Best Shot Monday: Chinaball

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And sometimes you just get lucky with the perfect little head tilt! Meet Chinaball! He's incredibly adorable and incredibly sweet and mellow. And he's available for adoption through Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services.

Our time at home in Jacksonville this summer has just been too short, so this past week was my last week shooting for ACPS until our next break. I shared in our volunteer group that our shelter really is a very special place with very special people, both staff and volunteers. I miss them when we're in Tallahassee! Volunteering there truly is one of my very favorite things. I hope you find your volunteer passion!

Week 11 #100daysofshinythings

Days 71-77 of my #the100dayproject, which I'm calling #100daysofshinythings... Follow along on Instagram @kellynwarren. What is #the100dayproject? Check it out here! You can see all my shiny things shared so far in the project here Be sure you are signed up for my newsletter so you get a reminder to get your name in the hat for Free Bling Friday.  While I'm doing this project, the monthly Free Bling Friday winner gets to take her pick! You can enter the July drawing here. And for you shelter dog picture lovers, I'm also doing a #100daysofshelterdogs on my shelter Instagram @shelterpetsuperstars. If you aren't on IG, you can see those pictures here!

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A Different Kind of Best Shot Monday

One of the things I've learned in being a volunteer shelter photographer is that, for whatever reason, I never forget a dog I photograph. Something fires in my brain between the time I first take a photo, then get to the editing stage, and then send the photo in for the shelter website and post it on my Facebook page. It simply clicks. Literally and figuratively.

McFly, Labrador Retriever Mix

Another thing I've learned is that when you've been around a particular shelter for a while, you unfortunately see dogs come back through the system, most often due to no fault of their own. The photo above is of a very sweet, very fun Lab mix named McFly. I took this photo in October of 2012 at Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services. Though this was seven years ago, I still remember how excited I was about this shot because McFly was simply such a cool dog! And that head tilt!! Irresistible, right!? He was quickly adopted.

A couple weeks ago when I was walking through B run reviewing who I needed to photograph that day, there it was on a kennel card: that picture that I took seven years ago. It was McFly. Seven years later. I crumbled; it truly broke my heart. I took him outside, and gone was that playful spirit. He seemed defeated. He had recently had a dental treatment a couple days earlier, so I tried to chalk his demeanor up to that, but there really was no mistaking it. He was still the incredibly sweet and lovable fella I met years ago, but his spark was highly diminished. He leaned in to me for some love, and I could feel his sadness.

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Above is the photo I took of McFly the second time around. Shelter staff believe he's about eight years old now, and he came back in to the shelter as a stray. I can only imagine what he's experienced. You can see it in his eyes. He knew love once. He was adopted once. This past weekend was our big semi-annual MEGA Adoption Event at the Jacksonville Fairgrounds, and I prayed McFly's true forever family would find him, but today when I went back into the shelter for pictures, there he was still waiting. This boy truly needs and deserves a happily ever after, like they all do. Can you help him find it? He's available for adoption, once again, at Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services, 2020 Forest St.

Best Shot Monday: The Warrens Go to California!

Hello there, and welcome back to Best Shot Monday! Normally I share a shelter dog I've photographed with you on Mondays, but today, for posterity's sake, I'm mixing it up!  We did a family trip to California the third week in June, and I've finally gotten around to editing all our pictures!

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We stayed with a friend in the San Francisco Bay area for part of our stay, including our first night. We arrived on Tuesday and took a walk around my friend's neighborhood to shake off the flight.

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We headed down to Monterey and the Monterey Bay Aquarium on our second day.  Love the jellies!

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The next day, we continued down the Pacific Coast Highway, here at Point Lobos State Park.

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Point Lobos State Park

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Further on down the coast at the famous Bixby Bridge. So cool!

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So many beautiful spots to pull over and take a little hike on the Pacific Coast Highway.

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Pfeiffer Beach at Big Sur

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The next day, we drove back up the coast to Santa Cruz and visited the University of California, Santa Cruz campus. Had to get some Banana Slug gear!

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The next day, we did the usual touristy things in downtown San Francisco, including visiting the famous sea lions on Pier 39. You definitely smell them before you see them, but they were quite entertaining!

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At Pier 39

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At Pier 39

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After visiting the piers and Fisherman's Wharf area, we went to a San Francisco Giants game!

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Quite a view from the San Francisco Giants stadium, Oracle Park!

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Our last day included a trip up to the Muir Woods National Monument. So beautiful!

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Muir Woods

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At the entrance to Muir Woods

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In Muir Woods, with my husband doing a photo bomb!

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Must hug a tree in Muir Woods...I'd say the size is quite a bit different from our Florida palm trees...

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From Muir Woods, we headed to lunch in Sausalito and then over to the Point Bonita Lighthouse.

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Selfie at the Point Bonita Lighthouse

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The Point Bonita Lighthouse is part of the Golden Gate Recreation Area, so you know where that took us next! It was so incredibly windy up there!

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The iconic Golden Gate Bridge. Pretty awe-inspiring up close and personal from this view.

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And lastly, me and my friend Cathie. She and her husband were our lovely hosts!  Cathie and I actually met on Facebook and became fast friends. We even had the exact same jeans! On Sunday of our trip, we had a more laid back day and had a wonderful, relaxing dinner at Cathie's house with her husband and her daughter. We talked for hours.  Sometimes you are just meant to meet someone! I'm so grateful to her and her husband for hosting us.

July Free Bling / #100daysofshinythings

July Free Bling

Happy Friday, and welcome back to Free Bling Friday! Congratulations to Jeanette from Lake City, Florida, the recipient of my June Free Bling. Jeanette gets her pick from my #100daysofshinythings pieces on Instagram. July brings the wrap up of my #100daysofshinythings project, and as of today, I still have 13 pieces to post before I wrap things up. Haven't been following along and wondering what the heck #100daysofshinything is? It's my #the100dayproject! Artists and makers the world over are busy creating their little hearts out, whatever they choose to create, for 100 days and posting their creations on Instagram. You can read more about it here.

The lucky winner of July Free Bling will be able to choose her pick of any piece posted in the project has not already been scooped up on Instagram, like this beauty above!  If you are on Instagram, be sure to follow me @kellynwarren.  If you are not on IG, no worries, you can still view all the pieces here.  When the challenge is over, I'll be posting all the pieces on my website and in my Etsy shop. I'll be doing a weekly round up on the pieces here on the blog as well. 

To get your name in the hat to win, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight EST Thursday, July 18. If you haven't already subscribed to my monthly newsletter, click here to subscribe and you'll receive a reminder each month for Free Bling and another entry. Newsletter readers get a Free Bling entry simply by replying to my monthly email as well as access to subscriber only discounts in my Etsy shops over there in the right column and my website. Share this post on Facebook and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for one more entry for a total of three chances.

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date and either "no comments" or a number of comments depending on when you're checking in! Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Open to U.S residents only. I would love for you to help me spread the word and share this post with a friend or two! Thanks for stopping in!

Week 10 #100daysofshinythings

Days 64-70 of my #the100dayproject, which I'm calling #100daysofshinythings... Follow along on Instagram @kellynwarren. What is #the100dayproject? Check it out here! You can see all my shiny things shared so far in the project here.  Be sure you are signed up for my newsletter so you get a reminder to get your name in the hat for Free Bling Friday.  While I'm doing this project, the monthly Free Bling Friday winner gets to take her pick! And for you shelter dog picture lovers, I'm also doing a #100daysofshelterdogs on my shelter Instagram @shelterpetsuperstars. If you aren't on IG, you can see those pictures here!

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Best Shot Monday: Meet Roscoe!

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Happy Monday and Happy July! And welcome back to Best Shot Monday! We are home in Jacksonville for several weeks this summer, so I've been getting back into my home shelter, Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services. Good to be home! This week, I met Roscoe. If ever there were an example of why you shouldn't judge a dog by his kennel presentation, it's this boy.

I photographed Roscoe last Monday, and his kennel presentation that day was horrible, truly horrible. He was ping ponging all over the place and since kennel staff had not made it to his run for cleaning yet that morning, he had done some truly amazing poop painting overnight and it was just getting better by the moment. So amazing that in his exuberance to see me walk by he slung some on me! Yay! (I never said my shelter volunteering was clean and light-weight work...🤣) But when I went to leash him, he was easy to leash and turned into a super sweet fella outside. We played fetch for a while, and he brought the ball back to me to throw again each time. He's also a fairly big boy, but he was super gentle and took his treats very sweetly. And clearly, as shown in this picture, he sits for photos like a champ! He's really amazing. He's available for adoption through Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services.

Support your local shelter. Volunteer...Adopt...Foster...Educate...Donate.  I guarantee they need your help!