Andy's Story

It's absolutely no secret that I have no shortage of love and compassion in my heart for furry lil' friends. Mike and I consider ourselves to be a "bulldog family" and we've always talked about expanding our clan to include more furballs. We hadn't made any plans to adopt any time soon as we just weren't sure if we were ready. Plus finding the perfect pup to add to an already full house takes time. We took Georgia with us when we met Pipkin, just to make sure they got along. We went back home and slept on it before making the final decision to say yes and welcome her into our lives. That was over a year ago and I can say without any hesitation that bringing another bulldog into our family was the best decision we've made. Georgia is always ecstatic to have a playmate, and the chemistry between the two is undeniable. It's smart to be wary of messing that up. But when a reader asked me on Tumblr yesterday if I knew of any shelters that had Frenchies, I never expected the outcome to be this. Another Tumblr friend left a comment to PetFinder, and I clicked out of sheer interest. A sweet little pup named Andy popped up from Tennessee and I went into love-sick mode. This little pup was part of the French Bulldog Rescue Network and I was amazed at this organization. Mike came home from a photo job and instantly let out an "Aww!". We were sold. We read his bio, learned that he was a "special needs" pup and we talked about it. We talked about adopting him and if we'd be a good match. We learned that these pups often have 150+ applications for forever homes. We decided to throw our name into the hat anyway. Just in case.

We knew that even if we didn't hear back, he'd go to a good home. He would find a forever family that could deal with his condition and give him unconditional love no matter what. If we weren't those people, we were totally fine with that. If we were those people, then that simply meant that maybe, just maybe, we were the perfect match for him. Believe me when I say a lot goes into adopting from the FBRN. It's on par with adopting a child in terms of the application, the questions, the home evaluation (yep!), etc. They also say it could take up to 8 weeks to hear anything back. Imagine my surprise when I had an email from Andy's foster mom today! Less than 24 hours after! His foster mom wanted to touch base with us and make sure we were aware of the severity of his condition, and everything it entailed. With that we decided to drive over to our vet and have a chat with him. To our relief he was very familiar with Andy's condition and he offered some really great insight into just how serious it is.

Andy has mega-esophagus, often referred to as mega-e. What this means is that his esophagus is enlarged, or partially collapsed, and it makes it much much harder for him to swallow/consume food. Andy is only 13 weeks old and he just happened to be born with the condition. He comes from a champion blood line, but something simply went wrong with him. The only way to treat Andy's condition is to feed him a raw diet with the consistency of "mush" and to hold him, like a small child, in your lap for the immediate 15 minutes following so gravity can help pull the food into his stomach. All sorts of things can go wrong, including getting pneumonia and even choking to death. I emailed his foster mom back with a million and one questions and she was sweet enough to call me so we could chat. We sat on the phone for a half hour and talked about everything under the sun. She assured me he was a perfectly normal pup with the exception of his eating. He's litter box trained (yep, a dog!), hyper, and really really fat (aw!). 

She expressed her appreciation that we went as far as to even speak with our vet to make sure this is something we could handle as a family, and medically speaking. That's not to say he won't have major side effects from the mega-e in the future, but we have to finally weigh our decision on whether or not we feel equipped to handle his situation. Apparently we are the front runners, as she said if we feel like the right fit for Andy she didn't want to call anyone else. Of course we're welcome to say no, too, simply so he goes to the best family. We have a big decision to make. It's obvious that there is no shortage of love for this little pup, and I know G and Pip would love a little brother. We simply must decide if we're in the position to give Andy the attention he needs. We're lucky that we work from home and can monitor his feedings, but we also have to take into consideration the financial aspect for the future. His foster mom sent us 6 (!!!) wonderfully adorable videos of him today and our hearts are positively melting. He's such a doll and we hope that we can be his forever family. It would take a lot out of us, but we feel so incredibly drawn to him that it's almost impossible to say no.

We're trying to remain objective in the situation and make the best decision for everyone involved. Hard right? If we decide to push forward with the process then our application will be submitted by his foster mom to the board at FBRN and they will conduct a home-study/home-evaluation/inspection to make sure our home/family is suitable for Andy. There's a ton of hoops to jump through but it's a process with a wonderful payoff.

Do you have any special needs pets? Or ever had a dog with Mega-e? Any words of wisdom for our big decision?

