50th Texas State Park and Loving Every Minute of It!

50th Texas State Park and Loving Every Minute of It!

Scott and I finally made it to our 50th Texas State Park, Pedernales Falls State Park, just outside of Johnson City.  We were able to do a little hiking and just enjoy being in the outdoors. While we were there, we took a few minutes and did a quick Outside Our Box so we could celebrate our latest goal achievement.

We had such an amazing time getting lost on the hike and seeing some of the Pedernales River.  The camping looked to be clean and comfortable so we will be looking to visit again so we can kayak the river eventually.

Thanks for all the support all of you have shared and all the encouragement.

3,000 Views!  And Now We Can Giveaway A Bus!

3,000 Views! And Now We Can Giveaway A Bus!

Scott and I have been working diligently on our YouTube Channel and finally hit our first goal of 3,000 views.  We are so excited and appreciative for everyone who took the time to stop and watch what we were doing.  Because we reached this goal and it was because of all of YOU, we decided to give away a bus.  Well, it is a hand-embroidered bus patch that I embroidered just for you.


This little fella is 5″ wide and 2.75″ tall. He is made with DMC threads, cotton fabric, and a felt backing; taking me approximately nine hours to stitch up just for you.

Wouldn’t this look great with your National and State Park patches?  I think he would fit in nicely.  If you would like to enter the drawing for him, you will need to do one or all of the following as soon as you can, entries end Sunday, February 5, 2017, at 11:59 PM Central Time.  We will be announcing the winner on YouTube sometime in the evening of Thursday, February 9, 2017.

Below are the written rules.

▼To enter the video there are eight ways you can!▼
Visit Our Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/stitchntraveler/
(each of these are ways to enter and you can do all of them for a chance in the giveaway)

1. You must have already liked our page or Like when you visit it.
2. You can “like” the post about this video.
3. You can “comment” on the post about this video.
4. You can “share” the post about this video with your friends.

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCQdaRAGj0OwDOnNWhvUe8Sg
5. Comment in the comment section below about your funniest trip, most exotic trip, favorite vacation destinations, just tell us about your travels!

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/stitchntraveler/

6: If you already follow us, you are in the drawing. If you are not, visit our Instagram and Follow us.
7. Click the heart under the post about this Giveaway!
8. Comment on the post about this Giveaway!

That’s it! Eight easy ways to enter to win the drawing for the Bus Patch!

Entry for this drawing ends at 11:59 PM on Sunday, February 5, 2017, Central Time.

We will announce the winner on Wednesday, February 9, 2017, some time after 5:00 PM, Central Time.

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***Unfortunately before we set this out we were at 3,000 views.  However, I came in on 1/24/2017 to find that YouTube had deleted about 228 views putting us below the 3,000.  I was quite bummed.  We are still running the giveaway because we still appreciate all of you and your watch time!

3,000 views on January 22, 2017 YAY!

 

And, down to 2,801 views on 1/24/17. Rather dazed and confused as to how this happened.

Good Luck!

Nothing Can Stay The Same

Nothing Can Stay The Same

The other day I was having a conversation with a friend of mine, Angie from lostgirlhikes.com.  We were discussing the improvement of our latest video Outside Our Box – The New Season Begins.  We only started making videos a little more than a year ago and the improvements are quite obvious.  The very first processed video we did was not really processed, it was Scott standing in front of a very flooded Brazos River at the Tres Rios Resort on May 10, 2015.  The sound was horrible, the filming I did was really bad, but it was a start.  Everyone has to start somewhere and that day was our start.

Okay, you can be honest, that was pretty bad.  However, we stepped out of our comfort zone and shared something we thought was interesting.  It has taken a year, but we have figured out a lot of the problems this video had and have worked hard to fix those issues in later videos.  This doesn’t mean our videos are perfect, but we are definitely better at this video thing.

