Family Fourth

Hi everybody! I know that today I’ve already reported on hitting up the farmer’s market and going to Wolf Trap with Jennifer and Amanda, respectively, but I’m back to pick up where I left off and shove more self-indulgent pictures of my life in your face. You are welcome. 🙂

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Sunday afternoon centered around a family trip to the dog park!

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What with my sister’s new puppy down to visit, we decided it was time to introduce him. Unfortunately, it wasn’t exactly ideal considering it was about a billion degrees outside, and Oreo seemed a little intimidated by all the wide open space at first.

Shady Pup

He spent the first 15 minutes parked under the same tree until Jenny had to physically carry him over to the rest of us, haha!

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He warmed up to the experience in no time though:

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And it wasn’t long ’til he was officially part of the pack:

Order of the Pack

While we were there by ourselves for a chunk of our visit, we did have some fun visitors come by to play.

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I can’t imagine how hot it was for Harry’s water buddy under all that fur!

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When this biker came up to the gate, I thought he was just riding by to check out the dogs. I had no idea he had a tiny Yorkie hidden in his bicycle basket! If only Daxter were a few inches shorter… sigh. 😉

Little Man

It really was unbearably hot though. The dogs kept going back and forth between playing and poopin’ out. At least they were nice and tired by the time we got home!

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A really fun way to kill an hour or so in the afternoon though, and it certainly worked up our appetites for our big backyard cookout! Grilling was performed in between thunderstorms, hehe.

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There was SO much food – steak, hot dogs (cooked flat-top style, mmm!), grilled veggies, pork, and corn! Fruit & cupcakes for dessert, too, hehe. Oh, and I discovered the most amazing way of grilling corn! I gotta remember to share it with you all soon – you will die of blissful deliciousness.

Hope you all had a fabulous Fourth of July weekend! We celebrated the actual Fourth today with more family hanging out and attending a cookout at Amanda‘s, and I prepared my fantabulous Mango Guacamole (which was a hit!) Recipe is coming tomorrow, don’t worry, along with what is sure to be a catastrophic weigh-in after all the holiday eating, hehe. Worth it!

OMG PUPPIEEEEZ!

Warning: You may at some point during this post go into cuteness overload. Symptoms may include: cooing, scrunching of the face, speaking in baby-talk, and an incredible urge to touch soft things.

Heh.

But before we get to the overwhelming adorableness that is my sister and her husband’s new puppy (!!), let’s finish up the rest of the non-food related weekend, shall we?

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I got to spend some time at the pool! Hooray! As you all know, I spent most of the weekend in Delaware visiting Steve for an early birthday celebration.

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So we spent Saturday afternoon at his uncle’s super nice pool…

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Aaaaand so did the pups. Bahahaha!

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Now hold on, before you go on thinking that I’m a cruel, cruel dog owner (which, let’s face it, we all know just isn’t true.) Let me just preface this by saying that we weren’t risking their lives, we were just helping them broaden their horizons by giving them their first (and considering how much they hated it, probably their last) swimming lesson. Let the hilarity ensue:

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See? No harm done other than a lot of post-pool shaking and wriggling. Well, to the dogs, at least. But to me, the experience was totally worth the ten bazillion scratches I have on my neck and shoulders now, hahaha.

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And yes, this weekend’s pool trip also included another attempt to build up my bank of bikini confidence. I struggled with whether or not I wanted to post the following pic, but I’m sucking it up and going for it. After all, despite the misleading number of posts that center around my dogs, this really is supposed to be a weight loss blog, right? I figure that A) I really need to try to tie this post in at least SOMEWHAT to what my blog is about, and B) everybody get stomach rolls when they sit, right? RIGHT?!!?

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So, the confidence is slowly coming. And even though I obviously still have a little ways to go yet, I strengthen my resolve that I really am going to get there this time. After all, just yesterday I was brought a little closer!

And now, to help you forget about having seen the above-posted flubbery, enjoy the following photo smörgåsbord (yep, that just happened) of Harry & Daxter’s new little cousin: Oreo!

