Food Recommendations, Uncategorized

6 Favorite Foodie Places in NOLA

 

If there’s one thing that the Big Easy definitely does not have a shortage of, it’s places to eat! There’s so many hole in the walls and not-so-hole-in-the-wall places that are on my list to try! No, seriously.. my roommate and I made a list because there’s that many places  that we want to go before we graduate. So even though the next few semesters will be filled with stress, at least we’ll have full bellies and happy taste buds… right? Here’s a round up of (just a few) of my favorite places so far!

  1. Sucre

Sucre, French for sugar, definitely lives up to its name. From macaroons, gelato, a large variety of cupcakes, dessert names that I literally cannot pronounce, and a coffee bar, its got everything that this nursing student could ever want. I also leave in a (slight) sugar coma every time that I visit this modern dessert shop, but hey, that’s all part of the experience!

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Confetti Cupcake gelato and a salted caramel macaroon 

2. Willa Jean

Clearly I’m having a sweet tooth being that I’m sharing all of the desserts first… Anyways, Willa Jean should definitely be on your list! The warm chocolate chip cookies and vanilla bean milk are worth the trip downtown. I would buy the vanilla bean milk by the gallon if I could.. it’s that good. And I’m not really a milk drinker (probably weird, I know).

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3. Hansen’s Sno-Bliz

Y’all. I’m not kidding when I say this was THE BEST snowball of my life. Sometimes snowballs can be sickeningly sweet, the ice may not be shaved well enough, etc. But this place makes their own snowball syrups and they are just the right amount of sweet, the ice is smooth and fluffy, and just overall delicious. I got the limited edition Ambrosia Fruit Salad Snowball. It was satsuma flavored syrup, which keep in mind, is homemade. It even had satsuma zest in it! Topped with marshmallow fluff, pecans, a sprinkling of homemade toasted coconut, and a cherry, this snowball swept me off my feet. Who needs a boyfriend when you have a snowball that has the same effect?

My roommate got the limeade flavor mixed with fruit punch and it was equally as delicious as mine! Seriously, do yourself a favor and stop by Hansen’s if you’re ever in the NOLA area!

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Ambrosia Fruit Salad Snowball 

4. Part and Parcel

We stumbled across this place while looking for a place to eat for my friend’s birthday! She loves little sandwich shops, and Part and Parcel was one of the first ones we found during our intense Google search. Does anyone else feel compelled to find the BEST of the best when you’re hunting for somewhere to eat? Well don’t worry, I’ve already done the research for you! I bring to you: the most flavorful sandwich I’ve ever eaten! The Angelina, with fried eggplant, red gravy, banana peppers, Sicilian egg, and a variety of other ingredients, is an Italian dream come true. Me and my friends were wowed by this place. We all raved over our sandwiches (and the potato salad) for AT LEAST a week. And, it’s right down the street from Willa Jean. So you can have your sandwich and your dessert too!

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5. Andddd now I’m back to desserts… I should’ve named this post The Top 5 Dessert Places in NOLA and my favorite sandwich shop… Oh well. Anyways, La Boca is an Argentinian steakhouse on Tchoupitoulas Street. For those of you not from Louisiana, it’s pronounced chop-uh-too-las! Weird spelling, weird pronunciation, I know. But this street is home to tons of fun places, fun things to do, and delectable eats. My family and I went to La Boca just for dessert for my mom’s birthday, but the main courses smelled like we need to go back there! It smelled like rosemary and olive oil and an array of other seasonings that I probably can’t even identify. All I know is that La Boca for dinner currently has a spot near the top of my “To Try” list! Now, onto the coconut caramel ice cream cake…

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6. District Donuts

District Donuts has sandwiches, salads, sliders, coffee, and of course, DONUTS. The first District Donuts is on Magazine street, but there’s a new location in Lakeview, and personally I think parking is a little easier at the Lakeview location! But both have a great atmosphere and the same top quality food. This lil baby is called the “Cookie Butter Brudder” and it’s a game changer. Whoever decided to combine cookie butter and donuts was a genius. Its almost like they made it with me in mind, cookie butter and donuts are two of my weaknesses! District Donuts rotates their flavors, but I promise there will always be something on the menu to satisfy your sweet tooth!

 

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Uncategorized

Tea for One, Time Spent with Two

There’s a tradition that my mom and I have that floods my mind with fond memories, excites my soul, and that has the ability to make me feel like I’m a princess in a whimsical fairytale land. That tradition is tea. I know what you’re thinking.. how on earth does TEA make one feel so blissful?!

