SALE - Black Friday thru Cyber Monday!



We don't have many sales here at Olive Bites (usually just this weekend and Earth Day) so if there is something in our Etsy shops you have your eye on for the holidays jump on this one -
ends Monday at midnight!


 ~Have a Happy Hanukkah and Happy Thanksgiving Weekend everyone - SHOP HANDMADE!~

greening turkey day plus we've got a green comet, folks

I read last summer that Americans throw away 20% of their weekly groceries.

That's a lot of food (and resources) being wasted.

We could change the world just by fixing this one thing.

Thanksgiving is our big 'stuff our faces' holiday and the 'stuff our faces' season is upon us so planning for those leftovers and planning our meals for ways that cut down on food wastage (is this a word - spellcheck is ok with it, but it just looks wrong) is a priority.

Some tips would be:

1. If we are cooking this year - give people food to take home. It's nice to have all those leftovers, but we know we will be totally sick of eating this same meal by Saturday, so maybe just let it go. I know it will be hard to wrap up those pie slices and mashed potatoes, but unless we know for sure it will be eaten by our family, be generous with this.

2. Puree leftover veggies and freeze in ice cube trays for juicing/blending later. I bought an expensive juicer last Christmas, but cannot bear to toss out all the leftover ground veggies - how can this be healthy when I am losing most of the vegetable/fruit in my juicer blades? I have gone back to my old blender which worked just fine in the first place when slushed down with ice cubes and now we are drinking everything again. 

3. Google recipes for whatever you have left when preparing the meal - we can bake chips with the brussel sprout outer leaves by baking with olive oil and sea salt and save the lemons and limes to grate later, etc.

4. There are some good holiday tips on Jules Clancy's blog here

5. Well, that's all I've got - remember waste less doesn't mean eat more - we just need to plan ahead and think about everything we are tossing out, "is there another way I can use this?".

OK- now on to the green lady comet.

It is kismet to me that on Thanksgiving we have a comet named Ison (discovered in September 2012) having a close encounter with the sun - check out the NASA info here. We have the Moon conjunct Ceres which is the Empress (earth mother) archetype and this wonderful comet Ison (Isis?) dropping magic dust (some astrologers believe comets emit brand new energy into our world when they pass by) to spread like fertilizer and wake us up to what we are eating maybe? It feels like everything is all about food and nurturing issues now - being mindful of what we are consuming (appropriate for the holiday shopping season, too).

As we create a more mindful world with less consumption and less waste, our bodies cannot survive in this new paradigm with our old habits and are literally demanding we become more mindful eaters - that we consume higher energy food (and probably less food than we used to), clean water, etc - truly I think everyone who isn't currently dealing with this stuff soon will be.

Every meal is an opportunity to nurture ourselves or self medicate. It's our choice.

This Thanksgiving we can stuff our bodies and emotions (yes, family stuff can be stressful, but only if that is what we focus on) or we can choose to eat mindfully and respectfully with grace and gratitude.

I am cooking for a very small group (my family is teeny tiny) and we have the beautiful baby Sully now, so much to be thankful for, but whatever your personal circumstances find the space to be thankful for what you do have - the energy of millions of people expressing gratitude is a very powerful thing to connect with. xo all

another favorite note from the universe ...

You see, Cat , even prayers that lack conviction, confidence and end in question marks like, "can I? may I? will I?" are answered with a happy face and a, "Sure! You bet! No question!"

However if you want action instead of answers .... prayers of declaration and exclamation especially those that end in "So be it! Hallelujah! And so it is!" conjure up the magic ....

It's just the way the system was set-up.

(hope everyone is having a nice week and is conjuring up some full moon magic, finishing up the last of my wholesale orders here and getting ready for a trunk show this weekend at a friend's shop in Phillie, but should be back on here soon with my year end countdown xo all)

Full Moon in Taurus on Sunday - a time to be all in

raceytay full moon polarity locket
Sunday's full moon in Taurus brings us full circle from the new moon in Taurus we had the end of last April.

Taurus is about comfort - material goods, finances, physical pleasures, beauty.

Taurus is a fixed Earth sign that does the work - step by step with patience and persistence (their reputation for stubbornness grows from this) - yes, at the end of the day they want to pamper themselves with the good stuff,

but they are willing to work for it and they are great practical manifesters (when they control their tempers - don't get a Taurus mad - they are the bulls with the horns after all).

Taurus also rules the throat so anyone with any muscular neck issues might be wise to wear a scarf now to keep the chill from causing tightness - I usually wear a light scarf even when working in my studio. I love the scarves Noelle makes here.

Sooo, we have this moon that launched last April reaching its fullness in a sign that relates to our values and security. We also have 3 planets that were retrograde until last week now moving direct. And we are currently in Taurus's mirror polarity energy of Scorpio (death- what we have to release to create the space for something new).

How does this all fit together? Well, different astrologers interpret this in different ways and we each have individual charts (a picture of the universe at the moment we were born and the very moment in time we are literally created from) that are triggered in different places. For example this full moon is 25 degrees Taurus so if our birth chart has any hard aspects to that, this moon will be more challenging.

For most this full moon will be about finances, values, commitments, time, contracts - what we are willing to be/do/spend/risk - how fully are we aligned with our core values? what are we committed to? what are we passionate about? how much beauty are we living with, how much do we need? how fully are we participating in this game called Life on Planet Earth? are we all in?

When I was a banker and closed on a business loan I would sometimes say to the business owner -''we are going to spend a lot of money and we are going to make a lot of money.”

This is a time to not hold back.

16 Last Minute Moves to Sell More and Stress Less on Etsy This Year (warning - if you are already tired have some caffeine before reading this, don't hate me)

My post today on the EcoEtsy blog - getting your groove on this holiday season:

1. Check your supplies. Get organized. YOU CAN'T SELL WHAT YOU DON'T HAVE. But, you don't want to overstock and make no money. This is tricky stuff even if we are working with historical data for our shop's sales. Maybe get yourself a magic 8 ball (I find this to be pretty effective).
Put yourself in your customer's shoes (this will give us a great excuse to buy those kick-ass boots we've had our eyes on) - and think GIFT.
Look at your makings, put on your new boots and think - "If I were buying this as a gift what would I need to know, how would I want this to look, how would I want this transaction to happen?"
2. Now hop over to Blugrin (Betsi) where there is a great tool to do QUICK EDITS.
bracchart3. Do you have variables set for your listings so customers can provide their CHOICES AT TIME OF PURCHASE?
We want to eliminate back and forth emails as much as possible plus I think people hesitate to purchase late in the season if they have to write in information - sometimes this can't be helped but if you can add a variable - get it in there. Remove all barriers to a customer's purchase.
Example - I sell a lot of bracelets, but not on Etsy and not as gifts, because sizing is tricky. I am  adding this chart into my bracelet listings
(although I will still offer the advice on how to measure)
as well as guarantee free shipping back and forth after the holidays for bracelets that do not fit.
It's a gamble and won't work for everyone, but after putting myself in my customer's boots, I think this will make them much more likely to order. How are your listings hurting your gift sale orders? Is there some kind of quick fix you can do to increase sales over the next few weeks?
4. GIFT CERTIFICATES - now that Etsy has instant downloads this is a no-brainer for everyone. If you are outside the country where most of your sales happen you need to do this.
HERE are some templates.
5. COUPON CODES FOR REPEAT BUSINESS - Etsy will email a thank you with a coupon code after you have a sale. If you are not using this - get this set up. Better yet, do this yourself and get them added to your mailing list at the same time. Sign up for a free account at Mailchimp.
6. SHIPPING - Etsy has added shipping profiles so get your listings linked & you can adjust quickly to priority shipping as we get closer to Christmas.
Let people know in your listings you can gift box, include a holiday message and ship directly to their friends and family - they just need to enter the shipping address of the recipient when they make their payment and provide their holiday message in the comments area of their order. I have people ask me to ship to someone else often and even if the address is not entered with their payment (giving me shipping protection) I usually go ahead and do it - use your own judgement with this.
The USPS shipping deadlines for 2013 are HERE
7. The word GIFT in listing titles and tags - I have heard Etsy isn't a fan of this since everything is a gift and it seems like a pointless tag, but I still think people search with it - just use it in a specific sense, not as a stand alone tag. If a customer searches 'teacher gift' and we have only tagged teacher we will not show up in the search so adding the specific tag and words in our title "teacher gift" could be a good idea (assuming of course, our item is actually a teacher gift).
8. SALES - If you like to shop sales, you can safely assume your customers do, too.
Black Friday through Cyber Monday is probably the best time to give your best offer.

Later on, customers will be more desperate and not so geared toward pricing. I don't mean this 'more desperate' in a bad way and some people are always looking for sales, but if customers are thinking your best offers are coming later they are less likely to shop early. Later on they will probably be less price conscious and you can always have a NICK OF TIME sale at the last minute to move out ready made stock.
Have a countdown to the sale. Make sure everyone knows the sale is coming - use your teams, blog, Facebook, Twitter, Mailchimp, tell 2 friends, etc- create a sense of urgency - let people know this is your best sale of the year. Use coupon codes and tag with ON SALE or Cyber Monday Sale or whatever you think customers might be searching. People love FREE SHIPPING.

