One Day in New Orleans

In August, we traveled to New Orleans a few days before Labor Day to kick off a fun-filled weekend trip. The main reason for our trip was to go to the Georgia Southern vs. LSU game in Baton Rouge on Saturday, so we added a stop in NOLA and Biloxi to explore and spend some time with friends.

We flew into Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport Thursday evening and took a Lyft {links with your Delta Skymiles for extra miles, guys!} to our hotel Le Méridien New Orleans. This was a beautiful place to stay in the heart of the Central Business District which is a lot quieter and cleaner than the French Quarter. Literally across the street from Harrah's if that's your thing, and less than a mile walk to the Quarter where you can begin to explore. The hotel has a really fun and eclectic vibe and we greatly enjoyed our stay there.

After dropping off our bags, we began to look for somewhere to go to dinner which proved more challenging at 9 p.m. in New Orleans than I had anticipated. We took off to see what was nearby and ended up at The Halal Guys which, while a chain, was absolutely amazing. I love a good gyro and this one was great--try the ghost pepper sauce, but a drop is a lot! After working all day and traveling that evening, we were tired and headed back to our room right after dinner in preparation for a long day on Friday.

Friday morning started off with the scrumptious breakfast from Bittersweet Confections. Found on picture perfect Magazine Street, we enjoyed a breakfast croissant, prosciutto, ricotta, and honey drizzled toast, a Nutella and white chocolate muffin and iced coffee before catching the free bus to Mardi Gras World. Truly a tourist destination, we were able to see from start to finish how the magnificent Mardi Gras floats are made while learning a little bit more of the history of the festival season. It was absolutely mesmerizing, and a super fun stop for all ages!

Thankfully, MGW has a free shuttle with lots of stops all over the city, so we hopped on the French Quarter shuttle and got to exploring. It ended up being a beautiful and surprisingly cooler August day, so we walked over eight miles throughout the city exploring. We took a lap around Jackson Square, admiring the architecture and the artists, before grabbing our first of many daiquiris at Willie's Chicken Shack. I'd planned on having a muffaletta lunch at Napoleon House but we were still really full from breakfast.

At 1 p.m. we joined the guided tour at the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum. The site of the first retail pharmacy, we were able to see and learn about old instruments, medicines, practices and beliefs from the 1800s. The pharmacist hubs was highly entertained. Once the tour wrapped up, we wandered for a while before heading to Pat O'Brien's for a famous hurricane at the piano bar. Going to a dueling pianos event is always fun, and it was a great place to cool off for an hour or so before a brief trip down Bourbon Street. Never my favorite place {wear closed toed shoes!}, it's still fun to people watch and try a new beverage or two.

After a nap back at the hotel and freshening up, we stood in line at Acme Oyster House for about 30 minutes before snagging two seats at the bar. Of course we had a dozen raw oysters, a po-boy and seafood etouffee--I even tried an oyster shooter. It was all super delicious and worth the wait! I had my heart set on taking a spin around the Carousel Bar with a French 75 in hand, and unfortunately I couldn't get a seat. We did however get a drink at the bar {which is actually a slowly spinning carousel!} and a couple of chairs in a cozy corner and were able to enjoy a fantastic jazz band after dinner! It was a ton of fun.

To top off the day, we of course had to swing by Cafe du Monde for an order of beignets before heading back to our hotel room to rest up before game day. I had hoped to go to the Ruby Slipper Cafe for brunch on Saturday, but we didn't get going early enough and ended up with a "recovery" meal of Raisin' Canes.

What are some of your favorite New Orleans stops?

You can shop my exploring outfit directly from the image below!

Farmhouse Glam Paint Colors | Sherwin Williams

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen a sneak peek or two of the progress of our living room re-do. You may have also seen the utter disaster the rest of our downstairs is as we have been working in this room which literally takes up half of our main floor. So far we've painted the walls, ceiling and half the trim in the living room. We hope to finish the trim and start and finish the dining room this weekend, before tackling the kitchen.

I've found that I really like painting! When I'm working on a section, it's literally all I can think about. It can be a little hard for me to turn my brain off from time to time, but this task allows me to just zone out of everything else and focus on the literal task at hand.

