Tuesday, March 31

And the winner of the Timid Monster is...

Congratulations! Be sure and take good care of Joel! :-)

SwitchFlops Review and Giveaway


Back when I first started this blog in January, I’d mentioned a cool new concept in footwear I’d recently stumbled across called SwitchFlops. As the name applies, SwitchFlops have the style and build of a typical pair of flip-flops, but features a piece of Velcro along the strap. When you’re ready to change your style, whether its from polka dots to skulls or a solid color to preppy stripes, just peel off the current fabric strips you’re sporting and replace them with a totally different design!

The 411
Shoe Styles and Colors:
LuLu Flat ($32): available in black, tan, brown, navy, pink, and white
Taylor Wedge ($36): available in black, brown, white
Lilly Kitten Heel ($48): cork and black

SwitchFlops straps are undeniably stylish and affordably priced! At only $12 per strap set, you can create an endless shoe wardrobe with over 70 strap choices from six different collections!

My Review
I was fortunate enough to be able to try these lovelies out for myself! I have a pair of the LuLu flats in brown and 3 sets of straps. My take on these:

Comfort – I was worried that the Velcro would rub against my feet and blister, but they did not! Also, I was afraid that the sole itself wouldn’t be as cushy as the Reef flipflops I consider my staple, but they were just as comfortable – if not more!

Ease – The straps are very easy to change – it took me a total of about 2 minutes (probably less) to change both of the straps out, and only that long because I couldn’t decide which design I wanted to try out next!

Price – For $12, you can get a new set of straps to add to your collection and it really does look like a totally different shoe!

Variety – With over 70 straps to choose from, I bet you can’t find some that you love! My next purchase will be the Kitten heels, which I think will be perfect with pants or capris for work!

Seriously, I can’t think of any at this point. Maybe availability? Currently most of the straps and shoe styles are available through the SwitchFlops website and a few select boutiques across the United States. For their store locator, click here.

The Giveaway
SwitchFlops has generously offered to give away one pair of their flops to a lucky reader! To enter: Visit the SwitchFlops website and pick our your favorite style of straps. Return to The Bean and leave a comment on this entry telling me which strap is your favorite. If you do not do this, your entries will not count!

For more entries:
1 EXTRA ENTRY: Begin following this blog. Let me know if you already do so!

2 EXTRA ENTRIES: Mention this giveaway on your own blog and link baack to this post. Please let me know if you do so!

3 EXTRA ENTRIES: Make a purchase from SwitchFlops during this giveaway and let me know about it. I’ll ask you to forward me your order confirmation!

This giveaway ends Monday, April 6, 2009, at 9pm PST. All eligible entries will be thrown into a bowl and a winner will be drawn. The winner will be announced here and contacted following the close of the contest. Be sure to check out info on The Bean’s upcoming giveaways - look over to the right hand column near the top of the page and you'll see links to them. Good luck everyone!

Monday, March 30

Free haircut

I’ve decided to try something a little different for the next month of so: themed weeks. This week’s theme will be “Go Glam,” and will feature a daily post on something to do with beauty, jewelry, clothes, or anything else girly I happen across. To begin Go Glam Week, I’d like to share something that we can all use in this current economic climate: a free haircut.

What could you save by getting a free haircut? $30? $40? $50+? If this sounds like something you might be interested in doing, pop on over to your local Craiglist and search for “free hair cut” or “free haircut” under Services to see what’s available in your area. Search terms like these will pull up a hodge-podge of listings ranging from truly free cuts to deeply discounted services from new salons or established places looking for new clients.

A lot of salons may have junior stylists who have completed school and just want a little more experience to hone their skills. A new stylist will probably do the cut while being supervised by a senior stylist, so there is little risk that you’ll come out looking like a poodle. Some may want to take a photo of the completed work when finished, but most are just looking for someone to practice on. Nervous about what salon you’ll be going to? Google the salon’s name for reviews, or check out what people have said about them on Yelp.com. After all, what is there to lose (aside from dead ends)?

