A Snowy Seaport Staycation


When my friends over at these two Seaport hotels contacted me to stay, I knew I was in for a treat. As a lifelong, loyal SPG girl, I always try and stay at their brand hotels when I travel. They have been consistently comfortable, well-managed and within my price range. At first, I wasn’t sure which hotel would be a better fit for my husband and I so we opted to stay one night at each. The two hotels are similar in many ways but have distinct differences so I want to provide an honest comparison of the two, to help you determine which is the better fit for you next time you’re here in Boston.

a snowy seaport staycation

The Location


Since the hotels share a parking lot, they’re practically in the exact same location. Located on D street (pretty much smack dab between Southie & Seaport), the location could not be better. Especially for summer. Their front yard is “Lawn on D”, which is a huge summer attraction with food, drink, games and live music. It’s definitely the spot to be when it’s nice outside!

If you go left out of the hotels you hit the West Broadway region of Southie which has a variety of awesome bars and restaurants: Capo, Loco, Coppersmith (killer roof deck), Lincoln and more. You could even jog or bike over to Castle Island and hit the beach!

If you go right out of the hotels you’re at the Seaport waterfront which not only has a ton of restaurants (By Chloe, Row 34, Flour Bakery, Committee, Legal Harborside) but also has quite a few new gyms (Equinox, Soul Cycle, Core Power) and attractions (ICA museum, Harpoon Brewery, Laugh Boston, Blue Hills Bank Pavilion).

The Similarities


The adorable setup that was waiting for Mela in our room

My initial reaction to both hotels was the welcome feeling I received from the friendly staff. The check-ins were quick, easy & painless. Both have a wide variety of amenities that I believe all hotels should include: free WiFi, full access 24/7 gym, indoor heated pool, complimentary coffee & water bottles and a refrigerator in your room.

The best part? They were both dog friendly! In fact, Mela was set up with an adorable dog bed, dog blanket, food & drink bowl, a tennis ball, frisbee, some extra bags & treats. It was so cute and they really thought of everything to make Mela feel at home!

The Differences

While the hotels shared some similarities, they were very different.

The rooms:



We loved the large living space in our Element hotel room! ( top | jeans | boots, similar )

The Aloft room was small but functional. It felt very New York – tiny closet, minimal space and wouldn’t be comfortable for more than 2 nights. The Element room was huge – we had a living space, a full kitchen and an oversized bedroom. This is obviously better suited for families and those looking for an extended stay.



Aloft’s “grab & go” versus a continental breakfast at Element

The Aloft had a variety of “grab and go” options – good for someone on a work trip. We didn’t eat breakfast here since it wasn’t free but I did grab a coffee in the morning. The Element, on the other hand, had a full complimentary breakfast full of hot options, yogurt, fruit, baked goods, etc. Again, it was clearly targeted toward families. The downside was that they didn’t refill things when we were there at 10am so we didn’t have a chance to try it.

The Vibe:

This is where the hotels really differ, and it’s evident from the moment you walk in. The Aloft has a modern, hip vibe. The lobby is warm and inviting with music playing and a huge lounge area, including a cool bar, a fireplace, a pool table and various board games. The furniture has a CB2/West Elm feel – a lot of grays and blues with pops of color and abstract art. We had a nightcap here and found that a lot of other people had our same idea. It was a fun place to be!

Fun Fact: They host “paint night” here every weekend evening, which is a wildly popular and fun event for a girl’s night out!

The Element, however, did not have a warm or gathering feel. The hotel is hyper focused on being Green and minimal. There is no lobby bar, no lounge area, no music playing. You just want to get to your room and then get out. It’s definitely not the place to be if you want to hang out of meet other guests. The good news is the Aloft is right across the parking lot so you can walk right over if you’re craving that type of environment

The Verdict


We loved hanging out & playing pool in the Aloft Remix lounge

Both of these hotels are good options for those of you looking for a weekend Staycation or coming to visit Boston for the weekend. Neither has a spa, a full-service restaurant or an outdoor pool (very few Boston hotels do) so they’re fun weekend getaways but definitely not “resort” feeling or super high end. While we enjoyed our Staycation and one night at each hotel, we definitely preferred the Aloft over the Element. It was the right fit for us and we really enjoyed the vibe and the lobby area. If I were traveling with children, however, the Element would have been the better fit.


