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iWildWolves Photography

Capturing the essence of animals through my lens

Posts from the ‘Lifestyle’ category

That chick Missy…

Hellooo!

Finally, I have the inspiration to write this! I don’t know about you, but I hate writing my “About Me” section, since the days of Myspace to dating apps and even this blog post, I could never figure out what to write or how to convey it. I was a teenager back then who didn’t even understand who I was as a person, my twenties were pretty much me floating around bikini bottom “la la la la la” just trying to pay rent and still find myself. I moved a ton, met even more people, had experiences and learned more lessons than I’d liked. All of that led me here, 30, single, female, living in a nice place of my own with several dogs. I finally found a place to call my own where I am happy to wake up to it every day for its beauty is divine. Life, however, likes to creep in and slap me awake before the dogs get a chance to do it and so it’s off to the races.

 

I am an RVT, that’s Registered Veterinary Technician or Veterinary Nurse, I did go to school for it and have worked in the field for some time now. Recently my job and I parted ways, I was no longer happy in life and they could see that, it never affected me as a technician I am a damn good tech! My relationships with the people I worked with however were affected, I no longer enjoyed their company (well most of the ones I worked directly with, but there were others who were neutral). Either way, I decided over a year ago that I was not going to be working there much longer, and so I started researching things I can do outside of my field, or maybe make enough money so I just have to cut back hours and not quit. I just wanted to be able to afford a life where I can travel and do things! Not to mention I wanted to just hang out with my dogs, as I am sure most of you would, I realized I only have about 9 good years left with Beowolf and I didn’t want to spend most of that time with him in a cage and me in a white office. I worked 40+ hours a week and still barely made enough to afford to do much on the weekends. Beowolf would grow old and creaky in a kennel while I was breaking mentally and physically at work.

 

Then the day came, it was time for me to leave the clinic and I never felt more relieved, say what you want I loved my job and what I did but I just wasn’t happy doing it. Puppies and kitties matched with Euthanasia and stressful surgery were tolerable and great sometimes, but the people I worked with wore me out and it was that toxicity that I needed to remove from my life. Do I miss them? Yes. I keep in touch with a few girls, but as any Scorpio out there can agree, once I cut you off mentally you’re just cut off. Since then I have been taking this whole thing slowly, I have never gone longer than a few days between jobs without having something lined up and though it was a first I wasn’t scared. I needed this break! For once there was no pressure, no fear, and I had time!

Time to figure this all out, I had 30 years to discover who I am by now, been doing the research on passive income and working from home, read the books and finally I needed to take the plunge!

What to do?

Well anyone who knows me knows that I have a hat in everything! My base passion though is entrepreneurship, writing, photography, and animals. So why not combine those? I have a degree/ career/ education to back me up to post about animals, I have a lifetime of writing skills and additional creative writing classes I took along with the fact that I have worked for companies who hired me to write reviews. I have a great eye for photography and been doing it since I was 13, I just don’t have a nice camera (I use my phone). Best of all I have the mentality to be an entrepreneur! The one thing I didn’t have, the excuses. There was no more working 40 hours a week, no more late nights getting in and too tired to do this, no more spending my minimal free time with the dogs because that’s all I can do. No, the one thing I didn’t have anymore, was the one thing I used this whole time to stop myself.

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About an hour after I got home from leaving my job I got all my ducks in order with the fact I was now unemployed. Then I sat down and created my first 2 blog posts that I had been wanting to write for weeks but “excuses”!

Read posts here

A girl 2 dogs and a Quest for Snow in Southern California

A girl 2 dogs and a trip to Mount Pinos Frazier Park

I created my WordPress account and did everything I could to post my first blogs, and they did great! I was surprised they got a few likes right away and even followers. I knew it was going to take a long time to build this from scratch, nobody knew me even on social media, not as a blogger/photographer. If anything Beowolf’s account had more followers than mine on Instagram.

I.am.beowolf

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Either way, I had to try, I couldn’t face going back to the regular working class, not without trying to chase my dreams the first and probably the only time I will get this opportunity. No, I wouldn’t go down without a fight. I was homeless once upon a time, jobless countless times and was way worse than I am now so if there was one life lesson I learned it was that I always BOUNCE BACK!

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It’s been 6 weeks and I am still feeling good about this! I haven’t had migraines in forever, no stress, I’m not tired and exhausted unless I take the dogs out or do some work around the ranch on a beautiful sunny day. I am finally losing weight and keeping it off, exercising more and not wrestling giant dogs who kick and scratch, and I get to write as often as I want! I have 18 published posts 19 including this one and I post 3 a week, traffic is a crawl. I am part of several helpful blogging communities and signed up for just about everything I can sign up for. Mailchimp, Convertkit, affiliate links, Tailwind (haven’t really started using this, Trial period), and a bunch more that I can’t think of right now.  I just got hired as an Affiliate Associate with HempMy Pet which is an awesome company that makes natural, organic, vegan supplements for pets including horses! They are even human grade so people can take them too! I will be doing a post about this soon, but it’s exciting to get some traction!

I also wrote a book recently, just a bunch of tips for puppy owners that I always thought was useful. I take things I learned over the years of being a veterinary technician/ pet owner and compiled them neatly into a book. The book includes emergency contact forms, how to create a puppy book, advice on medical questions and tons of top quality dog product links! Check it out here Adventures of Puppy Raising.

I haven’t made much money yet but like I said, I knew this wasn’t an overnight success. I did the research thoroughly, checking everyone’s experience I could find, and a lot of people agree on 2 things; it takes time to see the figures grow and you get out what you put in. The common consensus is that most bloggers make a healthy living doing this, now they can’t all be wrong, right? Consistency is key so the way I see it, just keep doing me and I will get there but how exactly can I do me when people really don’t know who me is?

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Allow me to Introduce: Myself.

I like to go by Missy for starters, my name is Melissa and it’s a long story but I just go by Missy. I have 2 awesome dogs Beowolf and Valentine and a cool black cat named Bagheera. She doesn’t do much but cuddle and eat and patrol the house for critters, but she is a doll and I love her. Like I said above, yes I am single and straight (sorry ladies I tried to take an alternate route but hit a dead end) so I likes the mens although they annoy me, and I have come to love being single. I do have a type so basically, look like DJ Cotrona or BE DJ Cotrona and I will be happy haha no seriously though I am all about the connection and chemistry, if it’s there it’s there. Love my animals and my crazy ass and we will be good.

