Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Bacon Salt (Bacon Flavored Salt) and Baconaise (Bacon Flavored Mayo . . . yes, there is a God!). Ever heard of them?? You should have by now. Bacon Salt and Baconaise have been featured everywhere, including OPRAH. Yes, even Ms. Winfrey herself commented on the craze that seems to be taking the nation by storm.
The story behind the creation of Bacon Salt is almost as good as the product. From the Bacon Salt website:
"We're Justin and Dave, and this is our improbable bacon-flavored story. Who are we? We’re just two regular guys who love grilling and football on Sunday afternoons, eating until we can’t get off the couch and of course, the taste of great bacon. And it’s our dream to make everything taste like bacon.
Not too long ago, we used to work together in a little technology company. While on a business trip together, we had the chance to sit down for dinner and eventually, the conversation turned to our mutual love of bacon. It was then that Justin told Dave and another coworker named Kara about his idea for Bacon Salt®. Kara, who is a vegetarian, loved the idea. Dave, a card-carrying carnivore and Midwesterner, loved it even more. Even the waiter at the fancy restaurant loved it.
And from that point forward, a partnership was struck to turn this bacon-flavored dream into a reality. In 2007, we and a few of our close friends tasted the first flavors of Bacon Salt, on Porterhouse steaks, mashed potatoes, eggs, corn and tomato soup - literally everything Dave could find to eat in his house. One enthusiastic person even tried bacon-flavored ice cream, which we don’t really advise doing, but to each his own. With the one exception of Maple (which was recently resurrected and is much better), everything was absolutely delicious - we were all just licking our plates.
Even more improbably, Dave’s 3 year old son Dean provided our first round of financing with this $5,000 win on America’s Funniest Home Videos:
And now we bring our inventions to fellow bacon lovers everywhere. We started with 3 flavors of Bacon Salt – Original, Hickory and Peppered. Since then, we’ve found even more things to make taste like bacon. We’ve expanded the Bacon Salt family to include Natural Bacon Salt and several Limited Edition flavors (Applewood, Jalapeno, Mesquite, Cheddar and Maple Redux). We’re also very excited about the newest addition to the family, Baconnaise™, which promises to take your sandwiches, salads, dips, fish and fries (and more) to new and more bacon-y heights.
Whether you're a regular griller or a gourmet chef, are counting calories or are a vegetarian who craves mouth-watering bacon taste without the bacon guilt, this is what you've been waiting for.
We hope you love it like we do. Please drop us a line to tell us what you think, share your recipes, or buy some of our bacon-themed merchandise to help spread the word while donating to a great cause.
Enjoy the bacon,
Justin and Dave, Bacontrepreneurs"
Yes - you read that right. VEGETARIAN. Even more unlikely?? KOSHER CERTIFIED. Who would have thought?
I recently had the pleasure of enjoying a cup of coffee with Dave Lefkow (of Justin and Dave) who graciously shared with me his advice for Plein de Vie. I figured that any guy who could launch such an empire in such a short time probably knew a little about business. Who would have thought that a guy that was just on OPRAH could or even would take the time to sit down with a complete stranger and offer advice. It was great.
Bottom line? The products are great, the story is interesting, and the men behind it are genuinely nice guys. Be sure to check it all out at www.baconsalt.com
Saturday, May 2, 2009
I love it when Plein de Vie makes a little news. What business owner doesn't? You put everything you have into growing and nurturing something you believe in, and pray that you aren't the only person who thinks it's great.
Our most recent press came in Seattle's Child, who was doing a feature on local entrepreneurial Mothers who created gifts for 'New Arrivals'
You can check out the online version here.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Who doesn't love a great giveaway? How about an awesome sale? Informative articles? Daily product blog? No one! Let's be honest though, aren't there a million websites that offer those very things? A million and one, perhaps? Probably. So, with all of those websites out there, what makes one stand out of the others? It has got to be the person behind the curtain, right? The proverbial wizard in the land of Oz.
