What I'm currently reading

You’ve heard the countdown before. Perhaps it was when you warn your kids that if they don’t do as you say right now, they’ll be put on a timeout. Then you count down 5..4..3..to let them know you are serious. We’ve all watched the spaceships prepare for takeoff and the final moments of countdown before blast off. 5..4..3…

"The 5 second rule" by Mel Robbins has come on my radar more than once. But I couldn’t imagine how 5 seconds in any other context could possibly matter in my life. Boy, was I wrong! 

I’m just a little more than 1/2 way through this book and already I’ve put stickie notes on dozens of pages. Passages I want to go back and re-read. Notes I want to take to reference later. The author promises she can help improve my life in 5 seconds. I was skeptical when I read this on the back cover that she could make my life better. But now I’m beginning to think she is right. 

I can understand how counting to 5 in certain circumstances can be a good thing. Like when you’re angry and want to scream at your 5 year child who just wrote all over the wall with magic markers. As he stands there with a grin on his face because he’s so happy with his creation. After all, you were the one who encouraged him to color instead of spending another hour in front of the television. Take a deep breath. Breathe. And count to 5. All seems like good advice before saying something you’ll regret. 

But Mel Robbins talks about the 5 second rule in other contexts, situations I would never have thought of. The one thing that struck me the most was how everything we do is motivated by our feelings. Want to wake up early and get a workout in before going to work? You set the alarm the night before fully intending to do just that, but when the alarm goes off you make every excuse why you’ll start tomorrow instead. Too tired. It’s raining out. It’s too dark. Excuses. All of it. What you really want is to get back in shape after having a baby.  But you let your feelings take over and you talk yourself out of it. If you countdown to 5 before hitting the off button on the alarm clock and in the words of Nike, “Just do it” you will get that workout in. No, it’s not easy. But it works. 

I know that because there are so many things I have done in my life where I made that decision to not listen to my feelings - my fears, my anxiety, my nervousness. And I usually don’t regret it. I’ve been writing down the same goals for months, even years now that I haven’t made happen. Each time I re-write it, I tell myself it’s going to be different this time. But here I sit with some of those same goals written in this year’s planner. It’s time to make some of them happen because I know they will get me closer to making some of my dreams come true. Which includes creating a successful photography business. So, 5 seconds to a better life? You bet! I can’t wait to finish this book and start putting this into practice! 

Have you read this book? Did it change your life? Do you want to read it now that I’ve written about it? Share your thoughts in the comments below! Let’s have a dialogue and help each other take 5 seconds to creating a better life for ourselves! 

Thanks for reading!


golden retriever Australian shepherd at Phillippi Estate Park

2017 Goals and check in

At the end of 2016, I wrote up a detailed business plan setting some goals for my photography business and myself for 2017. To keep myself on track, at the end of every month I also write monthly goals to focus on over the next 4 weeks. Doing this forces me to evaluate my plan and see where I am making progress and what I need to work on. Since we’re about ½ way through 2017 (can you believe it!), I thought I’d share what some of these aspirations are and tell you how it’s going.

One of my main goals for this year was to redo and update my website. If you’ve been reading my blog, then you know I worked on that while I was in Florida. I have a few more small changes to make, but overall, I’m really happy with how it turned out. While designing my new site, I also worked on my SEO. This has helped my page consistently show up on the first page in a search for pet photographers in State College as well as Southwest Florida.

Another goal of mine was to start offering coffee table albums for my clients. While I’m a big believer in creating wall art to showcase in my client’s homes, not everyone has the space nor the desire to hang a canvas or metal wall piece in their house. And some of my clients have a hard time narrowing their choice for which image to have framed. So a coffee table album is the perfect option for them. They are available in two sizes, 8x8 and 10x10. The smaller album includes up to 20 images in a 10 spread book, the larger album includes up to 35 images over 10 spreads. I am also offering a smaller companion album. Making a great gift, this cute 5x5 book includes 10 images in a five spread album. I ordered samples this winter and they are even better when seen in person.  

Earlier this year, I donated two sessions for silent auctions at two wonderful charities. It was the first time I worked with either of these charities and I was a little nervous at how well my donation would be received. While I’ve been shooting for a while, I’m still getting word out about my business. But that was all for nothing. I’m super excited to share that both auction items sold, earning almost $1000 for the causes. I can’t wait to meet the families who won the bids and photograph their fur-kids!

