Message from CT...

The key to success is the knowledge one gathers from the relationships we make and the experiences of others. If you have just discovered CT Jewelry Design, I encourage you to subscribe and follow along. Feedback is always welcomed! - CT

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Well-Equipped - Green Tip

Before the cold weather hits, take stock of your wooly socks. Locate your hats, mittens, gloves and sweaters. Wash anything that didn't get cleaned before it was put away. Inspect your boots so you know all is in order.

Being well-equipped and knowing what you already have on hand will help you save from buying any unnecessary items this winter season.

This is also a great time to organize an office-wide holiday drive for coats and blankets for the less fortunate while giving co-workers an opportunity to clean out closets and preventing items from going to the landfill. - CT

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Can It Delicious– Green Tip

What's sweet...spiced...absolutely delicious, and perfect for this time of year? Why Apple Butter of course! With so many ways you can eat it...on fresh baked bread or toast, braised meats and/or vegetables...it's perfect served warm or cold. Consider preserving some of the bounty of your harvest this fall. Whether you grew it or someone else did you can still eat local during the cooler months by canning it to preserve your foods.

Proper canning requires carefully selecting and washing fresh foods. Make sure you use the appropriate processing jars and self-sealing lids as growth of undesirable microorganisms-bacteria, molds and yeasts can spoil the food. Use good vacuums tight seals to keep liquids in and air out.

Make sure you keep your canned foods stored in a cool, dry place to retain optimum eating quality. Properly canned food can be retained for a least 1 year, but canned food stored in a warm place or indirect sunlight may lose some of its eating quality in just a few weeks or months, depending on the temperature. Dampness can also corrode cans or metal lids to spoil foods.

Check out The National Center for Home Food Preservation for more tips and recipes. The Center offers a wide source of research-based recommendations for most methods of home food preservation addressing food processing and food safety concerns.- CT

Friday, September 4, 2009

Once Is Not Enough

Next month is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM). Since the program began in 1985, mammography rates have more than doubled for women age 50 and older and breast cancer deaths have declined.

This is exciting progress, but there are still women who do not take advantage of early detection at all and others who do not get screening mammograms and clinical breast exams at regular intervals.

-Women age 65 and older are less likely to get mammograms than younger women, even though breast cancer risk increases with age.

-Hispanic women have fewer mammograms than Caucasian women and African American women.

-Women below poverty level are less likely than women at higher incomes to have had a mammogram within the past two years.

-Mammography use has increased for all groups except American Indians and Alaska Natives.

“If all women age 40 and older took advantage of early detection methods – mammography plus clinical breast exam – breast cancer death rates would drop much further, up to 30 percent”.

“The key to mammography screening is that it be done routinely – once is not enough.” Schedule your appointment today with your healthcare provider!

For more information about NBCAM, please visit www.nbcam.org. For additional information, please call one of the following toll-free numbers: American Cancer Society, (800) 227-2345, National Cancer Institute (NCI), (800) 4-CANCER, Y-ME National Breast Cancer Organization, (800) 221-2141.

The National Breast Cancer Awareness Month program is dedicated to increasing public knowledge about the importance of early detection of breast cancer. Fifteen national public service organizations, professional associations, and government agencies comprise the Board of Sponsors, who work together to ensure that the NBCAM message is heard by thousands of women and their families.

Show Your Support For Breast Cancer Research
During the months of September and October 2009, CT Jewelry Design.com will donate a portion of the proceeds from the sale of any sterling silver ribbon charm jewelry or accessories to the American Cancer Society.

"To Purchase Click Here or Image Above"

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Announcing The Winner of the Express Yourself Jewelry Giveaway!

Finally, the moment you've all been waiting for! We're so pleased that this giveaway was a success! Thank you all for entering the givaway and for all your wonderful and kind comments, blog posts and tweets about CT Jewelry Design.com. It is really appreciated! We used Random.org to randomly determine the the winner for this giveaway and the lucky person is...


Congrats to Nyblaque! Please respond to our email within 72 hours so we can personalize your charm otherwise we will have to select a new winner. Thank you all again for participating! - CT
P.S. We feel this giveaway went so well we're going to hold another one soon so stay tuned to enter the next CT Jewelry Design Giveaway! :)

Friday, July 31, 2009

Last Day to Enter Giveaway!