Meet Megan Thomas, founder, owner, and chief puppet master of Peekaboo Picks Magazine. I had the privilege of having my first experience with Megan shortly after I launched Spoiled Rotten Baby. After submitting one of our brand new gift sets to her incredibly professional and informative online magazine, I received one of the best written reviews I have had to date.(Check it out here) Megan has an unbelievable talent for writing. Honestly. Not only did she write a great review, but she promptly replied to all of my e-mails. (Gasp!) Anyone who has ever tried to submit information to a busy editor knows how difficult it can be to get any sort of a response at all.
After starting Plein de Vie, I knew that one of the first media sources I wanted to contact about the launch was Peekaboo Picks. After an e-mail or two, I learned that Megan had moved up here to the Seattle area, and a meeting at Starbucks (where else?) was in order. During our meeting, I discovered that Megan is not only a savvy writer and entrepreneur, but an incredible woman as well!
What started as a smaller online magazine mostly focusing on product reviews for kids and babies has turned in to a wealth of information coming from a wide variety of talented women. From a Southern California NICU nurse to a newspaper reporter in New York, Megan's staff bring a lot to the table. The giveaways on the site are always for very cool, sought-after finds. Megan seems to know everyone, yet never name drops. She is a stay-at-home mother of two, yet finds time to run Peekaboo. Fiercely independent, yet devoted to her cute (see above)husband. Incredibly busy, yet generous with her time, this girl has got it together!
In a sea of women struggling to do it all, it is nice to meet someone who does it with such grace.
Peekaboo Picks is truly a 'fabulous find for hip Moms' and Megan is a fabulous inspiration for anyone.
Who do you know that serves as an inspiration for others?
p.s. That awesome magazine cover is courtesy of Peekaboo Picks and Erin Palos of Sweet Baby Photo.
Thursday, April 16, 2009
I decided to adopt a couple of bunnies! I know - crazy, right? Now, before you judge me and think I did it after too many Peeps on Easter, you could not be more wrong. We actually adopted these little fur balls in February.
This being my first time at the (bunny)'rodeo' ever, I thought, "Hey, I have another surgery coming up. I will be laid up, want something to snuggle with on the couch, and my Great Dane will crush me. Let's get bunnies!"
After my 'brilliant' idea was begrudgingly accepted by my fiance' Rick, and enthusiastically seconded by my son, Nate, we set out to a local bunny rescue. We had our hearts set on getting one cute little Mini-Rex.
When we got there, however, our plans quickly changed. We were first introduced to a poor white Californian that was dropped and now suffers slight brain damage. Her little head moves back and forth from side to side (think Stevie Wonder) and I was instantly hooked. I had to save that little bunny!
Nate found a fuzzy chinchilla colored Lop who (at the time) loved to be held and snuggled with. She had been bred over and over and apparently abused by her handlers. They were perfect. Slightly brain damaged bunny? Check. A bunny that loved to be smothered by a nine year old? Check. Charlotte and Gypsy were perfect bunnies for my plan. . . until we brought them home, that is.
What happened the minute we got home? Those two silly rabbits hated to be picked up! Who was going to snuggle with me after surgery? Who was going to provide hours and hours of bunny fun for Nate? Not those two! We had been duped.
What I failed to realize before adopting our new girls, was that most rabbits dislike being picked up. They are prey animals and feel like they are being attacked. Who knew?
In spite of my initial disappointment, I have learned to love these two, slightly smelly, oversized rats. I really do. Even though they hate being picked up (unless occasionally giving in by being coaxed with a banana) They have very unique personalities, they are very stubborn, very independent, a ton of work, and incredibly challenging to get to know. (Sounds a little like me - hmm . . . )More than that though, they have taught me patience, respect for the 'personal space' of a different sort of being, and to approach new experiences with an open mind.
