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Amplify Entertainment

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Let’s get this party slammin’!

I can only imagine the previous sentence is what Nate Long and his crew chant as mantra when preparing for an event. Amplify? Yes. Entertainment? You betcha. Turn your speakers up to 11 and keep your hands in the overhead and waving position!

Amplify Entertainment crew is fired up!

Amplify Entertainment is a Tallahassee-based DJ company which specializes in weddings, corporate events, receptions, parties, you name it! With smiles on their faces and an eagerness to bring energy and life to the party, each DJ on the AE team is a consummate professional and works hard to get the bodies on the dance floor.

Amplify Entertainment was born in 2006 and satisfied some important needs among the local DJ vendor selection; things such as: can a DJ have an awesome personality AND play some killer jams? The answer was a resounding and amplified ‘YES!’

Each DJ comes equipped with a library of songs to satisfy, all kinds of fun extras (LED uplighting, custom monogram lighting), and some unique features for guests to partake. The ‘Hey DJ! Mobile Request System’ allows guests to make song requests via text message, Twitter, or mobile web app, which then get sent live to the DJ’s on-site iPad. From the Amplify Entertainment website: “Not just a DJ – We also help our clients prepare for their events and act as a Master of Ceremonies as needed. This means making sure events transition smoothly and that the event winds down when you’re ready to go home.”

Amplify Entertainment is run by Nate Long

Who you gonna call? Floor busters! Get those feet stompin’ and delight all your guests with Amplify Entertainment.

Nate Long, owner of Amplify Entertainment, is ready to get the party started!

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    Remote Footprints & Project Remote

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    Set aside your creature comforts. Leave your apprehensions at the door. It’s time to break out your map and compass, ’cause this ain’t your mama’s three-hour-tour – let’s go remote!

    The Remote Footprints team hikes through the woods

    Project Remote is one facet of the nonprofit organization called Remote Footprints. A personal project started in 2009, Project Remote is the trekking and documenting journey of each of the United State’s most remote spot. The project is headed up by the Means family: Ryan, Rebecca, and Skyla, who are able to travel and report on these remote spots as free time allows; so far they have visited just over half of the 50 states. They define their remote destinations as the point within a state that is the farthest straight-line distance from a road. With their endeavors, they hope to bring awareness to the expansive asphalt arteries that make up the road network in this country. At the same time, they want to encourage other families to get outside with their kids and enjoy nature’s roadless wilderness. “This latter purpose guides our activities on a local level. In our area we offer various classes and events to help parents get outside and learn about the natural world experientially.”

    The Remote Footprints team hikes through the woods

    Location sought, food packed, car gassed-up, it’s time to head out. “We go as far as a car will take us, then we get out and walk.” In a pack weighing in at over 70lbs and containing a tent, food, and other supplies, Ryan shoulders the resources for the whole Means family, while Rebecca is tasked with carrying a load on her back that’s nearly as heavy – Skyla! “The heavy pack weights make for difficult backpacking, both mentally and physically.” Upon arrival to the remote location, the Means take 360° video and photos to document the condition of the location and they also spend 15 minutes recording any human sounds or sights.

    Rebecca and Skyla go over their Remote journal
    Ryan Means taking a panoramic photo and using GPS at the remote site

    For each of the family members, this project has meant something different. Ryan’s fondest memory so far was gorgeous scenery at the approach to the New Mexico remote spot where “we walked through a beautiful ponderosa pine grassland.” Rebecca’s fondest memory has been “watching Skyla grow into an awesome outdoors girl who can handle rain, frost, dangerous situations, and just about anything.” And Skyla, well … she says her fondest memory was “eating the beans and rice backpacker meal.” When she’s older, she will look back on these adventures and the time spent with her mom and dad with so much love and admiration.

    Follow the Means on their journey by reading their expedition journal entries and keeping up to date with Facebook posts. The Remote Footprints website and the Project Remote website contain much more information detailing their intentions, beliefs, and goals.

    “We are not encouraging people to visit a particular spot but to seek remoteness in general, and to celebrate and preserve the public lands that often times contain the remotest location in a state.”

    Means family portrait at night

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      Raley’s Confectionary

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      Who: Wes Raley
      What: Candy Master
      Where: Raley’s Confectionary
      Favorite Board Game: Candyland
      Why: Because… candy!

      Wes Raley of Raley's Confectionary holding some of his art rock before it is cut into bite-sized pieces

      Wes cut his teeth in the candy-making business some years back. He made his debut in Tallahassee fairly recently working for a local toy shop/ice cream parlor creating lots of image candy and other types of old-fashioned treats. Yet, he had lofty pursuits of his own – running his own candy business – and so set out on the sugar-dusted trail.

