Forget PSL. Have a PSB!

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PSL. Pumpkin Spice Latté. PSB. Pumpkin Spice Bowl. I have no issues, sister. I have no qualms. Your treat is your treat. But that treat is a bit treatier that this treat. If the PSL and the PSB were in the “Eat This, Not That” book, you know which treat would be where.

On some earth-shaking, soul-seeking  level, we as humankind tap into our paleo cousins of the past eat for the season. You know I’m right! We want that warming veggie stew in the winter and that crisp watermelon in the summer. Lean into it, lovely! #aunaturale

The food industry, however, has taken that innate, earthly desire and transfigured it with marketing tactics. It’s taken the pumpkin, the delightful pudgy member of the squash family with it’s soothing orange color akin to the leaves of the season, and processed it into a flavoring that’s dusted, sprinkled, and glazed on, well, everything. #pumpkinspiceeverything

And, thus, pumpkin spice is now a lifestyle. If the spice girls were in their prime, pumpkin would be the lead. So, while you and your other #girlpower goddesses cozy up with your PSL | PSB | PS? , don’t forget the original – the pumpkin. The vegetable that is actually delicious in it’s original form and delightful for your body, not just your doorstep.

Here is my PSB, my ode to the PS lifestyle. But I always remember the true hero delivered to us my Mother Earth herself. #pumpkin

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The PSB [makes 2 servings]

ingredients – 1 frozen banana, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, vanilla extract, cinnamon, Purely Elizabeth Pumpkin Fig Granola, GoMacro Cashew Caramel Bar, currants or raisins, almond butter

instructions

  1. N I C E   C R E A M : food process the frozen banana with almond milk until desired consistency is reached, add vanilla extract and cinnamon to taste
  2. T O P P I N G S : top with chopped GoMacro bar, Purely Elizabeth Pumpkin + Fig Granola, currants or raisins, and almond butter

note : this recipe is super flexie. here are some ideas to make it more beYOUtiful.

  • if you’re a PS megafan, add some pumpkin spice to the nice cream
  • if you’re more in love with the real thing (pumpkin) then add some frozen canned pumpkin [NOT pumpkin pie filling] to the nice cream
  • choose the macrobar that suits your fancy – this one has a complex spicy flavor that keeps me warm
  • choose different toppings altogether! except the Purely Elizabeth Pumpkin + Fig Granola. it’s the star. i wouldn’t mess with it. 🙂

Mad love,

J

PS. <<< see what i did there.

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My Ultimate Reset Journey + Why You Should Start One of Your Own

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Y’all. I did it. I finished. A 21-day Wellness Cleanse to reset my insides. Phew.

Every 21 day challenge I do simultaneously feels like an eternity and a blip. When I began a true lifestyle reset in February of 2015, I was quite simply sick and tired of being sick and tired. My new friend Kris Carr explains it best.

At some point in our lives, every one of us dazzling human beings clomping around in heels gets an important call from the “This Is Your Chance” hotline.

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The call comes in one of three ways.

  1. Life hits a 911 tipping point and suddenly you’re up agains the ropes of mortality, begging for one more shot. You realize that the only way to get out of the rubble is to rebuild a more sustainable you.
  2. A divine disco light ignites the spare and your third eye explodes with love for yourself. In that instant your inner Queen wakes up to the holy “Wow, I’m worth it” truth… The awakening is like a cosmic consciousness cocktail that makes you tipsy with self-empowerment.

  3. Maybe it’s not quite so dramatic and extreme. Maybe your call to action comes from boredom or just feeling “over it.” You’re literally sick and tired of being sick and tired.

I was a 3 in the beginning, and I was a 3 when I started this whole thing 3 weeks ago. I was just kind of OVER having mediocre nutrition. Things had slipped. I was cheating too much. It showed in my body and my mindset. To quote myself, “I feel very unaware of my eating habits. I tend not to realize my bored/emo eating. If I do, I feel that I have no control.”

So, I embarked on this thing with this written goal – I realize it is time for me to reset my eating habits. I have slowly lost faith in my own self-discipline when it comes to food – as if I don’t have the ability to say no. I want to prove to myself that not only do I have the ablity, but that it benefits me greatly. I want to gain energy, clarity of my, greater control over my emotions, the feeling of healthy vitality in life, and like I’ve never been healthier.