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I love all kinds of music, I may not listen to everything religiously, but I can jam to it all! I was raised with a radio always on so music is indeed life.

 

If you can’t tell I like to write a lot, I also like to talk a lot, meaning YouTube channel is in the works too! Those videos will be posted slowly for now as I am still learning new things and trying to get used to talking in front of a camera to NOBODY! Not even Beowolf and Valentine are trying to help me out, knocking things over and bumping into me, Beowolf hits me in the face on multiple occasions that I can’t decide whether to keep it or cut it. I like being creative and utilize a lot of mediums, so I’ll make cute videos of the dogs or something. I like to sing and dance, neither of which I do in front of people much though I am told I can indeed do both. I love art and painting or drawing too, but don’t do it much, photography is more my style though.

 

I am also one of those stoners who will hit you with facts, just a friendly FYI out of the blue. Oh, you didn’t know I’m 420 friendly. Well if you’re curious about that then go right along and check out my post on how I came out of the stoner closet, go on scoot!

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I love movies and love quoting them/ trivia even more. Netflix and chill were made especially for me, I can sit in a 3-hour movie like it’s nothing! I guess to me I’m not sitting in a seat watching a movie, but I’m going on an adventure!

 

I also really like being outdoors, I’m adaptive and can handle just about anything though I have my preferences: Woods, mountains, beaches, countryside. Pretty much wherever there is a lot of green and a lot of water. Hot and dry just isn’t my thing, but if a group of friends wants to go camping at Joshua Tree I would be down for that. I enjoy roughing it as well as glamping, if I can take my dog Beowolf (Valentine is still a work in progress and will join on trips when she is ready) then I’m there.

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Oh yeah speaking of friends, I have none. Haha just kidding, I technically do, but none of them live within 100 miles of me. Most of them are in Sacramento where I did most of my growing up and then others are scattered among the rest of the 50 states. So I pretty much don’t go anywhere unless it’s with my dogs, so if you’re reading this and you are in the Los Angeles area who also doesn’t have friends, then DM me on the Insta sista! If you don’t have a dog that’s cool I have 2, I can share!

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Star sign: Scorpio. I always have people talk so much crap about the fact I follow my star sign, if you don’t like it then move along its as simple as that, but it’s not like I follow it to a T. It’s not like I don’t leave the house if the horoscope says not to, no, I found that it generalizes personalities and characteristics of people and places it in 12 categories. Say what you want about your sign, but the reason a Scorp loves our sign is that it’s freaking accurate! I’m not gonna say any 2 Scorpio or any sign are identical but if mine is close and my friends are very much like theirs without them even knowing their sign, then it’s safe to say there is accuracy there. In fact, I can get along better with someone once I know their sign because I understand the characteristics of the sign. I won’t drone on and on, but I will talk about being a Scorpio in my posts so deal with it.

 

My favorite color is purple. I spell the word Grey with an E just because it’s fancier but there is no right way to spell it, E or A, it’s just your preference I looked it up.

 

I have 2 snakes. A ball python I had since 2005 named Slytherin, he’s awesome! And a Mexican Black Kingsnake named Saxa. She is so beautiful! She currently lives with a friend in Sacramento as I only need one snake to take care of right now. Say what you want, snakes are awesome! They come in so many sizes and COLORS! Imagine if dogs had colors and patterns of snakes. Contrary to belief snakes are actually very docile and if you handle them enough they are very friendly, Saxa was very aggressive when I first got her but now she can be handled and everything just fine. If you are deathly terrified of snakes then I’m sorry, but I will post on random occasions pictures of snakes or my own snake. I did a post on Rattlesnake awareness that you can read here.

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I want to be able to work from anywhere, for however long I want, I want to take my dogs with me while I go have experiences or get bitchen content! Not to mention finally make money of a life I can be proud of.

 

I also have been writing a book! More like a novel and yes it’s a series. Been working on it for 10 years! Yep going J.K Rowling status haha she is a Goddess and a Queen!

It’s sort of my baby and I am in love with it, it still has kinks that need sorting and my style of writing (for this re-write) is scene by scene and I piece it together later. I am already getting inspiration for scenes in future books that I haven’t even started yet, but I am writing it all down, so I don’t forget. I am still toying with the idea of posting excerpts from some chapters to get feedback, but I am still not sure and want to have everything make sense before I post anything. When I tell people about it they seem eager to read it and the parts I let my friends and family read have them begging me for more, so it stands to say I think it’s going to be good! We’ll see though! I am writing it to be a long series because movies are so quick and over and you miss a lot, my goal is to sell it as a Netflix original! Think the Game of Thrones of Netflix.

 

I will also be restarting my clothing venturship, due to complications I had to put a halt on Zev Realm. Once I get the ball really rolling on this I hope I can jump start that again. It’s a passion project for me, starting with clothing and accessories Zev Realm will build itself into an Empire that stands to promote Nature Safety and Protection awareness. All products will be made naturally and considered biodegradable, profits will fund the restoration of jungles, forests, oceans and aid in the protection of wildlife. I also want to start up a foundation that aids in the humane wellbeing of dogs for homeless people and low-income families. There is a lot that will be going into this company and it all starts with the first brick. If you want to check out what I have for that so far you can follow these links. I am not finished with it and have so much more to do, but all in due time.

Zevrealm.com

Instagram- zevrealm

 

You see I have a lot going on that I want to work on for myself, and those are just a few of the ideas and ventures that I have planned. I knew I wasn’t going to get anywhere still living paycheck to paycheck making money for someone else! Now is my opportunity to pursue my passions and do what I want with my life so that I can be more capable of helping others and doing more.

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If this post inspires just 1 person to take flight and go after their dreams then that’s all that matters! I see you and I was once where you too were sitting, reading a blog deciding whether to take that leap of faith, do it! It can be anything in the world, I wanted to travel with my dogs and photograph it as we went, sharing moments and memories plus learned lessons with the world. If I can take the plunge then you can too!

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Look forward to getting to know you all and sharing a bit of me with you!

Salutations!

Melissa, Beowolf, and Valentine

I have included some items that I have goals of purchasing once I can afford it, these will help me improve the quality of content I post and allow me to do more and have more experiences to share with you.

