July 30, 2008

Ho! Ho! Ho! It's Hot!

I'm trying to get my head wrapped around the fact that we have to start making our holiday products. Yes, it's July and it's HOT! Yesterday it was about 100 degrees outside - in the shade. I truly love the holidays and one thing I like best is the cold weather. I know - I live in the south - but here in the north Atlanta burbs we do get cold temperatures in the Winter and even some snow most years. Today is not one of those days.

This year we're offering several new "flavors" including Gingerbread Latté, Hot Buttered Rum and Peppermint Silk. It smells heavenly in the work shop! When people come by they wonder what we're cooking. We have to get moving because products will be available starting mid-August.

So I guess we'll turn down the AC and try to pretend it's December. Maybe I should put on some Bing Crosby music?

July 17, 2008

July 16, 2008

Food, Glorious Food!

My birthday was last Sunday (nope, not tellin' my age) and my dear husband took me out for a day away from work and home. That's not as easy as it sounds, believe me! I am a major homebody/workaholic and getting me to take a whole day off takes quite a bit of creative effort.

He started off by taking me out to our current favorite restaurant, Sugo, in Roswell on Saturday evening. This little gem is a unique combination of Italian and Mediterranean foods. Delicious pastas, creative tapas, seafood and varieties of chicken, beef and pork dishes to please every palate. I love that they have specials so there is always something new to try. I had the most amazing diver scallops and shrimp with smoked salmon and a lovely sauce with mascarpone cheese. You just have to try it to believe it.

My husband opted, as he often does, for a variety of small tapas plates including bacon wrapped dates and piquant peppers, stuffed baked calamari and an antipasto salad with fresh mozzarella drizzled with rich balsamic vinegar. He topped that off with the Mediterranean Mussels and some of Sugo's delicious warm bread for dipping into the rich tomato putanesca sauce. Of course I had to have a taste and shared some of mine with him too. All perfect as always.

They offer a large wine list, full bar and coffee menu. Their dessert menu is short, but sweet with the expected tiramisu and divine chocolate mousse cake, but also some creative gelato offerings. Our pick: Limoncello gelato swirled in a champagne flute and topped with light whipped cream. To. Die. For! To top off the wonderful food and service the owners of Sugo sent me a coupon via email for a free entree (up to $16.95) for my birthday. How sweet is that?! Go if you get the chance (they have two locations: Historic Roswell (770.641.9131) and Roswell North (770.817.4230). Make reservations and bring your appetite!

On Sunday we had lunch at a local deli and then went to do some birthday shopping at Ann Taylor Loft - yay! My favorite place to plunder. Before starting our next adventure in shopping we stopped in at our new favorite gelateria, Dreamy Gelato and Chocolates, at the Avenue in Forsyth. It's not a chain to my knowledge so if you're not local you will just have to use your imagination. I've had several different flavors but I think coconut has to be my new fave. Yummy! Creamy, sweet and delicately flavored in a delicious waffle cone. Wow! I think I might have to get my husband to take me back tonight! If you get a chance you really must check them out.

After dashing through the rain to several other stores (how lucky am I, girls?) and tucking my stash into the car we continued on to our dinner destination. My husband likes to surprise me with interesting restaurants and he was dead on as always with Babette's Cafe in Atlanta. A quaint little provincial style establishment that is both cozy and romantic. They offer a full bar and a large wine and beer list. Prices are moderate and reservations are suggested.

It was obvious by the familiarity between the staff and patrons that this is a bistro that is visited again and again, and I now know why. The food was perfectly cooked with generous portions and delicate seasoning. We sampled several of their "small plates" including crispy potato chips baked with gorgonzola cheese, a variety of French cheese with a date and almond spread and slices of raisin walnut bread. All very unique and very tasty.

My husband had the steamed mussels in a delightfully different white wine sauce with strawberries and serrano peppers. Since it was my birthday I decided to go for the grilled beef tenderloin - I know - bad me! But it was oh-so-worth-it. Tender perfectly cooked tenderloin with a mild gorgonzola cheese sauce and a side of lightly breaded spicy onion rings. I only got past the first half of the entree and I was stuffed! My daughter was ever so pleased to receive the left-overs and devoured it sans silverware shortly after we got home. A lovely meal and a wonderful end to my 30th birthday... No - really... Okay, 31st?

July 6, 2008

Let Your Voice Be Heard!

I generally keep my political opinions to myself, but recently a proposal by the FDA to dramatically change regulations concerning the manufacturing and sales of cosmetic/beauty products has really hit home. So I am here asking you to spread the word and let your voice be heard!

The Globalization Act of 2008 is a grand (ie: overblown) proposal that will definitely put a huge number of small indie manufacturers and retail/wholesale concerns out of business in one blow. Unfortunately I am not exaggerating. Many of these new proposed regulations and fees would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible, for most small companies to absorb. If you currently purchase from Bidwell Botanicals, or any other small cosmetic companies, you will find that if this Act goes through your only choices left in the market will be big box businesses, thus greatly limiting the variety and price ranges that are currently available to you.

The Globalization Act of 2008 is a huge document that really boils down to the FDA laying the ground work for monopolization of the marketplace by proposing manufacturing practices and fees that small or fledgling companies could not possibly comply with and keep their financial heads above water. The registration fees alone - which could add up to approximately $12,000 per year - would certainly put many businesses at risk of permanently closing their doors.

I do not deny the importance of a regulating agency to help make sure that cosmetics and health products are produced safely. I have no problem reporting my ingredients and product claims to the FDA. I do have a problem with proposed laws and fees that will squeeze the life out of small businesses leaving a huge vacancy in the creativity and range of prices that will be available to you as a consumer.

What can you do? Please view this short informational video which outlines the steps you can take to help ensure that your choice to purchase from independent business owners, and for those people to actually provide those services, is left intact.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eW9SlqiA_DI

I thank you in advance for your support!

July 2, 2008

Happy July 4th!

I'm so ashamed! I've been severely lacking in my blogging the past few weeks. We've crazy busy with work and family obligations. Lots of birthdays in June and July in my brood (including mine coming up but that's another blog). Believe it or not I'm rushing to finalize our holiday '08 products and packaging and I need to have it done right after the 4th. So I will just wish you and yours a Happy Independence Day. Play with fire (grill - I mean grill!), eat watermelon and run around your backyard in your bathing suit with a sparkler. Be careful - you could put an eye out with that thing... Ahh go ahead - live a little!