What to Expect When You're Expecting a Newfoundland Puppy

If you’re here, you’ve probably already decided you want a puppy, and maybe even a Newf. So before we start, take it all in. Look at the FLUFF. The cuteness. Imagine the snuggles, the face kisses, the joy you’ll feel after a long day of work and your pup is elated to see you, the walks to the park. Ahhhhhhhhh. Now, we’re going to turn off our emotions, look away from those sweet little puppy dog eyes, and think with our brains.

Here’s what to expect when you’re expecting a Newfoundland puppy, straight from the girl who thought she knew it all.

B63337E8-859A-4020-A1DE-35A4F05AC91E.jpg

My pup, Goose, is a ten week old ball of fluff (and energy). If you’re thinking “chill girl, you’ve had a dog for 3 weeks, and you’re writing a blog post?”, I get why you think that, but listen this is FRESH intel ok. It’s all I’m thinking about, and I’m neck deep in this world. I’m no dog trainer or breeder, or expert of any kind, but I’m a normal gal, I love my dog, and I’ve got plentyyyyyy of learnings from these last few weeks. Read on.

let’s talk about sleep, or as I like to call it “laying completely still in the dark and praying the yelps stop eventually” —

In short, you won’t be getting much rest, at least for a while. I read all the research about crate training. I already knew way ahead of time that it was a no-no to let him in our bed, and that Goose would need to be taken out at least every two hours during the night I REPEAT AT LEAST EVERY TWO HOURS DURING THE NIGHT, but here’s what the cute little Pinterest articles and YouTube videos don’t tell you. Your puppy is probably gonna yelp in between those two hours. So by the time they go back to sleep, you’ve only got an hour and a half until the next alarm, plus your heart rate is all up because you think your neighbors are going to call the cops on you from the barking. Parents: you get it, you’ve been there, wah wah I’m a huge wimpy complainer but MILLENNIALS! If you’ve never had a baby and regularly appreciate uninterrupted sleep, be warned. Here’s a little clip of Goose at 4am for your listening pleasure:

 
 

If you’re thinking, “Oh I read online that you have to make the crate a happy place that they love to go into, she prob just skipped that step.” I did not skip that step. You wouldn’t believe the hoops I jumped through trying to convince this dog that his crate is Disneyland. Meals? In the crate. He goes in the crate? Highest value treats sprinkled all around. All the best toys? In the crate. Special occasion chewies that are like $8 a pop, IN THAT CRATE. And it works! He likes going into his crate. Except when he decides he doesn’t, which is usually around 4am, and he feels free to let me know that he wants out. Loudly.

Here are some mistakes I made, so you don’t have to:

  1. Sleeping on the floor, next to his crate.

    For about a week, I thought that sleeping on the floor would help soothe him back into falling asleep during the night. When he would cry I would put my fingers through the slats, let him lick them or bite them, and try to pet him until he fell asleep. HAH. When my trainer heard this, she was like……no. Apparently, I was teaching him that “yelp yelp yelp” = “mom pets me and talks to me”. When we moved off the floor and back onto the bed, things got a lot better for him and us (understatement!).

2. Expecting him to just “be okay” in his crate

The first week or so, I’d put Goose in his crate with his favorite toy, give him some treats when he walked in, close the door, leave the room, and he would IMMEDIATELY start barking, and I couldn’t figure out why he was so very opposed to being in there for like any amount of time, especially when I got him a nice cozy bed, he had his favorite toys, whatever. So the trick is, they need a way to be busy in their crate. When their mind starts wandering, they’re like hmmm yeah I want out. But when they’re concentrating on something besides the fact that they’re in a tiny box, they do much better. I got Goose some special chews that he only gets when he’s in his crate (makes him like the crate more!), which usually keep him occupied long enough to get sleepy and pass out. These were the single biggest game-changers in my opinion.

3. Letting him bark to tell us he needs out during the night

So for the first week, Goose pretty much barked every hour to two hours or so, we would take him out, he would pottty, we’d take him back in, he’d whine for a bit, then go back to sleep. Rinse and repeat. It was kinda like clockwork, but as I mentioned in point #1, the whining and barking in between was miserable. Our trainer told us that by setting an alarm, waking HIM up (counterintuitive, believe me, I know) and taking him out, it means he doesn’t get all aggravated and awake, and he just kinda zombie-walks outside, pees, and falls back asleep. It worked! It’s really hard to get yourself to wake up your sleeping puppy when all you wanna do is sleep yourself, but it made a pretty big difference for us.

