One my my dear friends accepted a new job in New Jersey.  She now would be a Vice President!  A huge accomplishment and achievement…but she had to move from our hometown St. Louis, MO where her family also is.  Choosing professional career first was a tough decision. But that’s where family and friends come in to remind her this cared for her family, she’s achieved this, should be proud, and she can always move back. This isn’t forever. So with that….we must CELEBRATE!

I decided to throw a dinner party for her them and knew I needed a theme. I wanted this to be special. It came to me.

“Bloom where you are Planted”

It was perfect and true.  We should all bloom where we are planted.  Just like flowers you dig up all the roots and carefully move them to a new pot and plant them. Give enough attention, water, and love and the flower can thrive.

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And the party planning took off. I needed fresh flowers. EVERYWHERE.  I found the cutest little flower shop The Flower Stop in Cottleville, MO who ordered me special roses from a pininterest post I found.  They also ordered me some greenery and BAM. I was able to make my own flower arrangements.  They had the perfect splashes of color, smell and made a statement.

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Next it was tableware.  I pulled out all my whites, but then special ordered these beautiful water glasses on smile.amazonprime.com.  Because they said what we were doing. CELEBRATE. Of course had some refreshments as I prepared the meal!

For table settings I ordered pink and brown napkins and wrapped them around the main course plate with the salad plate on top. I found a beautiful purple whimsical looking flower to place on each one too. It was the perfect touch.

Each place setting had a water glass and of course a wine glass. I planned for a white and red.

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Then came one of my favorite things! I found a local baker Naptime Creations who created the most amazing (and delicious) cake of ROSES!!!

Yes my friends…GORGEOUS and PERFECT for the occasion. Highly recommend them. Order. This. Cake. #noregrets

 

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My last item was a custom made painting from Quaint Vintages that said “Bloom where you are planted” which we signed the back of. It was something she could take with her and place in her new office knowing she carried our love and support with her.

We shared laughs, good food, and were surrounded by the smell of fresh flowers. It was definitely a night to a remember.

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You know you’ve reached adult status when a highlight of a month was having your dream laundry room come to reality! I have a PINTEREST laundry room!!!
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My husband Chris is such a trooper.  He finally saw my vision and agreed coming home to this beauty every day is how you want to end your day.

 

This is the before when you would walk in front the garage.  You can see I tried with little baskets and a picture on the wall to do something with it.  The after shows our custom built in shelfs that housed the washer and dryer so they felt like they were part of the room.
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I wanted everything to have a place.

In the middle I put the detergent and softener in fun glass containers I got at Michaels.  A fun little sign to brighten the room.  I also placed clothes pins for the theme in a glass jar I got from Amazon.  The dryer sheets are in a mesh container.  They sit in a box so why not have them out. Smells good!!

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This is the other side with the door that leads to the garage.  It’s the PERFECT place to hang a scarf, coats and drop of shoes. I love the little cubbies at the bottom.
I had the built ins built by Country Road LLC. I had a tiler come in and put in the backsplash which is blue glass subway tile.  A huge thank you to my husband Chris for approving and also painting the room one of my favorite blues!!

 

Truly amazing before and after.  Right?! The below is NOT inspiring. Can I get an Amen?

 

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Two years ago I started an Instagram….for my dog…yep you read that right.

His accountis @kingsly2015. Chris and I just picked up our little boy Kingston Marshall, a red fawn Chinese Shar-Pei, in Oklahoma.  His breeder drove up from Texas and met us.  He was so unique, with his black mask and golden fur. I had never seen a Shar Pei in real life.  I was absolutely in love with every-single-wrinkle and before we even got home I had taken over 50 pictures!  I created an Instagram page for him so I could unapologetically post as many photos as I wanted.  Ha!  Then it started.  Comments, followers and before we knew it, we started falling in love with other account’s pups.  Chris and I would discuss them as if we really knew them.  If they were sick we wished them well and worried for them.  We also celebrated when they learned new tricks.

Relationships grew and we began getting to know the parents behind the accounts: their names, cities they lived in.  Christmas cards sent, get well gifts and even in tough days…phone calls and texts of support.  Friendships sparked that were needed in more ways than I could have imagined.  Having a Shar Pei doesn’t come without its challenges.  They can be known for Shar Pei fever.  Our Mishka, who we got a few months later in Tennessee, suffers from this.  Having other pei parents know what it’s like be there for support has been such an incredible gift.

