A Lifetime Achievement Award: Mr. Don Gallant

My ’97 Honda Civic and I rolled up to Papa’s Dodge in New Britain, CT on August 23rd, 2014 for The Twilight Dream Cruise and Wrangler Rally feeling a bit inadequate amongst hundreds of sports car, antique motorcars, and decked out police cars. Nonetheless, I still love my little car and I’m thankful it got me to this event.

I’m not a car fanatic myself, but I know an amazing piece of automotive art and engineering when I see one. While I was waiting to meet up with my friend, Andrea, I texted my dad, I’m standing in between a Rolls Royce and a Maserati right now. Jealous?

The Twilight Dream Cruise/Dream Ride and Wrangler Rally is the largest annual event in place to honor the Special Olympians from the past year with rides in these fancy cars to a dinner, charity event, and celebration of athleticism and spirit. Andrea’s father, Mr. Don Gallant was awarded that night, too, with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Mr. Gallant and his son, Paul own and operate Don’s Speed Shop in Newington, CT. For over 60 years, Mr. Gallant has been drag racing his roadster and running the car shop geared at car enthusiasts and mechanics, alike.

Mr. Gallant and his family were a pleasure to be around as they celebrated the achievements and dedication of their 84-year-old father. My friend, Andrea asked me to take photographs and video during the event and I’m glad I had this opportunity. Below, are some photographs from the event, and the video will be coming shortly. Stay Tuned.

What photos do you have that truly mean something to you, something so special it makes you smile every time you see it? Its a memory, a moment, a mood captured altogether in one image. Share it with me on this journey using the hashtag, #MyKeepsakePhotos

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Everything is Awesome: The LEGO movie

My little brother and I have spent a lot of the summer watching movies. This doesn’t mean he hasn’t gotten outside and played like a normal kid, but Netflix has seen a lot of us lately. We watched everything from the classics, like Disney’s “Robin Hood” and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” (both of those were favorites for a week or so) to the weird and foreign, like “My Cat in Paris” (check that out, it was good). Today, we watched a movie (albeit not on Netflix) that rocked them all.

To quote the movie’s catchy soundtrack, everything is awesome about the LEGO® movie. My brothers and I have all grown up on LEGOs and I was delightful to see them come to life, much like Toy Story did throughout its sequels. Will Ferrell, Morgan Freeman, Alison Brie, Elizabeth Banks, and Will Arnett all lend their voices to the tongue-in-cheek humor of the very well written script about an ordinary LEGO man who suddenly is swept up as the “special one” to save his world from the evil, corporation of President Business.

The animation is spot on. It’s worth watching again because each shot is filled to the brim with details, like tiny pieces of LEGOs that hide your carpet waiting to be stepped on – but I digress. If you have children, watch this movie with them. If you don’t have children, watch it anyway. It’s suitable for all audiences. Trust me. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have shrunken myself down into a LEGO person, and all this typing is exhausting.

What photos do you have that truly mean something to you, something so special it makes you smile every time you see it? Its a memory, a moment, a mood captured altogether in one image. Share it with me on this journey using the hashtag, #MyKeepsakePhotos

"Everything is Awesome!"

“Everything is Awesome!”

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A True Friend and Neighbor: Peggy

Peggy is simply radiant.

Peggy is simply radiant.

A True Friend And Neighbor: Peggy

While I am always open to the possibility of meeting new people and making friends, I consider myself lucky to have met a truly remarkable woman at my dentist’s office. Peggy is a woman I am glad to call a friend. At my appointments and during pauses in her work on my teeth, we chat about current politics, the news, and life living on the same road – unaware we were practically neighbors.

My dentist appointments became a time to catch up. Her positive attitude, her caring eyes, and infectious smile are a few of the qualities that make Peggy a pure soul. Not only is Peggy a great listener, she is kind, optimistic and unassuming. Simply put, Peggy is radiant.

In January, Peggy took a fall that nearly cost her life. At the time of the accident, I heard through friends and family, who also knew Peggy that she had fallen down a staircase in her house. Her injury was so severe; she had to be taken by Life Star to St. Francis Hospital. She spent a week in intensive care before spending two months in rehabilitation. She told me that she had to even participate in speech therapy before returning home.

She told me that the outpouring of support and concern from friends and family throughout Higganum and beyond for her, was astounding. She received over 200 cards and letters, gifts, and enough food in the freezer to feed an army. But most importantly, Peggy says she is glad to be alive. Things that once bothered her now seem inconsequential in the grand scheme of things. It could all be gone in a second. “I’m much more appreciative and relaxed,” she said.

Lifelong friends, family, and patients of hers were distraught to hear of her accident. She described a patient who was in tears of happiness to see her back to work, smiling and laughing as she always has. I felt restless and scared when I heard of Peggy’s fall. I prayed and prayed. I felt anger as to ‘why Peggy, and how.’ I felt injustice. Despite all that, I knew in my heart she would carry on and survive. She is a strong willed and determined individual, and is very well loved through the community.

Life goes on, she said today, all of the ups and downs – we all experience them. I thanked her, wished her the best and snagged this selfie of us as a token. I’m so grateful she is well, and I feel restored.

What photos do you have that truly mean something to you, something so special it makes you smile every time you see it? Its a memory, a moment, a mood captured altogether in one image. Share it with me on this journey using the hashtag, #MyKeepsakePhotos

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How A Pair of Capris Re-Inspired Me to Chase My Dreams

Seriously Awesome

Seriously Awesome

Today, I must assume the role of a fashion blogger, but for a very good reason. I received my first Blogilates purchase since I became an avid Popster at about this time last year.

