Dog Tag Art

If you follow along regularly on this blog, you know one of my favorite companies is Dog Tag Art. (Disclosure: I have no relationship with them, other than as a customer.) They make really cute tags for your pets, but best of all, the tags are super-durable. I’ve never had to replace a tag I … Continue reading Dog Tag Art Dog Blog

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In the Time of the Plague

plague dog

One of my favorite movies is Jaws. The movie centers around a Northeastern island town that relies heavily upon the tourism industry.  A larger than normal great white shark starts attacking people off its beaches, and the initial response of the mayor and town government is to ignore it or blame the attacks on a boating accident.

Of course, such sharks that become habitual human hunters really don’t exist in nature. Usually the shark that eats someone moves on and may never encounter a person again. They are simply predators making a go of it in a sea in which prey avails itself at irregular intervals.

However, the story of Jaws was cribbed from a Henrik Ibsen play called An Enemy of the People.  That play tells the story of a resort town that relies upon natural mineral spas for its tourism town. A doctor discovers the mineral water is contaminated by bacteria, but the leaders of the town and the local newspaper do all they can to prevent the story from being known. The town does not want this story being known, because it will cost them their tourism industry.

I have thought a lot about leaders who sacrifice people for economics. I’ve seen it with my own eyes as this COVID-19 disaster unfolds in the United States.  You may accuse me of letting my political biases from coming to the fore, and I suppose you are right.

I have tried to avoid political discussions in this era of depressing developments– at least on this space. But this time, I have decided to let some of my reticence slip.

The era in which I have come of age is the age of the precariat. The precariat is that sector of society which does not have much and is always on the edge of potential disaster.

Healthcare prices continue to soar, and suddenly, we are thrown into a situation where a contagious virus spreads through the population and the only way to combat is to force the bulk of the population to stay home.  Staying home means no paychecks and massive layoffs. Health insurance that is tied to employment is lost.

And the virus continues to spread. People die and will continue to die.  We are left precarious. The future is uncertain.

No one has any idea how to fix anything. The ruling ideas of the past 40 years don’t make any sense. Indeed, they have no solution at all.

Americans have this idea of invincibility.  We have insulated ourselves from the greatest risks of our many wars. Only the relatively few combat soldiers know any real risk from battle death or injury.

We have lots of great technology, and we believe that our economy is the best in the world. We think of ourselves as durable against it all.

But we are being felled by a mere micro-organism. It is even more mindless than a shark. It merely replicates within our cells and passes on to the next victim.

All of that advancement, all of that intellect and culture, all laid bare by the most random of things.

Wildlife  always live with the specter of epidemics. Canine distemper will flow through gray fox population. In 2016, canine distemper wreaked havoc among the Yellowstone wolves, and I can remember years when epizootic hemorrhagic disease knocked out the white-tail population.

But humans live with the fiction that we are not part of nature. We have vaccines and antibiotics. We have sanitation.  We don’t suffer the plagues like we used to.

But this time, a plague has come upon us. It should knock us off our pedestal a bit. As much as we like to think that we are not part of nature, sometimes nature comes for us. It comes to us with no malice, no concept of revenge. It comes for us the way that it comes for that adorable gray fox kit when distemper hits it.

Our intellect should call us to question the ruling ideas. Already, that questioning is going on. But that questioning must not just be centered in the concept of how our economic and healthcare systems have left us so exposed.

The truth is we are always exposed.  We are always at risk. We are ultimately mortal. We are not terrestrial gods.

We are the smartest animal. But we are still animals. The processes of nature still come for us. Though we can deflect and insulate against these forces, sometimes, we just can’t stop it.

So it has come. It is the Time of the Plague. And we must think and consider as we fall into such humility.

We should accept this humility for now.  We must reconsider and retool– for that is what the future ultimately holds.



Natural History

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Friday Funny: Working From Home

Show us your work from home doggies. Until next time, Good day, and good dog! Dog Blog

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Brothsicle Recipe: A Popsicle for Your Dog!

