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Cyber Monday 2016

Cyber Monday 2016

 

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Cyber Monday 11/28/2016

In honor of Cyber Monday, 11/28/2016, I am offering 20% off purchases (excluding shipping) today. 

As you can tell from the following picture I have been busy for weeks working on soaps to post today.  Please check out my Soaps page on the website!  I did quite a variety from an “Undead Collection” to Snowflakes to Maple Bacon Bars, and many others in between, so there should be something for everyone.  This picture was taken just after unmolding several batches of soaps, and before I got a few batches finished, but it gives you a good idea of how hard I’ve been working.  Ignore my Thanksgiving list in the background please.  *laugh*

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I hope you have a wonderful day and I hope to start blogging regularly very soon.  In the meantime, help someone pamper themselves today.  🙂

Better Days Ahead

Hi there!  First, I want to apologize for being away for so long.  I had to take a break from blogging because when I first started this blog I meant for it to always be a fun, uplifting little blog that gave a look behind the scenes of the sometimes crazy bath and body product creative process.  I was in a dark place though and knew that anything I wrote would reflect that, and I didn’t want to spread that.  So I just slipped away for a while.

 

Things got really bad for a few months.  As in, I even considered committing suicide when all of the medical stuff got overwhelming and some personal emotions caused it all to topple over.  Thankfully I was cognizant enough to call my mom and when I said I needed her she was here within minutes and I took some clonazepam to help tame the emotional side.  Between a mother’s love and hugs, and a great sedative, I was able to get through the night and we made some plans for dealing with everything.

 

I was able to track down my former psychiatrist at her new business and was able to get an appointment really quickly.  Within the first few minutes she saw that my medical team had really let me down and took over until I could find some new doctors.  It turns out that I had been diagnosed with hypothyroidism over a year ago and not a single doctor had treated it or even notified me of it.  I actually found it by reviewing my records so that I could provide her with any records that might help her.  She was shocked that no one had treated the condition and immediately prescribed something to help, and it turns out that my Fibro had supposedly gotten so debilitating because I actually had a whole other condition attacking my body!  Basically hypothyroidism means that the thyroid isn’t working right, so it’s not handling the metabolism, hormones, etc., correctly.  Untreated I was gaining weight even when I was unable to eat and was unable to function, since I had no nourishment and my body was in such turmoil.

 

Unfortunately I found a great doctor to add to my team, but he was unable to treat me due to bureaucratic red tape, but confirmed all of my conditions including the IBSD and Hypothyroidism on top of my Fibro, CFS, GERD, and a few others, which is ironic because officially no doctor had told me they diagnosed the IBSD or Hypothyroidism.  Thankfully he sent his recommendation to remain on my pain management system to the upcoming new PCP (primary care) and sent these confirmed diagnoses to them.  So when I went to the new PCP she agreed to prescribe my pain medications, which I was having trouble with my regular medical team refilling and was about to land into the hospital in withdrawals, and that took a huge fear and weight off of my shoulders.  She added a few other medications and agreed with the psychiatrist’s course of treatment.  In a month we will run labs to see how my levels are now doing and will even see about finally getting a referral to an ENT.  I’m actually in a good place with my medical treatment and am doing much better.  Since the thyroid has started to be treated I have actually had energy to do some restorative yoga and household chores that I haven’t gotten done in years!  I had forgotten what it felt like to have energy.  It’s so easy for people to take that for granted, but I’m able to recognize the blessing.  Instead of having one or two good days a month I now have about a week of bad days with the rest of the month being good days!  I still have a lot of problems eating and sleeping, and at times I get wildly hyper.  *laugh*  Thankfully I have also had time to come up with some great business ideas that I’m excited about and will actually have the energy to make some of the ideas!

 

First off, I can’t wait to make chocolate scented brain soaps with strawberry jam drizzled “blood” for the gore and TWD fans, and think they’ll make fun stocking stuffers come Christmas.  I also bought some luster glitters that I can’t wait to try in some soaps and go in the opposite direction to delicate, pretty soaps.  I got a Maple Bacon FO that I am so excited to make in so many molds, including the brains.  *grin*  Don’t you think that brains would smell enticing to zombies?  So why not make some that smell awesome to us too?  Mawahahaha.

 

Anyway, I just wanted to get back into the swing of blogging and wanted to beg your pardon for being away for so long.  By the way, I got an amazing pressure cooker while I was away, too, and since I’ve often posted recipes I considered including my favorite pressure cooker recipes.  If any of you are interested in my posting some of these specialty recipes, please comment so that I know there’s some interest.  In the meantime, I hope you have a wonderful day and look forward to sharing some new product info soon!

