Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Behind The Scenes: What's In A Baby Swank Package?

Some creative businesses make some super cute, even useful products & leave it at that. You buy their product & you get it in a plain brown box.

Well not I, honey! Not I!

When you order a Baby Swank product, I guarantee that when my package arrives at your doorstep, it's gonna make your day! I want you to not only love my products, but I want it to be fun for you to open it. Yep...I try to have some super cute, swanky, packaging.

So what exactly does it look like. Well that depends on what you order because each product is packaged a bit differently. But...

  • It will have your handwritten address on it & you will be wonderful, fabulous, awesome, or fantastic. 
  • It will have some fun, cute washi tape on the front.
  • It will be stuffed with goodies. - Not only will your product be there, but so will your invoice, some business cards {for you & friends}, a handwritten thank you, & a special little goodie all surrounded in colorful tissue paper to keep your treasures safe!

Here's what a recent customer told me when she received her package...

I just wanted to say I really enjoyed your cute business card and note! I got a huge kick out the way you addressed the package to me! It was the highlight of my day that day!    -EE

Don't wait too long. Find out for yourself right here!

hugs, Meagan

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Stuffy Noses Stink! Your Guide to Treating Stuffy Noses Naturally

I hate to have a stuffy nose worse than anything else! At least worse than anything else that I can think of at the moment anyway.

I'm all for doing things as naturally as possible, but that's one instance where my patience wears thin. If I can't get my nose to open up by the time I'm ready for bed, even just enough to decently breath while I sleep, I'll opt for OTC meds for sure. Anything to be able to breath! Ahhhh!

Many of you probably feel the same way I do, but here's the deal. We're adults & we can take those meds. What about our kiddos? What are we supposed to do for them? Many drug companies have taken infant's & children's OTC meds off the shelves due to some serious adverse reactions so when you have babies & small children, your best bet is to opt for natural treatment.

Cause of Stuffy Nose
Stuffy noses are caused by inflammation {swelling} of sinus tissues due to irritants. These irritants can be from allergies, viruses {colds}, & pregnancy {hormonal changes} to thyroid problems & medication side effects. Either way, the blood vessels in the sinuses are swelling which leads to a stopped up nose. No fun!

So today I'm gonna share some options that I use on my kids to help relieve those frustrating stuffy noses. I've also put these in the order that I'd use them as well.

First off, you want to treat the cause of the stuffy nose, the inflammation. So it's a good idea to start treatment  a bit before bedtime because these natural treatments take some time to work.

Herbal Steam

An herbal steam helps to loosen up any mucous in your sinuses, let them drain, & decrease inflammation at the same time. This should be done a few times a day. Here's how you do it.

  1. Bring a pot of water to boil on the stove. Once it's boiling remove it & place it on a solid surface.
  2. I take an antibacterial herb like echinachea & an astringent {drawing} herb like plantain & add them to the water. Now you have a tea.
  3. Add in a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil. It helps you breath better, plus it's antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic, pretty much anti-everything!
  4. Hold your baby & place a towel over both your heads & your pot of herb tea. Inhale the steam so that it gets deep in your lungs.
Now your little one may not like all that hot steam in her face so first off make sure it's not too hot or you're not too close to the pot. If you need to, remove the towel from time to time to get some fresh air, but go back to it for as long as she'll let you. You want the heat to cause her sinuses to open up & drain.

Saline Drops

This is where you put drops of the saline into your kiddos nose to loosen up the mucous before you go to the next step...the "boogy monster"! You can always use the herb tea mixture as well. It will only make it better!

"Boogy Monster"

This is what I've always called that little snot sucker thing that you always get at your baby shower or at the hospital & no it's never scared my kids by calling it a monster! These things either work for you or they don't. Either way, if you do use the saline drops to loosen up those "boogies", this is a good option when it comes to getting them out!

Homemade Vapor Rub

This is very easy & simple to make. You can rub it on your babies chest or right under her nose to help her to breath better. Yes, it's just like Vick's Vapor Rub that you can get at Wal-Mart, but this is more natural & not a bit harmful to you.

All you need to do is go buy some coconut oil {which has antibacterial properties itself} & mix in a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Now you've got a great salve! Simple, easy, & healthy!

