Meet Your New Spring Fragrances: Vanilla Lemon & Vanilla Grapefruit From Lavanila

When spring hits I’m ready for a different scent. Heavy florals don’t mix well with sunshine and hot days. I can’t wait to check out the latest fragrances from LavanilaVanilla Lemon and Vanilla Grapefruit. Lavanila cuts out chemicals and uses vitamins, aminos, and both natural and organic ingredients to provide the cleanest possible fragrances (it’s all I wore when I was pregnant.) Anyway- as the name suggests their specialty is the most perfect smelling vanilla which they pair with things like coconut, blackberry (I’m wearing it now!), and now citrus. I love the smell of grapefruit. It literally makes my mouth water, it’s so crisp and fresh. The sweetness of the vanilla mixed with the tangy citrus is such a perfect, yummy combo.

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How Our Dog Went From Hating Kids to Being Our Daughter’s Best Friend

Here is 21 month old Harper and our JRT Frisco doing what they do all day; loving, playing, kissing. They have a special bond and he really looks after her. But it wasn’t always that way.

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In Frisco’s almost 11 years, he had only met a handful kids before our own. The first time we realized how serious his fear of kids was happened about 10 years ago when a kid came over out of nowhere on a walk and tried to hug him. He snapped and bit. Nothing serious but it was enough to scare us from allowing him to get close to kids again. We’d test him every now and again by keeping him behind the glass French doors of Mike’s office outside our living room when friends would have their kids over. We’d have them casually walk by to see if his feelings changed. They never did and his strong reaction of jumping against the glass and barking like crazy stayed the exact same with each attempt. Our attitude for so long was pretty much ‘it’s fine because we don’t have kids’ so we’d hide him in our room for parties and go on with life. Until I got pregnant.

One of my first few thoughts after the general shock of finding out I was pregnant wore off was literally oh shit. What about Frisco? We were on our third trainer at that point. The first idiot sprayed his eyes with vinegar to show his dominance over the dog (even when he was just sniffing him since he wasn’t aggressive toward adults) which caused him to squint and rub his red eyes for days after. He also walked him over to a yard with two barking dogs (yeah, he also freaks out about other dogs especially on walks) then he yelled and yanked on his leash repeatedly while Frisco lunged and barked. This went on for several minutes until I had tears in my eyes, it was brutal to watch. We knew we didn’t like what he was doing but he made us promise we wouldn’t get in the way of his training since that was the biggest challenge he said he faced- unruly owners. Frisco had a hard time breathing after all the yanking and force and he coughed and wheezed for several days after. I cried that night. We didn’t protect him and I’m sure he was scared.

The next guy was well, I guess worthless douche sums it up nicely. He wasn’t aggressive but looking back he had no experience in dog aggression and had us do inane training exercises like making Frisco sit or lay down mid-walk which of course Frisco did perfectly every time to earn his treat. He said that this calmed him and taught him to obey so when kids came around he’d defer to us. Not so much. Nothing changed and we grew more frustrated and worried that we’d never get the help we needed.

Then by some miracle I got to talking with a client whose makeup I was doing when she mentioned how she trains aggressive dogs. She didn’t live in Colorado but she just met someone who did through a workshop so with newfound hope I set up a time for Jen with Dances With Woofs to come by and see if she could help our Frisc.

Right away I knew she got us. She was loving to Frisco and used praise and treats instead of any type force. She explained that he was aggressive because he was afraid and not to mistake his loud, boisterous behavior for confidence. Any force or harshness would only scare him and could make his behaviors worse. We started slowly with waking calmly past other dogs first from a distance then getting a little closer so he stayed calm. We also taught him a flight response since he was programmed to fight instead. We were giving him options for new behaviors and we could see that it was working. Now fast forward a year or so when I became pregnant. We had done some work with kids – getting Frisco calm while walking him around a busy park – but nothing too intimate. He definitely wasn’t visiting sick children at the hospital or whatever. A few weeks before my due date we rehearsed Harper’s arrival like a damn school play. Sniff her hat, plug in the pheromone diffuser thingy, give treats, pet him, let him maybe sniff her, live happily ever after. Done. But when the time came what actually happened was; walk in the door, Frisco sees the baby, he jumps up in the air repeatedly trying to snap at her in our arms while barking and going as crazy as we’ve ever seen. Oh God, we hadn’t planned for this at all. we had to put him (and our other dog Meatball whose temperament is perfectly neutral) in Mike’s office while we could get our barrings and devise a new plan.

