Cause I Needed Out: Mobile, AL Travel Guide

Cause I Needed Out: Mobile, AL Travel Guide

For reasons far too long to explain it was just time. It was suddenly and urgently apparent – you need the road. You need to leave. Go young woman. FLEE.

Some back history – I used to live in Mobile, AL. Truth be told it is, to this day, the place I lived for the longest, un-interrupted stretch of time. Which, for an army raised nomad like me is saying something. I don’t know if it was the lure of paths-once-traveled or the need to just not be where I was for a bit but y’all I went to Mobile for one reason and one reason only – I had to get the eff out.

I found myself urgently looking to book a little AirBNB on Old Government Street and just go. It was just what I needed. I packed up a copy of Rick Bragg’s My Southern Journey and my pup Roux and hit the I-10. Below, you’ll find my (all too personal) travel recommendations for anyone heading to Mob-town in the near future. I highly recommend it. Travels in the South are always, ALWAYS, good for the soul.

Dominique Ellis | Bragg Mitchell Mansion | Mobile, AL

Treat Your Self

Carpe Diem – I practically lived here in high school and I’m happy to report it hasn’t changed a bit. The coffee cafe, which roasts its beans in-house, is located in an old historic home and is always filled with co-eds from Springhill, business folks and friends catching up.

Dumbwaiter Restaurant – Located in downtown Mobile on Dauphin Street, this is the site of the pecan crusted fried chicken and butternut squash ravioli in an onion and maple soubise that made me want to cry. The point is, give it a try y’all.

Cammie’s Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe – I used to come here after school all the time. If you’re looking for a blast from the past in a simpler time, complete with a triple scoop cone to top it off, this is the place for you. They’ve been loading up Mobilians with a sugar high since 1956.

Dew Drop Inn – Two words: greasy spoon. Get the cheese burger. Claiming the spot of Mobile’s oldest restaurant the joint also is also rumored to top Jimmy Buffet’s official list of his favorite Cheeseburgers in Paradise (no joke).

Dumbwaiter Restaurant | Dominique Ellis | Mobile, AL

Old Dutch Ice Cream Shoppe | Dominique Ellis | Mobile, AL

 

See & Do

Atchison Home – Looking for interior inspiration? Look no further than this design showroom and antique shop. Located in a sweeping and gorgeous old warehouse, the 4 floor store houses wonderful looks that mix-match old and new. My favorite are the top two floors though where they house some of the best antiques around.

Bienville Square – Need a break? Grab a bench in the beautiful downtown Bienville Square and watch the city pass you by as you work. The city recently put in a free wifi hotspot in the square so you can work from the park! Take in the facade of the Cathedral-Basilica of the Immaculate Conception that faces the square and then pop in to see one of the best church naves this side of the Mississippi.

Drive The Bayway – Fancy a trip over to picturesque Fairhope (worth it)? Then hop on one of my favorite drives – the bridge stretching over Mobile Bay. You can stop and check out the USS Alabama, eat at Felix’s Fish Camp and check out one of the most gorgeous sites in the Gulf Coast. The bay never ceases to please and you’ll soon feel you’re on your way to a seaside paradise.

Atchinson Home | Dominique Ellis | Mobile, AL

This post originally appeared on A-Little-Happy.com, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued.  

 

For Those Who [Power] Lunch  – New Orleans edition

For Those Who [Power] Lunch – New Orleans edition

Let’s face it, sometimes your desk can be constraining. If you’re looking to step outside the office your lunch break (or late afternoon into happy hour) can be the perfect time to get the old creative juices going. Whether it’s a solo project you’re working on or a collaborative meeting, a space with great wifi, strong coffee, tasty bites and a cool atmosphere is a must. Check out a few of ALH’s top choices for spaces in New Orleans to help you make that boring lunch break into a power lunch.

Pagoda Cafe

Pagoda Cafe

Pagoda has two of my favorite things for a pleasant out-of-office work experience. Simply put – ample outdoor seating and bacon. More specifically rye toast topped with figs, ricotta cheese and crispy bacon. Yes, it’s as good as it sounds. Nestled off Broad Street in Mid City, the small shop offers a variety of breakfast and lunch options with hella good coffee. They only have outside seating and the bar, picnic and cafe tables lend themselves to great networking with your fellow power lunchers. Head on over for a jolt of caffeine and Vitamin D.  pagodacafe.net

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Wayfare 

Wayfare |Dominique Ellis

Wayfare’s reputation as a crowd pleaser precedes it with rotating specials, well-portioned apps, and signature dishes like the Knuckle Sandwich. With an upscale diner vibe and even a proud shrine to its homemade pickles and sauces, this modern gastro pub works hard to make sure it has something for everyone.  Feel free to sidle up to the bar and pop open that laptop. Wifi is free and powerful. If you stay past 4:00 pm, be sure to order their Grey Goose Pear 75 cocktail during happy hour for just $4. (It’s pretty much sophistication in a glass.) wayfarenola.com

