Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Celtic Classic: Highland Games & Festival

This weekend (9/28-30) the Celtic Classic will be hosted by the Celtic Cultural Alliance (CCA), a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving and promoting the Celtic heritage through education, musical presentations, and traditional competitions in athletics, piping and dance.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the festival.

Events and activities include a Haggis Eating Competition, Tartan Parade, Pipe Band Competition, Whiskey Tastings, Fiddle Competition, traditional Highland Games, Irish Dancing performances, Celtic bands, Border Collie herding demonstrations, kids crafts, vendors, and lots off food & drink.  The Celtic Classic has since blossomed into one of the largest Highland Games and Festival in North America. Annually, over 250,000 visitors come to Historic Bethlehem to join in this celebration of all things Celtic.

My Irish-and-Proud sister, cousin, and I will be attending in full force, representing for our Shanahan and Dwyer ancestry:

We are so very excited to be attending, here is the schedule for each day.  I fully plan on buying from the local vendors, eating and drinking traditional Irish fare, dancing my bum off, and participating in what Highland games I can (look out!)  Last year we attended the International Celtic Festival at Hunter Mountain in the Catskills of New York.  It was a good time, but unlike years past they did not have any highland games and a few other events.

Outright & StitchLabs - Online Business Management

Without these two websites my business would simply not run.  I'd either have to purchase some expensive accounting/inventory tracking software like Quickbooks or ::gasp:: track everything on paper.

Outright - Online Bookkeeping
I use Outright to track all of my basic accounting needs:
 ~Income - Sales, shipping, sales tax
 ~Expenses - Cost of Goods sold, vending fees, mileage, legal fees, insurance
You can view reports (Profit & Loss, Best/Worst months & customers, and more), get estimated tax info, and see very easily if, and how much, you are in the red or black.  You can integrate Outright to Etsy, eBay, your bank account, and PayPal account (these are the ones I use the most, and I think there are more available).  This is a great feature because I can view exactly how much money I have available in all my accounts all in one place.  Best of all, Outright is FREE!

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StitchLabs - Online Order & Inventory Management

I use StitchLabs primarily for inventory tracking.  For me it is FREE, and most other small business owners can use the free version as well.  There is a point where you need to upgrade to a paid account based on the size of your business (see the website for details).  It has the ability to track sales by default, and I do use it to see best/worst sellers, sales quantities, etc.  However, I do not use Stitch for things like Profit & Loss reports.  Stitch is great because it integrates your items with Etsy, instantly adjusting inventory for each sale and recording the sale & customer information. If a sale does not integrate, you can add sales, or Orders as they call them, manually.  This is great for my farmers markets.  You can add inventory easily also.  You can also add different pricing to our inventory items, like retail, wholesale, cost and distribution.  You can also use stitch to track your COGS, or Cost of Goods Sold items (for me this is containers, labels, essential oils, etc.)  Keep in mind though, COGS tracking is ALL manual - when you add inventory it does not automatically subtract COGS items.  For example, if I make 10 Yoga Mat Sprays, Stitch will not subtract the 4oz container, label, or essential oil ingredients I used to make them.  I'd have to do that ALL manually.  So far, I've tried to do this and have given up.  I'm hoping in the future that Stitch will add a feature to track and automatically adjust COGS items as new inventory is added.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

HipCityVeg's Crispy Hipcity Ranch, Philadelphia

I'm one of those annoying people that always posts pictures of what I am eating on Facebook.  Well guess what?  I will now post them here!   Expect to see vegetarian & vegan recipes, grocery items, cocktails, desserts, and wonderful restaurant choices. 

Let's start with my latest obsession: HipCityVeg, located at 127 S. 18th St. (at Walnut) Philadelphia, PA 19103.  Everything they make is 100% plant based, right down to the straws & compostable wrapping. Here you will find my absolute favorite menu item, the Crispy HipCity Ranch!

It is a "chik'n" sandwich with lettuce, pickles, tomoato, onion, a fresh & fluffy bun, and a peppercorn ranch dressing.  Did I mention it's huge?  I used to get their sweet potato fries with this, but I just couldn't finish it all.  I've instead taken to ordering a Green Lemonade (freshly made lemonade with added kale juice...don't worry, you don't taste the kale) 

For all you skeptics out there, this sandwich proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that vegan can equal delicous!

Monday, September 17, 2012

AVA Wellness to carry Akima Botanicals product

It's official, and I couldn't be more excited!  Akima Botanicals products will be available for sale at AVA Wellness, opening very soon at 350 South 15th St. (just before Pine), Philadelphia, PA 19102

This is a total body care spa.  Taken from their website: "At AVA we combine a holistic approach to skin care, that includes prevention and maintenance, with friendly, highly trained staff.
AVA believes in using wholesome products that are Organic and Natural, we support our local entrepreneurs, so please come by and see our locally handmade body products by Akima Botanicals."
Owner Vernell Alexander has been my massage therapist for months, and gives the most relaxing, healing massages I've ever experienced.  I will post updates as I receive them. 
You're in for a real treat, Philly!

AB Website is LIVE!

I'm excited to announce that www.akimabotanicals.com is live, though still under construction.  Some products can be purchased there now, but you can always purchase from my Etsy shop in the meantime. I use PayPal checkout since it's so user friendly, while still free and easy to sign up.  Check it out and let me know what you think!

Friday, September 7, 2012

September Vending / New Containers

I will be at the Lansdowne Farmers Market this Saturday, 9/22, and 9/29 for the special Dog Days market. Next Saturday 9/15 I will be at the Kirby's Mill Flea Market in my hometown of Medford, NJ.

I'm busy, busy, busy at work making product in their new containers, with their new color coded labels:

Yoga Mat Spray: Purple 4oz bottle with purple bordered label
Natural Bug Spray: Amber 4oz. bottle with red-brown bordered label
Body Scrubs: Clear 5oz or 10oz. jar with blue bordered label
Body Whip: Clear 4oz or 8 oz. jar with mauve bordered label

I luv branding!