Stay Tuned

It’s been almost a month since my last post, wow, time sure does fly when you are having fun. Things got crazy in July. If you’ve been following along on Instagram the husband and I had a bit of an adventure visiting family on the East Coast and attending a wedding in Kentucky for some really awesome friends. Even before that there were holiday shenanigans and game night with local pals.

Since then I’ve had oodles of subscriptions delivered that I need to get reviews caught up on. I’ll even be putting together a mega post on all the ones I’ve done so far, including insights on customer service, skipping and/or canceling subscriptions, and which ones are worth the bucks.

After that I’ll be quiet on the subscription front for a while as I take up the reigns as Dungeon Master for a long distance Dungeons and Dragons campaign. This will be my first time leading as DM and I am beyond exciting for the chance to work on my narrative skills and flex the imagination a bit.

Until then, subscribe on my friends!

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Busy Bee, Bummed Bonnet

Sometimes plans just don’t happen like you planned them.

For the last month I’ve been getting ready for an event that I’ve partaken in the last few years. I had signs designed. New items to show case. I was getting pumped sharing and counting down to the event on facebook, which was a small part in a grand plan to help generate a larger turnout than in years past.

However, when the ducks don’t show, you can’t really line them up.

After weeks of waiting to hear from anybody else working the event and getting nothing but crickets, I had to make some tough calls this morning. Do I forfeit an entire Saturday for an event that has been underwhelming due to lack of turnout, with no promise of better attendance this year, or do I take that Saturday and have a leisurely stroll through the the farmers market with my favorite person and come home and start focusing my efforts on something that could be more advantageous?

Yeah, I picked the latter.

I let the powers-that-be know this morning that they had a vacancy. I hope they have a fantastic year. Unfortunately, with the lack of publicizing the event, it wasn’t a gamble I could convince myself to make a third time.

I spent this morning bummed out. I had been waiting to help promote this event since last year, I even had the foundation set in place months ago. Every morning for the last three weeks, not seeing the correspondence I needed to move forward, chipped at my excitement. It felt like I would be in a foul mood all week, but who has time for that?

Spending the morning sulking was more energy than I care to waste on this, so it’s time to pick myself up from this bout of disappointment, dust myself off, and carry on. Now, there is a lot to do as I prepare to shut down my Jamberry business and start up the Etsy shop once more.

For Jamberry: I’ve got to find a good home for all my Jamberry promo materials and send out thank yous to my best customers. I’ve got loads of digital files to clean out and a Facebook page to delete. Plus, there’s the sponsor to reach out to and commissions to spend.

For Etsy: I’ve got new product that needs to be listed and old product that needs updated inventory and pictures. I’ve got to verify that all the social media platforms are being fully utilized, and that links aren’t outdated. Plus, I’ve got to find more cost effective shipping methods and schedule time to regularly create and offer new items.

It will be such a treat when I’ve worked through all this decluttering and refocusing. Can hardly wait to share what’s to come.

Light Up Room

With all this makeup-ing around I figured it’s high time I get myself some proper lighting. Being renters limits options and planning a ten day road trip at the end of the month narrows them down even more with a small budget. Sure, I could have gotten any of a handful of table-top, plug-in, mirror/lamp combos that run about twenty bucks, but there is a slew of cons.

The mirrors are typically too small. Some made even smaller because of the inclusion of a magnifying mirror; I understand the purpose of them but I will never be ready for that close up. Table top means set height, and I don’t have anything high enough to not have to crouch down, unless I sit at the dining table, and I’d prefer a stationary work space to a portable one. I find it a nuisance to move my craft project to work spaces and back to storage space, why would I want to do that with my makeup?

A sizable (bigger than 12×12 inches) pre lit mirror can run from $150 to $400 plus. The lower end could be reasonable if I didn’t have to sacrifice style, but most of the options are boring or ugly. The high end options, are beautiful but way too pricy for the current budget. All of this made it necessary to think outside of the box and put the creative side of the brain to good use.

After some googling I found an 18×18 inch mirror for six bucks that would only require a trip to Target. I found three-bulb bathroom vanity lights on Amazon and picked up three for $52. I got three plugs as well ($7) to make them plug in instead of hardwired.

