Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Me and my sis.
Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to take this opportunity to share 20 things that I am thankful for right now (disclaimer: these are not in any particular order).

1. My Mister
2. Having my parents and sister within 2 hours of where I live
3. The wonderful friends that I have in my life.
4. The fact that I am healthy
5. That I was able to spend my grandmother's 90th birthday with her
6. The support I receive from all my friends and family
7. My fabulous customers!
8. Good food :)
9. My day job, even though it drives me nuts
10. That I found a creative outlet in soap making
11. That I was able to go back to school and not put myself in major debt
12. My knowledge of essential oils and herbs
13. That I have a car (except for parking tickets)
14. That I can read during my commute
15. That I have been able to travel
16. That I grew up in the country
17. Mister is a damn good cook
18. Mentors I have in my life
19. That I am not allergic to cheese
20. My business!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday Finds & Blog Love

My Friday Find is another gray hair...boooo!! :)

On the flip side, my blog interview for Bazaar Bizarre is out. Check it out here. Happy Friday!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Indie Mart Craft Show

I will be at the Indie Mart's last outdoor craft show of the season this Sunday at Thee Parkside. Come say hello, get a drink, some tater tots (seriously, I am so excited), listen to some live music, play some ping pong and make your own upcycled drink coozie!!!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Big Birthday Sale at Etta + Billie!

Tomorrow is my Grandma Billie's 90th Birthday!!! We are celebrating the big 9-0 tomorrow evening with good food (including the chocolate cake above) and lots of family.

My grandmother is one of the major influences for my business and I am so excited to be spending this birthday with her. I want to share this celebration with everyone so everything in my Etsy shop is 20% off starting tomorrow October 30 through November 1st. Help Etta + Billie celebrate by heading to and use "grandma90" in the "message to seller" when checking out.

Happy Birthday Grandma Billie!!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Pumpkin Carving Dia De Los Muertos Style

Mister and I received a full size pumpkin as part of our CSA and I decided I want to carve it up a little differently this year. Rather than going with the traditional Halloween pumpkin, I have decided I want to do a Dia De Los Muertos theme.

For those that dont know, Dia De Los Muertos is a Latin American festival where friends and families gather to celebrate and remember their dead loved ones. I love the imagery of Dia De Los Muertos (sugar skulls, masks, bright colors, flowers) so I want to do some sort of carving using the skulls as inspiration (like the one below). I am not very skilled with the pumpkin carving knife but I will share my results even if it looks horrible.

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Show!

My booth

So, my first show went fairly well. I did better than I expected, I met a bunch of fantastic SF Etsiers (Sarah Deragon, Annie of Sourdoughs, Rebecca of JimDandys, Kendra of KendraRenee, Erin of Eristotle...) other crafters (like Jess of XOJF and Liz of 1 by liz) and my fantastic friends came to visit me (and make purchases).

My fabulous friend and customer Heidi

Thanks to the ladies of Lightbox SF for making my first show so painless - cant wait for the next one!!!

Trippy photo of me at my booth and Liz in the background

My photos didn't turn out very well - Sorry - still getting a hang of the new camera!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

First Craft Show Eva!!!

My very first craft show is tomorrow night hosted by the wonderful Lightbox. They are doing these "Crafty Hour" show to gain support and funds to open an artists workshop space - how amazing is that??

I am excited and a bit nervous about tomorrow (what if no one talks to me!). I hope some of my Bay Area peeps can come visit me.

I love the evening craft show idea because cocktails + shopping is a lovely combination :).

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just what I've been looking for

I just saw this fantastic post about DIY Headboards on SF Apartment Therapy (yeah I am a little obsessed with the site right what?). I have been "trying" to figure out what the heck to do in my bedroom for over a year now (by "trying" I mean that I get annoyed every couple months and find stuff I want to do and then never do anything). This post might actually push me into finally taking the plunge, I am truly inspired!! So my favorite ideas are above and below. What do you think I should try??

(DIY Book Headboard - I swear my love for this has nothing to do with the quilt)

(Cathy of California 1966 Wall Hanging)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I scream you scream, we all scream for

I just had to share this fantastic packaging for ice cream that I found on Packaging of the World - love the colors and typography - very playful. Of course, the ice cream looks pretty dang good too (and its au natural). I will be keeping my eyes peeled for this stuff.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Soap Class

(sweet shot of me pouring oils)

This weekend I spent my Saturday at The Nova Studio (owned by the wonderful Lori Nova) assisting Ruth Esteves of Sirona Springs (don't her soaps look amazing...I am a bit jelly belly) teach "Advanced CP Soap Designs with a Loaf Mold".

(all photos via student Rick's flickr)

Ruth's class covered multiple design techniques including "in the pot" swirl method, layering, and the very cool "funnel" swirl. She is a fantastic teacher and I know that all the students were really excited about what they learned. Personally, I was overwhelmed with ideas and kept bugging Ruth with questions about different techniques (thanks Ruth!).

