Friday, May 30, 2008

You made my day!

Dear nice woman in the parking lot of Main Street at Exton:

Thank you so much for recognizing the Stuff for Sprouts sign on my car and remembering the blueberry muffin cream sample you got at My Gym.

Thank you for telling me that your (very cute) little girl LOV
ED the cream and for asking where you can get some.

You totally made my day! Brand recognition. YAY!

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

I am tired just reading this...

My friend sent me this - I can claim nothing about it besides thinking it is pretty funny and thinking I couldn't do this with the third child thrown in there. Makes me want to go take a nap! And just think if they had to keep their job while doing all this...

The Next Survivor Series

Six married men will be dropped on an island with one car and 3 kids each for six weeks.

Each kid will play two sports and either take music or dance classes.

There is no fast food.

Each man must take care of his 3 kids; keep his assigned house clean, correct all homework, complete science projects, cook, do laundry and pay a list of "pretend" bills with not enough money.

In addition each man will have to budget in money for groceries each week.

Each man must remember the birthdays or all their friends and relatives, and send cards out on time - no e-mailing!

Each man must also take each child to a doctor's appointment, a dentist appointment and a haircut appointment.

He must make one unscheduled and inconvenient visit per child to the Urgent Care.

He must also make cookes or cupcakes for a social function.

Each man will be responsible for decorating his own assigned house, planting flowers outside and keeping it presentable at all times.

The men will only have access to television when the kids are asleep and all chores are done.

The men must shave their legs, wear make-up daily, adorn himself with jewelry, wear uncomfortable yet stylish shoes, keep fingernails polished and eyebrows groomed.

During one of the six weeks, the men will have to endure severe abdominal cramps, back aches and have extreme unexplained mood swings, but never once complain or slow down from other duties.

They must attend weekly school meetings, church, and find time at least one to spend the afternoon at the park or a similar setting.

They will need to read a book to the kids each night and, in the morning, feed them, dress them, brush their teeth and comb their hair by 7AM.

A test will be given at the end of the six weeks and each father will be required to know all of the following information: each child's birthday, height, weight, shoe size, clothes size and doctor's name. Also the child's weight at birth, length, time of birth and length of labor, each child's favorite color, middle name, favorite snack, favorite song, favorite drint, favorite toy, biggest fear and what they want to be when they grow up.

The kids vote them off the island based on performance. The last man wins only if..he still has enough energy to be intimate with his spouse at a moment's notice.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Coast to Coast?

YAY! The store in Seattle wants to carry Stuff for Sprouts!

And I got an inquiry today from a store in North Carolina!

Let the retail expansion begin!

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Making stuff

Today was a manufacturing day. Well, I am not sure you would call it manufacturing, more like making stuff. A little lower tech and smaller scale that "manufacturing".

I finished packing up samples that will be handed out to kids aboard Kiddie Cruises in NY Harbor.

I made a bunch of Lip Stuff for Crispy Kissers. Chocolate, yum!

I made a bunch of prototypes for what I hope will be Hangnail Helper for Funky Fingers. What do you think? Cute? Or weird? These are all natural oils in a little roll-on applicator that kids (and grown-ups) can use on cuticles to keep hangnails (and hopefully the resulting picking and nail biting) away. 100% natural. If you send me an e-mail I will send you one to try. It won't be labeled, but I would love some testers!

Can't use the dog. That would be wrong. No animal testing.

I also updated the Stuff for Sprouts press page with all of the recent reviews. Tried to figure out why the content of this blog isn't coming up in Google results (no resolution there).

And paid bills. That part wasn't fun. Because if you'll remember, accounting sucks.

All in all, a fairly productive day. And it's only 3:23!

Time to take a shower (yeah, didn't get around to that yet - or the walk I was going to take) and go grab an big old Iced Coffee at my new favorite place - Dunkin Donuts. Resisting the donuts...and the muffins...because they are NOT something I should be eating. Right?

Have a good one!

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

And even a little more love...

Mommies with Style - thanks!

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Even more love...gotta love the love...

Who knew there even was a Wresting Addicted Mommy's Blog?

