Friday, January 30

Giveaway winners

Congratulations to the winners of The Sweet Jelly Bean's first two giveaways! Five lucky ladies will receive a "diamond" ring from AMT Studio, including:
Julie D.
Tutu's Bliss

And congratulations to Gina who will receive a custom made box of chocolate covered Oreo cookies from my Etsy shop.

Thanks to everyone who participated! Please visit again soon (another giveaway will be coming up shortly)!

Sally Hansen Nail Art Pens

I was trudging my way through my weekly gym workout this morning when I saw an ad in Glamour magazine for Sally Hansen's new Nail Art Pens. Obviously if it's being advertised in magazines, this product is not something that I'm the first to discover, but I thought it was cool enough to mention here. These Art Pens have a firm tip which makes them more like markers and less messy when creating designs on your fingers and toes. They come in 8 shades and work over any nail color. If you make a mistake, just wipe off and start over - they're water-based and seal with a topcoat.

That's about all the information that the ad had in it. I went to the Sally Hansen website to see if I could find out more, and the product is so new that they haven't added it to their products there. I checked a couple of local drugstores: Long's Drugs didn't have them, but Walgreen's did. Now all I have to do is decide if I want to try the pink or red pen first!

Earrings for Sensitive Ears

I've always been a sensitive person: tenderhearted with moody skin that crispy critters in the sunlight since I look like a vampire, and sometimes even Cetaphil burns my face. So it didn't come as a huge shock when I started having trouble wearing earrings a few years ago. At first I could still wear pure gold earrings, just not costume jewelry, but it got worse and worse until I couldn't even wear gold anymore without my ears burning, itching, and stinging. I tried Neosporin, then hydrogen peroxide, and then Cortisone, then I got creative and tried painting the posts with clear nail polish. When that failed I even bought some nickel free earrings from the department store. No dice. I gave up for a long while, then decided to scour the internet a few months ago to find the Holy Grail of all earrings for sensitive ears. After running through a couple dozen websites trying to A) figure out what I did to piss my ears off and B) locate a type of earring I might be able to wear, I lucked out!

Allow me to introduce you to Maggie's Creations, an online company specializing in earrings for those who can't even wear the gentlest of metals without issues. The owner began to experience these issues herself about 10 years ago, and has since launched an entire line of earrings ranging from studs to fullblown chandelier earrings (as well as doing plenty of research on what causes this and how to remedy it). Her earrings come in two metals: niobium and titanium, both of which are surgical quality.

After emailing back and forth with Maggie about my issues, she recommended that I start with a pair of niobium healer earrings, which are designed with re-introduce your ears to the idea of wearing earrings. I chose a pair of small, colored hoops. The first couple of days, as she had warned they might be, were rough. The earrings itched like crazy, but there was no burning, and the discomfort lessened as I continued to follow her careful instructions. I showered in them, slept in them, lived in these earrings for a week. By Day 3, my ears were no longer fighting back. By Day 5, I had forgotten I was wearing them.

It seems like wearing the earrings as Maggie directed have helped. As she told me, some people can use her products to re-train their ears to allow all sorts of metals, while others find that her earrings are the only thing they can wear. I still don't wear any earrings very much, but I can get away with some wear here and there. Today I wore a pair of sterling silver earrings and managed to keep them in until after work!

I truly recommend Maggie's Creations to anyone who has sensitive ears. I can't say that these products are cheap, but she does have a sale page and will even let you return earrings if they cause you problems. In addition, I'd rather spend $40 on a pair of earrings I know I can wear than that much on normal earrings that will end up in a drawer unloved. She has some really cute styles, so check her out!

Thursday, January 29

Swag Bucks

Search & Win

I recently joined an online program I stumbled upon called Swag Bucks. In spite of its iffy title (Really, that's the best they could come up with?), it's a very unique program where you run searches for things on the Internet like you normally do (they use a Google platform so you know it works). The cool part is that each search you do through this program can randomly earn you "swag bucks," which you can save up and redeem for anything from $5 Amazon gift cards to Apple IPhones. Click the SwagBucks graphic in this post to sign up and I'll also get a little bonus for referring you (which I would very much appreciate)!

7 Funny Superbowl Ads

I'm not much into football (Mr. Bean, I am trying), and yet my husband lures me into watching the Superbowl with him every year by promising that there'll be great Superbowl commercials waiting in the wings. I always fall for it and he's always right. Here are 7 of my favorite Superbowl commercials:

HONORABLE MENTION: Apple, "Macintosh Debut," 1984 - I stumbled upon this one as I was hunting down clips of my favorites (below). Not funny, but worth a look just to see the 1980s athletic garb!

1. SoBe, "Thrillicious," 2008
2. Michelob Ultra, "Touch Football," 2006
3. Ameriquest, "Romantic Dinner with her cat," 2005
4. Reebok, "Terry Tate, Office Linebacker," 2003
5. EDS, "Herding Cats," 2000
6. Tabasco, "Mosquito," 1998
7. Pepsi, "Coke Thief," 1996

And my favorite non-Superbowl commercial of all time that's related to cats (may not be suitable for young kids):


Wednesday, January 28

The Bean's First Blog Award

Stop the presses! The Sweet Jelly Bean has received its very first award! Many thanks to Mrs. D for giving The Bean its very own Honest Scrap award. To accept, I must follow these rules:

1. Choose a minimum of 7 blogs that you find brilliant in content or design.
2. Show the 7 blog names with links on your blog, then leave them a comment informing them of their “Honest Scrap” prize.
3. List at least 10 honest things about yourself.

Wow, I’m flattered! However, since this blog is not really meant to be personal and is designed to be more about the products and sites I talk about, I’ll make the 10 things about me relate to that:

1. I am a girly girl. A good 3% of my annual income goes into such obsessions as Sephora. Upon entering this place, I wonder if I have found Atlantis.

2. I love to take baths (one day I hope we’ll move up from a normal tub/shower combo to a Roman tub)! My current favorite place to buy bathing acoutrements is Lush.

3. I’m secretly a cat lady even if I am married! If Mr. Bean wasn’t as watchful as he is, I would have millions of cat accessories adorning our apartment.
4. I will give money to a cause that I care about without a second thought, but will stand in the grocery store aisle for 10 minutes trying to decide which bags of chips to buy. My favorite charity is the ASPCA.

5. I’m 5’9” and accessorize with heels all the time, including some $27 ankle boots I recently scored at

6. I love candy over potato chips, french fries, or anything else sensible in the world. My favorites are SweetTarts, Spree’s, and ShockTarts (I should own stock in Wonka Candy, the company that makes all three of these).
7. The two places I want to visit most are South Africa and Australia. Mr. Bean and I are scouring deals on TravelZoo for a possible vacation in August.

8. We finally got a Wii Fit and I love it. It's the only type of video game I've really been into since I was about 9. I also get a real kick out of designing Mii people.

9. I could honestly spend hours looking at all the things on Etsy! I also have a store there that you should visit.

10. I’m really into birds, especially chickadees. We had two on top of our wedding cake, two on our wedding invitations, and obviously I adorn my blog with one.

Okay, enough about me! Here are 7 of my favorite blogs (there are SO many good ones out there) in no apparent order:

IsABelt - a solution for the blue jean blues?

Are jeans made these days built for any woman's body? Even my stick-figure-body-type friends don't always have a lot of luck in the dressing room (makes me feel a little better), so what is the deal with jeans anyway? For me, it's trying to find a pair that fit my bum and thighs without gapping too much in the back. Otherwise if I get something that fits my waist my thighs look like rolling pins trapped in sausage casing!

I was recently in need of a new belt and wanted to check out what online stores carried. This is how I first discovered the IsABelt, a new product specifically designed to help eliminate the creeping, crawling, sagging, butt crackag-ing, and other wardrobe malfunctions associated with low-rise jeans. To use it, you just loop the 1/2" plastic belt (which adjusts in a similar way to your bra straps) through you jean belt loops and cinch. The IsABelt is available in clear as well as many colors; in children's, misses,' and plus sizes; and for both men and women. Although it retails at many stores (both brick-and-mortar and online), you can order an IsABelt directly from the company for $16.95+$5.95 shipping.

I think I may have convinced myself I should (and need) to try this one out. If I end up doing so, I'll be sure to give you all a detailed report! Have any of you tried IsABelt before?

