~ How to keep your family photos safe ~

Let me start by saying life is just really un-predictable,  so I can't promise what I'm about to tell you will 100% guarantee to keep your treasured family photos safe forever.  But folks ask me what I do with our family photos all the time so here is my 2 cents on the subject. 

Meet my sweet friend Jodie, her husband Josh and son Aiden.   You've met them on my blog before here.   But they recently had a beautiful baby girl, Harper,  so here are some more recent photos of them. 

And here is what her house looks like right now.

Jodie left early in the morning last week to drop her son off at school,  with her newborn baby in tow, and returned to house full of smoke and flames.  I can't imagine how scared she must have been.  They lost nearly all their belongings.  Clothes, furniture, electronics, her wedding rings,  all gone.  The only things that were salvageable were items on their lower level.  Luckily the fire was contained to the first floor.

My first question walking through her home with her was "Where are Aidens baby pictures" she pointed to 2 photo albums that were literally about 5 feet from where the firefighters put out the fire.   However, all the discs of her daughters birth were on the kitchen table and destroyed.

 But luckily she uses this awesome photographer who still has back-ups of all that ;)

Oh, and here is what a burned up Ipad and Ipod look like. 
And here is her daughters precious nursery,  covered in soot.   Moms,  come on,  we know how hard we work on those nurseries :(   The smoke damage throughout the house is astounding.  Their home was declared un-livable for 2-3 months and they are staying at a hotel.  (With a newborn,  how fun do you think that is?)
Jodie was very lucky,  I'm so happy that her family is safe and their photos are still in tact but it could have been much worse.   

So what should you do to make sure your family photos are safe and how should you organize them?  

Here is the system I use,  it's not perfect,  but it works for me.  It's pretty simple, feel free to borrow it.

Every year I make a new folder for our family photos and label it by the year.
Open up any of those folders and the inside looks like this.   Everything divided by month.   

Alot of times when I dump photos to my computer I'm either in a hurry, or the disc has a whole hodge-podge of crap on it and I don't know how to label the folder.  So it's much easier to seperate everything by month instead of "Rockys Birthday"  or "Trip to the Zoo" - if I ever need to go back and find those photos I obviously know what month my sons birthday is and could probably guess on the 1st or 2nd try what month we went to the zoo.   It makes looking for everything much easier.

Now,  you'll notice a "best of" folder at the bottom. I put all my favorites in there.   If you don't really edit your photos too much you don't need that folder.  But that folder comes in very handy for me when I make this book at the end of the year. 

Then, about twice a year  I pull my external hard drive out of a fire and water proof safe, plug it into my computer and copy all my files onto it. 

For those you who are not tech savvy that little black box that says "Manno Family Memories" is my hard drive,  plugging into my computer and all you have to do is copy and paste the folder from one to the other. 

And then that hard drive goes back in the fire and water proof safe.   The hard drive will run you about $70-$80 and safe will run you $70-$80.  So you are looking at about a $150 investment total to protect your families memories. 
As I said before, there are many ways to back up your files,  this is just one of them.   

I know the cloud thing is kind of popular -  (a secret external server in the sky that I can't figure out how to use for the life of me).  I also don't trust technology that much yet,  and I would rather have a hard drive I can hold in my hands.   But if you can figure out how to work one of the clouds I'm sure they are lovely.  

 There are also plenty of online photo hosting pages like flickr, shutterfly, snapfish, etc..  you can sign up for any number of those as long as you commit to uploading your photos every month they will be safe.  But again with the technology thing,  I have no promises those websites are going to be around in 20 years,  so I prefer to just keep them in my safe. 

Just remember this - If your photos don't exist in 2 places they don't exist at all!  

Happy Memory Making :)

~ Who is CLOCKWORK, and why won't you shut up about them?

Who is Clockwork and why won’t you shut up about them?

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, you’ve had a little bit of overload lately about a band called Clockwork.

So who is Clockwork?  Clockwork is Jordan, Logan, and Logan.   Some local boys with good heads on their shoulders and gigantic musical talent.

Please take 2 minutes to watch this video,  shot by yours truly, to see what they look and sound like. 

Why won’t you shut up about them?

A few years ago Jimmy told me one of the Directors at work wanted to bring his teenage kids to our house so they could sing for my husband.

I rolled my eyes and said NO.  

My husband is a get-shit-done kind of guy.  Anything he puts his mind to he can make happen.   But because of this, people are always asking for his time.  He also has a hard time telling people no.  It gets really hard for him to balance all the favors he is asked with his family life, so we had a big talk and severely limited all that stuff a few years back.

Having a couple of grimey, awkward teenagers in my basement taking up my husbands time to play him their screamy-dark-death-metal music, while I managed homework, bedtime, bathtime all with a newborn was not my idea of a fun time.

This is what I assumed they would look like.

He somehow talked me into it.  I’m sure he promised me a spa day or something.  

I didn’t even greet the boys when they came in.   I was busy with Libby Lu, who was a newborn.  

I went into the bathroom to give her a bath in her little baby tub and I could hear the boys singing.   Their voices were echoing through my metal laundry shute and they were amazing.   When her bath was finished I sat on my bathroom carpet with a wet smily baby wrapped in a towel because it was so beautiful to hear those harmonized voices flow through my house.

That was just the beginning.  Once I met them, their personalities won me over as well and I gave my husband the green light to put as much energy and focus into these boys as he can.

They’ve spent the last year writing and recording their new album “Out to Sea” which drops this Saturday, February 23rd, at their CD release party at Blueberry Hill.

The cover is $10 and that includes your CD.  It is an ALL AGES show.   So feel free to bring out your pre-teens and teens.   There won’t be any guitar smashing or cussing from the stage :)    My 2 older kids are going, the love they band, and I can’t think of a better role model for my son Rocky then these boys.  

If you cannot make it to the show Saturday I encourage you to like their facebook page and maybe you can make it to a future show.

You can also catch them this Friday morning on Y98.1fm,  and on Channel 5 - Show Me St Louis at 10:30am.  The Post Dispatch is running an article on them Friday as well.

They were also on FOX 2 last week and we just got the word that 105.7 The Point will be playing one of their songs Thursday in the 6:00pm hour. 

Things are getting really exciting, and with the momentum they have in St. Louis, I can't wait to see what's to come for them.  I hope you like what you hear.  I really think big things are in store for them.   Being a part of it on a ground level when it’s still so small is a pretty neat thing.   I hope you guys can all share that with me by coming out to a show. 

~ Hibernation ~

I think the technical term for hibernation is something about bears sleeping for 6 weeks in the winter.  

Photographers do the same thing the first 6 weeks of the year.  There aren't alot of weddings,  and it's too cold to shoot outside.  So it gives me time to reset my brain and relax a little.  Except for instead of sleeping, like the bears do,  I pick my children up from school in my pajamas, only wear a bra if I go out in public and don't brush my teeth until noon.   Seriously,  if you saw my schedule from March to December you wouldn't judge me too much on the bra thing. 

One day VH1 was running Jersey Shore episodes "Pop Up Video" style with the little quote bubbles,  I swear I didn't leave the couch for 4 hours.

But those days for me are numbered as Spring is literally right around the corner.

I was excited to kick off my shooting seasons with 1 year photos of the beautiful Miss Victoria :)   

If you are interested in a family photo session with me, my Spring is completely full through June,  but I am starting to take summer deposits now.   More details can be found at my website www.KellyMannoPhotography.com

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