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Sam Dobson Writes: March 2014

Monday, March 31, 2014

Detox Recipes For A Wild Weekend Recovery

I had one of those weekends that keep you hurting until Tuesday. I spent the weekend in Temecula, taking part in my bestie's bachelorette. Festivities included a lot of wine tasting, dirty dancing in a dirty bar, and lots of laughs. Any weekend of nonstop drinking will make you feel like death for a few days and this bachelorette was no exception. It was a ton of fun and well worth it but I don't bounce back as quickly as I used to. 

After the drive home on Sunday, I climbed into bed and didn't get up until my alarm went off Monday morning. Still feeling sluggish on Monday morning, I decided I was in need of a serious detox. I started by doing some research on my go-to, Pinterest. I found three great ways to naturally detox with simple ingredients. This is what I love about Pinterest! Below are three different ways to boost your health after a night of heavy drinking or a weekend of indulging. 

Detox Smoothie From CellaJane.com

After a weekend of fatty foods and alcohol the last thing you want to do is continue to fuel your body with more junk food. This detox smoothie is a Jessica Alba favorite for after a night of one too many drinks. Good for you ingredients include kale, celery, cucumber, fresh peeled ginger, apple, fresh lemon juice, and stevia. This smoothie is rich in antioxidants, has a ton of vitamins, and is high in fiber. This smoothie is a great way to detox from the inside out. 

Photo Cred: CellaJane.com

Detox Face Mask From TheCoconutMama.com

This clay based face mask is recommended by the Coconut Mama as a once a month treatment. It also works great for a nice skin boost after a weekend of heavy make-up. Detox ingredients include bentonite clay, virgin coconut oil, raw honey, and lemon juice. This mask will absorb impurities and will give the skin a deep clean with its antibacterial properties. 

Photo Cred: TheCoconutMama.com

Detox Bath Soak From TriedAndTrueBlog.com

A weekend of nonstop fun will leave you feeling sluggish and run down. When I have that overall hung over feel I instinctively sink into a warm bath. This detox bath soak will make you tired before it will make you feel better, so its recommended that you do this soak right before bed. Drink lots of water beforehand as well as warm salt soaks will make you sweat (you should be hydrating after all that drinking anyways). This bath soak is also a great tool to help fight off a cold. Ingredients include epson salt, sea salt, baking soda, ground ginger, and apple cider vinegar. 

Photo Cred: TriedAndTrueBlog.com

When you just don't feel a hundred percent after a busy weekend or a crazy night out, some detoxing might just be what the doctor ordered. Obviously, I don't have a medical degree and I did nothing more but fish for these home remedies on Pinterest so if you think it's necessary, consult with a real doctor before putting any of these to use. These simple detox recipes have simple ingredients and may just be the trick to pull you out of your weekend coma and recharge your batteries. I love a crazy weekend once in a while, but a good detox will always make me feel better. 


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Surviving The Dreaded Nail Trim

I know first hand how stubborn a dog can be for dreaded nail trims. My boxer, Hades, wins the "Worst Behaved During Nail Trim" prize. When I bust out the clippers, all hell breaks loose. It takes two to three people to hold her down while she flails around like a fish out of water while wailing as if we were trying to kill her. Frequently, we have to give up after just one nail for fear of Hades hurting herself during her hissy fit. I can take any object and simply place it near her nails and she instantly gets nervous and strategically curls her paws underneath her body. It's a nightmare, to say the least. 

While we relish in the relaxation of getting our nails done, our dogs just don't feel the same way when it comes to "pet-icures". While getting your dog's nails done can be a nuisance to both you and your dog, it is an important piece of pup maintenance that you shouldn't put off.

The Importance Of Doggy Nail Maintenance

Even if it seems easier to ignore the scary length of your dog's nails, I don't recommend it. Leaving your dog's nails untrimmed can cause pain and discomfort, especially when walking. Nails that grow too long can start to curve and end up growing into the pads of the paws. This is painful and can lead to nasty infections. Long nails are also more vulnerable to getting caught on materials such as fabrics in which the end result can 
be a broken nail, or worse, an injured toe.

