Jodi’s Grapefruit Gin Gimlet

Grapefruit Gin Gimlet

One of my favorite cocktails on our recent visit to New Orleans was one I had at the bar at the National World War II Museum believe it or not.

Who knew this beautiful museum had a bar!?!  An awesome restaurant and bar actually – called The American Sector – with yummy drinks and treats.  And what a joy it was to sit there and buy a drink for a World War II veteran we met and chatted with for a little while in between activities and exhibits.

If you make a visit to New Orleans, this museum is a MUST SEE!  I do not consider myself a history buff, and I am ashamed to say I did not pay very good attention to history in school.  This museum, which combines galleries and exhibits, a 4-D movie, and interactive activities made learning the stories of heroism, tragedy and liberation enjoyable and interesting.

But back to this drink.  I don’t recall what it was called on the menu, but I do recall what was listed in it, and I have tried a few times to recreate it at home.

Last weekend, at the end of a beautiful sunny, warm Autumn day, I made this one that was just what I was hoping for.  This drink is not for “froo froo” sweet cocktail drinkers.  It is sour and tart and refreshing.  Since I can’t recall what it was called, and since I made it my own way, I am giving it my own name.  I call it Jodi’s Grapefruit Gin Gimlet.  If you are a gin lover like me, I hope you’ll give this refreshing cocktail a try.

Jodi's Grapefruit Gin Gimlet

2 shots Bombay Sapphire Gin
1 shot St. Germain Liquer
1 Grapefruit
1 Lime

Fill Cocktail Shaker with ice. Add gin, liquer, freshly squeezed juice of one whole grapefruit and one lime. Shake vigorously. Pour in cocktail glass.

If the grapefruit is a little too tart, you can stir in a 1/2 teaspoon of powdered sugar.  Enjoy!

Friday Weekend Cheers & Hugs,


New Orleans City Park Sculpture Garden

New Orleans City Park Sculpture Garden Bridge

Am I reflecting joy when I smile at a stranger?
Warmth when I give a hug?

Am I reflecting peace in the words I speak?
Hope in the words I write?

Am I reflecting friendship in my actions towards others?
Beauty in the cherished moments of the day?

Am I reflecting love in the way I live my life?

May I wake up each morning reflecting on the small impact I have on a great big world.

Cherish the moments.

Cheers & Hugs,

WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge:  Grid


connected storm drain NOLA

Sidewalk Storm Drain Grate, Warehouse District, New Orleans, LA

No beginning…

No end.

Infinitely intertwining the past, the present, and the future,

the physical and the spiritual…

all plants and animals and minerals.

Eternally merged…

Continuously connected.


I recently captured this close-up photo of a storm drain grate on a sidewalk in the Warehouse District of New Orleans.  It was beautiful!  So much lovely architecture and  structural elements in NOLA!  It reminded me of the Celtic Knot and the inter-connectivity it represents.  This week’s WordPress Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge is ‘Connected’.  I had to share this photo.

Cheers & Hugs,

My New ( and very first) Art Journal

journal red leather cover

On our recent vacation to New Orleans, I kept scoping out little book stores and gift shops as we sauntered around the French Quarter and the Garden District for one particular thing I wanted for myself… an art journal.

I’ve been wanting to get one to practice drawing and sketching and painting in, and I thought it would be a great “souvenir” to bring back from NOLA.

I was so excited when I found this little gem bound in bright red leather and filled with handmade cotton paper.  It is about 5×7 inches with about 50 luxurious sheets of paper held shut with an elastic band.

It fits perfectly in my purse, and I couldn’t wait to use it.


I got nervous.

It is so beautiful, and I really don’t know how to draw very well.
What would I draw on the very first page of this beautiful little book?
It had to be something fabulous or memorable.

I was frozen in indecisiveness and carried it around for days without daring to draw.

I visited many art galleries while wandering around in the French Quarter, but one made the most profound impact on me…

the Alex Beard Studio on Julia Street.

When I walked in, I asked the friendly gentleman if he was Alex?

He kindly told me that Alex had just left, but he would be back tomorrow, and he asked if there was anything he could help me with.

We struck up a brief conversation where he inquired if I was an artist.

Well – “not really,” I replied, but I would love to be and am “dabbling.”

He told me that Alex welcomes anyone to come and join him in his studio to sketch or paint or draw any time they would like.  He loves to share his space.

How fun would that be?

