Gift Ideas for the Dog Lover

There's nothing better than my dogs stuffing their noses in their stockings on Christmas morning to "tear open presents" (aka I help them).  If you're anything like me, then you're currently ordering last minute gifts on Amazon prime.  Here's a little gift guide if you're shopping for your fur babies or a dog lover!

For the Adventurer:

1. National Parks Pass  - Good for the year and grants access to any National Park* (some parks might have different rules during busy season).

2. Camping with Dogs bandana - Keep your dog stylish on those outdoor adventures!

3. Easy Walk Harness - A lot of people ask which harness I use; this harness discourages pulling which can be useful anytime but especially when hiking for miles.

4. Ruffwear Collapsible Bivy Bowl - I like the collapsible bowl best because it slides into the back of my pack where my water bladder is.

5. Custom Dog Name Tag with Mountains - I randomly stumbled upon this Easy shop and I love that there's a dog tag for every style; this is for the adventurer.

6. Garmin Fenix 5S - I'm obviously biased but a Garmin activity tracker is a must for the adventurer.  I used to use the Garmin Forerunner but once I became a Garmin ambassador, I became glued to my Fenix 5S (even at work!).  I track every activity I do with my dogs on here; that way I know how far I've hiked and where (along with a slew of data analytics through the app).

7 & 8. Oru Kayak - I first purchased the Bay Kayak from REI in 2015; Aspen and I fit in it snuggly (Koa can't fit).  When I was an Oru ambassador, I was gifted the Beach Kayak which has a LOT more room, fitting either Koa or Aspen.  If you're going to splurge on a new kayak, this is the one I'd recommend.

For the City Wanderer:

1. Orvis Buffalo Check Dog Jacket - I got this for Aspen right after her surgery and may or may not have bought a matching jacket for myself.

2. Personalized Leather Dog Leash - I don't have this but I love anything personalized and monogrammed (I am from the south after all).  This is on my wish list for the spring!

3. Southern Pup Bowtie - What I love most about these bowties is that they're detachable.  You can pair any collar with any bow or bowtie on the site.

4.  Mark & Graham Quilted and Personalized Dog Jacket - This is on my wish list for Aspen; a perfect preppy jacket for colder days around the city.

5. Nulo Grain-Free Trainer Treats - It's no secret that I'm a Nulo ambassador; we loved their food so much that we switched after our free trial.  The dogs lost 20 pounds collectively as a result.  Nulo sent these to Aspen as a "get well" treat and we couldn't be happier; I use these treats to train both pups.

6. Bully Sticks - I'm not married to a brand or company but I've recently buying the large packages from Costco.  I'll give these to the dogs at restaurants and while kayaking to keep the dogs entertained.

For the Human & Home:

1. J.Crew Labrador flannel pajama pant - I can't find the Golden Retriever pajama pants I found at J.Crew earlier this year but these are a close second. 

2. Personalized Orvis Dog Bed - I really can't choose just one but I'm especially smitten with the plaid style.

3. Pottery Barn Dog Toy Basket - If I regularly threw out old/torn dog toys, then this would be the ideal toy basket.  It's on sale now too!

4. Gamme2 Vittles Vault Plus for Pet Food Storage - I bought several of these from Home Goods and they're perfect for the family always on the go.  I keep one at my parents, one at my house.

5. Wayfair Sofa Slipcover - I desperately need to protect my couch from dog fur (EXCESSIVE golden retriever hair) so I'm currently eyeing this.  And no, "no dogs on the couch" is not an option for me anymore.  We like to snuggle to Netflix after all!

6. Squirrels in a Log Dog Toy - My friend bought this for my dogs and it's probably their favorite toy to date. I just bought the bees in a hive version as part of Aspen's holiday present.

7. Dog Seat Cover for Cars - Don't let the awful image put you off.  My parents bought this for my birthday and it's the best thing in my car to protect again slobber and hair proving you don't need to spend $100 for an effective cover.

What's on your list?  Happy Holidays!

Note: None of the images are my own unless they're of my dogs. I haven't been paid for this post or required to post any product for a company by which I'm sponsored.  I've received free products or sponsorships from the following companies which are included in the list above: Garmin, Nulo, Oru Kayak, Ruffwear and the Southern Pup.

Local Preview: Aldie, Virginia & Delaplane, Virginia

As part of our year long goal to visit every Virginia state park, we headed west to Sky Meadows State Park in Delaplane and stopped in Aldie along the way.  

Sky Meadows State Park: I've been to Sky Meadows multiple times and must say it's one of our favorite spots in Northern Virginia.  It's surprising how few people visit this park, located just 60 miles from DC and closer than Shenandoah National Park with miles of trails, cows, chickens (new!), campsites, ponds for fishing, and more.  If you haven't been, and especially if you have kids, put it on your to do list for the summer but be sure to dress accordingly; Aspen and Koa came back with more ticks than I've ever seen.  I think we're going to see a bad tick season if this weekend is any preview (ugh! tips for combatting them welcomed).

Aldie Mill: I took the long way via route 50 and finally stopped at Aldie's historic Mill.  So glad we did as it was pet friendly!  The two tour guides couldn't have been more generous; they saw me snapping pictures of Koa and Aspen near the mill and told us to come in for the next tour.  It's a quick tour but perfect for kids because you see how the mill works and you even get to touch the grain produced by their short demo.

Here's a preview of our weekend but more to come -

Koa and Aspen sit inside one of the fireplaces at historic Aldie Mill.

Koa enjoys the cow from a distance.



Alexandria Family Session: Feat. Tanner the Golden Puppy

She emailed me about taking pictures of their newest addition: a 10 week old golden retriever puppy named Tanner.  Yes, please?  I'd be lying if I said I wasn't completely jealous of this couple. From their outfits to adorable Tanner, I wanted it all.  And can we just look at that fluff ball?  I just wanted to squeeze him (who doesn't feel like this when seeing a cute puppy?). 

We played around Belle Haven Marina before heading to historic Old Town Alexandria where Tanner didn't fall asleep once.  I mean check out that epic running/Baywatch picture of Tanner; I died.  Thank you both for asking me to document this special time - before you know it, Tanner will be a big beast like Koa yet act as if his size hasn't changed!