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While I was watching the two videos today in preperation for this blog post, I found myself listing all the issues in that very first video. The two that stand out the most are the sound quality and the filming; yeah pretty much all it. We were filming directly into the wind and there was no control of the sound levels.  Then, of course, there is the way I whipped the camera (actually my phone) back and forth possibly making all of the viewers sea sick.  We didn’t know how to use video processing software correctly and had no concept of how to make an interesting story; all we wanted to do was tell everyone about this historical event that was happening right then on May 10, 2015.

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One of the things that has really changed over the past year is the equipment we are using.  It started out being nothing more than our phones and this was fine to start out with.  However, we have found that if we want to get the higher quality, we need to be using better cameras.  Now, don’t get me wrong, I tend to use my phone more than anything because I am comfortable with it and I know I can get some good photos and video out of it since I have moved to the better phone recently so there is that.  I am using the Samsung Galaxy 7 and have found it to be a really great camera, but it does have its issues.  One of those issues is how the audio and video are not always in sync.  We have been battling this issue more and more, but only last night did we figure out how to adjust the setting in the phone and the video processing software. Then we also figured out that the two cameras (front facing and rear facing) were not set correctly!  I’ve had this phone now for about three months so there has been a huge learning curve.

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Scott started out using his phone as well, but was introduced into the world of “real” photography by our friend who loaned him a Nikon for a few months.  Within a matter of time, Scott decided he wanted to go with a Sony A6000 (mirrorless) system and the quality of his images and videos has improved greatly since December 2016. He has spent many hours watching YouTube videos about how to take great photos and video; he has spent even more time taking photo after photo after photo to learn exactly what he is doing and how to do it right.  This has helped to improve our uploads on YouTube as well.  Granted, we are still learning and figuring things out, but this is how you get better and learn.

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Something else we have been learning over this past year is when and where is the best place to take photos or video. We have found that when the sun is just coming up or just before it does down because the light is diffused and not harsh like the noonday light. Unfortunately we are not good at getting up really early to catch the light at it’s best in the mornings, but we are aware of it.  This is one of the things we are planning to really focus on so our videos and photos are not getting us squinting into the bright light.  Unfortunately this means we have to do a little thought and research before we start doing our videos which isn’t always the case.  We have always been so “spur of the moment” with our trips.

With this being the case, we have decided it is time to start making plans.  One of those plans is making a really good series called Road Trips. This series will be one that takes all of you with us to the places we have enjoyed visiting and sworn we would go back.  You know, the places we have stated we want to spend more time at; places like the Talimena National Byway, El Camino Real de los Tejas, Glenrose, Davis Mountains area and so many more places.  In order to do this though, we have to sit down and make some plans as to how we are going to share the information we will record either through video and photo. Then we have to decide just how “scripted” we are going to be or if we will just ramble on like normal.  Frankly, the rambling is not a productive thing for me because I have to wade through long videos to see what is usable.

I realized in the first episode of our Road Trips, Nacogdoches – The Oldest Town in Texas that we can do a little bit of both scripted dialogue and off the cuff and still be who we are.  Yes, we can still do those spur of the moment trips we so love to do, but we can also take a little bit more time and decide what needs to be said.  Granted this will take more effort than we have put into our videos in the past, but it is something we both feel should be done.  In order to do all of this, we will be creating a schedule for ourselves and doing our best to adhere to it.  Things cannot stay the same if we want to become better at what we are doing so it is time to change.

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Hopefully you have found all of this interesting and worth your time.  Both Scott and I are enjoying sharing our adventures with you, but feel you deserve much better than what we have given in the past.  Because of this, we are trying to up our game and use better equipment, software, and plans.  I believe that doing these three things will help to entertain, educate, and thrill you as we hang out together.

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Daily Vlogging – Not Really My Thing At This Time

Daily Vlogging – Not Really My Thing At This Time

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As you know, I have been trying to do Daily Vlogging for 30 days.  If you already seen the latest video in this vlogging series, you know I have given up a daily vlog and am planning to do a weekly vlog post instead.  If you haven’t seen the video, you can view it HERE.

