Thinking Summer Travel Solutions? Think Skype.

2015 July 1

{This Summer Travel Tips Post is Sponsored by Skype}

Let’s talk about Summer Travel with an extra boost of ‘peace of mind’ this summer.

Problems happen, go with the flow, keep teens happy and all that.

Sure. But…

NOT my type of travel. I try to enjoy the chaos once we get there, but BEFORE? I’m all about knowing in advance what/where/when/how!

Summer Family Travel Adventures with Skype Tech TipsWe have to plan our GoodNCrazy Summer Family travel around our 3 teen kids’ schedules WAY in advance. Between many different summer camps (seriously like 5!), friends flying to visit us, hosting a foreign exchange student and school starting earlier than usual this fall… we design our vacation time using an atomic clock. (Nerd alert! Don’t laugh, my son has a real-life atomic clock. Mark, set, GO!)

Oh and my oldest started a summer job, further making our travel plans trickier to schedule. (Yay for her own spending money! Boo for… either she can’t go with us or we alter our plans… again?)

Anyway, I’m not interested in spending one more atomic minute worrying about the technical details before, during or after our vacations.

5 Travel Hacks to Keep YOUR Family Travel Plans on Track this Summer!

The smart folks at Skype (you know: use your computer to make calls, video chatting and even Skype To Go on your cell phone) have created a list of travel tricks to keep your well-planned summer agenda orchestrated and running like a well-oiled machine!

My favorite is the International tip #5! We SOOO needed that last June on our trip to Spain.

  1. Seeing is believing: There’s nothing more horrifying than checking into your vacation rental home and finding that it doesn’t quite stack up to the appealing images you saw online. Before you sign that contract with any vacation rental company, ask your host if it’s possible to get a Skype tour. In addition to looking inside the home, check out outdoor accommodations such as the pool and parking.
  2. Personal concierge: People’s smartphones have turned into a one-stop-shop for all things travel, from directions, restaurant recommendations, mobile boarding passes and more. Additionally, mobile digital personal assistants such as Cortana Trip Planner helps take the stress out of traveling so you can kick back and relax. Cortana will let you know when online checking opens up, the latest weather at your destination, and keep an eye on traffic for your voyage to the airport.
  3. Plan ahead: Tools like Skype allow you to easily plan a group trip with group video calls and chats to share destination ideas, and even share photos from your trip. Keep the planning details together by storing things like reservations, flight confirmations and itineraries in OneNote.
  4. Back up your memories: Most mobile phones have impeccable cameras these days. If you’re using it to take pictures of your travels, make sure you back up your photos to OneDrive before you leave, creating space for all the new ones.

    Use Skype for International calls Summer Travel Solutions

  5. Ditch the international mobile plan: Traveling internationally can be expensive, but there are many free and low-cost resources to save you money. As an example, with Skype To Go, you can call home and check in with family for a low calling rate. No data plan required! Or, you can even send texts directly from Skype. Left your phone at home? No problem, you can also connect for free using Skype for Web. Most hotels have a business center so it’s super easy to connect. Just go to skype.com and you’ll be instant messaging in no time.

Which Skype tip do you most need in your Summer Travel planning tool-kit?

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. My opinions and summer chaos are all my own.

OnStar is Keeping Kids Safe in Emergency Situations with their New eBook

2015 June 19

{Sponsored by OnStar and SheBuysCars.com}

 

Name the most-scary moment(s) you’ve ever had in or around a vehicle?

  1. keeping kids safe ONStar eBookI locked my toddler in the car once. She was fine—I was a wreck! The police took 20 minutes to get there and in the end my husband was only 5 minutes behind them. My daughter had a sippy cup and just watched me the whole time wondering what crazy-mommy was doing.
  2. Back in college. Walking home after a fireworks show on 4th of July we came upon a parked car with smoke coming out of the moon-roof. Our friend grabbed a rock and smashed a window to put the fire out. I’m still not sure the family was all that happy with us? (WAY before cell phones to dial 9-1-1 BTW.)
  3. I once rear-ended a car in front of me on an icy lead up to a stop sign. Those few tiny seconds scared me more than any other time in my life. That moment when you realize you have NO control of your vehicle at all is a scary moment.
  4. Test driving Michelin tires on their wet track, proving that rear tires are where your MOST tread should go. Knowing in advance that we were going to spin out at exactly 50 miles per hour at the half-way point of the circle didn’t help. Still scared me silly when I felt the front wheels gripping but the rear wheels lost control and spun us in a double circle on the track. I’m a believer. Put your best tires on the back! (Ideally all 4 tires should be matched, but if you ever buy just two tires… remember least tread goes on FRONT!)

