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Holiday Weekend Reading

3 Jul

Ahoy, matey, thar be affiliate links ahead!

There’s nothing quite like a holiday weekend, is there? If you’ll be spending this weekend at the beach, the lake, or just in your backyard, you’re going to want a book to bring along. Because there’s something glorious about sitting outside reading a book on a weekday. Here are a few of my picks.

If you like Jim Gaffigan, try Dad Is Fat. I know, I just blew your mind. If you like Jim Gaffigan, read Jim Gaffigan. But seriously, this is everything you love about his stand up specials, only in book form. It’s mostly about his kids, but I enjoyed it anyway. I’m going to give it to my cousin, who’s one of the best dads I know. Of course, he probably won’t get a chance to read it for the next ten years, but that’s his problem, not mine.

If you like David Sedaris, try Will Not Attend. Resnick is your friendly neighborhood misanthrope, and his essays had me cracking up, especially his tale of Disney woe. I like this guy, he gets me. Because people, ugh.

If you like the Stephanie Plum books, try Guilt by Association. Don’t expect the slapstick comedy of a Plum book, but you will get a sharp mystery with a touch of levity (so it’s not too scary, I mean hey, I live alone). Clark’s writing is elegantly detailed, she doesn’t miss a beat, and you won’t be able to put it down until you’re finished.

If you like Jessica Beck, try Real Murders. A light mystery that’s just a touch darker than your usual cozy fare, this is a fast read that’s great for the beach. It’s the first in a series, but they go downhill after the first one, so do yourself a favor and pretend it’s a stand-alone.

I racked my brain (and my Kindle) trying to find something I’ve read recently that wasn’t a mystery or a humor anthology, and I got nuthin’. Hey, I like what I like. I know there are other genres out there, so if you’ve read something great lately, tell me about it!

Is Your Dog Fit?

30 Jun

Thanks so much to Purina Dog Chow for sponsoring this post!

Did you know that 53% of dogs in the United States are overweight? And yet, according to a survey by Purina Dog Chow, only 22% of dog owners think their dog is overweight. Listen, I know we all think our dogs are perfect, and that’s why it’s important to talk to your vet about your dog’s weight to make sure he’s healthy and perfect. (Only 41% of survey respondents rely on their vet to determine if their dog is overweight.) I took Teddy to the vet this weekend and she confirmed my suspicions, Bear is perfect.

Dogs don’t understand things like “fat”, “overeating”, “healthy food”, and so on and so forth. That’s why it’s up to us to look out for them. The good news is that keeping our dogs fit helps keep us fit too! 77% of dog owners surveyed said they would rather exercise with their dog than go to they gym, and I couldn’t agree more. Going to the gym is a special kind of awful.

The bonus to keeping Teddy fit is that I stay fit too. Because Bear can’t walk himself, so I have to peel my butt off the couch to take him for a lap around the ‘hood a few times a day.

Want dog fitness advice from an actual expert, and not some random crazy blogger? Well I’m glad you asked. Dr. Grace Long, DVM, MS, MBA has four simple steps to keeping your dog fit or helping your overweight hound slim down.

1. Count Calories. Consider switching your pouchy pooch to a lower calorie food.

2. Perfect Portions. Make sure you’re not overfeeding! Always check the feeding guidelines on your dog’s food.

3. Get Moving. If your pet is overweight, start slow, and make sure to talk with your vet to make sure you’re not overdoing it or hurting your dog’s joints, especially if he’s older.

4. Make a Plan. And stick to it! Don’t get suckered in by those adorable begging eyes asking for table scraps.

If you’re looking for a lower calorie food to help your dog lose weight or maintain their svelte form, try Purina Dog Chow Light & Healthy. Teddy has been eating it for about a year, and he loves it! There are actual pieces of freeze dried chicken, that you can easily identify as chicken. I like that. If you want to try Light & Healthy, you can print a $2 off coupon on their website.

But wait, there’s more! I’ve got a giveaway for (1) 4 lb bag of Light & Healthy, plus (2) coupons for a free 16.5 lb bag! That’s 37 lbs of food!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

BONUS PSA: 4th of July weekend is upon us – please keep your pets safe! Make sure they have proper identification and their microchips are up to date. Keep dogs on leashes or inside, and make sure to ask your friends not to sneak them table scraps.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post on behalf of Purina Dog Chow Light & Healthy. They are providing the giveaway prize. I really do feed Teddy this food. All opinions are my own. Please check with your vet before changing your dog’s diet or exercise regime. I am not a vet.

11 Things I Want My Dog to Know

26 Jun

There have been a few posts floating around lately about what dogs want their people to know, and quite frankly they’re ultra depressing. I’m talking about gems like 20 essential facts dog lovers must always remember and 27 Most Difficult Emotions A Dog Goes Through.

I wanted to try a different approach, and today I’m sharing 11 things I would really like Teddy to understand.

1. You Will Always Be on a Leash

I understand your desire for freedom. To feel the wind in your face and run until you can’t run anymore. But here’s the thing, given the tiniest taste of freedom you run for the hills like the cops are chasing you. I don’t know what you’ve done, Ted, but it must have been bad because you refuse to listen to my commands to stop and come back. So on the leash you go. Every time. All the time.

2. I Will Always Keep You Safe

Always. Period. End of story. As long as I am here, you will be safe. I promise.

3. I’m Sorry For Stepping on You

You have no idea how guilty I feel when I accidentally step on you. Really, it’s a terrible feeling, but you probably understand that based on the way I scoop you up, cover you in kisses, and give you a treat. However, there is a very easy fix to this recurring problem. Stop weaving around my feet while I walk. You are not a cat, and you cannot pull off this move.

