Friday Favorites 2nd Edition

I hope you all had a great week! I’ve been doing a mini makeover on my kids bathroom this week and it’s almost done. I hurt myself in the process so the last few things are taking me a little longer than normal. Here are some of my favorite things this week I wanted to share with you. The links are clickable through the pictures!

1.Girls Jumper- I just bought this for Stella for our family pictures this weekend (if it doesn’t rain!) So cute. I ordered Stella the biggest size 5/6 and as reviews said, the waist is snug. She’s very lean so it works but if there was a bigger size I would have gone up! Here is the shirt she’s wearing underneath.

2. LuluLemon Align DUPES- These aren’t Lulus BUT they are the under $25 version. They are relatively lightweight, sleek but not super shiny, naked feeling fitness tights/leggings. They also have the seamless waistband. I bought them in black to test them out but I will be buying fun colors because I can justify fun prints with this price tag. If you want a great review of other dupes check out this review on LaurenGleisberg.com. Obviously get these on ASAP for your after Thanksgiving dinner/ shopping pants!!!!

3. Packing Cubes- I am sure you have seen these before, but I can’t even begin to tell you how awesome they are. If you are traveling for the holidays, if you share suitcases between spouses or kids, then you NEED THEM. They save your life and possibly your marriage. It’s amazing how well you can pack and how much you can fit without shifting or having to dig. I need to write a whole post on these, that’s how much I love them. Everyone in my family has a set and right now there is an amazon coupon for $6 off.

4. Good Cook Meal Prep Containers- I found these in Target stores and on amazon which is linked in the picture. These are awesome for kids and adults. I often pack a hot thermos for my kids lunch and these are low profile and you can pack 2 -half cup potions for sides. They are also great if you are running low on snacks and want to send a little of two without multiple containers! They are as pretty as they are functional!

5. tre’ Stique Matte Lip Color and Shiny Balm in Florece Fig- I received this in a sample box, and I can’t remember which one but I LOVE IT. I have it in my purse because color is great for everyday and it looks smooth even when your lips are dry this time of year. The magnetic closing lid is awesome too!

Friday Favorites

Here are a few of my favorite things this week. Click through the pictures to get the link.

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  1. Two peas & Their Pod Cookbook- So good! Like SO GOOD. If you are questioning my judgement check out her instagram. I’ve made so many recipes already and have LOVED every. single. one.
  2. Christen Michel Strawberry Crush Exfoliating Cleanser- If your skin is taking a hit from the weather changes this is going to be your bff. Also, try it on your lips. Christen made her dream into a reality with her own skin care line and I’m lucky to call her a friend. (She is local to STL if you are too, and need an esthetician!)
  3. Leopard Print Apple Watch band- I bought a 3 pack for under $15 dollars and love the quality and fun prints! This one is my favorite and is basically a neutral!
  4. Starbucks Winter Blend @ Costco- So good and its on sale $6 off right now!
  5. Make up Eraser Glove- I love these cloths an just found mini ones on sale at target, but I ran across this glove and I think its perfect for eye make up removal. Just add water. I cannot use make up remover on my eyes. EVERYTHING burns but these are SO soft and gentle!

Have a great weekend!

Yuppy Puppy Pet Spa Review

This post was sponsored by Yuppy Puppy Pet Spa. All opinions are my own unbiased review.

This is Luna Rose Cupcake Palmer. She is our family’s goldendoodle. We adopted her almost two years ago. (My then three year old helped with the name LOL!)

Luna Rose Cupcake Palmer heading to play camp.

We have two daughters, who really haven’t been around big dogs in their life. We had Belle, an 8 pound poodle mix previously. She really left the kids alone. She wasn’t into playing and she was older when the girls were born. Luna, however, is a different story. She is a very big and happy dog. She LOVES to play and requires a lot of attention right now.

When Luna was about 10 weeks old, we started looking into training programs. We wanted the girls to learn to train her and for Luna to see them as her leaders. I looked into a lot of different local places and options but ended up choosing Yuppy Puppy Pet Spa in O’Fallon, Missouri. They offer day training, board and train, boarding, full service grooming and even play camp during the weekdays.

We fell in love with the facility and the staff. They were so helpful and listened to all of our concerns and questions. We met with Miranda, the trainer, for a consultation and decided to start right away. We ended up choosing the two week day training to do basic obedience training. We dropped her off at 7:30 every morning and picked her by 6:30 every night. We decided to not do overnight training because she had just come to our house and she slept in her crate without any crying or barking from night one. I DID NOT want to mess that up! She was so exhausted and she LOVED going back every day. After a few days Luna could already heel on a leash and walk really well. We were so happy with the obedience training.

