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Soho, NY

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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Nolita, NY

How To Find A Therapist

I’m so excited to get back to regular programming with my Wellness Wednesday posts. I’ve let them take a back seat these past few months as I’ve been busy sorting out my move, but they’re actually one of my favorite parts of the blog so it feels good to be writing them again. Today’s post is a topic I’ve touched on briefly through my “Self Care” and “How I Got Over My Breakup” posts, but I wanted to delve into it further and share my own experience with therapy! My dad has been a psychologist for over 30 years, so therapy was never taboo or something I was unfamiliar with growing up. I’m incredibly proud of the positive impact my dad has made on hundreds of people’s lives so I’ve always been very open and supportive of therapy. Within this post, I’m going to talk about a few of my own personal experiences with therapists, and of course, how to find the right therapist for you! How To Find A Therapist I’ve used two different methods to find a therapist; I’ve gone through my insurance company’s website, and I’ve done an independent search on ZocDoc. The benefit of going through your insurance company initially, is that they list out doctors within your area that accept your insurance. Some insurance plans cover a therapist’s fee, others cover part of it, and some cover none of it – so be sure to check online and call your insurance company to confirm. Once you’ve created a login through your insurance company’s website, click on the psychologist/psychiatrist section, and then type in your area. Browse through the list of names that pop up, and copy and paste the names that jump out at you into Google. Many therapists today have reviews from other patients online or have written articles which will give you a sense of their reputation and style. After you’ve settled on a therapist or two, call them to check that they do in fact take your insurance, ask what their fee is, and book an initial consultation. If it’s your first time going to therapy, it’s probably a good idea to book consultations with 2-3 different people, and then see which one you like best. If you don’t want to go through the insurance route, or you already know your insurance doesn’t cover therapy costs, then I like to use ZocDoc. You can narrow therapists down by neighborhood (pick somewhere close to work or home because if it’s far away, you’re not going to go – trust me!) and read over their patient reviews. Once you’ve found a few potentials, reach out to them and ask what their rate is, see if they happen to take your insurance (they just may!), and schedule your appointment(s.) How Much Does Therapy Cost?Therapy can be really expensive. But it’s an investment in yourself. Therapy has made me happier, more positive, more thoughtful, more accepting, calmer, wiser, a better daughter, a better sister, a better girlfriend, a better friend, a better boss, and a better human. Therapy costs vary widely by city, insurance plan, and doctor, which is why you need to call both your insurance company and the doctor you’re interested in to find out. Online articles state that therapy can be anywhere from free (or a small co-pay like $15) to $600 a session. I’ve personally paid everything from a $30 copay for an in-network therapist to a $300 fee for an out-of-network therapist. This article does a great job explaining why therapy costs so much in case you’re curious. Therapists have to pay for; malpractice insurance, office space (which in NYC is $$$), office supplies/furniture, advertising, and of course their own health insurance, rent and other expenses. Often times, if they do take insurance, filling out that paperwork and filing claims becomes a full time job in-and-of itself thus stopping them from having time to see more clients so it’s extremely generous of a therapist today to take insurance. Bottom line – do your research on both in-network and out-of-network doctors – and set up appointments with the one that feels right for YOU. Sometimes out-of-network doctors will give you a break on their fees depending on your income, so don’t be afraid to ask! How To Choose The Right Therapist For YouThis all comes down to a gut feeling when you’re one on one with the person. Again, if you’re new to therapy, I suggest seeing a few people so you can compare them and think about how you feel after each session. Every therapist has a different style. Some therapists are more hands on, interactive and vocal, while others are more hands off, observant, and ask a few poignant questions per session. I’ve had therapists who I don’t vibe with at all – and therapists who I totally clicked with and who felt like mentors/friends. After seeing both male and female doctors of all different ages over the years, I have found that I work best with a female who is relatively close to my age. Being relatively close in age has been helpful when communicating about current social situations, social media, social norms, dating in the modern world, etc. AKA they just get me more! How Often Should You See A TherapistThis really depends on you and your situation, but most people go once a week. I’ve gone more than once a week in the past and didn’t like it because I like having a few days to process and decompress after each session – sometimes they can be really intense! Many New Yorkers, due to their busy schedules, make it to therapy 2-3 times a month which is totally normal/fine too. You can also do phone or Skype sessions if you’re out of town. Again, everyone’s schedules, needs and preferences are different so do what works for you + your life. Lastly, if you’re wondering what period of time you should go to therapy – this is also solely based on the individual and situation. I’ve gone to therapy anywhere from 2 months at a time, to pretty consistently for a year. Again, it just depends on what you’re going through. Sticking with therapy consistently for a long period of time has definitely been the most beneficial for me. I hope this post helped answer some of your therapy questions!Remember you don’t have to be depressed to go to a therapist – therapy is for anyone and everyone – and can be a great place to just vent, bounce ideas off of a neutral person, or process changes! The right therapist will have such a positive impact on your life and give you the tools you need to get through anything. Therapy is a safe place, free of judgement – where you can just be yourself. I encourage you to give therapy a try if you haven’t already – and feel free to leave me any other questions you may have below!
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Lower East Side, NY

