Thursday, June 30, 2011

20 Weeks: We're Half Way There

Dear Baby A,

Yesterday Mommy and Daddy started our morning by dancing in the kitchen while I sang "Living on a Prayer," because we are just so excited about being halfway through our journey and that much closer to meeting you.  I wonder if you could hear me singing, "Take my hand, and we'll make it, I swear..."  Two things: one, it is not nice to swear, so please don't think Mommy meant it, and two, you will learn that Jon Bon Jovi is awesome!  Baby A, we have so much to teach you.  Did you know that Mommy and Daddy saw Bon Jovi live at Jazzfest this year with his favorite follower, your Aunt Sarah.  Mommy and Aunt Sarah spent a lot of time in college dancing to his music.  You'll think he's really old by the time you understand who he is, but you'll be able to say that you saw in person when you were in my belly.

Meet Baby A

Speaking of living in my belly, Baby A, I would love to start feeling you move around in there.  I know you are a rambunctious little one because when we saw you on the ultrasound you were quite literally doing flips.  Mommy and Daddy's friends would always talk about how magical it was to see their babies, but it wasn't until we got to see you that it all made sense.  It is so amazing to see what your life is like in there.  To watch you yawn and kick and stretch made us love you even more than we already did.  And we loved you a ton already. 

Hi Mommy and Daddy!

If there is one thing we want you to know each and every day, it is that you are loved.  And each and every day, we love you more than we did the day before.  That is not to say that there will not be times where we we are frustrated or disappointed or angry with you, but even in those times, or maybe even especially in those times  - we love you.  My parents told me they loved me every morning and every night, and I always felt the warmth and comfort of knowing that there was nothing I could do to destroy that love.  I hope we provide you with the same feeling of security in knowing that no matter what, you live in our hearts.

If I'm a girl, look out!  The shoe bills I might run up could rival Mommy's!

Have a wonderful 20th week, Baby A.  Tonight, you will be travelling to South Dakota to meet all Daddy's family.  They are so excited!!  And we are too!

Love, Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tasty Tuesdays: Berry Pound Cake with Whipped Topping


Growing up, my family would spend a bit of our 4th of July making a red, white, and blue dessert.  It's been a long time since I've been here in New Orleans for the 4th, but we've managed to keep the tradition going no matter where we celebrate. 

This year, Mark and I will be joining his family at his uncle's cabin in the Black Hills of South Dakota.  We have plans to hike in Spearfish Canyon, shop in Rapid City, take in some Cowboy culture in Deadwood, and see fireworks live from Moutn Rushmore.  I cannot wait for a little break from life here in the deep South.  This time of year the thought of spending more than ten minutes outside, unless sitting in a pool, makes me feel stifled.  The heat has become unbearable!  So I am looking forward to family time in the heart of the Midwest.

I'm also looking forward to keeping our tradition and whipping up something sweet and patriotic.  I absolutely love the simplicity of Martha Stewart's Berry Pound Cake with Whipped Topping. The fact that it makes two loaves is also helpful given that we'll be serving ten people.  I can't promise that my wgipped topping will look nearly as pretty as Martha's, but how can you go wrong when you add butter sugar and flour together and finish them off with sweetened cream and fresh berries?

Ingredients
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cake flour (not self-rising)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs, plus 1 large egg white
1 cup whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon confectioners' sugar
1 cup (about 4 ounces) fresh blueberries
1 cup (about 4 ounces) fresh raspberries

Directions
1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans. Line with parchment paper, allowing a 1-inch overhang on long sides. Butter parchment; set aside. Whisk together flours, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
2.Put butter, granulated sugar, and vanilla into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the milk.
3.Divide batter evenly between prepared pans. Bake until dark golden and a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Lift cakes out; let cool completely on rack. Trim tops of cakes level. Cakes can be stored at room temperature, covered, up to 1 day.
4.Put cream and confectioners' sugar into the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment; beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Transfer whipped cream to a pastry bag fitted with a leaf tip (such as Ateco #113). Pipe a ruffled pattern on tops of cakes. Pile blueberries in center of 1 cake, and raspberries in center of the other.

