Here are some pawsome advice
Hey lovebugs, I am so excited because I had been thinking of how I would write this for awhile. As you all know I am a huge dog person. I had been wanting a fur baby since my husband and I got married three years ago. However, living in a small condo downtown, it didn't seem right for us at that time. Plus, both of us worked full time so we wanted to make sure when we did get a puppy that we would have time to spend with him or her. As we all know the pandemic happening drastically changed everyone's lives. It allowed me to work from home until further notice so after discussing it with my husband, we decided that my 28th birthday gift would be a fur baby!
To say I was excited would be an understatement. I was over the moon thrilled. Like I said, I had been wanting to get a puppy for awhile. Moving into our new home didn't seem fully completed without a sweet little bundle of fur to share it with us. Patrick and I started looking five weeks before my birthday. Due to my allergy restrictions and asthma, I knew that I wanted a dog that would be hypoallergenic and perfect for someone like me. I had always loved the look of goldendoodles, and once I found out that there were hypoallergenic my husband and I were sold. We searched for a good breeder for about two weeks and all of them seemed to be sold out of puppies, which was a bit devastating. Not only did I feel defeated but I felt like we would have to wait another year to find our little fur baby. However, a week before my birthday we found an amazing breeder that said they still had a litter of puppies for sale. We decided to go the next day to see some of the puppies. The night before the breeder sent me a couple of pictures of some of the puppies but one in particular caught me eye.
After seeing the picture of this adorable baby girl I was so excited to meet her. I wanted to make sure that not only she bonded with us but we made a lasting impression on her. The next day my husband and I drove 4 hours to go and meet our puppy. I remember getting to the house and seeing all the bundles of fur running around and playing. Patrick and I kind of stood back and observed as we spoke to the breeder. It's so funny because as we were watching the dogs, a adorable puppy started to waddle up to me and sniff around me. Of course, I immediately picked her up and was greeted with a nice little comforting lick. I immediately feel in love with her compassionate personality and how she seemed attached to me. The breeder was stunned and laughed because that puppy happened to be the one I said I wanted in the pictures, it turned out to be my Sadie. It was so weird how she was attached to us even at the first meeting. I do believe in fate and I honestly believe she is meant to be in our lives. She was only 7 weeks at the time so sadly we had to leave her for one more week before picking her up the week after.
I thought I was fully prepared for dog parenting y'all. The amount of Youtube videos I have watched is insane. Not only did I have everything ready for her at arrival but I thought that I would have every answer to every question pertaining to Sadie, was I wrong? Absolutely! Nothing really went as planned and that is what prompted me to write this blog post because I want to share some tips that I have after being with Sadie for over a month.
No more sleep
Okay, so I know you're probably reading that title and are slowly freaking out so let me clarify. You will be able to sleep but it may not be as much as you're used to. When we first brought Sadie home we were lucky that she did sleep through most of the night. However, we would periodically get up a couple of times during the night and we knew it was because she would have to use the bathroom. We thought long and hard and decided to not use the puppy pads. Instead, we have slowly trained her to only get up around 2 am, and 7 am, to use the washroom. Was it like that in the beginning? No, she would literally get up every 2 hours and whine to use the potty - so sleep kind of went out the window. However, over time you will decide what is best for you and your fur baby! Do you research, feel out your puppy and the rest will come in time.
To Bite or not to bite
Sadie is a bitter and I was NOT ready for that. I had a toy poodle growing up and she basically never bit anyone. Therefore, I was not expecting Sadie to be as nippy as she is. In fact, all she does it nip everything, my leggings, my hands, my legs...really anything in sight. At first, I am NOT going to lie I was hurt by it. I kept thinking like a human response that she is biting me because she isn't bonding to me and she doesn't like me. I legit went through a slight depression because I felt like she didn't loved me as much as I expected her too. This is a normal feeling it takes time to bond with your pup and if you have those feelings there's nothing wrong with you. It's a new adjustment and just like new things it takes time. Everyone's process is different so go easy on yourself. After talking with a trainer online she said that of course Sadie is teething so she will bite whatever is in front of her. However, she also explained that because Sadie loves and has bonded with me her nipping is a form of playing with me. I had noticed that she didn't nip or bit anyone else but me. I took it negatively but in fact it was the opposite. She considers me family and when you're comfortable with someone you can fully be yourself with them. If you puppy is nipping what I have found to help is positive reinforcement with toys, the kong, and tug of war toys. They have been life savers for me. Is Sadie fully a non nipper? No, but she is getting so much better! The thing is magic doesn't happen over night so be patient and keep practicing.
The snug factor!
