Tag Archive: new orleans


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Where has the time gone? I can’t believe it is August already! So far, this summer, I have been prepping for my first two craft shows (the photo above is from one I did last month and my next one is coming up in two weeks!), which I did not realize would be so much work. To balance all of that frantic energy, I spent the rest of my leisure time hanging out with my friends at the beach and being lazy with the world’s two most spoiled weimaraners. What has been lacking, however, is the amount of time I have been spending on my Etsy shop and my blog. I am pleased that the creative juices are now flowing again and, for my first shop post in a while, I would like to introduce you to two new Betty Bracelets inspired by my recent trip to New Orleans.

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JAZZ

This delicate beauty is flirty and feminine with alternating hot pink and petal pink recycled glass beads surrounded by very chic deep brown leather. A lovely silver fleur de lis toggle completes the look. The full listing can be viewed here:

Jazz Bracelet

This bracelet was inspired by the many jazz clubs I visited in NOLA. While the hippest ones are located on Frenchmen Street, one of the most important ones, Preservation Hall, is located right in the French Quarter.

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Preservation Hall opened its doors in 1961. The hall was created as a sanctuary, to protect and honor New Orleans Jazz which had lost much of its popularity to modern jazz and rock n roll. Allan and Sandra Jaffe, the hall’s founders, wanted a place where New Orleans musicians could play New Orleans Jazz, a style, they believed, should not disappear.

Today, over 40 years later, the hall is still going strong. On any given night, the hall is filled to capacity with people eager to hear New Orleans jazz played by veteran musicians as well as younger ones learning and embracing this incredible genre.

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VOODOO

This whimsical bracelet begins with rustic honey brown leather surrounding ethereal pale aqua blue recycled glass beads. It is accented with a spirited sugar skull artisan toggle. The full listing can be viewed here:

Voodoo Bracelet

Voodoo is almost synonymous with New Orleans. On my last visit, I learned about the Bone Gangs of NOLA, which is a wonderful blending of voodoo traditions and jazz music.

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The North Side Skull and Bone Gang, based in the Treme neighborhood of the city, has been waking up New Orleans at dawn to usher in Mardi Gras since 1819! They dress in skeleton costumes, which is an homage to their voodoo roots, while playing lively NOLA jazz. I first learned of this wonderful tradition from the work of local artist, Joy Gauss:

Joy’s Clay Art

If you would like to keep up with the happenings of the North Side krewe, you can follow their blog here:

NOLA Skull & Bones

That’s about it for now…I have a crystal clear pool and two doggies waiting for me outside…

Thanks for stopping by!
~Erin

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NOLA wrap up

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I just returned from a fantastic trip to New Orleans…the weather was hot…the food was hotter…and the music was hottest! I would like to share some of my guilty pleasures from this wonderfully decadent city…

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NOLA CHILL

Relaxation is just a way of life down in the Big Easy, and I find the Garden District to be one of the most tranquil parts of the city. To get there from the French Quarter, head north on Royal Street and cross over Canal Street – Royal becomes St Charles Ave. – and hop on the historic St. Charles Street Car. The most picturesque houses are located between Jackson and Washington Avenues. When finished your leisurely stroll, be sure to visit one of NOLA’s Cities of the Dead, Lafayette Cemetery #1, whose entrance is right on Washington Ave. One of the city’s oldest cemeteries, it is also featured in several movies, including Interview With a Vampire and Double Jeopardy. To finish a relaxing afternoon, stroll down Magazine Street for some of New Orleans’ best shopping.

