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Do what makes you feel good in 2018

Saturday, December 30, 2017

So here we are, it's the last weekend of 2017, holiday vacations are behind us and like many of you I have become anxious about what the future entails. Each year I use the final days of December to re-organize my planner, set new goals and review business, and personal achievement plans. This year, I am adding one more crucial task to the list, treat myself to a happy New Year, and so should you.
This morning I listened to Joshua Johnson on 1A:NPR discuss the top political headlines of 2017 and I began to reflect on the triumphs, disasters, accomplishments and failures of the year. I think we can all agree it's been a year of anxiety-provoking headlines no matter what side of the debates you're on. However, now is the time to reflect, strategize and create permenace of the good that can be accomplished in 365 days. The most important part of the process which many people overlook, myself included, is to be kind to yourself.
Here is my guide to creating a permanence of happiness and positivity in 2018.
Be Present!
As an entrepreneur, daughter, friend, wife and sister, I've learned that the most valuable gift in life is time -- time with family, time to create, time for a friend in need, time for self-reflection, time for pleasure, time to relax...
What I've also learned is that multi-tasking is a myth and that no two things can occupy the same space and receive full attention.
Point is - when you decide to give something or someone your time, space, energy and attention; embrace the moment completely. Allow yourself the experience of focusing only on what's in front of you. This goal has been on my list for several years now and I don't think it can ever be fully achieved but it makes a great practice. So here we go again, cheers to being grateful moment to moment, slowing down, paying attention and finishing one task before moving on to the next.
Get Good Sleep 
My husband and I spent this holiday season apart. I went home for Thanksgiving and he went home for Christmas. I felt lonely the first few days we were away from one another so I read a book and dozzed off to bed. I got 8+ hours of sleep on those nights, a record for me! What I noticed from just a few days of adequate sleep is how much better I felt the next morning. I didn't spend as much time convincing myself to get out of bed and my overall attitude towards the day was positive. I had time to cook breakfast, take a longer run with the dogs and efficiently plan my day; unlike days when I'm sleep deprived and every task seems overwhelming.
As a supportive goal to getting good sleep I'll add that it's equally as important to be on time. "Success is when preparation meets opportunity." Note to self: Show up for yourself this year, on time and in the right state of mind.
Yoga, Meditation, repeat.
Yoga and meditation are great approaches for training the mind and body to communicate efficiently. The term yoga means union and I'm a firm believer that yoga offers up a way for us to tap into our true selves and allows us to be aware and available for the important things and people in our lives.
From the practice, we can learn how to transform our mind from negative to positive, from disturbed to peaceful, from unhappy to happy.
Need an instructor? I've been practicing yoga for two years under the instruction of Adriene Mishler. Shes an actress, yoga teacher and entrepreneur from Austin, Texas. I follow her monthly yoga challenges via her blog and YouTube channel. Give her a try!
Clean your space
I'm just going to be completely honest with you, I've lost a lot of friends this year. It sucks to outgrow friendships, family members, lovers.... but it's a necessary part of life that leverages you to grow into who you're meant to be. "People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime." Note to self: accept them and treasure them for however long they were meant to be part of your life. And when they are gone, be thankful for the lessons you received. Send love, light and move forward.
Equally as important, know when to let things and people go. Change is the only constant so declutter and make space for new opportunities. Somethings are harder to let go of. My philosophy is to measure everything in terms of positive and negative energy. For example, if you have someone who constantly calls you and complains about their day; you get off the phone feeling drained and depleted of energy for yourself, it's negative energy, get away from it. Don't be distracted by the attachment you have to that person. I'm sure we can all think of the ex we wasted to much time trying to make it work.
Think about the people in your life. If they're positive they stay. If they're negative create distance between them.
This is also a good time to purge materialistic things that provide no function or value to your life. Get rid of the fidget spinner and get a journal. You get where I'm going with this. Quality over quantity is the goal.
Love on your babies (fur-mama or little humans)
I'm the proud furmama of two cats and two dogs, and I cannot tell you enough, they save me on a daily basis. Sometimes they're a headache - throwing up at 3 a.m from eating something they shouldn't had on our walks, cutting their paws on the trails resulting in pricey vet bills, chewing the buttons of my favorite jeans, the list goes on....
But they also love me unconditionally. They cuddle with me when I'm sick, defend me from wildlife on the trails, humor me just by being their crazy selves. So hold your babies tighter this year. After all, you're always a rockstar in their eyes.

