Don’t Bully My Breed

2013 November 20
by Grace Boyle

I’m a big dog lover. Really, all animals.

I grew up with a dog, a horse, two cats and many little “starter” pets like hamsters and turtles (not necessarily in that order or all at once).

In particular with the horse and dog, they’re so human to me and there were many times I preferred their company to humans. They are comforting and in most cases, want to please you so much through love and respect. It’s only natural that we provide that goodness back to them.

Three years ago we rescued Cerna (Czech for the color “black”), from Humane Society of Boulder Valley. I’m so happy to support a great organization like that and in a world where there are so many unloved and unwanted animals, to take one off the streets (he was found on the streets of Pueblo, CO as a puppy) warms my heart.

Cerna is a lab-pitbull mix (from what we garner). He’s all black, with a few white pops on his toes. He has warm golden eyes, an earnest face , loves giving kisses and has a kind heart. He’s pretty epic at frisbee and fetch and in the Summer, likes hopping in the creek behind our place. He likes snuggling in bed in the morning, when he’s most tired (see below). He wouldn’t hurt a fly (nor has he).


Pitbulls, are largely a misunderstood breed. I can understand why. There has been violence from them in the past and there’s media frenzy with fighting rings and celebrities, creating horrible reputations from them. People feed on that even if there’s unjust or non-truth. But it’s not often looked at as holistic. You’re given a label then people just assume it is what it is, and not look at the whole picture or even the facts.

On that note, the deed should be reprimanded by all means. Punish the deed, not the breed. If there’s a dog attack or something fatal, look at the owner and circumstance – the answer will likely be there and should be dealt with because to be clear, this is by no means minimizing dog attacks or bites.

But pitbulls are not aggressive by nature. Studies by the Center for Disease Control have proven that no one breed of dog is inherently vicious. The CDC supports the position that irresponsible owners, NOT breed, is the number one cause of dog bites.

Screen shot 2013-11-20 at 10.37.03 AM

Furthermore, pitbulls are no more vicious than Golden Retrievers, Beagles, or other popular “family” dogs. In a recent testing done by The American Canine Temperament Testing Society (ATT), pit bulls achieved a passing rate of 83.9%, passing 4th from the highest of 122 breeds. That’s better than Beagles, passing at 78.2 and Golden Retrievers passing at 83.2%.  The average passing rate for ALL breeds is 77%.

Pitbulls as a breed{Via Mid-America Bully Breed Rescue}

The UK banned a variety of dog breeds including pit bulls and what do you think happened to the number of dog bites reported in the UK after the ban? They stayed exactly the same. Another responsible dog owner thing? 97% of dogs that do bite people are not neutered or spayed. This is important in protecting your animal and yourself.

A lot of times you hear that pitbulls have “locking” jaws so they’re more dangerous. That’s entirely untrue. There is no dog that has locking jaws. Dr. Howard Evans, Professor Emeritus, at the College of Veterinary Medicine at Cornell University shares, “I have spoken with [Dr.] Sandy deLahunta (the foremost dog neurologist in the country) and [DR.] Katherine Houpt (a leading dog behaviorist) about a jaw locking mechanism in pit bulls or any other dog and they both say, as do I, that there is NO SUCH THING AS “JAW LOCKING” IN ANY BREED.” It’s yet another media blitz blown out of proportion.

We can’t even bring Cerna to Denver when we go visit friends or their dogs, as there are city-wide bans on a breed and Denver is one of them. That means we could also never live there. City-wide legislation against a breed is ridiculous. It’s like limiting a certain type of person in a city (well, almost).

Don’t bully my breed.

Dont bully my breed

As you can tell, I’m passionate about the topic. Our dog is a mix and to most people, probably doesn’t even look like a bully breed (he’s so black lab looking). But there’s a great misunderstanding and it’s not going to be solved over night.

It feels funny to be judged and discriminated by our sweet, softy of a dog by landlords, cities, people, etc. We all have our judgments and I respect each person’s decision it’s just hard to imagine the repercussions here for a breed that’s so largely misunderstood where what I see from the pitbulls in my life, is nothing but love, loyalty and good hearts.

