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30.1.14

JJuice – Ferociously good Ejuice review!

jjuice_banner_batches

  I discovered Jjuice via a forum I visit. Melon head seemed to be a pretty sick all day vape of several of my fellow forumites, so I shot these guys a message. After some pretty pleasant and informative e-mails with James who schooled me on Jjuice, I decided they were far from the normal juice e-tailer. They lack that certain uhm, douche element that I deal with quite a bit with certain vendors. It was almost as refreshing as their ejuice, really. Here’s what James had to share with you guys in regards to Jjuice:
What makes us different from your average e-liquid is as follows:
·         J Juice is blended locally, using only naturally derived ingredients from the United States
·         Each bottle is hand-crafted, using a minimalist, small-batch process to ensure the quality of each blend
·         J Juice is gluten free, GMO free, and uses only FDA approved certified food grade ingredients
·         We use only the highest quality VG, PG, Nicotine, and All-Natural Flavoring in our juice
·         Higher quality ingredients ensure better vaping, meaning more robust clouds, smoother flavor, and easy drags
·         Using higher quality ingredients guarantees  a better, more quality vaping experience
“The Point is to Enjoy Yourself and be authentic.  I think I speak for everyone in our group when I say that J Juice isn't just a brand, but a lifestyle dedicated to crafting the best Juice possible.”

The last statement makes me smile, a LOT.
Check out my package below to see how much love goes into each and every order.
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Fuzzy photo, but check out these yummy 50/50 pg vg juices! Bee and I both found this not only personable, but very sweet. It’s on our fridge with a collection of super fun notes. Okay, so on to the juices!

We received Bananza, Ooze, Straws and Guavs, Razzletaz x 2, Cake batter, Kush, Melon head (all 18mg) and this super rad note to facilitate our review and busted out Ooze first with mad excitement!

ooze-single-18mg
Ooze: Bee took over this one rather quickly and used it as an adv until it was gone. This flavor was inspired by Red Punch Mountain Dew, but is way better. We were most excited about the ninja turtle name (turtles for life!) and after trying it, its definitely something special. Citrus notes with a hint of apple depending on what device you’re using. When we got to the end of the bottle, There was also something else I couldn’t quite detect that was more prominent towards the end of the bottle. After asking, its a lemon lime apple base with a touch of soda flavoring. It’s a really clean vape that goes well with a pale ale, or a smoothie in the morning. Will be ordering this one soon, hope to see it in a 30ml bottle in the future!
My rating: 9/10
Bee’s rating: 8.5
Our friends rating: This is pretty good.

melonhead5
Melon head was the one I really clung to. I’ve always been a fan of honeydew melon vapes, and this is one of the cleaner, more crisp, ACTUAL melon tasting juices i’ve come across. It’s tasty, and I used it up pretty fast. It was also pretty awesome when mixed 50/50 with Straws N Guavs.
My rating: 10/10 (I need more, like now)
Bee’s rating: (I didn’t share this one with him, it was too good)

cake-batter-single-
Cake Batter: This was a really interesting one. At first it tasted like straight butter in my aspire, but after putting it in a cartomizer the dessert notes came through. After letting it steep without a lid for awhile, the full cake batter effect was on par and most delicious. Normally not a dessert vaper, but this one is pretty good.
My rating: 6/10
Bee’s rating: 2/10
Friend’s rating: 9/10

razzletaz2 (1)
Razzletaz: Perfect blend of berries with a lovely pink tint to it. On inhale, juicy raspberry. Exhale? crisp blackberry with a hint of blueberry. By the time I got to this juice, I was really impressed by how dead on their fruit flavors are. I busted this out with my orange juice one morning and didn’t even want breakfast. I was seriously sitting there thinking are these guys squeezing the life out of berries to make this ish? I mean really, I’ve had a lot of funky fruit flavors as of late. Jjuice takes the cake for non syrupy tasting realistic fruit vape juice. This was a popular one amongst my household.
My rating: 8/10
Bee’s rating: 6/10

strawsandguavs3
Straws N Guavs: I love a good fruit vape. This was another one that blew me away, and is my second favorite of the bunch. It’s a super juicy blend of Strawberry, Guava, and Kiwi and a total party in your mouth. Super Guava Kiwi on inhale, Strawberry notes more dominant after steeping with the lid off for a few days. I love, love, love this one and suggest it highly.
My rating: 10.5/10
Bee’s rating: taschty. no numbers, he just responded with fruity goodness.

kush-single
Kush: I was curious about this one, as I can’t smoke anymore due to the nature of my job. I was warned it’d be planty, and whew! It was. This isn’t something i’d enjoy vaping and the only jjuice I did not enjoy. It does have a planty taste, however it’s more like chewing on leaves, not much of a dank taste whatsoever.
Remember, taste is subjective!
My rating: 1/10
Bee’s rating: It tasted like old people burning, 1/10

bananza3
Bananza: This one was really fun! Jjuice manages to take a spin on some common flavors and turn them into something totally unique. This is a yummy fresh banana with a hint of vanilla cream that doesn’t disappoint.  Definitely an all day vape or something i’d wake, vape and adore. Reminiscent of Donkey Kong and Banana smoothies, great dessert vape!
My rating: 8/10
Friends rating: 10/10


Overall, We adore Jjuice. They put a lot of love into what they do and are expanding at a rapid rate. We’ll definitely be keeping these juices in our stash and are very eager to try AMF, Pineapple, Watermelon, Screwdriver, Serious Kiwi, and Tiger’s blood juices next. We’ll also be stocking up on my new must haves which are Melon Head, Straws and Guavs, Ooze and Bananza! :)
Within the next few weeks, you’ll be able to pick up Jjuice in various stores throughout the Pacific Northwest. On their site they’re doing an buy 3 get 1 free on their juices and giving Abundance readers 10% off any purchase on their website. This is a great chance to pick up some awesome juice. Don’t miss out!
be sure to use the discount code: butiadoreyouu :)
Special thanks to the James and Joe for being so easy to work with. Best of luck in your endeavors, guys!

8.1.14

Kanger Evod Review



This is a review of one of the lowest-cost, yet best-performing clearomizers, designed for eGo style batteries but equally at home on larger mods, the Kanger Evod.

Not so long ago, top coil clearomizers, where the coil that ignites the ejuice, turning it into vapor is near the mouth-piece, were the rage. The problem was that as the level of ejuice went down in the tank, often they would fail to properly wick ejuice to the coil resulting in dry, or burnt hits.

Enter the BCC or bottom coil clearomizer, where the coil is located at the bottom of the tank, eliminating this problem. However, early BCC's had a tendency to be "fussy" and prone to leakage.

The advent of the Kanger Evod was the turning point in an effective, leak resistant bottom coil design. How good is it? Virtually all of Kanger's newer, high-end (and price!) clearomizers employ the Evod coil, and in fact are all interchangeable, as are a number of BCC's from other manufacturers.

The Evod can be purchased in the $4.50 to $5.50 price range (I purchase mine from Mt Baker Vapor for $4.49 each) with either a 2.5ohm or 1.8ohm coil installed. 1.8ohm coils are perfect for 3.7 volt eGo batteries while the 2.5ohm coil makes a wider range of voltage settings on a variable voltage battery possible.

