Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Snow in the Mountains

Or rather, a wordy Wednesday post.

On the Saturday after Christmas, I took off to the mountains with Koira. A friend and her dog came along for the fun as well. We went to a sno park near a popular skiing destination, and took to the trails on snowshoes.

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Dogs with snowshoes

Koira wore her brand new coat that I made her. Waterproof and fleece lined, it still wasn't quite enough to keep her warm when we were standing still.

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Shivering in her new coat because we stopped moving

I am trying to remember my new policy- get in the photo. I look back on so many adventures and there are not pictures of me. I want to be able to look back on this trip, and other trips, and see that I was there with my dog and with my friends, not just behind the camera.

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This road was closed.

Koira doesn't do a lot of off leash stuff with other dogs anymore, as she has become less tolerant of other dogs as she gets older. Ripp is totally easy going and one of the mellowest dogs ever, though, and these two got along great.

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Dogs headed back to check in

And seriously, Ripp is about as adorable as it is possible to be.

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Ripp posing in the snow

Even though I rarely take shots that don't have dogs in them, some of the scenery was just too amazing to pass up on this trip.

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Close up of a snowy branch overhanging the trail

This is probably my favorite landscape shot I've ever taken. I just love the clouds giving texture to the sky, the mountain in the background, the trees covered in snow, all of it.

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Looking back on the trail behind us

I don't think Koira appreciated the views much, but I know she enjoyed the adventure.

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Heading back to check in

In fact, she kept heading off exploring with Ripp, so lots of opportunities for dog butt pictures.

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Off exploring

Mr. Ripp was becoming a pro at posing by the end of the trip.

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Picture perfect smile

Overall, we had a great trip to the snow. Despite having to chain up on the drive (for the first time in 10 years probably), despite breaking a snowshoe on the hike, it was an awesome, relaxing, fun way to spend a day. And I can't wait to go again.

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Koira, being adorable. Color version of the photo posted on Sunday

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve seems like the perfect time to share this year's pictures with Santa.

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Saturday, December 19, 2015


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Glamorous cat

Still looking for the perfect Christmas gift for your cat? Why not stop over at and check out this awesome cat tree? still can get one of these to you before Christmas. 1-2 day shipping is free if you spend $49+.

The Armarakat Cat Tree arrived for our review packed up tight in a box, some assembly required. That said, the assembly was super easy.

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All packed up tight

The box includes the parts for the tree, instructions that are easy to follow, the bolts required for assembly, and the tool needed for tightening the bolts. You don't need anything of your own, or any kind of tools, to assemble this tree.

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Using the included tool to tighten up one of the bolts

There is a small toy that comes with the tree for the cats to play with.

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Martha may be 13+ years old, but she still knows how to have fun

Martha took to the tree right away, crawling around on it, playing with the toy, and scratching on the uprights.

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Loving hanging out on the new tree

Theodore Trex took a little longer to warm up to it, and he honestly still doesn't hang out on the upper level at all. He does like sitting on the base and using the scratching post part though.

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Both cats getting into the action

Martha is enjoying her new cat tree a lot. She thinks it is a pretty great Christmas present, even if she did get it early.

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Smug cat is smug

The Armarakat Cat Tree is even on sale right now for just $38.95, which is such a great price for a cat tree. Between the price (just need another $10.05 for free shipping!) and the free, fast shipping, you can't really go wrong.

We were provided with this cat tree free of charge in exchange for sharing our honest review of the product. We were not compensated in any other way.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Tasty Tuesday: Wellness Core Protein Bars


This month we had the pleasure of reviewing Wellness Core Superfood Protein Bars for

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When the box came, I decided to let Koira open it herself. She really enjoys ripping into packages, but is good enough to not do it without me telling her to.

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She really, really enjoys ripping into packages. I do think that having one canine removed this spring makes it a little harder to get a good grip and rip the package open cleaning, though.

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You can see that she goes for the corners until they are weakened.

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And then she rips like mad!

