Monday, July 28, 2008

Party in the City


So here's a new tag I put together for NY showers or bachelorettes. I can change the font and colors, as well as the text (did you know that we can do that for almost every design?).

If you're interested in ordering, here's the link to lip balm favors with personalized tags; specify tag design #1284. If you'd like the design on a label, here's the link for lip balm with personalized labels; specify label design #265.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Build a Friend

My daughter celebrated her 10th birthday on Friday and today we went to Build-a-Bear. She brought her best friend and they both had a blast making new friends. The girl who helped put together our critters let each girl pick two hearts, so each toy has a heart from both girls (very sweet--I admit I got a little verklempt!) Then we rode up and down the escalator, bought Swiss chocolates, and wandered aimlessly into every toy and gift shop looking for Webkinz.

At one point the girls crawled into a pup tent in a toy store. I asked my daughter if she wasn't maybe a little too big for it, but she got right down (in a dress, mind you) and checked it out. I stood there outside listening to them giggle and realizing that maybe by her next birthday, or perhaps the next, she'll be too cool or sophisticated to crawl around on the floor of a toy store. And I'll be ready for that change, but for now I'm happy that she still thinks she's "little" enough to do it.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Marriage as Business

Since money woes are often listed as a reason for seeking a divorce, it makes sense to think about your spending and saving habits before your wedding. This recent MSN article says to treat marriage like a business, and has good tips for setting goals with your future spouse, making plans to reach those goals, and keeping track of your progress.

It may not sound very romantic, but it seems like sound advice to me! The article provides examples of how much better off you will probably be as a couple than if you had remained single (according to one study, expect to have almost twice the net worth)--and how much worse off you'll be if you divorce ("the breakup ultimately reduced the typical person's net worth by 77% of that of the average single person") Yikes!

I love making favors for all sorts of events, but I have to admit, there's something a little sad about divorce favors. I'd rather make your bachelorette favors, wedding favors, and then baby shower and anniversary favors! So please do your homework and make sure you and your future spouse are on the same financial page!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Twitterific

I've been trying out Twitter for the last week or so, and I'm still not sure about it. You can see my most recent posts in the right margin of the blog (way over there--->), or visit my page here. Yeah, it's been that long since I've posted. Yeah, I know I need to do it more often.

If you also "tweet," you can click the link on that page to follow me. And most likely I'll follow you, too. Because that's how this seems to work! And then I'll try to think of something tweet-worthy so I won't bore you.

That's really the big hurdle here for me. It isn't so much the setting up accounts and customizing them to match my other accounts that's hard. It's more that I have to think of things to say or remember to log in and let everyone know what I'm doing frequently enough to justify doing it at all. I have to think of myself as someone who has something to say every hour or two that someone else would want to read. And really, most of the time, I feel like someone who really likes making lip balm and taking pictures of it. Maybe this Twitter world isn't for me?!

I can't decide what I think of all of it. These social networking sites are completely addictive--like Facebook and MySpace, for example (I also have pages there, but don't be disappointed by how infrequently I update). I love reading about what other people are doing, reading, playing. Up to the minute updates of even the most mundane details seem fascinating, simply because they are up to the minute! Can you imagine? I'm reading about someone's dinner and it's 10 pm here, and I realize they're in California. I can read about someone's dinner in California while I'm sitting here working at 10 in Maine! Cool, huh?

But truly, I can't get past the idea that what I'm having for dinner might be not be interesting to someone. It's not even that interesting to me. And here's the other thing: in order for people to Tweet or blog or connect 24/7 with friends on all of these sites, they have to be on their phones or handhelds through every event--or working constantly from their laptops, like I am. How do the other people at the table feel at dinner when the phone comes out? Is everyone on their phone? Did dinners used to be like this? Is this an improvement? (Yeah, I know...I don't get out for dinners much, so I'll allow that they're probably different in this century.)

Like I said, I'm not sure what I think about all of this new technology. I'm beginning to sound like a grandparent, suspicious of the "newfangled" and what changes it will bring. Do you have any interesting stories about Tweeting, blogging, or networking online? I'd love to hear what you think! I'm sure blogging about tweeting and tweeting about blogging isn't the long-term answer, so any suggestions you have for successfully juggling all of this would be appreciated!!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

600 Calorie Cookies?

Just ran across this article and wonder what kind of impact this might have if every restaurant in the country had to do it. New York City has a new law which requires chain restaurants to put the calorie count of foods on their menus and displays. People are flipping out over 600 calorie baked goods because they had no idea their cookie or muffin had so many calories.

