Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Big Black Hole

Anyone who has ever lost a job knows just how hard it really is to not doubt yourself. We all have the same thoughts "Why did I lose my job? Was it something I did or didn't do? Could I change and do better next time? Will there even be a next time?" Your ego is already in the toilet because you lost your job in the first place and then you start applying for a new job. Now you ego is flushed and on a trip through the sewers. You put in how many applications, get comparatively few interviews, and out of those how many rejections do you hear? It is enough to make any person completely doubt their abilities.

Then, this starts to seep into your personal life. You start to doubt everything. "What if I'm not a good spouse? What if I'm a bad parent? What if, what if, what if?" It can really become a big black hole of doubt that you just keep getting sucked deeper and deeper into. I've even started doubting my ability to run the business I started. "What if nobody likes my products? What if I am just not good enough to do this?" BIG BLACK HOLE!!!

It is time to flip my thinking. I do not DOUBT: I am CONFIDENT!

Sometimes life is rough, so make sure you have a good helmet. I can doubt myself and all of my abilities and let that lead to lying on the floor making funny gurgling noises or I can believe in myself and what I can do. I choose to believe in myself. I do make good products. I am good enough to do this. I will succeed. I have long since accepted that I can't do everything and I can't control everything, but I will do what I can and I am in control of what I can be. Let's pull ourselves out of the black hole of doubt and confidently embrace new possibilities. One way or another everything is going to be ok!

Is anybody willing to share what made them doubt themselves the most?

If anybody wants to know the picture is of twin black holes from

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pushy Salepeople

Today I learned a very important lesson. If a vacuum cleaner salesperson comes to your door and offers to do a free, quick demonstration; say no. Then they will argue. They will try to come up with compelling reasons to do this and make you feel bad because you are the last person they need to reach their quota. Again, say no. They will continue to try to convince you. Finally you will say yes, you may come do a QUICK demonstration; you will say this just to get the off the porch.

The problem with this strategy is that now you must let them in your house. The person who comes in is not the same that came to the door because apparently they tag team each other. He will set up the shiny vacuum and start the demonstration while trying to carry on a conversation. Then, because this young man is new, they will send in backup. Both will learn that you are 7 months pregnant and unemployed. One will compliment you on what a lovely home you have, all the while thinking, "Did they bomb the entire neighborhood, or just this house."

You will keep an eye on the clock as the QUICK demonstration carries on. Then the younger of the two will ask if he can go to the bedroom to show you all the stuff he can vacuum off your mattress. If you say no, he will argue and try to convince you otherwise. Luckily for him, his backup realizes that arguing with a pregnant lady in a hot house is not a good strategy and settles for a couch pillow. This part is supposed to disgust you, but you will be past caring at this point.

After about an hour in your home and privacy, they will be ready to do the shampooing of your carpet. At which point you will be at a cross roads. Should you tell them, "Sure go ahead, you've already taken an hour of my time, what's another 30 minutes" or "That's ok, we both know I'm not going to purchase it anyway." Go for option two. Then, they will tell you that it is a great deal at $2495, it comes with a lifetime warranty, and you can trade in your (very) old model to get that price reduced. You will think to yourself "For two grand, it had better vacuum for me!"

At this point, the best you can do is smile and say you have their information and you will consider it. Do not give any reasons as to why you can't really purchase a vacuum for that price right now. They will attempt to overcome those very sound reasons and nothing you can say will get them to stop. Once they leave, feel free to shred the information they left, bang your head against the wall, or if you are not pregnant, go for a shot of hard liquor and try to enjoy your privacy again.

So, what is the lesson I learned? AFTER YOU ANSWER THE DOOR PRETEND YOU DON'T UNDERSTAND ENGLISH, YOU ARE MENTALLY DEFICIENT, YOU ARE THE HOUSE SITTER, OR FAKE A HEART ATTACK. Whatever you do, do not engage in any type of conversation, it will be your downfall.

Please tell me somebody else out there has had this happen to them? I need a support group!

Monday, June 28, 2010


I made it home from camp on Friday and got straight to work getting ready for my first farmer's market on Saturday, which I think went well. I have ideas on how to improve my display and I'll be carrying those out through the season. If you didn't get a chance, come join us this Saturday at the Margarita @ Pine Creek from 9-1.

Camp was fun and there is always some adventure to be had. On Monday, I went canoeing with our Junior High age kids and they were having a great time and doing a great job. BUT, just as we reached a little island in the middle of Storey Lake in Las Vegas, NM, the wind REALLY picked up. We tried waiting it out, but eventually another counselor and I set out to make it back to the shore. We did make it, but we were both exhausted. A nice gentleman noticed that the rest of our group couldn't quite make it so he talked to the park manager, who sent for the park rangers. So, the rest of our kiddos got to be rescued by park rangers in their nice boat. We returned the kids to camp and then went back to the lake to wait for the wind to die down and retrieve our canoes. Overall, very long day, but the campers had a great time telling everyone how they had to be rescued!

