Taryn & Liam’s Cherry Blossom Engagement Pictures!

This afternoon’s Cherry Blossom engagement shoot is full of fun and love ~ two of my favorite things. Washington, DC wedding photographer, Jenn Link Photography, shares this adorable session and told me about Taryn & Liam. They JUST moved to DC in January [from Miami] – so what better place to take engagement pictures, than by the blossoms?

Tara & Liam’s love story:

I like to think of me and Liam as high school sweethearts, but really we were high school flirt-oholics. We met our sophomore year, and the biggest thing I noticed about Liam back then was that he gave the BEST hugs.

He spent sophomore year stealing my shoes, junior year teaching me Calculus, and senior year watching me get kicked out of Calculus class once a week! I spent my time trying to drop hints, convincing him to come on retreats with me, asking for tutoring sessions during homeroom, and sneaking notes out of his locker from all the other girls who were falling all over him!

But all of this was to no avail; the boy was completely oblivious.

Click inside for the rest of this adorable Cherry Blossom engagement feature ~ AND the rest of Taryn & Liam’s love story!

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We are on Ready Set Feast!

In happier news … my personal turkey burger recipe (Aka Bree’s Bangorang Burgers) is up on lifestyle running blog, Ready Set Feast.

The editor, Kelsey, is hi-larious – and honestly one of my favorite bloggers. So even if you aren’t into running – her blog will either cause you to want to be or at least allow you to burn calories from laughing so hard!

Hope you enjoy the recipe!

Don’t Use Google Adsense

I apologize for this personal post that I am about to unleash on you. But at this point, I just feel so powerless and frustrated, I don’t know what else to do.

A few days ago I received this email from Google Adsense:

Hello,

After reviewing our records, we’ve determined that your AdSense account
poses a risk of generating invalid activity. Because we have a
responsibility to protect our AdWords advertisers from inflated costs due
to invalid activity, we’ve found it necessary to disable your AdSense
account. Your outstanding balance and Google’s share of the revenue will
both be fully refunded back to the affected advertisers.

Please understand that we need to take such steps to maintain the
effectiveness of Google’s advertising system, particularly the
advertiser-publisher relationship. We understand the inconvenience that
this may cause you, and we thank you in advance for your understanding and
cooperation.

If you have any questions or concerns about the actions we’ve taken, how
you can appeal this decision, or invalid activity in general, you can find
more information by visiting
http://www.google.com/adsense/support/bin/answer.py?answer=57153.

Sincerely,

The Google AdSense Team

I was shocked – I have never clicked my own ads or bought any of those programs to increase my ad revenue/SEO. I had no idea where this was coming from. I immediately sent it to my friend Steve and he told me there was no reason this should have happened.

The only explanation he could come up with after talking to some of his blogger friends was that I could have been sabotaged – that someone purposefully went to my site and clicked the ads multiple times to have my account shut down …. I cannot really even bear the thought that this could be true.

So I appealed the claim and fought the best I could. Much to my utter dismay this morning, I received this next response from Google Adsense:

Hello,

Thank you for your appeal. We appreciate the additional information you’ve
provided, as well as your continued interest in the AdSense program.
However, after thoroughly re-reviewing your account data and taking your
feedback into consideration, our specialists have confirmed that we’re
unable to reinstate your AdSense account.

Please know that, once we’ve reached a decision on your appeal, further
appeals may not be considered, and you might not receive any further
communication from us. Note that AdSense publishers whose accounts are
disabled for violations of our Terms and Conditions are not eligible for
further participation in AdSense. For this reason, you may not open new
accounts.

Also, accounts disabled for invalid click activity will receive no further
payment nor any reissue of previous payment. Your outstanding balance and
Google’s share of the revenue will both be fully refunded back to the
affected advertisers. Thank you for your understanding in this matter.

We understand that you may want more information about your account
activity. However, because we have a need to protect our proprietary
detection systems, we’re unable to provide our publishers with any details
about their account activity.

Pardon my french, but what a load of utter shit that response is. Sure Google, I am sure you took the time to review my account and I am sure you appreciate my response. I understand their need to protect the advertisers – but what about me? Their customer? Why do they feel no allegiance or need to protect me?

Google Adsense has basically stolen the ad revenue that I have worked hard to generate through building my SEO and reader base. They hold all the power and have given me none.

