Lagunitas, CA

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It was beautiful all weekend here. The temperatures were in the high 70s and 80s both days so we practically lived outside. On Saturday we went on a bike ride around Berkeley and Oakland, then on Sunday we went to a swimming hole up north.

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A tiny office

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Before leaving on our trip, I turned our closet into an office. Yeah! Most of the stuff we already had, with the exception of some Ikea cubicle shelves and a few office supplies. What do you think of the bike chandelier? I thought it really tied the room together, haha. I decided to hang it to maximize floor space. It’s neat how simple solutions can make a room feel bigger than it really is. It’s pretty sweet having a dedicated office to work in. Up until now I had been alternating between laying on the bed, sitting in the hammock, or going to coffee shops to work.

The thing with writing in coffee shops is it’s actually the worst place in the world to write. That women with the beret, what’s her story? I wonder if the barista’s shift is ending or just beginning. This coffee is good. Are everyone’s glasses in here prescription, or do they just wear them to look smarter? That guy at 3′ o clock keeps making eye contact with me. I should have showered. Do they do wine night here?

Anyway, it’s nice to have my own space to be creative in. Even if it is just a closet. Keeper approves. Really she just wants me to throw her new orange frisbee. She makes it real hard to say no with that smile.

Around Here

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We’re home and peeling like snakes from the equatorial sun. Tomorrow we’re taking Lola for a spin. She’s been parked for a few weeks so hopefully she still runs, ha! I joke, but at the same time I’m really meaning it (story of my life).

I’m so excited to share stories, photos and videos from our time in Hong Kong and the Philippines over the next couple of weeks. It’s hard to choose where to begin. It was sunny and internet-less and we left with so many memories we’re already talking about. On Palawan, the island we stayed on in the Philippines, there were lots of dogs. And Hong Kong had the best eggs! For now though, my still somewhat jet-lagged self is going to get some rest. I’m almost too tired for Indian take out and Dateline (almost). Here are a few photos around here since we’ve been back.

1./ Mila and a new book 2./ Keeper, happy to be reunited with her favorite human in the hammock 3./ A wooden mask we brought back from Palawan. 4./ This vintage tee was screaming my name 5./ Jack thinking we’re leaving him behind again 6./Sometimes it feels like someone is watching you

Northern California, from the sky

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This past weekend we got to see San Francisco Bay from the sky. It was incredible. We took off from Sausalito (just north of the Golden Gate Bridge), then flew over the city, circled around Alcatraz and the east bay, before heading north along the coastline up to Point Reyes. It was so cool to look down and see the giant redwood trees in Muir Woods, and take turns spotting gray whales off the coast. Trey capitalized on the opportunity to look for drained swimming pools in the area from up above (for riding bmx/skating). Jack was our co-pilot. Well, actually, we decided at the last minute that it would be too loud for him in the plane (preserving his hearing was more important) – so he stayed back on the dock with Ava, the woman who wrangles the plane in after it lands (thanks Ava!). Once we landed, Jack jumped inside the plane so he could see what we had been up to! It was so much fun. We were reminded just how beautiful this place we call home really is.

I’d probably have to say my favorite parts were flying close to the Golden Gate Bridge and seeing the huge cliffs on the coastline. It was so cool to see another perspective of the San Francisco Bay. That, and seeing Jack on the dock doing his happy dance when we returned. When we were leaving the dock and about to go home, Jack tried to take a short cut and stepped (front paws only) into a foot of ebb tide mud and got stuck up to his shoulders. Trey had to pull him out like a cork stuck in a bottle of merlot (I use this analogy far too often when describing our dogs, come to think of it)…

As you know, we’re into living life to the fullest. Experiences rank higher than any material good could to us. For this experience, we used IfOnly, a company that specializes in “Experiences For Good”- extraordinary experiences that give back to charities. We loved it – and it’s great if you’re looking for something local to do while visiting a new city, or even doing something extravagant like meeting The Weeknd backstage or that hunky Australian actor Chris Hemsworth. IfOnly is a great marketplace for incredible experiences. Not to mention an awesome way to give the gift of adventure to your friends and family.

Thank you IfOnly and Sea Plane Adventures for this awesome experience we won’t forget!

IfOnly is offering $50 off a unique experience of your own using code: wildlandia! Check them out here. This post was sponsored by IfOnly. All content and opinions expressed here are my own. Thank you for supporting those who support Wildlandia!

Outer Sunset & Ocean Beach, SF

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This weekend was sunny and clear (thanks for gettin’ lost, @Karlthefog!), so on Sunday we headed over to the Outer Sunset to spend some time at Ocean Beach.

On the way, we popped into The General Store (same one that’s in LA’s Venice neighborhood) and Mollusk Surf Shop to pick up a few goodies, then checked out Outerlands for a bite to eat but it was closed (the place is always poppin’ – we’ll have to come back), and grabbed a coffee and a lavender + honey shortbread cookie at Trouble coffee before heading to Ocean Beach.

Ocean Beach is a popular surf spot for the brave. San Francisco’s beaches are notoriously cold here…52-56 degree water! Then it’s usually also blanketed with a thick marine layer, making for a pretty chilly experience. Living in San Diego and Florida really spoiled me with warm water. Here you’re lucky if you get away with anything less than a 5/4 mm full wetsuit year round. It was really windy and Trey joked that he was “naturally exfoliating his skin” by standing into the wind and letting the sand hit him in the face. The dogs loved it so much. The beach, not Trey getting hit in the face. Ha! I never get tired of seeing them run wild on the beach. After that, we drove through the Haight where we used to live and made a stop at our favorite vintage shop Wasteland, then gave our old pink building a wave as we drove by on the way home. Janis Joplin lived on the top floor in the sixties. We lived in the garden apartment a few years back. There used to be these ghost tours that tourists would take in the Haight. Our building was one of the stops and the group would congregate right outside our window on the street while the tour guide would talk about how the ghost of Janis haunted the building. Sometimes we’d play along and flash the lights just to hear the “Agh! Omg!” reactions.