I'm calling our look farmhouse glam for two reasons: 1. Our home has a bit of a farmhouse-y vibe to it. White, front porch, soon to be installed black metal roof, big yard with a fence, etc. But I'm not 100% committed to the Jo Anna Gaines farmhouse look, especially through the whole house. And CJM likes some color throughout as well. 2. I need just a little bit of glam and sparkle in my life, which we're incorporating through the gold metal accents, some soft pink velvet pillows, and faux fur throws/rugs. So #farmhouseglam it is!

I found a color scheme on Pinterest that was under the farmhouse glam kind of category and we both really liked it. Once we decided on the right gray for our home {Repose Gray}, we re-evaluated the suggested colors and decided it was a little too mix-y match-y for us, as well as being a little too warm. We like a bit of a cooler, cleaner color scheme. So we swapped out the navy for the Iron Ore color of our accents {it's not black, but a super dark charcoal color} and the mantle and banisters have just totally popped!

When CJM suggested painting the kitchen pink, I was honestly so surprised. But we have white cabinets that we have no plans to change, and have wanted to update the counter tops and tile to a white/marble-y look for a long time so it just seemed to make sense! We have a long ways to go, but working on these projects have been fun! I'll share more as we progress, but wanted to kind of document the process from start to finish, and this is the suggested paint scheme as of right now.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram to get even more behind the scenes!

Cozumel Photo Shoot with Mik 'n Drik Photography

When we were on our cruise in May, we made a stop in Cozumel, Mexico. We had been there before and it was something that attracted us to the 2019 itinerary. I love exploring the little island that is full of fun and life. I knew I wanted to try and find a photographer at one of our stops to take some professional pictures of us since we haven't had any officially taken since our wedding. I'm so glad that I found Mik 'n Drik Photography in Cozumel! Oleksandr & Nadine were the sweetest couple to work with. They picked us up right outside the cruise ship terminal and drove us all over the island to some beautiful spots that we could have never found ourselves. They were really easy to talk to and answered our many questions about island life and the cruise industry.

We love the photos they took, and I wanted to share a few here! We're saving some for our Christmas card which I've already designed {Christmas in July I guess!}, but here's a little sneak peek! If you're ever in Cozumel and in need of photographers, definitely reach out to this duo: Mik 'n Drik.

My Lilly Pulitzer is an old pattern from a sale a few years ago, but you can shop the short and long version of my sequin dress below!

What I Actually Bought at the #Nsale

It's totally overdone on social media, but public access is live as off 12:30 p.m. today for the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale. And since I had to rebuy the gray Caslon sweater-jacket that I got last year because I somehow lost it {on November 11 to be exact. I remember the last time I wore it but it's no where to be found!}, I thought I'd share just the few things I picked up during card holder access.

First thing, super low no show socks. I know it's not the popular opinion, but I hate wearing booties without socks but I hate seeing socks even more. These are super low and no show, plus you can match your sock to your shoe. And for $9? Yes, please. These are great to wear with the black split ankle booties that I love, too. I wore these all year during fall and winter last year! So comfy and can be dressed up or down with jeans/leggings/dresses--it's one of the best pairs of shoes I've ever bought.

I'm loving this pretty Topshop sweater for fall, and I've reordered the gray drape-y sweater-jacket too. I really love this fun shorter pink piece to wear to work! Otherwise, nothing really was jumping out at me. As always, there's some great basic pieces but for the most part it's too warm to stock up on a ton of sweaters in my opinion. After four straight days of 100 degree temps, fall isn't exactly fresh on my mind.

Happy Shopping!

*I may make a small commission off any purchases made via the links above. Thanks for supporting this little blog!

June/July Recipe Review

Man, I haven't done one of these in a long time!

We've been doing HelloFresh for the last six months now, and while I love it, I don't order it every week. Some weeks I just know we're going to be too busy to cook three meals at home {sounds crazy, but true}, and I need to just cook one that will provide good leftovers for a few days. Anyways, we've been trying out a few recipes and I wanted to share!

Image via

Spicy Cheesy Gochujang Spaghetti
Whoa, yum. We are pretty much Food Network addicts, and in almost every cooking competition show they talk about gochujang at least once. We're recently on the Sriracha train, too, and just Asian food in general. This stuff was so good. It was different, like a sticky spicy spaghetti, but still creamy and cheesy. I used organic lo mein noodles instead of spaghetti noodles to make it even more "authentic." Will definitely make again.

