Thursday, January 31, 2013

30/30 Challenge Recap

When it comes to an exercise plan, is it true that if you are doing more than you did before you are winning? If so, then awesome – we totally succeeded in the 30/30 challenge.  Did we walk every day for thirty days – no, did we make more of an effort to walk on a regular basis than we had before – yes!  This walking challenge has been like a dieting challenge for me – I have my good days, I have my bad days, and I have all those in between days were I fret about everything.  I don’t like having these inconsistent days.  I have been told that once you are able to ‘get into a routine,’ exercising (walking) will become a necessary habit.  So why hasn't it happened to me yet?  I am probably being a little too hard on myself right now because I do have a consistent routine when it comes to my dogs, and I do go every week to walk with my group. I just know I can do so much more, and maybe that was the whole point of this challenge. Just like Dory says in Finding Nemo, “just keep swimming, just keep swimming”, only in my case, just keep walking - and maybe I will figure things out.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #112

Monday, January 28, 2013

Blogging Photography Tips

Do you enjoy taking photos for you blog? I would certainly hope so!  I can only assume that every blogger needs to at least enjoy taking blog-related photos.  When you are proud of your work and you enjoy what you are doing (in all areas) – it shows. Here are a few easy photography tips I have learned that are helpful when it comes to taking photos for your blog.

Edit your photos.
While the difference sometimes may be subtle, photos that have gone through some sort of editing process can turn out to be more colorful, stylish, and pretty.  If you know how to use editing programs, you can create different moods with your photos along with removing unwanted items you would rather not see.  I only recently started editing my photos once I really started getting into photography.  If you traveled back in time two years you would notice that my photos look completely different than they do now.

Find your favorite spot or background.
I love taking photos on the deck in my backyard.  I get a lot of light there throughout the day - which is necessary for good quality photos - and I particularly like the wood grain effect and often use it as a background for my product reviews.  Putting a little effort into finding your favorite spot can sometime take time, but it’s worth it when you can find a spot you can always rely on.

Relying on your cell phone is not always bad – if you have the right phone!
I am always amazed at some of the beautiful photographs I run across on blogs.  I sometimes ask the
blogger what was used to create a certain photograph, and a lot of times the response I get is “my iPhone”.  That’s great, fantastic… I am not at all jealous at your super cool amazing iPhone that produces better pictures than my Cannon 60D. Anyways… cell phone photos are fun because they're real in-the-moment stuff that is fun to share – but only if it's of good quality and you can actually make out the photo!

Always keep a camera handy.
Part of the fun of being a blogger is capturing random everyday life shots for your blog.  I am always finding myself in situations either with my dogs or husband that I am wanting to take photos of, and I am always finding myself disappointed when I don’t have a camera with me. So, take a small point and shoot everywhere you go, or keep your phone ready to snap pictures.  Just be ready to capture the moment!

Be picky.
A picture really is worth a thousand words, so make sure you are posting your favorite and most special photos!  Think about being creative and finding personality in your photos.  First impressions are important for getting readers hooked to stay longer on your blog.

These past few years I have learned how important photography is to a blog.  Keep in mind that it’s not the technical perfection that is always important - sometimes it’s just the concept and execution that really matters.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Black and White Sunday #28

We are teaming up with You Did What With Your Weiner and Dachshund Nola to host a Black and White Sunday blog hop. Want to join the hop? Just follow the rules below.
1) Link up your blog name and URL using the Linky Tool below.
2) Follow your co-hosts and follow as many other blogs on the Linky as you’d like.
3) Please ONLY SUBMIT A FEW PHOTOS with minimal or no text, and make sure it’s in BLACK AND WHITE.
4) Grab the “Black and White Sunday Blog Hop” button below and include it in your Sunday Blog post.

Friday, January 25, 2013

A Stubby (but awfully cute) Dachshund Arm

Have you ever asked a dachshund to shake hands with you? The result is quite funny. It's just a quick slap and the paw is in your hand.  If you think about it, I am the one who is actually doing the work.  I am the one who has to bend over the furthest, reach out my hand, and ask for the shake.  All Penny has to do is lift up her stubby (but awfully cute) Dachshund arm – and I am the one who ends up doing a happy dance!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Della Walker House, Frank Lloyd Wright