Tuesday, January 27


There is something really great about cupcakes. No matter what sort of bad mood I’m in, they make me happy (and that’s not just when I’m gobbling them up two at a time). If I walk past a display of them in supermarket bakery, they bring a smile to my face! In my opinion, cupcakes are the cheerleaders of the pastry and sweet treats world. In celebration of these little num nums, I’ve created a collage of all things cupcake using one of my favorite online toys, Polyvore:

Don't call me cupcake

My favorite product from this collage (aside from the horribly overpriced Tiffany charm)? The Cupcake-themed dish gloves made by a store called Carolyn’s Kitchen. Somehow I don’t think I’d mind scrubbing burnt chicken char off the dollar store cookie sheet I forgot to Pam if I were wearing these! They’re also available in a lighter blue and even have a matching apron. Talk about domestic bliss!

Satchel Studio - a place for Unique Messenger Bags

I was recently strolling through artisan booths at a local arts festival when I rounded the corner to find an enormous display for Satchel Studio, a company based in San Francisco that specializes in unique messenger bags! After happily discovering that Satchel Studio has a great online presence, I felt like I should share this amazing find with you! Let me assure you that if you buy from Satchel Studio, no one you know will have a bag like yours! Self described as a “one-woman show,” the company is indeed run by just one artist named Kelty who combines found images, original photography from around the globe, and familiar iconography to make the unique collages that give these messenger bags true attitude! Satchel Studio features two signature messenger bag sizes and a limited-edition hip pack – each of these pieces is available in up to four colors with your choice of design. Some of The Sweet Jelly Bean’s favorite designs:

The really fun part? You have dozens of designs to choose from (including from collections such as Tiles, Japanese, Grafitti, Portraits, Travela, and more), and trust me, it’ll be tough deciding on which one to get! My advice - check this site out!

Monday, January 26

Giveaway: Chocolate covered oreos (Bloggy Carnival)

Please join the Bloggy Giveaways Quarterly Carnival by entering to win a a box of 8 chocolate covered Oreo cookies made to order from my Etsy shop per the winner's specifications. This includes your choice of chocolate, flavor, and toppings! To find out more about my Oreo cookie boxes, please visit my Etsy shop. PLEASE NOTE DUE TO THE ITEM BEING PERISHABLE THAT THIS CONTEST IS ONLY OPEN TO PEOPLE IN THE US. Here's how to play:

FOR ONE ENTRY: Visit my Etsy shop and check out all of the sweet treats I offer and pick your favorite. Return here and post a comment to this post identifying your favorite item. Be sure to leave your email address instead of commenting anonymously (if you're not logged in) so I can notify the winner!

FOR A BONUS ENTRY: Begin "following" The Sweet Jelly Bean blog - please comment on this post to let me know you've done so!

FOR 2 BONUS ENTRIES: Mention this giveaway on your own blog and link back to The Sweet Jelly Bean. Please comment on this post to let me know you've done so!

The contest begins January 26 and ends January 30 at 10PM PST. The winner will be chosen using I will contact the winner following the close of the contest to find out what toppings and chocolate flavor you would like and ship shortly thereafter. Good luck to everyone, and remember to tell your friends to enter!

P.S. Yet another giveaway will be starting within a week, so please remember to visit often!

How well do you know your Valentine? A Quiz from Real Simple Magazine

LOOKING FOR THE "DIAMOND" RING GIVEAWAY? SCROLL DOWN TO JANUARY 24TH'S POST! Out of all the magazines I get in the mail, Real Simple has to be my favorite. I am addicted to this thing, and have now spread my obsession with it to my mom, my mother-in-law, and my older sister! I guess you could call it a women's interest magazine. There are all sorts of articles and tidbits on new products (I think this magazine gave me the idea for this blog), advice, and tips on general well being.

This fun quiz comes from Real Simple’s online website. After having a laugh with Mr. Bean over it (“How is ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’ a reality TV show?!”), I thought that I should share it with you! Click here to get a PDF of the quiz to print off!

Saturday, January 24

Giveaway: Win a "diamond" ring


In a recent post I mentioned a lovely “diamond” ring designed by an artist in NYC named Alissia Melka-Teichroew. After mentioning the post to Alissia in an email, she was kind enough to send me 5 of her "diamond" rings to give away to a few lucky readers of The Sweet Jelly Bean! Each ring is a size 7 and will glam up any outfit or occasion!

