• Tina

Bad habits are hard to break. When trying to break a bad habit, it is difficult to maintain ones focus and momentum. I am now ten days into my thirty-day skin care challenge. I will honestly report that I have slipped twice. The night we were without water, I failed to wash my face and moisturize before going to bed. Heating water on the stove for the sake of vanity and hygiene just seemed like too much effort. As I write this blog, I am sitting here with yesterday’s make up still smudged on my eye lids. I am embarrassed to admit, I stayed up to watch the presidential debate foregoing common sense, a good night’s sleep, and good skin care practices. The Bibbed Wonder compares politics to the WWF’s professional wrestling antics and I must admit, he is not off mark. I was waiting for someone to get slammed over the head with a metal fold-up chair or a full body aerial attack but they refrained…barely.

However, back to my skin care challenge. I am pleasantly surprised by the results of a skincare routine thus far. I have been washing morning and night with my rose clay facial bar. I have also been moisturizing morning and night with my facial moisturizer. I too have been using the rose clay mask once a week…tonight will be my second weekly attempt. With the use of these three products, I have noticed an improvement in the texture of my skin. My face is much softer, feels smooth, and appears a bit brighter. I am also noticing a reduction in pore size. As for fine lines, perhaps just a bit of an improvement around my eyes. I feel like when I wear a mask, my lines and wrinkles are accentuated. Overall, I report positive subtle changes in the appearance of my skin as well as, noticeable changes in the feeling and texture of my skin.

Only twenty more days to go! I am hoping by the end of the thirty days washing and moisturizing before bed becomes second nature. However, realistically it will be like eating cookies. I swear off all sugar and cookies for months and then fall off the proverbial wagon and devour half a dozen Keebler Fudge Stripes in a day. The Bibbed Wonder claims I am merely offering job security to the Keebler elves. Sometimes, his humorous attempts secretly make me giggle but I staunchly give him the stink eye and a time out for good measure. If I were to give that man an inch with wise cracks and humor, he would indeed take a mile. However, know dear reader his humor is not wasted on me.

As for a weekly segment on our YouTube channel, I have not mustered the nerve to wash my face, use the mask, or appear in front of anyone other than The Bibbed Wonder and The Bean without make-up. Not only am I not impressed with my appearance on camera, I too hate the sound of my own voice. It is somewhere between Roseann, Snow White, and a hamster. I definitely was not gifted with a deep, smoky, sensual voice. The Bibbed Wonder often tells me I am cute when I am angry…which only infuriates me more. This is usually because my voice reaches a child like pitch that gives the original Snow White serious competition. Alas, Angie Harmon I am not. I am working on my stage fright but it may take a bit.

If you too are giving yourself a thirty-day skin care challenge, I would love to hear about your results. I plan to do weekly updates and hopefully, appear live at some point. As always dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, take good care of your skin because you won’t get another one, and of course, wash your hands.

To the Moon and Back is the focus of our Tuesday Spotlight. To the Moon and Back is Jordan’s creation. We have had a bedtime routine ever since she was an infant of snack, bath, story and lights out. I’ve always believed routine creates a feeling of security and comfort and we rarely depart from our routine. Part of our routine is saying good night. One of the phrases we say to one another is, “I love you to the moon and back a hundred, million, trillion, gazillion times!” All the while smothering her in kisses.

This routine and practice were the inspiration for her soap creation. She wanted to create a soap and moisturizer that included everything to make one relax and sleepy. After several blending combinations, she was finally satisfied with her unique blend of lavender, cedarwood, ylang ylang, and frankincense. Being the fun creative kid that she is, she wanted this soap to not only smell amazing and relaxing, she wanted it to look like something that made one think of bedtime. We agreed on a design, she chose the color combination of “night time blue” because black is too dark and scary and a lot of kids are afraid of the dark…she is such a thinker. We then began the three-day process of making her unique and creative soap.

On day one, we grate bars of yellow soap that we create any time we have extra batter without any scent. These shavings give her moon texture and depth. We then create a small batch of white soap, add the yellow shavings and pour into a two-inch pipe to set over night. On day two, we unmold the moons, cut to the length of our five-inch loaf molds, and allow them to dry and cure for twenty-four hours. The third day, we mix up the batter for the sky, add our essential oils, and blue mica and pour into our loaf molds. We fill the mold three quarters of the way, add the moon embed, pour more blue batter on top, add texture and mica to the top for shimmer and wait another twenty-four hours to unmold, cut, stamp and rack the fresh new soap. It is a bit labor intensive but the results are worth the effort.

Once the soap cures for four to six weeks, we box it and it is ready to be enjoyed. I hope you have enjoyed this peek into our creative and making process. As with many of our soaps, this one is created from love and personal inspiration. If you are looking for a new relaxing scent to try, I suggest To the Moon and Back. Not only does it relax you, it is great for your skin. As always, the Tuesday Spotlight is on special this week. You may enjoy a 50% discount on our website and at the Ligonier Market this Saturday. Also, this Saturday will be the last outdoor market for the season in Ligonier. If you haven’t been there yet, I strongly recommend it. Go with an appetite and enjoy a wide variety of artists, artisans, and producers. It is definitely worth going to. One more note, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the indoor Christmas Market has been rescheduled for an outdoor market on the market grounds for Saturday, October 17th from noon until four. It is a wonderful opportunity to pick up unique, handmade gifts and support local small business.

As always, stay safe, stay smart, enjoy a bedtime routine, and of course wash your hands.