My Valentine's Day Self Care Rituals

Happy Valentine’s Day!  Whether you like this holiday or not, it’s a nice reminder to pamper yourself!  I wanted to share a few things I plan on doing today – and that I like doing in general to treat myself ;) Self Care Rituals Face Mask My all time favorite face mask is the Sisley Black Rose mask.  100% splurge worthy.  I ran out of that one though, so I plan on using this Eve Lom radiance mask.  It feels really good on, but it’s not nearly as moisturizing as the Sisley one feels if I’m being completely honest! Hydrate I start every morning with hot lemon water, then my signature green juice.  The recipe is; celery, cucumber, fennel, broccoli, and 1/2 a green apple.  If I can’t find fennel I use parsley and swiss chard. Lymph Drainage After I shower, I put a drop of Vintner’s Daughter serum (another splurge worthy item that makes my skin glow and totally minimizes your pores so you feel more confident wearing less makeup.)  I layer that with one of my face oils, and use the Clarisonic Firming Massage Head to de-puff my face. Makeup I wait to put makeup on until I have to – so I often try to go 3-4 days a week without wearing anything.  Tonight, Derek and I have plans to cook at home, so I won’t be doing a full face of makeup, but I still want to do a little something to look more awake!  I’ll put on a bit of Cle de Beaute concealer, Armani foundation, Bobbi Brown bronzer, Charlotte Tilbury highlighter, Laura Mercier caviar eye stick, and Bobbi Brown mascara.  This is my go-to everyday makeup routine that creates a really subtle, natural look. Candles I’ve been burning Goop #2 during the day in my kitchen, but for a more romantic evening, I love Diptyque Vanille, and Byredo Bibliotheque so I’ll probably light either of those! Bubble Bath I love taking a hot bath in the morning or right before I go out at night.  I use epsom salt from Amazon (I buy it in bulk.)  It’s the perfect way to get the magnesium we all need!  I also love the Goop bath salts – particularly these 3 scents. Comfy Clothes I like to be as comfortable as possible when I’m getting ready to go out, or working from home, so I wear either a terry cloth robe, Eberjey pajamas – or these Cuyana sweatpants that I just got from their new loungewear line.  Seriously they’re my new favorite sweatpants.  As a top, I’ll wear this cute grey Sol Angeles sweatshirt. Beauty Sleep At the end of a long day, there’s nothing better than a goodnight sleep – and getting to bed early!  I’m a total night owl (most creatives are!), but I love falling asleep before 10PM when I can.  Bliss!  I wear this silk eye mask every night, and sleep in Restoration Hardware linen sheets.  Once you go linen, you won’t go back – trust me!  I also love these sheets from The Citizenry.
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Paris, FR

