I'm one of those people. Quit your day job and make money on Etsy!! Well, not really, I had kids and a husband in the military and we moved around to random places. I had to give up my corporate-america job and I needed an income. I slogged away and made mistakes and learned and got better and found my niche. I made a decent living.
The past year has been a slow and steady decline. It seems to be the case for most sellers I know. You would think I'm upset, but really, it's alright. I actually can't do woodworking anymore, which was the meat of my Etsy sales (like 99% of my online sales). I want to focus on local customers and local sales. I want that connection - not the customers wanting the Amazon speed and China prices, but with master-craft handmade quality. I really just want to make teas and other herbal items.
Soooooooooooooooo..... is Etsy dead? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Do you ever shop there? Have you even heard of it? Have you shopped less in the past year than in the past? Should I just close it up and say the past 8 years have been fun?
Do you believe in balance? That the universe will impose it's even keel? When there are ups, some downs must follow? Yin and Yang? As a young adult, I always thought about the balance in this way: We wouldn't really recognize beauty if we haven't seen the opposite (in all areas of life). I'm not sure what I believe anymore, but yesterday has me thinking.
The Augusta Market has started back up (Saturdays, 8 to 2, at 8th and Reynolds), and yesterday was such a marvelous day. Almost too marvelous.
After we left the market, the kids and I went to visit my parents. There is a dog living a few houses down that I've only see from afar. Yesterday, the dog came for a visit. What a sweet giant fluffy pup. He wants love an affection, and someone to play with him. He also desperately needs help. I have never seen a dog this badly in need of a groomer. The mats are damn near criminal.... layers and layers and layers of mats and matted feces. What do I do? Just take him and get him help? Approach the people in the super sketchy house, who are feeding him and letting him sleep on their front porch, and ask them if I can help what I think is their dog? Call the ASPCA? I can't just leave it alone. This dog needs help and he's a peach.
My mom was making a lovely veggie soup for dinner, but the crockpot was not cooperating. Instead they opted for a dinner at the tavern/pub down the street. As I pull in and park, I notice the guy next to me shotgunning beers.... in his truck... with a whole lot of empties in the front seat. What the hell? Really? The guy goes in and orders more drinks, but goes back out from time to time (I can only assume to drink more in his truck). What do you do? Tell his waitress? Ask them to take his keys or cut him off? Take a picture of his plates and call the County Sheriff? I feel a bit ashamed that I did nothing and decided to mind my own business, especially when I was driving home with my kids, back past the same tavern, hours later... and I'm wondering if that guy is out on the roads... drinking more in his truck. I'm an asshole for doing nothing.
To help make up for my shame, we make it back home with seconds to spare for Earth Hour. I'm hoping that spending an hour in the dark with everything turned off will help heal my karma for doing nothing about the drunk in the truck. The kids and I, at the end of the day, were home safe and playing cards in the candlelight, and the market was so awesome, but... there's a drunk driving around Aiken County in a silver Chevy (maybe you'll see him at the Back Porch sometime ... he's one that turns deep dark beet red when he's drunk) ... and that poor dog still needs help. I guess I know I can't help the drunk, not really help him), but maybe I can help the dog.
Things are always tight at Christmas, but all was well (barely) in budget-land until yesterday.
Our 3-year-old-top-of-the-line-$2000 LG refrigerator died. Like soupy ice cream and 62 degree lettuce - DIED.
I took it apart (I'm actually pretty good with appliance repair and troubleshooting - I'm great with washing machines) to check for ice on the coils (behind the back panel in the freezer compartment) and make sure the fans are good to go. Check. I took off the back and cleaned everything. The compressor is running constantly, so it's not a temp sensor, switch, or relay. It's the compressor.
I've read that it's a pretty common issue with the Linear Compressors on the LG's. They die every 3 or 4 years. The compressor has a 10 year warranty (yeah), but only for the parts - labor will run about $400. Merry F-ing Christmas.
The only good thing? We have a giant freezer in the garage and the we don't eat meat or dairy, so having a warm-ish fridge is not the end of the world... but it still sucks.
Thanks LG. I've always wanted a dead fridge for Christmas... that doubles as an over priced lemon.
The struggle is real.
I know I am in control of my feelings and my mood. It's mind over matter and how I choose to look at the world and the situations I find myself. It's totally my choice.... but I'm struggling. Anyone else?
For some, it's the weather, or seasonal affective disorder, or maybe it's the energy vampires... For me, it's definitely the vampires. They suck. Literally.
