Welcome back to our series on morning routines where we highlight women around the city and talk to them about what their morning routines look like with their dog. No two mornings are alike and they shouldn’t be! A lot of people hope that dogs will help to bring routine and structure into our lives, to bring joy into mornings, to get up early, to lounge a little longer - whatever it is, it’s your sacred ritual. It’s designed to fit your life and your dogs’s. We’re just here to show how many different faces it can take on.
This week, we chatted with our cover girl Shelby (!!!) about life in New York with her amazingly calm and confident rescue Lyria. When we met them on set, it quicky became clear their relationship is pure magic. Honestly, we were beyond honored to have them in our shoot and to know them as poeple in our lives. Let’s get into it.
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How long have you been in New York?
I’ve been living in New York City for almost ten years, which kind of feels like forever.
You’re an interior designer here in the city. Can you tell us a bit about how you got into that and what the day to day is like?
I moved to the city to attend interior design school at the fashion institute. It was a very rigorous but rewarding program which prepared me for the “real world” of design. When I graduated, I worked at a small hospitality design firm of five and traveled abroad a lot designing hotels in Paris and Berlin. I stayed at the firm for less than a year because the hours were insane. Since then I’ve been on the in-house interiors team at a large coworking firm. The firm I’m at is incredible with some of the most innovative minds I’ve come across in New York. It’s been wonderful and because of the fast pace of projects I’ve been able to see twelve projects that I designed come to life in the last three and a half years.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love watching people’s reactions to my designs. When people move into the spaces I created, hearing them express awe and wonder over my work is the most rewarding. Being able to play a part in how people live and work, and making a difference in people’s day to day lives is the best.
Interior design requires a pretty creative mind - where do you go when you’re looking for inspiration in both your professional and personal life?
When I’m craving a dose of creativity I usually end up at a used book store. Vintage books on architecture and interiors are so cool. Right now I’m really into 80s interiors. Truly, everything comes back into style after enough time has passed - kind of like fashion.
You told us on set that you love monochromatic looks and looser fitting clothing. What’s your style inspiration and how has your style evolved over time?
My style has gone through so many weird phases. In college I was a bit of a hippie and only wore massive grandma sweaters and floor length skirts. That eventually transformed into the typical all black New York ensemble. From that I really dove into menswear, inspired by an ex of mine who owned a skate shop and was constantly giving me old clothes. Lately I’m super into monochromatic looks, it’s easy to create a daily uniform that way. Currently really digging the all brown carhartt vibes. I stick to shopping in the men’s section, I think that habit is with me for life now.
We were lucky enough to meet Lyria on set and she is honestly the chillest, calmest dog. So chill in fact, that she was willing to sit in a tote bag on the subway on the way to the shoot despite not being a compact size whatsoever. When did you first decide to get a dog and how did you go about that process?
I’ve grown up with dogs in my family my whole life. I’ve always known I wanted to get a dog someday but knew I had to have enough space and enough money to care for a living creature. Let’s be real, having a dog in New York is basically like having a small child. I am fortunate enough to have found an amazing apartment in Brooklyn that I can afford on my own. Once I settled into my spot and saved up money for a while, I went to an adoption event for Pupstarz rescue in Union Square. I had sent in my information and was preapproved to adopt. I had my eye on a tiny chihuahua until I got there and saw Lyria. And that was it! I knew she was going to be mine.
I called Lyria the chillest dog ever. Is that accurate or was that all for show that day? How would you describe her personality?
Lyria has so much personality. She’s super chill around new people, every time I have friends over they’re always shocked by how mellow and zen she is. However, whenever we are alone she’s her true self. She follows me everywhere and has a case or two of the zoomies every day - especially if I give her a bone. She won’t chew it for at least a half hour because she spends that time running around it like a maniac. When she gets really excited it’s my favorite thing to watch.
Lyria is a really unique name. What was the inspiration behind it?
Lyria was given a name by the rescue, Leria. Her foster mom was calling her Elinor, which I didn’t think suited her. I researched into the name Leria, apparently it’s the name of a minor character in Star Wars. I liked the name a lot but not the spelling, so I changed the E to a Y. It really suits her but is tricky to enunciate to new people.