Moving to current times. Luna was about 10 pounds when she did her obedience training. She is now 60 pounds. The behaviors at a few months old are a lot different than at almost two years old.

The number one thing I knew going into this ,and that I still have to remind myself of, is that when she is acting out or driving me crazy, I have to look at what we are doing or NOT doing. The key to keeping the training is to practice it. CONSISTENCY!

After speaking with the owner of Yuppy Puppy, Jessica, she suggested Luna come back for a training refresher. Luna is now in her “teenage rebellion” stage and we were starting to not enjoy her the way we wanted to.

We didn’t want to feel annoyed and on defense with her all of the time. She was stealing hand towels and shoes to get attention. Not destroying them, but just taking and running to get us to chase her. She also would try to take giant hair bows out of my little Stella’s hair. That was a BIG NO! We also wanted to work with her when guests come over. She would get super excited, but didn’t know how to handle it. She was overwhelming to people coming in the door.

We met with the trainer Oscar, who Luna sees when she goes to play camp. (I need to write a review on that sometime, because it is also an amazing option!) She knows him by name and gets very excited when she sees him. He was very enthusiastic and confident that he could help her with the new and current issues and build upon what Miranda already had taught Luna. We decided to do a two week refresher day training again.

Once again Luna loved every single day and we noticed right away that she was listening and more engaged. Every night we got a communication folder upon picking her up. Oscar wrote down what they did and any notes he had for us. We wrote anything that happened at home good or bad for feedback. I loved this because I got to write what was working and what still needed work throughout the process. We even ended up brining in a bag of “triggers” from home. We took a pair of shoes, a unicorn headband, a JoJo bow, and a kitchen towel. I thought that was key for us because there are a lot more items at home that she reacts to.

At the end of the the two weeks we had an hour private lesson. He went over all of the things he taught her. He gave us SO many tips and tricks as to how to get Luna to do what we wanted based on her personality and situation. Any and every question we had was answered. We also decided that in the future we would like to do a few private lessons at home to work on transitions especially with guests. Oscar explained to us that Luna has a hard time not getting overly excited during transitions, especially new people coming over. This made sense. He really educated us on how Luna sees things. Sometimes the things that we viewed as her not being obedient were her getting anxious. She wasn’t trying to be rebellious.

At Yuppy Puppy, they are willing to use whatever works for each specific dog. Some dogs respond to food and praise and some don’t. For Luna we used an e-collar. I was very hesitant in the beginning, but after seeing how they use it I felt more comfortable. The collar goes from 1-100. Oscar was using it on a level 2 and Luna was responding so well. With consistent practice, we barely need to use it.

Luna on the “climb” graduating from training.

One of my favorite things that they learn in all of the training is the use of the climb. I purchased one right away! It can be a rug or an actual dog climb like ours. The dog is trained to stay on the climb when they are given the command until the command “free” is given. They can do whatever they want while on the climb. It is a safe, calm place for them. It’s a great place for them to calm down or for redirection. They can stand, sit, lay down, even sleep if they want. We are working with Luna on getting on the climb when we eat dinner and when someone comes to the door. Slowly, over time, you can have them stay on the climb for longer increments of time.

Luna LOVES the attention that her training and practice gets her. When her behavior slips, our family tries to do about 2-5 minutes each of practicing her tricks and training. It is a GAME CHANGER. It doesn’t take much effort or time to get her back to listening and feeling more relaxed.

It is easy to think that every dog should fit into this same little box and the reality is that they are just like us. They all have their own quirks, personalities and issues. Yuppy Puppy Training with Miranda and Oscar was such a great experience. We are enjoying having a dog again. Luna definitely still has things to work on, but we feel confident knowing that we have a resource to help us and the skills to help her. We are so grateful to have found this place that has become a second home for Luna.

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Teacher Appreciation Gifts

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week. This time of the year is crazy busy, especially if you have kids in school or graduating or in activities. I told a friend the other day that it feels as busy as December. Spoiler alert: no presents, beautiful decorations or that week between Christmas and New Years where you lay in bed with your kids or drink coffee while they are entertained by gifts and Christmas Cheer. Our soccer season is wrapping up, we have dance recital next weekend and then things slow down. (Thank you 6lb 7oz baby Jesus) Because I don’t think you need to kill yourself trying to keep up with everything, I wait until the end of the year to do my teachers gifts. So, if you too, feel like you have way too many irons in the fire this week to do something nice for your teachers, then you still have time! Yesterday I sent in a card with a handwritten note from us and my daughter saying how much we appreciate our teacher. If you can’t do gifts for your teachers, a genuine note of gratitude goes a long way.

Last week I took a poll on Instagram and Facebook, because I feel like I have a lot of teacher friends, to see what they ACTUALLY want for end of school year gifts. Well, it wasn’t that shocking, but the number one thing people responded back wanting was gift cards.

I made a list of a few other items that might be fun to get for an end of the year gift from one of the little angels in your classroom. These would be great alone, or added to a little themed gift of movie theater, snacks or summer essentials.

  1. Frixion Erasable Pens
  2. Emily Ley’s Simplified Teacher Planner
  3. Amazon Gift Card
  4. Target Gift Card
  5. Boom Chicka Pop
  6. Ghirardelli Minis
  7. Petal Forward Seed Packs
  8. Starbucks To Go Cups
  9. Personalized Beach Towel

Cheers to surviving the end of the school year… Only 12 more weeks until the first day of school!

When More is Less…

I was thinking about this the other day. When you become a parent you start to have time poverty. Time poverty is when you have a lack of time, free time, extra time, and down time. I’m pretty sure every parent talks about this or at least has had the thought, “what did I do with my time before we had kids? No, really, what did we do?”

I could name a lot of things I used to do, and and not one involves me in old paint spattered sweat pants running to Walgreens at 9:58pm on a Tuesday to get a tri-fold board that costs $45 because someone forgot they needed it, or in my case I forgot they told me they needed it.

My point here is not that life before kids was better, it was just simpler. It was easier. It was filled with lots of extra time. You also have a lot less mental stress. When you bring a life into this world or you are responsible for another person, you will never be the same, you will never stop worrying about that baby/child/teenager/adult/old lady until the day you die. It sounds dramatic, because it is and it’s also true. You don’t feel me? Then you probably aren’t a parent. (Which, BTW not being a parent is just fine.)

When you look back and compare your old life with your new life, it is quite evident that whatever in the heck you were doing with all of your free time in the day to day was fun, but nothing like what you are doing now. It’s crazy to think of how fast the change is. One day you are free to do whatever, whenever and after about 13 hours of labor or 24 hours or 6 years of infertility or 2 years of waiting to adopt you are instantly changed. I’m not talking about changed like you watched a Netflix documentary on how bad the meat industry is, I’m talking changed to your core, every ounce of your being and your heart will never be the same.

I want to talk about what happens after this change. After you become a mom in particular. You revolve your life around keeping this little angel(s) alive for the next 18 to life. You have this epiphany early on that whatever you used to do with your time is not as important as what you are doing now. You only get a window of childhood with them. Of course you are going to be in their lives forever, but you only get 18 years to teach them everything you want them to know and give them whatever experiences you deem necessary.

Becoming a mom can be a smooth natural role to come into or it can be really overwhelming. Some moms work full time, part time, from home, and some stay home. Some moms do this all on their own, while others have a “tribe” or a “village.” It’s all hard and it’s all important. I’m going to say it again for the moms who don’t think they are doing enough.

WHATEVER KIND OF MOM YOU ARE, IT IS ALL HARD AND IT IS ALL IMPORTANT.

So, with all of that said, let me get into what I really wanted to talk about today.

Can we all agree that we are all struggling at times trying to manage our jobs, hobbies, friends, partner/spouse, children, laundry, dreams, physical and mental wellbeing and try to stay sane and out of prison?

Yes?

Okay!

Then I have to ask ,why on Earth do we just keep piling on commitments?

Why do we pressure ourselves and other women and other moms to keep taking on more tasks?

Sign up for this, volunteer for that. It’s only once a week, a month, a year.

Good One.

It’s like joining the Army for moms. One weekend a month, two weeks a year. And girl, THAT ADDS UP!

I’ve heard it all.

I’ve done it all.

I’ve quit it all.

All of the things I don’t want to be doing with my precious spare time anyway. Unfortunately, you can’t quit the laundry, dishes, working out, or putting kids to bed. Some things in life, you just have to do, but the rest, thats up to YOU!.