Some simple steps to win one of these lovely rings:

1. FOR ONE ENTRY: Visit Alissia's online shop to look at all of her gorgeous products for sale. Pick your favorite. Return to The Sweet Jelly Bean blog (that's here) and post a comment to this post identifying your favorite piece. Be sure to leave your email address instead of commenting anonymously (if you're not logged in) so I can notify winners!

2. FOR A BONUS ENTRY: Begin "following" The Sweet Jelly Bean blog - please comment on this post to let me know you've done so!

3. FOR 2 BONUS ENTRIES: Mention this giveaway on your own blog and link back to The Sweet Jelly Bean. Please comment on this post to let me know you've done so!

The contest ends Friday, January 30 at Noon PST. Winners will be chosen using I will contact winners following the close of the contest and mail out your rings shortly after (sorry, rings must be shipped within the US). Good luck everyone!

As I mentioned before, I was really taken with this ring and asked Alissia a couple of questions about the piece and her continuing work:

Where did you get the idea for the "diamond" ring?

When thinking about a diamond ring, I always wondered if one, I would want one myself and two, if the diamond itself really meant anything to me. I also liked the thought of creating accessories that are not really made out of the material they were first intended in (diamond ring, pearl ring, pearl necklace, watch, medals of honor, prize ribbons, lockets, etc). When working on the Diamond Ring and Pearl Ring in Silver, I really wanted to create the different widths to make the idea of a diamond ring even more questioned, is a 2mm silver diamond ring just as valuable as a 9mm silver diamond ring? Or do we need the 25mm silver diamond ring to prove that we're in love and will stay with someone forever? From this the plexi coloured rings came and seemed like a logical way to grow the line of Diamond Rings and create even more variety on how to create your "perfect" diamond ring, by stacking the colours and different materials.

What are you working on these days?
The USB Key featured on Coolhunting mid-December (getting that manufactured). We're working on more glasses for the InsideOut Glass Collection, that is being manufactured and distributed by Charles & Marie. Next week Kikkerland will launch the Soft TreeTrunk Stool as well as products coming out for a new brand hopefully by March. Also working on more table top, jewellery and small furniture designs.

Special thanks to Alissia for her generosity - she is a talented artist, and we wish her well!

Friday, January 23

The Bean's Pick: LuceGirlsArt on Etsy

As I've mentioned before, I am a stationery freak! I think I collect notecards more than I actually send them - sometimes it's so hard for me to part with a greeting card I've bought weeks in advance for someone’s birthday that I almost don’t send it to them! It’s really an unhealthy obsession, I suppose, especially since Etsy sellers are always so reliable in feeding it. Recently I searched through dozens of Etsy shops looking for just the right set of Valentine’s Day cards to send to my closest family and friends. After much debating, bookmarking, and browsing, I decided on these lovely handmade cards by LuceGirlsArt. She’s relatively new to the Etsy scene, but has already made quite the splash with her adorable earrings and notecards, including the ones pictured here (photo by moi – visit her shop for more pics). She made 9 of these in a special order for me and they arrived quickly without any damage! I love how the lovely tree (with glittery little hearts) is layered on top of delicious chocolate colored shimmer paper. As usual, it’s going to be hard for me to part with these when it comes time to send them out in early February. If you’re in the market for cards, check this shop out!

Thursday, January 22

Wet weather gear (Rain rain, go away...unless I can buy a new pair of galoshes)

3 Rainy Weather Looks

3 Rainy Weather Looks - by thesweetjellybean on

Happy Thursday. Today in Northern California it is cold, wet, and rainy. You’re probably thinking, Duh Ms. Bean, if it’s wet outside it’s probably raining! Well yes, that’s true, but what I mean is that the air itself feels wet and chilly with the unique capacity to chill me to the bone! I truly left the house totally unprepared today: wearing non-waterproof ballet flats that attract puddles, leather jacket that I refuse to get wet and therefore left in the car, and (my favorite) absolutely no umbrella! What’s a girl to do? Should I carry around one of those foldable ponchos in my purse during the winter months? I don’t know about you, but most of those things end up looking I’m wearing like a wet plastic grocery bag! Here are some quick (and cute) fixes to anytime you find yourself swimming out into a storm. Stay dry and warm out there!

