Monday, March 30, 2015

Mmmm! Episode 5: Vegan Chocolate Shakes

A week ago, Ian and Lemon decided they wanted to make chocolate shakes.  Amber, at Dixie + Twine sent us these super cute Lemon's Kitchen straws (along with the Lemon's Kitchen banner featured) and they wanted to use them on their cooking show, so shakes it was!  But, I'm diary free and both Lemon and I are gluten free so we had to find a way to make shakes without the ice cream (or anything fun like cookies).  We searched and found a recipe, similar to this one, and they made them.  They turned out SO GOOD!

This was the messiest Lemon has gotten yet, during her cooking show, and it was hilarious to watch.  She was literally covered in cocoa powder and chocolate chips when I came in and suggested they wipe her off, I even had to shake out her romper outside while Ian washed her in the sink.  It was too funny and she had the best time.  Enjoy and cheers!


Pin It

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Dead Sea Mud Mask by Pure & Essential Minerals {Review}

Recently, I had the opportunity to try Pure & Essential Minerals Deep Sea Mud Mask (get it on Amazon).  It was an interesting experience, since I don't normally do masks, but I liked it!

Some information about the company:

"At Pure & Essential Minerals, we believe the most powerful and effective ingredients for the care of your skin come directly from nature.  Pure & Essential Minerals products are manufactured using only natural and organic ingredients direct from the source.  All of our skin care products are created to help restore the natural vitalitiy and radiance of your skin."

On the jar it says:

"The Dead Sea, situated between Israel and Jordan, is 1400 feet below sea level and the lowest point on the earth's surface.  The healing properties of its mineral-rich mud have been revered for centuries.  This facial mask draws out impurities, toxins and excess oils leaving your skin feeling soft and clean.  Dead Sea minerals nourish and restore the skin's vitality, stimulate and improve your blood circulation, resulting in a wonderful glow.  Used weekly your skin will look and feel its best."

I only like to use all natural products on my face, and have actually not used any chemicals on my face (or body) since last May (almost a year).  I feel a million times better and truly believe chemicals just weigh you down.  I feel happier, less tired and just overall better without using them; next I want to try going shampoo free too!  This mask has no chemicals, it is all natural (full of things like shea butter, sunflower oil and aloe vera) and is cruelty free and not tested on animals.  So, I tried it!

And, I liked it!  You spread on a medium layer, leave it on for 5 minutes (it hardens) and then wash it off with warm water.  It's funny when you are spreading it on, it does feel a bit like mud on your face (just maybe thinner than mud), but then it has a cooling effect too that feels really nice while you're wearing it.  Lemon thought I looked really funny in my mask and I asked her if she wanted one and she politely said, "no way."  Ha.

I have to admit, my face did feel smooth afterwards.  And, it felt really cool and nice, very clean down to my pores.  I haven't had it very long but I plan on using it every night to see if I see a difference in my skin overall, I bet I will.

I am a believer in this magical dead sea and will be searching for more products from this company and from this mysterious place.  Anything that will help this 36 year old look youthful, doesn't have chemicals and is not tested on animals has my seal of approval.  If you are a fan of trying something new and all natural, try this mask out!

*Sponsored Post - Powered by BrandBacker*

Pin It

Monday, March 23, 2015

Moms on Mondays - Samantha from Green + Lovely {and a Giveaway!}

{The giveaway featured in this post has ended.}

 photo IMG_2712_zpsaff387e1.jpg

This week I am proud to feature Samantha from Green + Lovely!  She makes organic, all natural skin care products in her shop and features so many things you used on a daily basis like baby soaps, lip balm, etc.  I haven't tried her products myself, but I love shops like this who are making their own health and beauty products instead of us all having to buy the awful, synthetic stuff at the grocery store.

She has also offered to give away a Pampering Mom Basket that includes:  A 4 ounce Green Tea + Bergamot Face Lotion (anti-oxidant blend), Nature's Silk Lip Balm and Lip Scrub duo and Pampering Lavender Passion Bath Salts (8 ounces).  View our giveaway image (and rules) on Instagram to enter, or leave a comment below telling us why you would like to win this set!  Giveaway ends on Saturday, March 28th at 12pm MST.

What is the name of your shop and how can we find you?

My shop on Etsy is Green + Lovely and I also have a website and some of my products are also on Amazon.  I am on Instagram and Twitter as well.   

Tell us about what you make/sell in your shop.  

