Tuesday, March 13, 2018
By Andrea McDaniel Photography
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Our Favorite Places to Eat in the Gulf Shore/Orange Beach area

I get asked a lot during my photo sessions about what is the best place to eat in and around Gulf Shores and Orange Beach. Growing up here, so many new places have come to our little beach town and it feels like new places are popping up daily.  I have compiled a list of my family's  favorite places to eat in hopes that you guys will find it helpful when trying to decide where to go.

 

 

 

Sea-N-Suds

Sea-N-Suds has been serving the Gulf Coast for 43 years!  They are located directly on the beach and you can catch some amazing sunsets from the deck.  Their sandwiches and Gumbo are my absolute favorite. 

The Gulf

Located in Orange Beach, The Gulf is an absolute must visit.  Truly outdoor dining with a gorgeous waterfront setting, centered around shipping containers.  You could spend a whole evening here relaxing with friends and family.  The menu is always fresh and seasonal.  We love their tacos and the grouper sandwich. The fresh lemonade is amazing and their gift shop is just adorable. Expect a little bit of a wait depending on what time of year you visit because this is a popular hot spot. 

Big Fish Restaurant

Best crab cakes and sushi in the area by far.  Big Fish Restaurant serves amazing food in a quiet, relaxing, upscale environment.  This little gem is hidden in the corner of a strip mall on Canal Road across from Cosmos.  I highly suggest making a reservation for dinner during peak summer time visits. 

The Village Lawn at The Beach Club

The cutest little place to hang out with family in the evening after a long day on the beach.  Warning, parking can be a nightmare, but if you are staying at The Beach Club, you can just walk to it.  They have several food trucks that surround a plush lawn with picnic tables, live entertainment nightly and tons of family friendly lawn games.  Do not expect fast service, just go with the flow and relax.  Let your kids play and enjoy the evening.  I promise, if you just sit back and relax while there you'll have a great time.  You do not have to be a Spectrum guest to enjoy this awesome place. 

You can also visit The Village Hideaway for a great meal. 

Big Wave Daves

This is a relatively new restaurant with a surfer theme with a big screen on the wall showing old surfing videos and the food is great!  They start you off with popcorn and water.  I highly suggest the lobster roll, it is amazing!!  Our other favorites are the Hong Kong tacos, Blackened shrimp tacos, grilled cheese, chicken tenters or hamburger for the kids.  The service is always outstanding.  Located next Ron John Surf Shop on the main beach road between Gulf Shores and Orange Beach.

Chronic Tacos

Great alternative to a full service restaurant.  Think Moes Southwest Grill or Chipotle Mexican Grill.  This is a build your own taco joint, simply walk up to counter and order your tacos how you like.  If you prefer you can get a bowl with your ingredients.  They also have quesadillas.  Yum!  Try the Chronic Fries!!!!  It's nachos with fries instead...just be ready to go to the beach and run the calories off afterwards.   Located in Orange Beach.  25775 Perdido Beach Blvd

Hope's Cheesecake

Best cheesecake ever!!  At least in my opinion.  You can buy by the slice or a whole cake, so you can't really go wrong here.  Hope's cheesecake is smooth, creamy and absolutely delightful.  I don't think we've ever bought a cake or slice from here we haven't enjoyed.  From key lime, to red velvet the list goes on.  We frequent Hope's often.  Locally owned and operated so go show them some love!

210 E 20th Ave, Gulf Shores. 

The Ruby Slipper Cafe

If you are looking for breakfast, brunch, lunch then look no further than The Ruby Slipper in Orange Beach. They are family owned, based out of New Orleans and donate a lot to charity.  Come hungry and you will leave so satisfied.  They have HUGE portions of great food that is fresh, tasty and served beautifully. The eggs Benedict are to die for and the stuffed French Toast is a sweet treat directly from heaven!  And did I mention bloody mary's and mimosas?  Yep, that's right and they are soooo good!!

 
Tuesday, February 27, 2018
By Andrea McDaniel Photography
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Remembering the BP Oil Spill  of 2010

I know a lot of my readers come to my blog to read about the gorgeous beaches we have here on the gulf coast and to look at photos to get inspiration for their photo sessions.  But the wildfires in California reminded me of the BP oil spill we had in 2010 and how we went from a thriving tourist town to suddenly the worst nightmare on earth. Encase anyone doesn't remember, the BP oil spill happened because of a flawed well plan and then a horrible blow out.  An estimated 184 million gallons of oil spilled into the gulf.  Fisheries, wildlife and tourism were all affected.  It was the worst thing I had ever witnessed,  thick oily water and then black oil clumps washing up and covering our beautiful white beaches, there wasn't anything I could do but sit there and cry.  The emails and phone calls started pouring in, one cancellation after another.  Business was over before it had even become peak tourist season.  Almost 8 years after the Deepwater Horizon spill, the affects still linger.  Officials had released 1.8 million gallons of Corexit into the Gulf before the well was even sealed.  Cleanup crews walked our beaches in hazmat gear picking up the clumps that washed ashore.  Almost 8 years later people are suffering from migraines, anxiety, seizures, dizziness, neurological problems, depression and nerve damage.  Some clean-up crews wives experience missed periods, or even stopped having menstrual cycles all together which was linked to washing their husbands oil-drenched clothes.  But this post isn't supposed to be about the BP Oil spill of 2010.  This is about the California Wildfires. 

