Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Today is my birthday! I love birthdays. Even though I'm old. Getting older is always better than the alternative. I didn't make any plans for the big day since 1. it's a Wednesday and 2. I wasn't sure what was going to be happening with Rio.

But here's a little birthday recap anyway since it's my blog and I can write what I want to!

I woke up to rain and 40 degrees. Yuck. I had a 9 AM dentist appointment to have a cavity filled. Double yuck. Then I went to work and had a crazy busy day. Which maybe sounds like a crummy birthday. But it really wasn't. And here's why:

I came home to BIRTHDAY TREATS from my friend Melynda left for me in the barn:

The basket is all chocolate covered deliciousness: oreos, vanilla fingers, and graham crackers. Then the chocolate pony and the little box under the pony had these little moo cow candies in it! SO MUCH YUMMMMM!

No riding today since it was pouring rain and really cold. No need to deal with that on my Birthday. Instead, Jampy and the Duck got haircuts.

And then Katie stopped by with MORE BIRTHDAY TREATS! Sadly I didn't grab photos, but there was an ADORABLE Betsey Johnson cosmetic bag, a pretty gold picture frame (which of course will soon have a Rio photo), and a canister of caramel popcorn with pretzels and chips mixed in it. That little canister shall suit me well tomorrow because....

I'm going to pick up Rio and bring him home!!!

Ok, sorry for the shouting. But I'm really excited. So is Ducky. He's so excited he stole Rio's halter:

The rest of my birthday I spent with these two kids, snuggling in the warm, dry confines of my living room. 

Not a bad birthday after all! I can't wait for tomorrow evening when Rio is all tucked in at home!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

It's an honor just to be nominated....

I've been stalking reading An Undercover for Diva for awhile now, and recently Rachel nominated THIS BLOG for a Liebster award! Thank you Rachel, I appreciate you sharing An Amateur At Large!
So what is the Liebster Award all about? Well... there's no ACTUAL award, but the nomination helps spread the word about a blog. It's meant to boost readership, but is also a fun way to learn a little bit about the bloggers you follow, and meet some new ones! Here are the rules:

1. You must link back to the person who nominated you (check)
2. You must answer the 10 Liebster questions given to you by the nominee before you (see below)
3. You must pick 10 up and coming bloggers to be nominated for the award (I'm not sure I know 10...)
4. You must create 10 new questions for your nominees (see below)
5. You must notify your nominees (check)

Here are the questions Rachel asked:

1. What is the greatest food you have ever eaten?
 This is so hard to answer. I LOVE FOOD. Summer is hopefully approaching, so I'm going to say the Ice Cream cake that my friends in college got me one year for my birthday from Ben & Jerry's. It was heaven. HEAVEN!

2. What is your favorite household appliance?
Probably my TV. I live alone with the pugs, so the TV keeps me from feeling lonely. He's always there for me, except for that time I lost power for 7 days. But that wasn't his fault.  The Pugs love him too!

3. What is your spirit animal, and why?
This is a toss up between horse and pug...
I say horse because they're just like me. They love to show off the things they're good at, but deep down, they're huge chickens. They're a little wild, but aim to please. Affectionate, but enjoy their alone time.
And I say Pug for the obvious. They love eating and being lazy. My two favorite things!

4. If you could achieve one goal to make the world a better place, what would it be?
Teach honesty. It really is the best policy.

5. What is the strangest thing that you are afraid of?
Squirrels in my house. It's a legitimate fear. I didn't have the blog during my infestation, but suffice it to say, living with squirrels is not pleasant.

6. If you could be friends with a television cast, which cast would you choose?
Friends. I would steal Chandler from Monica.

7. What is the most important attribute you look for in someone when forming a relationship (be it platonic or romantic)?
Honesty. (That keeps coming up!) I hate being lied to. I'm not the suspicious type, but in these days of social media, I regularly read things that do not jive with what I've been told. Usually little unimportant things, but if people are dishonest about that, imagine what they're hiding!

8. If you had to come back and live your life all over again, what would you change?
This may sound like a big fat lie, but there's not much I'd change. What I've experienced has shaped who I am. If I could change some things for other people in my life, I'd love to save some lives. I've known a few people who left earth way too soon. I guess that's what I'd change, bring them back to live their lives.

9. If you could play any instrument, what would it be?
The triangle. Because really, how many people play that?!

10. What word would you eliminate from the English language if you had a chance?
Phlegm. ew.

And here are my questions:
1. What was your most memorable birthday?
2. If you could go on a shopping spree in any one store/website where would it be?
3. What's the one thing you're REALLY good at?
4. What's the one thing you love about yourself?
5. If you could have one pet, what would you choose? Anything goes, it's hypothetical after all!
6. What's your least favorite thing you have to do regularly?
7. What's the most impulsive thing you've ever done?
8. If you had ten minutes to gather your most prized possessions, what would you take? (Loved ones and pets excluded, they're already safe. Nothing really awful happens in my hypothetical world.)
9. What's the most random thing you've ever won?
10.  What is your most favorite thing in the world? Could be living or inanimate. 

And now.... <<drumroll>> My Nominees:

1. Katie at Running a Ragnar
2. Lacey at My Boyfriend Hates Makeup
3. Liz at All Things Candid
4. Dawn at A Frugal Diva, WHAT?!
5. Teena at Disabled Mommy of 2
6. Meg at Runaway Royalty

Um... that's only 6. If anyone has four more they'd like to nominate, just link them in the comments below!

Also, some very odd formatting things went on with this post... I don't know why some things are highlighted in white. But I can't make it go away. Just try to ignore it.

Truthful Tuesday!

It's a little late, but it's still Tuesday, so it still counts! Sooo... this week's confession is kind of a preparatory post for you readers:
I have spent a LOT of money on my favorite site Little Black Bag this month. BUT I have a good excuse. They're shutting down, so it was my last hurrah. I'm going to save most of the goodies for a HUGE GIGANTIC haul post once everything arrives. But until then, I shall leave you with some highlights of what's come so far:
Pour La Victoire Ellie:

 SPL Sunnies:

 Kelsi Dagger Alina:

 Seychelle's Juniper:

Oh just wait for all the fun once everything has arrived! I may have to split posts into categories so no one falls asleep in the middle.

Hi, my name is Stacie, and I love shopping.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Thursdays Threads (weakest edition ever)

Ok, I'm making an effort to get back to my regular posts.... That said, this is a weak one! I had an early morning since I had a horse to braid for a horse show before work.
Disclaimer, this isn't the actual horse I braided today. This was from last year sometime
 I needed to be out of the house by 6:15, which of course means one of the dogs had to leave me a little present to clean up. <<Sigh>> Best laid plans and all. As a result, I didn't get a full length photo for you. Probably for the best as this is not my cutest outfit.


I wore my denim coach sneakers today. They've already been christened with horse poop, so I didn't mind wearing them to braid this morning, yet they are cute enough to wear to work after. (I'm really lucky my job is so casual!)


I'm wearing these Earl jeans again. I should just start calling them my Thursday jeans. And maybe I should take a new photo of them for you sometime.


Yep, sweater weather again. This one is from Forever 21. Cheap, yet cute. Holds up well in the washer and dryer too! I love the contrasting stripes. I feel like it can carry over from season to season.


They don't even match my outfit today! But until Rio comes home, I'm wearing him on my sleeve so to speak. Or until these break. One or the other. Hopefully he'll be home first.

What are you wearing today? Is it warm where you are?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


I recently stumbled upon a code for Barkbox that equaled a 6 months sub for $56.00. That's a HUGE savings as it's normally $29.00 per month. How could I not indulge the short fur kids?! Our first one arrived this past week, so I figured I'd share it with you. Let's see what was in it!

