Posts for : February 2015

27 Feb 2015

Fearless Finds: The Louisiana Market  0

Fearless Finds: The Louisiana Market -- one of the oldest stores in the Cottage Shop District in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with gifts, art, food, coffee, and a warm, inviting atmosphere | bonveillercher.com
 
Fearless Finds: The Louisiana Market -- one of the oldest stores in the Cottage Shop District in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with gifts, art, food, coffee, and a warm, inviting atmosphere | bonveillercher.blogspot.comAfter 25 years of business in the same location, The Louisiana Market at 2710 Hodges Street in Lake Charles, Louisiana, has become more than a familiar sight among the Cottage Shops; it’s a tradition. The current owner, Lisa Foreman, began working at The Louisiana Market three years ago with plans to buy it, and in July of 2014 that’s what she did. Her only employees are her family, and they show great dedication and support. Lisa was so warm and inviting, and it was obvious she loves what she does. Most of our visit was spent talking about and meeting her local artists (many to be seen on future blog posts!) and exploring the shop.
 
Fearless Finds: The Louisiana Market -- one of the oldest stores in the Cottage Shop District in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with gifts, art, food, coffee, and a warm, inviting atmosphere | bonveillercher.blogspot.comThe Louisiana Market has anything and everything Louisiana! “What I try to do is to promote Southwest Louisiana,” Lisa explained as she showed us the wide variety of products, art, and décor she carries. She has cookbooks, dishware, and gourmet foods including Virgin Pecan Oil. You’ll find unique t-shirts and jewelry, most referencing Louisiana. They even make super cute gift baskets for any occasion. Most recently they filled miniature pirogues with goodies for a local Mardi Gras Krewe.
 
Lisa works closely with local artists selling their works and helping them reach a broader audience. She even connected one with the flag company she buys from, and now the artist’s designs are featured on flags! There are beautiful works all around the shop including watercolor, acrylic, and oil paintings, local pottery, and recycle art.
 
Fearless Finds: The Louisiana Market -- one of the oldest stores in the Cottage Shop District in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with gifts, art, food, coffee, and a warm, inviting atmosphere | bonveillercher.blogspot.comSpecialty coffee is also available at The Louisiana Market. All the beans are roasted and flavored in Mooringsport, Louisiana, and they are sold by the pound, whole or ground. The flavors are so unique with names like Swamp Gold and King Cake. I actually bought a half pound bag of ground Café Beignet and love it! I can’t wait to go back and try another flavor.
 
 
 
We will definitely be regular customers now and know where to find unique gifts in the future. So whether you need a present for a native Cajun or want to share the Louisiana spirit with a faraway friend, pay a visit to The Louisiana Market to find exactly what you’re looking for!
Fearless Finds: The Louisiana Market -- one of the oldest stores in the Cottage Shop District in Lake Charles, Louisiana, with gifts, art, food, coffee, and a warm, inviting atmosphere | bonveillercher.blogspot.com
 
For more information visit thelouisianamarket.com, like them on Facebook, or call 337-656-2908.
 
 
25 Feb 2015

Fearless Finds: Fleur De Lis Candles  0

Fearless Finds: Fleur De Lis Candles -- hand poured candles with full scents and unique names like Monkey Farts and Lick Me All Over! | bonveillercher.com
Ever wonder what a monkey fart smells like? Well during my drives to work I kept hearing about a candle shop in Lafayette, and what really got my attention were the names of the candles like Monkey Farts and Oilfield Trash. I love candles and thought to myself, “I have to smell a Monkey Fart!!” So that’s the first thing I did upon arriving at Fleur De Lis Candles.
Fearless Finds: Fleur De Lis Candles of Lafayette, Louisiana -- hand poured candles with full scents and unique names like Monkey Farts and Lick Me All Over! | bonveillercher.blogspot.com
 
But I didn’t stop there. I smelt Butt Naked and Cajun Hot Flash and King Cake and so many others! The names are so unique and fun, some are even customer-created. But walking around the shop I noticed that most of the candles and wax melts are primarily white in color, and that made me wonder why. We were told that the candles are made with fewer petroleum by-products which is where the color comes from, so for cleaner burning, they opt for fewer colored candles.
 