I intend to continue emailing them, everyday, to express my frustration, anger, and complete dissatisfaction with their policies and lack of concern for their users. At this point, I don’t know what else to do other than blog/Facebook/Tweet about it. I feel wronged, and I am just not the type of person that can let this slide.

Any advice/shared experiences/empathy would be greatly appreciated.

 

 

How to Have a DIY Wedding: #1. Time

Welcome back to our recurring DIY Weddings spot, where we share our advice on having a DIY Wedding! Last week we outlined why we thought you should have a DIY Wedding, the benefits and the savings. This week we will start explaining HOW you can accomplish a DIY Wedding, and we are starting with #1 – Time.

[via memegenerator.net]

The number one thing you need, in order to have a D.I.Y. wedding is TIME. When you decide to make your own wedding details (invites, decor, etc), you have to be sure you are willing to spend a good amount of time not only making the items, but planning them out, purchasing the things you need for them, AND practicing to make them.

Obviously the time it takes to make DIY projects varies depending on the type of projects you have and the number of things you are making, but realistically, you need to take a look at your life prior to your wedding, and decide – will I really have time to make 150 favors by hand, stitch 12 table runners, make 50 programs, etc …

If you said YES! I do have that time … then AWESOME, I am so excited for you! And, I already have a piece of advice to help you:

make things that can be used twice.

Making things that can be used twice can not only save you some time, but some money too!

A couple examples of this would be to make ceremony decorations, that could then be used again at the reception or cocktail hours, or have your centerpieces double as the favor at the end of the night!.

Our church pew decorations …

…became our cocktail hour decorations:

And our table centerpieces became the favor for our guests to take at the end of the night (DIY christmas ornament favors!):

But, generically speaking, it probably took my husband and I (not counting the projects that our friends and family made for our wedding) 5-6 hours a week to complete all of our DIY wedding projects ~ and we started about 9 months out from the wedding.

This comes to about 230 hours total … or almost 10 full days spent making things for our wedding. Some weeks we spent more, and some less – but the fact of the matter here, is that DIY projects take TIME to make – so if you don’t think you will have a ton of it over the course of your wedding planning, then you should either consider finding a vendor to do the project for you … or…

you should come back next week to find out our #2 item!!

What do you think ~ are you going to spend lots of time making DIY items for your wedding, or will you just let the pros do their thing?

Unique Wedding or Bridal Shower Gift Idea: Shopping with Olios

Introducing a seriously awesome, unique, [and of course, non-traditional] wedding gift or bridal shower gift idea for the Washington, DC area ~ the gift of personalized shopping with an interior designer [& her store discount!].

What do I mean? Well, remember this awesome bride from her travel-themed DIY Virginia wedding we featured? Turns out Katie is a super talented interior designer, and she just came up with an ingenious idea: personalized interior design shopping, called “Shopping with Olios“.

Katie shares the details:

This season, indulge in a few hours of shopping with your very own personal interior designer. Whether you are in need of a few new pieces of furniture, looking for some fresh ideas, or want to surprise that special friend with the gift of design, I am yours for the entire afternoon!

But wait, it gets better… I will even pass on my designer’s discount to you! You heard it right! Choose from a variety of stores, like Crate and Barrel, West Elm, and Pottery Barn (just to name a few), with up to five hours of shopping!

All of this if yours for $200

And … her reasoning for starting the program:

Whether large corporate chain stores or small one-of-a-kind shops, DC does have a ton of opportunities when it comes to interior furnishings! By offering this service, I hope to empower people in the area to expand their shopping options available.

This service is to help people ‘hunt’ for that perfect piece, without it being a completely overwhelming process. Through this (up-to) 5-hour day of shopping, I want to learn what my clients need, guide them in the right direction, and teach them how to create a space they will love. I have a strong desire to help my clients be bold in their selections and help them understand how they can truly individualize their personal space.

Personally, I think this would just be the COOLEST gift to receive as a bride to be, or a newlywed. After coming home from the honeymoon, Andy and I wanted to get right to work on updating our newly shared space and creating a home that was “ours”. I would have LOVED to have been given 5 hours of shopping with a professional interior designer – especially one that can share her store discounts on purchases, to help us create that space!

