Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon Benefits Helen Woodward Animal Center

Rovers are riding a wave of excitement as they get ready for the start of the 9th annual Surf Dog Surf-A-Thon– an event that combines sport with support for a paws cause. Taking place September…

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Sasha at the Blessing of the Animals

Sasha is a beautiful Irish Setter who I met in Gorbio village.  He had been brought to village by his owners for the Blessing of the Animals.

Sasha is four and a half years old and lives in Menton.


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Pet insurance- the good, the bad, the somewhere in between

I admit I am biased about pet insurance. I like it, mostly. Clients who had it were, in my experience, much more likely to approve necessary treatments. That dog with a case of happy tail who wagged it so hard and so fast he got a nasty deep infection that ended up necessitating a partial tail amputation? Insured. Hit by car? Insured. From my perspective, it allowed owners to focus on the pet’s immediate needs and get them taken care of.

I also liked it because I didn’t have to do anything to get it taken care of, other than fill out a brief form.  The owners paid me upfront, and were reimbursed by their company after the fact. If the owner and the insurer had a disagreement about what should or should not be covered, it wasn’t something I had to get involved in. It was nothing like human medicine. The summer before I started veterinary school, I actually worked the front desk in an internal medicine MD practice and good lord, those staffers spent probably 33% of the day dealing with insurance issues.



Just a few years ago, I could list three pet insurance companies, tops. Now there’s almost too many to count, with good policies and bad policies and fine print a mile long and exclusions even longer, especially if you have a bulldog in which case you might as well just get a second job.

Some pay a flat percentage of your bill. Others use benefit schedules, and specify exactly what amount they will pay per procedure. Most reimburse you, but I know of at least one that is rolling out a program that will pay veterinarians directly. Some cover preventive care. Some cover accidents. Some cover breed related illnesses, and others don’t. Tooth extractions? May or may not be a pre-existing condition. WHO KNOWS.

It’s gotten so confusing, even for me, that when people ask me what I think all I can say is, “Yes, go for it, but with caution.” Caveat emptor. But even then, even knowing all there is to know and asking all there is to ask, I’m hearing more and more people tell me they just spent five hours on the phone with an insurance rep trying to figure out how a newly diagnosed endocrine condition counts as “pre-existing.”

If this sounds familiar, that’s because that’s what all of us have done with our health insurers at least once, right? It’s confusing, and getting even more so the more players that enter the field. All companies are not created equal. I think most people completely understand the need for exclusions and limits, but for goodness sake let people know when they sign up what, exactly, they are signing up for.


While lawmakers in California had hoped that pet insurance would fall under the auspice of state insurance regulators, it hasn’t happened, and people with complaints have found they were pretty much out of luck. Fortunately, a new bill that already passed the legislature and is headed for the governor’s desk should give consumers a good deal more protection.

AB 2056 will make California the first state in the nation to specifically pass regulations about the pet insurance industry, separate from its current designation as miscellaneous property and casualty. It specifies the need for clear language about co-pays, exclusions, waiting periods, and caps- all the stuff people run into issues with now.

This is good news for everyone: the excellent insurance companies out there whose reputation is being sullied by the shyster groups, veterinarians who are able to better care for pets, and most of all the clients and pets who stand to benefit from better access to care.

So let’s hear it: what’s been your experience lately? Have you been blindsided or pleased with your insurance coverage?

Pawcurious: With Pet Lifestyle Expert and Veterinarian Dr. V.

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tokin daily: spider mites

looking at the plants last night i noticed that a couple had a very minor spider mite infestation. wasting no time i immediately grabbed the neem oil and mad…

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19653862_500x333SideWalk released this exciting press release last week:

Local animal rescue Midwest Animal Rescue Services (MARS) had more than one reason to celebrate National Dog Day yesterday: a delivery of 2,000 pounds of food arrived on their doorstep, courtesy of Captain Phillips actor and Best Supporting Actor Oscar nominee Barkhad Abdi.

The donation was facilitated by Ellen DeGeneres’ pet food company, Halo, Purely for Pets, in partnership with and These companies joined up to give 20 non-winning Oscar nominees 10,000 doggie meals to donate to the animal rescue of the celebrity’s choice.

While most celebrities donated to Los Angeles shelters, Abdi joined an elite group of actors (including Julia Roberts and Meryl Streep) who chose to donate outside of LA. Having lived in Minnesota since 1999, he wanted to give to a rescue in his adopted home state. And MARS couldn’t be happier about it.

Click here to read the complete press release.