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Avocado Shrimp Burgers

For some reason I'm not the biggest homemade burger fan {although CJM's are delish!}, but after having a delicious shrimp burger at The Battery in Atlanta, I wanted to try my hand at it. This recipe was really really good. I think next time, I'll just put all the shrimp in the food processor instead of only half because mine kind of came apart during the flip in the pan. I also think I'll either use a different kind of bread to make breadcrumbs or will use Panko breading--I went rouge and got potato buns instead of sesame, and when I pulsed them up to make the crumbs it got kind  of clumpy. Will definitely make again.

Poblano Mac & Cheese
In Atlanta, we had the shrimp burger paired with the most amazing macaroni and cheese I think I've ever had. In an attempt to recreate, I tried this recipe. Seems really creamy and had a strong queso element which was a favorite aspect of the original dish. While this wasn't bad, it wasn't awesome either. I like cilantro, but this recipe called for wayyyy too much of it in my opinion. If we attempt again, I'll do less cilantro and more creamy cheesiness.

Image Via

Old Bay Shrimp Burritos 
Ours ended up being basically tacos because our low carb tortillas aren't that huge, but these were AWESOME!! Definitely freshened up the ol' Tuesday Taco Night. Will definitely make again.

Carnival Cruise Recap | Cozumel Plus Itinerary + What to Do

*All views and opinions are my own. 

In May CJM and I went on our first Carnival cruise on the Carnival Sunshine out of Port Canaveral. This was a Cozumel Plus itinerary which was really attractive to us because we love Cozumel. The ship also visited three other ports we'd never gone to and was port-intensive so we'd have the chance to do a lot of stuff. I'll be honest, I was a little hesitant to do Carnival considering we've only ever done Royal Caribbean, but we really didn't start playing the comparison game until the very end. We always have a good time anywhere we go, so it really didn't matter which line is considered "nicer" or "more fun" or whatever. I do want to do a comparison post because there were some stark differences, but similarities too, and my ultimate take away is: you're on vacation, so it's fun!

We left on May 5, and I love cruising on Cinco de Mayo because there's always a little something fun about sailing on a holiday of any size. We drove half way to Port Canaveral the night before, and got on the ship right after lunch. With Carnival, you have to reserve a check-in time or be forced to wait. Luckily, we got to security right at 1 p.m. and walked on through. Our rooms weren't ready until 1:30 p.m., but as soon as they were we dropped our stuff, grabbed a drink, and started exploring.

Carnival Sunshine is an older ship with a semi-recent remodel, but I have to say, it's not like any other RCCL ship I've been on (old/new, big/small, etc.). This was very closed-in and hard to navigate, not a big open floor plan like I've become accustomed to. Unfortunately, there was a smell throughout many of the public hallways the entire week that was kind of awful. We tried to avoid those areas at all cost. If we cruise Carnival again, I'd have to try a newer ship. But overall, plenty of bars and things to do and see, and lots of dining options as well--something for everyone!

Our first stop was Cozumel, Mexico, and since our itinerary was a "Cozumel Plus" one we got extra time in port! I searched on Facebook a few months prior and found an amazing photography couple in Cozumel that were so sweet and picked us up right outside of the port. They took us all around the island and took some update photos of CJM and I while telling us more about Cozumel and their experience working in the cruise industry themselves. I highly recommend Mik 'n Drik Photography if you're ever in Cozumel, and I can't wait to show you our photos--although most are a surprise as I've already designed our Christmas card for this year!

After a few hours with them, we spent the rest of the day at the all-inclusive Mr. Sancho's day resort. Of course it was beautiful; the water in Cozumel is absolutely stunning. There were multiple pools, swim up bars, and plenty of lounge chairs. We may or may not have had too much to drink on the ship the night before, so we were finally ready to eat lunch and enjoyed their famous coconut shrimp, some fresh ceviche, salsa, and guac, as well as plenty of margaritas! CJM and I laid out right by the ocean for a couple of hours before spending some time in one of the pools. We met another couple and convinced them to end our day in Cozumel at the Thirsty Cougar Boozery which is home to my absolute favorite margarita in the whole entire world. It's an amazingly fresh cucumber jalapeno that is potent and has just the right amount of spice!

