Cruising

IMG_1451I just got back from an 8 day cruise to Bermuda.  I am much more relaxed but a little sunburned and about 5 pounds heavier.  :  ) 


We sailed on the Norwegian Dawn departing from NYC, through water that was the deepest blue I have ever seen, to the absolutely gorgeous island of Bermuda.  The cruise was fantastic.  I don’t think I would go to Bermuda any other way.  The ship was beautiful and very clean.  The cabins were surprisingly not as small as I imagined they would be.  I would suggest though spending a little extra and getting a balcony cabin since they are a little roomier and have bigger bathrooms. 


IMG_1345 The entertainment on the ship was amazing.  There was so much going on that we did not even see 1/2 of the entertainment that was there.  They had the Jean Ann Ryan Company on board that did 3 different Broadway and Cirque de Soliel style shows.  The Second City improve troop was also there.  They were the training ground for many of the members from Saturday Night Live and The Daily Show including Bill Murray, John Candy, John Belushi, Mike Meyers, Steven Colbert, and Steve Carrell.  They also had various other musical acts all over the ship and a great stand up comedian.  Most nights were themed – 70s, Monte Carlo, Las Vegas, Western, All White night – which was fun.  The cruise director and his staff were amazing and kept the party going through the whole cruise. (The picture above right is of my son dancing with the crew staff by the pool).


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The great thing about Norwegian cruises is that they are “Freestyle” cruises which means you can eat whenever you like and do whatever you like.  You are not stuck picking a dinner time and are not forced to dress up or sit with people you don’t know.  There is food EVERYWHERE you turn.  The food on the cruise is included in the price but that only includes the galley restaurants and the big buffet which are good.  However, if you want to spend a little extra, you can pay the $10 – $25 a person cover charge at the gourmet restaurants on board where the food is amazing and you can order as much on the menu you want.  This is so worth the extra charge.  We ate at the steakhouse twice and one night I ordered 2 different appetizers, salad, soup, 2 entrees, and dessert which included jumbo shrimp cocktail, filet mignon, and jumbo crab legs for an extra $20!  (This is why I am 5 pounds heavier).


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We spent 2 1/2 days in Bermuda and visited Horseshoe Bay, Hamilton, and the Royal Naval Dockyard.  Horseshoe Bay is the most beautiful beach on the island with its almost fake looking turquoise blue water and coral pink sand.  Hamilton has gorgeous top name shopping and tons of restaurants.  The Royal Naval Dockyard is where the boat was docked which had shopping and the Snorkel Park within a short walking distance.  The Snorkel Park (while not as pretty as Horseshoe Bay) is a lot of fun with its water slides, kayaking, jet skiing, snorkeling, and beach bar. 


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I have to admit that I was pretty depressed when I woke up on the last morning of the cruise to see the green gray water of the Hudson River (it did not help that it was also raining that day – yuck).  I would definitely go back on a Norwegian cruise.  I have been eyeing up the 14 day western Caribbean cruise…hmmm…maybe next year… :  )


All the best,


Priscilla

Natural Beauty and Beaches in Hilton Head

 


I had the pleasure of spending a fantastic week at Hilton Head Island earlier this month.  I absolutely love it there.   Everything is so perfect.  The town has ordinances that do not allow development that affects the existing foliage.  Because of this, the island has its natural beauty intact and has some of the most amazing tress I have ever seen.  The Spanish Moss trees create a breathtaking canopy over many parts of the island.  They also have these trees (that I do not know the name of) that have horizontal branches which make them perfect for climbing.  The picture below shows a tree with my son, Matthew, standing on one of its branches (little boy in blue shirt).


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We stayed in a condo in Shipyard which was a great location to stay at.  We were a 10 minute walk to North Forest Beach and a 5 minute walk to Coligny Plaza which had great restaurants and shops.  We would hop on our bikes each morning and ride down to the beach.  You can ride bikes on the beach there since the sand is so compact.  It is also the perfect consistency for making sand castles.  Below is a picture of my husband and Matthew riding the bike on the beach.


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For great coffee and just a nice place to hang out, be sure to stop by Java Joe’s in Coligny Plaza.  For  upscale, gourmet dining with an amazing view of the ocean check out Aqua Grill and Lounge.  Oceanfront weddings can also be held there on their 2nd floor.  For casual island fun, visit the tiki bar at the Big Bamboo Cafe .


If you are not opposed to eating kind of early, you can get some awesome deals on dining.  Almost every restaurant on the island has an early bird special which is around $18 and usually includes 2 or 3 courses and sometimes also includes a glass of wine or beer.  We had the early bird dinner at The Topside at Quarterdeck located in the Harbour Town Marina next to the lighthouse which was fantastic. 


