Fun To Do This Weekend: One Spark

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One Spark 2014 Looking for something fun (and FREE!) to do with your sweetie this weekend? Head to downtown Jacksonville for One Spark!

One Spark is the World's Crowdfunding Festival, and it takes place right here in Jacksonville. Over 600 creators are on hand to showcase their ideas in the fields of art, innovation, science, technology and music. Held over 20 square blocks, you can also enjoy the food village and beer village, plus tons of live bands. And where else can you see a giant Goldfish (known as "Colonel Crackers") floating in the Hemming Plaza fountain?!

The 5-day festival started on Wednesday with an estimate 40,000 people attending the first day. Free parking is available at the convention center parking lot, and then you can take the free Skyway (did you know Jacksonville has a Skyway? A lot of people don't!). Or, you can park at EverBank Field and take the free shuttle bus.

You're probably asking, what exactly is crowdfunding? Well, the concept is that great ideas can be found everywhere. But not everyone has the resources to find large-scale investments. So crowdfunding take little donations or investments ($5/$10/$50 etc.) and pools them together to make big things happen.

When you visit One Spark, you can vote for your favorite projects (known as "creators"), and the creators that get the most votes win a share of over $300,000 in prize money. Or, if you see a project you are passionate about, you can even contribute right on the spot.

One Spark is FREE to attend, so why not check it out? Plus, it's a good chance to see how awesome Jacksonville is, in case you might forget. Visit http://www.beonespark.com for everything you need know!

Don't Forget To Relax!

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Jacksonville date ideas - Friendship Fountain We see so many couples get completely wrapped up in their wedding plans. And yes, it is an important day. Some say, THE most important day. But it is just ONE day, after all! Now is the time that you should also be focusing on building your relationship. Take some time off from work, school, and yes, wedding planning to spend some time together. Here are a few cheap (or even free!) activities to do around Jacksonville as a couple:

  • Art Walk: Downtown Jacksonville's Art Walk is held from 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm on the first Wednesday of each month. 30-40 galleries, museums, restaurants, bars and other businesses showcase visual and live art. Art Walks are also held at the beaches and in St. Augustine.
  • Riverside Arts Market: Every Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, Riverside comes alive with the Riverside Arts Market. RAM features the work of up to 160 artists, musical entertainment, street performers, food vendors, and a fresh produce market! Admission and parking are free.
  • Apron's Cooking School: The Publix location on San Jose Blvd. at I-295 has a hidden secret - it's home to one of only seven Apron's Cooking Schools in the country! Check out their Couples Cooking series, including topics like Great Grilling and Mexico. While prices range from $40-60 per person, you get a great meal, often paired with beer or wine.
  • Cummer Museum: From 4:00 pm to 9:00 pm on Tuesday evenings, admission to the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens is free! Grab a bite to eat at the Tree Cup Cafe and enjoy dinner in the beautiful gardens.
  • Candlelight Tours of Ft. Clinch State Park: Guided tours of Fort Clinch take place Friday and Saturday evenings after sundown during the summer.  Reservations are required for Candlelight Tours. While you are in Fernandina Beach, have dinner in the historic district!
  • Friendship Fountain: Long known as an icon of downtown Jacksonville, the Friendship Fountain underwent a massive renovation last year. There are now nightly light shows set to music from 8:30 pm to 10:00 pm. Stop by Bistro AIX to pick up a delicious dessert as you enjoy the show! (Shown in the photo above, via COJ.net)

Mobile Apps: What Do You Want?

Today, I finally joined the Android revolution. I've been wanting an Android phone for quite a while now, but wanted to wait for contract renewal time to get a better price.  So I waited and studied and researched, and then waited some more, because the MyTouch 3G Slide from T-Mobile was coming out.  Today.  And now I am the proud owner of one, in white of course!

I noticed that a lot of wedding photographers have Android apps, and being a computer geek I want one too.  So the question is, what would you, as a bride or wedding professional, want to see in a First Coast Weddings app?

Many such apps combine blog syndication and Twitter feeds, but is that really something a bride would use every day?  I don't think I'm all that interesting.

So let me know what is missing in your Android life - and I'll try to make it happen!

Meredith & Derek (05.07.09-maybe?!)

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So I am a huge Gray's Anatomy fan.  Seriously.  "Addicted" is probably a good word for it.  So with tonight's 100th episode and the pending nuptials of Drs. Gray and Shepherd, I'm counting down the hours to 9:00 pm Eastern. For those of you that care, and haven't checked it out already, "Izzy" has created a wedding website via The Knot.  Just like the wedding websites of non-fictional characters, the site include wedding details, the story of the proposal, and a guest book.

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But the question remains...will tonight really be "I do" for Meredith and Derek?  Or maybe for Izzy and Alex?  Holding my breath already with my box of tissues close at hand!

NWR: A Toy for Blog Readers!

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I thought I would share a new toy that I found since I'm guessing if you read this blog, you read others!  I have over 100 subscriptions in my Google Reader, but I just found something new called Feedly.  It's based on Google Reader, Twitter and Firefox, and integrates everything together. Your need to be a Firefox user (but why wouldn't you be), and install the Feedly plugin.  But then it will automatically pull your subscriptions from Google Reader so it is ready to go!

First Lady Fashion

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Like most of America, I was glued to my TV yesterday watching inauguration coverage.  As an event planner, I love the pomp and circumstance surrounding inauguration day - the ceremonies, the traditions, the parade, the balls.  And on this historic day, I wanted to say I was watching.  But let's face it, what I really wanted to see was Michelle Obama's outfits. I have always admired Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for both her sense of style and her wisdom.  No one knew how to dress better than Jackie.  And now, we have a stunning, young, modern First Lady once again.  I am excited to see how Michelle Obama's style translates into American fashion over the next four (and hopefully, eight) years and beyond.