Green + Lovely is a premium skin-care line created with natural and organic ingredients, handcrafted just for you.  Green + Lovely launched in 2012 with the formulation of our signature Better-than-Butter Belly (Pregnancy) Oil. Since, our product line has expanded to include the best selling Nature's Herbal Calendula (Healing) Salve, nourishing lotions, lip balms, lip tints, baby soaps, diaper creams, hydrating body scrubs, botanical bath salts, and more. 

How/why did you start making these products and open this shop? 

I've always had a love and knack for creating things. It runs in the family, as my grandfather opened and operated a restaurant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. (We still cherish those recipes!)  I received my Bachelor's of Science in Nutrition in 2005.  I began my career in product development (culinary realm) in 2006 at FOCUS Brands, the parent company of Carvel Ice Cream, Cinnabon, Seattle's Best Coffee International, Moe's Southwest Grill, and Schlotzsky's Deli. I worked under almost all of the brands, creating new seasonal and promotional products in their test kitchen. I also completed the nutrition analysis for consumer and legal purposes on these menu items.

I got married in 2009 and moved to Raleigh, NC. I picked right back up in product development and took a job at Golden Corral. When we moved again in 2011, I got pregnant with my son, Zachary. This is when the Better than Belly Butter Oil was created.  I remember searching the shelves, looking for the best product out there to nourish my skin, naturally, and help me not get any stretch marks.  I didn't find anything. So, I made different batches of my own concoction and gave some to friends and they had the same result.  I opened a shop on Etsy and have been flooded with customers who love this product. Then, the shop expanded from there.  I love it and it's become my passion to extend my product development experience to creating skin care products for our home, to yours.

How long have you been in business?

We opened our shop at the end of 2012.

Tell us a little bit about your family.

I got married in 2009. We gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in 2011. Since, we began the adoption journey and adopted our son, Jonah, in November of this past year.  He is 3 months old and such a sweet baby and blessing to our family. 

Picture from

How does this company help your family?  Or you?

Running a business WHILE being a stay at home mom is very challenging, but I love it.  I like to think that my creativity runs wild at nap time. It gives me an outlet and now my 3 year old likes to 'help' me make lotion. Some days I am just purely exhausted, but what I love is that you wake up renewed and want to conquer the world. Some days you do, and some you are just 'mom'. I am okay with that.

Did you ever think you'd be doing this?  What did you think you'd be doing instead?

I didn't think I would start working again until my kids went to grade school.  I didn't think I would be tackling something like this.  Green + Lovely has great potential and my work has a purpose.  I realize this.

Does anyone help you with your shop?

No, not the day to day business and filling orders.  My husband is part accountant, whether he chose to be or not.  My friend does my product photography (Hi Brooke!), but she is not local.  And, my sister-in-law designed my labels - she is amazing!

How do you find time to run your shop and create products? 

That's the tricky part.  I create products in my sleep just thinking about what can be next.  But, I have a hard time finding time some days, as I don't have family local. My son goes to a wonderful "mom's morning out" school and that gives me a few hours.  Nap time is the best time, and I stay up later than I should on occasion. 

Where do you see your shop in the future?

My next step is getting my products in front of Whole Foods.  That is a big step and venture for me.  I've been trying to prepare for it for some time, but I am about there.

Tell us your favorite product or your most favorite thing you've created?

It probably has to be the Better than Butter Belly Oil.  I love hearing from customers after they have had their babies and their stories. I also love reviews in general. I have the best customers. 

Do you have any advice for future mom-entrepreneurs?

If you think you have something, run with it. I wish I had a lot of the business sense in the beginning, but I am learning more every day. I wish I was better at marketing, but I am learning that every day too.  If you are passionate about the product or idea, then that passion will show in your work. Don't stop!

What are some of YOUR favorite shops/products, besides your own?

Some other favorite shops are Sweeties by Kim (BIG chocolate lover), Hawkins Creations (I love her signs and have a few), and Marley's Monsterswe just partnered with them to offer organic bamboo cloth wipes, wet bags, and organic bamboo diaper inserts in our shop.

Thanks Samantha for being here and don't forget to enter our giveaway!  Leave a comment below!

Pin It

Monday, March 16, 2015

Moms on Mondays - Tannia from Belle Threads

 photo IMG_2712_zpsaff387e1.jpg

Hi!  I'm Tannia, the owner & designer of Belle Threads.  I am also on Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.  

