Last Chance to Enter the 2 Giveaways!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Don't forget to enter the two giveaways I have going on right now!
The winners will be drawn tonight around 11pm EST.
I'll announce the winners tomorrow.

Click here to become a C & G fan and be entered to win our monthly blog giveaways.

First up is my giveaway right here for CHIC & GREEN. This giveaway is sponsored by EcoSMART and is for a natural Safe Home Bundle. To enter, simply go to our Facebook page, become a fan, and your name will automatically be entered each month in our giveaways.

Click here to become a Loubird fan and have a chance to win my monthly jewelry giveaways.

The second January giveaway is an item I made for Loubird Handmade. I am giving away one set of hair pins using vintage abalone. In my Reiki training, I once recall reading about the relaxing, soothing properties of abalone and like to keep a small abalone shell by my desk to keep me grounded. The Calm hair pin duo sells in my shop for $12.

Winners are drawn at 11pm the last day of each month and winners are notified the 1st of each month. You may enter both drawings. I use a random number generating software program to choose a winner.

Good luck!

Bare Escentuals is Asking You to Rethink Your Environment

Friday, January 29, 2010

Bare Escentuals recently began a new interactive campaign called Rethink What Matters. It's really cool because they're asking for customers to share their thoughts and feelings about various social and envrionmental issues and win prizes while doing so!

Today, their focus is called Rethink the Environment. I love it when I see companies get the ball rolling on being more eco-conscious, and this is a great step. Best of all, the company is having 500 instant wins of bareEscentuals Blush this week for participating. How cool. I adore Thistle blush and the shade Joyous Jennifer is one of the best blush shades ever.

Not all companies are willing to listen to their customers, but Bare Escentuals seems to "get" that listening is crucial to having a good business.

I'll let you know what the prize and topics are each week. Good luck to you!

Loubird Handmade™ is Participating in Hearts for Haiti on Etsy

Last week, I mentioned Hearts for Haiti on Etsy. It is a wonderful collaboration of sellers and it benefits Doctors Without Borders. As of last night, more than $21,000 has been collected (after fees...this is the donation amount) for the organization.

I am extremely careful about charities I am involved with. I always double check them to make sure they're legitimate and then I make sure that donations actually benefit the charity and not just a tiny percentage with the rest going to administrative costs.

This group of over 100 sellers is fabulous. The buyers are, too! More than 1700 items have been sold since Hearts for Haiti started. The Hearts for Haiti shop has a separate bank account which is monitored, so all money goes right over to Hearts for Haiti. When you buy a Hearts for Haiti item, and you have over 900 from which to choose, shipping is free and it really helps people in need.

I just donated an item to the effort today and that is my Romantic Petals Locket.

Speaking of charity donations~ As you know, I have pledged to make monthly donations to The Lustgarten Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research in my dad's memory, the donation being 10% of my net profits. Since today marks the fifth anniversary of my dad's passing, I made this donation a bit early and donated $25 right through their Facebook Page. I hope to be able to donate more once I have a full month of sales in :)

The Happy Book: A Blogging Book Club

As I mentioned last week, I am thrilled to be part of a great group of bloggers discussing The Happy Book.

So what makes this girl happy on a frigid Friday morning?

My desk. My messy, cluttered desk.

Every 3 or 4 days, I straighten it up and put everything where it belongs. This doesn't last long, and I once again have my cluttered corner. I have jewelry making tools and supplies, my rubber stamp set, calendar, coffee, glasses, calculator (since I stink at math) and my pretty file folders.

Do you know what, though? This little bit of disorder makes me happy. My desk is fun and the little bit of clutter is comforting. Did I mention that I know where everything is, too?

My messy desk isn't anything new. When I was in third grade, I was home sick for a few days with strep throat. My teacher, Mrs. Chriswell, was going to send my books home so I could catch up on work, but my desk was so messy that she called my mom to go clean my desk out so she could even find my books. My mom, a complete neat freak, was not amused. Even now, more than 25 years later, my desk is still a bit of a mess.

