Monday, September 28, 2015

5-miler & Avocado Toast

Good morning! Fun fact but this is the first real Monday I've had since starting school because I usually have Mondays off with my classes being in the evening. So I actually have to go to work today and be an adult but that just means I get to switch around my other days! I also have both nights of classes off this week which is a welcome treat. 

Now I just need to convince my mom and sister to role-play for me to complete an assignment since our class isn't meeting in person...

Over the weekend, I did one of my first "long runs" in awhile which I was really excited about! After being put out of the running for my marathon last spring due to a foot injury, I'm happy to be back pain-free. Well, at least for now. I hope it doesn't come back because I really, really, really want to register for the marathon again but I don't want to jump the gun. I'm going to keep testing it out for a few more weeks before I make any decisions. If it's feeling alright, though, at the very least I'm signing up for the half. 

5 miles is much shorter than my typical long runs, but hey it's a start! I took it nice and easy but was surprised that I was under 10 minutes. 

When I got back, I refueled with one of my new obsessions: avocado toast. I've made this plenty of times before but then forgot about how much I loved it. I picked up a bag of avocados at Trader Joe's this past week (they have by far the best price on avocados I've found) so I've been making this a lot lately! 

All you do is while the bread is doing it's toasty-thing, you mash up the avocado and I like to season it with some salt and pepper. You could also do a sweeter route and add some fresh fruit on top! I haven't tried it yet but I think that would taste delicious. 

I had mine with a side of turkey bacon for some protein. This coming weekend, I'm going to aim for 6 miles, and fingers crossed it goes well! 

Hope you all have a productive Monday! 

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Cauliflower Stir Fry

For those of you who don't know, cauliflower is a macro gift. You can use it in so many recipes because one the macros are amazing, and two it doesn't have a strong taste so you can disguise it a lot. I personally am a huge fan of cauliflower so I don't always want to cover it up!

Which brings me to the magical cauli stir fry. 

You can always rice the cauliflower if you want to make it more like rice in a stir fry but like I said I love cauliflower so bigger chunks are just fine for me! This is a super simple recipe (as usual ha) but every time I share it on Instagram I do get some requests so here's what I did. 

200g cauliflower finely chopped/diced
200g zucchini
85g green beans
4.5 oz chicken 
dash of sesame oil
garlic & soy sauce to taste

You can use whatever vegetables you want! That's the beauty of this recipe because it's flexible and entirely up to your taste buds. 

The chicken was already cooked from last night so I just sauteed all the veggies til they were mostly cooked then threw in the chicken to warm it up. It was leftover barbecue chicken but there wasn't that strong of a taste so I just put in extra soy sauce, and couldn't tell the difference! 

The best part? I got this HUGE bowl for only 20C/39P/5F, not too shabby at all! I legit thought at one point that I was going to need to get a bigger bowl but I managed to squeeze it all in. 

If you try out your own cauli stir fry, tag me in your post! I want to see all the yummy creations!

Enjoy :) 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Iced Green Tea Lemonade

Happy Friday all!

So for one of my courses, we had to give up something (it's for an experiment/project) and I gave I know, I know it was a disaster for a few days but now things are going well. Instead, I've been finding other teas or drink mixes to enjoy. Not every day, but it's nice to try out something different every so often. 

But, I wanted to share this green tea mix because it's amazing! All you need is green tea and a packet of lemonade flavor.

I really like this brand of green tea that I got from Target because the peach flavoring gives it a nice taste. The lemonade packets I get from Wal-mart because there's a good brand called True Lemon there that uses all natural ingredients. I can't always have the artificial sweeteners because they give me stomach aches so I like that this brand uses stevia! 

So here's what you do:
1. Brew the green tea as instructed
2. Let it cool 
3. Pour it over ice
4. Mix in the lemonade!

And that's it! A cool, tasty drink with bomb macros (3C/0F/0P)

Enjoy lovelies! 

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Yesterday's Track Workout

I wanted to post my track workout from yesterday morning because it was more focused on speed development rather than just HIIT intervals. Yet again, I'm no professional or a running coach, this is just some additional conditioning that I like to add in. 

Warm up: easy 1200


3 rounds of the following:
1 min easy run
2.5 min hard run 
30 second sprint

Cool down: easy 800

For the 100's I made sure to do an all-out sprint, and then gave myself about a minute of recovery time in between each one. As I'm easing back in to running, sprints really have been great to help me build up my endurance. Once I'm back to my regular running schedule, I plan on dedicating more time to speed work rather than just speed development. 

Then I got to spend the rest of my day doing homework with this goob! She was extra needy since I abandoned her for approximately 32 hours while I was in Baltimore. Amanda said I'm never allowed to leave again because Layla had herself all worked up trying to figure out where I was. She kept trying to climb in my lap as I did homework, and refused to leave me alone. But she's cute so I let her stay :)

Monday, September 21, 2015

Bible Study, Spoiling Layla, & Vitamin Talk

Today is honestly going to be a random post, but I wanted to get something up before I dive back in to my homework. I was away in Baltimore for the weekend visiting a fellow TeamKatiesfitscript friend which was so fun to be able to meet her in person! It was funny because both of us were laughing about how we were explaining it to our family and friends. Some people couldn't believe that we had never met in person and I was just going to stay at her house! Well, we did anyway haha and it was such a blessing. She is absolutely wonderful, and I can't wait until she comes to see Pittsburgh!

For those of you wondering, I scaled back to part-time at work which was awesome. God definitely provided because my office essentially said they'd do whatever it took to get me to stay. It's a good thing because I like my job! My bosses are super relatable, understanding, and have been supportive of everything going on with my mom since day one. It's a really great environment and having to find a new job on top of starting grad school just sounded like extra stress I didn't want or need. 

So, I have Mondays and Thursdays off since I have my classes on those evenings! Which means I pretty much do homework all day. It's funny how I look back and thought I'd have so much extra time to do things! But really and truly I'm not complaining, I'm so blessed to have this opportunity to continue my education. 

Anyway, I got the results of my blood work back and it turns out I'm extremely low on Vitamin D so my doctor prescribed a supplement for me. It's pretty common to have a deficiency of vitamin D but it's important to remedy it because it can affect your health. For example, all summer I've been having crazy problems with my sinuses. Everyone told me it was allergies (even though I don't have them) but I've been feeling much better since I started taking the supplement. My skin looks fresher, I don't have dark circles under my eyes, and I have more energy. Little things piling up like that I just attributed to stress but it was actually an underlying problem of my hormones not properly functioning.

PLEASE note: this was prescribed by my doctor, and this extra strength dose is intended for those who are deficient. Again, determined by their doctor. There's even a fancy warning label on the back explaining it so please don't take it without consulting your doctor. 

I'm also excited that my Bible study started up again this past week! I've talked about it before but it's BSF which is an international program. This means they offer classes all over the world, and if you're interested you can look up on the website for a class near you! I highly recommend this study because it goes so much more in-depth than any other study I've done before. We're studying the book of Revelation this year which I'm excited since it's an all new program. 

Also, for those of you fellow crazy dog ladies, PetSmart was having a really good sale on toys! Layla really and truly needed a new stash of toys because she pretty much destroyed all her other ones. I went against my better judgment and got her this stuffed moose which lasted for literally 5 minutes. I usually don't let her have them because she chews right through them, and then I don't want her eating the stuffing. I spent about $30 but like I said I got a ton since she's needed new ones for awhile! Plus, the look on her face and how happy it made her was priceless. 

Hope you all have a wonderful Monday! 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Food Catch-up: What I've Been Eating

I've gotten some requests to do a full-day of eating post but I forget to take pictures of everything! I'll do my best to remember in the future or actually plan out a day ahead of time but let's be honest we're talking about me here haha! Remembering and pre-planning? Mmm that's a tricky combination.

So besides peanut butter (which is a given ha) here are some of the foods I've been eating lately!

IT HAS PEANUT BRITTLE PIECES IN IT. Sorry for the sudden all caps but I thought that was really important to know. The lovely and sweet Rachael sent me some! :)

The best pizza everrrrr

Brinner of course! Don't judge-- I like my bacon and toast extra crispy a.k.a. slightly burnt. 

Overnight oats basically every day. 

And my new favorite recipe-- macro-friendly hot chocolate! Especially with the weather cooling down I love grabbing a cup of this and snuggling up with Layla. 

Pesto pasta with grilled chicken and tomatoes. This was honestly the first time in a long time I can remember eating pasta, it's really never my go-to choice for dinner.

Sadly, I've had to give up Quest bars for awhile #sobbing because I might not be able to have dairy anymore. It does funny things to my skin so we'll see! I'm experimenting right now but I've had to cut out whey protein especially so I went hunting for a substitute. I have to say these Cliff bars surprised me! They're a contender to replace Quest bars entirely for three huge reasons: 1) they are over a dollar cheaper, 2) they are stocked at Trader Joe's (true fact: nothing bad comes from there), and 3) they taste amazing! 

So there you have it! Some of my regular and go-to's the past week. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

Training Your Dog to Run with You

I figured it was about time I got this post up! I've gotten a lot of questions before about Layla running with me and now that we're transitioning in to our fall running schedule, I wanted to post some general information about how I trained her.  So hopefully if you're reading this post, you already read my last one and did all your research about whether or not your dog likes running. 

Now, let's move on to the fun part: training! I'm happy to say that even though she had to take several months off running (I had an injury and this summer was wayyy too hot!), Layla has remembered all of the training I taught her last year! #ProudMomMoment hehe

This is going to be something that is again specific to each individual dog. Let me start out by saying that if your dog does not do well with walking on a leash, you'll probably want to conquer that one first before you add in any running. 

The way I trained Layla is I did it in layers. When she first came home I did all the basics like setting boundaries, potty training, introducing her to walking on the leash, simple commands (sit, stay, come). Then, I added in the stuff like walking on the leash properly, more complex commands like drop it, lay down, leave it, etc. It wasn't so segregated like that but rather a fluid process of adding in more complex training. 

Why am I rambling on about this? My point is that by the time I introduced her to running, she had a handle on everything else. I already made sure that she could walk on the leash properly without pulling me, wanting to stop and smell everything, or wanting to say hello to everyone and their mother.

Above all, just like with any of the other training the key components with this are consistency and communication. If not, your dog will not understand what expectations you have of their behavior. They'll get confused, you'll get frustrated, which will only make them more confused and make you more frustrated! It's a cycle so to break it or make sure it doesn't even start, be patient and calm with your dog. It's not going to work out perfectly fine the first time!

I am no expert on dogs or dog training, this is simply what I have found that worked for me and Layla. All this post is going to be is about tips and tricks that I found useful when training Layla. It may not work for your dog and it may be easier/harder for you to train your dog to run with you. I admit I lucked out with Layla's good breeding because true to her Golden Retriever nature she's easy to train and eager to please.

Ok now on to the actual running part! Sorry, I know this is long-winded but there are a lot of components to consider. So here are some general tips I found useful when training Layla:

1. Keep Your Dog to One Side

This is the first thing we started doing and I chose my left which was completely arbitrary. My one friend said you should always do it on the right so that when you pass another person, you will always be between them and your dog. That's pretty smart considering it but by the time she told me I had already trained Layla to stay on my left. It felt more natural that way to me so it's just what I do now. If we're approaching someone and they look uncomfortable, I give them a wide berth out of respect.

Again, be consistent with it! If you start with the left then stay on the left. I did this because I didn't want Layla wandering all over the sidewalk and risk me tripping over her if she got in my way. She stays on my left side the whole time. Every time she would wander or move, I'd gently give her a tug and show her the appropriate place. When she got back on my left, I'd give her some praise and scratch her ears. Eventually, she learned that's where I wanted her to be. You can use treats if you want but Layla was at an age where food rewards aren't always necessary, she can be just as happy with praise! Do what works best for your dog.

