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If you’ve been feeling rather down lately, whether that be from a bad breakup or a nightmare boss, it’s only normal that you should treat yourself to something. But rather than a box of chocolates and a bottle of wine (although these work too!), why not change it up a little. The box with soon be empty, and so will that bottle, so maybe you should find something that lasts a little longer…

A pet. Pets are awesome, and anyone that doesn’t already own one is missing out big time. Here are all the reasons why.

Laughter

Pets do so many different things that make us laugh. Whether it be when a dog chases his own tail round in circles, or when a cat makes perfect eye contact with you, only to knock off everything that is on the table. And we love them for it! They say that laughter is the best medicine, and this really is true. It decreases the stress hormones and instead, increases our immune cells which help us to fight off infections and illnesses. It also triggers that wonderful chemical called endorphins that make us feel oh so good.

Support     

If you struggle with a form of mental illness, then having a pet can really help that. Take a dog for example; they are able to give you a support that sometimes other humans can’t offer, and that is why a doctor can now prescribe you with an emotional support dog certificate so that you can have your very own companion to make the daily struggles easier. They provide you with a friend that’s there to give you cuddles and affection, and they will even encourage you to get out of the house, because they need to be walked. It’s your job to take on that responsibility, which breaks you out of a negative routine and shows you how beautiful the world can be.

Company

At times, you may feel as though you’re alone, and yet you’re not ready to invite all of your friends over either – this is where a pet comes in. They give you that sense of presence that you may be lacking. You can play with them, pet them, and feel all that love headed in your direction. And they don’t even ask for anything in return. It is said that dogs can love a person unconditionally, regardless of what kind of job they have, how much money they make, what colour their skin is, or how many followers they have on Instagram. These creatures are the ones with the purest of intentions, so if you’re looking to share your company with someone – get a pet.

And there you have it. You have the most popular reasons laid out in front with you, so have a think about what it is you want, and always do your research first. Different breeds have different traits, so be sure to familiarise yourself with these so you know they are the one for you, that fits easily into your life.

The post Get A Pet – You’ll Feel So Much Better! appeared first on Babies, Bloodhounds and Booze, Oh My!.

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The style of parenting varies from one person to another. There are those parents who will tell you that babies should not be allowed to cry while others will tell you it is healthy for the baby to cry.  When it comes to letting babies cry, opinions differ a lot. Some will say you are spoiling the child and others will say not picking a crying a child is a way of letting him know it is not always he will get what he wants. If you are a mother looking for answers to this question, here is what research has to say about this.

Cuddled kids grow with less anxiety

Recently released research has discovered that kids who were cuddled developed into well-controlled grownups with good mental fitness and less nervousness.

Crying ruins the development of kids

According to research, it is not possible to spoil newborns with cuddles. Not picking up the child when he is crying might ruin his development. The earlier you start picking your child when he is weeping, the better it is for his development. Studies say that kids expect a lot of holding, rocking and touching during their initial months. Whatever you do at this stage impacts the way the brain will grow. Studies have also established that, together with hugging, positive babyhood full of quality time and a lot of affection resulted in adults who are healthy with excellent surviving skills. Also, studies recommend that affection and love to upset, crying child is developmentally vital since it sets the foundation for a strong bond.

Keeps kids calm

In the early months of children, all the systems of in a child’s body are setting how they will be working. Picking him is a way to soothe the baby. If you allow the infant to cry so much, the systems will be put under stress. While this is all about research, we can experience it in our everyday lives, adults who are not loved or feel abandoned are likely to be stressed and find it difficult to self-calm.

Babies below six months have this time to grow that special bond with the family. Therefore, these are moments any parent or caregiver needs to offer more attention to the baby as they might be crying seeking help. When you pick the baby, you respond to his needs.

