Knock Out Your Valentine’s Day Shopping in One Swoop

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Photo books make great gifts for loved ones
With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, we’re constantly on the prowl for that elusive expression of love, gratitude or thoughtfulness to top them all. If your idea of the perfect gift involves love, laughter and memories, then creating a photo book is the answer. Whether you are a detailed planner or last minute shopper, photo books make it easy to find gifts for those you hold dear.

With options to customize a photo book to your desired preferences or use existing templates designed for a large selection of styles, occasions and color palettes, finding one for each person on your Valentine’s Day list is a breeze. Simply upload photos from your smartphone or digital camera – some retailers let you access photos from your Facebook and Instagram accounts – and arrange them on the pages of the photo book to tell a story or provide a photo journey through many of life’s amazing events, such as a birthday, anniversary, vacation, etc.   

Just a few ideas to help you get started include:

·         Expecting –For Your Spouse: You fell in love with your child the moment you found out you were expecting. Arrange all those photos showing mom’s growing belly, along with newborn photos for a gift sure to be treasured for years to come.

·         Babies First Year – For Grandparents, Godparents and Parents: From newborn to infant to toddler, your baby reaches many milestones in his first year – rolling over, sitting, crawling and more. Additionally, they experience a great number of firsts: first tooth, first haircut, first Christmas, and so much more. With cameras aimed at baby all year, you’ll have plenty of photos to make Baby’s First Year: Part 1 and Part 2.

·         First Grade, Second Grade, etc. – For Your Parents: Children learn and grow by leaps and bounds. From the first day of school, to holiday crafts and school plays, compile their year in pictures for all to enjoy.  

·         Annual Family Vacation – For Your Kids: Each year you set out on a journey to discover new things, relax and enjoy time together as a family. No matter where you go – camping, surfing, overseas – what better way to capture your annual vacation than with a photo book?

·         Wedding – For Your Spouse: From the engagement party and bridal shower, to the wedding and reception, capturing these once-in-a-lifetime celebrations in a beautifully crafted book is sure to be cherished for years to come.

·         Milestone Anniversary – For Your Spouse or Parents: Whether the tenth year of marriage or the fiftieth, chronicling the years of marital bliss are a great way to share memoires with a loved one.
·         Any special event – From birthdays and graduations, to promotions and holiday parties, capturing any type of celebration in a photo book is a great way to relive the moment.

Wherever there’s a camera or smartphone to seize the moment, whether to commemorate a particular event or just an extraordinary way to present memories, photo books are not only great gifts, but a great way to remember life’s greatest milestones and every day moments. 

Heather Hewitt is a seasoned writer who enjoys connecting people with thoughtful products, services and ideas as they relate to crafting, photography, gift giving and personal expression.
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An interesting insight on being a true shopaholic

I write on here a lot about shopping, sales, great finds on etsy, etc. I love to shop for myself, my children, my friends, my family...I am a Taurus, and even though I don't put a lot of stock in horoscopes, I do love comfort, security, and material things.  I guess I come by my shopaholic nature, well, naturally.

I often joke about how I have my debit card number memorized, and how the Knight starts sweating when I show him how much I "saved."  I hope you know that such comments are in jest.  Although it would be lovely to have access to a Hilton-esque trust fund, I am actually quite thrifty and (most of the time) stay within my "fun money" budget.  We try very hard to follow the advice of Dave Ramsey, live beneath our means, eliminate debt, save for emergencies, retirement, and our girls, and would you believe that the only credit card we have is truly "frozen" in a block of ice.  So, we actually have to thaw it before we use it...talk about the chilling effects of credit card debts!  Ha!

I guess I am divulging this because I do think about my love for shopping and what kind of message that sends to my girls.  I do love showing C the little packages I get in the mail for her.  Just a couple of nights ago, I showed her a pair of flip-flops that came in the mail for her for this summer, and it melted my heart when she clapped her chubby hands and exclaimed "Thank you, mama!"  Despite my urge to give my children everything, I want to teach my girls that the ability to buy nice things come as a result of hard work, and also that, while nice things are nice, acquring such items is not a proper elixir for dealing with troubles and should not be used to measure self worth.  I desperately want their treasures to be heavenly.

