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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.

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