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THE GOOD TIMES KEEP ROLLING WHAT MY KIDS TAUGHT ME ABOUT MARDI GRAS
Better late than never, Mardi Gras is finally here. It felt like this city was holding its breath all February long, waiting for the annual festivities to finally kick off. Chief among those eagerly awaiting the parades and beads were my boys, Jude and Luke. What kid doesn’t love Mardi Gras? It’s practically a toy store on wheels. We’ve been going since Jude was just a toddler, and the events never fail to disappoint. As with most annual events these days, Fat Tuesday is quickly becoming a yardstick for just how fast my boys are growing up. Like many families with young kids, my wife and I got our boys ladder chairs to sit in and watch the parades — a great investment that has saved our shoulders from four straight days of piggy-back rides. We went the classic hand-carved route, complete with cup holders, of course. But every year we set them up, the boys have a little more difficulty fitting in the old set. Pretty soon, they’ll outgrow them entirely, choosing instead to run around with their friends collecting as many beads as humanly possible. It’ll be a sad day when we retire those ladder chairs, but that’s just part of growing up. I was describing my apprehension about this to a friend of mine who lives out of state, only to realize he didn’t have the slightest idea of what a ladder chair is. I don’t blame him; only in New Orleans could an entire industry of custom parade-side highchairs thrive. Having gone to Mardi Gras parades since I was a kid, with my family occasionally making the drive down from Baton Rouge, I sometimes forget just how unique this event is outside our little slice of the world. As vibrant and exciting as it is, Mardi Gras is one of those things that’s easy to take for granted if our town is all you’ve known. Much like our warm winters, amazing food, and stunning festivals, the event can become a backdrop if you let it. I certainly felt that way for a time between my college days and when I had kids. One year, I practically forgot the parades altogether and drove to work as usual, only to find my return home blocked by the festivities. Lesson learned.
When Jude became old enough to go to his first Mardi Gras, everything changed. I saw the look of pure excitement and wonder in his eyes, and suddenly, I could enjoy the revelry from his perspective. That’s part of the magic of parenting, I suppose: You get to remember just how magical the world was when you were young. Now the boys are growing up and out of their ladder chairs, but not out of the joy of Mardi Gras. If my own childhood is any indication, the novelty of catching beads and eating king cakes has a long shelf life. I, for one, am not complaining. As long as they want to head out to see the Muses, Endymion, Bacchus, and the rest, I’ll have fun being right there with them.
Laissez Les Bons Temps Rouler,
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WHEN SHOULD YOUR KIDS START WORKING?
When the dolls and baseball cards get pushed to the wayside for cell phones and movie dates, it may be time to gently nudge your child out from under your wing and into the workplace. It doesn’t have to be pushing shopping carts or spinning signs on the corner; working in any capacity during formative years builds character and gives your child real-world experience. Summer jobs teach the value of a dollar and give kids lasting memories, and after- school gigs lead to more pocket change for the weekends and less worrying for Mom and Dad. The hard part isn’t asking yourself if they should work; it’s asking yourself when they should work. In the U.S., most of us have about four decades of working to look forward to. Many start working in late adolescence and continue until retirement age. Now, that’s a lot of work to be had. So why rush it? Well, idle hands often spell disaster. Sitting around all day is a burden on both child and parent, whether they realize it or not. Those few years between hitting puberty and graduating high school are the sweet spot for your child to start their part- time career. There’s no shame in flipping burgers, stocking shelves, or mowing lawns. As of 2014, there were 16 million workers in the retail and food service industries, and the numbers have only gone up from there. But work ethic is changing among American teenagers. Just one-third of individuals aged 16–19 had a job lined up for last summer, compared to 51.2 percent for the same age range in
1997. While surviving on minimum wage as an adult is a topic of great debate, raking in around $10 an hour as a 14-year-old can seem like a king’s ransom. A few working hours here and there will do your grown baby a world of good and prepare them for the next chapter of their lives.
THE GREATEST FREE SHOW ON EARTH! ! WHAT MARDI GRAS AND OUR FIRM HAVE IN COMMON
For us, “The Greatest Free Show on Earth” is known around the world as New Orleans’ Mardi Gras. This year, it takes place on March 5. Ever since the first festivities in 1699, Mardi Gras celebrations have drawn thousands of visitors to the city every year to mingle with locals at the famed parties and parades. In fact, an estimated half a million spectators line the routes of major parades. While Hurricane Katrina in late 2005 caused people to question the future of the Big Easy’s Mardi Gras celebrations, the townspeople joined together to ensure that the 2006 parades would happen. While it’s impossible to estimate just how synonymous New Orleans and Mardi Gras have become in popular culture, locals’ insistence on keeping the carnival season alive even when the city was experiencing major flooding after the hurricane demonstrates how truly significant the event is. It amplifies the city’s sense of community and bridges together cultures across the world through music, laughter, art, detailed costumes, and extravagant parades.
