Easy (Working Couple) Dinner

One of the biggest challenges that Beau and I face (in terms of food) is the lack of time in our evenings to prepare anything. We both work until 5:30, then we work out, then Beau goes straight home to work on freelance and Mended Nest client's work, and I take care of the yard, dogs, and house. So what and when do we eat?

As you can see from previous posts, Beau and I eat a lot of chicken. I try to keep it fresh and interesting by using different seasonings and switching up the side dishes. Trying to keep last night on the healthier side, I sauteed asparagus with very simple seasonings: salt, pepper, and a dash of garlic powder. (sauteed in a mixture of olive oil and Brummel and Brown yogurt butter.

The chicken was sprinkled with Tony's, Grill Master's chicken rub, and Mrs. Dash's Tomato, Basil, and Garlic salt-free seasoning.


Cali Trip: Malibu

During our trip to California this past week, Beau and I stayed at Trent's (one of our best friend) apartment in West Hollywood. However, he made arrangements for us all to stay at his friend, Jerry's Malibu beachfront property the second night we were there in town, and as we were driving home from the airport Monday morning at 1am, Beau and I decided that our night in Malibu was our favorite part of the whole trip. We loved going out in LA, eating at amazing restaurants, and spending time with Beau's cousins, but Malibu was exactly what the both of us needed: rest, relaxation, beautiful weather, stunning views, and good company.

As you can see from the pictures, this house was amazing! It had everything from (multi) million dollar views to heated toilet seats - basically everything was perfect, and it was the epitome of rest and relaxation. When we first arrived, we spent a little time on the roof enjoying the views and soaking in the California sun. Then, we all took steam showers, changed into pajamas, and went down stairs to sip on cappuccinos - after opening the whole row of doors that overlook the ocean. Keep in mind, this is California, and not Louisiana, so opening the doors up (especially on the beach) means you need a light jacket...in August. Then, Jerry and Paul (Trent's other good friend) arrived, and that's when the food and wine began!

The four of us sipped on red wine and snacked on cheeses and grapes just before preparing a delicious steak dinner. I have to say - the food was stellar, but I think the company and the conversation may have been even better. Afterward, the five of us walked up to the roof to enjoy a small fire, and (of course) a little more wine before retiring off to bed. Can anyone say custom made silk blend sheets? In the morning, we lazily woke up, instantly prepared coffee, and cooked breakfast. On the menu: Homemade blubbery pancakes (with 100% maple syrup), assorted berries, bacon...and mimosas. Obviously. 

After brunch, Beau and I REALLY didn't want to leave, and I'm sure you can see why! Jerry, Paul, and Trent were so accommodating, generous, and fun, and Beau and I had such a wonderful time. 


Gaudet Bros.

"Hey, Man. How are you? Would you like a mimosa?"

This is what I hear at 10 am Saturday morning as I'm walking into Gaudet Bros. for my much needed haircut appointment. So, as Micah Nickens (owner) finishes up with another client, I do just that. I love running a little early because it gives me a chance to walk around his studio, enjoy the Big Band Pandora station, and check out the new art work that is constantly being refreshed.

Located right in the heart of the Garden District, Micah's studio shares a space with an ajoining art studio. One of the things Beau and I love about coming here is that when we step into his space, we step out of Baton Rouge, and into a hole-in-the-wall NY studio. (not $300 per cut NY studio with glass and chrome everywhere -  think funky/swanky SOHO). Dressed in cuffed jeans, Dock Martins, a button up with rolled sleeves, bow toe and/or suspenders, and fedora, Micah is a breath of fresh air - the "anti-frat-guy" look which has become all too popular in BR. 

However, regardless of how he dresses or what his studio looks like, we cannot speak highly enough of Micah as a stylist OR person. Everyone who either Beau or I have referred to him has called afterward and said how much they love him and their hair. Obviously, we're never surprised - it's why we keep going back. As the stylist for NOLA Fashion Week, you'd think Micah would be booked for months, but that's not his style. He doesn't advertise in 225, on billboards, or anywhere else - for the most part, it's all word of mouth. If you knew him, you'd know he's much too chill for that. That's why we love him - he has the skills of the best, but the attitude of the quintessential guy next door - if you happen to live in SOHO in a studio apartment at 3000/month.

