Animal Welfare Law Rankings by State

The Animal Legal Defense Fund, the nation’s preeminent legal advocacy organization for animals, released the 12th annual year-end report (2017) ranking the animal protection laws of all 50 states. For the 10th year in a row, Illinois is in first place—followed by Oregon (2), California (3), Maine (4), and Rhode Island (5). Kentucky holds firmly […] Dog Blog

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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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Under Construction!

I am happy to announce that a new chapter is in the works!


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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

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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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Can a dog protect artwork in a museum?

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Halo and Vitacost Celebrate Plant-based Lifestyle at VegFest Expo

VegFest is a celebration of the health, environmental, and animal welfare benefits of a plant-based lifestyle showcasing plant-based cuisine and cruelty-free products that are part of a vegan lifestyle.

Last month, Halo partnered with Vitacost, an online retailer for healthy products, to showcase Halo’s Garden of Vegan, a holistic alternative diet for protein sensitive dogs. Our vegan recipe is a complete and balanced meat-free recipe made with chickpeas, non-GMO vegetables and fruits, nourishing oils, and added vitamins and minerals. The 12,000 festival attendees had an opportunity to win some Halo Vegan dog food while Vitacost’s online community of 400,000 followers had a chance to win a 5K-bowl of food donation to a shelter of the winner’s choice. Now that’s what we call a win-win situation!

Thank you Vitacost for helping us celebrate a movement that highlights holistic non-GMO, cruelty-free products.

Does your dog eat our vegan recipe? Share a picture with us using #HaloVeganDogFood. Remember, Halo feeds it forward, donating over 1.5 million bowls annually. As always, Halo will donate a bowl to a shelter every time YOU buy. Thank you for helping #HaloFeeditForward

Halo Pets

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Former Stray Cat Struts the Stage

Cat Sweet Be a looking into the mirror

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When people think of animal performers, they often imagine pedigreed pets trained to perfection. However, one little cat in Washington, D.C. defied all those stereotypes and became a star actress on stage – even gaining her own fans and following!

About six or seven years ago, a shelter called Susan Galbraith a few days after she had helped a friend adopt a cat. As Susan relayed the story to us, the shelter told Susan, “We know you have a big heart — you helped your friend. We need you to help this cat.”

Susan initially refused because she wasn’t looking for another cat at that time. However, then the shelter replied, “Oh no, this cat, no one will take this cat. This cat has no fur, she was found in a drainpipe so she is nearly dead and we don’t think she is going to make it, but we would like you to just… give her a home.”

Susan, who has been rescuing animals since she was a kid, decided to see the cat. She revealed, “I went there and sure enough, there was this cat, and it was tiny, huge eyes. It looked like an owlet because it had no fur. I brought it home, sort of tucked in a little blanket. I showed it to my son and he said, ‘Mom, this is too much, that is the ugliest cat I have ever seen.’”

Well, Susan, told her son, “No, no, no…we are going to call her ‘Dante’s Beatrice,’ and [with] that beautiful name, she’s going to be a muse, and she will grow up to be a beautiful cat. And sure enough, when her hair finally grew out…she looks white, but she’s a Silver Point Persian.” The little hairless cat, nicknamed Sweet Bea, defied expectations and turned out to be beautiful, healthy, and loving.

When D.C.’s Shakespeare Theatre Company began preparations to produce Harold Pinter’s play The Collection, they noticed that the script specifically mentions a white cat. As Susan said, “Michael Kahn [the artistic director of the Shakespeare Theatre] was not going to have anything but a live cat.” Michael is a revered director and known for putting on incredible shows.

In addition, Susan revealed that Michael is “quite a cat lover, himself” and even has a cat of his own. However, Michael’s three-legged cat did not fit the script’s description, according to Susan, “so his cat was not going to be able to do the honors on stage.” Instead, the Shakespeare Theatre Company held “pawditions,” as they called them, to find the perfect white cat for their production. Sweet Bea was the lucky cat who won the role. During rehearsals, according to Susan “Michael Kahn… was terribly sweet to” Sweet Bea. He often “rolled over on his little chair and gave her some attention which she obviously loved.”

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Susan, who is a playwright, actor, and director herself, was thrilled when Sweet Bea won the part. She noted that, “A stage life for a cat isn’t always recommended.” However, Sweet Bea, “did very well, she sat and she looked out, and she did what she was supposed to do.” To help keep Sweet Bea happy, Susan shared that, “When she got off stage she would always get a little treat backstage. She seemed to then do very well with that.”

