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Ask Jess–the best bathrobe, when your friends start having kids, and engagement photo outfit advice

Oct 7, 2019

engagement photo outfits for fall

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? Ours was the perfect mix of relaxing and spending time with friends! Today on the blog, we’re back with another Ask Jess! Let’s dive into a few more reader questions for this week! 

I am in dire need of a new bathrobe–where did you get the one you always wear? 

The one I wear most often is this amazingly soft brushed robe made by Natori! I got it at Lord and Taylor and their stuff is ALWAYS on sale, so keep an eye out and I bet you’ll be able to snag it for a discount soon! It would also make an amazing gift!

Would you and Neal ever move to another country? 

I would like yesterday. Neal would need a lot more convincing. I think if there was a good work opportunity for him somewhere abroad, we would take it, but that isn’t likely in his line of work. However, I have finally warmed him up to the idea of renting an apartment somewhere abroad for a few months at a time when we retire! 

As a couple without kids, what is your advice on how to still relate to your friends with kids? More specifically, how do you spend an entire weekend with 3 couples who have kids? (I am hardly ever around kids, I don’t not like them. They’re just foreign to me). You always find the positives in things so I’m hoping you’ll have some tricks to this situation 🙂

We probably aren’t the best couple to answer this because we have both always LOVED kids and grown up around them. (Neal is the second oldest of 27 cousins just on the Loftus side, so he grew up holding babies ?and I’ve been an aunt since I was 14, and I babysat/nannied a lot!) So we really look forward to spending time with our friends’ kids and wish we got to do more of it. (Granted, all of our friends’ kids are really well behaved and genuinely so much fun to be around, I’m not sure how I’d feel if they were brats. ?)

I agree though, it can be kind of daunting to spend time with kids when they are foreign to you! 

My biggest piece of advice: Ask your friends what their kids are into right now, and bring along a little something to do with each of them for the weekend. It’s pretty easy to win kids over when you bring them presents. Also, take an interest in them, get down on their level and play with them, ask their opinion, ask them to show you the toys they brought, etc. Involve them in whatever you’re doing.

Little kids are basically just like little adults who are more fun–take a genuine interest in them and they will take a genuine interest in you! 

Do you have suggestions on engagement photo outfits for fall? 

I always tell people there is no right or wrong thing to wear for engagement photos–it’s just what YOU like. What is your favorite outfit in your closet? Wear that! How do you usually do your hair and makeup? Do it that way!

You want those photos to accurately capture the two of you in this stage of your life right now–so just be yourself! Do you love wearing hot pink polka dots? Wear the hot pink polka dots! Do you live in classic black turtlenecks? Wear the black turtleneck! Do you both love dressing up? Wear a tux and a gown! You can’t go wrong if you stay true to your own personalities. 

Along the lines of your being transparent about influencer partnerships/how you make money, can you share how influencer hotel partnerships work? Do you get paid in addition for giving the exposure? Do you reach out to them? So curious-thanks!

I would definitely not label myself a “travel blogger” so I can only speak to what I know, but hotel partnerships really just work the same as everything else I explained when it comes to sponsorships.  I’ve only worked with a couple of hotels ever, so again, I’ll explain how it’s worked for me and then kind of in the more broad sense. 

Diving deeper into MY experience–my Secrets hotels partnerships, for example, were never paid–the first one to Secrets Playa Mujeres was free as it was a media trip–which usually consists of a hotel or a tourism board inviting a group of bloggers and/or journalists to a property in exchange for exposure to the hotel and/or the area as a whole. It’s common for a hotel to also partner with other businesses in order to promote tourism at the destination. So, when we went to Secrets Playa Mujeres–that was the case! They were VERY generous to allow us to bring guests. My portion of the trip was comped but we had to pay for Neal’s flight.) 

The second time we partnered with Secrets was for the first leg of our honeymoon to Cabo.

In exchange for that coverage, we received a discounted stay. (Also known as a “media rate.”) Because we already had an existing relationship, I just emailed them and asked if they would be open to working together in that capacity and they said yes! They are such a wonderful company to work with and we’ve loved staying at their properties! Usually, a “trade” partnership where a company isn’t paying you is much easier/more lenient than if they were to pay you. 

We also worked with Hilton Garden Inn in the past, and that was paid and such a fun whirlwind trip to NYC, but that really wasn’t a vacation, I was hired to shoot and create content for them.  Most of that weekend was spent shooting during the day and I had to deliver a set amount of edited photos in addition to promoting the hotel on my social channels. This wasn’t something I pitched, but something they approached me with, much like any other brand would. 

Then there was my trip to Portugal with Noken (which is the coolest app EVER by the way and I can’t recommend it enough to help you plan a trip abroad! We totally would’ve used it for Barcelona and Mallorca if it had been available there!) They gave me a stipend to cover my travel in exchange for promotion and photos for them to use on their social channels–we had agreed upon deliverables for this and what was more or less a shot list of things they wanted us to promote/take photos of. This was SUCH a cool partnership, but again, it was not a vacation–it was work. 

In General

Many influencers will pitch hotels for coverage in exchange for a free hotel stay–sometimes the hotel will say yes, and sometimes they won’t. Factors like how many people follow you, where your audience is from, how many likes you get on each photo, and of course, how pretty your photos are–that all goes into their decision on whether or not to comp you.

Certain influencers may also have a long-standing partnership with a parent company of a group of hotels where they are contracted to travel to them to photograph and promote, etc. To my knowledge, the influencers who have these types of partnerships are the VERY big travel influencers. (Not people like me. ?) In general though, if an influencer is being paid by a hotel, they will include #ad or #sponsored. So that’s how you’ll know. 

Here is my personal philosophy: I don’t ever pitch hotels for personal vacations, because it’s simply not worth sacrificing my vacation over. Nothing is ever truly “free” and I would much rather pay for something ourselves and not feel obligated to post anything about the hotel or work on vacation. If a hotel comps your vacation, they, rightfully so, are expecting a lot in return, and that just creates a lot of stress that negates the point of the vacation in the first place.

The reason I blog about the hotels we stay in and love is that I know you guys will love them too and will benefit from the insider info–but I’m typically never being paid or receiving anything in exchange for my review. 

Hopefully this was helpful!! 


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