Hands down - Gaudet Bros. is one of the best kept secrets in Baton Rouge. For more information, please check out Gaudet Brothers on Facebook - or click here.


See Y'all!

As you're reading this, Beau and I will be on our way to LA for vacation! We won't be posting for the rest of the week, but we'll catch up on Monday. Happy Wednesday!


Vacation Check List

At this time tomorrow, Beau and I will be somewhere between Louis Armstrong and LAX (in the air) en route to Los Angeles for VACATION! Beau and I have been together once before, and just as last time, we will be staying with one of our best friends, Trent. We're looking to some much needed R&R which will include dinner with Beau's cousins for his birthday as well as a mini Malubu get-away! Instead of sharing the specifics of what we have planned (we'll post about that next week), we thought it would be useful to post about the process of getting ready for vacation - sine we're in the middle of doing it.
The following is what we think are useful tips that can help get you ready for your next trip. Some are a pain, but definitely worth it...

1. (And always first) Make a list. It's nice to visualize your progress as so get things done.
2. Have all of your clothes washed - you'll have everything clean that you want to bring. Plus - whatever you don't bring will be clean and put away when you get back. (then pack)
3. Clean the house. There's nothing better than arriving home after a long trip to a spotless house.
4. Leave a key with someone for emergencies
5. Tell your bank you're traveling - nothing like a card you can't use on a trip b/c of fraud protection.
6. Over pack - obvious reasons. I REFUSE to be out of town without something b/c i wasn't sure if I was going to wear/use it.
7. Get all your medicines/toiletries ready the night before.
8. Get rid of perishable foods/take the trash out
9. Turn the air up before you go (up for us is warmer)There's no use in wasting energy on a cool house if no one is there to enjoy it.
11. Close the blinds/pull the curtains
12. Leave the porch lights on
13. Water the plants
14. Turn lights out - leaving on only a lamp of two
15. Have a great trip!

Hope this helps! Are you in the mood for a vacation now?


Keeping it Fresh

Fast food, frozen dinners, and take-out is such a huge part of so many young professionals' lives. Long hours at the office coupled with no real talent in the kitchen makes it super convenient for people to rush to eat (probably in front of the TV) last minute - and no one wants to spend time cooking after an exhausting day. Do we have an amazing fix-all solution? No. However, this is what WE do, and maybe it'll help get you away (at least partially) from that fast food crap.

It's actually pretty simple - just keep fresh ingredients around your house. It's easy to do by just picking up a few things here and there whenever you run into the store. For example, if you're running into the grocery to pick up some beer for "the game" (or wine for Project Runway), grab some avocados, cucumber, or tomatoes. Next time you have a craving for a snack, instead of pulling up to a drive-thru, just (for example) slice up some tomatoes and basil leaves, add a pinch of salt and pepper, and drizzle some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Still going to be hungry? - make a lot. You'll fill up - I promise. Doesn't that sounds better than frozen, then deep fried french fries, and then topped with a mayonnaise and cellulite based dressing?

The point is - it's not hard to whip up a fresh meal on the fly if you just have the right ingredients. I suggest always having the following on hand at all times:

- garlic - for everything

- tomatoes - EVOO, bal. vinegar, s/p
- bell pepper - dip in hummus!
- cucumber - same as bell pepper
- spinach - sauté and place over grilled chicken
- avocados (add to the tomato recipe)
- cilantro, basil, rosemary (plant yourself - much cheaper!)
- misc seasonal fruits


Friday Finds: Champagne Flutes

Beau and I have decided to try something new for The Mended Nest: Friday Finds! We're constantly finding things that WE think are interesting, special, unique, or just cool and worth sharing. This is different than anything else we blog about, and the purpose it to help broaden our horizons and share new things with y'all that we haven't necessarily created. Hope you enjoy!