By the way, today is desk cleaning day. That means that it will be back to looking like this by Monday or Tuesday...

Presidential Purple

Thursday, January 28, 2010

I've made it no secret that I adore Michelle Obama, as seen in some past posts. I love her sense of style and color savvy.

Last night when we were watching the State of the Union address, I was giddy when I was the First Lady's eggplant ensemble. Shades of purple are stunning on Mrs. Obama and I thought she looked fantastic in Isaac Mizrahi.

Here are some of my top eggplant finds:

A lovely clutch from Lynnie B Bags, $25

Earrings from Charming Trinkets, $22.95

Stunning necklace is from Tania Cavenecia Torres,

On a cold day like today, these arm warmers from Gaye Abandon would be ideal!

Some shoe bling from Peterene Design,

Top from Xeno Tees, $24

I simply adore this neckwarmer from Mojo Spa Style!

What's In It Wednesday: Bio-Oil

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

You've probably heard of Bio-Oil before. I've seen it advertised in the back of magazines and it's commonly found at Walgreens and other drugstores.

Juliann, one of my wonderful local readers, asked me to talk about this product for What's In It Wednesday. I was happy to oblige.

First of all, Bio-Oil touts itself as a miracle product to erase stretch marks, take care of aging skin, uneven tone, etc. It claims to have a revolutionary ingredient called PurCellin Oil that will just do wonders for the skin. The 2 ounce bottle sells for around $12. That's not crazy considering the price of other ineffective "miracle" products on the market, but once you find out what is in it and how potentially harmful it could be, you'll definitely want to save that $12.

Let's take a look at Bio-Oil and break down what is in it. The ingredients in red are cause for concern:

Paraffinum Liquidum--This is a crude oil, liquid paraffin. When you use it, you're basically applying liquid fuel to the skin. It may feel good on the skin as these products often do because they are an occlusive and provide that barrier. This really, though, serves no benefit to the skin and there are many better natural oils on the market.

Triisononanoin--a skin condition that helps other ingredients absorb more thoroughly into the skin

Cetearyl Ethylhexanoate--a benign skin and hair conditioning agent

Isopropyl Myristate--this is a binding agent that is safe, but is often derived from animals.

Retinyl Palmitate--Vitamin A

Tocopheryl Acetate--Vitamin E

Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil--Oil from the chamomile flower. While it is great on sensitive skin in general, many find the scent causes sneezing and hay fever like symptoms.

Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil--soothing oil

Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Oil--a great antiseptic and antibacterial oil

Calendula Officinalis Flower Extract--calms and clarifies

Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil--a great multipurpose oil for the skin

Glycine Soja (Soybean) Oil--a great multipurpose oil for the skin

BHT--Chances are you have heard of a toxic chemical being removed from many nail polishes on the market called toluene. BHT is essentially substituted toluene. It is harmful. According to the National Library of Medicine HazMap, BHT is considered to me a "known immune system toxicant." Animal studies have also shown that in low doses, that BHT causes negative effects to the brain and nervous system. This study was published by the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry in 1980 and has yet to be refuted. There are a host of bans and restrictions on BHT across the globe, yet it is still used here.

What troubles me most is that Bio-Oil is used by many pregnant women on stretch marks and one has to wonder about the effect it may have on unborn children.

Bisabolol--Skin conditioning; a terpene (hydrocarbon); can be anti-irritating. Not great, but not a horrible ingredient either.

Parfum--artificial fragrances like this are the leading cause of skin reactions

Amyl Cinnamal--highly allergenic fragrance ingredient is an alcohol, even though the label doesn't say "amyl cinnamal alcohol" as it should. Also a known toxicant to the immune system in humans.

Benzyl Salicylate--UV absorber. Does have salicylic acid as a component, which is not to be used by pregnant women.

