Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mother's Little Helper

I've got a lot going on. I have various appointments, candle making, selling, sending out mailings and... oh yeah, Christmas shopping. There is much to do and just not enough hours in the day.

Fortunately for me, my son jumped in and offered to help with tonight's candle making. He saw me making batch after batch of candles today, both after school and before bed. So when he said, "Mom, I can help you," I thought it was a great chance to get him involved, give him a good feeling of importance, and get a little help.

First, he cut the wicks. They are very long and need to be trimmed down to about 1/4".
After he was done (boy, was he quick), he asked what else he could do to help. I was about to start melting and topping off the candles with sugar in the raw. I told him he could follow my heat gun (read = (hair) blow dryer) with a bunch of sugar and sprinkle it onto each candle. I was a bit nervous at first but guess what? He did better than I ever have. Best sugar tops yet!

Sweetening the deal with sugar in the raw.
I was so impressed with both his desire and ability to pitch in. The past few weeks he's been helping me by bringing me wick clips and things, but having him help on the creative end is a real treat. Plus, he cut my finishing time down by about 40 minutes.

My son has me in complete awe. He's maturing more quickly than I could ever imagine.

Johnny, along with the girls, will be helping me do something very special for my local vendors. I cannot say what because, on the off chance that one of them is reading my blog, I don't want to spoil the surprise.

Johnny, thanks for being such an amazing son.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Pink or Blue? It's Up to You.

I hope you've enjoyed your weekend thus far, and that your Thanksgiving was a peaceful one spent with loved ones (thanks to Ward and his family for a super thankful day). Before I start decorating the interior of my home for Christmas (I did hang some lights inside, and the house has been modestly decked), I was looking around my house and enjoying these little spaces that I've created on a whim, by color. 

First, the exterior of my house...
I love basic red and green. Nothing fancy. Ever.

Next is my pink collection...
At right, hand drawn and painted deer silhouette in a frame from the 50s (by Johnny Vintage's Jonnie Anderson); at center, T+W hand carved on old white rustic wood by The Lonely Heart on etsy; at right, handmade ornament (complete with fork and cool flower detail) by Andrea DeMorest from Savannah Hope Vintage.
And the blue...
At top, "Be Nice or Leave" hand painted sign, found at Maison Decor in Madison; "High Maintenance" was a print accented with blue nail polish dots, given to me 6 years ago by the artist himself, Daniel Belardinelli; bottom is a painting that I saw and wanted a year ago at my local hardware store, Major Hardware. It wasn't for sale, but just recently, the kindly gave it to me, for no reason at all (signed Rosa Vill or Rosa Viel). How lovely!

Post some of your little vignettes on my page. I'd love to see them.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Shop Local & Small Business Saturday

While I am not a fan of Christmas trumping Thanksgiving, I must admit that hearing Christmas music while eating breakfast at the diner this morning was kind of nice. But with just less than a week 'til the holiday shopping season officially begins, I want to urge you to avoid the mall and online shopping, and instead shop locally.

Saturday is Small Business Saturday. Take this day (and all the days before and after) to vote with your dollars. It's easier, you get more unique items, and you support local shops and small business owners. Buy American made products whenever possible. Keep your town in business, instead of fighting for parking in a giant sell-out mall. Great towns for Small Business Saturday in New Jersey are not limited to but include, Madison, Boonton, Denville, Chester, Caldwell/Verona, Montclair, and Morristown.

I will be hosting a pop-up holiday shop in a space that I rented, the Gallery at River's Edge in Denville (across from Stewart's). We will have independent sellers there, crafters, and artisans. Ward Vogt Designs will be selling town cards (Denville, Boonton, Mountain Lakes) and I will be selling my candles.

My hope is that you come to our pop-up shop, visit the local shops in and around Broadway in Denville, grab breakfast at the diner, and lunch or dinner and drinks at our favorite pub, The Second Half on Main. You can get yourself a manicure at the nail salon, or a massage at the Urban Muse. Take the day to shop local, small businesses.

And please, stop by our pop-up shop, get a free cup of coffee, some cookies, and shop for the holidays!

