Dear Gus,

Hey kiddo. It’s weird thinking that you’re not around anymore. It doesn’t seem real.

I have a confession to make to you – something I couldn’t tell you when you were here. I didn’t like you when we first met. I know, how could that possibly be? You were a little puppy – no one could possibly dislike you. And yet, I did. Let me explain. 

Before you, I had a puppy named Misty. We were inseparable from the second she was born. We had an amazing year together of agility training, teenage crying sessions (I was 14) and howling at ambulances (Misty, not me) before she passed away. She was poisoned by a toxic algae bloom in our lake that none of us knew anything about. I’ll never forget that day – finding her half paralyzed, the look of fear on her face, leaving her at the vet despite wanting to stay, the horrible phone call – it was one of the worst days. I didn’t understand why I’d been cheated out of this relationship I was just starting with her. I still don’t understand, really, beyond the simple fact that things just happen.

Fast forward a short time and my mother decided to go and adopt a puppy without consulting anyone, as a surprise. I wasn’t over Misty. I didn’t want a puppy. And then you showed up, and you were the complete opposite of Misty. Where she had been quiet, calm and polite, you were loud, annoying and pushy. Where she was super intelligent and perceptive, you – just being honest here – were a little dingy. And suddenly I had to look after you while you cried to go outside at 3 a.m. and I was NOT happy.

Luckily for us both, time has a way of working things out. Despite your quirks and the fact that you flunked out of obedience school, your heart won me over. You were the goofiest dog I knew and constantly made us all laugh with your antics. I looked forward to how excited you got every time I returned home from college, and started to miss you more than my family.

Thank you for giving me the chance to love you. Thank you for trusting me enough to take you to the vet. Thank you for trying to eat my camera every time I took photos of you. Thanks for leaving shreds of leather soccer ball fabric all over the lawn. Thank you for healing my heart.

Bye bye Goose, Gus Gus, Ding dong, Augustus, Gus.

Love Alison

Happy Friday you lovely lot! What are you up to this weekend? I'm going to a big boxing jamboree event at my local gym - 10 rounds of sparring + cake & beer = heaven. I'm videoing it for the gym and have been having some camera issues so I'm really stressed. I'm also finally hoping to convince myself to sit down and read a book for at least an hour. Anyone else having trouble with taking downtime lately?
Here are some fun things from around the web for your Friday - have a good one!

+ Cup of Jo talked about the cute things kids do - the comment section is a comedy gold mine!

+ If you want some political rage, this Buzzfeed story will do the trick.

+ What the heck is up with this Nikon zoom???

+ Noel Fielding is a freaking treasure on Bake Off.

+ I love Ava so much I can't even handle it - this video of her talking fashion with W Magazine kills me!

We all have guilty pleasures. Sometimes I worry I have more than the normal person but I also just happen to have a huge range of interests. So I wanted to share something I've been enjoying in my spare time recently: dance videos.

There's just something about a well-choreographed dance routine that I've always loved, but watching these videos is like a whole other level. I've started to follow certain dancers and choreographers whose styles I like am now like a proper fan girl of this dance studio group. I also harbor this little feeling that I too could dance like this if I took lessons and practiced a ton - nevermind that these people have mostly been dancing since they were tiny children. And I have no real rhythm. But a girl can dream! I find the way these people are able to be so in touch with their bodies and so confident really inspiring. So here's a collection of my favorite dances that I find myself watching over and over and over and OVER.

Do you have any fun things like this in your life that you're keeping a secret? Let me know!

Let me just preface this by saying that I'm not here to tell you that being alone all the time is how we're meant to be. I don't believe that for a minute. What I do believe, however, is that there are a lot of people deeply uncomfortable spending time with their own thoughts or doing activities alone. I think some of this can be attributed to a social stigma against being alone. You’ve probably heard it from friends before, saying things like “Well I don’t want to be the only one eating alone” or “Yeah but I can’t find anyone to go with so I probably won’t go…” You yourself start to internalize that being alone is undesirable or strange.

But the reality is that there are times in your life when you’re going to be alone. Embrace these times. Enjoy them. Being alone should not stop you from living your life the way you want to. Yes, there are sometimes things that you probably shouldn't do completely alone for safety reasons - but I'm more talking the small fun things in life. Limiting yourself because of what others might think is a sure way to miss out on fun experiences in life.

Here are some things I delight in doing alone:

Going to the movies
I've heard people say "I would never go to the movies alone - it's so depressing!" to which I always reply "Huh?" (intelligent, I know). I LOVE going to the movies alone - in fact, there are certain films I purposely avoid telling anyone I'm going to so I can see it alone. I like not having to share my popcorn with anyone and not being influenced by anyone else's opinion on the movie. There's nothing worse than having a near tears reaction to a scene and having your friend/partner lean over and whisper about how boring it is. Going alone lets me immerse myself completely in the story. And you're sitting in the dark not talking anyway, so do you really need someone else there?

I took my first trip alone to London and I'm not going to lie, I was VERY nervous. I was paranoid about having my bags swiped in the airport, about missing my flight/trains/reservations, etc. But proving to myself that I could navigate transportation, currency, bookings, and directions in a foreign country alone was a huge jolt of self-confidence. I shopped, ate meals, wandered the city, chatted with locals, attended a workshop, and even went to a huge sporting event all on my own. Pushing myself out of my comfort zone was a challenge but the rewards of that have stuck with me ever since. Now I have the confidence to know I could travel alone again. Also, there's a HUGE freedom to being able to make every decision on your trip - if you want to spend 4 hours in a museum, you can. If you want to eat something specific or at a specific time, no one else will complain. Traveling alone can allow you to structure your trip exactly how you want it.

It can be nice to spend time alone with your thoughts. Practicing mindfulness is a great start if you're having a hard time: If you're saying "I'm bored" or "I'm lonely" within 2 minutes of sitting alone, take a deep breath and concentrate one by one on your senses. Connect to what you can see and describe each thing in your mind, then what you can smell, taste, feel, hear. Notice the taste in your mouth, the feel of the ground under your fingertips. It will ground you in the present moment. And once you're there, sitting alone with your thoughts can be so productive. Having time to absentmindedly daydream or mull over your life in a lazy way can spark creativity and new ideas. My best inspiration has oftentimes come from moments where I let my thoughts wander. 

A note on dealing with loneliness
I do get lonely sometimes when I'm on my own. I think there's a fundamental difference between being lonely and being alone, and we should embrace the times we are alone even as we worry that loneliness will creep in. It’s a feeling that will pass. I try to recognize it and sit with it for a minute and then let it go. 

Simply summed up – life is too short to let the absence of another person stop you from doing something you want to do. Do it anyway. Do it alone.

photos by Emily Anderson / sweater from Stay Home Club

Hey! It's been awhile, hasn't it? I've been spending most of my time stressing about work and trying to exercise - and now that I type this it sounds so sad! What are you up to this weekend? I'm super excited for the Canelo/GGG fight tomorrow - I think this is the match boxing fans have been waiting for. Rooting for my fellow redhead!

+ Beautiful garden illustrations (like the one above) by Liana Jegers

+ If you're curious about shooting film, but don't know which to buy, this adorable "Film dating quiz" is for you!

+ Behind the scenes of Charli XCX's Boys video - I'm still obsessed with this whole project! And I love seeing her as the director, her creative vision is so clear.

+ The New Yorker talks Canelo v. GGG

+ I'm in love with this raincoat.

+ Don't drag me like this!!!

+ Also, side note - I'm in the first episode of the 7th season of Portlandia - now on Netflix! If you squint hard enough during the Bed Bath and Beyond scene, you can see my red head! Hahaha. My tiny claim to fame. It was so much fun being on set.

Have a super fun weekend!

I didn't know enamel pins were out of style until they came so intensely back into style. There are so many adorable pins online right now, it's hard to resist buying them all. So here's a little roundup of some of my favorites.

Because I can't have pets in my current apartment, I'm becoming a bit of a crazy plant lady. But honestly, with cute plants all over instagram and hashtags like #plantgang and #plantgoals, I think we're all becoming crazy plant people. Though I come from a family of gardening geniuses, I am a little less talented and have lost a few plants over the years. So here's a little update on the greenery currently in my life.


I've had this Schefflera since I lived on Whidbey, so about 3 years now. I recently had to re-pot it as it was getting root-bound and now it's got a massive lean that I'm trying to correct. I'm so in love with it though. I have to stop myself from just filling my home with Scheffleras - something about them is so charming!

Little palm

This tiny little palm is fairly new and seems happy so far. I've had a few different plants go through this little Ikea pot and I'm really hoping this one sticks! I try to spritz it with water every week or so to create some humidity. Hopefully that's a good thing...

Mystery palm thing

I actually don't know what this plant is. I rescued it as a cutting from a trash bin at my work and threw it into some dirt on a whim. It's grown a little since then, mostly just new shoots at the top. I stuck a little raccoon friend that I've had forever in there. I'm not really sure if this plant is happy - I have a sneaking suspicion that it's not but I don't know what it needs. If anyone knows what this is, help!


Yes, I'm aware this plant looks like it's exploding. It's kind of a hot mess right now. I just repotted it into this large basket and it's having a field day. I'm really bad a plant pruning because I don't want to cut off any growth, but I need to get over it so I can encourage it to grow in a prettier way. This is starting to feel like a little bit of a self-reflection as well... 

Pilea Peperomioides

Here's the new baby! This plant is so popular with instagrammers and people with more money than me that I've been searching for it for well over 3 years. I FINALLY got my hands on one from Pistils Nursery in Portland (it was quite expensive and the stock was super limited!). I cannot even tell you how stressed I am about accidentally killing this guy. I'm being very careful with it and it had grown a few new shoots so I'm hopeful that I'm doing ok! I'm going to have a go at propagation once it's a little more settled and happy so then hopefully I can fill my home with more pileas. 

I did leave out my cactus collection as they're currently enjoying their summer holiday out on the porch and I forgot about them entirely. Oops. They're all pretty dormant which is bothering me so if anyone has any cactus tips to pass along, please share!!