Craft Beer: How It Began For Me

The first craft brewery I visited was Stone Brewing Co. in San Diego, CA when I was 21 years old. I remember being there and being fascinated with the menu, the space, the BEER, and the knowledge that all the servers had about each beer on tap. It was during this visit when I realized I needed to visit more breweries and learn more about craft beer.

Beer Closeup2.jpgWhen I was in college, I took a Beer & Cultures course as an elective. I remember going on the extra credit field trips, which included tours and tasting at local craft breweries, and being fascinated by each brewery, the different styles of beer, and all the production facilities. Each brewery was so different and had such a fascinating story! I remember specifically being on a tour, with a delicious coffee porter in hand, thinking “this is me, this is what I want to do for work.” I remember wanting to constantly learn more and constantly try more. To this day, years later, I’m still thirsty for knowledge and I still learn something new at every brewery I visit.

My first job out of college was coordinating events at a local craft brewery and I worked there for two years. That was such a wonderful job and I miss it all the time! I was lucky to land that amazing job and it gave me so much wonderful experience in an industry that I highly love and respect.

If craft beer is something that you’re not familiar with, I highly suggest going on Google and finding your local craft brewery. Go in there, order a beer style you’re unfamiliar with, and learn. Each brewery tells a different story and I promise you, you will not be disappointed.

Cheers! 

It’s Morbid. It’s Funny! My Favorite Podcast.

My Favorite Murder podcast by Karen Kilgariff and Georgia Hardstark is by far the best podcast I’ve listened to. If you’re into true crime and love a good laugh, this is definitely the podcast for you.

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The podcast began in 2016 and new episodes come out every week. I’m a little late on becoming a “murderino” because I’m only on episode 35, but I’m completely hooked. I actually look forward to my morning commute to work! Georgia and Karen have their regular episodes, which consists of different murder cases, survival stories and anything true crime. They also do shorter episodes, which consists of hometown murders, which are stories submitted by other listeners. Every episode gets better and more interesting!

My best advice to you is to download every episode, subscribe and to “stay sexy, don’t get murdered!”

Photo taken from iTunes. 

Raising a Puppy: My Best Tips

I am a dog mom and I’m an excited one! Raising a puppy has been such a joy and both my boyfriend and I have learned so much in a short amount of time. I’m hoping that my tips can help any new, soon-to-be dog parents, too!

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We have a (now) 6-month-old English Bull Terrier named Arnold. He has been such a wonderful addition to our little family and is the sunshine of our lives! Although he makes us smile and laugh, it’s been hard work and determination to train him and get him used to our rules. Bullies are sweet and stubborn, and he reminds us every day that it’s Arnold’s world – we’re just living in it!

Here are a few non-expert tips that worked for us to get you started:

  1. Crate Training: It’s been the best thing for us. We live in an apartment, work full-time and do not have a backyard (we have a small balcony, but no grass/yard), so while we are away from home, we don’t have to worry about him. Ever since the first night we brought him home, he sleeps in his crate and stays in there any time we are gone. Arnold loves his crate and actually goes in there to nap when we are home. Here are a few extended tips to make crate training successful:
    • Size matters! If your dog can fully stand up, turn around and lay back down, you’ve picked the perfect size for him or her. We purchased a crate that Arnold can fit in once he is full-size, so that we aren’t spending $100+ on a new crate. However, the crate came with a divider panel, so as he grows, we move the divider panel further back. It seems funny at first to purchase such a huge crate for a 9-pound puppy, but crates are expensive and you shouldn’t have to purchase a new crate every few weeks for a quickly growing puppy. Click here to view Arnold’s crate.
    • Cover the crate with a blanket or special crate cover designed for the specific crate that you purchased. It keeps them feeling safe, especially when they’re home alone. When we first brought Arnold home, we covered his crate with a blanket and he stopped crying at night almost immediately. The first two weeks when he was still little, we laid with him outside of the crate until he fell asleep, then slowly got up and walked away. Once we left, we didn’t allow him to hear us or see us until we were ready to take him out. We felt it helped him adjust to his crate. Now, he never minds going in his crate, even if he can hear us or see us. Click here to see an example of Arnold’s crate cover.
    • The first few nights or weeks, leave something in the crate that has your scent. We left one of my boyfriend’s shirts in his crate and it seemed to calm him down. It helps them to understand that being in their crate is not scary and it should become their safe place. However, don’t leave anything valuable in the crate! Your puppy might chew it or use the restroom on it, so I don’t recommend leaving your favorite sweater in there.
    • Don’t leave toys in the crate they can choke on. Plush toys with a squeaker or chew bones can be dangerous, especially if they eat and swallow everything in sight. I know it seems mean to leave them with hardly anything to do, but it’s for their own safety!
    • Lastly, it’s extremely important to never use the crate as a place for “time out” or punishment. Any time we put him in there for the night or when we leave the apartment, we give him a small treat. If they’re wrong and you use the crate as their disciplinary place, you’ll probably never get him or her to go in voluntarily. They need to feel happy and safe when they’re in their crate, especially if they are in there for long periods of time.
  2. Potty Training: As I hinted above, living in an apartment is no easy task for a new set of dog parents. Here’s what worked for us:
    • Most dogs are food-driven. That being said, we praised Arnold with a trainer treat or piece of fruit (cut-up apples and blueberries) whenever he used the restroom outside on the grass. He quickly learned it was way more fun to get food versus being told “no” in a firm voice.
    • Grass pads are amazing when you do not have a yard for both training and convenience. We purchase our grass pads from Fresh Patch and we order a new patch every 2-3 weeks, depending on the weather. It’s real grass and helped Arnold understand where to use the restroom.
    • Stay consistent with discipline. Never let them get away with bad behavior, even when it’s tough. You’re both learning about each other and it’s important they always know who is the boss. We hated having to firmly tell Arnold “no” all the time, but with a consistent plan, he was potty-trained in two weeks.
  3. Finding the Right Vet: Do your research and find a good vet right away. I read reviews about different local vets and asked other dog owners who live in our apartment complex. Make a vet appointment as soon as you think you’ve found the right one, so that once your dog is home, you can get them their shots and any other medical attention they may need. Please, DO NOT, pick a vet based on their prices. When it comes to doctors and vets, “cheap” is never a good option. Your vet will become a huge part of your dog’s life, so it’s important to pick someone who is trustworthy.
  4. Be Pre-Prepared: Before we picked up Arnold, I had his crate set up, his food and water bowls ready to go, I had a huge bag of food already purchased, new toys and a toy bin, a small bed near our couch, his collar and leash ready with a name tag, and hazardous materials were put away permanently (cords, small things he could choke or chew on). It’s important to make them feel welcome and it also helps them learn quickly where to play, eat, and sleep. Arnold was very curious about his new home when we first got him (he still is) and having everything in place put us at ease.
  5. Socialize, socialize, socialize! We take Arnold for a walk every day, we take him to our friend’s house, we take him to local dog-friendly breweries and restaurants, and we took him to the lake a few times over the summer. It’s helped him feel more comfortable around strangers and others dogs, especially when guests come over to our apartment. It helps prevent negative behavioral issues in the future and also helps them release energy.

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After trying many different brands/products, we have mastered a few of Arnold’s favorites. Here are some things that you can purchase or make at home that have worked well for us:

  1. Homemade treats: Melted coconut oil and all-natural peanut butter. Place a scoop of each on the stove on medium heat and let it melt. Once the mixture is melted, place in a mold (I purchased bone and paw print molds on Amazon). Once you have your mixture in the mold, freeze! Keep the treats in the mold or in a container in the freezer until you’re ready to feed them to your dog because they do melt quickly. You can find some tasty recipes on Pinterest, but Arnold loves coconut oil and peanut butter. It’s good for his skin and coat, too.
  2. Purchased treats/food: Arnold loves anything from the brand Blue Buffalo and I purchase all his food from Chewy.com through their app. I also cut up apples occasionally and purchase fresh blueberries from the store for a healthier option.
  3. When Arnold was little, he chewed on plush toys a lot since his teeth were so small and fragile. Now that he has most of his adult teeth, Arnold loves ropes and chew bones. He pretty much loves to destroy anything he can get his mouth on, so ropes and chew bones are great for his strength and energy level.

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Overall, have fun. We learn something new every day about Arnold and we have had so much fun these past few months with him. We still can’t believe we get to keep him forever!

One quick side note – It’s important to realize that what works for Arnold, might not work for you and your dog. Every dog and dog owner is different, and everyone has different needs. I’m glad I could help you and I wish you all the best with your new baby!

Photos taken from Arnold’s previous owner.