How to Create the Best Holiday Gift Basket for your Dog

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker Company. The opinions and text are all mine.


I've had MaQ for five years and it was the month of December when we first met. That day still feels like it was yesterday. Every holiday season I can't help but go overboard on getting him gifts. My reasons are, there's always an occasion to spoil my dog and I'm just really grateful for him and love him to bits! We have been through a lot together and he has taught me so much along the way. He's not just a pet, or a friend - he's family. Which is why I couldn't resist buying these treats during a recent trip to Walmart. And I wanted to share some other fun gift ideas along with the treats to make the perfect stocking/gift basket for your dog! I'll even be showing you how to wrap it up into one gift! And believe me when I say this, it is completely painless and easy! (The way present wrapping should be intended! Ha ha!)


1. Milk-Bone Flavor Snacks

Milk-Bone Flavor Snacks feature the same teeth cleaning and vitamin-enriched goodness of Milk-Bone Original biscuits in five delicious flavors your dog will love. Your dog always does so much to show you their unconditional love. Return that expression of love by treating them with a yummy Milk-Bone biscuit. For dogs of all sizes. 

2. Pup-Peroni

Sharing these tasty treats is a great way to provide contagious joy for both dogs & dog parents. With more real beef* and a mouthwatering aroma it's no wonder dogs simply can't resist Pup-Peroni Original Beef Flavor dog snacks. Don't forget to take a package along so you can treat your pup wherever you pal around! *Than the leading soft and chewy dog snack competitor 

3. Any Christmas-Themed Stuffed Animal

One of MaQ's favorite toys are stuffed animals, so much so, we created a game called the "Identification Game" where he can literally I.D. over twenty stuffed animals he owns. That's how smart my boy is! I went with a Christmas tree and a reindeer to build upon his vocabulary. Though I somehow believe he already knows what these words mean after five years together, ha ha! 


4. A Fresh New Dish

It's always a good idea to replace your dog's dish/bowl after a while, right? What better time than now to get a fresh new one? I like this one because it's not made out of metal, and the color is super cute! I also can appreciate that it is a larger size as MaQ is a pretty big guy and does eat a lot! 

5. It's the Little Things

On top of stuffed animals, MaQ is also obsessed with balls, like most German Shepherds. Of course, I had to add a couple of (red & green color-coordinated with the holiday season, naturally) them into the gift basket. Lastly, a super cute Naughty/Nice red bone toy and red & green play rope for the finishing touches. 


I assembled these gifts in one basket! I used the same plastic wrap that is used for flower bouquets and such, starting with the bowl and adding the treats and toys after. Once everything was inside, I tied a red satin ribbon around the top to close it and also make it look festive and adorable. What do you guys think of my gift basket idea? What kind of items would you put in your gift basket for your pooch? You can find Pup-Peroni Original Beef Flavor Dog Treats (25 oz.) and the Milk-Bone Flavor Snacks at your local Walmart in the pet treat aisle. For more info go here






Our First Q&A Episode



Hey guys! Welcome back to my blog! And to new visitors... welcome and stick around because you're in for a treat today! Since I've started my blog which was roughly two years ago, I get asked a lot of questions about my dog and what life is like in a big city with him. Whether it's in person or on social media, everyone adores my German shepherd, McQueen... or, what most of you guys know him as: MaQ! There were so many questions to narrow it down to due to time constraint and the desire for wanting to keep a few precious moments private such as when and where we met him, why and how. And even though I like to keep that sort of balance within my personal life, I still wanted to share a few fun facts about my partner in crime. So let's take a look, shall we? 



McQueen was named after the devastatingly handsome actor, Steve McQueen. Both carry such a look and are equally charismatic, Steve and I even share the same birthday, so it was only natural to give him such a unique name. We call him 'MaQ' for short because of coined phrases like, "Big Mac" and "Mack Daddy". He is quite big and a total ladies man. :)


5. In human years, he's technically 35 but still acts like a kid. Young at heart, I suppose. ❤️



He just loves to play. If he could have it his way, he'd run me around all day! He's a total ball hog like many GSDs I know, but his favorite game is the toy game, or "identification" game where he can search and find whatever stuffed animal I ask him to go get, and he's got a lot of 'em. I am thinking about doing a video on this because it's just too cute and you'd be impressed with how smart he is on top of how many toys he's spoiled with! 

He also love to eat and share food with us. Yes, I'm guilty as charged and am totally that paw-rent who indulges in feeding her pooch table scraps. I can't help it! I don't want him to feel left out, ha ha! I of course only share with him what's healthy and reasonable. But every once in a while you just gotta go for the carbs. We love to share french fries together and his favorite is pizza crust. I love it too but since having MaQ, I give all my crust to him as if it's some kind of ritual between us.  

He is never without his "security blanket", or rather, his "Natty" girl. It's a plush stuffed animal monkey and I named her after Natalie Wood, who was one of Steve McQueen's ladies back in the day and they were quite the couple! You should see her in the video from this post, Natty was the size of MaQ when I first got him! 


Cats. Baths. And the rain. 



