Friday, February 1, 2019

Rescue Dog Rides Therapy Unicorn!

Hey friends! I've been sitting on this footage for a while, and finally put it together for you to see. Dextre taught Clarice to ride a unicorn! If you're ready to hit your cute quota for the day, watch our video below!


We owe a HUGE THANKS to Brittany Beard of Unicorn Hugs for the loan of the wonderful Ms. Lilly the unicorn. It was such a pleasure having her backstage with us all day. Unicorns are the best guys.

Sweet success!
Also thank you to the incredible Pennsylvania Renaissance Faire for always letting us try new things! We love you guys!

Practice makes perfect
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Monday, October 15, 2018

Adopting a New Puppy | Meet Heidi

Introducing our newest family member...Heidi!
The day we met; love at first sight.
I'll answer a few of the most frequently asked questions now!

Where did you get her?

Mommy & Me Rescue in Mount Carmel, PA. They pulled Heidi's pregnant mother from a shelter and fostered her and the entire litter of 8 until they were weaned. Then everyone went up for adoption!

What breed is she?

Well she's a rescue, but mom looked an awful lot like an Australian Cattle Dog, ACD for short. So we're pretty sure Heidi is part cattle dog. Would LOVE to do a dog DNA test on her to learn about her breeds, but it's rather expensive.

Did you choose a deaf dog on purpose?

Nope! I had no idea she was deaf, and neither did the rescue. I found out while conducting a few tests to determine her personality and see if she would be a likely candidate to enjoy our unique lifestyle. Our dog trainer we work with, Laura from DoggyU, suggested a recovery test. You purposefully startle the pup to see how they react. It's okay for the dog to be scared at first, but you want a puppy that recovers quickly when they realize they're safe, and then becomes curious and investigates whatever startled them.

So I dropped a metal dog dish on a hard floor not four feet behind her while she wasn't looking. It was quite loud, but she didn't react at all. It was pretty obvious she couldn't hear, and the next day, the vet confirmed it.

While we weren't seeking out a deaf dog, we're very happy to have one. It gives us a lot to learn and she is already very special to us.

Will she be in the show?

That's the goal, yes! Our dogs are family first and cast members second, but we very much chose her because we thought she'd enjoy having the kind of job we can give her. Cattle dogs are a high energy working breed and like to be mentally and physically challenged. Heidi is a great fit for us.

In fact, she's in the show already...Check out Heidi's first (ADORABLE) trick in the video below!


If you have more questions, please send them to me! In the meantime, here she is snoozing with Dextre and Mabel backstage.


Surveying her new territory in a sweater two sizes too big for her.

Dying of the cute.
We picked up a bunch of puppy essentials from amazon. In fact, I may have gone a little crazy shopping for her. Here are some toys we recommend (these are affiliate links).

* Pet IQ Interactive Treat Ball
* StarkMark Bob-A-Lot Interactive Dog Toy
PetSafe Twist and Treat
* PetSafe Busy Buddy Barnacle
* Kong Wobbler
* Nylabone Puppy Chew

A tired puppy is a happy puppy.
Heidi is an absolute delight. We're so grateful to have her. She's a very clever girl, so keep an eye out for new routines from her in the circus show soon!

If you'd like to support the blog and the circus for free, just use our links to get to amazon for your regular shopping. We'll get a small commission from your purchase at no cost to you, even if you don't buy whatever crazy thing we link you to! Thank you!

Stella eventually ate this pumpkin!
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Friday, October 5, 2018

Living in a Van Down By the River; The Vermont Edition

Dextre and I would like to move north someday. Perhaps one too many hot and sweaty circus show days in 110F heat index has lead to this dream of a cooler climate: a place with a real winter where we'll need snow shoes to go hiking. Last week we scouted out Vermont, one of the states we both agree on, and we took all five dogs along with us in the van.

The best part? *Spoiler Alert* I got to meet my favorite blogger, Liz Thames from Frugalwoods.com!
This was just too cool! 
We slept the first night at the Vermont Welcome Center in Bennington, which was awesome because it's FREE. Plus they have a gorgeous facility with a helpful staff, tons of information on the state, and delicious hot coffee for travelers.

It rained the whole first day, but we didn't let that stop us. The Manchester Dog Park was high on our list, because we wanted this vacation to be just as fun for our dogs as it was for us. Vermont is FULL of dog parks and dog friendly places if you have a hound about town...or five! Manchester itself was a cute town with lots of neat shops and a fabulous bookstore. If you ever find yourself there, definitely check out Northshire Bookstore.

Quechee Gorge
From Manchester we headed to the Quechee State Park to find our campsite and hike to the gorge. This incredible chasm was carved by glaciers 13,000 years ago. It's 165 feet deep and you can park at the the little souvenir shop and view it from the bridge on route 4. We walked to it from our campsite, that's how close we were. You can also hike up to check out the dam, which is stunning.


From here we ventured into Woodstock to see the national park and the Marsh-Billing-Rockefellar Estate. There was a cow milking demonstration, so we thought, why not? and went to that. Pretty neat. I had no idea cows could produce 7 gallons per day. WOW

The highlight of this little foray was the maple favored ice cream I got to eat at the end of the tour. Vermont has maple flavored everything, including...cotton candy! Then found another dog park for the girls. Thanks Vermont for being so full of dog parks!


My absolute favorite part of the trip was meeting Liz and her beautiful family. They invited us to their beautiful 66 acre homestead and I got to read to their two young daughters. I've been reading her blog for years and simply can't recommend it highly enough. Let me link you to some of my favorites...

Less Makeup, More Confidence: My Frugal Beauty Manifesto
That Time We Bought A Homestead
Why Be Frugal? One Word: Options
How to NOT Pursue Financial Independence

Earlier this year, Liz became a published author when her book debuted. It's really good. Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Frugal Living

And finally, if you'd like to become better with money yourself, she has a comprehensive and completely free challenge to help you on your path to frugality. I've done the challenge twice and it's both eye opening and useful. Sign up here: The Uber Frugal Month: The Ultimate Frugal Guide To Saving More Money Than You Ever Thought Possible

Homemade gifts from Liz, how exciting!?!
On our last day we drove out to Rutland to check out the town and surrounding suburbs. Realistically Rutland would be a good choice for us because it has the things we like nearby: Aldi, Crossfit, airport, hiking, skiing, etc.

I put together a fun video of our adventure, check it out below!



Thanks so much for reading. Stay tuned because as some of you may know, we adopted a puppy this week and I cannot wait to blog about her!

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affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by 
advertising and linking to amazon.com. Thank you for using our links.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Confession; I Have Trichotillomania

I'm sure your first question is, just what the heck is trichotillomania, Jana? Followed by, doesn't that hurt? Let's dive right in. Trichotillomania, which is rare enough that spell check doesn't recognize it as a word, is an impulse control disorder that involves hair pulling.

Prepare for all my selfies with Mabel.
Notice the patch of hair missing from my eyebrow and the complete lack of eye lashes.
For me personally, it means I pull out my own eyelashes and eyebrows. That may sound like it would hurt. It doesn't. I mean, if you were to pull out your eyelashes right now, that would probably hurt, but I've been doing this as long as I can remember and it isn't painful. It's annoyingly satisfying. It's also embarrassing and at times has been deeply shameful.

Perhaps it's easier to tell you about than to write about. Please watch this. And if you know someone with trich, please share it. I'd like to be helpful.



I've lived with this disorder my whole life, though the nature of trich is cyclical. Sometimes I have eyebrows and lashes, and sometimes I don't, and you'd be surprised just how little control I have over it.

Turns out, all the pictures that best show my lack of eye hair are selfies I took with Mubs.
One of my earliest memories involves pulling my eyelashes out. I was in my first bedroom and I remember the blue carpet and checkered bedspread. My parents have informed me we moved from that house when I was 2 1/2, so trich has been with me from toddlerhood. It's estimated 2-4% of people suffer from it, which is a lot of people, so I wanted to speak up so others with this disorder know they're not alone.

I recommend the wikipedia entry for further reading. Trich is difficult to treat because many people who have it, including myself, may not always be aware when they're pulling hair out. Some even pull in their sleep. When I do realize I'm pulling, I often don't know how long I've been at it, but once I know it's happening, I can make myself stop. Even that is hard. I mean, it's really hard. Like you want to keep going even though you know you'll be ashamed when you have no eyebrows the next day.

