Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Dental Hygiene & Dogs #BlueStemPets

 This post is sponsored by bluestem™ and the BlogPaws® Pet Influencer Network™. I am being compensated to increase awareness of and share my experiences with the bluestem™ oral care products, but I only share information I feel is relevant to my readers or that I think some of you could benefit from! Bluestem™ is not responsible for the content of this article.

So I know that when some of you read the title of this post, you, I thought she was crazy before, but this right here takes the proverbial cake.

Well, hold that thought. I know I'm a #crazydoglady, but I also know that I'm not made of money. Money? Dental Hygiene? Connect the dots or stop talking, Kait.

Let me tell you a little story. The chocolate Lab I had growing up, Maddie, woke up one day with a very puffy face, but oddly, only on one side. It turns out, she had an abscessed tooth that needed pulled. On top of that, she needed medication to prevent infection. It all turned out to be very costly for my parents and I remember thinking to myself "Damn, that's expensive!"

So, I knew when I had dogs of my own that I was going to take their teeth pretty seriously to avoid any foreseeable dental issues. When we got Judy, I began regularly brushing and flossing her teeth from a very young age so she got used to it. It removed any built up gunk that managed to creep into her mouth throughout the week and left me feeling like "okay, I'm on top of this!" Whenever we took her for regular check-ups, the vet would always remark how clean her teeth looked. So, when we got Bill, I started the same regimen. Aside from making sure their dental hygiene is up to par, I will basically do anything to avoid having to put them under anesthesia for a teeth cleaning. That scares me!

When I discovered that bluestem™ made a water additive for dogs (and cats!) that helps fight plaque, tartar AND freshens breath -- I knew the Hanson Labs needed to give it a try. 

But I did have a couple concerns -- would Judy be able to use it with all her allergies? Was it safe? What did it have in it to do all of this mouth magic?

Judy's allergies? 
Judy is allergic to a plethora of things, so her using new products is always iffy. bluestem™oral care water additive comes in three flavors - chicken, vanilla mint and original (unflavored). The ingredients only list "flavoring" for the chicken and vanilla mint selections, which made me unsure, so we stick with the Original unflavored choice, as all the other ingredients are fine for her!

Is it safe? 
Yes! All bluestem™ products are manufactured in Canada and are clinically proven safe and effective for daily use in cats and dogs. They contain 100% food-grade ingredients that are approved by Health Canada’s LRVHP program, as well as follow AAFCO guidelines.
If it's just food-grade ingredients, what the heck makes it work?
All bluestem™ products contain coactiv+™ technology - a unique formulation of food-grade ingredients that are scientifically developed to break down biofilm, where harmful bacteria multiply.

It's very simple to use -- you just add two capfuls to your pet's drinking water every time you refill the bowl. At our house, this is about twice a day! 

About two months into using this product this spring, Judy chipped a tooth after a little too much aggressive playing with Bill and I started to FREAK THE HELL OUT. I could tell she was in a lot of pain, so we took her to the vet right away to get it taken care of with a minor surgery. In less than a week, she was back to her normal self and the vet remarked that her healthy mouth aided in such a speedy recovery. That was all the validation I needed to make bluestem™ a staple at our house for many years to come.
The amount of shiny white teeth at our house is impressive ;)
Find bluestem™ oral care water additive at a retailer near you and try it for 30 days to see the results for yourself!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of bluestem. The opinions and text are all mine.

Monday, August 29, 2016

5 Must See Places On Oahu's North Shore

If you missed the first installment of this series, be sure to check out 5 Must See Places On Oahu's South Shore

One of the things that I love so much about Oahu is that even though we live there, it's still a huge tourist destination. I can't even begin to count the number of times someone has reached out to me on Facebook and said "Hey Kait, I'm coming to Oahu in a couple months and know that you live there, so I wanted to reach out and see if you had any recommendations for things to do?" 
OH YES, YES I DO. The hard part for me is always breaking down what I recommend into digestible portions. Do you like hiking? Do you want to shop? Sight see? Swim? You see where this is going. In the next few weeks, I'm going to break down my favorite spots on the island by region. Hopefully this helps anyone who might be visiting soon :)

Today, I'm talking all about Oahu's North Shore.

I'd be totally lying if I didn't disclose that while I love all parts of the island, the North Shore holds a special place in my heart. Now, let's get right down to it.

1. The beaches. The beaches on the North Shore are some of my favorite on the whole island. The wide spreads of sand, fewer tourists and big waves make the beaches second to none in my opinion. My favorites include La'ie, Banzai Pipeline, Velzeyland and Kawela Bay. I do love Waimea Bay too, as long as it's not crazy crowded!
2. Matsumoto's Shave Ice. And no, it's not shaveD ice, it's shave, no "d". I've never gone past it without seeing a line and for good reason. They have almost every flavor you can imagine and getting it over ice cream with beans is a MUST! Beans? Wtf? Sweet azuki beans are a sweet staple in Hawaii. I would describe them as the texture of black beans, but a very sweet taste.
3. North Shore Pillboxes. There's a short and sweet hike that sits high above Waimea Bay that offers great panoramic views of the North Shore. It definitely gets the blood pumping and can be quite muddy (I recommend going early), but it's one of my favorite hikes for the views it offers. 
4. Shrimp trucks. If you like shrimp, the food trucks scattered along the North Shore are a MUST. They offer every kind of shrimp you might imagine (garlic is my favorite and coconut is a close second), usually served with a big scoop of rice and some sort of slaw. My favorite truck is at the "round up" in Haleiwa on the far right side. If you go, definitely get the onion rings, too!
While I'm on the topic of food, my other favorite places to eat include Kahuku Grill (papaya salad & grilled banana bread), Dole Plantation (Dole Whip), Uncle Bo's (wonton nachos), Beet Box Cafe (gluten free donuts and lots of vegan goodies!), Opal Thai (Thai food -- absolutely everything is delicious) & Haleiwa Bowls for a traditional, Hawaiian acai bowl.

5. Green World Coffee. There are lots of coffee options in Hawaii, but there's something so special to me about Green World, a nice stopover point before you truly get to the North Shore. A farm that allows you to walk through the coffee trees, sit and relax in the sunshine and most importantly..get a delicious cup of brew! We love this place so much we had some of our family photos taken there AND the pups are always welcome. Truly, I can't say enough about their coffee or hospitality. Their coffee is a MUST.

And though I don't advocate for disturbing them in their natural habitat, the North Shore is a great place for spotting the Hawaiian Green Sea Turtle, also known as "honu". Just remember - it's a felony to touch or disturb them!

Have you visited Oahu's North Shore? What was your favorite part?

Friday, August 26, 2016

Italian Panzanella Salad

You know how Olive Garden says "When you're here, you're family"? Well, I have a confession to make -- I really dislike that, because Olive Garden is a disgusting excuse for Italian food, but the slogan could not be more true for Italian families.
When you come over, we're going to throw you around a table and feed you until you think you can't eat any more and then declare that it's time for the main course.
Who else is nodding in agreement? Food is the cornerstone of Italian families. Well today, I'm bringing you one of my favorite recipes!
My mom has perfected her panzanella recipe over the years. It's a summer specialty, but thankfully fresh produce is always "in season" in Hawaii so we eat this pretty often, but it's never as good as it is at my parent's. What is panzanella? Traditionally, it's a Tuscan salad made of bread and tomatoes, dressed with olive oil and balsamic, sometimes mozz and basil is added. Some of the absolute best panzanella I've ever tasted was in culinary school and oh mouth is watering just thinking of it. So, let's get to my family's recipe before I drool all over my keyboard.

You Will Need:
2 fresh tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
1 red onion, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow squash, sauteed
1 red pepper, sauteed
1 cup pepperoni, diced or cubed
 day old load of bread turned into bread cubes
fresh mozzarella (how much you like cheese is dependent upon how much you'll need!)
*Chopped Bocconcini are the best to use, in my opinion, but pearls work, too!
2 cloves garlic, minced
quality olive oil & balsamic (I use

1. Heat 3-4 tbsp. olive oil in a large skillet with one clove garlic and saute bread cubes. Remove when browned and set aside.
2. In a large bowl, add tomatoes, onion, zucchini, yellow squash and pepper. Toss. 
3. In a small bowl, whisk together oil, balsamic, 1 clove garlic, salt and pepper. I'll be honest and say I never measure this, but use your judgement to make enough to light coat your vegetables.
4. Pour mixture over veggies and toss.
5. Add in bread and mix well.
6. Now is the part where you can add (or not add) what you like. My mom always serves the pepperoni and mozzarella on the side, but if you don't have any picky eaters in your family, mix them right in!
7. Toss, serve and enjoy!

*P.S. All these photos were taken with my iPhone, because there was no way in hell my family was waiting to eat so I could photograph their dinner. #realtalk

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