Cause, B O T T O M  L I N E. You, my lovely, looked at that picture ^^^ and thought, She doesn’t look that different. I don’t get why it’s a big deal. I don’t want to put thoughts in your head, but had it been ME reading this a year and a half ago, that’s what I would have thought. 🙂 We’re socialized to look at numbers, at weight loss. But keep reading, lovely. Cause the sparkle, the light, the shine, that comes from health on the inside.

 

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It’s a 21 day cleanse to get your insides healthy. So, nah. You ain’t gonna be running to the bathroom. After 7 years of suffering with ibs, I am SO not about that life. It’s not a harsh juice cleanse or, even worse, those pills people pop with all the awful chemicals in them. It’s a all-natural gentle cleanse with real foods and supplements made with real foods.

In Week One you reclaim our body by phasing out acidic foods like meat and dairy, which are super difficult to digest and put loads of stress on your gut. In Week Two you release toxins. I’ve dubbed it the Detox week. The gentle  colon cleanse clears out all that gunk that’s trapped in your bod – you know those Cadbury Easter Eggs you’ve been nomming on for years, the kegstands you did in college, the coffee that keeps my teacher friends going [haaay!], the various Cokes, PSLs, Honey Nut Cheerios, and everything in between. Yay! In Week Three you restore that gut with enzymes, prebiotics, probiotics, and a fruit + veggie only diet to get yourself to maximum efficiency! And yep! That means no grains [rice, corn, quinoa] and a limit on your plant-based protein [beans, nuts, seeds].

Below is my FB Live Review of Week one. My Week 2 and Week 3 reviews are linked in the corresponding playlist. <3

 

enough nitty gritty. did ya like it?

YES. I really did. Even though I was at the BEACH for weeks 2 and 3, I liked it! Flash back up to my goal ^^^ and you see that I wanted to feel empowered with self-discipline. Nothing MORE empowering to having ZERO cheats – not even a Frito – while your family is in full vaca-mode and eating and drinking to their heart’s desire. Y’all. There was even carrot cake. Do you even KNOW how empowering it is to say NO? Seriously.

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The food was delightful. It’s ALL laid out for you. Shopping lists, recipes, the meal plan. A Kindergartener could follow this [as long as she can read]. Rather than rant on, I’m just going to show you some pictures. 🙂

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did it cost like a $bazillion?

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I won’t fudge it for you. I spent more than I typically do on groceries. A lot of that had to do with one-time purchases, like toasted sesame oil or rice vinegar. You buy those once, and have them for a LONG time. It IS a lot of fruit and veg also. Three cups of fruit a day is a lot of fruit. It adds up. But on the other hand, I didn’t spend a dime on going out to eat or drink, because it isn’t on plan. And if you’re a drinker, that adds up too. If you cut that out, then it really balances out.

 

did you miss sweating sparkling?

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Honestly, no. The recommendation is brisk walking or gentle yoga if you have the energy. I did yoga about every third day on average. As the challenge wore on, I did it less. It was truly listening and being more in tune with my body to recognize what I needed, or in this case what I didn’t need.

 

so, girl. what were your R E S U L T S?

*SCALE VICTORIES*

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I’m now at my lowest healthy weight. I’m down 6.2 lbs and weigh in at 117.2 lbs. I’m down 2-3in on my waist, depending on how much fruit I’ve eaten to give me that fruit belly. 🙂

*NON-SCALE VICTORIES*

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This is why I did this. It wasn’t about the weight on my tummy. It was about the weight on my shoulders. Living a life without energy. So. Here goes.

NUMBER ONE. W A T E R. I am notoriously horrible about drinking water. I’ve tried it all. The cute water bottles. The ones with the spout. The ones with the straw. The ones with the screw top. The ones with the times on the side to help you measure how much you’re drinking. I’ve tried the infused water with strawberries, citrus, mint. I’ve tried the water flavorings that have all that gunky sugar in it. I’ve tried it all.

How did this habit change? I simply HAD to drink H2O. I took supplements 4x a day, 30m before eating with 12oz of water. It was no longer a choice. I recognized my cycle of THIRST being masked as HUNGER. Now I recognize that if I drink a glass of water directly upon waking, that doesn’t happen. That’s my new habit.

number two. S L E E P. The program recommends sleeping without technology at your bedside. I’ll admit I didn’t do this until about half-way through, but boy does it make a difference. Also, having hearty nutritious food without the sugar or caffeine made me sleep like a ROCK. Even with a Juniper sleeping in the least convenient spot imaginable.

number three. E M O. E A T I N G. This is a biggun’ you guys. I spoke to these a lot in my end of week 3 video on YT. Go there to hear more. In short…

