To Buy or Not to Buy—SOCIAL MEDIA FOLLOWERS…

When businesses hire me to help grow their followers on Instagram or Facebook they are doing this because they understand the value of having the eyeballs of quality potential clients or customers view their posts. They correctly understand that it’s not the quantity but the quality of their followers that will ultimately translate to dollar signs and make their investment worthwhile.

 

Once in a while a client asks me if it’s worth it to buy followers.
The ones who ask me that question generally fall into the following three categories:
1) They are impatient and want fast results.
2) They are concerned about their competitors who have more followers than them and want to appear more successful.
3) They believe the higher the number the more important and relevant they look and this will lead to more business.

My answer to those clients asking whether to buy or not to buy is always an unequivocal no. It’s a very bad idea to buy followers and here’s why.

 

#1  Low Engagement / Low Results

When you buy followers or fans, you aren’t getting people who are interested or willing to engage with you. You are merely buying numbers. After paying for followers/fans you are likely to get a large number of fake accounts amongst your number. This means that while you appear to have a lot of fans, very few people will like and comment. More importantly none of your non quality (mostly fake) followers will translate to business.  In fact, adding in followers that don’t interact with your account reduces the percentage of engagement you will get. On some platforms, like Facebook, this will work against you. Facebook has a fancy algorithm it uses to decide what brand content it will filter to the news feed. Having a dwindling engagement rate tells this algorithm that your followers aren’t interested in your posts. So they will allow fewer of your posts into the news feed organically. Which means you have to buy more ads to reach your followers.

#2 SPAM!

Some services you buy followers from are extra shady beyond just selling you fake followers. Since they have access to your account, they can spam your followers with ads for their service, or anything really. Great for them! Not so much for you or your followers.

#3 Loss of Reputation.

It’s fair to say that people see buying followers as a rather immoral thing to do. People view it as you trying to appear more popular than you are and doing it by dodgy means. People may not know that you’ve bought followers, but going from 30 followers or likes to 30,000 in the space of a couple of days is bound to get people suspicious, and then your integrity and reputation could well be in tatters. In business your reputation is everything. It isn’t worth it to ruin it over attempting to look more successful than you are. But how, you may ask, can people even know you bought followers? Most new customers/clients won’t analyze your Instagram or Facebook and investigate. Most likely they’ll believe your followers are legit…well not so…

#4 You’ll get caught!

In fact a lot of people are currently getting found out. A new tool on the block is making it even easier. The Fake Followers Check check from Status people analyses your followers to see how many are fake. The interesting thing is you can do the analysis on other accounts too. In addition people are smart. When they see 30,000 followers but under 100 likes on a post, they know something is fishy. When they see most of your followers are foreigners or dodgy, they know something is up. And the moment they suspect that you inflated your numbers, you are back to issue #2…loss of reputation.

So what is the main lesson? Well apart from it being immoral to buy your followers, the number of followers you have really isn’t that important. Work on building a community of people who are interested in you or your product/service. If you follow this formula you will most certainly succeed.

SO HOW DO YOU GET QUALITY FOLLOWERS?
You can start by hiring a professional with a proven track record to get you started. There are many incredible tips and tricks that legitimately attract people who want to follow you. Be it contests, boosting posts, hashtags, providing quality posts, being active on social media and engaging with customers etc. At MLWDESIGN, I prefer to get you started and train you to run your own social media because I firmly believe there is no one who can do a better job representing you, then you. Be wary of companies who claim they can boost your followers fast…they are often getting you fake followers too!   Building a brand on social media isn’t about getting more followers than everyone else, it’s about getting into a niche market and building connections with real people that appreciate your product and—most importantly—are willing to spend money on it.   Interaction with your followers is the best way to learn about your audience as well.  Creating a quality follower base takes hard work—work that will pay off in actual dollars and cents if you give it the time it needs. It may seem daunting at first, but with a little planning, and some elbow grease you will get you the followers—and customers—of your dreams and maintain your integrity.