We let him calm a bit and tried again. After all, he hadn’t laid eyes on a baby in years so maybe he was in shock or mistook her for a baby bunny or some shit that calls for this sort of crazed reaction. Here we go- treats in hand, diffuser plugged in, hat sniffed, come on out. Same. Terrible. Thing. In fact every time we tried this over the course of a week his reaction never changed. Just as loud, just as strong, just as scary. I felt hopeless. This along with the c-section recovery, postpartum depression, and general WTF-ness that comes along with being a new mom made those few weeks hands down the darkest of my life. I broke down sobbing to Mike because we both knew what was inevitable. Frisco would have to be put down. He wasn’t adoptable – a dog who hates kids and other dogs? We knew his fate.

After a few weeks Jen came to see us. We had been tethering a long leash from his harness to various furniture so he could be out with us and not locked up in a room all the time. He was sullen and confused which only made us feel more guilty and terrible about the whole thing. She gave us some very basic things to do; give him treats and praise for even looking her way and keep him walked and exerted, along with a few other things to get him feeling better about his new roommate. She told us to hang in there and not give up on him, she had hope. Her encouragement and help was just what we needed. I ran out of hope that he would be with us even another month. The stress was so great and the threat of him constantly looming was too much for me. But we weren’t ready to give up on our Frisc and we started doing exactly as Jen said. After just a few weeks we started making little tiny steps forward. We sent her pictures like this one of the first time Frisco got close to Harper without jumping up at her.

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We’d take turns cuddling the dogs while the other had the baby. Mike took this of me napping with them.

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And then one day this happened. I’m pretty sure I was crying.

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Eventually the tethering stopped and our trust started to build. The more mobile she became the more she wanted to hug and kiss him. We taught her how to pet him nicely and never let her touch him without us- until one day she did. We gasped and watched as he gently licked her and walked away. It was the beginning of their friendship as it is now which is so sweet. We trust him 100% with her, something we talk about often and are still amazed by. He has come such a long way that when we brought Everly home he was basically like *yawn* another baby? Who cares.

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Frisco, waiting outside Harper’s door while she sleeps.

Jen totally made it possible for us to keep Frisco in our lives. She helped to brighten his little soul and make him a more confident guy. She did the impossible- she taught an dog new tricks and for that we are so grateful.

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SHEMERGENCY KIT: The Perfect Bridal Shower Gift!

If you’re married and had an event planner for the wedding then you know that they always have these little emergency kits on hand filled with everything from tampons to chalk to make sure that any problem that arrises can be easily fixed. Such is the idea behind Pinch Provisions Shemergency Kit which contains 40 essentials for any beauty emergency. It’s a great bridal shower gift or just a good gift in general. Forget Fix-A-Flat, this is what you really need to have in the car at all times.

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Includes 40 essential items: folding hair brush/comb, mirror, hair spray, clear elastics (2), bobby pins (2), earring backs (2), hand lotion, nail clipper, emery board, clear nail polish, nail polish remover pads (2), mending kit, safety pin, double-sided tape strips (5), lint remover, stain removing towelettes (2), static remover, breath freshener, lip balm, single-use dental floss (2), pain reliever, deodorant towelettes (2), tampon, adhesive bandages (2), facial tissues, blotting tissues, tweezers, and blister balm. $35

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Vegan Aussie Bites

My fave food blog is at it again! Oh My Veggies inspires me daily with delicious and simple recipes often using ingredients I already have on hand. It’s a vegetarian blog but even meat lovers can enjoy her full flavored creations.

