Category Archives: New Orleans

Planet Fitness: Yes or No?

I have mixed feelings about Planet Fitness, but it may be the best option for me right now. I like other gyms in the area, but some of them cost 5 times more than PF.

The thing is…Planet Fitness does some things differently than other gyms. When I visited with Clint a few times last year, I noticed that they had a free pizza night and bagel days. Is this a New Orleans thing, or does this happen at all of their locations?

Don’t get me wrong; I love pizza! I just love it so much that I don’t know if I could pass it up if I smelled it while sweating on the elliptical. It seems kind of counterproductive. I mean, I have plenty of opportunities to eat junk when I’m not at the gym. Maybe that’s why my exercise space needs to be set apart from that.

I also don’t like how far the locations are from my apartment. Neither location is downtown, but I can get to both of them in under 15 minutes. I drive that far to get to my favorite coffee shop almost everyday.

It’s weird that they don’t allow grunting too. I don’t lift weights that are heavy enough to cause grunting, but I don’t mind when others do.

On the flip side, I really like the 30-Minute Express Workout option that comes with the membership. I like doing circuits because they’re quick, thus making it easy to keep my attention. It’s easily the most appealing part of the gym.

Actually, the most appealing part is the price tag. It’s $10 per month, $20 for the fancy membership. It’s hard to shell out $90 a month for a sub-par gym membership, which is what I did during my first year in New Orleans. It’s also tough to motivate myself to use the free little gym upstairs in my building. It’s nice, but it’s small. In addition to its size, it’s also hard to get motivated when there’s no one else around (at least for me.)

Have you ever been a member at Planet Fitness? If so, would you recommend it? if not, would you consider it? Why or why not?


End of the Year Reflection

Each year, as it comes to a close, I find myself reflecting on the last twelve months, and this year is no different. I was wasting time on Facebook last week when I decided to join everyone else in a Facebook contrived review of my year, and according to Facebook I was completely lame. If you’re on Facebook, you’re probably familiar with the little slideshow of photos that the site puts together for you. Mine showed a salad, a few silly photos with friends and nothing at all that I would consider noteworthy. The truth is that some of the coolest moments of 2014 didn’t make it to Facebook.

Even though Facebook might disagree, I did some cool things this year. I met my newest niece (actually I met her last Christmas, and I saw her again in April when I visited Colorado.)  I celebrated Hannah’s 5th birthday with my family in CO, and I can’t wait to head that way again soon. It’s been way too long for Auntie!

I spoke at an airline conference in Washington, D.C., and I met with executives from several major airlines in order to promote positive change within corporations that have the power to turn the tide.


I accidentally reconnected with an old friend for a day in front of the White House. I was able to hug her, apologize to her for the things that I did wrong and enjoy an afternoon of sightseeing with her. It was completely random, and I am thankful that it happened that way.

Kenlie White House

I took on a more active role as a worship leader at NOLA Church, and my voice and skills have grown. My relationship with Jesus has grown too. I also hosted a pretty cool small group in which I made a new and awesome friend.

Kenlie NOLA Church

I was given the perfect chocolate chip cookie recipe and perfected it.

I watched countless Christmas movies with Mom throughout the year.

I helped a few kids gain confidence in their abilities to succeed in school.

I went to Fitbloggin for the fourth year in a row in Savannah, GA and connected with friends who didn’t allow me to feel out of place (even though I did for the first time.)

Mission Meltdown Epic Selfie

I dined at the newest, hottest restaurants in New Orleans with friends and private jet pilots. (They didn’t offer to fly me anywhere though. Ha.)

I bought a new car.

I became a Starbucks gold card member.

I saw George Strait and Reba perform live with Clint before he moved to Chicago.

I visited Oklahoma and spent several days with Dad while it was about 3 degrees outside.

I went to my first New York Mets game at Citi Field. (I’m still a Yankees fan, but this was a pretty stellar way to spend my birthday.)

New York Mets

I got closer to finishing my degree at Tulane.

I survived heartbreak and salvaged a relationship that meant a lot to me.

I cultivated relationships with friends and made some new ones as well.

Kenlie and Friends

I went out on some dates with interesting guys, though I didn’t meet the Future Mr. Kenlie. Ha I did get to watch my close friends say “I do,” which was pretty amazing. I’ve never been happier to see anyone marry.

