My Dog's Life Is The Best Life

Monday, January 16, 2017



All too frequently I wake up in the morning and wish that I was Harlow.

As I dig into my workload for the day he's usually sprawled out in bed, typically with all four pillows, with a look of laziness on his face that I can't help but envy.

His one job in life is to be a dog-blogger and pose for photos and yet he rarely does that even. If he sees me get my phone out he will actually turn away. So in order to get a good shot I have to sneak it.

Or, I have to lay a cozy blanket on the floor where the sunlight is hitting. And then this ^^ happens! Much to my delight he did exactly as I wanted so naturally I started snapping away.

As you may have guessed, this is one of the shirt's from my new winter collection loosely called, "I Never Want To Leave My House Unless There Will Be Dog's Where We're Going," line. Catchy, right? I must give credit where credit is due, so this is actually a design my mom helped me create.

I think she questions my dog-parenting skills sometimes... She likes Harlow, but what she doesn't like is when we go to her house and I implement the "Harlow Has No Rules" rule, because such a thing is not true at her house. Harlow can't be on her couch- a concept both he and I struggle to understand.

I'll be dropping new designs all week and am excited to share them with all of you!

I shared several in my newsletter already. *This would be not-so-subtle reminder to sign up if you haven't already. Click here.

I'm still finding my groove with the newsletter, but it's surprised me how much I enjoy writing it. It literally feels like I'm writing a conversational letter every time I sit down to do it. I'm hesitant to ask for reader feedback given that I'm only three in and know that it will take awhile to really get into the flow and feel like I really have a purpose in writing it, BUT... if you have signed up what do you think? Too long? Too short? Do I need more "bullet points?" More direction?

The one thing I heard when I started a newsletter is, please don't just send an email telling us about your current blog post. And so I've tried to stay away from that, but other than that I'm just kind of jumping in headfirst.

A few of my favorite newsletters are the Lenny Letter and James Clear, which are usually about ten pages in length, so I think I happen to like the wordy ones a little bit more.

But enough chit chat, time to do Monday.

Things That Scare Me Part II - Sleep Paralysis

Friday, January 13, 2017


Given that today is Friday the 13th it only felt right to sit down and write a post about things that scare me. But then I remembered I already wrote that post in May of last year.

But alas I'm still craving "scary talk" so let's discuss something else. Like perhaps sleep paralysis. Are you familiar?

The other night I was deep in Reddit, as I tend to be before bed, reading threads about dreams when I came across a thread about sleep paralysis. It's defined as, "A temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking." It's happened to me a handful of times and I had no idea it had a name. I always just called it a nightmare.

If it's happened to you, I imagine you might call it the same. Because it's not simply the inability to move or speak, at least not for me. When it happens to me, it usually goes down like this: I think I wake up because everything looks completely normal in my surroundings, until the moment when I see, or even worse, simply feel something in the room with me. Sometimes I hear it whisper my name. And whispers in dreams are extremely unsettling. I can never never quite tell what it is for sure, but I know it's there. I feel it coming in the door, or simply hovering at the end of my bed, and as it moves closer I can't move or yell. I'm stuck in my body. And it's dark and terrifying and the fear feels so real. It's there right up until the moment I wake up.

And then I'm covered in sweat and usually can't get back to sleep because I'm certain death is near.

From what I've read, some people go through this almost every night. I'm lucky it's only happened to me about ten times, but I distinctly remember every time. It tends to happen when I'm sick and running a fever, staying in a hotel room, or when I'm sleeping alone in my room.

A friend in college once told me that this has happened to her as well and that it's the work of the devil... She was catholic. I believed her at the time. I do not anymore. I am certain it's sleep paralysis. According to google and reddit, there's a lot of people who think it's demonic. Again, I do not.

Kind of a random Friday post, I know. But once I learned this was actually a thing I got really interested in it and am curious if anyone else has experienced it.

Dreams intrigue me. I love that I almost always remember mine and they're incredibly vivid. Although sometimes my subconscious gets lazy and I have the same four on repeat depending on my mood.

My top 4 include:

1. finding wads of money everywhere I look (this is a fun one.)

2. not making it to my last high school basketball game (this one hurts my heart.)

3. going to the bathroom in a stall that suddenly has no walls and is somewhere a toilet shouldn't be- like in the middle of a restaurant or school and everyone is staring at me (this one is humiliating.)

