7 Moments To Sum Up My Mardi Gras

7 Moments To Sum Up My Mardi Gras

My experience with NOLA in a nutshell!

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Beads, Bourbon Street and Beignets - it's that time of the year where the biggest parade in New Orleans takes place; Mardi Gras! This festival is a giant booze fest with top-notch parade shows, lots of beads and a guaranteed good time with your pals (pretty much a large-scale Gasparilla, minus the pirates). I had the chance to attend this festival at the beginning of March, and it was the perfect start to my spring break. Here is a list of my favorite highlights as a first-timer at Mardi Gras.

1. "I want you to have my beads" - drunk men

I had about 10-15 guys come up to me to give me their beads, or trade one of my beads for theirs. During the first two or three times, I thought it was a friendly thing to do. But as time went on and the comments started to turn flirty, I quickly realized that these men were using beads as a courting technique. After that, I couldn't help but laugh at their odd attempts. Hey, I mean the goal is to get beads, so this is fair game, right?

2. Getting hit in the head with flying beads

It hurts really badly. I looked away from the parade for half a second and I get pegged in the head with a giant quart-sized Ziploc bag filled with plastic beads. It may seem like it's not much, but when its chucked at you at high speed, it's a woozy headbanger. I quickly learned to either seek shelter or to catch the beads if I wanted to avoid getting a concussion.

3. Best. Fried. Chicken. I've. EVER. Had.

When I say best I've had, I mean THE best I've had. It was the perfect amount of crispy on the outside and juicy and tender on the inside, with finger-licking good seasoning. My go-to fried chicken in Gainesville is from Publix, believe it or not (I've yet to find a real fried chicken place). But, NOLA really blew it out of the parade park with this iconic southern staple.

4. Drunk girls = best gal pals

No matter what city you're in or the occasion, drunk girls are universally the best party people. Whether it's complimenting you on your outfit or taking care of you after a long night of drinking, drunk girls are there for you in any and all situations. During Mardi Gras, many girls were watching out for me and my friends, helping me out with directions, started conversations about literally anything and made my day with sweet compliments. In a nutshell, girl power for the win.

5. Beignets are to die for

These heavenly decadent, honey-glazed and coated in powdered sugar, fried goodness are a must-have when in NOLA! The closest thing I can compare it to is a donut with powdered sugar, except not as dense. Pair these beignet bad boys with a cup of hot café au lait, and you've got yourself a treat! The best location to try it at is Café du Monde at Jackson Square (the original location).

6. Jammin' to jazz

NOLA is known as the birthplace of jazz music. It was the perfect place to stroll around while enjoying some soulful street music. The rich culture and history of jazz were seen in the artwork and the sweet tunes around the city. As an avid jazz fan, I was in music heaven.

7. Colorful cottages make for great photo ops

The city was so beautiful and vibrant. Each street in downtown was filled with rows of colorful buildings, which made for uniquely different cottages. With cobblestone streets, second-floor balconies and a range of hues, the streets of downtown NOLA were nothing but a beautiful sight. This view made for an amazing backdrop for fun pictures and silly Boomerangs with my friends!

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To The Girl Who Hasn't Been Herself Lately

Your spark return, and you will shine like you were meant to.
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Life gets tough. Life gets too much to handle sometimes, and those times make you stronger. However, right now, it seems like you have lost yourself.

It’s difficult when you catch yourself not being you. When you do something or act a certain way and just wonder, “what did I do to deserve this? Why is this happening? When will it get better?” The way you’re feeling is not so much that you’re unhappy, you just feel weird.

Your day will come. I promise you. This is just a phase.

The day you realize how much you have grown from this point in time will be your reward. It is so hard to see now, and I feel your pain.

Your light will return to you. Your pure bliss moments, they are seeking you. Your laughter where your tummy aches is in your reach.

Our moods change far too often for us as humans to understand why, but the encounters you make every day have this effect on us.

You must remember the pure happiness you experienced before your first heartbreak, before the first friend became someone you thought they weren’t, before you lost your innocence. That was a time of true joy as you had not a care in the world for the things that would harm you. Better yet, you didn’t have the option to experience them because you were just a child.

