Highlights Of The New Orleans Caribbean Festival 2016

Highlights Of The New Orleans Caribbean Festival 2016

My first experience at the New Orleans Caribbean Festival and the things I enjoyed most.
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Ahhh, the Caribbean. The Caribbean usually sparks a relaxing feeling in many people because it is associated with summer vacations and perceived as an amazing retirement spot. Did you know that New Orleans is referred to as the Caribbean’s northern-most city? So, it makes sense that many Caribbean cruises leave the New Orleans docks each year.

The New Orleans Caribbean Festival is a young multi-cultural festival established to celebrate Caribbean culture and emphasize the cultural connection between New Orleans and the Caribbean. A perk resulting from the youth of this festival was that it was not overly crowded. So instead of spending your time waiting in lines and getting bumped by people, you can have your personal space to enjoy yourself! The festival attracted a wonderful crowd of locals looking to hear live music and soak up some Caribbean culture. The people enjoyed swaying, singing and dancing along to music from nine different countries. The bands that I most enjoyed came from Jamaica and Cuba.

Of course, we have to talk about the food. After careful consideration, I decided on a place called The Pupusa Lady. The ceviche was tempting, but I ultimately chose the delicious Caribbean barbecue chicken paired with fried rice and beans and pupusa. Pupusa is a traditional Salvadorian dish. It is described as a thick tortilla that is usually stuffed with cheese, beans, or meat. To put a Caribbean twist on the pupusa for the festival, they stuffed it with plantains!

I had the pleasure of meeting an artist named Kevin

at his tent. I was intrigued by his vibrant, colorful pieces. When I asked him what inspired his work, he explained to me his love for New Orleans, Caribbean and African cultures. He wanted his work to reflect his love for these cultures and show them beautifully blended together. Kevin was proud to follow in his father’s footsteps as a talented artist. He made the decision to not attend art school because he already had the best teacher: his father.

Another tent that intrigued me (because I am a health nut) was the Fresh Cane tent. Fresh Cane is a local company that produces sugar cane juice. The founder, named Arpit, was kind enough to let my boyfriend and I sample his local sugar cane juice. To my surprise, it was absolutely delicious. I have previously tasted plain sugar cane juice and I remember having a hard time drinking that cup. The Fresh Cane juice tasted completely different from that first juice experience. Arpit explained that they add ginger and lemon to the juice. Not only does this add amazing nutrients, but it made the juice taste phenomenal as well! If you wish to try it yourself, Fresh Cane can be found at the Downtown Farmers’ Market in New Orleans.

After a Caribbean rum punch, people were ready to salsa (regardless of how hot it was). Two salsa dancers led the group as we danced our cares away. I like to think I held my own next to those instructors, but it doesn’t matter how well you dance as long as it puts a smile on your face!

All in all, the Caribbean Festival will definitely give you a “don’t worry, be happy” feel by the end of it. The vibes were positive, the adults were happy, the children were playful, and the food was good! I have a feeling that this festival will grow in popularity each year. Thanks for a great Saturday NOLA Caribbean Fest

!


Cover Image Credit: NOLA Caribbean Festival

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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A Love Letter To My Air Fryer

And why you would love an fryer too...

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In a previous article, I wrote about how love to use Trello.com for organizing things. I'm still loving Trello. I've haven't grown bored of it and stopped using it (like I have with some other organizational systems). This time, I'm going to share another item that I love, and it's for one of my favorite things, food! I finally gave in and bought an air fryer, and after my first use, I literally said that it's wonderful! I bought a small air fryer. It only holds about two quarts, but it's perfect for quick lunches.

I thought I'd love the air fryer if it could dry fry food with little to no oil, and it does just that. I'm also in love with the air fryer, because I could simply put the food in it, set the timer and live my life for a few minutes until the food is done. I don't have to stand over it and watch the food cook. That makes the air fryer a winner! Did I mention that it really does work?! Yes, it does work. Now, you could buy foods that are already breaded and throw them in the air fryer, but if you want to go the healthier route, you can use bread crumbs, flour, and eggs to make your own crispy coatings for your foods. Dipping your food in your own homemade batter cuts out some of the salt and added chemicals in the frozen pre-fried foods.

You can also fry foods that do not even need a homemade batter. Without using the batter, I've made sweet potato French fries and burritos in it. The tortilla for the burrito turned out nicely crispy, but I didn't leave it in the air fryer long enough for it to be crunchy. The sweet potato fries came out nice. I've tried making crispy chickpeas with Italian seasoning, but they weren't to my liking. However, I have loved everything else that I've made in the air fryer. Sometimes I just put a quick meal in it, just to re-heat it, since I don't use a microwave. I just think that using the air fryer is healthier than using microwaves, and I love that I don't need to put my food in a special box or anything for it to be really crispy. If you love fried chicken or fried fish, you'd love this little machine as much as I do!

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