Note: Replacement coils are widely available and at low cost, a 5 pack can be readily found in the $5 - $6 range, and for the more adventurous, are fairly simple to re-build, reducing cost even further.

The Evod is a compact 2 1/2 inches in length with the tank being poly carbonate clad in metal (with viewing windows for ejuice level) with an eGo style soft finish which comes in a variety of colors. The tank holds 1.6ml of ejuice. The Evod has eGo threading and a fixed clear plastic tip. The base which screws into the tank with a nice metal-to-metal threading, removes and the coil convenoently screws into the base, resulting in a simple 3-piece design - tank, base, and coil.

This gives the Evod a very sturdy yet lightweight aspect, perfect for eGo and iTaste vv batteries, resulting in a nice balance, while the base is slim enough to fit the collars of most tube and box style mods comfortably.

Filling as with most BCC's is simply done by turning the Evod upside down, removing the base, and filling fro the side of the tank, avoiding as always the center air tube. One advantage of this is that you can replace a spent coil without having to empty the tank first.

How does it vape? Right up there with the $15 - $20 clearomizers! With a fairly light draw, the Evod produces cool but plentiful vapor without imparting any unwanted flavor masking, often a problem with long-wick top coil clearos.

It is a poly carbonate tank, not recommended for flavors known to "crack" such tanks, and those preferring to use a separate tip should look elsewhere.

Aside of these limitations, at 1/3 to 1/4 the cost of pricier pyrex clearomizers, the Kanger Evod remains one of the best bottom coil clearomizers on the market, and a fine economical choice that should be on any vaper's short-list of must-have clearomizers. Sturdy, compact, and provides great vaping. While there are many newer clearomizers made with more esoteric materials, the Evod is still hard to beat - perfection in a small, affordable clearomizer!
  

28.12.13

Sometimes, etiquette gets me nowhere

Etiquette. Just look at the word. It looks innocent and could mean prudent, but this word controls every aspect of our lives. Think about it. Everything we do in our lives revolves around a set of unwritten rules which we choose to call etiquette. I can understand a certain etiquette for eating, and of course golfing and some chivalrous respect for women, but sometimes in life the boundaries of etiquette need crossing. For example, we all know that the most comfortable place to keep your feet while watching television is right there on the coffee table. You'd never indulge in such a luxury in someone else's living room.

It's one of those things that we don't discuss openly with one another. We simply don't want to think, much less accept, the fact that other people treat their coffee tables the same way we do.

Seriously, I don't think my boyfriend would appreciate coming home knowing that earlier in the day I had my feet up on the table with mud on my shoes, as we settle into the couch together eating chocolate pudding. So we just call it etiquette and pretend it never happens.

I think it'd be much easier to call it a foot table. Then everyone could stop this big charade about where people should keep their feet and where they'd be most comfortable. Besides, who drinks that much coffee that they need to designate a whole table to coffee alone? Anyway, how did coffee get so powerful in the hierarchy of furniture? You don't need an end table, and some of us don't have a dining table, but you can bet we've all got a coffee table. I don't even drink coffee often, anything apart from tea or wine, really.. Maybe I should invest in a decaf table. I just don't get it!

Talk about your unwritten rules: there is no worse time that etiquette is present than over Christmas. Every Christmas there's someone I feel obligated to buy a gift for, or at least get a card for, because they have a card in my mailbox on Dec. 1. I don't find it ironic at all that these are the same people whose calls I don't return and therefore force me to be a hostage in my own apartment by screening my calls.

Call it guilt perhaps, for the sake of the holidays to clear my own conscience, but someone will argue that it is proper etiquette to reciprocate a holiday greeting. This year, somehow, I got suckered into buying that line to prove once again, my heart is sometimes bigger than my brain. I hadn't yet received that unwanted greeting, so here was my opportunity to clear my conscience by getting my card to their house first.

My mind worked like a criminal's, deciding to deliver my greeting under the cover of night. I wore my unfaded Levi's, a black cardigan and pom pom hat, pushed forward to conceal my face. I parked "Gunsmoke," the getaway car, outside the complex as I scaled the security wall while mouthing the "Mission Impossible" theme with my every move.

Dink-a-dink-a-dink-dink. "What an impossible mission," I thought. The lights were out, no car in the driveway and the mail slot in plain sight. I sprinted toward the slot like lovers longing for each other on a deserted beach while an orchestra played in the background. I picked up the flap and inserted my card.

I turned and walked away when second thought told me to make sure it fell past the wallboards and into the basket. Without hesitation I reached back into the flap to push my card even further. I wedged my arm in until I heard it fall.

The conclusion for what goes up is irrelevant to what goes in must come out. So there I was dressed like the criminal of etiquette that I am, freezing on the pavement in the dark with my arm stuck in a wall.

Computer Virus dolls


Computer Virus Dolls
They are made with 1′s and 0′s of binary code, the attached ribbon on the plushies have their name in binary code, and they have a popup tag (like onscreen popup).I recently received a couple of goodies from Computer Virus Dolls, a plush computer virus, and computer virus keychain!
These would make great joke gifts for the person in your life who has a bad habit of clicking links that they shouldn’t (I’ve certainly known a few people like that), but this is a virus they wouldn’t mind getting! These would also make a great gift for the person who’s always fixing those computer virus problems for everyone else. I’m sure they will proudly display their new virus plush on their desk at work!
ComputerVirusDolls
They currently have four viruses available; Trojan, Malware, Worm, and Virus. The plushies are $9.95, and the keychains are $7.95.

I put the Stud in STD Giant Microbes Burning Love (review)

Will you be sharing this Valentine's Day with a dear loved one? Or perhaps you were scorned (or are scorning?) recently by an ex whom you would like nothing more than to wish a world of hurt upon? Either way, GIANTmicrobes has a splendid gift to give or keep: the new Heart Boxes!



If you haven't seen them on this blog before, you might just be vision-impaired. I positivelyLOVE my microbes! Several reviews can be found on Serial Access Mom for microbes, such as the gigantic red blood cellrotavirus, and Christmas Wreath Ornament Box. I also just added a White Blood Cell to my collection on the last California trip we made as a family, yay! 

GIANTmicrobes by Drew Oliver was founded in 2002 and creates unique gifts to inspire knowledge and learning. Seriously, who can resist the cuteness of plush microorganisms?

These two newest additions, the Heart Warming and Heart Burned Boxes, are a bit different from traditional GIANTmicrobes. Each decorative box is filled with 5 mini-microbes that are unique to these products:
Heart Warming™ Mini Microbe Box
Romantic Heart Warming Box includes:

*Kissing Disease with embroidered lips
*Sperm Cell with an embroidered baby blue rattle
*Egg Cell with embroidered hearts
*Penicillin with exclusive pink pom poms
*Pink Amoeba with embroidered rose

&

Heart Burned™ Mini Microbe Box
Sizzling Hot Heart Burned Box includes:

*Herpes with embroidered flames
*Chlamydia with red devil horns
*HPV with an embroidered frog
*Pox with a biting snake tongue and fangs
*Penicillin with exclusive pink pom poms

I recently added one of these new additions to my GIANTmicrobe family: the Heart Burned Box full of oh-so-lovely STD's! Who knew diseases could be so cute!


Each of these little pathogens have either special embroidery (a new feature!) or additions to make them limited-edition, available only in these boxed sets. They are all just as well-crafted as their larger brothers and sisters with the same attention to detail. Just look at these little embroidered guys:

Herpes and HPV are best buds!

