Monday, February 24, 2014

Happy Mardi Gras

I spent last week in Louisiana. I flew out Monday evening and got back on Sunday morning. Most of the trip was for work, but my friend and I decided to make a weekend trip out of it also.

The weather was so beautiful. There was a little bit of rain, but most of the time, it was sunny and the temperature was perfect. It was such an nice change from what the weather in Utah has been.

We spent Friday morning at Houmas House plantation. It was one of the largest sugar cane plantations in its hey day. The current owner has really made the gardens beautiful. I can just imagine how lovely everything looks when the flowers are in bloom.

 
 
 
The live oaks are especially beautiful.

 
Then we drove to New Orleans on Friday afternoon. I must be one of the most clueless people on the planet, but I didn't realize that Mardi Gras was celebrated over a month-ish period of time. So we were there right in time for some of the festivities. Mardi Gras has never been on my bucket list, but now I can mark it off anyway.

We spent Saturday morning wandering around the garden district. Anyone who likes architecture and old houses would really enjoy that area, I think.

 
 
Then we ran across this little coffee shop with the best donuts. I got the chocolate blackout donut. I've never had to eat a donut with a fork before, but it was amazing. We could have easily gone back to try the food, but weren't able to make it happen. Ha ha... and yes, this picture is upside down.
 
 
 
Before we left the garden district we ran into an old cemetery. I had wanted to find one so it was fun to go look around. This was Lafayette Cemetery No. 1 founded in 1833.



 
We spent the afternoon wandering through the French quarter and then caught a few of the parades.

 
We did make it to Borbon street, which wasn't my favorite. I wouldn't have wanted to be there at night. Some of the other areas of the french quarter were nice, though.
 



 
I had to do a little reading up on the history of Mardi Gras before we got there so I knew what the krewes and things were all about. This was the Krewe of Choctaw.



 

This parade was the Krewe of Pontchartrain. It was kind of interesting to see. I had to cover my face a couple times because they really threw the beads everywhere. Some of them threw full packages of beads. And then some others threw the little rubber bouncy balls and I did get hit with a couple of those as they bounced. It was a little crazy.
 

  

Anyway, I had a little taste of Mardi Gras, ended up with some beads that I'm going to give to my nieces, and just generally had a good time. Louisiana was beautiful and I could definitly go back (I'd love to see some other plantation houses). I probably would skip Mardi Gras season though.


Sunday, February 16, 2014

Chocolate Oreo Cake

I decided I needed to test out a Pinterest recipe for my birthday cake.

Recipe is here: Chocolate Oreo Cake

I'm not the best cake maker. I prefer things like brownies and cookies where it's ok if there is a mess getting them out of the pan.


I'm obviously not a food photographer either, but I snapped this with my phone. You can't tell from here that the cakes had issues coming out of the pan. The frosting and oreos around the bottom hid it pretty well. But it tasted soooo good. It was moist and chocolatey and I had a hard time finishing my piece. It will satisfy die-hard chocolate fans for sure. Yum!

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Viva Las Vegas

I went to Las Vegas this weekend with a friend. We bought tickets for the Miranda Lambert/George Strait concert at the MGM Grand so we drove down on Saturday. We left in the morning and got there early afternoon and found our hotel. It was right off the strip and just about a block away from the MGM Grand.

The concert was Saturday night and it was fantastic. I’ve seen Miranda before, but never George. It was really good, even if we were sitting pretty close to the top. We had some really nice people next to us and it just ended up being a great time.  

On Sunday morning, we drove over to Hoover Dam because I had never been there. We paid the 30 bucks to go inside the dam. It was fun to see and the tour guide was great. I just think it was a little pricey.  But now I’ve been there.
Lake Mead

View of bridge and river from the dam
 
 
After the adventure at the dam we hit up a couple of the outlet malls and did some shopping. I bought a few things from Crabtree & Evelyn and then splurged and got me a new purse from the Fossil outlet.  We finished off the shopping at the Forum at Caesars Palace and I got a few things at Sephora and then we went to The Cheesecake Factory for dinner and dessert.  
 


Fountain show at the Bellagio
 
Before dinner we also wandered around the casino because it was Super Bowl Sunday and there were all kinds of fans out. It was really a fun place to people watch for a bit.  We drove home on Monday.
Las Vegas isn’t my favorite place, but it is fun to visit once in a while.  My grandparents lived there when I was a kid and we used to visit them for a week every around Christmas so I have some really happy memories there.  It was a nice 3-day weekend and a much needed break. Now I’m back to work. And that’s good too.