Earlier this year (2018) almost no eyebrows or lashes.
There are a couple products I've seen recommended if you're trying to stop pulling. The first is a bracelet that vibrates when your hand moves up to your head to make you aware that you're about to pull. It's by a company called Habitaware and is also useful for nail biting & dermotilomania (picking at skin). It's programmable and will also track habits for you so you can measure your progress. There is even a calming feature you can activate that will begin a deep breathing exercise. How cool is that? I think this tool would have been very helpful to me when I was younger, and I might pick one up next time I find myself in a bad cycle.

The second is simpler and more budget friendly, gel fingertip covers, also to raise self awareness to help you stop pulling.
Brows but no lashes. Mabel rocking her natural eyeliner.
Feel free to reach out to me if you also struggle with this. I know how embarrassing it can be, and if you need someone to listen, I'm here. Thanks for reading, and no matter what it is you're struggling with, just know that you're not alone. 


Be kind to each other, you never know hurdles someone else is facing.

If you'd like to support this blog and the Circus Stella pack for absolutely FREE, just remember to use our links when you shop on amazon. Make your regular purchases and we'll receive a small commission at no cost to you, even if you don't purchase this


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Friday, September 14, 2018

America's Largest RV Show in Hershey, PA

You know what I can never get enough of? Trailers! I mean, they're basically rolling forts. It doesn't get much better than that.

Spend 25K on a trailer, get a free hat!
Seems like a goo deal.
Cruiser RV represent!
We go to America's Largest RV Show in Hershey, PA every year. It's tradition. It's right up there with Christmas, Halloween, and my birthday as far as special days I look forward to. In the past we've always been researching models in order to make the best decision when replacing our own trailer, but now that that's done, we can just goof off and have some fun this year!

"Space ships" seemed to be the dominate theme of 2019.
I will let the video speak for itself. We toured expensive busses, retro models, & lightweight beds on wheels. There is truly a trailer for everyone. And we also found a questionable new cardio machine to jiggle your fat away. Right.



If you're in the market for a new rig, I can't recommend this event enough. It's the best place to compare all manufacturers, makes, and models at the same time. Just the magnificence of how so many trailers are crammed into that parking lot is a thing of beauty. Or wizardry. I don't know.

Prepare for lift off!
This year's models boast a number of hilarious and unnecessary lights.
Another theme of some of the more luxurious models, I could live in the closet. Like for real.

Closet or guest room? You tell me.
Thanks for reading everybody, we hope you enjoyed this week's update. We're headed to Vermont soon with all 5 dogs and the two of us camping in the van and checking out the state parks, so stay tune for that! Let us know of any Vermont things we should do!!

If you'd like to support the Circus Stella pack for absolutely FREE, just remember to use our links when you shop on amazon. Make your regular purchases and we'll receive a small commission at no cost to you. Try it out! Or if you'd like a free trial of AmazonFresh, Kindle Unlimited, or even Amazon Prime, please remember to use our links! Thank you friends.

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We are loving our new van and trailer!


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Monday, August 27, 2018

Circus Dogs at Barkby Plungers. You read that right...BARKBY PLUNGERS!

Trolling through the internet has its benefits. I was googling for fun dog things, like you do, and discovered a place so magical I'm still pinching myself to be sure it's real. Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the grandeur...of Barkby Plungers!

Clarice considers the possibilities. 
Just outside of York, PA, this oasis exists at a private residence and features two majestic fenced in acres, a gloriously gorgeous swimming hole, and a regulation dock diving platform for your ambitious pooches. Running and jumping and swimming, oh my!

We rented the space for our girls because they love new adventures and we were not disappointed. See the tomfoolery for yourselves. No really, please watch this video...I'm dying to share the good times with you!



It turns out, Clarice was the only one interested in leaping off the dock...and she did it over and over and OVER!!

Our dare-devilest dog leaps off the dock!
The others all enjoyed the freedom of running and swimming off leash. We tried so hard to get a picture of all five at once. Believe it or not, this was the best we could do. Not a single one of them looking at the camera. We're going to have to work on their modeling skills!