Bottom line

If you have a little one and have been ignoring her while she cries, you have been making a huge mistake. Babies who were hugged in their early months become healthier empathetic and less depressed adults. Holding the baby or picking him when he is crying does not mean spoiling him. Babies cannot speak, and their only way of communication is by weeping. It feels good for the baby to- know that he is exceptional to the family and holds the highest place in each of the family members. While it is healthy to soothe a crying child, it is even better if you know the crying patterns of your child.

The post Should you pick up your crying kid? appeared first on Babies, Bloodhounds and Booze, Oh My!.

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Disclosure There are links in here that if they are clicked and you purchase an item, I will receive a small commission from that sale. 

Remember the day when phones didn’t have cameras? Or even texting? Yes, the most recent generation thinks we are crazy for reminiscing those days but they were are simpler time. My generation were the ones that started the obnoxious bathroom selfie trend with your basic digital camera. Drove me nuts seeing those flashes in mirrors. But I did carry my camera around to capture moments with friends. I got my first camera when I graduated high school to take with me on my exchange program to Japan. It was a Kodak. I felt so cool because it had a screen to review images. Oh yea, it was awesome. But in the past decade (plus) the digital camera for every day use has made leaps and bounds from where it was.

They not only have the ability to shoot more photos but you get a better quality photo. One of  the things I still enjoy about these is their size. Light weight and easy to pack in a purse, pocket or in your luggage. Unless you are trying to take artistic photos or create a special effect, these are great for the individual just trying to capture memories.

If you are looking for one for your child and don’t want to spend a lot then this would be a great choice.

Mr. Hound has this one. It has been great for us. He takes it with him on vacations and it has produced great photos when he needs an image to sell a product online.

If you are looking for a high quality shot with the convenience of a small camera, then this may be just the one for you. With the ability to send the images to your phone or put them online immediately, you will fall in love quickly. A higher price tag but definitely a higher quality.

If you are in need of some extra memory, this is a great deal on a 32 gb memory card. Normally I see them for over $20 at the store. I will be stocking up on these.

With so many great moments to capture, how will you get them?

The post Best Point & Shoot Cameras appeared first on Babies, Bloodhounds and Booze, Oh My!.

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Do you enjoy scrolling Instagram accounts where every shot it perfectly posed? Where it looks like they had Annie Leibovitz or Alfred Eisenstaedt directing them? Not going to lie, I do enjoy those accounts myself. But after I got my camera, it got me thinking. Why are we so attracted to things that aren’t the every day norm? Why are we so attracted to the man that holding an arm full of puppies? Why are we so attracted to the woman who is posed in $120 jeans with the perfect sun beam? Honestly, that is something I will never truly be able to understand.

I have never been the type of woman to really make over myself. I spent most of middle school with my hair in a pony and rocking Billabong and Roxy. I was more into being comfortable than I was taking the extra time to appreciate my features. When I met Mr. Hound at 16, I put in a smidge more effort in order to impress him. Which now seems like such a waste. Now that I am about 7 months away from 30, I have found myself taking the time to make myself up. Even if I just have to run errands, I am applying things to my face and making even my messy bun attractive. At night I can be found applying an eye cream to prevent crows feet.

Honestly though, there are days where I wish I knew how to do my makeup like it was done professionally or that my hair wasn’t insanely thick so that I’d have the patience to curl it more. I wish these things because I have noticed that when I do my hair and apply my makeup, I walk with such confidence. My demeanor is morphed into that of a woman that knows what she wants and how to get it. I no longer feel ashamed of my flaws.

The other day, I was going through my file of “Need to Organize” photos. Yes, every photographer knows this folder and how scary it can become. I found this photo of my cousin. She had just had a baby a few hours prior to this photo. She looked amazing. Her hair wasn’t wild, her skin wasn’t flushed, she was glowing. She had asked that no photos of her be posted online but didn’t mind if the new baby was posted. I understood as a woman and a mom but thought, she is crazy. She looks fantastic. If I had looked that good after labor, I would have been calling everyone to take my photo with my new child. Society as a whole has been damaged. We have been scarred by the words of someone we don’t know saying something harsh about another human being that shares a similar trait to us. We began to criticize our own features and scold ourselves for having them.