If romance is your bit, make sure to check out the Heart Warming Box with it's sperm and egg cell! GIANTmicrobes also has an adorable Smooch doll: the kissing disease microbe that makes a smooching sound when you press her lips! Just what the doctor ordered for a happy Valentine's Day.
"Like" GIANTmicrobes on Facebook
Follow on Twitter
Purchase these Heart Boxes for just $24.95 each online

Smoky Mountain Candles Review + Giveaway!




For years I purchased and used candles that were made from paraffin. I knew that the candles had a tendency to leave black soot on the edges of the candle, and when I burned a scented paraffin candle that was in a glass jar, the glass would turn black. I could live with that, but when we remodeled our dining room and kitchen and found black soot marks all over my wallpaper, that was not something I could live with.


If these candles were leaving such a residue on my walls, I wondered what kind of pollution they were adding to our indoor air! I now purchase only 100% natural candles, such as those made from soy or other renewable resources. I am pleased to have learned about the wonderful candles from a company called Smoky Mountain Candles.


Although Smoky Mountain makes a variety of candles, their palm based candles are the ones that caught my eye. Their jar candles consist of vegetable palm wax. They come in a wide variety of scents, their Bamboo scent is my favorite. I like scented candles but I don't like strong scents. The  Jar Candle in the Bamboo scent is much milder, yet it adds a nice pleasant fragrance to any room.
Smoky Mountain Candles uses  palm wax that use does not threaten the world's rainforests, and it does not threaten the ecosystems of the orangutan. Before I found Smoky Mountain candles I was a fan of soy based candles, but I learned that palm oil actually uses much less land than that which is used for soy production. Like bamboo, palm oil is a renewable resource that is sustainable.
These 8.5 ounce jar candles have a generous burn time of 55 hours and the Bamboo scent has hints of Floral, and is very earthy and calming. It is a nice light scent that is not overpowering to the senses. For those who have chemical sensitivities this is something to consider when purchasing a scented candle.
No longer am I purchasing candles made from paraffin. After all, paraffin ultimately comes from crude oil sludge. I am done with the faster burning paraffin candles that leave soot on my walls and pollute my indoor air! Not only do I feel the Smoky Mountain Candles smell better, but they last longer as well due to their slow burn time. I am very pleased to recommend these candles to those looking for a good, natural alternative to paraffin candles. They can be found at prices comparable to the paraffin based scented candles sold in glass jars, and make great holiday presents! Smoky Mountain also offers a variety of wax melts, hand creams, and novelty candles! 

They're also offering one of my readers the chance to win an 12oz in your choice of scent!




a Rafflecopter giveaway

15.12.13

Why should you care about human trafficking?

“We may not see this sort of slavery in the open, but it is there, lurking in shadows and on the fringes of society, quietly engulfing its victims for an estimated $32 billion in profits worldwide annually.”

Human Trafficking is a subject very dear to my heart. Since they’ve shut down my Advocacy group in Oklahoma City, I’m sure I’ll be posting about it here quite often.

 

Unthinkable things happen around the world today. A quick scan of the headlines is enough to weigh down the heart with reports of atrocities and tragedies and calamities and more. Here in the United States, things are far from perfect, but generally speaking, we have a measure of comfort and safety and ease compared to the war and genocide and famine and the like that other lands experience.

As a result, there are evils that we think are out there, happening to other people — not to us. I used to think about the evil of human exploitation and trafficking like that: something that happens in other places to other people but not here. Here, in the land of the free and the home of the brave, that was one thing I could cross off the list of potential horrors I needed to worry about.

There are two reasons why this sort of thinking is wrong:

  1. Trafficking is a growing crisis around the world and in the States. Ignorance is a flimsy shield against this world’s harsh realities. Awareness is essential.
  2. The majority of trafficking victims may live in other lands but that doesn’t mean I am free from the responsibility or the ability to help. In fact, it is because I am free and unaffected that I have the luxury of worrying about and fighting against this evil for those who cannot.

There is a problem that I see in my own heart and in the hearts of those around me: Until I allow the reality of the crisis to carve out a place in me, it’s too easy to ignore the crisis because of the comfort and safety that I experience. It’s too easy to let distance be an excuse for inaction. My heart breaks for both adults and children tied up in the yucky web of Human Trafficking.

Over the past few years, the reality is finding an ever-growing place in my heart, bringing the stories of exploitation and enslavement much closer to home. I’ve made room for women and girls like Courtney, who was only 14 years old when trafficking became a reality for her.

Like many young girls caught in its snare, Courtney’s path to exploitation began when she was just 5 years old. That’s when her brother’s friend began sexually abusing her, sending her young heart and mind into a spiral of confusion and pain. Although the abuse stopped when he was caught, the damage to Courtney’s heart continued to fester because no one knew that she would need help dealing with the aftermath. Her inner-world caved in on her and the rest of her childhood was a descent deeper and deeper into a black pit of depression and isolation.

By age 14, Courtney was so lonely that she frequented online chat rooms for any scrap of companionship. That’s where she met Jake. He took a special interest in her and eventually convinced her to meet him. Courtney thought she was meeting the guy of her dreams. She didn’t know that he was about to plunge her into a two-year nightmare that was even worse than the one she had already experienced.

Jake took Courtney to a motel where he raped her. Then he invited several other men to do likewise. When Courtney tried to sneak away, Jake beat her unconscious, establishing his total control and the futility of trying to escape. This routine continued, every night like the one before — another motel, more men. For two years, Jake moved Courtney all over the state. Courtney saw hundreds of motel rooms and just as many men.

Courtney’s story happened in Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States — the same country that outlawed slavery and involuntary servitude almost 150 years ago.

Perpetrators of human trafficking and sexual exploitation know the law. And they know how to cover their tracks, intimidate their victims, and work the system for personal gain. We may not see this sort of enslavement in the open, but it is there, lurking in shadows and on the fringes of society, quietly engulfing its victims for an estimated $32 billion in profits worldwide annually.1

This is no small problem, and due to human trafficking’s subversive nature, it is tough to document and measure. Advocacy and recovery organizations offer statistics from their work, although some independent researchers are concerned about inflation (either purposeful or mistaken). Despite these concerns, the reality stands: Women and girls are being enslaved in our country and around the world for the sole purpose of sexual exploitation.

Front-line Perspective

The horrors of human trafficking and sexual exploitation are being addressed by a wide range of organizations around the world. The need is great, and each organization offers its own unique approach. Some directly rescue girls and women from bondage. Others help the rescued build new and vibrant lives. Still others attack the systemic issues that contribute to the crisis.

To outline how these various approaches play out, I present three advocacy and recovery organizations working on the front lines: Wellspring Living (Atlanta, Georgia), As Our Own (Western India), and She Is Safe (worldwide).

Wellspring Living works right here in the States, in Atlanta, Georgia. This is the group that stepped into Courtney’s life after her two-year ordeal with Jake. Wellspring Living’s residential treatment program includes counseling, education, and life skills for the women and girls in their care.

