Thursday, August 30, 2012

Haute Couture for Pixie and Hazel: TAG Pet Artisans

Anyone who knows me, knows I love my Pixie and Hazel. Although I know they conspire to drive me crazy, like the time they dragged that dinosaur bone into the house. Or rolling around in the manure of some unknown beast, and coming in wagging their tails, as if nothing were wrong. Here they are, Pixie, my Maltese, and Hazel my Yorkie:

Pixie, don't let her cute face fool you...

Hazel, left. the mastermind of the operation, and Pixie, the first lieutenant

Me and Hazel, who is looking at Pixie, giving her the signal to grab the dinosaur bone...

Don't they look all cute and innocent??? Ha! Anyway, I do consider them my babies, and yes, I do dress them up for Halloween and Christmas, and other special occasions, they have winter jackets and sweaters (winters can be brutal in New England). Yes, I'm one of THOSE pet owners...that's right...I said it!

Where does one go to find Haute Couture for ones furry loved ones??? Well, look no further than The Artisan Group's very own Sophisticated Pup, owned by the gorgeous Michelle Cleek O'Halloren. Michelle's designs are sported by the pets of celebrities, and it's no wonder...they are amazing!! Much higher in quality, and unique than other pet clothing, Sophisticated Pup has been getting alot of media attention...

I asked Michelle to tell me a little about herself and her business, and here is what she said:

"Sophisticated Pup was started in January 2006 in Chicago, IL.  It was started shortly after getting my little pug, Penny.  Penny has always been the muse of my product line.  As a sufferer of Canine Liver Disease, she is a really special pup and one that is a constant inspiration and a pretty darn good model too!  

Our Mission:

Sophisticated Pup’s mission is to create truly unique, sophisticated, handcrafted pet apparel, furniture and accessories for the most lovable of dogs- which in our eyes is all dogs!  The products are not mass-produced, and due to the handcrafted artistry that goes into every piece of clothing, furniture or accessory, only limited amounts are created.  Sophisticated Pup uses only the highest quality materials in our designs.  

Sophisticated Pup is active in giving back to animal rescue groups and we make it a priority to donate product whenever possible to animal rescue groups in Chicago and the Midwest.  I pride myself in having unique products that are high-quality and beautiful.  Pet apparel should be both beautiful and functional.  We never want a dog wearing anything that will make it uncomfortable.  We dress our dogs to make them feel special, never to embarrass!

Through our affiliation with The Artisan Group, we have been fortunate enough to include our products in the celebrity swag bags at the 2012 MTV Movie Awards.  We have also gifted our products to celebrities Tori Spelling, Bethenny Frankel and Amy Poehler."  

The lovely Michelle Cleek O'Halloren at a trade show.

Actress Deborah Craig holding Sophisticated Pup at the 2012 GBK MTV Movie Award Gift Lounge

Courtesy Sophisticated Pup

Courtesy Sophisticated Pup

Michelle at one of her many TV appearances with reality TV star Teresa Guidice

I need to start my Christmas shopping early...
Thank you Sophisticated Pup!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The Artisan Group - Pamper Yourself With Spa Quality Bath and Body Products

You know when you go to a spa, and there's that smell? That amazing, scent wafting through the air, lulling you into a state of bliss, while you get your massage, facial, or whatever indulgence you're there for?  I've always wanted that amazing scent in my home, and have tried for years to reproduce it, to no avail. There is no candle, air freshener, spray that can capture that essence.

One day I decided to turn my bathroom into my own mini-spa. I bought some rather expensive soaps, lotions, bath salts and other items from the mall. Some gave me a rash. Many had scents that were powerful and very artificial. None gave my bathroom the "scent".

As I started becoming familiar with the products being produced by The Artisan Group, I took notice of something. All the bath and body products were made of natural ingredients, most were free of chemicals. All looked so inviting, and so there was the beginning of a beautiful thing. I only purchase my bath and body products from TAG artists. Having high quality soaps and bath products makes you feel like a million, without breaking the bank in this economy. And my bathroom has the "scent".

