Shit happens

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Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv02 preset Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset Processed with VSCOcam with 4 preset We were headed to Point Reyes national seashore, about an hour and half north of us. We planned on playing with the dogs on the beach, looking for driftwood, and picking up some local seafood on the way home. Then the water pump blew. “What was that?” Trey asked, in response to the loud noise that sounded like it came from our truck. “It’s us, we’re smoking”, I said back to him after a few seconds of looking and listening. Then we took the next off-ramp, pulled over and lifted the hood to let the smoke pour out.

To other people it would probably be annoying to have to pull over and call AAA for a tow, but to us it’s actually somewhat stimulating. One thing I learned while working in the biology lab at Scripps, was not to get annoyed when an experiment didn’t produce the results I was looking for the first time. Undeniably, an analysis wouldn’t go as planned – I’d measure something wrong, or there’d be some variable in the software I was using that I wasn’t aware of and it would screw with the results of an analysis. However, it didn’t mean it was a complete waste of time. It meant I learned something, got another piece of an intricate biological puzzle, and figured out how to better analyze the data I had for the next analysis. Trey is similar. He’s an engineer so naturally he likes solving puzzles and fixing things. This truck is our experiment, a big ol’ steel puzzle we’ve lovingly named “Lola”, much like NASA would name it’s rover or spaceships. The dogs are always happy to come along on adventures. They’ve been through everything with us, so they don’t really freak out about anything (as is noted in the photo of the truck being reeled up onto the tow truck with him smiling in the passenger’s seat).
So, I could have turned the camera off and put it back in my bag, scrapped the trip and posted photos of something happier, but I chose not to. Everything has a story, some times it’s just not the one you set out to tell. It’s easy to make life look amazing with filters and hashtags like #bestdayever, but in reality, it takes more guts to show what every day life really looks like. And I’d rather be candid about it all.

Let’s get cozy

Letsgetcozy

It’s Wednesday morning, 8:34 am. The radiator is humming and Jack is asleep upside down next to me. My brain wants coffee but my toes crave the warmth of the covers for just a few minutes longer. The city looks chilly today. Outside our window I can see the fog blanketing the Golden Gate bridge. In a few minutes, Trey will take off on his motorcycle across the Bay bridge into the city for work and I’ll tuck my cold toes into some warm slippers and relocate to our home office (it’s really a closet). In the past week or so the temperatures have really began to drop. It never gets that cold here, but it’s enough to warrant curling up with a blanket and a cup of something warm at night, and eating a slow cooked meal made in the dutch oven. The dogs have been loving their new dog beds and Mila has been occupying a sheepskin rug I tucked into her little cat teepee. Do you have anything in particular that you do to stay cozy during the cold months? Any good book or show recommendations? We’ve been meaning to watch more of Game of Thrones. “Winter is coming”, (that Jon Snow is so dreamy).

Warm leggings, Slippers, BlanketLe Crueset oven, Slow Fires bookWoolrich dog bed

 

Giveaway / Sun of Wolves – Closed

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Kleine-Wolf-vlag2 polfcleo steven-wolf stranddag-SOW_22 Website-SOW-fotos-fl-14 foto4 Website-SOW-fotos-fl-53 Website-SOW-fotos-fl-33 Sun of Wolves is the creative works of couple Steven (a graphic designer/illustrator) & Cleo (a photographer) who live together with their dog, Wolf, and cats Whiskey and Muffin in the Netherlands. They spend a lot of time on the road traveling (they even recently visited San Francisco and other parts of California!) and take the most amazing photos! I love following along on their adventures. They also create beautiful screen printed flags and posters, as well as high quality photographic prints and bags. Their designs are inspired a lot by their dog, Wolf, and are an ode to him and all the other dogs out there.

They have been so kind as to send us one of their exclusively designed Wolf flags that reads “It’s not the dog in the fight, but the fight in the dog” for one very special Wildlandia reader! To enter, leave your email address in the comments section below and a winner will be chosen later this week!

To see more of Cleo and Steven, be sure to follow them on Instagram - @sunofwolves, and visit their website sunofwolves.com.

 

Have a rad weekend.

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Hello (sang in Adele’s voice)

What are you guys up to this weekend? We’re going to the El Vy show tonight at the Independent if our friend can score us some tickets. The rest of the weekend is a free grab…maybe a hike at Lands End and tacos at Tacolicious? Maybe some eggs on toast? Hell yeah, eggs (always)! I’m also working on a little bedroom makeover that I can’t wait to share. So, that too.

Here are some links from around the web this week. Have a rad weekend!

Ha..So true!
The best friendship movies of all time – Now and Then and Ghost World, remember those?!
Sheepdogs helping save Australia penguins
A book I’ve heard is good
From the creators of Juno comes…
A song for the weekend
 

Above photo by this is veda.

