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

Coming Attractions

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com


No More Spot On Images

Last week, on Facebook and other social media channels, I made a big announcement. My husband and I sold our real estate photography business. This had been so, on paper, for about a month, but last week we drew open the curtain for everyone to see. Though I am working hard to offload all my Spot On Images duties on the new owner, we’re not quite there, yet – but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel is not the headlamp of an oncoming train.

Spot On Images was the brainchild of my husband. I was only along for the ride. I remember when Bill pitched the idea. I was not exactly enthusiastic and it hurt his feelings, but we’d been married for almost a quarter of a century by then and I knew the routine. He has great money-making ideas, but his visionary capabilities fail to embrace the drudgery and hysteria of supporting said enterprises. Though he realized it would take more than a camera and a website to make the dream a reality, he really had no clue what would be necessary.

There was a division of labor. He did the photography and managed the money. I did everything else. Everything else was not the fun part. I’ll leave it at that. A couple of years ago I hit a brick wall. Like the rest of the world I was sick and tired of masks, Zoom meetings, vaccines and social distancing. The world was beginning to open back up and I wasn’t looking forward to going back to the grind. I introduced the idea of my memory keeping side gig and Jane Sadek – Memory Keeper was born.

A Juggling Act

Perhaps starting a new business when I already had plenty to do in the one we had might not have been the smartest thing I ever did. My new business had all the growing pains of any new venture and initially I actually had more success than I could handle. That was not good for my marriage, but it didn’t hurt Spot On Images one bit. We’d created a snowball and it was barreling down the mountainside.

At that point, other people might have quit, but Memory Keeping is not just business venture for me. It is my passion. So, while I severely dialed back my Memory Keeping activities, I did just enough to keep the embers warm.

Then we arrived at a crossroad. Spot On Images had outgrown the two-man job we’d created for ourselves. Oh, we’d already hired editors and more photographers, but the company was on a trajectory that needed a five year growth plan, more personnel and more headaches. This wasn’t what we’d signed up for, so we decided to sell.

On the Other Side

As this post is being published this Thursday morning, I will be loading the trunk of our car with luggage. We’re going on a trip. Just a five day jaunt to the Detroit area for a family event, but a world of difference from a couple of years ago. That time I stayed up over night before we left, to nurse the editors through our rush jobs, so I could deliver photos by 4:30 AM and catch our flight. During that trip I missed the opportunity to enjoy one of the top picks on my itinerary, because we ran into a hiccup on an important job.

As far as I know, there’s never been a Memory Keeping emergency, which is one of the best things about my new career. A hallmark of any business related to real estate is drama. In photography we were once removed from the insanity I endured as an agent, but because we cared about our clientele, their drama our emergencies. If someone has a Memory Keeping emergency, then I’m not their Memory Keeper. I am out of the emergency business.

While I will need to support the new SOI owner during the weeks to come, my primary focus will be Memory Keeping. I have so many exciting plans. I’m in the middle of a huge sorting job for one client and will be picking up my next scrapbooking project when I get home. I’m going to offload the SOI archive out of my FOREVER account and fill it up with my personal photos and then set up my demo account to share with potential clients. There’s so much training available with FOREVER that I could spend the next year on that, but I will have to restrain myself or I won’t have time for working on my projects or getting the word out that there’s hope for your Memory Messes.

In the future, look for online training, office hours for customer support, a Memory Keeping coaching program and that’s just the beginning of the list of things I want to offer to those of you who want to tackle your Memory Mess. I am so excited, but to make this work, I’m going to need your support. Whenever you hear a friend or family member bemoan their own Memory Messes, I hope you’ll send them to me. I can fix that!!

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

Why There’s a FOREVER!



FOREVER is not yet one of those companies everybody knows about, yet I think a day will come when it will be the go-to place for all things digital-memory-keeping. Until then it’s one of my missions in life to be sure people don’t lose their memories from lack of knowing about FOREVER.

You can’t be around me very long without finding out I care about your photos and have all the tools you need to preserve them for generations to come. That’s especially true if you read this blog.


The founder of FOREVER recently took the time to share the reasons why he has devoted the rest of his life to this company. In this short (4:40 minutes) video he tells what led him to discover the need for the company and why he feels it is such an important tool for anyone and everyone to use.

No one could be more eloquent on this subject, so today, instead of writing a few more hundreds of words, I’m sharing this video. Please take the time to watch it. I think you’ll agree with me, the time has come for FOREVER.

Glen Meakem, Founder & CEO of FOREVER shares his why

So, what do you think? Are you ready to make FOREVER your memories’ home?

DFW Metroplex, Memory Keeping, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography

Get Ready for FOREVER Valet


What Do You Have & Where Do You Want It?

When I ask this question, most people have only the vaguest idea of where all their memories are and they really don’t have a really good idea of where they want them to be, but together we come up with a plan to find everything and get it someplace safe for generations to come.

When the bulk of their memories are on traditional media, like photographs, slides, video and such, the answer is easy. It has to be digitized! While there are a number of ways to go about getting from a pile under the bed to organized folders on FOREVER, it’s a pretty straight forward process.

If those memories are on their phone instead, well that’s easy, too. The FOREVER app can upload everything on your phone to your FOREVER storage while you sleep. Then if you like, it will continue to do so into perpetuity, so you never have to worry about losing your photos, even if you lose your phone, it gets stolen or if somebody runs over it.

When those photos are on a computer or hard drive, getting all of that organized on FOREVER was doable, but could be a long drawn out procedure. In truth, the bigger your mess was, the easier it was to transfer. If everything was carefully organized, there was not really any way to transfer all of that organization to FOREVER without doing it all over again. BUT NO MORE!

