Baby #2 Registry Essentials

It’s amazing how many fun and useful things have been added to the world of Baby Registry in the short 3 years since I registered for things Cohen.  The first go-round, I decided to forgo the countless lists of registry must-haves online and ask my best friends who have kids for help.  They knew exactly what I’d need and what the other lists would have on them, but I’d never use.  If you’re registering for your first pregnancy, I suggest doing the same thing.  Your friends know you better than anyone and they’ll know not only what was a true necessity for them, but things you’ll actually put to good use.

I wasn’t going to have a Baby Shower for my second pregnancy.  But, my BFF is a ridic party planner and looks for any and every reason to throw together a fun shindig, and she’s not one to take no for an answer, so Baby Shower for #2 is happening.  Besides, I’ve spent the majority of my pregnancy in sweats and laying around the house, so I figured a little time out with my girlfriends doting on me in a cute dress may be fun!  I also wasn’t going to put together a formal registry…but then I got to thinking that when you’re invited to something, especially something like Baby Shower where gifts are given more on a ‘necessity’ basis than just fun, I’d go ahead and throw a short list together.  ((And admit it, opening gifts is fun – even when it’s a breast pump)).

We received the TRUE necessities when I registered for my first pregnancy with Cohen and because we’re having another boy, which really cut the list down because I don’t have to have new things based on gender color, which I told myself I wouldn’t do if in fact we found out we were having a girl, but of course I would anyway.  So this list is just the basics – things that are either new in the world of baby must-haves and things that either get worn out or destroyed with the first kid (i.e. ANYTHING white that you ditched because all of the spit up and poop stains aren’t a good look).

So here’s my list of ‘Round 2 Baby Essentials’:

1) Fisher Price Rock ‘n Play Sleeper

CaptureThis isn’t really a ‘necessity’ per say, but definitely HIGHLY recommended!  We received one of these with Cohen – and when I opened it, knowing I had never seen one before and that I definitely didn’t register for it, I figured it would go in the ‘thanks for the gift, it’s still in the box, in the closet’ pile.  However, this thing was a LIFESAVER.  Cohen lived in this thing from the night we brought him home until he finally outgrew it.  It was awesome to have it beside the bed at night when I was breastfeeding and I drug it all over the house for nap time, or just for him to hang out in.  It’s lightweight and folds up for easy travel.  We still have the first one, but that was one of the first models and they’ve improved a few things, so the old one is being sent to Grammy’s house and we’re registering for a brand spanking new one for home.  Seriously, if this is your 1st, 2nd or 10th (God bless you), register for one of these…and thank me later.

2) Breastfeeding Supplies

breastfeeding storageI’m crossing my fingers that breastfeeding this time around goes as smoothly for me as it did before.  I decided to breastfeed and pump a few times a day so that the Hubs could handle a few feedings and give me time to rest.  This time I’ll have a 3yo running around, so this is definitely the plan again.  Because of repeatedly cleaning and steaming or because of the oils in breast milk, some of my storage containers from before needed to be replaced.  Besides, this is something you can never really have too much of (especially if you’re planning on freezing some).

3) Bottles

dr browns bottles

Even if you saved bottles from your first pregnancy, in going through all of the things I had boxed up to use for my next pregnancy, I realized that although they had all been steamed and sterilized, the oils from breast milk had left a weird residue on some of them.  Plus, I used the Dr. Brown’s bottles because they reduced colic, and because there are a few separate pieces to each bottle (some of which got lost in the shuffle), I only had a few complete ‘sets’.

4) Bottle Steam Sterilizer

sterilizer

If they had these genius inventions when Cohen was a baby, I don’t remember them.  I used to soak all of his bottles in a sink full of hot water, but that didn’t save me from having to individually scrub each one by hand.  The thought of just putting all of the bottles and their included odds and ends in one thing and just being able to ‘set it and forget it’ is awesome.

5) Bottle Brushes

bottle brush

Even if you have a bottle sterilizer like I just mentioned, you’ll still need to ‘quick clean’ a million bottles a day, so you’ll need a ton of these.