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Isn’t he adorable?! He’s a schnauzer-lab (schlabrador? Ha!) mix. So even though I was clearly HIGHLY-affronted that they didn’t go full-schnauzie (I don’t know if you could tell, but I kinda dig this breed), I think he is a perfect compromise for my sister, who loved the size and temperament of my babies, and her hubs, who is a manly, lab-owning kinda guy. We went up to Columbia Sunday night for Father’s Day dinner and to meet the little guy!

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It took a second for Harry & Daxter to warm up to Oreo at first…

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But eventually they were comfortable enough to play with him (Daxter) or moderately ignore him (Harry), hahaha:

Cousins.
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Much to my mother’s delight:

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And my father’s indifference:

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Hahahaha. Puppies everywhere! But don’t worry boys, you’re still #1 for me:

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Puptastic weekend: check. I love life. And I love you guys! And clearly based on the inordinate number of comments you left as entries for my giveaway, you guys LOVE Popchips! So I’m going to try to channel all this love by announcing the randomly selected winner:

Drumroll please…

Chloe!

Congratulations, Chloe! Email me ([email protected]) your full name and mailing address, and I’ll get the info to Popchips so they can send you your month’s supply!

Breakfast with a FT Job

I don’t know if you had a chance to see my daily eats post from yesterday yet, but let me tell you. I had the most EPIC at-work breakfast ever, and I wanted to tell you aaaaaall about it. I don’t know why I haven’t done a post on prepping breakfast at work yet! As I’ve mentioned before, eating breakfast every day has been so, so essential for my diet and weight loss. But with a fulltime job, especially one like mine that starts bright and early at 7 AM each day, getting in a nutritious first meal can be challenging. Pop-tarts just don’t cut it anymore, I’m afraid!

Behold!

Your Ingredients:

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Your Equipment:

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Your Instructions:

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Bring a tupperware container or microvewave-safe bowl with you, and crack your eggs into it (look, it’s smiling!) Season them with salt & pepper (or if you have an entire spice rack at work, feel free to go nuts! Haha) and whisk it all together with a super classy plastic fork.

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Pop your eggs into the microwave for 1 minute. If you peer into the microwave during this time, it will look like your eggs are ballooning up and you will fear they will explode. Do not worry. They will not explode. When the minute is over, they will look like this:

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Tip: if it’s possible to spray your egg container with nonstick spray, do it. It’s not a necessity, but just be aware that if you don’t then some egg is likely to stick to the sides of the bowl. Not a big deal, just soak the container right after you remove the patty from it. Also, it’s generally a good idea to get the patty out right away, as the colder it gets the more likely it is to stick.

Anyway, instead of radiating your eyeballs by peering into the microwave while your egg patty cooked, you should have been toasting your sandwich thin, english muffin, bagel, or whatever and slicing up your tomato with an equally classy plastic knife.

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BREAKFASTWICH, ASSEMBLE!

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I used 1 tbsp of smoked salmon spread, but you could use anything. A laughing cow cheese wedge, cream cheese, butter – it’s your choice! Seriously, creating this very filling, highly satisfying breakfast takes 5 minutes. Of course, if you don’t have a microwave in your office, you’re probably hating me right now, but you could also prepare your egg patty at home and just assemble your sandwich at work instead. I’ve definitely done that a few times before realizing I could do it all without running (quite as) late. Hahaha.

So quick recap of the rest of my day yesterday:

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I hit up Whole Foods to pick up a few things. Proving yet again that I really need to get into couponing, I walked out with the following:

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Fage 2% Plain Greek Yogurt (the medium tubs of Fage are on sale for $2.99!)
Pineapple
Tzatziki Sauce (I have plans for this…!)
Pesto

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2 organic avocados
2 bags frozen fruit (tropical medley! Ole!)
Pre-cut veggies for grillin’
Organic red grapes
Mushrooms

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Yellow mustard
Almond Breeze (original flavor)
2 cans tuna
1 can salmon

While there, I also blew $4 on my very first Kombucha.

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Have you heard of this? It’s a “living foods” drink that is made with some kind of like fermented mushroom thing. It sounds super weird, and it is, but it’s supposed to have all kinds of health bennies (that’s “benefits” for the abbreviation-resistant of you) like aiding digestion (which I need!), and… you know, other stuff. I’m still learning all about it, obviously, considering this was my first one! Verdict? It was… interesting. It smells kind of like wine. Which makes sense, since it’s fermented. And while it doesn’t taste bad, per se, it’s definitely something I’ll have to get used to. I liked that it effervesces though (and does it naturally!) Drinks are so much more fun when they’re bubbly.

