Sunday, May 31, 2009

First Batch of Bath Bombs

So...since we've learned that we can't make money the easy way by getting bank drafts in FedEx envelopes, we need to turn our attention back to business.

Having received my 5 lbs. of powdered citric acid, I commenced to making bath bombs to add to my product line. These are the first ones, with sort of a Hawaiian theme, scented with a combination of Ocean Mist potpourri and my essence of pineapple. I added the blue food coloring to give them a little ocean personality. Now they are locked inside their molds where they need to stay for a couple of hours. Then they need to cure for at least a week in a dry place. A dry place is easy to find out here.

I'm hoping that my first selling date will be June 13.

Half my samples went out on Friday and the other half will be going to the post office tomorrow. I've gotten good feedback so far and am adapting some recipes after the criticism (mostly about strength of fragrance).

My oils showed up on Friday so I'm ready to proceed full speed ahead.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Do You Think This is a Scam?

This was in my e-mail today

Customer Service:

We have been waiting for you to contact us for your Package that is been registered
with us for shipping to your residential location. We had thought that your sender
gave you our contact details. It may interest you to know that a letter is also added
to your package. However, we cannot quote the content of your package, except that it
has a Bank Draft worth of $288,000.00 (Two Hundred and Eighty Eight Thousand US
Dollars). As you know, FedEx does not ship money in CASH or in CHEQUES but BANK
DRAFTS are shippable.
The package is registered with us for mailing by an official of the united nation
office in UK. We are sending you this email because your package is been registered
on a Special Order. What you have to do now, is to contact our Delivery Department
for immediate dispatch of your package to your residential address. Note that as soon
as our Delivery Team confirms your information, it will take three (3) working days
(72Hrs) for your package to arrive at your designated destination.
For your information, the VAT & Shipping charges as well as Insurance fees have been
paid by your colleague before your package was registered.
Note that the payment that is made on the Insurance, Premium & Clearance
Certificates, are to certify that the Bank Draft is not a Drug Affiliated Fund DAF)
neither is it funds to sponsor Terrorism in your country. This will help you avoid
any form of query from the Monetary Authority of your country.
However, you will have to pay a sum of £105 GBP which is equivalent to $210 USD to
the FedEx Delivery Department being full payment for the Security Keeping Fee of the
FedEx Company as stated in our privacy terms & condition page. Also be informed that
your colleague wished to pay for the Security Keeping charges, but we do not accept
such payments considering the fact that all items & packages that is registered with
us have a time limitation and we cannot accept payment without knowing when you will
be picking up the package or even respond to us. So we cannot take the risk to have
accepted such a payment incase of any possible demurrage. Kindly note that your
colleague did not leave us with any further information.
We hope that you respond to us as soon as possible because if you fail to respond
until the expiry date of the foremost package, we may refer the package to the
British Commission for Welfare as the package do not have a return address. Kindly
contact the delivery department (FedEx Delivery Post) with the details given below:
Contact Person: Mr. Richard raynor
Tel: +234-7062266794
Kindly complete the below form and send it to the email address given above.. This is
mandatory to reconfirm your Postal address and telephone numbers.
As soon as your details are received, our delivery team will give you the necessary
payment procedure so that you can effect the payment for the Security Keeping Fees.
As soon as they confirm your payment of £105 GBP which is equivalent to $210 USD,
they shall immediately dispatch your package to the designated address. It usually
takes 72 Hours being an express delivery service.
Ensure to contact the delivery department with the email address and ensure to fill
the above form as well to enable successful reconfirmation.
Yours Faithfully,
Mrs .chiara dallavalle
FedEx Online Management Team.
All rights reserved. © 1995-2009 FedEx.

This message was sent using IMP, the Internet Messaging Program.

I wonder how many people fall for stuff like this.

Gas Prices Don't Help

I can remember when gas was 33 cents a gallon. How old does that make me? When I say that, people ask if I remember nickel hot dogs and I say no but I do remember nickel candy bars. Hot dogs were 35 cents including the fries when I first started buying them.

I just got back from Sam's Club where I bought gas for $2.29 a gallon. I know that seems cheap to those of you in Chicago and California but the last time I filled up it was $1.88. Good thing I don't go anywhere.

I also stopped at the post office to drop off the first of my sample packages. The parking lot was mobbed and usually there's nobody there during the middle of the day. I was glad I had printed my own postage labels so I wouldn't have to wait. When I got inside I realized that the long line of people wasn't for postage it was for passports. Starting Monday you need a passport (or something new called the passcard) to get across the border. Judging from the line, the government is going to make a lot of money this weekend.

Also, an update on the gardening front. My tomato plant has 5 tomatoes growing on it and the birds haven't eaten them. Of course they have to get bigger and ripen so it's still touch and go for now.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

An Update to the Update

Samples are coming together and will be heading out to my testers. I'm signed up for the June 11 orientation session at the Farmer's market and things are looking good. I need to go to the tax office and get a tax number. It's required so I can charge sales tax on my sales.

I'm really excited about this

Monday, May 25, 2009

Business Update

Well here it is, Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer. I have absolutely no job prospects in this bad economy so I'm concentrating on business ideas that I can do to make money for myself. The tech support business is hanging in there. I'm picking up a new customer this week for basic education and have contracted to do the website and Facebook page for the Las Cruces Arts Association. So I've got a little money coming in from that.

Then there is the bath and body product business. I'm having a lot of fun with this. My materials are continuing to arrive on my doorstep so I'm getting ready to send out sample kits to friends and family across the country.

I'm re-formulating my salt scrub into a sugar scrub which is a little less abrasive. I've made some oatmeal milk bath that is pretty good and the bath salts are nice especially with the decorative packaging. And I'm going to make bath bombs. I have all the ingredients and ordered some molds on Ebay. I'll be making heart shaped ones like the ones in the picture. I figure I'll be up and running by the end of June...maybe sooner if all goes well.

So that' where I am and I'm still optimistic about where I'm going. Oh and while you're here reading, click through on a few of the Google ads at the right. I get a few pennies for each click.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Gardening Update

The parsley has been chewed to the roots, the rosemary fried in the 99 degree sun. The strawberries were eaten by the rabbits or roadrunners or whatever critters roam the night. But take heart. I have the start of a tomato. A teeny tiny tomato is growing on my plant. I am so excited.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Mixing Up the Bath Products

If they won't let me sell food from my kitchen I will make bath products. You need to be creative to survive in this economy and if there's one thing I'm not lacking it's creativity.

I have mixed up home made salt scrub and lip balm and am waiting the arrival of more supplies to make bath salts, body lotion and shower gel. It's fun and I hope it will be profitable for me. Overhead is low. I have to get a tax id and farmers market permit and I'm ready to go. I'm also going to have home parties to sell them as well.

I'm psyched about this and the research and development portion of it is a lot of fun.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Purse

I decided a movie would be a good investment yesterday. I could get some entertainment and best of all, I could sit in somebody else's air conditioning for a couple of hours. But here's the do you avoid the lure of the concession stand. That smell of movie theater popcorn has been an alluring aroma since I was a kid.

But six bucks for popcorn and a drink? That's as much as my ticket cost (bargain matinee). The solution...sneak in your own food. The key...a large purse or tote bag. Although they post signs saying no outside food or drink, they haven't gotten to the point where they're searching bags. So I popped some popcorn in the microwave and stuck a bottle of water into my purse. I was able to blithely walk past the concession stand and into the theater to enjoy my movie and snack by myself.

I've got to say if you're like me, that Monday afternoon is a great time to see a movie. I hate crowded movie theaters because people talk, kick seats and forget to turn off their cell phones. I went to see Star Trek which was the most popular movie over the weekend but there were only about 20 people in the theater at 4:30 on Monday afternoon. Perfect.

Oh and the movie was great. I highly recommend it.

Sunday, May 10, 2009


I finished my paperwork for my LIHEAP (Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program) application. I don't know how much of a break I'll get on my electric bill but whatever it is, it will help. I finally cracked and turned on the air conditioning to cool down the house for a while. It reached 99 the other day and inside the house it was 90. I just couldn't take it any more.

The saving grace of living in the desert is that it still cools down at night. Unlike back in Chicago I can get a good night's sleep without AC. The hottest part of the day is between 4 and 7 pm. After that I can get by with just the fans. We'll see how that affects the bill.

Part of the paperwork was to give my account number with the phone company to see if I can qualify for assistance on that. I'm thinking they might have a problem with my broadband and Direct TV service on the same bill. I may be poor but I'm not ready to give up my internet or CNN.

Oh and speaking of CNN, they called yesterday in response to my latest video upload. It may be on their Money and Mainstreet Special on Thursday night...or I'll end up on the cutting room floor like I did last time.

If you want to see it, here's the link.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Saving on Utilities

I was not happy with my gas/water/city services bill last month. It was not huge but it was bigger than last month because I am using more water and gas these days. Most of it is the result of my baking and dishwashing. I am cutting down on the baking as we get into summer but I don't know if I'm ready to give up the dishwasher.

I am becoming a martyr to the heat. We've had four days of 90 degree weather and I haven't turned on the air conditioning. I am making do with fans and really it is only uncomfortable from about 4 to 6 in the late afternoon. When the sun goes down it's actually quite cool and by the time I wake up in the morning I am wrapped up in blankets because it is cold. I get out of bed, turn off the fans and start all over again.

I am cutting my laundry back to every two weeks instead of every week. I did an assessment and found I had enough clothes so I could last two weeks. That will save on both water and gas. I have no room to put up a clothesline (and it's probably against neighborhood rules) or I would hang the laundry because in the desert things dry in about 10 minutes. I haven't used a blow dryer on my hair since I've been down here.

I haven't used the gas grill in a while either. So we'll see what next month's bill brings. Electricity has been down (mostly because of not using the AC)

Friday, May 1, 2009

The Bureaucrats Squashed My Dreams

I went to the Dona Ana Department of Health today to find out what I needed to do to get licensed to sell casseroles at the weekly Farmer's Market. People have raved about my chicken pot pies and macaroni and cheese and I figured I could make a mark up of $3.25 on each individual serving. But just like the city bureaucrats that made me take down my banner at the club, the bureaucrats at the Department of Health told me flat out that they will not certify a home kitchen. Case closed.

Now we've all seen those stories on Food Network about the people with the killer salad dressing, brownie, toffee, fill-in-whatever you want. They start in their home kitchens and then the operation becomes so successful they have to expand to commercial kitchens. Well none of those stories was ever filmed in this town because you just can't make it happen.

I understand about Health Department Regulations and I have steam cleaned my kitchen to within an inch of its life. Germs are not growing on my watch. I know all about cross contamination and have separate cutting boards and knives for meat and vegetables and know to keep cooked food away from raw food and use bleach water to clean all surfaces. I've fed hundreds of people with not one incident of illness. Can Taco Bell claim that?