Seeing so many great upcoming events & trips on our calendar has put me in kind of a touristy mood. Today’s Inspiration: Madewell Denim Jacket ($118.00), Madewell Ex-Boyfriend Shirt ($59.50), Miss Selfridge Skinny Jeans ($35.00), Monki Karen Sunglasses($13.00), Forever21 Geo Floral Print Scarf ($9.80), Joia Roberta Color Block Flats ($36.00), Juicy Couture Stud Earrings ($38.00), Prada Vitello Daino Tote via Bag Borrow or Steal (rent it for $43.00 per week or $125.00 per month), Essie Polish in Fiesta ($8.00), Buxom Big & Healthy Lip Cream in Vivid Fuchsia ($18.00).
It’s hard to believe, but yesterday was Walter’s 6 month birthday! We’ve had him since January and it’s crazy how much our little guy has changed over the past four months. I’ve been asked for puppy advice, and while I’m far from an expert, I feel like we did a pretty good job. Walter had only a handful of accidents in the house, and was flawlessly potty trained within a month. He now sits, lays, stays (almost too well) and started “Shaking hands” last week (by far my favorite trick). So, for what it’s worth, here are the things that worked for us:
1. Think it through. Holy sh*t seriously. Think it through. I’m completely boggled by how people have & train puppies if they are gone for 8+ hours a day. Puppies need attention and small puppies need to go outside every few hours (or more!). Don’t get a puppy unless you or your partner are able to go home during the day (or are willing to pay for daycare). Obviously, people do it, just make sure that the time is right for you.
2. Invest in food. Don’t get a dog thinking that you’re only going to spend $10 a month on dog food. Don’t pay less than $2.00 per pound (closer to $3.00 per pound is the good stuff) pay attention to the labels, learn what ingredients are good + bad. And unless you want to deal with diarrhea, don’t switch your dogs food abruptly (mix it 50/50 with his old food and slowly introduce a new formula).
3. Puppies are predictable. When a puppy eats, it needs to poop immediately. This makes potty training pretty easy. Feed the puppy only twice a day and be consistent about the time. We fed Walter at 6:30 am and 4:30 pm every day for the first two months. In the morning, take the puppy outside immediately (the puppy will likely pee), then feed them, then go outside again (the puppy will likely poop). In the evening do the same. It’s like clockwork and is such an easy way to get your little one to understand where they should go.
4. Accidents happen….but they’re always your fault. When not being closely supervised your puppy should be in a small kennel (big enough for them to stretch out, but not big enough for them to designate 1/2 of it as their “toilet”). Take the puppy outside whenever it wakes up from a nap or whenever it finishes playing. Another good indicator is that if you are playing with the puppy and it suddenly loses interest in you, the toy, or the activity, take them outside. If you find a “mess” after the fact—clean it up and move on. But if you catch the puppy in the act, clap your hands to startle them and firmly say “no”. Always clean the mess up well (stand on the spot with paper towels until they turn up dry) and then go to town with some deodorizer. You don’t want the puppy to feel that his territory is “marked”.
5. Throw away the puppy pads. For the love of God. I still don’t understand how people think that giving your dog a giant maxi pad to pee on teaches them that they should go on grass. Use these and you’ll end up with a very confused dog who will likely pee on anything white and fluffy for the rest of their life (you know, carpet, furniture, your $400 down comforter). A lazy owner helps no one.
6. If you wouldn’t eat it, don’t make your dog. There are several dog treats that I have bought Walter, smelled, and thrown away. Just like there’s junk food for humans, there’s junk food for dogs. Find treats that are healthy—we tend to lean towards the natural or homemade variety.
7. Buy toys and activities! A squeaky ball entertains a dog, but only for so long, especially without your interaction. There are lots of different interactive toys that can help keep your buddy entertained. Some of our favorites are the Hide-A-Squirrel, the water bottle crunchers, the tug-a-jug, and the kong (filled with natural peanut butter or something else besides the kong EZ-Chez stuff, gross).
