Why do we celebrate New Year’s Eve? I’ve celebrated my fair share over the years. Sometimes, it was a party at someone’s house, other times, people would come to ours, and sometimes, it would just be my family and me. Some of my favorite New Year’s Eve memories are ones that involve people. About 1,000 years ago (roughly estimating, here), I had a boyfriend, and I spent two New Year’s Eve with him and his family…and a bunch of other people. His family always threw a huge party, and I was more than happy to attend those. There was great food, great people, lots of laughs, and fireworks!
Then, there are some years where we’re sitting around, asking each other, “What are we doing for New Years?” Honestly, I do not care sometimes. I’m happy to stay home and watch a movie with my family, or even by myself. I don’t hold a lot of expectations when it comes to New Year’s Eve jubilees.
But, there is a reason for that…
One year, New Year’s Eve 1999, I was super excited. We were ringing in the year 2000 and friends from our church were coming over to celebrate with us. My mom told me I could be in her and dad’s room the entire night and watch TV with the kids my age. It was the one time that Disney channel was shown on our cable network, and it was my favorite thing. They always had a night lined up of movies, shows, and general “goofy”-ness (ha, see what I did there?!) to enjoy. I had the entire night planned out. My nail polish collection was displayed beautifully so my friend and me could give each other manicures while watching Disney channel, and then run downstairs in time to countdown with our family. Excited does not even begin to describe how I was feeling.
The clock struck 8pm and our guests began arriving. There was food and cream soda galore, and I was running around along with my little brother. When my friend got there, I expected her to go right upstairs with me and begin our night of fun. That was not the case, however. I told my friend all about our own private celebration, and I think she said something along the lines of, “Maybe later.”
“Okay!” said my ten-year-old mouth. Ouch, felt my ten-year-old heart.
As the evening went on, I spent most of it in my parents’ bedroom, alone, painting my own fingernails and watching TV. My friend never came upstairs and spent the entire evening glued to her mother’s hip. To this day, it is the most devastating NYE I’ve ever experienced. Well, devastating to a 10-year-old girl.
The next day, I told my mom, “[My friend] didn’t spend any time with me. Does she not like me?” My mom, being who she is, reassured me that, no, that’s not the case – she does like me. There had to be another reason.
To this day, I’m still not clear on that reason. Either way, it doesn’t matter. That was 16 years ago, almost. Time I got over it.
That experience got me thinking, though – Why do we celebrate New Year’s Eve? It shouldn’t be considered a holiday, in my opinion. There’s no significance – not like Christmas or Thanksgiving. So a year is ending and another one is beginning… and we have to make it a big deal? Why?
I sound bitter, don’t I? I’m not meaning to be, and I don’t want to squash people’s feelings. I know some people love this holiday, and you know what, that’s great! There are so few reasons to be happy any more, and if celebrating New Year’s makes you happy, than celebrate! I’d rather you feel happy, even if it’s for a little while, than have no joy at all this holiday season.
All that being said, I do wish you all the happiest of New Years. I plan on watching some football with my parents this evening, and then reading in bed for the rest of it. I’m not planning on staying up to countdown, as I plan on being at work very early in the morning. (The hospitality industry is no joke, and I can’t leave my amazing co-workers hanging!)
Anyway, happy New Years, and may 2016 find you blessed.
If you’ve been living under a rock in the back of cave in the deepest, darkest forest in the middle of nowhere, you know there is a new Star Wars movie coming out soon.
I was so excited when I found out this news. George Lucas was a name that had been revered in my home since I was a child. I watched the original Star Wars trilogy with my parents and little brother, and instantly fell in love. Then, the prequels came out, and I became even more of a fan. Yes, the argument can be made that the prequels sucked and that Jar Jar Binks was a horrible character (which, watching them now, yeah, sure, he’s annoying). However, as a young girl, whose best friend was a neighbor boy, the Star Wars franchise was something I came to love, even with the prequels!