PS; We know about the Bailey Chair and other items meant to help with the passage of food from the throat to the stomach. If we adopt Andy we will absolutely be looking into purchasing a Bailey chair or making our own!

A Poor Man's Dorothy

First off, let me just say this: Holy cow! Y'all really blew me away in response to yesterday's post. Your comments were so eloquent, sincere, and wonderful. It's so great to know that even in our vulnerable/uncomfortable situations, we're never alone. It's literally going to take me weeks to get back to everyone but please know that I've already started working on it! Also know that I read absolutely every single comment (about three times each!) and I'm so proud to call this little slice of the internet mine! You humble me daily and I'm so glad you can be part of my journey!

Since today is Halloween (Happy Halloween, by the way!) I thought I'd post what I wore to work on Saturday night for our "costume contest". I don't really get too wrapped up in Halloween (I know... so boring of me!) and I didn't want to spend any money (Frugal McDoogal!), so I opted to take the Speedy Girl dress from this post and style it up like Dorothy from Wizard of Oz. I didn't want to DIY any glitter shoes so I just wore some red flats and braided my hair. Close enough right? I spent exactly ZERO cents. Win! Maybe I'll get crafty next year, but this year I was fine just cruisin' through! It was a successful night at work (for the most part. May or may not have had a verbal showdown with an incredibly insufferable gentleman) and I'm ready to be productive this week!

Yesterday was spent thrifting and fawning over a rescue/special needs puppy we have our heart set on. More on that at another time! 

What are you dressing up as for Halloween? (Or what have you this weekend?) Did you do anything super fun and exciting for the ~holiday?!

Cupcake Princess dress c/o Speedy Girl
Forever 21 cardigan
Black tights c/o Foot Traffic
Go Max flats via PLNDR
Thrifted belt

Honest To Blog -- Ulterior Motives

I'm going to preface this week's Honest to Blog with this: This is is no way meant to hurt anyone's feelings, call anyone out, or point the finger/play the blame game. Instead I'm going to touch base on a topic much like my original post that spawned this weekly feature simply to share my newfound point of view.

I love meeting people through blogging. I'm so awkward and shy in person that it makes it hard for me to branch out and meet people. Plus I'm always working on something. I have a group of friends I wouldn't trade for the world, but I'm very cautious as to who I decide to associate with. I'm not sure what pushed me in that direction, but I don't like to just hang out with any ol' person. Blogging has given me an outlet to meet so many like-minded people all while I still manage to be productive. 4 out of 6 of my bridesmaids were met online/through blogging in some way. But I've started to become very particular with who I befriend and associate with online, just like in person. I've recently started paying much more attention to the way people conduct themselves and how they choose to go about communicating online. I've come to notice that so many people in the blogging world whose blogs I've read for months/years are simply part of a giant circle-jerk crowd. I don't want to be friends with someone because it may earn me more pageviews. I don't want to say yes to a guest posting invitation because I think I might get a handful of new followers. I won't lie, at one point that was probably a thought that fueled some of my actions, but being where I stand now I realize that that really isn't what it's about. I'm starting to resent the air of "strategy" that so many bloggers have.

Confession: A few months ago (as recent as a few weeks even!) I was ready to cut the cord to this blog and walk away. It started to not be fun for me. I started to recognize people for their ulterior motives and I even fell victim to blogging drama and catty girl hate. I've talked about the passive aggressive digs and all the messy stuff that comes with. This is blogging. It's honestly not too removed from high school. There are stuck up people, people who want to ride the coattails of others, manipulative people and ones who just want to undermine you for their own benefit. Blogging isn't the rainbow filled bubble we (I, especially) want to think it is. I get so much motivation, support, and inspiration from girls in the blogging world, but that really is just one side of it.

