Archive | July, 2014

Personalized Wedding Dress Hanger

30 Jul

To all Future Brides!

When you are planning a wedding there are so many little details that can be overlooked when you are thinking about the big picture. When Josh and I met with our wedding photographer we looked through their sample wedding albums and I noticed how they emphasized the wedding dress. I love the idea of having a picture of my wedding dress by itself for me to remember after all the hard work and dedication that I put into finding that perfect dress! Besides the beautiful wedding dresses there was one thing that stood out the most to me and that was the personalized wedding dress hanger. I knew it would give the picture such a cute and personal touch. You can tell that the brides didn’t overlook the little details. When I got home I jumped on Google and I searched for personalized wedding dress hangers and ladies let me tell you that the possibilities are endless… there is a wide range of styles and the price range is anywhere from $17-$40 plus shipping. Truth be told this wasn’t something that I wanted to spend a lot of money on, however, I knew I wanted to purchase one because it would look great in the pictures.

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A Quick Picture From the Day I Received My Hanger and the Box That it Came In

I did some research and I came across this great Etsy seller haomaihanger that was selling the hangers for $5.99, yes ladies you read that right! $5.99 for a personalized single line hanger? You can’t beat that price anywhere! In total I paid $15.98 that included shipping. The shop has other options if you prefer you hanger with a flower, pearls or a double line hanger. I do have to warn you ladies that the hanger does take some time to arrive because it is being shipped from China, therefore order your hanger ahead of time. Mine took about three weeks but I contacted the seller directly and he shipped it immediately.  Also read the shop’s policies where they explain the the shipping time frame and their shipping rates.

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When I received my hanger it was everything that I excepted and more! The hanger came in a white triangle box which was very well wrapped. The wood hanger itself was a great quality! The aluminum wire is not very sturdy but if you keep your hanger in the box until your wedding day you shouldn’t have any problems.

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All in all I was extremely happy with my purchase and the hanger looked great in the pictures!

Good luck future brides!

Teacher Recommended Back to School Supplies

25 Jul

Hello Parents and Students!

My name is Mr. Reich and I will be your teacher for the next several minutes as you read this post.  Now everyone stand up so I can put you in an alphabetical seating arrangement 🙂

I actually do start the year with my students in an alphabetical seating arrangement because it helps me learn names quickly, I am down to about the end of week two before I know all 180 student’s names, but I hope to get better this year.  But you can stay seated as I give you my recommendations for spending hard earned cash on essential back to school supplies.

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A Panoramic View of My Classroom

I teach high school English and Language Arts, International Baccalaureate (IB) Theory of Knowledge (Philosophy) and a class called Inquiry Skills as well as Photoshop and whatever else they want me to teach.  I primarily teach Freshmen and Sophomores as well as Seniors in my ToK class (education is the epicenter of acronyms).  Because I get the new Freshmen every year I have seen the best and the worst of student supplies.  And because I teach all levels I know what works to help kids get to the next level.  Every student and situation is unique so there is no absolute formula (math teachers hate that) but I have found that the following tips can help lead to success.  But also since I am high school teacher you may want to consider modifications for middle school students and definitely for elementary students.

preparation-organization-minus-distractionThe key to successful educational preparation is maximum organization and minimum distraction.  Please excuse the rhyme, I am after all an English teacher.  But seriously, I am amazed at how many distractions today’s students must deal with.  Smart phones have taken over the world as well as the lives of adults and their teenage children.  Add that to the already volatile mix of hormones and peer pressure and it is obvious why kids have difficulty staying focused.  According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, average attention span has decreased from 12 seconds to 8 seconds in the last decade.  So it is your job as a parent to make sure you child is organized and that distractions are kept to a minimum so that I can do my job as a teacher and engage your child’s attention so that they can learn the skills they need to succeed in our ultra-competitive world.