Finding My Footing (6)Unfortunately I am not ready to be a Daily Vlogger because I am not able to get the daily vlog filmed, processed and uploaded and still get my other Stitchntravel duties finished for the day or any of other things I need to do.  This isn’t fair to you because I was not getting quality items up and it was not fair to myself because I was starting to stress out about the quality and content.  This was really frustrating me and causing me not to want to do the videos at all.  Therefore, I decided it was time to put that project on the side to be done on a weekly time frame giving myself more time and quality content for each video.  This was for the best and I feel good about my decision.  That is what is important.

The decision was a bit difficult to come to because I had a goal of 30 days and here it was only day 21 and I had only created 19 videos; one of which, was a “I failed” video.  Now, I do not actually see this as a total fail, but a fail to achieve my goal.  However, this is not a bad thing, I have had some good content and ideas which have helped me learn about where I see our YouTube channel and how I want our website to be.  I have also learned what it means to be a daily vloggers on YouTube such as TheDailyWooSACCONEJOLYs, and CaseyNeistat.  These people work hard at producing good content and do it in a quick, professional manner.  Yes, it is a large part of their day, but they get it done and done well.

I was able to get 18 vlog posts out and I would like to think they had some good content and pearls of wisdom to help you along your day.  I know I worked hard at thinking up what you might like to know and what I wanted to share.  Knowing how much of a goof I usually am, Scott said he was quite surprised they all usually had a good message and he could tell I put time and effort into them.  Below are week and a half’s worth of videos I did for the vlog.  I still intend to continue to do issues about downsizing, organizing, and wisdoming, but only once a week. So until next week, please enjoy the past 11 episodes of Ren’s Daily Vlog.


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Clean Up The Clutter, Cutiepie was all about taking a few minutes and cleaning up the places where clutter seems to gather.  It didn’t take long to declutter the kitchen pass through.  Not having a place with much storage, we have to be creative in how and where we put things.  This pass through is just one of those places.  We keep our coffee mess and the items to take to Half Price Book Store to sell. Unfortunately we do not have a pantry closet to put our broom and mop so I had to get creative in  my storage.


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Off Roading With Ren was nothing more than me being silly and completely unskilled at filming.  I decided it was time to get outside and have a bit of fun on the knee scooter.  Fortunately for me I am a rather daring person who is willing to have some wild and crazy fun!  Hey you only live once, isn’t that what YOLO is all about?  If you enjoy the wild adventurous videos, this is the one for you!  But be aware, it is not for the faint of heart so bring your guts and smelling salt.


RENVLOG-105 of My Favorite Place was a post I have wanted to do for a little while but it never seemed to have a place on our channel until I started to do the vlogging.  However, I really enjoyed doing it.  This video enabled me to go back and find nice photos of our trips and this brought on a huge “memory down the lane” period of time.  I loved it.

I know we haven’t been to many places outside of Texas, but Texas is a wonderful state that has so much to offer in the way of landscapes.  We have ancient mountains, seashores, deserts, grasslands, pineys, and so much more!  Why not take a look at the video and see where in Texas you want to go?


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Happiness for a Pain Day was one of those posts that I had so much Fibromyalgia  pain that I decided to let the our photos entertain you.  I was able to use a lot of my favorite photos I have taken and hopefully you can see my unique styling.  Scott was so surprised when I started taking photos with my cellphone and that they were actually really nice photos.  One of the things I love about this video is that I was able to show you a little bit about who we are and what we love to do.  Also, you get to see our sweet little Chihuahuas, Cordie and Snickers.  What could be better than seeing sweet Chi faces?


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Needing Fuzzy Therapy Today  Wow, I was having a second day of pain and it was really bad.  I guess maybe you could tell from my yelling at the camera.  I didn’t realize I was yelling, but Scott came home wondering if I thought I should redo the video so I didn’t scare any of you off.  I wasn’t going to do that, I want what I do and say in my vlog posts to be real and not sugar coated.