For more information, click here to check out our facebook event listing! 106 Broadway in Denville, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Getting Waxed

Less than a month ago, I hand poured my first batch of candles, on a whim. I've done it most of my life, on and off, but never for myself. I decided to start a line that followed the blog, thus the name Domestic Goddess candles. My friend Andrea De Morest, owner of Savannah Hope Vintage, offered to launch my candles at a Girls' Night Out event on November 4th, and I excitedly agreed. Now, less than three weeks later, I am in nine stores! (see below for details)

I make candles both at my home and at a place that I call Domestic Goddess Land. First, I wash each glass by hand, then set the wicks with wick wax. After the wax melts in the melter, I add the fragrance and hand mix it (when at home, I use a metal spoon). Next, I open the spout and pour the fragranced wax into a hand pitcher, and hand pour the candle. The candles are of the highest quality and at 8% (a strong percentage), the scents are custom made for me, and each candle is hand poured.

Here, my man Ward packs my wax into a box. He cut 60 lbs. of wax
with a saw today, so that I can fit it into my melter. What a man!

My at-home melter.

I don't know if I am repeating myself. I am so tired from all the work, but so excited, too. And really, I  want to thank each store for carrying my line, and all of you for buying my candles. I am excited and proud.

After Tuesday, I will be getting ready for Thanksgiving and (spoiler alert) will be baking cookies for all of the shop owners who carry DG Ltd. Tomorrow night, read about Small Business Saturday, and then Tuesday night, I will be posting my winter stock up list (wood included).

If you haven't checked out my candles yet, please go to any of the below listed stores to shop for them! They are currently being sold in New Jersey, New York (the Hamptons), Rhode Island, and Hong Kong.

Local shops include Savannah Hope Vintage in Boonton, Surprises In Store and Dash of Thyme Gourmet in Denville; Saplings in Caldwell, Maison Decor in Madison, and Montville Florist in Montville. In New York, try Annyx in Sag Harbor and Steph's Stuff in East Hampton. Cool Beans Cafe in Narragansett, RI will have my candles on Wednesday, and they are shipping out Tuesday to Polkadot Boutique in Hong Kong. Shops that want to sell DG candles can contact me at domesticgoddessltd@aol.com. If I think that your shop is a good match for my candles, I will set up a meeting with you. Thank you!

Polkadot Boutique in Hong Kong

Annyx in Sag Harbor

Saplings in Caldwell

Saturday, November 19, 2011

I'm Moonstruck for Hot Cocoa

My son is a huge hot cocoa fan. He usually has one cup every day, beginning in late fall and ending sometime in mid-Spring. For years, I bought him Swiss Miss, but once Dash of Thyme Gourmet opened in Denville, I saw the opportunity for better hot cocoa.

We started, quite successfully, with Fireside Cocoa. My son loved the Chocolate Truffle. Loved. He had it for a while, since I was smart an bought a couple cans of it. As soon as we ran out, though, I hurried back to Dash of Thyme for more.

Alas, they were sold out.

I saw a couple of other options, and chose based on packaging. (I'm a fool for packaging.) The container is so romantic, and it's called Moonstruck Classic Hot Cocoa. I picked one up and took it home.

(L to R) My ceramic coffee mug, that looks like a typical diner to go cup, was a gift from Ward a couple of Christmasses ago. I love drinking from it. Next is the Fireside Caramel Chocolate that I drink (my son didn't dig the caramel). The Better Milk for Better Health vintage milk bottle, found at Savannah Hope Vintage, holds my mini marshmallows. And then there's the Moonstruck Classic Hot Cocoa.

I wanted to see if my son would like this cocoa, but didn't tell him it was a different brand. I just called from the kitchen, "Want hot cocoa?" to which he responded, "Sure." Though you are supposed to make it with hot milk, I used hot water in the bottom half the cup, and stirred 'til it was melted. Then I added organic whole milk to make it more creamy and cool it off. I topped it with the usual, mini marshmallows. I didn't ask how it was, but instead watched and waited.

He took a cautious first sip, to make sure it wasn't hot. And then another, and another. "Good?" I asked. He nodded yes. He drank the whole thing, and even asked for a second cup. It was that good.

Moonstruck Hot Cocoa is available locally at Dash of Thyme Gourmet, 49 Broadway in Denville. If you're out of the area, you can order online at Moonstruck Chocolate.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Little Champagne (then back to vacuuming)

Everything worthwhile takes time. Yes, it takes grunt work and lots of energy. It takes believing that it will all work out the way we expect. But in the end, getting to relax with a nice glass of champagne to celebrate, it's all worth it.