Are you looking for ways to get your dog to consume additional water–especially on hot days? The answer just might be the Brothsicle, a super easy frozen dog treat recipe. Today’s recipe…

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Help Us with Our Next Cookbook!

We are at work on our next dog treat cookbook–and we’d like YOUR help! Well, we had a busy spring and summer planned with many local vendor shows. I’d just ordered a turquoise tent…

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Uncertain Times

Guys, I don’t even know what to say that hasn’t already been said all over the internet and among friends. This is all absolutely surreal. Less than a week ago my plans for today were to be on a flight to Iceland with my husband for a week with the band he works for, while my kids stayed with their grandmothers and continued with school and activities. Today I sit in my home office struggling to finish the small amount of work I have while my kids run and yell downstairs and my husband, who flew back home to Chicago from California last Friday after their touring was indefinitely canceled, attempts to homeschool them. (Their schools are closed until April 6th, but we all know that it will likely be for the rest of the year.) I continue to get emails from agencies and brands telling me that campaigns I am working on or have completed but were not yet live are being postponed or canceled. It is a very uncertain time for my family – and for everyone – financially, mentally, and emotionally. This shit is scary.

I am trying very hard to focus on the positive. First of all, we are healthy. Our parents, who are in their 70s and most of whom have underlying health conditions, do not have the virus. That is ultimately all that matters. We also have time together that we never had before. My husband is usually gone half the year and when he is here to help with the kids, I am working excessively to squeeze my jobs in during his time at home. So this precious time together is a gift. My daughter’s dance studio, which is her second home, is live streaming her classes and also my yoga classes, so we’re able to continue doing those things we love. My kids’ teachers are beyond amazing and are checking in throughout the day, everyday, to answer countless questions as we navigate this new normal of schooling. I am also thinking about bigger picture stuff, like how humans staying in their homes all over the world will have a positive impact on our earth.

For the first time since I started Bubby and Bean 10 years ago, I am unsure what the future will hold. Sponsored campaigns where I share products, services, and brands I love, are how I am able to sustain the blog and my social media channels. In other words, in order for me to spend the time that I do creating content here and most of all, on Instagram, I need to get paid so I can support my family. I am hoping that even though many brands are choosing to postpone campaigns for now (which is 100% understandable), that eventually things will pick back up. For right now, I likely won’t be posting much here on the blog, if at all. I am truly sorry for this. I will still be posting often to my Instagram Stories and hopefully on my Instagram feed as well.

In the meantime, take care of yourselves and each other. If you’re working from home and/or homeschooling, just do your best. Try to enjoy your time together. Look around you. Breath. Try new things. Or don’t, and just relax. Find the good in this unexpected gift of time with your families, or time to yourself. And if you need to talk, I’m here.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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My Credit Journey: How I Established and Maintain Good Credit

Thank you Lexington Law Firm for sponsoring this post. A high service partner and consumer advocate that will help you fight for the credit you deserve!

I share a lot of the things I most appreciate from my everyday life here – like my home, my family, and even my vehicle – some of which you can see in these photos. And while it’s easy on blogs and social media to share these shiny pieces of life, the truth is that it often takes a lot of work to get there. When we were planning/hoping to have children, looking for a home mortgage, and purchasing our minivan (complete with suburban soccer and dance mom stickers; no shame here!), I relied on my good credit to help. And during these times, I realized more than ever the importance of having good credit.

Thankfully, I started building my credit a long time ago. But I also learned many lessons – some the hard way – over the years of getting it to where it is now. Today, I want to share some of my personal experiences with you guys from my own credit journey. I also want to share some ways that, if your credit needs help, you can work to repair it with guidance from the professionals at Lexington Law Firm. While I haven’t used Lexington Law Firm myself, I have heard great things about them, and would absolutely consider them if I were in a situation where I needed to repair my credit. I really appreciate the fact that they were leaders in creating a solution for the credit repair industry that is legal-based and trustworthy. Their team of lawyers take their knowledge of credit repair and use it to help the everyday consumer, which I think is pretty fantastic.

