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Garden Life: Week 2

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The plants are still alive! I know, I’m amazed myself… Especially since it was crazy windy and hot this week. Let’s go see what’s happening out back!

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I’m about to put a camera up to watch this plant grow because it’s taking off so fast. Seriously, two weeks ago this tiny shrub was nothing more than a pile of seemingly dead branches and thorns. But no more! What a difference regular watering makes, lol.

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Royal purple green beans are still alive, and they’re getting bigger! Look at that beautiful new growth with a purple lining. Strange colored plants make me strangely happy. I think we all know how batcrazy I’m going to go when they start to bear produce… God help me.

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Titan strawberries are doin’ their thang. Each plant has at least one flower and some even have BABY STRAWBERRIES!!!

Fotor0504123225OMGSOCUTERIGHT!? I can’t even get over how adorable these strawberrylets are. I can’t wait to eat you, tiny strawberries!!!

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Last week I stuffed a handful of white green bean seeds into the empty pots with hopes they’d do something. Let me tell you, don’t plant stuff that way! Because you know as soon as you give up hope on a plant, it springs back. Something we’ve obviously learned from the dwarf lime tree. I’ve now got three medium-sized planter filled with baby white green bean sprouts so if anyone wants some, come on over! The only catch is you have to stay for a boozy drink since it’s Cinco de Mayo weekend :)

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Both mints, the blackberry, and thyme are all still kickin’. No real news on those besides the fact they’re not dead yet. I have my suspicions about the thyme though… It hasn’t really done anything since we planted it other than start to lean in weird directions (mostly south… wtf!?).

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This here would be a sunflower sprout. Not that you can tell because some enterprising bird or pest has decided to eat the tops off every.single plant! I’ve got a few more seeds left over so I’ll probably have to start those in the safety of the house and move them outside in a week or so. garden_life_02-25

Borage, or starflower plants, are staring to appear! I picked them up since they’re supposed to be a great companion plant for tomatoes since they keep the lovably invasive hornworms away. Also, they’re so dang pretty when they bloom!

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Tiny squash are starting to sprout!

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Also, ARTICHOKES! Omfg, I cannot wait to eat a home grown artichoke. GET IN MY BELLY!

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And with that, we’re off to the Yucaipa Music and Arts Fest up in Old Town. Come on out and join us :) It’s a beautiful day to hang out in the garden… THE BEER GARDEN OF COURSE!

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Garden Life: Week 1

There is green stuff in our garden.

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GREEN as in I haven’t killed it yet! I know, I can’t believe it either. I’m so out of my element it’s not even funny… Seriously guys, I’ve killed plastic plants before {don’t ask} and Lord knows I can’t grow a bamboo luck sprig to save my soul. But this year is going to be different! I can feel it – and better yet I can see it happening right before my eyes!

Huge props to my husband who put up with me while I waffled on the gardening project, finding the plans for raised beds and cajoling him within minutes to drive me to Home Depot where we literally filled our tiny hatchback with lumber, soil, and even more plants. Then he went and built the raised beds himself while I whined about getting a sunburn and how I look terrible in shorts, and just smiled and kissed me when 36 packets of seeds arrived in the mail the next day. Yep, he’s the best husband ever!

Without further ado, I introduce you to THE GARDEN:

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Okay, so it looks a little raggity-man and we’re not completely finished placing things {except there’s no way those raised beds are going anywhere. ever}, but it’s GREEN!

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Titan strawberries are starting to flower! I got these through Zulily, and when they arrived dormant I thought they were dead and got all kinds of disappointed. Obviously dormant means just that – sleeping – and as soon as they got into the dirt they turned green and went crazy with the shoots. Go strawberries, go!

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I can’t even deal with how fuzzy they are. And the color? GAH! I love nature.

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Thyme. My favorite herb ever, this stuff really kicked off after we put it in a larger pot. Super excited to make roasted red potatoes with thyme this summer!

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What do you suspect this is? I thought it was mint, so when we brought it home I immediately made mojitos for Brad and myself. Only after we drank a few glasses did we admit to each other it tasted ‘off’. The reason being this is chocolate mint. CHOCOLATE. Trust me, chocolate mint does not go well with lime. I’ve got no idea what to do with this stuff, so if any of you have ideas, please tell me!

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This here’s REAL mint. Do-over mojitos, comin’ right up!

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Watermelon! I thought these wouldn’t make it, but they sprang back from their tiny, prepackaged forms. Hooray!

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The heirloom tomatoes have flowers! And I suspect this one’s been pollinated since the center is all wrapped up. Hello baby tomato!

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Purple green beans. They’re the only survivors of my over-watering and Riker’s curiosity. Obviously they’re the strongest of the pack. Alpha green beans, FTW!

