Monday, January 23, 2012

Sampler Village Box Arrival

My January Sampler Village box arrived today!  It's always so exciting when this comes!  You know it's a good box when you can smell it in the mailbox. :)  Can't wait to review these products for you - there's bunches of great samples!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday's Sales Sheet

Naughty & Nice Lingerie:  The New Year, Valentine's Day and a sale at Naughty and Nice Lingerie!  15% off sale in the eBay store; use coupon code vday12 in Bonanza booth "nnnlingerie".  New Dreamgirl Lingerie $25 and under with free shipping within the USA.

Natural Mountain Body Care: 75% off ALL soap at use code SOAP75 at checkout. DISCOUNT APPLIES TO SOAP ONLY!

Briar MuseAll discontinued fragrances now 50% Off!

Suzy's Scent Shop: Whole store is on sale!

La Fuffie's Boutique: Use code FreeShip on and

Aqua BlossomI have 20% off everything in my Luulla shop only :) No coupon necessary.

Rustic Rainbow20 perent off sale

The Realist MermaidBuy two get one free on all items, mix and match

Sampler Village boxes are on sale!  These go quick so get yours now!!!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Freebie Friday's Review Roundup

Another round of quickie reviews about some great products that I found in last month's Sampler Village box!  ((This month's box just got shipped to me today - they go on sale tomorrow!))  Next week I've got some samples from Facebook contests to try. :)

Cathy's Candy Huggers (picture and website not found)
Item: Mini candy bar wrapped as fleece snowman
My Review:  OMG, this thing is SO SO SO cute!!!  I am never going to eat the candy in it - I can't bear to unwrap this adorable snowman!  I think he was made using fleece fabric.  These would make awesome decorations or party favors.  Mine hangs out in my kitchen now as a decoration. :)

Jelly Beads Designs
Etsy and Facebook
Item: Polymer Clay Holiday Ornament
My Review:  These are probably the cutest polymer clay ornaments I have ever seen.  I got a blue one and love love love it.  It is adorable, durable, and well made.  I have it permanently hung up on my wall.  From looking at the shop's feedback, it looks like it can take a while to get your order.  Handmade can take a while, and definitely polymer clay takes time -consuming and tricky - and for a shop in high demand, a long TAT is to be expected.  All her stuff looks whimsically adorable and round, just love it.

Girl Nature
Facebook and Website
Item: Cranberry Spice Lotion
My Review: This sample wasn't labeled so I had to conclude myself that it is lotion.  However, the ingredients were listed so I appreciate that. :)  The scent is Cranberry Spice - there was a lot of Cranberry-scented items in the Nov/Dec box, obviously a big scent for this season.  Totally LOVING this one.  It's unique, nothing like I've smelled before.  I usually don't like spice, but this one is very subtle, and the cranberry is a nice combo of sweet and tart.  This is one of my new favorite scents.  The lotion is also luxuriously thick and feels really good on my dry crafter's hands, very moisturizing.

{{Each Friday I do a multitude of short reviews to sum up my experiences with free product I used since the last posting.  I am not compensated for my reviews other than the fact that I did not pay for the product.  However, this product was earned through Facebook contests, other free contest means, or somehow free, through my own efforts.  The shops are not notified of the review until posted.}}

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Another successful animal charity auction in the works!

Since my fans asked, I'm delivering! I am running another animal charity auction in time for Valentine gifts, Jan 25th to Feb 1st!  Please see the photo album from the last time for rules. If you'd like to contribute items, please e-mail bkdsignature[at]; let me know your items, pictures, links, and if you want to waive your portion/shipping fees.  Let me know if you have any questions.  Spread the word!

Auction will run Jan 25th, 12 am PST to Feb 1st, 11:59 pm PST.


