love love love LUSH

Lush_3b_1How can I put this?  Lush is like a amazing farmer’s market stand but instead of stocking ripe tomatoes and crispy cucumbers they specialize in bubble bars, bath melts, sensational soaps and lavish lotions…. I mean just look at their display… it makes me drool.

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They also publish an entertaining catalog/newsletter called Lush Times that is chocked full of fun stories and in-depth descriptions of their large variety of products.

On my latest trip to Chicago, I purchased a Christingly Bubble Bar and I can’t rave enough about it.  I actually broke it in pieces and used it three different baths.  The scent was sooo yummy, it produced loads of bubbles and my skin never felt softer or smelled better.

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To no surprise, Lush believes in making effective products out of fresh organic fruit and vegetables, the finest essential oils and safe synthetics, without animal ingredients, and in writing the quantitative list on the outside.

And good news for all you Detroiters…  it looks like Lush will be coming the Somerset Collection soon!

cycle stones by dog star designs

Dog_star_3On the edge of the Northern boreal forest, in a log cabin, you will find artists Christine and Gregory Bolstad living life on the terms they desire.  In 1994, this husband and wife team created their business, Dog Star Designs. 

Utilizing creativity and promoting connectedness to their customers, Christine and Gregory Bolstad put energy and fun into each of their designs.  Both trained artists and natural educators, Christine believes that “part of the creation process is sharing the beauty with others.” 

Dog_star_1 Deriving its name from the Dog Star (the brightest star in the night sky) the “legend of the Dog Star" explains that if two people are separated by distance, each can view the star for a feeling of togetherness.”  Togetherness is the Bolstads’ bottom line; curiosity and experimental collaboration is both the motivation behind the business and the cause of fresh and exciting ideas. 

Their biggest accomplishment in their business is that being “able to do what we love shows in our work and dealing with others,” says Christine.  She adds that this accomplishment is empowering when “looking out our window, knowing this is what we want our life to look like.”

For anyone struggling to find passion in their work and to build on the dream of self-employment, Christine offers the following advice: “Do what you do best and do your best.” 

Dog_star_2We’ve recently started carrying their cycle stones at both our stores (unfortunately they aren’t available on-line because each stone is one of a kind)

You can use this inspirational word worry stone to relieve stress and to break the vicious cycle of bad habits. Keep it with you to derive the power you need to edge out any negative thoughts and change them forever into positive life-enriching properties.

Because they are each made by hand, the shape of them makes them soothing to touch and rub. They retail for $2 each.

sailor snuggles in our catching fireflies tote

SailorSailor must have gotten wind that there’s a pretty kitty named Piper that hangs out at our Berkley store.  Lucky for him our purple tote is just the right size for him snuggle in for the trip to see his lady friend.

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Piper is all dolled up and can’t wait to meet him! 

I’d like to thank Ellen Wexler for sending this silly photo of Sailor. (even our furry friends love going to catching fireflies)

kiva – loans that change lives

Steve & I love being entrepreneurs.  Even though we work way more than 40 hours a week, it’s very exciting and gratifying to watch our business change and grow.

So when I read about this great organization called Kiva in our Entrepreneur Magazine I was excited to see how I could help entrepreneurs in other countries grow their business.Kiva_1

This is how it works: Kiva lets you connect with and loan money to unique small businesses in the developing world. By choosing a business on Kiva.org, you can "sponsor a business" and help the world’s working poor make great strides towards economic independence. Throughout the course of the loan (usually 6-12 months), you can receive email journal updates from the business you’ve sponsored. As loans are repaid, you get your loan money back.

This past summer I donated a sum of money to Pulperia Blanca to help her start selling meat in her grocery store located in Honduras.  Since then she has paid back half the loan and I plan on recycling my original donation to help another business.

Steve & I have been so blessed with the success of our company; I feel this is a great way to give back to those who are striving to do the same.

If you’re looking for an alternative holiday gift for a fellow entrepreneur, a Kiva gift card is a great idea.

arts & scraps inspires creativity

Arts_and_scraps_2When I attended Eastern Michigan for my special education degree, I used a wonderful resource called The Scrap Box for a lot of my school projects and lessons.

I also picked up a number of unique goodies from there for my then blossoming recycled paper business called April’s Ideas (now a.i. paper design)

Now that our studio is based closer to Detroit, I’m happy to say we regularly donate all kinds of art goods to another great resource – Arts & Scraps.  Their mission is to provide children with affordable and creative experiences using recycled industrial scraps to actively involve them in learning while increasing their confidence and encouraging independent thinking.

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How awesome is that?  Like any non-profit, there are always lots of opportunities to donate money, volunteer your time, or drop off goods that you might normally throw away.  They recycle 28 tons of material annually and serve over 275,000 children! 

happy tunes from the scissors sisters

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I was shopping at a store the other day when this little diddy by the Scissors Sisters started playing and ironically I couldn’t help but to start nodding my head and tapping my toes because this tune is so infectious.

Here’s what one review of their latest album Ta Dah! says, "Since not liking the Scissor Sisters is tantamount to not liking fun, let’s just assume that everyone already adores this band and go on from there, OK? It’s hard to imagine no one had ever called an album Ta Dah! before, but then these sexy troubadours have no trouble subtly reworking the past to make it almost-new and always joyous. They may have emerged in a brief window when campy pastiche rock seemed like the next big thing, but the Scissor Sister possess an elevated enough sense of fun, popcraft, and good enough connections to carry them for years.

The wonderful confection "Don’t Feel Like Dancin," was co-written with Sir Elton John, and it sounds like Abba, Fleetwood Mac and Xanadu all at once. Other tunes might have you thinking of Bowie or the Bee Gees or Prince or Pink Floyd or even the Carpenters, but only as cagily reimagined in a glittery, wonderful world." –Mike McGonigal

Rebecca Puig of Sugarboo Designs

RebeccaMeet Rebecca Puig of Sugarboo Designs.  She lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband Rick and their lovely children Jacob and Sophie.

Rebecca's artist statement reads, “I graduated from the University of Georgia in 1997 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts. During that period, I focused mainly in ceramics and I did not become interested in painting until I worked in a folk art gallery in Athens, GA. There, I fell in love with the artwork. I was so intrigued with how expressive and raw the art was. I also knew that most of the artists were self-taught so I decided to try my hand at it… and I loved it!
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I did not fret so much over the technical aspects of the art so that I could focus more on giving the art some soul. I continue to be influenced by folk art and children's art to this day.

Children's art especially inspires me because it is so simple, raw, beautiful, and honest. I believe children are some of the best artists in the world. I am also inspired by nature, animals, words, imperfection, old things, and everyday things that we sometimes forget to see the wonder in.

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Some of my favorite moments in the studio are when I'm inscribing a message on a piece from a mommy & daddy to their child or from a wife to a husband.  It is such an honor to be part of a loving gift."

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We recently featured Rebecca's work in one of our previous enews editions and got such a great response from it, we decided to carry some of her pieces.

Each catching fireflies location has a couple samples of the photo boxes along with a book of all the possible color and quote combinations for special orders.  Select quotes are also available online.  All special orders do take 4-5 weeks for delivery and guaranteed Christmas delivery needs to be ordered by November 10.

sugarboo photo box color chart

Color_chart_1All of Sugarboo’s photo boxes can come in any of these color selections.  Click here for an enlarged view of this palette.

luci & flair light up the rochester location

Luci_flair_samsonEven though the stores are decorated for Christmas, Dena & Susan still had a grand time dressing up as our famous firefly mascots Luci & Flair for the trick-or-treaters last Saturday.

Needless to say, their costumes didn’t miss a beat … complete with sparkly names, glittery eyes, shiny wings and wiry antennas… right down to their balloon butt lights.  Pretty impressive!

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Of course when Samson found out there was a party going on, he insisted on making an appearance.  Sticking to the ‘bug theme’ he sported a very stylish bee costume.

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Fun times are always to be had when you visit catching fireflies!

french grooves with phoenix

PhoenixI was first turned onto these guys after I heard their song If I ever feel better on their United Album and have been a fan ever since.  They have a very unique sound and can be quite addicting.

Here’s what the pros say:

"The band’s been relentlessly eclectic since they formed in the late ’90s; they make hybrid music, an electronic-flavored rock that’s impossible to describe without using up half a dozen hyphens in the process.  Their records are effortless-sounding, mini-masterpieces that mix art song elements with delightful retro-pop."  -Mike McGonigal

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