4. Taking him out of the crate when he yelps.

Ok, so I digress and this is more about crate training, but whatever, here’s the DL. Every time he barked, and I walked in the room, and let him out of the crate, it solidified the idea in his head that “make noise” = attention, or escape from the crate. So I learned some self control, let him bark for a WHILE even though it stressed me out (I’m talking like..45 minutes straight) and let him calm down before taking him out in silence. Here’s the caveat: you have to make sure that they don’t have to pee/poop, which means they have to be taken out and have already done both immediately before entering the crate, so you can guarantee that’s not the issue. With puppies, they can’t hold their bladders long, so if your dog won’t stop barking, strive for like 5 seconds of silence, or go in backwards (yes, for real) and don’t look at them while you let them out.

D9EBCF70-C176-4D6A-8A9F-D2FA3E4D5D37.JPG



say au revoir to your disposable income —

I knew owning a dog would be expensive, and I prepared and saved up for it for a long while. That being said, I had no. freaking. clue. what I was getting into financially, and this is just the beginning. First of all, you buy the dog. Goose was about $2,000, pretty average for a quality Newfoundland puppy, and vet bills were average as well, a couple hundred for the routine puppy shots, and all that. We actually put him on insurance, which is $45 a month and covers all the main stuff for the first year. Chump change people!

Then we get to all the stuff. I saved up and bought a lot of his stuff over time before we got him, which I recommend because it doesn’t seem as overwhelming. And to be fair, I got really cute stuff because I like cute stuff, and I was excited about getting a puppy, duh, so I could’ve probably pinched a few more pennies here, but even buying just the bare minimum stuff would be somewhere around $500. I personally spent around $1000, but Newfs are pretty expensive to buy for because they’re big and bigger = more expensive when it comes to pet gear, and also because they need a lot more grooming items than most breeds like a dog blow dryer. LOL. Anyway, we’re at about $3500, and I still say…Chump change.

I work for a startup in San Francisco, which comes along with some incredible benefits. The most relevant one to this post is that I can have a dog at work. “Score! I’ll just bring my puppy to work!” Thought my naive, pre-dog self. HAH, no. If I want to keep my job at the dog friendly office, I’m going to need to get some actual work done, which is fairly impossible with a new puppy. I worked from home the whole first week I had Goose, and it was so impossible to finish tasks, and also it’s just so physically and mentally exhausting, which leads me to the topic of puppy daycare. We pay $2000 a month for Goose to attend a puppy daycare, 5 days a week, from 7:30am-2:30pm. That is more than my rent, folks. :) And I still have to pick him up at 2:30pm.

I bought all the predictable, usual stuff. A bowl, a crate, a crate pad, lots of plushy toys, a kong toy, a collar, a leash, cleanup spray, yada yada. I checked about 8 “Bring Home Your Puppy Checklists” on Pinterest to make sure I didn’t overlook something. But then comes the stuff you never even thought about buying. Like it literally never crossed your mind. You can’t just buy ONE kong toy, you need like THREE so you can load them up and freeze them so they’re ready to go. You need a puzzle bowl to keep him occupied longer in his crate during meal times. How about a bunch of “chewies”? I’m talking bully sticks, chicken tendon, duck neck, cow lung, pig ears. Ope, he peed on the pigs ear, we need to get a new one..Or what about a front pull harness for training (go ahead and forget about the cute collar you got on Etsy)? Did you think you’d need a popsicle mold to make “pupsicles” for your dog in? Me either, but apparently I do!

The fun part of spending comes with socializing, but it’s still stressful because your bank is suffering. Our trainer told us to take him out as much as possible— to coffee shops, breweries, out to grab lunch, wherever. Especially for city dogs, they need to acclimate to the sights smells, sounds, etc. and the socialization window is quite small. This means laying home and being loners is a no-go for the first bit. It has been SO fun going out for a drink every night and a coffee every morning and eating out more than usual, but, yeah. Still expensive. Still broke.