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NOLA SPLURGE

These gorgeous earrings from ReStrung Jewelry are made from recycled guitar strings! They were an amazing and unique find at the French Market in the French Quarter. Owner Naomi Celestin creates these beauties from strings donated by local musicians and also donates a portion of her sales to the New Orleans Musicians Assistance Foundation. Here is ReStrung’s website for more info or to purchase:

ReStrung Jewelry

If you are interested in local handicrafts, a great place to shop is Dutch Alley Artist’s Co-Op, on 912 N. Peters Street, just south of the famous Cafe Du Monde in the French Quarter. Another fun place to peruse the work of local artisans is the Frenchmen Art Market, on 619 Frenchmen Street – right next to The Spotted Cat – in the Marigny just south of the French Quarter. It is a wonderful outdoor grassroots evening market and is open Thursday through Saturday from 7 PM to 1 AM and on Sunday from 6 PM to midnight.

Dutch Alley
Frenchmen Art Market

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NOLA YUM

If you leave New Orleans hungry, shame on you! This city truly has some of the best food. My favorite breakfast spot is The Ruby Slipper Cafe on 200 Magazine Street in the CBD. Their Bananas Foster Pain Perdu is life changing! For dinner, I like Oceana on 739 Conti Street (between Royal and Bourbon) for their Crabcakes and Ralph & Kacoo’s on 519 Toulouse Street (between Decatur and Chartres) for their blackened shrimp.

The Ruby Slipper Cafe
Oceana
Ralph & Kacoo’s

If you happen to be walking by 334 Decatur Street and are completely overcome by the delicious wafting aroma of freshly made caramel, it is pointless to resist. Stop in Southern Candymakers and allow yourself to indulge in the best pralines and turtles the city has to offer!

Southern Candymakers

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NOLA JAM

The best place to listen to original music in New Orleans is Frenchmen Street in the very bohemian Marigny section of the city. To get there from the French Quarter, head south on Decatur and you will run right into Frenchmen after you pass Esplanade Ave. This three block stretch of music clubs has a refreshingly mellow vibe and lacks any of the tackiness of Bourbon Street. I really liked both TheSpotted Cat and DBA. The Spotted Cat, on 623 Frenchmen Street, is an intimate music club that features funky jazz and roots music every night. I enjoyed a fun performance by the newly formed Dr. Sick & the Late Greats and some spontaneous swing dancing by some very talented locals. Shows start nightly at 6 PM and 10 PM. DBA, on 618 Frenchmen Street, is a larger club with a huge beer selection and large stage area, perfect for jamming to the fabulous Treme Brass Band.

The Spotted Cat
DBA

The best place to take home some local music is The Louisiana Music Factory on 210 Decatur St. They have an extensive collection of local jazz, blues, zydeco, and any other genre you can imagine. The staff is both knowledgable and friendly.

Louisiana Music Factory

I hope you have enjoyed my New Orleans wrap up. Please feel free to share a comment on anything you particularly love in the Crescent City. Thanks for stopping by!

Shanti,
Erin

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I visited New Orleans for the first time for JazzFest in 2010 and it was an amazing experience! The festival itself is an awesome onslaught of the senses. Thousands of spectators, over a hundred food vendors, and a dozen music stages – blues, gospel, zydeco, rock, and, of course, jazz! It is definitely an experience any music aficionado should partake in at least once.

Beyond the festival, the city was pulsating with its famous incredible energy. Jazz bands on Royal Street, street artists in Jackson Square, steamboat and horse & carriage rides…with every step, a new level of vibrancy. As much as I enjoyed the crowds and the energy of one of the busiest times to be in New Orleans, I also wanted to return to the city at a quieter time to experience it at a slower pace.

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I am pleased to announce that I will be returning to New Orleans in five weeks to do just that. (I was able to book a deal on Expedia that was too good to resist!) On my last visit, I made sure I took in all of the quintessential experiences: munching on beignets at Cafe du Monde…visiting Marie Louveau’s resting place at St Louis Cemetery No. 1…riding the streetcar out to the Garden District to view the stately mansions. This trip, I have a much less ambitious itinerary. I plan to eat plenty of Cajun and Creole cuisine. I plan to listen to some fantastic music on Frenchmen Street. And I plan to purchase some great local tunes from Louisiana Music Factory. Beyond that, I am going to leave the rest of my visit to the Big Easy up to serendipity…

Thanks for stopping by!

