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Link Love + Reader Love

December 5, 2016

Farewell for now, friends.Hello to all you beautiful souls who’ve either been dropped off at this site because you clicked on something somewhere or because you actually frequent it and enjoy my sporadic musings.

Today is an odd day for me. It’s the first Sunday of December–the last month of 2016–and I have some news.

No, I’m not pregnant.

Nothing that serious.

But…I have decided to take take an indefinite break from this space.

If you’ve been following me on and off over the past year, I’m sure this doesn’t surprise you. When I told Ryan I was going to take a major break from the blog, he chuckled at me because I’ve taken so many “breaks” from blogging and always get roped back in by all the enthusiasm of readers, friends, family members, and fun brands. It’s what’s made me rally these past few months.

Yet, in the back of my head and deep in my heart, I know it’s time to take a serious pause.

If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve changed over the past year. Probably in small ways, but definitely in ways that have made me want to prioritize my own health and wellbeing a little bit more than I have been.

Honestly, I can’t remember the last time I painted for fun because, if I have any spare time, it’s usually spent at work or working on this blog. And I think I need more space to relax, create and come into my own.

The second reason I’m taking some space is sort of linked to the first reason – my heart isn’t in it anymore. The lure of working with brands or talking to creative people is strong, BUT the fact I barely post on here is telling. I’ve begun to see this space as an obligation or a second job, rather than a creative outlet–which was the whole reason I birthed the blog in the first place. And I don’t want it to be like that. I want to be excited (most of the time, at least, since being excited about something constantly is probably impossible) to post and share things with you on here, not dread it like a corporate 9-to-5.

The third reason for leaving is – of course – I do have another side project in the works. One that has been low-key taking up a lot of my creative time, energy and focus. Now, in some ways this runs completely contradictory to the points I just listed. However, the purpose of this side project is *very* clear, unlike midwestlovefest, which originated as a simple creative project and morphed into more over time (making it nearly impossible to set a solid purpose, in my mind).

And not only does this new side project have a clear mission; a clear objective–for both readers and myself–but it comes from a super secret and deep-rooted passion, with the goal being to empower and inspire young women (another focus very near and dear to my heart). I’ve also learned a lot from this blog, and am planning on taking those hard-learned lessons into this new space; hoping that it helps me better manage my time and prioritize my health, while still growing this other thing to it’s full potential.

If you’re interested in learning more, I’ll update all my social channels as the time get’s closer (I’m shooting to launch it in early 2017, but you know how that goes) and, of course, you’re all more than welcome to join. But be forewarned, it’s about women and boobs. I won’t go beyond that 😉 but at least you have some vague idea of what you *may* be getting yourself into.

Any who, I needed to get all of this out because it’s important you know that I am trying to be serious about setting boundaries with this space, and taking needed time away from for now in order to keep moving forward in my own life and achieve my own personal goals, whether it be focusing on my wellbeing or building a new brand. Now, if I decide in 6+ months that “Hey! I miss the blog! I need it in my life!” Well then, hell, you’ll be hearing from me. But if not, then here’s where you can find me moving forward:

  • Blog-related Instagram account: If I ever feel the itch to share book recommendations, random musings, recipes or creative happenings, it will probably be here.
  • Personal Instagram: I’ll probably update this more than the blog-related IG account, but #notgunnalie I haven’t been the best at it over the past few months, so don’t expect *too* much…
  • Facebook: I will continue to update this with old content or anything I may find inspiring.
  • Twitter: Same as Facebook – I will continue to update this with old content or anything I may find inspiring.
  • Snapchat
  • Tumblr (yes, I have a tumblr!)

 

And if you want to take a quick glance of some of the work I’m most proud of:

I’ll also be sure to update this post and any/all social when it’s the right time to reveal more about my next side project.

Thank you to everyone who’s supported my blog over the past few years, whether you’re a friend, a reader or a brand rep. YOU are what has kept me coming back, week after week.

Till next time!

Oh, and if you’re still wanting a few of my favorite links from over the past week, here ya go:

+ THEY HALTED THE DAKOTA PIPELINE! I literally cried when I read this.

+ Stumbled upon this minimalist fashion blog and am in love.

+ How to drop everything and move abroad.

+ The holiday movie I’m seeing this Friday.

+ UM. Making these this month.

+ Holiday cocktail recipes, of course.

+ Using this hack to find all my fave celebs on Snapchat.

