Friday, February 27

5 Etsy items to help with Spring Cleaning

I can hardly believe that it's almost March. Where has the time gone? Are you planning to do some spring cleaning soon? I'd like to say I plan on it, but so far I don't. I like it when our apartment is really clean, but it's the actual cleaning part of that scenario that always scares me off. What better way to kick off Spring Cleaning than with a few treasures I found on Etsy?

Clean In-Style Gloves - trimmed with Floral Carnival and Light Blue Oilcloth (by Etsy seller Julie Meyer), $12.50. Although this is my favorite pattern, she also carries this products in a variety of other designs and styles.

Very Concentrated Room Spray (by Etsy seller Red Leaf), $14. Available in nine scents. There are lots of room sprays on Etsy, but this store's packaging really looks sharp to me.

Carpet Freshener (by Etsy seller Craft Scentiments), $5. Choose from more than 25 scents. My favorite is the Lemon Bundt cake - YUM!

Ecofriendly Dry Dusting Floor Mop Head - Fits Regular Swiffer Sweeper (by Etsy seller Picket Basket Crafts), $9. A great way to go green while supporting an Etsy artist!

All-Purpose Cleaner (by Etsy seller la petite vie), $6. Not a lot of info about what the scent smells like, but I love her packaging!
Now you're armed with the tools to clean, clean, clean? Need a little push? Try Real Simple's Spring Cleaning Checklist.

Thursday, February 26

The Bean's Pick: Doodle 4 Google, a contest for the world's budding artists

If you use Google (or are obsessed with it like me), maybe you've noticed that its logo sometimes changes depending on the current holiday or time of year. Doodle 4 Google is a competition that invites K-12 students to play around with the Google logo to create new variations on it. This year's theme if "What I Wish for the World."

Registration closes at 11:59:59 PM Pacific time on March 17, 2009 and entries are due by 11:59:59 PM Pacific time on March 31, 2009. Only teachers or school employees should register. Parents or students who are interested should contact their teacher to register them.Teachers, you'll find everything you need to get started on the Registration page.

The Doodle 4 Google competition is open to all U.S. residents between the ages of 5 and 18 who attend elementary and secondary schools (i.e. grades K-12) in the U.S. Doodles will be judged in the following brackets:

Kindergarten - Grade 3
Grade 4 - Grade 6
Grade 7 - Grade 9
Grade 10 - Grade 12

The entries from all 50 states will then be cut into 10 different regions for judging purposes. There will be up to 400 state finalists, 40 regional winners, 4 national finalists, and 1 "National Winner of Doodle 4 Google." The National Winner's doodle will 'go live' on the Google homepage for 24 hours. The National Winner will win a $15,000 college scholarship to be used at the school of their choice, a trip to the Google New York Office, a laptop computer, and a t-shirt printed with their doodle. The winner's school will also be given a $25,000 technology grant towards the establishment/improvement of a computer lab.

After finding about this contest, my favorite thing was exploring the regional winners from last year. Some of them are truly amazing! Click here to visit them, or click here to learn more about the contest.

Wednesday, February 25

I'm a winner!

I've never really won much of anything. Once when I was 10 years old my mom let me pick Lotto numbers for her. We won $3.00. Then I once won a CD at a Best Buy grand opening when I was in middle school. I was feeling pretty good about it until I walked by the promo section and saw they were $4.99. That'

And then I started blogging and reading everyone's blogs obsessively and entered several of your giveaways. This year I have won three (3!) contests! As an additional way of saying thank you to both the blog owners and the shops that sponsored the giveaways, here is a lineup of the treats I've won:

Truffle Button Magnets from Etsy seller Romantic Treasures, giveaway hosted by Simple Finds - these are adorable (they help keep me from caving into real chocolate ALL THE TIME and I like that they help me organize my scatterbrained fridge)!

Sweetheart Orange Apron from Carolyn's Kitchen, giveaway hosted by Cookie Girl Creations - somehow this apron manages to look sweet and sexy! I like to wear it when I'm making sweet treats for my Etsy shop.

Amethyst and Sterling Earrings from Etsy seller Oh2122, giveaway hosted on Oh2122's blog - I just found out that I won these earlier this week. I love purple and cannot wait to show them off to the other ladies at work - hopefully I can send them to Oh's shop.