Soap, Brains, and Automobiles

How is that for an interesting post title? *grin* 

I thought it would be fun to give you a little sneak peek into what is in the works for some new soaps. While I’ve been yoyoing with health issues, medication changes, and taking advantage of energy bursts to do some Spring cleaning, I’ve also been cooking up some inspiration for my business. 

First up is something mostly geared to kids, although I think it might be cute to add to my men’s combo, as well. 

 

I found this silicone mold at a reduced price on Amazon and thought that it might produce some really cute soaps. I realized that I don’t have many male friendly soaps, so to speak, and set out to remedy that. What I really like is that the cavities are a decent size, so the soaps will be a realistic size instead of the tiny decorative variety. 

Next it’s time for some braaaaaiiiinnnnssss. Sorry, I couldn’t resist dragging that out like my inner monologue did and I obviously couldn’t resist getting the following mold when I ordered the automobiles mold. 

  

I figured that screenshot from the vendor ad gave the best view. They won’t be very big soaps, which works well for this, since I plan to add a bit more soap to them anyway. My morbid creative side really, really wants to drizzle some red soap over it to make it all bloody looking. *laugh* In theory the drizzle might follow along the brain grooves and look really grotesque. *crossing fingers* I think bloody brain soaps would be an awesome addition to my Dark Side soaps (name keeps getting changed – but I basically want a line of products that pertain to skulls, monsters, and supernatural, etc.).  I figure that Black Magic, Love Bites, And Malice & Mayhem will fall into this category, too. 

Speaking of Malice & Mayhem I haven’t been able to make another batch yet, but thought I’d share my trial run. My hot pink dye speckled on me the first round, so instead I re melted and poured into the Weird Science mold, which has beakers, eye balls, and partial skulls.  The second round just don’t have enough pizzazz. I had an image in my mind of some truly hot pink soaps for Mayhem (I have been researching how to get a better black result in soap, so I haven’t attempted the black and glitter Malice soaps yet). As you can see in the next picture neither round came out very flashy. 

  

I seriously love how dainty yet fierce the little gun soaps are, though! I think I might end up doing some wacky color combinations for Mayhem instead of a bright pink, since it took a lot of dye to get to these shades, and I don’t want to risk staining customers just because I wanted a brighter pink. My mom and I have been tossing around some ideas for staging the marketing picture for the M&M soaps, and if any of our ideas pan out, this is going to be the most professional business pic I’ve done. *crossing fingers* With better weather coming I look forward to being able to stand for longer periods of time and try out some of the dye tips I’ve found. Hopefully I can make a few variations to show you soon. 

Lastly, I thought I’d see if I can get a little feedback. I’m debating a set of silicone molds I stumbled across while looking at the two that I bought. Sometimes my nerd flag flies so high and proud that it gets in my eyes and I can’t look at things objectively. I’m a little concerned that this might be the case with these molds. Would any of you consider buying Star Wars themed soaps?  Or Tardis soaps?  Or are these a bit too out there to have a chance at being a popular item?

   

 

I honestly just don’t know what others might think. I mean, part of what makes my business different is because I try to offer very creative and unusual things that you don’t usually see. I hope that I’m set apart because  I will only sell something that I can vouch for (with my sensitivities I am super hard to please when it comes to topical products) and that I do a lot of research to hopefully help others work a little natural pampering into their lifestyle. The fear that I am getting a little too “out there” is growing though, so I figured I’d put the question out there. If you have the time to give me your opinion, I greatly appreciate it!  

I hope you all have a very Happy Easter, if you celebrate it. I plan to nibble on some Cadbury Eggs while looking over my color wheel to help decide what I want to try for the Mayhem soap. 🙂 

Love Bites and a little Black Magic

*cheesy grin* I have to say that I am totally loving the names for my new soaps.  I finally had a wakeful, energetic day and got all of the last minute touches done, so now the two soaps have gone live on my site.  *happy dance* Before I upload the pictures I wanted to say that these are the first product pics taken with my new DIY photo tent box and I am tickled!  I still have some more tweaking and definitely a lot of learning to do, but will slowly try to retake pictures of my products.  I played with background patterns, colors, and even scene fillers.  I kept these backgrounds pretty basic to help make the soaps look even more dramatic.  For Love Bites I actually used the back of some Valentine decoration’s packaging.  *laugh* I thought that was rather brilliant myself.  I had a lot of fun trying different backgrounds for Black Magic and ended up using present tissue paper over a piece of construction paper.  I took a plain picture too just to make sure that the new box was actually making a big difference and boy howdy does it!  I did very little editing with these and they were taken with my iPhone!  Yep, I’m a little proud.  lol Without further ado….

