Category Archives: encourgement

I gave up Facebook, and I feel fine.

Yes, at first the habit of signing in and seeing what everyone I know (knew?) had been up to while I slept, made itself felt.  But I was spending far too much time there, so I stayed away.  After approximately two weeks I forgot about FB, except when something I’m interested in wants me to sign in through FB, or worse, my favorite local nursery’s website is a FB page.

Posting on FB had ups and downs.  Do I always post happy stuff I wondered.   I survived lectures about posting protest types of comments.  One was said with a little laughter at my expense, suggesting that I wasn’t enlightened enough.  A lot of my acquaintances were in the realm of woo-woo, which can be wonderful, until it isn’t.  Until they tell you the things they see in your aura without having been asked, and it’s never good.

Every time the news posted something about the lack of privacy on FB my inner Ron Swanson would go on high alert.

Do I care how many people “Like” a particular post?  Sometimes, and I questioned that and was not thrilled with my answer.  More frustrating was the lack of human responses beyond a “like” or an emoji.  I also don’t appreciate seeing other people’s food that doesn’t involve a professional food stylist.  Don’t they see that it looks like dry vomit or fresh road kill?  If it’s delicious, tell me about that, with words.

I’m happy to say I never developed an inner grammar police.  I’d see the typos or errors, stop, double check I understood the meaning and keep going.  Not everyone got an A in English.  Some folks speak several languages, but English wasn’t their first so naturally, there are mistakes.

Then there are the comments I didn’t post because, well, family.

It wasn’t just my family, it was his family too.

FB was useful for instant messaging, but then I found myself using that more than the main page.  Don’t I have a phone that can text?  Why yes I do.  And all the while FB is prodding me to update photos, to post a new comment.  It dawned on me that I had more acquaintances than friends.  I started a new job and life got busier.  My writing time dwindled.

Finally, someone shared that FB is keeping tabs on my account by having a “friend” hiding in the shadows.  One I could not delete.  It is, after all, their service, I’m just the squirrel trying to get a nut.

It’s been since the end of February.  I write more, I call or text friends, I read the newspaper when I want to know what’s going on in the world, and I feel fine.

What’s in the box? Adventures in beauty subscription boxes – Take 1

Signing up for subscription boxes is like going to court, or working in a theatre company. It’s a whole lot of hurry up and wait. I’ve given these subscription boxes a try; Ipsy, Sephora Play, Beauty Heroes, GoodBeing, and Petit Vour. Well, sort of.  Three out of five reviews are below.

First up, Ipsy.  I signed up, paid up, and THEN was told I was on their waiting list and that posting my new subscription to my social media might grease the wheels and get me an actual Ipsy bag sooner. Wait. What? I paid with the understanding I would be getting a bag, that I WAS on the ‘get-a-bag’ list, not a waiting list. No, Ipsy.  No.  Maybe if I’d received a bag and loved it I would tell the world, but in this instance, sigh. I cancelled right away.  No Ipsy bags for me.

Next was Sephora Play.  I dithered, the website refreshed to let me know that they were full up, and did I want to be put on their waiting list?  Sigh, no.  I kept checking and finally hit on a moment in the space-time continuum where an opening existed.  After that, there were no problems.  It did take a month + to receive the first box, but their customer service kept me informed.

There was a Drunken Elephant product that I had been curious about but at $90, I was kept away.  A fat sample arrived, I used it for a week straight, and not one thing happened to my skin.  The Cover FX Illuminating Primer is not for me.  I had planned to give away the items from companies that weren’t cruelty free, and in the end, I ended up giving nearly every item away.  Also too many items were strongly scented, or were something I’m not ready to try my hand at.  Liquid eyeliner scares the hell out of me.  Don’t judge me.

Plus, what am I supposed to do with all those drawstring bags?  One reviewer said she puts tampons in them.  You get a bag each month.  How many bags of tampons does one women need?

I decided to give eco/green beauty products a try.  Enter Beauty Heroes.  They get boxes out to their new subscribers fast.  I told hubs to order early so there would be something under the tree in December and wow, I had two boxes (Nov and Dec.) and then, January’s box arrived the first postal day after New Years.  Bam. Well done Beauty Heroes.

The only item I wasn’t thrilled with was a face oil from Maya Chia that smelled too damn strong and it did not fade. (imagine strong notes of fresh cracked pepper)  I gave it to my oldest who loves this stuff.  There was also a Maya Chia face balm that while too heavy for my face, read breakouts, smells good.  I use it as lip balm.

