WWT’s 2nd Episode: All Things New Orleans and Mardi Gras

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Click to listen to our NOLA podcast!

To find information on Mardi Gras:

Mardi Gras Parade Schedule 2020

https://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/parades/

Tours and entertainment:

Ghost tours via Trip Advisor:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Search?q=ghost%20tours&searchSessionId=78DD8D500192109089092921EDA4DBCE1582583446357ssid&sid=A5C5CC4E8BFD88131B8ABE975C4690421582583470808&blockRedirect=true&ssrc=a&geo=60864

New Orleans Ghost, Voodoo & Vampire Walking Tour (2 hours along, walking, entertaining $14)

https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g60864-d11453064-New_Orleans_Ghost_Voodoo_Vampire_Walking_Tour-New_Orleans_Louisiana.html

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop

http://www.lafittesblacksmithshop.com/Homepage.html

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop is a historic structure at the corner of Bourbon Street and St. Philip Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans, Louisiana. Most likely built as a house in the 1770s during the Spanish colonial period, it is one of the oldest surviving structures in New Orleans. 

Food and History tour, French Quarter Food Tour, $65

https://www.tripadvisor.com/AttractionProductReview-g60864-d11454049-New_Orleans_Food_and_History_Tour-New_Orleans_Louisiana.html

River Boat Tours:

Creole Queen Mississippi River Cruise

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60864-d2178225-Reviews-Creole_Queen_Mississippi_River_Cruises-New_Orleans_Louisiana.html

Steamboat Natchez River Cruise

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g60864-d549409-Reviews-Steamboat_Natchez-New_Orleans_Louisiana.html

Plantation house: Oak Alley Plantation

https://www.oakalleyplantation.com/sugarcane-plantation/plantation-tours

Carriage ride in French Quarters

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Products-g60864-zfc11970-zfg11873-New_Orleans_Louisiana.html?m=40646&supag=74046479642&supsc=aud-448833066947:dsa-650389793948&supai=358052534553&supap=&supdv=c&supnt=nt:g|clk:CjwKCAiAhc7yBRAdEiwAplGxX6E-FdyJQv7Dkyb5YHGkaiV_rrRwqfI-yfa4QkS6Qu1UFdagTDjT8RoClYwQAvD_BwE&suplp=9012211&supli=&supti=aud-448833066947:dsa-650389793948&tsem=true&supci=aud-448833066947:dsa-650389793948&supap1=&supap2=&gclid=CjwKCAiAhc7yBRAdEiwAplGxX6E-FdyJQv7Dkyb5YHGkaiV_rrRwqfI-yfa4QkS6Qu1UFdagTDjT8RoClYwQAvD_BwE

Graves/ grave yard

Nicholas Cage has his grave here even though he’s not dead yet, but it’s the only thing the government couldn’t take when he went bankrupt.

https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/nicolas-cage-s-pyramid-tomb

Marie Laveau’s fake grave is purple…painted over from the people drawling one it and making wishes.

https://www.roadsideamerica.com/story/43436

Museums

Mardi Gras museum

of costumes and culture: off conti street

https://www.mardigrasworld.com

Jazz museum:

piano, saxophone:celebrate all forms of jazz 400 Esplanade Ave

https://nolajazzmuseum.org

WW2 museum ( NOLA’s #1 Attraction )

The National WWII Museum, formerly known as The National D-Day Museum, is a military history museum located in the Central Business District of New Orleans, Louisiana, USA, on Andrew Higgins Drive between Camp Street and Magazine Street. Magazine street.

https://www.nationalww2museum.org

Old New Orleans rum,  2815 Frenchmen St, spiced rum world 2nd largest producer. “I drink and I know things”

https://celebrationdistillation.com

House of Blues: 

https://www.houseofblues.com/neworleans

Hole in the wall

Bookstores: 

William Faulkner House Books

https://faulknerhousebooks.com

Librarie

https://www.neworleans.com/listing/librarie-book-shop/33003/

Dauphin Street Book

https://www.facebook.com/DauphineStreetBooks/

Cape Robbin shoes on IG: @caperobbin, 

Food

Breakfast:

Café Du Monde:

Homepage

Cafe Fleur de Lis -breakfast BACON, strawberry mimosa

http://www.cafefleurdelis.com

Coterie restaurant & oyster bar

http://coterienola.com

Lunch:

Acme oyster house: Po boy, char grilled oysters, drunk root beer float.

https://acmeoyster.com

Napoleon oyster house

https://www.napoleonhouse.com

Central Grocery for homemade soda, looks like an old dinner:

http://www.centralgroceryneworleans.com

Coops Place (across for bb kings):

https://www.coopsplace.net

Dinner:

Apple Place :Aldolfo’s on Frenchmen St-cash, bottom bar, special sauce

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g60864-d445261-Reviews-Adolfo_s-New_Orleans_Louisiana.html

Dickie Brennan’s steakhouse:

https://www.dickiebrennanssteakhouse.com

HOUSE OF BOURBON:

https://www.bourbonhouse.com

Oceana Grill:

Oceana Grill Home – New Orleans Restaurant

Music/nightlife:

Cat’s Meow for Karaoke:

http://catskaraoke.com

Fortune Telling, Live music, Art in Jackson Square:

http://www.experienceneworleans.com/jackson-square.html

Bb kings blues club(BBQ)

https://www.bbkings.com/new-orleans

Places to stay

Astor Crown plaza:

https://www.astorneworleans.com

The Marque suite, sister hotel on canal street:

https://www.bluegreenvacations.com/resorts/louisiana/the-marquee#gref

Hilton

http://www.hilton.com/search/hi/us/la/new_orleans/0/00000000000/0/0/0/0/10?WT.mc_id=zlada0ww1hi2psh3ggl4advbpp5dkt6multibr7_153669424_1003528&gclsrc=aw.ds&&gclid=CjwKCAiAhc7yBRAdEiwAplGxX3OIgTnaIsZXGK2PqWZvb98OhjiYn1fAKITnMqaRjvGZiJaCoxZ0oBoCpc4QAvD_BwE

Thank you for tuning in. Send us a message if you have questions or need more recommendations!

WWT’s Episode 1: “All Things Fort Myers”

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“All Things Fort Myers” The Who Wear There Podcast with the Travel Brats

Fort Myers Beach— 

Hang out places:

Lani Kai Beach Resort:

A great place for live music, tropical drinks, beach front service, sports like volleyball and bean bags, and meeting other fun people!

https://lanikaiislandresort.com

IG: https://www.instagram.com/thelanikai/?hl=en

Getaway Marina:

(I called it Mike’s Marina, but it’s actually Getaway Marina): Grab place to rent boats, kayaks, fishing and other watersports

https://www.getawaymarina.com

Places to eat and drink:

Doc Ford: 

https://www.docfords.com/ft-myers-beach/

IG: https://www.instagram.com/docfords/

Nervous Nellie’s:

http://www.nervousnellies.net

IG: https://www.instagram.com/nervousnelliesfmb/

Bonita Bills Waterfront Cafe:

https://bonitabills.com

PierSide Grill:

https://piersidegrill.com/

Sunset Bar and Grill:

http://sunsetbeachtropicalgrill.com

IG: https://www.instagram.com/sunsetbeachgrill/

Salty Crab (Rum Buckets): 

https://saltycrabbarandgrill.com

IG: https://www.instagram.com/SaltyCrabBarGrill/

Great Live Music —

The Cottage Bar and Grill

https://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com/listing/gulfshore-grill/45911

Love Boat Ice Cream:

https://loveboaticecream.com

https://www.instagram.com/loveboaticecream/

For more on Fort Myers Beach, 

https://www.fortmyers-sanibel.com

https://www.instagram.com/ftmyerssanibel/

Downtown:

For Brunch and hanging out: 

Social House

http://www.downtownsoho.com

First Watch — The Daytime Cafe

https://www.firstwatch.com

Lunch: 

Cabos Cantina Taco and Tequila Bar

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g34230-d3636362-Reviews-Cabos_Cantina_Taco_Tequila_Bar-Fort_Myers_Florida.html

