Football Star Named Pet Parent of the Year

As we get closer to “the Big Game,” football takes center stage…but one special player has gotten a big paws up for his work OFF the field. Petplan pet insurance has named pro…

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Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Thank you Potatoes USA for sponsoring this post. Make a delicious and convenient meal for your family tonight with potatoes!

You guys hear me gush on a regular basis about how tacos are my favorite food, but there is actually another dish that has been at the top of my list since I was a kid: mashed potatoes. I mean, I genuinely start daydreaming about consuming buckets of them on Thanksgiving the minute Halloween ends, and over the years, I have played around with more versions of the standard mashed potato recipe than probably every other food combined. I’m not a mashed potato snob – give me a bowl of whatever kind you’ve whipped up, and I will eat it. But the dish I’m sharing with you guys today is my #1. On top of truly being one of the most delicious side dishes known to human kind, these parmesan mashed potatoes are incredibly easy to make. And there’s a special (very simple) hack that makes them the creamiest of the creamy. Read on for all the details.

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Prep Time: 20 minutes, Cook Time: 20 minutes, Ready Time: 40 minutes
Serves: 6-8  |  Author: Bubby and Bean

Parmesan mashed russet potatoes, simmered in milk, are a deliciously unique take on a beloved American side dish. Topped with shredded parmesan and chopped green onions, they’re a flavor-filled favorite that can be paired with almost any entree.

3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
3 cups whole milk
4 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 green onions, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1. Peel and cut russet potatoes into chunks, place into large pot, and cover with whole milk.
2. Simmer milk over medium low heat, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes or until tender. (Make sure the milk never comes to a full boil; just keep it at a low simmer.)
3. Add butter, 1/2 cup of the parmesan cheese, and a few dashes of salt and pepper, then hand mash until well combined to desired consistency. (We like ours a little chunky.)
4. Scoop potatoes into a serving bowl and top with remaining parmesan cheese, chopped green onion, and another dash of salt and pepper. Serve hot.

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes
Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

There are two things that make these mashed potatoes so exquisite. The first is an amazing hack I came across a couple of years ago where rather than boiling the potatoes in water, you simmer them in milk for an incredible level of creaminess. The other is the type of potatoes I use: russets. Russet Potatoes have a light, fluffy texture and delicious flavor that make for the perfect mashed potatoes every time. And while russets are my favorite for mashed, I adore all potatoes. I mean, they’re all sorts of convenient, and an important staple in this house. They’re also a culinary canvas you guys – you can use potatoes in endless types of recipes, from breakfast to side dishes to full on meals. And, who doesn’t love potatoes? There’s never a complaint when they’re part of a meal around here, and there aren’t a lot of foods for which I can say that. (If you’re a potato fan like me, you have to check out the Potato Goodness Facebook page. Endless yumminess, guys.)

Creamy Parmesan Mashed Potatoes

Any other mashed potato fanatics out there? What’s your favorite mashed potato recipe?

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of CLEVER and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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8 Tips For Caring For Winter Skin

Tracking Pixel

8 Tips For Caring For Winter Skin

Those of you who are regular readers/followers have likely heard me discuss my issues with dry skin before, especially during the winter. Recently, I shared some of the ways I care for the skin on my face this time of year. And today, I’m excited to be partnering with Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant to talk about caring for skin as a whole during the colder, drier months – beyond the face, to include the entire body. (I wish I could say that it was only my face that needed extra care in the winter, but every part of my body is affected. I’m sure many of you can relate!) In addition to sharing some of my own tips that I’ve learned through personal trial and error, I’m also going to share some simple but highly effective tips from Dove Dermatologist Dr. Alicia Barba.

1. Use a humidifier. I run a cool mist humidifier in my bedroom every single night in the winter months. It’s amazing what massive increase in the dryness and irritation level of my skin I noticed on those occasional nights where I forget to turn it on. Using it nightly results in much softer skin that isn’t itchy or irritated.