What are your plans for the 4th?  Does your family have a Fourth of July tradition?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Very French Date Night

Yesterday was simply the very best day!  Mark and I started our day at my nineteen week OB appointment.  We spent about a half hour with my doctor's wonderful ultrasound tech.  There on the screen appeared our perfect little baby.  We saw baby's feet and hands, and we got to see the baby kick and yawn.  To see the baby come to life onscreen makes me feel so special that this baby spends its days living inside of me.  It is truly the most amazing feeling in the world!

To celebrate, Mark and I decided to go for a little date night!  I have been dying to see Midnight in Paris.  So we started our evening at this wonderful French wine bar and bistro called Delachaise.  I had the tomato soup with mini grilled cheese and duck fat fries with a Thai peanut dipping sauce and a malt vinegar aioli.  Mark had the steak frites.  We finished out meal in perfect French fashion - with a cheese plate.  It was such a wonderful meal and reminded us of our time in Paris.  

Following a lovely meal, we headed off to see Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, and company take on the streets of Paris.  This moving was as lovely and quirky as most Woody Allen films are.  The backdrop of Paris was just fabulous.  It was not a deep film, but it was the perfect end to a perfect day.

Have you seen Midnight in Paris?  Do you plan to?

Friday, June 17, 2011

Prenatal Yoga at Wild Lotus


Last night I took my first step into the world of prenatal yoga at Wild Lotus yoga studio. I had no expectations going into the class and just hoped that it would be another alternative to my exercise options. So far, I have enjoyed walking three miles a couple of times a week from our house and once around Audubon Park and back home. I have been going to pilates over lunch and occasionally trying a more intense workout at Body Pump classes. I thought yoga would be a nice addition to the mix.

Well, let me say that it was the best and most relaxing hour and a half I have spent to myself in ages. We began class by introducing ourselves and stating how far along we were, our doctor’s names, and if we had any aches or pains this week. One of the other students announced that her doctor was my husband and I was so proud!

We then began the class by releasing the stress of our day from our bodies, and our teacher worked with us on focusing on our breathing techniques. She had us place both hands on our bellies and instructed us to fill our abdomen with air on our inhale and hug our baby in on our exhale. This may sound very silly, but at 18 weeks I have yet to “feel” pregnant. I don’t really have a firm bump yet, just kind of an expanded muffin top, and I haven’t felt the baby move. And while we have been reading books and planning the nursery, it all seems a bit surreal. Our teacher emphasized connecting our breath to our baby’s breath and focusing on our heartbeat being the sound our baby’s hear. It was truly the most connected I have felt to the baby so far. Throughout the class, our teacher would point out which positions were particularly important for strengthening our abdomens and our pelvic floors for labor. We spent considerable time stretching our hips and stomachs to create space for the baby. And finally, we spent about two minutes with our feet extended overhead pressed firmly against a wall of the studio to assist in the relief of the swelling in our feet and ankles. We ended our class by placing one hand over our heart and one on our baby with our eyes closed and our teach saying the words “let your breath be your baby’s breath.” What a wonderful and fulfilling experience. I cannot wait to go back next week!

Have any of you tried yoga or prenatal yoga? Do you find it helps you become more in tuned with your body or your baby?

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Pink and Green Thursday: Cupcake Wars

Do yall watch the show Cupcake Wars?  I get sucked into that show like you would not believe.  I could do without the corny jokes, but I love to see how creative people are.  Some of the flavor combinations that they throw at the contestants seem impossible to incorporate into a cupcake, but they always seem to manage.  Now matter what kind of cupcakes they whip together, I find myself craving a bite of something sweet.

Here are some images of pink and green cupcakes that make smile and make me very very hungry!