The beautiful Boston waterfront, just steps from the hotels

Thank you to the Aloft & Element Hotels for sponsoring this post. While the accommodations we received were complimentary, the honest thoughts & opinions were my own. I always am 100% transparent and truthful with my reviews.


Hotel Review: Devon Valley Hotel

When we were in South Africa on our honeymoon, we had the pleasure of spending a few days in the Cape Winelands (full review on that to come!). We enjoyed night one at a stunning property in Franschhoek and on day two, we made our way to the  larger, college (and wine country) town of Stellenbosch.

Unfortunately for us, it was raining the whole day so when we arrived at the Devon Valley Hotel, we didn’t have a chance to fully explore the property as I much as I would have liked. From what we did see, the large property is made up of multiple buildings with the restaurants, bar and lounge being part of the main building area, making for easy access.




We did have a welcome drink in the bar/lounge area, which was a very cozy, warm environment. Had it been nicer out, we definitely would have taken advantage of the huge outdoor patio (and outdoor bar) that they have, which looks like a great way to start or finish the day. The staff was very helpful – they helped us book our airport transfer right away and they even had a bottle of champagne and some strawberries waiting for us in our room. So thoughtful!


Our room itself had hardwood floors and an open concept. There were builtin wardrobes on the left, the bathroom on the right and oversized shutters that left the soaker tub either open or closed from the bedroom area. The opposite end of the room was lined with French doors which overlooked the stunning landscape of the Devon Valley vineyards. A flat screen television was mounted over a gas fireplace, which we were sure to take advantage of. I must say that after a long day of wine tasting in Stellenbosch, taking a bubble bath while facing a fireplace and catching a view of rolling vineyards in the background was quite spectacular.


All in all the Devon Valley Hotel is a nice property with comfortable accommodations, a lovely staff and nice amenities. The only concern is that the hotel is about 5 miles outside of the city center down a country road and, quite frankly, one night felt too rushed. While it’s located in a beautiful setting, it takes a while to get everywhere so I would only recommend staying here if you’re able to stay at least two nights. With adequate time I would have dined in the on-site restaurants, toured a few local wineries and spent more time on the property.

Thank you to The Devon Valley Hotel for sponsoring this post. Even though our stay was complimentary, thoughts & opinions are my own.

Hotel Review: Le Petite Ferme

When in Africa on our honeymoon, we spent one night in Franschhoek exploring wine country. It was about an hour drive from Cape Town (we took uber) and reminded us a lot of Sonoma. We drove right past downtown Franschhoek and ended up at La Petite Ferme.

The property is set on a hill and looks quite modest from the front, but don’t let this fool you. We walked into the quaint, charming lobby and immediately felt at home. The lodge is an adobe style house with doorway arches, natural decor elements, and an entire wall of windows overlooking their vineyard. The entire property had a very quaint, European cottage feel. The decor was full of creams, light blues & green colors. The rooms were full of texture, including our velvet headboard, silk drapes, ornate mirrors & fireplaces, etc. Beyond the vineyard is the mountain range, which provides an absolutely stunning backdrop.


To the left is the main dining room where we had breakfast and to the right is a bar / lounge / library area. This area has a grand fireplace with a few chairs, a small library with their wine displayed and a bar with 8 high top seats. We were seated here to sign our check-in papers while the bellman took our bags to our room. Refreshing spritzers and salty nibbles were served.

Within five minutes, our butler led us to our room…and I was floored. If I’m being honest, this room is much nicer than it looks online. We walked through a pristine courtyard with a running fountain where a set of French doors opened into our room. We stepped into a stunning library area, equipped with a sofa, two chairs, a wood burning fireplace, built ins bookshelves and an armoire cleverly storing our mini bar & coffee maker.




