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Last week, when temperatures were approaching negative territory, here was how we knew our dogs were out for too long: When we took them for a walk, we did so without gloves on. As soon as our hands were too cold, we took it to mean that our dogs’ feet were probably too cold, too. So we headed back home.

This homemade barometer of when it is safe to walk your dogs in the cold is admittedly crude, and it’s not enough. With the polar vortex descending on much of the United States now, it’s critical that you consider your pet’s safety when outside. It could be a life or death situation.

Related: How to Keep Your Pet Safe in a Natural Disaster

Here are six tips from a handful of pet experts on what you need to do to keep your dog, cat or other pet safe during extreme cold weather.

1. Minimize time outdoors

Even though dogs and cats wear a fur coat full-time, they are still susceptible to frostbite like humans. Frostbite can come on quickly, too. “Frostbite can take hold of your dog in less than 30 minutes in extremely cold weather,” says Danielle Bernal, DVM, veterinarian for Wellness Natural Pet Food. While frostbite is a risk for all dogs, says Bernal, “Small dogs, puppies, short-haired dogs and senior dogs are most susceptible to frostbite. Your best bet is keep walks short.” If you must take your dog for a walk, says Rob Jackson, CEO and co-founder of Healthy Paws Pet Insurance, wait until the warmest part of the day.


2. Dress your pets accordingly

I never thought I’d be the kind of person to put a coat on a dog, but guess what? Both of my dogs now wear coats when we take walks outside and the temperature is below freezing. With the thermometer set to plunge below zero and stay there for days on end, even your Mastiff will stop shivering and stay warm in the winter with an extra layer, says Bernal. Again, if you have a short-haired breed, a coat or sweater is a must.


3. Keep an eye on your pet’s paws

There is so much that can hurt your pet’s paws during winter, including the extreme cold and ice and snow. Keep the fur on their feet trimmed short to minimize the chances of ice and snow accumulating there. I always wash my dog’s paws and undercarriage when they come in from winter walks. Because if they lick their paws, I don’t want them ingesting any ice-preventing chemicals. Another way to protect their paws is to put them in booties.

You’ll know that your pet’s paws need veterinary attention if you see cracked paw pads or bleeding or sudden lameness.

4. Watch for cats around cars

There are two dangers for cats and your car in winter. First, pets tend to like antifreeze. For some reasons they like the taste. Even so, it’s poisonous. “It’s important to clean up any antifreeze that may spill or leak from your car,” says Bernal. So if you’re keeping your outdoor cat in your heated garage as a safety precaution, definitely keep an eye on any spills under cars in there.

The other danger is the fact that cats like to climb onto vehicle engines to seek warmth during cold weather. The experts at Banfield Pet Hospital recommend that you knock on or check under the hood before starting a vehicle. You might even want to honk the horn to startle any animals that might have sought shelter in or underneath your car.

5. Give your pet extra food and water

It’s true that you burn more calories when you’re trying to stay warm. “When it’s really cold outside, pets burn extra calories so it’s recommended to give them a little extra food,” says Bernal. So if they want to chow down more, let them. Also, if you keep food and water outside for your pet, because your pet spends a lot of time out there, keep the following in mind: water can and will freeze in extreme temperatures. So make sure they have fresh water to drink at all times.

6. Forego taking your pets in the car

We hear so much about the dangers of dogs in hot cars. But freezing temperatures can be just as deadly. So leave the pets at home until this cold snap breaks.


By: Leah Ingram | Jan. 30, 2019 |  Parade.com

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Is there a home maintenance project that’s been lingering on your to-do list for too long because you’re dreading the trip to the hardware or craft store? If so, we have good news for you! You can probably tackle a few projects on your list with items that you probably already have around the house. Take a peek at these 5 items below. Vinegar

There’s probably a jug of vinegar in your pantry right now. You can soak items in vinegar to remove mineral deposits (like in a clogged showerhead), and you can boil vinegar in your microwave to remove odors and make it easier to clean


A can of Coke or Pepsi can be used to clean many surfaces, including your glass windows, porcelain toilet, or chrome fixtures. Just do some research before using it on metal surfaces, as it can be corrosive.

Baking soda

This item may actually be more useful for applications other than baking. A baking soda-vinegar paste is great for cleaning bathrooms and kitchens. Baking soda can also be used to absorb odors.

Butter knife

Screwdrivers are easy to misplace. If can’t find a screwdriver when you need one, a butter knife—preferably an older one that you no longer need for table setting—is pretty effective for both Phillips- and flat-head screws.


