K9 Fame

I am the proud owner and mom to a very famous dog.

Before winter break, I was following his story online through the shelter’s page. The shelter he was at teamed up with the local newspaper and news outlet to help find him a home for the holidays. This poor little guy had spent the last three years (yes, THREE YEARS) of living in his kennel at the Wallingford Animal Shelter, where he received the very best care a pup could ask for.

Domino was found roaming when he was about ten months old. He was neutered, was freshly groomed and wore a brand new collar.

So, why would a perfectly sweet puppy, like Domino stay living at the shelter for so long? Some might say that his breed carries a bad stigma. Some might say that he did not show well in the kennel inside the shelter. In fact, Domino was pretty excitable when anyone passed through the kennel—human or not. The Wallingford Animal Shelter’s ACOs recommended that because of his extended stay in the kennel, Domino be the only dog in his forever home. They also recommended that he live in a home without small children. So, finding him his perfect home became more difficult.

Flash forward to winter break two weeks ago. I went to go visit this sweet, little guy  at the shelter. He showed me that he was playful and spunky. Domino showed me that he wasn’t perfect, but he was willing to be loved. He also showed me that by flashing very sad eyes at me as I drove away and the following my car as far as the fence would let him that my heart was screaming for him.

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After returning my application for Domino, the shelter went ahead and scheduled a home visit for the very next day.

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By Thursday, I anxiously awaited Domino’s arrival on perhaps the rainiest of days. The Wallingford Animal Shelter made sure to give him a bath so that he was squeaky clean for his arrival. They packed him with some food, his Kong, handcrafted blanket and some treats.

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The rain–which I would ordinarily HATE being outside in—did not phase me in the least. I was so excited to see this little face come trotting through my door.

It was safe to say we were both smiling from ear to ear.

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Since that day, Domino and I have been building our routine together and finding the new normal. Though it has not always been easy, Domino repays me with extra snuggles and puppy kisses.

He is truly a sweet dog. I don’t know why no one adopted him before, but I am surely grateful that he was still there and could come home with me.

We are a match made in heaven!

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Follow Domino’s Journey!

I created a Facebook page to chronicle Domino’s Journey and transition home. To follow him, (along with his 1,400 other followers!!!) please search @DominosJourney2016. We post daily and hope to post more of Domino’s firsts as they happen. He is a special little guy, not only to me, but to the community who loved and supported him since he arrived at the shelter.

 

2016 Reflections

I have a lot to be grateful for this year. Now seems like an appropriate time to stop and reflect on the many things that I have been fortunate enough to receive or experience.

I entered 2016 with a vision and a plan to go back to school to get a second Master’s degree. Back to Quinnipiac I went, this time for a degree in Instructional Design. It is an online degree program through the university. All that is needed is ten courses, or thirty credit hours before it is done. I embarked on my educational journey. It hasn’t been peaches and cream, but with three semesters behind me, the finish line is within sight!

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Late this spring, between April and May I began actively searching for a first home. It became real when I scheduled a showing at a house that I regularly pass by to and from work. I loved it. There was something about it that I just loved. I could see myself there and I loved the land it sat on. Though on a main road, it was set back from the street. The backyard was equally large and I saw it as a pallet for me to add color to over time.

That dream became a reality and on July 27th I was signing my name what felt like 100 times on the mortgage papers. Over the next few months, the house transformed into my vision. It has been awesome seeing it evolve since the keys were first handed to me, and equally as exciting moving through the seasons with the house.

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This year, though exciting, did not come without its fair share of heartbreak. I had been in a relationship of a little more than two year, where I thought I was surely heading to the “alter” (I actually don’t foresee myself getting married in a church…I’m not religious at all). However, that vision became more distant as my plans for buying the house became more real. Our ideas and visions were not lining up anymore. He wanted his name on the house. I wanted our plans for a future to be more permanent than just a lick and a promise before I considered adding another name to the house.

I tried to make it work. He dug his heels in and resisted making any effort to mend the hurt and disrespect. He believed he did nothing wrong. He also believed that I was the one who changed. What he failed to remember what how very transparent I was throughout the entire process. Nevertheless, he disrespected me, my thoughts, my choices, and my family. I tried to make it work, but no matter what I did, he never came around and acknowledged the difference in the house—or the amount of labor that was invested into making it better. He stopped acknowledging my family and started to make attempts at turning me against them. He never even offered an apology. I felt like I was in a toxic relationship that was unlikely to detoxify and could not do it anymore.

Finding the new normal has been tricky. The thing I instantly felt was the void of spontaneous text banter back and forth as well as having that person to message throughout the day. Once past that, I was back on track. Sort of.

After spending an afternoon, $100 and some deep thought, I had a Match profile created. Let the winking begin. That is when I realized how much I hate being single and how much I value being with someone long term versus starting the same get-to-know-you conversation with a bunch of maybes or probably-nots.

Now we are in November/December and my time is devoted to getting ready for the holiday.

Looking back on this year, I learned that I am very driven and motivated. I learned that I can do anything I put my mind to. I learned that I am resilient and a positive attitude gets you further than a negative one. I learned that people will come and go, but the ones who come and stay through the thick and thin—those are the ones who deserve your time and energy.

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Wishing you all a most happy and joyous holiday season!

Jammin’ Wednesdays

It’s been a while since I posted one of these! I heard this little dilly when I returned to Zumba after battling back-to-back colds.

It was so good to be back and music to my ears (LOL) when I heard this little jingle on the dance floor. Christmas Zumba songs always find a place in my heart…and this one snatched me up and sent me to a far-away, warmer place!

Enjoy!

Fix #7

During the month of December, Stitch Fix is entering all those who schedule a fix this month for a chance to win a $5,000 Stitch Fix gift card. I received a fix just before Christmas and wanting a second chance to be entered to win, I scheduled a second fix this month.

I shared with Nicole how I was looking for a new winter jacket. I saw one on Pinterest that I absolutely loved and hoped she would be able to pin one down to send to me. I said how I already had pea coats in three different colors and didn’t really need another.

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One afternoon, I opened my email to find a notification from Stitch Fix saying that my fix was coming in three separate boxes! I could not believe it! THREE! They sent me the tracking information for each of them. I anxiously tracked them to my doorstep. Ahead of time, I told myself that I was not going to keep the entire fix. I wanted A new jacket.

The first outerwear garment Nicole sent me was a black with white polka dot Market & Spruce Anella Puffer Vest. I have been wanting a puffer vest and this one did not fall short of what I hoped one would be! It fit loosely, even zipped up. This would be perfect to wear over a layer for school. It is pretty light-weight. I could also wear this when the weather is warmer with a scarf and running out to do an errand.

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Next, she sent me the Mo-Ka Kielce Wide Collar Coat in brown. I was unsure of this piece when I pulled it out of the wrapping in the box. The texture was interesting for sure—it was a long-hair, fur. The colors were in patches. Nicole recommended the Mo-Ka coat as an easy-to-wear piece as I am running out of the door in the morning for work. When I tried it on, the part that I most liked was the wide collar. I am putting this coat aside for now while I review the others.

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Nicole included a short jacket for me to try. When I first tried on the Marc New York Holen Puffer Jacket, I was a bit miffed. The look of the jacket reminded me of a very glamorous, black garbage bag at first. It is definitely warm. The sleeves by the wrist and the inside pockets are fleece. I tried it on by itself at first, then dressed it up with my Tina Checkered Infinity Scarf by Octavia from Fix Number 1. I liked it so much better dressed up. I noticed that the zipper is off-center, giving it an edgier look. I might decide to keep this after all.

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Then I tried on a long coat—perfect for when the wind is quite blustery and the jacket is long enough to keep your legs warm, too! Nicole sent a beautiful Laundry by Shelli Segal Laufenberg Puffer Coat in dark grey. This coat reminded me of what I have seen women of New York wearing as they pass by on a busy city sidewalk. It has the perfect mix of the puffer coat with warm, black fur around the shoulders and in the chest. I felt border-line like a movie star wearing this jacket.

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The last one in the fix I was sure I would love—Nicole found the quilted puffer coat I mentioned in my style note! She sent me an Andrew Marc Risor Quilted Puffer Coat in Burgundy. It was everything I hoped it would be. First of all, it was not just your run of the mill puffer coat; it was a quilted puffer coat. I loved the look and the feel of the coat. The inside lining of the pockets were fleece and so warm, as were the cuffs near the wrists. I knew for sure I would be keeping this jacket–I loved it right out of the box!

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Now is the hardest part…which ones do I keep? Which ones get sent back?

I decided a post-Christmas brunch fashion show was in order to help me decide. After donning the five different winter coats, I left it to my critics to decide. I should also note that they were not helpful with narrowing the choice down to one coat!

Here is what I think I may do at checkout:

  • Market & Spruce Anella Puffer Vest $68 (KEEP)
  • Mo-Ka Keilce Wide Collar Coat $128 (UNDECIDED)
  • Marc New York Holen Puffer Jacket $118 (KEEP)
  • Laundry by Shelli Segal Laufenberg Puffer Coat $138 (UNDECIDED)
  • Andrew Marc Risor Quilted Puffer Coat $128 (KEEP)

Sign-Up for Stitch Fix!

Interested in signing up for Stitch Fix? Create your free style profile today! It takes about 15 minutes. You will need a credit card to leave on file with them for when you are ready to schedule your first fix. For $20, your personal stylist will review your style interests, notes and Pinterest board before making her personalized, handpicked selections shipped for free right to your door. There is no obligation to keep any of the items, although if you do, the $20 styling fee is deducted. Better yet, if you love all five pieces your stylist sent you, Stitch Fix will automatically take 25% off your order total. Shipping is free, as are the returns. I do receive credits to use towards future purchases if someone signs up using my referral link. Fellas, Stitch Fix is not just for women anymore. You can join in the fun, too!

 

Fix #6

 

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I caved. I held off as long as I could. I had a colleague tip me over the edge when she told me that every Fix during the month of December was automatically entered to win a $5,000 Stitch Fix gift card. I surely did not want to miss my chance at that! So, I bumped up my Christmas Fix to early this month.

Also, because I have already done a bunch of holiday shopping—many of which have been to me, from me’s, I decided right off the bat that whatever I got, I was not going to keep the entire fix. This can be challenging for me because I am usually easy to please and love most things right out of the box.

Nicole may have been a bit bogged down, as her message card to me was a bit shorter than it usually is. Totally understandable! I have found myself a bit short on a few occasions this month.

For this fix, what I requested and what I got seemed to be a bit different. I requested some great leisure pieces and a pair of comfortable shoes—something to kick back and relax in or run out to run an errand. What I got were some really nice business casual pieces! Not quite the same, but some really nice things to choose from.

First things first, at the top of the neatly folded and wrapped stack was a beautiful rose and blue plaid scarf–Look by M Rosarita Oblong Scarf. The fabric was so soft–definitely great for some of the arctic temperatures we’ll soon be getting. I tried to wear it, following the picto-gram directions and it seemed to be a bit bulky. I was really hoping to make it a scarf that I could wear during the day, rather than only for excursions outdoors. I tried it a few other ways before giving up. It did not seem to rest right around my neck.

Next, Nicole threw in a pair of black, Liverpool Harper Bootcut pants. The last Liverpool trousers I received I absolutely loved! And let me tell you, these I loved just as much, except I already have oodles of black pants. I considered keeping these and tossing or donating a couple of my other black pants. Instead, I remembered my promise not to keep everything and considered putting these pants in the potential return pile.

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Moving along, I selected the pop of color from the fix: a lovely tulip sleeved, red crepe blouse. The top was by Papermoon Bastilla Lasercut Tulip Sleeve Blouse. The fabric was so thin and the detailed cuts at the bottom, though beautiful, worried me. I dearly wanted something red, especially for the holiday. However, I worried that one trip through the laundry and the details in the blouse would tear and come out ruined. I loved the feel of this blouse on. It looked fabulous with the Liverpool Harper Bootcut pants.

Nicole also sent a great black and white striped, Skies are Blue Asa Ponte Blazer. The blazer fits perfectly, hitting me in just the right spot in the shoulders. The sleeves are also a perfect length for {some of} my smaller proportions. I particularly liked how there was not a button close; the blazer can stay open. I paired it with the red blouse and it looked amazing. I will be on the hunt for a red blouse after Christmas. All the stores will have great post-holiday sales, trying to clear their inventory for new spring arrivals.

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Lastly, the piece I was head-over-heels for out of the box! The RetroD Morrison Elbow Patch Pullover is an oatmeal colored sweater with brown elbow patches. I have been pinning wardrobe ideas like crazy. One thing that I cannot resist pinning is anything with elbow patches. I’m instantly drawn! This one has a scoop neck, and a high-low design. I love the higher front and lower back because it hides my derriere. Also, when paired with a pair of black pants, it looks ahh-mazing.

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So to recap, the items I received were:

  • Look by M Rosarita Oblong Scarf $38 (RETURN)
  • Liverpool Harper Bootcut Pants $88 (RETURN)
  • Skies are Blue Asa Ponte Blazer $78 (KEEP)
  • Papermoon Bastilla Lasercut Tulip Sleeve Blouse $44 (RETURN)
  • The RetroD Morrison Elbow Patch Pullover $64 (KEEP)

Total with discount: $214 (If I kept all 5 items)

My total: $132 (plus tax)

Sign-Up for Stitch Fix!

Interested in signing up for Stitch Fix? Create your free style profile today! It takes about 15 minutes. You will need a credit card to leave on file with them for when you are ready to schedule your first fix. For $20, your personal stylist will review your style interests, notes and Pinterest board before making her personalized, handpicked selections shipped for free right to your door. There is no obligation to keep any of the items, although if you do, the $20 styling fee is deducted. Better yet, if you love all five pieces your stylist sent you, Stitch Fix will automatically take 25% off your order total. Shipping is free, as are the returns. I do receive credits to use towards future purchases if someone signs up using my referral link. Fellas, Stitch Fix is not just for women anymore. You can join in the fun, too!

