Monday, November 30, 2009

Word of the Week: Cyber Monday

Okay, so it's two words. According to Wikipedia, Cyber Monday is "a marketing propaganda term that refers to the Monday immediately following Black Friday being the busiest day of the year for retail electronic commerce."

Whether it's the busiest day or not, for us Cyber Monday is the last day of our best sale ever! Shop today and take 15% off with the promotional code THANKS15.

And don't forget to head over to The Art of Random Willy-Nillyness and enter for a chance to win one of three gift sets! Carolyn is giving away one of our gingerbread scrub and hand cream sets, a candy cane pedicure, and a red current shower smoothers set! Way too easy to enter this one, so don't miss it!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Man-gagement Rings?

I was reading the other day about this new trend for the guys to wear pre-wedding bling. My first thought was, why didn't the men's engagement ring happen sooner? I think there are plenty of women who propose to men, and it would make sense for them to have a ring to seal the deal. But of course some say this is only a gimmick to try to sell more jewelry.

What do you think? Do you think it's a good idea for both partners to be seen as "taken" the way an engagement ring has always "marked" the woman? Do you think this is a trend that will last? Please share your thoughts!

(The ring pictured is H. Samuel's Tioro men's engagement ring)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hope you enjoy the day with loved ones! After you finish the turkey and stuffing, don't forget to gobble up some savings at our web site!

Now through the end of November, we're saying a big THANK YOU to our customers for all of your support in 2009. This is the best (and longest) sale we've ever had!

Thanksgiving Day and the Friday that follows, take 20% off by using the promotional code GOBBLE20 at checkout.

And Saturday through Monday, take 15% off by using the promotional code THANKS15.

Shop for the holidays--find stocking stuffers, gifts for teachers and coworkers, and holiday party favors for all of your celebrations! THANK YOU!

Wordless Wednesday is Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Monday, November 23, 2009

Word of the Week: Anything

"Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be."
— Shel Silverstein

Today my husband and I celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary. We met when we were in college, and for me it was love at first sight. As I got to know him better I knew that I could spend my whole life with him. He was smart and funny. He was curious and was learning new things all the time. He had a lot of ambition, and I got the feeling that with him, anything was possible.

We had our first date after a mutual friend played matchmaker. I remember talking with her afterward, telling her that I wasn't sure if he was really interested. She assured me that he was. "You wait and see," she said. "Anything can happen, Emily."

When I look back at our first 15 years, I am amazed by all the things that have happened. And I'm excited to see what the next 15 will bring. I'm pretty sure anything can happen.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Survival Kit

I was cleaning my desk the other day and came across Tristan's Third Grade Survival Kit. His teacher, Mrs. Dorr, sent one home with each student at the beginning of the school year. A list accompanied the contents (see photo) and it reads as follows:

Toothpick: To remind you to pick out the good qualities in others
Rubber Band: To remind you to compromise with your friends
Pencil: To remind you to list and think about all the good things in your life
Eraser: To remind you that everyone makes mistakes, AND IT'S O.K.
Sticker: To remind you to stick with it and do your best
Million Dollars: To remind you that you are worth a million dollars
Warm Fuzzy: To remind you that everyone needs a hug or compliment every day.

I made a copy of this list to keep on my wall, because I think it's a good "survival kit" for anyone. (I tried to find the million dollars to add to the picture, but Tris must have spent it.)

Right now I'm focusing on the Toothpick reminder, trying to focus on picking out the good things in other people. What do you think? Which of these do you like the best?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Word of the Year: Unfriend

Today's word isn't just our word of the week, it's the Oxford Word of the Year for 2009: unfriend – verb – To remove someone as a ‘friend’ on a social networking site such as Facebook.

Every year as the holidays near, the New Oxford American Dictionary announces the year's word. This is the first Word of the Year that originated on the Internet, and it's an interesting choice given that social media is gaining popularity, not losing...people are generally adding friends to their networks, not removing or "unfriending" them.

Each person on Facebook has to make a decision about what constitutes a "friend", and apparently some people reconsider that decision even after they've friended someone. There are so many other ways to avoid posts that you find annoying or offensive, I wonder what would be an unfriend-worthy offense? Have you ever unfriended someone? What would a friend have to do for you to unfriend them? Please share your opinions!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Quinceañera and Sweet Sixteen Favors

We've been working on Sweet 16, 15th birthday, Quinceañera, and other special birthday favors lately and will be adding some new spa favor ideas soon. There are lots of kid-friendly designs here, but you can also choose from any of our other designs and we'll customize the text and the colors to your theme. If you don't see your theme, contact us about a custom design!

Apart from lip balm favors, we also have lotion and bath gel favors, sugar scrub and bath salts. What are your favorite products for a special birthday favor? Let us know if there's anything you'd like to see!

Friday, November 13, 2009

If we don't have it, we'll help you find it...

I've been working on holiday products this week, so my "lab" smells like gingerbread, pumpkin pie, and red currant! To help me get in the spirit so early in November, I popped in Miracle on 34th Street to play in the background. I like the original movie a lot, but this week I've been watching the 90s version with Mara Wilson. While I pour balm and tie favors, I listen to the holiday music and hear the cute things little Susan Walker says as she decides (along with all of New York) whether she believes in Santa.

One of my favorite parts of the movie is how Santa provides the idea that eventually saves the store. When parents complain about the prices or lack of certain toys at Cole's, Santa directs them to different stores where they can find the gifts they want. As the store's manager explains to Dorey, "If Cole's doesn't have what you're looking for, we'll find it for you, even if it means sending you somewhere else."

That doesn't seem like a logical thing for a business owner to do, but it makes a lot of sense to me. I love what I do and of course I would love to work with you to make gifts and favors for your holiday parties. But I also understand that not everyone is looking for what I make! That's why I'm telling you about this amazing site where you can find lots of other independently owned businesses. features fantastic alternatives to big box shopping. Find jewelry, stationery, candles, fashion, cosmetics, products for children, goodies for your pets, and so many other gift ideas! They also have a super Holiday Gift Guide with featured businesses offering all kinds of discounts through the holiday season. Lots of the holiday sponsors are also offering coupons (you can find us--and our coupon--among November's sponsors!).

If we don't have what you're looking for, I'm pretty sure you'll find it at!

Monday, November 09, 2009

Word of the Week: Dragons

As the story goes, way back before remote areas of the planet were explored, map makers put dragons, sea serpents and other creatures on maps with the words, "Here be dragons." I suppose it was a kind of warning, like saying, "Approach at your own risk."

Now in reality, this statement was only used on the Lenox Globe, but I like the story. I see it as one of the many ways we express our mistrust of the unknown, our fear of new and unexplored areas. I also like to think that there are people out there who, coming upon a map like that, would be intrigued: Dragons? Really?! That sounds cool! When can we leave?!

It seems like there are always many unknowns in life, that in order to find new opportunities we have to head into unmapped territory. Winston Churchill said, "A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty." I'm starting this week searching for dragons. How about you?

Monday, November 02, 2009

Word of the Week: Hot

My husband was given a bottle of this hot sauce a few years ago. It's from W.O. Hesperus Co., made right here in Portland, Maine. With a simple ingredient list (Red Savina Habaneros, cider vinegar, Maine sea weed & sea salt) and a heat level of 13 out of 10, it's a flavorful sauce that packs a punch wallop.

That gift marked the beginning of a beautiful relationship. It started off appropriately enough: on nachos, with guacamole, in dips. Then one night the bottle appeared, uninvited, next to the soup bowl. Within a short time it was popping up by the pasta salad and heating up the roasted veggies. Even the omelets weren't safe from its scorching. "It really enhances the flavor of lots of foods," my husband says, as he sets the fourth new bottle in its place of honor next to his plate.

He's also tried the Cocoloco sauce, which wasn't as hot but had "great tropical coconut-y flavor," and the Kick in the Nuts pistachios which were "tasty but would have been hotter if they'd removed the shells before seasoning them."

The interesting thing about this culinary obsession is that in two years' time, my husband has had one cold. While the rest of our household passes around viruses, he passes the Jolly Roger bottle: stirred in soups, tucked in tacos, muddled in macaroni. And never a sniffle. In fact, that solitary cold came within a week of running out of his beloved sauce.

I wondered if there was a good reason for his seeming immunity. While chili peppers are high in vitamin C—an antioxidant that may help the immune system—they also contain capsaicin, which may (according to WebMD) "help prevent bacterial infections" and "may also make mucus thinner and help move it out of the lungs." If you're exposed to a virus or bacteria, maybe that runny-nose-feeling from hot sauce is actually helping you throw it off. (And if you catch a cold, at the very least hot sauce will make you feel less congested.)

Of course, my husband's story is just an anecdote, and I'm not saying this will work for everyone. But with my kids' school flu clinics canceled and no rescheduled date, I think we all may start passing the bottle. Got hot?


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