Last Day to Enter the "Express Yourself Jewelry Giveaway". You have until Midnight July 31st to enter. The Winner of the beautiful “Express Yourself” Charm Necklace will be announced on Saturday, August 1, 2009. See rules below. Good Luck! - CT

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Express Yourself Jewelry Giveaway

Have you ever wanted to “Express Yourself” with your jewelry? Here's your chance to do it for free by entering the “Express Yourself” Giveaway! Create a one-of-a kind precious moment and a lifetime of memories with a Custom Sterling Silver Charm Necklace from CT Jewelry Design.com. From children names, favorite phrases and special dates to be remembered this handcrafted charm will be treasured for a lifetime. Great as a keyring for boyfriends, husbands, fathers and grandfathers too.

Each custom charm is of heirloom quality and hand-stamped to remind you of those special moments in life. The hand-stamped technique is truly unique and personalized by individually placing each mark on the disk by hand. The natural variations make each piece distinct and creates character. This is not a flaw, simply part of the handcrafted charm of your piece.

Tell your story with a personalize jewelry piece. It's definitely a fun way to express your interest, personalize a gift or add a touch of whimsy to your jewelry. The “Express Yourself” Charm Necklace Giveaway is a sterling silver 25mm round disk charm (approx. quarter size) with your personal phrase on a 30” adjustable black leather slip knot cord and two small charms; one freshwater pearl and a Swarovski crystal. Retail $29.00. Shipping is free to US and Canada residents and it will come with a complimentary gift tin for gift giving.

Giveaway Guidelines:

1. Just take a look around CT Jewelry Design.com and leave a comment here on the blog about your favorite item.

2. To get your name in the hat a second time while your at our site subscribe to our monthly newsletter (lower right hand side) and leave a comment here on the blog that you have subscribed (or tell us you already receive our newsletter).

3. If you want to increase your odds even more to win the “Express Yourself” Charm Necklace, spread the word with a post about CT Jewelry Design.com or this fabulous giveaway for us on your Blog, Twitter, Facebook, etc., and leave a comment here on the blog with the URL for us to visit your post.

4. Maximum of five (5) USA and Canada entries per person only. Don't forget to make sure we can contact you via e-mail to let you know you have won and to discuss your personal phrase for the “Express Yourself” Charm Necklace Giveaway.

5. You have until midnight (EST) on Friday, July 31, 2009 to enter the “Express Yourself” Giveaway! Only one Winner will be selected.

6. The Winner of the beautiful “Express Yourself” Charm Necklace will be announced on Saturday, August 1, 2009. You will have 72 hours (3 days) to answer the e-mail, if not another drawing will be made.

Good Luck to All and "Express Yourself" whenever you can! - CT

For Beginner's: How do I leave comments on a blog?

Are you new to blogging and don't know how to comment on a blog? Writing a comment on a blog is as easy as sending an email (really it's that easy). Here is the link for how to leave a comment from Blogger.com. Read up then come back to enter and click "Post a Comment" or "Comments" below...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Fun In The Sun

Most of us love the summer with its wonderful fresh air and sunshine. But excess sun exposure can cause sunburn and skin damage. With the right precaution you can enjoy the sun safely. Choose a sunscreen that's right for you. Read the label and purchase sunscreen that is Paraben-free. Parabens have been linked to breast cancer. Apply it generously and apply it at least a half hour before you go out. If you plan to go swimming choose a waterproof sunscreen and reapply according to the instructions on the package.

Don't miss a spot and make sure you put it on your entire face, nose, ear tips, back of the neck, knees and arms. Don't forget your feet and toes. And for those hard to reach places like your back and shoulders have a friend help. Cover up with a hat and wear sunglasses that block UV light. Long term exposure to UV light can lead to cataracts, so keep those pretty eyes protected. If your not sure whether your sunglasses are adequately blocking UV have them checked by an optometrist.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Water is the best choice although if you are exercising, a sports drink can help to replace electrolytes. Remember that it's best to take frequent moderate portions of your drink as to much too quickly can harm you. If you are going to do some heavy physical activity try to do it in the morning or evening not during the midday heat between 10am and 4pm. Remember to minimize exposure, keep yourself cool in the shade with a cool drink and enjoy! - CT

Friday, July 3, 2009

A Good Party

Everyone loves to celebrate holidays, birthdays, babies, weddings and other affairs, so why not make your next party an eco-friendly one?

