The Best & Worst Things About Being a Dog Mom

In honor of Minnie Pearl’s Happy Gotcha Day!

My sweet Minnie Pearl came into my life just 2 years ago, and I definitely could not picture life without her now. Yesterday we celebrated by spending some time at the dog park and getting some extra treats! This girl is affectionate, sweet, and entertaining beyond belief. Although she has the ability to drive me completely insane (chewing books, eating garbage, rolling in poo), I wouldn’t change a thing about bringing this little love bug into my life… even if I will never again leave the house without being covered in dog fur!

Worst Thing #1 – FUR Everywhere…. EVERYWHERE

One thing about bringing this little fur ball into my life is that I now have to vacuum about every other day to avoid my whole apartment being covered in a thick layer of fur, and my car… well that’s a lost cause. I rarely leave the house without fur on my clothes and my go to uniform of black on black is certainly much less chic these days. My car has black cloth interior that is like Velcro for her fur, not to mention the muddy paws all over the back seat on the way home from the dog park. I even tried using one of those seat covers, but she enjoys burrowing and has figured out how to crawl under it (pointless). Cleaning 24/7 has become my life.

Best Thing #1 – I’m More Active

Minnie keeps me very active. If we don’t get our normal amounts of exercise in, there’s no telling what I might come home to after a long work day. We go for our regular walks around the neighborhood, but we also take lots of hiking trips and trips to the park. I feel like she’s my little 4-legged accountability partner. The added exercise keeps me healthier and much happier. I am also much more adventurous with her by my side.

Worst Thing #2 – Having An Audience at Dinner

That beagle nose is a powerful thing! And those ears can hear a bag of chips opening from a mile away. I can’t even remember the last meal I ate without big brown puppy eyes staring sadly up at me. Now this is cute at first, but quickly gets old, especially when I have guests over – I am well aware that my inability to discipline her probably plays a role in this, but she’s too cute to get mad at.

Best Thing #2 – She Makes My House a Home

When I first moved to Louisville a little over two years ago I had very few friends. Although I think being forced to do things on my own was good for me and played a role in growing my confidence, Louisville didn’t really feel like home. I struggled with homesickness, which was made worse by the anxiety and depression I have always struggled with a bit. After months of thinking about it, I finally saw a little 1 year old dog on the Humane Society’s website that I just had to have. I went and got her that day  and never looked back. Having a dog greet you at the door every day with her tail wagging and a toy in her mouth brings a smile to my face even on the worst days. She definitely makes my house a home.

Worst Thing #3 – People Won’t Understand

People will not understand your relationship with your dog, especially if they don’t have one. Minnie depends on me for everything and sometimes I have to make sure I am home by a certain time to feed her, take her for a walk and spend time with her. Minnie’s day revolves around me and when I leave her home alone for too long, I feel guilty. Other’s won’t understand this responsibility. She is a very affectionate girl and she likes to be right next to me most of the time, which means she likes to be on the couch and in bed with me. This is great for me because it makes me happy, but not everyone will enjoy this in the same way you do either.

Best Thing #3 – Comfort

Although my anxiety and depression is managed really well these days, occasionally I am just off. I will have days where I feel sad, and unmotivated for basically no reason at all. My dog gives me love without judgement, which is sometimes all you need. This doggo will lay by my side on my bad days, but she won’t let me be anxious or sad for too long. Her playful antics and snuggles always brighten my day. The comfort she gives is unbelievably therapeutic for me.

I realize that I probably sound like a crazy dog lady (mostly because I am), but this dog has brought so much joy into my life over the last two years. The laughter and love she has provided is worth more than anything. She has already supported me through some pretty tough times and I would recommend anyone craving companionship get a rescue dog. If you live in the Louisville Area and are interested in rescuing an animal, I highly recommend the Kentucky Humane Society (it’s where I found Miss Minnie).

 

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Yoga Pose 1

My Changing Body – Another Uncomfortable Topic

For the sake of staying on track and sharing every uncomfortable issue with everyone under the sun, let’s discuss the changes that happen to women (overnight) once you enter your 30’s.

I am healthier and more appreciative of my body than ever, so what the hell is this crap!

Throughout my teens and 20’s I abused my body in ways I would now find unimaginable. I am ashamed to say I drank too much, stayed out too late, even occasionally smoked cigarettes (a thought that now makes me gag beyond belief). There were even times where I would obscenely binge on Taco Bell and Dairy Queen (oh God… the things I would do for a cookie dough Blizzard) with basically ZERO consequences. If I even entertain the thought I eating that way now, I would suddenly gain 20 pounds!

