Puppy Love (And Puppy Training Woes)

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Bed and Monogrammed Cover / Monogrammed Anchor Sweater (Much too big for her, but perhaps she’ll grow into it?) / Collar (Again–too big. Can’t find anything small enough!)

The last few days have been an absolute whirlwind. It’s hard to believe that so much has happened–and changed–in such a short period of time! Two days ago, Mitch and I were on our own, living fairly calm and organized lives. Things were simple, and we were free to do whatever we wanted whenever we wanted. Go out to dinner at 10 p.m.? Sure. Hop on a flight to Florida? We could. Have a dance party at 2 a.m.? Duh. Sleep in until 10 a.m. on a Saturday? Yes. (You get the point.)

Now, we have this tiny, adorable pup–perfect in every way–that is completely dependent upon us, and for the first time, we have to consider someone else before ourselves. I kind of panicked when the weight of this thought first sank in. I’m responsible for another life? What? What have I done?! But let me tell you: I am completely in love, and being responsible for someone else–I say “someone” like Noodle is a human, haha–is one of the most amazing feelings I’ve ever had. I adore her. And while it’s only been a couple of days, I now can’t imagine life without her. Good god… I can only imagine how it must feel to become an actual mother! (And yes, Mitch and I want kids. But one change at a time. ;) )

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So far, things have been going really well on the Larkin home front. I mean, don’t get me wrong: I am TIRED AS HELL. But aside from nighttime, Noodle’s been acclimating far better than I ever thought she would at nine weeks! Before her arrival, Mitch and I spent about a month watching YouTube videos, reading articles online, and talking with dog owners about effective puppy training techniques. Of course, we’ve made quite a few mistakes and are still learning, but I’m so glad we did the research. While puppies are absolutely adorable and pretty much the best thing on earth, I’ve quickly learned that they’re also a handful, and require a lot of care, supervision, attention and tough love. (And that I’m a softy.)

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Let’s start with the positive:

*Noodle has learned to trust us. At first, she was pretty hesitant, and would shake when we picked her up. But now her little tail wags a mile per minute when we play with her, pick her up, or say her name. Cutest. Thing. Ever.

*Like I said, we absolutely adore her. As silly as this sounds, I was a little nervous that we wouldn’t click. But we totally do! I love everything about her, from her wrinkly paws and floppy ears to her spunky personality and playfulness. She is perfect, and I can’t believe she’s ours.

*She’s getting the hang of potty training. On the first day, she had a couple of accidents. But today?! Not one! (Such a good girl.) Mitch and I take her out every 30 minutes and reward her with treats when she tinkles or poos. We’ll see if this good behavior continues, but we’re proud of her nonetheless.

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*She’s learned new skills. Noodle can now walk four whole blocks on a leash, interact with new people and dogs without shaking in fear, and “come” when called. (If she isn’t too tired.)

*There’s less clinginess. On the first day, she cried her little heart out if I wasn’t in the same room with her. (Goodness. Showering? I sat her on the bathroom floor and talked to her the whole time, but you would have thought she was being murdered!) As much as it pained me, we decided not to pick her up every time she whimpered or cried, and it worked. She still cries or whimpers for us now and again, but today, she herself actually left us to go play with her toys and eat her puppy chow on multiple occasions. Woo, Noodle!

*She has a serious cuddling talent. It’s her favorite thing to do–a quality in a dog that I find 100-percent necessary. ;) My heart melts every time she climbs into my lap or nuzzles up to me. Sigh.

*She likes her stuff. After I removed about a third of the stuffing, Noodle now gets on her dog bed all by herself. She LOVES it. It’s adorable. (I got her the size small, if you’re wondering.) Wearing her sweater, which is far too large for her, also seems to really calm her down when she’s upset! I do, however, need to invest in some new toys. Most of them are just too big for her right now!

*She’s so much fun. She truly makes life better. I love that we take so many “family walks,” and that nearly everyone on the street wants to stop, talk and pet. It’s the best. While Noodle is acclimating to us, we’re acclimating to Chicago–and she’s certainly helping! She’s also great company. She sits under my desk when I’m working, scampers around the kitchen while we’re cooking, and cuddles next to us on the couch when we’re watching movies.