Update your banner AND avatar with this - customers looking at your item will have your avatar clearly visible this year!
9. READY TO SHIP - this makes a great category or tag to let people know it will be on its way FAST. Then actually ship it fast. Don't assume people need their holiday gift for Christmas - they might need it for the Christmas party 10 days before. Your ready to ship orders should go out the same day or the next day or don't bother labeling them ready to ship.
10. BEST SELLERS - get your best sellers into your featured items, but remember to show some variety here.
11. LIMITED OFFERS - do some limited offers on Facebook and Twitter - run a lunchtime sale with a free gift, etc. Have fun with this, go on Twitter and offer 50% off to the first person who tells you Frosty's last name (except use a question that actually has an answer) - don't worry that no one will answer you. You are sending your good energy out into the universe with this stuff - you are proclaiming, "Send me customers, I am ready for them!"
12. GUARANTEE - offer the best guarantee you are comfortable with then allow yourself to get a little uncomfortable and offer an even better one.
13. GO MOBILE - answer your emails immediately (you don't really need to sleep).

14. ORDER MOO CARDS FOR CUSTOMERS TO USE AS GIFT CARDS (or print your own) - don't assume the end user is getting your business card - they aren't. But if you make a mini TO and FROM card
sample gift card
and print your website on there discreetly - it will end up in the recipient's hands (include your regular business card for the buyer, too).

Moo cards are on sale until the 17th - and arrive fast so get on this. My card without my info (you can print your info on the back) is HERE.


a waxing autumn moon .... channeling our ancestral harvest energy to manage the season

Maybe because it is snowing outside my window this morning or maybe because the business we are in pushes Thanksgiving off my radar to free up the brain cells (and energy) I need to prepare for the Christmas rush, but I am feeling the need to embrace these last few weeks of autumn. Maybe you are, too.

We are in the middle of a wonderful waxing moon. A waxing moon means the moon is getting larger in the sky, moving from the new moon towards the full moon on the 17th. This is a time for new beginnings, to conceptualize ideas, to invoke. Mercury also moves direct so things will become more clear to us now and things will move forward with less back-steps and road blocks. 

Our ancestors prepared for winter in autumn - they brought in the harvest, readied the indoors to take care of them through the winter months they knew were coming - and these are exactly the things we do now.

I make about 60% of my income for the entire year in November and December - when things get crazy I channel my ancestral 'bringing in the harvest' energy and winter mindset. I bring some pictures of them into my workspace now and they whisper to me, "we are all depending on you Catherine, we love you, you can do this."

I much prefer inspiration from my grandmother and great-grandmother to Nike these days.

We are all fully immersed in Scorpio right now - the ideas of life and death are on our mind - for our ancestors, winter brought the year's highest risk of death and Scorpio gave them the courage to face this without fear. It was also a secretive time - you had to hide your harvest from animals, thieves and authorities who might try to claim it. So it is a time for hiding things and unearthing them.

(maybe the things we don't even know we have buried that come out in heaving sobs during yoga stretches)

 It's a time of unity (we needed diplomacy and tact to avoid war during harvest time) or a time of war (when the people who didn't know any better prevailed).

If you look at your own life (and the world) you will see these same patterns playing out now.

For now, for us - as makers - making art and businesses and lives - I think we are all artists and makers, as long as we take responsibility for the energy we are putting into the world - it is the time when new life is concentrated into seeds for next year.

In the hustle and bustle now as you bring in your own harvest, whatever that looks like in your own life, and prepare for your own winter, take the time to think about what you want to birth next year - your interest and attention and intention will create the seeds for this birth - being all over the map with your thinking will not create the strongest seeds.

(we don't want to manifest some GMO crap that might withstand the current pesticides but will do us in, in the long run - we are all in this for the long run)

You don't have to have all the answers or any answers at all, just think about what you want to invoke - the way you want to feel - you can't do this stuff wrong.

ok I'll shut up now .....

I'm not really armed.

I mean I have arms ... and legs ... and some wee part of my brain still functioning, at least functioning enough to know I have been AWOL.

I had a crazy experience at yoga

(and by 'at yoga' I mean doing a yoga DVD is my bedroom).

I did a kind of buttock stretch and started crying .. and I cried and I cried - it was .. well, I don't know what it was. Something must have come unstuck, something that has left me a little wombly.

(I know this is not really a word, but I think you will know what I mean - kind of like wobbly but with an extra does of ... something).

I tell hubs about this and ask him what he thinks this means and he says "google it".
"Google yoga made me whombly?"

I tell myself I've released something pinned up in my kidney, spine or liver - are any of these things back there? I imagine all the cells in my body dancing and releasing toxins.

Then I get into hub's truck yesterday because I forgot to renew my car registration again and have to drive his truck until I can get to the DMV or MVC or whatever we call it now and he has a huge, like 6 feet tall antenna on the roof and a huge, CB radio bolted to the floor.

(where did this come from? he claims he bought it last summer. did I live here last summer? how do I not know about this?)

It's like I am living in an alternate universe.

I think the wombly may have shifted me into a different timeline; one where I am married to BJ. I keep looking for the monkey.

(and if you are under 40, you will probably not know what the hell I am talking about here, consider yourself lucky)

Hopefully this dry spell will end soon and I will sputter out my usual nonsense, in the meantime I hope everyone enjoys their holiday tomorrow! xo all

New Moon in Scorpio and Today's Solar Eclipse (which I slept through)

by the amazing Lisa Falzon of Meluseena
Today's New Moon in Scorpio with Saturn conjunct is all about taking responsibility for our lives

or rebellious behavior if we have been overburdened

it's about self-empowerment, change, financial partnerships and avoiding power struggles, releasing the need to blame our parents and not blaming anyone who oversteps our boundaries when we haven't set any.

New Moons are great times to plant the seeds.

Everything starts with our intention so setting intentions for Scorpio stuff during a Scorpio new moon can be very powerful. This new moon will conclude with the Scorpio full moon in 6 months, so we can take a look then at how far we have progressed with the intentions we set now.

Scorpio stuff includes - secret stuff, buried stuff, unearthing things, politics, psychology, change, restoration, forgiveness, obsessions, compulsions, risk taking, intensity, commitment, self discipline, sex, loans, taxes, debts, inheritances, contracts for our business, jealousy, revenge, suspicion, guilt; lots of underworld stuff.

I usually list my affirmations here but this month mine are words I need to write and burn - all release and gratitude this time, here is a link to an example just work with the Scorpio stuff above to get the most bang for your buck with the moon!

(yes, I say things like 'bang for your buck' now, my vocabulary vacillates between a wise ass 10 year old and a 75 year old vacuum cleaner salesman these days) xo all

thyroids and hormones and cortisol, oh my ....

recycled cork & steel bracelet - handmade by me
I thought I would give a quick thyroid update since when I posted about this health stuff I got quite a few helpful emails from people dealing with similar auto-immune issues.

I am not going to put everyone to sleep with my current situation although I will update it at some point. I did decide not to have my thyroid irradiated ...

Anyhoo, for anyone dealing with this stuff these are some of the things I have been working with as I try to coax my body to stop making antibodies against itself.

(you might notice I have a lot of posts about working against our own self interests - this stuff is all connected)

1. Olive leaf extract -  a natural product that can be taken all year round (especially good for winters and for right now as we have moved into Vata season) to boost our immunity and manage viral infections.

2. I saw on WellnessMama's blog a while back that thermographic imaging is proving how grounding affects inflammation. I have instinctively felt this for a long time as I totally get flare ups when I am most ungrounded and it is nice to have some proof - this may not be totally scientific proof, but if we wait for them they will just turn grounding into some kind of pill with a gazillion nasty side effects.

I use my favorite grounding techniques and I decided to buy an earthing sleep system. We also unplug our wifi and cable while we sleep. I used to fall asleep with my Nook next to my head - not good. We have definitely noticed a difference in our sleep with this in a very short time. My acupuncturist believes sleeping is the key to all healing, so grounding while sleeping seems like an excellent idea.

3. Leaky Gut - this is caused by
  • a crappy diet high in sugar and low in fiber (which was my entire diet for most of my life)
  • deficiencies of zinc and omega-3 fats
  • overuse of antibiotics and hormones (think birth control pills here)
  • environmental toxins (research BPA!)
  • stress / anxiety (the parts of our brain that deal with this literally get thinner as we get older so the stress we could handle at 30 is harder to handle at 40 and 50 and 60 - if we don't deal with this stuff we are opening the door to dis-ease)
This should be a post all by itself.  I will write one soon, but google 'leaky gut' if you are dealing with any kind of auto immune issues especially if you are having digestive and mood and irritability issues.

4. Apple Cider Vinegar - alkalize! I drink this in the morning - yes, it smells like you are coloring easter eggs, but those were happy days right?! and my house smells like vinegar anyway from green cleaning products - you get used to it. The taste is not that different than lemon water. You can also use it in salad dressing, to wash your hair - not sure I would try that - and some say it smooths skin. I also continue with the lemon water although I do worry about my teeth a little.

5. Calm - hundreds of excellent reviews on Amazon can't be wrong.

6. Acupuncture - still going once a week although the fact it isn't covered by my insurance makes me crazy. I sold a table on Craigslist recently to pay for a few more weeks. 

I am about to do some lymphatic drainage massage and change up my exercise routine again, since the "routine" in my "exercise routine" has been ... erased ... who keeps erasing "routine" .... I blame Olive - her erratic, crazy behavior on walks always makes me feel like the Billy Ray Cyrus of dog parents. I want to write a post about how our pet's health is influenced by our health, too - I have seem some amazing connections with that lately. I guess that means I can't blame Olive though ...

Anyhoo, have a great weekend all - the wind is blowing like crazy here, am hoping I might end up in Oz for the new moon this weekend ....

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