If you go into a new situation, a new job, a new relationship, etc. with a very specific expectation of the experience, you will probably be disappointed. If you start with an open mind and let things unfold as they may, you might end up pleasantly surprised. You might even learn something new about yourself!
And who doesn't need to do that every once in awhile?
Have you learned something new about yourself lately? Have you surprised yourself by being open to a new experience?
Happy belated Easter,
Friday, March 27, 2009
I have had the most incredible couple of weeks (again). More surgeries . . . moving . . . science fair for my son . . . blah, blah, blah. A girl needs to find new sources of support. My poor fiance' has been working tirelessly to not only take care of my every need (food/chores/entertainment), but also has the unfortunate job of listening to me complain. Not that it's a new sport, but for a girl with a lot of time on her hands, it's practically a full time job for the poor person who is on the other side, right?
Fortunately, my fiance is not my only source of support for my tireless and unintentional neediness. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)
Enter: Justin "Jay" Devoto. I met Justin when he moved up here (Washington) from San Jose, California and was looking for someone who could keep his drapery business, Sunshine Associates, organized. To be perfectly honest, I had never been friends with someone with such an age difference with me as Justin. I love my grandmother, Phyllis, but other than that, there has been no one similar in age that I have formed a bond with. I honestly think that of you don't grow up around the very young, or the elderly (Justin is 95 years old as of February) you don't honestly appreciate and/or form a bond with either. Am I wrong? Most likely - I am just speaking from personal experience.
Anyway, having a relationship with Justin has taught me many things. Namely . . .
- Age doesn't matter (Really)
- If you are open to it, learning from an elder (even as an adult) is invaluable
- People who have been around longer than you tend to have more (and more interesting) stories - plus, you get all the fun details that normally may be edited out of a typical story
- Friends come in all ages, shapes, colors, and sizes - I can honestly say that Justin has become one of my closest friends. How lucky am I?
- It's never too late to make a new friend. NEVER too late
Having Justin as my friend is one of the best things to ever happen to me. Had I not been open to it, I would have never had the opportunity to meet such an incredible friend. Whenever you are feeling lonely, or you second guess an opportunity to meet and relate to someone new, please keep Justin in mind. You never know when, where, or how a person may affect your life. You just have to be open to the experience.
Be open to the experience
Think about it,
Sunday, March 8, 2009
After a lot of soul searching and contemplation, I have decided to put Spoiled Rotten Baby up for sale. The idea crossed my mind last November as I realized that I have not been giving it the 'love' it deserved. The thought of someone else owning it was a lot to bear (as any of you who have their own company know), but I finally resigned to the fact that I cannot run both companies well, and I am not the type to do things half-hearted.
Last November, on a whim, I posted it for sale on Craigslist. I wasn't even sure I wanted to sell! Within an hour of posting, I had a very interested buyer. A few meetings and negotiating later, the company (almost) had a new owner! A few weeks later, the financing fell through and the deal couldn't go through. Darn it!
Now that my health is on the upswing, I have decided to go for it. For those of you who have ever been in my position, you know how scary it can be to sell something that you have dedicated endless hours, days, weeks, and months of your life to. It is a HUGE decision!
After all, in the short time I have had and have been actively working it, I managed to secure ownership of the trademarked name, be featured in many well-known publications, and even had Amazon.com seek ME out for a contract! Am I crazy for selling??
So, it is with a somewhat heavy heart, that I officially announce that Spoiled Rotten Baby is FOR SALE. If you know anyone who may be interested in this little gem of a company, please send them my way: firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have ever posted a company for sale, I welcome your advice!
And remember . . . 'Every Baby Deserves to be Spoiled Rotten!'
Saturday, February 28, 2009
The other day while reading one of my favorite blogs,'The Soap Queen' I fell in LOVE with an item she posted. Not trying to copy a blog post (although isn't that supposed to be the highest form of flattery?!), but merely trying to drool over a product I am now dying to have while also giving credit where credit is due.
So, what is this 'must have' product you say? It's the new HP Mini Vivienne Tam (the designer) digital clutch by HP. Technology has become too cool!
