Home to Roost:Petsitting for Thanksgiving

Pets

It’s been a little over a week since I last posted. I was kind of still processing some family drama and trying to disconnect from some other things that were bothering me. Thanksgiving is tomorrow though and GUESS WHAT?!

I’m watching a farm!๐Ÿ

I seriously love my job. I can’t believe I’ve been petsitting fulltime for going on 2 1/2 years. 12 years total if you count the previous years where I was only doing it as a hobby in conjunction with restaurant jobs. I feel like that part of my life was so long ago that another person lived it sometimes!

Anyways, I’ve been waking up at 6:00am and going nonstop throughout the day, mucking stalls, feeding animals several times a day, turning them out in the pasture, cleaning up after them and just loving on them! I am watching 22 animals right now.(Funny, when I said that, it sounded like a band name, kind of like 21 Pilots!๐Ÿ˜‚) There are dogs, cats, burros, goats(one is a fainting goat!), miniature ponies and even a pig named Patty!๐Ÿฝ

I am so grateful for what I GET to do. I think it is so funny how, often times, we are defined by what we do. I mean, in a way, it makes sense, because often times, our jobs shape us into who we are, but I’m glad that with my job, I shape myself, continually, each and every day. I follow my values, my core set of beliefs and I don’t have to compromise on what’s important to me, like spending time with family. ๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

Even though I’m technically “working” this Thanksgiving, it kind of feels like a vacation to me, except I get paid. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ

It’s been sort of nice staying here on this farm and working every day, taking care of animals that need and depend on me. I haven’t turned a tv on in the last 48 hours and have been reading in my downtime, watching the animals in the pastures or looking down at the river. It’s so peaceful here, miles away from the family crap and dysfunction I was dealing with of last week. Now, granted, I go to spend Thanksgiving with family tomorrow, but I’m not really dreading it like I was last week.

Last week, it had me all down. This week, I am zen and I will probably just tell people that they would be much more charming if they weren’t constantly speaking ill of other people. ๐Ÿ˜‚ But really though. A little give and a little take. It’s all about balance. Keeping the peace…but also speaking your mind when it needs to be spoken.

I’m not sure what tomorrow has in store…or even next year! But I am so happy that I am no longer defined by my “job”. It is what I do and it makes me so happy! I don’t wake up dreading tomorrow, I just wonder what new animals I will befriend on this crazy, fun, exciting, petsitting journey!

Not gonna lie, I feel like Newt Scamander sometimes, being around more animals than people, but it is cool. I can’t wait to see The Fantastic Beasts movie, maybe I can talk Tim into seeing it this next month!๐Ÿฟ๐ŸŽฅ

P.S. When I work on the farm, I don’t always look like this, but you can bet these overalls are vintage!๐Ÿ˜‚ They are Washington Dee Cee brand and I found them at an estate sale for $5!๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป They retail for $100-$200. They have removable straps and are so cool, comfy and great for working in–I knew I had to have them for working on the farm! The boots are some rooster rain boots from Cracker Barrel from a few years ago.

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๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น 10 Tips: Venice, Italy ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น

Travel

Venice is one of the most amazing, unique places on earth. We spent 4 days + 4 nights there and even in that amount of time, we probably barely scratched the surface of what there is to see and do there!

But I thought I would pull together 10 tips for when YOU visit Venice! ๐ŸŽ‰ Also, I’ll include our 4 day itinerary at the end of this list! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

Tip #1: Get lost!

When it comes to Venice, there is so much to see! Even with a map, you’re going to get lost. While most of the time, that seems like a bad idea, in Venice, it’s the exact opposite. If you wander through the streets and bridges going over canals, you will find some great things. You can never go wrong with the pastry and coffee places you find, the small hole-in-the-wall churches usually have decadent mosaics and paintings on their ceilings, and you can stumble upon hidden landmarks!

Take for instance, Liberia Acqua Alta. This place is apparently very hard to find, and due to our short time in Venice, we had sort of ruled out seeing it…until we just found it on accident one day! We had set out and decided to tackle a different area of our Venice map we hadn’t seen when we found it! So, get lost. Wander and see what you can find!

Tip #2: Get a Venezia Unica Card.

These are cards that not only provide unlimited use of the city’s vaporetto system, but also have other benefits, like seeing popular tourist destinations AND even free WiFi for a day if you are under 29!

