Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Blathering 2012 Recap: New Orleans

There seems to be this unwritten thing where ladies of the Blathering are too nice to name names in fear of leaving anyone out.  But screw that; those are the recaps I want to read.  GIMME THE DIRT!!  I'm not trying to make this all inside joke-y and name-droppy, but I do want to capture my first impressions of everyone I met this weekend before it's all gone in a sleep-deprived haze.  If I left you out, it means nothing more than I didn't get enough time with you and I'm sad about it.  There's always Charleston!

I've said it before and I'll say it again...if you are on the fence about attending a blogger gathering, DO IT.  You won't be sorry.

I was a little worried I wasn't going to make it to The Blathering, as I spent Sunday through Wednesday either barfing or dealing with family barf (reason #1 for NaBloPoMo failure).  It was pretty much as awful as it sounds.  But I got my shit together, packed my bags, and headed to New Orleans to meet up with Carla (so vibrant and funny!), Jen (exactly as I thought - nice and real and down to earth), Miranda (spunkier and shorter than expected), and Elisabeth (super classy and stylish, also as expected).

We cabbed it over to the Astor Crowne Plaza, where I quickly realized I couldn't blog from my iPad (reason #2 for NaBloPoMo failure).  I took a nap instead.  I woke up in time to say a quick hello to Megan (still awesome) before meeting my other two roomies, Lacey and Heather, in the lobby.  We made an attempt at hanging with the group in the lobby bar, but I was still a little groggy and all I really remember is Erica (shyer than expected (in a totally endearing way) but hilarious nonetheless) showing me her nail polish and someone (Susie I think) telling me I was not "as advertised" because my nails were bare.  Ha!      

Lacey, Heather, and I decided to take our chance to break away from the group to get to know each other a little better, as this was one of the reasons we all wanted to go.  We hopped in the first restaurant we saw, Le Bayou Restaurant, and instantly started chatting like old friends.  You guys, it is SO WEIRD to feel like you know someone so incredibly well as you are meeting them for the first time.  Both Lacey and Heather are exactly as I thought they would be...Lacey surprised me a bit more than Heather as HER NAME IS NOT EVEN LACEY, WTF, but it was pretty cool to have an immediate comfort level with my long time e-bffs.  I think that officially makes them My People.  

We then wandered around Bourbon Street and had drinks at the Old Absinthe House, which is apparently haunted.  Thursday's outfit was Gap dark wash skinny jeans, a totally stretched out and disgusting Liz Lange maternity t-shirt, a LOFT scarf and sweater, and black Bandolino boots (the only boots that work for my ginormous calves, LOVE THEM).  

The three of us got up at the crack of dawn (we are such moms) and headed over to Cafe Beignet.  The cafe was adorable, and the random wildlife provided much entertainment as Heather freaked out any time a bird came too close.  SHHH, don't tell, but I liked the beignets here better than Cafe Du Monde.  

Next up:  Jazz brunch at the Court of the Two Sisters (minus the jazz).  It was just SO EXCITING seeing everyone come in and running around stealing hugs from some of the people I was dying to meet.  I ate with Arwen (so nice, and she has the most soothing voice ever), Lauren (a total sweetheart; I love her friendship with Arwen), Rebecca (class act, just like Elisabeth...they remind me of sisters), Elisabeth, Megan (her hair is just as beautiful in real life), Heather, and Lacey.  You can see Jen's pic of our table here.  This morning's outfit was a comfy Calvin Klein sleveless pintuck jersey dress (Nordstrom) and Steve Madden flats (DSW).        

That guy held this position for at least 20 min.  The dog is fake :)
I hopped on a horse and carriage tour of the city with Lacey, Rebecca, Elisabeth, Heather, Sarah (so friendly and down to earth and just GOOD PEOPLE), Jenna (really outgoing and she also has 2 little girls, YAY), and Megan.  Our tour guide is in a group called the Side Street Steppers and is also going to be in the upcoming HBO series Treme, which is  currently filming in New Orleans.  Highlights of the tour were Nicholas Cage's mansion (bottom left) and the "poor man's security system", which was a ton of JAGGED GLASS glued to a balcony.  