Shanti,
Erin

treasure hunting, part 1

I have confessed this in a previous post…and I will reiterate here…I am a bonafide jewelry junkie…but not of the little blue box variety. I am also an intrepid traveler and, through the years, I have acquired a few wearable keepsakes to elicit fond memories of those journeys.

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I have been fortunate to travel to Thailand, not once, but twice, to study Thai Massage. I spent most of my time in Chiang Mai, a very bohemian city in the northern, mountainous part of the country. The piece pictured on the left is an antique spirit lock I purchased in a boutique called Sipsong Panna. It is an splendid example of Hill Tribes silver. The Hill Tribes are a collection of nomadic tribes living in the areas surrounding Chiang Mai. Silver jewelry is handmade by the Karen tribe using traditional methods passed down through generations. A spirit lock is a popular motif; it is traditionally worn around the neck to lock the soul (which, in Hill Tribes cosmology, tends to wander) of the wearer into his or her body to maintain physical and spiritual health. When I wear this piece, I tend to feel the same serenity I experienced in my visits to the many Buddhist temples in this beautiful, exotic country.

These earrings were acquired on a trip to Bali, the Island of the Gods. This land is unlike any other. Citizens of Bali treat everyday as if it is a celebration. Their architecture is orate, even on the most humble of buildings; their rice paddies are among the most beautiful in the world; their traditional dances are performed daily; and their fragrant frangipani are blooming everywhere! They are also skilled craftspeople – I purchased these gorgeous filigree earrings in a little village called Celuk. All of this exquisite detail is crafted by hand – just amazing! When I wear them, I feel beautiful…just like hands that created them and the land that inspired them!

The necklace on the right was purchased, not in Southeast Asia, but right here in the United States. In 2010, I was able to go to New Orleans for Jazzfest. On my first day there, I was amazed to see jazz musicians playing on street corners, along with locals & visitors dancing right on Royal Street! I immediately fell in love with the vibrancy of the French Quarter, the beauty of the Garden District, and the onslaught to my senses that is Jazzfest. Five years after Katrina, the city was still rebuilding, but the spirit that is NOLA was strong. I purchase this strand of freshwater pearls from a local artisan at Jazzfest. I love the exclusive fleur de lis design – a symbol, originally of Paris, and now of NOLA. When I wear this necklace, I am reminded of the resilient and dynamic residents of this unique city.

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These delicate silver wire earrings were purchased on a recent trip to Savannah. I happened to stumble upon an art fair shortly after my arrival. I loved everything about Savannah – the charming antebellum architecture, the yummy cuisine, and the artistic spirit. The main college in town is SCAD – Savannah College of Art & Design – and galleries and artist co-ops abound. I often adorn myself with these wearable pieces of local art.

In contrast to the quaintness of Savannah, Atlanta is a thriving metropolis. I just visited this city in September for a music festival. One day I decided to ride the metro and see where it would take me. I ended up in a lovely little town 6 miles east of Atlanta called Decatur. Every cafe, pub, and boutique in the main square is independently owned – so refreshing! I stumbled into a shop that only sells locally made art and crafts and I immediately fell in love with this simple burgundy pendant. It is a copper disc that was stamped with an Eastern pattern (think henna tattoo) and oxidized to this rich color. Such a great piece!

One of my favorite places to visit is Playa del Carmen in Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula. I have been there several times, and I am not sure which enchants me more – the bright shining Mexican sun or the sparkling turquoise of the Caribbean Sea. The bottom necklace, purchased on my second trip to PDC, is reminiscent of its vibrancy. The rich Mexican amber perfectly complements the bright turquoise beads and rich brown leather. Muy colorido!

Thank you for indulging me in my trip down memory lane. I hope this post has been an inspiration to get off the beaten path of t-shirts and snow globes when shopping for the perfect memento of your next trip.

I am going to conclude this raid of my jewelry box tomorrow with other treasure that have sentimental value for other reasons…

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