2022 Shipping price increases

It’s becoming an annual occurrence. Every year, sometimes twice, shipping companies are increasing their prices without increasing the quality of their service. It’s to be expected because we all want people to earn livable wages, and with this inflation and economy it’s really tough! So, while I support good pay, I also support good service. I think that’s a fair trade, don’t you?

If you’re someone who buys from small businesses, please be understanding. Small businesses to not get the shipping discounts that large companies do. They can’t offer free shipping without taking a loss. Please also try to remember that they aren’t keeping that money. You’re paying it to them, so they can pay it to the courier service. Please also be patient with transit times as we all know that sometimes it just doesn’t happen in a timely manner.

Here’s what you can look forward to this year as a seller and a buyer:

Fedex:

Fedex Express (both domestic and international) will increase by an average of 5.9%.

Domestic FedEx Ground will also increase by an average of 5.9%.

Also anticipate an increase to surcharges.

USPS:

1-4 oz First Class Package Service will increase by $.06–$.07 USD.

Domestic Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express rates will increase by an average of 3.1%.

First Class International rates will increase by an average of 4.2%.

Priority Mail International rates will see an increase of 3.7%.

Priority Mail Express International is increasing 3.2%.

USPS has also added surcharges for large packages (this kicks in on April 3rd)

Packages that fall into the following criteria and are not accurately measured will incur an extra $1.50 surcharge.

  • Over one cubic foot
  • Are longer than 22”

Packages that fall into the below criteria will also have added surcharges:

  • Packages longer than 22″: $4.00 surcharge
  • Packages longer than 30″: $15.00 surcharge
  • Packages over 2 cubic feet: $15.00 surcharge

Crystal Spotlight: Rainbow Titanium Bismuth

The beautiful crystal structures that are so amazing to look at may not be the natural form of Bismuth, but that doesn’t mean that they have no metaphysical value!Rainbow Titanium Bismuth is a lab grown “crystal”. Genuine Bismuth is exceptionally boring to look at since it rarely forms in such beautiful structures as it’s lab grown counterparts, and never with such remarkable color.  ​

These beautiful crystalline structures are made by super cooling liquid bismuth and exposing it to the air. The super cooled metal crystalizes into the spectacular forms you see all over the place and the oxygen exposure causes the color variances. 
Bismuth itself is very brittle. It’s an uncommon mineral and usually forms in lumps and masses instead of crystals. It sits at number 83 on the periodic table and can contain traces of arsenic, antimony and sulfur. When freshly broken, you might see a pinkish hue but it won’t last long! Bismuth tarnishes quickly to a dark grey. 

So where’s the metaphysical value if it’s “fake”? Well… it’s not actually fake, it’s just re-structured in a lab environment. Rainbow Titanium Bismuth is made out of real Bismuth. 

Bismuth is used to relieve feelings of isolation or loneliness. Both spiritually and emotionally. Rainbow Bismuth can be used for visualizations and focus. It connects to all chakras and can be used as an aid in meditations.  

So even though Rainbow Titanium Bismuth is not a naturally occurring physical state of Bismuth, it is still purposeful, and a lot of fun to look at and to hold. The texture is just… fascinating. 

I like to use my Rainbow bismuth in my crystal grids and it hangs out on top of a flat piece of amethyst right along side my other shelf crystals. I’m happy to make it part of the family, and I hope you will do the same!

The 7 Chakras – Basics

The Chakras, to keep it simple, are energy points along the spine. They, not surprisingly, correspond to the colors of the rainbow (different colors of visible light). From bottom to top, 1 to 7, ROYGBIV… Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet. Each color corresponds to a chakra, and each chakra controls and identifies with a different energy, organs and manifestations.

Let’s keep it short and simple for quick and easy reference.

  1. Muladhara: The Root Chakra
    • Emotional attributes: Safety and security. This chakra keeps us grounded and connected to the earth and physical world.
    • Location: The tailbone
    • Mantra: “I am…”
    • Color: Red
    • Gemstone: Agate, Tiger’s Eye, Bloodstone, Black Tourmaline
    • Out of balance attributes: Insecurity, anxiety and fear
  2. Svadhishthana: The Sacral Chakra. This chakra is the energy point for sexuality and creativity.
    • Location: Below the navel
    • Mantra: “I feel…”
    • Color: Orange
    • Gemstone: Citrine, Carnelian, Moonstone
    • Out of balance attributes: Lack of creativity, sexual dysfunction and emotional isolation
  3. Manipura: The Solar Plexus Chakra.
    • Emotional attributes: Will power, self esteem
    • Location: Below the chest
    • Mantra: “I do…”
    • Color: Yellow
    • Gemstone: Malachite, Calcite, Topaz
    • Out of balance attributes: Low self esteem, manipulation, abuse of power
  4. Anahata: The Heart Chakra
    • Emotional attributes: Love, love of self, compassion, altruism
    • Location: The heart/center of the chest
    • Mantra: “I love…”
    • Color: Green
    • Gemstone: Rose Quartz, Jade, Tourmaline
    • Out of balance attributes: Depression, poor self control, relationship difficulty
  5. Vishuddha: The Throat Chakra
    • Emotional attributes: Effective communication through speech
    • Location: The throat/center of the neck
    • Mantra: “I speak…”
    • Color: Blue
    • Gemstone: Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli, Aquamarine
    • Out of balance attributes: Anxiety, shyness, arrogance
  6. Ajna: The Third Eye Chakra
    • Emotional attributes: Intuition, Imagination
    • Location: The center of the forehead
    • Mantra: “I see…”
    • Color: Indigo
    • Gemstone: Amethyst, Black Obsidian, Fluorite
    • Out of balance attributes: Lack of mental clarity
  7. Sahasrara: The Crown Chakra
    • Emotional attributes: Higher consciousness, divine connection (this is the hardest chakra to open/balance. make sure you have a strong root chakra before attempting to work on the crown)
    • Location: Top of the head
    • Mantra: “I know…”
    • Color: Violet/White
    • Gemstone: Selenite, Amethyst, Clear Quartz
    • Out of balance attributes: Close mindedness, disconnection

