Kayti VS. The World


08 February 2016

The Fleur De Lis Mansion

Everyone has an accommodation style that they're preferential to. For some people it's lavish hotels, for others it's renting apartments or houses, some people prefer the hustle and bustle of a busy hostel. But me? I LOVE anything with an "inn" or bed and breakfast type of feeling. I wonder if it's because it's easier to make it feel like a home away from home. It's pretty difficult to do that in a hotel room. When we arrived the housekeeper came out to greet us and showed us how to get through the coded gate. Walking up the steps from the sidewalk onto the property is like stepping into another world. It's a tall slender building surrounded by trees, shrubbery, flowers and ivy. The front garden has sweet little stone benches to sit and take in the sunshine. I instantly knew I was going to fall in love with this property and couldn't wait to get explore the grounds and see my room.

The Hotel

Hold on. For people who like history I have to get this out there. This Bed & Breakfast is the OLDEST standing building in the lower Garden District! It was built in 1824 and it is just bursting at the seams with old world charm. To get to our room we had to walk around the side of the house through the lovely little walkway picture above. I can still hear the bubbling of the water fountain in the front yard. The Courtyard alone is enough to bring me back. We had to walk around the courtyard to get to our room and I pretty much fell in love with I saw the hammock and the hot tub. After going through the little ivy tunnel, the walkway opens up into a patio with a BBQ, fully equipped outdoor kitchen (there was even a coffee maker!), a beautiful Jacuzzi that I am SO SAD I didn't get to use. We happened to be blessed with colder weather while were there. It really was beautiful. When it gets darker you can see the light pink and purple glowing lighting that makes everything just feel that much more whimsical.

The kitchen was like a kitchen of freaking dreams. For any of you cooks out there... you will fall in love with this kitchen. Walking into the kitchen was like a vintage wonderland, with vaulted ceilings and beautiful exposed brick and beams, granite counter tops, commercial grade appliances and a beautiful island filled with delicious complimentary breakfast food. They even have a personal chef available upon request. The kitchen opens up into the dining room where you will find a grand table that has an old world elegance feel to it. There is also a wet bar and a fireplace. Again, old world elegance.

BONUS: Saunter over to the wet bar at 6pm every day for a complimentary wine social hour!

The Breakfast

I never have high hopes when I see "free continental breakfast" but this one really takes the cake. The King's Cake, that is. There was of course, the usual, bagels, muffins, granola bars, cereal and fruit. But in addition to the usual choices there was waffle mix and a hot waffle maker ready to go, orange juice and milk in a tin bucket of ice (such a cute touch), New Orleans' famous King Cake and breakfast sandwiches already made up! We filled out plates buffet style and headed to dining room. The dining room was flooded with beautiful light, the ivy and greenery outside frame the floor to ceiling windows in a way that makes the light fall across the wood floors in robust beams.

The Room

We decided to stay in the Champagne Room which had very convenient accessibility to the patio Jacuzzi! The room was amazing. The layout is funky but that's what makes it so quirky and unique. When you walk in you're in the bedroom itself. The bed was memory foam so needless to say I got the best night's sleep ever. In addition to that there is a projector that projects the television onto the entire wall in front of the bad. I thought that was so fun! Head through a little doorway and you've made it into what I'm calling the "utility room". There's a big mirror, a sink, a little dining tabling, a microwave, etc. Through another little doorway and BAM! You're hit with a beautiful shower with some funky lights and a in-shower television! Oh, and three shower heads. NBD

SIDEBAR: I loved the Champagne room and when I come back to New Orleans you can bet I'll be staying here! I think next time around I might try out the White Room or even the Royal Suite! They both look so dreamy and beautiful. The White Room is literally #bedroomgoals.

The Location

I'm not going to lie, I was a little bit worried about the proximity to the French Quarter as we drove further and further from downtown in my little compact Uber. In a car it's not far at all, but walking would definitely take a while. But not to worry! We found that we could catch the tram just a short two walks away to the Riverwalk Mall for about a dollar and it took us RIGHT into the French Quarter. Conveniently, right behind Cafe Du Monde... While I was in New Orleans I stayed in both the French Quarter and the Garden District and despite how easy staying in the French Quarter made it, when I come back to NOLA I will be staying in the Garden District. I loved that it was still super close to everything I wanted to see (Magazine Street, the French Quarter, the City Park) but still far enough away from everything that I couldn't hear the belligerent shouting of Bourbon street or the extremely loud (but OH SO GOOD) outdoor night music at Frenchman Street. I liked that I could come back to my room and feel like I was really winding down and relaxing.

