Monday, August 20, 2018

Best Shot Monday: Girls Trip to North Carolina

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The redheads and I had a girls trip with my sister and her girls up to the mountains of North Carolina last month. I'm finally getting around to editing photos! We waterfall and trail hopped for two days and went to the Biltmore one day.  Photos above and below were taken on the Pink Sands trail near the Cradle of Forestry Museum.

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The photo above was pure serendipity. We were on a trail that took us by three waterfalls in the Dupont State Forest portion of the Pisgah National Forest - High Falls, Triple Falls, and Hooker Falls.  Here we had hiked down to the bottom of High Falls to put our fingers and toes in the water. I was fiddling with something in my pack, and I looked up and saw the five of them by the water like this. So sweet!  The photo below was at Looking Glass Falls. I'm not very good a selfies, but I'm proud of this one! 

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The Biltmore Estate is quite the experience. When we pulled up Google maps for directions, we thought there must be an error when it told us the Biltmore was only a mile and a half from our hotel. Our hotel was in the center of town (Asheville), so thought that couldn't be possible! But sure enough, when we went around the corner, there was the entrance, right there in the middle of the city. When we drove through the arched gateway, we felt like we had entered into some sort of time and space portal because the city literally fell away and all we could see was trees and sprawling land. Amazing!

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And lastly, if you've been following along here any bit of time, you know I love these walking away shots. This was on the Pink Sands trail, and I just love little Ramona's little swing of the hip there. 

Thanks for stopping in today!  I know I've been pretty quiet here on the blog for most of the summer, but I'm working on getting back into the swing of things again! 

Saturday, August 11, 2018

Football Season is here: Custom Jacksonville Jaguars Piece

Jags Necklace for Shannon!

In the South, Fall means football, and though we are smack dab in the middle of the dog days of August, football is cranking up around here. I created this custom piece for one of my best customers who wanted some bling to cheer on the Jacksonville Jaguars. I do often create custom pieces, so if you have something in mind, just drop me a note!

Friday, August 3, 2018

August Free Bling!

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Happy August to you! Congratulations to Tracy from Jacksonville, the recipient of July's Free Bling! This month, I'm sending these delicate little beauties out into the world. These are small rhodochrosite gemstones with little seed pearls, all wrapped up in sterling silver. These are on the petite side, with the pearls and the gemstone just about one inch in length total. In the Book of Stones, Robert Simmons shares, "Rhodochrosite emanates one of the most tender and loving energies of any stone, soothing the heart, comforting the soul, and vibrating to the frequencies of inner peace. It is a marvelous talisman of joy and healing, of embracing one’s rightful powers and rising to one’s full potential." My girls and I did a little gem mining with my sister and her girls in the North Carolina mountains a few weeks ago, and it got me interested in the meanings behind different gemstones. Fun to explore!  And while gem mining wasn't as fun as I remembered it being when I was a kid, it was definitely fun for the kiddos!

To get your name in the hat to win these little beauties, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight EST Thursday, August 23.  Share this post on Facebook and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And 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 one more entry. Newsletter readers get a Free Bling entry simply by replying to my monthly email!

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (8/3/2018) and comments in hot pink. 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! Thanks for stopping in!

Sunday, July 8, 2018

July Free Bling!

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Hello, there! Ready for July's Free Bling? First, congrats to B.J. from Orange Park, Florida, the recipient of June's Free Bling! This month, I'm sending these little beauties out into the world. I've combined aqua blue cat's eye glass with all sterling silver accents. These are on the petite side, hanging just about 1" from the top of the ear wire. To get your name in the hat, 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 26. If we are connected on Facebook or Instagram, just let me know your name or handle there and we're good! Share this post on Facebook and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And 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 one more entry. Newsletter readers get a Free Bling entry simply by replying to my monthly email!

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (7/8/2018) and comments in hot pink. 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! Thanks for stopping in!

And just an FYI, I've closed my Etsy shops for the month of July to take a break and catch up on some things!  New things coming soon! 

Monday, June 18, 2018

Best Shot Monday: Meet Miley!

