Monday, December 15, 2014

Store Spotlight: Brindle's New York (& A Giveaway!)

I'm so excited to share this extra special Store Spotlight today. I discovered Brindles New York on Instagram and Holly and I were lucky enough to be chosen as brand ambassadors for this fabulous newcomer the pup e-commerce scene. After meeting up with the founders and their own pup-sonal ambassador (and the store's namesake), Mr. Brindles himself, I was struck with how much the Brindles philosophy aligns with my own.
It was love at first sniff for Holly and Mr. Brindles!
The Brindles folks feel that since our pooches are our furry family members, the products they use, from food and treats to chew toys and clothes, should have the same benchmarks for quality as those we give our human family. As pup parents themselves, they advocate for American made products with a level of care behind them that would appease even the most discerning pet owner. Brindles also believes in supporting small businesses, encouraging entrepreneurship and giving brands a stage to showcase their products and consumers a chance to discover them. Read on to learn more about the incredible story behind Brindles NY, as well as for some special treats available only to Little Holly's Big World fans!

Little Holly's Big World: What was your inspiration to start Brindles?

Brindles NY: The inspiration to start Brindles basically came from being a frustrated pet parent.  I was consistently disappointed with the vast number of pet products in the marketplace and the lack of information behind them.  

At home, I love to cook and can easily spend weeks researching the best ingredients.  Take olive oil for example. For myself, I want to be sure it is 100% pure and not mixed with an inferior oil.  I want to know where the olives are grown, and how they are pressed. 

After a series of well known pet food/treat recalls in the news, I finally asked myself why wouldn't I apply that same approach of looking for olive oil to find products for my best companion.  It turned out to be harder than I thought.  There was so many products that didn't meet our standards as we shopped online or in the “big box” stores.  

Fast forward to this spring, on a spur of the moment trip upstate to Beacon, NY with Mr. Brindles.  It was there that I met Patricia McGrath of Laughing Paw Farm.  Patricia had a table setup for the annual “Beacon Barks” festival on that day and Mr. Brindles found his way to her table of treats.  I listened to Patricia’s story of the dogs that inspired her to bake, and I saw the farm fresh Ameraucana eggs from her very own flock of hens that she uses in her treats. I knew I found someone who shared my own philosophy of doing things the right way with no shortcuts.  And, not only did I find amazing treats for Mr. Brindles but I also had the most amazing eggs for breakfast the next day!   

It was from this moment on that I knew there had to be others out there like Patricia. I wanted to find them and give them a place to showcase their products.  These individuals and small business owners are the inspiration behind Brindles.

Shopping local is great--just ask Mr. Brindles! Image courtesy of BrindlesNYC on Instagram.
LHBW: What makes Brindles different from other pet boutiques?

BNY: Brindles is different than other pet boutiques because we only feature 100% American-made products.  

However, just because you are an American made brand doesn’t guarantee you a spot on our shelves.  We are reading each and every label, researching the manufacturing process, and speaking to the purveyors of each product we carry.  We are ensuring that every brand and business in our shop is one we can be proud of and one that customers can feel confident purchasing.  Most of the small businesses we work with are pet parents themselves. They have passion and a pride of craftsmanship that gets lost among the larger manufacturers and big box stores.

West Paw Design re-knit sweaters available at Brindles NY. Image courtesy of BrindlesNYC on Instagram.
In addition, there are so many great artisans right here in NY making quality pet products and we at Brindles love to share all of them with you. 

LHBW: Why is working with small, American owned businesses important to the Brindles philosophy?

BNY: At Brindles, we believe in building a virtuous circle.  It is important to foster our local communities by supporting small American businesses that continue to grow, hire skilled workers, and give back to the community.

Here’s what I mean:

When you shop at Brindles and buy a new Toppl treat dispensing toy made by West Paw Design, you foster a growing American brand and support West Paw as they hire more skilled toy makers and sewers.  Those sewers, in turn, go out into their local Hometown, USA and buy produce from a local farmer at the market.  That farmer?  Well, he adopted a lovable rescue dog, Lassie, to help patrol his farm.  And so the farmer buys Lassie a comfy new Jax and Bones bed from Brindles.  Jax and Bones and West Paw Design both donate a portion of proceeds to charity from the purchases that Brindles made and we at Brindles also give back by donating to various pet rescue causes.

