25 Things I’ve Learned in 25 Years

I’ve had a handful of people tell me that I’m young so I can’t possibly know anything about life. Given they were mostly old, crazy people… But guess what Granny?! You’re wrong. I’ve learned a lot in my 25 years on this beautiful planet. Obviously I don’t know everything. Not even close. But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have a pretty okay look on how my life is. So here I am to share with you the top 25 things I’ve learned in 25 years.

1. Be you and be happy with it!
Out of any of these, learn from this one. I used to spend so much time and energy trying to fit in and do what everyone else wanted me to do and that’s not the way to live. I have a lot that fits into this category that I’ll share below, but the main thing I want you to take away from this one is that if you’re not you, you won’t be truly happy. Love yourself for who you are. And if you don’t, only you can change that.

2. Life is about experiences.
Both the good and bad will build you. Most of my strength has come from my hardest times, my most draining moments.

3. Dogs are way more than “just pets”.
I should say all pets, but for my life, my dog has been a real influencer in learning this lesson. Dogs are love, and home, and a best friend, and an adventure buddy. They can help you connect with the world more, and yourself, and build who you are. A lot of psychological mumbo jumbo can be put to owning, caring for, and adventuring with a dog, but I’ll just leave it at reminding you that the saying “man’s best friend” was thought up for a good reason.

4. Only you can live your life.
Be true to yourself! Don’t live in a way others want you to if it’s not what you want as well. You don’t have to go to 8 years of school, or have a high paying job, or be a doctor, or play a sport, or be religious, or anything unless it’s what you want. Maybe you want to do all of those things and everyone is telling you that you can’t. Do it anyway. Just live your life the way you want to.

5. It doesn’t matter what other people think of you. 
It really doesn’t. And the less you care about what others think, the happier you will be. You definitely, DEFINITELY can’t please everyone. So stop trying to.

6. A wise woman once told me, “It doesn’t matter the color of your skin, if you’re rich or poor or skinny or fat or Christian or Atheist… as long as you are a good person, you are living life right.” And that was one of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever been given.

7. Most of the time things won’t actually go as planned. And that’s totally okay. Improvise. Don’t think your life has to be scripted.

8. Sometimes a girl just needs her parents.
Whether it’s real heartache, or helping me mend my hand after it’s been slammed in a car door, my parents have my back. And I love them. I learned this lesson later than I would have liked, but it’s totally cool to need your parents and spend time with them. Just remember, time trickles away quicker than we realize and you never know how much of it you have left.

9. Climb that damn mountain and take that damn vacation.
Now I won’t throw myself into excruciating debt to travel the world like some people do, but it’s crucial to take vacations. Seeing new places and experiencing new things truly opens your eyes. You don’t even know how closed they are until you get out there with an open mind and a thirsty heart. And definitely put experiences before items.

10. It is perfectly okay to fail. 
That means you tried. And trying, putting yourself out there, is what I think it’s really about.

11. Never let your pride get the better of you. 
Don’t be so close minded. I promise you’re not always right.

12. The best way to be happy is to be grateful.
Always focus on what you have, rather than what you are without. Positive thoughts attract positive things.

13. Don’t live life with regrets. 
I always get people who roll their eyes at me when I say this, but I’m serious. What good does it do to dwell on what you could have or should have done or not done? Everything you go through, and the way you handle it, shapes you to be who you are. Learn from your mistakes and grow, don’t wallow on the past.

14. Life is happening right now! 
And it’s not waiting for you. So LIVE IT!

15. Money isn’t everything, but it can honestly help.
I grew up learning how to handle my finances and build my credit and it has helped a lot in my adult life. I don’t live a financially wealthy life, and I’m still happy, so don’t put money over everything else. But don’t forget it’s also a big part of the world we live in.

16. Fear and worry cause disillusion.
Nothing is ever as bad as our minds create it to be. I love the quote from Fantastic Beasts that says, “My philosophy is that worrying means you suffer twice”, because that is truer than true. It’s easier said than done, but try not to worry. It does more harm than good and things are going to happen the way they happen anyway.

