Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Week's Products in Review - 12/13-20

This past week was a weird one.  I have been sick as a dog, so I have not been burning any candles or incense as I try to get my sinuses back into working order.  Also, the hubby has been making me take ALL of my new items and put them under the tree, so I haven't had a chance to use any of the awesome looking things that have been arriving.  He has taken to beating me to the mail and wrapping the boxes as they arrive fromt he post office, so I can't even see what is inside. 

So, the only new bath stuff I have used this week was another bar of really cool soap.  Now, I admit, I was somewhat biased against this soap going in.  It was cut with that corrugation edge which, for some reason, in my mind has always turned me off of the soap. It also came unwrapped in any plastic or wax paper, so the soap was just exposed in my LBB, which is somethign I typically don't like.  Having mentioned my neuroses and the negative of this soap, I have to say, I LOVE this soap!  The soap in question is by Inseine Creations and is the Brown Sugar and Fig scent.  It is such a nice scent and the soap is such a smoothing and lovely soap.  It leaves my skin so soft and comfortable feeling, and though there is a hint of scent left, it is not overpowering or strong, which is a good thing, since I am a perfume lover, and do not necessarily want to wear my soap's scent all day.

So that's it for my light week.  I will not be posting my reviews next week, so plan on a HUGE review for the new year!

Have a great end of the year, all!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Obscure Allergies Suck

SO, I'm allergic to artificial sweeteners.  Pretty much all of them....well, except for high fructose corn syrup, but I figure that's just a matter of time. I at least used to be able to chew gum and wear lip balm, but now I can't. The gum makes my whole mouth tingle and other things....err....let's just say it makes other things unhappy.  Lip Balm made with artificial sweeteners makes my lips tingle and swell, and the tip of my tongue go numb.  Great for that "full lips" look. Not so much fun for that whole "staying healthy" thing.

Leaving alone my "artificial sweeteners are evil and the leading factors in the nation's exponential rises in obesity and type 2 diabetes" rants, WHY must artificial sweeteners be so prevalent and accepted?  All I want is some lip balm that I can wear that smells good. I am sick and tired of scouring ingredients lists on items that don't necessarily require ingredients.  If there were NUTS in lip balm, you can be sure they would be mentioning it and the fda would be requiring it, but apparently artificial sweeteners aren't anything to worry about, and even if you DO lick your lips, who cares if allergens are in the lip balm??

I hate this. No lip balm in my stocking this year. I can't find ingredients even on chapstick. ALL of the etsy sellers I have contacted have informed me that nearly all of their lip balms contain liquid artificial sweeteners, sorry. Even the VEGAN sellers and sellers of "ALL NATURAL" items!! Apparently, the artificial sweeteners are right int the flavor oils, so oh well. sure ARTIFICIAL sweeteners are ok in all natural items. Great.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Free Stuff

With the holidays around the corner, my mailman and UPS guy have been very busy.  Every day a package or two arrives at my house. Many of these packages are from independent sellers who are sending me their handmade items that I have purchased.

As I have been opening the packages, I have been noticing something about myself.  This is something I have shared before, but in light of these packages, I feel that it is something that bears repeating:


Not naming names, but let me give you a few examples:

I LOVE handmade soap.  I bought a bunch of soaps froma bunch of both "I loved their sample" sellers and people I found on my own on Etsy. Since this was gifts for myself or my families, I went a little wild and picked myself up a biundle of items.

Three packages came yesterday.

Package #1 was from a well known and respected seller who I had heard about through being talked up on blogs and facebook. Their items came well packaged. there was a gift set for me and a separate bar of soap for my sister. A gift bag was sent for the components of the gift pack to be put into.  That was it. No thank you note. No special packaging for the extra bar of soap. No receipt. Nothing. Yes, it was profesionally packaged, and everything looked and smelled wonderful, but my thinking was "OK, great. Here's the stuff I ordered." and that's it.

Package number two was from someone who I had purchased from that I had just seen their soap on Etsy, and it looked "cool".  I had just purchased a few bars of cool sounding soap from them for myself.  When the box came and I opened it, the soaps were each beautifully packaged in a gift wrap type of packaging with the packaging info on the outside of the package. There was a nice little heartfelt thank you note in a pretty card with the receipt tucked into it. Again, everything was professionally packaged and put togehter, but wth the addition of the nice littl e note, my thinking became, "Oh, here's the stuff I ordered, and what a nice note.  It's so nice to get things like that. What a nice seller."

Package number three was a purchase from someone who I had gotten one of their samples before and loved, so I was buying full sized for myself.  I made a purchase of a bar of soap and some lotion.  In the box was my well packaged items, a little thank you note, and a few additional little samples of items  the seller thought I "might like". My thinking here was "Oh, awesome! Free stuff!  I got the stuff I wanted and some extras!!  is awesome!"

Now, everything I got was well packaged and what I had hoped for.  All the soaps smell great and were well packaged. But, I'll tell you: I am most excited about the one that had the free sample, and least excited about the one with no extras. The one who sent the note and prettily wrapped their items, I am very pleased with and will definitely think about specially when buying gifts for others.

People who cut a little into their profits to send me a little bit of something extra (everything else being equal), I tend to go back to more frequently for repeat purchases. I admit it.  I am very subject to free stuff bribery. I actually have a tea seller, two candle sellers, and a candy seller who I check FIRST when I need/want something potentially sold by them SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE I know I will get a little something extra when I buy from them.

Not adding in little extras will not detract me from buying from you, but adding a little extra will definitely put you higher in my mind for future purchases.  I know there are certain typed of things where a little something extra is not realistic. In those cases pretty packaging and a heartfelt thank you note are biggies.

Just letting you know, from a buyer's perspective. YES it makes a difference.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Holiday Shopping

Today I went out with the Hubby to pick up the last of our Christmas gifts for the family.  We made purchases in three stores and stopped off in a fourth, and that was it.  He kept asking me where else we needed to go and what else we needed to pick up, but I actually was done and done EARLY with the holiday shopping.  How did I pull that off this year?  By buying almost exclusively handmade.

Since I knew I was going to be buying mostly handmade this year, and I knew a lot of items were going to have to ship, I couldn't do any last minute shopping. No procrastinating.  So, I sat down early and tried to figure out what to get everyone on my list.

I will admit that it is helpful to have a handmade-friendly family.  My sisters sent me links to their etsy favorites lists. Hubby likes handmade soaps and we are both art lovers.  The kids have been wearing my handmade clothing since birth, so to them it is a treat to get something someone ELSE made, etc.  I did end up getting a few members non-handmade items and having them shipped, but I think my love of handmade at least helped ease the asking for something off of a site like etsy.  100% of my gifts to myself are handmade.  All of it is stuff I am excited about.  Money is really tight here, so the few things I could get, I made sure I got stuff I really wanted. 

