Actor Jon Bernthal Joins Show Your Soft Side Campaign

He portrayed a zombie slayer in the AMC series The Walking Dead and currently stars as a vigilante battling bad guys in the web series The Punisher. Off-screen, actor Jon Bernthal fights for all…

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Is Your Pet Ready for Halloween?

Manny the Frenchie - Happy HALO-Ween

With more than 31 million people planning to dress their pet in costumes for Halloween this year, according to the National Retail Federation, it seems that Beggar’s Night is attracting a whole new breed of treat-seekers. It’s a terrific opportunity to bring your pet in on the fun. Here are a few tips to make the night a howling success.

Suit up with care
From bumblebees and hot dogs to witches, pirates, and pumpkins, cute is easy, but make sure your pet is comfortable, too. Check the costume for pieces that could get chewed off or get in the way of normal movement, breathing, vision, and hearing.

Get tricked out with pet treats
All the extra candy and chocolate bars sitting around may send their sniffers into overdrive, so keep sweets safely out of pets’ reach. And be sure to have plenty of pet treats close by—not just for your little beggars, but all the adorable ones who ring your doorbell.

Don’t forget their ID
Before you head out on the town, double-check that your pet has proper ID—like a microchip or a collar and identification tag. Such a busy night may bring lots more leashes than normal, plus all the excitement and children running about could cause confusion or an escape.

Enjoy the holiday together
Between unattended bowls of candy, the novelty of their costume, an increased number of strangers, and lots of fall decor (including jack-o-lanterns that may have lit candles in them), the evening holds a number of fun things that have the potential to stress out or even harm your pet. Stay close and keep your eye—and maybe your reassuring hand—on them all night.

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Barktoberfest in Durham

A few pictures from an old high school friend of mine, Annette Smith, who attended Barktoberfest last weekend at Durham Central Park. The event featured a costume contest, photo booth, canine food drive, an interactive trick dog show presented by Dare Devil Dogs, fun walk, pet market, adoptable animals from local shelters and rescues, and […] Dog Blog

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Have Your Dog Take the Halo Veg Pledge for World Vegan Day

Halo Veg Pledge

With World Vegan Day nearly upon us, now is a great time to have your dog take the Halo® Veg Pledge. As people around the globe celebrate the spirit of veganism—compassion for animals, plant-healthy food, and environmental protection—your doggo can take part by digging into a bowl of Halo® Garden of Vegan® one day a week.

Already, 363 dogs have raised their paw of participation to enjoy only vegan nibbles on Meatless Mondays (or a day of their choosing), and with World Vegan Day on Thursday, November 1, it’s the perfect time for your dog to join in.

Learn more and sign up for the Halo® Veg Pledge.

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Plant-Based Mini Halloween Pizzas

Vegan Mini Halloween Pizzas

This post is in partnership with Daiya Foods. Thanks for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

There are so many reasons to love October: apple picking, sweater weather, Halloween, pizza… Yes, pizza! Until recently I didn’t associate pizza with October, but when I found out that it’s National Pizza Month, I immediately got to celebrating. I mean, I love pizza year round, but this has given me the perfect excuse to eat it more often.

I’ve been a vegetarian since high school, so cheese or cheese and veggie pizza has always been my go-to. But I’ve been working to make healthy choices in my eating habits over the past couple of years by incorporating more plant-based alternatives into my food choices – including pizza. This admittedly created a slight predicament for me for a while, because cheese was always what made pizza for me. I actually tried making it a few times with just sauce and veggies, but I wasn’t a fan. Then last year, I discovered Daiya‘s Cutting Board Collection of Shreds which I used to make plant-based nachos, and soon after started making my own pizzas with them too. And you guys, they are so good.

I’ve experimented with all sorts of plant-based pizzas using Daiya’s Shreds – from made-from-scratch dough pizzas with fancy ingredients to the super easy, super fun Halloween-themed mini pizzas I’m sharing today. They’re made with vegan english muffins and topped with Daiya’s Cutting Board Collection Shreds and are perfect for Halloween parties, snacks, or meals. They’re also something the kids can easily help make. I think you will love them as much as we do!

