Unique gifts from new brands


 

Recently I have met entrepreneurs who have developed very interesting businesses.  Their focus is on bringing unique products that are “out of the box” – while being very appealing.

Are all t-shirt companies equal? I think NOT

I fell in love with an apparel company because of their amazing display at the Celebrity Connected gifting suite for the Emmy Awards.  Gosh I loved NAIA VIBES.  If you are an entrepreneur who becomes a vendor at a trade show or gifting suite- take a page from NAIA VIBES.  The display was GORGEOUS. Very clever ways to give prizes (gifts) to the celebrities that were on hand. AND… the array of apparel and accessories made me want to order and order and order. Having a theme that was a standout made for one photographic opportunity to spotlight the brand after another.

The warm  long – sleeved t-shirt is now my NEW FAVORITE.  Here is the link if you want to put it on your “nice list” for holiday shopping.  And, the hats, backpacks and book bags were a hug hit, too!

 

Cosmetic Hideaways – Always able to stay pretty in pink!

I was confused when I saw this unique necklace design sitting at the Celebrity Connected.  It was a beautiful piece of jewelry but what exactly made it look “different”?  So, I inquired.  And much to my delight it was a functional piece of jewelry where a lipstick could be hidden, but also at your finger-tips for easy application.  I was trying to think if a pepper spray would fit inside – but I don’t believe so (Hint to the design team). However, it did fit my lipstick without fail.  It retails on their website for $98 and is in silver and gold colors.  It is worth the price as it is a carrying case and a statement piece of jewelry.

I connected with the creator, Christine Abdoo who sent me some background information.  She sent to me her press packet that chronicled briefly the story of this Grand Rapids based company:

“I would find that multiple times a day I would want my lipstick with me,” said Christine Abdoo. “I would get frustrated during the day, jumping from meeting to meeting, not being able to go back to my office to put my lipstick on. […] I wanted a necklace with a fashionable container where I could carry my lipstick with me.” The first designs on the market fit Chapstick size lip balms, and travel size lipsticks.

    … “It really just started with an idea. We all have them, but it’s what you do with them that makes a difference,” she said. “Taking an idea and making it come reality is pretty exciting”

Orders can be taken at their website here.

 

 

BIKES on a MISSION!

I must say that the guys from  SOLE Bicycles caught my attention recently.   In fact I made a bee-line to their vendor booth at the Halopalooza vendor fair in Los Angeles this past month.  How unique to put advertisements on the bikes themselves and then have them available to rent at hotels, resorts, etc.  Imagine having an event, such as a music festival, where vendors can bike from place to place with your logo zipping by!

If you love one-of-a-kind ideas that are eye-popping check out this Southern California company pronto!

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Eat my promotional material – Please!

Are you tired of receiving or giving the same old branded products.  What if I could introduce you to products that are from sustainable materials that can turn your event wristband in to a flowers with just a little TLC? Or instead of a greeting card – send a garden in a box? So much good can come out of so little effort by simply planting your branded products after initial use or when you are done with them.   Find my favorites here. 

 

 

 

 

Pebbles in the Pond (Review)


51Hit3GCYyL._AC_UL320_SR214,320_Are you stuck? Looking for the magic pill or words that will help you overcome a failed relationship, deal with unexpected changes in employment or cope with a loss of a loved one?

Are you looking for a way to find some meaning and purpose as to why your life might be topsy – turvy? Why yesterday made sense, but today it does not? Everyone at one time or another experiences a tidal wave of self – doubt, grief or apprehension.

Confession: The week I felt stuck. 

Yet, despite feeling a bit “stuck” in situations that I thought I had no control, I found solace and hope in a series of books written by Christine Kloser and featuring a consortium of excellent contributors. I had started reading them earlier this year, but really delved in to them this week.  Pebbles in the Pond (2014), shows that behind every life changing event there is a purpose.  It also demonstrated that beyond a shadow of doubt that the human spirit is resilient beyond measure.

Each chapter talks about situation that serves as a catalyst. Something that prompted the author to change or shift their thinking. While many of the stories resonated with me there were a few that I believe stood out the most.

One story, Transforming My Aging Script, by Sharon Matthias, talked about the personal passages one faces when turning 65.  How life seems to shift mentally when you are deemed “too old” to be employable.  Everywhere you look there are people or organizations that  tell you that “65 or older” you should take this pill for this ailment or it is time for retirement. Yet, this author convinced me that 65 is not to be feared but simply an age where you re-invent yourself – again. Thanks, Sharon!

What would you do if you were faced with a life and death situation? One author , Carin Rockind, discussed just that as she wrote  From “Perfect” to Purpose,  how she  changed her life course when she became face to face with a predator holding a gun to her head. She eloquently described how her biggest fear moments earlier was her bad choice in blind dates. Now as she bargained with God for her life, she realized that if she survived this personal assault that her priorities would need to change.  Heck of a way to find out what path you should be on – but Rockind did survive and now leads a life that gives her a more purpose, grace and meaning.

Then there is the poignant story by Tiffany Kane, who I know personally from our association with  the Beach Cities Breakfast Club.  I have heard Tiffany speak before, but wow, I was unprepared for her deep sole searching following a series of tragedies that was eloquently written in the chapter simply titled, “Inner Power Parenting”.  Tiffany describes how one can find the tools you need to grieve and turn a life that seems “stuck” into a productive one.  I admire Tiffany for her candor and willingness to help others who are “only parenting”.  Tiffany is also the founder of Widows with Kids, an organization well worth checking out. Please do.

I could write much more about the golden “nuggets” of wisdom throughout Pebbles in the Pond. Instead, I will invite you to read them and enjoy them on your own time.

Also recommended: Cultivating Joy and Choosing Happiness, featuring chapters by Tiffany Kane, as well. All books are available on AMAZON.

Note: I received nothing more than the books for this review. The books will be donated to a local Los Angeles library.

 

 

 

Kindness, Social Good and Sweetness found in these Valentine’s Day Cards (Review)


I don’t often review holiday specific products on this blog.  However, there was something intriguing about Peaceable Kingdom’s  Valentine’s Day card collections that piqued my interest.

First, they are A-D-O-R-A-B-L-E!  Not only do they have some weight and substance to them (unlike the store bought ones I use to give my kids to hand out in school), but they come with messages that are thoughtful, yet not too “sappy”.

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The “foodie” in me loved the Scratch and Sniff Valentines (Chocolate scented – a bonus!).  They are large enough to go through the US mail without being lost, but small enough to not be overwhelming in a backpack. The box that I received had the standard classroom quantity-  28 cards and 28 envelopes (kinda wish they would add one extra envelope for boo-boos).

The second pack I received was the more interactive Lollipop Valentine’s with “Moustaches and Lips”. These are a hoot! Imagine dress-up for Halloween blended with the sweetness of Valentine’s Day! Again, 28 was the quantity.

 

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Not just for kids!

Here is an “out of the box” idea for the grown-ups who read this blog. These Valentine’s are not just for kids! Imagine how fun it would be to put some out in your office lounge or at your organization’s meeting? Not only are they a fun discussion starter, but they also show that your place of business or group has a sense of humor sprinkled with compassion.

 

About Peaceable Kingdom 

Before I tell you how to get these delicious cards – let me delve more in to the company itself.  Peaceable Kingdom is “my kind of company”. They are dedicated to #SocialGood. In fact on their “about page” they go in to length about their commitment to being ecologically friendly as a “green company.” 

Peaceable Kingdom’s company mission or “promise” says it all…

The future, as they say, is in our hands. We consider this every day in everything we do so that our children and their future may be as healthy, as peaceable, as our kingdom today.

Also, they don’t just create speciality cards as they are big in to the board game business. Their website also helps promote game inventors, creative kids and much more. People in the San Francisco Bay area who are interested in being a  GAME TESTER can learn more via their website. 

Where to buy?

Direct purchase can be made here via the Peaceable Kingdom website.

On Amazon you can get the Scented Valentine’s for a very reasonable $5.99 (and if you have Amazon Prime that is even better!)  Click here for the direct link.

For the Moustaches and Lips box click here. They are priced at $12.99 but are both a lollipop and clever designs.

Follow on Twitter Peaceable Kingdom and Facebook. 

Have fun!

These Clever Gadgets are Worth a Look!


Today I spent the morning at the LA GADGET EXPO in downtown Los Angeles.  I was expecting an exposition chocked full of entrepreneurs showing their newest creations and devices.  The reality was more an intimate gathering of students with cool ideas and small businesses showing their unique gadgets.

While smaller than expected, the LA GADGET EXPO  did offer a few a very impressive companies that I feel are worth mentioning this holiday season.

 

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ALLOCACOC –  POWER CUBE  @Allocacoc 

Let’s start with my FAVORITE of all the gadgets at this show.  FINALLY, someone has solved the problem of the power strip that is cumbersome.  Meet ALLOCACOC an award winning idea that is a  multi- prong power cube!  Offers USB, international and US standard plugs. I LOVED IT! Simple and sleek.  The cubes can be singular or connect to stack! Offers much versatility and the problem of “is there an available outlet here?” is solved!

I can envision these at airports, restaurants and hotels! Not to mention when social media correspondents gather for events!

Price point is VERY reasonable at $12.95 for the basic cube.

 Muku Labs Camera Shutter  @MukuLabs  

IMG_0081Muku Labs made a very nice camera shutter that is used with iOS and Android devices.  A standard bluetooth mechanism, it is perfect for taking group or selfie photos without having to hold on to a phone.  Must say that the streamlined look, feel and ease of use is much preferred over others I have tried.

Retail: $39.99  Link to purchase

DOTT – SMART DOG TAG  @DottSmartDog

DOTT- Smart Dog Tag is an VERY intriguing device that is well worth a look. Imagine letting FIDO off leash at a dog park.  This multi-function dog tag both helps signal through a small dog tag worn on your dog’s collar to signal to return as well as house technology to locate a dog that has wandered off. In addition the tag is paired with an app that offers services such as community alerts to find a missing animal.

 

From their website is this excellent description:

DOTT provides with you digital tracking of latest technology. DOTT tag sets up a virtual leash, connects your pet to your mobile phone. If it wanders off, DOTT will let you know immediately. And, our social GPS network actively tells you the last seen location and help locate it continuously.

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I couldn’t help but think that this technology would also be good to interface with other community based apps such as BOP or ROVER.com.

Dog rescues and veterinary services should give DOTT some consideration.  Price point is a very easy $30 online

MY OPEN ROAD  @MyOpenRoad

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Two companies offered  eco friendly ideas. The first is My Open Road – an app for both IOS and Adroid that allows users to document how they are saving making a carbon imprint on the world by  taking alternate forms of transportation – such as walking, riding a bike or carpooling. I love to see companies that are eco friendly and even their t-shirts were made with eco-sustainable products.  They also had a coveted spot at the expo and were a joy to speak with!

Their motto:  Tiny Changes- Big Rewards is very clever.

URB-E – ELECTRIC BIKE that FOLDS UP!  @URBErides

URB-E is a very clever eco-friendly bike – motor scooter.  I can imagine this being a huge hit on college campuses, for urban dwellers and even those who want to explore large cities but not on foot.  Price is the most of all the gadgets seen today starting at $1699.

URB- E gets my personal kudos for having the best online marketing.

They have a decent social media presence for a start-up and the most CLEVER holiday campaign going.  Check out their video for the 21 days of URB- E Christmas (and if you enter their contest you may win one of their bikes!)

 

I should also mention a few other gadgets that caught my attention. Sound Brake was an interesting device to help alert headphone users of environmental noises, such as a doorbell ringing.  Here is my periscope interview with the founder.  And, MOTI app is a healthy – lifestyle application for iOS and Android to help people register their level of exercise, healthy habits (such as water consumption), etc.

Final thoughts: I really enjoyed speaking to these creative minds who invented fun and functional products.  However a word of wisdom to those who are vendors/ displayers at booths that are seeking investors, distributors or publicity – have a PR KIT FOR YOUR PRODUCT!  Only a handful of the gadgets had any information about their product. Some had postcards with their websites. Others had only business cards.  A PR kit for press, etc. with information, easy to find social media “411” and if possible a sample would be FABULOUS!

Do you have a gadget that you can recommend or created? Feel free to add your information in the comment section below!

COMING NEXT:  How can synergy be so good when two dozen women join a women’s professional networking group that has HEART?  Meet Beach Cities Breakfast Club in my next post.

 

disclaimer:  No renumeration was received for any of these products.

 

 

 

 

No ties or perfume listed here – My #ShopSmall list!


HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Just a short blog to give you some ideas on where to #ShopSmall this week.  Check out these suggestions that support the endeavors of family/ women owned businesses and projects.  All unique and worth a “click through” to see if something catches your eye this holiday season. A special shout – out to Shara Lawrence – Weiss of MommyPerks who welcomes those with a family friendly product or service to post on her MommyPerks Facebook wall here .  She does this annually and is just one great example of women supporting women in the small biz world! (Check out what many women have posted)

As usual my gift recommendations often have a secondary purpose- such as giving back to an organization or helping a national or international cause.  In other words – I like my hard earned $ to be given to businesses with heart and pizazz.

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BOOKS!   What better gift to give a child than a BOOK! Two new faves made my list.

The Girls Q&A Book on Friendship by Annie Fox

Hungry Feelings, Not Hungry Tummy by Ava Parnass

 

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SAFETY!

I know that giving a gift or pepper spray or other self defense items may seem to zap  the holiday spirit… but, when all the holiday decorations are placed back in to their respective boxes it will be the safety items I purchased from small biz owner  Linda Benecke  that will help keep my loved ones safe.  I want to give her a heartfelt thank you  for introducing me to DAMSELS in DEFENSE.  Personal safety protection products, especially for women  who are the most vulnerable such as those who live alone, are seniors citizens, or are on college campuses. Interestingly, many of their products can cross over to other purposes such as keeping people with Autism or Alzheimers safe and indoors rather than wandering- this company has it all! Learn more, see the catalog and connect with Linda here.

 

HELP SANTA BRINGS GIFTS TO NEEDY CHILDREN

When Santa arrives at the San Pedro YWCA soon he will be bringing a “sled” full of stuffed BEARS. Sponsor a bear via Tracy Farman and her pals at Jockey Person 2 Person. This campaign is what the true meaning of the holidays is all about! Learn more here including how you can donate a bear to be distributed in your locale.

http://tracyfarman.com/helping-others/
http://tracyfarman.com/helping-others/

 

LASTLY- Louise’s List of Unique and Fabulous – “out of the box” ideas!

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Give a night out for a cause by supporting the

Feminists What Were they Thinking Documentary 

Lyn D Jewelry

by Lynette Vandaveer

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Steampunk by Beverly Holman 

Vintage items repurposed to a contemporary art form! 

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Pocketbooks with Hobo Chic Style by Geri Dahl of  Funky Pretty Designs

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https://www.etsy.com/shop/DesignDahl
https://www.etsy.com/shop/DesignDahl

 

RUFF, RUFF 

Can’t adopt an animal or no more room for another fur baby? Consider SPONSORING a dog or cat that is in foster care or in a shelter. I stumbled upon the ANGEL DOGS FOUNDATION – DEAF DOGS RANCH.  I love the dog photos on this website. Check them out!

 

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COMING SOON a Review of one of my new favorite products by FitLogic – the perfectly fitted pants every time!

(Want a sneak peek? Click here)

The Maccabee on the Mantel – A Review


 

 

When I was growing up the Jewish holiday of Chanukah was considered a simple 8-day celebration with family, a few dreidels and a menorah (Chanukiah).  By the time I had children of my own – Chanukah became a multi- zillion dollar industry!  Why the change?

Many believe it is because of more and more interfaith families. Others think that parents wish to provide for their Jewish children an experience akin to families who celebrate Christmas.

So, when the Elf on the Shelf – a little elf doll from “Santa’s workshop”,  made its’ debut a few years ago – it became quite the media and marketing sensation.  Now enter the Maccabee on the Mantel,  a plush toy with a storybook.    At first I was a bit skeptical – was this another way for someone to market to interfaith families?

As an educator who for a decade taught Judaics in a Jewish Sunday School, I was pleased to see an educational book that told the story of Chanukah and also included a song and blessings.  Then I went on to the website and learned a whole lot more from  “behind the scenes”.  The Maccabee on the Mantel is the brainchild of Abra Liberman-Garrett,  and mom of two.  The website offered this as a reason for her creation:

…And so she conceived the concept of a disarming and charming Macabee, a little boychick who would spread sunshine and delight to all the Jewish children who had him in their home.  Abra’s children positively reveled in the joy of this modern tradition in the making.  Now it is time to share this miracle of a Macabee with all those who are looking to create a fun family custom of their own.

For parents wishing to help share their Jewish culture, history and religious insights – this website is a welcome addition.  I usually would put an age rating on a review – but this unique box set could be for young and old.  The price is set for the box set – $34.95 on their website. Extra Maccabees and books can be purchased separately.  Click here for their online store.

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For additional fun go to Youtube and check out the videos from the “Maccabee on the Mantel”. 

HOLIDAY GIFT CONTEST! CONTEST NOW CLOSED


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MOMMY PERKS  in conjunction with SIGNING FAMILIES  is offering a HOLIDAY CONTEST 

How to  be eligible to win!

STEP ONE: Simply watch  this video: www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-Jffvh_gIU  THEN…

  STEP TWO: Comment only  on the SIGNING FAMILIES  FACEBOOK page as to what you liked in the video! Click this link here to be brought to the post where you should comment  

  Note that prizes will be similar but not always exact of what is in in the video.  A Gift    Certificate may be offered instead.  Prize package is worth more than $100 in items and gift certificates.

RULES

  • Enter only ONE TIME, must be over 18 years of age
  • MUST RESIDE in the US and be able to accept packages
  • MUST ENTER NO LATER than -9 pm on November 19, 2013 PST  Winner will be announced on the SIgNING FAMILIES FACEBOOK PAGE on November 20th
  • Winner must respond to confirmation within 7 days of announcement or forfeit winnings
  • Only one winner will be chosen
  • Value of prizes is totaled at more than $100

Participating companies.

PEACOCK POTTERY– 

KIDCOURSES  

Wikki Stix

THE BOYS STORE– 

MediPAL–  

OHANA WELLNESS 

SIGNING FAMILIES

 

 

THE WINNER HAS BEEN ANNOUNCED ON THE SIGNING FAMILIES FACEBOOK PAGE AND CONTACTED.

 

THIS CONTEST IS NOW OFFICIALLY CLOSED