Random Neural Firings

the inner workings of a restless creative brain

When You Just Wanna Give a Little Somethin’


What do you give a colleague or friend when you want to mark an occasion with just a little token? Not a full on gift, but a little somethin’? Candles are tried and true, but what about a 100% soy candle with a twist? Friend just got pregnant? Check out the “knocked up” candle from Scent of a Scandal (baby powder fragrance). I gave that to my friend, Lisa, when she was pregnant with #2.  Know someone about to take a dream trip to the Amalfi Coast? Give her the BEE-OTCH (honey fragrance) candle and let her know how you really feel.

Wanna bring in something other than candy to the office for Halloween? Try the “Turning Tricks” (candy corn) candle.  Guaranteed to bring a smile plus it smells good!

p.s. I’m just getting settled into the house so I may be updating some old posts this week. Follow me on Twitter for all the gory details on the move. On second thought, you might not want to. As a friend told me yesterday, he’d rather slam a stapler into his forehead than move. I so get that.

Found it for you, Kristie: Stylish, Affordable Vegan Shoes


When Kristie emailed me as part of our new “Find it for Me ‘Rean” feature, I was excited, then scared. She is looking for stylish, affordable vegan shoes. The stylish part was relatively easy — I knew Natalie Portman had just launched a line of vegan shoes — but the affordable part was a nightmare. Natalie’s shoes are like, $180+ — and that’s on sale! But I’m a redhead and I don’t give up that easily.

Kristie specifically requested pumps for work, sandals for summer and shoes for her little boy. Zappos has a vegan category but I wasn’t seeing a lot of cute pumps. I also searched Amazon for vegan shoes and DSW Shoe Warehouse (where I get most of my shoes). In addition to searching “vegan,” I looked for “canvas” and other non-leather, non-suede materials. Of course, I searched Etsy, too! I was starting to panic a little because most of the vegan shoes were crunchy, granola, canvas sneakers or flats. Nothing wrong with that, but I wanted to find Kristie some CUTE shoes. The kind that you want to run out and get a pedicure for.

Then I found VeganChic.com. They have LOTS of cute shoes, all at very reasonable prices. I hope this works for you, Kristie! You might also try Alternative Outfitters (a vegan boutique) and I found a blog just for green shoe shopping! Oh, and if you need a bag to go with your shoes, check out Matt and Nat. I’m not vegan but I love their bags!

For work, how about a pair of Mary Jane pumps for just $39.99 at VeganChic?

Or these two-toned Oxford heels for $42.50?

Amazon has these cute slides on sale for $29:

They also have this adorable paisley slide ($59) made by a company called Vegan Toe.

Sandals were easier to find. These by CL for Laundry on Vegan Chic are cute for $34.99

These little tie-dye sandals from Amazon are a steal at $14.99 (Prime shipping, too):

Last, but certainly not least, let’s find some cute shoes for your little boy!

There’s a brand called Acorn Kids I found on Zappos. These might be a bit pricey but honestly, I’m not sure because I’ve never bought children’s shoes before! (Just starting to figure out infant shoes.) These little monster shoes are $36 and sooooo cute:

Tom’s says they’re going to have youth sizes coming in October. The pics are cute but no idea what they will cost.

Simple Kids makes vegan shoes for kids. These are $44.95 a pair. Is it just me or are kids shoes expensive? I guess there are always Crocs. 🙂

Vegan Chic to the rescue again with these all-purpose boys shoes on sale for $30.75

All right, Kristie, so how’d I do? I hope you find some shoes you love that fit your feet and your wallet! And because we picked your question, we are going to send you a $25 Amazon gift card to get you started.

Are you looking for something? A hard-to-find gift idea? Something for a new mom? A baby? Your best friend? Stumped for decorating ideas? Hey, this is a random blog so the more random the better! Send me an email at sherean at gmail dot com and put “Find it for me ‘Rean” in the subject line. If I can find it and use your question, I’ll send you a $25 Amazon gift card, too!

Friday Random RoundUp


Here’s what caught my eye this week:

Scent of a Scandal has new fall scents out for their fabulous soy candles. Check out Suck It (blood orange) and Turning Tricks (candy corn), available through Halloween only.

