Wednesday, December 29, 2010

* Snow Dog Holidays *

Christmas long weekend was an eventful mix of shopping, celebration, food and a Snow Dog Winter
Party. That's right, I had five friends and seven pups of all breeds and ages hang out at my house and the ravine Monday afternoon. It was an absolute blast, watching the "pack" bond, argue over toys and determine dominance. Mr. D and Ryley were arguing over spending time with Kiara . D and Kiara met first, in Dani's backyard and they had time to bond in my car on the way to the ravine. Ryley came next and the poor boy couldn't get close to Kiara without Mr. D talking back to him (seriously, Kiara girl, how do you get all the boys - teach me a trick or two!)

We enjoyed an hour and a half long walk, roll and race in the dog park before crashing on my living room floor with my new espresso machine and goodies. We ventured on a second walk once Stephanie K. arrived with two more beautiful dogs in tow!

More on this (and a slideshow) at the end of my post! First, for a brief look at the first part of the long weekend.

Kiara and I spent the 25th running in the ravine and then enjoying Christmas dinner at my parents' house. Turkey for her, veggie quiche for me and a long photoshoot trying to determine the best lighting settings for a dimly lit night and Christmas

Doggie Gingerbread Cookie! Ahh, Ferrero, how sinfully sweet.

Kiara, exhausted, peering through a window (left)
Lilo, Steph W's puppy, a few days before xmas, posing with Starbucks (right)

This year, our gifts to each other were donations to Charity - together, we donated to Hope Mission's Christmas dinner (for the homeless), groceries for a local Christmas hamper for less well to do families, The Support Network (suicide prevention, advertising department), Edmonton Down's Syndrome Society, Edmonton Inner City Children's Project society, the Stollery Children's Hospital) and Engineers without Borders.

Nevertheless, Xmas eve and Boxing Day were shopping days galore; all my boxing day finds bought me a brand new Nescafe Dolce Gusto, machine, the $100 alternative to the $1000 machine I really want (Silvia Rancilio, from Leva Cafe). No, it's not manual, but this machine does have 15 bars of pressure and creates a smooth blend of a latte, americano or cappuccino from an automatically brewed capsule. Of course, it won't replace my Biglietti I use every morning, but it's a nice addition to my caffeine machine family!

Also on the list of purchases is a Canon printer (not the colour laser duplex that seems to cost an arm and a leg), steam mop (for all Kiara's hair) and Janice and I's annual sweater and jeans (and desk calendar) spree at West Edmonton Mall. Other purchases include David Busch's A Quick Snap Guide to Lighting to help my photographic flair and a telephoto zoom lens that I am still debating I should add to my very bare camera bag. Image stabilized 70 to 300 mm, are you worth $500?

Hmm, a month with only two weeks of tutoring and more free time than I've had all year, and what do I do - study my photography course, run with puppy and shop!

Hey, I'm in Marketing; I have to be the ultimate consumer :)

Below is the best part of Snow Dog Party - the ravine run with Kiara, Mr. D, Aola, Ziza, Zoey, Ryley - Watson just came for a brief hello later on. It's a slideshow of the best of many snaps I took, to try to capture the snow in a light that's visible and not dark and gray! According to my instructor, a neutral density filter will help me!

(Facebook users, just click here to view or click View Original Post at the bottom of the "note". Just one click to see all the action! Be sure to click into the slideshow to see the photo titles).

Thank you to all the guests and puppies who came -and don't worry if you missed it, there will be more Snow Dog parties in the new year! Happy New Year's eve (almost) everyone! Thank you for reading my blog in 2010!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Winter Magic Photoshoot

Fort Edmonton Park's annual Christmas Reflections event was a magical experience for three twenty-something's who hadn't been in a magical winterland since their 6th birthdays. Pam, Janice and I wandered the streets of a century old Edmonton, from the 1805 to the 1905 replicas. Anticipating the sleigh ride to be a joyful experience, we shivered, huddled and felt our toes burn from the -25 degree extreme, stinging cold. Sitting still in brutally cold weather was a chilling experience, despite our 6 layers, two pairs of gloves, toques and scarves! (I must remember winter socks next time!)

Ditching the sleigh for our own two feet, we breathed sighs of reliefs and dashed from one replica house to the next, stopping for Christmas carols, warm old fashioned cookies and roasting our toes by the bonfire. Between the three of us, we had three digital SLRs and six lenses.We must have looked like an amateur photography club, carefully setting up our shots, waiting for the perfect light and trading course tips and techniques. I'll have to add photography to my list of growing, increasingly time consuming and expensive addictions - coffee, travel, blogging, studying, writing, photography! One day, they will meld together into a fascinating, integrated life plan.

