There’s No Place Like Home

So, I am Chicagoan, born and raised. I lived within the city limits for most of my life, until my husband and I moved to Atlanta five years ago. We moved for his job, because they needed him at the corporate office. Though I was sad to say goodbye to my family, friends, and city- I jumped in my Trailblazer with my best friend and cats and followed my husband to Atlanta.

It was a LONG. LONG. LONG trip. Took us just over 16 hours to arrive at our new front door. Once we got to our leasing office, we signed the necessary papers and were given our keys. Now keep in mind, I had never laid eyes on the townhouse my husband had picked out. And honestly, when he mentioned a townhouse, I sort of thought he was exaggerating a bit. Those of you Chicagoans know not many people can afford a townhouse within the city limits of Chicago, so how could we afford one within the city limits of Atlanta?

I LOVED our new townhouse! It was a far cry from our tiny one bedroom apartment off of Milwaukee and Devon. I had two bedrooms, a decent sized dining and living room, and three bathrooms. THREE bathrooms! I felt like a queen having all that potty space. It was honestly the nicest home I had ever lived in, and I couldn’t believe it was in our price range. We promptly moved all of our stuff in, and this townhouse became a home.

We still live here five years later. But I have to say, for as much as I still love our townhouse and the family we have built here in Georgia, I can’t help but think of my City lately. I have been going to visit pretty often, as I miss my friends and my mother and sister moved back up there recently. I am also a diehard Blackhawks fan. Like seriously, ride or die. My husband and I went to our local bar to watch the Blackhawks play the Predators tonight, and I found myself missing my beautiful city even more.

We’ve talked about moving back there to be closer to everyone we’ve known for years. It is so expensive, decrepit and dangerous even. But those are all things that makes it the incredible city that it is. It’s beautiful, magnificent, prideful and incredible. Every time I see that skyline, my breath is taken away. Every. Single. Time.

I think most of all, the city pride is what makes it so unique. Chicagoans are fierce, bold, hardcore. We love our city, our sports teams, our food. I love the grid-style street system, the alleys, the street lights. Weird things to take for granted right? Atlanta has none of these things, at least not that I have found in the last 5 years. Sitting there watching the Blackhawks get roasted by the Predators through the first and second period was sad, but my Chicago pride has never left me. One day I may be able to come back to you my beautiful city, there truly is no place like home.

Stay tuned for more!

XOXO- Jess

Taking The Next Step

So, I am a CRAZY animal person. I love animals of all shapes, sizes and breeds. My favorite though, are dogs. I really find them to be such intelligent, faithful and loving creatures. Since I have gotten Zoey, I have been opened up to a new world of dog lovers- Agility people!

Agility is a dog sport, where dogs have to jump over obstacles, go through tunnels, weave through polls, etc. I have always enjoyed dog shows, but recently became obsessed with this sport. It requires exceptional communication skills between you and your dog, and a lot of discipline from both of you. But it is SO much fun!

From the moment I adopted Zoey I knew I wanted to do agility. I looked up class schedules in my area, and located a wonderful dog gym that offers courses. Our pre-requisite was simple, for the dog to have passed an intermediate training class. I figured oh wow, that doesn’t sound hard at all.

So I signed Zoey up for a beginners training class at The Humane Society at Mansell as the first step. We successfully passed the beginners course (and won the best trick contest, thank you very much). I was anxious to sign her up for the intermediate class right after graduation. The only hiccup was that she and I would have to be “heeling” well. So her walking calmly by my side. That unfortunately was a challenge for us. Then her surgery happened shortly after her graduation from doggy school so agility got pushed to the back burner.

However, we went back to doggy school this winter. We repeated the beginners course to give us more time to prepare for our intermediate course. This time we have our heel down pat, won the best trick contest yet again, and have officially signed up for intermediate classes! SO excited! They start May 18. After this, we can finally take agility classes!

Our agility classes will begin in July, and though she doesn’t know what she’s in for yet, I know she’ll love agility! She has so much energy, spunk and loves to learn new things. Though it will be a year or more before we’ll be ready to compete, I am so excited to take this next step with Zoey!

Thanks for reading!

XOXO- Jess

The Boxer Life For Me

On June 22, 2016 my life changed forever.

