Posts by melissasue2

Melissa is a twenty-something, bronde-headed individual who works in the field of social work but some days doesn't feel all that social. This is the questionable account of her life.

My Very Own Bob Dog

29595327_10156354520509744_1351426139497389127_nIf you have known me for at least a minute, you know that I am obsessed with my dog. She is the first German Shepherd Dog that I have ever had and she has me tied around her dewclaw. If you ask me about my plans for kids, I point to my dog. She is my “kid” and I am completely and wholeheartedly satisfied with my fur babies (I have a cat, too!). I can’t boast about her enough. I think the highest compliment that I can give her is that she is my Bob Dog & want to spend a little time on National Dog Day talking about her.

First, what’s a Bob Dog? A Bob Dog is the dog that changes your life. They forge a bond with you that is infinitely loving and loyal. They are a once in a lifetime companion.

This definition started for me when I fell in love with a golden retriever named Bob the Dog (Bud for Short). He was a golden retriever with beautiful, dark golden locks that belonged to my aunt Sue & uncle Chris. Chris had a gift for training dogs and it radiated through Bob. Everyone that met Bob loved him. His goofy grin and playfulness were impossible to ignore. I vividly remember leaving my aunt & uncle’s house crying because I already missed Bob. When our family lost Chris to a plane crash, we were devastated. While no person or animal can replace a loved one, Bob gave us all a little piece of Chris on earth.

Bob saw us through some difficult times. After my father passed away, my mom and I moved to Alaska to be closer to family. This also meant that I got to visit Bob more and play frisbee to our heart’s content. That dog was there for my aunt (and for my mom and I) through some tough stuff. His velvet soft ears were always available for petting and listening as you told him about your day or even as you sat in silence. He had to have been an angel in dog form. Like all dogs do, Bob aged faster than his humans. The zest for life faded out of his eyes and we all knew it was time. The three of us were there thanking him and telling him what a good boy he was as he passed away.

….OK, WHO IS CUTTING ONIONS!?!?!?! I am running out of sleeve to wipe my nose on and I don’t appreciate it.

Saying goodbye to Bob, I decided that I wanted my own loyal companion. I wanted a Bob Dog.

Nothing made me want a dog more than being at college. For the first time, I was living without an animal and it made me feel a little lost. At home, I fell asleep each night with a cat curled up next to me and a dog by the door. Now I was sleeping in a strange state, in a strange building with a new roomie. All I have to say is GOD BLESS the people who brought therapy dogs to our college campus. I ATE THAT UP. You could have put the meanest, ugliest, dog in front of me and I still would have been dying to pet them. Unfortunately, dogs cost money and take time and I had ZERO of either in college.

A few short days after my husband and I graduated college, we wound up at the animal shelter. I don’t know how or why we came to the decision that we should go to the animal shelter as two new graduates with irregular income but we were like…YOLO! (the phrase YOLO didn’t even exist then FYI).

Needless to say, we came home with a dog named Mike. He was an obese, eight(ish) year old golden retriever. No joke, I had to sign a waiver to adopt him stating that he was obese and that he needed to lose weight ASAP. That same day, we put a deposit down on a pet friendly apartment with the last bit of our spare cash. Again, I have no idea what we were thinking but it made sense at the time. My husband was getting ready to leave for basic training and I wanted a dog to keep me company. Once my husband left for basic, I walked Mike religiously and he quickly got into shape. He looked forward to his morning walk and regained energy and playfulness. He kept me busy, motivated, and was a welcoming presence. He wasn’t with us long due to his age, but I treasured the time I had with him. Mike was the perfect dog for that stage of my life, but he wasn’t a Bob Dog.

We didn’t get another dog after Mike because (I think) we grew up a little and realized the commitment that a dog took. We relocated to my husband’s first duty station and I was starting my first big girl job after graduate school. The rates for dog deposits were high and so was the rent.

After a year living in what I will call “The House from Hell,” we moved out in favor of renting a small duplex that would allow one cat for an extra $10 a month and a $300 deposit. My husband didn’t want a cat, but we compromised and got a cat. Surprise! I named her Cat and she is a spunky little house panther, with whom I am also obsessed. Still, I never stopped thinking about getting my own Bob Dog.

As we were approaching the end of our time at the first duty station, we started to talk about a dog again. My husband grew up with German Shepherd Dogs and it was all he had been wanting. The only problem was that this conflicted with my vision of owning a golden retriever.

Thankfully, the love I have for my husband is stronger than my selfish desire of only owning a golden retriever. On black Friday, I scheduled us to meet with a local GSD breeder to make sure that a GSD was what my husband wanted. The entire time I was skeptical and had no idea what I was supposed to doing, looking for, or asking. To be honest, I had never really liked GSDs because I thought they were mean and scary. On the other hand, Josh look one look at the dogs and he was sure. My only caveat was that I wanted a female dog. He agreed to my terms and we put down the deposit for a puppy.

As soon as I saw the pictures of the puppies that were born, I knew which one was going to be ours. The sassy, confident, spitfire, pink collar female. And when I say spitfire, I mean SPITFIRE. Not to mention that she was a spitfire with razor-sharp teeth.

I thought that I made the biggest mistake of my life bringing home a puppy. There was one day when Josh came home after PT and I was standing in the living room crying because the dog bit for the millionth time that morning, and this time she made my nose bleed. It was so bad that Josh told me that it would be okay if we needed to re home her. I called my mom in a fury telling her I was going to send this dog away to a board and train program because this dog was IMPOSSIBLE. She told me that I might regret it because I would miss out on bonding with my puppy. She told me to give it a little more time. Even though I was rolling my eyes as she said that, I am very glad that I listened to her.

Through the help of friends, the breeder, and LOTS of online training videos, we made it through the worst of the puppy stage. Slowly but surely, Ruger was turning into a dog that was bearable (and enjoyable) to live with. Crate training was seriously a game changer. I was able to sleep more and I didn’t have to clean up potty messes.  Well-rested Melissa = happy Melissa! 

Now, Ruger is my sidekick. She is fiercely loyal and protective. I haven’t spent a second training her to guard or protect me. She gets between myself and the threat at any time, ready to defend me. She listens to my tone of voice and knows how to respond. She is one of the smartest yet goofiest dogs I’ve ever met. She can cruise through a food puzzle in a split second but still finds time to chase her tail. She listens to commands but also talks back if she’s not feeling it. She wakes me up in the morning by plopping down next to me and cuddling before I have to get out of bed. She is everything that I never knew I needed in a dog. 

The whole time, I was picturing a golden retriever and naming him Bob. I thought that what I needed was a duplicate of my aunt’s dog for my own canine companion. Then, when I was least expecting it, a dog that I was hesitant to bring home became my Bob Dog.

xoxo,

Melissa Sue (and Ruger Roo who is much bigger now)

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Not Your Mama’s 4th of July

I’m sort of old-fashioned in that I typically celebrate holidays on the actual day (like opening presents on Christmas Day, having fireworks on 4th of July, etc.). So when I heard that the Fort Benning Independence Day Celebration was on June 23rd… I was a little confused.

Thankfully, they knew that newcomers and old-fashioned people like myself would be all up in their business and let us know what’s up on their Facebook page. MWR hosts the Independence Day Celebration early so that soldiers can travel or be with their family on the actual holiday. Bottom line: soldiers & families get an extra holiday. #winning

Any hesitation that I had about attending an early 4th of July disappeared as soon as I arrived. From the vendors, games, and entertainment present, everything was well organized and ready for the crowds of people arriving to have fun. In fact, on June 24th I woke up feeling like I had been hit by a party train. It was a GREAT train ride… but an Excedrin was still required followed by coffee and lots of water soOoO be prepared.

Fort Benning threw the celebration to end all celebrations and I was so thankful that I was able to attend. Want to go next year? Here are a few things to make note of before you go:

  • They kick it off in the afternoon and it will be hot, hot, hot.  Just….so hot. You can bring your personal water bottles and non-alcoholic beverages so please stay hydrated! Hydration will make all of the difference (and NO, beer shouldn’t count towards your hydration) for you and prevent you from leaving the event in an ambulance. No joke. Lifehack: apply sunscreen as if your life depends on it.
  • Shade tents are welcome in designated areas, as are lawn chairs. We brought our folding chairs and they came in clutch. Lifehack: bring a wagon to make wheelin’ everything to the event super simple.
  • Traffic & lines will be crazy. This is an awesomely free event open to the public, so why wouldn’t people come?! If you live on Benning within a 1-2 mile radius, it honestly might be faster to walk to & from the event. If you’re not within walking distance, consider carpooling with friends. Lifehack: pick up your tokens beforehand because no cash is accepted by the vendors. Between a bottle of water, a sweet tea, and a burger, I needed $20.
  • Know that the jump towers are only open for a few hours and the lines will be long. This is a “Fort Benning Bucket List Item” so kids from 1-92 will want to jump. If it’s an absolute MUST for you/your family, plan to do this first & stand in line for a hot minute. This year they reached capacity before the cutoff time and had to stop accepting waivers. Lifehack: be sure to thank the soldiers that are out there strapping everyone in/out, running the cables back, and putting this on! We couldn’t do it without them.
  • Stay for the fireworks! Hands down THE BEST fireworks I’ve ever seen.
    Lifehack: don’t take pictures/video of the fireworks. Instead, allow yourself to enjoy the moment without worrying about posting on social media.

Hopefully, you can tell that I had an amazing time & my hope is that if you find yourself stationed at or near Fort Benning that you’ll check it out!

Until next time,

Melissa Sue

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Being an escape room champion definitely makes you feel like you can accomplish other things… like jumping out of a 34′ tower.  

 

To eBay or not to eBay?

In my last post, I talked about thrift store shopping. However, the reality is that sometimes you don’t have good thrift stores around you, or you don’t have the time/energy to thrift, or you are looking for a very specific item. That, my friends, is where eBay comes in (or other online platforms but for the purpose of this post I’ll use eBay).

Believe it or not, I never bought anything on eBay until I started selling. Now I have a few sellers that I regularly check for new inventory. In fact… checking out their inventory is now part of my morning routine second to making a cup of tea. So why did I start buying on eBay?

1. Sellers are in different parts of the country so they have the opportunity to find unique and different items that I might never come across!

2. Saves me time when looking for specific items (Lululemon, Patagonia).

3. You can still get items at thrift store prices! (The other day I got a pair of my favorite jeans for .99 plus shipping) whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat!!

It was 99 cents! – Macklemore

Before you get addicted um… started on eBay I wanted to provide you with a few tips for finding quality items from quality sellers.

  • Before you get started bidding or buying, make sure you have an eBay account. You can buy with card or your PayPal account.
  • Some items are available to “buy now” while others will be auction style. This means you have the potential to be outbid during auctions and will need to keep your eye on the item.
  • Before you consider buying/bidding from a seller, you can look at their seller rating, read feedback (like Amazon!), and see where the item is shipping from. Unfortunately, there are some unethical sellers (sigh) but by doing a little bit of research you can help protect yourself from them. Also know that eBay has standards in place so if something unethical does happen they will help you! These situations are rare but still something to be aware of.
  • Quality sellers will use clear photos, a description of the item, and measurements or size chart for the item.
  • Some sellers do not offer returns so check their policy. Even if they do offer returns, you might be the one paying for return shipping.

Ok, there you have it! Are you ready to get started?

Thrifting 101: Start poppin’ tags with only $20 in your pocket

clothingThrifting is the process of finding unique, pre-owned items at a discounted price. It’s friendly on your wallet and the environment! What started as a way of life/need has turned into a hobby for me. 

I usually go to a thrift store one time a week & shop mainly for clothing. In fact, my wardrobe is about 90% thrifted and of that 90%, at least 25% of it is brand name/department store clothing. Here are a few tips and tricks that I have found useful in becoming a successful thrifter:

  1. I do not recommend thrifting when:
    • You need a very specific item. In my experience, if I go to a thrift store looking for American Eagle Artist jeans in size 6, you’ll find everything but. You will have better success on Ebay or other online platforms when you have a narrow search.
    • You are on a deadlineAgain, thrifting is somewhat of a mystical journey. If I am looking for piece for an upcoming event, I start looking regularly *at least* a month beforehand. If you walk into a thrift store the day before, you will likely leave disappointed, frustrated, and several hours behind.
    • You are hungry or thirsty. You could have been one row away from the score of your life but you left early because you needed a five layer burrito. Burritos are great, but eat them before you go shopping. 
  2. Wear clothes that are easy to change in and out of. Thrift stores have limits to how many items you can try on at once so think a dress or stretchy pants/comfortable top and slip on shoes. That way when you have to pop out of the dressing room to grab 5 more items, you don’t have to wiggle into your jeans for the umpteenth time.
  3. When you’re first starting out, give yourself time. I can rush into a thrift store and walk out with several winning pieces during a 30-minute lunch break (#humblebrag). If you have never stepped foot in a thrift store, you’re going to be overwhelmed. Let the dust settle and then dig in. I recommend at least 1-2 hours at a store.
  4. Try before you buy.  This is not Dilliard’s and most thrift stores do not accept returns. Keep in mind that some clothing is there because it fits weird or has a defect. Some clothing looks great hanging up, but won’t fit your body. Some things look great on your body but might look weird hanging up. Bottom line: you won’t know unless you try, so why not spend a few extra minutes making sure your new item is going to work for you? (p.s. stores usually test electronics before they are shelved OR they will have a test center where you can check them)
  5. If you like it (and you’ve followed tip #4), buy it! Each item is usually the only one in stock! You cannot trust that if you come back in an hour or the next day that it will be there. Trust me, if it’s an awesome item, somebody else will recognize that and pick it up.
  6. Do not trust sizing. Tags are stupid and while they can be a starting point, they are not definitive! The way that clothing companies size their items baffles me. I have clothing size XS-XL in my closet and I wouldn’t have found them unless I tried them on and ventured out of the “medium” section. When you are first starting out, it will probably be best to start with your size, but once you get the hang of it start to venture out!
  7. Look for brands that you know & love. In addition to starting with your size, start with brands that you are familiar with. This helps give you focus, and also gives you a “win.” For example, I always keep my eye out for J. Crew items. One can never have enough boyfriend shirts IMO.
  8. Shop on discount days. What’s better than discounted clothing??….DOUBLE DISCOUNTED CLOTHING! Some stores have days of the week that are discounted such as 99 cent Monday, or Senior Tuesday.
  9. Have a Thriftspiration board. I have a Pinterest board of looks that I like and want to keep my eye out for. It makes it fun to try to put together outfits from popular pins with thrifted clothes.

 

 Turning A New Leaf

Lately I have found myself on Instagram Stories watching some of my favorite “influencers” and a lot of them are sponsored by department stores. While their outfits are fashionable and appealing (and I have nothing against sponsorships), I have a special knack for finding high quality clothing for about 75% cheaper. In fact, a majority of my closet is from thrift stores. The only items that are not thrifted are 3 pairs of work pants and intimates.  No joke.

I’ve become known around my office as a thrifter so much that the executive director asked me to do a lunch session where I teach people how to thrift! While I’m excited to teach about my hobby, the art has a shallow learning curve.

When I’m out thrifting, I come across quite a few things that are in great condition and fashionable, but don’t work with my closet or compliment my personality. So, I’ve decided to expand my thrifting abilities and sell some of the fun treasures that I find.

I’m currently working out all of the glitches on my eBay store, but until then, I wanted to give you a quick glimpse of some things that I found today! For now, you can click on the item to to read more about it and purchase. I hope that as I continue to post more items, you’ll check it out and see if I can set you up with a great new look.I hope to have my main seller profile set up in the next few days so keep checking back! I have various sized, men’s and women’s items that will be available.

