Happy Mother's Day

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!

Trina with Izzy, Kita & TIllie

Nature is good for the soul

I love spending time outdoors. In fact, I love it so much that I spent a couple of decades working as a pet sitter so I would spend my days walking dogs - outside. It was the best job! Not as much on rainy or really cold days, but it did get me out of the house and in the fresh air. Any bit of sunshine was a welcome part of my day. 

The problem was that it was work too. I had to keep an eye on the time, my mind wandered as I thought about my never ending to do list, and my work hours started early in the morning and ended right before I went to bed. Eventually it took a toll on me and I started to feel burned out. 

Since my move to the sunshine state, what I realized most is that while, yes, I was spending more time outside working than sitting at a desk in a windowless room, I really longed to be out in nature. Now that I’m not working weekends, I spend part of my saturdays and sundays exploring parks, trails, beaches, and so on. The more I do this, the more I realize how much I enjoy it and need to make this a bigger priority in my life. 

There are so many reasons why nature is good for the soul. I find it that it clears my mind and I can think more clearly. Getting away from the hustle and bustle of life makes all the little problems seem not so big anymore. I feel calmer and can focus more on the present moment instead of worrying about the past or future. Moving my body, whether I’m walking, hiking, kayaking or riding a bike feels so good as well. 

Being in nature helps me get a better perspective on my life. I usually unplug from technology, so I’m not thinking about social media or email updates. When I go back home, I find that I don’t feel as rushed to get things done. Yet, somehow in this state of mind, I get even more done, but in a better frame of mind. I’m not short with my husband or taking my frustrations out on my dogs by telling them to leave me alone. This has to have a positive effect on my body as well. Slower heart rate, deeper breaths, and better sleep at the end of the day.


The more time I spend in nature, the more I see all of these benefits. This past weekend, my husband and I rented a kayak for an hour and paddled around Lemon Bay. It was a pretty sunny day, so we returned just shy of an hour so as to not get sunburned. I wanted to stay out there all day. It was when we went back long before I was ready to return, that it hit me how much I need to make a point to get out in nature as often as I can. No more excuses. I’m going to build it into my weekly planner. Whether I do this alone, with my husband, our dogs and/or friends, I am making this a goal to do on a regular basis from now on!

Do you like to spend time in nature too? Where are some of your favorite places? Share them in the comments below. I’m always looking for new places to explore!

Thanks for reading!

xoxo

 
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Kayaking Lemon Bay.jpg

Living a simple life

When my husband and I decided to move to Florida, we wanted to give ourselves a trial period of at least a year before deciding if we would make this a permanent move or not. Thus, finding a home to rent was the best option for us. Our wish list included living someplace convenient to the beach, shopping places and where we thought we might like to work. It also had to allow dogs and be budget friendly as I didn’t want to spend a ton of money on rent. All of those conditions meant we would probably end up in a home smaller than the house we own in PA. Which I was ok with.

It’s been several months since we packed all of our belongings and moved to a place almost 1/2 the size of the house we’ve called home for years. It meant making decisions on what to keep, what to donate, and what to throw away. At first it was hard, but the more I simplified my possessions, the more free I felt. We still have quite a bit of our stuff in boxes, some of which hasn’t yet been sorted. But all in all, I can’t help but admit, the advantages of living in a smaller home are many!

To start, I spend considerable less time cleaning. And while I may clean more frequently - it’s much harder to hide fur balls - in a fraction of the time, I can get pretty much the entire house cleaned. This has reduced my stress so much and enabled me to spend more time on other things that matter more to me.

While we downsized, we still have too much stuff for the space. Thus, I have virtually no need to buy anything for the home. Now, I’m not a shopaholic, but I do love picking out new things every once in a while to spruce up the space we inhabit. Not spending any money, means putting more in the bank and creates another stress reducer ultimately leading to a more peaceful life.

Living in a smaller space means less energy spent on heating and cooling the place. Cha ching! Even more money in the bank! And yet another reason to be less stressed. Which leads me to the next advantage of living in a small home. I’m more aware of the amount of energy it takes to maintain a larger home, the impact it has on the environment and how unnecessary it is. We love our mansions, but much of the space in these homes is hardly ever used. Yet, we have to pay to heat and cool it, repair materials as they age, and spend time keeping it clean. That’s a lot of energy.

A huge perk of living in small home is how much more time I have to do things I really want to do. While I am working a lot - I have a full-time job, manage my pet sitting business up north and work on marketing my photography business - on my days off, I’m not trying to cram a ton of household chores into my day. I don’t feel worn out, exhausted and frustrated because all I did was “work” in my off duty hours. That right there has improved my state of mind tremendously.

As I think about the next home I want to own, I do know I’d like a little more space than I have right now. I also know I’d like an outdoor area to hang out in when the weather’s nice. Which is a whole lot often here than up north. And I want to create a home that is calm, relaxing and peaceful. I don’t want to fill up the space with “stuff” just because. I want to surround myself with things that matter to me - like art work from my travels, photos of the people in my life, and and design touches that are practical as well as pleasing to the eye.

While it was hard to downsize, I am so glad I did! I truly understand why more and more people are opting for tiny homes. For me, that is too extreme. Life should be more about experiences than responsibilities. I want to look back on my life fondly remembering all the good times I had instead of feeling regret over working so hard to own material possessions.

Thanks for reading!

xoxo

 
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man and dog on bench in front of house

Looking back on 13 years

Yesterday my husband and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. I’m not superstitious, but I have decided to embrace our 13th as our lucky year! It was a pretty low keyed day since we both worked. But we did go out to dinner to a restaurant we’ve been wanting to try but always had a huge crowd. By the time we got there, it was well past normal dinner time hours and surprisingly there was a short wait. We thought it would be perfect since it was right on the intercoastal waterway. And it was, until shortly after we arrived, the sun set and we were sitting in darkness except for the lights on the tables. Even still, it was nice to spend a quiet evening together doing something other than work after work!

One of my traditions has been to bring a camera, set up my tripod and take a photo of us on or near the day of our anniversary. You’d think that with me having a camera almost everywhere we go, we’d have plenty of photos of us. The truth is, we have very few. Sure, we take the obligatory selfies whenever we do something exciting that we want to share on social media. But I’d certainly never consider them print worthy.

Since I’m always behind the camera, I’m rarely in any photos. I know one day I’ll be grateful I’ve done this. My ultimate goal is to print a book of us, through all the years of our marriage. This is us…13 years after we said “I do.”

Thanks for reading!

xoxo

 
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13th anniversary photo


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!

xoxo

 
 
golden retriever Australian shepherd at Phillippi Estate Park