A Year in Review!

My photo reflections of 2014! 

January – Playoffs & Painting! 

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February – State of Slim and State Swim Swim Meet! 

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March – Red Solo Cup, Red Mountains and Red Nose Pitbull! 

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April – Annual Girls Trip! 

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May – Biceps, Bonfires, Bullets and Birthdays! 

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June-July-August – Summer Lovin had me a blast! 

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September – Did an upgrade on my phone and lost everything! 

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October – Fall Festivities! 

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November & December – Celebrations

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What’s it really like?

I started having issues with my hip while training for the Nike San Fran Half Marathon which was in October 2013.

Melissa is really running the Half not the Full!

Melissa is really running the Half not the Full!

After the race I cut out running for the most part and started lifting more. Doing things that didn’t aggravate my hip.

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After 10 months of issues it was time to go see the doctor. My family would tell you that they had been trying to get me to go for months. I was in denial. I was scared and really didn’t want to know the “REAL” issue.

I didn’t want to give up my fitness routine and I truly didn’t want to know what the X-ray was going to tell us.

In August my chiropractor suggested I get checked for a hernia. My workout partner said she was a quack and to go to the Sports Medicine doctor in her office. That’s what I decided to do.

During my first visit he did take X-rays of my back and hips. Conclusion = Hip Flexor Tendonitis. He had me on 8 weeks of workout restrictions. No running, No jumping, No explosive moves, No lunges and I needed to attend 8 weeks of Physical Therapy. I was good with this. I cut out kickboxing and replaced it with the elliptical and my trainer had me do modifications during those particular workouts. PT was nice because I learned a lot of new stretches and ideas of what needed to happen for my body to get stronger in the areas that were weak after compensating for so long.

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 At my 8 week visit with the Sports Med doc he REALLY wanted me to have an arthogram and an MRI. I was in major denial about getting the arthrogram. Really who wants a huge needle stuck into their hip-joint? I managed to talk him out of this for another 8 weeks as long as I didn’t “CHEAT” on my restrictions. When I got home and talked to my family they told me that I would cheat and just get it done and rule out the laberal tear. (This was my biggest fear) So I scheduled the appointment.

Hip for cake

This is a random photo I found on the intrenet that shows what an Arthorgram is! See that long needle going into the hip-joint? This is what scared the bejesus out of me.

I really really didn’t want to have this done.

The day had come and I was an emotional wreck waiting to go back to the room. When the radiology tech came to get me my emotions just start pouring out. She was so great in comforting me and making me feel a ease. The radiologist doing the procedure was amazing. He talked me through everything and really helped me relax. The initial insertion is the hardest part. I didn’t feel much of anything after he got the needle in a little pressure here and there.

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Here is my arthorgram can you see the needle leading to the middle of the joint?

When we were done with the procedure I told the doctor

“A Brazilian is much much more painful”

He laughed and asked if he could share with one of his partners one of my buddies!

On to the MRI!

I’ve never had an MRI before either.

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This is a picture of the MRI Machine at my hospital.

The MRI techs were amazing.

I had on some HUGE fancy hospital shorts and I was nervous therefore I was freezing. They wrapped me up in blankets and gave me all the instructions along with some head phones and a cloth over my eyes. They told me it was going to be loud. Man it’s like a jack hammer for 45 min and you can’t move. I highly recommend the earphones and an eye mask it helped me relax and not think about getting inched into that claustrophobic machine.

Results??? My radiologist buddy had me come into his office when we were all done. He said I don’t have a labreal tear but I do have degenerative joint diease.

All I know is he told me it’s time to switch to biking.

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Here are the MRI pictures. The white is the dye they put in during the arthorgram.

I haven’t been back to the Sports Medicine doc yet to see what he’s plan of action is going to be. What I do know is that I have arthritis and a flap. The fluid from the arthogram helped with the swelling and my pain has been minimal for now. Running is pretty much out of the question I do not want to tear the labrum.

I’ve been focusing on lifting weights and stretching. I see in my future a fast “WOGGER”. I love the races and even if I can’t run I can wog a pretty quick pace. Time will tell!

Long story short! The arthorgram wasn’t near as bad as I had pictured in my mind!

AMAZING! Where does the time go?

Seriously how have I missed posting since the end of July? Life has just been crazy busy (I know not a good excuse) and some major writers block.

So I decided just to re-cap my craziness in a photo blitz of the last couple of months!

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Lake Powell the best place on earth!

 

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The 43rd Annual

Carbondale Mountain Fair

 Wild At Heart: Celebrating Our People, Town, and Wilderness

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Sassy and Sweat!

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Who doesn’t love a killer BUCKCHERRY concert?