From there we saw the powder room and walk down the hall into our master, which just so happens to be bigger than any bedroom I have ever lived in. It was very classic meets cozy, with our second wood burning fireplace (with freshly chopped wood in a basket), a writing desk, a flat screen television, an wardrobe, an oversized king bed and two side tables. The excitement continued when I saw the oversized soaker tub in our bathroom, overlooking our back yard pool. Yup, our bedroom had French doors that led to our private patio and infinity pool, which overlooked the vineyards I previously mentioned. 

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The next morning, we enjoyed the tasty breakfast spread served in the dining room & sunroom (each has a wood burning fireplace). The food was an English breakfast spread of fruit, cereal, pastries, breads, jams, meats (something you’ll see a lot in South Africa). There were also eggs, sausage & bacon made to order.

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I have to just take a moment to brag about the staff. From check in to check out, we were treated by the friendliest, cheerful, accommodating people. The kind wait staff heard that I had food poisoning (not from their restaurant) and so they dropped off some hot tea, extra bottled water & toast for me when they brought Terry his dinner. Our sweet butler even brought us fresh firewood and started a fire for us…twice! We also had a change to speak with the manager a good bit before breakfast and learned so much about the property. The personal touches they provided did not go unnoticed and truly made our stay that much more special.

Needless to say, we were very bummed to leave – I would have loved to stay at least two nights here. The property is stunning, the staff beyond accommodating & the room just exquisite. Everything was outstanding and I can’t imagine a better place to stay in Franschhoek.


Thank you to La Petite Ferme for sponsoring this post. Even though our stay was complimentary, thoughts & opinions are my own.

Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women

Happy Monday y’all! I have some exciting news to share…

 I am thrilled to announce that I’ll be running in the upcoming Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women (#THP10K) on Monday, October 9th! (Columbus Day).  It’s a day of encouragement and empowerment! While I’ve never run this race before, I’ve heard a TON of positive things about it. Tufts really has turned this day into a full celebration of health & fitness, and it’s very family friendly. There’s a 1K walk for kids, pre-race aerobic, post-race stretch and more! Last year they had over 7,000 runners, so our goal is to spread the word and have even more this year!


Fun Fact: There are at least 18 women who have run the race every year since its inception in 1977.

For more details you can view the course HERE, event details HERE & general info HERE. Below is the 2017 course we’ll be running. I hear that once you turn onto the Mass Ave bridge heading toward Cambridge, the view is just beautiful!


As the daughter of a runner (I’m talking 15+ marathons & Boston three times, under 3:30:00 people!), the wife of a personal trainer/fitness guru and a life-long sports athlete myself, this was a natural fit. Add in the fact that it’s a women’s race in a city I’ve grown to love (and never run a road race in), I am honored & excited to be a part of it.

Given that I do crossfit 4-5 times/week and I typically run a couple of miles here & there, I’d say I’m in pretty good shape; however, “running shape” is a different ballgame. This race is a 10K which means 6.2 miles. Needless to say, it’s something I’m going to have to train for. You can find my training plan here. My goal is to run the race in under 50 minutes. I realize that may be an easy task for many of you, but it’s going to be a challenge for me. It will be 6 consecutive miles at an 8:00 mile. (I foolishly thought I could do sub 45 but that’s just too fast for me!)

Training started last week…


So…why am I telling y’all all this? Well, I would absolutely LOVE to share this opportunity with you! You can sign up HERE and receive an extra 10% off (my code will be calculated at checkout). Whether you’re a casual worker-outer, a D1 athlete or just a woman who wants to run for other women, I hope you’ll consider joining me. All are welcome!


Who’s with me?!

Thank you to the Tufts Health Plan 10K for Women for sponsoring this post.

Blue Dining Room

Happy Friday Folks!

Today I’m sharing a really fun post with you. I was recently inspired by Arhaus with an interesting challenge that I couldn’t refuse. The task? To create a design board based on one of their seven different Color Guide graphics in hopes to inspire others on how to design a dream room around their favorite shades. Since we all know color is key when it comes to design (and I usually choose neutrals!), I thought this would be fun! They provided me with seven color guides:


At first, I was tempted to go with black (I still may do another one – bathroom with black walls…could be ah-mazing!) But for this go around, I chose the blue. I consider blue to practically be a neutral (we all know my love for BM’s Hale Navy) and it’s a real calm, serene, gender neutral color that’s versatile in practically any room.