I’ll link the list of some stuff I bought for Goose here. It’s all really awesome, and is basically necessity if you ask me. Except this dog bed wasn’t quite necessity, but like, how amazing is it?! Yeahhhhhh, we put it in the closet ‘til he learns to stop chewing. C’est la vie with a new pup. :/

27431B87-D4D2-4A81-8AC2-F864DBFB8F9C.JPG
828C2F58-46B3-4CED-8CFD-8352DEA5520F.jpg


your pup can’t walk around on the ground for FOUR MONTHS—

I kinddddda thought I got this concept, but just in case you didn’t know. Your puppy has to have all their vaccines before you can take them to public places, without risking serious illnesses like parvovirus. If you live in the city like me, everywhere is a public place. Goose won’t receive all his vaccines until he is 16 weeks old, which means, until then, we have to be extremely careful about the outdoor surfaces he touches. No grass, no mud, no dirty streets, no sorta-dirty streets, no dog parks, no parks at all. He has to be wheeled around in a ridiculous cart, everywhere we want to take him. Goose didn’t love this cart, so there was certainly a learning curve (and still is) so he doesn’t jump out! Watch as your neighbors and all other city-folk judge you. ;)

B11379F3-0BBC-42B1-80CE-EECDF1C67CE5.JPG

and now for the hardest part: the complete and total loss of selfishness—

You wanna go see that new movie? Nope, you have a dog now. I felt prepared for this loss of freedom. You want to go out to the bar on a whim? Nope, you have a dog now. I felt prepared for this loss of freedom. I already knew that having a dog would mean much less freedom to do the things that I wanted to do for fun. However, I wasn’t prepared for the total loss of selfishness about the seemingly basic things I loved and cared about. For instance, showering. Do you know how hard it is to shower in the morning when your puppy peed all over himself, needs a bath, is wailing at 5:30 am, and you gotta get out the door. Girl, you don’t get to shower! Makeup, who? Eating is not really a thing, because the second he falls asleep, you’re trying to cram in as much work as humanly possible. Or when you look at your phone for literally 17 seconds of Instagram scrolling because you’re tired and just want to chill, and when you look up, he’s chewing on that one piece of furniture you got at West Elm? Yeah, it’s hard. And it’s 100% exacerbated by the fact that you’re exhausted. You will likely be a emo basket case, so just be prepared for that, ok? Cool!




that being said, it’s all worth it! not just later, but as you go along.




Everyday, I see little improvements from Goose. We’re only three weeks in, and he’s already mostly sleeping through the night, he likes his crate, and is able to stay in it for about an hour at a time, he’s learning his name, and “sit”, and he’s just generally a really good boy. Every time I see him do something better than before, it makes me extremely proud of him, but also myself and Michael, and there’s a sense of fulfillment that I helped him achieve something, and bettered him as a dog. Every time we take him out into public and he is so good and people love on him and hold him and compliment him, I beam. Through Goose, I have met and talked to more people in San Francisco in 3 weeks, than I have in the entire 6 months I’ve been here. And in the sleepy moments where he crawls up right at my feet when we’re all watching TV as a family at night, I’m like damn. You rock. I can’t wait to see him grow and improve over the years, and one day, I am sure I’ll miss these puppy days more than anything. But for now, holding strong, learning lots, and trying to give him the best I’ve got.

IMG_0996.JPG
DF67B645-BC20-423F-B432-1E629DD09266.jpg
8057DB74-06D2-4788-8488-933508E10E97.JPG




DIY Christmas Ornaments

This blog post was also posted on Advice From A 20 Something.

This Christmas, I wanted to get in the holiday spirit (to be truthful, I'm sort of a Grinch... why do we start listening to overly-catchy Christmas music three months in advance guys???) but I didn't have a lot of money, and I didn't really find any decorations that weren't offending me with crazy rhinestones and sparkles and in-your-face Christmassy-ness. So I had to ease into it. 

301A9970.jpg

I thought it would be more fun and less expensive to try my hand at making my OWN ornaments, and although this type of thing sometimes ends in disaster, this was 100% painless, and with a little cup of coffee and a touch of Elvis Presley Christmas music playing, I may have just found myself in a holly jolly mood while making these. :)

What you need:

Oven Bake Clay-

I used Sculpey Polymer Clay. It was about $2 a color at my local craft store, and was super easy to work with. It's like adult play-doh! Make sure you get Oven Bake clay and not Air Dry clay. Also, I was wondering if the colors would darken after baking, and they pretty much stayed exactly the same so make sure you snag the colors you like as-is.

