How to Choose a Dog Groomer

When you need to find a dog groomer to keep your pet looking its very best, a good place to start is with your regular vet. A lot of veterinarians, especially those with larger facilities or animal hospitals, also offer dog grooming. The groomers employed in facilities like these are professional dog groomers, trained in the correct methods of grooming …
Dog’ Blog

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

November Thoughts

I always promise you guys that I’m going to more of the casual “just saying hi” type of posts, and then I tend to get carried away with less personal lifestyle and design and parenting post ideas and/or content with brand partners, and these simple, personal posts tend to slide through the cracks. (I do tend to fill my Instagram feed with these types of posts though, so if you enjoy them, there are plenty over there!)

So anyway, hi! Happy second day of November! I’m usually not a big fan of November (mainly thanks to the end of Daylight Savings time and the fact that it gets dark at 4:30 in Chicago), but this year I’m staying positive. There are lot of things (both exciting and stressful) happening for us this month. We take our annual trip to the the Caribbean (the Dominican again this year) for Robbie’s work (the band puts on a festival there) on the last day of the month, I have my busiest month ever for work projects (grateful to be swamped in that way!), Essley has all kinds of activities and school and play dates, Emmett has his semi-annual assessment to make sure he’s still on track after his initial epilepsy delays (and I have a great feeling about it), we’re knee deep in the hunt for a new house after our original contract fell through, and it’s the holiday season. I’m sure most of you can relate to having full plates this time of year. I wouldn’t have it any other way though.

The photos above are some of my favorites of the kids from the last few weeks off the camera roll of my phone. They’re grainy and spontaneous and real. Like 2016, this year has been bittersweet for our family, with some huge losses and some wonderful gains. I’m looking forward to appreciating the small things as the holidays approach. I hope your November is the best yet.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

I would also suggest getting the services of an an…

I would also suggest getting the services of an animal communicator to help with behavior and issues with trust.

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

I am always inspired by your work, and by the inte…

I am always inspired by your work, and by the intelligence and compassion you show for all creatures and species. It is heartbreaking to contemplate the dogs left behind, and sobering to be reminded that we, as a society, share the blame for this type of "cottage industry."

This is such difficult work, and no other group does it half as well as you do. I've made a small donation. I so wish it could it more.

Oxo in Harlem

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrate National Cat Day with Lil BUB and Halo

Lil BUB with Cans of Halo Holistic Cat Food

National Cat Day is this Sunday, October 29th and to celebrate this special day “The Most Amazing Cat on the Planet,” Lil BUB  will give away free cans of Halo® Holistic Cat Food to pet parents who sign up for Halo’s free newsletter. For every can of cat food given away, in partnership with and, Halo® will match it and donate a can to Cat House on the Kings, one of the world’s largest no-cage, lifetime cat sanctuaries and adoption centers.

In addition, pet parents will automatically be entered to win a 10,000-bowl donation to a shelter of their choice. Consumers need to visit to have a coupon sent to them via email where they can print out and redeem at their nearest Halo retailer. The coupon can be used on National Cat Day only, October 29, 2017, and while supplies last. Valid in the US and Canada. Canadian residents can redeem their coupon exclusively at Petsmart Canada. US residents can use our store locator to find a Halo retailer.

Halo Pets

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

A Gift Of Holiday Memories For My Kids

Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids

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

I know, I know. It’s not even officially Halloween yet (one more day!) and I’m already posting about the holidays. But let’s face it – these days, the holidays basically start on November 1st. And if your schedule is, um, intense this time of year like mine is, you need to get motivated earlier than later for holiday projects. Thankfully, the holiday project I’m sharing today is really fun (and easy!) to put together, and the rewards are pretty incredible.

