Free & Easy Spring Break Vacation

This year our Spring Break vacation was split into two weeks, with one school on break one week and the other school on break the following week. Because of that we decided to go on a budget-friendly vacation to the San Luis Valley. We promised ourselves that we weren't going to spend more than $300 on our travel plans. It was a great trip and I can't recommend it enough. On the weekend in between each Spring Break we packed up the van and headed to the San Luis Valley. Our first stop was the Sand Dunes National Park and Reserve. We arrived late in the afternoon and found that admission this time of year is free. So we jumped out of the car, took off our shoes and watched a spectacular sunset over the dunes while we played in the sand. That night we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Alamosa and got all of the sand off with a dip in their heated pool. The next day we enjoyed their continental breakfast and then headed to the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge. When we arrived we took out our cameras and binoculars and watched the thousands of Sandhill Cranes fly overhead as they made their regular pit stop at the refuge before heading north for the summer. It was great fun and the kids enjoyed it thoroughly.budget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradoOne of the best pieces of advice when roadtripping with kids is to take a cooler with lunchmakings. You can save an amazing amount of money when you don't have to eat out every meal. After spending a couple hours with the birds, we headed south to the small town of Manassa. It's the birthplace of Jack Dempsey, AKA the Manassa Mauler. Dempsey was the world heavyweight champion from 1919 to 1926 and was a cultural icon. We're not boxing fans, but we enjoyed lunch in the public park dedicated in his honor and became friends with Copper, the local dog who hangs around the sleepy Main Street barking at passing cars. Before heading back to the hotel, we made our way east to San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado. It's also home to the Shrine of The Stations Cross, a dramatic chapel built on the hill above the town. As you walk to the top of the hill, there are fifteen bronze sculptures telling the story of Christ's passion and resurrection. It was a full day, to be sure, filled with adventure. But before collapsing in our beds at the hotel, we stopped at the San Luis Valley Brewing Company in downtown Alamosa for dinner. The beer was fantastic and so was the dinner. The next day we returned home, but not before splurging on a dip in the Sand Dunes Swimming Pool, a gorgeous hot springs that's been in the valley since the 1930's. It was a grand trip, a great way to spend a long weekend away from the city, and in a very Colorado-esque location. We all promised ourselves a return trip to the valley soon. — Seanbudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-colorado​​​budget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-colorado

Gretchen & Chris’ Fine Art Wedding Book

We just finished Gretchen and Chris' Fine Art Wedding Book and it's a beautiful presentation of their wedding at St. Paul Catholic Church and their reception at The Broadmoor. Gretchen and and Chris decided on a 14x10 library-bound Fine Art book with a contemporary leather cover. The pages have an ivory mat and the images are set sharply from the page with a black keyline. Gretchen and Chris' selected the wedding images for their book carefully and we were able to design it so that there are many wonderful signature images played on a full page. The book our most popular and it always takes some time for our couples to choose their images. Once they do, we provide an electronic proof to them before we send the book to our book manufacturer based in New Zealand. There are a large number of material selections available for the cover, but our favorite is the contemporary leather. I'm  in love with how it looks and can't wait for Gretchen and Chris to receive their wedding album. — Sean


Avoid These Four Mistakes If You Want Great Wedding Pictures

planning-wedding-photography1. Not selecting a photographer with a style that matches your own is the most common mistake. A photographer that practices intimate portraiture and acts like a fly on the wall is different in approach than the photographer who spends more time producing a picture by giving direction. It's important to know which you prefer since each approach will result in different kinds of pictures. A careful look at a photographer's portfolio will help. Tip: Ask the photographer about a story behind one of the pictures in their portfolio. The answer will often tell you if they're a good fit with your style and your vision of your wedding.planning-wedding-photography2. Not creating a good photography schedule is another common mistake. If you're investing in professional wedding photography, then a firm timeline of your wedding day, including picture requests, is an absolute must. Poor scheduling directly effects the quality of your wedding pictures! If you prefer a candid approach, then your schedule may be more flexible. If you have specific must-have pictures, then your schedule will be more detailed. Or, you may enjoy a mix of candid photography and more formal pictures. Tip: Easy way to create a wedding schedule is to ask your photographer for a sample. Use that as your template.planning-wedding-photography3. Worrying over small details or the little planning hiccups that always happen at a wedding can directly effect how you look in your wedding pictures. If you're not using a professional wedding planner, assign a close friend or relative to help with the little things on your wedding day. Your photographer wants you to have a truly memorable experience and will do everything they can to keep things relaxed. You must do everything you can to avoid fussing over the little things. Tip: An intimate wedding with 50 guests is different than one with 250 guests. The larger the wedding, the more specific your wedding day plan should be and the more you should rely on others to help with the details on the big day.planning-wedding-photography4. Not creating a wedding album is another common mistake. Collaborating with your photographer to create your wedding pictures is just the first step in a finished presentation of your wedding day. The final step is creating an album destined to be a family keepsake for generations. Too often, wedding pictures languish online without proper presentation. Like you, your wedding photographer has a specific vision; one that you chose them for. The most appropriate presentation of your wedding photographs is a wedding album. Tip: As soon as you receive your wedding photographs, if you haven't already purchased one, ask your photographer about creating an album. They should be able to offer you something that presents your wedding day in a unique and personal way. All photographs by Cayton Photography. — Sean


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