Showing posts with label Zazzle products. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Zazzle products. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos
Photo of Elfin Forest from Boardwalk, Los Osos, California, © B. Radisavljevic

The Elfin Forest is a natural area in Los Osos. It's named for its "pigmy" live oaks which have been stunted by growing where they do. The forest looks out over the southeastern shore of Morro Bay and covers about 90 acres. 

Should You Visit the Elfin Forest?

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos
Sign at Entrance of Elfin Forest, Los Osos, Photo © B. Radisavljevic


Every traveler or tourist has unique interests. I, for example, am much happier walking a nature trail than I would be walking in downtown San Francisco. I know, because I've done both. I'd rather be surrounded by nature and have a camera in my hand.

One winter day we decided to play tourist while out doing errands. We had time to kill after our medical appointment in San Luis Obispo. It was too soon to take advantage of the lunch special at our favorite restaurant (now closed).  After twenty years in this area, we’d never stopped in Los Osos. I thought it was time. I wanted a photo walk, and Hubby couldn't take his usual swim at the gym because we were away. We both needed exercise. We decided to go see the Elfin Forest in Los Osos.

Before we left for San Luis Obispo that day, I'd checked the sites that listed tourist attractions. Although the AAA Tour Book for Northern California did not consider this attraction worth mentioning, I had passed signs along the road before. So I looked it up and discovered we could walk the entire trail through the pigmy oak forest in less than an hour. We decided to see what was there and walk off a bit of the buffet lunch we would eat afterwards.

We took the Los Osos Valley Road exit west from the 101 Freeway in San Luis Obispo. Below is a scene we passed on Los Osos Valley Road once we were out of the commercial area. I made my husband stop the car so that I could snap the photo I used in this canvas print. It's also available as a greeting card, poster, postcard, and iPad Mini case. In fact, once you are on the Zazzle site, you can transfer the design to any product you choose.



What We Saw at the Elfin Forest

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos
Shot from Elfin Forest, Los Osos, Photo © B. Radisavljevic


As mentioned above, we toured the Elfin Forest in winter, but Los Osos is on the coast and the climate is mild. The weather was just right for taking a walk outdoors -- not too hot or too cold. But the season did give us a different experience than we would have had in spring or summer. We were still experiencing the drought of 2014 when we took our walk, as well. 

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos - View of Estuary
Estuary, with Morro Rock in Distance, © B. Radisavljevic


 I took the photo above from a lookout on the trail called Siena’s view. It looks out toward Morro Bay, and you can see Morro Rock off in the distance. Do you see how the drought has affected the estuary?

This is another view of the estuary from the boardwalk, looking toward Baywood Park. I made a puzzle of it on Zazzle with the same design as the postcard below. The text is easy to remove with the customize button.




Fauna I Saw During My Visit


I'm sure there were probably some fauna around, but I didn't see anything in the Elfin Forest itself the day I visited. The creatures must have seen me first. In other reviews I've read, people mentioned seeing rabbits, lizards, and even a fox. All I saw was birds. In one of the photos above there was either a hawk or a vulture in the sky. There were many water birds I could see in the estuary from the boardwalk. To get a good view one would need binoculars. This is what I was able to capture with a zoom lens from quite a distance. It would have been better if I'd been zeroing in on the birds, but at the time I was more interested in the overview.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos- Water and Shore Birds in Estuary

Many people enjoy bird watching from the Elfin Forest. I recognize the ducks, but not the birds with longer legs. Here is a complete list of the birds that hang out here. Unfortunately, there aren't any photos. If anyone recognizes the two wading birds near the center of the photo below, please let me know in the comments.




Flora of the Elfin Forest


I have seen photos taken in spring when the forest's many plants are in bloom, but not much was blooming in January. I did see coyote brush in bloom. You can learn more about coyote brush here - Coyote Brush: Blessing or Curse.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos- Coyote Brush
Coyote Brush in Bloom,  © B. Radisavljevic
I did find something else in bloom, but I haven't been able to identify it yet. I'm quite sure it's a berry, but the blooming times and/or leaves didn't match what seemed to make sense from the list I checked of the flora of this forest. Or maybe my eyes are bad. If you recognize it, please let me know in the comments. 