Pet-icure Tips

The best way to ensure your pup behaves for his routine nail trim is to start early. If you have a puppy, begin trimming their nails now. Get them used to this practice the better your chances will be of not having to battle them during nail trims in the future. (Fair warning: I started trimming Hades's nails at just two months old, but she still grew an extreme anxiety about it. Start early anyways.)

If you didn't start young or if your adult dog doesn't handle nail trims well despite your best efforts, it might be best to consult with a groomer or your vet. If you feel uncomfortable with trimming on your own (maybe your dog's nails are black or you are just afraid of hurting them), consult with a groomer or your vet.

When trimming your dogs nails, use nail clippers. Grinders can seem less scary, but clippers are a better tool to ensure quicker results. If your dog's nails are white or clear and pink in appearance, you will want to cut on the white surface. The pink part of your dog's nail is the quick. Cutting the quick will be painful,cause the nail to bleed, and may make for difficult behavior for the next trim.

If you want to diminish the need for nail trims, take your dog for frequent walks. Dogs who go for daily walks tend to need nail trims less often than those who don't. This is due to the asphalt or other rough surfaces that naturally file down nails over time.

The most important thing is to never let your dog's nails grow too long. Remember that overgrown nails can cause your beloved pup pain. Adding a nail trim to your dog's maintenance regimen will help ensure that your dog is healthy and happy.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

Why I Won't Be Using A Speed Reading App

Every time I have to pack up and move, I use the opportunity to go through all of my belongings and ditch the things I no longer use or need. Most of what I'm tossing is donated and a few big ticket items get sold. While packing up my books, I came up with a bag full that I didn't want. Normally I don't get rid of my books, but during this move I decided that I can stand to lose some of those cookbooks I never use and some novels that didn't quite tickle my fancy. Instead of stuffing those books into the Goodwill box, I decided to take them to my local bookstore for a trade.

My local used bookstore of choice will accept some books for credit. So, this weekend I hauled my bag of books in to exchange for new ones. They can't give credit for every book, but I love that they give you the option to donate the others. With some credit at my disposal, I began the hunt for my next read. While browsing the racks, I was half listening to a couple discussing a new app with the store clerks. The man was gushing about this new app that allows you to speed read at an incredible rate. The Spritz app claims to allow readers the ability to read between 600 and 1,000 words per minute, that's two to three times faster than the average college graduate. 

They had unintentionally grabbed my attention and I listened on as the conversation participants discussed the brilliance and convenience of such an app. "Think of how many more books you could read!", they said. This couple even mentioned how great it would be to be able to skip all the descriptive text and the other boring stuff that they'd rather pass over. I was not impressed and my first thought was how my old literature professors would disagree with the logic of this app. 

After doing some research, I discovered that Spritz presents one word at a time in the center of our focal point, replacing each word with the next at a very fast pace. This technique allows your eyes to easily read at a faster rate than you would with traditional left to right reading. The problem with speed reading is that it can hinder the readers ability to fully comprehend what they are reading, this is especially true when it comes to difficult or more advanced material. This is my issue with the app. If your goal is to simply know the basics in a jiffy, then this app may be worth it for you. If your intent is to truly engage with the text and understand it as the author intended, then you should stay far away from this app. 

As I've stated before, I'm just not ready to make that transition from actual books to a tablet so this app is nowhere near my top wish list. Part of the comfort of a good book is feeling the weight of the book in your lap and the pages between your fingers. The more complex books earn pen markings and folded corners. I need the anatomy of a book to fully enjoy it. This app takes the technology of an E-Reader one step further. The problem for me is the loss of detail. It's not just the loss of the details of the physical book, but with a speed reading app we also lose the details of the text, those little things that may not seem important but in all actuality are. 

Again, I'm not anti-technology. I think the advances in reading technology have been very beneficial to readers of all ages. I just don't believe an app aimed to solely make you read faster is of any value. The point isn't to read faster, it's to understand what you've read. With super speed reading we lose the substance of the written work. The reader doesn't absorb the true intent, the important details, or the meaning behind the work. Obviously I am not a fan, but then again, I was an English Lit major and we are a different breed when it comes to reading. 


Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Mother Who "Rehomed" Her Adopted Son

As an adoptions manager for a dog rescue organization, one of my biggest pet peeves (no pun intended) is the return of adopted dogs. When I first started making decisions of which dog went home with which family, I took it as a personal failure when a dog was returned. Did I mess up in my placement? I'd scour back through the application and interview process to see if I missed something. With some experience now under my belt, I've come to accept that sometimes despite all the precautions and hoops adopters have to go through they can still end up with more than they bargained for and there is nothing I can do about it. If a family swears up and down that they are ready for a puppy and they do all the right things, I am still not guaranteed that once they get home they will stick it out through potty training and bad puppy habits. Nevertheless, it still bothers me in an inexplicable way when people want to return dogs.

I had believed that the return or relinquishment of dogs comes with the territory because, lets face it, they are not humans. As my dogs are my children, I often think snidely to myself when dealing with a return "would you do this to your child?" Thinking this sort of thing is reserved for pet rescues not child adoptions, I was immediately intrigued when I stumbled across this article on Yahoo about a mother who "returned" her adopted five year old son. With  my jaw dropped, I read through the piece just to get to the horrific details of what this child had done to deserve yet another abandonment but the climax never came. It seems this woman did what many dog adopters do, she bit off more than she could chew.

Read the Yahoo article here!

As a first time parent, Stacey Conner and her husband decided to adopt not one, but two young children from Haiti (the five year old they would soon return and a one year old girl). During the lengthy adoption process, the Conners threw caution to the wind and got pregnant. Talk about a handful. Don't get me wrong, I think adoption is a beautiful thing and have even considered it for whenever I'm ready to be responsible for living creatures that aren't four-legged and furry. I just think that good intentions don't always have good outcomes and people get themselves into more than they can handle. This unfortunately does have consequences and can have negative effects on the children no matter what the outcome.

My heart aches for dogs who get abandoned. No matter what the circumstances, I just don't understand how people can do it and returning a child seems unreal. This woman's excuses are bullshit and for her to come out and "candidly" tell her story is ridiculous. You "rehomed" your kid, a five year old boy. Whether or not he seemed upset when he left with his new family, you probably did more damage than you'll ever know. What older sibling doesn't have a few incidents in which they pinch or hit their younger siblings? What young child doesn't throw tantrums? What household with children doesn't have accidents in which people get hurt? If I were to believe that the Yahoo article was the whole story, it would appear that this mother has no idea how to discipline children. I will give her the benefit of the doubt that she did try and perhaps even disciplined the boy a little (it also states that she contacted a therapist who suggested she find her son a new home), but the fault is still her own.

My whole point is that this woman got in over her head. She was irresponsible with her decision to adopt two children and then get pregnant whether she meant to or not. Had she realized how much work three children (two with probable difficulties because of their situation)  right off the bat would be, perhaps she would have adopted only one child or decide to have a biological child before adopting. It's not the boy's fault that he was adopted by a woman who could not handle a young child's antics and two babies at the same time, yet he is the one who will suffer. Maybe the change really doesn't mean much to the boy now, but a few years down the road when he looks back and realizes what his memories actually mean it may have some serious affect on him. He will wonder why his biological and first adoptive families didn't want him. What a terrible thing to put a child through.

Obviously I am not a mother to human children and many of you are probably thinking I can't have a valid opinion because I don't know how it is to raise children. You are right, I don't know what it's like to be a mother to little human beings. I am one hell of a dog mom though and I could never imagine giving up one of my furry children let alone a human child, biological or not. I know enough to know that this woman did this child an injustice when she took on more than she could handle. Just like so many dog adopters do with cute puppies, she had this beautiful image of a multicultural family that would live happily ever after. Apparently she didn't consider that raising two Haitian children could serve certain difficulties along the way, that adoptive children could possibly come with issues that would need to be addressed. Am I the only one that believes this woman has no one to blame but herself?

Apparently, the boy is doing well with his adoptive family and her other children have quickly adjusted to life without him. The Conners are now foster parents which works out great for them because now they can take in children temporarily and no longer run the risk of having to "rehome" them. The concept still seems ludicrous to me, the idea of returning a child you have promised to care for, a child who has put his trust in you to care for him. It just seems unfair to put an adoptive child through anymore unnecessary pain. I may have been more sympathetic towards the Conners "plight" had the child in question been a little demon but the behavior described in the article simply reflects that of a normal rambunctious yet slightly bratty young boy. Again, I will give them the benefit of the doubt that the situation was more dire than led on in the article, but I still put the blame on the parents. When it comes to taking responsibility for another life form, human or canine, don't bite off more than you can chew. In the end, everyone suffers.

As it should be. 


Monday, March 17, 2014

The Importance Of Small Romantic Gestures

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a nice relaxing weekend and are feeling refreshed for the workweek ahead of you. My weekend wasn't necessarily relaxing, a better description would be productive. I know I've briefly mentioned before that Blake and I are moving out of our little beach house, away from our party boy neighbor whose antics keep us up all night half the week. The exciting news that I've been concealing from you (for fear of jinxing it) is that we are in the process of buying a condo. That's right, if all goes smoothly, Blake and I will be homeowners in about a month (knock on wood for us)!

Our last day in our apartment will be March 31st, so we spent the weekend packing more of our stuff. Saturday wasn't very productive, so I wanted to make sure that we really made up for it on Sunday. Blake loves sleeping in on the weekends and it can take a while for him to fully wake up for the day, so I decided I would sneak out while he slept soundly and make him breakfast in bed. How can you not have energy for a good day when you've gotten catered breakfast in bed? I creeped into the kitchen and started cooking. Little tip, don't cook bacon when wearing just your bra and underwear if you don't have a splatter screen. Ouch!

I woke him up and explained his breakfast of eggs, bacon, and waffles. He was half asleep, a little confused, and pleasantly surprised. As he dug into his breakfast and I retreated to get my coffee, he questioned me with "no strings attached?" At that moment I realized that perhaps I don't do enough of the little things to remind my man that I love him. Obviously, he was kidding but I know in my heart that there is some truth to that whether or not he was just teasing.

While I stirred milk and sugar into my coffee, my mind raced back through our years together frantically searching for other little gestures I had done for him. While I did stumble upon a few memories that got me brownie points, most of the good deeds were done by him. How often had I come home from a long day to a candle lit bubble bath? More than once he'd shown up at my work on a crappy day with goodies; flowers, coffee, even popcorn! This is a man who made me a living room fort and then spent a whole weekend living under it with me after I'd had one hell of a workweek. I'm really just scratching the surface here, but I think you get the point.

In the game of small romantic gestures, my husband has been winning for a long time. I'm not proud of that by any means. Don't get me wrong, I'm not a heartless bitch who never thinks of him. I do kind things for my man just because, like grab his favorite snacks at the grocery store or rent that action flick he really wants to see instead of the sappy love story I want. I've even been known on occasion to surprise him after work with lingerie. Really these are things a good wife or live-in girlfriend should do so I don't know if I can really give myself any points.

Small romantic gestures are more important than some may think. When you've been together for a while, things start to get too routine. Little acts of love, done so for no particular reason, can show your partner how much you care about them and how frequently you are thinking about them. In that moment, while sipping my coffee, a light bulb went off in my head. I know that there is a bit of an unbalance in this aspect of our relationship, but I aim to change that. I want my husband to know that I love him so much, that I am always thinking about him, and that I want to always make him happy. It's the small romantic gestures that count in a marriage or long term relationship. Don't be lazy; flowers just because, a coffee delivery at work, breakfast in bed, a surprise night out, it's rather easy to show you care.


Friday, March 14, 2014

Unique Food Bars For Your Next Event

It's Champagne Friday! That means goodbye workweek, hello weekend festivities. My "festivities" will include cleaning, organizing, and packing (we are moving out at the end of the month, thank god!). Hopefully your weekend plans are more fun than mine. Anyways, Champagne Friday always makes  me think of celebrating which makes me think of parties and events which makes me think of my wedding (the ultimate party). This is how my mind works, a never ending trail of thought.

