Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Valentine's Day Gift Ideas For Her

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We are just about a month away from Valentine's Day! I feel like I change my opinion on the day every year. I always welcome a reason to celebrate, but I also feel like you should appreciate and show your love every day.

I don't know why, but I feel like the overpriced prix fixe dinners and a dozen red roses are just so cliche and boring, so that's not something I look forward to. But, giving your bestie a cute little gift to remind her how special she is to you is something I can get behind.

Or guys, letting your girlfriend know you haven't forgotten this special day is also important! I compiled a group of gifts that would be appropriate to give any girl in your life. Whether you are having a Galentine's party, a dad looking for a cute gift to give his daughter, or a boyfriend/husband/fiance looking to surprise the one he loves, these gifts are great ideas.

I included little things like chocolate, but also bigger items like this bracelet that I wear every day. So, there should be a price point that fits every budget! This year, on Valentine's Day, I'll be in the Caribbean with my mom! I'm so excited! We've planned a mother-daughter trip (Callie sadly can't make it due to her very limited vacation days... we are so sad!!!). But, I'll be celebrating once I'm back in Pittsburgh!

I think these cards are SO cute, and a really great way to share your love across the country/world! I'll be back on Friday with gift ideas for guys, so stay tuned!

If you are looking for a more experiential gift idea, check out this guide I posted 2 years ago. There are some really great, out-of-the-box ideas!

How do you celebrate Valentine's Day? Do you have a tradition? Typically, my family cooks a 'fancy'/indulgent meal together at home (friends and dates, welcome, too!)... in the past years, we have been favoring beef wellington.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

1 Month With Henry

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It's been exactly one month since I've had Henry. I can't believe it's been a month and yet I can't imagine my life without him.

I thought I'd do an update, one, so I can look back on it and remember this time, but also to let you all know about having a new dog if you are considering it yourself! This is a long post, so keep scrolling! 

I knew he would be a lot of responsibility, but it's been surprisingly less than I thought. I really thought taking him out would be such a chore (especially in an apartment and many floors up), but it hasn't been annoying at all... even with the freezing cold temps. I enjoy it and he's so cute getting up in the morning and getting excited to go outside! The one thing that is annoying is that he hates the cold (don't we all), so taking him on a long walk in 0 degrees is a no-go. Last week, when it was warm, we went on the longest walk ever, and it seemed like he had so much fun. I can't wait until it warms up a bit and we can do that daily.

I will say the only thing that is annoying is that he sheds. I have to vacuum every 2 days (sometimes every day). It's annoying but feels so good afterward. It's a vicious cycle, but well worth it. 

Henry has finally figured out his 'home', aka my apartment. It was hard at first because I was taking him everywhere with me over the holidays. From my parents to my grammies, to my aunts, etc. it was hard for me to establish a routine with him. Now that the holidays have quieted down, he's already in a great routine and loves my apartment. He doesn't like when other people come to visit for the first few minutes, but I am trying to teach him it's ok. He is slowly but surely learning. He is, however, great at going to anyone else's home. He loves hanging out at my parent's house, hanging at Grammie's, and visiting Stuart (my cousin's dog). 

I also love that I don't have to crate him. He's fine being in my apartment/my parent's house while I'm gone. He mostly just lays around or plays with his toys and he's really great at not getting into anything he shouldn't/doesn't chew on anything he shouldn't. When I'm gone, I leave my Echo on for him with soft jazz, ha! I love that he gets SO excited when I get home. It's the best welcome ever. 

I'm not fully sure of his past, but he's afraid of noises and people at first. He's just overall skittish and timid. It seems like he might have been on his own in the wild for a bit of time. He's already gotten a TON better with both of these things, but we are still working on it. He eventually warms up to people after just a few minutes. On Christmas Eve we have sooo many people at my parent's for a huge party and he had absolutely no issue with anyone, so that was great. 

I left Henry with my parent's for 5 days while in Arizona and they said he was great! He is now best friends with my parents and is obsessed with my mom. Whenever I bring him to my parent's he gets so excited to see her... it's adorable. 

Other Dogs
Henry gets along with other dogs really well for the most part. Mac and Henry are best friends. They love hanging out together at my parent's. We think Henry is keeping Mac 'young', ha! However, if a dog is wild/super high energy wanting to play every second and jumping all over the place, Henry is not a fan. Before I adopted him, he lived with 6 other dogs, so he's well socialized, but he needs to be more patient with puppy energy. 

The way Henry's foster mom described him was 'velcro' and it's literally the only appropriate word to use. Henry is at my side 24/7. Even when I'm trying to take photos/Instagrams, he is right there- it's not me trying to get him in the shot! With outfit photos, I have to try and get him away from me just to get a few shots without him. 

When I'm sitting at my desk, he is literally laying on my feet. When I'm in the living room on the couch, he is cuddled up right next to me (he has to be touching me). When I go to bed, he sleeps right up against me. It's beyond cute. He's so loving and so kind, he makes my heart melt. 

He's really motivated by food, and I've been able to teach him to sit and lay down. Now we are working on 'paw'. He's very smart and seems to learn things very quickly. Mac loved tug of war, but Henry isn't into that. He LOVES to chew on toys and toys that squeak and also loves to play fetch. 

