DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Scrapbooking

Digital Scrapbooking with Creative Memories

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – A TOTALLY DIFFERENT DIGITAL

There’s more than one way to skin a cat. We’re not talking animal cruelty here, I’m referring to the old saw which pointed out most jobs have more than one way to go about them. You say po-TAY-to and I say po-TAH-to. Same veggie, different pronunciations.

Well, Creative Memories has their own interpretation of digital scrapbooking and it’s not a photobook at all. It really is a scrapbook. The coverset is the same coverset you’d use for their traditional albums, but instead of a solid bookcloth or one with decoration embossed on it, your album can have your own photos on it, just like a photobook.

The Best of Both Worlds

My scrapbooking hit a bump in the road when digital came along, because Creative Memories hit a bump in the road. At the time, it just looked as if management was abandoning the traditional scrapbookers who had made them the premiere memory keeping company in the world, but it turned out they had abandoned a whole lot of stuff. We’ll just leave it at that. They went bankrupt and have been totally reorganized and refocused, but those were rough days in the scrapbooking world.

At the time, it seemed as if you had to stay on the traditional scrapbooking road or take the exit to digital everything. There were no solutions which embraced both formats.

I wasn’t ready for digital back then, so I stayed with traditional scrapbooking, but there was no good source for traditional scrapbooking supplies (except the huge stash of CM supplies I had bought up to meet the quarterly quota, which thank goodness is no longer a thing!) I eventually found another scrapbooking supplier which had the same style pages and coverset as CM, so that period of photographic unrest is not apparent on my scrapbook shelves.

Then CM returned and it felt like coming home. At first, I still wasn’t ready for digital, but these days I heartily embrace the CM solution for both traditional and digital scrapbookers. At first glance it looks like a traditional scrapbook. The construction of the coverset and the format of the pages is the same as the CM traditional album, but a closer look reveals the personal images printed on the coverset, just like they are on a photobook.

But wait there’s more! You can create a digital coverset for your traditional album if you want to stick with traditional pages, but want a personalized coverset. Or you can select a beautiful traditional coverset for your project, but all of your pages can be designed and printed digitally. And you have to know where I’m going now. No matter which coverset you choose, your pages can be both traditional and digital. The point is, you don’t have to choose.

Making It Work for You

Now, if you are a scrapbooker yourself, then your mind is exploding with possibilites. If you’re not a scrapbooker, then let me tell you why this is such a good idea. The photos and memorabilia for a Baby Boomer are going to be primarily analog. Generation Z is going to be totally digital. Generation X-er’s are going the start out analog and melt into digital, while Millenials might have anything.

I do custom albums for all generations. Baby Boomers and Millenials are easy. Baby Boomers generally want a traditional album, because that’s a more straightforward way to address their photo mess – even if they turn around and have the album pages digitized, it’s just simpler to work with what they have. Millennials go for online albums, because that’s how their brain works and they don’t want to kill trees.

With Generation X and Millennials, what they have in the way of photographs and memorabilia depends a lot on which direction their parents leaned. If like me, their parents had a hard time letting go of their analog camera and printed photos from the drug store, then the record of their lives, at least at the beginning, will be analog. Then there will be a period where some items are digital, but others are still analog. If their parents instead embraced the digital age from the very beginning, then they generally go the route of the Millenials, but they might print a photobook for their parents. (And that’s what Forever’s for!)

Since Gen X’ers and Millennials have both traditional and digital items, they might feel it would be necessary to make a choice, between scrapbooks and photobooks, but they don’t. It’s not necessary to digitize all the analog stuff to go in a photobook or print all the digital items, so for a traditional scrapbook. With CM digital, you can have a traditional scrapbook with both traditional pages for analog and printed pages for digital. Some people even get their digital items printed and add traditional photos or decoration to the printed page. There are no rules!! Only solutions and I can bring you all of them.

What Do You Have and What Do You Want?

I started the Memory Keeping 101 series the same way I begin my conversations with a custom scrapbook client. What do you have and what do you want? You answer may be that you have a little of everything and you’d like a solution to embrace both analog and digital. Well, here’s your solution. No matter what you have, CM has a scrapbooking system which will do either or both. Just give it all to me and let me at it. Or you can do it yourself. I’m here to help either way.

Come back tomorrow for The Weekend Report if you need suggestions for your weekend and on Wednesday, Travel Talk will be focused on NYC. On Thursday, we’ll be back to digital solutions from Forever.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Scrapbooking

Digital Scrapbooking with Forever

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – Artisan, Scrapbooking, but Digital

Digital Photo Gifts and Photobooks

You know the names – Snapfish, Shutterfly, Mixbook, SmugMug, etc. etc. etc. You go there. You drop your photos into a template. Maybe you can edit some, maybe you can’t. You can make gifts with photos, like blankets, coffee mugs, calendars and ornaments. You can also make bound photobooks.

Ever try to contact their customer service? I have chatted online. Either you’re talking to someone with a name five miles long that you can’t pronounce or it’s a bot. Doesn’t matter. They can’t help you, because if it is a real problem they don’t have a script for it. So they elevate your problem and good luck with that. I’m still waiting for my email from my elevated customer service call concerning a Christmas Card order a few years ago.

Quit that!! You can do all of that and more on Forever. Highest quality images, best quality products, quick turnaround and amazing selection. Here’s the difference. Those other guys are the big box store. Forever is me. Now I’m not doing all the work, but you have me so you never have to chat with a bot. I have Forever, so whatever it is that you want to do with your photos, I can get it done.

Since the main focus of my business is custom scrapbooking, I don’t spend much time trying to transform Snapfish customers into Forever customers. In fact, if you’re already memory keeping, then good for you. That’s what I want. I’m happy to tell you why I believe Forever is a better way to go, and I would love for you to buy these services from me instead of them, but my real target is people who just have a mess and want me to fix it. I would love it, if next time you go to print photos or make a calendar/coffee mug/photobook/blanket, you gave Forever a try, but what I want most is for you to keep on memory keeping.