All I know is that I’ll provide a good example as a responsible dog owner and Cerna being an obedient, loving and happy dog. You can take baby steps and at least affect what you can control. Ill also continue to support the cause to create better owners, mandates and support for breed specific legislature.

Learn more and educate at Pit Bull Rescue Central:




Career Thank You’s: Home Depot Careers, The Great Giveback

2013 November 1
by Grace Boyle

When I was asked to think about who and what I was grateful for in my career through Home Depot’s The Great Giveback, my arrival to Boulder and the story around that popped into my head. Sometimes it’s worthwhile to publicly thank those people that have helped you so much, too!

When I first moved to Boulder I had no network and didn’t understand the economic ecosystem but I knew I had gumption and was ready to do whatever it takes to get that first job out of college. I had completed five internships in college, I actually liked working, and I had compiled a list of everyone I knew who knew someone in Boulder.

It was a start, right?

After a month with relatively nothing coming to fruition in Boulder, with no friends and no job I felt a little desperate (did I mention I’m impatient)?

Then, someone from that list of friends who knew friends in Boulder came to fruition. My college professor Ann, from my public relations class at college, had a friend and longtime previous colleague in Boulder.  She introduced us and that’s how I met David Mandell – one of my first connections in Boulder.

Dave at the time was working at a startup he was part of, but was also involved as a mentor at TechStars a tech incubator that at the time, I knew nothing about. We met for coffee and his kindness eased my nerves. He talked about the startup “scene” in Boulder and immediately had ideas for who I should meet next.

He introduced me to two guys who had been accepted into TechStars that year (2008 class), from Ignighter. From there, they passed me onto Micah Baldwin at Lijit. I laughed to myself as I realized, my newly started blog at the time had installed the custom blog search that Lijit produced at the time. I was already a user and had no idea this company was in Boulder. Little did I know, this bit of luck and involvement would help me so much.

I remember seeing Micah run in for our informal meeting as he breezed past me. He was wearing flip-flops even though it was cold and rainy out (funny for those who know him, know this is his style). Micah and I chatted for a bit and near the end of his conversation he mentioned, “So, we might be hiring actually. Do you want to meet our COO to learn more?”

I walked over to Walter’s office that morning after my chat with Micah and a few hours later, I had a job offer and had accepted my first job in Boulder at Lijit (doing a mix of publisher services and business development).

Side note: Walter was telling Todd (CEO) about hiring me and he said, “Yeah, we met this girl her name is Gayle and I just decided to hire her.” We still joke about it that he didn’t even know my name and offered me a job.

It all started with leveraging who you know, and David’s kindness in believing in me. To this day, I’m still friends with Dave and I love how it all comes full circle.

I should mention with this conclusion, I stayed at Lijit (acquired by Federated Media) for three years and got to work with one of my favorite bosses to-date, Perry Quinn. Perry and I still see each other frequently, and after countless years/hours of working together, I learned so much from him and the crew at Lijit. I know I can ask Perry for anything and it’s nice to have that mentor available to you, as you try to navigate the rocky career waters.

 I like telling this story for a few reasons:

  1. Career moves and discovery isn’t linear. It’s a zig-zag and you simply do the best you can with what you have. Don’t be discouraged by the ups and downs.
  2. It all starts with one simple connection. For me, it started with someone who didn’t even live in Boulder, but I asked my current connections for those that knew someone in Boulder and it led to my first job and working with a great boss and many friends I still have to this day.
  3. Don’t underestimate the power of kindness and giving back. Five years into living in Boulder and being entrenched in the startup “scene” that I knew nothing about in 2008, I’m often asked to meet for networking sessions or to connect with those just moving to Boulder. Sometimes it’s tiring, but then I always remember how much guidance and help I was offered when I first moved here and I’m down with paying it forward. Give, get, give, get. It’s part of the career journey.
  4. Hard work usually pays off. Some things don’t always go the way we want, there are no guarantees, but these people mentioned in this story must have seen something in little ol’ me so I just tried to be honest and showcase who I was and what I was willing to try.

