink per recommendation of our waiter. When it came to the meal, I was torn between the BBQ nachos and the spuds. The waiter also recommended the nachos, and they were FANTASTIC. I was so full about halfway through the plate but I couldn't stop eating. Just could not stop, they were that good. I don't know if it was how good the meat was, or how good the chips tasted with the ranch and barbecue and sour cream mixed together.

The meat wasn't necessarily the best I've ever had, but I'm spoiled to my uncle's awesome barbecued meat. But, what they did with their sauce definitely made up for it.

The atmosphere is amazing, right in the heart of the Blue Dome District in downtown Tulsa, which is by far one of my favorite places in downtown Tulsa. They have live blues music ALL THE TIME, and I loved the guy who happened to be playing that night....couldn't tell you who it was, but he played well.

The price was a really good price range too, which kind of took me by surprise. Most BBQ places tend to get more expensive, especially around here. But with me getting the nachos, a refillable drink, an adult beverage, and a beer, my tab was still under $20 before the tip.

I will definitely go there again, and if you ever find yourself in Tulsa, you should definitely check it out!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Women have superpowers, don'tyaknow

As I lie in bed (3 hours after I got snuggled up under my covers), I can't help but think that all of you amazing women out there must have superpowers. (I promise I'm not crazy.)

I love to blog. I love to write. But there are other things I love doing too, like talking my roommate's ear off until we force ourselves to stop talking after midnight. Or taking in and enjoying all the cool fairs and festivals Oklahoma has to offer, my favorite of them being Oktoberfest which starts one week from today. Or reading, which I haven't done in a long time. Or spending time with my awesome boyfriend who makes me very happy. Or planning future vacations by simply saying "we should go there sometime" with my roommate. Or watching WAY too much TV, which speaking of, Nashville is going to be super dramatic and I love it.

Where was I going with this?
Ah yes. That whole superpowers thing.

You see, I love ALL the things mentioned above. I love devoting tons of time to all the things mentioned above. I love other things not included (like cooking, time with family, and the University of Oklahoma football).

But with me choosing to spend so much time with some of those things, I've neglected others. Like family time. And OU football (but that's partially because I feel like I'm scheduled to work every Saturday we play). And reading. And OBVIOUSLY blogging.

Y'all have superpowers because y'all manage to have full time jobs, your own shops, keep up reading other blogs, AND updating your own. I don't know how y'all do it.

I JUST NOW finished reading through your posts. There were so many I wanted to comment on, but the post was like a month old. Super lame.

So now what?

To be honest, there are some blogs I never read. It isn't fair to that blog owner, but it's the truth. I need to go through my subscriptions and take out every blog I never visit.

And as for my end of things, it needs to pick back up. This little blog is turning 2, and she got a facelift for the new year.

Also, there are already so many things different in my life in the what? 2 months since I returned from my vacation?

I have a lot to catch y'all up on. Hope you're excited to hear about the stuff I think is awesome.

Also, embrace the y'all. Apparently I say it a lot when it's 1:15 am and I should be sleeping :)

Well, I was going to leave you with a highly entertaining picture of me as a young lassie, but blogger app is wonky. So remind me to post it tomorrow. It will be better from a computer anyways! (And please excuse this paragraph. WHO AM I ?!)

Good night moon!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

last weekend...

I know. I know. I've neglected my blog. And my readers. I wish I had a real reason as to why I have not been writing. Honestly, I just feel like my life hasn't been interesting enough. And it probably has been semi-interesting enough to blog about, I just haven't done it.

Boyfriend and I had a great weekend this past weekend. We spend almost every weekend together, so this one was no different.

Thursday night while we were talking on the phone, we decided to have a night in on Friday and watch movies. It's been a while since we've gone on a real date, so we decided to go on a date on Saturday.

