Jensey Loves The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

25th July 2016

In January, we had the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to head to Lake Louise in Canada for the anniversary session of one of our past couples. What would have otherwise have been an out of the question idea ended up working perfectly since we were wrapping up our “snow” trip in Seattle days before the session!

Lake Louise is one of those places that photos just don’t do justice. No, not even ours. This first photo captures it perfectly to me, but the rest just don’t capture the magnitude of these mountains just two miles away. The day we showed up was so foggy we could barely see past this pine tree, so waking up to this view the next morning was something I’ll never forget!

The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise was nothing short of spectacular, and I’m so glad I got to spend a few nights in a place I’m certain inspired every Christmas song ever written. <3

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Jensey Loves Christmas in July!

23rd July 2016

I can’t believe it’s been a year since our housewarming party! And I can’t believe I still haven’t shared photos of our new hooooome!!! How long can you still call your home “new?” :)

Last year, we decided to throw a Christmas in July housewarming party. Cute, right? The best thing about it was that it’d been a good year and a half since we’d seen our decorations since we didn’t decorate our apartment the year before we moved. The sad part was not being excited to un-decorate in August and then pull it all back out again 3 months later! I’m usually so excited to decorate, but seeing it just a few months ago took some of that away.

This was our first real party we’ve thrown together and will likely be our last. I learned that while I love the *idea* of throwing a party in my home, I kinda didn’t love it. :/ I felt like I didn’t spend enough time with everyone and the week leading up was really stressful… Throw in a load of family drama and it wasn’t the easy-peasy evening I was hoping for. BUT everyone seemed to have a good time, and that’s all that matters! And we got to show off our pretty living room, which I’m still obsessed with. <3

See our lil’ dino friend in the back yard? He’s maaaaaybe my favorite holiday decoration at the moment!

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Nick and Jessie came all the way from Jacksonville to celebrate! <3

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Huck was the best little host possible. <3

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Eternal thanks to these three for coming over early and helping us set up!! Tim, John David, and Mandy, we’re still so thankful for your help! :)

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Jensey Loves Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort

16th July 2016

Oh, Dollywood. <3

While on our holiday trip to Tennessee, we got to visit our happy place, Dollywood. But this was also our first time visiting the newly built DreamMore Resort! I’m a fan of all things Dollwood, but I’d be lying if I didn’t say we were at first a bit apprehensive about this resort. Our favorite thing about Dollywood is the charm and old Tennessee feel with Dolly’s fingerprint, but how can that be replicated in a brand new hotel?

Dollywood’s DreamMore Resort is completely different but still completely charming. The check-in process was wonderful, and from the front porch rocking chairs to the “living room” common areas on the main floor, you know you’re staying somewhere special.   The service was truly top-notch, I felt like I was staying at a Disney resort!

We got a great rate on our room, it only ran us about $180 with taxes. The resort comes with free wifi and parking which is nice.

I’m genuinely excited to go back again someday! <3

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They even had little rocking chairs. <3

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The seating area across from the check-in desk:

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Photos don’t do this justice! Behind the front desk, at first glance we thought we were looking at a back-lit photo, but it was actually several high resolution display screens showing slowly moving video of the Smokey Mountains. It looked so real, and I knew if I lost Nate for a second in the lobby I could find him watching these screens! :)

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My favorite part of the resort! There are two living room areas off the main lobby. We had some work to catch up on during our stay and utilized these areas a good deal.

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Unfortunately there are only two dining options at the resort : The Song and Hearth sit down restaurant and the DM Pantry. Song and Hearth tends to get a bit busy, is a little pricier, and has limited operating hours. We were constantly *just* missing the lunch hours. We were starving our first night there after getting back from the park late and slid in 5 minutes before they closed. Everyone was so kind (to our faces, at least!) and was incredibly sweet considering we were the only ones in the restaurant keeping them there late. I could have made a meal out of the bread they bring out prior to your meal (they also send out jarred pickles!)

The DM Pantry had more generous operating hours and is where we bought most of our meals. They had Starbucks-like breakfasts, coffee, ice cream, and ready made sandwiches. I really wish there was a third dining option, a quick service that would serve hot meals. Or at least room service. Sometimes after a long day in the park, the last thing you want to do is shower and get dressed to go down for dinner. (At least in my opinion!)

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The room! Our room was adorable and we both agreed we can’t wait to bring a kid back. I mean, it had bunk beds and everything! The decor was simple but tasteful, and I loved the cheesy Dolly touches, like “Put wings on your dreams” on the quilt and butterfly touches all over the resort.