Brindles New York is a big advocate for shopping small. Image courtesy of BrindlesNYC on Instagram.
And so the circle continues….more American workers, quality made goods, a stronger economy, more pets rescued and a better community for everyone.

LHBW: Tell us the story of Rascal, or Mr. Brindles himself!

BNY: Mr. Brindles (aka Rascal) is a three year-old, cleverly stubborn, brindled French Bulldog and the Chief Tester of all products in the shop.  He likes hanging out in the dog park and chasing squirrels in Central Park. His favorite things are treats, treats, and more treats.  

Mr. Brindles sunning in Central Park. Image courtesy of BrindlesNYC on Instagram.
Like many breeds, French Bulldogs are prone to allergies and Mr. Brindles is no exception. We have to be careful with what he eats.  He is on a special limited ingredient diet that always keeps us researching the best quality ingredients. 

The Brindles store name was inspired from the color of his fur.  

I met Mr. Brindles when he was just a pup and I was courting his mama.  During our introduction phase, he would love to curl inside my legs or sit on top of them (he still does!).   One evening while snuggled on top of my legs, he quickly and suddenly ran off into another room.  A few minutes later, I scratched my leg (I am actually allergic to dog fur!!) and when I reached down my hand felt wet.   Yup, Rascal marked me as his and we have been inseparable ever since.  

LHBW:  In your opinion, what is it that makes pup ownership in New York special?

BNY: Well, most of us in New York don’t have backyards.   So we are all taking our pups outside in our PJs every morning…rain or shine.  We have a multitude of dog parks to choose from and a bevy of meetup groups to socialize.  Dog friendly restaurants and shops make it easy to take your best friend almost everywhere in this city.  The scents and visual scenery are just as stimulating to dogs as they are to people.   
Jumping for joy in NYC's own backyard!
However, its the community of great pet parents that truly make NY a special place. 

LHBW: What is the most important thing you want people to take away from the Brindles shopping experience? 

BNY: Confidence.

Confidence not only that their purchase helps support animal rescue efforts and small businesses, but that they can rely on Brindles to curate the best and safest pet products available in the marketplace from people who care about pets and not profits.

We believe that it's stores like Brindles New York that make the dog community special. To recognize an issue as a pet parent, and take the steps to go out and solve it all while supporting small businesses and rescue organizations, is absolutely amazing. If this piece made you want to run out and shop small with Brindles New York, then you're in luck! Little Holly's Big World readers can enjoy a 10% discount with code HOLLY, so you can knock out your holiday shopping in plenty of time.
Brindles NY Holiday Bundle. Image Courtesy of Brindles New York.
And as an added treat, Brindles has kindly offered one of their famous Holiday bundles to giveaway--just in time for Santa to leave it for your favorite four legged friend!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats to the winner!! Happy Holly-days!

Until Next Time, Darlings!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Paw-sitively Fabulous: We're Gonna Be Royals

This weekend marked the arrival of Prince William and Kate Middleton in Manhattan, right in the LHBW neighborhood of the Upper East Side. After a call from one of my besties and my mother encouraging us to see if we could catch a glimpse of Britain's most popular royals, Holly and I donned our Barbour coats and Burberry scarves and braved the dipping temperatures to join fellow New Yorkers outside the Carlyle Hotel to await the arrival of Kate & Wills.

Though we didn't actually see the royals (the crowd was too dense), we did catch a glimpse of their motorcade and experience the excitement from the crowd. Though temps were low (27!), spirits were high, and people were singing a mixture of songs they felt the visiting rulers would enjoy, which seemed to really just be an endless loop of Christmas classics people don't know the words too mixed with a few selections from The Sound of Music (are the Duke and Duchess fans???).

A view of the beginning of the Duke and Duchess's motorcade outside the Carlyle Hotel.
In the end, we came hold with cold toes but warm hearts--it was such a classic New York moment, and we're glad we took part! Especially Holly, who was interviewed by a British news station for being the only pup waiting!

Speaking of royal treatment, we are obsessing over BaubleBar's new paw-sitively Princess worthy collar selection. As a long time fan of BaubleBar's fashionable pieces and Manhattan same day delivery options, I will certainly be tempted to add one of these sparkling Baubles to Holly's Holly-day wardrobe. Below are some of my top picks from the collection, as well as the Human pieces I would pair them with for a sparkling matching ensemble worthy of tea with the Princess herself!