Love the Mommy Bloggers. Maybe I should be a Mommy blogger? I mean I AM a Mommy...and I am now a blogger. Perhaps if I blogged about all things Mommy (that I know about) floods of traffic would come my way...

Not that I don't appreciate those of you who do. But as usual, I want MORE.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Monday, May 26, 2008


Check this out - Cookie Magazine (website...but still!)

Stuff for Sprouts review

And 9 people came. Yes, 9. Not that I don't LOVE all nine of them. Lots. But 9???

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Read the labels.

I have become quite the label reader. First it was food. And at first it was calories and fat grams. Then it was carbs and sugars. Now I am looking for real ingredients. No hydrogenated oils. No high fructose corn syrup. Unpronounceable ingredients and lists longer than 10 ingredients or so are starting to freak me out. Less complicated = better.

But then there are things I LOVE that have just a tad (or maybe more than a tad) of those evil things in them. Gotta love an Oreo (and if you read the label, they have cleaned up their act and they are actually mostly "real"). Or a granola bar. Or Mac & Cheese - the good orange kind. Yum.

I have been working my way through the book In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto. And I have bored people to tears telling them about it (sorry!). But it is truly fascinating how what we eat has evolved from "food" to "food like substances".

But real food is so much more complicated, involving peeling and chopping and real honest-to-goodness cooking. Oy. I am a victim of convenience. But I am trying.

Anyway, then my label reading extended to things I put ON my body (and the bodies of those I am responsible for). And again, leaning toward the "real" ingredients. Which is why those are the things that are in Stuff for Sprouts.

There are lots of things on the market "infused with" natural oils. Or just "with" them. Which I have learned means that somewhere down toward the end of the ingredient list (and honestly, anything after fragrance is less than 1-2% of the total product volume). But up at the top of the list are mineral oil. And petrolatum. And unpronounceable ingredients. And sometimes the lists of ingredients go on and on forever.

And I think again, simpler is probably better.

But there are things I love and can't quite give up on. And for me, the feel and the scent of the products is key. If it feels gross or smells weird, I am out. As are the kids. Not interested in the best stuff EVER if it smells medicinal or old-lady-ish.

So that is the balance that is achieved with Stuff for Sprouts. The scents and great texture that you want combined with all the good "real" ingredients that you know you really should be using.

And that feels good to me. Mom me and label-reader me. I hope to you, too!

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Friday, May 23, 2008

Productive without doing anything.

This was the kind of day I can only hope will become more and more common.

A check arrived in the mail (yay!) for sales at one of the stores that carries Stuff for Sprouts.

Orders from the web site.

A not completely crushing status update on Sunscreen for Shady Kids.

Spent the afternoon helping at Field Day at the elementary school. Sprout's team won. I was (sort of) in charge of the egg/spoon race. Had to make sure everyone crossed the line, didn't drop the egg. Control freak heaven! If it only wasn't so COLD.

The only concerning thing was the statement from Social Security, basically confirming that I am far more valuable dead than alive (in a purely monetary sense). Mike reminded me that if I was dead, he would have to cook, and therefore he prefers me alive (awww...)

Hope you all have a lovely long weekend and that it feels nice and long and relaxing!

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Family Business

My mom came over today and helped me with packing samples (Hi Mom!)

It was nice to have some company and some help. I like not having employees (and especially not having bosses and meetings!) But it is nice to have someone around to chat with. And a reason to take a shower and put real clothes on before noon.

Nothing profound about it. Just nice.

I signed up to do more gift baskets - this time sending products to Ellen, Oprah, Good Morning America and the CBS Early Show. I don't know if that is going to be more effective than pitching them directly - but a big basket-o-stuff ought to get their attention. And maybe they will be drawn in by the cuteness of Sprouticus and the wonderfulness that is Cream for Extra Crunchy Kids or Lip Stuff for Crispy Kissers and give me a call.

A girl can dream.

Sprout had her spring concert this morning. She is playing the cello. She is only very slightly bigger than her cello. They sounded not at all bad, although she was sitting in a spot where only her wrist and the tip of her nose were visible. I have 20 minutes of video footage of her wrist and the tip of her nose. And her brother saying "Is it almost over?"

