Monday, June 7, 2010

I've entered a writing contest... you can help me win!

I entered WAHumor’s Guest Post With the Most guest blogging contest this week and I need comments and tweets on my post in order to win.

My article is called “Social Media Marketing Is A Bit Like Being A Superhero, But Without The Tights!” It’s a humerous look at some of the qualities superheroes can teach those of us working from home.

If you aren’t sure how to leave a comment on a blog post, I’ve actually written an article explaining exactly how to do it… click here to learn how.

Then head over to my WAHumor blog contest entry by clicking here and leave me a comment. You will have my heartfelt thanks and gratitude… and, after a short time… a reply… because I always respond to my commenters!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hello World... I'm still here!

It has been one very weird week... one that left me feeling a little... well... invisible!  I have had more miscommunication this week than I can ever remember having in such a short period of time.  Today was the icing on the cake...

I work from home most days.  Which means sometimes I'm so eager to get to work that I forget the little morning routines like starting the coffee, brushing my hair, or getting out of my pajamas.  It's no big deal, no one sees me except the kids and they're just secretly jealous that they don't get to wear pajamas all day.  On these days, I dive headfirst into work and barely ever come up for air.  I get tons accomplished and then around 3pm a little voice speaks to me... it's the voice of one of my kids getting home from school.  Oh no... is it really afternoon already?!?!

At this point my stomach starts to growl and my head starts to hurt and I begin to realize that not only am I deprived of my normal caffeine reserves, but I also haven't bothered to digest even the smallest scrap of food all day.  At this point, I must confess, I become a little crazy.  I need food and I need it now!  Of course, these are also the days when I can't find anything to eat in the house... except maybe the odd can of mystery food that lost it's label sometime back in 2005... but I'm not feeling quite that brave yet and besides... I have a car!!  So, ignoring my unkempt hair and oh-so-out-of-style pajamas (usually yoga pants and a tank top), I throw on a hoodie, flip flops and my largest sunglasses and head out the door... hoping no one sees me as I speed to the nearest drive-thru.

Today was one of those days, and I hit the Popeye's drive through like a madwoman on a mission.  My first horror was that the little drive through display only lists some of their choices in a diabolical scheme to allow more room for ugly photos of various combos of fried poultry.  After a quick scan, I was relieved to find something I wanted to eat on the menu and ordered, "a 3-piece chicken strip box (mild) with honey mustard sauce, a diet coke with no ice and a sweet potato pie". 

You see, I didn't want too much chicken because then I wouldn't want dinner until 2am and that cuts into my sleeping time.... so 3 pieces sounded good.  Unlike some people, I don't always like to test how many hot & spicy foods I can cram into my mouth at once... thus the mild flavor and the honey mustard sauce.  Diet Coke... what can I say... I'm addicted and I need caffeine.  As for the pie... well... I love sweet potato pie and although the fast food version is a pale imitation of a southern classic and I normally hate fast food pies, especially apple... I'm just hungry and it sounds good. 

I got to the window, quickly paid for my food and did the quick scan of the bag before driving off... chicken, check... sauce, check... drink, check... pie, check.  I quickly drive home, ducking my head and hoping to get in the house without my brand new neighbors catching sight of my pajama-clad self.... as I'm beginning to think the hoodie might not cover all the horrors underneath.  I mange this feat with flying colors and get safely back to my room with no one the wiser and begin unpacking the bag.  What I have... is a 5-piece chicken strip meal (spicy & with fries), spicy hot mustard, a regular Coke with ice and... yuck... an apple pie! 

Now fortunately for the Popeye's people... I'm just too damn smart to think I can pull off yet another incognito drive-thru run in the same day, so instead of going back and yelling my head off, I sit and eat parts of my crummy meal and feed the rest to the kids.  Turns out they are even better than dogs for getting rid of foods you don't like or want... and they don't usually slobber when they eat.  But for the rest of the evening it confuses me... why did they bother asking what I wanted if they were just going to give me whatever the hell they felt like putting in the bag?!?!  Did they even hear me order, or am I invisible?!?!

I decided trying to come up with an answer was futile and then decided to focus on updating my social media sites instead.  I popped on the computer and... every single one of my sites forgot me.  Now, I'm used to this happening if I delete my cookies or update something... but I hadn't done any of those things and they all forgot me.  So, I signed on to every one of them... being sure to check the little "Remember me" box... which I am now convinced is only for decoration.  Then I got offline to get some other work done and when I went back online... they all forgot me again!!!  How can I not take this personally?!?!  First Popeye's and now all my social media sites... am I still here... can you all hear me?!?!

So here I sat... poor little me... feeling all invisible and then the most amazing thing happened!  My phone buzzed... someone still knew I existed... although I crossed my fingers hoping to whatever God would listen that it wasn't just a telemarketer!  Turns out it was a text from my boyfriend telling me he loves me and misses me... and just like that, all is right with the world again.  I'm still here!!!! :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

On Realtionships...

