Tuesday, November 7, 2017

November 25th is Small Business Saturday on Delmarva

I believe in small business and supporting the locally-owned shops, restaurants and service companies in our area. "Small Business Saturday on Delmarva" was launched to tell everyone about some of the wonderful small towns hosting celebrations that day. Visit the event on Facebook here. Join us in promoting the events and celebrations which will be taking place across Delaware and the eastern shore counties of Maryland and Virginia. Post your community activities and downtown or Main Street events for November 25th! We're following Small Business Saturday on all the social networks, offering marketing tips for retailers and sharing your local events. Don't forget to invite your friends to come out and share in supporting this celebration of locally-owned businesses here on Delmarva!





Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Vintage Halloween Images & Greetings

Images of Halloween from years gone by (and a few snuck in there that I thought were just plain funny). I couldn't believe the array of artwork I found upon Googling "vintage Halloween greeting cards"! Had no idea it was once such a popular holiday with elaborate drawings full of details and fun, and of course the advertisements are wonderful. I hope you enjoy looking at this unusual, slightly strange and eclectic collection!


Monday, October 16, 2017

The Lorton Reformatory in Fairfax County | "Changes in Lorton, Virginia"

I took these photos just about two years ago, on a cool afternoon in late October. These photos aren't great, as they were taken on a previous-generation cell phone, but but I hope they are able to convey at least a small hint of the beauty found on this property. I titled this picture "What Was", as the fading light turned skies over the former barn to shades of peach and orange. It's evolving into a new stage of life as the complex nears the completion of it's transition into a place of inspiration, art, history and culture.




Thursday, October 12, 2017

Beach Towns of Delmarva: Sights & Signs of Fenwick Island, Delaware (part II)

The town of Fenwick Island is nestled along the Delaware coastline, just north of Ocean City, Maryland. A small town with a big presence, this quiet little place is a favorite of countless visitors and summertime guests. While it is home to only about 200 year-round residents, during the warmer months people from all over flock to the charm of a coastal community by the sea. This is the second set of images I'm posting, just casual snapshots of familiar places and area businesses. You may have seen some before, some might be new to you and I've tried to include the name and website (and/or Facebook page) of the business if possible. To see the first part of Fenwick Island, Delaware click here and check out the links at the end of this post to see more of our beautiful Delmarva Peninsula.



Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Made in America | Manufacturing Day '17 is October 6th

This Friday, October 6th, will mark the sixth annual Manufacturing Day across America. I'm passionate about jobs, our economy and products which are made locally, so I was eager to see what would be listed here on the Delmarva Peninsula. Manufacturing Day was created in 2012 by Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International, a founding partner of the National Association of Manufacturing, and recognizes the businesses which produce goods in each state. From airplane interiors to food processing, clothing and modular homes to government contracting agencies such as Northrop Grumman, seafood and more are all encouraged to participate.

It's described as "an annual celebration of modern manufacturing during which manufacturers invite their communities - including students, educators, business people, media, and politicians - to their facilities in a collective effort to educate visitors about manufacturing career opportunities and improve public perceptions of manufacturing". The event has grown each year since it's launch in 2012. Here's the top portion of the infographic from http://www.mfgday.com/ (since it's long I encourage you to visit the website to download and view it).



Sunday, October 1, 2017

Vintage Images from Coastal Delmarva | Fenwick Island, Delaware (Part Two)

These are old postcards and/or vintage advertising which I don't believe were included on the first blog post for images of Fenwick Island, DE. Located just steps away from the Maryland beach town of Ocean City, and nestled on the coastline by the Atlantic Ocean, the town of Fenwick Island is loved by many and holds a special place in the hearts of countless visitors, guests, tourists and residents.



Libby's Restaurant closed (maybe around 2000 or a little before?) but the place stuck with me and I was pleased to find a few old postcards at various shops and flea markets.
I always wondered what happened to the horse statue that was out front.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Maryland Landmark for Over 100 Years | the Ocean City Fishing Pier

The pier has been part of my life for decades. It's familiar and comforting, a landmark and a location that makes me feel I'm home again. First enjoyed as a child during occasional visits to the Maryland coastline, I now cherish the opportunities to go photograph it, stroll on the sightseeing portion and take in the stunning views of Ocean City - after all, as the sign says, "Ocean City's best spectator view - Only 50 cents". It is beloved by many and as with most local landmarks, it has history and evolution spanning decades of beach vacations, visitors and summers. Beat up and damaged by numerous storms, the town continues to rebuild it after each nor'easter or hurricane sweeps along the coastline with high waves and angry seas that pummel the structure.