Downtown House of Pizza

https://downtownhouseofpizza.com

Coffee and Teas:

http://www.kapuakavabar.com

Bars:

City Tavern 

https://mycitytavern.com

Sky Bar

http://www.firestonefl.com

Celsius Night Club

https://www.facebook.com/celsius239/

Entertainment/Art:

Hotel Indigo

https://www.ihg.com/hotelindigo/hotels/us/en/fort-myers/fmymb/hoteldetail

For Upcoming Plays

http://www.floridarep.org

AIRPORT

Fly Fort Myers (RSW)

https://www.flylcpa.com

https://www.instagram.com/flyrsw/

Flight Recommendations

Southwest Airlines: 

https://www.southwest.com

https://www.instagram.com/southwestair/?clk=GFOOTER-INSTAGRAM

To track flight prices:

The Hopper App

https://www.hopper.com

https://www.instagram.com/hopper/

Traveling Deals to save $$$$:

Trip Advisor

https://www.tripadvisor.com

https://www.instagram.com/tripadvisor/?hl=en

Global Entry Information (Known Traveler):

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry

Locate enrollment center: 

https://www.cbp.gov/travel/trusted-traveler-programs/global-entry/enrollment-centers

By Florida Gulf Coast University

Foodies 

Bahia Bowls — Acía Bowls

https://bahiabowls.com

FK Your Diet

https://www.fkyourdiet.com

Fancys Southern Cafe

https://fancyssoutherncafe.com

Artisan Eatery

https://artisaneatery.com

previous blog: 

https://thoughtfulblonde.com/2018/12/16/hidden-gem-in-fort-myers-artisan-eatery/

Divieto Ristorante 

https://www.divietoristorante.com

Follow @fgcufoodgods for more local good finds!

Shopping: 

Coconut Point

https://www.simon.com/mall/coconut-point

Miromar Outlets

https://www.miromaroutlets.com

Entertainment:

Game Time

https://www.gametimeplayers.com/locations/fortmyers/?gclid=Cj0KCQiAs67yBRC7ARIsAF49CdXElwKe2JkxghSdoQLyjht7avUczPEZEiZlMcrrPgMV0zZAj8pOIosaAgxaEALw_wcB

Dave and Buster’s

https://www.daveandbusters.com

Painting with a twist

https://www.paintingwithatwist.com/studio/fort-myers/

Movie Theatre in Coconut Point

https://www.regmovies.com/theatres/regal-coconut-point/1611#/buy-tickets-by-cinema?in-cinema=1611&at=2020-02-18&view-mode=list/

 

If you have questions, message me and I’d be happy to chat!

How I Grew When Life’s Game Plan Changed

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A chapter in my life closed, abruptly, before I really knew how to process my reality and the emotions that would follow a faint goodbye. A month has passed since I moved back to Florida after believing I’d be gone for nearly 2 years.

Plans changed. My roadmap of what my life was SUPPOSE to look like shifted. Being able to write and share that it’ll all work out has given me peace within this chaos of grieving and starting over.

When I chose to go into Peace Corps almost a year ago now, I thought I had found my calling and I knew exactly what I was suppose to do; I was going to be of service to others. I had a glow in me for months before I left, a glow that is hard to describe to this day. Then, one day, I woke up and that spark in me was gone. It faded slowly over time until I didn’t recognize myself, my habits, or my new day to day behaviors. I was going against my intuition at so many turns, and my heart and mind weren’t on the same page. My heart wanted to stay, to serve, to love, to give, to be, but my rational fears were greater. So I broke my own heart, in order to follow what I knew to be right for me. I see now, no one was benefiting from that. 

Sometimes, it’s hard for me to talk about my Peace Corps experience in its entirety because although I left, it doesn’t mean I don’t wonder. I wonder about the people, the work I did, my school, and my kids. I wonder if anything I did stuck or mattered. I wonder if I was of service. I wonder if things could have been different had I spoken up sooner. I’m human and I wonder, a lot. I spend nights awake, hoping that I’m moving in the right direction, hoping that I am taking care of myself.

But as my mind runs wild, I try to calm it.

