Thursday, April 28, 2016

Our stay at The Standard Hotel in Miami, Florida

The Standard isn’t your typical hotel in Miami. It’s not a high rise and you don’t have to take an elevator to get to your room (at least the one I stayed in). It’s more like a “motel style” hotel or as they say "is less of a hotel and more of a spa with guest rooms". At first, I was unsure about this hotel. The rooms are small, enough for only 2 people and that’s still pushing it. There’s a bath tub outside your room on a private terrace. 


But you’re in Miami, you aren’t meant to be in your room. The property is gorgeous with plants, hammocks, and swings. 

There's an infinity pool looking over the bay with plenty of seating and excellent service.  There’s a restaurant on property as well as a retail store.

Now since this is a spa hotel, there's hydrotherapy options indoors and outdoors. I started outside at the pool. There are steps posted that tell you what to do and when in rome, you just do it. You start in the Roman Waterfall Hot Tub and let the water massage your back, then you get in the Arctic Plunge, and then you head into the infinity pool. Your body feels so relaxed after doing this and especially on about the 3rd time. The benefits are improved circulation, reduced stress, relieve pain, improved energy and removal of toxins. 

The Standard offers a mud bath in its spa services. I decided to give this a try since it's supposed to do all these great things for your body. You can do it in the spa or you can do it by the pool in this secluded area. Since I didn’t really know what I was doing and didn’t feel quite comfortable, I headed back down to the pool to do the mud bath at my own speed and comfort zone. A nice lady met me down there and scooped me out some algae-infused mud. You get to pick between gold, pink, or green. I went with gold (duh, Verbal Gold Blog). You slather it all over your body and then bask in the sun to let it dry. There’s a warm bath waiting for you once the mud is dry to get the mud all off of you. Some of the benefits of an algae-infused mud bath are it tightens your pores, clears blotchiness, sucks out toxins, and evens out skin tones.

After I played around, it was time to relax. This was the most peaceful pool, I mean there was music playing when you went under the water, like how in the world did they do that?! (I imagine that’s what Ariel hears swimming around in the ocean.) I spent the whole day there and into the night - just relaxed and then enjoyed dinner by the water.

I’d highly recommend this hotel if you’re looking for a spa experience and some relaxation. It's in Miami, so I’m sure it can get hopping but my experience was the opposite and I was ok with that. I was there to relax and lay by the pool.  

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Helena Mercantile could you be any cuter?

Hey Boos, Jennifer here. If anybody is counting this is my second blog post so I am basically a pro now, no autographs please. One of the things that I really want to accomplish with this blogging gig is to showcase some of the great people/places/things Alabama has to offer to cancel out all of the not so great people/places/things we have to offer (ex. Our Governor/Auburn/Confederate flags- Jk about Auburn its not that bad they did give us Charles Barkley and Tim Cook... and the Apple Watch by extension) One of those people/places/things is Amy Webb, owner of the boutique Helena Mercantile in the cute quaint town of Helena, Alabama. Helena is about 5 minutes from where I grew up and about 15 minutes south of Birmingham. It also happens to be right next door to my parent's A W E S O M E restaurant The Coal Yard (more on that later)! It is literally the cutest little boutique ever housed in an old remodeled chapel and the architecture definitely reflects the southern boho chic vibe of the boutique. 

They carry TONS of Judith March which is one of my favorite local designers from Alabama, plus a lot of jewelry from local designers as well. As always I could keep babbling about how great Amy and Helena Mercantile are or I could do what I do best and show you! We had such a fun shoot with Amy and our two models aka my hot friend Kelsey (Every time I take her photo I book like 5 gigs because everybody wants to be her and wants me to draw them like one of my French girls... that's a Titanic joke) and my niece Taylor (the tall leggy blonde is my 13 YEAR OLD niece... I never looked like that in middle school). Check out our shoot in Old Town Helena below and if you are ever in the neighborhood go see Amy you will not be disappointed! Ok bye. Roll tide. 

more of me and my photography here Jennifer Oetting Photography 

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Sunday, April 24, 2016

Where to stay in New York

Traveling to NYC soon and don't know where to stay? Are you always asking your friends where do I stay in NYC? How do I get the best deal? What's the nicest hotel? What's the best hotel for the price? What location etc etc... Well I have the answers you've been searching for! 

I travel to NYC quite a bit and I'm about that hotel life!  I've made it a point to stay in a different hotel every time I go just for you guys! #doitfortheblog Below you'll find my list of favorite NYC hotels, some pics + why I chose them. Granted my scale is slightly skewed more towards decor, spaciousness, view, room service, and bathroom counter space but I'll gladly add some extra details in there for yall! 

Regarding the best deals I recommend always always booking through Jetsetter or Hotels Tonight app ($25 off with code AWRIGHT223). Serious must! Book the basic room and ask for an upgrade when you check in. Trust me. This little tip scored me an upgrade into Paris Hiltons room at The Standard and a $1000+/night suite at NOMO SOHO for under $300/night! Insert emoji hands here! 

I'll do this in order of favorites!

