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Friday, February 15, 2019

We have, officially gone to the dogs!!

And then there were Four.

photo by Richard Ortega

Meet our new rescue girl....
Given (by me;) name... Bunny Williams!  
Bunny, because of those ears, and Williams, well- because of my adoration of the iconic designer and dog rescuer Bunny Williams!!  You can read about my birthday lunch with Bunny Williams  HERE .
Yes, I name all our girls with a middle name, my maiden name and then married name!  Because rescued princesses should all have long, fancy names don't you agree?!💝💝💝💝 

photo by Richard Ortega

When we adopted Magnolia and Louise three and a half years ago HERE it changed Ella's life in all the best possible ways!  Ella was 11 and she became a puppy all over again, playing with Magnolia all the time- running and chasing each other.  (Louise loves all, but isn't a big "play" girl; she loves to be chased though and she runs like a greyhound!) Ella is now 14-1/2 and can still keep up on 2-1/2 mile walks with her younger sisters!   She still plays with Magnolia some in the yard, but over the last six months it became apparent to me and Dan that it wasn't enough playful interaction that our silly-billy play-girl Magnolia wanted and needed.  It made us sad, and we realized that we owed her a playmate.

I started looking on at my Texas rescue friend, Alice Lang's Ltyle, Texas dogs and now CCPAL Dogs and, of course, on Petfinder.  You know how I love me my southern💓 girls!  I also started following several rescue groups on Instagram.  
One of the rescue groups I started following was
Second Chance Rescue NYC. (NYCSCR) Over the months of following them I came to realize what an amazing rescue group they are.  They rescue from NYC animal control, all around NYC and also dogs from high kill shelters in the south.  They also take in the really difficult abused and/or critically injured animals. (All people who work/volunteer in rescue are angels on earth in my opinion.  The horrors that they see must break their hearts on a daily basis and yet they continue on and on and on... sadly, because they have to.  There is a special place in heaven for each and every one of them🙏 )   NYCSCR is an all-volunteer 501c3 rescue and the majority of their dogs are in foster homes, but they do have their own Center where they board the dogs that they don't have enough fosters available for.  You can read their mission statement HERE .  And see their adoptable animals HERE

About a month and a half ago, maybe even two months, I saw this face on their Petfinder page and I gasped.  She was so beautiful, and those ears- swoon.  Her name was Momma Misty.
photo by Richard Ortega

She was rescued in early fall of 2018, along with four of her pups, from a high-kill rural shelter in the south, heartworms and all.  They were saved just 24 hours before they were ALL to be killed.  Sadly, in some states puppies are euthanized.  Second Chance Rescue NYC pulled her and all of her babies and brought them to NY.   All of her babies had been adopted, but Misty still waited.   She was about 2 years old, they guessed, and was very good with other dogs.

I kept her page pulled up on my computer (I'm that crazy person who always has no less than 25 tabs open at any given time- welcome to my brain😱 ;) then I would save other dogs, then would overthink it and tell myself we were crazy to adopt a 4th, could we fit 4 in the backseat of the car?, and on and on.  I was really good at talking myself out of getting a 4th, so I would delete the dog pages, only to go back and look days later and once again fall in love with her face and have her back and several others in my open tabs.  But it was always her.  That face.  Those ears. That sweet little snow-ring marking on her nose.  But, then I would think- she's so beautiful and sweet and good with other dogs certainly she'll get adopted.  But she didn't.
Then a little over a week ago I saw this image and post on Instagram and my heart just broke for her and I thought "give her to me." Dan, of course, was right there with me, so I submitted an application.

Come to find out she had been in boarding at the Center for the past five months, not in a foster home.  My heart broke for her again.  There are only so many fosters and at the time when she came in there were no fosters available for her and her babies, so she went to the Center.  Now, the Center is a nice shelter mind you, but it's an industrial park setting where there are many dogs, barking dogs just as in any shelter. And, these are the lucky ones!  They are loved, walked four times a day, fed good food, have social interactions with the volunteers who are there every day, but still it's not a home.  

NYCSCR will adopt to within a 6 hour radius of NYC.  So, after talking and texting with the rescue we drove to Westchester, NY to meet her this past Saturday.  The meet and greet went well and the dogs all had really good body language between them; she and Magnolia just wanted to play, and wasn't that how this all got started?!!