The BEST face cleanser I’ve tried so far, is Akwi by Mun.  It is superb. Why a washcloth came with it as a sidekick item is an unknown to me. It is not a beauty product no matter who wove it, or how.

The Josh Rosebrook facial hydration spray was nice, I used it all. It smelled a bit like candy but faded quickly.  What can I say, it’s fun to spritz. Once it dries, my skin still needed moisturizer love. The chocolate mask was a kick to use, at first, (45 minutes to leave it on isn’t easy to manage) but again, I used it as recommended and I saw/felt no difference.

Onto Petit Vour.  Their box needs to get from Dallas, Texas, to me in Fresno, California.  Driving from there to here is estimated to take just under 24 hours.  When I emailed a complaint/whine/wtf sort of query in the middle of February, (days after they emailed saying it had shipped) I got back an apology for my misunderstanding, and was reminded there had been a holiday involved. ONE day off equals a package wandering around Texas for five business days?

I love that the items inside the PV box are cruelty free and green/eco beauty, but don’t care what the box itself looks like.  I like that I can recycle it.  A favorite skin moisturizer from PV is called Metta.  I can’t use it every night because it is a heavy-duty moisturizer, but when I do use it, my skin looks happy in the morning.  The odd scent fades fast.  A cream eyeshadow stick from Juice Beauty requires too much pressure to adhere to my lids. I use a brush when I have time to add one more step to what should be an easy one-step application. I love the very light color and subtle shine of “Cove” (the color I received).  It helps me look awake behind shadow casting glasses.

A pink Konjac sponge arrived, but after three days of consecutive use my cheeks started drying out.  I looked like newly born Benjamin Button.  I drank oceans of water to hydrate from the inside, and holy mother of god, it took over a week to get things back to almost normal.  No worries, it dovetails with my youngest’s science lesson.  Plants make two kinds of roots, tap roots, a carrot for example, and fibrous roots, like a Konjac sponge.

I STILL have not used the coconut oil hair mask. I have plans to break off a bit, melt it and carefully, carefully, dab/massage it onto my scalp, and the ends of my hair.  But I’m scared. Even hubs, who has no hair and no interest in hair care heard coconut oil and said, “Coconut oil? In your HAIR?”  Even he knows that putting the full amount of product in a headful of hair in one go is too much and will probably leave my hair looking greasy.

The second PV box arrived without issue.  There was a tiny bottle of shiny illuminator stuff.  It came with its own explanatory card. I opened it, dribbled a drop onto the back of my hand, rubbed it in, and saw it left behind tiny specks of glitter. Maybe I’ll mix a drop into my facial sunblock and see what happens.  There’s also a one-use nail polish remover but so far I haven’t received any eco/green nail polish.

I got a powdered face mask in an elegant envelope.  I can mix it with honey, or cooled down chamomile tea, etc.,.  Maybe I’ll use it on a hot summers day when my face seems to shine with oil like a bag of french fries.  Which lets me segue nicely into the last item I’ve tried, Little Barn Apothecary cleansing oil.  After the face balms I was nervous, but this gem has helped me in the fight to re-hydrate my skin.  It worked, there were no break outs, it even smells okay.  Actually, I initially put a drop on my hand and after a few minutes it went rogue or something, all I know is that I couldn’t wash it off fast enough.  Put it on, wash it off.

The reviewers of green beauty products (sometimes) give me pause.  I wish they didn’t talk about chemicals as if all of them are evil.  Also, microwaves are not something we believe in or not, they are not fairies or Santa Claus.  They speed up the water molecules in food, etc., The science of this exists whether anyone likes it or not.  I’m getting off topic.  Again.  Apologies. (Sorry Santa. I know you’re out there.)

(coughs, shuffles notecards)  I signed up for Goodbeing because they send items from brands I’m very curious to try, such as Vapor, Osmia, Juice Beauty, W3ll People, etc., but don’t want to pay full price to learn I don’t like.  I am learning that Beauty Heroes and their fast shipping is a rarity.  I signed up for Goodbeing on March 1 and have yet to receive a box. I have yet to get a response from their customer service aside from the auto-response saying they received my question and will get back to me within two days. It’s now April 8th, I’ve read over their FAQs and think I can expect the first box sometime next week.  I’m so underwhelmed.

They do have an online question form so items can be more tailored to skin/hair type, etc., which I thought was excellent. I did get to choose two items, but then no box arrived.  I have no idea if that was a glitch or if those items will arrive in the April box.