 

My first real Camera! Canon EOS Rebel T7 DSLR

Currently, I am only using my phone for all content and imaging, I want to invest in a quality camera and set up so that I can take even better images. My goal is to become a better photographer and build my quality learning new skills. Someday I will travel the world and using a cell phone the whole time doesn't get me what I see in my head.

$10.00

Check out my Amazon Wishlist!

 

Fund A Getaway!

Wanna get away? I know I do! I am always itching to get out and discover new places to see and new things to do, it's not always as easy as get up and go, sometimes the car needs work, I have to account for gas and other expenses being on the road. Since I travel alone I always have to make sure the details are all worked out, as well as some emergency money for a flat tire or tow. Since I am just starting out any assistance toward this is helpful and will make it easier for me to get out there and share the world with you!

$15.00

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Avoid expensive vet bills, how to remove Foxtails at home.

Last night I spent a good 20 minutes going through Beowolf’s feet and fur plucking out FOXTAILS! The previous years have never been this bad with foxtails and Beowolf has always been lucky about not collecting foxtails but I find myself picking them up around the house as he drops them.

 

Given my experience at the clinic, I know just how nasty a foxtail can get. Abscesses and infections lead to expensive vet visits and weeks of antibiotics. Well, the good thing about foxtails is they are predictable and work in the same way, their anatomy is designed to “dig” with reverse burs that hold it in place which is why they don’t fall out on their own sometimes.

They can burrow into the skin and work their tract anywhere in the body, leaving room for infections to fester and grow. Sometimes they can work their way out, but it’s not often we see that. Usually once a foxtail burrows and hides it takes a trained hand to remove it, so address it early on before it becomes a problem.

 

Luckily they are easy to remove!

**If a foxtail has gotten in your dog’s Eye(s), Nose and/or Ear(s) do NOT try to remove them yourself unless you are a trained professional. Please to prevent further injuries, take your pet to the vet**

 

Signs your pet may have a Foxtail in it’s:

Eye(s):

  • Squinting
  • Rubbing
  • Inflammation/ redness
  • Pain
  • You saw it go in

Ear(s):

  • Tilting head to the side
  • Shaking head a lot
  • Possible pain while touching the ear
  • Vocalization (whining, crying, yelping, biting)
  • Scratching ears a lot
  • Inflammation/ redness in ear(s)

Nose:

  • Sneezing a lot
  • Reverse sneezing
  • Bleeding from nose
  • Pawing/ scratching/ rubbing nose
  • Inflammation

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Removal of Foxtails from these areas requires a certain tool, a method of restraint safe for everyone or sedation, and training in the removal of foxtails by a professional. I have seen people injure their pet trying to do this at home and needed further medical assistance than they would have. Please don’t be that person. Maybe someday I will do a tutorial on how to perform those tasks at home, if I get 100 likes on this post I will do a video.

 

Here is what you can do at home now!

Here is what you will need:

  • Tweezers/ hemostats/ forceps
  • Grooming clippers (long hair dogs/ foxtail infestations)
  • Mild soap and water (Dawn is always a safe bet, not too concentrated)
  • Neosporin (with Lidocaine or Pain reliever)
  • Treats

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Hopefully, your dog will be tired during a foxtail check since he likely just came from running around outside.

 

First what you want to do is a thorough once over, do this in the light to make sure you catch every one of them, as just one can cause damage. Light dogs should be extra thorough, foxtails range in hues of gold and can blend in with fur quite easily! Now you can use your fingers for these but for stubborn ones you can use tweezers or hemostats. Be careful to avoid plucking any hair, if this is painful or uncomfortable for your dog this can keep them from trusting you with their paws in the first place. If you think you will need to take a chunk of hair with a foxtail, just shave between the paw pads. It’s much less uncomfortable than plucking healthy fur from between their toes!

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Hot places for foxtails to live:

  • Between the toes, including underneath the paw pad
  • In the groin area or belly (longhair or double coated dogs)
  • Tail fur
  • Neck/ collar area

Once you’re sure you checked everywhere then it’s time to clean up. If there were spots where foxtails pierced the skin then gently clean the area with soap and water and apply a little bit of Neosporin. This should prevent any mild infection and if necessary, you can put a cone on your dog to prevent licking which can cause problems in itself.

 

Ways to keep foxtails from clinging:

  • Shave paws, even if it’s just the paw pads underneath (longhaired dogs have long fur here)
  • Take your pet to the groomer for a Summer cut
  • Brush your dog (I would never shave Beowolf, so I brush him and keep up with baths to prevent the fur from turning into Velcro)
  • Do a good once over after your dog comes in from outside

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I hope this was helpful and will update it as more tips and tricks come!

I found this small inexpensive instrument kit that has everything you would need for at home minor treatments.

Click here for the Ultimate Kit!

Epic tech fail! I lost all my photos… *Update: I got more!*

I AM DEVASTATED!

We started the day with so much potential. I got up early and got ready to take the dogs out to see the poppies… again. This time we got a hot tip on a public field with LUSH poppies! So we hit the road up to the 14 North until Avenue J exit. Go west on Avenue J until you pass the solar panel facility and to the right just before it DEAD END. You will see the large meadow of bright orange flowers!

The best part? It was totally empty! There was an elderly couple who were nice and only stayed around to say hello to the dogs, oh yeah, Valentine made a new friend!

 

I was able to let the dogs out off leash and they could run through the flowers and enjoy themselves. To my surprise, there were already trails made throughout the field, so they were pretty good and kept from being destructive.

 

Now I had pictures to show and was going to make a cool video and post it but when I uploaded all of my footage to my Enuoda flash drive, the DATA DISAPPEARED! EVERYTHING GONE! My laptop nor my phone can find the file! I have no idea how to fix it, yes I knew that sometimes flash drives don’t last or can break, but all of the ones I had lasted forever! I was using this one strictly for “On the Go” photos, transferring my phone images to my laptop where I can edit them. I was in freak out mode for a while but I’m holding out hope.

 

If anyone knows how to fix this please comment below! I’ll keep the flash drive and try it here and there by chance it will work, at that time I will upload images to this post!