And Then There Was Artisan

I’ll be honest with you. I don’t do all that photo gifting stuff for my own purposes. Perhaps that’s because I don’t have kids, grandkids or pets, but I think the real reason is because I’m a scrapbooker. I want my photos and memorabilia in an album, not on my coffee mug.

Because I’m a scrapbooker, I’m used to starting with a blank page, so all those photobook templates frustrate the heck out of me – even Forever photobook templates. I tried. I really tried and I ran, not walked, back to my traditional scrapbooks.

Then I discovered Artisan! With Artisan I can start with a blank page. Oh, they have all the templates in the world, if you want them. In fact, the training videos assume you want to use templates and teach from that standpoint, so my learning curve was pretty steep. However, after a few sessions, I skipped to the part where they just told me what the various buttons did, without telling me how they worked with templates. I haven’t looked back.

I still prefer traditional scrapbooking. Perhaps you know my husband and I own a real estate photography company. I sit at a computer all day long managing photos – downloading, uploading, receiving and delivering. When my real estate photography day is over, I would prefer to move to the scrapbooking table and do things manually. Don’t get me wrong, I will do digital photobooks, for my clients, for gifts and occasionally just for myself, but it’s just not my first love.

If like me, you just want to keep doing traditional scrapbooks, then you should at least allow Forever to print your photos. Here’s why they are the best:

Taking It to the Next Level

If digital scrapbooking is your thing, then before I go, I should tell you about Pixels 2 Pages. It’s an online community of digital scrapbookers. These people are serious about it. They even have retreats where they get together with their computers, either virtually or in person, to scrapbook. You can try it out for free for a month.

Online communities are not my thing, but they might be yours. I have met some of these people in person and they speak a language I don’t even understand. I think it’s easy to learn, but again, I’m primarily a traditional scrapbooker. I’d rather talk about the latest Border Maker or Punch, but, as I said, that’s me. I just wanted you to know it was there if you wanted it.

That’s all for today! We’ll visit the Metroplex tomorrow and go to NYC on Wednesday, but on Thursday, we’ll get back to Memory Keeping 101.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Scrapbooking

The Forever Pricing Game

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – NEVER EVER PAY FULL PRICE

A Sign of the Times

I’m old fashioned. I think the price of something should be a definite thing, but it’s gotten a lot more complicated than that. Whether you’re shopping online or at the grocery store or the local department store, there’s the price that’s marked, the price that’s advertised and the price you can get it for. Unfortunately, though I love everything Forever has to offer, I hate the way they do their pricing. Younger people might understand it all better, but I get confused.

The Welcome Coupon

Joining Forever is free. I send you a link: https://www.forever.com/ambassador/jane-sadek/. You fill in a few details and you’re in – all the wonders of Forever at your finger tips. But it’s better than that. To thank you for signing up, Forever gives you a $20 Welcome Coupon. They’ll send you an email to thank you for joining, but don’t delete it, because there’s a code there you’ll need to redeem your $20. With just a few minor exceptions, it can be used for anything.

The Forever Club

Remember Layaway? That’s an old selling strategy where a store will put your purchase in their storeroom and you pay for it over time. You’ll still see it every once in awhile, but these days most people just charge it. Back in the day, we weren’t so free with our credit cards, so the stores would help you buy their merchandise. I have a beautiful silver service my favorite aunt paid for piece by piece year by year with layaway. It’s one of my favorite treasures.

The Forever Club is like layaway in reverse – like a savings account. You go ahead and put a little aside for a few months and suddenly you have enough to get video streaming, a terabyte of storage, the big Forever box or whatever else you’d like to get, without putting a burden on your credit card. And unlike the bank, where they’ll charge you service fees for holding your money, the Forever Club is free and your Club dollars never expire. That’s a nice tool to have when you are planning a digital project.

5% Off Everything and Stacking

But there’s more! When you belong to the Club, you get a 5% discount on everything. So even if you don’t want to save up for a big purchase – I never have – belonging to the Club is worth it. You may only put in $25, but you’re going to get $26.25 worth of merchandise. Your shopping cart will just have that 5% taken off every time, whether you’re scoring a Deal of the Day for Digital Scrapbooking Art or getting photos printed or buying more storage.

Stacking is a thing at Forever. You know how you get a coupon from some companies and the rules for using it are so restrictive it’s almost impossible to use. Well, you can use your Welcome Coupon and your 5% Club discount together on virtually everything and then stack them with other deals I will talk about later.

Free Storage

And, like the vegetable cutter at the state fair, that’s not all. Every three months you belong to the Club you get free storage. The amount you get is based on the level of membership you buy. And this isn’t one of those Clubs you get into, but can’t get out. You don’t have to go through a bunch of hoops or spend hours on the line waiting for a customer service rep. You go into your account and cancel it yourself. I know, because I start and stop all the time, but I always be sure to stay in for 3 months to get my free storage.

When I am working on digital projects, I know I am going to be spending dollars with Forever. Like I said, the Forever dollars can be used on everything and they never expire. Why wouldn’t I want a 5% discount. So, when I start the project, I join the Club at the lowest level, $25 and I be sure my membership goes for at least 3 months. During that period of time, whatever I am doing from buying storage and printing photos, to creating print projects or even buying up digital art, I get that 5% off and I am also earning half a GB of storage. Believe me, the way I eat up storage, I’ll take every half a GB I can get.

But some people are more aggressive. They want it all and they want a lot of it – a TB of storage, video streaming, several Forever boxes – you can quickly stack up thousands of dollars. For the sake of this post, let’s say they’ve set a budget of $7500 for their project and they want to get it all within a 3 month period. They’d join the Club at the $2500 level for 3 months, but they’d end up with $7875 to spend and 50 GB of free storage. Yep, that’s a good deal.

The Deals Page

For me, the deals page is the good news and the bad news. The good news is that there is always a deal. You will never pay what Forever lists as their full price. However, the problem is that the deals are always changing. If you asked me today what you’d spend on any given project, I can tell you the full price and what it would be if you bought it now, but I can’t tell you what the price will be if you buy it later. It might be better, it might be worse. I try to help people get the best deals, but there is no published schedule of deals to come.

