Chicago: The Opportunity | LotsaSmiles Photography

It’s time to take another break – the holiday season is crazy busy!!  Are you swamped, too?  We have some exciting updates coming to our website, and more adventures on the horizon.  But for now, please enjoy this tale of another opportunity we had to travel on the corporate dime!


I learned from my father many years ago one very important lesson: take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way.  After all, you never know when you might look back on a “no” and wish that it had been a “yes.”  I strive to live every day by the mantra of “no regrets,” and thus far, it has served me well.

© LotsaSmiles Photography 2011

When Aaron’s company decided to move its headquarters from Portland to Chicago, they offered him continued work in the new city, along with a relocation package.  To help convince us, they would fly us (both) out to Chicago for a weekend, show us some apartments and the city sights, and wine and dine us – all on the company’s dime.  We’re quite happy living in Portland, and Aaron hated his job at the time, so moving wasn’t even a consideration for us.

Aaron almost told them no, outright.  I thought he was crazy.

Free.  Trip. Continue reading “Chicago: The Opportunity | LotsaSmiles Photography”

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Road Trip: Hiking Among Giants – Day 3

We took Day 3 at a much slower pace than Day 2, and we were fortunately much drier.  We had plenty of ground to cover, but we had a magnificent gem – and something that’s been on my bucket list for some time – ahead of us: the California redwoods.

© Brianna Shade 2012

Continue reading “Road Trip: Hiking Among Giants – Day 3”

Road Trip: Drenched! Rogue River & Meyers Beach – Day 2

© Brianna Shade 2012

When we drove into Gold Beach at the end of our first day of our amazing road trip to San Francisco, I noticed the sign that read, “Jerry’s Rogue Jets.”  I immediately laughed, thinking this is not a business name that instills trust and reliability.

Little did I know that I wouldn’t have much choice in the matter.

A soggy start

The day rose in good old, gloomy Oregon fashion.  Aaron fretted, and I merely sat back, excited for what the day would bring.  I love surprises, and Aaron had everything all planned out.  I didn’t know our morning plans placed us outside in the increasingly damp day.

© Brianna Shade 2012

We pulled into the parking lot of Jerry’s Rogue Jets, and I had to laugh once more at my remarks from the night before.  Evidently, this establishment directed jet boat tours down the Rogue River; they did not rent out dubious aircraft with questionable loyalties.

And then I wryly laughed at our sorry luck with the weather.

© Brianna Shade 2012

Continue reading “Road Trip: Drenched! Rogue River & Meyers Beach – Day 2”

Escaping Idaho: The Horrifying Conclusion

Last week, I began the epic saga of the horrors of Idaho.  While the trip down turned out alright, we had only hit the tip of the iceberg.  Herein lies the crazy conclusion…

Continue reading “Escaping Idaho: The Horrifying Conclusion”

Loathing for Idaho: A Road Trip Horror Story

Contrary to popular belief, we travel within our own country as well, so I thought I’d share one such adventure.

While many might fly to reach their destination faster, there is merit in making an adventure out of a road trip.  The United States is a vast country with many exciting locations along the way.

Idaho is not one of them.

Continue reading “Loathing for Idaho: A Road Trip Horror Story”