I've been window shopping on the web and once again keep finding more jewelry that I want. It's not like I don't have enough upstairs in my jewelry box..I have plenty. But, when a girl sees shiney sparkly beautiful things...we want more.
I love cardinals, they are my favorite bird. And, when I saw this locket at Urban Bloom (based in New York City) I would love to get one. I never had a locket before and this one has such a lovely picture on it. And, it's a good size too, 2 inches. This locket with chain sells for $30 which isn't such a bad deal.
There are some other nice pieces at Urban Bloom. This one is called "Luce's Leaves" . It's so delicate and feminine. Apparently you can get it either in gold tone foror silver tone, priced at. Depending on whenter you want the larger leaves or not the price ranges from $22 - $26.
There's also these gold plated mesh leaf earrrings at $15. Some really intriguing pieces that don't cost too much.
Then there's Linda Trent Jewelry. I get her newsletter every Tuesday..hoping that I won this weeks gift certificate. Her pieces are just so brilliant with color. Like these silver earrings with the lime green stones against the silver and turquoise. On sale today by the way for $40 but regular price is $52.
This necklace is gorgeous but so way out of my league. I love the design that she made out of wire and the stones. It's so beautiful but alas I do not have $150 to buy it (regular price is $210)[$150 for silver or $170 for gold filled].
But, I did actually make a purchase the other day. I had been eyeing this necklace at Opehlia's Jewels ever since I had bought my mother-in-laws necklace. I was praying that it wouldn't get sold until I got this check I was waiting for. Luckily..no one bought it and I was able to get it for myself. It's called Earth & Sea. Made of silver, Swarovski Crystals and Czech glass beads..and it's MINE all MINE!!!
So, there's still so many many online jewelry artists out there. I'm finding more and more every week and their designs are just fantastic. Take a look around and see if something tickles your fancy..let me know what you get!
Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I've been window shopping on the web and once again keep finding more jewelry that I want. It's not like I don't have enough upstairs in my jewelry box..I have plenty. But, when a girl sees shiney sparkly beautiful things...we want more.
Friday, July 27, 2007
I have been inundated with soaps! I have more soaps than probably most people and that's ok. I like soap..soap is good. Soap gets you clean. Ok, so I'm more of a body wash person..but that's ok..I still use soap and so does my husband so we go through quite a bit. Plus, with all the choices out there, you just can't go wrong. You can buy a soap online in just about any shape, size, scent etc. The best thing is that these soaps are handmade and in most cases, all natural. You can't get that on the shelf at Target or the grocery store..well maybe Ivory soap but not a heck of a lot of the others.
Recently I bought some lip balms from Paradise Cosmetics and she sent me the cutest little Flip Flop soaps as a freebie. Well, since I have a Luau birthday party for my youngest, I had to have these as favors. Very very cute, very reasonably priced and very very fast turnaround!! I was so happy, I ordered about 20 of these in a wonderful Tropical Fragrance and in blue and they cost 25 cents each all packaged up. My party guest were very happy to get such a cute favor. Here's the ingredients: Made with 100% Certified Organic Palm Oil, 100% Certified Organic Coconut Oil and Vegetable Glycerin! and of course the fragrance. I'm showing you a photo of her hibiscus shape but you can get the flip flops, a palm tree and other shapes too.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I thought I'd touch a bit upon the ever wanted but sometimes elusive concept of Customer Service. We all want good customer service but do we deserve it? Where can we find it? Should customer service go above and beyond, even when the rules are posted?
I've been part of quite alot of forums for a long time and I've seen posts time and time again regarding customer service. Some good and some bad. I've experienced the good and the bad myself. I can tell you that not many of the "big" named companies really do provide good customer service. I've had both experiences with the big named guys. I can also tell you that I have had basically nothing but fantastic customer service from the Indie Etailers that I have bought from. Some even went out of their way to make me happy.
For example....I went into a Subway once..ordered a sub and once eating it saw that I paid $6 for 2 slices of meat. Well, I contacted Subway and informed them of the store and they sent me GC for a free sandwich. Wow, they were fast and they really wanted to see me happy. Another example, my husband and I wanted to buy new and good food storage containers to replace the ones we bought in college. We bought Rubbermaid Stain Savers. They were dishwasher safe in the top rack only..so that's how we washed them. And, we watched over the next few weeks how several of them started to crack and break for no reason. I contacted Rubbermaid and was asked in return to supply Model numbers for each of the ones that cracked for replacement. I did..and never ever heard back from them. I overnighted a letter to the president of the Food Storage division of Rubbermaid..and never heard back. So, I don't buy Rubbermaid products anymore. If they can't back their product or at least have the decency to contact me then I can't waste my money or time on their product. Some big names have good customer service and others do not.
