New Year, Less Pressure

I’m sure that you have scanned over countless blogs or websites featuring “New Year’s” posts that include the typical recap of the writer’s past year and a slew of predictable resolutions for 2016. Am I right? Well, I can happily say that while yes, this post will be about moving into a new year of my life, it will have a slightly different outlook on the typical resolution thing that everyone loves to talk/blog about.

I’ve come to realize that making concrete and/or time-sensitive resolutions has become a motivating but eventually disappointing ritual in many people’s lives. Even though it is meant to give a new hope to those of us who have struggled with various issues in the past, I think that these over-the-top resolutions also bring about feelings of failure, especially concerning weight loss and health. Now if you’re someone who has experienced success from previous New Year’s resolutions, don’t think I’m looking down on your achievements. I am simply saying that it isn’t for me, and I’d instead like to focus on more realistic goals and reflecting on ones that I’d been previously working on. This makes it so that I can work on things that I need to on my own time – no pressure!

Now that I’ve filled you in on my feelings about New Year’s resolutions, here are my reflections on 2015 and a few things that I hope to see happen in my future (not just in 2016).

  • In 2015, I went through a lot of changes. I moved to a different city, left a job, found excitement in a new career path, left friends and then made new friends, got a dog, and on and on and on. In 2016, I want to feel comfortable and settled…for now. I want to be able to relax and focus on enjoying where I am, being young, and having everything that I’m lucky enough to have.
  • In terms of my new career path, I hope to hear some great news soon concerning a big step in this new direction.
  • I also think that some of 2015 was tough on my relationships. Romantic, peer, or familial, every type of relationship is equally important, and I definitely experienced some major ups and downs within each category. For example, I made the decision to leave a place where I had finally become comfortable in a new group of friends and work relationships to come to a new city where I once again had to build brand new relationships. Luckily, I was able to do so fairly quickly, but I will always see room for improvement in all types of my relationships. I would love to become more open and learn how to let my guard down a little more around people in my life. This improvement alone will make a huge difference!
  • One of the biggest areas of improvement that people seek in the coming of a new year is health. More specifically, weight loss. I completely understand the reasoning behind so many people’s weight-oriented resolutions. I‘m a woman, in my 20s, and living in a world that defines people like myself too commonly on weight and appearance alone. However, while we are such a critical society in terms of defining beauty, I DO think that we’ve grown to be more encouraging about overall health and having a positive body image. I am happily confident that I’m in a healthy state, and even though there will always be things that I want to improve on, I at least know that they are things that I don’t need to put a deadline on. Unless you are someone who is in dire need of a health overhaul, then I don’t believe in putting the enormous pressure of a concrete resolution or unrealistic goal on your shoulders. Let it happen organically and results will last.
  • Finally, when thinking of my non-resolution resolutions, I realized that I really wanted to have fun and stop stressing SO MUCH over everything. I want to go snowboarding and hiking, travel to a new place, and see some really awesome concerts. These are just some things I look forward to doing in the future and I know that these things will only improve my life, nothing less!

I hope that all of you have thought about the year ahead and the ways that you can improve your quality of life…without the comparisons to Brad Pitt or Tay Swift. Think about the good things in your life and ways to make them even better. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Also, there is nothing negative about planning for some fun times in your life, right?

Happy 2016 everyone. CHEERS


The Annual “Movember” PSA

It’s November (weird right?) and I can finally find an excuse to be on Pinterest all day, looking at pictures of hot bearded men. Of course, I never do this any other day of the year…. My great reason for doing this all day is of course the fact that November is the month that we all raise awareness for men’s health issues such as cancer and men do this by growing out their facial hair. I love this because #1) I want the men in my life to stay healthy, and #2) beards are sexy, especially when they are at that perfect “scruff” stage (in my opinion). So, the little cherry on the top is that I get to do this annual post of sexy beard pictures to give the guys some incentive to grow out their own and the ladies some reasons to push their own guys to join in on the trend. Behold my friends, beard porn..




ca. 2006 --- Eric Dane --- Image by © Lance Staedler/Corbis Outline

ca. 2006 — Eric Dane — Image by © Lance Staedler/Corbis Outline

Bradley Cooper:


Paul Rudd:


Ryan Gosling:


Christian Grey, I mean, Jamie Dornan:


Christian Bale:


Tom Hardy:


Jason Momoa (a.k.a. Khal Drogo for my fellow GOT fans)


Prince Harry:

Lenny Kravitz:


Taylor Kinney:


The Dangers of Xylitol

Hi everyone!

