One Basic Household Item You Need if You Have a Pet

I’ve teamed up with Clorox to bring you some pet health and safety tips for the summer. Over this week and the next I’ll be sharing some info on Facebook and Instagram about household germs and infectious disease prevention. Bottom line for me is, keep it simple!

This post is sponsored by Clorox.


“Simplify the problem of life, distinguish the necessary and the real.” – Henry David Thoreau, 1848

We spend a lot of time in our lives looking for the next biggest thing that’s going to make our lives easier. What’s more efficient? Safer? Better? In doing so, we ironically end up making life ever more cluttered and complicated, piling up more things and creating increasingly complicated rituals that are anything but easy.

I work every day to help make animals healthier, but a big part of doing that means giving people recommendations they’ll actually follow through on because they are easy and effective.

I can give you a textbook on preventing the onset and spread of diseases, but do you really want that? You lead a busy life. It’s hard to follow a 15 page cleaning handbook when you have dogs, kids, and soccer practices to deal with. Let’s simplify things:

  1. Keep your pet safe through routine veterinary care and vaccination.
  2. Keep your environment safe with regular cleaning and disinfecting.

Dogs are messy. They get into messes and spread messes and sometimes that includes bacteria and viruses. Gross. The good news is, you don’t need a closet full of specialized Doggie Cleaning Solutions and Fido Wipes to keep the bugs at bay. All you need is ten minutes of your time and an item you probably already have in your house (just like the one in the photo, which was in my laundry room long before I started this campaign!)

There’s a reason animal shelters and humane societies across the country list bleach as one of their top wishlist items: It works, on everything from nasty bacteria like Salmonella and E.coli to the dreaded viral disease canine parvo. It’s inexpensive. It’s easy:

10 Minutes To a Safer Home

Did you know that a study by NSF International showed pet bowls and  toys were in the top ten most germy items in the house– worse than toilet bowls and cutting boards? If you have pets, you can use Clorox® Regular-Bleach1 at home to sanitize their crates, pet bowls and toys.[1]

  • Disinfect hard non-porous surfaces and accessories with a solution of 1/2 cup product in 1 gallon of water. For pre-wash surfaces, soak or wipe with bleach solution. Allow solution to contact surface for at least 10 minutes. Rinse well and air dry.
  • To sanitize pet food containers, wash bowls with detergent and rinse. Fill bowls with a solution of 2 tsp of Clorox®Regular Bleach1 per gallon of water. Let stand 2 minutes, drain and air dry.

For more pet tips, check out my 5 Steps to Keep Your Furry Family Safe From Germs.

16% (1)



[1] Clorox Master Label

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Thanks for the comment and your ongoing work in Mi…

Thanks for the comment and your ongoing work in Miami, Michael. Helping landlords identify dog owners who are responsible and well versed in proper management would be a huge help to them when they have a pile of applications and no background in dog behavior, etc. I wonder though if basing rental decisions on evaluation results could turn out to be a double edged sword. As I'm sure you'd agree, a dog with behavior issues can be beautifully managed by a committed owner while a rock solid dog can be a jerk if his owner isn't conscientious. Have you thought of ways to circumvent that concern? I appreciate your feedback because I know you're in the thick of it!

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True American Dog

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Give me a ride, Mister …

I think he wants to get on too …

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10 Kitchen Savings Tips

Let me start out this post by saving that I am by no means an expert when it comes to being frugal. While Robbie and I are very careful with money in the big picture and rarely make large purchases for things we don’t need or splurge for top-of-the-line models, we (okay, I) do indulge in non-necessities (like my beloved grande lattes) on a daily basis. In other words, I’m pretty sure that if I was a leader in money-saving skills, buying $ 5 coffee beverages almost everyday wouldn’t be allowed. That said, now that we’ve got two little ones and are in the market to buy a house, we’ve gotten a lot better about noticing where our money is going on the smaller things – and have therefore learned how to save in ways that add up around the house. There is nowhere we’ve seen this prove truer than in the kitchen, and today, I’m going to share some of my top kitchen saving tips with you guys.

1. Opt for high quality trash bags. This is actually a big one. We used to buy low quality trash bags for the kitchen because they were so cheap, and it ultimately backfired because they were constantly ripping (and making really gross messes), which meant we had to waste money buying more and more of them. Now we use Hefty Ultra Strong bags, which are not only outstanding quality, they’re also now available for a new, lower price. I love that they use Arm & Hammer odor neutralizers and new, invigorating scents to help keep odors at bay, but also offer a scent-free option for those who prefer it. And they use active tear resistant technology for better puncture resistance, so we can fit a lot of garbage into them without the fear of constant rips like with our old bags. Go grab some for yourself at Target or Walmart, and then earn $ 1.00 cash back via Ibotta after purchasing a box!

2. Drink water with meals. The cost of juice, soda, etc. adds up (both in terms of money and sugar consumption). We always drink water with meals and throughout the day, and we opt to use reusable water containers over plastic water bottles when taking water with us. (Bonus tip: If it’s better for the environment in terms of eliminating waste, it’s usually better for your wallet too.)

3. Make your own kitchen cleansers. Really all you need to clean your entire kitchen is water, baking soda, vinegar, and citrus fruits. You can combine them in various ways to create a myriad of cleaners for everything from your stove to your sink to your counters to your fridge.

4. Use cloth napkins. Choosing cloth napkins (and dish rags) over disposable paper ones can save you quite a bit of money over time. (And like tip #2, it’s better for the earth as well.)

5. Freeze your fruit. We buy a ton of fruit in this house, and sometimes it starts to go bad before we use it. If I think fruit is getting close to that point, I cut it up, freeze it, and use it in smoothies and smoothie bowls (which I eat for lunch almost everyday).

6. Eat leftovers. Maybe this seems like a given, but it’s something of which I need to be constantly reminded because I’m innately terrible about it. One trick that has helped us to use up extra food is to experiment with different ways to use it in recipes so it doesn’t feel like we’re eating the same thing night after night. Bowls are great for this – you can top brown rice or quinoa with almost anything!

7. Buy in bulk. Most health food stores and many grocery stores have bulk sections where you can buy beans, rice, lentils, nuts, oats, etc. in bulk and use your own containers. Choosing this option over pre-packaged saves a lot of money over time.

8. Try vegetarian. This might sound biased since I don’t personally don’t eat meat, but you can ask my meat loving husband – it’s (usually) a lot less expensive to eat vegetarian. Try replacing just a couple of meals a week with meat-free options and keep track of the extra money you have over a few months.

9. Buy whole produce. It’s so easy to just grab already prepared produce at the grocery store (those pre-cut pineapples and watermelon slices are especially tempting for me, as is pre-made guacamole), but you’re way better off money-wise by just buying the whole produce and preparing it yourself.

10. Use your kitchen. For years (and years, and years) I was the take-out queen. I’ve never been particularly fond of or good at cooking, and let’s face it – when you’re busy, picking up your phone and a take-out menu is incredibly appealing. But by actually using your kitchen and making your own meals, you’re generally eating healthier and you’re absolutely saving money. For the last year or so we have opted to make our own meals over ordering food and eating out except for very rare occasions. It adds up.

I hope these tips prove as useful to you as they have to us. And if you have any kitchen savings tips of your own, I’d love to hear them!

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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GIVEAWAY // Win A $100 Gift Card to Gaia Conceptions!

GIVEAWAY // Win A $  100 Gift Card to Gaia Conceptions from Bubby & Bean!

Yesterday was the first official day of summer, and we think that’s reason to celebrate. So we are teaming up with our pals and long time Bubby and Bean sponsors Gaia Conceptions once again for another incredible giveaway! They are giving away $ 100 to spend in their online shop, which (as you probably know by now) features some of the most beautiful eco-friendly clothing around. They have hundreds of styles to choose from, each one of which is custom created to your size, color choice, and fabric selection. Both Essley and I are proud owners of several Gaia pieces. And now one lucky Bubby and Bean reader is going to get a $ 100 gift card to spend on Gaia Conceptions clothing of your very own!

Win a $  100 Gift Card to Gaia Conceptions from Bubby and Bean

Use the form below, and/or, because the main methods of entering this giveaway (worth the most points) involve Instagram, you can also enter directly on IG, right here. There are several options for extra entries as well.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway will run through June 29, 2016 and is open to Bubby and Bean readers worldwide. All entries from the Rafflecopter form above and Instagram will be combined. A winner will be randomly chosen via and announced here shortly after the end of the giveaway.