So, they suggested we foster to adopt, which we did and is a fabulous option, by the way, to make sure a new dog will fit into your existing pack.   Two days later (even though we really knew the first night;) we told them to send us the Adoption Contract- she was "home."  She needed us.  And we needed her.   She needed a home, sisters and us as parents.  She is such a good girl, but doesn't know any commands or directions and we are good alpha-dog parents and will have her well mannered and polite, like her sisters, in no time (fingers crossed!)  She pretty much learned sit within the first 24-hours.  If you saw my video of feeding time on Instagram/Facebook Bunny is well on her way to having that down too.  She is pure muscle and very strong.  At the Center she was pulling super hard to the point where she kept choking herself.  We stopped at the first Petco we could find and bought her the same harness that we have always used for Magnolia and Louise- the PetSafe Easy Walk Harness HERE (this is a good price, we paid $29 at Petco.)  And, omg, it instantly made a huge difference.  I highly recommend this harness with the lead-ring at the chest.  If you have a harness with the lead-ring on the back it actually encourages pulling as it's a natural reaction for them to try to pull harder when pulling forward and being held back.  The rescue called her momma, but I thought it was time she passed that baton to me, her new mama, and she could just be a happy, balanced, loved little puppy girl.  The first time I saw her I thought "Bunny," so Bunny it is!

The girls are getting along great.  Magnolia and Louise have given her some corrections when she gets a little too excited and she takes their advice;) very well with no reaction.  She follows me everywhere, but don't worry Dan will soon enough become her favorite;).  And is quick to understand our "aant" which is the sound we use to correct them from doing an undesirable behavior.  We are all learning to trust one another and create a routine.  So far, so good.  One of my favorite things I do with all the girls is to let them "smell" things.  I learned from Cesar Millan that a dog experiences the world through their Nose, Eyes, Ears- in that order.  So to show them respect I present an object, be it a votive candle to a apple or anything else and say "smell" and they all come up to give it a whiff.  I do it a good 5 inches away from their nose so they are not being presented with it and try to eat it, but instead they learn that smell means to simply smell but I am honoring/acknowledging their incredible sense of smell HERE

Bunny is probably 2 years old, is a pitty-mix (heavy on the pit!), she is more grey in person than black, weighs about 43 pounds, and is very smart and loves to play.   And, I'll be damned... she's a southern girl!!!  She was found as a stray in Yazoo City, Mississippi!  So, we're all still speaking "y'all" around here!  Isn't that the darndest?!!!  And would you look at this Texas Longhorn blaze on her chest!!!  Do you see it?!  I'm thinking this girl has some Texas lineage😍
Hook 'em Horns!!

the first walk!



Our first walk!

Checking out the fireplace in the living room.

Poor baby, her little elbows are worn from laying on a hard surface.  Louise had this too, the fur will fill in with time.  Ohmy, looks like my cuticles need some CeraVe lol!

snuggle Bunny!

Over on Instagram and Facebook I asked you to guess what her name is!  Boy, did y'all have some great (and some lol funny) names!  Thanks for playing along!!
The top contenders you named were:
Valentine, Pinky, Pink, Violet, Rose, Olive, and four of you guessed correct with BUNNY!!!  (and two of you had Misty, so y'all were correct too;)
Here are all the great names, so go out and adopt some dogs & cats
Lucky, Bunny, Rose, Maura, Miss Luna, Precious, Suzanna, Misty, Greta Cocoa, LouLou, Olive, Valentine, Louise, Rosie, Papillion, Violet, Pinky, Pink, Thelma, Bella, Sweet Pea, Petunia, Peaches, Betty Jean, Lilac, Pinky Tuscadero, Maggie, Sugar, Abliene/Abby, Clementine, Camellia, Annabelle, Scarlet, Pru, Gray, Joy, Heidi, Lilly, Lucy, Lola, Jubiless, Ouiser, Truvy, Gloria, Savanah, Georgia, Augusta, Charlotte, Sally, Ears, Floppy Ears, Gretchen, Clara, Babe, Grace, Abigal, Shelby, Cerave!, Hazel, Angel, Gracie May, Ruth!, Maud, Millie, Daisy, Penny, Sweet Caroline, Beatrice, Steve!, Pepper, Martha, Lexi, G.G.(for GreyGirl!), Lacy, Pippa, Piper, Claudia, Rosebud, Delta, Valentina, Blackie, Adelaide, Bugs, Floppy, Lovey Dovey, Myrtle, Ruby, Happy, Fancy, Hope,  Lark, Bella, Alice, Breezy, Helen

