Most beautiful Christmas song

I’m a nonbeliever, but this is beautiful:

Natural History

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Giving Tuesday- I’m Giving to You!

Hey guys- long time no talk, right? I miss you all.

I’m here, though as you probably noticed less so than I used to be. It’s by design- lots of stuff in the works as always, and figuring out how this little blog fits in to all of it is always something I think about. People are reading fewer words these days, looking at more pictures, listening to more podcasts. How do we continue to stay in touch in a world whose canvas is ever-changing? Do I even want to try? (Yes. You should always try.) That being said, writing is at the core of what I do; curated hair tutorials, which I think my daughter would respect me for a lot more, just aren’t my bag. We are who we are. I also like to talk, though, so we’ll see what that means for 2017. Stay tuned. 😉

I updated my website last week, at long last, because it wasn’t mobile responsive, and was ready for a little update. Mobile responsive. That didn’t even exist as a concept in 2009 when we launched and now it’s an absolute necessity. So yes- we change with the times, and the site is now not only the blog but the book and the speaking and the other things I’ve been blessed to do because of the blog. But did you see there’s a dog running around on the homepage? Hello, that’s so awesome and worth all the work.

Thanksgiving is a weird one; we’re supposed to go from grateful and all-the-feels to “spend everything” in the space of one day. So now it’s #GivingTuesday, which follows #BlackFriday and #CyberMonday when your pocketbooks are already drafty and cobweb filled from the irresistible Amazon flash deals and midnight Target runs, here like a finger wagging auntie to remind you in your post-spending spree glow that even though you spent every last dime you really should be focusing on the intangibles, like giving.

Nonetheless, here we are, and here we sit, thinking about how we can give. We give money, and we give stuff, and we give time. I think that last one is highly underrated these days. We spend too much time talking and not enough time listening, too busy to stop and really look at what’s going on around us, who is hurting, who might need our help and compassion. Sometimes that person is you, and all that saves you is that one person who’s paying attention and reaches out when you need it most. I feel like we used to be better at that, but now we’re too focused on the phone in front of us that we trip over our neighbor splayed out on the sidewalk. When did this happen? We’ve forgotten how to slow down and breathe.

I breathed a lot this weekend. I spent it binge watching Westworld and The Crown (omg Westworld! BERNARD!!! Someone please talk about this with me) and it was such a luxury because I never have time to binge watch anything. The only reason I did it was because I was too sick to do anything else, which a decade ago would have meant I shoved through and did it anyway, but now I just stop. It’s nice. I wish I could convince myself to do it more often, do nothing, veg out and make the kids scrounge up leftovers for dinner.

I was supposed to be working on editing my next book proposal, which I would love to get a move on but not while hopped up on cold meds. What an honor it is to even have the ability to do that, to have an agent who works with me, and readers who support me in that. You guys are the genesis of all of that, and I am thankful every day for the people who read here. Some of you have been here since 2009, which is nuts and amazing and humbling, so now that I’m on the mend- back to work.


Books are my heart, and I’m working on it. In the meantime, I found All Dogs Go to Kevin at my local Target and that was kind of like the best thing ever. EVER! Me, sharing shelf space with Harper Lee for the space of one brief and glorious month. I may or may not have been followed around by suspicious Target employees wondering why the weird woman spent so much time staring at a line of books in aisle A47 and wiping her nose.

So I give what I can, where I can. Today, I have my books. I want to give some to you. I’ve decided to do it this way:

Five copies to the first five people who email me a receipt for a $ 10 or more Giving Tuesday donation to the nonprofit of their choice. Animals, humans, environment, whatever floats your boat. Send me a photo of your receipt dated today to, and I’ll send you a copy of All Dogs Go to Kevin because who doesn’t want to go to the post office this time of year, right? 🙂 (You’re all worth it.) The book totally fits in stockings, I checked.

And the other five copies here, as a giveaway to whoever wants it, because I’m celebrating that this site is still here, and you’re still here, and we’re still here. Resilience is one of the cornerstones of the human condition, right? And I’m so happy to share it all with you guys.
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Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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When one Pug just isn’t enough

The Poodle (and Dog) Blog

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Protecting Your Kitties at Christmas Time

Decoration Dangers:

  1. Artificial snow spray is toxic to cats. Use it sparingly and make sure it is not accessible to a curious cat.
  2. Tinsel and other decorations can be swallowed causing abdominal blockages. Glass ornaments can break and injure a kitty. Place tempting ornaments up high. Better yet, place the dangerous ornaments in a room the cat cannot get into.
  3. Chocolate is a poison for both cats and dogs. Usually it will only make your pet ill, but it can kill. Make sure visitors know the dangers of chocolate being around your pets.
  4. Plants such as mistletoe, holly and poinsettias are poisonous to cats if eaten. Place them up high and out of reach of twitching noses. If you have a cat that generally likes to nibble the indoor plants, it is strongly recommended that you refrain from bringing these plants in to the home at all.
  5. The Christmas tree, cats love Christmas trees. The tree can be like an enormous playground for your cats. Cats can shred a tree, knock it over or destroy all of the ornaments. Buy a tree that does not shed needles. Place weights at the bottom of the tree and secure the top to something rock steady. Place dangly ornaments up high, hopefully out of paws reach. Spray the base of the tree with a diluted solution of lemon juice. Place pinecones around the base of the tree so your cats hopefully won’t get too close.

