Monday, August 31, 2015

I'm Working On It

I'm getting a bunch of blog posts composed.  I know I'm a bit behind but I'm also on vacation so blogging is last on my list of priorities. I do have an update on the vitamin situation, another update on my hair growth as I've now passed the six weeks growth date, updates also on my etsy shop progress and lastly, updates on what I did on my summer vacation. 

Please stay tuned as I'll get those blogs posted up here lickety split.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Side-Eyeing SmileBox

A while back I wrote a blog about Smilebox.  An online digital scrapbooking site that I still use today.  I'm still happy with it but I notice one change they made that I'm not happy with.  

Used to be that the FREE scrapbook templates were totally free, as in you can create it, share it, and save it to jpg or burn it to disk.  Now you can only share it and not save it to jpg or burn it to disk without PAYING.  

What the.....???   ???   ???   ? ? ?? ????

I don't know how I feel about that.

A one year subscription amounts to $3.99USD a month, paid in full upfront.  Or pay per monthly usage for about $6USD.  It's still not expensive if you are someone like me who likes to scrapbook memories but doesn't have the time, patience or know-how to create fancy smancy ones by hand. 

The last scrapbook I made was an 8x8 album for my Mom.  It was filled with photos from her birthday party last year.  She loved it.  The Smilebox has many birthday themes and I mixed and matched pages from a few of them to create one cute book. I purchased the album from a craft shop and just had to insert the printed pages within the protective sheets. 

I know this sort of sounds like an advertisement for Smilebox, but it isn't, because they didn't give me a free years subscription, or even a month for that matter.  But if you have a bunch of photos on your computer of your kids, grandkids, nieces, nephews, graduation, wedding, vacation.... put them in a scrapbook!!!! Trust me it is so easy with that program.  Just save them to disk and get them printed at Walmart, or CostCo (which is a whole lot cheaper than Walmart I may add!!) and run over to Walmart or Michaels Craft shop to pick up an album to slide the pages in.  Baddaboom, baddabing. easy, peasy.  

I'm still not happy that Free ain't really Free no more.  

Monday, August 24, 2015

Getting My Betty On

I'm usually not one to bake cookies from packaged powders or mixes.  I truly enjoy baking cookies from scratch with a real good easy to follow recipe.  Usually I stick to the basics.  You know, like peanut butter cookies, shortbread cookies and yes, chocolate chip cookies.  So why did I recently bake chocolate chip cookies from a betty Crocker dry mix package?  Well, because I had the pack in the cupboard.  I must have bought it at one time wondering what it would taste like.  

The other day I finally baked these little buggers.  

They tasted like something was missing.  

Seriously.  They were quite easy to make but they were flat not fluffy cookies once baked.  They were soft, as that depends on how long you bake em but the taste wasn't there.   Something in the flavour wasn't there.  I liked them because the taste had me eating one or two and not six or ten had I made them from scratch!  So I guess, great for dieters!  Ha!    I would recommend this for folks wanting to bake something quick with little kids.  They can help mix everything together and plop them on the cookie sheet without the risk of spilling the many ingredients required when baking from scratch.  And no worries the kid will eat too many!  

A Minute In Susan's Mind

I wouldn't go so far as to say I'm addicted to social media.  I'm not, not really.  I love blogging about my real life because sometimes I do the craziest things or the most exciting things, that it's just hard to believe it really happened but like the title says... I can't make this stuff up!

I also like reading comments in user groups.  Like I'm still reading the comments on hair care sites and folks are still complaining about their painful and itchy scalp and go on to say that it's been over a month they've dealt with it.  Wow, a month!  Wow.  Just ... wow.

And I like reading comments on yahoo news.  Yahoo commenter's crack me up!  

Friday, August 21, 2015

Hello Esty Me

My etsy shop still is not quite up to my liking.  I still haven't completed the "about the seller" information thing and I still haven't put the additional items I have up for sale.  It's not that I've been slacking, but I've been working on completing a few other crafts that I have to mail out to a family member.  I'm this close to being finished and I'm hoping to get that box express posted by the end of September.  I would prefer to have it be mid September though!

