Luxury, Power, Technology, Comfort, Appeal and Self Respect!

As our family continued to grow, we realized we would need another vehicle that would accommodate that fact on top of many other wants and needs that we had. We find that so many families are too quick to dismiss self image and join the mini van club. As if this is the only thing that can accommodate the needs of a growing family or the gathering of groceries.

Monica and I have been looking for a vehicle over the past 2 years that would not be a mini van but also not be a huge monstrosity of an SUV. Monica being vertically challenged could only see over the dashboards of very few vehicles. She did not want anything that was excessively large but would also include enough towing capacity to pull a larger cabin cruiser (that was naturally my need LOL). Not many options fell within this criteria. You have your Yukons, Suburbans, Crew Cabs, Navigators, Escalades, Explorers and a few other super large SUV's that could pull over 7,500 lbs but unfortunately for us, they would not fit in the garage and we felt the quality just was non existent without an absurd price increase.To be open minded, we looked at all these vehicles just to make sure it was not what we wanted. We even looked into Audis, Porsche, BMW, Infinity and Lexus and the ability to tow 7,500+ lbs was not a feature that was included with these brands

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We had been eyeing the new Dodge Durango for at least 2 years since the 3rd generation new body style dropped. Specifically the 2014 - 2015 Dodge Durango RT because the rear light were (for a lack of better terminology) BAD ASS. We were looking for black on black with all the options and the Hemi. The problem we ran into was this vehicle is a unicorn. If it existed, we were not finding it anywhere. We would occasionally find a used one or new 2014 for the same price as the brand new ones.

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We were currently in a Hyndai Santa Fe Limited which we loved very much. It was in immaculate shape as this is how we took care of it. We had even customized it with an in dash DVD player with backup camera and 22" custom wheels. We could mirror our iPhones to the 7 inch in dash double din head unit and play Hulu, Netflix or whatever else was of interest. Because we traveled so much for Real Estate photography, this was an essential addition. You can see the full video tour of our 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe limited here. It was our plan to use the money as a down payment on the Dodge Durango RT.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=84cU1zT6cn4&w=640&h=360]

We were on our way home from Panama City Beach when a teenager immediately pulled out from a side street  in front of us. There was no room to react fast enough to avoid the collision. We T boned the mid 80's F-150 in the rear drivers side tire. Thank the Lord that everyone was ok. Even the Hyundai (while looking quite bad) was still running smoothly. After exchanging info and having the police write up a report, we drove back to Atlanta.

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It took 2 months to go through the typical bullshit you get from an insurance company. After 2 weeks of going back and forth with GEICO, we went up to their office to get a check for $14,000. About 10 minutes into our meeting they look at us and say "we have some bad news". Apparently in Florida you only are required to have a minimum of 10,000 in property damage which would not cover the value of our vehicle. GEICO could only cut us a check for that.

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After immediately walking out we contacted our own insurance company Nationwide. Talk about being put through the ringer with GEICO, it was worse with Nationwide. They did not want to give us the value of our vehicle. They came in at $11,000 which was $3,o00 less then what GEICO was willing to pay before they realized their clients were underinsured. Long story short, I had to provided more documents to back the value until we eventually got the price up to $13,000. Lets just say it made Monica cry how evil both insurance companies were about this process. I honestly do not know how people that work in that industry sleep at night.

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But after all that, we always try to look on the bright side of any situation, and the luck of it all is we were in a position to now get our current dream vehicle! The 2015 Dodge Durango RT! We originally were looking for a Citadel, because it was chromed out and super sexy looking but came to find from our buying experience at Chrysler, Dodge Jeep of Gwinnett that we could have everything we were looking for in the RT! It was black on black leather with red stitching and red embroidered RT seats. This is the most sexy, masculine piece of SUV on the road period. It even has the black out 20" rims and sub in the trunk from the factory! The rear end looks like something out of the movie TRON.

