My Summer

We are a few days shy of October and I am still wondering where in the world did August and September go. The more busy I am the more the months flow into each other forming one fantastic blur. One minute I am hearing cicadas buzz on my runs and the next I am thinking about Halloween candy.

The summer months for my family and me were filled with a healthy dose of travel with a few mini-breaks in between. Late last month we traveled to Atlanta (one of my favorite cities) for the first time in a year and also made our way down to New Orleans, a first for all of us.

I’m sharing a few photos from our travels so I don’t completely and utterly forget everything I’ve done in the past two months.

New York for Blogher

New York: at the UN Headquarters for the World Humanitarian Day Filming of Beyoncé’s video, I Was Here.

The rainy streets of downtown Atlanta after speaking at the Blogalicious Meetup hosted by Lamar and Ronnie Tyler.

A calm night on the W Hotel Buckhead Atlanta rooftop with my husband.

New Orleans two days before Hurricane Issac. Also, just an aside: I have never been anywhere on earth hotter and more muggy than New Orleans. Wow! It was hot.

Back in Atlanta on our drive back from New Orleans at my favorite place: the Westin Peachtree. You cannot beat the view. And now that they have renovated their rooms it’s our little home away from home when we travel to Atlanta.

My Recent Stay at an Aloft Hotel

I’ll finally admit it: I am slightly obsessed with hotels. On a pit stop last week  in New Jersey before inching our way into New York City for Fashion Week we opted to stay at an Aloft property. I have been wanting to stay at an Aloft hotel for quite some time, but just haven’t had the opportunity to do so. Enough StarWood points plus a need for a hotel room for the night made for an enjoyable night at the Mount Laurel, New Jersey Aloft.

Branded as a “Vision of W Hotels” Aloft hotels are not trendy and chic like the W hotels, but for a mid-tier hotel chain it definitely offers more than comparable hotels in the same price range and is considerably hipper.

I loved that the Aloft offered Wired and SPIN for our reading pleasure and based on their magazine options I definitely know who their targeted customers are.

And who doesn’t love the small details? On their coffee cups it reads, “Gulp and a-go-go.” Clever.

Even though we didn’t stay at the Aloft for long I did get a true sense of the hotel chain. It’s for those who want a “W” experience without having to pay the “W” prices. It’s for those who want to stay at a hotel that comes with little surprises like this analog clock. I don’t know when I have ever seen an analog clock in my hotel room. I thought it was quite charming. And in fact I loved it so much I searched for it online. It’s a classic 1950s Moonbean alarm clock by Westclox. It retails for $37.99 showing that hotels don’t need to spend a fortune to make a lasting impression.

The next time you travel check to see if there is an Aloft property where you’re headed. You won’t be disappointed.

A Review: W Hotels in Atlanta and Times Square

I have been traveling a lot lately. Quite literally my family and I bounced from Atlanta to DC to New York all within a span of a week, but I must say we had a fantastic time together as a family despite all the heavy travel.

In Atlanta and New York we stayed at the W Hotel in midtown and W Hotel in Times Square respectively. The first time I stayed at a W Hotel was in Chicago at its Lakeshore property a few years ago and I loved it! With the fabulous Chicago location deeply burned in my memory the Atlanta and Times Square locations didn’t disappoint.

W Midtown Atlanta

Blogalicious 2009 was held at the midtown Atlanta W so I was familiar with the hotel but I didn’t stay there and had not seen the rooms. The room was much like I experienced in Chicago except it was much more Atlanta-like with darker colors and a much bigger minibar!  There was wine and large bottles of spirits on top of the desk in addition to your run-of-the-mill minibar beverages in the frig. I couldn’t help but think, “Wow! Their guests must drink a lot!” Granted, I haven’t been to the W in Chicago for some time but I don’t remember a minibar that was so stocked.

As is the case with all W hotels the bathroom was really the standout feature. I adored their bathroom and, of course, the Bliss products.

We enjoyed our view at the W Midtown and we also loved that we were just a short walk to Atlanta’s popular Piedmont park. The only things I didn’t like about the W Midtown was the room service options weren’t that great and the “Whatever Whenever” service was lacking. I think that’s because a big music conference was happening the same weekend we were there, so I definitely cut the staff some slack.

W Times Square

A few days later we checked into the glitzy W Times Square and we were extremely pleased by the look of the hotel. Oftentimes Times Square hotels can be very run down and worn out, but you could immediately tell that the W Times Square is well taken care of. I appreciate that because I love staying anywhere near Times Square. Can’t you tell I’m a giddy tourist?

I loved the decor in the W Times Square better than the property in Atlanta. The muted browns and fuschias really worked for me as well as the large abstract paintings on the wall. Plus, the room service options were phenomenal and tasted divine.

I also loved the lounge chair that looked out onto Times Square, even if I could only see a sliver of it between the buildings.

On the main level of the W Times Square is the Blue Fin restaurant that serves magnificent seafood and sushi that you can also order for in-room dining. The food was delicious, but also very expensive. But what would you expect for New York?

While I love Kimpton hotels for their individual charm, I love the W hotels chain for its luxury.

Save Before Your Book: We got some surprisingly great rates at both locations. Be sure to compare rates at the major travel Web sites – Travelocity, Expedia,, and Priceline. And, also look at the hotel web sites to find current deals.