Use biodegradable streamers in your favorite colors that you can buy at party supply stores. This crepe paper disintegrates into the ground, leaving behind no waste. Twist the colors together or string them separately, to create a pleasing party atmosphere. Liven up walls, ceilings, trees, deck rails or chair-backs for a wonderful color scheme and party decoration.

Use cut flowers. Mother nature is often our best decorator. Liberally place flower pots around your party space and use them as centerpieces too. Once the party is over you can re-purpose them as gifts or continue to display them outdoors or transplant them in your garden.

Use reusable plates and cutlery vs plastic or paper throwaways that will only end up in our landfills after one use. I know...you will have to wash them but did you know that dishwashers are more efficient than hand washing. You'll also be saving on the cost of your party since you already own your reusables and can used them over and over. Besides...there's nothing worse than a soggy paper plate.

So remember just because you're going green, doesn't mean you have to sacrifice style. Ditch the burlap and go with crisp, white organic cotton tablecloths teamed with matching napkins tied with twine. Think eco-chic and have fun with it. - CT

Monday, June 29, 2009

Strip Tease At The Office-Green Tip

When we need office stuff...think green. Thinking “green” not only contributes to helping our planet, but also saving company dollars. Purchase a “power strip” for your home office so you can plug all your electronics into one place and unplug them all with a single pull at the end of the day. I did a Google Product Search and you can get a pretty good one for under $20.00. Electronics and appliances eat up energy even when they're not being used. This is know as “standby” or “leaking” electricity.

The wasted standby power of individual electronic devices is typically very small, but the sum of all such devices can be significant. To switch off several devices that are often used together such as a PC, a monitor and a printer it is advisable to use a switchable power strip or surge protector with multiple sockets. It's also recommended that equipment that needs a controlled shutdown sequence, such as I laser printer, not be plugged into such a strip as it can damage them. In those cases it's better to turn them off at the appliance.

A recent study from the University of California showed that the average California household pays between $50-70 every year to keep things humming while their electronics are just sitting around. So thing of what your home office saving might be and give Mother Earth a green strip tease at the office. - CT

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Buying Pearls on the Internet

Pearls are coming back as a fashionable accessory. With it being the birthstone for June, it's also the symbol of purity, the third and thirtieth wedding anniversary gem, and the symbol of a happy marriage. It also makes the perfect gift for the bride-to-be and her wedding party.

Whether you're looking for the “must have” white pearl necklace or a pair of bold black pearl earrings, who can you trust to make an informed decision when shopping on the internet for pearls? How can you be confident when buying from a reputable source? As with shopping for anything else online, here are a few basic safeguards to consider:

Return Policy – A returns policy exceeds the legal minimum 7 working days which demonstrates confidence (10-30 days returns is typical).
Privacy Notice – A good privacy notice is easy to find, easy to read, and provides online visitors the opportunity to make informed decisions about the collection and use of their information.
Contact Information – The website should provide full “Contact Us” details . An address, telephone number as well as a business e-mail address.
Guarantee – A guarantee or warranty for workmanship of the goods (12 months is typical).
Payment Method – Clearly displaying the credit or debit cards accepted.
Shipping Cost – Any shipping or handling cost clearly displayed.
Testimonials – Genuine customer testimonials displayed.
Photos – Large blow-up detail photos of the goods.

CT Jewelry Design.com meets all the above criteria which is displayed on our website and upon request. We're always open to our customers' personal requests and would love to hear from you. Simply contact us at carolyn@ctjewelrydesign.com.

The pearl is the perfect piece of jewelry for any occasion. While there is no right or wrong way to chose pearls, there are a few things you should consider:

Color – While color is a matter of preference, rose or silver/white pearls tend to look best on fair skin types, while cream and gold-tone pearls are flattering to darker complexions.
Luster – The luster of a good-quality pearl should be bright, not dull. Any pearl that looks too chalky or dull indicates low quality.
Surface – Cleanliness of the pearl surface refers to the absence of disfiguring spots, bumps or cracks. A pearl with a clean surface will have a higher value than a spotted, bumpy or cracked one.
Shape – It is very rare to find a perfectly round pearl. While rounder pearls are more valuable, asymmetrical or baroque pearls have a unique charm and are available at a more reasonable cost.
Size – Pearls are measured by their diameter in millimeters. The average pearl sold today are between 7 and 7.5 millimeters. Typically, the larger the pearl, the more valuable it will be.
Akoya Pearls – These are the classic cultured pearls. They are the most lustrous of all pearls and the most expensive.
Freshwater Pearls – These pearls are easily cultivated from freshwater mussels rather than saltwater oysters. They are produced in great abundance and are moderately priced. Their unique shapes and beautiful pastel colors make them perfect gems for those on a budget.
Swarovski Crystal Pearls – While there are many faux pearls on the market, Swarovski crystal pearls are manufactured pearls with the base being an actual crystal bead that has been finished with layers of highly luminous pearlescence. They are considered one of the finest products of their kind in the world.

