To all moms everywhere - Happy Mother’s Day! Whether you’re a mom to a 2 legged child, a furry kid or a child in heaven, this is your day to celebrate all that you do to make our lives better! This is the first photo I’ve had taken of me with all 3 of my girls. However you spend your day, try to make it a point to get at least one photo of you with your kids. It’s so important to capture these family moments with all of you!
While I’ve been to Phillippi Estate Park before, it’s been a couple of years. Two things that struck me about this location when I first discovered it was how awesome the light is and how beautiful the property is. Oh, and dogs are allowed! Ok, so that makes it three things that I love! This weekend I decided to go back and explore it again with a fresh pair of eyes. I loaded the car with all 3 of our dogs and my husband to head off for an adventure. When we arrived, we walked around the side of the main building just in time to hear over the loudspeaker, “I now pronounce you husband and wife!” As we came around the corner, the bride and groom were walking down the aisle in our direction. Afraid my dogs would start barking, I quickly ran to the other side of the sidewalk and hid behind a tree. The happy couple and bridal party seemed genuinely happy to see the dogs. And to my delight, the girls were well behaved and didn’t make a ruckus barking and carrying on at the wedding party as they walked our way.
We headed off to another section of the property to explore. I set up my gear and took dozens of test photos. The longer we stayed, the more I just loved it. Photographers always shoot with the light and I just couldn’t have asked for a more wonderful evening. I tried new things, practiced old techniques and checked off a bucket list photo I had been wanting to shoot for a while. Some photos I took for specific reasons and I’ll share more when the time is right. But for right now, here’s one of my favorite images I captured of Kita. This is definitely going to be one of my go to locations for client sessions.
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I don’t watch much TV, but when I do, it’s usually on HGTV. I love seeing the transformation of old homes from designers like Joanna Gaines, The Property Brothers and others. I never tire of looking at home decorating magazines, or browsing Home Goods for home decor. Sometimes I think I could be happy as an interior designer.
While I love the home I own in PA, it’s not my dream home. One of the features I love most about this house is the fenced in yard. I’m partial in part because my husband rebuilt the fence a couple of years ago and it turned out fabulous. A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this project. But it was well worth it.
The rental home we’re living in now does not have much of a yard, let alone a fenced in area. Which means we have to walk the dogs every time they need to go out. It’s good exercise for all of us, but it’s not exactly enjoyable when it’s raining out. Really, what we miss most is allowing the dogs to run freely, playing, chasing balls and each other. There really is truth to the saying a tired dog is a well behaved dog. I can tell they have more pent up energy because walking isn’t the same. And I feel bad that they don’t get to spend more time outdoors.
In addition to watching HGTV, I also enjoy looking at homes during open houses. It’s fun to think about what would make a home perfect for my family and I. My husband and I have been spending part of our weekends touring homes in the Venice and Sarasota area. It’s a great way for us to get to know the area better. We’ve discovered parks, shopping centers and parts of the town we never knew existed before. While we are touring the home, we always chat about what we like, what we don’t like and what we would do to make it the right home for us. This process has really made it clear that one of the most important features for us is having a fenced in yard. Because some neighborhoods have deed restrictions that don’t allow fences, we are also learning where we would not want to live.
I haven’t found my dream home yet, but I am getting closer to knowing what it must have. And I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that the number one requirement is being led by my dogs!
Are you living in your perfect home? How much do your pets play a role in determining what makes your home the right one for you? Leave me a comment and tell me about your home!
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Bark for Life has always been a cause close to my heart. My first dog, Mika, was diagnosed with cancer when she was 9 years old. In spite of a hard fight, she lost her battle to hemangiosarcoma 7 months after she collapsed from a ruptured spleen. She was one of the lucky ones. The prognosis is usually pretty grim with a lifespan of 2 - 6 weeks from a diagnosis. We were fortunate to have found a wonderful oncology team at the University of Pennsylvania. I have no doubt it was because of them we had more time together before saying goodbye.
I was one of the vendors at Bark for Life in Venice Florida on Saturday January 12. As always, I had a blast meeting the dogs and networking with other pet businesses in the area. Here are a few of the pooches I met.
Sarasota K-9 Search & Rescue did a short demonstration. I learned quite a bit about this group and how the dogs work to find both live and dead bodies in missions all around southwest Florida and beyond.
Aries, the 14 month old Rottweiler was a huge hit with everyone. With a face like that, how could you not fall in love?!
There was a pet costume contest and this pup was a huge favorite among the crowd!
Daisy Mae had the longest eyelashes I’ve ever seen on a dog! Swoon!
Bella is one of the Sarasota K-9 Search dogs specializing in locating deceased bodies. She even has her own card to introduce herself to folks like me. How about that?
Simply adorable, right?
My tent and display of my work. It’s always a work in progress, but at least it gets better each time I attend an event.
Dogs and their owners lined up to be judged for best in show and which owner/dog team looks most alike. I don’t remember who won. I’m just glad I wasn’t asked to judge - it would have been hard to pick just one winner!
It's been two years in the making, but finally a dream of mine is coming true! My husband, our furry kids and I are moving to Florida!!! While I am so excited to be living life in the sunshine state, I've had a lot of trepidation about leaving Happy Valley, my home of over 40 years. But so many things have fallen into place in the last few weeks, it felt as though this is what the universe has planned for us. I'm going to miss the four seasons, Penn State football games, my family and all my pet sitting clients whom I've come to know over the years in quite possibly the best job on earth.
It's been a year full of much sadness as my husband and I have said goodbye to some dear friends and family in recent months. It's made me aware of just how precious life is and how there are no guarantees. I have so many things I want to see, explore and experience in this world and I'm afraid that if I wait, it will be too late.
The beach is my happy place. It's where I find peace, connection and inspiration as an artist. I'm looking forward to putting my toes in the sand, feeling the ocean breeze in my hair and ending my days watching the sunset over the gulf coast. We've chosen to rent a house that's just a short bike ride away from the west coast of Florida and a mere 20 minute drive from some of the best beaches in the United States! This will be a huge change for me, but a chapter I am so ready to begin!
I'll be taking a break from my photography as we get ready for the big move. If you'd like to follow our adventures, I'll be sharing updates on Instagram. Click HERE to follow me if you aren't already. I'll be taking on new clients in September once we have settled in, serving the Sarasota, Osprey, Venice, Boca Grande and Englewood areas.
Don't worry Happy Valley! This isn't goodbye as I will definitely be back in the area from time to time and will be scheduling sessions while I'm in town.
I appreciate all the encouragement and support I've received these last few years as I've chased my dream of becoming a professional pet photographer. As we embark on this journey, I will be expanding my photography and look forward to sharing southwest Florida as seen through my lens.