Thursday, March 10, 2011

Spotlight Boulevard :: Chic Mama

Hello friends! TGIT! Yes, thank goodness it's Thursday... and for Spotlight Boulevard! I know I have said this before but Thursday has quickly become my favorite day of the week because I feature a savvy and chic woman owned business. Women are rocking the world with their amazing businesses and I am not only happy to be one of those women, but also to have had the pleasure of making so many connections with these women. Some I have met face-to-face, and some I know only through their avatars and witty and engaging Tweets! Either way, I am thankful to be connected to them in some way.

I had the chance to meet this week's savvy and chic MOMpreneur, Adriana D'Arco owner of Chic Mama Diaper Cakes and More, last summer at the Westfield Baby Expo. I was located not too far from her exhibit space and was scoping her out her gorgeous diaper cake creations all night. I was thrilled when I finally had a moment to go over and introduce myself and see her products up close. Now, I have been to many baby showers and I have even made a diaper cake myself before, but nothing ever as well designed & styled as these! Chic Mama diaper cakes are are not just a bunch of diapers adorned with a few baby chotchkes. Chic Mama diaper cakes are charming and sophisticated!! They are bright, bold, unique, beautiful and uber CHIC! There is a design for just about any baby shower theme.


How amazing would these be as the table center pieces at a baby shower?? Not sure what to send as a gift to a new mom? Forget the flowers! Moms-to-be need diapers more than anything! AND, Chic Mama also has an eco-friendly collection of diaper cakes! See, savvy and chic! Adriana also offers custom diaper cakes designs, as well as towel cakes and many other great items for the chic mom-to-be! There is something for anyone throwing a baby shower or gifting a new mom.

Adriana has so very graciously offered up a 10% coupon for all Uptown Girl readers starting today and good through March 17, 2011! Enter code CM1002 upon checkout. Read on as I had the chance to ask Adriana my top 5 favorite questions and then to learn a few fun facts about this chic mama!

Chic Mama website:



The FIVE... with Adriana D'Arco from Chic Mama

Q: What was the inspiration for starting your business?

My true inspiration for my business are my children. I had been working in the corporate world for so long and found myself missing important moments in my children’s lives, or just being too stressed and busy to pay attention. I came to the realization that I needed to take a step back and find a way to be able to focus more on my children while still being able to continue my career. That is when the idea for Chic Mama Diaper Cakes was born.

Q: What were some of the challenges that you have faced?

My biggest challenge has to do with time. It seems that the hours just go by too quickly in a given day. Although, after reprioritizing aspects of my life, I am finally finding a way to incorporate my business, my volunteer work, MYSELF, and most importantly, my family into each day. I now know that I just need to take one thing at a time. When my children come home from school, my focus is completely on them.

Q: How do you find balance between “real life” and being a super female entrepreneur and/or MOMpreneur?

It’s a decision you have to make for yourself. I always put work and household chores first…I think it has to do with my Type A personality. I made a very specific decision last year to put my family and my own health first. I make sure to incorporate the gym into my daily schedule and have an energy level that I haven’t had in years. When school is over, I officially become the “soccer mom” and run from one practice to the other. When they have gone to bed, I get back to work if needed. It’s a system that is working very well for all of us.

Q: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs just starting out?

Believe in yourself! I can honestly say that I would have never thought I would own my own business. If it wasn’t for the complete support of my husband I would not have been able to do it. He encourages me each day and believes in me. I now believe in myself too!

Q: What is up & coming for your business?

Hmm….my main goal right now is continuing to get my name out there. I continuously add new diaper cake designs and hope to continue to grow my product line with more “chic” items for the modern mom.

The TEN... with Adriana D'Arco from Chic Mama

1. I was made in Uruguay, South America but born in New Jersey.

2. I am fluent in Spanish.

3. I have one tattoo and at the age of 36 would love to get another one.

4. In my next lifetime I hope to be a ballroom dancer.

5. My favorite arcade game of all time is Ms. Pacman.

6. My guilty pleasure is Reality TV.

7. I MUST have chocolate once a day.

8. I am a truly dog person but have the best cat in the world!

9. I have a degree in Accounting and LOVE spreadsheets!

10. My children look nothing like me…100% their dad.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Spotlight Boulevard :: Sassy Glass Shop

Hello Hello! I hope this Thursday finds you happy & well! I for one am feeling great and full of energy, and might I even dare say... sassy! It's in the air with spring coming. Do you feel it too? No? Well, then maybe this week's featured woman owned business on Spotlight Boulevard will ignite that spark of sassiness! I am so happy to finally feature Lisa Gifford Mueller from Sassy Glass Studio!