 Most of all, I’m grateful. In this funny chain of events, the groundwork is imperative to a successful structure and growth. It’s also about people investing in your success and perhaps taking a risk on someone to give them a chance. For that reason I’m so thankful. Thanks to Ann Pechaver-Schmidt, Dave Mandell, Micah Baldwin, Perry Quinn, Walter Knapp and Todd Vernon to those early days and all your help and support. I still think about those days and thank you!


Flipping it back to you – what are you thankful for in your career? Share it with The Home Depot Careers Facebook page and be entered into the #GreatGiveback giveaway for your chance to win one of many amazing prizes while supporting a great organization in Team Rubicon. Enter to win here.

There’s more! Home Depot is giving away a $50 gift card to one lucky Small Hands, Big Ideas reader.

To enter on the blog, share with us what you’re thankful for in your career in the comments below.


We will pick one winner at random on November 18th!

 Disclosure: The Home Depot partnered with bloggers such as me to participate in their “The Great Giveback” social media contest. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to say in these posts and believe that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. The Home Depot’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.


2013 October 9
by Grace Boyle

At the end of September through early October, I went back to Italy for 10 days with my family. It was glorious, gluttonous and at times, a typical family vacation with all of us yelling and getting lost. Mamma mia.

This was the longest vacation I’ve taken in a long time (sad). The villa we stayed at, on a small working vineyard in Greve, Tuscany didn’t have wireless so we were really unplugged. Occasionally at a restaurant we would visit we had quick wireless, but I didn’t check email and didn’t do a lick of work.

Tuscan Countryside

On the way there, we had a long layover in France and we got to hang out with Lindsey and Cedric in Paris for the day! Lindsey and I have known each other for years on our blogs and had never met before. We were extremely sleep deprived and disheveled from our previous red eye connecting flight, but Paris put a nice glow on things (except our tired outfits/expressions) :)

In France!

I read 4 books (plus finished a fifth I was halfway done with). This is a sweet luxury to me. I love reading.

I slept 12 hours many a night (thanks jetlag).

I ate pasta, pizza and gelato daily. A lot of wine and espresso.

I spent every waking moment with my mom, dad, brother and James and we road tripped around Tuscany to various vineyards, restaurants, farms and little hillside towns to indulge and enjoy.

I got to spend a day in Florence, the city I used to live in and found my old apartment and had a rush of memories flow back to me, six years later.

We packed in a lot. A lot. For that reason, I purposefully left a day in the middle of completely nothing.

It was glorious and as Italian dual-citizens, so great to all be back in the homeland. It’s good to take vacation. Well earned, well played, time well spent.

Family in Siena




Fighting The Right Battle(s)

2013 September 18
by Grace Boyle

As you might have heard, Colorado, specifically the Front Range has had some horrible flooding; a “biblical” flood. Last week I was on a work trip in Cleveland and I watched nervously from afar as we were headed back to fly in Thursday (where it came to a head). Our place is right on the creek, at the mouth of the Canyon and against the mountains – essentially ground zero for Boulder’s flooding area.


I refreshed Twitter madly on the airplane WiFi and felt helpless strapped into my seat, hearing about the water rising and the amount of rain we had already received (unheard of, we’re usually hoping for rain in dry fire-ridden Colorado). It’s a 0.1% probability of such a rainstorm occurring in any given year in Boulder County. This is the biggest air rescue since Katrina. It’s for real.

Boulder 100 Year Flood

I drove in alone from the airport, watching the wall of black against the mountains as I headed in to Boulder from the Denver airport. I only hydroplaned a few times and stopped at a friends place who was safe from flooding. I finally arranged for a neighbor to come and get me in a truck. It wasn’t possible for me to drive into our place, as the roads were already becoming rivers.

They had been manning our street, setting up barriers, diverting the flood water coming from all areas toward our complex. It looked like a third-world country when you got to our street and the water kept rising. A river of water was madly rushing where our driveway was, headed straight for the creek and through our side yard a steady stream hadn’t stopped flowing for a day.

We were on the second floor, so we were housing neighbors on the first floor. Half of which already began flooding.

