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May is National Photography Month

It makes sense that May is national photography month since it is often chock-full of weddings, graduations and Memorial Day picnics.  Here are some tips to take great photos with your cellphones this month:

  1. Turn on Gridlines. According to the rule of one-thirds, photos are more pleasing if it is broken down into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Now you can line up your subject at an intersection to be more pleasing.

Here’s how to activate gridlines on iPhone cameras:

  • Go to “settings”
  • Select “photos & camera”
  • Find “grid” and turn it on.

And here’s how to activate gridlines on Samsung Galaxy (Android) phone cameras:

  • Open the camera app
  • Go to “settings”
  • Scroll down and switch the “gridlines” option to “on.”
  1. Get closer to your subject. Using the zoom feature will make you lose detail, so simply walk closer to your target.
  2. Clean the lens. Walking around with your phone all the time results in smudges and dirt particles. Use a lens cloth with cleaner to rid the lense of this gunk.
  3. Don’t use the flash. The LED light in phones is so small that it usually just results in blur or red eyes. Try to avoid if at all possible.
  4. Try a new angle. Some different angles such as from above, from child perspective or offset can result in more memorable photos.
  5. Use the volume button as your shutter. The regular shutter button often moves the camera out of focus. By putting your smartphone in the horizontal position, you can use the volume up button for more stability.

Now get out there and take some quality pics!

May is Date your Mate Month

While many of our made up holidays might seem silly (I’m looking at you Repeat Everything Day), Date your Mate Month can be good reminder of how to enrich your marriage. Relationship experts agree that in order to keep your marriage healthy, partners need to do a lot of the dating rituals that sparked the relationship in the first place. Here are some tips to Date Your Mate this month:

  1. Meaningful Touch: Experts say that couples should touch each other at least 8 times a day in a meaningful way. So, cuddle on the couch, kiss each other when you come into the room and hold hands; your deliberate touch will let your partner feel loved and spark romance.
  2. Go on a Date: Take the time to set up specific dates instead of just hanging out. By taking turns on deciding events, you will bring fun back into your relationship. Think creatively; don’t just go to the movies or dinner. Instead do activities that make you work together: do a ballroom dance class, make a new recipe together, or hike a local trail.
  3. Keep it Going: Don’t just do this in May, but make dating a priority every month. With kids, work and other obligations, it is easy to overlook each other. Deliberately schedule time for each other. By putting your dates on the calendar, you will make sure your time as a couple is a priority.

Celebrate National Nurses Week

Take time this week to thank all the nurses in your life who dedicate themselves to quality health care.

Did you know that the roots of International Nurses Day goes back to 1953, when Dorothy Sutherland of the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare sent a proposal to President Eisenhower to proclaim a Nurses Day in October? This celebration eventually changed to May, since May 12 is the birthday of Florence Nightingale. Now, the entire first full week of May celebrates all nurses, including student nurses and school nurses.

Click here to learn 12 fascinating facts about nurses:

Time to Head to the Library

April is National Library Month. When you think about it, it is kind of a miracle that libraries still exist in this day and age. A public, FREE, institution that provides people with access to information might seem unnecessary in this day of the Internet, but trust me, there are several reasons why you should get a library card NOW.

  1. First, it is easy to get your free card. Just go to your local library with your personal identification and proof of your address, like a utility bill or such.
  2. Once you have your card, ask the librarian how to access apps and such to maximize access. Libraries are not just about real, actual books. You can now get e-books and audible books right to your phone or tablet FREE via your library card.
  3. Utilize a search and hold system. Most libraries link with LOTS of other libraries in the state to give you larger access through an interlibrary loan system. You can request all the Sopranos seasons on DVD, Greatest Hits of Prince on CD and even magazines digitally or in paper form.
  4. Look at the local schedule. If you have children, there are usually lots of free programming like reading hour for preschoolers and a summer reading program with cool themes for teens. For adults, there may be book clubs, free lectures and computer classes.
  5. Use the FREE technology. Most library have computers, printers and copiers you can use, and some libraries have other equipment like tablets that can be checked out. Libraries can be quiet spots to study or work and use the wifi.