+ Can we talk about this?

+ Yarn Christmas tree DIYs that Im thinking about doing to spruce (ha, puns!) up the apartment.

+ Bookmarking this talk by swissmiss to watch later. Or all the time.

Inspire Life Relax

love, lust and leave: september movies

September 27, 2016

So. Many. Good. Movies. Coming out!

Arguably, this summer hasn’t been the best for my reading (a million apologies, Good Reads). But it has been pretty damn good when it comes to movie viewing! #winning

While I’m excited to see what comes out in the next few months, here are a few movies I’ve seen lately worth note (or worth..not a lot):

The movies worth watching this month

love

The Secret Life of PetsYes, this was cute and clever, which definitely qualifies it as a “love” movie this month. However, I personally was a little disappointed. Maybe I’m a diehard Pixar fan? Or maybe my humor’s gotten too dark? Because some of it just seemed a little too…predictable and cheesy for me. That said, it’s still a very cute, fun movie to see and seemed like a crowd-pleaser, based on the theatre attendees I was with.

Finding Dory: As mentioned, I’m starting to become a huge fan of Disney-created animated movies. And this second film did not disappoint. Of course, pieces may be slightly predicatble, but for the most part it was cute and maintained the essence of the first film. Highly recommend (and–sorry but–I recommend it over Secret Life of Pets).

 

lust

Popstar: Has anyone seen this? I totally missed it and now I’m sad and don’t know where I can watch it… I love Andy Samberg though and feel it my civic duty to see anything he stars in.

The Accountant: I know Ben is a bit of a mess right now (and I totally take Jen’s side in…whatever is going on with their family), but he’s SUCH a good actor and The Accountant looks amazing. Already scheduling this for date night.

The Girl on the Train: We’ll see if this movie is as good as the book (which I highly recommend, btw), but I’ll see it nonetheless because I’m really loving thriller lately. And Emily Blunt.

 

leave

Now You See Me 2: Ugh, I can’t with this movie. I *wanted* to like it. It had all these major stars (Harry Potter!) and I was surprised by how much I was into the first movie. But take 2 on this was no good at all. HARD. PASS.

Mike & Dave Need Wedding Dates: I love Aubrey Plaza and really wanted to see this. But then I did…and was disappointed. Went with my friend though, and she liked it. So I might have to chalk it up to my inability to appreciate simple humor.

Inspire Life Relax

love, lust and leave: sept audio

September 20, 2016

Happy Monday ya’ll.

I am not doin’ so hot still. Woke up feeling great, but as the day’s worn on, I’ve started to feel worse and worse. Now I’m just trying to breath through my nose…

While we wait for that to happen, let’s review all the things I’ve been listening to recently, shall we?

 

LoveLustAudioI’ve been on the Podcast game HARD as of late. Of course, I keep my Spotify going constantly (that membership is worth all), but have really been trying to so my audio “reading” while doing chores, going to work or going for walks with Kero. Here are a few of my faves:

love

Lady Lovin’: This podcast grew on me. Hosted by Lo Bosworth (you know, starred in Laguna Beach, The Hills and basically my entire high school life) and a few of her gal pals who discuss everything from beauty and health to sex and relationships. Originally, I thought the ladies chatted a little, ahem, too much. But now I love this podcast. It’s relatable and has tons of incredible takeaways.

Monocycle with Leandra Medine: I love Leandra. She makes it okay to be weird, which is a huge thing for me (fun fact!). My favorite episode is this one because it’s so raw, emotional and unedited. A drastic departure from what your typical podcast has become. Every human in the world needs to listen to it.

Oh Boy by Man Repeller: Surprisingly not all about fashion or the team at Man Repeller (though I wouldn’t mind if it was), this podcast is a series of interviews with noteworthy creatives, movers and shakers doing cool things. Always great if you’re looking for #inspo on your commute.

Modern Love: Recommended to me by a co-worker, this thoughtful podcast explores the various ways people define, fall, thrive and deal with love in the “modern age.” Perfect reminder that one size does not fit all when it comes to love and relationships.

 

lust

Schoolboy Q’s album: Basing this purely on hype and this piece.

