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Throughout my twenties, my Italian grandmother lamented my single status. As all her other grandchildren married and reproduced, she was wont to introduce me as her “granddaughter…the unmarried one.”

Finally, at the ripe old age of 30, I too got married. This meant that she could stop saying Hail Marys to that effect and I could feel relieved that she’d now stop asking if I’d met any “special friends” during our daily conversations.

I’d earned a blessed reprieve. Or so I’d thought.

Until…she started asking when she’d see great-grandchildren. Ah, le sigh. It seems marriage is not enough for a little Italian nonni.

In much the same way I resisted marriage, I’ve stubbornly resisted the kid pressure. Maybe it has something to do with all that getting up every three hours for round the clock feedings. And cleaning up someone else’s poop. And the whole 18 years (minimum) of undue responsibility–the idea of another (utterly helpless!) little being depending on you for their food and safety and care. I couldn’t just go away for the weekend with friends or hubby anymore.  I couldn’t have wine with dinner, mimosas with brunch, or vodka…ever?! (OK fine – not “ever,” but at least for a year or two given pregnancy and breastfeeding).

That level of commitment is so very intense and overwhelming. And I’m kind of a wimp and definitely a commitment-phobe. Which basically boils down to…fuhgeddaboudit.

So here I am, nearly 34, and my biggest responsibilities are my indoor plants year-round, and my garden in the summer. No fish. No cats. No big burden of responsibility.

Until I decided I was ready for at least a little more responsibility. And suddenly, getting up every three hours for the first few months and cleaning up someone else’s poop didn’t sound quite as bad.

Which is how I knew I was ready for the big plunge: a puppy!

Enter: Pelu. An adorable mutt from MacAllen, Tx. Her mom was a cockapoo (half cocker spaniel, half poodle and trust me, that sounds better than the alternative “poodlecock”) and the dad is a mystery. My vet says she looks like a border terrier. And given that, at five months, she’s only growing longer and not taller, I think she may be part long-haired dachshund as well.

I got up every few hours to let her out for the first few days of housetraining. Then I realized this tiny puppy and I were soulmates: she could hold it for at least eight hours. Heaven! Mama can sleep!

Yes, she is utterly dependent on me for her care, food, safety, and well-being. But surprisingly, that isn’t as terrifying as I’d feared. I can actually handle it. She loves to snuggle. She can entertain herself for hours while I work. She naps like a champ. And she has a sassy, loving, irrascible personality that is entirely endearing.

Which makes her just about the most perfect little creature in the world and exactly the right amount of responsibility.

Still not ready for kids though! 🙂

Napping…like a boss
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uess who got to show off the lovely new Lotuspad yoga mats? Yup–you guessed it! I’m trying to contain my excitement and play it cool, but I can’t–I’m super excited to be involved with this small, start-up company that believes in creating eco-friendly, and, OK yes, beautiful yoga gear.

Being a model newbie, I had no idea what to expect. But working with Annie Pickert of Hazel Imagery was easy and fun. She definitely knew what she was looking for in terms of background, light, angle, and image…which made my part easy. Well, as easy as holding various poses for 2+ hours without a break can be. Let’s just say that after holding any pose for over five minutes, my arm/leg/whatever supporting body part was literally shaking with effort, and I definitely got quite a workout 🙂

Honestly, though, the whole thing was really awesome. I love photography and I love being outside (especially on a beautiful sunny day), and I’ve been known to put up with yoga on occasion…so really, it was a dream come true.

It’s also cool to collaborate with a small, local company whose mission I support and believe in. And in terms of the mats themselves? Check out the stylin’ color combos (I’m especially partial to the orange/pink), the cool imprint patterns, and, of course, the hot yoga model. Even better, notice that Lotuspad yoga mats are made of a super soft (I’ll even go so far as to say velvety) material which is called TPE (thermoplastic elastomer). TPE is a newly developed and patented material that is PVC/latex-free, takes less energy to manufacture than standard yoga mats, and will biodegrade in a landfill or hot compost. Owner and founder of Lotuspad Katy Downey also points out that PVC is a known human carcinogen, is hugely polluting to manufacture and dispose of, and yoga mats made from it never biodegrade.

If you wanted to get all yogic about it, you could see this as an example of the principle of ahimsa, non-harm (the first and most important niyama, or no-no, in Patanjali’s “Yoga Sutras,” the foundational text of yoga). These mats create no-harm to the environment or to us. And unlike some other eco-friendly mats (ahem, you know who you are), they are non-harmful to your wallet at $42/each (plus a 10% discount courtesy of moi, use “SaraD” at checkout).

You can read more on the Lotuspad site, but in the meantime, check out some of my favorite shots from the shoot and see more at http://lotuspadyogamats.com

The pink side of the “Radiant” Eco Yoga Mat
Three-legged dog on the blue side of the “Balance” eco yoga mat
Probably my fav! Nice shot, Annie!
Lastly, lest you think I’m getting all greedy and grabby and violating the yoga code (definitely not cool and in direct conflict with the Sutras), I’d like to clarify that I received no monetary compensation for this project. :)