Being around people who are all doom and gloom and angry and act like the world is coming to an end. It's hard to be around and try to find a bit of my own personal sunshine. I want to fix it... fix their mood... but quickly realize there is absolutely nothing I can do because, just like me, it was their choice.
So, as Christmas approaches, and I'm trying my best to keep this shit merry and bright, but it's hard.
What's getting you down this holiday season? How do you fight off the energy vampires?
My kitchen qualifies as a crisis for many reasons (most notably the lack of cabinets and flooring - it's what I call the 'slow remodel process.' I'll have it all fixed up in a year or two), but right now, it's all about the dish soap.
I spent my entire day talking to people about the power of natural foods and natural bath and beauty products and teas and herbs... and I come home to the freakin' Palmolive. I preach to people about "what you put on and in your body matters," yet I have a vat of green goo next to my kitchen sink. It makes me feel a bit icky.
To be fair to myself, I didn't buy the stuff, but it's here and I come face to face with it more than I like (we're a big family and we don't eat processed foods, so I cook.... a lot). As I'm soaking the kombucha bottles tonight, I find myself looking at the jug - and I mean really looking at it.
Why on earth do I need Ultra Strength dish detergent? One that's tough on grease? We don't eat meat or dairy, so unless we have some serious avocado grease going on or someone got out of hand with the coconut oil... I just don't see why we would need this product.
And I find myself wondering... who needs Ultra Strength detergent? What the hell are they cooking? I'm trying to imagine that dinner table and it's making me uncomfortable. I know, I'll distract myself by looking up the ingredients... it's "soft on hands," right? It doesn't make me feel better. I shouldn't be immersing my hands in this crap 5 times a day or slathering it on our dishes, or inhaling the fragrance that continually makes me sneeze...
So it looks like the "slow remodel process" will include a cleaning product makeover as well. The green goo has got to go.... oh, and if you think you really need Ultra Strength detergent that's tough on grease, please re-evaluate what you're serving up from your kitchen.
My Cold and Flu tea is so soothing and perfect for those times you're feeling under the weather, but isn't it better to prevent the cold or flu in the first place? We try to keep a healthy lifestyle to prevent illnesses and part of that lifestyle is fermenting foods and beverages.
Yes, we are one of those families. We ferment things. Why? It's good for our bodies and it tastes good too. We rarely get sick or come down with the sniffles, but when we do, it's nice to have a jar of this nearby.
Fermented Fire Tonic
At the first sign of cold or illness... take a shot. Then take another and in a bit, take another, and the next morning, take one more just to be sure.
The sheer heat of it kills... and the beneficial bacteria and by-products boost your body and help keep the bad bacteria, parasites, and viruses at bay.
What is it exactly? It's fire cider, but minus the apple cider vinegar. We ferment the goodies and it makes it's own type of cider. It's traditional fire cider, but just so much better.
In a half gallon glass jar, cut up and cram it full of the following:
Hot Peppers - we used Scotch Bonnet and Habaneros from the garden.
Fill the jar with filtered water, put on the lid, set it on the counter (in a shallow pan), and let it sit for the next 6 weeks. The jar will bubble - a whole lot the first few weeks - so the pan is necessary to catch anything that bubbles over. Loosen the lid as needed - at least once a day the first few weeks and let out the pressure.
The Fermented Fire lives on the counter until it's gone and then we'll make another batch and another. And, yes, it's HOT, but really, it's not as hot as you would think.
The air is more dry, the wind has picked up, it rained just enough to stir things up... My sinuses are aching and the brain fog descends.
I mixed up a jar of Allergy Tea. Rooibos, Nettle, Peppermint, and Lemon Balm.
Rooibos, also called Red Bush Tea, comes from South Africa. It is naturally caffeine-free and contains two bioflavonoids called rutin and quercetin. Both of these compounds block the release of histamine (the chemical our bodies produce in response to allergens.) Rooibos may also have benefits for skin irritations.
Peppermint acts as a decongestant, possible anti-inflammatory and has mild antibacterial properties.
Nettles seem to be the very best and most often recommended remedy for seasonal allergies. Drinking tea or eating the nettles are both beneficial. You might have less than fond memories of stinging nettles from your childhood. These are the same nettles, but they turn from irritant to healer when boiled into tea. Boiling fresh nettles will remove the stinging properties, while taking them in capsule, fresh, or dried form can help relieve itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, and runny nose.
Lemon balm belongs to the mint family, but has a lemony scent, hence it’s name. It’s calming and it can help with headaches, the common cold, and other respiratory issues.