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos- Flora
Mystery Plant in Bloom at End of January,  © B. Radisavljevic



Poison Oak also lurks around the Elfin Forest. Be careful of it, especially in winter when it's harder to see. In the photo below, the very bright leaves are oak leaves. The leaves that show some red are poison oak. Do you see their bare stems? Those are just as dangerous to touch as the leaves are. Sometimes in winter there aren't any leaves to warn you. So stay on trails and don't touch bare stems unless you know it's not poison oak. Find more help with poison oak identification in this article: Oak and Poison Oak in Photos - Can You Tell the Difference? 


The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: Poison Oak
Oak and Poison Oak in Winter,  © B. Radisavljevic
The pigmy oaks are live oak trees that are stunted by their environment and can't grow as tall as the live oak trees you find in other places. It appears many of them are dead or barely alive. Some appear to be skeletons offering a place for Spanish moss to establish themselves. Below you see one such tree with what appear to be suckers or fresh baby branches near the bottom of the tree. A healthy tree sits to the right displaying branches full of deep green leaves. 

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: Pigmy Oak and Spanish Moss
Pigmy Oak in Winter with Spanish Moss,  © B. Radisavljevic
To get things into perspective, here are some photos to help you gauge the size of the plants in relationship to the boardwalk. Usually when one thinks of walking through a forest, one imagines looking up at the trees which block the view of what's beyond them. The Elfin Forest is different. Everything that grows there is short -- elf-size. Here's my husband, a giant among the pygmies.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: Hubby on Boardwalk
Giant Among the Pigmies,  © B. Radisavljevic


But sometimes the trees and shrubs along the boardwalk do grow higher, as did the oaks in the previous photo. The photo below shows that they can often go over one's head and block the surrounding view.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos
A Tunnel through the Elfin Forest,  © B. Radisavljevic
There are many other photos of the flora that I snapped from the boardwalk, but there is not room for all of them here.

Amenities in the Elfin Forest


There really aren't many to speak of. There are no restrooms or drinking fountains nearby. If you plan to stay long, bring water. Most people would not spend more than an hour here. The boardwalk loop is only 4/5 of a mile long. It is flat and wheelchair accessible. There are several benches for resting along the way. Here is one resting place. You can find out where the nearest restrooms are here.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: A Resting Place
Benches along Boardwalk at the Elfin Forest,  © B. Radisavljevic
Some benches like these, do have backs.

The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos: A Resting Place
More Benches along Boardwalk at the Elfin Forest,  © B. Radisavljevic


Along the walk there are also signs to point out attractions or help identify some of the plants. Some just let you know where you are on the walk. I showed one such sign near the beginning of this post. Although sometimes as you go through a "tunnel" you may feel like you are in a maze, there is little chance you will get lost.

The Los Osos / Morro Bay Chapter of Small Wilderness Area helps maintain the Elfin Forest and also sponsors nature walks on the third Saturday of each month. You can find more information about visiting the Elfin Forest here.  If you are ever driving south on Highway 1 or 101 from Paso Robles or Cambria or points north, The Elfin Forest is a quick place to stop and stretch your legs and get a dose of nature. 

Hungry people can take a short drive to the San Luis Obispo Costco afterward for an inexpensive snack. Pizza, hot dogs, frozen treats, and more are available to the public -- not just Costco members. Purchase the food outside the store and eat at the picnic tables provided. There are also several restaurants nearby.  


If you are in the area with some time to kill and would like to take a quick nature walk or do some birdwatching, stop by the Elfin Forest. It's also a good place to walk your dog. And admission is free. I plan to go back in a couple of days when we again have a medical appointment. I'm hoping to find all the plants that were dormant in January in bloom in June.
The Elfin Forest in Los Osos, California: A Review in Photos:
This collage was created with Fotojet. See review by Contributor Dawn Rae

Related Posts


Dawn Rae reviewed one of my favorite places that also appears to be one of hers -- Harpers Ferry in West Virginia. She has done a lot of hiking there. I've only been there for a couple of hours at a time on my way to and from other historical sites. If you're ever near it, don't hesitate to stop and explore.

Contributor Mary Beth Granger reviews some tips for taking photos while hiking.


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Saturday, June 1, 2019

Zazzle's Grocery Tote Bags Make The Perfect Library Bags

owl grocery tote bag adult library bag
Purchase through Zazzle
Today I'm going to review how great Zazzle's grocery tote bags are as adult library bags.   I recently came back from a visit with my mom that prompted me to write this review as she is still using a bag I designed for her (that can be found in my Hooting Owls Zazzle Store) back in 2013.