Edensong Essentials   is based in Tennessee and was started in 1991 by the lovely Stephanie Rountree. Her company overview is as follows:

"EdenSong Essentials offers 100% raw edible natural organic skin care products of the highest quality from pure ingredients. Our exquisite scents and textures make it easy to go organic and natural. With our skin care products you can be confident knowing you aren't putting synthetics on your skin that may be absorbed into your body."

My very first bath and body purchases from TAG were from EdenSong Essentials:

No Pain Ya Balm by Edensong Essentials

Goddess Envy Moisturizer

Rapid Remedy Lip Balm

As I noted in my raves reviews left for Stephanie in multiple places, her products are indeed amazing.  Pain Ya Rub alleviated my aching mucsles, especially in my shoulders, and my face and lips were soft and smooth with the moisturizer and lip balm.  No wonder the Hollywood celebrities love her stuff!!!

Piccolo Paradiso was started in 2011 in Chicago, Illinois by the talented Rosalba Berardi. Her company profile is as follows:

"Piccolo Paradiso® products are handmade in small batches with lots of love. Our products are infused with the finest of pure essential oils, extracts, herbs and other earth derived ingredients and some fragrance oils. We hand blend all of these ingredients to create our distinctive designed soaps and products. 
Life's too short not to use the fancy soaps"~ Piccolo Paradiso®

Vino Soap by Piccolo Paradiso

La Luna Shave Soap by Piccolo Paradiso

Both of these soaps were amazing and luxurious...I never used shaving cream again after using the shave soap. The Vino soap was just exquisite. This company is another favorite of the Hollywood celebrities!! Check out her website to see who!!

Barefoot Bath and Body was started in 2008 by the lovely Deanna Thorsland Crowe in Minnesota. Her company profile states: "Barefoot Bath & Body is all about quality handmade products using kraft paper soap boxes made from 100% recycled materials and labeling made from 100% recycled paper. "

Citris Basil Soap by Barefoot Bath and Body

Green Apple Lip Balm by Barefoot Bath and Body

I posted a picture of the Citrus Basil Soap on Pinterest, and it has been favorited and reposted numerous times. I need to start a board just for TAG Bath and Body Products!!! This particular soap I took with me last week on vacation to Cape Cod, and it was wonderful!! So refreshing, and it smells wonderful!! Unfortunately, the lip balm was snatched out of my hands by my 14 year old daughter before I could try it, but allegedly, it is "Freaking amazing!!!"  Hollywood celebrities agree about all of Dee's products!

Scentability was founded in Wisconsin in 2009 by a lovely registered nurse named Tricia Hoffman Samundsen. She describes her company as follows:

Scentability specializes in quality, affordable handmade Bath, Body and Home Fragrance products. All my products are made in small batches and many made as they are ordered!

Scentability was officially established in June of 2009 by me, Tricia Samundsen. Starting out with just one size of handmade lotion, I have now expanded to dozens of items that can be custom made in over 350+ fragrances an
d essential oils! Each item is handmade by me, in my Workshop. Many of my fragrances and many of my products have come about by suggestions/special requests of friends, family and customers. I always welcome suggestions, requests, comments, compliments, etc.!

Shower Sinus Soothers by Scentability

Emu Olive Oil Soap and Holder by Scentability

Emu Olive Oil Soap and Holder by Scentability

Besides our mutual admiration for Tyler Perry, who I think would love her products, Tricia and I are both in the health field. I can appreciate the medicinal aspects of these products, especially the sinus soothers, with my allergy suffering daughter, and the emu/olive oil soap with all of us suffering from eczema/dryskin. These products are wonderful, and again, as noted with all the artists, a favorite with celebrities.

