Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Birthday Love, Good Food, & Live Entertainment

I have said before that my birthday is my favorite holiday. Mother's Day is my new 2nd place winner, but I've only celebrated 2 of those so far. Thanksgiving would be number 3 for the food and family. But nothing beats a birthday. It's time to reflect on a year passed and plan the year ahead. My childhood birthdays were usually spent at Chuck E Cheese. As a pre-teen I preferred sleepovers. I became best friends with my friend Jeretha at my 13th birthday party. And, 17 years later I'm a godmother to her 2 girls. As teenager I asked for money to go shopping and we went out to eat as a family. In college I continued that tradition and ate out at a favorite restaurant with friends if I couldn't make it home for a visit. Most of my favorite memories involved a good meal. I can do without a Christmas gift but my birthday must be met with pomp and circumstance even if I have to make a ruckus all by myself. Thankfully, I have friends and family that caught on quick and try to make the day special for me. God bless them!
My mother surprised me with tickets to see Norah Jones in concert at MGM at Foxwoods. It's about an hour and a half drive from where we live. We wanted to get there early to find parking and pick up our tickets from Will Call so we scheduled the day to have time for dinner. The gourmet restaurants at the casinos are pricey. Since we aren't high-rollers, I did some research and found a restaurant on the way. The Blue Crab is 2 right turns off of Exit 66 on I-95N. Nothing fancy on the outside and the decor reminds me of a country B&B. The reviews I read were on point for the most part.
We arrived around 5:30pm and avoided a dinner crowd so it looked as if we had reserved the restaurant just for us. Fine by me. We had our waiter's full attention. I forget his name but he gave excellent service. He described everything in mouth-watering detail. We started with complimentary warm pumpkin bread with sage butter and then shared a seafood bisque for an appetizer. My mom ordered the blackened salmon which was a special. And I ordered the cajun ribeye from the menu. I was leery of the jalapeno butter that came on top but I went with the waiter's recommendation and it was not as hot as I feared. It was a perfect compliment to my steak as it melted in front of my eyes. If you like a little spice, you would love this dish. Not too hot or overpowering. I was stuffed to the gills but he offered a dessert because he knew it was my birthday. I don't pass up free! I chose the banana and chocolate spring rolls with vanilla ice cream. I wish I would have passed on the dessert. I could barely swallow a few bites because I was so full from the meal. As my grandma would say "Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!" I have been thinking about that steak since Friday. Yummmmm.

My husband ordered this beautiful cake made of flowers. I've never seen this before. I'm going to keep watering the foam thing in the middle and see how long the flowers live. Then he took me to another restaurant I like in East Norwalk, CT on the harbor called Harbor Lights. I was surprised that another couple that are friends of ours were waiting for us. We enjoyed a lovely meal and excellent service. It was so nice to have adult conversation with another married couple. And after dinner I was glancing out the window and thought my mind was playing tricks on me but a swan floated by! One lonely all white swan glided by. It was a lovely sight. I asked the restaurant owner (he's a high school alum of my husband and the other guy at dinner with us) about the swan and he said there was a whole family there last summer. Maybe they're coming back? Overall, it was a good day.

Earth Day Celebration 2010

GumdropSwap will be an exhibitor at the "Party for the Planet" event at the Beardsley Zoo in Bridgeport, CT on April 17-18, 2010. This is part of their Earth Day celebration. I was contacted after a representative from the zoo read about GumdropSwap in the Natural Awakenings of Fairfield County publication this past February. This is a perfect opportunity to let my local community know of GumdropSwap and my mission to keep kids clothes, books, and toys out of our landfills. We "recycle" damaged clothing into new apparel, accessories, and quilts. I better get to sewing! The "gumdrop Couture" items I made before have all been sold except for one sample. I guess people like the idea of having a one of a kind garment. Here is my daughter in a dress I made by cutting off the stained part of a shirt and attaching fabric to make a bohemian dress.

On Sat. 4/17/10, I will be there from 10am-3pm but Sunday I will only be there from 1-3pm due to my obligations at church. I would love to meet you in person if you can make it. I know my daughter will enjoy the festivities. You should bring your kids too!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

How Can Something so Small Be so Powerful?

A single seed contains all the nutrients that enable life. When you look inside a seed, it’s packed with elements that provide incredible skin health benefits. Grape seeds are rich in Vitamin E which is a powerful skin rejuvenator.

The husband and wife team that launched a 100% Natural brand called SEED with multiple benefits derived from nature. By focusing on the Power of a Tiny Seed (and the exponential power of other beneficial natural ingredients) Rebecca and  Benjamin were very interested in detoxifiying their lives and being eco-conscious before stating a family. They began working with a microbiologist and confirmed real scientific benefits: grape seeds, like several other seeds, are intrinsically concentrated with incredible antioxidants and essential fatty acids promoting healthy skin. They’ve harnessed the nutrient-rich grape seed, which is a by-product of the wine-making process, and given it a new life. Their products are made as responsibly as possible (and are committed to constant improvement.) For example, in making solid shampoo bars, they use less water and last longer than liquid shampoos. They use recyclable and biodegradable packaging whenever possible. And, to reduce their carbon footprint, all of their products are made in the United States. That makes me happy knowing jobs are not going overseas which helps our economy.

Even though I don't know this couple, I am inspired by their shared desire to launch a company with respect for our planet and health. I am being more and more conscious about the ingredients in my health products. Why would a company put formaldehyde and other toxins in products that are absorbed into our skin? You would expect a company that is selling health and beauty products to only use the safest ingredients, but unfortunately, that is not always the case. SEED™ is taking it back to the basics with their line of natural products derived from the most basic source of life -- a seed. The discovery that people were throwing away children's clothing and items and the thought of those things in our nation's landfills sparked the idea for my kids clothing swap business. Entrepreneurs are people that see an opportunity for a business when a need in the market is not being met. It's about finding a better way of doing things.

* This post is my entry in the THE SEEDS OF INSPIRATION BLOGHER 2010 SPONSORSHIP CONTEST which I read about on "Hip as I Wanna Be"s blog.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

If All of the Raindrops were Lemondrops and GUMDROPS...

This is a photo of part of the word mural I painted that wraps around the boutique. During high school and after, I painted many murals in client's homes and watercolor portraits from time to time. I didn't major in graphic design in college because I prefer a more tactile medium to express myself. I haven't painted in acrylics in about 3 years. I didn't realize how much I missed it. It was invigorating to hold a paintbrush again. I did get some leg cramps and soreness from being on the ladder for hours at a time but I am happy with the final affect.

Unfortunately, the business world seems to prefer  the digital. So I  trained myself to learn graphic design so I could have a career. I've mentioned before, launching GumdropSwap has married all my talents which I once thought to be sordid and disconnected. What other career could I make use of painting, sewing, sales, marketing, graphic design, and administrative  skills? Is it still called work if you enjoy what you do?

The garment hanging system is arriving in separate shipments. I think the last boxes will come on Monday. I plan to open to the public on Friday, April 9. That will give me time to hang all the clothes and set up the display in the front window. More pictures to come soon!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

5 Things I Don't Get About my Husband

People may think I do weird things. I've been told that I stick my tongue out slightly when I'm concentrating. I've caught myself doing that when I'm painting. I think I'm so focused, it's like my jaw just relaxes and leaves my teeth slightly ajar so then my tongue just slithers in that space. Weird. I know. But this post is about my husband, or men in general because I can't be married to the only alien!
  1. My husband refers to homemade spaghetti as "Spaghetti O's" like the Chef Boy-R-Dee canned culinary delight. When we first got married he kept asking me to make "Spaghetti O's" and I bought and heated up a can for him for dinner and he looked at me and said, "What is this?" We've since discussed this at length and he refuses to correct the error, so now I just remind myself that he doesn't want canned "Spaghetti O's" when he asks.
  2. I've heard of women banning their husband to the couch after a fight. I tried that once. He refused to go. Stayed in our bed just to spite me. But, if he dozes off on the couch while I'm at the computer and I tell him I'm going to bed, he'll reply "I'm coming." Then he falls back asleep! Then he doesn't understand why I'm mad in the morning. I tried to explain to him that part of the reason I got married is so I don't have to sleep alone. Just be that warm body in bed. Geez! Is that too much too ask?
  3. Speaking of him falling asleep in front of the tv... he has a fit if you change the channel or take the remote. He'll say, "just tell me what you want to watch" and change it for me. He has to have possession of the remote! Then, he gets mad when I wake him again to adjust the volume. That's what you get, weirdo. Just gimme the darn remote and you can sleep peacefully. Or if I turn the tv off, he'll wake up and say "Hey, I was watching that" No you weren't. You were watching your eyelids.
  4. Before my birthday or a gift giving holiday my husband will repeatedly ask me what do I want as a gift. I try to tell him I'd rather be surprised but he insists I tell him something I want. Whatever I tell him, he buys something completely different.
  5. My husband confuses the day of the month we got married and the day our daughter was born (7th and 8th of 2 different months). We've gone over this many times. He used to forget my birthday (30th) even thought he knew the month. He finally has that one down. It took him months to remember how to spell our daughter's name correctly. Is it C-O-R-R-I-N-N-E, C-O-R-R-I-N-E, C-O-R-I-N-N-E? AAAAAAAAARRGGGGGHH! But he could rattle off the names of all the characters from every bad 80's sitcom that you and I vaguely remember. He's full of useless trivia like that.
Anyone else feel like venting sharing about  their significant other's quirks? I would love to know that I'm not alone. I could do a post about how wonderful my husband is, but I fear that wouldn't be as interesting.

Better use of my Blackberry

I used to work for a furniture company which I will not name and unintentionally advertise here. Let's just say, it was a less-than-amicable departure. But I am grateful in hindsight, because being terminated for "lack of work" inspired me to launch my own business. But, as the Design Production Manager for this company, I was on-call and it was very demanding. You would be surprised how many "art emergencies" there are for retail companies. This particular company aimed to be cutting-edge and was always meeting with potential investors and new distribution channels. That last minute presentation meant me pulling an all-nighter. I believe that's part of the reason I wasn't afraid of starting a business. Long hours are something I'm used to. I still freelance as a graphic designer and illustrator occasionally. You can see my online portfolio. I do a lot of logo and branding identity for fellow entrepreneurs. And I save money by doing my own marketing materials. Here is my latest flier!

Because, I would often miss urgent emails if I dare try to have a personal life, I felt warranted to buy a smartphone. I was perfectly happy with my crappy, no-frills phone for personal use. No need for texting or being on the internet for personal use before. So, there was a sale at my cell phone service provider and with rebate, I paid about $80 for my Blackberry Curve. At the time I didn't realize Id have to pay $30/mo on top of my cell phone plan for unlimited internet use but I was too far in by that point. A few months after my purchase, I was let go from my duties at that company. Now, I had this device that I had to make worthwhile. I must admit here that I am bad about reading manuals. I find them boring and repetitive. Give me a few bullet points and illustrations and I'm set! I figure out how to use most things by trial and error if they have buttons with labels. I fear that I even today I am only using my smartphone to about 70% of its potential. That's embarrassing.

Well, this post is for you other impatient people that don't read manuals and instructions. I just figured out how to use my phone to email blog post/drafts and text photos to my blog. You never know when I'm going to be in a doctor's waiting room or hour and a half train ride and get a genius (I use that term loosely) post idea. Now I can use my mini-keyboard to type it out and send it to save as a draft to perfect later. Here's how (Blogger users) under Dashboard, select Email & Mobile tab, scroll down to "Posting Options" then select your secret word within your unique email address to which you will email your posts. I set mine to be saved as a draft but you can choose to directly publish (aren't you daring!) Then, if you prefer, you can text to your blog. You set this up by clicking "Add mobile device" and texting a special code provided to the number 256447. Now, I can MMS msg photos from my phone instead of searching for my USB cord and backing my pics on my computers hard drive. That delays posts by days.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Vegans and Vegetarians BEWARE! Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf

If you missed my bacon wrapped salmon recipe, you may not know that I like bacon. Well, I do. I don't eat it as often as my blogged recipes suggest. But when I'm bored with an entrée I try wrapping it in bacon and Tah-daa! it 's a new meal!  I won't take credit for this recipe. Tyler Florence talked about it on the FN around the holidays. So I tried it. Sadly, I couldn't find a recipe on the FN's website to link it so I will describe the basic techniques with photos. Like most of my cuisine, I don't measure or follow a recipe so this is for intermediate and expect cooks that can wing it in the kitchen. Or, find a meatloaf recipe that looks good to prepare that part and then follow this technique for cooking.

SIDE NOTE: What main ingredients do you all use in your meatloaf? I use onion soup mix, spicy brown mustard, ketchup, meatloaf mix (blend of pork, beef, and veal), worcestershire sauce (I had to look up the spelling for that one), and italian bread crumbs. I remember an episode of "Roseanne" where she used corn flakes, but I thought it was Frosted Flakes and that weirded me out so I never tried that, lol.
  1. Ok, mix all your ingredients until well blended. Prep a cookie sheet with a large piece of aluminum foil. It needs to be large enough to fold over the loaf lengthwise and then fold up ends to create a pocket.
  2. Place 5-6 bacon slices side by side on the foil.
  3. Place your loaf on top of the middle of the strips of bacon.
  4. (See pic below) bring ends of bacon to meet on top of meatloaf.
  5. Fold foil over the loaf lengthwise and then fold up ends to create a pocket (See pic below).
  6. Bake in preheated oven at 400º for about 45min. 
  7. Carefully open foil (hot steam will come out) and then broil for a few minutes to brow the bacon.

 Enjoy! Sorry, it smelled so delish, I forgot to take a finished photo before cutting into the meatloaf. I served with collared greens and cornbread muffins.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

GIVEAWAY Ends 4/5: Berries that Clean you Laundry?

I found out about this all natural berry that is called by many names: soapnuts, soapberry, washing nuts, soap nut shells, wash shells, soapberry nut husk, Ritha (Hindi) nut shell, Chinese soapberry and many more. Soap nuts are the dried shells (or husks) from the soapberry (or soap berry nut). These berries are the fruit from a quite unique tree species. These shells contain a substance called saponin that produces a soaping effect. Saponin is a 100% natural alternative to chemical laundry detergent and cleansers.

Soap nuts release an extremely effective, hypoallergenic, biodegradable cleaning agent with no added synthetics, chemicals, toxins or artificial perfumes. Your clothing is in contact with your skin all day. Whether you are an allergy sufferer, have sensitive skin, use cloth diapers, or just want to do your part for a greener earth, soap nuts are a dream come true. This natural laundry detergent leaves laundry amazingly clean, fresh, and soft, plus provides a plethora of other truly green household cleaning uses.

After learning all that, I was convinced and of course entered the giveaway on which ends on 4/5/10. Good luck if you enter buy I really wanna win! (details about soap nuts were borrowed from the sponsor, NaturOli's website.)

Purex Complete 3-in-1 Product Review

I don't get a Sunday paper so I don't get the booklet of coupons they publish. But I'm all about trying free stuff so I signed up to try and review products for P&G. then I chose to try the Purex 3-in-1 laundry sheet from products that were available. The concept is that you place the sheet in your washing machine with your clothes and then transfer it WITH your clothes when you dry them. I have a high efficiency washer and I was glad that their were instructions just for that on the back of the package. But I usually use the cool setting on the dryer and the product suggests a warm dryer setting. So I would not recommend for others who do that to save energy or if you hang your clothes on the line now that its spring. It does make it convenient though, not having to pour powder or liquid into those tiny compartments in my HE washer. The website says "As part of our holistic approach to sustainability, Purex developed Purex® Complete 3-in-1™ Laundry Sheets with significant consideration to our environmental impact." which I can see how you aren't left to recycle (or some still may trash them - I cringe at that thought) those bulky plastic bottles that liquid detergent comes in. But I wonder how many years it takes the uses sheet to disintegrate? It's thicker than a standard dryer sheet.

I used the 2 sample sheets on 2 loads of colored clothes in warm water (mostly my husbands workout clothes and boxers) The clothes came out soft and clean. The samples I got were in the "spring oasis" scent which I found to be overpowering when I opened the package. Reminds me of Irish Spring soap. But after my husband's stinky workout clothes came out of the dryer they smelled 100 times better! It's a bit masculine and strong for my toddler's clothes. Even though they were clean and soft. So I would use this product again for my husband's stuff. I love that "man fresh out of the shower" smell! I would buy and try the "pure and clean" scented ones depending on the retail price.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Never Too Old to Learn!

I will be the first to confess that I knew nothing about running a business when I decided to start GumdropSwap. I was very cautious. I did lots of research and agonized over the decision to be an entrepreneur. It was risky, I knew. Especially, since I was investing my own savings and the failure of my business would mean I'd have to start from scratch financially. Of course I would need support from family and friends, but I knew I could count on them. They're good about that kind of stuff. And when I shared my business idea with people in it's infancy, I got nothing but positive feedback. Well, maybe some apprehension from my husband. But that's to be expected since I was putting the financial future for our family completely on his shoulders until my idea actually made a return. But he was more supportive than I anticipated. This MUST be a good idea if he is on board! I thought to myself.

So in my research I discovered some support groups for budding business people. Many have heard of SCORE where mostly retired business owners volunteer to council entrepreneurs. I met with 2 nice gentlemen for a private counseling session. They liked my idea too. But they cautioned me about choosing the right location for my boutique. This wasn't the first time I had heard these concerns. See, Bridgeport is one of the largest cities in Connecticut. It is in on of the wealthiest counties in the nation (Fairfield) which extends down to the NY/CT state line. Lots of wealthy people consider Fairfield County a suburd of New York City. Well, Bridgeport used to be a bustling, industrial port city. And like most American cities that depended on industrial businesses years ago, it suffered when those types of jobs went overseas. Then, people are left without jobs, municipalities can't maintain the city and buildings and homes are vacated to look for greener pastures. So the Bridgeport of 10-20 years ago is what people still have in mind. The revitalization process has been slow but I saw the potential in 2005 when I moved into a renovated department store in downtown Bridgeport that was turned into artist lofts. People would look at me cross-eyed when I told them I lived in downtown Bridgeport. I would ask when was the last time they had been there and it had been so many years they couldn't remember! Well, little did they know it was a ghost town after 6pm when the courthouse and handful of businesses that remained closed daily. I walked from the train station at night many times and never encountered another soul. Maybe there was someone staying warm in the Dunkin' Donuts on the corner of Main and John St but that was probably it.

Ok, I went off on a tangent. But what I was trying to say is, the men from SCORE encouraged me to look elsewhere. But the surrounding towns they suggested were out of my price range for square footage (about twice what I was quoted). They didn't know that 3 years before I could look out my bedroom window and watch the renovations on the atrium ceiling of the Arcade Mall. At the time I dreamed of having a artist co-op gallery there. Little did I know, I would actually sign a lease there a few years later. Everything comes full circle! So, I listened to there suggestions and looked elsewhere for support. I didn't need someone to talk me out of what felt so right in my heart.

I had found another organization in my search that sounded more appropriate for my needs. The Women's Business Development Center (WBDC). Yeah, I needed development! After months of teleseminars, an Exploring Entrepreneurship class, and webinars, I was confident that the WBDC was a great resource for me. I guess the estrogen helps. Even though I had already started my business, I decided to sign up for the FastTrac® NewVenture™ course. It's a weekly class for 9 weeks and then optional group or one-on-one sessions. I started on March 10 and I have learned so much already in the first 2 sessions. The instructor, Janet, is an expert in loans for businesses. By the end of this class, I will have a complete business plan. That seems like such a daunting task on my own. But we are getting counseling on every facet of a business.  The book for the class is extremely insightful and asks pertinent questions I should have asked myself 6 months ago (before I actually launched my business). But, it's never too late to do things right. I'm used to putting the cart before the horse. But this time, I realized my error quickly and put the horse in her rightful place.

I love my in-laws but I miss my Butterbean

I've heard the horror stories of people not getting along with their in-laws, especially the MIL. But I was blessed with my husband's folks. I was more sure I wanted them to be my in-laws than I was about marrying him! My daughter is light of their lives. I rarely have to spend my own money for all the things my MIL and mother buy her. I even have to hide clothes and gifts when I think they are overdoing it so I can spread the gifts throughout the year. She has Christmas gifts in the basement that she hasn't opened yet! They are a sweet pair and want to see her often and I am lucky that they live about 30 min away. Sometimes they offer to watch her for the weekend. Things have been so hectic since I started my business 6 months ago, it allows for me to catch up on house cleaning, blogging, and business stuff. I guess I take it for granted because when I mention this to other moms I know, they tell me how lucky I am get a break. So, I dropped her off yesterday which allowed me to work on my word mural at the store (on a future post I promise), clean 2 bathrooms completely, shower, give myself a mani/pedi (long overdue), and cook what I wanted for dinner (broiled talapia and a yummy salad with pesto italian dressing). So I'm home alone on this Saturday night. It's so quiet and empty feeling in the house. I should be enjoying this but I'd prefer knowing she was asleep upstairs.

I guess I unconsciously selected to practice "Attachment Parenting" when I became a mommy. How can you not when you are breastfeeding? My daughter (AKA Butterbean among many other nicknames) is very attached to me. I went back to work for about 8 months after she was born. My husband works at night so he stayed home with her. It was very hard for me to be away. I would come home and he would tell me all the things she/they had done during the day. I must admit I felt a little left out. But when I was laid off from said job in March 2009, it was the Mommy & Butterbean show again. My husband gladly handed over the reigns for me to be the main caregiver. Now that she is getting older, I see the need for her to interact with other kids. She needs to socialize and learn to share. We take her to the park or during the winter months we went to the play area in the mall. (I'll save my germaphobe issues about public play areas for another post). I'm not OCD or anything. Far from it! My house it a mess most of the time. But when the H1N1 epidemic happened we put off daycare and now that it's spring, I don't have much of an excuse other than saving money by keeping her home. Don't get me wrong, saving money is a great reason to home school (among others). Does anyone that homeschools a single child have suggestions for teaching social skills? I'm not outgoing enough to start my own playgroup and now that I'll be running the store I won't have time. I know the hubby won't go to a playgroup with strangers. Unless there is a Daddy-only play group? Sometimes she would just stand and observe the other children like she was a scientist studying lab mice. She analyzed their behavior and interactions as if they were a foreign species. Kids would push her out of the way to get to the obstacles and tunnels and she was perplexed. The more we went, the more she warmed up to the other children. But sometimes they were rude when she offered a hug or said hello. They would ignore her or pull away. My heart ached but I did not interfere. She handled it well and continued playing.

My husband is going to become the caregiver again when my boutique opens in a few weeks. I'm fearful of how this transition will go. She's been pretty good when I have explained that "Mommy has to go to work" and leave for a few hours. But she asks about me the whole time I'm gone and says "I want to go see Mommy" to her dad. I'll be open 10am-4pm on Mon-Sat. I tell myself "it's only 6 hours" and I hope she'll adjust quickly. If not, we'll look into daycare a few days a week maybe.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Follow Me Friday

MckLinky Blog Hop

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Get Paid to Recycle? Ka-Ching!

I know, I know. It sounds to good to be true. Most recyclers do it for our planet. But if the greater good of the world isn't motivation enough, maybe your family needs more of an incentive? Or maybe recycling your household waste is part of your routine or even required where you live. If so, kudos to you! My mayor is pushing the "greening" of my Connecticut city, and I applaud his efforts. I recently discovered a company called RecycleBank that rewards you for recycling by working through/with businesses and municipalities (your town or city). I used the contact us link to request that they contact my mayor because I want this in my city! If I understand the program it works like this: The city provides you with a special receptacle to put your recyclable items in. Your RecycleBank cart will be weighed each week upon pick-up. The weight will then be translated to RecycleBank Points. The more you recycle, the more your household can earn. In a few select communities, households earn rewards based on their equal share of the total amount that their entire community recycles. You earn reward points which you can use to shop with thousands of local and national retailers. You can search retailers by your zip code. There are some big names of national chains participating like Whole Foods, Rite Aid, and CVS...

I think this is such a cool program. I will keep everyone updated if I hear from my mayor or we get this implemented in Bridgeport. We already have weekly pickup but why not get rewarded for it and encourage people who aren't voluntarily participating an incentive to join in. I'm curious if anyone's city is already doing this and how they feel about the program? Please comment!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Bright Beginnings

And then there was paint! The store fixtures are on the way. The merchandise is ready to be displayed. The bamboo floors are installed. Now we have paint on the walls. I chose a warm yellow-orange for the main color and chose to do a purple wave along the bottom to create visual interest and move your eye around the room. I suppose that lesson on composition in art college paid off again.
|I would like to give thanks (and plug) "Drywall Unlimited" and Christopher for all of his hard work. He does carpentry and is an all around handy guy. His painting skills are superior too. If you are looking for a contractor for your home improvement or work projects, you can contact him at 203-908-5277 or email He is going to do the second coat of purple on the wave tomorrow and then remove the tape that I used to designate the shape. I am SO excited to see the room without the blue tape!

It was a pleasant day weather-wise and lots of curious people were walking through the Arcade Mall. I took the opportunity to explain the business concept to the onlookers. Everyone commented what a new and great concept it is. I love hearing that. I left a stack of business cards outside the storefront just in case more people come by. I won't go in tomorrow. There is supposed to be rain/snow mix and I'm going to spend the day indoors with my daughter. She needs mommy time. I need to catch up on computer stuff and contact some customers. I will update you all when a new milestone happens. Due to jury duty call on March 10, I am projecting a late March opening. My birthday is at the end of the month. This will be a perfect gift to myself!