Before you message me or text your best friend to tell them how easy it must be for me, because of whatever excuse you’ve come up with as to why you aren’t going to be able to quit things like me, just stop. Seriously, check yourself and the guilt at the door. That’s BS and only hurting one person…. YOU!

You CAN quit things you don’t want to do with your time too. You can say NO. You can say no to traveling for the holidays. You can say no to going to your 5th cousin’s second wedding 6 hours away with 2 toddlers who hate car rides. You can say no to your friend Shelly who just lost 40 pounds on a program you don’t want to join. You can say no to your kids when they want you to do something right now and you are getting ready to read a book for 20 minutes alone in the bathtub. By book, I mean watching instagram stories about what people on the internet ate for lunch today. You can say no when someone tries to give you their old crap that you do not want. You can say no to your husband when he asks if you have the white towels washed.

As a mom, people are going to always want your time. It’s a privilege to be a mom. I really do feel that way, but it is YOUR job to take control of your time. As women, we are our own worst enemies with this. We do it to ourselves and we do it to our fellow gal pals. I’m going to shoot you straight NO ONE, no one is going to care about your time and your calendar and your life but YOU. Other people will suck you dry, and usually not on purpose, but they will take whatever you are willing to give.

Again, don’t forget this: YOU CAN SAY NO!

Saying no to someone is not offensive or mean or letting them down. It’s choosing your wellbeing and mental sanity. Heck I bet you can even say no to Gina, yep, even Gina. You know Gina, the OG of your elementary school, the one who is going to think you are terrible if you are a stay at home mom and don’t have your hand in the air to volunteer for the book fair. She’s the same one who is judging you for going to winery during the day or taking a sick day when you aren’t sick. She’s going to judge you, divorced mom, because you only have your kids part time, and that must be nice. She’s going to think Lisa should have plenty of time to make copies because she only has one kid, and is that even really a real parent? (BTW I don’t know a Gina , but there’s one in every crowd, probably two.)

It doesn’t matter who you are or what your situation is, there are people out there who are going to try to minimize what you have going on and insert their own agenda. You don’t need to feel bad when another over committed mama tries to push her stuff off on you and you stop that crap right there and shut it down. Maybe you telling her no will wake her up to the knowledge that she also can exfoliate off a few commitments.

I am a recovered over committer. I’ve been packing my schedule in my gorgeous agenda since I was 14 years old and got my first real job. Then I turned 16 and I could do more because I could drive and pretty soon it was just who I was. You got a problem, yo I’ll solve it. Need someone to join a team, a club, a committee? Me! Pick me! I was that girl, and then I became that woman and that mom that WAS doing it all. I was probably not doing much well, but I was checking those boxes baby!

I feel confident enough on the topic to talk about it with you, because I’ve been there and I have done a 180 in the last few years. I know there are a lot of you out there who are over committed too, hopefully you are reading this. You took on too much, and it didn’t happen over night. It started out small and pretty soon you are a snowball of micro commitments. You took on too many “little” and “easy” jobs and tasks for someone else and now its a full time job. So now you look at your list of commitments and you can’t figure out what is going to even make a big enough impact to quit. What do you come up with?

Nothing. Not one of those little things is going to make a big difference.

If this is you, I challenge you to look at this differently. I want you to make a really simple list. So simple you are going to say what is that going to do. I want you to list your top 5 priorities in your life. Really, what are they? When I did this task a few years back I almost laughed to myself, like I get to pick what I want to do? Yes you cotton headed ninny muggins you do!

I’ll share mine. They are really simple and pretty general. Don’t overcomplicate it.

  1. Me and My health-Mental and Physical (cue everyone dropping dead from a woman who has two children and a husband putting herself first)
  2. My Family- my husband and my kids
  3. My Business
  4. Having blank space on my calendar (yep this does exist!)
  5. Making memories with friends and family

As I said, pretty simple. So now, when someone asks you do to something or go to something that you don’t want to do, pull up that list in your mind and ask yourself:

Is this going to help me keep my priorities?

Is this going to prevent me from keeping my priorities in check?

In 2019 I decided my health was my #1 priority. Somehow in the last few years I let that slip through the cracks. So when I fill out my calendar for the week ahead, the first thing I do is book my workouts and write down what we’re doing for dinner. Then no matter what happens, my commitment to my own health comes first. (I know, I know, things will come up, and I am flexible, but I still try to move those appointments with myself and make it work.)