Not sure about plucking a mystery salon out of online ether? Trying searching for local cosmetology schools. Many offer haircuts (or other services such as manicures) for $10 or less!

Sunday, March 29

Seventh Generation Review

Recently I was the very lucky winner of the Seventh Generation giveaway over at Mad Boastings of a Cheapskate Mom. The prize was a complete starter kit featuring a fantastic selection of Seventh Generation products, and I've now had the chance to try them all. Here are some thoughts on each of the different cleaners:

Natural Paper Towels - These arrived just in time! We were down to our last roll of paper towels from the Jumbotron-sized package we'd bought from Costco in 2002. :-) The towels are thinner than the ones we normally purchase, but when I used them to clean the kitchen counters, they held up perfectly. I've seen these in some supermarkets, but have never really looked at their prices, so I'm not sure if I will buy them once I finish these two rolls.

Ruby Grapefruit & Herb Natural Glass & Surface Cleaner - I had to work with this one a bit more than I might normally have to when using Windex (Mr. Bean splashes as much water on the mirror as his face when he's washing up, so there's always smudges). However, I was grateful that it didn't make my nose itch like Windex always does.

Green Mandarin & Leaf Natural All-Purpose Cleaner - This one might just be enough to handle most of my day-to-day cleaning. I used it to clean the sink, wipe down counters, and pick up a small spill off the kitchen floor.

Green Mandarin & Leaf Shower Cleaner - I haven't used this very much as we just have a bathtub, but it smells good and I plan to alternate it with the Tub & Tile Cleaner.

Emerald Cypress & Fir Tub & Tile Cleaner -I was amazed at how powerful this stuff was. The smell was very subtle, and yet the formula managed to pick up all of that icky soap scum left over from my bubble bath.

Wild Orange & Cedar Spice Kitchen Cleaner - This one smells fantastic! It makes cleaning up after meal preparation super easy.

Summary: Although I am having a hard time finding a place to store all of these cleaners, my house is clean and smells fantastic. No more "chemical clean" smells. Seventh Generation is available at a number of chain supermarkets, including Whole Foods. For a store locator, visit Seventh Generation here. Special thanks to Seventh Generation and Cheapskate Mom!

Friday, March 27

Crack pudding

Run, don't walk, to your nearest supermarket and pick up a 4-pack of Hunt's Snack Pack Pudding Cups in Chocolate Caramel. If eaten cold they taste just like cake batter! If you prefer to eat them at room temp, they taste like a Java Chip Frappucino!

Thursday, March 26

Heart shaped tea from SBS Teas

I've recently fallen in love with a unique concept from SBS Teas, an online company that specializes in custom blended loose leaf teas, coffee, and accessories. Introducing the heart formed tea, a loose leaf tea pressed into the shape of a heart. These tiny hearts are adorable and each one makes enough for one delicious cup of your choice of green or black tea. They would make an excellent gift for a tea lover, and could even serve as adorable favors for a wedding or bridal/baby shower. Try these little hearts out today! $2.95/5 hearts.

Wednesday, March 25

Musical workout motivations

I am always looking for new ways to motivate myself when it comes to working out. I've just never really liked getting sweaty, and I'm pasty like a vampire, so I'm not so much into swimming in front of other people. One thing that does help is a fresh set of music on my iPod. I'm always hunting new playlists that other gym gals are listening to, and managed to find a few cool programs/sites in the process. Some are free, others cost a bit. Check these out:

Marina's Audio Workout Center allows you to mix and match over 400 exercise/workout components to create your very own workout.

NextFitness combines your existing music with professional fitness training audio clips to create a new workout.

Best Workout Music converts your existing music in a slower or faster paced song to better match your workouts.

ITrain combines personal training with music delivered to your Mp3 player. Each workout has the trainer's voice providing step by step instructions and motivating you with music in the background. PDF format instructions can be downloaded to your computer to display the positions and directions on how to perform the exercises.