The class was a great reminder that soap making is truly an art form, that is one of the things that I love about it!

Friday, August 21, 2009

New obsession...quilts

I was so excited when I saw today's post on Apartment Therapy about Got Me in Stitches' modern quilts. I have had a little obsession lately with quilts especially after my trip to Alaska (there are a lot of quilts there). I want the one above to hang over my bed. Here are some other great quilts I found.Dainty Time via Apartment Therapy

lovely quilt from Warm 'N Fuzzies

Monday, August 17, 2009

Manic Monday: Alaska at Dusk

The guilt has finally gotten to me and I am finally posting after a month (or more hiatus). I am officially turning a new leaf today with this photo of the Chilkoot Lake in Haines Alaska at 10pm. Enjoy!

Friday, June 26, 2009

MJ Tribute

Yesterdays needs was very upsetting. Thriller (see the cover photo below) was the first cassette tape I ever owned and I played that baby over and over on my playschool boom box. Here is one of my very favorite Michael Jackson songs....RIP MJ.

Friday, June 12, 2009

New clothes...just what I need.

Love the new line from Mona & Holly - I pretty much want everything...even the shorts and I hate shorts.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

SF Etsy Meet Up

Tuesday I had the opportunity to go to an official Etsy meet up at the Crossroads Cafe (run by the Delancey Street Foundation) in San Francisco. It was a fantastic opportunity to meet some of the big wigs behind the scenes of Etsy. Maria Thomas (Etsy CEO), Sara Hicks (VP of Product), Chad Dickerson (Cheif Tech Officer), Jesse Hertzberg (Director of Biz Development), Carrington Williams (Director of Strategic Finance and CB (engineer I think) answered a TON of questions from various people. Topics ranged from Etsy's marketing to Paypal snafus to missing newsletters. This meeting reinforced one of the reasons that I love Etsy - the personal connections that are created through an online marketplace!!

While there, I met up with fellow B&B seller Valerie from Piper Tate (we met at the HSMG Conference see my post here) and fabulous vintage seller Jen from Maven Vintage (check out her blog here). Val and I chatted away for hours about various business nity gritty. Thanks Val for dealing with a million and one questions!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Say hello to Anise Peppermint

I just listed my newest soap creation Anise Peppermint. As a child, I despised Black Licorice (YUCKIE!) but I've matured since then and love the scent of Licorice, especially when its mixed with other things. I started thinking about this bar after taking a class at The Nova Studio with the fabulous Lori Nova. She made Anise scented soap and I just loved the scent so much I started thinking up my own fabulous combinations, thus Anise Peppermint was born. This soap is a fresh scented blend of bright clean Peppermint and sweet tangy Anise. The swirl was created thanks to some help from mother nature (charcoal) and gravity!

Doesn't the spot near the top look like a Chambered Nautilus? Check out this link for comparison.

Anise has traditionally been used as a deodorizer (fisherman used to rub the plant on their hands to help rid them of odors) and charcoal packs its own odor neutralizing punch, so this bar is perfect for a kitchen soap or a post work out shower. Check out my listing on Etsy here.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

HSMG Conference Palm Springs...finally

More than two weeks ago I attended the Hand Crafted Soap Makers Guild Conference in Palm Springs and I still think I'm recovering ; ). I had heard a lot of great things about the conference from Lori Nova of The Nova Studio and I am sooo glad that I was able to attend this year. I was a really wonderful opportunity for me to majorly geek out on all things soap!! Plus I got to meet tons of incredible people - including some serious role models like my very own conference roomie Jen Hardaway of Klean Bath + Body, Lela Barker of Bella Lucce, Anne Marie Faiola of Brambleberry and the list just keeps on going....

Lori Nova and I

The conference was meticulously planned and organized, the VP of the HSMG Leigh O'Donnell (and future president) did a great job. It truly is incredible how many events, presentations, networking hours, meetings and meals were packed into 3 days. There were presentations ranging from topics like Setting Up Shop with Linda Stevens of Upland Soap Factory (who is hilarious!) to The Media is You with Donna Maria Coles Johnson of the Indie Beauty Network. I was shocked when I realized I was understanding (and really enjoying) Cold Process Kinetics (heat in soap making process) with Kevin Dunn, PhD (apparently I have turned into a science geek in my old age). Kevin had the coolest animation to show the chemical bonds between soap and water molecules and the different ways soap molecules can arrange neat - you can check it out here. The first evening, Kayla and Dennis Fioravanti (check them out on Twitter here) of Essential Wholesale threw a lavish party -

My table at the party

complete with jugglers, stilt walkers, an incredible ice sculpture/martini fountain,

delicious food, a bag filled will amazing natural products (I cant get enough of the Bitter Almond & Vanilla Lotion), and two very talented comedians: Wendy Leibman and Jon Reep. Jon had me in tears, I was practically hyperventilating I was laughing so hard...oh lordy that man is fuuuunnnny. After the next jam packed day we had an evening to pamper ourselves with Spa Night - don't I look fabulous?

