Saturday, November 8, 2014

..........It's Our Anniversary !!!

We had a spectacular Anniversary Weekend in New Orleans in celebration of our 1st year of marriage !  We have decided to alternate the planning of our wedding anniversary celebrations each year. Since my birthday is on an even day, I will plan the even years and my husband's birthday is on an odd day, so he will plan the the odd years. So this meant that I was up first in 2014 !

We did agree together to rent a house as opposed to staying in a hotel. Since we all rented houses during the wedding planning trips and the wedding week we are pretty much sold on this idea whenever we travel. It is so comfortable, very private and often times much more affordable. We always check VRBO or AirBnB before we do anything. We were able to find a cute &  cozy three bedroom house for our extended weekend Thursday through Sunday and it was very affordable. That is my husbands thing, he is always looking for a deal. I got major points for the house I found for the price paid. Here is a pic of the living area.

Love the hardwood floors and lots of light!
Since this is a "friendly competition" between me and my love, I tried to bring my A game for sure ! LOL He is already looking forward to trying to "out-do" me next year ! He has also admitted that I  will be a tough act to follow. Now, I did put together an itinerary (cause sometimes I can be an over planner, LOL)  but I made it clear to him that I was totally flexible. I just wanted us to have some direction and at the same time there were so many things that I wanted us to do. So we did improvise here and there & go with the flow quite a bit too, but my love was happy that we had so many thought out options to explore.

One other thing is that my husband requested in advance that I minimize the social networking during this trip. So I was definitely " very present " with him and that wasn't hard for me at all. I love him. However, my husband knows that I am a Yelp Elite and he truly appreciates all of the perks, special events & invites that come with that, so he made an exception & said that he  was cool with me checking in on Yelp & taking photos of all the good food we shared, so I could write all my reviews after we got home, LOL.  I made one Facebook post and one Instagram post the entire 4 days & he approved of both, LOL.  If you want to read all my reviews from the trip my Yelp profile is right here. I use my middle name on the site.

I started off with a bang ! Our very first stop was The Ruby Slipper Cafe, where we had an awesome Breakfast at their location on Magazine Street.  It was a great spot and the "Double Mimosa" was on point. We checked out the newly renovated Riverwalk Outlet Collection and of course headed down to the newest location of the Cigar Factory which is further East on Decatur near the French Market area. My husband did NOT know about this new spot, so bonus points for me on this stop!! It's smaller than the other spot, but still nice folks & we enjoyed a Cigar & people watched for a bit. Then we grabbed some "Adult Beverages" and started exploring the French Quarter.  I hit up one of my favorite stores Fluerty Girl and found a nice Fluer de Lis Christmas Ornament.

While walking through the Quarter, we reminisced about the wedding and made our way over to The Montegut House, where our ceremony was held last year. We were not able to get into the courtyard or the actual house because it's a private venue, but we took some photos out front....

We visited the beautiful Art Gallery right next door called Hemmerling Gallery of Southern Art. This is such a sentimental place to us both. Though my husband grew up in Baltimore, his family derives from the deep South where he spent his summers. The work of this artist is very striking and we hope to be able to purchase a piece from here one day soon when our budget allows for it. We met the Curator last year when she allowed me to use the small Gallery as my hiding place where I waited until the ceremony started. She was excited to see us back  in New Orleans & I showed her some of the photos on my phone that our photographer took in the gallery and she was so excited and had me to email them to her. Here are a  couple of my favorites favorites ......

We continued drinking and shopping & kicking it in the Quarter all afternoon and then split up so that I could go get a nice foot massage at Touchpoint Foot Reflexology and my love could have another cigar at his favorite spot Crescent City Cigars. We then reconnected after that. Another highlight of the day while we explored the Quarter that afternoon was we ran right smack dab into a wedding "Second Line Parade"  just like we had last year !!! We were super excited & this just brought a flood of memories back to us both.  Now of course this Second Line was not as "turned up" as ours was.......but it was super fun just the same LOL  ! That was so exciting.

This was them.....

Calm, cool & collected.

And this was us last year........

My husband showing out for  his Mama ! LOL

Laughing our asses off !

We congratulated the new Bride & Groom &  made our way to the next spot for more cocktails and some food. One of my co-workers who loves NOLA too, recommended this place called 801 Royal which is literally a block from our ceremony venue and the drinks & food were really good. I had some seafood nachos that were on point ! Of course later we had some Beignets & Cafe Au Lait which you have to have when you come to New Orleans.

Later that evening we enjoyed the back patio at the house, some nice cocktails and music and just relaxing and having a great time laughing and reflecting enjoying some alone time. The house was so peaceful and comfortable. 

The next day we got up early and headed to Jackson Square to do some more exploring and shopping. We have decided that each year that we come to New Orleans to celebrate, we are going to purchase  piece of art to commemorate the trip and add to our collection. We headed over to where the local artists hang out because we had a budget and it was not that high. We found something nice. A piece for our kitchen that involves wine bottles and a Fluer de Lis. I forgot to take a picture and for now it is still wrapped up tight until we complete our kitchen renovation, but we picked it together & were very happy with it.

My Instagram pic near Jackson Square
Where the Artists hang out at 

My love for life !!!
Later that morning we had breakfast at Stanley and I had the best Oysters Benedict ever !!!! Man I almost licked the plate, LOL

That afternoon I had a little surprise for my love that was not on the itinerary. I had discovered this place near Audubon Zoo called  The Fly where you can sit on the Riverfront and watch the ships roll in and we headed out for a little romantic picnic for two. We had our snacks, adult beverages, a blanket, some chairs and music on my tablet. We found a nice shady spot under a tree and then spent quite a bit of time relaxing out there.  The weather was perfect in October with a nice breeze coming off the water, we laid down on the blanket and we both actually fell asleep LOL!
Ships coming through

When the evening came we went home (I mean to the rental home, LOL) to get ready for our official Anniversary Dinner. One of my girlfriends makes beautiful jewelry.  She is on Instagram  as ZEN GALLERY. I asked her a month prior to make me something special to wear for this special weekend using our wedding colors. This is what she came up with......

Hubby loved it !
My dress

My handsome husband

We had reservations at Brigtsen's. The service and food were top notch. This is a cute little house that has been converted. It was super cozy and romantic and we truly enjoyed ourselves. They acknowledged our Anniversary and made us feel special.  They put some confetti on the table (so cute)  and were very attentive to us. You can read all about our dining experience on Yelp,  but I must say that we got off to a good start with an Appetizer called Veal Sweetbreads with Potato Leek Cake,  Crimini Mushrooms, Capers and Lemon Roasted Garlic Butter......YUM !

Capital YUMMY !
We exchanged gifts that night also. I got a beautiful diamond cuff bracelet and matching earrings. I got my love several various items of Cigar Paraphrenalia and a big hardcover book on Scotch,  which he is really getting into these days. We both loved our gifts !  When telling my sister that night about our gifts, she said to me and him on speaker phone " Diamonds ? I think my brother is taking this Anniversary way more seriously than you " ! LOL We both laughed. My husband was really excited about me liking my gift and I was really touched by his present to me. We did not discuss a budget or anything beforehand , but I really was pleasantly surprised. He assures me that he was totally happy with his gifts too.  After dinner we headed out to one of our favorite areas in NOLA, Frenchmen where had a good time listening to great music, dancing, drinking & people watching before making it an early night to get back to the house to err.....uhhmm......celebrate some more LMAO !!!

On our last day in NOLA, we slept in and then headed back to the French Quarter for Brunch at this place I have had bookmarked for a while. Unfortunately I neglected to make a reservation so we had a bit of a wait at Cafe Amelie. To kill some time we headed over to the French Market, did some more shopping on Decatur and Royal Streets and picked up some Pralines to bring back home with us. Then we began to get calls from our parents, siblings and friends, wishing us a Happy Anniversary and had a leisurely time enjoying the perfect weather and just the city we both love so much ! By the time we got finished they sent us a text that our table was ready. I had some Shrimp and Grits that were out of this world ! That have such a beautiful courtyard, that I just had to dine in. It was worth it to me to wait.  It looks very similar to the courtyard we were married in and is actually just a couple of blocks away from our venue.

Shrimp n Corn Grits w Andouille

Pecan Praline French Toast

My husband HATES to wait to eat but he was in good spirits & he totally loved the grits ! He is a grits expert being as he spent his summers in the Low Country and can make the most creamiest, tastiest grits ever. He said the food was worth the wait, LOL. That Sunday was our actual Anniversary date and he was so patient and accomodating with me. I so treasure this man. He does his best to make me happy. We had a great last day to cap off a wonderful weekend in NOLA.

Lovely French Quarter Architecure and Balconies....

I know I mentioned in my last blog post that there was a question in the air concerning my job. Well literally 4 days before we left on our trip, I got word from my Manager that I was being offered a proximity position here in Houston !!!!! What that means is that early in 2015 I will be transitioning to working from home and I will not be forced to relocate from this area and will keep my current role. Praise God , Hallellujah !  I have been low key and sitting on this information for these few weeks because a few of my friends and colleagues have not been so fortunate and this is a bittersweet victory for me. Needless to say, we had that much more to celebrate and be grateful for on this trip, so it was very special.

It was a wonderful time in celebration of the happiest day of my life !  I still feel so blessed, so fortunate and just grateful for the path the Lord has put before me.

This is the song we danced to at our reception.........
My love singing to me...........

A Couple of Forevers.............

So what do you think, does my husband need to "bring it" next year or what ? 
He is already talking ish  about how he is going to, LOL

How do you celebrate your Anniversary ?

Any big plans for the next one ?

Thoughts?   Comments ?  Questions ?

Beautifully Complex


Ciiku said...

It sounds like such a lovely anniversary weekend! Yes, hubby is going to find it very hard to top this one.

Beautifully Complex said...

Thanks for the vote of confidence ! LOL

Anonymous said...

I have lurked on your blog for years but not sure if I have ever posted but congratulations on your anniversary. Reading about your relationship with your hubby and your family makes my heart smile. (NOLA is also one of my favorite vacay spots. Love the "feel" of the city.)


Beautifully Complex said...

Thank you so much for reading & for the compliment. I appreciate when lurkers come out. Your comment made me smile too :)