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Relieving Stress in your Life- #272

Relieving Stress in your Life

In Blog 271 I talked about Time to work on me now. In this blog I wanted to talk about Relieving Stress in your Life


According to the American Psychological Association (APA), the most common sources of stress in the USA are financial worries, work, and the current political climate. These factors have taken a toll on people’s mental health, with stress leading to anxiety, depression, and physical illnesses. In fact, stress has been linked to heart disease, obesity, and autoimmune disorders. What’s more, a lack of emotional support and community connectedness has also contributed to the rise of stress levels in America.


Among different age groups, the millennials are the most stressed-out population, with 64% reporting excessive stress levels in 2020. Gen Xers are not far behind, with 62% experiencing stress due to money, work, and family responsibilities. Interestingly, older Americans are the least stressed-out, with only 33% reporting stress levels higher than average. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the stress landscape, affecting people of all ages, genders, and socioeconomic backgrounds.


The workplace is one of the most significant stressors for Americans, with 65% of workers citing work as the primary source of stress. Work-induced stress often leads to burnout, a state of physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion. Burnout reduces job productivity, increases absenteeism, and can harm physical health. However, only 43% of people report that their employers offer any kind of workplace stress management program.


While stress can be debilitating, many Americans fail to seek help due to the stigma around mental health issues. Only 42% of Americans who report stress seek professional help or use stress-management techniques. This highlights the need for greater awareness and access to resources such as counseling, mindfulness training, or behavioral therapy.


Despite the staggering statistics on stress in the U.S., there are plenty of ways to stay relaxed and happy! Whether it’s stepping back from certain situations or engaging in activities that make you feel good, any one of these tips can help reduce stress levels and put a smile on your face. I myself have been doing a lot of self-reflection and trying to reduce my stress. So next time life gets overwhelming, try one (or more!) of these ideas and see how much better you’ll feel!


By following these easy steps, I  took my own personal actions to reduce stress and enjoy my life a little bit more. After all, life is too short not to be savored! Maybe these can work for you too!




  •  Not only will physical activity help boost endorphins, it will also help release tension from your body and mind. Whether you opt for something vigorous like running or something more laid back like yoga, just make sure you’re doing some kind of physical activity every day. Exercise is a great way to manage stress in your life. Not only does regular physical activity releases endorphins which will make you feel good, but exercise can also help clear the mind by providing an outlet for built up energy while also helping provide focus when needed. Even if it’s just a short walk around the block or a few minutes of yoga in the morning, regular exercise will help you stay relaxed and stress-free. I have 3 lb. dumbbells in my office and if I get too stressed out, I’ll do a quick 10 minute exercise to re-boot myself




  •  Taking the time to sit quietly and focus on calming your thoughts can be incredibly beneficial for reducing stress. Doing this daily can even help improve mental clarity, reduce anxiety, and increase self-awareness. Mindfulness activities such as meditation offer great relief from stress. Not only are they good for your physical health but they’re also great for calming the mind and helping us become more aware of our emotions. Taking even just a few minutes out of your day to practice breathing exercises can do wonders! I’ve found find the right person to listen to ids key here as well. I wasn’t big on meditation but since I’ve found a few favorites through the Peloton app it’s worked pretty well for me.


Find Hobbies


  •  Focusing on hobbies that you enjoy such as playing music, gardening, drawing, writing, or organizing photos can be an incredible way to take your mind off daily worries and just enjoy being in the present moment. Doing activities like these can also boost creativity! I started a photo project, organizing all my photos/slides I had in boxes by year (or my best guess) This morphed into another hobby or project -Genealogy. I had started a family history project many years ago but when my dad passed away in 2015 it let the wind out of my sails. Fast forward to today my daughter was asking me about our family history so I have a new passion to complete this for her.


Get Outside


  • Going outdoors for a hike or taking a stroll around the block can do wonders for clearing out the cobwebs in your head while also soaking up some nourishing Vitamin D from the sun! Plus, it helps connect us to nature which has been proven to be beneficial for mental health overall. Taking time to reconnect with nature can help us feel more grounded and relaxed. Soaking up sunshine, taking a stroll in the park, or going for a hike can all be great ways to reduce stress and get back in touch with our environment. I love working in my Rose Garden or messing around with the herbs and veggies I grow. Of course, a nice little walk with Teddy is always fun too.


Spend Time with Pets


  •  Studies show that interacting with animals can reduce stress levels significantly. Take some time out of your day to hang out with furry friends, whether it’s cuddling up to your pet or visiting an animal shelter for some puppy love. There’s nothing quite like spending quality time with animals to make even the most stressful situations much more manageable. Teddy loves playing catch I can squeak one of his favorite balls and it’s on. He was the inspiration to create my Doggy Daddy site which has also helped in stress relief by writing blogs for pet owners or creating product that make people smile.


Connect with Others


  •  Having meaningful conversations or engaging activities with friends or family members is another excellent way to reduce stress levels while also building relationships at the same time! Being open about how you’re feeling as well as talking through any issues with someone close by can provide a major sense of relief (plus hearing advice from someone else may just give you newfound clarity). It’s always a good idea to find someone who can listen to what you have going on in your life. Talking about whatever is stressing you out can often help put things into perspective and make it easier for you to find solutions. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when needed; having another person who cares can mean all the difference when trying to reduce stress levels. I have my “go to people” I usually call when I need to connect with a human.


Unplug from Technology


  •  It might sound counterintuitive but disconnecting from all screens for even an hour each day (including phones!) can be extremely helpful in diffusing any pent-up energy and disassociating yourself from a stressful environment. Spending time in nature or engaging in activities that don’t require any digital devices such as reading, cooking, and painting can help you relax and enjoy life without the distraction of boss emails and notifications


Find Your Passion


  •  Focusing on something other than stress-inducing tasks can be an excellent way to bring more joy into your life while also reducing anxiety levels. Whether it’s taking up a new hobby, exploring a different career path, or learning a new skill – finding something that truly excites and motivates you can make all the difference when it comes to managing stress daily. Take some time to think about what kind of activities spark passion within you and give them a try. Be sure to give yourself breaks and time for self-care – the happier you are, the more stress-free your life will be!


Get Enough Sleep


  • Getting enough sleep is essential for keeping us in a happy and healthy mindset. When we don’t get enough rest, our bodies become more prone to stress due to fatigue and the inability to effectively cope with life’s challenges. Aim to get at least seven hours of sleep each night by going to bed at a reasonable time and waking up early enough to feel refreshed throughout the day. I had a problem sleeping after I lost my job, so I had to find out why that was happening. I would often replay the situation before bedtime or read things associated with this and found by doing other things before bedtime really helps. Going to a happy place helps too. For me it’s our backyard. Even around midnight you can hear the birds chirping and insects singing. With our incredible “Zen backyard” it helps calm me before I actually call it a day. Teddy likes going back there too so it makes us both happy.


