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Posts Tagged ‘decorating’

Last Wednesday I decided that I wasn’t going to make the trip down to LA, and I was disappointed, but there was a bright side. I now had some extra money to “play” with. I put most of it away for Christmas presents, but I decided to take just a bit of it and order something I’d been wanting for quite some time.

I can’t even remember how I first came across the artwork of Aimee Dolich, but as soon as I did, I was drawn to it.  I even made her “Moxie” saying my email signature.  And I more recently used her art on a blog post (with her copyright intact).  I loved her whole esthetic – the loops, the colors, the motivational words.  I knew that I was going to have to find out more about her and her wonderful artwork.  I was thrilled to find that Aimee had an Etsy Shop, and had her “doodle art” prints for sale.

I chose three prints that had the most meaning to me:

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This is the one that started it all. The Moxie!

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I find so much motivation from this one - the sentiment is so true for my weight loss journey.

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This one helps to remind me that I am SO CLOSE!

I knew that I wanted to put these beautiful prints in my living room and display them properly, so I set out on a hunt for the perfect frame.  Something that would hold all three prints in one.  I finally found it at Kohls, and I love the swirls and bronzed metal of the frame.  (On a side note, I really love Kohls entire home department – they have amazing prices on some very interesting and unique items.  I’ve found lots of my fall and holiday decorations there).

I was so happy with the prints arrived in the mail yesterday.  So fast!  I immediately put them in the frame so that I could display them on my side table.  (This also meant that I “had” to rearrange and organize all of the other photo frames I have in the living room.  I love the way they all turned out, and it made me feel really good to give my mantle an update).

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The frame with artwork in the kitchen (better lighting).

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On the side table. (Bonus: cameos from Minnie (background) and Sofi (foreground).

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This photo shows how well they go with the other decor I have in the room.

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I love the way this looks!

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Sofi approves of the new artwork, too.

Sometimes it just take a little spark to change an entire mood – of a person or of a room, or both.  I can say that these 3 prints really gave me an added pep in my step yesterday, which made my Saturday all the better.  A huge thank you to Aimee for her amazing artwork, her professionalism, and her speedy delivery.  I will definitely shop Artsyville again, and I hope you guys check it out, too.

What small change have you made recently that has lifted your spirits?  Have you given yourself a little treat that really made a big impact?  If nothing comes to mind, maybe it’s time to do something nice for yourself today.

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This pic was just too cute not to share.

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For the month of December, I’ll be participating in Reverb 10. Each day gives a new prompt, which is a chance to reflect on 2010 and manifest what’s next in 2011.

December 6Make.
What was the last thing you made? What materials did you use? Is there something you want to make, but you need to clear some time for it? (Author: Gretchen Rubin)

A few months ago, I would’ve shown you some photos of a new recipe I tried, but I haven’t been cooking much lately because I’m trying this whole pre-portioned frozen entree thing to help with my calorie counting, and it’s working.  I’m losing!  I do miss cooking – the planning, the shopping, the chopping, the cooking, the creative aspect, and the feeling of completion of a job well done.  What I don’t miss – the cleaning, the time, and the hassle.  I love cooking too much to let it  go forever, so I know that I’ll be back to it before too long.

But for today, the thing I’ve been “making” lately is my house into a home.  I love decorating (I got that bug from my mom, who should be an interior designer) and since it’s the season, I’ve been concentrating on sprucing up the house for Christmas. In fact, after I cleaned the entire house from top to bottom yesterday, I began to decorate, only to realize that so many of my previous decorations were so blah.  I think I didn’t notice it as much in years past because my old place didn’t get a lot of light.  Here, in the full light, they looked dingy.  So much so that I was feeling a bit down.  Until I put out the newer things I’d purchased, did a bit of sprucing up of the older things, and decided to spend a bit more money and go back to Pier 1 to buy the other decorations I really wanted.  So I took today off of work and my mom and I are going later this morning.

But I do have a few items that I’d love to share:

I bought the doormat at Kohl’s weeks ago, and then on a recent trip to Michael’s I found the snowman “calendar.”  The wreath was originally really plain, until I borrowed my dad’s hot glue gun and added the striped ornaments.  Now I think it looks really festive and welcoming.

