This past weekend was one of the best. I got to spend my big birthday (30!) with my favorite person at one of my very favorite places in the universe: New Orleans Jazz Fest.
If you haven’t been, Jazz Fest is a two weekend outdoor music festival held every year featuring more than 10 different performance stages with all types of music: jazz, rock, blues, folk, country, gospel, and more. On top of that, the fair grounds have various cultural shows and displays, shops, and incredible food vendors selling everything from alligator po’ boys and gumbo to traditional fry bread and fried chicken. And let’s not forget the frozen daiquiris of all shapes, sizes, and flavors. It was a weekend of enormous fun + indulgence and I don’t regret the celebration one bit!
Although the second day of the festival we unfortunately got caught in torrential thunderstorms waiting for Stevie Wonder to perform, so our celebrations were a bit water-logged. After spending an hour in high winds, rain, thunder, and lightening, the festival had to evacuate everyone as the grounds were flooded and the power went out. Take a look at that river behind us!
We made up for it by rallying for an evening show at one of the performance halls in downtown New Orleans. There’s nothing like the music scene + energy in that city, and I just love it to death.
But no celebratory birthday weekend would be complete without a fit crash, so on Friday morning I ventured down to the warehouse district for a hot yoga class at the gorgeous Reyn Studios.
I’ve seen a lot of yoga studios in my day, and have to say that Reyn is one of the most drop-dead-gorgeous settings I’ve ever had the pleasure of practicing in. I mean, can you even stand how beautiful that natural light is?
The place just glows with good vibes.
And maybe it’s a southern thing, but everyone I encountered there was friendly, helpful, and welcoming – I wish I could say that about some of the studios up here in NYC. Ahem.
I took a level R2/R3 class with Stephen Link, who started the class with the warning that it would be less of a continuous, aggressive flow and more of a workshop aimed at diving deeper into some of the poses and sequences. While we explored some really advanced moves that I can’t even begin to replicate, at no time did I feel out of place or in over my head. Stephen’s light-hearted, humorous approach to teaching set everyone instantly at ease.
I was next to experienced yogis who were rocking full expressions of poses I’ve never seen before, as well as newcomers who were there for a little sweat and fun like me. I tried to follow along the best I could, took all of the modifications, laughed out loud at myself more than once, and walked away with an enormous sense of satisfaction and with a smile on my face. I absolutely loved my experience and am already planning to make this a pit stop on my next trip.
After sweating for an hour and a half in a hot yoga studio – coupled with the swampy New Orleans weather – I was in desperate need of something refreshing to help me recover. While I really wanted to dive right into the mimosas and beignets, I knew it’d be better to pace myself so I went for a green juice + large iced coffee instead. I hope, dear readers, that you can appreciate the incredible self-restraint this required.
Luckily, Pulp + Grind makes it easy to take a healthy break from the over-the-top eating and drinking that permeates New Orleans from sun up to sun down (which, let me be clear, is one of the reasons why I love that city so much).
They’re right around the corner from Reyn Studios and carry an assortment of cold pressed juices and made-to-order coffee drinks. It’s a darling spot with to-die-for tile floors and airy windows. Definitely a “must visit” if you’re looking for a way to hit that healthy reset button while in town.
My 30th birthday weekend could not have been more perfect, and I’m so very grateful to the universe (and my favorite person) for making it happen. I enter this next decade with a full heart (and belly), ready to take on the adventures that lie ahead.