Ladies of Luxury: A Girls Getaway to the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta - Part II

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“Would you like some bubbles while we do your makeup?” These were the magical words I was met with when Elise and I arrived at NARS. I felt like I’d died and gone to girly girl heaven!

To recap, we’d been enjoying all that the Ladies of Luxury package offered by the Mandarin Oriental (MO) Atlanta (which I’d supplemented with a few luxurious dining experiences, since dinners aren’t included with the package). After a morning spent in the hotel’s spa and a delightful afternoon tea, E. (of Belle Meets World) and I were ready to get our faces fancied up at NARS at The Shops at Buckhead, Atlanta for dinner at King + Duke.

We were taken back to the VIP area where E. and I got to pick and choose colors along the makeover way. I was probably most excited about my red lip — so much so that I actually bought a tube of the gloss used. It’s hot. Period. (If you'd like to know the name, just shoot me an email or DM on Facebook/Insta.) 

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After glamming up, we stopped by Le Bilboquet for a happy hour glass of rosé before strolling across the street to King + Duke. There was actually a nice breeze and lovely sunset that evening, so E. and I grabbed a spot on the patio overlooking Peachtree. We indulged in all tastes summer, which included bites like peaches with jalapeños, deviled eggs, fresh tomatoes, and scallops. And the fried okra?? So, good. 

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The evening wrapped up with a quick Uber ride “home” where we snuggled up in our beds watching the Real Housewives of New York and enjoying a glass of wine and some strawberry macaroons the hotel had provided earlier in the day. 

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Sunday morning I slipped down to the gym to try out the on-demand video fitness classes. (E. had just started a new job and needed a little extra R&R.) Y’all, it was too cool! Basically, there’s a touch-screen menu outside of a fitness studio in the gym where you select the class you’re interested in. (I opted for step aerobics.) 

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Then, you head into the room and have all of the equipment you need and take a class from an instructor on the massive flat screen at the head of the room. Now, my step skills were a little rusty — but, I definitely got a good workout (and thankfully didn’t injure myself hopping all over that step!). 

E. and I met up for breakfast in the MO’s cafe and decided that we’d get more bang for our bellies if we split an omelet and the waffles. And boy, did we make the right decision. Both options were worth every calorie consumed! 

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I managed to squeeze in a quick soak in that beautiful bathtub in our room before it was time for us to checkout and head to our last experience of the package: Kendra Scott (KS). 

When we arrived at the boutique in Shops Around Lenox, we were greeted by the ladies of KS who had put out a spread of nuts, sweets, and, wait for it — bubbly! (I mean, shouldn’t every Sunday start with mimosas??) As part of the Ladies of Luxury package, you actually get to design a piece or two of jewelry at KS’s Color Bar. 

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After looking through the many style, metal, and stone options available on the interactive Color Bar screen, E. and I both opted for a necklace and a pair of earrings. And the best part is that the jewelry is created in the store, and you’re able to wear it out! The perfect end to our luxe weekend.

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For the latest on the classes I'm teaching at exhale and my adventures, be sure to friend/follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Stay FWABulous, y'all!! 

Ladies of Luxury: A Girls Getaway to the Mandarin Oriental Atlanta — Part I

  Elise and I ready to head out for a night at Atlas.

Elise and I ready to head out for a night at Atlas.

As the cork popped on a bottle of Veuve during our Saturday afternoon tea at the Mandarin Oriental (MO) Atlanta, I knew I'd ended up in heaven — that is, a special heaven for ladies of luxury. 

But, let me back track a bit. My fabulous friend, Elise Giannasi, who writes the Belle Meets World beauty blog, and I were recently invited to the MO to experience their new Ladies of Luxury package (so, disclaimer, y'all, we were hosted for all of the experiences this weekend at the Mandarin and other businesses mentioned). 

The fabulousness of our girls getaway got underway on a recent Friday when Elise and I checked into our double room, complete with a huge soaking tub with its own TV. After we dolled ourselves up, we jumped in the hotel's town car (complimentary to guests traveling to destinations within a few miles of the hotel) to head to Atlas, located just down the road at the St. Regis hotel. (Note that dinners aren't included in the package. But, Elise and I selected Atlas, as we thought it would be a perfect way to enhance our luxe weekend.)

First up were cocktails in the Tavern at Atlas — a yummy tequila concoction called a Water Lilly. Next, we moved into the main dining room for a tastebud- tantalizing dinner that included bites like delicious squash soup and lamb, paired with a host of beautiful wines. And the food and drink were made that much more enjoyable, thanks to the live band who often performs on Friday nights (and other evenings, too — just check with the restaurant). We owe a huge "thank you" to the Atlas team who guided us on this food journey including Julien and Sam. 

  The Water Lilly at Atlas. 

The Water Lilly at Atlas. 

  Picture-perfect lamb at Atlas.

Picture-perfect lamb at Atlas.

  Elise devours three gorgeous desserts during our Atlas meal. 

Elise devours three gorgeous desserts during our Atlas meal. 

Post dinner, we called our awesome MO town car driver to whisk us back to the hotel, where we promptly dozed off into a sweet wine-and-food-induced sleep. Saturday morning, I woke up bright and early, and headed down to the cafe for some tea and one of the create-your-own smoothie options (I went with plain yogurt, almond milk, berries, spinach, banana, and a little bit of peanut butter). Elise joined me just in time to order up her own smoothie — and share the bacon I ordered — and then we headed to our 80-minute bespoke facial appointments. 

