Flowers and Coffee

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

I am one of those people who gets a lot of joy out of simple pleasures. And two of my favorite simple pleasures are coffee and flowers. If I'm having a bad day, grabbing a cup of good coffee and having fresh flowers on my table, or at my desk, can really help to raise my spirits. So when I came across a new bakery Flowers and Bread, I totally had to check them out.

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Flowers and Bread is a unique concept because not only is it a bakery, but they also sell fresh floral arrangements, as well has have cooking classes and floral arranging classes.

Rick and I stopped by on Saturday morning around 10:30 am, and although it was busy, we were able to quickly find a table to sit and enjoy some coffee and a yummy bakery treat.

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I had a mocha, which was so rich and decadent because it was made with almond milk and chocolate ganache. Rick had a regular coffee with cream, and it had a really unique spicy flavor to it. We also tried the carrot cake, and Rick had the egg in a basket. His egg in a basket was covered in gravy, and it also had an interesting flavor (like thyme or sage) to the gravy that we could not identify, but we both thought was pretty yummy (and I'm not even typically a fan of gravy).

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I loved all of the cute floral arrangements on the tables, perfect for taking lots of Instagram pictures.

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As I mentioned, they also sell fresh floral arrangements, and although they were a little on the pricier side, they were so beautiful that I had to pick up one.

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The arrangement I picked out had blush pink roses and parrot tulips, which are my favorite, but I never seem to find in arrangements.

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Flowers and Bread is a fun little place, and although it is not really close to our neighborhood I can definitely see this place as a fun treat every once in a while, or a fun place to meet up with a girlfriend or to take family when they are in town. I'm also really interested in trying one of the cooking classes or floral arranging classes. I'll be sure to share when I do!

Entry Way Update

Monday, March 6, 2017

Happy Monday! I wanted to share a fun update to our home. We are slowly making some home updates, and one of our almost finished spaces is our entry way. I shared an update back in December on Instagram on how our entry way looked all dressed up for the holiday, but I wanted to share an update of what it looks like now.

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It's pretty similar, but I switched out some of the decor on top of the shelf, and I got a new feedsack pillow the other day which looks really cute next to my cardinal pillow. The feedsack pillow I got at Feather Your Nest, a cute little home decor store in Pickerington. The cardinal pillow I got at the Celebrate Local store at Easton. Both of these stores are awesome if you are looking for a unique gift or home decor item.

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I also wanted to share the cute bench my husband made for me a few months ago. I had been wanting a little bench to fit this space, and I found a few design ideas on Instagram. I then sketched out what I was looking for, and he did all the rest. It was a total Jo Jo and Clint moment, and the result turned out perfectly!

We used this weathered hardwood board kit from Home Depot, and then we bought these 16" hairpin legs from Etsy. My husband tends to overbuild things, so an elephant could probably sit on this bench it's so sturdy. But for now, only my pillows rest here :)

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Here's a little taller view and you can see one of my favorite light fixtures in our home. We have been slowly switching out all of the light fixtures, in addition to painting everything, and it's really helping to update our home.

One of the biggest updates we are looking to make is to replace all the floors with hardwood or a type of laminate, and we are hoping to do this soon! Then we are hoping to replace our countertops and add a backsplash in our kitchen and then our home will be complete! I've got it all picked out and planned, we just need to go pull the trigger.

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And because in the blog-world we tend to see only picture perfect home photos, I wanted to share what this space typically looks like on a daily basis. The hooks on the shelf are covered in coats, dog leashes and hats, and there are usually about 6 pairs of shoes under the bench. Just keeping it real!

5 Reasons To Get a Second Dog

Friday, March 3, 2017

When people find out we have 3 dogs, we get a ton of questions. How did you end up with 3 dogs? Is it hard to deal with multiple dogs? Would you recommend I get a second (or third) dog? Or is it best to stick with just one?

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The decision to get a second dog (or really your first dog), is a big decision. There are a lot of responsibilities that come with dog ownership, and a lot of things to consider before making that decision.

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But there are a lot of benefits to getting a second dog. Both of us went many years with only one dog, and we both agree although there are challenges, we have also seen positive results with increasing our pack size, and today I wanted to share 5 reasons why you should get a second dog.

