Mardi Gras in New Orleans: How to Indulge Wisely

Mardi Gras in New Orleans: How to Indulge Wisely

A trip to New Orleans during Carnival Season is always a great get together for my family and friends. One thing I wanted to share with you is how I maintain my lifestyle while visiting the Crescent City. I am sure you are wondering “How do you visit New Orleans during Mardi Gras and experience the rich food, the iconic cocktails, the renowned jazz clubs (into the wee hours of the morning) and the amazing southern culture that is NOLA, without setbacks?” Mardi Gras is all about indulgence. Mardi Gras actually means Fat Tuesday. It’s the last day of Carnival before the Christian holiday Lent begins and fasting begins. Please know,  you don’t have to decline drink and dinner invitations, but you do need to be mindful and not lose yourself in the moment… and there will be plenty.

Here are some tips to share with you on how I survive my annual Mardi Gras pilgrimage.

Valentine’s Day … Don’t Succumb to the “Norm”

With tomorrow being Valentine’s Day I was thinking about how much I enjoy this holiday, but also how mundane and generic it can be for so many. First off, let me say that any reason to celebrate love is always a good idea, no matter how you do it. Yet, the commercialization of this holiday building expectations to buy (or receive) a dozen red roses, a box of chocolates, a gift (most likely jewelry) and a fancy dinner to me is not all that special. Now don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t love all those things, but I have never been one who wants, nor expects “popular” gifts. This holiday allows your significant other to make you feel special, and by knowing you, can make this a fantastic day, or weekend, to just block out the rest of the world and celebrate each other.

If your plans include doing the expected for Valentine’s Day, let me suggest a few alternatives that will not only impress, but make that someone special feel well… extra special.

Ideas to make your Valentine’s Day one to remember

Switch up the florals


Flowers are always a lovely sentiment, but most likely the vast majority of people will be receiving red roses on this day. Instead, find out what your significant other’s favorite flower is and have the florist help create a custom bouquet that will be sure to have “I love you” written all over it. Another great idea is to give them something that can be planted in the ground or in a pot, that way they won’t have to throw away what was once a beautiful flower but have something that you can appreciate for time to come. I received a potted heart-shaped wreath of orchids one year which I enjoyed for 3 years. To this day – that’s the florist I call whenever I want to surprise someone with a beautiful seasonal bouquet.

Skip dining out and make dinner at home


In Napa Valley there are a lot of wonderful restaurants and you find yourself dining out often, so a dinner date on Valentine’s Day can become as common as a typical Tuesday. If you do not dine out a lot then this can be a great treat, however, diner be warned: Valentine’s Day is a time for a lot of restaurants to capitalize on a fancy pre-fixed menu that may not be worthy of the price tag or the calories. My suggestion would be to go to the store, pick up some beautiful fresh ingredients and cook dinner together with your loved one at home. The time and effort to create a meal will earn you points in creativity and you can enjoy whatever you want paired with a memorable glass of wine – instead of being restricted to expensive menu selections.

Be a tourist in your own town


This is a great way to do something new without having to travel, yet feel like you are on a mini vacation. It might be fun to check into a hotel, book a couples spa package, order room service or even book a fun touristy activity; i.e: wine tasting, a balloon ride, or even tour that art museum you’ve been meaning to visit. You will feel a million miles away right in your own hometown.

Celebrate with all your loved ones


Since this day is all about love, your Valentine does not have to be the person you are in a relationship with. If you are single, there is no reason you should be excluded on this day and if you are in a relationship there is no reason why you can’t celebrate this day with all the important people in your life. So go out in a group or host a dinner party at home. There is nothing better than to surround yourself with all the cherished people in your life. Valentine’s Day should not be exclusive, but inclusive of all your loved ones!

Make plans to enjoy this day and celebrate love. Refuse to let it be anything other than special. Be excited about being able to see each other, enjoy the gift of time. Also, don’t forget the Champagne, cheers!

The Basics of a Paleo Lifestyle

The Basics of a Paleo Lifestyle

Whether or not you know what the term Paleo is, chances are you’ve heard of it, or one of its many names—the Caveman Diet, the Primal Lifestyle, the Stone Age diet, or the Hunter-Gatherer diet. While the Paleo diet may have recently become popular, it’s based on principles that date back to the Paleolithic Era. I personally follow a Paleo lifestyle and wanted to share a few details with you. It’s more than a diet, it’s a way of life - starting with how you approach each day.

Wine vs. Cocktails: Which to Choose Based on Their Nutritional Breakdown

Wine vs. Cocktails: Which to Choose Based on Their Nutritional Breakdown

I’m bringing back the age-old debate about wine and spirits—which is better? My husband and I own Fantesca Estate & Winery in Napa Valley, so I’m a bit biased as to which I prefer. My preferences aside, though, I wanted to take the question one step further and compare wine and spirits based on noted health benefits and nutritional value. Let’s break it down:

What's in a Name? Part I

What's in a Name? Part I

One of the best things about my personal fitness journey is hearing from friends and acquaintances who tell me they have taken inspiration from my posts and updates on social media. It’s gratifying to know that these lessons I’ve learned can help others.

I decided I wanted to work harder on sharing those stories and the things that helped me along the way. There are many beautiful fitness models out there. What do I have to share that is unique?

Here’s what I came up with.

The Alkaline Diet, Does Your Acidity Matter?

The Alkaline Diet, Does Your Acidity Matter?

Many diet trends have popped up over the last 10-15 years. I'm thinking of the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, and the Keto Diet, among others. The most important part of any diet plan is getting all of your nutrients and moving toward your goals. I personally believe a Paleo lifestyle is the healthiest way to achieve optimal health and fitness, but I know many people like to explore their options. The buzz is now around the Alkaline Diet… here’s the lowdown for those wanting to learn more!

Collagen, the Unsung Hero

Collagen, the Unsung Hero

The benefits of collagen have been in the spotlight a lot lately. Good Morning America even featured it in a special interview with dermatologists! I’ve seen everything from collagen infused shampoo to collagen facial treatments offered at medispas. It got me wondering, what is collagen? Why is collagen good for us?

Spicy and Soothing - Ginger can be both

Spicy and Soothing - Ginger can be both

Do you remember when you were little and your mother gave you a glass of ginger ale and a few saltine crackers to calm your upset stomach? Then you experienced first hand that ginger root has some pretty powerful effects on the body. Now that we are a little older, and hopefully wiser, there are even more ways to reap the healing benefits of ginger.