French Quarter Wedding
Overall I guess my year was relatively routine and low key. It definitely had some ups and downs, but I can’t tell you how cool it is to feel like I have roots somewhere. I doubt I’ll stay in New Orleans forever, but I’m happy here now.

I’m thankful that I’ve lived in the same place for a couple of years, and I’m looking forward to living in the same place for even longer. I like my location, my neighbors, my view and my surroundings.

After a few tumultuous and/or eventful years, it’s okay to look back on 2012 as quiet and satisfying. Maybe I’ll do something more exciting in 2015, or maybe I’ll just kick back and enjoy my quiet, friends and family filled life.

Here’s to a bright 2015 for all of us…


Weekend Wrap-Up

I love weekends, but this one was one of my favorites lately. Friday evening I had dinner and drinks at a place that has been on my list of places to try with stellar company, then I woke up Saturday morning and learned that I won a pair of Kork-Ease boots via instagram from Feet First, a local shoe boutique.

Kork Ease Boots

I went in that morning and picked out a pair boots with my friend, Michelle, and she bought a great pair of shoes. After that we spent time at the Riverwalk Outlets in my neighborhood. We ate lunch and spent time looking around at various shops, then I met up with another friend who spent the afternoon on my rooftop with me.

It’s been a while since I took advantage of the rooftop, but the weather in New Orleans is beautiful right now. My neighbors and I were joined by my friend, Alonzo, that evening too.

Sunday morning I didn’t attend church. It’s weird to sleep in on a Sunday, but it felt good today. My long time blog friend, Lynn, came into New Orleans, and it was awesome to finally meet her!

Roosevelt Hotel New Orleans

We had lunch at one of my favorite spots in my neighborhood, Domenica. I was sad to learn that they had removed my favorite pizza from the menu until I tried the pumpkin pizza. (I know, it sounds odd, but it was amazing!) The pizza, which was loaded with roasted pumpkin and bacon.

Domenica Happy Hour Pizza

When Lynn and her husband headed to the game, I came home and did a little baking and visiting with my neighbors. We watched the Saints win, which was awesome and long overdue and painted my nails for the second time of the day.

OPI Lacquer

“Miami Beet” and “Ski Teal We Drop” by OPI

Lynn brought me two sets of holiday Jamberry wraps, and I can’t wait to wear the Halloween wraps later this week. Has anyone else that I know use Jamberry?

Now it’s time to start a new week, and I’m ready for it. A friend from New York is coming in for a few days, and I’m going to get to spend some time with her Wednesday morning. I’m kind of hoping that there’s more fun coming up in the next few days too.

Now it’s time to get the week started, which means that I’m back to limiting the amount of sugar that I consume. I’m definitely going to hone my goals this week and add some new things to the mix. More on that later.

Until then…




Sugary Things

I’ve been pretty stressed out today, and while it hasn’t completely passed, I know that I’ll get through it.  I’m not turning to food to comfort me, which feels like a win. I’m sticking to my no doughnuts/macchiatos plan, but there’s still so much that I need to change. When I think of everything that I need to be doing differently, I get overwhelmed. I’m still not ready to look at the big picture, but I’m ready to add another layer to my checklist.

Saying NO to those sweet things is great, but I need to be sure that I’m not replacing them with other sweet things. I’m still at Starbucks regularly, but I’m “indulging” in unsweetened passion tea. It has no calories, and it’s pretty to look at while I work. I can have free refills too (thanks to my gold card status) so it’s a win. I don’t miss the macchiatos most of the time.

I haven’t missed the doughnuts either (probably because I reached the point of total disgust a few weeks ago,) but I have to be careful with other sweet things. Sugar is my weakness. I know that I need to make some adjustments in the way that I consume sugary junk.  I know some people who quit sugar cold turkey, but I’m not that strong. I can’t even think about how hard it would be to enjoy life without sugar at any time. I’m sure some of you are strong enough to do that. I’m not.

I met someone recently who only eats dessert on the weekend. That seems like good plan.   Refraining from sweets during the week (desserts, random offerings of chocolate covered gummy bears, etc.) would greatly impact that way that I consume sugar. I know someone else who eats well all week and allows himself to eat whatever he wants to eat on Saturdays.

