Friday, December 28, 2012

Beautiful Shop...

Aesop shop London
The Aesop shop in London, making me feel very inadequate, yet wickedly inspired all at the same time...

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

New Year's (business) Resolutions...

As this year winds down, and folks start the dreaded New Years Resolutions talks, I'll spare you the ones I've made for my personal life, and share just those that I've made for the business.  Yes, I've made New Years resolutions for House 54.  I think it sounds nicer and more hopeful than "yearly projections," or "expansion plans."  So without further ado, here's the list...

~Move out.  I know that a lot of people have dreams about being able to work from home, and parts of that are pretty wonderful, I can't lie.  But it also has a nasty habit of taking over my entire house (and time with my family) when it's right here mixed in with our living space.  For me personally, I need a space that I can lock the door and walk away from at the end of the day.  So I'm currently searching for a space to rent. 

~Gain weight (now do you see why this is different from the personal resolutions?).  My goal is to expand the business a little this next year by landing a (hopefully) whole boatload more wholesale accounts.  I'm also in the process of developing a few new products that I'd like to add to my line by this time next year.   

~Socialize more.  Would it not be the most fun EVER to be able to make your own, personally concocted, one-of-a-kind fragrance?!  Well, that's the plan.  I'm not saying any more about this one just yet, because I don't want to spoil too much of the surprise, but it's going to be wicked great!

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, December 24, 2012

Self esteem...

Happy Christmas to you.  My gift to you?  A self-esteem boost.  See all these super, smokin' hot models?  Well, personally, I think some of the "befores" are even prettier than the "afters," but that's just me and my feelings about the simplicity look.  BUT, please take note of the transformations they all make in order appear on the glossy pages you usually view them where you become so envious of their "perfection." So...  happy Everyone's-Human-So-Stop-Beating-Yourself-Up Day!
Whoa.Every girl needs to see this.
Photo found here.

Thanks for stopping by,

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Thank you...

These last few weeks have been exciting and humbling all at the same time.  This time last year, I was still trying to to come to terms with just having quit my big-girl job, and my company was still about 5 months away from even being started.  I was still testing formulas, designing packaging, and wondering if it was even a good idea to do at all.  And this year I've gotten a good idea of what one of Santa's elves must feel like; busy as heck, but completely elated about it.  For the better part of the last few weeks I've making daily trips to the Post Office to mail out orders.  They're not giant orders, or even giant amounts of small orders, but they're steady orders.  I'm sure that'll slow down considerably now that the holiday rush is coming to an end.  But what a great time I've had!  People are responding really well to my products, and that's pretty wonderful.

It's terrifying to start a business, and even more so when it's with products that you've made with your own two hands.  It's a total leap of faith.  Just because I think my products are fantastic, doesn't mean anyone else will.  I started making them for me, and my family, because of my sensitive skin issues, and my frustration with commercial products.  So they were pretty specific to what I like, and what I wanted to see in my bath and body products.  It's been humbling to have worked so hard on making the products that I love, and have had the recent response from so many people letting me know that they love them too.

So I just wanted to say a huge thank you to everyone who has helped and supported me while I try to get this little company up and running.  Hopefully you all continue to love it just as much as I do, so that it can keep growing, and accomplish some majorly awesome new stuff in the New Year.

Thanks for stopping by,

Monday, December 17, 2012

Being thankful...

There was some debate in our household on Friday about whether it was the right thing to do to tell our 8-year-old son about the shootings in Connecticut.  We unanimously decided that he should know.  Even though he's only 8, and I don't want to scare him, I wanted to be the first one to tell him.  I didn't want him to go back to school today and find out about it from some kid who has cable tv (we don't), and then have questions that I wouldn't be there to answer for him.

His only burning question was, WHY?  He wanted to know why the man who shot those teachers and students did what he did.  If I was 8 years old, that would be my first question too.  It was still my question as a junior in high school when the Columbine shootings happened.  Even as a teenager, I still had no concept of why anyone would do something like that.  So I had to give my son the same answer that my Dad gave me back then... "Just be thankful that you don't understand.  Because not being able to understand why someone would have the ability to do something like that means that you don't have the ability to think like them, and you should be thankful for that."

So hear I am again, now a grown woman, married, with 2 children, still completely stunned, disbelieving that anyone could do such a thing, and being so thankful that I still don't understand "why?"

Thanks for stopping by,

Friday, December 14, 2012

How to Holiday shop without going insane...

So you're out finishing up (or starting) you holiday shopping, and you want to make it as pleasant an experience as possible...  No, it's not highly likely that the day will go down in the books as one of the best ever, but you can at least take a few steps to make sure it doesn't become one of the worst ever.
1.  Make a list and check it at least twice.  Don't go out and wander around aimlessly and expect to have a productive shopping trip.  Know what you want to get for who, and from which stores.  

This is so true......2.  Start with a full belly.  "Hangry" is the state in which you're so hungry that you lose the ability to make calm, rational decisions, and often end up being an unreasonably heinous bitch.  Yes the little old lady may have been sloth-like in getting her items through the checkout line, but was it really necessary to smash your cart into her ortho-ankle booties?  This is also the state in which you're more likely to make dumb purchases.

3.  In relation to #2, bring snacks.  Throw an apple and a granola bar in your purse so that you can stay fueled up without being tempted to chow down on 3 days worth of calories at the drive-through.

4.  Bring cash.  Set a spending limit, politely ask the ATM for that amount of money, and stop when it's gone.  The credit card companies LOVE this time of year, because people are just swiping the hell out of their plastic.  But you're not going to love it when you're still paying off Christmas in June.  And your family and friends know how much you can afford.  They're going to know (and feel kind of awful) if you go overboard on them.