Laugh Out Loud


  •  Laughter really is one of the best ways to relieve stress in your life. Not only does it help you relax and enjoy the moment, it can also boost your mood. Whether that’s watching a comedy film or TV show, reading a funny book, or just spending time with people who make you laugh – laughter has been proven to reduce stress levels and leave you feeling happier afterward! Every time I watch “Pink Panther 4” or even think about the movie, I can visualize my dad laughing really hard and that also puts a smile on my face. I’m sure I got my sense of humor from him.


…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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Time to Work on Me Now – #271

Time to Work on Me Now

In Blog 270 I Talked about is born. In this blog I am going to talk about Time to Work on Me Now.


Many of us live our lives running from task to task, painfully aware that we aren’t taking care of ourselves as well as we should be or living in the moments. I knew I needed to focus on this myself, but it is hard to create these inviting moments for self-reflection and growth when you are struggling to keep up with work, life and family obligations; taking time out just seems impossible. Yet it doesn’t have to be this way – So I decided to act. I’m dedicated to helping myself break away from my daily routines so that I can start carving out those meaningful moments of reflection and focus on myself each day.


Working on me now


If you’re interested in self-improvement, the best time to start is always now. This means that if you want to make a positive change in your life, today’s the perfect day. It can be daunting when we hesitate about making changes for ourselves and wonder if it’s worth it or not; but putting yourself first is never wrong – taking ownership of your journey and path ahead will help lead you into a more fulfilling life. In this blog post, I’ll discuss how taking steps towards working on yourself now can enable an easier transition into lasting growth and development. So read on to see how I decided to start my wellness journey!


Step 1 Understanding Your Needs – Identify your current emotional and physical state.


Understanding your needs is a crucial step towards leading a fulfilling life. It’s important to identify your current emotional and physical state to give your mind and body what they require. Begin by carving out some time for yourself each day to reflect on how you’re feeling. Consider your emotions and assess how they impact your overall well-being. Additionally, pay attention to your body and any physical sensations you’re experiencing. Take note of any aches, pains, or discomforts and ask yourself what changes you can make to feel more comfortable. Through self-reflection, and a willingness to make small but impactful adjustments to your routine, you can gain a deeper understanding of your needs and what you must do to thrive. I decided I needed help with all this, so I went to see a wellness coach and she helped me plan my path to success. There were a few key points I had to address. The loss of my 19 year career, gaining weight and not working out, being unorganized and eating healthier.


Step 2 Establishing Goals – Set reachable goals to improve your wellbeing.


Establishing achievable goals can have a significant impact on your overall wellbeing. It’s important to set goals that are not only challenging but also realistic so that you can gradually work towards achieving them. I remember Dr Vik advising me to do this years ago, so it wasn’t foreign to me. Having clear objectives to work towards can help improve your mental and physical health. Setting achievable goals allows for a sense of accomplishment and helps build overall confidence and resilience, both of which are important for improving wellbeing. I decided to go “old school” and take what I learned from the Franklin Planning system I used at Nordstrom and write it down in a journal I created through my business. I had goals I want to achieve each month and the daily planning helps me with achieving those goals. I try to tackle a project each week so for the month I could knock out a few different ones and help my wellness in the process.


Step 3 Self-Care Practices – Make time for yourself.


Life can be busy and stressful, leaving us feeling depleted and overwhelmed. That’s why it’s essential to make self-care a priority in our lives. Taking the time to relax and recharge can have a significant impact on our physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing. Whether it’s reading a book, tending the garden, or practicing meditation, finding activities that bring us joy and tranquility can help alleviate stress and improve our overall quality of life. I decided to start my day by enjoying a cup of coffee with my dog Teddy and writing out my daily goals in my notebook. I love my garden, so that would be part of my day starting out, followed by a good workout incorporating meditation to end the workout. I would make hourly goals to achieve and stop at 6 to help out with dinner since I want my fast to start at 8pm each day.


Step 4 Exercise Regularly – Establish an achievable exercise routine that you can stick to


Exercise is essential to maintain a healthy mind and body but establishing a routine can be challenging. A reliable way to stay on track is by finding an enjoyable fitness activity, and Peloton makes it easy. Peloton provides a comprehensive at-home workout experience with live and on-demand classes that cater to different levels and preferences. For me starting back into it though, the live classes were just too intense for me. I decided to start with a 20-minute low impact ride in the on-demand classes, followed by a strength workout. A good 10-minute stretch after the first two and ending with a 10-minute meditation. I have my favorite instructors I try to use to make the workout more enjoyable as well. On workouts I’m used to doing and since I know the routine I’ll sometimes turn the sound down and listen to my own soundtrack.


Step 5 Eating Well – Choose nutritious food options and maintain a balanced diet.


Eating well is essential in maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Nutritious food options can improve your overall well-being and prevent weight gain or worse yet, body fat.. A balanced diet involves incorporating a variety of foods from all food groups, including fruits and vegetables, which I haven’t been great at incorporating into my diet. When choosing your meals, consider the nutritional value of each food item and the benefits it can provide to your body keeping the portions at a minimum. While it may be tempting to indulge in unhealthy options, making smart choices can make a significant impact on your health and energy levels.  We are doing a hybrid of the Mediterranean diet followed by intermittent fasting from 8pm -11am each day. We still try to do steak night on Fridays but are more conscious of the size of the steaks we get. Of course it doesn’t hurt to cheat a little as long as it’s in moderation.


Step 6 Mental Health Maintenance – Practice self-kindness, think positively, and stay connected with friends and family.


Maintaining good mental health is crucial to living a happy and fulfilling life. Taking steps to practice self-kindness, thinking positively, and staying connected with loved ones can all contribute to a healthier mindset. It’s important to treat yourself with kindness and understanding, especially during times of stress or difficulty. Focusing on positive thoughts and affirmations can also help shift the mind towards a more positive outlook. For the last 19 years it was go – go – go. I’m making it a priority to call family and friends more frequently and telling them how much they mean to me. Another pain point for me was how unorganized I was. It was common for me to put things in boxes for an out of sight out of mind type thing. One of the first projects I knocked out was to take the 20 boxes of stuff I had and organize it all into a file system I could actually find the items I was looking for. I’m already enjoying the fact I know where things are, the next big project is Photos and slides. I have thousands I need to organize so this is high on the list of things to work on next.




Self-care is an essential component of living a healthy and happy life. As you have learned in the blog post, taking care of yourself—through understanding your needs, setting goals, engaging in self-care practices, eating well, exercising regularly, and maintaining your mental health—will help you be the best version of yourself. By practicing self-care on a regular basis, you can give yourself the tender loving care that you deserve and create healthier habits for the future. Do not be afraid to adapt your routine as needed; ultimately, every journey is different. As long as you are working toward improving yourself and your wellbeing with patience, an open heart and an open mind, success will come to fruition soon enough. In the short time I’ve been doing this it has lifted my spirits exponentially and highly recommend this for anyone.



