Tag Archives: dogs

Giveaway Galore

The first two months of the year is always somewhat bittersweet for me.  Tax forms start coming in and my goodness, the bills!!  Car insurance is due; life insurance premium is due.  Car plates are due.  I remember the first time I knew I was a grownup: it was the year I had to use my birthday money to pay for gasoline and credit card bills instead of frivolous things like music and clothes.

I do still get a few perks around my birthday, though.  February 1st always brings good mail.  Today my inbox was flooded with gift certificates to Office Maxx ($10 off $50!) and a coupon for a free cupcake at my favorite café (YUM!!) as well as double bonus points from Ulta for anything I purchase during the month of February!

Okay, I’ll admit – the cupcake is really the only thing I’ve gotten without strings attached.  Still, it’s a nice way to wake up in the morning, especially since my birthday is still over two weeks away.

Since I’m no longer running, I’m back to walking on the treadmill and putting in 3 miles at a time.  Today I’m going to try and squeeze in another mile for an even 4 but seriously, that may be the caffeine from my tea talking right now. 

I find that if I do it first thing in the morning then the rest of my day is freed up to paint and write.  For the past few days I’ve had little else to do, anyway.  Our weather went from 60 degrees and rainy one day to nearly single digits within 24 hours.  Today, I’m looking at 8 inches of snow on the ground and it is exactly ONE degree outside.  The dogs are not happy.  They want their walk and don’t care what temperature it is outside.  Every time I move, they block the doorway and look at me like this:


These dogs are impossible to reason with, I tell you!  lol


Because of the weather, you’d think I would have loads of inspiration for winter themed paintings, right?  Nope.  I can’t get get summer out of my head and it’s been coming through in my work: 



This painting was inspired from many nights under a campfire a few years back when Craig and I used to camp during the summers.  At least I’m getting back into a rhythm of painting.  I can’t sit or stand for long periods due to my back, so I do short bursts of fast and furious painting – which, surprisingly works quite well for me.  Go figure! 

Speaking of painting…….

This morning I wrote the name of every participant for our January Hate-Loss Challenge, folded the papers and put them in a bowl like so:


…and had my husband draw a name from the bowl before he headed off to work.  The winner of the inspirational print is:


Congratulations, Brenda!   Check your inbox for an email from me – I need your address so I can send your print to you Smile


This giveaway just happens to coincide with another giveaway I’m doing on Facebook right now.  I just reached my 100th Facebook Fan and am holding a drawing for THREE prints and a greeting card featuring my art.  Just click on the photo below and you’ll be taken to my Fan page where you can enter if you’d like.   Note** You must have a Facebook account to participate. 

The contest will close tomorrow (Saturday) at noon, EST. A winner will be announced tomorrow night.


Have a great weekend, everyone! 


Vacation and Sleep Mode

Sleep has not been my friend lately, so this post is likely to be a little short.  Perhaps a bit incoherent.  Definitely not as riveting as my recent vomit story.   I apologize in advance. 

Much of my sleep disturbance is likely hormone related; however, I have a furry, little 4-legged friend who has been getting me up between 2 and 3 every morning for the past couple of weeks in desperate need to go outside.  Her inner clock has been off since the time change.  

She doesn’t look like the type that would wake her owner in the middle of the night, does she? 


A year and a half ago, this little sweetheart was too afraid to allow us to pet her on her backside.  Now, she’s feeling pretty darned comfortable in her forever home.  Somehow though, I must figure out a way to get her to sleep through the night.  Working on that. 

Craig is on vacation this week so I’ve decided to take a break from painting and blogging, however if something magically exciting happens, you’ll be the first to know.  Otherwise, I hope you all have a great week!



Progress Report!

It’s been a while since I’ve given an update post on my physical health, so guess what?  Today is your unlucky LUCKY day!  Actually, I’ve been waiting to post about my health until I’ve had something good to report.  Recovery can be so incredibly slow, sometimes it feels like you’re not making any progress at all until one day you wake up, put on your jeans and find that HEY, today the zipper is going up while the swelling is going down!  Yay!!

Actually, more importantly than jeans fitting (I’m loving my yoga pants too much these days) is my stamina increasing.  This week I achieved a milestone and captured it on Instagram:


This is a photo of me wearing my giant Elton John-style sunglasses along with my hiking companions.  We just finished my longest walk/hike since surgery: 2.75 miles!  Brulee was particularly excited for me – can you tell? 

The best part?  Very little fatigue afterwards.  Translation:  no zonking out on the couch as soon as I walk back through the door.  Progress!! 

Here are a few more shots on the trail over the past week or so:



The above shot was taken earlier last week, before the rain from Hurricane Sandy sent the remaining leaves falling to the ground.  (By the way, if you’re on Instagram and like me to follow you, just leave your username in the comments section. If you’d like to follow me, my username is:  ellenbrennemanstudio)


All in all, I am happy to be feeling more like myself.  I still have to plan carefully, though.  I can’t seem to get to yoga class on the days that I hike; it’s simply too much.  I’m incorporating both back into my life, but alternating accordingly. 

Taking these long walks has been great for my mind as well as my health.  I think about new ideas for paintings, listen to music, and when I’m ready to focus on something else, I’ve been listening to Rob Lowe’s book, ‘Stories I Only Tell My Friends’.

Initially, I wasn’t really interested in this book. Despite the fact that he’s been around as long as I have, I just recently became a Rob Lowe fan thanks to Parks and Recreation.  The audiobook I wanted was checked out, so I grabbed this one instead.  I have to tell you, this book has been such a great read.  Narrated by Rob, he is a master storyteller, and he leaves no stone unturned.   Even if you aren’t a fan, I think you’d enjoy it.  I just finished it today and was sorry that it ended – a sure sign that you’re reading a great book!

My plans for the weekend are pretty much laid out for me.  I’ve been painting tiny three by three inch canvases and turning them into ornaments for Christmas by drilling a hole through the stretcher and stringing through ribbon.  I decided that I’m going to paint them until I no longer enjoy doing them; then that will be it.  I don’t know how some of these Etsy sellers can churn out identical wares over and over again.  I admire them, but I’d go mad working that way.  Anyway, this is the result of what my weekend will look like:

Anyone else have specific plans this weekend?  I hope you all have a good one!  See you back here next week Smile




Maybe you’ve noticed that my last few posts have been sprinkled with a bit of self-awareness.  I’m not sure where this clarity came from; well, maybe I do. 

Just maybe, gaining control of this anxiety-thing has quieted my mind enough to allow me the pleasure of experiencing peace and quiet for the first time in over a year.  I’m not at 100% by any stretch of the imagination, but hopefully these last few posts are allowing you to get a sense of the changes that are taking place within me. 


If you happened to be up reading blogs at 4:30 on Monday morning, you may have noticed that my blog theme had been stripped bare – as in, barely working.  It took me hours to rebuild it and is still a bit wonky, but it’s slowly getting back to where it should be.  The scary thing is, I have no idea what happened so I have no way of knowing how to prevent it from happening again.  Sigh.  There is  only thing missing: all of my lovely and meaningful blog awards.  They vanished during the meltdown.  I feel like the winner of Miss Blogosphere  whose been stripped of her crown!  Hopefully, I’ll be able to retrieve the awards, as well as the details of who gave them to me and when, but for now I just have to remind myself that Vanessa Williams made quite the comeback, and so shall I!  LOL


I’m sure you’ve guessed by now that I haven’t yet gone on my first bike ride.  My husband has been working around the clock on mandatory overtime since Kayaking-Saturday almost two weeks ago.   The heat index here in the Midwest has been truly unbearable anyway.  A trip across the parking lot from my car to the grocery store has been intolerable, so learning how to ride a bike with a heat index of 110 degrees isn’t currently on my list of high demands.  I haven’t even walked the dogs; it’s just too hot.  Of course, they don’t understand that.  They just think I’m being lazy. 