Are you a Cupcake War fan?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Trendy Wednesday - Neutral Nursery Inspiration

I mentioned that Mark and I have decided not to find out the gender of our baby.  At first, I found this decision really complicated how we would decorate the nursery.  I couldn't conceptualize a gender neutral space. 

Because Mark found many of the coffee and cream toned nurseries we looked at sterile or uptight, we decided to go with a green and white scheme.  We initially chose the scalloped pique bedding from Pottery Barn Kids in light green and the PBK chenille dot curtains in green, but I was having trouble tying in the paint colors with the fabrics, etc.  I had reached a point where I was frustrated and feeling like our nursery would never look the way they do in magazines.  And then I discovered Restoration Hardware Baby and Child!

I fell immediately in love with every room they featured.  Once Mark saw that linens and creams and whites could feel soft and sweet and reminiscent of all things baby, he changed his mind about a neutral toned nursery.  And the nursery preparation began!

Our inspiration is this RH Baby and Child nursery
I knew this was the one when I found myself finding time to go to their website just to look at it.  I love absolutely everything about this room! 

So far, we have secured the Adele extra wide dresser
I wanted something that would comfortably store all of the babies things.  I'm a "shover" - meaning that I will overstuff small drawers until everything I needed to fit in a dresser fits.  The problem is, it is impossible to keep that system going long term and have any semblance of order.  So we opted with the extra long dresser to have some additional space for the baby's clothes and supplies.

We have ordered the Adele topper
Rather than buying a changing table, we have decided to add this topper to the dresser to keep the baby nice and secure when we change him or her.

I think the reason I fell in love with the Adele collection was due to the bookcase
There was something about those little feet that I loved. 

There was a Serena and Lilly bedding set was just what I wanted, but at $950, there was no way we were going to get it.  The RH Baby and Child embroidered trellis & vintage wash percale nursery bedding had a very similar feel and a much better price.  We scooped it up this weekend and it gets delivered in mid-July.  I can't wait!!!

Here are a few other pieces that we're planning to add to the room...








I think for the crib we're going to choose the classic Jenny Lind crib.  We're getting ours from Pippen Lane where we will also get our glider.  We're waiting for the bedding to arrive so that we can be sure we choose a coordinating fabric that ties in with the bedding. 
I can't wait until everything arrives and we can start setting up!!!! 

Monday, June 13, 2011

Be My Guest


In the July 2011 issue of In Style, there is a feature titled "Your Houseguests will Love You!"  I don't know about you, but one of my very favorite things is getting our guest room ready for some much anticipated company.  This article had nine amazing tips to setting up the perfect guestroom.

1. Spring for Great Bedding
Look for high quality linens and add a cozy throw near the footboard or on a chair.
I love these cable-knit throws from Pottery Barn.  They make me want to cuddle up with a good book.

2. Leave a Sweet Treat:
I love to shop local and surprise our guests with something that they couldn't get anywhere but right here in New Orleans.  
The New Orleans Collection chocolate box from Sucre is the perfect alternative to a mint on your guest's pillow.

3. Lay Out a Luxe Robe:
I had never really thought about this, but as In Style says, your guests usually doesn't think to pack one.  Why not lay a freshly laundered robe out for their use during their stay.
In Style recommended this organic Khadi robe by Coyuchi

4. Find a Photo:
Dig up a photo of you and your guest from your childhood or from a special moment like your wedding.
This picture from our recruitment retreat would be a perfect one to put if one of my pledge sisters came to visit.  

5. Lead Them to Water
To avoid having your guest find their way to your kitchen in the dark, place a carafe near the bed for them.
I love this carafe and glass set from Design within Reach.

6. Let There Be Light
Provide your guest with a lamp so that they can catch up on their summer reading.
I think this Bungalow 5 Alexandra lamp from New Orleans' own home interiors shop Perch would add such a statement to a guest room side table.

