Monday, February 14, 2011

Change Is Good, Change Is Good, Change Is Good...

Change Is Good...

It's what I keep telling myself, even though I completely dread the thought. Not about everything - I actually enjoy change in many forms: the change of seasons, change of attitude, a change of heart... even the change of life doesn't scare me half as much as the change I'm experiencing right now.

We're changing the Bellissima Minerals Logo.

We've had the same logo that I created for us back in 2005 - and it's time.

While the 'old' logo defined us and served it's purpose for a very long time, allowing us to be easily recognized and distinguished us from other brands very well, it just wasn't representative of Bellissima as a business any longer.

Since the initial logo creation, Bellissima Trucco Minerale ('gorgeous mineral makeup' in Italian, in case you were wondering) has expanded into Lip Care, Handmade Soap, Skin Care and Spa, Bath & Body Products. We've also introduced Foot Care and Facial products, and are now working on Hair Care and Nail Care.

So we felt we needed to update our Logo to better reflect the developments in our business. We wanted it to be more current, more hip, more clean, crisp, clear and concise. We wanted it to be brighter and more distinct - striking, even.

But we also needed it to be authentically Bellissima - not so far off base from the old logo that our customers didn't recognize us... just an updated, cooler version. And we think we did it. We're pretty happy with the results.

Take a peek:

But now for 'the change'... switching everything over to a new logo is a huge challenge. And could be a tremendous financial undertaking if done all at once. But as a small business, that's just not an option for us. So we'll be doing it piecemeal...

Just a few things at a time, starting with the mineral cosmetics, paperwork and the websites. We'll change the labels on the jars and invoices first, then slowly move onto all the other products. We'll have to remember all the minor things we hardly think about anymore, too - like return address labels and email signatures. But we'll move gradually, in intervals, until we've completely changed over to the new Logo. It'll be stressful, but also thrilling!

And so, I'm excited to officially introduce the new 'Face' of Bellissima to the public - that's you, my loyal and ever so appreciated Blog Readers!

Please don't hesitate to tell me what you think!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Ask Me For a Favor… an Event Favor, That Is!

Tradition dictates that events such as bridal & baby showers, receptions, corporate events and weddings require a ‘take-away’ - a token of appreciation that guests will not only remember the event by, but also hopefully use and enjoy.

While Jordan Almonds, matchbooks and instant cameras may have been the old stand-bys, everything from fortune cookies and mini gumball machines to mousepads and flower & herb seed packets have made it into guests’ hands at all types of events.

But trends now tell us that hostesses and party planners are looking for less traditional and more unexpected favors. They’re looking for items that reflect their personality and the theme of the event. They want items that are fun and memorable, unique and whimsical, often practical and functional, even regional in many cases.

And in these economic and eco-friendly times, handmade favors top the trend lists!

Handmade favors offer a wide range of options, and always come from the heart. They tend to be more innovative and distinctive, certainly more personal. Thought and care goes into creating each and every piece, making a handmade favor a much more intimate and sentimental choice - and in many cases, much more budget-friendly, too.

The ideas in handmade favors are endless: homemade wine, candies, cookies, truffles, sachets, recipes, herb blends, spice rubs, cds (or, as in my day, ’mix tapes’), candle tins and of course, spa, bath & body items.

And that’s where Bellissima comes in…

I’m always incredibly honored when asked to create favors for an event. It’s a pleasure to help a planner make an event successful and memorable and just a joy to have even a very small part in someone’s most treasured moments.

Bellissima’s most popular favor items are personalized 1oz Soap Bars and .25oz Lip Balm Tins, but we also offer Mini Triple Butter Bath Bombs, Bath Salts, Solid Lotion Bars, Trial Size Body Lotions, Crème Perfumes, Mini Body Butters, Single-Use Soap Petals and even Mineral Makeup MiniKits that may all be purchased at wholesale rates and personalized and presented in customizable packaging.

Asking for favors is simple, really: just contact me!
Let me know what your event is and how many guests you’ll be hosting. You may already know what you’d like, but if not, we’re happy to help by making recommendations based on the specifics of your event.

We’ll ask you to submit text and/or an image for your labels (it may be just the names & date for a wedding, a company logo, place card info, or just a graphic representing a theme - almost anything goes!) or we’ll create a variety of options for you to choose from.

We’ll provide you with proofs - and never print anything until we have your approval. And we’ll even send you photos of your favors right before we pack everything up for shipping.