The hope is that if people know, they will make better choices. It looks like that is happening for some people--the lower calorie items are sold out first. Maybe this will force some chains to offer more lower calorie items (or just smaller portions, maybe?) on their menus, which is also a plus. But the article also mentions those who were upset about the menu and wanted to order from the older menu, without the calorie counts. Ignorance is bliss, I guess!

What do you think? Would you rather know exactly what is in your meal or snack, or do you enjoy it more without the (sometimes) gory details? Do you think you have a good idea of how many calories are in your meals, or are you surprised by the counts they mention here?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Survey Says...

I participated in a survey today. I know, who has time for that? I was mostly curious (and also had no idea that it was going to take more than an hour of my time).

I had to watch a DVD, then they called and asked me a bajillion questions about what I watched. What was most interesting was that they asked about the ads and I couldn't remember what they were for. When they described what happened in the commercials, I remembered seeing them, but I didn't remember what products the ads were trying to sell.

I have a business selling products. If I spent millions on an ad campaign and no one remembered what my product was, I would consider that ad a failure! I found it stunning that they continued asking me the nitty-gritty about the ads when I couldn't even remember the product. Who cares if I felt happy, inspired, or indifferent? I don't even know what you're selling!!

This is not the first time I've noticed this. I may be really entertained by a commercial, but truly, it escapes me how these little dramas are selling products when I can't recall what the product is. Am I alone in this? Do ad agencies have delusions of grandeur producing their mini movies, or do I have ADD?! Weigh in, folks!

Monday, July 14, 2008

"Forget About Him" Lip Balm!


As I've mentioned here before, divorce parties are becoming a popular way to acknowledge, if not celebrate, the end of a relationship. Check out this article in the most recent Page Six Magazine:

"...now a cottage industry has emerged as a result. You can buy divorce announcements, party favors (from “Forget About Him” lip balm to “Happy ­Divorce” chocolate bars)..."

Guess where you can get "Forget About Him" lip balm? Right here! We also have Single & Lovin' It balm, Kiss Married Life Good-Bye balm, and You Go Girl! balm. Check out our Break up and Divorce Party favors (the Dirty Bastard balm is a favorite).

Consumer Choice

If you're someone who likes to think you are choosy about what you eat, chew on this statistic: "In our country, 89 percent of all soy, 61 percent of all corn, and 75 percent of all canola are genetically altered." According to this article, "It would be difficult to avoid eating genetically modified organisms in our country because they are so pervasive in the food system and unlabeled in the grocery stores."

Wow.

That last part there seems impossible to me: unlabeled in the grocery stores. Cosmetics companies are required to provide extensive information on their labels, and I would expect food labels to contain MORE information! But several years ago a local dairy here was sued by Monsanto, the company that produces bovine growth hormone (rBGH). They were sued because their farmers took a pledge not to use rBGH, and they labeled their milk so their customers would know this. If Monsanto had their way, dairies would not be allowed to label their products--and customers would not have the choice to buy milk without rBGH. Ben and Jerry's has recently gotten involved, too; their products are made with rBGH-free milk and they think it's important to be able to say so on their packaging. Monsanto, and the farmers who use rBGH, disagree. They think customers are being misled into believing that rBGH is potentially harmful. (Canada and the European Union have banned rBGH because of its potentially negative effects on people.)

Monsanto is also the biotech giant responsible for about 90% of the genetically engineered seed grown last year. The long-term ecological and health effects of genetically engineered foods are unknown. How important is it to us as consumers to have choice? Even without absolute proof that a product is harmful to your health, should you be able to choose something different? For me, that answer is YES! Personally, I want to know whether my milk came from cows that were given growth hormones. I don't think a biotech company should be determining what should and shouldn't appear on our food labels, but when the FDA decisions are made with the help of former employees of that company, that's exactly what happens!

The FDA is currently poised to remove even more customer choice by putting small beauty products businesses out of business. The same FDA that can't keep our food safe (note recent recalls of tainted beef and Salmonella-contaminated tomato? cilantro? pepper? who knows what? fiasco) now wants to charge small cosmetics companies thousands of dollars a year so it can "regulate" them, too. For years, the only way consumers could buy lotion without paraben preservatives or petroleum products was to buy from small businesses; if the FDA Globalization Act passes, many of these folks will be out of business, and we'll have NO CHOICE but to buy from the big guys. Is handcrafted lotion dangerous? According to the Personal Care Products Council,

"Of the 11 billion personal care products that are sold annually, an average of less than 150 adverse reactions are reported-most of which are minor skin irritations."

This hardly seems worth all the trouble, particularly when the safety of our food supply has much more serious health implications. But unless we all start speaking up, thousands of small businesses will be gone and many of our product choices will be gone, too.

None of these small companies has the multi-million dollar legal budget of Monsanto, or dozens of people on staff to deal with lawsuits or pleas to the FDA. Our strength is in our numbers. I'm sure I'm not alone in wanting to know as much as possible about the food I eat and the products I use, and wanting as much choice as possible in selecting what is best for myself and my family. If you have an opinion about this, please share your comments here. But don't stop here--support companies like Ben & Jerry's and local small businesses that stand up for customer choice. Contact your local dairy and ask for rBGH labeling. And please let your representatives know that this is an important issue to you!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Berry Pie

Yes, these berries did come from my garden. I've been picking every day and they're SOOO good!! This is such a super time of year for fresh produce, especially berries. So here's a recipe for a yummy glazed berry pie. Choose your favorite berries! Enjoy!

Glazed Berry Pie (from my Nana)

2 cups berries
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 3-oz package cream cheese
1 baked pie shell


Spread softened cream cheese on baked pie shell. Layer 1 cup of berries over cheese. Mix remaining cup of berries, water, sugar and cornstarch in saucepan. Bring to boil over high heat and boil until mix turns clear, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and add salt and vanilla. Pour over berries in pie shell. Chill, then serve with whipped cream.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Wedding Cake Favors

I have always thought that these different sized jars stacked together look like hat boxes, but recently I wondered what they would look like if they had a pattern on the side. To me they look like mini wedding cakes!

So I did a few designs and now you can have moisturizer Wedding Cake Favors! Choose your flavor of lip balm for the top layer, and a fragrance of hand cream for the lower layer. Designs are either Damask or Calligraphy, choose a color of tulle, and specify your text for the matching tag.

Definitely a new twist on the Wedding Cake Favor! We will be adding these to our Bridal Shower Favor designs, but wanted you to see them first!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Watermelon Daiquiri Lip Balm


This month's flavor just had to be watermelon. Not just any watermelon, though--it's Watermelon Daiquiri. So there's no seed-spitting with this flavor!

Flavor of the Month customers, let us know what you think!

Thursday, July 03, 2008

How about another discount?

We're celebrating tomorrow, and I figured maybe everyone might like another discount, so here's the coupon:Let me know if you have any questions at all!

(Mailing list customers: this coupon should be in your inbox!! If you aren't already getting our coupons, discounts, and other news by email, please consider joining the list!)

Have a great holiday weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Sarcasm is Key


I ran across this interesting article last week. If you've ever been annoyed by that snarky guy at work (or you've ever been that snarky guy at work), you might find it interesting, too.

A neurophysiologist recently recognized what so many of the wry, sardonic, and snide have been practicing for years: sarcasm is important in human interactions. It seems that the success of humans over time has been largely due to our relationships with each other, and according to the author, "sarcasm plays a role in making and breaking alliances and friendships." Tell me about it.

So next time you're sharing an eye-rolling with a co-worker at your weekly staff meeting, remember that you're practicing an ancient bonding ritual that's important to the advancement of the species (not to mention your career). Just make sure the boss doesn't see you.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Java Brownies

We've had a lot of late nights here lately, so I whipped up a batch of these brownies to snack on when I'm up making lip balm. Wake up and smell the coffee!

1 stick butter
6 Tbsp cocoa
1 Tbsp instant coffee
1 Tbsp water
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter over low heat and stir in cocoa, instant coffee and water. Remove from heat. Mix in sugar and allow to cool. Beat in eggs, then add vanilla, flour, and salt. Pour into greased pan (8x8) and bake for 25-30 minutes or until firm.

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