Monday, August 5, 2013

Montaña de Oro State Park (Horse Photo Shoot On The Beach)

On Friday we snuck off to one of my favorite places on Earth: Montaña de Oro State Park.

Back when I was competing on the Cal-Western Appaloosa show circuit, my show team used to camp here about once a year. Reservations have to be booked at least 6 months in advance and the weather often does not cooperate, but it is ALWAYS worth it. I have made amazing memories taking both of my boys to the beach (including one violent experience with the flu that involved me projectile vomiting on my horse). 

On this trip, one of my best friends, Shea, joined us with her four-year old quarter horse, Melinda. Shea started Melinda as part of the Cal-Poly Quarter Horse Enterprise and realized early on that she couldn't live without her. This was her first trip to the beach, so my two old boys were the seasoned veterans who were there to show her the ropes... little did we know how awesome she is!

A little back-story:

Shea and I have been friends since high school and  we LOVE to have photo shoots where we dress up and play around. The thought of incorporating our horses just sounded perfect. The reality, however, is that after a few days of camping you feel less than glamorous. On Saturday, after a four hour ride, we both decided the photo shoot wouldn't be happening. After all, our hair was greasy and we were tired. 

Then, Sunday morning rolled around and I woke up determined. I found out later that Shea and Brandon had been talking earlier that morning where Shea had said, "Uh, oh. She's awful cheery... she must be planning on taking photos". So, we sprinkled large amounts of baby powder in our hair to absorb the grease, caked makeup on over dirt, and curled our hair using a power invert-er to charge the curling iron in the truck. 

Clearly, the photo shoot went GREAT! Here are some tips I have for those of you thinking of doing it too:

1. Be safe!

We decided it was safest to saddle up and be fully clothed on the chilly ride to the beach and that we could change once we were down there... Let's just say that was a lifesaver on the 30 minute ride in the mist!

Furthermore, make sure you are on horses you know and trust. I would have gladly rode either of my horses out there, but I knew Dunny was more predictable (plus Andrew has some hair loss from rain rot right now-- bald asses don't make for pretty photos!). 

2. Don't Expect Perfection

  Don't be discouraged with misbehavior. Not all photos have to be perfect. In my wedding trash-the-dress shoot, Andrew was AWFUL, but the photos look lovely. Just smile and make the best of it!

3. Make sure your dress isn't too short!

I learned this lesson the hard way. Half the time my underwear were showing and I used my scarf to cover them haha! A high-low dress like Shea's is not only trendy, but a smart choice for riding bareback as well.

4. Go for variety.

We did shots both mounted and dismounted and in a variety of poses. Don't be afraid to try something fun for your photos!

5. Have fun!

We had a blast out there laughing and playing in the waves. I shot all of Shea's photos while mounted and it involved some pretty funny poses to get the shots while Dunny squirmed and wasn't listening. 

6. Make do even when your horse isn't cooperating.

Dunny was not a fan of the bit I borrowed for the shoot. He chomped at it and tossed his head, but we just kept snapping photos. Below, you can see he was cutting me off, so I tippy toed to peer over his neck. If you ask me, it ended up totally cute! 

7. Share the love.

I imagine most people who are dying for a photo shoot with their horse must love their horse. Show it! Love on them and make it clear in the photos how much they mean to you!

8. Make collages.

I do most of my editing through and I LOVE making collages. They are especially perfect when you have sequential photos. 


 9. Play in color and black and white. 

Color is fun, but black and white is timeless. Play around with both and make each image exactly the way you want it. 

 10. Play with your images. 

As I mentioned above, I edit with and I love that I can add fun elements like bokeh to my images. I believe it just makes the photo below that much more fun and unique.  

Have you ever tried taking photos with your pets? Tell me about your experiences!

 All images are photographed by and belong to Please respect copyright laws by not removing watermarks and by giving credit when reblogging or pinning to Pinterest. Thank you!

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Blogger Mobile App

Hey there! In effort to keep up with this blog, I decided to check out the blogger app. I'm not sure why it has taken me so long, but clearly it has. 

If you know me, you know I have an unhealthy relationship with my phone... I live on my favorite apps: Pinterest, Instagram, Bloglovin', Facebook, and Rhonna Designs. Plus I text WAY too much and email as well. 

So, this is basically a trial run to see how blogging on the go works. I figure there are a lot of times where I don't post because I don't want to have to go sit at the computer, so here I am.

