Whirlwind Week

Oh what a week, what a week, what a mighty fine week!

When I last left you, I was on my way to not-quite-sunny-but-wonderfully-temperate San Francisco for a week of Yelptastic shenanigans with the other 150+ Community Managers from ’round the globe. We called it #CMWeek14 and, as you can imagine, it was just as awesome as you’d think.

 

1. Goodies from the hotel welcome bag; 2. Beer + dark chocolate sea salt popsicle at the welcome party

There was a lot of learning, waaaaayyyy too much eating, a decent amount of me trying not to be the awkward “new kid” in front of so many seasoned Yelp vets (obviously I failed at that one, ahaha), and just generally a whole lot of good times.

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1. Sushiritto: IT EXISTS; 2. Personalized latte from the Yelp barista

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I am extremely blessed to have this job. I mean, to not only be able to do things that I love everyday, but to work with such amazing, talented, creative, and awe-inspiring individuals to boot? Those of you who are Yelp Elite Squad members in other states (maybe even countries?) know exactly what I’m talking about.


My Regional Team: NC, DC, MD, PA, and VA in the hooooouse!

Our days pretty much consisted of nonstop sessions, group lunches and dinners, and then me being dragged into the party hardy fray after all of that. Don’t get me wrong, it was a BLAST, but I rarely go that hard on my own turf, let alone with a wonky time difference thrown into the mix. The night we took over a karaoke bar was 100% worth it alone, but believe you me, I suffered afterwards.

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In fact, it seems like the second I set foot back on northern Virginia soil, my body was like, “BWAHAHAHA. AND NOW I SHALL HAVE MY REVENGE.” I got sick, and I got sick harrrrrd. Maybe it’s just the symptoms of CM week withdrawal, but it feels more like bubonic plague.

Of course, the train never stops rolling these days, so I didn’t let a little thing like being on my deathbed stop me from pulling off another swell Yelp Elite Event! On Sunday, just two days after I got back from SF, was Yelp’s Social Petworking!



Since having Daxter at an event has pretty much been my goal from the very beginning, it wasn’t too hard for me to rally for this one. That said, I’ve pretty much spent every other moment — both waking and sleeping — in bed, trying to shake this dang plague.

And why is it so important that I will myself back to health? Because tomorrow I’m off AGAIN! This time, it’s back to Macon, GA for my niece Mia’s FIRST BIRTHDAY! (Do you guys remember when SHE WAS BORN?! Yeah, an entire YEAR HAS PASSED SINCE THEN. Crazy.)

Life, man! It’s happening! Oy!

Anyway, that brings you all back up to speed, and with this next trip being hopefully a little less pedal-to-the-medal (I can’t imagine Mia wanting to go balls to the wall on her first birthday, but you never know…) I’ll be able to get back into the groove with blogging, eating, weight loss, and all that good stuff.

On a related note, I gave up potatoes for Lent this year, so let’s see how that goes, shall we?

2013 Close Out

Ahoy-hoy, friends!

I hope everyone had a baller Christmas and holiday season! Mine was unsurprisingly awesome, thanks in large part to this little Santa Baby being around this year:

I know I swore that I wouldn’t become one of those aunties that is obsessed with a child that I didn’t even pop out, but, I mean, c’mon! She’s pretty cute, right? And you know what’s even cuter? Stuff like this:

It’s like looking straight into the future if Sean and I ever decide to cook up a (double) Whasian baby of our own, hahahahahahaha.

Yep, Mia’s first Christmas was a rousing success, even if I did go a liiiiittle bit overboard with presents this year (even more so than in years past). But hey, it IS the giving season, after all, isn’t it? Everyone ’round the Powell Family Christmas tree was very generous this year — I got a PS Vita from my brother, amazingly adorable cocktail plates from my sister-in-law Taylor, a bread machine from my sister (IT. IS. AWESOME.) and Sean got me an iPad MINI! Funny story, actually…

So, being the Christmas nutter that I am, I may or may not have been bugging Sean on an almost daily basis as to what he was getting me for Christmas. And, true to his nature, his response each and every time was “Snowman poop.”

For reference, this is what he meant:

Thinking he had, of course, been joking the entire time, I opened my gift from him, eager to see what it was. And it was… snowman poop.

Yep, an entire professionally shrinkwrapped bag full of marshmallows. I was… thrilled. But, of course, since Sean is a trickster of the trickiest kind, he had actually hidden the iPad mini inside the marshmallows. And of course Ben got the whole thing on camera, hahaha. So sneaky…

Anywho! So yes, Christmas was wonderful! My December was also filled with plenty of Yelpy holiday goodness, so, for those who are wondering, the job is absolutely just as awesome as ever.

