Tuesday, August 1, 2017

nuggets of wisdom from great wolf lodge

my friend is currently on a family vacation to great wolf lodge. this is her first great wolf experience and she quickly shared with me some tremendous nuggets of wisdom she had gleaned from her first day at the water park. these truths were too good not to share. please read and take these to heart before you head to a water park near you. 

1) extremely hairy men should really avoid speedos. 

let's be real. all men should really avoid speedos. no one wants to see all those franks and beans. still, excessive body hair takes the speedo wearing to another level. if you lay in the water and you can't distinguish your body hair flowing in the waves from the hair on your head...it may be time to cover up just a bit more of the body...and the hair. 

2) cute little triangle bikinis are for the beach...not the water slide. 

i'm all for a cute bikini while one is laying on the beach. if you love a bikini on the beach or at the pool...go for it! the water park, however, may call for leaving that bikini at home. the point of water parks is to shoot your body down slides and have water rushing at you from various directions. when water is pushed at you with that force, those bikinis don't stand a chance. there's a whole lot of accidental naked happening at the water parks, people...a whole lot of accidental naked. save the adorable bikini for a place where you will feel and be able to recover when it is pushed off of your private bits.

3) thongs are also probably not a good idea...especially on your teenage daughter. 

i don't want to start something controversial here, but i don't really want to see anyone's butt cheeks if i can help it. i'm all for girls being confident and feeling great about themselves, but let's be real. wearing a thong to a water park is not only impractical, but it also serves to gather particular attention. guess who is at water parks, you precious teen girls. dads. dads are at water parks...and very hairy men in speedos. if there are any cute teen boys there, they are with their families and will be eating pizza with their little brothers and then sharing a giant family suite where they will bunk up with several siblings. great wolf lodge isn't the place to flaunt what you've got. put on something sporty and go on the water slides. you will have so much more fun than you would strutting your half naked self for hairy speedo men to see. 

4) swimming suits that fit are always the most flattering. 

you guys, just find something that fits you well and that won't come off down a water slide. don't worry about the size or the style. just be comfortable and get out there. if you are popping out of your swimming suit at any location (under, over, on the side), it's not flattering. not on anyone. find a suit that fits. 

5) the most beautiful people are the parents who are enjoying their kids

seriously. the parents who are laughing and loving their kids are stunningly gorgeous. they are living the life of joy out there down those water slides. they aren't worried about their swimming suit falling off or their cellulite legs. they are out there building memories with their kids and that, my friends, is beautiful. just let loose and be a kid with your kids. my favorite memories as a parent are those that happened when i left the serious parent behind and rode the water slide, got under the water, splashed and played with my kiddos and just learned to let go. those moments build memories that will last a lifetime, both for your kiddos and for you. live it up, my friends, and you will be absolutely gorgeous in the process. 

Friday, July 28, 2017

to the man who did the unthinkable...

to the man who assaulted a five year old...

where do i begin? what do i even have to say? you are the worst kind of predator. you, the man who sat in a bathroom stall and waiting for silence, silence except for the happy chatter of two little boys. you chose an amusement park full of happy, joyful children to yank two boys from their innocence and into your bathroom stall. when they got away from you, you tried to sneak out of that bathroom, a towel over your head to avoid recognition. you used your mental disability as an excuse for your behavior, right after whispering the words, "don't tell your mommy" to my little boy and his friend. your disability excuse is a disservice to every beautiful, wonderful mentally challenged person i have met, who meet their disability with honor and grace and morality. you, you are the worst kind of predator, but you do not win.

to the mother who took my son and yours to the amusement park...