I did love having the Snickers there to cheer me up.  Hopefully you benefited from the cute fuzzy butt video time as well.


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It’s Taco Tuesday Baby!  Tuesdays are one of my favorite days because we go out of our way to eat tacos, of course I was craving enchiladas instead, but I still had a taco!  I was so happy to drag you along with us on our errands. I felt so great after having two days of misery that I was wanting to share every second on it.

Fortunately I had decided to start a new project for myself called Selfies with Strangers.  It is where I ask strangers to take a selfie with me and then post the results.  However, I do make sure to get permission from them before I do this.


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I Gave Scott The Boot!  I broke my ankle/leg July 2 and over a two month period life was so slow and boring because I wasn’t able to do any traveling.  Scott was such a good sport at taking care of me and being my hands and feet.

Vlog Day 14 I went to the doctor’s to see about getting my cast off and if everything was healed up correctly.  Both of us were expecting to have me put into a boot for a month.


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And, Um, So…  How many times have you found yourself using words like “and, ” “um,” or “so” in between thoughts as you are talking to other people.  I have found myself saying it so much more since I started vlogging and it is a terrible habit to be doing.  I decided to make this video to show just how bad of a habit it is.  Can you figure out how?


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Words Can Always Hurt Me!  After Day 15’s vlog Scott and I had a long conversation about the words we use and how they affect us and those around us.  He told me something that really surprised me about a phrase I say on a regular basis and it made me think.  It is always dangerous to let me think, but this time it was a good thing.

So while running some errands, you and I have a bit of a discussion about it.  Plus I get a strange reaction to vlogging in public.


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Copyrights & Wrongs  While out for an ice cream sundae my whole vlog plan is derailed because I had forgotten a very important rule, “Don’t vlog in loud places.”

The conversation was wonderful and we had so much fun, but you don’t get to hear any of it because I goofed up and didn’t pay attention to my surroundings.  It is a shame to have wasted our time; but was it really a waste if I learned something?


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Let Sleeping Chi’s Sleep  What a nice chilled out Sunday!  I was able to love on the Chihuahuas, hear Scott work on music, and enjoy spending time with another one of my besties, Leigh.  She is definitely a ball of fire and is so much fun to hang out with.  Yes, this was a really good Sunday and I completely enjoyed it.  Hope you do as well.


Even though I am done doing a daily vlog, I intend to continue vlogging.  Look for it each week, as I am not sure which day I will be posting yet.  You will be able to find that information here or on our Facebook page.  You can also find information about the video posts on Instagram and Twitter.  If you subscribe to our YouTube channel, you won’t miss a single episode of the vlog, Outside Our Box, Texas State Parks Project – First Visits, or any other video we upload.  So check them out, like, share and subscribe!

Thanks again for all the support you gave while I tried out my daily vlogging.  It really does mean a lot to me and I so appreciate it.
Thanks,

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Watch Out For the Gorilla – Ren’s Adventure in YouTube Vlogging

Watch Out For the Gorilla – Ren’s Adventure in YouTube Vlogging

 

 

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Seven days ago I decided to give vlogging on YouTube a try.  I have found something rather interesting; this form of journaling is amazing and extremely hard work.  When I started out I thought there would be no end to ideas and I would be able to churn them out day after day without any difficulty.  This is far from the truth.

I find myself spending hours thinking about what I am going to be discussing the next day only to find myself at a loss for words the next day when it is time to start filming.  Once I begin filming and talking I am having to work very hard staying on subject; I’m such a bunny trail kinda gal.  Once I am finished with the filming, I have to take the video and process it.  This is the time I decide what stays and what is deleted into the void.  I then add the extra photos and videos to the mix to help get my point across and then decide how to get everything to blend smoothly.  Now it is time for the music and making sure all plays out nicely; and FINALLY upload to YouTube.

