Indie Finds

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Having an Indie shopping blog makes it hard to resist the wonderful Indie shops out there on the web. It's a good thing I am back to work :)

I'm going to be off-line most of today, so I wanted to quickly drop in and share some of what I'm eagerly anticipating.

Coming this week in Chic & Green:

*Spotlight on bamboo clothing
*22 Day Countdown to Earth Day
*DIY project with beeswax
*and lots more

I am trading some KZM skin care for this choker from Strands on 1000 Markets.

A bag similar to this is being made for me by Abigail Leigh Handbags

Blue & green earrings from Beppies

Chunky necklace, also from Beppies on Etsy

Fire & Ice earrings from Dornick Designs on 1000 Markets

Earrings from KP Glass Jewelry's 1000 Markets shop

Heart crayons for the boys from MonsterBug Blankets on 1000 Markets

Easter egg crayons from the Easter Bunny, also from MonsterBug Blankets 

Carrot Top Shampoo (no palm oil!) from Aquarian Bath on 1000 Markets

A Day at the Market: For the Love of Lavender

Monday, March 30, 2009

On my bedside table: I'm reading this fantastic book about a woman who leaves her great city lifestyle as a writer to move to rural Texas with the love of her life. She eventually becomes surrounded by beautiful lavender.  It inspired my lavender collection for today. 

Lavender Eye Pillow with peppermint from Besem Natural Scents,  $18

On Slender Threads has created the most lovely piece with Cape Amethyst, $144

Pure Lavender Honey from Wild Blossom, $5.49

Butterfly cottage--how fresh for spring! From Andrew's Reclaimed, $22

Lavender River Sterling Silver Bracelet from Four Tails Lampwork, $35

Honey & Lavender Shortbread Cookies from Whimsy and Spice, $8

Lavender Vanilla Body Butter from Safiya, $20

Lavender Cuticle Balm from urbbody, $4

Lavender Bee Butter Bar from Millcreek Valley, $7.95

Lavender sachet from Artful Beginnings, $6

The Next Chapter: Week 12

Sunday, March 29, 2009

"If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable."


It's hard to believe that The Next Chapter blogging book club hosted by Jamie Ridler has come to a close for this book.

It's been 12 weeks, each week focusing on a different secret from the book The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women by Gail McMeekin.

In these 12 weeks, I have learned a great deal about myself and have been able to express my feelings on all aspects of my own creativity. Chapter 12 is no different.

In this chapter, we have been discussing how to set our creative goals. Prior to this book club experience, I thought I had my goals all ironed out. I was wrong.


Ever since I started KZM Facial Care Boutique, my goal was to keep up a rapid rate of growth, eventually get noticed by beauty editors at magazines, open up a shop someday, begin selling my items wholesale to several large boutiques, keep upgrading packaging as business grew, open a brick and mortar boutique, and eventually wind up on QVC with one of my skin care sets as a Today's Special Value.

Lofty goals--all of which I truly felt (feel) that with continued hard work would eventually be met.

The thing is I didn't realize what I wanted for myself in the long term, at least not in my heart.

The traditional route in this business it to keep growing bigger. Start a boutique. Open more of them. Hire a large staff. Have your products in specialty shops. Have constant meetings pitching your line to buyers in department stores. Attend trade shows. Spend your life, basically, trying to be the next big thing.

This book club has been a wonderful thing for me. About halfway into this exercise is when I was forced to close up shop for a few weeks to get my health issues under control. Between the book and the change of place, I feel as though I was given this huge wake up call in my life.


I thought I had all the answers. This is my life, these have continued to be my goals, or so I thought. I think that back in the beginning I set my goals (they're even on paper) based on what should be my goal as a small business. 

I have said it before and I will say it again--I am incredibly lucky. I was spotted by an associate editor from a Martha Stewart magazine last May while she was browsing Etsy for goat's milk skin care products. Her love of my facial cream and testing out my other items was truly a big break for my business because once the mention was done in October, my business has grown so quickly that I can take the bull my the horns and plan these's what I want, right?

Wrong! A big fat wrong! Once upon a time I swore that I would never stop writing hand written thank you notes in each customer's order. I'd personally answer every email within a couple hours (unless I was asleep), and I'd always maintain the type of relationship with each customer so that each and every beautiful lady (and occasional man) would always feel how much I truly care about her skin and her order.

