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Things I Love: Summer 2015

Well, it is already July and it is officially summer, and I wanted to share some items that I love, shown below!

We hope that you have a great 4th of July weekend!  We plan to enjoy time reading by the pool, relaxing on the deck, and having some friends over for a cookout this weekend, and it should be fun!  We hope for good weather.

Have a great long weekend!


loving summer 2015


1. Toms – I love Toms.  These are hands down the most comfortable spring/summer shoe around.  I highly recommend them.  I have four pairs!

2. Lululemon Undies — These are the best undies I have ever had.  If you are looking for extremely comfortable undies, particularly in the warmer months, I highly recommend these!

3. Shiseido Face Sunscreen — This is a wonderful sunscreen, which you can apply prior to makeup, which goes on smoothly and easily, while helping to protect your skin from sun damage.  It works great and protects your skin well.

4. Gain Scent Boosters — I love clean sheets, and the scent boosters work really well to keep your sheets smelling like they were just laundered.  I use the Midnight Breeze Fireworks Gain Scent Booster.  I also generally use Gain lavender detergent; and Snuggle white lavender liquid fabric softener; and lavender serenity Downy dryer sheets.

5. Skinny Pop – My Mom told me about Skinny Pop.  It is really tasty and low-calorie if you are looking for a tasty snack!

6. Propel Water — I have been trying to drink more water, and I really like Propel water.  It has a hint of flavor and therefore it makes me want to drink water more often.

You can view other things I love here!

Victory: Photography Project — 64

Beginning in January 2014, I started a weekly photography project with my muse, Victory!  I will continue to share this project on the blog this year!  My goal is to document all of Victory’s changes, while preserving fleeting moments and memories, while capturing moments of our everyday.

On Sunday, Doug and Victory came with me to a photo shoot in Annapolis, and then we went to Kent Island for crabs.  We found a place to eat where we could take Victory along with us!  Doug enjoys picking and eating crabs.  I am not too fond of crabs, but I had some good shrimp instead!  Victory was a really good girl and she was very patient while Doug worked through all of his crabs!  Everyone at the restaurant loved our fur girl!

After eating lunch, we went to the Eastern Shore and had a great time together!  Little Victory did not get her nap, as we were gone all day, so she was quite tired by the time we made it home where we found her on the sofa all sprawled out!  She got lots of good walks in, though!

We (hopefully) find out in about two weeks whether Victory’s infection is gone.  We sure hope it’s gone as she finishes up her antibiotic at the end of this week.  Who ever knew that a UTI could be so tricky.  On another note, Victory is starting to bark more, but her barking is only limited to ‘night-night’ one of her favorite times!

Below are a few images from our time together this past Sunday!  We are thrilled that it is officially summer!

Happy Tuesday!


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Tips: Five Summer Dangers for Furry Family Members

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) contacted me to share some tips to help keep your furry family members out of harms way this summer.  Hopefully, everyone is staying cool!

1. Fireworks & Thunderstorms: Loud noises like fireworks are one of the top reasons furry family members go missing, so secure your furry family member in an escape-proof place.  If your furry family member does go missing, download the ASPCA app for a free step-by-step digital toolkit to help find your pet.

2. Sun and Heat: High summer temperatures can mean dehydration, overheating, and scorched paws.  Know the signs of overheating (excessive panting, increased heart rate, and weakness) and bring your furry family member indoors or to a cool, shady place.

3. Toxic Chemicals: Insecticides, citronella products, and glow sticks are toxic to pets.  Keep your furry family member away from areas where chemicals have been sprayed and ensure dangerous products are out of reach.

4. Parties & Barbecues: If your furry family member is joining the party, make sure guests don’t feed your furry family member human food (especially grapes, onions, avocado, and chocolate).

5. Hot Cars: Even with the windows open an inch, a car’s temperature can reach over 100° in 10 minutes on an 85° day.  Therefore, leave your pet safely at home on hot days.