A few weeks ago when I saw their recipe for Aussie Bites inspired by the ones you buy at Costco (and nowhere else apparently) and I knew I had to make them. This version is gluten free, refined sugar free, and made with just a few pulses in the processor.

I used maple agave instead of maple syrup and dried cranberries as the fruit instead of raisins and apricots. So easy and way better than Aussie Bites because they’re less sweet but have more flavor. I’ll be making them instead of buying them from now on for sure!

Find the recipe HERE

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Benchic: The Best Chocolate I’ve Had!

Ah chocolate…

As a lifelong professed ‘chocoholic’ my taste in the sweet stuff has evolved over the years along with my tastes in most foods. In the course of 12 or so years, I’ve gone from a McDonald’s eating, sometimes cigarette smoking, never excersizing, meat and potatoes kinda girl to a vegetarian who’s always looking for better ways to feed my family healthy and delicious foods. (Follow my Pinterest board HERE to see the yummy recipes I’m trying!) After all of the effort I put into eating great stuff, it doesn’t make sense to eat a Snickers anymore. That sort of candy doesn’t even interest me, it’s overly sweet- and it’s filled with a bunch of scary chemicals (which you can read more about HERE.) So what does someone with a sweet tooth do when a chocolate craving takes hold? Thank God for Benchic.

I was introduced to Benchic through Dhru over at the Clean Program, a wellness ninja and really great guy who loves connecting people interested in health and healing. What I found was a company making delicious handmade chocolate that’s minimally processed and actually good for you. When I bit into my first square, I felt like I was tasking chocolate for the first time. It really is that amazing. The basis for the chocolates is raw cacao powder which has all sorts of huge health benefits like being high in magnesium, fiber, and iron. Their chocolate squares are silky and rich so just a bite after dinner is just enough to make me happy which is how it should be. I’d much rather nibble on these decadent and good-for-you treats (that lasted about a month at our house), than pay $4 for a bag of chemical-laden junk that makes me feel terrible. Companies like this that I’ve been lucky enough to come across have changed the way I think about what I put into my body and how much. We really shouldn’t be eating a whole box of crackers or whatever in one sitting, but cheap food sold in giant boxes suggest otherwise. These chocolates are such simple and delicious treats that will satisfy both a sweet tooth and a desire for better health.

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My Life Lately

If you’re wondering where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to, these pics pretty much sum it up. Everly is now 3 months and Harper is 21 so I’m elbows deep into this mother of two thing. Aside from everything taking a little more time, I find it to be much easier than I ever thought possible- really it’s not much different than having just one. Helping me big time is the fact that they both sleep through the night and aren’t much for crying (thank god I discovered comfort nursing with Harper!) so I’m getting some sleep. Best of all is my sweet hubby who works from home so he tags in when he can which helps a ton. Just knowing that he’s here when I need him is such a blessing and takes a lot of stress away.

That said.

I’m still always tired from the broken sleep of Evie nursing once in the night, Harper is in constant motion, and my thyroid is still out of whack so not only is my hair still falling out in clumps, but sometimes I’m so overcome with exhaustion that I’ve fallen asleep nursing with my head hanging down. I’ll wake up with Evie staring at me like ‘really mom?’

So there’s that.

But! How cute are these girls? I mean seriously?! There’s little Evie at 3 months perfectly perched in her chair. She’s always smiling and just beams whenever anyone looks her way. And then there’s sweet Harper who is the most gentle and loving soul I’ve ever met giving her sister a squeeze (whether she likes it or not.) She’s obsessed with Evie sitting on her lap and gives her a million kisses throughout the day. The other pic is Harper holding onto Evie’s head while I nursed her last week which I thought was beyond sweet. And the last hard to see pic is me with Harper in her crib. I jump in with her everyday at 5:30 to wake her up from her nap. She’s all sleepy and cuddly so we hang out until she wakes up a little then head down to make dinner together. Everyday I swear she’s the perfect age, her personality just keeps getting bigger and she’s so smart. We’re so lucky to have these little girls in our lives.

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