Category Archives: saving money, conservation

30 Day Recycling Challenge


I have lived all over the United States and I have to say that California gets it right when it comes to recycling and reducing trash.  They have been promoting Reduce, Re-use and Recycle programs for many years now.  They have been changing the laws regarding recycling as well.  If you go to the grocery store, you will not get a brown recycled paper bag unless you ask for it and pay for it.  Most people bring their own bags.  Recycling bins are being used routinely.  My mother is a master at this process already.  We could all learn from her habits.  I used to make fun of her for saving jars and cool whip containers.  Then I wanted to do some crafting and she had almost everything that I needed on hand neatly put away to be re-used for some later purpose.  How much trash do you create in a week? How much in a month? For the next 30 days, I challenge you to reduce your trash by as much as possible. Here are 10 simple ideas to help get you started:

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Taking Great Pictures Of Pets

Wish you took better pictures of your furry friends? I take a lot of pet pictures to send to dog owners that miss their pets. Here are a few basic tips that I have learned to help capture your pet’s best side:

  • Location — Look for colorful and pretty backgrounds. Pets look great outside in nature. Don’t take them somewhere scary. I took Betty on a road trip from Texas to California during the blue bonnet bloom. I tried to get good shots in the beautiful blooms. None of my pics turned out great because the traffic noise terrified her. She could not wait to leave the side of the road that I selected. If you can catch them having fun naturally — that is even better. Always check out what is lurking in your background also. I have taken what I thought were great pictures only to later see too much clutter in the background ruining my shot. Things like poop bags on your leash and trash in the yard won’t make for a great picture. Fallen leaves can be really pretty though.
  • Time of day and lighting make a huge difference. The “Golden Hour” is the hour before sunset. Everything is bathed in a perfectly golden light. Cloudy days can make for some pretty awesome pictures too because you don’t have a lot of shadows.
  • The classic “sun behind you” angle makes for great clear shots. Sometimes taking a picture facing the sun can be very beautiful too though because it can make the picture glow from behind. Play around with lighting. Natural lighting is the prettiest. Try to avoid using a flash. It will annoy your pets and make their eyes look funky.
  • Composition matters. Try using the rule of thirds in photography. It gives you a nice balanced picture that is pleasing to the eye. When you are looking at your picture in the camera, imagine your photo divided into 9 equal squares and arrange things in the shot so that they line up at the inter-sectional lines where the thirds meet. Click on the link above for more details. Try to get things lined up in the frame so that you need to do minimal cropping. This will help keep your photos crisp.
  • Get down at their level instead of taking the picture from above them. If you can zoom in, do it. It makes it easier to catch your dog doing something naturally cute.
  • Teach a good “stay” and a good “look”. Makes it much easier to get a good clear shot. Treats definitely help too. Some people tape a treat to the camera near the lens.
  • Make sure the eyes are in focus and open. The eyes tell a story in pictures.
  • Play with your dogs or take them for a short walk before photographing them. A panting dog looks like it is smiling. Open mouths always look happier.
  • Use the burst feature on your camera or camera phone. This comes in very handy with active dogs. Take numerous pictures while they are running around. I often take 20 pictures to get one great one.

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