Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Day Tomato Tutorial

Happy Earth Day!  To celebrate, I planted my tomato seeds.  I know it's really late to start them inside, but ya know, sometimes life gets in the way.  Anyway, I decided to try upside down tomato planting this year.

Last year, we planted heirloom tomatoes and they looked gorgeous until late June, then they got a nasty late blight, which I've heard is getting worse along the east coast.  The leaves turned yellow and fell off, and by fall, most of the plants were dead.  We tried Serenade, an organic fungicide, but it didn't seem to help.  The cucumbers and watermelons didn't fare so well either.

Anyway, it was my hope that by planting this year's tomatoes far away from the garden and in the air, maybe they wouldn't get the blight.  After all, summer isn't summer without tomatoes!

To be frank, I couldn't really afford a topsy turvy.  Plus, the reviews on amazon are actually quite horrible. Instead, I made my own upside down planter from a regular old pot.  After I finished planting the seeds, I realized I should have just turned it right side up and had tomato hanging baskets, but I was trying to mimic the upside down topsy turvy.  

1.  First, I found two old planters.  They already had holes in the bottom, but I cut them with scissors and made them a bit larger.

2.  Next, I flipped them upside down and filled them to the top with potting soil.  It's a good idea to leave about a 1/2" of free space at the top.

3.  I covered the planter with a scrap piece of wood.  It's not exactly pretty, but it works.  Once I had the wood on the top of the planter, I flipped the pot back over.

4.  Lastly, I planted the seeds in the top of the container.  I sprinkled about 5 seeds in each hole, covered them with dirt, and lightly packed them down.  Later I'll see which seedlings start out the strongest and pull the others out.

5.  And we've got a taker!  The first little seedling makes an appearance.  Some of the other seeds are starting to sprout too.  Once the plants get around 5"-10" high, I'll flip the planter over so that the plants are growing upside down.  I'll use the hooks from a hanging basket to hang the planter on my porch.

6.  I started some more seeds inside.  I'll probably transplant some to the ground, and the others into planters.  I hope to also have a few tomato plants in hanging baskets (the right way up, not upside down!).

I really hope some of these tomato plants produce.  I'll update this post as the plants progress.  In conclusion, happy Earth Day!  Go plant something!

: )

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring Giveaway!

Spring breaaaaaaaak! One of the perks of teaching is that you do get a (much much much needed) break from the kiddies. The week leading up to vacation was incredibly long: Wednesday felt like Friday, Thursday felt like I wasn't going to make it, and Friday was numbness from such a long week. And then there was nothing but relaxation (finally!). Having a break from teaching school has given me time to think about what's going on at ajoeynamedroo. I am going to be phasing out some of the more "wintery" products, as well as those that don't get as much love, in favor of brighter, more spring appropriate picks like the Lemon Meringue Pie Body Butter.

Many of the balms in the black recycled tubes will be going on sale. They are especially wonderful for boys with chapped lips; toting around a manly black lip balm tube is very cool, trust me. My favorite of these flavors is definitely the Root Beer balm. I'm also thinking of discontinuing the Wild Mint & Ivy scented scrubs. I love the fragrance, but it doesn't sell as well as some of the other scrubs, most notably the Strawberry Shortcake and the Cafe Mocha scrub. Between these two, Strawberry Shortcake is my favorite (though I did read somewhere that coffee can help reduce cellulite. I don't know if it's true, but it smells great anyway!).

So - things to look forward to. I'm going to start making VEGAN pigmented balms using mica. You've got to watch out for colored lip products: many of them contain carmine, a pigment made of crushed up beetles. Yuck! Anyway, mine will of course be free of all animal product, including beetle bodies. I'm also going to add watermelon to my lip balm flavors. I've also got all the ingredients for a lemon poppyseed sugar scrub. It's going to have real poppyseeds in it for exfoliation, in addition to the sugar. I'm a little obsessed with lemon fragrance right now - I think it's the weather. Until the scrub is ready, you can always grab the deliciously scented Lemon Sugar cuticle cream. It's one of my favorites.