My husband Tim and I got the “Rolling Venice Card” for 72 hours which included as many rides on the vaporetto as we wanted and WiFi for a day! It was well worth it because even though Venice is a very walkable city, you will want to see it from the canals also! This card also covered our water transport to the outerlying islands of Burano and Murano, which are a must see!

The important thing to note here though is this: TheVenezia Unica Card DOES NOT cover transportation from the Marco Polo Airport to Venice.

For that, you will have to book a desperate transfer via an Aliguna Waterbus on the Blue Line, which was right around โ‚ฌ40-54, if I remember correctly.

Tip #3: See Burano and Murano! But if you have to pick one, pick Burano!

Now, this one is subject to opinion, but out of the two islands, I liked Burano the most! It is great for pictures and has the colorful buildings and even a lesser known Leaning Tower that Instagram dreams are made of! ๐Ÿ˜ However, if you are going based purely on seeing the lace making or glass making, go to Murano for the glass making.

It is amazing to see the glass creations there and for some reason, it just seemed more visual and was cooler to see than the lace making on Burano!

The vaporetto ride from Venice to Murano is shorter than the one to Burano. I think our ride to Murano was about 10-15 minutes while the ride to Burano was closer to 30-45 minutes from Cannaregio where we stayed.

Tip #4: Check out a mask store or atelier!

A trip to Venice isn’t complete without seeing a mask maker and exploring one of their stores! Even if you don’t come during Carnivale, Venice’s February celebration where people dress up in costumes and masks, it is one of the biggest trades known strictly to Venice!

We visited a store called Sogno Venezia Atelier and the owner Julia had a wealth of information on the art of mask making and she makes all her own costumes!

Masks are only part of Venice’s allure and mystery, but be sure not to miss out on learning more about them!

Tip #5: Stay in Cannaregio!

This is also just opinion, but I felt like Cannaregio was the best and most central location for us when it came to staying in Venice! We were not far from the airport, we were away from the touristy areas and in more of an actual Venice neighborhood, but still within walking distance of the sights, and we were close to the Ospedale stop, or Hospital! You never want to think you’ll need it, but it was nice to know it was close!

We also were near plenty of markets, which we went to to buy fresh produce and things to make meals at home sometimes!

Tip #6: Go during the shoulder or “off” season.

March is considered a slow time in Venice. It is typically a little chillier and right after Carnivale, so flight prices drop. We scored our tickets for around $700, which was a great deal when compared to anywhere from $1,000-$2,200!

If I can suggest though, go in late March or be prepared for cold temperatures. We layered a lot. March is also the time for “high water”, so you will see higher water and even flooded streets in Venice due to the rain. We had to use catwalks to walk over the water sometimes, but if worse comes to worse, they do have these strange looking rain boots you can purchase everywhere. They look a lot like Saran Wrap that just goes over your feet! ๐Ÿ˜‚

Tip # 7: Ride down The Grand Canal.

This is just a MUST. And kind of a given, but you have to see Rialto Bridge from the canals. It is a beautiful sight, not to mention, a relaxing ride. You will get some of your best pictures riding the vaporetto! They have these awesome little back sections of the vaporetto boats where you can go out a door and literally be in the open air. Just hold onto your phones! You don’t want to drop that into the canal!

Tip # 8: Take a gondola ride…but during the day.

Day fares for gondola are cheaper than at night and you’ll get less grainy, higher quality pictures. Now, while the vaporetto is great, gondolas are amazing because they take you down the tight, little back waterways of Venice that are quiet, secluded and interesting. We saw hidden passageways, passed a private courtyard where a couple was drinking red wine and they toasted us… ๐Ÿท๐Ÿ˜‚

It was all very Venetian and we wouldn’t have seen any of it if we hadn’t gone for a ride! The fare is generally โ‚ฌ89, but you can ride up to 6 people in a gondola and that total is split amongst riders, it is not per person!

Tip #9: Go to Cemeterio Island.

I did not take many pictures at Cemeterio and some people think cemeteries are morbid, but I thought it was a cool experience! If you like seeing how Venetians live…and how they died, Cemeterio is an interesting place to go. It is a 5 minute ride from Cannaregio across the channel.

There are beautiful monuments there and even windows that just face off into the sea. While wandering around, we came across a landing of black and white tiles that just gently sloped into the canal and we discovered that it is there that boats dock to offload coffins.

It’s impossible to realize all the things that are different about Venice until you really stop and take a look.

Tip #10: Talk to some Venetians.