So what are you waiting for, go get that card and read a great book this month!

Go Fly a Kite!

April is National Kite month. Here are some tips and tricks to enjoy this pastime.


  1. Most important is where you go. Make sure you find an area free of obstacles like power lines, trees and houses. Parks or beaches are usually ideal. Make sure you go where your kite will not be a hazard to others.
  2. Choose your weather wisely. Never fly a kite in winds more than 20 mph or in rain/lightening.
  3. Be patient and establish your technique. Stand with your back to the wind. Hold your kite up and let the line out. If there is enough wind, your kite will go right up. Let the kite go up and pull the line as the kite points up so it will climb. Keep repeating the procedure until you find a good, steady wind.
  4. If wind is lighter that day, recruit a helper to take the kite downwind and let go on your command while you do a hand over hand technique on line until kite gains altitude.

Good luck and have fun flying your kite high!

Titanic Remembrance Day

April 15 is not just our tax filing day (ugh) but also happens to be Titanic Remembrance Day, the day in 1912 when over 1500 perished at sea. Despite being advertised as “unsinkable,” the cruise liner hit an iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean which set off a series of unfortunate events like not enough lifeboats and water rushing into the ship.

Here’s an interesting story about this incident:

Happy National Lawn and Garden Month

April is National Lawn and Garden Month. Here are some tips to get your outside oasis ready in spring.

First task is to repeat what you just did in fall—Rake! I know it seems like you just did this, but there are surely more leaves, twigs and debris and a spring raking is the first step to good lawn care.

Next seed any bare spots and fertilize. Fall is the usual time to do all these tasks, but if you neglected to do so at that time, now is your moment!

Weed care is next; dandelion spraying is best in fall but again you can address now as well. If you don’t like to do herbicides, pulling weeds is very effective!  This is also the time to do a preliminary raking and weeding of all your landscaping to prepare for mulch or rocks.

Lastly, check out your equipment. Make sure you have the proper type of gas for your mower and that everything is in working order.  Spring rain will make mowing a must soon, and you want to be ready for that growth.

Lawncare can be time consuming but it’s also a great way to enjoy the (finally) better weather and get some exercise! Happy spring!

March 18: Awkward Moment Day: How to Deal with Awkward Moments

March 18: Awkward Moment Day: How to Deal with Awkward Moments

 In case you didn’t know, March 18 is National Awkward Moment Day! Now we have an entire day dedicated to those moments that make us cringe and give us nightmares.  All kidding aside, learning to deal with awkward moments can be difficult but is an important part of everyone’s self journey.  Here are some ideas of how to deal with some annoyingly awkward moments:

  1. Forgetting someone’s name: This has happened to all of us. You have a couple of options—you can ride it out, hoping you can have an entire conversation without needing the name, or you can own up to the problem up front.  You can simply say, “I’m sorry, it has been one of those days and your name has flown out of my mind!”  Then just be extra friendly and complimentary to make up for your awkward moment.
  2. Your young child throws a tantrum in public: Experts agree that the best way to handle the situation is simply to ignore the bad behavior and walk away. Reasoning with a small child never works, and disciplinary action in public is not a good idea.  Simply scoop up the child and leave the area.  Again, we have all been there (sigh).
  3. Bumping into an Ex: Usually you never want to see this person again, but it is bound to happen and probably when you least want to see him or her. A quick smile and hello said in a cursory, indifferent way is the best course.  Then you don’t have to explain who the person is or dwell on any past painful moments.
  4. Forgetting your wallet at the store: Of course this happens right as you are at the checkout. Again—no worries. Most stores have a policy for this situation, demonstrating that this happens quite often!  Simply tell the cashier you are sorry and that you will need to come back later for your items.  It won’t be fun, but it is really your only recourse.

A bunch more awkward moments could be related here—but the solution always comes down to one resounding theme—the best remedy for awkward situations is to develop a thick skin.  Awkwardness comes from our reaction to other people.  By holding your head up high and ignoring people’s reactions, you will dissolve the awkwardness and simply have a good story to tell later!

Happy Awkward Moment Day!



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