Until Next Time, Darlings!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Holly's Holly-Day Gift Guide (Part Two): Gifts For the Animal Lover

Happy post Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope your stomachs are full and your wallets are empty from all the eating and shopping this weekend (I know Holly and I did some major Black Friday damage)!

A lot of my readers comment that though they love dogs, they aren't in the right place in their lives to own one. So I decided to make this week's gift guide one for those folks in your life that love animals, but aren't lucky enough to hang with them every day (PS--these gifts would still also make pawsome presents for those with pets, too).

Happy Holly-days!

Until Next Time, Darlings!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Holly's Holly-day Gift Guide (Part One): Gifts for Your Pet

It's officially almost Black Friday and thus officially almost Christmas. At least as far as this red-cup toting, Peppermint Mocha loving blogger is concerned. To be honest, I've been listening to Christmas tunes since mid-October. Call me crazy, but I just love this time of year, especially since there are so many fun ways to celebrate with your pooch, from frolicking in the snow to special Holly-day cards in fabulous seasonal sweaters!

It's also the season for Holiday shopping for everyone on your gift list, including your pooch. Below are some of my picks for the pampered pup (and kitty--this is also the season for putting aside our differences!) in your life!

Until Next Time, Darlings!

Monday, November 17, 2014

Paw-sitively Fabulous: Fall Fashion for the Dog Lover

Holly and I are obviously big fans of matching outfits, but sadly we can't wear them every day. For the days when we won't be hanging out together (and thus allowing people to truly appreciate the awesomeness of our matching ensembles), I'm always on the hunt for funky and fashionable ways to wear my dog-loving heart on my sleeve. Here are some of my favorite finds from around the web:

1. Orla Kiely "Puppy Love" Sweatshirt Dress:

Almost as cozy as cuddles from your pup (buy it here)!

Monday, November 10, 2014

My picks from the new American Beagle Outfitters line!

As many of you may know, American Eagle released a faux news story on April Fool's Day touting their new line of stylish duds for your pup, known as American Beagle Outfitters. The story created such a buzz that the company decided to release the line for real. Below are a few of my top picks from the line!

1. "Hump Day" beanie: This won't work for Holly's pointy ears, so #teamfloppyears gets a win on this snarky and stylish chapeau!
Photo courtesy of American Eagle Outfitters.
2. Silver "Pupper Jacket:" A must have for New York's super chilly days, in an on trend metallic to keep your pooch stylin' in those #ootd posts (as an added bonus, there's a matching human version!).
Photo courtesy of American Eagle Outfitters.
3. Patterned Sweater Poncho: Sweater capes are all the rage this fall, and who says your pup should be left out in the cold on the trend?
Photo courtesy of American Eagle Outfitters.
What are your top picks from American Eagle's new pup line? Leave your faves in the comments below!

Until Next Time, Darlings!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Little Holly's Big Book Club: Book Four Wrap Up and more Pup-Friendly Book Suggestions!

Hello Darlings!

I can't believe it's already November. I know I said that last month, but not it seems like I blinked and we're just a hop, skip, and a jump from the Holidays!

While blinking this month, though, I DID have time to read our book selection, Travels With Casey (the long plane ride with no wi-fi helped immensely). I loved Benoit Denizet-Lewis's story of travelling the country with his semi-reluctant pooch to learn more about America's dog obsession. I laughed, I cried, and I realized that there are some pet parents who are just as crazy about their dogs as I am!

Though this book marks the official end of our Summer-turned-Fall book club adventure, I did come across another series of books I had to share with you all. I discovered Chet and Bernie Mysteries while at a small independent book store in my home state of Colorado, and the shop owner guided me to the first two books so I could start from the beginning. Having just started the first one, I already know that these will be at the top of my Winter reading list, and that I will be reading them all!
Another plus about this series: solid dog puns. I love a good dog pun. 
Chet and Bernie are a crime solving duo of a Private Investigator and his pup, who acts as narrator of the stories. Reading about crimes from a pooch's perspective is hilarious, and the mysteries definitely suck you in! I have to remind myself not to pick up the book before bed because I get so involved in finding out what happens I forget to sleep :)

What's your favorite book about dogs? Have you read Travels with Casey or any of the Chet and Bernie mysteries? I'd love to hear about it in the comments!

Until Next Time, Darlings!
Images by Freepik