According to stats on Wellspring’s Web site, there are about 100,000 young women in the United States who have been exploited. The average age of a child first used in prostitution is 11 to 14, with some as young as 9 years of age.1 It’s believed that as many as 17,500 people (men, women, and children) are trafficked into the United States annually.2

As Our Own works in India to prevent the enslavement of young girls who are at great risk of being exploited. The girls are adopted into the As Our Own family where they are loved as daughters, for life. Using its Adoptive-Level Care model, As Our Own cares for their daughters at the same level that we care for our own children, giving them parental nurture, guidance, and support through family life, schooling, extracurricular activities, college studies, career, marriage, family, and beyond. Each daughter has a permanent place of belonging in this loving family.

Predators in India are always on the lookout for girls who have unstable homes and broken family structures. And for girls born into the red light district because their moms are enslaved there? If these little ones aren’t rescued out by age 6 or 7, they are sold into the same fate as their mothers. That’s because little girls are in high demand at the brothels due to the myth that having sex with a virgin will cure AIDS. There are approximately 10 million prostitutes in India3; an estimated 500,000 of which are children.4

She Is Safe works in trafficking hot spots to “prevent, rescue, and restore women and girls from abuse and exploitation in high risk places around the world, equipping them to build a life of freedom, faith, and a strong future.” Working in poverty-stricken areas, She Is Safe seeks to step in with holistic, faith-based initiatives to make a difference in the lives of women and girls at great risk of being trafficked. Education, job skills, emotional health, and life support systems are offered to help women and girls preyed upon by traffickers.

The stats provided by She Is Safe paint a grim picture5 for women and girls around the world. Of the 27 million adults and children in some form of bondage (forced/bonded labor or prostitution), women and girls account for 98% of those who are enslaved for sex. There are 1.6 million little girls enslaved in prostitution around the world.

Growing Awareness: The Good and Bad of It

Grasping the horrific reality of sex trafficking is no easy task. The darkness looms and the need is so great that it can paralyze us from stepping in and making a difference. We can easily get trapped in questions likeHow can we free millions of people enslaved in brothels around the world?” and “How can we help the rescued enter back into regular life after all they’ve been subject to?”

If we can push beyond the overwhelming magnitude of need, we can join an organization already at work to make a tangible difference. Awareness is painful, but pain often pushes us to act. It inspires people to join current advocacy efforts or launch new ones. Plenty of creative opportunities exist for us to get involved through financial support, prayer, volunteer work, advocacy, and action.

The CNN Freedom Project, supported by President Obama and an array of celebrity activists, is highlighting the fight to end modern-day slavery. With coverage in print and video, CNN is reporting on “the horrors of modern-day slavery, amplifying the voices of the victims, highlighting success stories and helping unravel the complicated tangle of criminal enterprises trading in human life.” With its high-profile backing, this project is raising awareness and connecting people to tangible ways they can help.

Then there’s Passion, the annual faith-based conference for college students held in Georgia each January. In 2013, Passion announced its “End It” movement, calling students to commit to being the generation that puts an end to slavery. During the four-day conference, students donated more than $3.3 million to support 19 partner organizations working to abolish human slavery worldwide. For four days, these students were immersed in the hard, gut-wrenching truth about human slavery and sex trafficking. And that knowledge prompted them to give an astounding amount of money to support causes that could make “End It” a reality. Passion fuels the movement through social media engagement and its music tour.

Critics call this approach “slacktivism” (i.e., assuming that modern-day slavery and sexual exploitation can be eradicated by simply tweeting your support). John Sutter, however, disagrees. He notes, in a recent article at CNN, that real money has been raised and real people have been rescued. Projects and conferences like Passion are raising awareness and rallying people to action. For advocacy engagement to increase, awareness and buzz are key. More awareness by more people will produce more action and funding. That sounds good, and it is.

However, there is a downside. The very same buzz that draws attention to trafficking is the same buzz that will eventually move along to a newer cause. The newness of trafficking and all its horrors will one day become common knowledge. The buzz does plenty of good for a while, but interest and concern ride upon the winds of popularity, and once the winds change, support and interest often go with it.

But human trafficking and sexual slavery are not fads to be added to this season’s cause wardrobe. If we are to truly “End It,” we need strategic and persistent focus that doesn’t fade when the next season’s cause captures our fancy.

We must allow the buzz to change us — how we live, how we think, how we care. If we find a way to be involved long term, then our efforts won’t fizzle out when the buzz fades. What if we supported economic development programs that lift women and girls out of abject poverty, thereby protecting them from predators? What if we sent a girl to college, giving her the chance to reach her full, God-given potential? What if we helped survivors gain healing and skills to make a new life?

Let’s not waste the buzz. Let’s use it to make a lasting difference.

Transformation Is More Than a Rescue

The desire to see human trafficking and slavery in all its forms eradicated is noble. Upon hearing the shocking stats and the heart-wrenching stories of women like Courtney, we should be moved to act. Advocacy groups are doing what they can in the face of great need, but the truth is, many more of us as individuals will need to come alongside these hard-working groups if “End It” is to become a reality.

This is, in part, why groups that use communications that engage the heart and elicit an emotional reaction are the ones that stir people to act and get involved. I think of it as shock and awe communications.

The shock comes through the staggering stats. Learning about the plight of women and girls both near and far jolts us from our insulated bubbles to face reality. The numbers, details, and stories compel us to do something to make a difference. Getting people involved, however, is not the same as keeping people involved. With major social ills such as human trafficking and sexual exploitation, the numbers are so overwhelming that it can feel like our efforts are but a drop compared to the ocean of need.

That’s where shock’s counterpart comes in. To keep support partners engaged and encouraged in the ongoing fight, a bit of awe is needed. Stories of heroic rescue give us a sense of hope that we are doing something meaningful to push back against the evil we see in the world.

However, if the day of rescue is held up as the end goal of our support, we are applying a bandage to a gaping wound in need of serious attention. Bondage is just one woe of exploitation and enslavement. Setting a slave free is only the first step. She also needs emotional help and healing. She needs to catch up on education, develop life skills, learn how to live, and find work. Here in the States, recovery programs walk with the rescued to help them establish a new life. In other countries, such programs are nonexistent and societal prejudices make it difficult for the rescued to move past the trauma, thereby placing them at risk of further exploitation and enslavement.

Celebrating a rescue is good. We must fight against enslavement in all its forms. But rescue is not enough. We must be willing to dig in for the long haul, for the slow and steady work of helping the rescued establish a vibrant life while also fighting against the societal norms that produce a demand for enslavement in the first place.

Rescuing an individual is good. Let’s free as many as we can.

Transforming our world is crucial. Unless the social construct changes, there will always be another individual to rescue.

 

A Demonstration of Love

The crisis of human trafficking and sexual exploitation is no small matter. Much work and effort are needed in order to see those numbers shrink and to establish new foundations to the systemic issues that fuel the demand.

Sources

1. WellspringLiving.org
2. 268generation.com/Passion2013/learn/
3. Human Rights Watch, Robert I. Freidman, “India’s Shame: Sexual Slavery and Political Corruption Are Leading to An AIDS Catastrophe,” The Nation, 8 April 1996.
4. India Human Rights Report, submitted to the Congress of the United States of America by the Department of State (http://www.ncbuy.com/reference/country/humanrights.html?code=in&sec=6f).
5. SheIsSafe.org

1.12.13

Lather, rinse, repeat until dead

I have writer's block like a motherfucker lately.
I've also come to the conclusion that I seem to have my best metaphysical conversations in the shower.
Too bad no one's around to hear them.

