6 years in the big easy

stephen, medela and i snuck away for a night in the big easy this weekend to celebrate six fabulous years of marriage.
two of the reasons our marriage is fabulous stayed home for a slumber party with their mimi and doc.
yes we missed them, but excursions to adult land are a welcomed thing :)

stephen kept asking me in the weeks preceding our trip what it was exactly that i wanted to do while we were in NOLA.  honestly, i had nothing particular in mind...i just wanted to do things we wouldnt be able to do with two kids and strollers and schedules and the like.
you know, like walk around and eat at restaurants and be wherever we wanted to be at naptime.
and that, THAT was fabulous.

we drove straight to magazine street to do some browsing in an area of new orleans stephen had never visited, and that i hadnt visited since before we were married.  i do think its important to stress the fact that new orleans is far more than just a street.

we ate a delicious lunch at gotts gourmet before we walked the street, stopping at several antique malls, specialty shops, and interiors stores.

nadeau was an affordable chain with varying reproduction pieces in an array of finishes.  after some of the stops we made it was refreshing to see pieces we could actually afford :)

although we saw a couple pieces that could work in our house, we left with only this for my office {to aid in the organization of my desk! whew!}:

one of my favorite stops was perch {isnt their christmas decor perfect?}:

this store was eclectic at its finest.
i had to go through each room several times, as there was no way to catch everything in each room in one pass.

i thought this bed would look fantastic as a statement piece in a teenage girls room.  i say teenage bc i can just imagine a girl any younger would still consider jumping on the bed an awesomely good idea, and this bed would make that an awesomely BAD idea...yikes!

a beautiful mora clock, wouldnt mind owning one of these one day:

i die.  and insist on my children each having their own one day. {child sized ghost chairs}:

the picture doesnt do it justice...this chandelier was HUGE.  and gorgeous:

this is what i left with, and i love it.  i picture green moss balls in the summer, christmas ornaments in the winter, and all sorts of fun things in between.  {plus its a stylish shout-out to my nearly redneck outdoor loving husband :) }:

yes i made him move over until he was in the reflection {hes a good sport}:

i loved the little vignettes around the store:
while checking out i met valorie and somehow blogging came up.  valorie is also the author of the beautiful and well known blog visual vamp.  it was great meeting her and visiting the wonderful store, i wish i could have left with much more than i did!  its so funny and true that the blogging world is like a little family and you immediately feel connected when meeting fellow bloggers. 

a short walk lead us to villa vici, which drew me in immediately.  the interior did not disappoint.  i could have "point and clicked" everything i saw, but i practiced restraint and just paparazzi-ed a few items of note:

i have a love hate relationship with animal prints...they so easily can "go there" and be tacky.  but this was beautiful.  AND it had nail head trim.  like almost everything in the store had nail head trim.

or was velvet.  *love*

there were two of these faux bois lamps i thought would look great on a console or bedside tables.

these tables were beautiful.  love the simplicity, and remind me of the ever popular restoration hardware brickmaker tables.  {ballard makes some similar, more affordable ones.  i just recently bought one of the smaller ones during their free shipping event :) }

the entire store was a feast for texture-loving eyes...boocoodles of velvet, seagrass, linen, nail head trim, weathered wood and crisp metals.  so much to love.

there were so many more stops i wanted to make in the area, but one i definitely made a priority was a quick visit to the ever popular amanda talley's studio. 
from swedish interiors book via thingsthatinspire
amanda talley in louisianas 2010 idea house via southern living via perch blog
luckily there was someone there who let us in and after perusing the artwork {which is even more impressive in person btw} i found a beautiful piece that would look KILLER in my office.  it was 8x10 -and therefore the only piece in the store i could AFFORD- and was the perfect colors...gray, white, cream, with hints of gold.  stephen laughed, nearly drug me out of there, and told me he would be happy to paint me one when we got home. 
some people just dont get art!  as someone who used to consider herself an artist {its been soooooo long since i put pen/pencil/brush to paper so "me" and "artist" do not so much "equal"}, i really appreciate those who can do abstract and do it WELL. 

i, too, am guilty at looking at certain modern art pieces and thinking "i can do that"...but as i heard somewhere recently: while you may say you can do that, the truth of the matter is YOU DIDNT.  someone else did and their red dot on an unpainted white canvas is sold for $13,000. 

that said, amanda's work is in a league of its own.  lets just say this is my biggest regret of this trip! i so wish i would have bought that piece {despite husbands scoffing}.  if only for the smile it would have brought to my face every time i looked at it, it would have been worth every penny.
hmmm might have to santa claus myself and make a quick phone call.... 

i tried my best to explain all of this to my art-appreciation-devoid husband {love you stephen} on the quick ride to our hotel, but alas i do not think a word got through. 

he is, however, appreciative of lovely hotels and the ritz did not disappoint!

i feel so...so snobby saying we stayed at "the ritz", simply bc its really out of stephens and my normal "hotel comfort zone." 
we prefer smaller boutique hotels - bed and breakfasts - small local establishments with "local flair." 
however, for some reason the ritz carlton kept coming up in my hotel searches and it was the same price if not cheaper per night than the boutique type hotels.  {my mom insisted we just got lucky, as she said it was easily more than triple what we paid a night when she looked into it a couple weeks ago}

anyway, we felt fancy and i guess a six year wedding anniversary warrants some fancy feelings!

after checking in, we headed straight for anthropologie {picture stephen jumping for joy and clapping his hands - ha}, where i found a shirt but quickly agreed to just order it online as the check-out line was wrapped around the store {and while i WILL drag my unassuming husband into antique and interiors stores on magazine street i will NOT make him wait in a crowded clothing-store line for an hour for ONE SHIRT}. 

we browsed around a little more but both decided all we really wanted to do was just sit and have some coffee/hot tea and just be.

