Thursday, April 17, 2014

5 Things: I Learned About Living With My Boyfriend

Michael and I dated for about four years before we decided to move in together. I would say we knew each other pretty well when we got our apartment as a couple, or so I thought. You think you know someone, and then you move in with them and learn a million more things (even the gross habits they have). The end of April will mark one year that Michael and I have been living together. I will be completely honest, some days were better than others. Living with your boyfriend can be tricky. Today I wanted to share a few things I learned from our first year of living together.

  1. What’s mine is NOT always yours. This one really only applies to certain things. For instance when I want to use my new lotion from bath and body works but when I go to use it I find an empty bottle, I am not a happy camper (sorry Michael for ratting you out). Most things like food or toothpaste Michael and I share, but when it comes to shampoo, lotion or other fancy things I treat myself to, I do not like to share!
  2. Remember you are still a couple in LOVE and dating is important. It is easy to get lost in your busy schedule and forget to be a couple. There were times this past year when it felt like Michael and I were just roommates. After work I would watch T.V. and Michael would be in the other room on his laptop or vice versa. We would barely speak or ask one another how their day was. Together we learned that if we made time for dates (even just shutting everything off and eating a home cooked dinner at the table together) it helped remind us what an awesome couple we are. 
  3. Divide chores evenly. Okay… this one is totally something I try every day to be better about. I am awesome when it comes to cleaning and cooking and all that fun stuff, but when it’s late at night and I am all cozy in my pajamas and Dusty needs to go outside one last time I am the worst! Our apartment is on the third floor, so letting Dusty out is kind of a pain. Most of the time Michael ends up letting Dusty outside and we have definitely had a few fights about it. I recommend dividing any chores you have evenly, that way nobody gets the raw end of the deal. 
  4. Talk about EVERYTHING (even money).  For the most part Michael and I share everything with each other, probably too much sometimes. When it comes to paying bills we split everything 50/50, but we are at this weird place in our relationship where our money is still separate. I learned that it is best to be honest with each other about how much money you do have, or what your budget has to be. Makes everything so much easier. 
  5. For this last one, I decided to get Michael’s input. I asked him what he thought was a good thing to know if you are planning on moving in with your boyfriend/girlfriend. His answer was…

    Never say anything you will truly regret. After all you are living with this person and who knows you could be married to them someday. Do you really want to be with someone after they have said something so bad that they can’t take it back? Yes fights happen, at least to the best of us, but try and restrain yourself in that moment from saying something so hurtful, that you will immediately regret it.

Overall living together has only made our relationship stronger. I have learned so much about Michael and even more about myself. We have grown together this past year and I look forward to many more years to come! 

Credits|| Photography: Emily Verdonk 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Dog Easter Egg Hunt

Are you looking for a fun way to celebrate Easter with your dog? I have given Dusty an Easter basket filled with goodies in the past, but this year I thought it would be fun to celebrate with an Easter egg hunt.

First I filled a bunch of easter eggs with some of Dusty's favorite treats.

After all the eggs were full, Dusty and I played a game of Easter themed fetch! Instead of throwing a ball and commanding Dusty to retrieve it for me, I told Dusty to stay while he watched me scatter Easter eggs around. Once I had all the eggs in place I commanded Dusty to fetch! Each time Dusty picked up an Easter egg I had him drop it in an Easter basket, and then I would give him the treat!

Dusty loves to play games, especially when there are treats involved! Do you have anything fun planned for your dog this Easter?

Credits|| Photography: Emily Verdonk 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

5 Things: That Help Your Hair Grow

As a Hairstylist, one of the most frequent questions I get asked is "How do I make my hair grow faster?". To be honest, there is no secret formula or remedy, it takes patience more than anything. On average our hair grows about a 1/2 inch per month. Today I bring you 5 things that will help keep your hair healthy and give it the strength to grow LONG and STRONG.

1. Trim split ends. You know that old saying that if you trim your hair it will grow faster. This is sort of true. Your hair wont necessarily grow faster but getting a small trim will get rid of split ends that cause hair breakage. I recommend a trim about every 8-12 weeks to maintain your split ends.

2. Exercise and eat healthy. This one is very simple. If your body is healthy, your hair will be healthy.

3. Don't wash your hair every single day. This is where a shower cap comes in handy. Washing your hair every single day can strip out the natural oils that your hair needs to be healthy. Try to wash your hair every other day if possible. If your hair feels a little too greasy on the second day, I recommend a dry shampoo. My favorite is Fresh Dust by Loreal Professionnel.