Friday, September 1, 2017

"The Things in Life That Matter" | Dumser's Dairyland, an Ocean City icon

I wrote this several weeks after the news stories began chronicling the issues surrounding the southern boardwalk location of Dumser's Dairyland. It's complicated and so I will just refer you here to the newly created group on Facebook, titled "SAVE DUMSER'S ON THE INLET AND NATHAN'S BUILDING IN OCEAN CITY, MD". See the end of this post for links and additional photos.



Thursday, August 31, 2017

And then just like that, here it is, the last day of August

I don't know where it went and I'm not sure how the days and weeks of this summer somehow, magically I suppose, shrank themselves into just a brief description of blazing hot beach days and sweltering nights on the boardwalk, melting, dripping ice cream cones and streets that turned into wavy, shimmering lines if you stared at them for long. I don't know how the days and nights between the landmarks which traditionally define summer seasons of Memorial Day until Labor Day, and I'm not sure how for one season they can stretch so long and then the next year, vanish and fade like a mirage.......


Monday, August 28, 2017

We Deserve Better from our Health Care Professionals

I'm so angry right now. We just returned home from the walk-in clinic following three days of the other half dragging around the house lethargically, appearing possibly dehydrated and with a history of his health issues as well as parents on both sides having compromised kidney function, I thought we deserved more than to be treated like a pair of idiots. Which, since we are not, made me want to leave there and drive straight over to the hospital with which the clinic is affiliated with, and DEMAND to be seen in their emergency room because something I believe something IS wrong. But you know, the last thing you want to do when you are feeling awful is to stand up for yourself....and so we came home with nothing. No validation of the words we said; no empathy for how similar these symptoms seem to mirror a previous health issue. Not a blink of an eye when we tried to explain a specific concern, topped off by being interrupted by this so-called professional as I tried to speak......



Friday, August 4, 2017

Losing One of the Great Loves of My Life | It's Almost Three Years Later and.....

"Damn it" I muttered under my breath as the car plowed to a halt. I was in that grey zone between too-close-to-stop and dashing-through-an-obviously-red-light and the frustration of being unable to control even this aspect of the day grated on my nerves. I fumed over something else, which like so many instances before today kept appearing to be totally and completely out of my control. I was headed to the bank, with a check just written lying on the seat beside me, which displayed a date of more than two years since I'd said goodbye. Technically speaking, the numbers indicated that it was coming up on THREE years and yet despite searching high and low, far and wide and everywhere else in between, the place for me in the world that so many had mentioned, is nowhere in sight.


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Directory of Clip Art, Photo Editors and Sign Generators (Part I)

The following list includes some of the best sites I have found online. Each of them I've explored and used, found helpful and believe are worth passing along to you. While almost all are free, to gain use of the larger images and better quality features there may be an upgrade required. Still, for the amount of creativity and inspiration you can find, even the no charge options are pretty good. From icons and buttons, to map generators and photo editors, creating professional-looking images can really spruce up the visual presentation of your website or blog. Explore catchy ways to post tips or reminders (that you might use in an online group), help readers navigate content more easily (and give your site a clean look), or just have fun with creative options for color palettes, photograph enhancement or visual creations.




ICONS AND CLIP ART:

  • SoftIcons: Buttons, icons, images; some free, some paid
  • Wpclipart: Public domain images which can be used and edited for personal or commercial use. No attribution or linking is required (although a link would be nice)
  • Clipartpanda: Free images
  • Cliparts: Free clip art for your documents, web sites or presentations. Requires linking back to their site.
  • IconFinder: Primarily paid offerings
  • ClipArtBest: Describes itself as "The best FREE CLIPART collection on-line"
  • ClassroomClipArt: Free site with many types of clip art and illustrations
  • HassleFreeClipArt: Free images and also includes a directory of many other good sites on one of their pages
  • Picgifs: Gifs (animations)
  • SEO on Google: "Top 15 Places to Find Free Images Online"


GADGETS AND DESIGN TOOLS:






PHOTO EDITORS:



  • Photomania: Photo editor offering numerous options in pencil, paint, artistic, and other types of effects. Does shrink images down to a smaller size but offers a lot of creativity
  • Foto: High quality picture editing, paint options and more
  • Sumopaint: Online image editor and painting application that works in a browser. You can open and save images from your hard drive or save it to the cloud.
  • Getpaint: Free image/photo editing software
  • Pho.to/: Wide variety of frames, photos inside objects, etc.
  • Pizap: This one is a ton of fun, featuring editing, stickers, frames, text and more. Loads of options but it does resize your image to a smaller version.
  • Kleki: Edit and paint by using your mouse



COLOR DESIGN:





Three sites to create a customized message from Uncle Sam:





Personalize a birthday cake with lettering and message:










"Life on Delmarva" • #delmarvausa

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Sometimes We Struggle - Yet Sometimes We FLY


10:54AM. That's what time it was before I looked at the tiny clock in the corner of my laptop screen and realized it was well past the "I'm just going to get online for a few minutes and update my pages" zone. I wasn't even wasting time playing on Pinterest or Googling craft ideas or fabulous vacation homes; I was WRITING - real words - the kind that when assembled together correctly - create complete and well-defined sentences. I was replying to comments about small business and then adding thoughts to a previous blog post discussing the value of spending locally. I was making the case for a principle of economics; posting concise directions for a social media infographic I'd created; answering questions in a forum discussion from yesterday. I saw an announcement for upcoming events, quickly wrote an invitation for a select group of individuals and posted a blog update for a client - and all this without having to backspace sixteen times to reformat what was in my brain. I was ON IT, humming along and cranking tasks out - because the familiar sense of "being stuck on what to do or say" hadn't yet surfaced and I was still free for a little longer. For once, it was all falling into place for just a couple of  hours, and in that couple of hours I could fly, soar, and hover above the struggle of everyday life as I know it.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

"Classic Trucks and Vintage Advertising" | Vehicles at the Tuckahoe Steam & Gas Show

These beautiful old trucks were on display at the Tuckahoe Steam & Gas Association Show held annually in Easton, Maryland. The show, which is hosted by the Tuckahoe Gas & Steam Association each July, features an incredible array of farm equipment and history, steam engines, tractors, antique trucks and vehicles, along with demonstrations of the machines and pulling competitions. Check out the links at the bottom of this post for more on the show!



Monday, June 26, 2017

Signs of Ocean City, Maryland, Part III

Welcome to MORE signs, logos, locally-owned businesses from Maryland's favorite summer time beach town. Already posted in Signs of OC, Part I are: English's, Kohr Bros, Rick's Market, Jonah and the Whale Buffet, Layton's restaurants, General's Kitchen, Nicks Pancake House, Cowboy Coast, Plim Plaza, Yummy Sweet Shop, the Fractured Prune and King Kone.

Signs of OC, Part II included the Oceanic pier, Anthony's Deli, Billy's Subs & Pizza, the Sahara Cafe, M.R. Ducks, Justine's Ice Cream, the Princess Royale Oceanfront and the Cabana motel.

Fisher's Popcorn is a tough name to say - without in your mind, quickly conjuring up images of sticky-sweet caramel popcorn, freshly cooked and best enjoyed while strolling down the boards. For that reason this iconic favorite became the first local business to be included here in part three.


Boardwalk location near 2nd Street, taken August '15
Up close at the counter....
....you can almost taste the golden crunchiness.

Monday, June 19, 2017

"All Gone" ~ Things That Aren't There Anymore | Ocean City, MD

Businesses and attractions of days gone by.....I needed a place to put all this stuff for J/R's thus the blog post. Will be adding more photos and info in the future.


Remember J/R's, "The place for ribs?" It was an Ocean City favorite and beloved destination for than forty years.
There were two locations in OC, one at 140th street and the
other at 62nd street, right as you would come off of the
Route 90 bridge. (this postcard shows one in Rehoboth
as well but that must have been before my time)

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

"Vintage Del-Mar-Va" | Old Postcards, Images and History of the Delmarva Peninsula

The term "Del-Mar-Va" was born from the land which encompasses three states and nine counties along the east coast. This distinctive area includes the eastern shore counties of Maryland and Virginia along with the state of Delaware, and the hyphenated portions of each name made up it's original title. The peninsula is bordered by the Chesapeake Bay, the Delaware River, Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

Monday, June 5, 2017

My life changed forever one year ago today....

One year ago today was the last time I saw my mom close to what passed for normal, although even her normal wasn't very good. We went out for her birthday dinner at a nice restaurant and the next day she fell (probably due to her overuse of alcohol, a disease which at the time I still hadn't seen), and everything just began to unravel. Despite the fact that she's still here in a sense, there's nothing quite like realizing everyone in the family you knew and were related to, is gone. The following twelve months were a downward spiral; a journey into darkness of so many kinds; realizations and truths and the painful sting of a bitter reality.




