Monday, April 30, 2012

Happy Birthday, Abby!

Sunday was my sweet friend, Abby's 25th birthday! It was really fun getting to celebrate with everyone. I thought I would include a few pictures from the birthday party in a little blog post today! I'm so blessed to have such amazing friends like Abby and her sisters in my life! :)

All of the girls on Abby's birthday!
(Susanna, Me, Abby, & Elizabeth)
Me & Elizabeth
 Abby opening up one of her cards!
 Susanna and I!
Me & Abby on her birthday!
Elizabeth, Me, Abby, and Susanna
 Happy Birthday, Abby!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Saturday Musings...

It's been a really tough week. It's still hard to believe that I don't have my Macy dog with me anymore; I had grown so attached to her! I will always cherish the precious paw prints she left on my heart. Macy was like my little shadow, following me everywhere that I went and always greeting me with a happy tail and a kiss. It's so weird not having her around; there's definitely a bit of a void in my house now. I'm planning to make a memory shadow box this week with her dog collar, adoption papers, and some pictures, as a little tribute to my girl. I will post a picture once I make it; I'm planning to hang it up in the pet room next to her Obedience certificates. 

My other pets have been grieving for Macy as well. All of them have been moping around the house and visiting the spots Macy used to lay on, and the toys she used to play with. I guess all of us have had a tough week; we all lost our sweet best friend. I've been trying to spend more time with my other dogs, Ranger and Mykelti and showering them with lots of attention. We've been going on even more trips to the pet stores, more car rides, more training, more trips to the park,etc. (Things we already do everyday; I just increased it to try and distract them a bit). Hopefully, they'll perk up soon. We all grieve in different ways and it will just take time. One of my friends brought her dog over yesterday, and both of my Aussies just lit up to have another friend over for a visit. It was the first time I've seen them really play and have fun since our Macy passed away. I've been going back and forth on if I'll bring home another dog, but after watching their reaction; I may just give it another thought. (I will be starting an online course soon for Polysonograpy, and will have several months of online work do do before I start clinicals. So, if I were to add another dog to my home, now would actually be a good time because it would allow me several months of being home to really train and housebreak.) If I found the right dog that was a perfect fit for my home, a great match for therapy work, the right temperament, and so on, I would consider potentially fostering one for a while and seeing how it gets along with my pups.That being said, I'm in no rush or time frame though. If the right dog happens to come along soon, awesome! If not, I'm completely content with that as well. My first priority belongs to the dogs I already own. Anyone else that comes into our lives and adds to our joy would just be a welcome new addition if that worked out. 

Last night my friend and I went to the Humane Society's adoption event to look at some of the dogs there. (I adopted Macy from the Humane Society). I checked out every dog in every single kennel, but just didn't feel that any of them were a good match. Today, they're having a few other groups join them at their adoption event. One group in particular has a dog that I'm interested in, so I might go check her out and see how it goes.(Female Great Dane.  I fostered one several years back, so I am familiar with the needs/requirements and already know that I really loved that breed.). If I wind up fostering and eventually adopting; I'll be sure to post about it. If not, you lovely readers will still continue to receive lots of fun updates and pictures of my other furbabies! 

(If' you've read the entire way through all of my musings today, you deserve a cookie!)

Friday, April 27, 2012

DIY Ice Cucumber Pads (bye bye puffy eyes)

I thought this video was really helpful! It has great tips for making your own DIY cucumber pads for your eyes! :)

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Hey Governor Haslam: Go Screw Yourself!!!

This morning I woke up to a lovely email from Amazon, notifying me that due to a law that the state of TN added recently, all Tennessee residents will now have to pay back taxes on their Amazon orders they've placed this year. Even though the bill doesn't go in effect until 2014, they are charging everyone for anything they ordered this year that didn't have taxes on the website with it. WTF?! Our taxes are already sky-high; this is ridiculous! I don't know about you guys, but one of the primary reasons that I even shop on Amazon and do business on their website is because they make things so affordable for those on a budget! I am so ticked off right now..

Who can we thank for this little gem of a bill??? Tennessee Asshole Governor Bill Haslam! As far as I'm concerned, he can take that bill and shove it where the sun doesn't shine! I'll give you two guesses on who will NEVER get my vote! If you're as outraged about this as I am, do what I'm doing and call, email, and snail mail his office about your disgust over this new bill: Contact Here. In my views, the state government really overstepped their boundaries and should have NO control over what I buy online through a website like Amazon when they already charge such high sales taxes as it is!(Of course, as long as nobody is ordering anything illegal). They should not punish me and others for  doing business online! 

My email from Amazon this morning:

You may owe use tax on purchases you made from LLC during the previous calendar year. The amount of tax you may owe is based on the total sales price of the items you purchased during the calendar year unless an exemption exists under state law or you have already paid the tax. A sale is not exempt under state law because it is made through the Internet. The total sales price of purchases you had shipped to Tennessee in 2011 was $56.12. This is the amount that you may include on your Tennessee use tax return to calculate the appropriate use tax owed unless you have already paid the tax.

As purchases from LLC can be made through various sales channels, we have included directly below your breakdown of purchases from the various channels.

Total sales from Amazon:  $56.12 (I had to take out the links from this since they were linked to my account)

In addition, the state of Tennessee requires us to provide you with the following link that you can use to get more information and pay any taxes due:

Use Tax Page: (I had to take out the link since it was directly linked to my information)
Please note the following:

• While LLC does not report this information directly to the state of Tennessee we are required to provide this information to you based on Tennessee Code T.C.A. § 67-6-5 (f)(3) signed into law March 23, 2012.
• This notification has been sent to all customers that had purchases delivered to Tennessee. If you are not a resident of Tennessee, the most common reason for receiving this notification is that you may have sent a gift to a recipient in the state.

For more information you may also view our Tennessee Use Tax Notification Page at:
(I removed the link because it was directly linked to my amazon account)

Customer Service"

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Rest Peacefully, Macy. My sweet dog went to Heaven yesterday...

Yesterday morning (4-24-12) around 10:00am, I held my beloved dog Macy as she took her last breath. I am absolutely devastated and torn up over the loss of my sweet girl. She was such an amazing, loyal friend to me. I will always cherish the time I had with her. 

When I adopted her, I went in looking for a healthy dog suitable for therapy work, and instead came out of the shelter with sweet Macy (A hospice dog). I fell in love with her from the moment I met her, knew that my home would be perfect for her. We really had a special bond because we both had heart issues. (I adopted her 2 weeks after my heart procedure in Aug 2010). Her vets/specialists at the shelter, and the ones I took her to diagnosed her with 5/6 heart murmur,Patent Ductus Arteriosus, Subaortic Stenosis, Pulmonic Stenosis, Pulmonary Edema, & Cardiomegaly. Surgery wasn't an option; she wouldn't survive anesthesia. Even if she could, if they fixed one problem, they would worsened others. Medicine gave her little relief, so over the past few months, her specialists pulled her off of the meds and told me just to keep her happy and comfortable; that she would let me know when it was her time. I knew that it would happen eventually and that saying goodbye was just really caught me off guard and was completely heartbreaking to watch, knowing that there was nothing I could do to save her. Most pups with complications like Macy had don't survive birth, so having her as long as I did was really a blessing. Macy made my life better with her sweet, gentle spirit. She played "momma" to Mykelti (therapy-dog-in-training) and she was a loyal companion to Ranger (registered therapy dog). Macy herself would have been an incredible therapy dog had she been healthy enough for it. Instead, she had the great honor of helping me train other dogs and prep them. I know that my Aussies wouldn't be quite as incredible as they are today in their therapy work/training, were it not for Macy's positive influence. My three cats adored her as well. Macy was so gentle and kind with every single creature and person she met. She was the most fantastic ambassador for the Pit Bull (x) breed that a handler could hope for! I feel so blessed that I got to call her my dog! 

My guess is that all of her heart conditions just got the best of her today and were too much for her to handle any longer. (She was laying in the floor by me when it happened). I knew her time was limited when I adopted her, but it still didn't change how much I loved her. Macy was an incredible dog! rbheart.gif

~Yesterday was a really tough day all the way around. After my dad and I took Macy to the Humane Society (they couldn't have been sweeter or more kind about everything!) He took me out to get a little lunch. When we went to get our food, I tried to put on a straight face and keep my composure. (I had clearly been crying before I went into the restaurant). The lady behind the counter remarked to me, "You look like you just lost your best friend, hon!". Well, that just set me off... I started crying in the middle of the restaurant and told her "I did lose my best friend! My dog died this morning..." (My dad was so sweet! At that point, he ushered me off to go to the ladies room so I could collect myself, while he placed our order. So glad he was there yesterday to help!) 

After that, my sweet mom took me to my cardiologist appointment.(Although I really wanted to cancel, my insurance runs out soon, so I had to keep it.) I guess God was REALLY testing my patience yesterday! I wound up waiting for over 3 hours...despite their office being slow and not having hardly any patients! Once my doctor finally came in the room, he noticed that I was upset. (I had been crying most of the time that I had waited in the doctors office. I've gone to my cardiologist for years, and see him on a regular basis. So, he knows I'm typically an upbeat, happy person). I told him about Macy passing away and her heart issues after he asked what was wrong .Bless his heart, he then tried to explain to me what likely happened to her and specifically why she passed away from a cardiology stand point! Lord knows that he meant well and was only trying to help, but I really could have skipped that lesson in heart 101 yesterday...

Thankfully, last night two of my sweet girlfriends Abby and Susanna "came to the rescue" and whisked me off to dinner! They were so sweet and greeted me with flowers, a sweet card, chocolate, and Kleenex to make me feel better. I am so thankful for such amazing friends! They knew how much my sweet Macy meant to me; it really helped to get out of the house for a little bit and to spend time with my girlfriends.

*To all of my friends, readers, and family who have called, commented on my other pages, or left me a message: Thank you.  It really does mean a lot to me to have that kind of kindness shown towards me in the midst of grieving over my sweet pup. I know that to some people, they just view the loss of an animal minuscule. To the ones who know me well though, you all know that my pets ARE my family. They are with me for every single high and low, every time I go to bed and wake up, every heartache, and every single milestone. From a daily standpoint, they are often all I have. So, it is a tremendous loss for me to lose one of my beloved pets so suddenly. I will really miss my sweet Macy! 

A few pictures of my girl:

Macy in her party hat
My beautiful girl on a walk
My sweet girl with her goodies on her first "Gotcha Day" 
Macy loved car rides!
The day that I adopted her
Her first day at home with Ranger and me; look at that smile! She was happy to have a home, and he was happy to have a friend! They were best friends.
Macy was so intelligent! She passed Beginner, Intermediate, and Advanced Obedience classes. During her last Obedience class, she won the toy in the picture with her for earning the highest points!
They all got along so well! My Aussies and I will really miss our sweet girl!
I'm going to miss her huge ears! So cute!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

10 Things Tuesday!

I haven't done one of these in a while, so I thought it'd be fun to do a 10 Randoms Things, Tuesday! So, in no particular order:

1. Did you know that Curad makes animal-print band-aids? Well, they do.They are super cute too! I'm wearing a Zebra one on my arm right now.