Tuesday, March 24

GIVEAWAY: Timid Monster


In a recent post I highlighted the very talented Trish over at Trupinys, an Etsy shop that sells jewelry and monsters made of clay that are absolutely adorable! I’d had Trish commission a “British Lawyer” monster in honor of my hubby being an almost law school graduate, and her work is fabulous. Trish has agree to give away the following Timid Monster to one lucky reader of The Sweet Jelly Bean!

Here is his story: Joel enjoys fashioning sandals out of corn husks and sleeping bags out of candy wrappers. He loves to keep pet balloon animals, but they scare easily and run away when they hear loud pops, leaving behind their rubbery droppings. Left alone, Joel tends to be afraid of sandcastles, labyrinths and kittens. Each Monster comes initialed and dated on the bottom and with a little card with their mini-biography written on it.

For this contest you can get up to eight entries! To enter: Visit Trupinys over at Etsy and pick out your favorite monster. Return to The Bean and leave a comment telling me your favorite. If you do not do this, your entries will not count!

For more entries:
1 EXTRA ENTRY: Begin following this blog. Let me know if you already do so!

1 MORE ENTRY: Begin following Trish's blog – please mention in a comment to this post if you are already doing so or if you begin to do so.

2 BONUS ENTRIES: Mention this giveaway on your own blog and link back to this post or Trish's blog. Please comment on this post to let me know you've done so!

3 BONUS ENTRIES: Make a purchase from Trupinys during this giveaway (her items start under $5). Post a link to the sale page once you've purchased!

This giveaway ends Monday, March 30, 2009 at 9pm PST. All eligible entries will be thrown into a bowl and Mr. Bean will draw a winner. The winner will be announced here and contacted following the close of the contest. Be sure to check out info on The Bean’s upcoming giveaways - look over to the right hand column near the top of the page and you'll see links to them. Good luck everyone!

Thursday, March 19

Wedding cake replicas

I am not sure if I mentioned that we had our second wedding anniversary last week. In honor of this occasion, I want to share a very talented Etsy shop with you. Pretty Girl Things created a replica of our wedding cake out of clay and made it into an ornament for our first Christmas!
Here is a picture of our cake:

All I had to do was give the shop owner, Camille, these images (along with a few more detailed shots), and she was able to make this!

Other examples of her custom cake replica work:

Camille is very talented and can make practically anything that you ask! She also will do replicas of cakes from baby showers, birthday parties, etc. Additionally, she makes fantastic jewelry! Here is a necklace that I bought from her in fall 2007 - I just couldn't live without it!

Wednesday, March 18

Sula Beauty Paint & Peel Nail Polish

When I was in college, Cover Girl came out with a nail polish that you could apply to your nails, let dry, then peel off when you were tired of it. The formula was never perfected, I guess, because it was discontinued after a few months. I'd tried a couple of colors out before they all went on clearance - one worked great, and the other one peeled off on its own accord. Very frustrating.

Sula Beauty has now reinvented this wheel by releasing a line of nail polished called Paint & Peel that doesn't require polish remover. As the product's name implies, simply paint your nails, then peel off once you're ready to start over with a new color or go bare. Based on the FAQs found on the site, it sounds like you can expect each coat to last at least full day. To keep it going beyond that, apply Sula's Clear or Metallic top coat for extra durability.

The polish is "free from gormaldehyde, toluene and phthalates and is also free of the remaining cancer-linked ingredients still found in standard polish." Sounds like you can't lose with this polish!

Paint & Peel comes in two collections: the Sula Collection, which includes four colors that are more traditional for the nails, and the Trend Collection, which offers users a few more "out there" colors including Dove/grey and Crush/dark purple. Currently you can buy them through Sula's website or at a few locations through the US and Canada. Each bottle is $9-$10 - I just might have to try these!

Tuesday, March 17

IsABelt Giveaway: We have a winner!

Congratulations to Heather for winning the IsABelt giveaway! Thanks to everyone who entered. A new giveaway is coming up next week, so stick around...

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I'm sure I'm not the only one wishing you a Happy Leprechaun Day on this March 17th, but who cares?! Have a great day! Drinks lots of Guinness, wear lots of green, and pinch lots of non-believers! Here's a Polyvore collage of my favorite green finds for your viewing pleasure. Click on the image for more info on any of the items.

St. Patrick's Day

St. Patrick's Day - by thesweetjellybean on Polyvore.com

Monday, March 16

Lend a hand and fight diabetes for free

I stumbled across this and wanted to pass it along to all of you - it's a free way to help diabetes charities, and could serve as a great interactive way of getting your kids involved in a cause!

The Global Diabetes Handprint project is a worldwide project that lets anyone join the fight against diabetes. By writing a word on your hand expressing your feelings about diabetes, and sharing the story behind it, you’ll become part of a global community that puts a human face
on diabetes for all the world to see. For every hand picture that is uploaded (or created online using their virtual hand maker), OneTouch will donate $5 to a charity (either Diabetes Education and Camping Association OR Taking Control of Your Diabetes). Their goal is to donate $250,000 by the end of June 2009.

Mr. Bean and I each took a picture of our hand (notice I used tape on my hand since I could only find a permanet marker). On my hand I wrote FIGHT and Mr. Bean chose FIERCE (this picture is of my hand against the backdrop of an incoming rainstorm). My grandfather, who passed away in 2007, had diabetes for years and never complained. I ached for him watching him prick his fingers 10, 12, 15 times a day, and yet he always kept going. When I go to donate blood and they use the finger prick syringe to check my iron levels, I think of him. I think that's more painful than the donation itself, but I remember how dutiful he was about his sugar level and his diet, and I try to remain strong.

If you want to upload an image of your own hand (or of your children, spouse, etc), visit Global Diabetes Handprint today! You do not have to have diabetes to participate. Feel free to let me know if you do so!

Friday, March 13

Ex-Boyfriend Jewelry, a site to seek vengeance..and pretty things

Happy Friday! What a quick workweek it's been! I feel like the days have really flown by - I haven't really had a chance to post anything aside from giveaway results since Wednesday!

I have a site to share with you today that I find a little tongue-in-cheek, a little sad, and a little vengeful! It's called Ex-Boyfriend Jewelry, and is an online marketplace where you call sell old jewelry and trinkets from your exes: ex-boyfriends, ex-girlfriends, ex-wives, ex-husbands, same sex-ex, etc. As the site explains:

Welcome to EXBOYFRIENDJEWELRY.COM - a site where you can buy/sell/trade and blog about all of those little reminders in your jewelry box that make you wonder “what did I ever see in him?”, or “where have all the cowboys gone?” You set your own price. You get it off your chest and out of your sight. Just because you don’t want it, doesn’t mean somebody else isn’t dying for it. Everyone’s a winner! Maybe you love him, maybe you never want to speak to him again, but either way, you’re ready to move on and make a little rent money in the process.

Here's an example of what you might find on the site. A girl is selling a pair of diamond earrings given to her by an ex-boyfriend. Her husband (yes, she's now happily married) doesn't like her wearing them and now is willing to buy her a new pair if she'll get rid of the ones the ex gave her! Valued at $1,800 by a jeweler, you can buy them through this site for $400! Even if you're not in the mood to buy some new sparklies, stop by sometime. It's a cute, perky site and a lot of the sellers on there are really positive!

Thursday, March 12

And the winner is...

Tonight Mr. Bean helped me to draw a winner for the "$10 to the Charity of Your Choice" giveaway that's been going on here this week as part of the SITS Spring Fling. There so many of you who entered with such worth causes - I only wish that I could support them all! Here is a picture of the action from my camera phone:

Isn't my Mr. Bean talented? And the winner is...

shortmama (her blog is Family of Shorts) said:
I love this idea!!! I would donate to our local Humane Society because so many pets are being left behind due to the current economic and foreclosure crisis. www.azhumane.org
12:04 PM, March 10, 2009

As requested by her entry, I have donated $10 to shortmama's charity of choice, the Arizona Humane Society.