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Meet Miley! I spent some time at Jacksonville's Animal Care & Protective Services today walking the dogs and doing their glamour shots. This girl, Miley, stole my heart. She was the last dog I took out, and she was soooooo patient! She'd see me walk by to sanitize my hands between dogs, so she saw a lot of me before I finally got to her (I photographed 28 dogs today!). And she just sat there wagging her tail the entire time like she was saying, "Okay! Me next, right!? Me, next?" She was easy to leash and super sweet outside. She's about 11 years old, and based on her A number, this is not her first time at the shelter. Her notes said she came in as a stray, and I just can't imagine someone letting this sweet gal get away. Have a place in your heart and home for a super sweet senior gal? Miley is your girl!

Monday, June 4, 2018

Best Shot Monday: Beauties in Boca

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Happy Best Shot Monday! We're actually enjoying our annual week in Boca Grande this week, and I found a couple mermaids on the beach! Have a great week!

Friday, June 1, 2018

June Free Bling Friday!

June Free Bling

Happy June! And, of course, happy Hurricane Season to my fellow Floridians! I feel like hurricane season just ended, and here we've already had our first named storm of 2018 before the season officially started. We're still not fully recovered from our Irma damage from last year!  So time for this month's Free Bling. Congratulations to Peggy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, who received May's Free Bling. This month, I've pulled together something from some beads that have been hanging out on my bead board for a while. These are actually from a sweet little bracelet my girls received from a gallery owner. He makes the beads and turns them into bracelets specifically for young visitors who receive them free of charge. So sweet!  This one was a little too big for Sarah, so she asked me to size it down for her, and I ended up with four extra beads, two of which you see here!  This pair reminds me of old-fashioned barbershop poles.

To get your name in the hat, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight EST Thursday, June 21. If we are connected on Facebook or Instagram, just let me know your name or handle there and we're good! Share this post on Facebook or Twitter and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And 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 one more entry.  Newsletter readers get a Free Bling entry simply by replying to my monthly email!

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (6/1/2018) and comments in hot pink. 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! Thanks for stopping in!

Monday, May 28, 2018

Best Shot Monday: Chasing Raindrops

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Best Shot Monday this week gives you a tiny little glimpse of subtropical storm Alberto in our neck of the woods. Alberto gave us plenty of rain here in the Florida panhandle. During a break in the rain, my daughter and I took the dogs for a walk and came across this little piece of beauty. The pretty greens really struck me as so lovely against the grays and browns on the sidewalk. Find beauty in the everyday!  Thankful today on this Memorial Day in the states for all the service men and women who gave their lives to give us the freedom we have today to sit back and relax and watch it rain.   

Friday, May 4, 2018

May Free Bling Friday!

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Welcome to Free Bling Friday! Congratulations to Patricia from Kennesaw, Georgia, the lucky recipient of March Free Bling. Since May's birthstone is emerald, let's go with something green this month!  Here I've started with green glass briolettes, wrapped them with sterling silver wire, and topped them with twisted sterling rings and deep green Czech glass rondelles, all hung on sterling silver french wires.  They hang approximately 1 1/2" from top of ear wire to bottom.

To get your name in the hat, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight ET Thursday, May 17. If we are connected on Facebook or Instagram, just let me know your name or handle there and we're good! Share this post on Facebook or Twitter and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And 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 one more entry.

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (5/4/2018) and comments in hot pink. Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Open to U.S residents only. Please help me spread the word and share this post! Thanks for stopping in!

Monday, April 30, 2018

Best Shot Monday: Meet Kori!

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Meet Kori!  This was actually the second time I photographed Kori.  The first time, Kori was entirely too terrified to even come out of his kennel, so I had to take his photo in his kennel.  I sat in his kennel with him for a while that day, and he was perfectly fine .... as long as he was in there.  But outside the kennel ... having to walk by all those other dogs in kennels? ... that was way too scary for him.

The daughter of a friend of mine has become a volunteer at the shelter to help me, and she's been a huge help!  So good to have a helper again!  So Courtney and I decided this past Wednesday was our day to coax Kori outside for a better picture. It took us about 20 minutes to gently, baby step him all the way out to the play yard, but once he got out there?  He discovered how wonderful OUTSIDE is!!!!  He was all over the place, running and hopping and having all sorts of fun. See that happy face?! We played outside for a while, but alas, then it was time to head back down the gauntlet to his kennel.  It took us another 20 minutes to help him get back there, Courtney on her knees in front of him scooting backwards and me on my knees at his side, between him and the kennels, scooting forward with him. Baby step by baby step we finally guided him back into the safety of his kennel.