4. the euphoric dream. I won't go into detail about this one because it's kind of embarrassing to admit (it has to do with a TV show and writing for it) but I almost always wake up from it with tears streaming down my face and they're tears of pure joy. WEIRD!!!! I know. This dream doesn't come around often, but I love when it does because the euphoria I feel is so crazy and unlike anything else.

Dreams are nuts. What ones do you have frequently have?

Happy Fridaying.

The Most Interesting Dog In The World

Thursday, January 12, 2017



Plastic bags blowing in the wind simply stop when he gets near.

His mother nursed from him.

He gives treats to store keepers.

He doesn't ask other dogs if he can pet their owner, he simply does.

His poop comes out already bagged.

Cats bark in his presence.

He can make a squeaker fall out of a toy just by looking at it.

Humans stop to sniff his backside.

He has several world records, one of which includes jumping on a pogo stick for 72 days.

When he leaves the house he puts his owner in a crate.

When he pees on a brick wall it immediately turns into Banksy street art.

Squirrels name their children after him.

He sits in a chair to eat dinner.

He wears roller skates when he walks, usually while pulling his owner on a leash.

He can speak seven languages but simply chooses not to.

When he drools it's actually champagne.

His breath smells like chocolate, yet he's never had a piece.

He sits on furniture that humans aren't allowed to.

His urine makes grass greener.

When it's time to leave the park he calls his owner's name.

His collar simply reads, "dog."

He is The Most Interesting Dog In The World.


******
follow diva Harlow on instagram @thedailytay 

How To Be a REAL Writer

Tuesday, January 10, 2017


Excuse the poor lighting here, the sun hasn't come out since 2016 so I'm doing my best... Typewriter print found here.

And now on to my post.

Like most things in life; I've got this very romanticized, dreamy idea of what it means to be a writer.

I imagine myself living all seasons in chunky cardigans, wearing black square frame glasses, having sharp bangs that top my even sharper bob cut, all while I work from my beachside cottage surrounded by dogs and ocean waves. I think I'm somewhere on the East coast, but I haven't decided for sure. Monterey seems like it could also suit my fantasy.

So basically I'd like to be Nancy Meyers.

Notice that in my little cute little dream I don't ever see the actual work of a writer that goes on... Just the fun imaginary part. Such is me.

When my mom would drag me along to Jazzercise, she was the Queen of Jazzercise in Norfolk, Nebraska in the 90s, rather than playing with the other kids I preferred to crawl behind the desk and write stories. Usually about cats or ghosts. Sometimes both.

Even into middle school and high school I spent my study halls filling notebooks with fiction. I would get lost with my characters and not notice an hour passing by. Same goes for those mandatory sorority "study hours" in college. It was my time to write and I loved it.

And then somewhere after college I lost the joy a bit and became filled with fear and anxiety over writing. When I decided I really wanted to pursue writing and actually finish something rather than just blabbing in notebooks it became hard and scary for me.

Thus begins one of the most annoying writing phases in my life. I have stopped and started more projects than I count. Sadly, people close to me have also started and stopped reading almost every one of these said projects.

"Just finish one, for the love of God," -my mom, more or less on everything I write.

I'm 40,000 words in on something right now, which is the furthest I've been in awhile. Mind you, I started it in 2015 so it's not really anything to brag about. Naturally, I want to throw the towel in and stop because I'm sure it sucks. It makes my skin crawl it's so bad.

In talking with my friends the other day, all very talented writers I met while studying in the CONSERVATREE at the Second City, I asked them, "Do I finish this even though I hate it? Or start this other great idea I have..."

"You finish," they all said.

And then I started to whine and tell them how hard it is and BLAH BLAH BLAH.

Sarah responded, "It's not supposed to be fun. You have to treat writing like it's like your job. That's what separates the professionals from the people who do it as a hobby."

I'm misquoting her slightly, but she's getting her MFA at USC in screen and television writing so she writes like a machine. She turns out 100 new sitcoms and screenplays every week. When Sarah gives advice about writing, I take it.

So today for two hours I will sit down and write like it's my job. It won't be fun and it won't be dreamy, but it has to be done. I've gotten to the point where not finishing this damn book feels harder than finishing it. Even if it sucks, I just want it done.

Enough is enough, these characters deserve an ending. Even the terrible blogger character who is obsessed with Instagram and lives for LIKES and thinks just one RG by Baby Gap would put her child on the map... She's actually quite fun, and also very cathartic for me to write.

