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Loving: Fall 2017

Happy fall!  We are happy to be in the season of fall, a season of harvest!  Below are the items I am loving, so far, this fall!

 

 

1. Get To Work Book – I love this annual planner/work book.  I always like to keep a paper planner versus using an app, iPhone, etc.  I have this planner all ready to go for next year and I love the extra pages included as well for notes, big projects, etc.  So, if you prefer keeping a paper planner, I highly recommend The Get To Work Book, which offers much more space (pages) than a traditional planner and it is a perfect size!

2. Align Crop Pant, Lululemon  – I love these pants; and I live in them — they are the most comfortable pants I own!  I cannot say enough good things about these crop pants, which are wonderful for working out, yoga class, and for wearing around the house!  Also, there are some nice, new colors available this season as well!

3. Satya Jewelry – I somewhat recently discovered this line of jewelry.  The style is quite simple, elegant, and inspirational, while created with global consciousness.

4. Jeni’s Ice Cream — We first came across Jeni’s ice cream in Charleston when we were on vacation this summer.  This ice cream is delicious and we get it at our local Wegmans!  The Brown Butter Almond Brittle is one of my favorites.  And there is a new scoop shop in D.C., which is much closer to home!  (You can find a local grocer who sells Jeni’s ice cream here.)

5. Signature Candle, Magnolia — I love candles, and we generally have them lit around the house when we are home.  I especially love the Magnolia signature candle.  It smells really wonderful!

6. Mrs. Meyers Soap – My normal dish soap was out at the store, so I decided to try Mrs. Meyers lavender dish soap — it smells great and it is a keeper!

You can view other things I love here!

Happy Thursday!

#FindYourFido: Adopt a Shelter Dog Month

It is the #FindYourFido Adopt a Shelter Dog Month via the ASPCA!  Anyone who has been reading this blog, for any length of time, knows that dog rescue is near and dear to our hearts.  Victory is a rescue and Biscuit was a rescue.  So, when the ASPCA asked if we could share in this campaign, we were happy to participate and help spread the word about this important topic.

How can you get involved?  The public can get involved by visiting here and by using the hashtag, #FindYourFido, to promote shelter dogs, and searching for local adoptable dogs across the country.

Outlined below are two ways that you can get involved:

1. Post a Photo: You can post a photo of your pet looking adorable and share why dog adoption is important to you, along with this social media language like this: “Visit ASPCA.org/FindYourFido to join the adoption movement and help shelter dogs around the country!  #FindYourFido @ASPCA.”

 

 

2. Fido Cutout, “Virtual Foster”: Additionally, the ASPCA can also send you a cardboard cutout of Fido and you can be a “virtual foster” by posting photos of him (with or without your pet) on social media.  Below are a few samples of the cardboard cutout and here is some social media language you can use along with your image of the Fido “virtual foster:” “This is Fido, an ambassador for shelter dogs around the country.  Visit ASPCA.org/FindYourFido to find out how you can help! #FindYourFido @ASPCA.”

 

 

 

*All images (except for the image of Victory) contained in this blog post are courtesy of the ASPCA.

Photographs: Shenandoah Valley

This past weekend we took a long weekend trip to the Shenandoah Valley with our fur girl, Victory, to celebrate our anniversary along with Victory’s birthday!  Doug found a dog friendly pumpkin patch and animal farm, Hill High Farm, located in Virginia, for us to get this year’s pumpkins!  Doug is still figuring out what he is going to carve on our pumpkin for Halloween this year!  (Speaking of pumpkins, can you spot little Victory in the pumpkin below?)  We also went to Black Draft, a dog friendly distillery in West Virginia where we had a private tour and tasting!  We also took Victory to Zaxby’s in Winchester, Virginia, which she loved!  We all love Zaxby’s and we wish one was located closer to our home.  We first learned of Zaxby’s while we were in Charleston earlier this summer.  Victory got a Kiddie Finger meal, shown below.  (Of course, she just had some of the chicken, which she loved.)  We also spent some time in Old Town Winchester, which had some cute shops to pursue.  Through a friend’s recommendation, we found an excellent cajun, authentic New Orleans restaurant, Sweet Nola’s, where Victory got her own chicken and rice bowl on the house, which she actually ate at the restaurant, which is a first!  The food was delicious!  We enjoyed our time away together; and a few images from our trip are shown below.  We hope to return again!

Happy Friday!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nine Years In

Nine years of marriage.  13 years together.  You are my favorite human being.  Life without you would be totally unfathomable.  You are the most supportive and patient person I have ever met.   I admire your character, steadfast patience, and your kindness that you show to everyone.  Most of all, you are my very best friend.  You are the greatest gift of my life, and each day spent with you is truly a gift.  I look forward to many, many more years together, knowing that we can get through anything together.  Happy anniversary, my love!

 

Pups in the Park!