7. Spread the News
Lay out a variety of magazines for your guest to peruse through.  If you know your guest favors a certain author, find their most recent paperback to add to your nightstand.
If your city has a publication, that would be a great way to introduce your guests to everything there is to see on their stay.  For me, New Orleans Magazine would be a great choice.

8. Order Cafe Service
I think everyone loves a quiet morning moment with the newspaper and a cup of coffee, so try adding a single cup coffee maker in your guest room.
We love our Keurig, and this mini version looks like a great choice for your guests!

9. Try It Out
Take a little trip of your own and spend the night in your guest room.  After your visit, you'll know just what extra touches you need to make your guests have the perfect experience in their home away from home.

Do you have anything that you do to get your guest room ready?  

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A New Orleans Staycation

A few months ago when my grandmother became ill, my family decided to take its vacation right here in New Orleans to stay close to home.  Can you think of any place better to spend a weekend?!  I love being a tourist in my own home town.  It's so easy to go through life not appreciating all of the amazing things that are around you.  So over the next few days, we will bask in the warm sunshine and take in the rich history, culture, and traditions New Orleans has to offer.  Here's a little peak into our weekend plans...

We will be checking into the Loews Hotel this evening where we will surely stop at the Swizzle Stick Bar for mojitos (faux-jitos for me!)

We're going to stop in on Jeremy Davenport's set at the Davenport Lounge in the Ritz Carlton for an evening of jazz before heading to dinner at every local's favorite secret treasure, Adolpho's.  It's a teeny little Italian place that sits above the Apple Barrel on Frenchman St.  Amazing food, great location, even better prices!

We're planning to stroll through the French Quarter and visiting the Prsebytre and Cabildo, two fabulous museums in Jackson Square.  Coveniently located just across the street is Stanley's where we'll be having lunch.  In my opinion, their Reuben cannot be beat!  And wouldn't it be nice to cap the day off with an afternoon carriage ride through the Quarter?

Saturday we plan to start the day at Cafe Du Monde with some beignets and cafe au lait.  There's no better breakfast in the world than that!  Then we'll take in the sights, sounds, and smells of the Seafood/Zydeco/Creole Tomato festival taking place throught the Quarter and the Marigny.

I think Saturday afternoon would be the perfect opportunity to stroll through the Shops at Canal Place where we can visit the makeup counters in Saks and check out the amazing sales at Anthropologie.  All this before we head to dinner at 5 Fifty 5!

Sunday will be a day of sleeping in and brunch.  Where, we have not yet decided!  But there's certainly no shortage of choices.  We're going to let the city lead us there. 

And we're off!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Tasty Tuesdays: Grilled Pineapple with Vanilla Ice Cream and Rum Sauce

Mark and I are helping to host a Hawaiian themed engagement party in just a few weeks.  How much fun! I'm picturing tiki torches and Hawaiian shirts and brightly colored flowers.  I also picture tablescapes accented with pineapples.  I love when florists use produce items in floral displays.  Have you seen this before?  I have seen it done with citrus fruits, apples, and pineapples.  I love the color and texture that they bring!  

There's something about a luau that makes me want pineapple upside down cake!  But this time of year, I tend to crave sweet treats paired with ice cream.  So, I searched the web for a tasty treat inspired by the islands that would be fabulous for a summer party.  This recipe for grilled pineapple with vanilla ice cream and rum sauce caught my eye, and I'm so glad it did.  I LOVE grilled pineapple.  It caramelizes so well!  So imagine that paired with vanilla ice cream and a rum accented caramel!  Mmmmm....

