Hi there. How you doin’? Man am I glad it’s the freakin’ weekend. What do you got going on?…any grandeur plans? Tomorrow we are taking Mila to the vet for acne medicine. Did you know feline acne is a thing? It is. After that we’re spending the afternoon in Santa Cruz. On Sunday I’m sure we’ll watch the Superbowl somewhere (hopefully I can persuade the people I’m with to let that include bloody marys). It should be fun since it’s being hosted in the Bay Area this year. I’ve never been that good at the hey lets hang out, watch a game and make small talk for a few hours that tends to come along with watching football,but here goes nothin’. Hope you have a rad weekend!
These past few weeks have been busy busy busy. Most nights we’ve been pecking away at our computers working on side projects (all the while dreaming of a tropical beach somewhere to lay on). This weekend I can’t wait to get out and have some fun. Here are a few photos from around here lately.
1. / Lots of inspiration from the pages of this book lately. 2. / A new wash basin for muddy paws (more on that later). 3. / Fluffy ears and a windy San Francisco. 4. / Currently reading this, and a little bandana I made for Keeper. 5. / Chew marks on the top corner of the frame #puppy. 6. / Jack hugs are the best. 7. / Her favorite way to sit in the truck right now. 8. / An expired passport filled up. 9. / We’ve been watching the new season of X-Files. 10. / I wrote a DIY article on heart-shaped dog treats for Barkbox this week, right here if you’d like to read.
In the summer of 1967, in a house in the woods outside of Woodstock, lived Bob Dylan, The Band, and a dog named Hamlet. They were recording The Basement Tapes, a part of arguably one of the most influential chapters in American music. In an interview with a Rolling Stone reporter about the album at the time, he recalled “That’s really the way to do a recording: in a peaceful, relaxed setting. In somebody’s basement. With the windows open…and a dog lying on the floor.”
We feel you, Bob Dylan.
This wouldn’t be the first or last time his love for dogs was stated publicly. He references dogs in the lyrics of his songs (“Little Buddy“, above), they’ve made appearances on album covers, and it is one topic in interviews he seemingly has no problem talking about (if you’ve got the time, his early interviews as a salty, critical youth who opposed authority are. so. good.). Recently, in 2013 he released a children’s book based on the lyrics from his songIf Dogs Run Free.
There’s no denying Bob Dylan is one of the biggest cultural and musical icons ever. I grew up listening to my dad play his songs on guitar and in college I was really inspired by his writings. Something about those catchy four-chord rhythm progressions he put together, and how rad it was that he wrote songs about edgy things like opposing societal pressures and the status quo way of thinking. Lyrics like “Don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows” always really resonated with me. But finding out he’s a dog person? Next level fan for life.
Right now I’m sitting in the empty claw foot bathtub in my bathroom, eating kale chips with ranch dressing and reflecting on the past year. The kale chips are clearly just a vessel for the ranch, but you already knew that. 2015 was a weird one. It was a lot of fun, but also really different than any other year I’ve ever had. I hope you guys all had a good holiday…apologies for the lack of posts around here. I missed writing, but needed to take a break from it for a while.
Over Christmas Trey’s grandfather (who he’s named after) passed away. Trey was really inspired by him, especially the engineering work on a NASA mission he did that Trey says influenced him to become an engineer too. So, Trey flew back to the east coast for the holidays to be with his family and sent me some pretty amusing text messages about riding in a mid-sized sedan with his mom, dad, sister and brother for 5 hours while driving from North Carolina to the funeral in Tennessee.
While he was gone, I took the dogs and drove down to LA. Los Angeles is one of those cities that’s big enough to feel lost in. There’s an anonymity to it that feels good. I spent a lot of time thinking and talking to friends I hadn’t talk to in a while. I had told Trey I felt tired mentally, especially these past few months, but didn’t really know why. It was frustrating to not feel inspired or motivated about life, especially when there was nothing identifiably wrong in my life. I didn’t talk about it much here because the last thing I wanted to share with the world was my personal onset of jadedness and melancholy. I’m more of the self destructing type. I’d rather go for a long drive and blast music with the windows down, or self medicate and forget about everything. I’m not recommending that or anything, I’m just saying that’s usually just what happens.