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Blackberry bush is still kickin’ around. No fruit, but furry as ever :)

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Raspberries survived from last year. Again, no fruit but jeepers look at those thorns! I need a bandage just thinking about these guys.

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Tiny lime tree is tiny! This thing barely survived the frost last year, and has never grown taller than 2 feet. Sure it’s technically a dwarf lime tree, but I expected some tree-ness to it… Also, look at the cute ant! He’s got his explorer hat on today.

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Riker, like any boy his age, is of course not interested in flowers so much as the things that eat them. Enter giant black cricket. I think Riker wanted to be friends, but the cricket wasn’t interested, and we all know what to do with things that don’t want to be our friends…

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We eat them! OMNOMNOM

Mr. Cricket sounded more crunchy than the {not pictured} moth and rolly-polly Riker tried to befriend this morning o_O

And one final snippet… lettuce seeds! My friend Karen inspired me to grow lettuce this year. Except I dropped most of them in the grass because I’m graceful like that. We may have a wild lettuce patch in the middle of our yard in a few months!

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What’s in your garden this year? I’d love to know!

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Campbell’s Skillet Sauce Chicken Marsala

We don’t usually buy prepackaged meals, but life has been so hectic lately that when I saw these Campbell’s Skillets at the grocer this weekend, I knew they’d make a great addition to this week’s menu.

I love how easy this was to cook. Seriously folks, in less than 20 minutes after we walked through the door tonight, I had dinner on the table and a beer in my husband’s hand, and let me tell you… that NEVER happens! And what’s more, I’m able to blog about it within 24-hours. I know, right!? Talk about a winner.

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There’s really nothing to preparing this meal. The most time consuming part was cooking the rice and slicing the zucchini – love it! If you’re looking for a nutritious meal for the whole family that you can make in less time than it takes to order pizza, grab a Campbell’s Skillet meal and be a kitchen hero. Head on over to Facebook to grab a coupon for $1.00 off, while you’re at it!

Campbell’s Skillet Sauce – Chicken Marsala

1 lb chicken breast, cubed 1″
1 cup sliced baby bella mushrooms
1/2 teaspoon parsley
black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons olive oil

In a large skillet, heat olive oil until shimmering and add the cubed chicken. Add some freshly grated black pepper and brown the chicken over medium-high heat until cooked through.

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Toss in the mushrooms and saute for about 1 minute.

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Open the Campbell’s Skillet Sauce and add to the skillet.

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Stir to coat the chicken and mushrooms, and bring to bubbling (I’d say boil, but I don’t want you to burn your winner-winner-chicken-dinner!). Turn the heat to low, add the parsley and additional black pepper to taste. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes until sauce thickens.

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Serve over the world’s most perfect rice and pair with a veggie to round out the plate!

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Betcha didn’t think it was going to be THAT easy, eh? That gold star looks mighty fine on you tonight, mom :)

Want It Wednesday

Happy Wednesday, everyone! The awesome stuff in today’s Want It Wednesday is for the man in your life. If you bit off his head for leaving the dishes in the sink again, or because he keeps forgetting to talk to that person about that thing they should have done already, get your guy one of these things and you’ll be on his good side in no time!

Koopa Troopa Guitar – Musiccrowns.org

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I have no idea who made this guitar, but my husband found it on Himterest (that’s what he calls Pinterest when he uses it – adorable!) and sent me a text with this link and a heart-eyed smiley face. Honestly I thought it was a cake at first glance. A guitar-shaped cake that looked like Yoshi. What is wrong with me?!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Mario Balance Block Jenga – $34.99 at Amazon.com

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Yeah, I know it’s all in Japanese, but that doesn’t make it any less AWESOME! In fact, my husband would argue it makes it authentic and thus a justifiable purchase. That’s enough to make me press the Buy Now button itself.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ProGlide Power Shave Set (Unscented) – $175 at theartofshaving.com or your local Art of Shaving store

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Some guys use razors from the grocery store. Some guys shave with a straight edge razor. If your guy is somewhere in the middle ground, gift him this kit from The Art of Shaving. Complete with high-quality oil, cream, after-shave, a badger hair brush, and a sleek Gillette ProGlide razor, this kit is everything your man could want from a great shave, save going to the barber shop. Bonus for you: smooth kisses. Oh yea!

 

 

 

 

Superman Men’s Caped Socks – $12.99 at Target

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How much fun are these socks!? Even though I secretly want them for myself, what cuter way is there to show your man he’s still your hero and chief creepy-crawly-killer than with a pair of Superman socks! And for only $13 a pair, you can easily grab a Batman version too.