Is there an unsightly scratch on your car or bike? The grit in tarter-control toothpastes makes for an effective scratch remover. Clean the scratch, apply some toothpaste, let it sit for a few minutes, and then buff it out with paper towel.

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Hosting family + friends at your place? Follow these tips from our friends at RealSimple to make sure your bar is stocked so you can enjoy the festivities along with your guests.

We’ll toast to that!  Streamline.

Offer a single house cocktail. Supplement with wine, beer, and sparkling water.   *Being in the real estate industry, we always lean towards lighter-colored drinks, so opt to protect your interiors and choose perhaps a champagne cocktail or winter white sangria.

Prevent a bottleneck.

The first thing guests do is head for the drinks. Uncork wine before the party starts to eliminate the kiss-Larry-on-the-cheek-while-struggling-with-the-bottle two-step. Put wine and beer in an ice bath a half hour before guests arrive. Fill a pretty galvanized bucket with ice, water, and a handful of salt.

Stock up on ice.

In addition to the ice for the bucket, “you’ll need at least one 10-pound bag for every four guests,” says Mindy Kobrin, the founder of Mindy’s Meals on Heels, an event-planning company in New York City.

Make enough to drink.

When whipping up batches of your house drink, “assume guests will consume two cocktails in the first hour and one drink an hour after that,” says Meghan Andalman, the owner of Lovebird Events, in Chicago.   *Be sure to provide some non-alcoholic options for guests who do not drink alcohol. We always like to have a bottle or two of sparkling cider on hand at our team events + gatherings.

Have a variety of glasses on hand.

Mismatched vessels look great. Figure each guest will use at least three glasses.   *If you’re worried about glassware breaking, opt for plastic tumblers or champagne flutes from Amazon or your local party store.

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The holiday season is here, and these family friendly, affordable, and adorable crafts will keep everyone entertained! Courtesy of one of our favorite domestically talented people, Martha Stewart’s blog features 8 holiday crafts where you can find everything you need at your favorite grocery store. Think: paper plate angels, gumdrop pops, citrus pomander bowls, and more!


Get the Paper-Plate Angels How-To

These elegant angels began as humble paper plates. Use an angel pattern to create the body and wings and embellish the edge of the plate with hole punches. You can use these as tabletop decorations or place them on your Christmas tree.


Get the Gumdrop Pops How-To

Create cute characters from the candy aisle! These gumdrop pops can be used as decorations or as adorable gifts for family and friends. Stack the gumdrops and add sprinkles or other small pieces of candy for eyes and scarves. They’ll be (almost) too cute to eat.


Get the Citrus Pomander How-To

You can also make an elegant centerpiece using oranges and grapefruit. Keep the fruit unpeeled and whole; decorate them with a line of cloves and place on a decorative cake stand. Accent with greenery.


Get the Glittered Paper Reindeer How-To

On Dasher, on Dancer, on Prancer, and Vixen! To make this shimmery garland, all you need is paper and a flying reindeer cookie cutter.


Get the Candy Land Cookie How-To

Gingerbread houses are a traditional holiday craft. Here’s the sweet, easier version: You can use graham crackers for your little ones who want to help make these. Use frosting to serve as the “glue” to assemble a set of homes and decorate with candy pieces.


Get the Candy Cane Mice How-To

Create mice from felt or use sturdy card stock or construction paper from the grocery store. Push the wrapped candy canes through the paper (or felt) mouse so that the candy cane becomes the mouse’s tail. These cute mice can be great stocking stuffers or holiday party favors.


Get the Cranberry Garland How-To

Here’s a classic holiday tradition: do-it-yourself garlands. Waxed floss is strong and slick, so cranberries and popcorn will slide on easily. Knot one end of a piece of floss, and thread a needle onto the other; just pierce through the kernels and berries, and slip them on.


Get the Stained Glass Cookie Recipe

Create the “stained glass” look by inserting chopped candy pieces into cookie cutouts. Once they’re baked, the hard candies look like colorful stained glass. You can turn them into ornaments by looping string (or even licorice whip threads) through a hole in the top of each cookie ornament.

content and photos courtesy of MarthaStewart.com
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Giving gifts is one of the most fun parts about the holiday season, but we know it can sometimes be stressful trying to find that perfect present for each person. Here are some scene-stealing gifts for everyone on your list (and who are we kidding, for treating yourself). THE EXPLORER/TRAVELER Scratch Map

A perfect gift for those who love to travel the world, and do plenty of it! This scratch-off-where-you’ve-been map is a fun and eye-catching way for adventurers to remember their past adventures. It also comes in a USA version, for those who want to commemorate their cross-country travels throughout the States.