I believe in dressing up.  That's why I make beautiful, vintage, glam, special occasion and casual pieces inspired by the love for my children, and the birth of my daughter, Sanibel.  Every piece I make has a story and a reason as to why I created it.  Most recently, I started designing sparkle glam rompers.  I was looking for the perfect outfit for Sanibel's first birthday. I couldn't find anything close to what I envisioned, so I created it myself.  I've been in this business for only a few months; however, I've been crafting with my mother ever since I was a little girl.  We come from a long line of crafty women.  I remember us painting and tie dying tees when I was little! I have also been selling since I was a young girl.  I used to go out with my mother to sell at the flea markets.  This was before the boom so we did so well! I always wanted to be a lawyer, so of course I went to college.  While I was in college I started selling on Ebay to pay for my tuition and books.

I'm the first lawyer in my family!  But, I'm not the first crafty person!  I LOVE to read and the practice of law.  I'm also an adjunct professor at Fairleigh Dickinson University.  I graduated from Rutgers University and then Rutgers School of Law.  I've taken fewer cases since I started my business because I wanted to fulfill my entrepreneurial spirit but also spend more time with my children.  This business allows me to work from home and work when my husband is home.  I value this time that my children are so young and impressionable, so I chose to step back from practicing as an attorney for a bit. 

I never thought I would be designing clothing and accessories for children.  It's just something that happened and that I LOVE.  God always has a better plan for me. After graduating law school, I thought I would have children and go into practicing and leave them in daycare.  I was so wrong about that! This business helps me spend more time with my children and pay my loans!  

My mom and MIL help me out as much as they can.  I stay up late frequently and don't sleep too well, I have to get better about taking some time out for me but - don't we all?  I rely on my husband a lot when he is home to take over.  I'll admit sometimes we eat take out food a lot because I just can't do it all.  Cue the mom guilt!  I think when you own a business it's so hard to find balance especially when you are just starting up.

I love the business aspect of my business.  I guess that's the lawyer in me!  I also love the designing and creating part too.  I love crafting unique pieces for children and I love fabric shopping!  I'm so lucky to live close to New York's garment district because I love different fabrics and fun prints.  I love sequins, silk, tulle, velvet and I'm excited to share my spring line with everyone.  I'm also excited for my business to grow.  My goal for this business is to create unique hard to find pieces for special occasions and casual everyday too!  

Some advice to other mompreneurs is to always develop goals for yourself.  Reach out to people that you admire and get to know them.  Get to know your business and what sells.  Do your research and take some marketing classes - it's important!  Don't give up.  Try new things and take risks.  Do stuff that inspires you - for me, it's always spending some days where I'm all about my children.

At the end of each day I thank God for my kids.  They are truly my biggest contribution to this world: Raphael, my son, and Sanibel, my daughter; I love my little family of four.  I'm so grateful for my children and my supportive husband.  Thank you for supporting us!  

Pin It

Monday, March 9, 2015

Moms on Mondays - Tasha from Cute Awaking

 photo IMG_2712_zpsaff387e1.jpg

This week I am featuring Tasha from Cute Awaking!  This mama sells multi-functional slings for carrying your baby, and also baby doll slings so your baby can carry their baby!  She sent us a mesh sling (so you can wear your baby in the pool!) and sent Lemon a sling for her baby (which she loves).  She is the sweetest mama with the cutest family - I wish her so much success with her business!  Read her post and then go shop her affordable, safety-approved slings!

Loved the directions included (and a CD too)!

What is the name of your shop and how can we find you?

My shop name is Cute Awaking. I also have a Facebook and Instagram.  If you’re in the Huntsville, AL area you can also find my slings at the store Acorn Treasures.

Tell us about what you make/sell in your shop.

I make Ring Slings which are a type of baby carrier. I make several different kinds; Linen, linen/cotton blends and, mesh water slings.  The linen and linen blends are great for everyday wear! These are some of the easier baby carriers to use which makes them great for the little ones that want up and down a lot, quick runs to the store, and for nursing in. They are light-weight and breath well, making them perfect for any weather, even southern Florida (where I started making them.)  The mesh water slings are awesome for the warmer months too! They are made from an athletic mesh, which make them super light weight, they wick moisture well, and dry really fast.  These are awesome for trips to the pool, beach, or the lake - really anywhere there is water. Want to keep your tiny one close while you keep up with the bigger kids around the water? No problem! The mesh sling holds baby close and snug, and when you get wet you don’t have to worry about a slippery baby. The mesh holds up even in the water. 