I thought Sadie would immediately come home with me and snuggle all day. I was completely wrong, in fact, Sadie is such a independent little lady. She loves to explore, run around, and do her own thing. Is that a bad thing, no? Was I a bit down about it at first, yes. Then I had to sit back and realize that these little fur babies have their own personalities, their own ticks, and their own lifestyles. They fit nicely with ours but we have to realize that they're their own person. What we sometimes want they don't want, and that's okay. Today was the first day that Sadie actually came up to me and wanted to snuggle. It all comes with time. Even though Sadie may look like a giant snuggly teddy bear that doesn't mean that she wants to snuggle all day.
Love and more love
When all else fails spread the love. If you truly shower your pet with affection they will know it. There's so many ways you can show your pet that you love them. It can be through time spent, or with a special toy, or just positive reinforcement. I read somewhere that we are the center of our pet's world. When we feel down or useless our pets are our number one fans. Let that sink in. No matter how crummy you feel you pet will always love you. Pets don't judge but they adore you unconditionally and there's so much magic in that. So, when all else fails love them with all your heart. Everything else will fall into place. I hope my helpful tips can be of service to you as you potentially think about getting a puppy or have one already. Remember, to give your fur baby all the love in the world because they deserve it. Thanks for reading! Have a happy Monday, love bugs.
Kindness is contagious
“Kindness is choosing to acknowledge and celebrate the beauty in others, regardless of whether or not they can find it in themselves.”
I remember the first time I ever witnessed someone being treated unkindly. I was in the 5th grade at a Catholic school that I attended. I moved around a lot due to traveling for acting so it was always difficult making lasting friendships. I was excited because after a couple months of being in my classroom I felt as if I had finally made some friends. A little over 2 months after I had started a new student who we called Maggie started as well. She was gorgeous, a curtain of ebony hair, rich bronze skin, and doe like brown eyes. I remember her being extremely quiet and reserved but I figured it was because she was just new. I hoped she would come out of her shell like I did. As I was sitting one week with my friends at the lunch table I noticed Maggie eating alone. I suggested that she should come sit with us. I knew how being the new kid was hard and without hesitation I invited her to our table. She remained quiet, idly staring at her food hidden in a container. My friends and I chit chatted about what we did over the weekend but she remained glued to her covered food. I thought it was bizarre how she didn't eat like the rest of us but I didn't think very much of it at the time.
A couple of days later I found Maggie inside a stall, with her lunch, and she was sitting inside of there eating. I didn't know what to say, I didn't want to ease drop or be rude but I had to ask if she was okay. I can't describe the emotion in her eyes as she showed her exotic food, saying that she didn't want to eat in front of people anymore because they would make fun of the way it smelled and looked. To me the food looked normal, possibly because I was introduced to ethnic foods from my parents. They were adamant with trying new exotic flavors and cuisines. My heart broke when she said that some of my fellow peers referred to her food as pig scraps. What could I say? How could I apologize and undo the damage that had already been implanted in her brain? All I could say is that I was sorry and offered our table once more. She didn't come back to our table, sadly, the scar of teasing had cast a mold over her heart.
A week after that I remember Maggie coming to school in a baggy hoodie over her uniform. Something looked different about her that day. Her long mass of ebony hair was unkempt and pushed up into a bun. There were dark circles underneath her eyes and she just looked so tired. Not physically but emotionally. Every day we would pick a new student to say The Our Father in front of the classroom after we would say the pledge of allegiance. Today was Maggie's turn. I remember the teaching calling her and Maggie staying still in her seat. I remember all the hawk-like eyes blaring at her as she raised her head in the back of the classroom and said "No." The class had a couple of snickers and one student even uttered the annoying "ohhhh". The teacher seemed annoyed and reiterated that she had to say prayer, everyone had to do it. Maggie then explained that she would always stand in respect to the prayer but due to being Muslim she didn't want to state the prayer out loud herself. The teacher wouldn't hear any other word she immediately sent her to the office as the other students laughed out loud and called her weird. Maggie didn't return to our school the next week. I never saw her again. I was so young back then that I didn't fully understand what was occurring around me. All I know is my heart sunk for this girl. I feel so awful even to this day that I didn't say or do more. Even though we didn't have much in common I never wanted to see someone hurt the way that she hurt.
I bring this up because the last couple of months I have seen so things that reminded me of how I felt as that fifth grade student. I've witnessed hurtful acts happening to people. I have seen people been treated unfairly due to the color of their skin. I have also seen people ridiculed for their beliefs. Being a Christian I believe that people should be treated equally, no matter their skin color, their gender, or what they believe in. To me we are all created in God's love and light. Therefore, I have tried to make it my mission to spread kindness and speak up for what I believe is right. I couldn't fully speak up for Maggie back then but I can speak up for others in her place.