Friday night, he and I ordered some pizza, had a few beers, and watched Forgetting Sarah Marshall (he had never seen it), and then chatted for a little bit before heading to bed. He then got up at the butt crack of dawn to head to work, and I headed to my mom's house so I could get some plastic bins to pack my stuff in. [Sidebar, I'm moving on Saturday. Away from Broken Arrow to Tulsa. With my best friend. Super excited!] I only meant to spend like an hour or two in Sperry, and I actually ended up staying there until almost 3. Then I got absolutely nothing packed all day Saturday.

Oh and then once I got home on Saturday, I fell asleep. Boyfriend called and woke me up after he got off work. I got up and quickly packed 2 bins and then started to get ready for our date that we had that night.

He and I decided to head to downtown Tulsa for the annual Rock 'n' Ribs festival, a festival that has quite a few barbecue competitors come to town and cook up food all day, then have a stage for some local rock 'n' roll bands. It was the first time I had gone to it, but boyfriend and I decided to go and check it out and hang out with my friend Emily and her fiance Casey. We all hung out while I ate, had a beer (or in D's case Jack and Coke) together and chitchatted the night away.

Boyfriend and I then headed out around 9 o'clock to go to the country music bar I go to with John to meet up with his friends J and his wife C. We had a good night dancing away. I got to teach boyfriend a line dance or two as well :)

Sunday was a WONDERFUL lazy day. I love lazy Sundays. They're actually some of my favorite days of the week, especially when boyfriend shares them with me. We did absolutely nothing all day, slept in way too late, watched football, and got $1 coneys at Coney I-Lander for dinner. Such a perfect Sunday.

How were your weekends?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The weekend I fell in love with dueling pianos

A couple weeks after boyfriend and I went on our first date, I asked him if he wanted to meet my best friend. I also asked best friend if she wanted to meet boyfriend as well, and she was all about it.

She and I decided that we wanted to go to a restaurant on Cherry Street, as neither of us eat there too often. She and I were talking about all the different places to eat, and I asked her about The Full Moon Cafe. She had never eaten there before. Boyfriend had never eaten there either. I can't remember if Katy's boyfriend had eaten there or not, but she and I decided that it would be a fun place to go to.

We got there, and they were having a a disaster relief fundraiser for the Mannford wildfires. It was loud, and we couldn't hear very well, and the woman that was singing was singing TERRIBLY. I looked at Katy and told her that I was sorry, and that maybe we should have picked somewhere else. We didn't even get our food until like 8:15, so by the time we finished eating, the dueling piano show was starting in about 10 minutes. Katy and I decided that we wanted to buy a bucket of beers and stick around for the first couple of songs to kinda see how it was.

It actually ended up being A TON of fun. They did allow requests so all the favorite bar tunes were played. The four of us ended up buying another couple buckets and singing along almost all the way to the end of the show. We were singing along, very loudly, at the top of our lungs and enjoying each others' company.

There was also a couple of birthdays and a bachelorette party there that night. The most funny part of the night was when this drunken woman got up on the stage and started dancing around with one of the pianists. Se then grabbed some of the dollar bills in his tip jar and tried to put them in her bra, and the pianist was like, you don't jack with my money. It was HILARIOUS how he freaked out on her.

Boyfriend singing along off tune like the rest of us at the top of his lungs made it to where best friend liked him and thought he was great. I actually had a great time listening to the two pianos play back and forth. I had seen dueling piano bars other places like Dallas and OKC, but I had never gone. It was an awesome night with great company. I believe the four of us decided that it needed to be done again. Not all the time, but definitely needed to happen again. Lots and lots of fun.

What do you think about dueling pianos?

Friday, August 24, 2012

New Year's Resolution fail (6 for 12, 2 months behind)

SO. Way back in this post, I wrote down that I wanted to go to 12 new local restaurants here in the Tulsa area. If you have been following along, you would know that I have gone to The Brook (January), Gaberino's Homestyle Italian Restaurant (February), Main Street Tavern (March), Caz's Chowhouse (April), and Oklahoma Joe's BBQ (June). So if you're reading that correctly, I missed May and July. I think I'll be okay if I get to 11 out of 12 since I did eat like a queen on my cruise in July, but that still puts me a month behind.

