Lifestyle Diaries: Finding Balance in the Big Easy

L
iving in the culinary heart of the United States is a foodie’s dream; New Orleans, otherwise known as The Big Easy, is home to worldly famous chefs as well as some of the best cuisine in America and not to mention some of the best festivals and parties in the nation. ( No, it’s not just Mardi Gras year round) 

So how does a young professional find balance in what can be best describe as a paradise city? We asked Jill Heller, a  born-and-bred New Yorker who came to NOLA  for college and never left. She is a writer and traveler, and most importantly, a vegetarian navigating the food scene of New Orleans. Read on as she takes us on a day in her life with a little added commentary from our end.

On Mornings 

The first thing I do in the morning is drink a full glass of water – it just wakes me up and gets me hydrated after a full night’s sleep. (The thirst is real Jill, we feel ya!)

Usually I’ll just pop some bread in the toaster and make a quick breakfast, like avocado toast. ( The most important fruit of our generation, yes it’s a fruit people Google it.)

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The most important part of my morning is definitely my skincare routine: it’s such an integral part of self-care for me. For makeup, I’ll just use a bit of Glossier’s Boy Brow and some lip balm.

For a bit of #Mondaymotivation, I’ll stop at Cherry Espresso for a latté. The coffee here is amazing, but my absolute favorite part about this NOLA spot is its owner:  Lauren Fink, a female entrepreneur, took her passion for coffee and New Orleans’ coffee culture roots to create this unique shop.

Latte
Photo by Hannah Jo
(@hannahjomowe)

On the Importance of A Comfy Outfit

All about convenience here. I’m happiest when I’m comfortable – so for work, that usually means an easy top or sweater with pants, and for workouts it means my beloved Lululemon leggings and a tank top.

At Work

At work I’ll spend a ton of time at my desk, looking at screens to write content for NewOrleans.com. I love it, but the screen-time wears me out.

For lunch I’ll either walk over to Seed for healthy twists on indulgent food, or meet a friend at Daily Beet for a quinoa bowl. If I really want to splurge, I’ll pop over to Raw Republic, a juice bar turned mindfulness center and grab a juice and take a peek at the meditation schedule. This gives me that energy boost for the second half of the
day.

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After Work Hours

After work, I’ll see what I’m feeling like – usually I’ll either meet a friend for a cocktail or head to a yoga class. Square Root’s cocktails are the prettiest in the city. Plus, you can sit and sip on a balcony overlooking Magazine Street – a gorgeous street of galleries and shops in NOLA.

New Orleans wouldn’t be New Orleans without its super indulgent eats. From beignets and king cakes to po-boys and muffalettas, it’s hard not to indulge at EVERY meal. We all know that the key to life is balance, so once or twice a week I’ll catch up with a friend over a cocktail and lunch or dessert. Bakery Bar is a cozy spot in the Garden District with the best pastries I’ve ever eaten, and a full bar. Plus, there are board games for customers.


I’m a vegetarian, so when I moved from NYC to NOLA, I was a little worried about finding non-meat and non-seafood dishes. But it’s possible! Every restaurant offers a vegetarian option here, and since New Orleans is a city of top chefs, you know it’ll be delicious. Also, biscuits and grits are vegetarian 😉

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I find balance by really checking in with how I feel every day, and trying to tap into what would make me feel better. Is it a healthy quinoa bowl filled with spinach, black beans, tomatoes, and avocado? Or is it laughing with friends over a 5 p.m. cocktail? While it can be easy to overindulge in this city, my way of staying balanced is to stay mindful. If I overindulge on sweets with friends and feel physically tired, I meditate and focus on the ways that time with friends nurtured me. And vice versa!

Below you can find my top favorite spots in New Orleans:

Cherry Espresso Bar
Raw Republic
Seed
Square Root 

Need more Jill in your life?! We feel you, you can follow more of her stories:

Website: Go Nola

Instagram: @jillheller9

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