I’m not ready to say that I will not eat anything sweet ever again, but I might be willing to refrain from it on the weekdays. If I can manage to do that without going crazy on the weekend, then I’ll consider that a win.

If I want sugary things during the week, I’ll have fruit. I love honey crisp apples.  I keep them stocked in the fall.  I realize that they contain sugar, but let’s be honest. I don’t have hundreds of pounds to lose because of all of the fruit I eat.

I did some walking with girlfriends over the weekend, and I was reminded how awesome and easy it is to enjoy my surroundings.


I live in a beautiful neighborhood that people come to see from all over the world. I just need to start taking advantage of that more than I have been lately. I have access to a gym with a nice view as well. I’m not sure why I allowed myself to forget all of the awesome tools and experiences that are right under my nose.

Canal St. New Orleans

I’m committed to making some positive changes in the coming weeks and months, and it feels good to be making positive progress now.  I’ll face the numbers on the scale later, but for now, I think that if I limit sweet treats even more and exercise more regularly, I’ll be doing enough to see a positive shift.  I’ve already felt one of in my attitude, and that feels a lot better than what I was feeling until a few weeks ago.

Do you have any tips or tricks for avoiding sweets and/or replacing them with healthier alternatives?




My Public Statement

I don’t talk about GOD on my blog everyday, but I have mentioned all of the changes that have occurred in me lately.  I’ve experienced life in a completely different way, and one of the biggest differences lies in the fact that I know that GOD loves me.   I believe in Him, and I believe that He lives in me.  It’s weird for me to say things like that so openly because if you’ve followed my blog very long, then you may know that I didn’t always feel that way.

I was baptized in Lake Pontchartrain Sunday afternoon.  I was baptized when I was a kid, but I did it again because I’ve spent the last several months in a totally renewed relationship with GOD.  I was so excited to publicly acknowledge my relationship with Him and my desire to commit myself to Him, and I think it’s important to do it here because I’ve committed so much of myself to this blog over the last four and a half years.  After more than a decade of feeling as though I didn’t need Him, it feels amazing to know that He is for me.

Kenlie Nola Church

Growing up as a preacher’s kid, I saw the worst parts of the church, and as a result, I turned away from GOD.  I could not have been more condescending about church goers if I tried, and I didn’t understand why anyone would waste their time surrounded by such hypocrisy and judgement.  Those things summed up church for me, and I blamed GOD for it.

Over the last few months, I have written about my desire to cultivate my relationship with Him.  I was not looking for a church home, nor did I have any interest in getting to know GOD in my adult life.  I thought I was content in making the changes that I needed to make for myself, then something happened.  I felt His presence, and I began to pray.

I asked GOD to show Himself to me, and He did.  Through prayer I found myself feeling comfort and contentment and strength that I’ve never experienced before, and people in my life started noticing a difference.  I started noticing a difference, and I needed to acknowledge it out loud so I went into a cold lake and made that statement.  (That’s my pastor, Monte Young, next to me in the middle of the photo below.)

Monte Young Kenlie Baptism Lake Pontchartrain

My outside self hasn’t changed or moved forward with weight-loss in ages, but everything is different.  I am different.    I’m constantly amazed by the love and the grace that I’ve received while I was so undeserving.  I’m still imperfect, but I’ve been set free.

If you’re still reading this post, you don’t have to worry.  I have no plans to become a pious, judgmental Bible thumper who gets spiritual about everything.  I’m still the same flawed person who is struggling to finish what I started.  I’m not going to preach to you everyday, but I am going to pray for you.  I believe that GOD  loves everyone one of us, and I want you to experience the peace that comes in knowing Him.

The more I seek Him, the more I realize that He was always there.  I am loved.  I am forgiven.  I am redeemed, and I am blessed.  I could never put into words how thankful I am for his never-ending grace, and I sincerely hope and pray that you will allow Him to work in your life too….



Opinions Please: Let Them Eat Cake, Or Lose Weight…?

What should I do?  I meet up with a dozen friends every Tuesday evening, and I always bring dessert.  It’s expected.  I mean, no one forces me to bring it, but I know it is appreciated and highly anticipated.  Let’s face it.  I make good desserts.

