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Gone Fishing…

 

We are headed back to Charleston, South Carolina with our fur girl, Victory, to commemorate and celebrate three special milestones simultaneously: our babymoon; our 10-year wedding anniversary; and my ‘big birthday!’  We are very much looking forward to lazy and relaxing days together by the beach!  The blog will be back with regular content in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, if you are in a blog-reading mood, you are warmly invited to visit the archives — the links are shown below.

Dog Related posts

Dog Rescue posts

‘Dog-Centric’ Artists Interviews

For Artists posts

Photography posts

Personal posts

Victory Related posts

Tips for planning and vacationing with your furry family member

Additionally, if you are interested, here are some links to some of our previous vacations — Nova Scotia, 2011; Nova Scotia, 2012; Vermont, 2013; Vermont and Québec, 2014; Vermont and Québec City, 2015Lake Michigan, 2016; and Charleston, 2017!

Happy Spring!

 


Our Baby’s Modern Nursery Reveal!

We finally finished our baby’s nursery after a few months hard work!  A few images of our baby’s nursery are shown below.  Our finished baby’s nursery is somewhat similar to our initial nursery inspiration board!  After much research, I selected most of our selections and made sure Doug liked the selections as well before ordering; and Doug helped me immensely with the baby furniture, hanging of the art, hanging of the mobile, cleaning of the rugs, and rearranging of things in the house to make room for the nursery — it was definitely a team effort!  It was quite fun pulling the items together for our baby’s nursery!  We are quite pleased with the results!  We wanted to make our baby’s nursery something that she can grow into, while incorporating art and fun elements as well to create a space that has good energy, feels welcoming, bright, modern, clean, relaxing, and peaceful.  (We wanted to get the nursery done before I get too big and uncomfortable).  Additionally, we are in the process of getting the final baby supplies we will need for when the baby arrives.  We are slowly getting there!  We do have a closet and dresser full of cute clothes, though!  (Please note, when our baby sleeps in the crib, all of the stuffed animals and pillows will be removed for safety purposes!)

We have brought our fur girl, Victory, into the nursery a few times, and she is quite skeptical at this point.  We know that she knows that something is happening with all the work we have been doing in the house and in the nursery on the weekends.  Victory is quite an attentive and aware little sheltie girl!  We will keep trying.  Our Bradley birth teacher told us to treat Victory similar to an older sibling, in this case, and to do our best to prepare her (as much as we are able since we can’t explain in words/sentences to Victory what is occurring) and continue to give Victory her own attention so that she feels secure and continue with this course of action when the baby arrives.  We have incorporated Victory’s ivory Tempur-Pedic Orvis dog bed in the nursery, so she will know that she is welcome, always.  It took her a while to get used to coming into my office each day, so we hope, similarly, that we can get her into the nursery every day, at some point, as well.  Victory has been an integral part of our journey, and we cannot imagine life without her!  She is truly a loyal and loving little being!  After the baby arrives, we imagine Victory will be right there with us during this next part of our journey and we would not want it any other way!  It will be an adjustment for us all; however, we are truly excited for this season!  The time is flying by so very quickly and we eagerly await the arrival of our baby girl!

 

 

Our final selections, with links, are shown below!

 

Links: (1) Crib (three in one convertible crib) in Washed Natural; (2) Organic, Non-Toxic Mattress and Waterproof Cover; (3) Dresser (with changing table) in Washed Natural and White; (4) Bookshelf in Washed Natural (and we collected various children’s books); (5) Glider (in Grey); (6) Side Table; (7) Fitted Sheet; (8) Crib Skirt; (9) Blanket; (10) Felt Mobile; (11) Changing Pad; (12) Changing Pad Cover; (13) Painting 1 (pink abstract); (14) Painting 2 (blue abstract); (15) Panting 3 (landscape); (16) Frames; (17) Rug; (18) Small Table Lamp; (19) Floor Lamp; (20) Clock; (21) Diaper Caddy; (22) Basket; (23) Hamper; (24) Fox Pillow; (25) Charlotte the Dog Doll; (26) Lucy the Lamb Doll; (27) Cheetah; and (28) Panda (similar).

Our sweet fur girl, Victory, is pictured below in our baby’s crib when we were first getting our baby’s nursery together!  We love her so very much!