On Saturday evening we took Victory with us to Pups in the Park at the Nationals!  This is our third year going to Pups in the Park with Victory!  The weather was beautiful and we had a fun time together!  Victory was brave and sniffed and met many dogs!  However, we did not see any other shelties at this game.  Victory also enjoyed part of a Shake Shack burger, which she loved!  Below are some iPhone photos from our visit!  We look forward to going back for more games next year and we plan to get Victory a Nationals’ jersey for future games!

Happy Friday!  We’re headed to the Shenandoah Valley for a long weekend with our fur girl, Victory!  Have a great weekend!

 


Mornings…

Mornings.

Over the past few months I have been rising in the mornings with Doug, around 4:45 a.m.  At first it seemed quite early to rise, but I have adjusted; I pretty much wake up now on my own around this time, on most mornings during the work week, and even sometimes on the weekends.  (We do make sure we go to bed early during the work week).  I am working on final edits for my photography project, and I find that I work best in the early morning, versus other times of the day, while the entire the house is very quiet, Victory is back in our bed resting (after potty), and meanwhile, it is still dark outside.  It is also nice to watch the sun rise.  So if you are trying to get a project done or trying to find extra time in your day to get something done or begin something that you always wanted to do, I highly recommend utilizing the early mornings.  You will be amazed how much you can actually accomplish during this time frame.

What I have found from this practice is that it is best to show up every single day, even when it’s hard.  I have also found that it is best to suspend expectations and the be present and in the flow of work and not be occupied or concerned with what gets done or how.  Some days you will be ‘in the zone’ and everything will flow; and other days, you will feel tired, the work will feel more difficult to wade through, and it feels like little progress is being made.  Sometimes, however, when you hit a roadblock, it helps to step away and work on something else and come back to the issue that is giving you a problem or difficulty; giving space, during these times, will help the issue resolve, without much effort.  It is amazing.  Sometimes I will be stumped on an image that I have been working on for a long time, without resolve, and them I step away for a couple of days, and it finally resolves, i.e., I figure out what I need to do to make the image work.  Nevertheless, just keep going.  Roadblocks are not permanent, they are chance to persevere.

“I work all the time.  I never leave home.  I mean, I just stay honed in on what’s ahead.” — Sally Mann

“It is the thousand of days of trying, failing, sitting, thinking, resisting, dreaming, raveling, unraveling that we are at our most engaged, alert, and alive.”  — Dani Shapiro

 

Around Here: September

Happy September!  Happy Fall!  We cannot believe a new season is here, and it is almost October!  We love the fall, one of our favorite seasons for various reasons!  Below are some items that have occurred around here in September!

-finishing final edits and continuing to work on the next steps concerning my long-term photography project.

-Doug and I celebrated 13 years together from our first date this month!  The time goes by too quickly!

-we went to a Navy football game at the Naval Academy, in Annapolis, which was great fun and we had beautiful, fall like, weather!  The Navy even won!

-this weekend we are taking Victory to Pups in the Park again at the Nationals!

-Doug started taking a French class this month, which he is enjoying greatly!

-we had plans/reservations to return to Dewey Beach this month, but with Hurricane Irma, and the forecast up the coast, we decided to postpone for another time.

-enjoying date nights together!  Doug and I are aiming to try at least one new restaurant a month to expand our horizons!  This month we tried a few new restaurants: Vin909, in Eastport, (which took over, a while back, for a restaurant, the Wild Orchid, which we loved); Founding Farmers, in Tysons Corner, a new favorite, which we both loved; and we made it to Tupleo Honey in Arlington (Rosslyn) with Victory, (which we were introduced to in Raleigh, North Carolina), which was excellent!

-enjoying time together outside.  We have been taking more walks outside during the evenings, when it is cooler, and Victory still loves the walks while she rides in her Hound About!  In fact, we have done so many walks, that the Hound About needs new tires, which we ordered!

-we got small drywall repairs; painting; and caulking done around the house as a result of our home settling since being built and ongoing construction near our home.

-we got our home ready for fall with mums, fall wreaths, and candles etc.

-we are getting ready for Victory’s 6th Birthday next month!  (We cannot believe that Victory, our sweet fur girl, has been with us for four years already, commemorated on her birthday!)

-we are getting ready for Halloween — we have Victory’s costume!

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

-finished watching the second season of Witnesses, an excellent French series.

-began the first season of Fortitude, a good series.

-began reading Braving the Wilderness by Brene Brown, a really good read so far!

-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 Wednesday!

 

Photo Magnets: Fox Print

Earlier this summer, when I was done editing the images our trips, I wanted to create Sticky9 photo magnets for our refrigerator/freezer, only to find out that they had gone out of business in June.  Therefore, I had to find another option and, after researching, I found Fox Print located in California.  These magnets are individual photo magnets and they are 2.5 x 2.5 inches and similar thickness as the Sticky9 photo magnets.  I found the print quality and resolution to be better than Sticky9.  (However, I do miss having nine images together, which was an option at Sticky9.)  So, this has been the next best option that I have been able to find, thus far.  We still have a little bit of surface area on of refrigerator/freezer remaining, and these photo magnets fit perfectly in the space remaining on our refrigerator/freezer!  You can also easily change out the magnets and update photos.  They make great gifts as well!  Below is an iPhone image containing a sampling of some of the images I had made into magnets!

