Monday, July 7, 2014

Review: Urban Trail Harness by Alpine Outfitters

Just another quick review of a custom harness I bought for Champ recently:

Here's the link to the product: Urban Trail Harness

Note:  This is a non-biased, honest review. I was not compensated or asked to do this review, and I purchased the product myself.





+All the awesome options for customization from d-ring placement to color to reflective tape to embroidered text.  I pretty much got to build my all-around, perfect harness!

+Even though I ordered the custom non-adjustable harness, you can adjust the girth.

+Versatility! This harness is ideal for joring sports, hiking, tracking, neighborhood walks.  (Note, not for sledding/carting.)  I added a front-clip d-ring for crowded or high-distraction areas, extra back ring for a tab or handle attachment, and side biking ring, in additional to the standard back ring placed for a [towing] line or leash.  I can't wait to use it for pretty much everything!

+The Polartec fleece padding throughout which is soft and pretty water resistant.

+The amazing craftsmanship of the sewing/construction; it is a sturdy, strong hardness for sure and the attention to detail is impressive!  They are obviously committed to quality products.

+The elastic strap and quick-release buckle keepers = pleasant surprises.

+The customer service has been great.  Really great.  I've bugged them with multiple emails, and they've handled it in as friendly and efficient manner as you can get.

+Hand made in California! Go West Coast!

+Overall, it fits great since it is made to measure and has an overall good design.*

Could be better:
~Well, the fit works, don't get me wrong.  I forgot to show it on the video, though, but the "yoke" of the neck piece to sternum strap sits a tad bit higher than I would have preferred.  As it is, there isn't much pressure on his neck--certainly nothing that causes him to gasp or choke--however, ideally, that yoke, where everything meets in front would sit more centered on his breast bone to totally alleviate any pressure on his trachea when tension is on the harness.  I'll post an update once we've used it more, but I don't think it will be a problem as is.  He hit the end of the long line hard once or twice at the beach going after a bird and he was completely unphased.

~Production time notice: I ordered in the non-peak season, so according to the website, I should have gotten this harness in 2-3 weeks versus peak season production length of 4-6 weeks.  Mine took 6-7 weeks to arrive.  Considering this length of time was abnormal/inconsistent with what their site says, some other form of update/notice on their website or personal through email would have been appreciated to ward of any/all antsy-pants tendencies.  I emailed them twice--once to add another ring if it wasn't in production yet (it wasn't) and a second time to inquire about status--both emails were promptly responded to.  That said, the wait was worth it, the production time itself wasn't an issue, and I wasn't actually getting impatient... I knew the quality would be amazing since I've been stalking their FB page.  (I will note they have "ready to go" harnesses available in four sizes if you are looking for something asap.)

Disappointed (but see below for the updates):
-The d-rings.  Not the placement or method of attachment--that is all perfect.  The hardware itself, though, started to rust on two d-rings after just ONE half-day trip to the Oregon Coast. I even hand-washed the harness when I got home to get all the salt-water off.  Never have I had gear rust after a trip like this to the beach, so I know it's not just the salt-water's fault, which I know can be corrosive.  I'll admit I'm pretty disappointed that I now have a brand new, used once, amazingly customized and constructed harness with rust on the two main attachment points.  I don't know if it was hardware choice (I can't imagine it's chrome plated and not standard stainless steel), if this is a common issue with their stuff, how well it will hold up to swimming in fresh water at trips to the park or hikes... not to mention our rainy season (3/4 of the year).  The long-term durability, though, definitely concerns me.

Would I recommend it to a friend?*
Well, until I hear back from customer service about the d-rings, I'm going to say, yes, I'd absolutely recommend it to a friend that will never take this harness on coast/beach trips.  I can't imagine it would, without that initial corrosion, rust from just fresh water, considering the company makes sled dog harnesses.  However, I wouldn't recommend it for people/dogs who love the beach like mine do and are hoping to replace a closet full of harnesses like I was with an all-arounder in this.

Again, see the updates below, but to sum: Yes, I'd still recommend this harness to a friend despite the hardware issue.  If you want to use your harness at the beach, make a note with your order requesting Stainless Steel hardware; I'm confident they will work with you to make your new favorite harness!  If your dog never swims in salt water, their welded nickel-plated die cast hardware will be fine, and will not rust in fresh water.