This brings us to how it all got started. The owners were searching for an affordable, eco-friendly candle that didn’t skimp on scent, so when they couldn’t find any locally, they did the research and began creating and selling their own out of their snow cone stand. Now they’re located at 3816 West Congress Street, Suite 3 in Lafayette, Louisiana, and all candles are created and hand-poured onsite.
 
Another unique service they offer is they will pour a candle in whatever container you bring them. The owner told us they’ve seen everything from Ragu to baby food jars, and they’ll cut the price down for your recycling efforts! Most custom candles can be done within 24 hours.
Fearless Finds: Fleur De Lis Candles of Lafayette, Louisiana -- hand poured candles with full scents and unique names like Monkey Farts and Lick Me All Over! | bonveillercher.blogspot.com
We actually got to have a sneak sniff of their newest scent, Bunny Burps! Everyone is going to love it!
 
This is a must-stop for all candle lovers. Believe me, you won’t leave empty-handed! We went last week, and I have already been through three cubes of my Mardi Gras wax melts! I am loving the scent! It smells great but isn’t overwhelmingly strong.
 
As we were checking out, Lexi got a text from her Granny asking if they had a Kettle Corn scent. That’s one scent they don’t have, but they wrote it down and will hopefully be working to create one! Maybe we will even be able to create the name for it!
 
 
For more information check out their website fleurdeliscandles.com, like them on Facebook, or call 337-534-8865.
 
 
24 Feb 2015

A day at the circus!  0

Circus Exhibit at Lake Charles Historic City Hall: Step into the circus big top of the past and discover the lives of all types of circus folk! | bonveillercher.com
It’s a Louisiana snow day! Of course there isn’t any snow anywhere to be seen around us, but all the schools are closed and college classes cancelled! The only problem now is, what do you do with your kids on an unexpected day off during the week? Well we have the perfect adventure for y’all! The Lake Charles Historic City Hall Arts & Cultural Center is currently showing a FREE exhibit (most all their exhibits are free though) called “Step Right Up: Behind the Scenes of the Circus Big Top.” We loved it! There was no photography allowed inside the building, but we can share a few of our favorite tidbits of history we learned.
 
The exhibit is on the third floor of the Historic City Hall building located on 1001 Ryan Street across from the courthouse. There are so many colorful posters, many dating back to the late 1800s! There are also several interesting artifacts such as an old elephant headdress and authentic giant clown shoes! The exhibit takes you through the different parts of a circus from the high-flying trapeze artists to the amazing animal performers and their trainers.
 
Here are our top five favorite circus facts:
  1. Large travelling American circuses often had a barbershop, doctor’s office, and schoolhouse to serve the workers and performers.
  2. The iconic Ringmaster top hats were hardly ever worn. Instead they were used as an extension of the Ringmaster’s arm to direct the attention of on-lookers here and there.
  3. The phrase “Hold your horses!” originated in the circus! Back when spectators arrived on horseback to watch the circus, the horses would sometimes be spooked by the elephants, so before they were brought out the crowd was told to “Hold your horses, here come the elephants.”
  4. There are three basic types of clowns: Auguste, Grotesque, and White Face.
  5. There was a circus worker called the Twenty-Four-Hour Man who would travel to a location a day ahead of the big top to hang posters and directional arrows leading people to the show.
Circus Exhibit at Lake Charles Historic City Hall: Step into the circus big top of the past and discover the lives of all types of circus folk! | bonveillercher.blogspot.comAlong with the amazing exhibits, there were fun activities for the kids to do! There is a booklet that asks interesting, thought-provoking questions about circus life and has areas for kids to draw their own “never-before-seen wonders.” Another activity offered is an art scavenger hunt. Eight thumbnail images are shown, and you must find the poster each was taken from and write down the title and year.
 
We really enjoyed this exhibit, and we know kids would, too! The exhibit will show through March 14th, so the next time you have a day or just a few hours to spare, stop by the Lake Charles Historic City Hall to experience real big top life.
 