Ingredients

  • 1 (3 to 4 pound) pineapple
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rum
  • 1 pint light vanilla ice cream

Directions

Cut the top and bottom off of the pineapple, peel and cut it crosswise into 8 rings, about 1/2-inch each. Use a spoon or apple corer to carve out the center core of each ring.
Spray a large grill pan with cooking spray and heat over a medium flame. Grill the pineapple, in 2 or 3 batches, for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until it is nicely brown and grill marks have appeared. (You can also grill this on an outdoor grill sprayed with cooking spray before being heated.)
While the last batch of pineapple cooks, heat the butter, sugar and rum in a small saucepan over a low heat, stirring, until the sugar is dissolved and the sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. Remove the sauce from the heat.
Place a pineapple ring on each plate, scoop 1/4 cup of ice cream into the center of the ring, and drizzle about 2 teaspoons of sauce on top.
Have you tried grilled pineapple?  What do you think?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Krewe of Muses Goes Primetime

I don't know how many of you watch the HBO show Treme set in New Orleans post-Katrina, but on last night's episode, the show featured several minutes of the Krewe of Muses (the parade I ride in) 2011 ride.  It was soooo amazing to see it on television!  They got the whole atmosphere of the parade just right from the lights to the marching bands and the crowd shouting "a shoe, please a shoe."  I was so proud to be a part of this amazing group of women.  


Today on Nola.com, Dave Walker posted a great interview he had with one of our fabulous muses, Virginia Saussy.  In the article, Virginia explains more about the krewe.  I thought you might find it interesting.  I especially loved when she described how special it was to take place in the 2006 ride, the first one following the storm.  It was my first and most favorite ride.  Just as she describes, I remember turning the corner at St. Charles and Napoleon and seeing the crowds smiling and knowing that for so many it was the first time since August 28th that they knew they were home.  The number of people who had signs thanking us for riding was overwhelming.  I have never been so proud to be a part of Muses as I was that night.  Now for more from Virginia...

Muses explained: The colorful krewe featured in 'Treme's' season-two Mardi Gras episode