Remember you get what you pay for, so buyer beware of all those “unbelievable offers”. Pay attention to suppliers who inflate their prices to then reduce prices by 60-70%. This is simply a marketing tool. The best advise is studying and comparing pearls with a reputable e-tailer for your pearl purchase. - CT

Thursday, May 28, 2009

How Is A Woman To Choose?

There are so many kinds of pendant necklaces, how is a woman to choose? They say there is something out there for everyone, and for me one of my personal favorites is this Sterling Silver CZ Heart Pendant Necklace. It's classic beautiful and most of all romantic.

The heart has long been referred to as the symbol of spiritual, emotional and moral core of a human being. The word heart continues to be used poetically to refer to the soul and represents togetherness and eternal love. A bride would love this for her special wedding day!

Then there's the beautiful CZ's on the double hearts that represents togetherness. Cubic Zirconia (CZ), is a beautiful high quality synthetic/lab created stone which simulates a diamond at a fraction of the cost. This Sterling Silver CZ Pendant Necklace at ctjewelrydesign.com with a snake chain and lobster clasp is so affordable at $21.00, it makes it possible for you to develop a nice collection of different pendants necklaces without blowing your budget. - CT

Saturday, May 23, 2009

What's In A Stone?

Have you ever been curious as to what a particlar stone means or what physical or emotional healing properties it may have? Since it's May let's start here with a series of monthly birthstone tips.
The beautiful Emerald is the birthstone for May and is a symbol known for goodness.
The name Emerald means green from the Greek word smaragldus.This stone is believed to possess physical and emotional healing properties. It was a popular stone used by the Egyptian royals and was regarded as a sacred stone. It has been said to grant the wearer foresight, good fortune and is attributed with the ability to calm emotions and soothe emotional hurt.

Emeralds come in many shades of green, from very bright to a deep green. Unlike other gems, flaws found in Emeralds are actually a sign of it genuineness. The “Emerald Cut” refers to the wide rectangle face with it many sides or facets. When purchasing an Emerald check out the cuts. The exactness of the cut will affect the price of the emerald. A good cut has facets that meet proportionately. - CT

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Quick Tips to Keep the Sparkle

Jewelry still symbolozes love and commitment. So how do you protect and keep your jewelry like new for a lifetime? Each CT Jewelry Design is made to provide many years of enjoyment. Here are some quick care tips to protect that sparkle:

To maintain the original luster of the jewelry, we recommend wiping the pieces with a soft non-abrasive silver cloth after removing or at least once per month.

Over time sterling silver may naturally begin to develop a delicate silvery-gray patina. This is caused by oxidation and can give the piece an antique look which some may prefer.

For a bright shine, use a silver polish cloth to restore the original shine. Never use an abrasive polish as it can damage the surface.

The best way to protect sterling silver jewelry from oxidation is by keeping the piece stored in a sealed air tight plastic bag when not being worn.

Long exposure to direct sunlight can cause the color of stones to fade. Avoid storing the jewelry pieces in direct sunlight.

Chlorine can severely damage metals and gemstones, and can cause stones to become loose in settings. Please avoid wearing jewelry in chlorinated swimming pools.

Pearls can lose their luster after coming in contact with perspiration. An occasional gentle wash in lukewarm soapy water will restore their shine.

You don't need to leave your home to add a little sparkel to your jewelry collection. With quality jewelry, low prices, free US priority mail shipping, 100% satisfaction guarantee, made to order services and great customer care shopping at CT Jewelry Design is just a click away on your personal computer to help you look your best. - CT

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Basic Jewelry Wardrobe Buying Guide

Every woman needs a wardrobe of classic clothes for those “what should I wear today” moments. Add a few fabulous pieces of jewelry to that wardrobe and you’ll always have the right accessories to feel great.
Here are a few tips:

Earring: A must have for every woman are diamond studs to complement dressy to casual clothes. Sparkling earrings with colorful gemstones can also capture the spotlight for that special dinner party.

