Today, I’m passing along 32 wisdom I’ve learned along the way. I’m grateful for all that I’ve seen, where I’ve been, and where I’m going. Especially where I am today.

  1. Smile often – It will make people wonder about you.
  2. Chase that dream – Whatever you’ve been thinking about for a long time, just go for it. It’s not handed to you, you have to work for it.
  3. Drink lots of water – It’s so good for you.
  4. Respect others – Regardless of the differences. Try it.
  5. Treat others the way you would want to be treated – I cannot stress this enough! Put yourself in their shoes too! Kindness goes a long way.
  6. Lift heavy weights – The best body toning, feel good endorphins, stress reliever on earth.
  7. People won’t always like you and that’s okay – Brush it off and walk away as hard it may be. Refer to #1, keep smiling.
  8. Hold yourself to the highest standard – Really respect yourself.
  9. Rescue is the best breed – When you rescue a dog, you open up a spot in the animal shelter to save another life.
  10. Always see the good in others – Despite the differences, you may not always see eye to eye but always see the good and smile about them.
  11. Travel far and wide – Traveling will make you an incredibly more well-rounded human being.
  12. Wash your face every night – And don’t forget your sunscreen during the day!
  13. Keep your meals real, whole and nutritious – I continuously keep learning about the food I eat and how it treats my body!
  14. Also, enjoy treats because…balance – Dairy-free or not!
  15. Bravely accept your imperfections, your flaws – Strive for growth, instead of perfection.
  16. It’s okay to be vulnerable – Being vulnerable makes you who you are.
  17. Be unapologetically YOU – Keep shining like a diamond.
  18. Recognize that your inner beauty conquers all – Stay true to yourself.
  19. Take pictures of everything – Life goes by fast, you only live once, and stop the time with a picture.
  20. Do the things you’re scared to do – And don’t let people tell you otherwise.
  21. Focus on the present, not the past – I struggle with this often! But learning to focus on today, not what happened yesterday!
  22. Laughter is the best medicine – Keep a sense of humor and don’t take yourself so seriously.
  23. Weight is simply JUST A NUMBER – It’s always just a number, your health is your most valuable asset.
  24. Never take your body for granted – I still have a lot to learn in terms of the food I eat and working out has me learning that my body is capable in many ways I never imagine.
  25. Learn to fail and accept failure – Mistakes are what makes you who you are.
  26. Always say “I love you” – Period.
  27. Stop assuming what others think of you – It’s none of your business.
  28. Don’t compare yourself to others – You have no idea what’s behind closed doors.
  29. Enjoy life – Show up and make the most of it.
  30. There is nothing to hold you back – Except yourself.
  31. Don’t let your disability define who you are as a person – Even though it may seem like denying the power and overwhelming significance of the experiences in my life, you’re not insulting yourself, not weak, not asking for sympathy. You’re you. See the person first, disability second.
  32. Be a decent human.

5 Things For 5 Years

Can someone pinch me?

It’s been 5 years since we said “I do”. I’ve grown up so much since we met at 22, him at 28. I’ve learned so much and respect him even more as I get older.

We bought two homes, I went back to school full time while working full and part time jobs, added Nikki to the pack, traveled to places we’d never imagined going, and a whole new career for me.

We sure do have our ups and downs. We’re stronger today than we were five years ago and continue to learn so much more about each other as we grow.

5 things we learned:

1. We learned to leave work at work. We both work tirelessly all day long and it’s so important to come home and be there for each other whether it’s working out in the garage, discussing plans for the future, playing with the dogs, going over life things such as bills and what nots.

2. We learned to communicate our feelings. I’m the type of person that really wishes he would understand what I’m going through without having to tell him how I’m feeling. He’s the type of person that would rather not talk about his bad day and go straight to his phone or watch TV. Now, we’re open to our feelings rather than assuming and communicate them before blowing up.

3. We’re more supportive of each other’s hobbies. I see how happy it makes him when he hangs with his friends or works out alone. I respect that more and more and encourage him to do more of that. When he does that, I have time for myself! Let it be a night to hang with friends, a solo workout in the garage, a nice bath soak, watch my own TV shows he won’t watch with me and even a weekend away. It’s a bonus when the dogs cuddle with me more when he’s not around. 😉

4. We learned to be 100% honest about everything. Don’t let it sit and build to become a problem. Period.

5. Patience. I talk about my struggles often. I know he has his struggles with a deaf wife. It takes a ton of patience to wait for your wife to put her hearing aids back on, repeat multiple times to make sure she understood a word in New England language. It takes a lot of patience to do the necessary phone calls for your wife because they don’t communicate via email or chat, etc. It takes a ton of patience to put yourself in her shoes so you can somewhat get an idea of what it’s like to struggle with hearing loss. It takes even more to agree to disagree about how red meat should be cooked. 🙂

Cheers to a lifetime of shirtless dancing, heavy squats, and high fives.

