11 Reasons To Visit New Orleans

11 Reasons To Visit New Orleans

If you have ever thought of visiting New Orleans, here are some reasons why you definitely should.
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New Orleans is my favorite place I've ever been to. No matter how many different states and countries I go to, I always come back to New Orleans. There's this kind of magic to it that is hard to really put into words. I just got back from my most recent trip here, and that magic is still fresh in my mind. And during this time where there is sadly flooding going on in Louisiana, it's good to focus on all the wonderful aspects of New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA).

1. The Food

I have never eaten anything I haven't liked in New Orleans. Whether it was a diner or a Steak House, the food was always out of this world. If you like sea food, you'll be in heaven. And if you're like me and you don't like sea food, there is always something for you as well.

2. The Haunted History

I can't go to New Orleans without going on a ghost tour. I know most of the stories at this point, but it's always fun to revisit the places and hear the stories once more. If you watched the third season of American Horror Story, you probably are familiar with the story of Marie Delphine LaLaurie. Believe it or not, that's a real story, and the truth is even more gruesome. Most ghost tours make a stop at her house. It's just as creepy and atmospheric as you would expect.

3. Bourbon Street

Bourbon Street is party central. If you visit there anytime after six, it is packed with people. There are A LOT of seedy places and people on Bourbon Street, but it's something everyone needs to experience at least once. New Orleans follows a little thing called the Napoleonic Code. Which among other things, means it is legal to walk around with your drinks. It makes for interesting night life.

4. The People

You'd be hard pressed to find a more interesting group of people. Almost all of the people in New Orleans are very nice and helpful. They love to party and have a good time. And those accents.

5. Vampires

I'm not going to lie. One of the main reasons I became infatuated with NOLA in the first place is because of my love for Anne Rice. I love her Vampire Chronicles books and I love the film adaptation of "Interview with the Vampire." Since some of the filming for the movie was done in New Orleans, there are spots you can recognize straight out of the film. If you love the books, there are spots that Lestat and Louis have visited through out their adventures. It's like my favorite books have come to life. Anne Rice also owns property in the Garden District, if you're interested in seeing where she lives. But besides all that, there are legends of actual vampires there. You can go on a vampire tour and hear all about them. There is also a vampire club where people dress like vampires, and get plastic surgery to look like vampires. Or maybe they're actually vampires.... It's up to you to decide.

6. Bread Pudding

I already mentioned the food, but the bread pudding deserves its own category. They serve it almost everywhere in New Orleans, and although the recipe is never exactly the same, it is always a little slice of heaven.

7. Bayous

You may recognize the bayous from the Disney movie "The Princess and the Frog," but they are real places and they're just as beautiful as the film portrays. Plus, there is so much wildlife there. If you want to see real live alligators, go on a swamp tour and you are guaranteed to see plenty of them.

8. Grave Yards

In New Orleans they bury people above ground, in part because they are located below sea level, and want to make sure the bodies stay buried. But this makes for beautiful grave yards. You need a tour guide to go into the graveyards, but it's worth it to be able to explore these unique graves.

9. The Architecture

The architecture is just plain breathtaking. Particularly in the French Quarter, it really is just like stepping back in time. If you want to view beautiful mansions, visit the Garden District. The architecture is just as beautiful there.

10. The Music

New Orleans is famous for their jazz music, it's where the genre originated. And while you're walking along the French Quarter, there is a good chance you will hear jazz music following you around. As you pass different shops and bars, there is always different types of music playing as well. It is never silent there.

11. Mardi Gras

I'll admit, I've never actually been to New Orleans during Mardi Gras, but it's on my bucket list. It's weeks of celebrating. There are floats where they throw things to the crowds, most popularly beads. And everybody just has a good time and celebrates life. What's not to love?

Cover Image Credit: http://www.strengthsinternational.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/New-Orleans.jpg

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To The Girl Struggling With Her Body Image

It's not about the size of your jeans, but the size of your heart, soul, and spirit.

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To the girl struggling with her body image,

You are more than the number on the scale. You are more than the number on your jeans and dresses. You are way more than the number of pounds you've gained or lost in whatever amount of time.

Weight is defined as the quantity of matter contained by a body or object. Weight does not define your self-worth, ambition or potential.

So many girls strive for validation through the various numbers associated with body image and it's really so sad seeing such beautiful, incredible women become discouraged over a few numbers that don't measure anything of true significance.

Yes, it is important to live a healthy lifestyle. Yes, it is important to take care of yourself. However, taking care of yourself includes your mental health as well. Neglecting either your mental or physical health will inflict problems on the other. It's very easy to get caught up in the idea that you're too heavy or too thin, which results in you possibly mistreating your body in some way.

Your body is your special, beautiful temple. It harbors all of your thoughts, feelings, characteristics, and ideas. Without it, you wouldn't be you. If you so wish to change it in a healthy way, then, by all means, go ahead. With that being said, don't make changes to impress or please someone else. You are the only person who is in charge of your body. No one else has the right to tell you whether or not your body is good enough. If you don't satisfy their standards, then you don't need that sort of negative influence in your life. That sort of manipulation and control is extremely unhealthy in its own regard.

Do not hold back on things you love or want to do because of how you interpret your body. You are enough. You are more than enough. You are more than your exterior. You are your inner being, your spirit. A smile and confidence are the most beautiful things you can wear.

It's not about the size of your jeans. It's about the size of your mind and heart. Embrace your body, observe and adore every curve, bone and stretch mark. Wear what makes you feel happy and comfortable in your own skin. Do your hair and makeup (or don't do either) to your heart's desire. Wear the crop top you've been eyeing up in that store window. Want a bikini body? Put a bikini on your body, simple.

So, as hard as it may seem sometimes, understand that the number on the scale doesn't measure the amount or significance of your contributions to this world. Just because that dress doesn't fit you like you had hoped doesn't mean that you're any less of a person.

Love your body, and your body will love you right back.

Cover Image Credit: Lauren Margliotti

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8 Reasons Maryland Deserves a Visit, Hon

Maryland is a small state, but it has a big personality.

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Maryland has so much to do, from the beaches on the East coast to the mountains on the western border. These are just 8 of many reasons our state is worth a visit!

1. It is the best place to eat Maryland Crabs.

I hope you like Old Bay!

2. Ocean City, MD has so much to do!

You can lay on the beach, go swimming, play a game of mini golf, walk on the boardwalk, play carnival games, ride carnival rides, go to clubs (if you are of age), and have the best french fries of your life ('sup Thrashers) all in one place!

3. You can visit Assateague Island off of the coast of Maryland and Virginia.

There are wild horses on an island off of the coast of Maryland and Virginia, 'nough said!

4. Baltimore's Inner Harbor is full of good eats and fun activities.

You can simply walk around the Inner Harbor, ride the paddle boats, tour a submarine, go to the aquarium, or ride the Spirit of Baltimore all in the same general vicinity.

5. You can visit the National Harbor in Prince George's County.

There is so many things to do here. You can ride the huge ferris wheel with enclosed cars, ride a mechanical bull at the Cadillac Ranch, visit the MGM Grand Casino and the big Gaylord Hotel.

6. Sugar Loaf Mountain is a great place to go hiking.

7. Great Falls is also a great location to visit!

You can visit Great Falls on either the Maryland or Virginia side. It's like a mini Niagara Falls.

8. You can root for the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.

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