Friday, August 18, 2017

Our Annual Beach Trip & Our First 'Vlog'!

After sticking close to home so far this year, we were itching to go on our annual vacation to West Palm Beach! Blake's parents own a Marriott timeshare and we always spend a week there in late July/early August. (Last year I was leaving behind 3 week old puppies!) 

We wanted to document our stay a little differently this year, and so we attempted our first 'vlog'. I absolutely love watching vlogs on Youtube, so I thought we could try it out. We used our cell phones, a small tripod and a time lapse app to do the whole thing. Blake did all the editing, with a few tips from me along the way! 

It turned out so cute, and I just smile and smile watching it. Unapologetically, most of the clips are of my niece and nephews. I tried to get a few shots of things I love most about the trip-playing cards, taking turns cooking, and trying not to burn your feet on the lava sand when you bring your pina colada down to the beach! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Reflecting On My Almost Mental Breakdown - One Year Later

One of my favorite things about blogging is that you get to look back on some really cool things! I know I've taken a lot more pictures in the past few years just to post here that I may not have taken otherwise. Most of the time I like to keep it pretty positive around here and share the good things that I've got going on. 

Interestingly, I was cleaning out my draft folder and noticed a post from early June 2016 that caught my attention. It was really just a bunch of venting, and I think I felt better after I typed it all out and never felt the need to hit publish. Sadly, it was a cry for help and I was so deep into my stress that I didn't even see it at the time. 

My Almost Mental Breakdown - One Year Later

It's not formatted or spell checked, or even a finished post: 
Every year around spring and the beginning of summer I start to get bogged down by our daunting schedule and to-do list. We almost always have things on the calendar, but it's downright crazy how much we've got going on this time of year. The yard starts needing attention, baby showers, weddings, graduation all seems to pile on.
On top of that I've got work, cleaning jobs and volunteer work to balance. By the time I get home I don't feel like cooking or cleaning or doing anything but hanging out on the couch. That completely conflicts with my obsessive personality and I just end up feeling guilty all the time. I'm not giving anything 100% and that feels so wrong to me.
I didn't start typing this out to complain. I am just hoping to hear that I'm not the only one who feels like that sometimes. Obviously I've assessed what I've got going on trying to eliminate some things. That's the problem: the things I'm happy to give up are the ones that earn me money. Can't really do away with that...
Something has to give though. I'm feeling burned out and not excited about anything. For example, I know I will feel relief when we go on vacation, but I also feel like there are 100 things I will be neglecting at home. So I'm excited to go, but also not excited about the consequences of leaving things unattended.
Ironically that was just the beginning of the most stressful summer of my life. It is true that spring and summer do tend to be our busy seasons. But, I did NOT feel the same way this June. And that was completely purposeful. 

Obviously, I had no idea how to fix the situation at the time, and I kinda feel bad for my past self! Hindsight being what it is, I know now what the problems were and it's pretty cool to be on the other side of it all. 

Basically, we weren't keeping it simple. I mean, we thought we were. Some of the stress in my life was unavoidable, but quite a bit of it was self imposed. With so much on my/our plate, any extra thing that came up was going to be a huge problem. Which is why that summer was very difficult. Adopting a pregnant dog, remodeling a bathroom, discovering I had a blood sugar problem, losing the A/C in my car in the dead of summer...Had we been keeping it simple, when one of those things came up it wouldn't have been such a big deal. 

Step One: Honest Reassessing
I obviously thought I had already done that in the post I had started writing. But the truth is I wasn't ready to make any changes. I thought I could keep doing it all and not have to give anything up. But, when you have no wiggle room, something has to come off your plate. Deciding what that was going to be was really difficult and involved a lot of sleepless nights of prayer. 

Step Two: Feel Guilty
This may be something that isn't universal, but I felt guilty about having to take some things off my plate. I wanted to do it all and I still struggle with perfectionism on a daily basis. But there is the beautiful illustration of the gasoline truck still needing to fill itself up with gas. It's completely fine fix yourself before you can help others. It just took me a little while to feel okay doing that. 

