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Meet the Black and Whites, a family of cats

Tuesday, October 25th, 2011

Look closely and you can see all six cats in this photo. One is right behind the poinsettia.

There’s no denying it. We love our pets here at SJ Creations! Over the next few weeks, we’re going to devote our blog to our beloved canine companions and feline friends. We’ll share stories and photos of our four-legged sidekicks.

Feel free to leave a comment on our blog or share a photo of your pet on our Facebook page. We’d love to meet your beloved animal friends too!

 

 

More than seven years ago, a single black and white cat showed up at my parent’s house. She seemed scared and alone so I offered her a dish of cat food and although she didn’t want to be touched, she decided to hang around. We named her Mickey and little did we know at the time, but she was expecting and soon had a litter of four kittens under our house. We adopted the two surviving girls, Chiquita and Muffin. Like their mother, the pair was also skittish and wary for the first few months. By five months, they trusted us enough to let us pet them while outside. By 10 months, they decided we would treat them right and they chose to move into the house.

A couple of months later, Mickey had her second litter of kittens under our house. Of the two kittens, only one survived the harsh beginning of a feral cat and we added another girl, Oreo, to our growing family of cats. Within five months, Mickey had her third and final litter of kittens. We decided to keep two of the boys and my aunt took the other two kittens. With the brothers, Whiskers and Junior, added to the bunch, we were finally able to befriend Mickey enough to capture her and get her fixed, thus ending our kitten days.

Although six cats can be a lot of work, they also provide hours of entertainment. They each have a distinct personality.

There’s Chiquita, who thinks she’s the princess and ruler of the other cats. She’s a sweet fluffball with a sense of entitlement. She’s to be the first one at the food dish and the others are to wait until she is finished eating or they risk getting bopped in the face. But what the others don’t realize is that Chi is actually a big scaredy cat herself and flinches each time she bops another cat out of fear of being bopped back herself.

There’s Muffin, who is the complete opposite of her sister. She’s a delicate, passive sweetheart who just wants nuzzles and love. Her kindness often allows the other cats to boss her around, or in the case of her brothers, knock her around. She has the cutest chirp of a meow, although she rarely talks. She’s also a homebody and would never leave the house if we didn’t make her get outside and explore from time to time.

There’s Oreo, who is little miss independent. Being the only surviving kitten from her litter, she grew up as the baby and likes her alone time. She decides when and where she wants to be cuddled and isn’t afraid to tell you exactly what she thinks. Often when we return from a vacation or a long day away, she’s the first one to recount all of her adventures.

There’s Whiskers, who thinks that he’s bigger and tougher than he is. This is especially evident in his bumps and cuts he gets after fighting with the neighborhood cats. But for as much of a fighter he is outside the house, once he comes in it’s all love and snuggles. If no one is sitting and ready to hold him, he paces the floor and whines until he gets his way. Then he climbs on your lap and stretches out.

There’s Junior, who is without a doubt the class clown. He’s a goof ball who quite possibly has cat ADHD, if there is such a thing. He can’t hold still ever. Even when he’s sleeping, his paws are constantly kneading the air. He loves to talk and brush against your leg. He shows up at the door every afternoon, needing his midday nap and if he doens’t get it, he turns into a big whiny baby.

And, of course, there’s Mickey, the cat who started it all. While she eventually grew to trust us, she never came around to living in the house or cuddling on our laps. She allowed us to pet her outside and tried her best to overcome her feral instincts. Sadly, we believe that she passed on this summer but I’m thankful that she left her own legacy with each of her babies.

–Abby, Social Media

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Do you have a dog, cat or other special animal in your life? If you don’t have a pet, what is your dream pet?

Tell us about your pet in a blog comment and you could win a $25 gift card to SJ Creations during our October blog comment contest. A random winner will be selected from all blog comments on or around November 1, 2011.

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Meet Brandy, a 2-year-old Shepard Mix

Tuesday, October 18th, 2011

There’s no denying it. We love our pets here at SJ Creations! Over the next few weeks, we’re going to devote our blog to our beloved canine companions and feline friends. We’ll share stories and photos of our four-legged sidekicks.

Feel free to leave a comment on our blog or share a photo of your pet on our Facebook page. We’d love to meet your beloved animal friends too!