2. Care for your underarms. I admittedly never even thought about caring for the skin on my underarms until I read a tip from Dr. Barba, where she reminds us that the sensitive underarm skin is an important area that shouldn’t be overlooked. Everything from dry winter air to fabrics on winter clothing like sweaters can irritate the skin. She recommends Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant  to keep the underarms hydrated and protected. And I’m a huge fan of it too. I absolutely love that it gives me 48 hours of odor and wetness protection. But what makes Dove Advanced Care #1 in my book is its added skin care benefits. It has a unique formula that contains moisturizers to help prevent and alleviate irritation, so my underarms feel smoother and softer when I use it. (You can grab some of your own right here!)

3. Stick to warm showers. Hot water dries out skin, and quickly. Taking a cool to warm shower instead can help prevent excess skin dryness. This small change has actually made a huge difference for me.

4. Bring a little summer to winter – with sunscreen. Even if your summertime bikini and beach bag are hidden at the back of your closet this time of year, Dr. Barba suggests keeping your sunscreen out and readily available to use daily. She also recommends switching to a moisturizing sunscreen that is richer than what you’d use in the summer months.

5. Make a bedtime routine for your skin. Dr. Barba says that bedtime is the best time of day to hydrate skin. Her recommendation for decreasing collagen breakdown at bedtime is as follows: 1. Wash your face. 2. Apply a retinol. 3. Moisturize. Easy and effective!

6. Pay attention to elbows and heels. It only takes a week into the wintertime and my elbows and heels are instantly cracked. I apply a thick moisturizer or coconut oil to both of these areas every day while I’m getting ready, and immediately after every shower, which helps to soften my skin in these areas tremendously.

7. Drink plenty of water. Hydrating from the inside out is important when it comes to skincare, especially in the winter when the air is drier. I continually fill up my water bottle throughout the day to keep my entire body hydrated.

8. Avoid intense exfoliation. Another helpful tip from Dr. Barba is to lay off any sort of intense exfoliation in the winter. She says that when you over-exfoliate, it can actually dehydrate skin by stripping it of essential oils. This can also lead to breakouts during this cold, dry time of year.

Winter can be incredibly harsh on skin, but there are ways to guard against dryness and other issues so your skin feels as healthy and soft as it does in the warmer months. I hope these tips prove as useful to you as they have me. And I would love to hear tips of your own that I might have missed!

This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Dove Advanced Care Antiperspirant. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Do You Let Your Dog Lick Your Face?

Dog Licking Face

How do you feel about letting your dog lick you in the face (or elsewhere!)? It turns out there are many sides to the answer and expert opinions aside, people seem to embrace dog kiss as a welcome sign of affection.

This week on DOG TALK we replayed an “evergreen” show about whether you should allow your dog to lick your face. The cautionary tale about the practice of face licking created some controversy, both times around!

The interview grew out of a New York Times article quoting Dr. Nandi Neilanjan, who warned about the transmissible pathogens people can get from their dogs’ saliva, like worms, e. coli, and more.

Responses came rapid fire, with the first comment coming from a major voice in the field of animal wellness and behavior: Dr. Nick Dodman, the Tufts University Professor Emeritus, who until recent retirement had run the animal behavior department of Tufts veterinary school. He wrote immediately to take on Dr. Neilanjan’s theory. “She completely missed the fact that face licking by dogs increases your immunity to a number of infections,” Dr. Dodman said, “And besides, zoonoses are really rare.”

A devoted radio listener, Jill on Long Island, had this to say:

Oh please! I’m almost 58 years old and every square inch of me has been licked daily for most of those 58 years by a myriad of dogs and I’ve never had an issue.

I would agree that it’s best to be cautious if  you have an open wound, you shouldn’t let your dog lick it, but that’s about it. We’re becoming a society of germaphobes. Dog love does far more good than harm.”