Claude Monet claimed "The most important subject in your painting, is light. It's on strength and reflection that one finds a way. So, we must dig and delve unceasingly".

Photography, is, of course, the Greek word for "drawing of light"; and draw we did, "unceasingly" in the midst of a wintery wonderland in the Park. Using the ISO lighting techniques, angles of light, and the six composition rules I've learned thus far in my course, I attempted a Winter Magic photoshoot. Be warned that this is an amateur, inexperienced attempt to capture the magic.

(Facebook users, just click here to view. Be sure to click into the slideshow to see the photo titles).

Appreciating the magic may have to make my list of New Year's goals - despite Edmonton's biting weather, I will find the winter, holiday, warmth among friends that are crazy enough to venture with me, to seek adventure in the cold. Thanks, Pam & Janice!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Warm & Fuzzy Photoshoot

As the Mcgill semester (and others) come to a close, I am taking "Secrets of Photography", a six week online crash course in photo composition and design, to let my artistic side flourish. Just six little rules and a few ISO settings in Week 1 and already, I am addicted. Let's add photography to my list of expensive, addictive habits - cappuccinos, travel, blogging, martial arts, languages, yoga - and of course, the Aquarian, manic, intense, desire to always learn.

Following my six week adventure, I will take a four session course in-person, where I plan to bring my 10 best photographs and learn more technique. So many amazing techniques to learn, so many posts I'd love to write - and so little time. Each week, the course instructors allow us to choose 2 pictures to post online and have critiqued.

This week I have chosen a theme, in contrast to our depressing, snowed in weather out of doors - an indoor photo shoot. "Warm & Fuzzy" is my attempt to showcase the comfortable parts of winter - pillows, blankets, coffee & puppies. Please click "Show - info on the top right hand corner of the slideshow to display the titles.

Facebook Users, please click View Original Post on the bottom of the "Note" or, click here. Just one click and you'll see the whole photo shoot!

(Note: my 2 best photos here are "Peaceful Slumber" and "Dean and Deluca New York", both of which my instructor confirmed have good technique - this fuels my desire to pursue amateur photography!


Saturday, December 11, 2010

Luminario - Winter Snapshots & Japanese Lantern Festival

Luminario, the Japanese light festival at University of Alberta's Devonian Gardens, just west of Edmonton, was a simplistic, but elegant display. At first, I was disappointed by the lack of colour & culture, expecting to be educated on the lanterns, their significance and the role of the Japanese dancers who were featured on the advertisement, but were nowhere in sight.

Lanterns were made of paper bags and white candles gingerly placed in the snow to light up the winding path. No colour, no culture.

Then, as we watched the lights and chatted, I was gently reminded that perhaps it's best to go to events like these with no expectations, and just enjoy the experience.

Instead of Japanese dancers, we were greeted by cheery, Christmas carolers and much needed hot cider. Despite having on my merino wool MEC base layers, hat, gloves and jacket, I was still freezing (mostly my toes, actually - I think I need winter socks; definitely new boots anyway!)

The fire pits located at various intervals were definitely a warm welcome. We huddled around the fire, talking to others who ventured the -20 degree weather (no wind, thankfully!). If you take a close look, you can see (through the wintery frost, a group of us huddled, watching the carolers in reindeer like, lit-up headdresses.

The quality of these photos is why I can't wait to get started on my online composition course, Secrets of Better Photography, by Metro College. I just can't wait until my 4 days off at Christmas to blog, take pictures, and learn!

Below, a word from Kiara...

"Hey! I thought I'd poke my long Labrador nose into my mom's blog post and interupt, as I do in her daily, off-line life. We got to roll around in the snow and take some awesome pictures. It took forever to try to make the snow look bluish, but mom's taking a photography course to learn more about colours and how to catch me when I get waaay too excited and roll around faster than her camera lens can handle. I'm a whole fifteen months old now, but I still love visiting Santa - see below. This year Santa wouldn't let me sit on his lap - even though I'm well within my weight range (really, I wish I could eat all the food I want, but all of my human family just won't let me...some rambling about hip dysplasia or something). There were sooooo many puppies waiting in line with me; it was a blast!"

