Saturday, December 29, 2012

Prezzie Love

What did you get for Christmas, little boy or girl? I think my Christmas went pretty well!

I got a nice collection of single tastings of wine.  I think it's called a fruity white wine collection.  This is in the fridge right now, awaiting my sampling.

YD stocked us up on candles, but she threw in a Mickey Mouse hat for me.

Within this little group is the great gift OD got me (season one of "The Walking Dead"), a Day of the Dead bride and groom from my youngest sister (the small ones up front), and then what Mr. Calm picked out from my Pinterest boards!  He's a great husband, isn't he? ;)  The framed art in the back, and the tall Day of the Dead bride and groom in the back.  I was floored that he actually went to my Pinterest page, let alone bought things from it!

Last, these are the most special gifts I got this Christmas.  For years, I had Russian nesting dolls that were given to me by my mom's neighbor before she passed away from cancer.   During our separation, because I didn't write them down on an extensive list, these were one of the things that Mr. Calm and YD sold in a yard sale instead of packing up, and they were one of the things I was upset about losing.  You think that when you get back a marriage, material things don't matter... but many material things have memories associated with them, and as much as you don't like to admit it, they do matter.  Mr. Calm has taken care to replace quite a few things we/I lost during our separation, but my dolls were something I always wished I'd never lost.

Mr. Calm asked me what they looked like a few months ago.  Mine had blonde hair, but these are very close to the matryoshkas I had before.  I'd forgotten he'd asked, so when I opened these on Christmas morning, I dissolved into tears.

Aren't they beautiful?

Mr. Calm and I got back together Christmas Day, 2010, so it's an anniversary for us; sort of a second anniversary, if you will.  So, I hope your Christmas Day was as special as mine was and is. :)

Friday, December 28, 2012

December Challenge: Can You Make it Better?

As part of the Blogging Business Artisans Etsy Team, we're all required to take part in monthly challenges. This month, the question(s) posed were:

"The December Challenge is all about looking back over the year and reviewing your Etsy Shop. Can you thing of one thing to do that will help improve your shop? There's a whole list of things available to do: re-shooting photographs or coupons, having a sale, removing/adding products, changing sections/shipping requirements, or merging two shops. Write a post and share with your teammates what might help you! And if you see results, tell us!"

I looked over my shop and knew there was something lacking: namely, my "Ooo, I Smell Good!" perfume stick labels.  While clear labels look fantastic on the lip scrub and balm tubes, which are clear and can show the gorgeous colors of those products, a clear label with black print on a white tube just wasn't... popping.  So, I ordered white labels and redesigned them all with fun and colorful designs.  When my shop reopens on December 30th, the "Perfume Sticks" section will look completely new and fresh with the labels.  Here are a couple of previews:

Another change I'm making is the cost of the lip scrubs.  Don't know how much this will improve my Etsy shop, but it will improve my business.  Out of all my products, believe it or not, these lip scrubs are the hardest to make, and the most time-consuming.  It is an emulsified scrub, much firmer than my body sugar scrub.  While I make a profit on the actual costs of ingredients, tubes, labels, and ink, I was not taking into account the labor-- believe it or not, my arm gets a workout!  And with the success of the lip scrubs, I have to raise my prices slightly.

So, when Lalalita Body Co reopens, the cost of a tube of lip scrub will be $3.50, up from $3.  I still think this is an extremely fair price for a very good product that customers love, and I have to be comfortable with the price I'm setting for the amount of work I actually do.

What have you done to improve your Etsy shop?

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Secret Santa!

Twas the night of Christmas, and all through the house, our bellies were full, and the cat played with a catnip mouse.

I crept to the kitchen, sight unseen, and opened a package to find presents wrapped in green.

A card I opened first, handmade with trees, and even the wax stamp left me quite pleased.

A pretty notepad awaited me next; with "Joy to You" as its text.

If I'm given a snowman, the gift giver never misses, and inside were a little bundle of tasty Hershey's Kisses!

Last, a hand-knitted pair of fingerless gloves, which this woman can tell you she positively loves!

These Secret Santa gifts were sent to me by Judy of JNOriginals at Etsy.  I love them all- thank you so much! :)  The Secret Santa swap was through the Blogging Business Artisans Team, which I'm proudly a member of.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Sunday, December 23, 2012


One of my favorite apps for my iPhone camera is the Hipstamatic app. They recently released a Tintype lens with two films that mimic the daguerrotype (I know I mangled that spelling) and cyanotype films.  I'm totally loving these films and lens, although the best results can be found the closer you are to your subject.  Here's some pictures I took with the colorized "C-type" film:

Mr. Calm, and a sleeping Venus in the background...

Moi with my "Yeah, whatever" look, heh...

And our Christmas tree.  I love the way the lights look beyond the focal point of the lens.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Twenty Years Ago...

My girls were so cute! OD was two, and YD was around seven months in this picture.

I think if I tried to make them wear matchy outfits today, they'd think something had seriously gone wrong with my brain.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Soup is Good

Thought I'd share last night's dinner with you: Sweet Potato Soup with Buttered Cashews.