 

Jan 1, 2017 / Blog / Musings

40 Lessons I learned by 40

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Wow! So grateful to be celebrating my 40th and at the same time frightened that if I blink…I’ll be writing a blog about turning 80. (That is if blogs still exist in 40 years.) Because it truly feels like only yesterday I was a 20 year old college student working in fashion and living paycheck to paycheck making my way in this crazy world.It feels like only yesterday I was 16, working upstate at moonlight bungalows, partying at the Browns with my “squad” or as they called it back then my “crew”.

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I admit, it isn’t much fun to find a new gray hair or wrinkle which comes along with the territory of turning 40…but I will also admit that there are awesome things about turning 40. It’s true…a woman is probably most confident in her 40’s and the reason is because after 40 years of living and experiencing human nature you finally get it. I sometimes watch my kids day to day struggle and I finally get why they say youth is wasted on the young. I wish I could just implant in their young obtuse heads my knowledge of human nature, my lessons that I learned from my own mistakes and my guidance that I know will work…but I can’t because they are just not ready at 10, 12, 14 and even in their 20’s and 30’s to listen. So here is a list of stuff I have learned in my 40 years (I still can’t believe I’m saying 40 years…)

  1. Fake it till you BECOME it. Even if you don’t feel confident. Even if you are not certain you can do it. Even if you are scared….put your acting chops on and fake it for G-ds sake. Because most people around you are just as unsure…just as scared…and those who made it faked their way up too. Eventually you will go from faking to actually knowing and then to being an expert. PS. Google is our best friend.
  2. If you’re great at something, play it up. Don’t ever minimize your talents or try to hide them. If G-d gave you certain gifts than use them, enjoy them, share them and try your best to make a career out of them because not only will you go further, you will enjoy every minute of your journey.
  3. If you work hard enough, the universe will listen and success will come. I’ve learned that the harder I work, the luckier I get. Couture for a Cause‘s success is not luck…it’s the sum of thousands of dedicated hours of very hard and enjoyable work. It’s filled with challenges, drama, ups and down. For a naturally all over the place person like myself, I need to work even harder against my nature and be super duper crazy organized. (partner Esther Berg can attest to that)…but it was and is a huge success. Hard work=success.
  4. You absolutely get what you give in life. Don’t expect people to go out of their way for you if you never go out of your way. Don’t expect people to be generous if you are not generous. Don’t keep track either of what you give because it also doesn’t work that way. You really never know what others are going through and why they are not neighborly or nice. If you feel like inviting them for a meal even though you may never have been invited…do it. They may have reasons they didn’t invite you that has nothing to do with you. So don’t live life tit for tat…just live life free to do what you feel is right and what you feel like doing without keeping tabs.
  5. It really isn’t all about you. Peoples behavior usually have nothing to do with you. Give people the benefit of the doubt and you will be much happier.
  6. Focus on the people who are good to you and who you feel good around. If someone gives you bad vibes politely stay away and stick with those who you feel genuinely are happy for you when things are good and who are there for you when things are down. There is nothing better than knowing who your true friends are.
  7. Accept that the more out there you are, the more successful you are, the more haters you will have. Haters are people who can’t control their jealousy and it manifests in their obsessive preoccupation with you. Take it as a compliment. And ignore them. Trying to get them to like you won’t help and the opposite only makes them hate you more. Keep focusing on the good in your life and just ignore the haters.
  8. Know that no good deed goes unpunished. It’s a fact. But do good anyway!
  9. Never seek honor. If you live life with honor and integrity it will come…but don’t spend life seeking it. It’s obvious to all around you. Just live and do and be authentic and honor naturally comes. But don’t seek.
  10. Don’t lie…don’t even white lie. People are not stupid. If you forgot to invite someone or screwed up…admit it. People respect that much more than pretending something got lost in the mail.
  11. Smile…even if you are not in the mood. Smile. Because it really brightens peoples days and in turn brightens your day. It’s contagious. It’s easier than frowning. It helps you in all aspects of life. So smile!
  12. Never ever be afraid to let go of things you no longer need. Not only will your life be clutter free but you will really help someone out and no doubt it always comes back. Always!
  13. Time is money…don’t waste it. Don’t waste too much time watching mindless TV or playing mindless games. Use your time wisely…read, learn, practice what you are good at. That is really the key to success.
  14. Exercise daily because the only chance you have of staying a size 2-4-6-8 in your 40’s is if you do. And of course eat right because exercise does squat if you eat junk all day.
  15. Beauty isn’t everything but it helps…so whether you are blessed with great genes or not, take care of your appearance. First impressions do count…
  16. Except when you are running around in your gym clothes doing errands looking like a homeless chick. No one really cares what you look like running errands. They’re too busy worrying about how they look..which you don’t care about either. Unless they are wearing 6 inch stilettos in gourmet glatt..then you suddenly care.
  17. Heels actually do make you look skinnier so wear them as high as you can. And never forget spanx..I don’t care how skinny you are. Everyone needs spanx.