When Allison asked me if I would be interested in sharing a graphic about the "cost" of being a shopaholic, I was intrigued. It is sobering, to say the least, and I thought it was very interesting.  I can identify with some of the statistics, and think it is good to keep in mind a) how incredibly blessed and comfortable we are and b) how powerful and destructive even an innocent 'addiction' can be:

Shopaholics Infographic
Infographic brought to you by www.OnlinePsychologyDegree.net

sober shopper,
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Will you be my Valentine?

Today, the Knight called me at work with a simple request, "Will you be my Valentine?"  This is the man who, just the night before, was doing middle school cheerleading jumps with me and laughing at with me while I attempted to do a backbend and the splits (conclusion...just because you can do something, doesn't necessarily mean that you should.  Ouch!).  Anyway, how could I say no?  So, we are doing something for V-Day, but I have no idea what.  Hopefully it will involve wine, adult conversation, and maybe even a little neckin' in the backseat (the two carseats might make that part difficult!  ha!).

Speaking of sweethearts, recently, I won a giveaway on a blog for a very cute heart banner from an even cuter friend!

Rachel and I are friends from college (and a fellow Sister of Joy) and she has the cutest blog.  You can check it out here.  I never win anything, so I was so stoked to find out a sweet piece of glittery goodness was coming my way.  Can you believe she made this?  I can see this banner easily being used at baby showers, bridal showers, even part of the decor for a funky vintage boho tea party.  Currently, it is adorning Coco's window.  Every night, we point at objects around the room and identify shapes.  C always points to this as the heart.  Thanks Rach!

Have you been Etsy'ing lately?  Be still my heart.  There is always so much amazingness on there, my husband and my checking account both shiver with nervousness when I get on there.  Here are a few of my favorite Valentine inspired items:

Valentine Men's Gifts, Gift For Him, Guy Gifts, Stud Hanger

Valentines Headband with Red and Pink Hearts

Children at Play - On Parade Flutter Dress 6 months to 6T

Hand woven wool and leather Brittany ballet flat shoes

tender love,
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P.S. Need an awesome (and free) valentine?  Check out these gorgeous printables on seeingjoy.com.  Beautiful and perfect for all ages.  :)


Free Valentine Photo Shoot and a WORTHWHILE cause!

If I didn't make my admiration for Jessica of Jessica Risinger Photography here, then I don't know how to better say it.  She has a heart for God, and is a fantastic photographer, to boot. For the past several years, she has hosted a pajama drive event which provides needy children with snuggly pjs and bedtime books for the Pajama Program.  This year her event is even more exciting!

Here's a pic she took of C at 9 months for this same event 2 years ago!  Sniff Sniff.  What an angel. 

But I digress...mama's privilege. :)

 What?  A FREE mini photo shoot that shouldn't be missed. This is a great time to get photos to make Valentine Cards, or bring a Grandparent along for a quick and fun photo with their Little Valentine Sweethearts! Donations benefit the Pajama Program (www.pajamaprogram.org). 

When? Next Saturday, February 9th, with time slot availability from 12-2 p.m.

Where? City Hall Cheesecake, 114 N. Main Street, Collierville, TN (Added bonus: City Hall Cheesecake is offering an amazing special during this event. Buy one slice of cheesecake, get one FREE!)  

How does this work? Basically, you bring as many new pjs and books for kids that would like to donate.  I went to Target and raided the clearance section and got tons of cute pjs in all sizes.  Bring your donation for the Pajama Program (www.pajamaprogram.org), and earn a $10 Gift Card to Jessica Risinger Photography for each pair of new pajamas or book you donate. Then use your Gift Cards on any of Jessica's products...Gift Prints, Custom Valentine Cards, etc. from this session. There is no limit on donations. The more you bring, the more Gift Cards you get!

Where do I sign up?  You can reach Jessica via her website here, her Facebook page here, and while you are at it, why don't you check out her blog here?

If you would like to attend, please request a TIME SLOT and Valentine Minis PRICE GUIDE from Jessica. For a heart warming video about the Pajama Program, check this video out!  

Sweet tarts and sweeter hearts,
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P.S. I can't remember if I ever share Jessica's sweet blog about our photo shoot, but here it is!  My favorite part is C's mad balancing skills on the rocking horse.  Yeah, she's pretty much ready for the circus. :)

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