The Best Father’s Day Gift Ever (+ $50 Snapfish Gift Cards Giveaway!)

Let me start out by saying that I realize calling something “The Best Father’s Day Gift Ever” means it must be pretty freaking amazing. And while the early Dad’s Day gift we designed and gave to my husband wasn’t, like, a trip around the world or a new luxury car, Robbie told us that it was, indeed, the best Father’s Day gift ever. And we believe him.

As my regular readers know, a little over two years ago, Robbie became a dad for the first time, and a few months ago, the second time. He also works full time as the Stage Manager for a band – and is on the road for over half the year. In fact, he had to leave for a several month tour with only weekly quick stops at home when our baby boy was only 2 weeks old. I am very proud of what a hard worker he is and how great he is at his job, and I’m thankful that we’re able to be so supportive of each others’ unique careers. But it’s not always an easy life for the kids and me – or for him. He has to miss a lot of “firsts,” a lot of holidays and important events, and the day-to-day family life that most probably take for granted. I have to say though, he more than makes up for any absence or sacrifice by legitimately being the most incredible father to our kids. The love and bond they share simply cannot be taken away by the limited time he has with them. He goes above and beyond – from dress-up tea parties in tiaras with our daughter, to story times that turn into hours, to many all-nighters spent semi-sleeping in a chair rocking a babe during the newborn months, to multiple daily park trips, to an almost infinite number of other wonderful things he does. I feel very lucky that Robbie is the person to help me raise Essley and Emmett. I am so, so grateful.

For this Father’s Day, I wanted to come up with an idea for a gift for Robbie that was sentimental, and would show just how much we appreciate him, while still being his style. We tend to get each other practical gifts (aka gift cards) which is all well and good, but I felt like for his first Father’s Day as a daddy of two we needed to step it up. The perfect gift would be something personal, inspired by his journey into parenthood over the last few years, from the time I got pregnant with Essley through the present. It was also really important to me for it to be something he could bring with him on the road – something he could look at when he missed us and be instantly reminded of the great times we share when we’re together. I thought long and hard about this. And then it hit me. A beautiful, high-quality photo book from Snapfish, with touches that reflected his style aesthetically and told our story as a family – and that he could pack in his bag when it was time to go on tour – would be the ultimate Father’s Day Gift.

Making the book was such a fun project (I actually laughed and teared up during the process, multiple times). I decided to go with an 11 x 14 book with the LayFlat Hard Cover, then entered the Snapfish project space. I uploaded my photos (a ton of them) from my computer (you can also upload from Facebook or Instagram), then played around with text/sentiments, embellishments, backgrounds, and designer layouts, etc. to create a one-of-a-kind gift for our one-of-a-kind dad/husband. Robbie’s style is simple and he loves dark neutrals, so I used a charcoal color for the cover and half of the inside pages. For the other pages I used the “Family Man” layout’s wood grain design. I chose embellishments from “Family Man” as well for some of the book, and the “Create Your Own” option for the rest so I could design some of it from scratch. I went with a simple font for the captions. Essley got in on the action too and helped me choose which photos to use – from the first ultrasound of her through my pregnancy, her birth, my pregnancy with Emmett, his birth, and all our adventures in between, up until now. I focused on including as many pictures as possible with Robbie and kids, being silly and having fun and just loving one another.

We decided to give Robbie the gift early so he could start enjoying it and be able to take it on the road with him right away. And truth be told, I couldn’t wait until Father’s Day once I saw it in person. It’s really gorgeous you guys. The quality is stellar (I am so in love with the lay flat hard cover), the pictures are crisp and vibrant, and it genuinely looks like a professional quality coffee table book you’d pick up at a high end boutique. Essley helped me wrap it up and we gave it to him after dinner the other night. Now my husband is not one of those people who bursts into tears at the sight of something sentimental. But I definitely spotted the glimmer of watery eyes when he unwrapped it and saw the front cover (the first photo taken on the four of us, on the day Emmett was born). We all piled onto the oversized chair in our living room and spent some time looking through it together. It was pretty awesome watching him crack up over funny and ridiculous memories and smile over the sweet ones. And like I said, he officially declared the photo book “the best Father’s Day gift ever.” So I think we did good.

One thing I’ve noticed with my own husband and with friends who are fathers is how today’s dad seems to be more engaged than ever before with the kids, and is ultimately redefining what it means to be a father. And I think this is a source of pride for them (as it should be!). So really, what better way to show appreciation for that than with a personalized Father’s Day gift that showcases their relationships with their children? If you’re on the look out for something truly special, checked out Snapfish‘s options for creating personalized photo gifts for Father’s Day this year (or for any occasion where you want to show gratitude). I’m so thrilled with the way ours turned out, and even moreso by how much Robbie loves it.

And now for the giveaway! Snapfish is giving away 35 (!!!) $ 50 product codes so you can create your own personalized gift (or whatever you’d like!). To enter, just use the entry form below. There are several ways to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The giveaway is open to US residents ages 18+ (only one winner per household, please), and runs through June 10th at 9pm PT. Winners will be randomly selected and notified by Snapfish by June 17th. Good luck! And happy Fathers Day!

