c.1Florence and her Machine may say that “Dog Days are Over” – but, in reality, with the start of August, they are just beginning.  And I say:  bring them on!

I love that point in the summer – usually at the start of August – when summer is in full swing.  The novelty of warm weather and all the summer traditions have worn off and you can just lay back and enjoy the balance of the all too short season.

In addition to loving the Dog Days of Summer, I love dogs, and also use this time of year to pay tribute to all the great pups I have been fortunate to know in my life.  Since all dogs go to heaven, I pay special tribute to all those furry angels looking down upon us – like these little dude, Gussy and Tru who are romping in Heaven with their brothers Oscar and Harry and sweet little sister Boo.

So let’s raise a glass of perfect summer iced tea to these glorious days and to man’s best friend.



I have not been posting about my 2020 garden lately. Why? Well, like most other things this summer, it is not quite what it should be. Mostly my garden is lame because I started most of my plants from seed this year, as opposed to buying my plants from a local nursery which always gave me a head start. But, still, I have some great growth and hopefully I will be seeing some great production soon.

The big success so far is I have all the fresh basil I need – and I love fresh basil. I also have a ton of tomato plants which have yet to fruit but I have a lot of buds showing up so that’s a good sign.

I love visiting spice shops. I love walking in and being overwhelmed by the smell of different spices as if you were smelling all of them at the same time yet you can pick them our individually. Alas, I am not getting out to any spice shops these days so I head to one of my favorite places online for procuring spices: The Spice House. The fine folks at The Spice House source only the best spices from around the world, like my current obsession – their Hand Select Star Anise.

About the Hand Select Star Anise from The Spice House:

“Cooks from Saigon to Little Saigon infuse pho with this delicate spice. It lends Taiwanese Beef Noodle Soup a sweet richness reminiscent of licorice. In Europe, it stars in poached pears and tea infusions. Our whole star anise is hand-selected by our staff to be perfect for presentation.”

Discover the Select Star Anise from The Spice House.

Visit The Spice House online.

One thing for sure it is hot right now in most of the northern hemisphere, so keep things cool is a priority. Sure, there all sorts of coolers out there for you to drag to the beach to keep your drinks cold, but none are more convenient or look as good at the Classic Cooler from the fine folks at ICEMULE.

About the ICEMULE Classic Cooler:

“The ICEMULE Classic™ Small has a 10-liter capacity and is the most portable size of the Classic. Perfect size if you need a cooler only for your personal use, or maybe a picnic with your special someone. The Small Classic has you covered by being the smallest, most mobile option we offer.”

Find the ICEMULE Classic Cooler.

Visit ICEMULE online here.

The summer escapist novels continue with the latest thriller from Brad Thor and his super super spy Scot Harvath – Near Dark. A pure thrill ride for anyone looking for an entertaining and suspense read on the beach (or anywhere this summer).

About Near Dark by Brad Thor:

“The world’s largest bounty has just been placed upon America’s top spy. His only hope for survival is to outwit, outrun, and outlast his enemies long enough to get to the truth. But for Scot Harvath to accomplish his most dangerous mission ever—one that has already claimed the lives of the people closest to him, including his new wife—he’s going to need help—a lot of it. Not knowing whom he can trust, Harvath finds an unlikely ally in Norwegian intelligence operative Sølvi Kolstad. Just as smart, just as deadly, and just as determined, she not only has the skills, but also the broken, troubled past to match Harvath’s own.”

Near Dark by Brad Thor is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

OK, if you are like me, you have way too many photos and other items taking up room on your mobile phone. Sure, cloud storage is great and helpful – but I like to have copies of all my pics and other media stored on my own local storage devices. Getting the photos from my phone to an external drive is not hard, but it isn’t super easy. Now, I found a great tool which will not only help me transfer files off of my phone – but it’s a storage device as well: the Portable USB Flash Drive I found from the fine folks at Kiwient. This drive is really cool – it attaches to your phone’s input and then easily converts to a standard USB device to plug into your laptop or other device.

About the Portable USB Flash Drive from Kiwient:

“The Portable USB Flash Drive helps free up space for your iPhone, iPad or Android device. You are allowed to?take all the pictures you want without worrying about running out of space. It is compatible with all iOS, Android, Mac, Windows devices.?After setting up the mobile app, the drive backs up your files when you plug it in! You can share your content while keeping sensitive files secure across your device. You can even watch videos straight from the drive.”

Find the Portable USB Flash Drive from Kiwient.

Visit Kiwient online.

And another … the absolutely gorgeous Breifcase I found from the fine folks at Estie Bags.

About the Breifcase from Estie Bags:

“Strong on the outside, soft on the inside – our carbon fiber leather and suede combo make this briefcase look and feel good from the outside in, protecting your valuables whilst staying light and slim. Fits both 13″ and 14″ laptops. Comes with a removable shoulder strap.”

Find the Breifcase from Estie Bags.

Visit Estie Bags online.

A global pandemic that has basically made me a homebody who goes nowhere can’t stop me from coveting cool bags meant for going places – like the Pike Messenger Bag I found from the fine folks at Alchemy Goods.

About the Pike Messenger Bag from Alchemy Goods:

“The Pike Messenger Bag is a medium-sized messenger bag with an interior divider to keep your files or laptop secure and organized at all times, as well as a zippered exterior pocket to conveniently hold a cell phone or MP3 player.”

Find the Pike Messenger Bag from Alchemy Goods.

Visit Alchemy Goods online.

I have many belts. For the most part they are all the basic accessory in few different styles which really haven’t changed much for generations. So when I find something in the belt world that is new to me, I get really excited. So imagine my excitement when I discovered the Shoelace Belts I found from the fine folks at Lacordia Threads – which come in many different styles from solid colors to fun prints – like their Pepperoni Shoelace Belt (right).

About the Pepperoni Shoelace Belts from Lacordia Threads:

“Who doesn’t like Pizza? This Pepperoni belt was designed and inspired by team rider, John Oskvarek. Pepperoni Print. Two size options: 160cm x 1.4cm and 135cm x 1.4cm. Double layered lace for comfort and strength. Matte Black metal aglet with Lacorda logo. Finished with Black woven label on lace.”

Find the Pepperoni Shoelace Belts from Lacordia Threads.

See the entire Shoelace Belt collection from Lacordia Threads

Visit Lacordia Threads online.

OK, when it comes to great literature the name Debbie Macomber may not come up. But when it comes to a master contemporary writer of popular fiction, her name is near the top. There is no better way to spend a lazy summer afternoon than reading some such popular fiction. Lucky from us, Ms. Macomber latest novel has hit the streets: A Walk Along the Beach.

About A Walk Along the Beach by Debbie Macomber:

“The Lakey sisters are perfect opposites. After their mother died and their father was lost in grief, Willa had no choice but to raise her sister, Harper, and their brother, Lucas. Then, as an adult, she put her own life on hold to nurse Harper through a terrifying illness. Now that Harper is better and the sisters are living as roommates, Willa has realized her dream of running her own bakery and coffee shop, bringing her special brand of caretaking to the whole Oceanside community. Harper, on the other hand, is always on the go. Overcoming a terrible illness has given her a new lease on life, and she does not intend to waste it. When Harper announces her plan to summit Mount Rainier, Willa fears she may be pushing herself too far. Harper, for her part, urges Willa to stop worrying and do something outside of her comfort zone—like taking a chance on love with a handsome new customer.”

A Walk Along the Beach by Debbie Macomber is available from Amazon and other fine booksellers everywhere.

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