Susan told us that she and Sweet Bea “would go back and forth to the theatre on the Metro,” D.C.’s subway system. Soon, people began to recognize Sweet Bea and “she had a following!” Susan said that Sweet Bea enjoyed the attention, adding, “she likes people.”

And people like Sweet Bea. Susan revealed that “all the men in the company [of actors]… would come backstage and they would touch Sweet Bea. I always thought it gave them comfort.” Susan also said that it wasn’t just the actors who had a soft spot for Sweet Bea, “All the tech people…they were so kind to Sweet Bea, every single person.” She shared that they “had lots of fun taking little picture of Sweet Bea” around the theatre and with her new friends.

Sweet Bea did well in the show, although, as Susan put it, Sweet Bea “did her own choreography” and it didn’t always match with what the actors expected! Susan said that, “One day she decided to take a walk on the back of the sofa and then hopped off, wandered around the stage, and wandered offstage. It sort of worked for the play, but I think the actors were pretty taken aback!”

Susan got to see the production from backstage and said, “it was an amazing production. Susan thought that the show had particular relevance for “this day and age” because it brought “to light this sense of mystery, but also of multiple truths” and that “is what Pinter is all about.” She continued, “I think ‘cat’ was the inner monologue” of the show. Discussing Pinter and cats, Susan suggested that Pinter possibly saw women as similar to cats – both containing an air of mystery.

Susan reviews shows for During rehearsals, Susan used her writing skills to blog about Sweet Bea’s experiences from Sweet Bea’s point of view. Covering her audition and first rehearsal through opening night, the posts are a great behind-the-scenes look into a complicated production. Writing about the rehearsal of a scene where an actress was holding Sweet Bea, the blog says, “I dug my nails in, oh, just a little, to support her truth of being in distress.” In another post, Sweet Bea shared, “I believe I can inspire others. Hang in, and believe.” We have to agree that Sweet Bea is definitely inspirational.

Now that the show is over Susan told us that Sweet Bea is “very happy to return to her space and her routine.” However, the experience has brought out a bit of the diva in Sweet Bea. Susan shared, laughing, that “now she comes downstairs later than the other cats and kind of looks around, ‘Okay, do I get special food?’” When asked if she thought that she and Sweet Bea would ever act together, Susan joked “that would be dangerous, two divas on the stage!” Sweet Bea lives with one dog and two other cats, but they all get along as a happy family. All the pets are rescue pets and the family even lives down the street from City Dogs, one of Susan’s favorite animal rescue groups.

Sweet Bea proves that it doesn’t matter where an animal comes from, they can still accomplish great things. We asked Susan for her advice for anyone who thinks their pet might be a good fit for the stage. “Negotiate for a private dressing room,” was her biggest piece of advice. The private space can help an animal feel more secure and calm, especially in the otherwise bustling atmosphere of a theatre. Susan continued, “It would have been a lot easier if the cat had been trained,” but that the director had particularly wanted Sweet Bea, an untrained cat. However, despite not having any prior stage experience or particular training, Sweet Bea was perfect for the part.

Sweat Bea backstage

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However, although Susan is open to Sweet Bea acting again in the future, that’s not why she loves her cat and believes so strongly in adopting animals in need. She said, “first of all rescues are so grateful…I think you don’t choose a rescue, I think a rescue chooses you” and that “they fill an empty spot you didn’t even know was there.”

Susan continued, “They give you so much more, always. I’ve never had an animal where I wasn’t totally surprised [and] delighted… and usually animals will get to know when you need them the most.” Despite Sweet Bea’s fame, Susan said, “when I’m down or when I’m lonely or when I’m sick, she’s there on my pillow.” Rescue animals, she believes, are “there to make us more whole.” Susan concluded that, to her, rescue animals, “…they’re stars, whether they’re on stage or not. The world is their stage.” We’ll give a standing ovation to that.

Halo Pets

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Win a LOVED BY PAWS Necklace

We’ve just added the LOVED BY PAWS Necklace to PawZaar–and now one lucky community member will win one! This 16-inch necklace, with a two-inch extender, is handmade by metalsmith at a…

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9 Ways to Get Fit with Your Dog!

OK, I admit that, like many people, I am not the best about sticking to my New Year’s Resolutions. Those bright and shiny resolutions on January 1 start to look a little less brilliant a couple…

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