That was probably my biggest adventure, but the rest of the week was still lots of fun. I watched some archers in bloom work on their archery awards. It is always nice when a newbie gets their first bullseye, they couldn't be more excited. We also had some kiddos overcome their fear of heights are ride the zipline, which it tons of fun! Unfortunately, I didn't get to ride it this year, but that's ok. I hope that are new campers return next year and bring some friends with them. We always need more campers!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Heading to Camp

After being sunburned, windblown, and just plain exhausted yesterday at the Music For Life Festival, I'm heading to camp to get sunburned, windblown, and have exhausting fun. I'll be back next Friday, just in time for my first Farmer's Market at the Margarita at Pine Creek. We'll be out there from 9-1 next Saturday.

Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Music For Life Festival-Lupus Fundraiser

Saturday, June 19th from 12-8 at America the Beautiful Park. There will be some great vendors and great music, so come out and join us for a good cause.

The weather is supposed to be gorgeous, so don't miss a great event!
Click for more information.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Keep 'Em Dry

As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer we start enjoying more outdoor activities. Some of these are great for you feet! Really, the best pedicure is a walk along a sandy beach. However, not all of our adventures do such favors for our feet. We spend more time on our feet and sometimes we have to loose the sandals and wear real shoes. Real shoes in warmer weather, for long periods of time. By the end of the day, regardless of how much fun you had, your feet are tired, achy, and probably enjoying some increased fungal activity.

To help prevent athlete's foot it is important to keep your feet clean and dry. One way to help keep them dry during the day in your tennis shoes, hiking boots, or really comfortable work shoes is to use a simple foot powder. If you are just looking for something to help absorb moisture, but you don't want to worry about fancy, make it yourself.

All you really need is baking soda and cornstarch. You can also add arrowroot powder to the mix if you some. Mix your powders together in a 1:1 ratio and put in some sort of container that lets you sprinkle the powder. I used an old powder bottle that I had. It works well, is talc-free, and very cheap to make. You can add essential oils such as tea tree or peppermint, but make sure you sift your ingredients to avoid clumping.

Remember to wash your feet well after a long day!

Photo by D Sharon Pruitt, used with permission from Flickr.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Adventures with Liquid Soap

I did say that despite my note taking, it would be tough for me to recreate my first batch of liquid soap. AND, I was right. I tell you what, getting right the first time is a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, you are so excited by your success that you can't wait to try again. On the other, when you try again and don't do as well it kind of makes me want to throw the bowl of goo. Well, there was no flinging of goo, but it was an interesting adventure.

I diluted my soap paste just like I did before and as before, it worked really well. I slowly heat the water and add the paste, but I don't let it get to a rolling boil, just a gentle bubbling. I found that I lose less of my water to evaporation and I can still see if I have undiluted paste. When I let it really get to boiling, there were too many bubbles to see what was happening, then I let it boil too much and had to add more water because it was goopy. So, gentle boil!

Last time I made the soap, I 3% crothix, but despite the instructions saying add it to my cool diluted soap, I could not get the crothix to do anything but hand out in a big glob. So, I heated my soap (very slowly) and stirred well. As soon as the glob was gone, I took it off the heat and let it cool. Well, I thought I'd be clever this time! I'd add the crothix while the soap was still warm (it really seems like a good idea if you think about it). What I didn't do, was remeasure how much soap I had because some had evaporated. What I got was just like the Gloop I've had my science students make. When you move fast, it acts like a solid, but if you go slow, its like a liquid! Simply amazing. Although, I'm sure nobody would enjoy "liquid" soap that will actually break into pieces, but I'm just guessing. I decided to sleep on it.

This morning I got up with a brilliant plan. I would dilute some more soap and mix that in with my Gloop soap. I did have to rewarm the Gloop-liquid mixture slightly to get it to mix, but it did mix. It has now cooled to a very nice consistency and I gave it a try. It really feels as nice as the previous batch. So, in a VERY round-about way, I got the same results. However, many lessons have been learned. First, don't try to skip steps. Second, always measure how much diluted soap you have left to calculate how much crothix you will need.

I've still noticed that the crothix is a challenge to mix in. Any suggestions?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Shea Butter

Shea butter is a rich, creamy, and leaves your skin ultra soft! I love shea and I use it A LOT in my products and just for myself. It has a texture that is similar to butter, but melts on contact with your skin. It also absorbs quickly, so your skin is soft, but not greasy. Shea butter is good for most skin types and safe for babies, although people with an allergy to latex should avoid shea.  These reasons are really good enough for me to keep a very healthy supply on hand, but there are other benefits. For example, shea butter can help soothe sunburns, soothe eczema and psoriasis, help heal damaged skin, and increase skin's elasticity. Really, I could on for a while, but I think that hits the high points.