Congratulations, shortmama, and thank you so much to everyone who entered. If you get a chance, stop by the comments to this contest and check out all of the amazing charities that people highlighted.

Wednesday, March 11

Hot Rock - would you like some volcano to go with your steak?

Yesterday was our second wedding anniversary! Mr. Bean snuck out of class a bit early and we went to dinner at a place called Rok Bistro (near San Jose, CA for you locals). It was so much fun! Think of a fondue restaurant but with a twist. You get a salad to start with and then a cheese fondue to share. But then your main entree comes out on a square volcanic rock that has been heated to 700 degrees. You cut your meat into small pieces and let it cook to your liking on the rock, then move it to your plate and enjoy. Mr. Bean had lamb and I had a buffalo steak (I'd only ever had a buffalo burger). Both were delicious!

Today I found out that you can get a consumer/at-home version of these rocks to use on your own! They are made a company called Hot Rock (Rok Bistro gets the commercial version of these from there, too). As the website says:

Discover the speed, ease, sensational taste, uniqueness and healthy aspects of Hot Rock meals. Any meat tastes better when cooked on a Hot Rock. Cater to the health conscious by creating low-fat, low-carb meals with “sizzle.“ Amaze your family and guests with fun, festive, and delicious meals they will never forget. Preparation time is minimal. Simply heat a rock for several minutes on the stove and take it to the table where the diner grills their own meat on a volcanic rock—an unbelievable experience. Side dishes can be prepared in advance or simply purchased ready-made from your local delicatessen. Preparing and enjoying meals has never been easier or more fun. Hot Rock gets hotter and retains its heat longer than other products and does not require messy or dangerous heating sources at the table. The rock maintains effective cooking temperature for approximately 25 minutes.

Hot Rock is the perfect solution for …..

  • Health conscious diners who don’t want to sacrifice time, taste or quality

  • People who entertain but don’t have time to prepare fancy meals

  • People on the go who don’t have time to cook

  • Children who complain about dinner—they won’t complain about Hot Rock!

  • Year round dining—Hot Rock can be served in the dining room or on the patio The home, office or dormitory—all you need is a Hot Rock cooking set and portable stovetop
Hot Rocks for the home come in two price levels: the $49.99 rock and the $79.99 rock. You'd need one for each person eating, so Mr. Bean and I would have to get two. This is actually a pretty good idea for us to buy (if it weren't for that pesky recession) because he likes his steak one way and I like mine a totally different way.

Not related to the volcanic rock components, but I love chocolate and have to share: we concluded the meal with a to-die-for dark chocolate coconut almond dessert fondue with lots of little treats to dip. It was spectacular! We had a great time, and hadn't eaten outside of the house for 10 days to save money, so this was a real treat!

Tuesday, March 10


As I mentioned in a previous post, there is an amazing new product known as IsABelt that is specifically designed to help eliminate the creeping, crawling, sagging, butt crackag-ing, and other wardrobe malfunctions associated with today's jeans styles. To use it:

• Hold belt in front of you so logo is facing you.
• Go to one side of the belt and separate into two straps.
• Hold belt above rough textured area close to adjuster with thumb & forefinger. • With other hand, gently pull top strap at a downward angle to lengthen or shorten the belt.
• Adjust both sides until desired support is reached.
• Put through belt loops, clasp belt together & push belt down to base of waistband.
• If possible, notch belt strap under button to secure placement.

The IsABelt is available in multiple colors and sizes suitable for children, misses, plus sizes, and even styles for men. 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. Better yet, enter The Bean's giveaway to win an IsABelt of your choice (the company has agreed to give a belt to one lucky winner)!

1. FOR ONE ENTRY: Simply make a comment on this post. If you're not logged in, be sure to leave your email address instead of commenting anonymously so I can contact you if you win.

2. FOR A BONUS ENTRY: Begin following this blog – please mention in a comment if you are already doing so or if you begin to do 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!

