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.

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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!).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

Easy, Inexpensive, Fast and FAB CrockPot Pork Chops

Seriously – the title of this blog post says it all (although I betcha can’t say it five times fast!)

Whenever I ask the Hubs what he wants for supper, this is his response 99.9% of the time.  It’s so inexpensive (I got all of my ingredients at Aldi and spent less than $15 – and that included the box of ((highly recommended!)) CrockPot liners).  It’s so easy (hello, CrockPot…and with 0the liners, the cleanup is super easy too!) and its INSANELY good (even better the next day for leftovers!)  This is sure to a favorite in your family’s dinner rotation!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 package boneless pork chops
  • 1 package mushrooms
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 1) 8oz container light sour cream
  • 1 can Cream of Chicken (or Cream of Mushroom) soup
  • 1 packet dry Onion Soup mix
  • Egg noodles (or mashed potatoes) for serving

CrockPot Pork Chops 1

STEP 1:

Slice mushrooms and onions.

CrockPot Pork Chops 3

STEP 2:

Mix sour cream, soup and soup mix in small bowl.

CrockPot Pork Chops 4

STEP 3:

Lay pork chops on bottom of CrockPot.

CrockPot Pork Chops 2

STEP 4:

Put onions and mushrooms over pork chops & pour soup // sour cream mix on top.

Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8.

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TO SERVE:

We like ours over egg noodles or mashed potatoes.  I always add a bit of poppy seed on top – it just seems to set the bar just a bit higher.

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You and your family are going to L O V E this (and if you’re lucky enough to have leftovers, make sure to hide them in the back of the fridge so they’re all yours the next day!)

Make sure to leave feedback if you make it at home!!  🙂

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

Valentine’s Day DIY Heart-Shaped Crayons {and a FREE Printable!}

When we were little, I remember my momma making homemade crayons for my brother and I.  She would put them in regular cupcake tins (which were still SUPER cool), but as I was trying to brainstorm a fun and unique Valentine that my 2yr old could hand out during his VDay party on Thursday, this crazy idea popped into my mind!  And it turned out AWESOME!  Be prepared to be the coolest momma ever (with incredibly minimal and inexpensive effort!  DOUBLE SCORE!!) when you make these custom crayons for your kiddos.

WHAT YOU’LL NEED (seriously, there are only 2 things on the list!)

VDAY 1

  • Crayons (I used new box of 64 Crayola crayons, but this is a GREAT way to use those millions of bits and pieces from broken crayons that you can’t figure out what to do with).
  • Silicone baking molds (I used heart-shaped molds that were on special at Michael’s because of the VDay holiday, but you can use any shape mold, custom for any event – just make sure it’s a silicone so it’ll be easy to pop them out once they’re melted).

WHAT TO DO

  • Peel the paper off the crayons.  This took the longest time (for 64 crayons, approximately from the beginning of Frozen until Elsa finished singing “Let It Go”).  The blue ones seemed to give me the most trouble…not sure why, I mean blue is my favorite color.  Oh, and MAJOR DISCLAIMER: don’t peel crayons after recently getting a new mani.  I’ve completely ruined the polish on my thumbnail.  Better yet, just let your kids peel them.  Done and done.

VDAY 2

  • Break each crayon into 4-5 pieces.  I found this to be a great stress-reliever.  Also, something my 2yr old could do to help ‘contribute’.
  • Fill the molds halfway with broken pieces.  You can be totally anal like me and pick and choose color schemes and fill each mold individually, or you can realize that kids don’t care one bit about the time you took to perfectly coordinate each crayon, and just fill them at random.

VDAY 3

  • Put the mold(s) on a baking sheet and bake at 400* until they’re melted (with my oven, it took about 10 minutes).
  • Take out and let cool COMPLETELY.

VDAY 5{{Don’t worry if they come out looking a little less than pretty.  This is what mine looked like and trust me – once you pop them out and turn them over they’ll be beautiful!}}

  • Once cool, pop out of the mold, and that’s it – YOU’RE DONE!

VDAY 6{{See…pretty!  I told you.}}

Now if you’re making this for Valentine’s Day, like I am, you’ll also need small baggies to package them in.  And what’s a Valentine without a cutesy saying to go along with it?  Click here for the FREE PRINTABLE VALENTINE TAG (hand lettered by yours truly!)

I used a small decorative clothespin to attach my tag to the bag, but ribbon would be super cute too!

VDAY 7

That’s it!  There are tons of silicon molds in various shapes and sizes, so keep this idea in mind when it comes to favors for birthday parties, homemade gifts or just for a rainy day activity with your little ones!

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

DIY // Washi Tape Striped Vase

If you were to look this DIY up by the difficulty level, you’d see it filed under “RIDIC EASY”.

Seriously, this is so easy…and cheap…and quick.  {{These are a few of my favorite things….}}

As most Southern Girls do, I have an unexplained collection of mason jars.  We use them for everything.  When I was little we drank our sweet tea at dinner out of them (if you’ve never drank sweet tea out of a mason jar, you haven’t lived, FYI).  These days, I have one in my bathroom to keep my makeup brushes in.  The one on my kitchen sink houses the dish scrubber brush.  The one on my desk keeps all of my Sharpies organized.  And yet, while I have them all over the house in various spots for whatever purpose I assigned them, I still have a cabinet full of em.

Because of my husband’s insane endearing addiction to pint glasses that he ‘just has to have’ from random bars and restaurants, I needed to clear out some of my beloved mason jars.  So I grabbed a few and brought them to my office, where I sat them on my desk and brainstormed.  Like a bolt of lightning, I noticed a roll of washi tape right beside one of them and BOOM – this sweet little project was born.

Here’s what you need:

~Washi Tape

~Mason Jar (or any other clear jar / vase / can / etc)

~Scissors

 

*The washi tape that I had sitting beside the mason jar that prompted this idea was one of the tapes I use to package my prints – and I didn’t think the words “Special Delivery” really made sense on a vase, so I opted for my favorite gold glittery washi instead.

 

Jar Washi Tape Scissors

I knew I wanted horizontal stripes, but this is where you really can’t go wrong and could get really creative.  But I’m a creature of habit, and my habit is decorating any and everything with stripes, so I measured out the length it would take to completely wrap the tape around the jar and cut 3 equal strips of the same size.

diy4

Then I just peeled and stuck all 3 strips onto the jar, as evenly spaced out as I thought looked good (I hate measuring, so I eyeballed it, but if you’re totally OCD, measure it out and go all in). 

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It really is just that easy.  And cheap.  And quick.  And everyone who sees this cute little vase asks where I got it.  Isn’t it awesome when such a little project makes such a big impact?  🙂

 

 

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!
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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!)
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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)
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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!