There's little things that we can all do to spread kindness. One of the things is educate yourself. If you find someone who is different from you do research on their culture and what makes them unique. Also, it's okay to ask questions. In fact, if you have a friend that is different, hold a conversation with them I am sure they are happy to educate you on their culture and beliefs.
Do a small act of kindness for someone. I was in line at Starbucks a couple of days ago. I was having a really tough day. As I drove up to the window I was surprised that the person in front of me had paid for my drink. It was something so small but it truly made my day. I extended the favor and paid for the person behind me. Hopefully, I made their day too. Now, am I changing the world, or ending climate change? No, but I am starting a small ripple effect of kindness and I hope that it inspires you as well too.
You have suggestions on how to spread kindness? Comment below. Happy Monday love bugs! Remember to be kind and love one another.
Basic Invite brings Joy in July!
I remember being a young girl and enjoying Christmas so much. It was that special time where all my family got together and smiled, laughed, and truly got to see one another. See, My family all scattered around the globe, so Christmas was the one holiday where everyone seemed bonded as one. I couldn't grasp the concept of only having the magic of Christmas in December so my mom started the tradition of Christmas In July. Little did I know that this magical "holiday" is celebrated around the world. However, to my family it was the halfway point that allowed us to experience the magic in July. My mom would go all out, living in Chicago we experienced snow. Of course, it never snowed in July but my mom would decorate the house with fluffy fake snow. She'd adorn our windows with garland and decorate the fireplace with stockings and we'd make milk and cookies. My brother and I had so much fun doing that little tradition that it still sticks with me to this day. One of my favorite memories is making holiday cards for our family, even if it was for Christmas in July. It's funny how my mom still hangs those holiday cards on my bedroom wall because it holds so much magic and loved embedded in paper and scribbles.
This year I wanted to send my family an actual Christmas in July Holiday card! I just purchased a new puppy and I thought it would be amazing to send the picture of her, in a Santa Hat, to the family. I wanted to put a huge smile on their face so I decided to utilize Basic Invite. Basic Invite is one of the few websites that allows you to order a printed sample of the actual invitation before you place the final order! How cool is that. To actually see your magic come to life and make sure it's what you want before placing the purchase button. I don't know about you guys but actually holding something in my hand is where I conjure the most excitement. That way it allows me to fully see if the creation I made is what I actually want.
Now, I don't know about you guys but I get just as excited about the envelope as I do the card. The beautiful thing about Basic Invite is that there are over 40 different colors of envelopes to choose from. I also love their address capturing service you can share a link on social media and your friends and family can share their addresses with you so you can send them your masterpiece. They offer so many different types of options customized for you and your family. They offer holiday cards, Christmas cards, and Chrismas Party invitations, allowing you to truly feel the spirit of the holidays during the month of July. The best part is that Basic Invite is offering 15% off with coupon code: 15FF51! So get your holiday spirit on, even if it is in July. I cannot wait to see your beautiful creations. Post your cards below, or share with me on Instragram and I will feature you. Have a great day Love bugs and stay colorful!
Purchasing a home during a pandemic
As you all may have heard my husband and I are officially homeowners. I cannot believe that this time has come. Two years ago my husband and I started down the path of home-ownership. It was a tough decision because we loved living in our condo downtown. Not only did it benefit both of our work, me being a blogger, and him being close to work, but being close to the beach was hard to give up. However, it was a goal that I know both him and I wanted to complete before we were thirty. I’m not going to lie, it was something difficult to do, not many young adults own homes in their twenties especially in Chicago because prices for homes can be quite expensive. Yet, through extensive saving, and gracious family members, we were able to make our dream happen.
As I said our search started two years ago but sadly we decided, after searching for a while, that we would have to wait another year before being homeowners. I mention this because I want you to know that saying, “maybe next year,” isn’t a BAD thing. Buying a home is a big commitment and at the time I was so upset that it didn’t happen. However, it’s okay to take your time and make sure that the home you decide upon is the right place for you and your significant other.
After a year of laying low and enjoying our beautiful condo we decided to try our search again. The first step is finding a real estate agent that you truly trust. We talked to a couple, and they were all great, but they didn’t seem to fit us. That is when we met Alicia Kuzma. They say you can tell a kind person by just speaking with them. Although we hadn’t officially seen Alicia both my husband and I could tell over the phone that she was the perfect realtor for us. Not only was she a great listener, but she also treated us with so much kindness and respect. A lot of realtors that we spoke to didn’t seem to take us seriously, partly because of our budget and because of our age. It is something that we became used to because it was a predisposition that we just couldn’t seem to shake. Alicia saw past all of that, she saw us, a young family looking to start a home and life together. That was the difference, that is why we decided to move forward with Alicia.