Please visit these fantastic shops and blogs, and many thanks to you all for your generosity!

Tuesday, February 24

Java Juice Extract - coffee concentrate

Here’s something I hadn’t seen before: a liquid coffee extract.

Java Juice is a triple coffee concentrate that is extracted straight from the bean and combined with a bit of triple filtered water. It was created in Venice, California to solve the problem of weakening espresso by icing it. It’s coffee extract that to me resembles mud and comes in quart-sized bottles and a more portable 0.5 ounce package. For people who don’t want to brew coffee, Java Juice is a single serving coffee miracle and comes in Original, Decaf, French Vanilla, and Hazelnut. You can find these packets on - each serving ends up costing about $2.20.

I like their slogan: Simply Rip it, Drip it, and Sip it. And I was also highly entertained (and shocked) by the following info I found in their media kit:

Java Juice could save you money. Consider this:
If you spend $3.75 per day (the average cost of a commercially produced espresso drink)
Multiply that times 7 days = $26.25 per week
$ 26.25 per week = $105.00 per month.

Check out the savings over the course of a coffee drinking career.

$105.00 x per month invested at a rate of 10% annual return =
1 year = $ 1,260.00
2 years = $2,526.00
5 years = $ 6,300
10 years = $12,600
15 years = $ 18,900
30 years = $37,800
40 years = $50,400

Wow, now I will feel VERY ashamed of my meager savings account when I next run to Starbucks for their oh-so-delicious chai lattes!

Monday, February 23

Spa treatment recipes

Recently I featured a few ideas for thrifty DIY spa-at-home treatments that I thought you might like to try out. Since then I've found a list of spa treatment recipes at Spa Index for face, body, lips, hair, hands and feet. Choices include everything from a Chocolate Facial Mask (I think I might try to eat this) to Champagne Bubble Bath to a Bay Rum Aftershave for men. There are 100 recipes on here, so there's bound to be one that suits your needs and that you can make using normal everyday ingredients you probably already have in your household.

Last night I found that I had all of the ingredients to make the Honey Oatmeal Facial, which includes buttermilk, ground oatmeal, and honey. I decided to make 1/2 of the recipe and then followed the instructions and found that I had made a paste that resembled...well, oatmeal. Yet I bravely smeared the mixture across my face and neck, thereby earning the name "Oatmeal Face" from Mr. Bean. I left it on for 15 minutes, then rinsed it off using a warm washcloth. The results? Nothing spectacular so far. I'm not sure if this is supposed to be moisturizing or help your skin look brighter, etc. but it was kind of fun to do something at home using things I already keep around. Let me know if any of you decide to try any of these recipes. I'd really like to try the Bath Cookies recipe sometime soon!

Saturday, February 21

7 minute animated explanation of the The Crisis of Credit

From - this helped me understand the economic crisis SO much! Hit play - you will not regret it!

Figments Studio, a place for journals

Wow, did I miss posting on Friday? Where did that day go? It started with me getting wisdom teeth stitches out (and approval to use straws again!), then a busy day at work, then baking for most of the afternoon to fill Etsy orders. Whew! And here I am to make up for bloggy neglect.

My pick for today is Figments Studio, an online shop that specializes in "Enchanted Handcrafted Journals for collecting your thoughts, memories, hopes, and dreams." As the website states, The Figments Studio Collection is designed by Jill Marie Crvich. Inspired by medieval books, Grimm's fairy tales and antique toys, Jill sculpts each original design. Fascinated by the aged leather covers of old books, Jill developed a sculpting and painting process to simulate just that. Her vintage journals and accessories have the rich, luxurious look and feel of old, gilded leather. She hopes her unique collection inspires you and kindles your figments of imagination.
I kept a few journals and diaries here and there as a child, but really never got into it on a regular basis and really wish I had. Nowadays I am too lazy to keep up with writing in a treasure such as one of these, but I do know people who commit to doing it and I envy them. I think that these would make a beautiful gift for a mom-to-be (a journal for her future child), a new graduate, or maybe just a (slightly expensive) conversation piece. For $60, I better have some REALLY good thoughts to put in there!

