feet in red and green warm socks on a wooden bench with a mug in a knitted cozy in front of a fireplace, the text reads unwind and relax

Reflections on Christmas Wrapping

Feet in warm red and green socks and a mug in front of a fire with the words unwind and relaxThis time of the year can be hard – it moves so fast and there’s just so much cheer. It can be overwhelming for those that celebrate as much as on those that do not. There was even a study on the negative effects of non-stop Christmas music.  It can cause stress by adding pressure to produce the perfect holiday. (and still, no ninjas to help us through….)

Before you think this is a bah-humbug blog, please read on. As I don’t usually post on Christmas eve (our usual Sunday publishing schedule), I’m reflecting on this long holiday weekend and what I see around me. (In addition to the religious significance, we stick to party rules here, no religion or politics!) For me, the best Christmas advice came from my favorite holiday song, Christmas Wrap, by the Waitresses.

The main character had a year that was a “busy blur.” It was full of missed opportunities: no time for lunch dates, car breakdowns, awful sunburn. Despite having multiple invitations, she needed to catch her breath, so she chose Christmas as her time to unwind. She was going to take care of herself, regardless of what she was “supposed to be doing.”

Yeah, I know the song is also about meeting a guy and the world’s smallest turkey (thanks A&P!), but that only comes after she’s decided to do what she needs for herself. She didn’t do what everyone else was doing just because of expectations. If it’s hard now to buck the norms, imagine how much harder it was in 1981? (That was a long time ago. Oy, I feel old now.)

In the US, Christmas is one of the few days where most of the outside world stops. Stores are closed. Often, there’s no place to be. Instead of being down on the holiday if it’s not for you, why not pick what’s important to you and do that on this day? It’s a great time to enjoy the quiet, reflect on the last year and celebrate what went right. Or, gather all of the movies that you missed over the year and watch them back to back. (I recommend Wonder Woman, a movie about kicking butt for what’s right.) Take some time to get back to a favorite hobby – providing it’s indoor or cold weather if you live in the northern hemisphere! Another option to clean out a closet or a room and let go of some things that you won’t need in 2018.

Christmas doesn’t have to be all festivities and eggnog, unless that is what you want it to be. Make 2017 the year that you do Christmas right this time.

 

mysterious eyes behind holiday ribbon and text that reads personal ninja on call

Help for the Holidays

picture of a female ninja holding a sword with a pink bow as a border and the text "personal ninja on call"It’s December, which means it’s time to run breathlessly from place to place, preparing for our favorite holidays: Hanukkah, Christmas, Boxing Day, Saturnalia, the Winter Solstice (northern hemisphere), the Summer Solstice (southern hemisphere) Kwanzaa, and National Cotton Candy Day, just to name a few. What will it take to survive the pressure to have the picture-perfect gathering? Online shopping helps but it will only take us so far in cutting through the crowds and the traffic.

It’s times like this that we wish we could hire our own ninja to cut through the noise. According to popular culture, the ninja is a black-pajama-wearing assassin with an arsenal of throwing stars. Just because it’s in the movies doesn’t make it right! Ninjas were covert operatives that dealt in stealth maneuvers and unconventional use of conventional items to get the job done.

They possessed the perfect skills run to the store, drop by the post office, finish our holiday cards, clean the house, wrap the gifts, and make just the right recipe for the big family dinner. Wouldn’t it be great if we could hire someone (or many someones!) to do all of those things for us? It may sound blissful, but it’s often not practical or within our budgets.

While we can’t offer you a ninja-on-call service, we can offer a solution to one of your problems – finding the right gift for your favorite sibling/ significant other/child/friend/coworker/favorite celebrity. Everyone loves the perfect fit from their clothes. With a few clicks, you can give the gift of custom-length straps to the ones that you love! It’s not too late to have a Strap Saver delivered in time for the holidays.

If you have concerns about buying the appropriate size, we offer free shipping on exchanges. If you’d prefer to play it safe, buy a gift certificate instead. They are delivered to your inbox immediately! (Although our shopping cart doesn’t offer the prettiest email, so if you’d like us to send you something nicer, please contact us with your order number and we’ll email you print-worthy gift certificate with your codes.)