Okay everybody, smile! Or don't. Whatever.
This magical place is just outside of York in a little town called Hallam. You can find it on Facebook and here is their website for more information. It's only $15 for the first dog and $7 for each additional dog, totally worth it for the joy on their faces the entire time we were there.

If you'd like to support the Circus Stella pack for absolutely FREE, just remember to use our links when you shop on amazon. Make your regular purchases and we'll receive a small commission at no cost to you. Try it out! Or if you'd like a free trial of AmazonFreshKindle Unlimited, or even Amazon Prime, please remember to use our links! Thank you friends.

Why am I the only one in the pool?
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Tuesday, August 21, 2018

I quit wearing make up. This is what happened.

I've never been good at make up. It's a skill I don't have. Professionally, I often hid behind face paint because it was easier. Most people reading this will know I work in circus, so face paint is a viable choice, but if you didn't know that, Hey! I'm Jana, I work in the circus. :)

Face paint, ice rink themed! Photo by Ron Tencati.
The more paint on my face, the less confident I felt that day. The reverse is also true, the less I make myself up, the better I feel.

Before I go any further, let me say this. If you love make up, if it's fun for you, if it's your art, if you enjoy expressing yourself with make up, awesome! I think that's terrific. You do you and I'm all about it. I think you're gorgeous and I'm in awe of your skill. Seriously, you're killin' it.

But for me, makeup is not something I enjoy. It's a chore and it I don't like how it feels on my face. I struggle to keep from wiping it off the whole time I'm wearing it, particularly eye make up. The first thing I gave up was eyeliner/mascara and I swear it was life changing. All of a sudden, my eyes were comfortable!

Some of you are thinking, well of course Jana, cheap make up would feel terrible on your face. But I did the thing guys! I went to Sephora, I scoured the internet, I had professionals choose products for me and I still hated the way they felt.

We indoctrinate young girls with toy make up products from toddlerhood onward. I remember begging for these when I was little.

My kid self would have LOVED this!
From an early age make up is a prized possession to be hoarded. As a kid, putting on toy make up meant feeling special. Putting on *real* make up meant something special was definitely afoot...a dance recital, competition day when I was a gymnast, something good.

I'm not sure when make up transitioned from a fun activity to a necessary, expensive burden. It happened slowly and took a while to realize.

Here's a video I made, with no make up, even though I felt like I should probably put on make up to film a video. I'm still getting used to my new found make up free life.



If that was the first time you've heard of trichotillomania, stay tuned, I plan to write more extensively about it soon. I've had it as long as I can remember, and it's caused a lot of stress and shame over the years. I'm finally beginning to just accept that it's part of me and that's okay, so if I can help anyone with that disorder, I want to.

Here are the four products I continue to use somewhat regularly, because I spend so much time outdoors. Sunscreen is a necessary evil.

* Lubriderm Daily Moisture Lotion SPF 15

* Make Up Forever Ultra HD Foundation (mixed with the lotion to tint it)

* Sephora "Blush Me" in the color "Crazed and Confused" which I find appropriate!

* Shiseido Powder Broad Spectrum SPF 30

Do you have a recommendation for a good sunscreen that's weightless and not oily? Please let me know. I would love a better sunscreen. I've never found one I like. Leave your recs in the comments!

Right now I'm enjoying my mostly-make-up-free life quite a lot. However, I reserve the right to change my mind. So if you come to the show one day and I've got eyeliner out to my ears, know that it's because I truly felt like doing it up that day! And if you see my minimal look, know that I felt like having a naked face and that's okay too!

I hope you do whatever you feel like doing, and stop worrying about other people's opinions or expectations. You're awesome just the way you are!

Check out the one make up product I'm still *always* going to want in my kit...mystery product...and remember, if you use my link to get to amazon for your purchases, Circus Stella will get a small commission of whatever you buy, even if it isn't this. Or if you'd like a free trial of AmazonFreshKindle Unlimited, or even Amazon Prime, please remember to use our links! Thank you friends.

Mabel rocking some eyebrow pencil realness.
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