Shih Tzu Care Tips

Shih tzu’s are good-natured and easy to train, making them great family pets. But caring for a Shih tzu can be time consuming because they require a lot of grooming.

A major part of Shih tzu care is proper grooming which will begin as soon as you bring your new dog home. Their thick, double-coated hair can be grown long, …
Dog’ Blog

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Fido + Fluffy’s Freebie Friday Kicks Off the Birthday Club

This week we kicked off our new PawZaar Birthday Club–and we’ve already welcomed our first birthday boy, super cute Buster, above! “Buster is a Boston Terrier with some unique…

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5 Tips for Clean Eating On Little Time

5 Tips for Clean Eating On Little Time

This post was sponsored by Eat Smart as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

I’ve posted before about my (admittedly on again, off again) clean eating journey – from my first experience with a week with zero sugar to my three month strict clean eating challenge. And while part of me wishes I could devote much more of my life to a hardcore clean eating regimen for both myself and my family, the truth is that I genuinely don’t have the time. Between the kids’ extracurricular activities, Essley’s school, Robbie’s work schedule on the road with the band, my own work schedule, my own activities, and just being a mom to two very young (and rambunctious) children, I started to find myself repeatedly failing on keeping up with my clean eating/recipe making attempts, and giving up completely as a result. A couple of months ago, I decided that I was going to embrace the fact that while I just don’t have a lot of extra time right now, I could absolutely find small ways to incorporate clean eating into my family’s life. And I did! Today, I’m sharing some of these tips, in hopes that they help those of you in similar situations.

1. Drink daily smoothies. This is such an easy way to use up whatever you have on hand in terms of produce, nuts, etc., and create a yummy, nutritious, on-the-go snack. We drink them everyday! It’s such a simple way to get nutrients we all need that only takes five minutes.

2. Prep meals in advance for the week. I’m not a good meal prep-er by nature, but I am learning. I have so many friends who set aside one day a week (usually Sundays) and use healthy foods to prepare an entire week’s worth of meals. This saves a lot of time in the long run, and prevents you from being tempted to eat junk food or make a fast food run because you’re out of time for dinner.

3. Commit to one clean meal a day. If you’re not ready to devote yourself entirely to clean eating, or (like me) you know that you realistically don’t have time to prepare three clean meals a day, make the commitment to one. It’s an easy way to know that you (and your family, if you’re cooking for them) is consuming at least some foods that are genuinely good for the body. And it’s hard to make excuses when you know you just have to do it once a day! (I also find that when the pressure is off, I’m more likely to make it more than one meal a day. It’s funny how that works.)

4. Eat out – at healthy restaurants. We like to go out to dinner every couple of weeks, because it gives us a break from cooking, and if we’re already out for the kids’ activities, it saves time. There are endless options for unhealthy meals at most restaurants, so we opt for restaurants that we know specifically have mostly fresh, local choices on their menus.

5. Serve Eat Smart Sweet Kale Salad Kits. This is my secret weapon! I keep at least three of these on hand at all times to serve either as meals on their own (see #3 above!) or as a guaranteed clean sides to larger meals I’m preparing. These babies are so delicious (even Essley, who try as I might isn’t a fan of most greens, loves them), really good for you (with seven superfoods!), and ridiculously simple to prepare, as you can see throughout the photos in this post. I just open the package and remove the packets that contains the roasted pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries, and the poppyseed dressing. I pour the contents (kale, green cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and chicory) into a bowl, open the packets of seeds/cranberries and dressing, and mix it all up. Then we eat it. That’s it. And every single one of us devours them. It’s really nice to know that my family is all enjoying the same dish (which is a rarity), and that they’re eating clean, thanks to Eat Smart‘s 100% Clean Label. There are no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives of any kind, it’s vegetarian and gluten free, and it contains some of the healthiest ingredients you can put into your body. And it’s not available in Walmart stores nationwide, so if you’re looking for a clean eating staple that takes less than a minute to prepare, I highly recommend trying it out!