Let Nothing Stop You From Your Work

 

 

Below are some ways you can consistently create space to complete your creative work!  I am in the process of working through final revisions of my images for my project, which is getting close to complete, but very tedious work nonetheless.  Below are some concepts that have helped carry me through this home stretch.

1. Set a Schedule – Setting and sticking to a schedule to work on your creative endeavors is really important.  Otherwise, too often, time slips by with little work completed.  Take advantage of little bits and chunks of time, even if that is all you are able to work into your schedule.  Small, incremental progress adds up over time, and you will be amazed how much you can get done in a small amount of time, if you put your mind to it!

2. Dedicated Work Space – Having a dedicated work space frees you from distractions, while providing a place where you can surround yourself with items that inspire you and make you feel the most comfortable.  Also, don’t be afraid to mix things up every now and then — working from the deck on a nice day can be a refreshing break in the routine, particularly when your creative juices have stalled.

3. Be in Alignment — It helps me significantly to be in the optimal frame of mind while I am working.  As a result, I have found working early in the mornings provides me the best time where I can focus and be most productive.  Finding your ‘optimal work time’ and sticking to this schedule really does work to facilitate progress in one’s work.

4. Explore Other Creative Interests – Working everyday on the same project or types of projects can become a drain, at times.  It is easy to get stuck in a creative rut and fall into patterns that you may not even realize exist.  Exploring other creative interests, can provide you an outlet that is different enough to keep your mind stimulated, while still keeping you thinking about your creative work from a different perspective.  Thus, it is a good idea to pursue other creative endeavors that you enjoy simultaneously.

5. Get Ample Sleep – Sleep deprivation can make it difficult to focus on anything, let alone your creative work.  When you are tired, you are not going to have many creative insights; and when your body is not at its best, neither is your mind.  Thus, it is important to have ample daily sleep to help you continue to steadily pursue your creative projects.

6. Take Breaks – If you find that you are in the “zone,” and you find yourself working for hours, then embrace it.  During these times, you often can produce your best work.  However, a couple of regularly scheduled breaks, throughout your work day, can serve as a great way to re-energize.  When you get stuck, it is a good idea to take a break, as it forces you to stop and step away and, during these breaks, you are more likely to see the problem you are trying to solve in a new light.

7. Regular Exercise – Daily exercise is a great way to get your creative juices flowing.  It provides space and many people devise ideas while they are exercising that they would not otherwise discover.  So, if you are stuck in you creative project, go take a walk or run, and you will be likely to solve the problem or road block that you are facing.

No matter what, if you truly want to start or complete that project you have always wanted to start or finish, you will find a way to make sacrifices in order to make it come to fruition.  It will not be easy, but it will be worth all of the effort and time that most people can never discern that went into creating the work.  Here is one of my favorite quotes from a dear mentor, Deborah Samuel, “Follow your passion, even if you do not know what lies on the other side.  Passion is infectious to people; and passion is at the root of creating art.  Keep believing in your work and use your passion to help you push through and keep going.  The right thing(s) happen when it is supposed to happen.  Most importantly, put your work on the line and keep pushing your boundaries.”

Most of all, just keep going and . . . let nothing stop you from your work!

Happy Monday!

Loving: Spring 2018

Happy spring!  We hope that it will actually feel more and more like spring on a consistent basis soon!  Below are some items I am loving!

 

 

1. Cuddle + Kind — I recently discovered these adorable hand-knit dolls via Cuddle + Kind.  We purchased for our baby Charlotte the Dog and Lucy the Lamb, and received them in the mail recently!  The best part is that each time you purchase one of the hand-knit dolls, proceeds go to feed children in need.  (The hand-knot dolls come in two sizes).

2. First Aid Beauty, Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer – I also somewhat recently learned about this wonderful face moisturizer.  It is truly the BEST moisturizer that I have ever used.  It goes on well, there is no scent, and it keeps one’s face and skin hydrated really well with no oily residue whatsoever.  I love it and I will never go back to any other product!

3. Yoplait Yogurt Mix Ins — I love yogurt, and I especially like this new yogurt by Yoplait, specifically the key lime mix in flavor!