Would I buy another?
Yes, and I plan to!

Update on July 7, 2014: I heard back from Alpine Outfitters within a couple hours of sending my email and they seem eager to make this right.  Apparently, the d-rings are welded nickel-plated die cast that should not rust and haven't had this issue before, so they have contacted their supplier.  Props for great customer service.
July 10, 2014: After a couple emails back/forth with pics and research, they are ordering stainless steel d-rings for me and remaking my harness!  How awesome is that?!  It turns out that the nickel-plate WILL rust in salt-water, but the rust should rub off and the core strength/durability of the die cast--welded for further strength--is NOT compromised.  However, I'm so looking forward to having the new one that I can take everywhere, including the beach.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

AllSafe Harness Review

Oh, hello there!  Just thought I'd drop off this review of the AllSafe Harness!  It's long.  It's unedited.  It's embarrassing.  The video, that is.  The harness is just awesome!

Links mentioned in the video:

AllSafe Harness.  Purchased from Clean Run ( Distributed by 4x4 North America.Inc. ( Manufactured by Klein Metall (

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

TitanTuff Review Update

Hi Folks,
My update to my TitanTuff Leash Review is overdue, I apologize.  Bar prep began Tuesday after Memorial Day.  This means, of course, that I put in a decent effort last week, and now, thoroughly exhausted, I am taking an wellun-earned break.  Let's see, I'm on episode 25 of 197 of... yes, Grey's Anatomy.  I know. It's not like I haven't already seen most of the series when it was original and also gone through it a second time on Netflix, not to mention countless re-runs on TV.  It's not even one of my favorites!  (Ooookay, maybe it is. Let's add it to my list of guilty pleasures.)

Anyways, I figured today that while I'm sitting on my ass watching Grey's, I'd better do something productive.  Ima gonna update this and then start filming a bunch of other gear reviews from my stash because they might help other silly American Consumerism Victims like me help with their purchase decisions.  Might.

So without further babbling... here's an update from TitanTuff's owner, Josh:

"Hey there Chelsea, 

I wanted to touch base with you after reading your review and let you know what changes will be in future models. The cutting while difficult to fix (the blades bend when heated) to solve that issue we are simply going to do what all other leash manufacturers do and simply fold the cut end under creating a 3 ply section and sew ontop of it. Creating a nice and uniform look every time. The alignment we are working on solving by simply changing how we sew, initially we would do the border then the top or bottom. Unfortunately that lets the material move to one side usually. Instead we will be doing the top and bottom to secure it into place then work on the sides. That should cancel out 99% of the issues thankfully. For the row or two of stitching we are simply going to program the machine to do a box stitch inside a box. That gives you the additional line at the top and bottom of each box x stitch. It seems like we'll be pretty much on par once all that happens! Just wanted to let you know your feedback is heard and we definitely can action some of those items.

- Josh / Titan Tuff"

I also have some photographs of Sophie modeling it:

As far as use goes... I kinda really love it.  When I was at my parents', I was using it every day with some counter-conditioning with Champ for his unfortunate dislike of Remi, and in the evenings for CC'ing to the horses while I did chores. I conveniently tethered him to the fence post outside their pens while I had to leave him and feed them,with a ton of treats to scavenge for at his feed, and it worked swell. ;)  Since I've been home here, I've used it on several walks with Sophie.

I think this leash is going to be a big contender on the market once its name gets out there.  Go TitanTuff!  (And go buy a TitanTuff!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

TitanTuff Leash Review

It's here!  I was so excited to get the opportunity to review this leash by TitanTuff.  This is a new business based in California.  Brand new.  So new, the owner/maker had to wait to ship me my awesome leash until the brand label arrived.  And here it is!  Six feet long, blaze orange, black bolt snap.