For my 25th birthday, a few different people got me bottles of champagne. The problem is that I (embarrassingly) have no champagne flutes! After doing a little research, I'm now officially obsessed with them, so I thought our first Friday Find could be about...the champagne flutes that we would kill for love!

For us, simple = better. Champagne emotes a sense of class and elegance, so please don't turn "class" to "klass" but using some funky/cheesy flutes! While costing between 3 and 20 dollars PER, some of these flutes are definitely an investment - but totally worth it! My ultimate favorites (and the ones I'll be ordering very soon) are the Edge Flutes from Crate&Barrel (3) or the Schott Zwiesel Pure Champagne Glass from Sur la Table (4). Instant obsessions. I love how they're classic, yet modern and interesting. However, we've added a few more classic flutes for the more traditional reader.

1. Pottery Barn Classic Stemless Flute (Monogrammed) 
2. CB2 Simplicity Flutes (only ~3 dollars per! - by FAR the best deal)
3. Crate&Barrel Edge Flute
4. Sur la Table Schott Zwiesel Pure Champagne Glass
5. Crate&Barrel Decade Flute (with vertical engravings - seems to be discontinued...)


Calandro's Supermarket

Is there anything worse than an over-due Saturday morning Walmart trip? I'll answer that question for you - NO. I understand that stores like Walmart, Target, and Sam's are necessary evils, but recently, Beau and I have been trying to support local supermarkets in Baton Rouge. Yes, these stores are notoriously a little pricier, but for us, it's completely worth it - I'll happily pay a little more not to have to look at "big box" trash (i.e. peopleofwalmart.com).

Since we've just moved into the Capital Heights neighborhood, Calanadro's Supermarket (located on Government between S. Foster and N. Acadian) is now our most convenient option. Open since 1941, this supermarket has perfected the art of helpful service coupled with a wide selection of fine wines, in-house prepared delicacies, and a stellar produce selection. Furthermore, if they don't have what you're looking for, Calandro's is more than happy to special order it for you.

One of my favorite parts about going to a local supermarket versus one of the Big Boxes is that the staff recognizes its regular patrons, and they're eager to engage in conversation. If fine this to be true with me, at least. That MAY be because I literally stop at Calandro's five days a week after the gym...not ONLY to get wine...sometimes I get an appetizer, too.


Chop and Grind

I've mentioned in a previous post that I really racked up this year (for my birthday) in the "presents department", but my most favorite gift was from Jeri - a Cuisinart Food Processor! I love to make hummus, guacamole, salad dressing, chicken salad, etc., and this makes creating these foods so much easier. I've used a blender in the past, and as you can imagine, it usually doesn't come out exactly how I expected. So far, I've only tried it out a couple of times, but I'm already in love, and I can't wait to use it more. Obviouly, I'll keep you posted on my food creations! (Cilantro Hummus? Please and thank you!)

Here are some of the things I'm looking forward to making:
- Basil Pesto
- Mango Salsa
- Vinaigrettes
- Citrus Champagne Salad Dressig
- Hollandaise Sauce
- Roasted Vegetable Spread
- Gorgonzola Butter


Farewell Foods

This past weekend, we had to say goodbye to our great friend, dog-sitter, and long time coworker, Shelby - she's off to Arkansas to start her first year of college! To celebrate, she hosted a party at her parent's house off of beautiful Highland Rd. in Baton Rouge, LA. We had a great time hanging out, laughing, and talking (despite the 97 degree weather...followed the by torrential downpour). Other than hanging out with friends and FINALLY meeting "Cousin Cindy", I have to say that my favorite part was...the FOOD!! The hotdogs, hamburgers, pasta and potato salads, and (of course) desserts were all amazing...which explains why I basically had seconds of everything. I have to say, I was most impressed with the pasta salad (top right in picture), so I asked Mrs. Cindy to share the recipe with me so I can pass it on to y'all. Check this out!

Mimi’s Grilled Shrimp and Pasta Salad (Courtesy of "Cousin Cindy")

(Preheat oven to 400)
Cook pasta till al dente. Drain and pour in a large bowl. Whisk together dressing ingredients* and pour over hot pasta and stir well.