My mum has always loved owls so I decided to create a tote bag for her with an owl design on it for Christmas 2013.   When I gave it to her she decided it would be her library bag.   Now my mum is an avid user of the library, not only that when I stay with her, my brother stays with her or her grandchildren stay with her we all use the library ... and her library bag.

Now this bag has had it's strength severely tested over the years as it has been extremely overloaded with books especially when a few of us have been staying at the same time!   It is still going strong and there's no sign of any distress whatsoever.

It has been washed on countless occasions over the last five and a half years and I do believe that the design may be a little faded (although it looked more faded in real life than the photos when it was brand new), but I can't be sure.

There's only been one occasion when this bag caused any distress and that was when my mother thought she'd lost it.   Luckily it's a distinctive design and one of the local ladies at the supermarket recognized it when mum left it in the trolley and gave it to her the next time she saw her!   Definitely a great reason to get a customized tote bag!

I cannot recommend these tote bags enough, in fact I've already reviewed them here on Review This, but having recently used this bag again and realizing how long it has been regularly used I felt it needed to be reviewed again.


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Saturday, November 18, 2017

Perfect Mugs for Your Christmas Hot Chocolate

 Christmas Elements Mug
I love drinking hot chocolate while we decorate the Christmas tree and it has become a bit of a tradition in our house. I do think that if we had Christmas mugs it would make it even better though so I'm on the hunt for some cool Christmas mugs!

So let's review some festive mugs that will help make our holidays jolly and bright!

I fell in love with the featured mug a few years ago when I first saw it on the site Zazzle. I have designed a few of my own Christmas mugs on Zazzle as well and I love recommending them because I have had a Zazzle mug since 2014.

My Zazzle mug has been used constantly and still looks like new, the print hasn't faded and the inside has been easy to keep clean despite the amount of tannin that it's held!

I personally love the weight of the mug and it's a perfect feel for a festive hot chocolate.


Everyone Needs a Christmas Mug!

Even if you don't drink hot chocolate you need a Christmas mug - you can add coffee, egg nog, tea, just about anything you enjoy over the festive season.

If you don't like the Christmas Elements mug above then you might like to check out one of the Christmas mugs from my Zazzle store that features Santa himself...




I do think that this mug is pretty cute as well and you know even if you already have a Christmas mug for yourself they also make great gift ideas for people. You can add lots of things to a mug to make it a perfect gift.

Now I've already told you my favorite mug is the elements one and that's because it combines lots of things about the holidays on one mug.  I think Santa mugs are probably the most popular of the Chrismtas mugs, but if you don't like the one I've added then feel free to check out a great selection of some of the best Christmas mugs available which includes snowmen, Christmas trees, reindeer and more.

Find the perfect mug for your Christmas hot chocolate!


Let me know if you have your own Christmas mug or not and if you do is it from Zazzle or somewhere else?

Now hot to make your hot chocolate?  You can use a coffee machine - my moms coffee machine makes a great hot chocolate - or you can use this delicious homemade hot chocolate recipe.


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Saturday, August 13, 2016

Reviewing Personalized Reusable Grocery Bags

Owl Tote Bag
Owl Tote Bag 
I absolutely love some of the personalized reusable grocery bags that are available from the cute to the funny; the sarcastic to the vintage and more.   There's nothing better than having a bag that can make you smile when you have to do the grocery shopping .... again!

Some of my favorite personalized grocery tote bags can be found on the Zazzle website.   Zazzle is what is know as a Print on Demand website (POD) which basically means that there are lots and lots of different designs available to choose from and you can personalize items to suit your needs.

The introduction image is of a natural cotton grocery tote bag from Zazzle and for full disclosure I am actually a shopkeeper on Zazzle and the owl tote bag shown is from my own store.   I brought this bag for my mother as she loves owls and I thought it was a cute design that she'd enjoy taking grocery shopping with her.

The good news is that it gets used regularly, but not for her groceries.   My mum has decided to use it as her library bag, because why shouldn't adults have cool library bags?   Here's the design for you to purchase if you like the look of it -

As you can see when you look at this bag and the photos on the page the colors don't appear as bright in reality.   I think it's because the grocery tote is on a natural cotton material so it's a little duller, but I think it still looks awesome.

Do You Have Any Custom Grocery Tote Bags?

I have a collection of different canvas and cotton mix grocery bags that I keep in my car for doing my grocery shopping with.   I also have a foldable shopping bag that I keep in my purse for unplanned purchases.  One thing I discovered with the Zazzle grocery tote bags is that you can easily fold them up and keep them in your purse if you want to, it's a personal choice.

As I have said there are so many different designs available to choose from so no matter what you're after - owl totes, dog bags, cat totes, funny shopping bags or more of a vintage look tote - you will find a great collection.   If you have a favorite photo that you'd like to put on your shopping bag you can even upload that to Zazzle and make your own - now that's a personalized tote bag!

Here are a few other ones to choose from in case you don't like owls -



Which Bag To Choose?


Along with choosing or creating your own shopping bag so that it really is a perfect custom grocery tote for you there are still more questions to answer.   Zazzle have not one, but five different tote bags to choose from!

Talk about having to make lots of decisions!   The measurements for all of the bags are included on the website to make it easy for you to choose, but I also have some photos of my mother's owl bag here.   This one is the grocery tote size and it's the size I'd recommend, it is packed full of more books than I thought it would hold.


Custom Grocery Tote Bags

By the way feel free to pin this image for me :)

As you can see it holds a lot, but isn't too big to carry - I personally prefer two slightly smaller bags so I can carry one in each hand than a massive big one that will make me lopsided when I walk.

Make Your Own Personalized Grocery Tote on Zazzle

If you do have your own photo that you'd like to see on one of these eco-friendly shopping bags on Zazzle then it's a very simple process to follow.

First click on this link - make your own personalized grocery tote bag.

You'll see the screen below, click on the Add Image button that the red arrow is pointing out.  This step will take you to another page where you can choose to upload an image from your computer, instagram or google drive.


Select your image and when it loads the page will look a little like this -


You can use the buttons that are circled to make changes such as adding text, making the image bigger or smaller as well as moving it around.   You can also choose your background color from the selection on screen.

Once you're happy with everything you simply click the Add to Cart button.   You can see it on the image above - the blue button (it turns orange when you mouse over it) just above the red circle.

How Many Personalized Reusable Grocery Bags Do You Need?

You're not going to say zero are you?   I think everyone needs at least one reusable grocery bag so why not get a custom one just for you?

I'll admit it is often easier to get one of the plethora of fun designs available instead of personalizing one and that's okay too.   I think a bag that will make you smile (along with other shoppers) just helps to make the chore of grocery shopping a little bit easier.  

If I got the pickled cucumber bag that's available further up the page I would imagine it would be quite a conversation starter in the check out line.   I know my mother is constantly asked where she got her bag when she's carrying it to and from the library as it can't be found in the local mall.

What type of bag do you have or would like to have?



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Saturday, June 20, 2015

One Hermit Crab Takes on the World with His Message of Hope; 'Stop Crabbin'

Terry the Hermit Crab Hires a Public Relations Representative to Help Spread the Word about his Dream to Morph the
Terry's Motivational Products Here
Grumpy

Terry the Hermit Crab has a purpose, and he's on a mission to morph the grumpy!
Terry was quietly resting in his aquarium one day when his little hermit heart filled with meaning: He suddenly realized his life purpose...He jumped up and down (in his mind) then sauntered over to his buddy, fellow aquarium mate, Marcel, to tell him his plan!
It went like this..."Marcel, Marcel, OMG, I know what I need to do now....I'm meant to spread happiness and tell people to STOP CRABBIN'
Terry's Motivational Tip Greeting Cards!
Marcel abruptly yawned (in his mind) and after several "ho hums" told Terry that he could not possibly succeed without a solid internet marketing plan. Terry really has trouble with Marcel's negative thinking, and without any qualms told him he didn't need any of this "so called marketing" cause "he knows people, who know crabs, who know people".
Now, as you can tell Marcel won this battle and convinced Terry he needed a product page, a website page, effective SEO (Marcel has all the buzz words down), effective backlinks, and lots of fans who will make him go socially viral.
Terry was upset with Marcel's commercial approach and only wanted to spread the word with his tiny little hermit crab voice, until he realized he didn't have a voice! Marcel wiped away Terry's hermit tears, and told him, that going commercial would not compromise who he is or his positive message and that he knew the perfect person to get rolling on this! Our caretaker Jared is too busy writing music, but I'm calling his Mom, Barb...she can help us..she knows about this marketing stuff!

