Dog Birthday Party Ideas: A Quick Guide to Throwing a Cute Party For Your Pet

Yes, We Said A Dog Birthday Party!

A dog birthday party. Sit on that for a second. Some may think it's ridiculous and crazy to throw a birthday party for a dog, or any animal for that matter. Others, well, others know exactly how kind the sentiment is and fully believe every dog (or all animals actually) should have a birthday party.

I consider my dog part of the family. Putter (my rescue pup) has been with me for 10 years now and that means he has seen and felt heartache, loss, happy moments, travel and all the in-betweens with me. He has been there and I love him for that. Of course, Putter is not perfect. My dog is probably the sweetest, evil pup you will ever meet. That's just his nature but with me... I feel his love, see his love and know his love. Putter may not comprehend what a birthday is but throwing a party for him is my thank you. It's a gesture saying Putty, Putt, Snuggle Bug, Buddy you are my dog and I am your human. So excuse me if this does not make sense to you but it does to me. As a paw mom, these pets are our children and I will be darned to take that lightly. I'm here to say it's ok to celebrate your pet. You should.

As a result, if you're thinking hey, I've always wanted to throw a party for my pet but don't know where to begin. Or, you want an insight on what I did for Putter's Day, I put together a list of things to consider and how I celebrated my pets life.

Let's Get This PAW-ty Started!

A Perfect Location Will Set The Mood

I always start his day by taking him to the park. That's his favorite thing to do so we do that. I've also hosted Putter's birthday party at my house, grandmas house, my brother's house and this year we took it to a local dog-friendly coffee shop called Coffee With Companions. It was his 10th birthday so I wanted something different for him and for everyone joining us.

Coffee With Companions

When thinking of a location first ask yourself what your goal is for the gathering? Then, what mood do you want for your party? Is it a small backyard Vegan BBQ with the family and pets or do you want to share the moment with your community? Listen to your fur baby, you know your pet best and also know what they are comfortable with.

Secondhand And Upcycled Decoration... All The Small Details Matter

True Story, I was driving by a yard sale and saw a piñata for sale. Yes, I bought it. I mean think about it... a secondhand piñata in perfect condition for our guests and pets to enjoy, heck yes! I added my touch to it and used construction paper I already owned to spruce it up a bit.

Putter posing for the camera in front of his party decor

Putter's actual invitation I created

I'm also going to be upfront with you from the start. I created birthday invitations for Putter's Party! A party needs PAW-ty invites.

Here, think about the things that make you and your pet happy. For me, it's taking pictures, pet goodie bags, dog toys, a piñata with human and dog treats, party hats, props you name it.

A Dog Inspired Vegan Birthday Cake

Finding a local female owned business to create our vegan cake was important to me. I collaborated with 4 Little Pies and asked Vivian to surprise me and create her magic. Here's his birthday cake. Yes, we humans ate it but I did make Putter a cake too. Plus, we had vegan-friendly hot dogs to set the mood.

4 Little Pies Lemon Flavored Vegan Cake

Putter's Homemade 3 Ingredient Cake (Peanut butter, oats and organic pumpkin all mixed)

Vegan Hot Dogs from Lightlife

Whether it's a cake you purchase, one you make or vegan hot dogs it's wonderful to incorporate both human and dog foods. Let's face it, we all eat cake at the end of it all!

Send Guests Home With A Gift

In the hope that I was going to use them for something later, I upcycled brown paper bags I had from a past event for goodie bags. I took the time to paint pet names on each bag. Yes, this took a moment but I found it to be relaxing and fun.

Dog Goodie Bags, the cats received bags too

Additionally, I placed dog treats in each bag. In previous years I passed out toys but I wanted to focus my energy on making homemade vegan dog treats this year. Three ingredients (peanut butter, oat, pumpkin) and really easy to make. These treats are also a great way to incorporate kids. My nieces joined and they loved making treats and feeling involved.

In essence, think about what thoughtful gift you want your guests to leave with. I enjoy creating dog goodie bags every year for the pups, that's my happy place. Furthermore, it's a great way to keep pets entertained during and after the party.

Live In The Moment

At the end of it remember the reason you are gathering. It's to celebrate life and be with the humans and pets you love. I tend to get caught up with "everything needs to be perfect." I'm learning it's vital to breath have a "moment" and enjoy yourself. No matter what anyone else thinks or says it's a special unique time you created. Even though your pet may not understand or be able to speak to you, they know and feel your love. So have a drink, eat some cake and play.

