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]


Oktoberfest 2011, What a Blast!

Every year we go to Helen, GA for Oktoberfest, unfortunately last year we didn't make it out because we were busy planning our wedding, but this year we didn't let it slip and it was totally worth it! We had such a great time. We headed up to Helen with Kristin (Andrus), Curtis, and Natacha.

We were very excited because our VERY pregnant friend Kristin (Kneeland) was all about it and checked with her doctor far in advance as she wasn't letting her pregnancy stop her from doing anything! She's 9 months and a week pregnant and she was out having fun! She is quite the trooper, I can only hope that when I'm in her shoes, I would wear it as well! And if she had the motivation and energy to be there, there was no way we could miss out.

We had to work the Sugar Hill Fall Festival, but decided to dip out early to head up to Helen! I strategically mapped out route to avoid traffic, and we were absolutely successful. It was actually pretty nice because it was a gorgeous scenic ride and we were moving the whole time!

Once we go there, we walked a bit, mostly to get to the restrooms, and then we headed over to Margaritas' (we like to call it Paul's cause that's the place you see from the road), and they sell the big plastic cups that say Paul's on them. We actually had several other friends there to meet up with like Denise and Sean (who just had their little girl Catie)! She was adorable, and not allowed in the bars or course! They even asked, and the response they got was no one under 21! haha

Kristin's husband, Patrick,  and Robin also made it out and it was very nice to see them! And we also had a couple other friends, Natalie and Micheal who we hung out with and drank with for a while!

It was such a fun time! Kristin (Andrus) and I even took some time to walk around to a few shops! Had to stop in Hansel and Gretel Fudge Shop. Kristin bought some yummy Pumpkin Pie fudge for her friend Jamin, and we got a taste. It was delicious, and they only do that flavor in October (maybe into November) so if you're up there you should check it out!

And I couldn't leave without stopping by the shop we bought our awesome dog Chunk from. They of course were selling puppies again, and had an Rat Terriers this time. I couldn't resist, I had to hold him, although he was already sold! I wasn't about to buy another dog, he was NO CHUNK!

We headed back to meet up with our group, had a couple more drinks and then headed out. It was totally a blast! I can't wait until next year!


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...


Day Two of Mini Vaca: Perusing Downtown D.C.

Day Two we started the day with my cousin Vinnie's Wedding Rehearsal, but that was a short time before we headed back to D.C. to meet up with friends for dinner, drinks and FUN!

Check out some of our evening festivities!

We went for Sushi, Hookah and Drinks at Gazuza Lounge in Dupont Circle, and it was amazing! I'm not a hookah person, so I did not partake in that, but I did absolutely enjoy the sushi! The Sabotage Roll was the best! It will set your mouth on fire!!!

Me and Ashley enjoying the atmosphere! Paul was able to get some fun shots!

Then we headed around the other side of Dupont Circle to Eighteenth Street Lounge. A hip bar with good music and lot of interesting people (great for people watching)!

Jeff and his friends, Aliya and Cat... having a good time!

One of the only pics of Paul and I together on the trip! Thank you Ashley! :)

Me and Ash getting our buzz on!

Paul, doing the Jeff pose! haha

We had parted ways with Jeff and his friends at the Eighteenth Street Lounge and decided to meet back up with them. After leaving Dupont, we headed over to U Street for some more bar hopping. We stopped in one of  Jeff's favorite stops, Queen Makeda, it was pretty cool, but a little empty for our taste and Jeff and his friends weren't there, so onto the next stop!

From there we reunited with Jeff and his gang at Black Bird's or Black Cats... I'm really not sure! But it was a really cool spot and a nice place to end our D.C. bar tour!

And last, but certainly not least we stopped into the place that Jeff calls JUMBO SLICE, and had like a quarter of this huge pizza per person! It was definitely a good stop after a night of drinking, of course definitely off our diet. Oh well, it definitely hit the spot!

We made it home safe and sound, and actually woke up in plenty of time to head out to MD for the wedding (it started at 2PM and Paul was photographing so we had to be there early)! This was truly a busy weekend, but it's totally awesome to experience D.C. in new ways every time we go!

Click here for the full gallery of pics!


Day One of Mini Vaca: We made it to D.C.!