Santa Cruzin’

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Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset Processed with VSCOcam with lv01 preset The thing is, we started off with good intentions. It was Halloween so we figured we’d go down to Santa Cruz and see what we could get into. We loaded up the truck, rolled the back windows down for the dogs, and set off around noon. Santa Cruz is just a little over an hour away from us on the coast. Part of me can’t wait for the day when Trey says he’s had enough of working in San Francisco and we can buy a place in Santa Cruz to live. The town’s got that chill vibe, and we could live closer to the beach and raise our (hypothetical) kids surfing and skate boarding. There’s some good marine labs there too. But, alas…we’ve got a few years here before we can do that so I’ll just keep my day dreams to myself (and you guys) for now. Ha!

So we got into Boulder Creek, a little town right outside Santa Cruz around mid-day and went up into Big Basin redwood forest to see if we could get a campsite for the night. When we showed up, it was the weirdest thing. People were decked out in costumes in the woods. We stopped to let a parrot and a chicken cross the road (adults in costumes) and looked at each other. We totally thought no one would be camping since it was Halloween, but as it turns out everyone was camping because it was Halloween. So we put our name on a waiting list, went and got some groceries at this local market, then came back to find that the only site available was next to the road and the bathrooms.
“I’m cool if you’re cool” Trey said to me. “Yea, I’m cool”, I told him, climbing back into the truck. It’s usually never hard for us to find camping spots since we just park the truck places. The national forests are easy for that, but the state parks are regulated and only have a certain amount of camp sites. Had we have known it was such a popular time to camp we probably wouldn’t have gone. We like having the woods to ourselves! So we turned around, stopped off on an overlook and ate chips and salsa on the tailgate, then drove back home. When we got back there were trick or treaters everywhere in our neighborhood. Turns out the street next to us shuts down for older kids (mostly middleschoolers) to trick-o-treat. The guy who wrote the book on Feng Shui decks out his mansion every year and the kids go nuts for it.  So we got an uber and met up with friends for dinner and drinks at a good Mexican spot downtown. We ended the night having a laugh at putting Star Wars masks on the dogs. It was a random way to spend Halloween, mostly just driving in the truck, but it was fun just doing whatever and not really having any plans. I find that’s when we have the best time anyway. Can you believe it’s already November? When did that happen? Pretty soon it’ll be Thanksgiving and Christmas! Bring it on!

Life with dogs / 05

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Tip #5: Creating a bath time routine

After a weekend of running in the woods, it’s time for the dogs to have a bath. You might be thinking my dog hates baths. Well…I was right there with you not too long ago. Jack hated baths for a long time. He would run the other direction as soon as he heard the water running. When we got Keeper, I decided to try a different approach to bath time in hopes that she wouldn’t mind them as much as Jack did. I’m happy to report that Keeper and Jack now take baths with ease. While your dog might not come to *love* baths, they can learn to tolerate them better. Whether you have a puppy who is new to baths or an adult dog who has a track record of hiding every time the word “bath” is mentioned, there are a few simple ways to make bath time more enjoyable for your dog (and yourself).

Step 1: Desensitize

The first couple of times you give your dog a bath, there will be a fair amount of desensitizing/getting them used to the norms that come with taking a bath. From the sound of the water, to the water temperature, to them being covered in shampoo – it can be overwhelming for them at first. Easing them into the whole process from the beginning will help them make a positive association with taking a bath. If you have an adult dog who has already decided baths aren’t for them, you will need to really work on this step in order to replace their current negative association with a more positive one.

To start with, try:

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Introducing a bath toy

We have 2 toys that sit on the shelf in the bathroom that are designated “bath toys”. A small, rubber chuck-it ball, and a mini frisbee. Both are waterproof. When it’s bath time, I go get these and show the dogs. You’d be surprised by how excited they get to play with toys they only see once or twice a month. I lure them in with these. Not only does it give them something to look forward to every time they take a bath, but it saves me the time of having to chase them down and wrangle them into the tub.

Adjust water temperature

Depending on the amount of fur your dog has, dogs can be more comfortable in the right temperature of water. Border collies like Keeper have long, dense coats, and need to be bathed in luke warm to cool water to avoid overheating. Can you imagine wearing a thick sweater and then hopping into a warm bath? Yeah, no way! Alternatively, dogs with shorter coats like Jack may get cold standing in a tub of water, so adjusting the water to be warmer would be better for them.

Wash face and ears separately

To avoid any traumatic experiences like getting soap in their eyes or water in their ears, make sure to wash their face and ears separate using a wash cloth. Dogs can also get ear infections if water is left in their ears so it’s good to keep them dry anyway.

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Step 2: Positively reinforce calm behavior

While you’re lathering up your dog, let them know when they are being a good dog. Positively reinforce calm behavior by telling them something along the lines of “good job buddy”, or “doing great, almost done” in a positive tone. This is a nice way to let your dog know you like it when they are calm and standing still. If they have mastered the command “Stay”, you can use this here.