Happy New Year! Let's celebrate 2018 and the 365 new opportunities that comes with it. Sending lots of love 

Monetize your passion

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Colorado, USA



I'm an entrepreneur. I own an outdoor brand and a dog walking company, both based in Colorado. The most frequently asked question I get is, "How did you do it? Do you have another 'real' job?"


I don't.

For more than a year now, my husband and I have made a living generating our own income. It's a lot of work but rewarding. This past year, I've been sharing what I've learned from growing our businesses and helping other people start their passion brands.


When Johnny and I first started out I was fearful that I'd made a mistake in leaving my salary job to pursue my passions. What I've learned now from the life I've created for myself is that you must be deliberate in every action you take. My strategy is to make lots of list and set measurable goals. I've compiled links and tips that I will share with you in this post that should help you get started. What I've noticed about other entrepreneurs is that they want to work for themselves but are overwhelmed with the amount of time and money it takes to start. Don’t forget, you are your most important investment.


Keep in mind that becoming an entrepreneur was one of the most challenging roles I ever transition into; nothing in life worth having comes easy. Persistence is key! Without further ado, grab a notebook and let's get started.


Identifying your strengths –
Before starting this exercise take a few deep breaths. If there is anything that is making you anxious or stressed, let it go. Create a space where you can be kind to yourself and truly tap into what it is you want from life. Do not allow self-doubt to interfere in this process. This is YOU time.


Next, make a list of things you enjoy creating or doing. Do people come to you for advice? i.e. party planning, hiking spots, travel tips, gardening advice, photography, dog behavior, etc.
Ask yourself:


  • Could you potentially charge money to do these things?
  • Would you enjoy providing this service or good(s)?
  • Do you have skills or knowledge that could give you leverage in a specific industry?
  • How can your network of friends and family help?
Maybe you’ve answered a few of these questions. Maybe you've thought of starting your own business before but fear got in the way. If this is true for you, start surrounding yourself with positive mantras and affirmations; save them on your phone, write them in your planner and read them daily. Working for yourself is not easy. You are responsible for every aspect of the brand you build. With that said, you are also the only one capable of holding yourself back and forfeiting your dreams. Don't quit on yourself!


Industry Research –
(Goal: set your prices)


When we started building our dog walking company we had no idea what people would pay us to walk their dogs. We didn't want to low-ball the market or price ourselves out of the market. Start a list of specific questions you have including supplies, skill requirements and competitors rates.
Ask yourself:


  • Do I know anyone who does this for a living? (check for Youtubers that are experts in this field/industry)
Contact your network of family and friends to see if they can connect you to someone in the industry. Find someone that could mentor you and answer specific questions that you have. Additionally, you will have to conduct your own research.  
Once you've identified the right prices for your location factor in your expenses. This will help you create monthly goals and determine how many products you need to sell or how many clients you need to have in order to support your business and lifestyle.


Identifying niche' –
Before diving into your target market and demographics. I must caution you, DO NOT start comparing yourself to other people and big brands. Instead, study them and learn from them. Go to their Instagram and Facebook pages, see who's liking their photos, sharing their content and following their brand. Are there any similarities? Are they dog lovers, outdoor enthusiast, DIYers, etc?  


Create a list of people based on interest who would be potential buyers of your services or product (s). Consider collaborations, are there established brands you'd like to work with? What will you sell or provide?  If you are pursuing a freelance career -- writing, photography, designing, consulting, etc.:


• identify what niche of the industry you would like to occupy.
• make a list of 5 brands you would like to work with.
• build a portfolio of work that is consistent with their brand and the industry you desire to work in.


Building Brand --
Once you've decided on your niche and industry, it's time to distinguish yourself from the rest. Let's say your industry is fashion. It can be discouraging to see so many fashion bloggers, but if that's what you want to do create a space that is uniquely yours. Believe in yourself, there is room for you.


In this portion of our exercise we are going to focus on standing out from the rest. Your goal here is to decide on brand colors, themes and target market. (Pinterest is a great tool to create a vision board and organize your thoughts. Start a private board that you can use to focus your brand. You want to walk people through your work. Help them connect the dots and know exactly what you offer or sell. With that said, be consistent in the type of content you share and produce.