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The bathroom was my favorite! There was a toilet behind a door (my favorite feature in ANY bathroom amiright?), and I loved the mirror! They include make-up removers in the free toiletries (thank you, Dolly!), and the lotion was my favorite hotel lotion ever- I even bought some on my way out of the resort. Well, I bought it online- The store prices were a bit crazy. :/

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They have adorable trolley buses that take you to and from the park!

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Other favorite things we don’t have photos of *sad face* :

  • There are 4 elevators in the resort themed Be More, Learn More, Do More, Dream More (ok, I’m pretty sure I made 3 of those up, but you get the idea.)
  • When you get out of the elevator, each floor had different Dolly photos and quotes, like “Put wings on your dreams,” and “The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.”
  • The hallway leading to Song and Hearth is lined with Dolly’s album covers. It’s so impressive how many there are!
  • When you stay at the DreamMore Resort, you get complimentary TimeSaver passes (their version of the FastPass) for every member of your party. This is the most complicated device possible and we ended up not even using it, but they can save you $25 a person if you were to purchase the service in-park.
  • There’s a locked box behind glass downstairs that supposedly has a song Dolly’s written to be her final song when she passes.
  • We discovered our faaaaaavorite thing on our last night at the resort : if you take the pathway past the pool, there’s a little open “barn” with a really fancy fire pit inside. Being December, we sat there alone for hours just talking by the fire. <3
  • The sweet cast member at the DM Pantry gave us free giant slices of cake when he learned we were there celebrating our anniversary. We never get free things at Disney any more!

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We will always love you too, Dolly! <3

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JENSEY LOVES DOLLYWOOD!

9th July 2016

DOLLYWOOD. <3

I love this park more than I can say. I think it’s a hard thing to explain to people, because even when we’re visiting the park, cast members are so confused why we left Disney to vacation there! But there’s something so quaint and sweet and real and special about Dollywood. And if you have to question it or you don’t understand, my biggest advice is to not go!

But for us, Dollywood is right under Disneyland just above Walt Disney World in order of favorite places. This place has my heart, and I’m so, so thankful that we got to make a mini vacation there last December! I’m ready to go back nooooooow!

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Nate’s favorite photo from the entire weekend: the line of ECVs in front of the Lightning Rod “Peeling out in 2016” sign had us cracking up. :)

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A couple “Nate, I don’t think we’re in Disney anymore” details.

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The best thing about visiting Dollywood around Christmas is getting to meet the REAL Rudolph, Feline, and Yukon Cornelius!  <3

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You could even say it glooooooows!

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Loved their elf costumes!!

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Tied for first for best thing about visiting Dollywood at Christmas? They go CRAZY with the decorations. EVERY building is decked out in lights Osbourne-style, and even the inside of rides are decorated!

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My favorite ride : Blazing Fury! It’s random and janky and makes me SO happy… Especially around the holidays. This ride basically follows the “story” of a fire engulfing a town in the 1880’s and includes scary “animatronics” trying to escape the fire, and one caught in an outhouse, as seen below:

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When you finish the ride, this is the sign that greets you. Once again, I don’t think we’re in Disney anymore!

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Disney may have banned the Selfie Stick, but you can find its off-brand cousin in every ride gift shop there!

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This was our first time using the “TimeSaver,” Dollywood’s clunky and confusing-as-hell alternative to the FastPass. But it just made me love Dollywood more when it took a 70 year old cast member 20 minutes (no exaggeration) to explain it to us, and we were still confused. If Nate can’t figure it out, there’s no hope for the rest of us!

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We got to peek inside Dolly’s RV! <3

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Best part of the day! I kept asking cast members to tell me more about “Parade of Lights,” Dollywood’s nightly holiday parade. I was trying to find out the best place to watch it, or how early we should get a spot. Sure enough, any cast member who saw I didn’t have a kid encouraged me to beat the crowd and just skip the parade. Of course, the more vague descriptions I got or embarrassed responses just made me want to see it more!

And y’all, when Rudolph started the parade riding in a PT Cruiser, this parade DID. NOT. DISAPPOINT. I was in Jensey Tennessee Christmas Heaven!!!!! <3

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Scary dog complete with human eyes peeking through? OK!!!! <3

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Even MORE terrifying snowman? YES PLEASE!

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Dollywood, you have my heart. I hope to be reunited again soon!!!!! <3

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