Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Wordless Wednesday Featuring Nifty Kid Stuff

Friday, July 25, 2008

It's Camping Time!

Nearly every summer for the past 40 years, my hubby's family has gone camping at the same lake. The only year they can remember NOT going, is 2004, when hubby and I got married. So now, it's become a continuing tradition for our little family too. We will be going for four nights, and we have my dad flying in to go with us. My mother and father in law, my sister in law and nephew, and my best friend, her husband, and their three kids are going too.

I think it's going to be a lot of fun. We cook a yummy meal every night. This time around we're doing Hamburgers & Hot Dogs (of course!!!), Steak and the trimmings, BBQ Chicken and the trimmings, and Tacos with the trimmings. Yes, we cook everything on propane powered Coleman camp stoves. Yes, we do dishes after each meal. Yes, it's a lot of work, but it's a lot of fun too!

We typically take about 5-7 different games to play up there, including Apples to Apples, Tossup, Skip-Bo, and more. We take the stuff to make s'mores each night. We do have quarter operated showers, and flushable toilets, so I'm a "happy camper". We take rafts and floats and life vests, and we all swim in the lake. Everything gets dirty, but we don't care. We take fishing poles and do a little fishing when we can. Two years ago, my sister and I were the only ones who caught, and there were 5 guys fishing with us!!!

Here's a photo of where we go each year. I cannot disclose the name of the lake, because it's already REALLY hard to get a good space! We had to reserve next year's spot in May of this year! For 2010, we have to call on January 1st of 2009, and try to get in amongst the myriads of people who are all trying to get the sweetest spots. Cross your fingers and say a prayer for us. We want to be right next to the water in 2010!!!

So, now because I'm thinking about nothing but camping, I wanted to share some great finds from that have to do with camping. If you click on each photo, it will take you to that person's shop.

We'll see you when we get back! Don't forget to enter to win the gift card! Don't forget to answer the poll on the right hand sidebar. Don't forget to check back soon, because we will be having a great giveaway in the first part of August!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Wordless Wednesday Featuring Annie and Olive

Monday, July 21, 2008

Want to Win an Gift Card?

THIS giveaway is now closed.

Happy Monday! Last week was my anniversary....July 17th. My hubby and I have been married for 4 very happy years, after having met on My son and I moved from New Mexico to California, only 3 days after our wedding, so we had NO honeymoon! If things work out, we will be taking our honeymoon for our 5 year anniversary, in HAWAII!!! By ourselves!!! That will be wonderful.

Sooooo, in celebration of our anniversary, I will be giving away one $40 Gift Card for Contrary to what I understood before, anyone from anywhere in the world may enter to win!!! So the giveaway is open worldwide. Here's how you can win.

1. You can leave a comment about what you would purchase from if you won the gift card. This will earn you one entry.

2. To earn an additional entry, you can blog about this on your blog. If you have more than one blog, please feel free to blog about it on all of them. Then come back here and leave a NEW comment with a link for each blog. Yes, you will earn an extra entry for EACH blog on which you talk about this giveaway!!! Just leave a SEPARATE comment for each blog.

3. You can earn 5 additional entries if you become a subscriber to The Downtown Boutique through Feedblitz. Just scroll down on the left hand side of the blog, and you will see where you can enter your email to subscribe. Please leave a separate comment if you choose to do this.

4. You can earn 15 additional entries if you make a little movie about why you need an Gift Card. You must upload the movie to, and then email me the link! I will post as many movies as I can on the blog. Please make sure it is clean, or I will not give the additional 15 entries.

DEADLINE TO ENTER: July 31, 2008 We will draw for the winner on August 1st.
So there you have it! Help us to celebrate our anniversary, and we'll give you something to celebrate too!

Have a great day!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Friday Feature No. 20--Featuring Bode22

No, you're not seeing things. It is Saturday as I am posting this. It was supposed to happen yesterday, but it didn't. I got a little behind on things because of dealing with a little one trying to cut two molars. He wouldn't nap for very long without being fussy, so I didn't get everything done that I intended to do.

Congratulations to Betsy, who won the Vanilla Lavender Grande Candle from Barcelona Bath & Body! Thank you all for entering, and for the great comments!

Today we are featuring Meg, from Bode22 on Etsy. Have you seen her shop? It's full of the COOLEST clocks ever! And you get to try and win one! But first things first...let's get to know Meg a little better.