I pull aside the curtain and turn on the water. Switch the dial to hot, hotter, boiling. Why does the faucet always switch from hot to cold since I've last used the shower? Who comes in and switches the temperature? Gnomes? God?
Pull the catch on the faucet so the water comes from the shower nozzle. Remove clothing. Turn on the fan. Turn off the lights.
Close the door.


Why do I shower in the dark? Good question. I've been doing it for years, in at least four different showers. First time, like the first time I had sex, was unintentional: the power went out, and there I was, warm water running down my body, suddenly blind and in a whole new world, soap running down long hair into my now superfluous eyes.


I guess there's some womb aspect of it. Maybe I'd like to train myself just in case I should be struck blind, found suddenly vacated of the sense I take so very much for granted. Test the water's temperature. Enter on side opposite from water. Get bearings. Find shampoo. I only need a little nowadays, the result of a time when I just couldn't take long hair anymore, -- not so much my mother's, but my sister's -- snide comments anymore, and then there was the heartbreak factor where I was suddenly torn in two and had to do something to reinvent myself.


Lather. Rinse. Repent. How does the universe work? Do we call it infinite just because we can't see the end? I can't see the end of the shower right now, I can't perceive with any of my senses the toilet that's six feet away... does that mean it isn't there? What if it isn't? Remember when you were a kid and thought that the world ended where you didn't see it any longer? Was I ever that naive? Am I still?


Conditioner. Just a dab. It smells like dryer sheets. Man, I love that.

Wash it out. Wash it all out, then grab the soap. Rub in the hands and work the lather into every crevice you can. This is a soul cleansing. When the body is free of debris, the mind is free to explore new boundaries and God shines into us all. Or does God even care? Is God a celestial engineer and all of us mere unknowing cogs in a machine of which we have no hope of comprehending the purpose?

Wash off the soap, scrub out the armpits. Or perhaps God cares very much, speaks to us every day. Maybe we don't hear. Or we don't know how to listen. Maybe if we knew how to listen to God, there'd be no death. Maybe that's why death is so painful. Maybe we're meant to pursue pleasure, and pain is a trigger to show when we're doing something wrong. Maybe we're not supposed to die. Or maybe we're all just doing it wrong.


Stand under the nozzle, water pounding onto eyelids. Sing sing sing to yourself and the neighbors "Infinity bottles of beer on the wall, infinity bottles of beer..."


Lather, rinse, repeat until dead.

25.11.13

Vegetarian food that doesn't suck (wild rice stuffed pumpkin)

was once a vegetarian and found myself facing a very meaty Thanksgiving with relatives who tended to cook all vegetables with chunks of pork. Nowadays that sounds delicious, but I would still happily eat any variation of the following.

This works as a main or side dish, can be partially made ahead of time, and can be made vegan- or vegetarian-style (or you can fill it full of meat).

It makes a totally cute centerpiece and topic of conversation, and then you get to destroy it by slicing off pieces of the pumpkin's walls as you serve up its delicious innards.

The short version: cook up a bunch of wild rice and veggies, spiced to your liking. Hollow out a pumpkin, fill with rice mixture, cook until pumpkin is done through, eat it.

I don't have a proper recipe for this, but here are some general guidelines that worked for me:

For reasons of texture and flavor, you want a sugar pumpkin, which may also be called a pie pumpkin. These are the medium-sized ones, not the wee decorative useless ones nor the huge ones meant for jack-o-lanterns. They're usually about 8-10 inches across. If possible, pick one that's wide rather than tall; this will be easier to serve from. And make sure it has a good grabbable stem, which will function as a lid handle.

The procedure that worked best for me was to cook up some wild rice, separately sautee a bunch of vegetables (I used green beans, corn, carrots, celery, and black beand), then fill the pumpkin with these and finish it in the oven.

I also added a bit of cooked soy-based beef crumble approximation, which can be weird but was excellent in this context. These days I'd either use ground turkey, or skip it altogether. If you're going meat-style, I can't imagine bacon would be out of place. You could probably get crazy with some dried cranberries and toasted pecans in there, too.

It's probably best to take the rice off the heat when it's not quite done - it won't really continue to cook inside the pumpkin, but will soak up more liquid. Also, if using wild rice, make sure you budget enough time, as it takes forever.

Taste the rice + stuff before it goes into the pumpkin!! This is your last chance to season it. In particular, make sure it has enough salt, as you're going to be serving this with slices of unseasoned pumpkin. This works fine if the contents of the pumpkin are appropriately seasoned (sage is great in this).

While the rice, etc. are cooking, deal with the pumpkin. Rinse the exterior and scrub off anything gross (the oven will sterilize it, but they do grow in mud). Cut a lid out of the top in the classic jack-o-lantern style. Do yourself a favor and make the shape of this lid large and somewhat irregular! This will keep you from going crazy trying to fit that piece back in, later.

Scrape out the seeds and disgusting business inside. Be thorough. Shine a flashlight in there if you have to.

You can wait until this point to fill the raw pumpkin with the rice stuff and bake it; you can also give your pumpkin a head start, cooking it partway before the rice mixture is done.

Pumpkins are forgiving; if you need to cook it for a while, then take it out of the oven and finish cooking it later, that will work fine, provided you keep its lid on and don't let it dry out. (drying out? spritz with water)

You'll thank yourself if you bake the pumpkin, filled or empty, in a roasting pan, or at least on a cookie sheet with a rim. By the time it's done all the way through, it may be a little leaky.

Cooking time varies, but should be around an hour at 350 F (175 C) on your oven's bottom rack. It's done when easily pierced with a knife.

24.11.13

(Sponsored) Rimmel london stay matte foundation review

Don't worry, we won't go crazy since this is only the first of possibly more beauty posts this week. Today I share my weekend beauty routine. It's simple and to the point:
Wash face
Apply moisturizer
Brush hair, put in pony
Apply foundation
Brush on powder
A sweep of MAC copper glitter pigment
Hard candy fishnet liquid eyeliner
A ton of benefit "They're real!" Mascara
Clinique cherry cordial lipstick
Brush on a dash of bronzer
Put on stockings and black outfit of some sort
head out the door!

I was given Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation to review. I am one of the very first to test Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation - it doesn't even hit stores until January 2014! To be honest with you, I was skeptical to try it at first. I have been a mineral foundation girl for quite some time. But, I love trying new makeup and beauty products, so I was up for giving it a shot.

Rimmel Stay Matte Foundation

I tried the True Ivory color. Although I am Guatewhite... I am seriously fair skinned, especially in the winter when there are less days spent outside in the sun. The color blended perfectly with my skin tone. It was easy to apply, I just used my fingers. But, anyone who uses brushes or sponges wouldn't have a problem either. The foundation is smooth and just the right amount of creamy. Not to mention, it was feather light when I applied it. It didn’t feel at all cake-y or thick on my skin. My face was immediately flawless.

Best part: at the end of a day of running errands and even a nap on the couch... I was still pleased with my skin. No blotchiness, nothing creasing around my eyes.

I will most definitely purchase this as something to wear on weekends—when I want to slap on a little base color and go out the door. Worry free makeup is my best friend on Saturday mornings when I need to get out the door to run errands!

This makeup is a winner. I’m thrilled with the turn out, and hope my sample can last me until it hits shelves in January! If you like worry free, light as air-nothing there, but still full coverage makeup. This is for you. Have you tried it too? Let me know what you think!

Do you have a different makeup routine on weekends too?
Have you ever been skeptical about a makeup and turned out loving it?

*I received Rimmel London Stay Matte Liquid Mousse Foundation for free to review. I was not paid for this writing about it. And of course all opinions are 110% my own.

19.11.13

Art is the lie that tells the truth

This quote from Pablo Picasso lies at the very foundations of Modernism stretching forward through Cubism, Expressionism, and Absurdism to right... now!, and backward through Romanticism, neo-Classicism, and Catholicism, etc., back to the very beginnings of myth— the very first time someone at a camp fire piped up and said, "We're all sitting on the back of this really huge turtle."
This is the converse of Chekhov's only slightly earlier axiom, "Art tells the truth," which, while seemingly self-evident, was nearly as radical as Picasso's assertion when pushed to its limits by the good doctor's unflinching and unerring eye, especially in his short stories.
I originally heard this quote as, "Art is a lie...," but the specifying "the" takes the meaning of the statement much deeper: Art is not merely a lie; it is the lie, and the only lie that tells the truth. Thus, if something tells the truth and is also false, it must be art. If it tells the truth, and is also truth, then it must be something other than art, like history or journalism or science. Picasso seems to be saying that it is only by feigning-- or perhaps more charitably, bending-- reality as we perceive it, can we hope to move another person to see something new in a truly new way. Joseph Campbell offers an excellent description of what I'm trying to get at:
Creative artists... are mankind's wakeners to recollection: summoners of our outward mind to conscious contact with ourselves, not as participants in this or that morsel of history, but as spirit, in the consciousness of being. Their task, therefore, is to communicate directly from one inward world to another, in such a way that an actual shock of experience will have been rendered: not a mere statement for the information or persuasion of a brain, but an effective communication across the void of space and time from one center of consciousness to another.
Perhaps this is why some of the best actors I know are terrible liars. I think maybe somewhere deep in their artist's conscience they understand that to use their talent in the service of anything other than good drama, is like when Spider-Man uses his power for personal gain: an opened-up Lamborghini tear down the smooth paved highway to hell.

A portrait of kim jong il at dawn

There is a portrait of Kim Jong Il
(and his father)
Which is brightly lit in the abandoned dark of dawn
In Pyongyang.
All who can leave are long gone,
All who can dream are sleeping.
All who are awake are still, very still
They wait (for the appointed hour).

The portraits of tyrants are bright in dark countries
The tombs of tyrants are dark in bright countries
I am not sure which is more dangerous:
Memory, or forgetfulness.

We will not speak of a nation with Stockholm Syndrome

It would be in poor taste

We will not speak of their dutiful eulogies
(or their clenched jaws)
We will not speak of decay and rot, nor blackouts of any sort,
(whether by the bottle, the pen, or the powerplant)
Nor star chambers, nor brain drain
Nor the ways in which tyranny is never the crucible
Of art (or true love) or right reason.
It would be in poor taste

And the family is always watching.

Neither/nor
Never/or

We can instead speak of how the cherry blossoms
Never knew his name
We can instead speak of how the propagandists
Never wrote lullabyes
We can instead speak of Ozymandias
And the inexorability of time and change
Because time is change
Hope, rage, revolution, intention, these are only accellerants
(hurry up please)
In the end it is simple
(it’s time)

And it will be
(and it will be)
enough.

18.11.13

Eshakti customized clothing review

Is there anything better than finding an outfit that fits absolutely perfectly? I have a great collection of clothes but some of them are just in need of a tiny adjustment to be ideal. Eventually I will get them tailored but for now I’m stuck with the annoyance of having a dress or skirt that just doesn’t quite fit the way I want. And when I do get the pieces tailored, I’ll have had to pay extra to get just what I wanted.

That’s why eShakti was created. The company understands that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to a woman’s body type and wants to ensure that everyone gets that perfect style and fit every time. The company offers custom fit and style options on all its clothing so that whether you prefer long sleeves, short skirts or collars, you can get an outfit you’ll love that fits you perfectly. I was so excited when I got the chance to review one of the company’s items for myself. After hours of oogling dresses, I chose this black and houndstooth dress, inspired by mad men. I adored the heavy retro feel of this fifties inspired dress. It has asymmetrical buttons and looks lively with my favorite Mary janes, pumps, or a pair of cable knit flats with a matching cardigan!There are new arrivals at eShakti all the time, so shopping is always a fresh experience. Once I’d chosen my item of clothing, it was time for the fun part…customizing it just for me! I decided on a knee-length skirt and a cap sleeve style. Then I took my measurements to ensure that the dress fit just right. Everything from my height to my chest, waist and hip measurements went into a custom form so that my dress would fit just right. I was pretty excited for it to arrive!

Less than a week later, I had my custom-made dress. The material was nice and thick, perfect for winter wear. I loved the wrap-around style of the dress too. I pulled it on and checked out the fit. I loved the way the dress fit in the chest; I have a bigger chest and I often find I have to choose between a shirt that fits my waist and one that fist my upper body. I did find the dress didn’t hug my waist quite the way I wanted. Maybe it’s cut a bit loose to be comfortable, or maybe I was a little bloated the day I did the measurements! Still, overall the dress fit better than most items of clothing I purchase. And because eShakti is passionate about customer satisfaction, the company offers a no-hassle return policy on its clothing if you’re not completely satisfied!

In addition to cute dresses, eShakti offers skirts and blouses all with custom fit options that help ensure your clothing fits just the way you want it to. Check out the new fall collection and treat yourself to a new dress, skirt or blouse. You’ll love the luxury of having clothing that was made just for your shape!

Sibu beauty Sea Buckthorn Cleanser review

When I received a bottle of the Sea Buckthorn Balancing Facial Cleanser by Sibu Beauty for review, I was intrigued. I had never heard of Sea Buckthorn Berries, or about its benefits as a skincare product. It turns out that these berries are a naturally sustainable resource that grow in the Tibetan Himalayas, and they’ve been a source of health and beauty for centuries.

Sea Buckthorn contains tons of essential vitamins and nutrients, including Vitamins A, C, E and K, as well as Omega 3, 6, and 9 fatty acids and the elusive Omega-7 fatty acid, which helps to neutralize free radicals and aid in the production of collagen (see: less lines and wrinkles!). These vitamins and nutrients claim to protect, revitalize and repair skin, and all four of the Omega fatty acids are critical in providing cellular support for healthy skin, hair and nails.
The Sea Buckthorn Balancing Facial Cleanser is slated for use on all skin types, and claims to gently exfoliate, remove excess oil and impurities and leave skin feeling and looking radiant and refreshed. It also claims to be useful for removing makeup.

I was a little hesitant to try a new cleanser, only because my skin is dry and so sensitive and I had just gotten done with a terrifying breakout, but the ingredient list seemed gentle enough so I figured I’d give it a go.

The cleanser is a light feeling gel-like substance. Mixed with a bit of water, it lathers lightly on the skin. It has a citrus scent which I found very refreshing. After washing, my skin felt good. Normal. Not dry or tight, which I struggle with as a result of cleansers that are a little too harsh or stripping for my dry, sensitive skin.