Valet Is Here!

Valet is a magic carpet ride for your photos. Thousands and thousands of photos can be moved from your hard drive, computer or laptop, with a few clicks of a button. If your photos are nothing but a great big mess, that’s great news! With Valet, they can arrive in FOREVER in nice neat folders, sorted by year and date, with all the duplicates pulled out. However, if your photos and videos are already in nice neat little folders on your device, then FOREVER will just move the whole thing – organization and all into FOREVER – BAM! It’s done!!

What’s even better is that you get to decide what kind of Valet customer you want to be:

  • Free One Month Trial – If all you want to do is a one time upload from your computer to FOREVER, then this is the route for you. There is no limit to the number of photos you can upload to FOREVER (or download from FOREVER, for that matter), you just have to do it all in 30 days. You can use it to get photos off your computer, off your husband’s computer, off your parent’s computer or wherever. The Valet Trial is associated with your FOREVER account, not a particular device.
  • Yearly Subscription – If a month is not enough, then how about a year. For only $59.99 you can do all the things mentioned above, but instead of 30 days, you have a 365 of them. That’s pennies a day.
  • Professional Subscription – If for any reason you have access to more than one FOREVER account, then perhaps you’ll need the professional version. It was designed for professional organizers, but there are other applications as well – such as if you are part of a family, team or other group using FOREVER for a project. The professional subscription is $299.99.

Here’s the good news. You can use your Club Dollars to buy it and it qualifies for the Club Discount. How can you resist?

If Valet sounds like something you’d be interested in, let’s get together and talk about how it can help you. It’s a very exciting product!!

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

How My Business Works


Saving Your Memories, Not Selling a Business Opportunity

I remember sometime back in the late 70’s, a friend came by to share a business opportunity. It seems as if the first hour of his presentation was spent describing fantastic vacations, palatial second homes and very expensive cars we were going to have very, very soon. I guess we were supposed to overlook the fact his shoes were worn out and his car was ready for the wrecking yard. Eventually we got him to admit he was there to sign us up for a multi-level marketing company that is now a well known pyramid scheme. We said no thanks and then spent an hour trying to get him out of our house. His parting words, “I’m sorry you didn’t have the vision to understand what I was offering.” We ran into him a few months later and he sheepishly let us know he was pursuing other opportunities.

I’m sure all of us, at some point or another, have been approached by someone who wanted us to join their MLM team. I want you to know there are some great teams out there to join – Tupperware, Melaleuca, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef and so many more. While there have been some bad players in the past, this type of company provides great products, usually at a lower price and they have also been a real boon to women. When the glass ceiling was firmly in place, there were lots and lots of women who were outpacing their male counterparts through network marketing.

Back in the day, most network marketing happened out of the trunk of people’s car. They’d buy up lots of merchandise, so they’d have something to sell you and the more they bought, the more impressive their title would be. There were also lots of parties. You’d go to a friend’s house and their friend would demonstrate a product line. You’d order something so your friend could earn her free product and then a few weeks later it would be delivered, usually with a little pressure for you to have a party, too.

Then along came the world-wide web and network marketing was transformed. Network marketers didn’t have to buy up a bunch of merchandise they might or might not be able to sell. They could drop ship their products to their clients, just like Amazon and E-Bay and Walmart. While many companies still use the party format for marketing their products, there are many more that don’t and it’s not a tool I use.

Today, the biggest difference in retail marketing and network marketing is the way a company chooses to spend it’s marketing dollar. If you’re Walmart or Macy’s or Louis Vuitton, then you’re going to buy up radio and TV spots, have slick ads in print and put brick and mortar storefronts at the local mall. Companies like Mary Kay and Arbonne instead invest in their representatives to spread the word. That’s the way FOREVER and Creative Memories do it.

In spite of this transformation, there are still people who want to know if FOREVER or Creative Memories are MLM’s. So, let me tell you how my business works and then I will tell you how these companies work.

Service is my Primary Product

I am a Memory Keeper. I am offering my service and experience as a life long scrapbooker and part owner of a real estate photography company. I love helping others preserve their memories and along the way I have learned quite a bit about media, how to preserve it and how to share it. I will be happy to make scrapbooks for you and help you organize your photos. You pay me directly for those services. I will be using Creative Memory products in your album. I will also use my new Cricut, stickers from Hobby Lobby and paper from JoAnn’s if I can’t find what I need in the CM line. If we do a digital projects, I will most likely use FOREVER programs like Artisan and Historian as I work on the job, because they are my tools.

If your project is digital and you want to do it yourself, then I will recommend FOREVER products like digitization and permanent storage, to you. If you need these products, then I’m recommending to you the very thing I use for my own projects, because they are, without a doubt, the very best available. Yes, I will make some commission on those purchases, but this is my business and to continue doing what I love to do for others, I need to be able to support my habit, but if you’d rather use another company, go right ahead.

While I want to help you save your memories, I won’t be trying to recruit you to my team. There are CM advisors and FOREVER ambassadors who choose to build their businesses by building a team, but that’s not what I want to do. It takes a lot of time coaching and mentoring to be a good team leader, and your own success is determined by your leadership skills.

My business is based on my scrapbooking and organizational skills, not my recruiting skills. In addition, a team leader should also be modeling the business for your downline and very, very few people have creating scrapbooks and organizing photos for other people as their primary goal. If team building were my goal, I would not split my effort between two companies, but would pour my energies into one company or the other – in my case Creative Memories – but because many people with a memory mess need digital solutions, I offer both.