1 // Companionship

Dogs are pack animals so it is not their natural instinct to be alone. Abby has severe separation anxiety, and although she can still be a nut at times, we have noticed her anxiety level did get better by having the other dogs around to keep her company. Rick originally got Bryn because he worked long hours and didn't want Napoleon to be alone all day long. Typically our dogs spend the day in separate rooms, or even on separate floors, but they know their playmates are close by, and they are not spending the entire day all by themselves. If your dog is alone for long period of times, and is a breed that typically gets along with other dogs, it might be worth thinking about adding a second dog to your pack.

2 // Exercise

Most of us are guilty of not playing or exercising our dogs enough. I tend to work later hours, and for half of the year by the time I get home it is too dark to play outside. Napoleon and Bryn like to play tug of war, or they like to play fight with each other. Although it's not the same level of exercise as if you took them on a long walk, when dogs play together they are releasing some of their energy, and it also provides mental exercise.

When we do take them for walks, or when we take them to the dog park, they tend to be competitive so they will walk faster to keep up with the other dogs, or they will be interested in what the other dogs are sniffing vs if they are all alone they tend to be a little more lax on their walk or with their sniffing at the park. 

3 // Constant Companion

One of the nice things about having 3 pups is that there is always a dog around that wants to cuddle. And usually Rick and I don't have to fight over the cuddles because usually one dog is on his lap, one is on mine, and the third is usually close by to sneak in for a few ear or belly scratches. 

4 // A Chance To Rescue

There are plenty of pups that need good homes. 1.2 million dogs are euthanized each year. And although there are many things to keep in mind when adding another dog into the pack, many shelter pets received training and socialization before they are adopted, which can help with the transition to a two dog family. 

5 // Every Dog Is Different

Every dog has it's own unique personality. And getting a second dog can let you experience new breeds and characteristics. You may find one dog is more about going on adventurers, like our pup Abby, or playing catch, like our pup Bryn. Whereas Napoleon is more of a homebody and is happy as a bird with a fry when he is cuddling on my lap.

Having multiple dogs lets you get to experience different dog personalities and allows you to expand your love. It's like adding another kid to the mix, it's a lot of work, but the benefits are priceless.

It's always important to keep in mind what breeds get along best with other breeds. I came across this chart that helps explain what breeds are more compatible with other breeds.

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Of course keep in mind every dog is different. Napoleon is part Chihuahua and Bryn is a Jack Russell, neither of which are on the chart. You need to keep in mind that training and discipline are a major factor when it comes to introducing new dogs into your pack as well. I'm working on another post about things you need to know when getting a second or third dog that I will share soon.

If you are looking to get a second dog, I recently came across this company called PuppySpot. They are a community of dog lovers committed to helping responsible breeders place their puppies with caring individuals and families. The PuppySpot brand, with puppies at the center, is rooted in the belief that dogs should be celebrated, and owners deserve to experience trust, confidence and transparency when searching for their new companions. They take pride in their No Puppy Mill Promise and have a zero tolerance for puppy mills or any substandard breeding practices of any kind! Check out their cute puppies for sale to find your new best friend today!

Do you have more than one dog, or have you been thinking about getting a second dog? What are some of the pros you have seen to adding to your pack? What are your concerns? I'd love to hear your thoughts that I could possibly incorporate into my post.

Coffee Talk // Volume I

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

I wanted to start a new series called Coffee Talk. I love coffee and I love catching up with friends over coffee. So this series is really just meant to recap some of the random things going on in my life, or in my head, that I might chat about with girlfriends over coffee.

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1 // Whole30

About a month back, while browsing at Costco, I came across a few Whole30 cookbooks. The Whole30 challenge has been all over social media lately, and I love cookbooks, so I figured why not get them and see what this trend is all about. In theory I love the idea and the health benefits of cutting out foods that cause inflammation. I actually suffer from IBS and was diagnosed a few years ago with SIBO, so inflammation in my gut is a serious issue I struggle with, and diet is the only way to control my symptoms.

So I would love to say how I completed the Whole30 challenge and my skin cleared up and my belly issues are now gone, but in all honestly my challenge was more of a Whole4.5. You see I only lasted about 4.5 days, and within those 4.5 days, I may have cheated twice. So you likely won't be getting a Whole30 recap post from me. But I will tell you that it has kicked started us eating healthier about 80% of the time, allowing a little splurge on the weekends or if I've had a really stressful day.