Step Three: Make Changes
This was a big process. We decided that there were several things we needed to adjust. I can name them all but the three biggest things were paying off some bills, getting rid of a bunch of clutter, and to quit buying a bunch of pointless stuff. (Step four was also a huge change we needed to make!)

- Paying off some things really helped with that financial weight that we felt. There is a lot of relief that comes with not having to worry about extra payments. Paying off my car, and now not having a car payment at all, for example, has been amazing! 

- Decluttering was actually quite therapeutic. It was a project that gave me a lot of control back. When your world is crashing around you, it feels so good to have a handle on something. I went room by room, drawer by drawer and got rid of truly everything unnecessary. This also had some unexpected side effects like making it easier to clean the house and earning some extra cash with a big yard sale.

- Buying less may have been a direct result of decluttering. I did not want to bring anything else in after getting rid of so much. This also really changed how I shop. I no longer go into Target just to walk around, I only go shopping if I need something. Browsing isn't really something I want to do anymore. 

Step Four: Say No More Often
Gosh, easier said than done. I have always chronically said yes to things I regret minutes later. People pleaser 101! If we were going to make changes, we had to become fiercely protective of our weekends. Although not effortlessly, we started saying no to invitations for social outings and parties more frequently. We used to feel obligated to go to every wedding, shower and graduation party of people that we didn't even know all that well. I've still said yes to things I probably shouldn't have, but less often than in the past and it has made the world of difference. 

Since last November, we have only taken 2 trips- one was a quick weekend in Orlando, and we just got back from our annual beach vacation. Traveling is one of my favorite things to do, but we were doing a lot of it. A weekend at home was rare before, but now I have truly come to love being in my own home. Because let's face it-there is always something to do around the house or friends to have over for dinner.

Step Five: Keep It Up
Maybe the hardest part of this whole journey. It's easy to keep doing something when you have emotions supplying your momentum! Even after you see those initial results of your efforts pay off it can be easy to slip back into old habits. For example, we paid off my car and it was (and is) still tempting to go and buy a new one. But, we just keep reminding ourselves how nice it is to have that extra money each month for other expenses. 

Step Six: Reap The Benefits
It was so cool to stumble on that post, because a year later I feel like a totally different person. My dad was diagnosed with cancer at the very beginning of the year, and while he is 100% healthy now, it was a jarring experience. But! I was in a completely different mental state this year and more prepared to handle stress. Had that happened last year, I don't know how I could have made it through unscathed. Having a simpler schedule, lifestyle and mindset has completely changed everything for me! 

Examining your priorities is a good mental exercise for anyone. It's hard to change, and hard to give things up. Especially if you are like me and try to have it all, do it all and try to have a cute outfit on while doing it. Going against the grain is difficult. We live in a complicated world, filled with the push to have a lot of nice things and being different is not going to be easy. There is a lot of pressure to keep up and not feel left out. I actually stopped watching certain tv shows, unfollowed people on social media, and, again, quit going to Target to break myself of some of that thinking. But, here I am on the other side of all of that and I can't even begin to express how happy I am that I/we firmly resolved to make changes! 

Leave a comment below if you have ever had to make some serious changes in your life to prevent yourself from totally losing it! Have you ever felt like a completely different person after reflecting on a time in your past? 

Monday, July 31, 2017

DIY Castile Soap Face Wash

Popping in today to share the potentially easiest DIY I've done in a long time! (Well, not as easy as cleaning your Alex and Ani bracelets by covering them in ketchup-my most popular post ever!) This one is a recipe for a DIY face wash using castile soap. 

I've been on a sort of simplification journey for the good part of a year now, and relentlessly examining different ways to make our lifestyle more efficient and easy to maintain. One of the things I've tried to simplify-which seems so minor-is the amount of products in the shower. It really started to seem ridiculous that Blake and I had separate face washes, shampoos, conditioners, body washes and shaving creams. All because one smelled a little more manly! (Most of my products are scent free anyway.) 