Brandy is a 2-year-old shepard mix.  She’s genuinely sweet and barely makes a peep!  She’s special due to her rough past but she’s been making great progress and now is excited to get in the car, head out to the dog beach and run around for hours.  She’s the caretaker of my zoo, as she keeps tabs on the cat and rabbit to make sure they are happy and safe.

Her favorite things to do are chase after the other dogs at the beach (not the ball), rolling in the sand, and hiking in the mountains.  One of her funniest quirks is she decided to let us know she has to go out by running into the back door with her shoulder!  She doesn’t do it hard enough to hurt herself, so it’s just loud enough to get our attention.

I wouldn’t trade my “zoo” for the world!  They are amazing animals with such unique personalities that make every day special.

- Ashley, Art Director

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Do you have a dog, cat or other special animal in your life? If you don’t have a pet, what is your dream pet?

Tell us about your pet in a blog comment and you could win a $25 gift card to SJ Creations during our October blog comment contest. A random winner will be selected from all blog comments on or around November 1, 2011.

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Meet Zoe, a 3-month-old Mastiff

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

There’s no denying it. We love our pets here at SJ Creations! Over the next few weeks, we’re going to devote our blog to our beloved canine companions and feline friends. We’ll share stories and photos of our four-legged sidekicks.

Feel free to leave a comment on our blog or share a photo of your pet on our Facebook page. We’d love to meet your beloved animal friends too!

 

When my boyfriend announced that his dream dog was a mastiff, I thought he was crazy. Of all the dog breeds, he had to choose one of the largest.  I was, and still am, concerned about walking a 100+ pound dog that has a good chance of weighing more than me when full grown.

But this past weekend, he found an ad for a mastiff puppy on Craigslist and our hearts both melted when we met this sweet girl. While she took a few minutes to warm up to us on first meeting, as soon as we left her temporary home, she was our best friend. She cuddled in my lap on the drive home and snuggled up with us in bed that first night. We’ve since bought her a kennel to sleep in since thought of adding an extra large dog to our bed in a few months sounds just slightly crowded.

At 11 weeks old, she already nearly reaches my knee and is bigger than my dream dog, a pug. But we’re raising her to be a gentle giant. We already have a cat at home that she’s trying to make friends with (the cat isn’t playing very nice yet though) and we’re taking her out daily on walks to socialize with other dogs and people. We hope to soon take her to the dog beach or dog park too. But for now, she’s content to gnaw on her puppy bone or Kong while snuggling with us at home.

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Do you have a dog, cat or other special animal in your life? If you don’t have a pet, what is your dream pet?

Tell us about your pet in a blog comment and you could win a $25 gift card to SJ Creations during our October blog comment contest. A random winner will be selected from all blog comments on or around November 1, 2011.

 

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Meet Sookie, a 2.5-year-old Puggle

Wednesday, October 5th, 2011

There’s no denying it. We love our pets here at SJ Creations! Over the next few weeks, we’re going to devote our blog to our beloved canine companions and feline friends. We’ll share stories and photos of our four-legged sidekicks.

Feel free to leave a comment on our blog or share a photo of your pet on our Facebook page. We’d love to meet your beloved animal friends too!

 

Sookie is a 2.5-year-old Puggle, part Pug and part Beagle.  She thinks she is all human and loves to talk.  She softly grumbles in the morning, “Hey mama, time to get up and feed me.”  Sometimes she is a little louder, “Yo, can you get that ball that rolled underneath the sofa?”

She is sensitive.  She licked my tears when I was crying at the end of ‘Marley and Me’, which made me cry harder of course.  She loves a good joke.  When the laughter begins, she comes over and wags her tail – actually the whole back half wags.  It’s so funny looking.

Sookie is a social creature.  She introduces herself to all humans and animals alike.  So many smells, so little time!  She is also very interested in current affairs, as every Saturday and Sunday morning we watch the news together and do the “coffee cuddle” – I drink the coffee,… she does the cuddling.

She is a born leader as well.  She is active in dog camp activities and shows the new dogs the ropes.  After a long day of teachin’ the youngins, she generally takes to her throne on the sofa next to the camp counselor.

Her hobbies include sniffing out gofers, getting the treat out of the Kong, and long walks on the beach.  We absolutely adore her!

- Evencia, National Sales Manager

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Do you have a dog, cat or other special animal in your life? If you don’t have a pet, what is your dream pet?

Tell us about your pet in a blog comment and you could win a $25 gift card to SJ Creations during our October blog comment contest. A random winner will be selected from all blog comments on or around November 1, 2011.

