Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Soap Life.

Work in progress.

Purple Quail Soap Company.  

So it's still a work in progress (and a big pain in the butt due to state mandates), but I'm on the road to launching my own soapmaking business!  It's something I've wanted to do for some time now - I bought the supplies for it while I was still living in Astoria, so probably since 2012?  Unfortunately I couldn't make real soap (read: lye and oils) for awhile because I had neither space nor time to handle the chemicals and cure the bars.  But now I have all of the above!!

Unfortunately, I have to go through all sorts of hoops and file a bunch of paperwork to start my own business - even if I'm just selling on Etsy/online in general.  Urgh!  Notarized documents, fees paid, taxes, diagrams of my home and the proposed spaces I'll be using....and that's just to declare myself a home business!  Ridiculous.  I understand it to a point, and there's no way of really being able to say to the government, "yeah, but it's just a small home business thing..." but REALLY - It's just a small home business thing.  Still, tons of stuff needs to be done, and hopefully it will all work out, though I'd be lying if I said it hasn't kept me up at night.  All I want to do is make some damned soap!!

On the other hand, I'm now awash in all sorts of soap inspiration (sorry Pinterest friends), and am dying to figure out my niche.  I'm leaning towards all natural, but am so SO tempted by the colorful, fun swirly side of things.  I probably won't use animal fats (lard/tallow), but I'm still on the fence about that, since it produces a great bar of soap (especially amazing for laundry), and it's something that would get thrown out anyway.  Seeing as I'm a meat eater, it seems silly to waste something so good.  I'd feel 100% content if I could get my animal fat from happy, local, grass-fed cows, but that's a bit tough to find here in Florida.  Probably won't go 100% vegan, as I don't want to exclude milk, honey, and other goodies from my stuff.

That said, I will most certainly be palm-free.  I had no idea this was an issue until I started researching soap recipes, and I've weighed the arguments and different approaches, and I don't feel it's worth it to use this particular oil (even if it is cheap and makes a good bar of soap).

In a nutshell:
-Probably animal fat-free (but not 100% vegan for all my soaps)
-Definitely palm-free

So as you an see, work in progress.  I haven't even figured out my packaging design yet!  I'm trying out lots of different looks, and really liked the stamped brown craft paper look (plus that fits with my 100% all-natural jive), but it's all fair game right now.

Here's some of my results (nothing that hasn't been on Facebook/Instagram, but just a way for me to compile my work so far):

Batch No. 3 - Sweet Mint Infusion
Batch No. 3 - Cut into bars
Batch No. 4 - Colored with paprika & turmeric infused oils
Batch No. 4 - Lined up for cure

Friday, April 18, 2014

Florida Times.

So Baz and I are settled in and sitting pretty (for the most part) here in Florida.  We've been here for about three weeks now, just trying to make our house a home, and boy is it tough.  We are not used to the space that a regular sized space affords, and the first week was exhausting walking back and forth across the apartment to do the things we needed to do.  You know, like normal people.

My llama painting gets to come out again!!

When we got here, for the first two weeks I was really lousy about my diet and started eating like garbage - Sweet Tomatoes and bread, all day erryday.  Result? My blood sugar skyrocketed after a four week decline (gradual as it was) - my average BG went from 250 in Brooklyn to 290-310 in Florida.  No good at all!  

For those of you who don't know, I was never really diagnosed (by two doctors!!), but I had a third doctor (my OBGYN, of all people) confirm that I have Type 2 Diabetes.  I went through a scary patch about 2 months ago where I went in for a routine physical/bloodwork, and my blood sugar came back at 629.  For reference, 80-100 is normal, anything higher than 140 is diabetes, so I was fucking sick.  I knew something was up - I was drinking ungodly amounts of water and peeing all the time, but was fine otherwise, so I didn't think anything of it.  I mean, I'm young, active, not incredibly huge (my BMI places me at "normal"), and don't have any medical issues, so how could it be diabetes??  But it was.

Thankfully, nothing major happened - I never had to go to the hospital or anything, but it was a really scary period of time, and I'm just glad I got help before something horrible happened.  I'm on an oral medication currently, with a self imposed strict-as-hell diet and not-strict-as-hell exercise regime.  That's what sucks about Florida - no opportunities to walk!  I'm so used to walking 1-3 miles a day, so not walking is upsetting to me.  Baz and I joined a gym to counteract that, so at least I can burn off energy that way.

So I mentioned earlier that my diet was shit when I got to Florida - I wasn't counting my calories, or really limiting my foods.  Kind of a disaster.  I gave myself those two weeks, then put my ass in gear and started tracking again.  After a week of tracking, I was still having high numbers and getting discouraged.  I looked at what I was eating, and everything seemed right - lean meats, fish, non-starchy vegetables, and whole grains.  Where to start??