21 Feb 2015

“Before I die…” Art in Lake Charles  2

"Before I die..." public art in Lake Charles, Louisiana | bonveillercher.com
Have you seen this amazing art installation in downtown Lake Charles?! 
I was so excited when we just happened to drive past it on one of our latest blog adventures, and I had to stop! The “Before I die…” project started in New Orleans when artist Candy Chang obtained permission to paint the wall of an abandoned house with the now iconic black and white interactive installation. Anyone passing by can add their own hopes and aspirations to the wall and see what others around them dream about. This has become a global project with walls in over 70 countries and in over 35 languages. Check out the website and find out about the “Before I die…” book at beforeidie.cc. Our wall is on the west side of 505 Bazaar at 314 Broad Street. We read several incredible bucket list items including hiking Kilimanjaro and going skydiving.
 
What do you want to do before you die?

 

15 Feb 2015

Fearless Finds: Java Joltz  0

Fearless Finds: Java Joltz-- A cool and creative coffee joint with quirky flavors, a charming atmosphere, and a sweet staff in Jennings, Louisiana | bonveillercher.com
Lately we have been searching for anything Mardi Gras, so when we discovered a local business served a King Cake Latte we had to go try it! Java Joltz is a coffee shop and bookstore in Jennings, Louisiana, (just down the street from the Rocket Drive Inn) that serves soups, sandwiches, and lots of coffee.
 
Fearless Finds: Java Joltz-- A cool and creative coffee joint with quirky flavors, a charming atmosphere, and a sweet staff in Jennings, Louisiana | bonveillercher.blogspot.comWe walked in and each ordered a blended King Cake Latte, and my mom and Myron ordered a couple sandwiches. While waiting for our goodies we met the owner, Christy Lepretre, to find out more about this cozy coffee shop.
 
Originally Java Joltz was called Books ‘n’ Java and opened in 2010 at a different location. But in 2013 coffee sales took off and a drive-thru was needed, so they moved to their current location: 115 E. Shankland Suite E, Mid City Shopping Center in Jennings. They have a drive-thru! If only I worked in Jennings…
Fearless Finds: Java Joltz-- A cool and creative coffee joint with quirky flavors, a charming atmosphere, and a sweet staff in Jennings, Louisiana | bonveillercher.blogspot.com
 
Fearless Finds: Java Joltz-- A cool and creative coffee joint with quirky flavors, a charming atmosphere, and a sweet staff in Jennings, Louisiana | bonveillercher.blogspot.comAnyway, though you wouldn’t believe it with the extensive and creative menu, soups and sandwiches are a new addition at Java Joltz having been available for about two months. They have such amazing flavor combos, including their best seller the Mayflower which is turkey and Gouda on sourdough with spinach leaves and cranberry pepper jelly (coincidentally the same sandwich my mom and I had been eyeing before ordering!). To order a sandwich, they hand you a list of ingredients that you can check off to make the sandwich uniquely yours. We loved that!
 
Fearless Finds: Java Joltz and their King Cake Latte -- A cool and creative coffee joint with quirky flavors, a charming atmosphere, and a sweet staff in Jennings, Louisiana | bonveillercher.blogspot.com
Then we got our coffees. WOW! The King Cake Latte is delicious! It’s perfectly sweet and full of flavor, and they even make it look amazing with purple and green syrup and gold and green sprinkles! Christy told us that after her daughter and an employee created the King Cake Latte last year so many people requested it after Mardi Gras that it’s now available year-round. That’s a problem for me. How am I supposed to try out all the other flavor combinations like Funky Monkey and customer-created Breakfast @ Tiffany’s when this one is always an option!?
 
After I had already fallen in love with the place, Christy began to tell us where she gets her ingredients from. “I’m all about having fresh ingredients and supporting locals,” she told us. Her coffee beans are locally roasted by Reve Coffee Roasters of Lafayette and sent within 24 hours. This brings me back to my time spent in Austin and their famous “Keep Austin Weird” movement that promotes small, local businesses, and I’m so excited to see something similar taking root in Southwest Louisiana.
 