Ash Destroyer Tall Boot at Free People Clothing Boutique5.  Wear the new boots you want to break in.  When your feet start to hurt, it's time to go home.  You'll look great, and force yourself to quit at a reasonable hour.  Yes, really.  Can you tell I'm not a fan of those marathon, all-day shopping trips?

Best of luck to you!

Thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, December 13, 2012

Basement make-over inspiration...

I'm about 1/3 of the way through my basement renovation.  By that I mean, simply cleaning it out.  I am NOT a pack-rat.  Let's just get that straight right from the get go.  My Mom is forever accusing me of being unsentimental, because I don't save anything.  If it doesn't serve a purpose in my life anymore, it's pretty much immediately carted off to Goodwill to start serving a purpose in someone else's life.  Or so I thought...

So far I've located 5 boxes of books, a giant box of dishes, glasses, and mugs, 4 area rugs, and no less than a half dozen light fixtures that had been hoarded and never used in various renovation projects.  This is so not my style.  So here are a few inspirational photos to keep me going on my journey to creating a cleaned-up, clutter-free, usable space in my basement...

A spiffy place to work out...
Swanky workout room? YES, please!
A organized workshop area...

Epic pantry/canned-goods area... Pantry idea: The 1"x2"s that help keep the canning jars from falling are painted with chalkboard paint. Then you can label each section with what is stored in the jars.
Tidy laundry area...
small laundry space
A place for everything, and everything in it's place...
Organized Ikea basement storage
Photo from:  Pinned (unknown original source), Wood MagazineShenandoah Valley Flowers, Quality Appliance Reviews, IKEA shelving at Interior Designing.

Thanks for stopping by,

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Bucket List...

Do you have a bucket list?  Mine's constantly evolving, but here's what's on it today...

Go here:

Kalima Resort & Spa, Phuket, Thailand

Do this:
SurfSET Fitness | Extreme Surf-Style Training (I would love to take this class, if we have any close by)
I so wish that a SurfSET class would make its way to Vermont.  It's highly more likely that the class will make it here before any actual waves do...


If you want to be picky, I could technically check this off my list already, because I've done headstands in my yoga class before.  But the goal I have is to be able to do one on my own, without feeling like I'm going to break myself.

PS:  Sorry for the overly beach-themed post.  Seems like kind of a tease this time of year.  But t's cold and nasty outside today, and I needed to imagine some happy, warm, coconut-scented breezes.

PPS:  The very second that my in-transit shipment of fragrance oils arrives at my doorstep, I'll begin concocting the above mentioned scent.  Stay tuned...

Thanks for stopping by,

Headstand image from Yoga Pose Weekly

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Sleep-training and pacifier woes...

We've had some seriously rough nights in our house lately with The Baby.  Basically, he naps beautifully during the day, goes to sleep at night perfectly with no protest, and then every night around 2am the shit ever-lovingly obliterates the fan.  Oh thank you, Tessa, for introducing me to Alphamom.  In this post, one of her readers wrote in with a question that is, verbatim  my exact dilemma.   It was nice to know that I'm not alone in my struggles.     
We started "sleep-training" back in September, and it actually went swimmingly (sort-of).  As far as getting The Baby to sleep it was a slam dunk, but I think it was also the beginning of a serious pacifier issue we're now stuck with.  Here's what's happening... I put him in bed awake, as all the "experts" say I should do, and he's 5 months old now, so also according to those "experts," no longer requires a middle-of-the-night feeding.  The hang-up we're having right now is that when he wakes up at 2am there are 2 scenarios.  I either go in as soon as he starts crying, put his pacifier back in, he immediately falls back to sleep (also proving the fact that he doesn't need to eat then), and he may stay that way until 6:30am, or continue every hour or two with the same deal.  The 2nd scenario, which we've been trying to power though for the last two nights is that when he starts to cry at 2am, we do nothing.  I lay there, bug-eyed awake, refraining from clawing my eyeballs out with guilt, listening to him cry, and cry, and cry, and... I'm becoming more and more jealous of my husband by the second, because he can sleep through anything, so he's unable to lay awake with me and share my gut-wrenching misery of listening to our baby wail while I consciously do nothing to help him.

Last night The Baby woke up while we were getting ready for bed also.  So we continued with the trend of the night before, and let him cry.  He only cried for a few minutes, and got himself right back to sleep.  We were feeling pretty smug about it at that point, thinking we were going to be those parents that only have to endure one night of screaming, and come out on the other sun-shiny end of things with a baby who miraculously taught himself not to freak out in the middle of the night anymore.  Not so much.  2am rolled around, and he was right back at it.  Worse than the night before.

So... do I continue going in and putting the pacifier back so he (and I) can drift happily back to sleep, but also have no idea when that charade will end?  Will I still be getting up in the middle of the night when he's 2?  For the love of God!  Or do I suck it up and listen to him scream until he figures out that he has assholes for parents that aren't going to come in and make him feel better when he cries in the middle of the night?  Should I just let him come to that reality as early as possible?

Everyone says that if letting him cry doesn't feel right, then it's probably not the right method for us.  And it doesn't feel right.  It feels fucking awful.  But so does waking up a billion times a night to go put a pacifier back in.  Sleeping in tiny little 1-2 hour bursts every night for the last 5 months feels awful also.  Anyone able to share some thoughts on this?  Anyone?  Bueller?

Thanks for stopping by,