      Wes, folding up different colored sections of sticky sugar to make an image

      Located just a block or so from the ever-growing Gaines Street, off of All Saints Drive, next to Fermentation Lounge, through the doors of the Cider Lodge, down a hallway, and in a little back room (shared with a chocolatier) *PHEW* is where the magic happens. No illusions here; the magic is a fine mixture of the smells, visuals, tastes (free during a presentation!), and Wes’ personality. For the history of how this young fellow got started, well, that I’ll save so you can hear it from him – a story he tells every batch of customers to walk through the door (because the question of his beginnings inevitably comes up). I will let you in on a little info: his favorite candies are the root beer art rock (candy with image in the center) and anise taffy. And just to sweeten the deal, all the sugar used is organic and the flavors are all natural. Business is sweet, folks!

      Wes Raley of Raley's Confectionary holding some of his art rock before it is cut into bite-sized pieces
      Wes Raley of Raley's Confectionary holding some of his art rock before it is cut into bite-sized pieces
      Art rock being cut into bite-sized pieces
      Wes gives out samples to eager customers
      Wes can't resist his own candy

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        Gretchen & Justin & Tallahassee Wedding Photos

        It all started at Brittany’s wedding a couple years earlier, that’s where I met Gretchen. She has a vibrant personality and it just radiates from her. She helped to create a calm atmosphere for the other bridesmaids and Brittany all day long, so I was beyond thrilled when she called in need of a photographer for her wedding. We hit up downtown Tallahassee for the engagement photo session a number of weeks before the big day. Wedding day. Ah! Perfect weather, a couple in love, friends, family: these are the makings of a great wedding. We started out at Trinity Community Church, near Killearn, and then moved just down the road to Z. Bardhi’s for an intimate afternoon reception, where Nate from Amplify Entertainment took over the hosting duties. What a fantastic fun-filled, love-filled day! View more photos from their wedding at Trinity Community Church and Z. Bardhi’s.

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          Gretchen & Justin • Downtown Tallahassee Engagement Photos

          Scooted through a Latin festival near the Brogan Museum, waited a number of times to get that shot in the Kleman Plaza parking lot elevators, and enjoyed the gorgeous weather and scenery of downtown Tallahassee. All-in-all, we had a pretty sweet evening of engagement photos. And much to the happiness of Justin the Gators pulled through for a win over Tennessee.

          See more of Gretchen & Justin’s downtown Tallahassee engagement photos.

          The cool look of the Kleman Plaza parking garage Pictures taken in front of the Tallahassee capitol building Bride-to-be gazing into the camera, holding her man Standing in front of Monroe Street holding hands. A long exposure produces light streaks from the cars driving in the background.

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            June & Paul • FSU Campus Engagement Photos

            It only takes one visit to the FSU campus to realize there are a vast amount of beautiful scenes to photograph. Throw some people in the mix and you’ve got yourself an engagement shoot. I met June & Paul earlier this year and enjoyed their quiet yet warm demeanor. While getting them positioned in the stands at FSU’s Dick Howser Stadium, they informed me they hadn’t taken any photos professionally since high school (!). Consider me honored.

            See more of June & Paul’s FSU campus engagement photos.

            Sitting on the steps leading up to Ruby Diamond Auditorium on the FSU campus On top of a parking garage at sunset with Doak Campbell Stadium in the background Kissing in black and white with the sunset vignette behind

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              Featured Profile • The Birth Cottage in Tallahassee

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              7:00 pm on a Saturday. It’s graduation day for both Ashley and me but we’re not walking across the stage and accepting our diploma; we’re at our house experiencing the birth of our daughter! We had planned to be at The Birth Cottage for all the excitement but once the contractions started and mama says she doesn’t want to leave the house, well, you just aren’t going anywhere!

              Layla & Alice of The Birth Cottage in Tallahassee Layla and Alice individual shots

              Nestled in the heart of Midtown Tallahassee lies the cozy, intimate cottage where Alice and Layla, a mother-daughter team, have helped hundreds and hundreds of mothers bring their babies into the world. Back to that rainy graduation Saturday – Layla and Alina came to our house in the morning and were there until the evening, coaching Ashley, keeping her calm, and maintaining a positive atmosphere. And then Juni was born, nay, made her dramatic entrance into our lives. Proof…

              Layla & Ashley a few days after Juni was born

              Of course, the welcoming rooms they have at the Cottage are dressed up just like bedrooms to make you feel at home and ready to greet your child, we just never quite made it there the day Juni was born. I can’t say enough about the ladies that run this place – they were awesome through Ashley’s pregnancy and are overjoyed every time they get to see Juni now; they truly love helping mothers and babies and it’s very apparent.

              One of The Birth Cottage birthing rooms and outdoor sculpture Layla & Alice of The Birth Cottage in Tallahassee

              PS The annual Birth Cottage celebrations at Silver Lake are always a blast to attend.