I was at the book store the other day and found myself walking through an aisle of relationship books.  I was amazed at how many of them there were!  Are relationships really that hard for people?!?!  I tend to think people overcomplicate the issue so much that even the most basic relationship becomes impossible.  How are you supposed to connect to another person while trying to remember all the expert "rules"?  It's exhausting to think about, much less implement!!!

So here's my advice... forget all of it!!!  That's right, foget every little piece of advice you've read before.  It turns out relationships are simple!  People gravitate towards people that make them feel good... those that make them happy.  They tend to avoid those who make them feel bad or unhappy.  That's it... relationships in a nutshell.

Here's an example...  Your husband goes for a night out with the guys.  They laugh, drink beer, belch and scratch themselves a lot... male bliss.  He comes home eager to tell you about his wonderful time and you start nagging.  He's 30 minutes late, he forgot to take out the trash before he left, the kids gave you a hard time and he wasn't there to back you up, he spent to much, he smells like beer, etc.  You slink off silently to your respective sides of the bed and go to sleep, both in a bad mood.  The next time he goes out with the guys, he will probably be an hour late and already in a bad moos before he returns home... and thus begins a vicious cycle.

Now envision this... Your husband goes for a night out with the guys. They laugh, drink beer, belch and scratch themselves a lot... male bliss.  You notice he's running late, so you decide to use the time to throw on a fabulous lacy nightgown, light a few candles, listen to some great mood music and read a book while you wait.  He arrives home eager to tell you about his wonderful time and immediately forgets what he wanted to say upon seeing you in all your fabulous laciness.  You have wonderful sex, followed by patiently listening to his stories of the farting contests from earlier that night.  Kiss goodnight and fall asleep in eachother's arms.  The next time he goes out with the guys, he's likely to show up a half hour early... perhaps with flowers for you.

In short, if you are in a relationship that's struggling, don't head to the book store to spend hours reading to figure out why (you can always do that later if you're curious).  Instead, spend a few minutes figureing out a way to make that person happy... then do it again, and again, and again, and... well, you get the idea.  You will find your relationship improve immensely and then you will have all the time in the world to figure out what went wrong to begin with.  Chances are at the end of all your research you will likely discover it was just that you forgot to make each other happy.

See how simple it is!  If you want someone to make you happy and be more attentive, all you have to do is be one of the people that makes them happy.  They will naturally gravitate towards you, try to make you happy and pay more attention to you because deep down that's what we all want... to be happy! 

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Bath Bomb Update - oops!!!

 I've been putting off writing my update on my bath bomb creation and testing for today because I'm a little embarrassed.  My bath bomb creation is still going very well, but I am embarrased to say that I slacked a bit in the testing.  I was supposed to test the last batch before bed last night, but instead fell asleep while reading about perfume formula creation online.  The lights were on, the tv blaring, and I was surrounded by my notes, but still managed to doze off into oblivion for the entire night!  I woke up early this morning scolding my self.  I mean, it isn't as if taking a glorious relaxing bath at the end of the day is a challenge right?!?!  Of all the parts of this I anticipated trouble with... testing my bombs in the tub was the least of my worries!  So, batch #3 will have to wait until this evening for testing.  You see, in order to properly test the scent concentration, I must also shower every morning to remove any lingering scent (from both me and the bathtub) from the previous night.  That's right folks... I shower every morning now and bathe every night... I am probably the cleanest person on the planet at the moment... lol!  I am a little concerned about the enormous amount of water I am using, but that can't be helped during the creation phase of this so I will just have to find other ways to conserve and be kind to the planet.

Ok... I feel better having admitted my laziness and am off to remedy the situation by working extra hard today.  I'll let you know how batch #3 does in the tub test tomorrow. :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bath bombs - 3rd attempt! My room smells lovely!

I have just finished my 3rd attempt at creating the perfect bath bomb and I feel perfection within my grasp.  The tub test on batch 2 last night went well, except for the glitter... yikes!!!  I got into the lightly green tinted tub with the subtle scent of lavender hanging in the air.  I felt the oil and salts nourishing and softeneing my skin, and then I looked down and realized I was sparkling in the candlelight!  The good news is that the scent was not too stong, the tub had no "ring" or stain, and the bomb took it's time to fizz (even though it was not thoroughly dried yet).  The bad news was fully discovered when I drove my daughter to school in the sunlight this morning and heard her exclaim, "OMG Mom!  You look like a Smurf vampire!!!"  You see, I used a blue glitter in the bombs and it was all over my skin... even my face, although I never touched my face with the bath water.  When I got home from school drop off I took a shower and all the glitter washed down the drain without incident, but people should not have to shower after a luxurious bath!

