Learning to Love Leah

Dog Walking 101

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Hey guys! This weeks blog is all about dog walking etiquette! As many of you know, I have a year and a half old chiweenie pup that is super energetic and goes with me practically everywhere! I was prompted to write this blog after I was urged by Rover.com (more about this company below!)  to give my input on how I walk my little Rudy! Since I am doggy obsessed I agreed to contribute and below are the tips I use everyday 🙂 I truly hope they help you all!!

Walking on trails with your dog

Rudy LOVES to run after bikes. Not only can this be dangerous but it also can appear as aggressive behavior. The best way I have found to combat Rudy’s urge to run is to ask him to sit when I see a bike approaching. I squat down with him while we wait for the bike to go by and pet him to encourage him to sit still. After the bike goes by I will either give him a treat (if I have any on hand) or tell him “good boy!” and we will keep walking. This usually does the trick and can be a nice break if you are going on a long walk!

I have very mixed feeling about seeing an owner walking with their dog off leash. For a good rule of thumb, I would not recommend having your dog off leash on trails. In most parks this is not even allowed but inevitably someone will break the rules. Some dogs are very well trained and listen to their owners to stay close and not run at other dogs and people but even the best trained dogs can be unpredictable. It is not safe to assume that everyone you pass on your walk will be a dog lover and they may be frightened by the sight of your dog off it’s leash. There may also be other dogs walking the trail that are not dog friendly which could start a fight. To keep yourself and your pup safe, I would recommend always keeping your dog on their leash!

Feel free to encourage playing and running when it is just you and your dog. Rudy and I both enjoy running when no one else is in sight on the trails by my apartment. Sometimes we even go off trail and into the streams and follow deer tracks. On days when it is just Rudy and I, I tend to let Rudy lead, which is makes every walk different and enjoyable for you and  your pup!

Walking in the city or on busy streets

It is imperative to keep your dog on a short leash when walking by busy streets. Dogs sometimes have a tendency to run sporadically into the road and cars/bikes/buses are not expecting to slam on their brakes for a rouge dog in their path. To keep both your dog and others safe make sure that your dog only has enough slack to walk by your side comfortably. 

As mentioned earlier, most dogs don’t understand the dangers of walking near a busy road. I try to always make sure that I am walking closest to the street and that Rudy is on the other side of me, away from the road. This means that if he does decide to bolt into the road that he will have to cross me and will not be able to make it into the street easily.

Sometimes sidewalks can become very clustered with pedestrians and other dogs. For the most part I continue to keep Rudy’s leash short and have him walking on the side of me that is farthest away from the road. However, if sidewalk traffic starts becoming too overwhelming I will pick up Rudy and hold him until things calm down. I know not everyone can pick up their dogs but since Rudy is so short to the ground I do worry about him getting caught up under someone’s unsuspecting feet. Bigger dogs are more easily seen and can navigate crowds easier but if you start to feel too overwhelmed you can always pull your dog over to the side of the road and wait it out!

Dog Park Etiquette

Do not assume that all dogs at the dog park are friendly. A common misconception about the dog park is that all dogs there are going to be nice and receptive to both humans and other dogs. While most people do bring dogs that get along great with others, some people do bring their more aggressive pets. Always ask before petting or letting your dog play with another dog. It is important to keep your dogs on a leash if the owner is not sure of how the interaction will go to make sure that you will be able to easily pull your dog away in case of an emergency. 

Ease your dog into the dog park. Because Rudy is so small (about 7 pounds) I always try to go to dog parks that have an area for small dogs to play. However, sometimes there are no dogs in the small dog designated area and Rudy will cry the entire time wanting to be with the dogs on the other side of the fence. If this is the case, I make sure to ask the owners of the larger dogs how their dogs do with smaller dogs. If they say they do well with all dogs, I will take Rudy over to their side and let them play. Sometimes an owner will even be willing to bring their dog over to the smaller dog area so that Rudy will have a companion. I know it is tempting, but even if one owner says their dog does not do well with smaller dogs, please never put your dog in a potentially dangerous situation. Instead opt for playing fetch or chase or even going for a walk around the park. There are many ways to tire your dog out and it is always good to get in your exercise as well! 

Thank you for reading up on my dog walking tips! I would love to hear yours in the comments below!  And lastly, if you are looking for a trusty dog walker in your area check out Rover’s dog walking services where they have thousands of trusty locals that can help you out in a pinch!