Fearless Finds: Java Joltz-- A cool and creative coffee joint with quirky flavors, a charming atmosphere, and a sweet staff in Jennings, Louisiana | bonveillercher.blogspot.com
Music is also in the air at Java Joltz! Every other Saturday they host a jam session sponsored by Steve Riley and a few others. You can even perform at Java Joltz! The first Friday of every month is open mic night. Songs need to be approved, and the sets are mostly acoustic.
 
We even got a sneak peek at a few upcoming sandwiches! With Lent starting this week, they will have a buffalo shrimp sandwich on sourdough with guacamole, lettuce, and tomatoes. They’re also serving a twist on the grilled cheese sandwich, the Pepper Popper Sandwich, with cheddar cheese, pepperjack cheese, jalapenos, and banana peppers on wheat berry bread.
 
Christy and her crew were so sweet, and we really enjoyed our drinks, food, and visit with them. Christy also said she was so appreciative of the community of Jennings and their continued support, it was even bringing tears to her eyes. We can’t wait to go back and already have our orders in mind for our next trip.
Fearless Finds: Java Joltz-- A cool and creative coffee joint with quirky flavors, a charming atmosphere, and a sweet staff in Jennings, Louisiana | bonveillercher.blogspot.com
 
For more information check out their Facebook page, call 337-246-3700, or visit their website javajoltz.wix.com/javajoltz.
 
15 Feb 2015

A Shrimp Boat in Cameron  0

A Shrimp Boat in Cameron -- Join us on our visit with an old shrimp boat and its owner from Cameron, Louisiana. | bonveillercher.com
The drive down to Cameron is different than when I was young. Now, after the hurricanes, everything has changed. But one thing the hurricane did not take away is the spirit of the shrimper and their heart and soul, the shrimp boat. One shrimp boat in particular caught my eye as we drove down the main drag on our way to the ferry.  It was run-down and rusty but so beautiful. I love that kind of stuff, and I couldn’t wait to see it through the lens of my camera.
 
As I was snapping pictures of it, a head popped out of the door and gave a wave, and then the door closed. I took a few more photos then noticed a very small statured older gentleman coming down the boardwalk which led from the boat to the land. He came straight up to the truck, and at first I thought he might tell us we had to leave. But all he wanted to do was visit with us. He talked about his daughter going to college in Florida; that he had been a shrimper all his life; that he was born and raised in Cameron; and that the boat I had fallen in love with was his home. I could tell he felt the same way about it that I did the first time I saw it. It started to rain more, and as he turned to walk away he told us we could come by anytime to fish off his dock.
 
His warmth and friendliness put us at ease as he embodied true southern hospitality. Hurricanes will come and go, but they will never destroy all the beauty and culture of Cameron or the spirit of the Cameron people. 
          