It’s no secret that I bake, and it brings me a lot of pleasure to see people enjoying things that I create.  Most of the people I see on Tuesday nights do not struggle with weight so eating a piece of cheesecake like the one I brought Tuesday isn’t a big deal to them like it is to me.

kenlie Italian cheesecake

I enjoy watching recipes come to life, but it’s hard to watch people enjoy what I make without enjoying it with them.  Making cheesecake was better than the cupcake trend because there was no tasting it prior to serving it, but I can’t eat (even a tiny piece of) this every week.  One a year? Maybe.

Food surrounds us, and we base a lot of activities around it.  It happened in New York, and it happens in New Orleans too (and everywhere else I go.)  I love food, and I love people so going out to dinner, eating at a friend’s place before we play games or lunch with friends just feels right to me.

I know folks who have lost incredible amounts of weight by not having a social life, but I am not prepared to sacrifice all of the things that matter to me.  Being a skinny hermit won’t make me happier than I would be losing weight slowly and consistently while enjoying my life too.

Maybe I’m just not willing to do what it takes to lose weight.  It’s hard knowing that at one point I could do both.  I went out, but I also lost weight.  I controlled my portions, and I ate one or two unhealthy meals a week instead of several a week.

It’s easier for me to avoid sweet snacks completely, but how should I deal with that fact that they’re expecting me to bring sweet treats? I don’t want to disappoint my friends or make them feel like I care about myself more than them, but I do know that I had to be pretty selfish to be successful before.  Is that that answer?

What would you do in my situation?  Would you stop bringing sweets?  Offer to bring an alternative?

Let’s Talk About Church, Or Things You Didn’t Think You’d Hear Kenlie Say…

There are days in which I feel like discussing things here that are totally unrelated to weight-loss, and today is one of those days.  I tend to work through feelings as I post them here so today I feel like sharing something personal that I don’t normally discuss.

If you’ve been here long, you may know that my dad was a preacher when I was growing up.  I grew up going to church on Sunday morning, Sunday evening, Wednesday night and usually at least one additional night for some kind of Bible study or youth group.  I spent a lot of time in church, and I saw a lot of things that I didn’t like.

As a teenager I still attended church at every turn, but when I was 17 or so, I decided that I didn’t want to.  I did anyway because I had to, but I found myself increasingly fed up with the hypocrisy and politics of church.

My late teens were the worst years of my life for reasons that I may never be comfortable sharing here.  I was dealing with my parents’ recent divorce among other horrible things, and I vividly remember driving around town, trying to figure out how I could end my life without it hurting too much.  I remember being unable to imagine what it would be like to celebrate my 30th birthday. (It was awesome, by the way.)

I remember walking into a Bible study one evening and hearing my friends/fellow church-goers gossiping about my problems. I remember being disappointed and beyond mortified. Life was hard, and I was keenly aware that the church was the last place I could go for support.

I needed peace and assurance that everything would be okay, but I didn’t find that. Instead I faced gossip, judgment and condescension.  The meanest, most judgmental people I knew were from the church, and I decided that if that’s what church was about, I didn’t want any part of it.

Over the last decade I have continued to distance myself from the church.  I go when I visit Dad, or when it’s important to someone in my family.   I’ve gone on occasion over the years, but I haven’t been a member of any church or organization since my late teens.  For years I felt so much anger toward the church that I couldn’t have a conversation about it or about God without becoming a condescending jerk.

Almost a year ago I met someone who had been through similar experiences growing up.  He’s a big part of a church here, and the day I met him (through Shannon) I made it clear that I did not like church and that I likely wouldn’t go.  He made it a point to know that he wasn’t pressuring me to.  We were both really upfront about it, but I worried that he might judge me or dislike me because I didn’t go.

After a few months of assuming that we’d never be close because I was a cursing, non-church-goer, I began to realize that he was my friend.  Over time I stopped waiting to see him roll his eyes or judge me because he never did it, and he continued to disprove everything I thought about people who go to church.

When he started dating someone new recently I started spending even more time with him because I really like her too.  I connected with her immediately, and when she mentioned that I should come to church, I said “okay.”  I’ve told Jeff and Shannon more than once that I was strongly considering showing up on a Sunday morning, but two weeks ago I did it.