2. Don't let your dog run ahead of you. 

Have them stay by your side and I mean right by your side. Layla runs level with me, her shoulder is next to my knee at all times. I don't let her go ahead of me for both control and safety reasons. If she were to pull unexpectedly, I'd have an easier time controlling her with her closer to my body and center of gravity. I also don't like her to go ahead of me for simple safety reasons. If we're approaching an intersection I always make sure Layla is right next to me because I don't want to risk her getting hit.

It's also dark out in the early mornings and drivers and other pedestrians might not see us at first. So, I just like to make sure that Layla is right beside me so I can keep an eye on her and have enough time to react to any situations as necessary.

3. Teach your dog directional commands

This was especially useful in the beginning when Layla didn't know our routes. I began teaching her "keep left, keep right, and straight" so that she would know the direction as we were approaching a turn. This prevented any collisions and avoided tripping over each other. Call me crazy but it worked!

When we were away last October at our camp, we had Layla off leash the whole weekend when we went hiking. At one point she was a little ahead on the trail and there was a fork so I called out to her "keep left" and she took the path to the left! My dad was amazed and was like "I can't believe she actually went to the left!"

How did I teach her this? Whenever we were approaching a turn, I would gently pull the leash to make Layla go the direction I wanted. As soon as she began to turn, I'd immediately take the pressure off the leash and say "keep left". I made sure to wait until the pressure was off the leash and not before I gave her the command. Otherwise, she wouldn't properly make the connection of what I wanted her to do. I wanted her to associate the independent movement (turning to the left) with the command. That way she would learn that the actual movement of going to the left and not the pressure on the leash means "keep left". Same thing with going to the right!

I have no idea if that will work for other dogs and I didn't look this up at all, it was just something I thought I'd try out on my own with Layla. It worked for me so hopefully it will work for you as well!

4. Don't let your dog stop to sniff everything

When we are on a run, Layla knows it means business. I joke around and says she goes in "pack mode" as she can get real serious, and her migration instincts kick in. Her demeanor is different than when we're on a walk because that's more of a casual outing. I think a lot of it has to do with me as well because I get in my running zone and Layla picks up on the change in my energy. Running is more serious than a walk, and she knows it.

Layla knows that she's not supposed to stop arbitrarily and nose around. She sniffs things as we go along and I don't mind as long as she keeps moving. Of course, she's allowed to go to the bathroom but that's on my terms. I can tell the difference between her sniffs to go to the bathroom and when she's just being nosey (again, know your dog). So if I see that she needs to go to the bathroom, I'll pause and tell her "go potty" so she knows it's okay that we take a break. Otherwise, I give the leash a gentle tug and firmly tell her "come on" and keep running the whole time. This way she knows that I'm in charge of the run, and that it's not about stopping whenever we want.

5. Pace your dog

Your dog doesn't know how far or how long you'll be running so you have to be in charge of the pace. You can't tell them "we have another 3 miles so you better ease up" because they're not going to have a clue what that means. In the beginning, I had to reign in Layla a lot because she'd get so excited that she'd want to really push the pace.

What I did was whenever she was getting too far ahead, I'd give the leash a gentle pull to get her attention or say "hey". That's the word that I use to get her attention, whatever it is that you use to let your dog know you want them to focus on you. As soon as she gives me her attention, I'd gently pull her back to where I'd want her and when she began slowing down I'd say "ease up". Whenever she would stay consistently by my side for awhile I'd give her lots of praise to show her that's where she needed to be and at my pace.

