So you’re thinking about getting a puppy. Maybe you just got one.
Tia is 10 months old today, but since she’s as big as a horse, sometimes I feel like she’s not a puppy. But in reality she’s growing up, but still a baby.
I am by no means a dog expert, but I wanted to share what worked for us.
Growing up I had a plethora of animals so I thought I was prepared for a puppy. Although my family hadn’t had one since 1998.
Since Tia is my second child I prepared for her like I did for Sharkie. I read several puppy books. I highly recommend The Puppy Primer.
Be open to speaking with whoever you’re adopting from. We got Tia from a breeder because I wanted a golden for their reputation with children. After waiting a year for one to be available via rescue we picked a breeder.
Our breeder recommended @originalsnugglepuppy and this was game changing. Tia slept with her puppy and LOVED. It comforted her at night and she never cried.
Set your puppy up for success the way you would a child. I removed things from her access I didn’t want her to bother. I puppy-proofed our home by utilizing baby gates and hiding cords.
We crate train and we did graduated crate method. Dogs feel safer in a crate that is small, but gives them room to turn around and sit up. Tia went through 3 crates before we got the adult size. If we’re gone or sleeping she’s in the crate. The crate should always been open and become a safe space for your dog. Tia crates herself if we annoy her.
As a puppy I watched her like a hawk so I could stop any behavior I didn’t want. If I couldn’t fully have my eyes on her she went in the crate.
This method has kept her from chewing cords, shoes and furniture because I nipped those urges in the bud. Be sure you have lots of chew toys, especially with a golden. When you scold for chewing something inappropriate immediately give an appropriate item.
While these are my top tips for a new puppy it’s not all inclusive. If you have any questions let me know. Don’t be afraid to call in experts. While I taught Tia “go crate”, “sit”, “fetch”, and “catch” we took her to school to learn more commands. If you’re local I recommend @petsmart Brannon Crossing.
Goldens live up to their reputation. This sweet girl is so amazing with Sharkie.
This is a hard post for me to write, but I believe in using my experience to help others with their struggles. Did you know approximately 15.3 million people are affected by Hyperhidrosis in the United States alone?
So what is Hyperhidrosis? Hyperhidrosis is characterized as excessive sweating outside of “normal” sweaty activities like exercise or hot weather. Hyperhidrosis can affect the scalp, hands, armpits, feet, or face. A person worn Hyperhidrosis can have one area affected or all of the above areas affected.
I remember on my very first day of middle school I chose a bright orange glitter softball tee from Limited Too. I thought I was super cool. I didn’t realize I was sweating through in the armpits until some girls in my class questioned me about it. (Such typical middle school girl behavior) I was so embarrassed. I’m affected by Hyperhidrosis only in my armpits. I’ve always been a fashion lover, but from that day on my fashion choices changed.
I hoped it was something temporary, some byproduct of puberty that I would grow out of. But by the time I was in high school, I was still dealing with it. Back then there weren’t as many options, and nothing over the counter. I eventually got a prescription strength deodorant. This one required application at night and irritated the crap out of my skin. It didn’t work.
By the time I was a senior in high school, my situation was better, but it wasn’t perfect. I became a little more confident in what I could wear, but still spent a ton of time with my arms pinned to my side. No deodorant helped.
Fortunately products for Hyperhidrosis became somewhat more common when I was a upperclassman in college and I found Secret and Degree clinical strength to be effective 75% of the time for me. Still 25% of the time I was dealing with the stigma of Hyperhidrosis.
All of my general doctors seemed to believe this was good enough treatment and since this wasn’t a pressing medical issue I should just live with it. Dissatisfied. But I began to believe this too. This wasn’t going to kill me and I just needed to deal.
It’s been suggested that Botox shots can help Hyperhidrosis afflicted areas. But at the time this wasn’t something I could afford.
5 years ago I went to the dermatologist for my annual skin check. (Definitely do this if you’re out in the sun a lot or prone to moles like I am) I finally got up the courage to tell her what I had been dealing with, worried that she would be another doctor who didn’t think it was a big deal.