  18. It’s easy to get lost in your iphone and I am so guilty of that. But take a break once in a while and be present. Your kids and spouse will notice and appreciate those moments for life.
  19. Sure it’s fun to take lots of selfies and pictures of every moment but try to be present during big moments too. Take your pix and then put your phone away…enjoy the moment and how it feels, don’t just be a reporter and don’t feel if it wasn’t shared on Insta it didn’t happen…
  20. Everyone who looks really perfect in pix probably used a filter or two…so don’t compare yourself to photoshop. In fact don’t compare yourself period. There will always be better, skinnier, prettier, richer….it’s endless and  fruitless and you can never win so just don’t compare yourself to others.
  21. Be grateful, truly grateful, for what you do have. You have so much more than so many. Sure you can strive for more…but being happy with your present while continuing to strive for better futures is the only way to be.
  22. Facebook and social media is not bad for you. Time sucker yes, but bad it is not. It is simply a tool that can be used wisely or negatively like any tool. Personally it has helped me spread awareness of so many worthy causes, has helped me raise tons of money for those causes, keeps me in the loop of all the news that interests me and no doubt has allowed me to inspire others to be more politically active. So use it wisely and smartly and it’ll serve you well.
  23. If you have ADD like I think I do, check your calendar 5 times a day. Because you will forget an important appointment if you don’t. Check your gas too…cars really can’t run without gas. I found this out the hard way. Many times.
  24. There are certain things that are worth the splurge and certain things that aren’t. By 40 you should pretty much know what those things are. And try to keep that in mind when you get caught up in the moment.
  25. Faux anything will never feel as good as the real deal. It’s just how it goes. Doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your fake stuff…but it’s a fact. And when something is real…be it jewelry or a bag…you treat it differently and it does last longer.
  26. On the other hand you do not have to pay big bucks for the real stuff you like. There is no shame in consignment shops, ebay etc. My favorite stuff came from those sources.
  27. There is no such a thing as luck….מזל stands for Makom (Place) Z’man (Time) and Limud (Knowledge). People think I sold my last house because I got a knock on my door…there is so much more to the story. Luck happens but often due to actions you create that become catalysts for good fortunes. So never sit back and wait for anything. I get so irritate when I hear people say “well if someone knocks on my door I would sell…” Put yourself out there and make your luck!
  28. Life can be brutal…and unfair…and cruel…move on. Don’t dwell. There’s a bigger picture you are not seeing. Keep going…
  29. YOLO…that means enjoy life. If you can travel…travel. Don’t wait for the perfect timing. If you can do something…do it. You only have the present. Live it. Don’t push off what you can do today. If not now then when? That’s my motto in life.
  30. Cut your losses. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. Don’t be so stubborn that you hold onto something out of fear that you will lose. Whether it’s a bad idea, or real estate or a business. If you see it’s not working than cut your losses and move on.
  31. Sometimes you are included. Sometimes you are not. Sometimes you include. Sometimes you don’t.
  32. Write a journal. It’s the only way to truly capture life way after you forgot how you felt. It also teaches you a lot about yourself and is the best therapy.
  33. Listen…don’t just wait your turn to speak…listen…ask questions…don’t just talk about yourself. No one enjoys one-sided conversations. Show interest in what is going on in other peoples lives.
  34. You truly can learn something from anyone if you take the above advice and listen and ask. And learning from others is crucial to your survival. How else could I have discovered a certain website that sells designer shoes for a fraction of the cost? LISTEN people.
  35. Never answer your home phone. It is always going to be someone soliciting something. Your true friends and family know your cell phone.
  36. Everyone be it your BFF’s or your family will at some point do something annoying. If you hold in your feelings too long it always comes out in other ways. Bad ways. So if you truly care about your relationship be honest and tell them how you feel. Sometimes it’s a misunderstanding. Sometimes there are real reasons why they acted that way. You won’t know unless you ask.
  37. If you want a dog get one. You will never ever regret it. They bring joy and lightness to your home like nothing else. If you don’t like walking them get a fence and let them out. A bit of poop on your lawn that disintegrates and fertilizes is a worthy tradeoff for the love and joy you get from a dog.
  38. Don’t make a big stink over little things. Your kid mistakingly spills the entire pancake mix on the floor…it was a mistake…S%$# happens. Clean it up and don’t dwell. You spill your Green Juice inside your car while driving (true story), take a deep breath and keep driving. Then as soon as you can clean it up without letting it ruin your day. Your kids friend rides a hover board into your antique furniture breaking the leg off of it (true story)…gorilla glue it back and stop letting your kids ride their hover boards around your house…but still keep calm. Everything can be fixed, unless it can’t, and then there’s nothing you can do about it. Everything is replaceable.
  39. Participate. Sign up. Doesn’t really matter what it is. Just get out there and join something. Commit to it and do it and show up to meetings. You will get so much satisfaction from being part of something that makes a difference.
  40. Be kind…kind to your spouse, your family, your friends, strangers….be kind because that is all that will be remembered for in the end.

 

I can go on…but will save the rest for my next milestone birthday. I’m sure by then I will have learned even more.  Meanwhile I will try my best to live by these lessons I know to be true as I continue on this crazy journey of LIFE.

 

Mar 14, 2016 / Blog / Musings

Purim Themes

Purim is my favorite holiday for so many reasons. Everyone is happy (thanks to the abundance of wine) and we get to dress up and get creative. For me coming up with my yearly theme and putting together shaloch manot to go with it is one of the highlights where I get to use my graphic design skills on myself for a change.

Candyland 2015 

This postcard was mailed to everyone inviting them to come and get candy and hotdogs!

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BREAKFAST THEME FOR SHUL 2015

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FROZEN THEME 2014

With 2014 debut of the incredible Movie Frozen and my kids obsession with it it was only natural we use that as our theme.
Below are a few pix of the snowflake cupcakes, the “melted snow” water bottle and personalized chocolate and marshmallow snow.

Of course we can’t forget the postcard…
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Toy Story 2013

That year my then 3 year old was obsessed with Woody and Jessie so we all dressed up as characters from the movie.
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Our Shaloch Manot included a Toy story bag filled with candy legos, potato head chips, a duck pez dispenser and a buzz water bottle. 
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And of course a custom postcard wishing all a happy purim!

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Doc McStuffins Theme 2012

That year our then 4 year old was obsessed with Doc McStuffins…so a medical theme was in order!
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Our Shaloch Manot had an emergency kit complete with pill shaped cookies, a shot pen and bandaid playing cards (from oriental trading) a pill bottle with pill candies, lollies and a prescription pad for a happy purim!
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Summer Theme 2011

After a brutal winter I decided that year to put together a summer theme complete with a sunny yellow pale, a can of soda with a hawaiin shirt, sunglasses, a fan, a sunny cookie and an orange.
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This was the accompanied poem.
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Got Milk Theme 2010

This theme was a play on “got milk?” with homemade cookies, chocolate milk, milky way and a Milky

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Here is the postcard. This was lots of fun to make!
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There are so many creative ways to give Shaloch Manot. Of course it admittedly helps to have photoshop skills to create all the labels and graphics. You can research online for pre-made labels or you can  have a graphic designer (like myself) help you out. Most importantly purim is about letting loose and having fun!
Stay tuned for this years pix!

Happy Purim!.

Feb 14, 2015 / Musings

A Graphic Mistake….

I learned a valuable lesson today, one that I always knew. One that I constantly advise my clients on a regular basis.

PROOFREAD and then PROOFREAD again. And when you are done…show it to someone else and have them proofread. Do not trust your writer, your designer or even yourself. Let at least 3 separate eyes view your material because we are only human and mistakes do happen. Even mistakes that spellcheck will not catch, like a word spelled right but misused.

Now I consider myself a decent writer and though there are a few words I tend to misspell regularly, I am an above average speller. I think my grammar is decent. And I generally am very meticulous and look things over several times to make sure everything is perfect.

But alas…even in my own marketing material I erred…and I did so because I did not take my own advice. I showed it to no-one. I simply designed it and sent it off to print and printers do not spell check ever. Almost a year later a kind person finally pointed out my mistake and as a Graphic Designer whose own material promoting myself should be perfect, I was horrified. That for almost a year not one person pointed it out means either this error slid by, or it was noticed and no one was kind enough to let me know. It makes me appreciate the times when I do share something on facebook and I get a message, sometimes even from a near stranger, with a correction.
Nevertheless, the cost of reprinting my marketing material is nothing compared to how disappointed I am with myself for not having someone else carefully proofread my own ad.

So lesson learned the hard way! And I now have a story to share with my clients that will prove to them that you can never be too vigilant.

Below is the version with the mistake. Can you find it? It is so obvious to me now which shows how easy it is to miss something crucial.

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And here is the fixed version….

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Sep 17, 2014 / Musings

Puppy Diaries…The first week

So I hear there are some who are making wagers whether our new Puppy Peanut will make it past the first few weeks in the Weinstein home. Already there is a waiting list of eager families interested in taking her off our hands if we change our mind. I don’t blame the doubters since only two years ago we brought home another Puppy, whom we named Dexter after the TV show character (yeah I know, pretty weird to name a dog after a murderer) and within one week we gave him to another family who love him to pieces.

(Video of getting our last dog)

So why may you wonder are we attempting this again?

Well last Thursday, the first day of Chol Hamoed Pesach we were debating between Great Adventure (too cold) and Intrepid Museum.  As we head towards the car to go to the Intrepid (a boring choice in my view) I whisper to my husband, who is adamantly against getting a dog “Let’s get a dog.The kids have been begging for years and  it would make the best Afikoman gift. Besides I hate the Intrepid!”

He gives me that look. You know that ‘leave me alone about getting a dog. I’m not interested. no way. it’s a huge responsibility and I know I’ll end up doing the work and besides it’s probably your ADD making you want to get a dog right now…tomorrow you will get bored and want something else.’ He didn’t say that but I know he meant that. So I pleaded. “C’mon..let’s just do it! A dog brings such life to a home and teaches kids responsibility. Let’s be spontaneous and crazy! Let’s do it!”

I could tell he was succumbing especially when he grabbed a notebook and pen and started frantically writing a contract between him and me absolving him from all duties and responsibilities related to the dog. If I signed it then he agrees. So I did what any motivated, determined type person with ADD would do (I was getting bored of pleading and wanted to win.)
I sign.

So off we went to The Puppy Store (that’s what it’s called) in Merrick, owned by our friends Rob and Bughi Lawrence of Woodmere. The rest is history. We find our new addition, a caramel 10 week old puppy, part Shitzu and part Poodle. We gasp at the price (puppies can run over 1K) and at the amount and cost of supplies you need. We listen to the instructions on how to crate train it and we head home. Hubbie, true to the contract remained in the car during this 2 hour excursion. (On another note our experience at The Puppy Store was first rate and their dogs only come from breeders. Highly recommend!)

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The kids, in doggie heaven, right away take to her and play with Peanut (named ironically due to the Peanut allergies in our house and it doesn’t hurt the puppy looks like a peanut.) (Yes we are crazy). Then our new Shih-poo Shipoo’s on our floor. Deep breath. It’s okay…she’s new and it’s our fault for letting her out of the crate. (Supposedly dogs don’t poop where they sleep.) So the next few days I attempt as best I could to hold by the rigid crate training schedule which seems a bit inhumane leaving a puppy so long in a crate, but supposedly it works. I had to wake up at 3am one night when the puppy couldn’t hold it in and peed in his crate. Another night I checked on puppy at 3am, worried he was too quiet.  But other than that, she quickly caught on and within a few days was using the wee wee pad exclusively and sleeping through the night. I was thrilled!