Last week, I attended a loan training class. Each day, we got just a little over an hour to go to lunch on or own. The first day, me, coworker A and guy friend John all went to Mazzio's to indulge ourselves in the buffet. I DEFINITELY over-ate. The second day, the three of us went to Goldie's (a hamburger joint) per my choice. The third day, John picked the place. Amy didn't want to go because originally we were going to go to a Philly steak sandwich joint, but halfway over there he asked if I had been to a restaurant called Mi Cocina. I know, I know. This technically isn't a "local" restaurant. BUT, it is the only location in the state of Oklahoma, so to me that made it justifiable to use it for my August restaurant.

First of all, AMAZE BALLS. For real. Everything they do, they want it to be fresh. They don't even have a soda fountain. If you want a pop, you get a can. It's unlimited "refills" too. For real. Anyways, pictures!

"Luann's" Dish

fresh salsa

"Luann's" dish

HOLY. WOW. First of all, the lemonade was good. Not necessarily my favorite, just because I like my lemonade a little more on the tart side, and not so sweet. But it was still a really good glass of lemonade. So good, I had like 4 glasses. Seriously.

Salsa - wonderful. I judge a Mexican restaurant on whether or not the salsa is good. Obviously. it's the first thing you taste at the restaurant. This salsa had a little bit of a kick to it. I love spicy foods though. And the salsa wasn't too overpowering with onion. Usually salsas are too tomato-y or too onion-y. This one was pretty well balanced.

Entree - Luann's the menu says "guacamole chalupa, beef taco, cheese enchilada, cheese taco, rice and beans." OBVIOUSLY, there was no cheese taco, but a beef enchilada. This beef taco also had some kind of house dressing on it, and it was SO GOOD. Guacamole was the perfect amount of creamy-ness, and again, not too much onion (can you tell I'm not too big of an onion fan?). The enchiladas were well cooked. The cheese one was pretty good, just a lot of chunks of onion in it and in the cheese sauce covering it. The beef enchilada was stuffed with seasoned ground beef, and was way too good. I could tolerate the onion-y cheese enchilada if I cut a piece of it to stack on top of a piece of the beef one. Rice and beans were rice and beans.

Downside: The chips didn't stay warm for very long, the waitress we had was AWFUL, and I definitely ate way too much food.

Overall though, I would say it was probably a 4 out of 5. I loved EVERY. SINGLE. THING. I ate, but it is definitely a little too expensive for my taste. I have heard that their margaritas are amazing as well, but we were on lunch and there is a very strict no-drinking-and-returning-to-work policy. I don't think that I will be going back to try the margaritas. If you haven't figured it out by now, I'm kind of a cheapskate, and I have a small budget. So now matter how amazing this food was, I really don't think I'll be going back. But definitely try it out once if you get a chance!
-Actually if you were in Tulsa and going, let me know. I might go for some guac and a marg :)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

oops, I thought I posted this last night...

As I sit here on my couch, catching up on shows, and grabbing a late night snack before I head to bed in about an hour (not ashamed, I'm very sleepy today), I have to remember that my life is pretty amazing. Today is my Pops' birthday, the only man I've known as a grandfather for a majority in my life. Today, August 22 is his birthday. He left us here on earth 6 days after his birthday. SIX. WHOLE. DAYS.

Today is just a completely weird day, and I'm sure this next week will be just as freakish for me as well. I firmly believe that we have our true families, and then we have the wonderful people that God puts in our lives as our chosen family. Pops was definitely part of my chosen family. He coached my summer league softball team for a number of years. He let me live at his house when I didn't really have anywhere else to go. He supported me financially during that summer that I lived there. He was a wonderful man.

(For the post about him from last year, go here.)

Life's too short folks. Don't forget to take time each day to thank the God you serve for his blessings. Don't forget to take time to tell people you love them. And most importantly, take a little time for yourself. Do what it is that makes you happy at the end of the day. We only have one life, live it.

(And how many more cliches can I put in here?!)

