Hotel Indulgences: My review of the vibrant The Saguaro resort in Scottsdale Arizona…

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Beware of sensory overload with these colorful images of The Saguaro-Scottsdale. This above is my own picture. I lost a lot of photos when my Galaxy S4 wouldn’t turn back on so I had to resort to instagram screenshots and pics I emailed myself along with others found online.

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Yeah I know I am a whole 10 months late with this but with the constant rain and flip flopping 80-one-day-55-the-next tempertures, I have done little else than dream of going right back there…somewhere hot consistantly. This isn’t a sponsored post, I just really loved my two night three day stay there last August.

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Designed by Stamberg Aferiat Architecture, the Saguaro Scottsdale is a very vibrant, colorful fun stay in Arizona. It was a standout search for me as everything else is the color of sand and neutral. That’s because there are building codes prohiting the exteriors to be anything other than that. The colors are based on Arizona’s wildflowers.  It’s located in oldtown Scottsdale which is simple walks and short golf cart rides to restaurants, bars, and shopping. The golf cart rides are free, you just tip the drivers and that was a ball of fun. One recommendation is have them take you to the nearby CVS so you can stock up on snacks and waters for your room as there are no……..I repeat………NO soda machines or vending machines which I find incredibly odd. For the resort fee, the least they can do is offer you one complimentary bottled water per day per guest.

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The hotel used to be a motel so you walk outside to get to your rooms which can be noisy depending on where you face (pools vs cityview). We opted for a city view which pretty much was just the hotel’s check in area and landscaping. The balconies aren’t really big at all, just standing room but still nice to get fresh air. It would be nice if they had small stools that are bar height to sit on while out there. However people on ground level with pool views had little patios to lounge out on.

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The hotel looks exactly like the pictures which is all I really cared about. The beds were super comfy and the Kuerig coffee makers were a nice touch each morning. The landscaping and colors just really perked up my mood. One minor goofy thing was the bathroom sliding door. The idea is cool but it really didn’t leave you feeling private. It wasn’t as if there was a gap or anything just a little odd for a bathroom setting. I roomed with my friend so it was fine.
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Although we didn’t dine out at the hotel’s restaurant, we did partake in cocktails poolside at the main pool which was super chill.  We lounged at the pool before our spa appointments (which were affordable for an hour service and had complimentary drink vouchers to be used at the pool)! We soaked up enough sun to have 2 rounds of cocktails and burning skin. I guess the crowd didn’t come until after our spa appointments because afterward the pool was packed and the music was more lively than when we were there.

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I just loved the southwestern landscaping. The furthest west I’ve been was Vegas but I don’t remember much except the strip, the ride on top of the Stratosphere and seeing West Side mountains for the first time.  So this was a way for me to soak up all of the landscaping the desert has to offer.

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I just couldn’t stop staring at the unique formations of cacti…

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The pool was such a calming place on Monday. I guess everyone had left the resort on Sunday…

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Although we didn’t use them, I liked how the resort offers free use of the bikes.

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The pool bar had water misters that cooled you off and some shade for sun relief…

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Secret Garden themed parties…

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Enchanted forests and secret garden themes are wonderful to celebrate nuptials or babies. You can have dinner parties or early brunches in this theme as long as you decorate with some key elements. The super large mirrors is very dramatic for a cocktail hour or reception.

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Ever since I seen rapper Ludacris’ wife’s baby shower set in a secret garden theme, I’ve been wanting to blog about it. They had lit birdcages adorned with flowers, donuts hung from ribbon and a lot of the guest, like singers Monica & Letoya Luckett, wore floral dresses. How beautiful.

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Creating intimate elaborate tables for the wedding party or bride and groom while having simpler centerpieces on the remaining tables can save money…

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Key elements: string leafy garland. Get them bulk or buy from places like Michael’s and use 40% off coupons. If it’s for a kid’s party, use Dollar Tree garland and save coins for other things.