Essential Oil Vaporizor

I use this on my little guys when they sleep every time they have a cold. I take a regular old steam vaporizer, fill it with water & mix in some eucalyptus essential oils. Then when the vaporizer turns the water into steam, it's got the eucalyptus in it as well.

Now, I have read online that adding essential oils into a steam vaporizer can burn the motor up or damage it in some way. I've never had a problem, but that's just my experience. You can always buy a vaporizer with the medicine cup & put your oil in there.

Okay, so now you have some tips on how to help your little one feel better when they have a stuffy nose & you don't have to worry about side effects or any of that mess because everything you're using is straight from nature itself. Good luck!

**Use caution when using essential oils of any kind with small children. They are very strong & should ALWAYS be diluted in something before being used on your child. And remember, a little goes a long way!**

Have you used any natural treatments for stuffy noses that have worked well for you? If so, let me know about them in the comments below!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Happy Talk: Testimonials Say It All

Today I wanted to share some of my favorite customer testimonials with you. Whenever I'm checking something out online, I always want to see if past customers were happy or not & what their experiences were like. It makes a big difference as to what I think, not only of the product, but the company as well!

So here you go...below are some testimonials from my Etsy shop. Want to check them all out for yourself? Click here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

3 Bedtime Routine Musts: Getting Your Tot Ready For Bed

I have two little guys. One is 18 months old & he falls asleep like a champ. My other is 3 years old & it seems that over the past 2-3 months I've noticed a big change in his ability to settle down & fall asleep. He wants to talk, play, get out of bed, & just be plain mischievous! Some nights we follow a bedtime routine & other nights we don't. It all depends on what's going on. What's a mom to do??

Establish A Routine
Whether you have a baby or a toddler, bedtime routines are a must for encouraging a good nights sleep. Studies have shown that kiddos with a fairly consistent bedtime routine have better attitudes during the day {as does mama} & they wake less often at night. How great is that? Getting yourself & your kiddo used to a routine is another thing. Change is tough & being consistent is even tougher.

Routine Basics

  1. Decide what 3 things you're going to include in your nightly routine & in what order.
  2. No matter what time your little one's "bedtime" is, you should begin your nightly routine 30-45 minutes before "bedtime". 
  3. Get everything ready before hand so that the routine runs smoothly as well. Make sure you have everything within reach...pjs, book on bed, scents, etc.

What Should Your Routine Include?
I'm sure there are many different things that can make up an awesome bedtime routine. The main things to consider when choosing activities for your routine is that they are quiet & calming! I'm going to share my 3 below.

Giving your kids a bath before bed will probably be the most important part of your nightly routine. Baths can be fun & playful, but I'd suggest saving the wild play for morning baths. Night-time baths should be calming & soothing. Make sure your water is warm, have a few simple toys, & make everything smell good! Lavender is the best scent for calming your baby or toddler. You can use bath fizzies or herbal bath teas for the water & use lavender scented soaps & shampoos for washing.

No matter how old you are, a massage is always nice. After your little one is done with his or her bath, dry him off & put on some lavender scented oil or lotion before putting his jammies on. This way the properties of the lavender can seep into their skin & they can smell them all night long! Make sure to rub it in really well, giving them a mini-massage. It will help them relax. 

Reading is a great activity to do with your child right before bed. Kids love having stories read to them! Just make sure you pick an age appropriate book that's not too long & isn't real exciting. Have your kiddo get in bed, tuck them in, & then read to them. You can spray lavender water onto their bed & pillow to help carry that calming scent. Just make sure it's a natural fragrance & not synthetic! You can also place a lavender pillow in the bed with them too!

Off To Bed
Once you've finished your nightly routine, it's important to keep the distractions to a minimum. Give hugs & kisses, sing your special song, tuck everyone in, turn the lights off, & go. Hopefully it will be that simple & they'll settle in & go right to sleep. If not, it may take a week or so of being consistent with your new routine to get them used to it, but don't give up. The payoff is at the end!

What is your bedtime routine like?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Want Even More Baby Swank Updates & Deals

hello wooden letters by treehouse wood designs on etsy

Not only will you get updates & announcements about the going on's in my shop right here on my blog, but did you know that there's a way that you can get even more insider information? Well there is!

You can subscribe to my monthly email newsletter!

In my newsletter, you'll get updates on my shop & new products as well as access to special deals & promotions that no one else has access too! Plus you'll have first dibs on new products & you'll be the first to test new products that I come up with. And if that's not enough, I'm even giving you a special goodie just for signing up!

So what are you waiting for? Like Baby Swank products? Sign up over on the right sidebar for these great deals. No spam either! I promise!

hugs, Meagan

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

10 Ways Baby Swank "Stands Out" in the Crowd

Black Apple Print by Orange Optimist on Etsy

  1. Fun, bright, memorable graphics
  2. One-of-a-kind items
  3. A commitment to using natural, healthy ingredients ALL the time
  4. Rocking customer service
  5. Offer custom orders
  6. Super cute packaging
  7. Freebies and/or discounts with every purchase
  8. Satisfaction guaranteed or else!
  9. Personalized shopping experience
  10. Super cute, quality products

Friday, August 5, 2011

It's a....


The hubs & I are so excited to announce that we're expecting another little man this December! We can't wait. To find out how we shared the good news with our friends & family, visit my cake blog here. {Yes, I make cakes too! I love it!}

hugs, Meagan

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Baby Swank Naturals Review & Giveaway

Orange Vanilla Baby Wash & Shampoo

I'm so excited to let you all know about the first review on my Baby Swank Naturals line. That's my skin care line of Baby Wash & Shampoo and Herbal Baby Oil!

There's also a giveaway along with this review. You can have the chance to win one of my Baby Wash & Shampoo Sample Packs which includes 3 scents of the wash.

The lovely ladies over at Sisters-N-Cloth contacted me about this review & giveaway a while ago & I was so excited to have them try out my product & review it for all of their readers! They have a great website if you're into cloth diapering & going all-natural for your baby. You've got to check it out!

To read their review & get all the details on the giveaway...visit their site right here!

Baby Swank Naturals Is Here

My new line, Baby Swank Naturals, is finally here! It's been postponed a bit, but that's life with a family of small children. Things don't always click along like you plan. I'm sure many of you can understand!

Lavender Chamomile Baby Wash & Shampoo
Anyway, I want to share a bit about my new line with you all today. I'm gonna start out by telling you how my products came about & why they're so great! I'm gonna let you in on where I get my herbs & how I do the infusion process in case you're wondering. And I'll let you know what's up my sleeve for the future of Baby Swank Naturals!

About Baby Swank Naturals

Ever since I had my first baby, 3 years ago, I've been very much aware of what I put on his body. The more I read & learn about synthetics & chemicals used in skin care products, the more I realize why it's so important to be careful & to use good, quality products.

Did you know that your skin is the largest organ in your body? That's right! Your skin is actually an organ & it not only protects us from all kinds of harmful things, but it's used to absorb things into our bodies as well. So that means not only will your skin absorb healthy vitamins & minerals, but it can also absorb harmful substances that are on your body. So be aware of what you're putting on your skin. I know you may not think it's much, buy toxic substances build up inside of your body & then can start causing some serious problems! Research, research, research.

Okay, so I decided that I wanted to use natural products for my baby. They're so little, new & fresh when they're born. You just hate to expose them to anything they're body isn't used to handling...or shouldn't need to handle, I should say. So I started buying things at our local health food store, but came to realize that I still couldn't pronounce half of the ingredients in those items. I understand that even healthy products aren't going to be 100% the best option. I mean, they have to set in factories & in boxes & on shelves for a long time so they have to have some sort of preservatives in them...healthy or not.

So being the type of person I am...into health & a DIYer...I decided to do some research & make my own products. Now I'm really into herbs. I use them when we're healthy for nutrition & prevention & I use them when we're sick for nutrition & healing. I'm an RN so I feel like I have a pretty good head on my shoulders when it comes to health so I do a lot of research when I need to make anything. I buy books, I look online, I talk to trusted friends, etc.

So I did my research & I started making diaper rash cream, cloth baby wipe solution, & several other concoctions for my kid. Guess what? They worked fabulously! I was so amazed! Not only did they do their job, but it grew my confidence as well. So I decided to get with it & get the ball rolling on some skin care products.

Fast forward 2 years, another baby, & one more on the way...my products are finished & ready!

So I decided to start small, try it out on my family & friends first, & then put it in my shop if all when well. Well, it's in my shop, so you know how that turned out!

