We decided to keep my birthday low key this year, nothing too crazy. Scott took my out to dinner to the Cheesecake Factory and then we did some shopping and I bought a fantastic purse that I'm completely in love with, thanks to mom and dad! Plus Scott bought me the most beautiful bouquet of roses I've ever seen and a little tripod for my phone I've been wanting. He's seriously the best.
For Valentines we wanted to tackle live lobster ourselves. Oh yeah. Steamed those babies up and dipped them in buttah. We came to the conclusion that all though it's extremely easy to steam lobster, it's really hard to steam them to a perfectly cooked state. And by the time you get all the meat out of the claws, it's not hot anymore. There was a lot of clean up involved and some nasty cleaning of the insides when you cut the tail off from the main body as well. It was completely fun and definitely an adventure but I think next time we're going to just opt for the more expensive restaurant lobster that's cooked to perfection!
Now Mardi Gras. I don't even know where to start with that celebration! You really step into a different world out here during Mardi Gras. And I'm completely serious about the month long party.
Here's a very small background from my limited knowledge of this holiday.
-It always falls on Fat Tuesday. This year that day was February 17th.
-It's basically a last hurrah before Lent. (Eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die...)
-There were over 60 parades this year that started as early as January 6th.
-Most of the parades are family friendly. Unless of course you wander into the French Quarter at night. But really, you're just asking for it if you do that during Mardi Gras.
-Kids get out of school for the entire week.
-Most businesses take Mardi Gras off as well.
-You're supposed to eat lots and lots of King Cake. King cake is cinnamon-filled dough that's baked in the shape of a hollow circle. Sometimes they are filled with cream cheese or jellies. There are way too many sprinkles on the top and sometimes inside the cake that are the colors of Mardi Gras: green, purple, and gold. There's also a plastic baby Jesus hidden inside the cake. (Do you get it now, "King" cake... baby Jesus.) Whoever gets the baby Jesus gets luck or something, and then has the buy the next king cake. Vicious cycle. People rave about king cake. It's AMAZING. Scott and I never quite got the loving relationship with it that everyone else seems to have going. We'll see if something changes next year.
-You may start off at the parade not caring about cheap plastic beads that are getting thrown at your face, but by the end of the parade you will have been taken over by an alter ego version of yourself who NEEDS the beads and NEEDS the blinking headband and NEEDS the plastic cup and NEEDS the stuffed flower wand thing. Oh yeah, it's like a disease. People go crazy.
-Also, see that ladder box behind me in the picture of the right? You put kids up there so they're higher up and they get thrown loads of stuff. It's the popular place.
-Valentine's gets completely walked over out here. People go crazy with Mardi Gras decorations. I mean, check out this wreath?! It practically smacks you on the face as you walk by the door. And the more gaudy, the better. I've never seen so many tacky wreaths in all my life.
-At the bigger parades these guys on horses pass out doubloons. They're a big deal. You WANT doubloons.
-Everyone on a float is required to wear a mask by law. Don't ask me why, but it just adds to the mystery of everything.
Scott and I went to 4 parades this year. A decent number for a rookie beginner. We went to Mandevilles' Krewe of Eve parade one night, and then the Friday night before Mardi Gras we went down to Uptown New Orleans and saw 3 parades. There's a main parade route down there and you can literally camp out there in one spot all day and watch around 5 parades throughout the day on the weekends. The fun thing about some of the bigger parades down in New Orleans is that they have customized beads and throws. Their beads will have the krewe's symbol on it and they'll have specialized items that go with their theme.
Sorry for the long post. Mardi Gras really should have had it's own post but I'm too lazy to go back now and make another one. But all in all, I had a blast with Mardi Gras. It's so much fun and there's no way I can adequately describe it to make you understand. You honestly have to experience it in person. So start making plans for next year! Mardi Gras is February 9th!