Thanks for being my personal photographer Bill (from Piper Tate)! Somehow I managed to make it to the pool each evening (staying up way past my bedtime) to chat it up with my fellow soapers.

The last day of the conference was bitter sweet, it started with a Indie Meet up breakfast hosted by Donna Maria where I was able to meet fabulous Indies and talk about legislation effecting our industry. Oh and I also got to talk cupcakes with Anne Marie. Fellow soaper Cindy of Sudz N Bubbles and I got more than we bargained for when we went to a local spot called Randy's. Randy's is a Palm Springs staple and is frequented by sports stars and Hollywood celebrities. Randy was extremely genial if a bit eccentric, his walls are covered in photographs and autographs and his menu was a binder not only filled with food options but also articles, factoids and more photographs. You can ready more about the lunch here. After another afternoon of classes the conference ended with dinner, an awards ceremony and tons of pictures!

The next day was rough, I was sleep deprived and had to be up at 4am for a 6am flight back to SF so I could make it to work by 9 (I know I am totally crazy). I am thankful I didn't have anything serious to do at work that day because I was loopy!!!

I really had a great time and I am so glad that I went. I know that I am definitely attending next years conference in Denver!! Hopefully this time I'll get to hit up the spa.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

So Random

Since I still haven’t finished my HSMG Conference post (I know, I know I am a bad girl) I thought I’d do a quick post with some random stuff.

image from

1. I saw UP last night and really enjoyed it. They did throw in some tear jerking moments…I was already teary eyed within the first 15 min. I highly recommend spending the cash to see it on the big screen - and I am sure its even worth the extra few dollars to see it in 3D (which is how I had wanted to see it but was outvoted by Mister, Molly and Paul…punks). Click here to see one of my favorite scenes in the movie. Note: I pretty much believe that PIXAR can do no wrong.

2. I just got the new JCrew catalog, which is filled with numerous things that I really really want but cannot have. Curse you JCrew for tempting me to shop with your cute flats and pretty tops!!!!

all images from

Friday, May 22, 2009

Fear...Dun Dun Duuuuun.

photo from HowStuffWorks

I just saw this great post about Fear at Soap and the Finer Things In Life by The Soap Queen aka Anne-Marie Faiola. This is an issue I struggling with when it comes to starting my own business, I have many fears not only about failing but about succeeding as well (sounds weird but its true!). I can truly overwhelm myself with fear when I start imagining all sorts of future scenarios involving my business. What happens if my business fails? What will I do then? What happens if I succeed? What will my life be like?? Some of us have learned how to deal with Fear and keep moving forward while others havent reached that place yet. I know I need to work on acknowledging my fears - then to just keep truckin. Otherwise I will get stuck, feeling helpless and in turn not following my dreams and passions which would pretty much suck! That is definitely NOT how I want to live my life.

What fears do you deal with?? How do you deal with them??

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Etta + Billie Featured on Bright Side Project

My products were featured on the Bright Side Project last Friday!!! I am absolutely ecstatic!!!

What is The Bright Side Project you ask?? Well it is an ingenious project created by Miss B (aka Tristan) to bring a daily ray of sunshine into everyone's life through product giveaways (win by answering sweet questions like "What is you favorite memory from your childhood?") - which in turn helps her publicize emerging artists, designers and other product creators. I received an email from the lovely Tristan last week asking if I wanted to participate (she found me on Etsy) - after checking out her website I was ready to jump right in (sadly I had no idea about this wonderful project before last week!). One of my favorite parts, is that I was able to create the question and I get to pick the winner. The question is:

What is your favorite scent and why? What memory does this scent evoke?

Scent has always fascinated me (good thing I work with it all the time) - it has the most incredible way of transporting you back in time to specific memories...every time I smell Aqua Di Gio I think of being in behind the stage of my 6th grade class play trying to get the attention of my crush who was too busy being mischievous to notice me...sigh. Ok, enough reminiscing. There is still a chance to win four of my soaps until Friday April 24, so get your butts on over to the site and answer the question!! Link is here and check out the rest of the site here.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Perfectionist letting go = Etsy shop opening!!!