6. Keep Your Dog Calm

Even if your dog loves running and gets so excited to go, it's important that you don't get them too hyped up about it. Think about it this way: your excited energy + your dog's excited energy = SO MUCH ENERGY. It's going to be like energy overload for your dog, especially if you have one that is easily excited and high energy. I can easily over-excite Layla with the simplest of things even if it's just babbling nonsense in a high-pitched excited voice. She picks up on my energy and tone and immediately goes berserk. Then, promptly stops listening to any kind of commands for about thirty seconds before she calms back down. This means it's important for me to keep her calm before her energy escalates to unwanted behavior.

So this is how I handle Layla:

In the beginning when I would ask her if she wants to go for a run she would usually turn in circles, sometimes do a lap or two around the coffee table before plopping down on my foot so I could put the leash on her. I taught her that being excited or obnoxious does not get her what she wants (a.k.a. getting the leash on to run). This took a lot of patience but I would always wait for her to calm down before calling her over, asking her to sit, double check that she was really calmed down, and THEN put the leash on her. So she learned that being calm and submissive lead to moving forward with the run. I do this same exact thing for walks, meal times, basic training, meeting new people, etc. She has to be calm and obedient before getting the reward.

Then, as soon as we get outside she goes right to our starting point, practically bouncing around in circles waiting to start. I make sure to wait a couple minutes again until she is collected before we start to run. Sometimes, though, she gets excited again when we start to run so I immediately stop in my tracks and firmly tell her "stop" to remind her that she needs to calm down. I have her sit and wait again until I'm sure that she's gotten control of herself again. She still is only a year and a half old and it happens a lot when we go to run because she's so gosh darn happy but I make sure to stay consistent with her so she learns that being calm and obedient is what I want. It's very important that you keep your dog calm and attentive to you so that they will be receptive to your commands. A lot of people don't realize that disobedience is simply mishandled and misdirected energy in a dog.

Stopping Any Unwanted Behavior

This isn't really part of the other tips but it's something that I wanted to include because it seems like a pretty common problem that I've seen not only with Layla but other dogs as well. The main thing that Layla does that absolutely drives me nuts is when she takes the leash in her mouth and tries to play tug-of-war. This is what she'll do at the beginning of the run when she's getting herself too excited. I don't know why but it's a behavior that drives me crazy and one that I immediately wanted to break. Whatever the reason behind her behavior with this, I knew I wanted it gone.

So, when she puts the leash in her mouth I INSTANTLY and I mean instantly, stop dead in my tracks (i.e. when she misbehaves, the fun stops). She'll give me this look as if to say "What's the deal?" and I stare. her. down. I don't smile, I don't laugh, I don't use a loving voice. I firmly tell her to "sit" then "drop it" and if she doesn't spit out the leash by the second time I ask then I will open her mouth with my hands and take it out. I follow the 2-command rule in that Layla has two chances to obey me or else we do it the hard way. This is to ensure that she doesn't just listen to me when she feels like it. She learned that she can either listen to me the first time I ask or else it happens anyway because I won't back down. There are times where she tries to push the envelop a bit but I remain consistent and don't let her get away with it.

So, if you see any kind of unwanted behaviors such as my example then you need to stop immediately and correct it. Dogs live in the moment which is why you have a very small window of time to act or else they will not make the proper association.

There you have it! This is generally what I found to be most useful for me when I first introduced Layla to running. Like I said, it's not going to go perfectly smooth the first few times you take your dog running with you. There's going to be some adjustment so it's important to not get frustrated and be positive with your pup. Layla and I run together because it's something we both enjoy!

The video cuts off but she then started to dance around in excitement haha! 

As always if you have any more questions feel free to email me :)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Macro-Friendly Hot Chocolate

It's FINALLY cooling down here and I couldn't be more thrilled. It's going to be in the 60's this weekend and all next week like 40-45 in the morning, that's my kind of weather! I swear people think I'm crazy when I tell them I hate summer. 70+ degree weather and me just don't mix. 

Anyway, yesterday morning it was cold and rainy so of course I broke out the hot chocolate! I had to get some blood work done, and my luck it had to be fasted. Ya'll should've seen my face when the doctor told me to fast #hangryproblems. So I did what any fit chick would do and scheduled the earliest possible appointment so that I could eat faster lololol. I got it done at 7:30am and was home/eating before 8am. 