In case you don't want to watch the video, here are the key points:

<3 the 500lb capacity not-your-average-quick-release-buckle; it's plastic but it's sturdy
<3 the nice quality bolt snap  (other options are available)
<3 the length.  I almost went with the 4ft and am glad I changed my mind
<3 the over-all design, complete with traffic handle
<3 the great color selection
<3 the soft nylon webbing
<3 the versatility... you can use it like a normal leash, a hands-free leash, or a tether your dog
<3 the customer service. Joshua was very professional, friendly, and communicative
<3 the bright visibility of the orange I chose
<3 the hands-free capability in particular because it is very convenient for training

+ the traffic handle--I don't use these that often, but I think it will be especially handy with this
+ the fit around my waist--although it isn't padded, the 1 1/2" width makes it more comfortable than the typical 3/4" or 1" wide hands-free/convertible leashes on the market
+ the label... although the placement is kind of awkward if you want to hold the leash as a regular loop handle
+ that the waist doesn't significantly tighten if a dog pulls*

Would love improvement on:
- the cutting, alignment/placement, and stitching quality/detail.  Yeah, I'm picky like that.
- another row or two of stitching at the critical attachment ends (ie by the snap and quick release buckle)

Overall, I'd give it 4/5 stars.  I'd give it 5/5 if I saw the improvements noted above.

Am I going to use it?  You bet!  I'm about to take it out to work with Remi, right now.  I imagine it will be a handy training, neighborhood walk, and park leash.  I might stick with my neoprene covered waist band for any running we do, but if that gets too hot for me, this will certainly do as well.

Would I recommend it?  Yes!  I would use/recommend this over a regular quick-release type hands free leash any day.

That's it!  If you're interested, head on over to!  Thanks for visiting!

This leash was provided to us for an honest review; we received only the leash, no other compensation.

*I used it for training this afternoon and found that it does tighten a bit with the dog pulling.  It didn't get super uncomfortable, but it does require some periodic adjustment if your dog is not a loose leash walker.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Thursday, April 17, 2014

One year already?!

So it was about this time last year that I started this blog.  I think it is a fair conclusion that I am not a great blogger.  There just isn't enough time in the day!  I'll do my best to keep posting on occasion.  At the very least, I will be posting more videos of me with the pups. :)

I will fill you in on what is happening around here.

Law School: ALMOST DONE.  Yes.  It's true.  My last class was last week!  This week I finished up my hours for clinic, but ironically, there is still a ton of work I have to get done for my cases.  I'm taking final exams tomorrow (which is probably why I decided to update this blog today ;), Monday, and Thursday.  The following Wednesday will be my clinic exit interview and I'll be done there.  Graduation is May 11th (woo-hoo!).  I expect to make two trips home to EO, with the dogs of course, before bar prep starts.  Oh yeah, the bar.  I believe it is scheduled for the last weekend in July.  Then, I have to take the ethics/professional responsibility exam early August because the universe hated me the day I was supposed to take it (but couldn't) in March.  After that, it's a waiting game for results.  I suppose I should be job hunting then.  A job would kind of help to pay off the enormous amount of student debt I have.....

The Dogs: Still alive.  That's good.  No, really, we haven't been doing much.  I tried to get in the habit of walking everyday with at least one, but it's been too busy.  Instead, we've just been training and playing at home.  Well, Sophie and I did attend one of Ian Dunbar's big deal.  Champ's latest trick we've been working on is "lickity lick" ie him licking his lips.  We captured it. Elsie picked up "play dead" ridiculously fast.  Sophie's latest...hmmm, nothing super new.  She has been my errand buddy, though.  Big news: I got Elsie licensed with the city finally (yes, I was a little slow...).

Everything else: I got my garden planted!  Admittedly, I jumped the gun and planted early because I was so late last year.  Today, it's raining and I've got one of those loopy plastic cover things over the bed with my tomatoes and peppers.  Annuals and herbs are also planted.  My favorite project I did over the last week was get my pond running again!  I've added plants to it, and after they get more established, in a few weeks, I am adding goldfish.  I'm super excited about that.  I've actually got a few floating plants indoors because it's too cold for them outside, too, and I am obsessing over them.  They are so cool.  Like I said, I'm excited.  Sure, listening to the pond fountain is soothing white noise to begin with, but now I will have cute lil fish growing up in it.

Anyways, life has been good this term--I can't believe it was my last.  I've enjoyed hanging out with my friends, volunteering at the shelter, learning something about real law practice in the clinic, visiting my parents at their home and mine, eating a scratch banana cream pie all by myself, and spending the remainder of my time with my dogs.

Thanks for stopping by!
Champ's Mom

PS.  Here's a random video of Champ and me training last month.  I will try to post an update of where he is now soon.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Snowpocalypse Day Four

We've survived.  The snow and ice are melting.  Thank goodness.  This poor region cannot. handle. such. conditions!  Alas, even Champ was less than impressed by the ice-topped snow this morning.