This is still a bit of a work in progress. I need to buy colorful votives to put in the candleholders on the black metal piece.  I love the bowlful of whimsical ornaments(Michael’s), and how perfectly those colors go with the rest of my room.  And I found that card tree and knew I had to have it.

I love swirls, so this card tree holder (Pier 1) was an instant hit with me.  I added the Christmas card I made of Lulu & me, and then two fun ornaments (Pier 1) continuing the swirl theme.

This next item is either brilliantly creative or the worst, most ridiculous thing ever.  You decide:

I purchased the bowl of pine cones from one of my students for an orchestra fundraiser.  I added the gold and silver ornaments that I had from years past.  And then I added the “branches,” which I used to put in my two huge vases, but I didn’t like that look this year.  So instead of throwing them out (which I was this close to doing), I thought they might be a nice way to add some height to my dining room table arrangement.  I liked how the silver and gold balls on the branches reinforced the balls in the bowl and I also liked the pop of color the red berries add.

So while I didn’t “make” anything from scratch, I do think there is an art to home decorating, and I’m going to continue to do it, because I enjoy it so much.  So far I’ve decorated for each holiday/season, and I’m going to continue that throughout 2011.

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Yesterday my mom and I went shopping.  And by shopping I mean that we were at it from 12:30-5pm.  Yes, 4 1/2 hours of shopping craziness.  We hit Michael’s, Cost Plus, Macy’s (for clothes), Pier 1, and finally the grocery store, because my mom needed a few things.  We had the best time together, and found some amazing things.

My main shopping list included things for the new house, which I got, and then some.  I also found 6 new tops at Macy’s.  That aspect of the day was really eye-opening, because so many of the tops I  tried on didn’t fit or didn’t look good.  Even the 3x’s were small in some cases.  It was semi-depressing, but I just kept reminding myself that this won’t be forever, that soon I’ll be fitting anything I want to wear.  At one point we were in the “normal” sizes to find things for my mom and I told her, “I wish they had cute stuff like this for me.”  And she said, “Bella, these will be for you before you know it.  Don’t get discouraged about the fact that some of those tops were tight or weren’t flattering.  Before you know it, you’ll be shopping in this section and everything will look great on you.”  Which was really nice of her to say. And it just gives me that much more impetus to keep on track.

The rest of this post is going to be photo-heavy, because I’m really excited to share my new house with you.  Enjoy.

The front door/porch – decorated for Halloween:

I love this sign!  Purchased it at Michael’s.

I saw this doormat online at WorldMarket.com and knew I had to have it.  I built the rest of the decorations around it.

Even the pumpkin is “be-witched.”

Kitchen:

I love all the light in the kitchen, and that I was able to make a little “coffee nook.”

I’m re-learning how to cook on an electric stove, and so far, it’s going pretty well.  This photo also lets you see the beautiful tile on the floor.

I’m spoiled by all the counterspace I have in this kitchen!  This doesn’t even show it all; some of it got cut off in the photo.

Dining Room:

The dining room is still a work in progress.  I’m going to buy a “real” dining set in the next couple of weeks.  I know the one I want, so now it’s just a matter of paying for it.  😉

I’m beginning to develop the wine theme in the room.

I love these two framed art prints, purchased at Cost Plus.

Backyard:

This is a view of the backyard from the living room.  It is still very much a work in progress, as well, but I love how lush and green it looks here.  The backyard is a bit larger than this photo shows, and Lulu loves every square inch of it!

Living Room:

Close-up of the leaf pumpkin that I bought yesterday at Pier 1.  It’s a nice, easy way to add fall decor to the room.

The fireplace and the mantle.

I bought the Mexican spice candles yesterday at Cost Plus.  I love the way they smell, and they add great height to the mantle, as well as adding more color of the season into the room.

I found these fall harvest veggies at Michael’s yesterday, and I love how the add seasonal decoration to the room.

Master Bedroom:

Looking into the bathroom.

As soon as I saw this framed corset, I knew I had to have it for the top of my dresser.  I found it at Pier 1, and originally it was on a tall stand that would have never worked where I wanted it.  My mom suggested that my dad could cut the metal, and she was right – he did!  (What can’t that man do?).  I absolutely adore that the colored ornaments are the exact tangerine color of my duvet cover.

So that’s my home, for now.  I still have to decorate the other bedroom and the guest bathroom, as well as finish the dining room.  Still, I’m really happy with my progress so far, and I feel like this duplex has definitely become a home.  I’m thrilled with the way I’ve decorated it, and even prouder to call it my home.

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After last week’s scary weigh-in, I knew that this week was going to be better. No matter what the scale showed, I knew that I was going to be down, because I’ve been doing well with water, tracking, and generally feeling a lot more positive about the whole process. Besides that, I went to an aqua aerobics class last night (for the first time in over a year!) and I was feeling really good about myself and the choices I’ve made this week.

Let’s get to that scale shot:

Which means I’m down 4.2 lbs from last week (yay!), but I’m showing an overall gain of 1.9 lbs since first weighing in on this Lap Band journey. Even though I’m showing a gain since August, I’m not upset, because I’m moving in the right direction now. I lost 4 pounds since last week! And I know that I’m in the right mindset to continue this progress and drop those pounds (plus more) in the coming weeks.

The thing I hadn’t faced since last week was the fact that in 3 weeks I’d gained over 10 lbs. That’s scary (hence the name of last week’s post). It shows how easily I can slip into bad habits when I’m not being mindful of what I’m eating and when I’m not formally working out. I thought that all of my walks with Lulu and the packing would have circumvented the fast food and quick meals I was eating, but obviously not. It’s a good reminder for myself that I staying on track is essential to getting to my goal.

Now that life is back to normal, there are no reasons not to succeed, and I’m excited about all that I know I’m going to achieve in the coming months.

And You Thought Gym Drama Only Happened on The Biggest Loser!
Last night I went to the gym (after having avoided it for literally months), and it felt so good. Now that I’ve moved, I’m really close to my favorite 24 Hr Fitness location, which is great. It’s a busy club, but it’s big, has lots of machines, tons of fitness classes, and a pool. They’ve also instituted this new way to check in that moves away from the membership card (which I was always misplacing) and uses your phone number and your index fingerprint to verify your membership instead. Not only is this cyber-cool, it’s great not having to worry about whether I have my membership card with me.

The parking lot can be a nightmare, so I got there early and parked far away. I got to the pool about 30 minutes before the aqua aerobics class, and used the time to warm up: slow swimming, treading water, etc. Those minutes added up to 171 calories, which just goes to show that mindful exercise makes a difference.

Yesterday it was hot here: over 100 degrees, so I thought the class would be packed, but it only had about 15 people in it. The instructor was new to me, but she was awesome! And she announced that in addition to Tuesdays, she’s also going to be teaching the Wednesday evening class, as well. I’m definitely going back again tonight. The thing I loved about her teaching style was that she got in the water with us. She did all of the moves along with us, and showed us how it should look in the water. She also got out of the pool a few times to demonstrate some of the more difficult moves for the newbies, so it was a good combination of in and out of the pool instruction. (In the past all of the other instructors stayed on the pool deck, making the class feel a bit formal). Having her in the pool with us made it feel a lot more intimate and tight-knit, which was nice.

I was having a great time in the class, feeling like a star student. Even though it had been so long since I’d taken it, the moves came naturally to me, and I was able to put forth really strong effort, which didn’t go unnoticed by the teacher or some of the other students. It’s always nice to feel like I am excelling in an exercise class, because so often I feel like I’m not able to do the moves like everyone else. I was feeling so proud of myself.

Then all of a sudden there was this enormous splash in the water at the other end of the pool. Two knuckleheads decided to do cannonballs into the pool in the middle of our class! (If you’re sensitive to foul language, stop reading).

The teacher chased them out of the pool, but they were arguing with her. These meatheads weren’t young teenagers; they were in their late 20s, at least. One was near me and I looked up (from the pool) and said, “Really? You felt like you had to interrupt our class like that? Does that make you feel good?” To which he responded, “Fuck you, you fat bitch.” And then it was on.

I said, “Oh, you’re a big man for making fun of the fat girl in the pool, right, asshole. You’re no “Situation” yourself. Fuck you.” The funny thing is, in all these years of being fat, I can count on both hands the times when someone has said something like that to me. I wasn’t really riled up afterward, either, because they guy was such a dick.