Last week I stumbled across Gizmo’s blog post regarding the Florida Southern College, home to the world’s largest one-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright.  I was amazed and truly excited to be taken on a virtual tour of this amazing place!  For those of you who do not know, I studied Residential Design at the Art Institute of Seattle and (of course) I fell in love with one of the greatest American architects of all time!
Since Carmel-By-The-Sea is known for inhabiting people who have lots of money and for employing Dirty Harry as the town’s mayor for two years, I figured it was worth a shot to see if any Frank Lloyd Wright homes were built here.  Alas, there was one! The Della Walker House, aka the Mrs. Clinton Walker house is located (on my beach) on Scenic Road at Martin Street in Carmel, CA.  The house was built in 1948, originally only 1300 square feet for $125,000 - even converted to today’s money it is a steal for $1,174,382. FLW later added a master bedroom in 1956. Why a master bedroom was not originally included in the design is a mystery, but apparently this house was featured in the 1959 movie “A Summer Place” which I have not seen.
For those of you who know about FLW, you know Wright believed in designing structures which were in harmony with humanity and its environment.  I can’t tell you how many times I have walked this beach not realizing that I was starting at a FLW house.  That is how brilliant, organic, and modern in nature his designs were. So, just like the common tourist (even though I live here) I told my beloved husband we were going to stalk one of my favorite architects.  He just looked at me and smiled.

Here is the Della Walker House from the north side of the beach.  It's located high and built low, so it's easy to miss.  However, once you know what to look for, you can't miss it. I sort of feel a little silly for not recognizing this house before.

Here I am on the north side of the house (as far as you can go on the beach) snapping some photos.  If I had the right pair of shoes on I would have climbed the rocks to get a better view.

This is the view you see standing from the street directly in front of the gate that leads to the covered garage.  I couldn't physically locate a front door, but I can only assume it was placed somewhere magical!

These two photographs were taken on the south side of the house on a small trail we found leading down to another section of the beach.  You can see that FLW designed a very inconspicuous stair case leading down from the house to the owners ‘yard’.  Talk about luxury!  If you are interested in seeing interior photos along with the floor plan you can visit here.  It's a good link I promise! It's an article written by Brook Walker, the grandson of Della Walker.

I left the dogs home for this beach trip, but couldn't hep photographing this pretty lady that kept circling around me.

Another gorgeous shot of Carmel Beach. I haven’t yet figured out if the original owners live here full time or if this house is being used as a summer home, but I can only assume that the owners would appreciate some
sort of privacy, even though they own a very highly sought after home that has been photographed a lot. Finding and photographing a FLW home is something I can now officially check off my bucket list!

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Worldess Wednesday #111

Monday, January 21, 2013

Seven Year Itch

It looks like my husband and I made it pass the seven year itch!  It really wasn't all that hard -even through his long deployment last year, two and a half cross-country moves, ten overseas trips (D not me), and even more time being separated.  That sounded exhausting didn't it?  What can I say, other than my husband is a
wonderful person who constantly makes me feel loved.  My husband and I are not perfect people by any means, but I think we both have done a good job at continuing to nurture our relationship in a positive way.  I see great things happening for us in the future, and I look forward to another seven years of marriage.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Black and White Sunday #27

Luna has her sexy vibe going on here! We are teaming up with You Did What With Your Weiner and
Dachshund Nola to host a Black and White Sunday blog hop. Want to join the hop? Just follow the rules below.
1) Link up your blog name and URL using the Linky Tool below.
2) Follow your co-hosts and follow as many other blogs on the Linky as you’d like.
3) Please ONLY SUBMIT A FEW PHOTOS with minimal or no text, and make sure it’s in BLACK AND WHITE.
4) Grab the “Black and White Sunday Blog Hop” button below and include it in your Sunday Blog post.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

A Little Bit of Shamless Promoting

I made the decision a while ago to keep my handmade jewelry
blog separate from this site, but that doesn't mean I can't share with you (every now and then) a few giveaways that I hold specifically for
that site right?  I have been so excited about
the items I have been making that I thought to myself who better to share those
items with other than you?  So, without further
ado… if you would like to enter to win a pretty pair of handmade earrings then
please visit my other website Pretty Shiny Object.  You will get all of the necessary information
about entering the giveaway there!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #110

Monday, January 14, 2013

What I learned From The Pet Blogger Challenge

Did you learn anything from the pet blogger challenge?  I certainly did!

After reading a lot of blog entries from this challenge, I came to the realization that not everyone is
going to like visiting my blog - and I'm okay with that.  My posts
are not always the most well-crafted, provocative, or humorous, and if you are
the type of person who always needs quality talking points to stay interested
in a blog, than my blog may not be for you. 
More often than not, sometimes I just share photos; photos that took
time, planning, learning camera settings and lighting techniques – ultimately took the same amount of time it took for you to write a well-crafted, provocative, or humorous blog post.  For those of you who do connect with me and enjoy my photos – thank you, I really appreciate you!

Goals Setting

When it comes to goal setting, not everyone likes to set
them, and while some bloggers purposely go out of their way to make sure their blog is goal free, other bloggers set pretty high standards for
themselves.  Small goals have always been
more obtainable for me, and accomplishing those smaller goals makes it easier
for me to broaden and expand the expectations I set for myself.

Blogging on a Schedule

More people said that they like to blog as the spirit moves
them rather than blogging on a schedule. Yes I too need the spirit to "move me",
and I need to have my creative juices flowing, but being able to take those
ideas and publish them in a well thought out schedule is the perfect combination that I
strive for.

The Measure of Success

Success has a different meaning to everyone. More bloggers
stated that while they do check their statistics, they actually measure the
success of their blog by the quality (not quantity) of comments and posts that
generate discussion from followers. A lot of people would rather have a smaller
audience who joins in on the discussion rather than a larger audience who does
not comment or leaves the common one or two liners. Bloggers do not appreciate short
comments, and would like to be praised by the content they put out for you

Okay… I will admit to leaving those one or
two short liners, and I apologize if you take that as me not being interested
in your posts. I will make sure to do a better job letting you know that I do
appreciate the hard work and effort you put into your posts, as I too get a
sense of accomplishment and gratification when a reader leaves a nice comment.

The big picture

More importantly, what I learned from this challenge is that
there is a whole wide spectrum of bloggers out there, and I believe that
everyone has a unique mix of natural talent, characteristics, and life
experiences that make their perspective on things different from everyone
else’s.  Maybe being successful as a blogger is
figuring out where in that spectrum to fit in, and once that is figured out,
continuing to do it well!  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Black & White #26

We are teaming up with You Did What With Your Weiner and
Dachshund Nola to host a Black and White Sunday blog hop. Want to join the hop?
Just follow the rules below.

1) Link up your blog name and URL using the Linky Tool

2) Follow your co-hosts and follow as many other blogs on
the Linky as you’d like.

3) Please ONLY SUBMIT A FEW PHOTOS with minimal or no text,
and make sure it’s in BLACK AND WHITE.

4) Grab the “Black and White Sunday Blog Hop” button below
and include it in your Sunday Blog post.

Friday, January 11, 2013

{This Moment} See Beautiful - recognizing potential

has something unique and special about it, but do you always see it?  Sure it’s easy to take a beautiful photo of a
pretty bed of roses, or a beautifully well designed home, but how about the odd
things?  Is it normal to think that a berry
branch, a cement mixer, or even a single piece of wood can be viewed as pretty?  My husband does a good job at trying to teach
me how to see things differently with my camera, and even though they may not
always turn out to be pretty, I am able to do a better job at recognizing potential photo opportunities with things I would normally not even look at in the first place.

{This Moment} See Beautiful is a once a month Blog Hop, every 2nd Friday of the month. Simply create a blog post that made your day, week, and/or month … inspiring you in Seeing Beauty. Blog Hop inspired by See Beautiful.  Thanks to Sugar, for starting this blog hop!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Third Annual Pet Blogger Challenge

have joined up again with Amy Burkert of  for the Third Annual Pet Blogger Challenge.  We are ‘repeat offenders,’ so read on to
see if things have changed for us in the past twelve months.

1. How long have you
been blogging and provide a link to your post from last year’s Pet Blogger
Challenge so we can refresh our memories.

My Life in Blog Years
transitioned (in 2012) from Dog Blogging with Luna – which started back in
2008.  Here is my post from last year:

2. What do you consider the most important goals you set out in
last year’s post?

Answer: First of all, last year I indicated that I planned a
complete redesign and overhaul of my blog.  Next, I expressed a desire to
expand the content of the blog, moving beyond just my dogs.  Finally, I
wanted to develop more of a knack for blogging on a schedule.

3. Have you made progress toward those goals, or have your goals
changed over the past year?

Answer: I do feel like I have made progress on the goals I set
last year, though I know that I didn’t fully realize all of them.  I did
go through a domain name change, and in the process, I did lose a few
followers.  I knew this was going to happen, but I don’t plan on changing
the name of my blog again (or do I???). I have also spent a lot of time making
sure my site is designed and laid out exactly how I would like it - I am such a
visual person that I needed my site to be attractive and inspiring for me to
spend time on.  However, I am still trying to find ways to open myself up
to (read:”get interested in”) different subjects or topics (outside my areas of
expertise) to blog about in order to truly broaden/expand my site’s content –
and my own mind.  I have realized that that I am a gal of few words (at
least in regard to writing); I think I do a much better job of expressing myself
through photography than I do through writing - so being able to narrate a
story that complements a photo is something I would like to improve on.