When we started Roll Dog Survival, we wanted to create a brand that catered to people who enjoy hiking and camping with their dogs. In order to convey this message we started creating content that showed the bond between people and their adventure pups. Everything we do: blog post, social media images, meetups, etc., reinforces that message and provides solutions and tips for people who also enjoy these activities. Pro Tip: Don't try to be something you're not. No one expects you to be an expert right away. Be honest with yourself and your following about where you are and what you can offer. Share tips and advice based on your own research and experiences.


Set your intent for this next journey. True freedom is enjoying your life. Don't let your passion become "just work" enjoy the climb!


Don't be afraid to promote yourself. You're creating greatness, share it!

If you have questions please comment below or email namasteoutdoors@gmail.com.

Disaster Preparedness: Checklist for Pets

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

In wake of recent hurricanes, wildfires and earthquakes, we are reminded of the effects that natural disasters can have on families; which includes our animals.
In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reported an approximate 11,500 cats and dogs to have been displaced by the category 5 major hurricane.


So ask yourself this question, if a natural disaster strikes your hometown, what will happen to your pet(s)? Have you included pets in your disaster plan? Don’t wait until it’s too late. In this post, we’ll help you prepare a disaster kit for your K9 companions. Keep reading…

Disaster Preparedness:
CHECKLIST FOR PETS


  • Food. At least a three day supply in an airtight, waterproof container.
  • Water. At least three days of water specifically for your pets.
  • Medicines and medical records. We suggest keeping at least a 2 weeks medication supply.
  • Important documents. Registration information, adoption papers and vaccination documents. Talk to your veterinarian about microchipping and enrolling your pet in a recovery database.
  • First aid kit. Cotton bandage rolls, bandage tape and scissors; antibiotic ointment; flea and tick prevention; latex gloves, betadine, sugar, isopropyl alcohol and saline solution.
  • Collar or harness with ID tag, rabies tag and a leash. Click here for Survival Collars and bracelets. Includes fire starter, compass, whistle and emergency knife.
  • Crate or pet carrier. Have a sturdy, safe crate or carrier in case you need to evacuate. The carrier should be large enough for your pet to stand, turn around and lie down.
  • Sanitation. Pet litter and litter box if appropriate, newspapers, paper towels and plastic trash bags.
  • A picture of you and your pet together. If you become separated, a picture of you and your pet together will help you document ownership and allow others to assist you. Add species, breed, age, sex, color and distinguishing characteristics.
  • Familiar items. Familiar items, such as treats, toys and bedding can help reduce stress for your pet.
BONUS TIPS:
  • Make sure your pet(s) wear collars and tags with up-to-date contact information and other identification.
  • Microchip your pet(s) – this is one of the best ways to ensure that you and your pet are reunited if you are separated. Always be sure to register the microchip with the manufacturer and keep your contact information up to date with the microchip company.

If you have an emergency bag for your pets, please share pictures using #MyRollDog. 

Hiking a Fourteener

Thursday, August 17, 2017

 Growing up in the state of Alabama, the term Fourteener was just not in my vocabulary. Once I moved to Colorado that all changed. I realized what I thought were mountains in the south were merely hills. For those who don't know what a Fourteener is; it is a mountain that exceeds 14,000 feet in elevation. To also qualify the peak must have 300 vertical feet of prominence between neighboring summits. Now, in the beautiful state of Colorado there are 58 mountain peaks that can be classified as a fourteener.


I live in Colorado Springs, where the resident fourteener is called Pikes Peak. It has an elevation of 14,115ft, and is considered one of the more difficult fourteeners to hike. Fun Fact: Pikes Peak is also known as America's Mountain, and it is where the song America The Beautiful was written in 1910.

For a year I stared at this awe inspiring monstrosity of a mountain saying, one day I will conquer you! After much consideration my beautiful, adventurous fiance and I decided to not only hike Pikes Peak, but also marry ourselves at the top with just our trail pups Leia and Vader. After months of planning and gear grabbing we came up with a solid plan. Follow along as I share some tips on how to plan, train and what gear to bring along for an overnight backpacking trip.


Before you do anything you must plan a route. There are a couple of ways to go about this. You can go the old school way and get a map of the area, or you can go the new school way and download an app; we did both haha. Even in this day and age having a physical map is never a bad idea. I mean what if your battery dies on your device and you need directions? As far as the new school approach there are some great apps out there that allow you to download maps for free on your mobile device. Here are a few of the best apps we have found: Trail Run Project, All Trails, Trimble Outdoors Pro, and Maps 3D Pro.

After you have found your route now you must train. Especially for these altitudes. The most essential training aspects to focus on are cardio endurance, strength and stability, and flexibility. Aim to get five days of training per week. Three of these days focus on full-body interval training. Lifting weights, plyometrics, yoga, and pilates are all great workouts to use.  The other two days focus on your cardio (running or biking). You want to elevate your heart rate and get that blood flowing.
After your five day week make sure to set aside one day for active recovery. Such as yoga, stretching and light walking. For the final day put on a pack and hike a nearby trail... I mean, that is what this is all about.


Now that you are in full training mode and have a route planned, the final step is gear. Here are some essential items we brought along for our weekend backpacking trip:

  • backpack
  • tent/hammock
  • sleeping bags
  • foam pads
  • food
  • water (bladders or containers)
  • Survival Bracelet and Survival Collar (includes fire starter, compass paracord and whistle)
  • Food (we brought freeze dried food, trail mix, and jerky)
  • Cooking stove
  • Headlamps/lantern
  • knife
  • axe
Now that you have a route, trained your body and collected all your gear, you are ready! So get outside and hike as many fourteeners as you can. The view is totally worth the climb. Happy Trails Everyone!

Wildlife Tips: Surviving a Mountain Lion Encounter

Wednesday, August 2, 2017


Today mountain lions( also called cougars, panthers or pumas) are found in Florida and throughout much of the American West. They go pretty much where there is an abundance of deer. Although I have never seen one in all of my time living in Colorado there is an estimated 6,000 roaming within the state lines. Needless to say they are always on my mind while hiking through the mountains. Here are a few tips that I have learned on what to do if you encounter one of these lovely creatures.
1) Hike With a Group
According to the National Park Service solitary hikers are at 3 times more risk of getting attacked than people in a group. I always make sure to bring my pups Vader and Leia along for an extra sense of safety.
2) Keep Dogs Close
If you let your dogs off leash on the trail make sure to keep them at a close distance. Before even letting them off leash be absolutely sure they have a 100% recall!!!
3) Make Yourself Big
Calmly raise your arms over your head and look as large as possible. Allow the big cat a chance to leave. Never show aggression towards a mountain lion that is threatening.


4) Don't Run! Pick up dogs or children to make sure they don't panic and run. Running might trigger an attack from behind, and we definitely don't want that!
5) If Approached Get Agg-ress-ive
Mountain lion attacks sometimes occur with an ambush, but many times the cat is spotted coming towards YOU! If this happens starts waving your arms, scream and go nuts. They are easily intimidated. So this might do the trick.
6) Throw Whatever is Near
Throw sticks, stones or whatever is near you at the cat. You have to demonstrate who is in charge with these animals. Passive behavior will not work!














7) Fight Back
Do EVERYTHING in your power to fight. Gouge it's eyes, hit it with a rock, stick or trekking pole. It's either do or die. So make it count!
8) DO NOT PLAY DEAD
The worst outcomes happen when you don't do anything. Unlike bears, who may attack when threatened, mountain lions pounce when they are hungry. Therefore, these predators have designated you as food.
9) Report It
Afterwards tell the police, parks and services, and fish and game immediately. This could save others that may arrive in a similar encounter.

I would absolutely love seeing one of these beautiful creatures in the wild. Not up close and personal of course, but hopefully we can all be just a little more prepared in knowing the correct actions to take. Be safe out there! Happy Trails Dirtbags!

Teach your trail dog to be a good listener

Wednesday, July 26, 2017


Know the basics
If you're a hiker and you never leave the dog behind, then you and your trail buddy are destined to explore great trails together. As full time dog walkers we have hundreds of hours of experience with on and off leash dog training. Before you decide to unclip the leash and transition to "off-leash" to let your dog run free we've got a few tips for you.
Hiking with your dog can be an excellent bonding experience, they throw themselves wholeheartedly into adventures. However, the quality of the experience will often be in direct proportion to the care and preparation you provide prior and during the trip.

Before testing your dog off-leash they should first be well-behaved and under control while on-leash. This means no aggressive behavior when passing other dogs and people and also no pulling towards rabbits or squirrels.
When you decide to let your dog off-leash you want to be 100 percent certain that when called your dog will come to you and that they are properly socialized. The most important thing you can teach your dog is to "come" each time he/she is called.