**Update**

So I wasn’t going to go down quite that easy, I was in such a bad mood that I lost all my photos that I knew the only thing that would make me happy are to go get more! So that’s what we did, I originally wanted to go back to catch the scene during the Golden Hour, so no time like the present. I loaded up a little after 6 and to my surprise, there wasn’t much traffic! We made it back to the field which was completely empty! Not a single car drove by the entire time we were there, we even stuck around to catch the sunset behind the mountains. The dusk was so pretty that I even got a ton of photos afterward, and yes this time I remembered Slytherin so I got great shots with him!

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Just goes to show, anything can happen, but it’s all about what you do afterward that makes the difference. I learned a lesson with my flash drives and now I back up all sessions until the transfer is successful. I didn’t throw my flash drive away and will recover those images someday, but I got some killer shots the 2nd time around and I couldn’t be happier!

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Basic things to know about the USMRA aka Mondioring for sport dogs

Keeping up with the theme of this past weekend’s San Diego trip I get a lot of people on my social media asking me what USMRA is, no it’s not a branch of the Marine Corp, though I know the acronym is similar and confusing. USMRA stands for the United States Mondio Ring Association, the sport along with many others originated in European countries and is very popular still out there. The USMRA is a member of the American Working Dog Federation (AWDF).

Other ring sports include:

  • Schutzhund
  • French Ring
  • PSA
  • IPO

USMRA Mission

  1. The mission of the USMRA and AWDF is to promote, conduct and administer Mondioring trials held to the FCI standards.
  2. To promote proper and humane training and handling of all dogs that participate in the sport.
  3. To promote sportsmanlike conduct at all Mondioring activities.
  4. To promote education about Mondioring by establishing nationwide trials open to the public as well as participants.

So what is Mondioring exactly?

I have been involved in the sport going on 4 years now, I live on the ranch that holds trials each year and twice a week we have club training, but unfortunately, I do not have a dog of my own to work. With 2 of my own dogs that deserve my attention, I can’t afford a 3rd high octane working dog. It’s not fair to me, my dogs, or a working dog I would get. Everyone knows I’m chomping at the bit to get a dog of my own, and they all ask me when that will happen. Though I don’t participate as a handler I do participate in many other ways and watch from the outside looking in, so that’s why I feel like I’m qualified to explain this to people who aren’t circling the sport or been around it their whole lives. SO let’s dive in!

Here is my elevator pitch on the sport. Mondio is a competitive sport that demonstrates obedience and personal protection at different levels through a series of exercises. Different from the other ring sports, Mondio practices with many distractions like what may occur in the real world outside of the arena. Strangers approaching loudly, shaking hands, toys, and food on the field to deter a dog. It’s all about control and training.

Therefore I love the sport, as someone who suffers from anxiety these days (who wouldn’t with all the mass shootings and human trafficking) I find I look over my shoulder everywhere I go and always have Beowolf by my side. Beowolf is not trained in personal protection at all, but he has an incredible judge of character and will literally push me off the sidewalk is someone sketchy is passing. However, the training for Mondioring is designed around that. In obedience classes, I find I started using the same commands and training techniques I see in the arena and it really helps with keeping him close. everyday life

Really this is a hobby for many people in the sport worldwide, for some, it’s their full-time job and they’ve made a career out of it but for many, they come home from working 9-5 and pull out Fido for training.

Who can participate?

Well right now there are still new regulations being formatted to evolve with the sport, however, USMRA participates in International events such as “Worlds” which is a worldwide trial for the top 6 in each country for each level. As it stands here are the criteria for dogs participating:

  • All new registrants must be purebred and registered through an organization. *This rule is in dispute amongst everyone so it may change*. This includes all breeds! The most popular are Belgian Malinois, German shepherds, and Dutch shepherds “Dutchies”. But can include large and small breeds from American Staffordshire terriers and Pugs to Cane Corso, Rottweilers and St. Bernard’s. If it’s purebred and has teeth, it can work! Currently, mixed breeds can participate but cannot place. boxer puppy
  • All dogs are to be intact (Not spayed or neutered). *This rule is also in dispute* Females can get away with this as you can’t obviously see the uterus from the outside and nobody does a physical to check, but males are harder to fool the judges. If you want to participate but your dog is neutered, there are things called Neuticles which are testicle implants, this is cosmetic surgery so be aware and do your research.
  • Behavior- Dogs don’t need to be outgoing and super friendly though that makes life easier for everyone, for those of you who have aggressive or sketchy dogs, this also may be the sport you can participate in. The sport teaches you how to control a dog who is “on a bite” and teaches your dog an “off switch” it will also teach your dog an “on switch” too so they are less likely to take matters into their own paws. Since the dogs don’t intermingle and many handlers are familiar with an intense personality, nobody is judging you! I know of several dogs are only like their handler and nobody else, when on the field the dogs learned this is time to work and after that, they are put away. Contact your local club coach for a consultation if you are interested in pursuing the sport with your dog.
  • Healthy- Vaccinated and in good physical health. The sport is a sport for dogs, not slavery, so the health and well being of dogs are the first and foremost top priority. Limping dogs, dogs with cuts or torn nails, health issues are not permitted and will be asked to leave the field. Many handlers will pull their dogs the morning of competition if they are subpar on their health, for many handlers in the US these are pets first and a working dog 2nd. So health is always a priority.

*As regulations change I will be updating this post. The coach for the Santa Clarita Mondio Club is close to those on the board committee so all changes, I will be among the first to know. *

Levels

There are 4 levels of Mondioring that are all based on the level of training for the dog. It’s not based on age like shows or other sports but where the dog is in training, the higher the level the harder it gets, and more exercises are involved. Again this sport is designed to build a bond and boost confidence in a dog, not deter it, so putting a dog in a level it’s not ready for is STUPID.

Brevet (Br-e-vay)

This is the beginner level, for young dogs or dogs just starting in the sport.