I never want blogging to seem like a popularity contest, but more often than not that's exactly what it is. People will judge how good your blog is based on how many followers you have or giveaways you offer. But blogging has become immensely more enjoyable for me since I stopped reading bloggers I would constantly side-eye and started reading the blogs of my followers. I absolutely love when y'all leave a link to your blog along with your comments! A simple URL works just fine, as ones who leave 3 or 4 lines of self promotion and "OMG come check out my giveaway" get marked as spam. (Again, in it for yourself. Genuine comments are a great way to become part of a close-knit community... just don't turn into That Blogger!). I'm the world's worst commenter but chances are highly likely that if you've left your URL in my comments then I've visited your blog. I follow mostly via Google Reader and I read almost, but not quite every post (sometimes it's overwhelming!), but I'm often at a loss for what to comment with. Anyway, I've noticed how much more inspired I feel when I read blogs that are genuine and void of any agenda. Climbing the circle jerk blog ladder isn't something to aspire to. I've read blogs who got 1+ million hits a month and I started to really look at how they responded to their readers (if at all!) via Twitter and other social media. If they gave absolutely no thought to it, I unfollowed. Even if/when I tweet at someone "higher up" in the blogging world and they are quick to dismiss me only to tweet constantly with their favorite bloggy BFF with "tons of followers", I get insulted. Wouldn't you?! I understand some people get an overwhelming amount of messages and @replies, so if it's a generic "aw!" or "that's so cute/great/awesome/funny!" tweet, I let it slide. But when I/others share sincere comments, it's a harder pill to swallow. I'm not always the best or quickest to respond to everything, but if you tweet at me with a genuine question, concern, comment or just to say hello, I respond back. I respond to every single email I receive too... even if it takes me a week. I'm not a blogging saint, so please don't think I'm trying to say that! But I finally recognize how rude and dismissive some bloggers are... for no reason. If they didn't have readers, they wouldn't be in the position they are now. They wouldn't have sponsorships, partner deals and the opportunities they do (I wouldn't either!). I value my readers so very very much. Even when you speak up and have concerns or constructive criticisms. Sure, the criticisms aren't always the easiest to digest but I try to look at them from a different perspective. Some are helpful and some are just mean. But that doesn't mean they're all malicious.

I know some of you still side-eye me when I say or do things you might think are totally hypocritical or stupid... it's human nature. I do it, too. I very often say/do things that aren't in line with my thoughts/beliefs without realizing. But I hope that each and every one of you read my blog because it inspires you or brings some sort of happiness into your daily lives. Not because I have thousands of followers you could potentially make yours, or in hopes that I link to you randomly. The friendships and relationships I've built from blogging have been some of the absolute best in my life. I don't want people to feel like they have to be sponsors of my blog in order to get mentioned.

I honestly stand behind this next thing that I'm going to say: If my blog doesn't inspire you, bring you genuine happiness or motivate you in any way to be better, feel free to unfollow! If you don't feel like I connect with my readers or give back in a way similar to what y'all give to me, don't feel obligated to read! I mean that with the utmost sincerity, no sarcasm or attitude involved. Explore the blogging world for all it has to offer. Find blogs that really do speak to you, but make sure the blog author is genuine and real. I'm not saying be skeptical of everyone you meet, but be smart. Make sure they're presenting themselves in an honest light. I'm so very far from perfect (and this little blog has all the proof of that!) but I'm willing to acknowledge and learn from my mistakes in hopes that it'll make me a better person. 

If you strive to grow your blog or audience, just make sure you stay true to yourself and look at everything from a grounded perspective. Don't let the hullabaloo of being a "big time blogger" be your driving force. Do it for the people you'll meet, the experiences you'll have, and the stories you have to share!

And while I'm on the topic of awesome audience blogs, leave a link to yours below! I want to get to know you if I haven't already! I'm constantly amazed at how many amazing blogs are out there in my general social circle that I've yet to stumble across! When I find one it's like a big "Ah ha!" moment and I wonder how I had missed it all this time! Please don't ever hesitate to introduce yourselves and send your links! You can always email me, too! (kaelahbee at gmail dot com)

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Honest To Blog is a weekly free-writing feature where I share whatever is on my mind. No edits, no filters. Just unapologetic, sometimes offensive, always truthful thought. Click HERE to read all of the past posts in this feature.

This feature has been a saving grace for me and my little blog. I love that you allow me to share my out-there opinions with you even if they're far from popular. It's a wonderful feeling to make LCH a more personal platform.

Sponsored Giveaway!

Here are the last round of giveaways from our October sponsors! I think you'll find the curated group below to be quite stellar! Here's what you could win!
Rosita Mustache Studio is offering up a pet portrait painting to the lucky winner! I have one of each Georgia and Pipkin (I'll share those soon!) and they're darling! Such a lovely treat! They'd make absolutely lovely gifts for the holidays!
Shop // Blog // Twitter
Minty Sweet is giving the winner a custom sculpted clay portrait of sorts! She did one of me in the past, as well as my pal Danny! Aren't they fun?!
Kirstin Marie is giving the winner a large ad spot for November on her personal life + style blog!