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Use string lights and electric candles to create ambience…

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String together flowers or floral garland for drama. You might want to only do this behind a gift or cake table as this can get quite costly…

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Use mason jars and mismatched china as well as rustic decor like burlap, branches, bark pieces, faux tree stumps, rope and wicker…

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You have to incorporate moss somewhere and covering giant letters or making a grassy centerpiece is a start…

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Adorn a cupcake stand or cake table with flower heads. Just grab a bouquet from the grocery store to jazz up the presentation…

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Lanterns, wood crates, old dressers and empty frames are other decorating options. You want to have a “just thrown together” look without being too matchy. It should feel relaxed but polished. Remember the more you layer the better so play with height and make sure different foods are at different levels. You want to build your food table upward…

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{Images via Moxie Sox Photography Amanda O’Shannessy Creative Lynette Boyle Photography Amy Burke Designs Page Bertelsen Photographyceremony blog, 100 layer cake, celebrations at home, southern weddings, oui oui}


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Tuesday’s Tips: mosquito repelling plants and flowers

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Nothing like June: the start of summer, the longer days, the warmer nights, the outdoor eats, carnivals and festivals, etc. However with everything sometimes you have some give and other times you have some takes and one thing I can’t stand are mosquitos. They die in your cocktails when you leave them uncovered. They cause you to itch and scratch and just plain obnoxious. So here are some plants that repels mosquitos.

 
Marigolds are said to have a repulsive smelling aroma that bugs dislike. 

Lavender is not only a beautiful soothing plant with a calming scent for humans, but it’s a natural mosquito repellent. you can also pull some and place in your bedroom to help relax your body when it’s time for bed.

Geranium’s have a pretty cascading look  that repels mosquitos because of the strong fragrance.

 
Citronella grass is not only low maintenance but lemon scented ones are best for keeping mosquitoes at bay.

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Basil not only satisfies chefs but lemon basil and cinnamon basil deters insects like flies and mosquitos.

 
Garlic not only tastes good but it works for repelling.

Peppermint can double as cocktail garnishes and relief for itching if you do get bit by one (by simply rubbing the leaves on the bite). It’s a taste and smell most bugs dislike.

Rosemary is another great herb I love to cook with especially in green beans and pork chops. It attracts butterflies  and naturally repels mosquitos, cabbage moths and other bugs. They can be pruned and make for great landscaping additions as it looks like a shrub.

They also even say catnip helps and works way better than any spray you can get. Unless you have a fence, I wouldn’t advise. I don’t have a fence around my condo and I swear the neighborhood cats see my cat looking out of the patio doors and windows and they keep coming on my property hiding in my bushes as if I will let my cat out to play. Never fails, every friggin evening these cats come up, even when I’m on the porch. They will simply walk in the street and go up my neighbors driveway until I go inside. So the last thing I’m trying to do is have a buncha cracked out cats on my lawn 😂.

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Overall mint and lemon smelling flowers are the common denominator in most. Instead of spending money on spray that may not work, try a natural route that can not only be a great addition for your food prep, but ones that are also beautiful on the eyes. Happy gardening!
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And happy eating and drinking!

{Images via kitchen concoctions, confectionalism, topiaries, good housekeeping, & she wears many hats,}

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Have you seen Zara Home’s new lookbook?

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One thing that can describe Zara Home’s new lookbook is tailored comfort. The bedding is classic and the colors are very neutral. What I like most is how the lookbook is styled and shot. The backdrops especially are very beautiful. I found some gems I will do a collage about soon.

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Have I ever mentioned how much I adore lanterns? The can get a bit pricey but they are on my list of wants…

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For those of you expecting but don’t want the common areas of your home to turn into colorful kiddie patterns, this bassinet/stroller thing is for you…

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This just makes me want to ask someone for an old twin mattress to cover with a fun fitted sheet and stroll out on the grass in the backyard. Seriously…

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Love the use of baskets to hide planters…

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Seriously…landscaping is expensive…

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First I had every intention on posting this yesterday morning. Most times I have that intention and then I kept browsing images and keep finding more and more…then I tried to find sources and the next thing you know it was afternoon & I ended up drafting the post for today. I wish you could see how many drafts I have. I try to find just the right amount of inspiration for the topic & I like to stop when I’m content with what I found. Searching landscaping images turned into a blackhole for me. It just goes to show how much time blogging takes especially for a full time worker like me who has to juggle clients and a life.