Obedience Exercises:

  1. Healing without a leash heeling
  2. Absence of handler– Dog is in the “Down” position while the handler leaves for 60 seconds. The dog must stay put until handler returns and releases the dog from the down position. There may be a ball or toy thrown to distract the dog, but this is at a distance so it’s not too hard.long down
  3. Retrieve– Basically a single game of fetch with a “personal item” likely something you’ve been training with. Dog retrieves the item, then comes back to sit in front of the handler. The dog has 15 seconds to complete the task. (Below is Oj Knighten and Dude. Oj is a handler and professional dog trainer in Los Angeles County, see his Instagram)retrieve 2

Jumping Exercise:

  1. Hurdle– The height is based on the standard for the level, which is 0.8 meters. hurdlehurdle 2

Biting Exercise-

  1. Face attack with Baton– The “Decoy” stands at a distance and wave the baton lightly, these sticks make a clattering noise and their bark is worse than the bite. The handler sends the dog to bite the decoy and after 10 seconds the handler gives the command to stop. At which point the dog must stop and either guard or lay down, then the handler can call the dog back or walk over and Heel him away. 
  2. Defense of the Handler– This one is fun, it’s very interactive with the handler and the decoy. The Decoy’s job is to be very annoying and will try and get your dog to bite, however, the dog is not allowed to bite until the decoy hits the handler with both hands. He must use both hands and it must be clear and audible for the dog to understand, at which point when he bites after 5 seconds the handler will call off the dog at which point the exercise ends the same way it did with the face attack.

Click here for Full Brevet rules

Level 1, 2, and 3 consists of all exercises in Brevet, with additional exercises.

Must pass each Level twice to be certified and advance to the next level *Same goes for levels 2 and 3*

Obedience:

  1. Send Away or Send Out- This is like the fake game of fetch. The dog is sent to retrieve an item and once he passes through a certain threshold the handler is to call him back. He is to return to a heel position.
  2. Positions– Handler is to command the dog to change positions from a distance. Sit, Down, Stand. In any combination. The judge or field assistant will tell you the combination during the exercise. positions
  3. Food Refusal– As the name says, handler leaves the dog in a Down position while someone tosses food in front of him. The dog should ignore the food, licking or eating results in failure of that exercise.
  4. Little Wood– Only level 2 & 3. The handler is given a small piece of wood to rub his scent on it, then across the field will place it in the middle of 3 other identical pieces of wood. The dog is to sniff out the scent and retrieve the correct wood.

Jumping Exercises: You can select the height your dog jumps, but you get more points the higher the jump.

  1. Palisade– Level 1- 1.8-meter height; Level 2- 1.8, 1.9, 2.0, 2.1; Level 3- 2.2, 2.3m palisade image
  2. Long Jump received_620808161438781 20161029_144239(0)
  3. Hurdle– Level 1- 1.0; Level 2- 1.1; Level 3- 1.2 (Below is Francois Massart a french handler/ decoy/ professional dog trainer in Temecula, CA. See his Instagram)Screenshot_20190419-162844_Instagram.jpg

Biting Exercises:

  1. Face attack with Baton and obstacle– Only Level 2 & 3 are with an obstacle (something for the dog to jump over like a tunnel or row of water barrels) obstacle 2 e collar present
  2. Face Attack with Accessories– Only Level 2 & 3. An accessory is a bundle of objects the dog should run through to get a bite. (Below is Allison a handler and Decoy check out her Instagram)Screenshot_20190419-163308_Instagram
  3. Flee Attack– The decoy is running away, and the handler sends the dog after the bite. flee
  4. Stopped Flee Attack or Call Off– Only Level 3. Same as Flee attack except handler is to call dog back before it contacts the decoy, the dog should return to a heel position. call off
  5. Search and Escort– Only Level 2 & 3. Basically, a game of hide-and-seek with the decoy, the dog should sniff him out and bark until the handler comes and gives dog next command. Then the dog should stay with decoy’s every move and prevent him from escaping via a bite, a lot of dogs are trained to walk between the legs of a decoy making it harder for an escape. DSCF8267
  6. Object Guard– Only Level 3. The object can be anything and the dog is to stand and guard it against the decoy who is trying to steal it while the handler is out of site. The dog should initiate a bite within a certain distance from the object, then let go to return to guarding the object. object 3

So how do we know who wins?

The best part is it’s a paired team sport, nobody competes against one another, everyone upholds the most sportsmanlike conduct. We all cheer and clap for each other and help everyone out, tips, videotaping and taking pictures among other things. Each exercise is scored on a point system, everything is worth a certain amount of points and the judges remove points as needed. In any event either everyone can pass, or nobody can, it all boils down to each individual team. It’s just you and your dog on the field, all your training and hard work come down to what happens on the field. team

What’s the reward?

Eternal GLORY! Just kidding but seriously everyone competes for a title for their dog and bragging rights. There is no prize money, though, every trial has raffles and you can win some dope stuff! Like I said earlier in the post, this is a hobby for pet owners as well as professional trainers, but everyone has the same amount of fun! Not to mention opportunities to travel for trials and meet new friends. friends

Do the dogs like it?

Do they ever! This is a sport designed for dogs, many thrive in this sport especially mouthy energetic dogs like the herding and working breeds. Most were bred to do exactly this and many owners admit that on their days off the dogs still want to work. You can hear excited cries as the dogs are on the field, they can’t control themselves and are eager to get out and work. They were born to work and do something, sure maybe the obedience part isn’t as fun but their reward in a “tug” or ball is well worth it, not to mention many decoys refer to themselves as a human tug. puppy dutch

What if I don’t want to compete?

There are many pet owners who don’t compete with their dogs but come to training just the same. We are a community of dog lovers who all mostly have the same breeds and can relate. We talk, we laugh, we eat and work dogs! There is no rule that says you have to compete if you train, in fact, if Valentine was able or Beowolf was younger I would participate in training but wouldn’t do the competitions. Like I said it’s a hobby and a fun one at that, creates a bond with you and your dog, teaches you about handling a powerful dog and builds both of your self-confidence! Contact a local club for any questions. *If you don’t plan on competing then a mixed dog can participate*

What if I don’t have a dog?

That’s not a problem as neither do I. You can volunteer at trials, help with your local clubs offering services and such (snacks and in my case I am the Vet tech on duty). If you’re interested in being a decoy the best part is this is an equal opportunity sport, both men and WOMEN can be decoys! Even I have taken a bite from one of our dogs in the club and let me tell you, it’s a major rush! I would do it more, but we have plenty of decoys to help and the coach doesn’t want me to get hurt since I need to be on my feet all day and I’m out of shape to handle the stamina and weight of the suit. received_809283349448893

Where can I check out an event?

Trials are held throughout the year by various clubs, this is nationwide as well as worldwide! National events are held in the spring and the International World’s championship are usually the first week of October. Trials are really fun as each one has a theme so the club decorates and makes it as interesting and unique as possible! Click on this link to see when and where there is a trial nearest to you! jurassic mondio

Check out this video of Jessica and Khaleesi from the USMRA Nationals April 13th. She is a level 3 competitor from our Santa Clarita club. Jessica is a teacher and Khaleesi is a family dog!

So I won you over and you want to know how to get started?

Check out this link to the official USMRA site to find a club near you.

Santa Clarita Mondio Club Southern California.

Hope you like this post, come check out a trial if you’re ever in the area!

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10 awesome tips to help you stay on track with Paleo!

If you’re anything like myself you have a hard time with losing weight. Since I was 10 I was considered overweight (for my age) and that has followed me into adulthood. I feel like I have tried so many attempts to get in shape, working out, eating right, starvation, and even diet pills (I would sneak my mom’s supply from the cupboard) and nothing stuck. Mostly because I never did the right stuff together, I either ate great but didn’t work out and was lazy or I would exercise and eat crap food, nothing ever really linked up for me. I knew I never wanted to take the easy way out, no surgery, lipo, things like that. I also never had consistency, I can blame it on many things in my life the made me this way but regardless, I have been my own person since forever and if I truly wanted to succeed then I wouldn’t let the excuses get to me.

My best success was back in 2015, I was on a Paleo diet, several of my cousins ate Paleo and it was easier for me to know what to do and talk food with them. I got excellent tips and was motivated to keep going, those cousins were also personal trainers and fitness models, so it made me want to exercise more. For the first time in my life, I was doing things right, eating properly AND working out at the same time! I was 47 pounds down and feeling the best I ever did, I kept up with this for the better part of a year. In June 2015 I graduated from college and promptly moved to LA, I was excited about this, I had money a career, a healthier lifestyle and I was ready to take on LA!

The day before my first payday (I was planning on getting a gym membership with this) an idiot kid pulled out in front of me and pretty much totaled my car! So began months of depression, financial damage, and significant damage to my overall health. I gained almost 50 pounds, my eating habits were horrible, and the most working out I did was taking Beowolf for walks because that was all I could do. I always had body issues and was not comfortable exercising outside in public, so I didn’t. Living with my grandma was no picnic at all, I love her to death, but living with her is not for the weak hearted. I solely relied on her to take me everywhere which was nowhere if she had her way so forget about dropping me off and picking me up from the gym, all my money went to saving for a car of my own, we lived with the windows closed in near total darkness, and her negativity sent me into a downward spiral.

Fast forward to March 2019

This past year has been a bit of a roller coaster, but it’s been progressively better! Finally the time has come to restart the lifestyle I started years ago but living 500 miles away from the cousins who helped me before it all boils down to me myself and I. Sick and tired of hot summers where I feel uncomfortable wearing unflattering clothes or hardly wanting to leave my house because sweating and difficulty breathing was not appealing.

Lucky for me I have always been someone that when I showed consistency with my habits I would see results. The problem usually is a length of consistency, I lose 5 pounds and treat myself with a cheat meal that leads to a cheat day that never ends.

I started researching, everything, all over again, from the science behind willpower to relearning the benefits of eating Paleo. Then I reminded myself of all the tips I had back in 2015 (I had an awesome journal with everything that helped me before, but it disappeared and now I’m re-creating it from scratch!)

My tips (and pretty much what I’m doing again):

1. Drink water– Because duh. Water is good for you for an abundance of reasons, and it plays a huge factor in the success of weight loss. Keep an aluminum bottle with you always, not something too big, something easy to carry with you and refill frequently.

  • Lubricates organs
  • Clear skin
  • Full lips
  • Hydrated hair
  • Helps you feel full and staves’ cravings
  • And those are just a few!

2. Meal prep- Yes you read this one repeatedly. This will never change unless you have the will power of a monk. Mainly this helps with keeping you from making impulse decisions, you get off work and you’re starving, it’s been a long day and you really don’t feel like cooking. Creating dishes to wash just seemed like more work when all you want is to eat and watch tv. Obviously, you pick a day to do all your cooking try to be as efficient as possible, cooking items at the same time and using similar ingredients to different variations. Example: You cook up some grilled chicken, with asparagus and brown rice. The brown rice can go a long way and cooking the asparagus with other veggies will save time. Then you can add the chicken to each meal with different seasoning or toppings. Pick several easy grab-and-go snacks that you can choose from at any given point.

Now nobody is perfect, I certainly am not, so making a list of places you are likely to go to will help you. Then within that list create a cheat sheet, items you can eat that won’t break your progress. Stick to that list the best you can. If your order comes with a drink just get water or tea unsweetened (if you need sweetener, add it yourself or just get used to drinking it plain).

3. Grocery shopping- So Paleo, in a nutshell, is eating anything not produced in a factory, if it wasn’t altered in a warehouse then you can eat it. Fresh produce, meats, nuts, and seeds. My personal rule is shop along the outside perimeter of the grocery store, staying away from the middle isles. Don’t get things in a box or can, bags or wrappers, etc. Frozen selections would be the exception of this rule as I like to buy frozen foods to save money and still eat clean.

4. Consistency– The first few days will be easy but then the temptations come, work party has a cake and candies, holiday food with delicious gravy and stuffing! Whatever the reason there will always be temptations, which will test you, the colorful sweet foods will call your name like a song. Try not to think of it as saying “No” that subconsciously messes with your mind and then suddenly by telling yourself no you find yourself wanting to say Yes even more. Eventually, you cave and reason with your mind that it’s just a small bite, or one piece or half a slice. Try telling yourself that it isn’t No forever but No, for now, use phrases like “that’s not good for me” or “I don’t need that”. Wording it differently will start to change the way you look at junk food and will boost your will power.

5. Willpower- This is one I struggled with my whole life. In my early 20’s I started admitting that I have no willpower, I said it so much it was my excuse for everything, and I started believing it. After doing research I learned that willpower is not something you are just born with, it’s a skill that you acquire. Your own mental reasoning is what strengthens your skill, maintain your resolve now for a bigger payout later. We all have willpower that is weak or strong in a different aspect. For instance, I have great willpower when it comes to certain things. For example, I love maple and chocolate covered donuts but pretty much all the others I can pass by, I don’t hate the other ones and would still eat another type but if I don’t see my faves in the box I close the box and walk away. Some girls at work go nuts over chocolate candy, but me I can live without having a piece, though white chocolate I go nuts for.