12 Feb 2015

Fearless Finds: Grandma’s Garden Flower and Gift Shop  0

Fearless Finds: Grandma's Garden Flower and Gift Shop -- Locally owned and operated flower shop in Welsh, Louisiana, with a wide range of flowers and gifts. | bonveillercher.com
What woman doesn’t hope for a bouquet of fresh flowers on Valentine’s Day? I sure do! Actually what am I saying? I hope for flowers all the time! They are a timeless gift and perfect for every occasion. But Valentine’s Day might be the holiday most-known for flowers, so the ladies (and a few gentlemen) of Grandma’s Garden Flower and Gift Shop in Welsh, Louisiana, are hard at work preparing. Fortunately, they let us take a peek behind the scenes, and the owner, Roylynne Harris, shared her story about the shop’s humble beginnings.
Fearless Finds: Grandma's Garden Flower and Gift Shop -- Locally owned and operated flower shop in Welsh, Louisiana, with a wide range of flowers and gifts. | bonveillercher.blogspot.com
The origin of the name alone gives me goosebumps. Roylynne told us that before her grandma passed Roylynne would go each Sunday after church to her grandma’s house for a home-cooked meal and a visit. Before she would leave her grandma would send her to the garden, clippers in hand, and tell her to cut whatever she wanted. Her grandma would then wrap the flowers in a paper towel for the long drive home where Roylynne would then arrange them in mason jars and vases. “I always said if I ever had a flower shop I would name it Grandma’s Garden because that’s where I found my love for flowers,” Roylynne explained. Nine years ago she made true that promise and started Grandma’s Garden out of her home.
Fearless Finds: Grandma's Garden Flower and Gift Shop -- Locally owned and operated flower shop in Welsh, Louisiana, with a wide range of flowers and gifts. | bonveillercher.blogspot.comGrandma’s Garden is now located on the corner of Main Street and Highway 90 in Welsh, Louisiana, in a re-purposed gas station. Before Interstate 10, 90 was the main road to travel, and as a gas station the building hosted Elvis and the infamous Bonnie and Clyde. Nowadays the building is filled with flowers and all sorts of gifts, including Tyler candles. I actually fell in love with this beautiful pillow embroidered with Louisiana spelled out in cypress trees.
As for the flowers, Grandma’s Garden has a widespread customer base and delivers anywhere from Kinder to Jennings to Gueydan starting at $5. Flowers arrive daily from Beaumont and Lafayette, and they take both walk-ins and phone orders. Their services also include weddings, funerals, Homecoming and other events.
Fearless Finds: Grandma's Garden Flower and Gift Shop -- Locally owned and operated flower shop in Welsh, Louisiana, with a wide range of flowers and gifts. | bonveillercher.blogspot.comWith Valentine’s Day coming up quickly, Roylynne and her helpers are making sure they are ready for anything with over 800 roses and dozens of pre-made “green ahead,” as they called them, vases ready to be filled with whatever selection of flowers you’d like.
We really enjoyed meeting Roylynne and her crew at Grandma’s Garden and getting to see the inner workings of a flower shop! Please pay them a visit the next time you’re in need of a gift, and they’d love to help you find something perfect.
Fearless Finds: Grandma's Garden Flower and Gift Shop -- Locally owned and operated flower shop in Welsh, Louisiana, with a wide range of flowers and gifts. | bonveillercher.blogspot.com
For more information or to make an order call Grandma’s Garden Flower and Gift Shop at 337-734-3597, and find them on Facebook.
08 Feb 2015

The Creole Nature Trail: Cameron Prairie Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center  0

The Creole Nature Trail: Cameron Prairie Visitor's Center -- Information, Tante Marie, and GATORS are just a few things you'll find at this stop along the trail! | bonveillercher.com
Roadtrip time!
 
The Creole Nature Trail: Cameron Prairie Visitor's Center -- Information, Tante Marie, and GATORS are just a few things you'll find at this stop along the trail! | bonveillercher.blogspot.comOur day began with a stop at Chesson’s Grocery on La 27 for gas. When we drove up I noticed a brightly green colored alligator statue out front. I had to have a picture of it! So while Myron, my boyfriend, pumped gas, I went over to see exactly what it was. The sign read “Creole Nature Trail,” and this sparked my interest for a new blog series! After mentioning my idea to Myron, he said there was a place just down the road that he passed almost every day that we needed to check out.

The Creole Nature Trail: Cameron Prairie Visitor's Center -- Information, Tante Marie, and GATORS are just a few things you'll find at this stop along the trail! | bonveillercher.blogspot.comIt was the Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. When we walked in we were greeted by the sweetest, little lady working there. She gave us a brief once over of the place and explained what the center had to offer. I took a few pictures then we walked into the first room and met Tante Marie who turned out to be an animatronic replica of an old Cajun woman in a pirogue with a voice that took me back to my childhood days listening to my grandparents. She was so animated and realistic, not scary at all, and I know kids would just love her! She talked about the history of the Cajuns, their migration south to Louisiana, and their daily lives back then. She couldn’t stay long though because she needed to head home with her fresh shrimp to make her a big pot of shrimp and okra gumbo, so we headed into the next room.

The Creole Nature Trail: Cameron Prairie Visitor's Center -- Information, Tante Marie, and GATORS are just a few things you'll find at this stop along the trail! | bonveillercher.blogspot.com
Tante Marie

Around the corner was a hands-on museum set up with information about bird migration and conservation. From there we entered a movie room with this big wooden door and seats for about ten people. In the corner was a Gator on the Geaux (look for more on these brilliantly created statues in a future post) that was covered head to tail in commemorative duck stamps. That’s when we realized the next thing to see was outside in the chilly, misty weather. We went for it anyway, and headed to the observation deck in the back of the building.