The above image is courtesy of the ASPCA.

Revisit: Word for the year — Flow

I figured since the year is nearly half over, it would be a good time to revisit my word for this year, “flow.”  I highly recommend having a word, mantra, or theme for the year.

Flow defined: flow /flō/ verb 1. move along or out steadily and continuously in a current or stream.

This year I have been working to be open and flowing with what comes my way.  I think I have been embracing this sentiment pretty well.  I feel like I have been doing a pretty good job in general — keeping things flowing and not getting stuck.  The word “flow” has been particularly useful in my photography project.  I am making steady and incremental progress on my project, while refusing to let hiccups and unforeseen circumstances derail me.  Through this all, I have learned that working on a large endeavor takes longer than initially anticipated, and you have to keep going and keep the faith.  My hope is that the ‘photo gods’ help keep things flowing to help me finish a solid draft of this project.  I will take any and all help I can get, if you know what I mean!

Happy Friday!  Have a great weekend!


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Blogs That Fill Me Up

Today I thought I would share what I’ve been reading lately that fills me up with inspiration.  I do not spend as much time as I used to reading blogs, for a variety of reasons including time and my desire to read more books.  I want to read blogs that build and inspire; and contain authentic stories.

With those things in mind, here are five of my current favorites that you might already be reading or might be new to you:

1. Today Is Going to Be Awesome — Lisa Congdon: I especially like the personal artists essays, which are inspiring.

2. Moments of Being — Dani Shapiro: Shares thoughts about living a creative life, specifically being a writer.

3. Elizabeth Gilbert: Contains interesting posts and thoughts about living a fulfilled and creative life.  I truly enjoy her posts.

4. Be More With Less: Contains interesting content about simplifying life and getting to the heart of the matter.

5. Gratefulness: Has interesting posts about finding gratefulness, in the smallest ways, along with sharing a daily, inspiring quote.



Victory: Photography Project — 63

Beginning in January 2014, I started a weekly photography project with my muse, Victory!  I will continue to share this project on the blog this year!  My goal is to document all of Victory’s changes, while preserving fleeting moments and memories, while capturing moments of our everyday.

Doug made it home safely from Europe and brought Victory a special German toy, made by Karlie, which we named, the ‘monkey man!’  He wanted to find something unique for Victory that we could not purchase at home.  Victory loves her new ‘monkey man’ as it incorporates woven rope, which she loves to chew!  Each week, when I wash her blankets in her ‘hut,’ I am amazed to see all the ‘work’ she has completed on her toys.  Plus, she loves to hoard her many toys in her ‘hut!’  Some images are shown below!


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Victory also had a good Father’s Day celebrating her Daddy!  Doug made waffles with fresh strawberries and we ate brunch on the deck together.  Victory loves to be outside on the deck and she loves eating sampling of whatever we are eating — she loves waffles!  We spent the day together, we went to the pool, and Doug grilled for dinner and Doug, of course, made Victory a mini hamburger, and she sat intently and patiently waiting for more hamburger!

Here is Victory with her gifts before Doug opened them!


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Happy Monday!

Inspirational Stones

I love inspirational quotes and sayings.  In fact, my fridge is covered in roughly 65 magnet quotes, give or take!  On my desk, I have a bowl of stones that I have collected over the past couple of years from my travels, each engraved with a word(s).  I find having them nearby inspiring, and I plan to continue to collect these types of stones!  These stones sit next to my wish ball and daruma doll.  I believe these all channel positive energy.

On another note, we are excited for Doug to come home this weekend from his travels!  During Doug’s trip, due to service and connection issues, we were unable to speak on the phone and Face Time together.  This has been the longest period of time that we were unable speak since we started dating, nearly eleven years ago!  Thank goodness for email and texting!  I know Doug is excited to see his fur girl, and we have missed him!  Tomorrow we are going to dinner at one of our favorite Thai restaurants and, after dinner, we are going to see a play!  And, most of all, Victory is ready to celebrate her Daddy for Father’s Day on Sunday!  (We think being ‘puppy parents’ counts!)