Frankly, I posted the New York Times article and raised the subject on the air because I love to send out flares into cyberspace and see where they land. Shake everybody up a bit.  Personally, I have to admit to not really liking being licked, which is odd for a dog person. [But I would never let my dogs know that – and ruin their desire to connect with me?! Never! So lick they do, enthusiastically.

I’d love to know your thoughts if you’d like to write me:

Tracie HotchnerTracie Hotchner is a nationally acclaimed pet wellness advocate, who wrote THE DOG BIBLE: Everything Your Dog Wants You to Know and THE CAT BIBLE: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know. She is recognized as the premiere voice for pets and their people on pet talk radio. She continues to produce and host her own Gracie® Award winning NPR show DOG TALK®  (and Kitties, Too!) from Peconic Public Broadcasting in the Hamptons after 9 consecutive years and over 500 shows. She produced and hosted her own live, call-in show CAT CHAT® on the Martha Stewart channel of Sirius/XM for over 7 years until the channel was canceled, when Tracie created her own Radio Pet Lady Network where she produces and co-hosts CAT CHAT® along with 10 other pet talk radio podcasts with top veterinarians and pet experts.

Dog Film Festival - Tracie HotchnerTracie also is the Founder and Director of the annual NY Dog Film Festival, a philanthropic celebration of the love between dogs and their people. Short canine-themed documentary, animated and narrative films from around the world create a shared audience experience that inspires, educates and entertains. With a New York City premiere every October, the Festival then travels around the country, partnering in each location with an outstanding animal welfare organization that brings adoptable dogs to the theater and receives half the proceeds of the ticket sales. Halo was a Founding Sponsor in 2015 and donated 10,000 meals to the beneficiary shelters in every destination around the country in 2016.

Tracie lives in Bennington, Vermont – where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based – and where her 12 acres are well-used by her 2-girl pack of lovely, lively rescued Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda.

Halo Pets

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My 6 Healthy (and Easy!) Lifestyle Changes for 2018

This post is in partnership with Crest, but all opinions are my own.

Before I begin this post, I want to come right out and say that I am not a fan of making New Year’s resolutions for myself. For years, I would feel immense pressure to come up with resolutions that were focused on changes that required big commitments (permanently give up all sugar, work out for an hour every single day, meditate for an hour daily, etc.), each of which fell apart quickly and left me feeling disappointed and guilty. I noticed a pattern with my resolutions – they were almost always health-based (which is great!) but they didn’t translate into sustainable lifestyle changes (which kind of defeats the purpose). Eventually, I let the concept of resolutions go all together, but this year, I wanted to revisit them in a different way. So on January 1st (my birthday), I wrote down attainable changes I wanted to make with a whole person lifestyle approach (body, mind, and spirit) in 2018. I then broke them down into small, concrete daily tasks that, together, could (hopefully!) make a profound difference. And today, I’m sharing them with you.

1. Eat an apple a day. This change is more metaphorical than anything else, but building on the old aphorism “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” I am eating one healthy fruit or vegetable every single day, no matter what. Obviously, the ultimate goal here is to eat lots of whole, nutritious foods everyday – but by focusing on eating one piece of fruit or a veggie, I can avoid excuses (“I don’t have time to make anything today” or “I’m on the go all day so I have to grab something fast/easy like a packaged bar”) and just make it happen.

2. Drink a (reusable, of course) bottle of water a day. I’m actually pretty good about drinking water, but I’m not consistent about it. I might go for weeks where I refill and consume my water bottle a dozen times a day, and then go for a week or two (especially in times when I’m busy like the holidays or our move into a new home last week) where I approach dehydration because I genuinely forget to drink anything all day. This year, I am committing to drink one bottle every day, no matter what. While I plan to drink much more than that, drinking one bottle is easy to remember no matter how frazzled I am.

3. Cook 3 dinners a week at home. I’ll admit it guys, I am a take-out queen. My years of city living pre-kids created a bad habit revolved around take-out menus, and I’ve never been able to let it go. I enjoy making creative snacks, but when it comes to meals, the time and effort involved often feels overwhelming. I’ve also never been good at shopping for staples or meal prepping, and therefore tend to spend more money on groceries to prepare meals than on just ordering out. That said, it isn’t a secret that cooking meals at home is the healthier way to go, so I am committing to making 3 dinners a week in my kitchen. Ultimately I’d love for that to progress to 6 dinners a week, but we’re focusing on small, easy changes here – so for now, 3 it is.

4. Take care of my mouth by taking care of my gums. I’ve always been good about brushing and flossing my teeth, but this year, I decided I wanted to take things further and focus on my gums as well – something that I feel is an important part of the whole body/person changes I’m making. As soon as I learned about the recent launch of new Crest® Gum Detoxify TM toothpaste, I grabbed some, and it was such an easy think to add to my daily routine for 2018. I really love how it is specially formulated with Activated Foam technology that reaches below the gum line (an area that even we champion brushers wouldn’t be able to reach!). Pretty great right? I’m personally loving the Deep Clean variety, but Crest® Gum DetoxifyTM toothpaste is also available in Extra Fresh, Gentle Whitening, Two-Step, and is available in drugstores, mass retailers and eCommerce sites nationwide, starting this month.

5. Practice 5 minutes of mindfulness a day. A little over a decade ago, I spent 3 years living and volunteering at a Tibetan Buddhist Center where meditation sessions were at my fingertips. I remember feeling an incredible sense of calm and peace, being able to walk next door and take part in them. These days, I live in a regular old house in the suburbs and have two young children, and my attempts at daily meditation have proven close to impossible. This is honestly one of the things I end up feeling guiltiest about not being able to complete, because I know what a difference it makes in my overall health and mental state. So in 2018, I am committing to 5 minutes of mindfulness every day, either first thing in the morning or before I go to bed. The concept of mindfulness is more realistic for me than actual meditation (although when I can make time for it, I absolutely do that as well), because it just involves being present and observing your thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, environment, etc., and can be done almost anywhere. I have really been enjoying this, and even with my commitment to 5 minutes, am already feeling a positive change.

6. Set aside 30 minutes a day of family time. The last 2+ months of 2017 really burned me out, and I barely saw my husband or kids. Because Robbie was mostly on break from the band’s tour schedule and could care for our little ones, I worked 60-80 hour weeks. I needed to do this to help support my family for the first few months of this year when Robbie would be gone often, but looking back, there could have been healthier ways to approach my schedule. I truly believe that spending quality time with loved ones is the most important thing you can do for your emotional well being, so in 2018, I am setting aside at least 30 minutes a day, every single day, to focus 100% on my family, in ways where we can just enjoy each other’s company without distractions.

It’s still early in the year, I know, but so far, these smaller lifestyle changes are working. My fingers are crossed that they continue to be successful throughout the year and beyond!

Are you a resolution person, or do small, simple daily changes work better for you? What changes are you working to make in 2018?


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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What happens when the Bloodhound gets lost?

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Greenhouse, Icehouse and Snowball…the history of ice

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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John Guille Millais’s retriever named Jet



A few months ago, I wrote about how Sir Everett Millais created the modern basset hound when the inbred strains of Norman basset that were being bred in England were crossed with a bloodhound.

Sir Everett Millais was a dog show person. He was obsessed with developing the basset hound as we know it today, and as a judge, he was adamant about the newly developing English strains of dachshund take more after the hound component of their heritage than the “terrier” component.

Everett was the son of Sir John Everett Millais, a noted painter from a prominent Jersey family, and most “dog people” generally know only about his eldest son. The story of the cross between the Norman basset and the bloodhound well-documented breed lore, and much of our understanding of the dachshund in English-speaking countries comes from his work in founding that breed in England.

But of this particular Millais family, there was another son who had an interest in dogs. The youngest son of Sir John Everett Millais was John Guille Millais, an author, a painter, and naturalist of some note. I once wrote about his account of sheep-killing “Labrador dogs” in Newfoundland.

I paid almost no attention this author, other than I noted he was the younger brother of Sir Everett.  I searched around for more information about John Guille, but I got bored. I made a mental note of his name and then largely forgot about him.

A few years ago I came across a book written by John Guille.  It was called The Wildfowler in Scotland, which was published in 1901.  The book is ostensibly a how-to manual on shooting water and seabirds in Scotland, but it also includes accounts of his favorite retriever. Her name was Jet, and she was nothing like the celebrated show dogs of his brother:

“In my early days of shore shooting I was fortunate enough to procure a dog which eventually turned out to be (so far as my experience goes) the very best that ever stood on four legs. ‘Jet,’ for that was her name, was but a pup of ten months—a smooth-coated retriever of a most gentle and affectionate disposition, and quite unbroken—when I bought her of an innkeeper in Perth. She was the keenest and best nosed dog I have ever seen—too keen, as I found at first, and constantly running-in; but eventually she settled down and became almost human in her intelligence.

Every man becomes sentimental about something, and if I say too much here about dear old ‘Jet,’ who was my constant companion for sixteen years, the reader must forgive me. Many are the tales I could tell of her prowess; but I will confine myself to a few instances of her indomitable perseverance and pluck as a swimmer. One trick I mention as interesting, for she acquired it through her own cunning. Every shooter knows that while directing his eyes to the front or flank, as he naturally does while walking along the coast, birds often come up from behind, and before he can observe them, sheer off out of shot.  ‘Jet,’ however, was quite up to this.  As she trotted along behind me, she constantly glanced back over her shoulder, and if she saw anything coming, she would at once run in front of me, gazing alternatively at myself and the fowl in an inquiring manner,  thereby giving the chance of obtaining something desirable. There was no sea, however thunderous–even the great winter breakers of the North Atlantic– that she would not face, if I asked her to fetch some fallen treasure.

When the seas were unusually heavy, she betrayed a most remarkable instinct in preserving herself from being dashed from the rocks.  Instead of plunging into the mass of water, as a breaker surged towards her, she would allow herself to be carried out on the wash of the receding rush in time to meet the next huge wave and top it just as about to fall with a force that would have knocked her senseless had it broken upon her. More than once in a heavy sea she was not quick enough in this exploit, and paid smartly for her daring.  An instance occurred one day in the winter when I was lying among rocks near the Black Craig, Orkney Isles,  during one of those big westerly gales when Arctic gulls and Eiders come along the shore.  I had been watching them for some days previously, and whilst this gale was it height, a male eider came by, at which I fired.  The bird was hard hit, and made it out to sea, but had not gone 50 yards when it fell dead among the breakers.  As the sea was wild in the extreme, and I knew the bird would soon be blown ashore, I never thought of sending my dog after it; but ‘Jet’ who was pottering about in the rocks at a short distance, unfortunately had her eye also on the eider, and seeing it fall, at once made for it, in spite of all my efforts to stop her, all my shouting drowned by the roar of the ocean.  I could only stand and admire her pluck as she fought through the first two breakers. Now those who have lived much by the sea have noticed that those heavy breakers always travel over the face of the ocean in threes.  The third did for ‘Jet’ as she was trying to raise herself and look about for the bird. It completely broke over her, and I felt a chill go to my heart as, the next moment, I saw her body floating helplessly admidst the rush of seething waters.” (pg 45-47).

Jet eventually washed up on the shore, alive but severely draggled. Millais carried her home two miles, and although modern retriever people would have her much more steady to shot, this tale is a story of her pluck and drive.

In the Tay Estuary,  Millais once shot a brent goose (“brant” goose for North Americans), but left the bird only slightly pinioned. Jet took off after the bird in the water, but the bird was a much faster swimmer than the dog.  The dog pursued the goose a great distance from the shore, and Millais estimated that he ran three miles trying to call her back in:

“I began to lose all hope of ever seeing my dear doggie again. However, by the merest chance, there happened that afternoon to be an old fellow collecting bait in a spot where never before or since have I seen a man so employed. We at once asked his help, but in vain. ‘Na, na,’ he said, ‘A ken fine yon spring tide; a few meenutes to get there and a’ day to get back.’ Bribery and persuasion having alike failed, I told the old chap that as I had no intention of seeing my dog drowned I should take his boat whether he liked it or not. That he did not like it was clear from his reply; but a glance at my beaming friend convinced him that resistance would be useless, so he sullenly assisted us to launch his coble.

It took about ten minutes to run out to ‘Jet’ and her quarry, and when the latter was promptly dispatched the staunch dog fetched it to the boat, obviously proud of her accomplishment. Poor old girl, she little knew how near death she had been! Without the help that only by good luck we were able to render, she would have gone on another mile or two; then, feeling tired, would have tried in vain to make headway back’ to the shore. It took us about four and a half hours to make the coast again in that angry sea.

At all sorts of shooting, whether grouse driving, covert shooting, or wildfowling, ‘Jet’ was equally reliable; and having constant practice throughout the shooting season, she became as good a retriever as the most exacting sportsman could desire. At flight shooting she was simply perfection, and seemed, like her master, to take special delight in sitting at twilight waiting for the black forms and whistling pinions of the approaching duck. On ‘coarse’ nights, when duck flying by are seen almost as soon as they are heard, a dog is seldom quicker than a man in catching sight of them; but on still, fine nights, when the moon rises early, and the birds can be heard approaching from a distance, a good dog will always see them before the shooter, and will indicate by his motions the precise direction from which they are coming. ‘Jet’ was very good at this, almost invariably rising from her sitting posture, stiffening herself in pointer fashion, and whining if she thought I was not paying sufficient attention to her suggestions. Frequently, too, in an evening, when the wind is not too strong, many trips of birds will come down wind, from behind the shooter, and on these occasions ‘Jet’s’ sharp ears have often helped me to a shot that I should otherwise have lost from lack of time to change my position.

And now good-bye, old ‘Jet,’ fondest and faithfullest of companions! Stone deaf, and stiff with rheumatism, she quietly lay down and died, in 1897, and I can hardly hope to ever see her like again (pg. 49-50).

Jet was a poorly trained animal by our standards today, but she had lots of drive and intelligence that could have been crafted into a fine working animal.  Her longevity is something that many retriever people would like to see again. In no breed of retriever do dogs routinely reach those great ages now.

Jet was not purebred by any stretch. She was a “collie-and-smooth-coated-retriever mongrel.” From her photo in Wildfowler, she looked very much like a small flat-coated retriever, so the “smooth coat” in her breed description like refers to her being a cross between some form of collie and what became the flat-coated retriever. She had definite feathering, and if she had been a cross with a collie and the dogs that became the Labrador retriever, she would have been without feathering. The flash of white on her muzzle might point to her collie ancestry, but she would have been very typical of the retrievers that Millais and other sporting young men at the time would have had.

John Guille Millais recommended crosses between “the curly and the waving retrievers. As a general rule a curly coat denotes strength, intelligence, and a relish for the hard and coarse work of the water; whilst the wavy-coated dogs are more amenable to discipline, and gifted. with a softness of mouth and sweetness of disposition not to be found in any other of the canine species” (pg. 44).

John Guille was ultimately going against his brother’s aesthetic. His favorite dogs are retrievers bred for work:

“In selecting a pup for wildfowling work the shooter cannot be too careful in his inquiries as to the cleverness, mouth, taste for the water, and other characteristics of the mother. Where possible, he should ascertain this for himself, as the mental capacity and proclivities of the mother are generally transmitted to the pups. I think am correct in saying that a dog gets from her most of his abilities—good, bad, or indifferent; while his external form is due rather to his father. Good bench qualities will, of course, add to his value, as affording more pleasure to the eye, but otherwise, they are of no importance (pg 44).

John Guille Millais would eventually become a major force in conservation.  He was a co-founder of what became Fauna & Flora International, and his travels in North America, Europe, and Africa brought him into contact with many wild things. He wrote of his experiences in those regions, but he also wrote tomes of natural history, including books on magnolias and rhododendrons.  He wrote about deer species and deer hunting, and he often returned to the subject of wing-shooting and the natural history of game birds and waterfowl.

Like so many young men of his class, he came to natural history with the gun in his hand and a retriever at his heels. It was around the same time that Jet came into his life that John Guille and his father met the ornithologist John Gould.  That meeting laid the eggs of a passion that would drive the young man out onto the windswept coasts with his little black retriever. (It also became the inspiration for Sir John Everett Millais’s painting The Ruling Passion.)

John Guille Millais, at least when it came to dogs, was a bit of rebel compared to his brother. Everett Millais was a doyen among the dog show set. He was more interested in producing dogs that could be judged and discussed in lavish sitting rooms. John Guille was more interested in the wilder working dogs, the ones with rugged coats and lots of pluck and courage.

I am so glad that John Guille Millais was able to have this connection with Jet. She was a wonderful creature, the very sort of dog that burns your psyche deeply, the kind that visits you in dreams and leaves the memories waxing rheumy.



Natural History

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San Francisco hotel features Canine Operating Officer

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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A Look Back at 2017 + Thoughts on the Upcoming Year

A Space Themed First Birthday Party (Bubby and Bean)

Happy 2018, friends! Welcome to our very first post of the year.

I’ve admittedly never been big on the whole new year thing. I don’t make resolutions, I’m usually a little sad because January starts Robbie’s busy season for being on the road, and since New Year’s Day is also my birthday, I’m usually a little meh in general – because try as I might to be a super empowered bad ass lady who truly believes age is just a number, I’m also old enough where, ya know, turning a year older just doesn’t feel all that great.

All of that said, something about this new year feels different – like a fresh start. Maybe it’s because we move into our new house – and our first official owned home, ever – tomorrow (!!!). Maybe it’s because this holiday season was my most successful as an entrepreneur in many years, and something inside of me is hopeful that this year is going to continue that way (so real life things like bills won’t feel quite so stressful as in years past). Maybe it’s because both 2016 and 2017 were pretty crappy – for much of the world, it seems. Or maybe I just have a different attitude in general. Whatever the reason, I have a lot of faith in 2018. I really do.

And now onto this post and Bubby and Bean! These annual roundups are some of my favorite posts to put together each year. Taking the time to go back and read through the blog for the entire previous year, then select my favorite posts to share, month by month, is almost therapeutic. Sometimes in the day to day I’m so busy with deadlines and projects, and, as work at home mom trying to squeeze it all in when the kids are napping or at school or asleep, that I forget how much I genuinely love what I do. (Side note: I never know how to answer people who ask me what I do for a living. I always feel weird using the word influencer, but blogger feels dated since so much of what I do goes beyond blogging; so I usually say content creator. And people look at me like, ummm? It’s kind of funny.) Any way, even though the vast majority of this job is emails and forms and contracts and applications and negotiations and bookkeeping and a whole lot of social media work (in other worlds, things that aren’t my forte), being able to be creative on some level everyday through writing and photography and other random creative projects is incredibly fulfilling. Being able to share small pieces of my world, and learning more about others’ worlds while I’m at it, is also pretty cool.

Anyway, here we go!

Starting with the top image: In January, I shared Emmett’s spaced themed first birthday party.

Guacamole and Black Bean Pizza (via Bubby and Bean)

This delicious (and super easy) guacamole and black bean pizza was another popular post last January.

One Week Without Sugar

I gave up sugar for a week in February and wrote a little blurb about it here, with the full piece on Prevention Magazine.

Vegan, Plant-Based Nachos, 3 Ways

I ate a lot of plant based foods in 2017. These vegan nachos, prepared in 3 different ways, were one of my favorite snacks.

Salsa Verde, Avocado, + Spinach Quesadillas

And speaking of Mexican inspired food, I shared these St. Patrick’s Day quesadillas in March, which, while not plant based like the nachos, were also a favorite snack last year.

The 15 BEST Items to Get at Trader Joe's

This post from April, on the 15 items I buy most at Trader Joe’s, was one of the most read and shared of 2017.

My little lady and I unintentionally dressed alike and frolicked in the desert during our trip to Arizona in April.

10 Anti-Aging Beauty Hacks

This post on anti-aging hacks I do everyday was also one of our most read posts of the year.

Mango Lemon Prosecco Cocktails with Blueberries

In May, I shared these mango lemon prosecco cocktails (which I drank all summer long),

Our Mama Daughter Bond (+ a $  100 Minnetonka Gift Card Giveaway!)

Also in May, in honor of Mother’s Day, I shared some thoughts on E’s and my mama daughter bond (in our cute matching sandals).

8 Creative Uses for Baby Bubble Bath

I had fun putting together this post on 8 creative uses for bubble bath in June.

DIY Personalized Sofia the First Amulet Necklace

We had so much fun putting together these DIY Sofia the First amulet necklaces.

Jasmine Rice, Lentil, and Red Quinoa Tacos

In July I shared the recipe for one of my favorite summer meals, jasmine rice, red lentil, and quinoa tacos.

Our Perfectly Imperfect Mickey Mouse Pancakes

Also in July we shared our tradition of making Mickey Mouse pancakes as a family. So fun.

We spent the day at the zoo in August, and I talked about finding new ways to encourage outdoor play.

How To Put Together A Self Care Package

In September I put together a self care package for my sister (and Essley and I baked some really yummy cookies to put inside).

Also in September, I talked about my attempts at dressing sustainably without sacrificing style.

My Toddler Breast Feeding Journey

I got personal and shared my toddler breastfeeding journey in October.

We had fun decorating our mantel and fireplace area for Halloween.

How To Make You Own Play Dough | Bubby and Bean

We made homemade play dough (and put together our first ever hands only video!).

Family Halloween Costume Ideas

I had to share our unintentionally matching Halloween costumes, of course.

Almond Butter Maple Oatmeal

In November, I made my own nut butter and shared this recipe for almond butter maple oatmeal.

Our Family Dance Parties (& Why Music Is Important To Us)

This post from November on our family dance parties and why music is important to us was our most read of the month.

A Beautiful (and Incredibly Easy) Holiday Snack Spread

In early December, I had way more fun than I probably should have putting together this beautiful but super easy holiday snack spread. (Hey, I love snacks, and if they’re pretty snacks, I’m smitten.)

Being An Older Mom: Stereotypes, Compliments, and Why I Feel Empowered

And finally, this post from December on being an older mom was my favorite post to write in 2017.

This will be my eighth year (!) running Bubby and Bean, and boy has blogging changed a lot (like, a lot) along the way, but I’m at a good place with it. I like where things are now, and even though I worked an insane amount of hours the last couple of months of 2017, it’s nice to feel in a groove. That said, I do think some things will be different around here in the upcoming year. For one, as Essley and Emmett get older, I will likely be sharing less and less of them online. I keep 99% of our lives private already, but that 1% might not be fun for them as they get into grade school and learn to use the internet themselves. And until they can express their own opinions about being a part of the blog and my Instagram, I feel more and more of a pull to be cautious. I may write an entire post devoted to this later this month. Stay tuned. I’d also like to take more social media breaks in general this year. This one is tough because social media is a huge part of my job; but it can also be a soul sucker. I took an unintentional week long break from Instagram due to sick kids and other unforeseen circumstances, and it really forced me to realize how much better I feel when I am living in the present, in reality. Overall, I’m excited to see what 2018 brings for Bubby and Bean! Thank you, as always, for supporting us. You are the best readers in the world.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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