 Instagram has built a community of Sha- Pei and dog lovers around the world. One of our favorite accounts lives in Cape Town, South Africa!  When we go live we interact in real time with followers from Spain, Italy, Portugal, Australia, Germany even Iceland!  They were there to welcome our 3rd Peiby Edmond Prescott, from Iowa, with open loving arms.  Today our pups have over 20,000 followers and we have gained friends we couldn’t be more grateful for.  We’ve fallen in love with their pups and know their names and personalities.

Then it happened.  Amy (@crinkle.cuts) from Florida said we needed a peication!  (Amy’s pup Finn has gone viral eating a strawberry and has actually be posted to my facebook page many times.  It’s pretty amazing to say we know each other and now are going on vacation!  The power of social media! Connecting people who otherwise would have never met.)  She reached out to Tricia (@murpy.willow.einstein) and the idea was now in action.  A group message was sent and we started inviting accounts.   The excitement was unreal!  Here we were actually planning to MEET each other’s pups we’ve grown to love and follow DAILY!

13 Families and 27 SharPei signed up!

 

In September of 2017 we will be taking over Barkwells, a dog resort in North Carolina!  Each cabin has doggie doors, fenced in yards and the entire property is fenced in so our pups can PLAY!  We have booked every.single.cabin!

Shirts are being made, group photos are planned and group dinners are scheduled.  We’ve all wrote in bios and submitted full family photos to create a reference document of who we are, our stories and maybe also all included favorite drinks.  It will be epic, we will take hundreds of photos to share with our 100k followers combined, and who knows we may start an annual Pei Convention.  Look out world…here we come!!

Love,

Erika

A family of 3 pups we’ve become!!  The humans are outnumbered and we love it!!  My gosh are we excited and just so thrilled they love each other too!  Day 1 was a huge success.  All get along and only 1 accident in the house!  First night had only 1 middle of the  night potty break.  3am is tough, but when those little eyes look at you…you’re up and out.

We got our little Edmond from a breeder in Iowa: PlentyAWrinkles Todd Fellows.  So impressed with the lines he had, facility and his communication through out.  We  found him through one of my pet photography shoots.  Alyssa scheduled a session and told me she was bringing Shar Pei!  I met Wrigley who had the most waggly tail and oh my word he was gorgeous!  I was in love.  I posted a photo from the session on Kingston’s instagram and had followers tell me I should have used the flash as a decoy and taken him home! Ha!! Since then Alyssa and I have become friends with puppy play dates and now have pups who are related.  It’s amazing how life brings people in your life.

 Some may think “wow…3 dogs…isn’t that  bit much?”  For us…it’s not.  We are overjoyed with the idea of 3 little pei butts running around the house, playing in the backyard and teaming up for serious pei patrol.  It’s funny when we talked about the timing to get our third Shar Pei deep inside I had a feeling of “What will people think?”.  (Here I am in my 30s worried about what people will think of me!)  I still didn’t tell my husband for a good month I was feeling this way.

I should have right away, because that is where one of my husband’s most amazing qualities really shined.  He said “It doesn’t matter what people think.  We do what makes us happy.”  I really have to remind myself to take that to heart.   It’s true in so many ways.  Whether it’s a purchase you’ve made, a profession you’ve chosen, the city you’ve decide to call home or getting a third pup. To remember. It’s YOUR life to LIVE. Chris and I evaluate our life no kidding at least a few times a week during our gratitude conversations. (He doesn’t know I’ve named them, but they happen naturally) We keep in the front of minds how grateful we are for all the opportunities we’ve had and also recognized how hard we’ve worked to get here.  It’s remembering night school while working a full time job, tough childhoods growing up, but also as adults making it through divorces and truly understanding our own emotions and figuring out who we are.  Making a conscious effort to decide who we want to be.

 I say to you reading this…do what makes you happy (as long as it’s not a hazard to your health).  Live your life out loud and full.  And take pause every now and then and be proud of what you’ve accomplished.  Celebrate the small wins too! They matter.  The key to happiness I’m learning is gratitude.  Reminding yourself of how far you’ve come.  Especially on those days where the world feels heavy.  Write it down, say it out loud…look in the mirror and remind yourself how bad ass you really are.  My puppy post turned into a mini motivational gratitude speech today, but I’m feeling it and wanted to get it out.  And now off to some puppy breath!!

Okay seriously without coffee…well lets just trust me on this one.