Here are some snow day photos from Friday morning.  By Saturday, we got our maximum depth of about eight inches.  Yes.  Eight whole inches!

"Handsomest Boy" first:

And Else Bells:

Finally, Miss Priss who has been less than impressed by the weather....

Happy Winter!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Spa Day!

Funny story: In college, I lived with my cousin for two years.  She was older than me, and I don't have any sisters.  Naturally, I took advice and tips from her, including using the same day spa and salon.  One day she was in getting her hair cut, and she asks our stylist, referring to the print on her apron, "What is S - P - A ?"  Yes.  This happened.

Anyways, I don't wear an apron when I bath the dogs; I just get really clever with the shower curtain and accept the fact that I am going to have to deal with soaked clothes....

Here are Champ's still-damp-from-his-bath photos!

It finally stopped snowing, but it will still be awhile longer before he can go play again....  Life is hard.

Monday, January 20, 2014

A little DIY

While I may not have the best self-control when it come to buying stuff for my dogs, at least I have the smarts to not pay twenty bucks for doggy door bells.  ;)  

This is the third set I've made with the same bells I bought over four years ago and some freebie ribbon that was part of the packaging to some new wash clothes I just bought.  

Five minutes + $0.

You can make them as simple as you want (knots all the way!), do as I did using some knots and sewing at the ends, or make it all fancy-like and sew EVERYTHING.

Or, you can go buy a premade set.  Don't worry.  I won't judge.

Happy Monday!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A more pleasant post! Tricks!

Well, thanks for checking back after I went off the deep end a bit! Hey, it happens to everyone, right?! Right.

I did another impromptu recording session with the dogs today.  Once again, unedited--my apologies.  The truth is, I am just to busy to bother right now.  Maybe one day, I'll look into it and realize how easy it is, but that remains to be seen.

Without further ado, here is Champ doing his "pauvre chien" (poor dog), shame, and chin cues.  During the first transition from shame to chin, he thought we were headed towards his prayers cue--my bad.  I need to clear some things up for him.  Later (if you can stick it out!), he does make the transitions much better.

That's it for today!  I have other tricks already recorded that I will post soon!

Have a great Friday or three day weekend!  (As of tomorrow, I will no longer have three day weekends....  I know, poor me.)

-Champ's Mom

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Better days ahead?! Let's hope.

Rant #1.
I'm taking a course in NPOs.  Mind you, this is law school.  So, Prof, why the hell are we wasting two weeks on the effin' history of charity?  Seriously.  If we are practicing as consultants for NPOs, no one is going to give a crap whether we know the historical development and differences between charity and philanthropy.  What they are going to want to know is that we can get what they need done.  Of course, to do so, we have to know how to do it, which is why we're taking this course.  Now the question remains: why are we not learning what we need to know.

Nothing against history, really--I like it, but when we are paying this much $$$, I'd rather learn how to be lawyers....

Reading assignment one of three for tonight is 35 pages long [on history].  Naturally, the best way I found to handle the assignment was to procrastinate and post a rant here.... Whoops.  

Rant #2.
I "strongly dislike" one of my neighbors.  I better stop there because it is a long story....

Rant #3.
If you're volunteering at an animal shelter, congratulations, you've got a good heart.  Now, use your primate brain, and read up on any number of the training/behavior sheets so conveniently located in the volunteer room or sign up with any number of the volunteer training classes so that you can not make such a huge ass of yourself.  I don't want to listen to you give your dog two dozen corrections in the span of three minutes!  Is it too much to ask for you to tell the poor thing what you would like him to do?!

Clearly "you" ^ is not directed at anyone reading this....  ;)  At least I hope not!

Yours always,
Champ's [bitchy] Mom

Sunday, January 12, 2014

A Not So Grand Reveal...

...of my first Youtube video. :)  Warning: this was an impromptu recording, and I did absolutely no editing or preparation.

Self-critic's notes:
Yes, I need new slipcovers.
Yes, those are some lovely leggings.  (My dad hates my leggings.  He's probably just jealous that he can't wear them.)
And yes, that Thundershirt is more than a little bit big on her.

