The holidays are a special time for me every year; I reach a level of giddiness that's usually reserved for five-year-olds on their birthday. With everything going on in the world right now, my heart has been doing more hurting than celebrating, and I've lost some of the joy that usually surrounds Thanksgiving and Christmas for me. My mother and I were discussing this pain on the phone one day and she offered a suggestion: Go ahead and put up the Christmas tree.
"Mom, Thanksgiving isn't even here yet. I don't put up the tree before Thanksgiving. One holiday at a time."
"Just trust me. Put up the Christmas tree."
"Okay, okay, I'll try it."
Feeling a bit like a crazy person, I closed all of the blinds and windows so that my neighbors couldn't see the crazy lady getting her tree down a full week before Thanksgiving. I hauled the massive tree out of the attic, made space for it in the living room, put it up, and plugged it in. As per usual, mom was right.
There's something about the glow of twinkle lights that assures you that everything is going to be okay. There are very few things that have the same effect on me as the lights of Christmas tree, all of them touching on nostalgia or areas of comfort, like the smell of my grandmother's famous chocolate pie in the oven, or the sound of my dad singing in the kitchen in the morning when I visit for the holidays, the same song he's been singing since I was in diapers. While most of these are tied to my childhood memories, some are new comforts I've built in my adult life with Zack and our pets. As I unpacked the ornaments we have for our tree, I realized how many of them are tied to these comforting ideas for me. Each loved one has an ornament that symbolizes them, and special memories are immortalized there as well. Rather than have a picture-perfect coordinated tree, our tree is a hodgepodge of us, and that's something I love about it.
We adopted Fulton, our American English Coonhound, in April, and haven't gotten an ornament for him yet. Naturally, I went to Etsy to find one; he's a huge part of our life and our daily joy, so he needs a spot on the tree. I found so many amazing pet ornaments in the process that I had to share at least a few:
BrooksPeople felted dog ornament
BrooksPeople makes amazing hand-crafted felted dog ornaments that are made to order. I love the texture of these, and that you can find the breed that matches your pup, or just get an adorable dog for your tree (Trust us - We're the last people to judge if you just want a tree of adorable pet ornaments.)
You can find this Boston Terrier ornament, as well as BrooksPeople's other creations, on Etsy. Most ship in 3-5 days, arriving just in time for everyone putting their tree up at the socially accepted time. ;)
craftsbyAdrienne mixed media custom pet ornaments
When I saw the playful design of craftsbyAdrienne's custom pet ornaments, I couldn't help but giggle. These hand-made pet mini-me's are formed with "paper mache, acrylic paint, recycled cardboard, fishing line, [and] love." They usually take about a week to craft, still making it well in time to adorn your tree.
To get started, check out the ornament listing.
Kaz Foxsen pet ornaments
This is the perfect Etsy stop if you have pets other than cats and dogs, as the shop features designs for birds, ferrets, horses, and more. These wooden ornaments are perfect if you have cats or other creatures who may knock ornaments off the tree.
You can find this German Shepherd as well as countless other breeds and animal ornaments in the Kaz Foxsen Etsy shop or get a custom design of your pets.
SilhouettesbyLena breed-specific ornaments
If your tree is more glitz and glam than red and green, Silhouettes by Lena may have the perfect ornament for you.
These breed-specific (cat ornament available as well!) silhouettes with gold flecks add a nice touch of sparkle.
Lena offers 166 AKC dog breed designs, 3 cats and a horse option, so you're sure to find designs that fits your pet family.
Mooseberry Paper Co. ceramic ornaments
If your Christmas tree is about clean lines and design, these simple and elegant personalized pet ornaments from Mooseberry Paper Co. may be just what you need.
Find the ornament that fits your pet and customize with their name and information; be sure to hang these ceramic ornaments where your pets won't easily knock them down.
WeirdWeiland cross-stitched ornaments
We try to support small and local businesses as much as possible, especially with all of the amazing creations coming out of Atlanta. WeirdWeiland is no exception.
Cross-stitched accents in the home have been on trend lately, but these adorable ornaments can be enjoyed for years to come.