you are the superhero of this story. you did everything right. when two little boys needed to use the restroom, you let them experience that tiny piece of independence, knowing they were going in together and expecting them to be safe. you didn't just watch from afar, you stood at that bathroom entrance and listened and waited for those two little boys to come marching out. you listened to their silly chatter and then, in the middle of an amusement park full of people and chaos, you noticed when their chatter stopped. you noticed the quiet. you noticed the seconds ticking by. you noticed things weren't right...and you acted on it. you called their names. you waited as my son came out first and you listened to his story of a man in a stall. you believed him and you called out your son. when his story was the same, you did the impossible. you secured the boys with another mother and you marched into that men's bathroom, not knowing who or what you would find. you confronted a stranger and a potential predator and, when he ran, you ran after him. you managed to overtake a man, younger than we are and probably faster. that's what moms do. we fight for our kids. we stop at nothing to protect them. we put on our superhero capes and we show the world what bravery is. that's what mothers do and that's what you did, not just for your own son, but for mine.

to the countless people who stepped in to help...

you are the brightest of lights in the darkest of moments. 

you were the mom who sat with little, scared boys while a man was being chased down. 

you were the gentleman who blocked the path of the man running to slow him down enough to be apprehended. you didn't know what the story was, or what you were facing, but you bravely jumped in anyway. 

you were the man who used the restroom before my son and his friend entered. you calmly and carefully washed your hands as those boys entered. my son noticed you. you were the "nice man who didn't do anything scary." you, just by being there and by being good, gave those boys a few more seconds of innocence. without saying a word, you protected two little boys a few moments longer. a few seconds made a world of difference in what could have happened to those boys. you mattered. 

you were the amusement park worker who brought my son ice cream as security and the police were called. when i arrived with all my other kids, you did the same for each one of my other children. you were older than me, and i'm guessing you are a mother because you mothered each of my kids. you fed them, got them special drinks, brought them ice cream. you took some of the fear away and started to turn things around with simple, kind gestures. you are important.

to my little boy...

i'm so very proud of you. i'm so proud of you for running away. i'm proud of you for speaking up and telling someone what happened, even when that someone wasn't your own mommy. i'm so proud of you for being brave. i'm proud of you for knowing the difference between right and wrong and for speaking out against the wrong. i'm so proud of you for telling your story to the people who needed to hear it, people who can testify for you so this won't happen again. i'm proud of you for helping to put a stop to a sexual predator. you were brave so other little boys don't have to be. this experience, sweet little boy, won't be your story. your story will be one of bravery, of knowing what is right from wrong and standing up for what is right, even when faced with insurmountable obstacles. you, my beautiful, brave, strong little boy, won't carry this around with you. your strength, your humor and your resilience have won that battle already. this will not be your story. your story is full of strength and, like your name means, of laughter. no one can steal that.

to the lost man who did the unthinkable...

you do not win today. so many other good people win. so many brave people win. so many kind people win. with one sick choice, you altered the course of your own life. you set into motion a series of consequences that will follow you for a lifetime. you have written a page of your story that will be unshakeable and will be a part of a label that will be with you for the remainder of your days. with one choice, you have cemented the trajectory of your future...but you have not cemented mine. you have not ruined my faith in humanity. you have not ruined my precious boy. you have not tarnished my faith in god. you do not win. everything good wins today, everything brave, everything hopeful, everything kind...those things win today...and they are so much bigger than you.

Friday, July 14, 2017

marco polo...the long distance relationship's best friend

it's no secret that the third boob is made of two bloggers who write together. our long story of friendship has been written about several times before. what may be news to some is that we write on two different coasts. we see each other only once or twice a year and we use every means possible to keep in touch with one another. even during my family's five years living in south america, i could count on one friend who would still call me weekly, regardless of how difficult those calls would be to make. before the days of skype, before voyage, before FaceTime, snapchat, whatsapp or even facebook, we made our friendship a priority and we called and talked, even when those calls cost a small fortune. 

over the years our communication hasn't really changed, just the ways we communicate. over the last couple of months, our newest obsession has been marco polo. if you have the app, you probably already know what we mean. if you haven't heard, let me just tell you it is a long distance relationship's best friend. in case marco polo is new to you, let me explain. it is basically a video message you leave for your friend who can then watch when they are free and send you a video message back. i am going to admit, i was skeptical at first but now i am completely hooked. it took some convincing for me to get my other friends on board but once they joined in, there was no looking back.