 

kid minivan van back goodncrazy photography carissa rogers

Moms Spend a LOT of Time in Cars

And at least in my world, my kids spend just as much time in them as I do. And whether they are younger or teenagers doing a bit of the driving… do you feel like you have educated them surrounding emergencies that can happen in vehicles?

Not just the big-HUGE-CRASH type emergencies.
But all the other things too.

OnStar’s New Keeping Kids Safe Vehicle Emergency Safety eBook

OnStar has created an eBook covering many of the emergencies that can stem from problems in vehicles. It’s a great resource. Starting with a short quiz for you and your kids to work though. Example below from the full eBook you can download here.

 

1 vehicle safety prequiz OnStar

Then empowering you with information you might be surprised you didn’t know yourself and can now teach your kids. Finally ending with a follow up quiz to be sure everyone ‘gets it’.

“OnStar and Safe Kids, an organization dedicated to keeping parents informed and children safe, believe it’s important for parents to talk with their pre-teen or teenage child about how to safely react in a vehicle-related emergency before it happens. That’s why OnStar created an e-book, “Keeping Kids Safe,” focused on how to correctly respond to emergencies in and around the vehicle.” Find more in the Keeping Kids Safe eBook.

Ready to learn more? Upcoming Twitter Chat

Please join us for a Twitter Discussion on this Subject July 8th. MARK YOUR CALENDARS! Share all your fears and tips and suggestions. Help empower everyone and their kids to know what to do in an emergency!

Download OnStar's new eBook #KeepingKidsSafe FREE

#KeepingKidsSafe Twitter Party

Join us for a conversation about vehicle safety and children at the #KeepingKidsSafe Twitter party on WEDNESDAY, July 8. Register to win one of 2 Emergency kits and a $25 gift card  on SheBuysCars.com

 

  • WHEN: Wednesday, July 8, 2015, from 9 – 10 pm ET
  • WHO: Host @SheBuysCars
  • PANELISTS: @ScottyReiss @SueRodman @Judy511 @meaganshamy @karynlocke @LeAuraLuciano @travelermom @DebMomof3 @BeckyAdventure @PaulEisenberg @RWeThereYetMom @dianarowe @shannonentin @CarissaRogers @goodenufmother @RobynsWorld
  • Follow hashtags #KeepingKidsSafe #SBC

 

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. My thoughts and opinions are my own.

GoodNCrazy Photography Spring 2015 Update

2015 June 18

WARNING: Amateur Ahead… You Get What You Pay For!

 

On the professional photography thing? Having way too fun to call it work.

Baby Shower Macro cheese tray goodncrazy photography Carissa Rogers Fort Mill, SCI’m charging about half of what I think the going rate should be. I have NO idea what REAL photographers actually charge for Family portrait sessions here in the Fort Mill  area, senior portraits or event photography. But I’m charging $75 per hour of session time till the end of the summer 2015.

I plan to double my rates in September.
For now I remind everyone I am an amateur and you ‘get what you pay for’!

My goal is to get much better at not just ‘taking’ the photos but processing and work-flow faster as well. Each photo shoot tends to have its own lighting and has a very different feel to the end product. So far I let the session tell me what it wants to be when it grows up.

One group shot in early spring I swear came out looking very pink with almost autumn colors. While another one shot on a hot June afternoon reminded me of cool shades of winter?

So far besides my own family photography which included a couple rounds of Senior portraits, Church Prom (plus) High School Prom and then High School Graduation I have managed to book several paid gigs this summer!

Spring Family Portfolio 2015

And let’s not forget 8th Grade Track photos and a last minute Little League Capture. Because I just happened to have my camera with me that night!

8th grad track portrait

little league group portrait

First Up. A lovely family with 6 kids…

Shooting in their rustic front yard and focusing on that fence line was terribly fun! I wanted a not-so-standard family group shot. But nothing super bizarre either.

final family group_

Family sheet

An Engagement Session—


Gosh this was SO much more fun than I realized it would be!

 engagement hands clasped

group sheet

A Sweet 5 year old’s birthday party—


I was there for 3 total hours, and nearly filled two cards. Note to self, buy more camera cards! Gave myself carpal tunnel holding the camera up that long!

 Birthday Party group 1-72

 

photo sheet 18

 

Party group sheet

A Baby Shower—

 

baby shower group sheet

Then this adorable and rambunctious family—

 

Family swinging baby

flickr group sheet

More baby because… YOU KNOW YOU WANT IT!

 

chubby baby

Coming soon….

Another sibling group, then the Engagement couple’s Wedding (which I’m freaking out about!) and a family birthday event for a neighbor. The plan is to spend every few dollars I make right now on new camera equipment.. a new camera base. An 85MM lens. For now I’ll rent some equipment for the Wedding (which I’m freaking out about!). Oh. Did I already mention that?

 

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