Fortunately, she was a good doctor who suggested a prescription pill I could take and y’all that was life changing. While there is no pill specifically for Hyperhidrosis. Robinul, which is what I take was intended for stomach ulcers, but a side effect is it dries up glands.
Worked like a charm for me. Sweating is still an important body function. You don’t want to stop it completely, and on this drug I still sweat in situations where I need to like hot temps and working out.
If you’re dealing with Hyperhidrosis, you’re not alone. I’m talking about this today to break the stigma and raise awareness in this as a valid medical condition. If you’re faced with doctors who don’t think it’s a big deal keep trying until you find someone who cares.
Hyperhidrosis affects your mental health and that is a big deal!
Whether you have wanderlust in your heart or just want to raise a child who does, travel is something that doesn’t come easy to most children. Especially young children.
As a mother of one I’m not a parenting expert. But I do have a child who loves to travel and I wanted to share what works for us.
Firstly, manage your expectations. If your child has never traveled before the first trip probably won’t go perfectly, and that’s okay. Children, especially toddlers are creatures who thrive on routine.
Sharkie has been traveling since she was 3 months old. The biggest key for raising a traveler is repetition. The more you go, the more your child will be able to handle. Going on vacation frequently probably isn’t feasible, try visiting or simply staying the night with family to get your child used to nights away from home.
Don’t be afraid to pack everything you need. I drive an F150. When Sharkie was an infant that flatbed was full. I packed anything I thought I’d need to make it feel like routine. Everything I used at home at any point during the day. I even packed her play mat when we traveled.
Thank Heaven she’s a toddler now and needs way less, but I still pack everything we use at home during a regular day.
Stay on routine as much as you can. Choose hotels close enough to where you’ll be to go back for naps, outfit changes, or anything else you need. Mimicking a day at home keeps your child happy and pleasant.
Pack familiar foods. I learned this the hard way, but Sharkie eventually gets tired of eating Disney food. I pack fruit, goldfish, and other familiar snacks. Since I started doing this she gets less stomach aches and our days are much smoother.
Practice social situations. If you don’t do much in your own city, your child may not know how to act in social situations. I take Sharkie to stores and events here in Lexington, but we rarely eat out. Before we travel we typically do one “practice” table meal at a restaurant so we can work on table manners. Try a local museum or park, or other places where your child may have to wait and be around others so they know what to expect on vacation.
Kids are unpredictable. You can set them up perfectly and they could still blow up on a trip. They’re their own person after all. But I have found that starting early and setting them up for success makes them pleasant little people who enjoy seeing new things.
Don’t be afraid to travel with a young child or even an infant. They can enjoy it, even if they don’t remember it; you will.
Interested in what to pack for your child? Click here.
5 small ways and 1 big way you can help the environment.
Sometimes I feel like their is a misconception that to help the earth you have to do all or nothing. But there are some small ways you can make a difference. These are some of the habits we have incorporated into our daily life.
First you want to look for ways to reduce. Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle is more than just a mantra, it’s actually the order you want to use things. Reducing consumption and reusing items has a smaller environmental impact than recycling but of course recycling is better than trashing.
Easy Change 1-We reduce our consumption of paper towels by using kitchen dish towels like this one.
I do all of my cleaning with towels like these and we use for hand drying as well. We keep paper towels for glass cleaning purposes only, so we rarely buy them.
Easy Change 2- it’s so easy to pack pouch food in your young child’s lunches. They’re mess free and I totally get it. Sharkie loves pouch yogurt. But that adds so much to the landfill. We reduce our consumption of these by purchasing these reusable ones.
You can purchase a 10 pack of these pouches here. They’re even dishwasher safe!
Easy Change 3- Now that we’ve reduced let’s talk about how we can reuse. One of my favorite ways to reuse is to purchase second hand. While I’m a frequenter of Goodwill, it can to even beyond that. Don’t let the misconceptions discourage you. You can find really nice stuff at Goodwill or on Facebook Marketplace. I’m currently redoing Sharkie’s bedroom and have found Lilly Pulitzer bedding and Pottery Barn furniture gently used. Not only does this help the environment, it saves money. I also sell or donate our old stuff instead of trashing whenever I can.
Easy Change 4- This one is for my female readers and while it’s not for everyone it helps a ton!
In the United States alone, approximately 12 billion pads and 7 billion tampons are discarded each year. While many of these products end up in a landfill, others clog sewers or contribute to the staggering amount of plastics in our oceans.
I’ve recently switched to reusable period products. I’m actually obsessed with my Knix Period Panties. I have less irritation and I’m not filling a trash can all the time.
Easy Change 5- During the Covid Pandemic we’ve all been ordering so much online and that’s totally understandable but those packages add up. I use all my boxes, tissue, and packing materials again to ship out for my business. If you don’t have use for the materials yourself, ask friends and neighbors if they need before recycling.
Now for the big way, and fair warning this one isn’t popular with everyone.
Quit Purchasing from Fast Fashion Brands
What’s a fast fashion brand? Well…Fast fashion brands produce pieces to get the newest style on the market as soon as possible. They emphasize optimizing certain aspects of the supply chain for the trends to be designed and manufactured quickly and inexpensively and allow the mainstream consumer to buy current clothing styles at a lower price.
Most of the stores on this list are on my never ever shop, a couple of them like Target I shop for clothes selectively. They produce things quickly, cheaply, and in poor quality.
I use to love shopping at Old Navy but I noticed the clothes looked like heck after one wash. I wouldn’t even give them to Goodwill. They were becoming rags for the dog bed. I just thought this can’t go on. So I started making investments in better brands for my wardrobe. If you see me wearing Old Navy now, I got it at Goodwill.
I recognize that we’re all in different boats financially and we can’t all afford to make investments in our wardrobe. This is where shopping second hand is key! 95% of my wardrobe is secondhand from consignment or Goodwill. It’s totally doable and you’ll find some cute pieces!
Whether you make one change on this list or all 6 we all need to do our part to do help the Earth!
Eating Gluten Free at Disney. Eating gluten free is hard enough. Finding options when you’re eating out is tough. Staying at a resort for a week is a whole new ball game. Fortunately Disney makes it easier than many places!
Disclaimer: I do NOT have celiac’s. I have an adverse skin reaction when I eat gluten, but I don’t have issues if items are prepared near each other. If you have a more serious condition I recommend speaking with the chef when dining at Disney!
It’s easiest to find gluten free options at sit down restaurants. When you check in on the mobile app you’re given the option to disclose a number of allergies such as gluten or shellfish.
Every server we had did an excellent job advising me what I could and couldn’t have. In my opinion sit down dining is the easiest way to be gluten free on property.
But it’s not the only option and Disney does a wonderful job with quick service gluten free meals.
Currently with Covid restrictions quick service restaurants are almost exclusively mobile order. When you’re ordering on the mobile app school all the way to the bottom to find the allergy menu.
My biggest worry was not being able to get gluten free options at Flower and Garden. F&G is my favorite festival and has some amazing food.
The only struggle I had with remaining GF at Disney was quick service dining at Art of Animation. They weren’t set up to offer GF via the mobile app and with covid restrictions ordering in person can be difficult. Hopefully they remedy this soon.
On the whole Disney made it easy to be gluten free. They even have an assortment of GF snacks in the gift shops!
These days it seems like everyone is talking about them. “If you don’t have one, you need to get one” this mindset seems to be taking over social media.
The reality is: side hustles aren’t for everyone. They take a lot of time and depending on what your day to day looks like, it may not be realistic. Don’t look for a side hustle because you think everyone else has one.
That being said. Side hustles can be great! If I had a $1 for every time someone asked how we pay for Disney, I could afford another Disney trip. The answer, by the way, is side hustles.
