Thursday, September 26, 2013

He'll Wear a Bow Tie, Because "Bow Ties are Cool" - It's a BOY!


Seth and I are pleased to announce we are adding a little gentleman to the family! Baby Alley is now - Jackson Carter Alley - the new love of our lives!

I'm sincerely overjoyed by this news! If you've talked to me at all about the baby, you know how much I wished and hoped and prayed for a little boy! From cheering like a lunatic at sporting events to getting him ready for his first date, I've always felt like a little boy would complete our little family, and I already feel like it has. Plus, little boys just love their moms :)

Jackson Alley says "bow ties are cool!"
(That's a Doctor Who quote, for my less nerdy friends and family)
The lovely Dawn Vieux of LeVieux Femme (Facebook / Smug Mug) took these amazing gender reveal portraits for us! I highly recommend Dawn for any of your family portrait needs within the Kansas City Metro area!

With Seth being the science dude, I thought this was appropriate! 

(You knew I HAD to do something Doctor Who related!)

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Marketing Paw-Spectives: By Bandt, Office Dog - Week 1

My close friends get a sneak peak of Bandits new weekly marketing column that will be posted to the Integrity Marketing Solutions Facebook page! Thoughts? 

(Click image for a larger version!)

Woof! Welcome to my new weekly column – Marketing Paw-Spectives: Insider tips and hints to get your marketing working for you.

One of my jobs as Office Dog is to sit quietly in the office and nap; however; I help pass the time by gnawing on my delicious organic bone my owner gets me. A good quality bone will last me about three weeks. After that, it starts getting a little stale. The same concept applies to your eNewsletter email message. You need to change your message out at least once a month to keep your audiences interested. I LOVE it when my owner gets me a new bone, and your readers will enjoy a fresh message just the same! 

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Bandit at Work - Exactly what DOES Bandit do all day?

Let's start from the beginning shall we?

Taken the first couple of
night we had him. He always
laid by the front door!
November, 2010, we were blessed with our dear Mini Aussie, Bandit! My parents found him out roaming around the property they lived in Jackson Co, MO, half starved and a bit crazy! We posted signs and ads hoping to find his owners (though we secretly hoped no one would come forward), and left his/our information with all the local vets and shelters. We took him to the vet to see if he was microchipped....nope!

So, I began the process of convincing my husband to let us keep him. Our current dog (Nugget) was getting older. Seth put him on a two week trial period (we also wanted to give his previous owners, if any, the time to contact us). It was pretty shaky at first! We had to run him down after he escaped from our apartment TWICE! He would take off running as soon as you opened the door. One time, I set the trash outside the door, and shut it. 2 minutes later, Bandit was GONE! Seth (the best hubby in the whole wide world) took off and tracked him down a few units away, 3 floors down. Dang.

Nugget was a good teacher!
Once he finally settled in to our apartment, the sweetness began to shine through. He got a good bath, and I brushed him a ton. He finally started to enjoy the affection! He quit hightailing it every time the door opened, and he even *gasp* sat on the couch with us.

Someone got neutered! 
One night, we were discussing the possibility of keeping the sweet thing, and we threw around some ideas for names. We tossed around names like Albus, Axel, Diesel, and Bandit. As soon as I said 'What about Bandit?' he rushed in from the living room and jumped on the bed, looking all happy. To say the least, Bandit picked his own name. We knew it was a keeper, and so was he!

Starting to get sweet! 

All those shy days are completely behind him! He's the most loyal and affectionate dog you will ever meet. He loves people! He loves his life. He loves the dog treats at the coffee shop (Shout out to Kansas Coffe Company, Olathe KS!) and the 'awws' and smiles he gets on a daily basis. He loves the stolen kisses and the little toddlers that giggle when he wiggles up to them. He truly is a joy and sparkle in so many peoples lives!

Summer 2013

Most of all, he loves his JOB. 

We love car rides!

About 10 months ago, Bandit began having some 'abandonment' issues. I often would be gone from home 10+ hours a day. Bandit would usually have to stay in the kennel for majority of that. Seth and I are both away from home for long periods of time. We both work 25+ minutes from work, so it was not easy for us to let him out or pick up between jobs and other tasks. His main issues included pottying in the house (even though we would take him out asap after getting home) *gasp*, and just "getting into things" in general. One time, he even knocked over the trash. This was NOT Bandit, and I knew we were doing something wrong.

Celebrating "Adoption Day"
 November 2012

I started looking around for kennels and dog sitters. The type of program I wanted costs about $35 a day (about the cost of an in-home day care!). A little much for our "pet budget". I knew I didn't want him to go to a regular vet kennel (about $10 a day) where he basically sat in a cage or small run all day. I wasn't sure that even would fix his behavior problems.

First few weeks on the job!

Thank goodness for Facebook! 