And on a different note, I sent out my first newsletter yesterday!

Going forward, it will include (but is not limited to)

*TSHIRT PROMOS & GIVEAWAYS
*Updates on dogs I'd like to save
*Blogging/Writing/Social Media tips
*Terrible jokes
*Harlow doing Harlow things
*Daily mantras
*Self help stuff that I enjoy
*Pics of all of you, being awesome wearing my shirts
*Funny writing from my comedian friends
*Pics of your dogs?!
*WHO KNOWS WHAT ELSE

Get on board, I think this will be fun. Click here: SIGN UP! 

Write it down, make it happen.

Today's mantra: Act as if.

How To Set Goals and Make a Million Dollars

Monday, January 9, 2017


Goals are fun.

You're filled with excitement and energy as you think about them and write them down. You imagine them coming true and your mind allows your body to feel the joy of this little day dream for a moment as if it's already happened.

And then a week later it starts to dawn on you that this is going to take a lot of work. And what if you can't do it? What if you fail? What's the point of even trying? And why does it look so easy for everyone else?

And how did Jenny Blogger make over 1 million dollars last year doing webinars (this is real)... Should I do webinars? No. No, I should't it. I still don't fully understand how to make a powerpoint.

Well what about Facebook marketing? And marketing emails. And email newsletters. Gaining newsletter followers. And followers on Instagram. Instagram collabs. Blogger collabs. Hashtags. Hashbrowns. Brow tutorials.

On one hand it's completely unreal how many options there are to grow your business in this day and age; it's almost limitless. However, it can also be quite overwhelming.

And suddenly it's Monday morning and I'm sitting under my blanket paralyzed in useless fear and what-ifs unable to even look at my goals from last week...

Jk.

But, no this is real. Luckily, I know myself and understand this will pass. It's called my normal Monday morning. I'm not sure what sets it off, it's either submitting my weekly inventory- a task that always makes me nervous, or if it's just planning out strategy for my week ahead.

Or it could always just be the result of too much coffee. I fall for this one, a lot.

Regardless, I try to ask myself what's fueling this fear. And the response is almost always the same- just my good old friends Ego and Insecurity doing what they like to do. Sometimes Envy sneaks in as well, depending how much time I've spent on Instagram for the morning.

I dissect what's going on in my head, figure out if there's anything to be learned, and then tell myself to MOVE ON. It's Monday and I've already spent the last four hours playing garbage toss in my mind.

And it's annoying and exhausting and far too self indulgent.

Now look what I've done, I just wasted an entire post. My apologies. If there's anything to be taken away from this Monday ramble (I meant to write a comical, more light hearted post but unfortunately this came out instead) it's that if anyone else has Monday mind garbage floating around make the decision to toss it before right now before it starts to rot.

Time is ticking, we're already a full week into 2017.

Weekly mantra: stick to your passion, not someone else's.

*****

Mug/Jeans/Sneaks

Home Tour Part I

Friday, January 6, 2017

It's Friday morning in Chicago and the temperature says "2." And so I am doing everything in my power to keep Harlow asleep on my lap so he doesn't wake up and give me that look.

That look that says, "we go to park now?"

No Harlow, we don't go to park. Not today. Because today the air hurts. It bites your face and your hands and if you're not dressed in at least four layers it simply hurts to move.

So instead let's take a gander through our house and where we currently stand in terms of decorating. We're getting closer, but not quite done. We're still waiting on a dining room table and hutch, both are authentic mid century pieces that my mom purchased for us for Christmas that I am so excited about. The hutch looks like this and I am losing my mind over it! The only downfall is that both pieces are in Nebraska and have yet to be moved to Chicago... And so we wait.

The overall look we're going for is mid century modern. I've spent a lot of time researching, pinning, and waiting for just the right pieces rather than "buying just to fill space" like I used to do. Also, decorating does not come easy for me. Not at all. It takes me about five times before I get it right.


I've purchased a lot of pieces in Chicago, but have also had a LOT of luck online. Thank God for the internet. One of my go-tos has been Hayneedle; a one stop shop for finding everything, and at very affordable prices.

Nebraska friends, I'm sure you're familiar with Hayneedle as it's headquartered in Omaha. If you haven't browsed their selection you are missing out.  Here's the top five things we've recently ordered.