I”m going to tell you right now that I know a lot of you are already OUT. You aren’t ready to disappoint people, speak your truth, or put yourself first. It’s not always easy, but like all things, practice makes progress. You cannot do it all. Unless you are a meth mom (which can’t last forever either) You don’t have enough hours in the day to be everything to everyone.

Long story Long…

You become a parent, you realize how precious time is and the, even knowing what you know, you slowly suck up every spare moment of your life committing to other people and things that don’t serve you and your greater goals in life.

People!!!! Sometimes MORE is LESS.

huh, you say?

More commitments = less free time.

More commitments = less time to enjoy meals with your family.

More saying yes to Gina = less time to make it to the gym.

More people pleasing = less time for yourself.

More commitments = less dealing with our actual problems in life. (Re-read this one. I have fallen victim to this!)

More getting sucked into things you hate = less saying yes to getting impromptu snow cones on a Monday night with your precious babies.

More is not always More Ladies, unless it’s mo money, because we all know mo money = mo problems.

Quit saying yes to everything. You DON’T have to. When you say yes to something that isn’t aligned with your priorities, you are saying NO to something else, which is most likely yourself.

You are important. SO important. The things that you want to do with your time are also important. How you spend your days ends up being how you spent your life.

Take care of yourself, and do something for yourself, even if it is pretending to fold laundry alone in your mudroom while eating a few thin mints.

Welcome

Welcome… are you confused?  We have been too. Cat and I have been going over the last year in our heads and out loud with each other in every way possible.  We started this business on the backs of our previous businesses, in hopes of offering better customer service and efficiency.  We were so excited to work together.  A few months into starting “A Blank Box”, we thought of ” The Doodle and Company.”

If you don’t know us personally, we both have golden doodle dogs that we adore.  We both spent countless hours looking at dog pictures and falling in love with these animals before convincing our husbands we couldn’t live without one.  “The Doodle and Company” was our baby, but we had too many irons in the fire to give it the attention that it needed.  We rocked our monogram/personalization business, “A Blank Box” through the holidays.  We ended the year ready for a break with our families.  It was awesome to take some time away.

Cat and I have worked so hard this year to start sloughing off commitments and obligations that aren’t serving us, our families, and our personal goals. We decided this is the beginning of #quiteverything. (Which sadly does not include laundry, cooking, working out, and having adult responsibilities.) It does however pertain to things we say we have to do, but we don’t.  It pertains to things we are trying to be martyrs for doing.  What we realized is that we had NOT done that in our business, even though we were thinking we had it figured out.  You cannot sustain never saying NO!  (personal or professionally) We had to come to the realization that just because you can, it doesn’t mean you should.    This seems obvious, but both of our personalities love to be challenged by taking on project after project.  I know a lot of friends who are the same way.  I hear them say they HAVE to do something or they HAVE to go somewhere, but they are dreading every minute of it.  (Think about that before you say yes.  Are you spending your days living a life you are dreading?)

So after a lot of thinking, discussing it and going over it and back to it and around it once again, we have revamped our business structure.  “Anna and Cat” will be your place to find our blog and other lifestyle type content.   Thedoodleandcompany.com will continue to be our pet product based business. We are really excited to service you and your fur babies!

You might be wondering why I am telling you all of this.  You might wonder why someone would tell you they took on too much, made A LOT of mistakes, weren’t hitting the goals they wanted to, were feeling spread as thin as butter on a calorie counters bread.  I am telling you this so, number one, you aren’t wondering if we are NUTS when you start seeing all of the changes.  (Spoiler Alert: WE ARE.)  On a serious note, I am telling you, because I hear a lot from people close to me that I do it all, that I keep it all together, that I’m killing it.  Sometimes I am, but I also fall victim to running myself into the ground, taking on other peoples expectations, and never saying no for sanity sake.   It’s something I have been working on intentionally in the last few years.  The moral of the story is, when you have too many irons in the fire, you aren’t attending to many very well.  Most of all you aren’t attending to yourself very well.

If you made it this far, you are an angel.  I hope you all will like what we have in store here for you in the future.  I’m not going to label what the content will be, because it’s going to be a melting pot!  I guess it would be called a “lifestyle blog” but I’m not going to be showing you how perfect our lives are, because they aren’t!  (Although I am currently sitting on my couch with the most bomb-ass blanket from Costco watching RHWO Orange County and no one is here to tell me how terrible this show is!)

Thank you for all of your love and support in our first year! Don’t forget to check out our shop website The Doodle and Company.  We are adding holiday items regularly.

 

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