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The biggest challenge after all that was making sure I had the right bulbs. Ones that cumulatively gave off not only enough light but the right kind of light. The easy answer is find bulbs that say daylight. It took a bit longer than one sentence for me to get there though. A popular blog that popped up when I asked the google machine suggested warm white light. Except they failed to define warm. Warm light is usually associated with soft yellow lighting, but that is arguably the worst type to apply makeup.

In this instance warm refers to the kelvin temperature. Soft lighting ranges between 2500 and 3000 kelvin, bright lighting between 3500 and 4000 kelvin, and daylight between 5000 and 6500 kelvin. Though, to the eye the soft (yellowish) light looks warmer and the daylight (whitish/blueish) looks cooler. It’s easy to get confused unless the right terminology is used.

Eventually I got it all sorted out and found 60 watt equivalent LED bulbs on Amazon that had a brightness of 800 lumens and color temperature of 5000 kelvin. It was a 16 count box and I paid less than $2 a bulb ($16.47 for the bulbs used in the vanity.)

Once I had all the supplies for the lights I skipped on over to Target to get the mirror, and then a second when I didn’t find it at the first. Unfortunately, when I didn’t find it at the second I went to the internet to investigate and found that the simple inexpensive mirror I wanted was not available for delivery or anywhere in my area for pickup. Eventually, I accepted the fact that I would have to put more into a mirror than I initially intended. In the end I found a 22.5×28.5 inch mirror with a clean white frame for $30. Not the shape I had initially planned for or the price point, but sometimes you just have to roll with it.

Now that I had all the supplies, I pulled apart one of the fixtures and had some problem solving to do. Would the 600v wire from the fixture be compatible with the 300v wire of the plug I was attaching it too? Yes! Would I need a separate housing unit to store the spliced together cords? Nope, they fit just fine inside the original fixture. The fixture was only supposed to be hung horizontally lengthwise, could I safely hang two of them vertically? Sure thing! (I got this.) Would I need to compensate for the cord keeping the fixture less than flush against the wall? A 79 cent investment and hot glue was the plan in the event that it was too unstable, but I made it work without attaching “feet” to the fixture.

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About an hour of measuring out and marking up a bedroom wall, and another hour wiring the fixtures and mounting them and I had myself a functional vanity light and space for applying makeup, doing hair, and maintaining the shape of my eyebrows. Though the plugs I attached the fixtures to all had their own switch, I plugged them all into a power strip we had on hand and turn them all on and off with one click at the source instead of needing to do all three every time.

The first time I applied foundation at my new vanity I applied my usual amount and realized quickly it was way too much. I popped into the bathroom to remove the excess and realized how poorly that room was lit for putting a face together, the foundation didn’t look bad at all. For the first few applications I checked everything in the bathroom just to see how different the lighting made it. It was crazy awesome to see how easily one could apply too much color and in all the wrong places.

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All together this little project cost just under $120 and it was well spent. A few notes for you and myself. First, the ribbed wire is the same as white/neutral, the smooth wire is the black/live wire. Second, I should have bought the mirror first then I would have picked out a fixture that ran the whole length of the top. Last, I am not a licensed electrician. Any wiring tips you take away from this read you use at your own risk.

 

 

 

Adventure is out there: June 2017

Last year for the #happilyeverbruce honeymoon we took up kayaking for the first time. We also decided to go all out and do it right on the Pacific Ocean, (a whole different sort of experience than kayaking on a river or lake) as we explored the coast and caves of Channel Island.

This guided trip was an absolute blast! We got to see whales, dolphins, and seals or sea lions or both – this is always a debate in our house as we can never remember and those photos didn’t turn out so well – as we took the ferry from Venture, CA to the islands (and again on the way back). We learned how to tandem paddle and that we never want to tandem paddle again, it’s for the sake of any future generations existing. We explored caves and that we are good not doing that again either, at least until we get better at kayaking in general. We even had some quality hiking on the island. Basically, is you ever have the chance I highly recommend the day trip, and for my camping friends they have over night trips as well.

A year-ish later I’m at my desk thinking how much fun we had and that we should totally do a local day trip. Due to summer scheduling I knew I was going to be getting a Friday off, which tends to mean a few less people to contend with. So, I googled and booked with Wisconsin Canoe Company. They provided the boats, paddles, life jackets, maps, and a shuttle from the landing to the launch. It was a completely self-guided, go at your own pace (as long as we were back by 6pm), sort of adventure and I can hardly wait to go again next year.