Long story short – it was a scary 48 hours. We were up all night Thursday, unable to sleep and finally trekked to the third floor due to evacuation notices (we weren’t going to leave on foot as they suggested). We are lucky and much better off than many others. Our place is personally dry and we were able to finally leave Saturday as our road opened up.

I’ve been evacuated before amidst a national disaster (fire and flood warning in the past here in Boulder) and written about it here where you have to gather up the few things that are important and depart with a hopeful heart. As I put it: Where happiness exists and knowing that things are just things; so I’ve been there. I have found that the best and worst come out in people in disasters such as these. It’s inspiring to see people coming together, sharing, helping and doing whatever it takes for your neighbors and loved ones. People also lose their shit, but I understand why. It’s shattering and uneasy.

It reminds you that in the scheme of things, a lot of things don’t really matter. For instance, it drives me mad that James insists on wheeling in his bicycle into our small apartment. He leaves it right in the main entry way and in the kitchen. It takes up space, it is covered in mud from being ridden to and from work and aesthetically, I’m not into it. We don’t have a garage or basement, otherwise, bike inside is no big deal. We just don’t have a ton of space.

We have a private porch with bike racks and bike racks around our complex. I keep mine on our porch locked up. All of a sudden, he doesn’t want to do that and his lock doesn’t work that way. It’s a newer bike so he keeps it inside.

It’s stupid really. And compromising is important. We’ve finally agreed, if you insist on having it inside, that he can wheel it into the guest room so it’s out of the way and not an eye sore.

You know these little things that just bug you. You know they aren’t a big deal but it just gets under my skin. It’s a little thing. After all this, going through this together and the fear and rising water and being stuck in our place for three days, it just doesn’t matter. It’s worth letting these things go. After all, hundreds of people have lost their entire homes, lives have been lost, and some people are still stuck out there.

It’s about a paradigm shift and just realigning your priorities to what really matters. The bicycle? Really small detail in the big picture. Time to wake up.

Be Yourself Together With Target

2013 September 2
by Grace Boyle

As there are only a few more years left to my 20’s, I’m right in the thick of wedding season especially in the Summer. I like to think that I’m particularly good at gifting and although couples often are on registries, I love picking something that really resembles who I think the couple are and that it might mean a bit more coming from me.

As part of Target’s “Be Yourself, Together” program I’ve chosen one gift and as a launchpad, picked another gift that pairs perfectly, in our own unique way.

The first gift I chose is a Panasonic Lumix camera. I’m a food blogger and I love taking photos. I’m always capturing moments and love being behind the camera. I’m often the one friends go to, for photos of the event or gathering we had and when it comes to food, My Man is my wing man whenever we’re reviewing a restaurant or covering some new dish we’re whipping up in the kitchen.


The second gift I’ve chosen to pair with this, relates to My Man: I chose a three-piece chef’s knife set from KitchenAid. As mentioned, I’m always behind the camera and really, the best cook in this relationship is him. We’re always whipping up new dishes at home, so it’s a perfect way to collaborate together. I particularly love the chef knife that comes with the set. Makes sense, right?


This is a fun way to blend two unique gifts, that maybe you wouldn’t pick out together, but in our day-to-day life it’s perfect for us as so much of our time is spent in the kitchen.

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Target, but all opinions and content are my own, as always. You can follow other posts at Target Wedding.

They don’t make ’em like they used to

2013 August 28
by Grace Boyle

Please excuse me while I rant a moment.


We’ve gone through our share of dog walkers, doggy day care, etc. We care a lot about our pup, Cerna, and as energetic as he is, exercising and tiring him out is really the best thing for everyone. We also believe in a high quality of life for him.

We have a great doggy day care we love, but it’s a lot of moola and we have to drive him there and pick him up, which when you have morning or evening plans sometimes it’s not as plausible. A few dog walkers have moved or gotten “real jobs” after college, so it has some turnover.

