Friday, July 31, 2009

Favorite Photo Friday

For the second week of Favorite Photo Friday, I thought I'd share a cute picture that my husband sent me yesterday of the boys taking an afternoon nap. I swear, they cannot stand to be apart, even when they sleep!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bragging Rights

In a few short months, this will be my husband and me running the OBX Half-Marathon in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

We started our training schedule on Tuesday evening, and we went for another run last night...with the boys. We felt bad that Brady & Cooper had been cooped up inside all day, and we knew they were still a little sad that their cousin Brinkley left on Monday, so we figured a good run would help wear them out and cheer them up a little. For a change of pace, we decided to run throughout our neighborhood with the boys off leash, and here's where I'm going to brag a little bit. I think we have some of the most well-behaved labs under the age of 2 that you'll find anywhere. The boys ran by our side, at our pace, for almost 2 miles as we traveled up and down the hills in our neighborhood. They were GREAT! I don't think we'll be taking them on all of our runs as we train for our upcoming race (especially as we start increasing our distance) but we couldn't ask for better running partners for the shorter runs in our neighborhood.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bring Fido

When searching for cute pictures online the other day, I came across another great website to help plan pet-friendly vacations - BringFido - a Pet Friendly Hotel and Dog Travel Directory. Listing information about everything from pet-friendly accomodations to airfare to restaurants, this website seems to have it all. I'll admit that I haven't spent much time on it yet, so I can't give any detailed advice about navigating the site. I will, however, be checking it out in depth in the near future & will be sure to check back with my inside scoop.

[Photo courtesy]

What about you all? Have you used this site before? Are there other pet-friendly travel sites out there that I may have missed?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Yes and a No

You guessed it! It's time for another product review. After spending three days with three very large and rather rambunctious dogs (Brady, Cooper & their cousin Brinkley), I am able to offer you a review of two more Petstages dog toys. As I've said before, I love dog toys by Petstages. The people at Petstages have developed a number of great toys for chewers, and they also offer a variety of well-made interactive toys as well.

When my parents came to visit this past weekend, my mom brought a new toy for the three boys to try out - the Hearty Chew (show below). This interesting contraption proved to be a favorite for both chewing and a rowdy three-way game of tug-of-war. The ball in the middle is soft, yet durable as are the ropes that extend out of each side. The three boys played with this toy for hours, and I have a feeling that it will quickly become a favorite of the boys.

We purchased the second Petstages toy (shown below) a few weeks ago. Called the Good Tug, this toy (made with super thick cotton rope) seemed like it would be a great one for the boys, given the fact that they love to play tug-of-war with Cooper's favorite football. I assumed that since it was made for playing tug-of-war it would be a durable, long-lasting toy, capable of withstanding the strong jaws of our two labs. Granted, this toy is listed as an "interactive" toy rather than a "chewing" toy, but I still would have thought that the plastic balls located on either end of the toy would have lasted longer than 30 minutes. Not so much. Cooper quickly chewed through the outer plastic, requiring me to cut off all remaining plastic from the toy. Yes, they can still play with the rope, but we soon realized that the two plastic balls are in place to keep the center piece from sliding off the ends of the rope. Fatal design error? Probably not, but I'd like to think they could develop a better design for future tug-of-war toys.

Overall conclusion? Definitely buy the Hearty Chew but I wouldn't waste your money on the Good Tug if you have chewers in your house.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Favorite Photo Friday

[Brady, 8 weeks old]

I saw this idea on a friend's blog and loved it. I'm going to try to share one of my favorite photos every Friday. Try being the key word. I may miss a few Fridays here and there, but I'll do my best. Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Brinkley is Coming to Visit!

The boys are beyond excited (ok, maybe I'm exaggerating, I'm not actually sure if they understand it when I'm telling them, but I like to pretend) that their cousin Brinkley is coming to visit this weekend!

Brinkley is a mixed breed that my sister adopted from a shelter in Auburn, Alabama while she was in college (he now lives with my parents in Virginia and has the run of the house and a huge fenced in backyard). We think he may be part Rhodesian Ridgeback, but there's no telling.

[Look how little the boys are! Just wait until you see pictures of the 3 of them now!]