This giveaway ends Monday, March 17, 2009 at 7PM PST. All eligible entries will be thrown into a hat (well, probably a water glass around our apartment), and a winner will be drawn by Mr. Bean. The winner will be announced here and contacted following the close of the contest. Good luck everyone, and be sure to enter my other giveaways - look over to the right hand column near the top of the page and you'll see links to them.

Monday, March 9

SITS Spring Fling: $10 Charity Giveaway


I've been itching to join the Spring Fling led by The Secret is in the Sauce (SITS), and the day to begin is finally here! In case you haven't heard, Spring Fling includes a number of sponsored giveaways over at SITS, but it also includes giveaways all across the blogosphere. So once you're done entering this giveaway, please visit Spring Fling to enter some of the others!

Okay, let's get down to business: the Bean's giveaway. I've been thinking long and hard about what to give away for this event, and the thing that kept on popping into my head was that I need to give more. I know, you're thinking, "Damn girl, you're hosting a giveaway. What more can you do?" My thoughts exactly. In economic times like these, I can't give much, but I can give a little. So here's the giveaway prize:

$10 donation by me to a charity chosen by the winner
Whether you're an animal right crusader, a soldier in the fight against breast cancer, or an environment advocate, I want to hear about it! To enter:
1. FOR ONE ENTRY: Comment on this post telling me which charity you would want the contribution to go to if you win. If you're not logged in, be sure to leave your email address instead of commenting anonymously so I can contact you if you win.

2. FOR A BONUS ENTRY: Begin following this blog – please mention in a comment if you are already doing so or if you begin to do 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!

RULES: The winner must be a US resident, and the charity of their choice must be a US 501(c)(3) organization (if you're not sure if yours is, ask me and I can look it up for you. I work for a nonprofit).

This giveaway ends Thursday, March 12, 2009 at 7pm PST. All eligible entries will be thrown into a hat (well, probably a water glass around our apartment), and a winner will be drawn by Mr. Bean. The winner will be announced here and contacted following the close of the contest - they can then let me know for sure what charity they'd like the donation to go to, and in whose name (if applicable). Good luck everyone, and be sure to enter my other giveaways - look over to the right hand column near the top of the page and you'll see links to them.

And the winners are...

And the winners of the Colorado Catnip Toys Giveaway are...

Congratulations to you both! Thanks to everyone for playing, and a special thank you to Jana at Colorado Catnip Toys for sponsoring such a fun giveaway!

MP3 Player: $40 for Cool (Samsung S2 Pebble)

Looking for a cheaper alternative to the iPod? Need an extra MP3 player to keep in your gym bag or office? If so, check out the S2 Pebble MP3 Player from Samsung. As the name implies, it's small and shaped like a smooth riverstone, and comes in five metallic colors! Features include:

-Comes in five hot colors: black, white, red, green, and purple.

-Easy-to-use controls are embedded on the back face of the device, with the earphone jack on the side.

-Samsung S2 supports MP3, WMA, and Ogg audio formats so you can listen to your favorite tunes in high-quality audio.

-Easy-to-use controls are embedded on the back face, including play/pause, volume, and playback options (standard, random, repeat).

-1 GB of internal flash memory provides enough storage space for approximately 13 hours of audio.

Sells for $39.99 on Amazon.com, so stop by and check these out!

Real Simple's 9 Essential Spices

If you're like many people I know (Mr. Bean and me included), you've been trying to eat away from home less. Looking for a few new ways to spice up your supper? Try this list of 9 Essential Spices, courtesy of a back issue of Real Simple:

1. Garlic Powder: Unlike fresh garlic, powder will not burn. Season flour with garlic powder for fried chicken.

2. Red Pepper Flakes (Crushed Red Pepper): Get the great taste of New York pizza by sprinkling red pepper flakes on your slice.

3. Rosemary: Pair rosemary and garlic to create a flavorful leg of lamb (or pork if you're like me and lamb freaks you out). For a side dish, combine potatoes, olive oil, rosemary, salt, and pepper, and roast in the oven.