Thursday, February 19

The McDonald's Cheeseburger Incident

And now for something completely different – a “dear diary” type entry…

I had a very humorous experience at McDonald’s last night. First of all, I don’t want any smack talk about my occasional partaking of a McDonald’s cheeseburger. They are $0.99 and are so good. I don’t care if they’re partly made of plastic or include cat meat, etc. They are delicious. I actually prefer to eat two of them rather than one Big Mac. Secondly, it’s my first burger since I’ve had since my wisdom teeth and every bite was worth the careful chewing I had to focus on. Here is what happened in a script format:

Tori approaches the counter. She scans the menu board and spots Cheeseburger for $0.99. She turns to the lady behind the counter and begins to order.

Tori: Hi, I would like a cheeseburger.

Counter Lady: Cheeseburger?

Tori: Yes, just one.

Counter Lady: OK. (she taps various buttons on her register) $2.47.

Tori: (confused, looks up at menu, where it still reads Cheeseburger, $0.99) Um, I’m sorry, it says your cheeseburger is $0.99. I just want one.

Counter Lady: Cheeseburger?

Tori: Yes, one cheeseburger (gestures at menu).

Counter Lady: (hits more register buttons) OK, $2.18.

Tori: (gives up, hands the lady a five dollar bill and gets her change)

5 Minutes Later…Tori’s order is ready. On the tray are two cheeseburgers…two double cheeseburgers!

So what can you do? I’m really a huge pushover and didn’t want to embarrass this lady for not understanding me. I took the tray back to where Mr. Bean and I were sitting, and opened one cheeseburger. I peeled off the extra patty, which Mr. Bean ate, and now we have a Double Cheeseburger sitting in our fridge.

As a sidenote: I realize that I can get a double cheeseburger for $0.01 more than a regular cheeseburger, but I personally believe the regular has the perfect ratio of bread, cheese, and meat. So there!

Wednesday, February 18

Sampler Boxes

As I previously mentioned, my new obsession is sampler boxes. After getting three of them (Out of the Box Sampler, Get Eurofied Sampler, and Pets Jubilee Sampler), I decided to go digging through Google to see if I could find more and...jackpot! Here are some that I'm dying to try out!

Lemming Central Sampler Boxes, $20 for USA with free shipping, includes beauty and candle products

The Little Black Box, $20 with free shipping, US only, includes jewelry, bath and body, candles, bookmarks, keychains, buttons, magnets, luggage handle wraps, silk scarves, pet treats, stationery, photography, tissue cozies and more

Snowberry Creek, $22.95 for USA with free shipping (also ships internationally), includes soaps, candles, ornaments, woodcrafts, coffees, teas, bath and body items

The Sampler, $8 and up plus shipping, various themed sampler boxes

Crafty Cubes/Aroma Cubes, $19.99 with free shipping, soaps, toiletries, candles, some jewelry and stationery

Pink Ribbon Sampler, $22.50 and up with free shipping, you get to CHOOSE your samples, 25% of proceeds go to fighting breast cancer
So the question now is, "Which one should I try first?"

Tuesday, February 17

Shop It to Me - "Better than Sample Sales!"

So many times I have fallen in love with an item in an online store only to forget to return later to snatch it up when it goes on sale. Shop It to Me is a new service that can help remedy this by giving you a heads up when your favorite brands goes on sale in your size!

You can think of Shop It To Me as your free personal online shopper. Select your favorite apparel brands (such as Theory, Prada, Armani, Ella Moss, Juicy Couture, Seven Jeans, DKNY, or BCBG) and sizes. We'll scour the websites of leading retailers like Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales, Banana Republic, Gap, Zappos and Bluefly and send you a Salemail™ - a daily or weekly email summary of which new items go on sale in your size.

Shop It To Me has partnered with dozens of leading retailers to make sure it will always be a free service. Sign up and recruit 10 friends and you get a $10 gift card! Would you like to sign up to thank me for telling you this great service? Sign up and mention tori correll at gmail dot com as your referrer!

Monday, February 16

7 DIY Spa-at-Home Treatments that won't break the bank

In today's economy, it's a little luxury that we may have to learn to do without: those quiet moments that we used to steal away for ourselves whether for a nap, a workout, or a luxurious treatment at the spa. I've never really had the means to go all out at the spa, but I'm always on the lookout for DIY home versions of many of the more expensive treatments that you hear about celebrities getting. After zipping through Redbook and Glamour's websites, here are my picks:


Take 10 minutes - Buy small river-rock stones at a florist (I found mine at a dollar store) and a silky synthetic paintbrush at a craft stores. Apply a serum to your face and use the brush to work it into your skin, making circular, upward motions. Then take a cool stone and place it under your eye at the inner corner; slowly push toward the outer corner. Repeat on the upper eye area and, with another stone, on the other eye.