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CHURCH ALLEY COFFEE BAR

Church Alley Coffee Bar |Dominique Ellis

Sometimes you just want to settle in at an old rustic table and a soft, deep sofa and bang out that latest report in peace and comfort. Church Alley is the place to do this. The owner, who prides herself on creating an inviting and conversation inducing space for her patrons, serves roasts and blends not served anywhere else in NOLA as well as delicious locally sourced small plates. Get the lunch special – a cucumber, avocado, pickled radish, and goat cheese panini with side salad and a warm cup of pour over coffee – and stay a while. With a rotating coffee menu you’ll always find something you’ll like here. churchalleycoffeebar.com

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IL POSTO

Il Posto |Dominique Ellis

This quaint cafe specializes in crafting delicious Italian-themed foods like paninis, antipastos, and soups. Initially only open for lunch, Il Posto has since expanded their hours, which means it’s lunchtime, all the time. The internet never quits and they’re more than happy to keep your coffee (or tea) mug full and warm as you meet those deadlines like the boss you are. Pro tip: order the Adventure grilled cheese. (Three words: Gorgonzola, honey and walnuts.) ilpostocafenola.com

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PRESS STREET STATION

Press Street Station |Dominique Ellis

Confession: sometimes one needs a decadent meal to inspire you to greatness. When you’re looking for a lunch that makes you feel like you’re not stuck smack dab in the middle of the workweek head on over to Press Street Station. Forget it’s Wednesday and pretend it’s Friday. If the space alone doesn’t inspire you to lofty ideas, the food will. Ricotta Gnocchi and BBQ Moules Frites top my list of hubba-hubba inducing plates. This place is perfect for impressing your lunch dates and will help you make it a meeting to remember. pressstreetstation.com

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HiVolt 

HiVolt |Dominique Ellis

Known for its modern, monochromatic interior and some of New Orleans’ most sought-after coffee, teas and snacks, HiVolt checks all the boxes when it comes to seeking the perfect spot for productivity. It’s basically NOLA’s version of Cheers in coffee shop form. You’re bound to see someone you know and can also get a little star gazing in as well (we’re looking at you, American Horror Story cast.) With healthy meals and special vegan options, this hotspot is a must for foodies everywhere. That being said, we strongly recommend the Ozzie plate for a hearty breakfast and their gluten free muffins as a light snack. hivoltcoffee.com

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Irish House

Irish House New Orleans |Dominique Ellis

On occasion you’re going to want more than that same old lunchtime sandwich and tea. Have no fear, Irish House is here! When you need a decent sized plate of carbs (fish & chips please!) and a pint to keep those creative juices flowing this is the place to go. Airy and welcoming, the place is decked out like a traditional Irish Pub but has a large bar and traditional restaurant area and they are very welcoming to laptops at either location. Plus, the traditional Irish jigs playing and the kind staff make it most hospitable. So stay till 4pm and order two pints. You deserve it. theirishhouseneworleans.com

 

Interview: Ashley Porter of Porter Lyons

Interview: Ashley Porter of Porter Lyons

Vertebrae. The spinal bones of alligators. That’s what originally got Ashley Porter, founder of Porter Lyons, started as a jewelry maker. Fast forward a few years and several collections later and Ashley now finds herself as one of the more notable jewelers in New Orleans with her pieces ranking as favorites among Louisianians and a bevy of Hollywood starlets alike. I caught up with Ashley at her studio here in NOLA to talk about her lavish collection premieres (hot air balloons! snake charmers!), from where she derives her inspiration, and how she ensures each piece she designs gives back to her community and the environment.

Porter Lyons

Porter Lyons


What led you to start designing jewelry?

I started designing jewelry by a very happy accident when I was down in the bayou sourcing alligator. I had moved back to New Orleans to launch an exotic skin belt line and discovered these alligator bones along the hornback. Personally, I wanted them as a ring, necklace, cuff and started learning jewelry design. I still do classic alligator belts, as that’s the heritage of the brand, but find jewelry has so much more creative license.

What sets the Porter Lyons brand apart from other jewelry lines?

Our mission lies within three fundamental pillars: Culture. Care. Create. Every piece is designed with a specific story that relates to an aspect of culture and has a special meaning to different people. Nothing is designed by chance, but curated for each collections unveiling. We come out with two collections a year and have dynamic launch parties to debut them. In the past we’ve had alligators, nutrias, fire blowers and a hot air balloon, giving our customers memorable experiences that transcend jewelry.  But above the designs and the brand parties we believe in giving back to our community, the city of New Orleans. We give a percentage of our proceeds in every collection to a different cause that fundamentally protects the identity of our city.