4. Paprika: It has a subtle smoky flavor, which is great for seasoning meats and chicken before searing or grilling, and gives meat a beautiful color when cooked.

5. Bay Leaves: Create a base flavor in soups, stocks, and savory dishes by using bay leaves. Add one when sauteing onions too. Never leave them in when serving.

6. Oregano: Widely present in Mediterranean cooking, use oregano in tomato sauces and Greek salads with olives, tomatoes, and feta cheese.

7. Dry Mustard: Put a pinch of dry mustard into vinaigrettes or mix it with paprika to season beef. It packs a little bit of heat, so use it sparingly.

8. Cumin Seeds: Taste them in Middle Eastern and Mexican dishes. Add cumin powder and a drizzle of olive oil to spike up hummus.

9. Chili Powder: Season ground beef with chili powder when making Mexican food. Spicy alert: Add a little bit at a time.

Thursday, March 5

My Mamarazzi Favorite Things Swap Package is Here!

At the beginning of last month, I posted about participating in Mamarazzi's Favorite Things Swap. Per the rules of the swap, I mailed my package on Monday, March 2nd to my partner, Spaghetti in Bagels/Insanity at its Best. While I'm eager to see what she thinks about my goodies, I'm excited to say that her package to me arrived today!

(Please excuse my crafting table, yikes!) Inside were:
1. Adorable polka dotted makeup tote with smaller zippered pouch.
2. Maybelline mascara - I've been wanting to try this one!
3. "The Wedding Date" on DVD (haven't seen this one, but it's actually been on my Netflix queue!)
4. Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks (I've read several of his other books - she is right on the mark!)
5. Glade French Vanilla candle (smells fantastic!)
6. Cute gumdrops greeting card with a note from her.
This swap was so much fun! I just hope that she enjoys everything that I sent as much I did putting it all together! :-) Many thanks to Mamarazzi for working so hard to put together such a great swap!

Wednesday, March 4


Mr. Bean and I are what I like to politely refer to as "weird." We're a little goofy and sometimes our friends just shake their heads at us and laugh, but we have a great time and we don't hurt anyone with our oddness (at least I haven't received any requests to appear in court about anything yet). With that intro, allow me to introduce you to Mr. Bean's new office doodad, the British Lawyer Timid Monster:

Mr. Bean is always complaining that Etsy doesn't have enough "stuff" for guys (he wasn't nearly nearly as impressed as I was with the masculine scented bath fizzies I bought him), so I decided to go hunting for something for him. He's almost done with law school (graduation date = 5/10/09!), so I wanted to get him something attorney-esque. When we stumbled across the Etsy shop Trupinys, we knew we'd found "the one." We commissioned the seller to create a one-of-a-kind British lawyer Monster! We are not British, but figured that a British version of an attorney would look more lawyer-ish than just a monster in a business suit (which is what we thought of when we considered the American version). Check this guy out! Yellow legal pad, leather brief case, judge's robes, and a powdered wig! The details are incredible.

Although Trupinys also carries jewelry, crocheted items, and paper crafts, the Timid Monsters are what really drew us in. As seller Patricia describes, "Timid Monsters are fast becoming my most popular category. Strangely, they originated in an attempt to use up remainder clay. Now, I am constantly evolving their looks and personalities in an attempt to keep them fresh, new and unique. All my Monsters are baked clay and come with little handwritten biography cards so you get their little story with your order."

I did a search for "monster" in this shop and came up with 76 items! Prices start at just $2.25 so everyone can nab a little Timid Monster of their own (or you can commission Patricia to do a custom piece like I did). They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors (be sure to check out her sold items for previous Monsters, too!). Some of my favorites:

Did you notice that the last monster is St. Patrick's Day themed?! Be sure to check this shop out soon!

Tuesday, March 3

The Bean's Pick: Patina

Sorry I haven't posted yet today. I saw this 1/2 vintage, 1/2 mod glass vase in a magazine and had to hunt down the website behind it: Patina. Unfortunately I got sucked into their vortex of product goodness and forgot all about sharing this store with you!