4. Avoid heat. I know this can be a tricky one. Blow drying, flat ironing and curling are all things that make our hair look beautiful, but they can be very damaging. Try to let your hair air dry as often as you can. If you are going to use heat to style your hair, a heat protectant is a MUST. I love Aveda Damage Remedy.

5. Massage. A great way to boost hair growth is with a good scalp massage. This helps stimulate blood circulation and sends more nutrients to the hair follicles. When you are shampooing your hair, take an extra minute to give your scalp a nice massage!

I go back and forth all the time with my hair. When my hair is long all I do is dream about cutting it off. Once I actually decide to cut it short, the process of growing it out starts all over again! :)

Credits|| Photography: Emily Verdonk 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Adventures of a Hop Head's Girlfriend

Today I want to introduce you to my other half, a hop headed beer enthusiast that I like to call my boyfriend.

I have mentioned Michael's home brewing and talked about our visits to local breweries in the past, but that was just the beginning of Michael's journey into the world of craft beer. We have become a blogging DUO! Michael has entered the blogosphere with me and is now blogging all about craft beer! Check out his blog, Adventures of a Hop Head!
"Adventures of a Hop Head is a craft beer blog that gives you a look into the compelling movement of craft beer around the world. It not only centers on the enjoyment of it in a glass but as well as the process that goes into making your beer." -Michael Robinson
I will say that I love being a hop head's girlfriend. The beer themed date ideas are endless! Beer carnivals, dog friendly breweries, beer tasting events and so much more!


Credits || Photography: Michael Robinson 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

5 Things: To Think About When Taking Pictures

It is no secret that I LOVE to take pictures. I almost always carry my camera with me everywhere I go, I never want to miss out on a great photo opportunity. Photography is something I have enjoyed my entire life. Growing up, my dad was always taking pictures and I learned a lot about photography from him. I am by no means a professional photographer, but I definitely enjoy photography as a hobby. People often ask me how I always take such good pictures, even with just my cell phone camera. Today I thought it would be fun to share a few very simple tips that I practice whenever I take pictures. These tips have nothing to do with camera settings or anything like that, they are just basic things that I think about when I am taking pictures. I truly believe that you don't need a fancy camera to take quality pictures, you just need to put a little thought and creativity into it before you snap away!

1. Notice your background. Have you ever seen a really great photo of something and then you look at the background and think "Oh my goodness these people are slobs"? The background can take focus away from what you are trying to emphasize in your photograph. Try to be conscious of the background and remove anything that might be an eye sore.

You can see how in the first photo, the clutter on my kitchen table took the focus away from the iced coffee. By simply removing the clutter from the table, the focus is now directly on the iced coffee and nothing else.

2. Does your subject have feet? I don't know why, but I see this a lot. I think when we take pictures of people we are so focused on getting their face in the picture that we forget about everything else, LIKE FEET! When you are taking full body shots, just be sure to include feet. It just looks silly when we leave out limbs!

3. Perspective. I take an embarrassing amount of dog pictures(Dusty is just so cute). If you look at them, you will notice that most of time I get down to Dusty's perspective. This makes such an immediate difference. Rather than taking the photo from above, getting down to your subjects level can add a more personal or natural touch. This is also great when photographing kids.

To learn more about photographing your pet, read my post Teach Your Dog To "Say Cheese".

4. Is the horizon level? This I have to admit is one of my biggest pet peeves. I hate when I see a beautiful picture and the horizon is obviously tilted. This is such an easy fix and it truly makes the picture look much more professional.
See the difference?

5. Only keep and share the good ones!  We all have those friends on Facebook, the people that like to share every single photo they took from their awesome vacation, even the bad ones(I used to be very guilty of this). It is very important to sort through your pictures before hitting upload. When I am choosing what pictures to keep, I like to ask myself. Would I frame this picture? It kind of puts into perspective whether or not it is a keeper.

Do you have any tips for me? Photography is such a creative hobby, I am always eager to hear what others have to share!


Credits|| Photography: Emily Verdonk 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

100 Happy Days Photo Challenge

Welcome April! I am feeling overjoyed this month as I glance ahead at all the adventure that awaits. I have been happily busy preparing to move into a new apartment and pouring my heart out into new blog posts that I can't wait to share on A Doodle Dose. Spring is a HAPPY time around here.

I wanted to introduce you to a fun photo challenge that I am beginning today. Have you heard about the 100 Happy Days challenge yet?(Check it out Basically for 100 days in a row you take a photo to document what makes you happy and share your photo using the hashtag #100happydays. I just love the idea behind this challenge. It is so easy to get lost in your everyday routine and forget to be grateful and happy with simple day to day things. Follow me on Instagram starting today to see what makes me happy!
Looking forward to seeing all of your happy photos!


Credits|| Photography: Emily Verdonk