Eight Great Dog Mascots of College & Professional SportsSports and dogs naturally go together - after all, who doesn't love a great game a fetch with a pup? However, there's another area where sports and dogs overlap. Many college and professional teams have doggies as their official or unofficial mascot to the delight of fans and dog-lovers. With so many amazing dog mascots, it was tough to limit our list. Check out our eight favorite sports dog mascots:
- CAPTAIN (Washington Capitals) - One of the more recent doggos on this list, the Washington Capitals hockey team made "Captain" their head pooch in 2019. A thoroughly charming yellow Labrador puppy, Captain quickly charmed everyone in D.C. - especially superstar and team captain Alexander Ovechkin. Check out Captain walking the red carpet with the Russian goal scorer for opening night! It's not a long-term deal with the Capitals; Captain is training as a service dog while he's with the Capitals, and will eventually leave the team to live with a veteran or disabled first responder.
- BARCLAY (St. Louis Blues) - The most recent Stanley Cup-winning hockey team has one of the most adorable dogs in all of sport. Barclay is an enormously cute yellow lab adopted by the St. Louis Blues organization in late 2018. A few months later, they captured the franchise's first championship. Coincidence? Maybe - but just look at all the cuteness! You can't tell us that good karma didn't play some part in the win. Barclay has plenty of followers on Instagram and a devoted following in St. Louis (along with plenty of love from the team's players). Even better, Barclay is training to become a service dog once he finishes his "contract" with the Blues!
- HANK (Milwaukee Brewers) - How's this for a great story. A lonely and hungry stray wanders into a major league spring training facility, gets rescued by the team's third-base coach, charms the team members, and quickly becomes a fan-favorite dog mascot. Sounds too Hollywood to be true, right? Well, this actually happened! Check out the story of Hank, the ballpark dog of the Milwaukee Brewers. There's an even happier ending to the story, as Hank is now living with a loving family in Milwaukee, and his presence (and merchandise) helped to raise thousands of dollars for Wisconsin-area dog rescues. He even got his own bobblehead!
- SWAGGER (Cleveland Browns) - The Browns might not be the most successful franchise out there - but at least they've got a great dog. Swagger Junior is the new bull mastiff mascot of the Browns (home of the "dawg pound," replacing his retired father Swagger. The original Swagger is a huge, 145-lb. beast of a dog that patrolled the sidelines of FirstEnergy stadium before every home Browns game, firing up the fans. He served the team faithfully for half a decade before retiring and handing the "leash" over to this son. Maybe a new dog will bring them playoff luck!
- SMASH (Nashville Predators) - One of the newest great sports dog mascots is also one of the cutest. The dog of the NHL's Nashville Predators - a three-month-old pup - is one of the great dog mascots in sports out there today. Introduced in February of 2019, Smash is now one of the main attractions to one of hockey's most successful modern franchises. There's plenty of Smash merchandise around for Predators fans to enjoy and wear. Smash hangs around the Predators offices as an "office dog" during his life. The dog - whose full name is "Lord Banner of Smashville" - is a local rescue, and the team does several events to bring attention to local pet rescue shops.
- UGA X (Georgia Bulldogs) - We can't just stick with professional sports here! How about some love for our friends in the college ranks? Of all the great sports mascot dogs at the college ranks, the top one might be Uga, the famous bulldog mascot of the University of Georgia athletic teams. This friendly but ferocious pooch is one of the most recognizable figures in all of college football. The tradition of having a live bulldog mascot goes all the way back to 1956; we're currently on the tenth "Uga." Uga travels with the team, has his own jersey, and plays an important role in the pregame ceremonies. His most famous moment? Famously, Uga got in a tiff with the Texas Longhorns mascot "Bevo" at the Sugar Bowl once.
- JONATHAN (Connecticut Huskies) - The beautiful live husky mascot for the UConn Huskies, Jonathan helps drive the school's famously-successful men's and women's basketball teams to victory. Something cool about Jonathan the Husky? The dog mascot is actually cared for by a fraternity on the UConn campus - Alpha Phi Omega. We're currently on the 14th Jonathan, which gets its name from the first governor of Connecticut.
- SMOKEY (Tennessee Volunteers) - On old Rocky Top, the pride of the Tennessee Volunteers is their bluetick coonhound mascot named "Smokey." Like Jonathan the Husky, Smokey gets cared for by a fraternity on campus and cheers on the team during football games. As detailed in that Tennessean article, Smokey has an intriguing backstory for a dog mascot. The first Smokey cane to Tennessee in 1953, has been "dognapped" by rival students, and actually got listed on the Tennessee football injury report at one point.
- Angela O
Creative Lighting Tips for Your Outdoor PhotographyCreative Tips to enhance the quality of the pictures you take through the use of string lights.
How to Light Your Yard Up in Fall and Winter
Solar lights withstand harsh weather conditions by emitting bright white light outdoors.
Fall is here, and you’ll likely experience a dip in the temperatures felt throughout your city. The warm summer air now has a chill to it. You’re starting to spend less time outdoors without a light jacket or sweater but still enjoy spending time on your deck, porch or pergola looking at the stars. As you gather around the fire pit this fall, illuminate your pathway with solar lights. They’ll cast a bright glow over your sidewalk and prevent people from trampling what’s left of your flower garden in the dark.
If you haven’t thought much about outdoor lighting, now is the time to do so. You still have a few weeks before the cold of winter drives you indoors. It’s the perfect time to stake the solar lights into the ground so you can continue to use them when snow has fallen.
Let’s start by learning what makes solar lights ideal in states that experience four seasons.
What Makes Solar Lights Ideal for the Four Seasons States?
Solar lights are durable and easy-to-place into the ground. That’s a few of the reasons why they remain popular in states with four seasons. The lights are also able to withstand harsh weather conditions such as rain, sleet, ice, and snow. When you buy solar lights, you’re investing in long-term benefits.
One of the most notable things about this type of outdoor lighting is how they’re ready to use right away. There are no wires to install, and each set of lights comes with extra stakes and batteries to keep them working throughout fall and winter. That means greater illumination outdoors even when the weather is dreary. You’ll still be able to take your dogs outside and let the kids play in the snow without fear of them accidentally tripping and falling in the dark.
How are Solar Lights Used?
Solar lights are used mainly to illuminate pathways. They can create barriers for flower beds or even to light up the base of a flag pole, birdbath or mailbox. You can arrange them in shapes or patterns, too, depending on your needs and personal style aesthetic. You can be as creative as you want to be using the staked lights because they do a great job of keeping your yard lit throughout the night.
If you want to make your driveway more visible in the dark, investing in outdoor lighting is imperative. Solar lights store energy from the sun in their solar panels. That means that they don’t rely solely on battery power except on days where it’s overcast. You won’t increase your home energy bill, either, the way you would with Christmas lights that run off electricity.
Make Solar Lights Your Top Priority to Buy Right Away
Invite a warm glow to your outdoor space during the colder weather months of the year. Solar lights are among the most convenient and cost-effective solutions available. Contact us to let us know what you have in mind for your front or backyard. You’ll find adding solar lights was among the best decisions you made for your property this year.
5 Ways to Decorate Your Outdoor Space for Fall
5 Ways to Decorate Your Outdoor Space for Fall
Cooler weather calls for more comfortable seating on your porch or patio.
Fall is around the corner and you’ll be able to enjoy the cooler weather that comes with it shortly. That means more time outdoors, sitting around the firepit, and conversing with family and friends. Your porch or patio served you well throughout the summer but now it’s time to prepare it for a new season so you’ll continue to want to spend time outside. By getting in the spirit of autumn with its warm colors and exciting holidays, you can easily come up with a theme that elevates your property by making it more appealing to others.
Simple Ways to Spruce Up Your Porch or Patio This Autumn
Tapping into your creative vision of your home and extending it to the exterior, you can transform your porch or patio into a place where people gather to spend time together. Five ways to decorate your outdoor space for fall are included below. Have fun implementing the ideas and even coming up with a few of your own.
#1: Pick a Few Fall Colors to Work With
Think brilliant reds, yellows, and oranges. Warm colors are prevalent during autumn. You can also introduce gold because it complements the brilliant color palette of fall. Change out your summer decorations which are typically cooler colors in favor of the warmer colors you’ve selected.
#2: Focus on Creating a Sense of Warmth in the Area
Eventually, the days become shorter and the nights become longer. There is a distinct difference in temperature in the fall, too. You can give your area a sense of warmth with some new lighting elements. Think Patio String Lights, Bulbs or Solar Lights. Each casts a warm glow over your yard and its visitors.
#3: Add Natural Elements to the Space
Fall is the time where the leaves change color and fall from the trees. It’s when certain fruits and vegetables such as pumpkins and squash thrive. You’ll find acorns and pinecones in abundance this time of year. Why not add a twig basket filled with these gifts from nature to place on your patio table for décor?
#4: Put Away the Summer Lawn Furniture
Take anything that is distinctly summer-related and store it away for winter. Make sure that it is protected from the elements so the pillows and furniture don’t mildew with moisture. If you have furniture or cushions that you prefer to use in the colder weather months, now is the time to bring it out and arrange it to your liking.
#5: Celebrate the Harvest or Halloween
You can continue to switch out your decorations in response to the upcoming harvest and holidays. If you enjoy Halloween, you can put a spooky spin on your lighting by investing in a projector for your home. Or, if you like celebrating the harvest, you can invest in plastic fruits and vegetables and place them throughout the space in a way that pleases your eye.
Transform Your Outdoor Space into a Place You Enjoy Sitting In During FallMake your porch or patio feel warm and inviting this autumn. You’ve got options that increase the comfort level and nighttime visibility of your outdoor space. Experiment with some of the suggestions listed above and watch your seating area transform instantly without any real work.