Citronellol--masking agent

Coumarin--You may not be familiar with the name Coumarin, but are probably familiar with its relatives, Coumadin or Warfarin, blood thinning medication and Tonka Bean, a fragrance ingredients. In high doses, all can be lethal. Coumarin is found in the seeds of the Tonka Bean. Coumarin is on the EU's list of banned and/or restricted ingredients and several studies have shown there to be many systemic effects in low doses. To think that this is in here and may very well be absorbed into the bloodstream is very alarming, especially since there are links to cancer.
This is found in this product as a fragrance ingredient.

Eugenol--a denaturant and fragrance component. Highly toxic. On the EU's banned/restricted list. The National Library of Medicine HazMap calls this a "known human immune system toxicant."

Geraniol--Masking fragrance, toning agent. Known to be a strong toxin; banned or restricted in other countries; a known environmental toxin

Hydroxycitronellal--Yet another masking fragrance! A known immune system toxicant; also banned or restricted in the EU and other areas

Hydroxyisohexyl 3-Cyclohexene Carboxaldehyde--fragrance component

Limonene--skin sensitizer; for perfume. Restricted/banned in other countries

Linalool--Masking fragrance; shown to be hazardous, banned/restricted for use in other countries

Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone--although it is banned and/or restricted in the EU, there is very little research on this and is considered relatively safe.

CI 26100--This is officially classified by the FDA as a red colorant (Red 225) and data has shown this to have bioaccumulative effects and would not be considered eco-friendly by any stretch.

The C & G bottom line? This is a major waste of money. I know it's $12 and not $70 like some other bottle of so-called revolutionary products. The truth, though, is that this is chock full of toxins. Pregnant and nursing women should definitely avoid this product. I would not use it, nor would I recommend you use it either.

Did anyone else notice that Bio-Oil's miracle ingredient, PurCellin, isn't listed on the ingredients disclosure? Legally, all ingredients must be disclosed on the product label or packaging. PurCellin is, according to Bio-Oil, a lab created ingredient that's supposed to replicate the preen oil gland of a duck. In other words, this "breakthrough" is simply a portion of the ingredients above combined into something called "PurCellin."

If your skin is dehydrated or aging or in need of TLC, may I suggest you try my DIY suggestions for dry skin? Or else, pure shea butter will work just as well. Any natural oils and butters will soothe your skin--macadamia nut oil, marula oil, coconut oil, hemp seed, sunflower, etc.

Ruffle My Feathers

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Such a great clutch from Mermaids Dream, $65

This is one of my favorites and it is from Sweet Grass Mill.

Vintage feather necklace from Svetlana Novikova,

Simply put: a cool hat!

This piece may be used as a lariat or a belt and is from Big Frozen Melon.

Personalized peacock feather notecard set from Pink Lily Press

Sterling bracelet with feather pattern from Panicmama Jewelry

I adore this peacock feather placemat from Decorative Instincts.

What a fun headband from The Headband Shoppe!


Monday, January 25, 2010

When I woke up this morning it was nearing 60 degrees. Yes, 60. In upstate New York. In January.

It's been raining hard and the temps are supposed to drop all day. By Friday, it'll be in the teens again. I so wish the sun were shining to go with the warmer air, but I found some sunshine in this ultra cheerful vintage piece:

Vintage yellow mixing bowl from Ricrac and Buttons, $7.50

Happiness on a Cloudy Morning

What makes this girl happy on a rainy Monday morning? Her morning coffee!

Every day my little guy and I head to our local Tim Hortons so I can have my coffee and Ben can have his chocolate milk and whistle at his crush, Megan.

What makes you happy on a Monday?

The Happy Book: A Blogging Book Club

Friday, January 22, 2010

I had the pleasure of participating in two of Jamie Ridler's book clubs, The Next Chapter, for bloggers last year. I first read The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women and later read The Joy Diet. I preferred the first book, but both made clear impacts on my life. From them, I learned a great deal about myself and about the importance of listening to my inner voice.