Essley is now almost four (her birthday is just three days after Christmas), and because she was at an age last year where she really “got” the holiday season, she’s been talking about it nonstop. She brings up memories, asks questions, and most of all, expresses a truly endearing anticipation for the season’s arrival. A couple of weeks ago, she asked to see some photos from the holiday seasons she’s experienced so far in her life. As looked back through photos on the camera roll on my phone, I realized that we didn’t even have a single photo of her or Emmett (or any of us) printed out from the holidays. And that gave me an idea.

Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids

I’ve made photo books from Snapfish as gifts before, and have always been impressed by the ease of creating them and quality of the finished project. I’ve also absolutely loved seeing how happy the recipients have been with them. (Robbie still says the one I made him for Father’s Day last year is his favorite gift of all time). So I decided I’d put together a special photo book of holiday memories to give to Essley and Emmett, knowing how much it would add to their excitement for the season. And I can’t tell you guys how much fun I had, and how touched I was, while making it. There were lots of emotions involved, let’s just put it that way.

I chose the 8×11 Hardcover Photo Book (I’d gotten this one before and loved the size), then went with the “Winter Joy” theme (so pretty). I uploaded all of the holiday photos I could find on my phone (you can also use your desktop, Instagram, or Facebook to upload) from the last three years of holidays seasons (since Essley was born), and then played around with the different layouts, backgrounds, patterns, fonts, and the hundreds of embellishments available. The Winter Joy Theme made it so each page was filled in (love how easy that is!), but I changed around about half of them so I could highlight different photos and make the book unique. I chose my favorite photo of the kids from last year’s holiday season for the front cover, and a used a black and white version of it for the fact. For the inside photos, I included all sorts of different memories – from the kids visiting Santa to them opening presents to Christmas mornings with their grandparents to them snuggled up together watching holiday movies. I’m a huge fan of the how you can personalize Snapfish‘s photo books to make them into family keepsakes that can be enjoyed year after year. And I love how budget friendly they are as well.

Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids

The day the photo book arrived, I surprised Essley when she got home from school with the Christmas tree set up and plugged in (just for the day; we’ll bring it back up from the basement in a few weeks). She was thrilled. Then I told her to close her eyes, and I presented her with the photo book. She could not believe that she was looking at a special holiday book with Emmett’s and her pictures throughout it. She told me it was the best present she’d ever gotten – which admittedly she says pretty much every time she gets a gift, but I believed her that it was one of her all time favorites. Emmett was all sorts of excited too, and sat on the floor looking through the pages and pointing at photos for a good twenty minutes. All of us enjoyed looking through it together, and it got us really pumped for this year’s holidays. I’m going to make one for every year from now on.

Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids
Making a Holiday Photo Book For Your Kids

If you’re in the market for personalized holiday gifts that come from the heart, or just want to gather your holiday memories into something tangible, I can’t recommend a photo book enough. And now is the perfect time to make one, because you can take 40% off at Snapfish with code MELISSABOOK40. Woohoo!

How do you preserve holiday memories? Who else has little ones who are stoked for the holiday season?


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

5 Ways to Make Sick Days Better For Little Ones

Tracking Pixel

I received product and compensation from Mead Johnson Nutrition to create this post written by me. All experiences and opinions expressed in this post are my own and not those of Mead Johnson Nutrition. You can contact Mead Johnson Nutrition with product related questions or comments toll free at 1-888-777-3395.

A few weeks ago, my husband and I went to a movie for our first date night in many months. Our daughter Essley had a slight cold (mainly just some sneezing) but was active and playing, so we left her and her brother with my mom and headed out. Guess what? We made it through about half the movie before we were back in the car on our way home. Essley had started vomiting from coughing (all it takes to make this child throw up is the mention of something that grosses her out, so when she’s even a little bit sick, you can pretty much guarantee there’s going to be some barf), and was weeping that she wanted her mommy. A few hours and a couple more barf sessions later, she spiked a fever. She woke up throughout the night, and despite my best efforts, refused any fluids. This continued into the next morning, and by early afternoon she was beginning to get dehydrated.

