house buying…not for the faint of heart

Two years ago, my fiancé and I bought a house and completely gutted and remodeled it.  It seemed like such a good idea at the time, as all terrible decisions initially do.

After being told it would take six weeks to complete, 6-8 months later they were finally ‘finished’.  And by finished, I mean it looked like absolute shit.  The painter, after initially painting all the rooms the incorrect colors, had stopped showing up.  He honestly painted half the kitchen and never returned (but did manage to steal my sunglasses on his way out).  Our hardwoods all started buckling and coming up so bad, we even took a nail gun to them one fateful evening.   Our General Contractor (who ended up not actually being a contractor) had moved to Idaho and stopped returning phone calls.

Then we learned while hard, it’s not impossible to sue someone in Idaho while in Louisiana.

And while I learned a great many things about myself during this period, be it the fact I can easily now paint, tile or stain anything, another interesting thing I learned was apparently if you take my money and run, I’ll follow you to the ends of the earth.  Idaho included.

So after sinking another round of ungodly money into the house to actually finish it, we finally sold it.  Literally, a lot of blood, sweat and tears went into that house.  And since we had a lot of trouble selling it, we decided to take a break from house buying for a bit.  We needed time to lick our wounds and have lots of drinks to dull the memories.  And just have some drinks in general.

Apparently, forget we did, because we just bought another house.  And it needs so much work, it’s getting completely taken down the studs.

I barely survived House War I, lets see if we survive HWII.

I’m already skeptical.

moving is fun!

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted; as ‘they’ say, “life gets in the way sometimes”.

We finally sold the house that we spent an eternity (and an ungodly fortune) remodeling but it hasn’t really set in yet.  While we look for a new house (oh God.), we’re renting a temporary space in a gorgeous area called Bayou St. John.

Last week, I had two hours to find somewhere for us to move to before the movers got there.  As my mom has not subtly informed me several times since this happened, most people do this in advance.  And that most people probably don’t live in an insane housing market quite like New Orleans.  Hindsight blahblahblah.

But the most exciting part of all this is I finally had the opportunity to open the champagne that I have been dragging around the southern part of the country for the better part of three years.  [side note: I’ve actually found none of this is very exciting, it’s more like a big incredible stress inducing money pit.  I honestly might as well take my checking and savings out of the bank, head-on into the backyard (that doesn’t exist because I live in New Orleans, which is just a weirder, smaller New York space-wise) and light it all on fire]

So in any case, here is my new stoop.  And my traveling champagne.  Which, not surprisingly, tasted funky.  Apparently hot/cold/hot/cold/hot/cold/hot/cold over the course of three years is not good for the quality of your bubbles.

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So you live, you learn and so on.  Except I seem to have trouble with the learning part so I just keep living and repeating the same shit.

But at least I’m finally in New Orleans.  On my stoop.

my day as an event planner…

Several months ago, a bride contacted me to do her wedding flowers.  We really hit it off, so she asked me to help her with the wedding planning.

I’ve never planned an event before, I usually go decorate with florals then head off for cocktails somewhere when work is done (good business strategy).  But she was persistent and I like new challenges.  So I became an event planner for a day.

I even wore all black, which I rarely do because it makes me look like a sad high schooler.

elena-antoines

For the florals, we did a color palette of blushes and whites.   Roses, peonies, hydrangeas and baby’s breath.

The reception took place upstairs at Antoine’s and looked incredible (I’m biased).  I set out place cards, centerpieces and little gifts from the bride and groom.  They’re both from Russia (now Floridans) and she had someone from back home (Russia, not Florida) hand paint little nesting dolls as thank yous.  I thought it was incredibly thoughtful and unique.

Everyone loved them, especially me.  She gave me one as a thank you for my event planning help.  Well, that and she paid me.

But I’m obsessed with my new little doll.

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It sits on our mail able so I can see it everyday.

wednesdays are for cocktails…

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Today is the first day of fall.  And so to celebrate (as I always do when I’m celebrating) I made cocktails.

I found this pink elderflower rose sparkling lemonade on my last grocery store venture, and since, I can describe it as nothing short of life changing.

I mean, it’s great alone but, as I’ve found with many (all) other things, it’s better with vodka.

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I added a little ice, Ketel One, lime and springs of lavender.   I used to order Stoli but one night when I ordered it, a friend of mine made the comment, “how can you drink that?”.

So now I order Ketel One, which I don’t know if you know this but it tastes like Stoli.  And since I care little for getting reprimanded (ask my mom), I order differently now.

Ketel One it is!

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On another note, I’m currently trying my hand at growing lavender; ask me in three months how that went.

Actually you can ask me now.  It’s dying.  But just another reason to make cocktails!

sundays…

mardi grasMy Sunday took a turn for the lazier when I decided to bring The Boyfriend with me to the grocery store.  This is when I find things like $20 bison jerky or a family sized box of Fruity Pebbles in my cart.  He discreetly puts them in, I less discreetly toss them out.

But here we are, 9am on Sunday, with King Cake and Mardi Gras beer (which tastes like cheap beads mixed in with poor choices).

travel…staycation

Sometimes it’s nice to stay home and take your vacation there.  And it’s even nicer when you get to stay and call the Monteleone your home for the weekend.

My mom came in for a short visit; she might have stayed back in Texas had she known all the non-stop fun we were going to have.

monteleone

As soon as she landed, I took her to see the house we just finished remodeling.  She “oohhhed” and “aahhed” and that was the only productive thing we did all weekend.  After that we checked in and the weekend became a blur of cocktails and restaurants.

monteleone christmas

{Monteleone lobby}

We twirled around the Carousel Bar, had Gin Fizzes at the Sazerac (I actually had two because my mom did not care for hers), oysters at Cafe Amelie and Pimms at The Columns.

french quarter

We wandered the French Quarter, stopped in Lafitte’s (the oldest bar in America, not to mention where someone is now the proud new owner of my credit card), went to the open air French Market along with more general touristy shenanigans.

And in the end as much as I hated to see her go, my liver needed a much deserved break and I was ready to get out of the French Quarter.

A little bit of that place goes a looong way.

the new year in moderation…

new years goalsI’ve never been one for New Year’s resolutions mainly because I’ve never been to maintain them.  Also, I’ve usually opted for lofty goals which by January 5th have been thrown to the wayside.

I read in a magazine around the holidays, all people need to focus on in the new year is “eat better, exercise more and sleep more.”  I like it.  Simple and attainable.

Last night I slept well.  This morning I went running.  I’m currently drinking a smoothie with kale in it.

But, importantly, all things in moderation because this afternoon my mom comes in town and it will be time for cocktails in the garden district.

Like I said, moderation.

 

vintage cocktails and long evenings…

Trips back home to Texas usually involve a cocktail or two (four).

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I come from a family of cocktail drinkers.  And wine drinkers.  So I could reduce my first sentence down to just ‘I come from a family of drinkers’ but that sounds slightly dysfunctional so I’ll stick with the original assessment of cocktail drinkers.

I remember going to my grandparents house where we would have cocktail hour(s) before dinner and when cocktail hour(s) was up, my grandmother would stand up (with her Manhattan in hand) and say “ok, I’ll go start dinner”.  Two hours later we would finally eat. They were long evenings.  That usually ended with glasses of port and sherry. Like I said, looong evenings.

imageBut all this led to my appreciation of all things cocktail related.  My sterling silver Jefferson cups, that I religiously serve mint juleps in every summer, came from my father’s grandparents.  My handmade lace napkins that I shove in everyone’s hand when they get a drink to which they promptly put back down on various surfaces around my house came from my mother’s grandmother.

So while drinking cocktails is fun (rarely is it not but we’ve all been to that one cocktail party that went south fast) sometimes it’s the memories that add to the evening.

Last night my evening began with GinGin Mules from my favorite cocktail book and ended with friends (and a bottle of Voigner).

So…now where to watch the saints game at noon.  But most importantly, what to drink?