It was the dog, it is always the dog

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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How To Create Storage in a Small Space

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Last week, I shared a remodel reveal post of our laundry room/mudroom. I mentioned several times in the post how one of the main motivators for us to redo the room was a severe lack of storage. The only storage options were a wire shelf and some stackable drawers that we borrowed from one of our closets, which resulted in a room that felt constantly cluttered and overflowing. Because the room itself is quite small, we brainstormed ways to incorporate the right combination of cabinets, shelves, and storage containers to create a space that would be as efficient  – and visually attractive – as possible. Ultimately, I think we came up with some great solutions. Today I’m teaming up once again with our favorite brand for home improvement, Lowe’s, to show you exactly how we did this!

The two images above give a basic idea of what we were working with in terms of storage in the room before the remodel. We were cramming necessities into cardboard boxes on top of the wire shelves and the stackable drawers, which we also used for shoes. (As you can see, there wasn’t enough room in them for all of our shoes, so they ended up spilling onto the floor.) There was also nowhere to fold laundry, so it was piling up in baskets. It felt chaotic, and even smaller than it was.

I’ve mentioned before that in my relationship with my husband Robbie, when it comes to home design, I am the visual/artistic person, and he is the practical/numbers person. I loved the idea of all open shelving with everything on display, and he loved the idea of functional cabinets where we could hide potential clutter. We sketched out some possible design ideas and agreed to put two rows of cabinets above the washer and dryer, and three rows of open shelves to the right of the cabinets. We also decided to create a counter for folding over the washer (which eliminates the need to take up more room with a folding table and allows space for baskets/additional storage), and to build a bench for changing shoes, under which we could keep two large baskets for shoe storage. For the cabinets, I chose White Shaker Door Wall Cabinets from Lowe’s (this 30-in W x 30-in H x 12-in D size and this 30-in W x 14-in H x 12-in D size), along with some pretty Stainless Steel Cabinet Pulls, also from Lowe’s. I also found this gorgeous Wood Wall Mounted Shelving that would be a perfect complement to the butcher block counter and bench.

After the counter and bench were essentially built and the room was painted (I talk more about these projects in the before and after reveal post) we got to work hanging the cabinets. Neither of us had ever hung cabinets before, but it was much simpler than we anticipated. We recruited my dad (who had experience) to help us, did a little research online and followed some simple steps:

1. Prep the room by looking for studs with a stud finder, measuring, and marking guidelines. (You can see my dad and Robbie doing this in the photo above, where we temporarily put the counter in place to determine exactly where we wanted the cabinets to hang.)
2. Using a level, attach a 1×4 into studs to use as a brace for cabinets.
3. Remove doors from cabinets. (This makes installation much easier!)
4. Starting from the left, measure from the edge of the cabinet to the stud, and transfer the measurement to the cabinet, accounting for the front frame.
5. Use a drill to drill hole in the back of each cabinet. Do this at top, middle, and bottom rails of each cabinet, with the top and bottom around 3/4 from the edge.
6. Hold the cabinet where it will be positioned and drill mounting screws into the wall, just tight enough to keep the cabinet in place.
7. Check to make sure the cabinet is level and plumb and shim behind it if needed. (We did.)
8. Now take the second cabinet and hold it in place, lining up the front so they’re even. You can now clamp the cabinets together if you want to keep them in position. Drive mounting screw into wall and use shims if needed.
9. Drill through the cabinet face frames and connect them with screws, then drill in the rear screams.
10. Take off the clamps and 1 x 4 board on the wall.
11. Repeat with next row.
12. Reattach doors.
13. For the handles, pulls, or knobs, measure and mark where each pull is going with a pencil, drill a hole in each door, then attach with a screwdriver and screws. (This was actually the very last thing we did in the room, but you can do it any time after the cabinets are hung.)

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Once the cabinets were in, the counter and bench were installed, and then we hung the shelves. Hanging shelves is a really simple process, and only took about half an hour.

