Fashion & Beauty Queries: Vol. IV, No. Eleven

Dear Belle,

Odd question, do you have a favorite toothpaste?  I’m scared to use a whitening formula with all the commercials about how they hurt your enamel, but my pearly whites are less than white.  If you don’t use whitening toothpaste, can you recommend another whitening product?  

Appreciate your time, Frances

I use Sensodyne Pronamel Toothpaste.  It whitens a bit, but it’s not the intense whitening that I used to get with the Rembrandt Intense Stain formula that I used to use.  Both formulas are supposed to help strengthen enamel; I switched because I didn’t like the taste of the Rembrandt.

As for other whitening products, a friend who works in dentistry gives the Glo Whitening Device her stamp of approval.  For a more affordable fix, I use Crest Vivid Whitestrips.  They work well enough if you’re diligent about using them every day.  I do not recommend, however, the Express Whitestrips Crest sells.  They made my teeth tremendously sensitive.


Thank you for answering the last e-mail I sent you, I need your help again.  I’m searching for a small pair of stud earrings.  Something delicate.  I don’t like a lot of flash but I do want to wear something pretty.  


These itty bitty clover studs are really lovely.  These silver leaf-shaped studs are a good option.  For something with a bit more pizzazz, these Bianco Gomez black diamond studs are timeless with a hint of edge.


My puppy was born yesterday – a beautiful little female goldendoodle. I have 5.5 weeks before she comes home and I have so much to do to prepare. What are your favorite (or Avery‘s favorite) pet items/brands? I’m in search of a cute food/water bowls, collar/harness, training books, grooming products – anything and everything!

Thank you, Abby Grace

For training books, try the Perfect Puppy in Seven Days.  I wish I had followed her advice more closely.  You have to discipline yourself to teach the puppy discipline.  A puppy changes your life tremendously; I wish you luck.

As for products, I suggest buying a dog-bowl mat to keep your floors clean.  Costco makes the best dog beds.  Don’t buy a nice collar until the puppy stops growing.  Until then, farm supply stores have the best inexpensive collars and usually a wide selection of colors.

Puppies have a LOT of energy; my friend Virginia bought Avery a puzzle ball and Zuke’s treats.  They have to roll the ball around to dispense the treats, so it distracts them and burns energy.  Avery also loves Fluff & Tuff toys (which are thankfully tough to destroy).  Kong toys filled with peanut butter are also a great way to ease separation anxiety when you crate train.



  1. BabyShark says:

    Re: Toothpaste

    I recently picked up a trial size of this: and find it does great work both improving my gum health and whitening my teeth.

    March 23, 2017/Reply
    • Jenn S. says:

      Not saying boo because I’m glad it works for you, but the type of fluoride in this (stannous fluoride) has been linked to *increased* discoloration. When I tried it, too, it turned my gums pale (almost white), which is indicative of tissue damage. I discontinued use and consulted with my dentist and he confirmed that. My gums are fine now, it only lasted a day or two after the first two uses.

      March 23, 2017/Reply
      • Maddy says:

        I had similar issues and had to switch back to my old toothpaste.

        March 23, 2017/Reply
  2. Kelly says:

    Those puzzle ball toys are the best.

    March 23, 2017/Reply
  3. Crystal says:

    Re: Puppies
    Collars/harnesses/leashes — I recommend going cheaper for now, because you’re going to go through a few sets as your puppy gets larger (and possibly eats them!). Later on, I’ve found super cute ones at local (not chain) dog stores.
    Beds — Costco, Homegoods. K9 Ballistic makes great beds if you need something heavy duty and orthopedic, at some point.
    Training — Look into free, local puppy socialization classes, often held on weekend mornings. TRAIN EVERY DAY. Really. I adopted the advice of a trainer and fed my puppy no more than once a day from a bowl, using the meal or two as training kibble. And it made a HUGE difference — we racked up training and bonding time, and I couldn’t easily put it off (read, not do it). Seriously consider a group training class, too. (I have really liked ones through local dog boarding and training companies, rather than the pet megastores.) Also, I can’t say enough good about crate training, even if it’s rough getting started!
    Books — It’s Me or the Dog and 100 Dog Tricks (or Puppy Tricks).
    Toys — A couple mini Kongs you can freeze with peanut butter, pureed and frozen banana or pumpkin, frozen wet food, cheese, etc. The big ones are great for puzzle-based feeding. As for other types, I recommend getting a few different types (e.g., a small soft toy, big soft toy, ball, frisbee, puzzle, squeaker) and see how your dog reacts. I’ve had two dogs and they have had completely different interests, which meant a lot of wasted toys. Another option is to try BarkBox for awhile, which should give you lots of different toy types to try out.
    Gear — When they’re older, I LOVE Ruffwear for their raincoats, winter coats, fleeces, leashes, hiking backpacks, etc. Great quality.
    Miscellaneous — Instagram? Facebook?

    Also, while I’m not criticizing your choices, a puppy should if possible stay with its mom for at least 8 weeks (some trainers and breeders now even recommend 9). It usually makes a huge difference in separation anxiety and bite-inhibition. And these are great things to not worry (or worry less!) about. Delaying may not be an option for you or the breeder, but if it is, it’s worth considering.

    March 23, 2017/Reply
    • Lindsey says:

      I volunteer with pregnant dogs and recent mothers, 6 weeks is too young for a puppy to be separated from his mother, a good breeder will let you delay picking up your puppy until 8 weeks at minimun, ideally 12 weeks. Also, keep your puppy away from other dogs, dog parks (especially), and other areas where there are a few dogs until your puppy’s immune system is built up and he/she has had their vaccinations at 3 months old.

      Things that helped with our new puppy: front-clasping harness, clicker training, and baby gates. Puppies are so much work, but it is worth investing in good training upfront so that you have a great dog for many years. Have fun!

      March 23, 2017/Reply
      • Erin says:

        5.5 weeks is way too young to separate a puppy from its mother (it should still be nursing at that age). This breeder is clearly trying to turn a profit at the expense of your future puppy’s health. Adopt, don’t shop.

        March 23, 2017/Reply
      • Abby Grace says:

        Thank you, Belle, Crystal and Lindsay! I appreciate your help and can’t wait to look more into your recommended products!

        I apologize for the typo in my letter to Belle. I am picking/meeting my puppy at 5.5 weeks but she won’t go home with me until after a full 8 weeks. I would never want to compromise what is best for her 🙂 It wasn’t until I saw the comments that I realized the mistake in my letter.

        March 23, 2017/Reply
    • Belle says:

      I don’t know what the recommended time is, but I didn’t pick up Avery until she was 10 weeks. 5.5 weeks does seem a bit young.

      March 23, 2017/Reply
      • LF says:

        Agree with all above. You should wait to pick up your puppy until 8-12 weeks. Our breeder tried to push us to pick up ours a week early and we pushed back. Best decision- we’ve heard the other pups in the litter that were taken early were very separation ridden- ours is a tiny bit, but just a week seems to have made a difference. This is a really important time for them to feed on their mother-which gives them many of the natural immunities of the mom. Anything under 8 weeks is very traumatic for a puppy- though regardless of when you do it, the separation will still be traumatic- i.e. expect your puppy to potentially howl for the first night (our experience) up to a few nights (friends experiences). Also +1 on avoiding other dogs. We kept ours away and got every vaccination the vet offered, but still even after waiting the alotted time and doing all his shots (including kennel cough) he still got it the first time we went to the dog park. Good luck! Our puppy just turned a year last week and went from 8 to 86 lbs in that time… it’s been just the best and at times the total worst (sleeplessness the first 6 months, general exhaustion, adjustments, accidents on rugs, and the neutering cone of shame!).

        As for gear- We have the LL Bean couch that our dog LOVES. I recommend going to for any/all dog needs- they’re amazing. Free shipping, arrives in 48 hours and everything is much cheaper than your local Petco- which is important when they’re a puppy and so everything has a short shelf life.

        March 23, 2017/Reply
      • Lindsey says:

        8-9 is the minimum, anything after that is great. Avery is so cute! I hope to see more of her on IG.

        Sorry to be a downer, I just hope OP is ready for the energy levels of a puppy. I’d say mentally prepare yourself, our newest puppy would need to go out twice a night between 10pm and 6am and required a constant, watchful eye. I nearly fell asleep at my desk the first month we had him – it is exhausting. But it is also immensely rewarding, and you really reap what you put into it. Best of luck OP!

        March 23, 2017/Reply
  4. Susie Cambria says:

    Plants, be aware of plants! We’ve always had dogs but this latest puppy is, well, very puppy-like. Keep the number of the vet/emergency hospital and a bottle of hydrogen peroxide handy for when puppy eats something bad for her/him. A little peroxide and up comes the bad stuff. BUT CALL VET FIRST before giving.

    March 23, 2017/Reply
  5. CBD says:

    For the new dog mom:
    – a harness helps them learn how to walk on a leash and not to pull. Puppia makes a lot of nice ones ($$ and a little confusing to put on at first), but my dog wears a Petsmart brand one.
    -A slow eat/puzzle bowl will help the pup learn how to eat (and not gobble down food).
    -The dog bowl mat and Kong are also essential.
    -Zuke’s treats are great (my dog has food allergies). My dog loves their dental chews and gets those after he is brushed daily.
    -My sister used the bells on a ribbon you attach to a doorknob to help her pup learn how to alert them when she needed to go out for a walk.
    -buy the seatbelt attachment that hooks into your dog’s collar/harness, pet safety in the car is paramount – you do not want a squirmy pup in your lap as you drive.
    -For the crate: I put an old fleece blanket in my dog’s crate that smelled like me – that helped with comfort/crate training. I also use a blanket over the top of the crate to make it darker at nap time.

    March 23, 2017/Reply
    • Crystal says:

      These are great tips! <3

      March 23, 2017/Reply
  6. k-t says:

    Puppy: Congrats! I feel like a dog turns a house into a home. We use a boot tray (Bed, Bath & Beyond, Container Store, possibly Target) under our dog’s food and water dishes. I bought a dog food bin from the Container Store that I love. Pricey, but very secure and holds a 40 lbs bag of chow. Once your dog is full-grown, consider a collar with your cell phone number embroidered on it. It is easier to read than a tag and a little less likely to fall off. Ours is from Orvis and reflective (black dog and is very hard to see in the dark). Tired dogs are good dogs. Your puppy will need a LOT of exercise. Commit to that, regardless of the weather. And exercise on leash is supposed to be more meaningful with regards to discipline than time at the dog park or running around the yard.

    March 23, 2017/Reply
    • Diana says:

      Great tips!

      I have these pet food containers for my dog and cat. Not glamorous, but they sit in my coat closet, so I’m ok with that. I like that they’re marked by pounds of food so you know how big a bag can fit in each.

      I got my puppy an engraved collar (name and phone number) from Etsy shop IfItBarks. Actually, he ate the first one, so I can tell you truthfully I liked it so much I bought it twice 🙂 And I’m about to order a second (er, third) so he has a fun new spring color.

      March 24, 2017/Reply
  7. Chelsea says:

    The best puppy trick we had is to put cut-up hot dogs in the puzzle ball. Our crazy, high energy puppy will focus on the hot dogs for up to an hour!

    March 24, 2017/Reply
  8. Becky says:

    I really like ‘The Other End of the Leash’ for dog training. A little dense and research-y sometimes, but great info on positive training techniques and how your dog thinks. Also +1 on ruffwear. Best leash I’ve ever used, especially for running with your pup.

    March 26, 2017/Reply