As soon as the CEO of Brambleberry, and the Soap Queen herself, Anne-Marie Faiola mentioned it on her blog, I just HAD to have it! Once, during a coffee date, Anne-Marie shared one of her secrets to success. (Side note: If you every have the opportunity to learn from a very, very successful business person - do it.) So, to get back to her secret -she said that she never buys things that aren't necessary to the growth of her business. If it isn't going to be used in a specific way to meet the needs of her always growing company, it wasn't worth the cost. A novel idea that most of avoid following like the plague.
Hmm . . . how could I 'spin' this purchase into a seemingly necessary one? No idea. Darn it! Whenever I say that I see Anne-Marie, in my imagination, shaking her head at me for being a silly girl. Thanks a lot for the pretend guilt trip, Ms. Faiola!
Seriously though, thanks for sharing such a cool product with us, Anne-Marie and darn it for you being a wise girl that knows how to to focus HARD on not wasting money unnecessarily. Boo.
p.s. If anyone missed my all-important 30th birthday last August while I was ill, I would love to accept a lovely belated-birthday gift. 'A la laptop and cute accessory pack. Just an idea, in case you were looking for one. (Hint, Hint - anyone?)
*photos courtesy of The Coveted, The Soap Queen, and HP
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Many of you have heard about 'The Secret' (thanks, Oprah!). Although 'The Secret' has been highly publicized over the last couple of years, the concept have been around forever. The basic concept says that whatever energy you put out in the world will be returned to you. If you are constantly feeling and even saying negative things (I am fat, I never win anything, I don't ever have enough money), the universe 'hears' that and guess what? Pretty soon you are a poor loser with a big butt! If you focus on positive ideas, and believe that what you desire will come to you, then those things will come. Granted, you need to work towards those things, and consistently concentrate your thoughts and efforts on them, but it really can work. It is all about energy.
Anyway, after reading a few great books, Real You Incorporated, The Success Principals, and Creative Visualization, I decided to create a 'vision board' - for me, a poster that has a ton of images of things that I work for and desire cut out of magazines. I have everything on there from a picture of the Eiffel Tower (trip to France, anyone?), a photo of a woman jogging (due to health issues from childhood, I have never been able to jog. Moving and being healthy is something I never took for granted), and the words HAPPY MARRIAGE (self-explanatory?).
After the launch of Plein de Vie in October, I decided that one of my goals for the company was to have our products featured in Seattle Magazine. Seattle Magazine is a well-known, top-notch magazine and only the best products/stories/people are included. I wrote myself an e-mail as though it had really come to me from an editor and taped it to my vision board and my fridge. I read that letter almost every day and imagined how I would feel if the letter were true. Here is what I wrote myself:
I just wanted you to know that I loved your On-the-Go Remedy Stick you sent me! We are getting ready to put together a piece in our February issue on organic beauty and would like to feature Plein de Vie. Please send samples of any other products you would like us to review before our October 15th deadline.
I eventually did end up being featured in Seattle Magazine. (Actually we are in the magazine now). Coincidence? Maybe. Maybe not. Only yesterday did I realize the parallel between the letter and the reality. Plein de Vie is in the (February) Best in Beauty issue under Homegrown Beauty. (You can see it here).
Can you believe that?? I immediately sat down and wrote a letter 'from' QVC. Would I have been in Seattle Magazine had I not put forth the effort to send in a sample to Ms. Delimont and follow-up a few times? Of course not. Do I believe that focusing my energy on success and using the power of intent helped me to get there? Darn right I do!
Have you experienced anything similar? What is on your vision board or what would you like on your vision board?
It's an incredible world . . .
See you on QVC,
Monday, February 16, 2009
Most of us have heard of the wonderful organization Locks of Love, who provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged children, suffering from long-term medical hair loss. People donate to Locks of Love by either sending in a cash donation, or by growing their hair out, cutting it off, and then mailing in the hair to be made into custom-fit wigs for little ones in need. Most donors are women (since the donated hair has to be at least 10" long) but there are men who donate as well.
One of these men happens to be a friend of mine, Joe Kennedy, a.k.a. Hair Farmer Joe. Joe made the commitment to grow out his closely sheared hair in September 2007. Now, about a year and a half later, Joe's curly locks have a mind of their own! While on his personal journey to donate his own hair, Joe decided to do his best to bring attention to the cause by trying to get 1000 people to become hair farmers themselves. Through sharing his journey on his website, and using the media power of his newspaper, Eastside Business Journal, Joe has been able to sign up a start of 10 people! The best way Joe gets the word out is by showing up everywhere with his big, floppy hair. Whether he is going to a VIP media conference, or a networking event of professionals, Joe (and his hair) always bring attention to his cause.
So, consider a donation (of either kind) to Locks of Love, and if you have the honor of meeting the Hair Farmer, be sure to tell him what a fantastic thing he is doing for children in need.
Thursday, February 5, 2009
As promised, I am devoting a portion of the Beauty-Spirit-Passion Girl Blog to talking about the properties of natural ingredients, fun recipes to try, ingredients you should avoid, and just information in general.
Calendula ("Cal-en-do-luh") is a popular addition to many natural recipes due to it's soothing, healing properties. In addition to being a great healer, Calendula is considered to be very safe and gentle for even the most sensitive users.
The Calendula (also known as the Marigold flower)is an annual flower native to Mediterranean countries. Interestingly (well, at least to me!) the name 'Calendula' refers to the blooming schedule of the flower, which is once a month with the new moon. The name 'Marigold' refers to the Virgin Mary as Marigolds are used in Catholic events honoring her
Apparently,the Calendula was originally used as food rather than as an herb, but to be honest, I haven't tried it yet. Can't you picture it adding beautiful color to a salad though? Hmm . . . I see an experiment coming my way.
You will commonly see Calendula added to balms, salves, and oils made to heal cuts, scrapes, insect bites, and inflammation. You may also see it added to sensitive skin lotions and potions.
Next time you are in the beauty aisle of your favorite health store, look for products with Calendula (Calendula officinalis). You'll know now why it was added.
Off to make that salad . . .
Monday, February 2, 2009
I was just sitting here thinking about all of the places I would like to visit someday. In the U.S. I particularly would love to visit New York, Georgia, Maine, and Massachusetts. Worldwide, I would like to visit Italy, France, Greece, Turkey (my sister-in-law is Turkish. It would be so fun to go with her!) Africa, and Switzerland.
With all of these places to visit, I had better get planning! The truth is though, I love living where I live. Visiting other places is fun, but I am not sure I would want to live somewhere other than Washington.
Washington (Seattle) is well-known for rain and coffee. Sometimes it is known for coffee and rain. I am used to the rain, so it doesn't bother me as much as it does non-natives. Whenever I start to let it bug me, I look around and see how green it is. Everywhere you look there are big beautiful trees, flowering shrubs, and lush mountaintops. We have a ton of lakes. Within 45 minutes of where I live, I can go swimming, gambling (don't actually do that - but I could!), skiing, mega-discount mall shopping, luxury shopping, or dining in the finest restaurants around. Pretty great.
In addition to all of that, you can hang out with a troll holding an actual VW Bug in Fremont (pictured above - look it up on the internet), tour an underground city, ride a ferry, visit Jimmy Hendrix's guitar at the Experience Music Project(EMP) (also pictured above - my soon-to-be brother-in law, 'Buggy' at the EMP), and so much more.
I love Seattle.
What do you like about where you live?? What makes it unique and special? Maybe I will come and visit!