½ c. lemon juice
½ c olive oil
1-2 tsp. salt
½-1 tsp. pepper
 1 lb. tubular pasta of your choice or orzo
2 lbs. shrimp
1 cup minced scallions
1 cup fresh dill
½ cup parsley
1 hothouse cucumber or 2 regular cucumbers (remove seeds) diced
½ cup small diced red onions
¾ - 1 lb good feta cheese large diced
Black calamata olives (use about a ¾ to 1 cup)
Place shrimp on a sheet pan and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast at 400 for 5-6 minutes (until pink and firm to the touch).

Dressing: If you want to cook the day before, you may need to add extra olive oil and lemon juice to loosen up as the pasta tends to absorb liquid over time.

Add the shrimp to the pasta along with all the other ingredients except the feta. Toss well, then add the feta and allow to sit at room temperature for an hour

You HAVE to try this - it is amazing!!


Purple Drink, Red Dress

This year, Beau and I participated in the 2011 RDR, and I have to say...we haven't had this much fun in a while! Along with our partners in crime, Johnny and Patrick, (as well as Ms. Holmberg) we stayed the whole weekend in NOLA. "Sponsored by the Hash House Harriers, a self-proclaimed "drinking club with a running problem," the Annual Red Dress Run through the French Quarter and downtown New Orleans is another of those uniquely New Orleans fun events that doubles as a fundraiser. It is open to men and women alike and though the concept originated as a charitable event to raise money for breast cancer research, it donates its proceeds to other charities as well." - Courtesy of neworleansonline.com. Truly, it's a pretty standard New Orleans event where thousands of people gather in the French Quarter to drink and party - the only difference is that it's done in a red dress.

A little background on our dresses: Beau and I went to the Dillard's in the Mall of Cortana - a place where old merchandise from the Dillard's in the Mall of Louisiana go to die. Needless to say - the selection was...curious, but more importantly SUPER cheap. We were able to snag our beauties for something like $25 bucks a piece - basically, it was more expensive to park my car PER night. They were huge hits, though. (I think people loved them because they were SO terrible!)

All in all, we had an amazing time, and we're already looking forward to next year's "run". We'll have to better prepare ourselves for it next time, though. Well...can you REALLY prepare yourself for too much Purple Drink, 100 degrees, thousands of people, and a sea of red dresses? Didn't think so!

Lastly, we'd like to thank Beau's cousin, Taylor for providing the pictures for this post. Beau and I completely forgot to bring the camera...again. Thanks, Taylor!


Inspirational Notes

Attached to one of my presents given to my by my parents was a note that my mom had hand written. Originally written by Saint Francis de Sales, the passage talks about finding your inner peace, not being in a hurry, and doing everything in a calm spirit. Like my mom, I now have this passage right next to my sink so I can read it every morning as I'm waiting for my coffee (or in her case, as she drinks a Diet Coke) before I start my day. Beau and I both tend to get overwhelmed with our extremely hectic schedules, and it helps to take a moment to put it all into perspective.

Happy Friday, Everyone.


DIY - Paint by Annie Sloan

Per the suggestion of Carla, the woman who renovated my parent's house, Jeri decided to paint a buffet in her dining room with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. The piece of furniture was passed down to my mom after my grandfather (PawPaw) passed away, and my grandmother (MawMaw) moved into a new house. The buffet was pretty to begin with, but it was a little outdated and didn't match the rest of the decor in Jeri's house. So, instead of trading in the buffet for something a little more in style, my mom (along with the help of her friend, Pricilla) took Carla's advice and Painted the piece using the Annie Sloan Paint. Good thing because it turned out beautifully!

What's neat about this paint is that it's fairly low maintenance. There's no sanding required - even if you're painting over wood with a gloss. Best of all, you don't have to be perfect. In fact, the less perfect the better - it gives it a more rustic and authentic feel. You can even paint right over the hardware!! Either way, once the paint is dry (about one day), you're left with a very chalky painted piece of furniture, and now it's time to apply the wax. This is the finishing touch which gives the true antique look to the piece. Again, after about half a day, remove the wax, and you're finished, and left with a beautiful DIY piece of furniture.

