Monday Morning Musings

Monday, January 31, 2011

I promised you a picture of my new bag by Just Be! I {heart} their bags...

Here's the new bag:

I also wanted to let you know that the Silk Naturals order I placed Thursday afternoon arrived Saturday. That is lightning fast! Speaking of Silk Naturals, reader Lavanya is the winner of Friday night's giveaway. She will be sent an assortment of lippies and eye shadows.

Look for a post from me later this week with a full review and pictures of my loot from Silk Naturals. I'm playing catch up trying to photograph all of the new jewelry to my website, so some of these longer blog posts might take me a couple days to get done.

I also just placed an order for a new eye cream today! I think I am forever on the hunt for that BEST one ever...and I decided to try 100% Pure Organic Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream. It is $19 for a 1 ounce container--that's double the typical amount in an eye cream. I love the ingredients label on this one.

Also this week--I have a review coming up of Femme Science products. I was sent several items including a skin care product that is supposed to make you look younger and have aphrodisiac properties. Find out my take on this one soon!

I also have to tell you that my skin feels like it's been needing my old favorite facial cleanser again--Aunt Nancy's Rose Clay Facial Bar. It's a perennial favorite of mine. I get so caught up trying new things for the blog that I sometimes forget what my skin loved the most....and for me, that is my good old pink bar of skin loving goodness. I am realizing more and more than my skin is becoming extra sensitive to fragrance--even from essential oils sometimes. I am eager get back to this!

That's all from me this morning. I'll be back with more this evening or tomorrow. Have a beautiful day!

Trunk Show Success!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

My Trunk Show went really well yesterday. Thank you to all who came out. It was really lovely meeting so many of my local customers and to put faces with names.

Some photos from the day:

Nick came with me. He was a ball of energy, charm, and conversation...until lunch was over. Then he became really tired. He told me the jewelry business isn't for him.

 Other fun things in the shop:

I love this! My dear friend, Christine, went home with it yesterday (along with some Loubird earrings).

 Bag made by Just Be....this one almost came home with me. I opted for another one from Just Be, though, and will show it to you tomorrow.

Six Years

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Today is a day I have both been dreading and looking forward to, if that makes sense. It is very bittersweet.

I am so excited for my Trunk Show at Vintage Bliss today. Vintage Bliss is located at 30 North Avenue (which is Route 250) in Webster. I will be there with hundreds of pieces of my jewelry from Noon until 3:30pm. My 7 year old, Nicholas, may also be joining me. He wants to get dressed up and help. He is my master organizer. He likes to sort my jewelry by color and style and takes pride in doing so. He asked to come along and be my special assistant, so I just may take him up on that offer.

Part of me wishes I could skip over January 29th. Today marks the 6th anniversary of my dad's passing from Pancreatic Cancer. This day, along with his birthday in December, and Father's Day are always difficult days for me. I like to think that my dad will be looking down while I am at Vintage Bliss knowing that I have created a business that is very special to me and that I am happy. He gave me great advice as an adult.  He told me that something that was really important to him was for me (and my brother) to love what we do the way he loved being a newspaper editor. I can honestly say that being a wife, mom, blogger and making jewelry all fill my heart with joy.

While I'll allow myself to feel the emotions I am feeling, I am going to look on the bright side that it is going to be a fabulous time at the boutique and I am really looking forward to meeting so many of the local customers who have supported me through shopping with me online at at Vintage Bliss.

I hope you all have a beautiful day and I hope you can stop over this afternoon!

Special Spotlight: 5th Edition

Friday, January 28, 2011

I told you earlier last week about how 102 handmade artisans (just one week ago, the number was just over 60) from across the country have been scammed by a small boutique in Springfield, Missouri. The state Attorney General's Office, USPS, FBI internet crimes, and local authorities have been investigating. The scam has been covered on the television news channels and newspaper in that area over the past week as well.

I think what it so important to remember, though, is that handmade artisans create because they have a passion for it. I know I love making jewelry, wearing it, and hearing how a certain piece has brightened someone's day. We're not creating to get rich quick or because we have to do it. We love creating. So many talented artisans have been scammed. They may never get their money or their creations. The total is currently $48,000 worth of handmade goods.

Whether it takes me one week or one month, I will make sure each and every affected artist has been featured here on the blog.

I want to spotlight their shops and their beautiful work:
Scrub away dry skin with this scrub from the lovely Christina at Capricorn Soap Company.

Origami earrings from Bric-a-brac-a

Tee from Marty May

Chainmaille Argentium bracelet from Nate Newton

Paisley tote from Liz Ann Necessities

What a pretty notecard from LANCERIKA.

Soak away your stress with this vanilla bath bomb from Pink Parchment Soaps.

What a great gift for your special man this Valentine's Day.