One of my other favorite challenges is recreating my favorite looks from Pinterest. If you have an outfit that you love and think I can recreate, send it to me (along with your sizes/measurements) at mmoutfits@gmail.com and I’ll see what I can do.

Happy shopping!

Passing Thoughts

My grandmother, Julia Sue Ayer, passed away peacefully, quickly, and most importantly, into the arms of Jesus on May 7th, 2017. She had four family members surrounding her and she was not in pain.

As I was packing my bags and getting ready to leave for Alaska to see her, I prayed, “God, I would like to see her one more time… but your will be done.” I was not able to see her before she passed, but God had prepared my heart. Not only was my congregation currently walking through the book of Job, earlier this year one of my friends posted a status on Facebook saying that his father was going into surgery and said the following:

“The results of the surgery could be a blessing for him whatever the outcome. Sometimes we are very selfish praying for someone who has dependency on Christ Jesus for eternal life to remain on this side of eternity. I and my dad would ask for prayers of total healing in his earthly body or total healing through bringing him before our Savior’s spiritual presence. ‘Yes, we are fully confident, and we would rather be away from these earthly bodies, for then we will be at home with the Lord.'” 2 Cor 5:8 NLT

Wow… and Amen. God provided her with total healing and I could not be more thankful.

There is so much that I could say about my grandma. First of all, I have the honor of sharing an adorable middle name with her (Melissa Sue + Julia Sue = winning at being granddaughter & grandmother). Secondly, I always felt that my grandma truly “got” me. She would send me gifts that were so meaningful and touched my heart and this last Christmas was no exception. The last time I visited her we spent time watching “The Pioneer Woman” at her apartment. Later that week she made a delicious blue cheese dressing by Ree that we enjoyed at my mom’s birthday celebration that I couldn’t stop raving about. Then on Christmas, The Pioneer Woman cookbook showed up under my tree. She sent me a few other things, too, but they are special memories that I want to keep tucked away from the world. Is is possible to share a soul with your grandmother? I think yes.

One of the most healing things that I got to do while I was in Alaska was photograph my grandma’s apartment how it was left. I don’t know why it meant so much to me, but I wanted to capture the beautiful things she collected and the way she had things. While it lacked her physical presence, her spirit was certainly there. gotogallery

 

 

 

 

Brush Cleaning Day

I am no makeup guru because I am waaaaaaay too lazy for that. I have never been one of those people who wakes up early to do extra things to my face and hair. Most mornings I get ready in about 30 minutes (because I wake up late and literally have no choice).

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I am also lazy at cleaning. BUT this means I always look for the most efficient way to get things done as quickly as possible.

Last night I wanted to make sure I had fresh make up brushes for the morning, so I cleaned my brushes before bed and thought I would share my lazy girl method with ya!

Supplies:

  • Dirty make up brushes (duh). I use something similar to the Sonia Kashuk Essential Eye Kit brushes and a few Real Technique brushes from Wal-Mart
  • Small bowl or cup
  • Shampoo (but not just any shampoo. I use an organic, paraben and sulfate free shampoo)
  • Hot water

What you do:

  • Run your faucet until your water is hot
  • Pour about a quarter size dollop of shampoo in the bottom of your bowl or cup
  • Add an equal ratio of water to shampoo
  • Swish your dirty brush around on the bottom of the cup. You will notice the make up coming off the brush and changing the color of your shampoo
  • Once the brush is saturated with the mixture, scrub it a little bit more using your fingers
  • Rinse under the faucet and repeat if necessary!
  • Shake or towel dry to remove excess water from brushes
  • Set brushes horizontally (like over the edge of the sink) to allow to air dry

I have messed around with different brands of store bought cleaners and so far this is my favorite method. Another trusty method is to use equal parts dish soap, white vinegar, and water as the cleaning mixture, but I didn’t like my brushes smelling like vinegar.

Bonus tip: have a back-up brush/sponge in case your brushes aren’t dry by the next time you need them. I’ve learned this from experience… 🙂

Here’s to clean brushes!

xoxo,

Melissa Sue