I shot some photos of a family and not to sound vain but they turned out amazing. The family was so wonderful to work with and followed direction wonderfully. When I sent them the photos, the mom said she hated all of the ones of herself. She asked me to touch things up on her. Pointing out things that no one else would notice. I kept trying to reassure her that she looked fantastic and should be proud of herself. It broke my heart to see her upset over these images. I retouched the areas she asked and sent them back. She still wasn’t happy. It wasn’t my work, it was she wasn’t confident in her beauty.

When I am editing photos, I zoom in on them. I see things others may not want me to see. But here is the thing folks, we are all going to get older. We are all going to age. Yes, some do it as gracefully as a flower. Others, get results much sooner than hoped. It is learning to appreciate who you are. Appreciate what you have. Appreciate where you come from.

Big secret about me and something I honestly hate about myself; I have DNA that makes me fuzzy. Yes, fuzzy. I have super thick hair, Eugene Levy eyebrows, see-through blonde hair on my body and dark hair on my legs from my knees down (don’t ask me why, I’m not complaining because it could be dark on the rest of my legs and arms).  As I have gotten older, I have learned that it comes from family. I mean, I honestly would have preferred to inherit an Italian Riviera home but this is what I got. It is who I am. I am the gal that wears glasses, still gets the random blemish, has stretch marks from pregnancy, morning breath that could kill a moose, love handles and is still as clumsy as I was in middle school basketball.

If we are not able to appreciate what we see in a photo without extreme editing, then how are we going to appreciate what we see in the mirror each morning? Now don’t forget that I did admit to loving those perfect Instagram accounts but that doesn’t mean I want them flooding my feed. What I appreciate is when someone is honest about themselves and shows that they are vulnerable. I was reading this one caption and she said, ” I spent hours getting ready for this photo. This photo took a matter of minutes to take. The things we do for our personal business.” First thought was, Geeze woman! If I don’t have to shower and dry my hair then I can be ready in 15 minutes. Then I thought, good for you for actually posting something that showed how silly we can be at times.

Look at a tree. A tree starts from something so small and grows into something majestic. It is constantly changing yet we do not look at the tree and tell it that it is ugly or malformed. We do not tell it to keep it’s leaves. When it changes, we smile and say how beautiful it looks. We see the changes each season and bask in them. I would hope that you remember to see the changes in yourself as something majestic and own them with pride.

The post How Photography Made Me Appreciate Natural Beauty appeared first on Babies, Bloodhounds and Booze, Oh My!.

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Debt is never any fun and that sense of dread you get every time the mail comes makes day-to-day living stressful. Though it might seem that the black hole of debt is never ending and the bills will just keep on coming, there are ways that you can help yourself, regain control of your financial situation and start afresh with a healthier outlook on money and life.

However tired of debt you are, and however frustrated money makes you feel, these methods can be used by anyone to make the future bright again.

Method 1: Consolidation and Payoff

Aside from swearing never to get into such a mess again, you should look into methods for consolidating your debt to make repayment easier and to reduce the amount of interest you are paying. Credit card debt consolidation is a simple way to handle your debts. All you need to do is transfer the balance of each credit card to your new card and then – voila! – you will only need to make one monthly payment.

Before you swap to a new card, do make sure that you check the interest rates. Many card companies will lure you in with a fixed term deal such as 0% interest for a year, which is great unless you can’t pay off the full amount in that time and get automatically switched to a much higher rate. The fine print might be a pain to read, but making sure that you are absolutely clear about the terms and conditions now may save you later on.

Method 2: High to Low Payoff

For some people, especially those with a poor credit rating finding a suitable way to consolidate your credit card debts is tough. This is because, in the view of the credit card companies, you are at a much higher risk of defaulting on your credit card payments so they boost the interest to compensate for that risk. Despite your cries of ‘not fair!’ this is just the way that credit works.

