The Love Of A Dog

Girl Talk, Motherhood

Or two…

Have you noticed that a common suggestion for newlywed couples is “Get a dog, it’s great practice for when you have a baby”?  Since I have two dogs and a baby I can say that this advice is only partially helpful. Having a dog helps prepare you for welcoming your first child because it teaches you to think of another living being other than yourself. Other than that, I don’t think anything can really prepare you for those first few months of parenthood. Perhaps meditation, and Xanax, but those don’t mix well with baby-raising.

So you’re basically in survival mode from the moment you leave the hospital with your baby. There are dozens of new worries and responsibilities, even as a dog lover it is easy to see how having a pet can add to those worries.

When I was pregnant with our first child I was too busy working and being super pregnant to “worry” about bringing a newborn home to my dogs. Lucky me, everyone else worried for me. My husband and I were bombarded with the typical questions from panic-stricken family members and friends. “WHAT are you going to do with your dogs?” That was the most common question/concern I heard for 9 months. I don’t judge or blame anyone who asked me this question. Not everyone is a dog lover. And even so, some dog owners asked that same question. And when asked what we are going to “DO with them”, the short-tempered bitch in me always replied with “Umm nothing”.

To be honest I was scared. I obsess over my dogs. I love them. Sometimes I hold them and cry true story. The horror stories I had heard of genuine animal loving, dog owners who had to put their dog down, or give their dog away after terrifying incidents with their newborns played in my mind during the last trimester of my pregnancy. I did some good old internet reading and came  across plenty of positive stories as well. I convinced myself not to spend the end of my pregnancy worrying and instead continued to just hug my dogs.

When our daughter was born my husband made a point of taking a trip home to spend the night with our dogs, exercise them, feed them and bring them home her first blanket, you know, the one the hospital gives you that’s covered in blood and other questionable fluids. He let them sniff it, and sleep with it that first night while Elyse and I were still in the hospital. I would be lying if I said my heart wasn’t pounding when we pulled up in our driveway with our baby the next morning; I knew it was go-time. The two crazies had to meet their baby sister. A friend of mine who also has a large dog and several children gave me some solid advice that I decided to follow. Just put down her car seat and let them lick the crap out of her. Ohh, ok.

Obviously, we know our dogs, they had never eaten a baby before, not that we know of at least. They licked the CRAP out of our daughter for a minute before I decided that’s enough! Since that first day, I would say there has been mutual love between the three of them. The biggest rifts in the harmony of their relationship are caused by none other than our innocent little girl. Nevermind the dogs, they wouldn’t hurt a fly, but our daughter had a lot of learning to do over these past three years.

Don’t sit on the dogs face, don’t bite the dogs tail, don’t eat the dog food, don’t put your finger up the dogs bum, YES that’s where he does pee-pee from, don’t pull it!!! (ughhh).

But her biggest lessons were of tolerance, love, adoration for animals, patience, and selflessness. To love and care for someone or something other than yourself. To wake up early and feed the dogs before you feed yourself, and to be home early so they are not alone for too long. Walk the dogs every afternoon, that has become part of her routine. She now knows how to put their leashes on, she picks which dog goes first, she cleans their teeth with her finger and a cleaning gel (yep she puts her whole hand in their mouth) and even makes them homemade Birthday cards.

A while ago I noticed the first thing she does when she wakes up in the morning is search for both of HER dogs so she can give them each a giant hug. She loves them. It didn’t take very long. I’m glad we didnt change anything back when I was pregnant and asked what we would “Do” with them.

This post is dedicated to Mila Barberi the biggest, best dog lover I have ever known. And our dogs #1 supporter when I was pregnant with Elyse…

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Earth Day, Not Just For Hippies Anymore…

Girl Talk

Its Earth Day, whatcha gonna do about it?

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took part in demonstrations that became became known as the first Earth Day. On this day, large groups, comprising mainly of enlightened college students, took to streets and parks to spread awareness for a healthy, sustainable environment. Ahead of their times these groups had already been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories, toxic dumps, wilderness loss, and the extinction of wildlife. This day in 1970 helped gel together protestors, professors and politicians, and by the end of that year it led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts. 

Today, 47 years later you don’t have to protest in front of your local City Hall to make a difference on Earth Day, or any day for that matter. By now we should all be partaking in every day, sustainable activities, like embracing those famous “3 R’s”  (Recycle, Reduce, Recuse. You remember them from high school, along with those annoying jingles) Recycling is basic bitch level. If you’re not already on board the Green train than Earth Day serves as your yearly reminder to get your sh*t together. Today is the one day a year when you will feel like crap if you forgot to bring your own bags to the grocery store.

If you cant seem to break your bottled water habit, and you like collecting plastic bags, perhaps there are other ways you can contribute to saving this planet? Ah so glad you asked. There are hundreds of ways, but since I usually chat about fashion on this blog lets stick to that for today.