But, when is a complaint too much of a complaint? Is there a limit to what you can give as far as customer service goes? For example, recently Sprint decided to "fire" certain customers because Sprint felt that there was no way that Sprint could serve these peoples' needs. Apparently, these "customers" complained constantly about the service..so Sprint simply let them go. No more complaints and the customers had no one to complain to anymore. Sprint took a huge chance in doing this as they, of course, lost business and money. But, maybe they are right, you can't please all of the people all of the time. And, if nothing Sprint did ever made these people happy, then they should go ahead and look for another service company. I actually applaud Sprint for this daring act.
I actually worked in retail for a good portion of my life. I know how hard it can be to give perfect customer service all the time. Sometimes, you're having a bad day or you don't feel 100%..other times there are those customers who just don't know how to act or how to follow any rules. Most stores, including online ones, give the rules for returns, shipping etc up front. Walk into any Target or Best Buy and right behind the customer service desk is a BIG sign telling you all the rules for any and all returns. Yet, there are customers that will still try to return that opened DVD for their money back and not an exchange. There will still be that customer who is returning an obviously USED item or the customer who is returning something that is over a year old (isn't 90 days enough time for you to figure out if you want it or not?). And, most etailers also have their return, shipping etc. information on their websites..I recommend you read before you buy so you know what to expect. But, there are those of us who choose not to read the rules and expect that the store will always honor the "Customer is always right" rule. Well, I think that the customer is not always right.
If you're going to complain, make sure it is legitimate and meaningful. If it's something that is truly important to complain about (hello there's a hair in my body butter, I got the wrong item, I haven't gotten my items, I received a body part) then do it. Don't make a mountain out of a mole hill. If it's a small issue that is truly no affecting your life, you can mention it as a constructive criticsm, for example, "I got my order and love the body wash, it's fantastic! I was wondering if you realized though that the labels are not waterproof? Mine wasn't and I just thought you might want to know. Keep up the great work!"
Make sure that you're truthful and as polite as possible. Even if you are mad as hell, the more polite and communicative you are about the issue the more polite and willing to help the re/etailer will be. Make sure you contact the re/etailer, don't vent on a forum. Venting on a forum..I understand you're frustrated...but does it really help resolve the issue: NO. The more adult you are about the situation, the better resolved the situation will be. I've done things both ways, mad as hell and politely..politely works 1 billion times better then mad as hell. Trust me! Venting on a forum can and will make things worse...it just shows the re/etailer that instead of actually contacting them to resolve the issue, you went public and tried to wreck their reputation. No one wants that.
Is the customer always right? I say no. Should the customer always be right? To the best of their ability.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
What is it about Costco that I love so much. Is it the large bulk items at good prices? Is it the abundance of free samples that feed me my lunch? Or is it the sheet cakes that I get twice a year for my kids birthdays?
Well, it's all of the above...but for today it's those darn delicious sheet cakes.
Yesterday was the birthday party for my youngest who turned 2. Now, I've looked around for years at various grocery stores etc for birthday cakes. If I want a character cake at the local Giant or any other grocery store..it's about $20 for what like a 1/4 sheet cake...and as much food coloring as will make you sick. I actually bought one for my oldest son's first birthday and not only did I feel ripped off but the cake just tasted like CRAP. It had so much dark blue food dye in it that my son's fingers were blue for a week.
Then I found the Costco cakes! At $15.99 (previously $14.99) you get I believe a half sheet cake. Ever since I bought that grocery store cake, I learned my lesson and just go to Costco for my cakes. Not only do the cakes look good, they taste good and they are priced RIGHT! We usually enjoy either the yellow or chocolate cake but I always get the chocolate mousse filling! Sometimes I alternate between the chocolate buttercream and the regular buttercream. And, even though there are limited designs that you can get (no characters here), you can request certain colors instead of the norm that you see on the display. I discovered that even some Costco employees don't know that!
For example, for my youngest's party we have a luau theme..so I asked for a balloon cake but with tropical colors like yellow, teal, lime green..and what did I get? Exactly those colors and it looked fantastic.
