Saying Goodbye to a Best Friend (+ Feelings On Being An ‘Influencer’ In Difficult Times)

Saying Goodbye to a Best Friend (+ Feelings On Being An 'Influencer' In Sad Times)

When I posted back on July 2nd about taking a break while we were in the mountains of Colorado, I fully intended on the blog being nice and full this week. I did share a really fun post about my favorite summer snack food, but shortly after hitting publish on it, I got a call that my best friend of 23 years, who had been battling ALS since early last year, had just passed away. I knew that call was coming any day now. But it didn’t make it any easier. It hurt really, really bad. I’m crying as I type this, to be honest. I feel very depressed. It sucks. So I just couldn’t post about anything else today (or yesterday) other than what is happening – yet I struggled with whether or not to post this too. And I want to explain why.

I get more emails and messages asking how I became an “influencer” (so not a fan of that term but “blogger” sounds outdated these days) than any other topic. And honestly, I don’t have an answer. It’s not something I planned by any means. I worked in the fashion industry for 14 years as an eco-friendly designer, and then I started this blog as a side project to promote a new Etsy shop I’d opened back in 2010. Much to my surprise, the blog took off more than I ever imagined, and eventually evolved into a full on lifestyle site (which was completely different than how it started). A few years later I had Essley (my first babe), and shortly after that I decided to close the clothing line and work full time on my blog and social media accounts. In the past year and a half, they have become a solid way to support my family. I work a lot, and I work hard, but I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a really great gig. I get to stay home with my kids and still support them monetarily through creative work. I get to partner with some really great brands. I get some seriously fantastic opportunities for projects and campaigns. There is a lot of work and a lot of reward. I am very grateful.

In times of loss or tragedy, however, I feel torn about how to go about things around here. The weird thing about being an “influencer” (again, not a fan of that term) for a living is that even when you keep the vast majority of your life private (which I do), you want to remain authentic. (Or at least I do, and I know most of my friends in the industry do as well.) Yes, I partner with brands when I tell my stories, but I am always genuine, and I always incorporate my true self. And that makes it really difficult when something really shitty happens in your personal life. Blogs are not journals like they were 10 years ago. But they also aren’t (or at least shouldn’t be, in my opinion) commercials that lack soul or substance. When something like this happens, do I just keep posting and treating this like a job in an effort to be professional, even though my friends and I are heavily grieving? Do I not post at all and just allow myself a break, even if that means risking income my family depends on? Or do I find a place in between, where I am sharing with my followers (who over the years have become friends!) what is going on, and pay tribute to one of the greatest people I ever knew, without getting too personal or crossing a line?

Really, I can’t pinpoint the “right” thing to do when it comes to my weird job in times like these. So I’m just going with my gut. I posted about Goki on my Instagram and Facebook accounts, and I’m also posting here – both because I want to pay tribute to him, and because I felt it would be almost disrespectful to him to pretend things are okay right now. I pushed back some sponsored posts, because even though this is a job, the most important thing in my life right now is focusing on this great loss, and sending all of my love to the beautiful inside and out wife Marissa, absolutely amazing 2 year old daughter Mika (seen in the photo above), and wonderful parents that Goki left behind when his battle came to an end on Wednesday. Because this isn’t about me or my completely insignificant ramblings about what I should share here. It’s about them. His close friends are really hurting right now, but his daughter, wife, and parents are the ones who were really left behind. (I can also confidentially say that Goki would be shaking his head and laughing at me reading this. He always made fun of me for overthinking everything. He was/is a true free spirit. I’m just a wannabe.)

I want to share with you guys something my 4 year old daughter said to me yesterday morning when I woke up: “Mommy, don’t be sad. Goki is fine! When he died yesterday, the universe sent a bubble, and it took him up to the stars, to heaven, and he feels much better. I promise he is so happy! Mika knows this too.” Those were her exact words. And I believe her. He suffered for a long time, and now he is free. If any of your happen to be grieving a loss, I hope her words help you as well.

I’ve been thinking about addressing this subject here for a while, and my mind is so overwhelmed right now that I needed to address it, but I don’t want it to overshadow the main reason I’m posting – and that’s that the world has lost one of the most incredible people I’ve ever known. Goki, thank you for years of adventures together (all over the U.S., Costa Rica, Mexico, the Bahamas, etc. etc. etc.), phone calls that lasted for hours (and always with wine), endless laughs (usually late at night), and for always being so protective of me. I love you forever.

And to all of you, thank you for letting me ramble on with my thoughts, and share pieces of my life and heart here, in between the posts about pretty things and family projects and food and fashion and the things that make life fun but ultimately aren’t nearly as important as relationships and love. In the end, those are the ONLY things that matter.

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Alabama Dog Saves Veteran Nearly Every Night and Day

Service dog Daisy with Sergeant Jeremy Milwood

Photo Credit: Service Dogs Alabama’s Facebook page

Retired Sergeant Jeremy Milwood, in Birmingham, Alabama is one of those soldiers who made it home but is still dealing with the aftereffects of his time in Iraq. Thankfully, his former-shelter-now-service dog, Daisy, helps Jeremy shoulder his burdens during the day and saves his life every night.

