Thursday, May 30, 2013

Keeping it Photogenic: The Art of Taking Pictures for a Blog

A while back, I wrote a post about how I couldn't find my camera, had no idea how Manfriend's picture taker worked and I was unsure when I would be uploading pictures. Well, I finally figured out how to take the photos (no guarantees on how good they are). Then I ran into the problem of not having any stock to take pictures of. Problem also solved- with a good bit of money, patience in waiting for the stuff to arrive, and sweat in product preparation.

So I got out Manfriend's little camera and I toted all my stuff outside and I found a decent space to start snapping away! (which really means I found a level space to put my stuff on- trust me, that's not an easy feat)

So... without further ado, I'd like to show you all some of my lovely photos. Also to be included in many later posts about the products themselves and on the webpage!! I just can't wait!!!

Lemon Sugar Smothers, Cafe Mocha Scrub, and Anti-Bug Balm Cube

(I thought the lavender in the background was a lovely touch)

Lemon Sugar Smoother and Anti-Bug Balm Cube

Lemon Sugar Smothers, Cafe Mocha Scrub, and Anti-Bug Balm Cube

Anti-Bug Balm Cubes

Love to hear your feedback, anytime! And, (shameless plug- I won't do it often, I promise) Feel free to pin anything you like to Pinterest. I'd love the shares, I'd love to have more people joining, following, and checking out the blog and the goods. 

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Test Kitchen Adventures 2.1: The Making of... Anti-Bug Balm Cubes

They're made. The first batch of Anti-Bug Balm. I'm so excited. I made a whole mess of small cubes and a couple big ones. The big ones are for me. I spend a LOT of time in my yard. All day almost as a matter of fact. I like sitting out there with the dog and a book.

So just like the regular Body Bars and Mini-Me bars, these cubes have beeswax, a moisturizing oil blend, and shea butter. This stuff is really moisturizing. I'm really looking forward to pulling them out of the freezer and trying them out in the yard tonight. They've got a really smooth blend of citronella and lemongrass with some FRESH lemon thyme leaves from the garden thrown in.

These bars are yellow to distinguish them from the classic bars which will be moving to a creamy ivory color since the new shea and beeswax came in. Its all a matter of ingredients!

So anyhow- I'm really excited to test out these new cubes and let you know how they work in Post 2.3 I'm also excited to see what kind of interest we get, seeing as how this is looking to be a very buggy summer. We've had quite a bit of interest so far, but I'd really be interested in whether you lovely folks wanna try it in cube form or in stick form (like an old-fashioned glue stick.. except with bug lotion instead of glue). So tell me what you think and I'll do what I can to make it happen- and you know, tell you how this stuff works.

Test Kitchen Adventures 2.0: Anti-Bug Balm Cubes

Another HOT and spicy day has dawned here in northeast Georgia. This year the weather has been so weird! A warm winter, then a cold spring, alternating between days in the low 80s in February to the mid 40s in MAY! This is entirely unusual. Usually we're settled around the high 80s right now with no end in sight. It's also been very wet.

These two factors- a warm winter and a wet spring- are going to result in one very aggravating eventuality: a buggy summer. No good! I hate bugs. Especially mosquitoes and gnats- but oh do I love flies! My favorite past time in the summer on Mama's front porch is stalking the flies with my fly swatter and a bloody mary. I just love it. There is nothing more satisfying than sitting back with a drink and surveying the carcasses of your enemies- small as they may be- littering your porch. Oh the joy!!!

I understand this makes me a bit odd, however I also acknowledge the similarities in our lives- like a deep hatred for mosquitoes and biting insects. I hate them. I do. I also hate spraying on cloying, lung-filling bug sprays. They're sticky and nasty and they smell bad and they hang in the air like a cloud of noxious radiation from the Chernobyl incident. And another thing- I have dogs... so I'm not exactly thrilled with the idea of having lit candles all over my house and outdoor area. The smart hound knows not to get involved, but Manfriend's overzealous Gomer Pyle- esque pup just WOULD NOT be able to handle that kind of responsibility in the yard.