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The Leibster Award

I’m sure some of you will have heard of it, but if you haven’t, the Leibster Award is a way of bloggers nominating each other, in a bid to get to know other new bloggers, which is so great! The sea of bloggers is vast and this makes it so much easier, and its interesting getting to learn something new about the person behind the blog!

Once nominated, you must answer questions that the person who has nominated you suggests, and continue the process (rules below). Thank you to Emily via her blog The Little Chronicles for nominating me! Here are the questions she asked me:

Why did you start blogging in the first place?

I started my blog as a way to express myself. I have been so focused on school for the past years of my life that I really did not have any hobbies, so starting my blog and Instagram was a big leap of faith for me. I wanted to be able to share my creativity and love of all things beauty, fashion and travel. I am really so blessed by the support that I’ve gotten along the way!

What is your mission for your blog?

I am still deciding on which direction to take my blog (beauty? fashion? travel? a mix of all?) but I hope to be able to brighten everyone’s days with my posts. I want to spread positivity and share what I love with others!

Who is your biggest inspiration?

My biggest inspiration for my blog has to be other growing bloggers! It is such a great community and everyone is so supportive of each other. If I ever feel in a rut, I just start searching for new bloggers and always find such great inspiration for new posts!

Where do you see your blog in the future?

I hope to have more time to devote to my blog and be able to post multiple times a week. I would LOVE to work with brands to share products that I sincerely enjoy. I want to redesign my website and invest in more lenses for my camera to provide the best content possible.

If you were given a free ticket to any place right now, where would you travel and why?

I would have to pick somewhere warm and tropical like Hawaii. I think it would be so relaxing to lay by the ocean when it still isn’t too hot outside! Plus, there is so much wildlife to explore on the islands. I would love to go to Kauai!

What was the last blog post you read about, and who was it by?

I am so obsessed with Amber Fillerup’s blog BarefootBlonde. Her latest post was about the winners of her giveaway meeting up with her in NYC. Her pictures are always gorgeous and of the best quality. I aspire for my blog to be like hers one day!

If you had to give one, what would you best skincare/beauty tip be?

 Be nice to your skin!! Take your makeup off every night, do not tug, pull or pick at your skin, and use gentle products that will help clarify and cleanse your face.

What is your most annoying habit?

I get overwhelmed very easily which makes it difficult for me to get things done. This is very frustrating as I typically have a very full “to-do” list for each day but I am working on doing better!

What is at the top of your current “me” shopping wishlist and why? 

The newest Tarte blush palette! I have been so obsessed with the blush palette from Too Faced that I cannot wait to buy another one. Hopefully I’ll be able to get my hands on it soon!!

What would you say your mantra/moto for life is?

Let It Be. I’ve loved this Beatles’ song for years and the message of letting go things that don’t matter. It is a great reminder to not sweat the small stuff.

What is the last song that was played on your iPod?

This is a tough one since I haven’t used my iPod in years but my favorite song currently has to be “No” by Meghan Trainor. Is it just me or does it remind you of 90’s Britney Spears? The beat is so catchy and I love to jam to it on my way to school in the morning. It’s the perfect empowering song for a Monday morning!

Now, here are my questions for you!!

  1. How did you choose the name for your blog?
  2. Who is your biggest encourager?
  3. What is the best quality about yourself?
  4. What quote inspires you the most?
  5. What has been your best vacation?
  6. What is your favorite snack?
  7. Do you plan on taking another direction with your blog in the future?
  8. What is your favorite makeup/beauty product?
  9. Who are some other bloggers that you love?
  10. What is something you can’t live without?
  11. What is a goal you have set for yourself this year?

Bloggers I nominate are:

Julia from Julia and Jax

Emma from Call it Chic

Make Life Pretty

Sarah from Sarah Tahami

Sammy from Sammy Hearts This

Jen & Lex from Jen and Lex

Mollie from Mollie’s Beauty Bible

Nataly from Beautifully Elegant

Claire from Claire N Connell

Nikki from NY In The City

Shannon from The Birdy Beak

So girls, the rules:

  1. Thank the blogger that nominated you through your blog or social media
  2. Answer the questions by the blog that nominated you
  3. Nominate 5-11 other bloggers (with under 1,000 followers on instagram)
  4. Create 11 new questions for the nominees to answer
  5. Notify all nominees via social media

I picked each blog because I felt like all of you ladies were really putting in great time and effort into your posts and needed to be recognized! I cannot wait to read all of your blogs answering the questions I have for you!

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Spring Break in ND and Getting Accepted into Nursing School

For my spring break this year I flew up to North Dakota to help my boyfriend pack up and move back to North Carolina! Before we left we decided to revisit a favorite spot of ours, Theodore Roosevelt National Park. It is definitely a must see if you are ever in the area – there are wild buffalo and horses everywhere! On our road trip home we are also going to stop at Mount Rushmore and drive through the Badlands! Pictures will be coming soon!!

Today I also finally got my acceptance letter into nursing school! After three years of taking NO classes in my major, this moment felt like it would never come. I’m ready to get the ball rolling and finish up these next two years so I can graduate with my BSN!

Check out Theodore Roosevelt National Park here

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We took this on a self timer after we climbed to the top of the mountain!
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Ian using his hiking poles and new backpack
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2016 – much better camera quality!!
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I love buffalo!
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Can you see the man on the mountain?

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Rudy’s Gotcha Day

A year ago today I took a leap of faith and adopted my little chiweenie (half chihuahua/half dachshund) puppy, Rudy. He and his siblings were only 6 weeks old but their mother had stopped taking care of them so they were up for adoption at the Humane Society. At the time, Rudy’s name was Sonnie (which turned out to be very appropriate as he LOVES the sun). He was the only brindle one of the bunch and the only puppy that I held before I decided to adopt him. He weighed a little less than a pound and was still very much a baby. I have been very lucky to have the help of my family and boyfriend to help me raise him as he can be quite a handful! Rudy is now a whopping 7 pounds and very active! He loves to play with everyone (including kids, deer, crickets and squirrels) and enjoys going on long walks and hikes. At only a few months old, Ian and I took him on an 8 mile hike and he was STILL running when we got back to the car! When he is not running in circles, Rudy loves to lay in the sun or sleep on his heated blanket. He has brought so much joy into my life as well as taught me a lot of responsibility. I can’t wait for many more wonderful years with this little boy by my side!! Happy Gotcha Day Rudy!!

First picture I ever saw of Rudy!!!

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Lipstick kisses for Rudy! Love that fang!
Lipstick kisses for Rudy! Love that fang!
Kisses!
Kisses!

He loves to sleep in my suitcase! Especially if I am not home.
He loves to sleep in my suitcase! Especially if I am not home.
Loves to cuddle as close to you as he can!
Loves to cuddle as close to you as he can!
Brown noser!
Brown-noser!

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Got caught in the rain! Rudy has his raincoat on :)
Got caught in the rain! Rudy has his raincoat on :)
Staying warm under his heated blanket
Staying warm under his heated blanket
Rudy put all of his babies up on the heated blanket :)
Rudy put all of his babies up on the heated blanket :)

Guarding the house with "Uncle" Kodiak
Rudy and his “Uncle” Kodiak guarding the house

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Taking a Self Health Day

As I have been learning about how to cope with my anxiety, I have become a big fan of taking self health days. These days consist of allowing myself to take a breather and relax. I choose to work on myself and bettering my health before doing anything else. I have been learning how important it is to make your emotional health and sanity your number one priority and while every day is different I am doing my best to better myself! I thought I’d share what I like to do on these days and I’d love to know in the comments how you like to pamper yourself!

P.S. Everything that is in green is a link to a product that I have mentioned! 🙂

Bubble Baths:

I find baths to be so relaxing. I make the water as hot as I can stand it and stay in until it starts to get cold. I use this lavender bubble bath that I bought at Walmart because it was on sale but I actually have really enjoyed using it. It makes the whole room smell like lavender and makes quite a lot of bubbles! I also will light candles if Rudy is already in his kennel for the night and take that time to wind down from the day.

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Face Masks:

I have been getting more into skin care recently and have been exploring the world of face masks. I picked up two Studio 35 masks a few months back and while I don’t think they are anything special, they are still fun to use. I have the cucumber peel-off mask and the mint clay mask both of which you can buy at Walgreen’s. When I get out of the bath, I like to wash my face with this cleanser, also from Walgreen’s, which gives a nice minty, tingly feeling to the skin.

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Watching TV:

Recently, my guilty pleasure has been The Bachelor! I try to watch it live each week but if I miss it, I Hulu it ASAP. I’m team Lauren B. all the way!! Between episodes I also like pretty much any show on TLC and HGTV.

Cuddling with Rudy:

Of course, I cannot forget about spending time with my little puppy! He brings me so much joy and happiness and I love cuddling up with him and getting puppy kisses!

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5 Things I’ve Learned About Myself From Working at a Nursing Home

After working for a little over a year at a continued care retirement community I have learned some important lessons about myself and decided to share them with you all! If anyone else has ever worked as a nurse, CNA or in a nursing home in general, please leave a comment saying what you have learned about yourself!

1. I’m not good at hiding when I’m tired 

Working for 8+ hours at a time, you get tired. Since my job is to keep our residents happy, I rarely complain of being tired/hungry/in pain. However, one resident in particular always comments on how tired I look by the end of the night. I always thought I hid it so well  but after looking in the mirror I realized she’s right, when I’m exhausted it shows.

2. I am able to remember A LOT

As a CNA you have to remember every little detail about a resident’s schedule: What they typically order to eat, what they are allowed to eat/drink, what time they go to bed, their nighttime routine, what they like to wear, what time they get up, ect. While this seems overwhelming at first, it becomes almost instinctual. I sometimes go two weeks without working and will still be able to recall  everyone’s preferences and routines when I get back.

3. I am stronger than I think (physically and emotionally)

Physically-

Having a job where you are expected to care for all the needs of another person means there is a lot of physical strength involved. I have to be able to help residents as they stand, roll them around in their bed and support their weight as they walk. Sometimes a resident’s strength will give out during a transfer (moving from the bed to the wheelchair, for example) and you will be practically holding them in midair until you can gently sit them down. I do not have large muscles but I am still able to (typically) hold my own. (However, I am no where near as strong as my other co-workers, may of whom have been working for years and make everything look so easy!!)

Emotionally-

After working a year, I have witnessed my fair share of deaths. I have held hands of residents on the brink of death, read to them, sang to them and told them it was alright to let go. I have heard residents cry for their parents and wish to die. I have been present when the nurse listened one last time for a heartbeat and declared the resident deceased. I have had to discuss funeral matters with a family minutes after witnessing their loved one’s death. In all of those times it is imperative to stay emotionally strong for that resident and surprisingly I am able to do it every time.

4. I ask for help a lot – but that’s okay!

It can be easy to be prideful (or not want to bother your co-workers AGAIN) and want to do everything by yourself.  However, as a CNA, the well being of the resident is extremely important. I have learned that if I am uncertain of anything, to never be afraid to ask for help. It is better to have more people helping than to be shorthanded. Luckily, I am blessed to have great co-workers (many nurses included!!) who are always willing to lend a helping hand.

5. My heart has an ever-growing abundance of love for others

I have celebrated holidays and birthdays with residents, cheered them on during physical therapy and sat through many televised sports games and routed on their teams. I have been spat on, peed on and cursed at by residents who are confused and do not understand why I am in their rooms. I have spent many hours working and typically go home each night feeling exhausted. But, even on the most stressful of days, I still love each and every resident with all of my heart.

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Celebrating Valentine’s Day Early

I have been so impressed with how good Rudy has been since we have gotten back to the apartment. Normally we go on at least one long walk a day or to the dog park but recently we have been cooped up in the house. So since I couldn’t take him somewhere nice for Valentine’s Day (he’s only 7 pounds – even with a sweater he still shivers outside!), I decided to buy him his first Puppuccino! Yes, there is a drink at Starbucks just for dogs (sample size cup filled with whipped cream). Rudy absolutely LOVED every lick of it and even tried to run away with the cup before I could take the cap off! It was fun to see him enjoy his little treat and to do a photo shoot of him. Normally he is quite photogenic but it was hard to get a good picture as he was so engrossed in the whipped cream (still managed to get a couple though!).

We are going to continue the celebration tonight by going home to eat an early Valentine’s dinner with my family. I’m excited to see them and eat a nice home cooked meal! We couldn’t think of anything very festive to make so we are having spinach ravioli – YUM! Rudy will also be thrilled to go to his “grandparents” house and see his “Uncle” Kodiak (my parent’s dog). They have so much fun chasing each other and rolling on the floor. So, this will be another surprise gift for him!

On Sunday, I will be celebrating with my co-workers and residents of the continued care retirement community where I work. I saved my matching pink scrubs to wear and I’m sure we will also be decorating the dining and living rooms so it should be a fun day! It is always very special to care for the people that live there but holidays spent together are always that much more special.

I hope everyone has a special Valentine’s Day filled with love and joy. Make sure to celebrate your loved one’s this Valentine’s Day! (Parents, pets and friends count too – not just significant others!) Even just a quick text can change someones day!