It’s not the actual tea that makes me feel that way, although if you’ve never tried rose-mint tea, you are missing out!  It’s the time I get to spend with my mom, it’s the fancy teapots, the dainty napkins, the small treats, and the fact that we both get to share something that we love. I’m twenty years old and whenever I have tea with my mom, I feel like I’m a four year old again, drinking bubblegum tea out of a pink teacup, wearing a pink dress, a big bow, and lacy gloves. I always felt so sophisticated, and man oh man, did I think I was SUCH a mature four year old. I mean, my mommy trusted me to drink out of a GLASS tea cup. Granted as soon as we left, I was drinking out of the spill proof Barbie cup again, but hey, lets not ruin the moment. Tea was always a time where my mom went out of her way to make me feel special and let me be “one of the grownups.” It makes it even more special that my mom and her mom, my grandma, also took part in the tea time tradition. It’s something that I can’t wait to share with my future kids one day. There’s just something about getting dressed up, spending time with your mom, having tea, and feeling like you’re the Queen of England that I believe all girls should experience.IMG_3282

This morning, I had tea for one, being that my mom was at work. But my time was spent with two others who are dear to my heart- The Lord, and my spunky, sassy little black cat, Lola.

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Ignore the claws. She’s seriously the biggest sweetheart, and oh so playful. She snacked on cat treats under the table while I had my tea for one and my time with Jesus.

My friend gave me the devotional Jesus Always for Christmas and I was so excited! My parents gave me the devotional Jesus Calling after I got baptized a few years ago, and I had already been through that devotional a few times, so I was excited to start a new one! They both are so good and they’re such a great way to start your day in the presence of the Lord and in his word. Today’s devotional from Jesus Always had a few key points that I felt compelled to share with you:

  1. Jesus tells us that we are RADIANT. Especially when we keep our eyes fixed on Him.
  2. We are beautiful. Not necessarily in a physical way, but we are beautiful for the way that we reflect Him in our actions and for the way that we reflect His glory. We are beautiful in His image.
  3. He delights in YOU. He views you through grace covered lens. And we should see ourselves that way too.

When we fix our eyes on Christ, we have an innate desire to draw closer to Him, to be more like Him. As Christians, that’s our main goal. To live a life that mimics Christ and to have a relationship with Him that supplies us with hope, joy, and an eternal life. And we are blessed enough to be able to share that with others, through our words, our lifestyle, and our actions. That’s a big responsibility, and it makes me want to continue to press into the Lord. I want to glorify Him with everything that I say and do, I want to be His vessel. I want him to use ME, as broken and undeserving as I am, to bring others into His kingdom and to join the family of Christ.

God sees you as perfect. Does that mean that we don’t mess up? Does that mean that He doesn’t see when we mess up?  Not at all. He sees it. But He loves us and delights in us still, despite our failures. He continues to lavish His grace, His love, and His salvation upon us. He sees us as forgiven, as a daughter or son of Christ that was bought with an unfathomable sacrifice. I don’t know about you, but sometimes one of the most commonly preached principles of Christianity blows my mind again and again. He sent his son, to die. To suffer, to be tortured, to be hated, to take all of MY sins. He knew I wasn’t perfect, that I’ll never be perfect, and He sent a form of Himself to bear my sins, my burdens, my pains, so that I could live with Him forever. So that I don’t have to live a life of shame and an eternity of suffering. He died for me and for you. And all that He asks is that we believe in Him and have a relationship with Him. Wow. Wow wow wow. Like I said, sometimes that concept, as many times as I’ve heard it and as many times as I’ve experienced his goodness, still leaves me speechless.

I hope you feel the love of the Lord today, I hope that you experience his view of you in grace covered glasses. And I pray that you and I both will demonstrate His love and his viewing of us in grace covered glasses to someone else.

Xoxo, Lauren

How-To, Skin Care, Uncategorized

5 Skin Products that will Leave you Giddy and Glowing

There’s probably one thing that all girls can relate to… the difficulty that is finding a facial care or skin care routine that works for you. The store aisles full of face wash, serums, creams, moisturizers, and various other items claiming to essentially be the fountain of youth can be overwhelming. With so many different types of skin, different brands out there, and different strengths, it’s easy to feel pulled in a million directions while still not having a clue which one to pick. And let’s be real, don’t you LOATHE buying a bottle of face wash just to use it for a week, barely make a dent in it, and decide that you need to try another one because it’s simply not working? Yeah, me too. Which is why I bring you my favorite skin care products:

 

1. Dial® Oil Free Acne Control Face Wash is the perfect balance between keeping my skin clear and not being too harsh. And that’s saying A LOT coming from me, because my skin is somewhere in between “Cetaphil is too gentle and anything with witch hazel makes me feel like my skin is being stung by a swarm of angry bees.” Ya feel me? Anyways, this face wash can be easily found at Walmart!

2. Number two on the list is this orange bottle of liquid GOLD. I scored mine at TJ Maxx for $4.99, but it’s also available at Walgreens for $15.00! Honestly, it’s so good that if I couldn’t find it at TJ Maxx or Marshalls again, I would splurge and pay the $15 for it. My aunt used to always tell me, “It’s never too early to start using moisturizer!” And to myself, I was thinking… “Isn’t moisturizer only for people in their 40’s?” WRONG. so wrong. When I first started nursing school, I started noticing fine wrinkles on my forehead. I also noticed that I looked dull and tired.. all.the.time. Most likely a result of my lack of sleep/busy schedule/never seeing the daylight because I was always in the library… oh and the occasional caffeine binge. 40 Carrots®, after just a few uses, made my skin look revitalized. And the best part is, I’ve been using it for about a year and it hasn’t broken me out. I’ve tried other moisturizers and had the issue of them being too oily for my skin and causing a major breakout, and who has time for that?

3. Next up is this Micellar Cleansing Water by Pearlessence. ® This is another one of my TJ Maxx finds; I scooped this large bottle up for $5.99! It can also be purchased through Jocott Brands for $16.00. This stuff has lasted me FOREVER. I use it as a makeup remover, and it’s not nearly as oily as other brands. Another plus is the cute cactus design. Fun fact about me…. I’m a sucker for cacti. I can’t help it, they’re just so cute!

4. Number 4 brings us to this Vaseline® spray moisturizer. I love this stuff because it’s light, your skin absorbs it pretty quickly, and you don’t have to rub it in… can I get an AMEN?!? It’s perfect if you’re in a hurry. It also can be found at Walmart, so maybe you can grab this baby when you get your face wash!

5. Last, but oh so certainly not least, is this Pearlessence® Coconut Water Face Mist. Once again… this was a TJ Maxx find for $7.99. Can y’all tell I have a slight obsession with TJ? I may need an intervention because my bank account is whispering in my ear, “Girl we both know you can’t afford all of these TJ Maxx runs.” The items are cheap and I always find SOMETHING that I fall in love with… whoops. The heart wants what it wants, and if my heart wants TJ Maxx, so be it. Anyways, I’m passing the savings on to you, because this item is IN STOCK online at TJ Maxx for $5.99! I probably got way too excited about the fact that its online, but I really wasn’t expecting it to be! It tends to sell out fast, so grab it while it lasts! I’m also linking the coconut rose water facial mist that’s online as well!

I hope you’ve enjoyed my roundup of skin care products! I love a good deal, because nursing school makes me broke. This girl is not paying for $40-$100 creams and moisturizers, I’ll stick to paying less than $10, and you can too! Let me know if you try any of these products, I’d love to hear from you!

xoxo happy skin care shopping!

– Lauren

How-To, Uncategorized

This One’s for the {Curls}

*Just sing that title to the tune of Martina McBride’s “This One’s for the Girls..” *

“This one’s for the CURLS, who’ve ever had a broken heart, who’ve wished upon a shooting star, you’re beautiful the way you are….”

Ok now that I’m done with my play on words… And yes I do realize that I am probably the only one who found that funny. Cut me some slack, nursing school leaves me no time for any social interaction 😂

Anyways. Growing up with curly hair, it seemed like the BIGGEST annoyance ever. And I mean literally and figuratively… my hair was BIG. My hair still is big. You can call it what you want… voluminous, fluffy, generous, full of body, etc. I can remember hating washing my hair because that meant my mom had to brush it. I was a slightly dramatic kid, so brushing my hair meant a fourth of a bottle of detangler and enough tears to fill a bucket. From me and my mom both. From me, well because like I said, I was dramatic.. and tenderheaded. The tears from my mom were probably for a variety of reasons…

  1. When I was about a year old and that first little ringlet sprouted out of my head, she had no idea what she was in for. Keep in mind that she has board straight hair.
  2. The whole ugly crying, detangler using saga was probably NOT what she had imagined when she pictured having a daughter.
  3. The combs broke. All. The. Time. And not because she was being rough, but because my hair could literally snap a ROCK in half. Is that a superpower or curse? I’ll let you decide.