In many cases (but depending on the size and variety of the order), we can produce your favors within 7-10 days.

So, with handmade favors being the more creative, personal, eco-friendly, budget-friendly and deadline-friendly option, why choose anything else? You’ll never go back to Jordan Almonds again…

Have a great idea for a handmade favor? Please add it here!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Welcome 2011! Bellissima's New Year Resolutions

Time passes so quickly, doesn't it?
Another year... come, gone.

Reflecting on this past year, I realize that I've accomplished quite a bit - mostly in my professional life, but I've also made some moderate improvements in my personal life, as well.

Establishing and reaching goals is so fulfilling, I strive to make them for myself - and work to reach them - on a regular basis. And while, in most cases, the satisfaction itself is it's own reward, I try to find small ways to compensate myself for achieving my goals - minor indulgences that I wouldn't ordinarily treat myself to: an hour in the tub with a glass of wine and a good book, a professional manicure, a pint of Ben & Jerry's, etc.

It's a life philosophy based on a sort of behavior modification that I find works for me (those Psych classes in college really stuck with me, I guess). It keeps me challenged and motivated and always struggling to be the best I can be.

And this is the time for Resolutions, right? As private as most resolutions are to people, I've decided to share mine here - well, my professional ones, anyway (who cares about my personal ones but me, anyway?). I'm hoping that by putting them in writing - in bold type, no less - it will force me to set the more difficult ones and work even harder to achieve them.

So, here we go:
1. Get Organized!
This is on the top of a lot of people's list of resolutions. I think that we're always in a such a rush to get things done that we seldom take the time to pay attention to the small details that help keep us more organized. In teaching me to cook, my Mom always said 'If you clean up as you go along, you won't be looking at a big mess when you're done.' So I hereby resolve to Clean Up As I Go Along: take better notes, label things properly, put things back where they belong, etc.

2. Keep In Contact!
Again, probably on a lot of folks' professional & personal lists. While I have all the tools I need to contact my customers and potential clients, I often let this very important (and valuable) responsibility fall by the wayside. So I hereby resolve to Connect & Communicate: post on my blog, send out my Newsletters, participate in my newsgroups & forums, etc.

3. Stay Focused!
As I sit here writing, I can think of the 12 other things I have on my list of things to do today - which inevitably leads me to starting 6 things, working on them all at once and never finishing more than 2 or 3 by day end. And I know that if I can just focus on 1 item at a time, I would be much more successful. It stems from me thinking 'if I at least get it started, I will finish it today' - and that's usually just not the way it works. So I hereby resolve to Work the List: create a prioritized list and never start a 'lower' task until the one above it is finished - period.

4. Stop Procrastinating!
Yes, also a very popular Resolution - and for a very good reason: it's hard! And I'm guilty of it on a regular basis - as I have mentioned in at least one prior blog post. It's always a battle of procrastination against sheer willpower - and I believe I need a serious plan of attack in order to conquer it once and for all. So my first strategy is to hereby resolve to Acknowledge the Enemy: when I find I'm putting something off 'til tomorrow, I will recognize that I'm procrastinating and will myself to get it done.

5. Reduce Stress!
I put this one last because I honestly believe that a lot of my stress comes from my poor management of goals 1-4. By achieving - even just working on - my first four goals, this one will will basically accomplish itself! There are so many sources of day-to-day stress, but I can only work on the ones I have control over - so I hereby resolve to Stop Obsessing Over Things Out of My Control, and try to only concern myself with the things I can improve on my own.

Well, I think this is a pretty good start. I have lots more, as we all do at this time of year.

Some resolutions we achieve immediately, some we work on day by day (and even year-after-year) and some will fall by the wayside, but all resolutions are made with good intentions and can be labors of love. And some will change us, whether we succeed or not, into better people.

Want to put a few of your New Year's Resolutions into print? Share yours - and your plan for success - right here!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blog Neglect - Am I the Victim or the Perpetrator?

My poor, poor Blog.

Yes, I've neglected you for quite some time now.

But things got in the way... life got in the way.

And even when I knew I needed to pay you some attention, I still chose to neglect you. And the longer I neglected you, the harder it got to come back to you. I was afraid: afraid of how long it had been, afraid of having lost that connection - that flow of continuity that existed when I was with you every day.

And afraid I could never get that back.

So I decided to just bite the bullet and come back. Face the empty box that had been the basis of my fears for so long.

And admit my faults and admit that my ability to commit is my fatal flaw.