I am part of The Next Chapter once again and the selection this time around is called The Happy Book by Rachael Kempster and Meg Leder. What is different about this time around is that there is actually a mail-around. More than 100 bloggers across the globe will also be enjoying the book for a week, writing their thoughts, drawing their feelings, just sharing in general, etc. I will receive the mail-around book in the coming weeks and I'm part of the "Mirth" group. Unlike the others, it is also very much a journal, so you are extremely interactive page by page.

I am a week behind in posting for the club, so I do apologize.

I can recommend this book already. This can really be for anyone--whether you wake up bubbly and full of glee or whether you're working on finding that happiness.

What makes me happy? Quite simply, my family. They bring joy to my heart each moment of the day--my husband and my boys fill my heart with joy each day.

I am truly happy. I am so blessed to be able to say that I am, because it was not always this way. I was going to just post a picture of my kids or the dog or a great piece of dark chocolate as my "Happy" picture, but I feel it necessary for full disclosure here before I am giddy and joyful each week. Most people who know me think I am a very positive person with loads of energy and thinks I have always been very "together."

I need to be completely honest before doing The Happy Book so it is truly authentic each week.

If you are someone who knows me pretty well, you know that I am a happy person. I love life. I love my life. Has it always been sunshine and rainbows, though? Honestly, I have not always been the happiest person on earth. You may not even know this because I was able to hide it pretty well. I was really good for a while at just gliding along.

My dad died when I was pregnant with Benjamin and I was grief stricken to the core. My heart was broken in a million pieces, but I also had a one year old at home and I made everything happy and wonderful and "normal" for him. I was given a bad piece of advice by someone in my life that "you shouldn't cry in front of Nicholas. It's not healthy for him." I ignored my heart, thought I was a bad mom for being sad, and put on a happy face. I was anything but happy. Nick was a preemie so I was scared I would go into preterm labor with Ben as well. I thought If I allowed myself to feel my pain and loss that I would harm my unborn child. So I kept cramming my feelings down even deeper even though it was hard for me to function each day.

Then Ben was born and between the hormones and my bottled up sadness, I nearly fell apart. I was so sad and so depressed. I had battled depression years before when I was in college and talking to a counselor managed to help me. I was OK for a few years. In 2005, though, I could no longer hide my sadness and ended up on Prozac. Yes, Prozac. It is OK. I can hear some people now, "How could you tell the world such a thing?"

Depression is an illness like diabetes or cancer. One does not choose to have depression. It is an illness. If you need medication to treat it, then by all means, I am not opposed to it. I told that same person in my life mentioned above that I was depressed and told my doctor I needed help and she scolded me and said, "Do you cry all the time? You seem fine to me. You cannot cry in front of your children."

So when the clouds started to lift a bit again, things really did improve. I experienced joy and felt whole again. Actually that is a lie--I felt almost whole. I still was trying to be the best mom to my boys and best wife to Tom and the days were fine, but once they went to bed, there was still something deep down I did not want to address and that was the profound sense of loss I was feeling from my dad's death. I forced myself not to cry, not to feel that pain in an outward sense.

I could have talked to my husband. I knew that. He is a very patient and understanding man and I know that he so wanted me to just say how I was feeling. I was afraid if I started with a simple, "I am still sad" that the floodgates would open and never stop. I had to find a way to deal with the whole in my heart without dealing with it.

I devised another plan. I have been known to come up with a few hair-brained plans a time or two. What does every exhausted mom with a 1 year old and an almost 3 year old do? Well, start a business of course. That's the silly plan I came up with anyway. I think I told myself that I was already making some skin care, so I might as well sell it. I told myself--and everyone else--that I needed some Karley time, that I was so immersed in being Mommy that I wasn't doing something for myself.

It took me until recently to realize it, but I threw myself into starting a business because I wanted to be so busy in those quiet moments the boys were sleeping that I wouldn't have time to think about my grief. I convinced myself that it was what I wanted to do so I had something that was mine that was separate from being "just a mom."