A Cat Christmas:

  1. Cats often feel left out or overwhelmed by all of the Christmas activity. Set aside special time to play and cuddle with your cat.
  1. Make a safe room for your cat to retreat to if it all gets to be too much for your cat. Place a note on the door telling others not to enter. Put the cat’s bed, favorite toys, a litter tray, and fresh water in the room.
  2. Cats need Santa to bring them toys, too. Any cat would enjoy a stocking with a few new toys.

Here’s hoping you and your loved little cat have a wonderful and safe Christmas Season!


– Written by Linzy Trueblood, owner of Passionate 4 Pets in Orange County, CA

PetsitUSA Blog

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The 10 Best Fun Books

Men with Cats by David Williams

Here are Tracie Hotchner’s year-end list of happy tales.

Need a last-minute gift?

From adorable photos, to laugh-out-loud humor, plus helpful tips: these delightful reads will capture your coffee table.

Pair one with a treat from Halo: Purely for Pets. My girls love Liv-a-Littles, high-protein snacks for dogs and cats. They come in beef, chicken, or salmon, and are the perfect size for a stocking stuffer.

Happy holidays from my pack, to yours!

  1. Neville Jacobs: I’m Marc’s Dog, by Nicholas Newbold. The world as seen through the eyes of fashion icon Marc Jacobs’ dog.
  2. Fly Dogs, by Todd Berger. Photos of exuberant canines bounding for joy.
  3. Men with Cats: Intimate Portraits of Feline Friendship, by David Williams. A photographer celebrates men and their cats in a series of portraits.
  4. How to Get Ahead In Business with Office Cat: Meownagement Guide to Purrfessional Success, by Ariana Klepac & Pete Smith. Advice from kitties on how to conquer the world.
  5. Zen Dogs, by Alex Cearns. Sweet-puppy portraits of dogs chilling out.
  6. The Shepherd’s View: Modern Photographs from an Ancient Landscape, by James Rebanks. A stunning account of a shepherd and his flock.
  7. Cat Castles: 20 Cardboard Habitats You Can Build Yourself, by Carin Oliver. Make your own cat havens.
  8. Life Works Itself Out (And Then You Nap), by Keiya Mizuno & Naoki Naganuma. Advice for happy living, plus cute pictures of cats.
  9. Dogs and Their People: Photos and Stories of Life with a Four-Legged Love, by BarkPost. Anecdotes, stories, photos, and insights from the contributors of BarkPost.
  10. The Dog Bible: Everything Your Dog Wants You To Know, and The Cat Bible: Everything Your Cat Expects You to Know, by Tracie Hotchner. Guides to good living for you and your best friends.



Tracie began her career as a radio personality with a live show – DOG TALK® (and Kitties, Too!) – on the local NPR station in the Hamptons, Peconic Public Broadcasting (WPPB) from Southampton, New York (the show is now also carried on the NPR station Robinhood Radio in Connecticut and the Berkshires). DOG TALK® won a Gracie® Award (the radio equivalent of an Oscar) in 2010 as the “Best entertainment and information program on local public radio” and continues weekly after more than 450 continuous shows and 9 years on the air. Tracie’s live weekly call-in show CAT CHAT® was on SiriusXM satellite radio for seven years until the Martha Stewart channel was canceled in 2013.

Tracie lives in Vermont where the Radio Pet Lady Network studio is based, on 13 acres well-used by her all-girl pack – two lovely, lively Weimaraners, Maisie and Wanda, and a Collie-mix, Jazzy.

Halo Pets

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In step

A happy little poodle in step with his owner. Love the boots!

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A Holiday Gift List for My Hard-to-Buy-For Guy

Holiday Gift List for the Hard-to-Buy-For Guy

I’ve done a few gift guides this season, from winter accessories to nontoxic beauty products. And, because every year I stress over what to get Robbie, who is basically the hardest person ever for whom to buy holiday presents, I started to put a guide together that featured gifts for the hard-to-buy-for for dude. In the middle of composing that post, however, I had a thought – why not make things more personal and share some of the gifts I’ll actually be giving Robbie? I mean, yes, they are specific gifts meant for his personality and the things he enjoys, but I figured sharing these items with you guys might inspire you to find the perfect last-minute gift for your own hard-to-buy-for partner, friend, or family member. (And yes, it might seem like I’m spoiling the surprise by displaying these gifts to the world days before Christmas, but let’s be honest – he and I pretty much always know what we’re giving each other in advance. I’m also hoping he’s too busy this week to read the blog. Fingers crossed!)