It was incredibly easy for us to start using the same shampoos, conditioners and soap, but we had a hard time when it came to choosing a face wash. Stuff that seemed to work for me, didn't work for him. So when we ran out of the last face wash we tried, I decided I'd try a DIY.

DIY Castile Soap Face Wash Recipe
Here's What You Do:
- Foaming Soap Pump (I reused one from BB&W-but you can buy them online as well.)
- 1/4 Cup Dr. Bronner's Castile Soap, any scent
- 5-10 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil for oily skin OR 5-10 drops Geranium Essential Oil for normal/aging skin.

Combine all ingredients in your foaming dispenser, fill the rest up with water and shake well before use!
I use one pump, and Blake likes to use two pumps. I will say this gives your face that 'squeaky clean' feeling right after you rinse-which is not my favorite. But, that only seems to last a few seconds and then your face feels completely normal, albeit clean. 

The results were almost immediate! We both didn't have the clearest skin when we first started using this cleanser, but after using it morning and night for just a day or two-both of us had great results. And I LOVE that this has limited ingredients, and I already had everything on hand to make it. (I just had to finish up the soap so I could use the dispenser!) 

Castile soap is so versatile! I use it in some of my DIY cleaners, but I had no idea you could use it for beauty products too. It's made from vegetables, so it's natural, and it's concentrated, so a little goes a longggg way! So, really this is a great money saving DIY too. Face washes can be pretty pricey. 

Leave a comment below if you love DIY's! I'd love to hear if you and your husband use separate bath and body products or have you found some that you both like?!  Tell me what you use castile soap for! 

Monday, July 24, 2017

I Accidentally Became A Vegetarian

Sometime around 10th grade, I became a vegetarian. My High School self had no knowledge of healthy diets, and my daily routine went something like: skip breakfast, come home from school starved, make a plate of nachos and eat them while watching Fox Family, and then eat the dinner that my mom made. She is an awesome cook, and always made a huge salad for dinner. So I'd fill up on salad and whatever side she made that night. 

Meat has never been the highlight of the meal for me, but I can trace back my disdain for pork to Biology class when we had to dissect a fetal pig. I can still smell the formaldehyde. After seeing that little piglet's ribs, I swore off meat. 

I guess my early-aughts self got distracted by my Motorola Razr or distressed flare jeans, because it didn't last all that long. Somewhere along the way I went back to eating meat. Just chicken at first, but eventually all kinds of meat. 

After discovering I was hypoglycemic last summer, I began doing a lot of research on nutrition. It's all very fascinating and sometimes over my head. For awhile I was just storing these facts and not doing anything with them. Kind of like when you know that you need to eat well and exercise to lose weight, but you never do it. 

Well then I watched What the Health on Netflix one recent morning when I was battling a cold. I had nothing else to do and my Netflix cue was looking pretty sparse. I started watching it, and even though it is very convincing, by the time it was done I hadn't actually decided not to eat meat anymore. Interestingly though, I haven't eaten meat since, and I don't have the desire to. So, I guess I accidentally became a vegetarian!

One thing I really appreciated about this particular documentary was that it didn't try to guilt you into not eating animal products. Usually things like that flood your eyes with visuals of mistreated and neglected animals-something I can't physically stomach. Instead, it focused on the science. What happens when your body digests meat and dairy is simply fascinating! 

I found it completely dumbfounding that processed meat is listed amongst tobacco, plutonium and asbestos as a carcinogen by the World Health Organization. What?! I mean, why isn't this common knowledge? 

(The documentary also warns about eating other animal products like dairy, but I haven't quite gotten to that point yet. I can see a potential future where I do cut out dairy from my diet, but that doesn't seem so doable right now.I'm not saying I couldn't do it, but it is a bit daunting!  )

Like I said, I haven't eaten meat since I watched the movie, and that has honestly been a piece of cake. (part of the reason I'm calling it an accident!) I've done it almost without thinking about it! Every restaurant seems to have some kind of vegetarian option, and we've made some excellent dinners at home. 

Blake has been so pleasant about this too. He didn't watch the documentary with me, but he wasn't resistant at all when I suggested trying out vegetarianism. So far he is pretty sure he couldn't ever be vegan. But, the fact that he is open to it at all is amazing to me. I can't tell you how many vegetarian dinners I've made in the past when he said it would taste better with chicken! 

Can I also talk about how many emotional responses I've gotten when I've mentioned the word vegan in the last few weeks? I had NO idea people felt so passionately about meat. Interestingly, if you say 'plant based' you don't get the same response-even though it means the same thing. I think it's because the word vegan is associated with really preachy/extreme people. But, if you just say you are trying to eat more plants, nobody can get mad. 

And that's what I'm trying to do - eat more plants! If nothing else, I have been ultra conscience about what I've been eating in the last few weeks. We've definitely amped up the veggies at dinner time, and you can't exactly go get fast-food when you don't eat meat. 

So how's it going so far? Well it's only been 2 weeks, so I can't really say that I'm the picture of health yet. But some benefits I've noticed so far:
- We were going to take some friends out for dinner, but we decided to cook instead. They loved it and asked for my falafel recipe. We ended up playing Yahtzee and having much more fun that going out to a restaurant. 
- We have been cooking at home more often, in general. 
- When eating out we've noticed our bill is slightly cheaper. 
- My grocery bill was about $40 cheaper, and that was with adding extra produce. 

Some things I worry about:
- Will this become a problem when our friends invite us over for dinner? 
- What if Blake doesn't want to be a vegetarian in the long run, will that complicate things when meal planning? 
- How will this affect our family vacation in August when we all take turns cooking dinner? 
- Am I okay with seafood? 

The decision about what to do when someone else has prepared the meal for me is weighing the most on me. The idea of refusing someone's hospitality feels rude! Although, one podcast I listened to about plant based diets said that the 80/20 rule is always a good one to follow, which I feel like may be how I approach a situation like that. I don't know yet, I guess I will wait until it comes up to decide! 

Ok, whew, kind of laughing at myself because I'm such an over thinker- yet I accidentally became a vegetarian! Leave a comment below if you are a vegetarian, or are interested in becoming one? Have you watched What the Health? Do you think you could ever be a vegan? What do you think of the word itself? Andddd did anybody else have a Motorola Razr?! (bonus points if you had a phone charm on it.) 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Things We Are Subscribed To

Walmart Beauty Box
I absolutely loved getting an Ipsy bag each month, but pretty soon I found myself drowning in samples. It introduced me to quite a few products, but I decided to pause my subscription. I did however sign up for the Walmart Beauty box instead. It's sent out by season, so winter, spring, summer and fall. Each box is free, but you pay $5 for shipping. Unlike Ipsy, the products in these boxes are very easy to use up quickly. I almost always get shampoo samples, which are great for your travel bag. They often send you 'trendy' products too. For example, in last season's box I got a sample of micellar water, which I had been wanting to try. 

The only thing I know I won't use is the hair gel, but I'll give that to my husband. I'm very excited about the sponges and the press on nails. I haven't done press on nails since middle school, but these are precious!
Walmart Beauty Box Summer 2017

This may be my best money saving tip! Blake and I both have Dollar Shave Club razors, and with our subscription we get a new cartridge of blades every month. We share a cartridge and are able to each get 2 new blades per month. Women's razors stink, and razor blades in general are very expensive!
We get the 'executive' razor blades for $9 per month. We are saving about $25 this way! They also have really nice shaving creams and hair products that can be shipped in your box. 

Dollar Shave Club Executive Razor Subscription

I've gotten a few Stitch Fixes and Blake just got his first one this month! In a nutshell Stitch Fix is a subscription styling service. You fill out an online profile and a stylist hand picks 5 items for you to try on. If you love them, you keep them, and if you don't like then send them back or exchange for a different size. 