So as a parent how do you minimize distractions for your scholar?  Give them the tools they need to stay organized and don’t give them things that will distract them.  Of course this is easier said than done, but I will do my best here:

Most important things to give them:

  1. A Good Backpack: A good school backpack should have from 3-5 pockets in addition to the main bag. Please do not buy your child one of those “cool” gym sacks that is just a single bag with drawstrings.  This is a recipe for distraction because students cannot stay organized when they are looking through a single compartment for all of their supplies.  Also, do not buy your child a backpack with 10 pockets, they will forget where they put stuff and this is another distraction.
    backpack-comparison
  2. Lots of Pens and Pencils: This is an obvious one, but there is one important trick to this…do NOT give them all at once.  Kids are notorious for losing pens, giving away pencils to friends, forgetting them in my room, breaking them by accident and a host of other minor offenses that most of us adults are guilty of as well.  If you give you child a few pens and a few pencils to start the year that is enough.  Keep the rest hidden and tell them to ask you whenever they need a new one and if they turn out to be more responsible than most adults you can tell them where the supply is and they will refill as needed.  It is a small expense that can reap a big reward because they are always prepared for class and having enough pens and pencils to share is one of the best ways to make friends in school.  Some of my happiest times as a teacher are when a student doesn’t have something to write with and without me even asking, another student offers to lend them a pencil.  Of course I always have a stockpile of supplies because the kids are always leaving them behind but don’t tell your child that 😉
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    Large Amounts of Average Quality Pens at a Low Price Are Great

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    These Are The Best Pens Out There, An Incentive For the Hard Working Student?

  3. Highlighters: These have become more and more important with the increase in information that today’s students and adults must handle.  Highlighters are an essential tool for studying notes, because a good student will take a lot of notes during a class but most of the time only 25% of that information is really valuable and important to remember for tests and skill development.  I spend a couple of days at the beginning of each year teaching how to properly highlight or underline if the student doesn’t have a highlighter.  It is a small expense to give your child an extra edge.

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    Highlighters Come In Many Sizes and Colors and Are Essential to Success

  4. An Agenda: Our school gives one to all incoming Freshman and I wish we had the funds to give them to all grade levels at the beginning of the year because it is that important.  Most kids have anywhere from 5-7 classes per day and the amount of homework on long term projects is substantial.  If your child has an agenda and sticks to it you can monitor their work and they will not forget what they need to do to get the highest grades possible.  Check to see if your school gives agendas to the students and if not let your child pick out one that they like as they will be much more likely to use it if they like it.
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    A Nice Small Agenda Is a Must If Your Child’s School Does Not Offer One

    agenda-inside

    The Simpler The Better In My Opinion

  5. Spiral Notebooks: As an English teacher I require my students to keep a journal and they can use either a composition book or a spiral.  But I strongly recommend a spiral because desks are small and a spiral can be folded in half while a composition book cannot so it really helps students with their space and minimizes their distractions.  Also most spirals allow paper to be torn out much more easily than a composition book and the second most valuable friend making commodity in school is paper. I would actually recommend a spiral notebook for each class so that your scholar can keep their notes organized, or if they prefer less clutter get them a 5 subject spiral notebook.  3 Ring Binders are only for the highly organized student but if your child is more organized than most they are the way to go.

    spiral-vs-composition

    Spirals Take Up Less Desk Space Than Bound Composition Books

Most important things not to give them:

  1. A Brand New Smart Phone: This is perhaps one of the most distracting pieces of equipment known to man.  It is also one of the most useful and powerful, but with great power comes great responsibility.  Most adults are not even responsible enough to have one of these.  If you need proof of that just look into someone’s car on the freeway and you will likely see them reading a text instead of looking at the road.  I do think kids should have smart phones because they are a key device in an increasingly technological world.  But a new one should be given as a reward at the end of the school year for excellent grades.  This way it works as an incentive and motivates the student.  If you give them a new smart phone at the beginning of the year they will be so interested in playing with their new toy that they will be completed distracted from their school work.

