Do bad things come in threes?

Have you ever heard the saying that bad things come in threes? Well, I am really hoping that’s the case, because these last few days have been rough. Do you mind if I vent?


It began on Thursday, when Aaron was unexpectedly laid off from his job. His company brought in a new CFO who determined that they were spending too much money on staff, and since Aaron was a senior person, he was let go. It’s the first time we’ve had to deal with something like this, but it sort of comes with the territory when you work in the very fickle advertising industry. We’ll be okay – Aaron is extremely hard-working and constantly has freelance projects lined up, and I have my SEO consulting to help – but it’s stressful nonetheless. I spent most of my Friday researching health insurance for us (which is mandatory in MA), and that’s enough to send anyone into a meltdown.


On Saturday, with stress levels already running high, we took Barley to the vet for his next round of puppy shots. The vet tech pushed us to give him the bordatella (kennel cough) vaccine, but we declined because we didn’t want to overwhelm his immune system all at once and don’t plan on boarding him or taking him to the dog park for the foreseeable future. This ended up being a very good decision, because Barley had a bad reaction to the DHLPP shot he received, which I now know is essentially five vaccinations in one (distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvo).

As soon as we got home, he yelped every time he tried to move because of the pain and I noticed a very large lump on his shoulder that was getting worse. After calling our vet, they advised us to go to the MSPCA Angell emergency room. Thankfully, that’s only two miles away from us, but it was a long twelve minute drive with a screaming puppy in the backseat. I cannot say enough good things about Angell. The doctor was literally checking his vitals in the lobby two seconds after we walked in, and they immediately administered a Benadryl shot and painkillers to get the inflammation under control. As far as allergic reactions go, Barley’s was not severe (he made a full recovery the next day), but it was terrifying at the time, took up most of the day, and added several hundred dollars to something that should have cost fifty. We’ll likely be steering clear of those combo vaccines moving forward, and also having his shots done at Angell in case something like this happens again.

I can’t stress this enough – do your research on what shots you’re giving your pets, how many you’re giving at a time, and be wary of over-vaccinating for things that don’t apply to your situation. Just because a vet tells you something is routine, doesn’t mean it should be for your pet.


Alright, can you even handle reading about bad thing number three? This one’s much less intense, I promise.

After several days of this emotional roller coaster, my face and neck decided to break out in itchy, red hives. Seriously. Clearly, I was not already freaking out enough and now need to feel too self-conscious to leave my apartment. I think it’s due to a new moisturizer, which oddly enough, I bought because it’s supposed to be good for sensitive skin, but it could be anything (food-related, stress, something in the air?). On the plus side, we stocked up on Benadryl for Barley, so now he and I are both enjoying the cherry chewable tablets. Half of one for him, four for me. I am praying to the universe that it subsides soon, because the last thing I need is an expensive doctor’s appointment.

I’ll be back a little later in the week with a cookie recipe. I could use one, and I’m sure you could too after reading this post.

Thanks for bearing with me.




Leave a Comment

  1. Sherry (BTLover2) says

    You poor thing! Sometimes life does send you a lot at once. Sounds like you have everything under control (even if it doesn’t feel that way). You have a positive outlook and a very sensible way of looking at things. Snuggle Barley and the man… things will be better soon. No one has ever heard of 4 bad things in a row 🙂

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Sherry. I try to view these types of things as learning experiences and take whatever lessons I can from them. Even if it’s just “never use that moisturizer again”. 😉

  2. What an adorable puppy! I hope he’s okay. And you too!

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Jaime. 🙂 Barley’s returned to his normal, spunky self now. I still have hives, but they’re slowly subsiding (thank goodness!).

  3. Mai-Lis says

    Oh man, what a bummer of a week! It really does seem like those things always come in threes! Getting laid off from my last job when they were bought out was devastating at the time but ended up being the best thing that ever happened to me. Hope Aaron finds something awesome soon that he enjoys! And hugs and kisses to little Barley, keep the photos coming, I seriously cannot get enough of that face.

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks for the well-wishes. I’m optimistic that Aaron’s situation will be similar to yours. He’s been working towards starting his own business for a while, so we’re sort of thinking of this as the universe telling him to finally make it happen. He’s close – we just need a couple more things to fall into place. 🙂

  4. Ugh, when it rains it pours! Sorry you had such a stressful weekend.

    1. Amanda says

      It’s so true! I don’t know why that seems to happen.

  5. Katie says

    Ive always said bad things come in threes. It’s just something that seems to happen in groups. But you can always think that once the third thing happens you will be smooth sailing for a while! You seem to be very level headed about it. Stay positive! Drink lots of water with lemon to help flush out toxins. If anything it will give you a little healthy boost.

    Good luck.