Plant-Based Mini Halloween Pizzas
Vegan Mini Pizzas
Vegan Mini Halloween Pizzas

Plant-Based Mini Halloween Pizzas
Makes 6 mini pizzas


6 vegan english muffins*, halved
1.5 cups Daiya Cutting Board Collection Mozzarella Style Shreds
1.5 cups Daiya Cutting Board Collection Cheddar Style Shreds
1 cup jarred pizza sauce
black olives
green olives
green pepper

*Many english muffins are vegan and some are also gluten free; check ingredients.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Placed halved english muffins cut side up on a baking sheet, and top each with pizza sauce until covered. Top half of the pizzas with Daiya Cutting Board Collection Cheddar Style Shreds, and the other half with Daiya Cutting Board Collection Mozzarella Style Shreds. (If you want to make a mummy pizza, use the Mozzarella Style Shreds to form “bandages”.) Bake for about 10 minutes, or until Shreds are full melted. Then get creative! To make a jack-o-lantern, create a face with black olives and sliced green pepper, and a pumpkin stem from green pepper. To make a spider pizza, top with a vertically halved black olive for the body, a horizontally halved black olive for the head, and sliced black olives for the legs. To make a mummy pizza, use green olives to create eyes. To make a monster/Frankenstein pizza, top with a piece of sliced green pepper and small olive pieces.

Vegan Halloween Mini Pizzas
Mini Halloween Pizzas
Vegan Halloween Pizzas

My kids have been asking to make these almost everyday, and I don’t blame them. They’re so much fun, and they’re also easy and super delicious. And you’d never guess that they’re plant-based and not made with dairy cheese. The key ingredient, of course, is Daiya‘s delicious Cutting Board Collection Shreds. You’ve heard me profess my love for many of Daiya’s plant-based comfort foods in the past, so it’s probably no secret why I love these pizzas so much. The Cutting Board Collection Shreds stretch and melt just like regular ol’ dairy-based cheese, but (just like Daiya’s other foods), they’re free of top food allergens like dairy, gluten, nuts and soy. And the line is available in Cheddar Style, Mozzarella Style and Pepperjack Style, so there’s something for everyone and for every kind of cheese-based recipe. If you haven’t tried Daiya yet, head on over to your local grocery store. Their products can be found in more than 25,000 of them in U.S., from Whole Foods, Kroger, Safeway, Publix, and Meijer to natural food retailers.

Easy Halloween Mini Pizzas
Easy Halloween Pizzas

If you try these yummy plant-based mini pizzas, let me know what you think. Happy National Pizza Month and Happy Halloween!


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Active Fun for Indoor Cats

Just because your indoor cat doesn’t prowl the neighborhood, chase birds, or get daily walks or trips to the dog park, doesn’t mean it’s okay to be a cat potato. It’s easy to create a virtual playground for your cat inside the walls of your home.

  • String theory — Sad that the string came out of your hoodie in the wash, but now you have a perfect cat toy. Or the ribbon off a gift, an old shoe lace. Amazing how swirling in the air or in the ground can send your cat scampering after it.
  • Roly poly — Cats may not be built for games of fetch, but roll a tennis ball or sock ball to them and watch them bat it around, and maybe even chase after it if they knock it across the floor.
  • Free climb — Like toddlers, cat see the world based on how they can climb it. If your home allows, give them safe, sturdy levels to climb freely—like stools, window seats or ledges, or secure shelves—without you worrying about them knocking important things down.
  • Kibble on the move — Cats are natural predators so one way to keep the brain and their body active is finding new spots to put their kibble. Try dividing the food you’d give your cat for one meal into three different bowls and put them in different spots where your cat can hunt them down.

In addition to the physical activity, make sure your cat’s diet matches his or her lifestyle. Indoor cat food is formulated with fewer calories, knowing that indoor cats aren’t quite as active as outdoor, plus it has fatty acids to keep their skin and coat shiny, even for life with an HVAC system that could dry them out. And if you think your cat may already need to lighten up a little, try a nutritious healthy weight cat food that helps them feel full but has fewer calories than regular cat food.

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It is very nice information…My dog also suffers fr…

It is very nice information…My dog also suffers from SA and can go through crates (or walls) in about an hour. Finally after coming home to her out but with a collapsed crate hooked into her skin and being dragged around the apartment I gave in and bought this.i’ll wait for your next article.