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SJ Creations’ Fall Favorites

Wednesday, September 28th, 2011

As the seasons change, so do our bath and body needs. With a wide variety of comforting fall scents, like apple and pumpkin, and moisturizing skin care products to help your skin make the transition from summer to autumn, there’s something for everyone at SJ Creations!

We’ve compiled a list of our favorite bath and body products for autumn. Check out our suggestions and then leave us a comment with your favorite SJ Creations product for fall!

 

Olive Oil Body Butter

“I like to moisturize my feet after a hot shower in the evening and slip on a cozy pair of socks!  It is very relaxing and keeps my skin nice and soft.” – Evencia, National Sales Manager

For an earthy, mild fragrance, olive oil is the way to go. It’s both calming and refreshing, the perfect moisturizing body butter to use after a long, hard day to give your skin a quick pick-me-up.

 

 

Aloe and Clover Hand Wash

“I love Aloe and Clover hand wash. The scent is nice and clean and the artwork with the butterflies is darling. The brown bottle really dresses up my bathroom to match my bronze accents.” – Ashley, Art Director

A fragrant wash to cleanse your hardworking hands while you breathe in the delightful scent of Aloe & Clover. Your hands will look and smell fresh and clean.

 

Apple Shaped Hand Wash

“Not only does this apple hand wash smell delicious, but the apple shaped bottle perfectly accents the kitchen. Although it’s great year-round, the autumn harvest makes this apple scent extra sweet.” – Abby, Social Media

Enjoy the fresh scent of Apple as you cleanse your hands with this Apple Shaped hand wash. The unique shaped design will bring a little fun and color to your bathroom or kitchen!

 

Pure Organics Face

“My skin is normally very dry, but it gets even worst with the cold weather fall brings. The “fantastic trio,” as I like to call it, always leaves my skin feeling fresh and moisturized.” – Megan, Graphic and Web Designer

Organic nourishing face serum provides peptides that stimulate skin to help rebuild collagen and aids with anti aging. Organic daytime face moisturizer and rejuvenating eye cream each deliver time release liposomes to enhance moisture penetration.

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We’ve told you our favorites; now you tell us yours! Leave us a blog comment with your favorite SJ Creations product for fall and tell us why you like it, and you could win a $25 gift card to SJ Creations.

Each comment during September will be entered in our blog comment contest and one winner will be selected at the end of the month! Good luck!

 


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Autumn in San Diego: Not Your Typical Fall

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Fall has officially arrived. Or at least that’s what the calendar says. Here in lovely San Diego, we don’t have a typical autumn with a medley of rapidly changing leaves or brisk temperatures that call for sweaters and overcoats. For me, personally, I’m okay with that. I grew up near Seattle and, after experiencing plenty of true Northwest autumn days, it’s a relief to me now that autumn simply means a flip of the calendar and not a complete wardrobe overhaul.

Autumn in New England - terryballard/Flickr

But I do understand the beauty of the season. I can appreciate the wonder of watching the leaves transform from the lively green of summer to the vibrant fall collage of reds, oranges and golds. It has always been a dream of mine to travel to the Northeast and see the New England hillsides glow in the autumn sun. I just don’t need to live there permanently to enjoy the lovely, leafy landscape.

Last year was my first San Diego autumn and after the inconsistency of the first ever recorded 100 degree day in November  and one of the wettest Octobers, I’m intrigued to find out what this fall has in store for me. One thing is for sure though, it won’t be a traditional autumn like up north.

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What does autumn mean in your area? Are the leaves already turning colors? Is there a noticeable chill in the air? Or are you in a warm spot like San Diego where autumn isn’t traditional?

Tell us in a blog comment and you will be entered to win a $25 gift card to SJ Creations. All blog comments during September will be entered in the giveaway and a winner will randomly be selected on or around October 1, 2011.

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Organic, Gluten-free Pizza: A Healthy Twist Perfect for Fall

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011

Growing up a “fat kid,” I’ve tried to consciously be healthy since I can remember. I have always been in a dance class, workout class, sport or training for a marathon or half marathon. I even became a devoted vegetarian 11 years ago (primary for animal rights reasons, but also for health). It wasn’t until January of 2010 when my then fiancé, now husband, and I wanted to shed some unwanted pounds and get healthier for our June wedding. From the recommendation of my husband’s best friend, we decided to check out Mark Sisson’s book, “The Primal Blueprint.” For us, it has truly been life changing.