Then it was over the bridge and back to sunny Berkeley. Just before arriving home WE SAW IT. The weiner dog in a backpack on a bike. It was so cute I could hardly keep it together. Bay area people are the coolest. I’ve been snapping our trips on Snapchat. We get pretty silly…we’re @wildlandia, wanna be friends?

Happy Monday!

Packing For A Tropical Island

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In a few weeks we’re heading to the Philippines for some sun, diving, and island hopping. I’m so stoked! Visions of fresh local seafood, fruity drinks with slivers of citrus, and limestone cliffs that fall into turquoise waters have been dancing in my head. I’m excited about the marine wildlife too, of course. Dolphins! Sea turtles! Sharks! Nudibranchs! Dugongs! Well, those are extremely rare where we’ll be from what I’ve heard – they are a relative of the manatee, which we swam with while living in Florida. But, who knows. Whale sharks are also around, which we free-dived with in Mexico. Anyway, Here are a few things that will be in my backpack/carry-on:

1. A few good tanks
2. Some polarized shades
3. A bandana for keeping my hair back
4. Coconut lip balm
5. A pair of old Levis jeans I made into shorts – “jorts!”
6. My trusty sandals
7. Reef-safe sunscreen for exploring coral reefs and leaving no finprint behind.

Other things I’ll take:
A gauzy dress I’ve had forever
A swimsuit
The backpack I always carry
Chacos

Has anyone been to the Philippines and have recommendations? What do you usually pack when you go somewhere tropical? I’d love to hear about it!

On confidence.

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I can remember exactly when it clicked for me that I was important. That’s what true confidence is anyway, realizing you’re important. That your thoughts are important, that what you feel is important, and that your ideas matter. It happens at different times, and in different ways for everyone – that moment in life when you reach a breaking point and say “f*ck it” to your insecurities and decide to be 100% yourself.

For me, it happened when I was 27 and sitting on the platform of a research boat off the gulf coast of Florida looking down at a female bottlenose dolphin we had brought onboard to examine. The boat was filled with aquatic vets who had come from various research institutions from around the country to accompany our research efforts. Everyone onboard was busy tending to their assigned tasks, moving about the platform to perform blood work, urine and fecal sampling, ultra sounds, etc. It was my job as resident biologist of the lab leading the research mission to monitor every dolphin we brought onboard. Whenever their oxygen level dropped too low, or there were signs of stress, I would call for a bucket of water so we could splash it over the blowhole to initiate breathing. While others took samples, it was my job (and the lab’s) to ensure she stayed alive.

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Life with Dogs / 09

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Tip #9: How to make a harness on the fly.

You’ve likely fell victim to it at least once, if not all the time. Maybe it was a tree full of squirrels, an approaching dog, or a bicyclist ahead – but, the signs were clear: ears perked, body stiffened, eyes focused. You knew what was coming next: an assault on your arm. In situations like these where your dog might tend to pull on the leash and you find yourself needing more control, here is an easy way to make a harness quickly.

Step 1. Using the collar and leash you already have, hook the leash onto the collar as if you were getting ready to go outside.

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Step 2. Wrap the leash underneath the body and around the chest, loosely.

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Step 3. Cross the leash over the top of the body and put handle through the loop you’ve created

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Step 4. Pull the handle of the leash towards the center and you’re ready to go!

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For long distance hikes, or daily walks with a dog who tugs on the leash regularly, I recommend getting an actual harness. This tactic is great for those times when you just need a little extra control to get from point A to point B.

Leash and collar are from the nice folks at RESQCO.

Around Here

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1. / Mila cat in her bed jungle / 2. Diversity in coffee / 3. Hats hangin’ / 4. A new book I’m reading (it’s good) / 5. Bookstore kitty / 6. Morning coffee conversationalists (ok, it’s me who does all the talking) / 7. The city, above. / 8. A few new favorites / 9. The city, below. / 10. Those pots need somethin’…ideas welcome.

 

 

DIY Shoe Organizer

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Processed with VSCOcam with s3 preset Come home, kick off shoes, hang jacket, put keys in the wood tray. That’s how it usually goes when we come into our place. Lately though, the pile of shoes/ human obstacle course we had created by the door was getting harder and harder to ignore. So, this past weekend I decided to sort out the beef I had with the current state of entryway and come up with a helpful solution. The result was a very simple, modern shoe organizer. 

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Here’s what we used:

Two 1×8 ft boards
1.5″ nails
Measuring tape
Pencil
Hammer
Hand saw
Sand paper

Here’s how:

Measure the dimensions of your space using a tape measure. Cut boards to fit dimensions (essentially you are creating a rectangle – ours was made using two long pieces measuring 36 3/4” and two 10″ pieces). The next step will likely be a little different than ours because we took advantage of the molding along the bottom of the wall to use as a place to rest the bottom board. We then nailed the side pieces into the wall, and nailed the remaining long piece on top. If you are constructing this without the help of any molding/wall features, you could use wood glue and clamps to secure the pieces together in a rectangle shape, then nail them together. You could even add legs or wheels to add storage space underneath.