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    All Time Undisputed Heavy Weight Champion of Distraction

  2. Beats by Dre Headphones: Not only are these incredibly expensive and as a result take up money from other important necessities, but they are incredibly distracting as kids want to constantly listen to their music and show off their headphones.  I am amazed at how many kids I see walking the halls with these headphones on.  I am also aware of several instances in which these expensive headphones have been stolen and have caused fights.  As with smart phones I am not saying they shouldn’t have any headphones, music is an important source of inspiration and relaxation.  But any large headphones are an unnecessary distraction and should be avoided.
  3. Expensive Jewelry: I agree that students should get new clothes at the beginning of the year, but things like chains, designer watches, bracelets, rings and other flashy jewelry results in the same distractions as the giant headphones. They can also entice thieves and cause fights.

So those are my recommendations as a high school teacher.  I hope this list helps and if you have any other ideas that you think I should have included please post them in the comments section below!

Good luck and thanks for being such an awesome parent!

Dog’s Torn ACL Repaired With TPLO Surgery

19 Jul

Hello fellow dog lovers!

I have been wanting to write this post for a long time but just have not gotten around to it. This post is the final conclusion to my previous posts on Sheika The Akita’s Torn ACL and our efforts to get her better without surgery. In my previous posts I explained how I felt that we were going to be able to rehabilitate Sheika’s torn ACL by restricting her activity for several months.  The great thing about writing a blog is that you can look back a year or more to see your thought process for decisions.  When I look at the previous posts now I am amazed at how convinced I was that the rehabilitation was going to work.  And while I still believe rehabilitation and the avoidance of surgery is worth a shot in most cases, in ours it turned out that surgery was the only option.

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Sheika’s Three Legged Stance With Her Torn ACL

Before deciding on rehabilitation we did hours and hours of research into the topic and spoken to our vet. Our vet originally recommended the TPLO surgery but I was hesitant because our research showed that it was a very extreme surgery where they actually make a cut in the bone and reposition it and then secure it with a steel plate that would stay there for the rest of her life. I also read that the worst possible side effect would be that the steel plate would fail and cause an infection that might lead to leg amputation. This was said to almost never happen and only in the most extreme cases including old age and additional health problems. But just the thought of our sweet baby losing her leg was enough for us to consider other options.

If you have done as much research as we have you know that there are basically only two other options:

  1. Traditional Surgery: They tie the bones together with a nylon string that will act as a new ligament but this is usually only effective in smaller dogs. Our vet warned us that this surgery would not work for her because she is 100 lbs. and very active. He said he still recommends TPLO even in smaller dogs but because of the high cost of TPLO the traditional surgery may work for smaller dogs and is much less expensive.
  2. Rest and Rehabilitation: In cases where the ligament is not completely torn it may be able to regrow the tissue around the ligament over time if the dog is kept on a very strict regiment of no running, no stairs and basically on the leash at all times when outside for 4-6 months.
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My Best Attempt at a Rest and Rehab Area for Sheika

Because of my fears of possible amputation and the extreme nature of the surgery and because Sheika was still able to walk on her leg with just a minor limp, I felt that we should try the rest and rehabilitation first. We saw good progress in the first few months to the point where she was walking with no limp…but then one day she lunged for a cat during a walk and re-injured herself and the limp returned.

Back to square one. We continued the rest again and it got better again after about a month. And we felt like, OK this is it, she is getting better and we were able to avoid surgery. She was doing great for another few months and we felt she might be fully rehabilitated. But then another set back. We don’t know what happened this time we just came home one day and she was limping badly again.

At this point we had enough, we didn’t want her to suffer anymore. We knew that the rehabilitation was not working and that we had to consider the TPLO surgery. Our vet recommended Miami Veterinary Specialists as the best option in South Florida. He said he had sent numerous patients there all with great results.

So we knew where to go but the next question was how to pay for it. The costs were estimated at anywhere from $3,500 to $4,500 which is a decent amount of money no matter what. But considering that we had begun making payments for our upcoming wedding and had also just paid for Jany’s hand surgery (another post to come) it was a difficult amount of money for us to come up with. Luckily, we were able to get approved for Care Credit, which is a type of credit used for medical expenses for both pets and humans. The good thing is that as long as you pay it off within 1 year you do not pay interest. The very bad thing is that if you don’t pay it off within 1 year you have to pay a very high interest rate on the entire original amount of credit you received. We actually applied for it online, but you can also apply for it at the veterinarian.