Frame 1:"Ok, Santa, I guess you can grab my leash"

Frame 2: "Mmm---you have candy? cookies? treats? Ok, I'll sit still and salivate"

...3 seconds later

Frame 3: "Oh, c'mon, mom, snap that picture already - I'm getting boooorred!"

As I put together my first December entry, I can't believe we are nearly halfway through this month! Stay tuned for Candy Cane Lane, Fort Edmonton Park's Christmas Reflections and some end of the month holiday fun at my place, coming soon.

Here's to a few weeks off studying, a few days off working, and Happy, photo-blogging Holidays!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Holiday Cup of (Coffee) Cheer!

As my first Grad school course comes to a close, tutoring for University English papers peaks and crashes, and the the holidays peek around the corner, I'd like to dedicate a post to Edmonton's best coffee spots, where I spend much of my free time. By 'free', of course, I mean the hours I spend planning my tutoring business, studying for Mcgill's Masters' program and relaxing with friends. Caffeine fiends, this one is for you!

Second Cup and Starbucks aside, (c'mon now, we all know they are the similar everywhere), here is a tribute to my ten favorite small businesses in e-town.

E-town's 10 Best Cafes

da Capo - 109th Street Southside

Cute and quaint, this little cafe is so Italian they close on Sundays and have the family running the show. In fact, they refused to buy paper cups for the first year of their operations; cafe, they told me, was for enjoying while seated, not on the go! Expensive but delicious, their paninis are also a carboholic's delight!

Leva Cafe - University Area

Just steps away from the University of Alberta campus, this perfect little cafe serves up $4 small cappuccinos, flatbread pizzas and gelato. Sunday breakfast is (tiny) but great, too. Mmmm, gelato!

Remedy Cafe - University Area

Open till midnight! Finally, somewhere other than Tim Hortons is open late! Second Cup lives in my heart as they allow me to take my needed coffee break after late night tutoring sessions, closing at 11pm. Midnight - that's unheard of for such a mid-size city. Thank you, Remedy, for your curry Indian-fusion inspired cuisine, giant cake slices, interesting musical mix and great service. One note for improvement though - expand so you can have more chairs. It's so crowded!

Tesoro - Downtown Oliver

Formerly a Caffe Sorrentino franchise, this Italian family "mangiaria cafe" has good pasta (I've heard), decent Paninis (hello, cheat meal!) and small but smooth cappuccinos. What's really great it, just click here, you can print off a coupon for a free latte!

La Pasta - University, HUB Mall

They knew me so well here in my university years, the owners called me "Cappuccino Girl". Hey, at only $2.50 a latte, when the competition is charging almost double, who wouldn't stop there every day? Not to mention, they have delectable veggie wrap, complete with real parmesan cheese and avocados.

Italian Centre Cafe - 104th Street & 51 Avenue

Oh, Italian Centre- I love visiting you! Every weekend on one of my tutoring breaks, I manage to sneak in there for a skinny lattee. They use Caffe Kimbo, and they are the only ones, I believe, in the city who do. Attached to the Italian grocery store, this cafe has scrumptious pastries (thanks to my weekly cheat meal, after 6 months of nothing at all, I can indulge in their chocolate croissants. Mmm, heavenly!

Transcend - Argyll Road or University area

While I have to admit I haven't been to their newest location, the Argyll location used to house their coffee production. Produced right here in Edmonton, AB, this coffee has a defined, unique taste. It's indescribable - you'll have to go give it a try. They travel the world, pick out the best coffees, and learn to brew them here. Their store is visually appealing and reasonably priced. Again, cafe owners that do webcrawling, here's a piece of criticism - service is SLOW. Not sure if that is intentional!

Bogani Cafe - 111th Street & 23rd Avenue, Southside

The reason Bogani's made my top ten list is only because of its history. It was, when I was 14 years old, Cappuccino Affair, a chain restaurant (way back when they allowed smoking sections in restaurants). The non-smoking section was always beautiful, with a library and comfy couches. Many a conversation, date, analysis of a teenage dilemma, meeting of a long lost friend or lover or gossip session happened under their roof. I once heard of an author who wrote a book based on pieces of conversations he heard in a coffee shop. If he had pieced together my conversations, I'm sure it would have been a comedic drama. Even after it became Bogani cafe, it retained its flair, as two older European ladies overtook the place. In the last two years, hands transferred to a Chinese family, who now adds unique items like Bubble Tea to the menu. Stephanie W & I claimed this as our spot for years, when we lived in the area. They, too, used to be open until 11pm, until new management took over. Now, they are even closed holidays..

Axis Cafe - 108th Street downtown

Although I've only visited this venue after working downtown, it is known for its night events, such as jazz performances and artist openings. In fact, if there is a show, they are open until midnight! Their coffee is smooth and average priced, and their baking is, from what I remember, delectable, especially the cookies. Mmmm, heavenly again! Haha, I can dream, right?

Blue Chair Cafe - Avonmore neighbourhood

I've been to this cafe once, but it made my list since it's walking distance from my home, and the most eclectic, unique cafe I've seen in Alberta. Janice and I stopped there for a "quick" coffee after yoga one morning last summer, and it definitely was not quick! They are very slow, cater to the senior market (I think), and are very European (don't ask for toast! French baguettes only!) From what I remember, the coffee was pretty good, though. Also, I'm reading their website now, and perhaps they've switched management, because there are new hours, 10am to 10pm half the week anyway, click here

The Mainstreams

Second Cup - Riverbend Square: Janice and I spend our Sunday nights studying together, her for a Library Science masters and me for a Teaching English masters. Go bookworms! I have to say the Riverbend second cup is the best in the city - it's the biggest, quietest and best serviced. Two little flaws though (ahem, cafe owners, you use blogcrawlers, right? ;) - you need more electrical outlets and you need to get that sweet free latte with $30 gift card promotion the other locations have :)

Starbucks - Mundane and efficient, Starbucks definitely has made its mark in the business world globally. I prefer the Canadian alternative, but I will admit that Starbucks' vanilla beats even the Torani syrup at Second Cup. Torani's caramel sugar free is definitely better than Starbucks' though - although the Monin syrup used at most Italian cafes tops them all!

(Oh, and I borrowed the pictures from Google Search. I'll be taking a photography course right away here, so there will definitely be more originals!)

Caffe Sorrentino - Popping up in South Common, West Edmonton Mall and other megaplex shopping centres, Cafee Sorrentino is an overpriced but decent cafe.

Steeps Tea House - University Area While this is also a chain, I'm sure calling it a coffee shop is against its mandate - but wow those Chocolate Chai lattes are amazing!

As I make this list, I realize how small Edmonton is- can I barely name ten worthy cafes in the entire city? (Coffee Snob, I know) There is a new one, Credo Coffee on 104th street downtown I'd love to try, but they are only open during banker's hours! Nevertheless, the ten cafes listed have their charm and bring a smile to my face in the midst of the stressful end of semester, tutoring, paper editing, end of year madness! Not to mention, they all provide welcome warmth from a wintery hell. Stay tuned for an upcoming Christmas post on my favorite cafes worldwide (there are a lot!!)

So, with a candy cane or gingerbread latte in your hand, welcome in the December Christmas season. This Coffee Snob wishes you warm and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Oil & Art @ Alberta Art Gallery

After much anticipation, Stephanie, Darryl, Sean, Janice, Steph B and I attended Saturday's Alberta Art Gallery's bi-annual gala. This year's theme, Refinery Party, was a collection of art works that described the creation, sustenance and destruction of oil and the oil industry. A little disappointing compared to my expectations, the event still held its own and the architecture was a unique backdrop.

While interpretive dancers swirled their bodies in a partially topless, partially clothed fashion that, frankly, I could not "interpret", waitresses served hors d'oeurves, and crowds of people hovered around the art exhibits

Matisse was unimpressive at first, although Darryl managed to put the exhibit into a historical context that established the French artist was really a "first" for certain types of sketches. His finished works, however, do provide an interesting mix of colour. Although some of his paintings in later years have a more realistic portrait style and brighter, more fresh, colours.

Source: check out more of Matisse's later paintings here

From 9 pm to 1 am, we wandered the levels of the new art gallery, marvelling at the architecture (yay, Edmonton, you're trying to be more big city!).

Tables with little art projects, like "make your own carbon footprint" were a comical touch. An Urban exhibit showcased large photographs of plastics and other waste in the oil industry. A larger exhibit was filled with photographs of the progression from oil's beginnings - including sulpher blocks in Fort Mcmurray - to drill rigs, oil barrels, cars and homes that use oil - and projected depletion of oil itself. Very fitting to Alberta, the exhibit was interesting - although I think the integrated dance performances were a little too "artsy" for me. In black costumes, moving about as if in a trance, they swirled around with odd movements and music. I think the idea of one of the performances was to show the creation of products from oil (a woman with a hammer and nails building a black object) to the destruction of their products (a black Michelin man -like woman, encased in tires, falling down and rising up). So....artsy??