Keri, the artist behind WeirdWeiland, will custom-make and stitch your ornament to fit your cat, dog, or exotic pet based on pictures you send with your order.
While a Christmas tree decorated with adorable animals won't solve the world's problems, it can still be a small beacon of hope and joy in your home, and you can help make the season for an individual artist or craftsman when you add hand-crafted ornaments to your tree. We're still deciding which design to go with for Fulton's addition, but the idea of having our sweet boy have his own ornament is an excellent happy thought that helps me get me through the day.
Do twinkle lights have the same effect on you? Are your pets on your tree? Tell me about your holiday plans in the comments.
All photos are copyright and sourced from to the original artists.
Like any good pet parent (because we all know that we all have this), I have a container filled with dog costume elements for every season in my attic. This year we downsized, so I told myself "No new costumes for Halloween."
..I told myself "no new dog costumes for Halloween" while walking through the local pet boutique. I told myself "no new dog costumes for Halloween" as I browsed through spiders, cowboys, sharks, and scuba costumes. I told myself "no new dog cost--" as my eyes fell upon a specific set of costumes, and my inner mantra of Halloween self-control disappeared into an ether of candy-corn flavored excitement. The no-new-costume chant was soon replaced with "This is amazing...This is amazing..." as I grabbed my purchases, headed for the register, and then hurried home to try out the new outfits on the pups which leads me to Halloween:
Arie and Fulton got a little festive today with a throwback to a 90s favorite for many.
The truth is, since we've added Fulton to the family, there have been many, fantastic Harry and Lloyd like moments and when you have two goofy dogs and you see Dumb and Dumber tuxedo dog costumes, your only reaction can be this:
Don't worry; dog actors were paid handsomely with roasted turkey, their highest value treat, for sitting still for photos and wearing their costumes. They had food, they had jobs, and none of our pets' heads were falling off, promise.
Happy Halloween, everyone! We hope that your pups looked as fabulously derpy as ours and that you had a great evening! What did you dress your pups up as?
Before I started working in the digital space, and long before I ever had Arie, I was a pretty regular nanny and a preschool teacher. That time in career gave me my love for... Well, admittedly, I already had a love of them and this was just a great excuse... "kid" movies. Basically, my animated movie collection rivals that of most families of four and I tend to watch them more regularly than most adults; I even have a playlist on Spotify devoted to their soundtracks. Don't judge me.
One of my FAVORITE series is Wallace and Gromit. If you're not familiar with the series, check them out. Wallace and Gromit are a lovable duo of inventor and dog companion that are amazingly British, love cheese more than I do (quite a feat), and get into a wide variety of hijinks throughout the stop motion comedy of four shorts and a full length film.
One of the characters that you meet in the process of watching the shorts and the film is a little (and adorable) sheep named Shaun. Well, Shaun garnered a lot of love from the public, so much so that he now is getting his own movie, due out this summer!
The film is an Aardman Animations feature, the studio behind WALLACE & GROMIT and CHICKEN RUN, and tells the tale of Shaun, an adventurous sheep who takes the day off to explore the big city only to find out that life away from the farm isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be. I could tell you more about it, or you could let adorable stop-motion creatures do that:
Now, lovers of kids movies, from those who have kids to those who don't, all know that the struggle is real when it comes to getting tickets when a new movie from a beloved series comes out. It's like trying to pry T-swift tickets from a 15-year-old girl. It. Isn't. Happening. Luckily, because you're awesome, you know this blog is awesome, and you're here, you have a chance to get tickets to a special preview August 4, the day before everyone else can.
Image and video courtesy of and copyright Lionsgate films.
Have you liked Life with Arie on Facebook yet? If not, you should, and if you have, you may have noticed our new rule series.
Lately I've had several conversations with friends about the "rules" to having a dog. One is about to start pet sitting a dog, and is nervous about caring for a dog she doesn't know quite know the habits and needs of yet. Others are contemplating getting a puppy for the first time, and still others are wondering how to mingle their new dog with their beloved cat.