Here's the update: these last few weeks have been both stressful and great. Basically, with fall approaching and still no jobs in site, I decided to revamp my résumé, and boy am I glad that I did! 

After changing it up to a more eye-catching résumé that started from a Microsoft Word template (I'll post it for you if you would like), I had two calls for interviews in two days. 

The bigger news? I got a job! Yep. A big girl job in a company that has room to grow! 

I went into my interview with the intent to not take the job because the pay was lower than my expectations and I have had other interviews, and held other jobs, with higher pay. This position, however, was one that requires only a bachelors and a substance abuse counselor certification, so I was both overqualified by having my master's and under qualified by not being a registered substance abuse counselor. 

In the final stages of the interview, the CEO and Program Manager spoke with me about my interest in the position. I will be working directly in a school providing substance abuse counseling and teaching drug/alcohol and life skills classes. The CEO and director feel that my skills can quickly allow me to move in a more mental health and clinical direction in maybe a year and that I will have a unique skills set based on my experiences in marriage and family therapy, school counseling, teaching, and then adding the substance abuse counseling experience that I will gain from this position on top. 

I explained my interest in the job, but also my hesitations for the position. I figured they would place me at a low or mid-range salary and that I might have to use my expert haggling skills to make it work for me (all that thrift shopping/all those yard sales might pay off!). Instead, they stepped out and returned with an offer of pay that is higher than the position offers. They explained they feel I could be a strong asset in the future, but they needed me to commit to this "lower" position this year (although the job still sounds very exciting). To make sure I would be more satisfied with the position, they offered a higher salary. Woot woot! Talk about making a girl feel wanted! No haggling necessary! 

The company seems to be making some big steps in mental health and substance abuse treatment and I look forward to making my mark as a counselor. A friend from school works there and loves it, plus I can still volunteer at the ranch where I have been providing EquineFacilitated  Psychotherapy! It's win win. 

So, I have one more week as a substitute teacher and then I start my new job. I'm excited and scared all at once, but my gut tells me it's going to be great! 

On top of everything, the hubby was promoted to the shop foreman at his work! It's just good news all around! 

So, of course, we had to go celebrate! 

Any good news you have experienced lately? Tell me about it! 


Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Today's Before and After: Heating Things Up.

Guess what... this is a home decor blog.  "Huh?" you say? You are probably confused because I recently started blogging more about my life, and my stress, and my fitness/eating habits, but yes my friends, this is a home decor blog. So, I will continue now with my home decor post:

I'm pretty much the queen of procrastinating... see those dishes? Yes, they need to get done, but here I am blogging... same story happened a few weeks back. I found myself overwhelmed with things I "need" to do and instead I thought, "I'm kinda over the green fireplace... and I have a can of white (Churchill Hotel Lace) to match the kitchen... and I'm home alone... and it would brighten the room..." etc. etc. 

So, here's the before:

^^I guess someone I needed some SERIOUS training in adjusting saturation on the camera.... 
P.S. Those heavy curtains were swapped out for sheers! 

But back to the story... 

So, I stripped down to my undies (that's how I roll home alone), washed it down with TSP, dried it, and started painting away. 

After making sure I had support from my cousin first:

^^my "nephew" (I pretty much consider my cousin my sister) is a stinkin' cutie!

And I'm pretty happy with the results:

Here's the play by play of our ever-changing living room (at least some parts):

 We started with a pretty ugly and burned fireplace back in 2009 when we bought our home:

We primed the ENTIRE house all at once when we had only three days to get all the walls painted. 

Then I painted the fireplace Valspar's "Nutria" green and added some pretty awful window treatments (cut me a break, I was new to this!):

 Then we re-painted the brass in a flat black:


And for those of you who need the side-by-side comparison like me, here is it now:

Although it still looked worlds better during each step of the process (and so much cleaner than the burned brick!), as time passed, the room felt like too many green colors were fighting in it. 

I ditched the green coffee table for this one that I repainted after it sat in my parent's attic for years, and I just felt it was time to try white on the fireplace too. 

So what do you think? Have you taken a risk in decorating your home lately?

^^Let's be honest... How risky is white? Psssh.. 

Of course someone got a little bored with all the photos I was taking of the fireplace... 

How about you? Have you been just as stir crazy as me needing to tackle some totally free, yet fun projects? Let me know! 


Related Posts with Thumbnails