besides just the fun and convenience of video messaging, there are extra filters for both the visual portion of your message and the audio portion. this may be the greatest thing about marco polo. there is nothing like a video message with my voice distorted to sound "macho." truly. there is nothing better. there is also an option to add people to a group video chat. several of my college roommates who used to live together now talk via polos every day...and it brings me unmeasurable joy and laughter. i have laughed more over marco polo than i have over anything else in this last month. 

let's be real. life is complicated and adding another piece of social media about pushes me over the edge. this one, however, is worth the time. it takes all the pressure out of being available to talk in the moment or for extended periods of time. i can listen to someone's video while i'm washing dishes and send them a quick polo when i'm sitting and have two seconds to myself. it's a way to stay connected in the midst of this crazy parenting life and it gives us something to look forward to throughout the day...little burst of laughter and joy. that's an app that is worth it's weight in gold. 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

help a girl out

this post is sponsored by our wonderful partners at nutrish. as always, all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

i love my little rescue cats. we adopted them from our local humane society over five years ago and they make me smile every day. while i'm sitting here typing, one of them is keeping watch over me and guarding the window to the outside world. i know you all will be glad to know that no lizards, birds or insects will ever come near me while they are around. i'm completely safe. 

there's a lizard on that pot. rest assured, we are all safe thanks to these two. 

they play together, fight together and generally bring us all joy. i can't imagine life without them and i'm so glad they were able to be rescued at the beginning of their lives so they could rescue our days time and time again. 

this is a rare jane sighting. she, like some ladies, doesn't like her picture taken.

we have been back to the humane society where we found them several times since the day we finalized the adoption. the kids love to spend time there playing with the cats and dogs and begging us to basically start a zoo to house them all. 

how could you not want to adopt this little ball of cuteness?

the animals in the humane society or in other animal shelters near you are the sweetest things ever. if i could, i would take them all. in the meantime, i'll go visit them all and try to help the shelter out with donations to keep them well cared for. 

i took my youngest with me last week and we headed out to the humane society for a visit. this trip we were able to donate some amazing nutrish dog and cat food thanks to our friends at nutrish. 

i'm not sure what is happening with my son's pose here, but he loves this cat, "countess." he loved her so much in fact that he cried for two days that we didn't bring her home on the spot. 

this sweet pumpkin....i could have taken him that moment. 

love at first sight with these two...

the workers there were so excited about the dog food that they already had the bags opened and in their food buckets in the time it took me to go back to my car for another load. they are in need of pet food and other items for these animals and every single donation matters. so, if you have a moment, here's what you can do to help.

donation needs:

pet food: they need all kinds of pet food. specifically, adult dog, adult cat, puppy food, kitten food, both wet and dry.

non-clumping clay litter: any brand will work

laundry detergent and bleach: they wash the blankets of those animals all the time!

dog toys: soft plush toys aren't allowed at our humane society because some of the animals eat them so they ask for only sturdy toys like congs and tug ropes. 

kitty toys: any kitty toy will do.

towels, blankets and sheets

monetary donations: the humane society pays for spaying and neutering all the animals, heart worm medication, vaccines, surgeries, flea treatments, etc. for each and every one of the animals they care for. this is an extremely costly endeavor and they can't do it without the help of those who give financially. i love how they have their giving organized. i can give knowing i'll help get a cat their heart worm medication or that i could possibly save an animal's life through a needed surgery. 

if you can't do any of the above, consider adopting, not shopping for your next pet. they really are the sweetest of animals and they seem to be even more devoted to their families, as if they know they were rescued from something and are always grateful. 

if you can't adopt another animal or give at this time, consider switching to nutrish pet food. we love nutrish not just because we believe in their product but because they give back to animals in need. a portion of nutrish proceeds go to rachael's rescue which was created to help animals in need. through december 2016, over $17.5 million has been donated. this money has gone toward food, medical supplies and treatments for these sweet animals. 

you can also help spread the word about nutrish. the more people that purchase nutrish for their pets, the more that will be donated to rachael's rescue. nutrish has a new nutrishmojis app that makes it super easy to spread the word. you can check out the app at:
  http://apps.swyftmedia.com/nutrishMojis or just search for it on your your app store. i made one of mr. darcy today. he always looks pissed off even when he is completely content so none of the "good morning" or "i love you" mojis fit for him. these two were much more his personality. 

whatever you do, just do something. it's so rewarding to help out in any small way with animals or people in need. there is such joy in giving back and if we all give just a little bit more of ourselves so someone or some animal can have a better life, imagine all the good we could do. help a girl out. let's make our world just a little bit better, together. 

take a moment and follow nutrish to see all the good that is happening through rachael's rescue!

facebook: www.facebook.com/nutrish
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twitter: www.twitter.com/nutrish


Friday, March 10, 2017

survival tips for indoor cats

this post is sponsored by our friends at nutrish. all opinions and thoughts are, as always, our own.

my cats are exclusively indoor cats. they just are. i feel like a helicopter parent where they are concerned. when they were baby kittens, the most precious little fur balls ever, all i could imagine was sending them into the great outdoors to be a snack for the countless hawks and coyotes in the woods beyond my house. i couldn't handle the thought of them becoming a meal for some neighboring predator so, indoors they stayed.

they have free reign of the house and chase each other day and night over every square inch of our place. they are healthy and happy but there are some things that i have to do differently because my cats are exclusively indoors. if you have indoor cats of your own, these tips can help to make your little fur ball's day too.

give them some way to exercise and play

my two cats are brother and sister and, like my own children, they have a love/hate relationship. they play and fight and then fight and play all day, everyday, until they crash and sleep for ten hours. they do a pretty good job of simply playing and wrestling with one another but i also like to provide other toys to keep them busy. my absolute favorite new toy for my cats is this spinning butterfly. it is literally endless entertainment and they cannot get enough of it. whether you buy this one or find an amazing toy of your own, toys to entertain your cats will keep them (and you) happy while they are in the house.

or just give them a box to play in...

get a great scratching post

cats can destroy furniture faster than you can say retractable claws. there is only one way to avoid that and that is with an amazing scratching post or toy. there are so many out there but i don't want anything too big or cumbersome in my house. there are a couple that we love. 

get a great litter box

i hate cleaning the litter box. it is literally my least favorite chore. i know it costs some money, but buying a good litter box is worth every. single. penny. if you get a great box when your cats are kittens, they will be happy with it their whole life through. this one is absolutely magical. one box to throw away, once per month. done. best. box. ever.

give them food created for indoor cats

it's no secret that we are big nutrish fans and have been since our cats were kittens. we were thrilled when they announced their new "indoor complete" cat food. this is perfect for our little hair balls. the cats love the food and we know the cats are getting just what they need for their indoor cat health. rachael ray nutrish indoor complete chicken with lentils and salmon recipe is a natural food for cats with added vitamins, minerals and taurine. the recipe contains a real superfood blend to meet the complete needs of your adult indoor cat and is available right where you shop for your family's groceries. chicken is the number one ingredient and the recipe also contains lentils which are rich in fiber and protein and low in fat to help maintain the optimal body weight in your cats. this is especially important for my mr. darcy. my oldest son says, "he's not fat, he's just big boned." he may at this point just qualify as fat. he is hefty by any standard and needs a good cat food that can help him maintain his rather broad but lovely physique. 

we also love buying rachael ray's nutrish because of how they give back. rachael's rescue was created for all the forgotten pets, the ones who might not have someone who loves them as much as they deserve. a portion of the proceeds from each sale of nutrish is donated to the rachael ray foundation, which helps animals in need through rachael's rescue. through december 2016, rachael's rescue has donated more than $17.5 million dollars to pet charities and other organizations that do good for animals. the funds are used for food, medical supplies, treatments and more for animals in need. it's amazing what they are able to do with the money they give and i feel good about feeding my cats what they need and giving back as well. it's a win-win. 

there you have it friends. cats really are so easy to care for and they make the kids so happy...and me as well. a few simple tips can make life with indoor cats just a little bit easier. that's something i can get on board with any day. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

what i wish i had known about raising a teenage son

my oldest is 13, quickly approaching 14. i'm proud of him, of the person he is becoming and of the potential i see in him. still, parenting a teenager is hard, harder than i ever realized for reasons i never imagined. i'm having to walk through an entire new set of emotions and loss that i never expected. so to all of you moms of little boys, amidst the chaos of the younger years, here is what i wish i would have known.

your son will push you away

i keep telling myself that this is normal. this is what is supposed to happen. he is supposed to rely more on himself, less on me. it doesn't change the fact that this process is incredibly painful. daily my mind races back to the baby he was, the moments i spent rocking him to sleep, the songs i sung to him to calm him as an infant. i recall every time i had to pry his hands off my legs and wipe his tears so i could leave the house without him, every time he wanted to hold my hand for a little extra security, every time he asked me to hold him when he was hurting. with those memories your mama heart breaks just a little bit each day for that time you will never get back. as much as you long for your son to be independent and that you understand that his success depends on him standing on his own two feet, you will long for the time when he would walk around the house clinging to yours...and it will hurt that those days are gone. 

their voice will scare you

it feels like my son's voice changed overnight. it is deep and manly and i have been frightened more than once thinking a stranger is in my house, only to realize moments later that it is just my son's new voice booming through the halls. that's the thing that hit me the hardest. i spent his whole life listening to his sweet little words. i could recognize his voice in a crowd. i knew how he sounded and how he cried. he could say, "mommy" and i knew it was me he was talking to, even in a room full of other moms. i knew that sweet voice like i know my own and then one day, you realize you will never, ever hear that voice again. it has sent me on a frantic search through old videos to find the voice that was lost, for some proof that the voice i know so well once existed. i miss that voice. you will miss your son's one day too.

it is wonderful and awful at the same time

it is a joy to watch my son grow into the man he is becoming. it's fun to watch him understand sarcasm and to develop a comedic sense of humor. he is smart, a great student, a hard worker. he is a lot of amazing things and i get to look at him and say, "i helped shape this boy." it gives some validity to the work that is raising another human being. still, it makes the heart of this mom ache a little as i compare this teenager to the little boy that was, the thin hallow cheeks with the chubby ones i used to shower with kisses. where he used to snuggle with me for hours, i have to force my hugs on him each day whether he likes it or not, not just because he needs it, but because i need it. in the midst of all the letting go, of letting him grow up, i need to know that the little boy who adored his mama is still in there somewhere. i will smile at him when he can see me, cheer for him publicly and cry my tears of loss in private. no one warned me of this, this painful loss that comes as your child takes step after step away from you. it's wonderful and amazing to see first hand the person they are but it's awful and painful to say goodbye to the child they were, your child, your baby who has been replaced with the man he will become. 

still, i wouldn't trade it for the world. it makes every moment i spent with him that much more precious, the knowing that it was fleeting, that the moments weren't forever. i am watching him grow. i am watching him get more and more ready to go, to leave me and go out on his own. you will watch your sons do it too and that's just how it is supposed to be, it's what we moms have worked so hard for for so many years and watching this happen is amazing and wonderful and it fills us with joy. but in equal measures it fills us with heartache because it's impossible to separate the two people that your son is. the one child you raised and spent years feeding, changing, snuggling, kissing, teaching, whose sweet voice saying, "i love you, mommy," filled your tank and made you overflow with love. the one had the scabbed knees, the torn jeans, the dirty face and the tears you wiped away. the other person is a tall, lanky almost man, with a voice you don't recognize, with his own friends, his own interests, his own life, one that you fit into a lot less than you used to. it's the memories that we can't separate that makes this process hard. and then, one day as he opens the door on his way to middle school, he will call back with is man voice and say, "i love you, mommy," and you'll recognize the voice and relish the sound of the words and you will realize that it will be okay. we were built for this, for raising them to leave, no matter how difficult that may be.

Thursday, March 2, 2017

the business of dying

it has happened to us twice now, the late night phone call, the terrible news, the unexpected tragedy. thirteen years ago my husband and i were asleep in a hotel room in cartagena, colombia when we got the call that his brother, a 25 year old sheriff's deputy in florida, had been shot and killed in the line of duty. a little over a month ago, we got another unexpected call. my husbands incredibly healthy, fit and relatively young father had died out of the blue of a pulmonary embolism. there was no warning for either death. they were both shocking and awful and tragic.

both of these experiences taught us a great deal. among those things is this: there is a great deal of business in dying. these are the all consuming tasks that fill up the days immediately after someone dies. these are the details and the phone calls and the decisions that have to be made. this is the work that is exhausting but still pulls you out of bed each morning to do it some more. it's daunting and horrible and difficult and i don't know a person out there who enjoys the process of it all. still, it is necessary.

having done it twice unprepared and having seen others go through it even after watching someone suffer a long illness, there are certain things everyone...let me say that again...e.v.e.r.y.o.n.e. should do to help those left behind in the case of an unexpected or even expected death. you guys, do these things. it is so difficult to be on the survivor side of a death and it's even harder when you have to make decisions without knowing what the deceased would have wanted. do this for the people you love...it really will speak volumes of your love for them.

write a will

or write a trust. or get something in writing. tell people where you want your things to go. make it official. sign it. notarize it. stop any bartering or questions before they start. if you have something special that you want to go to a specific person, don't just tell them in private. write it down. people are ruled by emotions after a death and they don't make logical decisions. they also won't remember or honor what you may or may not have said. just write it down. do it while you are young and check it every single year. something like this can help preserve family relationships.

make sure everyone knows what you would want at your funeral

i never used to think this was important but i have been to several funerals now and i know now more than ever exactly what i don't want as well as what i do. i've seen so many things that are absolutely the opposite of what i would want for myself and i've learned that, more times than not, those planning the funerals are making emotional decisions and are not always thinking clearly. after my father-in-law's funeral, my husband and i sat down and made it clear for one another. should one of us ever pass away, the other one knows what to do. our next step is to put it in writing. make sure people know if you want a viewing, if you want a casket or to be cremated, if you want certain song sung at your funeral, if you want your ashes in a specific place, if you want to be buried, if you want a head stone. if you can plan it in advance, do it. yes, it's morbid and a horrible conversation to have. i hope we'll be around for a very long time. still, i don't want anyone guessing what i would want or spending money on something that is not needed.

understand the costs involved

funerals are expensive. coffins are expensive. burial plots are expensive. always make sure there is an "in case of emergency" credit card or fund somewhere that can be used to pay for expenses. the last thing anyone wants is to have the wishes of a love one that they can't fulfill because they can't afford to pay for it. 

make a list of assets and update it annually

my husband has been doing this since the year his brother was killed. he has written a list of every life insurance policy we have, the account number, the password, the contact person, the amount in that policy and how soon i can get it. every bank account, every savings account, every retirement account, every ira, every single account that is in one of our names is written down completely with all pertinent information included. those files are updated annually and are kept locked up in case of emergency. a spare copy is left with another member of our family as well. my father-in-law had something similar though not in as much detail as what my husband has. it helped tremendously as we went through his files and attempted to secure funds for my mother-in-law and get her a budget of what she would have coming in and going out each month. do this for your loved ones. i cannot tell you how valuable it is. beyond just the facts, write down the whys. why did you pick that account? what are the benefits? answer questions someone might be asking. it makes a horrible situation just a little bit more tolerable.

write letters

i can remember my sweet friend as she was dying of cancer. she left one weekend to go away by herself and write letters to her daughter, for her wedding day, for her graduation from high school, for her 16th birthday, for all the days she was going to miss. i can't imagine what writing those letters cost her. i also can't imagine how precious those letters will be for her daughter as she grows up and reads them. i'm not suggesting you do this exact thing...but take time to write letters to your loved ones. my husband tries to write a letter to each child on their birthday. one day he will give them the whole stack. in the meantime, he is collecting sweet letters to his kids. it's precious and meaningful and, when someone dies suddenly, sweet mementos like this mean everything. write some love letters to those you love.

get in the picture

take pictures...with your kids, with your family, with your spouse. get out from behind the camera and jump in with those you love. frame pictures of yourself that you love. we had two very different experiences with my husband's family. his brother's funeral had a picture of his brother that we knew his brother disliked. he complained about that picture and how he never liked how he looked in it. still, it was the only picture we had to use for his funeral and so we used it. we always felt bad about that. with my father-in-law, we had a great picture to use. my husband's father was smiling and happy and looked like he could walk right out of the print. it was perfect. make sure there's a picture of you somewhere that you love.

most of all...just love and live well

if the deaths in our families have taught us anything, it's that nothing is guaranteed. none of us know the day or the time we will leave this earth. whenever it is, i want my kids to know how much i love them. i want my husband to know he means the world to me. i want the people around me to know they are precious to me. that's the important thing. everything else is secondary. we could all use a reminder to simply love people well...no matter how long we are on this earth. everything else that falls into the business of dying is wrapped up in this. love people enough to help them walk through something if you can't be there in person to do it. walk them through it beforehand. there is so much love in that.

Monday, February 6, 2017

monthly must haves: rainy day

we've been having some rainy weather off & on lately. i'm not one for rain, unless it means i'm snuggled up indoors by the fire. here is some happy rainy day goodness to make the gloomy days brighter (obsessed with the rain boots!!)

52 series: rainy day activities

roma kids' ilona rain boot

Saturday, January 21, 2017

fun finds: glass half full

i feel like 2016 was rough for many, many people. i think we could all use a fresh start and a little inspiration in our lives. these fun finds made our day a little brighter. may they brighten your day and your walls as well. cheers to a better 2017!

Sunday, January 8, 2017

what attending a pet-expo taught us about giving back

this post is sponsored by rachael ray's nutrish. all thoughts and opinions are our own. 

girl weekends are the best. when we get to see each other, there really is nothing better. this weekend we got to spend three glorious days together in san diego and pomona, enjoying each other's company and visiting the pet-expo in pomona. 

while we went from booth to booth, we saw our fair share of really bizarre pet accessories. this unitard to keep dogs from shedding was our personal favorite.  

the scary stuffed pet that turns into an evil pet at the touch of a button was a close second. i'm not sure who buys these fine items but we could only laugh and how crazy they seemed to us. 

what we did absolutely loved at this convention, besides the cute cat items and the time we got to spend together was the emphasis that was placed on shelter pet adoption. 

we love shelter animals and we are both adoptive shelter cat parents. we love adopting from animal shelters or the humane society and giving pets in need a home. 

while the shelters and the organizations involved in the pet-expo this weekend were all local to the los angeles area, (and no, we didn't come home with more cats) we were inspired to find ways to get involved with rescue animals right where we live. 

we are already involved in the simplest of ways just by purchasing food for our cats. our cats love nutish cat food and have been enjoying it for years now. we won't buy anything else for our cats. what makes us feel truly great about our cat food decision is that rachael ray donates a portion of the proceeds of nutrish pet food to rachael's rescue, which was created to help shelter animals in need. through december of 2016, over $17.5MM has been donated. this money had gone toward food, medical supplies and treatments for those unfortunate animals. 

humane societies and animal shelters are often looking for help. we love the idea of taking some time to invest in animals in need. we know we cannot adopt more animals at this time but that doesn't stop us from wanting to get involved in their care and helping animals find their forever homes. 

shelters also take donations of various kinds. our local shelters list items they need on their local websites. used blankets, food, laundry detergent and other items are always in high demand. check your local animal shelter websites and find ways you can donate items they need. 

most importantly, if you are looking for a new pet, search your local animal shelters and give love to a pet in need. we have received so much joy from our animals in our homes and we truly can't imagine life without them. adopting a pet from a shelter not only gives you the love of an amazing animal but it also rescue's a pet from impossibly sad circumstances. 

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