Frank Ocean’s album: Because, duh. *Update: Have listened, and LOVE! Now on Spotify… #justsaying*

Spent: Downloaded this forever ago, when I was on a “NEED TO SAVE MONEY” bender. Which, I’m arguably still on… Either way, I like the style of the podcast, from what I’ve heard, now I just need to dedicate the minutes to actually listening to it…

Myleik Teele’s Podcast: Myleik Teele is the creator of Curl Box, and I love everything about her. She’s a straight-forward, successful and stylish entrepreneur. The 3 S’s basically. She just kick’s ass. Also highly recommend following her on Snapchat.

 

leave

The Tim Ferriss Show: I wanted to like this podcast because I think Tim has some good #ProTips, especially for bloggers, creators and biz owners, but…I can’t. It’s so long. And bro-y. PASS.

The #AskGaryVee Show: Again, a podcast I *really* wanted to like. But after a few listens, I just feel annoyed. And usually I love his books and other materials, but hearing his voice…in that way…and then the tips or subjects they explore aren’t even that interesting? Yeah, no thanks.

GirlBoss Radio: You may be sensing a theme but, yes. I did want to like this podcast as well. However, she raddles on for the first 10 minutes and I just don’t care enough. Depending on the interviewee, it can be really interesting, but for the most part, um..no thanks.

Life Relax

love, lust and leave: september shows

September 13, 2016

Maybe it’s the cooling of the weather, but I feel like I’ve been staying in and watching even more shows than usual. Is that possible? Apparently so. Because I have the below roster and it’s about to blow up with even more good fall shows coming to TV in the next few months. Oh, did I mention we recently got cable? Yep, we did. Pretttyyy excited about it. If you guys have any recos for me for the next month (because it does seem like I have no life at this point, doesn’t it?), please leave them in the comments below.

All the shows worth watching this month

love

Shameless: I may be late to the party, but I’m obsessed with this show. I tried to watch the UK version awhile back, but the characters had such thick accents it was hard to understand. On a whim, a month or so ago, I needed to pick up a new show on Netflix (after finishing Jane the Virgin, which I also highly recommend) and I haven’t stopped watching it since. Great character development, interesting plotlines annnddd it takes place in Chicago! I swear I’ve even walked by filming of the most recent episode a few weeks ago. No, but really.

WAGS: WAGS (season 2, btw) is an acronym for Wives and Girlfriends of high-profile athletes. While I’m a major feminist, I can also be traditional and am semi-obsessed with how different women act in different types of relationships and marriages. Also, money and pretty people are always fun to watch, right?

Real Housewives of New Jersey and Real Housewives of Orange County: Well, I’ve lost my Real Housewives of New York (the season is over with), but these two I’m sure I’ll do just fine. Real Housewives for lyfe.

Teen Mom: They’re back, baby! Been watching 16 & Pregnant and Teen Mom since they first came to TV, so at this point, watching this show is almost like visiting an old friend. That’s a normal thing to say about an MTV reality show right?

Atlanta: This is Childish Gambino’s new show and…I just can’t say enough good things about it. The way it’s shot, the writing, the topics they cover and how authentic the whole thing feels? It’s a must-watch. Seriously. It’s only one episode in (second episode debuts tomorrow night), so get on it NOW.

 

lust

American Horror Story Season 6: I’ve been hot and cold on this show since it came out. I’m not a huge horror fan, but I thought the first few seasons of AHS were really well done, so I kept watching. However, there have also been a few seasons where I was like, “Um, no thanks. Hard pass.” And other seasons where I only watched it because the actors were hot (last season). Crossing my fingers this season is better than the last few. Stay tuned…

JonBenet Ramsey CBS Special: Apparently it’s the 25th anniversary of the JonBenet Ramsey disappearance, which explains why every network is diving back into this investigation. However, the one I’m most interested in watching debuts next Sunday on CBS. Who’s watching with me?

 

leave

Ridiculousness: This isn’t new, but am I alone here!? How does this guy have his own show where he watches YouTube videos and provides commentary? His commentary isn’t even good! And this is coming from a girl who openly watches Love & Hip Hop (a non-scripted-but-clearly-scripted-with-terrible-actors-and-actresses reality show). I know this is a random one to throw in, but it’s been a long time coming. Please take your Ridiculousness and go away now.

Life

falling off the wagon

July 13, 2016

Falling off the wagonRemember when forever ago I told you I sucked at consistently blogging? And then I repeated the same thing basically every few weeks when – again – I wouldn’t blog?

Well, take that and apply it to my life.

Finances. Fitness. Food.