See below for top reasons why this paint is the BEST (taken from the Annie Sloan website)

  1. It's the BEST paint for painting furniture by a long way
  2. You can use the paint by diluting it with water to make a wash to show the wood grain
  3. You can use it as an impasto ( thickly) - leave the lid off to thicken
  4. You can use it on any surface, indoors and out ( the outside of our shop was painted in it- perfect!)
  5. No need to prime or prepare
  6. The colours are mixed intelligently and the web site shows how you can adapt your colours for your use
  7. It's a girls' paint, but boys can use it too.
  8. It's flexible so you can be creative and change you mind
  9. The paint can be washed off your brush even when you find your brush weeks later.
  10. It allows your walls to breathe so it is perfect for cottage walls
  11. Extremely low VOCs so it is good for the environment
  12. It doesn't form a skin on it when you leave the lid off - just add some water if it's too thick
  13. Very little black is used in their manufacture so the colours are mixed with thought
  14. You can paint it on walls for a soft matt effect or wax it for a polished plaster effect

This has to be my newest obsession, and I want to redo every single thing in our house with this paint. Luckily, I have Beau here to reign in my crazy.


Mrs. Meyer's Everything

Beau and I have grown to love Mrs. Meyer's cleaning products for a few reasons: they're aromatherapeutic, made with naturally occurring ingredients, not tested on animals...and most of all...pretty! Let's be honest - this is much cuter than having a bottle of dawn and some Softsoap sitting on your counter. The main products by Mrs. Meyer's are liquid hand soap, dishwashing detergent, laundry detergent, and air fresheners, and we recommend you give them all a try. The place I've found the biggest variety is World Market. Check them out!

We've received several compliments on the hand soap and the dishwashing detergent because they smell so good! Our favorite scents (and the ones that we usually have around the house) are basil, rosemary, and geranium. Careful, though...they're addictive!


(Diet Coke) Floats

After getting home from my parents on Saturday, our friends, Mest (Megan Estey) and Tont (Tony) came over to catch up, hang out, and watch a movie. As you all know, Beau and I (as well as most of our friends) are a bunch of fatties, so of course we couldn't JUST watch a movie...we had to load up on treats, too! Since we had to run find a Redbox to rent the movie, stopped at a Walgreen's (of all places) in search of the perfect movie snacks. Obviously, we grabbed the necessities like popcorn and Reese's pieces, but after looking around, we decided to kick it up a notch: root beer floats!!...well - kind of.

In a attempt to avoid elastic waistbands, we tried to make the healthiest version of a root beer float we could think of: Diet Coke floats! Clearly, we used Diet Coke (0 calories) instead of root beer, and we used low calorie ice cream (100 calories per serving) instead of...well...the good stuff.

Either way, we had a GREAT time and still walked away with a waist line. Win/win.


Covington Birthdays!

This weekend, Beau and I traveled to Covington, LA to my parent's house to celebrate my 25th and Beau's 27th birthdays! Our actual birthdays are the 28th (Beau's) and the 11th (mine), but we're going to be out of town for the next few weekends, so this was our last chance to celebrate with my parents...unless we wanted to wait until mid-September. As always, we had a GREAT time, and I have to say I went on "Jeri's Corner" overload! (If you remember, Jeri is my mom, from whom I pull a lot of design ideas and inspiration. In fact, there will be two Jeri's Corner posts coming later this week!)

Since we chose mexican themed meal, we started things of properly - with two bottles of Skinny Girl Margaritas, Dos Equis (lager), and a few homemade strawberry frozen margaritas!! Also, courtesy of our neighbor (originally from Mexico), we had fresh homemade salsas served with blue corn chips as an appetizer. After catching up and hanging out, the five of us (my parents, Jeri and Frank, Beau and myself, and my brother, Mark - my other brother, Christian was at the beach) migrated outside to chat some more as my dad threw some marinated fish on the barbecue. For our entree', Jeri decided on fish tacos topped with a homemade mango salsa! Oh my God. They were DELICIOUS!

