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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Honeymoon Recap: Day at Virginia Beach

It's been almost a month since our honeymoon, so let's recap and relive all of our fun memories. I am going to do a couple of different posts so I can highlight the different areas we traveled to.

The first half of our honeymoon was spent in Williamsburg, VA. I'll share Williamsburg next, but one of those days we headed off to Virginia Beach to get in a little beach time. Virginia Beach was about an hour away from Williamsburg, so it was perfect for a day trip.

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We spent the first couple of hours hanging out on the beach and people watching.

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The beach wasn't overly crowded, but there was enough people for some good people watching.

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Rick gave me a hard time because I didn't want to get in the ocean. I have sort of a fear of the ocean, and although I love the beach, I don't really like getting in the ocean. I swear if I do I will get eaten by a shark or stung by a jellyfish. I'm weird I know. But I love walking on the beach, so we did a little of that also.

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Rick got in the ocean a couple of times to cool off. I sat back and guarded our stuff.

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After our beach time we decided to grab some lunch. The place we wanted to go to for dinner opened at 5:30, and this was about 2'ish, so we decided to grab something small, and found this fun Beatles themed bar/restaurant called Abbey Road Pub. There was a ton of Beatles memorabilia all over the place. I texted this pic to our friend Amy to share with her boyfriend Brian who is obsessed with the Beatles. We just ordered an appetizer sampler and some drinks and enjoyed the AC for a bit.

After lunch, we walked along the strip and checked out some fun beach shops.

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For dinner we came across this restaurant called Tautog's. Tautog's is in an old beach cottage, and when we first came up on it earlier in the day before it opened, we had no idea it was a restaurant. We noticed the sign said it opened at 5:30, so we decided to walk around a bit and then stop by for an early dinner. We started heading over to the restaurant around 5:25 and when we turned the corner onto the street the restaurant was located on, we were shocked to see a huge line of people waiting to get in. I was like OMG, what is this place? There were probably about 50 or so people standing in line waiting for them to open...at 5:30 pm! I figured we would never get in, but they immediately sat every single one of us. We ended up at a table on the screened-in porch which was perfect.

We have no idea what was going on, but a marching band showed up right out front and blocked off the street. It was a little odd because for the longest time they just stood around. Finally they started playing further down the street. We might have spent part of our dinner conversation talking about them and making up stories about what they were doing.

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The service at Tautog's was a little slow at first, but with the amount of people they had immediately seated and began serving, it actually was a lot faster than I figured. We ended up ordering the most amazing Crab Nachos. I am still thinking about these even today and wondering how we can recreate them. I seriously could have just eaten these for dinner. We made a pretty good dent before our entrees arrived.

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I ordered the Potato Chip Encrusted Mahi with Roasted Red Pepper Coulis and Dill Sour Cream and Seasoned Red Skinned Potatoes. I really liked the potato chip coating on the mahi as it gave it a nice texture and the salty chips gave it some good flavor, but the dill sour cream was a little much for me. I like dill, but it was a little overpowering in this dish, at least for me.

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Rick had the Scallops Barca with a Puff Pastry Boat and Rice Pilaf. He really liked the scallops and the puff pastry helped to soak up the extra sauce.

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One of the interesting parts of the trip was the tunnel that took us under the ocean into the Virginia Beach area. I might have freaked out both times we drove through it. I despise tunnels, but luckily Rick was at least driving.

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If you ever have to ride with me while driving through a tunnel...well let's just hope you never have to...ha!

And that's it for day 2 of our honeymoon. Day 1 was all driving, so there won't be a recap of that day. Up next, Williamsburg.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

DIY Wedding Flowers

Last Wednesday I posted some of my favorite wedding portraits from our photographer. I thought I would take a few steps back and share some of our final stages of planning before I get into any more professional pics (also because I'm struggling picking favs :) ) Today let's talk florals.

One of the things I totally had my heart set on was real flowers for our centerpieces. My bouquet had faux flowers, which I thought was really cool because I could keep it forever. But I LOVE fresh flowers and wanted to find a way to have them without going completely broke. Enter the Flowerman.

I met with my consultant at the Flowerman in April, and she helped me to figure out a way to get some of the flowers I truly loved (peonies), but also some other options to keep our budget in-line. They also offer as part of the package a DIY class where they show you how to put your centerpieces together and basically make sure you don't screw things up (more on this in a min). This was very important to me because I loved the idea of DIY'ing our centerpieces since I was already DIY'ing the rest of our decorations, but I feared I might screw things up. I had spoken with another local florist about ordering peonies wholesale, and they quoted me a much higher price, and it didn't include any help, therefore we would be all on our own. 

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Now you might say...but Jen, I get flowers at the grocery store all the time and make my own arrangements, how hard can it be? I do as well, but there is a process you must go through that makes things a little more complicated when buying wholesale flowers as opposed to grocery store flowers. Plus these flowers are a much higher quality than grocery store flowers, and a lot more expensive, so it's important to make sure they are processed properly. So we were very grateful for the DIY course and the assistance in putting everything together.

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So let's talk processing flowers. All roses that come to your local florist from a wholesale distributor arrive like this. You order them in bundles, and then have to carefully unwrap them from their cardboard packaging. Once you have removed the packaging, you must strip the roses of most of their leaves and their thorns. You can leave some of the leaves on, but we had filler stems so we removed most of them.