Enter batch number 3... this morning I made a few minor adjustments and an essential oil blend that I've used for years.  I dialed down the glitter content significantly... no more blue Smurf vampire for me. :)  I fixed the moisture problem I had last night (which affects the molding process, not the finished bomb) and I think I've gotten it right this time.  I tried a powdered colorant this time and I'm not crazy about the lack of color, but that is easily changed back to the liquid variety for the next batch.  The molded bombs are holding up very well as they dry and I am enjoying the glorious scent coming off them.  I can't wait for product testing time (aka bath time) tonight.  I may have to partner with a candle making company at some point... all this product testing is eating away at my stash of bathroom candles very quickly.  Thank goodness I have rechargable batteries for the waterproof iPod speaker!  I'll have to pop over to iTunes and download some new bath tunes so I don't get bored with the same music all the time.  Well, off to get some much needed stuff done around the house.  I will let you know how my test turn out tomorrow.

Is anyone else getting anxious to try one of these beautiful bombs anytime soon?!?!

Bath bombs - 2nd attempt

After a lot of research, a lot of tinkering, and a lot of patience... and a little shopping of course... I think I have created a bath bomb much closer to what I am looking for.  I used mostly organic ingredients and pure essential oils this time... lavender by itself for experimenting, since I know I can handle an overwhelming amout of the scent if I happen to get it wrong. 

I spent the day scouring websites full of bath bomb recipes, scientific properties of the various chemicals involved and sites that discussed the reactions of these chemicals in different proportions.  I read through over a thousand comment on blogs of other people who have tried to make bath bombs and learned what I could from their experiences.  I then transfered all of these notes onto my Nook and made use of my waiting time while my daughter Jordan got her haircut to come up with what I deemed to be the best ingredients, a formula, and a procedure.  I then hurried to the store (while everything was fresh in my mind) and bought all the ingredients to make my bath bombs.

Tonight I created the first batch (ok... so I scaled down the recipe to make only 2) of Becky's Bath Bombs.  They turned out great so far.  I did use a bit too much water and the wetter mixture is creating a flat spot on the bombs as they dry, but that is easliy remedied and shouldn't affect their usage.  Now they should wait 24-hours (minimum) to dry and harden before using, but of course I'm an impatient inventor and must see how my creation holds up the tub test, so I am using one tonight,  Of course, the bomb will break apart quicker since it is not dry, but I should be able to determine tub tint color, fragrance levels, skin softening abilities and glitter levels (yep... I added glitter right off the bat) with one tonight.  I will save the other for a few days to see how they perform once hardened.

Tomorrow I will try again, this time focusing on my notes from tonight's bath.  I will let you all know how things turn out.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Not a bomb... more like a fizzle... back to the lab I go!

My first attempt at making bath bombs from a kit was a less than stellar experience.  The mixture is a pain to work with and the consistency must be absolutely perfect to get the darn things to mold properly.  Once they have been molded they are about as sturdy as a handful of sand and must be specially treated on all sides before handling them... which is hard to do without handling them!  The mixture smelled horrid, despite the sugar cookie fragrance oil that came with the kit, and got everywhere.  Lesson learned... make these in the kitchen next time!!! 

My first test of the bombs was not one of my more pleasurable bath experiences.  Once I finally got them created properly, I used one in the tub.  The bomb fizzled and dissolved before you could acutally say the words "bath bomb", leaving my bath completely underscented and a strange swirling spill of blue coloring glided across the surface of the water and sticking to the sides of my tub.  I was a little afraid to get in... thinking I might come out looking like a blotchy smurf, but after testing on a finger for a couple minutes without it turning blue, I ventured into the tub.  The bath bomb released something into the sir that made me cough throughout my bath even though I have no issues with scent.  As for the scent... I didn't even realize there was one.  While Lush bombs completely scent the room and leave a soft lingering scent on your skin, these bombs didn't even manage to scent the water.  When I got out of the tub, my skin was no softer than it was before I got into the tub and in fact felt powdery and perhaps even more dry, despite having soaked in a tub of water for over an hour.

Obviously this will never do!!!  I simply could not subject others to this completely inferior bath experience.  So... it's back to the lab... or in my case, the kitchen.  Armed with loads of research... scientific guides on the properties of the basic ingredients and what happens when they combine in certain amounts, many suggestions from other bath bomb creators, my own essential oil blends, and a host of other documents to keep me busy for hours... I will begin the difficult tinkering progress this afternoon.  A quick trip to the local store should provide all the necessary ingredients.  This is a puzzle I now feel compelled to solve.

I will not be releasing anything to anyone until I have created a bath experience as luxurious as the Lush experience.  This may take a lot more testing and experimenting than I originally thought.  Simply looking like a Lush bomb is obviously not enough.  I demand a perfect bath experience that sends the bather into another world of stress-free relaxation and inspiration.  Nothing less will suffice. 

Now... off to create...