Over the past few weeks of having these conversations, I've also been re-watching the series How I Met Your Mother. If you watch it, then you'll know all about the "Bro Code," or a book of rules and statutes between "bros" that one character, Barney, is determined to enforce. This got me thinking...What are the rules, or codes, to having a pet? Start watching our Facebook posts (you'll want to subscribe to be sure you get them) and tweets to find out!
These rules aren't your basics of "feed your dog" and "training is important;" take a look at the two we've posted so far to get an idea of what I mean:
Let's be honest--One woman cannot write a comprehensive rule list for having pets. I want to hear YOUR rules to having a dog (or cat or guinea pig or iguana, you name it)! Post your rule in the comments section, on our Facebook page, or tweet it with an @masdemoore mention and the hashtag #LWArules. Hint hint...hint hint...there may be a little something special for one of the rule writers later on this month!
This weekend kicks off the pet bloggers mecca in the South (and across the country, really), BarkWorld Expo. Last year I came to this conference on a whim shortly after starting "Life with Arie"; I was terrified and excited, and I learned so much while I was there while also meeting some other amazing pet bloggers. I'm excited to be a returning blogger (I get to feel special with my very own Alumni ribbon) and I'm really looking forward to learning everything I can this year. Unfortunately, Arie has to stay at home...
I love baby girl, but she's staying at home thanks to her leash-reactive nature; I'll be sure to share the swag though (oh, the swag!).
.At the end of each day I'll be sure to share all of the lovely nuggets of knowledge with you. Who else is here? Give me a shout!
Now that I'm getting back to the blogosphere, I'm enjoying catching up on friend's posts and enjoying all of their interesting thoughts, finds, and tips. Jodi Stone's blog about her dogs, Sampson and Delilah, has always been a favorite of mine. In her most recent post, Jodi blogged about an ideal dog park, and asked what value readers would put on such a haven.
Dog parks are a big point of desire for me and for Arie. So far, we still haven't conquered our dog and leash aggression issues, so dog parks are off limits until Arie can learn to play nicely with others. I still love reading about parks and about their features, as when the day comes that her training has progressed far enough for Arie to go off-leash with playmates, I want to take her to the best parks in the city to let her get her run on.
This thought trail, along with Jodi's post, reminded me of a recent topic in the Nutro Knowledge Network, a community project by Nutro to help local dog parks called "Room to Run". (As a reminder for all of my posts regarding the Knowledge Network, this post was written by a Nutro Knowledge Network Member and sponsored by the Nutro Company.)
The Room to Run Dog Park Appreciation Project works to support local community dog parks and off-leash areas so that pet parents and pooches everywhere can enjoy exercise and socialization with their peers. In the past two years, Nutro was able to work with 60 dog parks in the US and Canada to better their facilities for those using them. In 2012, the program is enjoying a change of pace and is now a grant application program, with a focus on working closely with park departments. Here are just a few people speaking out about last year's program to give you an idea of its impact:
Do you know of a park that could use the help from Room to Run? Submit a Grant Application by August 31 to the program for a chance to help improve your park! For more information, check out the Room to Run Facebook page.
What changes would you make to your local dog park?
It's award season in the pet blog-o-sphere. The DogTime Petties are currently underway with voting for finalists and BlogPaws just gave out their blog awards--While most pet bloggers love awards, most of them are based on our efforts online, typing away about our pets day in and day out. Now, Greenies is holding their annual awards, and they're all about the dogs.
The Greenies Awards last year recognized the Best Smile from dogs around the country; I submitted Arie's winning smile (because really, who could resist that face), and though she didn't win the contest was super interesting and had a lot of great grins to showcase. This year, they're branching out and finding the pets who star in videos and recognize them for their star-power in three categories: Best Vocal Performance, Best Trick, and Best Smile. Here's the contest summary for those of you who aren't familiar with the program:
"The contest is simple: upload a video of a pet asking for a GREENIES® treat. Cats and dogs are both eligible to be chosen as the winner of Best Vocal Performance for a GREENIES® treat, Best Trick for a GREENIES® treat or Best Smile for a GREENIES® treat. The lifetime supply of treats is available to the winner in each category."
