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.