So now that we knew how to pay for it we visited Miami Veterinary Specialists for a consultation. The surgeon who met with us was polite and answered all of our questions but was also very brief. He did not seem to want to spend too much time with us or care that we were very worried about this procedure. He did not rush us but he also did not take his time to go into detail. In short he came off as very confident and almost cocky about the surgery as if it was the perfect solution and that we should not worry about anything. In my experience this is the attitude that many human surgeons have and apparently it is the same for animal surgeons. So although we were a little bothered by his brevity he did answer everything we asked and was highly recommended by our vet so we scheduled her surgery for the following Friday.

Like a normal human surgery she could not eat the day before and she would have to stay overnight. We dropped her off and spent a few hours very worried until they called us and told us the surgery went fine. They said we could come see her if we wanted but they recommended we let her rest. So even though we were dying to see her we did the right thing and let her rest. We picked her up the next morning and were amazed to see her walking towards us. She had the giant radar on so she could not lick the incision and she was limping but she was very alert and happy to see us. Here entire leg was shaved and the incision was very big and very scary looking.

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On Day 1 There Was Some Blood and Bruising

The vet told us that we needed to severely limit her activity, so that she would only get up to go pee and poop and for nothing else for at least a week or so. She also could not use stairs for at least a few weeks while the wound healed. We had prepared for this and had built a wooden ramp so that she could get in and out of the house because our house is elevated.

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Sheika’s Grandpa Trying to Escape the Picture of Building the Ramp

They also gave us a bunch of antibiotics and pain killers and we were supposed to bring her in about a week later to check her progress and remove the stitches.

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X-Ray of the Six Screws and Plate Now in Sheika’s Leg

We took her home and she had a very difficult time getting around with the giant radar on her head and was constantly banging into things. We bought her an inflatable doughnut that was supposed to be better than the radar but it really was not big enough and she was still able to lick the incision. But the donut did give her some comfort when she used it as a pillow so we kept it for when we were home with her and we could stop her from licking the wound. But when we went to work we had to leave her with the big radar. She was still limping a bit for the first week and her ankle (a.k.a. hock in animals) started to swell a lot and caused us concern. We called the vet and they said it was normal an so we brought her in a few days later and they removed the stitches.

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Sheika Relaxing With Her Doughnut

They recommended limited activity for another two weeks and then a gradual increase in activity including short walks that could get progressively longer. We kept her on a leash at all times when she was outside for about the next 6 months. She continued to get stronger and began using her leg more and more over those months.

Around month 6 we felt that we could soon let her off the leash in the backyard but there was another concern. We had steps from our deck to our house that did not have a rail. So we started blocking the steps with chairs and our hose container. But one day I was with her in the yard and Jany came out of the back door. Sheika was so excited to see her that she ran full speed and jumped up and over the hose container and onto the top landing of the steps! She must have jumped about four feet high and landed perfectly. We both stood there in shock at what we had just seen and immediately started making plans to build a rail on the deck!

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Building the Gate for the Deck Rail

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The Finish Deck Rail Prevents Air Sheika From Flying

The new rail was a success and Sheika continued to progress over the next several months. In her internet travels Jany came across another lady who had TPLO surgery on her Akita. She said that the hair on her leg would take almost a year to grow back and that by then she should be fully healed and running at 100%. We can tell you that it is now about 10 months later and her hair just finally filled in completely and she is running at 100%! She runs full speed back and forth in the yard and her muscle has built up completely so that she can stand up on her hind legs like every Akita should. She walks slightly different than she did before but she is not impeded in any way. In the end I am so happy we went with the TPLO surgery and that she is all better. Our vet told us that in most cases where one leg goes the other leg will go eventually as well but so far no sign of that so we will keep our fingers crossed.

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10 Months Later Sheika’s Leg is Fully Healed!

