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Vacation is about, well, relaxing…and for me, it’s about taking lots of digital photos. I recently visited Solvang in California’s Central Coast and wine country on a quick weekend getaway with my husband to celebrate our 2nd anniversary. I love visiting California because you get the ocean, the mountains, and the valleys in between, which all make for diverse photo opportunities. I like to photograph random things that remind me of the places I’ve visited, so those details can be included in my digital scrapbooks. Today’s topic is about seizing those great opportunities.

First, pay attention to the little details. What makes the place you are visiting so unique? Think about the things that you would like to remember years later when looking at the digital photo book or scrapbook album of your vacation. These details could include a local cuisine you tried, local art or sculptures displayed around town, or anything that reminds you of the culture and heritage of your destination.

Aebelskivers at Solvang Restaurant

Aebelskivers at Solvang Restaurant

For instance, while staying in Solvang, we ate aebelskivers which are Danish pancakes cooked in a special pan and turned with what resembles knitting needles, to give them their round shape.
Windmill on Foxen Canyon Road

Windmill on Foxen Canyon Road

I captured several photos of our delicious morning breakfasts, and looking at them now is bringing back the memory of the taste and smells and making me hungry! Another example of something I wanted to remember was the hundreds of windmills we passed while driving through the countryside, so we stopped the car so I could photograph one.

Next, don’t forget to include yourself in some of the pictures. Scenery can be beautiful, but having yourself in the photo gives context. If photographing something large or tall, don’t be afraid to crouch on the ground to capture as much of the object in your photo frame as possible. This may also provide an interesting angle for your photo. For instance, my husband photographed me perched on a rock at Morro Bay, and due to the angle of him looking up at me, it appeared that I was flying.

The Rock at Morro Bay, CA

The Rock at Morro Bay, CA

If traveling by yourself, don’t be afraid to ask a passerby to snap a picture for you with your camera. Also remember that you can use the self-timer function on your camera to set a delay, so you can prop your camera on a steady object, frame the shot and then have enough time to jump back into the picture before the shutter cycles.

Last, if you are not able to get the perfect shot of a famous landmark due to uncooperative weather or other circumstances, don’t fret! Remember that you can usually pick up great postcards to include in your photo albums. These postcards usually also contain a short description of the photo, which can be helpful when you are journaling about your trip to ensure you have the correct spelling and information about the landmark.

So as you prepare for your summer vacation, remember these tips and try something fun and new with your vacation photos!

Normally I am not easily fooled, but last Thursday I was in for a big surprise.  I was helping with the setup for a large Creative Memories training meeting in San Antonio, Texas, and was pleased to have 5 of my team members in attendance to learn new digital scrapbooking techniques and business building tips.   Unbeknownst to me one of the local CM leaders, Harriette Jasper, had planned a surprise recognition ceremony for me for recently promoting to Unit Leader with Creative Memories.

As the meeting got underway, my team and I were asked to stand to be recognized, which I didn’t consider out of the ordinary.  But then my first surprise of the evening was when my husband was called in from the hallway where he had been hiding to give a little speech about my journey to leadership and how he had seen me grow as a person.

Deena listening to Debby on phone

Deena listening to Debby on phone

Of course, I burst into tears.  But then as Harriette continued on, she had arranged for a cell phone call from my mentor, Debby Lazarone, who lives in Portland, Oregon to share a few words with the group over the microphone.  It was a little hard to hear and I was leaning closer and closer to the phone so I wouldn’t miss a word.  In fact, I was so intent on listening to the phone that I didn’t even notice that Debby had strolled into the room from the outside staircase where she had also been hiding.

Deena in shock as Debby walks in

Deena in shock as Debby walks in

When I saw her my jaw dropped and I was speechless for what must have been an eternity judged by the amount of pictures that were taken of me with my mouth wide open.  I could not believe that Debby, my mentor and friend, had flown all the way from Portland to San Antonio just to congratulate me on this milestone in my career.  I was presented with cake and gifts, had to wear a pink boa and tiara, and was blessed with heartfelt words from my dear friends.  The evening ended in a blur, and before I knew it I was taking Debby to the airport and saying goodbye.

Now in my business I am normally consumed with helping others to celebrate their memories and tell their life stories alongside their photos.  This evening was very special for me because my team and friends came together to make a memorable evening that I will never forget.  I normally don’t like to be in the spotlight and I must say that everyone really pulled a good one over me, because I probably would have protested if I knew their plans!  The best part is that they all had their cameras ready to capture those moments of surprise, which I will cherish for years to come in the beautiful embossed album I received.

Deena enjoying the moment

Deena enjoying the moment

Now in retrospect it is hilarious to know how everything was orchestrated, and all the fibs I was told to keep me from suspecting anything.  Living this experience with the wonderful friends I have met through this business really makes me smile to know that I am a part of such a positive and wonderful company, because I would have otherwise not met these lifelong friends.  If you can’t tell, I really love my job!

Just last night I received a copy of the video of the ceremony and I have laughed and cried as I’ve watched it over and over.  As I reflect on everything that happened, it is a testament to friendship and making every moment count, and then having those memories preserved forever through the photos and stories.  I hope that by sharing this story it will inspire you to capture those meaningful memories in life so your stories can also be told.  I know years from now as I look back on the photos of this night, I will have a smile on my face and a warmth in my heart.

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