Porter Lyons

Porter Lyons

 What drives your community investment choices? 

I think my generation is realizing how removed companies are from their end product.  I know when I was employed by a large organization I felt like my job wasn’t important and was saddened by the disconnect with everyone in the company.   There is a strong movement in America to favor products that are inspired by local artisans and that have a focus that’s larger than profit. The level and quality of my business is greater and people feel more connected to their community when they can see a product that also gives back. Life is richer and better for it.

Each non-profit we work with relates directly to a collection theme, or it’s an issue I want to be more proactive about. The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana was our first partnership and a natural fit since saving our wetlands is fundamental to New Orleans culture. When I heard the statistic that we loose a football field of wetlands every 30 seconds I was shocked. I shared this sentiment when learning Louisiana has the second lowest literacy rate in the nation. It drove me to design a pair of light bulb earrings in which 50% of the proceeds when to the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities Prime Time reading initiative. With out latest collection launch, Deco Bohemia, ticket prices whet to the George Rodrigue Foundation which supports art programs for lower income children throughout the state. It’s always been personally important for me to help my community and to build my business with this in mind.

 What’s a typical day at the studio like for you?

Everyday is different. I’ll spend one day researching a specific type of feather, another might start with a meeting for a non-profit, then a womens’ networking luncheon and managing a mini-photo shoot. There’s a good amount of traveling involving trunk shows, and I love meeting customers and seeing them year after year.

Describe your work style in three words. 

Passionate, analytical and systematic.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

The best career advice I’ve ever received came from my father. He told me success in business comes from two things, a lot of hard work and a little bit of luck.

What’s next for you and Porter Lyons?

Next up for Porter Lyons is our Spring/Summer 2016 collection; the Creole Wild West which explores the Mardi Gras Indian culture. There will be a few limited edition dreamcatchers and some fun jewelry. Get ready to shake your tail feather at our launch mid April!

Porter Lyons

This post originally appeared on A-Little-Happy.com, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued. 

*all photos by Dominique Ellis

Interview: Genevieve Douglas of KINDRED Studios

Interview: Genevieve Douglas of KINDRED Studios

 

KINDRED Studios

Genevieve Douglas is no stranger to striking out on her own. When the publicist and owner of Uptown PR became a mother she found herself having a hard time keeping her active lifestyle with a little one in tow. Enter KINDRED Studios on Magazine Ave in uptown New Orleans. Geniveve’s philosphy for the lifestyle studio was simple  – KINDRED focuses on fitness and wellness in an upscale boutique environment, for both parent and baby, from prenatal to postpartum phases of parenthood.

The space is airy and collaborative and inviting. I stopped in to chat with Genevieve to get the story behind the studio, what’s next for her and KINDRED and find out what makes her tick. Check out the Q&A below and stop in KINDRED for their next class or event.

 

KINDRED StudiosName: Genevieve Douglas

Title: Founder & Owner of KINDRED Studios

What led you to start KINDRED?

As a busy, new mom living in the Uptown area of New Orleans and adjusting to my new life as a parent and young professional, I was trying to continue my pre-baby life as much as possible while incorporating my daughter into it.

I also saw a demand from other moms looking for interactive activities for a working parents’ schedule. I thought to myself, why isn’t there a common space that is modern and appealing that caters to both working parents and those with a more flexible schedule? Also, as a working parent, any free time I have, I want to spend with my daughter. I would feel guilty spending time working out when I could spend that time with her. This concept allows parents to do something for themselves while spending time with their little ones.

What sets KINDRED apart from other fitness and lifestyle studios?

Well I don’t know any other lifestyle studios, do you? 😉 We describe KINDRED as a “lifestyle studio” because it is way more than just a fitness studio. While we do offer prenatal and baby/tot-friendly yoga, barre, ballet and indoor cycling classes, KINDRED also encompasses wellness, play, juice & coffee and shopping in an upscale boutique environment for modern parents and their babies. We have a padded Romp Room for play suitable for little ones ages 0-3, cold-pressed juices and coffees from Sprout & Press as well as shopping from Zuka Baby. The studio offers multiple breastfeeding and postpartum support groups monthly as well as a nutrition workshop once a month. And bonus: KINDRED also has FREE Wi-Fi for working parents on the go.

What’s a typical day at the studio like for you?

Honestly, it’s a lot of straightening up (setting toys back up in the Romp Room & windexing baby smudges off our mirrors & glass baby gates) and team building with our instructors. We make sure to do a clever Insta post & we’ve been trying to Periscope our classes. But my favorite thing is to welcome a new parent to the studio and tell them what we’re all about. I’m happiest when we have a full class and there are babies all over the studio. It’s like the world’s cutest job.

Describe your work style in three words.

Detailed. Over-analyzed (is that 2 words?). Strategic.

What’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?

If it doesn’t scare you (at least a little), don’t do it.