I poured all of my spare time and energy into something all to avoid dealing with my grief. I literally was sleeping 3 hours a day once my business got going and I was too tired to address those feelings deep down. Looking back, I was a tired mom with two babies and should've been relaxing or getting a manicure or vegging out in front of the tv, not throwing myself into something else. My mind was in a fog some days--I was so, so tired trying to be Superwoman all the time.

My business at that time was making skin care and candles and week, I even added cookies. Seriously--cookies. I actually had someone buy 4 dozen cookies, a bunch of tarts and some soap. I barely had energy to make dinner, but I did, and I managed to get those cookies done, too. I kept adding more stuff to make sure that I didn't have time to feel my pain. It was one of the dumbest plans on earth, but it did allow me to avoid that grief for a while, so that goal was accomplished. I think that my mindset was, "If I am busy all day and night every single day, the feelings will just disappear."

Wrong I was. The feelings were still there. I couldn't push them down anymore. The truth of the matter is that I kept having chance after to chance to push the feelings down. When my face cream was featured in Body & Soul, I was given another free pass to avoid my grief because I was so busy--more tired, working harder, just drained--that I could tuck those feelings down a bit more.

Yes, I experienced happiness through those years. Please do not think that I was just a bundle of sadness for these years. That is not the case. My family brought me joy, I laughed and played and had fun, went out with friends, was content, proud of my achievements and the like...and when Nick was about to enter kindergarten, I stopped soothing myself with my nightly pint of ice cream, started exercising again, lost weight (46 pounds and am now considered "normal" on my doctor's weight chart, but do aim to lose a few more) and just put the puzzle of myself back together. It wasn't until last February, though, when I started having health problems that I was forced to take a step back and relax and just be. That was one of the key things that woke me up.

In this year, I have grown so much in terms of facing my feelings. I actually started making notes of what was making me happy vs. unhappy and that is when I chose to follow my heart. Always. No more excuses and no more avoidance.

Since then, I started to once again feel true, down to the core JOY and HAPPINESS once more. Closing the door on my skin care business was that final step for me. I closed the door on avoidance. I closed the door on doing things that I didn't enjoy. In doing so, I have opened the door to experiencing even greater joy and happiness because I am doing what I want to do, what my heart says I should do, what makes me smile.

I have said this before, if you are hearing your inner voice tell you something, please do not avoid it. Listen to it. Heed the advice of your inner voice and you will find your path to happiness.

Now that I have confessed my dark clouds in my life that were here until the sun came back out, I leave you with this: go out and do something this weekend that makes you happy!

Next week, I will be back with a lighthearted HAPPY post for the book club :)

Frugal Fridays: Robin's Egg Blue for $10 or Less

Trio of vintage cups from Little Dog Vintage, $10

Set of magnets from Blue Pearls, $5

Such a great sign from dscheibel, $8

Bistro napkin set is from Floradora Inc., $10

Ecofriendly bath poof is 100% cotton and from MyissaG.'s, $8

Scrabble tile pendant from Home Studio is just lovely!

Beautiful soap dish from Miss Pottery, $8

Plastic bag holder from Rosey Corner Creations, $9

These tags from Catnip Studio are perfect for spring!

Vintage Greens

Thursday, January 21, 2010

I have this vision in my head of an emerald green colored necklace and have had that rich shade on my mind. Sweet Elizabeth gave me a box of vintage jewelry in need of repair and upcycling from her grandmother's place. There are so many little pieces with which to work and one of them happens to be emerald green.

Today I was looking at some great green vintage pieces from Etsy. I thought I'd share them with you, as they are all chic and green!

What a great piece. Antique hinged bracelet from The Curio Cabinet, $115

Brixiana is offering this velvet clutch in emerald for $12

I have these vintage glasses in blue and know they'd be fabulous in green, too!
From Need or Want, $18.50 for set of 4

Vintage 60s Lilli Diamond couture dress (comes with swing coat) from Timeless Vixen Vintage, $300

Decanter from Bluebell, $18

Canister set from Modish Vintage, $42

Brooch from My Vintage Jewels, $32

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