But I also thought it might make me (of course me, who else?) feel better to post just some of the things that have kept me from my Blog for so, so long:

Bellissima now offers 3 Facial Masques for different skin types:

~Sea Clay for Oily/Acne Prone Skin
~Green Tea for Normal Skin
~Gentle Floral for Mature Skin

Facial Masques come in a Set including Clay Mask Base, Toner, Stir Sticks, Cotton Pads, Spa Bag & Instructions.

Bellissima's new All Natural & Vegan Gentle Makeup Remover is designed to thoroughly & efficiently remove makeup while softening and moisturing the skin. Non-greasy and 100% alcohol-, fragrance- and colorant-free.

Bellissima introduces PediWorx! All natural, spa-quality products to help you put your best feet forward!

PediWorx Grapefruit & Peppermint Foot Scrub & Cream with Tea Tree and Neem Oils work together to tenderly remove surface skin cells & condition and soften skin and nails to reveal smooth, healthy-looking & feeling feet!

And there are more 'excuses': 3 new Mineral Correctors, Bellissima Triple Butter Body Souffle, Shea & Sugar Body Polish, Hydrating Body Lotion, Solid Lotion Bars - all natural, of course!

I won't make any promises... I can't.

But what I will do is: if I need to be away from my Blog for a while, take some time to post the reasons why.

Thank you for hanging in there and waiting for me!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The LipSync Project: 15 Days of Treats for Your Lips, Day 5

I thought today would be a great day for a recipe and Lip Balm Tutorial!

Making Lip Balm is actually a very easy process - and an amazing introduction into the world of handmade bath & body products! If you’ve ever considered making your own soap, lotions, body creams and more, lip balms are the perfect place to start to get your passion going and creativity flowing!

There are lots of wonderful, Do-It-Yourself Lip Balm-Making Kits available, which make it even easier to jump start your project. They also make fun and educational activities for school classes, birthday parties, girl scout troops and more!

But if you want to start from scratch, here’s a recipe and tutorial along with some guidelines and helpful hints to make your own lip balms.

While every formulator has their own version that works best for them, the basic components of any lip balm recipe include approximately:
40% Liquid Oils - oils that remain liquid at room temperature
25% Solid Oils - oils that are solid at room temperature
20% Waxes
15% Brittle Oils - oils that are solid at room temp with a firm, brittle consistency

And here’s a list of examples of each type of oil:
Liquid Oils: Olive, Sweet Almond, Apricot Kernel, Grapeseed, Avocado, Hemp Seed, Jojoba, Sunflower Seed, Macadamia Seed, Rice Bran, Evening Primrose, Castor, Soybean
Solid Oils: Coconut, Palm, Mango Butter, Shea Butter, Babassu Oil
Brittle Oils: Cocoa Butter, Illipe Butter, Kokum Butter, Palm Kernel Oil
Waxes: Beeswax, Soy Wax, Candelilla Wax, Carnauba Wax

It’s important to remember that each of these oils and waxes will impart different properties to your balm, and each will effect your recipe differently, as well. For example, Soy Wax is much softer and has a lower melting point than Beeswax, so it will produce a softer balm if the recipe is not adjusted with a higher percentage of brittle oils.

First things first - compile your tools. You’ll need:
- Small postal or jeweler’s scale
- Heat-resistant measuring cup
- Stir Stick or Spoon
- Dispensing Pipette (optional)
- 8 Lip balm tubes or alternative containers (small clean tins, jars or pots are okay, too)

Basic Lip Balm Recipe, 2oz Yield (fills about 8 .15oz lip balm tubes or 4 5g size jars):
.8oz Sweet Almond Oil
.4oz Beeswax
.5oz Coconut Oil
.3oz Cocoa Butter
2 Drops Vitamin E (optional - Vitamin E adds moisturizing & protective benefits and helps prolong the shelf-life of your balms)

1) Measure out all oils, butters and waxes

2) Heat gently in Microwave in 20 second bursts until completely melted - Careful! Melted Oils are Very Hot!!