…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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In Blog 269 I Talked about building a Shopify site. In this blog I am going to talk about is born

There is so much to creating a great website. There are many ways to go about doing it as well. There is one thing that must be dialed though and that’s your product. In previous blogs I’ve talked about how important it is to build a great team. Well since I’m a team of one so far, I think I have that one nailed. At least so far. Another important lesson I learned is that product is king. If you don’t have product that people want, it doesn’t matter what else you do.


Another piece is to have a website that is easy to find what you are looking for. So many times, I’ve searched for items and had a hard time finding what I was looking for. One site, I was looking for a warm jacket since I’ve gained a few covid pounds. I did a search for “warm Jacket” and sleeping bags showed up? Someone needs to work on taxonomy lol. For the last few months, I’ve been putting together a site called Doggy Daddy. It’s a site where people can find products with dog images on them with over 100 breeds to choose from and growing. I acquired the URL and have a trademark in the works.


I started building the site with the free theme called “Dawn”. It was a nice basic site and allowed me to understand the inner workings of a Shopify site. Actually it was probably good enough to just stay with but curiosity got the best of me so I did an upgrade with infinite scrolling which I like and a marquee which will scroll all the different breeds I carry. I love the way Shopify sets the sections up to make it easier to break down certain areas of your site. I have the new arrivals first after the marquee and then the top categories and featured product which I change every week. I have some more categories I’m developing after that then it goes to two featured collections. Socksmith is the only branded product I carry so far and Doggy Daddy as its own brand with exclusive product.


As you keep scrolling down I have a section on my inspiration, my Mini Poodle Teddy, with a few “Teddy items”. And towards the bottom I end the page with my blogs I write each week. I started with my love for dogs, then blog two starts with My dog Teddy and finally the third one is about Australian Cattle Dogs. In starting this site, it has been interesting to me to learn about the breeds as I create product. Since I’m so passionate about mentoring and coaching people what better way to share my learnings of the different breeds I come across. It is so funny too because I can be in casual conversation with someone about their dog and I feel I have so much information about their dog to share.


I love unique product. Probably why I enjoyed doing Private Label for 6 years at Zappos. I found an artist I just love. He is an amazing pencil artist, and his name is Gary Tymon. He works out of the United Kingdom and has amazing graphics. I have his work on coffee mugs and notebooks so far but plan to expand the collection soon.


I found another Artist from Romania at Mimoza Studios that have unique graphics perfect for black t-shirts and some realistic watercolors I plan to use this week. On top of these two I have been using other artists I’ve found on Etsy and Creative Fabrica. The best part of this adventure is it makes people smile. That is so rewarding to me. Once I get this site going and learn more about driving traffic to the site I plan to convert this site a little and add a shop for merchandise here too. I’m debating on keeping this one a pure blog and adding a separate site utilizing which I also own. To be continued…



…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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Building a Shopify site – #269

Building a Shopify site

In Blog 268 I Talked about how the Etsy site gained steam. In this blog I am going to talk about Building a Shopify site


My wife asked me the other morning what my blog was about now. It got me to thinking about it a little more in depth. Originally I stated this in my about me section:


“This is my journey in the footwear industry that shares tips on what I’ve learned starting from when I began in 1980.

I start out with my adventures in store management with three different companies and on to my 11 year run with Nordstrom. I had many wonderful mentors at Nordstrom and strengthened my buying skills.  Finally I share my amazing 18+ year journey at Zappos and continue to what the future may bring.

I’m sharing my journey for those who are hoping to get into the shoe industry, or for those who are looking for tips from an old shoe dog.

I hope you enjoy! Mike”


So I think the same message is still there. If you have followed me since the first blog you know that everything that I experienced, shaped me in some way or fashion to who I am today. My hope was that by sharing my experiences it could help others. Now in 2023 I’ve shared most of my footwear journey, at least up until 2009. The years between that time were great but I decided I needed to move on from my previous employer so here we are. I think what I’m sharing going forward will have the same sentiment. I’m experiencing new things and want to share my experiences to help others who may want to do the same.


I’ll be talking about the three shops I’ve created on different platforms, eBay, Etsy and now Shopify. I’ll go into how I’m going to convert my blog site into an eCommerce site with the blog still intact. And with all of those, how I got customers to each of them. I am going to look into creating a product line with something to do with footwear or footwear accessories at some point, once I get these sites running smoothly.  And finally I’ll go into my job search and tips on how to do that. Of course depending on my next career some of these things may have to go a little slower but I have a lot of time left and no shortage of energy.


I was happy to become a “Star Seller” on my Etsy site. You receive this honor if you have stellar reviews, on time shipping and timely responses to messages. Back in Sept. I didn’t see a message from a seller I bought from and got dinged for that. It goes for all messages. I applied for a trademark for Soleman and am going through the process of getting it registered. My thought was I’d find an insole line I could private label for myself and convert the Soleman Studios website to an eCommerce/Blog site. I would have to add Woo Commerce for the cart. I knew the process of trademarks would take a little while, so I had time to check into everything. I already have a registered trademark for Soleman for blogging and am just waiting for the other marks to get registered. Based on the positive response to Dog merchandise I also submitted one for Doggy Daddy.




I decided to go to the Magic show to see if I could hear of any job openings and to hunt for an insole manufacturer. I ran into a guy I used to work with at Zappos named Terry. I always liked him, and we had a similar sense of humor, so we clicked on that front too. He was at the Socksmith® booth. They had so many different patterns and the quality was amazing. I asked him what the minimums were and there were doable for me, so I bought 10 different patterns. I thought I’d put them on my Etsy site to start and then build a Shopify site or start the conversion of Soleman Studios. When I got home, I found out Etsy doesn’t allow for brands as it’s more of an artsy type site for people who create items.


That weekend I started listening to You Tube tutorials and found a guy @MeticsMedia that I really liked. He explained things clearly and was easy to follow his instructions. He has several videos out, so I listened to a bunch of them and a few other people too. I liked his videos the best. I felt I could do one now. I had tried several months earlier with no luck. This time I felt sure about it. It still was a lot of trial and error but after a week I had put together a pretty good site, now to fine tune and add the Sales Channels. I learned a lot from my Etsy site about SEO and such so had a pretty good grasp on how to do that.




To start with you choose a theme, there are a few free ones and others you can buy. Of course, the two I liked were $280 and $350 to set up. I decided to do the free one first then I can always upgrade later. From there you add your product. Since I had two different types of products, Print on Demand and now the Socksmith® socks, I had to set up two different shipping profiles. One would go directly to Printify and the other I would handle the shipping myself.


Next, I had to choose a plan. They had different layers and costs associated with those layers. I opted for the basic Plan to start with. I jumped right in with the eBay site and found it takes awhile to take advantage of the bigger plans so this time baby steps. I also set up all the financials on how my payments get processed too. I knew the URL was available for so I opted for a custom URL instead of the Shopify route. With the URL you also get an email to go with it, so I picked Next you can add a bunch of different apps for reviews and such, I decided to start slow and do the reviews, product reviews and Pinterest pin to make it easier to Pin things to Pinterest.


The cool thing about Shopify is that everything seems a bit easier to manage, from the images to the content and various other things so I was happy to see that. Etsy has built in customers though so the marketing would be a little more challenging. I put together a Facebook page, an Instagram page, and a Pinterest. Next product. Printify makes it easy by being able to copy existing product from one store to the next. I planned to have some differences between the shops, so I’d tweak them once I copied them over. It was a lot of work. I then built out the categories and put each of the items in the correct category, this way it was easier to shop.


Product mix


I added some new items aside from the socks, A fanny pack to hold your doggy treat for walks or training purposes, Almost 100 different t-shirts with different breeds to offer a vast selection for dog owners and of course coffee mugs. Linda suggested to take the breed name off to have a cleaner look. It worked with the Shoedog shirt so why not, can always add them back later if needed.


The sales channels I started with had a few integrations I had to solve for but after a few days I figured it all out. Now to flip the switch and go Live. I posted a few things on various social media channels and had three sales right off the bat, Thanks to Margaret, Dee and my brother David. I was pleased with how it looked and how easy it was to shop. Maybe I should build Shopify sites for people too, one step at a time…


Now the fun part begins, Marketing…


…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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Etsy Site is Gaining Steam #268

Etsy Site is Gaining Steam

In Blog 267 I Talked about utilizing my passion for dogs. In this blog I am going to talk about how the Etsy site gained steam.

My first thought to the Etsy site was to have Footwear themed items. I made Shoe dog t-shirts with A description of what a shoe dog is. I put a link on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and LinkedIn. Had a few comments but no sales. I made some coffee mugs and did the same routine. Unfortunately, I got the same result. Made several items in other categories as well. Then my long-time mentor started ribbing me on what a shoe dog is. I listened to what he had to say but also realized that the term shoe dog means different things to different people. It meant a “shoe veteran” to me and several others I talked to when I made the t-shirts but not to everyone. So, I made a Shoe dog t-shirt without the description. Put it on the same channels and also a Shoe dog group I belong to. Boom! Had a sale first day! Then several more sales including some with the description. I had tried Facebook advertising and Esty advertising too. Results were minimal.


Dog stuff


In all this excitement I was working in my office and my dog was being his normal cute and funny self. I decided I wanted a Teddy hoodie. So, I made one and had the sample sent to me. It was awesome, super warm and comfortable. It clicked, dog items…

I had mentioned in the last blog how I started making dog items, but this was the inspiration. I did the same thing as I did for the shoe dog items made a few different items, since I had different categories now, I made category tabs on the site too. Sold a few but then a super nice customer asked If I could personalize a cup for her. Uhhhhh, not sure. Did some research and figured out how to do it. Next I went to the dog items and picked the ones I wanted to add that feature to. I started with the coffee mugs.




First of all, when you have items you want personalized there are multiple steps to pull this off. In the regular items you get the sale, it goes to the print on demand printer and if you don’t approve right away it will auto approve in 24 hours. With personalization everything has to be manual. You actually have to duplicate the item, personalize it, then delete the original item off the order and substitute with the personalized item. Then you send to the printer. Unfortunately, all of your orders have to be manual if you personalize some of them. Not a big deal, but you have to be in tune with your business to give great service. Timeliness is part of it.


So back to the amazing customer. Her name is Anita, and she was such a pleasure to work with. She would ask me if I could do certain things and I’d send her mock-ups and she’d pick the ones she liked. She was the perfect person to test this out. The best part is she came back several times to buy more. I loved it! Even better she was so happy with what I came up with. That was really important to me, I made her happy. I missed that part from my last job, making people happy. It was so fulfilling to me in my past, so it was like an old friend came over to visit. In the process I figured out how to be more efficient. I made some templates and figured out the dimensions of the images for each item and made folders for easy access. I decided to surprise my friend Pam with a personalized mug of her dog Fiona. It made her so happy, mission accomplished…


Another customer asked if I had any backpacks I could do. Hmmm, let me check. There was a backpack from a vendor I was already doing business with. I trusted them, which is important in this line of work. I’ve had mishaps from certain mug suppliers that don’t package things properly (I’ll write a future blog on this), so I stick to certain trusted partners. Made up a few designs for her and she loved it. Backpacks were in the mix now. She bought a few in fact. So, I made a few different breeds for the backpacks. Cattle dogs, Poodles and Border Collies were popular with the like button.


More Dogs!


This gave me another idea, More dogs! I had 100 different images of different breeds now because I found an amazing artist and bought her images along with the license. So, I made 100 t-shirts the following weekend with different colors and different breeds. I made up one listing with several different dogs on it and a bunch of different listings with the breeds separated. The separated ones were more popular. I guess people like the visual of what they are looking for. I’ll keep playing around with it. There is a way to combine variants (The sizes, colors etc.) but with t-shirts having so many sizes it makes the listing quite large. It works perfectly with items that you have to separate the colors due to the supplier like my tote bags, so I decided to stick with that.


I sold a few dogs like a Newfoundland, Great Pyrenees, Whippet, Shar-pei and many others so I knew I was on to something. So, what’s the lesson. Well Etsy is known for its artsy curated items. That’s the strength of this site, personalization, and selection. So I spent time cleaning up my overall look of the Esty site, and every month kept getting better. By February I became a Star Seller! This means my reviews were great, I shipped on time and got back to my customers in a timely manner. Everything I preached to my buyers about as a Sr. Director. Basics…


Shoedog shirts


My shoe dog t-shirts were on fire too, still my best seller on the site. My friend Larry bought a few from me and said he was going to wear them at the shoe show, it worked, I had a few sales from his pitching my site. Love that guy. We worked together at Nordstrom in the 90’s and have been friends ever since. My friend  Mike bought 6 for his team! This gave me an idea to look for socks at the Magic show in Vegas to expand my collection. I ran into another longtime friend who was at the Socksmith® booth. Problem for me was Etsy only allows handmade items or vintage brands not branded merch. I opened an account anyways with him and bought a collection of different dog socks. I told my friend Terry “If I don’t open the Shopify site people are getting these for Christmas for the next few years.” The socks were amazing, High quality and cute dogs on the socks. People are going to love these I thought. Now I have to put together a Shopify site or add Woo Commerce to my blog site. Since I have the trademark for Doggy Daddy and a URL idea that is still available, I’m going to work on a Shopify site over the weekend. I’ll do the Woo Commerce site next on this website.


Next blog I’ll be talking about Shopify.



…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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Utilizing my passion for dogs #267

Utilizing my passion for dogs

In Blog 266 I Talked about Going to visit Rabaul and a volcano. In this blog I am going to talk about utilizing my passion for dogs.


My Passion for dogs


I’ve always been fond of dogs. I had a Dachshund as my first dog as a little boy. The dog I grew up with though was a poodle terrier mix we named Muttley after a cartoon we all used to watch. My aunt Linda had her originally but asked my parents if we wanted to take her. Her original name was “Queenie” but my brothers and I didn’t like that name, so we decided on the new name. She was an amazing dog and probably why I have such a fondness for dogs 50+ years later.