It did a good job of removing most of my makeup. Although, in Sibu Beauty’s defense, I wear a TON of mascara – it’s not exactly easy to remove. But it did remove most of it, and it even removed my heavily put on pigment easily, which can be quite the feat. All in all, as a cleanser and makeup remover in one, this is a contender.

I’ve been using the Sea Buckthorn Balancing Facial Cleanser for a couple of weeks now, only at night because I just splash water on my face in the morning. My skin has not gotten red or irritated, or broken out at all from using this product. I actually feel like I have a little bit more of a glow. That could also be from the fact that this product is helping my skin maintain an optimal moisture balance and not drying it out. But honestly, I don’t care where the glow is coming from, I’m just happy that I have it.
The best part is that Sibu Beauty products, including their Sea Buckthron Balancing Facial Cleanser, are all-natural, cruelty-free (yay!), paraben-free and sulfate-free, and the brand practices free trade. And they’re now 100% vegan as well! Very cool.

You can check out Sibu Beauty here if you’re interested in learning more!

Disclaimer:
I was sent a product for review; however I was not otherwise compensated for this post.
All opinions are 100% my own.

14.11.13

I almost stopped believing in shooting stars

Every night, I'd look for a sign.
Something, anything, to tell me that it wasn't real.

I'm not here. This isn't happening
My balcony became my refuge, on those clear, autumn nights. Standing alone, with only the dim light of a slowly smouldering cigarette, and the stars. The television was almost always on, adding it's cold, blue light.
I couldn't really watch it for long. But I needed the noise. Always pacing, there was no way I could stand in the one place. Motion was life. Inactivity hurt. 3am journeys around the lake became an essential escape.
And the ducks, startled into sudden action, in an explosion of movement and noise, reminded me that I could still feel.

It was about this time, that I began searching for shooting stars. And praying to a God that I don't know if I fully believe in. Because I knew...if I asked for a sign, and that shooting star appeared, things would be alright. Confirmation of what I knew had to be true.
It was all a mistake. Everything would turn around, and I could live again.

So began my nightly vigil. Walk into my room, the place where my entire life's efforts were placed, and wait for the sun to set. And I saw some amazing sunsets. It seems I paid more attention when I was waiting for night to cover the land. I'd wait, and turn my head to the sky, searching for my sign.
I can't remember the transition from autumn to winter of this year. The cold couldn't touch me, it just meant that I had longer nights to search the sky. And the air was so clear. Misting in front of my face, drifting off around me, blending with the denser smoke. I could sometimes hear the crackling of the tobacco as it burnt, flared bright in front of my eyes. Some nights, I saw the fog gradually form, blanketing the city. Forming halos around street lights, and reducing the silence to something even quieter. I could never truly appreciate it's beauty though. All I saw, was that it was obscuring the stars.
Irony is a wonderful thing. It was a cloudy night, when my sign finally came. Light reflected off the low cloud, tears in the cover allowing occasional glimpses to the clear sky above. I guess I'll never know why I chose to look up right at that point, why my eyes were drawn straight to the hole which had appeared in the clouds. But there it was. From one side of that window to the heavens to the other, a shooting star, burning bright. For a moment, my heart felt as though it had stopped, and a shiver ran up my spine, as I wished the only thing I had any desire for. As I hoped, that maybe, I would feel alive again.
And nothing happened

Life went on, just the same as before. Each day I felt the same. Every night, I stayed up late, not caring to sleep, because every time I'd close my eyes, I knew, that another day had passed. And that before too long, a new day would dawn - just the same as the last.
And every day, I remembered that shooting star, as though I was seeing it for the very first time. And I wondered, where it's power had gone. Why nothing was different. All the time I felt that the world should have changed - somehow warped around me, and bought things back to the way they were before. While all the time, everything was dragging me further away.
I began to doubt in the power of my shooting star

Time passes, days slip away. Feelings change, and emotions are transformed. Insight comes with time, unclouded by the fear of of those moments in life, untainted by memory. It's strange sometimes how long it takes for understanding to come. Because I was so fixed upon my shooting star meaning one thing, that I was blind to the possibility that it could ever mean anything else. And now life has changed. Feelings have changed. Everything's different.
I realise now, that I did receive a sign that cold winter night - and only now have I been able to acknowledge that things are better. So I lay down to sleep at night, knowing that my days haven't been wasted. Knowing that there's life - hope - in the future for me now.
These summer nights, I will walk to a mountain top, lie on a rock still warm from the day's sun. And I will scan the skies.
Searching for a shooting star.

Perlier imperial honey body butter review IFABBO

Sponsored Post

You know, How good honey can be for your skin? From making your skin softer and smoother, helping reduce scars to being an all natural anti-aging ingredient, Honey has been an essential in women's beauty regimen since ancient history. There's just one teeny-tiny problem with it. I, often do not like how sticky it feels on my skin.

As much as I would like to use honey daily on my skin, its use didn't go beyond its addition to my morning tea. ...Until Yesterday! What changed? I found the goodness of honey in a jar. iFabbo sent across Perlier Imperial Honey body butter for review. Given my past experiences with them and now after feeling the goodness of this body butter, I am sold! Normally, I'm pretty loyal to small etailers or Korean beauty brands. This Italian prestige brand makes some amazing products, though. In the psst, I've tried several of their bath and hand creams. This was my first perlier body butter, and I was pleasantly surprised at how little it took and how emollient and decadent the product felt on my parched, tattooed skin.

This marvelous melting body butter from the rare honey of Black Bees, combined with Royal Jelly is a true beauty formulation. It nourishes the skin with the sensual notes of honey and Oriental Woods. This body butter is perfect to moisturize the skin in the harsh winter months.
It is starting to get colder here in Oklahoma, which means much drier skin a perfect time to try this product. This body butter is very rich & creamy and leaves the skin feeling soft, smooth & hydrated. The best part is that it takes only a small amount of the body butter to do this.

I tried it first thing in the morning when my skin tends to be very dry, and have been using this prior to waxing my legs/underarms/lady bits. My skin instantly feels supple, and it does away with any irritation. The smell can be a bit overwhelming, but its perfect for winter and I advise mixing this one with perfumes of any sort. There's enough scent in this product to last you long throughout the day.

Perlier Imperial Honey Body Butter can be purchased on HSN and retails for $40.00. You can get $5.00 off your purchase with code iFabbo5.

Have you tried any products by Perlier? How about Italian beauty in general? This girl is absolutely enamored by product from other countries!  Please do let me know through your comments on our Facebook!

Have a great day


Disclaimer: I am not sponsored or paid by Perlier USA to write the review of  the "Perlier Imperial Body Butter". All opinions expressed in this post are my own.  I received this product as a sample I chose from iFabbo. #PerlierOnHSN

8.11.13

Premier dead sea miracle noir mask review


Don't know if it's a miracle but it is absolutely one of the most ingenious and freaky-cool cosmetic products I've ever used. The mask itself is a thick charcoal-colored emollient cream, with gritty particles. Those are tiny iron particles. When the time is up, you hold the magnet bar and run it over the face, removing the particles but leaving the oil-cream behind. Oh. My. GAWD, I am in gadget-geek heaven here. Besides the coolness, does it work? I must admit my skin is smoother for a few days after I do the mask, it isn't anything earth-shaking though. The package cautions against using it on blemished skin, and that's probably a good idea if you're sensitive to lanolin. It's definitely more on the moisturising than cleansing side. Still, I can't get over the sheer delight of it and will continue to use it even if it doesn't do any good. You can purchase this mask along with lots of nifty other products here.