I’m a little iffy about Goodbeing not being a beauty/makeup box only.  Body care items, such as vitamins, toothpaste, deodorant, I think tea, are included.  That sounds fine. I guess. I’m enough of a hippie.  Sort of a suit-wearing, patchouli-hating, paralegal hippie, but I have some crunchy edges and am open to discovering a tasty new tea, or whatever. But first I need to get a box and so far, that’s not happening.

*UPDATE.  The Goodbeing box arrived today (April 11).  Inside is a bottle containing fifteen capsules that are made with algae, aloe, and some other mess that is said to be clinically proven to reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles.  I want to see that clinical trial.  The capsules are enormous and smell terrible.  I was hoping from the lengthy profile I filled out Goodbeing understood I wasn’t interested in more than say, chamomile tea, honey lozenges or a spice mix for chai.

There is a one ounce bottle of Noto deep serum for the face and neck, it does not have a proper cap for traveling.  It is a thin oil, a drop runs down the back of my hand quickly, and it has an unusual scent.  A bit peppery, or spicy, but only a bit.  I’m getting used to it and I think I can appreciate it, and that the ingredients are listed.  Next is a fair sized jar of face cream by Clarity (the size isn’t given).  It is a thick cream that absorbs into the inside of my wrist nicely.  As I run my fingers over the area it feels different from the surrounding skin, a bit dryer, less silky.  The card says something about leaving a matte finish, so the dry feeling is intended.  The mix I have has sage, desert rose and gardenia according to the label (there is no list of ingredients) and smells flowery.  I’d rather smell sage.  There’s also a note of something that reminds me of items scented for baby lotions, I can’t put my finger on it, but I’m not enjoying it and it’s lingering.

Along with the reasonable sized samples are three others that are ridiculous.  First up is a .16 fluid ounce of Seaweed Bath Co. Day Cream.  It looks like the lotions you get in a middling hotel, only of much smaller size.  If I’m to use as directed, on face, neck and décolletage, there is probably enough for one use.  A tiny foil seal is under the cap so I know I haven’t accidentally received an empty even though it feels like there’s nothing inside.  The cream is an unusual light blue color and goes on fine.  It smells a little of sea salt or something that brings the ocean to mind but then a green/medicinal scent scares it away, bringing to mind grannies and camphor.

Second runner-up for worst sample in any box so far, ever, is a primer from Vapour.  The plastic disc the product is in, is one inch diameter and less than half a centimeter thick, so it’s a bit like a fat quarter.  This is glued to a card that says to keep it as a reminder of the brands I love and that the product inside is valued at $3.  Dear Vapour and Goodbeing, you want to know what I value it at?  Less than zero.  If you think a smear of product in a plastic button is better than a smear of product in a foil pouch, you are wrong.  They both suck.  If I took a pink Froot Loop, soaked it in water, smashed it gently and pierced the center with a 1mm sized hole, it would look like what is inside this absurdly af sized sample.  Also, it has an odd medicinal smell to it.  This is going in the trash.  I’ll wash it out and throw it in the recycle.  Vapour, this is a snub.  Your products are pricey, and if you want me to spend my cash on them, you need to give a decent sample.

The winner is a half inch wide section of a tinted lip product from Suntegrity.  The cap of the plastic nubbin-of-a-container is bigger than the bottom but it isn’t filled to the top.   There are stickers so I know the brand and product color (lucky me), AND this comes with a three-inch long section of plastic stick with a brush at one end with which to apply the product.  The fact that they went to the trouble to have these tiny stickers created for their grudging samples strikes me as a clear signal they never intend to go one step better.  Going on with the customer-dazzling ideas (that’s sarcasm by the way) is that the sample and “brush” came in a ziplock plastic bag.  After one use the brush will be dirty, am I expected to store it in the zip baggie for the next two uses I may get out of this?  That baggie came stapled (nothing says classy like a staple) to a thick/glossy Suntegrity card showing the various shades available.  So, Suntegrity, you can buy thick card stock with glossy printing but can’t pony up a bullet sized lip balm?

Along with all of this came six small cards detailing what the items are, one large card mentioning the brands offering discounts, the Clarity jar was in a bubble wrap envelope, and the oil/serum came in another zip baggie.  And of course it all arrived in a cardboard box, with a thousand paper crinkles.   I’m awash in plastic and paper and a pathetic amount of makeup. *End up updated section.