If you looked this good, would you be with only only person? Ha ha ha! He is a total player! You should see him picking up chicks on our walks... both human and canine! He's got a thing for blonds and leggy women. Hey, can ya blame him? 


Honestly? No, he and I like to have our own space. I'm the type that likes to cuddle for about 3 minutes and then I'm good. He's the same, ha ha! What he tends to do most at night is keep watch. He's a good ole' boy and protects the house. 


That's it for now! Be sure to come back and see more upcoming Q&A's! Don't forget to watch our episode on YouTube down below and if you have a question you'd like answered about us, leave it in the comment box or find me on social media! Follow me and MaQ on Instagram! Have a great weekend, everyone. We'll see ya back here on Monday! 



Happy Friday, guys! Today's video is our very first Q&A with my partner in crime, my German shepherd dog, McQueen (AKA: MaQ)! After receiving a lot of questions about us from our readers, I thought it was finally time to do a sit down and answer some of them! Click to watch!





Pup-Peroni with MaQ-eroni

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of The J.M. Smucker
Company. The opinions and text are all mine.

With my crazy hectic schedule as a full-time writer, photographer, and blogger/digital content creator, I don't get that much time with my German Shepherd dog, McQueen, or also known as MaQ to most of you, as much as I'd like to. So I definitely make room for some heavy duty quality time with my fur baby every chance I can get. It's not only for his well being but for mine as well. We are each other's best friend and if I could take him everywhere with me, I would in a heartbeat. Which is why when I was recently asked by Pup-Peroni to share some of MaQ's most recent favorite treats we, of course, wanted to share with you a couple of his choices! Here's a small clue to what he always goes for... and they are made with real meaty goodness!

When MaQ sees these Pup-Peroni Original Beef Flavor Dog Treats, he immediately starts to drool and gives you the 'I want it NOW' eyes. He'll do anything for these treats, one of his favorite go-to maneuvers is the paw shake or high-five, which is always rewarded with a treat or affection. We do everything together and I love being able to count on a brand that provides real meat like beef, steak, bacon, etc. as the #1 ingredient in their treats. Even made with real Angus steak, (MaQ also is in love with the Prime Rib flavor as well) I am reassured that I'm giving something authentic and tasty to my beloved pooch. With less time to worry about what I'm giving my dog, I can spend the time I have with him playing and enjoying our time together, showing other people his tricks and 'tricks of the trade.' 

One of his favorite games he's loved playing since he was a puppy is what we like to call the "Idenitification" game. MaQ has an assortment of plush toys, ranging from a dragon, fox, pig, monkey, practically a whole farm, that he absolutely adores, so much in fact, that he doesn't rip them up to shreds like other dogs sometimes do. We'll put all the toys in the toy bin and then ask MaQ to individually bring us a certain one, one by one until he is mentally exhausted. He can bring nearly twenty toys in one sitting! I'm not kidding! I'm even thinking about doing a live video on Instagram or Facebook one of these days, what do you guys think of that idea? We, of course, reward him each time for his efforts with his favorite mouth-watering beef treats. 

MaQ aims to please and is one playful pup while doing so! Some other activities we love doing together are taking long walks throughout the city, rollerblading and playing catch with one of his favorite balls. He also loves going to the store with me, even hearing the word gets him super excited! But no matter where we go, I always keep a few Pup-Peroni treats within reach. When people ask how MaQ is so well-behaved, it's not just his demeanor, it's the hundreds of treats given through training and positive reinforcement. When you can make training fun and full of engagement, it can do wonders for you and your pup. And with the best meaty treats, your dog will do anything for one! You can find Pup-Peroni Original Beef Flavor Dog Treats (38 oz.) at your local Walmart in the pet aisle. Woof, YEAH!!! 





To Know You Is to Love You






I lost him. Suddenly and unexpectedly. When my brother made the call, I thought at first he was playing a cruel joke on me. Then the shock factor waved in. I cried the entire plane ride home. After I handled my affairs though that's when I nearly lost it. My heart was broken. Hell, it still is. His death led to my estrangement from my family. They all turned their back on me. Some even betrayed me. I'm haunted by words left unsaid. And the pain still to this day is sometimes too unbearable to take. I miss his wistful smile and the sounds from his guitar. I miss our long talks in the car when we'd drive 'up North' to visit those we loved. I miss seeking his advice and him letting me cry on his shoulder until I soaked the entire damn shirt. I miss my father.   

I have my mother's spirit, but I have his soul. I love what he loved. Music, books, cars, boxing... German Shepherd dogs. When he was a kid my father had taken in a female German Shepherd that was abandoned and had named her Lady. But he lost her too soon when she was hit by a car and died in his arms. He was so crushed he wore her chain collar around his neck afterward, even leading some of the kids at school poking fun at him for wearing it and resulting in a fight. She was his everything. I respect this breed for the same reasons my father did; loyal, dedicated, courageous, intelligent and loving. They are the ideal family dog. Even at an early age, I begged my parents to have one, but my mother refused. Opposite reasons for what my father wanted, she had lost her Keeshond while living in California, and I think it hurt her so badly, she didn't even want to risk having me or my brother go through the same thing. Now as a grown-ass woman, I have to say, that getting my German Shepherd dog, MaQ, was one of the best things I have ever done in my life. 

One of our favorite films we loved to watch was 1979's boxing movie, The Champ. Even to this day, I still get all choked up when watching any boxing film. There is so much heart in the sport. I know some might not care for the violence, but that's not what it's about. In the boxing ring of life, it's not how hard you can hit, but rather how many times you can get hit and keep moving forward. That's what I see in a good fighter, in any sport for that matter. Someone who is full of adversity and still has the will to persevere. Whether in the ring or out of it, no one likes a quitter. And when anyone gives up, I guarantee you they don't feel good about it. 

What I really miss is hearing him play in the background growing up as a child. He had his own 'man cave' down in the basement, and once he plugged in the amp to one of his electric guitars, you could hear him jamming all the way up from the second floor. (I grew up in a duplex house) As much as my mother hated it, I found it to be rather soothing in a rollercoaster type of childhood. I had always encouraged him to try and make a demo, and I know I sound biased with what I'm about to say next because I'm his daughter, but he was very talented. When he played the blues, you could feel the pain. Guitars cry too, you know. It's kind of like opera or ballet, either you get it or you don't. I believe there takes a certain type of person to play the blues well. And my father was the epitome of that. 

My father has been without me for nearly five years now, and it was only last year since his death where I even had the courage to take out and look at the only guitar had left in his possession. It is a gorgeous ruby red Ovation Guitar, and I find it so fitting he chose such a color as him and I are both Aries's. Our element is fire and color is red, and our birthdays are two days apart. I'm March 24 and his, the 26th. I'm similar to him in many ways, some good, and some not so good, but I do take pride in who I am. Like my father, I can be stubborn, cocky, impatient, blunt, even sometimes slightly intimidating but I am also generous, kind, loving and true. I don't let my friends down and would give a stranger the shirt off my back if that's all I had left. And I too, can sometimes not have the guts to go after something because I fear I may not be good enough. I don't think this was entirely the case with my father, but his reason for never making a demo tape was his love for playing and not anything else.  

I think if you're passionate about something like my father was with music and playing the guitar, you should continue to pursue it and not just consider it as a hobby. So in honor of Father's Day on Sunday, I wanted to share with you some bits and pieces of him, like his guitar in this post, along with his Fender picks, amp plugs, written music notes, and cassette tapes he recorded his favorite songs on plus the music he'd make himself. And a lot of my readers have been wanting to see more videos like I used to create, and given this has been a project I've had on my mind and I wanted to make it extra special, I definitely had to make one in honor of my father. I hope he would have liked it, and I hope you do too with a tiny fraction of who he was. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read and watch something that really matters to me. And to all the father's out there, Happy Father's Day to you on Sunday. I love you, dad. Wish you were here, but I know you're watching and I hope I've made you proud. Until I see you when I see you, keep on keepin' on. 

Digging this denim maxi dress? It's from VIPme, you can use my code, 'Suzanne584' to get $5 OFF your purchase of any order over $50




{To Know You Is to Love You} In honor of Father's Day this Sunday, I finally created an editorial video after a long hiatus - come check it out & press play! :)





Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?



Today on the blog I’m showing you how to style a simple graphic tee with a collegiate vibe! This look is perfect for this temperamental weather that won't fully click into Spring just yet! (Even though it's the first day of spring... :::eyes rolling:::) With one of my oldest suit jackets I styled the Scooby-Doo t-shirt with ripped boyfriend jeans and loafers to give a casual chic look. I'm really digging the fit and comfort of the jeans. They're from a cute California boutique called Vagabond Honey and I love the boyish tone it brings to my look. To also bring a school-ish feel to my outfit I also accessorized with my Jill-E Designs smart tablet purse bag, a pair of retro shades and this cute choker I found to be so fitting with the t-shirt.

The choker is cute and gives the look a tiny edge while keeping it cool and laidback, and with my partner in crime, MaQ, no less, this is really one of my everyday looks for Spring! A lot of you have been asking about him, and I know you are missing him in action so I HAD to bring him in for a little feature of course (more dog content coming your way in early April), and short, adorable story: If MaQ had the voice of one character, I always have believed it to be Scoobs. I think every pet owner comes across this thought and has one person in particular for the part. Ha ha ha! I know it sounds silly, but I know it's true! He sends lots of bbo boo... MaQ has learned how to kiss in Korean! ;) 

I got the Scooby-Doo tee, studded choker and the sunnies (all for under $75 together) from a shopping app called, which I’ve previously written about them in this post. The app features smaller brands that you wouldn’t normally find at department stores, such as this graphic Scooby-Doo t-shirt which is from a brand called Eleven Paris or these amazing tortoise sunglasses from 80s Purple. I love how the app has a strong mix of styles from higher-end brands to middle and lower. I love combining the different 'hierarchies' of brands if you will, so is definitely one of my current favorite fashion shopping apps. On the hunt for some new Spring and Summer pieces? Be sure to download the app at the iTunes store and follow me @suzannespiegoski.