Take 15 minutes – Create an energizing scrub to use in your shower. Crush a sprig of rosemary and sage into 4 ounces of Epsom salts and 1 oz of unscented body oil. Shower off, then apply a rosemary-enhanced body lotion.

Take 30 minutes - Run the water in your bathtub at about 82 degrees (think comfortable heated-pool temperature) to stimulate microcirculation. Then add 1 cup of Dead Sea salts and soak for 15 minutes. Rest afterwards for 15 minutes.

Take 30 minutes – Whip up your own body mask by mixing jojoba cream and shea butter with grapefruit and jasmine essential oils. Apply after a shower, then “cocoon” your body in plastic wrap and snuggle under a blanket for 20 minutes.


Instead of a $500 oxygen facial…Use a cleanser with 2% salicylic acid; leave on for 30 seconds before rinsing so the ingredient can do its job. Then apply a pore mask (such as Biore). Remove it like a pro by pressing and rolling a warm, damp washcloth from your chin up.

Instead of a $700 peel…Empty a bag of green tea and a bag of chamomile into a bowl. Mix in two tablespoons of flaxseed, a teaspoon of white vinegar, and two tablespoons of honey. Massage into skin for two minutes and rinse. Then apply a moisturizer with Vitamin C.

Instead of spending $3,000 for body microdermabrasion…In the shower, rub an exfoliator all over and rinse. Once out of the shower, knead cellulite cream into thighs (new kinds have caffeine for tightening). Wrap thighs in plastic wrap for 10 minutes to intensify the effect.


New items in my Etsy shop!

Hi everyone! Things are much better now that I've had a couple of days to recover from my wisdom teeth surgery on Friday. I still can't go chow down on chips and salsa, but I'm staying full on lots of yummy foods (egg drop soup and milkshakes) and have had lots of down time to work up new products for my Etsy shop. Now that Valentine's Day is over, I'd like to premiere two of my own chocolate covered Oreo designs here: Dirt and Worms and Under the Sea!

I came up with the Dirt and Worms design after eating a cake with a similar theme over the holidays. My version includes a chocolate covered Oreo cookie topped with crushed Oreo crumbles to simulate dirt and a neon sour gummy worm. I officially got the thumbs up on this one from some kids in my neighborhood!

My other new design is called Under the Sea. It starts out with a chocolate covered Oreo and is then topped with azure blue sugar and 2 red Swedish fish.

I've also introduced several new toppings for my chocolate covered Oreos including St. Patrick's day sprinkles and spring pastels, so please stop by my Etsy shop and check things out! Mention that you read this blog post and I'll include a free gift with your order!

Saturday, February 14

Happy Valentine's Day (with wisdom teeth update)

First of all, Happy Valentine's Day!

Secondly, the wisdom teeth extraction went smoothly yesterday morning. I only had the top two and it wasn't nearly as bad as I was afraid it would be. Mr. Bean has been waiting on me hand and foot and promised later to make me a romantic V-Day dinner of mashed potatoes, jello, and a milkshake. Yum! Can't complain about getting to eat ice cream guilt- and shame-free for the next couple of days!

Friday, February 13

lobotoME - a new line of products to keep you sane

NOTE: At 11am PST today, I'm having my wisdom teeth out (boo, hiss), so if I don't respond to comments, etc., please forgive me! Until I'm back on my feet, please enjoy this tidbit:

I feel like I've found a treasure! lobotoME is an online company specializes in simple ways to keep yourself sane including calendars and notepads, including themed pads for meal planning, packing for vacation, workout tracking, and more. They only have a few products right now, but their line is expanding and has recently become available at mass retailers like The Container Store. BONUS: The products are printed on 100% recycled paper with soy inks! The notepads are currently $10 each, and if you spend $20 or more, you'll get free shipping!

