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MY FAVORITE PLACE

My favorite place to visit is the ocean in Florida.  My girlfriend moved to Florida 8 years ago.  My first visit to Florida was in 2010.  We went to the beach in Delray Beach, Florida.  I was so taken back by the beauty of the ocean.

As I look out at the ocean, I can see the beauty of God and God’s Greatness!  I can see the “awesomeness of My God.  On another trip to Florida, we went to the beach as the sun was setting.  Words cannot express the feeling I felt watching the sun set over the ocean.

My ultimate goal is to get a condo off the beach so I can wake up to the beauty of the ocean

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IT’S BEEN A WHILE!

It’s been about 3 years since I have been active blogging about my Luna girl and my store!  There is so much to learn about marketing strategies on the internet.  Since I wasn’t having much luck with search engines and internet marketing, I decided to try the old traditional ways.  I couldn’t afford an actual “brick and mortar store” so I rented a booth at 3 different Pet shows that were well known in my area.  I knew there I would at least get exposure to people and they could see my work!

In 2013, I attended 3 pet shows where I displayed a majority of my items.   1 show was with the Windy City Pet Expo in July 2013.  The other 2 shows were with the Chicago Pet Show located in St. Charles and Darien Illinois.  Those shows were in September and November 2013.

I took time to prepare for those shows by concentrating on pet items for my store so I could display my items for these shows.  Its was a huge success in that many people stopped by my booth.  They loved the idea of pets on all these different items.  I was able to distribute many of my business and rack cards.  I also had a lot of people tell me how they lost their pets to cancer.

However, I received very few sales from these pet shows.  Many of the customers wanted to upload their own pictures of their pets on our items, which was great because our Zazzle items can be personalized and customized.  So I am not really sure what happened to all those sales.

I think I became disappointed with the lack of sales that I let everything slide.  I still want my store to be successful so I can donate to cancer research.   Since I work full time, trying to figure out SEO and other marketing strategies on the internet can be very difficult!  Its like your store is located on a remote island unless you can get “Google” or other search engines to bring your store to the “Main Island”.

I had read books and have searched the internet on search engine optimization.  Even with following the suggestions, it is extremely difficult to get you noticed on the first page.

Yes, I became very discouraged!  I had a setback last year in November as I had a heart attack!   I thought I was having heartburn when the whole time I was having a heart attack.  2 of my main arteries were 100% blocked and my main artery was 70% blocked.   I will save the story of my heart attack for another blog.  I was only concerned about getting my health back in order.  1 year later and 2 stents I am doing well.

This past year I was concentrating on my health!  Strangely, my store “out of the blue” started to get sales!  Slowly but surely!  I was wondering if God was trying to tell me something.  Obviously He saved my life!  So was He telling me now that He wants me to get back to work on My store?

So, here I am!  I am starting to revive my store again!  I am working on how to get out of that “remote island” and get to the “Main Island”.

You can find more information about my store on my  “About” Page. 

My website is http://luna-love-of-life-graphic-design-gifts.webs.com.

My facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/LunasLoveOfLifeGifts/

Any suggestions or comments would be greatly appreciated!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE CANCER WALK!

LUNA’S PAW PRINT IN HER MEMORY ON THE MEMORY TREE

I did it!  I completed the 2 mile Canine Cancer Walk with the 2 Million Dog Foundation!  It was an awesome event.  Lots of people and lots of dogs.  We were all there to “Puppy Up” against Cancer.  I know my precious Luna was walking right by my side!

As of yesterday, the West Dundee IL had raised a total amount of $18,316.  I’m sure by the time the event was completed, the amount will be higher.  I am definitely going back next year.  We will try to start fundraising earlier than we did this year in a hope to get more donations for this great cause.  So that someday we will no longer need these walks.

I am revamping my store!  When I have completed the process, I will let everyone know.  Part of the store will directed to raising monies for canine cancer.

We did a good job yesterday and proud of it.   This was for you my Luna girl! I love you and miss you so much and I will never give up on my mission  to “Retrieve a cure for cancer” in honor of “My Babygirl”

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HURRICANE IN FLORIDA?

This will be a short blog because I don’t know when the electric may go out.  If you have read my blog “We love you, Luna girl” and “Going Back”, you will know that I am in Florida visiting my friends.  My trip has been extended due to the “Tropical Storm Issac” approaching us.  The bands from the storm have already started.