Now on to my credit-building journey!

A Rough Start
Way, way, way back when I was in college, there used to be tables set up on every corner on campus with all sorts of incentives to get students to open credit cards. I had seen enough of my friends rack up debt they couldn’t pay back to be terrified, so I always ignored them. Once I was out of college however, I wished I’d accepted the offers, as I found it nearly impossible to establish credit. It was actually extremely difficult to get a credit card, and thus start to build credit, when I didn’t have a credit history at all.

Establishing Credit
After several declined credit card applications over a couple of years, I reached out to someone with an established credit history (thanks mom!) to open a credit card with me. With a co-signer on my application, I was able to get approval, and I started using the card for small purchases I knew I could pay back in order to establish credit and gain a credit score, or a FICO® Score. This score, which is calculated by a 50-year old company called Fair Isaac Corporation, calculates a person’s credit via their credit files across three main credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion). It is considered the benchmark when financial institutions assess a person’s lending risk. It’s important! I did my best to be patient, because I knew I had to have the credit card account open for six months to give the credit reporting agencies time to monitor and report my activity.

Monitoring My Score
After it had been enough time and I finally had a credit score, I made sure to routinely monitor my credit report for errors. According to Lexington Law Firm, millions of Americans are declined when applying for home and vehicle loans because of inaccuracies on their credit reports. And these errors can take months to correct. It is important to correct any errors quickly, since the consequences can be long term.

Diversifying My Debt
Opening a credit card or two and getting that revolving credit on my file was important to establishing my credit, but I knew that in order to really get my credit score up, I needed to add a different type of loan as well. I needed a vehicle, so I applied for an auto loan on a very affordable used car and was approved. Over the years I have been able to continue to diversify my debt and prove I could pay it off with more vehicle loans and eventually a mortgage.

Mistakes and Making Them Right
Despite my best efforts to keep my credit healthy and my debt down, there was a point where I made some bad choices that became important life lessons. Long story short, I had a (very successful) eco-friendly clothing business for which I sometimes used my personal credit cards to fund. (Eventually I did it the right way and received business loans, but I was still learning!) When the economy crashed in 2008, many of the stores that carried my line closed and left me with excess merchandise and a hefty amount of debt. It all felt very overwhelming, but I stopped using my credit cards completely at that point and just worked hard on paying them down. It took years, but I was able to get out of debt.

Many people end up in similar situations and aren’t able to get out of it. This combined with credit report errors can lead to a tarnished score. During times like these, Lexington Law Firm can help navigate the credit repair process, using their skills and knowledge of consumer protection laws to fight for their clients, who they believe have a right to a credit report that is accurate and fair.

The Present and An Excellent Score!
Over the years, I have worked to maintain a good credit score, and in the present, I’m happy to say that my score is excellent. I am grateful for this, as it has enabled me to do some of the things for which I’m most grateful in life, like start a family, buy the proper vehicles to make our lives more convenient, and get a mortgage for our house. But I still work it! I do things like make sure our cars and home loan payments (and other household payments too!) are made on time every single month. I also keep my paid off credit cards open, as to not shorten the length of my credit history or lower my available total credit. If I do use credit cards (which is very rare these days!), I pay them off promptly and always have less than 30% of my available credit used. And I check my FICO® Score at least every other month.

A bumpy beginning to establishing credit for myself and a few mistakes learned along the way have taught me a lot about working toward my ultimate goal of excellent credit. And being able to get a mortgage and vehicle loans at great rates has proved to me how important it is to maintain this score. But it’s also reassuring to know that if anything ever goes wrong, credit repair is attainable, and that Lexington Law Firm can help. Lexington Law Firm’s trusted professionals know consumer protection laws and how to utilize them to help fight for their clients’ rights.

Just click here to learn more about Lexington Law Firm’s service and how they can help you or your loved ones repair credit.

