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.
Our bedroom is one of the brightest spots in our home and is easily my favorite place to hang out. It’s high up and our neighbor’s tree is right outside the windows so it really makes you feel like you’re sleeping in a tree house. You can also see the San Francisco Bay and the Golden Gate bridge too (west coast sunsets are the best!). Since moving in over a year ago, we haven’t really done much to the space besides put sheets on the bed. For the longest time we’ve told ourselves it was just “minimal”, but really we just never tackled it. We were so excited to be sent a new mattress from eve, the UK’s much-loved mattress that’s now being sold in the US. It’s made of three different types of foam – including luxurious memory foam – and feels like we’re sleeping on a cloud. We’ve already talked about how when we move into a bigger place with a guest room, we’ll get another eve mattress. Their design is so hip and simple – eve is basically the hipster mattress of mattress companies. With a business model similar to that of Warby Parker, they take the awkward showroom experience out of buying to instead allow you to choose a size and purchase completely online. Then the mattress is shipped to you for free to try for 100 days and if you aren’t sold on it, you can return it hassle-free. We’ve slept on ours for a few nights now and it’s a winner! It’s just the right amount of soft and firm. The dogs seem pretty stoked on it too!
Along with our new bed, we got a new rug, a couple new indigo pillow cases, and mounted a large framed print I took from the back of a Washington ferry to go above our bed. In the corner, I put a tee pee with a little sheepskin rug in it for Mila cat, and hanged a plant since it’s a good spot with lot of sunlight. I also put up a dream catcher we brought back from Tulum, Mexico. I love how airy the room feels and how “us” it is -minimal, cozy, with wild elements. I’m glad we finally finished this space!
Eve is offering $100 off one of their mattresses by putting your email in here. This post was sponsored by eve. All content and opinions expressed here are my own. Thank you for supporting brands who support Wildlandia!
Welp, Lola’s in the shop until the middle of this week when the air pump can be replaced. It’s an easy fix, but we had to wait for the part to come in for it to be fixed. Can’t wait to have her back!
This weekend was fun and relaxed. On Saturday we got some coffee and did some early Christmas shopping. After that we took the dogs to the dog park near us to let them run around. It’s funny how you get to know all the dogs and their owner at the dog park. There’s Elsa, the giant Irish wolfhound that puts all her weight into you for scratches (she’s our fav), then there’s McCovey the Swiss mountain dog mix who’s a ball thief. There’s peanut the overweight beagle that loves chasing other dogs, and the two shelties that the new parents down the road bring to the park along with their two new twin (human) girls. Oh! And there’s Auggie, the new black lab puppy that comes now too since he’s had all his shots. I’ll definitely need to take some photos to show the diverse crowd of dogs/people we see every day. Anyway, then on Sunday we slept in and then went to Fort Funston to play with the dogs on the beach in San Francisco. We all got sandy/muddy. Jack’s ears still smells like salt water. This week ahead is a busy one. For the last three years we’ve gone to Tennessee to be with Trey’s family for Thanksgiving, but this year we decided to stick close to home and hang with some friends in town. Bring on the sweet potatoes!
Poop, pee, vomit, muddy paws, spills…these are all things that come with taking care of a dog. Sure there are ways you can prevent messes from occurring more often, but inevitably accidents are going to happen no matter what, it’s just part of having a dog. Sometimes Trey and I joke about how having Jack and Keeper are like having two smelly room mates. Unfortunately, dogs don’t have shoes they can kick off every time they get home from being outside, so that means all the bacteria and germs they picked up on their paws from the dog park, sidewalks, etc get transferred onto our rugs and other parts of our home. Vacuuming helps keep pet hair and dirt in check, but for stains, odors and bad bacteria, we up the ante. This is Jack’s up the ante face…
The kind folks at BISSELL asked us to try out their ProHeat 2x Revolution Pet Carpet Cleaner. It was serendipitous that this machine landed on our doorstep seeing as though just two weeks ago we rented a steam cleaner from the grocery store to clean our living room rug. I don’t know if you’ve seen the big red steam cleaners they rent out at the grocery store or not, but they’re mammoths. Like, ride-in-the-carpool-lane, we’ve-got-a-third-passenger kind of mammoth. So, we heaved it into the car, drove home and lugged it upstairs. It wasn’t easy to use either, which in turn resulted in us drenching the rug, which then had to live outside for a day while it dried out. After all that, the odors we were trying to get out were still there. So we cut our losses, chucked the rug, and bought a “new” one off Craigslist the next day.
I was excited to try out the BISSELL pet carpet cleaner on our new-to-us rug to clean off whatever residual funk was on it from the previous owner (we bought it from two photographers who used it in a shoot and no longer needed it). When the BISSELL first arrived, Jack and Keep gave it a warm welcome by biting it’s wheels (sigh, herders) just like they do the vacuum. Once the threat had been neutralized, we gave it a go. The first thing I noticed that was different with the BISSELL versus the grocery store clunker was how much easier it was to use, and how lightweight it is. Another good feature was the detachable hose/brushes to use for spot cleaning. The rug dried in about an hour too, which was great considering it took days when we did it with the other cleaner. We’ll definitely be using this again for future messes and routine cleanings.
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.
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).