Saturday, January 31, 2009
Now that I have been knee deep in creating a variety of handmade skincare products for some time , I have gained a new understanding of the benefits and qualities associated with botanicals, butters, and essential oils. It has been an amazing journey into a subject I never knew about. The funny thing I have come to realize though, is that my mother, Carole (pictured with me above), talked about this very subject all of the time growing up. I can still hear her saying, “Shelly, maybe you should try taking (insert plant name here) capsules. I hear they work wonders for (insert ailment – real or imagined - here).”
Like any good pre-teen does, I rolled my eyes, completely ignored her and vowed to never be like her when I grew up. Well guess what? Here I am, thirty years old and catching myself giving similar advice to anyone who will listen whether they asked for it or not. Such is life, right?
So, in the spirit of sharing knowledge and honoring mothers everywhere, I am going to devote a portion of my blog to sharing what I have learned about butters, oils, herbs, and essential oils. I am also going to include information on ingredients to avoid, and pretty much anything else I decide relates to this subject. So, here’s to learning something new!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Of the many hats I wear, the ones I enjoy the most are those where I can help others and when I can make a difference. Whether it is helping a fourth grader improve their reading skills, donating to a charity I believe in, or inspiring someone to believe in themselves, there is truly nothing more gratifying.
Recently, Christine Addison (pictured above), Bellevue chapter president of a wonderful organization called Business and Professional Women, honored me by asking me to serve on their board. Business and Professional Women (or BPW) is a nationally recognized non-profit organization whose mission is to achieve equity for all women in the workplace through advocacy, education, and information.
By providing its members education on policy issues along with the tools to balance work-life roles, BPW supports its members with policy development in their own workplace. As an organization, BPW is a successful leader in promoting and supporting legislation affecting working women.
With membership to this organization, you will be exposed to relevant, powerful women speakers at monthly luncheon meetings, provided open networking opportunities to promote your business, gain dynamic friendships and "organic" mentoring relationships.
BPW is women helping women grow personally, professionally, and politically.
Check them out at: www.bpwusa.org to learn more and to find a branch near you.
Go girl power!!
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Against the advice from friends, financial planners, and random well-wishers, it was important for me to donate a portion of Plein de Vie sales to a charity from day one. Their point (an admittedly good one) was that brand new companies shouldn’t start giving away potential profits before they make them.
Part of the reason I began Plein de Vie was to have the opportunity to take whatever good fortune I was lucky enough to have and share it with others. This desire to help others is how our 3% charity fund came to be. Our charity fund guarantees that 3% of all online retail sales from the Plein de Vie website get donated to the non-profit organization, Equality Now.
With the support of such celebrities as Meryl Streep, Marisa Tomei, and Sarah Jones, Equality Now works to end violence and discrimination against women and girls around the world by:
• Lobbying for a strong protocol on the rights of women in Africa
• Campaigning against sex tourism/trafficking
• Using International law and UN mechanisms to advance the elimination of violence against women
• Campaigning against FGM (female genital mutilation)
• Calling for the participation of women in the matters of peace and security in Afghanistan
Woman and girls around the world need your help.
Whether you purchase off the Plein de Vie website (www.pleindevie.com) to donate indirectly, go to the Equality Now website (www.equalitynow.org) to donate directly, or you take my example and figure out a way to do both, please . . .
SUPPORT EQUALITY NOW!
Together, we can make a difference!
p.s. You can view the celebrity public service announcement HERE
Saturday, January 10, 2009
I feel so lucky to know some amazing people. When you reflect on those in your life who are wonderful and generous and talented, it makes you feel truly lucky to be around them, don't you think? One of those people that makes me feel that way is my Plein de Vie web designer, Jesse Raymond from Jesse Raymond Design.
Last year when I was in desperate need of a new website, I contacted Jesse. I was high in stress and low in cash, and he took me on anyway! Jesse was able to take my vision, improve it dramatically, and implement it to near perfection. Although his love is actually graphic and video game design, Jesse is an incredibly talented web designer as well.
You can check out what he did for my Plein de Vie website, or see a variety of projects he has completed on his online portfolio. Consider him for your next project - he's a great guy.