Solve one of your holiday problems. Buy The Strap Saver for all of your loved ones with strap issues today!

two blue footed boobies, birds that are native to the Galapagos Islands

This Place is for the Birds So We’re Flying the Coup

The blog is going on Spring Break! Until we return, please enjoy these Blue-Footed Boobies. (The store, however, remains open and all orders will be shipped out on our regular schedule!)

The Golden Gate bridge of San Francisco with a small cross section showing the cables tightened with Strap Savers

The Strap Saver Rescues San Francisco

Supoort San Francsico With The Strap SaverOne of my favorite symbols the left coast (in addition to the Space Needle) is the Golden Gate Bridge. Some say it represents the entire country and our success from east to west. Although I’ve only been to San Francisco once, it was a wonderful trip. I have great memories of a beautiful city and sourdough bread, which is why I didn’t hesitate when Mayor Lee called and asked for our help.  

Construction on the Golden Gate Bridge began in 1933 and it opened in 1937, 80 years ago.  It was completed ahead of schedule and $1.3 million under budget.  (It’s possible that money could have been used for better materials?) It has a cable-suspension design and, although elegant against the San Francisco skyline, it has begun to wear. Decades of weather, seismic activity and pollution are taking its toll.  The support cables are stretching.  If they fall much further, it could cause permanent damage to the structure. There could be injuries and the 100,000+ cars that cross it every day could be stranded.  The city and the country would lose a treasure.

They needed a quick fix. After a consultation with our engineers, we suggested that Mayor Lee used the Double Saver Solution.  After all, the cables on the bridge do not come with adjusters! They sent us measurements and we made parts to their specifications.  We even commissioned an extra-large pink bag for safe transport across the country.

We worked with the Army Corps of Engineers, showing them the installation videos and demonstrating on tank top straps.  Once they were confident that they understood the process, they got to work.  As we’ve explained, it takes mere minutes to install (although, we’re not working with a cable made of 27,572 strands of wire).  Once the gear was in place, they tightened the stretched suspension cable with ease. The Strap Saver saved their stretched suspension wires* and the Golden Gate Bridge. The best part was the adjustability  If the cable stretches further, the city would be able use The Strap Savers to adjust the cables the desired length. The bridge was once again safe for all San Franciscans and there was much rejoicing.

When we started The Strap Saver, we had no idea how far it might go.  It’s exceeded our wildest expectations!  Mayor Lee is going to be presenting us a key to the city next week.  Don’t worry, we’ll post pictures!

*DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME.  We can neither confirm nor deny if the Golden Gate bridge is in trouble…  simply because we don’t know.  We sell lingerie accessories.  And, The Strap Saver does not save bridges.  It cannot carry more than 10 lbs each in it’s present EXTRA-STRENGTH form.  This may change in the future, but not yet. We’ll let you know if it does! Happy April 1st!

A woman wearing curlers looking into a mirror with the text looking good in every day happy new year

New Year, Same Fabulous You

Are you ready?  It’s New Year’s Resolution time! An open season for experts of all stripes to point out all of the things that are wrong with us. Then, of course, they offer ways that we can fix it. It is an endless line of people poking into our personal business, and they haven’t even met us!

Some of the perennial “need to improve” list includes: exercise more, eat better, clean up our  finances, organize our stuff, and meet a significant other or we’ll never be a whole, happy person. It’s like they are handing out this advice to touch on our deepest insecurities instead of really seeing who we are and what we need. (yup, that’s sarcasm!  Have we picked a sarcasm font yet?  We should resolve to do that for 2017!)

Listen to me: their approach is wrong – you don’t NEED improving to be worthy.  You’re fabulous. I say that with no agenda. Whether your straps are too long, too short or just right, you’re still lovely.  If you’re having trouble seeing this in yourself, maybe your resolution should be to understand all that is wonderful about you. It’s there, you just need to look.