Marilyn Monroe drinking champagne.
I'm mortified to say that my house is a total mess. It's almost unbearable. The addition is complete and now the house needs a good vacuuming, the hardwood floors need to be waxed, the bath needs to be scrubbed, and there are about 20 loads of laundry that need to be washed. The washed laundry needs to be put away. My laundry situation is so bad that I seriously, I swear, thought of just washing everything, throwing it all into some big bags, and donating it. I hate folding my own laundry, because I just have nowhere to put it. Oh, and nothing fits, but that's something else entirely (something I'd rather not discuss, thank you very much).

It's all because of the candle line I've just launched. I'm in eight stores (see listing below) in just three weeks, and since I do mostly everything including wash the glasses, set the wicks, blend fragrance into the melted wax, hand pour each candle, set the wicks with wick clips, design and print the labels then stick them, make the sales contacts and calls (only to stores that fit the product), drop off (and ship) samples, handle accounts payable and receivable, do promotions, and decide on fragrances, well, I'm a bit busy. I refuse to let it take me away from my family, but outside of that, I've pretty much let everything slide. Lunches with friends (though I did get my quick coffee catch up with MK and KP, and got to meet Kevin Jonas as a bonus), mani/pedis, working out, and cleaning has all taken a backseat. So if I've been MIA, please don't take it personally.

Big breath. I've launched my final fragrance for the year; actually just poured it today. While I am still looking for independently owned, well-presented shops, the ones that are currently selling are almost entirely stocked; some are getting big shipments, and the rest are just waiting for me to supply them with my most recent fragrance, the one that ties the bow atop the box of Domestic Goddess Winter 2011 releases.

The fragrance? Champagne Sparkle.

Champagne Sparkle, by Domestic Goddess Ltd. (that's me!)
I was choosing between three scents, and my friend Lisa W. was with me when I was testing. She and I both agreed on this particular fragrance (all of my fragrances are custom blends), and it's amazing. When it was in it's wax batch, it had a strong, sweet scent. In the hardened wax, it smells just like a popped bottle of bubbly. It's sweet, crisp, and almost has a citrusy twist to it. We burned it after school and all night tonight, and the smell was really very refreshing and blended well with everything, even our taco dinner.

Scarlet Johanson surrounded by champagne.
If you are local and looking for this scent, I can tell you that I am supplying it to Dash of Thyme on Broadway in Denville, and Savannah Hope Vintage on Main Street in Boonton, on Friday. Other shops that sell Domestic Goddess candles and may be carrying this particular fragrance are Surprises in Store on Broadway in Denville, Maison Decor on Main Street in Madison, Montville Florist in Montville, and Saplings in Caldwell. If you live in the Hamptons, Annyx in Sag Harbor is getting their order shipped out tomorrow, and Steph's Stuff on Newtown in East Hampton will have the Champagne Sparkle by early next week. Lastly, I am hosting a pop-up holiday shop at a space we rented (106 Broadway in Denville, it's the Gallery at River's Edge, across from Stewart's) on Small Business Saturday 11/26, where I will be selling all of my fragrances, and many other great sellers will be there as well. I don't normally do these kinds of sales, but it's going to be a fun day. I always prefer, though, that you buy from a store that sells Domestic Goddess candles. Look for the sticky in the window:

Look for this sticky in the window, then go shop for your very own DG candle.
And now, as a tribute to champagne, here are some fabulous photos that remind us that champagne shouldn't just be for special occasions. It should be an everyday drink. (Heck, I'll even take Prosecco.)

My toast to you: A good happy life, healthy, and filled with sparkly moments.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Forty 2 (thank you)

Birthday banner hung across my living room wall, courtesy of Ward.

The day before I turned 42, I found myself overwhelmed. I received way more candle orders than I expected (it's a good, but busy, thing), and was hand delivering, hand pouring, and shipping all week. My nails hadn't seen a manicure in God only knows how long, and two of those days that week, I got a maximum three hours sleep.