The drive up went really smooth, we were able to leave the house around 5AM, and made it into the city by 2:30PM. I think we hit is just right!

We're staying right in the city with a friend, and the house is pretty awesome and in walking distance of Capitol Hill! Thank you Jeff and especially Chantal for giving us a free place to stay! The house is a 1930's home and has so much character! Chantal also has a great garden in the back yard.

Hanging with friends, meeting new people, and catching up on old times! We were enjoying the good company of Jeff and Chantal.

After a few drinks, we decided to head over to the fish market to grab some fresh fish to grill out, gotta love having these kind of things so close!

We ended up getting some fresh grouper, and I was ready to get back to grill it up! I get grumpy when I'm hungry, can you tell??

Well we got back and the guys cooked up some amazing grouper (the best we've ever had!) and corn on the cobb, and it was amazing! After a long day of driving, I crashed, but the boys partied on!

It was definitely a good start to this mini vaca and wedding trip!


A Beautiful September Day on Lake Lanier

We were out on Lake Lanier yesterday, and it was absolutely gorgeous! This month is going to be an awesome one for some relaxing days on the lake. There was barely anyone out, I don't know if it was the time of the year of the fact that UGA was playing, but it was nice with minimal crowds, it was kind of like we had the lake to ourselves!


Check out some fun on Lake Lanier... we have video this time! Fun stuff ;-)

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w-dZ8cvwAS4]

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF2Gg_xG0-g]

We really need to plan a camping trip now that the temperatures are cooling down (especially at night)!


Labor Day Holiday in Smoky Mountains - North Carolina... Wonderful!

We've started an annual Labor Day trip to the Smoky Mountains with our friend's Shane and Ashley Cash. This was the third year out, and it was gorgeous! Of all the trips we've taken, I very much look forward to this one because it's not only beautiful, but its SOOOO relaxing. The cabin we rent is situated right on the river, and has an awesome covered porch with rocking chairs so you can relax and watch all the kayakers, rafters and tubers float by.

Even though Chunky had hurt himself, that didn't get him down! He loves to run, especially at the cabin in NC (cone and all)!
Ashley got a cool watch and it a super cute Zebra Bag!
We just love jewelry!
I got a really cute new bracelet and it was only $5!

The highlights of this trip mostly took place in Asheville, which is about a 45 minute drive from where we were staying. Unbeknown-st to us, there are a festival going on down North Lexington St., where we were entertained with people watching everywhere we looked! It was pretty awesome.

Labor Day Weekend Festivities in Asheville, NC
The Festivities Begin!
People watching is so fun!
Enjoying a beer at the Thai Restaurant we stopped at...
Lunch with the Cash's in Asheville, NC
Musical Delights, The Johnny Cakes...
Very Cool
Little ole me...
We were the weird ones without these awesome outfits!
This was another character we watched... and he didn't have shoes! UGH. Of course he wasn't the only one!
You have to see both the front and the back to get the full effect of this kind of people watching! haha
Yeah, what a fun time... can't wait until next year!

Click here to view the full gallery!

Ashley and I enjoyed our shopping in both Asheville and downtown Dillsboro, and while we tried to make it to the Biltmore for a wine tasting, we were a bit too distracted and missed out on that opportunity! Either way it was an awesome trip, and we can't wait for next year!


Congratulations to Liz and Josh! What a Beautiful Wedding!

This past weekend Paul and I were down in St. Simon's Island for a wedding! Liz (the bride) was a previous co-worker of Paul's and she asked if he would do the honor of photographing her big day. Liz and Josh were married at Villa De Suenos, a gorgeous luxury oceanfront home in St. Simon's Island. It was a beautiful estate, amazing weather, and a very sweet intimate ceremony.

We were very excited to be able to share in Liz and Josh's big day! Take a peak at some of the beautiful images from the wedding!

The location was amazing! I would love to go back for a week vaca/couple's retreat! Wouldn't that be fun!?

To see more photos check out Paul Perdue Photography!


Paul's Awesome Photography in St. George Island

Following our trip to PCB, Paul and Elaine traveled to St. George Island to meet with another client, Sandy Mitchem, and network a bit. St. George Island is beautiful! Check out the images below and click here to view the full gallery!

Amazing photography Paul, you are SO talented! Love you! ;-)