6) Meslin Swaddle Blankets

swaddles

When I had Cohen, the swaddle wraps were all the rage.  I got a ton of them and they seemed like a good idea in theory, until the 5th night in a row that my swaddled baby wriggled an arm or leg out of it.  Sometimes I’d go in and he was out of the entire thing.  Plus, you needed different sizes as the baby grows.  So this time around, we’re going with the ultra-soft and lightweight meslin swaddle blankets.  These are really big and can be doubled up for smaller babies, so they’ll grow with your baby.  Plus, the lightweight fabric is really breathable and super easy to work into the swaddle style.

7) Infinity Nursing Scarf

nursing scarf

This may be my new favorite thing.  When I had Cohen I had this apron-like nursing cover that I used mayyyyybe once, but wasn’t terribly soft and just seemed bulky and awkward.  So when I saw a girlfriend open one of these at her baby shower, I knew I had to register for one as well!  The best part is they can be used for a nursing cover, car seat cover, stroller cover, or even a swaddle blanket – ALL IN ONE!  Plus, they’re SUPER soft and fashionable…W-I-N-N-I-N-G!

*BUY IT HERE

8) Milkies Milk Saver

milkies

This. Is. Brilliant.  I was a breast milk making CHAMP my first time around (and praying it’s the same way this time!), but I never really gave thought to all of the milk filling up a breast pad.  This was another new thing I saw gifted at a friend’s baby shower and knew I had to register for as well.  You just put one of these babies into the non-nursing side of your bra when you breastfeed and it collects the milk from that breast that is usually wasted when your milk lets down.  I’ve read the reviews and some moms say that they’ve gotten an entire feeding in a day from the leaked milk that they’re able to use from the Milk Saver.  Again – brilliant.

*BUY IT HERE

9) Bathtime Stuff

towel

We all know baby’s are little puke and poop CHAMPS, so they require a lot of getting clean.  I always seemed to never have enough hooded towels and washcloths, and most of them are made from pretty thin fabric (which became shredded and not worth keeping for another baby), so you won’t regret registering for new ones.  It’s also a good idea (especially if your first child(ren) is younger and still using baby shampoo/conditioner/wash) to register for that since you really can’t ever have enough and it’s sure to be put to good use.

10) Diapers & Wipes

diaper

There’s no need to explain why you’ll need NEW diapers and wipes for your 2nd pregnancy.  Just register for them…and A LOT of them.  Size 1 and 2 diapers are used the most, and newborn diapers are quickly outgrown, so make sure that 1s and 2s are high in quantity on your list.  Also, remember that you can exchange unopened boxes for different sizes at most stores.

So, welcome the idea that your fun-loving friends have for showering you a second time and put together a registry!  There are a million things out there to make your life as a mommy easier, these are just a few of mine.  We’re all in this together, so make sure to comment with your favorites!!

XO LJ

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While I Was Out…

I can’t believe the last time I blogged was April.  Ridiculous!  And I have no real excuse except for the fact that 1. I run a full-time business, 2. I also have a 2.5 year old who constantly keeps me on my toes, 3. I have a hubby and a home that I have to keep happy and, oh yeah, 4. I’M PREGNANT!! 22 weeks pregnant now, and we’re having another little boy we’ve decided to name Cameron Day Jaroscak.  Beyond! Thrilled!!

If you follow me on social media you’ve known this for some time.  We found out the end of February and although the first trimester was AWFUL for me (24/7 “morning” sickness), it’s been a really healthy and relatively pregnancy.  I can tell you that the 2nd time around is MUCH different and more difficult than the first.  I enjoyed every minute of my pregnancy with Cohen, 3 years ago.  However, this time around I’ve been so busy trying to keep up with him that I barely remember how many weeks I am or (except for the fact that the baby’s kicking like crazy now and I’m huge), I forget that I’m even pregnant.