$26 – $40  |  UncommonGoods

THE FOODIE  Cheese of the Month Club

What could be feta than cheese delivered right to your door? Sound too gouda be true?

Okay, we’ll stop now. 

We all have that one friend who loves cheese way more than the average person. Treat them to this box of three mouth-watering cheeses from Murray’s Cheeses each month. 

$75 for 1 month; $275 for 4-month subscription  |  Murray’s Cheese

THE BAGEL SNOB New York Brunch Package

Give a taste of New York with the city’s best bagels and lox.

Any food lover with go wild for this mouth-watering spread: New York’s finest Nova, all natural cream cheese, hand-rolled bagels, chocolate babka, and coffee. On Oprah’s Favorite Things of 2018, this yummy package  feeds up to six people and is ideal for practically any occasion – brunch in bed, breakfast with the little ones, a small gathering with friends.

$140  |  Russ & Daughters

THE TECHIE  Wireless Charging Pad

Okay, you totally don’t need to be a techie to want (or need) a wireless charging pad. This wireless charger by Belkin was designed with Apple and optimized for iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max, iPhone XR, iPhone X, iPhone 8, and iPhone 8 Plus – and its universal compatibility works with any Qi-enabled devices from Samsung, LG, Sony, and more. Available in three colors – black, white, or pink – at under $30, this gift might help you cross off quite a few names on your list.

$29.99  |  Amazon

THE FASHIONISTA  Box of Style Subscription

You may have noticed we love subscription gifts this year, and rightfully so – they’re the gift that keeps on giving! The ultimate luxury fashion and beauty subscription is ideal for the fashionista in your life. The boxes are seasonal, starting at $99. Give her one for this holiday, or take care of a year’s worth of gifts with a subscription for all four boxes. Either way, she’ll love receiving coveted seasonal finds by Rachel Zoe delivered right to her door.

starting at $99  |  Box of Style

THE SWEET TOOTH Seasonal Ice Cream Pints Club

This will definitely be the tastiest club you’ve ever been in. 

Get five seasonal ice cream flavors delivered to your door each month with this subscription from Salt & Straw. 

Note: The last day to order ice cream for delivery before the holiday is Wednesday 12/19 for Second Day Air and Thursday 12/20 for Next Day Air. Daily order cutoff is at Noon PST.

$65 each month  |  Salt & Straw


There are literally thousands of crafts beers being produced by microbreweries you’ve probably never heard of. So how are you supposed to choose the right beer for the craft beer enthusiast in your life?

You don’t. Just give a Craft Beer Club subscription, and let The Original Craft Beer Club do the legwork and tasting to bring your craft beer enthusiast exceptional craft beers from the country’s best, small, independent brewers. Each shipment is $42 and has 12 beers. You can choose to give anywhere from 1 to 12 shipments, as well as the frequency they arrive.

$34.95  |  The Original Craft Beer Club

THE BOOKWORM Book of the Month Subscription

You can’t choose your family — but they can choose their books. That’s how the saying goes, right?

Give your beloved book lover the gift that lets them pick from the best new books every month. Choose either 3 months for $44.99, 6 months for $79.99, or 12 months for $149.99. Fun to give, fun to get. Plus, shipping is free for you!

starting at $49.99  |  Book of the Month

THE BEER LOVER Mini Beer Flight Set

Not sure what kind of beer he likes best? 

No worries, have it all! This mini beer flight set from ZGALLERIE has room for all his favorite brews. And, it comes in a gift box, which is a bonus for you, too! *Plus, right now use promo code CHEER20 to get 20% off regular-price purchases when you shop online.

$34.95  |  ZGALLERIE

THE DOG LOVER  Pearls for Pups Co.

We can’t get enough of these gorgeous earrings (seriously, we’re wearing them right now), but it’s not just because they look good. They do good too! 100% of the proceeds are donated to dog rescues all over the country, so get shopping!

They offer 8mm and 12mm pearls and 8mm crystals ($20-$25) in an array of lovely colors. They have also just released “The Rescue,” which are genuine saltwater pearls ($125). Buy a pair (or three) for gifts, and buy some for yourself, too!

One of the gals in our marketing department started this awesome 501(c)(3) non-profit with her mom and sister, and The German Shepherd was inspired by a Lucido family pup – so we have extra love for this very special company + mission.

$20 – $125  |  Pearls for Pups Co.  |  @pearlsforpupsco on Instagram  and Facebook 

THE IN-LAWS  Festive Flowers

Spruce up the holidays with festive flowers, arrangements, and seasonal gifts from one of our favorite florists, Flowers & Fancies. Shop the Holiday Collection to share all the joys of the holiday season or check out the Best Sellers for classic favorites.

prices vary  |  Flowers & Fancies

THE WINO  Winc Wine

The gift of expertly curated wines is perfect for any occasion. So wine not give the wino in your life a completely personalized experience with Winc? Winc is an impressive and delightfully easy way to gift great wine. Winc connects you to a world of exclusive wines tailored to your tastes and offers wine delivery right to your door.

