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I forgot the pictures. Buh.

I was looking at my phone’s camera roll when I realized I forgot to post the pictures of the massive restocking I had to do, with a few new items and some gift discontinued items from my wholesaler. So, a little late but better than never. *grin*

Yep, I told you that leaving a mixing shot glass of beer on your counter in order to go flat can look very…unsettling. *laugh*

Look at the awesome molds!! Two sizes of loaves, with the wood one having a removable silicone insert and a little less volume than the red one. Two special adoption puzzle piece molds and two four-leaf clover molds that are actually pretty deep (since I have a hard time resisting anything in the realm of Celtic *grin*). These were pure additions and not replacements, except for the loaves, since my previous two weren’t overly good.

That’s one really full, heavy box!

I still look at the unpacked pictures in awe. It’s just a tiny bit less than when I first decided to start this adventure! The red thing in the left bottom corner is even a tiny square embeds mold, so all of them are even and none are wonky because I can draw or cut a straight line at all. *laugh*

This is the awesome fragrance blending wheel I got to help with making my custom blends. I’m used to just winging it and seeing if the proportions were right, for the upper, sometimes middle, and lower noted in a scent. Except for a few products, most are actually blends I’ve worked on. This takes all of the guesswork, luck, and grossly smelling batches out of the equation. It gives a range of what to use for each set of notes and on the back it has ratios, so you can create blends so much easier. There are also blender sticks in the haul to go with it, where I do sticks of scent per the ratio, hold them in a clothespin, and get an idea while wafting the scent if you’d like to change up the ratio, without losing more than a few drops of scent. Brilliant!!

I’m super excited about these spout bags. The darker bottom is actually the base that opens up so that the container can stand. This should allow me to ship some lotions and bubble washes at a lower price, since I won’t have to need big enough boxes for big jars or cylinders. *happy dance* Bonus, it’ll look awesome for some “Vamp tears” or something monster related! A vibrant red spouted pouch would make a wacky and wonderful stocking stuffer in my opinion, for the right type of person.

And lastly, explanation before picture just to hype it up for a few seconds, although this is just batch 1 and I need to work with the recipe a bit more…

Zombie Ale!! My first time soaping with a non-cosmetic ingredient (beer), actually turned out and looks pretty good, I think. In first testing the only scent left behind was apples, so I’ll do a second test on this batch, and then, if still just apples, time to play with more beer with bigger molds. I’m still digging the “head” I managed to get on the ale soaps with adding beer to soap and using a frothing mixer. I’m really loving the appearance.

I’m on batch 2 of the adoption soaps, along with a couple others, so pictures of those to come once I remember. 🙂

It’s Been Awhile

To start, I’m really sorry that I promised to try to get back to writing and then dropped off the face of WordPress. I really do try to keep my word, which is why I often don’t give it (knowing that my illness often ruins any plans). I’ve honestly just been in a bad place mentally and physically.

I’ve had some continued complications from the surgery back in March, which is probably partially just my Fibro finding a new place to cause havoc. I’ve also had a sinus infection for probably four months of this year, now. Three antibiotics and one round of steroids later, I am getting a brain and head CT within a few weeks just to make sure it’s all really been a sinus infection that just doesn’t want to give up. That’s a nice little thought piece to try to avoid thinking about, especially after working for a neurologist and being the voracious learner that I am. Yeah, I look forward to getting past that little test and just getting the results.

What’s really been hard is that the adoption has taken so much longer than we ever expected. There is no light in sight yet, although according to everything I read, we’re past the worst case timing scenario and should at least be in visitation, if not placement. One child we were interested in has been adopted, another has aged too far, and now we’re waiting to see what goes wrong with the young lady that we are really hoping for. This process has taken quite an emotional toll, and although it’s been an incredible learning process and we are beyond excited to get to be parents for any period of time, it’s getting harder to hold onto that bright hope. It almost hurts to go into her room and realize it’ll be around a year probably since we started work on it before she even walks into it.

For me the worst has been that we don’t have her in our lives for Christmas. Growing up with rotating holiday visitations and different family get togethers according to who has what days made me always dream of when I’d have my own tiny family unit that can have our own traditions, stay cozy and full of cheer together Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, and spoil the living daylights out of our child with surprises and loving tokens. I’ve longed for that sense of closeness, completeness, and absolute belonging. I know that sounds odd, but I’ve never really felt that I fully fit in anywhere and was always being told I had to go somewhere, or feeling obligated to do something else, or whatever. I’m loved and I belong with certain people, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve looked forward to when I’d have my little family and my own little place I’m meant to be. When I was in junior high I told my best friend that the only goal I’d hold myself to was that I wanted my own family; a husband and at least one child. For me, that’s where my life was always supposed to lead, even if I became a war correspondent, a meteorologist, creative writing teacher, or newspaper writer. I was meant to have my own family and they would be my home. When I had the dream of finally having that family Christmas as I came out of my anesthesia from surgery in March, I was filled with such peace and joy that all that I’ve been through still led me to what I felt was my meaning of life.