  • I eat when I’m nervous, and not just stressed.
  • I go to eat when I’m already famished, and thus opt for convenience.
  • I have issues with carbs more than sugar.

number four. D I S C I P L I N E. I love to have control. I’m totally type A. So, it made me feel as though the earth was cracking beneath me when I recognized just how out of control my discipline was with regard to my nutrition. I don’t feel that anymore. Did I mention I didn’t cheat once? 😛

number five. E N E R G Y. Before this I felt like there was a ping pong ball inside my brain. It would bounce around in there frenetically until it lost it’s energy. Now I feel a calm mental clarity that maintains consistent energy like a ship sailing on a pond.

 

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how was your day after your cleanse?

I went on a carb binge. Now, I know you’re confuzzled. Cause you just read number four up there, right? ^^^ I used a carb binge almost like a food test. After your bod is so pure after this cleanse, you can do food testing to see how you react to something like gluten or dairy. I did this with my carb binging.

With my IBS I always used carbs as my safe space. I thought that they’re easily digestible. So if I was feeling ill, I’d head to the carbs.

What I learned was that it actually makes me feel AWFUL. I was up late with a stomach ache. I slept horribly. I even broke out overnight. I woke up still feeling gross. So, Jasmine. Lesson learned here. You put your carb binge to the test and you felt fucking terrible. Your godpod [goddess pod aka body] deserves better. Capisce? Capisce.

 

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w h a t    n o w ?

  1. I’m going vegan. Like… allll the way vegan. For more reasons that one. It’s going to be a learning curve, so my vegan friends out there, hit me with your tips.
  2. I’m doing one month of the program that gave me the best results. It’s 22min a day, 6x a week. One month until I head to California. Gotta get it right right, get it right, get it tight.
  3. I’m starting my yoga practice. Like… for real. For more reasons that one. It’s going to be a learning curve, so my yogi friends out there, hit me with your tips.
  4. I’m figuring out what moderation means to me. I’m thinking 2 ‘treats’ a week. This week it looked like Purely Elizabeth’s Pumpkin Fig granola and so No-Salt Blue Corn Tortilla Chips.

 

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WHY NOT YOU?

Seriously you guys. If I can do this, then you can do this. If I had these results, then you can have these results or even better results! Keep in mind. This is a marathon you guys. I’m not perfect. It’s taken me a LONG time to get to this kind of eating + fitness with mega ups and downs. First it started with cutting gluten 8 YEARS ago. Now, after so long, I’m here.

The Ultimate Reset isn’t for everyone, but I would recommend this to anyone who wants to kickstart their health journey, doesn’t want to work out but still wants to start, anyone who needs to bust a plateau, or those of you like me that need to sucker-punch emotional eating in the gut. 

If you’re thinking that you want to START, but this isn’t it, then join me in a our Wellness Warrior challenge group. I know you want to be a warrior for your own wellbeing, and maybe you just don’t know how to get started. It DOES include intentional 30m workouts. BUT the nutrition guide is less strict, more tailored to your likes/dislikes, and based on portion control.

Either way click here to send me a message and we can figure out what’s best for you.

last thoughts

I couldn’t have done this without my tribe of women doing it with me. We all ate the exact same meals for 21 days, but went through different struggles because a detox effects every one of us differently. However, we DID all see stellar results. Friends don’t let friends fitness alone. Check out my babealicious, empowered girls below. <3

Mad love, J

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Megan <3

 

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MJ from August –> September

 

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Ellen – my spiritual warrior

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Being an IBS Warrior

I don’t remember NOT having pooping problems.

I don’t remember NOT having pooping problems tied to mental struggles.

 

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CHILDHOOD

I do remember my dad reading stories to me as I sat patiently on the toilet waiting for it to happen for the first time in a week. He read right on through the collection of Disney stories. Cinderella. The Jungle Book. Beauty and the Beast. I sat through them all, waiting to poop, and it wouldn’t happen. Not even a plop. 🙂

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It didn’t stop as my teen years started. I still had pooping issues through all of the big events, those life-changing experiences, and — omg, especially in public! During my junior year, the band went to New York City. Moments like crying over the beauty of the music of Lion King on Broadway to standing hand-in-hand with my high school sweetheart were veiled in the consistent worry in the back of my mind. Poop. I haven’t gone in a week.

You can laugh. Really. Poop is funny.

 

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COLLEGE

And then, college. Which, really, is synonymous with Marching Band.

