National Pet Day: Meet Syd

Happy National Pet Day! This is the first time this day has been happy for me for awhile. The reason for the joy: Syd. I'm thrilled to announce this new family member and wanted to write about the path it took for him to come to us. 

Photo cred: Leia Anderson

When my fur baby of eighteen years passed away, both Jason and I agreed that we didn't want to jump right into having another dog. About a year ago though, I started missing having a dog and just really felt an emptiness in not having a pet. Jason wasn't quite there though and for many good reasons. Dogs can be expensive and it's another thing to add to our routine, and life with an older dog hadn't been much fun the last few years. 

Last fall, I had really bad doggo blues so I started doing some pet sitting and that helped. I also started just looking into puppies and different breeders. I knew I wanted another Pekingese or similar like a Shih Tzu or Japanese Chin or something small and just a good companion animal. We had a nightmare experience with a rescued Peke that I got from a shelter in Miami so I was very hesitant to do that again. However, the Peke puppies I was finding ranged in price from about $800-$2,500. That's a bit steep- and over and over I kept seeing friends with puppies bemoaning how hard housebreaking is and just how much chaos they bring with them. I also couldn't find a reputable breeder in the state of Florida and I was wary to go after an expensive dog sight unseen. When my buddy Jerry got a fabulous Shih Tzu from a shelter, that really opened me up to the idea of possibly attempting that route again.


I began stalking Petfinder.com and PetTango.com and joined several rescue groups on Facebook. For months I saw nothing that fit my list of "must haves". I knew the only way to get Jason onboard and also just have a good experience for us and the dog was for the adopted animal to match the following criteria: adult 4-5 years old, good with children, under 15 lbs, must have a calm demeanor, must not have health issues, prefer Pekingese but open to other small dogs. It seems like a doable list, but among the rescues, I struck out over and over again. 


Finally in January, Jason began to come around to the idea of adopting another dog and gave his support to my looking. I joined yet another Facebook rescue page, this one dedicated to Pekingeses internationally. The end of February, a cute little white Peke's profile popped up on the page. He hit everything on my list, but was way up in the panhandle, a 7 hour drive. It felt a little like the mishap that had happened before, but this dog's face just wouldn't get out of my head. I had to inquire and it took a few days and many emails but they approved my application and we started planning my trip up.

The picture from the rescue website
Yep, he's coming home with me!

For most of the seven hour ride, he either slept or sat and smiled at me.

Easter weekend, I made the 14 hour round trip up to meet and check out Syd. Jason made me promise that if he seemed sickly or something was just off, that I would walk away. Thankfully, everything seemed legit and I was able to bring Syd home that day. What a delightful Easter morning surprise he was!

The Easter Doggy

To wrap this up, I have been shy of rescues because of what happened with Einstein and the deception on that "rescue"'s part and the sorrow of having to put that dear old fellow down after just two weeks.  My interaction with the SaveUnderdogs.com organization was so very different and positive. Syd is everything we wanted in a pet and more. He is sweetness personified and even cuter than his pictures. I'm so glad we ended up going the rescue route and I would encourage anyone considering a pet to do the same. It may take a little longer and even be a little frustrating, but it is very worth it!

Repurposing Vintage Ashtrays

 Vintage ashtrays… beautiful, uniquely shaped, abundant and affordable in most thrift shops- it's a smoker's dream!  But what if you are not a smoker? Do you sadly put it down and walk away? I know if the piece is absolutely stunning, there's no way I'm leaving it. Once home though, what's to be done with an old ashtray?  I have thought long and hard about this and experimented and I've come up with a few ideas.


• Succulent planter
• Holder for buttons, baubles and curiosities
• Kitchen sponge holder
• Catchall for change or keys
• Jewelry keeper


 • Soap dish
 • Candle holder
 • Barrette and hair clip keeper
 • Desk holder for paper clips, thumb tacks, stamps, etc.
 • Taller trays can hold cosmetics tubes or brushes


 The one thing you do not want to do though, is use it  with any sort of food. These are not made out of products intended to be used for food and can have lead and other hazardous products that can leech into food.

If you've used a vintage ashtray for something unique, please share!

Richarme Summer 2016 Mermaid Necklace Collection

Life is crazy right now! Wonderful things, of course, but it's kept this girl busy. I decided to do just a small limited edition collection for the summer. I was inspired by a handful of turban shells that had the most wonderful colors. Each necklace is one of a kind. Click on the caption to go to the Etsy listing. 

Turban Shell with recycled coconut shell and genuine pearls

Turban Shell with Korean jade

Turban Shell with carved mother of pearl birds

Turban Shell with pink pearl and gold beads

Turban Shell with genuine white pearls & blue green speckled pottery beads

Returning to Port

Trying to get back into the swing of blogging. It's hard to come up with words when I've gotten Insta-lazy- that is, I post a few pictures a day on my Instagram, come up with a sentence or two, some hashtags and I'm finished. So maybe I start back small... I've been listing nautical things in my Etsy shop recently. Here's the last two listings, you can click on the caption to go to the listing.

Old Captain mug

Ceramic ship box
Just for fun, I put together a treasury of nautical goodies. I took a little more of a literal approach and was surprised how much I was able to find on Etsy. It would be fun to decorate a little beach-side cottage with this motif.

(To view individual items, click here.)

Tribute to a Good Boy

From a few years ago at a spry 14 years old

My dear little buddy made an exit this week. He was advanced in age, deaf, blind, incontinent... and more. I wish he's passed peacefully in his sleep, but ultimately I had to have him put to sleep. It's the worst kind of decision.

Drago was a little bit of an accident. My roommate and I were out Christmas shopping and ended up taking a break by playing with some puppies for sale. The second I spotted puppy Drago, I was sure he was the cutest thing I'd ever seen. It was all just hair and two giant eyes. The breeder kept trying to get us interested in another from the litter, but we just knew Drago was the special one. He was shy at first and then gradually playful. For me it was love at first sight- the only time that's happened to me, btw. He was way over any budget we had, so we paid for him in installments. He was a great investment, for me any way!

Drago had wonderful energy, especially as a puppy. He loved everyone and would just bounce from lap to lap. Sadly, he was attacked by a German Shepherd and it dramatically altered his personality. He never stopped loving the ladies, but from then on, there were very few men he liked and he developed anxiety around most other dogs. 

To his family, Drago's personality remained sweet. He was patient with both the kids and ever the little man of the house. He was a vigilant crumb catcher. When he wasn't searching for edibles, he liked to curl up at my feet. And that's how I will always remember him!

My Christmas Wishlist

It's weird but I'm having a very pearls & bats moment. They aren't a natural pairing, but I'm not your usual girl! Oh, and I want a cool hat. 


The size and cuteness of this speaks for itself!

From Curious Burrow


This dress is totally my style.
 
From Earthbound Traders



Absolutely in love with this vintage pearl & silver set.
From Ragtime Bazaar  




My dog is old, old, old. It would be nice to have a little painting of him in his prime- maybe with an Asian dragon around the banner. The deadline has passed to order this for Christmas, but an Etsy gift card towards it would suffice.
From The Stardust Studio



Another bat, this one for my hair.
From Firebombe (They also have an awesome goldfish one!)



 Something small, but delightful.
On Amazon




Oh, and here's an excellent hat!
From The Peddling Panda

Tampa Bay Etsy Crew Rock & Roll Holiday Market

This is what I'm eating, sleeping, breathing these days...


(It's delicious if you were wondering and you should come get a piece on Saturday. ;])

Fall 2015

My picks for fall, all available on dear Etsy! (See the entire look board and item listings on Etsy by clicking here.)







Richarme Autumn 2015 Collection

I'm so excited to have put together a fall collection this year! I'm the sort of person that has to be really inspired to create things. As the school year started and summer drew to an end, I had very mixed feelings and that's why there are several elements to the collection. 


When I came across the pottery beads, I was just immediately drawn to the dappled speckling. Initially they reminded me of whale shark skin. As I worked with them though, I got more of a cozy kitchen crockery feel and I just had this image of snuggling up with a book and an afghan and a mug of something delicious. That's my inspiration for the first part of the collection.

Available at Richarme.Etsy.com

My favorite autumn activity is antique shopping, especially open air markets or streets just full of  thrift and vintage shops. I love vintage books, vintage jewelry, vintage china... This year I've absolutely loved all the images of blue & white chinoiserie on my Instagram feed. I'd been hanging onto some Chinese beads in that color palette and I just felt like the time was right to debut them. 

Available at Richarme.Etsy.com


I really debated about the last part of the collection as it's not really a traditional fall theme. Here's why I decided to go ahead with it: this was a good summer for us- lots of time with friends and family. We spent half the summer swimming! Every day was a potential beach day and we kept a very loose schedule. Part of moving into the fall is leaving behind summer and I don't feel ready for that this year so I wanted to keep part of it with me. Gold is a nostalgic color so I wanted to edge beach shells in that- almost like sepia toned photos. It also gives each shell a polished look so that it can be worn with both casual and more structured clothing.

Available at Richarme.Etsy.com

The entire collection is live in my Etsy shop, so please go check it out! I only have two of the blue & white bead necklaces left, so hurry over if you're interested in those.

The First 50 is the Hardest

This blog entry has been a long time in coming. In September 2013, I made this post titled "Fatty Fat Fat" where I tracked some of my weight issues and swore to do better. And I did, somewhat, losing about 20 lbs from that September until January 2015. It was slow going and I wasn't exercising much. Still, it was progress and I really made some improvements in my eating habits. With my particular thyroid issue, if I lose weight too quickly, I start to retain water, so slow is how it's going to be whether I want to or not. Knowing that has stopped me from jumping on many fad diets and "fixes" and programs so in a way, it's a blessing.

In January of this year, I got super sick with the flu, an intestinal infection, gallbladder issue, and extremely elevated blood sugars. I ended up in the ER and then, shortly afterwards, my doctor who analyzed my blood work and diagnosed me as pre-diabetic. I knew I was prone to that as I'd had horrible gestational diabetes and there's family history on my dad's side, which I tend to physically favor. My doctor spoke very firmly to me about this being a defining moment in my life and that I had two choices- deal with this now and develop a healthier lifestyle or ignore it and have ongoing illness and shorten my life span. The man does not mince words and it totally got my attention.

I wasn't eating horribly, but I started eating more blood sugar balancing foods and paying better attention to that. I also got back to the gym- regularly. I think that has made the biggest difference for me. I dabbled in Zumba in years past, but something about it this time really appealed to me. Since February, I'm at the gym 5-6 days a week. I never, ever thought I could love exercising, but now I can't wait to get to the gym. I mostly do Zumba, but I also do weights and throw in a little treadmill and elliptical action.


My Zumba peeps, this has made all the difference in the world!

I'm very happy to say that I recently hit my 50 lbs down mark. I am no longer in the pre-diabetic or even pre-pre-diabetic. My thyroid levels are not fluctuating and I can't tell you the last time I had an asthmatic reaction to exercise. 


Anyway, here's the before and after. Wish I had better photos, but I'm camera shy of the full body thing.  It's a little sad that there isn't a huge difference considering how much has been lost, but I'm never going to be a skinny gal and I love my new muscles, so that's a-okay with me. This is back in June, so I've lost more since then. I still have 25 or so before I'm at my goal.

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