We’re actually fans of the whole Eat Smart line. It’s the first of its category to commit to all clean ingredients and labeling. In fact, all of its products will contain a “100% Clean Label” by the end of 2018. Pretty cool, right? Click here to check out the brand and all of the products they offer (and be sure to sign up for their mailing list!).

I hope these tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way are helpful for those of you trying to eat cleaner meals but feel pressed for time. I promise you, even if it seems overwhelming, there are small things you can do that will up the nutrition scale for you and your family. And if you have any tips, I’d love to hear them!


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Is this the first step toward world domination?

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Do You Use Baby Talk With Your Dog?

Do you use baby talk for your dog?

Do you think your dog likes hearing baby talk from you? Do you enjoy having that special communication style? Are you as surprised as I am by French researchers telling us we’re wasting our time on doggy baby talk?!

I read a fun article on Gizmo recently about a scientific study in France that showed puppies responded to “baby talk” but that grown dogs didn’t react to people using that different pattern of speech. Many people use “baby talk” (which is definbed as “variations in pitch, slower and clearer speech patterns) with human babies, and some of us use it with our dogs, too! But should we change our ways?

Researchers in France wanted to measure whether what they refer to as “infant-directed speech” is more effective than normal human-directed speech in getting a dog’s attention and influencing his behavior.

Recordings of people using “dog directed” speech to say phrases like “Who’s a good boy?” “Good girl!” “Come, Sweetie!” were played over a loud speaker in a room without a person in it. Over 40 dogs of various ages and breeds were watched. Puppies reacted quickly to the dog-directed speech and ignored phrases spoken with normal speech patterns

The results, which have been accepted for publication in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, concluded that puppies respond positively to baby talk, while adult and older dogs showed no interest in it.

Really? My girls sure do! Especially when I’m alone with my pooches, Maisie and Wanda just love it when I “talk funny” to them – and react more enthusiastically than if I use an everyday tone of voice, which they’ve learned is rarely directed at them.

So what do you think: are those researchers wrong about how our dogs really feel about “doggy talk?”


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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Just One of Those Days (+ Taking A Little Break)

I fully intended on having a fantastic post prepared for you guys today, but instead I’m just going to get real and admit that after all of the traveling we’ve done the last few weeks, a trip we’re leaving for today (which you might have read about here; ya know, the one that I, for months, thought was next week), a pretty big work load for me with partnerships for here and on Instagram and my freelance stuff, the zillion activities the kids are in right now, and just life in general, I can’t seem to get my sh*t together today. I have some really great posts coming up in the next couple of weeks, but today just felt so overwhelming that I didn’t feel like “wasting” them. That sounds really negative, and I’m honestly not feeling negative at all. I mean really, I’m pretty lucky that I have the option of saying “I don’t feel like doing my job today.” And I’m really looking forward to our trip (which we’re taking with my late stepdad’s big, wonderful family, in his honor), despite the fact that I got the weeks mixed up and have been frantic. And right before we leave today, Emmet has his annual developmental therapy assessment for his epilepsy and I just have a great feeling he’s going to be assessed as even better than great. I am grateful everyday for my life and my family and my work. But yeah, today I just needed to write an old-school-blog style post where I’m just talking to you all like we’re having coffee (or better yet, a margarita) at some really great outdoor cafe, and not sugar coating how I’m feeling. Ya know?

I’ll leave you with that, and the grainy but beloved photo above, which is from when we went to Door County with my stepdad and his family back in 2015. (Emmett is the age now that Essley was then. Weird.) I’m going to take a few day break from the blog, but we’ll be back here next Tuesday, with a much more inspired post. And you can always follow along with our trip (which includes a 6+ hour car ride with my children) here. Happy early weekend, friends. May you get a little break too.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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All tied up

This dog was tied up in a Naples street – so we said ‘hello’ to each other.  Hopefully his owner didn’t leave him tied up for too long. 

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Do we have a Lizard Brain award winner?