Whether it was talking to our waiters at the trattoria down our street, Julia at the mask shop, or anyone we encountered, the Venetians are an interesting people. They are very passionate about things and are set in their ways. They certainly won’t go out of their way to help you, but they are nice if you catch them in a good mood.

If I had to rank all the towns on their “friendliness” that we went to, Venice wouldn’t have the top spot, but more on that later! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Bonus Tip #11: Get used to “Italian Time”.

Italians have their own clock that they go by, whether it’s getting somewhere and meeting up with someone or just eating dinner. Dinners are usually 4 hour affairs with multiple courses and you have to ask for your check, which was strange to us Americans.

One reason for this is that Italian waiters are paid a living wage. In America, waiters barely make $3 an hour and live on tips, so it’s all about turning tables. Get used to taking your time in Italy and you will enjoy your trip so much more!

Those are all my tips for Venice! ๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿท๐Ÿ•

Here is a brief itinerary of our time in Venice! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

March 14th: Landed in Venice

*On this day, we basically ate dinner near Rialto Bridge(very touristy, but the pizza was good) and went to our VRBO home to catch up on the time change! Not much accomplished this day.

March 15th: Murano & St. Mark’s Basillica

*We rode over to Murano to see some glass making and also checked out St. Mark’s Basillica and square! We did a lot of wandering this day and got a lot of ground covered!

March 16th: Burano, Riding a Gondola, and Riding Down Grand Canal

We rode over to Burano early and also had lunch there! Poppy had fish with the heads on. ๐Ÿ˜ณ๐Ÿ˜‚ We also rode the vaporetto all over, including down The Grand Canal, and got gelato. ๐Ÿง

March 17th: Cemeterio, Libreria Acqua Alta and Sogno Venezia Atelier

We saw a bunch this day! We explored Cemeterio, Libreria Acqua Alta and I bought a Venetian mask!

Stay tuned for my next blog on Florence, Pisa & Lucca!

And there is a quick video I made of Venice, which is on my IGTV, or Instagram tv! I hope you’ll check it out!

Hooray for Berets!

Life, Uncategorized

I realize this picture was taken in a bathroom. It has been a crazy month. I haven’t felt like writing in a while or haven’t had the time.

This is the outfit I wore to my aunt’s funeral. The last few weeks have been…surreal. I had to write my aunt’s obituary. Sitting at her bedside and asking her while she was still alive the things she wanted written most about her after she was gone was…hard. By that point, her brain cancer had really taken over and she couldn’t remember much.

I really didn’t care much what I wore the day this was taken. I chose the beret because typically, I like to wear hats when I don’t want to be seen. Same for the turtleneck. It made me feel secure and comfortable in my own skin.

One of the last things my aunt told me, her remaining two sisters and my mom was, “You broads better get your funeral attire ready, you need to look like a million bucks!” ๐Ÿ˜‚

My aunt was a blunt lady. I don’t think I looked like a million anything, but I just wanted to be comfortable.

Valentine’s Day also came and went and barely registered on my radar. I was watching so many pets and trying to get sleep and couldn’t…it was a mess. I think Valentine’s night, my husband and I ended up splitting some cheese fries and I went to a house I was staying at, took some sleeping pills and called it a night.

I also had a terrifying scare the other day when a guy started following me when I was out on a walk. ๐Ÿ˜ค It really annoyed me that this guy kept hitting on me—and had to call for help. It makes me mad that there are sick pervs in the world and that a woman can’t just go for a walk and mind her own business and not be harassed. ๐Ÿ™„

So, yeah. This has been one of the weirdest months of my life. I am so ready to escape for a while and write on my experiences in Italy for you guys! It would be nice to have something positive to channel my energy into!

So, anyways, wanted to let you all know I’m alive and well, life has just been treating me not so nicely lately. I think I’m going to have to take a defense class and show it who’s boss. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ‘Š๐Ÿป

Hope you guys have had a better month than me!

๐Ÿ’ก YouTube Goals โœจ

being thrifty, Life, Travel

So, I know I mentioned the other day that I’ve been wanting to focus some more on travel lately…if I had to narrow it down to my biggest passions, they would probably be:

1) Travel.

First and foremost, this is what I live for, what I love doing. Exploring, adventuring, getting out of my comfort zone and just going, seeing and doing.

How this plays out on this blog, I’ve constantly been figuring out, but for this next year, I’m going to try and focus on some more travel content and posts. When we go to Italy in less than 2 months (๐Ÿ˜ฑ) I’ll definitely have some itineraries and vlogs to post when I get back!