It's official Etta + Billie is finally online!! It has taken far longer than I ever thought it would - mostly because my a perfectionism. During any job interview I have ever been to - when they ask what my greatest weakness is - I always say "I am a perfectionist" - their response "How is that a weakness?". I used to BS the answer a bit so it sounded like a weakness but still sounded good (that is what you are supposed to do in an interview). And in some ways being a perfectionist is good - when it comes to things like attention to detail and thorough research. But over the course of the last few months, what I have realized is that my perfectionism can be a big liability at times. It keeps me from taking action because I have a fear that if things aren't perfect then it will screw up the whole thing - which is completely silly I know, but a bit hard to overcome. I always want everything to be "just right" and that simply wont happen most of the time - and that is OK.

I am trying to overcome that aspect of my perfectionist tendencies - thankfully I have had a lot of amazing supportive people in my life who help me out (and by supportive I mean people who will kick me in the ass when I need it). I really must pay special tribute to two of my best ass kicking peps - Miss Molly Della and my Mister. My pics went up on Etsy this week because Molly Della basically told me to put them up even though they weren't perfect. And I did, and now my Etsy site is up...YIPPEEE!!! Mister has of course supported me and kicked me into gear countless times when I have been discouraged. He is the best Mister a girl could ever ask for. I have also been getting a lot of positive ass kicking from some great entrepreneurs, who post some amazing pieces on their blog's and websites - a few of my favorites have been The Art of Nonconformity (Chris Guillebeau), Essential U (Kayla Fioravanti), and Indie Business Blog (Donna Maria Coles Johnson).

For anyone is suffers from something similar, I highly recommend checking out these online resources (and following these people on twitter) and finding some people who will kick you in the ass once in a while ; ).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Honey honey

Over the last few weeks I have been noticing that my skin has really not been happy. I am having a minor bought with 'adult' acne and dry skin (sounds pretty right?). I decided to attack my skin issues with a bit of honey!

Honey is great for the skin. It moisturizes, it exfoliates (natural enzymes) and it is anti-microbial. The best part is that is does all these great things but is super gentle. I like to add herbs to my honey for the added benefits (and the scent!). Lavender is always a good choice because of its wonderful scent and ability to heal, soothe and calm redness (its better for acne than Tea Tree). Other great herbs/plants to add would be dried powdered Lemon or Orange peel (vitamin c, exfoliant), Rose Hips (antioxidants), Chamomile (soothing), Calendula (very healing for skin) - you can actually even eat these if you really wanted to!

I mixed up a batch of Herbal Honey mask. It has been macerating for a few weeks so it smells absolutely divine!!! I applied last night and although I am not completely free and clear of skin issues but my skin looks and feels a whole lot better than it did.

Herbal Honey Mask
1 tbsp finely ground dried lavender flowers
1 tbsp finely ground dried chamomile flowers
2 1/2 tbsp local honey

I used a coffee grinder to grind my herbs, so the particles weren't as small as I would have wanted but it works. Mix ingredients together and store in a clean glass jar. I let my mixture sit for about 2 weeks before I used it but it can be used immediately (no need to refridgerate).

I also like to use Honey as part of my daily cleansing routine (I actually ran out a couple of weeks ago...maybe that is why my skin has been looking so crap).
My Honey Cleanser recipe is super simple (for those who like soap here is another recipe from Supernatural Botanicals blog).

1 1/2 tbsp honey
1 tbsp Hydrosol (I used Rosemary - other good options are Lavender and Rose)

I actually made this hydrosol (that will be another post)

Mix honey and hydrosol together with a whisk until completely incorporated (will be a bit watery) then put into a clean glass container.

Ta-da--- you now have a gentle cleanser!

Small batches work best - honey is anti-microbial and wont spoil, hydrosols are pretty stable but can be negatively effected by temperature changes (i.e. steamy bathrooms). My cleanser lasted about a month and was totally fine. I like to use this cleanser in the morning and another cleanser at night to get off makeup.

Let me know how these work for you and have fun whipping up your own honey skin treats!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Cravings = eating dinner at 9pm

I got home at 6:20pm and really didnt want what I had planned for dinner tonight (warm shrimp and eggplant salad over brown rice) - what I really wanted was spinach/kale lasagna (Note: I didnt have all the ingredients). Not listening to reason, I prepped everything that I could (white sauce, sauteed spinach and kale, cooked lasgna noodles) and then waited for Mister to get home with the rest of the ingredients. I just put the lasagna in the oven about 10 minutes ago...sigh

If I had made the sensible choice I would have already finished eating, instead I will be eating at 9 (but I will love every bite of that lasagna damnit!).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Peace out debt!

I am sooo thrilled right now cause I just paid off my credit card debt....YIPPEEEE!!!!

A year of school and working part time definitely added to the accumulating credit card bill and it feels amazing to finally have a 0 balance. It took longer than I had anticipated, but I tried to stick to my plan to put money toward the credit card every month and it worked... although it didn't hurt that I sensibly put some of my tax return money toward finishing off the debt. Now I can put all my "extra" cash into the biz!

Perhaps I will also reward myself with a purchase from yesterday's post....JK (sort of).