 

Throughout my teens I actively participated in dance and cheerleading, and consistently stayed on the very low end of the BMI chart, partially from training and partially good genetics. As many women often do, I took my body for granted and even nitpicked my body for no reason whatsoever. I had no idea the changes that would happen as soon as I celebrated that 30th Birthday two years ago!

I now enjoy staying active (especially hiking, climbing & yoga), and cooking is a hobby for me so I prepare dinner at home most nights and prep most of my lunches for the week. Even with those healthy changes the days of wearing size 4 dresses and crop tops are gone; instead I have to learn to honor my womanly body with all its curves, and what at one time I viewed as imperfections. I have boobs and a booty and when I am not eating right a little belly too. I am by no means overweight, but am definitely not the size I used to be and I am slowly becoming accepting of that fact – you could even say happy about it.

I am healthier today than I have ever been. Every day I try to be grateful for my body – it takes me on beautiful adventures, allows me to dance, play, run, and hike. I try to be conscientious of what I put into my body (forgoing the excessive late nights and things that go with that). I try not to pick on myself and really focus on not speaking negatively of other women because I really hope to be a source of encouragement for others. We all have “flaws” and we all harshly compare ourselves to others, but lovingly accepting ourselves and others brings a sense of solidarity and peace – even if it is total CRAP that I bust my ass with half the results of the girl I was in my early 20’s lol.

 

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Fitness Spotlight 7

Fitness Spotlight – B.YOU

Ugh the winter rut…

Over the last month I have been feeling the winter blues, and I am craving warmer weather and the beginning of daylight savings time (summer please get here). I feel like I am tired all the time, while also not being nearly as productive as I usually am. If you have been following my blog, you know that I heavily rely on my fitness routine for mental motivation, and that is especially true at this time of the year.

I also need to have fun while working out, otherwise I just won’t do it. Last week I was invited to attend a class at B.You Fitness here in Louisville, KY. This place is such a hidden gem! The first thing I noticed when looking at the website was how fun the classes look. B.You offers Barre, Bounce and Silque classes – I really can’t wait to go back to try out the candlelight Silque yoga class (if you don’t know what Silque is refer to the picture below on the right).

As soon as I walked in, I was impressed with this place. I was greeted with friendly staff at the desk as soon as I arrived. I was running a bit behind (nothing unusual there) and the instructor was nice enough to get my spot set up while I put my coat and purse away. The facility was clean, and the cheerful colors immediately put me in a more positive frame of mind.

Before taking the barre class, I really thought the class was going to be a breeze, but I have to say that I worked my butt off and felt great afterwards! The class was challenging, but being in a room full of supportive, positive women provided a powerful amount of motivation, especially after a long stressful day at the office.

Needless to say, if you’re stuck in a winter rut and want to try something fresh and new, you need to check out B.You Fitness! If you are interested in trying out a B.You class without any commitments, they will be at the Junior League of Louisville’s Tulips and Julips Art and Gift Market on February 24th (10:30AM) at Slugger Field.

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Details: $15.00 – includes 45-min fitness class, admission into the market & a complimentary mimosa ticket! To purchase tickets follow this link.

My 5 Essential Self Care Habits

In this crazy, busy world we live in, self care is more important now then ever. It is often so easy to get sucked into the daily grind of work and other obligations, all while neglecting ourselves. But one thing we forget to ask is “does this really benefit my performance at work and in life?” – my guess is probably not. For me personally, I need my “ME” time to be a better daughter, sister, friend and employee. Taking time for myself allows me to decompress while boosting my creativity. There are a few things I try to make time for regularly in order to take care of myself.

Reading

I love to read – and not on an IPad or device. Oh no… I love a good old fashioned, finger print stained book and I can disappear into for an hour or so. I love the smell, the texture and the satisfaction I feel as I turn each page. Sometimes, admittedly I do listen to audiobooks (helps my morning commute go by), but in general I love having a physical book in hand. About a year ago I joined the Junior League’s Book Club, which has kept me motivated to read more. When I read before bed (as opposed to watching TV), I fall asleep faster and often seem to sleep more soundly. After a stressful day, it is also a great way to leave some worries behind for a bit.

Hair Appointments

Being on a budget, this used to be something I HATED to splurge on, and would often put it off until the very last minute. But now I just view it as an investment in self care. I have also started going to a stylist who gives an amazing scalp massage, understands my need for peace and quiet at times, and who never skimps on making sure I leave the salon completely styled and ready for a night out. I always feel relaxed and beautiful when she finishes which makes it feel worth the splurge. As a woman (I think most can relate) I often feel stressed, exhausted and tired. Once I hit the age of 30, I suddenly started to notice the aging process had begun, almost overnight. So now I am more appreciative of those moments when I feel beautiful and at my best.