Lacey, Heather and I were on our own again, and we ended up trekking to the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 and then grabbing some snacks at a restaurant (I think Oceana Grill but I could be wrong).  The cemeteries are really cool, definitely a highlight of the trip.  The dead are buried above ground, so they kind of remind me of little neighborhoods.  You know, for your short dead friends.  We saw Marie Leveau's grave (both the official and unofficial one).  Some people gave her their house key in case she needed a place to stay; others gifted her with some Diet Coke and a witch hat.  People are weird. 

We got ready for the big party.  I wore a Cynthia Steffe striped tiered jersey dress (Nordstrom) and my red Mossimo pumps (Target).   A huge group of us took the bus over, and Sara (ADORABLE, flawless makeup, stylish clothes...basically my fashion icon) took this hilarious picture.  I apologize to any Blatheringers I may have accidentally bitchfaced, as this is my default look.  You can see the dress (and watch my bitchface turn into drunkface) better here.  In fact, you should go to the flickr pool for all pictures from the party; all of mine are awful and Jen's are amazing.  

Sorry, Miranda.
The party at the Five Continents Bed and Breakfast was my favorite group event, by far.  The organizers KILLED IT, with beautiful name tags and decorations, delicious food, a champagne bar complete with edible glitter, the whole nine yards.  I had so much fun meeting Sarah (a super smart fast talker with a crazy good memory), Maggie (I feel like she would be the most perfect best friend ever, so easy to talk to), Susie (about as close to my people as one can get, LOVE HER, and she has a potty mouth), and Sheila (she is totally under the radar funny...hangs back in the big group but has some awesome zingers in a smaller group).  There were SO MANY OTHERS, but those are the "new" people I talked with the most.  I also got some quality time with my PJ's ladies Megan and Stephanie, and spent a lot of time willing Erica and Elizabeth to come talk to me from across the room.  Basically everyone was awesome and there was just NOT ENOUGH TIME.   

Saturday started with coffee at PJ's with Susie, Shalini (who is also totally my kind of people, YAY), April (who was very nice but I totally didn't get to know well enough), and Megan P.  This was really nice, I am just SO COMFORTABLE around these chicks that I wish I could move to Washington so we can nerd it up and make snarky comments together.  We also ran into Emily (super sweet and maker of adorable children),  Jess/Raven (quieter than expected, didn't get to talk to her much), and Natalie (she is so freaking ADORABLE it's ridiculous).  

We were then off to run the 5K...I planned on running about 15 minutes then walking the rest.  I started off strong with Shalini and Maura (who both are the kind of people who won't let you stubbornly walk alone in NOLA without a phone, THANKS!!!), but then had to turn around and find the walkers fairly quickly.  Damn hip.  Tara (exactly as expected, in a good way!) didn't out them, so I guess I won't either.  But I will say that both Jennie and Kristie are lovely (so nice!  and normal!), and that I may have a bit of a girl crush on Kristie and was probably creepy about it.   

Breakfast at Daisy Duke's was fun, although I didn't take full advantage of the unlimited Bloody Mary refills and I was totally unshowered (still wearing my Target Champion workout clothes).  I sat with Sheila, Shalini, Ginger (reminds me of my cousin), Erin (reminds me of younger me), and Michelle (reminds me of no one in particular; was very nice about my unshowered state).  

After that, I went back to the hotel to take a super fast shower before meeting up with people to do some shopping on Magazine street (the same cast of characters from the horse ride).  I got some gelato at Sucre and it was heaven.  My afternoon outfit was the Gap jeans (again) and a plum LOFT shirt with the Steve Madden flats.  It all got covered in powdered sugar anyway.  This is also the part of the trip where I COMPLETELY MISSED seeing Misty, SO SAD.  