I had what I consider my first “IBS ATTACK” during my first week of band camp. I ate a SALAD at the cafeteria on lunch. It was iceberg lettuce with some tomatoes and green peppers, like one of those house salads from a terrible Italian restaurant. That salad left me (as a salad) a couple hours later. I had to SPRINT to the nearest building and barely made it. By the grace of god, there was no one in the ladies room. You see, my symptoms had reversed. I usually couldn’t go. Now, I couldn’t STOP. To the point that I was teeter-tottering on passing out on the pot.

Luckily, I had this dreamboat of a section leader who openly talked about poop all. the. time. Seriously. Such a blessing, y’all. Because then the ENTIRE section openly talked about poop too, among other things. [Trust me, you’re gonna want me to keep it a “drumline thing.”]

So, when these intimidating 20-somethings asked little old 17-year-old me, “What color was it? I was totally comfortable answering. It’s actually how my Rookie nickname stuck. There was a rousing chorus of, “Raja has diarrhea.” It, funnily enough, made me feel so much better. The whole poop issue was normalized! [So, CJ, if you’re reading this at any point… Thanks, friend. :)]

But, it wasn’t normal. Because that IBS attack just led to more frequent attacks. My freshman college experience consisted of class, rehearsal, or BED. I’d eat something, and then immediate head to bed because of a NEW symptom to accompany my pooping problems… nausea. It was CONSTANT, y’all. I tried to eat crackers, shredded wheat, bread, soup, etc. It didn’t matter. Everything made me nauseous.

 

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THE MIND GAME

Here’s the thing though. The IBS would spike my nausea, which would spike my anxiety, which would spike my nausea. Do you see the cycle? I was SPIRALING.

So much so that I ended up in the ER after eating an apple…

I was thrown into a hospital gown and strapped to an IV with anti-nausea meds coursing through my veins. I remember every inch of that beige room that was meant for two with only one of me. I felt so small.

I remember clinging to my silver Verizon flip phone with a hope and a prayer that my Mom would call me back.

I remember trying to distract myself with Saved by the Bell on the tiny TV bolted to the ceiling.

I remember worrying about insurance; that I was out-of-state and I had no idea how much the bill was going to be.

I remember feeling SAFE for the first time in months. I was around people who might actually alleviate my nausea.

When I was discharged, I had no one to take me home. So, they called the POLICE to take me back to my dorm. I rode in the back on the hard gray seat wondering what crazy stories my fellow Honors College dorm mates would concoct.

But the next day. Homecoming. It got worse.

I will NEVER forget bawling my eyes out as I heard the band march past my dorm with an empty note in the place where I should have played. I will NEVER forget seeing my friends stream out of our dorm in full black to the concert without me. I will NEVER forget watching my entire roommate’s dvd collection to ESCAPE.

Shortly thereafter, I had to tell that dreamboat of a section leader that I was leaving school on medical leave. And, again, I had let someone down. My dad drove 6 hours to school and 6 hours back home in one day. [Thanks, Dad.]

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MEDICAL LEAVE

Here’s the short list of tests that my Mom got to tote me around to. [Thanks, Mom.]

  1. Ultrasound
  2. Fecal Test
  3. Blood Test
  4. Barium Test – I had to drink barium, a thick white chalky liquid that I equate to caulk, as they flipped me upside down and all around while strapped to an x-ray to see how the barium transitioned within the gut.
  5. Upper Endoscopy – They stuck a tube down my throat to take pictures of my stomach. It was brutal.

DIAGNOSIS? Gastroparesis / IBS / NO FUCKING CLUE

Y’all. This makes me so livid to write. These docs had flipped me around, poked and prodded me, and they had no fucking clue how to help me. They gave me some medicine – one for acid, two for anxiety – and a FLIPPING FIBER LIST. Yeah, a list of how much fiber is in each food. That’s it.

 

 

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UPS + DOWNS

So, I cried a lot. I went to Whole Foods for the first time and bought some books about IBS. These two books by Heather Van Vorous [My First Year with IBS and Eating for IBS] were honestly were the only things that made me feel somewhat normal as I started my journey back to health. I broke down in the Whole Foods – sobbing as I sat on the floor in the resources section looking through these books trying to figure out what it all meant and how I could possibly overcome it. When would I feel like me again?