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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In Bestia

The boys and I are back from a brief jaunt down to Texas to support the Puppy Up walk in the Woodlands and for a short visit with my family.  Quite happy to be back as I have missed my friend.  Crap, I still haven’t named him.  Um let’s go with…
I know some of you are saying, he’s talking about himself again – why does he do that?  And where’s the cancer blog? Like any capable contestant, I’ll take the second part first.  Trying to reduce, distill and refine all that I have learned over a decade of  travels in a few mere blogs is not only dreadfully difficult, it’s daunting, too, and on this I want to get it right.  Or mostly right which is more kin to my nature.  
In the past, there have been blogs I’ve powered through in just a few minutes with a fire and forget mentality.  Others haven taken days and even weeks for a paragraph or less.  And that’s not to mention that for every blog I publish, there are at least ten I don’t.  
But if it’s a sneak peak you want then I’ll give you a little taste of part 1:  Cancer is You.  You are Cancer.  From just the title alone perhaps you can estimate the enormity of the undertaking now.
Next, I used to get irritated by people – and there have been many – who want me to remove myself entirely from this story and stick to topic whatever that means.  Not only is that an odd request since it was me – ex animo – who created all of this – but I rather think I matter.  And I’m far from being done.  But as The Dude would say, that’s, like, only my opinion, man (Heads up for the F Bomb).  
Besides as I hinted at in the previous two blogs, all of these ‘distracting little posts’ about me are going somewhere and I suggest now would be the time to start paying attention if’n you want to begin this stretch of the journey alongside me.    
That’s what I’ll call my friend!  Sounds a little pretentious and overly caricatured, too, but I’ll stick with it. Anyway back to the beginning – it’s good to see him again and we have continued our work together and this is what I wanted to share with you.  It’s important to note that I’m merely a student at this point but it’s pretty powerful stuff.  Especially altered states which I intend on speaking separately about.  
Whilst down at my folks house I came across an old photo album – actually I sought it out.  In part to retrace the tracks of my life and for another reason that will soon become evident.  And in it I discovered the above photo of a half naked me facing a bull cross fence at Big Momma’s house (that’s what we called my 80 lb grandmother cause man could she wield a skillet like a battle axe).  What struck me, other than how large my bollocks must’ve been but also how at peace I seem.  Maybe it was two beasts regarding each other and that’s why I was unafraid and perhaps even comforted by his presence.

I never have taken a liking to the term ‘beast’ or what I sense is its social nuance.  Its implication is negative and connotations derogatory.  To me it means true to ones nature; it is base, fundamental and instinctive.  From my research the etymology of the word remains unclear however, the root of ‘animal’ is Latin meaning breath or spirit. I suppose the distinction between the two words ‘beast’ and ‘animal’ is essence versus being but I’ll leave that one up to the scholarly sorts who have a ton of disposable time.  

To me and for now, they are synonymous.  I am reminded of a story I once read of a boy who, all alone and lost in the woods, becomes a beast to protect himself from the perils of the night and fight his way to safety.  But upon emerging from the forest unscathed the boy learns that he cannot unbecome.

So what’s the point of all of this?  What’s the purpose?  Somewhere along my journey I stopped asking the fundamental questions that preoccupied my youth.  Like tears in rain they became lost in life’s torrent of distractions, inanities and wasteful activities.

Renwick has helped me find who I am again and to truly know it for the first time.  I am a beast of a man.

What’s next – it’s damn time I learn how to train it.


YBD’s Notes:  Interestingly in writing this blog I came across a Latin phrase of unknown origin –  cum vir se bestiam facitrelinquit dolorem humanitatis which means, ‘When a man makes himself a beast, he leaves behind the pain of humanity’.  Perhaps true.  Perhaps humanity is the problem. 

2 Dogs 2000 Miles

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Back from the Beach!

We are back from a quick, one-night trip to the coast with Irie and Tiki! We usually go to the beach for several days but this was an unusual circumstance. We needed to visit a nursing home about an…

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