Now, if you’re going to be spending a significant amount of money (as in thousands) with either company, then I may show you how to get deeper discounts, but it’s because I want to save you money, not because I want to add you to my team. I will actually make less money with you as my team member, than I will if you are a customer, but because my ultimate goal is to preserve your memories and help you share them with others, if I can save you a little money along the way, then that’s what I am going to do.

Every once in a great while a unicorn does come along. You could join one of my companies as a representative to get the discount, fall in love with what they offer and build a very successful business of your own. That’s great! I would support your efforts, as would everyone in the company you chose. That’s why we call it network marketing. We network with our clients and our fellow representatives. The more you do for others, the more successful you become. However, I have photos to organize, scrapbooks to create and people to help save and share their memories. I don’t have time to go unicorn hunting.

Creative Memories

Creative Memories is a part of my life. Along with a lot of other people in the 90’s, I learned those adhesive photo albums I’d been using were actually destroying the very thing I was trying to save. I was soon hooked on a lot more than acid-free, photo-safe albums. I loved stickers and die cuts and paper. (Oh, did I ever love the paper!) I still love scrapbooking and after all these years I know there are no products out there better for what I love.

There have been two Creative Memories and I have been a customer and a representative of both. The first Creative Memories was an MLM. Your success depended on having parties – only they called them home classes, workshops and crops, but you also had to recruit. To keep your consultant designation, you had to purchase a certain amount of inventory you hoped to unload at your events and you had to recruit. Confession, I was dismal at both. I filled up my house with product and I never recruited a soul. That was happening to a lot of people, so for that reason and some others, Creative Memories went bankrupt.

The new CM is completely different. There are no buying quotas to meet and while I can build my own team should I desire to, they are only my team and no one else is benefitting off of them. There are various streams of income I can make based primarily on my sales and the sales of my direct team members, but that’s it. That’s all there is. It is not an MLM.


Forever is a little different and the teams do have various levels, but they are quite limited. The business plan is based first on my own sales to my own customers. They do not pay a membership fee, nor do they have to buy a certain amount within a certain time period. I never have to recruit anyone to promote within the company. I can reach the top commission level on my own.

Should building a team be what someone wants, that’s great and they will receive a tiny portion of sales for their own team members up to 5 levels down, but that’s it. There’s not some big dog at the top of the pyramid making his living off all the people who have ever been joined the company. There is no pyramid, only a short trapezium.

I say a trapezium, because while there are nine levels of compensation with Forever and thousands of ambassadors, a manager only qualifies for a tiny percentage of the sales within their own five level team. In fact, the Senior Executive Ambassador from whom I get most of my training and who I turn to when there’s a problem doesn’t get a penny of my sales. She just loves Forever and wants to help everyone be successful. That’s the culture.

So, if you avoid want to avoid having parties and being recruited, you’re safe with me. If you have a problem with the pyramid-like compensation plans of some of the MLM companies, you’re safe with me. I want you to be my customer, not my team member. I want to help you, not recruit you and I assure you, you can spend a whole lot of money with me and never buy a product from CM or FOREVER. If you have memories that need saving let’s talk. If not, check on my Weekend Report tomorrow and my Travel There post next week!

DFW Metroplex, Scrapbooking, Shopping

Crafters Can Scrapbook, but Memory Keepers Don’t Have to Craft


I started my morning by checking my email and since Memory Keeping is my business, I’m always on the look out for content, something I can post to my social media channels. I’d been writing blog posts the day before, so I really wasn’t looking for another one, but this one found me anyway.

Creative Memories is a Heaven for Crafters

Creative Memories has a blog and that’s where my email took me. If you’re a crafter, you’ll love it. You’ll need all kinds of tools and materials complete the beautiful things the blog features. These particular borders require 11 various items. Each border has 3-4 easy steps (ha), or at least it seems that way, until you figure out that each “easy” step also includes 4-5 steps. You could craft away a morning with these borders.

I have nothing against crafters. I’m happy they have both the skill and the time to do the amazing things they do. Crafters, please let me be your Creative Memories Advisor. I can point you in the direction of a lifetime of craft ideas and sell you everything you’ll need to complete them – including all the totes you need for packing up to go away on that crafting weekend.

Creative Memories is Also a Resource for Memory Keepers

However, crafters have given Memory Keeping a bad name and to be honest, I get a little mad at Creative Memories for obscuring the line between memory keeping and crafting. I get it, crafters who scrapbook are probably going to buy more product than your average person who just wants to save their memories in a traditional album. However, I’m one of those people who embraced the old CM taglines – “Everyone Has a Story to Tell” and “Simple Pages, Completed Albums.” “We Make Scrapbooking Fun,” the phrase on the back of a recent catalog, just doesn’t resonate with me.

So, as I was saying, I looked at the Creative Memories blog and my hair stood on end. Sure, the bear borders are really cute, but I’m not sharing the post on my Facebook feed without a disclaimer. Most of my clients are incredibly busy people who hire me to scrapbook for them. They want an economical answer to their Memory Mess, whether they’re attempting to tackle some of it themselves or they’re turning the whole project over to me. I offer them an affordable album package, which includes all labor and materials, and my clients love the results, but I assure you, none of these borders will be in one of my standard albums. My standard albums are simply beautiful and I can complete them in a couple of weeks, but they’re all Memory Keeping, with only a touch of crafting.

I’m a Devoted Memory Keeper Who Can Also Craft

That being said, if you’re a crafter, go visit the CM blog I mentioned, go to CMTV, soak up their YouTube Channel. There’s a lifetime of crafting there. Get after it. I love it, too.