Thank you for supporting the brands that help make Bubby and Bean possible. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


Bubby and Bean ::: Living Creatively

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Cicada emerges

Natural History

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Fido + Fluffy’s #FreebieFriday Plans for Memorial Day Weekend

The unofficial start to summer is now right around the corner. As we stop this weekend to remember the service men and women who have given their lives, I know that Memorial Day also marks the change…

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


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Red-shouldered hawk eating chicken livers

A red-shouldered hawk comes by to eat chicken livers left out for coyotes and foxes:

Natural History

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Misty Discovers the ‘Truth’ About Vets


Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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NatGeo Wild, Here I Come! (For real!)

Yay, big news I finally get to announce-

I’m a Season 3 Expert on Nat Geo’s Animals Gone Wild!

I shot the episodes over several days at the end of last year, giving commentary on a bunch of wild animal videos. (None, by the way, showing people harming or doing irresponsible things, which was a condition of accepting the gig.)

It airs Fridays at 9/8 C on NatGeo Wild starting this week- please tune in!! I hope you enjoy it! And for those of you who are in on the bandwagon of the Instagram celeb vet who used to be a model, he’s one of the other experts too, so there’s something for everyone.

animals-gone-wild- (1)

But if you tell the channel how much you love the experts, do me a solid and add in “especially the lady vet.” 😀

Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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True American Dog

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Tragedy at PetSmart

A PetSmart groomer has been arrested for animal cruelty after a 1-year old Dachshund died while in his care. Henry had been brought in for a simple grooming appointment and ended up with two broken ribs and a punctured lung, as revealed by post-mortem X-rays. Even though an on-site vet was brought in to tend […] Dog Blog

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Life is Short. Buy the Boots.


If grief were a color, it would be slate. Not an angry obsidian black, or a peaceful dove grey, but that shapeshifting silver somewhere between black and white, a stormy sea that some days seems blue, others almost brackish, depthless and impossible to truly describe.

If it were a shape, it would be a spiral, a shape you ride on in a neverending loop of centrifugal force splattering you against the wall whether you will it or not, bringing you back again and again to the same spot, from a slightly different vantage point.



I imagine that grief counselors are well versed in this, which is why every bad day seems to be preceded by a call from the chaplain, who senses it like a dog knows an earthquake is coming. The last one had come just before Christmas.

“It’s Chaplain Gary. How are you?”

“Fine.” And I am fine, until I remember that I’m supposed to be upset, and then I am.

The most recent call came on the one year anniversary, if you can call it that, of the date my mother became ill. The season has returned to set the backdrop for the nightmare month of May: lengthening days, long afternoons, and the scent of blooming jasmine wafting over the chairs in the backyard that I’ve rarely gone to sit in since the night my mother died. When I sat blankly until 2 am, staring at a candle and wishing for her parents to come and spirit her away from this earth as her breath rattled slowly away.

We went to the beach for Mother’s Day last year, spending a night in an oceanfront bungalow that would normally be way too indulgent for an innocuous holiday, but I had a rare and terrible gift: knowing that this was my last one.

I had only this one day into which I must pour every future Mother’s Day of which we were being robbed. And because I had to continually remind myself to be there in that moment, instead of thinking ahead to the years her chair would be empty, I could notice things I would probably not normally observe in my hypervigilant state: my mother’s hair, so different from mine, her dainty nose which I did not inherit, the way her hands would gently enfold the kids whenever they came into her line of vision. She was beautiful inside and out.

And Here We Are

One year later, I’ve come full circle to that spot I knew I must return to, and dread. It’s been there all along, these memories, receding into the shadows of the changing season and coming out again this spring to say hello. I see my friends post stories and pictures with their mothers, having recently entered into that comfortable spot in life where they can be totally honest and laugh about anything, and I feel an almost painful sense of longing remembering the small moments with my own mother I had come to treasure.

We met for lunch often, once the kids were older and in school. Our lunches were something my husband would always dread, because they were always followed by wandering into a store where she never, ever, ever talked me out of impractical things. Because of her, I own a snazzy chain link belt and a pair of Frye boots that I would never have bought on my own. It’s a silly thing, boots, but I love them. They suit me, as she said they would. They are happy boots. They are sad boots.

I know, because people have been tremendously generous with sharing their own stories, that this longing for more time will never go away. You never entirely forgive the universe for taking a treasure from you, even when you know anger is useless. It sucks and it will always suck, even when I’m an ancient crone cruising around on a walker.

Love Remains

But I cannot be anything but grateful that I had a mother whose love was so encompassing that to lose her has left me devastated. How many of us worry that if we were gone, no one would care? She never did.

Every year was a gift and a marvel. While her physical form is gone, Mom surrounds me in a thousand little ways, from the whistle of a teakettle to the smell of a cookie, the joy in a beautiful sunset, the strength to do what needs to be done. She’s here. In some form or another, love remains.

To those celebrating Mother’s Day this weekend, my love goes to you. Take a deep breath and really experience it, be you the recipient or the giver. And if you are hurting and dreading the day, don’t be afraid to run away from the brunches and the flower shops, the rituals and the intact families, the resentment and the sorrow. Find a place that brings you peace. Buy some sad boots. Go to the beach. Sit in a forest. Sadness means you loved deeply, and that has its own kind of beauty.

And wherever you go, don’t forget to take your dog. 🙂


Pawcurious: With Veterinarian and Author Dr. V

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I live one county over from Gadsden County, FL. Co…

I live one county over from Gadsden County, FL. Conditions have not improved. There us no public adoption. It is merely a hold and die or kill facility.

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