Keeping your dog entertained on a busy schedule

May 18, 2016
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Warning: This is a crazy dog lady type of post. Djinn Djinn is my child.

Djinn Djinn will be 7 years old this year. And I'm so, so thankful that he's still as incredibly healthy and active as when he was 1 year old. That said, he demands a lot of attention (probably my fault for always spoiling him rotten but can you blame me- look at that face!). Lately, I've found that he's a bundle of energy and unfortunately, I just... don't have a bundle of time. Now, don't get me wrong, pretty much every minute that I'm not busy doing grown-up responsibility type things, I spend with Djinn Djinn. I like to call him my little therapy dog even though he's not an official certified one, he just makes me feel so happy and calm...that is, unless he's bored and restless.

Every day without fail, at a certain time, he starts pawing at my shoulder and I know that it's him telling me to drop everything I'm doing and PAY ATTENTION TO HIM. Usually, when this happens, I take him for a short walk (anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours is long enough for him to be a happy camper again). Ideally, I take him for a walk every single day. Sometimes, though, it's absolutely impossible to walk him on a certain day because of life getting in the way (or even something as ridiculous as it being too windy- he hates walking in strong winds) so he is forced to stay indoors all day. I feel so guilty when this happens and struggle to find something to keep him entertained for a reasonable amount of time. 

Here's what has worked pretty well so far: 

Music: I pretty much always have soft music playing in the background for Djinn Djinn. Sometimes it's classical, sometimes it's pop. I know some people might think music does nothing for keeping a dog entertained but I am convinced otherwise. Djinn Djinn is 100x calmer when he hears musical sounds and often he'll just lay down and "listen" to it, giving me an extra 20 minutes to do whatever I need to do. 

THIS little ball: More often than not, this treat ball easily keeps Djinn Djinn entertained for 20 minutes, though admittedly, he often feels like playing with it late at night when he should be in bed rather than during the day. Still, it's a lifesaver.

Rough play for 5 minutes: Usually, Djinn Djinn just wants to be reminded that he's loved (apparently, being told "I love you" every 2 seconds isn't good enough for him) so I tend to get him super hyper and play rough with him and his squeaky toy for 5-10 minutes. This allows him to get a ton of energy out in a short time. 

Hide and seek: Djinn Djinn is very food motivated & loves when I hide these little treats around the living room. He's got a nose like a bloodhound but it still takes effort and energy for him to search around so that keeps him satisfied for yet another short while.

FYI, as I write this, Djinn Djinn is lying sideways on my bed (whenever he lies sideways, that means he's SUPER tired) sleeping after having had an exciting long nature walk. Pretty sure he has the best life ever and I'm kinda jealous. 

Do you have anymore suggestions for keeping a dog happy and entertained even when you're up to your paws busy with life things?

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Why I still prefer blogs over Youtube

May 15, 2016
These days, it seems everyone has a YouTube channel and for that, I say, more power to you. You're brave and I admire you. That said, I know a lot of talk, gossip and speculation has been going around about whether YouTube is en route to completely replace blogs and to that...I have to scrunch up my nose just a tiny bit. I definitely understand the appeal of FINALLY being able to see and hear your favorite bloggers in video form but at the same time, they both are just two completely different platforms with similar intentions (to connect a wide range of people) and you just really can't expect one to outdo the other- at least, according to me.

I love blogs because they're like books and magazines rolled into one but way more real and appealing. I love that you can read them whenever you have time and there's so many to choose from, you can read a different one everyday and never really come back to the one you started with (although, let's be honest- we all have our favorites). I love that everyone's perspective is so different and the photography is usually such a great source of inspiration. I love how great it is when you really come to understand and know a blogger's voice just through their writing skills. I love seeing how mostly everyone's blog designs represent their personality. Blogs are just such a unique way of getting to discover and understand the world and the minds of others.

As for videos, as I said, I love being able to put an actual voice to a blogger's face and every so often, Youtubers make videos that are short and to the point while being entertaining and helpful. I appreciate how big YouTube has become and can definitely understand why everyone wants a piece of it. It's incredible how literally any kind of video can be found within seconds. main issue with YouTube is that it's not always convenient to just drop everything and tune in to watch a video clip. Usually, I have to scrounge around for my earphones so I don't disturb others as I'm usually in a public place when I have a bit of free time to waste. I also find it distracting that there's so many "suggested videos"- I just want to watch the one I'm watching for now, is that okay with you, YouTube?!? I'm actually only subscribed to a handful of YouTubers and don't actively seek out more- I don't know if it's just me but I can't usually justify watching all those "Boyfriend Tag" videos or videos of the sort. Even makeup tutorials put me off when they are more than 10 minutes long, I usually just skip to see the finished look. And can I let you in on a little secret? Probably my favorite channel to watch without fail is WhatsUpMoms even though I obviously am not a mom myself. I am just fascinated by the creative ideas they churn out every week and so many of the videos are relevant to my life even now (especially the food ones and DIY). They really know what they're doing! 

So you see...I kind of still have a major preference for blogs. Maybe that makes me old fashioned... but what about you? Which is your preference?

Recent lifestyle changes

May 13, 2016

Things feel different this year. Honestly, it has definitely not been the best year at all so far but I have hope that that will change as we quickly approach the middle (seriously, I cannot believe it's almost June...but at the same time, I kinda can?).

Unintentionally, and somewhat intentionally, I have made some changes in my life because supposedly change is good. Of course, nothing major, although, watch this space. For now, though...

I have changed my eating habits a bit. I mean, I've always been a pretty healthy eater (with the exception of my love for salty snacks and chocolate chip cookies) but now I'm being really conscious of everything I eat. I am trying to read labels on everything I consume, including the country of origin. Speaking of which, imagine my surprise when after I had consumed a nice healthy dinner of pasta and green beans, I read about the TJ's vegetable recall- which so happened to be the exact green beans that I ate. GAG! How naive of me to think that organic was the safest choice. 

I'm also trying not to buy any junk food because you know, the whole "out of sight, out of mind" thing. I also am watching my portion sizes because I'm one of those piglets who can eat half a pizza if I'm not careful. 

I've also tried to do more exercise, which, as we all know, doesn't normally come easy for those of us from the Internet and iPhone generation. I'm not only doing nature walks regularly (I mean, Djinn Djinn will kinda yell at me if I don't...), but I'm also trying to lift weights or whatever you call it when you try to tone your muscles. I'm not a gym person at all but I sure can appreciate the fact that I feel 10x better when I participate in such activities.

I'm trying to stay positive about life...which means I have pretty much cut out all news sources (if only Facebook had the option to hide those trending articles...). I know, I know, it's good to be up with current events but why must current events always be negative and bad and depressing? 

I'll tell you what I HAVE been reading...a whole lot of books. I feel like a kid again, reading stories that take you away to another place or state of mind. 

I have a few other changes up my sleeve but since some haven't officially been made yet, I'll let you in on it a little later.

Those are my main lifestyle changes for now. I know the one change I probably won't be able to make is going to bed earlier. Does ANYONE know how to do that? 

Care to share any of your recent lifestyle changes? I'd love to hear!

Why I'm addicted to Goodreads + iTunes Giveaway!

May 5, 2016
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During my blogging break, which I was forced to take, I spent a lot of time taking walks with Djinn Djinn (which I normally do anyway) and I also became obsessed with reading. I've always, always loved reading but never really made it a point to finish a certain amount of books within a certain time frame. I had signed up for a Goodreads account years earlier but didn't bother to figure it out or what it was good for. So while I had a lot of free time on my hands one day, I decided to download the Goodreads App and actually took time to figure it all out. I was pleasantly surprised! What a great way to keep track of the books I've read, want to read, liked or didn't like. It's so useful, I'm sad I didn't catch onto it as soon as everyone and their cousin started raving about it. But, better late than never, right? I also love the fact that you can do a little reading challenge (either on your own or with friends). Right now my goal is to read 50 books this year and so far, I've read 8. It's a slow start but I feel confident. Are you on goodreads? If so, feel free to add me as a friend.

Speaking of things I love... just as much as I love reading, I also LOVE music (okay, so who doesn't?). So today I want to let you all in on an exciting chance to win a $100 iTunes giftcard (made possible by the wonderful bloggers mentioned below). All details are below:

Prize: $100 iTunes Gift Card
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