The Creole Nature Trail: Cameron Prairie Visitor's Center -- Information, Tante Marie, and GATORS are just a few things you'll find at this stop along the trail! | bonveillercher.com
The Creole Nature Trail: Cameron Prairie Visitor's Center -- Information, Tante Marie, and GATORS are just a few things you'll find at this stop along the trail! | bonveillercher.blogspot.comThe Creole Nature Trail: Cameron Prairie Visitor's Center -- Information, Tante Marie, and GATORS are just a few things you'll find at this stop along the trail! | bonveillercher.blogspot.com
It was well worth the walk! I’m sure in the summer there are more birds out, but we did get to see a variety of ducks and a couple beautiful geese. There is a covered place at the end of the boardwalk to stop and watch the birds in their natural environment. They even have a FREE telescope to get some close-up looks. As we were walking away there was the cutest little bird just swimming around. It sure didn’t care about the weather! I, of course, had to have a picture.
The Cameron Prairie National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center is a must stop before proceeding along the trail. Besides all the information it provides about the wetlands of Louisiana, it has plenty of brochures and maps to guide you on your way down the Creole Nature Trail. As we were leaving we were told we could head just two miles down the road to the Pintail Drive and Boardwalk, but we saved that for another day.
 
Here are the details to plan your own visit:
 
Cameron Prairie National Wildlife and Refuge Visitor Center
1428 Hwy 27
Bell City, La 70630
337-598-2216
 
For more information about the Creole Nature Trail and surrounding areas check out these links:
 
 
Stay tuned for more posts as we travel along the Creole Nature Trail!
07 Feb 2015

King Cake Bread Pudding  1

 
King Cake Bread Pudding - Seven easy ingredients and one hour to create a mash-up of two favorite Louisiana desserts! | bonveillercher.com
It’s Mardi Gras season here in Louisiana! And, as with any holiday, food and sweets are the second most important part, just behind family. When trying to think of a recipe to share, we wanted to do something a little different than the traditional king cake. Almost immediately mom suggested mixing king cake with our favorite bread pudding recipe from her mom and my Granny. As much as I hate to admit it, I wasn’t too keen on the idea, but really I just wasn’t sure how it would work. Determined to prove me wrong, my mom began scouring Pinterest. Within minutes she stumbled upon a king cake bread pudding recipe at showmeyournola.com! It was such a simple switch! However, to keep it in the family so to speak, we used Granny’s recipe to bring together these two tasty Louisiana traditions. With seven ingredients and a total of about one hour prep and cook time, the results were delicious!
 
King Cake Bread Pudding - Seven easy ingredients and one hour to create a mash-up of two favorite Louisiana desserts! | bonveillercher.blogspot.com
 
Ingredients:
1 King Cake (we chose a cinnamon-filled variety)
2 tablespoons of melted butter
1 cup of sugar
2 cups of milk
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
4 eggs
1 teaspoon of vanilla
 
 
King Cake Bread Pudding - Seven easy ingredients and one hour to create a mash-up of two favorite Louisiana desserts! | bonveillercher.blogspot.com
Cooking Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease a 1 ½ quart baking dish
  • Cut up the king cake into small pieces
  • Combine and mix all ingredients in a bowl
  • Cook for 45 minutes or until top is light brown and there is no jiggle 😉
  • Let cool and enjoy!!

 

 

**Note: living in a house built over one hundred years ago, my mom only has a convection oven, so the baking time is based on that appliance. My Granny’s original recipe calls for a one hour baking time, so plan according to your situation.
 King Cake Bread Pudding - Seven easy ingredients and one hour to create a mash-up of two favorite Louisiana desserts! | bonveillercher.blogspot.com

The result was amazing! We even brought a couple pieces to Granny, the bread pudding queen, and she said, “My bread pudding is good, but y’all really hit it on the head with this one!”

Have any favorite Mardi Gras recipes? Comment here or e-mail us to share!