My biggest issue was major heartburn from cutting out grains. Some say that is a side effect of making a major change in your diet that goes away after time and is all part of the gut healing, but it was way too much for me to handle. So I'm sticking to quinoa and brown rice in addition to potatoes and sweet potatoes as my healthy carbs. Also sometimes a girl just needs a piece of chocolate, or a glass of wine, and last week was just not a good week to restrict these two items. To much cray for 1 little week. There are some really awesome recipes in the Whole30 cookbook, so I'm going to keep trying them, and will share some of my favorites with you all.

2 // Big Little Lies on HBO

Anyone else watch the first two episodes of Big Little Lies on HBO? I read the book over a year ago, and loved it. So I was really excited to see they were turning the book into a TV series. I was bummed when I first heard it was going to be on HBO because a few months back we got rid of all of our premium channels in an attempt to save a few bucks. But then I learned you can watch in real time on the HBO NOW app on my iPad (the first 30 days is free and then it's $14.99 a month for the subscription that you can cancel anytime). They have it for Amazon Prime members too if you have a Kindle or Droid Tablet.

I really didn't remember much from the book, other than there was a murder and the main storyline of the book was reliving past events to discover who might have done it and why. The show is set up very similar to the book where it keeps flashing between current day, where they are interviewing witness after the incident to give you a perspective of what happened, and the past where you see the events that lead up to the incident. As I have been watching the show I'm starting to remember certain parts, but I'm kind of glad that I don't remember a lot of the storyline so there is still a little mystery in this series. Let me just say that I LOVE Reese Witherspoon as Madeline Martha Mackenzie (you just have to say all 3 names when you refer to her) and Nicole Kidman as Celeste. I really don't know what will happen once they solve the mystery, but I sure hope they can find a way to keep the show going.

3 // Books

Speaking of books, I'm currently reading another Liane Moriarty book - Truly Madly Guilty. I've been having a tough time getting into this book, but I feel like sometimes her books are like that and once you get past the first 100 pages you can't put it down. I'm almost there, so I'm hoping it picks up soon.  I also have Behind Closed Doors and The Girl Before on my "To Read" list. I love mysteries, but sometimes I also just need a light hearted chick book like First Frost, another book on my list from one of my other favorite writers. I definitely want to put together a book recommendation post of some of my favorite books and authors. I'm also always looking for book recommendations, so please share what are your favorites? What should I add to my list?

4 // Workouts

I joined Orangetheory a few weeks ago and I'm kind of addicted. My favorite part is being able to track my workout with the heart-rate monitor. Your monitor links up with a screen in the middle of the room so you can track in real-time your heart-rate. The goal is for the majority of your workout to be in the 70% range, and for at least 12 minutes to be in the 85% plus range. If you succeed, you will continue to burn calories for up to 48 hours after your workout. It's like having a personal challenge to get in the "zone," but then you have the challenge of working out with other people at the same time and seeing their heart-rates on the screen to push you even further. Each week the workouts are slightly different, but they all involve the treadmill, rowing machine and strength training on the weight floor. I really like how it mixes things up, so it's always a challenge.

Right now I'm only taking classes 1x per week because they are kind of expensive. Oh and they kick my booty so much that I'm sore and can barely walk for like 4 days. I'm debating on upping my membership to 2x per week, but I wanted to see how the first month went. Anyone else try this workout yet? It really is addicting. Oh and if you are interested you can take 1 class for free to try it out before you commit.

5 // Spring Flowers

Our bulbs have started popping up in our flower bed and it's getting me excited to plant flowers and herbs in my garden. I've decided to go with a cut flower garden this year instead of a vegetable garden, primarily because we grow too many tomatoes that we are never able to eat and that take over our garden, and nothing else ever seems to grow. Plus I'm all about flower arranging these days (check out my latest arrangement on Insta), and I'm hoping that I can grow some pretties that I can turn into some nice arrangements. Definitely more updates to come. For those of you who are into gardening, what is your favorite thing to grow? Have you ever had a cut flower garden? If so, what types of flowers were the easiest to grow?

What have you been up to? Tell me something you would like to chat about over coffee? Like what's your favorite coffee? Do you like Starbucks, Tim Hortons or a Specialty Shop? What book are you reading and favorite shows are you watching? Try any crazy fad diets lately? What Spring fashion piece are you dying to get? Would love to hear from you :)

The Best Adventurers of 2016

Friday, February 24, 2017

Happy Friday! Today is a good day to have a good day. It's supposed to be 70 and sunny here in February...and I have the day off.