Afternoon Pick Me Up

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Star Wars Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia

Mr Ben is still home sick today. It's day 3, but his fever broke last night and he is more and more like himself. He's been reading his Star Wars Clone Wars Character Encyclopedia and asked for dessert with his lunch once again. If he keeps this up, he'll be back in school tomorrow. He's excited because his kindergarten class earned a pajama party and the kids can bring their favorite stuffed animal along tomorrow.

It's been pretty quiet around here and I've gotten lots accomplished. Almost everything is tagged and priced for my Trunk Show at Vintage Bliss this weekend. I took a little break today and headed to the Silk Naturals website. I've been a fan of this company since reader Lavanya told me about it in August. The owner, Karen Stark, is based right here in Upstate New York and is in the Ithaca area. Her cosmetics are superior to mineral makeups 4 and 5 times more expensive. You cannot buy Maybelline for the price of most of Karen's stellar products.

Anyway, I decided to order several items. Of course, I told myself it's for the blog. Not just fun makeup for me to play with--it's strictly for research purposes, just like those cupcakes were last winter. For the record, I do not get paid to mention Silk Naturals. The owner's not a relative or someone I've known forever. I don't get free loot in exchange for awesome reviews. I buy the products and just plain love them.

Here is what I ordered:

  • Liquid Lip Gloss in Shrieking Violet (ultra fuchsia)

  • Kisser Slicker in Breathless (pink satin shimmer)

  • Kisser Slicker in Infatuation (shimmery plum pink)

  • Kisser Slicker in Gold Blush (sheer pink and gold shimmer)

  • Eye Shadow in Bristol (light cream suede)

  • Eye Shadow in Tweed (medium brown shimmer, clone of Stila Heather)

  • Cream Eye Liner in Peacock (deep blue green shimmer)

  • Climax Blush (Nars Orgasm clone)

  • Ultimate Eye Liner Brush

  • Medium Coverage Buttery Gold Foundation Starter Kit

I just cannot wait to get these and to share my order with you. I also will get around to taking pictures of all of my Silk Naturals on, so you can get an idea of the colors. I went outside of my typical comfort zone with the Shrieking Violet, but back in the day (we're taking way back in the day), I wore this deep fuchsia lipstick when I was working for Estee Lauder and it really made my eyes pop. It's one of those shades to wear on a day when you want to say, "Look out world, here I come!"

That is all for now. I am procrastinating. I've been chatting with my friend Deanna, in Michigan. She ordered from Silk Naturals too and we've been back and forth talking about colors today. In reality, we both have to think up interview questions for guests we each have coming on our blogs. Her blog is one I've mentioned before: My Handmade Addiction. Apparently, talking about mineral makeup could be a cure for writer's block. That's what we're trying to tell ourselves anyway!

Silk Naturals Giveaway Tomorrow Night!

 There's still time to enter this week's Silk Naturals giveaway. I also would like to give this company a big "thank you" for sponsoring an entire month of giveaways for my beautiful readers.

This Friday night's giveaway is a color kit--an assortment of lippies and eye shadows. 

This is fabulous because I can tell you that Silk Naturals makes some of the best lip products on this earth (they won our Best in Beauty awards) and the eye shadows are gorgeous as well.

One very lucky reader will win these products on Friday!

2 Ways To Enter:

1. Follow this blog.

Earn Extra Entries:

1. Go to the Silk Naturals website and look around. Leave me a comment with the name of one thing you'd most like to try. Please leave an email address with your comment.

2. Tweet about this giveaway using #chicandgreen.

3. Become a fan of the Silk Naturals Facebook page.

The Nitty Gritty:

Open to US residents over age 18. Immediate family members of C & G or Silk Naturals may not enter. Winners are chosen via

Attention Locals!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

This post is dog-related, which isn't one of our usual topics here at Chic & Green. That doesn't matter, though, because I want to get this message out there to anyone local who might see it.

 This is Maverick and he is missing. I am hoping he will  soon be reunited with his family.

I am a dog lover. I truly believe that when we choose a pet, we're choosing another family member. This is how I feel about the dogs I've had and loved. We have a dog, Cannon, and he will soon be 7. He is a German Shepherd/lab mix and is just a joy. He's a bit high maintenance, but he absolutely is family and he is kind and gentle and devoted to the boys.

As a dog lover, I know that quick feeling of panic when the dog gets loose. When I was 12, I was walking our Cocker Spaniel, Hershey, and his collar slipped off. I cried and cried and ran after him. I had this intense feeling of panic. Thankfully, he ran right home and was waiting for me in the garage.

I can only imagine what a horrible feeling it is to know that your dog is out there and separated from you. That is what is happening right now to a family in East Irondequoit. Their Siberian Husky, Maverick, got loose at the end of November.

I read about their story a couple weeks back in the Democrat & Chronicle and learned they had a Facebook page dedicated to leads and tips for bringing Maverick home safely.

I've been checking that page regularly hoping to read that Maverick is back home with his owners. It seems as though Maverick has been wandering around the Webster area. Most recently, there was a possible sighting in the area near Xerox.  Maverick is one and was last seen wearing a blue collar and blue tag in the shape of a bone. The phone number of the tag was incorrect, although the address was right. He is black, white, and silver.

If you live in the Rochester area, would you please take a moment to check that page out? I know it is a long shot, but the more people in this area that see his picture could make a difference. I know his family is searching tirelessly for him. I hope he will be home soon.

Natural Cold Relief

At Home With a Cold?

Last week Nick was home sick for two days. He had a sore throat, fever, and was all congested. This week, it's Ben's turn. I hate this time of year because in January and February, it seems like a cesspool of germs. The boys pass their sick germs back and forth. Once I am done taking care of them and they're all better, I usually catch it.

I am hoping since I was blessed with a stomach bug Sunday that I will avoid this bug. I'm going to share some DIY cold-combatting recipes that I've shared with you over the years. It's cold and flu season, so I am reaching for the Vick's to slather on the boys, right?

Wrong! Have you seen what is in this age old "remedy"? Crude oil and turpentine...I kid you not.

We'll look at what is in popular Vicks products and then I'll show you how to make an easy alternative.

Photo from

Here is the full ingredients listing, for example, from a package of Vick's VapoRub:

Active Ingredients: Camphor (4.8%), Eucalyptus Oil (1.2%), Menthol (2.6%). Inactive Ingredients: Cedarleaf Oil, Nutmeg Oil, Special Petrolatum, Thymol, Turpentine Oil.

And the listing from the newer, greaseless cream:
Active Ingredients: Camphor (5.2%), Eucalyptus Oil (1.2%), Menthol (2.8%). Inactive Ingredients: Carbomer 954, Cedarleaf Oil, Cetyl Alcohol, Cetyl Palmitate, Cyclomethicone Copolyol, Dimethicone Copolyol, Dimethicone, EDTA, Glycerin, Imidazolidinyl Urea, Isopropyl Palmitate, Methylparaben, Nutmeg Oil, PEG-100 Stearate, Propylparaben, Purified Water, Sodium Hydroxide, Stearic Acid, Stearyl Alcohol, Thymol, Titanium Dioxide, Turpentine Oil

Let's see....we have Turpentine and parabens in something rubbed into our children. There are PEG ingredients as well in the second. The original contains "special" petrolatum. Special crude oil? . What exactly is that? A high octane version, perhaps. The most troubling ingredient, though, is that camphor is still used in these products when it is known to be toxic in children.

In fact, Nancy Clark, the Assistant Commissioner of New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s (DOHMH) Bureau of Environmental Disease Prevention Program says, "Camphor products can be very dangerous for children...Be sure to keep these products away from them. Swallowing camphor or applying it in large amounts to a child can cause seizures."

A study at Wake Forest University also concluded that Vicks Vaporub can be harmful to the airways of children.

Vicks clearly in unsafe to apply on our children. You can make your own 100% natural products to use instead of Vicks with just a handful of ingredients you may already have at home.

*1/2 cup of rice bran, safflower, grapeseed, or sesame oil (if you do not have these, even canola will do)
*5 drops rosemary essential oil (100% pure, not "fragrance oil")
*5 drops of peppermint essential oil (100% pure, not "fragrance oil")
*5 drop of lemon essential oil (100% pure, not "fragrance oil")
*10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil (100% pure, not "fragrance oil")

Combine in a bottle. I prefer to use a dark glass for storage, such as amber or cobalt. Anything will do, though, in a pinch. Note that I am using smaller amount of essential oils than one normally would--that is because children should not have the full amount, even when rubbed topically like this--of essential oils. Remember, this is topical and should not be taken orally.

This will not have that Vaseline-type consistency of Vicks. That is OK! The carrier oil (the rice bran, grapeseed, etc.) will act as that great base to hold the essential oils and deliver the benefits of aromatherapy.

Take a small amount and apply first to your feet and cover with socks. Then apply a bit (less than a dime sized amount) and apply to chest area and cover back up with a top.

This works very well. Why?

The lemon works in aromatherapy to treat sore throats. The rosemary helps with sinus issues, bronchitis, asthma, and other respiratory symptoms. Peppermint is used to help with treating coughs, especially those of a dry and hacking nature. The eucalyptus works to loosen phlegm and mucus.

In addition to the oil, you can also make an easy peasy milk bath to help with congestion. 