Tomorrow night is going to be great. Boyfriend is coming over to spend time with me, and I'm trying out a new recipe.

And, to take a look at ALL my vacation pictures (because I never quite finished them up), you can go to the public facebook link HERE.)

Monday, August 20, 2012

There's a (cute) reason behind my sporadic posting...

I promise, there's a really good reason as to why I haven't been writing a whole lot. You see, I needed a couple days or so to organize my thoughts and pictures into what I would want to share about my trip and how I wanted to share it.

Then, that Saturday night after I returned, I went out with one of the girls I had been going out with weeks before my vacation to our usual spot. There's a local bar here in the town I live in that has PHENOMENAL drink specials every weekend. And it was at this bar that I met a boy (man?). That's right, I met a boy. The girl I am friends with knows the guys he is friends with, and we both came to this bar with our sets of friends off and on in the months before we met. But every time he went, I wouldn't, or I would, and he wouldn't. But that night was one of the bartenders' birthday, and we both made sure that we went for it.

The night that we met, I couldn't figure him out at all. He first complimented my cowboy boots. But then with every exchange between us the rest of the night, I couldn't tell if he was just being super nice or if he was trying to make a move. I purposely sought him out at the end of the night when I was leaving, hoping he would use the opportunity to ask for my number, or anything, and he didn't. So I just shrugged it off to him being a very nice guy. Meh.

The next day I texted my girl friend to tell her I was sorry for not coming back after the little mini concert I went to (it was Free Tulsa that weekend, a big music festival in downtown Tulsa), and then I was going to eventually ask her about him once I figured out how to say what I wanted to say. Just before I got the courage to ask about him, she texts me and says "PS, I think D has a lil crush on you :-)"....basically the conversation ended with her telling me he had added me on facebook and that he had asked about me all day while I was at work.

I got on facebook and D and I messaged each other back and forth for about an hour before we finally exchanged phone numbers. The next thing I know, we're still having a conversation at 2 o'clock in the morning. No big deal for him since he doesn't work Mondays, TERRIBLE for me.

So what to know about D? He's wonderful. And a gentleman. And we laugh SO MUCH when we're together because he's kind of silly. And I have been my normal special self around him, and he still likes me for some reason.

I introduced him to the best friend last week, and she approves. And now she and I are trying to figure out how to plan our social lives now that I am the one with the boyfriend around, and her boyfriend is back at school. Because I do not usually have boyfriends.

Oh, and another thing about D? Yeah, he's boyfriend :)

......and a picture of us from Saturday if you don't follow me on instagram...

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Aiukli got a makeover!

It's true. This little ol' gal of mine got a bit of a face lift! I've been wanting something different for quite some time now, and the very talented Kristina from The Streeters, Unlimited was the one who made my vision of nothing into something I LOVE and plan to keep around for a while!! (The link will take you to her shop, you have to have special permission to view the blog. While you're there, check out some of her stuff. I hear the lip balm is AMAZING, and will be buying ALL THREE FLAVORS soon. She just doesn't know it yet.)

I basically told her. I want it to continue to look clean. My favorite color is purple. And go.
And this is what she created.
She is SO very talented and I adore her and her blog and have ever since I found it.

So come on over, play, take a look around! I'll slowly be updating all the pages along the top (they are dated back almost 2 years!!), and I will also be updating the URL to the blog. As I announced earlier this week, I will be changing the web address to The current address is a mouthful and hard to remember, so I'm hoping this will make it easier for everyone.

This URL change will go into effect roughly 8 a.m., CST, on Monday morning. That's Monday, August 20, at 8 a.m. Please take note so you can update any kind of reader settings you may have!

Thanks for reading along!

Monday, August 13, 2012

There be some changes 'round these parts, y'all


Aiukli is getting a makeover. And it is slowly starting today (if I can figure out the proper thing to do!). You see, I love my design now, I really do, but it was something that I did quick fast and in a hurry and my HTML coding is nowhere near where I want it to be.