Most of the deals are just a percentage off the list price – usually ranging from 10% to 50%, but keep an eye out, because crazy things can happen. They also come up with specials that you can only get with the Club, which is a nice bonus. You can get free tickets to online events, membership to the Digital Scrapbookers Group (Pixels 2 Pages) and even deals on shipping.

There’s also the Deal of the Day, which is usually something for digital scrapbooking, but sometimes they throw us a curve ball, so it wouldn’t hurt to check it everyday. I look anytime I go on the website

Then there are the bundles. Perhaps you can get free storage if you buy video streaming, for instance, but they put all kinds of things together. They also get more creative, but the more creative they get, the more complicated they also get. During the madness of Black Friday, you could get $100 and $200 gift certificates with a bonus coupon which would give you amazing discounts off various things, but while the gift certificate would not expire, the coupon had to be used by the end of December and it had rules about what you could stack it with. More good news/bad news in my opinion.

You Need Me

This is why you need me. While Jenga is a game where you pull out blocks, Forever is a game where you have to stack the deals to get the best price. I wish it were easier, but the days of easy seem to be over.

There’s another reason you need me. I have a 5% discount in my pocket that only I can give you. It’s only good for certain products, but if you are buying something which qualifies we take off all the other coupons, discounts and deals, and then I take 5% off the top. Let’s say you were buying that TB of storage. With my pocket discount I could take hundreds of dollars off the bottom line.

When You Fall in Love

If you become a member of Forever, which is always free to join, you might have a little period of adjustment, but at some point you are going to fall in love. Maybe it will be the joy of owning your own piece of the cloud or taking boxes of photos digital or maybe it will be the first photobook you print, but at some point, you’ll say, I’m so glad I did this. That’s when you start sharing.

Now, in this social media heavy world, sharing usually means putting a post on your channel and your reward is clicks, likes and comments. You get more with Forever. If you share my page and the person you shared it with joins Forever, they’ll get that $20 Welcome Coupon and you’ll get a $20 Thank You Coupon. There’s no limit! Share away! You don’t even have to involve me. Just go to your Forever account, hit the share button in the upper right hand corner and you’ll get a link to text or email. Done!

The Ambassador Opportunity

While we are talking about saving, I have to tell you about one more opportunity. You can become an Ambassador for $119 annually. Instead of just getting 5% off with the Club, you can also get at least 20% paid back to you for everything you buy. This is not for everyone. You’ll need to spend at least $600 to breakeven on this deal, if you’re just buying in for the discount.

My business is photos and memory keeping, so being an Ambassador just makes sense. I have people with Forever Club memberships who yield me a few dollars every month. I have other clients who pay big purchases out over a year’s time and I get a few dollars every month from them. Sometimes I make a big sale and get a huge commission. But most importantly, whatever I buy, I get 20% back and there are no minimums and I don’t hold any inventory.

If you’re a serious memory keeper, it might make sense for you or if you are looking for a business opportunity you can have fun with, look no further. Let’s talk about how it would work in your life.

Never Ever Pay Full Price

I know, that’s a lot of information, but I wanted to put it all in one place, if for no other reason than to remind myself of all the ways I can save money or save you money on your digital memory keeping. Wanna know more. Keep reading my Thursday posts or just give me a call.

ART, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, International, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Shopping, United States

Forever Events

MEMORY KEEPING 101: DIG IN WITH ONLINE EVENTS

Dive Deep for FREE

Forever has two free online events coming soon and you’ll want to know about them. If you don’t already belong to Forever now is a good time to join. It doesn’t cost a penny and there’s no obligation, but you will get a $20 off welcome coupon for your first purchase and you can enjoy these seminars live and/or at your leisure. Just be sure to use my link, https://www.forever.com/ambassador/jane-sadek or you might end up with a stranger as your Ambassador!! Once you belong, hover over the “Products” link in the top bar and choose “Forever Events” from the menu.

Family History Virtual Event

If you’re the Family Historian building your family tree one ancestor at a time, I applaud you! You might be interested to know Forever could be you best tool ever. That’s why you’ll want to participate in this event. After a welcome from our Founder, one of our Ambassadors, who is an expert on genealogical exploration, is going to talk about how she’s used Forever to collect and share her documentation. Then another Ambassador will talk about her experience with Forever Family Research. Yep, Forever has a whole division devoted to helping you with your research and you’re gonna love hearing about it. There’s more, but that should be enough to reel you in. Sign up here!

If you’re not the Family Historian – I’m certainly not – you’re still going to learn lots from this event. During the Family History session, they’ll go step-by-step through the digitization process and though they’ll be talking about genealogical materials specifically, most of those materials are the same ones you have: photos, video, slides, negatives, movies, audio and memorabilia. Then, while you may never dig into your ancestry, you have to admit those family tree people do discover some interesting things and learning how they do it might just inspire you to get busy on your limb, because someday you may have the leaves someone needs for their tree. Sign up here!

Family Historians and Non-Historians both will benefit from the balance of the program. The first session after a short break is “Using Forever.” This company was founded to make memory keeping easier. With us you don’t have to have a series of services and apps to do what you need to do. This session will walk you through the perfect integration of your memory keeping tools.

Perhaps the best part of memory keeping is sharing, so after learning how to use Forever, you’ll drill down into all the various ways you can share with “Auto Print” and “Design and Print.” Want to make a photobook in minutes? AUTO PRINT! You’ll go wild! And other print options will also be discussed. Then they’ll talk about the Friends & Family program for sharing and how you can keep your legacy alive long after you’re not here to do it.

Forever’s Family History Virtual Event will be February 25, starting at 11 AM,CST. Want more info, click here.

Milestones Virtual Event – PETS

Several times a year Forever has Milestones Virtual Events. Much like the Family History event in February, Milestones walks you through ways to use your Forever account and products to capture your memories and share them for generations to come. Past Milestone events have focused on everything from babies to weddings and lots of other things in between. March 11, the subject will be Pets.