A little Black Magic:

Black Magic Soap

Black Magic Soap

Followed up with some Love Bites:

Love Bites Soap

Love Bites Soap

Both soaps are now up and featured on my site too (way bigger pictures than the others *grin*) on my soaps page (just click the red “soaps” there and it’ll take you, or your friend *elbow nudge*,  right to them). It’s amazing how many little details like hyperlinking I can remember when my mind isn’t being pulled a million directions.  *laugh* Anyway, I totally love these soaps.  I wish they turned out a bit darker since they looked like the perfect soft black when I poured the soaps, but being a little paler helps that glitter really catch the eye.  I’m becoming such a glitter fanatic that I might need an intervention.  Never would I have expected that of myself.

I had hoped to work on Malice & Mayhem tonight after making a bunch of lotions, but there’s a storm a’brewin’ according to the pain building in my ankle, so I’m going to chill out on the recliner with the fur babies instead. If you feel like letting me know what you think of the new soaps and brighter/clearer pictures I’d love to hear from you.  Also, feel free to pin it to Pinterest if you really like them or send a friend the link.  *grin* That’s enough shameless attention seeking for tonight, so until next we meet, pamper on.  🙂

I’m Baaaack! :)

I’m finally done researching, dealing, and wrapping my brain around everything. It’s been a long few weeks of dieting, medication withdrawals, fighting two bugs, and recovering from a few injuries. At least I stayed busy, right? *laugh* Plus, you should be proud, because we didn’t make the bloody snowman I found instructions for on Pinterest during either of the snow storms that came through in the meantime. *grin* It’s been SO hard to resist the morbid temptation, so I deserve a lot of credit.

 

First, I am really sorry that it’s taken me so long to respond to those that wrote to me. I hope that I replied to each comment; if I missed yours, it was not intentional!  I want to tell you all that the support shown means the world to me and was a massive help in getting me through to this stage, despite it taking me a while to be able to come back and say so. I have a habit of crawling inside of my mind until I feel like I’m back in control. It’s something I’ve been working to improve, but I’m a work in progress, as they say. *smile* Regardless, thank you so much for the support, encouragement, and just being there.

 

I found a little light to focus on during my research. I kept researching for a good week after my last post about the possible causes of the liver damage and found that the muscle relaxers that I was on had a very rare instance during two clinical trials of Fibro patients showing liver damage occurring. Very soon after the medication was discontinued and it was fully out of their systems their labs returned to normal. The only thing that had changed in the few months between lab draws was that one of my specialists had doubled the dosage of the muscle relaxer to fully stop most of the involuntary movements and spasms. There is no way to know if I’m in that tiny percentile that may have troubles with anything beyond a minimal dose except by doing exactly what I did – I immediately discontinued the medication, cold turkey (you SO shouldn’t do that without physician approval and I am definitely not recommending it to anyone, but it’s what I needed to do in this situation),  so that I would be able to get labs drawn at my next appointment, which is next week. This visit is to my guru, the one doctor that I fully trust, the one that diagnosed me after so many years of I don’t knows. Plus, he’s a take charge kind of guy. He won’t react like the other doctor’s nurse did and say “I don’t know” when I ask him if it could have been that medication, or what to change in my treatment plan, or how to manage the changes of my treatment plan and lifestyle that the nurse demanded. He won’t leave me on an iceberg in the middle of an ocean of fear. He’s pretty awesome. He’s really great about letting me be involved, and about getting involved when I ask him for help, so I have a good feeling that when I tell him about everything he will run follow up labs after the appointment to see if my counts have changed from discontinuing the medication. Even if they haven’t, it was worth the withdrawals and getting the movements back, because I’ve had a few weeks with hope. If it was the medication that had started to cause liver damage, and it has been reversed, then it reduces the likelihood that I am facing any of the scariest disorders, too. If my labs have improved, then most likely I’m just having reactivation of the EBV with progression of my relapse. I never thought I’d be happy for that, but it sure beats the other possibilities!!