2) Thrifting and Estate Sales

I love them. I think part of the reason why is because there’s a story there and, you can find unique things and save loads of money. I love clothing, home decor or anything that comes used because…it was special to someone else first and I want to take care of it.

I think for this next year, I will definitely do some more posts continuing along these passions. Maybe some posts on what I find, how to find good deals, maybe some more outfit posts using things I’ve thrifted, vintage and modern.

3) Saving Money & Going After Your Dreams<<<<<<<<<<<<
n two very common themes in my life for the last 5 years and I love to get people excited about them! Saving money doesn’t have to be boring. Going after your dreams definitely isn’t, and sometimes, believe it or not, they can go hand in hand!

Saving money is actually what made my dream of going to Italy possible. And also, becoming an entrepreneur and self employed has been a dream come true in itself. I love sharing things about petsitting also! So, I will probably share some inspiring posts about how money doesn’t have to be the enemy and how sometimes, striking out on your own and working for yourself can be one of the most rewarding things you’ll ever do.

So, I guess I’ve sort of made an outline now. A direction in which to go for 2018. Over the last few days, I have been fired up and feeling very unstuck.

I’ve encountered a few people lately who just…don’t know how to take charge of their life. I’ve been upset for them, but I’ve also had to realize…it’s their life. They get to choose what they do with it and how they spend their time, but here’s the great thing: I get to do the same with mine. ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™Œ๐Ÿป

No more wasting time, making excuses or comparing myself, and definitely no more wishing I could have done this or that. This is a year for making things happen.

That being said, I wanted to let you all be the first to know, other than my Instagram followers, that I am starting a YouTube channel, which you can get to from here! ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿป

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCOeL03NmymfgJ7XKBBmYueg

I decided, you know what? I’m 27. I’m definitely not getting any younger, I don’t really care if I’m not an expert because everyone starts somewhere, and I like editing and making videos, it’s a lot of fun!

So there is a link to my channel! I’ll probably mainly focus on traveling and thrifting on there, so I hope you’ll check it out! Thanks again for reading and for putting up with my thoughts! ๐Ÿ’ญ

I’ve been through a lot lately, but things are often forgedin fire. ๐Ÿ”ฅ โœŒ๐Ÿป

| H o l i d a y s & P l a n s |

Life

ย Itโ€™s been a little while since Iโ€™ve written! I took one of those week hiatuses where I reevaluate everything in my life. ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ™„ Sometimes, that helps, sometimes it makes you look around and go, “What am I doing?

The other day, Tim and I got accosted by an aggressive sales person who was like, “What do you want most for Christmas?” And half jokingly, half seriously Iโ€™d responded, “Some purpose? Have you got any of that in there?” ๐Ÿ˜‚ Ahh, I crack myself up.

ANYway, the holidays have been in full swing around here. Mostly Iโ€™ve been finishing some last minute Christmas shopping, going to some fun estate sales and trying not to think about other things.

Iโ€™ve been in such a weird season of my life lately. Iโ€™ve accepted some things, but then when it comes to others, Iโ€™ve been pushing myself, trying to be a better person. Iโ€™ve also been trying to be happy for myself when Iโ€™ve been upset about whatโ€™s going on in other peopleโ€™s lives.

My aunt has not been making any sense lately. She has lymphoma of the brain and she has been really confused lately.

This holiday season has just been wrapped up in all this tension this year. Iโ€™ve been throwing myself into planning our trip, so thatโ€™s been good for me. Weโ€™ve booked the legs of our trip in Venice and Rome and weโ€™re almost set to be booking in Florence and some other places!

Itโ€™s been a nice distraction, but a part of me has been resentful, Iโ€™m not going to lie. I never say these things out loud because of how horrible they sound, but I resent the timing of things sometimes. Why did this have to happen now? Why did my aunt have to get cancer? Why did she have to name me…whatever she named me? Iโ€™m not an executor of a will…Iโ€™m something below even that. And she only made me that to stick it to her husbandโ€™s son by another marriage.

I remember the day she asked me. She insulted me and downplayed my abilities, telling me Iโ€™m naive like she always has. She didnโ€™t want my help because I can help. She wanted my help shutting someone else out. I remember the hate rolling off of her in waves and I remember thinking, She is such an unhappy person. I never want to be like her.