I’m aware that I haven’t been writing recently, but I have been very busy with my new puppy and taking on a new path toward a career in dental hygiene. For the past year, dental hygiene has been a serious consideration of mine and I’m finally happy to say that I am fully committed to applying to dental hygiene school at the same place where my parents received their dental educations years (and years) ago! Quite the life change, right? Right now, I am busy taking a few classes at the local university, painting commissioned art pieces, taking care of Fitz, and preparing my application for hygiene school, but I just had to get back into writing my blog. I figured that my first post back from my break needed to be about something important, and as a dog owner and prospective dental hygiene student, the dangers of xylitol is something that hits me close to home.

As the use of the sweetener and sugar-substitute, xylitol, has grown in the food industry, so has the risk of poisoning for our beloved pets. Not many people are aware of the deathly effects that xylitol has on their cats and dogs when they’re purchasing a pack of presumably healthy sugar-free gum, but that doesn’t mean they should remain ignorant about the ingredient. I feel as if it is very important to educate the public about the choices we are making and the effects they may have on the health of our best friends.

This subject unfortunately hadn’t really caught my attention until my own personal experience with the toxicity of xylitol. A few months ago, my miniature schnauzer puppy ended up at the emergency vet with no indication of what was making him so sick. After a near-death experience, weeklong stay in the hospital, and countless test results with no explanations, the doctors decided that Fitz must have gotten into some kind of toxin, such as xylitol. They explained to me that the number of emergency cases from xylitol poisoning in dogs is overwhelming and upsetting. Not only is it a common issue, but they also are often lethal.

Even though I don’t have gum or candy in my apartment, which are two of the main xylitol culprits, the doctors said that even a piece of chewed gum on the sidewalk could be detrimental. This news was very upsetting and I have since made sure to clear EVERYTHING in my home that contained any fraction of the toxin. I luckily had nothing to throw away, but the research I did about the sweetener drove me mad. I discovered that there are so many commonly bought products that are made with xylitol and most of them were things I never would’ve guessed to contain it.

Some of these items may include:

  • sugar-free candies and mints
  • sugar-free gum
  • baked goods
  • jams/jellys
  • energy bars
  • toothpaste
  • vitamins

In addition, xylitol has been advertised as having benefits for gum and tooth health. Many dentists praise the ingredient for its ability to reduce the chance of developing cavities and gingivitis; however, they must also be sure to make its detrimental effects on pets very clear when doing so. I hope to spread the word about xylitol’s dangers to various dentists and grocery stores around the area in an effort to educate consumers who may have no knowledge about it.


A picture I took of my little guy at the vet – quite the pitiful face

Ingredient of the Week

A few weeks ago, I recognized an all too familiar feeling of tiredness and weakness that’d been hanging over me like a heavy cloud. I’ve been dealing with iron deficiency issues my whole life, off and on, and I could tell that I was yet-again running too low on the mineral. Times like this one, when the deficiency isn’t too extreme, I just start taking some iron supplements and up my intake of iron-laden proteins that I’m not always the biggest fan of. So this time around, instead of ordering a big hunk of meat every night for the next few weeks, I decided to look to one of my favorite but easily forgotten sources of iron: cream of wheat!


photo via:

Cream of wheat always brings me back to my childhood, when my parents would heat me up a bowl in the mornings, with a touch of sugar and milk swirled in. My sister and I loved having cream of wheat for breakfast, with its savory-sweet smell and comforting warmth filling our bellies. Not only is it a yummy and filling breakfast, but it’s also very nutritious. Chock full of vitamins and minerals, with iron being its top bragging right, this classic breakfast is anything but simple. While I enjoy eating it plain, the same way that I did as a kid, ever since I decided to add it back into my eating regimen, I’ve been playing around with some fun toppings to give my breakfast an extra kick. I usually resort to adding a sliced banana, slivered almonds, and a bit of honey to my cream of wheat, but after browsing through these recipes that I randomly found, I can’t wait to mix up my routine a little more!

What do y’all think about cream of wheat? Have you tried it before?

Protecting Your Pup


This past Sunday, I was given the one of the biggest scares of my life. When reading what happened, many of you may think that I should feel pretty good if this was one of the hardest things I’ve ever been through, but at the time, I’d never felt so helpless. On Sunday night, Father’s Day, I found myself carrying my 6-month-old puppy, Fitz, into the vet emergency hospital for the second time that day. Leading up to this moment, Fitz hadn’t been eating his food for a few days, but showed no other signs of sickness until he started vomiting that morning. I was surprised that he could even vomit at all, considering how little he had eaten, but he managed to do it about five times that day.