Afterwards, Beau and I opened our presents as we all sipped on a little celebratory champagne. I have to say, we were hooked up this year with gifts ranging from new running attire to a Cuisinart food processor (aka - my FAVORITE gift). Of course, in typical Jeri's style, the presents were so beautifully wrapped I almost didn't want to open them! So, after all this, we were so tired (I blame the alcohol) that we all decided to take a quick 15 minute nap...which turned into a two HOUR nap. All I remember is that I woke up face down on the sofa in dire need of some lemon icebox pie (my request), so that's exactly what we had (along with a cup of coffee...and Tylenol). 

After we said our thank yous and goodbyes, Beau and I headed back to Baton Rouge to meet up with friends, Tony and Megan for a movie date at our house. More to come on that tomorrow!!


Up, Up, and Away!

Happy Friday, Everyone! I'm sure everyone is looking forward to the weekend, and we have the perfect thing to kick-start it off right! Today marks the beginning of the Pennington Hot Air Balloon Championship in Baton Rouge, LA! If you don't have time to make it out today, try getting out there tomorrow morning at about 6:00 a.m.(6400 Perkins Rd, Baton Rouge, Louisiana 70808 - near the Pennington Research Center). I know it's a tad early, but grab a blanket, some coffee, and enjoy the show. Upside: you'll be done at 8 - just in time for a mimosa or bloodymary...and breakfast! Beau and I went two years ago and had a blast!

Note: This event is free and open to the public with food and gift booths on site. Parking is free but limited, and visitors are encouraged to carpool.

We hope y'all check it out! If you do, let us know what you think!!


Sauteed Mushroom Covered Baked Chicken

One of my favorite things to cook is chicken for three reasons: it's good, it's healthy, and it's easy. However, chicken two or three times a week can get a little old, so I try different things here and there to add a little variety. In this particular case, I smothered some baked chicken with a rosemary and garlic mushroom sauce. Let me explain.

This was one of those we-just-got-back-from-Walmart-and-don't-feel-like-cooking meals. We just threw some seasoned chicken in the oven while sauteed the mushrooms using fresh garlic, lots of rosemary, italian seasoning, a dash of Tony's seasoning, and a little of that Tuscany Blend dipping seasoning...YUM! The entire meal took about 20 minutes (the time it took to bake the chicken). By the time that was done, the mushrooms were ready to be poured on top. How easy? We really kept this meal simple and chose to not add any side dishes. However, IF you were going to serve this with something, try grilled/sauteed asparagus, garlic whipped potatoes, and/or a side salad...and now I'm hungry.


Before and After: Kitchen

The kitchen. For many people (including us), this is IT. This is the space where everything happens - THIS is where life is lived: gathering around to cook, converse, congregate, laugh, and love. Sitting around the island as mom or dad prepares meal after meal is something that both Beau and I can relate to, and with all this in mind, OUR kitchen is our most occupied and loved space in our house. We'll be updating this room until the day we move, so while while we say it's "done", we really mean for now. We'll be making several more improvements over the years, so you better stay tuned!

As you can see in the "before" pictures, the kitchen was a mess. It was a horrible shade of perwinckle, and had crap all over the place. Also, there was a hugh freezer right where Beau's desk is located that held all the animal remains that the previous owner hunted and killed...at least what wasn't mounted on our walls. And I'm sorry, but I hate every single knick knack or "decoration" above the cabinets. All of it. Either way, Beau and I made some necessary minor improvement which we hope you'll appreciate!

 - painted
 - touched up trim
 - installed new faucet
 - removed the dead animal freezer
 - new pulls for top drawers (crescent pulls replaces knobs)
 - alleviated the clutter

Obviously, we have a small kitchen with no island, but it is still the heart of our home. We love our improvements so far, and we hope something here inspires you!