Thursday, February 12

The Perfumed Court

If you're like me and your nose can't make up it's mind on which scent it likes the most, head over to The Perfumed Court, an online store that offers perfume samples and decants of practically any fragrance you can think of. Whether it's the latest from Vera Wang or a vintage you're after, they have it! They even carry discontinued fragrances and those not available in the United States. If you're not sure what you're looking for, you can also search for fragrances by notes or try out one of their themed sample sets (the Day at the Beach and Best Lavender sampler packs piqued my interest). Samples start at $3 and shipping is a flat $5.95, so stop by today!

Wednesday, February 11

I've Been Tagged

I’ve been tagged by Vintage Inspired Jewelry and now must name seven things you may not know about me. Since I’m not really the main focus of this blog, I’ll try to make these seven things more about things I think you’ll like.

1. I would go out to eat every night if I could. It’s not that I don’t know how to cook. I actually love to bake and make sweets (hence my Etsy shop), but I love the idea of going out and having food prepared for me, being waited on, and not having to do dirty dishes. has done wonders to support this obsession – they offer $25 gift cards to restaurants everywhere for huge discounts!

2. I am in love with sampler boxes. In the last week I have received one from Out of the Box Sampler (I’m one of this month’s sellers and had to buy one for myself!), Get Eurofied, and a pet-themed sampler box from Pets Jubilee. If you know of other places to get sampler boxes, please let me know!

3. I tend to get sucked into almost buying a lot of those cheesy “not available in stores” products advertised on TV, but then I go read reviews at this site and almost always come to my senses.

4. My parents first got dial-up in December 1995 when I was 13, so I’ve been online for a while. If I Google my original email address, there are still traces of me out there. Spooky!

5. Mr. Bean and I got married in March 2007, and Bridal Bargains was our Godsend. My parents paid for the majority of the wedding and although I think they would have given me more if I had asked for it, I was determined not to go over budget. With the help of this book, I didn’t. Check it out – a new edition was recently published.

6. I would end up spending…oh, about a million dollars on all of the things that I almost must have. It amazes me what’s available online!

7. I am easily entertained, including by sites such as Where's George, where you enter the serial number off of the cash you’re carrying to see where it’s been.

And now for mis victimas!!:

Good luck!

Tuesday, February 10

Satchel Studio Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to HairDizzer for winning the butterflies messenger bag from Satchel Studio. Please note that one of her two entries earned for blogging about this giveaway won her this great prize! Keep an eye out for The Bean's next giveaway coming up soon!

Ugly Dolls

Mr. Bean was in New York City last week on business. Every day he would call me and say he was going to bring me a special treat, but that he couldn't decide what to get me (he didn't really go for my idea, which was, "If you can't decide, why not buy me lots of things?" Har har). After he arrived back in California, Mr. Bean handed me an FAO Schwarz bag with a soft, odd-shaped noggin poking out of it. I reached inside the bag and out popped...before I continue, Ladies, you may think your man has spoiled you with stuffed teddy bears and Chia Pets, but I am here to let you know that you haven't been truly loved until he has given you an Ugly Doll!

Anyway, in the bag was my very own Abima, an Ugly Doll whose tag reads, "Abima is out of control! He's got his hand in the cookie jar, and his mind on the next adventure, which is probably going to involve bouncing off the walls and knocking over expensive stuff. He only knocks over the expensive stuff. Not to worry though. Abima is very protective and would always watch out for you. Are you scared of the dark? So is Abima! Oh. Anyway, Abima loves to visit his favorite cousin Wage. They look like they could be related, right? Maybe he's your cousin too."

(photo: Abima watching TV and drinking all of my Diet 7-Up) Ugly Dolls were born from the minds of two artists in love, David Horvath and Sun-Min Kim, as a drawing of a playful orange character known as Wage. In 2001, when David's soon-to-be wife and creative partner Sun-Min had to return to Korea, he sent her many "I miss you" letters with his little Wage character drawn at the bottom. Sun-Min sewed Wage into a plush doll and sent him to David as a surprise gift. David asked Sun-Min to sew a couple more for the Giant Robot store in Los Angeles and they sold out in one day! A very excited Sun-Min sewed many more and those sold just as fast! Sun-Min and David then began to pull more characters from the Uglyverse, and today these award-winning characters are available in a variety of sizes and styles!