I basically shrugged the whole episode off so that I could enjoy the rest of the class, and I’m glad I did, because I got in a really hard workout and left feeling really empowered, in spite of the antics. The cardio workout I get from aqua aerobics is great, and I could really tell how much better my lung capacity is now that I’ve quit smoking. It’s so wonderful to me that I am so much healthier in a relatively short amount of time (49 days, or 7 weeks!).

After the class I got changed and then went to the front desk and told them about the incident (which they knew about, somewhat), and they said that they were going to review the tape (they have cameras in the pool area) and that once they figured out who the member was, they were going to revoke his membership for what he said to me and the way that he disrupted the class. Justice!

They also said they were going to review their policy in terms of who is allowed into the pool area during an aqua class. Right now anyone can be in there, and there’s often an “audience” which is somewhat disconcerting because we’re not in the most attractive poses for most of the class. It would be nice if they’d post a sign saying that for the hour the class is taking place only class participants are allowed in the area. The only problem with that is that this is also where the hot tub, steam room, and sauna is, so I’m not sure how other members would feel about not being able to use those services for that hour. I guess we’ll see how it all shakes out.

The main point is – I went to the gym!! I enjoyed the aqua class! And I didn’t let some asshole disrupt me in the least. I’m going again tonight to the aqua class and I’m planning to go to this new bellydancing class on Sunday morning. I’ll have gone to the gym more this week than I have in over 6 months, and that feels great. I’m definitely on a roll, which is why those 1.9 pounds aren’t looming too heavily over my head. I know that as long as I stay consistent with my efforts, they’ll come off quickly.

Bella’s back, baby!

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Did you guys miss me?  It’s been a crazy week and a half, and I apologize for my absence.  Anyone who’s moved knows that no matter how well-prepared and organized you are (neither of which I felt I was for this move), it always takes twice as long to get everything done as you plan.  I don’t have time for a formal, well-organized post, but I did want to check in with some random thoughts:

  • I moved!  I am loving the new house, and once I get more boxes unpacked and some pictures and decorations hung up this weekend, I will post photos on here, on FB, and maybe even a few on Twitter for you to see.
  • There was some major drama with the management company of the old place, but I’m happy to say that I did not let them intimidate me, no matter how many harassing emails and phone calls they made.  While they weren’t the most responsive company in the world for the 4 years I lived there, I never expected them to be shady.  It saddened me that they were trying to take advantage of me, and I’m glad that I didn’t bow down to their scare tactics.
  • The new place is big!  Well, bigger than I’m used to, anyway.  It’s a little more than 1200 square feet, which is more than enough room for Lulu and me.  It’s really nice having all this space and not feeling so cramped in.  Plus the cabinet/storage space is ridiculous.  There is absolutely no reason for me to ever be disorganized, again.  Love that!
  • Lulu is slowly adjusting to the new house, and she loves having a yard to run around in.  The first few days have been bark-filled, which is annoying to my new neighbors, I’m sure.  She never, ever barked at the old place (unless something scared her), and she had so many reasons to bark, what with the wacky neighborhood and crazy neighbors.  Here, though, she’s barking all the time, which is weird.  I’m sure once she gets used to her new surroundings and all the noises that go with it, she’ll go back to her usual, happy-go-lucky self.  The nice thing is the neighbors seem very patient, and told me not to worry about her barking when I went over to apologize to them.
  • I cannot wait for the house to be completely organized and everything to be in it’s proper place so I can get back to my normal routine.  I haven’t worked out (big surprise), and I am missing it (that’s the surprise). Plus the fact that I know working out will get me to my goal of losing 24 lbs for the surgery that much sooner.
  • Thanks to Scale Warfare for introducing me to a new breakfast idea – Overnight Oats.  I highly recommend that you try them – they’re delicious, and the flavor combinations are endless.  I haven’t had any Greek yogurt in the house, but I did have light sour cream, so I’ve been making my overnight oats with 1/2 cup each of whole, rolled oats; light sour cream; and almond milk; plus a TBSP of molasses.  Yummy!  The combination of the sour cream and the molasses is really heart-warming and so delish.  This is going to be my daily breakfast from here on out.  Plus, it keeps me all morning.  I eat them at 6:30am and I’m not hungry again until lunchtime.  Definitely try it out if you haven’t yet.
  • I’ve been tracking for the last several days and without even meaning to I’ve been eating really low carb, which means that I’m staying fuller longer because of all the protein.  The oats and fruits I’m eating do have some carbs, but I haven’t had rice, pasta, or bread for a couple of days.  I think I may try to do this several times a week for the next few weeks.
  • My new neighborhood is so nice, and Lulu and I have already begun to explore it on our walks.  I love looking at all the beautiful houses in the area, and she loves the well-manicured front yards carpeted with grass.  Win win.
  • I have a garage in the new place, and I can’t tell you how nice it is to know that my car is protected from the elements.  No more scraping the windows in the winter for me.  (Now, for those living in the Midwest or in the East, I know that my version of scraping windows is nothing like yours.  I just have to clear them of a bit of ice sometimes – you guys have to literally dig yourselves out of snow banks.  Still, it is nice).  Plus, it’s going to be great not to have to brave the rain and wind first thing in the morning on the way to the car.  It’s the small things, folks.
  • Once again, Lulu and I have our beauty appointments in sync.  I’m going for my hair in a few minutes (just a regular color and trim) and she goes to the groomer’s tomorrow.  Boy, does she need it!  She’s looking a bit scraggly.  Still cute, but just “overgrown.”
  • The weather today has been a bit cooler and overcast, which makes me long for fall.  I can’t wait to start using my croc pot for chili, soups, and stews.  I’m looking forward to the clothing of fall, too – the sweaters, scarves, boots, and jackets.  What’s your favorite thing about fall?
  • I have tons of your blog posts to catch up on, so this weekend, I’m going to take “blog reading breaks” from unpacking. I need to know how everyone’s doing!