Just hours before I was to begin celebrating with W, a table I was building, for my son's bedroom, collapsed on top of me. It looked fully together until I tried to move it. I didn't know that one has to twist cam screws to lock them into place, but boy do I know now. The whole thing just fell to pieces on my crossed legs. I sat on the floor, covered in pieces of the table, crying. My mom and son experienced the meltdown, then sent me to get a mani/pedi before the earth's plates began to shift. I had just gotten a dozen long stem roses from W, delivered to the house along with a birthday balloon and a loving note, which was probably the only thing that kept me from going totally over the edge.

Roses from my man xoxTW

Later for dinner, W told me that we could go anywhere my heart desired, so I chose my favorite happy place, the Second Half in Denville. We are regulars there, and I knew we would have fun sitting and having dinner at the bar. One of the bartenders who'd just gotten off duty, Laura, gave me a gourmet chocolate bar, and a cool bobble head pen. It was so sweet. Later, after we'd eaten our dinner, the pub's owner, my friend Diane, came walking out the kitchen doors with a giant cowbell, waving it in the air, with a crew of waitstaff behind her. She took the long route and walked through the restaurant, so I didn't think that she was coming for me. (She was.) They raised the lights in the bar, and then Di made an announcement that it was my birthday and everyone sang, even people who were walking in the door. I got a pink candle in a decadent chocolate spoon cake (worth every calorie) and my night was made.

I wish I had a photo, or a video, from that night. 

The next morning, my actual birthday, W and I did our favorite morning routine which includes breakfast at Pete's Denville Diner on Broadway. Last year, we went on my birthday and Mina, the owner, brought me a Greek dessert with a candle in it (I blogged about it - see archives). This time, we sat quietly but amongst a packed diner, drank our coffee and ate our breakfast. Afterward, Mina, her mom, and the waitresses came to our table with a giant, perfectly made Belgian waffle, topped with tons of fresh fruit, nuts, sprinkles, and whipped cream. A pink candle (once again, my color) was atop the whole thing, and I watched and laughed while they sang "Happy Birthday" to me. I was full from breakfast, but this was so good that W and I finished off the whole thing.

Omigod. Mina sure knows how to make a birthday special. Check out all that yummy fruit!

Beautiful Mina and me. She's my favorite Greek Goddess!

Later that day, after making a candle delivery, I arrived home to a bag on my front step, from a spa called the Urban Muse. My darling friend and partner-in-pedicure, KT, had left me a very special gift. A gift certificate for a facial. I've never gotten one, so I was very excited to receive this gift. And how thoughtful of her to bring it to my house! I love that girl more and more each day.

W and the kids came home and told me to go sit in my office with the door closed. While I did, they blew up tons of balloons and decorated them, hung a Happy Birthday sign (see top of blog), set the table with birthday plates and napkins, and brought in their homemade cards. They hid the cake, a Denville Dairy ice cream cake, in the freezer. JH had given me his card and gift earlier in the day, drawing his dogs on it, and a bunch of flags (Russian, Japanese, and American) with a soldier. Very cute, very him! He loves his war games, that's for sure. He also got me a gift card for movies for two, which I love because I am so into going to the theater! 

All three cards were amazing, and Mol's and Em's were HUGE. Em's was waist high! They are too personal to share, but I will say that I was balling my eyes out the minute Em started reading me hers, and it only got worse when I read Mol's. They were the most touching cards I've gotten, probably ever in my life, and I will keep them forever.

While we were celebrating, our little buddies from next door, Gavin (3) and Colten (1), came with their parents to bring me some presents, flowers, and a cake. We got their parents beers and invited them to stay and have pizza with us. Along with our usual brews, we tried one that my ex-husband and his wife got me (they know their beer). I have to get you the name because it was really delicious. It was a super Belgian ale (my favorite style of beer) that's got 8.5% alcohol. It had an orangey sort of flavor to it. I loved it. This birthday turned out to be the most heartwarming one ever. 

Before bed, we had the Denville Dairy cake.  The kids and I all sat around the lit candles, made our wishes together, and then blew them out. Since W was taking photos, I made a wish for him as well as one for me.

One big, collective blow to bring in forty two.
The next morning, after my two cups of coffee, I made a big breakfast: pancakes (made the batter the night before) with mini chocolate chips in the kids', bacon, taylor ham and orange juice. We all ate together, then split the cake that our neighbors had brought over from the night before. It was incredible!