Bracelets: A few white or yellow gold bracelets and/or silver bracelets are great accessories. They are great for jazzing up a plain blouse or suit. Consider a pearl bracelet with a beautiful clasp.

Necklaces: Choose at least one necklace with a pendant or multiple strands to add interest to open necklines. Diamond or pearl strands never go out of style. Cubic Zirconia (CZ) which comes in all colors is also a beautiful alternative to diamonds for a fraction of the cost.

Extras: Adding a gemstone ring or a watch is always smart and eye catching.
Each season is a time of renewal, so refresh your jewelry wardrobe with all the latest trends and new classics. Most importantly choose your jewelry carefully and make it your own style. - CT

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day and Setting Up a Green Home Office

Earth Day is on April 22nd, an inspiring day of awareness and appreciation for our environment. As you may already know Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, an environmental activist, conceived the idea on a trip he took to Santa Barbara after the terrible oil spill off our coast in 1969. He had been so outraged that he took a leading role in organizing the celebration and then passed a bill to celebrate the earth every year after.

You too can take the lead and be inspired to do your “Green” part as a small business owner. Make a difference by considering the following ways to save energy and resources by making environmental choices when setting up your home office.

Purchase Recycled Paper - Paper is typically the number one supply used in any office. Consider how you can reduce, reuse, or recycle paper (or better yet share electronic files with others). You’ll help reduce the number of trees needed to make paper, keep it out of the trash and reduce energy cost.

Electronic Media - Instead of sending newsletters or post cards by mail to advertise consider using an electronic mailing list where customers can opt into for all the important news regarding your company. There’s even an added bonus…you’ll save the cost of postage!

Subscriptions and Junk Mail – Cancel hard-copy subscriptions to newspapers, newsletters, and magazines you can access on line. If you don’t read it, you don’t need it. Then visit Direct Marketing Association at www.dmaconsumers.org/consumerassistance.html and take your name off mailing lists to reduce all that junk mail you've been trashing.

Recycled Furniture - Before you buy new furniture, consider gently used or refurbished furniture. Wood can be painted or stained and you can add some recovered cushions to match your personal decor. If you prefer new, seek out a manufacturer that recycles steel or aluminum in their furniture designs. The choices are many for Eco-friendly desks, chairs and cabinets.

Buy in Bulk and Refillable – Buy pencils and pens that are refillable. They can be refilled over and over again and remember to read the label before you buy to avoid any dangerous toxic inks. Save the environment (and money) from single packages and buy your writing tools in bulk.

Being in charge is probably one of the greatest benefits of small business ownership. The resources and energy saving actions we take as the decision makers can make a big difference in reducing waste and pollution. So remember to make the right environmental choices...reduce, reuse and recycle every day.
Happy Earth Day. - CT

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Dream Job

Small business ownership is the dream job most of us long for. After all we can be our own boss, make all the decisions without someone breathing down our neck, and we can work as much or as little as we want. Well the reality is when you're your own boss you may find yourself working 24/7 to do whatever it takes to keep your business going and pay the bills. So remind yourself of these simple tips the next time you find yourself in the middle of the night burning the midnight oil...
  1. Self-Motivation – It's all up to you, so get it done

  2. Prepare – Think ahead, prepare, prepare and prepare some more

  3. Discipline – Stick to the schedule and finish your project no matter what

  4. Vision – Remember your long-term goals and stick to your plan to reach the next level

  5. Determination – Refer back to #1

Remind yourself that this is a journey and it's not without its speed bumps, curves, and detours. Enjoy the ride...you have what it takes to make this dream job successful! - CT

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Stress...No, Nope, Nah

Stress is a fact of life, but being stressed out isn't. Small changes in our lifestyle can make a big difference in the way we feel. We have all heard how we should get 30 minutes of exercise several times a week, get a good night sleep and that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but one of the hardest things for most of us to do is to prioritize and just say “No”.

Sure it's easier to say yes, but trying to do everything is a one-way ticket for disaster. Besides, yes isn't always the best answer and saying no can actually be good for you. It's really not a selfish act, it's just a simple little word and an important part of simplifying your life. In fact, it may be the most beneficial thing that you can do for your family and your other commitments.