Twine-

This is pretty self-explanatory. You just need something to hang your finished products from! I recommend going for a thinner string so you don't have to make the holes in your ornaments as large.

301A9990.jpg

Toothpicks-

I used a toothpick to carve a tiny hole in the tops of my ornaments, but you can basically use anything similar and it will do the trick.

301A9986.jpg

Cookie-Cutters-

This is optional, but I found that it was much easier to make "good" ornaments while using a cookie-cutter. However, if you're down for the imperfections, go freehand!

301A9977.jpg
301A9982.jpg

How to Make Them:

So first, grab some wax paper and form your ornaments. You can make any shape or size! This was the most fun part and where you can really get creative. Even try swirling colors together for a marbling effect! Best part? It is clay so if it looks horrible, roll it into a ball and start over!! 

When you've finalized your designs, put your ornaments in an oven preheated to 275 degrees (if you're using Sculpey Clay). It's very important that you do not burn your ornaments, so make sure to check on the specific temperature the brand of clay you're using calls for. Since mine were relatively thin, I baked them for 10 minutes, checked on them, and then left them in for five more, totaling 15 minutes! So simple and quick!

301A9993.jpg
301A0001.jpg

This little project does not end up in perfect ornaments. They will not look flawless, I can pretty much guarantee it. However, that was almost my favorite part. Each imperfection represented the handmade homey feel of the holiday season, and there was so much satisfaction in creating them myself! Totally something to do with girlfriends over some mulled wine or with your kids if you have a family!

301A9999.jpg

 

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays guys!

rings are from Mint Jewelry Co.

Vampy Blood Orange Sangria Pops Perfect for Halloween

301A6442.jpg

If you're like me, as a kid you LOVED Halloween. Your costume was planned out a month in advance and you had your trash bag or pillow case or whatever giant bag you can get your hands on to acquire the biggest haul of candy possible. Now, trick-or-treating as an adult would be.....creepy to say the least, but that doesn't mean we can't enjoy the same joy of Halloween with these fun boozy vampire-inspired treats!

301A6477.jpg

To start out, you'll need to squeeze enough blood oranges to make about 3 cups worth of juice. I love cutting these things open because each one is such a stunning surprise of color inside! Plus blood oranges. Blood. Vampires. Halloween. Get it? ha ha, ANYWAY!

301A6494.jpg
301A6506.jpg

Next, pour the juice into a saucepan, and combine with three tablespoons of sugar to start out.

301A6526.jpg

Add in 2 1/4 cups of red wine (you can choose whatever your favorite is, but we went with a pre-blended sangria wine for ease!) and taste to make sure the mixture is sweet enough. If not, add sugar to taste.

301A6556.jpg

Finally, to make these pops extra vampy and spooky, we added in two capsules of activated charcoal. Activated Charcoal is actually really great for your digestive system, and can help reduce bloating! Yes please! 

After you mix in all the ingredients, simmer on low until the sugar dissolves, then let cool completely.

301A6566.jpg

Lastly, pour the cooled-down mixture into the molds and freeze! It's better to leave them in the freezer for at least a day before serving just to ensure a good solid freeze.

301A6621.jpg

REcipe:

ingredients:

3 cups of Blood Orange Juice

3 Tbsp. Sugar (or more to taste)

2 1/4 cups of Red Wine

2 Activated Charcoal Capsules

instructions:

1. Combine blood orange juice, sugar, and wine into saucepan, adding more sugar if needed. 

2. Simmer ingredients on low until sugar dissolves.

3. Let mixture cool, and pour into molds.

4. Freeze, and enjoy!

301A6614.jpg

HAVE A SPOOKY HALLOWEEN!

Three Ways to Style the Awkward Corner In Your Apartment

This blog post was created for Advice From a 20 Something and can be found here.

All styling, writing, and photography was done by me.

When moving into a new apartment, you start with the basics. A couch. A coffee table. A rug. A lamp. But once you get everything moved in, you look over, and it seems like there’s always a weird corner that looks totally empty. If you’re like me, you try a bunch of different things and ideas, but all your furniture looks too randomly placed or awkward and you end up either leaving it bare or keeping the awkward piece there just so there’s something there.. SO, I decided to try a few different looks to help you transform your own awkward corner into your favorite part of the room.