The new design should be installed within the next couple of days, and I will be changing the URL to I have not changed it over yet, but I will let you know once it is switched over so you can update any of your feed/reader settings. But for now, get excited for the beautiful work about to be done here. I'm so excited about it!!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

What's Your Number?, a little personal perspective.

The other morning, I woke up and switched the channel over to HBO to catch the rest of the movie "What's Your Number?"
Have any of you seen this movie? I first watched it last fall, and fell in love with it. Mostly because Anna Faris cracks me up like no other, and secondly because HELLO. Chris. Evans. SO attractive.

Anyways, as I was watching it, it got me thinking, why IS society obsessed with everyone's "numbers?" I am a Christian, and I don't necessarily talk about it very often, but according to my beliefs, it's supposed to be one. One person for the rest of forever. Now don't get me wrong, I wish that I could say this was true for me. Sometimes when you're young, you think you are in love and you make dumb decisions. It happens to some of the best of us.

But if you find that ONE person, that you know you should have waited for, do you even want to know his/her "number?" If it's higher than you thought it was going to be, do you all of a sudden change your mind about how you feel about that person? Do you accept it as a part of who he/she is and know that you will be their last?

And how do you keep yourself from comparing? I know that for me personally, if I knew that a man's "number" was pretty high, I would never feel like I was adequate. And I would wonder if I was just there to add to it, if he ever really saw me as his last.

To be honest, I don't usually want to know. I don't want a guy to tell me how many unless he's only telling me as a friend. I don't want to know the guy I'm interested in is 2, 3, 4 times as many as my number. I don't want to know the guy I'm interested in has zero, because then I feel like I'll never be good enough for him. I don't want to know the guy I'm interested in has a very small number because I know that he doesn't take sex lightly and that if we were to get together, it would mean a lot to him. Not that it wouldn't mean a lot to me because it does. I just don't want to hurt him.

But the question almost inevitably comes up in new relationships. How do you avoid it? You simply can't. You always wonder how you're going to measure up to this person's past. Do you lie if you're ashamed of the truth? Do you make sure you answer second to gauge the other person?

To me, I feel like the topic should be saved for a much later date. You should be together for a LONG time before sex comes up in the relationship. But it's not a perfect world, and I'm a realist.

I love the ending of this movie so much. She says "I love you 21." And as he tries to say I love you too number...., she stops him. She doesn't want to know. And sometimes, not knowing is so much better, because you get the chance to enjoy what it is, and live in the moment :)

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Vacation 2012: Food Edition (photo dump)

Sunday morning we loaded up our luggage into my brothers newly fixed car and headed to the Port of New Orleans. Mom and I went through the line that very closely resembled going into an airport, got our picture taken, and anxiously waited to be allowed to board the ship.

You guys, these food pictures I'm about to share with you do not give the taste justice. I swear I gained nearly 20 pounds the two weeks were gone. I ate like a Queen, and I know I'll never eat that well as long as I live alone. But seriously, I hope your tummies feel as full looking at these as mine did eating. Enjoy!
appetizer: tomato soup

main course: breaded shrimp with Asian Thai noodles

dessert: creme brulee 
just a small sample of the random stuff they had on their lunch buffet!

"strawberry cheesecake" that was not made very well and key lime pie on the lunch buffet

appetizer: PUMPKIN soup. IT WAS SO DELICIOUS!!

prime rib and baked potato :)

lobster tail and shrimp

dessert: some kind of apple pastry with vanilla pudding. Also delicious.

main course: seafood pasta. it had shrimp, scallops, mussels, and salmon on it. I forgot to take a picture of my appetizer and dessert this day because we were chatting with a couple the next table over.

lunch in Jamaica: Caribbean jerk pork (SO FREAKING GOOD!!), french fries, and a Red Stripe. And I still don't like Red Stripe....

appetizer: potato soup (I had a lot of soup and pasta this week!) 
turkey bowtie alfredo pasta

my first time to try bread pudding! I liked it.

yummy bloody mary from the Hard Rock Cafe in Cayman

my AMAZING jerk chicken sandwich and french fries from the Hard Rock Cafe in Cayman

appetizer: zucchini and marina pasta

main course: chauteau-briand braised pork, mashed potatoes, and peas.

dessert: amaretto cake and vanilla ice cream (yes I had some chocolate this week)

chicken noodle soup. meh.