You can help your favorites win by voting for them through the Greenies' Facebook app. Afterwards, encourage your friends to do the same by tweeting about the contest--Don't forget to tag it with #greeniesawards so you can join the conversation; if you have character space, mention us @masdemoore so I cans see who your favorites are! Voting ends on July 28, so you have less than two weeks to show your support for your favorites.
If you have any friends that are finalists, be sure to mention them in a comment!
*This post was written by a Nutro Knowledge Network Member, Katherine from Life with Arie, and is sponsored by the Nutro Company.
No offense to Wanda, but we've got the betta fish naming down to a science. Stan-the-Man (he's had a name for .025 seconds and he already has a nickname) is enjoying life so far in the Life with Arie household, and we couldn't be happier to have him. After 15 Facebook votes for the various options, numerous in-person votes from friends, family, and co-workers, and a handful of wonderful ideas from others, Stanley was the winning name for the betta, garnering more votes than the others. Stanley seems to fit the little guy, or big betta fish, I should say, and I couldn't be happier with the choice.
Now that Stanley has his new name, we can officially kick off FISH WEEK! This week our posts will be all about the fishies, especially bettas to celebrate Stan. I can't wait to share all that I've found while researching this week!
So often we blog about our cats, dogs, ferrets, etc, but how often do we talk about our fish? If you have a fish, comment or tweet with us @masdemoore with a little bit about them or even a photo!
With my roommate moving out, and their dog along with them, Arie and I were thinking (okay, okay...I was thinking) that it might be time to add a new member to our family; a beautiful bystander that wouldn't take up too much space but that would contribute to the apartment and our lives, and that we could shower with love and adoration (because we are love and adoration showerers. Seriously, call us for a pep talk if ever in need). Although I am now working to bring the cats back to Georgia as then we'll be
within closer to the correct number of pets for my apartment community (it's just one over, and the cats are both black, so they can count as one...(repeat as needed for convincing), the little guy I have in mind doesn't count toward the apartment totals, making him completely acceptable. To make a long story short, I found my beautiful bystander in an amazing King Male Betta Fish.
I've always loved bettas--They're the pet of dorm rooms and kids everywhere, and I always feel like I'm rescuing them when they're sitting there in sad little plastic cups at the store and I bring one home to be king of his own tank. The Male King bettas are new to me--They're fatter, longer, and have adorable little fins that aren't as "flowy" as other bettas, but still quite sexy (calling him pretty sounds wrong because I want to preserve his manliness, so we'll go with sexy).
Now that we have this colorful fellow at home, it's time to give him a name and I'm having some trouble. Typically my pets get old man names, names from Greek mythology, or favorite book/movie character names, as Arie did when I named that adorable puppy. Fishy needed something different. With his squashed little fish face he reminded me of an adorable old man, but his coloration makes me think he needs something a little super special. He's a snazzy old guy, not unlike a mob boss, so I have a few names to fit this theme. Now I need your help to pick the right one!
Vote for Fishy's name on the Life with Arie Facebook page. The top name will be chosen on Sunday, June 16. To help you see which option suits him best, check our Mr. Fish in his glamour shots:
The naming of Mr. Fish will kick off "Fish Week" next week, an ode to his amazingness and the significance of fish, as these little guys are often overlooked in our lives. I'll discuss some of the basics of bettas and other helpful advice...It's like "Shark Week," but domesticated and with a little more snark and amusement. ;-) I'm really looking forward to discussing pets outside of the canine/feline box and can't wait to get started!
I know that some of you might be feeling a little anxious..."Who won the giveaway?! Just tell me already!"
I hate when giveaway hosts take forever to announce a winner, or don't do so at all...and then of course, after swearing I wouldn't be that guy, I became, well that guy-er-person.
Without further ado, I am pleased to announce that Amy Orvin is the winner of the Life with Arie giveaway pack! She has two pups that are looking forward to their prizes, which will be mailed this week.
Congratulations Amy, and a huge thank you to everyone who participated! I'm so glad to have had you stop by the blog and offer up your comments--your commentary here, on Facebook, and through Twitter is always amazing and I'm so glad to have such a wonderful community! There were 267 entries, so a huge thanks to those of you who told friends and passed along information on the giveaway.