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Water levels on the Wisconsin River were higher then normal so there was no sandbar hopping to be had, and the many islands to typically navigate were basically non-existent (it did make reading the map and anticipating obstacles rather useless). However, we had beautiful weather and a strong current that negated any slowing down the wind at our faces may have accomplished.

A couple hours in we floated side by side as we ate lunch, slathered on another layer of sunscreen (not that it helped in the end), and got to talk to the warden patrolling the river. Other than that interaction, we basically had the river to ourselves since the group that booked along with us stopped early to start their drinking. It was peaceful, and beautiful, and oh so worth the effort.

We landed three hours after launch. We didn’t paddle excessively hard, and we spent a considerable amount of time just drifting and enjoying the scenery. Honestly, the only thing I wish I would have done was gone for a swim, even though it wasn’t excessively hot the river water was comfortable temperature for it. Something to think about next year.

Since Governor Dodge State Park was in the vicinity, I talked hubby into taking a small detour before we headed home. I’d wanted to check out this park since our fist park pass in 2015 but the two hour drive for such a short visit never seemed worth the effort. Now, all I wanted to do was take the half mile Stephan’s Fall loop. Just a little something to stretch out the legs before we headed home for the day. We started out right, got to the unimpressive waterfall, an carried right along since a couple was there taking engagement photos. Congrats to them!!

We get to the half way point and seek the trail map for direction, because now there are several paths to choose from. We manage to misread the direction we came from and find ourselves on the 3 mile Lost Canyon Loop which outside of the initial shared trail with Stephan’s Falls does not connect to anything. As beautiful as the park was, neither of us was in the mood. At one point we walk up a grossly steep hill, and as we crest the top I spot the back of a warning sign. Sure enough, it warns hikers and cross country skiers of how steep the decline is. All I could do was flip it the bird and curse. I should have made Jonathan take a picture.  Today, we both hurt. Everywhere.

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Tips for next year:

Cover more or cover less. I don’t want a repeat of the awkward tan lines I currently have midway down my calves.

Spray on sunblock may be easier to apply in the kayak than the rub on stuff.

Bug repellent. Though there were no issues on the water. The launch and landing points weren’t fun.

Pack the aloe vera. Even if we don’t end up burned hydration is important.

Pack less. We did not need full hydration packs AND the platypus bottles.

Plan for lunch. The Frank Lloyd Wright Visitor Center is on the way in and out, might as well stop in for lunch and skip eating on the river.

2017 Reading Goals: 28/125

This year I signed up for Goodreads 2017 Reading Challenge. I took on a lofty goal of 125 books and I‘m currently behind by 28. Life has just gotten so project oriented recently that there’s little time left in the day to sit down with a good book.

I’ve read some good stuff, like Sarah J. Maas’ A Court of Thorns and Roses (along with the second and third books of that series). I’ve read some okay but not great stuff in Bella Forrest’s A Shade of Vampire series (aka the only reason I have Kindle Unlimited). I’ve also read some piles of steaming garbage that make you think the story is going to end but then doesn’t and now I have to wait until the next book is available to find out how much worse the story gets. (I’m a masochist in that way.)

There’s a solid chance I’m going to cross my little street this week, walk into the library, take up a seat in the children’s’ book section, and get myself caught up. Maybe even ahead. Sounds like cheating, I know, BUT I’ll consider it research for books I want on my own bookshelves for the kids to come.

With books being on the brain I thought I’d share one that I am a bit vested in. For three more days you can get Project Northwoods by Jonathan Charles Bruce on Amazon for just ninety-nine cents. At 594 pages your dollar goes a long way at keeping you entertained. Within its pages you’ll find yourself submerged in an alternate reality where the good guys and the bad guys aren’t neatly filed under Hero or Villain. There’s action, adventure, mystery… everything for a great read.

Now, I’ve got to be honest, some of my own sweat went into this book. I read it through twice for editing, and I didn’t even think I’d make it through once since this is not my typical go to for reading. Seriously, paranormal romance and young adult fiction is where I am at. However, I’m happy I was able to venture outside of my comfort zone then, just as I’m excited to do so now with all the fashion stuff. It’s too bad Goodreads won’t let me read it again.

I guess I’ll finally pick up 50 Shades of Gray while I’m at the library, since we did just watch the movie, and I’m highly anticipating hubby live tweeting 50 Shades Darker this weekend. Did I mention hubby wrote Project Northwoods?