I spend a lot of time each year coming up with ideas for gifts Robbie will actually use, and then I try to throw in a few fun and/or sentimental things as well. A gift card is usually one of the first items I buy – while not necessarily the most thoughtful present, there’s no denying that it’s practical and will be appreciated. I also like to grab him a couple of wearable items. We have very different styles (translation: he couldn’t care less about fashion), so I, again, try to focus on the practical. This year I got him a pair of high quality running socks (he’s a runner) and a basic black beanie. He’s a coffee lover through and through, so I picked up a simple white mug filled with a bag of our favorite coffee from the Dominican Republic (which also has meaning, since we just visited there earlier this month). I would never attempt to buy him electronics or anything considered technological (I leave that up to him, since I admittedly have no idea what I’m doing when it comes to that stuff), but I did grab him a portable cell phone and iPad charger, since he travels so much for work and isn’t always near an outlet. Robbie works in the music industry and music is his life, so I always get him some sort of music themed gift. This year I grabbed a couple of vintage records to add to his (ridiculously massive) vinyl collection, and a just-for-fun Beatles guitar ornament. I also picked up a couple of books I know he’d appreciate.

One of the gifts I’m most excited to give Robbie this year is also the most practical of the bunch (and practicality is something that I’ve found most hard-to-buy-for dudes I know appreciate) – the Armor All Car Care Gift Pack. Essley and I picked this up at Walmart a couple of weeks ago in the Automotive Center, and it contains everything Robbie will need to keep his car all clean and shiny. In this handy bucket is 16 fl oz of Ultra Shine Wash and Wax (hello lasting shine and protection, Quicksilver wheel and tire cleaner clings for powerful cleaning, 25ct glass wipes to help keep windows and mirrors free of filmy residue and fingerprints (hi, we have 2 kids under 3), 25ct cleaning wipes that are great for the whole car, a microfiber towel and sponge which are easy on the surface of the car, and Original Protectant to help prevent cracking, fading, discoloration and premature aging, and Extreme Tire Shine to condition, nourish, and preserve the tires’ rich black look.  Oh, and the package also contains a Pro Secrets Booklet that has a coupon value of up to $ 13 off of Armor All Products, which is a fun extra bonus. Robbie is always using Armor All products on his car and I know he is going to be super stoked about this big ol’ bucket of car cleaning goodness.

Who else has a hard-to-buy-for partner? What kind of gifts are you giving him or her this year? Any other Armor All fans out there? (If you or those on your list would appreciate this awesome all-in-one bucket of joy, take advantage of the $ 3 off digital coupon offer for the Armor All Car Care Gift Pack from Walmart, while supplies last!)

This post is part of a social shopper marketing insight campaign with Pollinate Media Group® & Armor All but all my opinions are my own. #pmedia #ArmorAllGiftPack


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Gray fox with a white tail tip

White tail tips are a diagnostic feature of a red fox, but very, very rarely a gray fox will have one.

The diagnostic feature of a gray fox, which no other canid in the United States or Canada will have, is the black stripe that runs down the tail. That’s actually a hackle that can be raised when the fox is aroused.

Natural History

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Friday is Free Shipping Day!

Friday, Dec. 16 is Free Shipping Day, a day when over 900 stores celebrate with free shipping in time for Christmas Eve. We’re so excited that our PawZaar gift store is participating this…

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


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WHOLE Lot of Difference: Morning Starr Animal Sanctuary Donation

 Morning Starr Animal Sanctuary - Halo Pets Donation

Morning Starr Animal Sanctuary‘s mission is to find the best homes for abandoned, abused and unwanted animals of all kinds. In addition, through their new spay/neuter clinic in Cottonwood, AZ, they are committed to providing affordable pet care solutions for dog and cat owners in their community.

Halo is proud to partner with and to make a WHOLE lot of difference for shelter pets together.

Here’s what Morning Starr Animal Sanctuary had to say about a recent Halo Pets donation:

morning-starr-07“This grant was very helpful in supporting the community by assisting with food for dogs and cats. In these hard times pet owners who love their pets have to make decisions between paying bills or feeding themselves and their pets. Many tell us that they make sure the pets eat first. We gave pet food to many disabled veterans who live on very slim means. We believe that no animal should go hungry so we supply dog and cat food from time to time to help pet owners. This grant was so helpful and the pet owners were so appreciative. They came and even helped to carry bags for pet owners who came.”

 Morning Starr Animal Sanctuary - Halo Pets DonationOne individual who we helped was Russell, who is a disabled veteran. He was a welder in the Navy for 4 years and helped build many buildings in the Sedona area through the years. About 4 years ago he suffered a stroke, which left his right arm useless and had a limp in his left leg. He has two dogs named Khloe and Brandy. Morning Starr had spayed, vaccinated and microchipped his dogs for him. He explained that his dogs sleep with him and Brandy, his older dog, even helped him by running to a neighbor’s house to let them know the Russell was not well. He stated to us that his dogs at this time were his only reason to get up in the morning. He loves them so much and though he does not travel often but when he does his dogs are always by his side. They are very sweet dogs. He is on a very limited income and it helps him so much if his dog food 
needs are met by other means such as this grant!

Morning Starr Animal Sanctuary

Thank you Morning Starr Animal Sanctuary for making a WHOLE lot difference for pets in your community.

When you choose Halo pet food, made from natural, whole food ingredients, your pet won’t be the only one with a radiant coat, clear eyes and renewed energy. 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.

Halo Pets

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