EDIT: To my great regret I have discovered that this gives me pimples. I'm going to use this on my hands and feet to finish it off, though. overall, its a great product. Miracle mask noir is priced at 239.99 and you can purchase this and lots of other nifty products at http://www.premiercosmetics.com

Bunnies for thanksgiving!

Okay, so most of you know that in real life, i'm huge on being a nerdy domestic. Due to the recent formation of team Talley, I'm back on my domestic game and finding all sorts of crazy cute projects to do around the house and in the kitchen.

  How flippin rad are these Bunny Shaped Rolls? The secret to shaping the ears is Kitchen Shears! Use your favorite rolls recipe to bake these bunnies or try the one below. Your family will love to see these cute bunnies on the Easter dinner table this year.

**Please note that you will probably want to practice the ear shaping technique ahead of time because the photo above is from a professional chef. Your results may vary. Also please note that the recipe below is NOT the recipe used in the picture you see above.**

Ingredients:

2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1 package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 ounces) sour cream
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg
Directions:

Put the butter, the sour cream and water in a small saucepan and heat, but do not cook. Cool to tepid then add the remaining ingredients. Put in a kneader (or use your kneader attachment on your mixer if you have one). If thick add more water.
Let it rise double and cut into 16 equal parts.
Baking tray lined with baking paper or a silicone baking mat and cut the ears with kitchen shears. When the dough is STILL SOFT, Make sure you smooth the edges around, so you do not end up with gremlin shaped horns.
The eyes can then be put in, use pepper grains or similar.
Bake at 375° for about 10 minutes or until golden brown.

7.11.13

Thanksgiving at Abundance! #teamtalley


Thanksgiving is a very nice holiday. It's all in good spirit, and I applaud anyone responsible for its engraving into American culture. However, despite my appreciation of family, friends and cooking (and my love of the holiday season), I can't say much in defense of the actual contents of Thanksgiving dinner.

Because, really, when it comes down to it, the food served at Thanksgiving isn't all that exciting. I mean, come on, turkey? Why turkey? Why not shrimp, or something? Pasta? It just doesn't make sense. My mother is a fabulous cook, and she spends hours preparing the food (turkey, yams, potatoes, pies, etc.). I always share my gratitude with her and whoever else may be with us, always eating until full. But this is all facade. To me, the food has the integrity of a piece of toast. And yet everyone acts (authentically or not, I don't know) as if it's the best thing they've ever tasted. Supposedly it's a prerequisite that eating at Thanksgiving has to be like finding god or winning freedom or losing your virginity.

These customs are ridiculous. How did they get put into place? And why?

The past few years I've cooked a traditional thanksgiving dinner with a tofurkey substitite as a house girlfriend. I've recently learned that when living in sin, a house girlfriends duties are never done. This year, things are a bit more different. This is Bumble's first thanksgiving. I don't want to serve the traditional garb, because we eat weird ish. So far it'll only be the two of us and his best friend, who doesn't celebrate Thanksgiving either. These dudes will eat literally anything. Spam, lengua, old stuffing, tin cans.. I'd make a fortune selling them to food network, but I kind of adore my bumble a bit too much and oz is a packaged deal.

So, to please the palettes of my two exotic eaters and to celebrate the recent addition of poultry to my diet, I'm delving deep into my roots and doing a .... Hispanic spin on Thanksgiving with recipes abuela Mary and Enoch taught me, altered for more exotic taste buds.

*drumroll, guys!*

Turkey Tamales With Guajillo-cranberry Mole

1 stem seeds
4 guajillo chiles
2 dried ancho chiles
1 stem seeds
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1/4 yellow onion (medium, cut into wedges)
4 cloves garlic
1/2 cup pecans
1 tsp sesame seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes (canned, drained)
1 corn tortilla (torn into strips)
2 cups chicken broth
4 cups turkey (shredded)
salt (to taste)
dried cornhusks
1 cup lard (shortening or butter, room temperature)
4 cups masa harina
2 cups turkey (chicken or turkey broth)
1/4 tsp cayenne
salt (to taste)

Method:
To make the mole, in a dry skillet heated on high, toast the guajillo and ancho chiles on each side for about 10 seconds or just until they start to puff. Fill the skillet with enough water to cover chiles. Leave the heat on until water begins to boil and then turn off the heat and let chiles soak until soft, about 45 minutes. Once hydrated, discard the soaking water, rinse the chiles and place into a blender.

Meanwhile, pick through the cornhusks and choose the widest ones. You'll need 24 for the tamales plus a couple of more to rip into strips for fastening the tamales. Place the cornhusks in a pan of boiling water, turn off the heat and submerge until completely covered. Let soak for 45 minutes or until soft and pliable.

Add the vegetable oil to the skillet and while stirring occasionally cook on medium-low heat the onions and garlic cloves until they start to brown, about 5 minutes. Lift the onions and garlic from the skillet with a slotted spatula and place into the blender. In the same skillet, add the pecans and while stirring occasionally cook on medium-low heat until they are slightly darker and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the sesame seeds and cook for 1 more minute. Add the roasted nuts to the blender.

Also add to the blender the cranberries, cocoa, cinnamon, allspice, cloves, crushed tomatoes, corn tortilla strips and broth. Blend on high speed until smooth.

Pour the mole into a pot, and cook on medium-low heat for 20 minutes, tasting and adjusting spices and adding salt if necessary. Once the mole has cooked, pour out half the mole and set aside. Add the shredded turkey to the pot with the remaining mole and stir until the meat and mole are well combined.

To make the masa dough, in a mixer, beat the lard or butter until fluffy and creamy. Add the masa harina, chicken broth and cayenne and continue to beat until the dough comes together into a moist dough. Taste and add salt if necessary

To form the tamales, take a moistened cornhusk, which you’ll notice has four sides and is in sort of a cone shape. Place the cornhusk in front of you, with the pointed end at your right. In the center of the husk, spoon out 1/4 cup of the masa and spread it leaving a clean border around the masa. Place 1 tablespoon of the sauced turkey in the center of the masa along with 1 teaspoon of the mole salsa.

Now, join together the two long sides (not the pointed side and the wide side) and then roll the husk until it’s about the width of a cigar. Take the narrower, pointed end and fold it up about 1/4 way of the tamale. You can leave it like this or you can rip strips from a cornhusk and tie the tamale in the middle. Alternatively, you can rip strips from a cornhusk and after rolling, tie up each end like it’s a package.

In a large pot, place a steamer basket or a colander. Add water to the pot just to the base of the basket. Place the tamales in the basket seam side down, bring the water to a boil and then cover the pot and turn the heat down to low.

Check the water level occasionally to make sure there’s enough in the pot, and steam the tamales for 2 hours. You’ll know they’re done when the masa pulls cleanly away from the husk. Serve with additional mole sauce. They will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days and can also be frozen. To reheat the tamales, once thawed, steam them for 20 minutes.

Yield: 24 tamales.

Note: If you’re not a fan of mole, try making the tamales with a tomatillo salsa instead. You can find masa harina and dried chiles at Mexican grocers.

Of course, this isn't all were having. Just alli have time to post today. :)