There you have it. A super quick and easy reference for the chakra points!

Sometimes you just need to talk…

Which is how I feel right now.

I’ve taken the day off of work today to monitor my bun baby who has pneumonia, which honestly isn’t the worst of my concerns! I’m more concerned that she’s not eating as much. For rabbits this can cause GI Stasis, which can cause death. I already lost a bun to it in August of 2020 (the bun shown in the featured image of this post). I’m not ready to lose another. Some of it is probably me being a nervous nelly. Which I am. I admit it. My rabbit is my baby. I don’t have kids, nor do I intend to so I keep pets. I love my girl. She’s a beautiful large breed Californian who just LOVES to eat… Except for the past few days. It’s exceptionally hard seeing a pet not be themselves.

I’m also finding that I’m having a hard time realizing that I have very few people I can reach out to about this. I’m grateful for the people I do have… but I know they don’t want to hear about it as much as I need to talk about it. So what now?

I looked into counseling. I mean… you’re paying them to listen to you right? But even with financial aid it’s $67 a week. Maybe that’s ok for you… but I just dropped a couple thousand dollars on emergency vet bills for the second time in 6 months. I have health insurance… why doesn’t it cover counseling? Mental health is still health isn’t it?

So what next? I suppose I could do what I’m doing now. Publicly write about it. There’s a huge part of me that knows I have probably no followers, or followers that care. Isn’t that where we’re at? Following people so they follow you back? Even though you care nothing about what they do or say? Following people for possible recognition? Hoping for internet fame? Let me tell you… I don’t want internet fame. All I want is for my big, healthy and happy girl to be happy and healthy again. I’m only talking about it publicly because there might be another person like me out there who is desperate for someone to be there every step of the way.

My local people are great. I won’t take that away from them.. they’re wonderful. 2 of them care about animals as much as I do… most of them care about my response to the animal. They become concerned when I don’t eat or don’t sleep. Which is exactly how last night and today have been. I haven’t eaten since 11:30 am yesterday. And it’s 2:30 today. Lies! I ate a banana. I’ve also been watching Robin Hood (1938) on repeat because Errol Flynn as Robin Hood just makes me happy.

I’ve convinced myself to move onto Harry Potter but I’m not ready to eat yet. Animals pick up on our energy. So I’m doing my best not to be stressed out. Ha! I’m terrible at it. Not many things stress me out as bad as a sick pet. No joke. You could tell me the sky is falling and I’d probably be like “well that sucks but shit happens.”

Like I’m at the point now where when I think I hear Fay chewing, I just don’t move. Like if I move she might stop.. and I want her to finish eating whatever it is.

A friend of mine suggested I do a gratitude journal. So! I’m going to make a list things I’m grateful for in order to remind myself of what I have to be grateful for in this situation.

  1. I’m grateful Fay is grooming. A lot. She’s upset because I got medication in her fur and she likes to be clean.
  2. I’m grateful that she did poop today. And they were pretty normal. She only pooped once, but given how little she’s been eating, I’ll take it.
  3. I’m grateful she got at least half of the syringe of meds for her gut. That’s more than I expected. She’s a fuss bucket.
  4. I’m grateful she’s had her feet kicked out all day. Happy feet.
  5. I’m grateful she shows no signs of discomfort… except around her teeth which is a known issue to be sorted after she heals from the pneumonia.
  6. I’m grateful for a job that let’s me take off for these sort of things.
  7. I’m grateful for paid time off. Or rather, having accumulated some so I can use it.
  8. I’m grateful for movies to help keep me occupied during this time.
  9. I’m grateful for my cat… who has not left my side all morning.
  10. I’m grateful for my parents, who let me be sad and concerned in peace.
  11. I’m grateful for my niece who says I have to be Velma from Scooby Doo for Halloween.
  12. I’m grateful for the veterinarians and techs who take such good care of the pets brought to them.
  13. I’m grateful for parsley, because it’s the only thing I can manage to get Fay to eat right now.