The following day we were in Belize, where we took a very long and uncomfortable boat ride out to Geoff's Caye, a tiny private island that only holds a hundred or so people. There we had an awesome time snorkeling in the clearest water for about an hour, before spending some time napping in the sun. They do have some guys out there grilling food that you can purchase, but we didn't get anything to eat. Belize is a tender port, and one I'd recommend definitely having an excursion planned for, unlike Cozumel which is so easy to explore and very safe.

Our third stop was Mahogany Bay, Isla of Roatan in Hondouras. This is Carnival's private port, and it was stunning {and for some reason, I basically took zero pictures here--I blame the strawberry margaritas!}. Of course there's the usual suspects {Diamonds International!}, but take a quick trip on the "flying chair" and you're on a beautiful white sandy beach. Our "excursion" for the day was actually two tickets to ride the flying chair aka ski lift, two reserved beach chairs and a clam shell umbrella, and two foam mats for the ocean. This was the only excursion I booked through Carnival because it was a really good deal. We checked in, got our spot, grabbed a drink and took our mats into the water. We basically spent all day on our mats floating and swimming which was another reason I didn't grab any pics.

On our fourth and final stop, we visited Costa Maya, Mexico. This port is really kind of cool because there are tons of shops and eateries, pools to swim in, flamingos, little museums and other things to explore all right there when you walk off the ship! If we go back to this port, I probably won't plan an excursion but instead plan on having a pool day because I really have never gotten in the pool on a ship before {kinda freaks me out}. This time, I booked and excursion to see some Mayan ruins because we've never done anything like that before and usually by this point in the trip, CJM has had more than enough sun. We ended up being the only two on our tour which was great, but it was a solid hour drive out to the ruins. We had a private tour around the ruins and our tour guide offered to take lots of pictures. On our ride back to port, we stopped at a roadside fruit stand had some of the best pineapple of my life!

Our first and last days of the cruise were sea days and very fun and relaxing. I do think Carnival does a really great job at being the "Fun Ship." It was a lot of fun, and they definitely are heavy handed with their drink pours! But overall, we missed some of the I suppose higher-end experiences we've grown accustomed to. My biggest issue was the terrible debarkation experience we had, but I'm not 100% sure if that's a Carnival or ship-specific issue.

If you'd like to see more from our trip, head over to my Instagram page {@piperellice} and check out my travel highlight where I saved tons of photos and videos from our week away.

Here are the links to the exact excursions I booked, thanks to my friend Pamela who recommended them!

Cozumel: Mr. Sancho's Beach All Inclusive
Belize: Goff's Caye Island Getaway & Snorkel 
Mahogany Bay: Relax on the Beach Package 
Costa Maya: Costa Maya Chacchoben Mayan Ruins Excursion 

Living Room Re-do

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We've lived in our house for almost two and a half years, which is kind of hard to believe. Time passes so much faster the older I get, plus we are always having a lot of fun in our community and traveling to other places too. But lately I've been feeling like I needed a change.

My family moved ever 18-24 months or so for most of my life, and I think that schedule is almost ingrained in my body. About six months ago, I just got the desire for a blank slate or a new house or something. After looking at a few things we decided to just stay where we are and make some changes here. You can always paint a wall after all, and our house is really the perfect size and location for us right now.

We've found a color palette that we're going to use to repaint the whole house {with just a few minor tweaks}, and we decided to get a few new pieces of furniture to really make the whole house feel fresh. CJM and I went to look at sofas on July 4th and fell in love with basically the first one we saw. The clearance center had multiples but they were on reserve for an interior designer who ended up wanting them all. Our living room is too narrow to have a sectional but I'm always feeling like we need more seating so we've decided to go with two matching sofas facing each other.

CJM really kicked the whole process off with a new coffee table, and I just ordered two slip covered Farlov sofas from Ikea {not linkable, so similar product is linked in the shopable image above}. They come in next week I cannot wait! In the meantime, I've been spending my evenings before bed perusing Amazon and Pinterest for all things home decor and curating the new look. You can check out our semi-current look here {we've changed the rug/curtains/a few pillows and things since then, but overall the feel is the same}.