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                Backyard Wedding in Melbourne, FL

                On the east coast of Florida you’re bound for gorgeous weather most of the year, even in the winter. Lizzie and Ryan got married in December in the backyard of a house settled on an inlet. Skies were clear, temperature was nestled sweetly in the mid-70s, fish were leaping out of the water in the middle of the ceremony (no joke and, unfortunately, no photo evidence).

                Backyard details, homemade streamer curtain Back patio in the afternoon sunlight

                See? Gorgeous! What’d I tell ya? The atmosphere was as chill as the photos look. A small group of friends and family were in attendance and were painted in the sunlight as it trickled through the oak trees. See all the photos from this backyard wedding ceremony.

                Wide angle view of the backyard Son of the bride Couple sharing a moment Newlyweds kiss by the water

                Everyone headed over the Melbourne Causeway to City Tropics Bistro in Indialantic for dinner. The room that was reserved continued the intimate atmosphere of the ceremony perfectly.

                City Tropics Bistro reserved room Couple reading notes written to them from family and friends Bride and groom first dance

                Lizzie & Ryan’s full backyard wedding gallery

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                  Lindsey & Adam’s Vintage Engagement Photos

                  The love between this couple is so apparent through their loving gazes and the joy shines through Lindsey’s infectious smile. They were a blast to hang around and Adam’s humor has us all frequently in stitches. Their wedding day is on November 11th to honor the veterans who fought to protect the US and also to honor the loved ones in their families who have passed on. To celebrate and accent their new lives together and recall the past, they are having a vintage/DIY wedding and wanted a vintage/DIY engagement shoot to accompany. I was happy to oblige.

                  We met out in the late afternoon at St. Marks near the lighthouse for a beautiful sunset shoot. Then, on another day, we completed the engagement shoot at the Tallahassee train station with Lindsey and Adam dressed in their vintage finest, lookin’ pretty sweet.

                  Lindsey and Adam enjoy a beautiful late afternoon picnic near the St. Marks Lighthouse on the Florida Gulf Coast Lindsey and Adam enjoy a beautiful late afternoon picnic near the St. Marks Lighthouse on the Florida Gulf Coast

                  View the full vintage engagement photo gallery »

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                    Featured this week – Lonni Hopkins Studio Jewelry

                    Featured Profile of the Week

                    Aloha again, welcome to this week’s Featured Prof- what’s that you say? You haven’t seen a Featured Profile of the Week in… how long? Over a month?! That’s odd, I could have sworn I said I’d keep up wi-… abandoning the site? Never! Vacation time and a broken computer will slow you down. Now pipe down, time for the show!

                    I may be a little biased here, but my mom makes some stunningly original and gorgeous jewelry. Did I just destroy my credibility for these Featured Profiles by featuring my mom? Nah. I profile artists, small business owners, and the like; she happens to qualify under a few categories.

                    • three handmade silver rings
                    • Lemon Quartz Pendant with 14k gold
                    • Pyrite & Silver Bracelet
                    • Green Amethyst Necklace & Earrings
                    Jewelry photos by the masterful Robert Dimante

                    Lonni Hopkins profile photo Lonni has lived a life of art: bouncing from lithography to photography, quilting, watercolor, sculpture, and so many mediums in between; her endeavor into metalsmithing kicked off circa ’96. Jewelry seemed a natural progression, pulling from past experiences and artistic expressions, culminating with the acute skill and careful workmanship metalsmithing demands.

                    “How light dances across the surface of the metal is an important consideration in the designs.” – Lonni Hopkins

                    A new metal has recently entered the field, which Lonni has adopted, more pure than traditional sterling silver, called argentium. It’s a modern sterling silver alloy which modifies the traditional alloy (92.5% silver + 7.5% copper) by replacing some of the copper with the metalloid germanium¹, yielding purities from 930 to 960. In terms that I can understand, it’s a brand new DSLR that has a buffer like an abyss, shoots at 300 megapixels, and downloads 64 gigabytes of data to your computer in 5 seconds. See, I’m already losing readers. In simpler words, it’s a game changer. Another metal new to Lonni’s jewelry designs is 18 karat gold. I suggested titling her ring collection ‘Bling Bling Ring Rings’ for younger crowd appeal but I don’t think she’s going for it. The gems and stones picked for pieces bear names nearly as beautiful as their appearance – aquamarine, amethyst, citrine, peridot, aventurine, and sapphire are just a few. Almost makes me want to start a gem collection. Almost.

                    Lonni working on a piece at her home studio

                    Hold on, got a call coming in. It’s my mom, gotta take this. Tune in later for more profiles, posts, and pictures; in the meantime, get more sleep and eat your veggies (says mom).


                    ¹ Argentium Sterling Silver on Wikipedia.

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