Family, Life

For My Dear, Sweet Pickles

“Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole.”

– Roger Caras

When I was younger, I was obsessed with owning a pug. I loved their silly personalities, curly tails, and smushed faces. I’d never met a pug in real life. I just knew I loved them.

My first pug was named Bubbles, a smart little dog that died way too young, poisoned by chicken jerky treats. (I knew so little about pet foods and treats at the time, not realizing the treats I was buying at the grocery store were slowly poisoning my dog.) After her death, my mom decided she wanted to get a dog and I wanted another pug, too. We found a breeder in Sandy Hook, out in the middle of nowhere, and visited to see if we might find a puppy to love.

My mom got her dog, Pebbles, on that trip. (She passed away a year and a half ago at the age of 13.) The breeder also had a pug named Bubbles and she was nearing her due date. It seemed kismet, so I reserved a puppy. I knew I wanted a boy and I told the breeder I was going to name him Pickles, not after a brined cucumber or a Rugrats character, but in honor of my favorite banjo player.

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Vacationing in Fort Morgan, AL: Reed Real Estate

Beach and boardwalk in Fort Morgan, Alabama

Renting with Reed Real Estate

Walkway, sand, and water at the beach in Fort Morgan, Alabama.
The beaches in Fort Morgan, AL are beautiful.

Choosing the right rental property for vacation can be extremely stressful. This was definitely a challenge for my family when we were planning our trip to Fort Morgan, Alabama for the fall. We needed a space with three bedrooms that allowed pets, and we were really hoping to find a beachfront property in our price range.

Fort Morgan is a smaller town, away from the hustle and bustle of nearby Gulf Shores. This was one of the reasons we chose the location. The beaches are private and allow pets, but are only about 20 minutes from restaurants and shopping. Despite the size, there are a lot of rental properties in Fort Morgan, most of them managed by one of three companies. After careful consideration, we chose a home called Absolutely Crabulous from Reed Real Estate.

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Hockey, Travel

Let’s Do That Hockey: Predators vs. Blue Jackets

Nashville Predators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Jan. 10, 2019

In January, my dad and I traveled to Columbus for our annual father-daughter hockey trip. We try to make it to Columbus when the Nashville Predators are in town, though weather sometimes makes it difficult. It was cold this year, but the skies were clear and there was no snow in the forecast. Game on!

I had never sat behind the bench, so we chose tickets on that side of the arena. From previous experience, I knew that’s generally where fans of the away team choose to congregate. It was a great choice! There was nearly an entire section of Preds fans at the game, ready to scream and cheer and pump the team up.

Nashville Predators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Jan. 10, 2019

Willy Daunic interviewing Colton Sissons | Pekka Rinne stretching | Players getting ready for warm-ups | P.K. Subban

One of the many fun things about hockey is watching warm-ups. No matter where your seats are, arenas permit fans to come down next to the glass to catch a glimpse of their favorite players. Lots of people bring signs to beg for pucks, sticks, and photos. I always like to use the opportunity to take a few pictures of some of my favorites.

Nashville Predators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Jan. 10, 2019

Filip Forsberg | Calle Jarnkrok | Roman Josi

The game was a little bit crazy. The Preds were down 3-1 with 5 minutes left in the third period. Hockey scores can change very quickly, however, and the Preds were able to tie it up before the end of regulation. This forced the game into overtime, tied 3-3.

Nashville Predators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Jan. 10, 2019

Coming onto the ice for warm-ups | Selfie with Dad | Opening face-off | Starting goalies on the scoreboard

In the end, the Preds lost and still picked up the loser point. But it was worth it because of this:

Ekholm is my absolute favorite player. He doesn’t score a lot, but he’s scored both times I’ve traveled to Columbus.

Also, does anyone know how you get this job?

Nashville Predators vs. Columbus Blue Jackets, Jan. 10, 2019

Mattias Ekholm

I’m always looking to improve my skills and expand my resume. 😉

Have you ever been to a hockey game?

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Tiny House

Designing Around a Retro Ming Green Bathtub

Retro Ming Green Bathtub

This is my bathtub:

Retro Ming Green Bathtub

Isn’t it beautiful?

It’s okay if you don’t think so. I’m pretty sure my mom thinks it’s something straight from a mid-century horror movie. Ming green wasn’t my first choice when searching for a vintage bathtub, but I love it just the same.

The tub, made in 1968, was purchased through Facebook Marketplace for $70. The previous owners had just removed it from their bathroom because they were remodeling. How silly! Why would you remove something so glorious?! I guess one man’s trash truly is another man’s treasure.

Of course, now I’m left with the task of designing a bathroom around a giant green bathtub.

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Weighty Matters

Weighty Matters: Binge Eating

Weighty Matters

Weighty Matters is a series dedicated to open and honest conversations about insecurities, negative thoughts, and other things that hold us back.


A couple weeks ago, there were several people on Instagram that were very openly sharing their struggles with binge eating. I watched those videos, shed some tears, and did some reflection of my own.

I vividly remember the first time I ever read anything about binge eating. It was more than five years ago, in a post by a plus-sized blogger that I still follow to this day. My first thought was to brush it off and scoff. I remember thinking it wasn’t a real thing, not an actual disorder. It was just overeating or a lack of self-control.

I was in complete and total denial. 

Begin with the end in mind. - Stephen Covey

I didn’t want to accept that binge eating was an issue because I could see so many of those behaviors in myself. This is probably one of the reasons I failed at keto the first time–I wasn’t dealing with the real issues.

Being overweight is just a symptom. It’s not the true problem.

It’s really hard for me to admit that I have a problem, that my relationship with food is likely to be a lifelong struggle.

Eating in secret is probably the biggest binge issue for me. I travel a lot for work and it’s so easy to hole up in a hotel room and devour a pint of ice cream, an entire package of gluten free cookies, or an oversized bag of potato chips–sometimes all of those and more. Even alone, I felt embarrassed and ashamed even when I was doing this, yet I couldn’t stop the compulsion or the behavior.

Storing lots of snacks in my desk drawer at the office was also a problem. The office is another great place to secretly indulge. I’d go to the grocery store and load up, sneaking bags of food inside. There was one cashier that I would avoid because I felt like she was judging me and my choices. After all, how can you justify $30 worth of junk food at 10am on a Tuesday?

Sometimes I’d go to multiple stores, thinking I could spread my purchases out to be less noticeable. Clearance candy was my kryptonite.

I don’t know if any of those cashiers noticed my shopping habits or even cared, but it seemed like I could feel their disapproval. That was enough to bring on even more shame and embarrassment, which led to even more dysfunctional eating.

The destructive thinking is also a component that is hard to control. I’d stand at the register with a face red from embarrassment, palms damp from nervousness, sweating as the cashier rang through my chips and candy and ice cream. In my head, I was sure I knew what she was thinking. “Look at that fat girl with all that candy. What’s wrong with her? No wonder she’s so fat!” Why wouldn’t she have those thoughts when I was thinking the same things about myself?

It’s difficult for even me to understand why I would engage in those behaviors when I knew how miserable they would make me feel. It’s like no matter how far I fell, nothing could overcome my insatiable need to consume as much food as possible in as little time as possible. All of that sugar would make me feel so nauseous, yet I continued to binge and make myself sick.

I can’t let these bad behaviors get the best of me.

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