Since Whole Foods is located in the same shopping center as the pet store I go to, Wylie Wagg, I also stopped in for some necessities for these tykes:

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Namely, dog food, since I literally fed them the last piece of kibble from the container that morning. Cutting it a little close!

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Not that anybody cares to know this, but I feed the dogs California Natural Herring & Sweet Potato dog food, and sometimes I mix in some Merrick wet dog food as well. I did a lot of research on dog food nutrition when I got Daxter, since managing Harry’s nailbed condition means really upping the ante in terms of his diet, and I heartily recommend both of these brands.

Clearly, they’re fans too:

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Speaking of Harry’s condition, actually… remember last week when I had the joyous experience of rushing Daxter to the emergency vet when he had a bad reaction to his vaccinations? Well, the fun just never stops in this household. Harry has what is called symmetrical lupoid onychodystrophy (try saying that ten times fast!), and it seems to have reared his ugly head again. See how in the background of the first picture of them above, he is holding his foot up? Here’s a better look:

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My poor babyyyyy! He’s my adorable little cripple right now, refusing to put any weight on his little tootsie. Harry’s rare condition, when it flares up, causes his nails to crack down the underside and literally separate from his nailbeds. It’s like his body is rejecting his own nails. Needless to say it’s very painful, and it took 4 separate vet visits (2 regular, 2 emergency) and a crapton of money before it was even diagnosed. There isn’t really a cure, but it’s usually manageable with a diet that is high in Omega fatty acids, through food or supplements, or both. Hence the herring-flavored dog food, haha.

Okie dokie. I think I’ve taken up enough of your Friday morning. Let’s end this on, if not a happy note, at least an interesting question. Have you ever tried Kombucha? What health benefits have you experienced? I think this is going to be one of those things that I desperately want to like, so we’ll have to see if that actually ends up happening, haha.

PS – Crammed my 20 minutes o’ exercise in at the last minute last night: a hail mary set of crunches, lady-pushups (on knees), yoga poses, stretching, and a few pathetic plank attempts. All set to the beautiful beep of my stopwatch. 😉

Sponsored Post: All Dogs Go To… iPhone?


Thank you to Cube Dog for sponsoring this review. For more information about Cube Dog please visit the Facebook page or download it on iTunes.

So here’s the deal: I love my dogs.

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I mean, this shouldn’t be news — you guys already know this! You’ve been with me through birthdays, health scares, and even Daxter’s misguided attempts at blogging. You know these dogs are my life.

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And while I would be lying if I said that I didn’t think everyone’s lives would be better if they had a canine companion of their own, I also understand that’s not always possible. Whether it’s because of an allergic spouse, a stubborn landlord, or just because you’re a cat person (shudder), having a pupster to cuddle up with might not be a reality for you.

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Enter: Cube Dog.

Cube Dog is an app that you can download for your iPhone or iPod that gives you the ability to create a hot diggity dog of your own — with none of the mess! (Which even I will admit would have been a nice alternative to cleaning Harry’s puke off the floor two days ago… hahaha!) The app comes with several customizable “parts” for you to make your pupster your own. See that little guy above? His name is Haxterry (get it?), and while I think the bro would probably flip his lid if I actually tried to dye Daxter purple, with this virtual guy I can go nuts. Plus, this little guy is way more talented than either of my lazy mutts are:

Yup. This dog is a ninja. NBD.

As tends to be the case with most free apps, it comes with a small selection of customization and trick options to begin with, and then provides additional items that you can purchase. Personally, I see myself opening this app anytime I need a laugh throughout the workday. The reactions when you “pet” your Cube Dog are pretty great, and the clarity of the app make it look really sharp. The coolest feature is definitely the ability to take a photo of your “pup” in real time, using the actual camera on your phone. Here’s Haxterry chillin’ out at the foot of my bed:

Baaaahahahaha. And while I can’t say that an app like this will ever come close to having the real thing, it’s fun nonetheless.