Knowing that the ‘what if’ game is torture to every inch of me.

What have I learned from starting over again?

I’ve learned, I need to trust my intuition and protect my well-being.

I can be strong by being vulnerable, asking for help, and accepting that sometimes I need a hand to hold onto.

I don’t need to justify my reasons or prove myself to anyone. I know my truths. 

My self-worth is not equated with my accomplishments, titles, or roles. I’m enough, worthy, and loved for just being me. I am enough and I’m free of the burdens to be something I’m not.

This is not a failure for me, this was part of the plan. I did something I had always wanted to do and I did my very best, but there were factors out of my own control, ones I couldn’t live with. So instead of having to justify anything or belittling my time away, I’ve learned to love my experience for all that it was. I even love the parts that left me a little bruised and fragile because it’s allowed me to rebuild stronger, fuller and better than before.

I don’t know what’s next or what tomorrow holds, but I do know that I am stronger now because I am choosing to just be. I do know that it’s dark before the dawn, and this life really is sweet, even when it’s heavy.

My Story: A Piece of Promise, Closure & Moving On

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The right words to write this last month to sum up my experience haven’t come to me until more recently. These last 30-40 days since I made my decisions to leave Peace Corps, to leave Grenada, a place that I had called my 2nd home has been extremely eye-opening in countless ways, but the hardest part was finally allowing myself to follow my intuition to alter my commitments of service. There were a lot of moving parts that went into the good-bye and the final decision because when it came to the core of it all, I knew that staying was breaking my heart more than leaving would. 


I’ve decided to share the trying parts of my story in case it may provide insight or spark connection.


I understand that social media can be allusive, and confusing to what reality is at times, especially since I chose to highlight the highs. Truthfully though, there were absolutely beautiful moments there and my hard times don’t belittle the love and beauty I felt on Grenada. I chose to keep the burdens to myself, and remain resilient through things that were really heavy to carry. I worked so hard everyday to consciously focus on the good, and that resulted in me minimizing my truth, to make it less than what it was. I felt as if I didn’t acknowledge it as reality, it was not happening. My mind convinced me that if I didn’t talk about it, I didn’t have to deal with it. And boy, was I so wrong.


I confided in my closest people because I didn’t feel like myself anymore. I worried my motivation, my mental health, and my being were never going to be my friends again. As I mentioned before, security was a major component and concern for me and it only intensified while I was there, bringing on an array of problems. Some things beyond my control were at play and my situation and placement fell through the cracks because of it. I fell through the cracks.


This is not the reality of every Peace Corps Volunteer at all— everyone’s story is different, special, and unique. Mine just got cut short, and God granted me grace to choose differently. You don’t realize how important your safety is until you feel so powerless and exposed everyday. I knew that PC would not be easy and it challenged me in ways that grew me beautifully, but it hit a point where I couldn’t stay any longer due to rational fears. 


So now fast forward to being home the last two and half weeks, my mind was bogged down with the reality of guilt, grief for the ending of a chapter, and new realizations about my essence that I never dared to acknowledge before. I’ve been getting help and support where I needed it the most, and I feel like I can breathe. There are parts of me that I’m rebuilding and making stronger, but there’s a lingering guilt that I felt since I am no longer in Grenada. I miss moments on Grenada. I miss my school. I miss my kids. I miss my Peace Corps friends. I miss living in another culture.  And it’s okay to miss all those things while also wanting distance and closure. But, I know that God has a plan for me and my Peace Corps journey was meant to be 6 months, no matter how badly I wanted it to be the full-time. I know in my heart that I did the best I could and advocated for myself along the way.


Now I understand the importance of trusting my intuition. So I just want to say my little bit that I wish I was reminded…… know that you’re never stuck. You’re never trapped. You’re never alone, and it does get better when you allow yourself to release, forgive, and accept help. It’s all going to be okay, no matter what season of life you’re in. Thank you for allowing me to share my piece!

How I Found Self-Love and Respect By Advocating For Myself

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Before Peace Corps, there were many instances where I sold myself short, took less than I worked for, bent until I broke, and became a designated floor mat. I would shrink in situations that made me uncomfortable and gravitated towards being a peace keeper instead of being true to my core and exigencies. By being a peace keeper and labelling myself level-minded and conscious, I sold off bits of who I am to appease others and now as I sit in a small room in a country far away, I see how desperately I needed those pieces I so freely gave away. It became essential to me to rebuild my fortitude.


“I want to be virtuous and live with integrity,” I said many times before. “I want to empower other women and inspire those around me,” I said more times than I can count. Yet, I was passive and behaved in a way that didn’t align with my essence and the goals I had for the woman I was creating. I’d apologize when I didn’t need to and frankly, I got tired of hearing the word ‘sorry’ come out of my mouth when it wasn’t called for. It took me so long to get on board with the idea, not all relationships, friendships, and connections can or should be salvaged and restored. I had to release the desire to control what was out of my grasp, and work on areas of my life that would bring me peace and self-respect.


I wanted to empower women to be their best self and to be go-getters and dreamers and doers, yet, I was staying small and keeping my voice to a whisper in the background. It’s taken months of reflection, conscious writings, and deliberate changes to my behavior to understand my place in this world and where my soul feels most alive, but it’s here and now. As I write, I see more clearly. My journey in Peace Corps has forced me to break away from the shell I gladly hid behind; I saw that my voice and perspective is meant to be shared and adds values to the conversation. By advocating for myself and my ideas, I have a greater respect for my truth and capabilities.


It happened gradually, then one day, I looked around me and everything in my world was different. I wasn’t content with mediocrity or lack of consideration. I wasn’t content with ‘this is the way things are done’. I began to question power, procedures, and my new norms, and by having open and honest conversations while being cognizant of other’s perceptions and realities, I witnessed a pragmatic shift in my interactions, my confidence, and my relationships.


I was no longer searching for validation or affirmation. I gave myself the endorsement to go after what I want, to speak up when I am uncomfortable or have an idea for the betterment of a system, and to know that I am capable, valuable, and  decisive. By advocating for myself, I created the self-worth that I had always dreamed of having. It’s not easy getting to a place where you feel comfortable sending query emails, raising your hand, interjecting into conversations, sharing a different point of view or belief, but it’s so worth it. I spent so many years biting my tongue, but I want to walk the walk and talk the talk that I preach. I am so ready to take on 2020 with a focus on self-love, self-respect, and leaving everything I touch better than I found it.

Island Hopping Guide to Grenada’s Carriacou

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I live on the beautiful island of Grenada, which is only 100 miles north of Venezuela and located in the Eastern Caribbean. Grenada is only 12 miles wide and 21 miles long with a little over 100,000 residents. Living the island life very much so comes with the small town vibes of knowing your neighbors and seeing familiar faces no matter where you are on the island. Grenada is south of St. Vincent and the Grenadines which are made up of 32 islands and cays. Grenada claims two of the Grenadines islands,Petit Martinique and Carriacou. 


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A few weeks ago, I took myself on a quick solo trip to Carriacou. The island’s name equates to “Land of Reefs” and is home to only 8,000 residents. It’s a very quaint, quiet, and beautiful island. It was very easy to get to from the mainland of Grenada by plane or boat. I prefer ferry because it’s very reliable and allows you to have different views of the island, and SVG Air cancelled my flight home.


So I took the Osprey Lines ferry; it docks in the Carenage and departs everyday at 9am. You can’t buy your ticket online, so you just have arrive a little early to purchase one.  It’s 80EC, so it’s less than $65 for a roundtrip to go island hopping! Then, it’s just a quick two hour boat ride, and you can easily get a taxi once you arrive in Carriacou. 


Once I got to Carriacou, I booked at a cute, boutique hotel that was right on the water. I spent my entire time there lounging in a beach chair, swimming, reading, and eating so much food at the hotel’s restaurant. It’s without a doubt one of the most relaxing and serene places I’ve ever been with the kindest locals and I hope everyone gets a chance to do a little island hopping. I am going again mid December when my dad comes down, and I will updated the blog with more activities, restaurants, and museums to visit. I have every intention of going snorkeling and exploring more local events!

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If you have an questions, leave a comment or message me. Enjoy! 

6 Life-Changing Realizations I’ve Had During 2019

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There’s only a month left of 2019, and my 23rd birthday is quickly approaching. I’ve had a lot of revelations this year because I am living outside of my comfort zone and experiencing so many differing perspectives. This year, I graduated college, joined Peace Corps, and moved to a Caribbean island. I now know that I don’t have to be who I’ve always been, and I can heal wounds, forgive myself, and move forward. So here are big realizations I’ve had this year:


  1. An eye for an eye (revenge) is not how I’m going to live my lifeWhen someone does me wrong or I get my feelings hurt, I remind myself that it’s not personal; people’s decisions, opinions, and actions are often a reflection of how they feel about themselves or are formed by baggage that they carry. {Whether we choose to be transparent or not, we all have our own hurts, pains, insecurities, and shortcomings that we can either fall victim to or work through and heal; I’m choosing the latter.} When I can forgive and repair, I do it willingly, but there are times when it’s best to forgive, move on, and release the burdensome pressure. I’ve learned it’s best not to have long-term resentment, aggression, or anger towards others, it just hurts more as time passes. All in all, I believe in people and we’re all just doing the best we can, but when we know better, we must choose to do better. When it’s said and done, I know I have the power to remove myself from toxic situations and relationships.

  2. Letting go of things/people that I’ve outgrown has allowed me to spread my wings and recenter my thinking. When I set my mind to something, I invest wholeheartedly, but sometimes, the reality doesn’t match the truth inside my head. I’ve had to spend a lot of time working, growing, and learning about false realities I wanted and created to get to the root of my ideologies and beliefs. When I let go of the delusional of all the what if’s or could be’s, I started to have a clearer picture of my reality and the more positive direction I wanted to move towards. I realized I didn’t have to stay in the same state of mind I’ve always been in.

  3. Saying ‘no’ is so powerful. Setting boundaries is refreshing, and serves so many purposes in my life. Going off into the Peace Corps this year has taught me the importance of setting boundaries early on while also voicing my opinion and considerations. It’s allowed to me to devote my time and energy to my passions and do away with time fillers and wasters. I am not beneficial to anyone when I am over extended or a scattered brain. By setting boundaries and using my voice, I have shown others that I value myself, my time, and the work I’m dedicated to.

  4. Trusting in the season of my life has allowed me to breathe and find peace in my now. There have been many times where I feel unsettled and restless, wanting to know what’s next or why x, y, or z hasn’t happened yet. I have many short-term and long-term goals for myself, and at times that gives me a false illusion like I know what my future holds or what the next stage holds. I’m in an amazing chapter of my life right now, and I’m learning to just enjoy the moments as they come. I still challenge and push myself, but I’ve given up trying to ‘play God’ and map out my entire life. It’s okay that I don’t know what’s next. It’s okay that I’m single. It’s okay that I’m in this season of my life in another country.

  5. Hard work always pays off, tenfold.  Growing up in Indiana, I had many factors in my life that taught me about being disciplined, having great work ethic, and the value of genuinely helping others, and eventually, I developed the work ethic I have now. While in college, I took on so many jobs, internships, and extra curricular activities. I loved being a part of things greater than myself, being a team player. By working hard, I have developed skills and a value adding mindset that I’ll carry with me no matter where I go, and I learned the value of communicating well, showing up, and always doing the best work I am capable of. So if you ever feel like your work is taking you in circles, recenter your thinking and know that being a smart worker is a valuable asset.

  6. In order to grow, I need to invest in myself. As a volunteer working in the education sector, I have fallen in love with learning again. I am gaining knowledge from the time I get up until I go to bed. I apply myself, and believe I am capable in all that I do. That belief has allowed me to get positions within Peace Corps that allow me to enhance my ability to write and edit, it’s allowed me to get accepted in an online MBA program, it’s allowed me to read more books in a month than I ever thought possible. When I invest in myself, sky really is the limit. I hope you invest in yourself too and see just how capable you are. 

 

 

These views are my own and do not reflect those of the US government or Peace Corps.