For some reason, I was drawn to designing a dining room (though I came real close to choosing a master bedroom). Maybe it’s because we’ve been unwrapping gift after gift from Williams-Sonoma and Crate & Barrel and we have no place to put it. Basically, I’m dying to host a dinner party in a new non-existent dining room.

Nonetheless, here’s what I came up with:

Blue Dining Room_final.jpg

What do you think? I am IN LOVE with it all – the classic chairs & rug, mixed with the abstract art and that KILLER chandlier (I know y’all have seen it before – it’s a show stopper!) Tie it all together with this moody blue wall paint by Farrow & Ball and I just can’t even handle it. Someone let me bring this vision to life in your home please! Check out more dining room furniture here.

{ paint | rug | dining table | chandelier |art | chairs }

Your turn! Which color would you choose? What’s your favorite way to incorporate blue into home design?

Our Love Story + Wedding Bands

Today, I’m partnering up with my friends at E.B. Horn to share a bit more about my engagement story, my search for the perfect wedding band & my #1 tip for all you fellas our there when picking the perfect engagement ring.

It’s crazy to think that two weeks from today I’ll be married. A wife, a Mrs, and officially, a Kozmor. It was a short 7 months ago when we got engaged and my how the time has flown by. Many of you already read the details of how the engagement happened, but as we all know, there’s so much more to every love story! You see, there’s this little thing called fate…and let me tell you, I believe in it…


I moved to Boston in February 2013…smack dab in the middle of winter…with a college friend of mine. We are both born & raised Georgia natives who needed a change of scenery. We were bored with Atlanta, searching for new jobs and ready to see what the world had to offer. When all of the stars aligned in Fall 2012, we found ourselves signing a lease to an apartment (sight unseen) and planning our big move up the East Coast.

I had been dating a guy here in Boston and while he wasn’t the sole reason for my move, he had somewhat of an influence. As most “I’m not moving for you, I swear” relationships go, we quickly crashed & burned within about 12 months of me moving here.

Fast forward six months through your typical break up phases and there I was: 31, single, living on my own for the first time and feeling pretty damn good about life. I had hired a trainer at my local gym and we were kicking butt & taking names. Once day he said to me “you know that guy Terry? He thinks you’re cute and wants me to bring you with me to his housewarming party next weekend”. I think my exact response was “that guy? (pointing at the blonde hair, blue eyed guy across the room) Nah, he’s not my type”. Ha! Well little did I know how my world was about to change. Spoiler alert: I ended up going to the housewarming party with my trainer, Terry & I hit it off, developed a friendship which turned into a first date, and as they say, the rest is history! It’s truly crazy to think of all the little pieces that fell into place that led us to this place. Fate, right?

About 18 months later,  we were living together and talking marriage. Call me crazy, but it’s always been a big fear of mine to be head over heels for someone and have them propose with a ring I hate. I mean, what’s a girl to do?! You can’t say “yes but no to that ring” or “I don’t like that piece of jewelry that you just spent months saving for”. We’ve all seen that SATC where Carrie accidentally finds the hideous ring Aiden’s going to propose with (#yikes).

So, while I am lucky that my now-fiancee has incredible taste, I am even luckier and more grateful that he asked what kind of ring I liked! Guys, I am telling you…my #1 piece of advice, without a doubt, is ask! Ask your girlfriend, ask her sister, ask her best friend, ask her secret Pinterest wedding board (hey, we’ve all been there!). It doesn’t matter who you ask, just ask someone. When you’re spending this kind of money and making this kind of a lifelong commitment, don’t you want to know that she will love the ring?


Moments after he was down on one knee…admiring my round solitaire with 6 prong basket setting. PERFECTION!

Last week I went down to E.B. Horn in Downtown Crossing and tried on a ton of wedding bands. I couldn’t believe how hard it was to pick the perfect match for my engagement ring! I wanted something contrasting, yet complimentary. Since we travel abroad at least 3-4 times per year (and 10+ times per year domestic), it’s important to me to have a band that I love. When we travel, I’ll be leaving my engagement ring in the safe deposit box and wearing only my band.  I went back & forth with various styles. Here are a few of my favorites:


Which is your favorite?!