Later that night, my parents took me to dinner so that I could celebrate with them. They brought me a basket of flowers that was so big, it didn't fit on the table! We had a lovely dinner, and while I tried to get out of another "Happy Birthday" songfest, they did sing to me... in Spanish, which was really pretty cool. And I got one last candle, in my perfect Calandra's cannoli.

What beats a cannoli? A cannoli with a birthday candle!
Thank you all, so much, for making this such a special birthday, including those who called me, sent me texts and messages, and who gave me free stuff while visiting their store (Lisa). I feel very blessed.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Your Online Vote Can Change A Life (got 60 seconds?)

This Sunday, use your computer to do something amazing. Get a little girl off the street and into school. Do it while you're watching football, or making tonight's marinara, or posting photos on facebook. Just vote, and then post the link for your friend's and family to vote. Here's the details...

My dad's friend, Katie Borghese, is on the board of More than Me, a charity that works to get girls off the street and into school in Liberia, West Africa.  Here's the information that she shared with my dad, and I am passing it along: More than Me is in an online contest sponsored by Chase, and can win with your vote!  The charity is in 12th place out of thousands of charities.  Your vote will make a difference!  Elizabeth (seen in the photo above) is off the street, in school, and is the only person in her family who can read, all because of More than Me.  Help us get 100 more girls into school for 7 years. Click here and vote for More than Me– its easy. And make sure to tweet, post, blog and email all of your friends.  Everyone only gets one vote so we need to spread the word to get lots of people voting. More than Me matters.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart,
Tiffany (aka: the Domestic Goddess)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

How to Give Good Gifts this Year (and Fuel the American Economy)

It's not like me to read a spammy, forwarded email. But my friend Susan sent me one worth reading. It spoke about how we can shop for the holidays in a way that supports our economy and our country. Instead of buying crap made in China (no offense, China), we can buy locally made products and services. 

I've ripped off the entire email, rather than copy and paste it, and gave it my own local spin. What I will add (that the email didn't), is don't give a gift with strings attached. Don't take someone out to dinner, or to a spa. Instead, give them a gift certificate to go themselves. Let them choose to invite you. It's much more of a gift that way.

And while I refuse to put out a Christmas decoration until Black Friday, I think writing about shopping (since we are all so smart and getting it done early) is okay.

For those who "need a little Christmas, right this very minute", here's a Christmas tree with a sign that reads something to the effect of "Everything on this tree is for sale". Um, thanks...

  1. Buy gift certificates to independently owned restaurants, to give as a gift. Local options are The Station in Mountain Lakes; The Second Half on Main, Cafe Metro, and the Denville Diner in Denville; Montville Inn and Columbia Inn in Montville; and Chili Willies and Roma Pizzeria in Boonton. 
  2. Get a gift certificate for a hair cut or two at a friend's favorite salon. Include some good shampoo and conditioner with it. How about a manicure or a pedicure? I get manicures for all of my friends for the holidays, from my favorite nail salon, Denville Nails. You can always give that along with some quick dry polish, or a 2011 ornament. You can even (heads up for the shameless plug) give them a Domestic Goddess candle or some of my Mail Me stationary to go with it.
  3. A ten pack of car washes is a great idea, or a gift certificate to get their car detailed would be great. Can't afford that? Wash and detail the car yourself! Now that's giving.
  4. My favorite one from the email was this, pay for a season of snow removal or lawn mowing. Every time the driveway gets cleared or the lawn gets mowed, your holiday gift will be remembered as the gift that keeps on giving.
  5. Get local items. Ward Vogt Designs makes town card sets. Local sets include Celebrate Mountain Lakes, Scenic Denville, and Historic Boonton note cards. They are sold locally at A Dash of Thyme Gourmet in Denville, Savannah Hope Vintage (has all towns), and Heavenly Temptations (has Boonton cards, and Santaland card packs) in Boonton, and Simplify Marketplace in Mountain Lakes. Out of towners can get them online by clicking here. He also sells larger prints of images like The Cove and Downtown Denville at Dawn. Get one and frame it for someone special. No time? His local photography (Morristown included) hangs at Mara's Cafe in Denville on permanent exhibit and is for sale. So if you see one you like, call him to arrange to buy it (973) 784-3030 or email wardvogtdesigns@yahoo.com. 
  6. As I've said a hundred times before, gift certificates to independently owned and operated shops is a fabulous option. Let your friend discover something they want while supporting a local business. Here's a list of my favorites: In Boonton, Savannah Hope Vintage, Bubba Rose Biscuit Co. (for dog lovers), Heavenly Temptations, and Bobby's Main Street News. In Denville, Dash of Thyme Gourmet (they make great gift baskets, too), Surprises In Store, and United Smoke Shop (I love that catch-all shop). In Montville, Barry's Montville Pharmacy (a smaller version of Mendham's Apothecary) and Montville Florist (they sell my candles - support them!). In Mountain Lakes, of course, is Simplify Marketplace. 
  7. Make dinner for someone and deliver it to their house. Make something they can freeze (packed ready to freeze, with reheating instructions) like lasagna. Or bake them a big batch of cookies and include the recipe. That's my gift to all my vendors this year, homemade cookies in a reusable Ball jar.
  8. Make your own ornaments or buy them at small shops. Pleeeeeease, as much as I love Michael's, don't buy your ornaments at chain shops! Buy locally. Handmade is even better.
  9. Lastly, please join me and a bunch of amazing people who are doin' it for themselves! Come visit our pop-up holiday shop on Saturday, November 26th from 10 - 5 p.m. at 106 Broadway in Denville. Handmade items and independent consultants from labels like Stella & Dot, and Willow Home. To me, this is still indie, because these people are running their own business from home! Free admission includes wine, cookies, and coffee. Details below.

Come get all of your holiday shopping done without the stress (and predictability) of the mall. Shop all of your favorite stores on Broadway in Denville, and then stop by our festive gift boutique for unique items, handmade stationary and paper goods, homemade candles, jewelry, cards, make up, and tons more fun items. Baked goods too.

It will be warm and fun, and filled with friends.

FREE wine while you shop. Coffee, too.

Come have fun with us! This is being held the Saturday after Thanksgiving. We are very excited! JOIN US! Street parking! 106 Broadway in Denville (I've rented out the Let's Create Art Studio)

Some fun vendors include:

  • Smith Letterpress
  • Stella & Dot Jewelry
  • Ward Vogt Designs
  • Savannah Hope Vintage
  • Willow House (beautiful home goods)
  • Domestic Goddess Candles
  • Mountain Lakes Bar Method (with lululemon)
  • Jillian Zoltner 
  • Lynsey Gwiliam

Grab breakfast beforehand at Denville Diner, then afterward, go get a manicure, and have dinner at one of Denville's amazing dining estabilshments like the Second Half on Main.

For more info, contact me at tiffanypalisi@gmail.com

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Moustaches in Movember (I'm a Mo Sista)

It's funny that I received a moustache message about Movember today. Funny because last Friday, at BMS's Girls' Night Out, Andrea DeMorest of Savannah Hope Vintage made Mr. Moustache chocolate pops for the party. All sorts of moustache types including the Burt Reynolds, the Salvador Dali, and handlebar moustaches.

The photo that accompanied the moustaches in Movember was very cool, so I decided to do a little research about it. I went to the official Movember - Face Grown & Hand Brushed page to get the details. As October is breast cancer awareness month, November is moustache season. Stay with me. There's a cause attached to it.

During the month of November, men are asked to grow moustaches to raise both awareness and funds for prostate and other cancers that affect men. While it started November 1st (registration info at www.movember.com), men start clean shaven and then allow a moustache to grow (trimming and waxing is allowed) for the month. These men are called Mo Bros, and the women who support them are called Mo Sistas. This is a visual statement to bring awareness, much like pink signifies breast cancer awareness.

Men who register get sponsored by people like you and me, and the money raised goes to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, Awareness & Education, the Global Action Plan, and to LIVESTRONG.

Women can rock a moustache in a cheekier sort of way. Movember's online shop sells a demistasse moustache necklace which range in style and price, beginning at $38 and going up to $3,800 (pave diamonds and 14k gold). $8 of each necklace sale goes to Movember's fundraising efforts.

I prefer to send my $8 to them myself, and wear my cool wooden moustache. Mine is made by a New Jersey mom who repurposes old skateboards into jewelry, key chains, purse mirrors and more. Her moustache necklaces are sold locally at Savannah Hope Vintage; that's where I got mine this summer.

Me and my Movember moustache. Both the earrings and 'stache
are by Seven Ply Designs, available at Savannah Hope Vintage in Boonton.

As I am writing this, my friend sent me a message asking me where I got mine (Hey, Rhonda!). They are made by Seven Ply Designs, but when I checked, I didn't see moustache necklaces on the web page. So hurry up and get yours at Savannah Hope Vintage before Andrea sells out of them. Savannah Hope Vintage, 906 Main Street, Boonton. And please, send some cash to Movember. Click here to donate. I'm making my donation in honor of an amazing man, and survivor.

Monday, November 7, 2011


In celebration of the birth of the most brilliant writer of our time, Hilary Thayer Hamann, a woman who brought to life one of the most complex, beautiful characters ever created, Evie, in her novel, Anthropology of An American Girl, I am posting this for you (the reader) to watch. It will give you hope, heart, and mostly, the desire to pursue your dreams. I just found it on a friend's facebook wall, and found it to be inspirational. Remember, it's your time. You, the reader of this blog, it is your time to shine... our time to shine. And to you, Hilary, I hope your birthday was the best one yet. You deserve it.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Domestic Goddess Candles Have LAUNCHED!

Launch party for Domestic Goddess candles, held in conjunction with BMS's Girls' Night Out, was at the amazing Savannah Hope Vintage. Here my friend Jen (second from left) with her friend the birthday girl (far left), Denise Goodbar (second from right) and Pamela Schuckman (far right) of Oak Lane Designs,
bought the last of the sugar cookie candles!

As I was driving up Boonton Main Street to get to the Girls' Night Out launch of my Domestic Goddess candles, I got a vibe similar to the night that ArtWalk was held. The street was packed with traffic, and everywhere I looked I saw women in green boas (the town gave out goodie bags filled with treats, and a lime green boa, to anyone who paid $5). The spirit of the night was alive. After the horrendous week we all had, complete with snow and downed power lines, the positive vibe of the night was a very welcome change.

I had hoped to park close to Savannah Hope Vintage, the shop that was hosting the event, but as I drove by (no spots), I looked in and saw that the shop was packed. I was so excited. Finally, I found a spot at the top of the hill across from SHV. This street is steep like Hyde Street in San Francisco. Walking down the hill in 6" heels was no easy task. Embarassed, but not stupid, I walked sideways, like when you are on a double black diamond in skis and decide to bail. The short walk felt like forever and, more than once, I contemplated taking off my shoes. I kept this walk up until I reached the handrail, then did a step-step- grab with the handle. By the time I reached the bottom, I felt both proud (that I made it in one piece) and mortified (that the throngs of people walking and driving by may have noticed me).

The store looked amazing. I wish I had taken photos when I'd first walked in, before all the yummy chocolates were eaten. Andrea made all sorts of delectables, including bite size chocolate cupcakes, brownies, and (wait for it), homemade marshmallows. To. Die. For. Especially the chocolate raspberry ones. Incredible. As I was looking around, the Skyclad Gallery owner, Dean, came in and told me to try the Chocolate Martinis. They weren't just so good, they were can-I-please-have-the-recipe-now so good. And then there were the chocolate moustache lollipops that she made. 

I didn't get many shots of the food or drinks 'til night's end. But if you had a taste
of these martinis, you will remember how good they were.

Lots of my friends came out, and I got to meet a lot of new people as well. Since Andrea made moustache lollipops, I had people pose with them for photos...

I love this photo, especially because the guy on the right has a chocolate moustache over his real one!

Fine artist Valerie Golden mugs for the camera.

Here, my very good friend (family, really) poses with a chocolate handlebar moustache.
Melissa, you are so beautiful, even with a moustache!

We had such a great night.  Midway through the event, Andrea had sold out of the Sugar Cookie candles (someone even bought the sample) and was selling all the candles so quickly that she had to remove the ones from the display window. The response was amazing, and so was the feedback. I am literally ready to pass out from sheer exhaustion (my eyes keep closing, no joke!), but wanted to first right this blog post. Andrea DeMorest, you put on one hell of a party. It could not have been better. No way!

The best hairdresser I know, Amy Salas, (who also happens to be ridiculously cool)
along with Andrea, who I  had to beg to get even one photo of her.

I want to thank you all so much for coming out and making this night extra-special. My good friend Tray didn't get photographed, but I want you to know Tray, that you are with us in spirit in this blog, and I want you to send me a photo of you with your candles. Neither did Ann B.C. It was amazing seeing you again. And thank you to Karen Brennfleck and Cynthia Korman (both of whom I didn't get photos of but wished I did) for joining us. Karen, let me know what you think of that Evergreen Swag!

And for the record, while I did wear 6" heels, by the end of the night they were off. Of course, as I was preparing to head home, I got a call that my son wanted fruit. Instead of sliding back into the shoes, I put on my winter Sportos. Good night, y'all, and thanks for coming out!

Started in my sparkly Wizard of Oz-ish shoes.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Trust is Everything

I have a hard time trusting people. For much of my life, I've had the rug pulled out from under me at times when I felt most secure.

There have been a few people in my life that I knew I could always trust. I could open up to them, and they were like loving vaults. If not for them, I don't know how I could have survived. Without trust, one never feels safe. Trust is the most important thing in any relationship, professional or personal.

In the midst of something beautiful, the launch of my new product line, I just learned that someone has breached my trust. Someone I've known for a long time, someone that I should have been able to trust. And that someone failed me.

Just last night, I read a blog post that was written by Kathryn Budig last year. Elephant Journal just reposted it. It is called, "Why It's Okay to Not Be Nice" (oh, read it). I try very hard to be kind, and to give endless chances to people who may not be worthy of them. I try to find the beating heart in people who may have hollow chests. It's time for a change.

This last breach of trust was a big one. The final one. In less than two weeks, I will be 42 years old. I am doing what my good friend does every year, assess every relationship I have, and drop the toxic ones. Fortunately, there's only one toxic one left, and I've been looking for every reason to save it. No more.

At this moment, my heart is letting go of a cruel person who's done more damage than good. I already feel relieved.

My old neighbor, Katie Rosenhouse, who I babysat back in the 80s, just won Sweet Genius on Food TV. Like, just five minutes ago. Her sweet reward, combined with the launch of my sweet candles, and a very chocolaty Girls' Night Out event at Savannah Hope Vintage tomorrow night, begins a new, sweet year for this Scorpio.

Thanks to all of my loyal readers. Your big hearts keep me going.

Also read: How To Let Go Of A Past Relationship: 10 Steps to Move on Peacefully

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sometimes motivation, inspiration and comfort come from someone else's creations.

It's been a displacing sort of week. While I still wait to see if my son's delayed opening tomorrow sticks, or becomes another day of no school (argh) as it did today, I find myself feeling so displaced. 

Since September, I've been trying to get back to the gym. Having to go back to work for my family company, plus organizing my two new businesses (where my heart lies), and well, being a single mom, I just haven't found a chance. I want to lose weight but have had no time to work out, and my stress levels are rising. Oh, and then there's the hormonal changes. I've about had it.

Being home with W and the kids has been my only saving grace. In 10 days, I will be 42, and I want to have something more to show for it. My Domestic Goddess Line, along with it's parent company, Ward Vogt Designs, is what I hope will be that show.

I went to Savannah Hope Vintage today to drop off a large delivery of candles and, wow, the display that Andrea has done really lifted my spirits. I was so thrilled.

Window display at 906 Main Street, Boonton.

I delivered the remaining candles that she ordered, and she put this together...

I was in awe. Andrea's got a magical touch, and I love the way that she created something so amazing with my candles and note cards. 

She's good. Really good. Nearly all of my furniture is from her store, or was refinished by her. Everything that she touches seems to turn to gold. She has an eye for decorating, designing, creating, repurposing, you name it.

Look what she did with music paper! She made bows, clips, and boxes. Great for music lovers.

These bows make the perfect topping on any music lover's gift.

Her creations, in combination with a very special conversation W and I had tonight with our friend Diane, has given me a inspiration. 

Come to Girls' Night Out at Savannah Hope Vintage, 906 Main Street in Boonton, to see exactly what I'm talking about. The minute you meet Andrea, it will all make sense.