Grace from Betwixxt is giving away a handmade gift set that includes an "I use bad words" mug, a cute fox patterned stuffy, and a caravan makeup pouch! Cute!

Now here is how you can enter to win this giant prize pack! (Yep! One person gets all of this!)

To enter to win, drop by the sponsors above then leave a comment below telling me your favorite time of year! Be sure to leave your email address so I can contact you if you win! (You can spell it out like kaelahbee at gmail dot com to avoid spam!)

If you'd like additional entries you can.... 
+ Follow the blogs above/leave a sweet comment (one entry per blog followed, up to 3!)
+ Follow the sponsors on Twitter (one per follow, up to 4!)
+ "Like" the sponsors on Facebook (one per like, up to 2!)
+ Tell me your favorite item in their shops (one per shop, up to 4!)

If you kept tally then you'll notice that is up to FOURTEEN entries! Please be sure all entries are in separate comments so they can be properly counted! A winner will be drawn on Thursday and contacted shortly thereafter! Good luck! xo

Congratulations to Comment #6 Briana for winning the Pretty Zoo giveaway! Email me at kaelahbee at gmail dot com to claim your awesome prizes!

Kaelah's Cocktail Hour: New Old Lady

I've been bartending for over 5 and a half years now (holy crap!) so it goes without saying that I've found certain drinks to be my favorite to make and consume. I decided to start a new feature here on LCH sharing some of my absolute favorite cocktails from my bar. Some originated there. Some originated from me. Some came from goodness knows where but made an impression at my little bar. But they have one thing in common: they're all delicious. I'm biased to a few and this first one I'm sharing is my all time favorite. I might as well not drink anything else because 99% of the time, it's a New Old Lady.

In my 5+ years I have never had a single person tell me they didn't like the NOL when I suggest it. I get a lot of customers who have no idea what they want and this is always my first suggestion. It's kind of my baby!

Below you'll find the illustrated (and very simplistic) recipe, and I'll include ways to change it up to suit your mood underneath! 

For everyone afraid of taking a "recipe" to a bartender, worried that they'll roll their eyes at you and tell you they can't make it, don't be scared! I love when customers bring me new recipes and I love sharing my concoctions with other bartenders! Other bartenders (or you!) may recognize some of the drinks I feature by a different name, and that's all well and good! Every place tends to call it by a different name, and every bar may mix a Sex on the Beach differently! We don't actually abide by a little black book of recipes so don't be alarmed if I share something you think is wrong... it's just how we do it! Enjoy! (Click on the image below to see it full size!)

Ways to mix it up:
+ Add a splash of Sprite and/or pineapple juice. This is especially tasty if you serve it on ice as a drink!
+ Like the subtext reads, do equal parts whiskey and schnapps if you want to ease your way into it.
+ Add a tiny splash of grenadine for a fruity kick.

Most bartenders will understand what you mean when you say "one parts" and "two parts" and "splash"... but if you want to make it at home and you have no idea what that means, think of all alcohol equaling 1.5 ounces (2 or 2.5 if you're feeling wild!). 3 parts of 1.5 oz would be .5 oz each. 1 oz whiskey and .5 oz peach schnapps. I don't actually measure this as I've grown accustomed to just knowing when to pour/stop, but if you have a jig on your liquor, start to pour it and count to five fairly quickly. That is roughly between 1 and 1.5 oz. I tend to say counting to 3 is half an ounce but that's fudging it a bit! (ex: count to 5 quickly for the whiskey and count to 3 for the schnapps!) Okay, I may tend to give a wee bit more alcohol than the recipe calls for but oh well! If you're mixing it at home you can mix to taste so don't sweat it too much! If it's too strong you can always dilute it a bit with sweet ' sour mix. Be careful if you're prone to heartburn as the sweet 'n sour might set it off!

New Old Lady is without a doubt my favorite drink so if you find yourself craving something new when you're out and about (or even at home), give it a try! Let me know if you decide to try it and what you think! It's absolutely yummy! xo

What's your favorite cocktail to have when you go out?