FALL HEADLINE TOUR BEGINS

Our Fall headline tour is underway! Tickets and VIP still available here. Hope to see you on the road!

Oct 03 Austin’s Fuel Room Libertyville, IL
Oct 04 Mickey’s Bar Lancaster, OH
Oct 05 Louder Than Life Festival Louisville, KY
Oct 07 The Machine Shop Flint, MI
Oct 08 Club 3D Beckley, WV
Oct 10 Horseshoe Casino Robinsonville, MS
Oct 11 The station bar & grill Broussard, LA
Oct 14 Hurricane Harry’s College Station, TX
Oct 15 Howlin’ Wolf New Orleans, LA
Oct 17 Warehouse Live Ballroom Houston, TX
Oct 18 Sunken Gardens Amphitheatre San Antonio, TX
Oct 19 Pharr Events Center Pharr, TX
Oct 21 Speaking Rock Ent. Center El Paso, TX
Oct 22 Top Deck Farmington, NM
Oct 25 The Love Ride Castaic, CA
Nov 01 Maverick Stadium Adelanto, CA
Nov 06 Ace of Spades Sacramento, CA
Nov 07 The Ranch San Miguel, CA
Nov 09 Phoenix Int. Raceway Phoenix, AZ

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First day of school and Maizey the BNPPB is getting big!

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Friends,concerts and bike rides!

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The Mile High City!

The Bride, the bridesmaid and my go to traveling breakfast. Starbucks oatmeal with protein and a hot black coffee!

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My Mini Me and Fall Flowers!

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Friends and Tri’s!

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My motivation poster!

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Real life work! St. Mary’s Ball

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Fresh veggies always a plus! (That is a tomato not a donut!)

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Love the Broncos!

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Girl time!

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This is my defense against the dreaded cold!

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So Many events! Walk4 Life, Cage Wars and SURVIVE Fashion Show!

https://www.facebook.com/survivefashionshow

The ColorDash Review

The world’s brightest 5K run!

Before all of us

Look for a ColorDash race near you! I promise you won’t be disappointed. The Colordash team has teamed up with not-for-profit charities nationwide in 2014. They teamed up with Partners in in GJ Colorado which is a local not-for-profit similar to Big Brother/Big Sister and raised almost $10,000 for them from the 5K.Not only will you be running for a great cause you will be having a fabulous time.

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The ColorDash team is fun and high energy. When we arrived at packet pick up you could feel the energy all through Sports Authority. It was seamless I just had to give them my registration form. The shirts, bibs and pins were all packaged together and made it simple for the team to hand them out and they even had tutus for sale which saved me a hunting trip around the mall.

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I was excited that my Mini Me and her friend were joining us for the race. After packet pickup it was prep time for shirts and tutus. Mini Me knew exactly what they were going to do to their t-shirts. Yes very creative and original thinking. We didn’t see any one else with t-shirts made like theirs. Which makes her very happy?

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We arrived to the race early to feel the high energy and listen to the music. There were some booths set up and people to watch. Most were taking photos and some were running around throwing color at their friends. Then announcer did a fabulous job of keeping the energy level high and enthusiastic. The check presentation for the donation occurred prior to kicking off the race. What an awesome way to support our local community.

9:00 the race began it was a lap around Canyon view park two times. There were approximately 6 color stations throughout the course. The stations had people throwing the color on you and they seemed to be having fun themselves and getting all colored up too. Mainly the color they were throwing.

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After finishing our two laps we all gathered together and took some pictures and drank water. The temperature outside was HOT and we could have used a couple of water stations during the course. The fire truck was there for those who were over heated to get sprayed off with the hose.

After me and Ki

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We then waited for the Color Explosion to take place. The girls were excited to get more color on them. The color explosion is a big circle and everyone throws up their color bags. So much fun!

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This race is not a timed race it’s a fun race for EVEYONE. All ages, shapes, sizes, athletic ability just great great fun for everyone in the family!

Find a ColorDash near you!

My collage

Women, Wilderness & Wildflowers!

Photo blitz from Crested Butte, CO girls weekend!

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First Hike Beckwith Pass This trail is fairly steep at times.

The views of East Beckwith Mountain are amazing.

It’s a good hike! 5 miles 2 hrs 15 min 1400 feet

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Shew after that 800 calorie burn it was time for some fuel! Summer Blonde and some buffalo chicken fingers at the Brick Oven and  a stroll thru town!

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Dinner time!

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Saturday we hiked from Gothic, CO to the trail of Judd Falls 2 total miles

Elevation Gain: Minimal Trail Type:

Out-and-back Skill Level: Easy

Top Elevation: 9,860 feet

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The others of our group rode the 401!