Spending Time with My Dog

Okay, those of you who know me know that I am slightly OBSESSED with my dog. I know this may seem strange to some, but I don’t have kids and I live alone… so she IS my baby. Regardless of my obsession, I think dogs have a lot to teach us, especially when it comes to love, forgiveness and happiness. Minnie (my dog) reminds me to enjoy the moment, let my hair down and sometimes get my hands dirty. We have been on some great adventures together and on every one of those adventures, I have been “fully present” and that is more rare than you might think. She also never holds a grudge when I don’t get home on time, make her take a bath, or forget to pick up her favorite treats. This has been a great reminder to me that holding a grudge or staying upset only hurts me in the long run.

Spending Time with Friends

One of my New Year’s Resolutions this year was to make more time with my friends. When I first moved to Louisville I had very few friends. In fact, my first year living here I spent a lot of time alone. I do think this alone time was good for me, because for the first time in my life I had time to stop and consider the woman I truly wanted to be without any outside influence. That being said, true friendships (not just party friends), push you to be a better person and offer support when you need it most. Over the last year I have made friendships with some amazing women (mostly through Junior League). These friendships have pushed me be bold and reach for my goals. Many of this women have served as my shoulder to cry on and a listening ear when things haven’t worked out as planned. Friendships like that are valuable and worth investing time in.

Making Time to Play

This may be the most important item on this list. Yes, I am a 32 year old woman and I still love to let loose and play. Life isn’t meant to be serious all the time, and I love to laugh. I like to be silly and tell stupid (usually corny) jokes. I LOVE dancing in my living room to 80’s music with the dog jumping around in confused excitement. I love to sing at the top of my lungs in the car and I need to consistently try new things (like the trampoline class). These things make me smile and laugh, and we all know that laughter is the best medicine.

We all need ways to unwind, especially when life gets stressful. These are just a few of the ways that I let loose. What are some of your self care practices?

 

 

 

 

Coping with Anxiety 3

Uncomfortable Truth

Even as I just write this post, I am beginning to feel quite self-conscious and anxious. Partially because the topic has been stigmatized, and though I have mentioned it in passing on other posts, I have never focused completely on this topic. I am the face of someone who copes daily with anxiety and depression. It is something I have struggled with since my early teens, but there are times it seems to rear its ugly head more than others. This often surprises those I’m not super close with, especially since I try to share mostly positive images of my life.

The fact is I do feel really positive in my life right now, but there’s sometimes a quiet whisper in the back of my mind that likes to focus on the fact that I’m not at the place I thought I would be at this point in my life. I have mentioned this before, but it often feels lonely that I haven’t found someone to share my life with, and that I am not sure if having children of my own will ever be something that happens for me (if my dating life is any indication – probably not). As horrible as it can make me feel, sometimes I am jealous when I see others moving through the phases of life like motherhood, and I feel left behind.

It also hasn’t helped that my dating life has been less than extraordinary. I’ve been in countless relationships that start out AMAZING, but somewhere down the line I tend to begin investing too much. I invest my time, and energy, and emotional support to make someone else happy, which is certainly fine to do in a balanced relationship, unfortunately I tend to be the giver and wind up feeling completely drained and empty. In past relationships, I have spread myself far too thin, as I feel many women probably do. I become the cheerleader, the confidante, and I try so hard to be light and positive with little given in return. Often after these relationships end I slip into a bit of a depression because I have invested so much time and energy and I feel betrayed.

This is actually how the hiking hobby began for me. I had ended a toxic, long term relationship, moved to a new city where I didn’t have any close friends, and began a new career. The first 6 months were lonely, and although I told no one, a lot of tears were shed. I desperately needed to feel strong and independent – I already was, but needed to prove it to myself. Hiking began to make me feel empowered, and I often do it when I need to clear my mind and feel strong, and capable on my own as a woman.

Aside from hiking, I try to be healthy and active which is a natural mood elevator for me. I also say “No” more – without guilt. Sometimes if I am feeling off, I back out of plans. I do this, not to be an ass, but because I know that is what I need to feel recharged. Sometimes I’m a crappy friend because I don’t text right back, but its because I need some time to myself to refocus my energy. And I am not writing this as a personal pity party, because I am slowly getting a handle on my life (I think). Really, I wanted to share this because I feel like if even one of my friends feels lonely, heartbroken, or like they just aren’t where they feel they should be, that they aren’t alone.  As we all share (myself DEFINITELY included) the happiest, most beautiful parts of our lives, and rarely give glimpses into the darker corners, it feels more important than ever to share my struggles.

I want others to know it’s okay to put yourself first, not answer your phone sometimes, and choose to do the things you enjoy. It’s okay to leave unhealthy, unbalanced relationships behind, because you want to invest your energy where it’s wanted and appreciated. And it’s okay to do these things unapologetically.