Over the course of the next 7 years, I tried everything. Some things helped. Some things didn’t. Here’s the order…

2008. Fat Free. I did this because I was told it was perhaps the reason that my poops were so loosie goosie. I eventually figured out that it wasn’t helping, and just tried to stick to bland foods instead. Saltines. Shredded Wheat. Apples.

2011. Gluten Free. I did this because I had this amazing roommate during a summer internship. I did a trial 2-week run, and felt so much better. You know all of those ‘bland foods’ I was eating. They all have gluten. *Lightbulb moment* I still, to this day, and gluten-free. I did it before it was cool. 🙂

2012. Dairy Free. I had been vegetarian since high school, and I went dairy free sometime in 2012. This is also the year I GRADUATED and went to DETROIT.

2013. Remember how I said that anxiety spirals with my IBS. Well, enter teaching into my life, and that anxiety skyrocketed. I somehow managed to be fine in front of the kids. Probably because of the adrenaline. But, when I WASN’T in front of the kids, I was a mess. I attribute my craziness of IBS during this time to my stress levels. I did the best I could.

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By now, though, I had GIVEN UP. In my mind there was NO way that there was anything else that could help. I’d tried EVERYTHING. I was just destined to have half of the energy, half the fun, and have the life as everyone else. I couldn’t be fixed. Hell, they didn’t even know what was wrong with me.

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GAMECHANGER

2015. I started drinking a superfoods shake with pre and probiotics. I didn’t think it was going to help at all. I had tried pre- and probiotics. Whatever. It wasn’t going to work for me.

By Day 4, I was a completely different person.

The pre- and probiotics had brought my gut to a healthy balance, so I could now truly absorb the nutrients from my new clean diet and these superfoods.

>I could now go out to dinner with friends without needing to know the location of the restaurant bathroom ahead of time.

>I could now travel home on a plane without feeling like I should do a 12 hour fast beforehand to avoid complications.

>I could now go to the grocery store [30 min away] without being afraid I’d have to stop part-way there to potty.

When I say my life was changed, it’s because I felt like I was normal again. Taking control of my digestion was like taking my LIFE back. For the first time, in ever.

 

 

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LOW-FODMAP

Now, I follow the low-fodmap diet that’s been all the rage in recent years in the GI field. New research has come out supporting it. My friends with digestive maladies like reflux, crohn’s, ibs, etc seem to do better eating with the low fodmap guidelines.

I now understand why I can have tomatoes but not tomato sauce, cantaloupe but not watermelon, peppers but not onions. So, if you’re someone who is having tummy troubles, seriously, message me and go search low-fodmap.

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MY WISH FOR YOU

I hope that you learn before I HAD to learn. All of these sayings below are true. I’m living proof. It just took me 7 YEARS of struggling before 4 DAYS changed my life. Your health is partially genetics and partially in your control by what you put in your mouth and what you expose to your body. So, please. Please. Take care of yourself.

YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT.

EAT LIKE YOU GIVE A FUCK.

LET FOOD BE THY MEDICINE.

HEALTH IS WEALTH.

With love,

Jasmine. Raja.

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A Letter to Myself as a First Year.

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Dear First-Year Ms. Jonte,

Buckle up. Here’s how this is going to go. You’re going to FALL in LOVE with your kids. You’re going to love every ounce of them as soon as you see their names on a class list. They’re going to be hilarious, rambunctious, energetic, and joyful all rolled into one. They’ll cheer you up on your lousiest day. They’ll make you laugh more than you ever have before. They’ll also drive you crazy, but I promise you’ll laugh at it when you pull into the driveway at the end of the day.

But not everyday is going to be sunshine and rainbows. You understand the level of hard work that this takes. You’ve been warned about THAT by, well, society. But, there’s also going to be tragedy in mini and major forms. Know that you’ll handle those situations with as much grace and love as you are capable. And that’s enough.

You’re job is to SHOW UP. Everyday. With YOUR very best.

Please do not look as Ms. Smith down the hall and think that because HER best looks different than YOUR best means that you’re somehow less of a teacher. It just doesn’t work like that. The universe works in mysterious ways. Your kids have YOU this year for a REASON. So lean in. Trust it.

And by the way. There is this thing called self-care. I know you haven’t heard of it before because you were a music major. It’s ok. You NEED to know what it is now. So figure out your nonnegotiable self-care measures, and STICK TO THEM. People will tell you, “Oh, it’s just your first year.” It. Doesn’t. Matter. Others may lead you to feel GUILTY that you don’t work 80-hour weeks. It. Doesn’t. Matter. They aren’t you. You are a HUMAN BEING. Put on your oxygen mask first, before you pass out trying to save someone else. You’re no good to anyone if you pass out. That doesn’t make you brave.

