Nowhere else in the country is individuality and creativity coveted and explored like it is in Los Angeles. We express ourselves through our wardrobes, our home decorations, the places we go, the food we eat and especially in the things we create. The city has a rich history of art and culture that dates back to the film production of the early 1900s and has evolved over the years to include street art, indie publishing and a vibrant fashion, arts and handmade crafts community. For those in search of vintage shopping in LA, there’s a lot to be discovered at LA’s flea markets.
The first few months of a puppies' life are filled with equal parts cuteness, sleeplessness and pain. Like most puppies, my dog Luna loved to nibble and bite when she was a puppy. But those puppy teeth are SHARP! We needed a way to stop our puppy from biting.
When we took her to training, they gave us a very effective four step technique that helped us train our puppy not to bite. Now, seven years later, my own friend has a puppy who loves biting. When I tried searching for an article to share with my friend on how we trained Luna to stop biting, I found nothing.
So, Rocko the Beagle, this one is for you and your mama.
If you're in the same boat and want to know how to get your puppy to stop biting, keep reading for my tips.
If there's one thing I'm best known for among family and friends, it's that I hate cleaning and I'm terrible at it. I get easily overwhelmed by messes and don't know where to start. Housekeeping is also not fun for me, though I love having a clean house and feel much more at peace when my home is organized.
When my son was a few months old and my husband and I felt like we were drowning, we took the plunge and hired a monthly housekeeper. Over the years, I've watched in awe as they turn my home from chaos to spotless tranquility in a matter of hours. It changed my life and I would recommend hiring professional help to anyone who can afford it. During times when I haven't had a full-time job and our family has had to cut out a few of our luxuries, like a housekeeper, I'm responsible for a big majority of the deep cleaning. I've picked up a few of the tricks that they use to increase efficiency and decrease the feelings of overwhelm that creep in when a home becomes messy.
Here are my housekeeping tips that I've learned from professional house deep cleaning services (who you should absolutely hire if it's feasible for your budget):
Happy New Year 2024! As we embark on another year, I have been reflecting on this past year, what I want to continue doing or do more of, what I want to stop doing, and what I might want to do differently. In 2024, I am prioritizing my physical, mental, social, emotional and financial wellbeing, making decisions that lower my stress and anxiety and bring me joy.
If you'd like to pursue more joy in 2024, join me in doing these 24 things:
According to Healthline, "Exercise is a top nonpharmaceutical ADHD treatment, as it can promote dopamine release, improve executive function, and alter BDNF signaling. In children with ADHD, it has been shown to improve attention and decrease aggression and impulsiveness."
The types of exercises that work best for people with ADHD require a fast pace and ever-changing stimuli. Many people with ADHD hate feeling like a hamster on a wheel and get bored very quickly. I've tried many different types of exercises and these are the ones I'd recommend as the best exercises for people with ADHD:
One year into the pandemic, in January 2021, my mental health was suffering. The pandemic had taken away my tried-and-true coping mechanisms and so much of what made me feel like myself.
I had lost a job that I was excited about, I hadn't seen friends in months, my usual methods of self-care and relaxation weren't available anymore. Then pile on three four-day weekends in quick succession with my kids during Thanksgiving and the holidays, with almost no time for myself and a method of birth control that wreaked havoc on my hormones....
I had turned into a person I didn't recognize: quick to anger, irritable, anxious, too exhausted to take care of myself. I didn't like who I had become.
It was in this season that my husband and I instituted Self Care Saturday (and weekly therapy) for me and Self Care Sunday for him. For the last two and a half years, we have protected these days ferociously. Almost every Saturday without fail, barring sickness, travel or a birthday party, my husband has taken our kids to his parents' house on Saturday morning from 9 am-ish to 2 pm-ish. On Sunday evening, it's my turn to take our kids to see my parents.
At first, I couldn't remember what I used to enjoy doing for fun and relaxation. Being alone and having time exclusively for myself had become so foreign to me. Who was I when I wasn't actively mothering, wife-ing, or working? What would I do when no one was demanding a single thing from me?
My self care days started slow: a shower, breakfast, TV and a nap. Some chores or errands that I had been putting off. Eventually I fell into a rhythm of asking myself every week what would make ME feel most cared for in these hours that I had. I developed a sort of self-care recipe that works for me and I thought I'd share it with you in honor of World Mental Health Day in case it gives you a few self care ideas too.
After watching my own kids spend hours coloring (and researching the benefits of coloring for adults), I decided to take the plunge myself.
According to the MayoClinic, "coloring is a healthy way to relieve stress. It calms the brain and helps your body relax. This can improve sleep and fatigue while decreasing body aches, heart rate, respiration, and feelings of depression and anxiety."