So somedays my mom just stuck a bow in my hair and hoped for the best. I mean, can you blame her? So the hated hair brushing nights continued until I was about 9 years old. The next few years were a blur of hating my hair and wishing that I was born with shiny, straight hair. I tried serums, creams, and expensive products that I can’t even pronounce that advertised “frizz control.”


LOL, for the record hair companies… frizz control in south Louisiana for a curly girl typically doesn’t exist. Then in middle school/early high school, I found Tresemme Tres GelⓇ. Let me tell you, that $4 bottle is a gift sent straight from the heavens. Now my hair care routine is a breeze, and it doesn’t involve tears 🙌🏻

  1. Shampoo
  2. Rinse
  3. Conditioner
  4. Brush hair while conditioner is still in hair- seriously, if you haven’t tried this, curly girl, it will rock your world!
  5. Rinse
  6. Gel
  7. Air dry
  8. Wake up in the morning with gorgeous curls

That’s it. No expensive products, no multi step routine that costs $100 and takes forever. A $4 bottle of gel from your local store. A lot less time spent frustrated with your curls, a lot more time loving them.

I know you’re probably tired of hearing straight haired people tell you how lucky you are, especially if you hate your hair care routine and loathe the process that it takes to be able to wear your hair down. But, I’m a firm believer that curly hair is a gift. I think it’s beautiful, it’s different, it makes you stand out in the best way possible. Personally, I’m so thankful that God looked at me and thought I needed a head full of ringlets. And I hope that one day, curly girl, you are too.


Xoxo, Lauren

Uncategorized

The Rollercoaster called “Nursing School”

As soon as I heard the words, “there’s been an accident” my world was turned inside out and upside down. It was like I could SEE everything physically crumbling around me. My cousin, who had always been more like a big sister to me, had been in a wreck.

Her car flipped seven times. Seven. Seven flips where my cousin and her one year old in the backseat were passing in and out of consciousness. During one of those flips, my cousin’s seatbelt broke and she was thrown under the car. The car hit a tree, caught on fire, and things were going up in flames, literally. After multiple resuscitations, being airlifted to the number one trauma center in the state, multiple surgeries, weeks in the intensive care unit, and more rehab than anyone thought was humanly possible, my cousin lived.

ICU is a scary place. It’s filled with machines that seriously look like they belong at NASA, and sometimes those machines are the only things keeping a person alive. I spent hours and hours waiting outside of ICU to get to visit my cousin for maybe 15 minutes. All of that time spent in the hospital gave me a lot of time to think, and it gave me a lot of time to observe. What I observed were the nurses. The nurses who provided tissues to family members who were having possibly one of the worst days of their lives. The nurses who talked to their patients, even when it seemed like they couldn’t hear them because they were unconscious. The nurses who smiled and said, “its okay to hold her hand, it won’t hurt her.” The nurses who CARED. The nurses who prayed over their patients and who rejoiced with every stabilized vital sign and every opened eye. It was a nurse who was there when my cousin opened her eyes for the first time in nearly a month. It was a nurse who had taken care of her for a month, without her even knowing it. It was a nurse silently willing her to keep fighting because she had two beautiful daughters who needed a mother. It was a nurse that was with her every step of the way as she slowly backed away from death’s door.

Those nurses are what made me want to be a nurse. I wanted a part of that beautiful profession, where I could pray for people and be a vessel of Christ for those who were teetering on the edge of life and death. I wanted to be that shoulder to cry on, that hand to hold, that gentle smile and soft spoken voice that meant so much to people, but was rarely ever thanked. Being a nurse isn’t just about giving medications and changing bandages. If you are a nurse, you are privileged. You will witness miracles. You will feel more emotion than you’ve ever felt before. And you will grow. As a person, as a professional, and in your faith.

So yeah, you hear that nursing school is hard. And let me tell ya, it is hard. It’s exhausting; emotionally, physically, and mentally. Some days you will feel defeated. You will feel overwhelmed. You will feel like you didn’t try hard enough and like you aren’t cut out to be a nurse. But there will be days where your heart will be overflowing with joy. Where you cry happy tears. Where you first handedly see how powerful the Lord is. You will be humbled that you get to have even a small part in someone’s recovery. You will have a patient that makes the difficulties of nursing school worth it. That patient will forever stick out in your mind and just that memory of such a special patient will help you to keep going when times get tough. Don’t let the rigorous curriculum scare you, it’s preparing you for a job that no one else gets to do after earning a bachelor’s degree- saving lives.