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Katie. 🙂 I started chugging lemon water yesterday and today was the first day the allergic reaction has subsided a little. It might just be coincidence, but it certainly didn’t hurt! Now I’m on a mission to replace all of my products with fragrance and chemical-free versions.

      1. Katie says

        Thats great that it started to calm a little! I drink lemon water all the time.. Its my “cure-all”. I feel like no matter what, it will always flush your system.
        I hope you find the culprit soon 🙂

  6. Lee says

    I hope good things come from now on. Hang in there!

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Lee! Things are looking up – Barley is back to his normal self and my face looks less like I have chicken pox. haha

  7. Amy says

    I’m so sorry to hear Amanda! I hope things only get better from here – like you can look back and see these all as blessings in disguise. I hope you and Barley are feeling better.

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you. I’ll definitely be more careful about vaccinating Barley and Honey, and you can bet I’m never touching that moisturizer again. Time to switch to something simple like coconut oil…after I do a thorough spot test to make sure my skin doesn’t freak out first. 🙂

  8. Bless your heart. It’s such a relief that your baby is fine, I thought when I began reading that something more serious had happened to him. Don’t hurry with the cookie recipe, or even worry about getting it done. That is the nice thing about time: it goes with you wherever you go. Not, in this case anyway, the other way around. You post when you are up to posting.

    We are all fine with the cookie recipes we already have.

    For now, anyway.

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you for the kind words, Julia. It was a scary experience with Barley at the time, but he’s doing really well now. He’s actually sleeping in my lap as I type this. Aaron and I are also doing okay, and just trying to make the best of things. I’m a big believer in the power of a positive mentality and I’m sure we will come out of this even stronger.
      I made the cookies (they’re good!) so now I just need to photograph them and write the post. You’re right though – no sense stressing over a blog post. It’ll happen when it happens. 🙂

  9. Ugh, I’m so sorry Amanda. At least it sounds like these things will work themselves out… but I know it still really sucks. I hope things get brighter soon.

  10. I get all the things that happened to you. Do take care of your health. I use to chalk up alot of things to stress but its your body trying to tell you something. You could be reacting to the moisturizer- check to see what chemicals are in it. I would look at the clean products , could even be food. I recommend looking more into the food or other things.. YOu could be having a reaction to something to just like your puppy. Glad to hear he is doing well and yea its the same with pets and people dont always do what your doctor says functional or western. Do research and know and if you have questions ask them. If they brush it off then go somewhere else.. Look at all this as something that created opportunity even with your puppy to learn and new possibilites will come out of it.

    1. Amanda says

      I couldn’t agree more! As far as my hive situation, I’m nearly positive it was due to a new moisturizer that contains balsam of Peru. I did a bunch of research and that’s a common allergen, which is extra annoying because I bought the cream specifically for eczema on my hands and thought I’d try it on my face and neck. I will NEVER use another product with that ingredient, and I really want to get away from others that have long ingredient lists. I’m starting to think that the eczema I occasionally get on my hands was the result of my dish soap.
      I’ve always had “sensitive” skin and a “sensitive” stomach, and more and more, I think this is actually due to allergies and intolerances. I’m really looking forward to trying to identify and eliminate them!

  11. I always had sensitive skin and stomach as well. I found I do have food intolerances. Which has led to so many opportunities and is still expanding. 🙂 I would get it checked out and I had a skin condition as well which is gone now since I took out the food allergies. I feel great.. Had to get other things taken care of to in your gut or it can lead to some pretty nasty things. Its how I started my website which is expanding into other areas to really make an impact.

    1. Amanda says

      I don’t know very much about allergy tests. Is that something that I can likely request through my primary care physician? And is there a specific test I would ask about? Thanks for sharing your story. I’m really glad you’re feeling better and using your experience to make a positive impact. 🙂

  12. maggie says

    I hope your hives go away soon! I have incredibly sensitive skin and a few years ago decided to give FAB (First Aid Beauty) a try. I’ve been really please with the results. All of their products are gluten free and the majority are vegan. Best of luck with everything else, a sick pet is always super stressful.

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks for the suggestion! I’ll have to look into the FAB products.

      1. maggie says

        I get them at Sephora. And they almost always have samples.

      2. Amanda says

        That’s good to know. I’ll probably try to stick to samples until I can be sure my skin isn’t going to freak out again. 🙂

  13. Ceil says

    Dear Amanda:

    Talk about a week from HELL!! I’m soo sorry to learn about your and Barley’s illness and Aaron losing his job. I sincerely hope that you will be on a winning streak after this…As the incomparable Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re
    going through Hell, keep going.” Keep your chin up and be gentle with yourself. This too shall pass.

    Best wishes always,

    1. Amanda says

      That’s a good quote! Thank you, as always, for the sweet words.

