This blog features Orvis products that our associates or our customers particularly enjoy or appreciate for their quality, utility, and comfort.

Adventure Travel: Packing for a Mixed Itinerary

Written by: Deb German

Alaska Adventure Cruise
Photo via orvis.com

Your much-anticipated vacation is upon you. This time you opted for something extraordinary for yourself and your family, a more meaningful getaway than sitting by the hotel pool with your paperback while the kids play with their squirt guns. But you didn’t want to give up a hot shower, nor sacrifice your palate in the name of roughing it. These days more travelers are opting for active and entertaining vacations that don’t sacrifice comfort and security. Your kids have the global community at their fingertips like never before, and this adventure trip will be their opportunity and yours for hands-on exposure to exotic wildlife and nature, perhaps ancient civilizations, and distant cultures. Still, you want to come home to luxury at the end of the day: you might call it camping with a wine list…

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Linen Shirts: Rock the Wrinkles

Written by: Deb German

Double-Layer Shirt
Photo via orvis.com

I recall feeling I had truly arrived in grown-up shoes the day I opened my closet to survey a tidy row of creamy neutrals and pastels on wood hangers: linen shirts, dresses, slacks, blazers—they were all there, obediently waiting to do my bidding in the heat of a Southern summer. Not long before that day I stood in a close friend’s gracious Southern foyer speaking frankly about that very thing, coming of age in earnest, which seemed somehow to go hand in hand with never suffering fools gladly. Her benchmark, she quipped, was being able to look somebody in the eye and tell them a boldfaced lie without flinching, if it made her life as the parent of two young children easier. Hmmm. The acquisition of a linen wardrobe is maybe a tad less sinister and dramatic than telling lies, although her point was well taken at the time…

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Dog Collars, ID Tags, and Microchips, Oh My! How to Help Bring Home a Lost Dog

Written by: Deb German

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Teddy Blue and Maggie
Photo courtesy of Deb German

The reassuring jingle of tags on her dog collar is a joyous noise, music to your ears every time you walk through the door, as surely as the rattle of your keys in the lock is to hers. You’re a responsible person: you’ve made an effort to keep current ID tags on your dog’s cheerful collar. It’s even personalized with her name and your phone number (there’s a good human). And of course you had her microchipped when she was a puppy. Nobody needs to tell you there’s no place like home for a tail-wagging wanderer.

But you are a minority among humans according to recent statistics: only 33% of pet owners keep identification on their critters. Sadly, the return-to-owner rate (RTO) for a lost dog in particular is only about 10% to 30% in most places, worse still for cats. It’s a no-brainer: your dog needs some kind of ID on her. And if you are not doing this one small but important thing for her, why on earth not? Dog ID tags, a personalized dog collar, and the microchip: they are three inexpensive but important lines of defense against lost—and even stolen—dogs…

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Resort Clothing for Women: Crisp, Functional Fashion

Written by: Deb German

The wardrobe that vacations with you—a collection of garments otherwise known as resort wear—probably evokes some destination in your mind’s eye. For me it is always a particular East Coast getaway on a barrier island in the Deep South. But it could be a sun-kissed Mediterranean retreat in mid-winter, or a summertime camp in the Adirondacks, playground to Industrial Revolution-era magnates. Or maybe it’s not on terra firma at all, but aboard a small ship cruise destined for some exotic and delicious port of call (“cruise wear” goes with you on that one). It could be a sporting adventure or short weekend jaunt on the near horizon. Whatever your destination, resort wear is ready to go there with you.

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Chewers Gonna Chew: Dog Beds (and more) for the Problem Chewer

Written by: Deb German

Deep Dish ToughChew® Dog Bed
Photo via orvis.com

Your canine companion sees her dog bed as a big, plush chew toy (you stopped counting after the third replacement). Sure, it’s comfy for napping. But it’s also deliciously satisfying and a joy to shred.

I’ll see your dog bed and raise you a car: I once left my sweet adult Siberian Husky girl in the back of a brand new SUV to run into the market for ten minutes. I returned to find her swimming in a sea of blue foam chunks that had been the car’s back seat only moments earlier, a tongue-lolling grin on her face and tail all a-wag.

My dog ate my car. In ten minutes…

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WWII-Inspired Jackets: A Hero Comes Home

Written by: Deb German

“Hey, Dad,” I wondered during one of our recent cyber chats: “Did Granddaddy ever wear one of these leather jackets during the war?” I was referring to the one in the photo up there. His enthusiastic response was, “Yes, Dad had a flight jacket very similar to the heavy-duty one shown here, furry collar and all!” With gathering excitement, my next question came right on the heels of the first: “Do you still have the jacket?” The cyber silence was killing me…

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Checkered Past: A Brief History of the Madras Plaid Shirt

Written by: Deb German

Coastal Patch Madras Shirt
Photo via orvis.com

Seen neatly tucked into pressed khaki trousers while darting across the campus green, the plaid cotton madras shirt enjoyed widespread American popularity in the 1960s as requisite garb for a post-WWII generation of preppy baby boomers. But as early as the 1930s cotton madras clothing began to emerge stateside as a status symbol: first popular among American tourists who could afford pricey Caribbean vacations during the Great Depression, the madras shirt was a palpable and overt sign of affluence worn on the backs of returning Ivy Leaguers. Today it remains a wardrobe staple for the resort- and country club-bound, as much as it is regarded as distinctly peasant class in its native India. Spanning some 5000 years, the story of the summery cotton plaid madras shirt is the province of paupers, artisans, and royalty alike…

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Forget the Tired Tie: Fresh Gift Ideas for Men on Father’s Day

Written by: Deb German

Fence Post Ducks
Photo via orvis.com

He’s expecting it, you know, the tell-tale flat rectangular box done up with a bow. He’ll be gracious about it—he loves anything that comes from you. But Father’s Day is your chance to celebrate the life of an important man, someone who helped form you: imagine the possibilities. This year, think outside the (tie) box. Discover fresh gift ideas for men and surprise him with something unexpected on Father’s Day…

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Sunbrella Savvy: Caring for Your Outdoor Cushions

Written by: Deb German

Can you hear the familiar Porgy and Bess refrain? Summertime, and the livin’ is easy—at long last we’ve arrived there: delicious, lengthening days, high sun at high noon, and sun-kissed life outdoors. And with that come life’s big messes: oily sunscreen residue, splatters from granddad’s secret smoked chicken marinade, maybe electric blue Popsicle drippings or a little splash of deep crimson Malbec on the outdoor seat cushions. Ella did not include those words in her lyrics, but they’re proof positive you’re enjoying life.

You already know the Sunbrella® outdoor cushions you use on your garden or patio furniture are resilient: they’re adventure-ready, fade-resistant, willingly take a beating in the weather, and they’re no match for the triple threat: mold, mildew, and moisture. It’s why you bought them in the first place. But even the world’s most nearly-perfect outdoor seat cushion needs a little help now and then. Pull up your wicker chair and pay attention. But before we travel too far down the cushion care and maintenance road, keep three things…

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Reflective Dog Collars (for dogs who run with crazy humans before sunrise, not that I know anybody who has ever done that)

Written by: Deb German


Reflective Collar
Photo via orvis.com

For many, many years I was that person. An insatiable long-distance runner, my day started at 5 a.m. with at least one dog, often two, occasionally three, outside, running. Did I think about our visibility to passing motorists in the early-morning darkness? Incessantly. When you are running with your leashed dog, you can clearly see Spot run. But it can be difficult for others to spot…

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