As I mentioned in my post from the other day, one of the things I miss most about updating my blog is recapping our adventurers and best moments. Sadly when I try to look back on what all we have done, I usually need to refer back to Instagram to remember it all #gettingold. So today I wanted to recap some of those moments and share what Instagram deemed as my Best of 2016...because you know if Instagram says so :)

I know this is so 2016, but humor me as I walk down memory lane...

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~ We love to travel, and we especially love visiting Charleston, SC. This was our second time visiting for our 2nd year anniversary. Our first trip was during our honeymoon. There are so many fun things to do, and so many amazing places to eat, but my favorite thing is just walking around and photographing all of the pretty window boxes #plantlady

~ We also spent our 2nd anniversary on the beach. On the day of our anniversary we woke up super early to watch the sunrise. We took a few photographs and then went back to bed. It's are required to do some sleeping in.

~ We also love exploring Ohio and spent a beautiful Fall day at Hocking Hills.

~ This Moscow Mule from Tupelo Honey Cafe was amazing! And I so wanted to steal that copper mug (but I didn't!!)

~ Rick's sister and BIL moved back to Ohio from DC and bought a cute little log cabin with lots of land for farm animals. Currently they have chickens and ducks, but I am trying to convince them to buy some alpacas. We have enjoyed visiting them, and experiencing farm life.  

~ What year wouldn't be complete without a trip to visit some alpacas. This farm also happened to be a winery...double win!

~ In addition to traveling, we also love to explore our city, and we had visited a few fun spots around Columbus in 2016. I'm hoping we can continue to explore our city in 2017.

~ We also visited Boone Hall Plantation while in Charleston, and it was so picture perfect. 

~  I shared the other day about how we are trying to take more adventurers with the pups, including Miss Abby. We took her to the apple farm shortly after she started recovering from her stroke. She was having a pretty good day that day and we got a few pictures to remember our adventure.

So that is it! As you can see our Best of 2016 was all about travel and exploring, which is one of our favorite things to do. We have started chatting about plans for this year, and I'm really excited to see where our adventurers will take us next.

PS: You can find more travel posts here.

Life Lately { with the Pups }

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hello stranger. It's been a long time since I've visited here. A lot has happened over the last 6 months. Some good, some bad, some I can share, some I can't. For the last few weeks I've felt drawn to open up a blog post and share something, and today is the day. The one thing I've missed most about blogging is looking back on our little family adventurers, so I'm hoping that I can get back to documenting those, even if just for myself.

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Like most of the country, we have been enjoying some beautiful, yet unseasonably warm weather lately. We've all gone a little stir crazy these last few months, which I'll recap in a few, so we took the opportunity to get everyone out of the house and visited Alum Creek beach. I was so nervous to let the pups run free by the lake, but they all cooperated for the most part and luckily neither of us had to jump into the lake after any pups.

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Abby throughly enjoyed drinking lake water and howling at the other dogs that were running and jumping into the lake. We jokingly refer to her as "The Sheriff" because any time another dog is having a good time, she will run up to them and start howling. Like she is saying, "stop having fun guys!" She does it to our other pups, as well as complete stranger pups at the dog park. If she is not in charge, then no pup is allowed to have fun.

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Lately we have been trying to take more adventures with the pups, especially Miss Abby. She is almost 15 years old (in May) and she has had her share of health problems these last few years. A few months ago she had a surgery to remove a growth from her side, and we believe the stress from the surgery possibly caused a stroke.

Immediately after the surgery, and for the following 2 months, she was unable to walk. In the house she would scoot on her hind end to get around, and we had to use a harness to help her walk and go potty. It was a really stressful couple of months, and we never got complete answers to what had happened, but she has quickly bounced back, has regrown strength in her hind legs and for the most part is able to walk on her own. She still has a few bad days, usually when the weather is rainy or super cold, but she also has days like this weekend where she was running all over the beach.

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Although he looks like he is enjoying this trip to the park, this little guy was less than thrilled to be there. He has become somewhat of a hermit and doesn't like to socialize with other pups. He really doesn't like to be outside much either and prefers spending his days either snoozing in our bed on a pile of pillows, or snoozing on my lap while I watch another episode of the Real Housewives or Fixer Upper.

