As a rule, I’m a routines and rituals type of gal. However, I’ve discovered a certain capriciousness in my nature. For example, every few weeks, I get downright consumed with certain people, places and things for a bit. Then soon enough, I’ll move on and immerse myself in a new set of amusements. Back in May, I was obsessed with “The Great,” on Hulu, craving baked goods from Levee Baking Co. all day every day, constantly visiting the Instagram page of the circa-1959 Palm Springs Dazey Desert House (designed and built by midcentury architect William Krisel), coveting all of the retro-vibey artwork by Lake Charles artist Daneisha Davis, deeply entrenching myself in yoga and listening to Tank and the Bangas on repeat. A few weeks later, I was baking medieval honey cakes, refining my morning ritual, catching online talks and workshops through Creative Mornings New Orleans and eating tomatoes at nearly every single meal. Actually, I’m still into those last three — especially tomatoes. I don’t completely abandon any of them once I move on to the next new fabulous, shiny delights and hobbies, but there’s definitely a pattern. I blame it on being a style editor. It’s my job to find cool stuff to do, see, hear or buy, OK? Long story long, this has prompted a new occasional series, I’m calling the Bon Vivant Essential List, where I’ll round up what I’m currently into and share it here on the blog. Welcome to the first installment!

  1. If you aren’t yet following the cookware consignment shop Seasoned on Instagram, go ahead and do that right now and then come back to read the rest of this post. The imagery used to showcase the charming Dryades shop’s mostly vintage wares evokes a ‘70s-era, Sally Mann-meets-Sandy Skoglund, film still vibe that is more sensual and thought provoking than you ever thought possible with cast iron, Visionware and wooden spoons. I would buy every single piece of cast iron in the adorable little guest house the store is located in if I had the means and space.Cast Iron Photo Courtesy Seasoned Nola Copy
  2. The Mosquito Supper Club, helmed by the incredibly talented Melissa Martin, is the main building on the property where you’ll find the brick and mortar for Seasoned. (Nice segue, huh? [insert smug face emoji if that’s a thing]) According to the restaurant’s social media, it is on hiatus so Martin can take a break and develop a business plan that’s sustainable in the COVID/post-COVID economy. Meanwhile, her incredible cookbook, which was released in April, is available for purchase. This gorgeous tomb with visceral images by Denny Culbert (an occasional contributor to this blog’s parent company’s magazines) offers a generous, heartfelt and detailed glimpse into Martin’s spectacular contemporary Cajun cooking, her upbringing and the culture of the region she hails from, as well as her commitment to sustainability.Mosquito Supper Club Copy
  3. It’s not local, but I have a special place in my heart for Godiva chocolate. It was the first fine chocolate I ever splurged on in the early days of my adulthood. At the time, I was still living in Northern Kentucky where I grew up. Every once in a while, I’d take a solo trip into downtown Cincinnati (it’s right across the river) to the Carew Tower (an Art Deco treasure) and hit the Godiva Chocolatier. My go-to is the Dark Chocolate Almond Bar. I guess word got out that I love the stuff, because the PR department mailed complimentary samples of the new Milk Chocolate Coconut Crunch Chocolate Domes and Salted Carmel Milk Chocolate Mini-Bars to me for testing. Review: Will eat all of it asap! Get it at the Godiva Chocolatier located at Lakeside Shopping Center (they are offering curbside), at Walgreens or at Chocolate Mini Bars Photo Courtesy Copy
  4. When the CDC first recommended wearing face coverings to help stop the spread of COVID-19, I was content to don a bandana. As the days and months wore on and coverings became mandatory, I was fortunate to have several masks gifted to me by talented friends who can sew. Recently, I bought a few of a tailored style that is a bit more comfortable when I’m wearing glasses. I got mine from New Orleans designer Nadia Tarbah of ND Studio. (Disclosure: Tarbah is a friend of mine.)Masks Photo Courtesy Nd Studio Copy
  5. Finally, if you’ve been following me on Instagram or reading the blog for a while, you know I do periodic alcohol-free challenges and zero proof beverage reviews. As I sashay through my #sobersummer, gimlets made with zero proof spirits, including Monday Gin and Ritual Gin Alternative, have leveled up my happy hours. Both are fantastic in a gimlet. The botanicals mix well with lime juice and just a touch of simple syrup. I use Ritual’s Ginless Gimlet recipe.

Gimlet Photo By Melanie Warner Spencer Copy



Cheers to the first installment of Bon Vivant Essential List! Share your must haves, faves and craves in comments, or email me at