Go Here: Bright Bungalows in the New Orleans Bywater

We went to New Orleans last year for Easter and it ended up being an unexpectedly colorful trip. I didn’t know much about NOLA beforehand but I came away loving the laid back vibe and wanting to make a tradition of it and go back every Easter. The weather in April was amazing and there was enough going on with celebrations and parades to feel like we were getting a true NOLA experience without the crazy crowds of Mardi Gras.  We decided to stay in an Airbnb in Bywater (the green garden house below) and I'm so glad we chose that spot! It was just a short bike ride through the newly redone riverfront park to the French Quarter or any of the other NOLA sights, and couldn’t be any cuter with its bright bungalows and corner cafes. I’d definitely recommend it if you’re looking for a quieter place to sleep but still stay close to the action.

Airbnb cutie in NOLA

We stayed in a private two story guest cottage with a balcony and free bikes -direct link here. It's safe, clean and comfortable (not to mention adorable), and it has a full kitchen with plenty of room to spread out and make yourself at home. If you've never used Airbnb before, its a great way to get a feel for the neighborhood instead of feeling like a total tourist, and you can use my invite for $40 off your first booking.

NOLA favorites. Cafe Du Monde
NOLA favorites.
NOLA favorites.
NOLA favorites.
NOLA favorites.

Top row is from Elizabeth's in the Bywater- really is a must for brunch. The praline candied bacon and bloody mary were amazing, and I loved my shrimp and grits too!

Bottom row images are from Frenchmen Art Market and I'd definitely recommend it for a nighttime activity. Frenchmen is such a fun area to explore by bike or foot, with tons of restaurants and local music, it's like a hip version of the French Quarter and it can easily keep you busy for hours.

NOLA favorites.

Some of our favorites and my first attempt at a travel video below:

  • The Joint BBQ
  • Elizabeth's (praline bacon)
  • Satsuma (pancakes!)
  • Pizza Delicious (white pie)
  • Magazine Street 
  • Frenchmen Street at nighttime/ Frenchmen Art Market
  • Take the 12th St streetcar and hop off explore the whole way
  • The Zoo has a fun NOLA swamp exhibit
  • The French Quarter, obviously! Catch a parade. Explore the shops. Admire the architecture. 
  • Killer Poboys in the French Quarter
  • Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee
  • Lafayette Cemetary
  • One night you have to Uber to the French Quarter and get a Hand Grenade. Or a Hurricane. Or both.. ;) 
  • Biking and taking the street car are the best ways to see it all

Shout out to all of the 12 year olds on youtube that make how to videos for us middle aged girls just trying to put together a little travel vlog. They make it seem so easy (but it's so not).

Gifts for the La Croix lover in your life

Valentine's Day is coming up, Galentine's Day is coming up, it's the best time of year for being thoughtful of others and for treating yourself to something fun!

I'm planning to do a few short and sweet round ups here to inspire your month of love and first up is one of my faves, La Croix. I drink at least 3 of these every day and I can confidently say they are the reason I stay hydrated. Plus I’m all about their summer vibes and I love the colorful designs.

La Croix gift guide

Hand painted heart pins so I can wear my fave flavor as flair for everyone to see. You can find them in my shop here! #coconutforever, PS.

Home is where the la croix (so much of it) is art print.

These little hand stamped gold necklaces are adorable! 

Hand stitched la croix patch. All the sparkling water flair!

Uhmm hi, I want this la croixs over boys tshirt. So cute.

Handmade and amazingly 80's feeling la croix planter

la croix cocktails

And last but definitely not least, I'll leave you with 15 La Croix cocktails. Because what is Valentine's Day without a Guava Pineapple and Coconut cocktail made with vodka and coconut la croix? Or a Spicy Paloma with tequila and Pamplemousse? What a dream.

Random Items from Amazon that I use Everyday

There are the items on Amazon that you already know you need, like blenders and printer ink, and then there are the ones you never knew you needed. I rounded up my favorite purchases that I use regularly and at this point feel like I couldn't live without!

If you know me, you know how much I love our magnetic screen door. We bought it as a temporary solution for our Halloween party two years ago so that we could leave the door open and let people easily go in and out, without letting a bunch of bugs in. I expected it to fall down after one night but its still in great shape and I love nice days when I can leave the door open and let the breeze in! It's wonderful. Maybe my favorite Amazon purchase ever.