Training your mind to start looking at clean food the same way you look at junk food will turn your appreciation to eating right when you start seeing junk food for what it is, then you won’t be so eager to eat it or crave it.

6. Exercising– When I started exercising I told myself that 10 minutes a day of something is better than 0 minutes of nothing. I read an article that said squats are the ultimate full body exercise, that if you only do 1 exercise at all, let it be squats. So that’s what I did, 5 minutes of squats in the morning and at night before bed. Eventually, I included push-ups and crunches. I like doing body strengthening exercises at home for 2 reasons. 1- I can start conditioning myself with muscle memory and just doing HIIT. 2- I had a gym membership at so many gyms: 24-hour fitness, LA Fitness, Fitness 19, MMA Compound. All of which I paid every month for membership to a gym I NEVER attended, so I learned not to waste my money on things I’ll never use.

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So I started working out at home, doing what small amount I can just to remain consistent and build a habit. It takes 21 days to build a habit and so 25 was my goal, for good measure. Every day no matter what time it was I made sure I did something, anything, for 10 minutes. Once your stamina is built take the exercise a little further, increasing it each time when you’re ready. Consider it like leveling up in a video game, setting goals each time.

If you’re looking for routines to try you can find them just about anywhere, Pinterest is an amazing start it has images of charts that you can save to your phone or write out to keep track. There are many apps you can try that as well will tell you what exercises to do and will even time you or count your reps. YouTube is one of the biggest platforms for at home work out videos, from dancing routines to straight forward personal trainer. Look through some videos and find what works for you.

I created a Workout folder that saves all the videos I enjoyed so I can easily find them when I need them, I also subscribe to my favorites to get the new videos.

7. Journal– Write it out however you want. I see people who chart what they actively do each day, keeping track of everything will help you see your progress and monitor your habits. This will show you what areas you’re high and low in. For me, this is usually high in sugary foods and low in exercises which severely needed to change.

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I did my journal a little differently, I used it like it was a manual, keeping my recipes and the workout routines I find online so I can access them quickly and not need my phone. I number all my recipes and workouts so when I chart them I can just use the number and refer to them, so I don’t have to re-write it each time. Do your journal how you feel it best to keep you on track and make your life easier.

8. Weight- This is the biggest draw for someone wanting to get in shape. Even this should be routine, weigh yourself at the same time every time but don’t overdo it. There is such thing as weighing yourself too often, we plateau, we fluctuate. Ladies we bloat for a week out of every month. Life comes into play with our weight so try not to stay focused on that too much. Muscle weighs more than fat, so you can’t solely rely on 135 pounds looking the same on everyone. The shape and how you feel is what matters most, fitting into a pair of jeans or climbing a set of stairs without losing your breath.

Again give yourself a goal to strive for, taking the stairs to the floor of your building for work, training for a marathon, or finally getting to wear that bikini for the beach trip! For me, it was an outfit, a nice pair of jeans and top I’ve had for years but could never fit into. The scale just gives you a number to work for, but the clothes don’t lie.

9. Don’t give up- Okay so you did pretty good, but you cheated and skipped a day of working out, that makes you feel like you fell off and so there’s the end of your diet right? Wrong! Just because you skipped the workout today, there is always tomorrow! You cheated at breakfast so there goes your diet for the day right? Nope wrong again, there are still 5 meals left in the day to stick to it! A moment only lasts for a short while, what you make of the rest of them is what matters.

10. Finally, have fun! – Clean living can be hard at first and temptations are everywhere to throw you off, but once you get used to it you really start to love working out and eating clean. Your body was designed to thrive off a healthy lifestyle and once you get nonsense out of your system your body will tell you what it wants and crave what it truly needs.

I know this was a long post, but I hope it was helpful. I like many others out there know what it’s like to fall off the wagon many times, I cheat, skip workouts and full on just fail. It’s about getting back up and trying better the day.

5 amazing DIY projects you can do with things you already have in your home!

Hey there thanks for checking out my page. As I said in earlier posts I have a wide variety of interests. Traveling, though is my passion, it’s not the only thing I love doing. I still have a home base and love doing things to liven up the place. Including DIY projects and refurbishing!

Today I’m going to share with you 5 awesome DIY ideas you can try at home with items you already have laying around your house!

Frames:

I got a large set of frames for 8×10 photos from work as they were cleaning out their shed and found a bunch of old brown frames that were used as displays back in the day. To be honest they weren’t horribly ugly, just really outdated, but nonetheless, I knew I could use them. Not to mention they were offered to a group of us and everyone said the same thing, “they won’t match what I have at home”.

First and foremost, not all frames need to be identical is pattern or shape or design, in fact, it’s more decorative to have some that look a little different or vary in size. Also using colors like Black, Grey and White are considered “Timeless” which means they can practically match any color scheme and decor in any era of style or fashion. (Yes I took some interior design classes, but I’m not an interior designer, although I’m sure I can make a business of it.)

So I took them home and cleaned them, keeping the glass separate I placed them all on some newspaper evenly then I took some black spray paint and… voila!

This took maybe an entire can of semigloss black Rustoleum spray paint I got for $3 at Home Depot. The frames were, well, FREE. Total time it took was about 10-15 minutes! If you don’t have frames from work like I did, then you can find cheap ones at the Goodwill or Thrift store or even Facebook marketplace. Another place to go would be Craigslist, they may even be free because people just want to get rid of them and the personal value of framed pictures has decreased though not gone out of style. Remember, not all frames need to match.

P.S I thought I had the before picture of the frames on my phone but I cannot find them, I know I sent the before and after to someone I just have to figure that out. Once I find it I will update this post but in the meantime, the “before” photo will be of one remaining 12×12 set of 3 that I have yet to paint. The color of the frame is the same as the ones I already painted.

Removing labels from jars:

Ok so this is more of a tip than DIY project, but the results of removing the labels can lead you to so many various ideas! I don’t know about you, but I love Mason jars as décor, really as anything. I use them for my smoothies, storing food, everything. Since I use a lot of sauces in my cooking I end up with a bunch of the washed-out jars under the sink, my mom calls me a hoarder but really I don’t have that many. They just pile up because I was too lazy to take the labels off when I was not yet sure what I was going to do with them.