It's pretty funny when the three dogs get together. Brinkley is so used to being an only dog, that it usually takes him a little while to get adjusted to our big hyper boys. Last time we were up at my parents' house we took the three boys to the park and ours jumped in the lake within minutes (ever since they discovered the water, we haven't been able to keep them out of it!). We could tell that Brinkley wanted to go swimming with them, but he was afraid to venture far enough out to where he couldn't stand. I think we may try to take a trip to our favorite park, Elachee Nature Center this weekend to see if we can get him in the water. Many pictures from the weekend visit to follow!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ten Things

One of my great friends from college, the personality behind the fun blog Happiness Is..., surprised me with a fun blog award and game last week.

Like any blog award, there are a few rules to follow...

1. I need to copy the logo and place it on my blog
2. Link it back to the person who gave it to me
3. Pass it on to five fellow bloggers
4. List 10 things about myself

So I decided to list 10 things I love. Here they are (in no particular order)...

1. The Outer Banks of North Carolina.

Growing up in Virginia, it was only natural that my family spend many spring breaks and summer vacations at the beach on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. I have so many fun memories from there as a child and up through college. I even spent one summer in college working at Tommy's Market in Duck, NC. I love the feeling I get the moment we begin to cross the bridge onto the barrier islands, and I soon as I step foot onto the sand and smell the salty air, I feel at home.

2. Peanut Butter Ice Cream.

If you happen to read my new blog that I started a few weeks ago, you probably saw the recipe I posted for Peanut Butter Ice Cream. I'm not exactly sure when my love for peanut butter ice cream began, but I do know that the reason for it is Friendly's restaurant. I'm not sure if they sell them anymore, but Friendly's use to have a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup Sunday-to-Go that featured pure peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter sauce, chocolate sauce and peanut butter cups - heaven. Since I fell in love with this incredible invention, I have always been on the lookout for a proper substitution for the peanut butter ice cream. Few places offer peanut butter flavored ice cream - most just put pieces of Reese's peanut butter cups in vanilla ice cream and say it's the same thing - it's not. Now that I have my own ice cream maker and a fabulous recipe for homemade peanut butter ice cream, I can have peanut butter ice cream whenever I want. This could be a problem.

3. Honey Roasted BBQ Sauce from Chick-fil-A.

I have my husband to thank for this latest obsession. A few years ago, he introduced me to the wonderfully condiment called Honey Roasted BBQ Sauce. I've always been a Chick-fil-A fan but never like this. I used to order chicken nuggets, and they were good, but the waffle fries were always my favorite part about Chick-fil-A. That was until I tried the Honey Roasted BBQ Sauce on a Chick-fil-A chicken sandwich. Oh. my. gosh. If you haven't had it, go to Chick-fil-A for lunch and try it today. On second thought, maybe that's not a good idea - you might end up like me and require Chick-fil-A on a regular basis.

4. My two brown dogs.

I think it's pretty obvious that I LOVE my two big brown dogs. I mean, I write an entire blog about dogs (usually about my two). I grew up with a dog and couldn't wait until I was old enough to have my own. Somewhere along the line, I became convinced that I had to have at least two at one time. I figured that a puppy would be lonely if it didn't have another dog to pal around with. I think I was right. Brady & Cooper are inseparable. They have been since the day we brought them home. My husband thought I was crazy when I announced that I wanted to get not one, but two dogs. Labs for that matter. He quickly came around the first night when the boys crawled into their new crate (on their own) and curled up to sleep (all night long without whining!). He now says he wouldn't have it any other way. Me either.

5. Coastal Living Magazine.

I love this magazine. Everything about it. I love the coast (see #1 above and my other blog, Seagrass and Sunsets). Reading Coastal Living transports me to some of my favorite places and is an awesome collection of recipes, articles, features, homes and more for anyone who loves the coast. If I could work for this magazine, I would. In a heart beat. Unfortunately the offices are located in Birmingham, Alabama. If any of you happen to know the powers that be at Coastal Living and think you could convince them to employ a creative, beach lover from a virtual office in small-town Georgia, please let me know...

6. The Bulldog Car Wash.

It may seem kind of random for me to include a car wash on a list of ten things that I love. Don't get me wrong, I do love it when my car is clean, but that's not why I've added the Bulldog Car Wash to this list. I have a much better reason. I met my husband at this particular car wash on a warm September afternoon a few years ago, and my life has not been the same since. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined that I would meet the love of my life at such a random spot, but somehow I did, and the Bulldog Car Wash will always have a special place in my heart.