In the end each dog is different and you have to make your decisions based on the facts at hand and what you feel is best for your best friend. In hindsight I feel that we probably should have gone with our vet’s advice and gotten her the TPLO surgery sooner. I think that in delaying and try to rehabilitate her it actually caused her muscle to weaken more and possibly extended the recovery time, but I don’t have any definite proof of that. I still would have tried the rehabilitation first but if it did not work within the first 3 months I would have gone straight to the surgery instead of trying again for another 3 months.

We wish you all the luck in dealing with your best friend’s ACL injury and hope that recounting our experience may give you some insight and hope. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments below and we will do our best to answer them. Thanks for reading, best of luck and health to you and yours!

If you want to learn more about Sheika the Akita click here to visit her page!

If you want to check out the previous posts about Sheika’s torn ACL when we thought we could cure her you can see them here:
How to Repair a Dog’s Torn ACL: Lay Sod and Put up a Privacy Screens
How to Repair a Dog’s Torn ACL (Update)

Woof!

Nail Color: Van D’Go

17 Jul

I really like pink! Actually, let me rephrase that… I love pink! I love pink in every shade, light pink, dark pink, fuchsia basically any pink! So when I came across VAN D’GO by Essie I knew I had to get it! The color is so lovely, it’s a soft and delicate pink. I love this color!

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However I do have to be honest and tell you that it’s a love hate situation with this color. It’s a bit tricky to apply because this color is very milky, therefore as you are applying the color it creates streaks, lots of them. The best way to apply this color is to load your brush up with lots of nail polish and with light pressure apply your coats. I used two coats.

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All in all I really like this color however it does require a little practice and patience.

Enjoy!

Choosing a Wedding Venue

15 Jul

Hello future Brides & Grooms!

Today Josh and I want to talk about how we chose our wedding venue to hopefully give you some ideas in your own search. When Josh and I first got engaged we weren’t sure if we wanted to have a big wedding or not.  And when I say big I’m not referring to the number of guests, we already knew we wanted to keep it relatively small with family and close friends. What I mean is we didn’t know if we wanted to do the ceremony, the dinner and the party because truth be told a wedding is really hard work and also very expensive! Don’t let anyone else fool you otherwise!

A Preview of Our Final Choice!

But the more we talked about it the more we knew we wanted to celebrate our special day in a special way with the people we love! Once we made up our minds the next step was to decide when and where we would get married. Deciding what time of year was actually the easy part because we both wanted to get married outside and so we knew right off the bat that we would get married in December.

The main reason we choose December was because Josh is a teacher and the time off during winter break would be perfect! The second most important reason was due to the fact that we live in South Florida and the summers down here are painfully hot and humid! What bride and groom wants to look like they just stepped out of a pool? Also we wouldn’t want our guests to melt away either! December is definitely the high season in South Florida for weddings and almost anything else, so we knew the cost would be higher but we felt strongly that it would be worth it.  In hindsight we made the perfect choice, the weather was gorgeous and we both had some time off of work to handle all of the preparations and relax a little afterwards.  Once we figured out when we moved on to where???

Since we wanted to get married outside we knew we would not be getting married in a church.  So that left hotels, parks/historical sites, the beach, our backyard or even renting a mansion.  Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each:

  • Hotels have a lot of advantages including the ability to handle everything on site, as well as providing rooms for out of town guests.  The down side is that for a nice hotel the packages can get very costly.  In the end we chose this option and I’ll tell you why in a bit.
  • Parks and historical sites are beautiful and provide a natural setting for gorgeous pictures and the cost is relatively low.  On the other hand most have lots of restrictions that can cause complications and you have to also choose a second location for the dinner and party.  There was a park in our final list of options but we decided against it.
  • The beach is a very popular choice and can be an amazing venue but there can be some complications with the sand (particularly for ladies wearing heals) and just as with parks you would have to also choose a second location for dinner.  Since I love shoes and definitely wanted to wear a beautiful pair of heels we decided against this option.
  • Getting married in a backyard has grown in popularity due to the low cost and ease it offers, but if you want to do it right you will probably want to make some upgrades to the yard so that it looks perfect and those can get costly and time consuming depending on your time frame.  We did the research on what we would want done in our backyard and decided it was going to be too costly so this option was eliminated.
  • Renting a mansion is sort of the backyard option on steroids and we found several places that were offering rental packages to host both the wedding and the honeymoon.  But there was only one that fit in our budget and I can’t wait to tell you how that turned out!