The information shared during the event is good, even if you aren’t a pet lover, but pet lovers will enjoy it, even if they aren’t memory keepers!! It will be full of ways to capture and save memories of your pets, as well as how to use Forever in the process. You can sisgn up here.

More Information Than You Can Shake a Stick At

Online Events are just one of the ways Forever supports you in your memory keeping. On virtually every page of their site there are links to videos, FAQs and other content to help you with whatever you are doing. You’ll find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. They have a blog. With your Forever Club Membership, you can even be on a quarterly call with the founder to find out what’s going on. If digital scrapbooking is your thing, there’s the Pixels2Pages community. It really is almost endless. And yet, I was preserving memories seconds after I signed up, so it is also very intuitive.

So, that’s the memory keeping scoop for this week. Of course I will be sharing the weekend report tomorrow and next week I’ll be sharing more from the trip to NYC. Don’t miss it!!

Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography

Digitize Your Memories

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – PUT ALL YOUR MEMORIES ONLINE WITH FOREVER

Forever Boxes Make Digital Easy

Unless you’re quite young, you’ve watched the world go from analog to digital. One set of grandparents used a Brownie Hawkeye camera to take photographs, while another set grandparents opted for slides. An uncle wandered around all of your family gatherings filming reels and reels of movies. Then maybe your dad showed up with a huge camera on his shoulder to take VHS tapes and you may remember when he changed over to the Hi8 format. Then you went digital, but you’ve got photos on your computer, more on dvds, others on a hard drive, perhaps some on the cloud, but a whole lot on your phone, for sure!

A lot of that media you can’t even look at, because you no longer have the equipment it needs and if a photo you want to find is on your phone, then you might have to scroll and scroll and scroll and scroll to find it. Last week I told you how wonderful Forever’s storage is and obviously moving all your digital images from wherever they are to your own digital storage space will be easy. But what about the photos, the slides, the movies and all the rest. Well, Forever can convert it all to digital – including the piles of photographs.

Well, that’s easy, too. You put it all in a box and send it to Forever. Not just any box, a Forever box and I’ll be happy to help you.

Your Forever Box

Here’s how it works. We decide which box(es) is/are going to hold all your stuff and order what you need from Forever. Forever sends you an empty box to fill up with all the items you would like to be converted to digital. When the box comes, you fill it up and send it back to Forever. Forever digitizes it and puts it online. Then they’ll send your stuff back to you, but if you don’t want it, you can just dump it in the trash, because all your stuff is online.

When Forever digitizes your material, it goes into a temporary storage account for 60 days, so you can decide what you want to do with it. They’ll also be happy to produce a dvd or thumb drive. But the very best thing you can do, in my opinion, is get your own permanent storage from Forever and put your memories there. Those memories will be there to be enjoyed by generations to come and you can rest easy.

Organizing Your Online Memories

Once you’ve gone to the trouble and expense of getting your memories online, you’re going to want to share them and Forever makes that easy, but somewhere along the way, you really need to do some organizing – or get me to do it for you.

Many Forever customers want to do the organizing before they send their memories off to Forever or they get me to do it for them. This is the most economical way, because you won’t be digitizing things you’re not interested in keeping. Your empty boxes will come from Forever with plastic bags and labels to keep your memories in order. If your memories have already been organized, at that point we can put notes on your bags and Forever will use those notes to name your online images. Your organized memories will be ready to share.

However, some of my clients say, “Jane, I don’t even know what’s on these videos!” Or they say, “It will be easier for me to sort through them once they are online.” Some even say, “Once they’re online, my family is going to help me sort them.” In this case, we can get your stuff all packaged up, as is, and send it off to Forever. Then you’ll have 60 days in your temporary account to decide what will go on Forever, what you’ll download and what you’ll just delete.

Curation for the Generations

Anything is better than nothing. If all you manage to do is send your stuff off in your Forever Box and move it over to your own online storage account once it’s digitized, then you’ve already done more than most people manage to get done. Too often, the next generation, faced with a cache of slides, reel to reel tapes, VHS videos and a pile of analog photos, will just toss them into the trash. And why wouldn’t they? If you haven’t organized your memories and taken the time to identify who is in them, then exactly how are those who come after you supposed to know what it’s all about?

Now, imagine notifying your family and friends they can peruse their memories online, at their leisure, with the click of a link. That will be great news for them, even if the images are helter skelter, but imagine how much more excited they will be if the memories are organized by date and event and tagged for cross-referencing by name. With a few clicks, your Uncle Joe can see all the photos you have of him in one place. You get to decide which of your photos you want to share, whether you want your family and friends to download from your cache and even if you want someone to be able to upload new photos or add notes.

I’m There for Whatever You Need

If you like, you can do all of this yourself. It’s easy and I am happy to show you how. Or, if you’d just like to turn it all over to someone and wake up one day with a totally organized online storage account, I’ll be happy to take over for you.

How much does it cost? Well, that depends on a lot of things. How much do you have, what does it consist of, is it organized or do you need me to sort it? Here’s the link to the digital conversion page, which has the cost of the various boxes https://www.forever.com/digital-conversion/, but first timers can find it very confusing. You’ll need to understand what an item is and how overages work, to begin with. So, give me a call at 972-971-5263, and we’ll get you started.

When it comes to pricing with Forever, there can be a little sticker shock along the way, but there are also a lot of different ways to save, save, save. During November’s Black Friday Sales, you could get $1000’s worth of storage for less than $400, but you needed to know all the money saving tools available from me and from Forever. So, while I encourage you to browse the Forever site and learn all the exciting things you can do with Forever, don’t let sticker shock scare you away. I’ve got offers you’ll be excited about.