4. Promptly Journal – I love making photo books; however,  I wanted to find a simple way to capture this time in our lives so I purchased a childhood promptly journal, which helps you capture your child’s complete history from your pregnancy until your child is 18 years old.  There are pages for your to document your pregnancy; pages month for the first year of your baby’s life; and then there are pages for each birthday until age 18.  Each section has places to document your child’s favorite things and then it has questions that help prompt you with what to say.  Additionally, there are places to add pictures at each page, and it is recommended to use scrapbook tape to adhere the images to the paper journal.

5. Brooks Ariel Running Shoes  – Doug and I still make it to the gym regularly and I really like these new shoes.  They offer so much support and comfort with a wider type toe box.  My feet are never sore, no matter how much I exercise!

6. Fromm Cheese Treats – Victory, our fur girl, loves these treats and they are made in the U.S. and are only a few calories per treat!  Victory also eats Fromm for her breakfast and dinners each day and she loves it!

You can view other things I love here!

Happy Tuesday!

Around Here: March

 


Happy March and Happy Spring!  We are so beyond ready for spring to truly arrive here!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in March, another busy month that is going by much too quickly!

-continuing to work on the next steps concerning my long-term photography project, slowly making progress.

-enjoying date nights together!

-continuing this month with our parent, baby, and birth classes that go through the next several months!

-as of earlier this month, we are officially half way through this pregnancy!  The time is flying by so quickly, and we are savoring every moment.  All is going well, thus far, and I have felt our baby moving; I have a ‘baby bump’ now; and our baby is growing quickly!  It is all quite amazing.

-our baby’s nursery is getting near completion and it is shaping up nicely with a simple and modern feel.  Pictured above is Victory in the baby’s crib during the early stages of getting the nursery together.  With all of the commotion lately in our house, we think Victory knows change is on its way.  We are hopeful that Victory will adjust well, while we are mindful that this change will not likely, at first, be easy for her.  She will always be our first fur girl, an integral family member, who we love very dearly.

-we have been doing some spring cleaning around the entire house this month purging items while utilizing the Marie Kondo, “KonMari” method!  We have made some good progress!

-continuing to gather and select items for our baby!

-after much research and interviewing, we secured a pediatrician we like along with a nanny and play school (for in the future) for our baby!

-we planned a trip next month with our fur girl, Victory, as our last trip as a ‘party of three,’ while I can still travel, commemorating and celebrating three special milestones simultaneously: our babymoon; our 10-year wedding anniversary; and my ‘big birthday!’  (Our wedding anniversary and my birthday will occur soon after our baby arrives and we will therefore not be traveling for any long distances for quite some time!  And, we are more than ok with this arrangement!)

-I took a trip to Michigan this month to see family and friends.

-Doug got us tickets to see U2 this spring!

-we have been giving Victory lots of snuggles and love!  We actually had to take Victory to an emergency animal hospital earlier this month; she was bleeding and she, unfortunately, had a bacteria infection that we got cleared up with an antibiotic and she is on the mend, thankfully.

-since the weather has been a bit warmer (when it was not snowing), during certain points this month, we have enjoyed taking Victory for rides in her Hound About!  She loves getting fresh air and going for long rides, while I walk!

-still using the 1 Second Everyday App to document a second each day — it will be interesting to see the finished video at the end of the year!

-continuing to work on getting fine art prints made, framed, and hung in our home, an ongoing endeavor!

-finished the first season of Abstentia, a good series.

-almost through the first season of Counterpart, an excellent series.

-With all that has been going on, I am a bit behind on reading this month outside of baby books.

-listening to a myriad of podcasts, especially, at the gym and on walks!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list, which feels quite large currently!

Happy Wednesday and wishing you a Happy Easter!

Uplifting Quotes

It is officially spring, as of yesterday; however, we are currently getting a large amount of snow here!  It feels anything but spring-like!  Our fur girl, Victory, is not a fan of the snow; and we are honestly ready for spring ourselves.  We hope that spring will appear really soon and stay!  As such, below are some uplifting quotes!

Happy Wednesday!