1. For rows of shelves, begin with the bottom shelf.
2. Using a level and tape measure, make sure the placement is straight and centered (we measured between the cabinets to the left and wall to the right.)
3. Mark guidelines with a pencil or painter’s tape.
4. Ideally you’d like to screw into a wall stud (which we did), so use a stud finder, then attach shelf to wall using screws and wall anchors (these were included in the shelves we chose).
5. Repeat all steps for any additional shelves.

We also cut down a dowel rod and used white shelf brackets (we painted one black) to make a laundry rod for hanging clothes.

And finally, once the main storage items were installed (the cabinets and shelves), we focused on creating storage using smaller objects: Large storage baskets for housing shoes, smaller storage baskets to sit on the counter for rags and miscellaneous objects, and storage jars for clothes pins, dryer balls, and pocket change (you can make similar ones with mason jars and chalkboard paint, or get these cool vintage looking storage jars).

Through this remodel, we learned that it’s easier than you think to create essential (and visually beautiful!) storage in a laundry room/mud room (or any smaller room) with the right combination of cabinets, shelves, and smaller storage accessories like baskets. For any of you looking to optimize storage, I hope this proved helpful! And as always, I’m happy to answer any questions you might have.

LIST OF PRODUCTS USED TO CREATE STORAGE FOR REMODEL
Large Cabinets: Diamond NOW Arcadia 30-in W x 30-in H x 12-in D White Shaker Door Wall Cabinet
Small Cabinets: Diamond NOW Arcadia 30-in W x 14-in H x 12-in D White Shaker Door Wall Cabinet
Cabinet Pulls: Brainerd Bar Pulls Center to Center Stainless Steel Cabinet Pull
Shelves: allen + roth 24-in W x 1.5-in H x 7.8-in D Wood Wall Mounted Shelving
Level: Johnson Level 48-in I-beam Level
Stud Finder: Franklin Sensors ProSensor 1.6-in Scan Depth Aa Metal and Wood Stud Finder
Shims: Nelson Wood Shims Shim (Actual: 1.25-in x 7.75-in)
Drill: standard drills
Screws: standard screws
Screwdriver: standard screwdrivers
1 x 4: 1 x 4 wood board
Dowel/Laundry Rod: Madison Mill Round Wood Poplar Dowel (Actual: 72-in L x 1.25-in dia)
Shelf Brackets for Laundry Rod: Blue Hawk Plastic 2.05-in D x 2.05-in L x 0.77-in W White Shelf Bracket
Large Storage Baskets: RGI HOME 18-in W x 12-in H x 14.25-in D Natural Fiber Basket
Small Storage Baskets: 11-in W x 9-in H x 10-in D Natural Water Hyacinth Milk Crate

Huge thanks to Lowe’s for partnering with us on this project and post! 

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Good shepherd

anka

I always thought I’d be a golden retriever person. And I still am. Indeed, I am still very much into the gun dog breeds. I will always have one around.

But I’ve added to my canine tastes an entirely different sort of dog. Well, they aren’t entirely different. I really like the working shepherd dogs from the European continent. They are into retrieving, too, but their natural tendency is to retrieve with a very hard mouth. Half-wild sheep or cattle living on the North European Plain need hard tending.

Anka is a working German shepherd, whose ancestry I’ll never know, but I know she is from working lines. Her dark sable color predominates in those strains, and she is only 64 pounds.

She has decided that I am her main human and with me is as demonstrative and fawning as a golden retriever. With strangers, she is merely aloof. Aggression towards people really isn’t her thing. She loves children and will even adjust her wild playing to meet their needs.

I suppose now I will always have a dog of this type too. The two types of dog are an interesting juxtaposition to each other. Both are about seeking the approval of mankind. Both are about marveling at our species. As flawed as we are, there is something oddly comforting to look into the brown eyes of a dog like these two types.

A German shepherd is a wolfy enough animal for me to think of them as something truly primitive. But their primeval appearance is illusory. They were made wolves out of herding stock, and though they may have a bit of Central European wolf blood coursing their veins, they are working herding breed.