I feel awful (as most 2nd-time mothers do), that I haven’t dedicated the time to sit back and enjoy this pregnancy the way I did before.  When I was pregnant with Cohen I kept up with a blog called “We’re Having a Baby, My Baby and Me” (wink and nod to one of my favorite ‘I Love Lucy’ episodes).  I updated it weekly, wrote a special entry ‘letter’ to Cohen every month and loved it then. but love it even more now going back and reading it.  While I don’t have the time or energy to devote to one this go-round, I thought I’d share Cohen’s blog with those of you who haven’t read it yet.  It’s hilarious and embarrassingly honest, so keep an open mind…and enjoy!!

Link to “We’re Having a Baby, My Baby and Me”:

http://mommasac.blogspot.com/

XO LJ

WORLD AUTISM DAY – Show Your Support!

Did you know that Autism affects 1 in 68 children?

I have friends with autistic children.  I see the way that people stare when we’re out to dinner.  To them, they think my friends just have an unruly child.  What they don’t know is the struggle that the child and their parents face every minute of everyday.

My cousin, Casey, is in her first year of teaching in elementary Special Education.  While the children in her class all have a different special need, her heart and expertise is in Autism and Autism Awareness.  When she came to me and asked me to come up with a design for this year’s Autism Awareness month, I immediately began brainstorming ideas.  She wanted a print for her room at school and as a gift for a few of her peers, but I wanted to take it a step further.  I decided that putting the design on a line of products would be a way for me to not only help raise awareness, but also do my part to donate a portion of the proceeds to Autism Speaks.

Autism Speaks has grown into the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, dedicated to funding research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a cure for autism; increasing awareness of autism spectrum disorders; and advocating for the needs of individuals with autism and their families.

The product line consists of 5 products, ranging in price points for all individuals & each order comes with a FREE 5×7 print of the original 2015 LJDCo. ‘Different. Not Less.’ design:

20 oz. Acrylic Tumbler

aa tumber promo

11 oz. Coffee Mug

aa mug promo

Large Canvas Tote

aa tote promo

160-page Journal

aa journal promo

Round Magnet

aa magnet promo

Please help me raise awareness for these amazing children and their families and show your support by shopping today!

XO LJ

The Journaling Bible {How to Get Started on Your Journey…}

I’ve always been a note taker.  NERD ALERT – but I actually loved ‘note day’ in school when we had to write down what the teacher would put up on the transparency (if you’re younger, you may not know the awesomeness that was a transparency…bless your heart).  I’d see the words and write them out and doodle all around them.  For some reason, if I made something ‘pretty’, I remembered it better.  Same with church – I’m the great-granddaughter of a Southern Baptist minister and have spent the majority of every Sunday of my life in church taking sermon notes.  I would watch my Momma write in her Bible since before I could spell – so I’d illustrate what I thought the preacher was preaching about on my bulletin with stick people and flowers.

I actually owe this Blog post and this entire thought process to my Momma.  She’s such a Godly woman – the exact kind of Godly woman that I hope I’m on my way to being.  Constantly praying for her family and friends – constantly encouraging others – constantly inspiring me.  In her Bible are pictures of my brother and I, newspaper clippings of special events that have happened in her life, drawings that my brother and I made for her when we were little.  Her Bible is also full of fun colors – highlights of verses and phrases that spoke to her.  Words from a sermon or quiet time written down that she wanted to never forget.  A few years ago she even had to have her Bible re-binded.  THIS is the kind of Bible I want.

I first read of the Journaling Bible in my ‘Suggested for You’ newsfeed on Instagram (God shows up in the most amazing places, doesn’t He??)  It immediately reminded me of the Bible I wanted to create for myself like my Momma has, but with space to write and draw and doodle and really have fun with it.  Since my life is so involved with hand lettering, I figured this would be the perfect medium to cross that with my love of God.

I received my Journaling Bible yesterday – and this morning was my first in using it for my quiet time.  My idea for this is to write, draw, doodle, etc every day with verses, quotes, etc from either my quiet time or a sermon for an entire year, which will give me at least 365 entries.  When this year is over, I’ll ‘gift’ this Bible to someone special…then I’ll begin on another one.  I can’t think of a more intimate and special gift.

After posting my first entry on Instagram this morning, I was flooded with questions, so I decided to post this Blog entry on how to get started with a Journaling Bible and where you can get the supplies I’m using.  I’ll be posting randomly on Instagram, but for daily entry updates, follow the board I’ve designated on Pinterest.