3) Add 2 Drops Vitamin E and stir well (optional)
4) Pour or dispense using pipette into tubes or containers

5) Allow to cool completely before capping and using

Here are some Helpful Hints:
- Some Brittle oils & Butters may become grainy in lip balms unless they are tempered - allowed to remain at a sustained temperature for a period of time (just like tempering chocolate). Heat and maintain a temperature of approximately 100 degrees for Cocoa and Mango Butter, 170-185 degrees for Shea Butter, for a minimum of 15 -30 minutes before cooling and adding to your recipe.
- As lip balm cools, there is a tendency for settling to occur, making for an uneven surface. Keep some melted balm set aside to ‘top off’ your tubes as they cool.
- Flavor Oils or Essential Oils may be added at about 1% off your formula. Be sure to use essential oils that are not photosensitive and flavor oils that are oil-based and intended for use in lip balms (not food flavorings that are alcohol-based!). Too much flavor oil can prevent your balms from solidifying properly and give a bitter aftertaste to lip balm.
- Cosmetic-grade colorants may be added in very small amounts - be sure you are using pigments that are skin-safe and safe for use on lips.
- Lip Balm came out too hard or too soft? Just remelt and add more liquid oils or brittle oils! Lip Balm recipes are very forgiving and correcting mistakes is as simple as reheating and adjusting your oils.

One of the most fabulous things about a basic lip balm recipe is that it’s completely multifunctional:
- add flavor or essential oil for a flavored lip balm
- add a small amount of lip-safe, colored mica for a tinted lip balm
- add peppermint essential oil and tea tree oil for a rejuvenating foot balm
- add Tea Tree Oil and Vitamin E Oil for a healing cuticle balm
- add essential oils for an aromatherapeutic body balm
- add fragrance oil for a solid perfume

The best advice I can give you is to try your recipe with different oils, butters and waxes to find the combination that you like best!

Here’s your LipSync Lip Treat for Day 5:
LipSync Mineral Tinted Lip Butter in Chocolate Truffle - .25oz Slide Tin

LipSync Handmade Lip Butters are extra-emollient and moisturizing and enriched with Vitamin E. Formulated with only the highest quality ingredients - and 3 different ultra-rich butters - they're the ultimate in promoting soft, supple, smooth, kissable lips. And with a hint of sheer color, they can be worn alone, under or over lipstick and lip liners. Chocolate Truffle Lip Butter imparts the scent of dark, rich chocolate and adds a sheer tint of deep brown shimmer to your lips.

LipSync Mineral Tinted Lip Butters are available for $4.00 each plus shipping at!

Discount Alert: Use Coupon Code ‘LipSyncBlogProject’ for 10% off your LipSync Purchase! Just note the Code in the Message to Seller Box during Checkout and I’ll refund your discount!

Tune in for Day 6 of The LipSync Project!

Monday, February 15, 2010

The LipSync Project: 15 Days of Treats for your Lips. Day 4

I know what I like in a Lip Gloss:

High Shine
Glossy Lustre
Subtle, sheer color
Flattering shades
Long Lasting
All Natural
Smooth Application
Moisturizing, Softening & Conditioning Benefits
Protection from the Elements

And I know what I don’t like in a Lip Gloss:

Thick, petroleum feel
Sticky, Slippery or Tacky Feel
Unnatural Looking Color
Chemical-y Fragrance and/or Flavor
Synthetic ingredients
Rubs or slides off easily
Globby, Clumpy Application
Chemical Preservatives

Lip gloss doesn’t have to feel like you’ve spackled Vaseline on your lips!

There are so many benefits to wearing lip gloss, many cosmetic, and some even contribute to the health of delicate lip tissue.

And the best way to obtain those benefits is with a natural gloss.

When coming up with my formula for LipSync Lip Gloss, I kept my list of ‘likes’ in mind and tested and fine-tuned until I managed to get as many ‘likes’ from the list in my Gloss as I could. I was so pleased with the results - and with having an all-natural substitute for my favorite name brand, petroleum-based, chemical-enriched glosses!

Okay, I know Lip Gloss doesn’t tend to have much staying power and needs to be reapplied over and over again throughout the day - but I definitely wanted each application to provide moisture, hydrate & condition lips every single time. And provide great protection from dry, winter air and hot, sun-drenched rays of the sun in summer.

And the color - oh the color!
Natural mineral pigments and mica provide such a wide variety of shades that some days I don’t know where to start - and then I don’t ever want to end - creating gorgeous, glossy colors!

Right now, there are 8 Shades in the LipSync Lip Gloss Line - and I’m adding more during this Project - but I’m also working on developing some fabulous collections! I’m hoping to introduce the Precious Metals Collection (bold, shimmering coppers, bronzes and golds), the Precious Gems Collection (beautifully delicate garnets, opals & rubies) and the Vineyard Collection (rich, stunning plums, grapes and wines) by the end of the year.

