Friday, August 31, 2007

Inside Indie: Texas Charm Bath and Candle Co.

Sorry that this week's Inside Indie is late. I was at my son's school all day selling the PTO like crazy. I apologize to you my readers lol.

Anyway...this weeks Inside Indie interview is with Stacy Herrod who owns and operates Texas Charm Bath & Candle Co. I really love her body butter (especially in Petit Choux!) because it's thick, rich and is PARABEN FREE!!!!! Stacy has also entered one of her perfume blends in my Best Original Perfume contest (we're almost done) Here's my interview with Stacy....

Tell me a little about the mind behind Texas Charm Bath & Candle Co.

Ah ha! This is a scary trick question, LOL! The mind behind Texas Charm is obsessed - pleasantly obssessed with fragrance!! I am always thinking about candles, bath & body, and most importantly FRAGRANCE! I admit it: I am truly addicted to this! I have always loved perfumes, lotions, candles ... so this is the perfect solution for me - to create my own goodies! Since I was a wee little girl - give me a bottle of lotion to rub in - I was happy! It's stuck all these years later!

What made you decide to get into the bath, body and candle business?

Actually, my mom & husband suggested once upon a time that I should just make my own candles and save money. Ha! They didn't know what they started with that statement! I am hooked!

Do you remember the first product you made?

A candle - I remember being so nervous! I fretted for the longest (once I decided to try my hand with candles) over the wicks! How would it stick? How would it stand up in the jar? I was a total newbie! So, I tested FOREVER in baby food jars!

Ok, you're stuck on a desert island and you can only have one of your products with you..which one, which fragrance and why?

HANDS DOWN - My "Bye Bye Dry Lip Butter"! I am addicted to lip butter and MUST have a tube with me any and all times! It doesn't matter the flavor - it just feels SO good! This addiction is so bad, lol, that I pour up my lip butter for personal use in whopping 1 ounce lotion tube containes! Yea, it's crazy, but it's SO good!

What does the future hold for Texas Charm Bath & Candle Co?

Immediate future for Texas Charm is a website update! I have so many new fragrances that I need to list for you guys! Also, I will be adding in Bubble Bath Cupcakes, Bubble Bath Bars, and Bombs Away! Bath Bombs very soon! Very fun and very chic additions to Texas Charm!

What is your can't live without product that you don't make?

Handmade Soap! I cannot live without a good bar of handmade soap! My skin and facial complexion has improved so much over time since using only handmade soap! I am not picky - it can be all-vegetable based or it can include animal fats - I love both and use both! Ask my husband how many bars of soap are in our master bath? Ha! He will get this dazed look on his face and just shake his head that he won't answer that question!

So, please stop by Texas Charm Bath & Candle Co. There are some truly good products there. I really like what I've tried so far and look forward to trying more soon.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

The Desert that Doesn't Dry You Out

A couple of weeks ago I bought, on a whim, some Facial Cleaning Pads at my local Trader Joe's. These pads are made by a company called Desert Essence and claim to contain Natural Tea Tree Oil.

They cost me about $4.99 and that's not too bad. I usually by like Noxema or Clean N Clear pads and they cost almost as much.

What impressed me is that these pads really really clean my face. I usually use them in the morning when I get up and the stuff these pads peel off my face is amazing. Considering I wash my face every night before bed, you'd think my face would be still clean in the morning. I'm telling you these pads are taking dirt and oil off my face and it's dark looking stuff. Gross man.

Anyway, not only do they work very well but they do not dry my face out like the other "acne" type cleansing pads. Sometimes is best not to use the harsher stuff because they tend to dry your skin out and cause more breakouts (I know go figure right?).

Looking over the ingredients..there's Witch Hazel, organic grain alcohol (not too bad I guess), tea tree oil, organic chamomile oil, organic lavender oil, organic lemongrass oil, golden seal extract, neem oil and other, surprisingly, natural ingredients.

So, it cleans up your skin really well..check. It does not dry out your skin...check. It contains more natural ingredients then I have ever seen in a facial cleansing pad...check. Needless to say, I will more than likely continue to use these pads. I visited their website, and you can too by clicking on this post's title, and they have tons of other personal care products. I did a store search and they are in all kinds of different stores including the Vitamin Shoppe. So I plan on checking it out and seeing what other products I might find.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

I'm Live on Lemming Central Radio

Good Morning to my readers! Curious about what I sound like? Wanna hear me interviewed? Then check out the latest Podcast on Lemming Central! I was recently interviewed with two other consumers by Lemming Central's Soylady, Janine Predmore!!!!