Here is how to do it:

My favorite thing to make for myself when I am feeling under the weather with a cold, congestion, or flu-like symptoms is my "decongestant" milk bath, which can be made in a large jar and refrigerated, or in small jars for one treatment. You can use mason jars, canning jars, or any clean and dry jar. Rinse out those plastics and feel free to reuse it to make this as well.

Why a milk bath? Milk contains lactic acid, a form of alpha hydroxy acid (AHA). It helps to gently exfoliate the skin, and milk will also soften and nourish.

I like to use aromatherapy as much as I can to treat symptoms of stress and illness. It is being used more and more by alternative health practitioners to treat stress when used as a complementary therapy with traditional Western medicine. Of course, I believe in going to the doctor regular and in vaccinations to prevent illness, but I take a holistic approach along with traditional medicine.

This will fill a 4 ounce jar:

Start with 1/4 cup of goat's milk (you can buy Meyenberg Goat's Milk in many grocery stores or natural food grocery stores right in the refrigerated section. I really prefer the fresh version as opposed to powder. Powdered goat's milk doesn't work as well, in my opinion, as the fresh. 

You can also use organic whole milk or buttermilk.
I then use 1/8 cup of steeped peppermint or chamomile tea. You can skip this and just use milk if you don't have any handy.
Then add in some fresh or dried peppermint. I use enough to fill a teaspoon. You can use more or less.

Add in about 15 drops of peppermint essential oil, 15 drops of eucalyptus essential oil, and 10 drops of lemon essential oil. All are available at Mountain Rose Herbs or at your local natural foods store. Locally, Wegmans even has most of these in the Nature's Marketplace section.

Gently mix these with a wooden spoon and pour into your jar. You will most likely have room to add more milk before you put the top on. 

I let this steep for a few hours. I then pour it under running hot water in the tub & light a couple of candles to soak away my cold symptoms.

This blend will store in the fridge for a couple days.

What else can you do?

Have you tried a Neti Pot yet? You can find them at drugstores and handmade on Etsy. They really work like a charm (they are nasal irrigators) and can give immediate relief of your stuffy nose. Here are some I found on Etsy:





Tea also helps. Some tried and true teas that I drink when I feel under the weather:

 Harney & Sons White Vanilla Grapefruit tea is a favorite. The vitamin C in the grapefruit and the comfort factor of the vanilla makes this one of my personal loves.

Lemon Souffle from Etsy's Tea for All Reasons is blended with Honeybush and is another cold season favorite of mine!

Oh Honey!

A spoon with some honey on it also soothes a sore throat. My personal favorites?
I have two. I love a local company's Buckwheat Honey. It's called Doan's Honey Farm and is from the Rochester area.

My other most favorite honey was a gift from a friend in Michigan. She's also a C & G reader. It's a heavenly whipped lemon honey from Le Cocoa Bee. It is ideal for helping soothe a sore throat!  

Dislclaimer--I hope these natural remedies help everyone out. Please remember that you cannot give babies honey and that you should see a doctor if you're sick. This isn't a substitute for medical advice or intended to diagnose or cure a medical condition.

Special Spotlight: 4th Edition

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

I told you earlier last week about how 100 handmade artisans (just one week ago, the number was just over 60) from across the country have been scammed by a small boutique in Springfield, Missouri. The state Attorney General's Office, USPS, FBI internet crimes, and local authorities have been investigating. The scam has been covered on the television news channels and newspaper in that area over the past week as well.

I think what it so important to remember, though, is that handmade artisans create because they have a passion for it. I know I love making jewelry, wearing it, and hearing how a certain piece has brightened someone's day. We're not creating to get rich quick or because we have to do it. We love creating. So many talented artisans have been scammed. They may never get their money or their creations. The total is currently over $44,000 worth of handmade goods.

Whether it takes me one week or one month, I will make sure each and every affected artist has been featured here on the blog.

I want to spotlight their shops and their beautiful work:
Such a lovely piece from Ring-a-Ling!

I love baking with Madagascar vanilla. This pure vanilla is available right on Etsy at Urban Spice Emporium. Try it--you'll notice a difference in how true your vanilla flavors are!

This neckwarmer from Oh Maudlin Me would've come in very handy for me in yesterday's negative temperatures. I love the classic black and white houndstooth.

Rochester is home to Kodak. While the company is no longer the city's largest employer, I know of many current and former employees who'd get a kick out of this tee from Retro Ink.

I love this little pocket mirror from Weather and Noise.

I adore old skeleton keys. This screenprinted tee in pink & gray is really cute!

Sturdy, stylish, and fun! This burlap tote is from Jalmodovar.

I love the dog tags from Very Vintage. In fact, my next Etsy purchase will be a new tag for my pooch.

Such lovely earrings from Wire Tree Jewelry!

Are these not the most precious baby booties ever?
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