The world can be an ugly place, and your attitude towards life can change every day. One thing is for certain: you did not lose who you are internally. We all put on a face for the world. For the people who we try to impress. For the life we want to live. For the things we want to achieve.

Your definitive personality is still in the works. Believe it or not, it always will be. Times like this change us for the better even though we can’t see it.

Your happiness will return. You will be a better, stronger version of you. In fact, you will be the best version of you yet.

Once this phase is over, you will be okay. This I promise you.

Cover Image Credit: Megan Sutton

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9 Things To Do In Nashville If You Have No Idea What To Do

Trust me, I was just as lost as you are.

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Nashville is a great place packed full of lots of really cool smaller great places that all offer their own unique take on the city. If you're like me, though, and have a hard time ~planning ahead~, then this list is exactly what you need. I went around and got lost and tried all the coolest hidden gems in Nashville so you don't have to. Here are some of my faves.

1. Milk & Honey Nashville

Located in the Gulch, Milk & Honey is the coffee shop/cafe from my dreams. It's decorated perfectly for any cute insta story and y'all when I say their coffee is amazing I mean it. Try it. It's so worth it, and pretty easy to find, too! You can browse their menus here.

2. Frothy Monkey Coffee Shop

While we're on the topic of coffee shops, Frothy Monkey is a MUST try. Trust me, I've drunk A LOT of coffee in my lifetime, and theirs is up in the top 10 of the best. They have other good things too, but if you're a coffee person like me, this place is heaven, I promise. It's right off 12th Avenue and within walking distance of lots of other funky little shops.

3. Two Old Hippies

This is the coolest little shop you will ever go into. Tucked away in the Gulch, it's within walking distance of Milk & Honey, so stop by after you grab a coffee and browse. They have everything from handmade clothes to cool books to refrigerator magnets. This is one of my all time favorites and I know you'll love it too.

4. Baked on 8th

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I fell in love the second I saw the cute sign. Baked on 8th has a great atmosphere and even better little pastries, cookies, and cakes. Their cookies were so good it took every ounce of self-control I had to not go back and order 2 dozen. 12/10 would recommend if you're into Instagrammable locations and bomb sugar-filled desserts.

5. Burger Republic

I get it, you've gotta eat more than just cookies and coffee. As far as restaurants go, this place is home to the best burger I've ever eaten, plus the atmosphere is pretty laid back and great, and it's an awesome place to go and watch pretty much any sporting event happening anywhere relatively close to Nashville. Browse the menu so you can know exactly what to order before you even get there here.

6. Fido

In case you haven't noticed yet, I'm a HUGE fan of coffee shops and cafes. Fido was the most perfect little spot. It boasts about its gourmet coffee and great food, and rightfully so. It's also got the coolest funky vibe that makes you just want to sit and stay all day, and it's in a great location and decently close to Vanderbilt.

7. Go see some murals

Nashville is FULL of these bad boys. I know y'all have all seen the countless pictures of those people with big butterfly wings. Well, there's more and they're all around the city and on the side of pretty much every building. It's cliche, but tbh it's also kind of a must do while you're there.

8. Walk around Centennial Park and the Parthenon

This is a really nice place to visit if you're looking to spend a couple of hours away from the concrete of the city, and the Parthenon is a full-scale replica of the one in Greece.

9. Ride one of those little scooters around and explore

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I'm not gonna lie to y'all. I did not ride the scooters. They seem kind of dangerous and I know without a doubt that if I tried to get on one it would not end well for me, the scooter, or anyone within a 3-mile radius. With that being said, though, I did see a lot of people riding them and it looked pretty fun, plus it's a great way to see the city without walking too much. So if you just want to explore, hop on one of these bad boys and pray.

Nashville is a great city full of tons of tourist attractions and amazing musical history, but if you find yourself stuck with nothing to do for a couple of hours before your next walking tour, you're sure to find something on this list that you'll love. So, you're welcome.

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