PS; I'll also be sure to include some mock-tail recipes for all of you readers who are underage or choose not to drink alcohol! I can't leave you out! ;)

Things I Love Thursday

Thursdays seem to come like the speed of light each and every week! They're kind of like my Sunday (I say this all the time!) in terms of my weekend job so I really try to enjoy my week for all that I can. The weather outside is a bit gloom and doom today so I'll be working major overtime to finish up some creative projects inside, as well as some freelance design work (!!!) and personal ventures. Y'all, I'm really excited about this ebook! I'm really proud of it! Anyway, here's my week's worth of awesome and lovely things!
this candy corn cupcake recipe for halloween ♥

this pretty pretty pink pyrex ♥

these rilakkuma pancakes ♥

♥ this hilarious gif ♥

these painfully tacky shorts to match my litas + bag ♥

♥ these dream shoes! (but i can't find the source/brand!) ♥

this mini succulent garden ♥

this hilarious Ron mask ♥

this entire tumblr! (yes, i needed 3!) ♥

♥ these rad cookies ♥

Other Awesome Things: Susannah's Etsy shop is brimming with pretty things including her brand new bow scarf (!!!) ♥ Beca and Doug continue to blow me away with their passion for handmade between their brick + mortar and their Tumbleweeds sunglasses (Are they not amazing?!) ♥ I am so into these shoes I could just scream. Seriously. I'm on a self-imposed shopping ban if it's not thrifted so I can't justify them, but man alive... I'd wear them to pieces! ♥ I just redesigned my Tumblr layout! Scoot on over to check it out! If you follow me and I don't follow you back yet, leave me a little message in my Ask box so I can return the favor! ♥ I've landed some pretty big freelance design projects the past couple of weeks so I'm overflowing with ideas and creative time! I'll be following up this week here on LCH with some DIYs, a recipe or two, and a launch date for my PR + Marketing ebook! It's almost finished! And it's way better than I had hoped (but I'm biased!) I love feeling creative! ♥ My ukulele arrived yesterday (finally!) so I've already dove into learning my first song. Got all the chords down, just gotta learn the muscle memory! Maybe Mike and I will play a little diddy via video if I ever get better! ;)

I'll try and record my thrifting haul video today when I get home from a project meeting! I'm also going to be rerecording (or rewriting) a new red hair post since I get a million emails about it! Happy Thursday, Honeybees! You are my favorites! 

What are you loving this week?

PS; The winner of the Pretty Zoo giveaway is Comment #86 Blabbing Maggie! Feel free to email me to claim your prize, Maggie! Congrats!

Little Bit Of Lace

I've been churning out outfit posts like mad lately. I guess it's because getting dressed is the only part of my day that is guaranteed. Well, on errand days at least! I wore this yesterday to go thrifting in. Thrifting in wedges might not sound like a good idea but these shoes are incredibly comfortable. I found this dress in a Forever 21 bag (tags still attached and all) and I have no clue when I bought it. To be honest I'm not crazy about it, but whatever. I guess I needed to give it a go.

I saw how bad my roots were yesterday so I finally redyed my hair last night. Thinking I might give straight hair a go in a few weeks the next time I dye it. We'll see. No promises. Anywhoo - the thrifting gods must have been smiling on me because I racked up! Coats on top of coats on top of coats (srsly! So many!) on top of jackets and bags and shoes, oh my! I might need to do a proper haul post for everything I got yesterday! Mike has been feeling a bit under the weather so I'm not sure if our Wedding Wednesday DIY will get finished in time today or not! If it doesnt, I promise it'll be ready next week! And maybe I'll do a video haul to make up for it (eh?!). Hope you're having a lovely Wednesday! xo

Forever 21 dress
Target cardigan
Target tights
Target wedges
Ross purse

Paintings In The Park

This is one of those days where I simply threw together an outfit to be appropriately dressed for public. Granted I wasn't all that appropriate being that I was in a dress and this was taken immediately after we left the puppy park (We had two tuckered out girls in the backseat of our car!). This is the last of the outfits I had saved up from the past week or two and believe me when I say: the weather has taken a turn for the worst. And by worst I mean cold! Of course it's temps are back up to 79 for a couple of days before they top out at 50 on Friday (Tennessee is very fickle when it comes to the change of the seasons. I really just want to enjoy some Autumn!). My legs have been in hiding all weekend but I might prance around without tights one last time or so before saying so long.