Lacey wins the neat eater contest
More wandering around Jackson square with Lacey and Heather, including consulting a fortune teller.  Then we found a nice balcony to sit on at the Royal House Oyster Bar.  By this point I was feeling pretty ragged.  My hip hurt from "running" and I was totally exhausted.  It was nice to just chill out and people watch with no agenda.  

We got ready for the big dinner at Tujagues (pronounced "Two Jacks").  I wore a black Calvin Klein dress (on sale!  highly recommended!!!)  with my crazy tall snakeskin Steve Madden heels.  Which was clearly a big mistake, as I TOTALLY BIT IT right in front of the restaurant, splitting my dress and destroying my pride.  Good think Katie is awesome in a crisis and knows how to sew - she pinned me up in no time.  She's a keeper.  

The dinner was a little painful for me.  I was trying SO HARD to have a good time but it was really loud and I was starting to feel barfy and generally terrible from the lack of sleep and probably from overstimulation.  I AM LAME.  I ended up cabbing it back with Emily (who is pregnant and therefore had an excuse, unlike me) at nine (nine!), but not before the next Blathering location was announced.

See you in Charleston, yes?!!  I promise I won't be so lame next time!


Ashley // Our Little Apartment said...

I wish I'd had more chance to hang out with you! Such a shame, since we're SO CLOSE. Maybe we need to make that Angel Falls happen. :)

Heather said...

What an awesome weekend! I had such a great time meeting you, and am so happy to call you my real life friend.

Suzanne said...

OH MY GOD CHARLESTON??? I am coming. Going. I'LL BE THERE. OK, now I'm going to read your recap.

Lacey said...

Yay!! It was so fun to finally meet you in person! You probably surprised me more than Heather too. Guess we are both a little mysterious? Haha.

Marie Green said...

You're right, I DID love reading this more than the "careful" posts that don't mention anyone's names.

I loved meeting you and insist on spending more time with you next time. I thought you were so ELEGANT! Also, I saw some commotion when we were walking to dinner Sat night, but I didn't know you fell! Ahh! That sucks! You looked amazing all night, so the dress fix must have been magic!

Saly said...

I am so going to Charleston, but I am committed to seeing you before then.

I'm glad you had fun!

Erica said...

Haaa, Laura. I was afraid that I freaked you out by immediately shoving my hands in your face. For future reference, if you want me to come over to where you are, try shaking a little a little liquor bottle and making "come here" kissy noises.

"Watch my bitchface turn into drunkface." Perfect.

Jessica said...

You're dang right I didn't get enough time with you! I'm so sad I barely got to talk with you. You should totally come to PJs@TJs a day early and we can just go shopping and talk all day.

Jennie said...

What a fantastic recap! You were SO lovely too and, I agree, Kristie is totally crush-worthy. ;-)

k said...

Loved meeting you and adored how tall you are. If you'd patted me on the head like a wee person it would have been okay.

Sarah in Ottawa said...

You are lovely; meeting you in person was a total highlight. I wish that I still lived in Southwestern Ontario so I could visit all you mid-westerners more. Why can't we bridge the Great Lakes?!

Arwen said...

Laura, I love you for doing a mention-everyone recap. You're right, that is the best kind to read. I wish everyone did one and I'd like to do one myself, but gah! All the linking! I admire your dedication. :-)

I've been reading your blog for a while now and really liking it, and I wish I'd gotten more time to talk to you. I hope next year I can make that happen!

maggie said...

HAAAAAAAAAA I love you for linking. i wanted to link! But I was lazy! Alas!

TOTALLY want to spend more time with you (and your e-bffs) next time!

happilyeverme.com said...

I'm not THAT short!

I really wish more people had dished it out (says the person who hasn't officially recapped yet.) rather than being all polite and nice. Loved this. And you.

CharlieSue said...

Man, this RECAP is awesome and YOU are awesome. I'm SO glad that you started off my weekend as you are funny and lovely and I was instantly comfy with you. Let's keep in touch and I'll see you (at LEAST) next year in Charleston! xo