And tonight, the holiday festivities continue with a classy New Year’s double date with my good friends Lara & her husband Dan! Then tomorrow it’s… 2014! Hot damn, I know how cliche it is to say, but this year REALLY flew. Guess that’s what happens when you have a job you love, eh? Not to mention the constant looming pressure of trying to get a sequel out while people still remember the first book, ahahaha. Either way, 2013 has definitely been good to me (though, granted, not good to this blog… ehehe… sorry).

I hope that you all have an incredible New Year — no matter how you choose to celebrate it — and I can’t wait to see what the next year brings! I have some DEFINITE plans to get back on the health bandwagon (I’ve let loose a bit much over the past few months and I am really feeling it) so hopefully that will help me get back on the blog train, too.

Onward & downward, eh?

A Glass Case of Emotions

If you’ve been reading this blog for any reasonably significant amount of time, by now you probably know the following things about me:

1. I seriously love to eat.

2. I seriously love my birthday.

3. I seriously love my dogs.

4. I am otherwise rarely serious about anything.

5. I have a lot of feelings.

And while I actually do have something to post about that falls in line with points 1 & 2 (because, you know, I haven’t posted enough about all the ridiculous amounts of food I’ve been consuming lately or anything), today, I shall be addressing points 3 & 5. Thus, recapping the grand birthday dinner I had with my family on Friday will simply have to wait (my mom has been out of town for the past month, so we waited to celebrate until she got back) because I have other things to report.

SO! Let’s start things off with Saturday night and the first time I cried that night. (I told you: FEELINGS.) My wonderful sister texted me earlier when I was out with Sean, asking me when I’d be home because she wanted to Facetime. Given that there is very little that we sisters cannot communicate via our wicked fast texting fingers (honestly, I think between Jenny and me we could probably beat some kinda record), I was already slightly suspicious that something was afoot. I was a little worried that perhaps my older and wiser sister had befallen the myth that you can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding and my perfect little niece Mia would be getting an Irish twin.

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Say what now?

My suspicions arose further when Jenny proceeded to Facetime me within 60 seconds of walking back in the door of my house, all but proving the fact that she had been stalking me via the “Find My Friends” app. And yes, there was indeed a reason for the call, though it was nothing like what I expected. My sister proceeded to put Mia on the phone (for lack of a better image), and, in a voice that sounded suspiciously like my sister’s, just 3 octaves higher, “Mia” asked me if I would do her the honor of being her godmother.

I mean, c’mon. Do I even need to tell you that this is when the waterworks started?

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Pull yourself together, woman.

I managed to utter a garbled “Yes!” between sobs of happiness, and then proceeded to watch my sister feed Mia prune juice through an eyedropper 1,400 miles away (TECHNOLOGY!). It was really a very special moment… up until the part where, y’know, she spit up prune juice. Which, coincidentally, also happened to be the part of the evening where I discovered the remnants of a VERY THOROUGHLY DESTROYED packet of Orbit gum on the stairs of my house. Which brings us to our second emotional point of the evening.

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Caught in the act.

Oh, the joys of dog ownership. On a routine basis, you might find your dirty underwear strewn about the house, food wrappers fished out from the garbage, or a panic poop in the basement. At least they generally have the decency to act guilty/apologetic about it, although in this particular case Harry didn’t seem to think anything was amiss. Daxter’s guilt, on the other hand, was evident–he does this automatic ears-back rollover thing that is so cute you automagically forget why you’re mad (see above picture). I didn’t think too much of the incident, seeing as how my dogs have eaten a lot worse things than a couple sticks of gum, IMO (like the time Harry ate half a FILET MIGNON off my end table, or when Daxter polished off half a bag of Fizzing Whizbees from Harry Potter World…). In fact, I thought it was funny, and so I posted about it on Instagram and Facebook.

daxter orbit

And it was kinda funny. That is, until I started getting flooded with messages about how sugarfree gum–like Orbit–contains an artificial sweetener called xylitol. And xylitol, unbeknownst to me, is really, REALLY toxic to dogs. Like, not just like “Oh, you probably shouldn’t feed that pizza crust to your dog because they don’t digest wheat as well as humans”-bad, but “Well, now your dog’s blood is being flooded with a huge amount of insulin and his organs are probably going to start failing within the next thirty minutes and HE WILL DIE”-bad.

Yeah… so, in hindsight, I’m gonna go ahead and say that Googling “xylitol dogs” really didn’t do much to help the situation. Enter: Phase 2 of crying (and this is, clearly, not the good kind of crying).

Anyway, needless to say, at this point I am FREAKING THE EFF OUT. Harry and Daxter weren’t exhibiting any strange behavior, but since we didn’t know A) how much gum they actually ate or B) which dog even did the eating, I knew it was better safe than sorry and there was no question as to what to do. Sean and I threw both dogs in the car and zoomed off to the emergency vet. Which, of course, considering my dogs’ proclivity for bad things happening to them, is a route I know all too well at this point.