Published: Sunday, June 05, 2011, 10:00 PM
Several "Treme" characters attend the Krewe of Muses night parade in season two's episode seven. 
Muses ParadeKimberly Rivers Roberts gets the honorary ride in the famous giant shoe as Muses rolls up Napoleon Avenue on Thursday, February 19, 2009, in New Orleans.
Virginia Saussy is a Muses founding officer and chairman of theme and floats for the krewe. 
Muses "was started by our Captain Staci Rosenberg in 2000 (and we had our first parade in 2001) because she felt there were few affordable options for women to participate in a nighttime Mardi Gras parade," Saussy said, in an e mail Q&A. 
Is there a name for the troupe that carries the lighted, hand-held big shoes and butterflies on sticks in the parade? 
The lighted butterfly puppets began parading with the Muses in 2006 and the Krewe commissioned the talented puppeteer to design the lighted dancing shoe puppets to join in 2007.
What's up with the big lighted shoe? Who rode in it in 2007? Who rode in it in 2011?
Muses LOVE shoes. One Muse said they represent a great strength and a great weakness. The giant shoe float is 17 feet tall and is covered with fiber optic lighting that changes colors as it rolls down the Avenue.
Each year the shoe carries a special guest or honorary Muse. (The Krewe of Muses does not have a queen or king, like other parades. We consider every rider a queen.) In 2007 our honorary Muse was Erato, the Muse of Poetry - Brenda Marie Osbey, the Poet Laureate of Louisiana, who taught numerous literature subjects around the country and was twice appointed visiting writer-in residence at Tulane University and scholar-in-residence at Southern University.
Our 2011 Honorary Muse was Liz McCartney, Director of Development and Co-Founder of the St. Bernard Project, a non-profit organization that rebuilds storm-damaged homes and lives in St. Bernard and Orleans parishes. Liz was also named the CNN Hero of the Year in 2008 for her work with the St. Bernard Project. She was born and raised in Washington, D.C., but is now a proud New Orleans resident. Liz and the SBP team have rebuilt over 350 homes in the New Orleans area and also provide free mental health services to uninsured residents. Liz rode with Pamela Johnson, whose house is being rebuilt by St. Bernard Project with funds raised by Muses as well as some volunteer Muse workers. The house is due to be completed and ready for Pam to move home later this month.
 A Muses shoe has become one of the treasured parade keepsakes of Mardi Gras. When and how did that ritual start? 
After years of research, with several women claiming to be the first shoe glitterer, we have tracked a shoe back to 2001 and the first parade! The first year we made a bead with a medallion shaped like a high heeled pump, so one of the Muses went to a local thrift store, bought two pairs of pumps and glittered each shoe in the style of a Zulu coconut. The unique Zulu coconuts were our inspiration. Over the past 11 years, the shoes have become increasingly more detailed and elaborate (glitter, marabou, fur, feathers, bells, rhinestones, etc.) and one shoe takes a rider from several hours to several days to complete. Each is its own work of art. They are only done as single shoes, never in pairs. Each Muse is limited on how many shoes she is allowed to bring on the float so they are very special. Each shoe is marked with the year as well.
I've heard that there are shoe decorating parties. Do you have any tips for cleaning up a room after the glitter bomb goes off during one of those? 
Who cleans up? Most of us have given up on trying to clean up as the glitter NEVER goes away. Our saying is "Give into the glitter." Glitter has become a year-round part of our lives.
Do men flash at the floats? Successfully? 
Since the first year men have occasionally attempted flashing for Muses throws (because all of our throws are amazing and special - not just our glittered shoes)! However, Muses, and locals, as a rule, are opposed to flashing. It is for the trash and the tourists and we do not like it or encourage it in any way! What is undeniably more powerful then flashing is that men along the route tell each and every Muse that she is the most beautiful women he has ever seen continually...we are suckers for that. And yes, we know he says it to all of us! It still works.
Do women? 
Answered above!
What's the most successful way for parade-goers to negotiate for a shoe? 
Signs! We love some signs....especially signs with glitter. My favorite sign of all time was a young man's which said "I always put the seat down." I know of one ten year old girl who made a sign "Future Muse needs a shoe" and she got eight in one night. Others have included "Shoe Fetish" and "Closeted Glitter Addict" - the more creative the signs, the better you do! It is also essential that you be close to the float as the shoes are handed down gently and cannot be thrown into the crowd. (Examples of these signs can be seen on the Krewe of Muses Facebook page.)
 From the perspective of a Muse, what's that exchange like when it happens? 
We say a shoe isn't finished until you hand it off the float! I love handing it to someone who totally does not expect it. You just know you made that person's night!
One of the characters in the episode catches some beads with a Muses shoe on it. Are there Muses-specific throws, and how do you come up with those? What's your all-time favorite? 
Each year Muses has a different shoe bead -- a pump, a platform, a mule, a boot. It changes each year. In 2007 it was a boot made to look like the one worn by Wonder Woman. Our theme was "The Adventures of Super Muse," a superhero character, who came back post-Katrina to clean up New Orleans. If there was ever a time we needed a superhero in New Orleans it was 2007. So she wore superhero boots of course!