I was eating lunch with my younger sister at Buffalo Wild Wings, when she mentions to me she has to do some volunteer work over the next few weeks. She asked me if I would mind stopping at the Atlanta Humane Society, so she could get some information about their programs. I said sure, why not. I have two amazing cats at home, and didn’t want anymore animals. So  what trouble could I possibly get into?

So we drove down the road, and proceeded to go into the shelter. I figured I would kill time while she got the information she needed. I walked up and down the aisles, talking to all of the animals in the cages. Saying hello, asking them how their day was going. I stopped to see some of the puppies, who were barking and whining in their pens. I looked around for my sister, saw she was busy, so decided to cross the building into the other area. Again I walked the aisles, trying to kill time. Until I laid eyes on a puppy. A puppy that literally took my breath away.

She was 11 weeks old, a “boxer blend” is what it said on her paperwork. I looked at her face, and instantly felt an attachment to her.  She looked up at me with her big brown eyes, and started to wag her little tail ever so gently. I reached down to pet her, and fell in love with her. Against my better judgement, I asked an attendant if he could take her out of her pen so I could play with her. So he did, and I smelled her puppy breath, scratched her belly, and gave her kisses. At this point my head was spinning, and I said to myself- “Jessica get a grip! You have 2 cats and a fulltime job. How will the kitties react to a dog? When will you find the time? Not to mention your husband has allergies. Put this puppy down and go find your sister.”

So I go find her, still talking to the woman at the front desk. I decide I would step away from the puppy, and go to my understood realm- the cats. I went and looked, picked up an 8 week old kitten and felt absolutely nothing. No butterflies, no swooning, nothing. I found myself thinking about that puppy in the pen, and how much she needed a home. So, again against my better judgement, I walked back over to her pen. There was a woman standing over her pen, petting her. She asked, “do you want to come home with me?” I immediately felt jealous. How could this woman take MY dog home? At that moment, I quickly asked the attendant for an application to adopt the puppy. I couldn’t bear the thought of her going home with anyone but me.

I figured this was a good time to all my husband. I said, “hey honey, on a scale of 1 to divorce, how mad would you be if I adopted a puppy?”. And he said, “what?”. I repeated the question, and told him I couldn’t leave this puppy at the shelter, I had an overwhelming attachment to her and wanted to bring her home. He reluctantly said, “alright, go ahead with the application”. So I did, I applied. I nervously sat in the waiting room until they called me back there. I had been approved to adopt the puppy. I was overjoyed! I couldn’t believe I was taking her home, the puppy I fell instantly in love with.

We’ve had some challenges along the way, like allergies, eating things she shouldn’t and an emergency surgery that cost a small fortune. But I wouldn’t change a thing. We just celebrated Zoey’s first birthday on March 29. I’ve never met a dog that has so much personality, intelligence, love and devotion. So basically yes, I have the perfect dog. I am so blessed that she chose me, and from now on it’s the boxer (and kitty) life for me.

Thanks for reading, stay tuned for more!

xoxo- Jess

How to be more positive when you feel like giving up

So, I’ve been stressed as of late. My dog, Zoey,  had surgery back in October, which put an enormous financial strain on my husband and I. She swallowed a piece of a Nyla bone, which got lodged in her intestine. Total cost of treatment was just under $2,000. It seems life has gone down hill from there.

Being in optical sales,  the fruitful time of year is the last few weeks of December. Everyone and their mom come in to use their insurance benefits before their next year benefits come out. Even that time of year wasn’t what it usually is, with most people being unusually cost conscious. My store barely made our year end sales plan, and the commission was less than great. So overall, for all the hard work, I basically saw zilch on my paycheck.

Among our normal bills we also had a few unexpected things come up, which is not a good thing for most people but especially not for us during our time of recovery. We are STILL on that road to recovery, trying everyday to make the most out of our income and to live simply. My husband is so much better at this than I am, I swear that man could live off of mustard and white bread slices and be happy. I personally like the finer things in life, and enjoy eating out and shopping a bit too much.

What I need to tell myself is to be PATIENT. Good things come to those who wait and put the effort in. I can almost always see the end goal, but have a hard time taking the long, winding path to get there. I need to, in partnership with my husband, be willing to put the hard work and effort in to ensuring my family moves on from our financial troubles. So here’s what I keep telling myself-

1: Be patient!

2: Don’t get discouraged by the long road ahead

3: Focus on your end goal

4: Make the sacrifices for your family

5: Enjoy the journey


Thanks for reading, hope to see you back again soon!

xoxo- Jess