The Hamptons

Here We Go To Port St. Joe | The Hamptons

Sometimes you just have to get away, be inspired and spend some time offline. One of our favorite places to escape to is Port St. Joe/Cape San Blas, Florida. This place is a hidden gem (so don't tell anyone, okay). This little town has a quaint charm that lifts your spirt.

A few reasons we LOVE Port St. Joe ...

Port St. Joe has the most amazing pizza place! I know, it seems kind of odd to go to the beach not eat seafood. Trust us, you have to stop by Joe Mama's. Our favorite pizza is pepperoni, mushroom, garlic and fresh spinach. Mmmmm ....

Joe Mamas Pizza

Joe Mamas Pizza

The dog-friendly beaches! In case you haven't realized it, we adore our dogs. :) Therefore, being able to take them on vacation with us is a big deal. They love beach so much! Sam (the black and tan) makes sure we wake up early for our morning beach walk. And yes ... we make them carry their own "poop bags."

dogs on beach

dogs on beach

Fishing on the beach, in the bay or in the sea. There are plenty of activities for the fisherman.

fishing at cape san blas

fishing at cape san blas

Spending time with family ...

Laughing at the Beach

Laughing at the Beach



And last, but definitely not least, the amazing sunsets!!

sunset at port st joe

sunset at port st joe

Here's a fun little video, we made with the GoPro Hero3, of our adventures. Have you ever seen happier pups?

Now it's your turn! The Cape San Blas rental house we stayed at has a private boardwalk to the beach and is dog friendly.

Ringling Bros Elephant Walk {Birmingham}

2004 - Matt & I's first Circus together.
2004 - Matt & I's first Circus together.

The first thing you should know is I (Ashley) LOVE the circus! I went for the first time in college when my best friend surprised me one night while we were just "hanging out" in Savannah. I immediately fell in love with all of the magic surrounding it! I even got information on how I could join.

The first weekend I met Matt (and he actually remembered meeting me) I went on and on about how awesome the circus was. When my birthday rolled around six months later, he surprised me with front row Circus Celebrity tickets. This meant my dream was going to come true, I got to be IN the circus. During the opening number, we were part of the parade and I even got to wear the Ringmaster's hat!

So, when I heard the Circus was coming to Birmingham and there would be an Elephant Walk parade, I was there! They were going to walk from the trainyard to the BJCC between 8:00 and 10:00AM. I wanted to make sure I didn't miss it, so we were there at 7:30AM. We sat in the car for awhile before I got antsy. Then, I made Matt stand in the freezing cold for the next hour and a half waiting for the Elephants.

Here's a video of the Elephant Walk that Matt put together. Ringling Brothers were awesome and had one of the Elephants wear a houndstooth hat and hold an University of Alabama flag as a tribute to their BCS National Championship. There were many Roll Tides yelled from the streets! Enjoy!

Port Saint Joe, FL | June 2012

Last week, Matt and I headed to Cape San Blas in Port Saint Joe, Florida to re-energize and spend some beach time with our friends, the Williams family. It has been a couple of years since we went to the beach, so to say I was excited is an understatement! I woke up Sunday morning ready to head to the beach. As I was checking the weather, I noticed there was a Tropical Storm Warning for Port Saint Joe. Debby Downer as we referred to it. After having a short pow-wow with the Williams, we decided take a chance and head into whatever wind and rain lay ahead of us. We all were just ready to get to the beach. So we packed up the dogs and the car, then headed out.

iphone loaded car

(iPhone photo)

Monday was a "hang out and watch movies" day, since it was storming all day. We did venture out once and came back in covered in sand and soaking wet within minutes! Tuesday the clouds cleared, the sun came out and we were on the beach the rest of the week. However, the storms did leave behind a little debris.

debris on the beach

(iPhone photo)

Port Saint Joe is my new favorite beach! It's gorgeous, laid-back, not commercialized, not crowded, has bike paths and it's dog friendly. What's not to love?

iphone port st joe sunset

(iPhone photo)

iphone turtles and pelicans

(iPhone photo)

iphone matt and ash bike riding

(iPhone photo)

We loved getting to hang out with the Williams family! And it's always fun experiencing the beach through the eyes of a child.

p pointing & p & d on beach

A little tossing the nerf football on the beach.

bw matt catching football on beach
e throwing d the football
matt holding football on beach

Um ... I think there's something behind you ... Haha! The attention span of a almost 2 year old.

ball coming at p
bw p standing in waves
d & p drinking water
e & b on beach looking at each other
p doing his song and dance on beach

I love his Batman hat!!

p in batman hat
p overhead on beach with batman hat

One of my favorite moments we captured.

bw p holding e's hand on beach

The dogs loved the beach!! We spent many hours running and walking up and down the beach. Along with playing in the waves! Sam was content relaxing in the sun, but Willie preferred heading to bed when he was tired.

iphone sam enjoying the beach
iphone sam falling asleep on beach
bw willie dog on bed

It was not all play and no work. I talked to several brides and Matt finished up a wedding highlights. Nice editing station, huh?

matt's editing station

(iPhone photo)

matt and ash on beach
matt and ash reflection family portrait

And a few more, because I just can't help it!!

b in d's arms on beach
d & p playing in sand
matt and p on the beach
matt on the beach laughing
p smiling on the beach in batman hat
p walking on the beach

Thanks to the Williams family for spending their vacation with us!!

Have a great 4th of July everyone!

Confession | Our Photo Session

Today's post also comes with two confessions.

Confession #1: Matt and I have not had professional photos taken of us since our wedding on August 7, 2004.

We have no reason to have waited so long for a photo session. We know talented photographers, we value documenting life and we love pictures. However, we never put documenting OUR life as a top priority. Matt's family knew it may be awhile before we did it ourselves, so they gave me a photo session with our friend Amanda Pair for my birthday. I love this thoughtful gift!! Since my birthday was in December, I wanted to wait until it was warmer (and greener) to have our session.

Matt + Ash 1 - Amanda Pair

Confession #2: I was SO nervous about being on the other side of the camera!

I do not consider myself photogenic, I'm not a "camera-hog" and I do not like being the center of attention. All I envisioned were terrible photos that Amanda would be too ashamed to even post on her blog. Not that I doubted her ability as a photographer, but I doubted my ability as the subject. Of course as I'm having an internal (and external) freak out, Matt is calm and ready to perform Zoolander style.

As I was getting ready, I felt like I should call all of our clients and apologize for saying "Just relax and be yourself". How can you relax when there is a camera in your face?

As the session started I felt awkward and unsure, but within the first few clicks of the camera, I began to relax. Amanda made us relax and feel comfortable in front of the camera. Within a few minutes, it felt more like Matt and I were just hanging out with each other. We were doing what I was afraid we could not ... we were just being ourselves. (Thanks Amanda!)

And that is why you hire a professional photographer! Yes, they take amazing photos, but there is so much more to it than the technical side. They make you relax and are able to capture your true personality, real moments.

Matt + Ash 4 - Amanda Pair
Matt + Ash 6 - Amanda Pair

Here are a few quick tips I have for couple's getting ready for their engagement photos or anniversary photos.

1. Hire a professional you connect with.

If you connect with the photographer, you will automatically feel relaxed in front of the camera. Plus, your photo session should be fun! You want to hang out with someone you enjoy being around. This is why choosing a photographer goes way beyond just price. Connect with their work and them as a person.

2. Choose outfits that compliment each other, but are not "matchy". 

Plan your outfits so the colors look visually good together.

3. Allow yourself plenty of time.

Start getting ready early. Leave to meet your photographer early. You never know when you will run into traffic. The last thing you want to do is be stressed out for your photo session.

4. Have fun!!

Isn't that what the session is all about? Have fun and enjoy the experience. Otherwise, you may end up looking a little psychotic in your photos. :)

Matt + Ash 8 - Amanda Pair

A couple of more ...

Matt + Ash 2 - Amanda Pair
Matt + Ash 7 - Amanda Pair

All photos by Amanda Pair Photography!! Also check out her post about the shoot.

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