Don’t forget to link up with your awesome finds too :)

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Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Happy St. Paddy’s Day! I don’t know about you, but the first time I’ve actually managed to finish an Irish Car Bomb was just a few days ago. I know, I know, how could the girl with a liquor cabby that rivals BevMo itself not have been able to slam the most Irish of cocktails until she was 27? I have no idea either. What I CAN tell you is that ICB’s are delicious and worth all the trouble of measuring, dropping, and pounding until you’re blue in the face and sick to your stomach. Kind of like these cupcakes!

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In case you have a fridge full of stout, and some Bailey’s and Jameson on hand but don’t necessarily want to stumble into the office tomorrow with a hangover, try these tasty treats! Every single person who’s eaten one (or 4… I know who you are!), has raved and made some yummy noises that would make a leprechaun blush.

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Irish Car Bomb Cupcakes

Makes 24 – Adapted from Michelle at Brown Eyed Baker

For the Cupcakes:

1 cup Guinness stout
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
¾ cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
1½ teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoons salt
2 eggs
2/3 cup full-fat sour cream

For the Whiskey Ganache Filling:

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
2 teaspoons Irish whiskey (we used Jameson)

For the Baileys Frosting:

2 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
5 cups powdered sugar
6 tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream

DIRECTIONS:

To Make the Cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 24 cupcake cups with liners and spray with Pam. Bring the Guinness and butter to a simmer in a heavy, medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the cocoa powder and whisk until the mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.Whisk the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt in a large bowl to combine. Using an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sour cream on medium speed until combined. Add the Guinness-chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and beat just to combine. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour mixture and beat briefly. Using a rubber spatula, fold the batter until completely combined. Divide the batter among the cupcake liners. Bake until a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean, about 17 minutes. Cool the cupcakes on a rack.

To Make the Whiskey Ganache Filling: Place the chocolate chips in a heatproof bowl. Heat the cream until simmering and pour it over the chocolate. Let it sit for one minute and then, using a rubber spatula, stir it from the center outward until smooth. Add the butter and whiskey and stir until combined. Let the ganache cool until thick but still soft enough to be piped.

To Fill the Cupcakes: Using a 1-inch round cookie cutter (or the bottom of a large decorating tip or a cupcake corer or a canoli shaper… they all work!), cut the centers out of the cooled cupcakes, going about two-thirds of the way down. Transfer the ganache to a piping back with a wide tip and fill the holes in each cupcake to the top.

To Make the Baileys Frosting: Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer, whip the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Reduce the speed to medium-low and gradually add the powdered sugar until all of it is incorporated. Add the Baileys, increase the speed to medium-high and whip for another 2 to 3 minutes, until it is light and fluffy.

Frost and decorate the cakes as you choose. Hint: To get the look my cakes are sporting, using a 1/4 cup ice cream scoop, place one scoop of frosting atop each cupcake. Place a second scoop atop the first, and using the back of the ice cream scoop, press down and twist for a concave top. Immediately decorate with sprinkles. Store the cupcakes in an airtight container. Best served within 24 hours.

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Sinful ;)

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Classy Bitch Cocktail

Is it just me, or is it too early in the year for the weather to be in the high 80’s?

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On the Ides of March I never expected to be wishing I was in a sundress and sandals. Or with a cold cocktail in my hand.

Ah, who am I kidding!? I always wish there was a cocktail in my hand :)

Let’s kick off the weekend with a little something called a Classy Bitch. Lord knows how it got it’s name. If I had to guess I’d say it’s because it looks like you’re drinking sparkling water with lime, but you’re really getting sloshed off your butt. It’s a win-win for everyone!

 

Classy Bitch cocktail

Serves 1 – Courtesy of DrinksMixer.com

3/4 oz gin
3/4 oz vodka
1/2 oz triple sec
1/2 oz Rose’s lime juice
tonic water

Fill a Collins glass with ice.

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Pour the gin, vodka, triple sec and lime juice into the glass and stir well. Fill with tonic water. Garnish with a lime wedge, and serve.

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Let the weekend begin!

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Want It Wednesday

Welcome to another Want It Wednesday! Boy did we find some fun things this week – let’s get to them :)

butter London nail lacquer – $15 at Sephora

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I can’t even deal with these colors! Bossy Boots, Trout Pout, and Lovely Jubbly!? GET OUT OF TOWN!!! I need these on my toes and fingers like yesterday. I’ve heard such great reviews of the butter line and these colors might just be the clincher for me to sweet-talk the hubby into driving me 45 minutes to the nearest Sephora.

Rock & Republic Lolita Star Denim Shorts – $39 at Kohls

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These shorts speak to me. They say ‘hey stephanie! we know you totally hate shorts, but we all know you’re an 80’s baby and have an ingrained need for all things bleached and frayed. hope you still have that leather jacket and some aquanet – you’re gonna need ’em!’ Luckily I still do have a leather jacket and a can of extra strength AquaNet *sigh* And now I have these shorts!