Photo Credit: Brandon Malone Photography

Our Wedding

Wedding Interviews

End of the Night Finale

Be Like Them…

Or Nikki. Or Jameson. Or Charley….

I know a lot of people think I’m a crazy dog lady. But….

They cuddle.

They love unconditionally.

They know when you had a bad day.

They’re so excited when they wake you up. Even when you think you should sleep in.

They love meal time. Especially the homemade kinds.

They don’t care you stepped on their paws by accident.

They keep you warm.

They give you endless kisses.

They greet you at the door with the biggest tail wags that it moves their spine. The biggest grin that may look the scariest but it’s not. The lovely way the bark with excitement.

They’re thankful in many ways.

Be like them.

Be like Nikki, Jameson and Charley.

I remember when I first got Charley. I was home from college for the weekend. It was my 21st birthday. I knew I really wanted a puppy. Someone who would hang out with me while I studied. Someone who would keep me company. I grew up with an amazing golden retriever. He was the best family dog. My brother named him Sprocket after that show “Fraggle Rock”.  Now, I lived in a small apartment about 15 minutes from campus which required a dog under 50 lbs at the time. I knew I wanted someone small anyway. Id have to travel a lot and move eventually.

My mom and I listed all the pros and cons and somehow came across “Maltipoos for sale” in a newspaper. At first, I had no idea what to expect. I didn’t know if I wanted to rescue a dog or “buy” from a “breeder” at the time. We drove an hour to meet this breeder and realized this puppy was in the corner of this dirty crate, shivering like a leaf, alone. Everyone else was adopted but him. I don’t recall how long it’s been since he’s been alone but I knew he was mine. I swooped up this 2 lb white apricot fur-ball and signed all the papers. I bought him home. Poor puppy was terrified.

I named him Charley. Let’s just say he was special. He saved me from an almost fire. He hated the boys (he really did). He’s woken me up many times for class when my alarm wouldn’t do it’s job. He survived a car accident on I-95 and two dog attacks.

He’s also very bossy. 9 lb feisty ball of fire.

It was very early in Justin and I’s relationship. I used to bring Charley down with me every weekend. He always slept in the middle. One day, Justin wanted a dog of his own. I’ll never forget the day he bought Jameson home.

These two were inseparable. He would go to work with Justin every single day. Charley took some time to warm up. He was 3 years old at the time. It was a guy thing. I’m better than you stuff. Boys being boys.

We got married and wanted a dog of our own together. We just love dogs and always believed in rescue dogs. Justin met one of my dad’s dog who was a rottweiler and was set on that type of breed. We came across FOHA and saw that they were having this special on black dogs. It’s kind of sad black dogs are overlooked because of their color. Jameson was already black and we never saw it as an issue. We decided to go to the shelter and walk around. They brought out Nikki who Justin wasn’t really fond of at first. She was supposed to be half rottweiler and half doberman. There was just something different about her. She was so full of life and was so excited for a leash. She still is to this day. Her and Jameson hit it right off and were like two peas in a pod. Honestly, she was terrified of Charley. Charley wouldn’t like one thing she did and would chase her around. It was so cute.

We were approved to adopt her and bought her home just in time for Christmas. She was three years old at the time. She had never been in a home. She had serious food aggression from all those years bouncing from shelter to shelter. She was always behind those cages and weighted in at 55 lbs when we got her. Slowly, we realized she never knew real love and needed a ton of patience. She also ran away from me once, went 100 feet, looked behind (I remember thinking I was going to lose her forever) and thought about it for a minute. I’ll never forget this but I had my arms out reaching and calling her to come back. It was freezing with rain that night. The pavement was so icy you could tell there was black ice.  The next thing you know, she came running back into my arms. I was in tears.


5 years later, they’re all a pack. They give each other snuggles and lots of kisses. Maybe a hump over there. Ha. Anytime, one has to leave for the vet or such, the others will cry and it breaks my damn heart. They  have their sibling rivalry days but always came back as family.

Truth is, rescue dogs are the best breeds. Even though Charley was from a breeder, he rescued me. They need patience and time. They constantly need training. They need food and roof over their head.

At the same time, they know a disability with no judgement. Each of them have their own ways of letting me know the deal when I’m home alone. Someone is outside, they’ll bark. Something is wrong in the house, they’ll lead me to it.  Fire alarm going off, they’ll stand under it. They need to go outside, they’ll talk and lead me to the door. If I’m sleeping, they’ll nudge me with their cold wet nose and wake me up for their needs. Dogs are smart. They simply want love and will love you back ten times more than to the moon and back.

Happy National Puppy Day!