Mackworth Island

Last week my Mom and I took Mukow to Mackworth Island in Falmouth. It was a super cold day but I needed to get out of the house and thought it would be fun to take Mukow somewhere new! The island is pretty awesome — it’s attached to the mainland by a causeway and has a little parking lot so you can leave your car and wander around. It’s the former home of James Phinney Baxter and of his son, Governor Percival Baxter, and was deeded to the state of Maine in 1943. It’s also the home of the Baxter School for the Deaf. The trail around the perimeter of the island is about 1.25 miles and we walked basically the whole thing, going into the woods on occasion to check things out. It was great — super peaceful.

Mukow got to wear a scarf on the ride there — so classy.

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We walked down some stairs so we could get right next to the water. Mukow was NOT sure what to think…

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“Mom are you okay over there?!?”

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Watching her Gramma come up the stairs…

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Sometimes there’s tape up because part of the cliff caves in and there’s a sheer drop. Oops!

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Mom was pretty sufficiently bundled…

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Oh ocean, how I’ve missed you. <3

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Just some seaweed in a bush. Not even that close to the water.

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We stumbled upon this on part of the island. Percival Baxter had a lifelong love of Irish Setters, and one of the provisions he made when gifting the island to the state was that the pet cemetery he established would be maintained by the state in perpetuity. He has both dogs and a horse buried here. So cool.

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Some suuuuper straight trees.

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And one curly tree.

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A rock in a hole…

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Mukow desperately wanting to bark at some innocent children.

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The Best Way Out is Always Through

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It might seem crazy since, ya know, I live in Maine, but I’ve never enjoyed winter. Yes, people travel to Maine specifically for various winter sports and activities — skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, dog sledding, snowmobiling — but I’ve never gotten into any of them. Yes, the average high temperature in the winter months ranges from 28 to 40 degrees, with low temperatures getting down to -10 at times (it’s forecast to get down to -8 in a couple days…), but I’ve always been a much bigger fan of 75 degrees and sunny with a slight breeze. Once I got out of school and “snow days” weren’t really a thing anymore, it just didn’t do anything for me (and even then I didn’t love winter, it was just tolerable when it meant I could stay home and watch movies all day). But that’s starting to change.

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I have to say that a big motivator for me is Mukow, of course. As much as I might like to stay inside with the heat on all day, she would be miserable. She needs to head outside for the occasional quick trip to pee, but she also needs time to play, run, and adventure — and I realized that I need that adventure, too (but not the peeing — I can do that inside). It wasn’t an immediate change, though. Last winter — our first winter with a dog — I was pretty miserable. I took her outside but as quickly as I could get away with, and walks were rare — when they did happen, it was a simple trip around the block. No fun for her or for me, either. Not only was it depressing to be in the midst of it, it was terrible to dread the change of the season — to dread the final leaves falling from the trees, to dread the first 30 degree day, to dread the first snow fall. It’s really no way to live, especially when you live in a place where winter easily spans from late November to late March. I can’t pout and stomp my feet for 4+ months out of the year and expect to live a fulfilled life.

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This winter I decided to be proactive instead. As New Year’s Day approached I decided to commit myself to Project 365 which encourages people to take a photo every single day for the whole year. It seemed like a perfect project since I was wanting to take more personal photos — photos that I’m not being paid to take — and document more of my life. It means that I am rediscovering my love for and interest in cemeteries — I have a huge list of Maine and New England cemeteries to visit now. It means that I am bringing my camera outside when I play with Mukow in the yard — taking more photos of her, of our surroundings, of her playing with Molly, and occasionally of me and/or Nate. It means that I am more inspired and motivated to go outside of our yard and our street — walking further, driving to parks and woods, and finding new places to explore. It’s keeping my mind and creativity active while keeping Mukow physically and emotionally stimulated. It’s helping with my anxiety, giving me something positive and constructive to focus on. It’s making me happy every day, knowing that I am capturing otherwise overlooked parts of my life and my interactions.

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Winter has its own uniqueness. There’s a sense of renewal, of fresh starts, of purity. Colors are more vibrant in contrast. Even the sky is different this time of year — either a moody grey or a brilliant blue. There’s so much to explore and photograph and it’s making me really enjoy this season like I never have before. Even the cold temperatures are easier to deal with — in a way I am training myself to tolerate, accept, and eventually love this part of the year. I’m (finally) becoming more adult and responsible with dressing myself — a first for me! — by investing in good quality clothing and boots to stay warm. But just exposing myself to the elements on a daily basis means they aren’t something to be avoided or run through — they’re something to embrace and enjoy. So to all of you who hate the cold and/or the snow as much as I used to, just know there’s hope. ;)

Project 365! Days 22-28

Another damn awesome week! This is the most I’ve ever consecutively taken my camera out for fun, personal photos and it’s becoming like second nature for me, which was my goal. I’m really hoping I’m able to make it enough of a habit that it sticks with me in the busy months (when I am doing much more “work” photography). Here’s my week summed up!

