Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Thoughtful Creations - Unique Basket's for EVERY Occasion.

Happy almost April.  It is officially spring and I can't think of a better Mom to feature this week than Ms. Christine and her amazing ideas behind her unique and whimsical gift basket business called "Thoughtful Creations."  The name most certainly stands by itself and offers you an unlimited supply of choices when it comes to giving a thoughtful and sentimental gift for just about every occasion.

Mommy Spa Basket.
The former catering manager for Ritz Carlton hotels turned "Mompreneur" Christine is located in the Fort Mill area of SC.  The idea of customizing baskets came naturally to her after years dealing in the hospitality industry.  "You learn how far a little extra special touch can mean to a person," she tells me.   
With so many different gift basket companies in the area and on the Internet, my first question to Christine was what makes "Thoughtful Creations" so unique?
“Every basket contains something special that is specifically designed for the individual receiving the gift" she says.
Christine, whose main job is Mom to daughter Shaylyn, age four, designed her first basket for her Mom who was ill and in the hospital.  Using a lady bug theme which stands for "Love Luck and Joy," she received many comments on how sweet and creative the idea was and thus began her journey into coming up with "Thoughtful Creations."

Ladybug Themed Gift Basket.

Every basket has a thought, an emotion, even an "attitude" behind the themes she creates.  Using a wish list that is provided to her by a friend or family member of the individual receiving the basket, she will then get creative with making sure each basket includes a theme and a meaning that is specifically unique to that person.  The basket will represent that individuals preference whether it is through colors, scents, food, reading material, hobby's passions....The list is endless but the final result means a very personal and very meaningful gift that will make sure to leave a lasting impression on someone.

Happiness Gift Basket

Right away, I learned that Christine is a professional and wants to get the task assigned done right.  Customer service is everything and making people happy is one of her favorite parts in owning her own business.  "I put heart and soul to each basket so I only do two a week.  I want to make sure the basket has everything it needs to really make the person feel special.  I don’t want it too look like a basket you would see in a catalogue with just some generic items.   This one will tell a story and that story is what I hope will bring a smile to someone face."  I was immediately impressed with how easy she is to talk to and she really cares about every basket she creates.
A personal touch Christine usually adds is decorating the outside cellophane with unique or whimsical eye catching decorations.  “I did basket for a friend of mine last month and she loves Sunflowers.”   I made sure the packaging matched her love for sunflowers as much as what was inside the basket.  It sat on her table for a week, she didn't want to open the beautiful presentation. "

Whether it is for a new baby, an illness a wedding, graduation or "just because," there are so many great ideas for Christine to get her hands on and put her creative touches on as well.  She even does basket's for men.
Christine will be happy to work with you and customize a basket that will suit your needs and occasions better than anyone in the area.  You can find her on fFacebook under "Thoughtful Creations" or e-mail her at: christine7818@gmail.com

Monday, March 28, 2011

Quotable Monday

"Before children; My evening baths involved Dead Sea Salts, reading and a glass of red wine.  After children: bath involves Mr. Bubble, a bit of toddler pee and explaining to my son that boobs are Mommy's...."

Leah Marchesani, Myersville, Maryland
Mom, friend, real, hilarious!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Cookie Fairy

So, I haven't been feeling that great, allergies and a sinus infection combined is not the way to start a week.  My energy is zapped, and I am behind in so many things that I can't remember if I am coming or going.  I am still adjusting to the sadness from the passing of my friend Bo, and have a good ole fashion case of  "da Blues"
Yet life goes on.
And this fairy knows exactly how hard sometimes that can be.
It takes a certain kind of fairy to know that chocolate chip cookies are the soothe all, the make everything better that the pure sweetness of a chocolate chip melting in your mouth can chase the blues away.  Yes, this fairy is indeed special, she is inspiring; She puts the "ookie" in cookie and does so without even trying.
She rocks and she has no idea what sweet kindness and pure generosity she oozes.  She amazes me every day by her ability to think of others.
What a better world we would have if we thought more of others instead being so focused on ourselves. 
It sometimes takes a fairy to remind me of this.  That there are is so much beauty so much good in the world. 
Even when we are being tested.
Even when we are running behind, when we are zapped and lagging on motivation.
Even when life hurts.
The world will spin, the sun will shine and the good will show, the smiles will linger and the cookies will bake.
And thank God for that and for the fairies who know exactly where to fly and spread their love, one crumb at a time.
Thank you....

My take on being a successful mompreneur - By Rachel Blaufeld

Great post from Mompreneur icon of mine:  http://backngroovemom.com/
Recently, a fellow mompreneur-in-training tweeted me and wanted to know what I think makes a successful mompreneur?  I knew that I could not answer her back in a 140 characters or less so I promised her a blog post on the subject.  I immediately thought about the wave of emotions that accompanies being a mompreneur.

Monday, March 21, 2011

And The Winner Is...

Congratulations to PATTY MACDONALD of Charlotte, NC.
 Who won the very first Lakeside Chatter Giveaway Basket.
Thanks to all of you who registered online and in person.  I enjoyed meeting new folks.
 Like outdoor Spring time events require mucho Zyrtec and Allergy Visine.  For those of you who stopped by and saw me with tears running down my face and a wad of Kleenex in my hand, I truly was happy to see you, I promise.  I have issues with pollen flying in the air....
I blame my parents (but still love them)
Also, I met some great women, and if possible am even more INSPIRED to show em all off to you over the next few weeks.
 I plan to be at more local events down the road and will let you know.
My next giveaway is coming up soon so check back!!
Lastly, A big huge GIANT Thank you to Lucia Clark and Misty Grant who let me be their 3rd roommate in their booth.
We were set up right next to the beer tent....
This was not at all distracting for any of us.

Enjoy a Few Pictures. 

Lucia get's set up, as I ignore the green beer flag banner's blowing in the wind.
My set up for Registration.

Misty Grant's adorable creations for kid's rooms.

More adorablness from Misty.

Lucia's awesome nursery decora for over the crib.
Me with Lucia and Misty, two super talented Mommies.

Amber (one of my favorite local Mommy Bloggers) and myself. 

Agian thank you to all the folks who donated products for the Giveaway:
Jan Wallace with Sugar Creek Garden Center
Doug Leatherman with Hattie's Antiques
Amy Johnson (Woven Headband)
Kara Kipp (Arbonne).

Friday, March 18, 2011

What is in THAT Basket?

Thanks for your patience.... But here are the contents of Lakeside Chatter's first Giveaway basket.  You will be able to register to win two ways:

1) Come see me at the Spring Fling in Baxter Village anytime tomorrow (3/19) between 2:00-4:00 and register in person.
2) Or If you can't make the fling tomorrow, send me an e-mail to lakesidechatter@gmail.com and I will add your name to the hat.  Please title the e-mail "Basket Giveaway" and include your name, e-mail and website/or blog link if you have one.

I will do the drawing at 7:00 p.m.  Sunday night (March 20th) and will announce the winner via a group e-mail and will also have here posted on the site.!!!


Sorry you must be local in order to win (Charlotte, Lake Wylie, Steele Creek, Fort Mill, Tega Cay etc...) 
If you are not Local, please still love me (as I love you) and please come back as I plan to offer more giveaways in the coming month's for EVERYONE. 

Okay the contents...

Potpourri of awesome goodness.
Want More Info...  Keep reading..

Pure Botanical ingredients of Arbonne.  Fantastic Gift set full of fantastic products for your skin.

$25.00 Gift Certificate to one of the sweetest Antiques store in Clover, SC. 

$25.00 Gift Certificate to Sugar Creek Garden Center (perfect timing for spring)

Adorable headband for that sweet little girl in you life.  Makes a great gift too if you have boys!!

Sample of Vemma, powerful Liquid antioxident for adults and kids.
And (not pictured but is included) a $15.00 Starbucks Gift Card to help durning those early mornings and mid-afternoon lull.  Come on you know you all have em....

A big Thank You to Everyone who offered up products for the Giveaway:
Kara Kipp - Arbonne
Elizabeth Hooks
Jan Wallace
Doug Leatherman
Amy Johnson - Custom Made Headbands.

Good Luck and Look forward to hearing from you soon.
Mary I.

Hodge-Podge...My Musings for a Bittersweet Friday!

Well it is Friday!
And what a relief because this has been a long one....
And a sad one...
A reflective one...
A Hodge Podge if you will of emotions.

And now apparently a sick one (5 year old just threw up...Oh goodie....Happy Friday to me...Happy Friday to me) 
But I am pressing on.  Five year old on sofa with ginger ale and trashcan nearby.  Everything within reach has been disinfected.  Prayers... Oh so many prayers that it was something he ate and not the stomach virus. 
Because he has a 6 year old brother.
And you all know what that means.
But enough of that.
Back to it being Friday.  Which make's tomorrow Saturday (I am so smart).  Tomorrow is going to be bittersweet.  The Spring Fling is upon us and I am so thrilled an excited to offer my first giveaway.  I told you all I would let you know what the giveaway was and I will. I PROMISE
I just had a bit of a setback.
An unexpected "What?"
That led to me on the front porch crying in the early morning hours.  A friend, a dear one at that, a unique person in my life who was a part of a family I am involved with at church.  Someone I sang with, laughed with, worshipped with, drank homemade beer with and strummed the guitar with. That wonderful person named Gene, known to most as "Bo" or if you were really feeling creative "BoGene" which oddly suited him and he didn't mind.
That friend is gone.  Bo, passed away from complications of pneumonia.  He is now "Jammin with the Lord" as those who knew him well say.  His guitar and his voice that hit high notes better than anyone I know.
How lucky they are to have him.
So we celebrate that and will do so tomorrow at his memorial service.
But what a huge hurtful hole in our hearts we here on earth are left to deal with.
Like I said hodge-podge.....bodge smodge hodge modge... 
Not much more I can say here so how about a photo?

Vocal Team acting mature durning a recording last year.

Isn't that Great?
That is Bo in the front row with the black T-Shirt on sticking his tongue out and attempting to do rabbit ears behind my head.
That was So BO!
And I will miss him more than words can say.  I am still trying to get my arms around the fact he is gone.  That I won't see him again...  That he won't be behind me on the rafter's in church as we sang as he poked me in the back trying to make me laugh, and how he always asked about the boys and stayed on me with my guitar practice.  How he was at every one of his kid's soccer games, how he loved his wife Barb so much... His sense of humor of original and geuine quality to make you smile and want to be around him more...
That was So BO...
And so much more....
But in the words of Forest Gump....  "That is all I have to say about that..."
Maybe more Photo....

Whom the gods love die young” Latin Proverb.
More later Chatter family,  I love you all.

Mary I.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Funny Video of the Day

Try not to smile as you watch this adorable baby react to the Mom blowing her nose.  Something so routine and simple causes something so CUTE!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Spring Fling in Baxter Village.

I have been waiting for this day for a long time.  The Chatter's very first public event and I couldn't be happier to share it with two special Momprenuers Lucia Clark of L.C. Designs and Misty Grant with Pampered Chef and Dot Dot Goose.

We will be in Baxter Village, Fort Mill SC this Saturday, March 19th  from 2:00-6:00 participating in the festival which is sure to be loaded with many great activities and family fun.....  

Look for us in the sidewalk showcase.
 Our VERY First Giveaway loaded with unbelievable stuff from my incredible sponsors and friends
My way of saying

To all of you who have made Lakeside Chatter so successful. 
Check back soon for more Giveaway Information. 
 I am still compling it is going to be big!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Thinking Etsy?

I have to admit, it took me a long time to figure out what the heck "Etsy" meant.   What a name right? "Etsy"  What does it mean? Are they initials?  Is it a new exotic food, a new moisturizer?  After much curiosity and seeing blog designs offering Etsy Shop backgrounds I decided to check out this "Etsy" craze.
I am now an Etsy customer and Etsy addict,(even the name Etsy is addicting)  Because if you are a creative buff like myself and love to shop and love to see other peoples creative talents, not to mention great prices (and did I also mention shopping?) than you too will love all the uniqueness of Etsy.
And if you are a crafter, a creator, a get your hands dirty, draw, model, sew, build, DREAM then you too will love Etsy and may even turn to them for help getting your business launched.  Like all new business ventures, getting started is the hard part, so I hope to provide great articles like this one form helpful sites like WAHM (work at home moms).  This one focuses on getting started with Etsy and how you can succeed if you have a skill, hobby or trade you just can't wait to promote. 
Your Etsy Business: 6 Tips for Turning a Profit - WAHM.com
Good luck with your business venture and if you use Etsy regularly please feel free to leave me a comment.  I would love to hear from you.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Amy's Woven Ribbon Headbands.

Happy Monday chatter family.  Hope you all are adjusting to the daylight savings time 'changearoo.  Lots more sunshine during the day means one thing, Spring is HERE.  So what a great way to show off some really cute and creative headbands for girls ages pre-school through teenage years.
Meet Amy Johnson with "Amy's Woven Ribbon Headbands".  Amy is Mom to daughter Ava (8) and son Maddux (5) and lives in the Steele Creek area of Charlotte.
Like most mompreneurs, Amy's skill came from a hobby she started a few years ago.  She began making different and colorful looking headbands for Ava to wear and within weeks, people began asking her where she got them from.  It didn’t take long when Amy starting receiving request to make headbands for friends and family members. 

Things eventually took off and Amy began crafting headbands for Ava's school festivals and has appeared at local craft shows in the Berewick neighborhood. 
Her headbands are tightly woven with high-quality ribbon.  Ribbon ends are heat-sealed to prevent fraying.  The plastic headband if pliable and won’t poke behind the ears. 

Here are some more photos of headbands by Amy.  

Spring time Colors.

Sports Team colors.

Christmas and Halloween.

You can choose up to four colors as well as pick out matching ribbons to coordinate with outfits.  Amy is more than happy to meet with you personally, and discuss what you are looking for, as well as look at an outfit you have in mind and match it to the ribbon she has in stock.

She also offers headbands that coordinate with school uniforms.

Winget Park and Palisades Episcopal.

Rivergate Elementary.

Prices are $8.00 each, and you can buy in multiples to save.  Shipping is also available up to 5 headbands for $3.00 s&h.
Amy has been making headbands for over three years and has plenty of talent and experience when it comes to creative and adorable designs.  They make great additions to any outfit and also make great gifts. 

For more information you can contact Amy at amylhjohnson@gmail.com  You can also view more of her examples and designs on the "Amy's Woven Ribbon Headband" page on Facebook.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Listen up Momtographers

If you follow me on Facebook you have probably figured out that I LOVE to take pictures. My husband calls me the "Paparazzi" when ever we go anywhere with the kids and my dear cousin Lori, most recently refered to me as "Nana" meaning I am following in the footsteps of the one lady who took more pictures of me and my sister growing up than my own parents. I still remember Nana's old wind em up rectangle shaped camera, and I still remember her thumb prints in just about every shot. I so love these sort of memories because it makes me think about my childhood, how far I have come and how much I love being able to capture a special moment.
So I take pictures....And pictures....And okay fine MORE pictures. I make no apologies people. I love me some photo taking.
So recently I made a little tiny purchase for myself. A Canon Rebel XT along with a 50 mm lens. I call it my post Christmas/ post Valentines/ pre- St. Patricks Day/ pre birthday/ purchase to myself. I NEVER buy stuff for me (who) so I was trilled when I found a great used Cannon and a great local photo store for my lens.
And to add to the LOVE I recently took a course geared towards Mom's who are looking to learn more about their DSLR as well as tips on how to take better photos of our kids.
And so was the teacher, and fabulous Momtographer Erin Jackson withMadison Lane Photography. So good news for all you Momtog's... She will be holding another class on Sunday, May 1st from 1-4:00.
This will be the last class she is offering before she goes out on maternity leave! You can Email her at madisonlanephotography@gmail.com for more info.

Here area few pictures I have teken recently after I took her class. 
All the neat tricks in these photos, you too can learn.

My six year old Evan and his big smile.

My five year old Ryan and his amazing sweet face.

Two boys who own my heart.
The bribery I used for them to cooperate.

Day of class, practing shots on flowers and got another classmate in the photo by accident. 
Yet I love the way it came out. 

The neckline on my wedding dress I wore 8 years ago.  It was what drew me to the beautiful dress in the first place.

Teddy Bear in Bushes. It never would of occurred to me to take this picture before.  Now it is one of my favorites.

Seriously I feel like a pro now.  Well, okay not quite a pro. But it is so nice to have more knowledge now and to offer up to my future chatter peeps the ability to take professional grade photographs on their products or services. 
So make sure to check out Madison Lane Photography for more on Erin and her services and if you can't get to her class this time around you can read about some great photographing tips she offered up as a guest writer back during the holidays, http://lakeside-chatter.blogspot.com/2010/12/picture-perfect.html

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Get Dirty, It makes you REAL.

My son Evan, models a saying I heard not to long ago.  .


“There are so many pressures that are put upon young women. Whatever we can do to alleviate that and help women feel beautiful about who we are inside, which is the only beauty there truly is, is so nice. Let's get down and dirty. Let's be a real girl”

-Drew Barrymore

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sugar Creek Garden Center - Where Growing Meets Growing

I promise I am not counting (yes I am).  But according to the calendar, spring is in 15 days, and with the warm weather we have had lately, those 19 days can't get here fast enough.  So this week I am excited to bring you Sugar Creek Garden Center, located on Hwy 160 in between Steele Creek and Tega Cay, SC.

Driving by you can't miss the beautiful handmade wooden sign, and their large greenhouse that accompanies an array of trees, shrubs, garden decor, plants and more.  I am sure there are 100 different names for them, but as I am new to all this "green" stuff please bear with me.  It is actually fitting that I write an article about them since there are not only a ton of different kinds of garden and nursery items as well as  landscaping services, they also offer plenty of knowledge and an ample amount of help for first timers (like myself).  I have always been intimated by Nursery and Garden centers for that very reason.  I was not born with a green thumb, but as learned from talking with the folks here you don’t have to be an expert at all.  In fact they focus on not only growing your garden but also "growing" your knowledge for plant life.
Behind the creativity and success, are husband and wife team, Jan and George Wallace, who are coming up on an exciting time as they get ready to celebrate their first anniversary of launching Sugar Creek Garden Center.  They broke ground in September of 2009, opened in March 2010 and have been going strong ever since. 
"It has been a great year." Jan says of reflecting on her first year.  “Everyone has been so welcoming,” From local potters clubs, garden groups even Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, the Sugar Creek Garden Center has been embraced by the community and has quickly grown to being a landmark in the Steele Creek area. 

Jan is no stranger to the agriculture lifestyle.  She began gardening as a child with her Mom, and received her plant biology degree from the University of Utah.  She has also worked with the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources studying native fish and riparian areas and previously managed a local garden center where she was responsible for launching two new product lines including merchandising and creating point of sales displays. On top of all of that she  is also mother to son, Max and daughter Haley, ages 12 and 14. She tells me that being a Mom and a business owner is actually easier now that the shop is open.  For six months she and George came and went at different hours of the day and night, overseeing construction and business details.  Now that things are running smoothly she feels more of a balance between being a Mom and owning her own business.

While visiting with her, I took a good look around and could tell immediately that they are not fooling around with this place.  Both inside and outside offer a beautiful display and rows of plants, "baby" plants, potted plants, hanging plants, herbs, shrubs, trees, garden decor, gifts and much more.  The staff was extremely friendly and very knowledgeable along with excited about some new arrivals.  I could tell they really enjoy working in an environment where they can offer a great variety but also help each customer with specific needs.

Their location sits on seven acres of property located along the Sugar Creek basin which is where the name is derived.
“It felt like a good fit.” Jan says when I asked her about the name. 
“Besides, sugar is a staple in everyone’s family so it just made sense.”
One thing I did want to ask on my visit was how does Sugar Creek stays competitive with other stores Like Lowes that offer garden, nursery and landscaping options. 
“It comes down to habits.” Jan tells me honestly.  "Our struggle is breaking that habit - I want those customers to come here but it's hard to compete with their advertising - our plants are way better and we know what to do with them! 
Also, what sets Sugar Creek aside from the "Big Box Stores" are their unique selection and variety of plants and trees,  their hands on experience with personal design and installation along with their high end quality and knowledge. 

“If you have a plant and you are not sure why it is dying or you are not sure what to do with it, bring it in and we will help you.”  Adding plant maintenance and gardening assistance to their list of many things they provide.  They also offer free quotes on several other services such as stone edging, retaining walls, garden Beds and rock walls.
They also host space for several local natural artist's, their work and products making Sugar Creek a great place to find a unique gift as well.  Artist such as J.K Moyles Pottery, and delicious gourmet baking mixes by Rabbit Creek "offer a variety of items for your home, teachers gifts, holidays and more.

Local artist JK Moyles.
Rabbit Creek Baking Mixes and gifts

Being a part of the community is a big deal to both Jan and George and for that reason, they have committed
to being a family friendly operation and stay open year round. They offer fun things to do for kids as well as
adults. Future plans down the road include adding nature trails behind the Greenhouse and outdoor classrooms for summer classes and kids camps. They also offer a calendar of events coming up along with class scheduled if you are interested in learning more about gardening, or just want to do something fun this spring.
And of course I couldn’t leave without a little something “green” for myself. I thought I would start small and go with an herb (Basil, one of my favorites). So far so good, and with the freeze warning lifting April 15th soon I can add to my collection and maybe grow some more herbs, plants and of course grow so more green knowledge along the way.
For more information on Sugar Creek Garden Center, you can visit their link here:  http://www.sugarcreekgardencenter.com/