The Christmas ordering season is when I first noticed that I was just adding a beautiful pre-printed paisley card saying "Thank you from Karley." I know that this still is more personal than if you were to order from a major company online. The Estee Lauder site, for example, doesn't hand write a note and sign it "The Lauder Family." I almost felt a disconnection--I was frantically packing so many orders at all hours of the night and at 5am before anyone was awake in the house that it was becoming mechanical and I wasn't able to give it my all in terms of writing notes by hand and making sure that each customer knew I, alone, was concerned about her order and thanking her with my own personal note.

Much like my time off the past few weeks forced me to re-evaluate my time management to handle my order volume efficiently, this book has forced me to re-evaluate my own goals.

It is OK to change them. As people grow and learn and live, goals can be changed.

One thing that has never changed is that I want to be a stay at home mom to my children. How on earth would I be able to manage that if I were traveling, pitching my products all over the place, owning a shop...I would be strapped to that boutique from early morning until late at night every single day. That might be the right thing to do, perhaps is the expected thing to do, with a business, but I want to be able to walk my Nick to kindergarten, take Benjamin for our morning "date" at 9:30 Monday through Friday, play fetch with the dog on any given afternoon. My goal for my own life is that my boys are happy and healthy children who know their mom loves them and is always there for them.

I am so fortunate I've been able to stay home with them from the get go.

I also am fortunate that I have a successful, consistently growing business AND can answer customer's emails while watching the boys enjoy their peanut butter and Nutella on 9 grain bread with a side of sliced bananas for lunch. This is what I want. I want them to know that, yes, Mommy has a business that keeps her busy sometimes, but that she will always be there and that they are always first.

I want to be able to chat with my customers, many of whom I have come to know on a more personal level--to be able to talk with them as though I am standing right next to them in the level of service I always want to provide. I want to get back to writing handwritten notes to every single woman and man ordering from me. 

My business goal is simple: to provide outstanding products at an affordable price, to make my customers feel pampered and appreciated. If I can do that each day, I will be meeting my goals. It's not about getting so caught up in the next big leap that you forget your core goal. It's about a personal experience for me. I think that is why I am so happy already on 1000 Markets.  The other shop owners are so neighborly--it is almost like me talking over the fence with my friend next door. I have a shop I can manage with ease and I just feel at home.

My dad once told me how after all the places he had been to for his newspaper career, from NY to USA Today in Washington to Missouri, to California, Pennsylvania, Lousiana, Georgia, then on a sabatical to teach in Wisconsin, to Fargo--he once told me Fargo was home to him professionally after all of the places he had been. He loved Fargo-not for the lovely, balmy winters (that's why he went to Naples)--but because of the sense of community he felt, the sense of getting to know his colleagues and the reporters personally. 

I think you get to a point in your life when you just know if your goal is actually your true goal that you want to accomplish, or if your goal is a pseudogoal--a goal you set for yourself because you think it is expected. There is a difference. 

You can accomplish many things in life. I have managed to accomplish a few of mine already, and for that I am proud. What I am most content with, however, is realizing that my goals on paper didn't necessarily reflect the ones in my heart. I've crossed a few things of my's OK! What matters most is that you'll feel content and complete when those goals are reached.

On a light note, I had to eliminate that goal of being on QVC someday. I can't see them having me on there with my $12 facial cream--although with 4 easy payments, it'd only be $3 plus tax and shipping! My $12 cream would probably be marked up to $50 like everything else and then my original business mission would be lost.

In closing, I want to take a minute to thank Jamie Ridler for starting this group. I've met some really wonderful, thoughtful, and intelligent women through these 12 weeks. More than that, though, is that I learned a great deal about myself. Thank you!

Lucky Magazine Offer

Friday, March 27, 2009

The folks over at Lucky asked me to share this great deal with you. I normally don't post things like this because they're typically irrelevant to my readership. However, I've discussed Almay Pure Blends with you and feel it's a great deal for my readers and will help the planet at the same time!

You just go  here and Lucky will have a tree planted!

Bargain Alert: Queen Helene Naturals

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Photo from Queen Helene website

A lovely reader asked me a question about a new facial mask from Queen Helene and it reminded me to post my review for some of their new body care products.

Perhaps Queen Helene's most well known product is the cult favorite Mint Julep Mask. I used it in college when I had dry skin. It seemed to work (by making it ultra dry) for the short term. I didn't know about the specific ingredients at the time (avoid them!), but I liked that i could buy it at the East Avenue Wegmans and that it was only 3 bucks.

Most of the Queen Helene skin care should be avoided. Between the parabens and Triethanolamine and the Diazolidinyl Urea, the products are just too full of questionable ingredients to recommend. Even their most gentle honey scrub has SLS has its number two ingredient.

Their whopping bottles of body lotion can be found for under $2 in most stores, but their most popular body lotion has this list of ingredients:

Water, Mineral Oil, Stearic Acid, Glyceryl Stearate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Propylene Glycol, Theobroma Cacao (Coco) Seed Butter, Stearyl Alcohol, Fragrance, Lanolin, Methylparaben, Disodium EDTA, Diazolidinyl Urea, FD&C Yellow 6, FD&C Red 40, D&C Red 33

Now that I've said what I needed to about the mainstay facial masks and subpar body care, Queen Helene has really impressed me recently. They just launched a line of Organic Fair Trade Certified body products.

I recently made a purchase for some supplements at Lucky Vitamin and came across the new range of Queen Helene items. They offer great discounts of products, so I ordered the following items:

Ingredients: Aqua (Purified Water), Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter+, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Vegetable Glycerin, Stearic Acid, Cetyl Alcohol, Potassium Cetyl Phosphate, Benzyl Alcohol, Sodium PCA, Methyl Glucose Sesquistearate, Natural Tocopheryl Acetate (Vit. E), Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil, Carbomer, Potassium Hydroxide, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance Oil Blend *Certified Organic +Organic and Fair Trade Certified

Ingredients: Aqua (Purified Water), Sodium Myreth Sulfate, Cocamidopropyl Hydroxysultaine, Vegetable Glycerin, Cocamide MEA, Acrylates Copolymer, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter, Natural Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Avena Sativa (Oat), Kernel Oil, Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice, Panthenol (Vit. B5), Sodium PCA, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Glycol Stearate, Polyqyaternium-7, Potassium Hydroxide, Glycereth-2 Cocoate, Benzoic Acid, Phenoxyethanol, Sodium Benzoate, Fragrance Oil Blend

Ingredients: Aqua (Purified Water), Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Gel*, Vegetable Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Glyceryl Stearate SE, Theobroma Cacao (Cocoa) Seed Butter!, Vegetable Glycerin, Dimethicone, Glycereth-2 Cocoate, Ethylhexyl Palmitate, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil*, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetyl Alcohol, Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis (Sweet Almond) Oil, Avena Sativa (Oat) Kernel Oil, Natural Tocopheryl Acetate (Vit. E), Persea Gratissima (Avacado) Oil, Rosa Canina (Rose Hips) Fruit Extract, Ascophyllum Nodosum (Brown Algae) Extract, Allantoin, Panthenol (Vit. B5), Hydroxyethylcellulose, Carbomer, Phenoxyethanol, Potassium Hydroxide, Sodium Benzoate, Potassium Sorbate, Benzoic Acid, Fragrance Oil Blend. Certified Organic Organic and Fair Trade Certified

Before shipping, the total of the 3 items was $17.76

My impressions of each:

It is always a wonderful experience when you can find a high-end caliber body product without paying a fortune. To find large sizes such as these and get fantastic quality, however, is just the best part!

I don't make any body creams and lotions anymore. In fact, 99% of the time, I prefer to use coconut oil or shea butter on my skin. It's pure and gentle and I can use it on the boys as well. I use coconut oil every single day in this house for something--whether it be in my hair, my feet, even on the kiddos after their baths. I used up everything I had a couple of weeks ago and when I saw the Queen Helene at these prices (12 ounces for under $6!), I couldn't resist.

The Body Lotion is excellent. It smells like and like a very soft cocoa butter--not too chocolatey but oh so nice--and applied like a dream. All too often, body lotions don't sink in well, but this is lightweight, glides right on and absorbs quickly. It is surely going to be a staple for me this spring and summer.

The Body Wash is another decent product. I find it to be very nice--not stellar, as it contains a sulfate called Sodium Myreth Sulfate. On the sulfate scale, it is not nearly as harsh as Sodium Laureth or Lauryl Sulfate and the same feel on the skin as Sodium Coco Sulfate. In the end they are all sulfates, but the form used in this rates a 1 (GOOD!) on the hazard scale at the Cosmetics Datebase. 

The Body Wash isn't as soft and gentle on my skin as a good bar of cold processed soap, but it is probably the best body wash I have used in a very long time. The scent is a bit more floral than I would have expected, but it dissepates quickly and does its job as a gentle cleanser. I still prefer the ingredients in the Dr. Bronner's Fair Trade Shikaki All in One, but for people desiring a lather, this one from Queen Helene will hit the spot.

My favorite item by far was the Cocoa Butter Body Cream. It feels quite luxurious--something I wouldn't expect from Queen Helene--and was rich, very nourishing and comforting in texture and scent. It does contain a bit of dimethicone, but I am not as restrictive when it comes to a tiny bit of silicones. I don't like how they feel in my hair, nor would I want to apply a face primer to clog my pores daily with it, but in a cream for my knees, feet and elbows, it is just fine. People with dry skin will especially adore thuis formula.

The Bottom Line

Queen Helene's new line of Fair Trade and Organic products is most impressive. All three items I plan to buy again after the large containers run out. The most impressive item in the line, by far, was the Body Cream. The other 2 I tried also left be with a positive impression. I look forward to seeing what else QH may develop in the future following the same philosophy.

A Day at the Market: MonsterBug Blankets

So chic for spring is this lovely diaper & wipe holder, $12

Helicopters & jets burp cloth, $9

Japanese doll Cozy Blanket, $30

Poppy onesie, $10

100% cotton reversible turtle bib, $9

Set of 3 Easter egg crayons, $4

This morning's stop is a lovely boutique full of handmade, high quality baby items called MonsterBug Blankets.  Here you will find everything you need to put together a great basket of gifts for a baby shower or just buy something for yourself because you're a chic mama looking for great baby items.

If you're looking for wipe holders, great bibs, burp cloths, blankets and more, this is a must stop shop over at 1000 Markets. I know that as a mom to boys, it can be hard finding stylish items that were great for boys, but not your traditional mass-produced licensed character items. There are many patterns from which to choose here if you have a baby boy, from sock monkeys to airplanes. 

The selection of baby girl items is equally as impressive and the wares are truly gift worthy.

I have a friend next door who is pregnant, as well as two friends in my close knit group of online moms. All will be needing gifts soon, and I am planning to make MonsterBug Blankets a definite stop. I am thinking of using white wicker baskets and lining them with fabric and then adding a wipe and diaper holder, burp cloth, and onesie to each one--and then some baby skin care products that I'll make to add.

Check out MonsterBug Blankets today and be sure to tell the lovely owner that Chic & Green sent you.

French Poodles

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I have a friend who emailed not long ago asking me if I knew where she could find one of a kind items to fulfill her French Poodle/pink and black shopping wants...I have a loveable German Shepherd from the Humane Society at Lollypop Farm, but Cannon said he didn't mind me doing a pink poodle feature since he thinks the little dogs are "Ooh, La La."

Topazos Designs calls this piece the Poodle Skirt Necklace, $40

The Pink Poodle Cappuccino Set from Classic Rock Cupcakes, $129

Chic poodle baby burp cloth duo from Ingrid B. Designs, $15

Handpainted letted for a little girl's room from Joy Frameworks, $14

Poodle clutch makeup bag from Box of Fireworks, $20

Vintage style poodle apron from Hobo Bethy, $11

Custom Paris Chic crib set from Melissa's Boutique, $230

Vintage feel pin cushion from Alyson2, $45

8 X 10 print from My Pink Turtle Studio, $15

Poodle tags from Fabulous Finds, $4

Vintage enamelware tissue box with a poodle from Home Decor Crafts, $15

A Day at the Market: Strands

Ruffle choker, $25

Blue neck piece, $18

Black ruffle scarflet, $25

Rose petal scarf, $30

Today's trip to the market (1000 Markets, that is) involves a stop at Strands.