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When she got the box ripped open, I rescued the Wellness Core package that was inside so it didn't get ripped open. As soon as I snapped this photo of Koira with the package, I opened it up and gave her one as a reward for being such a good box opener.

Then I proceeded to clean up all the little bits of torn cardboard.

The Wellness Core Superfood Protein Bars were a big favorite of Koira's. We got the Chicken and Turkey with Sweet Potato flavor. The bars were firm, and were larger than I would use for training treats. But, they rip pretty easily and were a sort of soft and chewy texture, rather than a dry hard texture like jerky. I liked that, since using jerky as treats can, in my experience, cause lots of coughing as the dog tries to chew and swallow fast and gets the fibers of the jerky stuck in their throat. These protein bars were softer so avoided that and seemed very easy to swallow, but chewy enough that if given in a slightly larger chunk, the dog doesn't just inhale it.

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I used the Wellness Core Protein Bars as rewards (bribes) for a quick photoshoot at a local tree farm. Koira was willing to work for them, and since they are a larger treat when they come out of the package, they were easy to use for holding up to get attention, or to toss to get her to look a certain way, because they were large and easy to see. But I could then break off a smaller piece to use as a reward and not have to constantly be digging back into my treat bag or pocket for more. 

Overall, I really liked these treats. The ingredients are great. The dog loved them. The size and texture of the treats works really well for how I like to do photo sessions, being big enough to see and use as a lure, but soft enough to rip into smaller pieces to reward Koira. And big bonus, they are only $6.81 per bag right now on Absolutely worth the price. 

Monday, November 30, 2015

November Chewy Review

For the month of November, we were pleased to review one of's non-food items. We received a Benebone in exchange for our honest review.

The Benebone is a durable chew toy for dogs. They are not edible but are highly interesting for dogs. Koira was really excited when I pulled it out of the package for her. She has been happily chewing on it all month.

Koira is a power chewer, but not an intentional destroyer like some dogs. She chews and has fun chewing, but she doesn't seem to set out to destroy the thing she is chewing on. Kongs last forever with her- I've never had her even take a chunk out of one. So with that in mind, I would say that the Benebone is a great chew toy for a dog like Koira who loves to chew but not destroy.

The Benebone has visible marks from her chewing, but isn't significantly damaged. I would absolutely recommend supervising your dog while they chew this, especially the first few times, to make sure they aren't deliberately taking pieces off of it to swallow. A determined dog likely could take chunks off if they wanted to. But most dogs aren't going to try, and Koira greatly enjoys this toy without any sign of issue.

Unfortunately I was lazy and unable to get some good pictures of Koira enjoying her Benebone this month, and now being the last day of the month, I wanted to make sure I got my review up. So you'll just have to take my word for it that Koira really enjoys this chew toy, and that we would be happy purchasing another one of these in the future. If you are interested, currently has the Benebone on sale (regularly $16.99, now $11.49 for the regular size).

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

WW: Reclaiming the Kennel

Koira sleeping in her kennel, having evicted the cat (or well, waited for the cat to leave on her own, but who's keeping track?).


Saturday, November 21, 2015

Happy Caturday!

For some reason, Martha has taken to laying in Koira's kennel. I even swapped out beds to see if it was the bed she liked, but no, she insists on hanging out in the kennel. Koira has a healthy respect for cat claws, so goes ahead and lets Martha steal her space and bed.

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Martha wasn't too thrilled at being woken up!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

WW: Neskowin

Phone pictures from the beach in Neskowin, OR. It was too wet to risk my camera on the beach!



Friday, November 13, 2015

Fit Friday: Hiking Drift Creek Falls

Yesterday, I met some friends at the beach near Lincoln City. The rain swept in around noon, so after grabbing some lunch at a cute little cafe (with the most delicious chanterelle mushroom soup I've ever had), my friends took off to head back to Portland. I took Koira for a short run down on the beach, and decided to stop by Drift Creek Falls on the way home. I've been meaning to make a trip out there to hike down to the falls for ages, and I wasn't going to miss it when I was less than 10 miles away.