So those are the main possibilities that we found for outdoor weddings and we were able to narrow the list down to a park, a couple of hotels and a mansion.

We really liked the idea of renting a mansion because we felt it would enable us to also have a nice relaxing honeymoon hanging out at the pool of the mansion.  But the best mansions, including Vizcaya and the Zen House in Coral Gables, were all very expensive and over our budget.  We did find one that we fell in love with online while looking at the numerous pictures…so we decided to schedule a visit.

Unfortunately, as is often the case on the internet, the truth was far from what was in the pictures.  When we arrived the owner told us he currently had some guests in the house but we could walk around the outside and pool area while he spoke to them.  We thought this was a little strange, what if he did this while we were staying here?  But we decided to look around and it was a mess! The landscaping was out of control, there were leaves everywhere and in the pool and the beautiful pond we saw online was overgrown with weeds and lily pads to the point that you could not even see the water.

We had already decided it was a big NO but we wanted to be polite to the owner when he came out and told us we could go in, so we went in…and we were greeted by a very strong odor!  We both gave each other an OMG look!  It was quite the scene and to top it off my mother had come with us to see the place!  You should have seen her jaw drop!  So we quickly looked around and said thanks but no thanks!

So next we moved on to parks and historical sites. The best one we found was the Deering Estate at Cutler but the Ancient Spanish Monastery in North Miami was a close second.  Unfortunately, we had to rule out Fairchild Tropical Gardens because of the high cost.  The Deering Estate has the added benefit of giving you access to the first floor of the main house, so you could also host the dinner there.  But because it is a historical site there are many rules and regulations.  Also, we were a little worried about the main parking lot being so far from the ceremony location, we had a few guests that have trouble walking and we did not want to inconvenience them.  In the end this one almost made the cut but we felt we had a much better option for a very similar price at the Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne!

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The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne Entrance and Fountain

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We Fell in Love with Everything!

The Ritz-Carlton Key Biscayne is not what you would think of when you are doing a wedding on a budget but for what we wanted it turned out to be perfect.  Josh first took me there for my birthday a few years ago and we loved the experience.  We enjoyed it so much that when Josh was deciding where he wanted to pop the question he felt this was the perfect spot. There is a section of the property where there was a gazebo and he proposed to me in front of it near the ocean, it was so gorgeous and perfect. But then we found out that they were going to tear down the gazebo!  Nobody could tell us why but we felt special that we were possibly the last people ever to get engaged there.

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What Was Our Beloved Gazebo 😦

But we were so impressed by the way the staff handled the evening of our engagement we felt that we could really rely on them to make our wedding perfect.  We really thought we had no chance though because the main list of fees for their wedding services are very very high because they include the use of the main lawn as well as a ballroom for the dinner.  But we decided to ask anyways and sure enough they offer a package for small wedding parties that includes a ceremony in front of the ocean and a sit down dinner!  We were so excited because the price for the ceremony area was under $3,000 and the dinner was reasonably priced under $100 per plate.  We also knew from our engagement experience and other dinners at the Ritz-Carlton’s Cioppino Restaurant that the dinner would be exceptional.  And to top it off we knew that we could stay at the hotel for another couple days after the wedding for a mini-honeymoon.  When we did the math and discussed everything we knew that this was going to give us the wedding of our dreams and stay within our budget!

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The Ocean Front Lawn on The Day We Decided it Was The Place

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These Flowers Had Us At Hello

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Looking Out From Our Ocean View Wedding Suite

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Our Customized Menus at Cioppino

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Our Private Dining Room Tables with DIY Centerpieces By Jany (post coming soon!)