The Falcon Soaperie was founded in 2011 by the lovely New Yorker,  Jessica Falcon, in our native Queens, New York.  Jessica says "I make soaps from scratch, massage oils, soy candles, sugar scrubs, and customer perfume oils, as well as custom orders! All my products are natural, I even do organic baby oil gift sets. I love what I do!! I'm from New York City and I live in Queens. I've been making soaps since 2010 but officially started my business last summer. I have a husband who is a Police Officer for the NYPD and a Marine (served a tour in Afghanistan last summer) and we have an awesome and brilliant 3yr old daughter (one of my main inspirations for making all natural skin care products) ". 

We at the Artisan Group are very proud that The Falcon Soaperie sent 50 of their finest soap scrubs overseas to 50 female soldiers who are currently deployed. Our hats off to you, Jessica!! Here are some of her amazing products!

Products by The Falcon Soaperie

Patchouli Soap Puff by The Falcon Soaperie

Cirmes Tonsorial Parlour  was founded in 2011 in Iowa by the dapper Andrew Fuller to fill the grooming needs of men everywhere, including hunky Hollywood celebrities. Andrew states "Cirmes Tonsorial Parlour uses only the finest ingredients to create marvelous wonders for men, combining them with sophisticated, yet peculiar and intoxicating aromatic blends. It is our hope to bring the art, the benefits, and the joys of straight razors and mug soaps to a new generation as well as the old. What was once a mundane chore for every man whose 5 o'clock shadow arrives at 2 can be transformed into a personal, relaxing, and exhilirating experience for the mind, body, and spirit."  I personally purchased a few bottles of preshave oil as Father's Day gifts for some friends, and they loved it!!

Cirmes Preshave Oil

Rick Otto Snagging Himself a Bottle of Cirmes Preshave Oil at the 2012 GBK Productions Academy Awards Gift Lounge!

Lovely table display at the 2012 GBK Productions Academy Awards Gift Lounge!

Anatomy Naturals was started in Pennsylvania in 2010 by the lovely and talented Kelly Green.  Of her business, Kelly says "I want every customer to feel like they are receiving a special gift from a friend. From opening the box to discovering the lovely packaging to using the pampering products, I want each customer to be delighted by the whole Anatomy Naturals experience." Her products:

All natural gourmet skin care products handcrafted in small batches using pure, simple, and nourishing ingredients. Artfully labeled and thoughtfully packaged.

Anatomy Naturals Gentle Facial Cleanser

Anatomy Naturals Citris and Basil Body Scrub

Anatomy Naturals Revitalizing Mud Mask

Amazingly, Kelly also does her own artwork for her beautiful labels!! Stunning!!

BidwellBotanicals was started by lovely Jill Burrows Jones in 2002 in Georgia. She states:
The Bidwell Botanicals philosophy is to offer naturally based skincare with luxurious ingredients that are easy to understand and produce effective results. Bidwell Botanicals believes in the value of making time for self with simple indulgences, and that fully understanding what’s put on and in the body is important and empowering.

Lush Lip Care by Bidwell Botanicals

"Mojito" Shea Butter Sugar Scrub by Bidwell Botanicals

Zen Hemp Handmade Artisan Soap by Bidwell Botanicals

My all time favorite product from Bidwell Botanicals is their French Lavender Bath Salts. A scoopful in a tub of hot water turns me into a new woman. The scent is rejuvenating, and my 
skin is always silky smooth afterwards. 

FYI Readers!!! All of the above extremely talented artisans have been nominated for the American Made Awards Presented By Martha Stewart!!!!! Please visit their pages and comment!! Voting begins September 7th! Good luck to all of these amazing artists!! 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

The Artisan Group...Who Needs To Leave The House To Go Shopping?

You've heard me mention TAG in previous posts, and although I'd like to say it stands for "Talented and Gorgeous" (which is true), it stands for The Artisan Group, an amazing and exclusive organization of gifted artists, founded by graphic designer and powerhouse Valerie Guerrero. This group is juried, so only the creme de la creme are admitted. They are so good, in fact, they regularly participate in GBK Production Gifting Lounges for events such as the Emmys, Oscars, Golden Globes, MTV Movie Awards, and this year, the CMAs (Country Music Awards). It's members are also accomplished authors, having published in books and magazines, winners of prestigious awards, participants in New York City Fashion Week, and their products can be found in retailers across the country. Most importantly, they are the loveliest, most supportive group of artists I know. How do I know? I'm blessed to be a member.