Book This Hotel If you are looking for a unique and charming bed and breakfast with easy access to the French Quarter. The Fleur De Lis Mansion is most suitable for couples, a girl's (or guy's!) weekend, and solo travelers. I would also highly recommend taking a look at the "a la carte" and package items that can be added to your stay!

Rooms Starting at $131

Kayti VS the World was invited as a guest of the Fleur De Lis Mansion however, as always, all opinions are my own

FRIDAY FINDS: 02/05/2016

05 February 2016

An awesome wedding cake for gem lovers.

I need this stapler.

There's still hope.

Classic Disney movies if they came from the mind of Tim Burton.

The best travel photography equipment.

Cuteness overload.

A mesmerizing food surgeon.

I love This couch.

And these planters.


04 February 2016

ALOFT New Orleans Downtown Hotel Review

ALOFT Downtown New Orleans

Being that this was my first time staying in New Orleans, I was a little nervous when my taxi pulled up to the glowing pink valet podium. My taxi driver hadn't exactly been the best representation of a friendly New Orleans resident. However, when I walked into the lobby of ALOFT Downtown New Orleans I was almost instantly greeted by Maureen, the director of sales, and also one of the lovely front desk associate's. I instantly felt welcome as they gave me a brief overview of the property and what I could expect from my stay. Right off the bat I knew I liked the "feel" of the hotel. It seemed like it was tailored more for the younger generations with the pool tables, brightly colored bar, a specials menu written on a giant chalk board in calligraphy, the list goes on.

BONUS: ALOFT is a property of Starwood Hotels, so if you're a SPG member (it's free to sign up!) you can earn points at this hotel!

ALOFT New Orleans Downtown Hotel Review

The Room

We were booked an Aloft Room and, while modest, it contained everything we need for a comfortable stay. The room came with the essentials: free wifi, AC/heat, complimentary coffee and a work desk. But it came with a few upgrades as well: huge windows overlooking Baronne Street with a rustic wooden bench for people watching, one of the most fluffy white comforters and - wait for it - Bliss shower products. I absolutely adore Bliss and was so excited to see that ALOFT offered them complimentary and what's even more - rather than just giving you one little complimentary bottle of each product, they are filled in a dispenser in the shower. For someone with long, thick hair... it matters.

TIP: Upgrade to an ALOFT Corner Room for the best views!

ALOFT New Orleans Downtown Hotel Review

The Hotel

Judging from the exterior of the building, you wouldn't know that the inside is a warm, glowing safe haven for weary footed traveler's who have been walking up and down the French Quarter all day. Nearly the entire time I was in New Orleans it was about 45 degrees Fahrenheit with a 10 degree wind chill. But that damn dedicated valet boy was ALWAYS standing outside at his podium (with his tiny little space heater) waiting far too eagerly for the next car to pull up. I really felt for that man.

When you first walk through the double doors you're pretty much at the front desk. To the left is a small lounge area with a pool table and television, usually playing sports. To the left is the W XYZ bar and a larger lounge with about four televisions. The bartender was extremely friendly and at night the whole room glows a soft coral color. There is live music on Thursdays and Fridays and daily bar specials beautifully written on a giant chalkboard.

In addition to that, there's an outdoor rooftop pool that I am SO LIVID I did not get to try out before leaving. It just didn't get warm enough. There is also a gym and a 24 hour "ReFuel" station where you can get breakfast or snacks at any hour. Basically, you just wander through and pick what you'd like and pay at the concierge desk. I didn't personally try any of the snacks because, I mean - come on, I was in New Orleans. I was trying some cult favorite or niche restaurant for every single meal.

ALOFT New Orleans Downtown Hotel Review

The Location

ALOFT is located in what's called the "Business District" but don't be alarmed! It's a short five minute walk to the historic Bourbon Street. Not to mention if you head one block downriver (trust me... you can't navigate with N, S, E and W here. You use lakeside, riverside, upriver and downriver. Confused? So was I) and take a right on Common Street, you will find the BEST coffee shop that I found while in New Orleans. I loved that ALOFT was close enough to the French Quarter to eliminate the need for a taxi or Uber but far enough away that we didn't have drunks stumbling around at all hours of the night. And day.