Keeping all of these benefits in mind, its no wonder that shea butter is used in a variety of goodies for your skin. Look for shea butter in:
  • Lip balms
  • Belly butters
  • Body balms
  • Lotions
  • Shea whips
  • Hair conditioners
  • Bar soaps!
Can you believe just how versatile this vegetable butter is? One of the major bonuses is that it is produced using just water!  Honu Naturals, LLC  has several products containing shea butter and we get our shea butter from Fair Trade companies. Look for our Naked Shea Soap, Pedi-Cure Foot Balm, Vanilla Mint Lotion, and our Belly Butter. Try anyone of these and I promise, you won't be disappointed.

Is there anything else you'd like to see us offer with shea butter in it?

Monday, June 14, 2010

America the Beautiful Park

This Saturday (June 19th) I will be at America the Beautiful Park here is lovely Colorado Springs for the Music For Life-Lupus Fundraiser. We will be there from noon to 8 pm, so this is perfect for those that like to sleep late on Saturdays.
Come on out and enjoy some wonderful vendors, great entertainment, and what is supposed to be some lovely weather. Stop by our booth to enjoy the fresh, clean scent of handcrafted soaps!

 When? SATURDAY, JUNE 19TH, 2010

Photo courtesy of Marilyn Jardon.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Making Mineral Makeup

I am fascinated by the idea of making mineral makeup. I'm not really interested in doing it commercially, but I love learning new information. Plus, I like to support Indie businesses more than large corporations.While cruising around the wonderful web, I found a company that makes some marvelous looking products (which I'm itching to buy). Not only that, but the site also offers information and kits on how to make your own. How wonderful is that? I haven't been able to find much information, so I thought I'd share.

The company is called Monave and you can browse their fabulous selection, or check out the tutorials. I hope you have as much fun as I did!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Decluttering The Office

Well, my original idea for my blog today was done by another blog I follow today! How funny is that? So, instead of rewriting it, please read Are We Being Duped by Lisa M. Rodgers and I'll do something else!

What are these horrible messy pictures of you ask? Why, they are of my office! I'm not usually this messy, but school just let out and since I'm not returning, I had to bring all of my stuff home; plus we decided that the room that was my office would be a better nursery, so I recently moved my office. It has been like that for a few weeks and has been making me CRAZY! I mean, look at that desk! How does a person get any work done when you are constantly shifting piles to find what you need? I won't even mention how many times some of those piles fell on the floor. Plus, do you see the random tote in front of the closet? None of that stuff even belongs in an office. There is even a box and bag full of paper recycling! The one good thing I have going is, my closet is not stuffed full of crap I don't need. There are two file boxes and that's pretty much it.

So, my goal for yesterday was to go through boxes and piles and start moving stuff to the correct place. I worked from about 11 to 7! I did of course stop for breaks, meals, and snacks, but I worked HARD!
As you can clearly see, I didn't do too bad. Most of the boxes are gone (and no the did not get shoved in the closet!). I have a two that you can see still need to be sorted through, but they are out of the way. I have several empty notebooks that I'm going to give to some teacher friends (we keep them on hand for those that just can't afford it). I also have a project that is still on the floor, but I'm almost done and if I put it away I'll forget to do it. Also, notice my desk is pile free! Everything has been sorted into bins, folders, or put on the book shelves. I am much happier and don't feel as overwhelmed trying to get work done now.

Plus, here is the box of stuff I am sending to goodwill because it was just cluttering up my office. It's not even junk, I got rid of a purse I never use, a candle holder I never hung, a white board I don't need, and some other stuff that I need to let go of to declutter my life!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Liquid Soap!!!

I did it! I finally finished my first round of liquid soap. I made the paste and diluted some of it last week, but I didn't like the way it thickened with salt water. So, I decided to use crothix, which of course I didn't already have (see previous post about my ordering problem:). I placed my order along with my peppermint eo, some coconut oil, and citric acid with Brambleberry because I knew they had the crothix and I LOVE their peppermint.

I didn't realize how hard to was to mix the crothix in, but it made a goo in my soap. I persevered and got everything mixed in and let my soap sit. I love the thickness from my first try, which despite my notes will probably take me 5 times to recreate. I scented it with the sample of Matcha Tea fragrance oil that was included in my order (I love getting samples, which is why there are certain companies I keep going back to).

