Make My Book and Capture Memories Forever

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I confess that gift giving is hard for me.

It’s not that I don’t have the spirit, and it’s not that I don’t have the heart in it, but the problem is I need gifts to be too perfect. And since I’m more of a big picture girl, instead of being able to see and and carry out tasks in small, manageable chunks, I tend to get overwhelmed and paralyzed by Gift Giving Fear. Sometimes? I give something that doesn’t match my heart and thoughts. Sometimes? I give up completely. NOT good! I want to be someone who wears her heart on her sleeve.

And I want my gifts to reflect that.

Looking for a perfect gift for ANY occasion? #Shutterfly has the Make My Book Service and it's easy, time-effective, and gorgeous for your #photography. #ad

As many of you know, my life travel dream was to go to Alaska. Cassidy and I went there on a belated honeymoon in August. We had never had a honeymoon because of money and timing and having Scarlet fairly soon after we were married. This was my ultimate travel dream – my ultimate adventure. Although there were rocky times and overcast weather, the memories are still so strong. I hope they always remain that way. And if they don’t, we have the option to make beautiful photo books.

Looking for a perfect gift for ANY occasion? #Shutterfly has the Make My Book Service and it's easy, time-effective, and gorgeous for your #photography. #ad

The Make My Book Service at Shutterfly is affordable and so easy to use!

Looking for a perfect gift for ANY occasion? #Shutterfly has the Make My Book Service and it's easy, time-effective, and gorgeous for your #photography. #ad

This is THE solution you’re looking for – to think of the perfect gift for loved ones, and to get gorgeous photo books designed and created with ease at your own computer. When I used to shoot film, I’d keep my photos in boxes and albums.

These days, custom photo books are the perfect gift.

This year for Valentine’s Day, I made Cassidy a custom photo book of highlights from our trip to Alaska. I want our kids to see what we did and to dream about their own adventures – perhaps even taking such dreamy adventures WITH us someday.

The book arrived – so beautiful and well-printed. You KNOW I notice this stuff after 15 years as a photographer.

What do you think he thinks as he looks at this book?

I think he sees adventure and love. And a whole lot of living.

I feel so lucky to have this book, but also to have found the perfect gift for loved ones! It’s easy, customizable, meaningful, and a good gift for ANYONE, including yourself. That’s right – you can make yourself a photo book easily! This is big. This is the best way to capture memories, and I know not everyone chose photography as a career like I have, but everyone has photos they love. Everyone has occasions to celebrate and remember. What photos will you choose? What will your story say?

Have you been thinking of getting photo books beautifully designed just for you? Let Shutterfly help you choose your photos and help you design your book. Check out the Make My Book Service and see what it can do for you!

Baby, You Were Born to Run

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

When Cassidy and I had been married a few months and had made the decision to move back east to be closer to our families, we plotted out a 2.5 week, spiraling road trip across the United States to eventually wind up in western Massachusetts.

We factored in our dog’s comfort and safety for every minute of that trip.

When Cassidy and I were celebrating our sixth wedding anniversary, we went away for the first time sans kids – leaving them with my mom in our house, but taking our dog with us for fun and moose-filled adventures in the rainy woods of Vermont.

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

We have always been dog people, and we always will be, and I can’t imagine not raising my kids right alongside our dog and our cat. And who knows? Maybe there will be another puppy or dog in our future. Furry friends are part of our family. I was happy to learn recently that at Radisson RED, furry friends are part of the family too! With their pet-friendly policy, you don’t ever have to sacrifice style and comfort in order to have your dog go on your hotel adventures right with you.

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

When I was a kid, we would go to Myrtle Beach, SC or Ocean City, MD for two weeks at a time every July! Oh, how I missed my dog, Chelsea during our trips. As an adult, we have our dog, Athena, stay with Cassidy’s parents when we’re flying anywhere. When it’s a road trip? Our girl comes with us! From NJ to NYC, to Boston and Cape Cod, to the cold and moose-filled woods of Vermont, I love looking behind the passenger seat and seeing two cute kids and a cute pup looking back at me.

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

For most dogs, like Athena and our old husky – Stormy – there’s nothing like the feel of the wind and the open road.

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

I know that feeling well, and I LOVE Radisson RED’s pet policy. Not only that, they’re having a contest right now and all it takes is posting a dog travel photo on Instagram, using the hashtags #BAXTERTRAVELS and #CONTEST. I took a look at some of the submissions here and I was in awe of the cuteness and splendor. This contest will run from February 10th to February 24th, so enter while you can! You can win one of two red, nylon Fatboy dog beds! Who doesn’t need a good dog bed?

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

Here are five awesome tips for traveling to hotels with pets:

Enter the Radisson RED #BAXTERTRAVELS #CONTEST for a chance to win one of 2 red nylon Fatboy beds! Radisson RED's pet-friendly policy https://ooh.li/00a944a

1 – Preemptive research is key. That’s why I research hotel pet policies, and look into parks, hikes, and other dog-friendly activities near the hotel. Talk to the staff and get a better feel of just how welcome they make dogs feel.

2 – Go for a long walk once you reach your destination. A well-exercised dog is a happier dog, and it gives the dog (and you) the chance to get a real feel for the hotel and/or town, city, state, etc.

3 – Enter the hotel room first, and have your dog do a sit stay. Don’t give your dog control of the new situation. Unpack a bit, go to the bathroom, look around, and leave your scent in the room. When you are ready, have your dog settle in.

4 – Explore! Be extra vigilant with what’s around, especially concerning items your dog could ingest. While your home is probably dog-proof for your particular dog(s), it may not be that way in even the most pet-friendly of places!

5 – Choose the right room, and make a comfortable space for your dog. Generally, I request a room on the ground floor – in terms of carrying extra luggage for my dog, and avoiding stairs. It’s also convenient to take the dog out. In addition, Elevators can cause stress. Request a room with a fridge, especially if you use fresh food for your dog. Consider crating your dog for when you leave her behind in the room. Dogs generally feel comfortable and LESS stressed in their crates. If you don’t normally use one, maybe do some practice runs before your stay!

Read more about Radisson RED’s pet policy, and enter the contest HERE.