This dress is such a sweet dress. It's the absolute perfect fit and the length is appropriate. I love the paint smears on it. I have some lovely friends in the UK (Beki and Bethan) who do swaps with me. They find me pretty things at Dorothy Perkins and the like to ship over and I send back lots of Forever 21 or yummy treats like Flipz. This way we all skip the hefty shipping fees and get something lovely in return! (Srsly, if any of you work at Dorothy Perkins [or Primark/Clothing as Tesco/anywhere else in the UK with cute clothes, let a girl know! Let's do some trades! Email me if you're interested! kaelahbee at gmail dot com ;P) You could tell I was sort of being dragged behind the bus this day. Messy hair + minimal effort... seems like that's the majority!

Today Mike and I are spending the day having fun adventures together. We have a lot of errands to run but luckily we make those fun! Happy Tuesday Honeybees!

What are you most looking forward to wearing this season?!

F&F // Tesco (UK) dress
Target cardigan (similar)
Soda flats (thrifted)
Thrifted belt (similar)
Bag via Ross

The Hot Dog Dress

I have never really been one to wear bold colors. I love my pastels and my neutrals, though my colorful tattoos may make you think otherwise. I typically stay in the Easter-hue arena when it comes to color. But this dress... oh this dress. I've kind of had my eye on it for months (and months and months and months!) I was scared to order it because I hate ordering clothes online being that I'm so strangely shaped. I have a small chest/torso, but as soon as we get south of my waist it's like BUH-BAM! HIPZ! BOOTY! haha I'm also really short (5'2 for those of you asking lately!) so length is a big issue. But I got this dress in the mail and oh my stars, it fit like a glove. Not only is the quality stellar, but the silhouette is perfect for my body. And it has hot dogs on it. Yep. Hot dogs. Right across my chest. OH! And it has pockets. Maybe to put hot dogs in on the go? I don't know, you decide. Handy dandy hot dog dress. (Yes, there's also popcorn and milkshakes and even french fries, but the hot dog takes the cake. Heh!)

I love the half-tone/comic book print of the dress and I've been wearing it like mad. I wore it to both the Jack's Mannequin and Mat Kearney shows last week (Tuesday and Thursday. Yep, outfit repeater). I love finding pieces of clothing that you want to wear over and over and over again. 

I thought the bold graphic would be perfectly fitting for my Betsey Johnson French Bulldog ring I ordered a few months ago. I ordered it because it looks EXACTLY like Pipkin. Now I have a Pipkin wherever I go! We shot these photos down from our house (we're actually finding a bunch of awesome backdrops within a block or two of our loft!) and we finished right when it started to rain. Perfecto! I did however opt to wear bright red lipstick at night. Vamp it up a bit!

I think every girl should own a hot dog dress. Just sayin'.

Charlotte Russe cardigan (similar)
Quilted Bag via NYC

Honest To Blog -- 23 going on 40

This week's free write is in the same vein as last week's. I mentioned last week that I often thought of myself as "23 going on 40" and that's no exaggeration. The realization can be both good and bad, and that's what I'm going to talk about today. 


I'm a 23 year old college grad with no intention (or desire) to ever work a 9 to 5. Okay, so obviously if push came to shove and I needed to work a set 40 hour a week schedule, I would. I'll do anything I need to to make sure I fulfill my dreams, but that's not the point. My entire college experience was overrun with projects, deadlines, and paper cuts. O'More left absolutely no time to "party" or have a typical college experience. For this I am grateful. What I mean by that is... I've never been much of a "partier" and while I am not sad in the slightest to have missed that, that's not to say I wouldn't have fallen victim to it like a few of my friends did. A few dropped out, a few managed to squeak through. But O'More didn't really let you do that. It was make or break. I spent 4 years obsessing over projects and deadlines that I didn't have time to socialize. But I never felt like I was missing out.

Fast forward a year or two and I still feel the same way. I don't go out to bars because I work at one. On the rare occasion we're visiting friends out of state we'll go out, but aside from shows here and there, I still don't get out much. Not that I'm a cat lady shacked up with my mister and nothing better to do. But I prefer to work. While I have no intention of having a corporate 9 to 5 job, I easily work 80+ hours a week. Whether it's on Honeybean, bartending, or design work... I'm constantly working. I'm constantly checking and responding to emails. There's even blog stuff to do. All of these things pay my bills, and I love every single one of them (This is where I feel really really lucky). I'd rather work my fingers to the bone than to go out and do typical "college/early 20s" things. Maybe I'm just shy. Or anti-social. Or both. Either way, I enjoy working more than I do socializing. This can be a good thing (to a certain degree).

There's not a single day that goes by that I don't almost-obsess over the future. Where are we going to move? Where are we going to open our brick and mortar? What about the schools in that town? Will our kids have a good future there? How far away is it from family/friends? It's ridiculous. This is where the "not so good" part comes in. 90% of the things I think about are totally irrelevant at the time anyway! This is also where that "worry/stress" tendency I have comes into play. I've realized that over the past few years that I've been so focused on the future that I've totally missed out on a lot of the present. Rather than explore Nashville for all it has to offer, I spend an embarrassing amount of time checking PadMapper and Google Earth for acceptable neighborhoods/towns to move to. Instead of enjoying Honeybean for the amazing blessing it has been, I'm obsessively searching for the next place to set up. It can get overwhelming.

I'm always trying to find the balance of never being too satisfied/content, and never taking the present moment for granted. It's so easy to do. It's so easy to completely overlook the fact that I'm blessed with so many amazing people and opportunities when I'm always looking for something else to do.

Maybe it's a good stance to have when it comes to business, but I want to make sure my business doesn't overrun my personal life. I consider a large portion of my "personal" life to be both that and business, but finding that equilibrium can be hard/daunting. Working from home on freelance design makes it difficult to separate my home/work life (and by difficult I mean impossible). Then I go to a bar to work on the weekends where most people go to socialize (and I get to do that, too, so that line stays blurred there also). 

While I'm only 23 (and we do not plan on having children any time soon!), I constantly daydream about finally being a mom. I know that will be an absolute game changer for us and our businesses, but it's something I think about constantly. (Secret time: I totally have a little stash of baby girl dresses that I've collected over the years. Vintage and handmade. Mike rolls his eyes and tells me no each time but I can't pass them up! Another secret: This scares me into thinking karma will never let me have a girl! haha See! These are the things my brain thinks of!) I think about our future house, our yard, our mailbox (!!!) and flowerbed. I daydream about our shop and how we'll decorate. I think about how our children will (hopefully) grow up in our shop and work there and maybe one day we'll pass it on. I get so wrapped up in what's to come that I forget to stop and enjoy it now.

I'm terrified that I'm going to wake up one morning, really be 40, and feel like my early 20s were a blur. This is such an exciting time in our lives! Opening our businesses, establishing ourselves, exploring, getting married... it's so great. But I always catch myself saying "I can't wait until..." I need to learn to think in the present. 

While I think it's important to always strive for more and to never become too satisfied, I'm trying to avoid the incessant urge to say "more more more!" I want to grow as a business owner, a person, a soon-to-be-wife, daughter/in-law, etc. But I don't want my need to be "better" than I was yesterday to overshadow my relationships with people. 

So I have to ask... how do you handle the balance? Where do you find that equilibrium in your life? Are you a business owner with a personal life to manage? Give me your secrets! I need them! ;)

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My Honest-To-Blog series is a weekly feature on LCH where I free-write about personal thoughts and situations. They're completely open, honest, and never edited. What you read is how I think... and sometimes it's a real big jumbled mess! You can read the rest of the series so far by clicking HERE!

Featured Sponsor: Pretty Zoo

I'm so so so very excited about this month's featured sponsor, Zoe from Pretty Zoo! Not only is her blog chock full of inspiring bits and bobs, but her new jewelry venture is absolutely stunning. It doesn't hurt that she's a total babe and sweetheart either! Zoe is here to answer a few quick questions for all of you Honeybees and she's going to share a super rad giveaway at the bottom, too! Be sure to click through and see just how adorable and talented she is for yourself, and then enter to win! xo

You're quite the world traveler, are you not? What's it like to move internationally?
It's amazing!! Moving with my boyfriend from New Zealand to Germany was a huge and slightly scary step, but an awesome challenge! We learnt some German, travelled around Europe a bit, and experienced living with a completely different language and culture. We lived there for almost a year, then moved to London a couple of months ago which was so exciting, and I'm absolutely loving it here! 