Let me begin with saying how much I adore Lisa! Not only is she super down to earth but she is is so passionate about her businesses and teaching and connecting with others. I love that! And, yes.... I said businesses! Lisa runs Sassy Glass Studio which handcrafts one-of-a-kind fused glass art. The collection is stunning and Lisa also offers custom pieces as well. In her shop you will find beautiful works of art, so spirited and colorful. Bowls, plates, frames and jewelry! I love the funky cocktail rings! The home good pieces would be a fabulous house warming gift! With Mother's Day around the corner a fused glass art necklace would be something so special and unique.


That's some serious sass, right?? Lisa actually teaches classes too! Another great gift idea for someone or even yourself! Lisa's creativity doesn't stop at the kiln. Remember, I said businesses. When Lisa is not strutting her sassy creating fused glass art, you will find her behind the lens. She has a professional photography business with her hubby called ALM Photo! AND, Lisa also just launched something so cool called Creativity Central, which offers workshops to creative business people.

Lisa was so cool to answers some Q's and tell a little about herself. But even cooler... Lisa is offering an Etsy coupon for Uptown Girl readers!! Use code UPTOWN10 to save 10% through March 24, 2011! Thanks Lisa! You're seriously sassilicious!

Sassy Glass Studio contact info:



twitter: @AllThingsSassy

ALM Photo contact info:

website: www.ALMPHOTO.COM

twitter: @almphoto

The FIVE... with Lisa Gifford Mueller from SASSY GLASS STUDIO

Q: What was the inspiration for starting your business?

My inspiration for starting Sassy Glass Studio was actually my sister-in-law, Mary Jane, who had started Sassy Glass Studio as a hobby. One day she decided she wanted to down-size her hobby and asked if anyone in the family wanted to take over the glass and kilns. I jumped at the chance and once I mastered creating fused glass art I realized it was a great business opportunity. I guess the inspiration for my version of Sassy Glass Studio was the opportunity of endless possibilities of creating, marketing and teaching.

Q: What were some of the challenges that you have faced?

The first challenge I faced was how was I going to find buyers for my fused glass art. I knew I wouldn’t be mass-producing items so a retail type environment wasn’t an option, so I decided to focus on what I called ‘@Home Shows’ which were sort of like a Tupperware party. This worked well for a while until I got frustrated with packing and setting up my heavy, delicate glass constantly. So I decided to do art shows as a way to share my one-of-a-kind fused glass art with the masses. This was even more difficult because it was expensive to exhibit at the shows and the days were long and there was no guarantee that I would sell anything. It wasn’t until I discovered Etsy {} that I found an outlet for making sales and getting the word out about my art.

Q: How do you find balance between “real life” and being a super female entrepreneur and/or MOMpreneur?

This is a really great question for a couple of reasons. Not only do I run Sassy Glass Studio but I also have a professional photography business with my husband. Talk about a challenge and finding balance! I try to be consistent with carving out personal time for not only myself but for us as a couple. Working with your spouse can really blur the fine line between being together and ‘being together’. One bit of advice I always give other entrepreneurs is to make time for themselves to keep their body, mind and soul happy.

Q: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs just starting out?

Ask a lot of questions. Do a ton of research. Find a mentor. No matter what industry you are in there will be someone you can get advice or learn from. Also, plan your business for success but don’t be afraid to make mistakes. If you are a creative business person, take time out from the business side to focus on your creativity. It’s important to remember why you are in business. Most importantly, just do it. If you have a great idea that will solve a problem or fill a need or create something nobody else can, don’t wait for the ‘right time’ because the right time is now.

Q: What is up & coming for your business?