Music Afficianados:

If you play any musical instruments or just love music in general, this one’s for you. Instruments can look weird in the middle of a room anyway, so the corner is a natural space to put them so that they’re out of the way. Make yours the center of attention by mounting it on the wall, which gives you easy access to it, and turns it into part of the decor.

If you’re more of a music-appreciator than a music-maker, invest in a cool record player and display your collection on a funky storage shelf. Not only does this let you show off your awesome music taste, but it’s a fun conversation starter and always leads to some good vibes for get-togethers.

 

Cozy Corner:

If your idea of a good time is reading a classic book while smoking a tobacco pipe and sipping cognac OR if you just like to sit down in big regal chairs (who doesn’t??), don’t worry, I thought of you too. Find yourself a chair that is really going to shine. It’s the main attraction, so go bold either with a strong color or a nice deep tan leather like this one. Pairing it with a sheepskin pelt cozies it up a little, and immediately turns your awkward corner into a place where everyone wants to sit.

Adding plants is pretty much a go-to for every weird space. It closes in the strange gaps of blank walls, and somehow makes a room feel more open and clean. I say, “the more the merrier!” Urban sells some really cute brass planters for big house plants that I recommend.

Finally, a lamp is a nice touch so that you can read your heart out morning, day, or night, and this mid-century modern one from Target pairs nicely with almost anything. Finish it off with a to-die-for Santal candle from Riddle Oil. You’ll thank me later.

 

Storage, Storage, Storage:

If you’re thinking, all this sounds great, but my apartment is the size of a cardboard box and I can’t afford to waste all that space: I know that feel. I too struggle with sacrificing aesthetic for storage space. BUT, I think there’s a way to have your cake and eat it too. I picked up this ottoman from World Market, and it’s so nice because it opens up and you can store seriously tons of stuff in it. When you’re not using it, you can just close the top and use it as extra lounging space. Also, its rectangular shape fits perfectly into a corner making it the perfect little corner spot to drink your morning coffee or meditate before your day gets started.

Add some fun woven baskets around to keep your throw blankets or extra pillows in. It makes the corner look even cozier and doubles up for more storage. You can even add a dresser into the mix and store all the stuff you normally would put in your random drawer (I know you have one!!) like all ten of your remotes and your board games you’ve played once.

Top the dresser off with some tiny cacti or succulents to keep the meditative vibes flowing and add height to that section of your corner. If there are still weird empty spaces, adding some posters or wall art can pull a look together. An artist, Sarah Minks, painted my moon picture, and I absolutely love it. I’m pretty sure she can paint anything, so consider commissioning a piece that means something to you and that adds your unique personality to your apartment or home.

 

Which corner works best for you?

xx,

Kendall Skye

Girls' Night In- with DOVE promises

This post was done for Advice From a 20 Something

The original posting can be found here.

Thank you MARS, Inc. for sponsoring this post. All opinions are, of course, my own.

301A4591.jpg

While I’ll always love a night out with friends, there’s just something about girls night in that can’t be beat. It takes me back to my middle school days of sleepovers and giggling until your stomach hurts. But just because you and your friends are staying in doesn’t mean you can’t make things a little interesting. Here are some super easy and fun ideas for hosting the perfect girls night in on even the tightest budget:

1. Do a “chocolate pairing”

If you like to pretend you’re a foodie, this one is for you. :) DOVE® Promises® come in so many different flavors that go perfectly with various drinks, fruits, and even cheeses! Fancy up your night by pouring different drinks into unlabeled bottles and laying out a platter of fruits & cheeses to pair with 3 different types of DOVE Chocolate Promises.

Tips:
– Pair fruity flavors with DOVE’s chocolate covered cherries or cranberries.
– Citrus flavors tasted best with milk chocolate, and this DOVE Promises Silk Smooth Caramel Milk Chocolate was heavenly.
– Try a mild cheese with DOVE’s dark chocolate covered almonds. The combo will blow your mind!

2. Make indoor s'mores

There’s no better way to bond than around a campfire with s’mores. Well, why not bring that feeling indoors? Start with some basic terra-cotta pots (you can buy these for less than a dollar), and fill them up about three-quarters of the way with potting soil. Place a little heat canister (you know that thing caterers use to keep their dishes warm?) inside the pot, and top it off with some pebbles. I was a little nervous this wasn’t going to go as planned, but low-and-behold it went perfectly! Instead of using a traditional chocolate bar for the chocolate portion, we popped a DOVE Promises Silk Smooth Sea Salt Caramel Dark Chocolate on our s’mores and I’m never going back! So yummy and so melty. Make sure to stop by your local Walgreens to prep for your next girl’s night and to save $1 when you buy 2 DOVE Promise bags between 4/30-6/4!

3. Recycle the pots for a DIY craft

Next, we let the heat canisters cool in our pots, then popped them out leaving the perfect amount of space to plant a succulent in them. This was super fun because everyone had something to take home with them, and nothing went to waste or ended up in a random cabinet somewhere! I snagged a couple of white paint pens from my local craft store and everyone decorated their own pot with them for added flair and personalization. If you’re looking for a more hands-on activity, as well as something you can take home after, this is the perfect thing!

4. Homemade Movie Theatre

Instead of watching a movie on your TV curled up on the couch, why not amp things up a bit? Hang a sheet on your wall and use a projector to create a homemade movie theater! Get on your pajamas, plug in the twinkly lights, and turn on an old classic movie that everyone loves that way- if you guys want to talk, you’re not missing much because you’ve all seen it 1,000 times, yet if you want to watch, you know it’s gonna be a good one.

5. No Phone Policy

When your friends arrive, have everyone toss their phone in a basket. Having a night with no distractions can really help everyone truly be in the present. Your focus won’t be on the stresses of your daily life or social media. Instead, you’ll be able to enjoy each other’s company to the fullest!

How To Make Your Shower as Relaxing as a Bath

This post was originally posted on Advice From a Twenty Something, and the text was provided by contributor Chelsea Becker.

All photos were taken and styled by me.

The thought of a long, luxurious bubble bath in a fancy bathtub is what dreams are made of, especially on a stressful day. But let’s face it, not everyone has a bath, and if you do, it’s likely in a hundred-year-old apartment and isn’t the most inviting thing in the world. Even if you have a nice bath, who has the time for one every day? Not me! If you want to unwind but a bath isn’t in the cards, you can still get that at-home spa feeling during a shower. Here are 5 ways to create a relaxing shower experience:

Dry Brush

Before you step into the shower, give yourself a detoxing massage with a dry brush. Dry brushing is popular in the wellness world right now because it helps with removing dead skin cells, inflammation, and even cellulite (score!), and it’s so easy—and cheap—to do. Move the brush in strong strokes towards your heart. Do your feet and legs first, then follow up with your arms. By the time you step into the shower, you’ll feel exfoliated and super soft!

SHOWER MELT

Basically the equivalent of a bath bomb but for your shower, a shower melt is the quickest way to feel pampered while showering. Just drop it by your drain and let it do its thing. As the water runs, it’ll melt and the relaxing eucalyptus steam will fill your shower. Perfect after a long day or when you’re stuffy, eucalyptus is great for clearing up sinuses. Plus, this melt is non-toxic!

FIND THE RIGHT SOAP

You may not be soaking in bubble bath, but you can use a soap that feels just as luxe. Since your body is already exfoliated, now is the time to give it some moisture. Use a gentle hydrating body wash, like this, and let it soak into your skin. And the best part about being in a shower? You can actually rinse away product and feel squeaky clean when you get out!

SPA MUSIC

We all like the occasional jam sesh in the shower, but when it’s time to chill, soothing music is the way to go. I like to use any type of meditation or spa music, as these instantly wind me down. Spotify and Pandora both have “spa music” channels that are great for zen vibes!

OIL UP

As soon as you get out of the shower, pat yourself dry, then apply a body oil to lock in the moisture. This one smells insane, is non-toxic, and leaves your skin feeling super dewy.(You can even make your own like Kendall did for today’s post — more on that soon!) Lathering up with body oil feels so luxurious and your skin will feel ridiculously soft when you’re done!

Ahhhh! Relaxed yet?

What tricks do you have for creating a relaxing shower?

Written by contributor Chelsea Becker.
Photography & styling by Kendall McLeod.
Location courtesy of Claire Fagin.

Desert Dreamers Retreat

A couple weeks ago, I was hiking in Yosemite when my friend amelia called and invited me to meet up with her and some amazing creatives in Joshua tree, and to be candid, my first thought was "oh shit." I felt a little heavy and was tempted to decline, which is a part of my personality I don't fully understand, but maybe you've been there. Like, it's not that I didn't want to I really really wanted to, I just felt so small and unworthy and was so scared to embarrass myself, but I didn't want to show it so I said yes. You're probably reading this thinking that I was taking things way too seriously which I totally WAS but I couldn't help feeling like I didn't deserve to be there with these people who I had looked up to for a long time. 

As the date got a little closer I was feeling a little panicky about my lack of outfits/skills/equipment/etc which started to wear on me a little. If I don't correct myself, I can be pretty self destructive, and it definitely spirals. Amelia assured me that it was gonna be super chill and I was smiling like "yeah for sure, for sure" and then going straight back to stressed. Again, maybe you can relate. 

 

When we finally arrived, I felt a little better. First of all, the AirBnb was absolutely incredible. Down to every last detail, it was so amazing, so my geeking out from that definitely took some of the edge off. Secondly, as the girls rolled in, everyone was so nice and I felt stupid for ever being freaked out. 

photo by  @jessicaspohr

photo by @jessicaspohr

It was obvious that I wasn't the most experienced photographer there, and at moments I had a hard time feeling confident in my talent, but these girls really surprised me in their humility. Meeting someone you've already followed on Instagram is always served with a side of awkwardness and a dash of intimidation, but this was different. Everyone was totally lifting each other up with encouragement and tips and good vibes and I genuinely felt really lucky. Each and every girl there added so much to the dynamic, and it was inspiring to hear so many totally different perspectives from some of the most talented people I've ever met, but also to feel like someone "got" the same struggles and doubts I have faced as a creative. 

So here's to facing fears when you don't want to, leaping into embarrassment, and ending up with some good memories, pretty photos, and a heart full of light. I highly recommend it. 

enjoy this little desert playlist collab with Jason Munninghoff for all the magic:

 

Photo by  @paytonhartsell
photo by  @jessicaspohr

photo by @jessicaspohr

A huge thank you to @allegraroseb, @courtneysteeves, @paytonhartsell, @amelia.edmondson, @jessicaspohr, and @gabriellacullynephotography for being a part of this, and an especially huge thanks to @allegraroseb for organizing the beautiful #happyhomesteadhouse AirBnb and to @amelia.edmondson for inviting me. you guys are absolute gems.

Going and Doing

At my university, Spring Break is no joke. I can't even begin to tell you how many people I know went out of the United States for our week off. It would actually be quicker to list the people who stayed. It's crazy! There's absolutely nothing wrong with traveling to other places, believe me I'm a HUGE believer in expanding horizons both metaphorically and literally, but if you're anything like me, watching all your friends leave to magical destinations leaves you feeling a bit entitled. Why was I missing out? I deserve to go somewhere. This week, I've said out loud that it's not fair. Not fair that I have no crazy amazing plans for a week in Thailand or London or Mexico or honestly anywhere. Not fair that I couldn't afford a cute Airbnb in the jungle or even in Portland. Not fair that it was raining everywhere I had in mind. With nothing planned and spring break underway, I stayed in California. Poor poor me, right? 

Then I started thinking about it. I live in CALIFORNIA. In high school, I would have been thrilled to hop on a flight to Malibu, California for Spring Break. I would have died to road trip up to Northern California. Honestly, I live in the destination. Suddenly, I felt better about my lack of plans, and vowed to hit the beach daily to relax. I'll be honest, seeing travel photos on social media still stung a little bit. I still teemed with jealousy when I thought about other people's plans. I wanted to do something that felt like a spring break, but I had nothing. I knew I wanted to go camping at Yosemite, but the only time we could go was Saturday morning, and it seemed like a waste to drive all that way just to turn around and drive home the next day. However, Friday night, we finalized the plans. We just packed up and left at midnight. Sleepy eyed and sunburned we drove and drove (I slept mostly, sorry guys) until we arrived in the valley. 

For those of you who know me, you know how much I love Yosemite National Park. It is my happy place. I have an entire collection of enamelware just waiting for the opportunity to escape the box and hold some fresh campfire coffee. Along with that, I have pretty much all the buffalo plaid my closet will hold, and a sherpa jacket that has been around the globe, so you know I was thriving when we pulled up and there was snow on the ground.