Good stuff!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Scenes from a Coffee Meet

Mid-December, you go for coffee with a close, dear friend, and you get a mocha latte...

And your friend gives you a great cookbook full of easy recipes, hand-drawn illustrations, and fantastic, homey photographs...

...And in addition to a Snorkin' Labbit and another toy, you give her a journal that appeals to both your sarcastic, snarky natures. :)

Merry Christmas!  Hope you have a friend to enjoy a day out of the season with. :)

Friday, December 14, 2012

Yum Yum Cupcake!

I have a confession: I have a new addiction. It's sitting here and searching, searching for new flavors to create with. I have a growing collection of flavor oils on a shelf here in my workroom, and it just doesn't. seem. big. enough.

I order new lip tubes, or shea butter, or emulsifying wax, and I can't help but add a flavor oil or two to my shopping cart. "Oh, just one or two more," I think. When UPS delivers my order, I'm like a kid on Christmas, opening my box and opening the bottle(s), seeing if the scent is as good as I'd hoped it would be (and they usually are).

Hell, it could be worse.

The flavor oils I've ordered lately have been spectacular, some of my favorite.  Some of these are already in my shop, like "Yum Yum Cupcake" lip scrub:

"Fruit Punch" hasn't been released yet, but it's great: smells just like Hawaiian Punch:

"Strawberry Cheesecake" is already out in a lip scrub, but the matching lip balm will be out soon:

I'm also rolling out Bananarama, and Coconut Milk & Peaches.

After these debut at Lalalita Body Co, I'll be taking the time to mix some scents and come up with some new flavors.  Ha, it'll be like shopping at my own worktable.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Almost Twenty Years Ago...

It's fun when you go home and look through your mom's photo albums. Almost twenty years ago, we were living in Cambridge, MA, in a third-floor walk-up. My mom came to visit as OD turned three, and YD was about to turn one, and she took a bunch of pictures out front.

I'd never seen this one before. LOVE Mr. Calm's goatee, and the look on YD's face. ;)

Yeah, we were a cute family!

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Charlie Brown

For years, I've wanted to get a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. For me, it's more than just the cartoon. When I was growing up in Florida, my mom kept our Christmas tree all year long, and my sisters and I always compared it to Charlie Brown's Christmas tree. Of course it was taller, but it was a pretty spindly thing.

But just like Charlie's tree, when it was decorated, it was transformed from a sort of sad little guy into a pretty thing that sparkled and was full of memories (/sappiness ;)).

I've seen these at various outlets, but I got mine at Aldi's for $7.99. Now when I'm sitting on the couch, I can just look to the left and remember a piece of my childhood.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Thank You!

Lalalita Body Co just passed 100 sales! Thank you SO MUCH to all my customers who gave me a chance, especially since you can't smell or feel anything through your computer screen. I had one sale the first seven weeks, and admittedly, I was down, even though I logically knew that it takes a while to catch on.  That it finally did and keeps on a'rollin' has made me very grateful, thankful, and busy, heh.

Thanks for allowing me to keep smelling good stuff and making new things. :)

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Avalanche of Snowmen

As some of you may already know, I loooove snowmen at Christmas. They're so darn cute (most of the time).  I've been building on a snowman collection for years... not too many, since I get only one or two a year, but I've got a good little crop going.

Here are some of my favorites from this year:

This gal I found at Home Goods on clearance after Christmas last year.  She has a tutu and really long legs.  Why can't you see them?  Well, because she's in front of the mirror above our mantle, and I didn't want to be in the picture this time. ;)

I got this great little guy at Cracker Barrel years ago.  He is positively adorable.  He wears skis and is holding ski poles.

A glimpse into the Snowman Kingdom (Population: 39) on top of our entertainment center.  The guys behind them?  A piece of art I bought years ago.  Hee.

Most years I get year ornaments.  This is one of my favorites.

After ten years, our first inflatable snowman finally bit the dust this year, so this guy caught my eye.  Isn't he a cutie?  And I apologize for the light streak through the picture: apparently I had my camera app on "Shake", and a random film and lens came up.

Thanks for visiting this particular avalanche of snowmen.  Do you have any Christmas collections?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Almost Wordless Wednesday: So Friggin' Cute!

The snowmen in my half-bath are so friggin' cute! I don't know if I should be this enamored of a toilet lid cover...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

The Hairnet

Anyone a teenager of the 80s?  Def Leppard, "Thriller", tapered jeans, parachute pants, Rubik's Cube, Trivial Pursuit... the fun-fun list goes on and on.  One of the most ungodliest fashion disasters of the decade?  Big hair.  I mean, *seriously* big hair.  Most girls like me who went to high school in the mid-eighties remembers standing at the mirror with a curling iron in one hand and a huge bottle of Aqua Net in the other, laboriously reaching for the sky, trying to get each tendril of hair as stiff as... well, you know.

I was on the yearbook staff in high school, and my senior year, we went to the mall to take staff pictures.  My friend and I stood out in high December winds for fifteen minutes waiting for my dad to pick us up and drive us over.  I was worried that my hair would be a mess.  But, no-- thanks to Aqua Net, the day was saved!  I used so many chemicals in my hair that not a strand was out of place.  And I looked *great*.