 

I also need his help to keep up these dietary and lifestyle changes. Changing the diet of a regular person is one thing, but I have so many intolerances that it makes this a bit difficult. Add to it that almost everything has to be cooked from scratch now and with Chronic Fatigue it feels like I’m trying to climb a freaking mountain some days instead of just prepping and cooking a meal. I’ve been getting so sick due to reflux and I’ve had a nonstop bloody nose since my last post (small nasal ulcer from botched septoplasty), which has done an amazing job of making me nauseated about 75% of the time. Meh. Plus, limiting my dairy intake has only caused me to become absolutely obsessed with most things dairy. *laugh* We’ve always been big milk drinkers, although Larry has always drank more than me since I’m more of a sipper. Since I decided to use Slim Fast and Special K to keep the good counts up when I can’t eat, and it is SO much easier to figure up how much of each percentage I’ve had for the day then, I can justify having some milk fairly often. It’s been hard to limit my cheese intake, but I don’t crave it nearly as much as I do the milk. I figure I’ve tried, I made some changes that I can deal with, found out that I have some healthier cooking habits all ready (I’ve always trimmed meats really well, etc.), and found that I just can’t do everything that she demanded of me because my body is way more complicated than she thought or assumed or whatever.   If she feels I didn’t give it enough of a shot I swear to you I’m going to ask her what her advice is for handling vomiting acid from reflux, and then I might just take her down with my cane. Unicorns might fart glitter too, so I figure that means there’s a slight chance that one of the mean thoughts floating around might actually take place some day. *sassy wink* Anyway…lol I am so exhausted, but I’ve been trying really hard. It’s always been pretty much impossible to get Larry excited over eating chicken anyway, so now that it’s a main protein he’s really not too wound up over the latest menus and changes. Thank goodness for Pinterest and the bazillions of chicken recipes that at least make it look and taste a little different every few days. *laugh* I managed to actually get an “it’s all right” for two of the dishes so far, so I’m learning to celebrate the small successes. And I burned out my crockpot. Seriously. It can now cook 4.5 pounds of chicken on low to so done it shreds itself when you try to pick it up with a fork in just over 3 and a half hours! Dude! So I have a new crock pot on the way next week. I splurged and got the fancy kind that even has a probe on it. I figure if it keeps me from overcooking a roast, then it’s made up the cost of the upgrade all ready. *grin* (No matter what I have to have one item of red meat a week – I mean, I’m in the Midwest! It’s impossible to go without red meat fully and it’s also a very cruel form of torture to limit it, too.  Just saying.) By the way, I can’t even fake excitement over another shredded chicken meal. The blahs are worth it to help make meals easier though, since my fatigue has been so insane lately. I trim and prep the chicken breasts when I’m not really bad yet, then the slow cooker cooks them insanely quickly, and now I have precooked protein on hand, so I can get a meal in front of Larry within 20 minutes usually. Someone else will have to prep and clean up if I’m going to have enough energy to make an exciting meal out of it now though. Dishes are only awesome and exciting the first few times when they’re in a small rotation. *laugh*  Maybe my failing crock pot will short out and give me super powers, or at least super energy, in the next week.  Can’t blame a girl, especially a nerdy girl, for hoping.

 

As you can see from tonight’s post I get cranky and sassy when I don’t have enough red meat, dairy products, and energy. *wink*  I put my crankiness to good use though.  I even came up with super sassy ideas that would have worked as Anti Valentine’s themed products, but now they’re just going to be some fun and tongue-in-cheek items since I got too sick to get them done in time to market. I was going to wait to share, but you’ve read enough about the blahs to get some good stuff tonight! First, you’ll have to understand that I’m just not that into much of anything that’s really mushy, super cheerful, bright, or extra sentimental. I’m even making the “somebody farted” face just thinking about the words. To clarify, I can be all of those things (though if they happened at once I’m pretty sure I’d die, possibly from the shock to my system lol), but those moments are pretty widely distributed over my life and mostly avoided. *laugh* I may get all girly about glitter and pink, but add in anything cutesy and the “fart face” kicks in immediately. It’s totally cool that people are into all of it, but it’s just not for me (or especially Larry). And I found out that there are others that aren’t so into it either! (I even follow some Anti Valentine boards on Pinterest. Friends, trust me, there are some hilarious pins on those boards!) In honor of those that are a little edgier, shall we say, I wanted to make black glitter soaps for Anti Valentine’s Day. Mom and I made a batch of daisy soaps, named “Black Magic”, and a batch of skulls and crossbones, which I amusingly named “Love Bites”. I used a clear soap base, then a little new black sparkle soap bar color, and a few generous puffs of iridescent glitter that shimmers throughout the black soaps. Maraschino Cherry with an undernote of chocolate. I love these soaps so much! I’m not sharing pictures quite yet though. I’m hoping to build a photo tent box tomorrow and take pictures of them then, so I didn’t want to give in to temptation and share blah plain pics that won’t capture them as well. (See, I’ve been productive during my time away! I learned how to do photo tent boxes, took up Tai Chi [although I’ve only made it to fifteen minutes so far – but that’s big progress for a fatigued and hurting person], researched alternative causes for the liver damage, made a list of whimsical product names to invent products for, tried about twenty new recipes, and got quite far into my TBR pile!)