I want you to know that if you hire me to do your albums for you, I can craft, but I also need you to understand, specialty albums have to cost more. I have stacks and stacks of papers, drawers of punches, boxes of stickers and a variety of other tools on shelves and in baskets. Heck, I even have a Cricut! No matter how simple the album, I find ways to use my toys in quick bites. I am a Closet Crafter, whose day job is Memory Keeping.

However, there’s no package price for a specialty album. I work on a time and materials basis, keeping track of every minute and every sticker. Elaborate titles and borders will fill every page, with thick layers of beautifully crafted paper enhancements. It’s the perfect gift for a bride or a new mother. It’s a vacation album you’ll cherish. However, the timeline for it could be anywhere from a month to six weeks. The materials used will add up, but it will be the time which takes the biggest bite of your budget.

Back to Basics

Here’s the bottom line. Memory Keeping does not require crafting skills. If you want to do this yourself. I promise you can do it. If you’re looking for an affordable way to get someone else to do it for you, I’m your girl. At the same time, if you are a crafter, there just aren’t any projects out there as meaningful as Memory Keeping.

In other words, Memory Keeping is job one, whether you do it or I do. Crafting is optional! So give me a call and lets get busy saving your memories!!

I hope Memory Keepers, Crafters and Travelers will keep coming back. Tomorrow I’ll have The Weekend Report, next Wednesday we’ll be traveling and then a week from now I’ll be keeping more memories.

ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Museums, Restaurants & Bars, Shopping

The Weekend Report


Let’s Start with Spring Cleaning

So, sometime during the winter, Bill built a bunch of shelves in my attic. Yes, we have separate attics. What that means is that I get most of the larger attic. Now he built those shelves so he could navigate more easily to his stuff, but I’m not going to complain, because shelves are shelves and I love them.

However, winter is not an optimum time to reorganize your attic, so I used the shelves to make Bill a path to his stuff and went on with my life, waiting for better attic weather. While winter is not optimal for attic cleaning, summer in Texas is impossible, so when spring hit, I started on the project. I began with a corner of the attic with books and games, but lo and behold my shelves were broken. So, I unloaded everything on Monday, but Bill didn’t get around to fixing them until the last thing Sunday evening.

That left my guest bedroom looking like a storage room, but to tell the truth, it had already been leaning that way, which was the second impetus for reorganizing the attic. Frustrated in my efforts to complete that job, I started working on summer-izing my closet. A lot of my clothes can be worn year round, especially since this is Texas, but I do have seasonal stuff and I keep the off-season on a third row of hanging bar in my closet.

Switching out the season in my closet is a big job and I made it bigger this year by forcing myself to actually try on everything that was going to stay in the to-wear area. Last year I lost down to my goal weight, but before I had any time to enjoy it, I got a monster case of hives, which threw all my discipline out the window. I couldn’t exercise and the meds turned me into an eating machine. That made me angry, which caused me to eat more and for months I just hid beneath those finger tip sweaters and coats I love to wear, trying to ignore those extra pounds.

In March, I worked on a serious attitude improvement program and at the end of it, I bit the bullet and started back on Noom. I’d say I know at least ten health and fitness coaches, but I’m just not into smoothies and supplements, so I go it alone with a little app to make me accountable. I’m having a rough start with a lots of up and down, but that’s the nature of weight loss at my age, so as long as I stay on the plan and the overall direction is down, I’m trying to suffer the spikes with grace.

A lot of people go on diets so they can buy new clothes in a different size. I go on diets so I can get back into the clothes I already have. After my time in the closet last week, I have four feet of summer clothes I can’t wear and at least four feet of clothes that I wish were too big. Segregating the too small stuff saves me time when I’m getting ready, but also provides a great motivation to stay on track with my diet, because those clothes I can’t wear are my favorites.

But wait, just going through my clothes did not satisfy that urge to purge. Next, I attacked the drawers and cabinets in my bathroom. On Good Friday I woke up with the same organizing bug, decided to skip the new networking meeting I had intended to attend and headed back into my closet. The hanging clothes were all organized, but the rest of it also needed a purge. All of this resulted in more stuff for the attic. So, Saturday night I moved all that next to the stairwell and carried it upstairs on Sunday. No, you do not want to see my upstairs right now, but Bill finally fixed the shelves, so guess what I did with all my “spare time” this week!

Good Friday

When I was a little kid, my parents did the whole Easter thing, but somewhere along the way, my dad quit going to Christmas and Easter services. He said he went the rest of the year, so he was going to make room for all the visitors. For years, we stayed away from church on these big attendance days. Once I was on my own, I did not follow his lead, but this year I was going to.

If you’ve been keeping up, Bill and I are church shopping, again, a job we don’t particularly enjoy, but becomes necessary from time to time. We’ve visited several churches with varying degrees of success, but haven’t found the one. Last week, Bill just wasn’t up to it and this week I wasn’t. So, when my bestie called and invited us to join her for Good Friday services, that was a good way to work in some worship without visiting a strange church – her church is my old church. It was a great service and I enjoyed seeing my friends.

Afterwards, we went to Casa Mama, again. It’s her favorite. I’m on a diet, so I didn’t care.

Good Saturday

My plans for Saturday underwent many changes. Initially, I was going to meet my Dot friends, of the local Polka Dot Powerhouse chapter, for a walk. However, the organizer got sick and I was the only “for sure” attendee, so I redirected my exercise endeavors to my gym. Then I came home and organized my earrings for a while, which was the last job in organizing my closet.

I had been going to go meet my bestie on the other side of town after my walk, which would have been at the end of her dance lesson, but without the walk, it made more sense for us to meet on our own side of town. So she came and picked me up. For lunch, we went to one of my favorites, Fable & Fire. Yes, I know the service is slow and they’re a tad bit expensive, but I love the vibe. It was my first Saturday visit, so I was pleased to discover they have live music on Saturday afternoon. It made for a pleasant lunch. I had the salad with the fruit and nuts – yummy!!

After lunch I got back to my earrings and finished up the closet job. Hubby was taking a nap on the sofa, so I sat down to read a little, which turned into a lot.

Good Sunday

Since I always wake up early, so matter whether I need to or not, I used the time to get ahead on my weekday tasks by doing some social media stuff. Bill and I shared a quiet coffee time together, then we went out in the yard for some of that unpleasant, but necessary stuff that needed to be done.

Afterwards, I got cleaned up, because we were supposed to be going out to run some errands, but when I walked out cute and ready to roll, someone was relaxing on the couch. So, I started reading again. He changed couches and I moved to the couch he vacated to continue reading. I was getting chilly and thought about changing clothes, but it seemed as if we were going to have an at home day, so I decided to just change into lounging clothes. The minute I sat back down on the couch, he was ready to roll, so I changed again, but this time into something a little warmer.

We needed to buy a birthday gift for a nephew and the last time I’d been to the Dallas Museum of Art, the gift shop had a good assortment of cute kid stuff. So, we went there, only to discover all the cute kid stuff had sold out. Nada! So, we just enjoyed the museum for awhile. We spent most of our time in the European Art, something we hadn’t done in a while and I must say I liked what was on display. Some old favorites were in different spots and there were other items I either hadn’t seen in a while or didn’t remember ever seeing.

From the museum we went to Fadi’s. He likes the schwerma and I love the veggies. It was delicious as always. Next stop the grocery store, then home again, home again jiggedy jig.

For a girl on a diet I sure did eat well this weekend, but it was a lot of salad and veggies, so nothing to feel guilty about. Come back next week for some more of New York and the usual Memory Keeping 101. Then we’ll see how I did on my diet this week and if I got my attic back together!

ART, Attractions, DESTINATIONS, DFW Metroplex, Museums, Performing Arts, Photography, Restaurants & Bars, Road Trips, TRAVEL

The Weekend Report


Travel & Adventure Show

Traveling is my thing and every year, when the Travel & Adventure Show comes to town, I feed that passion. I remember the first year I happened into it with my hubby at the Dallas Convention Center. He was more excited about the Belly Dancers on the Global Beats Stage and I didn’t worry him by picking up every brochure in sight, like I do these days, but I knew I’d found something.

The next year, bestie went with me and a tradition was born. We schedule our day around various speakers, grab every brochure that even slightly interests us and get our picture made at the photo booth. It’s a good time.

This year she had a dance lesson and we met afterwards. Confession, the last few times we’d been, it want’s the marvelous hit it had been in those first few years and we couldn’t even blame it on Covid. Somewhere along the way they’d moved to Dallas Market Hall and it just wasn’t what it had been. So, bestie and I decided we didn’t need to rush over there. We could have lunch first. I mean we’re not about to miss it, it had just fallen short in helpfulness since it first came along.

So, we grabbed lunch at Torchy’s Tacos, near one of her dance studios. We have one in Rockwall, but I rarely get there. In truth, I think it’s a little pricey for street tacos, but that’s me. This time it was well over $20, basically for fast food, but I did splurge and get a specialty margarita. It was bigger than the standard margarita and while Deb complained her regular margarita was a tad tart, mine was awesome.

Then it was on to Dallas Market Center. This year did not feature some of the big name travel types we’d seen in the past, but I thought it was an improvement over the last few years. The first time it was at DMC it was pathetic and the Covid years were tough, but we’ve hung in there and this year it really was worth the effort. It’s easy to be worth the price, because it was only $10. What else can you do for $10.

We started off with “How to Travel Solo, from the Experts” in the Savvy Traveler Theater, for Deb, who is contemplating a test drive in the world of Solo Travel. There had been a similar seminar last year, but it had been a total waste of time. This year was better – marginally so, but better. Deb was encouraged to discover more and more companies are doing away with an upcharge for solo travelers, but disappointed the cruise industry is slowest on the uptake.

The next seminar was right back in the same place, but it was Gabe Saglie of Travel Zoo talking about “How to Prioritize Travel in Uncertain Economic Times. He talked a lot about trends and offered up travel tips, but his goal in life was to get us to sign up for Travel Zoo. He made it sound good enough, that I actually just did so.

We immediately went to “”The Insider’s Guide to Visiting Arizona Parks,” but the seminar was misnamed. It should have been, “Look What I Did.” Some lady who worked for the Arizona Office of Tourism spent the time showing videos which are on the National Parks’ websites. Apparently, she had been tasked with making the National Parks websites more accessible and she was very proud of her videos. Thank you, I know how to use the internet. You have wasted my time. She got away with showing one. We left when she started showing the second one. She may have made the websites more accessible to the general public, but she made her presentation a real snorefest.

Next up was “Cruise Tips, Trends and Personal Stories from Our Adventures at Sea,” in the big Travel Theater. This seminar was also misnamed. It was an advertisement for Princess cruises to Alaska. The MC for this talk was Alanna Zingano, a social media travel influencer (No, thank you!) and Jeff Corwin. I confess, he looked a lot like Steve Irwin, the Australian Nature Dude who got killed by a stingray, so I thought he was that guy’s son. Not so. Somehow Jeff Corwin has gotten a job as the Nature & Adventure Ambassador, probably because I’m not the only one who thinks he’s Steve Irwin’s son. Anyway, Alaska is not at the top of my travel list and Deb has been four times, so that was a loser.