Sassy Glass Studio is offering classes at the beginner and intermediate level that are a great way to learn something new and create some art at the same time. I have also launched Creativity Central offering workshops to creative business people especially those who sell or wish to sell on Etsy. On the photography side of things, I am a partner in a brand new business offering video tutorials on-line as well as a forum-based community where photographers can come together to connect and learn. Going into 2011 everything about me and my businesses is focused on growing, teaching and connecting.

The TEN... with Lisa Gifford Mueller from SASSY GLASS STUDIO

{1} I am obsessed with Hello Kitty

{2} My super hero persona is Kitty Fantastic

{3} I am not embarrassed to admit the first two items

{4} I eat almost every meal with chopsticks

{5} I ride an adorable scooter with blue & white flowers all over town when the weather is nice

{6} I am that person who dances like no one is watching

{7} I can never remember the punch line to a joke

{8} Don’t tell my husband, but I am having a morning love affair with both Mr. Elliptical and Mr. Coffee

{9} I started a new Summer sport- bee petting – and have the photos to prove it

{10} I love NASCAR, monster trucks, wrestling and UFC

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

anything but a face :: an {i heart faces} weekly challenge

The title of this challenge made me laugh but I "get it" because the "anything but a face" pictures are some of my favorite photos to take. To me photography is about telling the whole story. Not just snapping pictures of people or their faces, but capturing the whole scene. From some flowers on a table to the shoes on people's feet. This particular photo was taken during a trip to Terhune Orchards for pumpkin picking. The kids climbed up on the fence to get a better look at the goats, but I loved how Woody was kind of carelessly hung. If he could really speak I think we know exactly what he would be saying. I also love how it totally captures life as a kid, when you can climb up on a fence with a buddy and all is great in the world.


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spotlight Boulevard :: Tiny Giraffe Shop

Happy day! It's Thursday which is quickly becoming one of my favorite days of the week! The day I put the spotlight on another woman owned business! Have I mentioned before that one of the things I enjoy most about having my own business are the connections I have made with other women in business? If not, then I'll tell you now, because it's true, one of the things I love the most about having my own business is the connection I have made with other women business owners! It continually amazes me the immense talent I come across on a daily basis. Not to mention the great enthusiasm these women have for their businesses. Their passion is contagious. It affirms that no matter what walk of life you come from, anything is possible. If you put your mind to it, you can be marvelous.

Speaking of marvelous... I think you'll agree that this week's spotlight is simply, pretty darn marvelous! It's Amy McGrath from the super cute Tiny Giraffe Shop!! This is a MUST SEE shop that sells classic wooden blocks for baby. I just adore the chic and modern, yet vintage, look to them! A sweet addition to baby's nursery, Tiny Giraffe wooden blocks would be perfect on a decorative shelf. I also love that the blocks are eco-friendly and non-toxic so when baby is old enough they have a great toy to play and grow with. You can also purchase a drawstring bag hand stamped with the child's first name. An excellent gift for a mom-to-be!


I'm right... right?? Simply, pretty darn marvelous! Amy happily shared a little about the inspiration behind Tiny Giraffe Shop and life as a MOMpreneur. Amy has also offered a sweet deal... save 10% on orders through March 3, 2011 when you use the checkout code UPTOWN10. Thank you so much for that offer Amy!

Tiny Giraffe Shop contact information:

The FIVE... with Amy McGrath from Tiny Giraffe Shop

Q: What was the inspiration for starting your business?
Tiny giraffe is the perfect balance between my passion for creating and love of business. After graduating with a degree in economics, I worked in the music industry and loved every minute of it. I was fascinated and excited by the music biz because it’s where the arts and business come together in a remarkable way. With the birth of my first daughter, I made the decision to give up working in music to start my most exciting job yet: raising my children. I created tiny giraffe as an outlet for my creative and entrepreneurial energy.

Q: What were some of the challenges that you have faced?
The biggest challange for me has been the very same challange all of us moms face: taking care of our family, ourselves, and a business is one big juggling act. Finding balance and maintaining that balance is something I'm always trying to improve upon.

Q: How do you find balance between “real life” and being a super female entrepreneur and/or MOMpreneur?
I try to schedule in time where I know I can get a few hours of work in. I do bits and pieces throughout the day when I can, but the bulk of creating is done at night or on the weekends. As long as I am able to plan ahead and schedule time to work, I find that I better able to balance family life and tiny giraffe.