Magnetic screen door from Amazon

For you Apple pencil users, this desktop charger/pencil stand is awesome. The charge lasts longer and it holds the cap so you won't lose it. I'd also recommend  a magnetic sleeve grip

Apple pencil desktop charger from Amazon

Not only is this little desktop vacuum cleaner adorable, it works great for cleaning up small messes. If you're like me and you pretty much ALWAYS have pencil shavings, glitter, or little bits of stuffing scattered everywhere.. you need it.

Desktop Vacuum from Amazon

If you take product photography for small items this portable light box is a must. It has an LED strip included so you just plug it in and you're set, no additional lights needed. I use it for my pin pictures and it works great. Also, if you need a tripod to record time lapse videos of your work from above, this is a good one. It clips to the side of your desk and can hold phones or small tablets.

I'm obsessed with this fisheye lens the clips over your phone camera. It also has a macro lens underneath. So fun!

Okay this is a little yuck but I'll tell you anyways. There are a TON of stray cats in our neighborhood (like 25+, no joke) and sometimes fleas sneak in our house through little holes around our kitchen sink plumbing.  We had an exterminator come out and that didn't help, nothing worked until we bought this flea trap from Amazon. It's a simple idea and you could DIY something similar, basically it's just a warm light and a sticky pad. Once we started using it and if we use it on a regular basis, we don't see any fleas at all. 

I've been using this purse everyday since 2015. I actually didn't realize it had been that long until I looked at my purchase history.. but dang, it's held up really well.

The Trtl neck support is a good alternative to regular travel pillows. It wraps around your neck like a scarf and supports your head to the front or side. You can cozy it up around your face which is nice because I don't want anyone to see if my mouth falls open while I'm asleep. Haha.

Those are my faves! And mostly all less than $30. Do you have any random Amazon purchases that you love?

 

Life update.

The state of Kelsey Davis Design: haha. Sounds so fancy.

I just finished my last two plush taxidermy pieces that I'll be making for awhile so I wanted to share what's going on behind the scenes. I announced a few months ago that I would be closing the shop for a bit to take some time and rework my designs, create new products, and work on an overall shop refresh. That's still the plan but the details are fuzzy.

I've hit a point where I feel like my business has slowed and the only way I'll be able to grow it is if I take a hard look at my shop and make some changes.. what's working, what's not? What do I love to do, and am I doing it?* I've enjoyed making all the little animals for you guys! I'm just getting the itch to switch things up, even though it's super scary to start something new.. because who knows if it'll work out? (*shoutout to my super supportive husband who inspires me on the daily and is constantly pushing me to just go for it; whatever that may be.)

Go for it

Will I still be offering custom plush taxidermy in the future?

As of right now, I will not be offering completely custom pieces. This was a main reason for closing the shop, because the way my custom orders were set up took too much time for one person (me, haha) to do by themselves, and 6 weeks was too long of a turn around time to make my customers happy. Which is understandable, that's a long time to wait!

Will I still be making plush taxidermy?

My main focus will be elsewhere, but my plan right now is to do small batch shop updates every few months where I release a few ready to ship pieces on a particular day. Keep an eye on my instagram for updates on this. I'm hoping to have some ready to go in the fall around thanksgiving.

What will I be doing in the meantime?

This is the part where it gets fuzzy! My background is in graphic design, so I'm planning to dive back in to my computer. I've been spending so much time sewing that I haven't had time to design as much as I've wanted to lately, so I'm excited about that. I've started a new side business with my husband where we're designing enamel pins, stickers, and other fun flair. You can follow along with us on instagram @dribblekiller if that sounds like something you'd enjoy :)

I'm reallyyyy trying to let myself go for a few months to experiment and create things just for fun without thinking too much about what will sell. And guys, it's not easy to flip that switch! But I'm trying. Maybe I'll make some pillows? Prints? Embroidery? What would you like to see more of in your feed? Let me know! Keep up with me here and on instagram if you want to see where all of this ends up. 

IMG_1041.JPG

This quote from Awesome with Alison has been sticking with me lately as I try to dig in and figure out what I really love to do. It feels like everything is SO oversaturated right now, doesn't it? Everyone is a photographer. Or blogger. Or hand-letterer. But guess what? You should do it anyways, because no one is YOU and if you truly love it you will bring something unique and different that no one else can. Plus, the bottom line is you need to do what makes you happy. Period. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks, because you are your best self when you're doing what you love.  

The Best Costa Rica Airbnb's (under $200!)

One of my favorite things to do on the weekends is spend hours on the internet looking at vacation rentals. (no, for real. I think it's actually a hobby of mine at this point.) I spent so much time browsing that I had a legit Airbnb nightmare last night.. we got there and the bed was missing, the sink was full of dishes, the pool had no water in it.. just a straight up nightmare, y'all. (Ha! I only wish I was kidding.)