Fortunately, there is a simple way that you can rid yourself of debt without consolidating that should make your repayments feel more ordered.

First, follow these simple steps:

  1. Write down all your credit card debts including the amount owed and the interest rate
  2. Put these debts into order so that the highest interest rate is at the top
  3. Write down the minimum payments you need to make each month
  4. Make all the minimum payments for every debt but start overpaying for the debt listed at the top
  5. Once this debt is repaid, continue making your minimum payments and now overpay on the next debt.

Writing down all your debts will help to focus your mind and set your priorities. Paying off the highest interest debt first will reduce the amount of interest you pay overall, while maintaining minimum payments will keep the others ticking over.

This all sounds very easy written down, but now you need to find the determination to get started and bust those debts!

The post 2 Painless Methods for Repaying Multiple Debts appeared first on Babies, Bloodhounds and Booze, Oh My!.

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Having a dog is awesome. It’s probably one of the best things you can do. It’s literally like living with your best friend, but minus the petty arguments and bitchiness! But sometimes, they fall ill or get injured, and not only is that heartbreaking, but our bank account cries a little inside too, because, well, vet bills are damn expensive!!!

Here’s how you can keep your head above water if, (God forbid) your pup needs to take a trip downtown.

Save up

It sounds so obvious, because – it is. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Being responsible with your money is a battle of will every single day. Other than all the things you need to spend your money on, like the bills and the groceries – those shoes are also calling your name… But that’s where you have to say no. One way to manage your money is by creating your own personal budget, and sticking to it! Any expenses that aren’t essential – take them off the list. Think of all the money that you’ll be saving!

Extra income

There’s always the possibility of taking on an extra job for some more cash. There are plenty of jobs that you can do on the weekend or in the evening, like waitressing. A few hours here and there may not sound like a lot, but it all adds up in the end. There are other ways of making money in the comfort of your own home too. You can fill out surveys, or even start your own blog.

Ask for help

Sometimes you just can’t do it alone, and in that case, you’ll need to stop worrying about pride and just ask for help. If you have any family that could help you out, then you could always ask them to lend you some money and then pay them back gradually whenever you can. But not everyone has this option, which means you may have to consider unsecured personal loans. This is the most common option when looking for financial assistance. They tend to be so popular because they also have lower interest rates that any other loan – which is always a bonus.

Sell unwanted things

Everyone is guilty of having things hidden away in cupboards, or in the attic, or the basement, or the spare room. It’s just a part of life. And as daunting as it may be thinking about having to sort out all the boxes of lovable junk – it’s so worth it. You know that you’ll never use that lamp, or play that game – and you definitely won’t wear that jacket again. So sell them! You can do this by word of mouth, have a garage sale, or sell your items online with sites like eBay and Amazon. Or if you’re feeling social, throw a selling party and invite all of your friends and family round. Drink cocktails, listen to music, and sell your junk!

So as you can see, there are a lot of different options you have to prepare yourself for the dreaded vet day. As long as you’re smart, and have a little self-control, there’s no reason you should be consumed by bills.

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The post Don’t Drown Yourself In Vet Bills! appeared first on Babies, Bloodhounds and Booze, Oh My!.

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Are You Tired Of Debt Controlling Your Life?

For freedom

When it comes to living with debt, is there really any financial freedom? Everything you earn is expected to be given away at some point, and it can be a real pain if you’re trying to save! The trick is making sacrifices! No one likes to make sacrifices, but in tough financial times, they are worth it. If you ever want to get out of that poor financial situation, you need to get ahead with your money, which means it’s time to start analysing what you do. Not only does it save your pennies, but debt can start to take its toll on your mental health, too! If you begin to feel as if you’re not able to get anything from life because your wages are being sucked out of you, your general satisfaction isn’t likely to be high.