Okay, more seriously....
Yes, my timing is off more times than I'd like to have seen.
My aim is way off.  I need to practice this more!
Fabulous Sheila (oh, you don't know who she is?  Well, just know this: you want to know her, trust me.) suggested rather than tossing in the direction of the pull to drop them at my heels.  I like that suggestion more than the original method!
Several times I tossed (more like threw), stepped away, and thus created more tension before she had the chance to respond.
Bad treat choice.  Cheerios blended in too much to the rug which slowed down our session and they bounced a lot.

But all in all?   I'm glad I didn't say "ummm" more!

Well, that's it!  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Nature's Variety Instinct Grain Free Biscuit Treats with Duck Meal and Sweet Potato

I'm trying to get back into regular posting!  Thank goodness the Tasty Tuesday blog hop makes it easy!

Today I am reviewing Nature's Variety Instinct Grain Free Biscuit Treats with Duck Meal and Sweet Potato.

This is what the biscuits look like close up.  You know, typical biscuit shape, brown, dry.

Here is the ingredient list (from the Nature's Variety site):
Duck Meal, Tapioca, Garbanzo Bean Flour, Sweet Potatoes, Pork Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid), Pumpkinseeds, Natural Vegetable Flavor, Dried Egg Whites, Montmorillonite Clay, Cinnamon, Guar Gum, Inulin, Dried Bacillus coagulans Fermentation Product 

Guaranteed Analysis:
Crude Protein (min): 25.0%
Crude Fat (min): 10.0%
Crude Fiber (max): 5.0%
Moisture (max): 10.0%
*Bacillus coagulans (min): 150,000 CFU/g

25 kCal per biscuit

Formulation: Pretty solid ingredients in my book!   +1
Dog Taste test: As far as biscuits go, the dogs do seem to really like them. +1
People Handling test: Easiest to feed them whole, but that's not quite my style.  And breaking them up was a pain in the ass.  We're talking about putting some muscle into a two-handed twist.  Sound extreme?  It is. -1 The plus side is that they definitely aren't going to crumble or make a mess! +1 My dogs crunched them down just fine, of course.... +0
Odor test: I think these have a nice balance--smell good to the dogs but only leave a faint residual odor on my hands.  (Confession: I don't always wash my hands after handling dry dog treats if the smell isn't strong.  I have a tendency to wash my hands too frequently already and thus already have dry, cracked hands; if I were to wash after every time I gave my dogs treats, my hands would be a bloody mess.) +1
Versatility: Random treating, food toys. +2 Not suitable for training. -1  so +1
Miscellaneous: +0

Total points: 4 pts
Summary: We like them!
Buy Again:  Probably!

What is this point system?  Well, other than clearly subjective, it is how I'm going to evaluate treats in our reviews. ;)   LOL, yes, that was circular.  It will make more sense (or less sense) as I do more reviews.

Thanks for stopping by on Tasty Tuesday!  Happy eating!
Champ's Mom

Monday, January 6, 2014

Positively Happy to Join the Positive Pet Training Blog Hop!


Today is the first ever blog hop for Positive Pet Training Blog Hop hosted by Dachshund Nola, Cascadian Nomads, and Tenacious Little Terrier!  I was so excited for this when I read about it on Thursday--so excited, in fact, that I decided to write my post that night because I knew I wouldn't have time for it afterwards.  On Friday, I had to pack up from my lovely-but-last-ever three week long winter break, and then early Saturday morning, I loaded up the crew and headed back to the Dog House with my parents!  We did a few projects around my place, since I seem to be incapable of getting anything done on my own....  They left yesterday after we enjoyed yet another fabulous brunch at our favorite spot.

Since I--(interrupting to quote my dad at the moment, to my mom, "[Morgan] wants some eggs cooked right now, honey."  Mom just grabbed the pan....)--am writing on short notice, there aren't any fun videos today.  Oh wait, there have never been fun videos here!  Boo.  But, BUT, there will be some soon!  I got a new cell and tablet for my birthday that are a step up from the cell camera I used to have.

For now, I just want to say again how excited I am for this new blog hop!  Positive reinforcement ("PR") focused training is fun, effective, and efficient!  I can't say that enough!  Anyone unfamiliar with my training path can check out the page called Training and Behavior, on which I shared my story, as well as some great links!