Big thanks again to Andrea and friends over at Gaia Conceptions for giving our readers the chance to win another gift card to their amazing shop! Good luck!


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Snaps from Summer

Today is the official first day of summer you guys – aka the most wonderful time of the year. It’s already felt like summer around here for a few weeks though, so I thought I’d stop in and share a few  pictures I’ve snapped with my phone of us (well, mostly Essley; Emmett isn’t quite old enough to run around in the sunshine yet) just taking in summertime in all its glory. I feel like it had been so long since I’d really allowed myself to enjoy my favorite time of year, because I’d always been so busy trying to squeeze in work during the days, everyday. But a funny thing happened when I had Emmett, and suddenly I found myself working from home with not one, but two children – I very quickly gained some serious time management skills. And while I’m certainly not spending everyday outside basking in the summer sun, I make sure that I stay ultra focused and organize my schedule so that I’m spending a couple days a week being as present as possible, savoring those special activities that can really only be done during the summer months. I hope you’re able to do the same. (You can see more of our summertime adventures here.)


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Some thoughts from Edward Abbey

“Every man needs a place where he can go to go crazy in peace.”

Natural History

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The New Doc


Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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Last Minute Entertaining Tips

My regular readers know all about my love of casual entertaining. I’ve posted examples of it before, and mentioned it dozens of times in passing. While putting together the occasional big fancy party can be fun (I’m talking every few years, tops), I prefer to host more laid back gatherings with close friends where we can all relax and just enjoy one another’s company.

I’m admittedly a planner even when it comes to the most casual of events, but there are times when there isn’t advance notice to allow for preparations. Thankfully, when it comes to the casual entertaining style I already enjoy, there are easy ways to put things together and create really great hang sessions, even when they’re last minute. I recently had a couple of friends who called to let me know they were in town for just a few hours while on a layover, so I pulled out a few things I had around the house for refreshments, and we ended up having the best time. Today I thought I’d share what I did, in hopes it might inspire some of you the next time you need to entertain without much notice.

You guys are well aware of my fondness for party trays (I’m pretty sure I’ve shared at least three variations of them with you over the years), and that was the first place I started. Part of the reason I’m such a fan is that you can put them together in a pinch with whatever you happen to have sitting around your house, in a way that still looks visually appealing. I sliced some oranges, cheddar cheese, and vegan jalapeño cheese, and arranged them on a wooden cutting board with olives, two types of crackers, and some almonds. In five minutes I’d created a delicious snack for my friends without having to run out and grab supplies.

Next I grabbed a couple bottles of wine from my pantry. Having great quality wines on hand is key to taking last minute gatherings up a notch, guys. One friend prefers white and the other red, so I chose a Chardonnay and a Cabernet Sauvignon from one of my favorite wineries, Sequoia Grove. Both varietals work nicely with the snacks I had on hand, and each has its own unique characteristics that make it delicious. I also love that Sequoia Grove winery (which has been around since 1979) is family owned, with a tasting room that is nestled into one of the last remaining groves of the majestic Sequoia sempervirens in the area (because y’all know redwoods hold a very special place in my heart). I’m not usually a white wine person, but their Chardonnay is probably my favorite wine for summertime. It’s so, so good.

Finally, I arranged the party tray on the dining room table along with some wine glasses and small plates, some pretty napkins, a candle, and a small flowering plant from my deck (instant floral centerpiece), and voila – instant afternoon tea party for grown ups. I have two very young children and I work from home, which translates to the fact that I am a hot mess more often than not. But when it comes to last minute entertaining, I’ve learned how to make it work and, you know, at least appear to be channeling a Martha Stewart vibe. Just remember – all you need is a cute cutting board, some cheese/fruit/crackers, and a great wine like Sequoia Grove Chardonnay and/or Cabernet Sauvignon, and you’re set.

Have any other suggestions for throwing together a last minute gathering? Have you tried Sequoia Grove wines?

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. This post is in partnership with Sequoia Grove and One2One Network. All opinions stated are my own.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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