Mostly I signed up for beauty boxes to get makeup, and I have to say I’m not getting much of that. It almost makes me miss my Sephora Play days.  Aside from the boxes, I purchased the Whole Foods Beauty Bag.  There was a full size mascara by Mineral Fusion (that’s quite good) no flakes, and only late in the day smudging.  I’ve learned not to put any kind of sunblock under my eyes if I’m going to wear mascara.  It will smudge even the best waterproof formula.  Everyone else probably already knew that.  Also there was a lipstick by Pacifica that I like.  It has a natural coconut scent, not chemical or candy-like, which fades quickly.  It feels good and is not sticky.  I’m thinking I’m going to end up not renewing any boxes and have to resort to haunting the aisles of Whole Foods and pilgrimages to Credo in San Francisco or Los Angeles.

*Tip.  I’ve learned plain witch hazel dabbed on pimples makes them go away.  No squeezing, or picking, just dab twice a day.

My teen got a couple of Loot Crates, I’ve heard there’s another box for artisan chocolate, there’s probably one for anything you can imagine. Just keep in mind it may be a few weeks before the account gets going and you actually have a box in your hands, so if it’s a gift, better order early.  Be patient, and maybe send some of that patience my way.

An Equal Rights surprise

This morning, as I was in line to exit the drive-through where parents drop kids off for school, the driver of the car in front of me got out and sprinted in my direction.  My first thought was she was going to tell me a brake light was out, or something to that effect, as she had been in the loop first and at some point was behind me.

Anyway, there I was, glad I had put a baseball cap over my bed head, and was wearing actual  clothes instead of a coat over pajamas, when I saw a small book in her hand and felt my warning hackles rise a little.  I do live in conservative-ville, where people think hypnosis is how I steal souls for the devil.  The strangers I see regularly in my day-to-day activities invite me to attend church with them, and after I say no, they never smile and wave again.  If this woman was going to invite me to ‘worship’ with her, it would be my first drive-by invitation.

She got close enough that there was no mistaking she wanted to talk to me and I let the window down, trying out a good morning smile.  She thanked me for having a Human Rights Campaign sticker on the back of my car.  It’s a blue equal sign, and it’s on the back window so it can’t be missed.  Now, all too aware of my coffee breath, I nodded, smiled and said something along the lines of “Sure thing.  Thank you.”  She fast walked back to her car and I’ve been happily stunned ever since, imagining this town populated with people who believe in equal rights for all.

I have seen other cars sporting the sticker here, it’s rare, and one time I was so thrilled to spot one, I honked and waved.  Sure that driver probably thought I was high, and had mistaken them for a brownie, but I had to show my solidarity.  Today I was on the receiving end of that same idea and it felt good.  Happy Wednesday.

how true can you get?

Is it me or my social networking site?

There’s speculation that because we can tell our large, or small world, of family and friends what we’re up to at any given moment, that we aren’t really making meaningful connections with one another.  We no longer have person to person, face to face conversations that matter.  I did agree with that idea, but woke at one a.m. thinking, it’s not the vehicle, it’s the people.

If I don’t have or make connections with people every day or even once a year, that doesn’t preclude that I never will or never have.  I have a grown daughter who does not allow ‘parental types’ on her FB page.  That’s alright with me.  When we see each other, I make a point of sharing with her a bit of who I am, what I think of outside of being a mom, and the work I love.  Wonderfully enough, she returns the favor, trusting I will listen, and not rush to judge.

However, that doesn’t happen simply because we are face to face.  We have meaningful conversations over the phone as well, because we’ve built a trust enough to say what’s really in our thoughts.  I can and do have similar conversations with other people in my life, who happen to be on my social networking site, and, a couple of them I have only met once, and one or two I’ve yet to meet.  We have built this for one another and use it to bridge any distance.  Sometimes it will be months between nice long chats or emails, but when these communications happen, they mean the world to me.

That’s when I realized it doesn’t matter if I literally see a person once a week at a family dinner, or everyday at work, or only in person once a month.  How honest we are about what we love, and how we support each others goals in life, is up to us.  Before all of the technological goodies came along, people could have stood around the town hall, saloon, or sat in a knitting circle and talked about a whole lot of nothing.   I’ve decided to converse with people on a particular level, in any forum, takes cultivating.

suicide prevention lines – please don’t leave

Things may feel difficult right now, but please don’t leave.  These numbers copied from Suicide.org.  There is someone who cares, usually more than one someone, and they’ll help if you reach out.  If they misunderstand your plea, try one of these numbers.  Things will get better.