According to WBRC.com, Jeremy has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from his time as an Army combat medic. His PTSD lead to terrible nightmares that would keep him awake for hours, as well as fear and anxiety that made it near impossible for him to be around large crowds, according to the Montgomery Advertiser.

Then a veterinarian told him about Service Dogs Alabama (SDA). SDA first pulls dogs from the Humane Society of Elmore County. Afterward, inmates at the Gadsden Correctional Institution in Florida train the dogs and receive rehabilitation themselves at the same time. Once trained, the dogs are given to veterans suffering from PTSD, as well as others who need service dogs. Thanks to you, Halo, GreaterGood.org, and Freekibble annually donate over 1.5 million bowls of Halo food to help shelter pets similar to the ones SDA chooses to help inmates and veterans.

Jeremy revealed to AL.com that he initially had some doubts, but Daisy completely demolished those. He shared that “when I got Daisy from SDA, it was like she just got me. In no time, I trusted her to watch my back. She always knew just what to do.” He added, driving home his point, “Daisy saved my life.” More than 20 veterans every day die from suicide and Jeremy believes that without Daisy, he would have been one of those 20. He told reporters, “When I came back, I had no one I felt I could trust. I was isolated. Before I got Daisy, I dreaded life.”

Daisy with army veteran Jeremy

Photo Credit: WBRC

What gave him hope was his very first night with Daisy. That night, “she woke me up from a bad nightmare,” Jeremy said, “and I slept better that first night with her than I had the entire time I was back from Iraq.” Because of her training, Daisy will lick Jeremy’s hand or face if she sees him twitching in bed. This wakes Jeremy up before his nightmare can take him to a deep place of trauma. Being peacefully woken up by Daisy allows Jeremy to go back to sleep in peace. Daisy is Jeremy’s constant companion.

Now Jeremy is even able to go to fairs and stores that his PTSD had made off limits before. “When you get back, you don’t have that unconditional camaraderie but a dog, it’s always there; unconditional[ly] she’s always there for me,” Jeremy clarified/ “Daisy and I now go everywhere. Nothing is off limits,” he said.

Talking about his time before Daisy, Jeremy told reporters, “I just didn’t know where to go. I didn’t know what else to try. I tried all the medicines they’d throw at me,” adding that Daisy “saved my life…She saves my life every single night.

Our pets may not save our lives on a regular basis like Daisy does for Jeremy, but they still do so much for us. Halo believes in doing everything we can for them, starting with food. Hopefully Daisy eats delicious nutritious bowls of high quality dog food with the occasional healthy treat to thank her for the many ways she saves Jeremy’s life.

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Chained Pit Bulls Rescued by Hope for Paws

Another heartwarming rescue video from our friends at Hope for Paws. Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Happy Birthday America!

A few memes to remind you not everyone enjoys fireworks. So, enjoy your cookout, celebrate with family and friends, but leave your dog at home when you go out to the fireworks display. Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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The Circle of Life

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Taking a Summer Break (At Two Miles High)

Happy July friends! July is my favorite month of the year. To me, it defines summer. And as you read this post, I am relishing in summer at 9,000+ feet in the air in the mountains of Colorado. We’ll be here until the middle of next week, and while it’s not just a vacation (Robbie is working at Red Rocks for 4 days and I have some work obligations as well), it’s really nice to be able to get away and be with family and friends during the most wonderful time of the year.

During this time, I will be doing something I never do – taking a break from the blog for the next week. If you’d like to follow along with our trip (because if you’re a blogger and you don’t overshare your vacation, did it really happen?), you can join me over on Instagram (both in my IG Stories and on my feed). And I’ll be back with a whole round of new posts next week.

In the meantime, here are a few fun summertime themed posts you might enjoy:

Summertime Family Story Night
Summertime Inspired Cakes
A Summer Day at the Zoo
Summertime Watermelon and Feta Guacamole Dip
Summertime Lemon Lime Vodka Spritzers
7 Ways to Make Summer Last
Deep Thoughts on Summertime

See you next week! And if you’re here in the states, happy Fourth of July!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Help Your Dog Stay Calm This Summer! #AdaptilDog

This post is sponsored by CEVA Animal Health, makers of ADAPTIL® for dogs. All statements and opinions are entirely our own. As always, we only share products that we use with our own pets! Summer is…



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DogTipper

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9 Statement Sunglasses I Love (Under $30)

9 Statement Sunglasses Under $  30
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I wear the same two pairs on sunglasses on repeat. One is an admittedly unremarkable pair with prescription lenses for when I’m not wearing my contacts, and the other is a really cute dusty pink cat eye that I love but is growing a little tiresome. I decided to do some window shopping for some more unique styles that make a little more of a statement. These are my current favorites. (And all except one pair are under $ 30.)

Which pair do you think I should get? (I think I’m feeling #3; which of course happens to be the one pair over $ 30 here. I tried.) Do you switch between multiple pairs of sunnies or usually wear the same ones over and over?

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Friday Funny: Made My Day

I resemble this remark. Enjoy your weekend! Until next time, Good day, and good dog!


Doggies.com Dog Blog

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Win a Newly-Redesigned PooVault!

Tiki and Barli LOVE to go to the beach. As different as a Gulf beach and a lake beach visit are, two things remain constant: our dogs love them both…and it’s no fun to tote around a full…



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DogTipper

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