That afternoon, I took him to the only vet office that was open on a Sunday, which was an emergency center. The doctors gave Fitz some anti-nausea medication and fluids to give him some nourishment, and told me to keep and eye on him in hopes of improvement. However, a few hours later he vomited again, prompting me to take him back to the emergency vet. While gathering my things to take him, Fitz laid down on the hard floor away from me, which was unusual behavior for him. I noticed that he wasn’t being responsive at all, aside from his tired eyes following me around the room. Knowing that this wasn’t just tiredness from a rough day, I immediately picked him up and ran out the door, still in my pajamas. Luckily, the vet office was open for 24-hour assistance and less than a 5-minute drive from my place. When we got there, the assistant immediately carried Fitz to the back, since he couldn’t walk, and left me in the waiting room with the weight of the world pressing down on me. Seeing my puppy, who was just as significant to my life as a child would be, in that pathetic state was the most awful thing to witness. Also, not knowing how this happened and how he was doing left me in a shattered state.

When the assistant returned, she told me that his blood sugar was so low that they were surprised he was still able to stand. They were shocked by his sudden health decline, stating that “Fitz was an entirely different dog just a few hours earlier”. With no clear idea of what was going on and heavy concern for Fitz’s health, they kept him overnight on an IV to raise his blood sugar and take some tests. What I hoped would only be a nightlong episode ended up turning into a weeklong nightmare. Fitz stayed in the hospital and endured numerous tests all week. I was a mess that week, spending the days scouring the Internet for answers and crying my eyes out.

When I was finally able to take him home with a stable blood sugar level and otherwise healthy disposition, the doctors still didn’t have an answer to what happened to him. They had narrowed down their theories to a few possibilities including the ingestion of a toxin, a liver shunt, or some sort of congenital vascular system disorder. With this information, I took Fitz home with every possible cautionary step in place. I had instructions to immediately bring him back to the hospital at any sign of sickness and then a follow-up ultrasound and bile acid test to check his liver and surrounding organs again. His follow-up appointment is Thursday, and I couldn’t be more ready and nervous to see his test results. If they aren’t normal, his prognosis won’t likely be so great. I’m praying every minute and crossing every finger for good results.

Now that I know how difficult, emotional, and taxing it is to have a very sick child (or puppy), I can’t help but be the most paranoid mother out there. Dogs are the most forgiving creatures, and I feel so lucky to still have my pup giving me the most unconditional love there is. Now please, go hug your baby.

For all of you doggie owners out there, I’ve gathered a few tips on keeping your pup healthy and how to notice any signs of sickness.

Signs of sickness (other than vomiting and diarrhea):

  • Loss of appetite
  • Extreme lethargy
  • Seclusion
  • Not himself/herself (ex: not excited to play or go on a walk)

Toxins (via ASPCA and Humane Society)

  • Poisonous Foods:
    • Avocado
    • Chocolate
    • Raw bread dough
    • Ethanol/Alcohol
    • Grapes and raisins
    • Hops (in beer)
    • Macadamia nuts
    • Moldy foods
    • Onions and garlic
    • Xylitol – this is a HUGE one because it’s in so many things such as sugar-free gum, candy, and many other sugar free products
    • Coffee and tea
    • Walnuts
    • Tomato leaves and stems
  • Poisonous Plants (not all listed because there are over 300):
    • Holly
    • Mandrake
    • Apple Tree
    • Apricot Tree
    • Azalea
    • Baby’s Breath
    • Begonia
    • Bird of Paradise
    • Black Walnut
    • Ivy
    • Buttercup
    • Lily
    • Carnation
    • Cherry
    • Daffodil
    • Dahlia
    • Daisy
    • Elephant Ears
    • Gardenia
    • Geranium
    • Grass Palm
    • Hibiscus
    • House Pine
    • Hydrangea
    • Mistletoe
    • Morning Glory
    • Mushrooms
    • Oleander
    • Peony
    • Periwinkle
    • Poinsettia
    • Rose of Sharon
    • Tulip
    • Wisteria
  • Other toxins:
    • Acetaminophen
    • Antifreeze
    • Batteries
    • Medications
    • Blue-green algae
    • Detergents
    • Fertilizers
    • Fluoride
    • Hand Sanitizer
    • Ibuprofen
    • Lead
    • Mouse and rat poison
    • Mothballs
    • Nicotine
    • Pesticides
    • Tobacco
    • Human vitamins and supplements

Are you guys freaked out yet? Please keep your babies safe and make sure they are protected from these things!