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Puppies Playing With Their Moms | Video

Almost nothing cuter than a bunch of puppies having fun playing with their moms

The post Puppies Playing With Their Moms | Video appeared first on A Place to Love Dogs.

A Place to Love Dogs

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Thousands of doctors trained to fight infections during Haj

Thousands of doctors trained to fight infections during Haj
Health authorities in Makkah have begun training their personnel, including nurses and doctors, in dealing with prevention of infection of the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome-coronavirus (MERS-CoV) during the Haj season. The infection control …
Read more on Arab News

Demian Maia sidelined with bone infection in shoulder, will be reassessed in
But on Aug. 6 he was forced from the card when he suffered a bone bruise in his shoulder while training, which later developed a staph infection. That staph infection has now led to a bone infection, which hospitalized the Brazilian welterweight this
Read more on MMA Fighting

Eight Auburn students test positive for tuberculosis infection, but do not have TB
This is called latent TB infection. In most people who breathe in TB bacteria and become infected, the body is able to fight the bacteria to stop them from growing. People with latent TB infection do not feel sick and do not have any symptoms. People
Read more on Opelika Auburn News

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Hip Mom, Smart Mom, Stylish Mom: Nicolette Gawthrop

Hip Mom, Smart Mom, Stylish Mom: Nicolette Gawthrop

A couple of months ago, I introduced a new series to you guys called ‘Hip Mom, Smart Mom, Stylish Mom.’  I explained that when I was pregnant, I thought a lot about what kind of changes would take place in me after the baby arrived, and if it would be difficult to maintain my individual identity and style.  I knew that I absolutely wanted Essley to come first, without question – but I also knew that it was important to continue to stay true to who I was, and to continue to enjoy the things that made me ME, pre-baby.  Well despite much less sleep and free time, a consistently messy home, and a wardrobe that is rarely wrinkle-free or truly clean, I can honestly say that I at least make a conscious effort to be somewhat stylish, to create a relatively healthy balance between work/family/life, and to remind myself that it’s neither necessary nor appealing for me to fit into the mold of the stereotypical, traditional mom.  I’m lucky to know (and constantly meet) other moms who feel the same way that I do.  These women are committed mothers who defy convention.  They are true to their kids and true to their families, but also true to themselves.  These moms are hip, smart, and stylish – and I’m thrilled to be able to share, in their words, what makes them that way.

For the third post in this series, I’m thrilled to be featuring another real life friend who is also a blogger.  I met this lovely lady several years back (2008?), well before either of us were moms (or had blogs).  We were introduced by our husbands (then boyfriends), who go way, way back, and we hit it off immediately.  She is raising two beautiful little boys, takes some seriously gorgeous photos, and might possibly be the world champion of scoring cool thrift store finds. Welcome the hip, smart, and stylish Nicolette Gawthrop.

Welcome Nicolette! Please introduce yourself to Bubby and Bean’s readers.

Thank you so much for having me, and for considering me a Hip Mom, Smart Mom, Stylish Mom!!!  I’m flattered. My name is Nicolette Gawthrop, I am a Mom of two little boys: Loukas, age 4 and Jasper, age 2. It’s a funny thing to call oneself, but I’d say I’m a Thrift-shopper, an Instagrammer, and a documentary photographer. I also hobby-blog about my life as Ozark Mama Deer – mostly my photography and creative writing with some lifestyle-type posts mixed in between. My husband, Jerrmy, is a restauranteur and music festival promoter, and I like to consider myself on the “Board of Trustees” for his various business ventures. We juggle a lot around, here, but try be ourselves, keeping true to our style at the same time.

I’ve never been a huge fan of being asked to define my style in a number of words, but for sake of time and space, let’s do it anyway.  Define yours in three words.   


What is your usual daily ‘uniform?’

I tend to dress based on my mood for the day. Always comfortable, mostly natural breathable fibers. Recently, I’ve embraced the yoga pants cliche and I’m so glad that I have. It doesn’t happen often, but I actually love to hit the ground running in what I went to bed in the night before, leggings and a tee – brush teeth, splash my face with water, swipe on some blush and dab some under eye concealer and get the day going. Usually I stick to comfy casual: jeans, a cute tee or button up, and boots or slip on shoes.   Somedays, though, when I’m feeling low, instead of the same ole jeans and top, I go for a dress. I find that when you are facing a rough day, braiding your hair pretty and taking a little extra time to jazz up your look, can put an extra pep in your step.

What is different (if anything) about your style/wardrobe now than before you had kids?

I would say my wardrobe has evolved quite a lot since becoming a Mom. Mostly, accessorizing my outfits has become somewhat limited – especially at the peek of baby wearing, and breastfeeding when little fingers start to pull on earrings and necklaces or they get entangled in wearing the kid, and carrying the bag with all the kid’s stuff. Also, most of my decisions about what to wear daily are based on feeling comfortable while sitting to nurse, nursing accessibility, how hot and sweaty I might get while carrying a kid and most importantly- I gage how much I will feel irritated if my garment gets stained. My kids tend to view my apparel as an extended napkin (the other napkins around here, besides real ones, are their shirts.) So basically, I try to express myself through my style as much as possible without compromising my Mom role. It’s a terrible feeling when you don’t want your cute kid to crawl all over you or pick them up to carry them because you don’t want to get your get up messy, and it’s equally awkward to do floor play activities in certain styles of pants or skirts. Obviously, it’d be easy to just wear scrubs or athletic apparel (I’ve recently embraced yoga pants days) but I also find that expressing myself through the way that I dress is something that I value. There was time in the very early days of motherhood that I actually went through my wardrobe and purged some of my very favorite non-practical pieces in the spirit of “I’m a mom now,” and I don’t think that has to be the case. Your children deserve to have a happy parent who is comfortable being themselves. Sure you may have to skip the heels, and tone down the accessories but I think it’s important for kids to see parents being them.

What do you wear when you go out with your husbands or girlfriends? Are your outfits different or the same as when you’re hanging with the kids? 

I tend to stick to comfortable, easy looks with some flare. I like to save my white clothing items and things that are hard to “mom” in for date nights. I don’t get out for evening engagements too often, but when I do- I wear heals, I happily don’t have to consider breastfeeding and I add extra jewelry and make up.

What are your top three wardrobe staples?

This is a tough one.
-Comfortable jeans.
-Swedish clogs
-Stylish Tee shirts (I have splurged on a couple J.Crew linen and cotton tees that look great and are a put-on-and-go easy look)

What are your favorite places to shop for clothing that you’d suggest to other hip/smart/stylish moms? 

A majority of the clothing I wear is thrifted or purchased at this crazy warehouse buyout place where I find Free People and Anthropologie, cast offs that often need repairs and are from the previous year’s season. I love to score on the J.Crew %-off-sale sales, and sometimes GAP. When I am thrift shopping I look for vintage specialty items, made in USA, organic cotton/natural fibers and finer designer labels -which happens- it’s amazing what you can find out there- and no, I don’t thrift with my kids. I also love eBay for finding swedish clogs and fancy boots. I always do eBay searches before I buy full-price footwear. It’s pretty rare that I buy full-price items, but when I do- it’s always from local shops, here, in Fayetteville, Arkansas. We actually happen to have some of the greatest boutiques. Northwest Arkansas happens to be a pretty fashionable area!!! I would suggest checking out your local resale shops and sign up for email reminders of jcrew clearance sales for staples and statement tees! Their items are always a treat, especially heavily discounted.

What are your favorite places to shop for baby and/or kids clothes?

I do love the independent Etsy shop specialty items made by moms, and I like to shop local (we have a few really great kids’ boutiques around here, as well, but I’m quite practical about the cost of clothing items for kids- which often end up getting stains, and are outgrown quickly. So, I do a lot of thrifting, and I find items on eBay. eBay is a glorious market place, in my opinion. Otherwise, I wait for sales and rarely pay full price, and because I save so much with the thrifting, I can sometimes splurge on a $ 20 shirt or fancy pair of leggings (which my boys love) and buy nicer shoes and just mix and match and snazz up a thrifted pair of vintage shorts or top that I paid $ 2 for. My favorite kids clothes makers are: CrewcutsGapLittle Hip SqueaksMama Case PrintsMini BodenTea CollectionKate Quinn OrganicsAmerican Apparel, and Smafolk, and for PJ’s: Hanna Andersson (which I often buy on eBay.) There are some other brands that I super love right now, like Mini Rodini, Bobo Choses, and Nico Nico, but they aren’t in the budget. I’ll be searching for leftovers from the last couple seasons on eBay for sure. My criteria for kids clothes, again, is comfort and I try to buy only 100% cotton. We rarely put the boys in jean material because they are so active and it doesn’t move well. The boys love their Salt Water Surfer Sandals, New Balance, Vans, and Sperry “boat shoes” they call them, as well as their RAIN BOOTS. I found reasonable Hunter Boots and Joules on… you guessed it, eBay this last year and I tend to feel comfortable buying quality items in my oldest boy’s size because they will be passed on to little bro.

How do you ‘balance’ everything you have going on (work, kids, family, life!) while still keeping a sense of style?

