Ask Away...: June 2016

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Stella + Chewy's 30 Day Challenge [Final Thoughts]

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I introduced you to Stella + Chewy's Dog Food earlier this month and gave you a status update on how it's going.  So today I want to give my final thoughts on the food!
So as you know, I've had Rocky eating this for a whole month and man am I ever impressed.   I knew this would be a great food because it has such high quality ingredients and is all natural.  It's packed with vitamins and nutrients that my little guy needs to stay happy both inside and out. 


I will absolutely be feeding this food to him from now on!!


He has amazing energy levels and his coat is soooo shiny and smooth.  He has always struggled with keeping weight on and MAN oh MAN has this food helped with that because HE LOVES EATING NOW!!








I also noticed that his poops are more regular and they look very very healthy. He used to struggle to go and he would have to strain to get them out but not anymore! That's a big relief for me since I worry about every little thing with this special guy! 


I highly recommend Stella + Chewy's Food for anyone that has a picky eater dog or even a dog that doesn't like chewing on hard kibble.  I've seen a complete turnaround in Rocky's eating habits so I plan to continue feeding him this food!








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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Libraries, Gardening, and Adulting - My Weekend






Okay so how long has it been since YOU'VE been at a public library?  If you're like me and you don't have kids than it's probably been a while.   Well, there's a library 2 minutes from my house so I figured why not. 


The strangest thing was when I walked in and got situated, I was all shy and nervous using the computer catalog system, just like a person getting used to equipment at a gym.  It was hilarious actually.   Then as I made my way through each aisle the realization hit me - why the hell do I always buy books for $20-30 when I can "rent" them.


Well, I also forgot how much of a speed reader I am.  I read 5 books in 5 days, ha.


Lately I've been reading Jennifer Weiner books.   What fiction authors do you like or what books do you recommend? I need to start a list!


I also finished the latest season of Orange is the New Black on my ipad.  NO SPOILERS please, for the sake of the people that may not have seen it yet!




So anyways I've been doing some major adulting lately.   I have been drinking wine and reading my library books, just like a little old lady. 


As for my garden...I'm ecstatic because I've created life.  I have peppers starting on my pepper plants and even zucchinis!!!   I think I may have seen a baby cucumber or two!!! I feel like such a hardcore gardener now, ha!


So anyways what have you guys been up to lately? Are you adulting as much as I am?








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Monday, June 27, 2016

Vegetable Garden Progress



So it's been a while since I gave you an update on my veggie garden.  I am so proud of myself and how far it's come.  I've also learned a few things along the way...





My lettuce and onions are kickin butt and I've been getting a TON of lettuce from both raised garden beds in the past few weeks.  Nothing tastes better than lettuce FRESHLY PICKED from your OWN garden!







 I am so impressed with my cukes too! They are coming up more and more each day.  And in case you are wondering about what types of lettuce I have - Kale, Spinach, Romaine, and Buttercrunch are the main ones!


I did kind of plant everything in a weird arrangement and kind of close together but that's okay because I am still making it work but atleast I know for next time.  I also did some interplanting of some pest control herbs like Rosemary, Mint, Oregano, and Sage.


I also have a really long raised garden bed with more lettuce and 2 Zucchini plants. I actually had more Zucchini because when I planted everything I assumed that nothing would survive and that I suck at gardening. And boy I  was wrong. Everything started coming up and I realized that it was way too crowded so next year I will only plant ONE Zucchini plant and I will make sure there's plenty of room.  I can't wait till the fruits start coming out though!

I have a tomato plant that is thriving and my banana pepper plant isn't doing the best (It's in the corner) but we will see how that goes. 
In front of the tomato plant are yukon potatoes which should be ready soon.  




And I am super excited about my Butternut Squash. They are vining now and I seriously am ecstatic as it's one of my favorite foods!


I have strawberries coming up which I'm excited about. I keep those in containers at the other side of the yard that gets more sun.


Blueberries and raspberries!! I love them and they are coming up soooo fast!


I also have some yukon gold potatoes in a pot and they seem to be doing great!


Here's what the side of the house with the containers looks like.  I love my pepper plants so far they are doing really well!


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Friday, June 24, 2016

Make Your Own Herb or Flower Garden Planter Event



So the other week on Facebook I saw a post from Riverbend Nursery about an event being held at Jigsy's Brew Pub. So I figured, why not?
 There were so many flowers to choose from and so many herbs as well!
 There was a little work station where you could add rocks too!
 This was my flower planter.
 Here are the herbs!
There's my herb garden!