So give yourself permission and say it out loud...No, Nope, Nah! - CT

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Green Tip: Perk Up For Spring

Spring is a great time to perk up your workspace and improve your office air quality with a green plant. It can actually improve your mood by consuming all those nasty air pollutants and humidify the air for you. Since plants grow slowly in limited light, don't water, fertilized or re-pot very often. Check the soil dampness with your finger before you give it a drink. There are several varieties of plants that can survive under fluorescent lights so take a walk to your nearest nursery and pick one up and you'll perk up in
no time!-CT

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Accepting "Plastic" Cash

Several studies have shown that the average size of credit card orders can be up to three times more that cash and check orders. Customers buy more when they use their credit cards. They can often get benefits for paying with credit cards such as points or cash back and it can give them more flexibility in managing their cash flow. Many vendors are hesitant to begin accepting credit cards because they feel the transaction fees and set-up fees are a deterrent, but the benefits outweigh the costs and the time involved in accepting credit cards.

So how does one start accepting credit cards on-line? First contact the bank where you have your checking account for details on opening a merchant account. Take a look at programs such as Pay Pal, Pro Pay or Google Checkout, etc., that perform credit card transactions. Comparison shop for the best services and fees. Read all the details to compare set-up fees, transaction fees, transfer fees and any annual fees. Beware of credit card fraud and scams. Do some word of mouth networking and check the companies out.

Typically, you will want to sign up with the company that provides the lowest percentage transaction fees, even if you have to pay a small set-up charge but fees vary so review the fine print! Once you decide which company you will use, fill-out all the required set-up paperwork and pay the required fees. Many companies will run a credit-check before approving your account. Then learn how to activate and process the credit card charges according to their specific instructions.

In today's market it's almost a necessity to accept credit cards payments. While it is true that you can still sell your items and customers will still buy your products with cash and checks, you will greatly increase your sales by giving your customer the option of charging their purchases. Your payments are guaranteed up front with no more trips to the bank or the cost of bounced checks and even if your customer orders just one more product as a result of paying with a credit card, you'll make more money than you would have otherwise. - CT

Monday, March 9, 2009

Green Tip: Spring Break

There's nothing like a warm break in the middle of March to get you looking at all those seed catalogs you received after the holidays or researching on-line how to plant an edible garden. You're aware of the health benefits of growing some of your own food but did you know that putting land to use is perhaps one of the most important environmental actions you can take.

First of all, if you're new to gardening think small and don't bite off more than you can chew...or hoe. We have two 8' x 4' raised gardens in our back yard with more than enough of those fresh, crispy vegetables for us to enjoy, plus extra to give to friends and family. Of course you will want to stay away from those space hogs like watermelons or pumpkins, but you'll have plenty of room for tomatoes, lettuce, cucumbers, green beans and peppers.

So grab a chair outside with your computer or catalogs, enjoy the fresh warm air and start planning for your new edible garden. More importantly, you'll be helping the environment and it won't be long before you'll be enjoying the experience of eating fresh, crisp vegetables you grew yourself! - CT

Saturday, February 28, 2009

CT Facelift Complete!

It’s finally complete! During the past few months, we’ve been working late into the night to give our customers a fresh, new and up-to-date CT Web site. We believe the new “Facelift” clearly reflects the quality of our craftsmanship and showcases our beautiful contemporary jewelry pieces to our customers. More importantly it is easier than ever to navigate and it is designed so you can shop with trust through a secure online payment method.

Our customers can now visit and view beautiful detail close-up shots and descriptions of their favorite jewelry and pay directly from their PayPal account or charge it to their credit cards without exposing their sensitive financial or personal information. You can even go straight to our CT Blog page on our site where we continue to share and interact with our customers giving them a way to talk with us directly and suggest interesting user-generated content on our website about business ideas, services and new products.

We appreciate your business and loyalty very much so these changes are our way of saying thank you for your continued support as you’ve been with us each step of the way and watched our journey and growth since 2002. Without our loyal customers this would not be possible. So sit back and take a peak at the new features and contact us to let us know what you think of our new “Facelift”. We love hearing from you and stay tuned for additional add-ons like our upcoming preferred customer specials, discounts, and awesome giveaways in the upcoming months. —CT

Saturday, February 21, 2009

It's Never Too Late

Although its never too early to plan for your financial nest egg, it is also never too late. All you need is a plan and a commitment to catch up on your contributions for your golden years.