I wait patiently for it to process by working on a thumbnail to creatively entice you to click it and watch that day’s vlog posting.  I also have to put in a good description of the video, hashtags, and tags so the search engines can locate it as you search them.  After it has posted, I find myself working on many other video projects as well as websites, and embroidery.  As I lay in bed trying to sleep, I am back at the beginning of the Vlogging Adventure and I am loving every minute of it.

Finding My Footing (1)This is the first time I have ever vlogged before so I am pretty much all talk.  However, if you want to know where I am coming from and why I am doing what I am doing, this is the post for you.  I explain about my fall and breaking my ankle/leg and all that fun background stuff.

The video quality is good except for the shaking.  Unfortunately there really isn’t anything that can be done about it because the shaking was the chair I was sitting in.  Every time I said anything with zest and zeal, the chair bounced.  Oh, dear me!  What an adventure.


Finding My Footing (2)I was able to get out of the house on my own and sit comfortably at the pool.  Unfortunately with the cast I was only able to sit.  I was able to do a nice video with a relaxed atmosphere without the bouncing of my chair.

I spoke about our adventure in preparing to move into an RV someday and how we arrived where we are now in a 547 sq ft apartment traveling all over the state of Texas.  It was fun because I was able to talk about the downsizing and add photos.    The artwork I made for the thumbnail was REALLY fun.


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When we got up Sunday morning I had visions of making a video full of driving, shopping, and restaurant action, but sadly, it was not the cinematic footage I hoped for, but it is kinda there.  By the time we were home I was exhausted and hurting.  However, there ended up being an excellent subject to vlog about.

The day was pretty much me going to get my hair washed and cut, lunch at a nice restaurant, a camera shop then home because my foot was swelling horribly.  It is another sitting and talking post, but plenty of photos and video.


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Getting up and heading out for breakfast was all we planned to do this Sunday.  There was so much more to be done than we expected.  It always shocks me when we don’t make plans but end up being extremely busy with spur of the moment plans.

We made a purchase to help us downsize more and the whole bit of activity was perfect for a time lapse vlog entry! How fun is that!  Plus I learned so much by the things I did wrong.  Isn’t that what it’s about?


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Monday was a bit of a challenge because I had a big chore of sorting, purging and putting things away; and I still have to do my daily vlog post.  Well, I did what every smart vlogger does and put the two together and did another major time lapse video complete with captions, photos, and chatting.

I think you will be pleasantly surprised by how well this video came out considering it was mostly me working on my sorting project, which I promised Scott I would have finished by the time he came home.


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This was the day I decided to sit down on the floor and go through a laundry basket full of little things that needed to be gone through and sorted.  Granted I didn’t throw much away, but I was able to give away a few things and put a few more things off for another day and another major sort.

Yes, there is a lot of talking in this post, but it has some really great tips and tricks I use to get through everything that is piling up and causing the mess we call clutter.


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Finally we come to today.  This was truly a bugger for me because I was not feeling up to sitting in front of a camera talking about my life.  I just wanted to take some meds and go back to bed; however, I knew I was committed to this so I got up and started blogging, but I did it pre-coffee. I am thinking this was part of the “bunny trail post” it hopped into.

However, with the magic of a delete button, I was able to sort through all the rambling and make something halfway decent.


I am not sure how long I will do this, but I have committed 30 days to give it a good test.  Maybe by that time I will have a better feel for it all and decide it is a good thing to continue.  Check it out and give me your honest opinion or suggestions.  And remember, if you like the video, give it a thumbs up; and don’t forget to share and subscribe!

Hahaha…..  I’m so obsessed.

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Officially, I Fell Off a Mountain…

Officially, I Fell Off a Mountain…

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Saturday, July 2, I “officially” fell off a mountain and broke my ankle.  In all honesty though, I simply fell off the sidewalk in front of our apartment.  It’s not as exciting, but I was lucky this did not happen while were bouncing around on top of the many Davis Mountains we were on in June.  A week and day later I was told that I will not need surgery and was put in a permanent cast for four to five weeks.  So we have decided to take a fairly long break (for us anyway) and not go to any new parks or camping in July and August.  This means we have plenty of time to do some housekeeping on the blog, photos and other website stuff.