17. #sorrynotsorry
Stop apologizing for everything! In fact, don’t apologize for most things. The only time you should give an apology is if you’re truly sorry. “I’m sorry” is overused and has lost a lot of it’s meaning.

18. “Just remember, whoever is trying to bring you down is already below you”. 
There are so many negative people in this world that live their lives just to bring you down. And I seriously believe that. I don’t know why, but these people feed off of belittling others and going out of their way for arguments. There are so many people out there that just have this negative look on life and LOVE to complain. It’s discouraging, but don’t listen to these people.

19. It’s not worth holding on to grudges and hate.
I feel like I’m quoting a lot here, but again, I love the saying, “Holding on to anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die”. I’ve personally found this to be too true. And I’ve had a refresher in this lesson pretty recently. Anger and hate can tear you up and play serious mind games and none of that is worth it. Let it go. Move on.

20. Society is extremely fickle.
Don’t go off of what they say, it’ll change soon anyway.

21. The more followers you have, the more haters you have.
That’s just the way it is. Refer back to number 5 on this list and then move on 😉

22. Take pictures and write moments down.
You’ll want to remember them. Cherish the little moments along with the big. 

23. There are a lot more lessons than what you can learn from books and classrooms.
Don’t think that just because you have a degree or have taken a lot of classes that you’re some genius know-it-all. There are many ways to gain knowledge and my favorite way is from experiences. It’s best to have a healthy mix of types of knowledge. In bettering myself, I work on my book smarts and street smarts.

24. Get to know your body and be comfortable with it.
Both inside and out.

25. Last, but definitely not least, treat all people like people.
Encourage others instead of putting them down. Their achievements don’t increase your failures. It’s not one or the other.
Be kind to both strangers and those you know. A smile goes a long way.
I’m going to leave you with one last quote from the great Sirius Black (or J.K Rowling), “If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals”.
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Miranda

Adventuring As A Responsible Dog Owner

As dog owners we are obligated to add a little extra work to going out in public with our pups. So here are the important basics on being a responsible dog owner when going outside with your dog:

1. Respect other’s space. 
This is a huge one. It doesn’t matter if your dog is friendly, you never know how others are towards dogs. Don’t just let your dog run up to other people or pets and assume it’s fine by saying, “it’s okay; they’re friendly”. That’s almost like me walking into your house, sitting on your couch, and saying “oh, don’t worry, I’m friendly” …not going to make you feel better about me being there. The person your dog is approaching may (for some crazy reason) not like dogs, or maybe the dog they are with isn’t friendly towards others. You never know the situation!

2. Pick up your dog’s poop!
Like seriously, just do it. There are poop bag holders you can clip on your pack, their pack, their leash, or that you can stuff in your pocket. There’s not much of an excuse for you hitting a trail and leaving your dog’s poop in the middle of it. Also, TAKE YOUR POOP BAGS WITH YOU! Don’t just leave them there.

3. Let people have the right-of-way on the trails.
Especially families and runners. Unless they offer you the path, just pull your dog to the side if you see or hear them coming.

4. Don’t take your dog places they aren’t allowed. 
I know, it’s hard, we want our dogs to go everywhere with us. And sometimes we don’t know we brought them into a place they aren’t allowed. But if you take your dog somewhere they aren’t supposed to be, that’s what makes dog rules even tighter and ruins it for everyone else. My rule is if my dog can’t go, it’s not something we’re doing.
Do the research to know that where you are taking your dog allows it, and see if there are regulations for them. It also doesn’t hurt to ask a park attendant or ranger if you’re visiting a national or state park.

5. Don’t let your dog just do whatever they want.
I’m a total push over for my dog, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to let him run around like he owns the place. Don’t let your dog bark for hours on end or get into people’s things. Just be respectful. Your dog is your responsibility and it’s solely up to you to make sure they behave well in public.

There are a lot of little things that we should take into consideration when adventuring with our dogs, but these are the main ones I think about when we are out on the trails. But just because we need to be a little more mindful when taking our dogs into public, doesn’t mean we still can’t have fun! So grab your pups and head outside!

Miranda + Loki

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Wilderdog Kibble Doggy Bag review

I’ve been looking for an actual bag to keep my dog’s food in when we travel and camp instead of plastic gallon bags because we’ve been working towards cutting down on using plastic. Although very sturdy, I was skeptical this bag would be the answer to my searches. Boy, was I wrong. If you’re in the same boat I was and looking for a travel bag for your dog’s food, let me tell you why I’ll forever use this one.

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1. I can’t smell anything through it.
One of the biggest reasons I hate using plastic bags to store their food is because I can smell the food through it. I would even double up on the bags to try and help, which it didn’t, and I felt more wasteful. I feed these dogs salmon kibble and it definitely smells like salmon so it’s not something I want my car or backpack smelling like. I was super surprised, and happy, that I could not smell a thing through the bag. Now I’m not saying this bag is safe to just leave out in the middle of bear country, but it definitely masks any smell to my nose.

2. It’s sturdy!
Like I mentioned before, this bag is sturdy! It got thrown all around the desert and stayed the same, plus it was super easy to dust off and keep clean… IN THE DESERT! If you’ve been, you know everything gets dirty there. And as a bonus, we found out it also seems to be water resistant (after accidently spilling the water bowl on it).

3. It closes and compacts nicely.
If you don’t need to use the whole bag, just roll it down and clip at the top of the food and you are only using the space you need. It seals nicely to keep the food and stays where you clipped it. And it has a strap you are able to use to carry it, clip it to a bag, or clip the bowls to it. (We also love the bowls, they compact well and are sturdy like the bag.)

4. It comes with a measuring cup.
This wasn’t a make or break for us, but definitely a bonus. We do track how much we feed our dogs so it was super handy to have this come with the bag.

This review is not sponsored and was not asked for. I was sent the bag, but was not asked for a review in return. This is just me wanting to share how I feel about something I’d been looking for in case someone is in the same spot I was. I didn’t think I would love this bag, but that’s the way it ended up. Although this is not a sponsored review, I do have a coupon code if you would like to check out this bag, their bowls, or anything else at wilderdog.com
Just use “mirandashea” at checkout.

Thanks for reading! And click the link below if you want to check it out for yourself.

Doggie Bag

 

 

 

DIY Paw Print Ornaments

Every December we look for fun Christmas dates and activities. It’s always a bonus when we can incorporate the dogs into whatever we’re doing. Here I’m going to walk you through how we did our DIY paw print ornaments so maybe you can make some too! 🙂

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What you’ll need:

1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup salt
1 cup flour
Paint
Paint brushes
Ribbon
Parchment paper
Optional: Glitter, sharpie, and a straw to make your ribbon hole.

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What to do:

  1. Preheat oven to 225 F.
    In a bowl, mix together the hot water, salt, and flour. Kneed it with your hands until it forms a ball. Start off with the cup of flour, but if it’s too sticky feel free to add some more flour as you form the ball.
  2. Roll out the dough until it is between 1/4 and 1/2 inch thick.
  3. You can keep your dough together or section it into pieces which I find easier to get your dog’s print. Wipe off your dog’s paw and then gently press it into the center of your dough to make the paw imprint. Since most dog’s don’t like their paws being touched like this, use treats as a bribe 😉
    Get a cup or small bowl to cut the ornament circle with your dog’s print in the middle. Use a straw or some other small object to create a hole for the ribbon.

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  4. Carefully transfer the circles to your baking sheet lined with parchment paper. We got our dog prints with the dough already on the parchment, so for the ones we didn’t feel like we could safely pull off, we just cut around.
    Bake for 2-3 hours until they are solid and dried out.
  5. Once they are done and have completely cooled, break out the paint! This is where you can get creative and do whatever you want. Decorate your paw print ornament and then set aside to dry. When dry, tie a ribbon through the hole. We also wrote our dog’s names and the year on the ornaments right before hanging.