Mrs. Obama's dress for the swearing-in ceremony was a beautiful shade of yellow, a sheath style with matching coat designed by Isabel Toledo, was not only stylish but practical.  The designer took extra measures to ensure the First Lady would be warm during her extended time in the chilly Washington air.  And she certainly stood out in the sea of red, blue and black that more conservation political types are known for.

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The First Lady's stunning white asymetrical gown was the highlight of the balls last night.  Even President Obama remarked, "How good-looking is my wife?" as the couple entered the Neighborhood Ball.  The President looked equally dashing in his notch-collar tuxedo and white bow tie.  Mrs. Obama's gown was designed by Jason Wu, a 26-year-old designer who has only shown collections since 2006.  What an honor!

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How do you think First Lady fashion will translate into bridal fashion?  Share your thoughts here!

(photos from the Associated Press)

Sweet 16 With A Cause

As I was reading the local news on FirstCoastNews.com on my Blackberry this morning, I came across this article that made me happy, and I wanted to share it.

YULEE, FL -- It's sweet 16 for Kelsey Morgan. The party is planned and the theme is in place.

"It's classy in pink, my favorite color is pink," says Morgan.

Decorations are ready.

"You have to have the right pink, you can't have the light pink, it's got to be the dark pink," says Kelsey's grandmother, Claudia Morgan.

The cause is an important one.

"Well, I really didn't want a big party so I figured if I was going to do one I'd rather do something with it," says Kelsey Morgan.

She is. She's asking all of her 150 plus guests to donate to the First Coast Cancer Foundation instead of giving presents. This party may be in Kelsey's name, but it's dedicated to those in her family fighting cancer. Her grandmother was diagnosed in February.

"She watched that MTV on those spoiled 16 year olds having those big parties and she said I don't want anything like that, I want my party to be for somebody else, not for me," says Claudia Morgan.

Cancer also took the life of Kelsey's great-grandmother.

"We know she can't cure cancer but we hope one day it can be cured, and what money we raised we feel like every little donation will help," says Claudia Morgan.

It's help that this 16 year old wants to give, hoping that whatever she collects will go a long way.

"People our age are told they can't make a difference, and we can so, that's what I want to tell them," says Morgan.

Kelsey Morgan is in the 10th grade at Yulee High School. She hopes to be a neonatal nurse when she is older.

Donations can be made to the First Coast Cancer Foundation through First Coast Oncology.

For more information call Director Jennifer Maggiore at 904-742-2916 or go to their website at www.firstcoastoncology.com.

©2008 First Coast News. All rights reserved.

Get Out and Vote!

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As I’m sitting here planning my day a sense of dread comes over me.  I begin to wonder when I am going to make it to the polls.  What’s the best time to beat the crowds?  For a fleeting moment I think, “Ugh, I’m not even going to bother.” “I don’t have time for this.” “What if I’m there for two hours?”

I snap out of it with this following thought, “Women before me fought for over 70 years to win the right to vote; and I’m going to whine over an hour or two.” So I’m heading out, and whether it takes me 5 minutes or 5 hours I will be casting my vote in gratitude and pride.

Remember This

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College roomie Melissa and I outside our old dorm room - 13 years later

College roomie Melissa and I outside our old dorm room - 13 years later

Today I spent a fun morning at my alma mater, Flagler College, helping students move in to their dorm rooms.  Luckily I was joined by my good friend and former roommate, Melissa.

I'll be the first to admit that I don't remember college.  At all.  I have a few random memories, but I don't remember the classes I took, professors I liked or hated, or big events on campus.  I go to Alumni Weekend events and don't know a soul, other than the three people I keep in touch with on Facebook and two close friends I see frequently.

But, as Melissa and I were wandering the halls of Ponce and the streets of St. Augustine, she was able to jog my memory a little bit.  I realized that I do have memories of those three and a half years (couldn't wait to graduate, had to get done early!), they are just buried somewhere deep inside.

As I was driving home along A1A, I know that the 10 years since I graduated have gone by so quickly too, and I'm sure I have forgotten lots of things along the way.  It's a great thing to have friends and family and photos to help you remember, but how great would it be to have a journal?

My mom has my great-grandmother's daily journals from the early seventies.  By that point, Great Grandma was in her 80's, but she lived to be 104 so that was still pretty young!  Her diaries include fascinating info like the weather forecast and her day's activites (always including "watched stories" - her term for soap operas).

While I'm certainly not disciplined enough to keep a daily journal, I would like to encourage everyone to start a journal of some kind - whether it is online in the form of a blog, a Word document you add to on a regular basis, or an old-fashioned hand-written dairy.

Especially as you plan your wedding, you will have so many great memories - advice you are given, fun moments with friends, the time you and your mom spend choosing your wedding gown.  Write it down!  Or document it through photos or video.  Anything to make these momemts last, because trust me, you will be celebrating your 10th wedding anniversary before you know it!

Think Twice Before Popping The Question!

A Funny Tidbit From The Associated Press GAINESVILLE, Ga. — Nothing will heal a broken heart like $150,000.

That’s how much a Hall County jury has ruled Wayne Gibbs owes his ex-fiancee, RoseMary Shell, for breaking off their engagement. Shell sued for breach of contract after she left her $81,000-a-year job in Pensacola, Fla., in 2006 to move to Gainesville, Ga., and be with her fiancee.

Two months later, Gibbs told her he was having second thoughts. He broke up with her in March 2007. Shell now makes $31,000 a year. The jury award equals one year of her old salary plus bonuses and benefits. Shell told The Times of Gainesville she is “thrilled.”

Gibbs and his attorney declined comment to the newspaper.