When you use this link, you’ll earn a complimentary $22 of Winc wine.

Get 10% back when you buy a gift card of $100 or more! Ends 12/31.

$60+  |  Winc

THE WHOLE FAMILY Matching Pajamas 

Start a tradition of matching PJs for the whole gang! In an array of styles and designs, these pajamas come in sizes for the whole family – mens, womens, youth, infant, and even the dog!

Choose a festive themed pattern like Reindeer Onesies or Peanuts Pajamas to sport in December, or a more neutral design like Snowflakes, Red Plaid, or Green Plaid you can wear for the whole winter season.

$9.99 – $24.99  | Target

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With all the potential distractions pulling us away from rest, it’s safe to say that your bedroom is crucial to you getting some serious shut-eye. Actually, it’s proven; according to a poll done by the National Sleep Foundation, Americans’ bedrooms are key to better sleep.

Here are ten helpful tips to get a good night’s sleep. (Don’t worry, no lambs made the list!)

  • Set and stick to a sleep schedule. Go to bed and wake up at the same times each day.
  • Expose yourself to bright light in the morning, and avoid it at night. Exposure to bright morning light energizes us and prepares us for a productive day. Many find it helpful in overcoming the winter “doldrums” that come with getting up in the dark. Alternatively, avoid exposure to bright light late at night. Dim your lights when it’s close to bedtime, and put night lights in your halls and bathroom for nighttime awakenings.
  • Exercise regularly. Exercise in the morning can help you get the light exposure you need to set your biological clock. Avoid vigorous exercise close to bedtime, if you are having problems sleeping.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine. Allow enough time to wind down and relax before going to bed. Relaxing does not include watching TV or scrolling through social media on your phone! Put down the blue light devices to truly relax.
  • Treat your bed as your sanctuary from the stresses of the day. Create a cool, comfortable sleeping environment that is free of distractions. Use your bed for sleep only so you positively associate it with sleeping. If you find yourself still lying awake after 20 minutes or so, get up and do something relaxing in dim light until you are sleepy.
  • Keep a “worry book” next to your bed. If you wake up because of worries, write them down with an action plan, and forget about them until morning.
  • Limit late eating. Avoid caffeinated beverages, chocolate and tobacco at night, and avoid large meals and beverages right before bedtime.
  • No nightcaps. Drinking alcohol before bed can rob you of the deep sleep and dreaming you need, and it can cause you to wake up too early.
  • Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep. If you have trouble sleeping, ask your doctor or pharmacist if your medications might be contributing to your sleep problem.
  • No late-afternoon or evening naps, unless you work nights. If you must nap, keep it under 45 minutes and before 3:00 pm.
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Merry and bright and oh, who are we kidding? Busy as all hell. Make your December that much less stressful by following these 28 steps now.

  1. Send formal invites to your holiday party. Nab a prime-time slot and get your fete on friends’ calendars before the influx.
  1. Then get your own social calendar organized. And don’t be afraid to say no if you’re overbooked/over it.

  2. Buy a new cocktail dress. One that’s easy to throw on and makes you feel great—it will earn its keep this season.
  1. And send past years’ festive frocks to the cleaners. You don’t want to discover that marinara stain 20 minutes before Sharon’s party.
  1. Stock up on wrapping paper. Because the rolls that are still available on Christmas Eve are truly depressing.
  1. And stamps. Stay away from the post office after Thanksgiving.
  1. Send out holiday cards. Don’t be the woman paying for overnight delivery on December 22.
  1. Write out a master gift list. Like most things in life, holiday shopping is easier—and more productive—with a game plan.
  1. Then start ordering online. Save schlep wherever possible.
  1. OK fine, hit the stores on the weekdays. Sneak out at about 3 p.m. for an infinitely less horrible shopping experience.
  1. Pick up a gender-neutral gift of two. For surprise secret Santas and last-minute host gifts.  
  1. Wrap presents as you buy them. Just be sure to label what’s inside and whom they’re for.