In 7th grade (or was it 8th?), my friend Sarah stayed at my house for a few days. During that time, I basically made her watch the Star Wars saga with me. She had to know what she was missing! We watched 4, 5, and 6, and I could tell she loved it as much as I did.
Being the creative 12-year-olds we were, we started writing our very own Star Wars, Episode VII. Sarah was the daughter of Luke Skywalker, I was the daughter of Han Solo and Princess Leia, and we were best friends/cousins training together at the Jedi Academy. Of course, Uncle Luke Skywalker ran the academy and trained us both. I’m pretty sure the entirety of this “film” was going to be Sarah’s character trying to find her mother with my character’s help. It was genius, in our young minds, and I loved writing along side my friend.
Unfortunately, we only got to three pages in (if that) before it fell to the wayside.
So, you can imagine my excited when the announcement was made that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was a thing that was happening!
Sure, it’s not going to be as awesome as Sarah’s and my story, but hey, beggars can’t be choosers.
As excited as I was for this new installment to the saga, I’m sort of… over it.
It’s not because the story is lame, or overused, or that I don’t like J.J. Abrams (which I love him, so I’m actually excited to see what he does with the film).
It’s because of the merchandising.
You think Pumpkin Spice Everything is bad… Star Wars everything is even worse!
I mean, I can understand t-shirts, shoes, lunch boxes, toys…I can support that. Those things are normal. That’s healthy.
But, my word! They’ve got Star Wars everything right now!
Let me count the ways…
And last, but certainly not least… potatoes. Yes, you can buy your very own Star Wars: The Force Awakens bag of potatoes, if your little heart so desires.
I’m so sick of it! Everywhere I go, it’s Star Wars this and Star Wars that. I can’t escape it! It’s so overdone and is taking away the enthusiasm I once had for my beloved saga. Granted, if I’m given Star Wars anything for Christmas, I’ll be extatic, but the point still stands: too much is too much.
I LOVE Star Wars, I do. I even have three wooden posters (one for each original film) hanging above my bookshelf. And I get the excitement, and totally understand that it’s a humongous deal that this is happening.
I am very excited for the new film, I’m just afraid that with all the merch, the excitement has dwindled.
Either way, it’s going to be a great film. I plan to see it in theaters, but not for a while. To the ones who have had their tickets purchased for opening night this week, …God-speed.
May the Force be with you!
Days 2 and 3
The reason this is called the “Season Finale” and not the “Series Finale” is very simple – we’re going back.
Due to some unforeseen circumstances, there were so many things we did not get to do. We were not able to see the Garden District or the French Quarter. We did not go on a riverboat cruise and we did not eat anything Cajun (how can I visit NOLA and not have one bowl of gumbo?! How did that happen?!?) I was told I needed to try a sandwich called a Muffaletta. I was not able to try this legendary sandwich.
As you can see, I have a long list of things I didn’t get to do. However, the things I did get to do made the trip very fun.
On the last two days, we did a lot of the tourist-y things. The Audubon Aquarium was amazing!! So many sea creatures, so little time!! My camera was more in use that day than any other. I have so many pictures from the aquarium; I don’t know what to do with them all (…except to upload them to Facebook. Ha!). The Audubon Insectarium was… creepy. Probably cool for a field trip of 4th graders (which, coincidently, there was one there we kept running into), but I probably would be okay if I never went back. Although I got some interesting pictures, I HATE BUGS! The butterfly garden was gorgeous, however. Hot…so, so hot, but gorgeous. The butterflies were able to roam around freely and land on whomever they pleased. Again, I was able to get some great pictures.
We were going to visit the Zoo as well, which I was particularly excited about, but none of us were really willing to walk the 8 miles to get there, and that would have been one expensive taxi! Plus, it was practically raining. So, instead, we went across the street to the Riverwalk shops and picked up some souvenirs. I LOVE SOUVENIRS. I could have spent all day and all my money buying souvenirs and would not have cared in the slightest!! I loved it! I bought so many* things!!