It was a blast! For $20 a container you could put together your own herb garden or a flower planter.  So that's why I did one of each.  It was actually a very educational event because in the beginning Barry from Riverbend told us all about the different types of herbs and flowers and he even gave us recipes and information sheets to take home with us!


They said there will be another one in the Fall so keep up to date on their Facebook page!



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A New You





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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Ohhhhh Sun Exposure...


Everyone who knows me knows that I love the sun. In fact, Google Earth actually caught me laying in my backyard last summer tanning.  I'm not even kidding. 


See?


Anyways, the sun makes me happy. Feeling it on my skin makes me feel alive and happy.  The warmth makes me feel so comfortable and secure.  The smell of the heat almost makes me giddy.   I recently read in a book about aging that your body NEEDS the sun.   More specifically it needs 15 minutes of unfiltered sun exposure a day to get the nutrients and vitamins it needs. 


Obviously that doesn't mean to burn yourself or anything, but that walk to and from your building each day is giving you some exposure that your body needs.


While reading that book I got paranoid and thought "Oh my God, so the only way to protect my skin from cancer is to completely cover up everything at all times, but how is that possible??!"  It's not really all that possible.  But the good news is that it's not necessarily a bad thing if a sliver of the sun hits your arm here and there.   Obviously all kinds of sun exposure can contribute to cancer depending on the person and their skin but it's the sunburn that really ups your chances of skin cancer.    So when you see me post about laying out in my backyard, catching some rays - there is NO need to reprimand me.   I have proof that I protect myself. I really do! In fact anytime I've ever laid out whether it's at home or at the beach, I've covered myself with sunblock AND I still get a beautiful healthy looking tan.  So yes... my proof... I put it all in this blog post to prove to you that I do take care of myself, while still enjoying what makes me feel alive and happy.  


So without further ado, here are the ways and products that I use to help protect my skin.






For my Face
My face is the last thing I ever want to burn because I want to avoid wrinkles as long as I can but also - who looks good with a red face? No one!  So I use CeraVe Sunscreen for the face.  It's an SPF of 50 and I reapply it every hour.  I love the consistency of it.


For my Hair
I love my hair color and I spend good money to get my hair cut and colored every few months.  So of course I don't want that to go to waste. If I am out in the direct sunlight I wear a head wrap.  I don't care how un-sexy it makes me look.  It protects my hair from fading and getting highlights that I don't want. The sun can do just as much damage to your hair as it can to your skin. And when I'm casually gardening I wear a gorgeous sun hat.


For my Body
I got news for you - if your sunscreen has anything less than SPF45 it's basically useless.  I use SPF 70 and I still get a nice color with NO burn.  Sun Bum is my favorite because it smells amazing and sprays right on.


For my Lips
I laugh when I DON'T see people put something on to protect their lips when they lay out.  Red and blistery lips are THE WORST.  So I found this awesome new stuff in one of my magazines and I tried it a few weeks back - I LOVE IT! It's by Supergoop and it comes in your typical lip applicator. You can even use it as a protective top coat over your favorite lip color!


So see? I'm not an idiot.  I'm rather smart when it comes to sun safety!


What do you guys use?



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Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Rocky's 12, Houseiversary, + Father's Day!


What a fun filled weekend it was! I took Friday off work to relax and prepare for the celebrations ahead.  Friday was our 1 year anniversary in our house!!




That's right - ONE YEAR! How exciting!! So we celebrated with a dinner of softshell crabs! Oh, and some drinks of course. 


Anyways, our home has come a long way...especially on the outside.


Saturday was Rocky's 12th birthday!!  So of course he did what every guy does and celebrated with pizza and beer (cookies).  How cute is he?


This little guy is everything to me.


Then Saturday afternoon James and I invited our dads over for a Father's Day dinner and cigars.  We had steak from the grill, mashed potatoes, and sauteed asparagus.  It was a nice relaxing time for both us and the dads.




How was your weekend?






















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Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Summertime Tips for Active Dogs

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It's summer which means 'tis the season for being outside and enjoying the weather with your pooch.  Even my Chihuahuas enjoy being outdoors and running around in the grass. But no matter what breed of dog you have, there are always some things you can do to keep them in good physical condition.  

[Watch for Ticks]
Ticks are tiny little buggers that can carry Lyme Disease.  They usually hide in tall grass and brush and they love to hop onto you or your dog when you pass by so be sure to use a Flea and Trick treatment on your dog each month.  Look for one that repeals ticks as well like K9 Advantix II.  