Visiting this church had been on my mind for quite a while, but it took several months for me to convince myself to go.  In my mind I knew what church was all about, and everyone always says that their church is different.  Jeff said that too.  He said that I would walk in and not feel condemned or judged, and though I wanted to believe him, I didn’t.

I’m not sure what changed two weeks ago, but I decided to show up.  I got there a few minutes before the service started, and I was a little nervous.  I think I was bracing myself for the realization that this church was just like the rest of them, but that realization never came.  Instead, I found myself nervously embracing what was happening in me and around me, and by the time the service ended, I knew I wanted to go back.

It’s hard to make sense of my feelings surrounding this church, but I can sum it up by saying that I didn’t leave feeling “preached at.”  I know that sounds ridiculous when speaking about church, but I felt like the pastor taught from the Bible rather than shoving it down my throat.

I went back last Sunday, and again, I felt a little nervous.  Somewhere inside my head I wondered if the prior week had been a fluke, but I felt just as welcome, comfortable and fulfilled as I did the week before.  It’s been a long, long time since I’ve had a church home.  Actually, I’m not sure I’ve ever had a church home, but I’m open to the possibility that this church could become that for me…and soon.

It’s hard to release the doubt, fear and anger that I’ve held on to for so long, but for the first time since my uncle prayed for me, I felt that God was there.  I felt safe, and I did not feel judged.  Maybe it’s because so many people there have been through similar experiences, or maybe it’s because there are genuine, God-loving people in the world.  Maybe I am just ready to embrace it.

I’m not sure what the future holds for me, but I’m feeling cautiously optimistic about my place there.  When I’m part of that service, it feels like I’m where I’m supposed to be.  It feels like a place in which I can continue to  heal and grow, and for now, that’s more than enough.

Do you attend church regularly?  What made you decide to attend or not attend?



Super Bowl XLVII Events Recap, or An Onslaught of Pictures

Living in downtown New Orleans has been amazing so far, and the last week has been the most exciting week so far!  I attended a phenomenal concert, ate at fabulous restaurants, attended several memorable events and met countless professional athletes, including some of the greats.  I spoke to politicians and public figures and spent time enjoying all of it with my friends.



One of my favorite parts of the week was seeing Train perform live for VH1.  Shannon scored free tickets for us, and we were only a few rows from the stage.  I adore this band, specifically Patrick Monohan, and sounded just as incredible live as he does in the studio.  And there was definitely no lip-synching going on at this show.  We also saw a local Jazz sensation, Rebirth, who played before Train.

18985_300196426770433_1267484154_n(Photo above: Courtesy of Matt)

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I mentioned last week that Clint and I went behind the scenes at ESPN, near Jax Brewery, in the French Quarter.  We stood in the front row for ESPN Sports Nation, and we saw Eli Manning’s shy side when a band came on stage to sing an original song about him.  Eli’s smile and demeanor was endearing, but I’ll admit that I drank the Manning kool-aid a long time ago.  I experienced the Manning trifecta last week!  Clint and I spoke to Archie the following day, and I smiled and acted silly in front of Peyton Sunday as well. 20130130_141428 (2)

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2013 137 (2) Joe!

20130201_221036 (2) Giant Jenga at Barcadia!

Sunday I worked as a publicist since Leslie couldn’t be in New Orleans and New York at the same time, and I found myself at the NFL’s official tailgate party which was hoested by Courtyard Marriot.  I already liked Courtyard, but after visiting with many of their top executives from around the nation, I love it.  I met some fantastic people including my new favorite Saints football player, Lance Moore.  (Seriously, what is it about people named Lance?!  They’re all so handsome and nice to me! 😉 Ha..)  Darren Sproles was sweet too.  They made everyone feel like the most important person in the room, and that’s a cool feeling – especially when it comes from handsome, professional athletes from your favorite football team!



My friend, Ally Burguieres who owns a gallery on Royal St. in the French Quarter,  designed the NFL’s limited edition official Super Bowl Mardi Gras beads which were commissioned by Courtyard Marriot, and they’re beautiful!  I couldn’t resist asking the guys to wear them so they did.  They also singed a couple for Ally and Me.  How cool is that? Mine are hanging on the ladder bookshelf in my living room now as a priceless reminder of the fun times I had last week.