But now, here comes the hard part. The new gray. The one in the color palette we're using is really a little too dark {SW Light French Gray}, and the lighter suggested version is Sherwin Williams Eider White. My SIL loves Agreeable Gray and I hear great things about Repose, too. So we're trying them all!

After getting two samples from my local SW store, I painted two sample sticker squares and stuck them on the wall. I realized those weren't the right colors, but didn't want to buy two more huge samples from SW {what's the deal with that anyways? Home Depot has like tiny samples that are true samples; these are like quarts!} and have to paint things to hang, etc. etc. While browsing Pinterest, this thing called Samplize popped up and I clicked! It's pre-painted sticker samples that cost less than $6 a piece! Perfection. I've order two other colors and they should arrive today. I'm super excited to hang all four colors together and finally pick the perfect gray.

Clothes for the Caribbean

We're just a little over a month away before our next Caribbean vacation, and I can't wait. I love traveling with my husband and getting away from it all. We have a lot of fun things planned...more snorkeling, a session with a photographer in Mexico, and a lot of sleep and sun.

Palm prints are at peak popularity {love some alliteration!} and a Caribbean cruise is the perfect excuse to break it all out. I've rounded up tons of great summer vacation pieces for any tropical location, and most are $20 or less! Shop the photo below, or visit my LikeToKnow.IT profile!

HelloFresh Review

It's Tuesday, so that means when I get home in the evening I'll have a bright green box waiting for me on my doorstep. What's that, you ask? HelloFresh! We signed up for HelloFresh just after the first of the year, and have been receiving it on a pretty regular basis since. We're signed up for the three meal/two person weekly plan, and I've scheduled our deliveries for Tuesdays. One of my favorite things about HF is that you can skip weeks! Sometimes I know we are going to be too busy to cook three {or any meals if I'm honest} during the week, so we just skip the delivery. There's no fee to skip which is another perk.

Before signing up, I didn't really understand how it worked so I wanted to give you a good run down in case you're interested. Basically, you can sign up at any time, but I recommend finding a good sale or code to get started. We used a "$20 off each box for four boxes" code which was really nice. Once you sign up and select a plan {how many meals you want a week + how many people, two or four} you can then choose your meals. There's about 16 different meals to choose from that change weekly. It took about six weeks of deliveries for us to see a repeated meal offered, but you can always choose different ones or go back to one you tried and loved!

There are a few different types of meals: Hall of Fame, Calorie Smart, Gourmet {extra fee of $5.99+ per person} or Dinner2Lunch {basically makes two meals at once, extra fee of $5.99 per person}. We've tried a couple Gourmet meals but didn't really feel they were worth the extra fee. We tend to try a lot of Latin and Asian influenced dishes, and we're both pretty meat-centric, so I often choose hearty meals with steak and pork chops over pasta dishes or the vegetarian options.

The box is delivered weekly with all the fresh ingredients you need for the meals besides the basics like butter, S&P, and olive oil. Each meal comes with a full color, step-by-step instructional sheet that I keep with my other recipes to reference if I wanted to recreate a meal on my own. They usually take about 30-40 minutes to create, and almost always include scallions which we often laugh about.

Our plan {3 meals/2 people/weekly} runs about $60 a box, which may seem expensive at first, but I honestly feel like we get a much better value for our money doing this. We always eat all of the meals, which isn't necessarily the case if I got to the store and buy a lot of food. It takes the thinking out of meal time which to be honest, is huge for me as I get uninspired quickly and am not interested in creating something new at the end of the day. It also takes out the grocery trip, which is another thing I really love. I've become a Click List user at my grocery store and really avoid going in anytime I can. I don't really enjoy grocery shopping so between HF and Click List, I feel like I'm living my best life!

HelloFresh does not offer carb-conscious meals specifically, but I try to cut carbs where I can. If it's a Mexican meal, I'll swap the included tortilla for one of my low carb ones from the grocery store. Or I'll give CJM more of the rice/potato/etc. and less for me. It's really taught me a lot about cooking {like how long to grill a steak, and how to make a lot of sauces} that I really didn't know, which is an added bonus.

Have you tried HelloFresh or any other meal delivery service? L
et me know what you think!

Want $40 off your first order? CLICK HERE to redeem!