We contacted Alicia at the beginning of the year because we wanted to give each other enough time to look before our lease was up (which was in May). During that time we were both traveling for work and we expressed that to her. However, she was still amazing at sending us places to look at so that when the travels were over we could go and visit some homes.
We started in a neighborhood that we believed would be the best for us. We thought that they were safe, close to work, and a place that we would be happy living. However, after viewing some of the homes in these neighborhoods, we realized that they didn’t match up with our vision that we had for ourselves. Another helpful tip for first time home buyers is it’s OKAY to say no. I had to tell myself that several times because a couple of times I felt myself being okay with settling simply because I wanted to find a home already. Never settle, you deserve to find a place that makes you feel butterflies when you walk inside. My husband and I also had a bit of conflicting views on what we wanted. He wanted a bit of a fixer upper, I wanted something completely move-in ready. This is a normal conflict that happens to spouses because everyone has their own definition of what they dream of living in. My husband came from living on a farm in a home that his parents pretty much built from the ground. He was taught that if you fix something yourself, or build something yourself, it becomes that much more special. I came from a suburb and both my parents could barely change a light-bulb. Therefore, I had a different idea of home.
The key to success is compromise. We decided that we would find a place pretty much move-in ready but if it needed a fix, like the basement needed some work, we would consider it.
We voiced our opinions to Alicia and she came up with a solution, maybe we try a new neighborhood. She knew we wanted more bang for our buck, but didn’t want to compromise on safety. Therefore, she sent us more homes, in a different neighborhood, and both my husband and I instantly fell in love with a place we didn’t even know existed. For safety purposes I will not let you know what neighborhood it was, but, just know that sometimes you have to get out of your comfort zone. Trust your realtor and allow them to give you suggestions because without this change of location we would have never found our perfect home.
There was a house, a two bedroom, one bathroom, Georgian that I fell in love with in pictures. It was owned by a family, well decorated, and just screamed home from the pictures. Alicia immediately hopped on getting us a viewing. I believe we went the next day to see the home and as soon as I stepped inside it all hit me. This could be my home. I was attracted to the openness of the home, the amazing updated kitchen, and the deck that led to the back yard. It needed some updates, but overall it was such a beautiful starter home. What packaged it all together was the fact that you could feel the warmth inside of the home as if the family spread love all throughout this place and I loved that feeling. Both Patrick and I loved this place and we started the process of putting in an offer.
Putting an offer is possibly the scariest thing you could ever do. There're many emotions that go through your mind, excitement, fear, and the nagging feeling of letting go because at that point it is out of your hands. We had an issue with our pre approval letter because the home was a bit more than we initially got approved for. Sadly, we ended up losing the home because our loan agent at the time didn’t get the new approval letter over to Alicia in time.
This is where I am going to be real with you all. This process is hard, especially when your whole heart and emotions are involved. It’s difficult to say good-bye to a place you could truly see yourself living in. It’s hard to sometimes let go. However, through prayer, speaking with family, and the kind words from our realtor we had to accept that this home pretty much wasn’t meant to be.
I am not going to lie, it was hard looking at other places after losing what I thought would be my dream home. Every other place felt inadequate. I couldn’t help but compare every other place to the one that I feel in love with. It felt like going through a break-up dating other people but nothing compared to the love, emotion, and peace that you felt in your breakup. I literally felt scared from losing that place. This emotion is okay to feel. There will be days where you want to just give up altogether and just say, okay, maybe next year. I thought about that several times afterwards. However, my husband’s encouragement mixed with our realtor’s understanding, is what made me want to continue on.
We viewed a couple other Georgians after that. I knew that I loved that style of home because it had this old elegance that I became drawn too. The European architecture is something that I have always found fascinating so I swear we viewed almost every Georgian that came on the market in that location. Alicia was on top of sending every place our way and taking us to viewings abruptly after. I have never met someone so accommodating basically catering to our schedule. We had found two homes that seemed to catch our attention but after discussing with my husband we decided to put another offer on a home that had such a beautifully renovated kitchen. This kitchen was so beautiful y’all that it made me want to cook everything under the sun inside of it. It caught my husband’s eye because the upstairs needed a bit of a renovation so he focused on that project. Sadly, that place ended up not going through and at that point the world seemed to flip upside down. It was a week before the lock down, that is when we found out that we didn’t get that house either due to the owner wanting to stick to the originally listing price. Reality, set in. We knew as a young couple that we had to stay within budget. It is so important to stick within that budget and be realistic - something that my husband is much better at than I am. I mourned the loss of that place and once the fear of Covid-19 started creeping in I thought: wow, this is it. There’s no way we will find a place now.