I’m still trying to figure out what to do for my baby’s one year birthday celebration. He loves wheels and anything that spins. Maybe pinwheels? Do I have time to make these cute ones? Is that even considered a theme? Anybody have any ideas that don’t involve cars?

I need to exchange my Sigg water bottles. Have you heard the news? Turns out Sigg’s bottles had BPA in the liners (the newest bottles do not but older ones do). I was PISSED when I heard that. Not that I believe the amount was harmful (it wasn’t) but because the company lied about it. Dumb, dumb, dumb to break the public’s trust like that. I blogged about it over on my company blog if you want the background. In the meantime, check to see if you have one of the older Sigg bottles (the inside rim will be a gold color) and if you do, follow these instructions to exchange it. I am doubly bummed because I was a BIG fan (blogged about them as a great gift idea but won’t even link to the post for you cuz I take it all back!).

Win Your Choice: an Outfit from CandyStick Lane or a Custom-Made Piece from The JumpOff!



il_430xN_86269553I’m so excited about our first contest! I first discovered Renee’s Etsy shops, CandyStick Lane and The JumpOff, last year before my son was even born. CandyStick Lane is her original designs boutique; The JumpOff features clothing made from recycled t-shirts. You can win your choice of an outfit from CandyStickLane or a custom made onesie, t-shirt or dress from The JumpOff. I’m going to tell you more about Renee in just a minute. First, here are details on how you can win.


1)      Go check out her Etsy shops (CandyStick Lane and The JumpOff), then come back here and leave a comment telling us what your favorite thing is. If you win, you’ll win that!

2)      Subscribe to my RSS feed or follow me on Twitter, then come back and leave another comment telling me you have and you’ll get a SECOND entry.

3)      Follow Candystick Lane on Twitter, leave me another comment and you’ll get a THIRD entry.

The contest is open to U.S. residents only. Get your entries in by midnight Wednesday September 9, 2009. We’ll randomly select a winner using Random.org. Be sure and include an email address in the comment form (which only we can see and we never share; see our Privacy Policy) so we can notify you if you win. And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook for a whole other contest – a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card!

All right, now let me introduce you to Renee. She has, like, four jobs: 1) a single mother (which counts for two right there); 2) a “day” job in healthcare and 3) kids clothing designer for two- count them -TWO, boutiques. Her first boutique, CandyStick Lane, was started in 2006 and features clothing mainly for little girls (but I’m working on her to add more things for boys). Her other shop, The JumpOff, started a year later and features designs recycled from t-shirts. She also makes custom shirts, dresses, and onesies from your favorite t-shirt. Cute stuff!


I loved that whole recycle idea so I sent her one of my husband’s softball team shirts to make into a onesie for my son. It turned out AWESOME and that’s what he wears to go watch his dad play. He’s the little team mascot! (I love it when people ask me if I made it. Ha! I took Home Ec in 8th grade and sewed my skirt to my jeans when I was trying to hem it on my lap. Noooo, I do not sew.)


I asked Renee about some of the most memorable custom outfits she’s ever made. “I think the most touching custom design was a woman whose brother died tragically and she had me make two of his favorite tees into onesies for her son. I also transformed a grandfather’s work shirts into jumpers for the granddaughters to pass down.”

How awesome is that? What special t-shirt have you been hanging onto that might be perfect to turn into something “new” for your little one?

Tomorrow, I’ll have snippets from my interview with Renee. In the meantime, be sure and check out her  shops (CandyStick Lane and The JumpOff) and leave us a comment telling us what you’d like to win. You must have your entries in by Wednesday, September 9th, at midnight. Good luck!

Friday Random RoundUp


Here’s what’s open in the browser:

SafeMama found and reviewed reusable produce bags. She cheerfully carts her reusable grocery totes to the store, but hates stuffing produce in the little plastic bags. Someone told her about these reusable produce bags, she tried ’em, loves them, and tells you why. I’m sold and am going to get some myself.

Baby Ewok Halloween Costume. I like to plan ahead and I think this is PERFECT! Check out their Yoda and other Star Wars baby costumes, too. This will be my puddin’ pop’s FIRST Halloween!

Building a Green Home. My hubby and I are thinking of building a green house so I’m researching like mad. Here’s one site I’ve been checking out. More to come as this becomes my new obsession. (I have room for one more obsession, right?)