BUT WAIT…. THERE’S MORE: Just for being a Capitol Romance reader ~ you get 10% off the package by mentioning this blog post! All you have to do is mention something you love about Capitol Romance in the comments or within the contact form on Katie’s website and the deal is yours!

Still not convinced? Well – hop on inside this post and check out some of Olios Design’s amazing work AND some even cooler information that might just sweeten this deal even further …

Heather & Steve’s Gramercy Mansion Wedding in Baltimore, Maryland

This morning I have an adorably sweet Baltimore, MD wedding to share with you from wedding photographer, Kathy Hertel Photography [submitted via Two Bright Lights]. Heather & Steve had spent a really long time together after meeting in high school, but allowed time to pass before they made the decision to get married. To them, the wait was worth it, Heather told me:

“Time makes it worth the while knowing that there is always going to be someone by your side waiting with you. “

Heather & Steve’s wedding at the Gramercy Mansion in Baltimore, featured a soft, spring color palette and lots of intimate, hand-made touches. I know you guys will love this one! Enjoy.

Their love story:

What is special about our love is the fact we fell in love at the right time and at the right moment. Even though we knew each other in high school, it wasn’t the right time to fall in love. Timing is everything. Both Steve and I knew we were at the right time in our lives to fall in love when we spoke “I love you,” for the first time. We shared 8 years through easy and difficult journeys and we were there together to share in those times. Time makes it worth the while knowing that there is always going to be someone by your side waiting with you.

Steve and I knew it was the right time to get engaged when we couldn’t imagine sharing our time with someone else but each other. We were engaged in 2009 during our romantic cruise to the Bahamas. To some people, it was about time. To us it is the perfect time to start this new journey together as husband and wife. We now look to our futures in seeing all the time we have to live our lives to start a home, a family, a new journey.

We wanted the wedding to be romantic, elegant, and simply intimate. Right from the start, we had luck on our side when choosing our location of our wedding ceremony and reception. When we toured the Gramercy Mansion, we were immediately enchanted by the elegance and charm that we fell in love. Gramercy had everything we were looking for; a romantic garden scenery, antiques that decorated the reception rooms, and all without bringing any additions to make it attractive for our wedding.

From then on, everything else fell right into a perfect place for our wedding.

Click inside for the rest of Heather & Steve’s Baltimore, MD wedding at the romantic Gramercy Mansion.

Jess & Ethan’s Reston Town Center Engagement in VA

We are back this afternoon with an engagement session courtesy of Abby Grace Photography. This session holds a special place in her heart as it’s actually her BROTHER that is featured in this shoot today :)

Things I love about this session: it has an adorably in-love couple, the second half of the session was taken in a parking garage [yes! alternative engagement shoot locations!] and, Ethan gave us the write-up for the “about us” and proposal story. I am not sure what it is, but I get a little extra giddy when the dudes give me the feature write-ups, maybe because weddings always seem so bride/woman-focused, I love when the guys get involved.

OH and check out Ethan’s brown attire in the shoot …. look familiar?

Jessica & Ethan’s Reston Town Center Engagement Session

About the couple:

Jessica and I met June 6 2009 (D-Day) in the Brittania Arms pub in Monterey, California. Jess had seen me around base running my Marines and inquired amongst her friends where she might find me. She walked into the pub that night and I casually remarked to my friend that “She looks so much prettier out of uniform”. He asked me if I wanted him to talk to her for me. I went ashen and said “no, no please,” because I was too embarrassed to talk to her. My friend brought her over to me and we hit it off. She gave me her phone number and said I could call her. I called her on my way home from the bar that night. We went on a date the next day and fell in love. We spent every day together for the entire month before Jessica left for Texas. We decided to break up because the distance would be too great, the day she left. About an hour after she was on the road we called each other and decided we couldn’t live without each other.

Can I just say that i LOVE that Jess is rockin’ a hoodie here – she looks adorable! Dress like yourselves at your engagement shoots … Ok people?

Abby shares a bit on the session:

The e-session took place on a chilly morning in Reston Town Center. Ethan and Jess’s e-session was really special to me because I’ve seen the effect she has on him. No one’s ever been able to tame Ethan’s more sarcastic side, but then Jess came along and, well, Ethan’s still sarcastic. But I’ve never seen anyone love the way he loves Jessica. I can’t wait to have her as my sister-in-law; she is the BEE’S. KNEES.

Click inside for the rest of this adorable Reston Town Center engagement session from Abby Grace Photography ~ including the adorable proposal story from Ethan!

Wedding Music That Doesn’t Suck: “Sandra Partial”

If you haven’t heard of the band Bayside, or listened to any of their music, then you really need to.

Recently, the lead singer started a side project/solo venture and just released the EP called “New Cathedrals”. The solo project is a bit more mellow/not so rock-heavy [iTunes dubbed it alt-country … I beg to differ]. Anyway, one of the songs on the EP, “Sandra Partial” is a catchy, beautiful little love song.

lyrics:

 And distance distance tell me that you missed this
I’d wait here all the time I’m truly in love with you
Distance distance tell me that you missed this
I’d wait here all the time I would wait here all the time
I’d wait here all the time and that’s alright

Personally, I think this would make a fabulous punk-rock wedding song, maybe for your first dance or at least for your cocktail hour playlist. And if your name is Sandra … well then, it’s even more perfect.

Happy Monday everyone ~ back this afternoon with an adorable engagement shoot from Abby Grace Photography.

Global Wedding Details ~ Incorporating Into Your Wedding

We are back with guest post #2 from Kate Linde Bridal. Last week Kate talked to us about how to select your dream wedding dress, and this week she will tell us about some gorgeous details that occur in weddings outside of the US ~ and how you could incorporate them into your own wedding!

Global Wedding Touches for the Jet-Setting Bride

Today’s bride has unprecedented access to the world around her, a world that is becoming a smaller place thanks to ease of travel and the internet. The internationally-minded, jet-setting bride, therefore, has unlimited opportunities to incorporate the best of all cultures, be it a gown from a clever Eastern European designer or a recipe from an ancestral home. Here are some global touches that you can incorporate into your nuptials!

Sweet Treats

[Jessica & Joe’s Old World Wedding via Bridal Musings // images by Brooke Courtney Photography]

When it comes to edible pleasures, brides cast the net far and wide for the best ideas from all lands. Colorful French Macarons are one of the most popular delicacies today. Traditional fruit cake, featured at Will and Kate’s royal wedding, is seeing a comeback. Delicate Russian Tea Cakes, Mexican Wedding Cookies and towering French Croquembouche complement or even replace wedding cakes, and the Mediterranean tradition of vast cookie displays to which every guest contributes capture the spirit of love and community that are so meaningful on a wedding day.

Wedding Party

More brides are incorporating cross-cultural wedding party assemblies today than ever before. For example, in the UK, the wedding party, including the bridesmaids and flower girls, wear white and often there are only children in the wedding party. Greek weddings have given us alternate roles for kids: some now act as Bible, Cross, Crown or Gift Bearers, adding to their significance in the ceremony.

Music

You won’t just hear Canon in D or “Here Comes the Bride” on an organ anymore. Brides may follow traditional bagpipes down the aisle at Scottish-inspired weddings. In Russian weddings, couples may choose a “Gypsy violin” or other traditional instrument to provide musical inspiration.

Traditions

[image via PW Photography]

Couples are borrowing elements from many cultures to make their own days more meaningful. Henna artists are establishing themselves in and out of the Indian wedding community as they are sought out to decorate the hands and feet of adventurous brides. You don’t have to be Jewish today to have a beautiful wedding contract, or Ketubah, artistically lettered just for you. You might even emulate the Celtic tradition of hand-fasting which originally inspired the phrase “tying the knot” to your own celebration.

Fashion

And last, but certainly not least, we can’t help but turn our attention to bridal fashion. Consider embracing a bridal gown designer that reflects your heritage or accenting the look with such global touches as a Spanish Mantilla veil or a Fleur de Lis pin tucked into your gown.

When it comes to the jet-setting bride, there are no geographical limits. Examine what will make your wedding meaningful to you, and derive inspiration from all corners of this beautiful world!

Kate Linde Bridal connects Eastern European designers with style savvy American brides, as a wholesale distributor of ready-to-wear wedding gowns. Gowns from each collection are hand- made to order and boast a corset-style design that flatters most shapes and sizes. For more information, please visit http://www.katelinde.com/.

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