We always like to go off a referral and even one dog walker (a so-called “professional”) we found, proceeded to tell us how she doesn’t like pitbulls (he’s a lab/pit mix) and would never work with us in an accusatory tone, before James ended up calmly saying we didn’t want to support her then anyway and hanging up (Yelp review incoming). Just put that on your website and we would have been fine. Totally get the entitled to your opinions but don’t berate our well-behaved dog that couldn’t hurt a fly.

Recently, a friend mentioned they knew someone vaguely that might be interested and he was still in college. He followed up and seemed nice enough. He came by, met Cerna and we chatted price. He wasn’t free Tuesdays and Thursdays, so James and I agreed to take those days to bike home and let Cerna out. We came to an agreement and he came the first week.

Then on Monday, at 5 PM, I get a text that he forgot to tell me he had a meeting that day and never came to let him out. Great. I leave work early and let Cerna out as he had been home all day. Frustrating, but not worth ending things over. In general, just irresponsible. This isn’t just a meeting, but another animal we’re talking about.

Then I wake up this morning, and see that at 2 AM I get a text from him. I am incredulous. Word for word below, it’s “not worth my time” and “otherwise I am done.” Thanks for the warning and really pro of you to text us at 2 AM, giving us no warning.


I think I typed five different replies, as fast as my little fingers could. My eyebrows furrowed and huffing and puffing my way through it. Each time I deleted it and was reminded by James, to not get into it. Just say thanks, you don’t have to come then. Leave it at that. It wasn’t even like he was with us for long.

My thoughts on this situation specifically:

1. Since when is $12/hour (what we paid him) not enough for a college student?

2. If you had a problem with price (I can respect that), negotiate in person. Newsflash, he AGREED to this price and said that worked for him when we asked him and met in person.

3. Don’t text in the middle of the night. That’s not professional. Save the saucy attitude for your friends. Not employers that have been nothing but fair and nice. His tone is clearly one that is rude (look at his word choice) and thanks for the notice ahead of time, he was supposed to come that day.

4. Finally, when you are in college, walk this dog 3-4 hours a week, make your own hours and play with a dog for “work” beggars can’t be choosers. We’ll find someone who is grateful. Sorry to have done business with you. Like, at all.

Now, I didn’t have to post this. In fact, I rarely rant here. I mean, the kid doesn’t even know my last name, let alone that I have a blog. I’m not blowing up his spot and would never mention his name but I feel generally, this wouldn’t have happened years ago. It just wouldn’t have. What is up with this entitlement?

I try to imagine someone as ethical, virtuous and hard working as my Grandfather sending a rude text in the middle of the night, in a rude tone, being like “peace out” I don’t need to work. Maybe this is some rich, spoiled kid. I don’t know. But generationally, this just wouldn’t have happened. Therein, they don’t make ’em like they used to.

I never would have done this in college. I had multiple jobs and worked hard. If something wasn’t working out, I would be upfront and speak in person. Any transaction, I would take seriously. Now, I probably was less responsible when I was in college, but not when it came to jobs.

All of this makes me feel old, upset at the new generation and keen on how I want to my parent our some-day children. Seriously, buck up.


Thanks for listening. Am I crazy here or do you feel the same with entitled youngins?




Exploring Pharmaca + $50 Gift Card Giveaway

2013 August 20
by Grace Boyle

I was recently invited to visit and shop at Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacy, to learn more about the Pharmaca Experience and also offer a special $50 gift card giveaway to Small Hands, Big Ideas readers!

I’ve been going to Pharmaca since I moved to Boulder (for about five years). It’s always a welcoming experience and I find that they have enough alternative healing and wellness items, alongside the regular staples you might need (for instance, I just purchased hydrogen peroxide there because I was out) to be a healthy balance.

Screen shot 2013-08-19 at 10.08.00 AM
My parents always had alternative wellness products and homeopathy the house and that’s often the type of doctors we saw were as well (e.g. Ayurveda, etc.). For that reason, and with Pharmaca’s licensed estheticians and practitioners, I always felt comfortable and safe in there, versusone of those big box drug stores.