4. How often do you post? 

Answer: Last year I went from posting twice a week to
now posting almost every other day.

5. Has your opinion of blogging on a schedule
or as the spirit moves you changed?

Answer: Yes, definitely!
 I try to spend time planning what my
next month’s content is going to be, which posts will take the most time to
prepare, and which ones will be my best (funniest, most popular).  I put
everything down on a calendar to make sure I am spreading out my content well.

6.  How much time do you spend writing your blog
per week? How much time visiting other blogs? Share your tips for staying on
top of it all.

Answer:  My husband would say that I spend way too much time on my blog
per week; whether it’s writing, photo shopping, re-designing…  I’m currently not committed to a 9 to 5 job,
so blogging has transitioned into a bigger hobby/passion than it had been last
year. I do spend a lot of time reading other people’s blogs and commenting on
them per week and I do enjoy finding inspiration and creativity from other
bloggers.  Any tips that I have are
probably coming from the opposite end; don’t neglect important stuff like
cooking dinner, cleaning up the house, or spending quality time with your
family over making sure you blog post is perfect.

7. How do you measure the success of a post and of your blog in
general (comments, shares, traffic)? Do you look strictly at the numbers, or do
you have a way of assessing the quality of those interactions?

I think it’s obvious (in the blogging community) that the more
traffic/hits/reads/subscriptions your blog gets, the more ‘successful’ it may
or can become. Of course I want people to come to my blog and be interested in
the things I am putting out there, and traffic loss and gain is something
I think every blogger (secretly or publicly) gauges the success of their blog on.
I do however; realize that the type of success may be different from one person
to another. Maybe being a successful blogger means learning different photography
techniques, improving your knowledge of HTML and CSS, making new friends, or making a
difference in your community.

8. If you could ask the pet blogging community for help with one
issue you’re having with your blog, what would it be? 

Answer:  I don’t currently have any ‘issues’ with my blog, but I would
love to ask the pet blogging community what makes you come back to my blog?
What do you enjoy the most or least about the content that I am blogging about?
What do you wish to see more or less of from me?

9. What goals do you have for your blog in 2013?

Answer:  I would love to generate an income from my blog; however I would
need to bump up my daily views before starting any kind of advertising program.
I have signed up with Amazon Associates and I am currently learning the
features they offer with that program. I have a stronger connection with Amazon
than with Google’s Adsense, so starting there made the most sense for me. I would also like
to grow my online voice. Communicating online is completely different than
communicating in person, so defining my genuine personality by way of my
writing style and photography is something I am still working on. 
Advertising and marketing are areas that are interesting to me, but I need to
figure out what’s right for my blog.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Wordless Wednesday #109

Monday, January 7, 2013

New Macro Filters

I’d love to
own a macro lens someday, especially since starting my new ETSY store which
requires me to take super close up shots of my jewelry. Before I am able to get
a Macro lens, my husband gets top priority over the next lens purchase, which
apparently will be 85mm f/1.8. 

Thanks to my
dear mother-in-law, I received this inexpensive set of macro filters for
Christmas, which are turning out to be tiny little miracle workers.  Of course I did a little research before I
put them on my Christmas list as you can find sets online at a variety of
different price points.  I went with a
67mm size set as that is the largest filter size of the lenses that I own. My
other lens (the Canon 50mm f/1.8) uses a 52mm size filter, so I will have to
purchase an inexpensive Step Up/Down Ring which will allow me to use the
filters on all of my lenses.

The set that I received came with 4 filters, labeled +1, +2, +4 and +10.

I am still
learning my way around these filters remembering that I cannot “zoom” with my
lens, but that I have to adjust my settings and positioning in order to get the
images in focus.  Here are some examples
(using Mr. Angry Bird) to show you how close I was able to get with each

You can see
with this last photo where I focused my camera; the middle of his eyes and his angry
eye brows. Using the +10 filter I was practically touching him on his nose with my lens.

Here is another shot using the +10 filter.  I got a nice shot of Luna's blonde eyelashes.

I can see myself having a lot of fun with these new filters! Have you ever used macro filter sets before? 

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