You may wonder why I say this when I don’t know you either. (I’m assuming someone besides my friends read this blog) Think of the people who you know. Will they really be more lovable if they lose a few pounds? Will a perfectly organized medicine cabinet make them a better person?  Absolutely not. Most of your friends aren’t in need of a “new them”, either. Since you are THEIR friend, the same probably holds true for you. I rest my case.

Please don’t confuse my resistance to the gimmick of New Year’s Resolutions with a lack of desire to improve myself. I don’t like to see so many of us trying to live up to someone else’s definition of good, or good enough.  I know I’m a work in progress – but I define what needs work by what’s important to me. After all, everyday I learn something more (and the more I learn, the less I know about before!). As I do, I find things about myself that I could improve to make myself happier.

Despite the cliché of the significance of New Years, January and February are great times to work on new habits and routines. The parties are over and new projects take time to ramp up at work. The weather is still cold in the northern hemisphere, so our social lives tend to be a bit slower than usual. It’s a great time to reset, return to old habits after a busy season, or pick up some new ones. IF this is what you choose, for yourself, there are some things that you can do to set yourself up for success:

  1. Do some research – find out if there’s any science to what you’re trying to do and see what has worked for others.
  2. Pick small, concrete, attainable goals with clear deadlines. “I will lose 2 lbs a week” is hard to guarantee. Consider something more attainable could be “I will eat salads with dinner every night and walk a mile 5 days a week.”
  3. Reward yourself when you reach your goals but not with something that is counter to your objective (like buying yourself a little something-something if your goal is to remake your finances!)
  4. Pay attention to your new habits and make them a part of your everyday life so that once you reach your goal, you can continue to sustain them.
  5. Plan for setbacks.  It happens for everyone.  We all fall down, it’s the getting up again that matters.
  6. Keep your expectations realistic. Experts say it can take up to 3 months to develop a new habit.

Improvements are good, but make sure that you are doing them for YOU. Don’t buy into the hype that this can be a “new you” because that’s just simply not necessary.  However, if you think that getting organized will make you happier and healthier, go for it. Set yourself up for success and before you know it, maintaining your home will be as effortless as a 50s sitcom!  (seriously, we need that sarcasm font… but hey, it might become easier!)

Beth and I wish you a happy, healthy, safe and prosperous new year.  We hope that 2017 is everything that you want it to be!

Simplify Gift Giving

Avoid Gift Receipt Guilt!

Simplify Gift Giving and avoid a gift receiptThere’s less than one week left before two of the major gift giving holidays for many Americans – Christmas and Chanukah (or Hanukkah, or Channukah, or Channukkah….). Many of us are still scurrying around, trying to find the perfect gift for the ones that we love. We like to think that we know them best and will give what they want – whether guided by a list or not. Sometimes we’re right. Other times, not so much.

In recent years, there’s been a wonderful invention to help – the gift receipt. Stores are very happy to print out a proof of purchase that hides the price. If the gift isn’t quite right, it gives the recipient the freedom to exchange sizes. If they are feeling brave, they can select an entirely different item. The customer is happy and stores don’t have to worry about questionable returns.

I specifically chose the word “brave” because some gift givers or receivers may see a return as a form of rejection. Someone who cares about you went out of their way to choose this specific sweater/vase/necklace/tie, out of love (or, for many, it was within arm’s reach while in the checkout line). It might be considered rude to return it. This person might expect to see this chachki the next time they come into your home.*

Not only do we want to avoid this situation ourselves, we want to keep our loved ones from being in position as well! I present to you the best option of all: the gift certificate. I’m not talking about a bank gift card that is good ANYWHERE. We do want to show some thought. A store gift certificate says “I’m smart enough to know what you like/need, want to give you something that makes you happy, but not arrogant enough to think I know exactly what expresses who you are.”

One example: a friend who is particular about the fit of their clothes or has a passion for bra shopping. A gift certificate to their favorite clothing or lingerie store might make them happy, or a gift certificate to The Strap Saver, which can enhance any wardrobe of overthings or underthings.