I ended up picking one very similar to the top one on my middle finger. It’s a vintage looking band made up of round diamonds in a milgrain setting. It’s just perfect. Picking my wedding band was a surprisingly emotional experience. It not only symbolizes our eternal love for each other, but also is a ring that I will wear until the day I die that will always remind me of this incredibly special time in our lives. When I think back on the past four years, my mind is just blown. Fate led from me Atlanta to Boston, where I met the love of my life and where, in just two short weeks, we will begin the rest of our lives together. I have never been more ready for anything.


What’s your #1 piece of ring advice to guys? Who else believes in fate?

A huge thanks to my friends at E.B. Horn. While I received compensation for this post, opinions are my own. They have been an absolute joy to work with and I cannot recommend the company & their jewelery enough.



Iceland Part 2: Southern Iceland

Remember in my first post when I said that the weather changes by the minute? Well, day two in Iceland was the perfect example. As we were eating breakfast on Monday, we noticed a slight drizzle outside. We thought “no big deal” as this is common for Iceland. Well, fast forward about 20 minutes and we were in full torrential downpour. That lasted All. Day. Long.


thank goodness we stopped for more rain gear 🙂

We already had a trip set up with Bus Travel IcelandBus Travel Iceland to explore all that Southern Iceland has to offer, so we threw a few extra pairs of socks in our bag, added an extra layer and hit the road. My first impression of the Bus Travel Iceland bus was “is this it?” Iit was a very small (maybe 14 passenger) van. Given the weather, this small vehicle was not the most comfortable. To be honest, we were pretty cold the whole time and never felt fully dried off or warm. On a day like this, I would have preferred the coach style bus, although we only had 4 people total so it was nice to have a smaller group with a more personalized tour.


Our first stop was about 90 minutes south on a working farmhouse in Village of Vík, the southernmost village in Iceland. A young couple owned the house and ran the farm, with 200+ sheep, 75+ horses & a lot of land. Their home was warm, cozy & quite charming. They were only about 500 meters from the sea. Upon arrival, the hosts had coffee, tea & traditional Iceland pancakes ready. Everything was delicious! (You can find their home on Airbnb!)


their farm – with so many cute horses!

vik house

our host in her lovely home

Vik pancakes

yummy coffee & crepes

Next, we took the journey down Ring Road to the Seljalandsfoss and Skógafoss waterfalls—taking time to walk behind the former The wind & rain were really bad at this point, so we ran out of the van for a quick 10 minutes but that’s about it. Then we stopped for lunch and I was quickly reminded why I kept reading to bring your own lunch. We were at a small restaurant attached to a petrol station that was mediocre at best. (We paid $37 for 1 lukewarm bowl of vegetable soup & 1 beer stew. Meh. Lesson learned)


Seljalandsfoss – so massive & powerful




soaking it all in at Skógafoss

The weather improved a bit and we headed to the black sand beaches of Dyrhólaey. I was SO looking forward to seeing this beach so the weather was a huge bummer here. I’ve seen some amazing pictures of this beach on a nice day and it’s stunning. The black beach is sandwiched between the ocean and these huge rocky mountains that form some seriously awesome caves. It was one of the most unique beaches I’ve ever seen and felt very Game-Of-Thrones. Here is a picture I found of the area on a nice day (our pictures didn’t turn out well):


Our last stop on the tour was the Sólheimajökull Glacier. This was awesome! I’m not sure about you, but I had never seen a glacier in person before. For a minute, I felt like we were in Alaska. The large glacier was a very blue-ish white color with green mountains behind it. We saw a lot of groups doing glacier walks (that was another offered excursion) and I think that would be a really neat tour to do next time.


the glacier on a rainy day


Overall, I enjoyed the Southern Iceland tour but not as much as the Golden Circle on day one. Perhaps this was due to the inclement weather, but it just felt like a lot more driving and not as much sightseeing. I’d be eager to try this tour group on a warmer, better day as it would probably give me a better comparison.

Thank you to Bus Travel Iceland for sponsoring this post. They graciously provided us with this complimentary tour. As always, the provided opinions are my own.