2. I've recently become quite obsessed with Roasted Red Pepper Hummus. It's so delicious! (If you eat it with whole grain crackers or pita bread, it makes a great alternative to chips and dip!)

3. This week the shelf in my laundry room that I use to store my boxed goods on completely collapsed. (Even though I hadn't added any extra weight to it) Ergo, I have no storage, and all of those boxes are now sitting on top of my dryer until my dad helps me re-anchor the shelf to the wall again. (I love my house, but one of my complaints about living here is that there is absolutely NO food storage anywhere...none! When I moved in, I tried to remedy the situation by added a small black book shelf beside my refrigerator to store canned goods on, a little metal shelf in the laundry room for extra items, and a long white shelf above that for boxed goods. My little storage system has worked quite well up until this week's fail! :/

4. Did you know that Target has an entire section on their website devoted to coupons that you can print off for free? We're talking about hundreds of dollars worth of coupons on there! I just discovered this yesterday while I was planning my shopping list. They have coupons that cover everything from household items like trash bags, to cosmetics and groceries! (If you're one of my readers that has children, they also have coupons for pacifiers, diapers, formula, and things of that nature). Yesterday, I made up my shopping list and was able to print quite a few coupons to go along with it for my upcoming trip to the store! They even have coupons for the Target brand items, clothing, and accessories! Yay!

5. The lawn care people are coming out to cut my grass today! Yay, It needs it! This is also reminding me that my poor "patio area" needs a little TLC in the flower department! I'll have to check out the sales at the local nurseries this week and see if I can find anything inexpensive to get a little creative with. I'm thinking of making two trellises with a wooden log planter in between (for sheet plants) and having two hanging baskets above the plant log, in-between the two trellises! Make sense? It looks great in my mind; I just need to make that happen somehow...

6. Last night I was so tired that I went to bed around 8:30pm...not even joking! That translated into me waking up wired at 2:30am this morning lol...

7. I go back to my cardiologist today. Let's hope I get some good news!

8. Allure is putting their Annual Summer Beauty Box on sale today at 12:01pm EDT(Eastern Daylight Time)! Go check it out!!! (If you're a local friend, that means you need to be on their website a little bit before 11am! I would REALLY recommend that you go ahead and register early (account information,etc) so that you're ready to go once the clock hits time and you get a box before they sell out! They WILL sell out quickly!). If you're not familiar with the Allure Summer Beauty Box, you get over $250 worth of makeup, hair care, & skin care products for only $39.99. (Brands include: Neutrogena, Orly, Oscar Blandi, Pantene, Pureology, Redkin, Tantowel, Fekkai, Gillette, Jergins, John Frieda, MISS, Aloxxi Colourcare, Biore, Burt's Bees, Cerave, Cetaphil, Clean & Clear, and Dr. Lewinn bt Kinerase. That's a TON of stuff my friends!!!). You can order your box by googling: Allure Access
summer beauty box

9. I need to go shopping: I'm running out of food, household things, and pet food/cat litter. I think a trip to Target, Kroger, and Hollywood Feed is in order!

10. Ranger has been so clingy today! He's such a little snuggle monster sometimes! :)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Company Reviews: Don't forget to leave positive reviews too!

Have you ever visited a business and have been so upset with the customer service, a meal, a bad product,etc that you called and complained to the company? I'm sure a lot of you have at some point. After all, we want to have positive, good experiences when we use our money to do business with a particular place. We want others to treat us how we would like to be treated and such, right? 

Well, time to flip the coin! Have you ever visited a business and have been so impressed with the customer service, products,etc that you called and given a positive review to the company? Maybe you have, maybe you haven't.Today, I want to encourage you to remember to give positive feedback and reviews too, not just negative ones! It only takes a few moments out of your day, and I feel that it can really help keep businesses, staff, and such accountable and positive when they know they're doing a great job! It's so important for companies and businesses to "get it right" when it comes to treating customers with respect and offering good quality products, etc. I feel strongly that when a business and their staff go out of their way to show kindness, an excellent work ethic, and offer great products, that I should let them know that it is noticed and appreciated! 

In the past week, I've filled out/called on two different surveys for entirely different businesses (BarkBox and Dunkin Donuts) because I was so impressed with the quality and service behind both. I'm definitely the type of person to call or go online and do surveys and leave good feedback if I'm happy with a place I visit. I find that when you take the time to do so, most companies are pleased to hear when their businesses did a great job. So many times, people can only be bothered to pick up the phone or write an email if they experience something negative and get upset. Why not take the time to leave positive feedback when companies leave you with a positive experience too?! It helps reinforce to them that great service is still important and people do notice great service! So my lovelies, I encourage you this week to take notice of not just the negatives, but also the great experiences you may have when you go out and do businesses at different places in your day to day life. If someone goes out of their way to offer you a kind word or to make sure you're satisfied with a particular product, meal,etc, give them a positive review and pay it forward! It only takes a few minutes of your time, and I definitely feel like that sort of kindness should be acknowledged more in the world we live in! 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

BarkBox Review! (April 2012)

After reading the title to today's blog post, you're probably wondering,"what on earth is a BarkBox?" Well, you're in luck! Ranger, Macy, and Mykelti  made a short video that I've linked below with all sorts of information about this fantastic subscription service for dogs! Our first box was a huge hit with my dogs. We are really looking forward to next month's box!

Use coupon code: LYGRE005 and you will receive $5 off of your first box! Great deal!

~BarkBox is a monthly subscription service for your dog that sends out deluxe samples and some full-sized of products for you and your pet to try out. (It is like the canine version of beauty subscription services such as BirchBox and EcoEmi.) Very neat idea! 10% of proceeds from each order go to support shelters and rescues. One of the things that I REALLY appreciate about the companies they use in their boxes, is that most of them are made in the USA and offer healthy, natural options when it comes to treats and things of that nature. In addition to treats and chews, their boxes also include lifestyle products such as collars, dog treat trays, shampoos/ wipes, toys, pick up bags, and things of that nature. One neat thing about this company, is that they give you a survey to fill out when you register so that you can pick an appropriately sized box for your dogs. All boxes are the same price; prices are listed on their website and vary depending on how many months you choose to order. (So, a small Chihuahua will receive different treats/toys than say, a Great Dane!) For our first box, I chose the "Just Right" (20-50lbs) option for my medium-sized dogs. There are also options for "Small and Cute" (0-20lbs) and "Big and Bold" (50lbs and up). In hindsight, I should have ordered the "Big and Bold" box since I was sharing one box in between my three dogs. Live and learn! (:

One thing that I found really helpful about their website is that they offer a live "chat" option if you need to speak with one of the customer service reps. I was able to click the "chat" button today on their website and speak with one of the sweet customer service reps. She was very kind and changed our order so that next month they'll receive the"Big and Bold" box! Their customer service is extremely fast and friendly; that's something I always look for in any kind of business or company that I interact with. I would highly recommend this company to all of you dog owners out there!  

(I absolutely love the BarkBox company, and so do my dogs! My only suggestion to improve their company, would be to offer a box option for people who have multi-dog households!)

Want to check out BarkBox and learn more? 
~If you're interested in ordering a BarkBox for your pup, be sure to use the coupon code: LYGRE005  to receive $5 off of your first order! 

Check out the videos below!

(Be sure to pause the music in the right side bar before you press play!) 

Want to know more about BarkBox? This video has a more detailed review! 

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Southern Terms of Endearment

I'm not gonna lie, I use a lot of these and even some that weren't listed! 

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Thursday's Music Pick: Emeli Sande "Next To Me"

Today I thought I would share one of my favorite new artists with all of you, Emeli Sande. I've been following her music for a while now, and was so excited to see her make an appearance on the Conan show tonight! She has an incredibly gorgeous voice that will absolutely haunt you. The thing I really appreciate about her is her ability to breathe life into each song she belts out. You can really feel genuine emotion behind each song that she sings. She reminds me of an mixture of India Arie's type of soul/guttural songstress, but with an Alison Krauss type haunting to her voice. Emeli Sande is a unique and gorgeous musician. Go check her music out now!!!

(Be sure to pause the music in the right side bar before you press, "play")

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Ranger and his doggy couch!

Ranger loves his little doggy couch! It's his favorite place to chew on his toys, read his doggy paper, unwind after therapy visits, and get naps in! This little Costco gem is probably one of the best things I've ever purchased as a dog owner; it was inexpensive and has really held up well!

When Ranger was 23 weeks old, I found a cute little doggy couch at Costco and brought it home for him; he loved it! Nearly 2 years later, it's still his favorite spot! 
Ranger and his newspaper...
He loves to take his toys over to his couch and play.
How is this comfortable?
Such a goof!
Not a care in the world....
 Being a dog is tough...

 He sticks his tongue out when he sleeps lol...(This one was taken on my couch, not his; although, he thinks both are his!)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Tasty Tuesday:Lydia's Strawberry Banana Blast Smoothie Recipe

Today I thought it would be fun to share one of my favorite drink recipes with all of you! The following is my favorite strawberry-banana smoothie recipe. I drink smoothies about as often as most people drink coffee in the morning! I LOVE fresh fruit smoothies! You can pretty much try any combination of fruit and juices in them and wind up with a fantastic combination each time. Feel free to get creative! (You can also add in veggies to yours as well if you want to increase the amount of vegetables you're getting into your diet! Spinach is a great one to add, especially if you're making a blueberry smoothie!)

(For added fun, serve in a margarita glass with a cute umbrella or stir stick!)

Lydia's Strawberry- Banana Blast Smoothie:

-1 TBSP Fat Free Cool Whip (If you want a richer texture, natural vanilla ice cream tastes great! I use Bryer's Lactose Free Natural Vanilla sometimes)
-1 tsp honey (If you're out of honey, you can add a pinch of sugar instead)
-2 cups strawberries (frozen or fresh) (You can always add in other fruit too: peaches, pineapple, mango, blueberry, lime, etc!)
-2 bananas
-1/2 cup ice water (You can substitute milk, orange juice, coconut milk or coconut water, pineapple or apple juice instead!) 
-1 cup ice

Monday, April 16, 2012

Magazine Monday: My top 10 picks!

I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite magazines with you all today! I typically gravitate to magazines that pertain to beauty/health, recipes, advice, decorating, animals, and things of that nature just to give you an idea. Here are a list of my top 10 picks:

1. Cosmopolitan: I have collected this magazine since I was 17. If you can get past the racy cover, there are actually some really great articles in each issue! This magazine covers everything from intimacy, career, dating, and  family advice, work out tips, safety, hosting, beauty, health, and even terrific recipes and decorating ideas! Nearly a decade later, it's still my favorite! 

2. Red Book: I've subscribed off and on to Redbook for a few years (I got it free one year as an offer with my Cosmopolitan subscription in the past. It's a great magazine with lots of fantastic home keeping, hosting, decorating, and beauty tips. I also find it gives good suggestions on how to dress for your body type/etc! Although there are lots of fantastic articles and I really do enjoy reading Redbook, I do find that its a bit more geared towards women with families. So since I'm a single lady, some of the articles aren't really relevant to me.

3. Oprah: I absolutely live Oprah magazine! About two years ago, they were running a special, so I got 12 subscriptions for only $5; that's a great deal! I find that Oprah magazine offers a good variety of topics. It covers beauty and household tips/shopping guides, recipes, inspirational articles, pet information, and life tips!

4. Glamour: I received a subscription to both Glamour and Allure magazines through a special that my local Ulta was running. I find both magazines to be fun reads! They are very similar to one another and primarily cover: Beauty, skincare/makeup, fitness, romance, clothing, health tips for women, and things of that nature. I enjoy reading both and find the beauty related articles to be my favorite! (If you enjoy reading Cosmopolitan, you might enjoy reading Allure and Glamour!)

5. Allure: (See Above!) I find Allure and Glamour to be VERY similar. The only difference I would really say is that I gravitate more towards Allure because they often offer less pricey suggestions when it comes to buying makeup and clothing than Glamour does. Glamour has more lifestyle articles / higher end shopping guides; Allure is more beauty/product driven and offers budget friendly suggestions.

6. Australian Shepherd Magazine: I love this magazine because it has great breed-specific tips and ideas that pertain to my pups! The only complaint that I have is that it's only released a few times a year! Booo!!!

7. Interactions (Delta Society/Pet Partners): Interactions is a magazine geared specifically towards pet therapy. There are lots of beneficial articles, training/visiting tips and such in it! As a therapy dog handler, I find it to be a very, very helpful magazine!

8. The New York Times: My cousin got me hooked on it! It's not something that I would have typically gravitated towards in the past, but after my cousin gave me a one year subscription a while back, I found myself really enjoying the topics and ideas covered in the weekly print! Not only does it offer fantastic ideas, view points, and a wide range of topics, it also has fantastic illustrations and cartoons that I enjoy as well!

9. Better Homes and Gardens: I had a subscription to BH&G several years ago that came free on the print off coupons I got with my receipt from shopping at Kroger. (Don't throw those babies away people, actually look at them once in a while; sometimes they have awesome offers and free things!) I really enjoyed the home decorating tips and gardening ideas in that magazine. I will definitely subscribe again in the future if I find a great special!

10. Real Simple: This is my absolute favorite home/organizational magazine, hands down! The tips and suggestions found in this little gem are fantastic! Many of the ideas teach you how to re purpose and organize things that you already have and wind up saving you money while helping your home look its best! My ONLY complaint about this magazine is that it can be a bit on the pricey end of the spectrum. I plan to subscribe once I find a reasonable deal! 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday Musings

1. I'm running on 0 hours of sleep and I am about to crash....I NEED A NAP! (I couldn't sleep at all last night, so I'm paying for it today! A nap is definitely in order within the next few minutes!)

2. I spent all afternoon today at the Agility trials. It was so fun! I got to run leashes and help at the ring gate. Some of my friends run their dogs today, so it was fun to watch and cheer everyone on!  It was a great way to spend a Saturday. I can't wait until Ranger is feeling better and I can compete him! We have another fun filled day of Agility trials again tomorrow!

3. The last time I was  MAC (several months ago) , my favorite salesperson gave me a free sample of the Zoom Lash Mascara. I tried it out today for the first time....HOLY COW! It's amazing! I will definitely buy a full size tube sometime in the future; I was very impressed with the quality. I spent all day outside, and my mascara still looks incredible! Ladies, go ask for a sample and try it; you will love it! I didn't think MAC would be able to top their False Lash Mascara (my favorite from their line), but they have gone above and beyond with the Zoom Lash; it gives the most full, gorgeous look to your lashes! 

4. "Brighter Than The Sun" - Colbie Callait is the song stuck in my head at the moment.

5. I introduced my friend to Coconut + Pineapple Water today; I have officially converted another person to its awesomeness! Yay! 

....And now, I'm off to take a nap! Have a great day, my lovelies!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Red Hot Chili Peppers and Santigold Concert! So excited!!!

I'm so excited today that I can hardly contain it! Tonight, my best friend Renae and I are going to see the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Santigold play! We've been waiting for this for months; we are both die-hard RHCP fans!!! We got our tickets all the way back on December 3rd when they went on sale! The concert was supposed to happen back in February, but the lead singer for RHCP, Anthony Kiedis, hurt his leg pretty badly, so the concert got postponed until April. I'm glad he's finally feeling better now and that the show is happening tonight! Woo hoo!

(One of their newest songs! "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie". (Be sure to pause the music in the right side bar before you press "play"!)

(Our tickets! So excited!)

(If you've never checked out Santigold before, go do that now! She's awesome! She's got a bit of a lower range Rihanna sound to her, mixed in with some Rock! Love her!)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

(original) Man In Nursing Home Reacts To Hearing Music From His Era

This is such a beautiful story, I had to share it with all of you! It really just goes to show how much of a positive impact music can play in the lives of others. When my therapy dog Ranger and I worked with our old therapy group, we used to visit a wonderful adult daycare that specialized in Alzheimer's/Dementia patient care. (Once Ranger is feeling better and off of medical leave, we will be visiting in similar facilities with our new therapy group, so we are looking forward to that!). Every time I brought Ranger in for a visit, I would see expressionless, unresponsive clients start to liven up, interact, and recall fond memories of the dogs that they used to own. Those simple interactions made such a huge impact! Henry's story below shows  how music can have a similar, incredible impact! His story really made me smile when I saw it; I hope it puts a smile on your face too! 

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Tuesday Funny: "I Watch Way Too Many Episodes of "Criminal Minds" To Continue This Conversation!"