 

Stardust and Ashes, by Shannon Johnstone, Photographer

Have you seen these very moving images contained in the series entitled, Stardust and Ashes, shown below, by Shannon Johnstone?  I found these images to be remarkably touching and beautiful.  According to Johnstone, “I made these cyanotypes with the ashes of euthanized homeless animals from an animal shelter’s crematorium.  These animals died with nobody to mourn their passing, except maybe a few overwhelmed shelter workers.  I hope these images serve as a memorial to these animals, who were nobody and nothing.  Turned to dust and returned to the cosmos, they become everyone and everything.  Just as we all will someday.  Using my own breath and fingers to manipulate the ashes, I work the ashes into celestial configurations while the sun exposes the cyanotype turning the negative space to a Prussian blue.  With these images I hope to mourn the passing of thousands of our forgotten companions, and remind us that we are all connected and headed for the same fate: reduced to dust and returned to the stars.”

“As I am working, I am quite aware that I am working with deceased animals who were not lucky enough to find a home,” according to Johnstone.  “It is really important to me to treat their ashes with respect and dignity.”  On hot days, she sweats onto the fabric, leaving marks.  It used to upset her, but now she lets her own body–her breath and hands–interact with the ashes to create a picture.  The final prints are eight by ten inches, and she also makes giant murals at five by seven feet.  Because they are fabric, the sun shines through them.

Stardust and Ashes is a reminder of the impermanence of life and the recklessness with which we humans treat our fellow creatures.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All images are courtesy of Mary Shannon Johnstone.

Our Baby’s Nursery

We have been working on ideas for our baby’s nursery for the past month or so.  After researching and measuring, we have decided on a simple and modern design for our little girl.  The board, below, shows our selections; and we are currently in the process of rearranging some things in our home to make way for the new furniture being delivered soon, etc., to create the nursery this month!  We will, of course, have a matching dog bed in the nursery for our sweet fur girl, Victory!

 

 

Hopefully, our little girl will inherit the best parts and attributes from each of us!  Here we are as little infants (I’m shown below on the left and Doug is shown below on the right!)  Happy Tuesday!

 

Around Here: February

 

Happy February!  We enjoy the change in seasons; however, we are very ready for spring with warmer and nicer weather!  The weather this month has been a little unpredictable — one day it is nearly seventy degrees and the next day it is snowing!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in February, a busy month that is going by much too quickly!

-continuing to work on the next steps concerning my long-term photography project.

-enjoying date nights together!

-if you did not yet see, we are having our first baby!  Victory is going to be a ‘big sister’ this summer!  We are over the moon!

-we celebrated Valentine’s Day at one of our favorite restaurants!

-this month we started our parent and baby classes that run through the next several months at the hospital!

-we have pretty much settled on the look and feel of our baby’s nursery, so things should come together well, next month, fingers crossed!

-we have begun to gather and select items for our baby!

-Doug took a trip to California this month!

-we have been giving Victory lots of snuggles and love!

-still using the 1 Second Everyday App to document a second each day — it will be interesting to see the finished video at the end of the year!

-continuing to work on getting fine art prints made, framed, and hung in our home, an ongoing endeavor!

-finished the second season of The Crown, a very well-done series.

-finished the miniseries, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story, a good series.

-I finished reading Judgment Detox by Gabrielle Bernstein, a pretty good read.

-listening to a myriad of podcasts, especially, at the gym and on walks!

-continuing to make incremental progress on our ever-growing to do list, which feels quite large at the moment!

Happy Tuesday!

Photographer, Tomio Seike, Overlook

Have you see these beautiful images from the series Overlook by the Japanese photographer, Tomio Seike?  Taken from a window in Seike’s holiday apartment in Brighton, England, Overlook documents the changing light and muted color tones of a particular stretch of beach, as well as capturing its regular visitors.  At first glance, the photographs could be mistaken for paintings.  Each image features a large expanse of water, overshadowing the unidentifiable figures in the image, visible only as dark spots in the shapes of two or four-legged beings.  Seike waits for the picture to present itself, observing the people who come daily to the beach to spend some of their time.  Seike occasionally waits hours at his window for nature to contribute to the pose, for the rough waters to calm, for the light to clear, for the sand to make evocative lines.  Importantly, Seike combines the abstract and traditional, using only natural light, while simultaneously capturing the quiet moments in life most people fail to notice.

 

 

All images by Tomio Seike.
Tomio Seike is represented by Hamiltons Gallery.