 

My Tuesday Night Love

For a small population who know me, you might be thinking this post is going to be all about bowling–which also happens to be on Tuesday nights! I am in a bowling league with colleagues from the district.

Though I do love me the unique smell of a freshly waxed alley and the sounds of pins erupting after the ball strikes them swiftly, there is a new Tuesday night love.

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NBC’s show, This Is Us, is a wonderful narrative of a family of whom you watch grow from the very start and see how they’ve grown up as the show flickers between past and present to tell the story its audience craves.

There’s something novel, yet very relatable about this show–similar to that of the beloved Parenthood series. (Parenthood unfortunately ended after several seasons, but it portrays another family with whom you instantly form a bond.)

I finally caught up on all the episodes to learn that there was a mid-season finale. GAHH! What a way for the finale to end! I am surely looking forward to growing with this amazing cast of characters to see where they take us upon their return January 10!

Fix #5

We are taking a ride back in time. I got Fix #5 just in time for my 29th birthday this year–which, just so happened to fall on the same night as Open House this year. Just to be clear, it was my birthday first, Open House at school second!

Nicole was pleasantly surprised to see me back on the Fix List and excitedly styled my Birthday Box with some great pieces to possibly wear to Open House or wear out for birthday festivities. I had previously taken an extended break because I bought a house and wanted to be sure that I could swing all the bills solo!

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The first pair of goodies were nestled right on top! A pair of black and grey Tahari Palace Wedge shoes immediately caught my eye. The black and grey were two separate textures; grey suede in the toe and black leather in the wedge heel. They were to die for! There was only one problem—we were getting an Indian Summer here in Connecticut and my feet were sweating and making it impossible for me to grip the shoe without feeling like I was conjuring up one of the worst blisters of my life. These Tahari Palace Wedges grew on me over time and in cooler weather. They go perfectly with jeans and dress pants.

Next, I instantly paired the Market & Spruce Evella Boatneck Top with the Liverpool Philip Straight Leg Trouser. I loved these two together right off the bat. The Market & Spruce Evella Boatneck Top is striped (insta-LOVE) and gives off the appearance that there is a shirt underneath. The faux shirt is a soft light blue color. I paired it with the very trendy maroon Liverpool Philip Straight Leg Trouser because the blue of the shirt contrasted amazingly against the maroon. Also–insta-LOVE. I deemed both of these keepers right out of the box!

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Nicole also sent me a black, short sleeve Collective Concepts Ryleigh Pintuck Detailed Silk Blouse. There are some subtle details in the shoulder of the blouse that give it a bit more than the standard black blouse. For the time, it was the perfect weight for some of these warmer days. It is also perfect for layering. The Ryleigh Pintucked Detailed Silk Blouse would make a great base if layering a cute cardigan over it.

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Lastly, Nicole added in a Brixon Ivy Lawley Cable Knit Open Cardigan in heather grey. Maybe it was the thought of a sweater on a late summer 80 degree day, but I could not rationalize keeping this. I generally would love a grey cardigan. It is neutral and the feel of it was so soft and cozy. This could have made for the perfect top layer on a cooler evening. Unsure if I would keep it, I gave it a chance and tried it on. Still, I was not swooned by the way it fell on me. So, at the time, I am left wondering what I should do. Should I send this one item back? Or will it cost me more to send it back and keep the others?

This debate happens often. I will often get five items and love 3 or 4 of them, but like one or two a bit less. I usually calculate how much it would cost me to keep just the ones I love compared to everything. Here’s how this Fix worked out.

  • Brixon Ivy Lawley Cable Knit Open Cardigan $68 (KEEP, but sold on a Facebook Stitch Fix board..in less than 3 minutes)
  • Collective Concepts Ryleigh Pintuck Detailed Silk Blouse $78 (KEEP)
  • Market & Spruce Evella Boatneck Top $64 (KEEP)
  • Tahari Palace Wedge $89 (KEEP, tried to sell on a board unsuccessfully)
  • Liverpool Philip Straight Leg Trouser $98 (KEEP)

Subtotal: $397.00

Buy 5 Discount: -$99.25

Styling Fee Credit: -$20.00

Grand Total (with tax): $296.66

Sign-Up for Stitch Fix!

Interested in signing up for Stitch Fix? Create your free style profile today! It takes about 15 minutes. You will need a credit card to leave on file with them for when you are ready to schedule your first fix. For $20, your personal stylist will review your style interests, notes and Pinterest board before making her personalized, handpicked selections shipped for free right to your door. There is no obligation to keep any of the items, although if you do, the $20 styling fee is deducted. Better yet, if you love all five pieces your stylist sent you, Stitch Fix will automatically take 25% off your order total. Shipping is free, as are the returns. I do receive credits to use towards future purchases if someone signs up using my referral link. Fellas, Stitch Fix is not just for women anymore. You can join in the fun, too!