Author Archives: Stronglikemycoffee

Bringing Home My Goldendoodle Puppy, Riggins!

Warning: you might have a sudden urge to go buy a puppy after this post. I don’t blame you. Riggins is too photogenic to limit the amount of pictures I added, so the puppy porn is strong with this post. Serious willpower will be required not to immediately go find yourself an equally adorable fluff ball ;)


Goldendoodles – a hybrid breed between a golden retriever and a poodle – have been my favorite dog for YEARS. They are giant curly teddy bears. My favorite blogger, Simply Taralynn, has 2 of them and I am embarrassed to admit that I will literally break into a smile when she posts pictures of them. I’ve wanted my own doodle for years, but I’d never lived in my own place and wasn’t able to have one where I lived before.

Goldendoodles are also hypoallergenic because they have “hair” not “fur” and they don’t shed. We discovered my massive dog allergies when we rescued a golden retriever when I was 9. We found him at a shelter and I quickly named him Toby. He slept in my room, and aside from general allergy symptoms, I would have MASSIVE coughing fits where I could not breathe. My lungs would feel like I was having an asthma attack. I was up all night every night coughing until we made the difficult decision to take him back to the shelter because allergy pills alone couldn’t cure my reaction. It was heartbreaking.


15 years later, I FINALLY was ready to adopt my own dog again! Goldendoodles are a trendy breed right now, so breeders take deposits for waiting lists months in advanced. I actually put my deposit in on a litter last October, before the mama dog was even expecting. She gave birth to 9 multi-colored puppies on April 6th and I got to go play with all 9 to find which one I “matched” the best with…. 9 baby puppies all to myself for an evening just to play? That. Is. My. Heaven. !!!


You may roll your eyes at this one but choosing my puppy was so dang hard! Obviously at 6 weeks old they are ALL going to be lovable and adorable. How do you choose just one?!?! It took a solid hour of “eliminating” one at a time. I would make 2 of them race, and see which one came to me faster. I would cradle them like babies and see which one let me cuddle them longer. It was really the most ridiculous process but I picked out this cutest little boy with tan ears and tan spots on his back and a little discolored nose. He raced to me the fastest, he cuddled up to me as much as he could, and he just looked so happy and playful. FullSizeRender(124)

I had to leave him with his mama and brothers and sisters for another 2 weeks until his brain was fully developed at 8 weeks old. In the meantime, I went crazy overboard on the pet supply shopping and got him all the necessities plus a few extras like, you know, a bathrobe, a hoodie, and a booster seat for the car. Yes, I am that lady. IMG_4922

The breeder brought him to Boise on June 3rd and I took him to my home. He was so carsick, I couldn’t bare to put him in the carrier I brought so I let him sit in my passenger seat on a puppy pad. He did great! He just sat there and looked at me for the 2.5 mile ride home, and started to perk up when we explored my grassy yard.


Little fuzzball!

He was already used to going potty outside, so in the four days I’ve had him we haven’t had to do any potty training. I just had to show him where the back door was and constantly supervise him to make sure I knew when he was ready to go out. He also hasn’t gotten into anything he shouldn’t, hasn’t tried to get on any furniture, or chewed on anything that wasn’t a toy…..I’m knocking on wood here but so far he’s been a very easy puppy! He’s playful but gentle…even with his own chew toys, he’s so polite and gentle!


Naming his was another process. I’ve had a note in my phone with dog names for probably 3 years. I’d add to it whenever I thought of something cute, and at its longest point it probably had 20 or so names (boy and girl). My #1 name was Ollie, but one of my friends actually adopted a goldendoodle a few months before me and ended up naming hers Ollie! Another coworker also adopted a goldendoodle and named it Olive, so that name was out. I came up with the name Riggins while re-watching one of my favorite TV series, Friday Night Lights. It’s the name of the running back for the Dillon Panthers football team. #33, Tim Riggins. I knew it was the perfect name. Boyish, unique and fun!


The biggest struggle was acclimating to a crate. He had never been “confined” before, and it was also his first day away from his dog family. My heart broke on his first night when I put him in his crate. He was so scared! He whined and cried and barked and squealed. I struggled so hard not to let him out. I texted and called my mom to talk me down because I was just as sad as he was. Goldendoodles are notorious for having separation anxiety; they like to be with their families (human and animal). We made it through the night, and he eventually wore himself out from crying and fell asleep for a couple hours until he had to go outside. Repeat the crying and the sleeping a couple times. It was a rough night.


The next night, I learned to WEAR HIM OUT with 2 hours of playing, walking and running before bed. He was so darn sleepy by the time I put him in his crate, he couldn’t even keep his eyes open. He didn’t bark once, he just instantly fell asleep. He barked for about 7 minutes when I put him back in after a potty break at 4am, but then calmed down and fell asleep til about 6.

Night 3 went even better. He slept from 10:15 to 3am, then smoothly went back into his crate and slept til 5am. He has not had any accidents in his crate, and he’s starting to get more and more comfortable with confinement. Progress!

I LOVE my mornings with him. He wakes up after 8-9 hours of being in his crate, but he’s still in a sleepy, groggy mood. He just wants to be cuddled. He loves having his head touching my or leaning on me somehow. So I make my cup of coffee, grab my phone to scroll through instagram, and soak in his snuggles on my lap or my arm or my chest while he’s this little.

Yesterday we went to the vet just to make sure he’s alllllll healthy (he sure is!) and he weighs 11.8 pounds. Little chunker! He’ll grow to be about 50-60 lbs. so I’m making the most of these tiny moments where I can hold him in my arms.


He gets the hiccups about 4-5 times a day.

He is afraid of the dark. He won’t follow me down the dark hallway unless I turn the light on.

He grabs the leash in his mouth to walk himself when we go for laps around the neighborhood.

He’s friendly with cats (and squirrels!)

He likes his head to lean against things, whether its in the car, the bathtub, the crate.  It must be heavy for him!

And that’s been life with Riggins for the past 4 days. Can’t wait until he’s old enough to train to run with me! For now, we’re building his endurance with long games of fetch-the-hedgehog ;)



Holiday Hostess

My cheeks and jaw are sore from laughing so hard last night. The can’t-breathe, eyes-are-watering kind of laughing. Those are good moments. :)

My parents are very good at hosting friends for meals and tend to go way overboard with the amount of food they prepare. Last night, they set up a build-your-own-pizza bar for some of their friends and mine while we played games like Taboo for about 6 hours.

I made a ‘fruits & veggies’ pizza – pineapple, tomato, artichokes, bell peppers, onions and spinach. It’s funny how differently everyone designs their pizzas! My best friend Kerri and I used to have a lot of homemade pizza nights in college and we had very strong opposing opinions on cheese placement. She argues that the cheese goes between the sauce and veggies like glue. I believe cheese goes on the very top like a seal. We agree to disagree.


Seeing how my parents host parties and events with their friends makes me excited to do the same in my own place. Two years ago, I hosted Thanksgiving at my apartment in Flagstaff, AZ while I was a senior in college and I loved planning the drinks and decorations and place settings. Last year, I was in charge of appetizers and dessert.


Obviously food is at the core of holiday celebrations. When you live that healthy lifestyle, a full day of feasting can be a little stressful. I don’t like to let my healthy values fall to the wayside on major holidays because overindulging typically results in feeling guilty and that is not a feeling to associate with a day of thankfulness.

Side dishes that are individually portioned are one way to avoid over-eating. One pre-sliced crostini with a tablespoon of toppings is a two-bite snack that won’t ruin your appetite for dinner.

Our Thanksgiving dishes aren’t extremely traditional. Basic recipes are typically heavy on the butter/salt/cheese ingredients and low in nutritional value. Plus, after decades of the same boring turkey and mashed potatoes, we are ready for something unique, spicy and creative! We’ve made curried sweet potatoes (try something besides marshmallows, I dare you) and bacon-roasted brussel sprouts. I do think these butternut squash and sage crostini’s were my favorite appetizer, probably in large part to how pretty they plate!


Butternut Squash & Basil Crostini App: 

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • Dash of salt and pepper
  • 1 bunch of fresh sage, rinsed
  • 4 Laughing Cow cheese wedges (I used the asiago flavor)
  • 1 baguette, cut into 12 slices

1.) Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Stir butternut squash cubes into the olive oil, salt and pepper, and place on a cookie sheet.

2.) Bake the squash for 45 minutes.

3.) Place the baguette slices in the oven for 4-5 minutes until warm. Top with a tablespoon of cheese, squash and some fresh sage.


Another appetizer success last year was my spicy cranberry jalapeno relish and “stuffing sliders.” I’ll share this clean-eating recipe later this week.


A week from today, my office is having a Friends-giving potluck lunch with the office and I signed up for a sweet potato dish. Sweet potatoes are one of my top 5 favorite foods ever and I’ll make a post about my favorite sweet potato recipes as well. If you’ve only ever eaten sweet potatoes with marshmallows and brown sugar, these will change your life. ;)

Feel free to share any of your favorite healthy or not-so-healthy holiday recipes!

XO Kenz.



It is truly Halloweekend over here. Friday night I left work early to get ready for a Roaring 20’s themed Murder Mystery Dinner party in a “Speakeasy” with lemony libations. The costumes were elaborate with fringe and feathers, and three courses were each paired with a cocktail from the era. It was a night straight out of my favorite book in high school, The Great Gatsby!


Three of us girls sat together in the decorated club with five large full tables plus 6 actors roaming around and setting the storyline in to motion. The performance took us back to prohibition times in a Speakeasy with a VIP poker game in the next room. The proprietor and his rival, plus a flapper girl and her husband as well as the hustling doorman were all alone in the VIP lounge when suddenly the rival died. Suspected poisoning. #whodunnit

I’ve watched CSI (Las Vegas of course. None of the spin-offs will compare) enough to overthink the details and clues. All of the actors started throwing out their alibi while we debated their motives and means.


“Mrs. Peacock….in the library….with the rope!” ;)

We began the night with a cocktail called “The French,” which was citrusy and sparkling in a chapagne flute. One of the actresses was served a drink and she abandoned it without a sip at our table, so I happily made sure it didn’t go to waste either ;) This was paired with a wedge salad, champagne-soaked melon balls, gorgonzola and candied walnuts with a champagne vinagrette while the flapper girls sang on stage.

The next course (in between scandelous murders and speculation) was a Steak l’ Orange, with seared sea scallops, amazing apple bacon risotto and honey glazed carrots. The cocktail for this course was a sidecar that was definitely strong enough to knock you sideways.


By the time we solved the case – a classic case of a love triangle and cyanide – we had our final course of mini lemon meringue and the least favorite cocktail. A “White Lady” which includes an egg white. Pass.

The entire week was one fall festivity after the next, because there were too many fun events going on that we couldn’t pass up!

Every month, our country club has a Ladies Night with different themes. This month was “Cocktails and Crafts” and if you don’t already know, I am Pinterest’s #1 fan. My friend Shelby and I and both of our mom’s got crafty with the help of pumpkin spice martini’s and caramel apple sangria. The craft of the night = autumn wreaths.

The event coordinator looked like she raided Hobby Lobby and had a table full of every leaf, ribbon, bow and bell you could imagine. I tried to control myself with the toppings so it didn’t look like I threw up a pumpkin spice latte all over the wreath but there were too many cute decorations to choose.


Can you handle anymore pictures of hues of orange and gold? I promise the autumn overload will end soon, but it will likely be replaced with scenes of cliche snowy shenanigans so I can’t promise it will be any better.

Brush’d Experience is a local painting class hosted at local restaurants and bars. Last week I won a giveaway on their Instagram and attended their October class for free! The class was held on Thursday evening in a cafe with serious mood lighting and fruity cocktails. My friend from work, Alissa, joined me to follow along the painting instructor for a canvas of a pumpkin patch.


Raspberry Lemonade Mimosas! (Yes this is the most alcohol I have ever consumed in a week, haha. If you’re new to the blog and wondering why I consider this a “health and fitness” theme – this is not my normal routine!)

I diverted from the instructions slightly because I wanted to recreate a photo I had taken myself a couple weeks ago at the corn maze. This was the inspiration for my painting:


We used acrylic primary colors and mixed our own shades. I won’t be hanging this anywhere permanently but it can sit on the kitchen counter for a week or so as a holiday decoration :) The funny thing is – this morning, Brush’d Experience hosted another giveaway for next months event and my mom won!


This must be a record for most pictures of pumpkins and alcoholic beverages in one post for my blog ever. Editing all of the photos has given me newfound motivation to get myself over to the gym right now. I think November will be a refreshing break from cocktails and pumpkin treats – since my 2012 “No Gain November” is still one of my most populat posts on Pinterest, I think I’ll do a little 2016 reboot next week. You in?

Off to trade in sangria for spin class. Martini’s for mat pilates. Sidecars for stair masters. Champagne for chin-ups. Too much? Okay, bye.

XO Kenz.


%d bloggers like this: