Thursday, June 17, 2010


I recently did a review for NOVICA, an organization that helps bring fair trade work from international artisans to the web. If you haven't already read that review, check it out at before reading any further.

You may wonder why I'm doing a follow-up sort of post since this isn't something that I normally do. Well, the answer is because NOVICA excites me. When I first visited them, I immediately fell in love and sent out an email to my coworkers with a link to Subsequently, I visited many times as I sifted through all of the unique, beautiful, and useful things in their selection. It is for these simple reasons that I'm bringing them up again: 1) I stand behind what they're doing to promote artists and art, and 2) they have a LOT of cool stuff that I wish all resided in my own home. :-)

So read the review, visit their website, and then check out this interesting additional information they sent to me after I had dug through their site and still had a few questions:

How does NOVICA find its artists? We have offices around the world staffed with local culture and art experts that are always looking for new artists. We go to open air markets, hold contests, and go to hard to get to places to find new artists. Also, within the artisan community, many hear about us and come to our offices directly through word of mouth.

• How is NOVICA funded since I saw that you don't charge the artists anything? We're funded through National Geographic, the World Bank, the Grassroots Business Fund, and other venture investors. We don't charge the artists anything to list their products, but we do have a markup on top of their price. The artist sets their price and then based on logistics and regional factors there is a markup to get to the final retail price.

• Does the above mean that the artist receives 100% (minus credit card fees and shipping) of the item's cost? No, we have a markup on top of the artist's price, same as traditional retailers, except our process is a lot more efficient because we are going direct to the artisans. This allows the artists to charge more than local retail and us to value-price our items versus traditional retailers.

• I noticed that more industrialized countries aren't represented--why is that? we do have the intention to work with some industrialized countries in the future, although we offer less of a service in industrialized nations because artists in industrialized countries do have online outlets to sell their wares. in some of the countries we operate in, if it wasn't for us, the artisans would not be able to focus on their crafts and make a living.

Thanks again to NOVICA for initially contacting me, sending me the hammock swing to review, and just for being all around great organization! Also, thank you to Ricky for working with me and being so patient as I got things together and for finding answers to all of my questions. :-)

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Kelly's Closet and DiaperShops Discount Codes

Just heard word from Kelly's Closet  and DiaperShops about the following deals...

Here is the list! Have fun and remember there is a limit of 1 code per order. (You can use more than one code but you would need to place multiple orders.)

*Free shipping on your entire order with a $10 purchase of bumGenius,Flip,or Econbum. Use code BGFLIP . (Excludes bumGenius detergent). Coupon can expire at anytime.

*Take 10% off all Rumparooz. Use code PN042010

*Free one-size cloth diaper with a $25 purchase. Use code PGNBMAY Exp. 7/1/2010

*Free shipping on your entire order when you purchase $20 or more of GroVia brand. Use code GROVIAPROMO

*Free one-size cloth diaper with $25 purchase. Use code OSMOTPROMO Exp.7/15/2010

*Buy 5 bumGenius 3.0 one size diapers, get 1 free. See website for details.

Rules for coupons: Sorry, NO previous or pending orders discounted. No exceptions. Limit 1 code per order.

...and if none of these strike your fancy, be sure to check out Diaper Junction. They always have great deals and I get like a 5% commission (store credit), so I'm always happy when someone clicks on my link and orders from them. :-)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Webcasting my birthing relay race

I know how much ya'll have been missing my insightful and addictingly interesting posts, so I thought I'd try to write something real quick to let you know what's been going on. :-)

I haven't been online in about 2 weeks and am only on now thanks to my parents' connection. Unfortunately, I don't ever get as much accomplished online as I'd like to when I'm at their house because my 19-month-old feels the need to be attached to me at all times. Not that I mind--goodness, I missed 9-13 hours a day of her life 5-6 days a week until I was taken off of work a month ago! On the other hand, having a dwarf holding both of your hands makes typing difficult.

So before I give the little update, I must apologize first to my readers (you are why I have a blog) and particularly those who are waiting for me to mail them prizes or to send their names on to companies for prizes. Secondly, I must offer an embarrassed apology to the companies who are patiently (and not so patiently) waiting for me to get their reviews and giveaways up. I'd love to tell you that a pregnant lady's life is predictable, but frankly, it's not and that's why I'm at home with a computer but no Internet. If you'd like to pay for me to have the Internet, I will happily write your post. Until then, I'm afraid you must keep waiting.

The Update
I am still pregnant, though my boy thinks he's not a part of me and continually tries to become un-attached whenever I walk. Part of me thinks I won't be giving birth until July 4th (he's due 6/30) simply because I was 11 (yes, ELEVEN) days overdue with LoveBug. The other part of me thinks I could have him tonight if I'd just take part in some roudy love making, eat mexican food, and walk half a mile. Only time will tell!

The delightful part of anticipating his birth is that we expect everything to take about 2 hours from the very first contraction...and our car ride is at least 30 minutes long. :-) I bought a nasal aspirator this week to keep in the car just in case. So here's my plan once that first pain hits my abdomen:

1) time two more contractions just to make sure it's the real thing.

2) call my husband and pray he's not out making a delivery in the next state (quite possible since he works for a restaurant supply company).

3) grab cloth diapers to throw into LoveBug's overnight bag while calling my mom so she can meet me at the hospital.

4) if I can drive, I load LoveBug and myself into the car (after grabbing everything else on my list of items I need to bring with me--the list is taped to our front door for easy access). If I cannot drive, I will call my dear friend and pray she isn't in a meeting at work so that she can drive us to the hospital. If my husband is close by, I will wait for him. Should I have to drive us alone, I will have my mom start towards me so that when I'm unable to continue driving, she can intercept us and bring us the rest of the way. Someone can just get our van later.

5) sit on a contractor type garbage bag and towel during the car ride. If I have to give birth on the side of the road, I will at least make it to the county line that puts me in "my" ambulance district. Not that I'm allowing any of my medic buddies to actually see me giving birth; I'll just be hollering to them to hand me stuff if I need it, and then let them take me to the hospital I was already headed to. I'm all about catching my own child, even if it is in a corn field.

TWO hours, folks. That's what I'm aiming for. Hopefully, when my child departs me, I'll be comfortable in a big tub of water in a beautiful birthing suite overlooking a lake and not in my car as I look at my daughter strapped in a car seat wondering what on earth is happening to her mother.

What do you say--should I webcast the whole event?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

NOVICA Hammock Swing Review

NOVICA is an awesome organization that provides fair trade opportunities for artisans around the world. They contacted me a little while ago about doing a review and I have literally spent hours on their website since then--it's addicting because it's so beautiful and supports things that I stand for! NOVICA is associated with National Geographic and is basically a website that brings all sorts of hand made items from around the world to us for purchase (okay, they also do other things FOR the artists like marketing and providing loans).
Here's what they say:
We want to give artists and artisans around the world a global platform to express their true artistic talents and to spur their creativity. And, we want to provide you with access to unique, hard-to-find items at great values that only the Internet infrastructure can allow.

At the deepest essence of our philosophy, we want to create a bridge between you and the many talented artisans across the globe.

We want you to know about who you're buying from. We want you to feel that attachment to the product and to the hands that created it.

I was blessed to be able to order up to $75.00 from their website for review, so I chose a cotton hammock swing. Once you visit their website, you'll see how difficult it would be for a person to choose only one thing--they have everything on there from jewelry to furniture! Thankfully, they have broken the selection down by categories (I found the hammock swing after visiting their Corporate Gift section--a very cool place that any business person would love to receive something from!), geographical regions, price, and so on. They also offer a "gift finder" and even a gift registry (I would totally register at NOVICA if I was getting married again) to further aid you in finding the perfect item.

The quality is awesome and I'm so pleased with the swing! It shows excellent craftsmanship, is just like the photo on the website, and came unscathed even though the shipping was so quick. It's made from 100% pure cotton and is hand woven by Maya Artists of the Yucatan. I've been wanting a hammock swing pretty much all of my life and was surprised that NOVICA's price is only $65.99 with a retail value of $128.95! You will need to trust me that this is a really good deal if you haven't priced hand woven hammock swings before. :-)

Something that I noticed while looking through their website is that while it's easy to navigate, it is also very personal. You can learn about the artisans involved, where items are made, and even how in some instances. When I received the hammock swing, it came within days of my ordering and included directions, a gift card, and a card about the artist(s) who made it. I was hoping that I would learn about the exact person who made the swing, but instead it was more of an overview of artists in that area along with some history about them.

Really, you have got to check NOVICA out. Not only will you be giving yourself or someone else a unique and fantastic item if you purchase something, but you'll be supporting the international art community in a fair way! The prices are reasonable (with great sales all of the time, I've noticed), shipping is quick, and the people I've interacted with from NOVICA are really great. There's nothing that I don't like about this organization (except that they could improve by promoting my husband so he can be a self supporting artist, too *wink, wink*).

Visit to learn more and to explore beautiful hand crafted things from around the world. Also, be sure to check back here in a few days (or a week) as I'm going to be posting a little Q&A session I had with Ricky from NOVICA. It's a great way to learn more about what they do after you check out their website!

NOVICA provided me with a gift certificate so I could purchase a product for review. No other compensation was received for this post.