My Outdoor Yoga Must Haves (+ A Cottonelle Stylist Kit GIVEAWAY!)

Yesterday I told you guys about my clean eating plan for the month of May, and I mentioned that I was also working out six days a week as part of it. I’m not going to pretend I’m some fitness queen who lives to exercise. I’m not even going to tell you I enjoy it, because aside from the wonderful endorphins that follow a workout, there is little I detest more than killing my butt and abs for a half hour straight, or, even worse, subjecting myself to cardio. There is one exception, however – and that is yoga. I’ve been doing yoga on and off since I was a teenager, and while I admittedly have had many periods of time where I’ve abandoned it, I’ve always genuinely liked it. And summertime is my very favorite time to practice, because I can do it outside. Now most of the time, even in the summer, when I’m doing yoga it’s in my living room. (I have two very small children. It’s much easier to contain them while I’m working out when it’s not in the middle of a field.) But those times when I can get outside and do it, whether by myself or in a class, are absolutely blissful.

I’ve shared some of my yoga gear essentials here in the past, but outdoor yoga requires a few changes. So today I thought I’d share my yoga must-haves for practicing outside during the warmer months.

1. A Thicker Yoga Mat. When you’re practicing yoga outside, it’s usually on the grass. Even if you’re on the flattest of surfaces, it’s usually still not designed for yoga practice like inside a studio. I’ve found that a thicker yoga mat works best for me outside. A regular mat is 3mm. I use a 5mm mat for outdoor practice.

2. Cropped Yoga Pants and a Sports Bra. I don’t have much in the way of fancy or expensive yoga clothing. When I’m practicing inside, I usually wear leggings and a fitted tee. When I’m outside and I know I’m going to get hot more easily, I tend to go for cropped leggings and a sports bra or cropped tank. It works perfectly for me and it’s really all I need.

3. Hair Ties. If I’m going to be doing yoga outside, I put my hair up in a top knot and I also bring several extra hair ties with me just in case. Nothing feels worse to me when I’m trying to stay focused than sticky hair on my neck. Nope.

3. A Reusable Water Bottle. Maybe having a water bottle on hand while you’re doing yoga or working out seems like a given, but it’s even more important to stay hydrated if you’re going to be outside in the sun. Most parks have drinking fountains where you can keep them filled during your practice.

5.  Cottonelle® CleanRipple Products. While practicing yoga outside can be such an incredible experience, the downside is the you tend to get sweatier than usual. And by sweatier, I mean pretty much everywhere, bum area not excluded. In an effort to remedy this, I take some extra steps to stay clean and fresh, including my personal favorite, Cottonelle® CleanRipple Fresh Care wipes. Only Cottonelle® has CleanRipple Texture designed to clean better, so you’re clean enough to Go Commando. Yes, commando. Let’s be honest – when you’re working out, especially in the heat of summer, sometimes ditching the underwear beforehand can be liberating. With the help of these Cottonelle® products, you’re good to go.

6. Sunscreen. I am admittedly terrible about applying sunscreen, but I always apply it before I’m going to do outdoor yoga. It’s amazing how quickly you can burn when you’re working out outside, and if you’re in the flow, you likely won’t notice until it’s too late.

7. A Fitness Towel. It makes a world of difference in how I feel when I’m able to wipe the sweat off my face and neck during and after an outdoor yoga session. The towel doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Mine was given to my husband in a gift bag for one of the marathons he ran. Any lightweight hand towel will work fine.

While we’re on the subject of outdoor yoga, did any of you attend Wanderlust 108 here in Chicago this past weekend? I wasn’t able to make it this year, but it’s such a sensational event. I love how it’s evolved past just focusing on yoga too – they actually call it “The World’s Only Mindful Triathlon” because it includes a 5k, yoga, and meditation. That, my friends, is my kind of triathlon. I’m all about a massive fitness-focused outdoor event that’s about community over competition. If you went, I’d love to hear about how you liked it. And if you’d like a chance to win an all-inclusive trip to Wanderlust 108 Festival in Miami on October 22 (yes please!), you can enter the Cottonelle® Miami Wanderlust sweepstakes right here!

And now, onto the giveaway! Enter below to win a Cottonelle® Stylist Kit ($ 50 ARV) as seen in the image above. It contains a selection of fabulous yoga/fitness must haves – Cottonelle® Flushable Cleansing Cloths, Benefit mascara (I love this stuff so much), Dose of Colors lip gloss, Klorane dry shampoo (also a favorite), Emi Jay hair ties, and a plain black baseball cap.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This Cottonelle® “Come Clean” Reader Giveaway runs though 11:59 PM this Sunday, May 22, 2016. There will be 40 winners total from several blogs. Good luck!

Who else loves practicing yoga outside? What are your outdoor yoga essentials?

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


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Cicada year

This is the year the 17-year periodical cicadas (Magicicada) emerge in most of West Virginia.


The first sign they are coming is holes in the ground, where the nymphs emerge from their 17-year sojourn in the underworld.