Step 3: Reward

After their bath, give them a reward. This should be different than the bath toy (shelve those for now in order to keep the allure for next time). We give Jack and Keeper baby carrots since they are their favorites. I do this as soon as I finish drying them off so they associate the end of bath time with the reward of carrots.

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Step 4: Repeat

In order for a positive association with bath time to be made, you’ll need to repeat these steps every time you give them a bath. Dogs are less likely to feel stressed if they know the routine.

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Do you have any tips or tricks you use with your dog that makes taking a bath easier and more enjoyable? I’d love to hear about them.

Also:

The shampoo we use
For faster washing

The Marin Headlands

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Last weekend we spent the day in the Marin headlands. It’s the first exit off the Golden Gate bridge heading north out of San Francisco and one of my favorite places ever. When we first moved to California, we lived in a little apartment on the water above the house boats in Sausalito, which is about 5 minutes from the headlands. Every day Trey would commute by ferry into the city, and I would drive the most scenic commute ever into the headlands for work. There are a few different trails you can go on in the headlands, each with their own awesome views of the Pacific ocean, or the Golden Gate bridge and city. The coastal route allows dogs, so we chose that one. There’s only one road in and it winds around the cliffs with the water below. There’s a good view of Rodeo beach and the lighthouse too. Eventually the road wraps around and takes you into the valley of the headlands.

I still get that same feeling when I’m standing on the hill looking out at the Pacific as I did when we were fresh out of college and new to the area. I love looking back at the mouth of the Golden Gate and the water below. Our crew used to call that the “the potato patch”, because it was where we’d always have to forge the boat through currents in order to continue a couple hours out to the Farallon Islands to get to the whales. Next to the Golden Gate bridge there’s a harbor seal haul out where hundreds of seals lay on the beach like fat sausages. You wouldn’t know the beach was there unless you were really looking for it. Leaving the headlands, there’s an old school house in the middle of a field. I asked Trey if he would walk Jack out there because I wanted to take a photo of him in front of it. So he walked him out there and told him to “stay” and then walked back to me. I took the photo and yelled to Jack “Good boy, come!”. He sprinted all the way back to us, mouth open wide, smiling. We cheered him on running back to us. I don’t think I will ever forget that. He’s the best, that Jack dog.

After we were done hiking we drove through the rainbow tunnel and over the bridge back home. Sometimes I still have to pinch myself knowing we live in one of the most beautiful places. I don’t take a second of it for granted.

A weekend in the life

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This past weekend was one of those weekends where we hung around town and got caught up on everything. It feels so nice to wake up with fresh sheets on the bed, food in the fridge, washed dogs, and clean laundry. On Saturday we slept in, then went to the Berkeley farmer’s market. In the afternoon we picked up some local cheeses (Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam is my fav) and a few slices of pizza from Cheeseboard. Later we watched We Are Still Here, a horror movie (thanks for falling asleep, babe). On Sunday we made brunch at home (poached eggs on rosemary flatbread with avocado spread) then took the dogs to Point Isabel – a dog park on the water with great views of the city and bay. Then we came home and gave the dogs baths, made dinner, and fell asleep watching Homeland in bed.

Here’s to hoping the week is just as good as the weekend.

Cheers,
nic

Around Here

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1. / Cat food bandit Jack / 2. Morning walk / 3. This hammock has been getting a lot of use this week / 4. Mila likes to groom the dogs / 5. Smells like teakwood, tobacco and sandalwood in our place lately / 6. Someone raided the cat food, but we don’t know who / 7. From our hike in Henry Cowell State park last weekend / 8. Her head is always out the window / 9. The prettiest new chair / 10. Her favorite spot / 11. Because we don’t have many photos of the two of us / 12. These three are best buds

 

Hello, Fall.

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I love fall. It’s my favorite season for a lot of reasons. It was fall semester when Trey and I started seeing each other again. At the end of our sophomore years in college we both transferred back home to NC State and ran into each other on a crisp September morning in Winston Hall. “Is that your purple bike?, I’d pointed out. “It’s maroon”, he’d correct me. Fall is when we adopted Jack and drove over the Golden Gate bridge to move into our little apartment above Dog Eared Books in the Mission neighborhood of San Francisco. Fall is when I moved to San Diego for grad school. Fall is when we moved to Florida for my job. Fall is when we moved back to California for Trey’s job (wow, it’s been a year!). Fall always feels like a season of renewal for us. Something about the leaves changing brings about a certain metaphorical newness in our lives. I’m looking forward to several things this fall, such as: cooking soups in the crock pot, drinking cider and spiced teas, camping trips, hikes and road trips, wearing jeans, comfy sweaters and boots, eating pumpkin pie and acorn squash, and reading a few good books. I’m also looking forward to practicing more yoga and living more simply. What are you looking forward to? Welcome, Fall!
Photos via my Fall Pinterest board.