The final seminar of the day was probably the best. Someone named David McGuffin did a talk titled, “Exploring Europe: Top Destinations, Attractions and Experiences.” Of course, he was advertising his European travel company.

David and our friend from Travel Zoo were the most informative guys at the travel show, but I wish that wasn’t giving them more credit than they deserve. In the past, we’ve seen Samantha Brown, Rick Steves and other travel luminaires behind the podium. So, it was not a star-studded event. However, they have ramped up the quality of their vendors and I felt as if it was more worth the trip than it had been in recent years.

David Solomon at the Biblical Arts Museum

The other big event for the weekend was an opening reception for a new exhibition at the Biblical Arts Museum. I’m not sure how I get on these lists, but the museum invited me to opening of the “Flowers of the Holy Land” Exhibit. A little honesty here. I’m not really fond of this museum. It’s mostly a warehouse for copies of various religious art – including Thomas Kinkade prints. They also cram entirely to much stuff into the space they have, so actually enjoying one of their oversized look-alikes is difficult to do.

I can’t say I walked away from this exhibit with much more respect for what they are doing. Bill and I both thought an exhibit of my own photographs from the Dallas ARboretum would offer better photography and certainly FOREVER would have done a better job printing the large format photos. The refreshments offered were bad wine and bagels – a little odd, but the jazz band which played was actually pretty good.

Glad I went, so I know what’s up. I wonder if the exhibit will be there later this month when the Crowley Chamber Concert will be. While I’m not crazy about the museum, I do love the Crowley Chamber Concert Series.

For now, I must run! See you next week for travel, memory keeping and another weekend report.

DFW Metroplex, Memory Keeping, Photography

Making Memories with SRS 2023

Memory Keeping 101: Sharing and Gifting for Your Grads

Senior Photos, Graduation Announcements, Thank You Cards and Party Invitations

Ok, those who know me know I passed on the whole parenting thing. There’s a facet of our culture I have completely missed out on, except what I see on the social media feeds of my friends. When I was a senior, I took the same senior pictures everyone else did at the local Olan Mills studio and ordered my embossed announcements through Balfour.

My how the world has changed. Booking the right photographer for your senior photo session is a daunting task and you’ve somehow got to come up with a place for the shoot that no one else in the world has ever been. Well, once you’ve booked that photographer (And if you need a referral, just call!) then you have to think about ordering your announcements. Don’t make that purchase until you’ve checked out this page.

FOREVER has just introduced some of the most beautiful Graduation cards you’re going to find on the internet and they’ve upgraded their Design & Print pages to make personalizing your choice beyond easy. Choose the number of photos to include on front and on back, choose landscape or portrait orientation, choose your cardstock, choose your colors, choose your text and automatically address your cards when you’re ordering them. Also use QR codes to provide more photos, access to a video or slideshow, even audio files with a personal invitation from your senior. There are so many options available to you.

But don’t stop there! Choose an entire suite of coordinating stationary for party invitations, thank you cards and more. And whatever you choose, don’t check-out before you go to the Deals page! Over the next months, there are going to be such deals, not just for seniors, but for brides, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.

Decision Day

FOREVER graduation stationary is great for any graduate, from Kindergarten to Grade School, but high school seniors may have yet another important event to commemorate – Decision Day. Just as new parents throw big parties to announce the sex of their expected child, high school senior now make a big deal of their college or career choice. Use FOREVER to make it an even more special day.

From creating themed items for your reveal to creating the layout for your Decision Day social media post, FOREVER is there. Want a blanket for their bed, create in FOREVER. Want a dry erase board, use the FOREVER Table Top Panels. How about some coasters for Grandma and Grandpa? How about a thermal cup for your senior to sport with her university’s symbol? Want to create cards for a formal announcement. You’ve got all the FOREVER tools you have for graduation stationary. Wherever your imagination can take you, FOREVER can make it happen.

Gifts for Remembrance and Encouragement

So, maybe you don’t have a senior, but you know you’re going to be getting those announcements about graduations, parties and decision days. Yes, money and gift cards are always greatly appreciated, but in a week or so, they will be gone, gone, gone. Whether they spent it, saved it or invested it, in time names and amounts are going to get foggy. Make your graduation gift memorable with FOREVER’s AutoPrint or Design & Print gifts, slipping those dollars into a very affordable, easy, quick personalized gift your senior will treasure for years to come.

AutoPrint is a quick way to make all kinds of gifts your graduating senior will love. Personalized water bottles, coffee mugs, journals, dry erase boards and more. It’s so easy, you’ll have your gift ready to ship in moments.

With Design & Print, you can expand your choices to include blankets, frosted glasses, wall décor, puzzles and even calendars. It may take just a bit longer to complete these choices, it’s still easy peasy!

Go to FOREVER right now to choose your project and if you need any help, just let me know. You really don’t have to talk to some anonymous bot or listen to hold music. Just call or text me and I’ll walk you through it all.

If you’re looking for something really unique, why don’t you give your senior the gift of FOREVER storage. Set them on the road to memory keeping with their very own permanent storage account they’ll never have to make payments on, never have to upgrade to a different format, that will never be compressed or deleted or mined for advertising. What’s more, they can use the free app to automatically save all the photos they take with their phone or post to Facebook to their permanent storage, so even if they drop their phone into the punch bowl, lose it at a concert or whatever, those precious photos of their college days will be there. As they live their lives, they can add more GB’s and services, but they’ll never forget who set them on the Memory Keeping Road.

Be Generous and Thrifty!

Never ever buy anything from FOREVER without checking the Deals Page. If you don’t see any deals you like, then call me. I always have the inside track on what bargains will be coming out during a month. There’s always a deal at FOREVER and I don’t want you to miss the one you want.

