It’s that time of year!

As the weather gets nicer, and the gardens start blooming, my thoughts turn to the fun events of summer.  Interested in finding more local products in your community?  What better way to search them out than by attending your local farmer’s markets, festivals, and summer craft shows.  Don’t know how to find local events?  Talk to your community chamber of commerce, subscribe to your local newspaper, do a google search online.  Ask your neighbors!  I think you will be suprised at how much is actually going on, right under your nose, in or near your local community.

More product blogs to come!

(As soon as I kick this fun springtime sinus bug & can smell, taste, hear, and see well again!)  🙂



Bold Photography from Big Jim

Some people just have talent.  In his previous life, Big Jim Harris never thought he would become a photographer – this was just a fun hobby he decided to pick up a couple years ago.  But the amazing images he has captured in such a short amount of time have given him a new passion in life.

Personally, my favorite thing about his photography is that it is simple & he focuses on the subject at hand.  I love how the brown grizzly bear in this photo contrasts so well against the green foliage – you know absolutely that this is the focal point of the photographer.  His work is just different from many of the photographers I have seen in my part of the country who try to be more “artistic” with animals & landscapes.  It is special.

“Picture This Montana” is a Bozeman based business that is still in development, but with the right marketing & exposure I foresee it taking off in a big way.  Jim’s natural talent plus his fortunate luck of living in Big Sky Country outside of Yellowstone National Park is a winning combination.

For more examples of his work, check out:

Creative Symbolism

Remember how much fun it was as a kid to make up a language that only you & your best friend could understand?

Well, over the years, this mother & daughter team have done just that – however, they share their secret symbol language with the world in the form of creative jewelry.  Developed to honor the artistic language of primitive cultures, this work is one of a kind.

The imagination of Q. Millar Design has been cultivated over many years in a studio outside of Bozeman, Montana.  Each piece is handmade & uniquely crafted using red brass, copper & sterling silver as well as semi precious stones, glass & metal beads to convey a symbolic message.  The earrings pictured here are called “Carry On” – one of hundreds if not thousands of messages developed over the past 25 years.

Be careful.  Buying a Q. Miller piece can be addicting – it is hard to own just one!  Tempt yourself today:



Live Long & Prosper

It’s not often a product stops me in my tracks.  But I literally stopped, backed up, and had to take a second look at the gigantic tree poster hanging in a booth at a trade show I was at recently.  Being that I am a scientifically minded person anyway (heck I work at a science museum… and I use Star Trek quotes frequently…) this evolutionary “tree” fascinated me.  As I am looking at it though, this first thing I noticed was – there were no dinosaurs on it.  After a moment of confusion I realized, oh!  This tree was not of our entire evolutionary history – it was our family tree of existing life!

What a cool concept.  The tree starts out with the oldest “still living” organisms and grows over millions of years to show the history of currently living plants & animals – when they evolved, and who they are related to.  Beautifully illustrated, the owner of the company devised this idea after visiting a natural history museum & finding no exhibit or product that could show a history of existing life.  From her initial drawing, she has created a line of posters, cards, educational giclees & wall murals which are so unique – perfect for the teacher, nature buff, or all around science geek.

Pictured here is a card I picked up that shows a small portion of the tree where you would find the existing flowering plants.  The artwork flows from the front to the back of the card and includes a scientific caption describing what you see.  What a perfect piece of functional, educational, artwork.

Brand new, Fairhope Graphics from Westtown, Pennsylvania just has a bare bones website.  However, check back – they should be launching a fully functional evolutionary experience soon!

Kettle Style Voodoo

While at a conference in New Orleans, I got a “free” bag of kettle chips during the Sunday lunch break.  (“Free”, as in purchased with $15 voucher that came with our $365 entry packets – ha)  I had noticed this brand on the shelf of a convienence store I stopped in that morning – as the brightly colored package is hard to miss – and was curious about the taste, as I have never had Voodoo flavored chips before…

I have now been home a week, and the sights, sounds, tastes & smells of the Big Easy have faded away.  That is, until I decided I needed a quick salty snack & found this bag tucked away among the various treats I brought home with me.  I broke open the bag and with one bite, the sweet tangy seasonings took me immediately back to the south.

Zapp’s Potato chips were the brainchild of a man with a dream to make cajun flavored kettle chips that represent the amazing seasoning & spices found in Louisiana.  The brand expanded over the past 25 years from being a local, hometown business to a leader in the US potato chip industry.

Never tried Zapps?  Use a little voodoo and conjure up a bag today!

Goo Goo – Interesting Name, Remarkable Taste!

While meandering around the Memphis Airport on Friday waiting for yet another flight, I wandered into a gift shop to check out the local fare.  Not surprising, I found an entire third of the store dedicated to Elvis Presley.  However, I was surprised to find a large display filled with something called Goo Goo.  What the heck is Goo Goo, and why does it have an entire wall dedicated to three flavors – Original, Peanut Butter, and Supreme?

So of course I had to buy a box and find out.

When I first opened the package, the candy I found inside reminded me of something we would occasionally get from my grandma when I was a kid – a hard peanut cluster with a sandy stale nougat that after the first bite I wanted to throw away – thus my tentativeness in taking the first bite.

What I found totally blew my expectations out of the water.

Smooth milk chocolate.  Fresh peanuts. Soft caramel.  Delicious, light fluffy marshmallow nougat.  The most amazing peanut candy cluster I have ever tasted – no joke.  I can’t believe it came out of a box, it tasted like I bought it freshly made out of the glass case at a local candy shop.

In addition to being an incredible product, it also has an interesting history being one of the first massed produced candies with multiple ingredients.  Want to learn more? (or do you just want to try one?!)

I found my Solmate…

Want a creative way to get more people to visit a booth at a trade show?  Give them a unique, colorful sock & post a sticker on it that says “If you want the mate, come visit us”!

Of course I wanted the mate, so I went & visited Solmate Socks – a small Vermont based company, who has been knitting colorful “mismatched” socks since 2000.   These comfy foot warmers are knitted using a variety of weaves, and no pair is ever alike.  As in life, soul mates compliment each other with their differences while being the perfect match – so do these socks.

Another great thing about this company – when you buy kids socks, they send you three mis-matched socks… a pair with a spare!  Infants, five mis-matched socks… two pair with a spare!  Now that is proactive… love it!