January 22nd: Mom, Mukow, and I went for a walk around Mackworth Island in Falmouth. It was CRAZY cold but I’m glad we stuck with it — we made it around the entire perimeter of the island (about 1.25 miles). The views are stunning all around and it’s a great place for dogs! We even found a tiny pet cemetery in the middle — set up by Percival Baxter, it’s home to 14 of his faithful Irish Setters and 1 horse. Awesome!

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January 23rd: My friend Devon and I went on a cemetery tour around Windham — we managed to hit 6 different cemeteries and had an awesome time taking photos and exploring!

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January 24th: It snowed for a while — big, fat, fluffy flakes — and I ended up taking Mukow to Baxter Woods for a walk. It was just as gorgeous as I hoped!

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January 25th: I did a boudoir marathon day at my studio! I had 4 gorgeous ladies come in for mini sessions — with hair & makeup by Jessica Candage — and it was a total success.

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January 26th: Didn’t do much except play outside with Mukow — she’s a bad ass.

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January 27th: If you didn’t hear (impossible, I think the entire world knows), there was a bit of a storm in New England called Juno. We didn’t get hit very hard, honestly — the visibility was shitty if you were driving but I hardly know anyone who did since tons of businesses were shut down for the day. It was fun to have a “snow day” (most of my winter days are snow days but it was fun to have Nate home!) and Mukow LOVED IT.

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January 28th: Another day spent at home — just played outside with Mukow and admired the gorgeous winter sky.

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Throwback Thursday! #8

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I thought this awesome snowy photo would be a good Throwback Thursday this week, considering we are utterly buried in snow (and expecting more this weekend). I’m pretty sure this was taken in Vermont at my grandparents’ old house — my favorite place in the whole world. I’m kind of in love with my brother’s pom-pom hat, my HUGE fuchsia coat, and my dad’s amazing acid wash jeans and Bean boots. WIN.

Etsy Loves! #12

Welcome to ETSY LOVES! This week’s theme is GINKGO! Apparently this is an insanely commonly misspelled word — I myself thought it was GINGKO at first until the amazing Google corrected me. Oops. Apparently almost all of the species are extinct except the one we know, the ginkgo biloba — only found in the wild in China but cultivated across the world. It is considered a symbol of longevity (the trees have been known to live for 2,000 years), hope, resilience, and peace. Personally I am also just in love with the look and shape of the leaves — so gorgeous. I’ve only ever seen a handful of ginkgo biloba trees in my lifetime (a couple of which right here in Portland) and the leaves are just so stunning. In the fall they turn the brightest, most gorgeous shade of bright yellow — amazing!

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First row, from left: Ginkgo leaf rubber stamp from norajane ($3.50) | Ceramic tiles from HollandCeramics ($3.52) | Sage green ginkgo leaf earrings from blockpartypress ($25) | Ginkgo leaves moleskine from shoofly ($16) | Second row, from left: Ginkgo wedding table numbers from jenAitchison ($22.50 for 10) | Wall decal from ShaNickersWallDecals ($43) | Ginkgo leaf cuff from oneworlddesign ($125) | Ginkgo leaf texture mat from claylady43 ($8.95) | Third row, from left: Sterling silver earrings from HeliconiaJewelry ($30) | Melon ginkgo tonga batik from scruffyquilts ($11.99) | Ginkgo flight 8×10 print from annamagruder ($35) | Wedding photo album from WatermarkBindery ($46) | Bottom row, from left: Verdigris ginkgo leaf earrings from GypsyTribeJewelry ($30) | Ginkgo leaf gold/silver brooch pin from GrlTalk ($9) | Gold ginkgo Marimekko pillow cover from mummiquilts ($30) | Ginkgo leaf watercolor print from SeasideStudiosUK ($30.92)

Juno!

As everyone in the entire US heard, New England was braced for a blizzard of mass proportions Monday night and all day yesterday. It actually wasn’t forecast to be THAT terrible — for all of us who have lived in New England most or all of our lives, a foot or two of snow is no big deal. And from what I can tell, in many areas it fell short of predictions. But it was still pretty fun. :) Every nearby business I know of — aside from a few gas stations and convenience stores — were closed. Everyone was home from work, including my husband. It was a fun snow day and we had a good time outside in it!

Mukow was SO PSYCHED…

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Our icy door…

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Nate was psyched…

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Then Jack came out to play!

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Happy dogs!

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Nate decided to run around a little bit, too.

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I love how nasty this photo makes Mukow look…

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Nate was excited. Really.

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You can’t quite tell but at this point (around 10:30/11am) the streets seemingly hadn’t been touched, so they were piled with snow.

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My boots!

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Oh yes. Snow doggies.

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Our side steps…

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Our cars getting snowed in…

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The guys.

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BLIZZARD SELFIE!

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The happiest snow doggy!

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Black dog in the snow!

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“Do I have to go inside?”