Some of my favorite photos are the ones I've taken in Paris so I thought I'd turn them into a coloring book for more people to enjoy.
\/ Click to Download Free Adult Coloring Pages \/
On December 6, 2021, I received an email in my inbox saying that I had been selected to purchase tickets for Adele's Las Vegas Residency, "Weekends with Adele." It was a long process which included submitting a profile to prove I was a "Verified Fan" and not a robot, winning a lottery to gain access to the Ticketmaster room in which I would have the opportunity to purchase a ticket IF THEY DIDN'T SELL OUT IMMEDIATELY.
Seeing Adele perform was on my 40 Before 40 Bucket List which I wrote on my 30th birthday, four years after Adele's previous album was released and she had no new music on the horizon. This was also before Adele damaged her vocal cords and announced she will take a break from singing. And in 2017, she said she will never tour again and had to cancel two of her shows due to a vocal cord injury. All of this to say, that if I wanted to hear Adele's voice live, it was now or probably never. I was determined to get tickets to this show because I do not live my life with regrets.
The original plan was for two of my girlfriends and I to go together. But when the time came for me to enter the Ticketmaster room and purchase the tickets, they were both at work and it was difficult to coordinate the logistics and all of the tickets got snatched up within minutes. I was disappointed and heartbroken that I might not have the opportunity to go to this concert. But I had the option of staying in the Ticketmaster room for an hour. After ten minutes, some tickets started popping back up for sale (probably from expired carts). Every time a ticket popped up, I clicked on it to try to purchase it, but it would be sold already. As the minutes ticked by, so did my hope. I had nothing to lose so I stayed in the room and kept trying my luck. By some act of god, with literally one minute left until the room closed and I got kicked out, a single ticket popped up and I purchased it without a second thought.
Happy New Year! This was hands-down the hardest year of my life but it taught me the truth of my own strength, the capacity of my patience and the depth of my love for my family.
This was also the year I finally started going to therapy weekly and realized recently that I had lost my joie de vivre. I had put aside many of my dreams in order to survive. It was almost like I was waiting for my life to happen to me, to become a “grown up” so I could do the things I've always wanted.
In 2022, I will reclaim my exuberant enjoyment of life--my joie de vivre--and to rediscover my passions and what makes me feel fulfilled. After all that’s happened in the past two years, isn't it an absolute privilege be alive right now?!
My 10 New Year Resolutions for 2022
In late June 2021, I received an email from the editor of People Health, a health-focused special edition of PEOPLE that's distributed in doctors' offices around the country, with a print run of 500,000 copies. He wanted to know if I would be interested in sharing my battle with shingles and be on the magazine's cover.
My initial thought was that this can't be real. I researched his email address to make sure it was from the Meredith Corporation (it checked out), reread his email a dozen times, talked it out with my husband who convinced me to take the plunge.
"When else will you get a chance to be on the cover of a magazine?" He made a point.
Over the course of a month and a half, I was interviewed, I scouted “shooting locations” around our home and outdoor spaces and sent photos back to the photo editor and shopped for outfits for our family. When I would have conversations about tasks with my husband, Steve, and say things like, “People magazine wants me to send over outfit options,” we would both giggle.
On the day of the photoshoot, a crew of five people set up around our house, front yard and backyard. There was the hair and makeup person, the photographer, her assistant, and two guys in charge of lighting. A huge breakfast that could feed an army was delivered to our home at 7 am and set up outside. I was glammed up, Steve was helped to “look like he had slept for 15 hours.” The photographer gave a Facetime tour of our property to the photo editor who was in New York.
There was a wind machine, dance music, the photographer telling me to jump and swing my arms and smile big with my chin down (which feels very unnatural to me). Every 15 minutes, my nose was powdered, lipstick reapplied, stray hairs tamed. It was all very surreal.
Any latent hopes I may have had about becoming a model were quickly dashed as I exclaimed, “Modeling is too hard! I feel silly and awkward and I’m doing a terrible job.” Needless to say, I was NOT a natural.
After 2 hours of taking pictures, during which time Luna was our most cooperative child, we ended the photoshoot with a water fight in the backyard and it was amazing. I finally felt comfortable and in my element.
I never could have expected something as painful and terrible as Ramsay-Hunt Syndrome to happen to me and at the time, I felt like I was passing through actual hell. But I also could never have anticipated what I received in return: a much greater appreciation for my health and my incredible support system, the value of rest and self-care and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to share my story and be featured in a national publication.
I had to cut out all of the magazine except for the pages with my story so the file would be small enough to post on this blog, but you can read it here: