Tuesday, June 23, 2015

That Girl

I have been thinking about the girl in this photo a lot the last few weeks. This is me almost exactly a year ago, June 21, 2014, but yet it's not me. I've been a lot of different people since this photo was taken.

That Girl had been hurt, but healed. That Girl didn't think she could hurt any more. She'd been bruised, but had never had her skin broken. That Girl was still trusting and believed in happy endings.

Six months later, That Girl was cracked wide open. She became The Other Girl - the hurt one. The crying one. The one that couldn't move, couldn't breathe. The one who didn't want to go on, didn't think she could go on. So she didn't.

The Other Girl became This Girl. The angry one. The one who doesn't think she'll trust again. The one who only expects to be hurt. The one who is afraid that love doesn't believe in her.

I'm not sure what to do with This Girl. Do I embrace her as a family member or start charging her rent?


Saturday, June 13, 2015

The Map of Time

The Map of TimeThe Map of Time by Félix J. Palma
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This book was tough for me. I struggled through the beginning, started to get into the story, and then it changed. Then it changed again. It changed so much I just became bored through it. It didn't really seem to be going anywhere very fast, so I put it down about halfway through and just couldn't pick it back up.

The writing style is a bit stiff, which may be a translation issue as I don't think the book was originally written in English. The characters are amusing in their arrogance. Their best qualities appear to be their downfall. I might have finished this book if it had stopped going on and on. The summary of the book provided is not even close to the story line.

Summary: Characters real and imaginary come vividly to life in this whimsical triple play of intertwined plots, in which a skeptical H. G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence.

What happens if we change history?

Felix J. Palma explores this provocative question, weaving a historical fantasy as imaginative as it is exciting; a story full of love and adventure that transports readers from a haunting setting in Victorian London to a magical reality where centuries collide and a writer's mind seems to pull at all the strings.

Friday, June 12, 2015

Sandalwood Goat Milk Soap

I love soap. I really love handmade soap. In my research for making my own soap recipes, I stumbled on Great Cakes Soap Works. I'm not sure what drew me back to Amy's blog and website over and over again. Maybe it was her tagline: A great cake of soap can cleanse your body, but only a great God can cleanse your soul.  - See I John 1:9 or maybe it was just the simplicity of her soap.

Reading Amy's blog was interesting to see her transition from a palm based soap to tallow and from fragrance oils to essential oils - tallow and EO's are what I love about handmade soap. I finally decided to stop lusting after her bars online and ordered four bars. Two shower bars and two shampoo bars. I will eventually be reviewing each of the bars, plus the two sample bars that Amy sent me.

Before I start the review for the first of the four bars, just let me say this about Amy's customer service: awe.some and ah.may.zing. I ordered my bars on a Wednesday and they were in my mailbox  on Saturday. I opened my box to this:

And under the handwritten note was this:

She threw in two samples of her spa bar and stress relief bar - it looks like she's reformulating a recipe! Or maybe she's just trying to sucker me into buying more soap ;)

I fell in love with the scent of sandalwood while I was in India. When I came home, I wanted sandalwood soap. I struggled with choosing this soap because the sandalwood fragrance in this soap bar is from a fragrance [read: synthetic] oil. I did some research and discovered that sandalwood essential oil is expensive -  Like $60-100 per half ounce expensive (and about a half ounce is what you use per pound of soap) - so I stopped being such a snob and put the bar in my shopping cart.

This was the first soap that I used from what I ordered. In fact, I'm still using it. I had wanted to review it after one week, but... well, weird things were going on, so the review is happening at the three week mark.

Ingredients: saponified tallow, olive and coconut oils, shea butter, castor oil and kokum butter; also fresh goat’s milk, fragrance, pulverized elderberries, cocoa powder, sandalwood

Yes, it does bother me that this picture is upside down...
First Glance: This bar comes in a professional looking box, with a see-through smell-through window. I was a bit disappointed with the bar size at first (in my head, 4.5 oz is bigger). There's also some discrepancy between the box (it says 4.25oz) and the website which says 4.5 oz. I never did weigh it to see what I actually got.

Oh, my, it's a beautiful soap though! Three layers, one with just a bit of exfoliation material in one of the layers - possibly the pulverized elderberries or some sandalwood powder? I'm not sure, the bits dissolve so nicely while using it I couldn't snag one of them for a closer look. I dream of making a bar of soap this pretty. My pictures don't do it justice.

First Use: I was really happy with the lather on this bar. The bubbles are small but plentiful. The bar stayed very firm in the shower with no mushy spots or slimey stuff developing. [Note: I keep all of my bar soaps on a wire rack in the shower so that they air dry completely between uses and do not sit in water.] The bar has nice slip and worked well for shaving. It rinsed a little too clean for my liking, and I was worried about my skin being too dry afterwards.