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We came back out a few hours later, and the cars were more buried…

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Mukow was just as excited to prance around!

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My Sorels, still keeping me warm!

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Sitting and looking at our neighbors’ house, where Molly lives. She does this at least once or twice every time we’re outside.

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Someone dared to walk down the street, and got the classic Mukow greeting (which mostly consists of barking and jumping).

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Wheeee!

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SO SNOWY.

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“Daddy where ya going?”

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After Nate shoveled a path to our door.

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The street!

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The front of our house.

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My boots and legs after I walked through one of the drifts. Thigh high snow!

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My eyebrows and eyelashes got all icy!

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Mukow found her whiskey bottle squeak toy and WENT CRAZY!

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This is what she does when I go inside without her, which only happens once in a while and only if I have to grab something super quick — she’s never alone for more than a minute or two. SO SAD.

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Headed over to Mom’s to check the scene out (and so Nate could snowblow).

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He was having fun, I swear…

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Mukow VERY happy upon my return.

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Showing how crazy she gets when she plays with pine needles…

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Nate snowblowing at our house!

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Wishlist Wednesday! #11

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WISHLIST WEDNESDAY!! Quickly becoming my favorite day of the week because, duh, I love shopping. I am, as always, psyched about this collection. I’ve said it before but my Wishlist Wednesday collections are items that I myself would buy in a heartbeat (and often they’re from online stores, local shops, or small businesses that I regularly patronize and love). There’s generally not a “theme” to the lists, per se, unless it’s a special occasion — they’re really just collections of things that I saw that made me go “ooh! I want that!!”. My goal is for the lists to truly capture my style and the things I love. Anyways, on to the awesomeness!

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#1 Silver protective hand ring from datter ($77.97). I am not a huge ring wearer but I would snap this up in a second. It’s so unique and beautiful, and I really do love the idea of the little hands hugging my finger!

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#2 Coffin book shelf from BlackWillowGallery ($120). This just COULD NOT BE MORE AWESOME. It’s a small shelf — just over 2 feet high — but my mind is spinning with all of the places in my house I could put this amazing piece of furniture. Sigh!

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#3 Dip dye print henley from Free People ($88). I am a huge fan of dip dyeing and the purple colors on this shirt are just gorgeous — plus I love the relaxed style and the pattern. I pretty much love everything about it!

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#4 Sweater dress from yourbeautyzone ($67). I adore how cozy and comfortable this dress looks — and anything that can easily be paired with leggings/tights and flats is a win in my book!

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#5 Mothman patch from MaidenVoyageClothing ($6). I love most of the items in this amazing shop, but I am a huge fan of their Cryptozoology Tracking Society patches and shirts. The Mothman is probably one of my favorite liminal creatures and this patch is amazing!

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#6 Visualize Victory backpack in caramel from ModCloth ($67.99). I am in serious need of an awesome bag for my outdoor adventures and this one is just gorgeous!

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#7 Tina Belcher earrings from SleepyMountain ($9). I am a HUGE fan of Bob’s Burgers and Tina is one of my favorites — these earrings are KILLER.

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#8 Cactus weekly to-do list from witandwhistle ($12). Handmade and SO ADORABLE. It comes with 50 pages on a heavy chipboard backing and the cactuses are to die for!

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#9 Palm reader necklace from CustomRebelRocks ($21.81). I am DYING over this necklace — so perfect.

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#10 Midnight Marquee carnival star light from Plasticland ($55). As if this marquee light wasn’t amazing enough, it’s powered by AA batteries so you can LITERALLY PUT IT ANYWHERE YOU WANT. Swoon!

My First GIF

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This is crappy at best — I really need to use my tripod or have the camera stabilized when I attempt GIF photos — but I thought it came out pretty okay! I was outside with Mukow and she was sniffing in the snow for her toy and her tail was going crazy — she LOVES the snow and loves digging and hunting. So it’s a little shaky but here’s her wild tail. ;) I know you can do GIFs with Photoshop but I used GIFMaker for this — super easy and I could just download the finished GIF when I was done. Wheee!

Mysterious Path

A couple weeks ago I went for a walk in our neighborhood with Mukow. It was SUPER cold and snowy, but a gorgeous day…

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We soon got to the end of the street and I remembered this odd little path, so I thought we’d explore where it leads…

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We got to an opening in the trees and bushes and Mukow absolutely refused to go any further.

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It was a little weird, actually. She is sometimes hesitant to continue if the snow is high, if there’s something in her way, another dog/person, etc… but there was nothing that I could see that would stop her. I tried pulling her a few times but she just dug into the snow with all of her weight and refused to budge. When I looked back at her after a few tries she was cowering behind me, shaking, with one of her front paws tucked against her body. I’m not one to ignore my dog’s instinct, so we turned back. I thought that maybe she was cold — I had recently read about dogs lifting their paws up when they’re too cold — but the second we turned around she was happy as a clam, tail up and wagging and back to sniffing everything around her. So weird…

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