Lemme Tell You 'Bout My Best Friend

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #PedigreeGives #CollectiveBias

Warning: Cute pug pictures ahead. I'll talk anyone's ear off that will listen about how cool my dog is. Zoey the Pug is without a doubt the best little dog a gal could hope for. 

Z the Pug is coming up on her 4th "Gotcha Day" in December. When BB and I decided to get a pug, we wanted to adopt if we could. We spent months scouring Craigslist and PetFinder to find our new little buddy. It took a lot of waiting before we finally found our pug, but Zoey was worth the patience. She came from a family with several kids and a new baby and we're too overwhelmed to take care of a puppy, so we were happy to take her off their hands. I can safely say it was the best decision we've ever made. Well, besides changing her name from Frankie Jo to Zoey. FRANKIE. JO. Seriously.

She's my snuggle buddy when I marathon The Mindy Project on Hulu every night. She curls up next to me and keeps me company when I work from home. She's happy to clean up any of the chips I drop on the floor, and I swear that her little snores help me sleep better. 

If you're thinking about getting a dog, but looking for a specific breed, you can still adopt instead of using a breeder! There are so many dogs out there that need homes (and I seriously want them all), whether from a shelter, foster home, or even from someone who can't handle them. Here are a few tips for finding your new best friend:

1. Use Search on PetFinder & Craigslist: If you're looking for a specific breed, using the search tools on these two websites can help you find any that may have fallen through the cracks. Sometimes, we'd find a pug in surrounding areas like Fayetteville or Memphis that we might not have seen otherwise.

2. Check Every Single Day: Persistence pays off! We both searched these websites constantly in case of new listings. Pugs are a pretty popular dog, so we had a few slip through our fingers because someone found the listing minutes before we did. 

3.  Follow Breed-Specific Rescues: We followed several pug-focused rescues like the Pug Rescue of Northwest Arkansas on Facebook. Since they're dedicated specifically to pugs, there was a better shot that we'd find exactly what we were looking for!

4. Patience, Patience, Patience: This is probably the most important thing to remember. You could find your next furry friend in a day, or it could take months. If it's really important for you to get a particular breed, it will take time. In the end, it will be worth it!

Even if you decide not to rescue, there are plenty of ways you can help dogs in shelters that need to be adopted. Most shelters need volunteers to walk or clean the dogs, and they're always looking for donations! You can donate crates or carriers you aren't using any more, new toys, or items for event auctions to raise money. And, speaking of money - that's always a good way to help as well. Consider sponsoring an adoption of a pup to help them find a forever home faster.

Possibly the easiest way to help? Every time you buy PEDIGREE® food at Sam's Club, they'll donate a bowl of food to a dog in need for the entire month of October. I'm hanging out with the 55 lb. bag here in the pet aisle of Sam's, which could feed a lot of happy dogs (and keep them healthy while they're waiting for a new family!).

Want to donate even MORE food? Upload a photo of your best furry pal to Instagram or Twitter with the hashtag #LaterShelter and PEDIGREE® will donate a bowl for every photo uploaded! The best ones will be featured on Sam's Club's website. Make sure you check out more heartfelt puppy stories (and cute photos of dogs) on the Pedigree Social Hub and follow Sam's Club on Twitter!

PS - check out this cute video I made with my bestie Z the Pug on Instagram!

Summer Gifts for Dog People

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ShareFunshine #CollectiveBias

When I threw my first party at our house, I remember my friend Sandra brought a housewarming gift for both us AND our pug. Zoey got her own small bag of treats and bones (which she throughly enjoyed) and I thought it was so sweet to include our fur kid.

I love the idea of including the most important member of the family in a summer fun gift basket, especially for couples who don't have kids; So I put together a dog-approved gift basket you'll want to give for every occasion. BBQ. Picnic. House Warming Party. A picnic basket full of goodies for humans and dogs could be the perfect companion for an afternoon trip to the dog park. As a bonus, I've included an opportunity to win $100 to Walmart and get $$$ off all of these items at the bottom of this post!

Here's what you'll need for the basket:

Grab the biggest bag of M&M's® you can find, because duh. Starburst® Minis, because they're UNWRAPPED and so much easier to eat in one sitting. The ice cream cookie sandwiches are so clutch, because somehow the cookies stay soft and it's delicious and wonderful.  Dr Pepper® Cherry - the drink of the summer, and some fun party wares so they're ready to go everywhere. For the pups, Pedigree Dentastix®. Zoey LOVES these things, and they're super affordable to get a large amount. You'll find them in the dog food section at Walmart with the treats and rawhide. 

I also put together this adorable jar if you want to do something smaller scale just for the pup. This could be great for a dog birthday party (trust me, they happen!) or play date. Just fill a jar with tissue paper, tennis balls, and Pedigree Dentastix® for a fun AND functional gift!

To wrap the whole thing up, I made these dog-inspired gift tags you can tie on to a basket or jar and sign on the back. You can find the full size version for printing here.

Don't worry, we took all of these snacks for a spin to make sure they brought the appropriate amount of summer fun and family happiness. Our own family fun picnic went off without a hitch...until Zoey finished her treat and went after my ice cream.

Now here's the fun part. Mars is offering you the chance to win $100 worth of Summer Fun! Not only can you download special coupons for the goodies I included in the basket, you can enter to win a $100 giftcard to Walmart. You can also download the Blippar app from the Apple or Android store to scan your package and receive exclusive content. Endless summer, here we come.

BB's Shirt: Fur & Collar. Shorts, Express. // My Overalls: Current/Elliot. Tee: The Limited.

BB's Shirt: Fur & Collar. Shorts, Express. // My Overalls: Current/Elliot. Tee: The Limited.

Healthy Food for Busy People

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyNewLeanCuisine #CollectiveBias

I hate being that person who always talks about how busy they are, but it's just the truth. Trying to fit everything into one day AND take care of myself is just about one of the hardest things I have to do. LEAN CUISINE® has long been my choice for meals on the go, and when I got to try their newest line up of amazing meals, I knew they'd fit into my lifestyle perfectly.

Here's the deal with frozen meals: the trick is plating everything you can! I can't always do this at work, but at home it makes every meal feel like I'm some fancy chef. Just add parsley! I always try to find ways to make every day a little more fabulous. Here's how I eat all of my favorite meals:

AT WORK

Most days, I have to run from one job to the other with little time to fix a healthy lunch. This usually ends with me driving through a burger place and eating something truly terrible for me. It's so easy to throw one of these in my bag in the morning to make for lunch and eat at my desk that I can skip the drive thru.

AFTER WORKING OUT

With 15g, the Sweet & Spicy Korean-Style Beef is a protein packed after workout meal. For me, protein is essential for those 5:30 evening spin classes, otherwise I'm struggling to walk the next day.

FOR A SNACK OR SIDE

I'm a big fan of all things mac & cheese, and one of the biggest tricks when you're dieting is not to deny yourself of your favorite things. This White Cheddar Mac & Cheese is low-calorie and made with organic pasta, so it's the perfect way to treat myself without over indulging. I like to add a little grated cheese on top to make it feel fancy.

If you want to try some of these delicious meals for yourself, pop into Walmart and you'll find them in the frozen food aisle. I've already seen about five other meals I'm dying to try!