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I am one month in my condo and I really hate aluminum siding so I want to take the focus off of that. I am not trying to spend hundreds and hundreds but boy…. how easily can you do it! Have you seen how much outdoor pottery costs?

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Some of the things I really like is the streamlined look of shaped topiaries and bushes. I also like symmetry so spacing the exact same arrangement on sides of the garage or porch are ideal to me…

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I like tall rectangular planters with those bushes to give some privacy. It has a very modern and clean look…

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I saw these flowers at a local garden store that hadn’t yet been placed out for pricing. The were gorgeous so I snapped a few pics..

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I would like to have an assortment of pink, purple and blue flower bushes that comes back every year. One peony bush was $69….one. So that is an investment I will make at a later date. I did home Cross smaller peony plants for $15 at Home Depot. Those are my favs so I really want to get some…

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But… .gosh how pretty are floral bushes? I have a newfound respect for people that spend the time and money landscaping their yards this way. So muxh goes into it and I have no clue where to start so when I buy this weekend, I will have my parents help me…

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Pool Party Essentials plus Flamingo Pool Float Giveaway

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This weekend the weather was beautiful and we hit our first 80 degree day yesterday. Since Memorial day is in a few weeks I figured I would compose a list of pool party essentials.

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Keep guest entertained by renting a projector and showing a movie at night…

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I think it’s a cute idea to use sand buckets or small baskets as favor bags. For kids you can include water guns, outdoor sidewalk chalk, bubbles, bug repellent, sunscreen etc and for adults you can have mini alcohol bottles, beach towels and sunglasses. Give their favors to them upon arrival so they can use the items at the party…

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The music has to be a good mix of upbeat and party classics so spend time creating a playlist that doesn’t repeat for hours and save your favorite streaming stations…

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I think the perfect pool party should have temperatures in the 90s. The reason I like it hot is because nights at 80 degrees are my absolute favorite. Just ensure you have a fire pit if it drops to the 70s…

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Even if your pool is smaller, a giant float is dramatic and pretty…

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Have pool toys and a number of beach balls littered in the lawn for a festive look…

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I think a fabulous kimono sheer coverup has to be on hand…

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Every outdoor space needs string lights or lanterns..

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Have floaties for your drinks, festive straws and drink stirrers, & dispensers of a siganture drink so you don’t have to play bartender the entire time…

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You can always use children’s pools filled with ice to keep beer, wine cooler bottles, soda and water cold…

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So to kick off pool season Big Mouth Inc is offering one lucky United States resident a flamingo pool float! From rubber duckies to pink flamingos and classic candy and video games, these floats are perfect for the summer! I also love their donut tube float. It just really livens a pool up. All you need to do to enter is tell me below in the comments one thing you have to have for a great pool party experience. Winner will be picked at random next Monday May 11th! For one additional entry, share this post using the share button below 👇and make sure you hashtag #flamingofloatfun so I see it. Thank you & good luck!

{Images via hostess blog, karas party ideas, oh happy day w/ Photos by Tracy Layne Photography & random pinterest finds}


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Hotel Indulgences: The Ganesvoort NY

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So I have been meaning to blog about The Gansevoort Hotel in New York ever since watching The Kardashians take NYC. I remember drooling over the ginormous houndstooth chairs and the mix of patterns, textures and the glamorous look of … Continue reading

Tuesday’s Tips: how to transition your patio for fall

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It’s starting to become crisp at night and you may be more inclined to stay inside once the sun starts to set. Well here are a few ways to get more use out of your patio for the fall months.

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Adding a few cable knit or plaid throws are great to keep warm when it gets a bit chilly. Plus they are perfect for cozying up to take in an outdoor movie…

Firepit
They are good in the summer to create ambience but even better in the fall when you can roast smores on the fire…

Lighting
As the days grow shorter and shorter you will rely more and more on lighting. String lights will still look cool at all times of the year but heat lamps create light and keep you toasty…

Decor
Swap out any bright summary hues for muted, rustic, & jeweled tones.  Also replace floral blooms for branches and autumn leafy garland…