I also make doll ring slings so your little ones can be just like mommy and keep their babies close and snuggly too.

How/why did you start making these products and open this shop?

I opened Cute Awaking officially in May of 2012. I started with crochet top bubble dresses and it was  a need to fill a project itch for me.  After making a dress for my daughter, and getting such wonderful compliments (and that “I just finished a project high"), I dove into the Etsy world.  It took a couple months for my first order, but when it did come in I felt such a great feeling of accomplishment!  I saw an opportunity where I could help support my family from home. 

I continued on with crocheting and making jewelry, area rugs and more dresses.  I’m a big crafter by nature and this was giving me such a wonderful excuse to create.  In March 2014 we had our 4th baby, Eli and I was introduced to baby wearing - oh my did I fall in love!  I started making myself ring slings and wraps, not just one, but four because well, I needed more then one color! I made them for everyone I knew as well. I started having friends of friends ask if I could make them one too.  It was at that point I looked into what was required to make and sell ring slings.  I was floored when I first found out all the laws and regulations regarding the manufacturing and selling of them. And, it didn't matter if you made 1 or 1,000,000, all the regulations had to be followed.  I went back and forth for a month. I was unsure if me, just me by myself could keep up with all those regulations.  Then, I took the plunge! I loved making them and seeing the joy it brought those that wore them. My husband was such a great support and actually helped me become CPSIA compliant. Since May 2014 I follow all current safety standards, am CPSIA compliant, and a member of BCIA.  I am truly proud of myself for accomplishing this because at the beginning it seemed very overwhelming! 

What is your background (college/career/etc.)?

I have been a dance teacher for most of my life - 15 years.  It has always been a passion and will continue to be.  I taught ballet, pointe, lyrical, and modern dance. I went to college at the International Academy of Design and Technology for Interior Design. I worked for a firm in south Florida for several years. Once our first baby came, I felt the pull to stay home and have since then (with the exception of evening dance classes).

Tell us a little bit about your family.

I have been married to my wonderfully awesome husband, Tim, for 12 years.  We have 4 children: Alexander 9, Javan 8, Lydia 7, and Eli 1 and another making his/her way in September!  I home school all of my kids. Some days I wonder why because I feel like I’m failing, but they assure me I’m doing a great job, and then will blow me away with how much they really know!

How does this company help your family?

It has been so great to see the orders come in! I feel so privileged when people choose one of my slings to hold their little ones.  It has also been awesome to help financially support my family as well! What makes it even better is getting to do that from my home. Before working my shop Tim and I would work opposite schedules, not leaving much time for us.  Since I work from home now we have so much more family time.

Did you ever think you’d be doing this? What did you think you’d be doing instead?

No. A year ago I thought I would be teaching dance classes, and worrying that Tim wouldn’t get home from work in time for me to make it to class. A year makes a big difference!  And, sometimes a leap of faith really pays off!

Does anyone help you with your shop?

It’s pretty much just me but I can sometimes convince Tim to help cut the yards and yards of fabric. He’s always a good sport and he’s great at running to the post office for me!

How do you find time to run your shop and create products?

It kind of happens in between life - if Eli is napping I can get a couple slings made. The big kids are doing worksheets - I can answer some emails.  I work in 30 to 40 minute increments throughout the day.  When Tim is home he’s great with holding down the fort if I have several orders to finish. 

What do you love about this businesses?

I love that it has created more time with my family. And, that the ring slings give others more snuggly time with their little ones.

What is the most challenging part of this business?

Shipping.  Once it is sent out it is out of my control. I would hand deliver each one, if I could, to make sure it’s there on time.

Tell us your favorite product or your most favorite thing you've created?

A few months ago I had a customer come back and ask for something special. She wanted to get her husband a ring sling he would love, but hadn’t been able to find just the right thing. He is a Zelda lover, and she wanted a sling that was Zelda inspired. I used green linen for the body and sewed on the iconic gold triforce. Four is their lucky number, so I hand embroidered 4 hearts, the health meter at the shoulder.  It was fun to create something so unique! 

Do you have any advice for future mom-entrepreneurs?

Find something you love and can’t live without, because chances are there are other people out there that feel the same way and are looking for it. Once you've found it, take the leap! You never know unless you try.

Thanks Tasha for your post, loved learning more about your company and your family!

Pin It