Happy Valentine’s Day 🙂

Matching Starbucks drinks!
Matching Starbucks drinks!

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Running off before I could even open the cup!
Running off before I could even open the cup!

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Moving Back into My Apartment

As I type this blog I am watching Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta with Rudy sound asleep on my lap. I have just finished taking an online philosophy exam (I made a 95 – WOO!!) and have officially moved back into my apartment after winter break. Surprisingly, I feel good. Typically it is hard for me to go back to living alone (with the exception of Rudy, of course) after spending so much time with my family. However, my mom came over today and helped me to scrub, vacuum and declutter my ENTIRE apartment! It feels wonderful to be able to roll on the floor with Rudy, have a clean tablecloth on my dining room table and sleep in a freshly made bed. Oh, and did I mention that she also stocked my pantry and fridge with my favorite foods?! My dad also made himself available during the day just in case we needed him. I am so blessed to have such a supportive family that realizes how important it is to come home to a clean slate.

THANK YOU MOM AND DAD!

With that being said, I will be pretty busy for the next few days as I work this weekend and have a test on Tuesday. Keeping busy is very important for me and with all that I have on my plate, plus keeping Rudy happy, I think I have my hands full.

Thank you to everyone who has followed this blog and/or my Instagram. I have been so humbled by all the sweet responses I have gotten. Later this week I will be posting my first makeup review. I know this may not be interesting to everyone and by no means do I expect you to read it if it does not interest you! I will be posting life updates every week but I also wanted to include some of my interests on this blog which I will also be posting about weekly. Again, thank you for all the support!!

Chocolate mousse that my mom surprised me with! The bowl is reusable too!!
Chocolate mousse that my mom surprised me with! The bowl is reusable too!!
Rudy all snuggled up in his heated blanket!
Rudy all snuggled up in his heated blanket!

Relaxing with Rudy!
Relaxing with Rudy! P.S. Also wearing John’s college shirt in honor of his birthday!

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Welcome to Learning to Love Leah!

I cannot believe I am finally posting my first blog!! Since I started college in 2013, I have enjoyed watching YouTube videos, vlogs and reading blogs. So, now three years later, I have decided to start my own blog! I am a twenty year old college student and part-time nursing assistant.  School has consumed most of my life for years and recently I have been learning how to relax and find joy outside of academics. Through this blog I hope to document the new and exciting moments of my life as I explore myself. I have recently developed a fascination with fashion and beauty, discovering a creative side I thought I had lost in elementary school. I have gained confidence in traveling and am loving exploring nature and new places. I have found motivation to get dressed, clean my apartment and take care of my body.

These changes did not happen overnight but took time. As I mentioned previously, I have always succeeded in school. But, to do so, I focused all of my energy in my assignments. I would study for hours, days, weeks and still not feel confident in knowing the material. I have vivid memory of doing my homework and sobbing (as young as middle school) because I felt as if I had no energy and no motivation but my conscience would not let me stop. My brain felt as if it was being assaulted but I had a loving family, wonderful friends and was successful. Nothing made sense. It began to get too overwhelming and in high school I started distancing myself from everyone, pouring more time into my challenging class schedule. After still struggling to find happiness in college, I accepted the help of a counselor and was diagnosed with general anxiety disorder and mild depression. When the sessions weren’t enough I began medication to clear my mind of the fog that had taken residence there for years. I still have bad days but I am finding myself happier than I have been in years. I am proud of myself and where I am going with my life. My family, boyfriend and dog (yes, my dog has helped me in SO many ways!) have been my biggest support through everything and I am so grateful for each and every one of them.

With all that aside, this blog will not focus on my anxiety and depression. I am realizing that I am much more than those two words and plan to focus on the positivity of my life. Since I have finally acquired a professional quality camera (Best Christmas gift ever from my boyfriend!) I feel prepared to take another leap in my life and start this lifestyle blog. I would love to take you along for my journey in self-discovery as I learn to love Leah.

Working after Christmas Eve Service. I helped decorate the dining room with snowflakes for a Christmas Day surprise!
Working after Christmas Eve Service. I helped decorate the dining room with snowflakes for a Christmas Day surprise!
Taken before Christmas Eve Service with my dog, Rudy.
Taken before Christmas Eve Service with my dog, Rudy.
With my boyfriend, Ian, at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
With my boyfriend, Ian, at the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND
Theodore Roosevelt National Park, ND

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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