I know that for some of you, vacation planning and rental searching is your own personal version of hell. Amirite? Don't worry, I'll happily share the fruits of my labor with you.

Costa Rica is a dream. Wild jungle animals meet miles of beaches, cute little towns, active volcanoes, and friendly people. It's not the place to go for an all inclusive vacation- it's the place to go for an adventure.

I've rounded up some of my favorites that meet most, if not all, of the things on my list. (and they're all backed up by excellent reviews- which I feel is super important when it comes to renting a house in a foreign country)

Costa Rican Airbnb wish list: 

  • Private house with a view
  • Swimming pool
  • Kitchen or kitchenette
  • less than $200 a night
  • Danny wants wifi.. not at the top of my list but I'll admit it definitely makes life easier

Of note: these first 3 options don't have AC, but the reviews all say there is enough of a breeze that this isn't a problem at all. This was our experience as well when we stayed at Mango Valley (pictured at the bottom).

Costa Rica airbnb

As if staying in a freaking awesome treehouse wasn't amazing enough, "guests enjoy free 24 hour access to the 12 natural hot and cool springs pools of various temperatures and rainforest trails." And um, hi.. it's only $129 a night. 

Costa Rica airbnb

Private two bedroom villa with everything a family needs on vacation and a shared pool with 3 other villas. Walking distance to Samara beach. $148

Costa Rica airbnb

"Spectacular volcano and lake views from every room" and a spacious balcony. Sold. $118

So I definitely think a tad rustic is the way to go in Costa Rica, but I couldn't resist including a few beautiful modern houses as well. 

Costa Rica airbnb

 "Serenity Beach House". $209, gorgeous private pool, AC, full house includes 5 beds.

Screen Shot 2017-08-14 at 11.31.36 PM.png

Fairly new so not many reviews yet, but so far no one has anything negative to say about this fully equipped, amazing house with open air in the common areas, AC in the 2 bedrooms. $129 and in a gated community close to the beach. 

Costa Rica airbnb

This amazing pool with an absolutely killer view pretty much seals the deal for me. (Open air shower, AC, and modern furnishings aren't so bad either.) $247 -more than we would pay on our own BUT it sleeps 4 people comfortably with 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms, so split between two couples this house is a sweet deal.

Costa Rica airbnb

Infinity pool with an ocean view. AC and comfortable amenities as well as 2 bedrooms. $172

Honorable mention. Very simple cottages overlook the gorgeous Mango Valley, this place is an underrated gem. We stayed here one night because it's 25 minutes from SJO and we had an early flight the next morning- although I wouldn't recommend staying here for your entire trip, you can't beat this gorgeous little pool for $67 near the airport.

Also note: most of these places are near the Province of Guanacaste or Arenal volcano area but we stayed here two years ago in Dominical and absolutely loved it. The view is amazing and we saw a wild sloth chilling right outside our window. One of my favorite moments ever.

Now for the hard part. Will you stay somewhere with views of the valley or steps from the beach? Maybe a little of both? Life is full of tough decisions, isn't it ;) Hope I made it a little easier for you, though. Pura Vida.

Feel Good Friday

Things I'm loving right now.

WATCHING: You guys have to check out Little Big World on youtube (or Amazon Prime!). I stumbled on it today and it's amazing. Basically it's a series of time-lapses taken all over the world and edited with a tilt shift lens, which makes everything look miniature and adorable! Each episode is less than 3 minutes, so it's super fun and easy to watch.

PLANNING: Our trip to the Bahamas! We're staying on Long Island in March. If you have any tips for the Out Islands send them my way ;) If you're interested, you can follow along with my planning on my pinterest board.

LOVING: Design Love Fest's interior.

Design Love Fest

EATING: I got a juicer for Christmas so I've been doing a lot of experimenting. I like to keep track of the combinations I've used so I might post them here from time to time. Because I mean, those COLORS. So gorgeous right? Y'all have any fave juice recipes? 

carrot, ginger, apple, lemon. juice recipes.

WEARING: It's been unusually warm in OK for February. I've basically been living in a tank top with a light sweater and it's been bliss.

light sweater + tshirt+ tennis shoes

INSPIRING: I just stumbled on Charlotte Love's instagram and OMG it's fantastic.

Charlotte Love

WANTING: This burrito ring from bando.

Burrito ring from Bando

LISTENING TO: Feel good indie pop girl, Frankie Cosmos. We're taking a quick trip to Chicago to see her and Real Estate in May. SO PUMPED. Check her out here.

frankie cosmos