If you are so inclined, please consider a donation (or perhaps a monthly gift, as we have done) to Second Chance Rescue NYC 
 to help them to continue to rescue the unloved, abandoned, abused and injured dogs and cats.  Also, if you are within a 3 hour distance from NYC, you can apply to foster, and within a 6 hour distance ADOPT!!!
thank you. xxojoan

A very special thank you to Dana at Second Chance Rescue NYC for loving our girl so much and being her advocate and biggest fan. xxo

Friday, February 8, 2019

a simple skincare tip...because I love you!!

While for the love of a house started as a renovation blog some 10 years ago now; I feel it has morphed into a lifestyle blog at this point.  I love sharing our life, our girls, our home, my designs, projects, the gardens, my favorite things, et cetera with you.  I have several "favorites" posts that I've been compiling for over a year that I'm excited to share, but this one simple tip deserves it's own quick post because it has had a huge impact on the health and well-being of my skin, not to mention my daily comfort level since it has been over a year now since I've experienced a single day of dry skin, I kid you not!  I'm sure you can imagine the toll a winter in New England can take on one's skin;)  I hope this tip will aid (at least some of) you too if you suffer from dry, itchy skin. (fyi- we do this year round, not just in winter)
Sometimes I feel foolish sharing such random little things with you and I will question myself and talk myself out of sharing, but I always revert to the old adage "if it helps one person... ." I have found over the last 10 years of blogging that those little random tips/shares are often the things that I get repeat feedback/thanks about even years later.  I'm also trying to post more on what's on my mind instead of overthinking posts which I usually do and then end up not posting at all.... you know, like for over a year😲 ;)  Enough of my rambling...

Does your skin look or feel like this?!
Image result for dry desert

Are you ready for this wonderful tip for your body's largest organ?!  It is simple and will cost you zero, nada, zip....nothing (except for the moisturizer ;)
I learned this from a board certified dermatologist that I follow on YouTube,
 Dr. Andrea Suarez aka, Dr Dray 
She is like having a best friend who is a dermatologist and goes into depth about all the things you want to know from your own dermatologist, but there is just never enough time in your annual exam to ask everything!
You DO get an annual exam from a dermatologist yes????????
If not, find one and make an appointment now as they can easily book be booking now for an appointment 6 months down the road.  

After you shower/bathe apply moisturizer IMMEDIATELY to wet skin.  
Do Not towel dry or even pat dry- simply apply moisturizer and air dry.  Yep... that's it. 
Mike drop🙋!!!!!! hahaha  
Yes, it is a wee chilly to air dry (even in the summer), but I promise you your skin will feel amazing and it is totally worth it!  (I will address this more below;)

By doing this simple act you are preventing transepidermal water loss (TEWL) from taking place.  TEWL is the process in which moisture from the deepest level of the skin (the dermis) evaporates through the outmost layer of the skin (the epidermis).  TWEL is a continuous, passive process that is not to be confused with sweating. 
Towel drying or pat drying your skin and then applying moisturizer allows for transepidermal water loss to occur, because TWEL happens very fast!  In less than a minue (between the time you have towel dried then applied moisturizer) the TWEL may have decrease by more than 50%  SOURCE

This is an excellent article that explain TEWL

(Also, for those of you who use olive oil as a moisturizer you should know that Dr. Dray has stated that when olive oil is used as a moisturizer (i.e. left on the skin) it has been shown to increase the TEWL.  It impairs the skin barrier.)

We use CeraVe moisturizing cream in the tub HERE We use this on our face and body, but they have lighter moisturizers, and daytime with spf/nighttime moisturizers as well.  (Check with Dr. Dray for more recommended moisturizers- she has many favorites and gives honest reviews on all.)
Yes, it's a bit difficult to get on your back, but the application helps you get much better with the reverse prayer pose in yoga!!