1. The Plaza
Category: Luxe // High Roller 
Location: Midtown East (5th Ave at Central Park South)

Pros: Known to epitomize refined luxury. There are too many pros to count.  Champagne bar with only the best bubbly.  Live jazz. Central location. Amazing white glove service and friendly staff. 24-hour butler service in the suites. (#ReyTheButler is the best) Marble floors with gold accents and gorgeous lavish chandeliers wow you as soon as you walk in.  Luxurious bedding, large rooms, and a spa like bathroom with plenty of counter space.  You feel like a celebrity as soon as you step inside.  We had a blast at The Plaza!


There is even an Eloise suite! 

Tea time at The Plaza in The Palm Restaurant is a must.  Don't forget to visit The Eloise gift shop.

Cons. hah. yeah right. I wish I could live there.

2. The Gansevoort Park Avenue 
Category: Luxe // Posh
Location: Park Ave

Pros: Gorgeous lobby! Hot pink and houndstooth design is carried into spacious bedrooms with hot pink curtains nice views with wrap around walk out balconys and a desk and seating area. Huge room and huge bathroom! Enough space outside to nail a BeyoncĂ© music video. {which you can see me embarrassing myself trying to nail that one here} Robes are plush and so comfortable I brought one home! Mini bar and fridge with optional take home rubber duckey and Goose! Gatsby the #TravelGoose Smoothie / pressed juice place downstairs and convenient location! Again thanks to Jetsetter I stayed for under $300 in a $700 room. Think a buzzy tri-level bar dripping in crystal and marble and the summer's hottest scene with an indoor-outdoor pool overlooking the Empire State Building.

Cons: 0


Category: Hip // Posh

Location: SoHo

Pros: Another spacious room.  Suites have two rooms with seating area but the regular rooms are normal NY size.  The bathrooms are white marble with amazing views right out your bathroom window!   Just be careful not to flash anyone while you shower.  Mini bar and fridge in the room is always a plus! Rooftop + nice outdoor area. GF options and delicious room service menu. Gorgeous decor, chandeliers over the bar, with that crisp white design in the room that just makes you want to face plant on the bed. Nice views with huge windows!

Cons: Robes are not soft and feel like an old towel. Have to go to second floor to check in.



4. The Standard
Category: Hip // Posh
Location: East Village or Meatpacking 
Pros: lip pillows (yep I just listed that first), huge windows with nice views and an amazing room service menu.  Added bonus of a mini bar and fridge in your room.  

Highline / Meatpacking Pros:
-Food and drinks at The Standard Biergarten and Standard Grill
-Amazing views of Manhattan
-Unique architecture — the building literally straddles the High Line park 
-Near the clubs, restaurants and shopping of the Meatpacking District // La Bain is upstairs and has a nice rooftop happy hour. 
-Free WiFi

Cons: smaller rooms are pretty small but larger suites have a seating area. Either way the bathroom is smaller with very little counter space. No on site gym at the East Village location but guests have access to Crunch Bowery

Highline/ Meatpacking Cons: 
-Crowds, crowds and more crowds 
-Pedestrians on the High Line have clear views into many rooms 
-Bathrooms have “peek-a-boo” windows into the rooms
-Not exactly a family destination


*Playing in Paris Hiltons room*

Standard Meatpacking 

Le Bain



5. Eventi, a Kimpton Hotel 
Category: Hip
Location: Chelsea
Pros: Friendly and super accommodating staff, amazing bathrooms with counter space covered with marble.  Floor to ceiling windows with great views.  Mini bar with fridge.

seeing a pattern here huh #grownupbutnot

Cons:  Manly design with dark rooms and lots of wood.  Really nice but not particularly my favorite decor.  Room service menu was limited.

6. Hotel on Rivington
Category: Hip
Location: Lower East Side

Pros: Modern, chic, and comfortable space.  Rooms are on the larger side with floor to ceiling windows for amazing views that continue in the spacious bathrooms!  Free happy hour every night in the lobby! Love!  Complimentary wi-fi and turn down service. Fully stocked mini bar.  Friendly staff and great customer service. Room service menu was delicious. Bonus: dogs under 50 lbs are ok to stay!

Cons: Currently under construction but does not affect your stay.  

7. Hotel Giraffe 
Category: Charming
Location: Park Ave
Pros: nice size room and bathroom. good location. complimentary happy hour. 
Cons: basic

8. Martha Washington 
Category: Hip
Location: NoMad (blocks from The Empire State Building + The Fashion District)
Pros: cute design / decor average size room and bathroom - amazing restaurant downstairs.  friendly staff. 

Cons: not a great room service menu, bad views, small windows


9. TriBeCa Grand Hotel
Category: Posh
Location: SoHo / TriBeCa
Pros: Spacious room with great in room dining and restaurant menu.  Mini bar in room. Champagne at check-in on Fridays and Saturdays, and a nightlife scene that draws locals. Goldfish in rooms as free overnight pets, upon request. Tech-friendly: WiFi is free; iPads and iPod Touches available for loan. Free bicycles are available (spring, summer and fall) to explore the area.  Mini bar.  Starbucks within walking distance. (yes that's a pro on my list)  Distinctive style throughout.  Big windows in bathroom.

Cons: Restaurant service was incredibly slow.  Small windows in the room with not so great views.

Next Up: 

Where should we stay next? What are your favorite places to stay in NYC?

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