That “fast fashion” that we all know and love is actually harming the planet more than your plastic grocery bag. Brands such as Zara and Forever21 are filling our landfills faster than you can say “This top was only $19.99”.

The average American contributes nearly 65 pounds of textile waste to landfills every year. That’s 13.1 Million Tons each year! It then takes 30-40 years for a cheap piece of nylon fabric to decompose. You may think you’re saving tons by buying many affordable, trendy pieces each season but the reality is, you will likely never even get a chance to be sick of that off the shoulder top before it falls apart at the seams. That may explain why consumers are buying SO MUCH fast fashion. According to Forbes, the U.S. apparel industry today is a $12 billion business.

Because curbside pick-up does not yet include textiles most people assume their orphan socks or pre-loved sweaters go straight into the trash. What most consumers do not know is that 20% of the clothing we are tossing is actually perfectly reusable. The rest can usually be donated (if its not torn) to charities that resell it or give to less fortunate woman and children.

In San Fransisco door to door collection is actually a reality. For several years now there has been a city wide collection set up in coordination with local charities to reuse or recycle their textiles. Although other major cities such as Toronto haven’t made it there yet many are trying. Until then if you wish to be sustainable there are steps you can take to recycle your used clothing.

If you’re lazy: You don’t ever have to leave your house, certain charities such as Clothesline for The Canadian Diabetes Association come to your home and retrieve the donation items free of charge.

If you love to shop: Some brands offer in store discounts for dropping off used clothing. H&M, Target, American Eagle, Levi’s, Patagonia, and many more, all participate in this sort of program.

If you’re into DIY: Yup I’m suggesting to make you own clothes or alter pre-used items to update them or make them fit better. This is not for everyone, or for me for that matter, but if you have the skill than go for it!

If you’re a hustler: Thanks to the World Wide Web and the thousands of apps we now have, you can sell any fashion item online in only moments. Snap a pic with your phone and upload it to an app like Trend Trunk, or Carousel and sell it for whatever amount you set, then meet up or mail the goods. Easy peasy.

If you’re generous: Let your friends and family “shop” your closet. Do a closet purge and invite friends over for some wine and free clothing. They may return the favour one day.

If you’re brave: Feel free to boycott those brands that sell a lower end product and appeal to the wear once, throw away mentality. I have already mentioned HERE about my decision to no longer shop at Zara.

Do you have any other ways to recycle or donate used clothing? Are there any “fast fashion” brands you have boycotted because of poor quality? Feel free to discuss below, and Happy Earth Day!

How To: Not Give A Sh*t About Other Moms…

Girl Talk, Motherhood

I think the way kids these days are phrasing it is “Just do you”. I could leave that right there and end this post right now, but I think some moms out there need a bit of a pep talk.

This headline  may seem like I’m throwing shade at other moms, or I’m suggesting us mom shouldn’t stick together. That’s far from the truth. What we need to do is stop comparing ourselves to each other and stop loading on the mom guilt.

Ahh mom guilt, everyone has it, but we seldom admit it. Mom guilt has been around since the The Flintstones, but the challenge for a mom in 2017 is we just cant seem to avoid it. Everyday there’s some new “expert” telling u how to discipline our children, and suggesting that the method we’ve been using will cause serious phycological damage. Take your kid to a play group and every second mother is talking about the vegan, sugar free non GMO diet she has their kid on. That’s totally cool, personally I like to feed my daughter organic, but I have realized that is not sustainable 100% of the time. There are times when you shouldn’t feel guilty for allowing you child to eat a piece of Halloween candy.  So you can go home and laugh off the do-gooder moms, and feed your kid a frozen dinner, but then you turn on your computer. Oh oh…That’s where your Facebook, Pinterest, and favourite blogs are flooding you with images of the “perfect mom”.

I have only been a mom for two years and already I have experienced shame, guilt, apprehensiveness, feelings of loneliness, inadequacy, and anxiety. All stemming from thoughts I had after comparing myself to other mothers. Luckily I have cool girl friends who are also moms (and also some who are not but still know whats up!!) and we call BULLSH*T on so much of whats going on here.

Funny how my mom never stayed up at night stressing over which cookie to bake and then photograph for the perfect Instagram post the next morning. Yet she raised 3 children who turned out fine, I think. So what is our generation doing wrong?

Here are just a few ways that moms in 2017 can drop some of that mom guilt. Feel free to comment below and share your opinion on any of these or suggest some others.

Busy Bee Syndrome: “Rise And Grind”. What about Rise And Have A Coffee Then Watch Tv For An Hour Then Take A Warm Bath??? **I’ll get to the tv debate later** Why are we so obsessed with being “busy”? Because you know, being busy means being successful. Actually, being overly busy just means you’re probably exhausted. I have no problem sharing the fact that I stayed in all day with my 2 year old. Let her run around sans pants and colour on our walls with crayons (then promptly clean it with a Magic Eraser) We shouldn’t have to always busy ourselves to avoid being labeled “lazy”. We don’t always have to be Supermom. What happened to just being MOM? Last time I checked that was pretty awesome on its own, no prefix necessary.