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Making Adventure With Whatever’s Around Us: How We Free Our Play

This post is in partnership with Kamik

“Make an adventure with whatever’s around you.”

At the beginning of this past summer, when there was no school and structured activities were limited, I paid very close attention to my kids as they played outside. And I noticed something. When not given direction or an agenda, their creativity exploded. It wasn’t a surprise; both of my little ones have very active imaginations. But I’d never watched the process so intently of them making something magical out of nothing. It was amazing to watch the elaborate scenarios they would create and execute with little more than an admittedly pretty barren backyard. It was inspiring.

Watching my kids play so freely reminded me a lot of my own childhood, which took place during a time when there was no internet, only a handful of options for activities, and a lot less general parent involvement in terms of how/when/what a child played. I want my kids’ childhood to feel as joyful and limitless as mine did, so I vowed to make sure this type of free play lasted well beyond the freedom of summertime and into the more structured, scheduled fall, winter, and spring months. I also vowed to make sure my husband and I joined in this free play whenever we could.

Since my summertime playtime epiphany, we have made a conscious effort to engage in free play as a family as much as possible. Sometimes this means going to a forest preserve or local park. Sometimes it means exploring our city. Sometimes it means walking around the neighborhood. But the last time we were all together on a weekend, we decided to keep things as simple as possible, and have some good old fashioned free play, right in our own backyard. And it was the absolute best, so I decided to share some of it with you today.

The first step of free play, no matter what, is to step outside. So that’s what we did. The next steps, however many there may be, always involve the same mantra for us, which, according to my daughter Essley, is to “make an adventure with whatever’s around you.” (Probably my favorite quote of all time. Can I print this on a t-shirt and wear it everyday?)

In this case, step two meant the kids gathering pumpkins from our porch and setting them up in a row, then rolling and tossing them across the yard. Essley informed us that our yard was a bowling alley, and we all joined in. Eventually, Emmett declared that the pumpkins became cakes, and an impromptu outside bakery was formed. My husband and I were the bakery’s all-time number one customers, or so we were told.

The outside cake shop morphed into a game of tag that led us to the backyard, where the kids planned to jump in puddles. The only problem was that it hadn’t rained, and there weren’t any puddles. Channeling her free mantra the way only an almost 5 year old knows how, Essley grabbed the hose and said, “King Daddy, please make some puddles for your kingdom.” So on that day, step three for free was to make our very own puddles in which would jump. And we did. All four of us.

From that point, the “adventures we made from whatever was around us” ranged from crossing a mommy bridge to get through the jungle, to me running away from two hungry bears in the woods, to Emmett leading a group of invisible itsy bitsy spiders up the water spout (aka gutter), to Essley leading a mission to sail the high seas with daddy (in a canoe) in search of long lost treasure, to Emmett growing into a friendly giant who was “taller than the trees” (with a little help from daddy’s shoulders).

In the front and back yard, in a just a couple of hours, we did more than we do in a day full of structured activities. And the kids invented all of it. We did nothing but free play right along side them. It was wonderful. Free play is always wonderful.

This is just one example of one afternoon of free play in our family, but it happens all the time. I am becoming more and more mindful of watching it take place with my kids everyday, both at home and at other places we go. Sometimes I’ll see it as Emmett climbs a wall at the playground and tells me it’s a rocket ship about to blast into space. Sometimes I’ll see it as Essley plucks a dandelion puff from the ground and transforms into a fairy, blowing fairy dust into the universe to spread kindness to the world. Sometimes I’ll see it as the kids turning blacktop into an invisible trampoline and jumping “higher than the sky.” Sometimes I’ll see it in a city parking lot full of fresh puddles after a rain, when Essley decided to hold an impromptu puddle jumping contest. It can be everywhere and anywhere, as long as they’re outside and using their imaginations.