8. Barking. Walter loves to spend his days snoozing on the portion of my desk that goes in front of the window. When he was a puppy he would whine & bark as neighborhood dogs walked by. I’d counter this by petting him and soothingly saying “That’s your buddy, he’s out on a walk, he’s nice” etc. This helped Walter learn that people or other dogs (or the garbage truck, mail man, UPS guy bringing me my new shoes <—happens a lot) were not intruders and were not worth barking at. He also learned that if he sat there and didn’t bark I would pet him. Now he rarely makes a peep. The mistake most owners make is punishing the dog for barking, or picking the dog up/removing the dog from the situation. Both of these just make them more anxious and will induce the barking. All of this also applies to the door bell & guests.
9. Schedule. Just like kids, dogs appreciate having a daily schedule. Be consistent about what times they are fed and when they do certain activities. It doesn’t have to be complex—Walter’s is something like this: 6:30 am Breakfast, 8:30 am Chew Stick, 11:00 Walk to the Park, 1:30 pm Snack, 3:00 pm Activity Toy, 5:00 pm Dinner. Within a few months of doing that he started to know the routine. I can’t say enough about what this will do for training, having a well behaved dog, a dog with a great personality and a great dog/owner relationship.
10. Price Check. In honor of Walter’s 6 month birthday I got to start researching neutering. We take Walter to a pretty “fancy” vet, but I almost choked when they quoted me at just under $400 for neutering. I called a few places and got quotes starting as low as $175. Whether its a procedure, vaccinations, boarding or grooming, always check a few locations if you are looking for a thrifty option.
If you haven’t added a chambray top to your closet yet, you better get on it. You’ll be amazed how much easier it is to toss a Spring/Summer ensemble together with one of these guys around. It matches everything. Today’s Inspiration: Quiksilver Chambray Shirt ($54.50), American Vintage Desert Flower Skirt ($90.00), Brown Woven Belt ($15.00), Wallis Copper Necklace ($28.00), Endless Charlie Clutch ($74.99), Le Bunny Bleu Kassay Flats ($55.00), Miss Selfridge Gold Scale Bangle ($25.00), Essie Polish in A Crewd Interest ($8.00), Bobbie Brown Shimmer Brick (48.00).
Remember in the early thousands (seriously saying “The 90s” was so much easier) when it was practically required that your necklace perfectly match your outfit? (Awkward memories of picking out cowl neck sweaters and necklaces at Maurices are currently flooding my memory). Well, the good news is that your jewelry no longer has to match at all. Contrasting statement pieces are all the rage, which makes all of our lives at least a little bit earlier. By the way, if you get time, be sure to check out this lovely article by Landi at The Lifestyle Guide for a chance to win one of my Blogger’s Notepads! Today’s Inspiration: Wallis Aqua Blouse ($26.00), Dorothy Perkins Blue Bird Pencil Skirt ($45.00), Miss Selfridge Clementine Heel ($105.00), Le Specs Lethal Clutch Sunglasses ($59.95), Asos Slot Envelope Clutch ($36.36), Essie Polish in Tart Deco ($8.00), Yves Saint Laurent Wet & Dry Shadow ($48.00), Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture ($32.00).
Mint with peachy shades of orange? I’m voting yes. (P.S. If you have yet to try the Yves Saint Laurent Sheer lip colors, go try it! You can thank me mid-summer when it’s your favorite thing ever. Today’s Inspiration: Wallis Mint Chiffon Blouse ($52.00), Hollister Super Crop ($44.50), Wood Wood Beach Bag ($61.99), Office Monte Bow Flat ($32.97), Resin Chrysanthemum Earrings ($10.50), Lychee S Bracelet ($42.00), Yves Saint Laurent Volupte Sheer Candy in Dewey Papaya ($30.00), Revlon Nail Enamel in Minted ($5.49), Forever21 Bird Lock ($7.80).
A patterned skirt with a tank top tends to become my comfy-clothes uniform for summer. There’s something about the combo paired up with flats that makes you feel like you’re about to head off to barre class. Today’s Inspiration: Black Pleat Tank ($24.00), Cacharel Floral Pleated Skirt ($350.00), Melissa Wanting Li Courts ($80.54), Lena Hoschek Smitten Kitten ($249.00), Marcela Necklace ($193.00), Snake Belt ($6.50), Asos Metal Bar Envelope Clutch ($32.72), Essie Polish in Sand Tropez ($8.00), Dior Addict Lip Glow ($30.00).