Teaching your dog to come to you:
Start in an enclosed area. We like to use a room that the dogs cannot escape from. Your dog is an expert on body language so be sure to relax and remain calm. Call your dog to you. Give him a ten-second response time frame. If he comes to you, hold him by the collar and tell him how good he is. You can also use treats. If you don't take hold of his collar, he might think it's enough just to come near you when you praise him, he will leave. This distance may increase until you dog doesn't come to you at all.


If your dog doesn't come to you, take a rolled-up pair of socks, soft-covered book, a magazine, or anything you can think of that WILL NOT hurt your dog but is substantial enough to reach your dog when thrown. It should make contact with him but not hurt him. The intent of this training technique is done to get your dogs attention, not to abuse. Don't use objects such as heavy books or heavy shoes. We want to emphasize that you shouldn't use objects to hurt your dog.


Once you have thrown the object of your choice at your dog he will immediately react to this in two ways. First, you will have his undivided attention, and second, he will smell the object you have thrown and discover that it is an extension of you since it has your smell on it. You will then become a super person with incredibly long arms. When he comes to you praise him by telling him he's a good boy/girl. Be careful when using treats for this training because dogs are intelligent and know when they are being bribed. This could result in your dog becoming picky about the bribes they take, and only coming when you have treats.


When you become completely comfortable that your dog will come to you every time he/she is called we recommend going to a dog park or any enclosed outdoor area and continue to work on recall. If your pup does not respond the way you practiced at home, go back to step one. If your pup listens and you are happy with their obedience, only then you are ready for step two, trail training.



Trail Training
Ease into the routine of hiking. Start with hikes of an hour or so, then monitor the energy level afterwards. If your dog is still super active, increase the time for the next training hike. Your goal is to work up to the amount of trail time you plan to do on future day hikes or backpacking trips. This slow approach also helps toughen up citified paws.


Leave No Trace: On day hikes, always pack out filled poop bags. It’s also bad form to leave 'em by the trail for later pickup. If you’re worried about a breach, double-bag on the trail, then remove any intact outer bags after you get home.
On backpacking trips, humans and canines have the same Leave No Trace rule: Bury pet waste in a 6- to 8-inch hole that’s at least 200 feet away from trails, camps and water sources. Enforcing the 200-foot rule for urination breaks isn’t practical, but be prepared to interrupt things and move away if your dog begins to pee in or next to a water source.





Trail Etiquette
You have to maintain control of your dog at all times. Step off the trail to yield the right of way to hikers, horses and bikes. And having your dog on a leash isn’t enough. You also need to be able to keep your dog calm as other people and pooches pass by.
When you're on the trails you are the ambassador for all hikers and their dogs. Some people will find an issue with your dog in the backcountry. Others may be afraid of your dog. Be considerate when you spot someone ahead of you on the trail and leash your dog until you have passed them. Some people will want to stop and pet your dog, which is a great ice breaker to get to know other dog-loving hikers.


Permits and Regulation
Remember that most public lands require that a dog be on leash. In some counties you may be able to acquire a permit to hike with your dog off-leash if they are under voice command so do your research on the area you plan to hike and read the regulations for that area.


• Leashes protect dogs from becoming lost and from run-ins with wildlife such as bears, mountain lions, porcupines, marmots and sick, injured, or rabid animals.
• Unleashed dogs can intimidate hikers and their leashed dogs, depriving them of peace in the wilderness.

Training Tips Reference: "Smarter Than You Think: A Revolutionary Approach to Teaching and Understanding Your Dog in Just a Few Hours" by Paul Loeb and Suzanne Hlavacek

Do you enjoy hiking and camping with your dog? Be sure to check out our survival gear, rolldogsurvival.com

RECIPE: Camping Hot Dogs

Wednesday, July 19, 2017




Ingredients:

Hot dogs

Pillsbury crescent rolls

You will also need…
Clean wooden sticks or long skewers
Aluminum foil



Directions:
  1. Place a skewer* in the ends of your hot dogs about 3/4 the way in.
  2. Open your crescent rolls and wrap one long pre-cut triangle around each hot dog, starting with the flat end of the crescent and ending with the tip of the triangle.
  3. Wrap your crescent wrapped hot dogs loosely in aluminum foil.
  4. Roast over the fire while turning your stick just like you would to cook a hot dog.
  5. Cook for 15-20 minutes.
  6. Uncover your foil.
  7. Serve with a side of ketchup and mustard.
  8. Enjoy!
*Note: If using long wooden skewers, consider placing the skewer in water so you do not cook your stick. Place it in water before loading your hot dog on the stick.

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