None F-related words too, I’m sure. Like painting. Other side projects. Kero. My family. Friends (wow that still is a lot of “f” words..fackkk). I feel like I’ve fallen off the bandwagon in many (or most) areas of my life recently.

Basically, some things are private and I went through a *major* private moment, which I’ve eluded to before. I know it sounds super sexual and fun, but really it has been a miserable journey, albeit a good learning experience. I feel like a stronger, more patient and understanding person. I’ve battled some of my own demons. But the flip side of that has been my fall from “grace”–going from being fit, healthy, happy, consistently writing and reading and traveling, to laying on the couch, binge-watching Netflix and binge-eating those super delicious Trader Joes white cheddar puffs.

After The Event, I lost weight due to stress. Like, a lot of weight. And then that same stress helped me put all the weight back on…and then some. And then some more. Meanwhile, my 6x/week workouts went down to nothing. Honestly, sometimes it was just a struggle to get out of bed, let alone eat or workout. Most days, the closest thing I came to fitness was laughing at Tina Fey.

This summer has been a bit better. I’ve started dipping my toes into the “fitness” waters again. I go to a strength training class 2x/week with a friend, and once that stops in early August, I plan on working through a regime my trainer wrote up for me. I’m also trying to incorporate cardio 3 or so times a week, and that’s not counting the walks or bike rides I go on with Kero.

Then there’s the food. LAWD Midwesterners–especially Chicagoans in the summertime–love their food. Or maybe that’s just me? Either way, this has been my biggest struggle. So, for the time being, I’m back on MyFitnessPal to help keep myself accountable. I feel so lame measuring and weighing things out at work or home, but I know it’s for the best and that it’s not a permanent feature of my life.

So, why am I sharing all of this?

I guess because I’m tired of faking it. I love eating healthy and working out. I miss that routine I established–where I didn’t think twice about going to the gym. I *had* to go for my sanity. But now? I don’t feel that way. Some days, it’s a struggle to wake up and get to the gym because I need to snuggle with Kero and sleep, more than I need to be on a treadmill for 45 minutes.

But I’m getting there. I know I’m getting there.

It’s somewhat weird and somewhat natural for me to share this with you.

I understand every blog is different. For awhile, I feel as if there was a trend in the blogosphere toward very straight-forward, informative blog posts. But I’m injecting a little bit more personality into this blog because I miss it! Even though it’s scary AF to share this with you. Literally, I have no clue who reads this. Maybe we went to high school together? Maybe we never met? Maybe you’re in my fitness class or live in my apartment building? But at the same time, the human experience (the highs and the lows) is the real reason I’m drawn to the blogging world, so I have to be brave enough to share mine too.

However…the copywriter in me struggles with this concept. How can I divulge such personal information when it doesn’t immediately align with some of the “themes” I’ve developed on this blog? But really, how shitty, fake and contradictory would I be if I shared healthy recipes or inspiring stories, while behind the scenes I haven’t worked out in 5 weeks and I had ice cream for dinner?

Pretty shitty if you ask me.

So, while the purpose of this blog has always been to shed light on what it’s like to live in the Midwest as a modern, creative, sometimes-hippie woman, it’s also natural for me to want to share pieces of my personal journey too.

One part journal (personal, fitness journey) and one part journalistic (DIYs, interviews, recipes), if you will.

And I hope that no matter what part of that mix you’re drawn to, you get something–inspiration, motivation, perspective, camaraderie, understanding–out of it.

This entire post is me being 110% transparent with you.

Have I binged on junk the past 2 months? For sure. Have I gained weight and lost muscle and spent more afternoons than I’d like to admit self-loathing? Yes. But I’d like to think I’m on the upswing, and I’m hoping I’ll get *completely* back on the wagon–fitness, blogging, traveling, reading, eating right–very soon. Thanks for bearing with me.

Life Relax

Summertime CHI

July 1, 2016

Chicago in the SummerThere is something so insanely special about living in Chicago in the summertime.

Everyone jokes that you give up 8 months of grey, terrible weather in order to live in the bliss that is summertime in Chicago. While I disagree (Autumn and Spring here are also beautiful), I will say there “magic in the air” in the summertime. Or that’s just the sangria. Either way, I love it here.

I mean, if you live here, you know what I’m talking about.

And if you don’t, you have to make a special trip to visit the city in the summer.