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We were amazed at how much technology this car had. You could locate the lowest price gas station, or see what is playing at the movies with the in dash technology Uconnect system. Heated and cooled seats with heated steering wheel. You have 2 settings on the seat that would adjust the seat to each driver, but not only that, it would adjust the seat, radio, temperature settings and all that you wanted to program to match the driver! The dash is equiped with a 7inch customizable dash cluster. When you set the cruise control, you can set a 1 to 5 car length distance so when a vehicle in front begins to brake, so does the Durango. It will come to a complete stop and start back up to speed with traffic all on cruise control. You just have to hold the steering wheel! Don't forget the power lift gate, easy third row access, keyless entry and remote start.

For safety the Durango includes many aspects like blind spot warning, backup camera with sensors, front end sensors with brake assist. The brake assist is a very cool feature. Lets say that same kid pulls out in front of us again. The Durango will instantly brake faster then your brain can react to aid in avoiding a collision.

Now, I could go on and on about the technology they put in this beauty but the Dodge website does a great job already, so check out this link to see what else is included (click the image)

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Our wish list did not originally include all this technology, but it was super cool to find out it was included with the Durango. We were looking for something that would seat more than 4 to 5 people, without taking the dreaded MINI-VAN path! The Durango could seat 6 to 7 passengers. In addition to that we needed something that could tow a cabin cruiser, to continue the "dream!" The Durango has a towing capacity of 7,400 lbs. This proved to pull a 25 foot Regal Windows Express cabin cruiser quite well! With Standard Trailer Sway Control+ applies brake pressure on alternating wheels and may adjust engine throttle to help eliminate sway and maintain vehicle and trailer system stability.

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To pull a boat that size you need power. Well the 5.7 liter Hemi has power and an exhaust sound that will make any dude smile like a joker! As Dodge would say "So don't do it. With the Dodge Durango, you're getting the triple threat of Best-in-Class power+, towing capacity+ and standard fuel economy of 25 highway mpg+. You're getting a vehicle that doesn't wait around for anyone or anything. It's the left lane or bust."

  • 360-HP 5.7L HEMI® V8 Engine with Fuel Saver Technology and 390 LB-FT of Torque
  • Performance Steering and Sport Suspension (Lowered 20mm)
  • Class-Exclusive 20-Inch Hyper Black Aluminum Wheels+
  • Dual Rear Exhaust with Bright Tips
  • High-Intensity Discharge (HID) Headlamps with Black Bezels

The moral of the story is you no longer have to settle, sell out, ride the mainstream, lower self worth by driving a mini van. You can have your cake and eat it too. We love our new 2015 Dodge Durango RT. You need to check it out for yourself. Smiles per gallon baby! Now we are officially a Mopar family!

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Need more? This is a great video covering the Durango RT

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s6nVQd4q8m8&w=640&h=360]


Dabbling with Some Baby Man Photo Video!

We were up into the late hours playing with all the pictures and some video that we've collected of Liam so far and couldn't resist putting this little video together!

Hope you enjoy, it's short and sweet! I can't imagine what it'll look like when we've got a year of photos!

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=naU-4fu5eXo&w=750&h=422]


Our Maternity Shoot

This past weekend Paul and I, with our good friend Elaine Hoyt, decided to knock out our maternity shoot! We are always trying to think outside of the box and with some awesome props like Paul's new Challenger and some adorable cowboy boots that were Paul's as a baby we got some awesome original shots!

We did everything in Buford, but started in a wide open parking lot in the back of an industrial park nearby. Starting off pretty safe with some cute shots of the "three" of us with the Challenger, Paul wanted to switch things up by doing some donuts in the Challenger behind me! While I wasn't originally for that idea, it turned out AWESOME!

After that we headed to downtown Buford where we were able to get some cool rustic shots. And oh my was I shocked to see how big my belly has gotten! Check it out!

maternity_perdueosityThank you so much to Elaine and Paul for making this first baby and Maternity Shoot so absolutely memorable and beautiful!

 


Pretty Stoked!

Paul and I photographed a wedding a couple of weeks ago, and I am pretty stoked about how the pics turned out! I've done some second shooter work with him for various weddings, but this one I felt like I brought a lot more to the table!

Check out the post here!


We Did It!!! It's Our Photo Heart!