I know we will still have that, but it’s hard to let go of that dream, and even harder to believe that it’s taken almost the whole year all ready to try and even meet a child in need. It’s mind boggling and makes my heart hurt. Especially wondering if our daughter’s foster family loves her and is going to try to make Christmas special for her, or is she going to be looking at Christmas lights at night and wondering why no one wants her. It’s hard to let go of the conviction I had that we would have her and make this the Christmas that she felt so wanted and loved, that she would never doubt how much happiness and love she has (will, now) give us, despite the hard journeys behind and ahead of all of us.

Since these haven’t been the most uplifting of topics, and so incredibly raw, I withdrew and tried to distract myself, which left me not writing and I’ve actually missed it. I haven’t been physically capable, but at least I have a few ideas for my business in the meantime! So let’s end with some happy notes on that topic! 🙂

First, I want to make “Grandma’s Roadkill Pie Soap”. Yep, I’m still morbid, but I think this should be great. Instead of trying to do the bacon slices that turned out so badly last year, I’m going to do the Maple Bacon FO in pie slice form, with little soap chunks that are either scent free or have a complimentary note. I considered Apple Spice, like one of those pork pies, you know? Or maybe Summer Ale FO, since citrusy notes go so well with pork. Since I have some scent creation strips now (I put dabs of FOs on them and can create my own scent instead of actually having to waste MLs on bad combos), I look forward to trying some different options. Next, I really want to send a little customized gift basket to a YouTube channel called “Sharuf”. It’s a fun show with an Irish entertainer and a muppet, plus guests usually. I thought some handmade items from Kansas would be fun to receive in Ireland, plus he gives shout outs on his small channel, and a lot of his followers are ironically American. I might actually get some customers. Lol Lastly, I bought a silicone spoon mold. When I explained the Spoon Theory for Fibro I told how the spoon is now a uniting symbol for Fibro sufferers. I really like the idea of making some soap spoons and even if they never sell, giving them in an informational support basket to a newly diagnosed person would be a beautiful thing. So, those are the current ideas spinning on my hamster wheels for my business, along with still wanting to do a package for Good Mythical Morning. What do you think? Are there any concepts or scent combos that you think I should try?

In the meantime, thank you for sticking with me through my journey, and always being a supportive haven for my creativity and thoughts. Pink glitter for everyone! 😉

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!

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. 🙂

Painting Ornaments

Tonight I’ve been experimenting with painting ornament soaps. It’s been a couple of years since I did painted soaps, and I have new types of dyes compared to the basics from back then, so I knew there’d be at least a couple of soaps getting demoted to home use after this. *grin* I found that powdered pigments reconstituted with glycerin just plain didn’t work and I don’t even have examples, since it literally didn’t dye the soap. A couple of oxides were definitely a bit too strong for my taste and they make me a little nervous that being so strong on the surface of the soap might dye the skin a bit, so those will become “Goodyear soaps”, for Larry to use when he’s all ready stained up from the plant. *laugh* After a while I found that the “stained glass liquid colorants” worked the best and looked the best as decorative touches, instead of painted over most of the surface. Without further ado here are the hits and misses of a few Buttercream scented hand painted ornament soaps…

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I really like the star ornament that accidentally took on a fall color scheme, plus the polka dot one that I photographed individually, and I usually hate all things polka dot. *smile*

I definitely don’t care for the brightly painted blue, purple, and red ornament. Meh. Just a little too bold maybe. I’m really disappointed about the burgundy soap. Although I usually love glitter it totally didn’t work the greatest as a coating over the paint or when it was mixed into the paint. One, it’s a serious pain to try to paint with chunky paint, especially fine details when a tremor and involuntary movements all ready make an intriguing challenge. Two, when the paint and water dried the glitter began to flake off. I have glitter all over the couch, my pajamas, my tray, my walker, and maybe not so accidentally the dog’s head. *laugh* When you break an egg you might as well enjoy an omelet, right? Instead of griping over glitter getting all over just smear a bit on your dog’s head and admire how cheerful he suddenly looks. That’s today’s tip for trying to stay cheerful. *grin*

I always forget until I do these projects just how much I miss painting. I was always so critical of myself, but it’s a lot of fun, and rather relaxing, except in my shoulders. I think I’ll paint a few more of the polka dot ornaments and call it good, otherwise I’ll end up needing shots in my shoulders again from getting them too inflamed. No thank you.

Depending on how well I can get stuff prepped for Thanksgiving and on how my feet are doing after some uninterrupted bedrest, maybe tomorrow I’ll be able to work on the cake slice soaps. *crossing fingers* I hope your holiday prep, if you are celebrating, goes smoothly and you can enjoy some extra time with your family or a few moments to yourself for some pampering. 🙂

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