The last dog I had was “Gonzo” a little Pug. I was travelling a lot and my son James was living with me at the time at 17 years old so we got a dog to keep him company. We decided on a Pug puppy. At the breeder he was the one that was the most energetic and kept looking at us with his big blue eyes. I had to leave for a trip to China and during my trip, James texted me saying he decided on the name Gonzo because he was moving around like a little crazy doggy and made him laugh a lot. Gonzo it was.




Fast forward to 2020. I had been working from home because of the pandemic. I missed having a dog, so the conversation kept coming up between Linda and I. “I’m ready” I told her. But she wanted to wait. She had done such an amazing job as an interior designer for our house we wanted to make sure of the right breed for our needs. We considered a few different breeds, but the Poodle kept circling back. Was it because of Muttley? I did some research and found a breeder in Las Vegas named Mystical Poodles.


I called the breeder Marie, and she was amazing to work with. I also was talking to some other breeders out of town, but we would have to figure out transportation. Marie mentioned she had a litter coming up in November of Mini Poodles and would keep in touch with us. We decided to put a down payment down to secure one from the litter. We wanted a chocolate one. November 30, 2020, Teddy was born but we hadn’t agreed yet that would be his name. We could have him in 8 weeks, so the name game was going on in our household. We wanted a more Teddy bear look so Teddy was the name we landed on.


People say having a dog can extend your life, I believe that to be true now. Stress is a killer and dogs have a way to sooth your soul. Unconditional love. Teddy has been great for me. This last year has been ultra-stressful, but my buddy is always there to put a smile on my face or calm me down with a wet nose. Our walks together are soothing, and he always looks back at me and gives me a smile (at least I think it’s a smile). Funny thing is, my friends Kristin and Joey also wanted a poodle and got a Standard from the same breeder the very next month. Marie hooked them up too.


Passion helps


The reason why I’m starting the blog this way is to give background to my passion for dogs. I think it’s great to be able to do something you are passionate about. Passion helps…Until I figure out my next career spot this has enabled me to keep busy and learn some things too, A core value- Knowledge! I started the eBay shop with what I thought was a void, shoe dog stuff. Then I thought I’d add some dog stuff because of my passion for dogs. I first went to a site you could get free graphics or pay the pro plan and get more of a selection. I found a graphic I liked but it was available in just black and white. I used Canva to add some color to the graphic and mocked up a t-shirt. I found some great paw prints too, so I used those for the coffee cups. I put them up on the site without much luck. My friend Pam bought the coffee mug in different colors so I could see how the process worked. It’s nice to have friends that support you.




After a month of testing different items, I had this idea to open an Etsy site since they have a bunch of handmade type items, and the customer base is more artsy. They’ll like the dog idea, I thought to myself. I spent a weekend making different t-shirts and coffee mugs and put together an Esty site. I loved the layout and the look of the shop. I have a feeling this will be the site for new stuff and eBay will be my outlet for selling samples, returns and other used items I may want to sell. Pretty good business model.


With all this and working from home, Teddy and I have our routine now. Making different designs and putting all the content can be a lot initially so it’s been and 8-hour day easy. So, every few hours I’ll take Teddy outside to do his thing, throw the ball around and sometimes take a walk. It’s good to take a break and get outside too. This goes to another core value: Balance. It’s so important to have balance in your life. Next blog I’ll talk more about how the Esty site gained steam.


Below are all the dogs I’ve had in my life:


Fritz – Dachshund Dog was mean so my parents gave him to a friend

Muttley – Poodle-Terrier mix childhood dog lived to 16 years

Max – Siberian Husky bought in LA, rental house fell through so gave him to a friend

Sheba – Black Labrador Died in an accident

Buddy – Australian Shepherd Kept running back home to previous owner so they ended up keeping him

Willie – Tri-Colored Collie Died of Liver failure

Max – Tri-Colored Collie Lived a long life

Lassie – Female Collie lived a long life

Sydney – German Shepherd Kept tearing up the small backyard  so found a bigger yard at a friends house for him to live

Gonzo – Pug  my son moved to an apartment so gave him to a good home since our house was being remodeled

Teddy – Chocolate Mini Poodle current best friend




…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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Going to visit Rabaul and a Volcano #266

Going to visit Rabaul and a Volcano

In Blog 265 I Talked about Going to a village in Papua New Guinea. In this blog I am going to talk about Going to visit Rabaul and a Volcano.




As we were sailing today we passed a mountain that may be an active volcano, there were fumes coming up from what appeared to be a hole in the mountain, I’ll have to research this further. Yes after doing some research it is in fact an active volcano and very dangerous to this area. It last erupted however in 1994 and devastated the city of Rabaul. There are several in the area but most are dormant with this one the only one that is active.


We arrived in Rabaul today, we heard it wasn’t a very safe area so today we are going to just shop the area near the ship. We went to a little street near the ship where the locals are selling crafts they made. I found a wood carver who carved tribal masks. He had many to choose from so it was difficult to make a decision. He asked for 60 but after a few rounds with Linda he sold one to me for 40. It’s really cool and he signed the back with his name and also the city. Linda’s mom bought some scarfs and Linda didn’t get anything. I hope she’s not sick. Tomorrow we go to another village to see a mask ceremony.




Our view of the bay at port is spectacular, with the suites Linda arranged and the luck of our side facing the bay it’s quite nice. Today we go to a mask ceremony. It was a village similar to the last village we went to but the focus today was the mask ceremony. The first dance signified the dance of the lady spirit. Two men were dressed like women. From what one of the locals told us, there was a spirit that dressed like women to have sex with men but killed them instead. They were pretty creepy so i guess they did good job. After each dance they brought someone up to give thanks to the performers. I volunteered Linda which she gladly accepted. The guy kept calling her Glenda and it wasn’t worth a correction so we just rolled with it.


We met a guy who was cooking local food, I tried one piece I thought was a root of some sort but it turned out to be chicken. Hopefully it won’t make me sick. His teeth were either red from the nut that is popular and rotten too. Dental hygiene isn’t a thing here. He explained the meanings of the costumes to us and gave us a demonstration on how to do the betal nut properly.


Next was a group of women in colorful outfits and lastly a night of the dead group that had scary masks and painted skeleton bones painted on their bodies, this one was really cool.


I was a little disappointed they didn’t sell any of the masks afterwards but oh well I have a cool one to bring back with me. The tour guide went into great detail how life around the volcano was, her village was right near it, so if there are earthquakes they leave. In 1994 they left for a year before they could come back. 80% of Rabaul was destroyed with very few signs of buildings that were there, all buried underneath.




Today we tour the island of Kirwina. We will take the tinder boats to the island where the locals have set up shops on the beach to sell souvenirs.


I heard this was the best place to get wooden bowls and masks if you missed out the first time. Early in the morning the captain informed the ship that due to high winds it was unsafe to use the tinder boats so we would not be stopping at this location. Bummer. The boat continued to go out to sea. We would be arriving at the conflict islands where Linda set up a snorkeling excursion as well as a bay cruise.




We arrive at the conflict islands. They got the name from a ship that wrecked near the island called the HMS Conflict. In 1942 there was a huge conflict between the Japanese imperial fleet and the US and Australia. It was the first time the Japanese were forced to turn back since the start of the war. The next month the Battle for Midway happened which was the turning point of the war in the Pacific.


The islands were beautiful, turquoise blue waters and 21 islands in all. We were told only one of the islands is inhabited and by only 30 people full time. There is a big conservation effort to keep the waters pristine as the turtle migration is important to the beautiful reefs below. It reminded me of “Finding Nemo” where the turtles were migrating.


Linda went snorkeling and experienced it first hand. Due to the timing of the cruise we were later taking, I stayed back with her mom to meet her there later. Linda took some underwater pictures with my underwater camera. There were mostly beautiful coral formations and a few fish with bright colors, but not like we experienced in Fiji or the Cook Islands. The tour guy looked familiar. He was the same MC we had in the first village where his father cooked for us.


Small World


I was chatting with a lady from Australia and she had been to the Summerlin Hospital before, in our town back home, small world. I also chatted with a guy who was sporting a belt that said Vietnam Veteran. I struck up the conversation because I used to do leather work as a young teenager. In fact my grandfather William Normart Sr. carried a wallet I made him for 40+ years. He got his wear out of it for sure. The markings on this man’s belt was very similar to the tools I used, he said he made belts for veterans of the war and donated the money to the vets. It was a fascinating conversation. We circled many of the islands and learned about the history and had a wonderful lunch of different types of locally grown fruits and veggies.


It was a long day and very tiring being in the sun for so long. It was such a beautiful area though, paradise comes to mind, it was virtually untouched and they plan to keep it that way. Our beautiful vacation is coming to an end soon. We have a few days at sea on the way back to Brisbane then one night there and our flight home on the 7th. Should be back in Vegas on the 8th to pick up my little guy Teddy who I really miss.


…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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Going to a Village in Papua New Guinea #265

Going to a Village in Papua New Guinea

In Blog 264 I Talked about Going Down Under for some R and R. In this blog I am going to talk about Going to a village in Papua New Guinea.




The next day we would go to the cruise terminal which is always fun. Picture the worst day at Disneyland and you have a cruise terminal. You had to wear a mask and since Linda’s carry on was open we couldn’t check it and it was a good fifty pounds.  I was worried I’d get denied because my temperature was high from lugging this 50lb. bag through the terminal. I was sweaty, my nose was running, luckily the mask hid that though. I think I was just worn out by not having any sleep the last few days. Everything turned out great though. The Oscar goes to…


Linda got us both nice suites with balconies. All I wanted was to eat a little something then go to bed. It was 7pm lol. I took some nighttime cold medicine and was lights out. I woke up around 4am and there was a “pillow barrier” between us lol. You got to love her lol. 




Today we cross the Great Barrier Reef but you can’t really tell from the ship. I decided to take it easy today and write my blog. Of course Linda worked out and is getting a massage today with her mom. The big question is tonight is formal night with steaks, will I make it, to be continued.


Decided I was still a little rough so missed steak night. Yeah I must have been rough to miss a good steak, well I probably could have cooked it better anyways. So went to bed early around 7pm. Woke up at 4am and felt so much better. Catching up on your sleep does wonders sometimes. One more day at sea and we port in Papua New Guinea. 




So far the food has been what you would expect for cooking for the masses, not real great but adequate. The cappuccino’s are good as are some of the items at the international cafe. We plan to try an Italian restaurant Monday while at sea after the first port. There is an additional cover charge of 34-40 to dine at the specialty restaurants.




We arrive in Alotau, Papua New Guinea. We were to take a tour of a Milne Bay village called Bibiko. It was hot and very humid. We get on our tour bus which is one of five. Our tour guide was a local. We would take a scenic bus ride through endless Palm oil plantations. This was a big source of income for this area and provided many jobs for the locals. The oil comes from smashing the nutlike seeds the tree produces, the tour guide demonstrated it for us.


After we pass the palm tree plantations he gets right into the cannibalism the island practiced until 1970. They ate human flesh out of anger not need or want. It was to take their soul away from them in death because they believed the enemy had been possessed by demons. There still is a tribe in Papua New Guinea that still practices this but is pretty much isolated from the world. From what the tour guide said they live in tree houses. Papua New Guinea is one of the largest islands except for Greenland in the world so a tribe could very well be isolated here without a problem. 


Going down the road and seeing the locals and the buildings, it was like going back 50 years or so ago. The buildings were old and weathered as were the cars. People were walking mostly and it was common to see nude people in the streams as we passed. People were friendly as we passed them with either a smile or a wave. Tourism and the oil from the palms were the big sources of income for the area. I’m sure this is why the cannibalism was mentioned so often.


According to our tour guide there are close to 7,000 different cultures here. Each has their own distinct language and traditions. Some of the traditions are fading due to modernization. The country is broken down by clans, tribes and villages. The country is matriarchal in nature. A man can only inherit land from the mother. A father may be part owner of land but when he passes, his share goes to the other owners. Education has become more important and the younger generations make it a point to be educated. The village we went to, the children walk two hours to go to school. The families live together with no walls in the structure but boundaries separated by rocks or sticks. They sleep on mattresses made by the leaves of palms and other trees. Some people practice polygamy here as well.


Our first stop was a scenic lookout point. It was a very beautiful view of the bay and our ship. There was a little girl and her dog at a nearby house and she had the cutest smile. I think more people were interested in taking her picture than the view. She loved every minute of it.


When we arrived to the Bibiko village there was an amazing dog in front. Not sure what kind of dog he was but he was beautiful. as we walked towards the village there was a tribal adorned group of people that performed a welcome dance. The men wore feathered head coverings that looked intimidating but beautiful at the same time. All the men were in incredibly great shape. The dance group was lead by the tribes chief who held a spear with jagged but intricate edges. We were told it was designed this way to pull someone’s guts out when speared. Nice thought. Especially after the MC explained again about the tribe’s cannibalism past. The women of the group had beautifully colored skirts and soft white feathered head coverings and were topless. I donated money to the chief for a picture with a few people from the tribe with Linda and I. One of them apparently thought he was being funny by putting the blade of the spear by my neck in one picture and my groin area in the next shot. I wish I had more time because I’d like to chat with this guy, his sense of humor was aligned with mine so it would be interesting to have a talk. I did talk to the chief of the village, he was very stoic and had a pleasant chat with him.


Meanwhile Linda’s mom had 4 of the group of younger kids, two girls and two boys, around her and she talked to them about education and how important it was. They were very attentive to every word she was saying. It was quite impressive. Their names were Jenny, Timar, and Enoch. Didn’t get the fourth persons name. The other thing that stuck out here was everyone in the village had red teeth. This is caused by eating what’s called a Betal Nut. To get the red color though you have to crack the nut open and chew the meaty center, then after a few minutes you dip mustard seed into a bag of lime powder, bite the mustard seed, this causes a chemical reaction and provides a mild high. Our tour guide told us it makes you laugh a lot. He demonstrated how it was done to our group on the way home.