Putter at the end of his day

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar

P.S. We made sure to recycle all the decor and waste we produced to continue our eco-friendly efforts

Why Alley Cat Allies Is The Global Engine Of Change For Cats

Alley Cat Allies, The Force We Need

I've been an animal lover for as long as I can remember. Feeding community cats and helping stray dogs I see on the streets. It's always been in my heart to save animals in need. In fact, it's often difficult to explain to people. I'll cry if an animal suffers in a movie or show. Similarly, my mind also ponders and my heart is saddened to think about the neglect and cruelty that happens to any animal. Yes, I am vegan. Now. There was a time I wasn't though. I ate animal products, would wear them, I even remember hunting. Once but I did it. At that moment my mind was transformed permanently. Frankly, the sum of everything did on its own terms. I knew back then and know more than ever now, spreading harm to any animal is just not for me. No matter what the case or level.

The past several years I've changed. I have dedicated time to volunteering at local shelters and transitioned my entire lifestyle.  From spreading the word about adoptable pets to hosting local dog yoga and thrift events, all in order to raise money and awareness for animals in need. Our smallest and largest efforts make a difference for these animals but the fight is not over.  An estimated 70% of all cats who enter shelters nationwide don't leave the shelter alive. For feral cats who are not socialized, well, that number is often 100%. This is an alarming statistic. Let's face it, community cats are everywhere, they are multiplying and Alley Cat Allies is the driving force making an impact on feral cats.

Cats and The Law

Alley Cat Allies Taking Action

The first U.S. nonprofit to have guidelines for TNR and earning the 2018 Platinum Seal of Transparency on GuideStar, Alley Cat Allies delivers everything you need to know about feral cat care.  What do they do? Alley Cat Allies works in communities to urge low-cost spay and neuter policies and programs, as well as lifesaving Trap-Neuter-Return. Before it became mainstream to keep cats indoors (with help of the little invention called kitty litter in 1947) cats lived outdoors. Actually for thousands of years. Now, I'm not saying kick your cat out or never bring it inside again, no. What history tells us is that it's natural for cats to thrive outdoors.  From ancient Egypt where cats were worshiped to cats boarding ships to the Americas. Seeing feral felines in your community is actually a normal thing.

What's not healthy is for years animal control policy has put millions of dollars into catching and killing outdoor cats. Furthermore, the highest documented cause of death for cats in the United States is being killed in shelters. For the thousands of cats that go into the shelters a very small percentage are actually adopted out. Research also shows that 7 out of 10 cats who enter the system are killed. This means what we are currently doing in regards to animal control is not working, ethical or sustainable.

How Trap-Neuter-Return Works

When mountain lions are removed from their habitat, other mountain lions move in.

This then creates what's called the vacuum effect. In other words, American shelters and animal control systems have been relying on catching and killing outdoor cats to control population for years now. Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) is a program where community cats are humanely trapped, spayed or neutered, vaccinated, ear-tipped (a universal sign that a feral cat has been neutered and vaccinated) and in conclusion, returned to the outdoors.

TNR reduces and stabilizes the feral cat population while improving the co-existence between outdoor cats and humans in our shared environment. Set side by side, for me, it makes sense to control the current population versus continuing our present policies. There are thousands of cats around us, I mean go outside, I'm sure you will spot one. So caring for felines that are here now, meaning implementing a TNR program also means feral cats are healthy and have a lower chance of overpopulating a community.

Not to mention, once cats are spayed or neutered it has been shown that they are less aggressive, roaming minimizes and they won't have the urge to mark areas. Not everything will be perfect, and developing a program will not fix all our problems but it will help. It's a positive step though and also a better solution than euthanizing cats just because we don't have a better way.

Ways to Give

What Can We Do?

So, what can we do? Well... educate yourself, that's the first thing. Once you do that you have the power to spread that light to others. For instance, read about the history and behavior of community cats. Additionally, Alley Cat Allies resources are endless. I've been reading through their tabs, from community change to disaster response they provide links and news to help you understand and care for felines.

Another way is to familiarize yourself with local laws and create a movement. Reaching out to elected officials for face-to-face meetings, speak at a public hearing or create a community organization. Decide to grow the movement. In my case, I know that I will push forward and be the voice. We need a better way. If we do the same things, we will get the same results. It's time to shift our views on feral felines and see what we can do as a community to share the world with the beautiful creatures around us.