What’s next for you and KINDRED?

Our bike seats are patent-pending and I’d like to pursue product development with those. I hope to make our Uptown location a great success so that we can expand to other areas and eventually franchise.

KINDRED Studios

KINDRED Studios

KINDRED Studios

KINDRED Studios

KINDRED Studios

This post originally appeared on A-Little-Happy.com, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued. 

*photos supplied by KINDRED Studios

 

Photo Tour: Shadows On The Teche & New Iberia

Photo Tour: Shadows On The Teche & New Iberia

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Sarah Becker Lillard and I share many common interests but perhaps one of the best is a love of historic homes. And day trips. And sweet tea. And ladylike hats. And roadside vegetable stands. You get the picture.

We rolled all these loves into a day of fun with a little trip down to New Iberia to tour the Shadows On The Teche Plantation and the sleepy town that sprang up around it. What we found was a lovely home restored to its former architectural brilliance with quite the history. Sarah, a phenomenal photographer, brought her camera along to capture our day of summer time fun. To do this trip yourself here’s what we recommend:

SEE: Shadows On The Teche and Main Street in downtown New Iberia

EAT: Clementine’s – we went here on numerous recommendations from Twitter friends and were not disappointed! Try the fried green tomatoes and the coconut shrimp.

PIT STOP: Cap’s Produce Stand – creole tomatoes, okra and boiled peanuts, oh my!

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This post originally appeared on A-Little-Happy.com, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued. 

 *photos by Sarah Becker Photography

How to work from home and not lose your mind

How to work from home and not lose your mind

Dominique Ellis

A while back, we had a guest post from Sarah Becker Llillard on how to work from home and stay productive. Recently I’ve started working from home as well and have had to come up with a few additional rules to keep myself from turning into an isolated zombie everyday (it’s happened before). Here’s what I’ve come up with thus far.

Get Dressed. Duh.

Dominique EllisIf this doesn’t top any how-to-work-from-home list of rules then they’re doing it wrong. If you don’t want to feel like a non-human by 3pm everyday you simply have to get up, shower and get dressed like you’re going to an actual office. It’ll get your brain in ready-mode for the day and you won’t hate yourself when you look in the mirror at lunchtime.

.Trick Yourself

Dominique EllisThe first rule is a great one but it can be hard to adhere to when all you want to do is move from bed to the desk in your comfy PJs. So to avoid this trap I trick myself. I’ve stopped stocking coffee in my house (pause for dramatic effect). Let me stipulate that it is impossible for me to start my day without coffee. So every morning I have to get up and get dressed, enough to look acceptable in front of strangers, and walk to the coffee house up the road. This way I’m ready for the day, I have my sweet caffeine in hand and my dogs get their morning outing. Win Win Win.

Mark Your Territory

Dominique EllisI live and work in a studio. Granted it’s a bit larger than your average studio but at the end of the day I’m sleeping, working, eating and anything-ing in the same room. To keep it from feeling like the walls are closing in on me I have strict rules about what happens where in my space. Rule 1: The bed (made every morning, no exceptions) is only for sleeping. I never sit on it to do work or anything during the day. Otherwise the urge to take a cat nap is far too great. Rule 2: My work desk is just that – only for work. No internet surfing or online shopping allowed when I’m seated there. Rule 3: The couch is off limits until 5pm. You get the idea. Basically, I recommend marking each spaces’ usage clearly and stick to it. This way you won’t feel like your daily housekeeping chores and work are bleeding together.

Have Dedicated “Out Of Office” Hours

Dominique EllisIf you work from home, and especially if you work for yourself, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the time-is-money mantra. Every second you’re not working could be money lost. It’s important to give your mind and body a break though. Believe me, working and living in the same space makes this all the more needed. Dedicate an hour each day (or whatever time you can) for non-work tasks like taking out the trash or cleaning the kitchen. Also, I highly recommend taking a whole day off each week. A novel idea, I know, but many entrepreneurs do not do this for themselves and it’s so important. You need a day with  no work, no emails, no extra curricular activities. Just sleep in. Read. Cook. Get day drunk over brunch. It’s your day off – live it up! Your brain will be refreshed and ready to dive back into work the following day.

Make Working After Hours Tolerable

Dominique EllisFor freelancers and those who are self-empolyed the notion of a 9-5 workday is laughable. Late nights and weird schedules are the norm. Since the distance between where I work during the day and where I pull late night shifts is literally 5 feet I like to make my evening work hours more enjoyable and relaxed. Grab your laptop and a drink and move to the couch (it’s after 5pm after all). Put something on the TV that’s calming and entertaining but won’t take your full attention to enjoy. I recommend the BBC’s Planet Earth series (currently on Netflix!). The narrator’s voice is incredibly smoothing, it’s educational, and most of all, gorgeously shot. Looking up from that excel sheet will be a treat and you’ll feel less like you’re working yourself to death. (The Seasonal Forests episode is the best because of the ducks. Just trust me on this one.)

 

 This post originally appeared on A-Little-Happy.com, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued. 
Interview: Ellen Buckley of Audubon Zoo

Interview: Ellen Buckley of Audubon Zoo

Ellen Buckley | Audubon Zoo | Dominique Ellis

As we gear up for one of our favorite local charity events, I had the good fortune to meet and tour the Audubon Zoo with the annual  Whitney Zoo-To-Do‘s Director of Events, Ellen Buckley. A New Orleans native through and through, Ellen gave me a insider’s look at what it’s like to spend your day among the visitors and animals. As we watched the tents and lights getting set up for Friday’s fete we talked work goals and what her day to day duties are as the planner of one of the city’s most famous philanthropic events.

The yearly party under the oaks at the Zoo is much more than a fundraiser, offering guests an evening of fine dining, dancing and people watching on the scenic grounds of Audubon Zoo. The adults-only, black tie event features a mouth-watering array of cuisine from 70 local eateries and more than 40 specialty and full-service bars serving premium cocktails. Guests also will be entertained by the high-energy sounds of Downtown Fever. Plus, you can feel great about attending as proceeds from the 2015 Zoo-To-Do events will help Audubon Zoo’s orangutans swing into their new home in Asian Domain!

To purchase tickets, visit Audubon Zoo ticket booths (during normal operating hours), call 504-861-6160 or visit www.auduboninstitute.org/ztd.

 

Ellen Buckley | Audubon Zoo | Dominique Ellis

Ellen Buckley | Audubon Zoo | Dominique Ellis

 

 

 

Full Name: Ellen Buckley

Title: Director of Zoo-To-Do events at  Audubon Nature Institute

Tell us about working for Audubon Zoo.

Audubon plays such an important role in his city, managing all of the parks we use every day and providing the city with the opportunity to experience animals and wildlife they might never get to see in its natural habitat while also playing a crucial role in conservation. I love the people I work with because they are all really invested in the work we do. There are some days when I sit up in my office and it feels like just a regular work day, then I hear the whooping of the siamangs, and I remember that my job is different from others.

What drew you to the organization?

Since I was young, I wanted to work at the Zoo. I wanted to be a veterinarian and asked my mom to get me a subscription of zoological magazines. Now, I get dizzy at the sight of blood, so veterinary school was out of the question, but I never lost my desire to work with animals. Somehow I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to combine my love of event planning with my love of animals. It’s so easy to raise money for an organization when you see how much the curators and keepers adore the animals they care for or the excitement of children when they get to see their favorite animal up close for the first time.

Is there a typical day for you?

I love that there really isn’t a typical day. There are some days where I spend most of the day on the phone asking people for donations so that we can produce our events, but then there are other days when I’m out on the grounds of the Zoo with decorators thinking of ways that we can create a beautiful and memorable event. I think that most days we spend our time finding creative solutions! As a fundraiser, we have a limited budget to throw a very large event. We’re so dependent on the kindness of local vendors to donate their product from lumber to office supplies. And all of them have such fondness for the Zoo, that often times it doesn’t take more than one ask to have their help.

What sets this fundraiser apart from others?

The sheer size of the event is always what amazes me. Whitney Zoo-To-Do has live music in three areas of the event, close to 70 restaurants and 50 beverage bars and over 4,000 guests in attendance. The event really celebrates everything that people in New Orleans love…food, drink, music and community. The Zoo and the city have a symbiotic relationship. This event actually grew out of the need to rebuild the zoo into something that the city could be proud of. When the Zoo was in deplorable condition in the 70s, a group of local women rallied together to raise money to restore it through an event held at the Marriott called the Beastly Ball. From this grew Zoo-To-Do! I don’t know one person in the city that doesn’t have a fond memory of going to the Zoo. And where else do you get to see the Zoo at nighttime and all dressed up.

What’s your favorite thing about working at Audubon Zoo? 

If I ever need a pick-me-up, I can walk outside and within a few feet I’m standing in front of the sun bears.

What’s your favorite animal or exhibit? 

If you would have asked me this question a year ago, I would have had a different answer. But recently I had the opportunity to tour a family in the rhinoceros barn and I fell in love! I’ve always thought of rhinos as these giant, scary creatures, but despite their power, I learned that they are actually really shy and pretty docile. I felt so fortunate to have that experience. I think that’s why the Zoo is so important. It changes our perception and understanding of animals.

Ellen Buckley | Audubon Zoo | Dominique Ellis

Who are some of the people you most admire and why?

I think the people I admire the most are the ones that see the positive in every situation. It can be easy to get bogged down with negative things that happen. My older sister is my inspiration. She is 31 years old and was diagnosed with brain cancer, yet I’ve never seen her say “why me?” She is so strong and just wants to make the best out of every day. She’ll do anything and take any chance, because why not? I really admire that.