Thankfully, by late afternoon, Essley was starting to feel more like herself again. And as awful as it is (for the little ones and the parents) when your kid is ill, I’m actually grateful we’ve been through it enough times that we now know what works to make ours feel better – including how to make those sick days a little more enjoyable in general. With the school year back underway (aka the time my kids seem to be sick more often than they’re not) and cold/flu season quickly approaching, I thought I’d share some of the ways we get through our sick days as pleasantly as possible. (Please note: there are my personal tips that work with my own kids when they’ve got non-serious illnesses like colds. None of this should be taken as medical advice. If your little one is sick, you should consult your pediatrician.)

1. Find ways to make rest fun. My kids like to be active pretty much all the time. Even when they’re sick, they usually want to be up and doing something. Rest is important for healing, but getting them to relax is a challenge – so we try to find ways to make it fun. We do story times where they can pick out books and we sit in a chair across from them to read to them (think story hour at the library), so it feels like a special event. Or we have movie “marathons” where they can choose two movies to watch in a row, as long as they stay sitting or lying down. (They’ll never argue with extra screen time!) Sometimes we even have contests to see who can rest the longest. If resting doesn’t seem boring to them, they’re more likely to do it longer.

2. Make cuddling a priority.  This might seem like an obvious one, but I wanted to include it because sometimes I personally need the reminder. My kids and I (and their dad) are very affectionate in general, but sometimes if they’ve been sick for a few days and I feel like I’ve fallen behind on work or things around the house, I start to stress and become so focused on getting that stuff done that I forget how healing it can be just to snuggle with my kids. It helps keep them calm so they’ll rest, and it’s also emotionally and mentally good for them to know their parents are focused on taking care of them. On the other side, some people actually advise against this because it increases your chances of getting whatever your child has, but I’m telling you guys – there is nothing my kids want more than to be held when they aren’t feeling well.

3. Restore and/or maintain hydration. As I mentioned earlier, Essley tends to throw up even with colds, and that combined with the fact that she has very little interest in eating or drinking when she doesn’t feel well can quickly lead to dehydration. Being dehydrated not only makes kids feel worse, it can also escalate an illness to something more serious very quickly. When Essley was sick a couple of weeks ago, the first thing I did to help her stay hydrated was give her some Enfamil® Enfalyte® oral electrolyte solution. It  didn’t take long for her to feel better and become well hydrated again. We’re big fans of Enfalyte because it’s a clear formulation with no artificial flavors, colors, or sweeteners, and it (quickly!) replaces electrolytes and water that can be lost if your little one is vomiting or having diarrhea (or even exercising or playing on a hot day). When Essley had to go to the ER for flu over the winter, the hospital recommended it (and it’s been used by hospitals for over 25 years), so that was enough for us to always keep some on hand. And the flavors (Cherry Splash or Mixed Fruit) are mild, which Essley prefers to strong tasting drinks, especially when she’s ill. One major thing I’ve learned since becoming a parent is how much a sick day can take a turn for the better when your child’s hydration is restored. (Again, always consult with your pediatrician if you are concerned about illness or dehydration. Here are some great resources as well: Is My Child Dehydrated? and Maintaining Hydration. There is also a handy infographic at the end of this post.)

4. Play doctor/hospital.  If your kids are older they probably won’t go for this, but for my 1.5 and 3.5 year olds, this is the first thing they want to do when they’re not feeling well. Essley always picks one of her stuffed animals or dolls to be sick alongside her, and she takes care of it while I take care of her. (When she was sick a couple of weeks ago, she took Happy Dog’s temperature, kept him hydrated with Enfalyte, and covered him in bandages.) I think it makes her feel less alone in her illness, and also makes her feel like she’s doing something important. It’s one of our “go-to’s” on sick days.

5. Break the rules. When the kids are sick, we let things like strict bedtimes and other “rules” (no treats before meals, must clean up current mess before moving on to other toys, limited screen time, etc.) slide. Our number one goal is to get them better as quickly as possible with as little misery as possible, and loosening up schedules and rules a little during those days makes them easier on everyone.

How to recognize dehydration in toddlers

I hope the small things we find helpful when our kids aren’t feeling well prove helpful for you as well! How do you make sick days better experiences for your kids?

This is sponsored by Enfamil® Enfalyte® Oral Electrolyte Solution. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Is the Virginia opossum the only marsupial native to North America?


The yapok or water opossum is a marsupial that ranges into Mexico and Central America.

Americans are an unusually insular sort of people. We fail at geography big time. Don’t ask the average American what the capital of Canada is.  Don’t tell tell us that Mexico City is the largest city on the continent.

“Because Mexico ain’t on our continent!”

That attitude even affects how we view nature.

When I was a little boy, I accepted without any question that North America’s only marsupial is the Virginia opossum.

It seems this claim is so widely-accepted that it is usually mentioned within the first sentence of any description of the species.

There is, of course, a big problem with this description. North America isn’t just the US and Canada.

This is North America:

North America

Yes. All that territory from Mexico to Panama is part of North America, and in those countries, there are multiple species of marsupials. Central America has 11 species. Mexico alone has has 8!

It is correct to say that the only marsupial in the US and Canada is the Virginia opossum, but it is geographical ignorance that only an American could conjure that says the Virginia opossum is the only marsupial found on the continent.

So when you see someone saying that Virginia opossums are the sole representatives of marsupials on this continent, realize that this person hasn’t thought through what he or she is actually saying.

Or is totally unaware that there isn’t continent between “North America” and South America.

There is also a subconscious racism at work, which sees only a community with Anglo-America as the true North America and casts aside that which lies to our south as being the other.

It may all be a silly little thing, but it grinds my gears.

And when we write about nature, we need to be more careful with our language.






Natural History

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What I’m Wearing Now: October

Fall Wardrobe Staples
1. Loveland Wrap in Cargo Green, prAna  //  2. Tassel Hoop Earrings, Madewell   //  3. Silver Hoop Earrings Set, H&M  //  4.  Classic Date Black Watch, Lord Timepieces (take 10% off with code BEAN)  //  5. Bell Sleeve Shift Dress, Nordstrom  //   6. Skinny Low Jeans in Black, H&M  //  7. Lily Tore Diaper Bag, Newlie  //  8Splash Gabi Sneakers, Minnetonka  //  9. Chuck Taylor All Star Low Tops, Converse  //  10. Beaded Chain Bracelet, Madewell  //  11. Madison Boots, Trask  //  12. Linen V-neck Top, H&M 

Despite a wonderfully warm fall season so far, my summertime wardrobe has officially finally gone into hibernation. And I’m cool with this, because, to be fair, I’ve gotten to wear my beloved summer dresses and cut offs and kimonos far beyond the time I normally do. Besides, even summer girls can appreciate layers for a while. (Give me a month or two though and I’ll be crying my eyes out for a good sundress and some flip flops.)

I’ve been living in black jeans, sweaters, and Converse this month, but I’ve actually ventured outside of my casual boho-WAHM-hybrid comfort zone too. I got this dress (#5 above) from Nordstrom for a wedding but have already worn it three times this month. You’ll won’t believe how inexpensive it was because it looks quite pricey in person. It’s so flattering and actually comfortable too. (The stilettos I paired it with for the wedding, not so much.)

All good things must come to an end, and I’ll put a solid bet on the fact that next month’s post will include a winter coat. Sigh. The sunshine was good while it lasted, Chicago.

(P.S. You can see other my other monthly post from the past couple of years right here.) 


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Who Won the #LucyPet4Life Prizes?

We had so much fun on  Thursday night hosting the #LucyPet4Life Twitter party for Lucy Pet Products! We loved seeing everyone’s super cute pet photos and loved sharing the news about the…

[[ This is a summary only. Click the title for the full post, photos, videos, giveaways, and more! ]]


Posted in Pet Care And Pest Control Articles | Tagged , | Leave a comment