After looking everything over, I made a super tough choice - I decided to cut out any and all wheat products from my diet.  All breads, cereals, snacks, etc.  I thought I was going to have an anxiety attack just thinking about it - I'm the queen of bread, I would eat bread for every damn meal if I could.  Meats? Nope, I'll snack out of the bread basket, thanks.  Bagels, cereals, toast, muffins, cookies, love em all to an insane degree.  I don't think I've ever met anyone who loves bread more than myself. True story.

But I did it.  By gum, I FUCKING DID IT.  Cut all the bread from the diet - the whole wheat breads, the super-high-fiber healthy cereals, the pastas, etc.  Did that on April 11, and since then (today is April 18), my blood sugar has stabilized incredibly, as well as stayed low.  Well, low for my standards anyhow.  For the last three days, my blood sugar has averaged around 210-220.  That sounds (and is) high, but for someone whose blood sugar would spike 150-200 points after a meal, that's a victory.  The funky thing is, I haven't cut out sugar completely - I'll have trail mix with chocolate and raisins in it, or an apple with peanut butter (omfg, amazing), and while my blood sugar does rise a little, it doesn't spike.  It makes me sad to realize wheat products are probably out of my life from now on, but if that's what it takes, that's how it has to be.  Meanwhile, I'm just happy that my blood sugar is now somewhat manageable and getting closer to normal.  I just had my lowest reading ever a few days ago - 124.  That's unheard of for me!  I keep getting more and more readings under the 200 mark, and it's wonderful.

Now to juggle this and a new house.  Fun.  At least I have a dining room table to eat my meals at now.  Haven't had one of those in years!

Oh heck yeah.

Monday, March 17, 2014


Moving is stressful.  I can't help but wonder if it's part of the reason my blood sugar is starting to creep up again.  I'm sure a big reason is that we're eating out a bit more (which equals more white carbs ugh), but the level of stress sitting on my shoulders sucks.

Sushi, WHY YOU SO BAD FOR ME???  Photo courtesy of Yelp.

I'm still waiting to see what I'm doing with the mattress in Harlem.  I feel like we're eventually going to give it away for free or leave it downstairs.  Such a waste.  Still need to reinstall the child gates and repaint spackled holes (easy peasy).

As for the basement - ugh.  Baz and I dragged my canvases and records on a hand cart over the bridge - good workout, but man that uphill half is a drag.  Really gets the muscles going.  I still have the electronics to deal with, what a pain in my ass.  There's an e-waste recycling facility in Gowanus, so we'll probably throw everything in a cab and drive it over there to donate it, probably Tuesday.  A iMac, keyboard, large boombox w/speakers, and a giant old-school monitor.

That should be fun.  Pretty sure that's the one thing I'm majorly stressed about.  After that, I won't have much to wrestle with - maybe a milkcrate full of books, but that doesn't require a cart and me sweating while hauling ass over the East River.

Tomorrow (Monday) we're going to do some returns on stuff we have, then go to the Museum of Natural History for one last jaunt.  Should be fun!

The dioramas - always my favorite. Courtesy of nyclovesnyc.blogspot.com

It's crazy to think that in a week, Baz and I will be in our own place.  Our very own place.  With only our stuff.  This has never happened before, and I am excited like woah.

Can't sleep tonight, so I've spent the night puttering around, cleaning up my parent's apartment (where we've been staying the past couple of weeks).  Unfortunately, it still kinda looks like a bomb hit it.  Ah well, all in due time.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Lower Back Drama.

Today has been bizarre.  I've spent it in a haze of lower back pain, nausea, and sleeping.  Ate a meal with WAY too much fat last night (around 5pm), which didn't agree with me AT ALL.  Don't think it's food poisoning, per se, since Baz is fine for the most part, but I paid hell for it.  Let's just say I'll never be making low-carb meatballs again.  Ground beef, parmesan cheese, and egg is delicious but way to heavy!  I've been eating stuff like egg whites, turkey bacon, bran cereal, and tuna salad with avocado.  My body wasn't prepared for undrained and cheesy meatballs.  Never again.

As a result, all I've had to eat today has been a protein energy shake and a little container of applesauce.  How is this possible.  All I know is, I am full, and my BG is the lowest it's ever registered - 204.  Baz said, "Well, there's your answer! Just stop eating."  Of course, why didn't I think of that!  My blood sugar was 290 when I woke up, probably because I still had some of last night's dinner in my stomach, so it wasn't a true fasting BG.  But yeah, 204 - even though it's under impossible conditions, it's still pretty great that it even reached that.

I've spent the entire day with KILLER lower back pain, bloating, and general malaise.  Just want this to go away.  Slept a few hours here and there, and I'm still tired.  Ugh!  Lower back pain is terrible, it feels like the flu.  Plus, the movers are supposed to come tomorrow in the morning/afternoon to pick up our stuff (after a 2-day delay), so I'd better be in tip-top shape by then.