Tesla’s 15 minutes of Fame with AvoDerm Natural

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Mark Rogers and Tesla hanging out.

Just wanted to take a moment a celebrate Miss Tesla’s success story being featured on AvoDerm Natural‘s website. Tesla has had some skin problems in the past… she started itching a lot when she was about 6 months and by the time she was about a year she had chewed most of the fur off of her underbelly. Her tummy skin was pink and had little red marks on it from where she had been frantically chewing. Avoderm tesla success story dog food allergies photo by Mark Rogers

It was pretty frustrating because we were feeding her top line food: $60+ bags of organic, grain free, chicken free, corn free, whatever else free, we literally tried it all. Most of the time she would stop itching for 1-2 weeks and then she would get right back to it. I kinda thought, well, she’s just one of those breeds that tends to get skin problems, so maybe she’s just going to be like this no matter what.

One day I was at work and we came across the topic of dog foods, and my boss said her dog was on AvoDerm, and she really couldn’t say anything bad about it. She suggested I give it a try, so we went to the store and bought a bag of lamb and brown rice and started weaning her over to AvoDerm.

Tess is Golden looking gorgeous photo by Mark Rogers

Two weeks in we were blown away by the results- no red skin, scabs were healing, fur was even growing back. I thought “well, let’s just see how long this lasts…” but I can now say we are 6 months in and still going strong. PLUS way, way less shedding, and softer coats for both Finn and Tesla. It’s just a really awesome blessing to have her scratch free AND THEN to have her be a success story on their website is just too cool (plus, how cool to have your dog professionally photographed!)

I took this one :-) She totally knows there's a camera in my phone. What a goober.

I took this one :-) She totally knows there’s a camera in my phone. What a goober.

Speaking of that, I also wanted to tell everyone about the Facebook Photo Contest they’re doing called Glow and Tell. The grand prize is a photo shoot with the same guy who took Tesla’s photos for their website. So good luck to everyone and I hope you too can get some great picture of your pup!

Glow and Tell Photo Contest

The House of Harcourt Remodel: The Bathroom

Finally moved in, and ready for its debut, here is one piece of our new home!

Background: We purchased our 860 sq ft,1940’s farm-town bungalow from a woman in her 80’s who had lived there for 35 years! Her realtor told us she would’ve stayed, but the few stairs between the kitchen and bedroom spaces were hard on her arthritis. She loved her garden, and told many people that she hoped whomever bought it wouldn’t scrape the lot and build a giant home (like many people in this area have). Lucky for her, Brendan and I fell in love with the existing home and its lush gardens, we never considered destroying it… but it did need a HUGE facelift.

The first piece of the project we will be featuring on the blog is the bathroom. This is the smallest room in the house

Here are the pictures from the listing:


Looking in from one of the bedrooms, you can see the majority of the bathroom. The shower is just to the left of the vanity. One of the huge challenges of this house was this bathroom because it is so small and has two access doors, one for each bedroom.


All the contractors we brought in to look at the project all paused when they saw the shower. It appeared to be only coated in stucco with a sealant. No one had seen anything like it before.

I’m not going to lie, I kinda loved the 60’s flower power wainscoting, the mustard counter top and matching vent… but no one loved the flooring.

The bathroom also came with the most inspection issues: we had dry rot in the floor under the sink, toilet, and shower (so basically the entire room), the wax seal on the toilet was desperately needing to be replaced, the walls were made of plaster, and we were really not sure if the shower was actually water tight at all.

So we demo’d the entire thing, down to the studs.


mmm… old glue

Once the wainscoting was off the guys began in on the shower and discovered that it was built like a bomb shelter: stucco, tile, 6″ of concrete, chicken wire. The wall had to be smashed with a sledge hammer, then the individual chunks had to be cut free by clipping the pieces of chicken wire… it was a pain in the rear end.



Next the plaster was removed from the walls

In a moment of exuberance, Brendan smashed the wall with such a mighty blow that a huge chunk of cement flew off and broke the bowl of the toilet, the only piece of the bathroom that we weren’t planning on removing. SIDE NOTE: if you ever break a toilet, be very careful the shards are EXTREMELY sharp and will cut your hand, limiting the amount of demo you can do that day, and possibly sending you to the urgent care for stitches. In our case we just used super glue, no stitches were “needed.”

and before you know it… we were down to the studs. IMG_0996 IMG_0984While the house was barren, we had all the pipes updated to current code so the shower and the toilet would be good to go for another 20 years. Then we rebuilt. 