Ok.. I think I got out everything I needed to get out.

I’ve never been a religious woman. I’m spiritual, but this has definitely shown me the power of prayer. I’m fortunate to have so many people in my life who have such strong faith and I’m so appreciative of their support during this time even though I’m sure I’m on their last nerve. This is only day 3… There could be weeks left to go.

“This, is Audible”, My Overall Reading List because I always forget where I left off so I’m just condensing into one post.

Yeah you read that title correctly. This is a collective, overall list of everything I’ve listened to so far. You can ignore the older posts because I’ve put it all in this one, and this is the one I’ll be keeping updated.

If you’ve been following me for a bit, you’ve probably noticed that I never actually stick to my Next Up list. Ever. I keep it to remind myself of what I want to listen to, even if I find a different book I want to listen to first.

My Current Listen:

  • Limitless – by Jim Kwik

Next Up:

  • A Clash of Kings (Game of Thrones book 2) by George R. R. Martin
  • Darkfall by Dean Koontz
  • Blood of Elves (The Witcher Saga book 1) by Andrzej Sapkowski
  • The Vampire Lestat by Anne Rice

On Hold:

  • Einstein’s Relativity and Quantum Revolution by Richard Wolfson
  • The Neil Gaiman Reader by Neil Gaiman
  • Revelation by Russell Brand

Completed:

  • The Island of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells – I’m not sure how I feel about this book. As an animal lover, it was hard to listen too. I’ll have to think on it and update when I have more to say.
  • Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne – Ok. So. While I did really like this book (how can you not? It’s a classic, right?), I was actually really disappointed with the way it progressed. It’s hard to explain why without giving anything away. I’m not sure I can do more but leave it at that. It lacked suspense. It lacked any sort of turmoil that I would expect to go along with a journey to the center of the Earth. It has some moments where you’re like, “oh crap… well that’s no good.” but it didn’t make me feel any particular way about it. Even now, as I think back on it, I’m completely neutral on my feelings. Was it worth the listen? Of course! Would I listen again? Nah…
  • The Truth is a Cave in the Black Mountains by Neil Gaiman – I loved this story. It was fairly short, but it was as long as it needed to be. Nothing was cut off; I didn’t feel like it was lacking detail and it ended perfectly. And in a very unexpected way.
  • The Sandman: Act II by Neil Gaiman – 5 stars. As Usual. If you haven’t noticed by now, I’ll just say it. Neil Gaiman is my favorite author.
  • Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice – This was better than I expected it to be. I don’t have much to say about it because I’m sure a good bit of you have seen the movie. All I can say is, it was worth the listen.
  • The War of the World’s by H. G. Wells – This book was great. It had me worried, it had me shedding tears of joy, it creeped me out… I think a lot of us have seen at least one of the movies, but the book is still worth listening to or reading. It follows a man on his survival journey after the Martians arrive and begin their assault. He has no idea if his wife has survived after he leaves her with a relative to return a horse to an inn keeper, but he himself is determined to stay alive… for a while. This book had me looking at the sky differently… because who says it can’t happen one day?
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne – I just don’t have enough to say about this book. It’s a classic, and if you’ve never read it, I highly recommend it. It’s suspenseful, it’s sad, its vivid imagery is absolutely captivating. It follows a well-educated French gentleman as he joins a quest to capture a monster which is plaguing ships as they cross the ocean. His journey takes a tragic and unexpected turn which leads to an adventure unlike any other. This book is one of the few that makes my commute pass with incredible ease. I will inevitably listen to it more than once.
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – Full cast production – I read this book a while ago, listened to it narrated by Neil Gaiman, then listened to it again, this time narrated by a full cast. This is probably my favorite book by Neil Gaiman. I highly recommend it if you like fantasy tales.
  • A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin – book 1 – (we’ve almost all seen the show, right?) So, I’m assuming you’ve seen the show. If you haven’t, the book follows various persons through numerous plights and situations of disaster. Chaos usually ensues at every turn and there is, if you didn’t know, treachery, incest, backstabbing, plotting, scheming, killing, pillaging, raping, poison, and all of the other things that go along with older times before people bathed regularly and all of these things became frowned upon and/or illegal.
  • The Sandman by Neil Gaiman Narrated by a fantastic cast of people. Great listen. This story follows Morpheus, the king of dreams and his siblings, The Endless. The Endless consist of Dream, Death, Destiny, Desire, Despair, Destruction, and Delirium. If you’ve never read the graphic novels, you won’t hear about most of these Endless in this book as it’s book 1… of a lot.
  • Watchers by Dean Koontz. Narrated by Edoardo Ballerini……… You guys, I can’t even… I just can’t. I have no words for this book. I… LOVE…IT… It was SO good… It’s a suspenseful book and really does keep you on the edge of your seat the entire time. The narrator was exceptional as well. It’s a beautiful depiction of the power of companionship, or lack of. I was afraid, I chuckled, I cried sad tears, I felt pity, I felt anger, I cried happy tears. It was all over the board. It’s the story of a young man who comes across a dog in the forest. The dog saves his life, and he takes the dog in as his own and they find they have a lot to learn from one another. Einstein is no ordinary dog. After having escaped from a lab, he’s a fugitive from the government… and he’s not about to go back.
  • Cabal by Clive Barker. Narrated by Chet Williamson – Interesting listen. The book itself was great. The story line was intriguing. The narrator was, meh. He seemed uncomfortable with the language in the book which had its moments of being a bit intense with sexual content. I find myself having a hard time describing this book. Like, part of me liked it, and part of me doesn’t want to like it? Overall, I think my problem really was just the narrator. The book itself is about a young man who has nightmares of a place called Midian. Midian is where the monsters live. His therapist is schizophrenic, and his girlfriend proves that love can both break, and save someone.
  • The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Narrated by Russel Tovey. This book… is beautifully written and narrated. I’m in love with it. I was completely absorbed in the story and the narration. It paints a stunning picture of how vanity can infect the soul… The story follows Mr. Dorian Gray through his life after Basil Hallward has painted his portrait and given it to him… and it makes you wonder… what does my own soul look like? If it was on a canvas, would I be afraid to show it to the world?
  • Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil DeGrasse Tyson (this book is pretty good if you can listen to what it’s saying. It’s educational, obviously, so having it as an ambient listen is a little tough). Pretty self-explanatory book.
  • Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman (Neil Gaiman is my favorite author. Hands down. I recommend every book I’ve read so far… probably all of the future ones too). This book is narrated by the author and focuses on actual Norse myths that were passed down through the ages.
  • Dune by Frank Herbert (fantastic book about addiction, greed, politics and destiny. it’s a fictional book that takes place in the future when space travel is a thing and I recommend it to everyone.) I actually read this book when I was in high school as part of the reading list we were given. I loved it then too. There is also a movie, and mini-series out about the book, both of which are good watches.
  • The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman (LOVE this book. I wish it was longer and had a different ending, but I love it all the same). This book is about a man who can’t quite put his finger on the truth. As an adult, he visits the home of an old friend, and the story follows him through his memory of the fantastically unrealistic journey he had as a child.
  • 1984 by George Orwell (I highly recommend this listen whether you have or haven’t read this in the past). While it’s not a scary book, with the current state of the world it sort of hits home. More than that, the deeper into it I go, the more anxiety I get. There is a lesson in it even though its fiction.
  • Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling – The entire series. So many of us have read the books and seen the movies. Listening to the books is just as good. Needless to say, I doubt I have to talk about this book because you probably already have a clue.
  • The Dark Tower by Stephen King – The entire series. Umm… What to say here… Just don’t. If you do, stop after book 3 or 4 and make up your own ending. King royally sucks at endings. He should have ended the series after 4 books instead of 7. The storyline got so ridiculous it wasn’t worth the time. And when I got to the end, I wanted to scream and write him a nasty-gram telling him just how much I hated the last 3 books. I LOVED the first 3 books… 4 was a stretch…. the rest can just go somewhere other than my library.
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman – Neil is always a favorite. I never have anything bad to say about his books. I love this book as much as I love the others. This book is about a little boy who escapes assassination and is raised by ghosts in a graveyard. Marvelous.

Life Planners: Erin Condren vs Plum Paper

I love a good planner. Writing things down, seeing what I need to do, it helps keep me on track. With a full time job, a side business, a blog and a load of hobbies it helps immensely to visualize everything.

I’ve been a long time user of the Erin Condren planner but I decided my 2021 planner would be Plum Paper. Here’s the pros and cons.

Erin Condren – Starting at $55

My 2020 Erin Condren Planner

Pros:

  • A lot of cover options. They have loads of cover options that have color options. If you like a chevon design, it may be available in blue, pink, purple, green… you name it.
  • The covers are customizable with your own name and/or text. Which also has color options.
  • The Condren paper is really nice. It is great for most inks without letting them bleed through. Not all, but that’s ok because most is good enough.
  • This may seem minor, but the TABS are awesome. They’re super sturdy, I’ve never had one rip, or get bent yet.
  • The layouts give plenty of room for creativity. I’ve used both the colorful layout, and the neutral. I prefer the neutral.
  • The planner comes with coloring pages. You get more coloring pages in the colorful layout.
  • Each month has room for notes with lined or dotted paper. There is also a notes section at the back of the book.
  • You can use wet erase markers on the covers.
  • The only upgrade charge is for a different color coil in the spine
  • Last but not at all least…. Erin Condren planners come with 4 pages of planner stickers and a pocket at the back of the book.
Beginning of the month layout
Weekly layout
Coloring pages

Cons:

  • Only the cover is customizable beyond color.
  • The print quality of the custom photo cover and stickers is pretty poor. They could blame your image quality but I don’t believe that’s it. As I’ve used both high quality images and phone quality images and the print quality is bad on both.
  • The planner is pretty thick if you order a 12 month. Understandable though given the thickness of the pages and the amount of pages inside of it.
  • If you want any other planning than daily or monthly, you have to buy individual planner books. They have these for meal planning, budgeting, travel, weddings, gratitude… that’s all great, but each one is it’s own book. It takes up LOADS of space and costs a lot.
  • Because everything is it’s own book, forget carrying it around with you very easily. It gets really heavy.