Patina has a little bit of everything. They have more than 30 shopping categories ranging from standards like "At Home" and "Necklaces" to more unique areas such as "Ticky Tacky Fun" and "Momiji." Some of my favorite things I found:

Monday, March 2

Giveaway: Colorado Catnip Toys


An addict lives with us. His name is Bungee and his drug of choice is catnip. We've tried everything: therapy, long talks, even cutting off his kitty treats. Nothing works, so we've ultimately decided to reward his addiction by getting him even more catnip toys. Seems to be a healthy response, right?

Since I am a fan of Etsy (you don't say?), I recently purchased the Pets Jubilee sample box there and inside was Bungee's new true love: a flat toy shaped like a little car stuffed with organic catnip by Colorado Catnip Toys. Bungee loves this thing! He sleeps with it (konked out about 5 minutes after this picture was taken with the thing still in his arms), takes it with him when he moves from room to room, and even hides it from us when he's not using it. The catnip is strong enough to where even I can smell it through the fabric, and I like that the owner, Jana, takes great care to stitch up each toy carefully so it remains safe for kitties. You can get these toys in fun shapes like fish and butterflies as well as in catnip mats and quilts for both cats and dogs at Colorado Catnip Toys.

When I contacted Jana to let her know how much Bungee enjoys her toys, she offered to let me host a giveaway for two of her toys. Two lucky winners will receive one of the toys pictured here to share with their feline friend! To enter:

1. FOR ONE ENTRY: Visit Colorado Catnip Toys to check out all of Jana's products and pick your favorite. Return to The Sweet Jelly Bean blog and post a comment to this post identifying your favorite (please don’t just steal an answer from someone else’s comment). 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 this blog – please post a separate comment here if you are already doing so or if you begin to do 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!
4. FOR 5 BONUS ENTRIES: Make a purchase at Colorado Catnip Toys March 2-9. Post a comment with a link to the sold item page.

This giveaway ends Monday, March 9, 2009 at 9PM PST. The winner will be chosen using random.org, and will be contacted following the close of the contest. Good luck everyone, and please send a special thanks to Jana for her generosity!

Tea time

Yesterday afternoon the book club I'm in had its monthly book club meeting. Each month we try to pick somewhere new (many of us have tiny apartments that aren't large enough to host large groups), and this time we chose a tea room. There were over 100 teas to choose from and they actually had crummpets! We all had a great time, and the afternoon inspired me to tell you a little bit about one of my favorite tea shop, Teavana.

Since it's a national chain of stores, you may have seen one in your local mall (there are currently over 80 locations across the United States). Teavana specializes in loose leaf teas available in practically any variety you can think of: white, green, black, oolong, herbal, and more. Their philosophy is that you get a better tea from allowing the leaves to actually have contact with the hot water rather than just bleeding flavor through a tea bag. I was never really a fan of loose leaf teas until I found this place. I thought that they were too hard to use, strain, etc. Teavana offers a number of products, including their signature Perfect Tea Maker, that allow you to create heavenly tea from fresh leaves.

Teavana's real stars, however, are the teas themselves. My current two favorite varieties are Almond Biscotti black tea ("with the scrumptious "cookie-like" flavor of almonds and cinnamon bits, especially tempting sweetened with rock cane sugar and a splash of milk") and Snow Geisha, a delicate white tea. Not only can you get delicious teas in dozens of varieties, but Teavana also specializes in custom blends. When summer comes, for example, I might want to brighten up my Snow Geisha with a bit of fruity flavor, so I might try their Snowy Peach Geisha Tea Blend, a combination Geisha and Rooibos Peach. Yum!

I am no tea snob - for example, I'm drinking a green tea this morning that costs $1.49 for 20 bags. However, if I'm in the mood to splurge, I visit my nearby Teavana or their website (they ship across the world). Next time you're in the mood for a "spot" of tea, I recommend that you pop over to Teavana and give them a try.
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