Thinking of my wedding and all the neat little details that went into it. One of my favorite details was the "Popcorn Bar". Food bars of some sort are all the rave for big parties and weddings. The trick to a great bar is to make it yours. Everyone does candy bars but if that's your forte, then party on. If you like the idea of having a food bar but aren't thrilled on the idea of a candy bar, fear not. There are tons of other options, but first you should determine if your favorite food or desert would be a good fit for your event.

My obsession, as many of you already know, is popcorn, so it's only natural to include it in my wedding. The popcorn bar was an extra novelty that I really wanted for my wedding. It was very DIY as we didn't hire anyone to come out and set it up. I designed the whole idea, right down to the popcorn labels. I found a local mom and pop shop that specialized in popcorn, Maw 'N Paw Kettlekorn in Laguna Hills. We went to sample the flavors and picked four of our favorites. I ordered large sizes and picked them up myself the day before the wedding (our venue was nice enough to store them until the event).

Dobson Wedding Popcorn Bar
Photo Cred: Mel & Tim Photography

It's not just about the food itself, you have to think about the details. I made a little sign that matched the decor of my wedding that simply said "Popcorn Bar". I bought black and gold popcorn boxes off of Oriental Trader. They were simple but I wanted to add a little something extra so I used a rubber stamp "D" and some craft paper to make the boxes fancier. I made little labels to identify each kind of popcorn with sparkly gold scrapbook paper. My mom found large black bowls at a party supply store that were the perfect size. We used scoops from the Michael's craft store wedding section. All in all, the popcorn bar ended up being a very cheap additive to our reception but it was fun, unique, and a big hit among our guests.

Dobson Wedding Popcorn Bar
Photo Cred: Mel & Tim Photography

There are so many other unique food bar ideas, you just have to get creative. Through the dozens of wedding magazines, websites, and Pinterest pins I came across a lot of variety when it came to the type of food bar and the decor. Milk and donuts (or cookies) is a popular one for weddings with lots of kids in attendance. I've seen french fry and slider bars with dozens of topping and condiment choices. Try a bagel bar or waffle bar for daytime events like bridal or baby showers. Taco bars are popular for summer time events, we had one for our engagement party. A coffee bar with a variety of coffee and additives would be great for a brunch event or would go well during cake time at an evening wedding. Cupcake bars are fun for kids' parties. Little ones can decorate their own cupcake with many options for toppings.

When it comes to adding a food bar of some sort to your event, the options really are endless. Don't believe me? Head over to Pinterest.com and search "food bar". You'll be flooded with delicious and creative ideas. It's the little things that make an event yours, stick to the things you love and your guests will love them too. Not many of my wedding guests would go out and buy specialty popcorn just for the fun of it, but my popcorn bar was devoured completely by the end of the night and it wasn't because of me.

Happy Planning/Eating!

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Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Book Review { Where'd You Go, Bernadette? }

My latest read was one that kept me up at night, anxiously turning the pages while the clock ticked on and my husband slept soundly. If you love quirky female leads, then you'll love this book. Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple is somewhat of a mystery with an intelligent 15 year old on the case. Bee's mom has gone missing after a number of confrontations with bitchy PTA moms and her husband's attempt at having her committed. Bee ignores the grim opinions of law enforcement and decides to take on the investigation herself. Bee leads the reader on a wild journey to Antarctica to bring her mother home.

My favorite part about this book is how the first half or so of the story is told through pieces of evidence that Bee has strung together, email correspondences, medical bills, magazine articles, etc. Through this evidence, the picture of Bernadette is painted as a brilliant yet nutty architect whose young and promising career met an untimely, confrontational end. After getting her professional heart broken in Los Angeles, Bernadette and her family relocated to Seattle where her husband took a time consuming job.

Being a stay at home mom doesn't bode well for Bernadette's misplaced genius. Bernadette is what makes this book so addicting, she is a fascinating character. She is incredibly intelligent and driven, but for what? With no intellectual outlet, Bernadette's quirkiness grows and so does the tension between her and those around her. Bernadette develops agoraphobia, because of which she prefers to stay inside her dilapidated house, she even opts for hiring a virtual assistant in an effort to limit her contact with the rest of the world.

