A Love Letter To The Big Easy

A Love Letter To The Big Easy

Cause there's just no place like home...
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Dear New Orleans,

I think that the writer Chris Rose put it best when he said that "you can live in a lot of cities, but New Orleans is the only city that lives in you." Even if I am gone for only a few days, each time I leave you I feel a strong sense of longing to come right back. I don't care if your daily gift to me is 90% humidity or torrential downpours out of nowhere; I would not trade you for the world. In these past four months, I've known and come to love you, and I can only begin to imagine how my love for you will grow over the next three and a half years. I hope that you are listening, because here goes nothing.

I love your art.

I find myself walking down different streets and stumbling upon incredible works of art in so many random places. Whether it's the alley in between two buildings, a brick wall facade, a small grassy patch of land, or a black iron fence, everywhere I turn there's a new sight to see.

I love your waterways.

The Mississippi. It winds and flows right through your heart, just like you do through mine. I feel the wind in my hair as I float above the water on Steamboat Natchez. I watch as tugs, tankers, freighters, cruise ships and long strings of barges navigate the rivers' currents. It may look a little muddy at times, but the water's dramatic curve is how you received the nickname of the Crescent City. You earned that one.

I love your rain.

As the saying goes, "when it rains, it pours." However, I most definitely consider this an understatement when it comes to the weather in New Orleans. The rain is so unpredictable that I can't even begin to count how many times I've been caught in torrential downpours without an umbrella. But in the same way that I learned to carry an umbrella in my bag, I also learned to embrace your rain (and flooding) in all its glory.

I love your architecture.

From the towering mansions that line St. Charles Avenue to the iron-fenced porches of the French Quarter, I just can't get enough. I love admiring the brightly painted shotgun houses, and I could walk around the city for hours just looking at all of your buildings and houses. I think that's pretty telling of how many diverse and interesting types of architecture exist in New Orleans.

I love your food.

New Orleans and food go together like peanut butter and jelly. When people ask me what my favorite restaurant is, my response always goes a little something like "there's just so many I can't choose." From the incredible Vietnamese cuisine to old school southern BBQ, there truly is an endless supply of restaurants to try. Exploring all of the food that New Orleans has to offer is definitely one of my favorite things to do.

I could continue listing all of the things that I love about New Orleans because the list goes on and on. Whether it's the countless festivals that outnumber the days of the year, the sprawling oak trees that cover Tulane's campus, or the gorgeous sunsets behind the skyline at City park, every day here is a new adventure. And I cannot wait to continue discovering everything that New Orleans has to offer.

Cover Image Credit: Molly Bookoff

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An Open Letter To Every Girl With A Big Heart, Except When It Comes To Herself

Because it's so much easier to love everyone around you before yourself.
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They say the key is that you have to "love yourself before you can love anyone else," or before "anyone can love you."

For those who deal with mass amounts of anxiety, or have many insecurities, that can be an extremely hard task. It seems much easier to tell your friend who is doubting herself that she looks great in that top than to look in the mirror and feel the same about yourself. It is much easier to tell your significant other that everything is going to be OK than to believe it will be when something goes wrong in your life. It becomes easier to create excuses for the ones around you than for yourself, and this is because you have such a big heart. You want those that you love to be happy and worry-free, yet you spend nights thinking about everything you have on your plate, about what you did wrong that day, fearing if someone in your life is mad at you, believing that you will never be good enough yet convincing everyone else that they are.

You are the girl with the biggest heart, yet you can't love yourself the way you care for everyone else in your life. There are many reasons that you should love yourself, though, and that's something that everyone around you is willing to tell you.

You're thoughtful.

Before doing anything, you always consider how it is going to affect those around you. You don't want to do anything that could hurt someone, or something that could make someone mad at you. It does not take much to make you happy, just seeing others happy does the job, and it is that simple. Because of this, you remember the little things. Meaningful dates, small details, and asking someone how their day was is important to you, and it makes those around you feel important too. You simply just want the people that you care about to be happy, and that is an amazing trait.