I am not the only one taken with Ugly Dolls. One of America's First Daughters, Sasha Obama, also likes her Uglies! To learn more about these lovelies, visit their website.

Monday, February 9

The Bean's Blog Award

Blog Awards Winner

I was so honored to learn that The Sweet Jelly Bean was featured as one of today's Blog of the Day sites! Hooray! It was also fun to check out the other winners. What fun!

V-Day Alternative: Bittersweets

Although I consider myself to be a cheesy person full of cheesy sentiments for Mr. Bean (and equally cheesy tastes for the ways he spoils me), I also have a great appreciation for all things sarcastic and tongue-in-cheek. In celebration of this streak and of anti-Valentine's Day, I give you Bittersweets, a new product from Depair, Inc. Their description was so on the mark that I have shared it word-for-word below. Enjoy (and click the photos to enlarge)!

For most, there is no crueler day of the calendar year than that of Valentine's Day. While a tiny fraction of the population can look forward to a holiday of wine and roses, poetry and song, the vast majority of us can anticipate a day of nausea and grimacing, trauma and grief. A day in which minutes seem like hours, and hours like days, as we reflect sorrowfully on yesteryear's romantic indignities, today's loneliness, and the unknowable but certain heartbreak that will be visited upon us repeatedly in the years to come.

When cruelty and holidays collide, the weak-willed find solace in self-pity and comfort foods. And now, Despair Inc. is pleased to announce that we've combined BOTH into a radical new offering.

Introducing Bittersweets® - The Valentine's Candy for the Rest of Us.Like the ubiquitous candy conversation hearts, Bittersweets® are made of flavored, chalky-tasting sugar and sport a message on their face. But unlike other candy hearts, ours are stamped with bitter musings and mockeries perfectly suited to the dejected spirits of those who will spend the holiday alone, or wishing they were.

Messages recalling an almost forgotten, unbearably painful memory of being dumped. Or perhaps of a dysfunctional, psychotic ex-girlfriend or boyfriend. Or of that cruel-hearted girl (or boy) in elementary school who rejected your valentine solicitations, informing you that Jake (or Holly) was "so totally way hotter."Now available in THREE unique collections- "Dejected," "Dysfunctional," and "Dumped"- with each featuring up to 37 unique sayings each!




Truly, Bittersweets® are the perfect gift for you OR for someone you love, especially if that special someone is one who doesn't want to hurt your feelings but just doesn't feel that way about you but still wants to be friends so they can torment you with stories about their crushes on someone who doesn't appreciate them like you do, can't love them like you can, and actually takes pleasure in corralling a herd of fawning "just friends" behind themselves as they indulge in one self-destructive relationship after another, with no hope of ever finding true love, despite an army of souls eager to lavish it upon them. (You know what we're talking about.)

Supplies are limited. But the pain that accompanies them may not be.

Available in six different flavors, including: Banana Chalk, Grape Dust, Nappy-Citric, You-Call-This-Lime?, Pink Sand and Fossilized Antacid.

These little jewels are available for $9.95 each, or buy the set and enjoy them all for $19.95!

Friday, February 6 - a free online service for the gift giving impaired

Mr. Bean always says that I'm hard to shop for, but I've never understood why. There are so many things I've found online that I like that I started this blog just to cover them! For him, however, it's making sure that 1) it's something that I really like and 2) it's something that I like enough not to return.

I recently located something that can help gents decipher some of the so-called pseudo-hints that we females so delicately drop (apparently they prefer that we just write what we want in Sharpie marker across our foreheads). It is called, a free online service designed to take the guesswork out of gift giving, and includes:

The List - Keep a running gift wish list for them to view any time.
This provides a look into your partner's brain so that you can instantly know what they want and where to get it. Now you can get the perfect gift without having to pry. It doesn't take the fun out of romance or gift giving, it just makes it better.

The Cheat Sheet - Spa treatments to sleeve length, everything they need to know when doing something for you.
The Cheat Sheet puts an end to guesswork on the little details by letting you and your partner list everything from clothing sizes and favorite brands, to favored flowers and sports teams. Fill it out and throw away the receipt, we guarantee you won’t have to visit the Return Counter again. Includes everything from your shoe size to your favorite flower to your favorite place to buy jeans

Heads Up! email reminders - Receive email reminders when you want them and never forget an important date.
Get your black belt in remembering by creating a shared calendar with important dates such as anniversaries, birthdays, and more. We’ll send each of you email reminders as frequently or infrequently as you would like. You’ll never forget a meaningful date again. a reminder service for upcoming anniversaries, birthdays, and more.