Plum Paper – Starting at $29

Pros:

  • Available in 3 sizes! A5 up to 8.5″ x 11″. The smallest size starts at only $29, The largest size starts at $42.
  • Almost FULLY customizable. Yeah you read that right… Your cover is just as customizable as the Erin Condren, but with Plum Paper even the INSIDE PAGES are customizable as well. You can choose what you want on your pages.
The text on these pages is customized! Sorry for the poor image quality.
  • More design layouts to choose from than Erin Condren
  • This is a big one… This is my favorite… you can put your extras (meal planning, budgeting etc) INSIDE the planner. You don’t need multiple books. You can choose which addition you want, and WHERE to put it inside the book. You can put it at the back, or you can disperse the pages at the end of each month.
Customized pages additions! Budget, Meal Planning, Brainstorming, Reflection, Notes
  • They have font options!
  • Comes with monthly highlight pages at the front of each month
  • Has a pocket at the back of the book
  • Each life addition you add to the book, gives you enough pages for every week of the year. You will get 12 months of budgeting pages, 12 months of meal planning pages and so on.
  • I chose to add a coloring page at the end of each month!
  • It’s customizable up to 80 extra pages beyond the 12 month spread.
  • After adding everything I wanted to my planner, it cost the same as a standard Erin Condren. And I didn’t have to buy additional mini journals.

Cons:

  • Each section addition (meal planning, stickers, coloring pages, budgeting etc) adds to the cost of your planner
  • The cover pages are not laminated like the Erin Condren, but they do have cover protectors at least.
  • (I haven’t mentioned how the pages do with ink because it’s my 2021 planner and I haven’t written in it yet!)

Summary

I’m in love with my new Plum Paper planner. I’m almost sad that I didn’t get it to start in 2020 but I currently hate 2020 and thought starting completely fresh in 2021 would be better for my mental health….

After all is said and done, I combined ALL of my Erin Condren extras (mini journals) and some that EC doesn’t offer, into the Plum Paper planner and it collectively cost less, and is way more convenient. The planner cost the same as the Erin Condren and the Erin Condren doesn’t include any of the additional planning pages… Let that sink in. Yeah. Who doesn’t love convenience and saving some money right?

Now, I know you’re thinking “what the hell, you still paid over $50 for a planner..” Yes I did! But it was OPTIONAL. Plum Planner gives you the option of a less costly book! I chose the largest size and I chose to add all of those things because I use them. They don’t charge extra for the cover customizing, or choosing a layout. You can add just budgeting if that is best for you!

These are only 2 of the many many many life planners available. If you’re on a more strict budget, there are printable pages that you can hole punch and put into a 3 ring binder. Search your options. Don’t think that you can’t find something that works for you! On that note, Plum Paper also offers that option. They will print the pages for you and send you just the pages.

So my final ruling is this… Plum Paper, FTW. (For The Win)

Thanks for reading!

Yoga Democracy

Let me start by saying I am NOT an affiliate or influencer for this company. Nor am I paid, or even telling them I’m reviewing their product. I’m not in this for free stuff. I’m just here to share an opinion.

My search for yoga pants brought me to a company called Yoga Democracy. So… this company is American made, and sustainable. Sold right? Yeah me too.

As expensive as they are, I made the decision to buy a matching set. I chose the Beeloved set shown in the images attached to this post (that’s not me wearing them by the way. It’s the image from their website).

Here’s a tidbit taken from their website:

“Zero waste and sweat shop free, our leggings are made from post consumer recycled plastic bottles and fishing nets sustainably sourced in the USA. All excess materials are collected and repurposed to create a zero waste, closed loop manufacturing process.”

Their leggings average about $78 per pair, their sports bras average about $48 per top. A lot, I know.

I can tell you that the leggings are pretty nice. They’re fairly comfortable and I had no issues picking a size that fit well. I’m 5’3 and 130 lbs and I chose a medium in a standard length, not the extra long.

Pros:

  • The material is pretty comfortable
  • Very breathable
  • Dries quickly
  • Designs are awesome
  • Sustainable, which is awesome. I love everything about the production process.
  • They’re comfortable for Pilates and Yoga
  • They don’t feel restricting

Cons:

  • A little pricey for the product… they’re good… they might not be $78 good.
  • I find myself pulling them up constantly throughout the day which is a pretty big negative for me. We’re paying good money for these.. I don’t want to have to fuss with them.
  • The material catches on leg stubble

The bra top I can do without.