To see other charities and nonprofits fellow Ethical Writers & Creatives support, catch the links below:

EcoCult, Why Environmentalists Should Donate to Women's and Family-Planned Organizations

Model4greenliving, The Best Environmental Charities To Give To Now

Honestly Modern, Conscious Living Beyond Personal Consumption Habits

To learn more about Alley Cat Allies and how to alter views as well as promote policy change click here.

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar


Why I Choose to Be Fur-Free and the Brand That's Pushing the Limit

It may seem simple... I'm vegan so I don't wear anything that comes from an animal, right?!

Well, what if you are new to this "veg" world or just beginning to explore the vegan lifestyle? Therefore, the thought of wearing fur-free (or faux leather) clothing may not seem as obvious to you.  As I began my vegan journey, I learned that living vegan goes far beyond the plate.

It's no secret, there are several luxury retailers announcing their fur-free initiatives. As well as many local brands and public figures coming out and stating they will have nothing to do with fur and some even transitioning towards a fully vegan lifestyle. Some animal welfare messages are subtle while others leave you with no guesswork. When you think of the word "vegan" some may automatically relate to food and half of that thought is true. Growing into my lifestyle though, I've discovered that for me, a vegan life means your beliefs reflect on the clothes you wear too.

Stay Aware

Do you think 4 little words have the power to make a difference or at the very least change someone's thought process. Fur Belongs to Animals...

Fur Belongs to Animals T-Shirt

"Charity and philanthropy are an important part of our brand & company. Together with our partners, we help to promote the relief message and help to raise the awareness." Filip Vuckovic - Co-founder of HIDE BEYOND

Fur Belongs to Animals Sweater

Why Hide Beyond is So Important in Today's Fashion Industry...

Hide Beyond is a PETA approved vegan clothing brand that (yes) does not leave you guessing whether or not they believe in animal welfare. Filled with fur-free and plant-powered quotes the message here is positive and the 4 little word statement you see above (Fur Belongs to Animals) is powerful. Hide Beyond not only partners with various charities but creates a conversation and raises awareness. Whether you believe in vegan fashion or not the messages plant a seed in your mind and gets you thinking, even if it is to say you don't agree.

Fur Belongs to Animals Pom Pom Knit Cap

Why I Choose to Be Fur-free

I always say, if I can't kill the animal with my own hands then I won't eat it. In this case, I won't wear it either. I understand everyone's point of view is different, I respect that. That fur coat may keep you warm or that genuine leather bag may look really pretty on your arm. I've heard it, I've thought it! For me though, I think about the animals. What the animal had to endure (I mean the entire lifecycle) for me to look nice in a pair of shoes for several... maybe even one occasion is not worth it to me.

Personally, it's about wearing something that I feel positive about. Something that came from love with animals and humans in mind, that's important to me. I can't wear leather or fur (or any animal product) happily because I know that an animal suffered (in some form) for me to wear it.

Avocado Will Brighten Your Day

"Philanthropy is part of who I am and giving back to the community is a way of life for me. There's no greater feeling than knowing you're making a difference. The best time to act is now." - Filip Vuckovic - Co-founder of HIDE BEYOND

Avocado Will Brighten Your Day

Hide Beyond is important because I hope by wearing their clothes someone will ask me, what does your shirt mean or I love avocado too where did you get that top? Hide Beyond may spark a conversation with someone who doesn't know what vegan fashion is. We choose to live life as we please vegan fashion or not but there is a movement going on that is bigger than just good fashion, so awareness is key. Even if you (or I) don't change anyone's mind on wearing fur directly. Maybe, just maybe, you made an impact on someone you didn't know by simply wearing a message. I'll take my chances on that.

 

 

Learn more about this PETA approved vegan fashion brand at

Hide Beyond

P.S. If you love the vegan threads make sure to use code JESSICA10 for 10% off your entire purchase.

Live Balanced. Live Great.
All There August

Jessica Salazar


My First Marathon... As a Vegan, For Animal and Women's Welfare

Mile 3... mile 6... mile 13, my mind was counting down the miles. It was happening, I was on the verge of completing my very first marathon. As a vegan, I did it for the animals and women's welfare. Completing my first half marathon in 2014, I thought it would be a great idea to have the "full" under my belt. From half crazy to full crazy in just 8 months, registered in June, the race was in January. Previously active, this would be enough time to prep my mind and body for 26.2 miles. Not only was I about to embark on an unknown path but my mom agreed to complete her first half marathon too.

So there we were, together as newbies, some may even say a little crazy too. So how did I finish my first marathon? 13.1 was the longest distance I had ever completed. Well, it is very possible and you can do it too with practice, advice, patience, research, focus, and commitment. Below you will find a few tips and thoughts that I gathered from trainers, athletes, research and my own trial and error.