As I looked at Yosemite Falls, I tried finding a speck of falling water and watching it hit the bottom. There is such an awesome wonder about that place, and I found myself totally at peace. Our spontaneity suddenly filled me with such a joy and gratitude. I hadn't blown all my money and I had still made it. I achieved the high I was looking for; and you know why? Because we went. We just did it. There was no time for comparison because we were filling our precious time with doing and planning our own small adventure. It felt good guys. It's the type of happiness that nothing can take from you, which was good because a blizzard had us leaving that night instead of the next morning. We spent not even 24 hours in Yosemite National Park, but I felt so alive as we pulled back in the driveway at 1 a.m.. I'm so thankful for people that are willing to go and do and even leave the elaborate plans at home. Thanks to them, I was able to enjoy the simplicity of going with the flow this week, and instead of entitled, I'm feeling pretty dang lucky.

we cheated and bought coffee cause we were frozen solid. worth it.

we cheated and bought coffee cause we were frozen solid. worth it.

By the way, I have this camping dinner tradition, and I wanted to share the recipe for anyone who wants a fun easy campfire meal!

Here's what you'll need for 3-5 people:

  • 1 lb of ground beef
  • 1 white onion
  • 3-5 carrots
  • 2 potatoes
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • aluminum foil
  • 1 box of dry onion soup mix
  • salt & pepper

Here's how ya make it:

Make 2 sheets of foil about the size of letter paper for each person.

Next, peel and cut the ingredients (except the beef) into small cubes and place enough for each person on 1/2 of the sheets of foil you have cut.

Form little patties with the beef and place those on each pile of veggies.

Sprinkle some onion soup on each pile, the more the better honestly. Salt and pepper to taste. 

Take the remaining foil sheets and place over the piles. Pinch/fold/roll the edges together to make a little foil pouch.

Place on the fire, and try to cook as evenly as possible! Check periodically until the meat is no longer pink. Enjoy!

February is for Lovers

February is for lovers. A time for loving others, your significant other, or yourself. We forget that last one too often. In between rushing for last-minute flowers or scrambling for reservations, we don't stop to breathe or reflect for a second. When's the last time you took an evening to relax and treat yourself? Like honestly? Without feeling super bad about it later or feeling like you have so much catching up to do? My guess is that it's been a while. One of my favorite things to do is throw on my cozy socks, mix up some yummy-smelling face serums, listen to music, light candles, and drink coffee in bed. It's my paradise. Valentine's Day advice: take the day to create yours.

Love Potion Facial Serum Recipe

Mix equal parts: Argan Oil, Vitamin E Oil,

Rosehip Seed Oil, Pure Aloe Vera, and Jojoba Oil

Pour into glass bottle with dropper or pump.

Fill rest of bottle almost to the top with Safflower Oil.

Add Essential Oils:

5 drops lemon

5 drops eucalyptus

2 drops bergamot

2 drops lavender

I also created a Valentine's Day Playlist for you guys to help you get allllllllll in the cozy bluesy lovey feels. 

Here you are:

 
IMG_3339.jpg

Check out Amelia Edmondson and more pics of our collaboration on Instagram: @amelia.edmondson

Cozy Beach Mornings

So, I've been wanting to get this ball rolling for a while, and I think this shoot was the beginning of my progress. I don't know about you guys, but I'm always feeling stuck between my pipe dreams and the "real world". I have this voice inside of me that tells me to create and create simply, and I know that won't make me millions, but I feel so drawn to that concept. Then, I think of internships, job applications, emails, and I feel like I'm unconsciously beginning my journey up this corporate ladder, and even though I can tell it's not where I'm supposed to be, the world seems to shove it in front of me. I often feel like maybe I'm crazy, because I don't have the best gear, the best photos, the most polished aesthetic, and honestly, I really haven't even found my voice yet, but I still hold onto this thing that I feel called to.

That being said, I've been blessed with only a few really really good friends in life, and it's rare I find new friends. Amelia and I met for about 7 minutes (lol) before she went to live in Switzerland for four months, but when she came back, I knew she would be a gem in my life. Here's to many more early morning shoots, good conversations, and creating whatever feels good.