THE SUPPLIES:

I researched a bit before purchasing my Bible.  I wanted something hardback so it would be sturdy to write on even if I was sitting in the pew at church.  I also wanted something that had room for me to doodle in.  Thirdly, I wanted one that wouldn’t break the bank.  I decided on the black, hardbacked version of the new ESV (which, to me is the easiest version to understand) – and after a bit of online retail therapy, I found it at Amazon for only $28!!  You can one just like mine HERE!

journaling bible 1

Next, you’ll need a few fun things to really put your mark on the Bible and make it yours!

I know from experience that Crayola Twistable colored pencils are 1) awesome quality and 2) won’t bleed.

Also – use a basic, old school ball point pen.  It’s not my favorite pen to use, but again, you want something that’s not going to bleed through the pages.

The washi tape is just a fun, colorful addition here and there.  Use it for borders, for tabs, or just because it’s pretty (who doesn’t love washi tape!?)   You can literally find this stuff everywhere now – but I always seem to score some fun ones at the Target Dollar Spot.

journaling bible 5

For the daily entries, I decided to go with my favorite devotional, “Jesus Calling” by Sarah Young.  This is one of the most popular devotionals and I love it because it’s short enough to fit into any time you have available and it ALWAYS seems to speak to me and say exactly what I need to hear, when I need to hear it!  Mine was a gift, but you can get yours at any book store, Walmart, Target, or HERE (my copy is in the teal leather, but this pink one is super fun too!).

journaling bible 4

THE PROCESS:

The Jesus Calling devotional is nice because it’s assigned to each day of the year.  So, I simply found today’s entry (2/25) and started there.  I read the devotional for today, and highlighted what I wanted to illustrate in my Bible.  I decided on “a grateful heart protects you from negative thinking”.  Each day’s devotional also has scripture to reference.  Today’s was Colossians 4:2, so I flipped to it in my Bible and that’s where I illustrated today’s quote in the margins.

journaling bible 3

The book of Colossians is short, and there happened to be some empty space on the opposite page at the end of the book, so I took advantage and also drew out another quote that went along with the devotion.

journaling bible 2

I wrote everything out in pen first, then went back in with my colored pencils and accented the important stuff.  Then I added washi tape and embellishments to make it really pretty.  I also dated everything.  Dating things is SO important – especially when you look back and think of what you were going through at that time and what you drew out meant to you right then and there.  It’s a great way to remind yourself to thank Him for your blessings when you can reflect on situations and see how they worked in your favor, eventhough you may have doubted it at the time.

My final piece of advice in starting to journal in a Bible is to have a space just for you to draw in.  For me, it’s the space in the loft upstairs that has ‘my’ couch in it, but there’s really no reason for anyone to sit and hang out in.  It’s quiet, I know that no one will bother me, and it’s my special place to focus and really soak in everything.

journaling bible 6

So, there are the basics to starting in your Journal Bible.  I can’t wait to see how God blesses me through this daily time alone with Him, and in turn how it will bless the person I give these to when I’m finished with them.

Let me know if you have any questions or input and any tips you have on journaling through your faith!

XO LJ

F R E E LJDCo. Valentines Downloadable Print!

vday printable promo

It’s the second day of my favorite week of the year!!  Not only is it VaLeNTiNeS DaY on Saturday, but my birthday is Thursday, so I’m feeling extra celebratory!!

Along with the free printable tag in yesterday’s Valentine’s Day DIY Heart-Shaped Crayons post, this one is a true LJDCo. print!  There are 2 sizes available in this high-quality PDF download – the 4×6 is perfect for your Valentine’s Day Dinner place-settings or a special something to drop in the mail or in a lunchbox, just to remind the special people in your life how much you love them.  The larger 8×10 is great for around-the-house décor or a tablescape!  The color looks a bit brighter in the promo pic above – the actual background color is more of a coral, which I figured would be more appropriate to fit in with your décor than bright red.  So download, print and HAVE FUN with these – and Happy Valentine’s Day from me to you and your love!!