Q: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs just starting out?
When I first started out, I didn't realize the impact that social media would have on my business. tiny giraffe has been active on facebook and twitter for only the past eight months, and I am astonished by how many opportunities and actual sales are generated from it!

Q: What is up & coming for your business?
I'm working on developing the Paper Doll blocks line, as well as a new alphabet set concept for this coming fall. There's some exciting press coming out this spring, so tiny giraffe should be super busy in the coming months!

The TEN... with Amy McGrath from Tiny Giraffe Shop

1. I play the violin
2. I'm an only child
3. I wish I knew how to sew
4. Nutella is my favorite food
5. I played softball in college
6. I'm addicted to the Real Housewives shows (NY, NJ, BH)
7. I have two little girls who I love to put in the same outfit, but in different colors
8. Once went on the road with They Might Be Giants
9. I hate raisins
10. Favorite item to buy on Etsy: holiday & birthday tees for my little girls!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

phone photo :: an {i heart faces} weekly challenge

Enchanted by the falling snow, may daughter sat in the window and I knew I had to capture the sweet moment. The perfect way the light is surrounding her, enhancing the little bun on the top of her head. I just love everything about this moment.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spotlight Boulevard: Twirlie Whirlies

Hello & happy day to you! For those of you that know one of my favorite things to do is post about my favorite things, namely highlighting those who I think are super cool and amazing women entrepreneurs. I have been calling these features "my favorite things". BUT really these super cool and amazing women are not "things". That and the little fact that there's this other super cool and amazing woman who already has made a name for my favorite things. So, that said, I'm thrilled to announce today will begin Spotlight Boulevard! I want to put the spotlight on super cool and amazing women and the road they have traveled to get where they are today, and also see the journey they are hopeful for in the future.

Today on Spotlight Boulevard is the seriously super cool, crafty, and a girl of my own heart being a confessed chocoholic, Shannon Torossi from Twirlies Whirlies! Let me just start with the name of her company, is it not just perfect?? If it wasn't clearly as obvious as it was to me when I first came upon it, Twirlie Whirlies are handmade paper party accessories! Ya know... Pinwheels!! Yet, these are not your typical plastic pinwheels meant to fan the garden gnomes in your backyards. Twirlie Whirlies are handcrafted using gorgeous, high quality scrapbook paper! And, you know me and paper. SWOON!

Twirlie Whirlies are fun, chic and classy! A perfect favor or decoration for a kids party! Twirlie Whirlies has even caught on as a 'Buzz Trend' in the February 2011 issue of Brides Magazine!! They can be custom made to jazz up any event you are planning!



Twirlie Whirlies also offers more darling handmade goods such as banners, flags, party hats, and favor boxes just to name a few of the party delights! You can check out all the fun at or shop at either Etsy, Etsy2 or Artfire. You can also follow Shannon on Twitter or the blog. Keep reading as I ask The FIVE and find out The TEN from the girl behind the whirl!

The FIVE... with Shannon Torossi from Twirlie Whirlies

What was the inspiration for starting your business?

My sweet little man Sebastian is my inspiration. It all began while I was searching around for some fun decorations for his "big boy bedroom". He will never know a life without a pinwheel.

What were some of the challenges that you have faced?

There have been a lot of challenges but I think the main one has, and will always be, time. There will never be enough hours in the day to do everything I want or need to do.

How do you find balance between “real life” and being a super female entrepreneur and/or MOMpreneur?

lol - who says I'm balanced? I am the most off-centred person you will ever meet! But, I do try to involve my family with my work whenever I can. My husband gets the title of "Quality Control Manager" and has the job of looking over the orders before they are mailed (and he is a tough critic - he DOES make me redo stuff). I can't wait until Sebastian is old enough to take on a few more duties for me but for now, he makes sure that all the pinwheels twirl!

What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs just starting out?

My best advice would be "don't try to rush it - everything will come in time". You may have a million great ideas but just start off with one or you will get overwhelmed.

What is up & coming for your business?