That’s about all I have time for.  I’m hoping to get back to my regular blogging on Monday, because I always feel more organized and “on track” when I’m checking in here regularly.  I hope everyone is well!

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I am really excited to let you all know that yesterday I signed the lease on my new place!  I move on September 11th, and I cannot wait.

It really was as if everything was meant to be.  I can’t believe that one week after I contacted my former landlord the tenant in my old place gave notice. And from there the pieces just fell into place.

There is so much to do between now and then, but I’ve already started setting up service transfer for my electricity, cable & internet, etc.  I’ve also contacted the moving company that I’m planning on using (I’ve used them twice before, and they’re awesome), as well as let my current landlords know that I was officially giving notice.

Now there’s the hard part – packing!  I guess I know what I’ll be doing Labor Day Weekend.  🙂  I’m actually feeling really luck to have that 3-day weekend to get a lot of the major packing done.  One of my colleagues recently moved, and he said he’ll let me use his moving boxes, so that will be a big savings.  I will probably need to buy more because his living arrangements are pretty spartan, but still, I can get a good jumpstart on the costs, which is nice.

September isn’t going to be quite as tough financially as I originally thought because my new landlord is only making me pay for half the month of rent (even though I’m moving in on the 11th).  I’ve already started to make a list of some of the things I need to buy (eventually) for the new place:

  • Area rugs for the living and dining room (because of the bamboo floors)
  • A doggie door that fits into the sliding glass door so that Lulu can have easy access during the day to go outside
  • An Aero bed for when I have guests visit (now that I have the 2nd bedroom)
  • A flat-screen t.v. for the living room (down the road – I need to save for this big purchase)
  • New towels and rugs for the guest bathroom
  • Plants & flowers for the backyard
  • A new dining room table and chairs (possible – my parents gave their beautiful one to my friend when they bought a new one and my friend said that she wouldn’t feel right keeping it if I had to go out and buy one.  So, I’m hoping that I can get that from her, because I really do love their set.  I just didn’t have anyplace for it in this current house).

Since I have a second bedroom and I’m going to be living by myself, my plan is to turn that room into a study/exercise room of sorts.  I’m going to move my big bookcase in there so that I have more room in my bedroom, and then I was thinking I could put my old t.v. and entertainment center in there and do the Wii and workout DVDs in that room, since there’s carpet.  I will also move my balance ball and small dumbells in there. I want to get an Aero bed so that I can use it if I have guests over, but it doesn’t have to be out all the time.

I’m all set with the rest of the house, because I already love the decor I’ve selected for my bedroom, bathroom, and living room.

