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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.

A Necessity: “White Space”



“White space” is negative space.  In design, it is balancing the remainder of the design by providing some relief on the page or screen, which helps focus your visual attention.

What if you analyzed your daily schedule with an eye towards design?  Some questions one can ponder are: Have you preserved enough “white space” within your daily work?  Or does the way you design your day look very busy and cluttered?

We all need white space in our daily lives just as much as we need it in designs because the concept is two-fold: If our lives are over-cluttered and over-booked, we cannot focus properly on anything.  Importantly, this way of working actually diminishes our ability to think creatively.

In their book Scarcity, the researchers Sendhil Mullainathan and Eldar Shafir make a compelling case for how “time scarcity” — the state of being constantly over scheduled lessens our imaginative powers.  Below is an excerpt:

Because we are preoccupied by [time] scarcity, because our minds constantly return to it, we have less mind to give to the rest of life.  This is more than a metaphor.  We can directly measure mental capacity or, as we call it, bandwidth.  We can measure fluid intelligence, a key resource that affects how we process information and make decisions.  We can measure executive control, a key resource that affects how impulsively we behave.  And we find that scarcity reduces all of these components of bandwidth—it makes us less insightful, less forward-thinking, less controlled. And the effects are large.

If we want to create an environment that nourishes innovation and imagination, we need to build quiet points into our daily rhythm.  These small moments of “white space,” where we have time to pause and reflect,  go for a walk, or just breathe deeply for a few moments  are what give balance and flow and comprehension to our lives as a larger whole.

It is important to see how you can open up your schedule and let some white space in.

But what exactly is white space?  Ultimately, that is up to you to define what works best.  Here are a few ideas:

  • Sitting quietly and letting your mind wander
  • Free drawing with no specific objective
  • Going for a walk around the block
  • Doing a mini-workout
  • Journaling and writing
  • Taking a short nap
  • People watching
  • Meditating

Ask yourself: Do you have enough white space in your daily routine?  Or do you plow through an over-cluttered schedule day after day, unconscious of how much this pattern is cramping your creativity?

Consider building a few white space blocks directly into your schedule weeks in advance so that no matter what meetings or deadlines come up, you still have time blocked off to take a few moments and think about the big picture or think about nothing at all.  Not having enough “white space” in one’s life will eventually lead to immense burn out and significant fatigue.

Our Biggest Collaboration!

My dear readers, it is with great excitement and joy that I announce Doug and I are expecting our first child, our little miracle!  We have patiently waited, for quite some time, for this season to arrive and we are absolutely over the moon with delight!  Our little miracle will arrive this summer!  I have been very fortunate in that I have not experienced any sickness, thus far, and I have been feeling great!  My belly is slowly but surely expanding; and our little baby is growing quickly!  It has been an extraordinary journey for us.  Our hearts are overflowing and we cannot wait to meet her and give her oodles of love, hugs, and kisses!  We are excited for this new chapter in our lives; and we are hopeful our little fur girl, Victory, pictured below, in time, will enjoy being a ‘big sister’ and that she will relish sharing her unwavering love and puppy kisses with her ‘little sister!’  We are so very grateful for our little miracle!



(We mailed our announcements containing our news several weeks ago, which included the image above of our fur girl, Victory, who has been a tremendous part of our journey, sharing the gender of our baby, which complimented our gold foil pressed announcement to friends and family!)

Six Year Blogiversary!

Tomorrow is the six-year Blogiversary of the blog!  It is really difficult to believe that six years have already passed by so quickly!  Many things have changed over the past few years, but some things remain the same, fortunately.

If it were not for our beloved Biscuit, I am not sure I would have ever started blogging and I know that I would not have started my long-term photography project, which is so close to completion, for which Biscuit and Victory are my inspiration.  Biscuit was such a blessing and gift to us.  Biscuit permanently changed our lives in so many positive ways and Biscuit sent us our precious little rescue sheltie, Victory, who we adore and love, shown below!  And, coincidentally, Victory is as old as the blog!

Thank you for reading this blog for however long or short you have been visiting!  I truly enjoy creating content for the blog to share with all of you, and I hope that you continue to enjoy visiting and reading the blog!

Thank you so very much!  xoxo


Around Here: January

Happy January!  We cannot believe that a new year has already begun!  We are happy to have another year!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in January!

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

-enjoying date nights together!  However, this month, we did not try any new restaurants!  This month we have been making more dinners at home together!  In fact, we made one of our favorite recipes last night!  Doug is a good cook and baker and I am lucky that I do not have to be the one that always cooks!

-we made a ‘chicken run’ with Victory to Zaxby’s located in Westchester, Virginia!

-gave Victory her first bath for the year!  She feels great and her fur feels silky smooth!

-since the weather has been a bit warmer, we have enjoyed taking Victory for rides in her Hound About!  Her new tires on her Hound About work really well!

-chose my word for the year, 2018!

-made my happiness jar for 2018 and began filling it up!

-began 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!  (I will aim for a second a day, but it might be less formal, we shall see…)

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

-finished the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale, an intense, but really good series based on the Margaret Atwood novel.

-finished the miniseries, The Apple Tree Yard, a good series.

-finished reading Tell Me More by Kelly Corrigan, a 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!

Happy Monday!

P.S. — Below are a few images from our travels over the Holidays!



The below image contains Nick, my parents’ rescue papillon dog, and Victory wearing their new matching hats and leg warmers!


The image below is New Year’s Eve dinner at Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor!


The image below contains our top nine images from Instagram for 2017!  (Notice — Victory is in every single image!)

Loving: Winter 2018

Happy winter!  Although the winter is not our favorite season, below are the items I am loving, so far, this winter!


1. Pajamas — These are the most comfortable pajamas I have ever owned.  The light weight material is so soft and they are perfect — they keep one just warm enough!  I love them so much that I bought a second pair of these pajamas!

2. Lululemon Full Freedom Tank – I recently bought this work out tank top and it is really comfortable.  I highly recommend it!

3. The Universe Has Your Back Cards — Last year I read the book, The Universe Has Your Back, and I recently got these cards, with daily words of inspiration, which I have gifted to a few friends!

4. PuraSense Humidifier – It has been cold and dry that we got a new humidifier for our bedroom at night.  This humidifier works really well by keeping moisture in the air in our bedroom!

5. Ponds Dry Skin Facial Cream  – Since it had been so cold and dry while we were in Michigan over the Holidays, I used my Mom’s face cream and found the Ponds Dry Skin Facial Cream to work well, and plus it is really inexpensive!  I have continued to use it this winter for extra moisture.

6. Warby Parker Glasses – I had to get new glasses and I used Warby Parker!  We have a Warby Parker not too far from our home and the process of getting new glasses was seamless and easy!

You can view other things I love here!

Happy Monday!