And that brings us to the giveaway! To celebrate new beginnings and new products, you can enter to win a $20 gift certificate to ajoeynamedroo.  You may leave a separate comment for each entry.  Please make sure we have a way of getting in contact with you if you're the winner.

1. Mandatory entry: follow our blog and leave a comment telling us your favorite item from ajoeynamedroo.

Additional entries:
2. Fan us on
3. Follow us on

4. Tweet about this giveaway and mention @ajoeynamedroo for one entry
5. Post about this giveaway on your blog and link back to it here
6. Heart
ajoeynamedroo on etsy
7. Comment on any of the other posts on this blog, then come back here and tell us which one.

The contest is open internationally and will end May 2nd.  We will choose the winner via  Thank you for supporting ajoeynamedroo.
While our giveaway is active, you can also use the coupon code SPRINGCLEAN for a whopping 20% off everything at ajoeynamedroo. Happy shopping!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Evolution of the Shoe

In a recent issue of The New Yorker, there is a 9 page spread on the fabulous fashion mind Christian Louboutin, titled “Christian Louboutin and the Psychology of Shoes.”

I actually didn’t make it through all 9 pages because frankly, I was perturbed that there were NINE pages of teeny tiny New Yorker font and only ONE (yes, ONE) photograph of Louboutin’s work. Hello, New Yorker – people who are actually going to sit down and read about a shoe designer want to see some dang shoes. Really.

Anyway, the article got me thinking about my own shoe obsession. I dislike talking about it because it makes me seem so stereotypically female, but what the heck, I like shoes, and I’ve always liked shoes. I’ve recently embraced my proclivity toward shoes, because frankly, fashion is art, and art is an acceptable way to spend money; plus, I’m not being imprudent, I’m helping to stimulate the economy!

Here’s a brief look at my personal evolution in shoe shopping

Elementary school: Keds. With bows. That is all. Use Etsy to find customized Keds for your little fashionista.
Etsy seller AsaGleek provides a hip take on traditional Keds that will make your kid a rockstar.

Middle school: I would have died and gone to heaven if I could have rocked these cutesy-yet-punk-rock flats while jamming out to Bikini Kill and Hole on my purple glitter CD player with matching headphones.
Adorable zombie kitty flats by Etsy seller emandsprout

College: defined by THE COWBOY BOOT. At one point, I had 16 pairs of cowboy boots. I maintain that I was wearing them before the hipsters were (at least before the local hipsters). I got my first pair from a thrift store for $14; I’m fairly certain that was the most I ever paid. Last winter I gave away almost all of my cowboy boots. Even though I purchased them all used, I began to feel more and more uncomfortable with wearing leather, so I kept the two pairs made from manmade materials and gave the others away. Who knows - maybe someone will find a pair of my boots at Goodwill and purchase those instead of a new pair!
Reduce and reuse with these cherry red and gray vintage boots from etsy seller PacificWonderland

Post-college: the teacher shoe. At first I was scornful and claimed to only wear them for comfort, and then the unthinkable happened: I started to like them. I soon learned that you can be chic and comfortable.
Etsy seller HydraHeart has tons of hip, stylish, and comfy handmade flats. I like the red Mary Janes. They're vegan!

Wearing flats all day led me to a personal backlash at night; the more glamourous the shoe, the better! I would die and go to heaven if these lovelies found a spot in my closet.
The Ebony Glitter heels are just one pair out of many beyond-amazing painted pumps by TaylorSays.

Now: I still wear teacher shoes; off duty, my heels keep getting higher and higher. I recently signed up for a really affordable shoe club with a fantastically trendy selection in the hopes of keeping my shoe wardrobe fresh. The shoes are $49.95, but there's almost always a $10 off coupon code, plus there's free shipping. You can use the code Spring10 until April 30th for $10 off. I also love that most of the shoes use manmade materials, including the Yvettes.
The Yvette from Sole Society.

What’s your favorite pair of shoes, and how has your style changed over time?

<3 Rachel