I can't really remember what this was, I believe it was supposed to be two different types of steak with a part of a potato and mashed sweet potatoes. But the "steak" kinda tasted like pot roast. Not the best of the week.

dessert: yummy apple pie and vanilla ice cream!

appetizer: baked sweet potato and cheddar cheese soup (I have to find a recipe to replicate this!)

main course: chicken and bacon mac and cheese

dessert: souffle, also my first time trying. With white chocolate sauce on top. Very yummy!
And this was just mostly dinners that I took pictures of! There was a buffet for both breakfast and lunch, or a sit and eat together breakfast and lunch cafe. Not to mention there was a create your own Asian dishes during lunches, burger/french fries/chicken strips/hot dogs stand during lunch, and a 24 hour pizza place. SO MUCH FOOD.

Now let's all go out for a jog together...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Orleans: A Haunted History Tour (repeat photos)

When mom and I decided on a cruise that sailed out of New Orleans versus Miami, I was instantly excited for what awaited me in the city. You see, this wasn't going to be my first time there. I've been before (mom and I are still kind of arguing over how many times before), and have VERY fond memories of the time(s) I've spent there. I've been to the Laura Plantation, a creole plantation that was painted bright red, yellow, and green (Alpha Gam!). I've been to the Oak Alley Plantation, which by itself is completely breathtaking as you head toward the main house (and you see it in Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter). I've been to the Audobon Aquarium of the Americas. I've had a crawfish boil in the park. I went to the Cheesecake Factory for the first time in New Orleans. I shopped in the French Quarter. I ate at the Cafe Du Monde. I had even been on Bourbon Street, but since the last time I was there I was 17, I didn't get to participate fully in the nightlife that New Orleans offered.

But the time I had spent in New Orleans before, I had always wondered about the Haunted History tours. You see, I am a very strange person and I like weird stuff. I don't think I actually believe most of the stories, but they are fun to listen to, nonetheless. Mom, Jacob, and I set out for breakfast around 10 a.m. We mistakenly tried to eat at Cafe Du Monde, but the place had a line halfway down the street. So as we continued on, I saw a New Orleans visitor center advertising for the tours. We went in, put a "don payment/reservation" in, and were told we could go on the tour at either 6 or 8. We opted for the earlier tour.

Our first stop took us to this building that is now a restaurant:
I can't remember the name of the restaurant, or why exactly they say it was haunted, but I do know that one of the "spirits" that haunts it always used to have a guest here. So now there is a table at the back of the restaurant for two-the spirit and his guest. (Man I'm telling a great story)

Roaming even more into the French Quarter brought us to this place:
It is a museum, but they rarely post when they are open. The only thing our tour guide told us about it is that you see this building in the movie "Interview with a Vampire." I've never actually seen the movie so I can't tell you what part of the movie it is in. But they go into more detail about this place in the Vampire History tour, which we did not go on. Oh, and that this is one of the only 3 buildings that did not burn down in the fires in the 1800s. One of the other two was an old Pirate bar!

Our next stop on the tour took us across the street from the New Orleans Historic Voodoo Museum, which our tour guide pointed out to us because he practices the voodoo religion. Said it is a great place to learn more about and understand the religion if anyone is interested:

Across from the museum, he told us a story about these "Romeo and Juliet" spikes:
Basically, they were created to deter young men from taking the purity away from the young women. They couldn't sneak out of windows. But this place in particular is haunted because of not only did someone's boyfriend die from jumping out of the window, but this is also one of the houses that was affected by the numerous unsolved murders that occurred in the late 1700s.