I initially thought about writing this post as a list of tips for free play, but the truth is that there are no rules. The first step is to step outside, but the steps that follow are completely up to your kids. That’s what makes free play so wonderful. And it’s one of the many reasons why I was so excited to team up with my friends at Kamik for their Free Your Play campaign. Kamik wants to encourage parents to step outside the scheduled, structured daily routine of activities and plans and get outside (literally) with their kids to play freely and with unbridled, pure imagination. Kamik believes our kids today are missing out on the wonderful, spontaneous type of play we had as kids, and wants us all to rediscover and embrace it. And I love that so much! We also our Kamik boots, as those of you who follow me on Instagram have probably noticed. Everyone in the family owns a pair of their rainboots (which you can see in all of these photos!), and their winter boots. The perfect footwear for any time of outside play or activity, they’re incredibly comfortable, stylish, weather proof, sustainably made, and by far the highest quality boots we’ve ever owned. I can’t recommend them highly enough. And if you use code BUBBY25 at, you’ll get 25% off too

The concept of free play is very important to me, so I’ll be sharing more pieces of our family’s free play adventures over the next couple of months over on my Instagram. I’d love to hear more how your family frees your play as well!



Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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I have an 80lb pit/lab mix. He has been a handful …

I have an 80lb pit/lab mix. He has been a handful to walk on a leash. I have tried almost every type of harness and collar with no luck. I finally tried the prong collar and have had amazing results.

But recently my dog has been able to break the links apart if he sees something he wants. I purchased the largest/strongest prong collar available. Does anyone have any suggestions about what I should do?

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Taking Care of My Skin From the Inside Out

This post is in partnership with PURENEW. All thoughts and opinions are mine. Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible.

Last month, I shared a challenge I’ve committed to called 100 Days For Positive Change, that focuses on being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, everyday. The challenge is currently half way done, and I’m happy to report that it’s still going strong! Aside from the fact that making daily physical activity a priority (something I’ve never done for longer than a week or two at a time) has had numerous benefits for my physical and mental health, it has also inspired me to focus on taking care of myself from the inside out in other ways. This includes focusing on an area where I’ve needed some help recently: my skin.

I’ve always been good about caring for my skin externally. I never, ever go to bed wearing makeup, I wash twice a day with a gentle cleanser recommended by my dermatologist, I moisturize religiously, I use a great eye cream, and I exfoliate as needed. I always read the ingredients on skincare products and pay close attention to how they affect my skin, and I change and update them as needed. But doing this challenge has motivated me to pay even closer attention to my body as a whole, and I’ve noticed my skin has looked (and even felt) a little lifeless. I needed to take my skincare routine up a notch.

A few weeks ago, a friend who is doing the challenge with me suggested taking certain supplements to help boost different aspects of my health. While doing research into which ones to get, I started reading more on how superficial skincare products often can’t target the causes of skincare issues and help longterm the way taking health supplements can. I read about a beauty supplement line called PURENEW (the name itself is the fusion of “pure” and “renew”; love that!) that is designed specifically for different life stages. I really liked the fact that their supplements are all made in a cGMP (Current Good Manufacturing Practice) certified facility in California using standards enforced by the FDA, and that they contain only the highest quality ingredients sourced from nature and backed by clinical studies. I’ve taken other beauty supplements to help my hair and nails, but this line really focuses on targeting overall beauty-from-within and bringing visible change to skin, with packets containing several types of supplements specially for my age group. I knew I had to give it a try.

I immediately started taking the Professional Skin Clear Advanced Skin Care, which is designed to help reduce wrinkles and clear skin over the age of 35. Since turning 40, I’ve noticed some major free radical and sun damage on my face, mainly in the form of dark spots, wrinkles, and dullness. PURENEW helps to promote healthy skin cells by increasing collagen, boosting moisture and elasticity, reducing formation of age spots, and brightening skin tone – all things I wanted to improve in my skin. Everyday, I take one packet of supplements after a meal. And I have to say you guys, even after one week I noticed that my skin seemed clearer and healthier looking. The longer I take it, the more of difference I see. And that’s pretty great.

In addition to taking PURENEW, I’ve continued to take care of my skin from the inside out by drinking lots of water throughout the day, eating healthy foods, and being physically active for at least 30 minutes a day (usually through running or yoga). I’m so grateful that I started this challenge, not just because it’s good for me physically (although that was the initial goal and remains crucial!), but because it’s inspired me to pay attention to all aspects of body – inside and out – including how I’d been taking care of my skin. I plan to continue to nourish it both externally and internally, and am excited to see how much it’s improved when the challenge is complete.

What is your skincare routine? Do you mainly focus on superficial skincare, or do you take beauty supplements as well?


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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