Post Baby-Body Discussions: Stop saying “I only have 5 more pounds to loose”. Also, don’t feel that you have to justify your food choices “Im PMS’ing thats why I’m having this ice cream “. Please, your lunch isn’t on trial, and you do not have to defend your body! It’s YOUR body, and everyone is different. We all know why we make these statements, we do it as a pre-emptive strike. You know, to make light of weight gain or to be the first one to bring up indulgent eating because we’re too worried about what the person sitting across from us is thinking. If the person sitting across from you is judging you for carrying some baby weight, stand up and no longer sit across from them. If you had a baby recently, like three months ago, or three years ago, just remember you made a life inside that body. No further comment.

“Dress Your Age”: Lately I’ve felt pressured into “dressing my age”. Only I am not sure of what it means to dress my age. What exactly should the wardrobe of a 33 year old consist of? There’s always talk of certain skirt hem lengths, or platform heels being forbidden. I say dress for your mood and your surroundings, not your age. That would be a more appropriate method of choosing your outfit every morning. You wouldn’t wear a short skirt to the park, but that doesn’t mean you can’t wear one on date night, or  to a party. FYI, just because I’m married and have a kid, doesn’t mean I’m dead!

Screen-time Guilt: Ohh this is a good one **It’s time for that tv debate** I’m just going to say it, I allow my daughter to watch television. * allow time for collective gasp from readers* I do, but I limit it. She’s allowed to watch Teletubies and Caillou (FML) but I monitor the time she spends watching. And guess what, she friggin LOVES it, she smiles and dances around and learns words and phrases from these shows. Why wouldn’t I let her watch them? Are we too busy being Granola Moms that we have forgotten about Sesame Street? Yeah, that’s right, Sesame Street taught our generation basically everything. This was of course was back in the 80’s & 90’s back when television wasn’t the devil. Thankfully my parents taught me good study habits and cultivated my love for reading and writing. I somehow graduated from Law School, despite all that screen time.That’s what parenting is all about. Turning on the tv a few times a day doesn’t erase all your hard work as a parent.

Fear Of Failure: Really this is about feeling too guilty or embarrassed to ask for help. Taking into consideration all of the previous points, I’d say that us moms don’t want to admit when we are having a rough time. And this saddens me. It might be difficult to flat out tell another mom that you’re struggling with daily tasks or with motherhood in general. The alternative is to internalize it, live in guilt and not enjoy watching your children grown. No sarcasm, or jokes here. I just want to remind every mom that you’re doing a great job! And if you think otherwise I promise you there is a mother near by who feels the same. We should be reaching out to our fellow moms and not be judging them. If we were all more honest with each other and with ourselves, mom guilt wouldn’t exist. And trust me…

You wouldn’t give s SH*T about any other mom. You know what I mean.

Brands Doing Good: SENTALER 4 Sick Children (SickKids)

Girl Talk, Style

unnamed

It’s one thing to create a brand that has become popular with Celebrities, The Canadian Prime Minister’s Wife, and Royalty (aka Kate Middleton) but it’s something else to leverage your brand’s popularity and success to provide charity for others. For a brand that checks off both those boxes look no further than SENTALER.

Bojana Sentaler, Designer and Creative Director of SENTALER, the Canadian luxury outerwear brand not only designs a range of beautiful, cozy, and coveted winter coats (I wouldn’t cry if I had several of them hanging in my closet) but she has also started a children’s charity contributing to The Hospital For Sick Children, Toronto. In 2016 she introduced fashionable knit hats for woman and children that provided the means for her initiative. 25% of the profits from all hat sales is directed to the SickKids Foundation. SickKids Foundation raises funds on behalf of SickKids and is the largest charitable funder of child health research, learning and care in Canada.

In her own words Sentaler explains her decision to begin contributing to the charity, “Since I became a mother, I have admired the endless care and dedication that SickKids has been providing children in Canada and I always knew that I would find a way to give back”. 

All SENTALER coats and accessories are made from the world’s finest fabric, Peruvian alpaca. These alpaca are raised at high altitudes in the Andes and have developed microscopic air pockets in their hair, which act as a thermal insulator. As a result, SENTALER coats are soft to the touch and lightweight but still remain incredibly warm. The added environmental benefit is this process of alpaca sheering is eco-friendly and cruelty free! By using this specific alpaca fiber SENTALER creates jobs for the many Peruvian families who work in breeding these animals.

The #SENTALER4SickKids initiative launched in August of 2016 and will continue until March 2017. The hats are available via the SENTALER website, by clicking HERE.

SENTALER ships FREE world-wide daily from Toronto and is also available at Holt Renfrew, NORDSTROM and The Hudson’s Bay Company.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin