Lifestyle

Life's a game and so is your Instagram.

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Some people may know this and others may not but I am getting my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and I’m set to graduate in September. I am currently writing my dissertation and I can almost see the finish line. I am writing my dissertation on social media and the impact it has on women’s self-esteem, body image, and overall mental health because when I started his dissertation project in January 2017 my experience with Instagram wasn’t a positive one. Flash forward to a year later I have a completely different perspective of Instagram and it’s capabilities.

One of the biggest differences is that I stopped taking it so seriously. I do still struggle on my personal Instagram and I am fully aware of that but while on Pax’s I feel that I’m in this super happy, super safe, and ultra positive environment. I’ve had my moments of self-doubt of course and comparison and frustration comes with that as well- but I’m able to get over it within minutes and turn it around. I find myself judging my own artistic vision less and enjoying the process so much more.

But why? Because I’m not taking it so seriously anymore. It’s fun and light. I’m competitive which keeps me going but I’m playing Instagram like a game. I shut it off when I want to and I play super hard when I’m feeling the vibe. I’m able to leave it at the door and put down the phone.

And you know what? Just like Instagram life is a game and you have to engage in it in order for it grow. Through my research of understanding how accounts grow I’ve learned that Instagram has manual just like any video game.  It has rules, secret codes, other players, and even rewards! The algorithm is such that the more active you are (commenting on photos, liking pictures, posting stories etc…) the higher percentage other people will start to follow you and see you “trending”. The whole thing is a game. So why are we taking it SO seriously!? Why do we compare to other people’s accounts? Is it because we are competitive and we are trying to do a modern age keeping up with Jones’s? Is it because when we get likes or comments we automatically feel liked and and accepted? I encourage you to try looking at your Instagram like a game this week- engage when you want to, don’t judge yourself when you’re “slacking”, catch up when you’re ready. Allow yourself to follow the ebb and flow of life and you’ll have so much more fun playing the game.  

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Pax's first road trip!

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Jarrod (my husband) and I love to travel. We usually leave the country 1-2 times a year and since we got Pax it gets harder and harder to leave. This year we decided to travel with him! Unfortunately, with my boating accident earlier this year we didn’t want to go to far or fly for too long so we decided on a road trip around california! 

Pax loves the car. I think part of it has to do with the fact that he’s been in the car since day once and we drove 6+ hours home with him in my arms. When we go outside he always runs to the car and thinks we are headed somewhere. 

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We get asked a lot about our top road trip tips. A few months ago I posted about Brittany & Layla’s road trip and her tips. So here I am to add to the list from our own experience. We started our journey in San Diego and stopped in Orange County, Los Angeles, Monterey, San Francisco, Napa, Mendocino, & Santa Barbara. We chose those destinations one because we have family in several of them and also because they are very dog friendly. We stayed in hotels in San Francisco, Napa, and Santa Barbara. San Francisco we stayed at the Hyatt Regency - they are dog friendly! We stayed at a fabulous hotel in Napa called the Archer Hotel. They were absolutely pawesome!! Their concierge set up a wine tour for us at all dog friendly wineries. Lastly, in Santa Barbara we stayed at a Kimpton hotel called the Canary Hotel. Once again, beyond accommodating. We found all of these hotels through our chase points and then calling to confirm they are dog friendly. When we were checking in we had to fill out a few pieces of paper that references his breed/name/details..etc. Mendocino’s airbnb was very appropriate as it was on an apple orchid and had acres for him to run around. The restaurants weren't as friendly so we ended up staying in and cooking the few nights we were there.

Best way to find out if places are dog friendly is to google it, ask around, use yelp or bring fido. Most websites will also express if they are dog friendly!

Here are additional tips that I think are helpful:

  1. We mapped out our journey to spend max 3 - 3 1/2 hours in the car. the one day we drove farther than that we stopped several times to let pax out and give him water. 

  2. Pax wasn’t hungry at his normal hours probably because of all the new settings so we brought a cooler of all his my ollie and put his bowl in there and kept trying to feed him when we stopped

  3. Call hotels & activities (we went wine tasting for example) and find out if they are dog friendly or check out online. 

    1. Yelp is helpful (and you can search within the reviews) for dinner reservations in most areas

    2. Bring Fido 

    3. Plain old google 

  4. Bring ALL grooming supplies 

  5. Pack towels - never know when you’ll need to wipe some paws! 

  6. Treats, chews, and only a few toys

  7. Google local vets in the area before going 

  8. Make sure you understand local laws 

  9. Google dog parks and read the reviews!! 

  10. We brought both a pop up bowl for water and a dog water bottle for him 


Hope this was helpful! Enjoy the road! xo

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selfishness vs selflessness- is there a difference?

I recently posted a blog post about my scary experience in the water. I was asked the question, “Was your husband ok with your decision?” I sat with it a couple days and I couldn’t let it go. Was my husband ok with my decision to jump in the water and save Pax. At first I was extremely taken back and went all feminist rant in my head. I asked the woman what she meant by it…a mom of 4 kids and a dog shared with me how selfless it was to jump in the water and save my dog. Am I not getting something? Am I not understanding the gravity of my situation? Why does it feel like it was literally a no brainer to jump in and DO something. It’s confusing but it’s also eye opening. We all share different perspectives. I am grateful to that reader for speaking up and sharing hers. We live in a world today that a lot of people who weren’t sharing their truth before are coming forward. What a powerful place to be in, to actually be able to SHARE what’s on your mind. If only we could also live in a world that was receptive to our thoughts and feelings.  I decided to ask the woman more questions and appreciate where she came from. And no, I didn’t ask Jarrod and I still haven’t asked Jarrod how he felt about me making the decision. Did he feel that I was impulsive? Reckless? Did he feel burdened by the amount of caregiving that he would have to embark on for the days to come? We all live in our own worlds, own head, own lives…even when we share our life with another person we are still on our solo journey. What an interesting concept, to need to check in with a partner about a decision being made. Part of me feels that it’s ridiculous to ask someone else (my spouse) “is it ok to jump in the water to save Pax and even if I die or get injured is it ok with you?” and at the same time is it a selfish decision to do that? Then it makes me think about selfishness and selflessness. My action to the dog was selfless but was it selfish to not think of others in my life? 

 When you put a blog post out there and you write from your soul- you only think about your own story. I think that’s a good thing because if you were thinking about all 500+ people who I saw read it that day- I probably wouldn’t have had the guts to post it. Now that I’ve received an alternative question about my decision making it has made me think much deeper about how we are all different yet beautiful beings. My hope from posting this is to shed light on our perspectives. How we are all human and this makes us unique. We go through different life experiences all the way starting from our entrance here on earth. Why do we question other people’s stories? How come we battle one another in politics, ideas, and even one’s own personal experience? I realize that as this account grows more and more personalities fall into the mix. I realize that by putting myself out there I allow for more push back and alternative perspective to land in my lap. Now, those are NOT things that I can control. What I can control is my action. My action to everything. To jumping off a moving boat to save my dog, to responding to my husband when he asks me to pick up after myself in the house. My responses to situations are what define my life- not the actual event. The events will constantly happen but my responses will change based off my experience. Does that make sense? They play off one another. What I know about jumping off a moving boat is different than it was before because it had never happened before.  How have you handled critical events in your past? Looking back would you change how you reacted? What have you learned from your experiences that have now evolved your perspective. 

So in the end, is there a difference between selfishness and selflessness? Because if we make one decision it impacts something else. Are our so-called selfless actions truly selfish- even when they feel good and fill us up?

By the way- I spoke with Jarrod before posting this and he called me, “brave” and was “proud to have a wife that would have jumped in the water to save our dog”… still it was a great conversation piece and perspective to have gained!

I am so grateful for all of your responses and questions about my recovery! If you are currently or have in the past experienced trauma or crisis and need some support or resources please contact me at nikki@leaderofthepax.com.