We are very fortunate that living here in San Diego already lends itself to a healthier lifestyle. But going to the farmer’s market every week, and buying local vegetables, grass-fed, free-range meats (for my husband) and cheeses has made a huge impact on my ability to really see what we’re doing to our bodies. All the refined sugars, HFCS, processed foods and “diet foods” were things my body cannot process. So, thanks to Todd Jones (my hubby’s BFF) and “The Primal Blueprint,” we’re eating caveman style (with a KitchenAid and Cuisinart, of course). My husband is eating grass-fed meats, wild-caught fish and shellfish, and we are eating locally-made cheeses, organic vegetables, cage-free organic eggs and organic coconut butter or oil. We are using healthy, natural fats as our energy source instead of processed simple carbohydrates and grains.

We do, however, live in reality. There are times that we stray. Like the bi-weekly egg, cheese, and guacamole burrito splurge or the sinfully delicious Salted Caramel Mochas from Starbucks. But I’m committed to embracing a simpler, back-to-basics way of eating. That being said, I always find it fun to find new recipes that are Primal and Vegetarian (not easy, by the way) that “mimic” things that my hubby and I used to enjoy. So, with football season in full swing, I tried my hand at making a Primal Pizza. Normally filled with bleached white flour and gluten, this version is made from an almond meal based pizza crust and topped with tons of yummy farm fresh organic veggies and cheese.

It looked amazing and tasted even better. Hope you all try it out the recipe and enjoy!

- Megan, Graphic and Web Designer, SJ Creations

Gluten Free, Organic Pizza


Ingredients:


Crust:
2 Cups Almond Meal/Flour
2 Eggs
2 Tsp Organic Coconut Oil
1/2 Tsp of Basil
1/2 Tsp of Garlic Powder
1 Tsp sea salt

Sauce:
1 Can Organic Tomato sauce
1 Tsp Dried Oregano
1 Tsp Chopped Garlic
1/2 Tsp Onion Powder
1/2 Tsp Pepper

Toppings:
Whatever you want!
But I love Organic Mozzarella, fresh organic spinach, tomatoes, red onions, mushrooms, sundried tomatoes and goat cheese… Holy Toledo it’s yummy!

Instructions:
Crust:
1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
2. Mix all ingredients in a large mixing bowl. This should give you a ball of “dough”. If your dough is too “mushy” (like mine was), continue to add almond flour until you get a good consistency.
3. Make a pizza sheet or baking tray non-stick. This is VERY important if you want your pizza slices to come off in one piece.
4. Press your dough on the sheet nice and even about 1/4 inch in the middle and 1/2 inch at the edges.
5. Put crust in the oven for 15 minutes. It should look slightly golden brown when you take it out.

Sauce:
1. In a saucepan, combine all ingredients. Use water to desired thickness. Feel free to add more spice if you want it, too.
2. Simmer on stove for approximately 15 minutes.

Toppings:
Veggies can go on fresh and raw. Then top with sun dried tomatoes and goat cheese. It melts perfectly and tastes great!

Put it all together:
1. After crust comes out of the oven, spread sauce evenly over crust.
2. Add your cheese and toppings evenly on top of sauce.
3. Put back in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 15 more minutes. Cheese should be evenly melted.
4. Slice and enjoy!

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What’s your favorite pizza toppings? Have you tried making your own version of a healthy, organic pizza at home?

Share your pizza stories in a blog comment and you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card to SJ Creations as part of our September blog comment contest. Good luck!

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Savoring the Tastes of the Harvest

Friday, September 16th, 2011

Whether we like it or not, autumn is quickly approaching and it’s time to start preparing our palates for the tastes of the fall harvest. To kick us off, I wanted to share one of my favorite fall desserts: Apple Berry Crisp. It’s the perfect dish to transition from the sweet berries of summer to the tart apples of autumn.

Apple Berry Crisp

I first tasted this delicious dessert at a friend’s dinner party about five years ago and while the dessert itself made a lasting impression on my taste buds, it was my second encounter with the dessert that solidified its place in my memory. Again, my friend and I were hosting a dinner party and decided to serve the apple berry crisp for dessert but this time, we became distracted by our guests and left the crisp in the oven for too long. Not just a minute or five or ten, but for about 30 minutes too long.