Thoughts Overall: I almost stopped using this bar one week in - I started to break out across the top of my chest, my arms, and my back. At first I thought it was from the soap bar and a reaction to the artificial fragrance as I haven't used store bought soap or handmade soap with artificial fragrances in two years, then I discovered I had a major sinus infection [that I'm still fighting off] that likely contributed to the breakout. I said I had weird stuff going on, yeah? Anyways, after 3 weeks and no new outbreaks [getting the old outbreaks to heal is another story as my immune system right now sucks worse than a Hoover], I'm 90% certain that it was from my general health and not so much from the soap itself (although I'm not ruling out the reaction to a fragrance oil completely).

I'm super happy with the hardness of this bar, I've used up probably half the bar so I know I'll still get another few weeks out of it yet. That's a pretty good life span for a daily shower bar! I'm also still super happy with the lather in this bar, it's really nice for shaving [I also ditched shaving cream two years ago]. I'm still not digging the squeaky clean rinse that this soap leaves, but I haven't had to use moisturizer when I get out of the shower either. This soap leaves a light scent on the skin, but it doesn't linger.

Will I buy this soap again? Absolutely! Right now I'm not into making soap with goat's milk, I'm pretty happy to leave that to people who do it right. Of course, I said that about soapmaking in general about three years ago and see how that panned out for me...

Interested in checking out some of Amy's other soaps? Head on over to Great Cakes Soap Works!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

It's June!

It snuck up on me. It really did. It was like I went from March to June in the blink of an eye. And I am oh-so-happy to be in June. I love summer. I love the weather. I love summer activities. I love my summer schedule. I love the less-stress-more-fun life I have during the summer months. Love.

Summer doesn't mean I have nothing to do, it's nice paced busy. My busyness is just right. Unfortunately, it's not so hot for blogging. Right now I have something like... six posts in the works. Some of them are terribly over due. (India, anyone?) I'll work on this next week when I'm on my annual Staycation.

I had planned to do a play-by-play of my trip to India... but... I'm not sure I want to. There are too many words and yet not enough to describe my experience, I don't think a single entry or even a series of entries would do the trip justice. The food, the people, the experience of being part of my friend's wedding - and even the weird sensation of personally being exotic - it was an amazing experience. One that I look forward to repeating again in the future. (Hopefully the near future.) I promise though, there are posts coming about my trip.

We're mostly through 2015, and as usual my New Year Resolutions are dying a slow cruel death. Well, no ... some of them went out pretty quick this year, I just haven't acknowledged their deaths.

Money: This is still a work in progress. I blew half of the money I had pigtailed for the new car fund on fixing the old car and then blew the other half on a trip to India. I don't regret either of those decisions.

Writing: This has been off and on (mostly off). I've been stuck in my head because I can't find the original beginning of my novel - like the 20k word document that I saved somewhere... somewhere I would remember it... yeah. My brain is stuck there and won't move on. The peptalk to move myself on from that loss has begun. I just need to convince myself that I can rewrite it and do it better. The first writing class of the year officially starts next week! EEEEK!

Happy People Do This
Project 52
Be Happy
A Month in Photos with my kids.

Drink water - Originally planned as a 90 day challenge, I have stretched this out into June. I have good days and bad days, but I have seen such an improvement in my skin and how I feel overall during the day that I just can't kick the habit! I've been alternating doTerra's peppermint or lemon essential oil into my drinking cup (just one drop per 16oz) and using a tumbler with a straw, and that has really upped my water consumption!

Planking - this is still on the list.

And of course... reading. I've been doing quite a bit of it this year. I've moved some door stoppers off my shelf. Unfortunately, I nursed my broken heart with books and my TBR shelf is out of control.

I've also been doing some blog condensing. My cooking blog is slowly migrating over to here, so there were changes made to blog labels, the look, and even the blog name.

Oh, and if that isn't enough... I'm phasing out of selling Pangea Organics, and trying to launch my own soap business: A Misty Dimness Soap. I'm still in the marketing and research phase of this adventure, so I don't have product out for sale [yet]. I've only made soap in small batches (like 1 pound small) and I'm still tweaking recipes to get them to where I like them. Now I just need to get them to where other people like them! If you're interested at all in trying out some free handmade soap, hit me up on my FaceBook page!

So things I'm not doing this year? It's a pretty small list. Dating. I made a brief attempt at it in March and April, but it's just not what I want right now. That's about it for Not To Do in 2015. I can't wait to see what the rest of the year brings!