Monthly Archives: September 2014

My Summer Story 2014

Did anyone take the 21 Day Summer Challenge and squeeze in a few more summery experiences?

The summer countdown continues. 6 days until Fall officially arrives. I can feel it’s approach here in Pittsburgh where the air is getting crisper, the temperature cooler and sunset is arriving earlier and earlier.

My calendar insists that I say goodbye to the Summer of 2014 and so I’m reflecting back on my experiences and what a gift they’ve been.

cape cod beach landscape photo

I’m titling my summer story 2014:

The Gift of Time With Friends

A friend and I conquered our first destination half marathon.

Photo of Shannon and Lori after their half marathon

I found a gem in the Laurel Highlands of Pennsylvania with a bed and breakfast on a working horse farm. Not only was it beautiful and relaxing, I also got to spend a weekend hiking and enjoying great food and drink with this hot guy.

Shannon and Andy in Laurel Highlands

And there were those summer evenings spent with great friends and some of my favorite bands.

Concert photo

There were many more pages to my summer story including time with family, the gift of a new niece, walks in the park and a few cold beers on hot afternoons.

What’s your summer’s story?

Tell us about it! Leave a comment or share it with us on Facebook or Instagram #mysummerstory2014.

The Gift of More Stories

And if your summer flew by like mine did, maybe you ran out of time for all of the experiences that you planned. Well don’t abandon those ‘not yet experiences’! If we fit them all in, what would we have to dream about? 🙂

We designed giftbug with your stories in mind. Tell your friends about them! What better way for them to celebrate you, thank you or just make you smile then by knowing about your list of ‘not yet experiences’?!

Check out my giftbug registry where I’ve created categories like The Gift of Time With Friends and Things I’ve Always Wanted to Do.

Unique and Healthy Dog Toys – A Gift List

It seems like it’s puppy season for my family and friends. Lots of new puppies are joining their families, and  as a gift guru I love to celebrate the arrival of any new family member!

photo of puppies
Two pooped pups! No doubt resting up for more playtime 🙂

I reached out to the experts for help cultivating the perfect list of unique and healthy dog toys, and I want to thank our friends at Petagogy, a local Pittsburgh pet store, for sharing their list of puppy essentials.

6 Gifts For Puppies of All Ages

1. Molly Mutt Dog Beds and Duvets

Molly Mutt Dog Bed Duvet

These beds are adorable, durable, eco-friends, and well, – genius! It all starts with a mesh (or a waterproof version) sack stuffed with your old towels, sheets, or other unused soft stuff. Then you insert the filled stuff sack into one of Molly Mutt’s stylish duvets. These cotton canvas beds are washable and come in lots of fun patterns and prints. We’ve found a use for all of those t-shirts that you can’t seem to part with! Upcycle them into one of these great dog beds.

Available directly from molly mutt: molly mutt dog bed duvets

2. The Double-Tuff

double tuff toy

This extra-tough dog toy is “doggie-durable, bouncy and buoyant. …[and] its asymmetrical ‘doubled’ design makes for amazingly unpredictable bounces.” It’s designed for chompers and rated to stand up to even the most aggressive chewers.

It’s also made for treats! Peanut butter is a favorite of our Bug and Bella – fill the end with peanut butter, freeze for a few hours and voila – peanut butter pup-sicle!

Available from Planet Dog: The Diamond Plate Double-Tuff

3. Training Treats

Cloud Star Training Dog Treats

These treats are made from natural ingredients, they’re bite-size, and they stay soft. Treats are an effective reward when training pups of any age, and we think you can teach an old dog new tricks!

Available from Cloud Star: Chewy Tricky Trainers

4. Barkworthies Bully Sticks

Barkworthies Bully Stick Dog Treats

Dogs love bully sticks and humans love giving them these all natural, safe chew toys. Barkworthies are made from free range, grass-fed cattle, making them 100% digestible and a great way to promote dental health.

Available from Barkworthies: Bully Sticks

5. Fluff & Tuff Plush Dog Toys

Fluff and Tuff plush dog toy

These plush dog toys are high-quality and durable, created by dog lovers, for dog lovers. These adorable designs are made with quality ultra-plush fabrics and “tuff-luv” construction. The company is also a Giving Partner of Leader Dogs for  the Blind and donates $.50 for every toy sold.

Available from Fluff & Tuff: Plush Dog Toys

5. The Deedle Dude

Deedle Dude Plush Dog Toy

And here friends, is the Deedle Dude, a favorite toy of Bug and Bella’s and oft gifted to new 4-legged friends. This plush singing mouse plays a song that the whole family will love 😉

Available from Amazon: The Deedle Dude Plush Mouse Dog Toy


A giftbug registry is perfect for the 4-legged family members too. Bug and Bella have their own category on my registry – check it out!

*If you’re in Pittsburgh, be sure to check out Petagogy for these and other great puppy gifts.

Celebrate National Grandparents Day with #grandparentbrag


National Grandparents Day is Sunday, September 7th and this year we’re celebrating with a little grandparent bragging!

Shannon brags about her Pappy

You’ve seen the dog shaming photos on email and social media. We’re turning this fun creation on its doggy ear and initiating some grandparent bragging.

Anna bragging about her grandma

Anna bragging about grandpa

Instead of tattling on our pooches, we’re celebrating National Grandparents Day by bragging about the traits, hobbies, interests or quirky habits that we inherited from our family.

Emma bragging about her lil Papa

Did you get your Irish eyes from Granny?

Do you have your Granddad’s laugh?

Do you share Nana’s love of horses?

Do you attribute your Steelers pride to your PapPap?

Shout it from the rooftops!

Snap a photo and tag your brag with #grandparentbrag.

Hannah brags about her Grandma

Emma brags about her Grandma

Britt brags about her Nana

Emma brags about her Nana

Emma brags about her Papa

Tag giftbug on Instagram Facebook or Twitter for a chance to have your #grandparentbrag featured on our blog!

21 Summer Activities For the Last 21 Days of Summer

Summer 21 Day Challenge

Is 2014 flying by too fast?

Does Labor Day Weekend feel like the end of your summer?

I don’t know about you, but most of 2014 has involved me saying:

“Wait! It’s February?!”

“Holy Cow, spring’s here already!”

“Zoinks! When did July get here?!?!”

I challenge you to embrace these last days of summer! 

Fall doesn’t officially arrive until September 23rd. Heck, on Friday it’s supposed to be 90 degrees here in Pittsburgh. It’ll be time to rake leaves and shovel snow before we know it. I’m not pulling out my turtlenecks and smartwool socks just yet.

Let’s reclaim our last 21 days of summer! That’s at least 21 opportunities to do something summery.

21 Ideas For 21 Days of Summer

  1. Host a bbq
  2. Throw a frisbee
  3. Pop open a Summer Shandy
  4. Take off your shoes and walk in the grass
  5. Eat dinner outside
  6. See a baseball game
  7. Take a walk in the sunshine
  8. Campout (even if it’s in your backyard)
  9. Make homemade lemonade
  10. Go fishing
  11. Play badminton (a personal favorite!)
  12. Make homemade ice cream
  13. Go to a farmer’s market
  14. Have a picnic
  15. Share a pitcher of margaritas with friends
  16. Organize a game of kickball
  17. Go to the park
  18. Read a book under a tree
  19. Take a nap outside
  20. Have a water fight
  21. Eat corn on the cob

What do you want to do this summer? There’s still time. Accept the challenge and leave a comment letting us know what summer activities you’re going to fit in during the next 21 days.