I've been wanting to do something with our HUGE accent wall in our bedroom for some time now, and to buy art or print large canvas photos for this wall would just cost too much money! I was torn because I wanted to be able to feature images that were meaningful to Paul and I, so I either wanted pictures of us, or photographs Paul has taken.

I found this idea on Pinterest, and fell in love, and was determined to make it happen! I calculated costs for frames, printing prints, and nails to hang everything, and it wasn't bad (about $120.00 total). Now our heart is about 5 ft wide at the widest point and about 3.5 to 4 ft tall from the bottom most point to the highest point. To purchase canvas prints to cover that approximate space, we would need at least two and at Paul's cost it would be a minimum of $300 (not including shipping)! So doing this cool and sentimental design, not only did we save probably $200 or more, we now have a very cool piece of art that is all about US!

From conception to completion, it only took us a few hours, not including the time it takes to purchase the frames and time waiting to get the prints in the mail. We bought the frames at IKEA ($1.99 a piece), and got the cool metallic prints through Paul's Photography Vendor Smugmug. We got a deal b/c Paul is a photographer and was able to get them at cost, but we did splurge a little for the metallic prints, so you could easily do it for as much or less than we did! And Paul, being very meticulous about design laid out the design on our computer with exact measurements. It was great for us to be able to visualize how it would look! He just took a picture of the bedroom and digitally put in frames with pictures so we could measure out how many frames would fit, based on the size of the wall and the 5x7 size I chose! With the upfront work that Paul did, it only took a small amount of time to hang! I think I spent more time putting pictures in the frames than he spent hanging them. Paul was definitely leery about putting 28 holes in the wall, but as you can see, it was totally worth it! It is AWESOME!

And you know what I love most about this!?? It can totally be a living piece of art.... as we get new pictures or grow our family, I can swap out old pictures for new ones. I absolutely love that!

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Santa's Back! Get Your Santa Pictures with Our Favorite Santa

Last year we did a photo shoot with Santa (at our house) and he's back again this year! I'm definitely planning to get some family shots (Paul, Chunk and myself... the cats aren't really into pictures).

Chunk really enjoyed getting his picture taken with Santa, and I know he will be excited to visit with him again this year! Check out some of the great shots we got last year!

Paul is working with the REAL Santa Claus and they've got some great packages for your holiday photos! And if you just want to give your kids a great Santa experience, it's totally FREE! The only cost you would incur is if you want to walk away with photos. Either the sitting fee cost (for those that choose to bring your own camera) or you can buy photos, discs and holiday cards.

The atmosphere will be warm and cozy at the festive Perdue Mansion with great holiday sounds and complimentary Milk and Cookies! Oh YEAH!

Definitely check out the details at SantaShoot.com or contact Paul directly at 770-316-2812 or info@perduevision.com

Also you can check Paul's photography out at PaulPerdue.com!


Anniversary Weekend: Limo, Champagne & ARIA

The first evening of our wonderful anniversary weekend, started with an amazing evening on the town! We checked into the same hotel we were married at and stayed at our wedding night. We were married at Ventanas which was packed with great new exciting wedding events which others will be celebrating for years to come. And connected to Ventanas is the great hotel, HGI Downtown. We were lucky enough to get the Presidential Suite for our anniversary, and it is definitely worth the stay!

Following check-in we got ready for our evening out. Paul reserved our favorite limo driver/service James with .... and we were on our way, limo, champagne and now onto aria.

This was one of several dinner options Paul had thought would be great for our anniversary dinner. We made a reservation for 9:15, and got there in plenty of time to hang out at the cool bar and lounge. It was a very cool experience and moving from the bar area to our dinner table was like transitioning from one very cool space to another even cooler space. It was quite the experience!

aria's menu changes on a daily basis, so you never know for sure what you may be in store for, but every bit of the menu that we experience was extraordinary!