I suppose that as I gain more experience meeting dogs, I will have new ideas about them, and I have the right to change my mind as new facts and faces come to the fore.

I never thought I’d feel this way about a dog of this type, but I really do like her. I love her soft sensitivity, which she avails only to a select few, but it is so different from what I’ve seen in other “macho” breeds.  The boxer and working bulldog types I’ve been around are not like this at all. They are many things, but sensitive souls they are not.

I feel so embarrassed that I was wrong about this breed. Dogs barking like maniacs in backyards or the ones that you pass at the park that growl at you as their owners hold their leads tightly are not truly representative of the breed.

In fact, those same dogs in the right hands might be the most stable working dogs. and with their owners, they might be biggest babies that cower before the Yorkshire terrier or cat that lives in the house.

Anka has this odd sense of humor. It is developed and refined. She greets me with a lick on the face, and then when I’m not looking at her, she will pop her jaws just an inch from my face. I will flinch, and she will look back at me with this goofy grin. Her eyes are so soft and gentle, yet you cannot readily see them through her black mask.

And the way those eyes look at me, I know that I am hers and she is mine, and all will go right with the universe so long as we can be together.

 

 

Natural History

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Ohio Cat Caught Carbon Monoxide Leak and Saved His Family

Mr. Boo the cat

Photo Credits: Kecskes Family

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and potentially lethal gas. Although many families now have carbon monoxide detectors by their smoke detectors, not everyone has the life-saving alarms. Luckily for one family that didn’t have an alarm, their cat, Mr. Boo, alerted them to a gas leak and saved the lives of all four family members.

According to daughter Ariana, her cat Mr. Boo “never meows. He usually just squeaks or doesn’t meow at all. It’s actually kind of a joke in our family” she said. Thankfully he meowed as much as he could when his family was in danger.

David Kesckes, his wife, daughter Ariana, and son were all asleep in their home in Green Township, Ohio. “I woke up to my cat meowing,” said Ariana. Mr. Boo then did more than meow. “He was sort of stumbling down the hallway and he just kept meowing. He seemed to kind of want us to get out of the house. He passed out so many times trying to wake us all up and that just amazing because he’s never really meowed before,” Ariana said.

Fox19 played part of the 911 call. You can hear David tell the dispatcher, “my daughter fainted in the hallway, my son fainted on the back porch, and our cat fainted in the living room.” David got his son up to carry Ariana outside. Ariana’s mom got Mr. Boo out. Even Mr. Boo’s feline friend, the family’s other cat, did his part. “Our other cat actually walked in and kind of revived him because he was knocked out…[he] sniffed him like ‘Hey, get up,’” explained Ariana. The reporter later tweeted a photo of Mr. Boo resting with Ariana.

Photo Credits: @Fox19_Mike

“That cat’s a hero for sure,” said David. According to Local12.com, Ariana said that Mr. Boo is a rescue cat who has been part of the family for seven years. Not every rescue pet will be a hero, but we know that they all have the potential to be amazing. That’s part of why Halo, GreaterGood.org, and Freekibble donate over 1.5 million bowls of Halo food to shelter pets every year. Shelter professionals have told us that more pets get adopted from their shelters because the animals thrive on high-quality Halo food. The more pets who get adopted, the more families like the Kesckes, can have their own heroes.

“Had this situation gone on much longer, the outcome could have been different,” said Green Township Assistant Fire Chief Kevin Hummeldorf. Firefighters detected lethal levels of carbon monoxide in the house. “We’re celebrating the fact that we’re all alive,” David told reporters. Boo went missing after the ordeal but was thankfully found that afternoon, hiding in the family basement. The whole family, Mr. Boo included, were okay in the end.

Our pets do so much for us, Halo believes in doing everything we can for them, starting with great food. We hope Mr. Boo is getting a hero’s reward with lots of love and healthy treats. Reflecting on his heroic meows that fateful May morning, Arian said, “It’s like he’s been waiting his whole life to do this one heroic thing.”

