Wellness

10 Things That Improved My Life

Looking back at 2019, all I can say is WOW. Profound, I know haha. But truly, this year surprised me in the most wonderful ways… There were SO many unexpected twists and turns and I am so grateful for what it taught me! I wanted to share 10 things that improved my life this year with you. These things all deeply impacted me, inspired me, and changed me for the better. 10 Things That Improved My Life Meditation I’ve spoken about how beneficial meditation has been for me several times, but in case you’re new here, I have an entire blog post outlining my journey to meditation. I’ve been meditating everyday for almost 4 years now and it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for myself. I know it will be a lifelong practice for me. Therapy I’m a huge proponent of therapy and have been going weekly since I moved back to NYC. It has helped me process so many things that have gone on this year and made me a more level headed, clear, calm person. I wrote a blog post on How To Find A Therapist here! Personal Trainer I have a standing appointment once a week with a personal trainer. We box on and off, and do short circuits on and off for an hour. Having that weekly appointment holds me accountable and honestly is some of the best money I’ve ever spent. I’m so much stronger than I was when I was doing classes and cardio, and have way more energy than I did last year. I only workout once a week, unless I squeeze in a yoga class. Podcasts Listening to podcasts regularly has kept me inspired, taught me SO much, and helped me think outside the box. My favorites are; The Skinny Confidential Him + Her podcast, the Highest Self by Sahara Rose podcast, the Skimm’d from the Couch podcast, and the Second Life by Hilary Kerr podcast. Taking Social Media Breaks Social media is a powerful tool that comes with both positive and negative side effects. This year, I’ve made more of a conscious effort to live in the moment and be present! While I love sharing parts of my life online, not every single thing needs to be shared or documented. I encourage you to relish special moments – uninterrupted and phone free – with your loved ones! Permission To Relax Speaking of living in the moment and being more present…I’ve never been good at relaxing, sitting still, or straight chilling. As an older child, type A, over achiever, I’m always working, striving and achieving toward something. While those qualities are great and have no doubt helped me throughout my life and career, they can also lead to burnout and exhaustion. This year I gave myself permission to relax and surrounded myself with people who had a healthy work/life balance. At first I felt guilty for not being hyper productive 24/7 (sounds crazy I know!), but then I realized that some of my best ideas actually came during that down time. The Quiet Book This book has truly changed my life for the better! As someone who is half introverted and half extroverted, I’ve always struggled with understanding and embracing my introverted side. Society doesn’t celebrate the introvert. Introverts are often labeled as socially awkward or shy, but wanting a few hours of alone time to recharge and think doesn’t make you either of those things! I love that this book breaks down what makes an introvert an introvert, why it’s crucial to brainstorm solo, and celebrates introversion! Regular Closet Clean Outs I’ve always been an organized person, but living in NYC you have to be even more organized due to limited space. Living in an apartment again has pushed me to really evaluate what I need vs want. With less stuff I’ve been able to think more clearly and I just feel lighter. I have to be OBSESSED with something to buy it or bring it into my apartment these days, which honestly is great for my bank account haha! I wrote a post on How To Clean Out Your Closet here with some helpful tips. Selective With Time I’ve never been more selective with my time – and I’ve never been happier. I used to say yes to almost every incoming request and answer almost every email, DM, and comment. Week after week, my calendar would be packed with appointments, coffee meetings, events, parties, and calls that would drain me. I would spend HOURS answering DMs and comments and then barely have time to run a simple errand, create content, or even have a social life. Luckily, I learned how to delegate and Jesse from my team now does an amazing job filtering and answering the majority of correspondence. Don’t worry – I still get to read thoughtful personal comments or answer specific questions you send via a daily summary she creates for me – and btw I’m so grateful for them! Being more selective with my time has allowed me to think bigger picture, longer term, and create more meaningful content. Embrace Compliments As women, we often downplay ourselves – our achievements, our brains, our abilities. At least I have – especially in male dominated situations. I really started to think about this in the last year. I reflected on how, throughout my life, I’ve constantly filtered, downplayed or withheld my true self in an effort to be “socially appropriate” or not “outshine” anyone. I used to never be able to accept a compliment or comfortably talk about my career in a casual, conversational setting! For example, if someone would come up to me and say, “Your skin is glowing it looks so great!” I would awkwardly laugh, shake my head and look down, then say, “Oh it must just be the lighting, it’s not usually like this, but your skin looks incredible!” I deflected the compliment, instead of accepting it. I now say something like, “Thank you so much – that’s really kind of you!” I am happy that I can confidently and graciously accept compliments as well as openly talk about my career with enthusiasm and pride. My advice to you – is know your value, and own it! Be proud of it and let it shine bright! Thank you! *Lastly, how can I not mention one of the biggest things that has happened to me this year… I met my soulmate, my other half, the love of my life! I have so much more to say, share and talk about on that subject, but for now I will just say that it really does happen when you least expect it! Here’s to a happy, healthy, and successful 2020! Thank you as always for reading, supporting and sharing. It’s going to be the best year yet!
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What Is A Histamine Intolerance?

It’s been 1 year since I found out I have a histamine intolerance. My life, body and digestion have completely changed in the BEST way possible since finding this out so I wanted to share exactly what it is with all of you. For 3 years I struggled with horrible stomach pains, bloating, and weight gain for no apparent reason. I visited countless doctors, naturopaths, nutritionists and gastroenterologists to try and find out what was wrong. My Journey of Histamine Intolerance I spent thousands of dollars only to end up frustrated and sicker. Eventually, I gave up and decided to take matters into my own hands. I read and researched EVERYTHING I could about what causes stomach problems and bloating. I learned a TON and became more and more interested in health, wellness and digestion. Through sharing my struggles, I found out so many of you – and so many women in general suffer from stomach pains and bloating too! It’s something that not many people talk about, but instead silently suffer from. It makes me so sad to think about how my stomach problems negatively effected my life. I had brain fog for years and couldn’t fully focus like I used to, I was constantly inflamed/puffy, I started gaining weight despite eating super clean/healthy and working out almost everyday, I felt depressed/down way more than usual so I started canceling social plans, I was always tired/low energy. I felt self-conscious because my stomach would expand and I would look pregnant after eating just a few bites of food, I never had hunger pangs/signals like I used to, and overall I felt completely out of tune/out of whack with my body. Now, I wake up clear-headed. I have hunger signals and am able to listen to my body’s cravings, I have energy, I pretty much never get bloated, and my digestion is 100% back to normal – if not even better than it was 3 years ago. So what changed? The Discovery A friend of mine; Bianca Cheah of Sporteluxe, told me she had been struggling for years with the same issues and had been misdiagnosed with IBS, and all sorts of other digestion problems. She finally visited a nutritionist who asked her what she ate in a week and realized that while she was eating a TON of healthy food, the food was all high in Histamines or released Histamines. The nutritionist told her to eliminate all Histamine food for 1 week and see how she felt. Thank goodness she shared her journey on Instagram, because I realized I ate pretty much the same exact healthy food as she did (smoothies, probiotics, coffee, fruit, nuts, avocado, spinach, the occasional glass of wine etc.) I immediately researched Histamine Intolerances and couldn’t believe that no doctor had ever even mentioned this as a possibility! Essentially, I had all of the symptoms and my entire diet pretty much consisted of only Histamine food! I realized I had nothing to lose by eliminating high Histamine food from my diet for 1 week so I did – and within 3 days I felt like a new person. The brain fog was GONE. The bloating was GONE. The lethargic/tired feeling was GONE. The sluggish digestion was GONE. IT WAS A MIRACLE. I do want to mention, of course I am not a doctor and you should consult with your doctor before making any drastic diet or health changes! I love sharing what’s worked for ME/my body on here, but everyone’s systems are different! Is There A Test for Histamine Intolerance? Yes there is, but I’ve never taken one. I’ve taken SO many tests over the years and I personally have found many to be inaccurate or inconclusive. For example, I took a food sensitivity test (an igG blood test which tests the protein in your blood against certain food items to see if they’re inflammatory for your specific body), and many high Histamine food items came up on the “Anti-Inflammatory” aka “Good” list, but in reality they completely bloat me and make me sick. While some of the food items they did list as “Anti-Inflammatory” or “Inflammatory” were accurate (for example “Inflammatory” aka “Bad/No-No” items were things like shellfish that I’m allergic to and always hated as a kid), I would say about 25% of the items were just not accurate at all. Like I full on get hives when I eat walnuts, but they oddly came up as “Anti-Inflammatory” or “Good” for me. Health journeys can be really, really frustrating for this reason. We all want either a “YES” or “NO” “POSITIVE” or “NEGATIVE”, definitive answer, but sometimes it’s pretty tricky to get one. There are several things that could be interfering with 100% accurate results… you could have had a high dose of a certain food item days before the test which could alter it, or, if you’re combining certain types of food in high amounts, the test may not take that combination into account and say that each food item is individually “Good” for you. The only way, I feel, to truly find out what works or doesn’t work is through trial and error. Eat something and see how it makes you feel after. This is also known as the Elimination Diet. What Foods are High in Histamine/Release Histamines? There are several different lists floating around the internet. Most of them have the same “No-No” food items listed. But some of them have items others don’t, and some also are a bit contradicting. For example one list I found says Probiotics are GOOD for you. And one list said they’re BAD for you if you have a Histamine Intolerance. I personally trust Dr. Amy Myer’s list the most. And I have found that Probiotics only contribute negatively to my stomach issues. So I have eliminated them completely as of 1 year ago – and my digestion/health is great without them. The high Histamine/Histamine releasing food items that I found to effect me in high doses are (and again everyone is so different so this may not apply to YOU!); avocados, tea, coffee, wine, champagne, bone broth, nightshades, garlic, onions, probiotics, collagen and protein powders, nuts, spinach, kale, fermented food, vinegar, fruit, and anything that’s not super fresh/has been sitting out because the older a food is, the more histamine it develops over time! What Can You Eat? Surprisingly, since eliminating high Histamine/Histamine releasing food I can actually eat WAY MORE than I used to! Because I was always bloated I pretty much eliminated; dairy, gluten and alcohol, but since I am no longer constantly in pain/bloated and have healed my digestion, I can enjoy a little bit of dairy, gluten and alcohol here and there without any negative side effects. It brings me SO MUCH JOY to be able to indulge and eat yummy pizza and pasta dishes, desserts, and cocktails like I used to!!!! Before finding out I had a histamine intolerance, I always felt deprived. I was SO full from eating “healthy” food that was actually toxic for me/my body. Do I stay away from foods high in Histamine 100% of the time? No of course not. It’s just not realistic/or feasible with my lifestyle. Luckily, since I’ve worked hard at healing my gut, I can enjoy things like 1 glass of wine occasionally. Or I have a little soy sauce with my sushi without feeling totally sick, bloated, and in pain. But I certainly do not eat copious amounts of high Histamine food anymore. What Exasperates A Histamine Intolerance? Combining multiple food items that are high in Histamine/release Histamine, eating them everyday, and/or eating them in high volume. For example, if there’s a raspberry fruit tart that I REALLY want I will eat it, but I’ll just make sure I don’t have other high Histamine food with it or on that same day. For me, it’s just about being more aware and varying the levels of Histamine food items that are going into my body. Are Certain People More Likely To Have It Than Others? Yes. If you have Candida, SIBO, leaky gut, or other stomach issues you’re more likely/vulnerable to having a Histamine Intolerance. Dr. Amy Myer’s talks more about this on her website. She has a lot of great resources should you be interested in learning more about that. I used to have Candida, but when I was recently re-tested it said I didn’t have it. Yet I do still have a sensitivity to Histamine. So, I know I’m still sensitive – despite having a healthy gut. Now, I choose to pretty much stay away from high Histamine food inevitably. I hope this helped answer any questions you may have had on the topic. I’m so passionate about creating awareness about Histamine Intolerances because doctors don’t talk about them enough! Simply eliminating a few food items CHANGED MY LIFE. I now start the morning with a green juice and eat a balanced diet (mostly free of histamines) throughout the day. I don’t take any pills, supplements or vitamins and have more energy than I did in my 20s. If you’ve ever had a Histamine Intolerance or do try eliminating them and feel great after – please let me know! I would love to hear about your experience below!
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How To Clean Out Your Closet

I’ve been cleaning out my closet regularly since I was 10 years old. I remember my mom sitting me down at the beginning of every season to go through my toys, desk and wardrobe. She would have me create 3 piles; Keep, Donate, and Trash. When people ask how I stay so clean and organized today, it is without a doubt because of this system which began at such a young age! Marie Kondo has made cleaning out your closet a “thing” and shown a light on the importance of de-cluttering. I love that she’s made it mainstream and helped me so many people feel more light, organized and SANE! It’s amazing how you can feel so unproductive, stressed, and foggy surrounded by clutter and junk isn’t it? I always say, I can never get anything done until everything is put away and my house feels neat + tidy. Having less STUFF of course makes cleaning WAY easier. Being a blogger, I am constantly inundated with STUFF so I have to be really strategic about how I utilize my space, which is why I routinely clean out my closet. Living in NYC, and being short on space makes being neat, organized, and selective even more crucial! I wanted to share tips on How To Clean Out Your Closet and what specific things I’ve learned over the years! How To Clean Out Your Closet How Often To Clean I clean out my closet every 4 months at the beginning of a season. This allows me to get rid of anything I didn’t wear, make note of anything I’ll need for the upcoming season, and push pieces to the front or back of my closet depending on the weather/frequency they’ll be worn. I usually spend a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. So about 5-6 hours really sifting through everything. How To Physically Do A Clean Out I go through everything one by one on hangers, in drawers, and on shelves. Anything that I’m not 100% sure of, gets draped on my bed/chair near a mirror so that I can try it on once I’m done. I place everything in 3 piles: Keep, Sell, or Donate. The Keep pile gets immediately hung up again and put out of the way. The Sell pile stays in the corner until I have enough natural light to photograph them for Poshmark, and the Donate pile goes in a shopping bag that I put by my front door which reminds me to get it OUT of the house! How To Decide What To Get Rid Of If you haven’t worn something in a year, get rid of it. I used to hold onto things and make up scenarios of when I would possibly wear it, and 99.9% of the time, those scenarios never happened. Be realistic with yourself and your life/lifestyle. Seriously though, if you haven’t gotten use out of it in a year then sell it and make room for something you will wear regularly! Also, if you’re holding onto things that are too small, you should probably get rid of them. I’m all for motivation, but I don’t think staring at a closet of clothes that are too small is healthy. Trust me, I know! Embrace your figure and be proud of your body. It is beautiful. Outfit your wardrobe with pieces that celebrate your size and body right NOW, not the body you wish you had or you used to have. As women, our bodies and sizes do fluctuate depending on hormones, the time of the month, holidays, etc. so I’m not saying throw everything that’s a little snug out, but if it’s 2-3 sizes too small, it’s probably time to let them go. Lastly, this is a Marie Kondo tip, and something that I’ve always adapted. Ask yourself if that item brings you joy. If it doesn’t feel good or brings up negative feelings for WHATEVER reason – get rid of it. I did a MAJOR closet purge right after my breakup and it felt AMAZING!!!! What To Do With Unwanted Items I first ask my sister, mom or friends if they want my Sell/Donate items. I sell whatever is left on Poshmark. I’m obsessed with Poshmark and LOVE how easy it is sell things. I also love My Sister’s Closet consignment store in my hometown Scottsdale, The Real Real for luxury designer items, and Buffalo Exchange. Anything that’s not in selling condition, gets placed in shopping bags and I ask my cleaning lady if she wants it, or I donate it to a local shelter. I’m a huge supporter of Dress For Success, Goodwill and Salvation Army. Less Is More I’ve always held this philosophy when it comes to both fashion and decor. Like I said, I can’t think straight if there’s clutter around me. I try to be really conscious and mindful about everything I have and bring into my home. It’s so important to invest in fewer, better pieces, rather than tons of trendy, cheap items that will go out of style immediately the next season. Not only does this save you money in the long run, it really teaches you to appreciate what you have, and get creative by mixing and matching items together. Do you ever look at your closet full of clothes and exclaim, “I have nothing to wear?!” If the answer is yes, it’s time to do a major clean out so you can actually SEE what’s in your closet and put together