Why CeraVe,  because it contains ceremides, it is readily available and is inexpesive.    "Ceramides are lipids that help form the skin's barrier and help skin retain moisture.  Ceramides make up 50% of our skin barrier.  They also help the skin protect against environmentail aggressors like irritants, and pollution.  Without the proper ration of ceramides, the skin's barrier can become compromised, leading to dryness, itching and irritation." SOURCE
As we age our body makes less ceramides.  But the amazing thing is that if you apply ceramides topically (i.e. in the form of a moisturizer) your body will start to make more of your own ceramides!

 Moisturizing Cream
(Yes, yes I know-  it contains petroleum and I got on my high-horse and told you how I quit using mineral oil (a petroleum based product) on my soapstone kitchen counter tops for a natural wax product, and here I am using it on my entire body!  WTW?!!  I am a hypocrite😁 and I accept all responsibility 😂 But here's the thing... upon researching petroleum it is an organic compound that was formed millions of years ago from the remains of ancient marine organisms.  So doesn't that make it organic?!
It you are worried about the use of petroleum based products, and/or mineral oil I highly recommend you read these articles

Okay, so the mere thought (much less the actual event) of getting out of the shower with still-wet moisturizer in the dead of a freezing New England winter makes me have goose bumps!  To make it bearable I purchased this little heater HERE (I found mine at Costco) that I turn on for only a couple of minutes to take the chill off.  (The heater part is SO NOT Dr. Dray approved, but if I didn't do it I wouldn't moisturize on wet skin, and then my skin would still be dry and itchy, so I figure it is a motivational tool for me!:)

I am a skin care junkie, and I'm not going down without a fight with this whole aging business!  Dr. Dray's YouTube channel has been an eye-opening fact-based education as she teaches what actually works, what doesn't, reminds you to wear sunscreen every single day of the year and in the meantime saves you tons of time and wasted money on ingredients/products that don't work and actually harm your skin barrier (i.e. anything with fragrance.)   She has topics on all types of skin issues/diseases and cosmetic procedures, suncreen ingredients, etc, etc.  If it has to do with dermatology she talks about it!  The following are links to two vlogs she did on how to moisturize skin and on mature skin.  (And to my sweet young things reading this, you can NEVER start taking care of your skin too early!  Moisturize and use sunscreen daily! xxo)
don't forget to follow her too!

I will leave you with this cute story...
At the end of October Dan and I flew out to Portland, Oregon where my mother lives in a lovely retirement center, to surprise her on her 92nd birthday! 

When we arrived my mother's skin looked like a peeling onion, even her ears😰 I took out a tiny tube of CeraVe Healing Oinment (which I keep in my purse to use on cuticles) and started applying it to her face.  Her skin went from peeling onion to peach and looked ah-mazing! (Look how great it looks in the photo above!)  I then went out and bought her literally 6 tubs of both the moisturizing cream and the healing ointment and had her start applying it herself.  She looked, and more importantly, felt so much better- no more itchy, peeling skin.  So about a week later my 50-something cousin, Kim -aka Saint Kim as we call her;), went to visit my mother like she does most weekends, and she could not get over how "incredible" my mother's skin looked.  Kim told my mother that she looked like she was only 70!  My mother told her about the CeraVe that she had been religiously applying.  Kim said she needed to get some!
Kim then went to visit her 23 year old daughter and her roommate and told them how her aunt got this great cream and her skin looks amazing , like she's 70.  The twenty year olds laughed and said "that's great, if you want to look 70!" 😄😜😀
Then a couple of weeks later, after Kim had been using CeraVe she was back visiting her daughter and roommate and was bragging how great the product was and that they should try it.  They teased her and said that now she looked 70! 
Fastforward a few more weeks and Kim is visiting her daughter and roommate again, and the roommate thanked Kim for telling her about CeraVe!  She said her skin had never been softer!  The other girls laughed and said they wanted to look 70 too!!
 My mother loved the story and Kim told her that she had started a trend because now everyone wants to look amazing like her and look 70!!

Now go on...and make that Dermatologist appointment, moisturize and apply sunscreen every day-  because I care about you and Dr. Dray said so!!