We talk a lot about “patio weather,” which basically means it’s a gorgeous day and we need to find a restaurant or bar that has a patio so that we can all hang outside in the sun.

The lakefront is bustling—people running, biking, laying out, swimming, walking their dogs, fishing off the walkway, taking pictures, playing beach volleyball on North Avenue Beach, taking out their sailboats or cruisers or waterskis. And when it’s a sunny day, you can expect this sort of crowd all day.

If you do visit for the summer, here are a few must-visits (ranging from predictably touristy to more local flavors):

P.S. If there are any other Chi-town peeps out there, leave your favorite Chicago spots in the comments below. I’ve lived here a few years, but definitely need more places to explore. Especially during the summer.

Educate Life

Natural Fix: How to Get Rid of A Planter’s Wart

June 23, 2016

Fast, Cheap and Natural Way to Get Rid of Planter's Warts (for good)Okay, we’re going to get a bit gross here.

Talking, planters warts.

It’s not pretty, people. I know, I know. But this issue drove me NUTS virtually everyone will have at least one (if not several) planters wart in their lifetime. FUN!

Basically, the odds are not in your favor.

Little bit of backstory/personal antidote: my mom is the quintessential midwestern woman. My dad’s from the Chicago area and we traveled a lot, which means I’d like to think I have a healthy mix of the big town attitude with small town upbringing. Well, like any solid midwestern woman, my mom was thrifty. Before she had us (her three kids), my dad said she was obsessed with Mother Earth News and would try and make everything, including trying to make ketchup from the tomatoes in her garden (no clue why, but they always bring this up as example of how hippie my mom can be). Props to her!

Well, her thriftiness and penchant for natural solutions has definitely been passed onto me as an adult. Again, I probably have a healthy mix of both natural and unnatural solutions, but when I find a Mother Nature-approved remedy? I’ll always down.

Okay. End of antidote.

Basically, what I’m saying is I tried to get rid of my planters wart the Big City way. I applied wart stick to the warts.

Nothing.

I went to a foot doctor, recommended by my primary care physician. On average, with insurance, every appointment was $25. Not bad, but that ish adds up! I saw my foot doctor a few years ago, maybe 7 or so times, before my wedding. Supposedly the wart was gone by then, so I breathed a sigh of relief, got married, honeymooned, came back, switched jobs and all of a sudden…that sucker was back! Not sure how it came back, but it was there. And so I continued with the wart stick and returned to the doctor.

Fast forward about 10+ sessions, and even though the wart was “shrinking”–according to my doctor–it still wasn’t gone. What’s worse is there was a crater in my foot–this ugly hole that kept trying to heal, but kept getting re-damaged by all the additional visits to the foot doctor.

I’ve been trying to save money (summer goal for real!) and decided that I needed to take a break from seeing the foot doc and try to treat it by myself. Clearly, the wart was still there and I was no less richer for it.

After a quick Google search, I found hundreds of people singing the praises of–wait for it–a banana peel, as an at-home remedy for curing warts. Sure there were a few (super disgusting) photos to prove it, and hundreds of great reviews, but I was skeptical. Mainly because I had been living with this wart on and off for nearly 5 years at that point (the first year I didn’t know it was a wart and thought it was a stubborn sliver). But, I gave it a go.

I religiously applied a small piece of (inner) banana peel to my wart every morning and/or evening, put a bandaid over it and left it there. When I remembered, I would change it out that evening or the next morning, depending on when I first placed it. There were a few times I didn’t change the bandaid for over a day, and a few times I had no banana peel on it and just bandaid.

I’ll spare you any gross pictures because, um, ew, but this is roughly what happened:

  • Week One: Fairly religiously placing banana peel on, with bandaid.
  • Week Two: Toward the beginning of the week, the wart area started to turn brown. I assumed it was some sort of natural banana peel stain (though in retrospect it might’ve been killing off the wart) and just pulled or scraped away any peeling skin around the area.
  • Week Three: The brown area’s gone, all the remaining layers of skin have been peeled back and now it looks like new skin is growing…I throw a bit of wart stick on it to be safe.
  • Week Four: There is nothing on my foot. The scarred area where the wart once was is now made up of new skin. Essentially, the underside of my foot looks like a normal foot. I’m skeptical. I keep a bandaid on it, until I can get a second opinion from my dad.
  • Second opinion: They’re gone!