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In addition to Saints players, I also got a chance to hear from the man who will likely go down in history as the greatest quarter back of all time, Peyton Manning.  He was at the tailgate, and he spoke about how difficult this game would be for the Harbough family, especially their parents.  His dad spoke candidly about that earlier in the week during the CNN Bleacher Report.  He also presented two lucky people with tickets to the Super Bowl which was only a few hours later.  (Seriously, Peyton…Would it have been too much trouble to call out my raffle ticket number?  It’s okay.  I forgive you because I adore you.)

Drew Brees was there as well, but we missed him because reporters were there filming a piece about Ally’s beads.  It was so much fun, and I know I’ll have opportunities to meet Drew in March so I won’t sweat it too much. 😉





After finishing up at CNN, where we saw Howie Long and Chris Collinsworth among others, Matt, Shannon, Clint and I were ravenous so we searched for a restaurant that wouldn’t have a two hour wait like Manning’s.  We made our way to a snazzy little restaurant called Cafe Adelaide across from Harrah’s Casino. Clint and I were reluctant to go there because we felt the buffet at Harrah’s calling us, but as usual, Shannon was right!  She made the call to eat there, and we dined next to my favorite political figure, Chris Christie.  He and his wife, Mary Pat, were incredibly gracious, and speaking to him was really the highlight of my week.




In addition to everyone I mentioned above, I saw Steve Gleason and Scott Fujita, who plays for the Saints.  I also stood next to Eric Decker from the Denver Broncos, arguably the sexiest man in the NFL.  Thinking about hot NFL players makes me think about the one person I wish I could have met last week, Tim Tebow.  It’s okay though.  I’m guessing I’ll have a chance to take a picture with him at some point too. 😉

There’s so much more I could say about last week, but I covered all of my favorite parts here.  I realize this post will likely bore many of you, but it was fun to write because I relived the moments I enjoyed again in my mind.  Thanks for indulging me!

I escaped to Mom’s house for the night so I could rest, recuperate and get some work done, and I’m glad I did.  Now it’s almost time to head to class, and I’m proud of the four-page essay that I completed before writing this post.

I’m still tired, but I have a few days to catch up before the craziness begins again.  There’s still a week of Mardi Gras left, and I’m trying to pace myself.  We’ll see how that goes.  Until then, as they say on the bayou, Laissez le bon temps rouler!



Super Bowl XLVII Events, and a Little Chat About Hatred

Blogging has been taxing for me lately, and I have been weighing whether or not I should  continue blogging.  This is what I posted on Facebook yesterday,

“After nearly four years of friendship, accountability and expression, I have to face the fact that the hatred and vitriol seem to have taken over. I no longer know how to move forward with my blog which has been ‘my closest friend.'”

Though the amount of hate mail I receive has lessened over all, the messages are exceedingly alarming.  Note to readers: If you wish I was dead, feel free to not read my blog.  I’m alive and well, and though your hatred shakes me up occasionally, I’m not going to let you decide whether I blog or not. And speaking of blogging…

I’ve had a stellar week so far, and there’s still a lot of fun coming up.  I spent the day in the French Quarter at ESPN earlier this week.  The Suit came with me, and we had a great time.  We saw Eli Manning and others up close, and he was so humble even when the cameras weren’t rolling.  It was so cool to see that.



I’m heading back to ESPN today before going to a tail gate party in the afternoon.  Tonight I’m heading to a live VH1 concert to see Train perform, and over the weekend we’re going to some CNN events and the NFL’s tailgate party where I’ll get to see Drew Brees, Peyton Manning, Darren Sproles and more.

I can’t make the trolls go away, but I can tell you that I’m happy (most of the time) in spite of them.  My social media presence has taken a hit, but my everyday life is going well.  I feel fulfilled, lucky and proud to be doing the things I’m doing with my life.

Somewhere along the line losing weight got hard for me, and I have never pretended otherwise.  But my life is about more than that, and while it’s still important to me, it’s not the only important thing.  I’ve gone through major changes, emotional growth and a variety of other important things that have made my life better.

I’m not making excuses for myself, but you have to know that if you choose to read about my life, then you need understand that I’m trying to make it a good one for myself.  Maybe I’m not winning every battle with flying colors, but I’m happy, loved and determined.  Isn’t that what we’re all fighting for?