I decided to whip up this hot chocolate along with my overnight oats. 

And speaking of overnight oats...

OKAY so back to the original reason that I started writing this post! 

I got the idea from one of my teammates to add Walden Farms chocolate sauce to my hot chocolate and OH MY GOODNESS. It's a game changer. For real, it made all the difference. I took my original hot chocolate recipe and made some tweaks. 

1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1-2 packets of stevia
1 tsp vanilla extract 
1 tbsp Walden Farms chocolate sauce
dash of cocoa powder

First, take just the almond milk and heat it for about 1-1/2 minutes. Then, add in the rest of the ingredients and heat for another 30 seconds. Voila! THE best hot chocolate ever, and the macros are pretty amazing. 

Enjoy, loves! 

Friday, September 4, 2015

Crockpot Salsa Chicken

I've been meaning to share this, and it might honestly be the easiest recipe I have ever made in my life. It literally requires 2 ingredients, and the crockpot does all the hard work for you! I got the tip from my step-sister while on vacation a couple weeks ago to try it out. She made it for family dinner one night, and we all loved it! She just dumped chicken with some salsa in the crockpot and that was it! Black beans and corn were mixed in later as additional toppings, but you don't even have to add anything! 

I was sold. Anything crockpot with minimal ingredients, and I am 100% on board. I decided to try out my own version once I got home.

Here's what you'll need:
4 medium chicken breasts
2 cups salsa of choice

Optional: any seasonings of choice! I used salt, pepper, and chili powder for extra kick.

Throw it all in the crockpot and cook on high for about 4-6 hours until the chicken falls apart! 

I made a little taco out of mine with more salsa, cheese, and lettuce. 


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Track Workout & Pizzaaaa

So with my schedule changing with grad school starting, I have Mondays and Thursdays off from work. My classes aren't until the evening so that means I have the mornings to myself!

I have officially made Thursday mornings my track workout days because it was a completely arbitrary decision. I just like going to the track that day of the week haha! Plus it fits in to my workout schedule nicely. 

I'm slowly adding running back in as I knew I would. I always wonder if I'll want to run again because in the summer I literally have zero desire with all the heat. Then I go crazy and panic that my running days are behind me because I've lost all motivation. It's honestly never the case! Try as I might to fall in love with other exercise, running will always have my heart. It just helps to prevent injuries for me to scale back during the summer. It's my "off-season" if you will. 

Last Thursday, I did a random track workout that I made up on the fly. I didn't really have much of a game plan other than go to the track haha! I knew I wanted to do a HIIT/speed work type thing, though, so I based it off that. 

Warm-up: 1 easy mile (4 laps)

10 rounds: 
Easy run 1 minute
Hard run 1.5 minutes 
Sprint 30 seconds

Cool down: walk 10 minutes

I also had to share about this pizza because it was DELICIOUS! Surprise, surprise Trader Joe's delivered on another thing I love. If you know me then you know that's not a joke/surprise at all because I'm obsessed with Trader Joe's. 

Frozen pizzas aren't usually my go-to but my life motto is pretty much if it's at Trader Joe's it has to be good. And this was. I loved it! My mom even loved it too and she doesn't always like kale. The pizza came out nice and fluffy, and I honestly wouldn't have been able to tell it had been frozen. 

Is there honestly anything more beautiful than the sight of pizza?! 

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Weekend with Layla!

Remember that time I said I would be better about posting on a regular basis? Well, clearly it didn't happen. My whole usual routine has been switched up the past couple weeks due to starting grad school, and going from full-time to part-time at work but now I have developed some what of a schedule! 

So, I'll try to fit blogging in there somewhere. Hopefully haha! I mean it's been about a year and a half with you guys so you pretty much know what to expect from me at this point. Aka frequent memory lapses and random bursts of whatever I feel like blogging about! 