But, for some people, their kids want those character cakes. Here's how you do it: go buy those little icing decorations and just add them to the cake. My oldest was into the Wiggles at age 2 so I did a Costco cake with the Rainbow design asking that the rainbow be done in Wiggles Colors. Then, I just added these edible Wiggles decorations and walla...a Wiggles cake that was bigger and cost less than the alternative.
And, I know it's a big cake but so what...leftovers anyone! LOL.. we have about 1/3 of the cake left..for now...until tomorrow...
Look, it's a great tasting cake. You can customize it in a way. And, it's $15.99 for this huge confection. Where can you go wrong??? Costco, it's what's for dinner, lunch and birthday cakes!
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Ok, I know it's not Thursday quite yet. But, I'm going to be out most of the day tomorrow so you're getting Inside Indie a bit early. This weeks Inside Indie interview is with Jill Jones of Bidwell Botanicals. If you remember, Bidwell Botanicals Spun Sugar Sugar Scrub tied for first place in my Best of Sugar Scrubs contest back in June. Jill makes and sells wonderful scrubs, lotions soaps and more. I highly recommend the Spun Sugar and her Chocolate fragrances!!!
Tell me a little about the mind behind Bidwell Botanicals.
I am a lucky woman, mom, wife with a great family that supports my crazy dreams and help to make them happen. I am totally into creativity in almost any aspect and have dabbled in every craft I could get my hands on, so owning a business like ours is awesome for me!
What made you decide to start a bath and body business?
Basically I love to cook and create and I love to pamper people, so this business seemed a perfect synergy for me. I'm a total bath junky myself and have made products for my family for a long time. When I really got into it about 6 years ago I just dove in head first and Bidwell Botanicals is going to have its 5th official birthday this October!!
Congrats on your 5th Year! So, since your Sugar Scrub came in first in the Best of Sugar Scrubs contest, has anything changed?
I'm so proud of that accomplishment! We worked very hard to make a product that people would love, and now we're adding several more types of sugar scrub to our line so they can indulge themselves even more! It has definitely given me incentive to move forward with this business when I know that people really like what we're doing.
You're stranded on a desert island and you can only have one of your products with you..what is it, what fragrance and why?
I would bring our Hydrating Body Milk in the Bali Spa fragrance so I could keep my skin from getting parched and the scent would help me pretend to be on a tropical vacation instead of being stranded.
What can we expect from Bidwell Botanicals in the future?
We plan to keep on growing and offering new and innovative products to our customers. Look for a new fruity line of products very soon! We will also be offering several new products for the upcoming Holiday season. I can't wait to bring them out!!
And, I can't wait for you to bring them out either! What is your absolutely can't live without it product that you do not make (it doesn't have to be bath and body)?
Tea! I have at least a cup of tea every morning and in the Winter I drink it all day. I drink anything from Earl Grey to Hibiscus herbal tea. I especially enjoy the fruit teas from Herb + Ginger. Yummo!
Jill, thank you so much for sharing yourself with me and my readers. I can't wait to see your new products so bring them out soon. And to my readers, go visit Bidwell Botanicals and see what wonderful products Jill creates just for you!
Monday, July 16, 2007
All you married women out there know how hard it is to find a nice gift for your Mother In Law. Oh yeah, you know what I'm talking about. It's hard. Most of the time I find a few things and let my husband pick out the final choice..it seems to always be more wonderful if he picked it out..go figure.
Friday, July 13, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
Welcome to this weeks Inside Indie interview. Today I'm featuring an interview with Jennifer Thompson of Two Rivers Soaps. I discovered Two Rivers Soaps via a Crafty Cube I bought last year. The sample we got was of her Energy scent and my husband, yes my husband loved it. So I started buying him his soaps from Two Rivers. So without further ado..here's all you need to know about Two Rivers Soaps.
Tell me a little bit about the mind behind Two Rivers Soaps.
My name is Jennifer Thompson and I live in Des Moines, Iowa. I founded my company in 1999 and work out of my home. I also
work full-time as an academic librarian. When not working, or soaping, I love to read, work on mosaic projects, watch movies & just hang out with my boys.
Do you remember the first bar of soap you ever made? Tell me about it.