Wednesday, January 21

Visit my Etsy shop for chocolate covered Oreos and more

WARNING: Shameless self promotion in 3...2...1...
Do you dream in chocolate? Does the term "ooey gooey, soft and chewy" make your mouth water? In addition to blogging, I also run a new shop over at Etsy called The Sweet Jelly Bean (go figure!) that features chocolate covered Oreos with your choice of topping, snickerdoodle cookies made the way God intended, Southern Pecan Praline Cookies, and more! If you're shopping for Valentine's Day, any of my shop items can be purchased in advance and shipped on a day of your choosing (we have a strict "no frozen dough in the freezer" policy at my house, so I guarantee your treats will arrive fresh). Please visit The Sweet Jelly Bean on Etsy today!

Tuesday, January 20

Music pick: Lenka

Last fall I forced Mr. Bean into the car (at gunpoint, no really!) to see Sara Bareilles in San Francisco. Sara is currently one of my favorite soul-sister-with-a-piano performers on the radio these days, so I was dying to see her live. We ended up getting stuck in traffic and missed Sara's opening act, who we knew only as Lenka. While sitting on the freeway bumper-to-bumper, we mused on who this Lenka must be. Girl or boy? Probably a girl, we decided. Band or soloist? Punk or girly?

Curiosity got the best of me about this Lenka person, so the next afternoon I went to ITunes to check her out. She currently has just one debut cd available, but after listening to the 30 second samples that ITunes provides, I really liked it and bought it. For $7.99 I got 10 songs that I can only describe as bubbly, upbeat, and positive. I'm not saying they're all about unicorns and dancing forest creatures, but her lyrics and voice just make me happy. It's a great album to veg out to when I'm writing for a couple of hours at my office and just need to fall into a rhythm with things. I'm happy to say that I must not have chosen too big of a dud because I've since heard 1 or 2 of her songs on the local radio stations! Born in 1978, Lenka started out as a TV actress who then moved to ensemble music in a group. Now she's really hit the US scene with her single "The Show" (one of my favorites).

If you'd like to check her out, try visiting this YouTube link to hear/see her perform "The Show." I think you'll be glad that you did!
P.S. Don't worry, Sara Bareilles! You've still got my iPod's attention!

Electra Bikes

I can't say that I've had the best luck with bikes in recent years. As a child, no problems. As an adult...well, it started in college with a squeaky brake on my campus ride, and it really went downhill from there. After a spill-and-skid on the pavement following a $100 bike purchase from a local megamart, I decided to buy a bike from Electra, a bicycle company based in Carlsbad, California. Founded in 1993, they claim to be one of the main reasons the cruiser bike has come back into popularity.

I say that they're more popular for their quirky rides, such as their "Karma," which I bought last fall. I'm not really outgoing enough to ever pick a car color bolder than silver, white, or black, but when it comes to a bicycle, I went all out! It's a 3-speed cruiser bike in shiny metallic purple that fades from front to back, gold swirly decorations on the tire guards, leather tassels on the handlebars and seat, and...well, that's about as technical as I can get with bikes. All I can say is that it's a gorgeous ride and is so fun to ride. Mr. Bean and I took a long ride this weekend and although my cruiser can't go as fast as his commuter bike, we had a great time.

Even if you're not in the market to buy a new bicycle, visit Electra's website to at least check out their cruiser designs! Here are some of my favorites:

Recently, even celebrities have jumped on the Electra bandwagon including Paris Hilton, Jenny McCarthy, and Hansen (who are they again)?

Monday, January 19

Bonus Post: 4 free giveaways you should enter

Enter to win a lovely necklace from the Etsy seller HomeStudio. The winner gets to choose from over 200 designs! To enter, visit Happy Daisy by clicking here.

Enter to win this adorable apron from Carolyn's Kitchen by visiting Cookie Girl Creations.

Enter to win this sweet little bag of goodies by visiting Indefinately definite!

Enter to win this lovely set of "yarnball earrings" by visiting the Mommatudes blog!

COMING SOON! The Sweet Jelly Bean hosts its own first giveaway ever! Stay tuned for more details!