Describe your personal style in three words:

Classic, eclectic, and colorful. I studied art history in college and always saw fashion as another form of artwork just like sculpture or paintings. In studying different artwork from around the world I found the textiles and patterns in the artwork of different cultures to be so interesting and I love experimenting with different looks especially in fabric and jewelry. I also love watching old movies from the 30s and 40s to see all of the classic styles of the past. The shoes are always my favorite! I think I’m still trying to nail down my style because it changes all the time depending on what I find beautiful.

 

This post originally appeared on A-Little-Happy.com, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued. 

Tips for Working from the Road

Tips for Working from the Road

Digital Camera

Let’s face it, sometimes you have to take the show on the road. The good news is that as more and more business can be done remotely there’s no reason you can’t turn that work trip into an enjoyable, advantageous excursion that’ll feed your bottom line and your soul.

So how can you schedule meetings, oversee an all day photo shoot, get through your emails, make boutique calls for clients and still actually explore your destination? The trick is to balance the work/fun ratio. Tiffany Napper and I complied some of the best working-from-the-road advice we’ve heard for you below. Get ready to hit the road!


Be open. The joy of working while traveling is the possibility of meeting new people, discovering new ideas, and keeping your creative juices flowing. Strike up a friendly conversation with the person next to you. Walk an extra block and take in the scenery. Do whatever you can to find a balance between getting the job done and enjoying the freedom that comes from working on the road.

Be disciplined. Adhere to your same working hours as much as possible, and if you change time zones, turn on an email disclaimer alerting your customers, clients and coworkers that you might not be available during normal hours due to travel. Also, if you have standing conference calls in place, make sure you set alerts on your phone, and update them according to your new time zone.

Nashville & Birmingham Travel Guide | Dominique Ellis

Plan ahead. You will need to spend a little time looking for the perfect temporary office. Winging it can result in a location not conducive to work. We prefer a local coffee shop, and suggest using Yelp to vet the ones that are close by. Obviously, tables and chairs are mandatory, as is Wi-Fi. Check the reviews for tips on internet strength. No bars means no work done. Also, don’t forget to tip your barista well, so they aren’t annoyed when you are there for a few hours.

Reach out. Before heading to a new location we like to do some research on the local movers and shakers. Track down some like-minded folks through a quick blogger, LinkedIn, Twitter or Instagram search. Then, send them an invite to meet for coffee or a drink. At the most, you’ll meet a future colloborator and expand your network of contacts. At the least, you’ll get suggestions on what to eat, see, hear and do from a local.

*A cautionary note on this one: use your good judgement and be safe. Meet in public places and keep the drinks to a minimum. When in doubt, use the buddy system. 

Have a Plan B. Even though you planned ahead sometimes things just don’t go as you intended. You arrive to the well-researched coffee shop only to find it is blaring heavy metal music or there are no available chairs or tables. If you don’t prepare a back-up plan, this could cause a negative kneejerk reaction and derail your whole day. Instead, wake up 15minutes earlier than usual, develop a Plan A and a Plan B, take a deep breath and hit the road. That’s when you’ll find the magic of working on the go.

 Nashville & Birmingham Travel Guide | Dominique Ellis

Schedule in a day of fun. It’s easy to get bogged down with deadlines and the stress that comes with travel. Make sure you give yourself permission to take a day (or at least an afternoon) where every minute isn’t scheduled out. People watch. Write in your journal. Go on a quick walking tour. Research some local history. Or, in our case, head to a whiskey tasting. It’s important to take a breath and enjoy your surroundings. This is what travel is all about after all!

Nashville & Birmingham Travel Guide | Dominique Ellis

Other no-brainer tips: 

  • Don’t forget your chargers, and maybe even a mini surge protector. It’s a great way to make friends at a coffee shop when you both need an outlet but there’s only one to spare.
  • Invest in a nice laptop and a sleeve to protect it from the wear and tear that comes with traveling.
  • Set up a hot spot on your phone, for those emergency wifi situations.
  • Travel with a pair of headphones. You won’t be able to take that conference call or get into a zone nearly as easily in a public space without them.

 

This post originally appeared on A-Little-Happy.com, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued. 

*photos courtesy of Dominique Ellis and  Jennifer Kay.

Interview: Ti Martin of Cafe Adelaide

Interview: Ti Martin of Cafe Adelaide

Perhaps one of my favorite spots in New Orleans for a classy after work drink is the Swizzle Stick Bar at Cafe Adelaide. Helmed in part by Ti Martin, Cafe Adelaide is part of a group of restaurants owned by Martin and her family that includes SoBou in the French Quarter and world famous Commander’s Palace. Ti sat down with me over cocktails in the newly renovated Adelaide to talk about the restaurant’s namesake, what a typical night in New Orleans is like for her and the proper way to make a daiquiri.