This Crosely Turntable.



The sound on this is absolutely incredible. How fun is that vinyl has made such a huge comeback? You can walk into a record store in our neighborhood and it's packed.

On to the kitchen... that has a fridge with an ICE MAKER. No big deal.


We needed a little extra storage for Harlow (his request.) He's getting more independent and asked that he has his own area where he can help himself. I respected this so we ordered this kitchen island.



I love this kitchen piece because the quality is so nice. And yes, the alcohol belongs to Harlow. He may have a problem, we're monitoring the situation.

The Sunburst clock is also from Hayneedle, found here. I simply type "mid century modern" in the search box and found so many awesome pieces!

Other favs include: this dining table, this dreamy bookcase, modern sideboard, and this awesome leisure chair. I could (and did) spend so much time on this site.

But anyway, our place is about ten times bigger than any other apartment we've lived in Chicago, but the only downfall is that there are no coat closets. None. And in the winter I wear about 100 coats and scarves so we needed something. Thus we have this coat rack.


I feel like you don't often see a good coat rack in homes anymore (probably because people have closets.) But we're bringing them back (because we have to.)

And this is just part one. As it turns out I'm also terrible at home photography so it takes me several days to muster the courage to do it.

Part two will come after we add some backsplash to the kitchen and retile the fireplace. Chris thinks we can do both on our own. I do not. Welcome to our nightly discussions! Have a good weekend, friends. Stay warm. If you have an animal left outside please call me, I will come get them.

What I've Learned From Not Eating Red Meat For Four Months

Thursday, January 5, 2017


Let me start by saying we've lost zero weight and have gained several opinions.

In the middle of September of 2016 Chris and I stopped eating red meat, or "mammals" as Chris likes to say. I like to say I don't eat my neighbor (the cute little black pig who walks down my alley on a leash every day.) We still eat fish, chicken, and turkey. So it's not like we made a HUGE change by any means. Although cutting out steaks and hamburgers was pretty big for Chris.

Truthfully, neither of us made this choice with the desire to lose weight so there's no real shock/disappointment there. If you saw our weekend diets you'd be appalled.

My reason has to due with the way our culture treats farm animals, Chris's has more to do with the environment.

And before I continue this post any further let me stop and say that I am in no way suggesting or trying to persuade you to stop eating meat. It's your life. DO WHAT YOU WANT. Likewise, I'm not saying you don't like animals and/or the environment if you do eat meat. To each their own.

That being said, here's what I've discovered in the past four months.

Several people suddenly seem to have an opinion about our "new diet." And it's annoying AF. It's as if once someone hears we're not eating meat, they suddenly think they need to defend why they are. But here's the thing, they don't! I get it, meat tastes good.

We're simply choosing not to eat it at the moment.

I know what you're thinking, why would someone feel the need to defend their diet simply in learning about ours? I have no idea. But we've come across this several, several times. Mind you, it's not like we're parading this around, just announcing it to the world every chance we get. *said the girl writing the blog post... Hey, I needed content ideas and also I waited four months to even bring it up so that has to be worth something, right? 

Anyway.

We've heard every response from, "just two of you not eating meat won't make a difference," to "what about the laws of the food chain!" to even, "global warming isn't even real so what's it matter." And then I slam my head into a wall.

I don't want to turn this political, I just know we both feel better physically and mentally leaving red meat out of our diet so why would anyone have an issue with this?

Recent conversations have also made me question things I've said in the past to vegans/vegetarians/gluten-free/ anyone who eats anything that's different than what I call normal!

I feel like there's a difference between being curious and being judgy... Although the line is sometimes blurred.

I think a big part of what I've mentioned above has to do with the fact we live in the Midwest, with roots in Nebraska. I imagine telling our friends and family in Nebraska we don't eat meat has to be similar to telling your friends and family in California that you do...  Someone is always going to have something to say.

All this being said, we may eat meat today. Or tomorrow. We started this with the intention of taking it day by day. We're heading to Cuba next month and both want to eat some tasty Cubano sandwiches, so we may have to let go of the diet on vacay.

But I really don't think I'll ever go back to eating meat like I did (in mass consumption) but maybe we'll go back to one day a week, or just while on vacay. Like I said, who knows?! Moral of the story, live your life how you see best.

*unless that involves swimming with dolphins. Why is this still a thing? WHY?