Oh yes, very well! After months of research, I created my own recipe made with Olive, Coconut, Palm & Castor oils, along with lots of Shea & Cocoa butters. It took hours to get to the point where I added the colorant and fragrance. I had decided to scent it with a Huckleberry fragrance (of all things) and color it purple. I didn't know then that purple was a difficult color to get in soap and that this fragrance discolored the soap as well. When the soap got thick enough I added my fragrance, then the colorants. The soap turned gray, so I panicked and added more colorants, then more! I eventually gave up and ended up with a brownish gray soap with red & blue streaks. It worked great but could've won an ugly soap contest! The next day I made a very pretty peach colored & scented soap though!
What inspires you when you're creating your soaps?
Lately it's been from wondering around our local gourmet food markets and farmer's market. I recently found a Honey Pear salad dressing that's inspired a fantastic soap scent.
Ok, you're stuck on a desert island and you can only have one of your products with you..what is it, what scent and why?
I'd definitely bring soap! Specifically my Garden Mint soap. It's made with Peppermint & Tea Tree Essential oils. It's vry refreshing and feels cooling on the skin.
What can we expect from Two Rivers Soaps in the future?
I'm working on a line of liquid hand soap as well as coming up with fun,new bar soap scents.
What is your absolutely can't live without product that you don't make (doesn't have to be bath and body)?
I'm addicted to some locally made salsa- http://www.juanosullivans.com/and put it on nearly everything!
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Anyway..here's my take from the July Sampler Box:
SBS Teas: a Purple Rock candy Swizzle Stick and Earl Grey de la Creme tea. 20% off coupon
Dark Temptations: Citrus Crush Fluff Creme, Deadly Intoxication soap and Triple Chocolate Threat Soap.
Youthful Essentials: Wrinkle Serum and 20% off coupon
Pebble Creek: Soy Drops in Strawberry Tiramisu
Foster's Creations: Baby Magic Air Freshener and 15% off coupon
Sweet Beauty: Chocolate Lip Balm
Spatacular Body: Cucumber Melon soap and Body Butter in Pink Sugar
Jaycee Danielle: Aloe & Shea Body Lotion in Ocean Water and 15% off coupon
Soothing Creations: Rose Petal Soaps (3 petals) in Pear & Pink Grapefruit
Country Road Primitives: 3 soaps (Bits of Bars)
My Soap Divine: Peppermint Soap Sample
Possets: 3 perfume vial samples in Haute Love, Ultramarine Blue and Madame X
Arizona Sun: Lip Kist Lip Balm and SPF 15 sunscreen sample
Things That Make Scents: 2 Tarts in Flower Child and Berry Bundt Cake..plus a 25% off coupon
Feel free to visit any of the above Etaliers for more of their wares. I look forward to trying everything from the stores I love to the new stores I probably will love.
Tomorrow is Inside Indie day so look for my next interview with one of my and my husband's favorite soapmakers...Two Rivers Soaps.
Friday, July 6, 2007
Announcing the next Products of the Day contest: Best Original Perfume Blend
This is open to all Perfume Artists out there who are interested in entering their best fragrance for a chance to have the BEST blend on the net! We had such a good turn out for the Best of Sugar Scrubs that I plan on continuing these contests.
Here's all the rules, prizes and information you need to know....
1. This must be an original fragrance made by you and you alone.
2. It may be in any form...edp, mister/body mist, solid, roll-on etc.
3. You may use 1 and only 1 dupe in your blend. (A Best Dupe Fragrance contest will be done in the future.)
4. Due to the nature of body chemistry...I will have a Guest Judge assisting me with this particular contest. My Guest Judge is none other than Sharla from Rare Bird Finds! I want to be as fair as possible..what might not smell good on me may smell better on Sharla. All decisions are final.
5. You must provideand a description of your fragrance (x2) [and an ingredient list if applicable].
6. Judging criteria is as follows:
40% on the fragrance not on the sking (how it smells in it's container, in the air, etc..not on the skin)
40% on the fragrance on the skin
20% on how long the fragrance lasts on the skin
7. Due to things we both already know, please do not send any "popcorn" scents to us..they just do not work on either of us. I figured I would warn you ahead of time.
8. Entries are being accepted as of today. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested. I plan on emailing Perfumeries over the next couple of days inviting you to join in the fun. Entries must be postmarked by July 31st. No late entries will be accepted. I'm sorry but once received, no entries can be returned
9. You must send 2 separate bottles/vials/etc of your fragrance.(I will pay the shipping and send them all to Sharla).
10. Any questions/problems/comments must be sent to email@example.com. Judging will be done during July and August and winners should be announced at the end of August (depending on how many entries we get).
First Place: 12 months free banner advertising in the Shop Shop Shop section. Plus, the first week of the month for 12 months (you'll have to share with past contest winners for a bit) in the Shop of the Week Section. ($300 value)
Second Place: 6 months free banner advertising in the Shop Shpo Shop section. Plus, the second week of the month for 6 months (you'll have to share with past contest winners for a bit) in the Shop of the Week Section. ($150 value)
Third Place: 3 months of free banner advertising in the Shop Shop Shop section. Plus, the third week of the month for 3 months in the Shop of the Week Section. ($75 value)
Plus the bragging rights of having the Best Original Perfume Blend anywhere!
And, I will make every effort to get you as much additional press as possible on other sites.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
Welcome to my new weekly feature, Inside Indie. Every week I will bring you an interview with the owner(s) of Indie etailers..but only the ones whose products I have reviewed. My first interview is with Nicole of Bathed & Infused. Bathed & Infused is the very first bath and body etailer I ever bought from. I discovered them via samples in The Little Black Box sampler back in October of 2006 and have been loyal ever since.
Tell me a little bit about the minds behind the magic at Bathed & Infused.
Curtis is the full-time head of Bathed and Infused and he oversees all of our day-to-day operations as well as the production and technical stuff. He used to be an engineer, so this is really his area of expertise and he enjoys it. I take care of the creative side, which includes scents, products, and marketing. I still work a day job, but we're hoping to have me go full time soon. In the meantime, we have 4 awesome girls that work for us.
What made you decide to get into the bath & body business?
I am a total bath and body junkie, and about 3 years ago I used to buy from a place called the Underground Scent Plant. There was a lot of scandal when a lot of her orders didn't get sent out and she listed her scent recipes and remaining inventory on eBay. I was pretty mad because she owed me an order, so I told Curtis about her stuff on eBay. For some unknown reason he said, "Let's buy it!" And the rest is history. I think he might have thought that it would save us money on my bath and body habit, LOL!
What inspires you when you're creating a new scent?
I get inspiration in all different kinds of places. Sometimes I'll see a recipe for a amazing sounding dessert and instead of baking it, I'll mix it as a scent instead. I also get ideas out and about, like our neighbor's gardens or the mall. We also get great requests from our customers that I try to make as often as I can. I also get ideas randomly just from being around all 600-some of our fragrance oils. I just pull them out and see what I come up with. It's a lot of fun.
Ok, you're stuck on a desert island and you can only have one of your products..which one, which scent and why?
I'd say a Fluff in St. Lucia because the Fluff would keep my skin soft and soothe any sun burns from the hot sun and St. Lucia as a scent because it's so fresh and tropical.
What does the future hold for Bathed & Infused?
Now that our baby has arrived, we've got a lot of really great stuff planned for the Fall and the Holidays. We have some new products launching soon and a really fun contest that should debut this month, which we'll announce in our newsletter. More long-term, hopefully we'll continue to grow and spread our Bathed and Infused goodness all over the world
What's your absolutely favorite/gotta have product that you don't make? (does not have to be bath & body)
Curtis and I both love Wen Cleansing Conditioner--it's awesome for our super-curly hair!
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
I just wanted to wish all my readers a happy Fourth of July! The fireworks are still going off here in my neighborhood but I'm winding down.
Tomorrow I will start a new weekly feature here at Products of the Day...Inside Indie where I will feature an interview with the creators of the products I review. Tomorrow I will feature an interview with Nicole of Bathed & Infused.
Till then, Happy 4th everyone!
Posted by Jen at 9:21 PM
Monday, July 2, 2007
So awhile ago I had a wedding to goto as you all know and I had a birthday coming up so I thought I do something different and shop for cards online instead of at Target.
Sunday, July 1, 2007
I would like to welcome Manor Hall Soap Company to Products of the Day. As you may have read from my recent review, Manor Hall Soap Company is a wonderful woman owned, all natural bath and body store. Susan Mann, who runs Manor Hall, makes everything with all natural ingredients. From soap, to body wash and facial cleansers..I'm sure you are going to find a number of products you will really really love to use.
I have tried out several of her products and really enjoyed each one. Plus it's great to know that all the ingredients are natural, something you don't find in every online store!
So, please, click on Susan's link in my Shop Shop Shop section and enjoy the trip.