Need Help Now?
Call 911
or
1-800-SUICIDE
(1-800-784-2433)
or
1-800-273-TALK
(1-800-273-8255)
or
Text Telephone:
1-800-799-4TTY
(1-800-799-4889)

 

Military Veterans
Suicide Hotline:
1-800-273-TALK
(Press 1)

Suicide Hotline
in Spanish:
1-800-273-TALK
(Press 2)

LGBT Youth
Suicide Hotline:
1-866-4-U-TREVOR

where cake meets frosting

For a long time, I held fast to the idea that lasting memories have nothing to do with the buying or giving of things.  Those moments with my family, wherein we talk about our days, wishes, and dreams, those were what I determinedly held onto as the end all, be all.  True, they were and are, fun, funny, loving.  In a word, cake. Subtly sweet, with hints of the sublime.  At the same time I thought the extraneous things of life; a closet full of shoes, a dozen watches and/or sunglasses, a holiday abroad, etc., as frosting.  I didn’t realize I had become rigid with an either/or on those ideals.

I was like a kid who keeps the peas segregated from the mashed potatoes.  It turns out I have so much to learn.  Life as I saw it had to fall into parameters I understood, and when they mixed I kept my perspective tightly focused on what I felt was the most important part, the cake, eschewing the frosting.  Was I afraid of becoming superficial, that I’d miss the real stuff because I was focused on shiny bits?  Maybe.

What’s really fascinating to me is that when all the changes started happening, and I can’t pinpoint when that was, but somewhere in there I let things mix together, and I enjoyed it.  What I had thought of as strictly cake moments, became sweeter, and the formerly rationed frosting magically appeared with it.  Now I get these awesome bites that have the perfect balance of cake and frosting.  I am floored, and get this, nothing changed except how I savor each bite.

Okay, (shyly admits) it’s possible that it also has to do with allowing myself to have it in the first place.  Why didn’t I hear about doing this ages ago?  Sigh, I’m sure several people led me to moments where I could have lapped it all up and chimed “How sweet it is!”  And like the stubborn horses of cliche fame, I would not drink.  Forget singing, heck, I probably wouldn’t allow myself to be led, because I can be ridiculous that way.  (another thing I want to look into changing)

Baby I’m lapping it up now though, and I recommend giving everything another taste, adjusting viewpoints, trying something new, whatever it takes.  Why did I ever pigeon-hole the way I enjoy what life has to offer?  I can’t explain what makes it more so for me, and I’m not certain what could change that for anyone else, but I’m loving this and I suggest whole heartedly to everyone to find a way to taste it all.

hurdles in writing

I haven’t been around here much, I’ve been immersed in writing a piece of fiction.  Today I should hit the halfway mark, 60 thousand words.  There’s been a lot to learn along the way, such as; stop polishing the same piece and keep writing, and, do not try to force anything.  I mean, if I’m not feeling the love on a particular day, that’s the day to skip the love-y scene and go to the scene where someone gets their teeth kicked in.

For a time there I had to remove the first part of the story to another document just so I would stop editing it.  Sigh.  I stubbornly believed I could not go further until the opening pages were perfect.  Other people do that too right?

I’ve even learned how to go with the flow.  When life says, “You shall not write”, (you only think you will), I found a way to adapt.  For example, the other day all the kids were out and I had some quiet, weekend time to write.  A rarity.

Except the love of my life was here and would break my focus with odd comments and questions here and there.  “How’s it going?”, and “Are you coming down with a cold?” This asked after the seventeenth sneeze.  Somehow, I accepted that it was either stop immersing myself into the story only to be interrupted, or do something I’ve been wanting to do for awhile.  I read sections out loud to him and got his opinion.

I love his opinion, he’s read a load of books and is very good at creating spur of the moment stories for the kids.  And I got some good advice, some excellent insights, and there was an overall warm fuzzy feeling of sharing my creation with him.

Unlike a batch of freshly baked cookies everyone can share in right away, this particular production is taking a long time, (a long, long time), and it was fun to give him a detailed look at all I’ve been doing.  Through his eyes I could see that indeed my story is very much past the zygote stage.  In fact, I feel a bit like someone who didn’t realize their baby was a teenager, and almost ready to leave the nest.

Almost.

When you can’t write, what are some things you do to keep the motivation flowing?