Now, anyone who knows me well knows I hate shopping, especially the mall. Maybe I'm just a lazy ass. Maybe I'm claustrophobic. Maybe I hate being attacked by salespeople with samples (reminiscent of my days as a physician, when the drug reps would interrupt my day to hawk their drugs du jour). Not only that, the products out there are kind of....blah. Ok, there, I said it!! I could shop for hours, and search through aisles and aisles of mediocre merchandise, and out of desperation, have to buy a birthday gift I wasn't completely satisfied with. I hate that.

Then, one day, I started perusing the shops of my fellow Tagsters...and guess what? I struck a goldmine of quality, unique, beautiful, merchandise that I would not only be proud to gift, but have now bought for myself, time and time again. "AAAAAAAAhhhhhhh' the angels are singing!

I am dedicating a biweekly series of my blog to the talented and gorgeous TAG artisans:) They produce a variety of merchandise (art) such as stationery/paper goods, bath/body products, jewelry, photography, fiber goods, clothing, baby products, shoes, art pens, dog products, paintings, toys.

This week, I'm starting with our stationery/paper goods "department". It never fails that whenever I need a greeting card, no matter how far in advance I buy it, it's never quite right. The words are too sappy, or the picture is too creepy. The words are too creepy, and the picture too bizarre. You feel my pain?

The talented artisans at TAG that specialize in stationery and paper goods have made my dilemma a thing of the past!! Their talent, imagination, quality, and enthusiasm is reflected in the work they produce.

Jessica Gattone, Owner and Creative Director of Sparetire Design,  http;//, based in New Jersey, offers custom design solutions for every graphic design need. Personal and everyday stationery, as well as custom wedding invitations.

Photos courtesy of Sparetire Design

She also has a shop on Etsy

Jess' work is so amazing, it's been gifted to celebrities such as Hillary Duff,  Zooey Deschanel, and Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes! It will also be gifted to the nominees and recipients of the Country Music Awards, later this year!!

Laura Hudson, Owner and Designer at Simply Paperie, and based in Missouri,  designs custom wedding and event invitations, as well as beautiful stationery and custom journals. Her gorgeous work has been featured at the 2012 GBK Production Golden Globe Gift Lounge, and has been gifted to celebrities like Ryan Gosling, and Trista Sutter!! 

Photos courtesy of Simply Paperie

Laura's amazing journals are sold on

Danielle Goff, Owner and Designer at Stampin Crazy in Texas,  based in Austin, is one talented lady!! Her business was featured by Office Depot in their Thursday Business feature, and her handmade cards, invitations and gifts have been gifted to celebrities such as Vanessa Lachey and Kaley Cuocco. 

Photos provided by Stampin Crazy in Texas

This is just a taste of the talent in the Stationery/Paper Goods "Department at TAG...these three artists were kind enough to participate in my blog series, but there are many others in TAG not featured here today. Many thanks to Jess, Laura, and Danielle!!
In my next TAG feature, we will visit the Bath and Body Department...stay tuned!!!

Friday, August 3, 2012

What's New?

Ah, the long hot, summer...crazy weather..what's new with you guys? I'll tell you what's going on at Alexis Gopal Jewelry and LexiBeads!! I've been working with a very talented team on a new website for the jewelry...a whole new look. Have been working on a new line of jewelry...a bit more elegant, and upscale, but definitely more cohesive. Always made with love and passion. I'm gearing up for NYC Fashion Week again, coming up in September!!! LexiBeads has really been busy..thank you so much for your patronage. I take it very seriously, and want to deliver a quality product, and the utmost customer service.
So, I want to take this opportunity to say thank you to all of you who make this possible...who purchase from me, follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and this blog, who support me in my endeavors. Without you, none of this would be possible, so thank you from the bottom of my heart!!!

So, what do you think of these new stretch bracelets??