  1. Have USPS pick up your packages at home.
    Stay away from the post office after Thanksgiving, pt. 2.
  1. Lock in travel plans. Before ticket prices spike sky-high.
  1. Pick your holiday menu. Hit Pinterest and set your recipes in place.
  1. Dust off the china.
  1. Iron the linens.
  1. And polish the silver.  
  1. Deep clean your home. Starting with the least-trafficked spaces first, and give extra love to the guest rooms.  
  1. Replace old baking staples. When you’re buying a ham, the last thing you need in your grocery bag is a sack of flour.
  1. Work out and watch your diet. Because apple pie.
  1. Then unearth your comfiest yoga pants. Because apple pie.
  1. Rest up. Repeat after us: “I will not get sick on my holiday vacation.”
  1. Cook what you can freeze. A ready-to-go apple pie is always a good idea.
  1. DIY ASAP. If you’re going to make that glittered pinecone garland, it’s time to carpe diem.
  1. Then decorate. Why not enjoy the wonderful festiveness that is the holiday season for as long as humanly possible?
  1. Hang the mistletoe. And work on elaborately planning how to get your special someone under it.
  1. Solidify NYE. Cuz scrambling for last-minute plans really sucks all the fun out of it. (No shame in Chinese takeout and a great movie, folks—it’s bound to be an exhausting December.)


By JILLIAN QUINT  | NOV. 16, 2018 for PureWow.com

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With Halloween behind us and Thanksgiving fast approaching, it’s time to gear up for the upcoming holiday entertaining season! Be sure to savor the last bit of fall and welcome guests with these festive front porch decorating ideas. 1. Create a Stylish Wreath Guaranteed to Impress

Style: Elegant Who knew a hoola hoop could be so classy? Food52 shows us how a bit of metallic spray paint, floral wire, and foliage can transform your favorite childhood pastime into a stunning and stylish wreath.

Supplies you’ll need:

  • A hula hoop
  • Metallic spray paint (here, gold)
  • Floral wire
  • A selection of foliage, such as dusty miller, eucalyptus, twigs, magnolia leaves, and grasses
  • Velvet ribbon (here, dark blue)

Photo by India Hobson
Style: Rustic

For a more rustic look, consider transforming a flat basket into a welcoming front door decoration.
Supplies you’ll need:
  • Round shallow basket
  •  Faux fall flowers
  • Hot glue gun
  • Black craft paint
  • Paint brush
  • Sharpie
  • Ribbon,
Detailed instructions available at Twelve on Main.

Photo courtesy of Twelve on Main

2. Upgrade your Door Mats with a Pop of Plaid

Nothing says Fall like a pop of plaid color! Upgrade the look of your front door with this inviting and on trend look of layering a lovely plaid doormat under your everyday one.

Photo courtesy of Inspiration for Moms 3. Stairway Splendor Fall curbside appeal isn’t complete without a classic arrangement of pumpkins or mums. Elevate the look of your arrangements with these simple ideas! Repurpose galvanized buckets as planters for festive mums.

Weather-proof and sturdy, metal buckets can hold your mums with both form and function.

Photo courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens
Layer pumpkins and gourds of different colors and sizes between potted mums for visual appeal.

Don’t be afraid to use less commonly seen gourds of different shapes and colors to express yourself!

Photo courtesy of Liz Marie Blog Show your hometown pride with this DIY pumpkin upgrade!

With some paint and a stencil of your state, a simple pumpkin becomes a centerpiece of pride!

Supplies you’ll need:

Photo courtesy of Country Living

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From the Turkey to the deserts, check out some of these Thanksgiving must have recipes for your table! This is guaranteed to be a sharworthy feast.

  • 1 10lb Heirloom Diestel Turkey – neck and giblets removed
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons sage, chopped
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 unpeeled heads of garlic, halved crosswise
  • 2 honeycrisp apples, halved
  • 3 sprigs rosemary
  • 3 sprigs thyme
  • 3 sprigs sage
  • 4 cups hard apple cider (more if needed)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • kosher salt to taste
  • coarse ground pepper to taste

*For the full recipe visit: https://www.climbinggriermountain.com/2016/11/apple-cider-glazed-roasted-turkey-herbed-butter.html


Slow Cooker Creamed Corn | Damn Delicious
Honey Maple Roasted Carrots | The Cafe Sucre Farine
Parmesan Butternut Squash Gratin | Betty Crocker
Bourbon Maple Glazed Carrots | Cooking & Beer
Crock Pot Cranberry Pecan Stuffing | The Creative Bite

*For the full recipes on this delicious side dishes visit: https://makinglemonadeblog.com/25-most-pinned-side-dish-recipes-for-thanksgiving-and-christmas/



  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour plus more for coating chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups semisweet chocolate chips divided use
  • cooking spray

*For the full recipe visit: https://www.dinneratthezoo.com/pumpkin-chocolate-chip-bread/

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