If giving personalized gifts is something you like to do for all kinds of occasions, then you’ll be interested in The Club. No, The Club is not some sneaky way to turn you into a FOREVER Ambassador. The Club is a way to budget your expenditures and save an extra 5% on pretty much everything you buy from FOREVER. You choose what you want to put away for gift giving on a monthly basis from $25 to whatever you want. FOREVER will charge you that amount each month and save it until you are ready to make a purchase. Your dollars never expire. Then when you do buy something, you’re using the dollars you have already put away and you’ll get that 5% discount on top of whatever deals you find on the deals page (with a very, very few exceptions). If you’re a grandma or grandpa with lots of grandkids to gift, then you’ll also want to check out Premiere Shipping – pay one time for a year of shipping, no matter how much you send.

And that’s some of the ways FOREVER can make you a hero with SRS 2023. I’d love to help you with all your Memory Keeping and Memory Sharing ideas. Let’s meet over coffee and talk about it!

Keep coming back for travel stories, a run down on local attractions and my favorite – Memory Keeping.

Attractions, DFW Metroplex

The Weekend Report


The Weekend Started Thursday Night

It almost felt like pre-pandemic days. Something came in snail mail which invited us to a free event. Those used to come all the time from The Dallas Museum of Art, The Dallas Arboretum, various premium car dealerships and other organizations. Then we all went into hibernation and the world had changed. Nothing comes in snail mail anymore and the only thing that might be free is a ZOOM meeting.

But by golly, several months ago, our HOA magazine invited us to a free event to celebrate their name change, the Stroll Meet & Greet. They kicked it off with great fanfare, suggesting that once I made my reservations I’d be inundated with all kinds of follow up information. That didn’t happen. In fact, I had to do a little investigative research to figure out if it was actually going to happen or not.

Once we made the drive across town and arrived at the event, we discovered we were the only couple from our neighborhood to make the trek. The editor of our magazine and her daughter were there, but no one else. I would say that should give you a clue about the magazine’s readership, but on second thought, I realized the location of the event required residents of Buffalo Creek to cross the bridge and many folks out here in the Lake Cities, Rockwall, Heath, Fate etc. don’t go anywhere that requires crossing the bridge, especially if it’s at rush hour.

Well, Bill and I are just misplaced Dallasites, so while we may curse, moan and complain about the bridge, it is not a barrier to us attending a free event in Far North Dallas. The location of this particular event was Starpower, just off the Dallas Parkway. If you aren’t familiar with Starpower, I’m not surprised. It’s a high end appliance and home theater store by Ed Kellum and Sons, but most folks have never heard of it. It’s a beautiful showroom and served as a great venue for an homeowner event. Bill even looked at a frig.

All in all, it was a pretty nice event. There were some food stations, a photo booth and adult beverages With six neighborhoods in DFW N2 Publishing’s stable and free admission, I would have expected a larger crowd, but there you go. I said it ALMOST felt like pre-pandemic days and people staying home in droves is just one of the post-pandemic realities.

Another post-pandemic reality is that most people have forgotten how much fun it is to dress up. “Cocktail Attire” was requested and some of us rose to the occasion, but most people did not. Business Attire was also an option, so I gave those people a pass, but the slobs (and they know who they are) put a damper on the gala atmosphere. They may be comfortable and doing their own thing, but I’d just as soon they stayed home, too.

The sponsors did avoid another post-pandemic trend, of which I’m glad. To be honest, it’s a Millenial/Gen X trend, but it all tends to fit in the same bucket, in my humble opinion. There was no virtue-signaling claim of a charity or cause benefitting from it. Everywhere I go it seems someone wants a few to many dollars for their cause or for me to buy their raffle ticket or to donate something for their silent auction. If I donated to everyone with their hand out, I’d need someone to have a gala for me, because I’d be bankrupt. But I’ll get off that hobby horse. I’m a voice crying out in the wilderness and I’m totally off-trend.

Lone Star CASA’s Bunco & Bubbles Brunch

While the Stroll Meet & Greet didn’t have a charitable agenda, the next event on my calendar did, the third annual Bunco and Bubbles Brunch. This was an unashamed fund-raising event for CASA and I heartily endorse Lone Star CASA and their mission. What I don’t like is the way a charity is tacked on to obvious marketing ploys, where someone or some organization wants to get credit for my donations to their charity. It just doesn’t sit well with me. Marketing is marketing and charity is charity.

That being said, this was a pretty fun event. Yes, they sold raffle tickets and yes there was both a live and a silent auction, but I can live with that. One draw is a brunch with bottomless mimosas. An improvement this year was the addition of cranberry juice to make poinsettias. My tummy cannot tolerate the acid in orange juice and apparently I am not alone. When I attended a couple of years ago, orange juice was all they had and a bottomless glass of champagne can be a little dangerous. I’m glad my car was able to drive home on its own.

The brunch itself was not exactly bountiful. There was a three-tiered plate stand with nibbles at each end of the tables. The choices were very skinny finger sandwiches, teeny tiny quiches and three-fruit hors d’oeuvres. Or you could go pick a cold glazed doughnut off a board with pegs on it. Were I in charge, I think I’d dump the brunch part and just provide a snack mix in bowls for finger food. A lot less hassle and expense. To boot, people like me wouldn’t show up hungry with visions of a buffet. They did refill the selections several times, but exactly how many mini-quiche can you eat to balance out your mimosas and poinsettias. If there were no brunch offered, folks would eat breakfast before they came. No charge for the advise.