I'll be shutting down my shop temporarily for a few weeks just to get things organized.  I feel it's missing the mark right now and as much as my mind is totally in to it, I have other priorities to take care of first.  

All is not lost on the etsy shop.  I'm enjoying checking my stats every day to see how many views my tiny item got!  Crazy but true.  I love the feeling I get when it says 1 view today.  *giggling like a school girl*

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Back To Normal

I'm back to taking my regular vitamins... without the excessive dose of biotin!  And I've chucked the Hair Skin & Nails vitamin supplements in the trash.  I'm totally done with trying to quick fix my pixie. It will grow in when it grows in.  

The vitamins I take, and have been taking for like what seems forever, are the One A Day Weight Smart.  I've been taking them for years now along with Vitamin B Complex, and Vitamin C, both which were approved by my doctor way back when.  My doctor later prescribed Calcium and Vitamin D3 since I barely get enough sun (working night shift) and it helps my bad hip bone, and a probiotic with 10 billion whaterverthefrance they are.  Other that this, I'm done with trying out new things just because I read it on the internet!  

I should know better eh!

But seriously, I must confess, I had only tried the HSN supplements to grow out my hair healthy, and yes ... faster if that were possible. The supplement claimed to have a combination of vitamins and minerals along with other ingredients, that are key to helping your hair, skin and nails be healthier. 

I've always known the key to healthy skin is to get at least 7 hours of sleep daily and drink about two litres of water a day.  Water with lemon or cucumber even better (but lemon water is a bit acidic so too much isn't a good thing for the teeth and bladder but it's a great antiseptic for the digestive system!)  

I know now that it is not possible to grow your hair faster.  That your hair will grow as it has always grown.  As long as you drink plenty of water, eat healthy, take care of your scalp and take care of your hair (moisturizing the ends, getting regular trims), and massaging your scalp to get the blood circulating, your hair will grow.  When I was a snot nosed brat, Mom always kept my hair clean, and braided to protect it which is why I always had longer hair.  I just went through another mid life crisis back in 2008 and chopped it all off. 

Ya, that was my second mid life crisis.  My first one was in 2000, I had a real difficult time turning 30 so I got a couple of tattoos.  Seemed like a good idea at the time too.  Good thing I was afraid to get my belly or tongue pierced! Who knows how that would have turned out!  Ha!  Ha!

Ok, back to the topic... I took my vitamins as per usual today and no head pain, no itchy scalp, no lethargy.  I'm back to normal.  My whateveritwas that was unbalanced is now back to the normal state.  So this makes it the second time that I used a vitamin that did more harm than good.  Wow, I'm on a roll.  I better quit while I'm ahead.  

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


I'm still inching along with the reading challenge.  I was this close to just reading anything and giving up on the required selection outlined in the challenge... BUT ... I kept with it.

I'm 26 books into the challenge and like I said before, chances of me actually completing 50 books is not going to happen.  But I'm giving it my best try.

I'm currently reading Carrie by Stephen King.  Yes I saw the 1976 Sissy Spacek movie a few times.  Still think it's a great film too but the book is slightly different thus far.  I like how the book portrays the mother as much larger and more unsightly than the actress who portrayed her in the movie.  

And did you know that the Carrie movie was remade in 2013?  Wow, that's news to me!  WHY WOULD SOMEONE REMAKE A GREAT MOVIE LIKE THAT? Ok, now I have to check that out so I can make comparisons.  I hope it didn't turn out as bad as the remake of Fright Night or Total Recall or that tv show Miami Vice.  Oh wait, that won't be possible unless Collin Farrell is in it.  Just saying. 

Sorry, that was just me getting my hate on.  I'm so sorry.  He was ok in Phone Booth.  Uh, no, no he wasn't, I'm lying.  I think that was the movie that made me dislike his acting skills.  

Anyway, moving right along....