Pros:

  • Good support for low key exercise.
  • Very breathable (its the same material as the leggings)
  • Dries quickly just like the leggings
  • Sustainable just like the leggings

Cons:

  • Super high neckline. I feel like it’s choking me.
  • It’s fairly hard to get on and off… I’m afraid it’s going to rip every time I try.
  • It’s too tight, even though I think a size larger would be too big. Especially if the material expands.

Conclusion:

I’d buy another pair of leggings. The bra top… I should have returned. The design needs serious work.

Update: I could do without the leggings as well. As much as I love the look, I am extremely annoyed by how often I need to pull them up. Maybe I picked a size too big? No idea… I might try again in a smaller size but if it does the same thing it will be a hard pass from now on.

Function of Beauty

I know you’ve seen it! It’s a custom hair care system…………… and it’s pretty cool.

So, everyone is different. Everyone’s hair has different properties. You fill out the hair profile, and it allows you to pick what you want your system to address.

My current blend is:

  1. volumize
  2. curl definition
  3. oil control
  4. strengthen
  5. lengthen
  6. Lavender

This is my second round with this brand. The first round would have gotten a different review from me. It was okay, but nothing above and beyond. This time, however, I love it. Love love love it.

My first set was slightly different:

  1. volumize
  2. curl definition
  3. oil control
  4. strengthen
  5. color protection
  6. Eucalyptus

So you can see the only thing I changed was the color protection because I’m letting my hair grow out and go back to it’s natural color for a hair donation. This change however has made a huge difference in the health of my hair. My hair is less frizzy, the waves and curls pop more (my hair is 1/3 straight, 1/3 wave and 1/3 curl) and it just overall feels better.

You also have the option of adding on a custom serum, leave in treatment or hair mask. I have the leave in treatment from my first round still in use, and I bought the hair mask this time which is a once a week thing.

So if I’m quite honest, I’ve lost my insert that comes along with it. I tried to keep it but it didn’t work. I have no clue where it went. When I find it I will update with some more details…

A few simple likes and dislikes:

  1. I prefer the eucalyptus to the lavender.. I love the smell of lavender, but I shower in the morning. Didn’t think about that when I changed it. Eucalyptus when used in aromatherapy provides stress relief. It’s a crisp scent that is very refreshing. Lavender has calming properties and is better for night time relaxing.
  2. The slight change from color protection to lengthen seemed to make a world of difference for my hair. Sometimes this is what you need to do if you don’t like a hair care product. Just change one detail. That one or two ingredients may be what makes or breaks how much you like your product.
  3. I love that it comes with stickers and you can decorate your bottles.
  4. I wish the natural fragrance selection was larger. Lavender and Eucalyptus are currently the only two available. There’s so many beautiful natural fragrances… I’d probably go nuts if they ever used Ylang-ylang. Even if I didn’t need a new set, I’d buy it just so I wouldn’t miss out on the fragrance option.
  5. You have the option of making your custom hair care system silicone free.
  6. It’s available in two sizes. 8 ounce and 16 ounce.
  7. It’s a little on the pricey side. The 8 oz set runs $39, the 16 oz set runs $49, and the add ons run $19 each which is all pretty typical pricing for a “custom” product. Customized products don’t run cheap.

If you’re able, I recommend giving this product a try. Start with the 8 ounce if you’re unsure and if you’re not happy you won’t feel like it was as much of a loss. Now that being said, the 8 oz set actually lasted me about 3 months (keeping in mind I currently have short hair and it was shorter when I used my first round). If you have long hair, obviously it won’t last you that long because you require more product but you can also extend the time your product lasts if you don’t wash your hair everyday. I do. I know some people might cringe at that, but I have very oily hair and no, it doesn’t get less oily if I don’t wash everyday. I’ve tried. And personally, I can’t stand dry shampoo.

Conclusion

I found this product to be worth it.

3 week update on my new formula

I’m growing out my hair for another donation and my hair stylist said my hair looks amazing. She said it’s super healthy and I can easily go another 6 months without needing a trim. No dead ends AT ALL after 4 months of not seeing my stylist (3 of those months being quarantine). My color is also fading out nicely and my roots don’t look terrible (when you donate your hair it can’t be color treated so you have to let that grow out as well). Now you’re probably thinking “well, you obviously just let it air dry every day”… ER.. wrong. I blow dry my hair at least 5 days a week, and I never sleep on it wet. One thing that I don’t ever do is flat iron, or use a curling iron.

So I’m super happy with my new formula, though I haven’t decided if I will try a new brand or not when it’s finished. We’ll see!

Extended Update

I found after extended use that my hair actually started to go downhill and I had to switch up brands. I do, however, still use my leave in and I do love that enough that I plan on buying another one.