I wrote a post one day, asking what people did for doggie day car, just to see what friends were doing. I
was oh-so-lucky, because my boss noticed the post also. The same day, she wrote me a personal email asking if I thought Bandit would be a good candidate to come to work with me and sit quietly all day. Of course, I knew it would be perfect. Work was about the only place I wasn't taking Bandit at the time!

We gave it a trial run, and he was perfect. I got him a doggie bed, and he stayed loosely tied to the desk next to my work station. He loved it, and so did all the employees! It really lighted the mood in the office.

Bandit usually works really hard!

Bandit takes his job very seriously.

Bandit created, himself, the job title of Dog Survelience Duty. Bandit keeps a mental note of all employees and trespassers who enter the office. He also handles all Integrity Marketing client security concerns that relate to their own office pets. Ruby, from a client in Florida, has been his only contact so far. Bandit also monitors what people are having for lunch.

On active security duty,
starting down the hall...
Bandit used to think it was his job to run to the front office everytime the door opens, but has since been tethered to a desk my office again, because apparently a dog running at you, scares a few people. ;)

A lot of his job includes lots of naps...
Bandit enjoys his lunch time walks (we had to invest in doggie poop bags), as well as his morning trips to the coffee shop across the street. Every now and then, he crosses paths with another local office dog, and they discuss the importance of their jobs.

He loves a good pet, neck scratch, butt scratch, whatever scratch. His
ideal request is to lick EVERYONE in the face for about 5 minutes each, but he understands this is a bit unreasonable.

...and being silly...
Bandit is truly just a pleasure to have around. Bringing him to the office has COMPLETELY fixed his behavior issues he was having at home. He gets more social attention and love and has even dropped a couple pounds since now he lives a less sedentary lifestyle. He also gets the chance to attend Me. Vs. Me fitness classes in Olathe, as well as go to
the barn and pretend to chase the horses from time to time!

...and lots of this.
Life, with Bandit at work, is truly great, and a big shout out to my fellow employee's and my great boss for inviting him to stay!

Bandit - Summer 2013

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Best Banana Bread You Will Ever Taste (Brown Sugar Banana Bread)

Well, it's Christmas the first Sunday of the NFL season. Sitting on the couch all day with my husband watching the Red Zone is absolutely thrilling..too I decided to break it up with a little bit of banana bread. That, and the fact that I was tired of the tiny swarm of fruit flies that took residence in my kitchen, due to the state of my non-edible bananas (yup...nearly black). Good as any reason to bake out some bread right?!

I did a little bit of Pinteresting, and found this worthy looking recipe at Cookies and Cups. Yum.

This recipe is not only delicious...its flawless. Its the perfect combination of rich deliciousness, with yummy saltiness. My husband loved it...that should tell you everything you need to know about this delicacy

I did a few revisions, mainly because I didn't have the exact ingredients, or I thought something would sound better. 
  • I used dark brown sugar, rather than light. I LOVE dark brown sugar, and I use it whenever a recipe calls for brown sugar. Everything always turns out delightful, so hopefully I'm not committing a huge baking no-no by doing that. 
  • I substituted 2% milk in the glaze, rather than the heavy cream. I try not to use heavy cream in anything...its delicious...but fatty. The glaze turned out rather tasty w/o it. 
  • I also used sour cream, rather than the Greek yogurt, mainly because I like how store bought cake mixes turn out when I add sour cream to them. 

What You'll Need

2 cups all purpose flour (I used whole wheat)
3/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups mashed banana (about 3 medium bananas)
1/4 cup sour cream (or Greek yogurt)
2 eggs
6 Tbsp salted butter, melted
2 tsp vanilla extract


1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
2 Tbsp heavy cream (I used 2% milk)
1 Tbsp honey
2 1/2 Tbsp butter


Dial up your oven to 350 degrees. (My oven runs hot, so I did 325)
Lube up your 9x5 loaf pan with Pam Spray, or olive oil (my choice). 
Combine flour, brown sugar, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.
In a separate bowl, mix together mashed banana, sour cream, eggs, melted butter and vanilla.
Mix wet and dry ingredients until "just combined."
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes until toothpick comes out clean. <--A quick note...I have a really bad habit of using a metal knife in place of a toothpick. I don't know why...but its a bad idea because your knife will never come out clean until your cake is baked into a brick...use a friends.
Allow to cool in pan for 10 minutes. Run knife around the edges of pan to release any parts that might be sticking and then remove from pan, transferring to a wire rack to cool.


In small sauce pan, combine all ingredients, heat over medium until mixture reaches a full boil. Boil for 2 minutes and then remove from heat.
Let mixture cool for 5-10 minutes and then pour over banana bread. Glaze will set up and then cut into slices.

Original Recipe from Cookies & Cups.