I have to say, you guys are a perfect fit - you just make sense together. In what ways do you think the two of you complement one another?
Lyria best compliments my interior aesthetic, funny enough. My whole apartment is white and pink and so is she. It was meant to be!! On a more serious note, I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety since I was a teenager. Lyria has been instrumental in my mental health journey. She is always by my side, ready to walk or play or just take a nap. She’s always thrilled when I come home, she’s a loyal companion. She compliments me in every way, I couldn’t ask for a better match.
Lyria’s not a tote bag dog by any measure. What’s been the hardest part of having her with you in New York City?
The hardest part of having her in the city is the inability to just walk into stores and shop or go into a restaurant and eat. Mobility is a huge issue, and people are still hesitant of her breed. We spend so much time wandering around, and I wish I could take her more places and expose her to more things. Unfortunately, New York isn’t very dog friendly. Taking her on the train is a whole process, and there are very few places she can attend with me that aren’t completely dog centered.
What are some of your favorite activities to do together on weekends or when you have a bit more time on your hands?
I love getting her together with her best friend, Ruby. Ruby is also a pit mix rescue and the two of them run around the apartment like wild banshees. I also like bringing her to the Brooklyn Cider House or Sage because she can meet new people and be exposed to new things. We also participate in a neighborhood “pack walk” called the Bushwick Dog Pack. There are a lot of rescues who need socialization and doing a pack walk exposes them to other dogs in a safe environment. We also spend a lot of time at a local park in the summer. I bring a big blanket and a book and Lyria immediately knows it’s time to chill and enjoy the sunshine. We spend hours in that park just chilling.
What time do the two of you wake up every morning?
We wake up between 7am and 10am. Usually more around the 7am mark.
Are you guys early birds or night owls?
We are night owls, mostly because I’m not a morning person. But the best thing is she doesn’t ask me to have long conversations in the morning - makes being a morning person easier.
Does she sleep in your bed?
Yes! She sleeps in my bed. It’s the best. I think she thinks my bed is actually her bed.
What's the first thing you do every day?
The first thing I do every day is rub her belly. She likes to be woken up that way and it’s such a calm, happy start to a day.
And what's the first thing you two do together every day?
The first thing we do together everyday is eat breakfast and take a walk. We have a good routine down, it helps her to understand if it’s a work day and I’m leaving for a while, or if it’s a weekend and we are gonna have more time to hang together.
What's for breakfast?
I usually have a coffee and that’s it.. not a huge breakfast person. She eats dog food and I drizzle salmon oil on it if I’m feeling lazy. If not she gets chicken too.
Walk before or after breakfast?
We walk after breakfast. If she doesn’t eat prior, she is more keen on the Brooklyn street snacks people leave around
What do you listen to while getting ready for the day?
I usually listen to podcasts while I’m getting ready. It’s a chill way to get my mind started before work.
Healthiest morning habit:
Healthiest morning routine would probably be the walking aspect. I like to have a quick coffee and be out the door.
Worst morning habit:
Worst morning habit is the no breakfast part, I’m sure
One word to describe your mornings:
My mornings are quick and routine. Not much changes during the weekday. On a weekend it’s better because we go on extensive walks and stop at a local coffee shop, Brooklyn Kava, and take our sweet time doing nothing in particular.
I never leave home without…
If I’m with her I never leave home without training treats. They’re an integral part of her perfect behavior ;). If it’s just me I never leave home without headphones. Nothing like a sunny walk listening to good music.
If you had one extra hour in the morning, how would you use it?
If I had an extra hour in the morning I’d sleep in.
The best part of mornings with my dog is:
The best part of my morning with Lyri is first waking up, being warm and cozy under the covers and snuggling. She’s the best snuggler.
Our morning routine series is designed to showcase the diversity of experiences that come with having a dog in the city in all the ups and all the downs.
If you and your dog would like to be featured, text ‘ritual’ to 29071