Even though I hate all the time, energy, and money it takes to move, I am really excited to move into this place.  The nice thing is that since I’ve lived there before, I already know where I’m going to put most things.  I grew up in the area, and already know and love the neighborhood.  Lulu and I are going to be able to go on some beautiful walks in the afternoon, because the area is so nice and there are tons of gorgeous houses to look at.  Plus, this place is a lot closer to the dog park we like going to.  I’ll miss going to the Rose Garden, but it’s not too far away (maybe 15 minutes more), so we can still go there from time to time.

Thank you to everyone who has shown such excitement for me.  You guys are so supportive, and I appreciate every one of you.

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Today really could not have been any better!  Ok, well, I could’ve done without waking up at 3am,tossing and turning for an hour, and then finally rousing myself out of bed at 4am.  But still, what a day!

I read the paper and had some coffee, catching up on the news, and of course, the comics. Nice way to ease into the day.

I did some tidying up around the house, and then got ready to go to bikram yoga.  By the time I was done with the 90 minute session, I had a sweatyface, for sure.  I was really proud of myself for going even though Nicey had to cancel on me.  The class was really tough today.  I know it’s called “hot yoga,” but it felt especially warm in the studio.  I’m happy to say I made it though, and I’ll give more details about the class on Friday, in my fitness update.

When I got home I relaxed for a bit and dove into the pages of  My Fair Lazy, the newest book from the glorious Ms. Jen Lancaster.  I’ve had the book for quite some time, but I was “saving” it because I usually go through her books really quickly.  While I like to think that I’m a fairly cultured person, I do completely relate to Jen Lancaster’s reality tv obsession, because I love me some Real Housewives of New Jersey.

My parents were coming over to help me hang some additional artwork that I recently bought to complete my living room.  I absolute love the way it turned out:

Two new artwork pieces

I love the saying on this one from Margaret Shepherd: “Sometimes your only available transportation is a leap of faith.”

This one is so gorgeous, especially in person.  It has a Chinese Proverb that says, “If you keep a green bough in your heart, then the singing bird will come.”  To me, it means that you will find true happiness as long as you have hope.

You can’t tell from the photos, but both pictures have a little bit of sparkle to them, and they are really vivid.  I love the colors.

I also added some silk flowers to my vases, since the protea I got at the farmers market a few weeks ago were finally spent:

I love these colors, and they tie in all the other colors in the room.

As my parents were leaving, I gave them my leftover chicken curry, and later they called to tell me how much the loved it.  What a compliment.  My mom even asked me to give her the recipe so that she can make it again.  I’m telling you, you should try it, because it was a HIT!

For dinner, I made a good beef stirfry, which was really filling and just looked beautiful (if I do say so myself):

I always feel so good when I have a fridge full of food, have a ton of leftovers, and know that I won’t be scrambling for healthy dinners all week.

But the most exciting thing happened in bits and pieces throughout the day.  Get a glass of water or a cup of coffee, cuz this is going to take a while to explain.

As you know, I’ve been thinking seriously about getting a dog this summer.  I’ve wanted one for quite a few years, and I really feel like I’m finally ready to take on all that having a puppy entails.  I’ve been looking online for lots of different dogs, and when I went to a colleague’s house and she had this adorable yorkie, I asked her where she got him.  She said that she had found him from a breeder in another state, and got him sent to her.  Which made me very intrigued with that idea.

Then today LC posted on Facebook saying that she was at my niece’s Tae Kwon Do practice and a woman there had a little dog that she needed to give to someone.  Long story short, LC is getting this great dog (and all the accompanying accessories like a bed, food bowl, leash, etc) for free next week.  Which just made me want to get a puppy all the more.  I know that sounds like I just want one because my sister is getting one, but that’s not the case.  It just spurred me on to fulfill this dream of mine.  So I went back online and found a reputable breeder in Missouri who had a few adorable puppies available.

One in particular caught my eye, and the price was really good.  $375, including shipping her to my local airport (from MO to CA) on American Airlines.  They are including all of the vet paperwork, including shot history, the crate, a health certificate, a health guarantee, and even some puppy food and a care package.  I emailed the woman and found out that she’s a middle school math teacher – a great sign.  I asked if I could wait until after school gets out (June 11) before I get the puppy, and the breeder said that would be fine, as long as I sent a deposit (via Paypal).  So the timing is perfect.