Pretty Zoo is the name of your blog and new jewelry line. How did the name come about?
I'm not 100% sure!! I love animals and pretty things, so I think I just combined the two! I also like how it kinda references my name with the letter Z, and the idea of my blog and shop as a collection of pretty things in a place people can visit (like a zoo!) II'm a bit torn about zoo's; I love them, but I hate the enclosures. 

How did you decide you wanted to get into making jewelry?
I've wanted to make jewellery for a while now, and have had little ideas brewing in my head. Then when I was in Germany working as a design freelancer, I'd find myself with spare time so I decided it was now or never! I did alot of planning and developing, and finally launched my shop in September after we had moved to London. 

Your pieces are undeniably gorgeous, and incredibly unique! Where did the inspiration for your work come from?
Aww! Thankyou! The inspiration for my jewellery came from my love for the Old World, vintage ephemera, botany, natural history, and explorers! I'm obsessed with the idea of cabinets of curiosities and adventurers setting off on long expeditions and discoveries, so my jewellery has a strong antique/explorer influence.

You're also a graphic designer and illustrator! How fun! Have you always been an incredibly creative (and talented!) gal?
I love making things! I'm project obsessed, and I can't stick to just one or two creative outlets! I was pretty arty growing up, and ever since I could I've studied art, drawing, design, photography and other creative subjects. I always wanted to have a creative career- I went through phases of wanting to be an Art Teacher, Tattooist, Architect, Artist, Fashion Designer, Interior Designer, Photographer... they all seem so fun! :)

What's a typical day like in the life of Zoe?
My typical day has recently changed dramatically!! For the past year it was pretty much just working on freelance design and illustration work, designing blogs and print work for Freckled Nest, developing my jewellery, blogging on Pretty Zoo and dreaming up creative projects. But, as of last week, I am employed full-time! And I mean FULL time! My days currently look a bit like this: Up at 6.30am, on the bus at 7.30am, two train changes and then I'm at work a little after 8.30am. I work with an amazing team of really passionate, hard-working and incredibly lovely and fun people, designing prints and garments for leading high street retailers like Topshop and ASOS. (It's a dream come true!!!) Lunch is had at my desk, and I leave sometime between 6.30 and 8.30pm. I'm usually home after an hour, then I have some dinner with the boy while we chat about our days. Then at about 9.30pm I'm onto my computer again to catch up on emails, and most importantly, do design work and emails for my Freckled Nest clients. I try and get to bed by midnight, then it's up again early in the morning! 

Who are some people that inspire you on a daily basis?
I'm most inspired by people who are passionate about what they do, or what they're working towards. I'm inspired by Leigh-Ann and Kyla of Freckled Nest, they've built an amazing little design company and are incredibly smart and talented. Also Elsie of Red Velvet who seems to be living the dream! I love Bri from Design Love Fest too, she's a great designer and a stylish, smart lady! And I really admire Kaelah for making her Honeybean dream come true! I'm so happy for her :)

Let's daydream for a minute. If you could write your life story, where would you write yourself 5 years from now? 10? 20?
Five years from now, I'd maybe still be living in London, designing up a storm and having adventures! After ten years, I would've travelled around the UK and Europe, as well as a road trip around the States, a visit to Canada, and would possibly be back in New Zealand, either creating for kick-ass clients or having my own shop! Or both! And after twenty? I've never thought about that, but there'd probably be some babies along the way by then, eeek I can't think that far into the future!! ;)

Where else can the lovely Honeybees find you online?

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Do you just love her yet? Right?! So in honor of this super rad feature, Zoe is giving away an original pattern illustration, set under glass in a hand-stained wooden frame! It's 100% one of a kind as it features the original drawing. Swoon! And here is how you can enter to win:

Visit Zoe's shop, Pretty Zoe (Here's the Etsy version, too),  and tell me your very favorite piece in her shop! Then just leave a comment below (with your email spelled out!).

For extra entries, do the following and leave a separate comment for each!
+ Follow Zoe's blog
+ Follow Zoe on Twitter
+ Tweet/Tumblr about the giveaway and include a link (tag @kaelahbee and @zoeweir)
+ Blog about the giveaway and include a link

That's 5 ways to win! A winner will be drawn next Thursday!

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The winner of the group giveaway last week was: Comment #24 Mih.aela!

If you're interested in being the Featured Sponsor of January (or any month in 2012!), shoot me an email at or check out the Sponsor page for more info! Book by the end of the month to get $30 off!