Later that night, Mel, Ricky, and I went back to the Riverwalk for burgers and fries. They were delicious! Let it be known that no matter where you eat in NOLA, the food is amazing.
Wednesday morning came without warning. It was a bit sad, as it was our last day, but exciting, too, as we had things planned for the day. First, Café Du Monde for one final breakfast of beignets (!!!!), then cemetery tour, then back to the hotel to get ready for our Farewell Dinner.
The cemetery tour was nothing short of amazing. Our guide knew so much, and I think I learned more about some historical events while on this tour than I did in college! We toured Saint Louis Cemetery 1. It was a gloomy, cold day, which only added to the excitement of the tour. I was able to get some lovely pictures. The tour began in the visitor’s center, which had this cute little shop (love a little shop!), so of course, I bought more* souvenirs!!! I got this awesome mask that is hanging in my bedroom. It’s beautiful.
That evening, armed with confidence, ready for battle in dresses and heels (sports coat and dress shoes for Ricky), we headed out to dinner. We made reservations at an Italian restaurant called Marcello’s. All four of us ordered Chicken Parmesan. It was delicious! A lovely way to end the trip.
One thing I loved about this trip, more than the city, even, was the time spent with my friends. I was never short of a good laugh. I enjoyed late-night card games and watching movies while winding down from the day.
I can’t wait to return to New Orleans. This saga will continue! Adventure is out there!!!
Mel Best Friend, Crotchet
Genius, Beignet enthusiast
Ricky New Great Friend, Fellow
Whovian, NOLA Wizard
Miracle Also New Great Friend, Driver,
Pitch Perfect Provider, Lover of
Beignets, Ruby Slippers, and Bookstores, Oh My!
Okay, I want you to imagine this scene unfolding:
It’s a new morning in a new city. The whole day is ahead of you and adventures you can’t possibly imagine.
You walk to a place called Café Du Monde, because in New Orleans, that’s what you do. You find a table and you and your friends sit down, place your order with the sweet waitress, and enjoy the small jazz concert being performed right in front of you.
You’re lost in the breeze and the melodies, thinking about how much you love this city, and the people, and the music,
all of a sudden,
…is placed in front of you.
Just looking at this… this beautiful creation before you is enough to drive your stomach crazy with want, and make your arms and legs jealous because they don’t get to taste this delectable pastry of colossal flavor known as…the beignet.
I wish I could bring these home for everyone I’ve ever known to try. My children and my children’s children will know of this majestic pastry. I would come here on a weekend getaway just for one of these babies. The coffee at Café Du Monde was also absolutely amazing. I had just a simple black coffee and it was the BEST coffee I have ever, EVER had in my life!!
After that life-altering experience, my friends took me to this place called the Ruby Slipper Café. If you didn’t already know this about me, the Wizard of Oz is my favorite book of all time, ever (Tin Man is my favorite. And Toto!). The Ruby Slipper Café had great food, and a perfect tagline: “There’s no place like home!”
We took a few moments and stayed around Jackson Square. Jazz music and some of the friendliest people you will ever meet inhabited that area, and it made for some fantastic pictures. (I'll be uploading all of my pictures in the Photography section.)
To complete my birthday celebration, we visited a used bookstore called Crescent City Books. As I have previously mentions, I am on a book-buying ban until after my trip. However, all bets were off inside this place! I mean, I couldn’t have been happier. And my best friend was able to locate the store’s cat (see below), so I know she was happy, too!
After some time resting in the hotel, Mel, Ricky, and myself headed to Walgreens to run an errand. We ended up seeing some of the most beautiful sights of the city, the Riverwalk being one of them.
I had so much fun, and it was all thanks to my fabulous friends!!
…and the beignets. I mean, for real. The beignets.
(I’m thinking I’m going to condense days 3 & 4 into one post. Tune in tomorrow for that one!)