My Thoughts
Henry is by far one of the best decisions I have ever made in my entire life. I wholeheartedly recommend adopting a sweet boy or girl! He fills me with joy, happiness, and love. I can only hope he feels the same. 

I've noticed Henry/having a dog, in general, is making me a little more relaxed. Like if my apartment isn't vacuumed perfectly each day, I let it roll off my shoulders. 

Another thing I've noticed is that Henry has brought out 'maternal' behavior in me. I actually didn't notice this myself. One of my friends mentioned it to me and now I definitely agree. I have never had a very strong maternal desire. I've also never had much interaction with kids (no one in my family has children, I'm the oldest, so I'm just never around kids at all). I noticed I'm protective over him and care for him as if he was my own child (which sounds ridiculous, but if you have a pet, I feel you might understand what I mean by that). So, I love that this is giving me a taste of caring for someone else. I'm glad I find joy in caring for him, too... it doesn't feel like a chore or annoyance at all!!

I wanted to quickly let you all know about these pajamas.  I love RRR pajamas, and I was intrigued by these because they are 'jersey' material. I was thinking they might be similar to my favorite, Lake pajamas.  And, I was right. They're SO comfortable. The jersey material is so soft. They are roomy but also flattering. I loved the bright print becuase while you can definitely wear them in the winter, they make you happy with the beautiful colors! 

Monday, January 15, 2018

The Best Guacamole Recipe

The Best Guacamole Recipe

While I was in Arizona, we went to a really cool restaurant, Sumomaya, where I discovered the BEST guacamole ever. It was pomegranate guacamole! Kind of odd, right? I wouldn't have ordered it on my own, but it's what the group chose. 

So, I tried it and fell in love. It's tart and sweet and salty and just all around a really great taste. We all loved it so much that we decided to try and recreate it the next day (hence the low-quality iPhone pic, sorry!). 

We not only replicated it, but we all agreed it was even better than Sumomaya's. We basically looked up a bunch of recipes online and then pulled what we liked best from each recipe, plus added some of our own ideas. 

Here's what you'll need:
- 2 avocados 
- Seeds from 1 pomegranate
- Chopped Cilantro (finely chopped)
- Juice of 1 whole lime
- green onion (finely chopped)
- 1/4 of a white onion (finely chopped)
- Adobo seasoning
- Half of a fresh jalapeno (finely chopped)

1. Dice avocado 

2. Gather seeds from pomegranate (You can buy them already prepared from most grocery stores. The grocery store that we went to was out, so we had to fish the seeds out of a whole pomegranate. We used this tip from this YouTube video and it was actually pretty fast and easy to do). 

3. Mix everything you finely chopped together in a large bowl. I find it helps if you start with just the avocado and then start to add the other finely chopped ingredients as you stir. 

4. We added seasoning and lime juice to taste, but the amount of lime juice we liked was 1 large lime. Adobo seasoning is something I didn't have, but my friend Erica had it and loves it. So, we added the seasoning in and it was fantastic. I actually ended up buying some once I got home. It kind of just works with everything and gives it a great flavor. 

Overall this is REALLY easy to make, but I honestly think it tastes different/fancy. It would be great to bring to a get together (like a Superbowl party). It gives you a little taste of summer, which we all need at this point, right?!

Do you have any tips to get the perfect homemade guac? Let me know! I'm a huge guacamole fan, so I love experimenting! 

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Saturday Shopping 1/13/2018

If you guys read Thursday's Lately post, then you know this week was a doozy for me. And it really was. SO much going on, I think I might just sleep this entire weekend!

Yesterday, I was elated to find a new-to-me dermatologist close by. I also had a great dinner with some girlfriends... where Henry and Roo (my friend's dog) played allllll night. When I got home, I spent the rest of my Friday night doing a deep clean of the apartment (silver and all).
I've almost had Henry for a month now, and I can't wait to do a monthly update. It's kind of nuts it has only been a month because I can't really imagine my life without him now. On Thursday, it was 60+ degrees outside, so I made sure to get a workout outside, and take Henry for the longest walk in the city! He loved it and we stopped for a quick picnic, too! Sorry for the worst picture in the history of Summer Wind, but this is the best I got!

Today, there is not much on the agenda. I was going to save cleaning for today, but I got home last night and just felt the itch... and once I'm started, I don't stop. So, I'm actually going to be very glad to enjoy a clean apartment while it is frigid outside. Maybe some Netflix binging and napping before I head to one of my favorite restaurants for dinner. I feel like a good sleep will do me well becuase I've been a bit stressed this week and haven't had the best nights of sleep.

Then, Sunday, it's the Steeler's first playoff game and I'm so excited to watch with friends. Fingers crossed we get a W!
Today's post is a hodgepodge of items I found on the web this week. It's a bit of warm-weather dreaming and a bit of 'I'm really cold and need all the layers'. I posted this post-workout snap to Instagram this week. I've been really good about getting in a daily workout lately, so I've been shopping for new workout pieces. This tee is something I got on major sale (just $33). There are still some in stock. I'm wearing a size small- it runs big/roomy, so you could definitely size down! 

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