 So accepting this, if you’re like me, how I start my day matters.  So I created for myself the perfect coffee station.  All you need is:

  1. Your perfect brewing machine.  Mine happens to be a Keuring. The “strong” feature is what gets me through.  Although I’ve been eyeing the new Nesprressso machines.  I mean c’mon even George Clooney did a commercial for them! Anyone have one and care to share how they like it?

  2. Fun motivational saying that makes you smile, laugh, or just appreciate life so you can have that in mind when starting your day.

  3. The perfect mug. My obsession with Rae Dunn is in full swing so today…I pick Dream Big!

 Ta-Da! The perfect coffee station!  Do you have a super cute coffee station? I want to see pics!! Post on my Facebook page! Lets inspire each other!

 (Today I may finally fix the time on this thing…ha!)

The dining room is truly one of my favorite rooms.  It was the must have on the list of rooms to have when buying our home.  Even though it’s only used a handful of times a year the days it is used are some of my most treasured.

I change the centerpiece according to season. I thought

it was time to show you my summer centerpiece. I found the crate at Gordmans on sale.  The flowers and containers at Michaels also on sale and created a fun and interesting piece that has a formal and fresh look with some metal to add color and shine while throwing in a little farmhouse.

As you know I’m a wanna be pet photographer.

What that means is:

1. I love animals

2. I LOVE having photos up on walls.

 They bring a smile to my face every time I pass by them.

 I created a little collage in our entryway I’m just in love with. Hanging photos can absolutely be tricky, but I think this turned out. All same size with one in portrait mode.

 One of the photos that will always be a staple for me is a photo of our home framed. Ours has our peibies in front, but in planning on redoing with us included. What do you think? Cool idea?

This week I had a scary experience for myself. I was on a longer business trip (3 nights) and have been going hard at work for…well a very long time.

I was sitting through a meeting at 2pm when I felt the right side of my head begin to hurt. By the next meeting at 3pm it moved to also cover the left side of my head with one of the sharpest pains I’ve ever felt in my life. By 4pm I was nauseous and in the bathroom vomiting. My client drove me to the ER with tears streaming down my face just completely freaked out.

Head injuries or pain are taken seriously at the ER. They took me back for a CT scan and IV. My blood pressure was high and they found my potassium to be high. After a clear scan I got Benadryl, steroids, IV fluids and pain meds. I was told I was having a severe migraine! Never in my life have I ever experienced one and gosh do I never want that to happen again.

Triggers: Lack of sleep, stress is all they had to say. My client told the doctor “Well we are launching a drug next week”. For me this is one of 4 clients I’m currently working on. To say I’m stressed is an understatement. To feel helpless and like your body has said “enough” is well…SCARY.

What I learned this week:

  • Listen to your body

  • We are only human too and people care – My client stayed with me the whole time. The Executive Director came and waited in the waiting room until I was released just for a hug. The VP of Commercial text, VP of Medical text, I got emails. They told me to fly home early the next day and take the day off. They covered for me in a very important meeting. As much as I was embarrassed, afraid they may feel like I’m not up for the challenge, it was the COMPLETE opposite. We can be our own worst critics and the hardest on ourselves.

  • We must rest – My biggest learning is learning to rest. It is a MUST on the to do list.

  • We cannot do it all ourselves – For my ego I learned from an author I’ve just fallen in love with that I will be sharing with you who said “It means you’re in the game, not on the sidelines. If you’re playing full on, you’re going to take some hits. Take it like the light warrior that you are. Rely on your team. And get back up and run farther, even faster.” The words that hit home are rely on your team. No one can do this alone and I’m not broken…I’m just in the GAME!

 This is a hard story to share, but if helps one person it was worth the post.

A job change can take an emotional toll.  The fear of the unknown, the feeling of change, and the overwhelming feeling of “do I have time for this?” because you’re so overwhelmed in life and in work currently is tough.  These were my feelings and then some.  I also had feelings of guilt.  So much guilt that I hadn’t chosen a good time.  We are in the middle of a few huge projects.  Was I letting my team down?  How would they manage?

February 22nd I turned in my notice in my current role and am embarking on a new role I’m THRILLED about, but my gosh the feeling of guilt was strong.  I dreaded the conversation with my boss.  Could barely sleep the night before.  And each day since I’ve felt a larger cloud of guilt hang over my head as my list of responsibilities, now written out visually, continues to grow longer and longer of what I’m leaving behind for the team to manage.