The other draw was Bunco. I only play Bunco once in a blue moon and usually when I do, everyone has donated a few bucks to the pot, which is then split up among the winners. The head table (where the winners sit) sets the pace for the game, because you play until someone at the head table gets 21 points. If they roll a Bunco (all three dice have the target number) then it’s a really short game.

This game was played in four minute heats and were they ever hot. Some of the women were rolling the dice as if their lives depended on winning. Their goal was to get as many rolls as possible into the 4 minutes. That took all the fun out of it for me. With certain rolls, you’re supposed to call out for a token to mark your score, but instead of being able to celebrate your feat, these crazy women wanted you to continue rolling while you madly waved your hand to get your token – a cheap string of beads, which would be turned in for a ticket, which gave you a chance at a prize.

The heats were also very loud. You had some ladies coaching those who had never played Bunco, other women were counting the scoring dice rolls out loud, some people were cheering on their partners and then there was the desperate calls of “Bunco” and “Mini-Bunco”, so we could get our necklaces, while the self-selected Bunco bosses would shout, “Keep rolling! Keep rolling!” Over it all was the timekeeper shouting out how many minutes/seconds were left in the heat. Confession, it was all a little overwhelming for me.

Taking It Easy Sunday

After so much excitement, I was ready for a quiet Sunday. We visited Rockwall First Baptist in our continuing search for a church home. Like several of the churches we have visited, they were doing a lot of things right, but it just wasn’t for us. I grew up on 3-Points- &-A-Poem sermons, so it was all very familiar. Nothing theologically wrong with what was taught, it just wasn’t challenging enough intellectually and spiritually. I need something that’s going to keep me thinking all week long, until I can go back again the next Sunday to get more.

The music part of the journey is the toughest part. I actually liked the music they sang, but they only put the words up on the screens. I really, really need the actually bars of music or I’m left feeling around vocally, trying to figure out what the tune is. After struggling through several contemporary songs, I was so relieved to move to a very familiar hymn, that I could barely sing it for the tears. It shouldn’t be so hard to worship!

Next Bill got his Starbuck’s fix. I don’t drink coffee and relaxing is a very hard thing for me to do, but if he can go sit through a worship service he’s not all that interested in, then I can go hang out at Starbucks. From there we visited a few nurseries – also not my favorite things, but I was getting to spend the day with the love of my life, so what did I have to complain about. We did come home with some youpon hollies and a few nandina bushes – neither of which were on my short list, but at least we’ll get some shrubs planted. Bill and I have very different criteria for plants.

The day slid into evening and all too soon the work week started. Put the Bunco & Bubbles event on your calendar for next year and then come back next week for a little more NYC and some great Memory Keeping Advice. Then we’ll have another weekend report.

DFW Metroplex, Photo Organization, Photo Organization Coach, Photography

Be a Hero with Forever’s Historian


Why Historian?

When it comes to permanent online storage you own, there just isn’t anything better than Forever. However, you might have wondered how to get your digital files ready for it. You don’t have to tell me Forever storage is a big investment. For most of us, our digital horde far outweighs the legacy we’d like to pass on to the future.

Historian is the answer. When you’re dealing with hard copy photos and memorabilia, your tools are tabletops, Ziplocks and boxes. You can buy a variety of fancy tools for this project, from boxes and files, to labels and dividers but I just use what I have at home with time.

Curating photos, traditionally and digitally, takes time. Facing a phone, laptop or app full of photos can seem quite overwhelming and if you think of it in view of purchasing permanent storage to hold it all, then it is not only overwhelming, it is daunting.

Historian is the halfway house for your digital stash. I’ve always struggled with organizing photos with my computer. For one thing it will let me save the same pictures in 47 places. It may notify me when I try to put it in the same file, but Historian goes further than that and will let me know when I am saving the same picture anywhere in my stash. With tagging I can find it in several different ways, without taking up valuable space saving it multiple times.

Historian also reads the time stamp from metadata and puts the photos in historical order. How wonderful is that?

Another amazing feature is face recognition. Yes, face recognition. Once you take some time to teach it the faces in your life, it will go ahead and tag them automatically for you.

And stars! You can use stars to rate each photo, which will help you when it comes time to decide what to put on Forever, what to delete and what you’ll just keep on Historian for right now.

I could go on with all the wonderful tools you have for sorting and organizing photos on Historian, but I think you get the picture (wink, wink).

It Both Saves Time and Takes Time

All these automatic time-saving tricks are great, but I’m not going to kid you. To do it right will take time. For instance, I just wanted to take my whole photo folder and dump it there. You can’t do that. You can transfer every photo from a folder, no matter how many there are, but it won’t take folders. So, getting it all in there will take time. (At least you can’t do folders right now. Valet is coming this spring and that will change everything.)

However, it’s good to take time. I decided to dump about 300 photos in there as my first bite. I individually name tagged one photo and then hit Auto Face Recognition. It took me awhile to train the program the difference between the 50 or so people I had dumped on it. If I’d taken things a little slower, it would have been easier, but I don’t do things by half measures. From now on, all I’ll have to do is confirm the faces it recognizes and straighten it out when it gets something wrong.

To be honest, I’m still just learning the program. I had been under the impression I didn’t need it, until I started doing digital sorting jobs for my clients. I didn’t want to be stuck with the limited tools in Microsoft and I didn’t want to buy enough Forever storage to hold everything a client passed on to me. Now I don’t know how I’d live without it.

The very best part is this. When it comes time to transfer your images from Historian and Forever, they are fully integrated, so everything you did to organize your photos in Historian will show up on Forever. That does not happen when I upload directly from my Microsoft files. Oh happy days!!

If you have digital mess, then you’re going to want Historian! Let’s talk about it. Give me a call at 972-971-5263!