1. You must first "LIKE" the Giveaway's Host Fan Page (link is provided).
2. You may post a comment on the host's page. This is NOT required but is HIGHLY recommended. It is nice to be thanked and loved for their wonderful offering. :) Let them know who sent you so they know their donation is appreciated – we’re all here to support a wonderful cause.
3. To bid, simply leave a comment with your bid price and your e-mail address to which an invoice can be sent. [Please note some items include shipping while others have it as an extra.]
4. Only serious bids, please! If you are a winning bid, please remit payment within 48 hours of receiving your invoice in your inbox. Invoices will be coming from BKD Signature via PayPal – please do not pay before receiving an invoice or from anyone other than BKD Signature. Your invoice will reflect your winning bid AND shipping charges.
5. Responsibility for shipping and receiving of said items will be between vendor and bidder (vendor will be shipping direct to you, I do not have the items). BKD Signature assumes no responsibility for the products being offered. In the event that the vendor does not uphold their end of the agreement, the bidder will have up to 30 days after payment is received to contact me to advise me you have not received your item.
6. Ending date is posted, entries after date will not be accepted.
7. It is expected of everyone to respect each other. We are all here to support a worthy cause that deserves our support. BKD Signature reserves the right to ban anyone acting disrespectful during the auction.
8. Because I ardently believe in supporting handmade, a portion (25%) of the winning bids will be sent to the vendors to help pay for their cost of goods and to graciously thank them for donating to such a wonderful cause. As a small handmade business owner myself, I passionately believe in supporting handmade businesses and charities alike.

{{VENDORS}}: it is expected that you ship ready-to-ship items within 7 business days of payment. Made-to-order items are to be shipped within 14 days of payment unless otherwise arranged with the bidder.

This opportunity is in no way sponsored, endorsed, administered, or associated with Facebook. You are providing your information to BKD Signature and not to Facebook.

You must be 18 or over to participate

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Saturday's Sales Sheet

Here's this week's roundup of sales going on in BKD Signature approved shops. :)  Enjoy and Happy Shopping!

‎The Realist Mermaid: 20% off, no coupon required, at my etsy store and take another 10% off with code GFGOODIES!  {{PLEASE NOTE: Tonight's SNS is 40% off}}

Polished Two: Use coupon code MOMMO25 at Etsy checkout for 25% off this weekend

Sapeterapi: code "NEW10" for 10% off all orders

Up On The Roof Farm: Some jar candles are on sale and enter MAPLE for 10% off all soap bars

Natural Mountain Body Care:  75% off ALL soaps EXCEPT Custom & volume orders such as party or wedding favors

Friday, January 13, 2012

Freebie Friday's Review Roundup

Today's reviews are again about some lovely ladies from the Sampler Village Team. :)  I can't get enough of these amazing and talented shops in the box!

The Realist Mermaid
Facebook and Etsy
Item: Vegan Marshmallows in various flavors
My Review:  Through a promo/coupon the shop owner was running, I was able to procure a box full of marshmallows for free, I only had to pay shipping.  Totally worth it.  I cannot tell you how much AWESOMER (yep, just made that up) handmade marshmallows are.  SO fluffy, SO creamy, SO flavorful, SO YUMMY.  Since they're handmade, they need to be consumed within 10 days, or refrigerated/freezed (ok, made up another word) until you're ready to eat.  I just immediately put them into my tupperware to pop in the fridge, no problemo.  I got a good variety and I was really surprised at which ones I liked the most: Irish Coffee and Lemon Meringue.  I'm not a big coffee or lemon flavored person... but I think that's a big testament to the ingredients.  They're all-natural, organic, kosher, gluten free - I don't usually specifically seek out these attributes, but I feel pretty darn good when I eat that way. :)  Any way to trick my mind into thinking marshies are healthy, I'm cool with!!!  You can clearly tell the ingredients are fresh, and I was so amazed by her creativity with the flavors.  (P.S. She's running a sale right now!)

Farm Hussy
Item: Lip Balm flavored in An Ornery Lil' Custard
My Review:  I can't get enough of Farm Hussy and I'm not ashamed to keep plugging this business!  I haven't used silkier lip balm ever before!  The texture is unlike others, but that's a good thing.  Feels so good to use on my lips.  And, of course, like always, the scent is so yummy.  (After trying my first handmade lip balm about three years ago, I've kissed commercial ones goodbye.)

My Lip Candy
Item: Banana Coconut lip balm
My Review:  OMG, this has got to be my most FAVORITE scent I have ever gotten in a lip balm!  I'm totally loving it!  Banana is my favorite flavor/scent, and I love a good coconut scent as well.  I would never have guessed these smell so good together!  It doesn't smell like Pina Colada or something tropical like you would think; which to me is such a refreshing change of pace since that's usually the route these scents are taken.  You can smell each note separately and strongly, which I really appreciate, but they blend so well together.  This is a beeswax lip balm, which I'm not usually a fan of, but it's actually silky and slides on nicely.  I usually find beeswax to be stiff and sticky, but this balm truly isn't.