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In the spirit of integrity, I do have to say that this is the kind of app that I would probably phase in and out of enjoying. Like, I’d play around with it for a day or two, then forget I had it, then after a while I’d see it hanging out in a folder on my phone and the cycle would begin again. Maybe it’d be more perpetually engaging if you could feed and take care of your Cube Dog. You know, to feel more engaged? Like a Tamagotchi! Hahaha. But hey, it’s a free app, and if you’re like me and always need to have some kind of procrastination fodder available on your phone, it’s a great one to kill time with!

If you’re curious to learn more about the (I reiterate: free!) app, check out Cube Dog on Facebook (where they’ll be running a fun contest between June 13th and 17th!) or watch the following vid:

While Cube Dog provided me with the app to review, the opinions I’ve expressed here are solely my own and represent my honest viewpoint. Cube Dog, Clever Girls Collective and I promote Blog With Integrity.

Poor, Poor Daxter

Yesterday started out as a normal enough day. I worked, then I braved the ludicrously hot weather to take my little pup Daxter to the vet for his yearly checkup and vaccination boosters.

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Seriously. Ridiculous. Anyway!

Everything was hunky dory at his 4:30 appointment as he braved getting multiple shots, blood drawn for his heartworm test, and the ever-pleasant taking of his temperature (you know what that means.) He was on his best behavior, and didn’t even shriek when they cut his nails!

Fast forward to 10:15 PM, when all of the sudden he runs into my room, starts pawing at his face, trying to dig to China in his doggy bed, and flops around my bedroom floor. Granted, I have a strange little pupster, but this was odd behavior even for him. So I pick him up, look into his face and…

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His entire face was swollen up like a balloon. You probably can’t tell very well in this picture, but the rims around his eyes were puffed up to the point that he looked drunk. And Asian. Which normally, you’d think I would be all about, but in this particular instance I was just a little concerned. He was also really hot (to the touch!) and kept panting.

EDIT: Here’s a picture that Ben took where you can really see how pink and swollen his eye is:

Day 149 - Pink Eye

What a trooper. 🙁

I quickly went and asked for my roommate‘s opinion about whether his face seemed swollen (it did), then called my simultaneously-least-favorite-and-most-favorite place in the whole world: The Hope Center for Advanced Veterinary Medicine.

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This emergency-only, 24/7 veterinary hospital in Vienna, VA is seriously amazing. They saved Daxter’s life when he had a freak choking accident at only 14 weeks old, they diagnosed Harry’s symmetrical lupoid onychodystrophy (a rare condition where his nailbeds were literally rejecting his nails, and they were falling out) after my regular vet had no idea what was happening. In short, they are just, flat-out awesome.

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They told me on the phone that it sounded like he was having a reaction to his vaccinations, and that I should bring him in to have him looked at. I wasted absolutely no time in doing exactly that. And 15 minutes later they had taken my brave little soul into the back to give him (more) shots of steroids and antihistamines to counteract the reaction.

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After a little more waiting, the doctor came in to explain everything to me, get a little more background, and said that he would be fine to go home tonight but I should monitor him for worsening of his reaction. I also got a tiny bottle with a single Benadryl in it to give him this morning with his breakfast.

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He did look much, much better this morning (after waking up pretty much every hour throughout the night to check on him too, hahaha) and I can now officially breathe a sigh of relief. Never fun to be in that situation though! If you are a pet owner and in Northern Virginia, make sure you know where this place is (for your reference, it’s in Vienna off of Main St. if you turn left where the Chipotle, Noodles & Co., etc are.)

And my other piece of advice for pet owners is also to GET PET INSURANCE. I use Embrace Pet Insurance and they’re awesome (and I’m not just saying that because some of their amazing customer service team reads my blog, hehehe.) Seriously, yesterday would have been almost a $600 day for me with everything that happened, but with pet insurance I know I’ll be getting a lot of it back. Plus, Harry & Daxter’s pictures are scattered all throughout the site!

Anyway, that’s my “exciting” adventure from yesterday for you. All’s well that ends well, I guess! Obviously you guys see a lot of my dogs here on the blog, as well as how much I love them (to say the least!), so now I want to hear about you! Do you have a pet? What kind? Are you a dog person? Cat person? If you don’t have a pet, but want one, what’s keeping you from doing it?