Monday, June 20, 2016

Round and Round

[Image via Atlantic // Pacific]

I feel like the next big bag trend is circular. Now, you're talking to someone who rarely changes her purse for her outfit. For like months. Maybe I've even carried the same purse for years at a time. (I definitely have!) I'm like that mom who just had the same purse with the same pens and the same box of Altoids and the same checkbook for like literally all of the 90s. (Not my mom. She rotated bags seasonally because she was a teacher and had summers off which meant it was time for a summer purse, but I feel like a very mom thing to do would be to just have the world's oldest purse and carry it until the straps break.)

So anyways, I've been seeing circular bags EVERYWHERE and it's sort of inspiring me to become a person who actually puts thought into her purse. Honestly, if I had the time, I would comb flea markets and thrift shops for vintage options like this. But, since I don't, I've rounded up a few new pieces that I think you'll want to snag before they sell out. Now, we'll all work together to become interested in bag trends and switch our purses based on our outfits right? If you do it, I will. I promise! I personally will be ordering this little pretty by Baggu. Which one is your favorite?

Friday, June 17, 2016

Cat Talk: The Litter Robot

I've recently realized that the readers I engage with most are ones who are also pet owners.  And since we don't really cover pets at Rue, but pets are on my mind probably 97% of the time, I've decided to bring in a new installment to the blog that we're calling CAT TALK. (Not joking.) Maybe it will mean cute pet pictures. Maybe it will be information on different pet-focused products. Or perhaps I'll be talking about the fact that Roxanne has diabetes, bless her heart, and gets insulin twice a day. (That third one is not a hypothetical, I'll explain at a later date.) Today, we're chatting about a contraption that literally saved my relationship and, dear friends, it's called THE LITTER ROBOT.

When Tim and I first moved in together, we became a "blended family". He had Leonard, a noisy bengal with loads of personality. And I brought along Roxanne, a plain little lady who is too nice for words. We tucked a litter box into a hidden nook beside our back door, and the battle began. Whose turn was it to scoop? Who was responsible if one of the cats missed? It was easy to blame the other person since there was no telling WHICH cat was the problem, and I'm not kidding, we would get in massive arguments about THE LITTER BOX. 

One day, Tim's colleague mentioned something about the Litter Robot. "I know, it sounds weird," she explained. "But it's totally legit. It's the best thing I've ever owned and I don't have to scoop up dirty litter." No scoop?! We were listening.  

In short, the Litter Robot is an automatic, self-cleaning litter box. This is the least technical description of it: It's a big dome that spins. More technical? It has a patented sifting system that separates waste from clean litter and deposits the waste into a drawer. When the drawer is full, you empty it.

So, we waffled over the price for a few days, agreeing that we would be vigilant and if it didn't work out, we'd return it within the 90 day grace period. 

Needless to say, we NEVER returned it and it HONESTLY is the only thing that ensured Tim and I made it to our wedding day. It made a chore that could have been the end of us into a non-issue. And, any of our fellow cat-people who have seen it in action have immediately gone home and purchased one. It's that magical. (You can watch a video on the original here.) 

However, my sweet girl Roxaroo DOES have diabetes, and with it comes a few health challenges. Namely, she pees more than average and -- for whatever reason -- she isn't the BEST at aiming within the box. I started noticing that she just didn't have quite enough room for her achey joints to get in the Litter Robot and turn around, so her little hiney would hang off of the edge and -- heaven help me -- she'd relieve herself all over the floor. POOR THING. (Me.) 

Additionally, when we moved into our new house in LA, we just didn't have an out-of-sight spot to tuck the Litter Robot away. This house is amazing and I love it, but there is not a nook or cranny to be found. SO, in the most dismal drumroll ever, here's what my office looked like:

What a room! What a disaster! In addition to the old robot sticking out like a sore thumb, AND not having any storage for our vacuum/mops, we had resorted to putting a regular litter box next to it for "accident prone" Roxanne to use. WE WERE BACK TO SCOOPING. 

So then fast forward to around Christmastime. The Litter Robot announced they had a new model coming out: THE LITTER ROBOT III, OPEN AIR. I first noticed how much... nicer... it looked. Sleeker. More modern. Less of an eyesore. But then I read about it, and I realized it was just what my sweet girl needed. I watched this video 300 times, and learned that it has a wider opening and an extra spacious litter chamber. Plus, it has a "full" indicator light. So when the bin is full, a light flashes and you know you need to empty it. No risk of clogs or messes or anything. It's magic. (Is it actual MAGIC though, you guys? It might be.)

We decided it was 100% a necessity, and also decided to invest in a storage solution to make the office function a little better and be less of a humiliation when we have guests over. Now, this space is still a work in progress, so please forgive the subpar photography:

We also bought this storage unit from IKEA. You can see into this room from the kitchen, so we didn't want the sightline to be on clutter or bookshelves or anything like that, just a modern wardrobe. The desk was moved where the shelves were, and the shelves went under the window, and the Litter Robot remained tucked into the least offensive corner in the house. Voila!

And somehow, the Litter Robot Open Air is like, my life right now. It has been SUCH a game changer for us.

I will admit, if we just had one very healthy and somewhat small cat, we would likely be okay with the original Litter Robot. But with multiple cats -- especially one who is getting old and has a few ailments, and one who is large and in charge -- this Open Air version has been a godsend for our household and we no longer have any accidents or "spills". (Gross.)

Some other pros to the new version? It's quieter. Like very, very quiet. It has a nightlight -- when the kitties hop in the box, it lights up for them. Plus, it has a sleep mode -- if you have a studio apartment or live in a small space, there's a setting where it won't cycle for 8 hours. Sweet and silent dreams.

So, yes, I'm passionate about my cat's bathroom solution. But when you have a pet that literally goes to the bathroom literally in your house (both correct uses of the word literally), you need to be on it. I prefer quality design and don't want to compromise the look of my home, so this is the best solution for us. Come over, check it out. Tim and I will have 2 glasses of wine and tell you how great it is FOR HOURS. It would not be the first time.

I'm not much of a video gal, but you can find endless reviews on YouTube here. I've watched most of them.

I suppose I've waxed poetic about this long enough, but please let me know in the comments if there are any other CAT TALK topics you want to know about. Whether it's about how the Robot works OR how we keep our white bedding clean, I'm here to help. I'm not feeding these kittens twice a day for nothing.

UPDATE: Litter Robot is offering my readers $25 off! Click here to redeem. 

DISCLAIMER: Litter Robot provided us with the Litter Robot III Open Air for review. We were previous owners of the Litter Robot and FULL BELIEVERS, so no joke, this post is 100% my beliefs without a hint of exaggeration. This product is the best. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The Together Show

Last January, Tim and I were asked by our good friend Erik if we'd be guests on his new podcast, the Together Show. I'll admit, we were extremely [EXTREMELY] apprehensive about getting personal on the internet, but truth be told... we were really sold on the idea of the show.

You see, Erik is a former divorce lawyer. Like, the first time I met him, the conversation turned to the importance of thoroughly discussing each and every financial detail of our future before we got married because most people just don't ever bring up money until they're well into their marriage and it's a problem in one way or another, and voila -- divorce. (Yikes!) He also was wearing a suit. Real lawyer-y stuff.

Over time, Erik realized that he was sick of watching relationships fall apart and instead wanted to focus on why people decide to stay together. Anyone in a relationship knows that it's actually work. My belief is that "work" isn't a bad thing at all, even though the word has negative connotations like "Monday morning" and "cubicle". To me, work means commitment. Work IS love.

It was really cool to watch Erik's journey and, like I mentioned, it was seriously scary to agree to such a public-yet-vulnerable interview. (And vulnerability man. It's tough.) But at the end of the day, I'm so grateful to be a part of Together. Sure, it was a little bit intimidating to speak into a microphone about the most important part of my life for a few hours, but I have connected with so many people because of it. When you get a look into other relationships, it can make you feel less alone. You might discover that challenges you and your partner have been facing aren't odd at all, but quite common. (Or, my favorite part of the podcast -- that in an age of social media perfection, you're reminded that we're all human. Perfection is actually just a VSCO filter.)

ANYWAY. If you've ever wanted a very personal look into my life, you can tune in here. (And if you loved it, catch Part 2 here.)

If our podcast sparks any questions at all, leave them in the comments below. I'm an open book and would love to chat!

Also, please SUBSCRIBE to Together and tell everyone you know about it. I really believe in the mission and can't wait to see this passion project grow.