Info Card:

I thought this was a dinosaur, but apparently it's a hippo hybrid of some sort... Anyway it's adorable and squeaky; Artie will love it!

Initially, I thought this was a treat ball, but it's actually not. It's a teaser ball! A ball within a ball, if you will. The outer ball is hard plastic and it has holes in it. Inside is a softer ball that they are supposed to want to try and get out. Only they can't. I'm excited to see them interact with this toy!

The rest of the items are all snacks. I'm not sure if Pia can eat them all, she has a lot of food allergies, but Artie definitely can! I did notice though, they are mostly wheat free, which bodes well for P! Nice work Barkbox!

So that is our first Barkbox! I was definitely satisfied with the contents and am looking forward to spoiling the fur kids with everything. I wish they'd make a sub box for ponies!

Rio Update!

Every day last week I got the same report from the hospital about Rio, "He seems a bit worse today." Sunday couldn't come soon enough for me to visit him. While most people were celebrating Easter, I hopped in my car and drove to Cornell. It's amazing how much quicker the trip is in a car than when hauling a sick horse! (4.5 hours versus 6!)

I was really worried about what I would see when I got there. I was pleased to see that he really hadn't lost weight, and he was relatively interested in what was going on around him. His interest increased about 40 fold when he realized I'd brought cookies...

Today I finally heard the results of his spinal tap. He does in fact have EPM, which I spoke a little about here. As crazy as it sounds, this is the diagnosis I was hoping for. Had he not had EPM, he likely had a brain tumor. We have been treating him for the disease since Tuesday just in case, so I'm glad we went ahead and did that. It's very expensive medication, but worth every penny if it can help my boy. 70% of horses show significant improvement with this treatment, and about 20% of those will improve almost back to normal. I'm just hoping my best friend can improve enough to come home. Time will tell, but I have high hopes for Rio. His brothers are missing him at home!
So that's all we know for now. I'll leave you with some photos of Rio in his fancy, padded stall.

Friday, April 18, 2014


Hi everyone! Sorry I've been missing all this week. As you probably read here, my best friend Rio is very sick. I had my vet out on Monday again and we decided it would be best for both my safety and Rio's that he go to a veterinary hospital. So Tuesday, Rio and I made the 6 hour trek up to Cornell University in Ithaca, NY.

There was wind, driving rain, and snow along the way...

But we finally made it. Test results so far all have come back negative, which means we still don't know for sure what's wrong with him. The spinal tap results will take a few more days, so until then we wait. I'm planning to go visit him this weekend, and hopefully it's not to say good bye. I promise to be back to regular posting soon, once things settle down some. Until then, here are some photos of my handsome boy at the hospital.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April Stridebox

I'm currently on a temporary running hiatus due to the fact that it's really hard to cry about your pony and run at the same time. And also, I'd rather be staring at him than running. (You can see what I'm referring to here.) But that doesn't make me any less excited about getting the BEST STRIDEBOX EVER! It was a nice little pick me up after all the sadness around here. Are you ready??

The first looks:
First Look

Info Card Front

Info Card Back
 Stridebox always includes a cute sticker or two:

Quest Cravings: Do you see what this is?! A protein peanut butter cup?! No way! YES WAY! I couldn't wait to eat this. Sadly, I ate it today, and it was kind of... weird. It was really dry. Like hard to get down dry. And even with water it stuck to my teeth. I was so sad it was disappointing.

Cytomax drink mix: I haven''t actually tried this one yet, but I'm sure it's pretty tasty!

Now Trail Bar: I expected this one to be on the dry and too hard to chew side, but it was actually amazingly delicious. Kind of chewy, and full of yum! I may try to find these somewhere, I want more!

Huma Chia Gel: I haven't tried this one yet (not running = no need for gel). But it sounds interesting, I'm sure I'll give it a try.

Achiva Chia Seed and coconut water energy beans: I'm not sure what these will be like, but I'm certainly curious!

Zipfizz is another drink mix. It's red, so it has to be yummy! I'll probably put this on the top of the to try list. I have a feeling it's similar to Nuun.

And now for my FAVORITE PART!!! The stuff:

I almost always run with my spybelt at races, which is a belt with a small neoprene pocket that can hold my cell, a car key, and my id. It's one of the most useful pieces of running equipment I own. I never thought I'd want to replace it. But Stridebox found a way! This is just like my spy belt, only it has TWO POCKETS! Can you believe it? It's their own brand, which leads me to wonder if they'll be selling some items soon too? Seems like a logical way to grow their business. But anyway, back to the belt. It's adjustable on both sides so can fit a wide range of hip sizes. The pockets, though they appear really tiny, are very stretchy and can accommodate a phone, gels, money, keys... whatever you want to stuff in there! I'm excited to try this out soon. Just have to get back to running... All in good time.

Do you subscribe to Stridebox? Did you get the same color belt? (I was so excited mine is pink!) If you want to try it out click here and sign up! Stridebox is $15.00 per month. There is no referral program that I'm aware of, so I do not get anything if you sign up. But if you do, I do not think you'll be disappointed!

Long weekend

In the metaphorical sense of course, not ACTUALLY a long weekend. I mentioned on Thursday about my sick horse, but didn't get too much into it. Remember when I admitted my irrational fears about Rio?

Well it's turned out they weren't so irrational. I thought he had a belly ache on Wednesday, but by Friday it was evident it was something much worse. He's very unstable on his feet and is having some difficulty with eating. We're still waiting for blood results, but he's been given an unofficial diagnosis of Equine Protozoal Myeloencephalitis more commonly known by its acronym EPM. It's a parasite that causes swelling in the spinal region resulting in loss of coordination and difficulty with other things like swallowing. The meds are on order, and should be arriving Monday. In the meantime, I've been waking up to check on him and spending as much time as possible in the barn. Just in case.

I've had Rio for 10 years and he's quite literally my best friend. It is torture to see him like this. He gives me these looks that just melt my heart. As if he's saying, "Mom, please make this better." I would definitely never be a good human mom as I have broken down in tears right in front of him about 100 times this weekend. Not a great way to reassure him...

Thankfully, I did get some good news about Pia. The vets had told me on Monday that she either had cancer or an infection but they needed to do some tests to determine which. Thankfully it's the lesser of the two evils. She has an antibiotic resistant staph infection in her bladder. Ew. It should hopefully be treatable easily with a specific antibiotic. Only downfall is that said antibiotic is potentially fatal to humans. Clearly someone who is severely sleep deprived should be handling that... Oye.

Between the two patients, I had to make a med chart so I don't miss anything:
7 AM anti-inflammatory for Rio
8 AM P's meds
1 PM P's meds
5 PM Ulcer meds for Rio
7 PM more anti-inflammatory for Rio
8 PM P's Meds
That's a lot of med dispensing!

Despite all the misery at the farm, it was actually a really beautiful weekend here. Temps in the 70's and sun was shining. I think that helped us all. Having majored in Psych, I know the importance of keeping one's sanity during times of duress, so I did my best to get some time in with my little therapists too (P and Artie of course!)

You have to keep your strength up too, so of course I ate my feelings:

That's a bavarian cream butter braid that supposedly feeds 11. I say it feeds 1. And I'm having a rough time, so clearly that makes me right.

Just because one pony is under the weather doesn't mean they all are. I swear the other two know something is wrong with Rio. They were on their best behavior all weekend. Even the Duck. Horses are so intuitive.

Sunday morning I felt confident that Rio's condition was holding steady and took an hour to have breakfast at the lake. It was really peaceful there and a nice little time away.

Hopefully this week brings big improvements to my boy. I shall leave you with some of the 8 million photos I took of him this weekend.