Confession time. A few mornings  ago I woke up feeling rather worn for the wear. My heart was heavy as the holidays were drawing to a close.  The kids would be back at school in a few short days. Regrettably, we hadn’t had as much family time together as we’d hoped we would.

While I poured a second cup of coffee, it struck me. We needed an instant dose of happy.

But where to go, and what to do? It was one of those mornings where, for no good reason, I felt like coloring outside the lines. Actually, I felt more like redrawing the lines all together! I was in a less than perfect mood. I needed a little shot of confidence and a big dose of creativity. There was only one place that would curb my appetite and fully immerse me in the culture I craved. The Big Easy!  It’s my happy place. (Insert big, goofy smile here.)

I woke Beau first, and just like always, he was game for an adventure. (This is one of the many things that make him so lovable. I’m such a lucky woman!) Then we woke the three kids, and they couldn’t say yes to a road trip quickly enough.  Everyone was dressed and out the door in record time.  We were having fun before breakfast. What a way to start the day!

First we stopped at Cafe Satsuma on Maple Street so I could have my favorite kale and quinoa salad. (Also worthy of mention, the fresh squeezed grapefruit juice was over the top delicious) Lunchtime left us ensconced in deep conversation as our eight-year old daughter Lorén informed us she would not be attending a traditional college as originally planned. (Nevermind she’s only in second grade.) She’d changed her mind and would now be attending culinary school. In Paris.

I’m not entirely sure Lorén’s lunchtime revelations weren’t a backhanded scheme to ensure we visited Sucre on Magazine Street for desert macaroons. The girl LOVES macaroons.  And Paris.  Her career dreams suddenly made perfect sense.

 

 

Next we strolled up and down Magazine Street, because this design-loving-Mama simply can’t get enough of that street.  I love it.  I love it.  I love it.

New Orleans is the single most city that shaped my love of design. It left a thumbprint on my style. New Orleans is bold, sometimes overly so, but that’s precisely what I love about it. It’s a city of fearless expression, not at all afraid to expose itself. (Bad pun?) It houses the wisest sages and the wildest eccentrics. In fact, I’m fairly certain they share a duplex in The Quarter…and I’m dying for an invite.

In our family, no trip to NOLA is complete without at least one visit to a bookstore or library. As luck would have it, we stumbled upon the most charming little French bookstore known to man.  The place is impeccably designed with the most adorable decor and comfy furniture. It even has a bed swing inside! The French Library on Magazine Street is a must-see-it-to-believe-it kind of experience.  The books are printed in French, and even if you don’t speak the language, you can absolutely still appreciate the atmosphere.

 

 

I’ll leave you with one last image.  It is that of a horse drawn carriage rolling slowly down the street in Jackson Square. Now focus on the horse. Tighten your view to the horse’s head.  Zoom in on the blinders. There, you’ve got it now.

My trip to New Orleans was specifically for that view of the horse blinders. They remind me to avoid distraction and gaze straight ahead at my highest goal. No room for doubt, say the eccentrics. There’s never a good enough reason to compare anything about yourself to anyone else, say the sages. Right.  Absolutely.  And in the future, if I’m tempted to question who I know myself to be, I will remember the blinders. I will make the brave choices, regardless of what’s going on around me.  Because this is my path. This is my dream. And when I’m running a little low, NOLA has my mojo.