thoughtful, beautiful outfits. Storage Tips I love the Ikea Billy bookcase for storing bags + shoes, these black velvet hangers for clothes, these lucite bins for accessories, old shoe boxes for office supplies, and wicker baskets/bags for miscellaneous items and as decor. I use these Serena & Lily baskets as my hampers and they’re currently 20% off! Professional Organizers It wasn’t until this past year that I realized how AMAZING professional organizers are!!!! I personally love organizing my own closet/wardrobe, but hate organizing my pantry, so for my LA kitchen I used The Home Edit team (they were incredible!!!!), for my LA to NYC move I used Straighten Up by Janelle (she was soooo gentle with my fragile/expensive handbags, hats, and shoes), and for my NYC pantry I used Louisa Roberts from The Neat Method. I highly recommend all of them. Importance of Closet Clean Outs I truly cannot stress enough how important it is to do regular closet clean outs. Don’t get bogged down with junk and clutter! Chaos in your home creates chaos in the mind. Also, being surrounded by things that aren’t enhancing or adding to your life, but are just taking up space, is just not healthy. It sounds dramatic, but it’s the truth. Get rid of anything that has negative memories attached to it, donate the stuff that’s too small and making you feel bad about yourself. Basically, purge anything that doesn’t make you HAPPY. Your closet should be full of things that make you smile when you look at them! Life is too short to have it any other way!!!! Summary Out with the old and in with the new. Less is more. Fewer, better. Say goodbye to the clutter! Let’s all be more mindful about what we buy and allow in our homes! Happy spring cleaning!
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How To Take Care Of A Dog

It’s been almost 2 years since I brought home my sweet rescue puppy Charlie! If you follow me on Instagram, you know I am madly obsessed with him! I’ve LOVED dogs ever since I can remember. My dad was super allergic to dogs growing up so we could never have one, but I used to go to my next door neighbor’s house and lay on their golden retrievers everyday after school! I dreamt of having my own dog and when I saw Charlie in the window of Vanderpump Dogs it was love at first sight! I know so many of you have dogs or want a dog, so I wanted to share my own personal experience with Charlie, i.e. things I’ve learned, food/treats he loves, and more. Hopefully this will be a helpful resource! I’m still learning and experimenting with new things so this guide will get updated as time progresses. I am by no means an expert – and everyone’s parenting style is different so again, this is just my own experience! I really wish I had a basic how-to guide from someone I trusted when I first brought Charlie home!!! How To Take Care Of A Dog Where To Buy A Dog I’m sure many of you have heard the phrase “Adopt Don’t Shop.” I do recommend – and believe in – rescuing a dog versus buying them in a puppy store/from a puppy mill. There are so many wonderful animals that are abandoned and sitting in a rescue shelter that need a home! I rescued Charlie from Vanderpump Dogs in West Hollywood. The space is equally as adorable as the dogs! To be approved for the adoption, I had to fill out an application and FaceTime with the shelter so that they could see my home. I’m sure each shelter has their own set of requirements so be sure to check! How Much Do Dogs Cost? Prices vary widely based on city, shelter, type of breed, etc. My high school boyfriend purchased his dog from a newspaper listing for $300. I paid $800 for Charlie from Vanderpump Dogs. It really just depends. In terms of annual costs for things like vet visits, food, treats, toys and medicine – I don’t know the *exact* costs I have paid to date, but off the top of my head, I’d estimate it’s been about; $100/year for food, $250/year for treats, toys, water bowls, leash, collar, car seat, bed, and travel carrier, $500 for the *first year of vaccinations/exams* (it’s a lot less after that!), $250 for an emergency vet visit because Charlie ate something bad off the street that made him sick, $250 for grooming/year, and $1200 for a tooth extraction and professional dental cleaning. That last cost was INSANELY high and a huge shock to me, but hopefully I won’t ever have to pay it again (besides an annual tooth cleaning fee!) Charlie had a tooth grow in sideways that was causing a lot of problems so the vet recommended we pull it immediately. Dental work for dogs is crazy expensive! FYI I am in no means trying to scare anyone from getting a dog – your dog may never need to have a tooth pulled! It’s always just good to have an emergency fund or be aware of these unexpected costs. Pet Insurance I’ve had friends who didn’t get pet insurance and wished they had, so I signed up for it immediately. I have Embrace and haven’t had to use it yet, but feel better knowing it’s there. Unfortunately most pet