WHAT IT’S REALLY LIKE GETTING A DOG, VOL. I

I adopted my cutie rescue pup, Lexie, this year (you can follow her on Instagram: @MissLexie_chi). Prior to that, the most dog experience I had was with my friend’s two huge lab mixes. If you’re thinking about getting a dog, here are five things I wish I knew when I started the process.

IMG_2231IMG_2925

#1 All dogs, no matter the age, will need some training

Lexie was five years old when I adopted her, and I figured that she would not need much training. While she is a great dog and I really lucked out on some critical things (she was essentially house trained when I took her home), I discovered quickly that we needed to work on a few traits, like leash reactivity. No dog will ever be perfect in the training department. Part of me hoped that I would find a dog who already knew all the important commands, was totally house trained, didn’t beg, loved people, and greeted dogs with a friendly smile instead of endless barking. In the end though, I had to select which qualities were most important to me in a dog and understand that I would need to work on the rest (pro tip: use lots of positive reinforcement).

#2 The adjustment period is very real

I thought that Lexie and I would both quickly settle into a routine once I took her home. The first few weeks turned out to be some of the toughest, which I was not prepared for. I figured all the research I had done before taking her home would mean that I could settle in much faster. Yet, I had to get used to a new life of waking up earlier, going on frequent walks, and being completely responsible for another living creature. Lexie had to get used to a new environment, a new person, and new rules. But once we got through that adjustment phase of learning about each other, things became much smoother.

IMG_2481IMG_2936

#3 Explore different adoption options

By this, I mean both breed and rescue organization (or breeder, if you are going that route). Northern Virginia is great because it has so many rescue options. This meant that I was able to take time to research and figure out what I wanted my adoption experience to be. And trust me, I took my time! This was years and years worth of research in the making (partially because I have a really great ability to talk myself out of life changing decisions).  When I was finally ready to adopt, I started out at one agency that wasn’t a good fit for me, but turned to Lost Dog & Cat Rescue Foundation and found Lexie pretty quickly. For those of you in the DC metro area, I’ve listed a bunch of rescue organizations at the end of this post.

IMG_2471IMG_2790

#4 It takes a village

I had this crazy expectation that I could handle it all on my own. Yet I quickly discovered how wonderful it was to have friends who would come over to watch her when I was running late at work, supportive siblings who would walk her on days I had class, and fabulous parents willing to dog sit her when I had to go out of town. Having this support system is crucial. Of course, there are services you can use for dog sitting (such as DogVacay) or dog walking, but either way, having your village makes life so much easier. Dog ownership is no joke, but it is totally worth it.

#5 It will all work out in the end

The time, research, and money will pay off once that little fur ball comes home with you. Lexie, who is quite possibly one of the weirdest dogs you’ll ever meet, makes me laugh every day, and has been there for me during some challenging times. I’m so glad I took the time to find her instead of rushing into doggy ownership.

Tell me, what are your tales of doggy ownership? What do you wish YOU knew?

DSC_0062

A SAMPLING OF RESCUE ORGANIZATIONS IN THE DC METRO AREA

Advertisements

CATCH A WAVE

DSC_0351

Hey. It’s been awhile, but there’s been a lot going on. I’m finally settled into my new job (woohoo!) and am starting the final semester of my graduate program. Between that and going through a massive reality check in life and love, getting this blog off the ground has taken a seat on the back burner. But here we are. We’re back.

DSC_0461

DSC_0451

I recently returned from a beach trip with my family. Every year we rent a house in the Outer Banks. We’re a pretty low-key family when it comes to our vacation activities – we mostly just like to read on the beach, sip a bubbly beverage of our choice and come back to the house to eat dinner and watch a movie. It’s a lot of family time, which definitely has its pros and cons.

But what I like most about our beach weeks is that it’s one of the few times a year when I have an (almost) uninterrupted space to think about my life, my goals and my future. This year, I set a goal for myself to travel more over the next two years. From the two major Portlands, to San Francisco, to ATX ,to Italy, my list has me seeing more than just the country roads of Virginia that I travel when going to my Alma Mater.

DSC_0337

There’s also something about watching the ocean waves that really gets you to think. In my case, this year, I thought a lot about acceptance. What it means to truly accept. Whether it’s accepting others just as they are, accepting consequences for a bad choice, accepting credit for something well done. What it means to accept that, despite what’s happened, you are in control of your future, of how you choose to react to people or situations that have wronged you. What it means to accept that there’s a greater future.

Because after all, aren’t we all a part of something bigger? Isn’t there some larger happiness to be found in taking life as it comes, in loving people for who they are, and in letting go and moving on when the time is right?

DSC_0282

DSC_0333

I don’t pretend to know how to achieve this. But I do know that I can choose to practice kindness, and to try my best to live in the present instead of dwelling on the past. And that no matter what comes, there’s always the beach with those beautiful ocean waves.

EVENTS 101: ATMOSPHERE

One of my very favorite things to do is to gather people for a fun night in or a home cooked meal. It’s cheesy, but I love the idea of connecting people, making them feel welcome, and giving them a fun experience. There are some small tips I’ve found to be tried and true, no matter the event, whether that’s a book party, themed soiree, or Friday night dinner. While these skew more toward smaller apartment or house parties, the fundamentals can be applied to any major event.

party-at-home-dancing-cranberries-picjumbo-comFOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD

I cannot state the importance of this enough. Having food, even if it’s just small nibbles, can make your guests’ experience. We’ve all been to events where food was lacking and the drinks were flowing – never a good combination. Pro tip: Since dark chocolate and other comfort foods are tied to your brain’s endorphin center, having some of these out at your party will be sure to leave your guests in a great mood.

Mobile Marketing 3ATMOSPHERE

It’s more than just a clean home. The atmosphere you create is what makes your guests feel welcome and ready to have a good time. Whether that is a fully stocked bar or a well dressed table, lit candles on the coffee table, or music in the background, it’s important to have a warm, inviting space. I always talk about “Instagrammable moments” with my clients who are planning events. Try and make a space in your apartment or house that is conducive to cute pictures. More on this subject in another post.

6V12NODFVMCREATE CONNECTIONS

Those of you who have been through the sorority rush process may find this vaguely familiar (“back pocket questions,”anyone?). The beauty of house parties is that while you may know all your guests, they may not all know each other. Think about ways you can connect your guests – whether they live in the same area, love the same happy hour spot or have similar hobbies.

photo-1433439216031-9571132ce719LET IT GO

It’s going to happen. Someone will spill wine on your favorite rug or sofa. Or will track dirty shoes around your house. Or will break a wine glass you loved. As hard as it is, let it go. For me, any items that are really valuable, sentimental, or won’t survive a rendezvous with a glass of red wine, are stowed away in advance of the event. If it’s a couch or accent chair you’re worried about, try draping a cute, washable throw over it. Take these safeguarding steps and you will thank yourself later.

What are your go-to tips when planning events?

 

WHAT’S ON MY WORKOUT PLAYLIST, VOL. I

Working out is not something I typically enjoy. As my friends will tell you, I go through workout phases, where I will find a class or gym I really enjoy, go full throttle for a few months, and then get bored. My latest obsession was Pure Barre (more on that later), and I just ran my first (and only) half marathon. Both of these workouts rely heavily on music, and for me, the music is what really makes or breaks my experience (and my productivity). Here’s what’s been on my gym playlist as of late. What have you been listening to lately?

PEANUT-FREE BLOSSOM COOKIES

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I have a life-threatening peanut allergy. They expect me to be the awkward one at restaurants who stops the waiter in the middle of his or her sentence to ask about the peanut situation. They also know that I’m the one flying Southwest who prevents the entire flight from being able to enjoy their free peanut snacks (sorry ’bout it – and shout out to the flight attendant who went out of her way once to make sure I was comfortable). Yet despite the risk to my life, I’ve always been a little curious about all of those peanut baked goods. Reese’s cups? Blossom cookies? Mysteries.  Until I discovered SunButter, that is.

DSC_0150

SunButter has the consistency and texture of peanut butter, but with none of the life-taking symptoms. (For those with really severe allergies, it’s even made in a nut-free facility!) So I seized the opportunity to make these SunButter blossom cookies. And, while I was at it, I made them slightly healthier for you. Your sweet tooth can live another day.

DSC_0158

DSC_0148

While I can’t tell you how they compare to their peanut butter cousins, I can tell you that they tasted like they could be the real deal to me.

Truth be told, I did learn from this experiment that I would not have been a peanut butter person if I could eat peanuts, so these will not be making a return to my pantry. At least I know now that I’m not missing out on anything great (sorry, peanut lovers!).  I’ll share my shortbread blossom recipe soon for those that are in my boat. For those that do love peanut butter, let me know how these stack up!

Recipe below for 48 cookies (modified from Hershey).

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 3/4 cup SunButter
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup additional granulated sugar for rolling
  • One bag chocolate chips

HOW YOU’LL DO IT

  1. Beat butter, apple sauce, and SunButter in large bowl until well blended. Add 1/3 cup granulated sugar and brown sugar; beat until fluffy.
  2. Add egg, milk and vanilla; beat well. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into SunButter mixture.
  3. Refrigerate overnight
  4. Heat oven to 375°F.
  5. While the oven is heating, shape dough into 1-inch balls. Roll in granulated sugar, and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
  7. Once removed, immediately press the back of a measuring spoon (I used a teaspoon) into the center of each cookie to create a small pit. The cookies should crack around the edges. Then, move the cookies to a wire rack to cool.
    • Note: With SunButter, it’s normal for the inside of the cookie to turn green as it cools. Don’t be freaked out! It’s still safe to eat.
  8. When the cookies are completely cooled, melt about half of the chocolate chips. Here’s a how-to for those of you interested in doing it over the stove.
  9. Spoon or pour the chocolate into the pit you created for each cookie. Gently shake the cookie to get the lumps and bumps out of the chocolate.
  10. Place the cookies in the refrigerator for at least an hour to harden the chocolate.

DSC_0153

Enjoy!

 

Welcome!

Welcome to From Lemons! I’m so excited you’re here. To be honest, this blog has been a long time coming, and I can’t wait to finally bring it to fruition. Rather than inundate you with a long post, here’s a short Q&A about what you can expect to find here:

1. Why “From Lemons?”

You know the saying, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” This blog is my way of making lemonade out of some seriously big lemons. I’m excited to be creative and learn new things along the way.

2. What will I read here?

This blog is meant to be a lifestyle blog – here you’ll find anything from cooking/baking adventures to fitness trials to beauty and makeup reviews to different ways to bring people together. 

Version 2

DSC_0125

3. Who are you?

I am a twenty-something Washingtonian who works in marketing communications. When I’m not at work or at school pursuing my master’s in public relations and corporate communications, you can find me at home with my rescue pup, Lexie, or out exploring what DC has to offer. 

DSC_0087

IMG_2231