TDB: How did you get your start creating clocks?
Meg: I had just gotten married and moved into a new apartment. While decorating it, I decided I wanted a clock that was functional, but different and cute. I couldn't find any, so I made one. It received much praise from family and friends, so I decided to make more.

TDB: I see that you have "Clocks for a Cause". What's the story behind this?
Meg: I've actually put it on hold for a while, but it's something that I plan do again in the future. I donate a portion of my proceeds to the American Cancer Society. Three of my family members fought cancer - one just recently passed away because of it, so it's an extremely important cause to me.

TDB: What do you do to promote your Etsy shop?
Meg: I'm a huge blogger: I also frequent the Etsy Forums.

TDB: What's the best piece of advice you ever received (doesn't have to be business-related)?
Meg: Do what makes you happy.

TDB: Where do you sell your clocks besides on Etsy?
Meg: They are exclusively sold through Etsy right now. It's about all I can do to keep up with just that! But I'm open to going through other avenues... eventually. :)

TDB: Where is the furthest away you have mailed a clock?
Meg: The coolest destinations thus far have been Hong Kong and Latvia.

TDB: If you could learn any new skill, what would it be?
Meg: Sewing. I have a terrible handbag addiction. It'd be lovely if I could make them myself, but I can't sew a straight line worth a darn. Luckily there's a few sellers on Etsy that keep me supplied.

Ok, so NOW you get to enter to win this fabulous clock!!!

To enter, please go to Bode22, check out the shop, and come back here to comment on which clock is your favorite. For two extra entries, you can blog about this giveaway! Please leave only ONE comment (so be sure to leave your blog URL when you leave your comment, so I can check out your post.).

For 5 extra entries, I'm going to take a little hint from Dana at the Old Red Barn Co. If you create a short video that can convince me why you should win this clock, upload it to, and then email me the link, you will get 5 extra entries.

Deadline to enter is Friday, July 25th at 12 Noon PST.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Check Out This Great Offer from Picaboo!!


Win a $50 Gift Certificate to Warm Biscuit Bedding Company!!!

Seven Dogs and a Baby is one of my favorite blogs to visit. You won't even have to ask why if you visit. I am a loyal subscriber. When I have a backlog of emails, some I know I can delete without even looking at. Not my email update from Seven Dogs and a Baby!!! They have loads of reviews on a LOT of amazing items, including books, toys, and clothing.

Today, if you go over to Seven Dogs and a Baby, you can enter to win a $50 GC from Warm Biscuit Bedding Company. Be careful! It's a dangerous site to visit! Way too many cute things! To enter, all you have to do is go over to SD&AB, and then visit WBBC to figure out on what you would spend the 50 smackeroos. What would I get? Either this, or this:

This fishing vest is so cute! It has the name of the leaders/fish hooks that we use when we go fishing!!! Eagle Claw.

You may be pleasantly surprised (like I was) to see some familiar things on the Warm Biscuit website, including artwork from Le Papier Designs, who was featured here on The Downtown Boutique.

Have fun visiting both sites!!


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Wordless Wednesday Featuring Art of the Moment

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My First Review!

When my hubby and I are looking to make a purchase on something from certain websites, quite often we will look at the reviews to see what other people say about the item. Many times, the reviews will sway us one way or the other, to buy the item or not buy it. Even as we walk around brick and mortar stores, we will see something we like, and say, "Let's go to ....... and see if we can find it on there, to see what people say."

Reviews can typically make or break a product or business. I don't intend to ever break anyone's product or business, but I am going to start doing some reviews. Today's review is about a cute little headband from Cute & Sweet on Etsy.

Angie G. is the proprietess of Cute and Sweet, and when I posted in the forums about looking for items to review, she answered the call very quickly. Angie is a very pleasant shop owner, from what I can tell in the convos. She is a great communicator and replied quickly and efficiently to my questions. Once she had my address, I received my package in the mail VERY quickly!! The headband came in a professional looking cellophane sleeve, with Angie's card tucked neatly inside.

The headband itself is made with grosgrain ribbon, woven very neatly over a girl's headband. The ends were tucked in neatly, with no frayed edges showing. No glue was showing either. This headband looks very well made, and like it will withstand little girls taking it off and putting it on.

I gave the headband to my little sister when she came out for a visit, and she loved it!

Angie can custom make these headbands, and other cute hair accessories for birthday parties, sports events, your child's school colors and more!

I give the "Over the Rainbow" headband TWO THUMBS UP!!

Thanks Angie, for the headband, and for being my first review!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Friday Features No. 19 -- Featuring Barcelona Bath & Body

Happy Friday! This week, sadly, has flown by. Sadly, because my mom and little sister came out to the Bay Area for their very first visit since I have lived out here...since I got married 4 years ago next week!!! I haven't seen them in 2-1/2 years because finances just haven't allowed either of us to fly out to the others' homes. What a wonderful 5 days it was! We took them to some of our favorite places, including the Golden Gate Bridge and Monterey. I only wish they could have stayed longer. I cried when I dropped them off at the airport. My son wouldn't talk to me after we dropped them off, because he is 14 and "doesn't want to talk about it". It's fine. I understand completely.

I hope that you will indulge me by allowing me to post a photo of our ventures.
Yes, that is me, holding on to our new little guy who was screaming the WHOLE time his feet were in the water. (He has some tactile issues.)
The two further back are my 14 year old, and his aunt, my little sister.
Yes, my parents adopted her. They're foster parents just like us!!
We had SUCH a wonderful time in Monterey, and of course capped it off with a sourdough bread bowl of steaming clam chowder before we wearily headed home.


Ok, on to the Friday Feature! By the way, congratulations to Valerie from The Contest Blog, who won the 8x10 Silhouette Portrait from Le Papier Designs! Thanks Vana, for a wonderful feature and giveaway!
Today, we are featuring a wonderfully scrumptious online shop, Barcelona Bath & Body. Rachel Lane has 18 years of experience in sales and marketing, which has helped her immensely in her bath and body business.

Here's more about Rachel and Barcelona Bath & Body:

TDB: How did you get started in the Bath & Body business?

Rachel: In my 18 years experience in sales and marketing, my favorite job was Director of Marketing for a company in Dallas called Mood Spa where I was very involved in the product development of a line of candles and spa body products.

Sadly I was laid off along with the entire corporate staff and moved on to my next job in another industry and I truly missed being involved in developing candles and body products. I caught a midnight rerun of Oprah in June of 2002. Lisa Price of Carol's Daughter was featured that show about "mompreneurs" changed my life. I had never even thought to dream that I could own my own body product and candle business and handcraft the products myself! And so Barcelona Bath & Body was born.

I was able to build on the research about how fragrance affects mood and emotions that I had done at Mood Spa to create products that are different from all the others on the market. Scientific research has proven that the sense of smell affects mood. This phenomenon called aromachology is the scientifically observable influence of smell on emotions and moods. I used these principles when I formulated our 5 fragrances (Cinnamon Sandalwood, Grapefruit Ylang Ylang, Vanilla Lavender, Lemongrass Fennel and Coconut Bay Rum). I made sure that each contains components that calm as wells as components that energize. You take from it what you need at the time! This concept is very effective in a group dynamic like families, offices or spas where one person may feel exhausted and need a pick me up and another may be keyed up and need to relax—everyone gets what they need from the same product. I specialize in empowering our customers to choose their mood.

TDB: Your photos are you take them, or do you get your product professionally photographed?

Rachel: Thank you! They have been professionally shot, but I have done all the styling which I really enjoy.

TDB: What is your favorite thing to create?
Rachel: I love creating new products period! It’s addictive. There’s something about the experimentation/trial & error that is so fascinating. I have to stay really disciplined to not want to do just that part of my business full time! Right now I’m working on a body lotion, scrub, liquid shower soap and bath salts that I hope to introduce this year.

TDB: How do you balance your business and family?

Rachel: Hmm. That’s a great one! My mood is more balanced than my schedule J I’m married and we don’t yet have children so that allows me freedom to spend more time on work in this phase of my life. I work lots of hours, but because I’m doing something I’m passionate about, it’s a different quality of “work.” I’m making a concerted effort to add more husband, friend and family time into my schedule and have set a goal to do more leisure travel which my husband and I enjoyed when I had a corporate job.

TDB: What has having your own business allowed you to do, that you wouldn't be able to if you worked in the "corporate world"?

Rachel: Flexibility! I make a point to allow myself to get out and do things in the daytime that a traditional corporate job didn’t allow—for example, run errands during off-peak traffic hours which is a time and energy saver. I was really honored to be able to spend time with 2 of my best friends from high school when they lost loved ones in the past year. Corporations typically don’t recognize the need to attend funerals for people outside the immediate family, but these are my friends for life and I was so grateful to have this freedom.

TDB: How did you come up with the name for your business? (I actually read it, but I'd love to share it with the readers.)

Rachel: In the very beginning stages of conceptualizing the product line and naming it, I kicked around hundreds of names. I bounced many of them off my favorite sounding board—my husband Barry. Many of the names included the word “spa,” but knowing that I desired a concept completely unique from her spa background, Barry voted against all of them. Finally, at the end of my brainstorming rope, I threw out a reference to an inside joke*— Barcelona Bath & Body. We gaped at each other and agreed it really had a ring to it, we really liked it and after all, alliteration was on our side. Combined with my long-standing admiration for the Mediterranean olive oil-centered beauty tradition, a passion for Mediterranean cuisine and a love of travel, it was the perfect name! *Fellow British comedy fans may be familiar with Fawlty Towers , a sitcom that originally aired in 1975 and continues to run frequently on PBS and BBCA. John Cleese’s character continually explains the English-as-second-language foibles of waiter Manuel to hotel guests with the one-size-fits-all exasperated phrase, “He’s from Barcelona .”

TDB: If you could go on vacation for a month, anywhere in the world, where would you go?

Rachel: Well, this can come as no surprise, but Barcelona and the surrounding Mediterranean area is at the top of my list.


Now for the fun...the giveaway! Rachel is giving away a Vanilla Lavender Grande Candle, valued at $24.00. The Vanilla Lavender candle is, of course, the center one shown...the purple candle.

All you have to do to win one is go to Barcelona Bath & Body and then come back here and let us know what your favorite product or scent is.

Deadline to enter is Thursday, July 17th at Midnight PST.

Only one comment per person please. If you would like to earn a second entry, you can blog about our giveaway on your blog. Be SURE to let me know in your ONE comment, where I can find your post about it.

Have a wonderful weekend!


UPDATE: Oh, my goodness! I almost forgot!!! Rachel has generously included this offer, only for The Downtown Boutique readers!:

In celebration of Barcelona Bath & Body’s 6 year anniversary, we’re offering Downtown Boutique readers a Buy 6 Products, Get 1 Product Free special for the month of July 2008. The free product should be of equal or lesser value than the least expensive product purchased and there is a limit of 6 free products per order. Type DB and the free item(s) in the comments box at checkout on OR call 800-801-1937 to order.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Wordless Wednesday Featuring tycaalak

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!!!!

I hope that you and your family are having a safe and fun 4th of July, for those of you who are American, or live in the USA. For the rest of you, Happy Friday!

Today is such a special day for me, and for my family. My dad and his dad were both in the Air Force, and I have a brother and brother-in-law who used to be in the Navy. I currently have a brother in the Army. I'm very proud of those associations. I am grateful to all those who have died, down through the centuries, to preserve our freedom. I am so grateful to all of the men and women who are currently serving in our Armed Forces. I am grateful to have been born in a country with such freedoms, and at such a time too! But most of all, I am grateful to my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, for dying on the cross, giving His life, so that I might be free. I am thankful for my husband, and my two boys. I am thankful for my husband's job that allows wonderful benefits for our family. I am thankful for both sets of parents, hubby's and mine. I am thankful for so much today, as I think of the sacrifices that have been made for me, and for my country.

What are you thankful for today?
Today, I'm excited to announce the winner of the giveaway from Moondog Cottage:

Kathleen @ Katydid & Kid.


Have a GREAT 4th of July!!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Blog Award

Well, it seems that The Downtown Boutique has been awarded the Arte `y Pico award from Distressing Delilah (thank you so much!!!) over at Shabby Accumulations. This award is given to bloggers, from other bloggers and is for creativity, originality, and contribution to the blogging community. Whoever wins one of these must post the links to five other blogs, and also mention Arte `y Pico, which is the blog that created this award. So my nominees, pulled from my "I Love To Read" blogroll, are:

All Sorts

ModKid Boutique

Bring the Rain


Vintage Indie

Have fun reading!

Giveaways From Other Blogs

I love giveaways, don't you? I can't enter mine, which is a bummer, because I LOVE so much of what is given away here on The Downtown Boutique. So I'm always looking to see what I can win on other blogs.

Here are some of the giveaways I've found. You may recognize some of the names! Just click on each photo, and it will take you to where you can enter to win.

From Sew Gracious:

From Simply Sentimental:

From Bloggy Giveaways (Don't Try This At Home!), a $50 Gift Certificate to PinkPlicity, who makes these DARLING dresses!!!:

Have fun with all of the giveaways, and don't forget our giveaways here on The Downtown Boutique. All you have to do is just scroll down, to see what we're giving away.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Wordless Wednesday Featuring The Little Stitch