insurance plans do not cover any dental work. Dog Food There are so many varieties of dog food out there. Do your research before choosing one – many are full of crap! I’ve given Charlie a few different kinds of dog food and our favorite one is; Castor & Pollux Grain Free Organic Small Dog Breed Chicken. I say “our” because this is the one that is easiest for me to feed him and that he actually eats. I did give him Farmer’s Dog food for a month, and he really enjoyed it, but the extra step of defrosting it, keeping it in a container in the fridge, and heating it up was a bit too much work if I’m being honest. Plus, I’ve heard dry food is better for a dog’s teeth long term. So I’m sticking with Castor & Pollux for now. I do sometimes mix in plain white rice, chicken, sweet potato, scrambled eggs, coconut oil OR a little mashed up treat with his 1/2 scoop of food in the morning and evening. He gets spoiled and has come to expect it, which is a tricky thing…so I probably shouldn’t have started that in the first place, but oh well. I used to mix a little bit of this wet food in. But it gives him diarrhea every time – poor guy – so I don’t anymore. I also don’t give Charlie any gluten/grains. He is allergic sadly, which I found out after he kept breaking out in a rash when he had anything with grains/gluten in it. Charlie likes to graze and doesn’t scarf his food down in one sitting unless it’s chicken. All dogs are different that way. Charlie prefers when I sit next to him while he eats – I think it makes him feel more safe/comfortable? So sometimes I do, and sometimes I don’t. Many dog owners have a set feeding schedule where they put down the bowl and pick it up after a certain amount of time, but I leave Charlie’s bowl out all day- that’s just our style. He gets fed once in the morning and at night. Treats I like these Natural Balance treats, and these treats in the Sweet Potato + Chicken flavor. Also, I like these Honest Kitchen Chicken + Cranberry treats for something special every once in a while. I give Charlie 1/2 of these dog bone shaped dental chews to clean his teeth (he goes crazy for them!) every other day. Some people like to go the more natural route and give their dogs plain carrot sticks to clean their teeth. I’ve tried that, but Charlie kept throwing up the carrot. My vet said that rawhides/bones aren’t good treats or toys because they’re way too hard on their teeth so I don’t give Charlie anything like that. Grooming I used to drop Charlie at Dogromat in LA every other month. If I don’t have time to drop him at the groomer, or if he’s really dirty, I give him a bath using this soap. I use these wipes to clean his paws after we go for a walk since the street is so dirty. I give Charlie NexGard flea medicine once a month prescribed from my vet. Charlie got fleas a year ago (before I knew about the medicine) and it was an actual nightmare. Hundreds of little black bugs crawling all over his body – pure HELL. I’ve heard that NexGard can be harmful long term to dogs, so it’s something that I need to research more, but some people do opt for a topical medicine versus oral. If you have any insight please feel free to share below! I brush Charlie’s teeth 2-3 times a week with this brush using this toothpaste. It’s so important to brush dogs teeth, but it’s hard and I honestly forget or get preoccupied. Charlie doesn’t like it at all, but I try to just quickly give his teeth a brush down so he doesn’t get too much plaque build up. Potty Training I bought Charlie when he was 3 months old. He wasn’t completely potty trained and he did have a few accidents at my house the first month or two, but he got the hang of it really quickly. It helped having a backyard and working from home, because I kept the door open and constantly reminded him and coaxed him to go outside – probably every hour and a half. I kept repeating “Let’s go potty, let’s go potty!” and “Good boy!” when he went, then rewarding him with a treat. Charlie can now hold it for 8 hours when we sleep or travel, but I generally try to take him out every 4 hours if I can. I use these bags for when he goes to the bathroom. I recently got this patch of artificial grass for my balcony, but he hasn’t really gone on it yet – he’s still getting used to it. If he ever has an accident or throws up, I use this Nature’s Miracle cleaner – it works SO well! Walking/Exercise I take Charlie out about 5 times a day. 3 out of 5 of those times I usually take him on a very short loop around our block where he feels familiar and has already marked his territory. 