The climb up the nearest tree, and the winged adult form bursts out the nymph’s thorax.






Natural History

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Win Innovet Pet Products Including Purbreath No Brush Oral Care!

This month we’re testing Innovet Pet Products’ Purbreath No Brush Oral Care, an all-natural option for teeth cleaning, great for dogs who don’t want their teeth brushed as well as…

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My Favorite Spring and Summer Invitations

I love hosting parties, but I started thinking the other day about how long it’s been since I threw or helped plan a party during spring or summer – aka the most wonderful time of the year. Everyone in our family has birthdays in the winter (or for my husband, on the first day of spring, which sort of doesn’t count), my baby showers were both in the fall, our wedding was in the fall, and any large gatherings we’ve hosted have somehow also fallen in autumn or winter. I admittedly don’t have an occasion for which to throw a party this spring or summer either, but that didn’t stop me from perusing party ideas online that fit the season. And now I’m convinced I need to figure out a way to host (or at least help plan) something, because any sort of celebration that involves friends and warm weather and the joys of this time of year sounds like something I’d really enjoy putting together.

During my party planning searches, I started looking into invitations, and man did I get sucked in. I love (I mean love) the invitation aspect of party planning. Invitations are the spark of a party’s fire you guys. They’re the first taste of what’s to come. They set the tone for the occasion. They’re important, and if you appreciate design, they’re one of the very best parts of celebration planning. I decided to save some of my favorite invites with a spring and summer vibe – whether the colors, design itself, or occasion – all of which you can see in the collage above. There’s just something about a celebration in the spring and summertime.

Each of the invite designs you see here come from a company I recently discovered called Basic Invite. I immediately fell in love with them because in addition to carrying thousands of different invitations, cards, and stationery items, they allow you to customize everything – from design to font to colors to text to envelopes and more. They offer almost unlimited color options and instant previews, so you can make sure you are creating an invitation that is exactly what you want, down to the smallest detail. There are over 40 different colors of envelopes (the first thing your guests see) too. They are also one of only a few websites that allows you to order a printed sample of your actual invitation so you can (literally!) see it on paper before you place your order. And if you’re planning a wedding, they offer over 200 (yes, 200) wedding invitation sets. I sure wish I’d known about Basic Invite when I was hunched over on the floor at 3 AM hand folding wedding invites I’d designed and printed myself because I couldn’t find a company that had the detailed customization options I wanted. They also have a huge selection of gorgeous save the dates and bridal shower invitations.

Now I just need a reason to host a party in the next four months. Any suggestions?

This post is in partnership with Basic Invite. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Life is Short. Buy the Boots.


If grief were a color, it would be slate. Not an angry obsidian black, or a peaceful dove grey, but that shapeshifting silver somewhere between black and white, a stormy sea that some days seems blue, others almost brackish, depthless and impossible to truly describe.

If it were a shape, it would be a spiral, a shape you ride on in a neverending loop of centrifugal force splattering you against the wall whether you will it or not, bringing you back again and again to the same spot, from a slightly different vantage point.



I imagine that grief counselors are well versed in this, which is why every bad day seems to be preceded by a call from the chaplain, who senses it like a dog knows an earthquake is coming. The last one had come just before Christmas.

“It’s Chaplain Gary. How are you?”

“Fine.” And I am fine, until I remember that I’m supposed to be upset, and then I am.

The most recent call came on the one year anniversary, if you can call it that, of the date my mother became ill. The season has returned to set the backdrop for the nightmare month of May: lengthening days, long afternoons, and the scent of blooming jasmine wafting over the chairs in the backyard that I’ve rarely gone to sit in since the night my mother died. When I sat blankly until 2 am, staring at a candle and wishing for her parents to come and spirit her away from this earth as her breath rattled slowly away.

We went to the beach for Mother’s Day last year, spending a night in an oceanfront bungalow that would normally be way too indulgent for an innocuous holiday, but I had a rare and terrible gift: knowing that this was my last one.

I had only this one day into which I must pour every future Mother’s Day of which we were being robbed. And because I had to continually remind myself to be there in that moment, instead of thinking ahead to the years her chair would be empty, I could notice things I would probably not normally observe in my hypervigilant state: my mother’s hair, so different from mine, her dainty nose which I did not inherit, the way her hands would gently enfold the kids whenever they came into her line of vision. She was beautiful inside and out.

And Here We Are

One year later, I’ve come full circle to that spot I knew I must return to, and dread. It’s been there all along, these memories, receding into the shadows of the changing season and coming out again this spring to say hello. I see my friends post stories and pictures with their mothers, having recently entered into that comfortable spot in life where they can be totally honest and laugh about anything, and I feel an almost painful sense of longing remembering the small moments with my own mother I had come to treasure.

We met for lunch often, once the kids were older and in school. Our lunches were something my husband would always dread, because they were always followed by wandering into a store where she never, ever, ever talked me out of impractical things. Because of her, I own a snazzy chain link belt and a pair of Frye boots that I would never have bought on my own. It’s a silly thing, boots, but I love them. They suit me, as she said they would. They are happy boots. They are sad boots.