  • Tina

Every experience is a lesson from which we can glean knowledge. Some days, this experience is positive and we enjoy or lesson. Other days, we feel as though it is an experience we could happily do without. I am not a believer in coincidence. I strongly believe that every interaction, every experience happens for a purpose. Sometimes, that purpose is unclear and may not become clear until we have traveled much further on our path. This weekend, I believe my lesson happened with intent.

My bean is OBSESSED with the make-up artist, James Charles. She adores this colorful, positive, and talented young artist. Not only for his very obvious skill and artistry but for his positivity and kindness as well. Every day we listen to multiple stories of James Charles. James Charles has “merch,” which is the cool kid term for merchandise. I am new to the world of internet sensations and cool kid terms. I have taken the time to view his videos…are they still called videos? I have also taken the time to research him. I am one of those parents…I don’t want her exposed to anyone or anything that is not positive. Everything I have found and read about him is kid friendly, clean content, and positive. I must admit, the world wide web makes this mama nervous. All I have heard from my bean for weeks is how she wants a James Charles sweatshirt, a James Charles pallet, and James Charles merch.

You may remember my commitment to being ahead of the game for Christmas and birthdays this year. I happily report my Christmas shopping is done, except for a few small items…don’t hate me. I stayed up very late one night and checked off my list item by item. Of course, one of those items was a James Charles sweatshirt. I went to the site The Bean visits repeatedly, looked at the page, added to my cart and checked out. I was happy I was able to get the coveted “merch” she has been dreaming about. I never gave it a second thought. The “merch arrived a few days later. I was impressed with the quick shipping. However, when I opened it, I was less than impressed. The sweatshirt was a cheap Gildan brand sweatshirt one could purchase from a discount store, the graphics were less than professional quality, and it arrived in a plastic shipping bag. Not the impressive boxing and display I was told about repeatedly. I began to question the authenticity of my purchase.

The second sweatshirt arrived on Saturday and Jordan walked in when I was opening the plastic bag it in which it arrived. I squealed, “Ahhh, get out!” However, I knew it was too late, she had already seen her potential gift. I decided to give her “the merch” on the spot because she has been doing such a bang-up job with cyber school thus far. She was over the moon. My heart was happy, she was happy and all was well for the moment. She wore the sweatshirt immediately and even slept in it. I thought, money well spent for the happiness of my bean.

However, the next day she began to question the authenticity of the prized merch. She asked to see the box it arrived in because James Charles includes a note with each of his purchases…classy…insert winky face. He also has a signature black box in which he mails his merch. None of this was part of my purchase. The icing on the cake, the deal breaker, the smack your forehead and say f-word a duck moment was when my eleven-year-old asked how to spell sisters. Mind you, I am a former English teacher. My proof-reading skills are a bit rusty but this was blatantly obvious. James Charles’ logo is Sisters. The repeat logo on the back of the sweatshirt was spelled correctly. The smaller font logo on the front read, “Sisiters.” Seriously? F-word a duck indeed! I have been ripped off.

The Bean and I began our investigation. I initially blamed the innocent James Charles for faulty “merch.” However, when The Bean and I went to the James Charles website, I soon discovered it was not the website I had gone to. I went to the emails I received from the fraudulent site. The authentic site is The site I purchased from was One tiny, lower case letter off. The pictures are of James Charles, the merchandise looks authentic, the site appears professional but it is all a fraud. I am out more money than I would ever spend on two sweatshirts for my eleven-year-old, I am embarrassed I made such a sloppy mistake, and I am angry for several reasons. First, these thieves are taking advantage of consumers. Secondly, this talented young man’s good name is being exploited. Lastly, and most importantly, my child is disappointed and has learned a rough lesson about greed and human nature. It pained me to have her declare indignantly, “People suck!” After admonishing the use of the word suck, we discussed the event and the lesson we can take from this.

The lessons learned are we must be very careful with online information. This reinforced that not everything on the internet is as it appears, information is not always truthful, and one must work diligently to fact check all sources. Also, not every retailer has the best interest of the customers at heart. There are indeed individuals who will go to great lengths to deceive consumers, make false claims, and mislead the consumers to make a buck. She also learned that no crime is victimless. Yes, we were taken advantage of and lost money on fraudulent products. However, James Charles is also a victim because these individuals have stolen his image, his reputation, and his ideas to make a profit. Lesson learned.

I have emailed said website and am in compliance with their return policies for one sweatshirt. Obviously, the sweatshirt she wore and slept in is not returnable. It will make a good barn shirt…an expensive barn shirt but a barn shirt nonetheless. However, I do not expect to receive a response, let alone an RMA. I am fully prepared to accept my losses and move forward. I genuinely believe The Bean walking in on my opening of the package was not a coincidence. It is better to have a disappointed Bean now rather than on her birthday or Christmas. I am hoping the James Charles merchandise is back in stock before either holiday. That would be a lovely surprise for a deserving little bean.

This experience has only solidified my commitment to be as transparent as possible in my own business practices, keep customer service and satisfaction at the forefront of my small company, and only offer the very best products I can create without taking any short cuts. I have always had the attitude that there are enough “less than desirable” products out there at one’s fingertips. It has always been my goal to offer individuals high quality options with a unique and beautiful appearance. For those of you who support me and my philosophy, thank you. You have my word I will do my best to create only the very best to make you happy. Knowledge is power, the universe shares with us the lessons we need and often, they come as not so subtle reminders as to what path we need to follow.

As always dear reader, stay safe, stay smart, take your lessons as they come, and of course wash your hands.

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