What No One Tells You About Falling in Love

Falling in love is such an amazing feeling isn’t it?  The butterflies, the sparks, and the excitement of a new relationship – ahhhh!  But what about the other sorts of feelings that come up when you start deeply connecting with someone and letting them into your world?  It can be terrifying being that vulnerable with someone relatively new!  People rarely talk about this side of falling in love.  I wanted to paint a more realistic picture. Share my own personal experience about falling in love as an adult. Also, give insight into what I’ve learned along the way. Growing up, I was exposed to two polar opposite examples of love and relationships. The first kind, was one that many of us are familiar with; the Disney movie version where a beautiful damsel in distress is saved by a handsome prince.  The story always goes something like this; love at first sight, followed by bad guys trying to break the couple a part, a dramatic rescue, and then they live happily ever after and ride off into the sunset… The second kind, was my own reality – growing up with parents who had a tumultuous relationship.  From a young age, I always knew that my parents were unhappy being married to one another.  The resentment and frustration between the two of them was always there lingering… up until the day they got a divorce (25 years later), when I was a senior in high school.  I never really grew up seeing my parents show genuine affection to one another. Also, I never saw them work as a team, lift each other up, or have that twinkly look of adoration in their eyes.  If they had an argument, fight or disagreement they never talked through it. They just gave up, walked away and added it to the already heaping pile of resentment between them. It wasn’t anything close to the whimsical and romantic dynamics I knew from my favorite movies, so as I got older, I became more and more confused on what a relationship – and love for that matter – actually looked like between an adult man and woman.  Despite their relationship with each other, my parents poured so much love into my sister and me, and for that I am forever grateful.  My dad actually just got remarried this past weekend in Hawaii and I could not be happier for him! My mom raised me to be fiercely independent. She told me to never rely on a man, always make my own money, always have at least 1 separate bank account from my future spouse, and that if I ever wanted something – I could go out into the world and get it myself!  Her advice has without a doubt played a huge role in my business success.  But what about personal success?  For most of my life, up until 2 years ago actually, I got so used to being fiercely independent and thinking I could do everything myself, that I never really let anyone – especially a man – fully in. I didn’t want to show a side of myself that I perceived as “weak.” It was until recently, that I realized being vulnerable, accepting + asking for help, and admitting you don’t know it all, is actually the opposite of weak. Being vulnerable is actually really f*cking hard and it’s what creates those deep, lasting connections with people. Being vulnerable allows you to live your most authentic life. When I met my now boyfriend; Derek, I had finally gotten comfortable with being single and alone again (I had been in a long term relationship years prior). I had stopped dating just to date, and I started to really enjoy my own company – every night was basically face masks and reality TV – aka heaven haha!  So when I did meet Derek, it was a complete surprise and I was not expecting it at all (of course that’s how the universe works right? ;))  As cheesy as it sounds – he instantly blew me away.  His presence, his entrepreneurial spirit, and his authenticity were so impressive. I had never met anyone like him! We both started falling for each other immediately, and as the weeks went on, our feelings progressed. And I began falling in love with him.  I was floating – I felt like I was on cloud nine and I couldn’t have been happier.  As even more time went on though, something strange started to happen within me; I started self-sabotaging.  I started to play out this really negative internal dialogue and I had this sense of impending doom and fear that he’d leave me, and that I’d end up alone and heartbroken again.  Just thinking about the possible pain that could happen and remembering how long it took me to heal from my last relationship, made me want to RUN FOR THE HILLS and hide! This whole new love thing completely and totally stressed me out I felt paranoid and anxious.  I felt guilty for feeling this way, confused – and totally out of sorts.  My whole world, this safe new cocoon I had just built for myself prior to meeting Derek, had been turned upside down and invaded!  I started to overthink everything and pick Derek and our entire relationship a part.  It was like I was trying to find something wrong with him, so I didn’t have to fully connect, let him in, and open up the possibility of getting hurt again… Thankfully, as time went on, I started trusting Derek more, trusting myself more, and trusting our relationship.  He was really an angel during that rocky time, and unwavering in his love, patience and commitment to me.  I had to remind myself that past relationships were just that – in the past, and I had no use for them in the present. Also, I had to tell myself that just because my parent’s relationship didn’t work out, didn’t mean that mine wouldn’t.  I decided to really do some serious reflecting on all of my past traumas and experiences, face them head on, and learn from them.  There is a lesson in everything if you look for it!  BTW this is all wayyyy easier said than done. And TBH I’m still a work in progress, but aren’t we all? Falling in love brings up a LOT of emotions within us – both good and bad. Falling in love requires us to be vulnerable and open up to a partner. And yes, there’s a chance we could get hurt.  It’s exciting, amazing, and special, but also scary, stressful, and uncertain all at once!  (This podcast episode from Goop perfectly explains it – highly recommend listening.)  Here’s my advice if you’re feeling scared, going through the same thing, or having trouble connecting. First, just accept and acknowledge that there will be a wide range of emotions when it comes to love.  Try and think about each emotion as you’re experiencing it individually. And really ask yourself where that feeling could be coming from. Is it directly from your partner’s actions, or could it be something that is unresolved from your past?  Remind yourself that no breakup is ever a failure – it’s only a learning experience propelling you in the direction you’re actually supposed to go in. It’s all about mindset, and giving yourself those much needed positive pep talks until your thought pattern starts changing and you start trusting more.  Third, talk to someone about your feelings!  A friend, a family member, and/or a therapist.  I can’t say enough good things about therapy!  Lastly, read any or all of these Brene Brown books; Daring Greatly,  The Gifts of Imperfection, and Rising Strong.  Brene’s books, along with these books, have helped me tremendously! I would love to hear if you’ve experienced anything similar, can relate, and/or what helped you open up more! <3
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