I tried planting lemongrass and citronella and lemon thyme and all those plants that are supposed to keep the bugs away. The problem with that was unless I was sitting in the planters with them, the bugs still crawled all over me. I could rub them all over me, but a couple times I, being the most epicly graceful person you have ever had the pleasure of meeting, cut myself on the edges of the lemongrass. I quickly abandoned the idea of rubbing myself with grasses and random leaves. Manfriend wasn't really buying into that idea either. Because of the business, though, I did have lemongrass oil in the house so I took to smoothing a few drops of that behind my knees and ears and on my wrists. THAT worked. Then I ordered some Citronella oil on a whim and with a certain idea in mind. When it came in (YESTERDAY!!) I used that on myself with the lemongrass. I smelled fabulous (in my opinion) and the bugs were nowhere to be found. I could read outside in my lawn chair for HOURS and not one bug bothered me. Manfriend wasn't sure about the strong smell, but I HAD just put straight citronella oil all over me. I can't say I blame him.

The job I now face.. Making the idea in my head actually happen. Here's the plan: I hate bugs, but I hate bug spray. How can i get rid of bugs without bug spray? Slathering on essential oils has worked, but that gets expensive and Manfriend would probably leave me for smelling "funny". BUT WAIT! I have a business that specializes in natural skincare... hmmm... and I also use essential oils in almost everything I do... Why not use what I already make and just stick the repellant oils in there? Well now that might work. So here's what I'm thinking. I'll take the Mini-me lotion bars and add lemongrass and citronella oils to it. Now we have a LOTION bug repellant that isn't a spray and doesn't hang in the air. It's not sticky, it absorbs into the skin, and it moisturizes as it does. It also stays on your skin and keeps the bugs away. I've been talking to a lot of my friends that have kids and they're all REALLY excited about this because- as we all know- kids hate that spray crap too. I'm also looking into creating the lotion as a stick- like a glue stick- so you don't have to worry about getting too much on your hands and it will make it easier to get it on your face without getting in your eyes (OUCH!) or your nose (EEW) or your mouth (BLECH!) not to mention easier to get on the kids!!!

I'll keep you guys updated on how all this turns out and how it goes today.... I'm excited. Are you?

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Test Kitchen Adventures 1.0: Sun-sitive Skin After Burn Creme

Today is Thursday. On Tuesday, Manfriend and I went fishing. This is important because it resulted in a research and development breakthrough idea that I had.

Manfriend had this brilliant (it really was- not being sarcastic) idea to go fishing at a pond down the road on Sunday. But that plan was foiled by an exceptionally wild thunderstorm that just wouldn't quit!! So we spent Sunday on the couch.

Tuesday, however, dawned nice and bright and HOT! So Manfriend went off to purchase poles to fish with (I was under the impression that I had a fishing pole in the laundry room, but it was MIA when I checked and he still needed one). Thoughtfully, he decided against the purple fishing pole with the pink reel and the LED lights that flashed when you reeled in your epic catfish catch. Good man, that Manfriend.

ANYHOW after we got our poles and we strung them and put our weights and hooks on, we marched (drove) our way on over to the pond and commenced fishing. Forever. I cast my line. Read my book. reeled it in. Cast my line. Watched Manfriend catch a fish (kind of.. he reeled it all the way to the dock... and lost it) Watched the bobber jump. Reeled it in. Discovered the fish stole my worm. Cast my line. over. And over. And over. And over. And over. Watched Manfriend ACTUALLY catch a fish. Watched Manfriend fight with and reel in a really BIG catfish... And then watched the line break. I'm still in denial over whether or not he ACTUALLY caught that gigantic cat. And then.. after HOURS of fishing... and watching Manfriend have all the fun, I caught one. Oh yes, I did.

What I also managed to get was sunburned! I'm definitely red. Not lobster red... but red. And I'm sore. Soooooo I did what every good home-made maker does... She tries to figure out a way to make whatever is bugging her better.

And I don't know about you, but I hate- HATE that sticky aloe crap. That will NOT be going on my body. Anytime soon. And by that I mean ever. So... I decided to try something else.

A new favorite has been born! Sun-sitive Skin After Burn Creme! So far I haven't scented it yet, but I will be looking into whether or not scenting it will be appropriate. Personally, I'd rather have something that smells nice to put on after burns. I don't want to stink nasty.

If you ever have any suggestions or ideas for things you want to see or hear about, please let me know.  I think Manfriend's and my next adventure will be drag racing this Sunday. And wish me luck- Gramma is coming to town on Saturday so the next few weeks will be hectic and the business will probably soar. Look forward to a lot more news and hopefully a lot more adventures!!