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  6. Hang your ornament and admire your work! Just remember, even though these are salty, they are technically edible. Keep them high enough so your dogs can’t get them.
    Now it’s time for us to decorate the rest of the tree…

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    Hope you have as much fun as we did!
    Thanks for reading,

         Miranda + Loki

Solo Adventuring as a Woman

We live in a world that tells us things that women are not supposed to do. Now I’m not going to get into the “men vs women rights”, but one thing we’re definitely told we shouldn’t do is adventure outside alone. I could develop deeper into it and tell you that a lot of that belief stems from the concept that women are more defenseless than men, but we’re not going to get into that either. I’m just here to tell you that you can go against the grain and adventure outside without a man or a group. Here are a few simple tips to taking a solo adventure:

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The first thing you need to do is do your research!
Know the animals you may encounter and how to interact with them. I know all sensible thought goes out the window if you’re startled by big wildlife like a moose or bear, but try to keep a calm head and remember what you learned.
Under this category we will also place know your trail! Look into the area you’ll be going. Research the trailhead and destination(s). Know your trail and stick to it. If you’re going on a trail that isn’t clearly marked or deep in the backcountry, bring any navigation tools you need.

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Be prepared!
Do a checklist before you leave and make sure you have what you need. I strongly advise bringing something to protect yourself with. I always hike with a knife, and outside of the summer I also carry pepper spray. I have a few out of state friends who hike with firearms, but if you are qualified to conceal a gun, you still need to know if the area you’re hiking in allows you to carry. If you’re hiking in bear country, you can consider packing bear spray. I hike in bear country with black bears only and choose not to, but that’s just a personal choice. If you’re hiking in grizzly territory, I’m going to strongly advise you from solo hiking there at all. I’m not going to teach a bear class, but I have taken one, and it’s just not a good idea to solo hike where a grizzly could be, no matter your gender.

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Use common sense.
Make sure you tell people close to you exactly where you’ll be and around what time you’ll be expected back, just in case. But then I’m also going to go the opposite direction and strongly advise you to not advertise your very location to people you aren’t super close with. Don’t post on social media “hey I’m going on a hike/camp out alone at this exact location!” Chances are nothing is going to happen to you, but you also don’t know who is reading your stuff. You could have some super crazy sadistic person following your every move and you just gave them what they were looking for. Be smart about the information you share and whom you share it with.
A lot of things can be put under these three words of advice, but I’m not going to cover every single one of them. Like I’m not going to tell you to not wrap yourself in a huge piece of meat and go dancing through the woods alone, because that’s just a no brainer. And gross. Just use common sense!

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Tune into those senses. 
Now you may have noticed that my dog is in all of my “solo hiking” pictures, because duh, I bring him on every hike. So if you solo hike with your dog, that usually puts you at an advantage than ladies who are 100% on their own. I say usually because I’ve met a couple dogs that could really be the downfall of their human in the outdoors, but I digress.
If you have a dog, and we’ll just say a dog like mine, then you have the advantage of tuning into your dog’s senses. They can usually tell you more of what’s going on than you can see at first. When my dog senses an “unwelcome” visitor, he perks his ears and focuses on the direction he heard them. If his thoughts are confirmed, he lets out a low “warning” growl. If somebody comes too close to me, which in this case I’m already aware of the potential danger, he will bark and snarl. My beautiful boy is very protective of his mama.
But again, I digress. The point is, let your senses go hand in hand with your dog. If you are not with a dog, let your senses speak to you. Pay attention to nature. The more you go outdoors the more you may be able to tell the difference in welcome and unwelcome silences. This is where you can really allow yourself to be “one with nature”, which is a beautiful feeling.

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If you want to start going on a few solo hikes, I recommend your first being a trail you already know. You’ll probably be the most scared your first time, so somewhere familiar can help a lot with that. Just be confident in yourself, your abilities, and the work you’ve put in to preparing yourself for the trail. Now get out there and explore more!