With the holidays just a few days away, this solves the problem for the last-minute shopper from the comfort of your own home. May store gift certificates (like ours!) are delivered to your inbox immediately. (Although our new shopping cart doesn’t offer the prettiest email. If you’d like us to send you something nicer, please contact us with your order number and we’ll email you print-worthy gift certificate with your codes)

Avoid gift receipt guilt. Be thoughtful but don’t attempt to be a mind reader. Give a gift certificate this holiday season!

*I actually don’t subscribe to the idea that we should hang onto gifts out of guilt. I don’t think that’s the intention of the gift giver. We should only surround ourselves with things that are useful or beautiful. It’s a very minimalist philosophy. But, I needed a blog on gift certificates and “gift receipt guilt” sounds snappy, doesn’t it?

Be Sneaky and give great gifts this holiday season

Give Gifts Like a Ninja

Be Sneaky and give great gifts this holiday seasonThe art of the ninja lies in the power of surprise. Their ability to hide is their greatest strength. A considerate gift-giver uses their knowledge to sneak away and find the perfect package for their loved ones – and then stash it until the big reveal. The joy lies in the unexpected (unless it’s 16th Century Japan and you’re the target, not the ninja). It’s these characteristics that inexplicably tie these things together. (hey, it’s called poetic license, deal with it.)

The holidays are fast approaching (doing their own sneak attack) and we’re all preparing for our ninja gift-giving roles. It’s the annual attempt to show our loved ones how well we know them by finding the perfect present. Let us help you out! The Strap Saver is ideal for your favorite frugal fashionista, bathing beauty, gym junkie, petite pal, “gifted” girl, and couture cutie – anyone who wants the perfect fit for their strappy clothes. We offer 4 sizes, 3 colors, and 2 strengths, so we can shorten almost any strap. (Purchase The Strap Saver here!) If you know their bra size, contact us and we can help you find their likely strap size. If we’re wrong, they can exchange it!

If you’re unsure of your friend/parent/sibling/significant other/favorite celebrity’s size, we also offer gift certificates. They are delivered to your inbox immediately, so they are also perfect for the last-minute shopper.  (although our new shopping cart doesn’t offer the prettiest email, so if you’d like us to send you something nicer, please contact us with your order number and we’ll email you print-worthy gift certificate with your codes)

We wish you the best of luck in all of your stealthy gift-giving pursuits!

2016 New Year's Revolution

New Year’s Revolution

2016 New Year's Revolution

Yay, it’s time for diet commercials! (and I’m writing this a week or so early, but I know it’s coming!) Even Oprah is getting in on the game.  They start on December 26th (or earlier) every year, telling us about all kinds of foods and gadgets that will help us become the ideal person. As if we’re not already perfect. (We so are.)

Sure, I may be perfect, but as the year ends, I’m finding that I’m not where I want to be. Juggling my personal life, my full-time job, and this company can be overwhelming. I like to think that I’m catching everything, but I’m not. My goal for 2016 is to figure out a way to accomplish more and miss less by working more efficiently.

My first step to working smarter was to redeem the prize of a free coaching session that I’d won in October from Roe DeSaro.  (from an awesome event called “Women in Entrepreneurs Rock!” by the local Small Business Development Center at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park – yes, THAT Stone Pony. Check out your local SBDC for great events if you are a small business owner!)

The coaching session (my first) turned out to be as helpful as I’d hoped. The preliminary questionnaire helped to identify some places that needed work, especially related to The Strap Saver. Plus, my home office is a never-ending pit of stuff – (I don’t know why everything ends up in there, but it always does) and I always feel behind. I hate that.

Roe asked me about my goals (to build the business, to make a difference, to retire!) and how I spent my time (endlessly running) and then got more specific – what are you actually doing? I am not sure that I had an answer for her. Checking things off of my list? Solving problems? Taking it one day at a time? I feel like I am constantly working, but am only incrementally closer to my goals.

She also had some great suggestions for me – and it began with process. As in, we lacked one.  Almost everywhere.  Things are much easier to manage when they are predictable.  Of course they aren’t always going to stay that way, but that only happens sometimes.  For the 80% of the time that things going according to plan, why not…  have a plan!  (She had some specific ideas for my business – but we’ll get to that in a minute)  Of course, if I were on the outside looking in, I might’ve seen this too, it’s amazing how caught up we all get in our own ‘stuff’ – and how useful that outside perspective can be.