I'm only two thirds into the book but hope to have it complete before the end of the week.  Now, I need to go find a nonfiction that will keep me interested.  And Little Women was recommended to me by a friend, so I'm going to look for that one as well.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Return Of The Drama Llama

So here's the thing.... My hair is a hot mess.  That pretty much sums up this whole situation. 

Whether or not it's growing any faster than normal is absolutely unknown.  No... no that's not true.  It's growing just as fast as it did any other time.  The only difference is my hair is now two different textures.  The front still has remnants of the perm and it's longer than the rest so it's smoother, the back on the other hand is nice and curly because the last hair cut took out the perm! I thank my parents for the curly hair... but not today, today is hot and humid and my hair, once again, said eff it, I quit.... the only difference this time is I didn't rush home from work and take the clippers to it like I did four weeks ago.  

Has it been that long already?  

I'm probably the only person on the planet waiting for the cooler temperatures of Autumn to arrive .... so I can put on a hat!  ha!

And that concludes today's drama.  Thank you, thank you very much (I said that last part in my Elvis voice)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Handmade Christmas Preparations

It's unusual how every year, at around this time, I get started on the years handmade Christmas ornaments... Particularly the Annual Family Christmas Ornament that I hand make for family and a very limited few close friends.  I've already decided on a pattern and begun cutting the shape out of the plastic canvas.  I should begin stitching them in mid September.

And NO it's not a snowman.  Just because the image in this blog is of a snowman.... Nope, too easy!

I'm also pulling together the felt patterns I'll be using to make felt ornaments for some folks at church. I've seen a few on etsy I want to purchase too!  And the children's cross stitch ornament.... Well, this will be the last year for that.  The kids in our family have outgrown it, and the kids at church are just too many.  I've got a few at church who will get one but the rest will have to do with a feltie instead.  It's also hard in the eyes lately. I've really fallen in love with making felt ornaments and cross stitch is too fine detailed a craft that relies on good eyesight.

Anyway... Moving it along...

The reason I start so early is because I know eventually I will lose the craftiness and take an extended break, then before you know it, November is here and I've got tons to complete, so starting early always helps. 

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hair We Go Again!

Since I've  stopped taking the Hair Skin and Nails vitamins, I've noticed I'm not as lethargic as I was during the week I was taking them.  Out of curiosity, I googled if lethargy is a reaction to the excessive biotin consumption and sure enough, it was!  Wow.  I'm learning so much about this vitamin.  That first week I thought I was just tired but it was more than tiredness, I started to think I was coming down with something! 

I'm still also experiencing some itchiness and tenderness on my scalp just around the crown area, apparently it'll take a couple more days off of the supplements for my system to be back to normal.  And the light rash it left behind on my nape is almost gone but the rash on my scalp is slowly healing.  I've been washing with Head & Shoulders just to keep from having that rash get worse or from developing into dandruff or psoriasis or yeast or anything else for that matter!  Good luck to the ladies I read on line who still suffer with the itch and tenderness yet still continue to take the HSN're going to need all the luck you can get!

I've already decided not to use any chemicals on my hair while it grows in, for at least the next three to six months anyway, I'll be as natural as I can be.  Yikes!  I better Google some styles!   By this time my scalp should be more than healed and I should have more noticeable growth so relaxing it then won't cause any damage to my scalp or hair loss.  I'm afraid the tenderness and rash will get worse if I relax it now...bummer because I'm headed on vacation and wanted my hair straightened before leaving.  Oh well.  I hear the weather in England is the same as it is here in Canada so I shouldn't have to worry about humidity messing me up.  

And another thing.... stopping the biotin superdose also has my face clearing up.  Yes, I know you have to drink plenty of water while on biotin or when using the HSN supplements because the B vitamins are water soluable vitamins, but I do that ordinarily anyway but my face still broke out!  I was even blaming it on the food I ate or the lotion I used.  


It was the superdose of biotin.  Now, my face is clearing up and yes I'm still drinking three and a half litres (approx. a gallon) of water a day.  I'm going to start back taking a glass of warm lemon water in the morning on an empty stomache to help with my skin also...and it'll help my inner pipes too!  Just not too much though because the acidity level is bad for the bladder.  

So that's the last biotin update from me.  Now... On to more interesting things!.....

Monday, August 10, 2015

Pixie Grow Out: 3 weeks

 So here I am, three weeks into growing out my pixie cut.  Three weeks ago, it was so hot and humid here that I came home from work in the morning and chopped off what little bit of growth I had, including my long bangs.  My hair just gave up on me, with one bad hair day after another so I'm growing it back to maybe try out a bob or just let all the length regrow.  We shall see.  That photo on top is the day I last cut my hair and the bottom was taken this past Thursday....exactly 3 weeks later.  

I attempted to go the biotin route by mega dosing on biotin which is what the Hair, Skin and Nails formula contains, along with other ingredients, to out grow my pixie quicker.  My allergic reaction of a painful and itchy scalp and arms was enough for me to give that up in a hot minute.  At the time I'm writing this blog post, I've been "off" all my vitamins for a full week.  I've only taken the probiotics because my inner pipes require it.  I've still got a trace of a reddish patch on the left side of my nape where a rash had begun while I used the HSN containing a mega dose of biotin. The rash is gone but the skin is now darker and feels brittle.  It'll peel off eventually I suppose.

I've marked my calendar in three week intervals to take a progress photo simply because I'm curious to see the growth. 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Biotin Allergic Reaction

So here's the deal.  Sometimes I do real stupid things...  Let me just put that out there from the start.

Now, here is one of those stupid things I've done recently....

I decided to regrow my hair to a short shoulder length bob.  Right now I've got a pixie with log bangs.  Naturally, I had to find out how to successfully grow out a pixie without it looking all scraggly and bedhead looking.  You know what I mean?  And it would be really nice if it could grow in faster.  According to me, my hair already grows pretty fast because I drink plenty of water, take multivitamins regularly more or less, and I'm still working on the getting enough sleep thing.  But on the internet, in many hair salon chat boards, folks were talking about the vitamin Biotin.  I already get biotin in my b-complex so I should have quit there.  

But I didn't.

Folks in the USA have access to Biotin in 5000mcg (or 5mg) format whereas here, in Canada, I can only find 1000mcg (or 1mg) format unless I order it on amazon, which I won't do.

Anyway, I purchased the Hair, Skin and Nails vitamins that also contained Biotin in it and took the dose following the package (1 pill twice daily with a meal).  I did that for one week then my head I started itching.  No visible rash but my skin on my arms and my head felt like millions of ants under my skin but no rash.  So I discontinued the Hair Skin & Nails formula and went and purchased the 1000mcg of Biotin and just took that as directed on the package, along with my regular multivitamins.  Still itchy head, itchy arms and painful to the touch scalp on the crown of my head!  

Back to the internet.... I discover, not only is that an allergic reaction, but I'm also putting my body off balance by "mega dosing" on one vitamin, thus causing the other vitamins to be lacking as they try to keep up with the dose!  

Oh my!   I STOPPED TAKING ALL VITAMINS AS OF MONDAY.  The last time I took my regular multivitamin was on Saturday morning.  The last time I took any vitamin B complex was on Sunday evening.... which triggered my itches all over again because the complex also contains some biotin and I'm still trying to get the bulk of it out of my system so that I'm left with just the "normal recommended amounts".  

That will teach me a lesson.  Sad thing is on those message boards, the woman are completely clueless and believe that the itchiness is "hair growing in faster" or "results of unwashed hair".  Sadly enough, not many folks have stated they STOPPED taking the vitamin once they started to itch or felt a tenderness on the crown of their head.  


Dude, I washed my hair every single day last week when the itching drove me bonkers!  And I used Head & Shoulders to be sure it wasn't psoriasis or wasn't, it was just an allergic reaction to the mega dose of Biotin which I hope will clear up in the next couple of days.  As of Monday afternoon, the itching on my arms has stopped, the itching on my scalp has eased but the tender feeling on my crown is still slightly there so I'm going to continue to drink plenty of water to flush my system of the bulk of this water soluble vitamin and dispose of the rest of them that remain in the bottle.   Once my system gets back to normal I will continue with my regular multivitamins only.  

Lesson learned....

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Getting Etsy Schooled

These last few days I've been schooling myself on how to succeed at selling on Etsy.  I've printed pretty much the entire user handbook they have posted online and sorted it by category in a binder.  I've got my pen making notes at the end of each article within each topic AND I'm also jotting down ideas in my personal note book. 

All in all, I'm doing alright.

I had to start up fresh so I deactivated my old account, so unfortunate but I did copy all my favourite shops over and the bulk of my favourite items.  Then someone added my item to their favourites.  Ok it's not a sale but it certainly made my day.  Truth is, I'm not really on there to make money, I just like the idea of having a shop!  If someone buys my items only to resell them, believe me, I won't cry over it.

I'm still putting some finishing touches on it but at present, I'm pretty darn proud of myself.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

July Update: Book Challenge

Alright... so I'm still a bit behind in the reading challenge.  July was a tough month for me book wise.  Even though most of my reads are in audiobook format, I still need to find the time to listen to the book.  And like I said, July was tough for me.  

I've read a total of 26 books so far and to see the covers of those books, you can click here:  BOOK COVERS

Here's where I stand with the challenge.  The books I read are highlighted in red print.

1.      A book with more than 500 pages: The King by JR Ward
2.      A classic romance
3.      A book that became a movie: The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
4.      A book published this year: The Girl On The Train by Paula Hawkins
5.      A book with a number in the title: Six Years by Harlan Coben
6.      A book written by someone under 30
7.      A book with nonhuman characters: Bound By Flames by Jeaniene Frost
8.      A funny book: The Vintage Guide To Love And Romance by Kirsty Greenwood
9.      A book by a female author: Reflected In You by Sylvia Day
10.  A mystery or thriller:  Bird Box by Josh Malerman
11.  A book with one-word title: Splintered by SJD Peterson
12.  A book of short stories:
13.  A book set in a different country: Fall Of Night by Jonathan Maberry
14.  A nonfiction book
15.  A popular author's first book:
16.  A book from an author you love that you haven't read yet: 
17.  A book a friend recommended: Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry
18.  A Pulitzer Prize winning book
19.  A book based on a true story
20.  A book at the bottom of your to-read list: Bared To You by Sylvia Day
21.  A book your mom loves
22.  A book that scares you: 
23.  A book more than 100 years old
24.  A book based entirely on its cover: Into His Private Domain by Janice Maynard
25.  A book you were supposed to read in school but didn't:
26.  A memoir
27.  A book you can finish in a day: Wrong Time, Wrong Place by Simon Kernick
28.  A book with antonyms in the title: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
29.  A book set somewhere you've always wanted to visit:
30.  A book that came out the year you were born:
31.  A book with bad reviews
32.  A trilogy
33.  A book from your childhood: Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret by Judy Blume
34.  A book with a love triangle: Down To You by M. Leighton
35.  A book set in the future
36.  A book set in high school
37.  A book with a color in the title: 13 LIttle Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson
38.  A book that made you cry: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness & Jim Kay
39.  A book with magic: Wicked Nights by Gina Showalter
40.  A graphic novel
41.  A book by an author you've never read before: The Husbands Secret by Liane Moriarty
42.  A book you own but have never read
43.  A book that takes place in your hometown: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
44.  A book that was originally written in a different language: The Diner by Herman Koch
45.  A book set during Christmas: On A Snowy Christmas Night by Lola Holiday
46.  A book written by an author with your same initials: Deadline by Stella Rimington
47.  A play
48.  A banned book:
49.  A book based on or turned into a TV show: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

50.  A book you started but never finished

Reading challenge as listed on