Thursday, January 26, 2012

"Happiness in a Pretty Box": Flopagrams

Last year I "met" entrepreneur Tomma Botelho, who was starting a new gift business with her father, Thomas Botelho. Tomma was researching products to include in her new gift baskets, and I was delighted to be considered. I'm even more delighted to share that Tomma has launched her new business, flopagrams. She agreed to share the details of her fun new product, and I hope you'll enjoy learning more about flopagrams!

Who works with you and where are you located?
We are a father-daughter team who loves flip flops. We are native Rhode Islanders and have lived in RI all our lives.

What made you decide to start Flopagrams?
Being from the Ocean State, we love the beach, the water and the warm summer months. Our summers are short and our winters are long, so we wanted to create something that would make it feel like summer all year long.

Oftentimes, people just don't know what to do for that special woman in their life or what to send to them. The more we talked to people, the more we found that people are tired of sending the same old gift baskets, flowers, cookies and fruit arrangements.

What's different about flopagrams?
A flopagram is a different way to celebrate. We deliver happiness in a pretty box. This is not your traditional gift basket. This is the gift that will leave a lasting impression and a memory footprint on her heart. With our vibrant colors and fun products (including pedicure set, tote bag, Coconut Twist lotion from GCDSpa, and more), every woman will want one.

Our uniquely designed flopagrams keepsake box can be used to store photos, jewelry, books, etc. Our eye-catching flopagrams gift box is made of the highest quality materials and has a magnetic flap for closing.

There is a smile in every box. Our flopagram contains products that every woman of the world uses, including our signature style flopagrams flip flops. And what woman doesn't love flip flops?

What options are available?
For the woman who loves to shine, you can unleash her inner diva and be-dazzle her with our sparkling Swarovski rhinestone flopagrams flip flops. If she loves style, this beautiful mix of crystal and fuchsia colored Swarovski rhinestones will give her flops a little more sassiness to their step. 

Where can we find you?
Our website is, and we offer free ground shipping on all orders! We invite you to visit us on Facebook, too!

While we are months away from sandals weather here in New England, Tomma reminds me that "flip flops can be worn all year long even if they are worn while lounging around in the comfort of your own home." So true! The next time you need to pamper someone, "think inside the box" and check out flopagrams!

Logo and all photos copyright © 2012 flopagrams and used by permission.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

National Compliment Day

I love your blouse. That color looks great with your eyes. Have you done something new to your hair? "You look marvelous."

Bet you didn't know that it's National Compliment Day! This unofficial holiday was dreamed up by Debby Hoffman and Kathy Chamberlin, who believed that "compliments provide a quick and easy way to connect positively with those you come in contact with." While SNL's Lorenzo reminded us that "it is better to look good than to feel good," telling someone that they look good makes them feel good, too.

What's the nicest compliment you've ever received? Do you pay compliments frequently?

There's lots to like about the people closest to us, so make sure you share a compliment today!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Friday, January 13, 2012

5 Reasons To Take a Snow Day

Yesterday's weather forecast said "snow changing to sleet and freezing rain" so of course my kids had a snow day. This happens at least 3 or 4 times every winter, but yesterday was different. Yesterday I took a snow day with them. I think everyone should join me, and here's why.

1. Snow days are great exercise. A good day for me would include 20 to 30 minutes on the treadmill. A great day would also include another 20 or 30 minutes of stretches and core work. Most days are just good exercise days, but yesterday I walked for about an hour, including hills. Then I shoveled for more than an hour. I got more exercise than I've gotten in months. Who knew that sledding and shoveling could be such a great workout? My kids weren't focused on this part, because they know that...

2. Snow days are fun. You may tell me this isn't important. You may say, "Ooh, must be nice to take an afternoon off at a moment's notice." My kids are watching me run my small business, and I don't want them to only see the long hours and working weekends (my choice, and enjoyable, but constant). They need to know that it's not only okay to have fun, it's important and necessary to their health. It's also important to their work lives because:

3. Snow days are about taking a break. For kids, they're about sleeping in and spending the day in your pjs...or getting dressed in eight layers of clothes and barreling down a hill on a sled. They're about drinking hot cocoa and eating cookie dough and giggling until your stomach hurts—instead of learning about fractions. Then tomorrow when you go back to school, you'll be ready for the fractions. Grown-ups need a break, too (as well as cookie dough) because grown-ups have a lot more than fractions to worry about. And even if it comes at the least opportune time, right in the middle of the work week, it's important to take those breaks because...