My sense of style is a very much an intrinsic part of who I am. I don’t think I go too much out of my way thinking about it… it just kind of happens. It helps to keep our wardrobes pared down to the items we love best and have favorites around that are easy to lauder and readily available. I actually consider care instructions when I purchase items. I learned really early on that washing clothes when you are a mom is a bit more necessary than before kids. Like I said before, my clothes seem to resemble a napkin to my little guys. And I wouldn’t say that I’ve got the balance part down, but I do prioritize taking a shower and getting dress almost every single day. If nothing more than it makes me feel good and therefore translates into higher spirits all around. Like, I said before- your kids deserve to have a happy parent and to know the real you!

What is your ultimate favorite thing to do with your family when you have some downtime?

We love to EAT. My husband is a chef/restaurant owner and we are pretty obsessed with food. We take our kids to all kinds of food places and they are becoming pretty good diners. Our other favorite is adventure/travel, which we try to do a couple of times a year. And when we travel…you guessed it- we love to eat.

Thanks again to the wonderful Nicolette for being our third hip/smart/stylish mom!  Make sure to pay her a visit to her blog, Ozark Mama Deer.  You can also find her on Instagram, where she recently garnished some attention by becoming one of IG’s suggested users.  Go Nico!

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Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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How do you like them apples?

Walking a higher road

I’ve spent a few days walking, talking and scouting walk routes with Luke. Wow.

Day 1- “Danger Luke Robinson”.

These roads are just downright scary. The route 101 highway from Oreck to Patricks Point was a part of the route I walked with Luke. The hills, the narrow “shoulders”- more like fingers in my opinion, are just dangerous. Combine the hairpin curves with speeding traffic, distracted and well, rude drivers that won’t move over create a hazardous scenario for our fuzzybutt friend and his Papi.  ”zigging and zagging” along the road, yep, I get that now.  Luke is cautious and protective of his kids and from what I’ve witnessed, I think he would risk his own life to save theirs.

Day 2-The choir

As we walked from Patricks Point state park to Trinidad, we were serenaded by the beautiful sound of sea lions in the fog. We were off of route 101 and walked along the coast.  I felt fortunate to hear the sea lions singing, but sad that I couldn’t see them through the thick, dense fog. Oh and yes, more hills, up and down and back up and then down.

The Digs

I actually enjoy camping out as it reminds me of my youth, when my family would go on camping adventures in our 1972 Chevy station wagon, loaded up with gear!  Those were the days.

I have mastered setting up and breaking down my tent in record time. (Actually, I think I’m quicker at it than Luke). What I bring to the campsite- lights, fun and purposeful battery operated mini flower multi colored string lights. They seem to be the funnest thing our fellow campers have seen.

My sleeping bag, pillow (yes, I brought my pillow from home), sleeping pad- not nearly thick enough as I can feel every stone, root and etc through it. The downside-the dirt factor.

Trust your instinct.
Believe what you see is real. Example, if you think you have just seen a bear on the other side of the campsite across from you, then trust that you have.
If your gut tells you to go right vs left, listen to no one. Trust your gut. And yes, I did spot a young black bear and when we walked down to check him out, we noticed his sibling/friend with him. Climbing trees for apples and not caring about us as we marveled at the peaceful coexistence.  2 black bears, 2 young bucks, 2 fawns and a few doe. The bucks, standing stoic as they protected the fawn and doe, and yes they were more cautious of us, than the black bears.

Believe in yourself.
You CAN do what you put your mind to. Walk at your own pace.  Focus on you and your goals and let the naysayers kiss your keester when you finish.

Note: the days I cranked out some miles walking with Luke were for my bestie, Kate, who has terminal cancer. Diagnosed with breast cancer a year ago, which spread to her bones in her spine and skull. She’s in pain. As I walked with Luke and Indy, I thought of Kate. I dismissed the aches and pains felt while walking and post walk because, well Kate has aches and pains on a daily basis. I know Kate will continue her fight and stay strong. I am hoping next year, we can do our cross country adventure and kick up some dust along the way. Just like old days.  

Papa K.  This walk and trip has also inspired me to plan a cross country trip with Papa K.  He is living vicariously through me on this trek and wants to see the sights before his days are up. I will be part of that wish for Papa K.  Perhaps he joins Kate and I!  It would be a blast  for us driving across country in an RV, at our own pace, visiting anywhere we want. Papa K- wants Vegas to be part of our trip. And I can’t wait to see him taking in the sights of Sin City, the Grand Canyon and Hoover Dam. 2015 will be a defining year. 

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