I know my words sound harsh, but I donโ€™t appreciate being used to hurt other people. And honestly, I donโ€™t care. I think we need to cut the bullshit a little more in this world.

Merry Christmas, right? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜“

I just…Iโ€™d be lying if I said it was all sadness. Some of it is resentment and anger for having let someone else treat me this way. Iโ€™m ready to move on from this though. Iโ€™m done accepting the bad and I want to move forward with the good. โœŒ๐Ÿป

I donโ€™t want anything to do with this anymore.

| C o u n t r y L i v i n g |

Life, Pets

ย  This week has been a long one, but leading into this weekend, I’m not going to lie, my petsitting gigs have been kind of glamorous. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

With what I do, it doesn’t really feel like work most of the time! I love taking care of animals, so it’s like any other day for me and I have fun with it. So, between you and me, sometimes it feels like a mini vacation when I petsit!

Now don’t hear me wrong, I love my life, but sometimes it is nice to just disconnect for a little while. The place I am staying is out in the heart of the country, so it couldn’t be more perfect for disconnecting! Like, if this wasn’t a full time home for this client, I would tell them to rent it out on VRBO or Airbnb! It’s like something straight out of Southern Living. ๐Ÿ˜


It’s so quiet and peaceful, the sunrises and sunsets โ˜€๏ธ are gorgeous, and I keep encountering all kinds of animals, not just the ones I’m watching!


I’ve been watching these cute little doggies and so far, I have also seen a little dove, some horses in the pasture, a frog, a turtle and believe it or not, some peacocks! I will definitely have to try and get a picture of them!

Anyways, I can really appreciate why someone would move waaay out away from everything. It is peaceful and beautiful and great for inspiration. I’m one of those people that loves this type of living, but I still like the convenience of being close to things, so what can you do? ๐Ÿค— I do like stepping into other people’s lives sometimes though, just to see how they live. I think that’s why travel is so appealing to me. ๐ŸŒŽ

I mean, how can you not be inspired, looking at that view?!

Anyways, I am continually amazed and in awe of where my petsitting takes me. Ever since starting my Facebook page about 2 years ago, it has continued to take me all kinds of cool places watching lots of cute animals! ๐Ÿถ๐Ÿฑ๐Ÿฐ

Hope you all are having a great pre-weekend! I think I’m going to do some more front porch sitting with some Cabernet Sauvignon, the dogs and kick my feet back! ๐Ÿท๐Ÿถ

Houdini the Hamsterย 

Pets

ย  I’m really sad today. ๐Ÿ˜ฅ Houdini our hamster passed away last night. This blog post is for him.

He was a sweet little guy. ๐Ÿน We got him a little over 2 years ago from a pet store. At first, he really didn’t trust us. It took about a month to get him used to us by putting treats in our hands until he would take them from us. He went from craning his neck out as far as he could to get it, then eventually he would put his paws on my hand and take the treat, then he got to where he would let us pick him up. โค๏ธ


This picture makes me laugh! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Houdini was out early in the morning and I snapped the lamp on and he froze! He would always be out early in the morning and late at night and I would get him out and hold him.

Hamsters don’t live very long, but just like any other pet, you love them. So don’t ever let anyone make you feel silly for mourning the loss of a pet. They are a part of your family.

Houdini made us laugh, cuddled with us and was so sweet and tame. He was the first hamster I’d ever had—my husband Tim had one as a kid and he convinced me to get one. Houdini was also a part of Tim’s magic show. ๐Ÿน

I cried a little today, but Twix, our rabbit, helped me cheer up, and I’m sure the pets I watch this week will help me too.ย 

We have been so lucky to have such sweet pets. ๐Ÿ’• I think sometimes, they find us. I’m also grateful that I had some time with Houdini the day before he passed away. He hadn’t been acting like his normal self—really, it had been a few months that he had seemed just slower and shaky in his movements. He came out less and just seemed to age overnight.

The other day, I got him out and just held him and he snuggled up in my hand. He actually fell asleep, which he had never done before. โค๏ธ I think he knew he was loved. When we found him the next day, he just looked like he had fallen asleep, so I know he went peacefully.


Houdini, you will be missed. You made us smile and laugh and you were such a good little hamster, even the couple of times you escaped, you came back to us and climbed into our hands instead of running away. ๐Ÿ˜‚ You will always be my first and favorite hamster and you made me really appreciate that every living thing is important, from the biggest animals to the very smallest. Love you, Dini. โค๏ธ