I was so excited to try it out that I showered before my walk this morning! I tried it as a shampoo first and it works well enough. My hair is clean, but I felt it was a little too drying or maybe my hair just felt too tangled. I used the same amount of conditioner, so obviously it wasn't a huge issue. I think it would work well with short hair. Then, I pour some of my little bath pouf and got to scrubbing. I am in love with this! It lathered nicely, although not excessively since there are no bubbling agents added, and it left my skin feeling soft and smooth. I even forgot to moisturize when I got out of the shower and my skin still feels nice. Not at all dry or tight. Although, I will admit, I had to go rub on some of the belly oil I'm playing around with right now. That skin always seems dry lately.

Now, I am moving onward with my liquid soap making. I'm going to start with some little sample bottles for the upcoming farmer's markets and craft shows. I can't wait to see what other people think!

I plan on making some scents that compliment my lotions, but I am looking for some new ideas. Does anyone have an essential oil scent or blend that they would just LOVE to see?

Sunday, June 6, 2010

One Ingredient

I ran out of peppermint essential oil before I got my new order in. Completely my fault, I should have ordered sooner. Something I didn't really notice before is how much missing one ingredient can mess all of my production plans up.

For example, I was going through and making all of my soaps. My last batch was my chocolate mint soap, which I couldn't make because I needed peppermint. "No worries," I thought, I'll move on and come back to that when my order arrives. I decided to check my lip balm inventory and take care of those needs. Or, so I thought, the ones I needed more of were chocolate mint, mocha mint, and basic mint. "Hmmm, well, I'll skip lip balms for now and move on to lotions." I made my lavender, grapefruit, and lemon, but got stuck at vanilla MINT! "Ahhhhh!" I couldn't even work on the Love My Flippers products because all of them contain peppermint!

Well, I have definitely learned my lesson. ORDER EARLY!!! I also learned to order the larger bottle of peppermint because I obviously use a lot of it.

See, the important thing is to turn every mistake into a learning opportunity!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Updating the Blog

Today I read a blog by Donna Maria of the Indie Business Blog. It is titled "10 Things That Make a Blog Stink," and if you are a blogger, you should check it out. Wow, that is really an attention getter!

First, I would like to point out that I changed the name! Instead of using my company name, I am now The Soap Nest! Cause turtles have nests, hahaha. Ok, I'm a nerd, but I just thought the name was the cutest.

I read her 10 tips to improve my blog and some of them I do, but sadly not as many as I'd hoped when first reading the title. So, my goal for today was to sit down and make some improvements. I think I did quite well. I have added a search tool, a link to the blogs that I like, some pictures of me, and an easy way to subscribe. I already had some variety, I like to other blogs, and I have made it personal, so there are 3 things I was doing right. Some other things I need to start doing is adding pictures and video and I need to get my readers involved! I was planning on a poll to come very soon, so I'll step that up and hopefully have it within the next week or so. (That's a picture of our foster mama, she finally sat still)

I also have my favorite graphic designer playing around with my blog. So, I have a new background, my fonts are not different colors, and the template with all those little arrows should be gone soon!

What do you think? Do you like the new name? Is there anything I'm missing in my sidebar or did I overdo it?

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Feeling Good

These past few weeks have been more than a little stressful and yesterday was just not good for my ego, but I woke up today feeling much better. I really don't know why, but I do feel good. I think I look better than I did yesterday too, but maybe that just goes along with attitude.

It makes me wonder what the difference is. Why do I feel so much better than I did yesterday? Well, I don't know for sure. I think part of it is that I'm officially done with the school that replace me (killer on the ego), I turned in all of my paperwork, keys, and computer. So, for better or worse, I'm moving on from there. However, I don't think that's all of it.

Here are some other differences that really got my attention:
  1. Water-I slacked the past few days and didn't get enough. Last night I realized just how thirsty I felt and start guzzling. I started again when I woke up. I know this isn't the miracle cure, but I do know it helps and it doesn't take long to rehydrate.
  2. Exercise-Slacking here (again), but I woke up this morning and took my dog on a walk around the neighborhood. It really is a challenge, there are some serious hills in this area. It was a great way to start the day, I felt refreshed and ready to go.
  3. Sun-I was working hard on the computer yesterday and making lots of depressing phone calls, so I was inside all day, I didn't even realize how long I'd been working until it was suddenly not as bright in the office. This morning I started off with my walk in the early morning sunshine and then I ate my breakfast on the back porch in the sun. It just felt good!
  4. Attitude-I've heard that how we feel is 90% attitude (I've also heard that 56% of all statistics are made up on the spot :) and I think this is true. I went to bed feeling better about things than I have and I woke up still feeling that. Yes, things are tough and they are going to be tough, but everything will work out. Somehow. I guess all I had to do was flip my thinking!
I hope that you feel better today too. Just remember its the little things that make the difference.