In the end everything turned out 98% perfect, there were a couple of little issues that we will discuss in a later post about Planning the Day of Your Wedding that will give you some great tips but overall we couldn’t have been happier with our decision.  Our advice to you is to do a lot of research and go with your heart because this will be a day you will remember forever.  Don’t be afraid to ask about something that you are afraid may be out of your price range, you never know what they might do for you!  We wish you all the luck in the world in your search and if you have any questions please feel free to leave a comment below and we will do our best to help.

Best wishes,

Mr. and Mrs. Reich

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4th of July BBQ Appetizers: Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Caramelized Sausage Bites

2 Jul

Hi Everyone!

Today I am going to tell you how to make one of the easiest and most delicious appetizers you will ever try!  I am not kidding, these things will be flying off the plate and your guests will be demanding more.  Make sure you grab some for yourself while you are cooking them because if not there may not be any left for you!

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I came up with this tasty appetizer in college.  I would always BBQ at my house for the Miami Hurricanes away games but one day I wanted to create something different but easy so that I could spend more time watching the game and less time cooking.

Here is what you will need:

  • Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Recipe Barbecue Sauce
  • 1 Hillshire Farm Beef Smoked Sausage (will make about 25 pieces)
  • Aluminum Foil
  • BBQ Tongs
  • Dipping ramekin or sauce cup

Directions:

  1. About a half hour before you plan to cook the sausage cut it up into bite size pieces. IMPORTANT: Do not skip this step, some people prefer to cook the sausage whole and then cut it after but then you won’t get the caramelized sauce on all sides!
  2. Pour the sausages and enough of the Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Barbecue Sauce into a bowl so that there is enough sauce to cover all of the sausages
  3. Let that sit for 20-30 minutes
    Jack Daniels BBQ Appetizer 1
  4. Fire your grill to medium-high heat
  5. Cut a sheet of aluminum foil that is big enough to fit your sausages and double it up so that it is extra thick.  If you have heavy duty foil you don’t need to double it up
  6. Pour your sausages onto the foil
    Jack Daniels BBQ Appetizer 2
  7. Keep an eye on the sausages, when they start to caramelize and cook on one side turn them over to cook the other side
  8. Cook to desired color, some people like them a little charred others don’t, but I find that if part of each sausage is a little charred they have a good mix of flavor and texture
  9. Poor them on to a plate and stick toothpicks in them so that people can easily serve themselves
  10. Add a dipping ramekin with the left over BBQ Sauce for extra enjoyment!
    Jack Daniels BBQ Appetizer 3Jack Daniels BBQ Appetizer 4

Obviously there are many variations that you can try.  If you like your sausage spicy you can get a hot sausage, and Jack Daniel’s has a few other sauces that you may want to experiment with.  But this is the original and so far the best I have tried.  I hope you enjoy it!

Have a safe and happy 4th of July!

– Josh AKA The BBQ Sauce Boss

Oasis of The Seas Day 4: Sort of Alone on the Ship

1 Jul

Hello Again!

Today I am going to tell you about our time exploring the (mostly empty) ship while the rest of the passengers were away on excursions in Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas.  It may seem like a strange idea to skip out on a chance to visit an island that you have never been to but we were so fascinated by the ship that we really wanted some “alone time” with it.  Since it was our first time on the ship and since we had already decided we would definitely be back we wanted to get a chance to take some pictures without many other passengers around.

One of the best things we  did (and by we I mean Jany) for this vacation was to bring a tripod for our camera.  Since it was just the two of us, the only way we could get shots of us together would be to ask someone to take a picture of us and we are not big on bothering people so we knew that wouldn’t happen much…or at all.  So Jany brought her tripod and it leads to this…Tip: Bring a tripod for your camera so you can take some shots of yourselves around the ship without having to bother anyone.

The first couple of days we tried to take a few shots but since there are approximately 3,000 passengers on board there was always someone walking in and out of our shots.  So we decided to forgo Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas because we knew most of the passengers would be off the ship and we would have some privacy.  It definitely paid off as we were able to explore the ship by ourselves with nobody else around…it was great!