We started with several appetizers, the Thin Sliced Smoked Atlantic Salmon (with red onion, capers crème fraîche, and crispy potatoes), Lemon Ricotta Ravioli (chanterelle, shiitake, sage brown butter and parmesan), and finally the Pan Seared New Bedford Jumbo Sea Scallops (with white corn, bacon, and parmesan risotto). It was all AMAZING! We were absolutely blown away especially by the first two, the smoked salmon just melted in our mouth, and the Lemon Ricotta Ravioli was such a unique and amazing mixture of flavors with the lemon, ricotta and sage butter. You would think this could not be topped, but the entrees were even better!

Paul ordered the Slow Braised Colorado Lamb Shank (with soft polenta, swiss chard, garlic parsley crumbs, and natural lamb jus) and I ordered the Painted Hills Ranch Natural Beef Short Rib (with shiitake mushroom risotto, pea shoots, sugar snap peas, and tender carrots). AMAZING! The Lamb Shank was so tender and moist and HUGE! We needed a to-go box for that, and I cleaned my plate, with a little help from Paul. The Short Rib was absolutely delicious, and accompanied by the unbelievably amazing risotto, I was in heaven! FYI the Short Rib is something they have chosen to keep on the menu for a long time now, so if you aren't keen on change, it's still a restaurant you should check out if not only to try that Short Rib!!!

Before leaving this amazing establishment, we inquired about the very interesting chandelier and apparently it was a piece that was commission specific for the restaurant and has been inquired about by many. I don't know that I need to describe is so much as just show you...

Following that amazing mean, we hopped back into the limo for more champagne and limo photo fun!

And finally, back to the hotel for a fun little toast of the evening and our anniversary! SO MUCH LOVE!


Who Says You Can Only Wear Your Wedding Dress Once!?

I was married almost a year ago, and not more than a month before my wedding, my good friend Yarden was also married. We spent a lot of time together in the process of planning our weddings and after it was all done, we thought "this can't be the last time we wear these awesome dresses and shoes!!!

So we agreed that we would plan a photo shoot where my husband Paul (the photographer) would photograph us throughout Atlanta in our awesome dresses and shoes! We originally thought we would do it in the spring, but time kept passing and we never made an official date! But it worked out because this past July another very good friend of mine, Desi, got married to her long time love Tristan! And so now we had three gorgeous woman and three gorgeous dresses waiting to be stars yet again!

You always hear about groups of brides getting together for a night out on the town, but never have I heard or seen really awesome fun photos, and that's exactly what we've got!

Thanks to Paul (my wonderful husband and AMAZING photographer) and our friend Natalie Webb (who has been cranking out some awesome work since her recent break into the photography world). They both have an amazing eye, and I have to say it was hard to narrow it down to the 30 or so pics I included in this post! So definitely check out the full gallery!

We had such a blast, I would totally do it again! Check out the online gallery here, and definitely email Paul is you're interested in doing a shoot like this, he can even include a limo!

Thank you so much Desi, Yarden, Paul and Natalie, this was awesome!


A Georgian Terrace Maternity Shoot to Remember!

Paul had his first Maternity Shoot yesterday with a previous client. He had worked with Paige for her vow renewal (wedding ceremony) in Peachtree City at the Wyndham Peachtree Conference Center, and she loved those pics so much she called him up for her maternity shoot!

Paul met Paige at the Georgian Terrace Hotel downtown Atlanta, just in front of the Fox Theater, and the had an amazing shoot! Paige will surely be even more impressed this time around.

Check out some of these gorgeous images, this is just the tip of the iceberg!

You should definitely get in touch with my Paul Paul for our next shoot! He does it all and he does an awesome job!

Check him out... paulperdue.com


Day Three of Mini Vaca: My Cousin Vinnie is Married!

The last evening in the D.C./Annapolis area was for my cousin Vinnie's wedding!

The day started early at Renditions Golf Club in Davidsonville, MD. While it was a dreary cold day, we had a blast! Theresa was all smiles and everyone was super excited for the big day! Paul did a great job, and we've got tons of great images for Vinnie and Theresa to choose from!

Here's a peek...

Theresa had three bridesmen, and they were great! I was surprised how attentive they were!

My cousins, the Sisca brothers, Nick, Vinnie and Damien.

Congratulations Theresa and Vinnie! It was a beautiful wedding for a beautiful couple! We love you guys!

Click here to view the full gallery...