Orange Vanilla Herbal Baby Oil
So I'm starting with a head-to-toe baby wash & shampoo & a baby oil.
  • They're so simple.
  • You can pronounce all the ingredients.
  • They clean.
  • They're good for babies skin {your's too BTW...my husband & I use it from time to time!}.
  • They lather well.
  • They last a LONG time, which works well for your budget.
  • Plus, they smell SOOOOO good.
I offer each in an 8 oz full size & a 2 oz sample size. I started with three herbal combinations...Lavender Chamomile, Rosemary Mint, & Orange Vanilla! Plus, I make everything in small batches so it's always fresh! You can read more about the actual products in my shop. Click here for the soap & click here for the oil!

Herbal Infusions

So what's an infusion. Well, an infusion is where you take something & mix it {infuse it} into something else. So when it comes to herbs, you've got teas & infusions. A tea is a little herb & a lot of water & it tastes good. An infusion is a lot of herb & a little water. It's strong & it usually doesn't taste too great, but it's a quick way to get the nutrition & properties of the herb into your body.

So what's this got to do with my skin care products. Well herbs aren't just used for cooking & medicine. They can also be used on your body. They are very nourishing, not only when we're sick, but when we're well too.

So I started out with three different simple combinations that smell great together & all serve different purposes.

Lavender Chamomile is perfect for you if you give baths before bed. Lavender is very soothing for the skin. It aids in sleep & relaxation & chamomile is also helpful for sleep in small children.

Rosemary Mint is a great eye-opener. So if you bath your baby in the morning, this is the scent for you! Rosemary is a stimulant & astringent. It will stimulate blood flow & draw out impurities. Peppermint is also a stimulant & it has a cooling effect on the skin. It's great for comforting babies with fevers!

The last one is Orange Vanilla & this one smells soooo good. It's great if you've got a sleepy baby you want to WAKE UP! It's very energizing! Orange peel has anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, & anti-inflammatory properties. Plus it smells great! Vanilla is primarily used for it's sweet fragrance!

So now onto how I put these herbs into the soap & oil.

photo courtesy of susunweed.com
I take my crock-pot, fill it with water, stick a cloth in the bottom, & turn it on low heat. I then put my herbs into a quart jar & pour my soap or oil over the herbs. I put the lid on & stick it in the crock-pot. I let it "cook" for several hours {at least 12} until I feel that the properties of the herbs have sufficiently been infusing into the soap or oil. The soap & oil will usually change colors depending on the herb & it will take on a herby smell. I then take the jar out, let it cool, & then strain the herbs out of the soap or oil. I fill the cooled soap or oil into the bottles, add a few drops of the essential oils, wipe the bottles down, label them, & voila...they're done!

If you're wondering where I get my herbs. I get all of my herbs bulkherbstore.com! {affiliate link}

If you're looking for herbs of your own, this is the place to get them. It's a family owned & operated small business & you'll not only be able to buy a wide variety of herbs for a great price, but you can learn so much about them as well...like how to use them! Many of the herbs are organic, but if they're not organic they're grown without the use of pesticides, chemicals, or radiation so no fear about what's going onto your baby's skin!

The Future

As far as the future of Baby Swank Naturals goes...well that's up to you! If my soap & oil does well then I'll definitely add to the line. I'm already working on a bath soak for baby & I have plans for an all-natural line for those sweet baby bottoms! It will include a powder, diaper rash salve & cream, & a cloth wipes solution & spray.

As far as anything else goes...I'm up for it, but I need to know what you want. Is there anything you wish you could get for your little one that was simpler & more natural? If so, let me know. I'm all for suggestions!

Rosemary Mint Baby Wash & Shampoo"
So thanks for reading this {long} post on my new products!! I love them & if you try them, I'm sure you will too!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New Packaging

Gift Box by Simple Tastes on Etsy

I'm always evaluating the way I do things in my shop. You know, rethinking things. Right now, I'm onto my packaging.

I've been doing all my shipping in bubble wrap packages, stuffing them with coordinating colors of tissue paper, & decorating the outside to look all cute. That's fine for my Washcloth Bibs & my Baby Wipes, but I'm no so sure about my skin care products. They're liquid & although I've not known of any problems with shipping them that way yet {even to Canada, believe it or not!} I think I'm going to try something new.

I'm thinking that for my Baby Swank Naturals line, I'm gonna try out shipping in boxes. I'll still stuff them with the tissue paper to provide some cushioning, but I think that will make it a bit more secure.

What do you think??

hugs, Meagan