On Friday, we went hurricane shopping.  I have never experienced a hurricane or tropical storm.  There were a lot of people at all the stores getting tons of water, canned goods and other non-perishable items.  Once the storm hits, electricity could go out and stay off.  This could last for a week or more depending on the damage from the storm.  The water could get contaminated so that’s why you need to stock up your water supply.  “No Electricity” means no cooking, darkness and more. If electricity stays off for a long time, all your food in the freezer and refrigerator will end up spoiled.

Yesterday and today we worked on putting shutters on all the windows.  It looks like we are in jail.

Hurrincane shutters on windows

Bedroom window on 2nd floor with hurricane shutters

Hurricane ready for Tropical Storm Isaac
Kitchen sliding doors hurricane ready

I do feel very secure with the shutters bolted to the windows.  The strong winds haven’t started yet.   I’m sure I will be totally frightened when it starts.  It was a lot of work but well worth it.  I have taken some pictures while it is storming  and will take more after the storm hits.

I love visiting my friends in Florida but I can’t wait until the storm is over.  Every place has there good and bad points.  Florida’s bad points are the tropical storms and hurricanes.  I will blog again after the hurricane.

GOING BACK!

Beach view of Delray Beach

White wash ocean waves crashing to the shore

I am so very excited; it is only 4 days away until I go back to Delray Beach, Florida.  It has been 4 months since my last visit.  It seems like a year.  I miss my best friend and her family so much.  After 3 years, it is still very difficult to have your best friend of 25 years living over 1300 miles away.  The further away I have ever been was an hour drive away which is approximately 40-50 miles.

WAVES BROUGHT SEAWEED TO THE SHORE AFTER STOMY DAYS

Ocean bringing in seaweed from the depths of the ocean

Beach view of the Atlantic Ocean
A gorgeous view of the waves coming to shore.

Lonely bird searching for food on the sandy beaches of Delray Beach
Bird searching for food after the stormsBoat riding the stormy waves of the ocean

Waves from the ocean after stormy days in Delray Beach

High waves due to storms on previous days

I leave for Florida on Thursday.  I miss the pups in Florida too.  I call them my Florida pups.  There is Harry, a beautiful British Golden Retriever, who is Luna’s baby brother.  Harry became so depressed when we lost our Luna girl.   In October 2011, Harry opened his home to his baby sister Billie!  She is so beautiful.  It was her 1-year-old birthday this month.  I haven’t seen Billie since April, I know she has grown so much in 4 months time.  Harry loves Billie so much and is very protective.  They have tons of fun together.

Baby Billie and Harry laying on couch together

I always bring stuffed animals to the pups.  We call them “babies”  I started that with Chooch, who was our golden before Luna.  Chooch lived to be 14 years old.  When I came to visit my best friend I would always bring a “Baby” for Luna and she knew it.  Every time I came over she went digging in my bag for her “baby”   I continued the “Baby Tradition” went they moved to Florida .  When Harry came to live with Luna I added another “Baby” for him.  He always wanted Luna’s Baby too.  I have continued the tradition with the Billie girl too.  So before I leave for Florida I have to make sure I get 2 “Babies” for my 2 “Fur Babies” in Florida.

Luna carrying all her babies in her mouth

Luna trying to carry all her Babies in her mouth.

Harry loves his baby

Harry’s security blanket is sucking on his babies

Harry sleeping with his panda bear

Harry loves his babies. Here he is sleeping with his panda bear

Harry misses his Luna
Harry is very depressed, Luna has died and he is sucking on two of her babies.

We will be getting our tatoo of Luna’s paw print on Saturday.  In the time that I have visited my friends in Florida I have never seen a sunset over the ocean.  I’m going to ask if we can go to the ocean during a sunset.  I’m sure it will be a beauty to behold.  Oh yes, I will be taking tons of pictures.

I will be taking more pictures of the beauty of Florida.  I will have more designs to create with these beautiful pictures.  I will be adding them to my store when I get back.  You can visit my store today to see the beautiful landscape and beach designs that I already have for sale.

It will be a nice vacation for me.  I can get away from work for ten days,  visit with my friends and the fur babies.  I am counting the days.  I can’t wait to see the sunset over the ocean.  I will be writing about my vacation when I get back.

LION COUNTRY SAFARI

On one of my trips to Florida, we went to Lion Country Safari.  It is such an awesome place.

Have you ever seen “Jurassic Park” movie?  This is how the Lion Country Safari works.  At the entrance, you receive a CD which narrates each area of the compound.  Its like being in Africa.  All the animals with the exception of the Lions, roam free with no gates or cages.  Lions have an open area they can roam but there are fences surrounding them.  I believe that is because so they don’t eat all the other animals.