Happy Tuesday!

 

 

Recent Dog Artists’ Work

New Book: Being Human by William Wegman, is available for pre-order, which releases on October 3, 2017 by Chronicle Books.  This book contains over 300 images from Wegman’s personal archive.

 

 

New Book: Really Good Dog Photography is available for pre-order, which releases on October 5, 2017 by Hoxton Mini Press and Penguin.  This book features the work of 30 photographers focusing on dogs and man’s relationship with dogs.

 

 

Below are paintings by Robert James Clarke, whose recent collection of works, unites together dogs and some of their owners, painted nude or semi-naked.  “I wanted to paint nudes because there is an intimacy between the dog and the female form,” Clarke says.  “There is a sense of scale of movement that makes for interesting subject matter.”  The series, entitled, Hooray for Hollywood is now showing at the McAllister Thomas Fine Art Gallery in Surrey, England during September 2017.

Clarke’s paintings have gained attention, and Clarke regularly is commissioned to paint celebrities furry family members.  Clarke tries “to capture the essence of the dog. […] Each dog has a different personality: I try to capture that in paint. […] Sometimes it all comes together like magic: other times, it’s the smallest detail like adding a dot to the eye that makes the dog spring from the canvas.”

 

 

 

 

*All the above paintings are by Robert James Clarke.

Why you should sleep with your dog

We’ve all heard that we should not do it — invite your dog to sleep in your bed.  People believe it’s dirty, and it is just not good for you.  However, what if this is not entirely true?  There are actual health benefits to letting your furry family member spend the night and it is not just you who is better for all of that time together.  It is better for your dog, too!  When we first adopted Victory from the Michigan Sheltie Rescue, Inc., Victory, our beloved fur girl, made it known she wanted in the bed and, well, ever since, she has been sleeping with us in our bed!  Our very first night with Victory she hopped into bed with us and would not budge.  And, we would not want it any other way.  We love Victory and ‘night-night’ would never be the same without her tuck in routine consisting of play time, followed by her tummy and head massages, followed by a drink of water in bed before heading to sleep, along with lots of kisses from Victory.  Every morning we wake up with Victory, who sleeps above our heads, against the headboard.  She always sleeps as long as we do!  Sometimes Victory will hop back into bed after her morning potty, while ensconced in our pillows, and sleeps until the late morning!  It is really a ‘win-win’ for everyone.

Below are some reasons why you might consider having your furry family member sleep in the bed with you!

1. Dogs provide comfort.  Whether it is her worm body or rhythmic breathing, there is just something so comforting about a dog.  They make one’s bed feel even cozier.

2. Dogs fight insomnia.  A dog’s presence promotes calm, stress relief, and a feeling of safety.

3. A dog’s presence promotes a better night’s sleep.  A study found that getting close with your dog can boost serotonin, the chemical that is essential to regulating sleep.

4. A dog’s presence provides a happier mood.  Another benefit of sleeping with your dog can lead to falling asleep happier.  A study found that the interaction with your dog can boost one’s oxytocin, an essential chemical in both feelings of affection and happiness.

5. Snuggling with your dog relieves stress and anxiety.  As therapy dogs have shown, a dog’s presence is a great stress reliever.  A dog’s positive outlook is contagious, and their attentive nature is very reassuring.

6. Dogs provide warmth.  A dog’s warm bodies and tendency to curl up as close to their humans as possible work as a little radiator in the bed.  While this can be tough in the summer, while mitigated with air conditioning, who doesn’t love a little bit of natural warmth on a chilly night?

7. Dogs help humans deal with difficult times.  One thing that dogs offer without question is unconditional love.  For someone facing a difficult time, this type of connection can feel hard to come by.  To receive it, with no questions asked, can work wonders during a particularly tough time(s).

8. Dogs help make you feel safe.  Knowing that there is another presence watching over you when you are at your most vulnerable is such a comforting feeling.

9. Dogs help to lower one’s blood pressure.  Sleeping with dogs can be a vital part of your health routine.  A study found that getting close with your furry friend corresponds with lower blood pressure.  That is a pretty good reason to let your dog under the blankets!

10. It’s good for your dog, too.  There is nothing in the world that your dog loves more than you, so allowing them to spend that extra snuggle time will make her day.  They receive comfort from you in the same way that you do from them, so this sleep arrangement is good for everyone involved!

Our bed is now Victory’s bed, and we would not have it any other way, as evidenced below!

 

 

 

*Image Credit: Off The Leash, Rupert Fawcett