She wants to play the viola and the french horn and possibly the saxaphone next year. I told her she has to pick one and she didn't like that one bit. It is good to want a lot. It is hard to limit what you want (I get that - totally!) But it is also important not to quit the things you have already started. Although, maybe if there is something much better to do, quitting and cutting your losses isn't so bad. Redirecting energy v. quitting.

Project your issues on your kids much? Not me. Really. No.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Bipolar afternoon

I am UP because we are officially in the Bedbugzz store at 240 E. Main Street in Kennett Square. WOO HOO.

I am DOWN because the initial round of testing on the sunscreen says SPF 28. Which is pretty close to 30. But not 30. BOO.

I wanted 30.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Talking to myself.

I got all excited when I looked at my web stats this morning because there were 17 (yes, double digits!) hits on this blog yesterday. And I thought - WOW - someone is actually reading it!! Then I realized that 10 of the 17 were me...

Which I guess leaves 7 that aren't me. So "HI!" people who aren't me!

I found out yesterday that there is a 12-14 week lead time to make those cute little foil sample packets for the super wonderful Sunscreen for Shady Kids. That would be pretty much AFTER the summer. Which would be a big fat problem.

So I am looking at other alternatives to speed things up. I SO want those little foil packets.

Right now I am working on samples for a bunch of events (which is a good thing). My current sampling process (because foil packets weren't an option with one of my suppliers) is:

Put little jars out on the table.
Fill little jars with cream using one of those things you would normally use to pipe frosting (don't worry - new, clean ones - not frosting filled ones!)
Put the little lids on the little jars.
Put little stickers on top of the little lids.
Take a little bag and insert a card with product information.
Take a little tag and put a sticker on it.
Put the little jar in the little bag with the card and tie the tag on the top.

Whew. The end result is fairly cute. But wow - what a project. At least I can sit and watch TV while I do most of it. But making 715 samples this way is not fun.

So I really want those foil packets. Now.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Can you feel the love?

More reviews - yay!

Safe Mama

J. Leigh Events - great wedding favor idea!

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Tah Dah!

The Stuff for Sprouts website is now updated with the brand-spankin' new product photos. While I was irrationally fond of the pencil-sketches, I do agree that the "real" pictures look better.

I want to change around the site a bit - make the right-hand column narrower and the middle panel bigger to make sure that the focus is in the middle. Unfortunately, for some reason that particular change can't be made on a Mac. I love love love my Mac and am dumbfounded by the random times when being such a rebel ends up being an issue.

I also want to figure out how to make the "Shop" page easier to work with. But it is currently beyond my skills.

Anyway - updates done! Let me know what you think.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Monday, May 19, 2008

Gimme some love

Two fantastical new reviews. Mommy bloggers ROCK!


Jule's Jewelry

If anyone out there knows of a kickin' website or blog that I should be sending samples and begging for attention, please let me know!

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Saturday, May 17, 2008

A little light reading

On the pile of books on the shelf next to me (which I am not currently reading, but fully intend to maybe someday when I get around to it and nothing good is on TV):

Inspiration to Realization
Streetwise: Low Cost Website Promotion (which when I skimmed over it suggested using social networks like blogging, so maybe I don't have to read it?)
Working Solo
Working from Home
Public Relations for Dummies
Run Your Business Like a Girl
The Girl's Guide to Starting Your Own Business
Smart Women Take Risks
Live the Life you Love
It's Only Too Late if You Don't Start Now
Starting an On-Line Business

Why can't it be that just having them imparts some wisdom? Besides the wisdom that perhaps I shouldn't be spending so much on books I will never (maybe possibly) read?

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Friday, May 16, 2008

Holy Cow!

Stuff for Sprouts is on the first page of Google results for "skin care for children"! Bottom of the first page - but first page! WOO HOO!

Probably won't last - but hey - if it could happen today, it could happen again!

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Picture me thrilled!

For those of you (imaginary) readers who are on the mailing list for my newsletter, you may remember that I mentioned working on some new product photos to update the Stuff for Sprouts website.