I switched to Aveda, which was ok but not what everyone hyped it up to be and I’m currently using Viori.

Polymer clay: Brand Pros and Cons

I like to get to the point as quickly as possible, so this is not a terribly detailed post. It’s basic information to help you make a decision.

Brands

So there’s a few different polymer clay brands that are common. I’m sure there is more but I’m going to touch on the 4 main ones that are easily accessible.

Premo! Sculpey, Cernit, Fimo and Kato Polyclay.

I’m a lover of Premo! and Cernit but I have some Fimo and Kato so I can show you the differences.

Fimo, Kato PolyClay and Cernit probably shouldn’t be purchased on Amazon. The pricing is all over the board and way too high. If you can find a multi-pack, cool. But I find that buying those clays from an art retailer is best.

Okay let’s go!

Sculpey

  • Premo!
    • Pro: Soft but not super soft. This clay has good pliability, and holds details well.
    • Pro: The manufacturer specifies more clear baking instructions. This makes it easier to prevent burning, and saves you from having to google it.
    • Pro: Available at major art stores
    • Con: Because it’s softer than the other 3, you need a softer touch when manipulating it.
    • Bake time: 275F for 30 minutes per 1/4 inch (6mm) of thickness
    • Price: $2.79 on average for a 57g package
  • Sculpey III
    • Pro: Softest clay, most pliable
    • Pro: Really great for those who want to work with clay and have hand and joint issues.
    • Pro: Available at major art stores.
    • Con: Fingerprints are really visible.
    • Con: Doesn’t do well with thin details (becomes flimsy)
    • Bake time: 275F for 30 minutes per 1/4 (6mm) inch thickness
    • Price: $2.79 on average for a 57g package

Fimo

  • Pro: Clay hardens pretty fast when it’s just resting. This is good if you want to preserve details before baking.
  • Pro: Available at major art stores.
  • Con: Harder than Premo!
  • Con: Hurts your hands at first
  • Bake time: 230F for 30 minutes (thickness not specified)
  • Price: $3.49 for a 57g package

Kato PolyClay

  • Pro: Clay hardens pretty fast. Again, good if you want to preserve details before baking.
  • Pro: Color saturation is great. Blends well.
  • Con: I haven’t seen this clay in any art store near where I live.. doesn’t mean they’re not carried, my locale just doesn’t have it.
  • Con: Harder than Fimo (at least it feels like it to me, though they’re pretty close)
  • Con: Also hurts your hands for a bit when you first start working with it
  • Bake time: 300F for 10-30 minutes (thickness not specified) <– I don’t like this. 10 to 30 minutes is too broad in my opinion. Burnt clay stinks and it’s not an ideal situation to end up in. It can ruin your final product.
  • Price: $2.79 for a 56g package

Cernit

  • Pro: Great for natural textures and colors.
  • Pro: Holds details really well
  • Con: Also haven’t seen this clay available in art stores around where I live.
  • Con: Has a tendency to crumble before it becomes soft enough to mold.
  • Con: Much harder to work with than the other 3 brands.
  • Con: Can be really hard on your joints. I don’t recommend this brand if you have arthritis or other joint issues. Or at least use a clay softener.
  • Bake time: 230-265F for 30 minutes (thickness not specified) <– I find that baking it at the same temp and time as Premo! works really well.
  • Price: $4.19 for a 56g package

I made a simple rose with each clay so you can see them side by side.

Cernit, Kato, Fimo, Premo!

Conclusion

They all appear the same visually. The Premo! and the Fimo were the easiest to work with. The Kato and Cernit required more work to make the clay pliable to the point I could mold it, even this simply. Now… all of that being said… if you want really stable detail before baking, my recommendation so far would be the Kato.

I’m going to continue to work with these clays and see if my opinions change. I only used them briefly in the past so this will have more intent. I will update this if I need to. but for now, I hope this helped!

I’d love to hear your opinions on which clay you prefer and why!

CAUSEBOX : Summer Quarter

I have an annual subscription to Causebox <— you can find it at that link, right there.

Causebox is a quarterly or annual subscription box that treats it’s subscribers to a collection of ethical items that come from some place with a purpose. I started my subscription………………………… probably…… I dunno…… about a year and a half ago? I paid for a few quarterly boxes, then opted into the annual subscription. It’s more money up front, but it’s less money in the long run and if you’re anything like me and KNOW your spending habits, it’s actually a very nice way to treat yourself to something every season and stop spending on miscellaneous things. So, to simplify, I save money by knowing that I’m getting something, so I don’t buy something else. Make sense?

I’m usually pretty happy with my causeboxes. Usually. Last summer I was not happy with a couple of the products, It’s petty but I’ll explain why:

  1. One of the non choice products was hair scrunchies. I am 34… not 12. I have no desire to revert back to age 12, or be retro. I also have short hair. By short I mean the front is up to my jawline and angled shorter towards the back, so $20 hair scrunchies… No thanks.
  2. One of the non choice products was a bag for wet swimsuits. Great idea! But not all of us can go to the beach, or get to go swimming during the summer. I don’t get to take a vacation in the summer, and I have no swimming pool. Nor do I have any time to visit a YMCA etc. This box was all about living your best beach life, and almost a little insensitive to those who don’t have summer life luxuries.