Piccolo Paradiso
Item: Snowball shaped soap
My Review:  Enclosed in the box, this sample is HUGE.  Almost too big to handle, although I could probably cut it in half.  But I'm not complaining about a big sample. :)  Lather is nice, I really can get some suds going, and my hands don't feel dried out after but soft (drying soap is a pet peeve of mine).  However, I can't smell what scent it is, and I can't tell from the packaging, unless it's unscented.  I thought the snowball was a cute idea for the winter months. :) 

{{Each Friday I do a multitude of short reviews to sum up my experiences with free product I used since the last posting.  I am not compensated for my reviews other than the fact that I did not pay for the product.  However, this product was earned through Facebook contests, other free contest means, or somehow free, through my own efforts.  The shops are not notified of the review until posted.}}

The Big Waste: Follow-Up

Yesterday I ran my errands, including the grocery store.  I was so proud of myself: I walked the walk to back up my talk.  They had just refilled the bananas, all of which were green. Which is fine, just means I gotta wait a couple days for them to ripen (which is what I prefer anyways).  Lo and behold, I found a double banana!  Looks like two fused together while growing.  This banana is huge (the whole crop was) and I wasn't sure if anyone would take this "freak" of nature.  But I actually think this sucker looks pretty cool. :)  Banana smoothie here I come!  When it came to picking out my other produce, I was very careful NOT to rummage through any - I shopped with my eyes.  I needed a small bell pepper and picked up one with a slightly wrinkly skin.  I could tell it was still good, it just had some funny skin.  Considering it's going into the Crockpot, I knew it was ok to take this "reject".  Or what I assumed probably would be.

I'm pretty darn proud of myself - I love putting knowledge to good use. :)  So... did you put your Big Waste knowledge to work this week?

Monday, January 9, 2012

Monday Blues: The Big Waste

When I saw the commercial last week for Food Network's premier of The Big Waste, I could not be more ecstatic that a big time TV station was running a powerful and poignant educational program on such an earth (un)friendly issue.  I have always been an advocate of more earth friendly practices: recycling, reducing electricity usage, etc.  I hate that so many Americans blindly and ignorantly perform such eco-unfriendly practices each day.  Now, I'm not saying we should all be the next Alicia Silverstone or anything, but we all could certainly learn a thing or two about how to be more eco-friendly in our daily practices.  Or insist that all cities institute recycling programs.  I knew I would not be surprised by what I watched, but, at the same time, I knew that could be a false hope.

I hate food waste.  I really do.  If I don't eat all the food on my plate, it becomes leftovers without question. With millions of people starving in the world, I am not about to be someone who wasted food that was lucky enough to have it. when so much of the world could gratefully use a fraction of glutton.  So yes, my panties do get in a bunch when I see what a "normal" portion size has become in America's food industry.  I pass by people every day that would do anything for a hot meal, anything to eat; all while corporations just keep stacking patties to see who can come up with the next colossal big burger.  And we wonder why obesity is an epidemic.

I watched the special tonight while having dinner.  I am not gonna lie: I was giddy with excitement while watching it.  Not because I wanted to see food wasted, but, rather, that top chefs were having their perspectives re-calibrated with countless other Americans watching the show.  I have to give my top props to the Freegan that was featured in the show.  I wish I had the guts to go dumpster diving like he does because I think he has a brilliant idea of utilizing the "wasted" food.  Not only is he practicing eco-friendliness, but he is saving a lot of money on food.  There really shouldn't be any shame in dumpster diving; it's unfortunate that there's a stigma attached to it.  People from all walks of life could benefit from it for multiple reasons, as evidence by this show.

And I did learn some new things.  I learned what practices I could be utilizing to help cut down on the waste.  I could be less perfectionistic when it comes to my food.  I could pick up a pick of produce that has a healthy blemish on it.  I learned that just because it might look slightly sad on the outside, doesn't mean the inside is the same, too.  I learned I could look more closely at a piece of food to see if it is "bad" sitting there on the shelf.  And to be more careful when rummaging through produce (I'm usually trying to find the smallest one for lil ole me).  Can that cliche "It's what's on the inside that counts" really apply to food as well?  *Gasp* By golly, I think we might have got it!

I really hope this special has opened people's eyes and brings about change in the world.  Everyone who has a TV should watch it.  And everyone who doesn't have a TV... well... it may be possible that those are the people that could use the good "scraps" and we should do something about that.

{{Did you watch this special?  If you have, let me know your thoughts in the comments below!  If you haven't, check out for more show times.}}

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Utilizing Sampler Boxes as Advertising Part 1: What do you want?

With the start of a new year, handmade artisans are evaluating their small businesses and revamping their processes and practices.  With this analyzing comes the idea of trying new ways to advertise their businesses to customers not keen on spending extra money on items deemed as "wants".

One of the most unique ways of advertising that has been picking up steam over the past couple years is the sampler box.  While sales are not guaranteed from a sampler box, it is an easy and, hopefully, effective way to reach many customers that are specifically looking to sample products from artists that they hope to be repeat customers of in the future.  I myself am a big fan of sampler boxes because I love getting a big box of samples that'll help me decide what businesses I would like to try next or that may be of an even higher quality than products I am currently using.  There are several handmade shops that I am a repeat customer of now because I found their products in a sampler box (see Freebie Friday Reviews posts for some examples).

When considering whether joining a sampler box is right for you and your business, there are several aspects to keep in mind when choosing a box and when submitting your samples.  This three part series will cover the whole picture of what it means to be in a sampler box.

Choosing a company:  Not only are you working for the sampler box, but the owner of the sampler box is working for you.  To begin the process, Google or Facebook search "sampler box" or "sampler".  On Google, the most active ones will appear at the top; on Facebook, look at the number of fans the page has.  It is important to see how many visitors/customers the box is exposed to because a higher number likely means a more "successful" box or lots of interaction from the fans.  The greater the fans, the more potential customers for you.  It's also important to observe and evaluate the amount of advertising the sampler box owner does on the behalf of the shop participants: does the owner post a whole bunch on the fan page; are there lots of links daily advertising the individual shops; are there highly enticing offers, such as contests, on the page regularly; do they have a comprehensive website catering to both sellers and buyers; etc.  While it is true that you are not "paying" the owner in money, the sales of the boxes do; and the boxes would not exist if it weren't for the participation of the shops and customers alike.  You are putting a lot of money, time, and effort into your samples, and you want to feel like the sampler box is doing the same for you in advertising.  Since no box can guarantee sales, and it's unfair to expect that, what you are "paying" for is the sampler box to advertise on your behalf adequately.  And you want to make sure the "payment" is worth it.

How do I know that it was worth it?  It's also important for you to decide before you submit your info to a box what you want out of the box.  Of course, the obvious answer would be "SALES".  But are sales the only thing to gain from a sampler box?  Some sampler boxes have a whole community or network among all of the sellers, an aspect that can set some boxes apart and, some might argue, above the rest.  Even those that have never gotten a sale from a box argue that the support they've gotten from networking among the community of sellers is more valuable because the love, support, camaraderie, and advice have helped their shops far greater than they could have imagined.  Sometimes, this advice has helped improve the shop immensely or change the seller's perspective, causing the owner to earn more sales even if none of them were gained from purchasing the original sample.  While it is easy to think about the direct impact of the box on your sales, don't forget to think about the INDIRECT impact the box can have not only on your shop, but on YOU as well.  Think about the whole not just the parts!

Part 2: Packaging Your Samples

{{As many of you know, I am a part of Sampler Village and am therefore biased when I wholeheartedly vouch for it and encourage you to join the box.  Part 3 of this series will be analyzing the good, the bad, and the ugly of Sampler Village to give you an in-depth look of what it's like to be a participating shop.  For many reasons, mostly time- and monetary-based, I have not joined other boxes... yet.  However, besides Sampler Village, I believe The Little Black Box and The Tantalizing Sampler are two other great places to start.  I know the owners personally and can vouch for their credibility; I've also observed their businesses, processes, and efforts and believe them to be among some of the most "successful" boxes in terms of how much work they do on behalf of their sellers.  Of course, if you do join one of these three, please mention that BKD Signature sent you - businesses do a lot of advertising, but are left wondering where their customers come from.  It's always polite, and beneficial, to the business to let them know how you found them. <3 }}