I then told this sweet young man, “I did just buy this beautiful little sketchbook (which I proceeded to show him).  He caressed it just like I did when I first found it, and admired the beautiful handmade sheets of paper.

He was drawing himself when I interrupted him, and I inquired about what he was using and what he was making.

He was making a birthday card.


I told him how I make all my own homemade cards.

He told me how he does too, and how if he ever sends a store-bought card to a friend or relative, they know he must be really busy, because he always makes homemade cards.

Anyway – to make a short story long ….

I told him I was nervous to start drawing in my new art journal.

I said, “I don’t know what to draw on the first page….. it needs to be something significant, and I’m afraid to just draw in it.”

He gave me the best advice ever, and I so wish I could remember his name, for he was such a sweet soul…

He simply said,

“Well then start on the second page.”

Brilliant – eh?

Well – I didn’t get enough nerve up to draw in my new art journal until the second leg of our flight home several days later.  From New York to Pittsburgh, the flight was only about 1/3 full.


journal first drawing

Hubby and I spread out and each took our own row.

I stretched out, and I opened up my little art journal, and this is the first thing I drew….

…on Page 3.

journal gin cocktail nola

My journey has begun.

gin cocktail at wwii museum nola

Gin Cocktail at The American Sector Restaurant, WWII Museum, NOLA

Cheers & Hugs,

10 Years Later… Hurricane Katrina

katrina memorial scrap house 10 years later

As you may have realized from the photos and posts this past week, I was fortunate to spend a week-long vacation with hubby in New Orleans, Louisiana.

On the last day of our vacation yesterday – after more amazing food and drink, fun and celebrating, exploring and experiencing, art and culture, people and places, sun and heat than we could have imagined – we decided to spend our last day on a tour of the devastation caused by Hurricane Katrina, which just happens to have occurred 10 years ago today.

It was heartbreaking to see the destruction and the devastation that still remains in many places.  It was also encouraging and uplifting to see and hear of the wonderful stories of rebuilding and humanitarianism that have occurred and are still occurring.  (In fact, as I type this at midnight in our hotel room, I can still hear the music and cheers of the crowds outside and 11 floors below as Lil’ Wayne, a Rap Artist Entertainer, who was born and raised in the 9th Ward (which is the area that was most devastated by Hurricane Katrina), is hosting a benefit concert right outside the Superdome where an estimated 35,000 evacuees fled for a “shelter of last resort.”

The photo above is the “Scrap House” Memorial to Hurricane Katrina that was built by New Orleans artist Sally Heller and unveiled on the fourth anniversary of the storm on August 29, 2009.  It stands across the street from the city’s convention center, where many refugees lived after their homes were destroyed.

The battered house sits in a tree whose bark is made of metal scraps from salvaged 55 gallon oil drums.

Heller was inspired to create this monument after seeing boats in trees and house on top of cars in the aftermath of the storm.

I am sharing the photo below (which is one of at least 50 photos I took yesterday), because this plaque really struck me to the core as I learned so much more about this horrific disaster.

floodwall sign katrina nola

Today, I recognize and honor all those that suffered such horrendous destruction and loss ten years ago.  I also celebrate their courage, spirit of survival, rebuilding, and perseverance.

I am forever changed, forever humbled, forever grateful.


Before I Die…

Before I die I want to wall

Before I Die is a public art project that invites people to reflect on their lives and share their personal aspirations in a public space.  Originally created by New Orleans artist Candy Chang in 2011 on an abandoned house in her neighborhood after losing someone she loved, the wall has been recreated by residents around the world.  Today there are over 350 walls in 60 countries and 25 languages.

The wall shown here, installed by Chang in the Warehouse District of New Orleans, Louisiana, celebrates the project in the city where it all began and is the first wall in New Orleans since the original abandoned house has become someone’s home again.

before I die I want to 2

I enjoyed pondering along this wall and reading the comments…  Some serious, some silly, but certainly makes you think.

before I die I want to 3

You can learn more about the project here.

How would you finish the sentence?

Before I die, I want to ___________________________________________________________.

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Cheers & Hugs,

You are beautiful

you are beautiful building mississippi river new orleans

Can you imagine
the pleasant surprise

to float by this building
and read this message

on a recent dinner cruise along the Mississippi River
while visiting New Orleans?

I love to think about the person or persons that took the time to do this.
I can almost envision the beauty in their eyes, their hands, their heart.

There is something beautiful to be found in everything –
Absolutely everything.

Just open your eyes…
and your heart.

You are beautiful!

Cheers & Hugs,