The father of the MC cooked a meal for the group, it was mostly fruits and veggies as that’s their main diet. Papaya, pineapple, bananas, yams, taro, sweet potatoes, they use coconut and palm oil to cook with. 


After lunch they had a farewell dance and escorted us out of the village. As we were leaving Jenny who was a young girl Linda’s mom was talking to yelled out Bye Angela! It was very endearing. We travelled towards the boat and made a stop at a war memorial and local flea market where locals sold handmade craft items, bowls, jewelry and such. Linda and her mom supported a few of the merchants with some bowls.


Tonight we dine at an Italian restaurant, we will see if it’s worth the extra $34 cover. The food was actually quite good, we had to choose from 4 courses, soup or salad, appetizer, a side dish like pasta and main dish. I had the Ribollita soup plus Burrata Caprese, Pappardelle Bolognese pasta and Branzino. Linda had the first two courses I had but had the Pappardelle as her main course. Her mom had them make up her special pasta dish with penne pasta this time. She had a salad and for dessert she did a fresh berries dish. Linda and I shared a Tiramisu for dessert as the Panna Cotta was just ok. The presentation of the desserts was top notch. Overall it was a great meal but you paid the covers plus you had to pay for the alcohol so for the three of us around $160 bucks Aussie dollars vs free at the main dining room. 


After dinner we walked around the ship to see what was happening. There were a few bars with music and the international cafe which is where we got our cappuccinos in the morning. They had a little egg bite dish that was basically a small quiche. The photography area was on this level too as well as the second dining area. Our dining area was on level 5. We snagged a window table and was able to get this table for dinner at 5:20 every night. Dinners were different every night, and you had 4 courses to choose from. Linda paid extra for a drink package so the wine and scotch was no charge and you could have as many as you like. of course my limit is two drinks anymore as I don’t like the hangovers in the mornings like I used to enjoy earlier in life.


We headed up to level 7 where the shops were located. There were several jewelry stores, an art gallery and a general souvenir type store. The next levels were all the rooms then at the 14th level you had the buffet, the gym (kind of funny when you think about it) the spa and the pools. One of the pools had a gigantic movie screen you could watch under the stars, Ad Astra was playing this night with Brad Pitt. On one side of the pool was a pizza place and on the balconies were a bar and a burger joint. All in all pretty cool set-up. Thought I’d see if a work out early in the morning would be cool tomorrow, as it overlooks the ocean.


Tomorrow mid morning we head out to Rabaul which is an area that has several volcanos one of which is still active.


…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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Going Down Under for some R and R #264

Going Down Under for some R and R

In Blog 263 I Talked about the SEO learning curve. In this blog I am going to talk about Going Down Under for some R and R.




I didn’t think I’d be able to write while away but the connection is good enough, just have to time it right as the connection can be spotty. One of my Core Values is Balance: “You want everything in your life to be in the right proportion to everything else. No one thing dominates your life”. To do this sometimes you need to shift gears or as they say down under “Take a holiday”. What better way to do that than to travel clear across the world. Talk about getting away.


I’ve always wanted to see Australia. When I was a young man, my room-mate Harold and I talked about selling everything we had and travel to Australia. The plan was to get odd jobs to help us survive and to go to different places and experience the country. We never did it. Even though most of this trip is around Papua New Guinea, I was still excited to at least see some of Australia. 


We arrived in Brisbane after a long 14 hour flight. We arrived early like around 4:30 am so we hung out by the infinity pool and had some coffee. Everything would open up around 7am. It was nice to chill out and just relax and before you know it 7am was here.


Our room in Brisbane  is very nice, in the center of the room was a huge Mirror with a gold embellished frame. The tv is in the mirror. The bathroom has a glass wall from the jacuzzi bath that can view the rest of the room or become muted so you can have privacy. There is a nice rainfall shower that was a nice treat. Our room had a nice view of the river and the pool. This room is one of the nicest I’ve stayed in and I’ve been to quite a few nice ones. Linda out did here self on this trip. The bed was so comfortable too, was looking forward to that at days end. 


The restaurant at the top of our hotel has a wonderful view of the river.  We had a wonderful breakfast and thought it might be nice to go there for dinner. After breakfast I got a haircut at a local barber shop while Linda and her mom got their nails done. The barber was the manager and had lived in Brisbane for 9 years. He came from Iraq. Great haircut and super nice guy. I love a barber that does the haircut then takes hot lather and a straight razor to trim the hairline, finishing it off with the powdery brush. The smells and the experience I just love. There are a few things that I like to treat myself too, a haircut by either a barber or a good stylist. A great massage, not to hard or too soft and a manicure. I believe life is about moments and this certainly was a good one.


 After the Barber and the Nail Salon we all  took naps to re-charge.  It was a rainy night so we were just going to go up to the restaurant we had breakfast at to grab a bite. I put on some flip flops and shorts since I was exhausted from the 14 hour flight. 


We arrive to the restaurant after a ride from our 11th floor room to the 21st floor. The elevator was equipped with wall to wall video graphics so one minute the floor is a very serene lake your legs are part of, then it switches to a coral reef and then a shark who rams into the wall and cracks it then swims underneath your feet. Very high on the cool meter.


We arrive to the restaurant and it has changed to a nightclub type scene. I was informed that flip flops weren’t allowed but since we were guests the shorts were allowed but if I could change them too that would be preferred. We decided to take a walk down a path by the river even though it was raining instead. Lindas Mom was calling it a night. Linda and I cuddled under an umbrella and took a very nice walk to a bunch of restaurants down by the river.


The first was a Turkish restaurant that had very ethnic themes to the decor,  food on the menu looked amazing. On Fridays and Saturdays they have a belly dancer. We continued because our hotel suggested a nice fish restaurant. Sadly the Fish place wasn’t serving food just drinks so we continued. 


We continued down the South bank as it’s called here to a place called the Jetty. It was very quaint and the menu looked great. Our waiter was a young man from Amsterdam who decided to travel the world and go from place to place. Sidney to Melbourne and now Brisbane. We connected right away because of this. He is doing what I wanted to do at a young age. He bought a van that he sleeps in at night. Not sure how he showers we didn’t go there but he was clean cut and very personable. 


We ordered river bugs which were Langoustines, crispy skinned fresh fish and roasted lamb over polenta. The lamb was like stew meat and we had a wonderful Pinot from New Zealand called Rabbit Ranch. 


Our restaurant over looked the river which was very serene. The park was impeccable, no trash or “rubbish” as they call it here was in sight. No sign of homeless people anywhere in the city and everyone has been super friendly thus far. 


We ordered lava cake but they were out so we had the local dessert here of mangos with a coconut sorbet that was out of this world. This popular local dish was called pavlova.