Lesson learned: Apple Berry Crisps do not like to be baked for extra 30 minutes. Not only was the dessert ruined but it was so well baked into the pan that we had no choice but to toss the pan as well.

However, if you prepare this dish as directed, you’re sure to have a wonderful new addition to your harvest recipe book.  The following is a recipe from holidaykitchen.tv. Enjoy!

- Abby, Social Media, SJ Creations

Photo courtesy of PlayfulLibrarian/Flickr.

Apple Berry Crisp
5 Golden Delicious or Rome Beauty apples
2 cups fresh or frozen blackberries, blueberries , cranberries or raspberries
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup unsifted all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup quick rolled oats
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C)
  2. Butter a 2 to 3-quart baking dish.
  3. In a large bowl, add apples, berries, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and toss to blend.
  4. Pour apple-berry mixture into the prepared dish.
  5. In a medium-sized bowl combine flour, salt, brown sugar and cinnamon.
  6. With pastry blender or two knives, cut in the butter until it’s crumbly.
  7. Next stir in the oats.
  8. Sprinkle the oat mixture over the apples and bake 40 to 45 minutes or until apples are tender and topping is crisp and golden.
Makes 8 servings.

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What’s your favorite fall harvest dish to make?

Leave us a blog comment and you could win a $25 gift card to SJ Creations. All blog comments during September will be entered in the giveaway. Remember to stop by past blogs and leave a comment for an extra entry! Good luck!

 

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Apples and Pumpkins: The Great Debate

Tuesday, September 13th, 2011

Autumn would not be complete without the sweet smells of apples and pumpkins. Here at SJ Creations, we recognize this and have created an assortment of wonderful fall fragrances that capture the essence of the season. Our only question is which aroma is the king of autumn. Take a look, then cast your vote!

Apple 

Clockwise from top left: 16 oz. Apple Shaped Hand Wash, regular $10, on sale $7.50; Golden Apple 16.9 oz. Hand Wash, regular $7, on sale $5.25; Antibacterial Lotion and Hand Gel – Trick or Treat & Wicked Candy Apple, $6; and Sweet Apple Refreshing Room Mist, regular $4, on sale $3.

Pumpkin

Clockwise from top left: 17.4 oz. Hand Wash – Pumpkin Spice, regular $7, on sale $5.25; 17.5 Pumpkin Spice Antibacterial Foaming Hand Wash, regular $10, on sale $7.50;  18.6 Hand Wash – Spooky Vanilla Treat (it may not smell like Pumpkin but it has pumpkins on the label!), $7; and 16 oz. Pumpkin Shaped Hand Wash, regular $10, on sale $7.50.

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So which fragrance tops your must-have list? Leave us a comment with your favorite scent and tell us which of the four products is your favorite and why.

Each comment will be entered in our September Blog Comment Contest. A winner will randomly be chosen to win a $25 gift card to SJ Creations on or around October 1, 2011.

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A Day at the Fair

Friday, September 9th, 2011

When I think about the transition of summer to autumn, my mind always drifts to the county fair. Growing up in Western Washington, I lived within 10 minutes of one of the fairgrounds and frequently visited during it’s 10-day run at the end of August. I even worked at the fairgrounds for a couple of summers during high school.

Just last week, I had the pleasure of revisiting the fair on a trip home to Seattle to visit family. It amazed me how despite the passing of years, the iconic state fair remains largely unchanged. There’s still the barns full of lazy cows, mischievous goats and funny-looking poultry. The same vendors show up at the fair year after year, selling a variety of random objects that you think you need at the time and then realize when you return home that you’ll never use. And the fair food is still the greasiest, most unhealthy food on the planet and yet somehow people are able to find a way to justify the indulgence during this one week of year.

While there are many things to enjoy at the fairgrounds, I’ve selected just a few of my favorite sights to share with you.

Sunset at the Evergreen State Fairgrounds in Monroe, Washington.

While I don't know the official name of this bird/chicken, I like to think of it as a Poodle Bird.

Nap time for the sweet little piglet.

It's a standoff at Billy Goat Bridge.

This bunny has got to be one of the most adorable rabbits ever.

Cows lounging in the barn.

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Have you visited your county fair this year? What’s your favorite part about a trip to the fairgrounds?

Share your thoughts and experiences with us in a blog comment and you’ll be entered to win a $25 gift card to SJ Creations in our September Blog Comment Contest. All blog comments during September will be entered and a winner will be notified on or around October 1, 2011.

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