January 28, 2016

Traveling with a Pet

I've decided to redirect the focus of this blog so for now I'm gonna call it a lifestyle blog. I've said before that I don't want to soley focus on design posts. There's a lot more going on in my life. I love food, fashion, fitness, traveling and the list goes on. Basically my point is that I don't know if I'll create a new blog or change the face of this one but for now, I'll be writing about whatever comes to mind.

Tim and I did a lot of traveling in 2015 and we took Artie (that's my fur baby if you're new around here) everywhere we went. He got to go camping. He went to Asheville, Charleston, DC and Williamsburg.

I want to share some tips on where to stay, what to bring and how to plan for traveling with your pet.

Where to Stay

-From our experience we found that La Quintas are a very good, affordable option. That doesn't mean that everyone will be great. You have to use your best judgement.

-We also loved using an Airbnb for traveling with our pup. Just check it as an amenity that you want and it will narrow down your options easily. We used this option for our Asheville trip.

-Make sure the hotel has your contact info in case something happens to your pet while you are not there. Also make sure the hotel allows you to leave the pet in the room unattended. A LOT of them do not.

-Also, you still may want to notify the host/hostess on Airbnb even if they do allow pets. They may tell you about some specific rules applying to your pet. For instance, in Asheville there were pet blankets to lay over the bedding to avoid dog hair  and dirt getting on it.

What to Bring

-Although Artie is house-trained we still usually take some sort of carpet cleaner in case he does have an accident. 

-Something familiar (a blanket, toy, their crate) Bring something that will comfort your pet. They are more likely to get acclimated to their new surroundings when they feel at home.

-Paperwork. This one may sound ridiculous but some dog parks require you to have vaccination forms with you and you never know what might happen. Better to be safe than sorry.

--Have water, treats and food close by in the vehicle. We pack Artie a separate bag from our belongings and put it in the backseat. If we forget water, we will get one when we stop for food and let him drink out of the cup :)

How to Prepare

-Call. Even if a website says a hotel is pet-friendly, call before you book. Sometimes they have hidden charges or extra cleaning fees or are very restricted in what pets they allow (certain breeds or sizes or amount of pets) If you call and make sure you get the name of who you are talking to, you can avoid a future problem when you arrive

-Pit stops. If you are driving long distances, remember that your pup will probably need a potty break and maybe even few minutes to stretch their legs. They don't know how far the destination is.they don't know if there's 10 minutes or 10 hours left.

Extra Tips

Remember when taking a dog to a strange new place they may get nervous. Artie did not like the elevator at first (mostly because of the bell sound) so we try to take him down the stairs when possible). If you take a dog thats used to a quiet neighborhood to a city, they may bark at sirens or loud music. Don't get mad at them. Just know you may have to adjust your plans.

Keep in mind if you are taking a dog to a city, make sure there will be a safe place to walk them. Try to find out if there will be sidewalks and street lights. And don't forget poop bags!! HAHA

Happy Travels!

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January 25, 2016


(my woman crushes...hahaha K&K, Liz, Veronica)

I wish that Karena and Katrina would hire out some tone it up girls to do paid advertising because I'd jump all over that. I guess they have enough free advertising as it is. I know I'm not the only one who is an advocate for the program that they've created. And all I want to do is shout it out loud! My husband somewhat jokingly called me a brand snob because I want to buy ALL things Tone it Up (and I'm making a dent). BUT I can't help it! Why? Because I know these girls have my best interest at heart, they create amazing, quality products and they just happen to mostly be in my favorite color ;)
(my new tone it up shaker bottle, mask and tea- shop here)

In all seriousness, I feel like I owe them so much. If I ever have the opportunity to meet them, I will probably burst into tears because of feeling so overwhelmed with emotion and gratitude. They have no idea how much they inspire their community and how they've changed so many lives. But today I'm just sharing how they changed mine.
(just received my new Victoria's secret sports bra and pants- also wearing fitbit charge HR)

The biggest way that tone it up has changed me actually isn't a physical matter. Its my self-confidence. Whether I'm a size 2 or 10, x-small or large, tone it up has given me something that can't be bought. When I do their workouts, follow their nutrition plan and connect with other members, I gain a confidence in myself that I've never felt. I used to get picked on for being short which I am, but I prefer the term petite :) Now this doesn't seem like a harsh criticism but it was OFTEN and hopefully it was because they couldn't find anything more to complain about but it still stuck with me. When I did feel confident, someone would call me cute (which was fine when I was 16) but when you are 25 that term doesn't sound so appealing.
meeting up with Liz for dinner-we want Veronica to move to VA so this can be a regular thing :)

I've always loved changing my hair around and trying out the latest fashion trends in hopes of being more than "cute and short" but I guess it took almost 25 years to realize THAT DOESNT MATTER. What matters is how I feel about myself. And what's really sad is many other women are in the same position that I was. Society holds such a high expectation of how we should look that we don't see the real beauties that we are.

Tone it Up has changed me in so many other ways that it would take a whole series to cover them but I do want to touch on a few other important ones.

Knowledge- Once I finally broke down and bought the nutrition plan, its like a veil dropped and I could see clearly. It all made sense as to why I couldn't lose a little bit of stubborn weight. I had been exercising and mostly maintaining my weight but not seeing any results. Once they helped me get the nutrition in check I started looking leaner, more toned and FEELING BETTER. I didn't feel as tired and now most days I hydrate properly.

(tone it up shirt and yoga mat, asics shoes)

Courage-I don't usually classify myself as a picky eater but I'm not really an adventurous eater either. I like to stick to what I know. But now, I've tried foods that never appealed to me or some that I'd never heard of. I add chia seeds to my shakes. I eat avocados almost every day. I rarely eat dairy anymore. I use almond milk or coconut milk. I've replaced vegetable oil for coconut oil. AND they gave me the strength to stop drinking sodas when I used to have at least a coke a day.
I also have had the courage to try new classes and meet new people at the gym.
(We've lost 40lbs combined!!!!)

I've always eaten cereal and oatmeal (and my fair share of pop tarts) for breakfast thinking that was nutritious. Now my morning routine is very different. Although I don't usually get up for Bootycalls (Tone it ups term for morning workout) I do start my morning with a protein shake. I either use Perfect Fit Protein or Vega One protein (which I will share more about later).

It doesn't stop there. My life is continuing to change because of Tone it Up. They have given me the passion to take this further. I am signing up to become certified as a Zumba instructor. AND to sign up for a nutrition/wellness class. Because of the impact they've had on me, I want to help others. Even if I never pursue a career in that field I want to have enough knowledge in the matter to create a healthy life for myself and my family.

I'm not writing this so that everyone will go join Tone it Up. Although I certainly think you should at least check it out. It's not a diet or a fad. It's not always easy. Some days its hard to get a cardio and toning workout in or not go out and splurge at happy hour but they encourage treating yourself and doing the best you can. And if that's not enough, just go on instagram and see THOUSANDS of other women who are crushing it and that will make you jump off the couch real quick! I can't give all of the credit to Karena and Katrina because each of these women in the community are so inspiring and wanting each other to succeed and my accountability partners (Liz and Veronica) are just THE BEST!!!! They keep me in check EVERY DAY!

I hope you stick around to hear more about this journey.

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