7. Charlottesville/UVa/My College Friends.

Oh Charlottesville. Cville. How I miss you. The beautiful, green horse farms. The gorgeous mountains. The great restaurants and fun watering holes. The lazy days spent at Beaver Creek and driving aimlessly in the Blue Ridge Mountains. The football games. Walking to class on the Lawn. The University of Virginia truly is a magical place. I know that most people love their alma matters, but I don't know if anyone loves their school as much as we Wahoos love our University. I am forever grateful for the friendships I made, the education I received and the wonderful memories that will always stay with me. I only wish we could go back more often.

8. Maymont Park.

My favorite spot in my hometown. To imagine that this beautiful property used to be a private residence blows me away. The gardens, the views, the history. It's truly breathtaking, and Richmonders are very lucky that Maymont has been preserved for the public to enjoy for many years to come. To read more about Maymont and it's history, click here.

9. Reading.

I love to read. I always have. I was the kid who would go into the library during the summer break and come out with a stack of 20 books at a time. Unfortunately, during graduate school I stopped reading for pleasure. I think it was the thick stack of books that I was required to read for class. Who knows. It makes me a little sad that I can't discuss any of the newest books on the best seller list or that I have started to take People and US Weekly on my vacations instead of a good novel. If anyone has a recommendation for a must read to get me started again, please let me know!

10. My Family.

Where do I start? I am blessed with the greatest family in the world. I have parents who have always been extremely supportive and encouraging. They love my sister and me unconditionally and are always there to talk or laugh or cry with us. They have a great relationship with each other (they just celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary this year!), and they are role models for the kind of relationship I've always wanted to have. My little sister is one of the funniest and most adventurous people I know. I often wish I could be more like her. As a big sister, I am often way too hard on her, but somehow she loves me anyway. My mother-in-law is one of the strongest and compassionate women I know. She and my brother-in-law welcomed me into their family from the moment we first met, and I am extremely lucky to have become part of such an amazing family. Last but certainly not least, my husband. He is the love of my life and my best friend. It can't get any better than that.

And the five blogs that I am tagging...

Buckhead Betties (hilarious)

Vintage Victuals (classic go-to recipes)

Pecan Pie Puppies (love these collars)

Matters of Style (great source for ideas)

The Consummate Hostess (great entertaining ideas)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


I don't know about where you are, but it's pretty darn H-O-T around here!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Cooper, go get your football!

Those five words come out of my mouth at least once a day, every day. The rope & football toy show above is Cooper's absolute FAVORITE toy of all time. Cooper is constantly toting his football around and dropping it (not so subtly) at my feet as his way of announcing that it is playtime.

If I ask him to go find his football, Cooper runs out of the room in search of his beloved toy, always returning with it in mere seconds. He loves this toy so much that he even peed on it (twice) to keep Brady from trying to take it away (sidenote: this lovely habit of his has caused us to test the durability of the football many times and the rope had stayed in tact, as has the tough, but flexible, plastic of the football).

My mom bought Cooper his first football, and we have since purchased another to have on hand just in case he loses the original or it eventually wears out. If you're interested, PetSmart has the football on sale for a ridiculously reasonable price of $2.97 (for more info, click here).

Monday, July 13, 2009

And we're spent...

After another awesome weekend at the lake, we're all a little bit tired today. In fact, I'm pretty sure the boys are spending the day like this..

Brady & Cooper had a blast this weekend swimming with their friends, Bailey & Sophie. Fun pictures from the weekend to come soon!

Friday, July 10, 2009

Calling all Pawsengers

{Photo courtesy CNN & Midwest Airlines}

As we take off for yet another weekend out of town this summer, my mind turns again to the topic of pets & travel. The writers over at must have had the same idea, because they posted "More Airlines Embracing Furry Travelers" this afternoon. In their article, CNN highlights both Midwest Airlines (an airline that allows some "celebrity" dogs to travel in their own seats) and Pet Airways, the nation's first-ever pet-only airline.

{Click here to visit Pet Airways}

The story behind Pet Airways is really cute, and I highly suggest clicking here to read the story on the airline's website. While you're there, make sure to check out all of the great features that Pet Airways has to offer. If you choose to have your pet fly on Pet Airways, upon your arrival at the airport, your pet (also referred to as a "pawsenger") is first checked in at the Pet Lounge. During the flight, pets travel in the passenger cabin of the aircraft and are checked on every 15 minutes by a Pet Attendant. Nervous parents can even track their pet's flight on the Pet Airlines website!

Starting this month, Pet Airways will be flying in 5 major cities with fares as low as $149 each way according to the Pet Airway's website. How cool is that?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Presents for Your Pup

I have another online find to introduce to you today...Bisket Baskets.

If you're anything like me, online shopping has become part of your daily routine. Living in a small town far away from family and friends (and the conveniences of a nice mall), I love it when I can research shopping options online and order items with the click of a button. I do online shopping on a regular basis for myself, the boys and my husband, and I've even begun to shop for gifts online and have them sent directly to the recipient.

You can imagine my delight when I came across Bisket Baskets - a company started and run by two sisters who share a love for animals. They started their company in 1999 by designing gift baskets for pets, and they have since expanded their offerings to include many other gift themes, (think coffee, tea, wine, cookies, fruit, etc). You name it, they probably have it. I've had a blast looking through all of the different baskets that they offer on their website. I haven't had the pleasure of purchasing (or even better, receiving) one of their baskets yet, but you can bet I'm putting Bisket Baskets on my list of online retailers to consult the next time a holiday rolls around...

(Any Georgia fans out there?!)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rub a Dub Dub...

two dogs in the...shower?

Ok, I know what you're thinking, here she goes again spoiling those two big brown dogs. Truth is, cornering Cooper in the shower where we can close the door is about the only way we can get him clean. In the summer, we do try to bathe the boys outside, but doing so is definitely a two person job. As I've mentioned before, Cooper loves to get (and stay) dirty; he hates to get clean. I mean hates in the sense that you mention the word "bath", and he runs and hides in the corner. Really. It's pretty funny.

Anyway, somehow I got on the topic of bath time. Why? Because I want to recommend a great product for you all to try - the Herbal Dog Shampoo Bar by Good Clean Dog. At first my husband was a little skeptical about using a shampoo bar. With two big dogs to bathe, he didn't think it would last very long or be very effective. Au contraire. The 6 oz. shampoo bar has lasted us through at least four baths so far. The shampoo bar is made with vegetable oils, herbal infusions and pure aromatherapy grade essential oils, and it smells wonderful. At only $7.95 plus $1 shipping, I think the shampoo bar is a bargain. Need one more reason to try it? Using this shampoo bar is not only great for your dogs, it's a good choice for the environment - when you're done using the shampoo bar, you won't have a plastic bottle to deal with.
Go ahead, stroll on over to the Good Clean Dog (and don't forget to tell them Brown Dog Boutique sent you!).

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

How do you choose?

Puppies are the cutest things - no matter what breed. So how to do you choose? I am obviously partial to Labrador Retrievers, but I think all puppies are cute. Unfortunately (and fortunately) so do most people. The unfortunate part is that this extreme cuteness often leads people to bring puppies into their lives with no thought to the future and no true commitment to raising the puppies into adulthood. As a result, I think a word of caution is necessary before moving forward in this discussion.

Before anyone makes the decision to bring a dog (or any pet for that matter) into their household, I think it is important for every family member in a household to take a look at their future plans and ask several questions - Where do you see yourself in 5 or 10 years? Will you be moving around or are you in a more permanent position? If you have to move or your lifestyle changes, are you committed to taking your pet with you?

Once you've decided that it's the right decision to bring a dog into your life, how do you choose which one (or two, in my case)? This is the time to evaluate your lifestyle. What is your normal routine like? Do you like to exercise or are you more of a couch potato? Do you have a large living space? A fenced in backyard? How much time do you have to devote to your pet?

Different breeds have different characteristics, and it's important to do your research. Luckily there are many books and websites out there, like the American Kennel Club's Alphabetical Listing of AKC Recognized Breeds, to get you started. While this guide won't give you all of the answers (not even close), it will help you to become familiar with the general characteristics of different types of dogs to help you narrow down your search.

Once you have an idea of the type of dog you're looking for, shift your research to breeders and rescue organizations. Decide whether it is important for you to have a purebred dog or whether you'd rather adopt a mixed breed. Both are great and you have to make the best choice for you. If you're interested in getting a purebred dog from a reputable breeder, start by checking out Online Breeder Classifieds on the AKC website. Most people, however, do not intend to ever breed or show their dog, so having a dog that is registered with the AKC is probably unnecessary. If this is the case, I highly recommend that you check with your local humane society or other rescue organizations. There are so many sweet animals in shelters and rescue groups that deserve a good home.