The first 2 fixes I got were pretty good, but my 3rd one was my style to a T! Be very specific about the colors you like and give as much information to your stylist as possible. The more I tweaked my profile, the better it got. They also check out your Pinterest boards to get an idea of what you like, which I think is so neat...and an excuse to pin more cute outfits.

Amazon Subscribe and Save
I know that I haven't used this subscription service to the full yet, but I am loving it so far. Basically, you subscribe to certain products, and they ship them to you based on your preferred schedule. So you can get some things monthly, or even every 6 months if that's how often you need it. But, if you subscribe to 5 products at a time, you get a discount. 

Here is what we are subscribed to so far:

With 3 dogs we go through a lot of dog food, so we get a 17.5 pound bag each month. I can't tell you how convenient this is! Since we live in a small town, we can only get this dog food at our vet's office. And to carry a giant bag of dog food out to the car and back home again is such a pain. We've got this subscription synced perfectly. I swear everytime I scoop out the last of the kibble from our big rubbermaid we receive this package on our doorstep the same day. 

As 'professional' hand washers, we go through some dish soap! Mrs. Meyers is great, and I love this soap. The subscription is a pack of 3, so we get this about every 3 months. I think I may up that to every 2 months, because it looks like we are already running low. I did use quite a bit of extra soap when I was making my homemade cleaners, so I'm not sure if that had something to do with it. 

Mrs. Meyers Cleaning Products boring, but necessary. We get this 24 pack about every 2 months, but I think I need to adjust this one too, up to 3 months. Still experimenting with the timing! I really like the tube free rolls also. 

Love this stuff! This laundry detergent is free and clear and extra effective. You only need 4 pumps per average load. Method is one of my favorite brands. Your clothes end up smelling really fresh and clean. And the stain fighting power of this is excellent! I splashed homemade spaghetti sauce on my white and blue striped tank top and I swear you can't even tell.  
Grove Collaborative - Get $10 when you use my link to sign up!
This is my newest subscription, so I don't have a firm opinion just yet. Basically, Grove has a ton of natural products that you can subscribe to. I signed up because they were offering a bunch of free products to new members, as well as a trial of their VIP program. I make a lot of my own cleaners, but there are still things I like to use that are from manufacturers. 

You can alter your shipments and easily edit what you want and what you don't. One thing I like is that they send you several reminders about your next shipment so you can change it in plenty of time and there are no unwanted surprises. Their customer service is excellent. My first shipment was delayed for some reason, and to make it up to me they gave me more free stuff. Can't complain about that!

Grove Collaborative Subscription Service

This was my first shipment and I got 11 products for about $22 with all of the new member incentives. Not bad at all! I got: Mrs. Meyer's Hand Soap, Mrs. Meyer's Multi Surface Cleaner, Mrs. Meyer's Dish Soap, Method Laundry Detergent (10 load small size), Method Squirt and Mop (excited to try this!), Grove Collaborative Dish Brush, Method Toilet Cleaner, Method Antibac Bathroom Cleaner, Grove Collaborative Scrubber Sponges, Grove Collaborative Glass Spray Bottle, Method Wood Polish. (The spray bottle, dish brush, and Mrs. Meyer's products were free!)

If the Grove subscription works out, I may unsubscribe from Amazon my dish soap and laundry soap subscriptions. I'm not sure which is better yet!

Small town life does have it's perks, but I do miss the variety of things available in a bigger city. It's not easy for us to make a Target run, since the nearest one is 45 minutes away! I'm so thankful for online shopping, for this reason. Having my favorite brands delivered to me is such a time saver! And it's also really great to 'treat-yo-self' once in awhile with subscription boxes too. 

Leave a comment below if you are also a big online shopper and subscriber! I'd love to hear what your family gets in the mail each month. I know a lot of people get more than one beauty box each month, so I'm wondering what you do with all of those samples! 
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Monday, July 10, 2017

I Talked My Husband Into Trying Stitch Fix!