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In the Emergency Room getting the left ankle, left knee and left elbow checked out.

For those who have not worked on a website, housekeeping is something that is needed on a regular basis. Unfortunately, we have been on the go-go-go since we started this site and we never created a routine for how we should prep the photos, write the posts, create the videos, and so on.  Because of this, the site has never been 100% how we wanted it and we have a huge backlog of photos to be processed, which means I have a BUNCH of videos to make and upload.  I had no clue what I was getting into when we decided to put this thing together, but I wouldn’t not have it.  I enjoy seeing the things we have done, places we have been, and people we have met. I especially love meeting new people because we have made some really great friendships along the way.

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Meeting new people is a highlight to our adventures. We have made so many great friends.

So, if it is so much work, why do we do this website thing?  I hear you asking it now; I honestly ask myself the same question when I sit down to write a post and cannot think of what to say!  We started this blog for me to have a venue for talking about hand embroidery and travel.  That is exactly how it began, but we decided to step away from that because it was just a “me” thing.  Scott and I had discovered the Texas State Parks and fell in love with them.  Of course then the whole Tiny House/RV living caught our attention and that was that.  We decided at that point we wanted to live in an RV and travel the United States, documenting our journey so others could keep from making some of the mistakes we had,  go to some of the places we had enjoyed,or have family keep tabs on us just seemed like a really great idea.  While looking into this we have found many other people and families do websites and videos giving us an example of what does and doesn’t work.  We have found some great inspiration from people like The More We Explore, Technomadia, Gone With the Wynns, Long, Long, Honeymoon, and so on….

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Cordie, the slave driver dog, is telling me to get back to work on the posting.

A blog was pretty much all we had intended to do, then Scott found photography.  How lucky for me to have an endless supply of photos for the blog!  Eventually, we found those photos would come in handy to make videos of the places we had been.  I cannot tell you how many times we have searched YouTube for videos about different state parks, cities and things to do.  Even though we did not always find what we were looking for, we found ideas on what is out there and how we can share something different.  Unfortunately, this is not always an easy thing to figure out, but we are getting there.  Learning to do something new takes a lot of time, reading, and focus which all takes away from the housekeeping our website and photos.  As we have been doing the traveling, photography, and videos, we are seeing what works and doesn’t work for us. I do know we are not very good at planning for videos;  it never was something we thought about doing so we just took photos.  Since Scott got his camera, he is starting to think more along that line with photos but we both think so differently.  This is a good thing, most of the time, because he will take photos of the pretty things like flowers, birds and such, where I am taking photos of campsites, bathrooms, and other boring mundane stuff. It actually works out for us in the end, but if we would just start doing a bit more planning it would help us produce better content and quality. We want to make videos and blog posts we enjoy showing, but if they aren’t good would you really want to watch?  Yeah, you are just trying to be nice now.

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Scott doing what he loves to do. I am so glad he does because I would rather sit pretty for the camera.

Since starting on this website, I have learned so much especially on how to set up a website from scratch.  I have found I appreciate those who know code better than I do, but I am determined to learn it if that is what it takes to make a quality site.   Scott has learned that less is definitely better than more in almost all walks of life.  He would take thousands of photos and never stop long enough to process them.  This has not only caused a huge backlog of things to do, but it has left him feeling overwhelmed and frustrated when I ask for a specific photo.  We, as a couple, have learned that getting outdoors and being active is awesome and makes us much happier.  Because we have found this and really believe it is a good thing, we want to share it with everyone we meet so we use the website, Facebook, and YouTube to help us get our message out. This is a lifestyle and we are embracing it, even if it means we have to stop and do a little housekeeping on a regular basis.

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Enjoying sundown at Davis Mountains State Park.

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