Let it Rain

If you live in the city, you'll know exactly what I'm talking about when I say that it has literally rained every single day in Baton Rouge for a good while now. You can usually expect afternoon showers during Louisiana summers, but it has been POURING! Part of me feels like I shouldn't be complaining because I haven't had to water my plants in two weeks (or more), but at some point, enough is enough!

I cannot cut my grass because water is collecting everywhere, mud is constantly dragged into the house, and it's impossible to leave the danes out to run in the backyard (don't feel bad - they get their exercise!). But OMG, having two big dogs that need to go to the bathroom at LEAST three times a day means a LOT of feet wiping! (Our floors show dirt very easily) In fact, that's 168 paws we have to wipe every single week. Jealous? The ONE good thing that I can get out of this (other than the fact that I don't have to work to have pretty plants) is that with the rain comes cooler temperatures. Obviously in Louisiana, "cooler" means 90 degrees and humid...better than 102 degrees...and humid!

You know what I need?! I NEED to be home on the sofa with the danes in my snuggie watching Project Runway reruns. Doesn't that sound like heaven?!


Weekend in St. Francisville

This weekend, Beau and I packed up and headed off to St. Francisville, LA to meet up with his family (parents: Rose and Bob, brother and his girlfriend: Bobby and Madison, and his sister, Laurel (Jenkins Family Journey) and her family: husband, Phillips and daughter, Isabel) for a little weekend getaway. We went into this weekend expecting to have a lot of fun, laughs, and all around good times. We were not disappointed. We stayed at The Bluffs, a gorgeous lodge/resort in St. Francisville way, WAY off the main highway. In fact, I was SURE we were lost driving out there the first time. Once we arrived, I was shocked at how beautiful the lodge, club house, pool area, golf course, and the rest of the property was! Don't worry - we have more than enough picture to share!

As soon as we arrived Friday afternoon, we all met up at this amazing little restaurant in downtown St. Francisville called The Magnolia Cafe. Let's just say that this restaurant kick-started a DELICIOUS weekend in terms of food. Both the food and the service were wonderful, and I am truly surprised we were able to physically walk out after all the eating we did. Afterwards, we called it quits for the night as we all had a super early morning. Bob, Bobby and Phillips were up at the crack of dawn to enjoy 18 holes of golf, and Beau and I were up at 6:20 for our marathon training...6 miles! We both loved it though because the scenery was so beautiful - it's as if we forgot we were running. Okay, we're not that good. We were exhausted afterwards, but too bad! We had a busy day of antiquing ahead of us!

While the "men" were playing golf, Beau and I (along with Rose, Laurel, Madison, and Isabel) went shop to shop perusing the different antique stores for which St. Francisville is famous. This took up our whole morning, but we had a great time doing it! We all walked out with a few little trinkets, and by lunch time we were STARVING. After stopping to grab some pizza, the 6 of us headed back to the rooms in order for Isabel to nap, and the others to change into swim suits and go down to the pool! If you saw how red we all are, you'd know that we were there for QUITE a while - and obviously with no sun screen. Oh well, we needed some sun after all this rain in Baton Rouge! Anyway, that evening, we all ate at a restaurant called The OxBow. Everything was to die for but one thing in particular leaves us craving more: turtle soup!! Words cannot explain. So afterwards, we (again) barely made it out the restaurant, but somehow we managed. After arriving home, some of us stayed up and played Apples to Apples, sipped on wine, apple juice, and diet Sprite until we were so tired we all nearly passed out.

Sunday morning (and the last day of our trip) we all mosey out of bed, got packed and dressed, and drove away from our fantastic vacation destination en route to a coffee shop in downtown St. Francisville for some (much needed) pre-mass coffee. After mass (which was beautiful), we headed off to our last restaurant of the weekend. Since it was on the way out, we all met up at a waterfront restaurant in New Roads, LA and enjoyed poboys, fried seafood platters, and much, much more!

All in all, it was an AMAZING weekend. Family vacations so much fun for us because we're both blessed to come from such wonderful families. We love them ALL!!