Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Rock the Vote

This is an important election. Imagine the world you want to bring your kids into, the mistakes we have seen in the past of leaders gone wrong, the weight of the natural world that should be sitting on all our shoulders. While these aren't the choices we wanted, ONE of them will become President. Don't throw away your vote or choose not to cast it all. And remember, the nightmare is either almost over or just beginning. It's your choice.

Vote vote vote. 

Friday, September 30, 2016

Remember Me?

Oh hey! Sorry to jump out at everyone like that but just letting you guys know that I'm still here!

I know I post on and off this blog a lot but sometimes life gets in the way of blogging. As much as I would love to be a full-time blogger, my other passions won't allow it. I've even put my photography business on the back burner for awhile after some creativity burnout. Working a full time job at an animal shelter takes so much out of you. It's the most rewarding work I've ever done while also being the most draining. However, now that I've just gotten a promotion (yay me!) into a better position where I'm focused more on the dogs and less on talking to crazy people... I'm hoping to start up both again.

So what did you guys miss out on in the last few months?
--I turned 30. That's crazy. I celebrated with my closest friends in San Diego, went to Tijuana, and got a taco tattoo. Because why not?
--Added to the ever growing zoo by getting Johnny a hedgehog for his birthday and adopting one of our foster kittens permanently.
--Johnny and I went to Portland for a few days and it was the best vacation I've had in awhile besides being much needed. I love that city with my whole heart.
--Went to Life is Beautiful which was a whole lot of fun with good friends.
--Recently got promoted as Canine Playgroup Specialist at the shelter.

Besides the constant revolving door of foster animals I take in, that's pretty much it. Life has been hectic, busy, stressful, and fun. Of course there's always behind the scenes stuff that's too personal to mention on here but everything's going really well for me lately. I would love to promise to update more regularly and of course I'm going to try. Thanks for hanging in there with me even when I'm not consistent, I appreciate every single one of you reading.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Cool for the Summer

It's officially triple digit weather here in good old Las Vegas which means finding the best ways to keep cool in the summer while still having fun. I love hitting up one of the local pools on the Strip and having a Pina Colada with Johnny. But what about my four legged friends? They want to have fun too! While Murderface loves hiking, it gets hot fast unless you head out at the crack of dawn. However he's just like his mommy and is a water dog at heart!

Sometimes we head out to Lake Mead and spend a day with the Bighorn Sheep, sharing the lake and swimming. However when my days off are limited, we love to just hang out in the backyard. I picked up a kiddie pool at Walmart the other day since we don't have a pool of our own. The security guard helped me out and asked me if it was for my kids. I sheepishly responded that it was for my dogs and he laughed and said "Hey, they are your kids!" My kind of guy right there.

Murderface is water obsessed. However Jasper is not into getting wet AT ALL. So we found a way for him to enjoy summer too! I like to fill up a mini muffin tin with water and then place a piece of Pup-Peroni in the middle. I place the tin in the freezer until I have frozen Pup-Peroni popsicles! Jasper loves them!

I'm a big fan of Pup-Peroni. Not only do I use them at home but it's the number one treat we use at my shelter! The large sticks are easy to break so we can split them into a bunch of little pieces and use them as training rewards. It's not often that a shelter dog will refuse one.

How are you spending the summer with your best friend? Pup-Peroni wants to know! Take the Beef Up Your Summer Quiz and you could win up to $300 in toys and treats for your pup!

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Khalessi of Kittens

If you follow me on Instagram or Snapchat (jraquel702), you might have noticed I took on a few more fosters. 4 to be exact. 4 more dogs? She must be crazy! Except these guys don't bark... They meow!

It's kitten season at the shelter which means that our cages overflow with nursing mothers or abandoned kittens that need help if they are going to survive. Now I'm primarily a dog person (if you couldn't tell) but I've been missing the presence of a cat ever since Sinatra passed away. I figured I could do my part and help out by fostering a litter. I have to say, it's been a totally different experience from fostering dogs but in a way it's a little simpler. My little guys were given to me around 5 weeks of age so they were already pretty self-efficient and using a litter box, eating canned and dry food, and starting to groom themselves. They still are a little stinky and sometimes miss the box and need an extra bath but for the most part they are really easy little guys. After day three of having them home, they already follow me around wherever I go or greet me at the kennel gate when I get home from work. I feel like Dany and her dragons.

As they have learned how to climb over the baby gate and I can't trust them alone with the dogs, they live in a large dog crate when they can't be supervised. When they are 8 weeks of age they will go back to the shelter to be vaccinated and adopted. This one little light gray girl though might just stay behind with us. She's definitely the ringleader, fearless and easy with the dogs. She's very affectionate and playful. Even Johnny said we could keep just one....

Consider fostering for your local shelter! It's a wonderful way of giving back and you can foster for as long as a few weeks to a few months. Fostering is one of my favorite parts of rescue and it's not limited to just dogs and cats. Find out more about fostering here and if you're in the Las Vegas area please check out how to foster with Animal Foundation.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

HeArt's Speak Exposure Project

We just wrapped up Dogs Playing for Life workshops last week at the shelter. This week we had HeArt's Speak (which I'm proudly a member of) out here teaching some shelter photography workshops for those wanting to learn how to take photos and write better adoption bios. They also generously donated a camera and studio equipment for us to use, I don't always have to bring in my own camera now!

This is why the crickets have been chirping in my blog space, it's just been an incredibly draining few weeks. With all these workshops now wrapped up though, I can bring some attention back here and share some of the finer details. Here's just a glimpse of some of the photos I captured in the two days of the Exposure Project. I spent a little more time playing with the soft boxes and backdrop since studio lighting isn't something I'm accustomed to using. I also focused on the cats, it's a nice change of pace since I'm typically photographing dogs 90% of the time.

These guys are all still for adoption. However little Raquel below (we bonded over the shared name) has gone to her new home!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Festival Vibes

Dress: Free People // Hat: Free People // Sandels: Ross

I put my extensions back in just in time for warmer weather and man I'm glad to have them back! Long hair and boho dresses go hand and hand together. Now that it's nearly summer, I'm in that stage of life where I'm refusing to wear pants. It's also festival season and although I may not be there in the flesh, I'm definitely there in spirit. I've never really been a hat person unless it was beanies but they are really growing on me lately, I'm letting out my inner Stevie Nicks.

I've got a busy week coming up at the shelter with the Humane Society conference in town. Lot's of workshops for Dogs Playing for Life, Compassion Fatigue, and the upcoming HeArts Speak photo workshop that I'll be a part of! I'm very excited even though I'm going to be a little tired old lady.

Who else is excited for summer?

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Bullet Journal Peek

So I've never done a video for my blog before but I thought it would be an easier way to flip through my Bullet Journal and show you what I've done with it so far. I don't think you ever get use to the sound of your own voice honestly. Also don't mind the short pause on the Memories page, Johnny was walking through and I was making sure he wasn't lurking on my video! I also still have my collection pages, this is just a monthly view of April and upcoming May.

I hope you like what I've done. I'm always open to new ideas and suggestions!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Miss Porkchop

It's pouring non stop today so I figured I would do a short little post introducing my latest foster before I get back to my coffee and books. I'm making the most of this rainy day off!

Stassi went into boot camp with the rescue founder after we discovered her separation anxiety (and my torn carpet) and she's doing really well. Since we traded, I get this adorable derp face instead. She had a different name but we changed it asap since it was awful. Now we call her Miss Porkchop which fits her goofy personality. She's crate trained, potty trained (although the outside elements are testing that today), and great with other dogs. She's a little shy of men but she tolerates Johnny pretty well. I don't doubt she will get adopted quickly, being the great little dog she is. The sooner the better, we are getting filled up at the shelter as well as in the rescue so we can't take more until these littles find their homes!

How's your weekend going? The weather is crazy but I'm loving it!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Snapshots Lately

Crazy how April just flew by! May is looking to be even more jam-packed. The Humane Society of the United States is coming to Vegas for a conference and will be throwing a bunch of workshops at my shelter which is going to keep us insanely busy but I'm looking forward to it. Lot's of good changes are in the works.

Some things happening lately:

+ I got my car fixed only to have to bring it in for a recall, so I'll have a rental car for a few weeks.
+ Johnny and I went to the County Fair a few weeks ago. I ate so much and we rode the Ferris Wheel in the rain.
+ I've been thrifting a lot on my days off and finding some great stuff.
+ Some of my favorite dogs ever have been coming through the shelter and getting adopted. We also have wolves (!) currently from a confiscation case which might be one of the craziest things I've seen thus far.
+ I bought Murderface a new pool and he is loving it. Something to keep his mind off his healing hot spots.
+ We have had our foster Stassi for a few weeks and she's definitely out of her shy stage. However she resource guards food, high value treats, and space from me and the dogs. She also has separation anxiety as we found out yesterday when she broke out of her crate and tore up the carpet in our bedroom. Notice how pleased she looks with herself after all that. Sigh. So we will be trading in fosters as our schedule won't work right now with a dog with those issues. New foster comes tomorrow.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

RIP Sweet Prince

If you know me at all, you will know my obsessive love for Prince. My phone exploded this morning with friends texting me to see if I was ok, if I had heard. It's kind of funny in a sad way because it does feel like a personal loss. I've loved Prince since I was a teenager. It was this weird little quirky thing my friends and family found amusing considering the era I was growing in. But I adored him. I have his music videos on dvd and I would play them over and over until I knew them by heart. This poster was my favorite. 

I actually cried this morning. I've never done that over a celebrity before, someone I really didn't know and yet knew intimately through his music. The day I saw him play live was one of the best days of my life. I took as many blurry phone photos as possible despite the no photos ban knowing I would never have another chance. He sang Purple Rain. I swear we made eye contact. The concert ticket is on my wall, a cherished memento.

I was sad about Bowie. I was more upset about Rickman. But Prince... I'm absolutely heartbroken. 

"Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called life
Electric word LIFE
It means forever and that's a mighty long time
But I'm here to tell you
There's something else...

The after world
A world of never ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night."

RIP Sweet Prince.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Pit Bulls and Why I Rescue Them.

I've been working in rescue and animal welfare for about 2 years now. Two years of happy and sad tears, frustration, pure joy and fuzzy warm feelings, and a little thrill of danger every now and then. I'm so glad to have finally found my calling but it wasn't easy.

I was always one of those kids that had a million different ideas in my head on what I wanted to be when I grew up. I was always bringing home animals when I was a child, I was obsessed with them. I went to zoo summer camps and most people figured I would become a veterinarian. However I never had any interest in that idea. It just wasn't appealing. So I flitted through my teens and early twenties just kind of floating by while everyone else went to college and had a plan. Everyone else knew what they were meant to do... Except me. Now I'm not complaining, I had some great times that I'll forever cherish. It just took longer for that lightbulb to finally go off.

A cute guy after a bad breakup was the one who finally switched on the light. A friend had passed away and we had met at a memorial party. We should have always known each other, the tight circle that our friends had... But we didn't. A couple of my friends introduced us, "He likes dogs." They said. And he did. He lived out of state and was passionately involved with a pit bull rescue. We loosely dated for a few months and in that time period, not only did I fall hard, but he inspired me so much when it came to his rescue work. I had always heard the myths surrounding pit bulls although I can't say I took it as seriously as some people did. He had three of them, all rescues, and were some of the sweetest dogs I had ever met despite coming from awful circumstances like fighting rings. He had rescued dogs in the field, had cut them free from chains... I learned a lot from him. I learned about the stigma, and the truth that was buried beneath it. That time spent with him and seeing what he did, it sparked something in me that I hadn't felt in a long time, if ever.

While we didn't work out romantically (but are still friends) he gave me something better than a relationship. He planted the seeds of inspiration to finally do what I was meant to do. I started looking into rescues to volunteer with which led to me photographing dogs for adoption. That led to me helping with events and pulling dogs that were being surrendered (or in a few instances rescuing in the field). I wanted more, I wanted to do more. Itching to learn from the best of the best was what inspired me to apply for the internship at Best Friends. That internship led to employment at Best Friends and my time spent there is what ultimately helped me land the job I have now. And my guy friend gave me advice and supported me along the way. I feel like I can look to him as an Animal Welfare colleague these days and still hope to be able to do half the things he has accomplished.

I fight hard for bully breeds these days even though I aim to rescue all dogs. They hold a dear place in my heart. They are wonderful, loyal, happy, energetic dogs. I have yet to meet one I didn't like. Yes they have their issues but that goes for any breed. A dog selective bully is no different to Murderface, my Husky/Border Collie mix who's also dog selective.

You never know how or when you'll find the path to your future. It might be in the sparkle of a cute guy's eyes, an unexpected loss, or the slobbery kisses of a cropped ear dog. But it will find you, eventually.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Homeward Bound

As much as I love to dress up, you will usually find me in jeans and a t-shirt. I'm a comfy/casual lady. Hence why I tend to really invest in cute tees. I freaking love this shirt. Not only is it really comfortable but you mix one of my favorite childhood movies with Drake lyrics and it's a done deal. I could hear the song in my head the whole time I was taking these photos!

Jeans: Tommy Hilfiger (old)
Glasses: Old (Similar)
Scarf: Thrifted (Similar)

Things that have been making me happy lately...

+ Seeing Coheed & Cambria for the 15th time and finally playing my favorite song!
+ Buying our tickets for Dashboard Confessional/TBS tour... So stoked.
+ Trying out MrBlancTeeth whitening strips and they actually work. Bring on the coffee!
+ Having my car finally looked at after the accident, fingers crossed.
+ Trips to Trader Joes
+ Lot's of puppy adoptions at work and the Great Dane we currently have, she's so sweet.
+ Having a REAL day off for once!

Hope you're all having a great day!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Bullet Journaling

Have you heard of Bullet Journaling? I came across a post recently that talked about it and I was so inspired by it that I immediately went out to pick up supplies to start my own! A bullet journal is basically part planner, part journal. It's a very organized system to keep track of absolutely everything in your life. My mind is in constant chaos and I've always wanted to be more organized but in a fun way that will keep me interested enough to keep up with it. Bullet Journaling has been that for me so far.

You can use any kind of journal to start. There's an "official" one you can pick up here or I've seen these highly recommended. However I just picked up a basic one from Barnes & Noble to start. I also picked up some Faber-Castell pens from Michaels and that's really all you need to begin!

First off, I apologize for my terrible small handwriting. I'm hoping that writing in my BJ will help improve that one skill that's been escaping me forever. How I passed kindergarten I'll never know, can't draw a straight line or cut straight. I'm just a mess. ANYWAYS.

So your Bullet Journal can be broken up by spreads. This is my monthly spread. I started towards the end of March and that's the beauty of this thing, you can start and stop whenever you want to. So I have the days listed and then broken up by Morning, Afternoon, and Evening. Below is my little key for tracking what is what and on the side are my Monthly Goals for that month. It's not the prettiest monthly spread but I'm not exactly really artistic when it comes to drawing and such... Another skill we are hoping to improve.

Here's my very first Daily Spreads. You can break these up however you want and you'll see that my Daily's changed soon after this. If you miss a day, don't worry about it. Just pick up where you left off. I have a Key page in the very front of my book as well as an Index so I can always find whatever pages I need, it's very convenient for my Collection pages mostly.

In my Daily's you'll find tasks and events I want to take care of for that day. I've always included the weather and sometimes dinner if it's something I want to remember making again or tracking for weight loss. Tasks with a dot in front of them are tasks that need to be done. One's with an X are completed. One's with a circle (O) are Events. And arrows (-->) are Migrated Tasks that I haven't finished yet and are being moved to another day. Notes are taken with a dash (-).

I really love updating my journal at the end of the day. I fill in the weather icons, leave any notes for that day, fill in my habit tracker (which I'll get to), and set up the following days header and then add in my tasks for that day. The next morning I will add in anything I forgot and then start tackling my day!

I also love the Collections idea for your BJ. I have Collection Pages for Blog Post Ideas, Books to Read, Hashtags I use and want to remember, and records I want to add to my Vinyl stash so far. You can really make any kind of Collection page you want! I also have a Habit Tracker page to track certain habits that I want to stay on top of. I didn't take a picture of it since I'm constantly crossing things out and adding new ones so it's not really the prettiest one this month. A few habits are days that I don't eat Red Meat, days I make time to read, days I spend editing photos, doing yoga or working out on the treadmill, or how often I post on my blog. You can track anything you desire!

Your Bullet Journal will constantly change and evolve as you find things that work better for you and cut out things that you don't like or don't work. As you can see, my Daily's have already changed a bit in a style I like better. You will also make mistakes so don't stress it! As a perfectionist, that's hard for me to deal with but in the worst case scenarios... Like when those doodles don't turn out... Just put a sticker on it! Worst case scenario, have a sip of tea and a deep breath before letting it go and moving on to the next part of your journal. There's no such thing as a wrong Bullet Journal. Mistakes happen!

So what do you think? Would you try Bullet Journaling?

If you want to find out more about Bullet Journals, check out the official site or Boho Berry, she was the main inspiration that made me want to start my own.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Friday Foxy Things

Happy Friday everyone! So excited to have a REAL Friday since I have the day off tomorrow, woohoo! I've been crushing hardcore on a whole bunch of stuff lately and since it's also payday, I may have to splurge just a little bit on some more decor for the house. Here is what I'm feeling lately...

I love all the art prints from Oh Gosh Cindy. I still want the Buffy one and the David Mitchell print but I couldn't resist this one from my favorite bad movie ever, The Room. If you haven't seen it... You have to. Trust me.

This shirt is coming to me soon in the mail and I'm going to wear it everyday. 

I'm already feeling the heat here in Vegas and this dress looks perfect to wear in the warmer weather with a sports bra.

+ Here's a great article on why I'm glad Cesar Milan is being investigated for animal cruelty charges. I have never been a supporter of his outdated training techniques.

+ Have you heard the great news? SeaWorld is finally ending it's orca breeding program! This is a great step in the right direction.

+ We finally bought a kitchen table! I love our little pub table from World Market. It was a little too tall for our space, however Johnny has skills and was able to cut the legs and make it shorter. Now it's perfect! Dining room table is next but now we don't have to eat on the couch!

+ Bohemian Bunnie is wearing the most beautiful dress!

+ These are the next plants about to go in my garden. I have a retaining wall along the brick fencing  so I need big plants that can actually be seen PLUS I'm trying to make the backyard look as green and English as I possibly can. These guys are gonna help me so much in attaining that goal.

+ I think these little Easter Egg Bud Vases are a really cute idea on decorating our mantel.

What have you been feeling lately?