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The negative:

*Nighttime. Oh my God, guys. It’s killing us. We’re in the process of crate training her, and it’s SO HARD. I know it’s normal for a puppy to whimper, cry and bark when crated, but my heart hurts to hear her so upset. On the first night, it was so upsetting to me that I slept with her on the couch. BIG MISTAKE. Last night–despite putting a small fleece bed, stuffed animal, treats and a t-shirt that smelled like me in there with her–she howled from midnight until 6 in the morning. We took her out twice to go potty, but I swear it did more harm than good. No one slept, and I was brought to tears. (I know. I need to grow a backbone.)

Today was rough. (Ruff? Haha.) We didn’t want her to sleep all day in the fear that she’d be wide awake for bedtime, so we persevered with coffee, lots of fresh air, and at least six walks. The poor little girl. All she wanted to do was close her eyes and nap the day away on her dog bed. We also spent a lot of time showing her that her crate is her home. We fed her in there, put new treats and toys in there, and rewarded her every time she went in. We also repeatedly called it “home,” and always said the word in an upbeat manner.

Tonight, around 11 p.m., we put her in her crate, covered three sides of it with a blanket, and talked to her for a couple of minutes. We faced the crate in the direction of our bedroom so that she could see us, and said goodnight. After about an hour and a half of howling, I got up to use the bathroom, and turned on the faucet. AND WHAT DO YOU KNOW?! She quieted down. It’s been an hour, and she’s only had one five-minute tantrum. Now, running the faucet like this is certainly wasteful, and I’ll obviously swap it out for the white noise app I have on my iPhone when I wake her up to go potty in a few hours, but hey–desperate times call for desperate measures, you know?! :(

If you have any helpful puppy training tips or suggestions, Mitch and I would LOVE to hear them! We’re first-timers here, and we’re open to anything and everything! Thanks in advance!

(By the way: I really, really encourage adopting a foster animal. I ended up falling head-over-heels in love with Noodle and just couldn’t live without her, but I still plan on adopting a foster dachshund one day!)

And don’t forget to enter the $50 Visa eGift Card giveaway from Frugaa.com!

The Arlington Million with America’s Best Racing

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What I wore: Lilly Pulitzer Dress / Vineyard Vines Tote (Sold out, similar here) (c/o) / Jonathan Adler Hat (c/o) / Jack Rogers Sandals / J.Crew Pearl Necklace, Bracelet (Old, newer version here), and Earrings / Kate Spade Sunnies

What Mitch wore: J.Crew Factory Shirt / Vineyard Vines Bow Tie (c/o) / J.Crew Factory Khakis / Sperry Boat Shoes

Last weekend, I had the pleasure of attending the Arlington Million with America’s Best Racing, a multimedia platform that aims to attract new horse racing fans by building awareness about how much fun the sport is. According to ABR, if you love horses, sports, fashion, betting, competition or simply having fun, then horse racing is for you! And let me tell you: horse racing is definitely for me. ;) (Though Mitch and I could sure use some help with tying a bow tie, haha. Good grief. After watching dozens of YouTube videos and countless attempts, we still couldn’t get the little drinks on the tie to go right-side up!)

Before the Arlington Million, I knew very little about horse racing and betting. But America’s Best Racing was so helpful. They gave me a crash course on horse racing terms, how to read a program, what it takes to become a great jockey, and how to make smart bets. We were even able to get up close and personal with some of the horses and jockeys! So awesome.

And the fashion? Oh my goodness. I’ve never seen so much preppy attire in one place in my entire life. (With the exception of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard, I suppose.) I was in heaven! I also loved the atmosphere. (It was basically one giant party!) I had a blast with Mitch and our friend Gabby… and it was so nice meeting some new people from the Chicago area.

Anyway, I couldn’t recommend the experience more. Next year, my goal is actually make it out to Saratoga Springs with America’s Best Racing! To find horse racing events near you, visit the America’s Best Racing website. (And see the TV/radio schedule here.) Questions about horse racing? Drop America’s Best Racing a line at AmericasBestRacing@JockeyClub.com!

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Meet Noodle!

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When Mitch was offered an incredible job opportunity in Chicago this past spring, my world was turned completely upside down. Leave New York City? I couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea. New York was everything I knew—I’d lived there longer than I’d lived anywhere else, and it was where my life was. It was my home.

Of course, Mitch felt pretty badly about asking me to move. He made it clear that if I didn’t want to go, we wouldn’t, and he’d love me just the same. (Best husband ever.) But he also promised that if we moved to Chicago, we’d get a dog. Such a smart guy, haha. While I definitely would have moved without this little promise (I swear!), it also made the change a bit more appealing. ;)

I’ve wanted a miniature dachshund for as long as I can remember. (I’m seriously obsessed with them, and have had the name “Noodle” picked out for years!) But having a dog just wasn’t in the cards when we lived in New York. We worked in the Bronx; had a crazy, on-the-go lifestyle; and lived on the top floor of a walkup apartment building. It would have been too hard. Having a dog is a big responsibility, but now that we’re in Chicago—and are older—we’re ready for it. We also have a big backyard, spend the majority of our time in our neighborhood, and live much calmer lives.

In early July, my mother-in-law found a listing for dachshund puppies in the newspaper, and Mitch and I fell in love with the tiny pup pictured above. We’ve spent the last month preparing for her arrival, and right now, we’re finally on our way to pick up the newest addition to our family. I’ve waited for this day for so long, and I really can’t express how excited I am! Isn’t she precious?!

I’ll be sharing the experience on the blog tomorrow, but in the meantime, you can follow along via Instagram. And yes—Noodle has her own Instagram account (@NoodleLarkin), too. Would you expect anything less?

Let the journey begin! (Eeee!)

Fancy Things By Nancy: Starfish Beach Bag Giveaway

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Let’s get something straight: summer is NOT over. (Can you hear the panic? ;) ) But really–the official last day of summer is September 22nd, so as far as I’m concerned, we still have a ton of quality beach time left. To be exact, we have an entire month. Which is why today, I’m teaming up with Fancy Things By Nancy–an Etsy seller specializing in handmade beach-themed accessories and bags–to give away a gorgeous starfish tote.

Nancy Egan, owner of Fancy Things By Nancy, is based in the New York City beach community of Rockaway–a place that is near and dear to my heart. Whenever Mitch and I felt overwhelmed by the city, we would venture out to Rockaway Beach. For years, it was our escape from the hustle and bustle of the Big Apple, and we were absolutely heartbroken for the community when it was devastated by Hurricane Sandy in 2012. While Rockaway is now on the road to recovery, it’s incredibly inspirational and heartwarming to see its small businesses (like Nancy’s) doing well.

Nancy, who grew up by the ocean, started making beach-themed hair clips for herself in 2010. At first, it was just her friends who inquired about them. But soon, nearly the whole Rockaway Beach community wanted to know how they could get their hands on the cute, beachy accessories… and that’s how Fancy Things By Nancy was born. Now, Nancy produces a variety of products, from hair clips and rings to wine bags and earrings. And she ships them internationally. (Go Nancy!)

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Are you a beach girl at heart, too? Check out Nancy’s Etsy page here, and be sure to enter the beach bag giveaway below! (And be sure to live up the last month of summer! ;) )

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Jeweled Tops and Mirrored Pumps

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Kate Spade Top / C.Wonder Pumps (Sold out, original inspiration from J.Crew here) / J.Crew Factory Pants / Kate Spade Bag (Other colors here. Love this color, too!) / J.Crew Pearl Earrings / Kate Spade Sunnies (Old, newer styles here) / Clinique Lipstick (“Pudgy Peony”) / J.Crew Bracelet (Old, newer style here -on sale!) / Henri Bendel Bangle / Michael Kors Watch (Old, similar here - and have you seen this one?! Swoon!)

I’ve been a little MIA over the past couple of days because one of my very best friends, Allie, came to visit. We may have hit up the town a little too hard, so excuse me while I go watch the entire fifth season of Gossip Girl on my couch. (First time watching GG. Ridiculous, right? Haha!) I’ll be sure to share details from Allie’s visit tomorrow, though, when my brain has recovered. ;) Love you, Mouse!

(In the meantime, don’t forget to enter the $50 Visa eGift Card giveaway from Frugaa.com!)

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