DotCom Adhesive Buttons – $3.14 at Thinkgeek.com

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This one is for all my coworkers :) Laugh. You know you either do this or know someone who does!

Patron XO Cafe Dark Cocoa – $23 at Bevmo

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I haven’t tried this, but my hair stylist swears by Patron XO Cafe Dark Cocoa. She says it tastes like chocolate with a hint of coffee. I’m not totally sold on whether I’ll like it, but Patron has never let me down before! Expect a tasty cocktail recipe next week ;)

 

Link up in the comments if you’ve seen something cool!

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Want It Wednesday

Blueberry & White Chocolate Cheesecake Bars

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Did you know today is National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day? I had no idea, but that won’t stop me from making Brenda’s cheesecake bars when we get home tonight! Come to momma.

24 Karat Easter Egg Coloring Kit – $2.99 at Toys R Us

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Oh my god! Finally I can eat a golden egg :) The Veruca Salt in me is quite pleased. I want it now!

Starfish Napkin Rings (Set of 4) – $26 at Pottery Barn

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I can’t wait to use these this summer. How much fun would a pool party be with starfish napkin rings studding the table scape!? Love it :)

Chocolate Zombie Bunny – $16 from Thinkgeek.com

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Making an Easter basket for a Walking Dead fan? Look no further for the ultimate treat – chocolate zombie bunny! Don’t worry about guts and disease – zombification has turned this little guy into white chocolate from the inside out :)

Seen anything cool this week? Link up!

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Samoa Cookie Cocktail

Sometimes chewing is overrated.

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Not that I’m encouraging you to eat python-style or anything. That would be weird. No, I’m telling you to drink your food, not in a smoothie, not in a shake, but in a cocktail!

Okay, so we all know of these Girl Scout cookies called Samoas or Caramel DeLites or whatever the heck they’re called where you live, right? Right. We also know they have chocolate. A win for most, but not all of us :( Normally I scrape off the chocolate and give it to the hubby which leaves me with very little treat to enjoy, but not today, my friends.

Today I got to partake in the total Samoa experience via cocktail, and it was better than I’d ever dreamed!
Note: Through my cocktail goggles these photos looked amazing, but in the light of day they’re a little… well… oh, just drink your cocktail already!

 

Samoa Cookie Cocktail

(makes 1 drink – adapted from I am a honey bee)

2oz Godiva Chocolate liqueur (we used the White Chocolate version)
2oz Malibu Coconut Rum
1oz Disaronno
1/2 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
3 tablespoons Chocolate syrup
Samoa cookies for garnish

 

Start off by chilling your glass in the freezer for 5 minutes. This is going to help the chocolate not slip down the sides of the glass when it comes time to drink it.

Place coconut on a small plate and set aside. Place 2 tablespoons of chocolate syrup on a small plate and set aside.

Remove glass from the freezer and run its rim through the chocolate syrup. Place glass back in freezer for 30 seconds and eat discard the remaining chocolate syrup.

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Remove glass from freezer and place its rim in the coconut, pressing lightly to ensure the shreds stick to the chocolate. Return to freezer while you mix the cocktail.

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Fill a cocktail shaker half full with ice.

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Add Godiva Chocolate liqueur.

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Add Malibu rum.

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Add Disaronno.

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Cap cocktail shaker and shake for 30 seconds. Remove glass from freezer and strain into it your cocktail.

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Garnish with a Samoa cookie which has it’s radius cut with a sharp knife.

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For a totally non-chocolate option, rim the glass with caramel syrup!

Enjoy!

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Want It Wednesday

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Because our family grew by one this weekend, today’s Want It Wednesday is a roundup of all the awesome-sauce doggy stuff out there!

BarkBox (starting at $18/mo)
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Think of this as a care package for your pup! Each month, Barkbox subscribers receive a box of goodies for their dog – ranging from snacks and toys, to gadgets and grooming products. Just designate the size of your furry friend, choose a subscription plan, and your box is on its way! My favorite part of the deal is that 10% of the proceeds go to help dog shelters in New York! If that doesn’t warm your heart, I don’t know what will.

SQU1RR3L! t-shirt ($24.54)
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Ohmahgawd! I need this shirt so badly, and so do you if you’re a fan of K-9 :) Whoovian’s unite!

Humunga Stache ($12)
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This KILLS me! And they have lip and tongue versions too if that’s up your alley :) I cannot wait to see Riker trotting around with this in his mouth, bwahahahaha!

StarMark Training Clicker ($4.99)
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Yes please! Our little guy is so full of energy that this clicker is going to he the only way to grab his attention without physical contact. I love that it comes with a training guide too!

Bacon Bark Sticks (from SpoonForkBacon)
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Hello deliciousness! These are on my list of things to make this weekend. I might even share some with Riker ;)

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Riker approves :)