Don’t stress it

If you feel your finances falling behind more and more, it’s completely natural to feel stressed about the future, but there are solutions for everyone! It’s important to do something before you put yourself at risk, however. As mentioned before, it can take a toll on your mental health, and the result can be rather severe. You shouldn’t let yourself decline into issues like depression; else you may struggle with your balance even more. Some get to a stage where they would rather accept the debt as part of their life and try to live with it, but that’s causing a detriment to yourself! You may be wondering why you would accept it, but once you start heavily lacking in motivation, so much as getting out of bed in the morning can be a challenging task. It is avoidable though, so don’t let that set in!

Cutting costs

When it comes to saving your money, looking for the most efficient way of spending is a must! Most people see this as doom and gloom, and that they have to give everything up. Not true! Putting yourself to this challenge can, in fact, be an excellent opportunity for you, not only for budgeting; but learning a new talent! Learning how to do things for yourself is a great way to save yourself money, while also being a potential hobby at the same time. While you may not think it’s for you, cooking is known to be quite therapeutic and fun, which can even help you with stress; which makes it worth a try, even if you’re learning from square one!

(Source: Pexels)

Professional aid

There are many professionals out there who are willing to provide financial advice and services at a certain cost. While it might not seem efficient to have to spend money on it, there’s plenty of different services out there that can improve your financial situation significantly. A lot of the solutions won’t exactly wipe out your debt, but there are chances to get it reduced, and if not, then at least more comfortable for you to handle. Looking into debt relief reviews could be a great help to you, and you’ll find yourself provided with a lot more insight from professionals should you go for it. If you’re not exactly the best with money, and you don’t know too much about the industry; going to professionals might be a must for you!

You don’t have to deal with your debts alone, and there’s no shame in asking people for help. Even if it’s not for money, and just advice instead. Everyone understands the stress of being crippled by debt; so it’s best to seek help if you’re struggling to get out of it. Just remember that you shouldn’t expect money from people, and you likely shouldn’t take another loan unless it’s from a trusted source.

The post Are You Tired Of Debt Controlling Your Life appeared first on Babies, Bloodhounds and Booze, Oh My!.

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I woke up late, tired, unsure if I was even human. I somehow managed to climb out of bed and stumble into the bathroom to get the sleep out of my eyes and morning breath banished. I get the kid up, fed and ready for the day. 15 minutes of staring at my closet, nothing seems like the right outfit. Then I hear the beautiful song of angels, it’s as if they are whispering in my ears.

*Church of England Children’s Choir* ACTIVE WEAR!

The name just flows over my ears like a warm summer breeze. Yes, how could I have not known? You were always there. You were the ones always holding me up (and in) when I needed you the most. You were the one that never judged that I hadn’t showered in two days. You make me feel like I am achieving so much more than I ever am.

Every time I put you on, I feel like I am embraced in a hug all day. Suddenly my rolls and misshapen areas aren’t so noticeable and I have a pep in my step. I no longer look like a frumpy mom. Suddenly I’m a kick-ass, rocking life, act together woman that can achieve anything.

From playing with my family to running errands, you give me the ability to get it all done. As women’s love affair with you has grown, so has your style. You’ve gone from crazy track suits to stylish apparel that our favorite celebrities are proud to be snapped in.

Your comfort and beauty transform me into a confident version of myself. As I write this love letter to you, I appreciate the warmth you entwine me in. Oh my active wear, I love you.

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Do you find that your bills take up the vast majority of your outgoings? If so, you are not alone. It can seem like a never-ending cycle when you save up enough money throughout the month, only to see it disappear on all your outgoings. This leaves you with very little to spend on something nice for yourself. So when it comes to saving, is there any foolproof method to save money when bills take up all of your finances?

Look At Your Working Habits

Of course, we all need to go to work to earn money, but what are the things that you do in work which take up a lot of your finances? For example, at the cost of public transport. Or even your fuel costs. If you find yourself paying a lot of money to get to work, it can add up to a lot of money at the end of the month by the time payday rolls around. Some of the ways to offset this balance would be to work at home on occasion but also to look at your expenses when you are at work. The biggest example that comes to mind is your lunch. Do you spend a lot of money on lunch every day, or can you take a packed lunch, or even better, leftovers of last night’s dinner into work?

Consolidate Your Bills

If you’ve got various bills to keep track of, this can be very debilitating financially, especially as if you got various credit cards, each bit of interest on each card will all add up. So you are best off consolidating it into one manageable item of debt. In addition to this, look for ways to get money back on certain transactions. Something like cash back credit cards and help when you need to spend money on purchases, including bills, where you can get some money back. In addition to this, your utility bills could benefit from some sort of consolidation, either by contacting the suppliers and asking for a loyalty discount or by switching suppliers.

Consider Your Recreational Habits

Not just that Netflix subscription, but do you have a gym membership that you don’t make the most of? Recreational expenses are a big part of how we enjoy your life. That’s not to say that you should cancel everything, but take a good look at what you really make the most of in your life. If you do watch a streaming service every night before going to bed, then, by all means, keep it. But if that organic fruit and vegetable box you get every month is eating a lot of your finances, is it really worth the expense?

It’s also worth considering how your attitude is towards saving money. If you do go out and buy clothes on a whim all the time, is it more the fact that you are unable to save because you keep dipping into that fund to buy something you think you really need at the time? Bills don’t have to take up all your finances, but this, in conjunction with a healthy attitude to spending, will help you to save money.

The post Save Me! Ways To Scrimp Money When It All Goes On Bills! appeared first on Babies, Bloodhounds and Booze, Oh My!.

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In many ways finance is pretty simple: you need to spend less than you earn. But, as easy as it is to say, it’s not so easy to make sure that you follow this advice all the time.

Sometimes spending is a good thing and you should be able to use your money to enjoy yourself and have a fulfilling life. Other times, it is better to save so that you can achieve financial security and look after your future needs.

Pay Off Your Debts

If you have any debts, paying them off should take priority. High-interest debts should be paid off first and as fast as you can to avoid excessive fees. You might also have lower interest, long-term debts like a mortgage. While paying this type of debt off early is a good idea, you don’t need to be quite as determined as long as you can afford the monthly repayments.

Prioritize paying off the highest interest debt first and overpay that account until it is closed while you continue to make minimum payments to other lenders. Work through the list systematically until you have paid everything off. If you are struggling, or you aren’t sure how best to approach your own situation, have a look at repair.credit for more advice.

Save for a Rainy Day

There is a lot of different advice about having emergency funds and some people may not need them at all. Where some people think that 3 months worth of living expenses is perfectly reasonable, others argue that this money could be put to better use in the meantime.

While opinions vary on what your financial safety net should be made up of and how much you should have in savings, it is clear that you should have something to fall back on should disaster strike. Achieve Your Goals

Saving for the future is always going to be a good idea, but it is possible that you can over-do it and save too much at the expense of enjoying your life now. If you are naturally frugal and careful with your money, this is great, but don’t make money the be all and end all of your life.

Spending now instead of saving for later can also be a good way to invest in your future. For example, you might want to spend some money pursuing an interest that could later be the foundation for your own business. Or perhaps you would love to travel the world and don’t want to leave it too late.

Think hard about what your life’s goals are as well as how and when you want to achieve them. This should help you to decide whether to spend or to save.

Life is short and you will only have one opportunity to make the most of it. While you might be tempted to splurge it all, do make sure that you plan ahead and think about your future needs. On the other hand, don’t be so concerned with the future that you forget about living well today.

Spending and saving are all about achieving a happy balance.

The post To Spend or to Save, That is the Question appeared first on Babies, Bloodhounds and Booze, Oh My!.

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