Very relaxing trip, didn’t hear of any shootings or politics on the tv, just peaceful and quiet which is what we wanted. Of course we haven’t watched much tv here either so unfair comparison. The little local news I did see was about true news stories not the influx of political fighting or gun violence which is so prevalent no matter what broadcasts you watch. Reminded me of pre-cable days when we had just four channels to choose from. Looking forward to a good nights sleep after the long 14 hour trip over here. First impression A+ need to investigate Brisbane more. I have a few cities I adore in all my travels, Boston in the us, Vancouver Canada when we took the Alaskan cruise, Florence Italy the cleanliness of two cities in Germany, Frankfurt and Düsseldorf and now Brisbane. It is now days end and I let the comfort of the bed swallow me up to a much needed sleep.




Today we were going to a koala sanctuary, Linda wanted to hold one and this place is the only one in Australia that allows it.


As far as local stuff, the Taxi driver told us 15% is added to the electric bill to pay for emergency services, so an ambulance ride costs nothing. Everyone gets health care, no gun violence, zero. People have to get a license and explain to police why they need a gun. Only crime is petty theft. He asked us why Americans don’t complain more about the gun violence. Another driver told us the same. One from Iran the other from India. They told us that Brisbane is known for how diverse the population is. Problem with our politics is that everything is about money and power and not what’s best for the citizens. But before you decide to pack things up, Australia is very expensive to live though. A three bedroom house would be well over a million dollars to purchase much like the prices in California. 


The koala sanctuary was amazing, Linda held the koala while her mom and I stood next to her for the picture. She said the Koala was pretty heavy, especially the way she was instructed to hold it. The Koalas do not like to be held by their bottoms. This was the only legal place in Australia you can hold one. We fed kangaroos and saw a baby kangaroo in a mothers pouch. They were pretty docile to us and it was neat to feed them. There was a male kangaroo that must have been the alpha male, he had a close eye on everything people were doing, probably not going to feed this guy lol.


We saw a sheep herding demonstration which was incredible. They say the dogs that are fully trained to herd sheep like we saw today could sell for 40,000 easy. Border collie and kelpie are the dogs they use because of their intelligence. The dogs would circle the sheep at a fast pace to get them to go where they intended. To cool off the dogs would put their paws only in water because that’s what cools them off. I never knew that before so I’ll keep that in mind for Teddy our little doggy. 


The Tasmanian devil was cool and I was lucky enough to get a good snarl out of one. They were very active in the cage. They pass a type of cancer to each other which doctors are trying to figure out. We saw the two playing with each others faces so I think that is common and how it is passed on. They worry this cancer could make them extinct.


We also saw a platypus which was constantly swimming so hard to get a good shot. Interesting animal though, one of a few mammals that lays eggs and has a venomous portion of the hind feet that causes excruciating pain if stung. 


We took Linda’s mom to a nice Italian place for her birthday and the food was amazing with a great view of the river. She was really enjoying herself today. Everyone at the restaurant was amazing. I had linguine with lobster, Linda had duck and her mom had her usual thin spaghetti with olive oil and garlic, chopped tomatoes on the side. 


We went to a wine bar and had a drink before going up to our rooms. A drunk guy got a little too close for comfort to me and passed his cold to me. Nice guy though but over-served lol.I tested for Covid and luckily it came out the way we had hoped it would. 



Tomorrow we go to the cruise ship…


…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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SEO Learning Curve #263

Going Down Under for some R and R #264

In Blog 262 I Talked about making the product for your site. In this blog I am going to talk about the SEO learning curve.


To start off with I’m excited to share that Soleman™ is now being reviewed as a trademark for product as well. The Soleman name for writing this blog has been registered for a little while now but I submitted my application to add product as well. Look for new Soleman product soon! 


So, I made two sites so far, one for eBay which now will sell the samples I don’t use and any returns or other items I may have around that I want to sell. Etsy is now my main source of Ecommerce for the Print on Demand business I have had up since August 2022. I have now also linked my Etsy site on my Soleman Studios website with a few items to test the waters. Goal is to eventually add Woo Commerce to sell directly, instead of through the Etsy site. I will still grow my Etsy site as well, because I love the platform. I have featured my products on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram with Facebook having the most success so far. To be continued…


SEO Learning Curve


In my previous careers I had some exposure to SEO but am learning firsthand now how important it is. Search Engine Optimization is what it means. Which begs the question “How do you get people to your site?” There is an abundance of information on this, so I started with You Tube videos and other online tutorials. It’s basically tools or practices you use designed to improve the positioning of your site in organic search results. Organic search results are unpaid listings. Basically, you can’t pay to improve your organic results. This is why it’s important to attract people with high-quality marks that are relevant to what they are searching for. So, if you put marks for being a resource for Apple computers when you are just selling apples you will make a few people upset.


Keywords, Tags are a good start


Finding the right keywords and tags is a big part of this. You can use the Keywords in your headings and also tag them under tags and place them in the body of content. There comes a point though if you use too many it just doesn’t make sense to the customer so it’s a fine line there. Sites like Google use algorithms that are very complex to pull out what it believes is the most relevant results based on the query. It uses web crawlers and bots to gather all this information that it finds on the internet. The crazy thing about all this is it’s ever evolving so what may have worked last year…


A few curveballs…


Just when you think you have a grasp on it though a few curveballs come your way. The success rate is different for each platform. So, if you have an Etsy site your results may be different than if you used Google from a website like Soleman Studios, eBay would be different too. So, with that, there are many “sales people” selling their services to help you along the way. Many paid tutorials as well. There are so many companies out there that make their sole income on this.


Best to be organized


For my site I’ve written down keywords that can be used for say coffee mugs. Now there may be different ones you may want to use for different things. Let’s take a Poodle coffee mug. What words do you use for that? You must think what people might input to start with. Probably “Poodle coffee Mug” is a good start. I go on Etsy and pop in poodle coffee mug to see what the drop-down words are, I do that on Amazon too. This is what showed up on Amazon:


Poodle coffee mug

white poodle coffee mug

standard poodle coffee mug

toy poodle coffee mug

porcelain coffee mugs 

black poodle coffee mug

poodle coffee travel mug

red poodle coffee mug

black toy poodle coffee mug

black standard poodle coffee mug


If they are relevant to my product, I’ll use these or a variation of them. Usually, it only works as a tag if it’s less than 20 characters on most sites. I also use tags like “Gift for him” “Gift for her” because people may search for that. Poodle lover would be another good one. This is a good inexpensive way to do it. Then there is a site called “” that ranks your keywords and even your listings to help you improve; money well spent for the app. I try to have a dozen good quality keywords for the tags, incorporated in the content and heading for best results. It’s tough though, takes a lot of work, patience, and practice. I have a word document that I have listed them out for different items that are generic then add the more specific ones to each product.


In Closing…


This is a work in progress, so there will be more blogs about this as I learn and educate myself along the way. Hopefully this gives a little more information on why the SEO Learning curve takes a little time to master. Stay tuned…


  • I will be on vacation until Feb 7 and will resume the blog when I get back.


…just sharing my story and tips from my footwear career. 

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