And that is only based on what I remembered. Tbh, I remember the wart basically being gone within two weeks.

Maybe everyone’s a bit different, but this method seems to work on most people. And trust me, even though I’m big into healthy eating and being as natural and thrifty as possible, even I was skeptical.

I mean, a banana peel vs. science/freezing it off?

But I promise you, it worked.

If you want to try this at home, I recommend this:

  • Cut a small piece of banana peel to cover the area.
  • Apply a bandage over it to hold it in place. The best time of day to do this is definitely at night, where you can sleep while it works it’s natural magic.
  • Change it out for a new banana peel the next day, at the same time *or* swap it out for a fresh bandaid in the AM.
  • Keep at it religiously, for a few weeks at least.

Any who, I know this was gross, but I wish someone would’ve shared this with me. It would’ve saved me a shit ton of money and frustration.

Life Meals Musings

Why I’m Going Vegan This February

February 10, 2016

delicious vegan bars

Did you know that I was vegan for a time? Probably not because I’m essentially a cheese addict (though, #funfact, basically everyone who eats cheese becomes a cheese addict). So, when my friend Dan said he was considering going vegan for the month of February, there was no hesitation. I was on board.

Why?

Well, honestly, I’ve tried most of the big diets: Paleo, gluten-free, juicing, plant-based, vegan, vegetarian and no restriction (All American diet), and I felt the best when I was vegan (and fairly gluten-free as well, if we’re being honest).

The reason I went back to eating the Western diet (minus milk, which I gave up during my vegan phase and continue to stay away from) was because it was a bit difficult to restrict my diet when I moved back to the Midwest. Which is a serious bummer and something I hope changes soon. I want more acai bowls!

That said, I never pass up a chance to go vegan for a time.

IMO it’s best to experiment with what works best for your body. Eating, whether we like it or not, is not a one size fits all (unless you’re talking about replacing junk foods with whole foods, in which case yes, no matter what your body type, that will benefit you). I know that I operate best with limited amounts of meat (Paleo was WAY too much meat for me and made me feel really heavy and sluggish) and just a bit of dairy (mainly cheese because I can’t give that up for life). However, I haven’t really been abiding by those rules recently, choosing instead to stuff my face with crap.

I’ll be real about it. I slid off the “eating healthy” slide. Fast.

But now, I’m trying to get back on. And that starts with what I put in my mouth (get your heads out of the gutter!), which is why I joined Dan.

If you want to join, it’s never too late. Okay, well it might be a week or so late, but no one’s going to tell on you, I promise. And, guess what? It’s a short month. BONUS.

Follow my vegan Pinterest board if you’re interested in trying the lifestyle and observing how it affects your health. Maybe just try it for a week. It’s not as restrictive as you may think, it just requires a bit more forethought.

For example, the no bake, damn good brownies from Minimalist Baker that I made the other night. #bombdotcom

Just give veganism a chance, see what parts work with your body’s needs and let me know what you think!

 

Life

puppy love: dog walking in chitown

November 2, 2015

new puppy? this is how you find a walker

Happy Monday to all of you! What did you all do for Halloween? Whatever it is, I almost 100% guarantee it was more exciting than what I did.

For some reason, Halloween never seems to entice me with it’s costumes and voodoo. I mean, if I was invited to some sort of Harry Potter-themed Halloween party would I go? Well, duh. That’s a no-brainer. But so far it seems to be either clubs/house parties paired with extravagant or slutty costumes or…nothing. So, I chose nothing–for the umpteenth time in a row–and #noregrets here.

Scary movie. Homemade pizza. Lots ‘o’ wine. And in bed before 1am. Yep, sounded good to me. #25yearsold

It also gave me more time to catch up on reading, relaxing and blogging. Which was SO needed. It reminded me how important “no plan” weekends can be to your mental and physical health…

Any who, I wanted to chat with all you current and future puppy owners on what I’ve found to be an urban must-have: the dog walker.

Now, when I told my parents I was hiring a dog walker, they did not have a very, ahem, kind response. It was more a “Oh, you must have SO much money to spend, Nicole” type response.

Um, no. I do NOT have that much money to spend, but when you’re out of your home from 9-5 (which is really more like 8-6), you just can’t do that to a puppy. And, of course I’ve heard of people locking their dog in a bathroom or other room while they’re away, but, and I cannot stress this enough, THAT IS A TERRIBLE IDEA. You have no clue what the puppy will get into–what he will destroy, consume, get tangled in. It’s super dangerous and financially risky to lock your pup up anywhere other than a crate.