Another bottleneck that Roe found was that I was intent on blazing my own trail – which is potentially a waste of energy. (I’m all about working smarter) One example is a marketing plan – there are many, many great examples on the internet.  Why not learn from someone else’s example and modify it for myself? It’s not ‘cheating’; it’s using my resources wisely. If you have a goal, I recommend checking with Google (or Bing or DuckDuckGo – take your pick!) to see how others have reached it and if that path (or a version of it) works for you.

So in 2016, the answer for me is all about process, not about goals or gadgets. It’s my way of declaring a New Year’s Revolution on the resolution – not saying what I’m going to do, but how I’m going to do it. If you have a resolution, try finding a process that works for you. Set aside time every day to follow it. It could be taking time to pack a healthy lunch (for health or to save money!) or sitting down at a scheduled time to write this week’s blog entry (hint, hint!). Eventually we’ll reach our goals, but just declaring the end result and not giving ourselves a path to success sets ourselves up for failure. Defining that process will help us develop the right habits to sustain our goals – if it’s a broader reach for our writing or a more organized home.

Since I know you’re dying of curiosity (not really), here are my goals and plans for 2016:

-Use my time more efficiently: I can’t use a digital to do list. It’s just not for me. I love lists, but I’m more of a pen and paper girl. I do like a digital calendar in general – but not for getting things done. I searched for a long time and settled on the Spark Planner. It’s a bit more… guided than I might normally like, but I have important goals this year, so maybe guidance is good. I’m hoping it will help me to organize my thoughts and tie up loose ends (and I’ll finally remember to buy a frame for our newspaper article and our trademark certificate! I’m so proud of these accomplishments – I want to display them!)

-Get more done: We’ve made a digital calendar just for The Strap Saver. This will help Beth and I keep our goals aligned and stick to deadlines.

-Achieve bigger goals: I’ve blocked out time for my weekly goals. I’ll put it into the Spark Planner, but I know how much time I want to spend each week working on this blog, social media interaction, etc, so that I know that each of these goals are being met each week vs. “I’ll get to it” – we can also test effectiveness and when some of these new endeavors become habits, we can add to them.

-Think beyond a week at a time: We’re adding some quarterly plans. This way we can spend time in 1Q planning for 2Q promotions. Of course, that puts us a little behind for 1Q, but we’ll figure it out. Think of how much time we’ll have for 3Q! (what do we have planned for 3Q again? :) )

-Block out some me time: I’m hoping that all of this will allow some hours on the weekends to read a book, one of my favorite activities. It really helps me to take a break from life and decompress.


Whatever you want to achieve in 2016, I wish you the perkiest year on record, because we all know that when the boobs are looking good, we all feel better!

Auld Lang Syne - don't forget to remember the ones that you love

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot, and Never Brought to Mind?

Auld Lang Syne - don't forget to remember the ones that you love

“What does this song mean?  My whole life, I don’t know what this song means.” – Harry Burns

If we ask Wikipedia (and we all know they’re ALWAYS right!*), Auld Lang Syne can be loosely translated into “for the sake of old times”.  It is a poem written by Scotsman Robert Burns in 1788, but is it very similar to another ballad “Old Long Syne” by James Watson printed in 1711.

To answer Harry’s question specifically, it’s a call to remember old friends and the past as time marches on and we begin again.  (which might’ve been more of a concern in 1711 when the ballad was first printed, but not so in 2015, with the interwebs!)  

At the end of this week, we’ll bring this year to a close and party our way into 2016.  Don’t forget to listen to the advice of the song and remember those who we loved and lost in 2015 (if your Facebook year in review doesn’t do it for you!) before we jump headfirst into a new year, a new list of obligations, and new adventures.  Sometimes the best way to understand where we’re going is to look at where we’ve been.

Have fun.  Be safe.  Be kind.  Most of all, take care of yourself, your lingerie, and the ones that you love.

Happy New Year!  See you in 2016!

*we really do need a sarcasm font.  Isn’t there someone in charge of the internet that can make this ruling?