Here's the link to the page, just click on "Show #9 August 27th" and download the mp3.

This podcast is a consumer orientated one. Janine asked us all kinds of questions about what we like in an etailer, what kind of products we like, what aggrevates us etc. So check it out! It's not only's got ME lol.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Welcome Texas Charm & Candle Co.

Today I would like to welcome Texas Charm Bath and Candle Company to Products of the Day. Texas Charm Bath & Candle is owned by Stacy Herrod and she makes some fine bath & body products as well as candles. Now, I haven't tried her candles but I have tried her paraben free body butter (see my review on it in the Petit Choux scent) and of course I've tried one of her perfumes as she is in my Best Original Perfume contest.

So go ahead and click on the Texas Charm logo in my Shop Shop Shop section, try her body me it's good!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Lookin Good? Look Even Better!

I am not a photo expert. I point and shoot my digital camera and upload the shots to Sure I can add borders and stuff on the Costco website, but I'm not that creative on my computer. I'm sure I could buy some program at Best Buy for like $100 or more but I don't even know if I would be able to do it right.

Well, a few days ago I found out about a great site called Retrospective Design. It's run by Josephine Swanson and she does some amazing things with photographs. She makes these wonderful Montages of your pictures and they are so unique and just amazing. So, I asked her if she could put something together for me (since I review only what I've used). She told me to email her some photos and she would create something for me. So, I sent her some pictures of my two boys and a few days later she got back to me with this:

I was thoroughly impressed. She really made my boys look even better than the original pictures. Even my husband was impressed and he's never impressed by anything I am involved in lol. I just love this "Momtage" (well it's a Montage for a Mom right?).
Josephine has alot of examples of her photo Montages on her site and there are many different styles too. She also makes photo Books , Invitations (you can even get a Montage card put together) and she does photo Restoration too. I highly recommend that you visit Retrospective Design and take a look at the different things she does. I think you'll be impressed.
I can't wait to get my "Momtage" in the mail. I still have to find a really nice frame for it.

The August Crafty Cube Came Today

Today the UPS man graced my door with my August Crafty Cube. This time I didn't hide it all away and I actually took a picture of my goodies first. So here they are and I'm listing them below the photo.

Frost Fish Cove Soaps:
20% off coupon, Cranberry Pomegranite Lip Balm and Ginger Pear Soap sample.

Zen Momma:
Body Lotion, a little Rubber Duck and a coupon for 1 year of 50% off retail pricing.

Karen's Personalized Gifts/Goldie's Glory:
A Crafty Cube key chain

Manor Hall Soap Company:
A full sized soap of Me An' Eucalyptus and a 15% off coupon.

Peeptoad Hollow:
A 2.3 oz Shea Butter Lotion in Rice Flower, Groovy Green Tea & Patchouli soap and Lavender Tango Mango Soap.

Sublime Dragonfly:
A flower shaped (big too) Peanut Butter and Jelly Soap (smells like the real thing, it's neat) and a coupon for Buy 5 soaps get 1 free.

Mystic Orient:
Rootbeer Lip Balm, Cotton Candy Whipped Bath Soap (4 oz) and a White Shower Puff.

Iowa Naturals:
Hair Pair: Head to Toe (Hair, Face and Body Wash) and Conditioning Creme Rinse

Foster's Creations
Plum Air Freshener (aqua ribbon shape) and a 10% off coupon.

I thought this was a really good box this month. Plenty of full sized samples to keep me happy. I just checked the site and it says there are 6 boxes if you hurry you can probably still get one.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Inside Indie: Foster's Creations

This weeks Inside Indie interview is with Shannon Foster of Foster's Creations. Shannon makes lovely bath and body products (her bath salts are fantastic) as well as air fresheners, jewelry and she also does CAKES. Here's my interview with Shannon.

Tell me about the mind behind Foster's Creations

I am incredibly blessed. I am able to work from home doing something I love. I am still amazed everytime I make a batch of foot cream and it goes from oils and water to cream. It is truly fascinating. I have a really great support system and I really enjoy hearing about how my customers feel about my products. I love them but I am a bit biased, so when I get a nice compliment from my customers I know I am doing the right thing. My business is my creative outlet.

What got you into the bath & body business?

My passion began shortly after Christmas 2001. I had wanted to make my family members something different for Christmas but I tried one of the kits from the craft store and needless to say my family got something different that year. I then began scouring the internet looking for any and all information on soapmaking.

Do you remember the first product you made?

My first product I made was a cream in an online class which resulted in the creation of my Fluffy Body Butter and my Peppermint Foot Cream.

Ok, you're stuck on a desert island and you can only have one of your products with you..which one, which fragrance and why?

My MSM-Menthol cream and gallons of it as I suffer terribly from arthritis and don't go anywhere without it.

You also make jewelry and cakes..can you tell me a little bit about that?

I began making cakes in 1998 when I saw a cake that looked like a basket of pansies on the cover of a Wilton yearbook. I took some classes in 2000 and began making wedding cakes the next year. I go into this nice little zen place while decorating. While I don't always get to see the brides reaction I do love to see the look on their face when they see their cake for the first time. It makes me feel proud of what I do to make their day special. I took a year or two off to get the bath and body business off the ground and they actually compliment each other well as my craft show season is in the fall and most of my weddings are spring and summer. I began making jewelry in October 2006 while recovering from my cancer surgery. I had 8 weeks where I could not lift and had to do something to pass the time. I really enjoy all of the things I do as they are very relaxing for me. I love creating things.

What is your can't live without product that you don't make?

My Crocs absolutely without a doubt. I have been without them for 2 weeks while waiting for a new rivet and let me tell you I almost broke down and bought another pair.

I highly recommend Foster's Creations. I've been using Shannon's products for almost a year now. Her MSM cream has done wonders for my chronic neck pain (diaper bag syndrome) and my headaches. I also love her air fresheners cause they last so long and you can get them in any of her fragrances. Her bath salts are fantastic too by the way. I'm sure you'll find something there that you'll love.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Don't Waste Your Money Alert: Bliss Sleeping Peel Liver Spot Lifter

Since my two pregancies and years on the Pill...I've gotten a few dark spots on my face, known as hyperpigmentation. I've tried quite a few rememdies...Skinceuticals Phyto + I used a few years ago and it worked a little bit but then it did nothing. I've tried Avon's Banishing Cream but that didn't work either. I just want these spots to go away. I have them on my forehead, cheekbones and between my nose & upper lip. They suck!!!

So, I started searching for new possibilities. I found this product by Bliss called Sleeping Peel Liver Spot Lifter. I had to really search to find some reviews on it but I finally did. All but one of the people who used it had great results. They saw improvement after one week of use. I thought, great this might be the one to work for me. So I shopped around and spent about $40 on this stuff..hoping for a miracle.

So, I started using it at the end of May. I experienced the tingling, sometimes slight burning feeling that the reviewers mentioned. And, then some slight peeling of the skin..which the reviewers also mentioned. Then, nothing. I've been using it for 3 months and lightening of the spots..they are still there. And, yes I used sunscreen daily as I used this product. I know that the sun can make hyperpigmentation worse. For 3 months I've applied this serum to my spots, and nothing changed.

Needless to say, I'm extremely disappointed in this Bliss product. It's not cheap ($52 on Sephora) and I had really hoped it would live up to the reviews. Sadly it did not.

Yesterday I paid a visit to CVS to see if they had anything I hadn't tried. I found a fade cream with 3% Hydroquinone, which is the highest I've seen on the shelf. It cost me only $8 and maybe it might be the one to give me some kind of results. We shall see.

If any of you have the same hyperpigmentation problems I have and you have a product that works..please send me an email and let me know. I'm willing to try it.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Don't Waste Your Money Alert: Bad Bad Scrub

As you all know I just got back from vacation. Well, right before I left I realized that I was out of sugar scrub (go figure). I had no time to order any from my fav etailers so I ran out to Target and figured they'd have some.

I picked up a sugar scrub called "Mediterranean: Mint melon and Sugar body scrub" by some company called Boots. It was $9.99 and I figured ok, well I need some so I bought it. What a huge huge waste of money. This is probably the absolute worst sugar scrub in existence. I truly mean it. I should have looked over all the ingredients first and threw it back on the shelf. Oh it's got sugar in it but the third ingredient is "petrolatum" and boy does this product feel just like gritty vasoline.

It does have a really pleasant fragrance..but that isn't the issue.
As soon as I scooped some of this out I knew it wasn't good. Like I said before, it's got the texture of gritty Vasoline. A really nasty feeling. And, as I tried to exfoliate with wouldn't go on the skin smoothly and sometimes not much at all. There always seemed to be some clump of it stuck to my hand and clumps falling onto the shower floor. Gross.
At least the melon and mint fragrance was naturally occuring. But, why do these companies need to put Petrolatum into their products. It's gross, it's from Petroleum and it isn't good for anyone.
Well, at least I placed an order for some Sugar Scrubs from one of my favorite etailers and it should be getting here soon. I will never ever let myself run out of etailer scrubs again and I will never ever buy a scrub from a retail shelf again. Hopefully, I can stop someone else from wasting their money on this awful product.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Welcome Smell Goods 1998

Yes, I am back from my week long vacation. I spent half with my brother and family up in New Jersey and half with my inlaws in Bethany Beach Delaware. I'm exhausted and sick of being in the car with the kids.

But, I wanted to welcome my newest advertiser who came aboard right before I left. Smell Goods 1998 (also known as Smell Good Spa). Smell Goods 1998 is a purveyor of fine fragrances and perfumes (and is also in my Best Original Perfume contest). They also carry lots of scrubs, cleansers and lotions. You can also purchase samples of their products so you can find something you like before committing to a full size product.

So, scroll down to my Shop Shop Shop section and click on their banner. You'll find quite a selection there!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Still On Vacation..Back Soon

Just a quick note so you all know I haven't forgotten about you. I'm in Delaware on the last couple of days of my vacation. I'll be home soon and I have a few things to review about..including a don't waste your money alert.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Inside Indie: Ophelia's Jewels

This week's Inside Indie interview is with Sabrina of Ophelia's Jewels. As you may have seen in recent posts, I love Sabrina's work..bought something as a gift for my mother in law and ended up buying myself a necklace as well. I love her designs and I hope you do too.

Tell me a little bit about the mind behind Ophelia's Jewels and how did you create the name?

I’ve always loved the arts, especially drawing and dancing. I started making jewelry about five years ago, and it’s been a really great creative outlet and de-stresser during college and graduate school. People had been suggesting that I sell my jewelry, so I finally started! Etsy has been the perfect forum for me because I can set my own prices without having it marked up to full retail price, but still make it worth my time. Jewelry prices are often enormously inflated, which is something that always bothered me. Everyone should be able to buy a pretty piece of handmade jewelry without being rich!As for the name...Ophelia has been my computer nickname for as long as I’ve been using computers. I was always intrigued by the character of Ophelia in me she invokes a sense of mystery, love, ambiguity, and especially passion. It just seemed natural to use it for my new business!

What inspires you when you create your jewelry?

Before I started selling jewelry, I used to just make things for my friends and family. I loved experimenting, seeing what worked and what didn’t, and at the same time trying to make something that fit the personality of the person I was making it for. Mostly now I just experiment and make everything from whimsical and feminine to (occasionally) bold and chunky. Sometimes a particular color, shape, or stone combination just “works”, and then I get really excited! It’s also fun to work with a that I’ve been doing on and off is the ocean and sea life. I’ll have an image of something “typical” that you might see within that theme, such as an ocean wave or a half-buried seashell, and try to make it stand out in a piece of jewelry. It’s the idea of taking something that is ordinary and everyday and making it beautiful.

What's your favorite piece that you've made and why?

Hmm, that’s a hard question...I don’t think I have one particular favorite. But I love making things with labradorite, which is a stone that looks kind of boring and gray until you turn it just the right way. Then there are sudden flashes of bright blue and green and gold. It adds so much depth to the stone and is just beautiful to look at and work with.

Tell me about the very first piece of jewelry you made.

The first piece I made was a very simple bracelet using basic wire-wrapping with Czech glass beads. I was visiting a friend in LA about five years ago, and she had to run an errand for a few hours. To keep me busy while she was away, she taught me how to do a wire-wrap that I could use to make the bracelet. I was done by the time she came back, and it’s been love ever since!

What does the future hold for Ophelia's Jewels?

I’m pretty new to selling jewelry, so right now I’m still feeling out the business. But it’s been a lot of fun and a great way (or excuse? :-) ) to buy new beads and play with them, and I’ve already had the opportunity to interact with a lot of great people. So I hope I can continue to do this for a long time -- either on Etsy or (if I have the time and enough business) on my own website.

What is your can't live without product?

Another hard question! I would say either my tool set (everyone is always amazed at my array of strange-looking jewelry tools) or Swarovski crystals, which are always gorgeous, versatile, and incredibly photogenic!

And, Sabrina is a student so help her pay for school ok. I'm sure if you take a look around her Etsy shop you will find something you will like. I found two me if I could steal back that necklace I bought for my MIL I would in a heartbeat lol. Go ahead and take a look at Opehlia's Jewels...You know you wanna!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Best Original Perfume Contest: Participating Perfumers

I would like to post a list of all the fabulous perfume artists who have agreed to be a part of my Best Original Perfume contest. This is going to be a really really tough competition and I would like to personally thank each and every one for being a part of my contest.

Here are the contestants*:

Bathed & Infused
Heaven & Earth Essentials
Opus Oils
Sharon Bolton Scents
DSH Perfumes
Callisto Bath & Body
Texas Charm Bath & Candle Co.
Smell Good Spa
Because I'm the Princess
Tickled Pink Sensations
Klean Bath & Body
Luna Bleu
Modern Atelier
Wylde Ivy
Lavender Moon Aromatics
Hollyrose Aromatherapy
Bathing in Luxury

* These are the etailers whose entries I have received as of today.

Vacation Time

Just an FYI to my readers....I will be on vacation from August 9th until August 15th. I will have some internet access so there may be a post or two in there..but if there isn't then you know why.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Dangerous Times, Dangerous Products

Recently, my 2 year old son had to have his blood tested for lead. That's right LEAD. You see, he has a love of trains, especially Thomas the Tank Engine trains. And, we had about 5 or 6 of the cars that are listed in the huge recall of Thomas trains. Apparently someone in China ran out of red & yellow lead free paint and thought it was ok to use red & yellow lead full paint. Millions of those trains have been sold with lead based paint..something China apparently does not have a law against like we do.

And, even more recently, Fisher Price recalled over 8 types of toys because their painter in China used lead based paint on them as well. Over 80 types of toys..sold since May...contain lead based paint. Believe me, I double and triple checked that list and thank goodness we didn't buy any of those toys!

This is more than insane, this is downright deadly and dangerous. Every week there seems to be another recall for something hazardous from China. First melamine in our pet food, then lead based paint on toys and then fish with harmful chemicals in them. When is this country going to learn to take the time and INSPECT the products that are being imported? What's it going to take..more illness, a death of a child due to lead poisoning? It's unacceptable that these things are going unnoticed for so long. It's unacceptable that nothing is being inspected as it comes into this country.

All I can say is be very careful what you buy. Make sure you check for recalls frequently. Here's a link to the Consumer Product Safety Commission so you can bookmark it and check it for any recalled products...

This lists everything from toys to appliances. You never know what you might have in your home that has been recalled due to some sort of deficiency. You very well might have something in your home that could be very dangerous.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Inside Indie: In Kristine's Shower

This week's Inside Indie interview is with Jenny Hoehn of In Kristine's Shower. I absolutely love her sugar scrubs (body frostings) as well as her Shea Butter Sorbet. There are some really yummy fragrances there too like Blackberry Blast, Kiss Me All Over and Pink Cupcakes.

Tell me a little about the mind behind In Kristine's Shower and how did the name come about?

It is actually "Kristine's Shower" and I named it after my cousin Kristine. She was the inspiration for my first batch of soap. She was to be married in 2002 and I wanted to give her a one of a kind gift. Being a vegan and a typical "tree hugger type", she would most definitely love the handmade gift over some gift from the store. I was researching details about handmade soap, but never got the nerve to make any - Kristine getting married was the shove I needed to dive into my first batch! After that I was hooked!

What made you decide to get into the bath and body business?

The b&b business actually found me I think. I really had no desire to make any of these products because when I started, it wasn't a saturated market like it is now. I really only had tried handmade soap once (it was sent to me for free) and once I tried it, I was really impressed how well it treated my skin. Having a background in Cosmetology, I was always into skin and nails (not so much hair lol), so when I found all this information on how to make soap, I was mesmerized!

Do you remember the first product you made?

Yep - it was 100% olive oil soap

Ok, you're stuck on a desert island and you can only have one of your products with you..which one, which fragrance and why?

Gotta be my soap - I would say Citrus Safari because that is a good scent (top seller for 5+ years!) The reason I would bring soap is that every good skin care regimen starts with a good foundation!

What does the future hold for Kristine's Shower?

You know, when I first started I was happy selling here and there - then I got some exposure that rocketed me way up beyond where I thought I would be. I am starting to get used to the big orders, but honestly I am happy where I am now. I have my sisters working for me and I get to have my son by my side at all times. Of course I would welcome new and bigger business, but it isn't something I am striving for.

What is your can't live without product?

My Body Frosting! I have to have to have to use it every time I shave so I don't have to shave every day!!

Take a look around In Kristine's Shower and see what you like. I recommend the Body Jenny calls me a "Frosting Addict."