First plan and figure how much income you'll need in retirement and which retirement savings plan is best for your situation. Many financial planners suggest a target of approximately 75% of your pre-retirement income in order to maintain your current lifestyle.

Then commit to saving for the plan. Contribute regularly by setting up automatic transfers from your savings account to an individual retirement account. Make saving a priority, buckle down and don't be afraid to make sacrifices in order to focus on your financial goals. Adding regularly can have a substantial impact on your total savings over time.

A thorough assessment of your retirement strategy can help ensure you're on the right path. Consult with your financial advisor every year to review the performance and progress of your investments. Remember it's never too late to get started...so what are you waiting for? - CT

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Valentine's Day Chocolate Survival

Chocolate is one of the toughest relationships to break off. It's just so complicated. We try every year to break up, but it never works...we always seem to go back! All kidding aside, it's all about our choices without the guilt. Never eat chocolate on an empty stomach. Studies have shown that people who eat chocolate after a filling meal crave it less.

Keep your portions in check. Go for one rich piece of chocolate like a Godiva instead of half a bag of Hershey Kisses. If you crave that kiss, (and who doesn't) toss your bag of chocolate in the freezer...it will take you longer to eat. So indulge without feeling powerless and put chocolate back in its place! - CT

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Green Tip: Share The Love

Valentine's Day or Saint Valentine's Day is celebrated on the14th of February. It is the traditional day on which lovers express their love for each other by sending cards and gifts.

Did you know that the sending of “Valentines” goes as far back as the nineteenth-century in Great Britain? Also, in 1847, a woman by the name of Esther Howland developed a successful business in her Worcester, Massachusetts home with hand-made Valentine cards based on British models.

The U.S. Greeting Card Association estimates that approximately one billion valentines are sent each year worldwide, making Valentine's Day the second largest card-sending holiday of the year behind Christmas. They also estimate that 85% of women make the purchase valentine cards.

Today the rise of the Internet e-cards are very popular, millions of people now use digital means of creating and sending Valentine's Day greeting messages. This is a great green way to say, I Love You! So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and share the love this season. And if you do buy a card...show how much you care by making it a handmade one! - CT

Monday, January 19, 2009

Green Tip: Dry Cleaning Only...Think Twice

Did you know that the solvent perchloroethylene or "perc" used in dry cleaning is known to cause a host of health problems and is labeled as a probable human carcinogen?! It is also a suspected endocrine disrupter, meaning it is a chemical that may confuse the body into thinking it is estrogen! Well I didn't know until now so I'll be handwash my many items labeled "Dry Clean Only" from now on. There are many item that you can hand wash even silk and wool by searching for the instruction on the web. I found a host of many wonderful green sites with safe tips for hand washing "Dry Clean Only" garments. There are also "Wet cleaner" or "CO2 dry cleaners" that do not use perc. To find a list of green cleaners nationwide go to EPA Cleanguide. - CT

Friday, January 16, 2009

On line Branding Identity

Branding creates value by promoting your product and making your company name visible on line. It builds awareness of your product and forms a positive association with your customer over time. Effective branding is all about letting your customer know who you are, what you do and how you do it.

When potential customers visit your web site let them know who you are and let them see what you're all about. Communicate the message right off the bat. View your web site through the eyes of the visitor. What does the text say about you and your products? Does it define and describe your products? Web sites can often get caught up in flashy graphics and fancy fonts without telling the customer what the company is actually all about. Get to the point quickly so your reader stays on your web site and doesn't bounce off. Keep them interested.

Another branding tip is adding a personal element to make sure that your web site is connecting with your customers. Include your photo, name and a personal message on your “About” page for your customers to relate to. Add your business phone number and address to your “Contact” page and add an appealing design logo your customers can associate with. These item will go a long way in building consumer trust and loyalty in you and your brand.

Use your web site URL on all stationary, business cards, newsletters, blogs, forums and marketing materials. Repetition is the key to a good branding strategy. Keep the look and feel consistent throughout all of your materials. The Internet has many opportunities to brand your product or service. Remember that everything that you do and say on line sends a message so be very careful and be professional at all times with that message. Use these tips to create your own branding identity to promote your image on line and attract your customers. - CT

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Green Tip - A Better Mug

Resolve to never drink out of a paper or plastic cup again. Already have a reusable travel mug? Buy several more so that you'll always have one clean and available. It will come in handy for taking your drink from home to work (or running those daily errands) and you can refill it on the way back with your favorite drink. - CT

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Your Reputation

Your reputation is all about perceptions. It's what you are known for and it's what other people perceive about you. It's all about your character, values, personality and skills that people base their opinions on and what they experienced and see.