The photographer sent me a preview of the pictures and they are completely awesome. Here's an example.

If you have a website and are looking for product photos you should totally check this guy out. His specialty is product photos on a white background. He is insanely cheap. He is insanely fast (I mailed the box of products to California on Monday and had pictures to look at on Thursday!). And these pictures rock!

How awesome is it when something (finally) goes BETTER than you thought it would???

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Thursday, May 15, 2008

It's an art form, really.

Procrastination that is.

I spent today doing yoga, shopping, getting my car fixed, hanging out with my friend. I am working for 15 minutes right now before I dash out the door to pick up the Sprout. Then off to the post office, dinner, stories, etc. Then it will be 9:30. Then I will really start to do work.

This is the upside of being self-employed. Flexibility. Also the down side...the days are so unstructured that it is hard to tell what needs to be done next. Without the clear boundaries of 9 to 5 (or 10 to 3 or whatever) it is hard to know what to do when. Or when it would be appropriate to do nothing.

On the productivity side, I am putting together information to send to a shop in Seattle that is interested in carrying Stuff for Sprouts. Then we will have coast-to-coast distribution! Then we have to work on the middle!

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sunscreen for Shady Kids...the saga continues.

The fourth version of Sunscreen for shady kids is going in to SPF testing.

The SPF is 30, the SPF is 30, the SPF is 30...perhaps if I chant this for the next week it will be true.

If it isn't true I don't know what to do.

Optimism. Nice sunny optimism. The kind you need sunscreen for!

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Accounting sucks.

And that's all I am going to say about that.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"And then I found myself...

with a business."

These are words that cause my blood to boil at the moment. The fairy tale stories of people who made great birthday cakes and then "found themselves" with an industrial kitchen, a distribution network, and a staff of professional bakers. People who did craft projects with their children and just "found themselves" selling this idea for a kabillion dollars (yes, I am talking about you Jibbitz-woman).

This myth of the business that forms itself overnight and sells out its first round of production with no marketing, and gains national distribution because fairies went out in the night to spread the word.

Why does it make for a better story to "find yourself in business" than to say "I worked my a__ off to make this happen - and it was HARD - and I quit a bazillion times, but then I realized I was too far in to run now..." I think that's a better story.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy

Monday, May 12, 2008

Who am I?

I am struggling a bit with how to define myself these days. I am a working mom who doesn't go to work. I have no stories of endless meetings and office politics (although I do have vivid memories of them!) I have no commute. I have no co-workers.

I am a business-owner, but do not aspire to be a millionaire (I mean, if someone walks in here and hands me a million dollars I am certainly not saying no!) I am not trying to build an empire. Just an income.

I am a Mom and I stay at home, but I am not a stay-at-home-mom. I don't think I am brave enough for that world. I am about to embark on a summer adventure that will involve more quality time with my kids than ever before. Working at home, I can't justify sending them to a camp all day, so they will do a half-day camp and I am hopeful that I will be able to tear my attention away from my business (Stuff for Sprouts) at 12:30 every day until they are in bed and be a fun, patient mom. All my fingers are crossed over that one.

I spoke on the phone recently with a woman who started her own skin care line around the same time that I launched Stuff for Sprouts. And during this conversation, in which she was hugely nice and helpful and giving out good advice...I was struggling again. Because she has a whole company of people, 50 sales reps, a distributor, a deal with Babies R Us, and six kids. Yikes.

Oh yeah, and she launched her business at the same time she had her last baby...Left me feeling like quite the underachiever.

But, I remind myself...I don't want to be a mogul, just a mom, contributing to the income of the family, being around for the kids, playing with the dog, spending time with my husband. Juggling and balancing.

It is easier to figure out what you want than it it is to maintain that vision when you see what everyone else has. Like a 5-year-old with an ice cream cone (that is pretty flippin' delicious) who covets the super-astounding sundae that the kid at the next table has (which will probably result in an enormous belly-ache). I am learning to focus on the ice cream cone I've got. Even when it is dripping all over the floor. But sprinkles would sure be yummy!

Stumble Upon Toolbar
add to kirtsy