Barb Meets with both Hermit Crabs, Terry & Marcel

The Meeting was Tense but Productive

Well, it was an honor to be hired by these two crabs to help get Terry's message out. After meeting with Terry and Marcel, I must say, I was totally impressed with their ability to articulate exactly what they wanted to promote.
Now if you read the first the section you already know that Marcel the Hermit Crab is very much about the business and promotion side of things, and at this point only wants to work behind the scenes. I'm hoping he'll change his mind! I'm working on it. Terry on the other hand is all about the message he so vehemently wants to promote, which as you know is "Stop Crabbin". I will attest that Terry is very genuine about wanting to achieve world happiness...He's no Miss America, but he means what he says.

Terry the Hermit Crab's Photo Session
STOP CRABBIN' - Terry's Motivational Poster

Well Terry made it very clear that I wouldn't get a great photo of him unless his aquarium was completely revamped. So after extensive remodelling of his classy home, he was stoked and ready to roam.

With their aquarium shining, I settled in for Terry's big photo session. After an a hour of watching Terry and Marcel wander with speed and agility (like Hermit Crab Ballet) through their home, I was able to finally get the photo that Terry is most proud to tag onto his message...Stop Crabbin'.
Terry hopes you like the photo of him climbing the tree, 'cause he's very proud of his climbing skills...oh, and he's very pleased with how nice his eyes look.

Terry Decides on a Motivational Poster

Terry is such a stubborn Hermit Crab! He insisted on a Poster as his first Product. From where he sits, there seems to be a lot of walls, so he figures motivational hermit crab wall art is a breakthrough idea. I tried to explain to him that the world isn`t exactly how he sees it, but he thinks my perspective is the perspective that`s skewed. Arguing with a Hermit Crab seemed pointless, and after all he`s the boss.
Terry the Hermit Crab's Motivational Tip Classic White Coffee Mug
Stop Crabbin' Coffee Mug

STOP CRABBIN' Coffee Mug

Terry knows how some people wake up grumpy, so naturally a coffee mug made his shortlist of products. Grouches in the morning make up a huge percentage of people (so Terry says), and his purpose to de-grouch the world just wouldn't be complete without addressing the morning crowd!

A Hermit Crab Binder for School

Terry wants to have a positive influence on young people, and remind them that getting an education is critical to building their future. His buddy Marcel the Hermit Crab has a fabulous business mind acquired from business crab college.




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Thursday, May 7, 2015

Reviewing Spring Flowers on Zazzle

I love to photograph spring flowers, actually flowers anytime of the year, but for this article I will stick to spring flowers.  Spring flowers always bring a smile to my face.  The photo above shows some bright colored tulips and daffodils around my neighbors mailbox.

After I have taken all of these photographs, the big question is what to do with them.  I have found Zazzle to be a wonderful venue to use to display my flower photos on a wide array of products.  This way I can enjoy them all year long.

Zazzle Pillows

Purple Iris Reversible Pillows
Purple Iris Reversible Pillows by mbgphoto
View more Purple iris Pillows at zazzle.com
This beautiful Iris photo is one that I took at the Missouri Botanical Garden.  It is a reversible pillow with a different photo on each side.  I like to put a close up on one side and a zoomed out view on the reverse side.  This photo is a 16x16 size but it can also be made in several other sizes.  The Zazzle pillows have a zipper on the side for easy cleaning and are made in the USA and machine washable.  What a wonderful way to display your flower photos!

Greeting Cards

Zazzle greeting cards are a great way to share your photos with others.  They come in three sizes, the standard 5x7 or 7x5, a smaller notecard, or if you prefer a large 8.5 x 11 card.  The card below shows primroses from my garden.

Birthday Greetings Floral Card

Check out other Birthday Cards at zazzle.com

Flower Photography Tips

  • Photograph from Various Angles
  • Get Down at the Same Level as the Flower
  • Try a Closeup Shot and then a zoomed out shot of the same flower
  • Flowers photograph best in the early morning hours or just before or after sunset
  • Cloudy days are also great times to photograph flowers
In addition to the pillows and greeting cards, Zazzle has hundreds of ways to display your flower photos.  Here are a few more that I used on my photographs.

  • Magnets 
  • Prints for your Walls
Lilacs on the Fence Canvas Prints
Lilacs on the Fence Canvas Prints by mbgphoto
View other Lilacs by the fence Canvas Prints at Zazzle.com



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