Many of the dogs that are found by rescue groups are mixed breeds, but there are often a number of purebred dogs that have been surrendered by their owners. There are even rescue groups that are specific to certain breeds, such as the Atlanta Lab Rescue. If you're interested in a particular breed, be sure to check out the rescue groups in your area. Some may even have full litters of puppies to choose from if you're set on bringing home a baby. If you're not, I encourage you to consider adopting an older dog from a rescue group - many times they're already housebroken and unfortunately, they often get passed over by people looking for a puppy. Rescue groups like my local humane society, the HSJC, do amazing work to find deserving animals a forever home, and you can bet that my next four-legged family member will come from one of these groups.

So after all of that discussion on my part, I have to ask, how did you choose?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Show Your Support

If you're like me, you're pretty passionate about doing what you can to help homeless pets. When I can, I volunteer my time with the Humane Society of Jackson County, and I donate annually to The Humane Society of the United States. I would love to be able to do more, but there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day. Luckily there is a quick & easy way to support rescue efforts in Georgia (and I bet in many other states as well) through the purchase of a specialty license plate. The one shown above featuring Buddy is one of three specialty license plates that can be purchased in Georgia to help support the Dog & Cat Sterilization Program. The extra fee for these cute license plates is only $25 per year, and this extra fee is deposited in a special fund that supports the Dog & Cat Reproductive Sterilization Support Program under direction of the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Starting this year, my car will be sporting the Buddy license plate.

If you're interested in purchasing this plate, please click here to learn more (scroll down to the Dog & Cat Sterilization links). And if you live outside of Georgia, ask your Department of Motor Vehicles or Driver's Services to see if they offer a similar program.


that's what our boys are feeling right now. We picked them up yesterday afternoon from the Athens Y Camp. After three full days of adventure (swimming, hiking, chasing the other dogs & campers) the boys were ready to take a long, long nap. As soon as we got them in the car, they fell fast asleep (only waking briefly for meals and a few snacks), and they were still asleep when I left for work this morning.

{a gorgeous view of camp}

{meeting their friends for the weekend}

Friday was my first visit to the Athens Y Camp. My husband has dropped Brady & Cooper off the last few times they've been lucky enough to spend a few days at the camp. Located in the beautiful mountains of northeast Georgia near Lake Rabun, the Athens Y Camp has been a fun, summer getaway for years. I have to admit, as we drove away on Friday afternoon while Brady & Cooper swam in the lake, I was a little jealous of the weekend they had in store!

{a look of pure joy on Cooper's face}

{Brady retrieving a stick}

Hope you all had a great 4th of July weekend. Any fun stories to share? I'd love to hear them!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Happy 4th of July (a little bit early)!

I'm writing this post a few days early because we leave for the mountains (and summer camp) tomorrow morning & the chances of me having access to a computer this weekend is pretty slim. Hopefully you all will be relaxing outside and won't be spending much time on the computer over the weekend. I hope you all have a long, relaxing, enjoyable, FUN holiday weekend with family and friends. I'll be back to the blog world on Monday, but in the meantime, I wanted to leave you with a few adorable images and a link to a cute online store that I just stumbled upon - Labrador Retriever

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Off to Summer Camp!

{Disclaimer: The dogs in the picture above are not our boys, but I thought I'd give you an idea of what their weekend will be like. Real pictures from camp will be up next week}

Ok, I'll admit it, our boys are spoiled. Spoiled rotten. My husband and I are going away this weekend, and instead of boarding the boys at the local kennel, what do we do? We send them to summer camp. Before you start laughing, let me explain. One of our good friends is the director of the Athens Y Camp - a summer camp in Northeast Georgia. He and his family watched the boys last year when we were on our honeymoon, and camp is where they first learned to swim. The boys LOVE going to camp. When we told them they were going this weekend, they got really excited. Alright, maybe that's an exaggeration - I'm not sure if they really understood what we were saying, but I like to think so. Anyway, we plan to drop them off at camp on Friday, and they'll spend the rest of the weekend playing with the campers, chasing wildlife and swimming all day long. I think it's safe to say they'll be happy {and exhausted} dogs when we pick them up on Sunday.

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