The event’s ability to bring millions of people together always serves as a great reminder for me to be thankful for the close-knit community I have the pleasure to live and work in. Here in New Orleans, people genuinely care about one another, and I remember this every time I meet with a new client — especially ones who have been referred to me through their friends or family members. To those of you who recommend Smiley Law Firm, you play a vital role in helping us remain a community-based firm, which is one of our favorite aspects of the job. Thank you so much to our loyal clients, and happy Mardi Gras!
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‘THE OBSTACLE IS THE WAY’ Stoicism and Success in the Modern Era
Would you rather read an inspirational book favored by some of the biggest stars in the NFL, or a strategy guide found on the nightstands of some of the world’s most powerful political figures? Well, thanks to Ryan Holiday’s latest work, you don’t have to choose. “The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials
of the American Apparel marketing team. Now the head of his own strategy firm, Brass Check, Holiday and his team have advised major brands like Google and TASER. “The Obstacle Is the Way” represents a distillation of Holiday’s personal philosophy for success. The book gets its name from a modern rephrasing of a Marcus Aurelius quote. The philosopher turned Roman emperor once said, “What stands in the way becomes the way.” From this principle, and the foundational tenets for stoicism developed by the ancient Greeks, Holiday presents a no-nonsense approach to problem-solving that is as old as time. Packed with examples ranging from American Civil War generals to Amelia Earhart, “The Obstacle” paints a clear, compelling picture of what this ancient philosophy has to offer the leaders of the future. The book has a hardline stance: “It doesn’t matter what happens to you. It matters what you do,” which removes factors of luck and talent from the equation. To Holiday, persistence trumps everything else. Those looking for feel-good quotes or self-affirming platitudes should probably skip this book. But for those who are serious about reaching their personal or professional goals, and who are willing to put in the work, “The Obstacle” is just the kind of kick in the pants you’ve been looking for.
into Triumph” has been championed by leaders in almost every field, from musicians to governors. To understand why this work is winning such high praise, you first have to understand the man who wrote it. In classic entrepreneurial fashion, Holiday dropped out of college when he was just 19 years old, choosing instead to get his education under the direct mentorship of author and strategist Robert Greene. Eventually, his focus on media manipulation and human nature would land him at the top
TAKE A BREAK
• 3/4 cup popcorn kernels • 2 tablespoons flaky sea salt • 1 teaspoon black sesame seeds • 2 teaspoons white sesame seeds • 2 teaspoons granulated garlic
• 2 teaspoons granulated onion • 1/3 cup canola oil • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1. In a small skillet over medium heat, toast sesame seeds. Shake skillet often and cook until white seeds are golden and fragrant, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and add garlic, onion, and salt. 2. In a large saucepan, combine popcorn kernels and oil. Cook over medium- high heat, covered, until popcorn kernels start to pop. Once popping, continue cooking and shaking the pan intermittently until popping ceases, about 3–5 minutes. 3. Transfer popcorn to a large mixing bowl. Pour in butter and toss to coat. Finally, add seasoning, toss again, and serve.
Inspired by Food & Wine magazine
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365 Canal Street, Suite 1680 New Orleans, LA 70130 Phone: 504-894-9653 Fax: 866-761-8934 www.SmileyFirm.com OPEN: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
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INSIDE THIS ISSUE
What My Kids Taught Me About Mardi Gras
Is It Time for Your Child’s First Part-Time Job? What Mardi Gras and Our Firm Have in Common
Book Review: ‘The Obstacle Is the Way’ Everything Popcorn
How to Make Your Sailing Dreams Come True
SET SAIL FOR VACATION TAKE YOUR NEXT TRIP OFFSHORE
Take a Day Sail
If you’re lucky enough to have been aboard a ship under full sail, chances are you know the thrill and serenity sailing can give you. If you’ve never been but have always wanted to know what it’s like to get out on the wind and waves, there are many great options available for beginners. Here are some ideas to inspire your next waterside vacation.
Many day-sail charters exist for those who want to go out a little farther than a dinghy would permit. If you’ve captained a boat and are familiar with the
waters, you can apply for a bareboat charter. However, if you are inexperienced or simply don’t want a local guide at the helm, signing up for a day trip with a skipper and crew is a great option.
For those who dream of becoming a skipper one day, a great way to start is by sailing dinghies. These one-sail, beach-launch boats fit 1–2 people and can be rented at most water sports shops. If you want to make it a family experience, shops usually have 16-foot catamarans for rent as well. Catamarans have two hulls rather than one, making for a smoother, more spacious ride. If you’ve never sailed before, inquire about lessons. Most rental operations have instructors on hand who can show you the ropes. The great thing about sailing is that whether you’re in a 12-foot dinghy or a 60-foot sloop, the same basic principles, rules, and skills apply.
Do a Full Charter
Short of owning your own vessel, chartering a boat for multiple nights is the closest you can get to living out your nautical dreams. Some of the most beautiful destinations on earth — from the Caribbean Sea to the Mediterranean — are best experienced from the deck of a sailboat. Letting the sea guide you to amazing snorkeling destinations, remote cays, and bustling harbors is the stuff of real adventure.
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