DIY Mardi Gras Tree

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Mardi Gras is just around the corner here in Louisiana! King cakes abound, parades coming through town, and beads all around. It’s a unique holiday that is especially celebrated here in the boot state, and one that is full of fun and folly.

Mardi Gras is french for Fat Tuesday, which is, in it’s own way, celebrated in my home state of Michigan with packzis binges. Side note – keep an eye out for the king cake/packzi mash up recipe I am going to be popping out soon! But here in Louisiana, Mardi Gras is a season-long event that only ends on Fat Tuesday.

Today I have decided to share with you all, a simple decoration that I have brought together to celebrate the Mardi Gras season. In this house, the Christmas tree stays up all year long. Not because we are too lazy to take it down, but because we have absolutely nowhere for it to go once it comes down. Because of this, I have decided to decorate the tree for Mardi Gras!

It truly wasn’t too hard, and is budget friendly. I already had the tree, so all I needed were some decorations!

The purple lights were bought from Lowe’s after Halloween when they were having a clearance deal on purple, orange, and lime green string lights.

Here are some purple string lights on Amazon that would do nicely, if you don’t own any.

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Next, you can choose a garland, if you’d like. I used some Mardi Gras beads that Taylor and I bought last year. You can also choose to use Mardi Gras boa scarfs from Dollar Tree!

Here are some beads I found on Amazon!

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You can also decorate using ornaments. We actually had some purple ornaments from Christmas that I kept on the tree, and then I went out and bought some additional ornaments from Walmart. They had some purple, green, and gold combo sets!

If you missed the Christmas clearance, here are some ornaments I found on Amazon!

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You can also jazz it up with some unique Mardi Gras style masks. Dollar Tree has a small selection. They also have adorable mini gold, green, and purple hats. I am in love with these French Quarter street signs.

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For a tree topper, I decided to go with a jester hat!

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Put it all together, and you’ve got a focal piece for your Mardi Gras celebration.

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Party in a Pin: Navy & White Picnic

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Here is my guide to a proper, classy picnic. Just imagine, the warm sun, the soft grass, the birds singing in the distance…

It would be perfect for a bridesmaid’s brunch, or anniversary party!

First things first. You need a basket. Here is one of my favorites. It is a deluxe picnic set, but you can easily find a basket from the thrift store, and buy some cheap dollar store dishes to make your own, if you’d life.

VonShef Deluxe 4 Person Folding Handle Picnic Basket Set

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Once you have your basket, you can get some decorations for your picnic. If you plan on having your picnic under a tree, consider some hanging decorations to give extra dimension to your scene. I think these ones would pair nicely with the VonShef basket.

Furuix 10 Piece White & Navy Blue Decorations

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You will also need some romantic candles! Get some flameless ones to avoid an accidental fire. The ones I listed below are 24 for 8.99. That’s a pretty good deal for those suckers.

Flameless LED Tea Light Candles (24 Pack)

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You can even get some glass votive jars for them.

Hosley Set of 12 Crystal Clear Glass Votives

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You will also need at least one flower vase, so if you don’t have one, consider one like this:

Glass Vase 10″x2″, Blue

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Next, of course, you need to figure out food arrangements. Is there a restaurant near by? Consider picking up carry-out meals if you are wanting a more sophisticated lunch or dinner. This way, it will still be hot by the time you make it to the park. You will also want to make sure you’ve packed up a couple closed bottles of wine to take, too.

Then, you need to consider what you will wear. I think that a lovely fit-and-flare dress just screams picnic.

Missmay® Women’s Vintage Style Fit & Flare

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For shoes, I recommend flats or sandals.

Fioni Women’s Silver Women’s Prize Flat Sling 9 Regular

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There you have it! Your guide to a high-class picnic.

Don’t forget to check the weather!

Netflix Girl’s Night – January Edition

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Today, I am really missing some of my best friends. You might know how it is, just wanting to eat junk food, vent it all out, and not wear pants.

Did I make you miss your bestie?

Here are 5 Great Netflix Rom-Coms so you can pencil in a last minute girls night.

Don’t have Netflix?

You can buy ALL of these movies for just $30 to add to your collection.

Click the titles to buy on Amazon.