One of my favorite sites to laugh at is Awkward Family Photos.  I saw this picture this morning and was transported back to the Glorious Eighties.  I do have to say... thank God my hair was never THIS high.

The Hairnet

Thursday, November 15, 2012

New at Lalalita!

Allow me to introduce four new flavors of "Lick My Lips" lip scrubs:

Choc•O•Rama-- fudgy, chocolate chunks, and chocolate cake batter

Grand Marnier Slush-- cognac and apricot

Lemon•Lime Soda-- fizzy lemon-lime soda, like Sprite or 7Up

Peanut Butter-- as delicious as it sounds

All are available in the "Lip Scrubs" section at Lalalita Body Co (Peanut Butter will be available at noon today!). 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Holiday Warning!

With the holidays coming up, especially one associated with a season of lights, I thought I'd pass on the following warning. Cat lovers, beware!

In 1993, we lived in a third-floor walk-up in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We had a long bar dividing the living room from the kitchen, and for Christmas, I set tapers along the bar. One afternoon our landlord was up there for some reason. Suddenly, he interrupted us to exclaim, "Your cat's on fire!" We had a long-haired cat named Figaro who liked to lounge on the bar. Apparently, in the midst of our conversation, she'd walked next to a candle... and her tail turned into a taper of its own.

She wasn't hurt; it was only the tip that was singed. But apparently someone in the house didn't learn her lesson... (ahem).

Five years later, in Salem, we also had a very fluffy, very mean cat named Cleo. She was half-feral... well, she was really mean (except to her momma; as Russell Crowe said in '3:10 to Yuma', "Even bad men love their mommas."). I had my Day of the Dead altar up, complete with marigolds, sugar skulls, pictures, and... candles. Tapers, to be exact.

I walked into the kitchen and smelled something horrid. Burnt and charred, and reminiscent of the time I'd burnt my own hair. And there sat Cleo, with a tail that looked like part of a melted black tire. She didn't seem to be aware of what was going on, but I called the local cat vet in a semi-panic.

She asked, suspiciously, "How did the cat burn its tail?" I answered, "I didn't INTENTIONALLY set my cat on fire! She walked next to a candle!" Trying to wipe the burnt hair off a mean cat's tail is like trying to tame a sack of snakes. I'm pretty sure we left some of it to fall off itself.

OD and Figaro, circa 1996.  Cats just looooove children...

The lesson is: don't leave tapers anywhere this holiday season for your cats (or any animals) to walk next to and become feline torches.  Hell, don't leave candles *anywhere* where they like to lounge.  I don't leave candles anywhere anymore where my cats can catch on fire.  While it may sound slightly comical, and my cats weren't harmed (although if they had egos, they would have been humiliated), no one wants to take a chance on their fur-babies actually getting hurt.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Perfume Sticks!

Perfume sticks are now appearing at Lalalita Body Co!

What are perfume sticks?  They're compact (lip balm-sized containers), and made from a combination of natural waxes and oils.  As with everything else at Lalalita, they're paraben- and phthalate-free, with skin-safe flavor oils, and no ingredients have been tested on animals.  Which is good, because Pippi doesn't like to wear perfume. ;)

Below are a couple of "Ooo, I Smell Good!" perfume sticks already at Lalalita: "I Love You", which is a Love Spell-type fragrance, and "Suntan Oil", which smells so much like a leading-brand suntan oil.

Other scents that will be coming in the next few weeks include Little Black Dress, He's So Sexy, Glazed Donut, Basket of Berries (pearberry-type), Margarita, Monkey Farts, Peanut Butter & Bananas, Coconut Cream Easter Egg, and so many more!  Please stop by the shop daily to see what new fragrance is in store. :)

Monday, October 29, 2012


I keep forgetting to mention that YD's boyfriend was in his very first group art show several weeks ago. We (and his mom and stepdad) went downtown to support him. The group that put on the show has an annual fundraiser, and it's called "Glow". Every piece entered has to glow under a black light in some way or another. It's a pretty cool show. And I should add, YD's situation is sort of hilariously like "out of the frying pan and into the fire". She grows up with a mom who's an artist... and then falls in love with an artist. Har har har! Well, at least he's calmer than me. There's a reason we say that I'm the Drama Mama to Mr. Calm. ;)

Here's T. in his volunteer position at the front doors, handing out flyers to passersby:

And here's his art.  I forget the title... and I'm the one who suggested it to him! :/  But it's very good.  His style is like mine, with the decoupaging drawings onto canvasses, but it's also 3D.

And here I am.  I'd had NO idea my dress would look like this under a black light.  Pretty cool, huh?

T. didn't sell his piece-- no one did that night (so it's pretty good that there was a cover charge to get in, or NO fundraising would have happened).  I told him these shows were like that, and to not get discouraged if he didn't sell.  He was so nervous before the show that he couldn't even eat dinner at the restaurant we went to beforehand.  I think with encouragement, and more shows, it'll get a lot easier for him as time goes by. :)