Did you know that Stitch Fix now has a service to style men? I think that this is a brilliant idea. Most guys hate shopping and let their wives pick out their clothes anyway. My mom actually signed my dad up to get a Stitch Fix last month, and I was incredibly curious to see what it was like. 

I've gotten 3 fixes, and have really enjoyed it-especially now that they offer size exchanges. So when I found my dad was expecting a box in the mail, I really wanted to see how they did. They nailed it. He loved every single item! So I casually mentioned it to Blake, to see if he'd be interested in trying it out. 

I wasn't sure if he'd go for it, since he is very particular about his clothes. (I definitely don't do a lot of picking out for him, because it's futile) But he was actually agreeable, and even let me take pictures of the items he tried on. This is what happens when you are married to a blogger! Also, I misplaced the card with the names of the you'll have to excuse my descriptions. 

Blake's stylist was named Vanessa and she did an awesome job. When you sign up you have the opportunity to describe your style and ask for certain pieces that your wardrobe is missing. He told them he wore primarily business casual clothing, and requested that the items be Florida heat friendly. And that's exactly what was sent!

Brown Leather Belt & Green Chinos
I knew he'd love this belt as soon as we opened up the box! He didn't already own a belt this particular shade of brown, so it was a keeper right away. Really nice quality too. Keep!

The chinos were also great. He wears a pair of these just about everyday, so we were glad to see a pair in the box. And, again, he doesn't already own a pair this color. He loved these, but they were a tad long. You can exchange for a different size, but when we went online to do that you can't adjust length size....and when we calculated how much it would be to hem them at a tailor, it didn't seem worth it for the price. So they went back. Return!

Navy Polo
Polos are also something Blake wears almost everyday to work. This one was a really nice, soft material and we thought the white piping was a cool touch. He loved this one. Keep!

Navy Linen Short Sleeve Button Up
This was a great shirt, and it fit really well. He almost kept it, but then we both remembered how much we loathe ironing linen. It's impossible! This was the best this shirt was ever going to look, but the idea was right on track. Return!

White Polka Dotted Button Up
This stylist totally nailed Blake's style. So much so that she sent this shirt-one that he had an exact duplicate of already! The fit was perfect and it was a great choice. The only reason he didn't keep it was because he already had one so hilariously similar. Return!

All in all this was a great experience for him! It was an exciting package to get, open and try on. He was super happy with the choices, and he already scheduled his next box. (spoiled much?!) I'm looking forward to seeing how the stylist responds to his feedback and what he ends up with next. 

Guys can be so hard to buy gifts for, so I think this is a great idea of something special for them! Leave a comment below if you think your husband would let you sign him up for Stitch Fix! Do you pick out his clothes for him, or is he more like Blake in that area? Have you tried Stitch Fix yourself?

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Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Home Tour: The Dining Room

Our dining room is ridiculously huge! Proportionally, I think it's the same size as our living room, but for a room that you don't use a ton, it seems kinda wasted. Ultimately I'd love to combine the kitchen and dining room and spread it out a little. But, for now this is what we've got!

When I look back on the pictures from when I first moved in, I have to smile. I can feel the same feelings I felt when I set up that homey little room. I was so proud! I try not to focus on all the red and brown and all the things that needed painting! I got to it eventually.

You'll see two stages: One with the most uncomfortable table known to man, and the second when we bought our current dining set.

Why didn't I turn on any lights when I took those pictures? Geeze.
I can tell I had no idea what to do with all the extra space. We never sat in that little sitting area. It started being more efficient when Blake built the armoire in the back. This house has zero utility closet space, so we needed something to store things like the ironing board and vacuum. That project took him basically a year to finish, working on it here and there.  It's such a gorgeous piece of furniture, it seems funny to be hiding such ugly things inside! 
The shelves are also long gone. When I purged my book collection, we no longer needed the set of shelves. Instead, I have an antique dresser I repainted with my friend in that spot. It is my version of a bar cart. The drawers are really hard to open, so I only have a few things stored in there. 