Riding the 401! “At the top of Schofield Pass, the famed singletrack of the 401 Trail veers right starting with a tough and consistent climb for 1.3 miles through dense trees. Near the top, the grades gets easier, the trees open up, and the views behind you are stellar. The climb isn’t really all that hard – nothing technically – but your lungs will keep reminding you are at 11,000 feet above sea level. Then the payoff begins. The unsurpassed 360 degree alpine views of the Elk mountains, followed by the first of the steady downhill. After descending a few hundred feet, the trail flows fast and gently downhill with stunning views in front of you and flowers all around in mid-summer. For much of the top part of the descent you’re hugging the hillside, with a steep drop to the right, which can mess with your equilibrium. There are a few very skinny sections that are easy but have very bad fall potential. Take your time and savor it! You’ll intersect with the Bellview hiking trail and take a right. This section has several switchbacks and has begun to get a little rutted out, but it’s generally fast and flowy with great traction all the way. When conditions are good, the middle section of the 401 descent is about as fun as mountain biking gets. Once down to Rustler’s Gulch, take a breather because the climbing begins again. This point also provides an exit back to Gothic road if the weather turns for the worse. Otherwise continue your tour through the Ruster’s Gulch camping area, and follow the 401 trail into the meadow above the campsites. The trail climbs for about a mile and is technically a bit harder than earlier sections, though still fine for fit intermediate riders. You’ll pass through a drainage with lots of rockfall, and most people walk their bikes a few feet to get through it. One final descent takes you to a small trailhead on the outskirts of Gothic”

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This is crazy biker chic! Finishing the 401!

 

A bus ride to town with a red solo cup!

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A decorative bike is a must in CB!

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Sunday we hiked Rustlers Gulch 8 total miles

Elevation Gain: Minimal

Trail Type: Out-and-back

Skill Level: Easy to moderate due to length

Top Elevation: 11,400 feet

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These beetles are killing the pine trees in CO.

 

Before we left the fun little mountain town it was time for one last meal!

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Time for a little T-Shirt shopping!

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So long Crested Butte! We had a fabulous time!

Just a small town girl in a big crazy city!

Growing up in a small town, had its benefits. For example we didn’t have McDonald’s until I was in kindergarten and had to drive to the Mile High City to get our fast food fix. It amazes me that my home town still doesn’t have a Taco Bell but if you love to eat sugar beets you can find them along the streets during the harvest.

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I am sure you are probably wondering how this is even relevant to NOLA. One of the best NOLA experiences I had while visiting is I got to meet up with my best friend from Jr. High and High School.

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Lynne and I met in study hall in 7th grade. We met because we were wearing the same Nike shoes and get this when we met in NOLA 25+ years later we had on the same brand of flip flops.

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Lynne was staying at the Ritz Carlton so I walked down the street to meet her for breakfast. She said I sounded like I was from Canada and I said she talked like she was from the South. We both just laughed. It was so awesome to see her and talk for 2 hours straight. We talked about kids, health and just life. We laughed and reminisced about sneaking out of her parents’ house. There were times when we thought her mom and dad knew because they put chimes on the door knob. Lynne said her mom never did know. Oh my! (Kianna don’t get any ideas and mom I am not sure if I ever shared this with you)if it wouldn’t have been for social media I wouldn’t have had any idea she was in NOLA at the same time.

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After breakfast Lynne and her family had to get on the road to drive home to Houston. I decided to brave it down Bourbon Street for some souvenir shopping. Being a small town girl in a big city I was a bit apprehensive to wonder around by myself much. My dad lived in NOLA for a short time and he had me all freaked out about being in the French Quarter alone. After I found some fun gifts for family and co-workers I headed back to my hotel to collect my rain poncho and my Steamboat tour ticket.

I thought it would be a fun time to spend the afternoon in the sweltering humidity and travel down the Mississippi River on a steamboat tour.

Boat

“The New Orleans Steamboat Company locally owns and operates the last authentic Steamboat on the Mighty Mississippi River:

  • The Steamboat NATCHEZ Dinner Jazz and Daytime jazz cruises … run daily, year round, in the style of authentic steamboats in New Orleans for centuries! 
  • Steam Engine Room visitation, calliope, live jazz and optional Creole food and local beverages.

Come aboard and enjoy New Orleans hospitality….. Steamboat Style!”

The buffet was interesting to say the least. For those of you who know me I am a meat and veggies eater. I don’t really eat fried foods and not a lot of complex carbs. This buffet to say the least was a true testament of Southern Style eating. All I wanted for dinner that night was a HUGE salad.

Southern Fried Fish (Catfish I am not a fan of catfish)
Zesty cornmeal crusted and fried to a golden perfection

Red Beans and Rice  (I did have this pretty good)
New Orleans classic red beans with andouille sausage and served over Jazzmen® rice

Frittata del Giorno (This was scary looking didn’t even try it)
A classic Italian omelet slow cooked and brimming with fresh garden vegetables, specialty
cheeses and Chef’s selection of herbs and spices

Vegetarian Pasta Salad (Had enough carbs from the beans and rice)

Fontanini® Link Breakfast Sausage (Weird breakfast sausage for lunch)

Vegetable of the Day Cole Slaw (I wanted salad this was the closest thing)
House prepared creamy cole slaw

Cornucopia of Fresh Fruit (Never saw the fruit)

Corn Bread (Had to try it, needed a bowl of chili)

NATCHEZ Bread Pudding (I think the southern waitress wanted to fatten me up as she insisted I have a piece of the BEST bread pudding, if I am going to eat dessert I usually want a Pecan Mudslide from DQ)
A New Orleans soufflé of La Louisiane French bread, eggs, cream, vanilla and cinnamon
with a Callebaut® Belgian white chocolate sauce

La Louisiane Fresh Sliced French Bread (I had the corn bread)

French Market Coffee and Iced Tea included

“The Harbor Jazz Cruise entertainment includes a jazz pianist or jazz trio (Duke Heitger and the Steamboat Stompers) along with a professional live narration of the river sites and history.”

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This was a fun afternoon. I enjoyed the history lesson and spending the day on the water. After my tour I walked around the French Quarter looking in all the little shops. I found a nice crisp grilled chicken salad at the hotel and relaxed in the AC for the remainder of the evening.

 Humidity

So long

Hello Rocky Mountains!

Hello Rocky Mountains!

No Big Hair in the Big Easy!

NOLA 7I fully expected to endure humidity in NOLA however, I didn’t expect my root lifter and mega freeze hair spray not to work. Yep I looked like a wet dog the entire time.
Enough of that rambling here is a little recap of my experience and thoughts about traveling to New Orleans for the very first time.

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My taxi ride from the airport to the hotel was very quiet. The driver said not one word to me, really an introverted taxi driver. Upon arriving at the Sheraton on Canal street I quickly changed into my workout clothes and got a 30 min cardio session. Yep this was the one and only workout I had while in NOLA attending the AHP conference. After my workout I showered and headed to the conference reception. During the reception it was raining cats and dogs in the city adding to my suffocation from humidity.
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Our consultant was kind enough to invite me to dinner.

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The Orleans Grapevine Bar and Bistro was the choice for dinner. They picked this particular restaurant so we could enjoy the outdoor courtyard. Unfortunately it was raining off and on so we sat in doors.

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The waitress was very knowledgeable and super friendly. The menu had many options which made for a hard decision. I finally decided on the soup of the day – Chicken, artichoke and sun-dried tomato and crab cakes. Both were fabulous!

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I opted to have a nice snifter of Grand Mariner for dessert and others at the table shared a beautiful brownie, ice cream and strawberry dessert.

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The chef came out and jumped on the piano with a little great balls of fire. What a fun, fabulous place. It’s a definite NOLA keeper!

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This is a picture of wet Bourbon street and a plate of Oyster poor boys from the conference lunch. I did not try them. Yep I am not into eating oysters let alone fried ones.

After a long day of classes AHP arranged for everyone to meet up at the famous Carousal Piano bar and lounge. The famous Carousel Bar & Lounge in the Hotel Monteleone is a long-time favorite New Orleans hotspot.  The classic New Orleans hotel bar is the city’s only revolving bar.  For decades, it has lured guests in to take a spin on the 25-seat, bright circus-clad Merry-Go-Round.  The Carousel Bar overlooks famed Royal Street in the heart of the French Quarter.  Guests can enjoy the view through large fan windows.  This New Orleans hotel bar has long been a favorite of both locals and tourists.

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I landed on a French 007. Vodka, pomegranate and champagne.

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My new found friends and I had one drink and decided to slop thru the rain and find some dinner.

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We walked across the street to Mr. Bs.

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“Mr. B’s Bistro, a New Orleans restaurant famous for its Creole cuisine with a focus on fresh regional products, is located in the heart of the French Quarter at the intersection of Royal Street and Iberville. This corner is a New Orleans landmark and celebrated food corner. Considered the original New Orleans gourmet bistro, Mr. B’s Bistro is owned and managed by Cindy Brennan, a member of the legendary New Orleans’ Brennan Family.”

