Thursday, May 28, 2009


It's official...we are obsessed with our new baby! We adopted Griffin at 9 weeks old and it's been an amazing process to see him grow and learn. So many lessons learned, which I'm sure could help a few dog parents! None on housetraining, which we are still working on. Every time we think he's had a breakthrough, he pees on the carpet. Not. Cool.

1) Purebred vs. Mutt - We didn't have a particular preference, but knew we wanted something small (under 20 lbs.) and a male (we'd read that females can be, well, bitches). There are a bunch of online 'breed quizzes' you can take that will match you with certain breeds. Take into consideration your lifestyle (if you are super active, a toy breed may not be a good match) and work situation (if you work late most nights, consider the more independent breeds, rather than companion breeds). Also, be prepared for grooming and care responsibilities that come along with a long-haired breed. If you are looking at mixes, know the parent breeds to get a sense of temperament (Griffin likes to cuddle with us like Shih Tzus, but also gets a bit fiesty and sneaky like Brussels Griffons).

2) Buy vs. Rescue - I am personally a proponent of rescuing. Yes, you can find that purebred toy breed, or the designer mix you love through rescue. No, not all pet stores support puppy mills, but MANY do, and it's difficult for them to know for sure if they have puppy mill pups. We went through, and spent months looking at listings and applying. We also kept an eye on breed-specific rescue groups. In the end, we were able to help a great rescue organization (which also happened to be a registered 403b), and find our perfect pup. Truth be told, many of the puppies in rescue originated from puppy mills...but they may end up in a foster home where they will receive some socialization...a nice bonus. Furthermore, I'm not necessarily opposed to breeders. I just think that there are SO many puppies and adult dogs out there, waiting to be rescued and adopted...too many are euthanized while more are bred (ethically and unethically). It just doesn't make sense! My only caveat is if you are looking at specific breed with certain health issues (like Cavalier King Charles Spaniels), in which case knowing the pedigree and health of past generations is critical.

3) Study, study, study...and then Improvise - We read a stack of books on everything from Puppy 101 guidelines to Dog Health. It definitely made us feel more comfy with the process and helped us get prepared. But honestly, every dog is different, and many of the things that worked with Griffin were tricks we created, after nothing from the books worked. Oh and remember, everyone will have an opinion for you about training...just figure out what works best for your pup and stick to it (or join a puppy class, which we did)!

4) Socialization - This is the buzzword among NYC dog owners, since we all live on top of each other and each other's pets. As soon as you receive the go-ahead from your vet (we did about a week after his second round of shots), take your pup out into the world! Have him meet anybody and everybody (if you have a puppy, you will be stopped constantly anyway), elderly, men, women, big dogs, small dogs, etc. It will go a long way to helping your dog become well-balanced, polite, and loved by all. Griffin is fast becoming the neighborhood favorite, and we wouldn't have it any other way.

5) Poop - Especially if you get a puppy, you will examine each poop like a detective. When Griffin poops, we throw a potty party on the sidewalk, then get to our detective work. Is he still eating carpet fluffs? Is there any blood (he has a sensitive GI, and gets irritated frequently)? How big is it (ie: will he have to go again in an hour)? Oh and just so you know, puppies get diarrhea. A lot. Deal.

6) Take pictures and video. All. The. Time. - I barely remember that I could practically fit Griffin in my hand when we picked him up. Thankfully, we look through our albums and videos constantly to remind ourselves. They grow up fast. Document it!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

On-again, off-again with F21

So many changes since my last post! The big news is that we adopted a 9-week old puppy named Griffin...he's part Brussels Griffon, part Shih Tzu, and all-around adorable. He's been a handful, but we love him and are learning so much every day!

So, having a new fur baby has limited the time I've been able to spend on myself (ie: gym, online shopping/browsing, going out, etc.) When he's sleeping (which comes often in about 20-minute blocks), I try to be as efficient as possible with things. This includes quickly browsing for cute tops I can wear while I work to lose a few lbs before summer. I'm not one of those people whose wardrobe is filled with F21 cheapies...I prefer to mix high- and low-end...which is why I don't mind a few F21 purchases every now and then for short-term pieces or trends.

Two things I recently bought that I love:

Burnout knit long-sleeve top ($12.90)
I have a thing for burnout's a great layering piece for spring and has some texture that keeps things interesting. A white, v-neck burnout tee is far better with jeans than a plain one, imho. I thought this top would be great over bermudas, cutoff jeans, or even khaki shorts for a preppier look. While the weather is still cooler, I plan to layer this with a lightweight scarf and ballet flats. I sized up to a M for a comfy fit, but could probably have taken a S.

Sheer paisley print blouse ($15.80)
I read that sheer, billowy tops are a great way to look chic while slimming down and I couldn't agree more. I plan to wear this with cropped leggings and t-strap sandals in the summer, but for now, will settle for skinny jeans and fitted blazers. I took a S and the sizing is generous.

Ok now my pet peeves:
1) Inconsistent sizing - The tops tend to be all over the place in terms of sizing. Tunics and 'loose-fit' items tend to be sized generously, while tees and knits tend to be sized true-to-size to smaller. No clue about bottoms, but I am about to find out as I plan to order a pair or 3 of $12.50 skinny jeans.
2) Return policy - Stupid! No full-refund returns in store, only store credit. You can get full refunds if you shop online, but you would have to pay for shipping twice (unless you buy $75+ worth and then it's free shipping). Still...annoying, esp given pet peeve #1.
3) Obsession with elastic - They have so many adorable tops that are ruined by unnecessary elastic. Too many times, I have seen elastic underneath the bust when a simple tie would do. And oy the elastic hems! I love their semi-sheer floral tops, with the ruffles and halter necks, but hate the tacky elastic bottom hem! I'd so much rather a loose-fit top with regular hem.