I have no idea where to start so I'm just going to pick a random post because it includes two of my favorite things: 

1) Layla (big surprise!)

2) the outdoors 

Saturday morning after my run, Hannah and I took Layla and Lola for a hike in the woods. We came fully prepared because I know there is a creek, and I know Layla/Lola love the water. I mean they're Golden Retrievers so it's pretty impossible to keep them out of it! 

We hiked around for a bit on the trails and then took them to one of the deeper parts of the creek so they could swim! Layla was thrilled because she loves the water and her big sister so she couldn't have been happier to be frolicking around in the water with Lola. 

Hannah and I couldn't stop laughing at what a goof Layla was! The water was pretty deep and came up to their shoulders but Layla kept sticking her head under the water like a little duck. We would throw pebbles in to the creek for them to chase so Layla would take off bounding and then shove her whole head under water to look for it! 

There was another dog there with his owner, too, and it was funny because we had met them last summer. You know you're a crazy dog lady when you recognize the dog before the person haha! He was super friendly, and loved running around in the water with the other two. 

After letting them swim for awhile, we started to head back out. Layla was the little energizer bunny, and could not get enough of her energy out! She's good about staying close when she's off leash and checking in but she legitimately was just spazzing out from happiness haha! She would run up to us on the trail then dash back in to the creek, panic that we were leaving her behind, run back to us, then back to the creek, and repeat! 

Which led her to finding the mud...

She also has an obsession with running across bridges. I have no idea why but she LOVES them. 

It was a great morning with perfect weather, and Layla got nice and tuckered out! Which was perfect since Hannah and I ended up taking my mom to lunch, and Layla took a nice long nap while we were gone. She basically didn't move for the rest of the day after her exciting morning. 

Then on Sunday, Layla got a request from her fan club to meet up! I keep joking that Layla has a fan club but it's hardly a joke anymore. Wherever we go, people adore her and we always get stopped so they can see her. Amanda was staying the weekend at our Bible study leader's house since her and her husband were taking their oldest son to college. Amanda has stayed with them before earlier in the summer, and the youngest boy Micah fell in love with Layla when he met her. He also loves the chickens and cats so he likes to visit! He just turned 10, and Layla adores him. She really has a thing for younger kids which I'm glad about since that's not always the case with dogs. 

Anyway, his older brother Jonah wanted to meet Layla too so Amanda asked me if I would meet them at a dog park near their house. Normally, I would say no because I don't really do dog parks. I haven't taken Layla to one since last summer when she got attacked by another dog. Long story short, but the owners just got the dog, had no clue about his temperament let alone if he liked other dogs, so they brought him off-leash to a dog park to find out if he liked other dogs (not the way I would have done it). Layla was the first dog to show up, and got attacked first thing. The owners blamed her, sooo we left. And never went back to one. Generally, we have not had positive experiences with dog parks because owners simply do not control or watch their dogs as they sit on their phones. 

BUT, I have to say I loved this dog park. None of the dogs were overbearing which was good for Layla. She was timid for awhile after she got attacked, and I had to work on socializing her with dogs I knew were friendly to make sure she wouldn't develop any sort of fear aggression. 

All of the owners were very responsible and kept an eye on their dog. I was very happy about that and Layla was extremely relaxed with all the other dogs. She even made a new friend! The lady was so happy because she said that so often since her dog is on the smaller side he gets pushed around/bullied by bigger dogs. Layla is the exact opposite, I've seen her submit to a chihuahua, she doesn't care about size! 

She ran around with Micah and Jonah until she couldn't anymore! I definitely want to go back because there were tons of trails and other parts of the park. There was a guy who was even riding his horse on the trails! Apparently, it's horse friendly which I thought was really cool. Amanda's friend Bethany is visiting this weekend and bringing Layla's boyfriend Denver! We have plans to go back to this park and do some more hiking. 

You can't tell me they wouldn't win any "Cutest Couple" awards...