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Climate Change and Your Canine – What Can You Do?

Climate change is already causing the weather patterns we thought we knew to change. What can you do as a responsible dog owner? Thankfully, quite a bit!

Most of us know that carbon is a major contributor to climate change. Jerry Melillo, an ecologist and a member of NOAA’s Advisory Committee for the Sustained National Climate Assessment, told Energy News Network, “It’s pretty clear that climate change is not going to stop and it will be accelerating if we don’t move to a reduced carbon economy.”

Photo Credit: Sheryl Davis

Many people enjoy reducing their carbon use through Meatless Mondays. Dogs can safely join in a family-wide Meatless Monday with Halo Holistic Garden of Vegan™ Dog Food kibbles or cans! Halo, GreaterGood.org, and Freekibble.com are even working with shelters to reduce their carbon paw print through Meatless Mondays for the shelter dogs! They’re supplying both Halo Vegan and Halo Whole Meat food for the dogs in the care of Second Chance Animal Shelter in Massachusetts, Humane Society of Tampa Bay in Florida, and Dutchess County SPCA in New York. It’s not good for animals to have one day with a completely different diet, so the dogs are achieving their Meatless Mondays by having 1/7thof their food each day be Halo Garden of Vegan™.

All three shelters have reported that the process is simple and making the dogs very happy. Sheryl Blancato, executive director for Second Chance Animal Shelter said, “We are excited about being part of Meatless Monday and the Halo food donation has helped save the lives of many animals. Since foregoing meat even one day per week has an impact on the environment, imagine the difference we can make with all of the dogs at an animal shelter going meatless on Monday!”

Dr. Jason Nicholas, the Chief Medical Officer at Preventive Vet, took the time to talk with us about how climate change might affect our pets. Dr. J, as he’s generally known, is passionate about pet health and helping pet parents better understand their furry friends. He had some great advice for dog owners.

With warmer winters “the parasite seasons many people are used to or think exist are likely to change,” Dr. J explained. “So, ‘flea season’ is likely to start earlier and end later, and there may also be ‘unseasonal flares’ due to changing weather patterns. The same is likely for ‘tick season’ and even ‘intestinal worm season.’”

Climate change could also lead to more infectious diseases and mosquito-borne parasites. Mosquitos can easily spread diseases to dogs. “From a mosquito standpoint, changing weather patterns isn’t just likely to mean longer and more erratic mosquito seasons, but it’ll also mean that places that haven’t historically had problems with disease-spreading mosquito populations are more likely to start having them,” Dr J. told us, adding, “So everybody really should get and keep their guard up, as none of these infestations/infections are fun.”

Thankfully, there are safe and effective steps you can take. You can help fight exposure by taking care of your yard. Dr. J. suggested preventing and removing standing water sources on your property, as well as looking into “using cedar chips or beneficial nematodes” in your yard to keep flea populations in check.

However, Dr. J. says talking with your veterinarian is the “biggest step” any pet parent should take in the face of these changing weather and parasite patterns. He suggests you ask about “the safest, most effective, and most comprehensive parasite prevention and treatment plan for all of the pets in [your] home.” He advises that you regularly check your dogs for any signs of parasites – or even the parasites themselves. Look for fleas and flea dirt on your dog’s skin and coat and definitely check for ticks. Dr. J. stressed that checking for this is especially important “after coming in from hikes or walks in the woods, camping trips,” and other similar outdoor activities. You definitely want to keep your vet looped in, too, by having your veterinarian regularly check your dog’s stool samples for worms.

Hotter weather can make heat stroke more likely. Dr. J recommends that you “know your dog and their risk factors for heat stroke.” He explained that puppies, seniors, overweight dogs, brachycephalic dogs like pugs, and dogs who already have an existing respiratory condition are at increased risk of heat stroke. He suggested being cautious and avoiding “any walks or outdoor exercise in the heat of the day,” suggesting that you “try for early morning and later evening when it’s likely to be cooler.” Not only will it be safer for your dogs, but likely more pleasant for you, too! In addition to the dangers of heat stroke from being outside, Dr. J. stressed to never leave your dog in a parked car “even if you leave them with water, leave the windows cracked, or will only be gone for five minutes.” When in doubt, let your dog enjoy air conditioning in the safety of your home!