4. Snow days teach us to seize the day. This is the first substantial snow we've had here in Maine this winter. The forecast threatened rain, which meant we had a little window to enjoy it. It would have been so easy to work all day instead of just the morning, but I would have missed these smiles, those laughs, the exercise, the fresh air, the cookie dough, the memories. I have learned that there is always time to work. I can always make up that time. But this time with my kids, these days that offer little opportunities for a few hours of happy? They are gifts. Take them with gratitude.

5. Snow days are a chance to show, not just tell. I feel like I talk a lot about telling people how you feel about them. I have designed hundreds of tags that say, "I love you," or "Thank you," or "I wish you the best." It's so important to tell people how you feel, and so easy to forget to show them, too. You have a lot to offer your friends and family, but the one thing you have that no one else can give them is your time. Your time. Your kids need it, and so does your spouse or partner, your family and friends. Make sure you are as generous with your time as you can be, on snow days and every day.

Are you ready for a snow day?

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Matchmaking: Pantone's Spring 2012 Palette

Occasionally I talk about color trends, usually referencing Pantone's Color of the Year if not the entire palette in their Fashion Color Report. This year I thought I'd compare their colors to ours, so if you're using their swatches in your planning, here's how you might make a match.

Pantone's Color of the Year is Tangerine Tango, a very red orange (or orange red) that leans more toward melon in some of their fashion examples. According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®, "Consumers look to spring for renewed energy, optimism and the promise of a brighter day." If brighter hues make for brighter days, look for Spring 2012 to be sunny, indeed.

Joining Tangerine Tango are an additional nine hues, including a bright gold-yellow called Solar Power (good morning, sunshine), an iris-purple called Bellflower, a bright (there's that word again) pink called Cabaret, nautical blue called Sodalite Blue, the muted green Margarita, a blooming pale pink-purple called Sweet Lilac, another bright, this one a blue-green Cockatoo, and two neutrals, a warm gray called Driftwood and a dark sand called Starfish.

How do these compare to our colors? While we can match just about any color, we tend to group our choices around our tulle ribbon hues. This is our way of making sure that your decorated favors have the best color matching between their labels, tags, and bows. And with a palette of nearly 4 dozen tulle colors, we can match or complement just about any of your color choices.

Here are the nine colors we've matched to Pantone's Spring 2012 choices; please note that each monitor renders color differently, so the actual tulle color may not match your screen perfectly:

Solar Power = Goldenrod
Bellflower = Lavender
Cabaret = Hot Pink
Sodalite Blue = Navy
Margarita = Sage
Sweet Lilac = Wisteria
Driftwood = Steel Gray
Cockatoo = Tiffany
Starfish = Chocolate (on the dark side...our Sand is a paler version)

We found Tangerine Tango more challenging to match. In the past few years we've seen a rise in the popularity of both coral and persimmon as wedding colors, so this bold choice for Color of the Year really fits the trend. However, I have yet to find a real, true Persimmon tulle color. I wrote about Coral last February, and even offered some ideas for persimmon and coral theme weddings. While we do carry a Coral tulle, it's a bit pinker than Tangerine Tango. Our red is a little redder, orange a little oranger...well, you get the idea. Here are our options for colors all around Tangerine Tango:

I always wonder which of the colors will become the next big wedding hue...or if the next big thing is something completely different! Hot pink and Lavender have already been popular for the past year, and Tiffany also is a favorite (certainly one of my own favorites, too).

What do you see as the next big colors for fashion and weddings? Which of these swatches is your favorite?

Monday, January 09, 2012

Have your cake and your candles, too

When my kids were little they really liked blowing out birthday candles. I know they weren't alone because we'd have birthday parties and all of the little guests would lean in close to the flames as we sang the birthday song! I learned to  put a candle in each cupcake so everyone could participate (and the birthday kid had a chance to blow out at least a few of her own candles). I had "help" on my own birthday for years, which is probably why all of my wishes have come true. But while my own kids have long learned not to blow out other people's candles, some kids never outgrow it.

You probably know the "kids" I'm talking about: whenever you're really excited about a new idea or venture, or proud of an accomplishment and just dying to share, there they are. And with a big PUFF, there goes your flame.

I've often wondered why some people are like this. I figure some of them don't have their own candles. Maybe someone blew out their candles and they're just afraid to light new ones. Maybe you have more candles than they do, or bigger ones, or yours burn brighter. Maybe they just think it's what they're supposed to do. Whatever the reason, blowing out your candles is just as wrong now as it was when they were your party guests. What's a person to do with these candle-blowers?

• Don't invite them. You can't always recognize them ahead of time, but after a few parties you'll know who's there for the cake and who extinguishes your candles every chance they get. That second kind doesn't belong on your guest list. If you find them crashing every party anyway...

• Don't be in a hurry to share. Even a flicker of an idea feels like a blaze when you're excited about it. But sometimes things need to smolder, to be tended and protected while they grow. Keep the most important things close until you're burning with them and then no one can blow them out. When you feel secure about what you have...

• Light their candles, too. While it's tempting to keep them all to yourself forever, sometimes sharing a little spark will help someone start their own flame. When everyone has their own candles, they are less inclined to blow out yours.

Just like the candles on your cake, your ideas and passions are yours. You should be the one to decide to let them kindle or to blow them out. Don't let anyone take that away from you.

What do you think?

Monday, January 02, 2012


In January of 2010 I came up with three words that would guide me through the year. In 2011 I chose one word that represented three things I wanted to remember for the year. This year there is only one word and one idea: simple.

I have this bad habit of making things harder and more complicated than they need to be. A line of three products quickly becomes six or 26 or 206. One blog becomes three, and things that can be said in a sentence or two become full-blown essays. A quick walk on the treadmill becomes a half hour uphill slog that leaves me breathless. And on and on. While enthusiasm is great, I simply need to be more practical. So this year I'll be reminding myself to keep it simple

I know that working all night on a rush job might help one person, but it compromises my health as well as pushing back every other job for the rest of my week. That's not sensible, so this year I'll be simplifying my product line so I can keep more items in stock for those last-minute events. Watch for some flavors and fragrances to be discontinued or offered only seasonally, while the favorites and some new ones take their place and can be ordered for immediate shipment.

I love to write and I enjoy coming up with projects to share here on my blog. But the simple truth is that I also have a great husband and kids. Often it takes a vacation (like this last week) to remind me how much I enjoy spending time with them. I'll be making more time for them in 2012. Of course the time I spend with them inspires new ideas, too, so expect to see better posts here even if they are fewer and a little farther apart.

In 2011 I did a lot more "networking" than I ever have. I met so many interesting people and learned about their businesses and work. While I will continue making new business friends in 2012, I need to remember that my own direction and work is where my focus needs to be. Inspiration can quickly turn to distraction with the sheer volume of ideas and goals that other business owners have. I also find that comparisons can be deadly and at the very least they complicate how I feel about my work and my own goals. I'm just not doing that this year. 

When it comes to health and fitness, there is no secret. I know just what I have to do and it isn't complicated at all: I need to eat fewer sweets and junk foods, and I need to exercise regularly. I feel better when I do both of these things. They are very simple, but that doesn't mean they are easy. The same could be said of everything else I'm changing. Almost every time I felt overwhelmed in 2011, it was because I chose to complicate something that could have stayed very simple. It was easier for me to stick with my bad habits than to choose simpler and more sensible options. I'm hoping to change that in 2012. 

I'm still working out what all of this will mean for the people I work for and with, but this is my hope: fewer distractions will allow me to focus on your projects with new energy and enthusiasm. I may be alone in admitting that in 2012 I'm not going to do more. I do hope to do everything better. 

What about you? What are your hopes for 2012? 


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