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How I remove the labels-

To remove the labels, I filled my sink with hot water and dish soap and let them soak. You can do it for however long your patience allows, I let it soak overnight for 1 batch and the 2nd batch I was so busy it soaked for 2 days. The 2-day batch was better, the labels practically slid off as I wiped. Pulling them out of the water and letting them dry, allows the adhesive to dry and re-adhere, making it harder and you must scrub. So keep them submerged in water and pull them out one at a time to remove labels. Once all the labels were off I gave them all one last scrub with soap to get any remaining residue off.

*I did the exact same thing for old candle jars and even the Starbucks cold coffee bottles that look like old milk bottles, it works great for all of them, though the Starbucks bottles needed some careful “peeling” as that label is like a plastic*

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Once they are clean and dry you are free to do whatever you want with them!

Jar lids: I had a friend ask me about the lids of pickle jars, she was having trouble getting the smell of vinegar off them. She told me she heard of baking soda and water but hadn’t tried it yet. I have not had any issues with the smell of vinegar on lids, however, whenever I empty a pickle jar I usually soak the inside with hot water and again dish soap and shake it really well until it suds on the inside and then making sure the lid is secure, I tilt it over and let it soak overnight upside down. In the morning when I dump the jar, the whole thing is clean and smells like soap.

Wine bottle storage:

I love wine, Stella is my favorite just because it’s easier going down, but I have a serious collection of bottles that are waiting to be put to good use. However, recently I started using clear ones as storage for my grains. My rice comes in bags and if I pick it up wrong it spills and there goes my rice and pasta.

I was looking for storage containers that would look nice in my up-and-coming kitchen but really don’t have the money to go out and buy special grain containers no matter how cute they were. I was starting to get desperate as keeping boxes and bags was not practical as I live in the country and the occasional rodent ventures in for a snack (don’t worry I have a cat who’s an excellent ratter). In my desperation to resolve my problem while not breaking the bank I started thinking outside the box, what do I have in my house that can keep critters out, look nice on my counters and hold a good amount of grain. What also do I have that would match with each other and look sort of uniform without being all over the place? I started with jars, but the sizes I had didn’t hold much and they were all different and looked funky, I had to pick which grain to put where because I had more of others and after I poured I discovered I still had leftover that needed to go in a Ziploc. No. That won’t work.

So I looked around the house and that’s when I saw them, my wine bottles, the clear one’s front, and center and luckily for me, I had several of the same brands! So I took them and rinsed them out one more time and let them dry.

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Then I poured my grains in. There was plenty of space for a full bag of rice. I also opened a box of Quinoa and poured the remainder of oatmeal in the other 2. In the glass bottles, they looked great! Unfortunately, I couldn’t find the baggie of cork that I was collecting so, for now, I am using rolled up paper towel until I can get some or find the ones I had. They are super easy to pour, whether I’m just pouring into a bowl or measuring out what I need and any extra can just be funneled back into the bottle! When corked my grains will remain fresh and its beautiful décor considering my style is rustic… wine country. I even told my mom about this, and showed her pictures, she loved the idea and is now doing this as well. She says she gets loads of compliments from her friends on how decorative it is and the creative idea.

Epsom salt dispenser:

So after you’ve done all these DIY projects it would be excellent to sit in a nice bath and soak all that hard work and creative energy away! You go to your bathroom and turn on the hot water to fill the tub, while that’s going you get your candles lit and set the ambiance for a relaxing bath. Then you go to get your Epsom or bath salts, you reach under the sink and grab the bag. Whoops, looks like you forgot to close it last time and the salts spill everywhere, or perhaps it’s been so long that you’ve used them (out of sight out of mind) that the bag has dust or holes in it. For whatever reason the bag is so not attractive, if only there was a cute container to put them in that would look decorative on your bathroom counter to remind you to use them.

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Well, there is a very inexpensive way to do this. I bought a bottle of water CORE water, they started making the smaller 16oz bottles and I grabbed one at a gas station. I like these bottles because of the design but I don’t get them frequently. I mostly use the aluminum bottles, you know to save the environment and all, but those only work when you have water in them. I had the bottle sitting around my house as I would one day use it.

I was cleaning my bathroom recently and I came across 2 bags of Epsom salts that were dusty and shoved all the way to the back of the cabinet, I can’t stand that, I don’t like things gathering dust especially under a cabinet. So I walked around the house looking for something that would work for this and behold! The CORE bottle sitting on my kitchen sink. It was perfect! It even had a lid to measure out how much to use and it was in the same color scheme as my bathroom, blue! It was a done deal.

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I cut off the label carefully and funneled the salt into the bottle, tightened the lid and boom! I want to get a nice label maker so I can label what it is, but right now, nobody takes baths in my house and I know what’s inside so it’s alright.

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This project took me a whole 5 minutes to do and I’ve used it twice since doing this. It sits right next to a cute bath bomb holder that was also a super easy DIY project!

 

Bath bomb jar:

This is probably the easiest of them all. Every once in a while I find myself at Dollar Tree, needing something for some project I’m working on. For some reason, I wanted a vase for Thanksgiving décor, and I found this simple yet elegant design. I have 3 just like it in my house, all used for various things. This item only cost me $1.08 when I bought it several years ago (this item is a staple at Dollar Tree so you can find one like it just about anywhere and any time of year).

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For the lid- I had several empty Yankee candles and a few Main Stays candles from Walmart, the large $5 candles they always have there. Turns out the MainStays lid fits perfectly into the top of the vase, you can also cut off the rubber suction ring carefully from the lid and it makes a glass on glass piece. It’s very nice for any decoration and I found similar items at Micheal’s, Walmart, and various stores for over $10!

Since I had the lids leftover from candles I burned out last year, it really didn’t cost me anything to do this. In total it cost $6 but I bought both the vase and candles at a previous time for other projects, so if you think about it, they already paid for themselves by the time I decided to do this. It was just things I had around the house that now look like I spent good money to make my bathroom look fancy!

There you go, 5 easy DIY ideas that can make your home look like a million bucks for the low price of practically nothing. Most of these items I had already bought a long time before I did these projects, though I spent some money on them previously, they cost nothing to did this now. I hope you guys enjoyed this, please comment, like and share and let me know if there are any questions or ideas you would like me to try.

Thank you and have fun doing it yourself!

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