Adoption Day ❤︎ Double the Love

Today is one of my favorite days to celebrate: It’s Lylee and Enzo’s Gotcha-Day!

If you’ve been around for a while you might know that we (accidentally) got Ly and Enzo on the same day, one year apart. Even if you are new around here, chances are you’ve picked up on the fact that we absolutely adore our kids dogs kids. Here’s more detail on Lylee, Enzo, and their adoptions.

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Ly is a husky/boxer mix (I think she looks like a Carolina Dog, though). We adopted her four years ago today from a friend and she was already a year and a half old. I 100% remember that night. K and I drove an hour north separately because she came with a doghouse that needed hauled home in his truck. I put her in my backseat and she fell asleep less than 15 minutes into our drive. It was raining and stormy, but she seemed so content in my car. She lived with me at my parents’ house until we got married and bought a house.

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We started looking for dog #2 a few months after we bought the house. Ly was starting to develop a sever social anxiety with dogs and I was relentless about getting a puppy. We knew we needed a young, submissive, male dog. K wanted something “tough” looking- like a boxer or a pit. I was indifferent. Then we set eyes on Enzo. After meeting a few other dogs we knew Enzo was the one. When Lylee happily accepted him into the home there was no going back.

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I almost die every time I see his puppy pictures. He’s the cutest.

Similar to how one dog isn’t for some people, I will admit that two dogs aren’t a good idea for everyone. That said, I doubt we’ll ever be a one-dog-family again. I love our duo.

I love that while one dog cuddles with K the other one seeks attention from me.

I love that Lylee was +2 years old when Enzo came into our lives and she taught him 80% of the rules just by example. It made training SO much easier.

I love that they have different personalities. Lylee is mouthy and stubborn and excitable and intelligent beyond belief. Enzo is delicate and laid back and quiet and loyal to a fault. (Lylee is loyal, too, but in her own way.)

I love the relationship between the two dogs. I love that Ly eases up during tug-o-war with Enzo (verses giving it her all when playing with K). I love how Enzo licks Ly’s face in a gesture of respect and adoration.

I love how they greet one another when they’ve been separated for a period of time.

I love that Ly lets Enzo sit on her back and Enzo lets Lylee rest her head on him.

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I love that Lylee comes running if Enzo yelps in pain or whines in distress.

I love that Enzo has the lowest growl I’ve ever heard… while Lylee “talks” just like all those huskies in viral internet videos.

I love that on their own our dogs are good listeners and perfect angels… and when they’re together they are monsters. Haha. That sounds messed up, but they’re siblings and they feed off one another’s energy- which is so perfect.

I love that Enzo’s personality mirrors K but he’s more bonded to me and Ly’s personality is closer to mine but she adores K.

If you’re happy as a lark with one dog then I think that’s fantastic.
If you’ve got a teensy tiny persistent longing in your heart to add a second canine to the mix then I say do it. I am so, so grateful that K was on board to add to our pack. Having two dogs makes my heart so full! (But, of course, there’s always room for three or four dogs… *hint hint* )

Do you have a dog(s)? What’s your favorite part about having multiples?

This one’s for you, Olya  😉

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Comparing Apples to Orange to Instagram

I don’t discuss my full time job here very often (ever? ) but I work for an appraisal company. A large part of my day is spent comparing commercial properties to one another (or comparing markets or construction quality or amenities…). All day long I make comparisons- it’s second nature now.

In valuing property, comparisons are necessary. That’s 100% the opposite when it comes to valuing our lives- comparing ourselves to one another is so dangerous and toxic. I think all bloggers tackle this problem in a post at some point, but just recently I witnessed individual friends get down on themselves after making comparisons. That led to a self-evaluation where I realized that I tend to put pressure on myself, my marriage, my relationships, and even my dogs after comparing myself/us/them to someone else.

We all do it. I have mommy friends that compare themselves to other moms (or compare their child’s development to other children). I have friends in the dating pool that compare themselves to other people who are dating or recently engaged. I have married friends that ask K and I  about our relationship and then compare us to their life. I’m sure that parents of adult-children compare their lives to other older parents (i.e. how often their kids come around, whether or not they’re grandparents, how close they are to retirement). There’s no age restriction on comparing- we all do it.

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I enjoy social media, but we know those perfect snapshot moments don’t help. Engagements, pregnancy announcements, new houses- they makes us wonder if we’re where we should be in life. Tropical vacations, perfectly cooked dinners, beautifully lit trees and steaming cups of tea- we wonder how others manage to have it all and what we should be doing differently to achieve it, too.

A few days ago I talked a friend off a proverbial ledge. She’d had a great day and was feeling good, but then she looked around and started second guessing what was happening to her in comparison to others. We both came to the conclusion that these ‘harmless’ comparisons were making her dangerously unhappy. It’s ok to want what we want and it’s ok to look to others as examples, but we can’t idolize other relationships or careers or lives. First of all, we’re all different and things never work out the same way for one as they do another. Secondly, we don’t actually know how glamorous (or tragic) someone’s life is. And, regardless, it doesn’t matter- you have your life and there’s no Freaky Friday fortune cookie that going to swap it with another person.

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I am happy with who I am and the life I live and the place I’m at- but I still fall victim to comparison more often than I’d like to admit. I glance across the aisle and see how someone else is doing on their wife test or employee test or friend test. I try to put myself on a grading scale. How am I doing as a daughter? friend? dog owner? Well clearly not as good as so-and-so… just look at those Instagram pictures!

It sucks. And we all do it. And we need to remind one another (gently) to stop. So here’s your reminder today.

Your house is cozy and comfy, even with the cat hair tucked in the corner of the steps. Your tree is just the right size and sparkle for you. People love you for the person you are- they’re not comparing you to anyone so why are you?

Pass the message along and remind someone else that we don’t live in a venn diagram. Pat yourself on the back and then pat someone else’s back. Go after the things you want, not the things you think you’re supposed to want. The people around you are very happy with who you are- you should be, too 🙂

You do you, boo.

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Currently…

Holy Moly, it’s December. And just like that 2016 is almost out the door! Lately I’ve been posting lists and reviews but it’s been two months since I’ve done a “currently” post. Since this lines up so nicely with Kristen & Gretch‘s What New With You link-up I figured why not!

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Eating… pizza & leftovers. After botching two of the last HelloFresh dinners we received I decided that I could just as easily meal plan and make my own foods. But… I haven’t done the meal planning part yet so we ordered pizza on Monday and went out to dinner on Tuesday. Whoops.

Drinking… tea and coffee and hot chocolate! As the temperature drops I begin to crave warm beverages. My brother gave me a coffee maker (he had an extra, I guess? ) so once I buy some coffee I’ll be brewing it at home! (Right now I wait until I get to work or swing through a drive thru.)

Reading… The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. A friend recommended it & it’s one of the books I chose for the #SCWBC16. I just started it on Tuesday so I don’t have much to say about it yet…

Watching… as a couple we’ve been sitting down and watching The Voice. We also saw Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them last Saturday. On my own I binge on American Housewife, Superstore, Speechless, The Good Place, and, of course, Miss Fisher’s!

Listening to… allllll the Christmas music. My favorite Christmas music genres (that’s a thing, right? ) are choruses, orchestras, and anything pre-1950. Also, acapella groups like Pentatonix and Straight No Chaser.

Feeling… patient. I don’t want to rush the Christmas season. I don’t want to lose my temper with holiday traffic. I don’t want to waste lazy nights or squeeze my eyes shut on hectic days. When I’m not feeling patient I’m trying to will myself to feel it 😉

Giving… to some of my favorites this past Tuesday. I’d live in a cardboard box if I gave to every single animal organization that I follow so I have to take turns. On Tuesday I opted to give back to the rescue that raised Enzo (Paws & Prayers). I also “sent” honeybees through the ELCA to a family in need across the globe. (I’m not sharing this for a pat on the back- I just wanted to share some worthwhile charities.)

Loving… all the packages on my front porch!! I love coming home from work & seeing that so-and-so’s gift has arrived! I love planning and buying and wrapping gifts for people! This week I got/am expecting packages from Amazon, Shutterfly, Wild Cedar Co., Carter’s, & Uncommon Goods.

Hating… the weird limbo that I find my life hoovering in. I try to be grateful for all moments and all seasons of life, but right now I feel like I’m sitting in an intersection and there’s something new and exciting down every street…. but I can’t quite pick a direction yet. (It’s as vague in my head as I just made it sound right here. Sorry.)

Looking forward to… Christmas! It’s my favorite time in the church calendar and I’m so excited to give gifts and nom on holiday foods and bask in the glow of trees and fireplaces.

Dreading… bills, early mornings, dirty rooms, mounds of laundry… all the things that accompany my fortunate life. Really I should be thankful for luxuries & utilities to pay for, a job to set an alarm clock for, and a warm house and comfy clothes to clean. #perspective

Praying for… the violence and hate to stop. The OSU stabbings were heartbreaking. I’m also praying for all the people & animals avoiding fires in the south. That’s so, so terrifying. And I’m praying for the folks in ND that are freezing to death because they believe so strongly in their cause. I don’t want to see this country become (more) cold and hateful. This country needs empathy.

Planning… a baby shower sprinkle for my best friend! She’s due in February with a boy (last time it was a girl) and I wanted her to have the opportunity to get some little boy clothes and toys. Plus, I love any excuse to spoil a mother-to-be (round #2)!

So what’s new with you?

*Thanks for hosting, Kristen & Gretch!

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What's New With You

Dear Santa…

Per request of family members (I swear they asked for this), I came up with some Christmas swag that I wouldn’t be opposed to receiving. Some is off my birthday wish list, but most of it is new. For the record, I don’t need any gifts… I just want a pretty tree, some time off work, and a cup of coco.

*Alternative title: dear-santa

So here we go… (Nothing is affiliated.)

Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets – illustrated version.
I needs it, Precious. [Er- wrong fandom.]

Any of these books: Cravings by Chrissy Teigen, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, Pretty Happy by Kate Hudson

Sweatshirts.
I love a clever, witty sweatshirt. This one cracks me up. Also this one. And this one.  (Large)
(Seriously… I love sweatshirts.)

Taylor’s new dog shirt!
I have the original one but I love that this one alludes to more than one dog. (Runs small- XL)

Anything for the dogs… My brother and sister-in-law once gifted me a 3 month Bark Box subscription and I was more excited than the dogs to open it each month!

*Between gifts and donations and self-indulgences, I’ve acquired an electric griddle, a coffee maker, and a quality cookie sheet since my last wish list post🙂

I started this post thinking I’d be able to list 100 things… but I really can’t think of anything I want or need. For family members that are frustrated with me over the short list: I always love books, candles, gift cards, and alcohol 😉

What’s on your Christmas wish list? Maybe it’ll give me some ideas!

EDIT: Erin just shared this website with me… And now I want this and this and this and this 😀 (Ladies t-shirt, sweatshirt, or racer back – probably a large)

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A Fantastically Magical Review

Hello, lovelies. I have a “wishlist” that I need to post for family members, but I just saw the newest wizarding film this weekend and I wanted to gush about it while it’s still fresh in my mind.
Look for the wishlist on Wednesday.

*No spoilers here! I would never ruin the magic for anyone! ❤︎

Fantastic Beasts AND Where to Find Them

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Movie Summary: Set in 1926, Newt Scamander arrives in New York City with a suitcase full of fantastic creatures and a mission. Unfortunately, times are tense & suspicions are high, and MACUSA (Magical Congress of the USA) has their hands full with a mysterious destructive force at work in the city. Meanwhile, the wizarding world is panicked by the sudden disappearance of the powerful, dark wizard Gellert Grindelwald. Newt finds himself (and his creatures) in the middle of the turmoil along with the former Auror Tina, her sister Queenie, and a No-Maj (American Muggle) named Jacob. (Read the complete story on the official website!)

So… let’s go at this movie review like an interview.

What did you think of the film overall?
“Loved” isn’t a strong enough word. The new screenplay for The Cursed Child fell flat for me and I was concerned this movie franchise would lack the magic of the HP world in which I grew up. I was wrong- this film was glorious. It didn’t touch or tarnish the ‘original’ story at all but it still tied into the world I know and love.

Do you have to be a Potter Head (i.e. well-versed in Harry Potter) to enjoy it?
I would say no… though having knowledge of A) the wizarding world and B) the HP details makes this film infinitely more fun.

How does it relate to the Harry Potter story?
While there’s no mention of Harry, Ron, or Hermione (obviously- their parents wouldn’t even have been alive), they do reference Dumbledore. Also, hardcore HP fans will recognize Grindelwald’s name. A few eyebrow-raising names are dropped (that are the ancestors of familiar characters) and we get to see the early years of wizards and Muggles/No-Majs, pre-Wizarding Wars.

Favorite character?
Queenie was probably my favorite. As suspicious and private as New York and MACUSA were, Queenie was full of love and acceptance- for all types. I also loved her relationship to her sister- they were never competitive or demeaning, even though they were totally different people with different personalities.

Favorite scene?
Ah, SO MANY GOOD MOMENTS. There’s a very short scene right in the first 30 minutes that gives a little nod to Hermione & Ron- I loved that. I think my favorite scene was probably 3/4 of the way through when Queenie had a moment to shine and help her sister and Newt. I won’t say any more than that, but I thought it was funny and action-packed and clever.

Would I watch it again?
I think I have to. I was telling K that I love the HP movies because there’s an even more intricate (and sometimes entirely different) world of wizardry in the books. ‘Fantastic Beasts…’ doesn’t have that book element. All the subtle references and foreshadowing can only be found in the movie- which means I need to read all the articles and rewatch the film a million times to fully scrutinize it.

If you haven’t picked up what I’m putting down then I’ll just say it bluntly: Go see this film- especially if you are a fan of Harry Potter. It’s everything we’ve been waiting for ❤︎

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I Can’t Think of Anything to Say But ‘Thank You’

I wasn’t planning on posting today, but the amount of feedback and love and advice I received on Monday was so overwhelming. Originally I had a little “thank you” sentence added to Wednesday’s post but I decided that just wasn’t enough.