I’m also very anti-puppy pads. So that wasn’t an option for me either.* Not only because he’s not a cat (thank baby Yeezus for that), but because it seems to teach dogs it’s normal to do your business inside. And I want Kero to understand inside = clean and outside = do your business.

Needless to say, I needed my little guy to not be trapped in a crate all day, do his business and stretch his legs. AKA I needed a dog walker.

Of course I hopped on Google and did a bit of digging. If you live in or close to any major city, you’ll find there are quite a few options, but that when you have a little puppy, it’s a bit of a different story. They can’t necessarily be safely walked with other dogs, sometimes puppy walks can cost more (since generally they’re considered two 15min walks every day, instead of one single walk) and every walking company seems to have their own regulations.

What I recommend? Reaching out to friends first. See who they trust and if they’re available. This didn’t quite work for me originally because both my friends’ walkers were booked, but it was the most trust-worthy place to start.

Up next? Google/Yelp.

I searched for a walker, made sure he covered my specific area (always check this, especially if you live in Chicago) and reached out. However, he only did Lake Michigan walks (see, told you there were options), but he pointed me to another walker, who I then Googled. She was well-rated, owned her own company (shop local!) and I felt good about it.

Wrong.

Hiring her was the weirdest experience ever. I’ll save you the details, but needless to say, I let them go. <<If you’re curious who it was (and want to avoid hiring them, if you live around the area) please email me for more info, I’d be happy to share.>>

Back to Google/Yelp, where I came across Little Paws Dog Walking. I was hesitant at first, because it was near to impossible to get a response from the guy who owned the company, but once he responded and we met, I knew I found my “perfect match” (dog walking-wise). They’re cheaper, more professional and provide digital updates and payment options. Win, win and win.

I do plan on stopping the daily walks when Kero’s house broken. THEN, it just seems redundant. But, until that time, I figure hiring a dog walker is just part of the responsibility of having a little bff.

TAKEAWAYS

  1. If you’re leaving a not-totally-house-broken puppy alone during the day, it’s only right you hire a walker or have someone let him/her out at least twice a day.
  2. Trust your friends first–they’ve already done the legwork to know whether a walker is good and trustworthy or not.
  3. Search for walkers in your SPECIFIC area.
  4. Don’t be afraid to “fire” your walker if they aren’t meeting your expectations. This goes double for if you’re paying them more money than normal (like I was).
  5. Thoroughly read through Google and Yelp reviews, knowing what price you’re willing to pay and what type of service(s) you need.
  6. ABC: Always Be Communicating, with your dog walker that is. Need them to check your pup’s crate to make sure it’s dry? Ask. Need them to not refill his food? Make sure to mention that. The best way for everyone to stay happy is to keep the lines of communication open, in whatever form is normal for you and your walker.

*P.S. I understand that some people use puppy pads exclusively and other owners use them sparingly, to fill in during more extended absences. And, having dogs is like having a kid, everyone does it differently. So if it works for you, go for it. But I made sure not to give Kero any puppy pads.

Life

Weekend Relaxing Sesh 4

October 19, 2015

weekend seshSorry for the late “weekend sesh” post. If you follow me on Instagram or snapchat (username: midwestlovefest, of course), you’ll know I’ve had QUITE a busy weekend. One of my best friends got married this weekend and I was in the wedding (congrats James and Tanya!) and then I had a Packer game with my dad on Sunday. So, I’ve been all over the state of Wisconsin the past few days, and now I’m finally starting to settle back in.

I’ve also made the decision, during a somewhat dark few days last week, that I need to cut back on a few things. I hate NOT being busy, but I realized I need more time to relax and focus on me and my health. Not only does that mean cutting back on my brit.co posts (*insert sad face here*), but that might mean I’m going to be posting more iPhone-esque photos and quick posts here for a hot second. Still delicious content, just a bit more on the fly. Hope you don’t mind! And hope you had a wonderful weekend as well.

READING

WATCHING

  • Is anyone else watching this? I’m obsessed, though kind of liking Scream Queens more…
  • Incredible story.
  • Definitely going to see this in theaters.
  • I’m both excited and saddened by this.
  • Who will be tuning in (or downloading) this.

WANTING

  • Think my next jewelry haul is happening here.