What I didn't write about on the training page, though, was the very first book I read about marker training:

If you haven't read it, go grab it, now!  Trust me, you want to.  It's an oldie but a goodie.  Fun & easy to read and applicable to more than "just dogs."  (I hate that phrase!  I swear, I am going to punch my older brother the next time he tells me that.)

The second book I read was pretty much the above book but summed down into an even more approachable how-to book!

I could go on and on, but I think you can see from my book list over to the right that one book just led to another.  Now, admittedly, I haven't finished them all (sad face), but I'm workin' on it!

So tip number one: Go grab a book!  Not sure whether it is PR focused?  All the ones on my list are, or if you want even more options, everything in Karen Pryor's (and probably most of Clean Run's) store is PR.  While there are some amazing trainers and behaviorists that hold doctorates and veterinary degrees (Patricia McConnell, Sophia Yin, Ian Dunbar to name a few!), a couple easy things to look for in your reading are the CPDT or KPA initials following an author's name.

No time to read?  Tip number two: jump onto Youtube!  I posted multiple comprehensive Youtube channels on my training page.  Trust me, you will find more than enough videos from those trainers to get you started!

Tip number three: Kikopup.  She has a Youtube how-to for pretty much everything from stopping jumping to teaching two dogs to hug each other.

I think that's it for today!

Here's Champ practicing impulse control with a "leave it" (taught by clicker training, of course) next to our newest book received in a Secret Santa gift exchange (more on that soon!):

(Yep, we are doing it!  Check back to see what we worked on this month!)

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Crying for the silliest reasons....

Sometimes, I have to laugh at myself for crying at the silliest things....

Listening to the BatBoy news story on the car radio.  Tears?  Check.

Listening to the overseas-soldier messages integrated into "I'll be Home for Christmas" on the car radio.  Tears?  Check.

Singing along to to "I'll Stand by You" on the car radio.  Tears?  Check.  (I think I need to quit listening to the radio when I'm driving....)

Watching the Cheerios holiday commercials.  Tears?  Check.

Watching any commercial with babies in it.  Tears?  Check. Check. Check.  (Yes.  My hormones are outta control.)

Cheesy, happy, sweet endings on cheesy, happy, sweet holiday movies.  Tears.  Check.

Anyways, my point is: I cry.  A lot.  I also laugh until I cry.  (I rarely full out bawl, though, so at least I have that going for me.)  There are a lot of times when I just feel ridiculous for getting teared up.  I'm like, hey, pull yourself together, Woman!  We don't need to cry at every. single. little. thing.  (And yes, I do talk to myself in plural personal pronouns.  I live alone, OK?!  OK.)

Sometimes, sometimes, I have pretty good reasons for crying--like when I was watching the final handful of "Lost" epis.  No, seriously... when one of my favorite dogs at the shelter is euthanized (fortunately a rare occasion).  Or worse yet, we lose one our own animals--I'm a royal mess then.  Levi passed away in July 2011 and Jake in July 2012, and when I see their photos, think about them, or have dreams with them, you bet I still get teary eyed, if I don't have a mini-breakdown....

You might imagine, then, my reaction when I opened this gift, so thoughtfully given to me by my oldest cousin's wife:

It's a hand-stamped sterling silver necklace by Crow Steals Fire.  On the outer ring are all our current dogs, and on the inner ring are Levi and Jake.  Upon reading their names on it and realizing what this gift was, I was done for.  I mean, put "Levi" and "Jake" on anything to conjure up all the memories, good and bad, and you can pretty much guarantee I won't be able to just flat line on the emotional roller coaster I ride.  Plus, it reminded me of the gifter's result loss of her own dog, Bella.

There were tears.  Then I tried to laugh it out, which resulted in more tears.  As my cousin[in-law] hugged me, I apologizing for being "over-emotional," before ducking out of the room to wipe my tears before they destroyed my makeup.  I'm sure everyone thought I was escaping to go bawl in the kitchen!  (Okay, maybe I did let a sob/laugh out.  I mean, I can't keep it in all the time, clearly.)

Summary: sweetest gift ever.  I don't think I've ever cried about anything my parents have gotten me!  They get me amazing gifts, too, but this one went straight to the heart.

If you're reading this, thank you so much for the necklace!  I love it.

Lastly, I just had to share this photo of Champ hanging out last night with my dad on one of the "forbidden" leather sofas....

I hope you all had a great New Year's Eve & Day and will continue to have a happy and healthy 2014!