What I purchase, always ranges, but I love their variety of Dr. Hauschka products, their multi-vitamins, there’s a music section, and I recently also learned of specifically their Gaia Herbs from Pharmaca and an interesting shampoo, Peter Lamas Chinese Herbs Stimulating Shampoo. This is a shampoo (under $20) that helps with weak hair or scalp, through the stimulating herbs and it’s totally natural and doesn’t damage the hair. See the variety?

It always smells nice in there (perhaps lavender or some of their essential oils) and whenever I go in, you’re greeted with a friendly hello and if you have any symptoms someone with quite  bit of knowledge, can help guide you to some herbs, medicine or vitamins that might alleviate whatever you’re experiencing. This is one of the main reasons I go there if I have an ailment or am not feeling well. I appreciate their breadth of knowledge and know I can trust them.

On the flip side, if I do need some sort of prescription, I can call it in and pick it up there as they are a pharmacy. Again, I feel good going there.

Before coming to Colorado, I didn’t know Pharmaca existed but I soon learned they have stores in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington. It’s a store I’m happy I have locally and with such an important focus on health and wellness, I am glad they do exist.

$50 Gift Card Giveaway to Pharmaca:

Details to enter:

  • You must leave a comment on this blog post, sharing what you would purchase from Pharmaca if you won the gift card.
  • Please leave your email with the comment so I can contact you, if you win.
  • I will announce the winner by September 1st via email. The winner will be chosen by random.

Please note: The $5o gift card can only be used at a Pharmaca store (not through the online store) so please be sure to confirm you have a store near you.

**UPDATE**: Winner has been announced via random number selection. Congratulations Doniree!

Disclaimer: Thanks to Pharmaca for hosting this giveaway and blog post. All opinions, as always, are my own.

Make the trip

2013 August 16
by Grace Boyle


One of my favorite writers, Danielle LaPorte’s recent blog posts titled, “Your friends, your freedom, and getting off your ass for Love,” is a zinger. Hit right to the heart.

As each year goes by, it seems our lives become more compartmentalized. Work usually gets more intense, there are marriages, moving, buying houses, babies and well, priorities change. There is just less time for the things that aren’t in your day-to-day schedule, that perhaps aren’t mandatory.

In Danielle’s story, she recalls the few times of regret in her life were the times she missed out on time with friends. For me, friends are family and when we get caught up, those trips and time together become even more important. As my family-friends are scattered around the country (and world) I always know that the experience is something I would way more purchase than a physical item.

Last Summer when one of my best friends’ fiance died suddenly, without even needing to think about the decision, those of us from afar (Colorado, California, Australia), booked one way tickets home to be with her and to help pick up the pieces. I stayed at home with her and family for nine days. Nine days that when you have a full-time job, freelance work, a dog, a boyfriend, a life, a vacation planned over some of this time – is a lot. But I didn’t care. It was innate and the exact right thing to do. I cannot imagine not doing that. The part that also holds true, is without a doubt, she and the rest of our friends, would have done the same if the situation was reverse.

Life is filled with inconveniences and time, is of the essence. Time is also, extremely valuable. But time spent for and with those incredible friends, it is never lost or unworthy.

As life becomes busier and I become a bit more tired by my “adult” responsibilities, one thing doesn’t change, wanting to spend quality time with those kin friends (and family for that matter). At a time when making friends in your 30’s may be more difficult, cultivating and cherishing those friendships you’ve had for years, or perhaps your whole life, becomes even more vital.

Although circumstances and finances may not always allow for jet setting around, there are always ways to make the effort and to stay together.

I have a Southwest credit card to earn miles, might as well earn points while I’m spending money daily. On work trips, even though they’re often very rushed, I always rearrange my schedule to see a friend for dinner or in between meetings (it’s worth it). I plan ahead, think about timing and make sure to put the effort into planning for group trips, or coordinating when we’re all headed home. Just recently, I flew home to Iowa to see that very friend. There was no real reason, I just felt seeing my parents and close friends was due, and I did some rearranging. It is money so worth the spend. And that money spent on the somewhat more expensive flight than normal, I don’t miss it.

It is your choice after all regarding where your energy and time is spent. Cheers, my friends. Here’s to getting off our ass for love.

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