You're appreciative.

You don't need a big, fancy, and expensive date night to make you happy. Whether it's a picnic on the beach or a night in watching a movie, you're happy to just be with the person that you love. You appreciate every "good morning" text, and it truly does mean something when someone asks how you are. You tend to appreciate the person that you're with more than the things that they provide and for that, your sincerity will never go unnoticed.

You have a lot of love in your heart.

Every "I love you" has meant something, just as you remember the smallest moments that have meant the most to you. You remember the look in your significant other's eyes when they told you that for the first time. You remember the smile on your best friend's face when you told them that everything was going to be OK and that you would always be there. You remember the swell of happiness your parents felt when you decided to surprise them with a trip home one day, and you thrive off of all of that love.

You don't give up on the people you love, even if they have given you a reason to.

It is a foreign idea to just drop someone from your life, even if they betrayed you. You try to look at their mistake from every stance, not wanting to provide an excuse for them, but to give them another chance. Not everyone deserves it, and that is something that you learn along the way, but you feel good in the sense that you gave them a chance even if no one else would.

It's OK to not love yourself all the time. It's normal, and natural to stand in the mirror and think about everything wrong. And it's OK to love other people, even when you can't feel the same about yourself. But your big heart is why you should love yourself. There are so many reasons that you are a beautiful person, and the people that you spend all your time caring about feel that you have so much more to offer the world, and yourself.

So, next time you think about what you don't like about yourself, remember what makes you special –– the size of your heart and all of the love in it, and then share that love with yourself.

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The Ultimate Guide To A Perfect Weekend Trip To Nashville

A guide to your weekend trip to Music City.

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With spring break nearing us in a matter of a week, my roommate and I found ourselves plan-less but dying to get out of Ohio for just a few days. Spontaneously, we decided to find a cheap Airbnb and head to the Country Music Capital: Nashville, Tennessee.

Late March was the PERFECT time to go, let me tell you. The sun was shining and it was about 65 degrees throughout our whole trip. So if you're planning to go in the future, trust me when I say, the weather was perfect considering all the walking we did.

We arrived in Nashville around 4:00 PM and decided to head over to 12 South, a popular strip of shops and restaurants just outside downtown. 12 South contains the infamous "I Believe Nashville" Mural, placed right next to Reese Witherspoon's boutique, "Draper Jams."

Erin Leupp

Just down the street from the mural was a restaurant, tucked away on the corner called, "The Flipside." We enjoyed the best creamsicle floats, and I can't forget to shoutout the tater tot nachos. Yep. You heard me right. Tater tot nachos...

Erin Leupp

The next morning, we headed back to 12 South for the famous "Five Daughter's Bakery" to get homemade donuts to start our day.

Erin Leupp

Stuffed from the delicious donuts, we took an Uber to Downtown to explore. Before we started on Broadway, we walked up the John Seigenthaler Pedestrian Bridge to overlook the city and capture some Instagram worthy shots.

Erin Leupp

We spent the next couple days walking up and down Broadway. The bars have no cover, so you can walk right in and listen to live music at every single place. We hopped from place to place, enjoying appetizers and rising country singers. Some notable places were all of the celebrity bars and "Tequila Cowboy." We ended up spending hours in each place, just soaking in the community, music and great food.

Erin Leupp

Erin Leupp

Erin Leupp

For dinner, we went to "Burger Up" to try out the famous homemade ketchup and fry flight. It was phenomenal. We stopped in local boutiques around the area and called it a night.

Erin Leupp

Our last morning there we checked out "Biscuit Love." Churros, chocolate dipping sauce, biscuits, and incredible gravy. It was so worth it.

Erin Leupp

Erin Leupp

Between country music and eating phenomenal food, it was a trip I have zero complaints about. It was so fun to go for a long weekend and experience Nashville the way we did! Some other things that are worth checking out are East Nashville, Goo Goo's Desert Shop, No Bake Cookie Dough, and The Gulch.

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