Now, y'all, the MO spa has become one of my favorites in the ATL. The relaxation room is cozy (and comes complete with books on meditation and snacks), the spa/sauna area was just revamped, and the treatments are always delightful. For example,  this facial was just what the doctor ordered for my thirsty, dehydrated skin. My esthetician applied a host of serums and moisturizer that made my skin plump and glowy. 

  Books on meditating and coloring books in the spa at the MO.

Books on meditating and coloring books in the spa at the MO.

  Spa snacks!! 

Spa snacks!! 

  Clowning around in our spa garb.

Clowning around in our spa garb.

Since the rest of the day was to be filled with more delicious bites and drinks, we decided to work on our fitness and did a little walking on the treadmill in the AWESOME fitness studio at the MO. (Seriously, folks, it's one of the best hotel gyms in Atlanta.) 

And that brings me back to the bubbly at afternoon tea. After cleaning up a bit, Elise and I headed back to the cafe to lunch like ladies over tea — which included delights like scones and clotted cream, beautiful little sammys, and a variety of bite-sized desserts. Oh, and of course, our choice of hot tea and a glass of champs for both of us. 

  Tea goodies. 

Tea goodies. 

Before we knew it, it was time to head over to NARS at the Shops at Buckhead Atlanta to have our makeup done before dinner. But, you'll have to wait for my next blog to find out what happened next for these ladies of luxury. Until then, stay FWABulous!!

For the latest on the classes I'm teaching at exhale and my adventures, be sure to friend/follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Stay FWABulous, y'all!! 

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Sushi with a Dash of Sass: Dinner at West Midtown’s O-Ku

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Hamachi carpaccio, spring rolls, signature nigiri — oh, my! Those were the words running through my mind when dish after fresh seafood dish started arriving at my table during a recent dinner at O-Ku. 

The resto, located in Atlanta’s hip West Midtown ‘hood, has been a go-to of mine since it opened a few years ago. (Bless sushi for generally being a more healthy food option!) And recently, I was invited in (so disclaimer, the meal was on the house) to try out the new menu, crafted by Jordan Smith, the new executive chef. 

Here are three reasons to see if this nosh spot “fit” is for you: 

  • Sushi with sass. Now, you can enjoy standards like miso soup or pieces of sashimi. But, what I adore about O-Ku is the creativity with some of the dishes like the Black Magic Roll — made with lobster, shrimp, and squid ink rice — or the signature nigiri — think pieces like the Kani Truffle, comprised of snow crab, a bit of truffle butter, and basil pesto. 
  • Spot-on service. My boyfriend, Jamie, and I had a blast chatting with Jon Murray, the general manager, throughout the evening. Jon got his start at O-Ku’s Charleston location and clearly knows the drink and food menu like the back of his hand. And our server, Guillermo (please forgive me if I’ve misspelled your name!), was similarly well-versed in the menu and at the ready whenever we had a question. (I should add that I’ve also been to O-Ku on my own dime, and the service is consistently as good as what I received this evening.)
  • Shazamable tunes. Love the playlist here. I was hearing tune after tune I wanted to use in my cycling class at exhale (Monday's at 6:30 p.m.). Actually, I had Jamie Shazam two songs and ended up using one of them (a Diplo tune) in class this week!

For the latest on the classes I'm teaching at exhale and my adventures, be sure to friend/follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram. Stay FWABulous, y'all!! 

I'm BAAAAACK! Check Out the Belle Teaching Cycling at exhale Midtown ATL

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Teaching fitness classes. It was a regular part of my life for about 14 years, and then I got a little burnt out, and decided to take a break. But, starting tomorrow morning, I'm back at it — at exhale Midtown Atlanta!

I've taken classes at exhale for years now for a variety of reasons including the fact that the formats (including barre, yoga, high-intensity interval training, and cycling) are strong, and the instructors and members have grown into my extended family. So, it felt like a perfect fit for my return to teaching.  

At first, I'll be subbing classes. But, hopefully, with everyone's support — and some effort on my end to put together sweet playlists and bring energy that can make 45 minutes on a bike FUN — I'll eventually get a time slot (or two!) of my own. 

With that said, tomorrow (5/9/18) at 7 a.m., I'll be getting my sub on. I hear the class is already pretty packed, but there are a few spots left, if you want to join me! (FYI, if it's your first time taking a class at exhale, let me know, as I have a stash of complimentary passes.) 

Stay tuned to my social media — FacebookTwitter, and Instagram — for the latest classes I'm subbing. And be sure to check the blog regularly for my latest thoughts about various fitness and wellness experiences, products, etc.!

Stay FWABulous, y'all! 

 

Mountains to Moab: Visiting Utah's Montage Deer Valley in Simply Buckhead

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As the tiny private plane soared above the mountains, still dappled with winter snow, and headed toward the red rocks of Moab, Utah, I tried to wrap my brain around the adventure to come. 

Thanks to the Montage Deer Valley resort in Park City, I was about to enter a fantasyland for outdoor experiences. Check out one of my latest pieces for Simply Buckhead magazine to find out if this property might be a summer vacation fit for you...