Then each rose has a set of guard petals around the outside (about 5-6 petals) that protect the flower that you have to pull off. I felt bad pulling all of these petals off, but they all became our flower girl rose petals so nothing went to waste. Once your guard petals are off, you blow pretty hard into the center of the flower, and it will help to open up and cause the flower to "bloom". You then cut your stems off in an angle and quickly put them into water. This helps to keep the bloom from wilting quickly.

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We then placed our flowers in the sun for a bit to continue blooming. When I was choosing our flowers, I wanted really full blooms so we could go with less flowers in our jars and push our flower budget as much as possible. Plus I figured that would make things easier to arrange.

In addition to white peonies, we went with Baronesse garden roses (hot pink flowers) and Esperance roses (light pink flowers). The peonies and the garden roses are more expensive flowers. The Esperance roses provided the same look, but were about half the price. We also used myrtle as filler, which also helped provide a fuller arrangement, and was pretty inexpensive. Let me tell you the myrtle smelled amazing! Rick and Jackie wanted to eat it, and Rick did taste a leaf, until Jackie looked it up on her phone and confirmed myrtle is poisonous. I would highly recommend using myrtle as filler for all of your floral arrangement needs, just don't eat it! Ha!

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Our friends Jackie and Nate (who are getting married next year!) came along and helped us out, and we were so grateful. It was a lot of fun, and even more fun to do this with good friends. They also allowed us to bring wine and snacks, so it turned into a little flower party.

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I purchased the blue mason jars from Etsy, and we had 10 of the larger quart size jars for our table centerpieces, and about 8 pint size mason jars for table decorations. I also included 2 jars with wires to hang off of garden hooks for our ceremony. Our colors were hot pink and turquoise blue, so the blue mason jars worked perfectly as our containers.

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All of our flowers packed together...so pretty!

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My favorite part about the whole experience was they passed out freezer pops about half-way through. All of this took place in a warehouse, and although they did have the garage doors open with a slight breeze, it was getting hot in there! This was the perfect way to cool off and it kind of made me feel like a kid again :)

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Here we are with all of our finished flowers. They put them back in the cooler that evening, and we picked them up the next day and had to drive them straight to the reception site. It was important they were picked up in an air conditioned car (not allowed in the trunk), and we had to make sure there wasn't a lot of direct sunlight coming in the windows.

Luckily/yet not so luckily, there was a major rain storm taking place when we picked them up, so the direct sunlight was not a problem. Rick didn't appreciate having to load all of the flowers in the back of the Jeep during a monsoon, but not to worry, I made sure the flowers were covered with an umbrella, so none of them were harmed from the hard rain. Rick on the other hand was a little soaked...oops!

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Here is one of my finished centerpieces. I took this picture the day before when we were setting everything up.

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And here is one of the jars that were hanging in the garden for our ceremony. I just love the pop of color out in the garden!

If you are a bride in the Columbus area, I highly recommend the Flowerman. Send me a note if you want more details :)

Linking up today with:

Wedding Wednesday

NC Belle In Boots

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Time for a Blog Makeover

I mentioned last week I was working on a little blog makeover. It's about 99% complete and I'm pretty excited about how it's come along. It's been a lot of fun coming up with the design and the different elements, and has been a great way to brush up on my PhotoShop skills. For 6 years, about 10+ years ago, I worked in the marketing department of a University designing and updating their print brochures and course catalogues, so I have had a little experience with design, but my skills are very rusty. Learning HTML and web programming is all pretty new, but thankfully there are a ton of resources online that are super helpful. There is definitly a lot more available now than when I was learning layout and design back then.

One piece of advice I would share for anyone taking on their own blog makeover is to look to Pinterest and other blogs for Inspiration. I looked at some of my favorite blogs and took notes of things I liked from their blogs and then started to make a list of ideas/elements I wanted to include on my blog. I also found a color inspiration board on Pinterest that I totally loved to help me determine my color palette.
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The great thing about finding this is I could open it in PhotoShop and match all of my colors to it. This ensured all of my elements were consistent in color. I also found some great fonts online which make designing a lot of fun and so much easier.

I say it's only 99% complete because I know I will constantly tweak little things here and there as I learn more. But for now it's working for me, and I love it! I'm definitly not a professional, and I still have a lot to learn, but if anyone has any questions feel free to leave a comment below and shoot me an email at lifeloveandpuppypaws@gmail.com.

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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Our Wedding Portraits

As I mentioned the other day, we received our professional wedding disks over the weekend, and I have spent hours pouring through all of the pictures trying to figure out my favorites. I am absolutly in love with all of them, but wanted to share just a few of my favorite portrait pictures first. 

Before I get into sharing them, our location was so amazing! It was truly more than I had hoped for when we were looking into locations. We originally visited the Schultz Mansion back in November, and it was very beautiful even in the last stages of Fall. But I had no idea how beautiful it was going to be in June. It was almost magical. In addition, the main house was absolutly perfect for getting ready pictures and bridal portraits. Back in November I had only toured the garden and the Carriage House where the reception took place, and had no idea what the inside of the main house looked like. Our photographers were extremly happy with all of the different options, and told me they could photograph all day long here. 

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All photos by Hillary Ferguson Photography

Linking up today with:

Wedding Wednesday

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