When I’m not dreaming about clothing I’m probably either cooking or eating. Recently I’ve seen a lot of fabulous recipes for protein or energy bites (I was inspired by this and this), so I decided to kind of combine the two ideas and create my own recipe that skips the peanut butter, honey, vanilla extract and oats and instead creates a healthier snack using Blue Agave Nectar and lean vanilla protein powder. I was impressed with the recipes I had tried—but my mind was absolutely blown when I added the vanilla protein powder and the bite-size little snacks tasted exactly like my Mom’s oatmeal cookie dough (<—heaven).
The Protein Bites are insanely easy to make, but sinfully delicious once they’ve spent an hour or two in the freezer! The visual should give you a pretty good idea of how to whip up a batch, but here’s a bit more detail.
1. In a food chopper processor or blender chop up 3/4 cup walnuts, 3/4 almonds and 3/4 pecans. You want them to be toasted and unsalted. I prefer to buy the raw version from the bulk section. (on a side-note, any type of nut will work, pick your 3 favorites).
2. Once the chopped nuts are all in a bowl, add the lean vanilla protein powder. GNC offers this Lean Vanilla Bean Powder, but I was recently introduced to this Vanilla Protein Powder available through Slimgenics, and prefer that (it has 100 calories and 15 g of protein so it is nicely balanced).
3. Top these dry ingredients with 1/8 tsp cinnamon, 1/8 tsp sea salt and 1/8 cup Blue Agave Nectar (they sell a couple of versions at Target, but my favorite is from Trader Joe’s). Agave Nectar is naturally fat free and makes a great substitute for any type of sweetener.
4. Add the chocolate chips (my favorite are Enjoy Life Mini Chips which are dairy, soy and gluten free–available at Target), and then stir until the mixture turns into dough!
5. Shape them into balls—this should yield roughly 9-15 Protein Bites depending on your sizes. Store them in the freezer & enjoy!
If you’re interested in seeing nutrition facts you can find them below (via MyFitnessPal.com):
This sheer, loose-fitting tank top looks so perfect for summer. This ensemble would be great for events like festivals, live music and markets where you’ll be outside in the heat, surrounded by people, walking around and trying not to sweat off your Dior. Today’s Inspiration: Full Tilt Ethnic Button Women’s Tank ($21.99), Madewell Denim Midi Shorts ($49.50), Panacea Teardrop Earrings ($22.00), Zad Cuff ($24.00), Miss Selfridge Flump Suede Sandal ($44.00), ModCloth Whatever You Call It Necklace ($27.99), Rosebud Salve Lip Balm ($6.50), Butter London Polish in Slapper ($14.00), American Apparel Small Suede Envelope Clutch ($28.00).
I was recently faced with the challenge of styling a solid blue dress. For some reason solid dresses can throw me more of a curve-ball than a really crazy pattern. I’m liking the idea of pairing a bold blue up with camel accessories—they balance each other out and look less formal than black or white accessories would. Today’s Inspiration: Oasis Broderie Bandeau Dress ($95.00), Studio Barse Sodalite Earrings ($34.90), Blue Stud Enamel Bangle ($19.00), Enamel-Chain Stretch Bracelet ($10.94), Jimmy Choo Cosmic Leather Pumps ($745.00), Pieces Urmi Clutch ($35.00), Tarte Cosmetics Amazonian Clay Waterproof Liner & Brush ($22.00), Essie Polish in Caicos ($8.00), Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture ($32.00).
We’ve been colorblocking for a while now—but you can put a fresh, springy, spin on your colorblocked outfits by mixing in a bold print or floral. Still struggling with the basics of colorblocking? You should check out this cute tutorial for lots of adorable tips and suggestions! Today’s Inspiration: Graumann Silk Blouse ($227.00), Glamorous Red/White Zip Back Skirt ($23.00), Forever21 Woven Belt ($4.50), Red & Teal Colorblock Bracelet ($18.99), LuLu Townsend Unity Wedge ($59.95), Big Buddha Strut Bag ($94.95), Draycott Place Polish ($17.00), Lancome Shadow Quad ($43.00), NARS Lip Gloss in Supervixen ($24.00).