Right now I can't think past today. This time of year is busy scheduling in all of the upcoming wedding orders so that has been top priority. This year I got a bit of a boost by having one of my pinwheels featured in the "Buzz Trend" section of the February 2011 issue of BRIDES Magazine. Definitely a thrill. I think my main business goal, though, will be to stay ahead of the holidays and get my themed items up early!

The TEN... with Shannon Torossi from Twirlie Whirlies

1. I have a degree in Architectural Technology.

2. My nickname as a child was "Buckwheat". I have no idea why.

3. I started snowboarding when I was 30.

4. I've been pierced 9 times but only 2 are still in existence (piercings and children don't get along).

5. Everybody thinks I should have a tattoo. I don't.

6. I have to wear a teeth grinding night guard to bed (really attractive).

7. Music is my passion, yet I don't dance. EVER!

8. I'm registered as a potential donor on the Canadian Blood Services OneMatch Stem Cell and Marrow Network

9. I am a confessed chocoholic - currently in rehab

10. I love horror movies.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

{Lala's Cookie Jar}

Greetings all!! I have a super sweet addition to my favorite things this week... {Lala's Cookie Jar}! I met the owner, Andrea Festa, through the power of Twitter just a few months ago. I love meeting new people, but meeting a super MOMpreneur is even more delightful! I was immediately floored by her cookie creations - they are some of the most beautiful cookies I have ever seen! Grandma's old fashioned chocolate chip cookies ain't got nothing on {Lala's Cookie Jar}. Nothing against lovable, dear grandma or chocolate chip cookies for that matter, but if you're looking for a sweet treat with style then these haute couture cookies are IT!

I mean really... a Chanel cookie?? LOVE!

How PERFECT are these purple bustier cookies for the next bridal shower you throw?
I'm WILD for these hot pink, zebra cupcake shaped cookies!
These firetruck cookies will be a HOT hit as favors at your little's birthday party this year!

Can we say DARLING?! I might just throw a baby shower for the next pregnant person I meet just so I can get these adorable owl cookies!

I love that when talking with Andrea she said, "There is nothing we can't do! We love testing and stretching our boundaries!". Spoken by a true super female entrepreneur! Another thing I LOVE about {Lala's Cookie Jar} is that all of the cookies can be color customized and they arrive to you in clear bags tied with a ribbon. They for sure will add a special and sassy touch to your next party or event!

To contact Andrea visit or email her at Click
here to "like" on Facebook and here to follow on Twitter.

Mention this blog to get FREE SHIPPING on your next order with {Lala's Cookie Jar}!

The FIVE... with Andrea Festa from Lala's Cookie Jar!

Q: What was the inspiration for starting your business?

The inspiration for starting my business was my love of party planning . I love all those little details that go into a party to make it so special and personal. I named it Lala's Cookie Jar after my 2 year old daughter, Lauren. Her nickname is Lala.

Q: What were some of the challenges that you have faced?

Some of the challenges that I have faced as a business owner are your typical growing pains. It can be difficult to go through but yet very rewarding!

Q: How do you find balance between “real life” and being a super female entrepreneur and/or MOMpreneur?

Balancing “real life” and super female entrepreneur can be very challenging but I welcome it. I chose the business that I have created so I can incorporate my family and friends into it. Everybody loves cookies so the ideas present themselves all the time!

Q: What advice would you give to other female entrepreneurs just starting out?

What I would tell other female entrepreneurs is be patient with yourself. Trust your instincts and by all means have fun!

Q: What is up & coming for your business?

Oh my goodness what’s coming up in my business?! Exciting things happen everyday! New clients and well known clients! Its amazing how word of mouth spreads! I get new ideas all the time and its just so fun to watch it all come to life!

The TEN... little known facts about Andrea Festa from Lala's Cookie Jar!

1. My favorite color is pink
2. I am obsessed with online shopping

3. I buy every celebrity gossip magazine I can find, even though I know they are lies

4. I love all candy

5. I am always hot, even on the coldest days

6. I have a 2 year old daughter

7. I have a degree in fiance

8. I work full time for a Hedge Fund

9. I am involved in many charities and love to give back

10. All my friends say I am their "therapist" I am that kind of friend!