The Krewe of Muses is known for unique logoed throws - around 30 different items each year. Over the past 11 years we have thrown pedicure kits, satin sleep masks, the first plush spears, mini-radios, light up rings, flashing bracelets, shoe beads, glitter powder puffs, fiber optic beads, recyclable grocery bags, backpacks, lunch boxes..a variety of amazing throws.
How is each year's theme picked? Who composes the satirical float cartoons? (I know that's not the right word. What is?) Do subjects of the satire ever act like soreheads? What's your all-time favorite float theme or joke or whatever you call it? 
Each year The Captain and I try to come up with a theme that has not been done before. It sounds easy, but a good satirical parade theme is like one joke with 23 punch lines, .one for each float. Then a theme committee is formed to take the theme and turn it into 23 different floats, each funny on its own! Then the artist from Kern studios works with me to develop each float, the prop on the front, artwork for the sides, sometimes an extra joke on the back. We often do not complete a float until the day before the parade.
I have a few all time favorites and 2007 was one of them with the Adventures of Super Muse. We produced 35,000 comic books to go along with the theme and threw them from the floats! Each float was a nemesis or hero. Our mayor at the time was "Mighty Mouth" and our governor was "Wondering Woman." Former Congressman Bill Jefferson was "Mr. Freeze" because of the cash the feds found in his freezer.
Satirical parades in New Orleans are a great way for all of us to vent! We have the attitude "If we don't laugh we cry." Most of the subjects of our satire can laugh it off. Some find it to be a huge honor to be spoofed by a krewe and a few have even tried to purchase their props as a keepsake! And then there are those who have never gotten over it and still hold a grudge.
What's up with the costumes you ladies wear on the floats?
The riders in the Krewe of Muses parade wear two different toga-style costumes that change each year. In 2007 we actually wore royal blue and red -- superhero colors. In 2011 we wore black and white. Each float competes in a contest for the most creative headdress to go along with their float theme each year and the winners rides the title float the following year.
I know that step one is not being a dude, but how does one join Muses or roll with your parade? 
For the first 10 years of the Krewe of Muses existence we were an open membership, inclusive organization. We felt it was important to create a carnival organization that all women (over the age of 18) could join. The result is the most racially and socioeconomically diverse krewe in Mardi Gras. We are very proud of this.
We currently have 875 riding members, as there are a limited number of spots on the floats, and over 1,000 women on the waiting list who are considered non-riding members. At the moment, our list is closed, since it had grown so large. Each year we auction off one ride in the parade on eBay to benefit a chosen charity.
Do you have a favorite moment or two from your own rides? Something that distills the Muses experience? 
Each year as we turn on to the official route and the parade starts, it is my favorite moment. I get as excited as a five-year-old on Christmas morning! And then for hours you feel like a rock star and it is the most amazingly fun thing you could possibly do. It is a high that holds me over for 365 days! 
The parade of 2006 was incredible and meaningful! Because it was the first Mardi Gras after Katrina, there was a surge of New Orleanians who came home for the first time since the storm to be a part of Mardi Gras again. People had signs saying "Thank you for riding" and we loved every second of it. And for many of us that year, it was the first time we felt like life had gone back to normal since the storm, at least for the duration of the parade.
Our parade that year ended with a special float. Mnemosyne, in Greek mythology, the mother of the Muses and the goddess of memory, was the last float. It was dominated by a huge head prop of a beautiful woman with large tears rolling down her face and said "We celebrate life, We mourn the past, We will never forget." We rolled it empty, no riders, in memory of all of that New Orleans had lost in and since Katrina. After laughter came the tears and there was not a dry eye on the Avenue. I think everyone felt the same way.
And the last float in 2007 was a great and appropriate message as well! It was our Siren, who usually ends each parade with her own joke or statement and she said "You Have the Power to Save New Orleans." The last page of the comic book had a list of ways people could volunteer. I love that message!
What's the theme for next year's parade? 
The parade theme is ALWAYS secret. You find out when we roll the Thursday night before Mardi Gras! 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Mmmmm... I Spotted Something Tasty

I was going through blogger this afternoon and I came across a fabulous post at A Wedding Story introducing me to a food and recipe website that I had not heard of before called Taste Spotting.  I don't know about you, but I am a very visual person.  If I read a recipe, but I don't see a picture, I am less likely to choose it than if it was accompanied by a photo.  Well, Taste Spotting ensures that every recipe has a picture of the finished product.  In fact, that's the premise of the site.  You are able to view images of delectable looking menu items and then click on the image to be directed to the blog where the image and recipe were originally posted.  Genious!  Here are a few pictures that I found intriguing that led me to some amazingly wonderful blogs...

Gluten Free Cinnamon and Sugar Popovers by Minimally Invasive

Chicken Chili Verde by Sweet Savory Planet

Bacon Lover's Mac and Cheese by Annie Eats

Spicy Stuffed Mushrooms by The Sweets Life

Pine Nut Rosemary Ice Cream by Pastry Studio

Did you know about Taste Spotting?  If not, what new recipes are you interested in finding?

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