Free entertainment abounds on Hilton Head.  Almost every restaurant with an al fresco patio area has some sort of musical entertainment.  For the kids, take them to see either Greg Russell perform under the Liberty Oak Tree in Harbour Town or Shannon Tanner who performs in Shelter Cover Marina .  Both children’s musicians have been performing their family friendly concerts nightly during the peak seasons in Hilton Head for over 20 years and are local celebrities.   


The week went by way too fast.  I can’t wait until our next trip there.


All the best,


Priscilla

The Wedding Salon Luxury Bridal Show


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Recently Candice and I attended The Wedding Salon’s Luxury Bridal Show complete with an exclusive Vera Wang Fashion Show, complimentary hair & beauty consultations and vendors ranging from HPNOTIQ to the Barbados Tourism Authority.


 


Upon entering, we were greeted by an elaborate floral design coincidentally by a florist we often work with, A Touch of Elegance. While admiring her work and sipping champagne, a newspaper photographer snapped a picture of Candice and I informing us it would be printed in the Courier Newspaper ~ and you know how we love press!  As we did a circle around the room, we saw a lot of familiar faces.  Of course when visiting these events we always like to walk away with one piece of knowledge or one idea to pass on to our clients.  One of these new unique ideas we found was Love Print, maker of personalized fingerprint jewelry.  Check out Camille and her creations at www.loveprintjewelry.com.


 



A highlight of our night was the opportunity to network with others in the industry, including our friend Molly Tully, editor of NJBride Magazine  We chatted about the vendors in attendance and shared thoughts on what is hot now in the market.  We were also excited to get some copies of the latest Magazine which features one of our recent couples, Jaime & Jason.   



Overall it was a productive night, with the perfect ending ~ before leaving we of course had to stop by The Melting Pot’s table for some chocolate-dipped strawberries.  Mmmmmm.


 


All the best,


 


Nicole  


 


P.S.  Below is a picture of me, Candice, and Lisa Plociniak from A Touch of Elegance (floral designers in Wharton, NJ) and Michael from Linen Stock (custom linens).


 


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Seaside Romance – Letty & Jeff May 17, 2008


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I was lucky enough to travel to Cape May at the tip of New Jersey to coordinate a beach wedding on May 17, 2008. Our bride and groom, Letty and Jeff had previously visited Cape May and fell in love with the historic and Victorian feel of the quaint town and thought it was the perfect place to host a wedding.



Upon checking into their hotels, guests were presented straw bags full of bottled waters, famous Jersey Shore salt water taffy, chips and a weekend itinerary.


 


Picture_384 The morning of the big day we unfortunately woke up to rain! Although the bride put on a smile, I felt so bad she was not going to get her dream ceremony on the beach. The florist, DJ, and photographer all arrived on time and we began setting up the ceremony inside the Hotel Alcott where the reception was taking place. At around 3:15pm, with the ceremony beginning at 5pm, the rain ceased and the sun broke through the clouds. Wanting to give our bride her beach ceremony, I made the executive decision to move it out onto the beach. Our vendors were more than willing to work hard to make it happen for Letty by 5pm. While our bride and bridal party took photos at the hotel, we set up the ceremony down the street on the beach. With white chairs and coral & green ribbons tied around them and a bamboo runner, the ceremony was set and guests arrived. As the bride made her way down the boardwalk and onto the beach, people passing by  cheered her on exclaiming how beautiful she looked.


 


Picture_380 In the middle of the ceremony, the sky turned dark gray as I nervously waited for the mayor to conclude the ceremony. As soon as Letty and Jeff kissed and were pronounced husband and wife, it began to drizzle as if Mother Nature had planned it. Guests rang their mini bells as the couple recessed down the aisle together. As the couple laughed at the rain and quickly made their way to the hotel, guests began running with the sound of thunder! Just as the bride and groom entered the hotel, the clouds opened up and it poured onto our guests. Needless to say, the first 20 minutes of cocktail hour consisted of the girls laughing at the mess, drying their hair, and retouching their makeup!


 


In lieu of a guest book, guests wrote their best wishes on a photo matte framing one of the couple’s engagement pictures. Dinner reception began promptly with Letty and Jeff’s first dance to ‘Such Great Heights’ followed by the best man champagne toast. The evening consisted of salsa dancing, great food, lots of drinks, and the toss of the bouquet and garter. The bride and groom were extremely pleased and the bride stated she wasn’t even able to drink because she was too busy dancing the night away!


 


But the celebration didn’t stop there; guests then proceeded to a local bar for an after-party into the wee-hours of the night. Saturday’s itinerary consisted of bike riding to a winery where they enjoyed a tour and wine tasting.  On Sunday, guests were treated to a breakfast at Uncle Bill’s Pancake House. All in all, a perfect weekend capped off by Letty and Jeff heading to Hawaii for a two-week honeymoon.


 


For more pictures, check out our Featured Events Photo Gallery and look under Letty & Jeff.  Photos were taken by Aleksey Photography.


 


Until next time,


 


Nicole


 


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