I had  big wish lists, and a few additional items I asked for. One of my big wishlists: my etsy favorites list. Yes, it got me teased mercilessly (ok, I don't expect anyone to get it for me, but yes, I was serious when I said I would LOVE a mug of the month subscription!  I love mugs.  STOP LAUGHING AT ME!)

As an added bonus, by buying handmade, not only was I treaating myself to a wonderful handmade item, I was helping out a handmade seller to get some funds for their own holiday shopping.  It's like a double gift giving with every purchase! Sweet!

What did I buy, you ask?  Well, you'll just have to wait until after Chrsitmas to find out.  I will tell you a number of sellers from my reviews were featured in my shopping....

Monday, December 7, 2009

This Week's Reviews 11/29-12/6

I am changing up the review process here.  I think I will mention just the things that I finished up using this week, and I am going to start mentioning my non-consumables that I bought, received and/or used this week on a one-shot review basis....Some of these items, I have had for a while, so in the beginning, it's going to depend on my actually remembering who made some of them. Fortunately, much of my stuff was bought on etsy, so I can go back and check my purchase history.  Gotta love that feature on Etsy. :)

As far as Shampoo and conditioner are concerned, I am still working my way through the sampler I purchased from heaven and Earth Essentials.  I am now on their "Juliet" scent.  I like it.  I feel bad reviewing scents, so I am going to stop. I really jsut feel like it is too much of a taste thing. A scent that I love, you may hate, and vice versa.  Unless I have a comment about a scent being too light or heavy, I'll just stick with the product itself.

The soap I just finished using was Heathen's Hearth "Pink Sugar Type".  It was a sample I got out of the Little Black Boxes.  I have to say, I was very pleased with this soap. It lathered nicely, and left my skin feeling soft and clean.  It did have the typical problem tht I have with almost all of my handmade soaps, in that it got all gooky at the end, but I am thinking this is due to the amount of oils and other things that make hese soaps so creamy, so I just put the little pices that are left and gooky on a crocheted scrubby, and use the scrubby as a loofah until the soap is gone. I really liked this soap, and now this seller is on my list of sellers to buy some soap from. They have some REALLY COOL looking soaps for sale now, too. Very Celtic.  Maybe I can justify a Christmas pressie for the hubby??  Hmmm....

With this month being so rough, it has very much been a candles and tea time here.  I had a sinus infection for most of the month of November that went into strep and I am still fighting the after effects of, so no incense has been burned here for a while.

My tea has been being drunk out of a mug I have that is one of my favorites.  It was made by Jeff Guerrero.  I haven't seen this style offered by him for a little while now, but I really love this mug. I have a very similar shaped mug to this one in a smaller size made by him, too, that I will use when I do not want my huge cup of tea in the morning (if I don't have the time to get through 16+oz at a pop).

As far as candles ar concerned, I have to give a great shout out to both Whiff and Sniff Candles and Redneck Candles.  I have been joint burning a few jelly jar candles from Redneck Candles and some wickless candles from Whiff and Sniff to get the scents I want for Christmas. I'm sure I could have EITHER seller make me a custom blend, but I'm lazy and want them RIGHT NOW. :) 

Right now, I have a "berries and Branches" candle going by Redneck Candles, and a "going Amish" wickless going from Whiff and Sniff.  Both companies' candles burn nice and clean and give off a good amount of scent for a good amount of time.  Of the Redneck candles, this is the second one I have burned (The first was "halo" scent, which I also liked a lot). They last a LONG time.  Way longer than the 4-6 hours they say when you buy them.  I also love the jellt jar. No need to find a candle holder to catch the wax.  The Whiff and sniff shooter is the perfect size for my wickless candle burner.  This is IMPORTANT!  I have had a few tarts that have been too big for some of my burners over the years, and they made a real mess.

With the recent death of yet another digital watch, I am wearing the awesome watch I got from Radcow all the time now.  I had gotten away from earing it, because I teend to forget to take my watch off before getting into the shower, and I didn't want to ruin it, but I am not unhappy about wearing it allt he time, until I can go buy another cheap watch to not worry abotu destroying in the shower. It is a gorgeous leather cuff watch that I get all kinds of compliments on, it fits perfectly, and I love it.

I think that's about it for now.  I am making a bundle of purchases for the holidays, so there should be a bunch of reviews coming soon!

What Happened to November!?!

I'll tell you what happened. It stank.  Well, after a VERY tough November around here, I have decided to try to have a more positive outlook, and I am back with my weekly product reviews and attempts at upbeat postings.  This is a stretch for me, since I tend to be a pessimist (I know, WHAT!?!), but seeing as I am so passionate about handmade items, it shouldn't be too tough for me to be genuinely positive about them.

So break out the aromatherapy candles, Angela!  Time for some more reviews!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Flora's Finds

My little sister who is infinitely more hip, stylish, and cool than I am has started a blog. Her blog is all about great jewelry that she has found on the web, mostly on etsy.

Even though I am NOT currently on her list (*pout* I knew my stuff wasn't cutting edge cool, but heck, I'm family), it is a really cool and well written blog, and she has found some really awesome sellers so far.

So, Check it out:

Sunday, November 8, 2009

This Week's List 11/1-11/7

This week's list is going to be short, as I am low on time, and it is getting late.  i promise to flesh out and add later.

Soap: I still had a few days of DirtySanchez's Spawn left, so I finished that up, and finished the week with my go-to soap, which is Pink Sugar type from Maylee's Garden.  I have bought a bunch of soap from Maylee's Garden over the years, and it is always awesome. I highly recommend their soap. A+

Shampoo and conditioner: I am still using shampoo and conditioner from Heaven and Earth Essentials. I jumped over to their Honor Scent, which I have totally fallen in love with.  As a bonus, this scent of shampoo and conditioner came with a free sample of Honor scented lotion which I have also been using, and will review below. As before with their other scent, Heaven and Earth Essentials makes an awesome product, and I love this scent. Highly recommended. A+

Lotion: Heaven and Earth Essentials HONOR Emollient lotion: This lotion is light and not too heavy or greasy.  It works in well and leaves a lovely air of scent to it. I have not been using a lot of lotion, because the soaps I have been using have not made lotion necessary, but it works well on my hands and feet.  Iw ill probably continue this lotion into next week, and if I use it on areas of my body prone to greasiness or breaking out, I will let you know.

TeaMan Cranberry Black: A+ - wonderful aroma, smooth taste.
TeaMan Blueberry/Blackberry Herbal: B - nfortunately for me, this tea ended up smelling WONDERFUL and tasting OK.  I may have steeped it wrong (1 minute in off-boiling water), but it ended up a little bit bitter.
TeaMan Christmas Blend: A+++ This tea is my latest obsession.

I am still burning the candles I was working on last week.

I got hooked on a commercial scent a friend had sent me, and have been burnign that all week.

On a side note:

Does anyone have a good resource for a hand-blown glass tea set? I would like to try some of these blooming teas, and I als have had some really pretty looking teas recently that I think would be stunning in a glass pot and mug, but the commercial glass teapots I have been finding all seem kind of flimsy.

I'd also like a hand-made porcelain soy tart warmer (or whatever they're officially called). the commercial ones I have been using are nice, but a little shallow, and I am getting tired of cleaning up wax run off. If I am going to go for a bigger one, I really would like something pretty and hand-made. I like the ones that use tea lights for heat best.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Handmade is Important

Right now is a bad time for just about everyone.  Don't get me wrong, I am thankful that my husband has a job and we are living a decently comfortable life, but I know it is playing (more) havoc with the lives of so many others.

Shops I love to buy from are going under or no longer carrying items I love. Handmade artisans are having to stop creating, because they aren't making any money.  More and more are giving up the dream.

It sucks.

I love the handmade movement.  Yes, it's true there are some people who should NOT absolutely NOT be selling what they make. Yes, there are people putting out low quality items that can cause new handmade buyers to turn back to store bought. Yes, handmade can be significantly more costly causing people to not be able to buy, especially in this economy.  Store bought is usually of a pretty consistent quality and you know it has been tested if it is something tht is regulated.  And yes, if something you buy is handmade and not up to snuff, you are probably out more money than if you had bought it from a store. 


I love that none of my mugs look like anyone else's. I love having casserole dishes that people ask me where I got them. I love burning candles that I can't just buy from Glade.  I love knowing it is HIGHLY UNLIKELY that my sister already has one of whatever I got her for Christmas this year.  I LOVE seeing the awesome things people come up with.  I love that more often than not, the extra money I sepend on something is totally worth it.

I love handmade, and I love unique.

I am not one of those people all handmade sellers seem to worry about who is going to get all righteous and come down on you over misnamed or labeled stones (Unless you are selling your jewelry as "fine" and charging a LOT for it), failed experiments hitting the listings (especially if they are heavily marked down), selling your first whatever even if it isn't perfect(as long as you admit it), selling anything, for that matter before you are an "expert" at making it, or anything else hypocritical like that. All I ask is that you sell me a quality item (Or mention honestly if it has problems), listen to me if I have a problem with what you sent, and if I am unhappy, try your best to rectify the situation.

I also don't necessarily believe that handmade is "better". I think it can be better, but just because something is handmade does not automatically mean that you are getting better quality or something that will last longer than store bought, no matter what people say and no matter how much "love" went into something.  Sometimes the extra cost is NOT worth it. SOmetimes people charge too much. SOmetimes people charge too little.  Sometimes covers a lot of ground with handmade, and more people need to be aware of it. Everything depends on what you buy, who you buy it from, how they do their pricing and production, where they get their materials, and how skilled the person is at making whatever it is you are buying.

I bookmark Regretsy and UglySh*tOnEtsy (which doesn't have the *, By the way). I use them to find new shops and see new things all the time without having to hunt them down myself. Since everyone's taste is different, I have loved checking these sites out. Yes, sometimes I get a laugh, sometimes I shake my head at people's naivete, sometimes I wonder about people's sanity...and sometimes I put something from the shop in my favorites. It is great that these things are out there, and that people are creating.

I am not going to put in a plug like "go buy something, support the handmade movement, keep these shops alive!", because I really believe these plugs are hard selling and making people buy out of guilt. If you don't have the money, DON'T BUY SOMETHING. Go support your family and take care of them.  Charity starts at home, and I truly believe that. However, if you DO have the money, think about whether or not you can get whatever it is that you want or need handmade instead of from a store.

You may be thankful you did.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

This Week's List 10/25-10/31

I figured I would make a quick list of the handmade items I use every week with a quick hit review of where I got them, what I like and dislike about them, and whether or not  recommend the seller.  this is also only goingot be a list of consumables, you don't really need to know which artist made my mug every week. I will probably do a different listing of glass and pottery...

OK, THIS WEEK (10/25-10/31):

Soap: Dirty Sanchez SPAWN.
Source: Little Black Box Sample
Pros: Washes well and cleanly. The scent is light and refreshing, and he soap itsel f is creamy. SO creamy, I did not have to use a body moisturizer this week.. The sample lasted the whole week and still has a few pieces left in my little crocheted soap baggie.
Cons: No ingredients on the sample, since this was a wide, thin sample, about half way through the week, the soap split down the middle. Because the soap is so creamy, I had a hard time squishing it back into one piece, so I ended up putting it into a crocheted soap bag from Unicorn's pride.
Would I buy it? Yes. It is on my favorites list.
Grade: A

Shampoo and conditioner: Heaven and Earth Essentials HYACINTH AND HEATHER
Source: Bought it from their website after using a sample in a LBB
Pros: The shampoo thoroughly washes my very limp, fine, oily, color-treated hair without stripping the color or weighing it down. The conditioner gives my hair a nice sheen and helps with the tangles from teh thorough cleaning I get from the shampoo. I also love that the shampoo is a solid. GREAT for travel. They also customized an order for me, which I LOVE!
Cons: This scent is a little bit overwhelming for me, and I can smell it ALL DAY. Because of this, I didn't wear any perfume all week. Also, the conditioner is pretty light, which I love, but I found myself, even with my oily hair going over to a commercial deep conditioner in the middle of the week for the ends of my hair.  This, is actually my own fault, as they sell a deep conditioner, I just foolishly didn't buy any.
Would I buy it (again)?: Not this scent, but I WOULD buy a different scent. I have a bunch more from them to try out.
Grade: A- (shampoo and conditioner were GREAT, scent bought don the grade,m btu not enought o have me even consider not wanting more)

Source: eBay Store
Pros: burns cleanly and lasts a nice amount of time. I used this out in the backyard while my husband was grilling too get the WORLD OF MOSQUITOES away, and it definitely worked pretty well, considering that we were being eaten alive before I pulled these out. (Remember, I live in Houston. It's still pretty warm here)
Cons: None with this scent.
Would I buy it again? Yes, eventually.  I still have a lot of it left.
Grade: A

Incense: Ecclecstacy Arts SPRING LEAVES
Source: Free sample with eBay purchase
Pros: burns clean. Smells nice.
Cons: spelling "Ecclecstacy", the sample is a small cut. Not sure how the full size is.
Would I buy it? Probably.
Grade: B+

Candles: Woodcrafts and Candles - HARVEST SPICE 2 votives and a palm wax pillar
Source: purchased from Etsy store
Pros: wonderful scent. burns a long time. votives fit in votive holder. Layers on pillar are very pretty.
Cons: palm wax split down the middle and the pillar melted all over everything before I could blow it out. I'm still burning the candle in a glass bowl, so we will see how it burns when it gets into the puddle.
Would I buy again? Yes.
Grade: Votives A, Pillar B

Ok, for tea, I drink a mug or two every day, some comercial, some my own herbal blends, some artisanal. I will only list the artisanals I get here.

I am just going to list maker, flavor, where I got it, and grade.

TeaMan Christmas Blend tea bag (free sample with purchase): A+
BlueRavenTea Autumn Harvest loose tea (repeat purchase): A+
SBS Tea More than Fabulous loose tea (purchased as part of sampler after LBB sample...I also got my tea balls from them): A

I hope this helps!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009


Not many of you may know this, but when we moved to Texas, one of our 8 year old cats ran away and was never heard from again. My husband and I were very sad, but since he is such a lovable cat, we are consoling ourselves with the hope that he went off and found himself a new family.

We had had our two cats since the September 13, 2001. We had originally planned for our 1 year anniversary on going out to dinner to the restaurant where we had our first "real date": Windows on the World.  Needless to say, we never made it. Instead, we went to the mall by our house to hit a restaurant there.  while we were walkign around, we saw some kittens in the window of the pet store with a sign saying they had been abandoned there, and wouldpeople please adopt them. Well, this was too much for my husband and myself, espeially since he had been talking about getting a cat, so we went in and got a couple of kittens.  They wre my first pets ever. I was so scared to even hold them. We named them Merlin and Morgan. They were both boys.

The husband had had cats before...and is allergic to them. We quickly had to get him to an allergist and get him the desensitizing shots and allergy medication. For a while we even had to think about giving the kittens away, but ended up changing our minds at the last minute when the husband found some meds that worked.

Well, not a week after we moved to Texas, Merlin got out of the house and never came home.  In New York, they had been indoor/outdoor cats, so we had had a hck of a time keeping them indoors while they got used to the new house, but we were hopeful he would ocme home soon. 

After 2 weeks, we were prety nervous.  We started putting up signs and calling local shelters and vet offices. Finally, it looked like he had turned up at a shelter way up north in town. I hopeed int he car and went to check.

It wasn't him.

As the tech and I checked to see if the tuxedo they had brought in was mine, a little orange kitten kept trying to get my attention. he mewled, he batted at my arm, he rubbed himself up against the cage. I caved.

The cat at the shelter was not Merlin, but in 3 days, Kevin was going home with us.

I checked the other shelters.  Glinda came home from one, but a trip to the vet showed that she was very ill.  She went back. :(

At the SPCA, we found Jake. He is either a Siamese or Tonkinese breed. He's a beautiful little kitten. my daughter saw him and had to have him.

Now we had two new kittens and a grumpy 8-year old cat.  they are starting to get along, though Kevin is a little trouble maker.  I have been wearing a long, flowy top all day, and he keeps trying to either hunt my shirt or go farther, and get up under it and hunt my butt. His little claws HURT!

Kevin is into everything. I forgot how much work having a kitten who gets into everythign can be.  I am constantly getting him off of counters, pulling him out of the trash can, dragging him out of the washing machine, re-folding the laundry, finding little wrappers and papers that he hunted and batted around the house, etc. We got him kitten toys, but apparently, they aren't enough fun.

All Jake wants to do is be held.  he lives to be in laps. He will even climb into my 6 year old's lap. He cries if there are people int he house and they are not petting him. I swear, he thinks he is a dog.  He especially loves to perch on my husband's shoulder while he types.

Morgan (the old guy) just wants to be left alone. He putrs up with Jake better than Kevin, because Kevin always wants to play. And woe be to Morgan if he wants to eat in peace.

The kittens are adorabl;e, and Morgan is my big old fluffball. Now if I could just get Kevin to stop hunting ME and start hunting something else......

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Pottery Habit

I have a serious handmade pottery habit. I love it.  I have bought a bunch of awesome pottery through the years off of etsy. Some of my favorite sellers include Jeff Guerrero, Lean Dog Pottery, Clear Mountain Craft, red hot pottery, and so many others. I think I listed onyl the potters I have actually bought from, thought here are so many more in my favorites list.

I think I am going to start hilighting a pottery seller once a month. That'll give me an excuse for some lovely online window shopping.

All you potters reading this: I buy pottery EVERY YEAR for Christmas. Help me find you. My husband loves it, too. *Hint hint*

Sugar Scrubs

Am I the only one who's kind of confused and (to be honest) icked out by sugar scrubs? I assume I don't know really what they are about or how to use them properly, but wouldn't they leave you sticky from the dissolved sugar, and then turn you into a bug feast? How do they cleanse you if you are rubbing sugar onto your body?

Please someone, enlighten me. I hear people singing the praises of sugar scrubs, but am too scared to use them.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

back problems

I finally got my MRI read by a neurologist this week.  It turns out I herniated my L5/S1 disk and have moderate to severe arthritis in my lower back.  They are trying to schedule an MRI of my neck to see if more arthritis is causing my hand problems.  I have been prescribed physical therapy and told to lose a bunch of weight.

So, the hubband and I made a deal

There is apparently a big city-wide garage sale here every April.  We already have stuff to sell at it.  I am going to try to lose an average of a pound a week. In the time period before this garage sale, I am not going to buy any new clothes, shoes, purses, jewelry, or a few other little things he and I agreed on, adn he is going to start putting aside a certain amount of money every month. 

Assuming I lose a minimum of 20 pounds:

I will sell all of the clothes I can no longer wear at the garage sale.
He will take me shopping and buy me one "Special" item per 10 pounds of weight loss.
He will also give me a set budget to complete my wardrobe with the money he has set aside.
And I will get one surprise something of his choice.

Hopefully this will be enough incentive to re-lose all of the weight I gained while he was unemployed and then some.

Good thing I just got a bunch of new teas.  Yummy tea, no calories, since I drink most teas without milk or sugar.

I have my diet plan, I have my exercise plan, and I have my doctor's approval of my plans.  *sigh* I hope this works.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Singing the praises of Teaman

Today in the mail, I got this lovely lot of tea samplers that I had ordered from TeaMan on etsy. I couldn't decide what I wanted, and they had four different awesome looking tea samplers, so I ordered all four.  Way more tea than I needed, but as has been pointed out before, I have a weakness for tea.  I'm glad I succumbed to the urge.  The teas look great, and there is an awesome variety.  Everything smells so wonderful, fragrant, and fresh, I am boiling up some water for a cup as I type this.

But there's a kicker. WHY I am writing this blog, and not just sitting pretty with my yummy tea. Yes, it's this:

Yep. That's right.  An ENTIRE BAG of wonderful smelling, exciting Christmas tea. An ENTIRE BAG of tea that was not part of my original order. This is the mack daddy of thank you gifts.  Yes, I spent a lot of money on tea, but I did not expect anything extra, especially when buying samplers, but I'll tell you, I am doing a serious happy dance right now.

This kind of thing puts TeaMan at the top of my "buy from" list when I need more tea, and prompts me to talk them up.  Yes, TEAMAN, high quality teas, both loose and in pre-portioned bags, super fast shipping, and yummy thank yous!


Bring on November!

October has been a stinky month. I want a Mulligan. the breaker my FULL garage freezer was on blew yesterday. This would not be a HUGE deal, since I never went into the freezer yesterday, and normally the ood would still be pretty frozen. But NO.  Because this is the October from heck, I also got to find out that along with the breaker blowing, the seal on my freezer is bad, too, so EVERYTHING defrosted/melted in a 24 hour period.  I now have about 3 days to cook 5 lbs of chicken breasts.  Pretty much everythign else was a goner. :(

On a good note, some of the samples I ordered this month have arrived. I will probably have to wait until this weekend to break into them today, as it is a BUSY day today. Just got back from the neurologist, am shoving food down my throat, and then am picking kiddos up for their annual physicals.

Here's hoping November makes it up to me.  Winning Mega Millions should do it.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Trying something new

I am all excited, as I have a new project I am trying out.  It's just something for me, but if it works out, I will be really excited.  More news on that coming soon!

Tea Ordering

I have ordered or am in the process of ordering from the following artisanal tea companies:

Blue Raven Tea - THis is the third time I will be ordering from them.  My favorite is their Autumn Harvest Rooibos, though seven treasures is running a close second.  I am eargerly awaiting their Christmas Past Rooibos, too. Yum. I first was introduced to Blue Raven Tea from their sponsoring The Little Black Boxes about a year ago.

SBS Teas: I just had my last sample from them from my Little Black Box. I wanted more, so I ordered. :)  They also carry tea balls, fillable tea bags, and other tea accessories. Always a plus.

IvyKeep: Their customer service is great.  I just got a sample in October's Little Black Box (GO BUY ONE!).  They are in the process of putting together a custom order for me.  Also, they are moving sites, so expect a little bit of internet funkiness on their website. I recommend their etsy site for now.

BhakTea: I ordered from them because they had a strainer, and their sampler sounded good.

TeaMan: again, they offered a sampler pack. I love tea. I ordered.

I will let you know what I think of the new people I ordered from, though I will tell you, you can't lose with Blue Raven Tea good customr service, and quick shipping every time.

As I'm sure you can tell, though, I am very disloyal, and am constantly trying "other people's stuff". I find everyone does things a little differently, and I love different people's blends.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Living on the Edge....

So, I have a confession: I have been using soaps that have "fragrance" and "essential oils" listed in their ingredients instead of a complete listing. I even used a perfume sample yesterday that just mentioned the carrier oil and that it was "all natural". Why, you may ask?

Because I am a REBEL!!

....and they smelled really good.

Fortunately for me, I have no life threatening allergies, yet. The worst I will do if I use something that contains something I am allergic to is to break out in hives.  I am still very careful to sample everything in a small easily washed area, though.

Since I went off about ingredients, I have been thinking (and talking to friends).  I know a lot of small home-based manufacturers just have a general "ingredients" label printed up and don't have a special unique one for each and every scent, because that would be cost prohibitive. Most people I know are very understanding of this practice, and not knowing every essential oil that went into a product is USUALLY not a big deal, especially if you are nice about the occassional email reading, "Hey, I love your soap, but does thisscent have bergamot in it? My cousin is allergic to bergamot."

So, I did a little bit of asking around, and came up with the two biggest things that have caused problems for people I know unknowingly getting them in their bath and body products:

Nuts (this includes almonds)

Yes, if you are allergic, it is your responsibility to check, but I am mostly concerned about gifts, especially with the holidays coming up. I would hate to buy someone I know a lovely perfume or soap that she loves the scent of, but cannot use because her boyfriend/husband/kid is allergic to something in it, and smelling it makes him/her sneeze.

OK, that's enough for this soapbox (can you tell I broke out when I opened a new soap this evening?).  I think I will go back to whining about my life and talking about all of the wonderful people I have been buying from.

Coming soon: Who did I buy from this month, and how was the experience? AND Thoughts about my GRAVEL back yard.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Sample sum up

My husband suggested I sum up a few of my important points in my advice to sample sellers that turned into "How to get Angela to buy from you"

1. Ingredients are important. in ANYTHING going onto or into a body. Especially if pine, nuts, certain foods, etc are used, PLEASE List them.

2. Whenever possible, include instructions. Not everyone is familiar with sugar scrubs, wickless candles, melting body butter, paraffin hand treatments, that special kind of tea blend you just sent, or whatever. instructions put you HIGH on the "repeat buyer" list.

3. food scented bath and body products make a lot of people nervous. Especially chocolate and/or sugary treat products.

4. propaganda of any type is evil.

5. the best things to include in samplers are things that need to be purchased relatively regularly. Give us just enough to be addicted (for me it takes about a week). When we run out, we will run to your store and buy.

6. Make it easy for us to find you. Clearly label where your items come from, even when including a free sample in a previous purchase. Sometimes, those purchases are a gift.

7. Free samples (especially coordinating ones) tossed in a box with a purchase are awesomeness.

8. Sampler packs are the best way for handmade afficionados like me to find you. We may not always BUY from you, but at least we will know who you are. I have a whole file of business names from companies I have gotten great products, service and/or samples from, what I got that I loved, any pother thing special about them, and what type of products they have. If I need a gift, and it is not something specific, I frequently go to this list....and YES, there is a "black list" for people I have had problems with, people whose products have been lousy and/or caused allergic reactions, and people who have sent propaganda....and the reason why is on THAT list, too.

9. If you send something scented, please wrap it up, at least in a Ziploc bag so the scent doesn't get everywhere. I will get sick of the scent before I use the item.

10. Packaging is important. If your promotional sample looks a mess, what will your product look like??

11. Again, this is the most important thing on the list: INGREDIENT LISTS ARE IMPERATIVE!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Some thoughts from a sample consumer

As someone who is a regular purchaser of Little Black Boxes, and who LOVES free/low price samples, I have some thoughts I figured I would share with anyone who is thinking about submitting samples to a sampler pack and/or offering free or inexpensive samples in some sort of capacity.

First some info about me: I buy at least one Little Black box every month (If there are a lot of people in the box, I will double up for a bigger cross section, especially around the holidays). I also shop etsy for sampler packs from sellers I find interesting. The category of things I most frequently buy from the samples is bath and body items.

If you send me a free sample of something else yo make with a purchase I already made from you, I will be more likely to return to you for future purchases. If I get a sample I don't like/won't use, I usually put it into a little gift basket I put together for hostess gifts/teacher gifts/last minute gifts, etc.

I have used samples to direct my purchases (or dissuade me from purchasing) many times. Though I do not have a lot of extra income, I do like to pamper myself with handmade items, and whenever possible, prefer to purchase handmade items.

An important piece of advice on samplers: Make sure your item is clearly and securely labeled who it is from. It's always annoying to have to connect business cards with products. If your item is well and clearly labeled with your business, website, and product line, I will be more likely to choose your website of the many I have to choose from to look at first for whatever it is I am looking for.

The biggest place I go to to discover new handmade sellers is Etsy. the next place is eBay. I am not a fan of Artfire, though I am trying. If you supply a sample and you only have a personal website, make sure it is labelled as such, so I can go check it out.

Ok, let's get to it. This will be rough for a while while I just get my thoughts down....

the things I love to get free/cheap and that will almost certainly lead to my making a larger purchase if I love them and they meet my requirements, and why:

Soap - I love handmade soap. It tends not to dry my skin out, and sample sizes are usually the perfect size to use before I get sick of the scent. Offering a lot of samples for sale is a great idea if you sell soaps, because I like to see how a soap goes before committing to a whole bar. Make the sample a decent size, enough for about a weeks worth of washes, so I can get a good idea of how it washes, and if you are providing one sample, please provide a popular scent. If it smells nasty, I will never use the soap. Also (and this is VERY IMPORTANT), include an ingredient list, including the scents you used. I have family and friends who are allergic to nuts, pine, certain herbs, etc. You don't need to tell me the amounts, but would you rather tell me what scents you used and get a customer, or have your soap hit a trash can because I can't know whether or not using it would require an epi pen?

incense - I know this is not a common item to offer in a sample, but if your incense burns clean and maintains the smell it is supposed to, I'll love you. If you make incense, toss a stick or cone into a box with a purchase. I recently had a store do this for me with my permission. I was back the NEXT DAY buying a 20 pack of that incense.

tea - I am a huge tea drinker. EVERY free tea sample I have gotten, except for one has led to a large follow up purchase by me. Again, please say what herbs/spices are in the tea.

perfume - a small one ounce sample using a non-nut oil or alcohol base is best. If it smells good and wears well, expect an order from may be a while if I am using a perishable perfume I need to finish up, but you will hear from me. If it is a scent I do not like, I will gft it to someone I think WILL like it, and if she likes it, she will likely want more.

bath salts - It is so hard to find good hand made bath salts, so if you make them, let us know! Same suggestions as with soap regarding ingredients.

candles (with wicks) - I not only burn a lot of candles, I give a lot of them as gifts. Not everyone likes and/or uses wickless candles, and I got tired of having to explain to people how to use them (they can also be very messy if you only burn them for a short while). I tend to stick with traditional candles, but if you make both, I understand the wickless or tartlet samples, just let people know in your insert/card both how to use them appropriately and that you do wick-ed candles, too.

shampoo/conditioner - Do you know how hard it is to find good quality, handmade hair products? If it works well with my limp, baby fine, super oily hair, I will love you forever.

**A word of advice on bath and body product scents: it makes me and many people I know nervous to use/wear food (Especially chocolate and/or sweets) scented products. I constantly worry I will attract bees, wasps, and/or mosquitoes,a nd that the soaps near the sinks will attract bugs into the house. Chocolate makes me the most nervous. I find I don't even wear Aquolina Pink Sugar because of this. Normally, I would blame my own paranoia, but talking to some other women I know, I find I am not alone in this fear.***

**another word of advice: It's impossible to smell over the internet. I know, duh, but I can't really go by "OOOOh, this smells so decadent" or whatever your description. describe the undertones of the scent, and maybe some of the major things it smells like ("lemony with a hint of amber"). Even better: offer a low-cost sample, if feasible. Sell one tea candle or one soy tart in the scent. Sell a 1-oz sample of the soap. Whatever. heck, I am one of those people who would LOVE to buy your soap ends (and orphan tea candles). Label them up and offer a random 5 pack of .5-1 oz ends for the same price as a 4oz bar. I may not love all of them, but if I like one, it will have been worth my cost, and may net you a bar purchase or weren't going to do much with those random bar ends anyway, were you?****

Things I like receiving that I MIGHT make a follow up purchase from:

body scrubs - EVERYONE seems to make these. NO ONE includes directions for using them. Also, rubbing sugar on my body seems weird, especially if I don't fell like I am using it right. Aren't I just asking for bugs that are attracted to sugar water? I did end up buying a huge lot of whipped soap for one family member who I gave a sample to, and she went ballistic over, though.

Pet foods/treats - If a friend of mine with dogs likes the sample I give her, I give her the name of the company and/or buy her some for the holidays. I have 3 cats, so I use the kitty treats and toys. If my cats love them, expect to hear from me over the holidays.

lotions - Again, everyone seems to make them. I have very oily skin and live in land of humidity, so I don't use a lot of lotion. A lot of handmade lotions also tend to be very rich and heavy. Unless you do lotion well, be careful about the lotion being your only exposure to a consumer. It takes me a LONG time to get through that little sample jar, even of the whipped stuff, whereas I will blow through your soap in a week. Since I get 2-3 lotions a month, I tend to give these away a lot, too. An exception to this is if you either have those sealed little packets or those tiny twisty jars that are great for taking with you on a plane and only last about a week, or if you send me a coordinating scented sample with a purchase. Again, INGREDIENTS ARE IMPORTANT.

makeup - this includes lip balm. If the make up is good quality and doesn't bother my skin, I might be back, especially if you offer colors/flavors that I haven't seen elsewhere, or if your prices are great. Lip balm is a favorite stocking stuffer for me, and I love flavors that are fun and tasty with balms in creative packaging/labeling that are sturdy. Remember, LIST YOUR INGREDIENTS!!! I am very allergic to artificial sweeteners. I know others who are allergic to other things. ANYTHING that goes on my body, I need to know what's in it.

food/candy - if it's awesome, I will be back. (AGAIN, ingredients are VERY IMPORTANT. I cannot repeat myself or stress this enough)

crocheted items - if you are selling something I need or thing a friend will like, I will appreciate a sample. If it is something a little bit different or creative, I will remember thee xtra time you put into your sample, and it will stand out. Make sure your sample is WELL MADE!! If it falls apart when I wash my face with it, or the colors bleed onto my laundry, face, or countertop, I will not be buying your washcloth set for my friend who is getting married or baby sweater for my other pal's new baby.

sewn items - again, it had better be great quality. If I have a need for something you make, I will remember you and check out your site.

Pens - I know, nobody makes pens, but if you make some sort of item that sending a sample isn't really the most feasible idea, a pen with your website URL, business name and a brief description of what you do is a great idea. I keep the pens and use them. If I am using your pen and look at your business name, and it is for something I might want to get for someone (or myself), there you are right in front of me. I especially love free pens with purchases.

Things (Not already listed above) that I have given to others that have led to sales:

Cards - I am not a card person (I buy Christmas cards 2 boxes for a dollar). Some of my friends and family are. I always make sure if I get a card in a sampler, and give it to someone, where I got the card from is available to them. Many of them have turned around and purchased.

magnets - my fridge is stainless steel and not magnetic. I have given magnets as little gifts and on the tops of gifts as a little topper. At times this has led to turn around sales.

calendars - same as with magnets.

bookmarks - I love to read, but I am again the type to mark my place with a business card. You send a free bookmark sample, I will use it and love it. If someone sees it, I will tell them where I got it.

Keychains - Keychains are a great thing to use to put together a gift, and aree awesome as a sample that coordinates with a purchase. Unfortunately, how many keychains does one need? I usually end up using them in gift packaging.

Things I love to receive in sampler packs that almost NEVER lead to a follow up purchase...though if you include them as a supplement to a purchase I have already made, I will remember you and put you higher on my list for return business:

Jewelry of any type - Jewelry is just too personal a thing, and the samples are always nice, but nothing to make me feel compelled to buy from YOU and not someone else. Also, you just gave me a piece of jewelry, now I don't need one of those. True, if I get a sample from you, I might check out your site when I wouldn't have otherwise, but the likelihood that I will buy from you is very low. If you include a free little pair of earrings or something with a necklace I just bought from you, however, I will DEFINITELY remember you and return if I have a need for another piece.

recycled paper notebooks and/or envelopes - Again, I am not a card person. Most of the little notebooks are too little to really use, and crush easily in my purse. If you make larger, more functional journals, please make it clear in your packaging, (though I rarely buy those either). I basically give those little notebooks to my 6 year old to shut her up when she whines that everything in the mail is for me.

insignificant discounts - a little card with 5% off expiring next month, at best will become a bookmark. 5% off will not drive me to check out your site. 20% plus will. Also, time constraints are tough. I understand the need for them, but allow a few months, especially if I am giving these as a gift to someone who might then wish to make a full-fledged purchase.

Anything that I cannot figure out what it is, how to use it, or what it is for - I think this is pretty self explanatory.

Things that, if you include them in your packaging, I will specifically NOT buy from you again. EVER.:

-religious propaganda
-political propaganda
-lifestyle propaganda
-feedback threats
-why _____________ is wrong/evil/a bad idea
-why _______________ is smarter/better/more ethical
-pretty much anything that is not either a "thank you" note, a receipt, a catalog or list of your goods, a business card, a discount card, and/or a free sample.

In case you were wondering, YES, I do have a "black list"

Finally, a thank you:

Thank you all of you wonderful people who make items. Artisan, crafter, whatever you wish to call yourself, thank you. I have received some of the most fabulous items ever from small independent artists. Please keep up the great work. And thank you so very much for that little gift and/or thank you note. it is ALWAYS appreciated.

Ok, I will edit soon. Please forgive the rambling, redundancy, and tangents.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Planning out the garden 2009 - step one: decisions

Last year, we had a garden for the first time. We had NO IDEA what we were doing, and way overplanted a 6'x3' area of our back yard. Even with completely not knowign what ewe were doing, and ending up with a hugely overgrown garden, we didn't need to buy veggies for nearly a month. We had Jalapenos, bell peppers, three different types of tomatoes, butternut squash, and a bunch of herbs.

This year, DH and I are talking about ripping up 20' of our yard and making a huge garden. We both really enjoyed the garden last year, even though we had no idea what we were doing, and it got really overgrown. We bought some books over the winter, and have a better idea as to what we are doing now. The only problem is, DH popped up allergic to winter squash! Bleh. it's my favorite. :(

We will need to start preparing the soil probably this weekend. We are still pretty cold here, so It may be a few weks before I feel comfortable about planting, but we really need to decide how much yard to rip open and turn into a garden.

We had talked about putting in a retaining wall, and butting the garden up against that, but the $$ jsut aren't there this year for that, so it'll probably just be at the top of the steep little hill that leads to our lawn. Either that, or I will let Dh terrace out that hill, adn we will put our own little walls up. the problem there is, it won't give us any more useable patio space which was the whole point of the retaining wall, but I can garden in the terraces instead of putting in flowers. :)

Hmm....decisions decisions.

Monday, March 16, 2009

What a bunch of Jokers.

Where the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks does anyone get off berating someone for obeying the law, even if it is in doing something unpopular? Where is the "good" in that?

President Obama came out today telling the secretary of the treasury to do whatever it takes to block the contractually obligated bonuses being paid out to some employees of AIG.

I don't think ANYONE understands what this statement essentially amounts to.

President Obama is, effectively, saying "Go break the law."

Screw that those "bonuses" (as many "bonuses" on Wall Street are) are actually most likely contractual variable pay, as opposed to being rewards for good service. Screw that those 'bonuses" were contractually guaranteed. Screw that if ANY private citizen were to default on a contract, they would potentially be facing JAIL TIME.

No, let's set a precedent: When the government is involved, contracts mean nothing. The LAW means nothing. If we (we being the government) determine that it shouldn't be, it shouldn't be.

What's next?

Here's an interesting article by Douglas A. McIntyre: link. I may merely be a small business owner who doesnt trust the president anymore, especially in light of all he has already "done", but I'm not alone in seeing the implications of these actions.

I feel true fear when I think of where things are going. Was George Orwell merely off by 25 years? Are we headed into a loss of all of those things our country was founded upon?

Today it's the sanctity of a legal contract. Tomorrow will it be something bigger? The potential for where this decision to fight these contracts is going is frightening and mind-boggling. Call me paranoid if you like, but when the laws being overturned begin affecting you and your rights, don't say I didn't warn you.....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

It's my birthday and I'll buy if I want to....

Ahhh....I am in love with Amazon's used book sellers. I got a bunch of books I have been wanting but unable to justify buying for myself this week at rock bottom prices from used sellers. Even with the $3.99 shiping, I still made out like a bandit. Woohoo!

I also thought I might mention some of my favorite authors....hint hint family members. ;)

Sherrilyn Kenyon - I have every one of her hunter novels. Drem hunter, dark hunter, were hunter. You name it, I have read least twice....

MaryJanice Davidson - I love her Betsy novels. They're so irreverent! The take on Vampires is fun and interesting. I also love her royal series, and wish she would write another one. The other serieses are hit or miss.

Charlaine Harris - Are we noticing a trend here? I LOVE the Sookie Stackhouse novels. They are pretty different from the show True Blood, so be warned. I like the books infinitely better. They're more thoughtful and more realistic, I think. I like Charlaine Harris' work so much, I just bought the first books in her other series in that lot. Looking forward to reading them!

Jayne Ann Krentz - Ok, I think as far as mystery is concerned, she still has a lot to learn, but Ms. Krentz ALWAYS delivers on the romance. I love her books, writen under all of her pseudonyms: Jayne Castle, Amanda Quick, and even some old ones as Stephanie James.

I love to read. I should do it more often, but life keeps catching up on me.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Oh, the "Grown-up" perspective

So, I swore I wasn't going to go all "mommy blogger" on this blog, but hey, I AM a mommy, so every once in a while you're going to have to deal with it.

The kids were off for "winter break" last week. We were supposed tog o on a cruise for the vacation to avoid cabin fever, but my son got sick the Thursday before we were supposed to leave, and we had to cancel. He got better Tuesday, and my daughter only got sick for the weekend, so I had ALL WEEK with them at home.

All they wanted to do was watch TV and play computer games. Well that wasn't going to happen. Subsequently, all I heard all week was "I'm SOOOOO BORED! This is Boring, MOMMY!" while the husband tried to finish up his book and I tried to entertain them.

Fate was also working against me, because every time I planned on takign them out, something happened to prevent it. All we did was go to the park a few times.

Today, they're back in school. They woke up sad. They whined about going back to school. You would think, being "sooooo bored" at home, they would welcome school, but you'd be wrong.

They got put ontp the bus at 8:10. 8:15, the hubby and I were sitting down with our morning tea and watching the combine discussion on NFL Network. We looked at each otehr and smiled. We still haven't said anything. We're both reveling in the SILENCE.

Ah the great wonders of school. How my perspective has changed on breaks since I became a grown up. STINKY mid-week breaks! Thank goodness I have a business at home, otehrwise, all of my work vacation time would be taken up by random school vacations. My hat is off to all of you parents with no one at home who must take off to watch kiddos. I salute you!

Ok, I actually have to get some of the work that I didn't get done all last week done!!

Enjoy the Silence!! (I love Depeche Mode!)

Friday, February 13, 2009

No Cruise for You!

My poor little guy came home sick from school yesterday. At first we thought it was a stomach bug, but now we're pretty sure it is the flu.

We were supposed to go on a cruise leaving tomorrow, so I am now learning all of the steps of cancelling a cruise and filling out an insurance claim.

I feel like the hand of fate took a page from a Seinfeld episode:


I feel bad for my son. He is so upset that he feels like our not going on the cruise is his fault for getting sick. But it isn't. It's the FLU's Fault. These things just happen. I have told him this over and over, and I am now scrambling to fingure out things to dow hile they're home from school next week on winter break.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Long hair

I am growing my hair out to donate. For anyone that knows me "in real life" they know what a challenge this is. I am a short hair kinda gal. Ironically, I decided about a week after SHAVING MY HEAD again to grow my hair out for donation.

I made this decision and commitment over a year and a half ago. You need 10 inches minimum to donate your hair. I am at a 6" ponytail. It is rough. I am NOT used to having hair. What am I supposed to do with all of this? I did cave a little and cut some bangs. I need some hair in my face.

I cannot tell you how many times I have almost just said "screw it!" and chopped all of this hair off. It gets in my face when I work, it catches in my jacket zippers, it is ANNOYING. How do women have long hair all the time??

Ok, I'm done whining....FOR NOW! I need to go get a ponytail holder and get some work done.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Bummed about my Nails

My nails haven't been "marbled" in months. It makes me sad. Ever since Dh stopped working, I haven't been going to get my nails done, so no fancy designs. Also, I have really ramped up the jewelry making, adn it tears the heck out of my nails, so I have been keeping them really short.

I don't know why, but this is just bumming me out today.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

"The Best Job in the World"

In case you didn't read about it on Yahoo, or some other streaming news outlet, Tourism Queensland (in Australia) is in the middle of searching for applicants to what has to be one of the best jobs EVER! They are looking for an Island caretaker on Hamilton Island in the great barrier Reef!! Wow!!

The requirements are that you should possess:
-Good interpersonal skills
-good written and verbal English skills
-an adventurous attitude
-A willingness to try new things
-A passion for the outdoors
good swimming skills and enthusiasm for snorkelling and/or diving
-ability to engage with others
-At least one year's relevant experience

I am SO trying for this job. Of course, I probably have a snowball's chance in H-E-double-hockey-sticks, but why not try? It sounds AWESOME! check it out at

I'm sure some unwritten requirements, since you would be required to be on television and in the media a lot are "be gorgeous and/or built", of which, I am neither, but that's OK! I am adventurous, and I bring one thing that they probably won't see from many others to the equation: I have ADORABLE children, who want me to try for this job! They want to live in the Great Barrier Reef, and see the fish and beach, and go adventuring. They are even already planning my application video essay.....of course, it will be closely based on iCarly, if they have anything to do with it....

I'm still trying to figure out what constitutes "relevant experience"..... I have blogging experience (duh), I have vacationing experience, I have snorkeling experience, I have outdoors adventure experience, I even jumped off of a bridge because everyone else was doing it once!

I'll keep you updated on my progress!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Weight loss accountability

Two years ago, I lost 20 lbs, gained 5 back, and had, up until this past September maintained that weight. It was heavier than I wanted to be, but I was happy I was maintaining at a weight I was more comfortable with. Then, this year, I managed to gain 5 lbs in 4 months. Ouch!

So, this year, I broke down and made the dreaded "lose weight" resolution again. My ACTUAL resolution is: "lose a pound a week, every week, until I reach a weight I am happy with, then maintain forever, or until I decide I actually want to be lighter."

I am back on my "diet that's not a diet". It's based on the book, "the Skinny", and worked REALLY WELL for me last time. It's basically an "eat whatever you want, but not too much of it" moderation diet.

This is my accountability. I am posting here, so I keep it up.

Starting weight: 1/6/09 - 185.6
Weight last Week: 1/6/09 - 185.6
Current weight: 1/13/09 - 184.4
Goal reached? Yes
Total Difference: 1.2 lbs

So far so good.....

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Random interesting discovery

Did you know that if you let Peeps get so old, they're crunchy, they taste like the "marshmallows" in Lucky Charms Cereal? Yummy!

I'm an Aunt Again

My Brother in Law and his wife just welcomed their first child into the world. He's a little cutie, born on January 4. Just bragging. :)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Taking things seriously

Well, I am sick and tired of my family not taking my businesses seriously. It probably doesn't help that, up until the husband (HHBG) lost his job, I wasnt really taking things seriously. BUT my Jewelry business is something I am passionate about, and I AM taking it seriously this year.

Check it out:


Hopefully, others will see how serious I am about it. I have a separate blog talkign about my business and the things I am making. I see this as a big step for me to making this a real business and livelihood.