Janice, with the main piece of art in Sapna's house

Sapna & Steph B

Hopefully next year's theme will be a little more engaging!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Puppy Mischief: A Look At Kiara's First Year

After one year and eight days of having Kiara in my life, I thought I'd compile the puppy mischief stories. They are really incredible - fiction would be more plausible, but here's an honest - and fairly schooled in training, I might add! - pup's perspective on life in e-town. If you're skimming this slightly long post, the stories are titled - so choose the mischevious adventure you would like to read about!

*Facebook Users!: Click HERE if you want to be able to see the puppy slideshow! Just one click away and you'll have a much better view, I promise!

Bringing Home A Baby Dog - Nov 09

On November 7th, 2009, Sean and I drove to Calgary to pick up my beautiful black lab puppy. Seven lbs & frantic, we put on her specially made pink dog collar and leash and put her in a blanket-ined cardboard box, and drove home, wondering if she'd be thrashing the whole time. After some whining, she decided that travel was for her (my kind of puppy!) and fell asleep to the motion of the rocking car. At the first Shell rest stop, we thought she might have to pee - but she just kept shaking and shaking and shaking Why are you strangers taking me away from home?? you could almost here her scream. Of course, arriving home, we found that my Puppies for Dummies books (and six other knockoffs) were out the window. "You may hear whining when your puppy is in her crate, but it's important not to give in and let her know she needs her own space" - easy for THEM to say, she SCREAMED the entire night! Who would have thought seven little pounds could have such strong lungs?

Housebreaking took three days - the third morning she was knocking at the door to go out! Two years of training research paid off. What I can tell you is, the first night, I had this fear that I was responsible for a life; the second night I was so frustrated I almost regretted my decision; the third morning, I was lifting weights and she sat there, bobbing her head to the rhythm of the barbell presses - and that's when I knew, we were a team.

Travel Puppy or Homebody?

Throughout the few days I had off, Kiara and I visited a few coffee shops and all my favourite e-town haunts. While most places shun puppies here, a few nice stores let me hide her inside my jacket (I can't even believe she used to fit!)

Puppy's First Christmas! Dec 09

Can we smile for Santa Claus? Of course, Kiara smiles for everything. Here she is, just four months old, in Santa's lap. Running like wild during my Christmas baking party, shredding gifts with her teeth, tearing her gifts to pieces in less than a week, and "snow-diving" through piles in the backyard. Yes, the icy winter is her favourite season (sorry pup, we may one day abandon that idea!).

Rascal Antics, Training & Losing Teeth were just part of the fun!

In January, Kiara and I joined our first Puppy Kindergarten class, followed by Puppy Basics. Wow, what a handful! I realize now that she was significantly younger than most of her classmates, but her puppy brain - lack of concentration - was quite the challenge! Soon we had her in Agility 1 though, jumping over hurdles and managing to focus for a treat. Wait till she's a year old, they told me!

Conehead & Kennel Drama Feb '10

At five months old, Kiara was spayed. I honestly felt like a mother - so nervous for her! They kept my gorgeous puppy for the entire day, and returned her to me with $200 worth of medicine and a cone! Well, at first, she had some attitude about the cone - but 10 days later, she wouldn't let me take it off! I guess it was fun to bump into things and catch food that was slid down her cone like a slide!

At six months old, I decided to let Kiara have some more of my trust - and more room to run. This is also when she first met Watson, her puppy love. I remember the first day she saw him, she started howling and standing over the three foot fence, like there was something really amazing in the neighbour's yard. I went over to meet the neighbours - and found a baby puppy, who Kiara just licked and licked and licked, followed by her play bow. They are best friends now - and whine SO much when they haven't seen one another for a few days.

I love snow!

Three words I can't stand - well - not long term, but she LOVES piles onow, slippery ice. It's especially fascinating that snow turns into water!

First Dog Park Visit Mar '10

Well, I was nervous and she was ecstatic - her first trip to Terwillegar dog park and I just trying to keep her somewhat close to me! I've learned from the neighbours and Watson since, that Kiara won't leave me behind - if she can see me, she figures, it's all good! She's got an amazing nose; she knows where home is! (I swear she has the intelligence of those talking hounds on Homeward Bound!)