Out of the Blue - Act spontaneous, even if you're not. It's the unexpected things that go a long way.
Sign up to receive random “Out of the Blue” emails with suggestions on the little things you can do for your other half. Whether it’s sending her flowers for no reason or picking up his favorite microbrew, you don’t always need a reason to show your partner that you care.

The great thing about this service is that it still allows your significant other to be spontaneous without you having to return the gifts he chooses. Mr. Bean tries so hard, but until now how was he supposed to know my pajama bottom size unless he went pilfering through my panty drawer?

So...results in my experience? None yet, but V-Day is only a week away, so we'll see. There is also a, which is where you can get guys to fill out things that they want - this, however, has not yet happened in my household yet.

Shopping Pick:

If you are looking for a single store that carries several trinkets you never knew you wanted until now, visit Fred Flare, a New York-based store that started in 1998 when the creators started selling a single product off the back of a bike in SoHo. Their products have been featured in magazines like Elle, Marie Claire, and People, and include everything from accessories to clothing to things that are...well, kind of out there. A few things that caught my eye:

Frozen Smiles Ice Cube Tray, $10 - My question: Whose teeth did they use as a model?

Pickle Bandages, $9 - also available in steak, pirate flags, and more!

Pet's Eye View Camera, $50 - I am a total pet nut and am actually intrigued by this gizmo! You attach it to your pet's collar when you leave for work and it will take pictures every 1, 5, or 15 minutes for up to 40 images. So you can stalk your pet! Excellent!

Bacon Floss, $9 - YUM?

They also have a few pseudo-normal items that are worth taking a look at, including an extensively quirky gift selection. This weekend Fred Flare is having a free shipping sale on any size purchase (normally $7.95 unless you're spending $75+), so stop by their store and check it out!

Thursday, February 5

In Vitro Orchid - a novel alternative to your everyday bouquet

Valentine's Day is coming up - have you noticed stores already stocking extra bouquets and plants? Anyone can send flowers, but they only last so long (and that's if you don't kill them like I do). Why not send something that will last a little longer, all without the needs of a houseplant? Enter the In Vitro Orchid, a tiny infant plant that lives in a test tube. A nutrient-rich gel supplies all that this orchid needs to grow in its sterilized test tube. No water or maintenance necessary - biotechnology does the work for you. When the plant reaches the top of the tube simply transfer to potting soil (not included - this is the part where I would kill the little guy). $30 at Uncommon Goods.

Chocolate with an Attitude

C-h-o-c-o-l-a-t-e. Sugar, fat, and decadent goodness. Who doesn't love it? Add in a little attitude and witty packaging and you've got Bloomsbery and Co., a chocolatier originally based in New Zealand that specializes in 1) fantastic chocolate and 2) tongue-in-cheek packaging. Visit their interactive website to check out all of their designs - some of my favorites are below - and find a store that carries Bloomsbery near you!

Wednesday, February 4

Where did all the hats go?

Question of the day: Why did women stop wearing hats? I’ve always been told that men stopped after JFK’s inauguration (he came sans hat), but then Jackie was always so well known forher pill box hats, so what the heck happened? When did it stop being in vogue to wear hats? Call me hopelessly romantic and old fashioned, but I think that hats can be really beautiful. I practically claw at the screen when I see Rachel McAdams in her adorable hats on “The Notebook.”

So why is it now just either baseball caps or beanies? Why do most women today think Blossom (and hot pink lipstick, shoulder pads, blue eyeshadow, hair bands, etc.) when they think of hats rather than of realizing they could be so stylish? At least a flower up in there or something?!

Additional benefits of hats I’ve come up with (some more original than others):
1. They keep your head warm.
2. They protect you from bird poo.
3. They counteract all variations on “bad hair day.”
4. They probably make you look taller.
5. You can keep mace and other weapons in them.

I found lots of hats at mainstream online stores, so I can’t be too off base, can I? Check out these stores for some great hats:
Urban Outfitters
Hats in the Belfry (the name itself deserves a mention!)

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