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Just below the trailhead, and we had the perfect Oregon fall mix of ferns, fir, and some color changing vine maple

In Oregon, when you go hiking in the fall, you expect it to be muddy and wet, even if it isn't currently raining. On the coast, chances are good it will be raining, or so foggy it may as well be raining.

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Another burst of color in the background

Drift Creek Falls is no exception to this. The trailhead is near the top of Cougar Mountain in a National Park. Koira hiked on leash and was only off leash when I was actively taking her picture, hence the harness she is wearing in all of them.

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Lots of turns in the trail as it hugs the sides of the gullies in the mountain- you can see the trail continue on the other side of the gully behind Koira

It was raining when I got to the trailhead, and only rained harder the longer we were there. I tucked my camera into the front of my zipped up rain jacket and only took it out for really quick snaps a handful of times on the hike down to the falls.

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This is just so typical of Oregon in the fall

Koira was happy to be out and moving after spending most of the morning in the car while I played on the beach with my friends and their dogs. She is getting over kennel cough, so isn't allowed to interact with other dogs. But she has been done coughing for about a week, so thankfully is finally able to get out and do stuff without hacking the entire time. We're just going to keep avoiding dogs for a while longer so we don't risk spreading the KC.

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A rare no-dog photo. These bright leaves were too high up for me to get the dog in the picture!

The entire hike down to Drift Creek Falls is only three miles round trip, so it doesn't seem like it would be a hard hike. And the trail is really well maintained. But since you go down for 1.5 miles, then turn around and walk back uphill at the end, the trail always seems harder than it really is. And it didn't help that I'd already been running around on the beach all morning.

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Nicely positioned stump, perfect for posing a dog for pictures

This trail is just so beautiful every time I go, I am not sure why it always takes me so long to get back there again. It has been years since my last visit, and we were certainly overdue for one. Probably part of it is that it takes me a while to forget how terrifying the long, narrow suspension bridge over the falls is. I actually had to go back after starting across it the first time, because I looked down and started getting vertigo. We tried again though and made it across, which means, of course, that I had to cross it on the way back to get back to the car.

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I love the colors out there this fall

Koira wasn't a big fan of the bridge either, though I think she didn't like the sound of the falls more than the bridge itself. The falls are partly hidden when you first start across the bridge, making them pretty quiet, then all of a sudden they come into view and get really loud.

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Koira in front of the falls.

I didn't take any pictures on the bridge, because that would have required that we stop on the bridge, which just wasn't going to happen. I was busy talking myself into keeping going and reminding myself to not look down and to not think about bridges breaking, or earthquakes, or anything like that.

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You can see the falls off to the side, and the suspension bridge is above and behind Koira. It is a narrow little bridge, so not super visible in the picture. 

Ultimately though the bridge is worth it to get to go down and see the falls, and it has nice sturdy railings on either side to give you something to hold onto. We were running kind of late in the day by the time we started our hike, so we just went quickly down to the falls, grabbed a few pictures, and then headed back up to the car to drive home.

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Hiking in Oregon

I had to grab a couple pictures of my hiking gear, because it is so typical of what many Oregonians wear. Lightweight rain jacket (not visible) with matching waterproof pants (because not having waterproof pants isn't really an option), and a pair of Vibrams, which aren't waterproof, but you are never going to keep your feet dry anyway, so why bother trying.

Oh, and of course, the essential hiking companion, a loyal dog.

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She thought laying down on the wet trail was pretty stupid, but did eventually agree to pose for this picture.

Overall my day ended up being almost 24,000 steps, and the equivalent of 83 flights of stairs, according to my FitBit. And my legs are telling me about it! Probably a little over half of the steps were with Koira, and most of the stairs. I'm hoping she isn't as sore as I am. We do lots of walking, but not too many hills on a regular basis.

My FitBit stats when I got home at 7 pm after our hike

Overall, I know I had a great day, and I am pretty sure Koira would agree. She wasn't a huge fan of the rain, especially as it got worse toward the end of our hike, but I think she enjoyed herself anyway.