 

I saved the best for last, too!! Malice & Mayhem. Roll that title around in your mind a few times and delight in the perfection of that name. That is the name of my next batch of soaps. I got a silicone mold during my time away of small pistols. I’m going to sell a duo of pistol soaps packaged together with this name. One in black with glitter (can you tell that I LOVE how that combo turned out? Lol) and the other hopefully in hot pink. Malice & Mayhem here for all your gifting needs. *grin* I’m sure I’ll do later batches in some conventional, male friendly, colors too, especially since they’ll be awesome in the Redneck Combo, but this duo is for those sassy ladies out there. I really hope they go over well because I am so incredibly excited about them. The name, the colors, the mold…I figure I have ten months to experiment with the mold and maybe by next February I can do a sassy themed combo with “Love Bites”, “Malice & Mayhem”, and hopefully a few other whimsical and amusing items.

 

On that bit of cheerfulness I’m going to end my “return” post. *smile* Again, thank you for the support shown and hopefully I’ll have lots more cheerful things to post about this year like Malice & Mayhem! In the meantime, happy pampering.  🙂

Dorkfish Soap

Bill Engvall fans will get the title I used for this post. He has a skit about what he called a “dorkfish” and as soon as I unmolded my soaps that’s what popped into my mind. I knew when I decided that there was no way to duplicate that incredibly difficult color for the chocolate layer soaps and that I’d try to layer that pour instead of doing it the usual way that there was a good chance that things would go wrong. Especially since I’m so prone to problems anyway. Lol Well, the middle layer pour to bind the layers of slices went so wonky. The filling layer in two of them seeped down in areas and looks so weird, while one just plain fell apart from the filling layer. *laugh* One of those odd layered soaps looks like it has a major overbite, which is what made Dorkfish pop into my mind and I can’t quit laughing when I see the soap.

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The “dorkfish” soap is the one in the forefront of the next picture.

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Although I’m frustrated and disappointed by these soaps, especially since I’d hoped to feature them for Cyber Monday, I’m kind of excited about redoing them. I’m going to venture off the original concept and do a two layer cake slice soap. I’m going to cut these up, reheat them, and then dye them a bit darker if possible. The next layer I’ll pour right on top like I would normally and do it in as bright of a green as I can get it, scented with peppermint, so hopefully it’ll smell as yummy as the revamped mint cocoa lotion. I think the two toned look might be pretty and stand out a lot more with the contrasting colors. I’m just not sure how to top off the soap; I had planned on doing a vanilla soap frosting piped on top of the chocolate slices, but I don’t think that would look quite right. Or maybe it’ll give a cool Andes Mint-esque look. *shrug* I’m not sure. I’m just having some trouble picturing the direction for the top, so if anyone has ideas about what might be cool, please don’t hesitate to share them with me! *grin* In the meantime, I hope you’re having a fun weekend! 🙂

Following Up on the Ornament Soaps

Between decorating for Christmas, cyber shopping (well, more like stalking Amazon’s lightning deals lol), resting my feet, and working on the layered chocolate cake slice soaps, I haven’t had much time to be creative blog wise. I thought I’d instead show you how the ornament soaps are doing. I didn’t use any additives when I was hand painting the soaps, so there’s a little bleeding and fading going on, and I’m so thrilled with the changes.

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I seriously love how soft and delicate they look now! Even the bright one that I didn’t originally like is headed toward being a sellable item in my book. *happy dance*

I hope you’ve had a wonderful Friday and Saturday morning! If you’re heading out shopping I read that the crowds are massively less than usual due to all of the Thanksgiving Day shopping, so hopefully that means you’ll get to enjoy yourself! My UPS man is going to be cursing me on the 1st and 2nd since I completed almost all of my shopping online. *laugh* I’ll have to look on Pinterest for some ideas on a nice little gift for him this Christmas, since the poor guy has to keep coming here. I’m off to try to sleep. 🙂

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