Book This Hotel If you are looking for an affordable, chic hotel near the French Quarter. ALOFT is suitable for couples, families, business travelers and, of course, solo travelers.

Rooms Starting at $151

Kayti VS the World was invited as a guest of Aloft Downtown New Orleans however, as always, all opinions are my own


02 February 2016

The Best Travel Photography Equipment

When it comes to travel photography equipment I try to keep two basic things in mind: Weight and Space. How much does it weigh? Generally when I travel I take one backpack that I carry around everywhere so is this something that's lightweight that I'm going to be able to lug around all day without having an aching back midway through? The other thing I keep in mind is Space. Like I said, I only bring one backpack so I need to be able to fit whatever photography equipment I decide to bring along with clothes, toiletries, etc. I have to be able to tetris everything into there so that it all fits. Keeping those things in mind here is a collection of my favorite photography equipment.

SEE ALSO: Travel Photography Tips And Tricks (Plus A Self-Portrait 'How To')
Canon EOS 60D
I've only ever actually used Canon so I suppose I'm a bit narrow minded on this one. But this one of the better bodies that I've used and at under 2.5 lbs. it's perfect for travel photography but also still has the capacity to do any heavy duty work you're looking to do. It's a step up from the Rebel models and has some awesome features of some of the more advance models. Such as the LCD is flip-screen so you can flip it out and around (great for self-portraits!) and also has the rear control dial (so helpful). If you also like to take videos it offers 1080p HD recording with manual controls. This really is a great camera if you're looking for something a little more advanced than the Rebel but don't necessarily need to full-fledgedness (I know, not a word) of the 7D.

50mm F/1.8 Lens
Everyone needs a 50mm. That's why it's called a 'nifty fifty'. It's great for so many different types of photography and is generally my go to lens. For how inexpensive this lens is you get such a crisp, clear image (my Winter Drives Photo Diary photos were taken with this lens). Not to mention it weighs less than half of a pound and takes up little to no space (I usually just leave this on my camera body when it's packed).

SLIK Sprint Mini II Tripod
Compact, portable and under 2 lbs. This is the best mid range tripod I've found and was designed with travelers in mind. It has padded legs which makes it a lot easier to carry, handle and pack and to be honest, it's so compact you could easily just strap it to the outside of your pack for some added storage space. If this link to the listing above tells you it's no longer available, it was probably reposted in their store so check there also!

Rokinon 14mm F2.8 Wide Angle lens
Remember the two crucial elements I gave you to think about in the beginning of this post? Well, forgot them for this lens for a minute. It's pretty heavy for it's size at nearly 1.5 lbs and pretty bulky BUT it is the absolute BEST wide angle lens for landscape photography and astrophotography that won't cost you a fortune. There is little to no distortion when shooting something that's only around 20 to 30 ft. away and it's SUPER wide without being a fisheye. I love this lens and am willing to deal with the fact that it's bulky and kind of heavy because I need this for landscape shots and night sky shots. And it's so inexpensive for a wide angle. I've never read one bad review about this lens and cannot recommend it enough.

Wireless Remote
Obviously this one is for a 60D but a wireless remote is a must for self-portraits, slow shutter speeds, etc. Super cheap, tiny and weighs virtually nothing. Pretty much any type of photographer will find a use for it.

Camera Bag Insert
Since I don't have a designated camera bag and pack all of my camera equipment in with my regular suitcase/backpack I need a way to keep my camera gear protected and organized without taking up too much space. These simple, soft, velcro camera bag inserts are the perfect answer. I just pack my camera and lenses into this, put it in the bottom of my backpack and surround it with my clothes and put toiletries at the top. Done. Since it's soft and pliable you can easily smush the padding down to make some extra room in your bag. Obviously, this won't do you a whole lot of good if you're throwing your bag around because its not going to keep it from getting damaged. But it works for me.

What is your go to photography equipment when it comes to traveling? Is there something you swear by that I missed?

FRIDAY FINDS: 01/29/2016

29 January 2016

Look at these amazing AirBNB listings.

A really hope this is true - he deserves it!

A Harry Potter themed Valentine's Dinner in the Great Hall?!?

Love this print and want it for my (currently non-existent) desk.

The best dating profile.

I love the third to the last.

Four tools everyone in the travel industry should be using.

Get sorted.

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