Ti Martin of Cafe Adelaide | Dominique Ellis

 

Tell us about Cafe Adelaide. What was the inspiration for the restaurant?

Our Aunt Adelaide was one of the last sort of Auntie Mame, glamourous characters who was out all night entertaining guests and customers for Commander’s Palace and who slept till noon everyday. She and my mother kinda joined houses and we lived with her in her Garden District mansion from the time I was 9 until she died. The entertaining was constant. There was an entire bar room in the house and Adelaide would have Lally and I make cocktails for their guests, sort of like a party trick, from a very young age. We made drinks for everyone – the next door neighbor, Danny Kaye, Rock Hudson, Phyllis Diller. The idea for Cafe Adeliade and the Swizzle Stick Bar was to bring this kind of glamourous and a little naughty attitude that she embodied to a bar and restaurant. Everything, from the menu to the booths to the portraits, was meant to reflect her.

Ti Martin of Cafe Adelaide | Dominique Ellis

 

Ti Martin of Cafe Adelaide | Dominique Ellis

 

In addition to Cafe Adelaide, you also own and run Commander’s Palace and SoBou. What’s it like to be at the helm of such historic and famous New Orleans dining institutions?

Well I mean I don’t get up every day and think that way. I just get up and go to work. It’s our lifestyle. As a business we try and constantly push the restaurants to grow and evolve but they’re also where we get to welcome people into what is like our home. It’s a mindset.

Is there a typical day for you?

No. Just last Tuesday I was in Texas opening up a new Reginelli’s there (Martin is an investor in the franchise) and I was out with all our young employees so I thew on the human pizza suit and went out into the intersection to be silly. I like to be a team player. But then later that night I was back in Commander’s with the fine dining crowd. No day is the same.

Ti Martin of Cafe Adelaide | Dominique Ellis

 

 

What’s your favorite thing about running your own company?

I like to create something out of nothing. Opening businesses and creating new things is always great fun. The challenge with a place like Commander’s is to take something that’s been there since 1880 and make it new and constantly exciting. Numbers and the in and outs of running a business is easy for me but being able to turn people on through our restaurants is really how I get my jollies. That, and teaching hospitality.

Name some of the people you admire. What about them do you appreciate?

There are many people I admire but my mom would be at the top of the list as well as both my aunts. They were just great, smart, generous people who always thought of others before they thought of themselves. Most of the people I greatly admire all care about an old fashioned thing called The Common Good. I was raised to think of New Orleans as just another member of my family. So everything we do is to better her and care for her.

Now for the New Orleans-specific questions. Sidewalk side or neutral ground side?

Neutral ground side. It’s just where my family is.

What’s your favorite dish to order in your restaurants?

Oh my goodness. My favorite dish to order is always our newest one. But I have things I constantly go back to. I can’t go very long without having turtle soup. Or if I’m being naughty, the tasso and shrimp corndogs here at Cafe Adelaide. It’s a little bit of heaven.

Ti Martin of Cafe Adelaide | Dominique Ellis

What’s your favorite thing about New Orleans?

Oh this is a perfect description of what is so great about New Orleans. Just the other night at Commander’s Palace I had the pleasure of meeting and eating with Winston Churchill’s grandson. Guess who he was with. It wouldn’t happen anywhere else. He was with the 610 Stompers. Apparently the Stompers are a huge hit abroad and the city of London is having them perform in their New Years Day Parade in 2017. So here’s the mayor of London and Churchill’s grandson taking them out to dinner to officially ask them to come over the pond. This is the stuff you can’t make up and it only happens here.

Favorite cocktail?

I prefer a Blood & Sand in the winter and in the summer a daquiri. Years ago New Orleans sadly became famous for these really horrific frozen daquiris. The original daiquiri came from Cuba and it’s just three things – rum, sugar and lime. It’s gotta be perfectly balanced with fresh juice, not too sweet, and hand-chipped ice like from the ice block we have here at Adelaide. That is a great daiquiri. If I go somewhere and order one and they ask me what flavor I want I order something else, you know?

 

This post originally appeared on A-Little-Happy.com, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued. 

Ramblin Women’s Travel Guide: Birmingham & Nashville

Ramblin Women’s Travel Guide: Birmingham & Nashville

Road trip time! We headed up to Nashville by way of Birmingham for some work and fun. Below are our top places to see, eat and explore. Hit the road y’all!