5 Outdoor Activities You’ll Want to Enjoy This Summer
A lighted space allows you to stay outside later and enjoy the fun longer.
Summer provides the perfect setting for your outdoor space. Not only are the temperatures ideal for many outdoor activities, but you’re also able to enjoy the leisurely pace of a vacation mindset because your kids are out of school. When coming up with things to do to make the season special, don’t be afraid to step outside the box and engage in activities and habits that aren’t the norm for you and your family.
You’ll likely discover some things about yourself that you didn’t know already. In fact, the new routine you create for yourself could be one that you adopt every year when the temperatures rise. That’s part of the fun of being open to new experiences because you never know which ones will be lifechanging for you!
The Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors
There are many health benefits that come with spending time outdoors. In addition to serving as a natural stress reliever, it allows you to burn calories and breathe in the fresh air. It lowers your blood pressure and provides you with the opportunity to disconnect from the digital world.
Here are five outdoor activities you’ll want to enjoy this summer:
- Backyard barbecues. Throw your favorite foods on the grill and whip up some side dishes such as potato salad and baked beans. Enjoy the feeling of eating outdoors.
- Reading and relaxing. That great book can’t wait on your bookshelf any longer. Take it outside for an afternoon reading session.
- Having drinks with friends. Serve summer-inspired adult beverages to your friends. Catch up on all the things that have been going on in each other’s lives for the past few months.
- Gardening via a flower bed or vegetable garden. Enjoy growing flowers and veggies from seed. Experience a beautiful splash of color and a physical activity that burns calories but is wholly enjoyable.
- Back-to-school bash for the kids. School will be back in session before you know. Let the kids enjoy a few more hours of summertime fun with their friends by hosting a party in your outdoor space for their friends and parents.
Even when the sun has gone down for the day, you’re still able to spend time in a well-lit space outdoors. Keep that in mind when shopping for lights for your patio, pergola or deck. You can illuminate the space quickly and affordably by shopping the Outdoor Lighting Store. You have many options to choose from that add a warm glow to your backyard.
Light Up Your Outdoor Space
The right outdoor lights help set the mood. They give you a reason to stay outside longer and make your deck, patio or yard feel warm and inviting to guests. As the temperatures start to drop and summer turns to fall, you’ll have many compelling reasons to continue entertaining outdoors. Taking the time to set up your outdoor space with beautiful string lights or bulbs ensures that you have a safe place to go long after the sun has set.
- Angela O
How to Use Outdoor Lighting in Your Photography Projects
Who said that natural lighting was essential for beautiful photographs?
If you’re serious about taking pictures, you know the importance of lighting. In dark spaces where natural light from the sun is unavailable, you must improvise. Adding an artificial light source through outdoor lighting helps cast a warm glow over your subject and create a balance between light and shadow. It sets the mood for a gathering and even helps tell the story you’re trying to relay with your camera.
Making the Most of the Lights You Have
Lighting can be a powerful tool that transforms the look and appeal of your photos. In addition to adding a layer of safety to an outdoor space that is normally dark, it also plays into a photo shoot by serving as a fun and interesting prop. The unique shape and arrangement of string lights make the items photo-worthy by themselves.
Here are some ideas for using outdoor lighting in your photography projects:
- For softer lighting, use a broader bulb. Doing so allows you to diffuse light from many different angles. A narrow bulb produces harsher lighting which requires other forms of diffusion to soften it.
- The closer you are to the bulb, the softer the light is. If you want the light itself to be prominent in the photo, take a few steps back. That way, you can create the look that you’re hoping to achieve with the shot.
- Capture texture by experimenting with the placement of your string lights. When above, below or to the side of a subject, the tiniest details are captured. If placed in front of the person or item being photographed, the texture is hard to make out.
- Create a DIY diffuser for outdoor use. Using this tutorial from Instructables and a few inexpensive supplies, create your own diffuser. It’s an easy way to get the soft glow you were hoping to achieve from artificial lighting in an outdoor nighttime setting.
- Shadows help subjects be seen as 3-D. Shadows prevent photos from becoming flat in appearance. They create volume which helps show the true nature of the subject being depicted.
- The human eye cannot see color the way a camera can. Even white light appears colored at times. Different types of bulbs cast different colors and whatever surface light bounces off of, it takes on that hue.
Choose the ideas that you like most from the list to experiment with. See which are the most successful for you. Share what you’ve learned along the way with your family and friends who enjoy photography because they may benefit from your new knowledge. They may want to know how to make their special events photo-friendly using outdoor lighting.
An Affordable and Creative Tool to Use for Your Photography
Make your photography sing with outdoor lighting. It adds an element of surprise to photos and can be used to create cool effects rather easily. If you want to kick your photography skills up a notch or two, consider installing temporary or permanent lights outdoors and see what it does for you.
- Angela O