2 out of 5 times I take him on longer walks to meetings, run errands, or a park. I really like having him be a part of my schedule and day and I feel fortunate that I have the flexibility to do this since I work from home. When I lived in LA, I used to take him on fun hikes every few weeks, or to the beach to run in the sand (which he LOVED!) Now that we are in NYC, I try to schedule puppy play dates and long walks with friends at the park on the weekends so he can get out + about and socialize. I keep Charlie pretty close to me at all times since big dogs scare him. And you never know if another dog will be aggressive or jump towards him. He sometimes still does stop and shake because he’s scared of large objects and loud sounds, but when that happens, I just pull him closer and in a deep, stern voice let him know it’s ok and that I’m in charge. Basically, he’s trying to protect me and gets overwhelmed. So I just remind him that I’m in control and that he doesn’t need to worry! I’m still working on building up his confidence and hope that the gets more acclimated to city life soon! Sleeping I bought a crate for Charlie and planned on fully crate training him after reading about all of the benefits, but I couldn’t stand hearing him cry night after night for a month straight. Eventually, I gave in and let him sleep in my bed, and I have never regretted it. He snuggles up right next to me every night in bed and it’s such a special bonding time for us. He is sooooo cuddle-y and sweet, and I love giving him kisses and belly rubs in the morning. I can’t imagine not sleeping with him. It really is one of my favorite parts of the day. He can’t get enough of this fuzzy blanket which I’ve had since I got him. It’s like his security blanket and he feels comfortable and safe every time he lays on it. I recently tossed Charlie’s dog bed because it was falling a part. But I picked it up from Petco and it looks similar to this one! Dog Accessories Charlie is IN LOVE with this lamb toy. He has several other toys like this rope, and this bear toy, but he just can’t get enough of the lambs. He shreds every single one a part and stuffing gets everywhere, but I put up with it haha. Just be careful. They do have plastic squeakers in them which dogs may be able to choke on so I always throw it away when he rips it out. For leashes and collars – I use this really simple leash. Charlie got freaked out from the large retractable leash. I think it’s best if you keep small dogs close by your side when walking anyways, so this little leash is perfect. I got his collar from Petco along with a custom name tag with my phone number on the back. Also, I got him a micro-chip through my vet. I use a harness to walk him because it’s better for his neck. I bought this anti-anxiety jacket for him since he gets nervous walking sometimes, but it didn’t really do a whole lot… I’ll continue testing it though! Traveling with Dogs If you’re flying with dogs, each airline has a different set of rules. So make sure to read the fine print, and always call your airline to ask them if they have room for your dog/will allow your dog on board. I know that American Airlines charges a $125 fee each way if your dog isn’t an Emotional Service Animal. You’ll need to get a certified carrier for them – I got this one. Charlie was totally fine traveling back and forth from LA to NYC. He wouldn’t use the designated potty area in the airport, but ended up going right before and after we stepped outside the airport. He refused to drink water on the flight, but I brought a little water bowl anyway. I learned the hard way – not to feed him before boarding a flight because the motion made him throw up after we got off the plane. I highly recommend spending a little more on the *extra legroom* feature because it does get cramped with the carrier. When I’m in the car with Charlie, I have a car seat for him. I used to drive with him on my lap, until I researched and realized how dangerous that was! He’s been great on long road trips and I just make sure to let him out when I stop for gas every 4 hours or so, and again not feed him because of the motion sickness. Training/General Tips Even though I never grew up with a dog, and didn’t really know what I was doing when I first got Charlie, I adapted quickly and learned as I went. Your animal instincts do kick in when you bring home a dog – and you just sort of figure it out! I read part of Cesar Millan’s book, but ultimately put it down halfway through because I like my own personal parenting style. Cesar does have tons of helpful tips and I absolutely respect his expert opinion, but I couldn’t realistically see myself implementing most of the things he suggested. Just being honest! I think listening to your own intuition, instincts, and lifestyle is key. Each dog has such a different energy though! If a dog is really problematic and acting out, then training of course is a great idea. I’m personally looking into training for Charlie to adapt a bit better to the loud noises of city life. But I’ve never done any formal training classes or programs with Charlie. Dogs really are a (wo)man’s best friend! Charlie completely changed my life in the best way possible. If you’re thinking about getting a dog – I hope this post helped clarify any questions you may have!
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