Doggy stuff is by the back door. Not the prettiest thing, but they love their bed and it fits pretty well there. To be honest, there really isn't another place in the house for it. I love finding Winston in the kennel, just napping by himself. It's so cute!

Adding chair cushions and a new rug this year gave this room a whole new life to me! We linger so much longer at the table, now that it's more comfortable to sit at. We try to eat dinner at the table every night, just like when I grew up. I love that it stimulates conversation between us and keeps our evenings from being sucked into the tv right away. 

The only thing I'd like to add to this room are curtains. I think it would up the homey factor a little bit. I'm a little stuck though, because the one window is short and wide, and I'm not sure if regular length curtains would look funny there. I hate the short and stubby curtains! 

Leave a comment below if you use your dining room! I'd love to know if you guys eat in front of the tv or if you like to sit at the table! Have you ever had to DIY a piece of furniture to fit your needs? Where do you keep your doggy stuff? 

Monday, July 3, 2017

I Bought Myself A Present!

Shirt: J Crew // Shorts: Old Navy // Sandals: Rack Room // Purse: Kate Spade // 
Watch: Kate Spade // Bracelets: Etsy
Photos by: Black Tie Cinema

I absolutely have to unsubscribe from the Kate Spade email newsletter! Every time they announce a surprise sale I feel compelled to check it out and see what they have discounted. Big mistake! Every single time I end up convincing myself to buy something! 

If you want a discounted Kate Spade, and can't make it over to an Outlet, the surprise sales are indeed the way to go! I got this adorable bag for about $100 off. (See why I talked myself into it?!)

Kate Spade calls this color Adventure Blue. I LOVE it. It's got spring and summer written all over it, and it's a great way to add a pop of color to any outfit. The sweet bow on the front adds a little special something too. 

I also finally grabbed this top from J Crew Factory, as soon as it was restocked in my size. Looks like it's sold out again, in everything but xxsmall. It's easy to see why it's been selling out though. I love an easy summer top that I can just throw on over shorts in this Florida heat. 

Leave a comment below if you're just as excited as I am about hydrangea season! Have you bought yourself a present recently? Are you good about unsubscribing from tempting emails?!
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Thursday, June 29, 2017

We Rescued Bailey One Year Ago Today!

It's Bailey's Gotcha Day! On June 29, 2016 we brought Bailey home. To be honest, sometimes thinking about last summer gives me pretty intense anxiety. Rescuing Bailey was one of the best things we've ever done, but it also came with quite a bit of stress.

Let me back up a little bit, because maybe you don't know the story. Blake and I had wanted to get a 2nd pug for a while, but we weren't sure if we wanted to go back to the breeder we got Delly from, or try to rescue a pug (possibly from the Pug Rescue of Florida). Then down the grapevine trickled the information that an acquaintance of a friend of a friend (etc!) needed to rehome her pug. 

I won't give all the details but she wasn't happy to have to do this. Her family was going through a lot and she had to move out herself and couldn't take the dog with her. I reached out and told her we wanted a 2nd pug, that we were really familiar with pugs and that our dog was about the same age so we thought it would be a great fit. 

She totally agreed so we planned to meet up at a pet store later in the week. It needed to happen quickly, because she was getting ready to leave the country and her family at that point refused to let Bailey stay there any longer. (I figured out why later!)

The girl asked ahead of time if we could make it a quick process because she was going to have a hard time with it. I understood that. I expected her to basically hand her over and she'd leave. That's when it got interesting. She got out of the car and stalled a bit. Evidently she hadn't seen Bailey in a few weeks due to the circumstances and Bailey was in worse shape than she knew and had told me. That part I had expected. What I didn't expect was the news that Bailey was most definitely pregnant. (!!)