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Our little man has had his share of medical issues too. He had a growth on his front leg that was growing rapidly and was causing him some discomfort. About a month ago he had it removed at OSU and we discovered it was a soft tissue sarcoma, which is basically a cancerous growth. After the surgery we had a follow up appointment with an Oncologist and she confirmed that it was a stage 2, which is considered low-risk, and they felt they had contained all the cancer cells. We will need to follow up with chest x-rays every 3 months to ensure the cancer has not spread to his lungs, and we need to monitor his little leg to re-evaulate should the growth come back, but the Oncologist felt that he should be in good shape for the remainder of his lifespan.

He is 11 years old, but I'll be honest this took me by surprise as we have had this growth removed in the past and our other vet did not believe it to be cancer. But as with the situation with Abby, it's just another reminder that we need to enjoy our time with the pups, and to try and stress a little less when they are driving us crazy because their time on this earth will always be way too short.

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And then there is Bryn. I think she had the most fun at the park. She spent the entire time socializing; she is our little social butterfly. She thought every human at the park should pet her and every dog should play with her. This is the best picture we got of her, and it's still blurry, because she would not stand still for one moment.

This little girl has had her share of issues, but mostly because she is a klutz and does something crazy to hurt herself. She has been in a cone for the last few months because she keeps licking a spot on her front leg where she had an IV over the summer. She swan-dived off the bed and hurt her neck, which landed her in the animal hospital for 4 days until they could control her pain. We are super lucky she didn't need to have surgery, or else it would have been 3 surgeries in the last 9 months for these pups. Needless to say we definitely deserve a discount...the 4th one should be free! But hopefully we are done with vet visits for at least a little while.

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But back to this beautiful weekend. The pups had a wonderful time, and we were glad everyone was somewhat healthy enough to get out of the house. We've had 2 of our 3 pups in cones lately, and I had many comments about the pups finally being cone-free when I posted the above photo on Facebook. Well almost cone-free, we still keep them in cones when we can't keep an eye on them.

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{ He is so happy to be leaving the park and heading home...our little hermit! }

Here's to hoping for more great weather, healthier pups, and more blog updates! Make sure to stop back soon!

Another Round of Birthday Fun

Thursday, August 18, 2016

A few weeks ago I had another birthday. My birthday is a little bittersweet. I love to celebrate birthdays, and as a Leo, I love celebrating my own. But this whole getting older thing just stinks. The best way I know to survive birthdays is to celebrate as much as I can, and not count the candles on my cake.

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This year for my birthday I wanted to go to the zoo and feed the giraffes. I saw people doing this a few years ago, and had just missed the feeding time, so it has been on my bucket list for a few years now.

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Meed Conner. He was a hungry fella and was the only one out of all of the giraffes that would eat anything from us. I guess the giraffes were a little scared of all of us, especially the kids. They also didn't like anyone wearing baseball caps. But luckily Conner cooperated and I got to check another thing off my bucket list.

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For those who are local, it cost $3 for a few leafs of lettuce. There are multiple feeding times throughout the day, including 9 am, 11 am, 1 pm, 3 pm and 5 pm.

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We then had to stop by one of my other favorite creatures. A few years ago I took a camel ride for my birthday and checked another item off my bucket list. I think this guy might have remembered me from a few years ago, and was wishing me a happy birthday!

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I am always excited to see the flamingos, and enjoyed this one practicing his yoga moves. The flamingos were really active that day, and you can see the one guy in the upper left who was showing off.

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It was so super hot that day and most of the animals were lounging around. This guy had the right idea about keeping cool.

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I have no idea why the polar bears weren't keeping cool in the water. There is a baby polar bear named Nora that you can visit with in the morning. We didn't arrive until later in the afternoon, but I would love to go back and see her sometime. I heard they are moving her to another zoo, so I'm not sure if that will be able to happen though.

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The elephant was keeping cool with a little hay on his back. It was crazy to see him so close. I feel like most of the time they are pretty far off in the distance.

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More lazy animals, although this guy was really pretty.

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And of course I had to include a pic of my love who made sure I had a pretty amazing birthday.

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He started my day off with waffles, bacon and mimosas. Then after our trip to the zoo we had dinner at Cooper's Hawk, one of my favorite restaurants.

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On Sunday my family and Rick's family came to visit to continue the celebrations. We cooked tacos, Mexican rice and Mexican street corn. It was so delish and a lot of fun to catch up with everyone!

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My bro and I cheesing it up for the camera.

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We joke we only get along when wine is involved.

It was a great birthday, and I'm trying my best to continue the celebrations as much as I can. I love celebrating but I'm not ready to celebrate the next birthday anytime soon.