Then comes my Husband’s wisdom.  “They will be okay and they will figure it out.  People leave their jobs all the time and usually only provide 2 weeks.  You’re giving 30 days my love.  Think about YOUR future.”

This simple response cut through my noise and made it to my heart.  As I look to the future and to where I’m going…I AM excited!  New responsibilities. Learning, growing and stretching my mind!  Just like when I left my previous role for the position I was currently doing, I learned so much and experienced so much.  The photo to the right is of an advisory board full of orthopedic surgeons where we went outside the box and hired a graphic recorder to add an element of fun.  This was me leading a session.  How cool is that?!  I had never done one, but here I was. I went on to lead 14 more and garnered incredible experience.

 Three years later I’m ready for more.  NEW challenges. It’s important to continue to be challenged.  To develop more brain wrinkles with every new thing you learn.

I say to you reading this.  Take inventory.  Are you learning?  Are you challenged?  By challenged I mean in learning new things vs workload?  This can be very gray and are two very different things.  How do you feel in your environment?  How does your position affect your mood and your life? You spend more time at work than you do at home.  Make sure you’re happy. It transcends into your personal life.

These questions will spark emotion if you really think about them.  Write it down.  Personal check ins about life, similar to my gratitude sessions I’ve written about, are good for the soul.   You may find it’s not a new Company.  Maybe it’s a new role within your current organization or maybe it’s not a new role at all.  Instead a conversation with your boss about what else you can be doing to learn and make a difference.

No organization is perfect — the same way no community is perfect — but if you take inventory and get real with yourself I believe you can find fulfillment in your job.  Not to say we live to work, but we do spend more time there than at home.  Make sure you’re learning, stretching and growing. 

Love,

Erika

Had to share one of my favorite time saving, time investment, cherished finds.  Truly.  So first, I have to tell you about our Christmas present.  Chris and I instead of buying each other gifts, pick something bigger we really want together.  This last Christmas we chose a fence for our pups!  Oh. My. Gosh.  Life changing!!  We still take our pups out for a full walk around the block, but it’s not 3 times a day leashing them up and heading out with our doggie bags in some days 0 degree weather.  Now, there is a beautiful option to open the back door and let them run FREE!  Zoomies!!

 I’m grateful for the day I got the sponsored email from Doody Calls and I actually paused to read it.  Could it be true?  At this price someone will come and in a “grid like pattern” search our yard and take with them our little pei presents?!  SOLD.

As I get older I realize how precious time is.  It’s the only thing you can’t negotiate more of, purchase or get back.  As I’ve realized this I’ve made it a priority to figure out how to efficiently manage my time.   I’m not saying every chore in life should be farmed out.  And if I had children this may be a chore that teaches them the value of hard work and responsibility, but for us we just want to enjoy our pups and run around a present free yard.  No joke, one of my favorite days is when I see this truck pull up.  Absolutely love it!

Deal alert:  If you’re interested reach out to them. Get a quote for your yard.  Mention my name and we both get a week FREE!

1.800.DoodyCalls (366.3922) or visit their website www. DoodyCalls.com

Valentines Day is one of those holidays I’ve found people either love or hate.  For me it’s always been one I’ve loved.  Do I believe we need one single day to choose as the day to show love?  No, but I love that it’s a reminder to continue to love.

It’s a day single, dating, engaged or married to share some love with others which is something I’m passionate about.

When I was single I would plan dates with girlfriends.  We would get dressed up and take ourselves to some fancy restaurant downtown.  Growing up in teenage years it was stressful.  What is he going to get me and I need to make sure I match that. So funny the things we worry about, because it always truly is the thought that counts.

Now, married it’s been a day we do something for ourselves that reminds us to continue to do something and not get caught up in life  This year we are planning to go to a dine in movie theater.  Have you been to one?  Seriously, press a button and they bring you food and DRINKS!  Our movie of choice John Wick 2.  Have you seen the first one?  OMG.  Something so amazing about a man and his dog.  (Y’all know I’m a dog lover).

 We have our tickets for 7:30pm on a Tuesday night. That is LATE for us and exciting that we are going out during the WEEK!  Again, great little made up holiday to remind us to get out and enjoy some time together.

 I also plan to send notes in the mail, some texts and maybe even some flowers to some gals. (y’all also know I love flowers)  If you have some single friends, friends going through a tough time or some one in your life you know could use some sunshine….lets do it together.  Lets spread LOVE!