Benefit Cosmetics

Many of the sites, companies, and products mentioned so far are fairly mainstream, but we'd like to mention a corp that you may already know about, Benefit Cosmetics. Created by twins in 1976, this San Francisco-based company is a favorite because of their quality products that always sport quirky names and packaging. As mentioned, The Sweet Jelly Bean is in no way the Christopher Columbus to discover this company as it has its very own page of awards and accolades from Allure, Real Simple, InStyle, and more. My favorite products include:

This is an excellent face primer and does just the trick under my mineral makeup from Lure Beauty!

I recently picked up this gloss in "kiss me." It's a fairly neutral shade for me, but they have several other that are on my "to buy when I win the Lotto" list.

I was looking for a very soft brush that would serve as a replacement for my worn out kabuki brush, and this one really hits the spot!

Benefit Cosmetic counters are in many large department stores, at Sephora, Ulta, and probably other places (I just can't think of anywhere else I've seen it right now and I didn't see a store locator on their website).

The Bean's Pick: Uncommon Goods

This pick is one of my favorite online stores (and I also love their catalogs that come in the mail). Meet Uncommon Goods, an online store based out of Brooklyn dedicated to bringing you "creatively designed, high-quality merchandise at affordable prices." Visit their website and you'll find everything from home decor to baby onesies to garden gnomes. Browse through their items and you'll see their focus on offering a number of "green" products, many made via fair trade practices (they sell a number of repurposed products such as photo frames made out of old magazines, vases made of old windshields, and clocks made out of vintage camera bodies). Their website features a review system where buyers can rate products for quality, price, value, etc. Perhaps my favorite thing about Uncommon Goods is their Better to Give program, where customers gain the opportunity to contribute a portion of their purchase to a non-profit organization. Not bad! Some of our favorite items:

Lumen Oil Lamp Shadow Projectors $48; candle refills, set of 2 for $5
The #1 item I am craving from Uncommon Goods right now! Invented by artist Adam Frank, this modern little oil lamp casts an enchanting shadow from a tiny, stainless steel tree. As the flame flickers, the shadow of the tree moves like a light breeze is rustling its branches. A unique twist on a normal candle. Comes with two containers of odorless, clean-burning liquid wax that last 17 hours each. Available in five styles (from left to right): Cedar, Nest, Magnolia, Pine, and Bloom. Made in Brooklyn.

Gnomes-be-Gones with Gnome $125
How can you not love this? Your average, everyday garden gnome being carried away by two creepy, metallic critters with sharp teeth and no tongues. Excellent!

Bingo Clock $35
Made with reclaimed vintage bingo cards from a church in Pennsyvalnia. Very cool!

Recycled Multi-Color Wood Frame $48
A picture frame made from recycled wood from old boats, houses, schools and buildings in Thailand.

If you don't see anything that piques your interest here, I recommend you still check them out. They basically carry all sorts of cool things you never knew you needed!

P.S. Happy Martin Luther King, Jr. Day!

Friday, January 16

Welcoming President Obama

As many of you may know by now (ha ha), President-Elect Obama is being sworn in on Tuesday, January 20 - less than 4 days from now. Although we can't all attend the 10 official inauguration balls being hosted by the new President, I'm sure many of you may have an inauguration party to attend to Tuesday evening (if not, it's okay because A) I don't have one to go to and B) you can always find one by checking your local newspaper). Even if you are just planning to stay home and order pizza (my version of an inauguration ball for this year), here are some ideas for making sure you show your colors for the big day:

president obama usa america inauguration

president obama usa america inauguration by thesweetjellybean

Events start tomorrow (see this website for a complete schedule), but if you're looking for the main meat of the action, here it is:

12:00 noon (EST): As specified by the U.S. Constitution (20th Amendment), presidential terms of office begin and end at 12:00 noon on January 20. Barack Obama will take the oath of office, which is this simple, 35-word, statement: I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

12:05 (EST): President Barack Obama will give his inaugural address, speaking to the nation and world, for the first time, as President of the United States.

My pick for this festive occasion? Barack O'Balm, which creator No Nonsense Body Care in Wales describes as "a healing balm for all of us." About $3.70 plus shipping to the US. Perfect for showing you're patriotic...and that you care - about your lips! No Nonsense promises to carry only all natural, organic, fair trade products so you can feel good about feelin' good!
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