So, as I've shared here before, don't judge a dog by his kennel presentation!  While some appear super crazy, Kori here just appears super scared, but there again, get him outside, and he's super awesome. As of today, Kori is still available for adoption at the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center.  Adopt your new best friend at your local animal shelter!   

Monday, April 23, 2018

Best Shot Monday: Meet Gottfried!

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Meet Gottfried! This goofy boy with the goofy name was adopted from the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center shortly after I shared his photo on Facebook. How can you resist a face like that!? Many people think municipal animal shelters only have pit mixes. Nope. They have a variety of dogs, like Gottfried here, a Treeing Walker Hound. I've even photographed several Labs that appeared to be pure bred in the past couple weeks. Dogs like that get adopted quickly, but they are there! Be sure to visit you local shelter next time you are considering adding a four legged friend to your family. Adopt, don't shop! (and for the record once again, pits and pit mixes can be awesome family pets, just like Gottfried here!) Go find your volunteer passion. I've found mine. :-)

Sunday, April 15, 2018

2018 Liberate Your Art Postcard Swap!

Denver postcard

I participated in Kat Sloma's Liberate Your Art Postcard swap again this year. It's always fun to receive something other that bills and junk mail in your mailbox. Click over to Kat's blog post here to see a wrap of the swap including the number of participants and countries from which cards were swapped. As for me, I couldn't resist sharing sweet Denver, so above is the postcard I shared.

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The first card I received, above, is from Tammy in Georgia, a lovely landscape photo with one my favorite subjects: cows! We're doing a side swap as well so I'll share another one of her cards once I receive all my side swap cards!

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Next I received the card above from Lynne in North Carolina, a beautiful landscape painting!

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Next arrived this photo postcard above all the way from Louise in France. On the back of the card, she explained that these boats were meant to carry port wine along the Douro River in Portugal.

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This card of a pretty painted tray arrived next, above. The artist did not include her name or location, but she did share a great quote: "Accept what is, let go of what was, have faith in what will be..."

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This very fun mixed media postcard above arrived next, from Stephanie in Southwest Florida! I really love the vibrant colors in this one.

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And the last card to arrive was the card our host Kat created, above. The message on the back says, "Creativity takes courage" ~ Henri Matisse, with a note that we all proved ourselves courageous by participating! I always enjoy this swap, looking forward to what will show up in my mailbox! You can check out Kat's blog here.


Friday, April 6, 2018

April Free Bling Friday!

April Free Bling

Welcome to Free Bling Friday! Congratulations to Lee from Gainesville, Florida, the lucky recipient of March Free Bling.  I'm taking a chance with these this month. These little beauties speak Spring to me, but they are very difficult to photograph because the photo blows them up to many times their actual size. These are actually tiny 1/2" squares!  If you are viewing them on your phone, they'll look much closer to actual size, but if you are viewing them on your computer, the flower will look a little pixelated because it's so enlarged.  I've taken this photo of mine, sized it down to 1/2" and fused it to these little glass squares. The ear wires are sterling silver.

To get your name in the hat, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight ET Thursday, April 19.  If we are connected on Facebook or Instagram, just let me know your name or handle there and we're good! Share this post on Facebook or Twitter and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And 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 one more entry.

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (4/6/2018) and comments in hot pink. Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Open to U.S residents only. Please help me spread the word and share this post! Thanks for stopping in!

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

2017 Documented Life Project: November

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Back to the Documented Life Project today! Finally getting near the end of 2017! I'll admit I haven't done much art journaling the past couple months (been busy at the jewelry bench!) so it's nice to go back and reflect on these. The first week of November took me to our state Volleyball tournament. I fussy cut this big flower out of a Better Homes and Gardens magazine. I really love using magazine images as a focal, and sometimes even a full page from a magazine as the base of a journal page.

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Second week of November here. I loved the stars for Veterans' Day, and they started out just by me plopping a wet stencil (from a July page!) into my second journal. I pulled it out and added just a few touches to it and called it done. One little Easter egg here...there is one thing has has appeared on every one of my pages this year. Can you figure out what it is?

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Thanksgiving week brought us a nice week at home. The Sunday prior to Thanksgiving included our Chi Omega slating of new officers, and I received two sweet cards from my two direct advisees. I incorporated them into my book in this spread and the previous one. :-) Love those sweet young ladies.

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The poppies above close out the month. I cut them off the cover of a Garnet Hill catalog! So did you figure out the one element that appears on each page? Thanks for stopping in today. See more of my 2017 Documented Life Project here. See 2016 here; 2015 here; and 2014 here.

Monday, April 2, 2018

Best Shot Monday: Meet Lilly

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Meet Lilly! I actually photographed this girl last month while we were home on Spring Break in Jacksonville. Lilly is about four years old and came into the shelter as an owner surrender with her sister when their owner could no longer care of them due to home rental restrictions. Her sister was transferred to the Jacksonville Humane Society, and sweet Lilly is still waiting for her forever family at Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services. Lilly truly is a very sweet dog. She is actually the more affectionate of the pair and seeks out human touch, loving and independent. She sits sweetly for treats, walks well on her leash and loves to play.

Thanks for stopping in today!  

Friday, March 30, 2018

Just When You Think About Giving Up...

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I had been considering closing down my photography Etsy shop recently simply because my physical inventory takes up so much space, and I just don't have as much time to devote to keeping up three shops and a website, given the travel my current job requires. But then something really cool happened. I didn't want to share it until it was final, final, sure enough final...

I had four of my images selected by the art gallery selecting art for the new Labor and Delivery Wing at Jacksonville's Baptist South Hospital chosen for their L&D suites! One of these four images will be in each L&D suite along with photography from long-time Florida Times Union photographer Will Dickey. In a small worlds colliding thing, I know Will! We met about eight years ago when a photo he took of my redheads (otherwise known as the Daily Dose of Awesomeness) doing chalk art at the Riverside Arts Market landed on the front page of the Times Union. I'm so honored to have been selected for this project and to have my work displayed next to Will's. And guess where the gallery found me? My photography Etsy shop. The new wing just opened this month. Never give up!

Monday, March 19, 2018

Best Shot Monday: 58 Reasons to Adopt a Shelter Pet

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I spent two solid days at Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services while we were home for Spring Break last week, photographing 58 dogs, 58 reasons to adopt a shelter pet.  Instead of sharing all 58 photos here, I'll just send you over to my Flickr album where I post all my Jacksonville shelter shots so you can see them there and just share this one with you. Visit the full album here. (Take some time! Those faces will suck you in for hours, and I've photographed more than 1,700 of them for this shelter alone! :-)

People who don't volunteer at an animal shelter often ask how we do it. And as I've said here before, some days, it is definitely hard, and, yes, some days your heart does get broken. But the love you get back from spending time with these animals makes it worth it. This girl is named Summer Love, and she really touched my heart this week. I saw her when I was in the shelter photographing last Monday, but she had already been outside by the time I got in. I noticed the markings on her snout then, but I didn't look closely enough and thought it was a muzzle. Well, Tuesday I took her out. It was not a muzzle. It appears this girl had spent quite a bit of time with her snout tied up with rope...rubber bands...something. Yep, I said tied up, as in tied shut. And yet, here she was, with her sweet face and soulful eyes. This shelter staff helped her heal from whatever way she came in, and look at her now. She's friendly, affectionate, and playful.

You often see the results of the worst of people in an animal shelter, like whoever did this to this dog. This week, I also saw what appeared to be wounds healing from bullet holes and cigarette burns and ears that had been severely chopped off. So many people--keyboard warriors primarily--often attack open admission, municipal animal shelters. They either complain that the shelter won't immediately come get a dog they see as abandoned or dangerous, won't let people just drop off their dogs willy nilly to the shelter without a specific process to follow, complain about the shelter not spending enough time rehabilitating every single animal that comes through their doors, get all up in arms about an animal being euthanized, but then get all up in arms again about an animal they deem as dangerous being adopted out. Do you see the never ending circle here?