With an increased risk of severe or more frequent storms, pets and their pet parents also face more risks for floods, fires, or other natural disasters. Dr. J. told us, “people should definitely prepare an emergency/disaster kit for their pets.” Dr. J explains on his site how to put together an emergency kit. You can also download Preventive Vet’s Emergency and Disaster Prep eBook for free.  If you need additional ideas, Halo had a blog post about 7 Ways to Protect Your Pets in an Emergency only a few months ago.

We’re a mission-driven brand, so we strive to do what’s best for pets, people, and the planet. We’re no stranger to praise for our eco-consciousness. In 2016 our Spot’s Stew won in the Best Pet Products, Food category of the Natural Child World Eco Excellence Awards. We were also finalists in the supplements and treats categories

We don’t do it for praise or awards though, we do it because it’s right. Dave Carter, our Director of Sourcing, says in a Facebook video, “Nature’s kind of messy. Nature creates things that…are unique and individual and the more we learn to work within that system, those animals are helping to restore the soil. They’re helping to build a grassland that captures carbon and makes for a healthy ecosystem.” He added, “We just think that when you go back to that natural, that OrigiNative™ source, you’re getting a whole protein that’s healthier for us and healthier for our companion animals.”

Building a grassland that captures the carbon we’ve already released into the atmosphere is important for slowing climate change. So when you buy Halo pet food you’re not only giving healthy food to your pet, you’re also helping shelter animals as well as the earth. That’s pretty awesome for buying a bag of dog food!

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New life

birth

The hours passed on nice summer day. All day the mother dog has panted and stared. Her maiden litter was on its way, and I was there to watch them come.

A sweet little golden retriever, she was too sensitive to push unless she knew her people where there to stroke her ears and tell her what a good girl she is.

As the night drew near, she climbed on the bed between us and then began her long night of pushing and pushing. A wave of contractions would rise from within her, and she would rise in discomfort and turn around. Then she would go prone again against the bed, but the next wave would have her rise, pushing and turning in her primal mammalian dance of parturition.

At one point, her vulva was just inches from my face, and in her pushing, I could see the coming amniotic sack, and then I saw the head of a golden retriever puppy emerge from her body cavity. It was perfection just wrapped in a sheet of biological plastic wrap.

Another push or two, and the bitch screamed as the puppy passed from the prenatal state into the breathing and screaming existence that we call life.

Then the membrane that held him so securely then split away from his face,  and as the oxygen filled his little lungs, he inched over to the milk-filled mammaries and helped himself to a good helping of colostrum.

But he was still connected to his placenta and for what seemed an eternity to me, he was both nursing off his mother and tapping into her blood supply. He was trapped between both states, but one was about to let him go and sink into the other.

He suckled ravenously, and the mother dog expelled the placenta. And thus the first of a litter of seven little puppies entered the world. Through the dark hours of the night, two little girl puppies and four more little boys lurched forward into the great bursting of existence.

And the mother dog shared it with me. She, a beast perfected over the eons to serve mankind, needed us to hold her as she began to force her progeny into the world.

I have never before been privy to such a spectacle. I have no interest in producing a child of my own, and all of my experiences with dogs whelping have been fleeting memories from childhood, where the bitch whelped black crossbreeds in the back of the garage and I hoped that the daddy was a Labrador and not the fierce boxer from up the road. And obvious flattened muzzles exhausted those hopes very quickly.

But to know a dog like this one, one that trusts me enough to share this intimate aspect of her life, is a moving experience. I am better for having been privy to the entire spectacle.

And I am happy. I am content. And I am free.

 

 

Natural History

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Barli’s Embark Vet DNA Results!