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We included a secret laundry chute; covered by a medicine cabinet mirror (pictured in the next photo).
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Yep… the toilet didn’t come with a toilet seat… photo 2[9s]

At this point, we moved in. The kitchen was not done, the lights hadn’t come in for the bathroom, but we had running hot water, and that was more than we could say the week beforehand. photo[7876] photo 5[4456]

I would like to say that since finishing the bathroom it’s been smooth sailing… unfortunately it has not. The shower fixture we purchased began leaking, 2 plumbers later we found out the part that needs to be replaced isn’t made in the US and now we are waiting for it to come from China. If I could do it over again, I would not overlook where the replacement parts come from as the shower has now been leaking for 2 weeks and the part has yet to arrive. :-/ Great way to conserve in a draught.

We also hit a snag with the glass shower door and for sometime we had a makeshift shower curtain. Then the door showed up, but it was scratched. Finally, when they replaced the door they didn’t line up the weather stripping on the bottom, so our shower leaked out onto the bathroom floor whenever you took a shower (the golden retriever was in HEAVEN).

As with any new renovations, the house has begun settling into the remodel and we have had to re-grout and caulk sections of the bathroom as well.

What I’m saying is: being a homeowner is really just asking for endless amounts of tasks to be added to your to-do list. :-)


Hope you enjoyed this little section of our remodel!

-The House of Harcourt.



Fall is… Gone?

Pacifica almost has reverse seasons, so we’re a bit confused what time of year it is, but the calendar doesn’t lie– it’s almost winter. In review of the last three months I figured I’d do a mega-post of what the humans have been up to:

#1 Weddings- 3 weddings this year. Congrats again to our friends Tera and Ryan, Meg and Jason and Evi and Kevin. Good people, beautiful weddings.

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#2 Apple Picking- 3rd year running, we headed to Giztditch to grab 20lbs of apples that were made into sauce, juice, pies and consumed raw. We really love this place.

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#3 Baking- Kris has made quite a few dishes including apple, berry and pumpkin pies, lemon meringue, and angel food cake. She also tackled and perfected a lasagna recipe that Brendan says is “the best he’s ever had.”

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This was my first lattice top… I kinda failed at the weaving, but next time I’ll be more diligent.

#4 Pumpkin Carving- this was the first year we had pumpkins, unfortunately they rotted within one week post-carving. :-( Oh well.

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#5 Road trip to Pumpkinland Chocolates- Upon a journey to Redding to see the Sundial Bridge, Brendan and I discovered a small roadside chocolatiers. This year on Veteran’s day we decided to drive up there, grab some chocolates, freshly picked persimmons, and walnuts. We recommend anyone near Red Bluff, CA, make their way that direction and enjoy some sweets and the large pond near the store front (unfortunately you can’t let your dogs out near the water, but they do have some really neat birds that hang near the banks).

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#6 Enjoying our home- Our lease will be up in January and the rent is going to go up at least $300 so we’re enjoying our beach as much as we can while starting to hunt for our next home (hopefully with a big yard, cause seriously how can you match this?).

Golden Retriever having the Best time on her beach

Up next on the calendar is Thanksgiving, followed by Kris’s birthday and then Christmas… and then 2014. Wow, I have no idea where this year went!

Hope you all had a fantastic Fall!

K and B

Happy Birthday, Beagle

1 whole year! Where has the time gone? The last three months have whipped by so quickly and now we’re looking at the holidays and we’re pretty confused how the heck we got here.

In celebration of Finlay’s first year of life I have made a list of things that have always been true about our beagle boy:

#1 He is ADORABLE while sleeping
cute sleeping beagle

#2 No food is safe

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#3 EVERYTHING is worth sampling

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#4 or attempting to sample

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#5 Dad= THE BEST.

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#6 Tesla= Annoying

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We love this dog, and all his weirdness. In fact if he wasn’t weird he probably wouldn’t it in with the rest of us. Here’s to many more years, Finlay. We’re very happy you’re part of our lives.

Tesla, 10 Months: Obedience is a Must

Caught red-handed cuddlingAt 60+ pounds our “golden moose” is starting to live up to her nickname.

No longer a cute little baby, Tesla looks like a full grown dog, and she can pull like she’s training for the Iditarod. So, off to obedience class we go! Tesla and I have now finished a total of two separate 6 week courses at Petsmart (we tried to use a local option, but the classes were at 8:30 am on a Saturday, sorry but I’d like to sleep-in) and she has now graduated from beginning and intermediate obedience classes. Continue reading