DOWNLOAD THE PRINTS HERE!

LJDCo. VDay Printable – 4×6  //  LJDCo. VDay Printable – 8×10

XO LJ

Stick With Love. MLK 2015.

This is my favorite Martin Luther King quote.  Always has been, always will be.  Every MLK I post it and just sit and think about what the world would be like if people lived by this sentiment.  Or if people actually took his powerful words to heart and actually made his dream come true.

I remember in 9th grade US Civics class, we studied the history of MLK – the riots and inner-city wars that took place during this time.  We’d see pictures in our textbooks and watch old black and white videos of footage of the horrible segregation that took place.  It made my stomach physically hurt and I’d go home to do my homework on the subject with such a sick feeling.

This same feeling washed over me as I watched “The Help”.  I cried just as hard as Mae did when Aibileen was forced to leave her.  Not only because crying children always make me cry (remember Bernice crying as her father left in ‘Hope Floats’??…still crying from that one), but because my heart broke that these things actually happened and that this time was actually real in our nation’s history.  I called my momma and asked if that’s really how it was back then.  She was young during this time, but slightly remembered the day to day ins and outs of basic segregation.  I knew that while the movie was fiction, it was based on actual events.  I couldn’t wrap my head around people living and acting like this, but to hear my momma confirm it, brought such a sad realization.  I was newly pregnant and more than anything, it broke my heart to think that I was bringing a child into this world that has a history of such hate and discrimination.

Then I watched the movie “42” with my husband when it came out to rent.  With every derogatory comment, racial slur and unfair treatment that Jackie Robinson faced, my heart broke a little more.  The movie was SO good – but when it was over I was left with another broken heart.  I had a new baby by this time and was again reminded that he’d read and watch and learn about these oppressive, shameful, and actual events.

I’m thankful to have been born in a more accepting time.  A time where everyone is free to vote, sit where they want and be employed equally.  I’m thankful that one of my best friend’s from middle school is STILL one of my best friends – who I have countless good memories with, who was a part of my wedding, and who has never been treated any different by society than I have regardless of the color of his skin.

Cohen is still too young to understand the severity and importance of this day and what MLK stood for.  However, from the moment we found out I was pregnant, we have made a point to instill in him that EVERYONE is created equal.  Regardless of race, gender, sexuality, and anything else that could possibly sway someone’s judgment on another human being, we are ALL God’s children and we should look at everyone the way that He looks at us – just the same.  It upset me to know that one day he’ll have to take that history class and watch movies based on this time and events – but it brings me comfort to know that he will be part of the change in this world.  Part of the reason that things aren’t that way anymore.  I know we’re FAR from living the dream that Dr. King spoke of, but I’m honored to play a small part in helping to make that dream a reality one day – and hopefully one day soon.

“I have decided to STICK WITH LOVE.  Hate is too great a burden to bear.” – MLK

LJ on the Road: NEW ORLEANS!!

Last week Andrew and I embarked on a MUCH NEEDED (and well deserved, I might add), trip away for a few days! Last October we learned he had earned a spot with his company at the Leadership Conference in NEW ORLEANS and we’d been counting down ever since. Let me tell you, the anticipation did not disappoint!
I had been to NOLA the summer before my Senior year in high school, but I while I remember the bread pudding at Commander’s Palace, that’s about it – being 17 and under parental supervision in NOLA isn’t nearly as much fun as it was this go round.

So, we dropped Cohen off at Grammy & Poppy’s for what would be the longest we’ve left him since he was born (tear, tear…) and flew out that Sunday morning.
Always on the clock, I brought my work with me and worked on addressing Wedding Invitations for a customer at 37K feet.

I credit the mid-flight cranberry & vodka to my fear of flying.  Which I don't even have.

I credit the mid-flight cranberry & vodka to my fear of flying. Which I don’t even have.

After a (thankfully) uneventful flight, we were safely in NOLA and man, was it HOT. It’s hot here in NC, but this was a humidity-smack-you-in-the-face kind of hot. Like, immediate sweat kind of hot. NONE of which my hair liked the entire time we were there, but I digress. We had the luxury of calling the AMAZING Roosevelt New Orleans/Waldorf Astoria our home for a few days. This hotel was incredible – the architecture, the décor, the history. Any hotel that’s good enough for the Kennedy’s and Old Blue Eyes himself, is definitely more than okay in my book.