{where beignets once were.  they disappeared before i had a chance to steal a shot}

and then, after a brisk walk back to the hotel, we did what every parent dreams of doing when they get away for a weekend: we laid around and watched tv in the hotel room. 
no interruptions, nowhere we had to be, no mouths we had to feed, no naps that needed to be taken {except by us}.

for dinner we tried a place i have always heard of but never been to: irenes.
did not disappoint.
but then again, whats better than sitting next to this all evening, sharing a bottle of wine?
answer: nothing.

delicious food was consumed and adult, uninterrupted conversations were had.

being the crazy kids we are, we walked back to the hotel for a drink at the hotel bar.  which was quite the happenin place.  we finally found a place to sit outside in the courtyard before heading back up to the room for our 11:30pm curfew {already a couple hours past our bedtime}
view from our seats in the courtyard at the hotel

this morning we bypassed our usual cafe du monde for a delicious, hearty breakfast at nearby stanleys {per my youngest sisters recommendation}.
um, you must try it people. 
i had the eggs stanley and stephen had the breaux bridge benedict.

devastatingly d-vine.

we came home revived and refreshed to two precious rugrats who both barely even knew we were gone.

i treasure these times with stephen and am lucky {thanks to generous and selfless parents} to have the opportunity to share in little excursions like these with him.  i know ive said it many times before, but my momma preached to me the importance of taking time separate from the kids to get away and reconnect with each other.  its far too easy to just coexist, and, while the coexisting might be grand, its necessary if not pertinent to make sure you frequently give yourself a chance to remind each other why you started this journey together to begin with.

i love me some stephen. 
and i love being loved by him.

happy 6 years babe!



  1. I'm sooooooo jealous. Just the kind of trip we used to take before having kiddos...you know in those seven months of marriage we had before I was pregnant. :)
    So glad you had fun...go hug your parents!!

  2. What a wonderful weekend! I'm thinking you may have another "lookin'" trip there soon....although methinks that Stephen got his appreciation and knowledge of modern art genetically, if you know what I mean! :-) Great pics...love that bowl! So glad the last 6 years' water under the bridge included US!!!! Happy anniversary! Love ya'll, La

  3. How fun Natalie! At this point, I too, am dreaming of not just "co-existing." Kind of hard with a 7 week old, but hopefully soon we can get away too! Irene's is my absolute fav in New Orleans. We go there every time we visit! Isn't it just so romantic, and quite, and quaint? Love it. Happy Anniversary!

  4. Fun trip! I want to go to NOLA!! There is a Nadeou (sp?) in Homewood too.

  5. that trip looks delightful! and wasnt stanleys OMGamazing?? yumm
    we may have to make a trip to NOLA soon--i need a wedding dress :D

  6. Loved. this. post! Happy Anniversary, and it was our pleasure to have the babes.
    Your chronicle and pictures have me wanting to run right back to NOLA and SHOP!!(and we were just there a few weeks ago).
    Sounds like a most relaxing and scrumptuous weekend!

  7. I was thinking about ya'll this weekend and how I can't believe its your 6th wedding anniversary! Where has the time gone? So glad ya'll had a great celebration!

  8. Looks like my kind of trip!! Happy Anniversary, I remember when you got married. Also you should start being an artist again, you were pretty good!

  9. looks like yall had an awesome time!!! i would love to go back to NOLA & have that kind of trip! :) ben's parents have that same antler bowl at the farm. and i have to say, that breakfast looked DEVINE!!!!!

    happy 6 yrs of happiness to yall! :)

  10. Happy Anniversary! We, too, just celebrated ours and are trying to focus on not just co-exisiting. Looks like you had a wonderful time!

  11. Natalie..Leigh (Hurley) here. ..That bed..the tree one...I hope the owners of the store were nice to you. Biggest snobs I have ever met, the last time I went salivating into that store. (torture me, its right by my house). Anyhow, that bed..I want it a thousand times. If only, I has someone to buy it for me:) Merry Christmas!

  12. Fun fun!! Last time we stayed overnight in NO we ate at Stanley's. Yes, it is delicious! We're going back next week, and I can't wait! It's a shame that NO is only an hour away from me, but we never seem to find the time to get down there. Isn't Valorie a hoot?

  13. Hi Natalie..I don't know how I found your blog but I just wanted to say I enjoy reading it and LOVE your decorating style (like the kitchen you just posted about...amazing!) Hope you don't mind a complete stranger (but fellow southerner:) reading! Merry Christmas!

  14. Thanks for the shout to me and to perch.!
    This is the best New Orleans story I have read in a long time!
    I will be adding your blog to my blog list and the perch. list.
    And email or call Amanda immediately and have her ship that small painting to you. You know it will haunt you forever if you don't! There's no tax on art, so that's a saving to apply to the shipping.
    I have a small affordable AT and I love having it.
    Merry Christmas!
    xo xo

  15. Hi Natalie! What a wonderful blog you have! So glad you stopped into perch. Come back and see us next time you're here. xo
    Caroline Robert
    p.s. I'm not sure who Leigh Hurley is, but hopefully she'll come back and give us another chance!! yikes.


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