One goal I haven’t done very well with is booking paid client sessions. I’ve had several inquiries, but since I’ve been back in PA, I haven’t photographed a single client session. I’ve been keeping busy with other projects including working on my marketing plan so hopefully I can turn things around for the second half of the year.

I wrote in my business plan that I wanted to blog 3x/week this year. While blogging takes a lot of time and energy, it’s something I find I really enjoy. I was pretty good about blogging during my mini sabbatical in Florida over the winter, but after my return home, I didn’t write anything for almost two months.  At the end of April, I told myself it was time to stop slacking and start writing. Since then I’ve posted a blog twice a week and have found this is my happy place. Follow along with me! I'll be posting every Tuesday and Thursday morning. 

And finally, I made it a goal to be more active on social media this year. I'm finding Facebook's reach so inconsistent these days, so I share more on Instagram. I've been posting regularly, but sometimes I'll go a few weeks and not post anything. So I've made a plan to post 5 times a week for the rest of the year. If you're not following me, click HERE and then click "follow". While I post on Facebook, I find the same thing, sometimes I'll post several days or weeks in a row, then go stretches where I don't share anything. My new goal is to post 4 times a week. Twice a week I'll be sharing my most recent blog post. If you want to follow along, be sure you "like" my page. If you haven't you can click HERE

As always, thanks for reading!

Florida recap - Week 5

It’s been a few weeks since I posted an update on how things are going here in southwest Florida. I guess that’s a good thing since it means I’ve been busy! And having fun!

I have one more week left before I head back north and I have to admit, it’s going to be hard to leave. I cannot get enough of the sun, which I know has been lacking in PA this winter – what’s new, right? But I am also looking forward to some snow as I do miss taking my dogs out for a romp in the white stuff and watching them run and play. Hopefully Mother Nature will save one more storm for me!

In the last 3 weeks, I’ve done a ton of location scouting and found some great places for photo shoots. I’ve photographed on Sanibel Island, Venice Beach, and Ft Myers. I have some more locations to check out before I go, but I feel that I’ve got a pretty good lay of the land in this part of the state.


If you’ve been following my blog, then you know I updated my website. It has a completely new look - I’m really happy with how it turned out. I’ve worked on my SEO as well, so I should start showing up in google searches both in central PA and southwest FL.  In fact, the photo shoot I did in Ft Myers was because of a google search. I can’t wait to share photos from that session – I am so impressed with the young woman who contacted me and absolutely adored her 2 fur-kids!

I’ve also enrolled in PPA’s (Professional Photographers of America) business challenge. This started the first week of Feb and will continue with weekly assignments for the next 12 months.  I’m really excited about this as it is geared toward working entirely on the business side of things.


Offering photo albums to my clients has been on my list of things to do for a while and I finally ordered a sample. My book arrived just yesterday and I love it! Perfect for my clients who want all of the images from their session or would like something for their coffee table. The quality of the album is amazing! I’ll post photos soon!

Lastly, I attended a talk from a local southwest FL photographer Clyde Butcher. He shoots landscapes and is currently doing a show featuring his National Parks images. His wife and daughter were also there for the evening and I found the family to be very delightful and down to earth. If you have not heard of Clyde, check him out. He has a fantastic instagram account and has been called the next Ansel Adams by popular photography. He has a studio in Venice, which I also visited. This is where he does all of his printing and the darkroom is on display for his visitors to see. Who said film is dead?

It’s been a busy 5 weeks and while I’ve accomplished so much, there are a few things left to do. A few more sunsets to watch, walks with the dogs on the beach, photos to take in the Florida landscape and books to finish reading. Thanks for following along with me on this journey!


New and updated website!

If you've checked out my website lately, then you know a few things look different. Well, actually, almost everything has changed! It's been a labor of love and took several weeks, but I finally gave my site a long overdue facelift! I started designing a new website last year, but for one reason or another, never finished it. So when I came down to Florida last month, redesigning it was one of my primary goals. And at last, it's done! If you get a chance, check it out and let me know what you think. If you have any suggestions for what I can do to make it better or see any typos, please share it with me! My goal was to create a site that is user friendly yet also conveys how much I love what I do. I recognize that many people have not heard of pet photography, but I hope to be a part of the change. So many of us consider our pets as part of the family so why not capture those special moments you share with them? After all, isn't your pet worth it?