Be brave enough to know what you need. Be bold enough to go after it.

 

Love,

Present-day Jasmine

Teacher-Turned-Coach

Still loves her kids beyond all measure

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How did I adopt Juniper?

Juniper. Olive.

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When I met June for the first time I felt totally crazy asking, “Can I take her picture? Everyone in the family is asking about her.” I should have known that this look would me the — “You’re my mom. I’ve been waiting for you. Bring me home.” look that would stay with me for, well, ever.

June 2014

The search for a dog had begun to feel like shopping, which I hated. This is a living, breathing LIFE here. I knew I was capable of being a great dog mom and I had the means to be one, so why would I NOT adopt?

I was still consumed with fears though… What if it doesn’t work out? What if dog doesn’t like me? What if dog can’t handle my long hours? What if I can’t handle the guilt of leaving dog in crate for those long hours? What if dog isn’t trained? Is now the right time? And on and on and on. Even so I knew all the dogs in all the Detroit rescues on all the websites from Alfie to Zeke. I knew my search criteria – male, pitbull, adult, medium, gets along with other dogs. I knew that none of them were right.

And, total confession, I needed to work with a rescue that wasn’t going to call my landlord, who would undoubtedly share the 20lb dog limit. There were other dogs in the building that were the hefty 80lb mark who had been rescued prior to their owner’s move-in date. I thought the system was cray, so I was going for my medium size dream pitbull love.

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July 2014

I was on a summer road trip with my mom. It had been about a year of yabbering on about potentially maybe possibly getting a dog. Mom shared that she would rather have a female granddog, so it would be easier for dog to get along with our dog at home — Winston. We soon were talking girl names. I loved the name Juniper, after my favorite Bath + Body Works scent Juniper Breeze. As I said that, we immediately passed under Juniper Ave in Philadelphia. It was a *SIGN* – literally and figuratively. 🙂 I then came to Juniper Olive.

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About two days later, in Cape May, I was looking at those sites again. I guessed there wouldn’t be many new additions. But there was. I saw her picture and immediately thought “That is the most beautiful being I have ever seen.” Then, immediately emailed, called, and texted to have a meet and greet.

But she wasn’t Juniper Olive yet. I was waiting to meet ‘Mystery’ – the dog who’s story was a, well, mystery. Some guys had called the rescue and said, “Come pick up these puppies or we’ll take them to the pound [read : kill shelter].” So the rescue, Mutts of Motown, agreed the puppies to transport them to a puppy rescue. Just puppies, right? They’re easier to adopt out! They followed through on their end of the bargain, and they picked up the puppies, which were really two adult dogs. Not puppies.

I am beyond grateful EVERY SINGLE DAY that they did.

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August 2014

When I met ‘Mystery’ in the back of a pet shop at an adoption event, I was unsure. She was less unsure. She sat by my feet while inside, quite happy to receive all the attention, but OUTSIDE — was a whole other ballgame. I slowly began to realize that this dog has never really been able to be a dog. Even on the concrete sidewalks of Detroit, she had clearly never seen or smelled to touched the outside for very long. This foster-based rescue had her in the only place left — veterinary boarding.

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Juniper at our first meet + greet. The rescuer said, “Looks like she chose you.”

I immediately adopted her for a month on a ‘Foster to Adopt’ contract, which meant that I had a month to decide if I would adopt her for real or continue fostering. It was the least I could do to get her out of that vet kennel all day. But it also meant that my anxieties about having a dog were quelled – it was like built in insurance that gave me the confidence to go ahead.

First Adventure

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She came to me on a Wednesday. On Friday we traveled to Pittsburgh for a wedding. It was here that she slept in her first Doubletree bed, sneaked her first Doubletree cookie, and saw her first Pennsylvania buck. Within a weekend, I was smitten. She was called Juniper Olive first by her Auntie Sarah Hann, who, I had secretly shared my girlie dog name with. It didn’t take long for me [and everyone else] to fall head over heels in love with her.

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Junipers long-distance boyfriend, Strider Webb.

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The journey from the newly named Juniper Olive to the Juniper Olive of today is long. SO many bumps in the road. I’ll save some of those stories for another day. 🙂 But know this, if you’re hesitant like I was, dive in. Dogs are work, but if you do it right, it doesn’t feel that way.

Mad love,

J + jo

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