 

 

Wine Country Weddings are waiting for you!

I feel California's pain.  We didn't have to evacuate in horror due to sparking flames, horrible smoke, falling trees and raging fire.  Weddings in the Wine Country are big business, just like here at home. The seventeen fires that raged across the state of California burned at least 245,000 acres and forced thousands to evacuate from their homes in complete and utter fear for their lives.  It's estimated that about 9,800 structures were destroyed by the raging fires and that damages cost about $9.4 billion across the state.  But,

I'm here to tell you the wineries are open for business! 

Yes, that's correct.  the wine country is as beautiful as ever.  While the fires were a terribly, tragic disaster the damage to Napa Valley wine country was not widespread.

Take a look at these recent gorgeous photos provided to me. I mean, who on earth wouldn't want to get married overlooking the beautiful vineyards and have their reception at a stunning country estate? 

Samar Hattar at Blissful Event Planning is ready to help you plan your perfect day.  With 11 years of experience, Samar has produced amazing weddings for both US and international brides.  Visit her blog post about Beautiful Wine Country Weddings.  And if you want to, perhaps show some love on social media, you can follow her Instagram or Facebook page.

So if you have a friend planning a wedding in the California area, send them to Samar for all their wedding planning needs. 

And Samar, if our tourist and wedding industry made it through the horrible BP oil spill, I'm confident you guys will too!

 
Friday, February 16, 2018
By Andrea McDaniel Photography
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Not so Basic Invitations

If you recently got engaged, Congrats!

 

If you are like most brides, you have a Pinterest board full of wedding dresses, floral arrangements and details you absolutely adore.

 

Weddings invitations should be on the top of your list of must haves because they really do play a huge role for your big day.  Your wedding invitations are the first impression your guest will have on what they can expect from your wedding celebration.  You want your invitations to be you and to match your style and not to mention, the process of viewing and ordering should be simple as well.

 

Don't let choosing an invitation be stressful.  I'd like you to meet Basic Invite.

Invitation Sets

Basic Invite is an awesome site that has over 800 designs to choose from.  Each wedding invitation is conveniently part of a set, so you will find everything from save the dates to wedding invitations and enclosure cards, wedding menus, wedding programs and even the matching thank you cards.

Almost Unlimited Color Selection

Once you have chosen your design, you can easily customize it by changing the color of each element on the card with over 180 different color options and instantly preview it online.

Custom Samples

Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows clients the ability to order a printed sample of the invitations so they can see exactly how it will print as well as the paper quality before they ever have to place their final order.  Kinda cool huh?

Want to make your invitations really stand out?  You can customize your invitations even further with over 40 different colors for your envelops.  They're all peel and seal so your envelopes can be quickly and securely closed.  No nasty licking involved.  Another way Basic Invite makes things easier for you is with their free address collection service which allows you to share a link to collect addresses from your guest for free envelope printing.  How convenient is that?

 

 

Portraits aren't the only thing you should keep from your wedding.  Think about years down the road when your kids or grandchildren  are looking through your keepsakes and they find your beautiful stationary from your wedding.  How amazing would it be for them to touch your invitations. 

Yes, I know, I'm getting very sentimental now.  I'm known to do that.  Perhaps that's why I do what I do. 

And let's not forget your Bridal Shower Invitations

Free Wedding Websites

 

Basic Invite provides a free wedding website with no restrictions.  Their wedding websites are completely customizable, just like their invitations and are mobile friendly and super easy to use.  You just upload all of your wedding details, along with images and a map with directions.

 

Keepsake Guest Books

 

Perfectly personalized guest books are a great addition to your wedding.  These customizable guest books have a ring hidden inside which allows them to lay perfectly flat for a classy look.  With sophisticated designed pages, this guest book is perfect for your guest to leave sweet words and well wishes.

 

As a family and wedding photographer it is extremely important for me to partner with companies that I can trust and resonate with.  When Basic Invite reached out to me, I was more than impressed by their passionate customer service and quick response to emails.  I spent numerous hours viewing their products and absolutely fell in love with the simplicity of the their site and their clean, stunning designs.  Not only can you find formal wedding invitations but you can find save the dates, engagement party invites, baby announcements and many more options on the site as well.  No matter what theme, I promise, you'll find it over at BasicInvite.com

 

If you've loved the samples you've seen here today or you're looking for more inspiration, why not show them some love on social media. 

Facebook

Pinterest

Instagram

Twitter

 

 
Friday, February 02, 2018
By Andrea McDaniel Photography
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Just a glimpse at some of what 2017 brought.  Here's to a great 2018! 

 
Saturday, January 06, 2018
By Andrea McDaniel Photography
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