We received an Embark® Dog DNA Test for review; all statements and opinions are entirely our own. As you know, we adopted Barli four months ago. Picked up alone as a stray, Barli’s background…



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DogTipper

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My Favorite Summertime Snack On the Go

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. This post is in partnership with California Almonds, but all opinions are my own.

Shocker, Melissa is posting about snacks! It’s no secret I have an affinity for snacks. Most of the recipes I post here are snack related, and I’m also constantly gushing about how I’m grazing on snacks throughout the day.

But there happens to be a snack I love so much, a snack that is so simple and so perfect for summer no matter where you are and what you’re doing, that I’m devoting an entire post to it. And yes, this post is sponsored. But it’s not an ad. It’s a love letter. Anyone who knows me in real life can attest to the fact that I never, ever leave my house without almonds. And anyone who reads here knows that I include almonds in recipes I share all the time. So it only makes sense that I share with you guys why almonds are my favorite summertime snack, at home and on-the-go.

First let’s talk about the why. In short, almonds taste freaking delicious, they’re really healthy, and they’re super convenient. I incorporate almonds into my smoothies, oatmeal, salads, and baked goods, and I make nut butter and nut milk from them. But I also take them with me everywhere, especially in the summertime when I’m outdoors a lot chasing my kids and need to maintain my energy. They’re full of protein and fiber which sustains me. They allow me to consume something quick and without thought that isn’t full of empty calories. (In fact, a recent study shows that a handful of almonds provides up to 25% fewer calories than previously thought!*) And they’re packed full of nutrition. One ounce of almonds is a great source of vitamin E and magnesium, contains 6 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, and is a source of calcium, potassium, phosphorus, and iron. Did I mention all of the good, healthy unsaturated fats? I mean really, there’s no arguing that almonds are the perfect snack.

*Novotny JA, Gebauer SK, Baer DJ. Discrepancy between the Atwater factor predicted and empirically measured energy values of almonds in human diets. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2012; 96(2):296-301.

Now let’s talk about the how – specifically how I keep almonds on me at all times. In terms of convenience, it’s pretty obvious. Almonds are small and fit anywhere, they’re not messy, and you can eat just one or a handful depending on how hungry you are. I usually keep a whole bag of them in my car, but I also have several reusable containers of them in various bags depending on activities.

I throw a container of almonds in our beach bag when we go to the pool or the beach. I’ve yet to find a more practical snack for pool days! I almost always have a container of them in my purse. Whether I’m running errands or attending work meetings, it’s really nice to be able to munch on a handful of almonds when I’m hungry. I take almonds with us when we go hiking or are out exploring nature. I pack almonds in our carry on luggage when we fly (we leave the day after tomorrow for a long trip to Colorado and yes, I already have my almonds ready to go), and in our bags when we go on summertime road trips. I even throw a little bag of almonds in my pocket when we walk up to the local park.

I also always put a container of almonds into Essley’s lunch/snack bags for activities and camps. My kids love them as much as I do! And that makes me happy, because almonds keep them full between meals, and are packed with protein, fiber and healthy fat, but are low in sugar. You can’t ask for a better snack for your little ones.

There you have it friends: my ode to the ultimate summertime snack on the go. If you’re a California almonds fan like I am, I would love to hear the ways you enjoy them while you’re out and about in the summer!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Saying Goodbye to a Best Friend (+ Feelings On Being An ‘Influencer’ In Difficult Times)

Saying Goodbye to a Best Friend (+ Feelings On Being An 'Influencer' In Sad Times)

When I posted back on July 2nd about taking a break while we were in the mountains of Colorado, I fully intended on the blog being nice and full this week. I did share a really fun post about my favorite summer snack food, but shortly after hitting publish on it, I got a call that my best friend of 23 years, who had been battling ALS since early last year, had just passed away. I knew that call was coming any day now. But it didn’t make it any easier. It hurt really, really bad. I’m crying as I type this, to be honest. I feel very depressed. It sucks. So I just couldn’t post about anything else today (or yesterday) other than what is happening – yet I struggled with whether or not to post this too. And I want to explain why.