I remember distinctly getting the text from Alicia. It was on a Friday I was at work and it was right after my boss basically told everyone that we would start the process of working from home. The text said to check a listing that she sent that immediately had come on the market that day. I remember being exhausted, scarred, but something inside me said: try again. I remember looking at the pictures of this home and immediately felt drawn to it, without thinking I told Alicia we had to see this place immediately. She arranged the viewing that day. In fact, right after work we all drove out to see the house.
I remember driving up to the house and telling my husband wow, I really love this place. Not only was it a Georgian that looked so well kept but the neighborhood looked so family orientated as well. I remember waiting outside on the driveway telling Alicia “Alicia, this could be the one.”
Have you ever felt this feeling of home, of familiarity, even without being at this place before? That is the only way I could describe what I felt entering this home. There was love there, kindness, and this sense of peace that I adored. It helped meeting the owner, someone who had built that house up himself. You could feel his love for his family, for his accomplishments in the home, and he expressed he wanted the next owner to love this place as much as they did. I didn’t want to leave, I wanted to stay right here in this home, because in my mind I knew this three-bedroom, two bath, Georgian was my forever.
We put in an offer that night and Saturday, the next day in the evening Alicia sent over a text that literally changed our life. The owner had accepted our offer!
That was step one completed and excitement is literally an understatement. Both my husband and I felt sheer and utter bliss. Afterwards, Alicia walked us through the entire rest of the process which became a lot more difficult because of the shelter in place. We had to do a home inspection quickly and luckily we had no issues doing so through the shelter in place. However, due to the banks being closed and people working from home the process of everything took much longer than expected. Make sure if you are looking to purchase a home start as early as you can because it’s always better to have more time than none at all.
The process already takes a bit but due to Covid-19 it takes even longer. We were supposed to close April 30th, 2020. However, despite both Alicia and our amazing loan agent trying everything they could we couldn’t officially close until May 1st, 2020. Luckily, our condo manager allowed us to stay an extra day without any repercussions.
May 1st, 2020 my husband and I drove up to a building and I remember thinking : this is so much different than how I expected it to be. I couldn’t even go in to sign everything with my husband because only one person was allowed in. Our agent, who has always attended the signing wasn’t even allowed in due to the regulations with social distancing. It was a bittersweet process but through it all I couldn’t help but think how blessed I was for this to even still happen despite all the odds against us. When my husband came out with paperwork to OUR new home I couldn’t help but cry from happiness.
We met Alicia at our home and she handed us the keys and I couldn’t think of any other person fit to do so. I said this before in my stories but I will say it again. Alicia became so much more than just our realtor, but she truly became a part of our family. There’s a difference between working a job and putting 100 percent effort in. She went above and beyond for us and because of her we found a place that will impact our lives forever. I do believe that God allows you to meet people for a reason and she truly became an angel to us through this difficult process.
Another difficulty we had to face purchasing a home during quarantine is moving. Patrick and I didn’t want to put anyone from our family in danger. Therefore, we anticipated moving by ourselves. It was difficult because as you all probably know I cannot lift very much myself. Therefore, after discussing that day we were lucky to have two friends (who wore masks and we wore masks) come to our aid. It’s a tough decision to make but something you truly need to think about if you purchase a home during the quarantine. Is there a right or wrong answer? No, there isn’t. You have to do what is best for you and come to that decision yourself.
It’s officially been two weeks since we moved into our home. Even as I write that it brings tears to my eyes because I never thought it could happen. I remember starting this process two years ago with a dream and hope of finding my forever home. All the tears, hard work, rejection it was all worth it because we ended up finding a place that was perfectly made for us. I wanted to create this post and document this process because I want young people to not be afraid of purchasing a home. Yes, it’s hard work, yes it’s a lengthy process, but IT CAN be done. You might say, is it even possible to look for homes during a quarantine, and I can truthfully say yes. This world is different right now but that doesn’t mean that you have to give up on your dreams.
When I posted my stories about purchasing a home during Covid-19 I read so many amazing stories of people going through their own hardships. Stay strong and believe in yourself because if it is meant to happen nothing, not even a pandemic, can stop you.
I want to give another huge shout out to all the people that made this possible for us! I want to thank God, who truly kept us sane and humbled through this process. I want to thank our families, both Patrick and I are truly lucky to have had such amazing people to walk us through this process. I want to thank the amazing, talented, and kind Alicia because she truly was a light shining through for us. Lastly, our loan officer Marta, who Alicia introduced us too. She truly worked so hard to also make this all happen.
I wish you all the best luck in purchasing or searching for a home during Covid-19. If you are looking for a realtor please see Alicia’s information below, you honestly couldn’t find a better person to assist you.
Thank you to all who read our story. I cannot wait to read all of yours. Remember, stay safe, stay optimistic, and keep smiling.
Until next time love bugs.
5 ways to stay occupied during social distancing
"Choose to be optimistic, it feels better." - Dalai Lama
During this tough time of social distancing trying to find the positive can be quite difficult especially if you are an extrovert like myself. My daily routine consists of interacting with people and it's what I find true comfort in. To have all of that ripped away in such a short amount of time can selfishly seem quite hard. However, in those times I think about my parents, my aunt who has asthma, and the people that I truly care and fight for, suddenly all of this seems worth it. These people who raised us, who truly love us, fight for us every single day since we were born and even sometimes now, To make myself feel a bit of discomfort for them to me is a sacrifice I am willing to make. However, I am not downplaying the situation, I know it can be hard so I wanted to share the 5 Ways to Stay Occupied during this really tough time.
Video Chat with Friends
If you are quite social and rely on social interaction then this tip is definitely for you. The beautiful thing about social media along with technology is that it can connect you with the rest of the world. For my readers that are quarantined alone this will be your bread and butter because it will allow you to feel like you're with someone amidst this chaos. There are so many ways that you can video chat with someone, if you don't have a built in camera on your laptop then simply use your phone. You can use Facebook, Instagram chat, or skype. I recently heard about Zoom and I am going to be downloading that to video chat with some friends. These are all great ways of seeing people you truly care about without putting them in any harm. You can spice these video calls up, if you're missing a sense of normalcy do a cock-tail virtual hour, or a movie night, or even a coffee date. There are so many ways you can twist this and the beautiful thing is it's all free. Also, if you haven't downloaded the Netflix Extension to chat with friends during a movie I highly recommend you do that! It is such a great way to feel connected to the people you care about.
Make a routine
If you are a structured person like myself then a routine will be so helpful for you. On my work days I have to write down a schedule or a plan that I will follow for that day. Being at home is no different. Just because you're working from home doesn't mean you can just lay in bed all day doing nothing. Wake up, do some exercise, make some breakfast, and take care of business. Treat this like a normal schedule and time won't seem to waste away or drone on slowly. If you have a work routine of getting morning coffee and a bagel at work do the same thing at home. I even get dressed up and come to my computer desk to work so I can have that same feeling of normal that I missed. Now, this is a bit extreme but what I am saying is don't take everything away from yourself at once. It's okay to keep those small things that you crave and miss and add them to your routine.
Listen to music
I have always been a avid music listener. In my toughest times I turn to music because I feel like songs can bring out emotions that words seem to fail at doing. Therefore, music has been such a huge part of my life during this social distancing. I found myself listening to Rita Ora and all her albums because she is one of my favorites. Make yourself a playlist and the best thing is Spotify, Youtube, all allows you to share those playlists with others so you can brighten your family and friend's day with some music you're listening to. It connects us no matter where we are and doesn't make us feel so far away.
Use your Imagination
This may sound odd or like a outplayed Barney quote but it's true. Remember being a kid, having all the time in the world, and being so happy because you could roam around and do whatever you liked. We didn't have the distractions that we do now but life still seemed so beautiful. Bring that inner child back out and allow them to explore things in a new way. In my blogging job I am constantly using my imagination and that is one of the reasons why I love it so much. In photos, when I am capturing content I constantly have to look at things in a different way so I use this 'other' way of thinking constantly. Unleash your creativity and immerse yourself in something that brings out the colors in your world. If you have that hidden hobby that you've always wanted to explore do that. If you're a hidden singer and always wanted the world to know, film yourself and share it with others. This is your time to focus on yourself and your creativity and allow it to soar.
I am not the best cook, we all know this, so as normal I usually eat out maybe once or twice a week. We all know it's been a tough time for everyone, especially restaurants. Therefore, it's our job to step up and support one another. If you have that favorite restaurant you love going to support them by ordering take out. For me my favorite German restaurant Laschets is something my husband and I love visiting. Therefore, we ordered them the other day and got to feel that sense of normal as we ate our comfort food. Another fabulous place is Racine Plumbing, not only do they have great food but alcoholic beverages as well. Order local and at the places that don't usually get a lot of traffic because those are the families, staff, and local businesses that truly need your help.
I know this has been a tough time for everyone, believe me, it's been quite tough for myself as well. However, we are all in this together. No one is ever fully alone. I hope this tips help you as much as they help me. Remember, to smile and stay positive. You are never alone.
Until next time love bugs,
On Wednesdays we wear pink
Guys, I am so thrilled to bring you one of my favorite Rachel Reimagines ever, Mean girls! Growing up this is one of the movies that was quite dear to my heart. We all go through that awkward faze in high-school and middle school. This story showed me that I wasn't the only one but other girls went through the same thing. I learned and discovered who I was through Cady and it was probably one of the first movies where I started to think "wow, it's okay to be different."
Just like Cady I moved a lot around middle school and elementary school because I traveled for theater and acting. It was hard fitting in and making friends so a lot of the time I had to start all over again which is never fun. Finally, as I got into high-school I discovered a bit more of who I was, or more so, I became OKAY with who I was. It took a lot of molding, understanding, and compassion for myself but as I look back on the 16 to 17 year old me, I know she was the best person that she could be.
I had so much fun working with these talented set of ladies! The beautiful Nicolette played the amazing Cady almost perfectly. We had her do two outfit changes, one wearing her notorious red shirt like in the movie's poster. The second being that oversized pink shirt that she is known for wearing.
Second, we had the amazing Jessa playing Gretchen, which was one of my favorite Mean Girls from the movie. I am not going to lie I started saying 'fetch' in the daily because of her...told you obnoxious teenager. Also, Becca got to plan Karen who is iconic for knowing how to tell the weather in an odd way. If you've seen Mean Girls, you know what I mean. Also I want to give a huge shout out to my brother who has his own company, Great Fire Productions, for filming and having this dream come to reality! Thank you so much for everyone who was apart of this! I am so proud to have done such a fun project, I hope you all enjoy!
Until next time, YOU GO GLEN COCO
The best TRANSITIONAL PIECES for your wardrobe.
This weather can be a bit of a downer. In Chicago, you never know from January to March, what type of weather you are going to get. You can wake up and one day it'll be decent and sunny, then the next day mass chaos. It can be difficult to plan your attire when the weather is inconsistent. However, The Dropp Shoppe Boutique has given me some great seasonal options to keep you cozy and cute as we transition into spring!
My issue is it's always hard to be cute with a giant fluffy jacket covering your outfit, or making you feel like an Eskimo. However, with these transitional jackets, you can fee fierce but also stay warm. I love how they are easy to add to any outfit. You can see how I styled them below. With these fun colors and prints, you can add it to your everyday look or to your going out wardrobe as well.
My favorite is this gorgeous plum trench coat that I paired with a rosewood colored sweater and these fun sparkly high waisted pants. This look is perfect for the office, you can go in with style and grace. The best part about this trench coat is that it can be paired well in the office as well. It also takes the side of a sophisticated blazer and can be paired with so many different looks.
I am also a huge fan of vests, especially in the spring and winter. I love pairing them with nice leggings, especially leather ones, and a cozy turtle neck. This comfortable black vest is a perfect accent to add to your outdoor everyday look.
Not only does this boutique have amazing outfits, perfect for any occasion, but they also have great jewelry as well. Take a look at some of these statement pieces that can bring out the WOW factor in your outfit.
I am a huge advocate of supporting locally owned businesses and this boutique is a prime example of such a great one. I am honestly honored to be modeling their lovely transitional pieces because the quality, fabric, and overall style are amazing.
Thanks for taking the time to read my blog post love bugs.
Also, shout out to my brother/ photographer, for shooting this and creating the video content! Check him out.
Until next time,
the best place to watch bachelor in chicago
Happy Wednesday love bugs. I'm calling out all my Bachelor nation fans to this post. All my girls who love to watch Bachelor, sip wine, and eat good food, this post is for you. I recently got invited to view my favorite show, The Bachelor, at Racine Plumbing on Monday and I have to say, it was such an amazing experience! The entire atmosphere is super cute, with their roses and candles lining the table. They have a dedicated portion of the bar, known as the Fantasy Suite, that you get to view the show at all angles. It's a girl's dream come true! Did I mention the entire back of the bar is adorned in glimmering lights that sets the perfect atmosphere for the show. I mean, if the Bachelor decided to come to Chicago, they should check this place out because it's super cute! Not only was bar BACHELORLICIOUS but the food and drinks were up to par as well.
My friends and I had the opportunity to try some of the Bachelor inspired menu options. These drinks and snacks were seriously so delicious and just made the experience that much more special. I'm a huge Rose' and Sangria girl, so their cocktail mixed with both, was honestly my favorite drink on the menu. However, there are so many other delicious cocktails that you can try. Also, my babes on a budget, did I mention that the Rose' Sangria is only $7.00? It is such a steal. Also, if Wine has a special place in your heart, like it does in mine, then you will love their $20.00 bottle of Wine deal, it's the perfect add for a fun gals Bachelor viewing night.
Honestly, you're probably thinking okay, it cannot get better than that. Well, you're wrong, not only do they have great drink selections that are affordable, but, they also have great food options as well. I am a sucker for a good burger, and there's did not disappoint. Did I mention their special includes $1.00 burgers, I mean c'mon you cannot get better than that. Not only did we try the burger but we also got to sample their cheese curds, bacon fat popcorn, and their baked mac and cheese. Everything was fresh, filled with flavor, and just so darn good.
It's not very often that you find a bar geared towards perfect girl time and outings. Normally, you find bars blasting sports or other male themed activities. It's so amazing that Racine Plumbing has Bachelor nights every Monday giving girls that special time to relax, unwind, and drink a good glass of wine while watching their shows.
Overall, this place was so much fun and that perfect gal getaway that you need on Monday nights. If you're looking for that special place to get out and view the Bachelor with friends, this is the place for you my friends! I will definitely be back with my Rose' in hand! Hope to see you all there!
Until next time!
Sorry 2019, I'm already booked!
As the new year approaches, I realize that I am walking into it with 2020 vision. I cannot believe that so many amazing things have happened in my life in 2019. I definitely went through some of the hardest times last year. I lost my job and truly focused on myself, who I am, and who I want to be. I felt like 2019 was the discovery year, throwing curveballs at me every step I took. However, through the storm, I honestly found the colors inside of myself that set me free.
I learned to believe in myself more, pray more, and know that nothing in this world can hinder me from pursuing my love and destiny. When I learned to trust in myself and God I soon start to see things fall into place for me. For example, I went a couple of months without actually working but I learned to fully rely on my blog, something I thought I could never truly do. My love for creating and meeting every one of you sparked a fire inside of me. My creativity is what lights my way and I would have never been able to believe in myself and my abilities without losing my job. I honestly do believe that things happen for a reason.
Now, I am currently working a job that I truly love in a field that will help me through my career. I have an amazing boss and friends in and outside of work. Once again, 2019 was my discovery faze.
In 2020, I want to be raw and real showing off the true Rachel. I did this little shoot because so many times you see me dolled up, in fancy outfits, with a complete set of makeup. You see me going to events and doing these amazing travels. However, that is NOT the everyday Rachel. Sure, I love these opportunities for going out and meeting amazing people but that is not entirely who I am.
The other side of Rachel is the homebody that loves to read books, lounge on the couch, and binge Netflix (mostly until I finish an entire show). She loves wearing comfortable clothes, with a messy bun and sees the magic in reading by candlelight. She creates an entire plan on how she will play sims until her eyes become red from staring at the computer all day. She eats an entire bag of flaming hot Cheetos even when she knows it will kill her later. She believes in fairytales even when the world tells her otherwise.
Sometimes, Instagram and this entire social media platform can be a bit misleading. Others see people in a certain light but forget that they are REAL people, we’re all the same. We all have similarities, differences, quirks that combine and make us who we are. Those colors that shape us into flesh and bone are what makes us so beautiful.
In 2020, I challenge you to show the other side the side that not many people may know about. The side that sometimes we want to forget, or abandon. All the multifaceted sides are beautiful because they make up who you are. Remember, that no matter what chapter you are in life, your story isn’t over. It’s simply just begun.
Happy New Year love bugs! Let’s make it a great one!
Until next time,
Takin' it to new heights!
As the new year approaches are you ready to take it to new heights? I had the opportunity to collaborate with Chicago Helicopter Experience and let's just say my expectation was HIGHtened to a new level.
The entire experience is so cool. The building is nestled in a remote area of Chicago and is like a small little oasis beyond the city. While you wait you can view some of the helicopters in the back soar into the sky. They also have bags that you can play to pass the time.
You receive a little buzzer and when it's your time to board it will go off. Once you walk towards the take off location you will be prompted to watch an informative video. For all my fearful and strategic followers this one is for you. It calmed my husband's nerves a bit to see all the precautions that the pilot takes.
Once the video is over we were so excited to board the helicopter. They take you out and luckily you have a wonderful videographer and photographer who can capture that special moment for you. You are able to purchase those images at the end of the tour. Image framing that lovely picture of you and your significant other, or family member, with a glorious helicopter in the background.
The helicopter is even cooler in the inside. We were lucky to get front row access so we could sit right next to the pilot, whose name was Matt. All the seats in the helicopter are amazing allowing you to soak up all the stunning views that Chicago has to offer. You can talk to the pilot along with the people on board through your mic set. However, silence is what I experienced because it seemed like everyone wanted to revel in the stunning views. It was nice, however, to hear Matt our pilot, speak about some of the interesting facts as we flew over different landmarks.
If you are wondering what you could see on the flight check out the destinations below copied from the website.
Overall, it was such a beautiful experience and it will surely be one that my husband and I will remember. If you are looking for amazing new year's eve plans I think this would be the perfect one. Also, the beauty of this experience is that it isn't strictly for couples but can be for families, friends, and anyone you want to experience stunning views with.
Huge shout out to the lovely Akira for dressing me for this amazing shoot. If you are looking for the perfect New Years Eve outfit I recommend you to check out their website. I am linking the dress and shoes in case you want to purchase it.
Happy Monday Love bugs, until next time!