 

 

1. Give yourself time to prepare mentally and physically 

Asking your body to run/walk 26.2 miles is something. At times I like to be spontaneous and just go with it but this is not the time for that. Depending on your current activity level you need months, possibly even the entire year to start slow then develop your routine. As you practice you will then learn your mind and body and what it does and does not do. You will see when positive/negative thoughts start to creep into your mind or what mile you are strongest at.

2. It's not all about running

Your body needs cross-training and the right fuel in order to perform. It helped me to do a combination of workouts while I was running. Yoga, Orange Theory, stretching and foam rolling. With a combination of light and long run days, you need to feel strong mentally and physically. Plus the Trainers at OTF really kicked my butt and helped me properly prepare.

3. What you wear on a run matters 

I needed to be comfortable for my first marathon. When I ran the half a few years back the zipper on my sports bra cut into my chest and created unnecessary pain throughout the run. So I needed smooth clothes that would not create chafing or pain. I also personally like long workout tights, a long sleeve top, and hat to protect my skin from the sun. Everyone prefers a different outfit so my suggestion is to practice with your race day look prior to the run. Are you comfortable with a fanny pack, which trainers fit you best, will you run with sunglasses? These questions may seem irrelevant but will make a difference.

4. Eat for performance

Mom and I were on eating plans a week prior and really focused on proper fuel the last 3 days. We were eating to give our bodies energy and stamina and every meal counts for runners. Don't try anything new on race day, don't be tempted.

 

 

What I ate...

48 Hours Until Race Day

  • Oatmeal and Toast
  • Pasta with Marinara
  • Rice with Vegetables
  • Veggie Pizza with Marinara

24 Hours Until Race Day 

  • Normal balanced meals
  • Hydrated with electrolytes
  • Energy Bars
  • Bread
  • Cereal

Race Day Breakfast

  • Oatmeal with Banana
  • Hydrated with electrolytes

5. Run for something 

Mile 17 and 18 were the miles I thought to myself, wow Jess, this is kind of long. Oh, I feel my body hurting now! I was still very aware of my body and I did not want to hurt myself but at that point, you determine what will hurt you and what will push you. So after a quick body scan, I knew that it was only mental for me at this point. I had my family in mind, my parents waiting for me at the finish line, and the cause I was running for.

 

 

Race Day 

We woke up early ate our breakfast and started hydrating in order to digest properly. The race started at 7:00 AM and we arrived at 5:30 AM. We did this to find parking, be at ease, stretch, warm up and complete any final touches. My mom and I stretched and saw everyone arrive. My dad found his paparazzi location. Giving each other positive mantras then BOOM, the race began. We started jogging then my mom yelled go, Jess, you need to go. Knowing my run/walk routine I ran beside her, hugged her and said... YOU GOT THIS MOM! So there we were, my mom was in her zone and I began mine.

My routine was run for a mile or 5 minutes then a brisk walk for 30 seconds to a minute, my watch was set to alert me. I did this for the first 13 miles then I felt my body tired, so I would adjust the time. I would walk 2 minutes or run 3 minutes. Constantly scanning my mind and body when the time was up, asking myself, can I run more or do I need a few more moments to walk?

The cheer stations helped, I remember the kindness of strangers yelling. You got this Jessica! I love your shirt! I love your ears! You are doing great! You are looking good, you are looking good girl! The DJ's, all the energy was contagious and it helped me move forward. I knew it was helping my mom too so that gave me peace. I drank at every station and every 30 minutes ate something. Mile 20 came along, wow, I was almost done.  Our last turn arrived and I could see the finish line. So I ran the final mile, gave it my all and everything I had left. Heard my mom cheering, saw my dad taking pictures (Jess you are almost there) and I was. Passing the finish line was surreal, I completed my first marathon. I kept walking to bring my heart rate down but then I felt everything.

Drank pickle juice, ate, stretched and we were done. We made it! At this point, I was a bit delusional but I heard my name, Jessica Salazar 2nd place! Wait, what? How many Jessica's ran? What's the bib number? It was me, and everything became beautiful again. Running my first marathon, I placed 2nd in my age/gender division. I did it for the animals, my family, and all the females out there.

Believe in Your Ability. Trust your hustle. 

 

 

Instagram Diaries 

You asked, I answered. My First Marathon, top questions on my Instagram Stories:

  • Did you use Uber?
    • No, but that may have been a lot easier though, I'll check into that! HAHA! 
  • Can you even run a mile?
    • Yes, actually, I can run 26.2 to be exact. I really love to workout and stay active don't let the fashion fool you. 
  • What did I eat during the run?
    • Vega Sports Endurance Gel, LÄRABAR, Garden of Life Sports Organic Plant-based Energy + Focus, Bananas, Nuun, water, salt packet
  • How did your body feel during the run and how did you go on?
    • I was really nervous, I won't lie about that and my body did feel tired at the end. I knew though, I had prepared for the run and I was capable. You must get out of your own head.
  • Tell me about your recovery and would you run another marathon?
    • It took about a week for my body to fully recover. I still feel foot pain but it's getting better. Yes, definitely would run another marathon. I know how my body will react now so I may better prepare for it.
Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar

 

 


What Is Palm Oil and Why Should You Care About It?

What in the world is palm oil? It's a question that has been floating around and now it's your turn to learn a little bit more about it.

I did this fun collaboration with The Animal Edit, where we discuss the basics of palm oil and why you should start caring about this ingredient that is almost in everything. Here, I go over palm oil 101, as well as give you resources and information on brands that provide lists of products you can buy that are P.O. Free. This article will put your mind at ease a bit, so let me know what you think, enjoy!

http://theanimaledit.com/2017/10/01/palm-oil-care/

Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar


When You're an...Ethical, Vegan, Golfer Fashionista

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Who are you!? If I pay attention to Snickers and "I am not me when I'm hungry" then Snickers is really making people (including me) question who we really are.

Well for some of you that don't know (even though I am always hungry I still "know" ME) I'm an Ethical, Vegan, Golfer Fashionista and Animal and Women's Welfare Advocate. What this means is eco/sustainable fashion rocks! I am vegan and yes, I do it for the animals. I play (and coach) golf and I am a HUGE animal lover and feminist (everyone has their own definition of what they consider feminism is) so BOOM! My definition of being ALL THERE AUGUST (All Balanced, All Great in all areas of my life.)

-Ethical/Sustainable Fashion Consulting

-Wardrobe Consultant for Athletes/Golfers in ready-to-wear and sportswear

-Vegan food education

-Travel to golf courses to showcase their food, course and fashion

-Visit/work with charities dealing with animal and women's welfare

These are a few of my favorite things (as I sing this in the tune of Julie Andrews, thanks Jules!)

Why I love these "things" you might ask...to be honest they make my soul dance, they make my soul move and yet they settle it all at the same time.

So in celebration of today (because why not celebrate today and after all its someone’s birthday somewhere.) Let us talk sustainable fashion and a spice of golf.

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This is her, my Goodwill find!

I found this amazing purse at a local Goodwill and this jacket comes from a second-hand boutique. Using my sustainable fashion tip, mixing second-hand finds (old) with store-bought (new) has the potential to come together quite nicely. Of course you have to dig (and wash) these finds but taking a moment for yourself to explore a second-hand store is actually very relaxing and the best part is you give this fashion item another life. It had a story before you (and I often find myself wondering who had this before me and what their story was) but now you have it and it’s yours to make your own story with.

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"The Jacket" that's been with me for a long time now and I still love her.

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P.S. I use TaylorMade Irons because that's where my heart is.

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The Look

So this is my ALL THERE AUGUST moment, this is what makes my life balanced and great. There is no one way to be ALL THERE AUGUST (or ATA) it's what moves you what makes your soul dance and feel at home. So what is your ALL THERE AUGUST life or moment? What makes you balanced and great in your life? Whatever it may be share it with me and the world, celebrate your awesomeness, celebrate your gifts.

Live Balanced. Live Great.

Jessica Salazar

Edited By: Angela Salazar (She's the bomb...but really.)


Blogging With All There August

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It’s Jessica Salazar, Founder of All There August, an ethical athletic wear brand and blog promoting a balanced, positive lifestyle for athletes. I am an ethical entrepreneur, advocate, coach and professor. I received my undergraduate degree in Fashion Merchandising and Masters Degree in Fashion Entrepreneurship. I have been fortunate enough to work in the fashion industry in the US and Europe. With my knowledge and experience also as a college athlete I created a brand of ethical athletic wear that spreads love in positive ways. This blog was created as a space that provides athletes with knowledge on ethical fashion and beauty, organic health foods and health, travel and women’s and animal welfare. We will talk about how to be a Positive Lifestyler in all areas of your life, plus other interesting adventures and ideas I can get my hands on. Follow us with local and global topics and see what this ethical athletic world has to offer.

Jessica Salazar