Pawther's Day with Michelob ULTRA

This post is sponsored by Michelob Ultra but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.

We all know that living a life of balance isn’t easy. Balancing work, staying healthy, and spending quality time with the people we love is a major accomplishment in today’s society. Most of us fall short of achieving this balance, and often the many aspects of our busy lives supersede family time, especially with our dads. But there’s one time of year that we take time to give dads the appreciation they deserve: Father’s Day. Which is why this year I'm giving a major shoutout to my husband; the father to our dog, MaQ, who is just the best pawrent ever! Continue reading to see how we will be celebrating this year. 

My father passed away in 2012 and though I have many 'father-figures' in my life that inspire me, no one comes in as the first runner-up other than my husband. He's not just my partner in business but is my best friend. He is the most loving, gentle father to our German shepherd, MaQ and definitely has stepped up with the pawrent duties since the blog has taken off. It's really difficult balancing everything in life, but with him by my side, there's nothing we can't do. I'm truly grateful for his love and support, through it all. And trust me, we've been through A LOT. The end of this month will be 12 years together! Maybe an anniversary post of getting to know us better is in the making? Stay tuned... :)

Whether it’s your brother, friend, co-worker or your own father, let’s toast to the #ULTRADAD who inspire us to live full lives and make better choices. And what better way to celebrate them than on the golf course, grilling in the backyard or just hanging with friends/fam with an ice cold Michelob ULTRA? All of these are simply better together – especially when both are shared with your dad and Michelob ULTRA. What are you doing to celebrate this Father’s Day/Pawther's Day? ✨





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






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!!! 





Shaken Not Stirred


Happy Friday! With Halloween only three days away, we're excited to share our costumes for this year! Every year we come up with a theme where me and my boys dress up for a family photo-op. It's always so much fun and we never grow tired of this holiday. I know some of you might think you're too 'old' for Halloween, but to me, you're never too old to dress up and have a good ole' time with your loved ones. And who doesn't love a treat or two? Perhaps you're more of a trickster. 

This year's theme is my husband's favorite character in books and film, 007 Special Agent James Bond. Okay, maybe a close runner-up to Simon Templar but he's an obsessed fan. I can relate. Ever since I saw my first Bond film I was immediately struck by the agent's dangerous and lavish life. I'm fascinated seeing and/or reading different parts of the world through the eye's of Ian Fleming. And his depictions of many stories. Whether it's through action-fighting scenes trying to save the world or falling so madly in love with a person who is unattainable, the world of Bond is a dreamy one. An escapism to the impossible, but strangely enough is.

So when we think of Bond, what comes to mind? No, I'm not 'cool' enough to fit an Aston Martin in a studio, ha ha! But signature accessories, if you will? A vodka martini, a killer tux and a girl. And not just any girl. A Bond girl. What's a Bond girl then? To me, they're not just physically beautiful women that only bring sex appeal to the story, but mysterious creatures offering much more. Style, power, wit and intelligence. A worldly traveler. A stupendous side kick. The love of your life. 

For MaQ we used styrofoam balls as the olives, covering them in green acrylic paint and red felt for the pimento part of the olive. We then held the styrofoam balls with a wooden stick as the garnish holder and completing his look with a clear collar (dog cone) as the martini glass. Isn't MaQ the cutest vodka martini you've ever seen?! I think I'm going to receive a payback of some kind after what I've done. ;) You can shop similar items down below to make your very own martini for your dog!

Are you guys big on dressing up for Halloween? What about dog costumes? (If you missed our 'X-Files' themed costume from last year, check it out here.) Got a trick or treat recipe you're just dying to share? Check out my 'Frankenstein' popcorn here. We'd love to hear what you and your family are planning to be and/or do this holiday. Coming next on the blog: A feature interview I've been so excited to share will finally be up and ready to view! Can't wait! Get all the behind the scenes in the next few days by tuning into my Instagram Stories and/or SnapChat! Have a great weekend, everyone. :)






How to Take the Best Pictures of Your Dog


Happy Monday! I've been working hard on creating the best content I can for you guys! I'm booked up solid until the end of the first week of November with new upcoming stories, as overwhelming and crazy as it's ever been, I cannot wait to share everything we have in store for you! From more fall looks to even a special feature interview, today we're covering how to take the best pictures of your dog! Here are 8 tips on making this somewhat challenging task more enjoyable for everyone involved. :)


