I Am My Dog's BIGGEST Fan

I Am My Dog's BIGGEST Fan

Man's best friend? More like dog's best pal.
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I'm sure you've heard the phrase "a dog is a man's best friend," but I bet you've never heard someone, especially an 18 year old, say that they are their dog's number one fan, but I am! My parents fell in love with my current dog when looking for a new addition for our family seven years ago.

Meet Smokey. He is a 7 year old, long-haired German Shepherd dog. The breeder said that because he is a long hair, he is not deemed perfect enough to be shown in dog shows but he is PERFECT! Although he has mellowed out in his 'old' age he's still a puppy and has never outgrown his clumsiness. Whenever one of us gets down on the floor, he is quick to circle before plopping down right on top of us. Despite being almost 100 pounds, he thinks he is a lap dog, and has no clue that in reality, he's huge. I am always on the ground, rolling around with him, and chasing him throughout the house.

Smokey is constantly tripping over his big feet, and sliding across the wood floors because his fur peeps between his toes, and he is always choking on his ridiculously long tongue. One of his ears, as you can see, stands up and the other stays down, which flops when he comes trotting across the yard. As soon as I hear him coming, I whip my phone out so I can take pictures of him. Although Smokey doesn't like the water, he is constantly circling the pool and standing on the edge, just waiting for a kiss from me when I'm in it. I am always the one to pop up and catch a quick kiss to his nose before he is running off to get his toy.

Whenever I am having a bad day, I know I can cuddle him and instantly feel better. I can always rely on him to wake me up in the morning...nose first before the wet kiss! He's the best model because he poses completely still for me whenever I want to take a picture. I'm like a proud mom when it comes to Smokey: always cuddling and kissing and taking a picture every other second.

I have 2,263 photos on my iPhone and about 80% of them are pictures of Smokey.

He is my favorite boy in the whole world and will be until the end of time.

Cover Image Credit: Amanda Barba

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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10 Reminders Of Just How Easy It Is To Live Sustainably

Being eco-friendly and loving mother nature can be a lot easier than it may seem.

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We often make this whole sustainability thing seem like a rather complex issue that we, as individuals, have no reason to take action on. I'm here to tell you that even by just changing a few simple habits in your day-to-day life, you can make a lasting impact that saves our oceans and our planet's future! It's 2019 and it's about time we do something to give back to this lovely planet. Cheers to being eco-friendly and caring about mother earth, because she's pretty freaking great.

1. Invest in a reusable water bottle to use on the go

Amazon.com : Hydro Flask Water Bottle | Stainless Steel & Vacuum Insulated | Wide Mouth with Straw Lid | Multiple Sizes & Colors : Gateway

www.amazon.com

Around 90% of water bottles end up decomposing in landfills rather than being recycled. If we all just make one small investment in a reusable water bottle that last way longer than one plastic water bottle, we can all make a difference together. Hydro Flask is one of my favorite brand of water bottles that lasts forever. Check out the wide mouth steel wate bottle with a straw lid above!

2. Buy a travel mug for coffee and tea

Amazon.com: Contigo Stainless Steel Coffee Couture AUTOSEAL Vacuum-Insulated Travel Mug, 14 oz, White Marble: Gateway

www.amazon.com

This is another small investment that can make such an impact in the number of cups that end up in landfills at the end of the day. At the very least, try to stick to compostable cups when possible on the go. Or, even better, purchase a travel mug like this pretty marble Contigo one to always have your drinks hot or cold wherever you are. Some coffee shops even reward you for this and give you a discount for bringing in your own cup!

3. Say NO to straws

Amazon.com: Reusable Bent Glass Drinking Straws, Set of 6 With 2 Cleaning Brushes,Shatter Resistant,BPA Free, Non-Toxic, Eco-Friendly, 200mm x 10mm (Bent 8'' x10mm, Multi Color): Health & Personal Care

www.amazon.com

This follows the one above and is so important for the lives of our precious ocean creatures! It's one of the easiest things to eliminate by simply not using them or, buying a pack of reusable straws. Here are some of the ones I've tried – they work great on the go or at home!

4. Use less water!

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This may sound like a really simple one, but we often use water mindlessly and don't even realize how much we are wasting. A few ways to use less water include turning off the water when you brush your teeth, shortening your showers, not running the water while you wash dishes, doing less loads of laundry… the possibilities are endless!

Start by trying to be more conscious of just how much water you are using every day.

5. Turn off the lights when you leave the room

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Again, this one may sound incredibly easy but it's sometimes the easiest, most efficient ways to live sustainably that we forget to follow. Turning off the lights when you leave the room can have a huge impact on your electricity bill along with mother nature which helps you, too!

6. Try having one vegetarian day a week

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This is one that I am new to trying out recently and I am considering continuing to add more days during my week… will I be a vegetarian eventually? While it may seem drastic to give up meat for life, it's a small step in the right direction to commit to one meat free day a week, and I've found it reminds me of how frequently we consume it as well.

It takes 2,500 gallons of water to produce a single pound of beef. If that doesn't convince you enough, each hamburger that comes from animals on ex-forestry ground is responsible for the destruction of fifty-five square feet of forest. If we all cut out meat one day a week, that alone can make a difference in our water usage and land conservation!

7. Use cruise control on the highway

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We often don't think of cruise control as having a significant economical impact, but as the driver of a hybrid (shoutout my Ford Fusion Hybrid – best car ever), it's crazy the difference it makes on your overall mileage.

Using cruise control regularly can increase your mileage by at least 15% and in doing so saves the environment from fuel emissions, uses less gasoline, and keeps more money in your pocket!

8. Reduce, reuse, recycle, duh!

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Okay, yes, duh! But seriously. It's so easy to say yes to single use plastics when we are constantly surrounded by them as alternatives that fit into our fast-paced, on-the-go lifestyles, and we easily forget how impactful each piece of plastic we use is on our oceans and our planet.

Plastic bags are not biodegradable or recyclable and we should avoid using them whenever possible. Your local grocery store probably sells reusable grocery bags and most likely gives discounts when you bring them in to use instead of plastic bags. If this isn't an option for you, ask for paper instead of plastic.

9. Always recycle glass

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Glass is a product that often has misconceptions around whether or not it is recyclable, leading to unrecycled glass taking up to a million years to decompose. With the way things are looking in 2019, we don't have a million years to fix this whole love for mother-nature problem. Always make sure to recycle your glass! It can reduce related water pollution by up to fifty percent and related air pollution by up to twenty percent.

10. Spread the knowledge, share the love!

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It's one thing to hold yourself accountable to taking steps towards living more sustainably but why not hold others accountable, too! If you are living at home or living with roommates, create systems in your home that allow everyone to be on the same page – reduce, reuse, recycle.

To learn more about easy steps to living sustainably, visit https://www.50waystohelp.com/

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