In fact, why don’t we talk about those money-saving plans next week. You’ll love all the ways there are to save with Forever.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography

The Weekend Report

TRAVEL HERE: NETWORKING, NOT WORKING & OTHER DISTRACTIONS

A Friday for Networking

Friday morning I had a 1:1 scheduled with a great local business owner and she suggested we meet at a great local business. My meeting was with Candace Barnes of Noble Barnes and she’s the reason I was a Fable and Fire when they opened at 10.

Let’s start with Candace. I first ran into her at RASBA – Rockwall Area Small Business Alliance, a networking group for local entrepreneurs. We have a great Chamber, but us small guys can get lost in the shuffle, so there was a need for something on a smaller scale. It was started by Sarah Naylor , who is not only an amazing asset to our community, but also one of our top clients at Spot On Images. When she started the group, I had a standing commitment at the same time, but I put RASBA on my wish list, not just because she was our client, but because I heard such good things about the “speed networking” format they were using.

Well, they were right about RASBA! Since it’s in my neighborhood, I saw several people I already knew, but I also met a handful of new folks, one of them being Candace. I set up an appointment with her and then I ran into her at least twice at other networking events before we had our 1:1 – events like RWIB (Rockwall Women in Business) and RCAN (Royse City Area Networking).

So, Friday morning, I’m standing outside waiting for Fable and Fire to open. I wasn’t really paying much attention to a pair of women standing nearby, who were also waiting, until I saw Candace drive up in the Noble Barnes pick-up truck. One of the women said, “Oh Noble Barnes is such a cool company.” She proceeded to tell the story of Candace’s son who started a lawn business at 14, so he could buy a car and turned it into a company with 10+ full time employees, who will handle your lawn, your home or your pets for you.

I gotta tell you, I’d love it if someone said, “Oh, Spot On Images is such a cool company,” and proceed to tell about the ex-Realtors┬« who liked taking photos of new listings better than they did selling them and started a real estate photography company from scratch, which is now one of the top photography companies in the area. The story is true and most real estate agents know about us, but a couple of housewives meeting for coffee? Not so much.

The meeting with Candace went great. We have many points in common. I recommend Noble Barnes whole-heartedly. So, if you’re in the area and need help with most anything, give them a call!

Next up was the monthly Wine Women and Wealth Meeting of Kaufman County, sponsored by my friend, Susan Bennett White. Sorry gentlemen, this one is for the ladies. Lunch is free, as is the mini-financial seminar and business spotlight. It’s been a great resource of leads for my Memory Keeping business and I really enjoy it, every month.

A Saturday for Not Working

Friday afternoon I dropped off a big Memory Keeping project I’d been working on and found myself in a break between customer projects. I drug out the personal project I’d been working on and got things set up to crop throughout the weekend.

Saturday morning I got busy on the album until it was time to go to lunch with my bestie, after which she graciously agreed to do cemetery duty with me. For lunch we went to Mi Cocina in Watters Creek, mostly because we both needed a margarita or two. Then it was on to Pecan Grove, because Mom’s birthday was a couple of days away and I really don’t want Ruth haunting me. We chose a red plumish bouquet with peonies at Hobby Lobby and it looked great.

Then for a little shopping therapy. We didn’t score any major bargains, but we both found things that we couldn’t leave at the outlet mall. Back home, i dug back into my album.

A Sad Sunday

My pastor is leaving. I’ve mentioned this, but it still breaks my heart. I’m happy he and his wife are excited and challenged by their new ministry, but selfishly, I wanted them right here at my church. I was greeting Sunday, which kept me out of Sunday School and rendered me late for the worship service, but it also probably kept me from sobbing through the morning.

The elders and the congregation had cooked up a surprise farewell party. They still have a week left, but there’s a business meeting after church and so that’s how we managed to make this a surprise. It was a touching event and I got to participate by presenting them with a digital photo album I’d made with photos another lady had been taking, ever since we found out they were leaving.

I worked on my personal album before and after church. I finished up (except for the cleaning up around 8:30. Then I watched a little TV with the hubby before heading to bed.

And that was the weekend. I was a little late with this weekend report today. It was a busy week and writing my post got lost in the shuffle – but here I am. Come back next week. We’ll have adventures in NYC, adventures in Memory Keeping and the next weekend report.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography

Back to Digital

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – STORING AND CURATING YOUR PHOTOS ON FOREVER

Why Forever?

Back in November I introduced you to Forever Storage and the reasons I think it is best way to store your photos online. If you would like to review that post, click here, but here’s a chart that spells it out.

Perhaps the best part of a Forever account is that you buy your storage rather than rent it. Think about the difference in a landlord and a tenant. With other storage systems, your photos are merely tenants on someone else’s property. The landlord makes the rules. The landlord has a right to enter the property. The landlord is responsible for maintenance and you’re screwed if they don’t do it. If the landlord changes the rules, you either have to live with it or you’re stuck with the new rules. The list goes on.

At Forever, you own the property your photos are stored on. You make the rules about your photos. No one can go in there without your permission. No one can change the rules without your permission. You can do as much or as little as you like with your photos. It’s yours.

When you’re renting space for your photos, if you don’t make your rent payment, you lose access to your photos and what’s more, they don’t even have a plan for you to pass on your space, even if you want to. At Forever, you buy your space, so it belongs to you and whoever comes along after you.

Fully Customized Organization

I’ve used a lot of different online storage products in my life and while they will give you all the space in the world for a small monthly fee, your options for setting up your library are always limited. When I first started using Forever, I didn’t even know how to appreciate the flexibility I was given. It took me a while to create a system that worked for me, because it’s not just a matter of fill in the blanks.

It didn’t take long for me to get the hang of it and now I love it. Forever keeps a library of everything you upload to the site and with a few query words you can get to exactly what you want, You also get to set up whatever albums you want and then nest albums under there to as many levels as you want. Each album you access quickly tells you how many photos are in that album and how many nested albums you have within that album.

Within any album, you get to chose the order you want them in and if none of the automatic choices work, you can create your own.

As you set up your albums and nested albums, you can create a name for them and then you can fully describe what the album is about and if you want, put a date or date range on it.

Tagging is a breeze, but that’s only the beginning of the ways you can identify your photos with Forever.

