A picture speaks a thousand words.

Isn’t it sad how these days, we walk around with our camera’s less, relying on our smartphones more, and being content with our memories living on our harddrives, cellphones or instagram. When did you last get some of your memories printed?

At the end of a long story, Greg and I had credit at a photo/camera store and decided it was time to use the opportunity to print some more pictures for our home. We received a massive frame for a collection of photos for our engagement, and I promise you we only filled it after our first anniversary. I bought Greg for his birthday last year, a beautiful frame with the word “memories” and space for 6 pictures. It’s sat on our wall unit for well over a year – empty.

One of my favourite wedding gifts were from a core group of university friends. It was a set of Live, Laugh, Love photo frames. I don’t care for all your haters of the sentiments, but my philosophy is you can never have enough photo-frames. Never have enough memories around your home. The greatest thing is that these girls actually filled the frames with pictures of us (Thank you Facebook, you make life so easy for people). We decided – enough – these photos need updating!

I guess there’s something so special about a printed photograph. You get to see it all over your home, and relive memories more than just looking at them on your computer. It’s funny, our wedding photographer’s package came with 100 prints. We didn’t really want them but he said they cost him so little, we may as well get them. We’ve kept them in the beautiful red box we got them in, and I’m so glad we have them. We didn’t get a wedding photo album done (don’t worry, I will still one day) so I’m thankful we have these hard copies to page through.

I love photos and I love memories. Greg and I were expert photo-takers and self-timer evangelists in the years we dated. Things have toned down since then, but I think after our weekend in Hermanus, maybe we’ll start taking more pictures again. We got a photobook voucher for our anniversary from his parents, because they knew we didn’t have a wedding album. We decided to make a book of the years we dated, which I think was such a good choice. We like to laugh at how young we look.

As much as the wedding is a pivotal and beautiful day in your lives, it really is just one day. For me, I like having a handful of wedding pictures up, but I also like celebrating the fun and memories we’ve had as a married couple. So I’m so happy that we printed so many more pictures.

The truth is, it gets expensive to print masses of pictures sometimes. For that reason I’ve been in the process of creating a yearly photobook (note how it’s August 2013, and I haven’t yet sent our 2012 book in for printing). I think it’s such a great way to keep memories off your harddrive and a great way to increase your chances of picking them up off your coffee table for a bit of a browse.

I guess we’re lucky for our credit note at this store and that they didn’t just give us our money back – otherwise we probably would never have updated the pictures in our home. Now we’re just running out of places to put the pictures 😉 I don’t know if this all made sense, but it just made me really happy to have updated our frames with beautiful pictures and the thought of memories and photobooks.

I hope this inspires you to get some photos off your harddrive and onto your walls.

You never know how much something means to you until it’s gone.

I turned 21 not too many years ago. I happened to be running a school camp, possibly not the most ideal location for turning the big 2-1, but I was with all my friends and Greg, which was what counted. As a side-note, I also turned 21 wearing braces – true story. Anyway, I digress.

I got from Greg the most beautiful charm bracelet. I always had a thing for charm bracelets. I even had a charm styled watch until I lost it. He wrote me a beautiful letter to go with it, explaining why he had chosen each of the charms – a heart, a dolphin, a strawberry, a “chai” (it’s a Jewish symbol meaning “life”, I think) and an oval charm with our initials “LL & GG” engraved on one side, and my 21st birthday date on the other, with a heart cutout. I don’t actually have a picture of it, as it was before the time of smartphones, instagram and over-sharing our lives. But it was beautiful.

Now I’m not a girly-girl. I don’t wear or accessorize with jewellery. I’m the type who has certain (sometimes meaningful) pieces they just stay put, and I don’t take off. These include: the aforementioned bracelet, my engagement and wedding rings, and a necklace which has my name in Hebrew. Even the bracelet Greg bought me for our 1 year anniversary I don’t wear every day – I have the tendency to take it off while I work, and I’m just too scared of losing it.

We went out to friends on Friday night for dinner, it was great and so was the company, as usual. I was getting changed before going to bed – and my right wrist was bare. My bracelet was gone. My right wrist is never bare. My heart broke. Literally it felt like it was cracked in two, and I moped myself to sleep. Poor Greg had to deal with a very sad Lee-Ann.

I’m happy to say that this story has a happy ending. It turned out that the clasp had come undone at dinner. My friend found it on the floor under the table and gave it back to me at shul the next morning. I literally almost cried from happiness when she gave it back to me. The sigh of relief, the weight lifted off my shoulders. I was about to ask Greg whether he could replicate it for my birthday coming up. Goodness was this girl happy. We’re going to get the clasp fixed/replaced hopefully this week.

I’m not the most sentimental person. I don’t think I’d ever thought how I’d feel if I’d lost this little piece of metal. When people ask what you would run back in to salvage if your house were burning down, I always thought it would be my harddrive. I mean, aside for the series etc there are just so many pictures. Dating back to 2005. Pictures from holidays, from school, from my gap year, all our years of dating, our wedding… Greg’s harddrive crashed recently. He lost over 100G of magic DVDs (the guy’s a magician, this is a big, big deal). He was so heartbroken. When we realised it would cost about R8k to recover the data and buy a new one, we gave up. I don’t know if the giving up helped him get over it, or if he realised he could get a lot of it from friends.

Memories are the things you can’t replace. I guess if I lost my harddrive with all my photos, I’d be heartbroken too. I’m trying to make photobooks every year (our “2012” book is still 95% finished, as it’s been from about February), who knows, maybe that could replace the fear. Or maybe I should kick it old school, and back stuff onto DVDs.

So I know that in the grand scheme of things – this may have been only a bracelet. It really means a lot to me, and goes beyond the memories of the day. I mean, what is turning 21 anyway in South Africa. I am already legal to drink, as well as drive a car. It doesn’t mean anything but it was a really special present. If I had lost it, who knows, maybe I would have gotten over my sadness, and Greg probably would have replicated it as best as he could for y birthday next month.

But I’m so glad he doesn’t have to.