(We truly hope that Victory is on the mend from her infection, which we have been battling for over a month.  We should know for sure how she is doing in a couple of weeks when we complete a urinalysis after she finishes taking her current antibiotic.)

We hope that you have a great weekend and Happy Father’s Day!


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Start Now: What Will You Regret When You Are 80?

This week I started reading, The Power of Starting Something Stupid, by Richie Norton.  I am about half way through this book, and it is a good read thus far.  I thought that I would share an interesting insight, the Bezos Test: Will I regret it when I’m 80?

Jeff Bezos is the founder of Amazon.  Bezos stated, “If you can project yourself out to age 80 and sort of think, ‘What will I think at that time?’ it gets you away from some of the daily pieces of confusion.  You know, I left this Wall Street firm in the middle of the year.  When you do that, you walk away from your annual bonus.  That’s the kind of thing that in the short-term can confuse you, but if you think about the long-term, then you can really make good life decisions that you won’t regret later.”

Bezos did the “crazy thing” and became a legend and changed the world as we know it with his idea to start Amazon.

The Bezos Test: Will I Regret It When I’m 80?

The Bezos Test sets forth a set of questions to ask yourself, which leads you to the ideas that are most important to you, thereby outlining the ideas for you to focus on first.

Question 1: Do you have a pressing thought or idea that simply won’t go away?

Question 2: Looking at your list, what would you regret not doing?

Question 3: If you had only a short time to live, and you were required to rid yourself of all things from your list except for three or four, which three to four ideas would remain?

Question 4: If you had to prioritize these few things in order from most important to least important, which order would you choose?

“The common question that gets asked in business is, why?  That’s a good question, but an equally valid question is, why not?”  –Jeff Bozos

So what is your ‘crazy idea’ that you would be foolish not to start?  The best time to embrace your ‘crazy idea’ is now.


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Victory: Photography Project — 62

Beginning in January 2014, I started a weekly photography project with my muse, Victory!  I will continue to share this project on the blog this year!  My goal is to document all of Victory’s changes, while preserving fleeting moments and memories, while capturing moments of our everyday.

We gave Victory a bath this weekend, which is not her favorite activity, to get her all cleaned up, before Doug left for his work trip.  She feels great — her fur is silky smooth!  Victory started her third round of antibiotics this weekend, and she appears to be keeping it down ok.  She is on this antibiotic for three weeks, and we really hope that it clears up her infection.  Otherwise, Victory is doing well and she, along with us, is ready for a little cooler temperatures!

Below are some images of our beautiful and serene fur girl from this weekend!

Happy Monday!


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Around Here: June

Well, the year is nearly half over, and it is really difficult to believe how fast this year is going by!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in June!

-received positive feedback on the first portion of my project from my first reviewer.  I have been hard at work working on final edits for the first part of the project.  Also, the photographing for the project is near completion.

-started reading this book — so far a helpful and good read.  I am trying to get through all the books that I want to read!

-making breakfasts together on the weekends with Doug.

-finished watching the Witness, a French series, on Netflix.  It was very good!

-enjoying evenings and dinners together on the deck with Victory!

-still selecting and printing images for the house — my goal is to finish framing prints by this fall.

-having date nights with Doug!  Tonight we are going to see John Mellencamp; and next weekend, we are going to see the play, The Price, by Arthur Miller.

-still enjoying my yoga class (and the gym) and hopefully improving my skills each week!

-Doug leaves this weekend for a week-long work trip overseas.  We will miss him.

-Victory let out her first loud bark last week before ‘night-night!’

-Victory started a new round of antibiotics, which is upsetting her little stomach.  We are working on trying a third antibiotic.  We hope that the right antibiotic will do the trick and hopefully she will finally be able to get over her urinary tract infection.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!  (It’s a real hot one here!)


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