Most online photo storage picks up information from your metadata and you’re stuck with whatever is there. Not with Forever. You have total control.

Just because it was Conger-7 wherever you got it from doesn’t mean it has to stay that. If the date taken is really just the date you uploaded it, you can change it to the real date.

Want that photo to be in other albums? That’s easy and it doesn’t take up more of your storage to do that.

And the description? None of that 25 words or 100 character stuff. Tell the whole story. Don’t want to key it in, fine, go to the app and use voice to tell the story. You’re not going to run out of space.

Sharing

While Forever will stay out of your storage and diligently protect it from others who shouldn’t be in there, it’s got all kinds of ways to share your images when you want to do so. You can share a single shot or an entire album or even your whole account. You can also set a level of sharing for the top level of each album. You might have some items you want to stay private, just for you. Friends and Family could have their own level of access to other albums. Then you could even have public items you opened up to whoever wanted to see them, so it’s great for all kinds of applications like teams, schools or other groups.

There are other ways to give the people you want access to your files. You can collaborate with others in you albums and decide what level of collaboration you want them to have. You can set up a manager and allow them to act as you if you want. You can also designate who you want to have access and control of your files and which files after you. Try that with icloud!

Auto Uploading

Have you ever wished that every photo you took on your phone or added to Facebook could be captured permanently somewhere so you never have to worry about losing them? Forever can do that. Or you can do one or the other of them. Up to you!

So What’s the Bad News?

If you’ve been using a free service or have been paying $1.99 per month for 100 gigabytes of storage, the bad news at Forever is sticker shock. The first time you hear how much 100 GB of storage costs at Forever it is going to be a difficult pill to swallow.

I must be honest with you. While I love Forever storage, I have to admit I don’t like all the rigmarole it takes to figure out how much you have to pay. On the day in November I wrote this post, with all the various deals and discounts available, you could get 100 GB of storage for $387.98 or something close to that (according to how you stacked the deals). However, the retail price for 100 GB of storage is $1000. I think that’s crazy, but someone smarter than me dreamed up this pricing and if you’ve ever shopped at Macy’s or Kohl’s, it will seem familiar. (This dress is $400, but today with a coupon you can get it for $19.99.)

So, while $387.98 is a lot, it’s really not fair to compare it with the $1.99 a month at Google, for instance. Google can rent that space for that price, because they owe you nothing in the way of privacy or security. They also know they will be able to make money off your photos with data mining and advertising. If they lose all your pictures, that’s OK. They can compress your photos anytime they want, so they will take up less space. If they want to delete your photos, all they have to do is send you an email and if you miss it, that’s tough. They also have your permission to use it for whatever else they want to.

On the other hand – all you will ever pay for your Forever storage is $387.98. After 16 years, when you’ve paid Google that much (if they don’t raise the price, which they most likely will) you’ll still have to go on paying something every month and if your kids take over the account, then they will have to keep paying as will your grandkids, great grandkids or whoever of your decedents is still around – if Google is still around. Remember VCRs? Which reminds me, that you Forever account will be upgraded for free to whatever formats come around after .jpg or whatever has disappeared.

Chances are at this point I have confused you more than I have helped you, so give me a call and lets review this. Whenever you decide you want to purchase your storage, I will research the deals at the time and make sure you get the best of them.

Come back next week and we’ll dig beyond mere storage and see what else Forever has to offer.

DFW Metroplex, Fashion, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Restaurants & Bars, Shopping, TRAVEL

The Weekend Report

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

TRAVEL HERE: BLUE MESA, CHUCK, ALFREDO’S & FERAH’S

Polka Dot Dinner at Blue Mesa

Rolling it back to Thursday, I have to tell you about Polka Dot Powerhouse. If you need an international women’s group in your networking mix, here you go. Yes, you can connect with women all over the US, as well as the rest of the world. I joined to get to know some Rockwall women better, but the Networking Gods intervened and now, twice month I travel over to the Stonebridge Area to connect with some of the coolest women you can imagine. Second Thursday is at Blue Mesa Granite Park and fourth Monday to Kelly’s Craft Tavern Stonebriar. Let me know and I’ll get you in.

Getting to Granite Park for dinner is quite a commitment for me. I wake up so early that I’m powering down by about 7, but for my Dots, I crawl in the car around 5 PM and drive to the other side of the world for the 6:30 meeting. I can usually make it in an hour, but since I have to go over the dreaded I-30 bridge, I must add half an hour, just in case.

Totally worth it! I’ll leave it at that, but it’s not all business. These women are fun and business is not the focus, but the result. The theme is, build the relationships and the business will come, and they’re serious about it. I do a lot of networking and they ALL say you should build relationships, but nobody does it better than the Dots. So join me for a lunch or a dinner and find out what I mean.

Chuck

So, I don’t watch a lot of TV and when I do I usually hate it, but I love Chuck! Computer nerd working at the local big box electronics store inadvertently becomes a CIA asset when his brain is downloaded with a program called the Intersect. That’s the plotline, but it doesn’t begin to describe the fun you are about to have when you start watching it. There’s violence, but it’s obviously make-believe and they use tranq guns more often than live ammo. See, Chuck doesn’t believe in killing people. It’s sexy, but nothing you’d be afraid of your four year old watching. They do cuss, but it’s the light stuff for effect, not the shock treatment you get on most modern TV. So your four year old has already heard all of it.

Anyway, I won’t wear you down with more, but that was my Friday night, my Saturday night and the cliff hanger was so good, I watched an episode after church on Sunday. I have to slow down though. There’s only one season left and I have no idea what I am going to do without it. I don’t think there’s any other good clean fun designed for adults.

Alfredo’s

I wish it were not so, but the restaurant my car most frequently goes to is Alfredo’s in Forney. That’s where FANG (Forney Area Networking Group) meets every Tuesday. It’s the one networking meeting I try to make every week, because this is my gang. It’s really more like visiting family than it is going to a networking meeting, but over the years, I have gotten some darned good business from it.

It’s also where my friend Susan Bennett-White has her WWW (Wine, Women and Wealth) meeting. It’s a monthly financial seminar for women with great networking and the opportunity for spotlighting your business. I admit, I go for the networking. I am married to Mr. Finance, but the WWW tips are always good and I’ve racked up some good leads.

So, why in the world would I go there on a Saturday morning, right? Well, a lead I got at the November WWW suggested we meet there for breakfast and she’s so excited about Forever, I would have met her on the moon if she’d suggested it.

What a morning! First, I missed a turn on the way there and was forced to wander around the backroads between Heath and Forney – but I was only a few minutes late. Then my laptop totally failed me. For reasons unknown and totally unrelated to the Alfredo’s location, because not it won’t go online anywhere, now. Then she had her granddaughter with her, which in most cases would have been totally fine, but with no visual aids to assist me, I was going head to head with whatever the granddaughter was playing on her tablet, her complaint about the restroom being in use, her ginormous breakfast order and the side of sausage which was delivered later. Still, Forever won the day and I have a new client.

Finally, Ferah’s!

So, after a week with six networking meetings, five 1:1 meetings and a failing laptop, it was time to play. When I left Alfredo’s, I headed to meet my bestie at Ferah Tex-Med Kitchen. And no, that’s not a typo, Ferah’s fuses Mediterranean dishes with Texican favorites for something that will both surprise and delight you.

The first thing I ordered was a Sauvignon Blanc. Then we shared the Chef’s Sampler Platter with Falafel, Fried Goat Cheese, Crab Cake, Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Dates, Hummus and Pita Bread. How do you say delicious in TexMed? I’m not sure, but I am sure you’ll love it.

Instead of dessert, we chose shopping therapy. A little Ulta’s for some of life’s necessities, like a new mascara I didn’t really need, but the tube was so cute. Enough Chico’s to confirm we love their outlet store and DSW. I told myself I didn’t really need any shoes and I didn’t until I strolled through the clearance racks.

Now, if you love DSW, I don’t have to tell you about the clearance racks. I don’t even look at shoes which aren’t on clearance, but I have another filter. The shoes are tagged by colors indicating from 20-60% off. The percentage of the colors change week by week instead of having to re-tag them. Whatever colors are 50-60% off, those are the only ones I will seriously consider and they better be really good for me to even be interested.

I’m hard on shoes and my feet are getting more picky about what they will wear, so those off-brands you’ve never heard of, they don’t get much of a look either, but JLo’s and Jessica Simpson’s? I couldn’t name any of their tunes, but I love their shoes. JLo was really styling this time, as was Jessica and Adirenne Vittadini, she had a stunner, too.

I walked out with four pairs. Three of them were legit purchases based on things which fit right into my current wardrobe. This metallic orange number with the rhinestone aglets? No reason and no excuses. They just weren’t going to let me walk away without them. It won’t be long until they tell me what to wear them with, either.

So that’s the weekend. Sunday I went to church and then spent the rest of the day getting caught up with stuff, like this post. Keep coming back. Travel Talk and Memory Keeping 101 will keep coming at you, just like the Weekend Report!

Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Scrapbooking

What It Costs to Build a Page

MEMORY KEEPING 101 – YOUR STYLE CONTROLS YOUR COSTS

More Is More

Above you can see several pages I created during an online crop. Creative Memories has them every month and they are a lot of fun. You can use the time to drill down and get pages done with virtual friends from all over the world or you can be crafty. During this particular crop I got crafty, so I haven’t done very many since then. Perhaps one more.

Don’t get me wrong. This is a great place to learn a lot of things, try things you might have never tried to do before and you could win something. The problem for me and maybe you is the temptation to get all caught up making pages which might have no relation to photos you actually want in your album. That’s what happened to me. I made these pages and several others. Then I gave them away. They weren’t my style and I couldn’t figure out what of mine I wanted to use them for.

They weren’t my style because each one took a really long time to make and most of them had more embellishments than I would ever put on a page. The more you put on a page to decorate it, the more time it is going to take and the more money you are going to spend.

A Typical Two Page Spread

The two pages above are out of an album made during the pandemic, so that’s fairly recent and they are typical for my level of decoration. The photos and memorabilia are the stars and the other items just help tell the story. That’s how I do it.

Let’s pretend I just started scrapbooking and they are the first two pages I have done. To get started, I spent $75 to get the coverset, the pages and the adhesives, as I mentioned in an earlier post, but chances are you’d want more than 12 pages/24 sides, so let’s fill up the album with 36 pages/72 sides, which would take the total to $141. The only tools I bought to make these pages were a corner rounder, a personal trimmer and a 12 inch trimmer, which would have cost me about $85. I’m about $300 in, but I still need decorative items.

Decorative items have to be bought in packs. Let’s assume everything I needed for these two pages came out of one collection of decorative items, to make it simple. That would have been a printed paper pack, a pack of cardstock, a mat pack, a pack of stickers and a pack of embellishments. I would have spent about $50 to get all of that. However, the items you see on this two page would have only used about $4’s worth of that $50 or $2 a page. If life were simple, your $50 of decorations would easily cover 24 sides of paper, but you’d need $100 more to cover the other 48.

So, your first album would cost, $450. I can complete an album in about 24 hours, but as a newbie, it would probably take at least 3 times that, so more like 72 hours.

Those 72 Hours

I have been scrapbooking since my teens, which is over half a decade, and the hours I have spent doing it have been some of the favorites in my life. After your first album, you’ll get faster – maybe – if you want.

I have a sort of photographic memory of all of my supplies and I don’t spend much time in decision making. I’d rather have a completed page than a perfect page. I can complete 10 pages while my best friend does 2. That doesn’t make me better. It makes me different. It does however make it easier for me to do this as a business.

If you are are interested in scrapbooking as a hobby or craft, I am happy to support you in whatever ways you need from coaching to stickers. If you want to get faster, I will teach you my tricks. If you want to save money, I’ll teach you how to make the most of every inch of paper and every single sticker. And there are a world of CM resources out there to turn you into a scrapbooking artist.