When it comes to reputation it can takes years to build it and it can take just seconds to ruin it. Many doors can open if you have a good reputation but a poor reputation despite great skills can close and alienate your customers.

There are many people out there that are very good at being negative. You know the ones who let us know how bad their day has been or how bad a product is, etc. Although it may be very therapeutic for them, and others may respond and be supportive, it's not what their business should be about. Negative issues will typically result in negative responses. So you must stay positive and give positive feedback.

You need to be viewed as someone that people look to as a contributor. Involvement in a conversation means giving as much constructive feedback as possible. Giving people your input and helping them be better at what they do will build your relationships and make your reputation shine over your competition and have loyal followers and in turn loyal buyers.

Oh and don't forget to manage your reputation. Know who is talking about you, who's ranking you and why. There are many sites to help you with this but I find Google Alerts a great way to monitor and keep tabs. Google Alerts are emails which are automatically sent to you when there are new Google results on search terms. Give it a try and see if your reputation measures up. - CT

Monday, January 5, 2009

Managing Changing Times

Things are changing and change is stressful. It's a different ballgame now and odds are you are expecting to get the same or better results in your company this year as you did last year. But will you? If you try to manage change the same way you've always managed change before, you're in for real problems. In times of transition it's time to make changes which will provide you with opportunities for success.

Success in changing times requires flexibility and adaptability on your part. The secret is not to brace yourself for change, but rather to loosen up and roll with the flow. Flexibility is one of the keys to being successful. Your attitude will also be a major factor in determining your success. Attitude is really one of the few things that you have control over, so keep it upbeat and positive. Change can be aggravating and confusing. It will test your emotional resilience. Anyone can be happy when thing are going well, but the question is what your attitude will be when things get rocky? Can you measure up and continue to perform and seek out those opportunities that change presents?

Focus on your short-range objectives to get the best mileage out of your products or services you provide to your customers. Listen to what your customer wants and keep a tight pulse on those short term goal and accomplishment you have set, don't stray from them. Prioritize and carefully organizes the essential projects you have. You simply may not have enough time or energy to handle everything that comes along so don't be afraid to say “no” so you can take care of those things or customers that count the most.

During the months ahead you need to pay close attention to how your business is functioning. Go looking for bad news. Part of your job as a business owner is to find and then face up to any problems that occur during these changing times. Careful monitoring is essential in order for you to nip any problems head on. Studies have shown that it cost five to six times more to develop a new customer as it costs to keep your current customer base. Make customer satisfaction the top priority. Things may be changing but the need for satisfied customer never changes. So protect the quality of your product or service and make sure your customers are satisfied. - CT

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2009 Fashion Forecast

Experts predict that 2009 will be a dynamic and exciting year, one that calls for some powerful fashion statements. Jewel encrusted clothing will be the new fashion trend for 2009, with semi-precious stones, crystals and glass embellishment on clothing this year.

Everything from every day dresses, jackets and accessories will find a little bit of bling attached to it. It’s not the first time we’ve seen jewels on clothing, but this year it will be brighter, bolder and more elegant than before. The look will be sexy and exotic but classic at the same time.

Butterfly motif are also hot this year as it symbolizes hope of resurrection. Keep it delicate, elegant and sophisticated, not too girly. Remember make a statement with each piece of jewelry you wear and keep quality high on the list when it comes to detailing your look.

Plan to be wearing monocrome outfits. Put your blues together and your greens with lots of layers. Buy a one single shouldered dress for daytime and one for evening wear with a fabulous pair of killer heels to show off those legs this year. And last but not least cluster your jewelry with bold (huge) necklaces, bracelets and earrings. Pile up the silver and gold. - CT

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Featured Today on Autonomous Artisans

Imagine my surprise this evening when I saw another one of my designs featured on Autonomous Artisans. This time my thanks go out to writers Lynne D, Jon K, Rose P and Michelle C's, "journal ignores mass made goods in favour of the lovingly hand crafted products made by the independent artisans of the world." Their blog was just recently awarded the blog butterfly award by Rebecca Crabtree of Fired Silver. If you get an opportunity visit Autonomous Artisans . I can assure you you won't be disappointed. - CT
Blog Widget by LinkWithin