First Time Home Alone April '10

I've never felt more loved than the day I came home from my first weekend away (to Banff, with Janice & Sean. This is the time she started to love my dad (not a dog lover), I think, since he took her for walks. When I got home, Kiara darted towards me, almost knocking me over and started licking and licking my face. Where have you been!!?? They say dogs have about 100 facial expressions - but that I miss you one is definitely the most priceless.

Chewing Disasters May '10

On mother's day, Kiara decided to EAT my shoes while I was at our annual family brunch - not just one pair, but THREE pairs - Nike runners, Aldo white pumps (thankfully an older pair) and white sandals. They were SHREDDED and I was livid. Argh, puppy, shoes are not food! They are now all locked up in my room, in the closet, beyond her reach (we hope). Thank goodness I was wearing my vintage pink plaid Steve Maddens that day!
Pancake Puppy! June '10

My all-time favorite Kiara story. This story trumps them all. I come home from work/tutoring/gym one night, and have my roommate ask "How many bottles of syrup do you have?" Oh no, I think, she got to my coffee syrup. "No, how many bottles of pancake syrup?

"One, I think, somewhere." Where? Turns out that my sneaky little puppy had managed to open a cupboard where her treats were hidden, take out the lazy susan and - behold! - discover a bottle of unopened pancake syrup. "It's not open? No problem!" She snatched the bottle, ensured no one was home (I'm sure), took it to her favorite spot on the couch, opened it, ate what she wanted, and spilled the rest on the couch, as well as in the cubby hole she made for herself in the couch itself. Then, she proceeded to roll around in the syrup - and my roommate came home to find her sticky! My house smelled like Sunday morning brunch for weeks!

Photoshoots July '10 - Check out the July slideshow here, folks!
I was snap happy with my new digital SLR in July, so there are many poses!
Visitors & A Birthday! Aug'10
Kiara got two sets of visitors from Germany this August (Kristin and my roommates' friends a few weeks afterwards), and she loved them all! Jumping, screaming, running laps around the living room - they're signs of love, I promise! Kiara turned 1 on September 4, 2010 :)
Desertion & Payback Sept '10

Leaving Kiara for 2 weeks in September to go to Peru would have been, I expected, something like my 1 week trip to California the month before. Extremely happy, smiling, puppy greeting me at the door. Oh, no, not this time - this time I got an angry puppy ignoring me for a whole hour! She followed my dad around the house instead of me, played with others and basically said "#*@# you! Deserting me like that!!!" - despite the fact that Sean, Diyuma, Ross & Rainier, not to mention my brother and parents, were all caregiving for her! After about an hour, she warmed up to me and was back to her happy self. Thank god I didn't put her in a doggy hotel for the 2 weeks; imagine her reaction then! Emoti-puppy!

Fun in the Leaves

Edmonton actually had a Fall season this year - and I took the opportunity to take a Fall photoshoot!! Check out the slideshow for pictures (yes, facebook users, this means leaving your beloved homepage...) Click here.

Pumpkin Puppy Oct '10 - see this entry!

Superwoman in a Tee - Dog Park Injuries & Protein Powder Repair!

Kiara had her first injury on a muddy day in October. She's been off-leash in dog parks for months now, and loves them. That day, it was getting dark at 7:30 pm (thanks, Winter) and I called out for her - and had no response. Ten minutes later, I was frantic, running, calling, yelling, whistling my lame whistle. Where could she be? As soon I dashed up the wooden stairs, she appeared, right behind me. Two days later I discovered she was acting very strangely quiet - and then I discovered the giant cut down her side. Apparently she snagged herself on a tree. As quickly as I could, I took her to the vet - who resigned her to my Lorenzo Expeditions trek t-shirt for the rest of the week, so her cut didn't get infected! Oh, supergirl puppy

That didn't stop her, of course, from getting into a CLOSED, giant, bottle of protein powder (it takes a knife for me to open it), carrying it off the counter, spreading it on the couch, and lying, in her t-shirt on the other side of the living room, with white powder all over her nose. I came home and she looked at me like "What? It smelled like vanilla!"

65 lbs of love

One year after I got Kiara, I feel the same way I did three days after her arrival - I could not live without her. She really is 65 lbs of a loving companio

Check out the slideshow below to see a recap of Kiara's 50 best photoshoot shots, from her very first picture cuddled in a box - to her "Bad-girl" puppy in a bandana shots a couple days ago. Facebook users, click View Original Post at the bottom of the "Note" or click here