The fog is lifting and I'm feeling better. I'll hopefully have this blend available in the shop later this week!
Not only do I have a slight Depeche Mode obession (thank you late 80's/early 90's of my youth), but I really and truly do have an obsession with all things silent and serene.
I want this. I need this.
A float pod with light therapy, the feeling of being weightless... set this in a warm, sound proof room and I am sold. A home model will set me back nearly $17,000... I'm afraid to ask about the cost of a commercial model for my someday-dream-herb-shop-and-wellness-clinic, but someday...
In the meantime, I'm calculating how much salt I need to add to my bathtub to achieve optimal floating and I'll turn off the lights, light a candle, shove in some ear plugs, and pretend I can't hear the kids fighting outside the bathroom door.
It's not a magic pill, or an incantation, but it is just like magic.
I finally got my hands on some organic arnica a few weeks ago and I steeped the flowers in extra virgin olive oil for a week. I rubbed a little oil on my hands... the same hands that have nerve damage and give me such grief when I cut and sand and paint... instant and perfect relief.
Don't worry, I'm not keeping it all to myself. I'll be bottling more and get the roller bottles of arnica oil in the SHOP later this week! Topically, arnica is amazing for wound healing and it's a pain reliever/analgesic as well.
I started day 1 a bit of green juice (love my Omega juicer - it cold presses (well, grinds) just about anything). I sipped my apple, cucumber, lemon, kale, celery all morning. I thought this was going to be a piece of cake. How hard could it be? I would just fill up on liquids and all would be well, right? Wrong.
At lunch time, I made some Beau-Tea (a cleansing and beauty boosting tea blend). It held me for about 2 hours, but I still found myself wandering in to the kitchen every 20 minutes with the urge to shove something in my face. Deep breathing exercises are the only way forward.
Now that dinner is here, and my husband decided to make the kids homemade oven fries... the smell of roasting potatoes is filling the whole house. My brain is scattered and I am distracted and I want to shove all the food in my face. Time for more deep breathing and some lemon-ginger water. I think a walk will help too.
To keep me distracted, I invited the family for a brisk walk around the neighborhood after dinner, but slowly, I'm being overtaken by a headache on this fine Tuesday evening.
It started well... I felt lighter and more calm. I seriously feel more relaxed than I have in a long, long, time.
I started the day with a huge glass of green tea with hibiscus. The kids and I popped downtown for a long stroll along the Riverwalk and around the Marina too. We did some stairs at the amphitheater and, all in all, covered about 1.5 miles. I felt really good. Almost euphoric.
The feelings of lightness and serenity lasted just about all day, even the hours I spent in the workshop cutting and sanding. The only issue was dinner (again). At the request of my oldest, I made Lentil Madras. Yum... unless you're cooking it and can't have any. I made it through with lemon ginger water and made her taste test to see if the lentils were done.
The nightly headache is creeping back, but that's here whether or not I'm fasting.
It's been a challenge today. I still have the peace, but I'm hungry. Yup, today, I am finally really hungry, and tired.... and emotional.
I took the kids to the symphony this morning and I cried. I couldn't help it. The music was just so beautiful.
As afternoon turned to evening, we made our way to the soccer fields and I was COLD. It was 70-something, but I required a cowl scarf and quilt (along with the thick pants, sweater, and wool socks). This might be why they say you need to stay active when fasting... and that saunas are a good idea. Sitting outside as the sun goes down is not a great idea.
I'm looking forward to eating tomorrow.
Day 4 - Conculsion
Today, I'll be easing my self out of the fast, and I feel great this morning too. Breakfast will be a little green juice and maybe I'll make some carrot-ginger juice for lunch... or dinner will be carrot ginger soup.
In 3 days, I'm down nearly 10 lbs, and hopefully I've reset my body and given my digestive system a much needed break. More than all this, I know I DO have self control. I've seriously doubted this in the past - my ability to control my own food intake. I cook amazing super healthy food, but I've only lost 40 lbs so far this year. My issue? I graze... I snack. Now, I know I can NOT put the food in my mouth.
I think I like fasting. I like the euphoric feeling, the giddiness (I found myself laughing all the time at random things), and it felt like my sense of smell of more acute, and my vision was sharper. I felt present but removed. For future fasts, I think I would like more "me-time." I might want to build a sweat lodge or find a sauna (as of yesterday afternoon, I was cold... and saunas are great for purging toxins). I want time for meditation. I want time to take long silent walks.
Then again, these are things I want, fasting or not.
A work in progress