So many thoughts were rushing through my head. I had to call Blake and tell him what was going on. I just knew he'd say "no way, we can't adopt a pregnant dog." But he didn't. He could tell in my voice that I just couldn't leave her. I told him that she had been kept outside, and that it had been raining that day. Bailey was in pretty rough shape even without the pregnancy. He laughed nervously and said, "well okay!"

Gosh, she was in rough shape. Pugs are kind of high maintenance dogs, and they can't really be neglected for long. She had ear and eye infections and was underweight by several pounds. We could tell she was a smaller pug, but she was only 12 pounds and basically full term pregnant. (For perspective, Delly, who has never missed a meal in her life, is about 18-19 pounds) She also wasn't up to date on her vaccines. I will never forget how much dirt came out of her ears. The vet tech had to help me clean them out and even she was shocked.

She ended up having the puppies on July 19th, just a few weeks later. I don't want to re-type out the birth story of the puppies. It was pretty traumatic. And I guess if that's the worst thing that has happened to me, I can't really complain. But, I can't even look at the travel kennel without having intense flashbacks. I had to switch laundry detergent because the smell of those freshly laundered towels I had for the whelping box still lingers in my head. We were also undergoing a major bathroom remodel at the same time, and while that turned out beautifully, it only added to the stress. It took me months to recover emotionally, as dramatic as that sounds.

Here she is with her 2 babies, right after her C-Section. I think this was the first time we truly saw how skinny and frail she was. All the nutrition she had was going to those pups. She was just skin and bones for the longest time. We fed her any time she showed any interest in food. In fact now I'm remembering she could only stomach wet food for the first few weeks. 

In the last year, Bailey has totally blossomed. We got her eye and ear infections fixed right away. She got up to date on her vaccines, and we had her fixed. But, not before she went into heat again! Ugh, lots of new experiences with this girl.  

She was and is just the best momma. Winston still harasses her on a daily basis, and she will just roll over and pretend to be his prey. It's so funny. I'd say they are what's called a bonded pair. They sleep together in the kennel, while Delly still prefers to be attached to us. 

Bailey does have trouble seeing from time to time. Her eyes are very dark, which apparently comes from getting older. She can't see too well in bright light, so sometimes she gets lost outside-even when you are standing near by. We will just talk to her or clap our leg so she can figure out where we are. She has been known to run into us too! 

She has put on about 4 pounds, and her stomach has shrunken from her puppies/c-section. She has a cute little figure now! And a great appetite! She really filled out when we started her on high-calorie puppy food. It was pretty challenging to feed 3 dogs, 3 different foods! Fortunately, now they all eat the same thing. All that good nutrition really benefited her. Her fur is so so soft now and she doesn't get itchy paws anymore.

She has the sweetest personality, and is so laid back! Although, she will yell at you if she is hungry or needs to go out. We love that she drinks like a camel, but we don't love that she also holds it all day and only goes out once. If you miss it, there is about a gallon of pee to clean up! At this point, though, I think we recognize her cues.

I've snapped a few pictures of her recently, so you can see her transformation! No more ribs sticking out, but she still has those sad eyes mastered, haha! I think this look is just utter contentment. Especially because I banished Winston to the other room.

Her eyes really change outside.
I wrote a little bit about adopting a dog in this post about changing her name. It was definitely a different experience than getting an 8 week old puppy from a breeder. Bailey was a full grown dog with a whole history we will never know. We  had to get to know her, and she had to get to know us! We didn't know what tricks she knew or if she had ever even been on a walk.  

It's neat to look back on this past year and see how far she has come! The crazy thing is, I'm not sure she'd be alive if we didn't take her home that day, which is super sobering. I'm so happy we went out on a limb for her and that it worked out the way it did. I can't say enough good things about adopting or rescuing a dog, and especially an older dog who needed a little extra care. She has been a great addition to our family, and without her we wouldn't have Winston either! And goodness knows he keeps our life interesting!
Happy Gotcha Day Bailey!

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