One of the products in the box I have to share with you. I LOVED the face cleanser. Love love loved. Hanalei powder face cleanser. <— That’s the Amazon link. Speaking of Amazon, if you don’t already know about Amazon Smile, here is your wake up call! In your browser to go smile.amazon.com and log in as usual. You’ll then have the option of choosing a charity! Every purchase you make through amazon smile (okay not every single one but it will tell you if the item is eligible for a donation), Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase to the charity you’ve chosen. Awesome right? I know people hate Bezos and all of that, but this is a good cause and as much as you may hate him, let’s face it… You most likely use Amazon. Anyway! The face cleanser! Yeah, amazing. It doesn’t strip your face… my face was clearer… yeah. Recommended. Little on the pricey side for a face wash but worth it in my opinion.

Okay! When I receive my Causebox for the Summer you’ll find it right below this little tidbit of text! It’s scheduled to ship in mid to late June. I’m excited! Let’s make time go faster.


June 23rd – Still waiting on my Summer Box… I can’t help but feel like the company keeps biting off more than they can chew. Each quarter, instead of making sure their annual, and already subscribed members get their boxes in a timely fashion, they sell out, and introduce new boxes to bring in more people, and then everyone is left waiting for ages to get what they paid for. They also open a quarterly add on market that usually takes weeks upon weeks to ship. It wasn’t so bad about a year ago when I signed up, but it gets worse each quarter. My marketplace order has shipped (hooray!) and summer boxes are supposed to ship mid/late June. So we’ll see. They have 5 business days left.

July 16th – I received my causebox about 2 weeks ago. I was going to post photos, but the reed diffuser shattered in the box and covered EVERYTHING in oil. I do have photos of the damage BUT the company did right and sent me an entirely new box which I just received today. Nothing was broken and everything was in fine condition, however, I’m not keeping the box. I don’t need or want duplicates of it’s contents so I’ll be gifting the box to a coworker.

Items in the original box that were not damaged inside their packaging are shown below less the PMD Clean and silicone lids.

  1. A set of 3 ceramic nesting bowls
  2. grace & stella face serum
  3. Dr. Rogers RESTORE “healing balm”
  4. Savhera essential oil roll-ons.
  5. PMD Clean in Navy.

Also in the box were reusable silicone lids which were exposed to the oil of the reed diffuser. They have been washed in the dishwasher but I’m not convinced they’re usable. They seem to have absorbed the smell but we’ll see. I’ll try again.

  1. The ceramic Pepper+Vetiver nesting bowls – These are beautiful and feel like a nice quality. They are made in China… how that sits with everyone is different and that’s okay. I’m on the fence about it myself. On one hand you want to support someone, on the other hand, China made products sort of scream mass produced crap. These so far seem to be a good quality. The small one is the perfect size for an ice cream bowl. This item also supports the Malala Fund which is an organization that helps girls receive education.
  2. The grace & stella serum – I’ll keep trying it, but my skin broke out pretty badly after the first use. I’ll update this if I see improvements. This is not uncommon for me so I’m not denying the effectiveness of the product just yet. My skin is finicky so we’ll see how this goes over time.
  3. Dr. Rogers RESTORE – “healing balm”… Ok…. So… I’m super iffy on the healing portion of this. This balm contains 3 ingredients. Castor oil, Glycerin and Hydrogenated castor oil. It feels like Aquaphor, doesn’t absorb into the skin and also has no scent or flavor (which I actually like). I’m inclined to say it doesn’t heal, but rather adds a protective layer to the area allowing it to heal on it’s own. I put it on a lip wound overnight… and it did nothing. All it did was stop me from biting at it.
  4. Savhera roll-ons – These are just lovely. Very worth purchasing on their own, and the company has an awesome cause. They provide dignified employment to survivors of sexual exploitation.
  5. The PMD Clean. I love this. That’s really all I can say.. It feels great and is worth the money. The silicone also means there is no replacing brush heads and it’s waterproof. I put my cleanser on the PMD, and I just massage it in. When I want to use a face serum, I do the same thing and just wash it off when I’m done. I can’t say it cleans pores. I have huge pores and I don’t actually notice a difference. I also can’t say that my skin looks any better because it’s behind a mask 9+ hours a day and is requiring extra care to keep it happy. I don’t always succeed and nothing can make that any better. Break outs happen for some of us regardless of the effort we put in. BUT… the PMD leaves my skin feeling clean and refreshed. That is good enough for me.

I feel like I’m not finished here but I’m losing focus and need a glass of water. I think I’ll call it for now. I hope this helps those of you who are interested, and those of you who aren’t interested, thanks for reading until the end. You’re a trooper!

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