I write in this space because it helps me collect my thoughts and express my opinions or imagination in a structured way. When I started Life as Louise (just over two years ago) I wasn’t sure it’d attract any traffic but I didn’t care- I just wanted a space to call my own and write creatively. The people that I’ve ‘met’ and now interactive with almost daily are such an unexpected bonus. You guys are the sweetest souls and I feel so happy when I get to connect with you, both here and on your blogs. I really, really appreciate your thoughts from Monday and I feel so lucky to have this community of supportive, intelligent women. You are all truly wonderful friends. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I feel so grateful for this blog and everyone that takes the time to visit and interact here🙂

(Even if you’re not a comment-er, I’m glad you’ve stopped by!)

I typically have a list of blogs saved to my “favorites” on my computer than I visit most days. When new people interact with me or I see interesting comments on other blogs I visit those writers and sometimes add them to my list. (Just FYI if you were curious about my following habits.) Even if you don’t get a notification, I always respond to blog comments here.  It might take me a week, but I try to address everyone that stops by and leaves a thought.

I’m happy to know what topics interest people most- thank you for taking the time to address that on Monday! I’d planned on continuing to “just be me” in this space, but it seriously warmed my heart to hear how many people look forward to coming here and reading because they see me as genuine or honest or real. You guys are the most wonderful humans ❤︎

I’m happy to be in the smaller pond of bloggers (not that I consider you guys small- I’m just defining myself here). I’m glad that I can write whatever comes to me and I feel so awestruck that people actually enjoy it. Thank you for your kindness and friendship. I never imagined this outcome when I started blogging.

So before I go, I’ve seen some other bloggers do this and I absolutely love it: I always send Christmas cards to friends and family! I’ve connected with so many amazing people here & this year I want to extend my mailing list to blog-friends, too! (Essentially it’s a holiday card with two of the cutest puppies ever on it…😉 ) Don’t be shy- if you want a Christmas card this year shoot me an email with your address! audreylou09@gmail.com
*(I think it goes without saying, but obviously I’d keep your address 100% private!)

Ok, I’m off to hit up my third Thanksgiving dinner.
No comments today since I’m still warm and fuzzy from Monday❤︎

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Things I Love Right Now

Very rarely am I what people call “trendy.” The black flats that I wear to work almost every day were purchased at the beginning of my college career. The insides are now peeling out and I’m one sharp stone away from a hole in the sole. None of my clothes are designer and I only carry a cross-body purse to hold my wallet and my chapstick. I’m just warning you that A) nothing on this list is new-new and B) nothing here will cost you more that $20.

Also, this isn’t a wishlist. These are tried and true things that I use/listen to/watch/have and love.

MAKE-UP | NYX Solf Matte Lip Cream
I should probably give a shout out to Lindsay for turning me on to this product. Smooth, buttery lip matte that dries immediately and stays put for hours. I own five different shades as of right now.

TELEVISION | The Good Place + Speechless + American Housewife
Apparently I’m all about the comedies this season. These fluctuate between comical and laugh-out-loud humor. I’ve also been trying to keep up with This Is Us and Bull, but sometimes life is heavy enough and I just need a comedy. (I typically watch these on Hulu.)

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First The Good Place retweeted me, then “Janet” herself! ❤︎

NETFLIX | Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries
BIG shout out to Kristen for this recommendation. And shame on me for waiting so long to get HOOKED. I’ve just finished season 1 and I am so obsessed. I’m also swooning over Detective Jack Robinson- I love his chemistry with Phryne!

BOOKS | The Lunar Chronicles
I know I’ve been pushing these books for a while now, but it takes me a long time to get through a series. I’m just about to start the final book (and it’s over 800 pages… *gulp*) so I’ll shut up about these soon.

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MUSIC | Christmas Music
My favorite artists/albums right now are Pentatonix, Charlie Brown, and anything “jazzy” (Bing, Frank, etc.).

CLOTHES | No Boundaries Leggings from Wal-Mart
My coworker told me about these/gifted me a pair and now I’m obsessed. They’re as soft as LuLaRoe, they’re warm & colorful, and they’re only $6. Uh- yes please. (The holiday ones appear to be sold out online…)

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HOME | Ello Travel Mug
I am SO in love with this mug. The outside stays cool while the drink inside stays hot for hours. It’s the best travel mug I’ve ever used. The cork bottom keeps it from sweating all over you desk and it’s dishwasher safe. I might be Christmas-gifting a few of these!

*Enjoy whatever days off you may have this week, American friends!*
Happy Thanksgiving!
Hug your friends &  family extra tight, be kind to retail workers, and be safe on the roads! ❤︎

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