A little while ago, a salesman from a local alarm company rang my doorbell. At the time, I was taking a late nap. I hopped out of bed, left the Aussies in my bedroom, grabbed Macy, and went to check things out. I was expecting a package that I needed to sign for from the post office, so with Macy the Pit Bull sitting politely by my side, I answered the door thinking it would be a mailman. 

Now, there is a method to my madness: Although Macy is a complete sweetheart and in reality, she would lick a person to death before ever even thinking of being aggressive,  many people see that she is a Pit Bull x and think that Macy LOOKS mean. If someone is a stranger to my home that I've never met and don't trust, I don't want them to know otherwise that she wouldn't harm so much as a fly. I want them to think, "Oh, that dog might get me if I try to mess with her owner; I better act right!". So, although I encourage Macy to visit with others and show her sweet side while we are away from home at places like pet stores and parks, my home is a different story since I live alone! She is trained to sit properly at my side anytime I answer the door (Actually, all three of them are trained that way, I usually just grab Macy though since she based on appearance only, she looks more threatening to a potential criminal than fluffy Aussies do.) For those of you wondering at this point why I didn't use a peep hole to see who was at my door: the entry doors on my home are reinforced steel, so they do not have peep holes. Hence, why I only answer the door with a dog sitting by my side!

When I opened the door I was expecting a postal worker. Instead, there was a hot sales guy standing outside of my door...A REALLY HOT SALES GUY! My first thought was, "Damn it, I have bed hair, and no makeup on!" My next thought was, "Oh crap, last nights re-run of "Criminal Minds" was about a door to door salesman that killed people....CRAP! Hot sales guy is probably going to kill me!" 

While all of this is going through my mind, hot sales guy starts giving me his best sales pitch about security alarms and his company. All I could think about was 1.) Hot sales guy is really, really hot! 2.) Hot sales guy is probably a serial killer! While he continued his sales speech, I was trying to observe him and his body language (He had on a work uniform, ID badge, and a company vehicle parked across the street that I could see. He seemed a bit nervous, but that was probably because he thought Macy was going to make a meal out of him if he made one wrong move! I'm sure he was probably legit, and most likely not a serial killer. Either way, I wasn't going to chance it! I stopped hot sales guy mid-speech, and told him, "Thank you for your time, but I already have an alarm system and it works REALLY well." (Emphasis on my alarm system working REALLY well!) His response, while timidly looking at my Pit Bull, "Oh, well if you want to get paper and a pen, I can leave you my work information in case you change your mind."  Hummm....shouldn't hot sales guy  be carrying a business card with that stuff on it already?! Of course, I then responded to that ridiculousness by telling hot sales guy, "Shouldn't you be carrying that on you if you're going door to door trying to sell things to people? I'm sorry, but I watch WAY too many episodes of "Criminal Minds" to continue this conversation!" At that point, a very stunned, very hot sales guy politely excused himself away from my front porch and took off.....

Needless to say, I have trust issues sometimes when it comes to strangers at my front door! I'm also not ashamed to admit that I check behind my shower curtains for serial killers every time I go into the bathroom...yeah, living alone has its moments haha!

Perhaps, I should maybe lay off of watching "Criminal Minds" a bit....
On second thought, I could have saved myself from a hot sales man/serial killer! Ya never know, my lovelies! 

Monday, April 9, 2012

Honest Trailers: Twilight

I know some my readers that are die-hard Twilight fans might want to wring my neck for this (sorry!), but I thought it was too hilarious not to share! 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Ranger, Mykelti, and Macy hope you all have a good Easter!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Learning with Lydia: A lesson in music history...Impact Songs!

Prepare to have your minds boggled today, my lovelies! Most of you who are close in age to myself might remember Nirvana's song, "Where did you sleep last night" (My Girl). If you've never heard it, you're missing out! I've lined the video below so that you can check it out! 

(Be sure to pause the music in the right side bar before you press "play"!)

Long story short, "My Girl" stemmed from a song popular in the 1940's from an artist called Leadbelly...his version was called "Where did you sleep last night". He was an incredible blues artist! Kurt even makes reference to him in the video I linked above. Being a Memphis native (Home of the Blues) I absolutely adore this version of the song too! Isn't it incredible how different artists and stylings can completely change a song?!

Sit Tight...It gets even more interesting! Lets just say that it gets a bit more complicated. This song has been around for over a century! It originated as an American folk song dating all of the way back to the 1870's. It's gone by multiple names as well: "In The Pines," "Black Girl," "Where Did You Sleep Last Night",  "The Longest Train I Ever Saw", and "My Girl." The style and even the lyrics have changed through various recordings, but all in all, the same principal applies! Everyone from Dolly Parton to Joan Biaz, The Grateful Dead, and Nirvana have covered it. I like to refer to this type of song as an "Impact Song" due to its uncanny ability to reach and appeal to such a wide range of audiences.

If you want to delve more deeply into the song, it is open for interpretation! Many musicians have changed the lyrics around to appeal to different audiences. One thing is certain however, it is a relatable song.

~The Pines: can be used as a representation for loneliness, sexuality, adultery, fleeing slavery, and even death.
~The person who goes into The Pines: A representation for any man, woman, or child. Slave, friend, or foe.
~The Train: Represents loss, distance, death, and even the murder of an individual.

 The Tenneva Ramblers made a version of this song called, "The Longest Train I ever Saw". It became immensely popular all over again with a new group of people: coal miners. Bill Monroe also did a version. That version became so popular in fact that it is still played on some of the lower dialed radio stations. The first time I ever heard that song was about 4 years ago while I was driving in the car. I IMMEDIATELY recognized it. I could instantly identify it was the same song that Nirvana had covered in the early 90's. It's absolutely incredible to me how these songs that were vastly popular decades and decades ago can be revamped, recovered, and redone to impact new audiences in incredible ways. It's been done over and over again with Hymns and other pieces. This song is another fantastic example of durability throughout music. There have been countless covers done of it. I thought it would be fun to link some of the covers below:

Tenneva Ramblers

Bill Monroe's version incorporates a lot of blue grass and even yodeling!

It's recently been redone again by WZRD (Kid Kudi). I'm really enjoying their version!:

To sum it up, the staying power of this song is astounding!  It reaches all audiences, ethnicities, and ages! Now that, my lovelies is an Impact Song!


So, who's version do I prefer, you might ask? Hands down, Nirvana's version! In my humble opinion, nobody will ever be able to top the raw, urgency of Kurt Cobain's vocals. That being said, I am so pleased to hear new artists breathe new life into this song decade after decade. This is the way music is supposed to be! It's supposed to touch you deep down on a personal level and it should always be open to interpretation....that's where it's true art form and genius come shining through! 

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Reading buddies: Therapy dogs' attention helps children bolster skills, confidence

The wonderful READ dogs of West TN Therapy Dogs made an appearance in the Commercial Appeal appeal this week! I am so excited to share this fantastic news with all of my loyal readers! West TN Therapy Dogs is a terrific organization of therapy dogs and handlers who enjoy volunteering their time throughout the community, and sharing smiles with others! Therapy dogs can help others in many different facets through Animal Assisted Activities and Animal Assisted Therapy. Ranger and I recently had the opportunity to become members of West TN Therapy Dogs, and we couldn't be happier! (Ranger is currently on medical leave right now, but is looking forward to getting back to work soon!)

Our READ dogs are registered through Intermountain Therapy Animal's READ program. READ, is a program that encourages young and often hesitant readers to enhance their skills through non-judgemental reading sessions with specially trained therapy dog teams. The dogs can help the children sound out tough words, provide stress relief though being petted, and even their mere presence instills encouragement! The calm disposition of the dogs puts the children at ease, and offers a non-judgemental way to make learning a fun experience! The dogs never laugh at a stutter or a mispronounced word; they offer up kisses and comfort. As a result, young readers learn to embrace their newfound skills and seek out more opportunities to read and learn. What a wonderful thing!

Please be sure to check out the Commercial Appeal article I've linked below. We have a wonderful group of therapy dogs that love visiting with others throughout our community! If you are local and have a child that would enjoy reading to a therapy dog, please stop by for a visit! We READ every Saturday to children of all ages from 1:00-3:00pm at the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library, and the fourth Saturday of each month from 10:00-12:00pm to registered children ages 5-11 years old at the Bartlett Branch. Want to learn more about West TN Therapy Dogs? Visit:

Reading buddies: Therapy dogs' attention helps children bolster skills, confidence

10 Things Thursday

Today has been an interesting day to say the least. Lets just say I'm looking forward to this week ending and to the weekend beginning! Here are a list of my 10 randoms for today:

1. My Aussies decided to wake me and my other pup up an hour early today. One whole precious hour of sleep before I had to get up this morning! (Keep in mind I was an insomniac last night, so I only wound up with about 3 hours of sleep). I wasn't thrilled that they pounced me before my alarm clock went off, but in hindsight, I'm glad they did! As soon as I finished walking all three dogs, it started to POUR down raining, hail and all! They really did have good timing after all!

2. Last night I made a skillet of homemade cornbread. I hadn't made any in quite a while; it turned out so good! I'll do a blog post with pictures and a recipe soon! I sent half of it to my Granny's house today for her and my Uncle. They love it! 

3. My cats have a ginormous nice cat tree. Yet where do they prefer to sleep most of the time? They all 3 cuddle up in one tiny cat bed on top of the dryer in the laundry room. It cracks me up!

4. I got the stitches taken out of my arm today! I'm a happy camper!

5. The Aussies have Agility tonight. Mykelti has Ob-Fam and Ranger has Advanced Agility; lets hope the rain holds off for the rest of the evening so that I don't have to drive in it! They REALLY need to run off some energy; they've had the zoomies all day! While they go to Agility my other pup, Macy will get to enjoy a few hours of peace and quiet all to herself. (She loves her naps!)

6. Today I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items that I needed. It boggles my mind that I only paid $35 at Aldi today for groceries, when I know that at Kroger, my total would have been closer to $80 at least!

7.  Song that's stuck in my head today is "Little Miss" - Sugarland

8. I still have no clue what I'm doing for Seder/Passover and Easter. I need to get on that!

9. The older I get, the more comfortable I really feel in my own skin.I'm not perfect, I'm just learning to accept myself and recognize beauty in different facets. Typically, I am big into makeup and beauty products. I absolutely love the way that they give me a confidence boost and help me accentuate different areas. I absolutely love trying out new shades, colors, and just genuinely having fun being creative with makeup! Sometimes though, I have days where I just don't have time for lavish makeup or other things. And you know what? I'm cool with that too! Today was one of those days. I was literally running out the door earlier this morning when I was pressed for time. I didn't have time for makeup and despite that when I looked into the mirror, I still felt confident and beautiful. I think it's all about perspective. I think it's a good idea for us ladies to embrace our natural beauty once in a while and to take confidence in that! God made us all beautiful in our own way! Embrace it, confidence is attractive!

10. Today I found out that I am allergic to sunlight. Yeah...SUNLIGHT! What the heck, right?!?! It's really a crazy thing to hear something like that! My initial response was "What the f...?" (In a bit of a frustrated moment, I just blurted it out before I could censor myself! Thankfully though, the assistant and doctor just laughed a bit too). A little background: About two weeks ago I developed a rash with blisters in various areas all over my body. I had some other symptoms as well, so I decide to high tail it to my family physician to get checked out. Long story short, she had no clue whatsoever she was looking at and I wasted money on a copay for nothing! So, the next day I went to the dermatologist as an emergency. She biopsied a section of the rash on my arm to send it off for testing. (Which is why I had stitches that I mentioned in #4). At the time, the rash looked VERY similar to Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease (I even had a spot in my mouth), so that was her diagnosis before she got my biopsy results in. I thought maybe I had picked it up from volunteering to read with children at the local library. So, for the past two weeks I've tried to stay inside and avoid being around other people too much because I thought I was a contagious "leper" of sorts. Today I went back for my doctors appointment to get my stitches removed and to find out the results of my biopsy. As it turns out, I'm not contagious, and I do not have Hand Food and Mouth, thankfully! I am however allergic to the sunlight according to the biopsy results. Weird! I have a condition called Polymorphous Light Eruption. (Fancy wording for: I get blistering bumps and rashes all over my body whenever I'm exposed to light...AWESOME!) I get so frustrated sometimes folks; I seriously have a crummy auto immune system! For most people, the rash usually goes away within a week...I'm on week two now and it still looks just as awful as day one. I'm hoping this all clears up soon! In the mean time, I'm not supposed to go outside unless its absolutely necessary (Um hello, I have three dogs! :/ ). Once it clears up, I can go outside during low sunlight times (early morning, late afternoon) and I have to load up on sunscreen and clothing. I have three dogs that like to go to the park every day; this could get interesting once summer time kicks into high gear...*Sigh*

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Welcome Home Ranger! I can't believe it's been two years!

Today marks two years since my sweet Ranger came home to live with me! He is the most incredible surprise I've ever had in my life. I am thankful for each day I get to spend with this incredible best friend by my side! I love my sweet boy so much!

On 4-3-10, I came home from a trip to Target to find this sweet little surprise on my balcony with my ex holding him up so that I could see him. I was absolutely shocked and thrilled! Long story short, my apartment was locked up since I wasn't expecting anyone so, you can imagine my surprise when I sat my shopping bags down and saw the puppy of my dreams on my balcony! (In a side note: Although the relationship with my ex did not last for various reasons, I do not regret it because my sweet Ranger came into my life as a result of it. I have never had a more sweet and thoughtful "gift" in my life than the joy this sweet dog brings to me!)

Not only does Ranger bring me joy and smiles each day, he also shares that with others in our community through his work as a registered therapy dog. I am so blessed that I got to watch this sweet boy grow from a tiny puppy into a wonderful dog and family member!

I wanted to share a few pictures of Ranger over the past two years that I've had him. I love this sweet boy so much!

 (The pictures below aren't in any particular order.)

This photo below was the first picture I ever saw of my sweet Ranger! I unknowingly picked him out while having dinner at an Ihop several weeks before he came home. I was admiring the cute puppies online and reminiscing about the old Aussie that I used to own and how much I missed that Aussie personality. I lightheartedly mentioned how much I would love to have a little puppy just like that one. Since he was in a different state at the time, I absolutely had NO clue I would wind up with this little guy in my life only a few short weeks later! Best surprise ever!)

Tiny baby Ranger!
The day he passed his Canine Good Citizen test. He was 11 months old and made me very proud!
 Always smiling!
 Handsome boy!

 Ranger with his blue bunny
 Ranger on Easter Sunday, 2010. His first full day at home!

Showing off his pretty coat after his grooming

Cutie pie! He was waiting patiently for his first taste of ice cream.
Look at that face! He loved it haha...

 The day we became a registered therapy team!
 On my 25th Birthday (He was about 6 months old in this one)
 He loves our friend Margee's horses!
 Handsome boy! (1yr)

 Ranger loves teddy bears and blankets
 After he passed his Advanced Obedience class
 Showing off his first ID tag
 Ranger's first trip to Petsmart
 Pine cone connoisseur
 Am I a Rabbit or a Puppy? 

sweet face!

Tiny baby Ranger at his breeder's farm before he came home to Memphis! :)
 Look at the pink on his little nose! Aww!
(The leather on their faces naturally darkens with age to help protect against skin cancer)

He loved to be held at a puppy! (He actually still likes to be held and will try to sit in my lap whenever I get on the couch and he wants to snuggle!)
 Little chunk!
 Ranger was named after The Lone Ranger, because of the little black mask around his eyes

 The first picture I ever took of him; he was a thirsty boy! 4-3-10
 He's a Momma's Boy!
 Ranger after his very first therapy visit
 Ranger's first Christmas with his sweet sister, Macy! 
 Sweet boy sleeping in the car on his way home from puppy classes
 Love him!
This is how he sleeps
 Ranger loves blankets; they are his favorite!
Happy boy!
 He likes Sinatra, and hats. He is quite dapper! 
Ranger is a READ dog that helps children learn how to read through therapy work.
Ranger on his second birthday!

Ranger is such an incredible dog! This sweet boy is such a testament to his wonderful, reputable breeders! They love and raise their pups with pride, and ensure that they have an incredible start to life! They make sure each and every baby of theirs winds up in a terrific home! (Many of them wind up being working dogs, like Ranger and his little sister, Mykelti.) If you're looking for an Australian Shepherd, please give Brake4Aussies your consideration! www.brake4aussies

 A year after I brought him and saw how much joy he brought to my life, I knew I just had to have another little love bug like him! So, Ranger rode all the way to Missouri with us to help pick out his baby sister, Mykelti! (She's a therapy dog in training, following in her big brother's footsteps! :)