1.) How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days

This is one of my favorite romantic comedies of ALL TIME. No matter how many times I watch it, it’s still funny, and still cute.

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2.) 10 Things I Hate About You

I love you baby, and if it’s quite alright,  I need you baby to warm the lonely nights….

You know you can’t resist that scene, no matter how improbable it is.

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3.) Can’t Buy Me Love

In my personal opinion, this movie doesn’t get enough love.

Long before he was Dr. McDreamy, he was nerdy little Ronny, trying to earn- or well, buy, – the love of the beautiful Cindy Mancini.

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4.) The Prince & Me

This is another one of my favorites. Finally, a fairy tale for college girls.

Remember that scene in the Library? I think you need to see it again.

NOTE: I do not endorse any of the several sequels it spawned. Sub-par.

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5.) Kate & Leopold

Because Meg Ryan is the only of the three Rom-Com queens to not have the name Julia,

and to prove Hugh Jackman could be a dashing time traveler, and a mutant.

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Thanks for reading!

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Games That Give Family Game Night a New Edge

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I love games. I have always enjoyed sitting down with some close friends or my family and challenging each other to a round of Monopoly, or some other game that had been dusted off for the evening. Games offer a special opportunity for us to sit down, see one another, and actually enjoy the company of others around us. Sometimes you’re working together, sometimes you’re working against each other, but at least you’re together.

Here I have compiled a list of some modern games that can amplify your family game night so that you don’t have to play Sorry! again this week.

1.) Betrayal At House On The Hill – 2nd Edition by Avalon Hill

I learned of this game through a friend, and we played it for hours. Not because it’s a long game, but because it was fun. The premise of this game is that every person selects a character from the game (think Clue) and your characters are trapped in a derelict house. The characters explore the house, by placing room tiles where they explore. In the room, you could get extra boost points for fighting, or movement, you could find a special item that will help you defeat “the bad guy,” or you could trigger an event that could change up the game. Each game is different depending on the cards drawn, and the dice rolled. This game is on the darker side, so it is rated 12+. It can have 3-6 players.

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2.) Pandemic Board Game by Z-Man Games

This game, like the above, is suggested for teenagers. It is designed for 2-4 Players, and it is similar to Betrayal of the House on the Hill in that you are assigned a character. This game, however, is intended to be slightly less…morbid. The premise is that each of you has set skills, and you must work cooperatively to destroy a dangerous and deadly disease before it causes a Pandemic. It has high ratings for a reason – it’s almost addicting. The game changes every time you play it, so it will keep you on the edge of your seat, too.

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3.) Ticket To Ride by Days of Wonder

Ticket To Ride has a younger age range than the others above. It is recommended for ages 8+ and can have 2-5 players. The idea of this game is that you have to try and visit as many cities in America that you can, in seven ‘days’ by travelling by train. The challenge is to get trains from city to city, which is how you earn points. The longer the distance, the more points you earn.

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The game also has an expansion package that you can buy:

Ticket To Ride 1910 Expansion

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4.) Hasbro Speak Out Game

You may have  seen this one making the rounds on Facebook this holiday season.Why?  Because nothing is more fun than watching your friends and family look completely idiotic. This game is comprised of mouthpieces, and when it is your teams turn, one team member puts the mouthpiece in and pronounces a sentence from a game card. Your partner has to guess what you are saying before the timer runs out. If they get it right, they get a card. The team with the most cards at the end of the game, wins.

This game is designated for ages 16+ because the mouthpieces are for adult mouths.

Find kid’s mouth pieces: Airgoesin 12pcs Kid Children Dental Oral Cheek Retractor Lip Opener Watch Ya Mouth Game Speak Out Game Lipless Game

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Detroit in 3 Days

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Detroit is very near and dear to my heart. It was the closest large city when I was growing up, so I have had many day trips downtown. This is a three day itinerary for someone who wants to experience a long weekend, or short vacation, in the renaissance city.

Friday 

8:00 AM: Wake up, and get ready.

9:00 AM: Have breakfast at The Hudson Cafe

10:15 AM: Head to The Henry Ford Museum

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Have Lunch at the Museum

1:00 PM: Cross over to Greenfield Village

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4:00 PM: Leave the Museum, head downtown.

4:45: Have dinner at Tony V’s Tavern

6:00 PM: Head to the Detroit Institute of Arts

(They are open late ONLY on Friday)

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9:00 PM Leave the DIA.

9:30 PM: Have a drink and snack at Northern Lights Lounge

10:30 PM: Head back to your hotel.

Saturday 

9:30 AM: Wake up, and get ready.

10:30 AM Head downtown, and find a parking spot

Try the Greektown Casino Parking Structure.

11:00 AM: Have greek brunch at Pegasus Tavernas

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12:30 PM: Leave Pegasus Tavernas

Take The People Mover to The Renaissance Center

1:00 PM: Walk to Mariner’s Church Historical Marker

The Guardian Building

The Spirit of Detroit

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The Monument to Joe Louis

The Michigan Labor Legacy Monument

Hart Plaza

Finally, end up in Campus Martius.

Enjoy the band, or the ice skaters.

3:00 PM: Have a Coney dog at American Coney Island AND Lafayette Coney Island

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Pick a favorite.

4:00 PM: Walk down to Michigan Avenue People Mover Station

Go to Grand Circus Park People Mover Station

Walk to:

The Fillmore Theatre

The Fox Theatre

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Comerica Park

Ford Field

5:45 PM: Walk back to Grand Circus People Mover Station

Head back to Greektown

 Stop at Astoria Pastry Shop

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Snag some dessert that doesn’t need refrigeration

Head to your car.

6:20 PM: Park between Union Street Restaurant and Max M Fisher Music Center

Have dinner at Union Street.

7:45 PM: Head down to the Music Center and see the Detroit Symphony Orchestra

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11:00 PM: Head back to the hotel

Sunday:

9:30 AM: Wake up, get ready.

10:30 AM: Head to Rose’s Fine Food

Pick up a picnic basket

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11:00 AM: Head to Belle Isle

Have a picnic

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12:00 PM: Take a tour through The Belle Isle Aquarium

1:00 PM: Leave Belle Isle, head to The Detroit Zoo

1:45 PM: Arrive at the Zoo.

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4:30 PM: Leave The Detroit Zoo.

5:00 PM: Drive downtown, to the Renaissance Center

5:45 PM: Sit down and finish your trip with a skyline dinner from:

Andiamo Riverfront

or

Coach Insignia Detroit

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7:30 PM: Head back to the hotel, and pack up.

If you like this post, also check out New Orleans in 3 Days! 

Follow for more destinations in our 3 Day itinerary series.

Thank you for reading!

Disclaimer: I do not claim credit for any photos pictured here.

5 Travel Accessories You Never Knew You Needed

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I have been doing quite a bit of travel this year, and I have come to notice that there are some items that I definitely should have invested in. In order to make your life easier, and save you from a world of first-world hurt, here are some items that you never knew you needed, but will want them when you see them.

1.) Belkin 6-Outlet SurgeMaster 

I am putting this on the list, because I always seem to forget that there are never enough outlets in convenient places when I stay at hotels. I also use many different devices, like my iPhone, my iPad, my laptop, my FitBit, and my portable charging packs.

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2.) Anker Astro E1 5200mAh Candy bar-Sized Ultra Compact Portable Charger 

Speaking of portable charging packs, some people still don’t know these exist. These are the lifesaver for your devices when you are on the go. If you leave at 8 o-clock and don’t know if you are going to have access to an outlet anytime soon, definitely have one of these to have with you. This one in particular can charge an iPhone 6 twice before needing to be charged up again. Perfect if you’re going to be playing videos, taking pictures, or using your GPS all day.

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3.) Vlando Small Faux Leather Travel Jewelry Box 

I can not tell you how much I wish I would have found this sooner. I have been packing my jewelry in small zip-lock bags, or in small gift boxes for TOO LONG. This is a beautiful, affordable solution to my problems, and maybe yours too.

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4.) Travel Stub Diary

I love saving all of my ticket stubs from museums, tours, boat rides, zoos, aquariums…anyplace that gives a ticket. If I don’t put them in one of my travel shadow boxes, this is a cute and quirky place to keep them.

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5.)Anywhere Travel Guide: 75 Cards for Discovering the Unexpected

This is an amazing way to challenge yourself to experience new things. If you’re travelling with others, split the deck in half and make it a game. You never know what you’re missing out on because of your inhibitions.

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That’s all folks! I hope you enjoyed this list. Feel free to check out the travel tag to find more posts that might suit your fancy.

New Orleans in 3 Days

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This past September, I went on a girl’s trip with my fiance Taylor, and my best friend Jessie. We decided to go to New Orleans, since Jessie and I have never been, and Taylor and I live in Louisiana. The 3 day amount is assuming you have arrived, and are ready to explore.

I decided to share an itinerary for anyone who may be looking to take a long weekend in the Big Easy.

I STRONGLY recommend that if you have never been to New Orleans before, you purchase a map like this. The streets and streetcar routes can get you twisted, and you can waste a lot of time hassling with a GPS.

Laminated New Orleans Map by Borch (English Edition)

I have hyperlinked a lot of locations to make them easier for you to research.

Note: This  contains A LOT of streetcar riding. Please note that Mardi Gras season will mean packed streetcars. You may want to consider alternate transport if it is busy.

Day One: Casual Day

8:00 AM: Wake up, and get ready.

9:00 AM: Have breakfast at Tartine.

10:00 AM: Arrive at the The Audubon Zoo.

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Park in the Audubon Park.

1:00 PM: Lunch at The Audubon Clubhouse Cafe.

2:00 PM: Leave Cafe, head to The Audubon Aquarium.

2:30 PM: Arrive at the Aquarium, take photos on the riverfront.

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5:00 PM: Leave the Aquarium.

5:30 PM: Catch the Canal/Algiers Point Ferry

6:30 PM:  Arrive back at Canal St. Take a Streetcar down to Bourbon.

P.S. You can purchase passes for a day or more to save money!

7:00 Walk Bourbon and have dinner at The Hard Rock Cafe – New Orleans

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8:30 PM: Have a drink at a club on Bourbon.

10:00 PM: Take a Streetcar back to Canal St.

10:30 PM: Head back to Hotel

Day Two: Dressy Casual Day

8:30 AM: Wake up, and get ready!

9:30 AM: Breakfast at Slim Goodie’s Diner.

10:20 AM: Arrive at Mardi Gras World.

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11:00 AM: Leave Mardi Gras World.

Head to the French Quarter.

Park at Canal Place Mall

12:00 PM: Take a Streetcar down to Cafe Du Monde 

Have Beignets for Lunch!

1:00 PM: Cut across to Jackson Square/St. Louis Cathedral

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1:45 PM: Take the Streetcar all the way back to Canal

Take the Streetcar up Canal to Royal Street

Do some Shopping!

Consider taking the streetcar back to canal to take your bags back.

3:00 PM: Take the streetcar on canal to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1

4:00 Take the streetcars down to Frenchmen St.

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Walk Frenchmen Street, Catch a show at The Spotted Cat Jazz Club.

8:00 PM: Take a streetcar back to Canal

9:00 PM: Catch an Adult Show on Bourbon

10:00 PM: Catch the Streetcar back (Last ride is about 10:45)

10:45 Head back to the hotel.

Day Three: Dressy-Casual

8:00 AM: Wake up, get ready!

9:00 AM: Head to the French Quarter

Take Streetcar up Canal to N. Peters at St. Louis

Walk to/ have breakfast at Brennan’s.

10:30 AM: Leave Brennan’s, Head down to the Natchez Steamboat

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11:30 AM: Daytime Jazz Cruise on the Natchez Steamboat

1:30 PM: Head to Lunch at Ralph’s on the Park

2:30: Go to the New Orleans Museum of Art

5:00 PM: Leave the museum, head back to the French Quarter

Park near Bourbon Street, walk down to Preservation Hall

Eat a Snack

6:00 PM: Watch a show at Preservation Hall

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8:30 PM: Dinner at Restaurant R’evolution

10:00 Take streetcar back to Canal

10:30 PM: Head back to hotel

That’s it! New Orleans in three, long days.

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Disclaimer: This itinerary varies slightly from the one I took, to capture more of New Orleans.