I know, because people have been tremendously generous with sharing their own stories, that this longing for more time will never go away. You never entirely forgive the universe for taking a treasure from you, even when you know anger is useless. It sucks and it will always suck, even when I’m an ancient crone cruising around on a walker.

Love Remains

But I cannot be anything but grateful that I had a mother whose love was so encompassing that to lose her has left me devastated. How many of us worry that if we were gone, no one would care? She never did.

Every year was a gift and a marvel. While her physical form is gone, Mom surrounds me in a thousand little ways, from the whistle of a teakettle to the smell of a cookie, the joy in a beautiful sunset, the strength to do what needs to be done. She’s here. In some form or another, love remains.

To those celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend, my love goes to you. Take a deep breath and really experience it, be you the recipient or the giver. And if you are hurting and dreading the day, don’t be afraid to run away from the brunches and the flower shops, the rituals and the intact families, the resentment and the sorrow. Find a place that brings you peace. Buy some sad boots. Go to the beach. Sit in a forest. Sadness means you loved deeply, and that has its own kind of beauty.

And wherever you go, don’t forget to take your dog. 🙂


Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Emmylou Harris’ Rescue Helps Second Chance Dogs

The lyrics “We believe in new beginnings/ Giving in and forgiving/ We believe in happy endings/ You and I” are more than merely lines from a chart-topping duet co-sung by Emmylou Harris….

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We must work on legislation to improve situations …

We must work on legislation to improve situations post seizure. Many times abusers are convinced to surrender these animals. It should be a law that evidence of abuse automatically means the dog is relinquished to proper shelters for adoption.

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Not Now, Cooper!

Two trips to the dog park a month ago, now every time I open the car door to unload groceries, Cooper thinks it’s time to go again! It’s been raining all night, and the dog park we go to gets kind of swampy, so it’s not in the cards for today. Sorry, boy. Until next […] Dog Blog

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Win a Stick and Handheld Vacuum!

This week we’ve been busy, busy moving furniture to make way for our new pet kitchen. Every time–and I mean EVERY time–we move furniture in this house, I’m shocked by the…

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A new book on pit bulls and the great American dog war

bronwen dickey pit bull

Three years ago, I received an email from a writer who wanted to interview me on what I knew about the history of bulldogs and bull and terrier types.

I have received several emails like these over the years.  They usually go nowhere, but when we were able to talk  on the phone, I was actually  quite surprised.

The author had actually read my blog very carefully, and the questions showed that she had done quite a bit of research on the topic. When you write these sorts of blog posts, you often wonder if people are actually paying attention to what you write.

She obviously had done her homework. She asked me something about Cuban bloodhounds, a defunct breed of dog used to catch runaway slaves. I hadn’t written on Cuban bloodhounds for many years. She asked about the ancient alaunt dogs, whether pit bulls had essentially become an urban landrace, and how society came to understand this concept of breed.

The author who contacted was Bronwen Dickey. I didn’t know it at the time, but she is the daughter of the great Southern poet and novelist James Dickey. And as I came to find out, she is a very fine writer in her own right.

In April 2013, she was delving deeper into the research around pit bulls. She was writing a book on the story of the pit bull type dog in America. Pit bulls, as we all know, are the most controversial dog breed in America. Many, many claims are made about them, but whether these claims withstand objective scrutiny is quite another thing. There is a widespread belief that these dogs have locking jaws or that they suddenly turn on people without warning. There is also a belief that a pit bull is a super canine that can readily dispatch  a feral hog on its own and then curl up with the kids as the “Nanny dog.”

Both advocates and detractors have created an image of this sort of dog. What Bronwen wished to figure out is which parts are true and which are parts of contrived to the point of being pure fantasy.

It turns out there was quite a bit.

Now, this book isn’t out yet, and it’s already being attacked.

Pit bulls are so contentious that I stopped writing about them quite a while ago. Of all the issues I’ve seen dog people invest emotional time and energy into fighting over, pit bulls are truly an outlier. Dog people fight over just about anything trivial, but when it comes to pit bulls, there is a whole other dimension:  If a pit bull mauls someone, there will be a group that wants them all executed. If a pit bull mauls someone, there will be a group of people who want that dog’s life spared at all costs.

I’ve never seen anything quite like this in dogs. Indeed, the only other topic that riles people up more online is whether feminism destroyed video games or not.

In one week (May 10), Pit Bull: The Battle over an American Icon will be released. There are people whose minds will never be changed on both extremes of this debate, but for that great middle, who really wants to know what the pit bull is and what it truly means to this country, Bronwen Dickey has produced a nuanced analysis that is well worth reading.

And she’s a good writer.

When she had me review a few chapters of her drafts, I found them to be quite fascinating in deed.

But if you really want to know– and are brave enough to have your assumptions challenged– buy a copy. Only a few more days to wait.






Natural History

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