[Nail Injuries]
When dogs go tearing around through the grass they can actually rip a nail and cause it to bleed.  No one wants that mess in the house so be sure to keep your dog's nails trimmed on a regular basis.  Also, regular walks on the sidewalk concrete help file them down naturally. 

[Joint Health]
Dogs can be really rough on their joints just from bouncing around whether it's inside or outside.  Obviously their food can provide them with the nutrients they need to keep their bones and joint in great shape but just to be sure they get it all, it's a good idea to use a  Nutramax Cosequin Soft Chews from Chewy. Cosequin is very important for join function because it supports cartilage production and protects existing cartilage from breaking down. Cosequin is what I use on my dogs and it's the only glucoasmine sulfate supplement that's safe and affective in controlled U.S. veterinary studies.


[Staying Hydrated]
Anytime you are outside with your dog, make sure you have fresh water available.  If you go on a hike or a long walk and it's a hot and humid day, carry a water bottle and a collapsible bowl.  It's already hot for humans but imagine having a layer of fur over your skin that makes you even hotter!!

[Leash Safety]
Never ever EVER let your dog outside without a leash on.  If you have a fenced in yard, that's great but make sure there are no holes that your dog can escape through.  Leashes are important because not only do they keep YOUR dog under control but it keeps them nearby if another dog comes towards you off-leash and you need to grab your dog or keep it under control.

What other tips to you have for summertime with active dogs?
 

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Fitness Lately

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So I am kickin' some serious butt with getting in shape. I've lost at least 10 pounds and several inches.  While my diet is a huge part of that, making sure I stay active has always contributed in so many ways!   So today I wanted to show you some of my favorite fitness tools that have helped me out!


So this is the Ab Carver Pro and I sooo wish I had found it sooner.   It has a Carbon Steel Spring to help with abs and arms and the wide wheel helps keep me stabilized so I can go left, right, and straight.  I love the grips too they have really helped me hold on.   


This has been such a great way to help me get ab workouts in because I get so bored and can not stand doing the standard crunches, sit ups, etc. 


And then I have this amazing Bands Kit from Perfect Fitness and I love every part of it! It's so versatile because I can attach the cloth loops practically anywhere and I even have a door anchor which has come in very handy! The grips are very comfortable and this is a great way to get a resistance workout in!   



The best part is that no matter where I am I can bring my band kit to do my workout because it comes with an awesome mesh bag that everything fits into. I love this because it gives me the option to do my workouts practically anywhere in my house.  When it's nice out I do them in the screened in porch and when I don't feel like doing anything but watch TV, I make sure I do them in the TV room.  


Have you guys ever used these items? What did you think?







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Thursday, June 16, 2016

Treating Skin Conditions in My Chihuahuas

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Pet Caress, LLC From Human to Animal® for IZEA. All opinions are 100% mine.

When people hear that I have 4 Chihuahuas they assume it's smooth sailing because they are a small breed of dog.  Alas, 4 dogs can mean a plethora of skin conditions so I wanted to take the time today to explain how I treat each issue in my wolf pack. I shop online for the treatments my dogs need from  Pet Caress. They offer a line of natural skin and coat care products for dogs and cats that are specially formulated with human quality ingredients   and contain no alcohol, parabens, or sulfates. For years I have stressed out about how I can relieve Pixie and Rocky's itchy skin and I am so excited to find something that soothes them.  And poor Stella and her shedding!!  So here's what I've been doing....

For Rocky I've been using Shed Control Shampoo.  He sheds a lot because his coat is thick even for a short hair dog.  He enjoys the ccleansing and moisturizing shampoo and it has been helping out with dander as well as shedding.  I love for my little man to have a strong coat and knowing that this is removing build-up and impurities.

For Stella's shedding I just apply Shed Control Formula with a small amount on her skin and then I massage it in.

She actually really loves the massage part! This formula can noticeably reduce shedding and helps keep Stella's fur soft and her skin free of flakes.

For Rocky's itching on his neck area I just apply Itch-Be-Gone balm.  It acts really fast and is easy to apply.  It instantly eases his hot spots and has a soothing, calming, and cooling effect.

He seems to love the effects of it and is always very pleased afterwards.

And poor sweet Pixie and her itchy hot spots!  Itch-Be-Gone Shampoo is perfect for her as it eases irritation and also eliminates odors.  Her coat is so soft afterwards!  I've noticed a lack of itching with her which means I am a happy dog mom!
 And as if I need another good reason to brag about Pet Caress, they actually give back with every purchase!  They have a Humanimal™ advocacy program that supports the humane treatment of animals with a percentage of all profits.   There are so many reasons for me to continue to use Pet Caress for my babies and that is just one of them!
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