  14. I am so sorry about everything happening all at once- you know how they say when it rains, it pours.. I hope Aaron soon lands a great job because I know how stressful it can get during times like it. My bf is having difficulty landing a position he really wants and he deserves but i guess we all have to wait for the right place at the right time. I am glad the pup is doing better. You take care girl and come back soon with a cookie recipe- looking forward to it

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Dixya. The job market is still pretty tough, but you’re right – it’s just a matter of timing. Wishing your boyfriend the best of luck in finding a job he loves. 🙂

  15. Aimee B. says

    Bless your heart, I’m so sorry for all you’ve been through lately. It’s incredibly stressful and difficult when everything seems to be happening all at once. I’m glad Barley is O.K. I know how scary that can be. Just remember that you have so many people who care about you. We’ll all be here to encourage and support you. You’ll be in my prayers. (((hugs)))

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you SO much for your kind words. We’re hanging in there with regard to Aaron’s job situation. He was working non-stop prior to losing his job (freelance projects and working towards running his own company), so things could be a lot worse. It’s stressful that both of us are self-employed now, but I have total confidence that Aaron’s going to be able to get to a more comfortable financial place in the next few months.

  16. If you have an open minded doctor maybe but alot of western doctors dont want to give them they would rather give a medicine to you. A functional doctor will definitely give a test for food allergies. You would just ask for a food allergy test. Gluten free society has a directory of doctors that might be in your area. Otherwise word of mouth or googling ones in your area. I have read many stories on food allergies causing skin conditions too. Its worth finding someone to take the test.

    1. Amanda says

      This is helpful. Thank you!

  17. your welcome.. feel free to contact me @


  18. Oh man! That sucks! All of it!!
    I am a firm believer that things happen for a reason- and that reason isn’t always clear right away, but it makes sense later. Perhaps there’s something bigger and better for Aaron? Maybe he’ll get offered an awesome job in DC and you can move down here!? 🙂 Just kidding….
    I hope that the pup is okay. We were VERY skeptical about vaccines too and denied a few of them. I know that your heart was breaking when poor Barley was in pain… he is your baby after all!
    And I hope YOU get better soon! Too much stress. YES, bake some cookies. and come visit. xo

    1. Amanda says

      If we ever decide to leave Boston, DC would be high on my list! 🙂
      Aaron’s got a few things in the works and a big meeting coming up. I’ll let you know how it goes…send positive thoughts!
      Barley is totally back to normal now, but it was one of the absolute worst feelings to have him be in pain and not be able to do anything except get him to the ER as quickly as possible.
      My face is returning to normal, slowly but surely. I told Aaron it’s almost like validation for every time I say I have sensitive skin/stomach/whatever and people think I’m being high maintenance. Now there’s physical proof that it really is true! haha

  19. Shana says

    I hope things turn around for you quickly! With a cookie recipe to look forward to, my week is already better :). And thanks for the tip about monitoring pet vaccines. I never gave it much thought but I am so vigilant about medications that I take, it only makes sense to be as informed about pet medications/vaccines.

    1. Amanda says

      Thanks, Shana! Things are looking up. 🙂 I was the same way about pet vaccinations until recently and just assumed that I could trust my vet’s recommendations. Unfortunately, it seems like in a lot of situations, the vets are just following the status quo and the pharma companies are dictating treatment, rather than considering the individual pets. I think it’s worthwhile to think of pets as we would ourselves when it comes to that stuff and do our own research so we go into it as informed as possible.

  20. Laura S. says

    ((Hugs)) Amanda!! So glad you guys got through all of that and are looking on the bright side. And maybe, just maybe, it was the push Aaron needed. And is there any worse feeling than when your “child” is hurting and helpless? He is soooooo cute by the way. Hope your skin troubles have subsided too.

    I have a feeling you’ll look back at these times as blessings in disguise. In the meantime, vent away!! 🙂

    1. Amanda says

      Thank you so much for the positive thoughts, Laura. We’re all doing much better now – Aaron’s busy with freelance work, Barley’s made a full recovery, and my skin is almost back to normal. Once we get a couple more things in place (health insurance being one of the bigger to-dos), I think life will calm down quite a bit. 🙂

  21. Kierstan says

    Life sure has a way of throwing crappy things your way during the worst time. I remember one day quite a few years ago where my family was waiting on pins and needles for the dreaded third bad thing to happen.

    Hopefully things are looking up, hang in there.

    1. Amanda says

      It really is bizarre how multiple bad things seem to happen all at once. It feels like some sort of a test.
      Things are definitely looking up, and hopefully we’ll have some very good news soon to balance things out. 🙂

  22. poor little guy! I had no idea those shots could cause such bad reactions. I would have freaked out I think!! I’m glad hes OK.


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