There were a lot of times this year when I felt restless and claustrophobic. I function best in chaos. I like complicated. Intensity is exciting. When everything gets routine, that’s when I derail. This past year was a lesson in sitting still, something I hadn’t done in a while. I added it up the other day and since leaving home after high school I’ve been to 46 states, driven across the country 5 times, lived in 7 cities/towns, and been to 10 different countries. I got good at being that friend/girlfriend/daughter/sister who texts and emails from afar because I was off doing things. I perfected the art of saying goodbye. It was a formula – go out, get drunk and stay out late, look them in the eyes and kiss their face and tell them how much you love them, then leave in the morning.
Moving around and traveling a lot has its perks. Everything is new and exciting, all the time. It’s fun, really fun. It’s sharing a bottle of liquor on an overnight train with a stranger, it’s exchanging a mutual smile with someone that says more than any word in any language ever could, it’s losing yourself to the moment and abandoning everything you thought you knew. There’s no time to think about the past or worry about the future when you’re so intensely focused on the present. But there are downsides too. When you’re moving around all the time, you don’t build personal relationships with people, or get to experience the stability that comes from having a place to call home. It’s sitting alone in a hotel room during the holidays, it’s your old best friend finding a new best friend, it’s finding out you missed your grandma by a day in the boarding line for a red eye flight home, it’s nothing ever being the same when you get back.
In 2015 something changed for me. I realized that I’ve spent a lot of time and energy running – from people and places I didn’t align with, from the status quo, trying to escape from a past that happened so long ago. This was the year when I got tired. This was the year I learned I didn’t have anything to run from anymore. When Trey got back, he told me he felt the same, for his own reasons. I think that’s why we have always worked…we both left the same small town and never looked back. But, traveling takes on a new meaning for us now. Getting to grow roots in San Francisco and finding the joy in the everyday things life has to offer here is really fun. It’s that barista who always gives you an extra shot in your latte just because, it’s that old guy at the dog park that’s always there with his irish wolfhound, it’s dinner parties with friends, it’s having a place to come home to.
I don’t know what the year ahead is going to bring our way. I’ve gotten it wrong enough times in life to know not to predict anything or plan too much anymore. Either way, good times are gonna be had. Thank you for continuing to follow along with us here. I love reading your comments and hearing your stories. Thank you for sharing this space with me. Here’s to good vibes in 2016.
Christmas is coming (I said that like Jon Snow, god Nicole GET OVER IT). Perhaps you’re looking for ideas for that special someone on your list that’s outdoorsy, or likes well designed things, or both. Stanley is a built-to-last outdoor brand that offers a lot of good products that are great for that. I grew up with Stanley brand products. I still have an old lunch box that Trey and I use to this day to carry dog food in when we travel. I love how their products blend hip style and design with outdoor functionality. It’s great for those people on your list who appreciate products that last. There’s no going wrong with a good thermos to help them keep food and drinks warm, or a good flask to tuck into a jacket pocket during a hike through the woods. My new favorite is the cocktail shaker for making camp fire cocktails, and the vacuum growler to fill with your favorite craft beer and share with friends. Trey’s favorite is the vacuum pint – he fills it up with ice water every night, and it’s still icy water in the morning. You know, it’s the simple things in life.
For some good deals on Stanley products like the ones above, head right this way.
This post was sponsored by Stanley. Thank you for supporting brands who support Wildlandia.
This past weekend we went to the tree farm and cut down our Christmas tree. We returned to the same farm as last year to keep the tradition going. It’s fun to drive through the woods and walk through the rows of trees until you find the perfect one. The dogs ran around, darting through the trees like it was one big maze. Every now and then I’d hear a kid yell “doggie!” and look up to see Jack standing in front of a little kid wagging his tail. It’s fun to watch Jack interact with little humans. He’s so intrigued and wants to lick their faces off. I think it’s because he’s so smart, and they are about his size. After we found our tree, Trey cut it down, and we tied it to the top of Lola. Then it was time for some lunch. We stopped at Val’s diner for some burgers and french fries. It’s such a charming little spot. The older guy seating us told us to take “the fourth booth on the left…but walk slow cuz’ they’re still cleaning it”. Afterwards they give you little Andies chocolates. Then we drove home and strung lights on the tree and put up the stockings. I love this tradition we’ve got going. Just us, the dogs, and a 5 ft Douglas Fir poppin’ a squat in our living room. Tis’ the season!