Street-view of our hotel, The Roosevelt NOLA.

Street-view of our hotel, The Roosevelt NOLA.

Isn't this lobby TO DIE?  (Photo cred to the hotel's website because the lobby wasn't ever empty enough for me to get a good shot myself).

Isn’t this lobby TO DIE? (Photo cred to the hotel’s website because the lobby wasn’t ever empty enough for me to get a good shot myself).

No sooner did we drop our bags, we were BOURBON STREET BOUND! It was 2pm there, but 3pm in my stomach (due to the hour-behind time difference), so we set out to find some good ‘ol NAWLINS grub…enter the best crab cakes I have EVER eaten. EVER. There was literally no breadcrumbs or filler – this was straight crab, yall! And man, was it ridiculously good. (I may or may not have licked the plate…don’t judge). Oh, and I can’t forget to mention the double signature Hurricane slushy. I’m not one for sweet drinks, but when in Rome…

Crab cakes w/ mushroom gravy sauce @ Old NOLA Cookery on Bourbon St.

Crab cakes w/ mushroom gravy sauce @ Old NOLA Cookery on Bourbon St.

What's NOLA without a signature Hurricane slushy?

What’s NOLA without a signature Hurricane slushy?

That evening we had a Welcome Reception & Dinner at the hotel. The food was awesome and there was an open bar with top shelf EVERYTHING, so I’d consider that a win. After the reception, we all changed our clothes and it was back to Bourbon for the night life!!
Disclaimer: Bourbon Street, although a historical landmark, is NOT for the faint of heart. Also, it’s not kid-friendly…especially at night. I’ll let your minds wander where they will, but it still boggles my mind that there were kids (young kids!) with their parents…at 11pm…walking past the debauchery. I’m not one to judge, but in this case, being a parent myself, I may have…just a little.
We dodged in and out of shops and bars and discos and people-watched for a few hours and I concluded 2 things: 1) people watching on Bourbon Street is just about the BEST free entertainment out there. 2) being allowed to walk down the street with a beer in your hand is just cool.

One of the countless slushy-to-go stops.  This one takes the cake as far as Creepy Mardi Gras jesters go.

One of the countless slushy-to-go stops. This one takes the cake as far as Creepy Mardi Gras jesters go.

Andrew, with his new BFF.  Funny how they look almost identical at this point of the evening.

Andrew, with his new BFF. Funny how they look almost identical at this point of the evening.

Tim, Mike, myself, Buddy , Monica & Drew...our 'crew' for the week.

Tim, Mike, myself, Buddy , Monica & Drew…our ‘crew’ for the week.

Andrew had a work function the next morning, so I enjoyed EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE. of the comfy 5-star bedding, the quiet of no one screaming “Mommy!” and a Property Brothers marathon for a few hours while he was gone. (Oh, and breakfast in bed, courtesy of the Best Hubby Ever).

#TeamJonathan all day long.

#TeamJonathan all day long.

Ain't he sweet...

Ain’t he sweet…


I also took this opportunity to take a few shots of the view from our room.
The view from our room - Canal St & the Mississippi River in the distance.

The view from our room – Canal St & the Mississippi River in the distance.

I never did find out what this place was, but our room overlooked it's roof and these REALLY cool columns!!

I never did find out what this place was, but our room overlooked it’s roof and these REALLY cool columns!!

After the guys were let go, we ventured out and decided to see the beautiful history and architecture that NOLA had to offer!

The Hotel Monteleone - the detail in this architecture was incredible!

The Hotel Monteleone – the detail in this architecture was incredible!

IMG_3563
Isn’t this the cutest boutique EVER? I want to live there.

The name, the vintage painted bicycle, the black & white color scheme...I love it ALL.

The name, the vintage painted bicycle, the black & white color scheme…I love it ALL.


We ducked into a few art galleries because they had ice cold A/C blasting, but I did find this awesome painting, which I totally would have bought if a) I had a way to get it home and b) I had $2700 just laying around.
"King for a Day II" by Tim Church - 24x48 @ $2700

“King for a Day II” by Tim Church – 24×48 @ $2700

Jackson Square was beautiful. There were so many jazz musicians just out and playing for fun (or spare change) and the street artists were so cool. And seeing St. Louis Cathedral in person was an unforgettable experience. I only took pictures of the outside because it felt a little irreverent of me to bust out the iPhone while inside, but I wish you could see it – the ceiling especially. It was incredible!
IMG_3570

Jackson monument.

Jackson monument.

St. Louis Cathedral from the other side of Jackson Square.

St. Louis Cathedral from the other side of Jackson Square.

St. Louis Cathedral.

St. Louis Cathedral.

St. Louis Cathedral.

St. Louis Cathedral.


And of course, me being the flea market junkie I am, we had to shop a bit at the French Market (if you know anything about Charleston, it’s just like the market there…except you can buy amazing Po Boys and get a fun adult beverage while you shop!)
IMG_3576
Couldn't help but stop in here.

Couldn’t help but stop in here.


On our way back to the hotel, we stopped by the edge of the Mississippi River. Mighty? She sure is.
The Mighty Mississippi.

The Mighty Mississippi.

That evening was the Awards Banquet for the Leadership Conference, which was 1) a great excuse to dress up (note the 4 shower heads and the tv in our bathroom)
IMG_3585
and 2) some of the best food I’ve eaten in awhile:

My Favorite!  Herbed Mixed Greens with Champagne Vinaigrette and (wait for it...) a Fried Goat Cheese Medallion.

My Favorite! Herbed Mixed Greens with Champagne Vinaigrette and (wait for it…) a Fried Goat Cheese Medallion.

NOLA Surf & Turf - Filet Mignon & Butterflied Shrimp w/ Roasted Potatoes & Haricot Vert.

NOLA Surf & Turf – Filet Mignon & Butterflied Shrimp w/ Roasted Potatoes & Haricot Vert.

Dulce de Leche Layer Cake.  OMG.

Dulce de Leche Layer Cake. OMG.

That night, following the Awards Banquet, we decided to make it low key and take in some local jazz. We hopped in and out of a few places, but unfortunately I have no pictures because I left my phone at the first place we stopped at (a HUGE thanks to the sweet bartender, who kept it for me when I remembered exactly where I had laid it down). (I am notorious for the ‘leave behind’…)

Our 3rd and final day, the rest of the crew decided to take a bus tour and see some additional NOLA sites, but Andrew and I opted for some time together, just the two of us. Considering we never really get it, we figured this may be our last opportunity for awhile. So we had lunch together (where I ate the best Catfish Po’Boy known to man)

Catfish Po'Boy at the Oceana on Bourbon St.  AMAZING!

Catfish Po’Boy at the Oceana on Bourbon St. AMAZING!


And we shopped for souvenirs to bring home to CJ. And finally, we decided to take it back to the hotel and take FULL advantage of the rooftop pool. This may have been my favorite part of the entire trip. Just relaxing with my love.
How amazing is this pool and the view???

How amazing is this pool and the view???

My love.

My love.

Rooftop drinks!!

Rooftop drinks!!

That night was a Farewell/Masquerade Ball. Everyone was encouraged to wear their best Masquerade/NOLA costume. After finding our masks (and my sassy hot pink feather boa) in a shop on Bourbon St earlier that day, we dressed up and had a GREAT time. It was an awesome way to say goodbye to such a fun city and such a great trip.

Elevator Selfie on the way to the ball.

Elevator Selfie on the way to the ball.

King & Queen Sac in our Masquerade Best.

King & Queen Sac in our Masquerade Best.

It was such a great break from reality, but it was one of those trips where you need a vacation from your vacation. Plus, while we enjoyed the quiet and the freedom for a few days, it was awesome to get home to the little guy.

This Smile - Couldn't get home quick enough!

This Smile – Couldn’t get home quick enough!

Til next time NOLA, LAISSEZ LES BON TEMPS ROULER!