So, what does a girl do when she’s too unmotivated to move?  Netflix to the rescue!  I had a movie arrive that I didn’t remember putting on my queue called ‘It’s Kind of a Funny Story’.  Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover movies) was excellent.  I really enjoyed this movie.  It was funny, endearing, and I related to the storyline (for those of you who have seen it – no, not because it was set in a mental ward.)  LOL   I recommend it highly, especially if you like Focus Feature films.


  Watch the Trailer

Speaking of my kayaking-Saturday, within that post I’d mentioned I had committed to three new experiences.  I shared two of them with you: the first was obviously kayaking; second was learning to ride a bike.  But I never told you what the third one was. 

After we returned from paddling around at the park, we stopped at a garden center that I’d always wanted to visit.  It’s the kind of store that beckons you to come inside, with it’s row of colorful outdoor chairs sitting at attention just outside.


This store had the most unique outdoor accessories I’d ever seen, and the owners were super nice to talk to (again, reinforcing my talking to strangers behavior).  While walking around, I noticed near the front window were rows upon rows of fairy gardens.  I’d never seen a fairy garden before. Think small. There were different outdoor containers filled with potting soil and live plants including moss, hen and chicks, bonsai trees.  The fun part was looking at all of the tiny accessories decorating these miniature gardens: a watering can slightly bigger than a thimble, a gazebo no higher than 5 inches, and fairy houses that fit in the palm of your hand. Above them was a sign that read, ‘Ask About our Fairy Garden Classes!’ I did just that.  I signed up for one, too!  Again, this was totally something that I would never before have considered doing on my own.  Technically, I could use this experience as one of my comfort zone challenges, but truthfully, I don’t consider it a challenge at all.  I’m really looking forward to it!  Progress, baby!  Progress! 

Class is on Friday morning.  Pictures to come.  In the meantime, if you go here you can see a very elaborate fairy garden design.  Do NOT expect mine to look anything like this.

Have a great Wednesday, everyone – and as always, thank you for all of your comments the last few days.  I haven’t been able to reply to each of you because of my blog fiasco but wanted you to know how much your comments mean to me. 





To Post, or Not to Post

When I don’t have anything particularly interesting to write, I sometimes wonder whether I should post, or just let you all have a little break and move on to another blog that has something a bit more enticing to read.  I thought about waiting until something came to me but who knows how long this dry spell will last, so today will be short and sweet so you know I’m still here, despite the fact that I’m not feeling very inspirational these days.

So, what do people do when they have nothing in particular to say?  Why, show photos of babies or animals, of course.  Here’s Bru drying off on our deck after a romp in the creek that runs behind our home:

The orange thing he has in his mouth is a device used to train dogs to bring back game from the water.  Brulee uses it as his chew toy and carries it around with him everywhere.

A quick update on Emmie: we took the dogs to a dog park for the first time on Monday.  This was her first time in a wide open space off leash.  You should have seen her run!  The funny thing is, she knew where she wanted to run to, but she had no idea how to stop.  She ended up running into a couple of people and quite a few dogs before learning how to apply those doggie brakes.  It was a sight was watch.

Last week I mentioned in my Life with Anxiety post that I was starting a new medication.  Today is day five on this new med; sadly, I don’t think this is the right one for me.  The side effects have been quite unpleasant including rapid heartbeat and insomnia, both of which has left me so tired over the past several days I haven’t exercised once since last week aside from my daily walks with the dogs.  That’s something though, right?

Finally, I received two very special blog awards this past week.  The first one is from my friend Michele over at Healthy Cultivations and the second is from Kelliann at Life in Crisis, I Mean Fitness… Thank you so much for thinking of my blog enough to pass along these awards.  I’m very grateful, and will work on an award post in the near future.

So, what’s new with you?