Around this time in the 7th grade Trey and I first kissed. Since we’ve never had an exact date for an anniversary, we just randomly do sweet things for each other in November and December. The other night we were digging for christmas decorations in the closet and came across an old chalk board we used to write notes to each other on. It must have gotten buried the last time we moved. “Should we hang it?” Trey asked me, holding it against the wall above the dish rack in the kitchen. “Of course”, I told him. One morning last week I went to get a mug off the rack in the kitchen, still wiping sleep from my eyes, and saw he had written something on it… “I want to be your Jon Snow”. Then I noticed, wedged into one of the corners, was a note. “To: Nicole From: Trey”.
Would you believe that we first dated back in 1998?
NINETEEN NINETY EIGHT
…17 years ago!
Before cell phones, in a time when JNCO jeans were still cool, and Britney Spears still hadn’t hit the scene. We date back to the Pre-Spearsian Era.
Back in the days when I used to pass you letters like this one in the halls of middle school. Most of those letters beginning with something like “hey gurl, wuz up? N2MH” and somewhere mentioning how “fine” you looked that day. Always ending with a “love, Trey”.
12 year old me obviously didn’t quite know what love was yet, but I don’t think I was very far off the mark. To think that in the endless universe we live in, completely ruled by randomness and chance, that I found you…someone I loved before I knew what love was, who showed me what love was, and will be the person I love for the rest of my life makes me the luckiest person in this world. I love you so very much and will always love you Nicole.
Recently I caught up with awesome dog people Leah and Aaron, the couple behind the wildly popular Instagram Life with Leroy to answer a few questions. This trio is a really special one! So, without further ado…
Dog’s name/Age/Breed: Leroy, 3 years old, Terrier Mix
What made you decide to get a dog?
Growing up, my dad was very allergic to animals so I had a lot of gerbils, birds and reptiles instead. I craved the companionship of a dog from a very young age, so as soon as I moved out of the house, I knew I was destined to have my own dog.
Tell me about the first time you met Leroy. I was helping a friend do some shopping in the East Bay when we stopped to get ice cream. There was a local rescue group holding a mobile adoption event right next door. I saw someone holding this scruffy little guy named Rascal, and I immediately gravitated towards his happy go-lucky attitude. I was head over heels when I saw how friendly and easy going he was with anyone who approached him. I signed the papers and then snapped a quick photo to send to my husband (who was away for the weekend). He promptly told me that I better not be adopting that dog, but I know we’re all very glad that I didn’t listen to him that day!
What’s the last thing he did that made you laugh?
Leroy is such a ham. He is always trying to please. He loves to show off his toys to us as soon we we walk in the door, and he’s really taken to bringing us every toy he has to make sure we know how good he is. It’s really adorable. I just wish he’d put them all back when he was done!
What are your favorite characteristics about your dog?Leroy is very easy going. He comes with us pretty much everywhere we go. From plane rides, to motorcycle rides, he’s always in on the action. Because he’s always in new environments, he’s become really good at meeting new people and being in many different types of situations so we feel very lucky for that.
Does Leroy have a nickname? If so, how did he get it?
Leroy’s nickname changes all the time. For some reason the latest one has been ‘Peter’. It’s just so funny to imagine him with the name Peter. He doesn’t respond to it, but maybe if we keep it up long enough he will.
Where do you shop for your dog (online shops, stores, etc)?
We tend to shop local in our hometown of San Francisco. Our favorite shop right now is Pawtrero in Potrero Hill.
Are there any dog products you especially love/couldn’t live without?
We really couldn’t live without Leroy’s leash by Found My Animal. He’s always getting into muddy or sandy situations, so having a leash that can stand the wear and tear is absolutely necessary. Something about the rope material is sturdy enough, yet still lightweight, and easy to hold on to; all very important things for us!
What does being a “Dog Person” mean to you?
It means that we are always considering the things we do with Leroy in mind. If we want to grab a drink on a sunny day, we make sure we find a patio that allows dogs. If we want to take a trip somewhere up the coast, don’t forget the dog food! It never feels quite right if Leroy isn’t with us. He’s just such a member of our family that being a ‘Dog Person’ is less about ownership and more about lifestyle.
What’s one piece of advice you would tell someone looking to get a dog?
Meet a lot of dogs, and make sure you take a look at your lifestyle. Be honest with yourself about how willing you are to modify your life to accommodate a dog, then find a dog that can match your level of energy!
Thanks Leah and Aaron!
For more Life with Leroy, you can follow along on their awesome (over 91k fans!) Instagram, right here.