It doesn’t hurt that she is incredibly cute and playful. I found myself really melting. This time around, I thought, we will ride through the beginning challenges of having a puppy and soon enough she will be a full member of the Weinstein family, following us around, wagging her tail when she greets us and doing all sorts of tricks. Yes, I could already see this all happening…

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And then the honeymoon ended.

Pesach is finally over so it’s time to take her to the Vet. If we use the Puppy Store’s recommended Vet than there is a host of benefits we get, like first vaccine free, first visit free, discounts and all sick visits medication free for first 5 years.   So it’s a no brainer that is the Vet we will use. But there is one slight problem…it’s far. As in 45 minutes away far. To some that may not be a big deal…but to me, someone who charges by the hour and would rather shop local than drive anywhere else even if I can get better selection and prices elsewhere, well it’s a big deal. But I load up my car with my 3 girls (off from school), the dog and all the stuff I need for Peanut. (her crate, wee wee pad, leash, stool sample (yuck!), paperwork, toy…) I truly felt like I have a new baby.

The ride was going well, my mood was alright considering the long drive, we were 10 minutes away when…..Peanut gets carsick and pukes all over my daughter thus causing my youngest daughter to throw up too! What’s worst is the dog’s throw up landed not only all over my daughter but in crevices in the car that is 100% impossible to clean! I silently thanked the lord my lease is up in a month..but still…grosssssssss!

Deep breath….

We get there and I immediately ask the Vet secretary for cleaning supplies and nearly puking myself I try to clean the car but like I said…not gonna fully happen.
We then sit in the waiting room surrounded by at least another 8 dogs and their very dedicated owners all talking like their dog is their baby. It’s a weird feeling seeing all these humans who truly love their pets like their own. I wonder if I will turn into that..I am definitely not there yet. I mean I think Peanut is adorable, but I have 4 real kids I hardly have patience for…

Anyway, it’s our turn and Peanut was a trooper bravely taking his shots without even a whimper. The vet begins telling me about heartworms and flees and how to avoid them by giving her this and that. My eyes begin to glaze…it’s a lot of info. I hardly remember to give my own kids vitamins and forget the flouride I was supposed to give them when they were babies….will I be able to do this? She asks if I have any questions. “Yes” I quickly say. “This visits free right? and the vaccine free right?” She assures me it is. Phew!

As I check out I am handed 6 months supply of Heartworm and flee stuff and a big bill….$270!!! What? Turns out only one of the three vaccines are free, and preventative meds ($130 worth) are not free and neither is the $48 poop test. I’m also told I have to return in two weeks for another vaccine and then again two weeks later…..I’m mentally calculating whether the money I save is worth the hours of my time driving back and forth.

I return to my stinky car in a really bad mood. It doesn’t help that I started Juicing today and am feeling grumpy from lack of solid food. I insist Peanut stay in her crate this time in case she gets carsick again…which she does, all over herself and my car. (It went through the crate!)

I’m still 20 minutes from home and peanut is crying because, well she’s sitting in her own throw up  which can’t be too pleasant.

So there you have it…the cold hard realities of having a dog in case my adorable photos make you wanna go out and get one.

But don’t get too excited yet… (yes I’m talking to all you naysayers out there). I am determined to persevere and fall in love with this puppy G-d damn it! This way perhaps, like all those crazies at the Vet, I too will not mind the money, the throw up, the poop etc. since the unconditional love and devotion, the unbridled joy, and cuteness of having a dog will outweigh that stuff. At least I hope that’s what happens. In any case I am comforted in knowing that as challenging as these early weeks will get, it is still far easier and cheaper than having another baby and at least they don’t talk back. So welcome Peanut Butter Weinstein. You’re here to stay.

At least for another week..

Apr 23, 2014 / Musings

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