I found Bernadette and all her craziness charming. She did have a lot of issues, but she dealt with a lot of bullshit too, like the "gnats" (you'll have to read the book if you want to know). Granted, she did not handle her first (and only) professional disappointment well, but you have to feel sympathetic for all she went through to have Bee. Bernadette birthed a child just as wild. In the beginning of the book, intelligent and rather mature for her age, Bee appears to be well grounded and very rational. That all changes once her mother has gone missing and Bernadette begins to shine through her daughter. The most addicting part of the book was of course the Antarctica trip where Bee was the only one still holding out hope.

My qualms lie with Elgie, Bernadette's Microsoft slave of a husband, and Audrey, Bernadette's school mom nemesis. At first, I loved Elgie because he loved such an eccentric woman (gives hope to all of us crazy ladies). Once Bernadette started to really unravel, so did my adoration for Elgie. Instead of just flat out asking his wife what was up or simply paying more attention when at home, the frequently absent father and husband secretly arranged to give Bernadette and intervention in hopes she would commit herself. The part that pissed me off the most was, of course, Elgie's inappropriate relationship with Soo-Lin during his wife's "mental breakdown".

Audrey was just your typical protagonist in the first half of the novel. I loved to hate her and think to myself what Bernadette should have done or said. That all got complicated when Audrey has a sudden change of heart and decides to warn Bernadette of her husband's planned intervention and probable committal. This muddles up my feelings about Audrey. I still can't stand how pretentious and bitchy she is or was, but she has slightly redeemed herself. It seemed too good of an epiphany to be true, an unlikely turnaround.

Nevertheless, I loved this book. I loved Bernadette for the crazy genius that she is and I loved Bee for the fierce hopeful that she is. Bee is incredibly clever for stringing together "evidence" of her mother's breakdown and disappearance but she is also unwavering in her search. The whole story is wildly clever and witty and I wasn't disappointed in the outcome. I was left to wonder what would happen between Bernadette, her unfaithful husband, and his pregnant one-night stand.


Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Lost Dog (Prevention + What To Do If The Unthinkable Happens)

Over the weekend a coworker/friend's dog went missing under some unfortunate circumstances. While the owners went away for a fun weekend in the snow, their little terrier mix escaped unbeknownst to the people taking care of her. Sweet little Boo is the dog mommy of my newest edition, Levy, so this is very near and dear to my heart. Every time I go on vacation, my biggest fear is that something horrible and unrealistic will happen to my dogs. Blake tolerates the phone calls and many visits to the Paws webcams that I make daily while away. I can only imagine what my friend is going through.

Now back from her trip (she found out about her missing four-legged child a few days after the disappearance), my friend has hit the pavement hard. Posters hang from hundreds of trees and light posts and the search has continued on foot all across our little town. Just about every coworker has shared the information with all of their followers on Facebook. We are doing our best to get Boo home.

The dog paranoia I experience while on vacation may not be totally unwarranted. My friend's nightmare is just enough to remind me that this can happen to anyone. This is why it's important to know what you can do to prevent your dog from getting lost and what to do if it happens despite your best efforts.

Preventing Your Dog From Getting Lost

A collar and tags with current contact information is your best friend's best friend. I will admit that I rarely keep collars on my dogs while at home, but if they were to get out while we weren't home, identification would make a reunion more likely. Always keep a collar on your pup for outings, when having guests over, on noisy holidays (think scary fireworks and other loud noises) and when left alone at home.

Take a quick tour of your yard or patio. Are there any weak spots? Look for space between the ground and the bottom of fencing that your dog can impressively squeeze under. Make sure your fence is high enough so Fido can't jump it and look for loose boards to nail down. Dogs are more clever than we give them credit. If they are scared or anxious and there is a weak spot in your yard, they will find it.

What To Do If Your Dog Gets Lost

The second you realize Fluffy isn't where she is supposed to be you should take action. Start by searching every nook and cranny of your house and yard. I've heard plenty of stories about dogs hiding for one reason or another while their owners search all over town, assuming they got lost. Once your search of the house and yard has concluded with no luck, check the immediate outdoor area around your house and don't be afraid to shout your pup's name. Chances are, they haven't gone far in the short amount of time it took you to realize they were gone. The sound of your voice may be enough to turn your wandering dog around. 