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We got to the vet, I explained the situation (in tears), and they immediately took both dogs into the back to check them out. Meanwhile, I learned that there is an animal poison control hotline that I needed to call (still in tears). They asked me a bunch of questions as to exactly what was ingested, and what the worst-case scenario was in terms of how much gum they ate. Thankfully–THANKFULLY–it turns out that Orbit as a brand has low xylitol amounts, and even if one of my dogs <25 lb. dogs had eaten half a pack (7 pieces), they likely would have been okay. At this point, the vet had already made both dogs throw up, so I did find out that Harry was the sole culprit in terms of actually consuming the gum (though Daxter had a field day with the cardboard wrapper, which I guess explains why he was acting guilty?) but I could take them home that night. I would just have to monitor them for signs of hypoglycemia and my regular vet would likely follow up and want to run some blood tests.

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And nobody at the clinic even commented on the fact that Daxter is still pink.

All in all, I realize I got pretty lucky: There were only a few pieces of gum left in the pack, and I have some VERY thoughtful friends and blog readers who alerted me to the danger quickly. Because, honestly, if they hadn’t told me, I might never have known! Although I guess if we’re going that route, I also would not have known if I didn’t constantly exploit my dogs via my various social media channels. So clearly the lesson here is: Post everything about your life to social media!

Oh, c’mon, I kid, I kid. In truth, I really have learned a valuable lesson about the dangers of anything that contains xylitol (which is mainly sugarfree gum, but also some jams, jellies, and baked goods) when it comes to my pets. And to me, the peace of mind in knowing that both my furbabies are okay was worth the outrageously high vet bill… and I say that only, like, 40% begrudgingly.

So there you have it. One Saturday night, MORE than enough emotional roller-coastering to last me until at least the end of the week. Whew. I am emotionally drained just having rehashed the experience for you guys.

Have you ever had a pet medical scare? I feel like at this point I have had more than my fair share with both dogs… It’s all worth it, obviously, but still. Oy.

I’m Back, Baby! (Giveaway!)

EDIT: This giveaway is now closed. To see if you were one of the winners, click here!

Ohhhhh hey guys. Long time no see/talk/read. Well… I’m back! Yep, back from Houston full of adorable baby memories and a huuuuge backlog of work to sift through, heh. Technically I got back on Saturday, but I’ve pretty much been playing catch-up since then. (Also, there has been some major snuggling with Harry since he didn’t get to make the trip with Daxter and me.)

Getting to spend the week in Texas with my sister, her husband, my parents, and my brand new baby niece was amazing, but it may surprise no one to hear that it wasn’t really a vacation in the traditional sense. Nope, up by 7 every morning, helping to change poopy diapers, and watching a LOT of TLC (okay, well, that part was pretty vacation-y, heh), I almost feel like I need a vacation from my vacation! Alas, that won’t be happening (at least not until Sean’s and my epic Ireland trip in July!) but at least now I’ll be back on a (hopefully) regular blogging schedule.

Part of my going down to Houston was to do a newborn photo shoot with baby Amelia! I’ve only just started editing some of the photos, but in case you haven’t already seen these plastered all over social media (and apologies if you have, hehe), take a look!

mia awake

mia asleep

jen and mia

She is the most alert and curious baby when awake, and soooo freaking adorable when asleep. Of course, not every shot was a winner…

crying mia

I honestly think this one might be my favorite of them all, hahaha. Anyway, like I said, this is only a preview of the gazillion photos I still have yet to edit (seriously, I took almost 300 shots! Hahaha) but I thought you might like to see proof of the one productive thing I managed to do in Houston. 😛

Speaking of Houston… so. My sister, who some of you may already know works for UnderArmour, sent me home with a smorgasbord of UA goodies. One of the things I was sent back with is an exclusive collection of awesome UA headbands!

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They look really great AND are super functional for working out. They feel nice but are grippy (without tearing out hair or anything horrible like that). Even though my hair is super straight and sleek, they really don’t slip very much! This particular pack comes in really fun blues and greens. I get compliments on my UA headbands ALL the time when I wear them, and I want you guys to experience the same!

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Giveaway time!

I’ve got FIVE (yes, five!) packs of headbands to give away to you guys! To enter, simply leave a comment on this post telling me what your favorite thing about Spring is!

As always, extra entries for those who follow me on Twitter, Like HISTG on Facebook, and tweet/post about this giveaway. Just make you sure you leave separate comments back here for each thing you do! I’ll pick the winners on Friday, April 5th.

Note: This giveaway is not sponsored in any way by UnderAmour. I just have the good fortune to get freebies through my sister, and know I’m not gonna need 20 more headbands to add to my own collection, hahahaha.

Happy April!