I get more emails and messages asking how I became an “influencer” (so not a fan of that term but “blogger” sounds outdated these days) than any other topic. And honestly, I don’t have an answer. It’s not something I planned by any means. I worked in the fashion industry for 14 years as an eco-friendly designer, and then I started this blog as a side project to promote a new Etsy shop I’d opened back in 2010. Much to my surprise, the blog took off more than I ever imagined, and eventually evolved into a full on lifestyle site (which was completely different than how it started). A few years later I had Essley (my first babe), and shortly after that I decided to close the clothing line and work full time on my blog and social media accounts. In the past year and a half, they have become a solid way to support my family. I work a lot, and I work hard, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a really great gig. I get to stay home with my kids and still support them monetarily through creative work. I get to partner with some really great brands. I get some seriously fantastic opportunities for projects and campaigns. There is a lot of work and a lot of reward. I am very grateful.

In times of loss or tragedy, however, I feel torn about how to go about things around here. The weird thing about being an “influencer” (again, not a fan of that term) for a living is that even when you keep the vast majority of your life private (which I do), you want to remain authentic. (Or at least I do, and I know most of my friends in the industry do as well.) Yes, I partner with brands when I tell my stories, but I am always genuine, and I always incorporate my true self. And that makes it really difficult when something really shitty happens in your personal life. Blogs are not journals like they were 10 years ago. But they also aren’t (or at least shouldn’t be, in my opinion) commercials that lack soul or substance. When something like this happens, do I just keep posting and treating this like a job in an effort to be professional, even though my friends and I are heavily grieving? Do I not post at all and just allow myself a break, even if that means risking income my family depends on? Or do I find a place in between, where I am sharing with my followers (who over the years have become friends!) what is going on, and pay tribute to one of the greatest people I ever knew, without getting too personal or crossing a line?

Really, I can’t pinpoint the “right” thing to do when it comes to my weird job in times like these. So I’m just going with my gut. I posted about Goki on my Instagram and Facebook accounts, and I’m also posting here – both because I want to pay tribute to him, and because I felt it would be almost disrespectful to him to pretend things are okay right now. I pushed back some sponsored posts, because even though this is a job, the most important thing in my life right now is focusing on this great loss, and sending all of my love to the beautiful inside and out wife Marissa, absolutely amazing 2 year old daughter Mika (seen in the photo above), and wonderful parents that Goki left behind when his battle came to an end on Wednesday. Because this isn’t about me or my completely insignificant ramblings about what I should share here. It’s about them. His close friends are really hurting right now, but his daughter, wife, and parents are the ones who were really left behind. (I can also confidentially say that Goki would be shaking his head and laughing at me reading this. He always made fun of me for overthinking everything. He was/is a true free spirit. I’m just a wannabe.)

I want to share with you guys something my 4 year old daughter said to me yesterday morning when I woke up: “Mommy, don’t be sad. Goki is fine! When he died yesterday, the universe sent a bubble, and it took him up to the stars, to heaven, and he feels much better. I promise he is so happy! Mika knows this too.” Those were her exact words. And I believe her. He suffered for a long time, and now he is free. If any of your happen to be grieving a loss, I hope her words help you as well.

I’ve been thinking about addressing this subject here for a while, and my mind is so overwhelmed right now that I needed to address it, but I don’t want it to overshadow the main reason I’m posting – and that’s that the world has lost one of the most incredible people I’ve ever known. Goki, thank you for years of adventures together (all over the U.S., Costa Rica, Mexico, the Bahamas, etc. etc. etc.), phone calls that lasted for hours (and always with wine), endless laughs (usually late at night), and for always being so protective of me. I love you forever.

And to all of you, thank you for letting me ramble on with my thoughts, and share pieces of my life and heart here, in between the posts about pretty things and family projects and food and fashion and the things that make life fun but ultimately aren’t nearly as important as relationships and love. In the end, those are the ONLY things that matter.

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