I was in a ton of clubs and sports in high school. I didn’t have time to work, but I wanted to drive and mom expected me to pay for my gas and insurance. I became adept at learning alternative ways to make money. Yes, I didn’t eat lunch to save my lunch money, but I also started taking my own clothes to consignment and taking my families unwanted stuff to the flea market. I was able to drive and not work in high school and a entrepreneurial spirit was born.
Throughout college and until I got pregnant I worked more traditional jobs. Usually three at a time, but I didn’t have a lot of time for side hustles.
When I got pregnant with Sharkie I knew I wanted to be a stay at home mom. Chase makes a tidy living, but I still wanted to contribute, to feel like I had my “own” money. None of that is to say Chase feels like the money he makes is his money because he 100% doesn’t feel that way and is actually an enabler who would let me buy anything I wanted.
I knew I didn’t want to do any of the traditional side hustles. MLM and teleworking jobs were not gonna fit in with raising an infant. I had heard of people reselling but honestly didn’t think I could do it.
Still I loved going to Goodwills and had 5 years of consignment store experience. Fashion is one of my favorite things. Chase encouraged me to try. So the idea of Aquabeaustyling was born.
I’ve been incredibly blessed with a child who has always loved to be out and about. Her temperament has definitely been helpful for this endeavor. She loves shopping and from the beginning we made a deal she gets one $1 item when we’re out sourcing if she’s good. She usually picks a book.
So in spring of 2019, Sharkie and I opened Aquabeaustyling.
Getting started reselling is very simple but it takes a lot of time. Sharkie and I combed our local Goodwills for things I thought we could sell. At first I bought things I would wear in my size in case this fell apart. From my work experience and love of clothes. I started picking up brands I was familiar with.
You can find high end items at Goodwill but it takes a lot of patience. Many days we would go home empty handed.
Sourcing is the fun part! A ton more work goes on behind the scenes. Listing items takes a ton of time; but I typically use Poshmark. It’s quick and easy. I will occasionally list on eBay, but I don’t like doing business with them as I feel like they never have the sellers back. But those are stories for another time.
I only sell things that I source at Goodwill, so you won’t see me buying out designer collabs at Target or other rare items.
If you’re interested anyone can do reselling! It’s relatively easy and I’m always happy to help you get started. The best way to start is following resellers on Instagram. I’ve learned so much from other resellers.
Two years later Aquabeau runs itself on autopilot. I source 2/3 days a week. I ship packages in the morning. Schedule a daily mail pickup. I do my bookkeeping on Fridays.
So of course I’ve picked up another side hustle: blogging. I started posting on Instagram in 2014 to share my love of Lilly Pulitzer and outfits. It grew slowly, but during shutdown last year its grown more than I ever expected. I love creating from outfits to crafts to toddler activities.
I certainly don’t make a ton of money blogging but I appreciate every single one of you who shops my affiliate links. I can’t wait to see where this side hustle takes me!
I love having side hustles. Especially since Sharkie is at school 3 days a week it’s nice to keep busy and pay for that Disney addiction.
If you’re looking for an unconventional side hustle you can totally do it! There are so many creative ways to earn money out there!
It’s nerve wracking to lose an item. It’s even worse when you lose something at a place like Disney World.
Don’t worry Disney thinks of everything and they have a process in place to reunite you with anything from a lost ID to a child’s lovey. (if they can)
When at Disney I typically keep my ID and my annual pass card in my pocket so I don’t have to carry a wallet. Unfortunately women’s pockets aren’t very deep and things can fall out.
During our Epcot visit I saw some pizza ears in Italy and I HAD to have them. If you’re new here I LOVE pizza. I could eat pizza daily. Somewhere during this purchase I lost my ID.
I didn’t realize until we got back to resort later that afternoon. I lost a jacket the day before shutdown last year, so I knew there was an online form to fill out. I was pretty sure I lost it at Epcot, but I filled out a form for the Skyliner and Art of Animation Resort as well. Linking the form here.