The Importance of Supporting Local Family Farms

Do you believe in supporting locally-owned and operated farms? I think there is something amazing about pulling off the road where a small produce stand is located, perhaps just a basic table with a canopy over it, or sometimes a fancy set up with a wagon and portable display. I always find myself sort of eying up the person who may be present - I wonder if they are REALLY the owner, the operator of the farm, a family member maybe. Does it really matter? I guess not....technically, but part of me is always sort of in awe at the fruits of their labor, gawking a bit at the sweeping fields stretched out behind the stand and admiring the barns and farming equipment that dot the landscape. Not in the sort of way that I think they are so different or strange, but more with the sense of WOW....a real third or fifth generation farm family STILL lives here, continues to make their living, remains a part of this place where their blood and roots and ties run deep.



Tuesday, May 23, 2017

News Flash for Small Business Owners: It's not all about You

Why is it so dang hard for people to reciprocate? What makes some folks happy to enjoy the benefits of your loyalty, perhaps by supporting their local restaurant or shop or service business - yet they cannot be bothered to reach out of their own self/shell/selfishness? - and do the same. As far as small business owners go, isn't there power in numbers? Don't we gain more by all working together?


Thursday, May 18, 2017

A Franchise is not the same as a Mom and Pop, Locally-owned, Small Business

My heart is breaking a little bit right now as I write this, not only because I'm a little different and thus am perceiving this situation in an unusual way, but because I believe I'm onto something which concerns me. While I don't think many will comment and react and agree, a foreshadowing of the future is staring us down right now.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Visiting Delmarva • the town of Milford, Delaware (Sussex County)

Located in the First State, Milford spreads across the edges of two counties, Kent and Sussex. It's charming downtown areas, small shops and locally-owned businesses make this an attractive area to spend a day or afternoon. There is a great museum that was at one time the post office, and the detail of the building is pretty interesting, as are the exhibits inside. You may be surprised to learn that throughout the years, Milford has been home to some exciting discoveries and inventions.

Vintage postcard of the post office - see
further down for what it has become today
A view from Walnut Street

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Definition of an Independent Business Owner

Written in honor of the independents of America and for "Small Business Week 2017". As we celebrate the individuals, families, mom and pop duos which make this country rotate and revolve and thrive, I have to ask - what describes or makes up the qualities of such a person? (scroll down for a bunch of graphics to save & share!)



Sunday, April 30, 2017

We Have Become a Society of Disrespect

At one time it was considered wrong to defy, mock or disregard authority. But now parents are insecure in setting boundaries and so desperate for their children's affection and friendship that they have developed into a society of enablers. Did your child screw up at school? In our world today it's far more common to blame the teachers, the other kids, "politics" and "the administration", rather than taking a tough love approach.



Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Juggling, Tricks and Technicalities | Time Management, Part I

I struggle with managing my time. There. I'm coming clean, admitting the struggle is real and that while I absolutely appreciate and value the opportunity to work from home, tasks and prioritizing and hours in the day DO in fact, often get the best of me. (Whew. I said it.) Had I realized that things needed to change? Of course - but seeing it and saying that and actually creating improvement - those are several very different things. It's so easy to become caught up in the details and projects and emails and Stuff That Demands Immediate Attention,  that I just seem to forget the goal for the day was to operate more efficiently, and thus the cycle continues. Until now.


 

I read an article this morning and was inspired by the ability which supposedly lies within me; apparently I'm more capable that I'd thought to take charge and set goals; to define work objectives and wrestle back control of my hours and minutes. I just have to tap into "what lies within" and learn to set limits and boundaries, because if not, there's no external force that can fix this for me. Confident in this new knowledge and wanting to dive right in, I implement new guidelines for the following day, which is Monday. 



Monday morning: I write and send an email detailing a situation which needs resolution ASAP. Immediately after clicking "send", I realize that omitted from the list was an article which must be written today, and so I spend 40 minutes hurriedly Googling for details and essential ingredients. Although not built into the time frame it's necessary.
 
Next, I attack the Great Pile of Paperwork. UGH. This is complex on many levels, but as the Pile poses a growing source of irritation and annoyance, I just leap in and being sorting. The goal of knocking out the mountain of papers wasn't clearly defined time-wise, but it does up end up taking more than four hours.

Update: It's Tuesday at 1:50am and I'm finished. I got all three projects done, along with a few smaller tasks, several which were normal but that I failed to include in my estimate for the day. A couple of others had cropped up suddenly with red flags requiring attention (a continual problem for me as I tend to underestimate the time needed to process). 

Despite the article's advice to take on the toughest part first, I wound up leaving the most difficult two things for last. I'm now curious if tackling the most challenging aspects could have helped productivity? At the time, feeling pretty overwhelmed, I opted to take baby steps instead, and looking back now it seems as if restructuring my process and approach could be a better game plan. We'll see what happens on the next run.




#delmarvausa | community advocate | localist | respect | united we stand