WELCOME TO LION COUNTRY SAFARI

ENTRANCE TO LION COUNTRY SAFARI

The cars must drive very slowly as the animals will cross the road right in front of you and can also come very close to your car.  It is an exciting experience. There are several different areas of the park.  These are just a few of the National Parks:

  • The Ruaha National Park – this  African wilderness is known for its variety of wildlife.
  • Serengeti Plains – this preserve is named for one of the most famous east African wildlife areas: the Serengeti
  • Hwange National Park – a famous reserve located in western Zimbabwe.
  • Gorongosa Reserve – Located in northern Mozambique, the Gorongosa is one of Africa’s famous wildlife areas
  • Gir Forest -a well-known National Park in India.
  •  Kalahari Bushveldt – a dry plateau roughly 500 square miles in size located in southwest Africa
  • Las Pampas – Grasslands cover about a quarter of the earth’s land mass and are called by many different names. In South America they are called Las Pampas.

I don’t remember which of the animals went to each National Park.  I am showing pictures that were taken while driving through the park.  There are antelopes, gazelles, lions, zebras, rhinos, giraffes, “wild ass”, gemboks.  I have also included some of the warning signs they have throughout the park.

While you view the pictures, keep in mind that we could not open windows or get out of the cars.  All the pictures were taken through our glass car windows.

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Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get pictures of the lions without the fence in the way.

They also have a walk-thru Safari Walk which is different from the Drive-Thru Safari.  The Walk-Thru Safari has animal presentations, gifts shops, restaurants.  I would say if you go to West Palm Beach, Florida you definitely want to see the Lion Country Safari.

 

 

Delray Beach, Florida

In my previous post I wrote why we picked Florida for our theme at our store Luna Love of Life Gifts.

Delray Beach is where all my pictures were taken for my store as of this writing.  The majority of the pictures were about the ocean and landscapes of Delray Beach.  It is so beautiful.

SAND AND OCEAN

WHITE WASH WAVES ON THE SANDY SHORES OF DELRAY BEACH

I travel to Delray Beach 3 to 4 times a year.  I visit my best friend and her family. Every time I go I must see the ocean because it is so beautiful.  I can spend hours just watching the waves coming to the shore.  It is so serene and beautiful.  Just imagine having a very stressful day at work, all you have to do is stop by the beach and watch the waves of the ocean washing against the shore and all that stress is gone.  It is that beautiful and serene.  Just the vastness of the ocean is awesome to behold.  If you can’t tell, I really love the ocean and can’t wait to go back.

ATLANIC OCEAN BLUE WATERS

BEAUTIFUL BLUE WATER OF THE OCEAN

Beach view of the ocean

Serenity of ocean waves

BEACH CONDOS

One of Delray Beach hotels right off the ocean.

That is one reason why my store has several different items and different views of the ocean because I think it is so beautiful.

Downtown Delray Beach has lots of little shops that are very unique.

DELRAY BEACH UNIQUE SHOPS

ONE OF THE UNIQUE SHOPS DOWNTOWN

There are quite a few different restaurants for all types of taste.  The awesome part of these restaurants, especially from a Midwesterner point of view, is the fact that you can eat outside and enjoy the beautiful weather.  There are some restaurants that are located right across from the ocean.  You can have an awesome lunch or dinner outside and view the ocean at the same time.

Delray Beach is a tourist town, it has many different events going all the time.  During the winter months, the snowbirds, come to Florida.  The snowbirds are all the people who come and live in Florida for the winter and go back home for the summer.  In Delray Beach, the snowbirds come from New York and New Jersey.  Most of  Midwesterners go to the Gulf side.

According to VisitFlorida.com

“Delray Beach is located north of Boca Raton, this Palm Beach County city is a lively beach town full of galleries, shops and boutiques. Delray Beach also attracts visitors with the Delray Beach Tennis Center, the historic Colony Hotel and the annual Delray Beach Garlic Festival.”

According to “I Love Delray Beach” by Danila Dahl

“Delray Beach  is Voted All-America City Award in 1993 and 2001.   It is also Affectionately Known as Village by the Sea.”

I will be going back to Delray Beach on August 16th.  I am counting the days. One thing that I haven’t seen yet is the sunset over the ocean.  I’m going to see if my girlfriend can take me to the ocean to see the sunset.  I will be taking lots of pictures.

Our baby girl Luna passed away on August 21, 2011.  When Luna died her veterinarian had made an  ink imprint of Luna’s paw.  We are taking that paw print and getting a tattoo on our leg.  She is our baby girl and missed very much.

You can find our Luna’s story on our “Home” Page or at http://luna-love-of-life-graphic-design-gifts.webs.com/dedication