Here you'll find lovely pieces to accessorize your classic wardrobe staples: the boatneck top, dark jeans, maybe a simple top and pencil skirt. There is no better way to stretch a wardrobe than by changing up your accessories.

Statement pieces which reflect your personal style are necessary for a complete wardrobe. Whether it be that chunky necklace (my signature accessory), pair of fantastic earrings, or unique bag, we all can wear pieces that reflect our personalities.

Jacqueline Myers-Cho is the woman behind this business, and she has such a unique style and sense of style. What she has done with her accessories collection is create wearable, one of a kind statement pieces for all women of all ages.

What is particularly impressive about Jacqueline, though, is that she is also a published author. Her book, Strands, is aimed at do it yourself seamstressed and mixed-media artists. Her book is also available in her 1000 Markets shop.

Please head over to Strands today and be sure to tell her Chic & Green sent you on over.

ETSY LOVE: Follow ups

Unscented laundry eco-friendly laundry detergent from Crunchy Clean

So many natural laundering/stain care tips came with my Crunchy Clean order!

Opening my Winterberry Creek order was a lovely treat!

Oh, how I love this!

This works well with a black long sleeve tee and dark denim!

Yay! My washcloths from Peanut Tree Designs arrived!

They're colorful, soft & fun to look at!

I highly recommend these for gentle facial use! They are great on baby's skin, too!

I have been behind in sharing follow ups on Etsy orders with you, so here I am!

I shared some great items with you that have been received, worn, tested, etc. and I'm back with a report.


The first order I'd like to report back on is my Crunchy Clean order. I ordered the Green Laundry Detergent for $8.00 (68 standard loads or 136 in a high efficiency machine). I was skeptical of the stain-fighting power after using Method and Seventh Generation with results I'd just call OK. That being said, I am extremely impressed! The packaging is very simple--a large Ziploc bag--but it's about using a safer product, and quit frankly, my washer is in the basement and I don't care what the container looks like.

I have used this on my delicates, towels, a comforter, a bath rug, and on all of our clothes--even on the boys' grass-stained jeans from playing outside last week when it was warm enough. It worked quite well, even on those tough stains.

I will, without a doubt, be back for more. It's economical and it's just better in terms of safety and the eco-factor. I chose unscented because I can add my own preferred essential oils if I want a scent. The package included lots of tips on natural laundry care. I started following the one about adding vinegar to the rinse cycle as a fabric softener--no more chemical-filled dryer sheets for me!


Next, I'd like to talk about my order from Winterberry Creek. The shop is closed until March 31st, but I do hope you will check out her store when she reopens. I featured a skinny scarf of hers in a collection called Raspberries a few Saturdays ago, which I proceeded to order that day. I adore this scarf, which has varying deep berries and honts of chocolate brown. It came with a floral brooch and is quite beautiful. I've worn it several times with my navy winter coat, and have also worn it with black. It was a fantastic bargain at $16.95 with exquisite craftsmanship and detailing.


My friend Deanna is the one who introduced me to Peanut Tree Designs. This shop sells baby washcloths, wipes and more. I ordered a pack of 3 100% cotton organic terry washcloths for $6.50. They really are lovely. In addition to being pretty, they are such high quality and oh so soft. I normally don't recommend washcloths to wash the face unless they are specifically for babies, but high quality bay washcloths are few and far between.

The washcloths from Peanut Tree Designs are extra gentle and I have been using them at night with my Facial Cleansing Oil to remove my makeup.

I also use them on Nick and Ben without reservation. I plan to order some more of these soon.


A few weeks ago, I wrote a lengthy piece called Feminine Care Goes Green. It focued on green alternatives to plastic, chemical-filled commercial products which wreak havoc on the environment and pose health risks. I said that I was not keen on the thought of trying something I had to wash, but that I would keep an open mind. Two weeks ago, I received my first "Moon Pad" in the mail from Phreaky Boutique, one of many shops nowadays selling natural feminine products. Not to provide you with too much information, but this is also something I am completely surprised about. I had this preconceived notion in my head about using these, but I was wrong. Wrong--me! All kidding aside, the ease of use and convenience factor is much, much better than I ever would have thought. 

I learned that all I needed to do is keep an open mind and that I may actually feel positive about something I was negative about to begin with. I will buy more of these as well.
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