Here is the first shot we took in front of our favorite restaurant…there is a waiter attempting a photo bomb in the window if you look closely!

Oasis of The Seas Josh Jany 150Here is another shot in fabulous Central Park, none of this would have been possible without the tripod…did I mention I love my wife?  She thinks of everything and she’s smoking hot!

Oasis of The Seas Josh Jany ParkAs we made our way to the Boardwalk at the back of the ship the doors opened in front of us and we were treated to this spectacular display of how the carousel animals were made!  Being a big fan of woodworking I was totally fascinated by this!  Here is one of the first stages…

Oasis of The Seas Horse1And here is the next stage where the carving is happening, notice the hands with the chisel showing exactly how the artist made the cuts!

Oasis of The Seas Horse 2And here is the finished product on the actual carousel, this carousel was so cool, it had so many different animals and the work was so intricate!  Notice the rabbit behind the horse, one of my favorites!

Oasis of The Seas Horse 3Here is another one of my favorites: The Lion!

Oasis of The Seas LionAs we left the carousel we were greeted by a very old friend…it’s Zoltar from the movie BIG!!!  Seeing this guy just brought back so many childhood memories because BIG was one of my favorite movies as a kid…wasn’t it everyone’s?

Oasis-of-The-Seas-ZoltarWhen we got to the end of the display we turned around to take in what we had just seen and I snapped this shot of Jany taking a couple more pics, notice the tripod that we used for so many of our great shots.

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Jany-CarouselThis little monkey was so perfect we just had to take a shot of him, just one of the countless details that Royal Caribbean has put into the Oasis of The Seas.

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Dancing-MonkeyHere is another awesome character, this bear looks like Teddy Ruxpin, is Royal Caribbean just extracting memories from my childhood and manifesting them before my eyes?

Oasis-of-The-Seas-BearAs we left the carousel and headed out to the main boardwalk we had to turn around again and take it all in.  Look at the staterooms that look down on the boardwalk, I was still happier with our ocean view balcony but these were cool also.  You can see the Johnny Rockets to the right of the crazy guy with the balloons.  Overall it is made to look like a street with the lamp posts and banners…amazing!

Oasis of The Seas Jany Boardwalk

Our tripod took another picture of us at the mechanic this time, now this is a memory of my adulthood that I would rather not have been reminded about but at least I got the girl!  Why is there a moose crossing sign?

Oasis of The Seas Josh Jany CarHere is the rock climbing wall that scaled in 46 seconds flat!  Wait was that in my dreams?

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Climbing-WallHere is the famous Aquatheatre where they have an awesome Swimming and Diving Show that you have to see!  Notice the diving platforms all the way at the top by the crown on the Royal Caribbean logo, they actually dive from those!  There are also two giant screens where they play movies for the kids and the kids at heart.

Oasis of The Seas AquatheatreAfter a long day of hardly working we decided to relax at the mini golf course, you can see that the guy on the right is marveling at my skills.  You can also see the basketball court on the other side of the ship.

Oasis-of-The-Seas-Josh-GolfSo that was our wonderful day alone with  Oasis of The Seas, I know we would have enjoyed St. Thomas but I am so glad we spent a day by ourselves on the ship.  That night we went to Giovanni’s Table, the last of the three premium dining restaurants on board and it did not disappoint, even though it was the lowest price of the three.  Next trip we will probably do premium dining every night, although we may spend one night at the main Opus Dining room because or second time there was not as bad.  I will tell you about our second night in the Opus dining room on the next post.

All in all I continue to be amazed by this ship, even now writing this post I am in awe of the amount of detail that was put in to every corner!

Below are links to the other posts in the Oasis of The Seas series…

Oasis of The Seas Pre-Cruise Planning
Oasis of The Seas Boarding and Day 1
Oasis of The Seas Day 2: Atlantis and 150 Central Park
Oasis of The Seas Day 3: Central Park, Rising Tide Bar and a Bow for the Bow
Oasis of The Seas Days 5 and 6: St. Maarten and Dreamworks Parade

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