Thanks for reading!
Miranda + Loki

 

Roadtripping With Your Dog

Taking your dog on a roadtrip is definitely fun, but it does take a little extra work. I’ve written something like this before, but I decided to do a refresher. Here are our top tips when roadtripping with your dog:

  1. Don’t forget about safety!
    When taking your dog on the road, you need to think about their safety. It’s up to you to decide the best way to protect your dog, but for us, we use a car harness. Remember that accidents definitely happen and it’s super important to keep your dog’s safety in mind.seatbelt
  2. Do your homework.
    Make sure where you’re going is dog friendly. Trails, campgrounds, hotels… You need to research wherever you are going to know if your dog is even allowed. Check that your campsite allows pets and if the trail you’re hiking is fido friendly. If you’re booking a hotel room, most places have rooms specific for dogs. You need to make sure the hotel is aware you are bringing a dog so they can get you in a dog friendly room to avoid any problems at check-in or a hefty “undisclosed dog fee” that most places charge.hotelroom
  3. Keep your dog comfortable.
    I know all circumstances are different, but try your best at this one. Try to keep your dog hydrated. Give them a place to lie down. And when it comes to food, avoid feeding them at least 30 minutes before a car ride. A lot of dogs have a bit of anxiety when on the road (even if it is just minor), so feeding them right before you leave could really upset their stomach.
    If they are on a feeding schedule, try to stick as close to it as possible while working with your plans.
    It’s super handy to know how your dog handles car rides and the signs they give. Some people result to using a calming aid when taking a roadtrip with their dog.
    Also think about keeping their favorite toy with them. It may seem silly to some, but little comforts can go a long way.img_4134
  4. Bring a first aid kit.
    I learned the hard way how important a dog first aid kit is. Don’t underestimate the importance of them!
    I have 2 dog first aid kits. A small one that goes in my pack and a bigger one that stays in my vehicle.
    The small kit consists of the very essentials: tweezers for ticks, dog aspirin, Benadryl (talk to your vet about this one), gauze, vet tape, and a wound care spray.
    The car kit has all of this as well, plus a handful of extras. Make sure the things you are using in your kit are made for dogs or are safe for dogs.firstaid
  5. Let your dog have fun.
    Don’t jam-pack your days with so much that you’re constantly on the move. Let your dog get out to stretch their legs and smell the smells. I believe dogs enjoy the views just as much as we do, if not more 😉
    So get out and have fun with your furry best friend!IMG_9577
    Miranda + Loki

Being Your Dog’s Best Friend

Loving your dog is great, but building a strong bond with them is so much better! Loki is my best friend and I encourage you to make your dog your’s as well. Here are some tips you can use to help become best buds with your doggo:

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Be loving. For us, this means lots of hugs and cuddles. There are many dogs that don’t like that though, so you could go with speaking kindly to them and ear or belly scratches. They take simple things as big gestures. Giving your dog a body rub shows them your attention, which is huge. And yes, talking to your pup is highly encouraged. Your dog is not just a dog, they are family.

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Be their companion. Spend time with your dog! Don’t always go out and do stuff while leaving your dog locked up or home alone. It drives me absolutely crazy when someone gets a dog and then barely acknowledges their existence.
One of the biggest bonding moments I have with my pup is spending time in the outdoors. Playing in the wild together really strengthens our connection.
Also, when I’m on the couch reading, I scratch my mutt’s fluff butt with my foot. That action right there is so simple, but speaks volumes to him.

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Be a safe haven. Don’t push your dog too far; build an environment that makes them feel cared for. Pay attention to your dog’s body language and study it in all situations so you can have a better read on how they’re feeling. This will help you react appropriately and help them back into their comfort zone if needed.
When disciplining Loki, I go with the “firm, but loving” technique. Instead of anger, I use disappointment. When he does something wrong, in a strong voice I ask him why he would do that. I show disappointment in him, like placing my hands on my hips and making eye contact while I ask him why and he goes crazy with guilt.
Never beat your dog. You hit them, I hit you.
I kid. But seriously.

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Be encouraging. Give your dog lots of praise and be super over enthusiastic about it. I’m talking about if he sits when asked, pretend he just saved the world. The tone in your voice usually says a lot more to a dog than the words themselves.
Show them you are happy to be in their company.

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Building a strong bond with my dog is honestly one of the best things I’ve done. It makes all of our adventures so much better. It even makes our hanging-around-the-house moments so much better too.
Treat your dog like a family member and a best friend, and get to spending more time with them!

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Miranda + Loki