I happened across fitness guru, Cassey Ho’s Pop Pilates workouts on YouTube and I have been hooked ever since to her infectious smile and upbeat, kickass workouts, also – they’re all free. Each workout video, ranging from yoga and stretching to cardio and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training), is about 8 to 15 minutes long. Trust me, you will be feeling the burn, and seeing results very quickly.

I owe a lot to Cassey and her charm. She has a very large audience of young women and men who follow her hour-long workout regimen which she posts to her community blog and iPhone/Android app on a monthly calendar.

On a personal level, her workouts have made me a stronger person, physically and emotionally. She urges you to keep going, sweat happy, and train insane or remain the same. So, rest assured, when she announced and finally revealed her high intensity, high fashion BODYPOP line, I made sure to purchase an item. I decided on the Bombshell Capris in lime (my new favorite color of the month) and admittedly, I balked at the price, but I have been waiting to purchase new workout clothes from this line for months.

Today, the capris have arrived and they are worth every single penny. The fabric is as if NASA has created it. It doesn’t stretch or appear sheer, it’s heavy and slimming yet breathable, and the lime is the perfect shade of green. Needless to say, I can’t wait to take them for a spin.

But most importantly, is the message of BodyPOP from Cassey herself. On the tag, she details her girlhood dream to become a fashion designer, and she encourages the owner of the clothing item to do the same. She writes, “Seriously, DON’T HOLD BACK!”

This year has held a lot of ups and downs for me, and I know I could be in a better place. I’m going to achieve my goals each day, week, month and year of writing more, letting go, and finally making my aspirations of making my small business of Keepsake Consolidations prosper.

My goal is the help families whose loved one suffers from Alzheimer’s Disease or dementia retell their stories before they are lost, through the consolidation and collection of old family photos, home videos, slides, as well as through interviews. I believe that by allowing a loved one with Alzheimer’s Disease to speak freely about memories can be a truly enriching moment for a family, especially before these memories no longer exist.

I truly thank Cassey to inspiring me to keep chasing my goals and dreams. Thank you. <3!

What photos do you have that truly mean something to you, something so special it makes you smile every time you see it? Its a memory, a moment, a mood captured altogether in one image. Share it with me on this journey using the hashtag, #MyKeepsakePhotos

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Summer Sun and Sunflowers

Every year, my family and I plant a massive garden. At first, our crop seems small and manageable as the sprouts appear, then it begins producing fruit, and then it seems like an impossible task to harvest all of it. Nonetheless, I am always so thankful for the supply of kale, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, and now corn in mid-August.

My favorite section of the garden is the epitome of summer – sunflowers. We have two rows of soaring sunflowers, each perfectly round and beaming. Their radiance is indeed the summer sun, and with its beauty comes the bumblebees. Each flower boasts an abundance of sweet, sticky pollen for the bees and they hurry to collect it.

I couldn’t let this summer pass without capturing the awe of the bees on the faces of the sunflowers. I kept this video simple and fun. I couldn’t detract from the sight itself with too many editorial cuts or shots. I hope you enjoy! Thanks for watching!

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Mini Day-cation: Strawberry Picking at Lyman Orchards

Truly, the weather could not have been more perfect for an afternoon of strawberry picking at Lyman Orchards in Middlefield, Connecticut. The day practically begged to be photographed, and videoed! My fiancee and I took my little brother to pick strawberries and in no time had five full baskets among us. And, as it follows, we had to have pastries, and of course, feed the ducks nearby.

When we drove up to the strawberry patches located on a hill, the scenery was seemingly foreign. An adjacent field was plowed and turned over to reveal earth, while a section immediately next to it was green and ripe. Like a countryside out of Holland. The strawberry patches were bursting with fruit, and a gentle breeze combed the air. Hey, it was alright!

Editing this footage to an original by Bach was a treat. Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com arranged the piece abnormally with a piece-y instrumental feel. I do love Mr. MacLeod’s music. I hope you enjoy and I certainly hope you and your family get out to Lyman’s Orchard for strawberries before it’s too late! Stay tuned though, I plan on picking and capturing the experience of raspberries, blueberries, and my favorite, pears! (Brb, looking for some recipes!)

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Kites on West Beach with Glenn Davison

The humidity, thunderstorms, and strong winds from the previous day subsided to reveal blue skies, sun, and a light breeze — perfect weather for the Kites Over New England and ConnectKITERS’ afternoon. On Saturday, March 17th, 2014, beachgoers, kite enthusiasts, and folks of all ages gazed upward to watch color, art, and engineering dance together on the breeze.

I was looking forward to shooting footage of this event since I heard about it over a month ago. I was certainly not disappointed with the aesthetic and the wonder brought about by the kites. Here, I met Mr. Glenn Davison, a kite artist, who designs, creates and demonstrates his own kites and kites in all their magnitude. Glenn held a spool of the kite string as it floated in the air, and let passers-by grip the string. Each time, myself included, all folks: men, women, and children were taken aback by the force of the kite in the wind and the tension on the string.

It was impossible not to smile as the kite lifted your arms and feet off the ground a bit. Would it be cliché to say it was uplifting?

As I spoke to Glenn and soon captured in his impromptu interview, he is truly following his passion, which he discovered as a child, and today is an avid traveler pursuing the direction of the where the wind takes him.

I am fortunate I met Glenn and learned a bit about the art, craft and science of kite flying. In all honesty, I had not expected to see such magnificent creations dancing in the sky. I will continue to visit kite festivals here and abroad, if the opportunity prevails. Kites are peaceful to watch and fun to capture in photography.


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