Green Home Building

Friday Link Love


Check out Ariana’s digital scrapbook of her baby’s first year. Too cute! She is inspiring me to get off my butt and make some albums.

Cara, my favorite eco-blogger, has 7 great ways to reuse cereal boxes. I love the postcard idea. And since my hubby is a BIG cereal eater, we have plenty of material to make the cards. Now if we could just find a stamp . . .

Speaking of eco-friendly, have you seen the Greenhaven Home? It’s an eco-design show home in the suburbs of Atlanta (East Cobb). We went last weekend and I snapped my little guy in a kid-sized chair in one of the fabulously decorated rooms. Great green building AND decorating ideas.


If you’re in Atlanta this weekend, after you tour the Greenhaven home, you should check out the big designer boutique warehouse sale. Kelly’s Closet will be there (the store where I purchased my wedding dress). They’re not just a wedding store, though; they carry lots of non-wedding, fun, fashionable ready-to-wear clothes. And at prices up to 90% off, what’s not to love?


Reusable Sandwich Bags – Great Idea for Back-to-School or Just For Me!


The folks over at WeAreThatFamily are hosting a special themed edition of their “What Works for Me Wednesday” series. Today’s theme is Back-to-School tips, and while my munchkin is certainly advanced, he’s not quite ready for school yet. But that doesn’t mean I’m completely tip-less, or without an opinion on something I’m clearly unqualified to speak on. 🙂

I’m thinking back-to-school, packing lunches, cute lunch boxes, environmentally friendly water bottles (like Sigg which we’ve blogged about before), and heck, why not try those reusable sandwich bags. My husband takes his lunch to work frequently and I’ve been thinking of getting him some of these. I love that they’re reusable, non-toxic, and can be washed in the dishwasher! Lots of folks selling them online. Here are a few I’ve found.

SnackTaxi (formerly Happy-Sacks) – these folks were featured on the Queen of All Media (Oprah).

Fly-by-Night sandwich bag from Snack Taxi ($8.95/ea)

3GreenMoms – I like their simple, bold, repeating patterns. Plus, they have a plain white version you can decorate yourself with permanent markers. Or better yet, let the kidlets do the decorating!

White Lunch Skins (customizable) from 3GreenMoms ($16 for a set of 3)

FoodStuffs Etsy Seller – in honor of my nephew, I’d have to get the Pirate design!

FoodStuffs Reusable Sandwich Wrap in Pirates ($8/each)

If I packed my own lunch, I’d get the orange mosaic from FoodStuffs. Isn’t this CUTE?

OK, all this talk about sandwiches is making me crave a BLT.

Gifts for Grown Ups


One of my friends wrote and scolded me:  “Enough with the baby gifts already! I need a gift for a friend over 2′ tall.” All righty then, how about making them a customized Go Green set? Package up a reusable grocery tote or two with an aluminum water bottle. But not just any old tote and bottle, personalize them.

Start by hopping on over to Zazzle and browsing all the groovy products and unique designs. My friend, Kemba, has a beautiful shop there featuring international-flavored designs. Find a design you like, pick the bag style you want, and customize it by adding your gift recipient’s name or other text. You can change the font and color, move the design around, and really make it your own. Here I made a bag for Cara at repurposeful (great eco blogger) using Kemba’s Flourish design. Cost of the customized bag? A mere $10.55 for this style.


Then, check out Sigg’s custom water bottles ($27.99/ea). Sigg is the aluminum bottle you see the celebrities toting around. Much better for the environment than using plastic bottles. My hubby and I both have Siggs and love them. (We always think it’s so funny when we’re headed out the door and call out: “Did you remember your Sigg?”)

What I didn’t know when I bought ours was that I could have bought personalized versions with our names on it. They have about six customizable designs (and a whole lot more non-customizable ones). You can also create a custom skin for your bottle by uploading a favorite photo. I might do this to update my Sigg!


Pop the water bottle in the tote bag for instant “wrapping” and top it all off with a plantable card ($4.95 for the one shown below) from Botanical Paperworks. Yep, you heard me. You can plant these greeting cards in the ground and they will sprout flowers.

Now that’s a groovy green gift! Grown up enough for you, V? 🙂

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