But then, if you just take a little time, step in and volunteer, then you can often see the results of the best of people...like the ones who got this girl back to the happy girl she is now. Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services staff and volunteers are some of the very best people I have the honor of knowing, and I'm thankful every day that they have the heart to do what they do for dogs like this one and so many more. As of this writing, Summer Love is still available for adoption at Jacksonville's Animal Care and Protective Services.   

Friday, March 2, 2018

March Free Bling Friday!

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Time for March Free Bling Friday!  Random.org selected Jean from Sun City, Arizona, as the recipient of my February Free Bling. Congratulations, Jean!  This month, I have one of my favorite color combinations for you. I've had these two coppery gold beads left over from another project for a while now, so I decided to turn them into this month's Free Bling. I topped them with sweet and tiny aqua blue Czech glass beads and wrapped them all up in sterling silver.

To get your name in the hat, leave me your first name, city and state, and a way to contact you in the comments below no later than midnight ET Thursday, March 22. To avoid spam, write your email like happyshackdesigns at yahoo, etc., if you'd like me to contact you via email; if we are connected on Facebook or Instagram, just let me know your name or handle there and we're good! Share this post on Facebook or Twitter and post a separate comment letting me know you did that for another entry. And 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 one more entry.

New to commenting on Blogger? At the very bottom of this post, you'll see a date (3/2/2018) and comments in hot pink. Click on the "comments" and a comment box will open. Open to U.S residents only. Please help me spread the word and share this post! Thanks for stopping in!

Thursday, March 1, 2018

2017 Documented Life Project: October

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Hello! Thanks for stopping in today! Getting close to wrapping up sharing my 2017 Documented Life Project. Let's take a look at October. I started off the month with meetings in Daytona, our Fall board meeting and the October Council of Presidents (COP) meeting. Our statewide Student Government president this year is an incredibly sharp fella from Santa Fe College named Jacobi Bedenfield. He's definitely been one of the most impressive SGA presidents I've seen in my 25 years in this field. He had the opportunity to address the COP this week and did a fabulous job. This month I continued sharing pages I created in Pam Carriker's workshop.

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The second week of October brought more work travel, this time down to Orlando for our annual Florida College System Press Association conference. This is a gathering of students who work on their colleges' newpaper or literary magazine. And this journal page is my favorite from Pam's workshop. Those boots started out as a stencil for the base and then I just added to it with it more paint and some black and white pen work. I love them!

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The third week brought a rest day! Yay for a Monday day off! With no travel this week, I was able to relax a little more. Lunch with friends, an afternoon at the shelter, and our annual Chi Omega New Member/Alumnae dinner. And another page from my Pam Carriker journal. This egg stencil was really cool. It came in different parts to layer on top of each other.

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The last week of October brought more travel, but this was not work related! I was selected to participate in Chi Omega's Nancy Walton Laurie Leadership Institute in Memphis! I really enjoyed the workshop, meeting new sisters, young and not so young, and had an opportunity to visit our national headquarters. I'm really grateful for the opportunities Chi Omega has given me. I feel like I'm getting even more out of my sisterhood as an alumnae than I even did as a collegiate! For the journal page side this week, I love the way Pam taught us how to work color wheels into our pages.

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For the month's closing art journal page, this was another page from my Pam Carriker journal. This page actually started out with me just using up extra paint on my pallet. Then I saw this face stencil of Donna's and added her to the mix.  Thanks again for stopping in today!  To see more of my 2017 Documented Life Project journal, click here. For 2016, click here; for 2015, click here; and for 2014, click here. Thanks to the ladies at Art to the 5th for originally creating the project!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Best Shot Monday and 365 Somethings Project: 31-36

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Abigail, three-year-old mixed breed
More sweet faces for Best Shot Monday! I photographed these pups at the City of Tallahassee Animal Service Center this past week. This first gal, above, is Abigail. She was my favorite of the week! This photo was neither zoomed nor cropped. She was just that in my face! I shoot with a 35mm prime lens, so yep, she was that close. Super sweet mama girl with so much love to give!

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Tallulah, two-year-old chocolate Lab mix
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Moss Boss, two-year-old American Staff, 75 pound sweet gentle beast!
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Juniper, two-year-old cute little hippo
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Denzel, two-year-old super suave ladies man
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Baxter, four-year-old Lab mix
Thanks for stopping in today!