You’ll receive daily emails updating you on your item. Fortunately my ID was found 2 days later. We were still on property so I elected to pick up my ID at Disney Springs, but you can also arrange to have your property shipped to you if you’ve already left WDW.
It doesn’t work 100% of the time, I never got my jacket back, but honestly someone probably took that, so not Disney’s fault. It’s really such an easy and wonderful system.
Pro Tip: I was upset that I wouldn’t be able to use my AP discount without my ID but you can actually show Cast Member’s your AP on the My Disney Experience App and honestly this is easier and probably what I will do from now on.
If you are a LOONG time follower you know that we stayed at Pop Century a few years ago and had a horrible experience. We’ve been reluctant to try Art of Animation ever since since they are twin resorts. But this last trip was all for Sharkie and she loves Little Mermaid. So Art of Animation was booked.
We typically stay at Coronado Spring so the room was smaller than we expected but it’s laid out well.
The room was super cute; but it didn’t have a ton of space. I like to unpack, we all do. It only had 3 tiny little drawers that weren’t enough to hold 8 days worth of clothing. Honestly that was my biggest complaint about the room. The beds are raised which is great for suitcase storage and keeping the room tidy. The shower pressure was great, and I have no other complaints.
If you’re not a fan of walking I will say that the Little Mermaid rooms are the furthest from Animation Hall. We love walking so it was perfect for us.
We love to walk around our resorts and explore. Art of Animation has Cars and Lion King themed family suites. The Cars section was adorable. I love that the pool had little Cozy Cone Cabanas.
The Big Blue Pool is still closed at the time of writing but scheduled to be open later in April 2021. But the splash pad is open and perfect for the toddler set. Sharkie loved it and spent two days there. Some of the spouts are turned off currently which aids with social distancing.
Dining at Art of Animation was a huge disappointment. Nothing gluten free was available on the mobile app which meant I had to call in advance to order. Our orders were wrong 3/4 times. So we just started eating at other resorts.
Art of Animation is a skyliner resort. The skyliner is my new favorite way to get around the parks. It’s so quick! It may be Sharkie’s favorite thing at Disney World. She came home with a Skyliner Funko. They service Caribbean, Pop, Art of Animation, and Riviera. The ease of travel was such a bonus for AOA.
AOA is right next to Pop Century. Originally intended to be the same resort. Pop was built pre 9/11. Only the Little Mermaid rooms were built at AOA pre 9/11. When construction resumed the idea of theming the first half of the 20th century was scrapped. This is why the resorts are differently themed today.
Other than dining we loved our stay at AOA so I feel comfortable recommending!
Sometimes in life things happen that you can’t control. But you can control how you react to them.
There have been three things I prayed for vehemently my life that God answered no. I now understand those No’s. God sees the big picture that you can’t see in the moment.
In 2009 I prayed my heart out to be able to afford to go to NCSU. I couldn’t without taking out a loan and I went somewhere else. If I hadn’t I would never have met Chase.
In 2010 I prayed and cried nightly for God to save my relationship with my late high school/early college boyfriend. Thanking God everyday he told me no for that one. Chase is the man I’m meant to be with and that other man is a boy no one is meant to be with.
In 2015 I begged God to get pregnant quickly after my miscarriage. God gifted me with more time in my marriage just the two of us, and Sharkie is the child I am meant to have.
Now it’s 2021 and I have prayed so many nights but now I have to accept that once again God is answering me with no. I pray I’ll be able to see his bigger picture sooner than later.
If your in a situation where you’re vehemently praying and feeling unanswered, please remember: God answers all our prayers. Sometimes the answer is no.
I grew up in a small town, that I never thought I’d leave. Moving around the country with Chase awakened a nomadic desire I didn’t know I had. We moved houses frequently. Moving to a new city every couple of years the first six years we were together.
When we came to Kentucky in 2016 I couldn’t wait to move again in a couple years although I loved horse country and bourbon culture. I didn’t wanna stay.
Open to the Southeast; Chase got a job in Georgia in 2018. In the end we decided not to take it. I got pregnant with Sharkie later than year and we decided to stay until she was born.
With the Disney addiction only growing after Shark was born, we decided central Florida was the place for us. But nothing ever came up and we got tired of throwing money down the drain on rent.
We entered into a new plan. We would build a house; and stay an additional 5 years. We didn’t just build any house. As I shared in my home tour earlier this week, we built our dream house. It only missed 2 boxes for us. The front porch isn’t huge like I wanted, and I’d like to have another bathroom upstairs.
Otherwise our home is a dream. We adore our house. Perfect location. Perfect set up. It’s amazing how tightly the invisible roots grow once you buy a home. We made friends. We started new traditions. I decided I didn’t ever want to leave Lexington. Life has been good.
It’s often said that you make a plan, and God laughs. I’ve never felt that more than I have the last couple months. Loving a home isn’t enough.
Things have changed at Chase’s work and we needed to make a change. Unfortunately we weren’t able to find anything in Lexington. Chase has accepted a job in Florida. We are moving in August.
I struggle putting into words how hard it will be to leave our house, to leave our friends, and our routines. So many tears have been shed.
It’s time to start embracing. I can now get to Disney World, quicker than I can get to the “good” target in Lexington.
But a home isn’t just 4 walls. A home is where Chase and Sharkie are. Where Tia, Jasper, Bagheera, Soph, and Jacque are. I can’t control what has happened, but I can control how I react. While more tears will be shed, I’m done wallowing.
Let’s face it, a gluten free diet is hard at home. On vacation it can seem impossible. One of my favorite things about visiting Epcot during a festival is all the yummy food I can try. I was so worried I would be able to this trip.
Fortunately Disney Parks do an excellent job providing allergy friendly foods. All items during the festival are marked with a G if they’re gluten free.
While their isn’t a gluten free item at every kiosk most have them. I tried the majority of what was available.
I don’t have celiac, just a sensitivity, so my advice may not fit for everyone. All the kiosk food is prepared in the same kitchen so use your best judgment for your individual case.
Gluten-free is possible at a Disney festival. Stay tuned for my full recap of F&G and a full post on Disney with allergies.
So many of my readers thing I’m from Florida and with mostly Lilly Pulitzer and Disney content I can understand why. However Preppy.in.mouseears calls Lexington, KY home.
I adore working with small businesses and I’m so excited to share my hosted experience with y’all.
Wanderlust is a one woman shop and I LOVED this. I didn’t have to worry about other noises or running into a ton of people. It made my facial so much more relaxing that ones I’ve had a spa bars or other places.
Y’all know I’m super into my skin care routine and try to do right by my skin at home, but there is just no substitute for a professional touch. I loved that all the products made my skin feel fresh, without being overly smelly or painful.
This was my first time doing Dermaplaning, but I loved it! My face feels so smooth and soft. I definitely want to do it again.
If you’re local to Lexington mention my name for $10 off your first service. She offers waxing, lash, and body services in addition to facials!
Lexington to Orlando is a 13 hour drive. It can be so hard to keep a toddler occupied. Here’s what’s in our car bag.
I recommend packing snacks that are healthy, but less messy. We take goldfish and fruit veggie pouches. I pack snacks for myself too. It’s hard to eat well on the road. I pack dried apple chips and water flavoring for my water.
My husband does almost 100% of the driving. So I have time to read or play games. But I try to talk to him a lot; nobody wants to be bored while driving that far.
Our favorite car game? Naming a Disney character let’s say you name Yzma, then the next place has to name one that starts with an A. Aurora->Alice-> Eugene. You get the idea. When you’re stumped your out. Last one standing wins!
Another travel tip I highly recommend. Everyone potty’s every time you stop. It’s non negotiable in our family. In the end it really cuts down on travel time. With Sharkie being 2.5 we do still travel with a car potty and if need be, Chase pulls off on the side for her to use it.
Traveling with a toddler can be difficult, especially at Disney. But it doesn’t have to be. These items help us a ton!