One of the best things about blogging is stumbling across a new business or unique gift idea, being able to review it firsthand, and then share a review with readers. This is the case with RemindsMeofU.com, which I found out about while looking for unique gift ideas to include in my Valentine's Day Gift Guide. :-)
"The Reminds Me Of U personalized keepsake website is the brain-child of artist/ inventor Doug Bowles, who has been a freelance illustrator for over 30 years. He is married to an artist and father of two children. Originally these montage creations were made for various teachers & relatives, as birthday or anniversary gifts. The response from these personalized gifts was so joyous, that the idea to offer them to everyone was born.There are over 500 images that can honor a loved one, like no other gift can, for almost any special occasion. It's an illustrated biography! Explore over 35 categories, ranging from favorite animals to zodiac signs! There are hundreds & hundreds of artistic images to choose from when making your special personalized gift.Finding a perfect birthday gift for a 41st birthday is no longer and an arduous undertaking, it's a fun & creative event. For anniversaries, year 30 is the Pearl Gift. 40 is the Ruby, and Gold is for the 50th Anniversary. Reminds Me Of U is the perfect anniversary gift for all those years and every year in between! It's a personalized, beautifully framed gift that you will love creating and they will love getting!"
Those that know me well, know that I love giving unique gifts that become keepsakes, to be treasured for years to come. I put a lot of time in looking for just the right gift for family and friends, and always find myself asking "Does this remind me of them" when deciding on that perfect gift. This is why I start my Christmas shopping late in the summer..with all the people on my shopping list, I like to have the time to really think about and search for that special gift that will not only put a smile on their faces when they unwrap, but remind them just how much they mean to me.
For those who follow my blog on a regular basis, you have seen me talk openly about my battle with stage 2 nasopharyngeal carcinoma, which I received treatment for in 2008. Now, five years later I can say with a huge smile on my face that I am in remission and all scans continue to come back clean, without signs of cancer. My cancer journey really made me slow down and take a step back in my life. Like so many of us, I found myself working crazy overtime hours, going through the motions, and at times not really stopping to think about my health. It took me noticing a mass in the back of my mouth to take time out of my busy schedule to see a doctor. Seven doctors later, countless scans and then finally a biopsy and removal of the mass, I was diagnosed with stage 2 cancer a few days before Christmas in 2008. What a shock this diagnosis was, as I thought I was relatively healthy. But, a diagnosis like this really puts your life in perspective and makes you slow down to think what is really important to you.
What was so crazy about the whole cancer treatment, which included radiation and chemo, and lasted from March through the end of May, was that my life seemed to be in a standstill, while everyone around me (outside my support system) carried on with their busy lives. Yes, they would check in and see how I was doing. But, because they were not going through what I was -- fighting for my life -- they weren't slowing down and kept on with the motions and rigors of our crazy lives. Being in a stand-still, almost a slow motion movie day in and day out, I had the opportunity to sit and think...a lot. I will not lie. There were days when I wanted to throw in the towel, wondered what I was putting my body through...but, then my husband and parents would calm my nerves as they would sit and tell me things that they would see during the day that reminded them of me. From certain shows I would watch on television, to songs I would sing (off key) in the car, to foods I would order at restaurants or re-create at home -- so many things reminded my family of me.
When you are going through something like cancer and find yourself in an infusion room or hospital bed day in and day out, you lose site of the beauty that is life, love and all that makes up your being. You forget that you mean a lot to people, and that they are praying for you to heal and be "you" again. You forget all the little things that people see and say to themselves, "This reminds me of u." Well, like the diagnosis of cancer spoken to me over the phone by my ENT doctor, it took my family to remind me yet again to stop and really appreciate what I have, as life truly is a precious gift and one to be cherished. Memories are made that you want to remember. And, while our minds may wander and we find ourselves forgetting what people who have come and gone looked liked, what their voices sounded like, or even how they smelled (crazy as it sounds) -- your mind is brilliant in the way that it can look at a photo you have captured and quickly bring you back to that moment in time, like it was yesterday.
I was lucky enough to be brought back to precious moments in my life recently when I created a personalized collage at RemindsMeofU.com for my husband -- Shh...I really created it for the both of us, as a reminder to slow down and really cherish the time with each other and our girls, as they are growing up so quickly. Even though I had promised myself during treatment and had those close to me promise to slow down and really appreciate their lives, as you never know how long you will be on the Earth for, we find ourselves getting pulled back in to the craziness of life, which has us going a mile a minute. My days are crazy busy trying to raise our two toddlers, while balancing work, relationships, etc. There never seems to be enough hours in the day to complete everything. But, in a single second a glance at a photo of my girls as babies slows everything down as I find myself thinking back to the day they were born and I looked into their eyes and knew what love really was.
When I sat down to choose photos to add to this special, one of a kind collage, who knew how difficult it would be to choose just 55. Fifty five photos may seem like a lot, but factor in that my daughters are 2 and 3 1/2 and a lot has happened during this time-- first smiles, first steps, first foods, first boo boo, etc. And, I have been lucky enough as a stay at home mom to capture many of these firsts to treasure and share down the road with the girls and their children. :-) So, while the process of creating a personalized collage at RemindsMeofU.com was easy, the hard part was choosing the photos to upload. The creation of the collage took about a half hour, as you have to upload each photo individually to the site. Oh how I wished at times I could choose a whole folder from my computer to upload and place within the collage. But, you know what...I really didn't mind as this gave me a reason to slow down and really look at all the photos I have accumulated on my computer of these special moments that remind me of my girls. :-)
In the end, this is what my finished collage looks like -- notice how it is matted and framed, which is included in the price of the collage.
Stunning, right? You really do have to see this beautiful collage up close to really appreciate just how unique and PERFECT this gift truly is. As I look at the 55 photos included in the collage, I can't help but think about the new journey of motherhood I am on, and how much I love it. I would not change anything about my life, even my cancer diagnosis and journey, as it has made me the person I am today...one who is now reminded each and every day as I pass by the hallway into the kitchen and glance up at the collage I created of my two miracles in life, and am reminded to slow down and savor the moment..so that I one day when my girls are moms, I can say this "Reminds Me of U" as their children do the same thing they had down as children, or we pass a waterfall, see a field of ponies (which Savannah loves), or hear a song we would dance to in the living room. :-)
If you are looking for the PERFECT gift for that special someone in your life this Valentine's Day, or even for Mother's Day, Father's Day, upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, or heck "Just Because," why not create a lasting keepsake with a Reminds Me of U collage? It really is a great reminder of what and who is important to us, and a way to always remember why you need to slow down and enjoy the moments that take our breath away. :-)
Visit Reminds Me of U now to start creating a memorable gift that will be treasured for years to come -- http://www.remindsmeofu.com/.
RemindsMeofU.com is currently running a $20 off all orders special, which will continue through Valentine's Day. There is no coupon code required for the $20 off -- discount will be taken off at checkout.
I can't wait to hear and see what personalized collage you create as a gift -- or even for yourself to enjoy!
Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in order to write up an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.