Our next stop took us to the Laurie mansion:
Madame La Laurie owned this place, and would throw fabulous parties. All of her husbands mysteriously died throughout her tenure oat the house. And little did the socialites know, she was FREAKING CRAZY. No for real. She and one of her slaves were running an experiment shop in her slave quarters. She ran real human experiments and all the ones that worked she would sell to the circus. So the "freaks" in the circus weren't necessarily always born that way. It was kind of sickening. She also trapped a lot of her slaves in the basement, and when police went to go try to find survivors, they heard faint screaming and thought the house was haunted. No, it was just people screaming for their lives.

Nicholas Cage used to own this house, but never stayed in it. It "currently sits empty" but there are also rumors that Johnny Depp owns it. Which wouldn't surprise me.

Our next stop in the tour took us across from this place. Now, it isn't haunted, but I thought it was freaking cool. The Vatican Archives are housed in this building. You must have direct orders FROM THE POPE in order to go inside (if you aren't already in there):

The story of the haunted driveway is that there was a great shootout, and the people "on the wrong side of the law" won. The shootout was super smokey and hundreds of shots were fired, but not one person from the wrong side lost their life. Anyways, there was this pretty courtyard that was next to the driveway:
Oh, and the owner of the house from the driveway shootout owned the pasta factory in town. And all French Quarter is in the historic registry, so this building will forever look like it doesn't belong (it used to be the pasta factory):
If you ever find yourself in New Orleans, you should definitely check out the Haunted History Tour! It is featured on the Travel Channel (I believe), so it's not a bunch of people jumping out at you trying to scare you. They just give you a brief history of New Orleans' haunted areas and what made them haunted. It was a cool way to spend a few hours walking around the city!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Vacation 2012: New Orleans (photo dump)

I'm just going to break this all up for you guys, and it's going to be a lot of photo dumping. But I hope you enjoy all the cool sites I got to see while I was on vacation :)

We left Friday the 13th of July. Now I don't normally believe in bad omens or anything like that, but I highly doubt I will ever make travel plans for Friday the 13the EVER again. We left Tulsa area around 5 a.m. Around 7:15, after we had crossed into the Arkansas state line, the car died, and we later found out it was the alternator. SIGH. So after spending six hours, SIX HOURS, at the automotive shop, we finally got back on the road to New Orleans. Unfortunately, we didn't arrive there until well after midnight, so we just ordered some pizza and crashed out at the very cool Queen and Crescent Hotel. So we woke up on Saturday morning and went out to play in New Orleans.

Big Easy Daiquiris at 10 a.m.

The side of the hotel we stayed in

World Famous Pat O'Brien's hurricanes 
home of the original Muffuletta

the original muffuletta. So delicious!

Jacob in front of the cathedral

Lousiana Supreme Court. I just thought the architecture was cool!

some kids playing jazz in the square

A cool way to spend a few hours in New Orleans!

haunted place #1, now a restaurant

haunted place #2. You can see this building in "Interview with a Vampire"

Museum of the Voodoo religion

"Romeo and Juliet spikes" - you crawl up them as a Romeo, you slide down them and become a Juliet. ha ha ha

cool looking voodoo doll in a shop window

a bunch of galleries in a row in the French Quarter

The Laurie mansion, previously owned by Nicholas Cage and now rumored to be owned by Johnny Depp

looking up into the courtyard at the Laurie mansion

The Vatican Archives in the middle of the French Quarter

really pretty courtyard next to a haunted driveway

The building that looks like it doesn't belong used to be a pasta factory. That's right, a pasta factory in the middle of New Orleans.

high five!

if you look closely in the middle, you can see the initials "AP." The woman designed all the buildings in Jackson Square!

Jacob is actualy short to someone :)

REALLY cool artwork in the square. The artist let me take pictures!

he uses battery operated tea lights to add light to his artwork :)

I gambled with $5. I don't like gambling.

local and live bluegrass band at the restaurant we ate dinner for.

The Cats Meow, a karaoke bar. You can watch the people singing online. And no that is not me, I do not karaoke, but it looks like me in this picture.
Tomorrow I'm going to tell you ALL about the haunted history tour! It was really neat!!