Thank you for letting me share my credit journey with you. If you have stories about your own journey to building or repairing your credit, I’d love to hear them! Feel free to comment or email me any time.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Win a Blue Zoca Premium Waterproof Blanket!

This giveaway is sponsored by and fulfilled by Blue Zoca. For the past several years, we have worried about pet stains on our bed…so much so that we’ve had to cover the bed with a…

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Saturday Survey: Embarrassing Your Dog

Earlier this week, I posted a picture of dogs wearing sweater hats lovingly made, probably by a relative. Like most parents, I enjoy embarrassing my teenage two-leggers, and it got me thinking about whether or not our dogs might be similarly humiliated. Have you tried any of these? Until next time, Good day, and good … Continue reading Saturday Survey: Embarrassing Your Dog Dog Blog

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The Unbroken Brown Dog


Our lives are ultimately caught in a kaleidoscope, and as it twists, the shapes and colors that are facts and experience shift in and out of our view.  As the twisting goes, we soon see before ourselves a new image, a new reality, and perhaps a new ethos, a new understanding.  This process is known to all of us older than the age of 30, and it is such a profound part of living that if we were to live a few centuries, the same individual would be fundamentally a different person every couple of traditional lifetimes. We would be reborn many times without ever dying.

My worldview has changed greatly in recent years. The long screeds against show dogs have disappeared. They aren’t worth the time to write, and I honestly no longer agree with their theses.

And I have had to atone for my own myopia.  It is difficult. I find it almost impossible to read what I wrote even three years ago.  I am that much different from what I once was.

Back in 2015, I was on a tear about the German shepherd that won best of breed at what we call “the National Dog Show.” It is an event that is held in November, but it is televised after the Macy’s parade on Thanksgiving.

The dog that won BOB was Kysarah’s Pot of Gold, better known as a Patrick or Paddy.  A German dog expert had declared his locomotion to be among the worst he’d ever seen, and the various blogs that were touting the “evils of dog shows” were quick to lambaste Paddy, his owners, and his breeder.

I left a stupid comment on Pedigree Dogs Exposed that it was shocking that they were turning the dogs plantigrade. You know, pretty much all the things you read on these sorts of blogs (including mine, if you dig a little bit).

German shepherds were never my thing. I generally left this breed alone on here. I was much more interested in the great crusade against brachycephaly, which (newsflash) has been lost and was lost long ago..

But I did get a hair stroppy about German shepherds and sloping backs and hock-walking back in the day.

It was good for my ego, good for my hits, and good for my pathetic little soul.

I didn’t know that Paddy was a beloved pet. He had been a junior handler’s dog, and his young handler had done well with him.

I didn’t know that Paddy had a wonderful life chasing the ball and leaping in the bogs of Eastern Massachusetts. I didn’t know how much he was loved. I didn’t know that he was a loyal and sweet and intelligent dog.

He was merely a victim of my horrid ideology.  I had no idea that the animal rights fanatics were sending death threats to the family, including his junior handler. I had no idea that my ideas could be feeding into something that toxic.

What’s more is that the twisting of the kaleidoscope aligned my vision a bit differently.. I had come to, through circumstance, to live with Paddy’s nephew.  I never considered Quest to be my dog, though I was on his papers.  Jenna could have her dream dog, and I would focus more on the golden retrievers.

But I came to see that Quest was truly special. He is smart and protective, but he is good with other dogs, even other males.  I cam to realize that he is a damned good dog, and I have since come to live with Dare and Miami, both of whom count Paddy as an uncle.

Have since come to count Paddy’s owner, Pamela Martin, as a good friend. She was very close to Anya, Quest’s breeder, and she mourned with us when found out that Anya had been killed in a truck accident.

And if that sorrow wasn’t bad enough, we received news that Paddy was euthanized on Sunday.

I never met Paddy, but I know his kin.  I know his people.

They jokingly called him the “Broken Brown Dog,” the leaping bog dolphin.

But he was always unbroken.

Though the haters were always going to hate, he was always going to be loved.


Natural History

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