This goes without saying. And I'm not talking technical equipment such as the camera or lens, but other factors that need to be considered when doing dog photography. Like a 100+ pound wolflike dog that will need a good steady leash in between takes, which is why I use Lasso's rudder leash and matching camera strap. What's great is the customization options Lasso has - you can choose length, size and colors for each. I went with a 36 inch camera strap because of my small petite frame, but you can choose from a selection of lengths. Same with the leash. And I can't forgot about footwear and eyewear. When photographing MaQ, I will always be in sneakers. My go-to pair for the past year are the Nike 3 Revolution running shoes. And recently, I've been obsessed with the Chic Alloy matted sunglasses. If I can't see and/or move for photo shoots, we might have a problem. :) 


I'm not talking about f-stops or shutter speed, but more about being in tune with your dog's energy and vibe. Looking for a regal portrait? Draining your dog's energy with exercise before the shoot can help you and your dog be in a more calm, relaxed state. If you're opting for more action shots, the photo shoot itself will provide the exercise! Save that energy for this kind of shoot. This also goes with trust and training. It has taken a lot of time and work to get MaQ to pose the way he does. Our bond is undeniable and it shows in our pictures, but when people ask me how I get my dog to be so still and focused in photos, it's all on training, timing and dedication. 


Will you two be in a park? Or on the streets of a bustling city such as ours in this post? Being prepared comes in handy when shooting with your furry baby. Know what to bring for certain settings and environments, such as warmer months of the year, carry water to stay hydrated. Extra batteries never hurt either. The more aware you are of your surroundings for a shoot will only better your comfortability and chances of getting the shot(s) you really want. That's where the magic really starts to happen!


It's important to get your dog used to the sights and sounds of his surroundings as well. And it's even more crucial for you yourself to try and stay as calm and relaxed as possible. I try to stay away from squeaky baby-talk or shouting uncontrollable things to my boy during a shoot. Calling his name once or twice is usually enough, though sometimes like a teenaged kid, his attention span lessens and I have to get a bit more firm with a 'watch me' command. When he hears this, he knows it's time to stay focused. And he is ready to please. All in all, the goal is to always make any experience a positive one. One that is fun & engaging for both of you!


I've always believed in out of the ten times you're trying at something, doesn't matter what it is, you may get one good bite/hit/whatever word you would like to insert here to describe it. This also applies in taking pictures. The more you take, the better chance you'll have in getting those amazing shots. Candid ones are the best in this type of scenario. And the more time you spend with a camera, the more you will learn and grow in the process. 


In my opinion the best form of light is natural sunlight. It is perfect for pet photography too. However, if you really need to use a flash, especially indoors, try to use an off-camera flash and turn it upwards so the light's bouncing off the ceiling and not your dog giving them demon eyes. Ha ha ha! 


Stock up on dog treats and toys! Positive reinforcement also brings an overall positive experience. Each time you reward your pooch after getting the shot(s) you want, makes the time spent together an awesome one. How can you get your dog to look straight into the lens of the camera? Bring their favorite toy or treat and hover it over the camera to entice them. For example, MaQ, like many German Shepherds, has an extreme high level of ball drive, so we use his all-time favorite Chuck-It ball for photo shoots. He could focus on that ball all day long. This is a great way to get their undivided attention. :)


Literally meeting eye-to-eye with your dog will help them see you as an equal, that it's not an alpha moment but an experience to share together. And a good one at that! By also doing this, you can think outside the box in terms of angles and composition as most think to photograph their pet from above first. So get ready to get on the ground and perhaps get a little dirty... trust me it'll be worth it! ;)

Sponsored post in collaboration with LASSO & DRESS LILY.

photos + videography by Gilles Decamps & Suzanne Spiegoski

Our latest pet lifestyle video, 'How to Take the Best Pictures of Your Dog!' 8 Tips + Full story on the blog at and to get more info on the featured leash & camera strap go to photos + videography by Suzanne Spiegoski & Gilles Decamps Be sure to Subscribe for new videos every week