While your first album would cost you $450, the next one would only be $315 – probably less if you are careful with your decorative supplies. You can join CM for about $50 and get a 10% discount on whatever you buy, plus $50 in credit for your first order. So, that first album would cost $405 and the next one $243, because your discount would go up. Do enough cropping and you get 40% off. CM has no quotas, so you can buy as much or as little as you want.

Of course, along the way, you’d want to buy more tools and you could turn into a paper addict like me, so while the cost of a single scrapbook would go down, your investment in scrapbooking would go up.

If this is exciting to you, then welcome to the world scrapbooking. You’re going to love it here. If it doesn’t then come back next week and we’ll talk about the economy of having me do your scrapbooks for you.

DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography, Scrapbooking

The Weekend Report

TRAVEL HERE – BORING!

Turning the Corner to 2023

Believe me when I say, last weekend 2022 was winding down. It wound down to nothing.

Friday morning I spent some time with my new Cricut – my favorite Christmas present. So far it’s been all learning curve and no real spectacular moments of craftiness. I’ve spent more time learning what it can’t do than I have making stuff. Leave it to me to find the edges of digital technology.

Friday afternoon, we had lunch at Community BBQ. For my bestie and I, it was a return trip, but we were joined this time by her brother and Mr. Bill. I shared a rack of ribs with hubby and avoided the loser mac & cheese, but I saw them take some to another table. It looked much improved.

This visit was not quite as good as our first. The wine was still free, because they haven’t gotten their liquor license, yet, but this time my ribs were fatty. The okra was delicious and I enjoyed a baked potato. Deb’s brother had the brisket and seemed to love it. She, like me, repeated the ribs and was happy. Mr. Bill was disappointed by the ribs, because they were beef ribs. He has very particular taste and if it’s not baby backs, he’d rather not.

Saturday morning I played Marian the Librarian. I keep the library at our small church going and we’d had a huge influx of books. I’d brought them home to prep them for the shelves and made a morning of it. That afternoon I went around the house and the yard taking down the Christmas decorations. The manger scene in the front was another of my favorite Christmas presents, but I got it early so we could display it for this season. Now, it’s in the garage. We have to figure out how to store it!

For New Year’s Eve, Bill and I ate our leftover ribs for dinner and sat on the sofa catching up on episodes of The Voice. That’s pretty lame for a couple who got engaged on Christmas Eve, almost three decades before, but we choose to stay home out of the madness. We drank good champagne at midnight and crawled into bed.

The New Year Arrives with a Bump

If it’s Sunday morning, then I’m probably at church. New Year’s Day was no exception. I shelved all the newly donated books, attended Sunday School and then during the worship service I got the bad news I knew was coming. Our pastor is leaving us here in the Bible Belt, where there’s an evangelical church on almost every corner, to lead a small church in one of the most neglected mission fields in the world – New England. Seriously!

My pastor and his wife had made it known about six months ago that they felt a calling away from us. At that time they didn’t know where they’d go, just that they knew they were done here. I was so sad. Finding my church had been a multi-year task. Worship formats everywhere have taken a turn away from what I love and I’d made the rounds without much luck. This church was an uneasy fit for me in some ways, but they have a traditional worship service and the teaching during the Sunday morning service was stellar, some of the best I’ve ever had.

Now I have to decide what to do with myself on Sunday mornings. No giant of theology is coming to fill the soon-to-be empty shoes of this marvelous teacher. In fact, the elders are going to take turns with the sermon. Natural attrition has taken away some of my favorite people in the congregation and while there are those I love, for the most part I am I fish out of water. I was there each Sunday for the teaching that won’t be there anymore.

Ten years ago, that wouldn’t be so much of a problem, I’d go find another evangelical church with a great teacher and a traditional worship service. Just finding a traditional worship service is one problem, but finding one with a live preacher is even more challenging. I’m just not ready for church on the big screen. So, God and I are chatting about what is next.

Strolling Down Memory Lane

As I mentioned earlier, Bill proposed to me at the stroke on midnight on NYE 1993/4. It had been a complete surprise to me – a good one, but he’d kept his secret well. So, January 1, 1994 I spent the day trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I was engaged to be married to the handsomest man in the whole wide world.

That afternoon we took a walk along the dock at Chandler’s Landing. Together we carved out our path for the coming months. Bill was ready to get married immediately, like could we do it in a few weeks as far as he was concerned. That was plausible if we had a small, quiet ceremony, which I thought was fine, except that he wanted a big wedding with all the trimmings. That meant I’d need a few months to pull it all together.

Chandler’s Landing was very members/residents only back in those days. There was no Yacht Club Restaurant open to the public. We were interlopers, but on that very quiet day, no one seemed to mind. On Sunday we still had to cheat a little, telling them we were going to the restaurant, when all we wanted was the restaurant parking lot, but we literally strolled down memory lane as we walked along the docks.

Chandler’s Landing has changed. It was fairly shabby in 1994, a mere shadow of what it had been designed to be. Today, things are different than they were back then. The HOA has taken over the facilities and hired a very good management company to bring it all back to its former glory – and they are doing a good job of it. The restaurant is still hit and miss, but everywhere you look things are looking better than they were twenty-nine years ago.

Our Ham and Black-Eyed Peas

We skipped The Yacht Club on this visit. We had to eat our ham and black-eyed peas, which I had for us at home. Nothing fancy. I picked up a ham steak at Kroger to go with the can of black-eyed peas I already had on the shelf. I like cornbread with that meal, so I also picked up a package of cornbread mix. It didn’t take long to put on the table, but we enjoyed it. Afterwards, we watched a little TV.

The New Year is off to a good, if quiet start. I am wrapping my life around the resolutions I have made for a “Better Me in 2023.” As befits a new year, my Travel Talk posts will be taking a new turn to New York City. Then Memory Keeping 101 will focus on punches to go along with all that paper I love. I hope you’ll join me for the fun.