 One of my colleagues recommended the restaurant and the BBQ shrimp which I ordered. In my mind I visioned shrimp grilled on the barbecue grill and topped with BBQ sauce. This is not the same thing in NOLA.  

Here is the menu description
MR. B’S BARBEQUED SHRIMP – A Mr. B’s signature dish! Gulf shrimp barbeque New Orleans style, served in their shells with peppery butter sauce and French bread for dipping $27
The menu states served in their shells and what they REALLY  mean is shrimp from head to tail!

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After dinner I had to try a piece if Pecan pie. I didn’t care for the crust but the filling was grand!

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Mr. B’s was ok. My thoughts for the price it was mediocre.

The next experience in NOLA would be dinner with some PA girls and a walking Ghosts & Spirits tour. When Amanda told me about the tour I thought drinks and ghosts this would be fun. On my way to the lobby of the hotel I read the brochure.

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“A Nighttime Walking Tour of the French Quarter

New Orleans has been referred to as “The most haunted city in America.” After this tour, we’ll let you be the judge!

With its colorful history and unique traditions, it is no wonder so many New Orleans homes and taverns have been investigated by paranormal investigators.

You’ll visit several haunted sites and hear about the stories featured on The History Channel and The Discovery Channel.

Hear ghostly stories about our haunted hotels and the courthouse where our state supreme court is based. We even visit a former slave exchange. Each guide has researched these “other spirits” of the Vieux Carre, so no two tours are exactly alike.
Will you see any of the ghosts that inhabit the famous Bourbon Orleans Hotel, formerly a theater, Quadroon Ballroom, orphanage and convent? Staff and guests report regular ghost sightings- maybe you will too.
Take an exciting look at the relics of voodoo ceremonies, a vampire slaying kit, and age old tools of the trade used by mystical and mysterious inhabitants of our city.
Bring your camera. You never know who will want to pose for a picture!”

Ok now I am a little spooked by the “Ghost tour”. I meet up with the girls in the lobby and we start walking to the Jackson Brewery where the tour begins.

On our walk we saw a fun wedding parading down the street singing. NOLA would be a fun place to have a wedding. It kind of reminded me of a gypsy wedding.

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We found the Jackson Brewery Bistro to eat dinner prior to our tour.

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“Jackson Brewery Bistro Bar is in the oldest and most famous neighborhood in New Orleans, known as the Vieux Carre or French Quarter. Bordered by the majestic Mississippi River and historic Decatur Street, the interior reflects the beautiful New Orleans architecture complete with ironwork balconies (mezzanines) and Victorian Industrial style furnishings.

Once one of the largest breweries in the country, the brewery is no longer active, but Jackson Brewery Bistro Bar offers a great assortment of local craft beers. Our beer sampler is a favorite!

Live entertainment and in house music reflects the beloved New Orleans and Louisiana culture during the restaurant hours and helps preserve our traditions.”

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We were early enough to get Happy Hour drinks I decided to try a mojito in NOLA. The only other mojito I’ve ever had,  was at a sushi restaurant and it was a totally different kind so I didn’t have anything to compare it to. It was very refreshing!

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and some water too!

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Now what to order for my meal????

Since I am in NOLA I had to try the Jambalaya…I have to say it was DELICIOUS! When I was in college I worked at a restaurant that offered Jambalaya and it did not taste near as good as this.

So if you find yourself at Jax’s brewery try the Jambalaya!

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The girls and I head to find tour start and needed to purchase a beautiful rain poncho before we start walking and listening to Ghosts stories.

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The first stop of the tour is at O’Claritys Irish Pub. Whoops my bad that is what I thought the tour guide said the name of the place was but it’s really O’Flaherty’s Irish pub! We stopped for a mojito and a fun ghost story.

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Next stop was the Omni Hotel for a very intense story. I guess this hotel was once a military hospital and ghosts have been known to resurface in the hotel. The next intense story was about a couple that moved to NOLA and decided to stay during Katrina. Check out the Addie Hall and Zach Bowen story. Evidently he jumped from the roof of the Omni on to a parking garage to kill himself and his spirit tends to show up now and again.

We then headed to Little Vic’s. What I loved most about this venue is the wonderful court yard, the fun statue and hilarious bathroom sign.

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Then our tour guide took us down a dark freaky ally to find the St. Anthony Garden the statue is also known as the “Touch Down Jesus”

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And the last ghost story takes place at the Orleans Ball Room! We did not get to see the ballroom as the ghosts were setting up for a wedding the next day.

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This tour had some fun history, thank goodness it wasn’t freaky scary like I thought it was going to be.

 I promise to be back before the end of the week with more from NOLA!