Nashville Birmingham Travel Guide | Dominique Ellis

EAT

Post Office Pies (Avondale, AL)

Leave it to Garden & Gun to kickstart our first meal on the road off right with this stellar recommendation. Operating out of an old post office, this pizza joint did not disappoint. They have amazing deals on lunch time personal pizzas and all their beer is from the very good Avondale Brewery next door. Also noteworthy, the rosemary lemonade. postofficepies.com

Nashville Birmingham Travel Guide | Dominique Ellis

 

Nashville Birmingham Travel Guide | Dominique Ellis
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Burger Up (Nashville, TN)

Let us note that no roadtrip is complete without discovering a new burger joint. With a chic interior, amazing cocktails and a community dining experience, we spent a couple of amazing hours in Burger Up. Order the Ramsey Pimento Cheese Burger. Trust me on this one. I am still having dreams about it. burger-up.com

Rolf and Daughters (Nashville, TN)

I’d heard people talk about Rolf and Daughters for weeks in anticipation of this trip. Oh man, it was hands down the best meal I’ve had in years. Their menu is seasonal but everything is delicious and original (helllloooo winter vegtable almond milk ceasar salad with pickled anchovies!) Their signature dishes are pasta based and are not to be passed up. Also, the Absinthe Father cocktail. Just order it and thank me later. rolfanddaughters.com

 

Nashville Birmingham Travel Guide | Dominique Ellis

 

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DRINK

Nelson’s Green Brier Distillery (Nashville, TN)

Our Sunday Funday found us visiting this small distillery where we discovered not only their amazing whiskey and bourbon but a great family story. Turns out the current owners, a pair of brothers, went to nearby Green Brier to stop in a butcher shop they’d been hearing a lot about and spotted a landmark with their grandfather’s name on it. Digging into records unearthed that the family was once the owner of a whiskey distillery that out sold Jack Daniels back in the day. The brothers have since reopened a distilery honoring their family’s contribution to the whiskey traditions of Tennesee. We had a blast at their tasting bar and sampling the family goods. Worth the stop. greenbrierdistillery.com

Dram (Birmingham, AL)

We stopped for the night in Birmingham and warmed up from the arctic blast that covered everything in ice in this cozy, wood filled whiskey bar (sensing a theme here?) Dram was suggested to us by a Southern Living editor and was the perfect spot for some unwinding after driving all day. We ordered the classics – an Old Fashioned and a Manhattan. Both were delicious. dramwhiskeybar.com

Nashville Birmingham Travel Guide | Dominique Ellis

Caffeinate

Revelator (Birmingham, AL)

“But first coffee.”  We’ve been following the launch of Revelator for a while (their headquarters are in NOLA) so we were excited to pop in their flagship store in Bham. Clean lines and modern touches to the interior made for a great and open minded start to our morning of meetings. Plus, the latte art was on point. revelatorcoffee.com

 

Fido (Nashville, TN)

That 3pm drag is a beast to deal with sometimes. Time for a one-up! We stopped in Fido for a little caffiene pick me up. I was pleasantly surprised when I learned they are more than happy to make their signature lattes (I got the Lumberjack with maple and butter) with almond milk. Lactose intolerants rejoice! bongojava.com/fido-cafe

 

Shop

Peter Nappi (Nashville, TN)

Our travel buddy Jen was pretty stoked to visit Peter Nappi on this trip. Unfortunately some business meetings kept us late and when we arrived they were closing down early for a private event. But oh my god the interiors! They let us in for a bit to look around and promised to make it worth our while next time we came in (so sweet!) Their shoes are amazing enough but I literally could have just moved into their store right then and there. Rustic, modern and classic all at once. I’ll definitely be going back. peternappi.com

Nashville Birmingham Travel Guide | Dominique Ellis

Book Man Book Woman (Nashville, TN)

Owned by a married couple, Book Man Book Woman is arguably Music City’s best know independant bookstore. We stopped in to share the latest novel from our client Alys Arden and had a delightful afternoon lost in their shrine to the written word. bookmanbookwoman.com

Savant (Nashville, TN)

We spent all day Saturday on the oh so cute South 12th Street frantically shooting the new lines of Flying Fox’s handbags. We rented the adorable apartment that was located behind Savant, Nashville’s most talked about thrift shop. Holy motherload! Between the old tin campside mugs, lace shawls and rows and rows of cowboy boots I was in vintage heaven.

 Nashville Birmingham Travel Guide | Dominique Ellis

Downtown Franklin, TN

On a misty Monday we spent a lovely afternoon traversing the adorable streets of downtown Franklin, TN in between meetings. Filled to the brim with historic landmarks dating back to the 1700s, the downtown square is filled with chic boutiques and one of a kind vintage stores. Top recommendations: ReDo, Landmark Booksellers, The Iron Gate, The Shop Around The Corner.

Nashville Birmingham Travel Guide | Dominique Ellis

 
This post originally appeared on A-Little-Happy.com, a website I founded that served as a site to inspire creatives & entrepreneurs to obtain a better work-life balance. The site garnered over 78,000 views. It has since been discontinued.