4. You Will Get Locked Up When Pizza is Delivered

I don’t know what the pizza guy ever did to you, but you go berserk every time he shows up. He’s not going to hurt you. In fact, he came here for the sole purpose of delivering delicious food, so I really don’t understand your problem. Since I can’t juggle you and pizza while signing a receipt, you will get locked up while he’s here. Your confinement lasts for approximately 90 seconds, and then you get to eat my pizza crust. You’re fine.

5. You Cannot Chase Birds

Here’s how this goes down. You see a bird. You bark and lunge. The bird flies away. You continue barking. You’re never going to catch that bird, because you cannot fly. And you look kind of crazy standing there barking at the sky.

6. I Will Love You Forever

Seriously. Forever. And ever. Because you are my fuzzy baby Bear.

7. Sorry About Kicking You In My Sleep

This is kind of like number 3. I have a queen sized bed, which should provide more than enough room for a small woman and her small dog. And yet, you insist on curling up where my feet go, and then you fuss when I move and kick you during the night. I’m sorry, but again, there’s a very easy fix here. Move over eighteen inches, and your problem is solved.

8. We Don’t Have a Doorbell

Teddy, we live in an apartment. We have aways lived in apartments, and have never had a doorbell. That’s the TV. No one is here, so calm down. Do you see me getting up to answer the door? No. That’s because we don’t have a doorbell, that’s the TV. Do you think we’re suddenly being invaded by a very courteous army that has also installed a doorbell? That’s not what’s happening. I promise.

9. You Cannot Stand in the Middle of the Street

We go through this almost every time we go for a walk, which is several times per day. I will not let you stand frozen in the middle of the street, sniffing the air. You are a small dog, and cars cannot see you. I will not let you get hit by a car (see number 2) and so I will tug you out of the middle of the road. Don’t look so surprised and indignant.

10. Sorry About the Yelling During Football

I know how it must seem from your point of view, you’re sleeping soundly on my lap while I rub your belly, when all of a sudden I start screaming like a lunatic. I’m sorry, I really am. I know this one is on me, but I gotta be honest, nothing’s going to change. I will always scream at the TV during football games. It’s in my DNA. So yeah, sorry about that one.

11. You Cannot Eat Peanut Butter Cups

I get it. You love peanut butter almost as much as you love me, and you can smell it on my breath when I’ve been eating peanut butter cups. But you can’t have peanut butter cups, because they have chocolate, and chocolate is poison to dogs. Even if you try to crawl inside my mouth while I’m enjoying my beloved peanut butter cups, I still will not break down and give you one.

A Month of Lauren Conrad

24 Jun

This post is spizzonsered. I can’t pull that off, can I?

Remember last year when I did a month of Kohl’s outfits? Well, I decided to do it again, but added a few new twists to keep things interesting. Here were my “rules”:

1. Everything was bought in one trip.
2. Everything is LC Lauren Conrad
3. I used 19 different pieces, and spent about $200 creating my 30 outfits.

The pictures didn’t turn out as well as I hoped, but I guess that’s to be expected from someone who can’t work her DSLR. Seriously, I could have given Teddy my camera and probably gotten the same or better results. I was fighting with the sun and clouds all day, and you know what, this is as good as it gets.

You can click on any of the images for a larger version, and let me know if you have questions about any of the pieces I used. I bought everything at my local Kohl’s last weekend, so your milage may vary.

I hate that you can’t really see the detailing so well in these photos. Also, the ecru blazer is crepe, so it looks really wrinkled in pictures, but it’s not, it’s just crepe. And I’ve decided that clothes just look flat out weird when they’re not on people. Next time, I’ll buck up and put on all the clothes and rope some poor unsuspecting soul into taking my picture thirty times.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Kohl’s. All opinions and terrible photography are my own.

Dinner is a Contact Sport

19 Jun

I had a crazy day – I spent the whole time running from one meeting to the next and ended the work day with a to do list a mile long. By the time I got home and dashed off one last urgent task, I was d-o-n-e. All I wanted to do was sit on the couch with Teddy and watch The Simpsons. But there was the small matter of dinner.

Instead of just eating Wheat Thins, I decided to get fancy. I was going to have tater tots. So I preheated the oven and added the tots. No sooner had I settled in for some Bear snuggles and reruns than I noticed smoke curling out of the oven.


So I ran around opening all the windows and set up a fan to push the smoke out. Back to the couch!

Except then the smoke alarm went off.

So I got the step stool and pressed the reset button. But it kept going off.

So I took it off the ceiling and took the batteries out.

I checked the oven to make sure I wasn’t going to burn down the building, and found the smokey culprit. I guess the last time I used the oven – two or three months ago – I had made a frozen pizza and some cheese fell off and was now sitting on the bottom of the oven, billowing smoke.

Well, I still wanted my tater tots, so I let it go, even though it was starting to smell all smokey and my living room looked like I was getting ready to host a rave. You know, one of those quiet raves where the host runs around telling people to use coaster and please be careful because that’s an antique.

When my tots were finally ready (the longest 18 minutes ever) I figured I had to do something about the smoking cheese. Oh look! The oven has a “self clean” button! So I push that, hit Start, and then stand back.

Yeah, there’s a three and a half hour timer going, but I have no idea what’s actually happening in that oven. What is this self cleaning magic? Is there cleaning fluid in there? Do I need to refill that? Is it going to get hot and start smoking again? And if it does just clean itself at the push of a button, why don’t more things do that?

So you see, this is why I don’t cook. Wheat Thins never set off my smoke alarm and made me question my appliances.