If your beloved dog is in fact, gone, remain calm and keep proactive. Call all the local shelters in your area, don't rule out the county shelter either. Check back frequently and leave a contact number and pet description if possible. 

Spreading the word about your missing pooch is the most effective tool in bringing him home. Don't underestimate the power of social media. Post pictures and information on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter then ask friends and family to share the information with their followers. Craigslist is a good resource for listing lost and found dogs too. 

Old fashioned flyers are a must! Find a clear picture and put it together with some details about your pup and your contact info. Run off tons of copies and enlist friends and family to help you post them all around the area your pup was last seen. Information is key. A simple tip on your dog's last whereabouts can lead you in the right direction. You never know what a dog lover might do, I've picked up many dogs seen by themselves on the streets. It's possible some kind soul has your pup and is waiting for the shelter to open or may have reservations about forfeiting him over to the shelter. Your flier could make it so much easier for this kind soul to contact you and say "Don't worry, I have your dog".

I know these aren't miracle solutions and the task may feel daunting, but keep your head up and keep busy. Remember, prevention is the best source of action. I know the panic that comes over you when you learn your pet is missing, it's happened to me a few times with a certain older boxer who has separation anxiety. I got lucky every time. Think positive thoughts that my friend gets lucky too. Oh, and keep an eye out for little Boo.


Friday, March 7, 2014

The Bad Habit That Could Ruin Your Relationship

Blake and I are pretty good about communicating with each other, even when it comes to what annoys us. We do have pet peeves and we do push each others buttons some times, but its not too often that one of us does something to really upset the other person. I know my husband well enough to know that one of my biggest offenses is my cell phone and laptop. There is nothing worse than sitting on the other side of the couch, browsing Facebook while your hubby sits arms-crossed and stewing.

I will admit, I am guilty of this bad habit from time to time but Blake is pretty quick to point it out and I can make it up to him right away. Problem solved. However, it might not be so easy for couples who are shy about voicing their grievances. Picture night after night of being "ignored" by your significant other. You crave some interaction but your boyfriend is fully submerged in his violent video games. It goes both ways, sister. Guys feel just as neglected when we get lost browsing the plethora of pins on Pinterest.

With the everyday technology we have these days it has gotten a lot easier to forget about your spouse. Whether it's non-stop texting, editing pictures for Instagram, or browsing through Facebook or Pinterest, leaving your guy to twiddle his thumbs on a consistent basis is bad news for your relationship. You know what I'm talking about. How many nights have you come home from a long day of work, slipped into your pajamas and then settled in on the couch with your laptop or cell phone and riffled through every social media site possible? All the while, your guy plants himself on the other side of couch to watch some telly or play some video games. Do you get it yet?

If what I described above sounds like the nightly routine for you and your man, this may lead to trouble down the road. One or both of you may end up feeling neglected or unwanted, "Why does my boyfriend prefer to battle and shit talk 10 year olds on the other side of the planet instead of talk to me?" or "Why does my wife come home from work and sit on her laptop for four hours and then go to bed without showing me any love?" Let this carry on without talking it out and the damage to your relationship could be irreversible.

Obviously I am by no means anti-technology but I do think we need to draw a line as a society. We are lucky enough to live in a time where the advances of technology are incredibly beneficial to our daily lives, but this same technology can have a disconnecting affect. With our faces buried in our smart devices, we can ignore the people and the world around us. I can't tell you how many times I've gone out to eat and seen a whole table full of people all face down with full focus on their phones.

I love my phone just as much as any smart phone user and I've given it my fair share of attention, sometimes too much attention. Then I remember that I don't want to be that couple who goes out for date night and sits across from each other, doesn't talk, and fiddles with their phones all night. The same goes for my girlfriends. When we are together for some fun occasion, the phones come out for pictures and posting, but that's it really. The rest of the time we spend venting, laughing, and gossiping. You have to nurture the relationships that are important to you. In the words of Farris Bueller, life moves pretty fast. If you don't put your smart phone down once in a while, you could miss it.


Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Book-Less Library (WTF?)

I am a die-hard book lover. It's not just the words that I love; there is more to a book than the story that unfolds in our imaginations as we read. Part of loving a book is to love the structure of it. There is something comforting about an actual book, curling up with a cup of tea, a blanket, and that magical mass of bound pages. There is no substitution for anxiously turning the pages as you read or tracing your finger along a line of text. And who can resist that lovely, musky smell of a book that's fully served it's purpose.
With all the new, convenient technology these days, it was only a matter of time before someone invented a more compact way to read. Enter electronic readers. Most avid readers have embraced the new technology, the ability to carry multiple books with you where ever you go without physically lugging them around. I agree that this technology is amazing, but I'm not quite ready to all-together ditch the used bookstore just yet. That's why it pains my heart just a bit when I read about the country's first book-less library, BiblioTech in San Antonio, Texas.

No books, just technology at the BiblioTech Library in Texas. 

I'm not anti-technology by any means, but the concept of an actual library that won't house any physical books is a little hard to swallow. The technology that will be used at BiblioTech is pretty cool, I will admit, including E-readers, tablets, computers, and laptops all on which books are checked out electronically. But is this our future? Will actual, physical books be ancient history, just legends we tell to our future grandchildren?
While I accept the brilliant technology of E-readers, and know that I will most likely be sporting one too in the near future, I want to continue turning the pages of the books on my shelves a little while longer. Perhaps this new technology and the "ancient" art of the printing press can work side by side. For every electronic library built, a library with real books will continue to stand strong.   Books with leafed pages will not go extinct, but will be valued and treasured for their form. If they disappear, book lovers will surely suffer.


Sunday, March 2, 2014

Skin Care For Your Late Twenties

One day, I looked in the mirror and suddenly realized that I no longer had an effortlessly young-looking face. The subtle changes of age have started to rear their ugly faces on my face! I'm sure that I am not the only twenty-something that has experienced such a glass shattering moment. Now that I'm less than 1,000 days from the big 30 (gasp!), its clear that I need to bump my skin regime up a notch. If your current beauty routine solely consists of that oil-free face wash you used as a teenager, I think it's safe to say you need a refresher. Check out these quintessential skin products you need to start using in your late twenties.

Gently Exfoliating Cleanser

Through your teens and early twenties, beach days with no sunscreen and party nights without washing your face before bed wrecked havoc on your youthful skin. The damage is starting to show and you need more than just make-up remover. Choose a cleanser that removes make-up but also gently exfoliates to rid your pretty face of dead skin cells. Avoid heavy exfoliates for daily wash, those are better suited for about once a week.
Olay Regenerating Cream Cleanser

Moisturizer with SPF

To avoid further sun damage on that good looking mug of yours, SPF must be a part of your every day regime. Choose a lightweight moisturizer with UVA and UVB protection. This daily habit will not only protect your face from harmful UV rays, but will also keep your skin hydrated on the regular. Go for lightweight and oil free.

Neutrogena Oil-Free Broad Spectrum Moisturizer

Eye Cream

If you don't already treat the skin around your eyes, its about high time you start. As we age, dark circles slowly emerge, skin sags, and subtle lines start to appear around the windows to our soul. Eye cream will help diminish lines, brighten and plump the skin around the eyes. Dermatologists recommend applying an eye cream with SPF in morning and a hydrating eye cream in the evening.

Roc Sensitive Eye Cream

Retinol Cream

If you're like me, retinol cream is a foreign concept. In a nutshell, retinol is a vitamin A topical that helps prevent acne and shrinks the size of pores. Retinol's super powers include a boost in collagen production to increase firmness and elasticity in the skin. Added bonus, retinol combats dark spots and discoloration caused by sun damage.  

Philosophy Help Me Cream

Now that you've had a crash course in the proper skin care routine for your late twenties, it's time to step up your game. With a few years left before the big 3-0, now is the time to make a preemptive strike against wrinkles, discoloration, and dark circles. We can't stay young and flawless for ever but we can take care of our skin so that we age gracefully.