But until then, here’s your LipSync Lip Treat for Day 4:
LipSync Natural Mineral Tinted Lip Gloss in Seriously Suede - Net Wt. .340 oz./9.6g

Gorgeous, Glossy Lips - Every Time!

LipSync Natural Mineral Lip Gloss is designed to impart a sheer hint of color and rich gloss to your lips. With natural, good-for-your-skin ingredients like Shea Butter, Cocoa Butter and Sunflower Oil, your lips receive a healthy dose of vitamins, nutrients and emollients to help your lips look and feel beautiful!

LipSync Seriously Suede Lip Gloss will moisturize, condition and soften delicate lip tissue while giving your lips a sheer hint of chocolate brown color, tons of shine and a touch of shimmer with every application.

LipSync Lip Glosses are available for $5.95 each plus shipping at!

Use Coupon Code LipSyncBlogProject for 10% off your LipSync Purchase! Just note the Code in the Message to Seller Box during Checkout and I’ll refund your discount!

Tune in for Day 5 of The LipSync Project!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

The LipSync Project: 15 Days of Treats for Your Lips - Day 3

Welcome to Day 3 of The LipSync Project!

When it comes to flavoring lip products, we have basically two choices: essential oils or flavor oils.

Essential oils, because they’re derived from natural sources (mostly plant materials), provide a limited selection for flavoring purposes. Many that may be used for flavoring are from the citrus fruit family: lime, lemon, orange, but there’s also anise, cinnamon, clove, peppermint, etc. But some essential oils can cause photosensitivity, and may cause the skin to burn more easily when exposed to sunlight, particularly when used in leave-on products like lip balms.
Flavor oils are synthetic (I always choose pthalate-free!), and therefore can be manufactured in just about any possible flavor. They are available sweetened, but I prefer the unsweetened - with a sweetener, there is a tendency to lick, which may promote dry, chapped lips.

As with fragrance oils, when I add new flavor and essential oils to my inventory, I open each bottle as soon as they arrive and smell the aroma, touch to feel the consistency and try to see how it feels on the skin - and just get an overall first impression for my records.

Along with many formulators, I make up a large batch of lip balm and lip gloss base each week, and then flavor & color smaller quantities to order. I want every customer to receive as fresh a product as possible!

I start testing by melting a small amount of base and adding the manufacturer’s minimum suggested percentage of each Flavor Oil per batch. I test and record how each oil dispurses in the base, how it affects the color and of course, how it smells. Once the base solidifies, I test and record how the flavored balm feels on the skin, how it tastes (even though flavor oils have no actual flavor, too much can create a bitter aftertaste in balm) and how long the aroma lasts.

I then remelt the flavored base, adjust the amount of Flavor Oil as necessary, and then more notekeeping. I may do this several times - or start over from scratch - until I get exactly what I want: intense, long-lasting aroma that doesn’t adversely effect the foundation of the Lip Balm or Butter.

When I have the percentage of each flavor oil recorded for future formulating, I can then start playing with color! I test which shades of mica will work best with each scent, carefully recording amounts and colors so it can easily be recreated later.

And then I can finally name my new Lip product! And that’s a big part of the fun - I love coming up with awesome new blends and fun names for my products. I’ll sit with a notebook for hours on end drawing up potential names - and am usually quite pleased with myself when I come up with a yummy new Lip Butter flavor like Mexican Hot Chocolate (coming soon!) or memorable, descriptive Lip Gloss names like Fiercely Fuschia and Marvelously Merlot (superlatives are a fun trademark of my LipSync Line of Lip Glosses).

And here’s today’s LipSync Lip Treat for Day 3:

LipSync Mineral Tinted Lip Butter in Vanilla Latte, .25oz slide tin
LipSync handmade Lip Butters are extra-emollient and moisturizing and enriched with Vitamin E. Formulated with only the highest quality ingredients - and 3 different ultra-rich butters - they're the ultimate in promoting soft, supple, smooth lips. And with a hint of sheer color, they can be worn alone, under or over lipstick and lip liners.

Vanilla Latte Lip Butter imparts the scent of rich, creamy coffee with a hint of vanilla. This Lip Butter adds a sheer tint of a light chocolate-brown shimmer to your lips.

LipSync Vanilla Latte Mineral Tinted Lip Butter is available for $4.00 + Shipping at my new shop on etsy:

Tune in to Day 4 of The LipSync Project: 15 Days of Treats for Your Lips for more fun - and maybe even a recipe - and of course, a brand new treat for your lips!