Here’s the thing.  My mom is really opposed to me getting a dog.  She said she thinks it’s a huge mistake, and thinks that the fact that the dog would be alone while I’m at work (usually from 7am until 3 or 3:30 pm) is a terrible life for a young dog. My dad said that he thinks it would be fine, as long as I verify that this woman is on the up and up, which I have. I looked her up online, researched their website, etc.  I really feel in my heart like this is the right thing to do.  The one hesitation I have is that I usually listen closely to my mom’s advice.  The fact that she thinks it’s a bad idea is throwing me.  You’re probably thinking, “Bella, you’re in your late 30s, why are you so concerned with what your parents think?”  Well the answer is twofold – one: in my family, you’re always “the child” as long as your parents are alive; and two: I really value my parents’ opinion, because I know they have more life experience than I do and have my best interests at heart.

But I really have thought this through.  My lifestyle is such that I’m home most nights of the week.  I have friends and social engagements, of course, but most of the time I stay close to home.  I don’t have to travel for business, and I am not a world traveler (yet!).  I know I’ll have to walk the dog to go potty in the morning, which means getting up earlier than I do now.  While I’m at school, I’m planning on closing the door to my kitchen, pantry, and dining area, so the dog would only be in the part of the house that has linoleum.  When I get home from school I will definitely take the dog on a long walk, and then later in the night we can go on potty breaks in either the front yard (on a leash – I live on a really busy street) or in the backyard with the gate closed. (I really don’t have a backyard to speak of.  It’s mostly concrete, where we park our cars, but there are some patches of dirt/tanbark where the dog could go to the bathroom (and I could clean up). On the days when I have to be at work later (which are rare) or if I’m going out after work, I can have her go to the doggie daycare that is literally down the street from my house.  (They have a webcam and everything).  There’s another really highly acclaimed day care that isn’t too far from my house which is also an option, and I’m planning on going to puppy classes there this summer. The point is, I feel like I have a handle on what it will take to make the commitment to the dog.

The nice thing about having the summer off is that I’ll have two solid months to bond with the dog, take puppy socialization classes, get into a routine, and make sure we both understand the new “house rules.”  I figure I can slowly wean her off of being around me all day long as the summer comes to a close, so that she’s used to being by herself for 6 hours or so.

The dog is a bichon-yorkie mix.  I’m thinking her name might be Lulu, but I’m still considering.  (Her current name is Bridgett, which I hate). Or I may go with a literary character’s name, like Zelda.  Or something Italian.  But I have time to figure that out. So without futher ado, here she is:

This is the photo from the online ad. How adorable is she?

These are the photos that the breeder sent me, which were taken tonight:

She looks a tiny bit scruffy, like she needs a little haircut (believe me, this dog is going to be spoiled and no doubt she’ll be a regular at the groomers),but she is still such a doll, isn’t she?

My question is, what do you guys think?  My heart and head are telling me to do it, because this dog seems like the perfect fit, but the fact that I don’t have my mom on board is making me think twice.  Any thoughts? What questions should I ask the breeder when I call her tomorrow?

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As you’ll remember, last Sunday I purchased a few items for my living room to spruce it up.  The colors of the pillows were inspired by this great calendar that I had bought.  I loved it so much that I bought a second one, and framed some of my favorite prints to put up.

I asked my mom and dad to come over for some wine and apps, because the three of us have a knack for placement and hanging of pictures.  My dad is great with the nailing and hanging, and my mom and I are pros at placement.

The result is a warm, inviting living room that I’m so proud of.  I love the way it turned out, and since I spend the majority of my time at home in this room, I wanted to make sure it reflected my personal style.  I think the look was finally achieved, and I couldn’t be more thrilled.

The entire wall:

I really enjoy the sentiment and artwork on each of these prints.  They really work to tie all the other colors in together, which make sense, since they were what inspired the change all together.

Lastly, how delightful is this new vase?  It’s so pretty that it doesn’t even need flowers in it:

Sometimes all it takes is a small change to complete transform a room.  Thanks to this new change, I feel so happy whenever I walk into the room, and really, what more can you ask from your home?

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