Friday, August 31, 2012

My Weird Hobbies: Civil War Reenacting Photography

As you know, I'm a Civil War Reenactress, and Living Historian. While I may love portraying history, I have an equally infectious love of Reenacting Photography.

Many reenactors give such a wonderful performance, that they throw you back in time, if only for a moment. I love to try and capture those moments, walking the line between past and present. Below is a video I've made, using almost exclusively images I have taken at events. There are a few other photographers works in there, but all proper attribution goes to them for those images.

I hope you'll watch and enjoy!

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Buns In The Sun

Well, the 'girls' have been in MOODS today. I have been trying to clean, do homework, and finish orders today, and the buns just will not behave themselves! So, in an attempt to get them to calm down and leave me be for a couple hours, I took them outside to let them get all their energy out.

Boy, was that the wrong idea, they're more wound up than ever! But, I'm always happy to have my girls out and about, and watch their antics in the yard.

You can't see the patches of missing fur, as their covered by her harness. But some bun is feeling great today! She's grooming her dewlap, which is just extra skin that many rabbits develop.

 Claudia is headed for her outside 'den'! She has laid claim to the particular bush, and every time she goes outside, she has to rearrange, clean, and sniff around her 'den'. 

 Guarding her 'den' from me, and relaxing in the morning sun.. She's so cute! Her and Maylene are never allowed to be together, as Maylene isn't fixed, and we don't want kitlings!

 She knows she's looking good today! Can't you just see her saying, "Look Momma! Look at me, look at me, look at me!"

Sitting in the sun, warming herself. Looks like it could be time for some Glamour Shots!

If you'd like to read more about my bunnies, please read the introduction post I did for them a while back!

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Monday, August 27, 2012

Mia Mariu Shopping Spree, A Pitch List Event

Are you ready for yet another fabulous pitch List Giveaway and Review?

I was recently given the chance to try out a couple great products from Mia Mariu, and I was in love from the get go! They provide Natural, and Mineral based, cosmetics and beauty products. I was given the Mineral Foundation in Vanilla, their version of fair, as well as the Mineral Concealer in the same shade. 

For starters, I have never used a mineral makeup of any kind, so I wasn't totally sold on the idea at first. But once I used it, I fell in love! The concealer is a touch thick, but I found that stippling it on with a brush, rather than using my finger, helped to make it coat evenly, and it actually works! I have pretty bad bags under my eyes during the School Semester, and this hid them almost completely! I have tried almost every concealer in existence it sees like, and this is the only one that really covers well.

The foundation went on so smooth and light, it doesn't even feel like I'm wearing anything. It comes in a great pump bottle, so one pump is the perfect amount to cover my entire face. I would suggest using a foundation brush, to get an even flawless coverage. I wear it every day, and even in the insane heat, with me sweating, it stays perfect!

Love what you're hearing? Then enter below to have the chance to win a $400 Shopping Spree with Mia Mariu!

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Love and Lightning Bugs,

No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. This promotion is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook and is Facebook-compliant. Winners will be notified by email from a ‘Pitch List ‘ Blog. Winners will have 36 hours to respond or risk forfeiting their prize. Prize fulfillment is the sole responsibility of the sponsor. This blogs participating may not be held liable for Sponsors who do not fulfill prize shipments.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

College, Not A Walk In The Park

College has once again started, so my posting may become quite erratic, but I'm going to write as much as possible!

The first full week of classes has finished, and I can already tell this will be one lousy Semester for Bastian and myself.

On Monday, our very first day of classes, we did our normal routine and went through the McDonald's Drive-Thru for some quick breakfast and a Coke. BAD IDEA. Bastian noticed the car was over heating a bit, so he parked it, and went to add fluid to the tank. However, neither one of us must have been fully awake, because we left the car running, causing coolant to explode out of the car. That in turn caused the Drive Belt to get so slick it flew off, and broke our main Oil Sensor. Great start to the morning.

So, since we were stranded until we could get the part, we had to walk to the nearest parts store that actually had the item in stock. That was a 3 mile walk to the store, and a 3 mile walk back. Once we got the part installed, and the car in driving order, low and behold, one of our tires was flat. We limped it to the nearest air pump, about 100 feet away luckily, and filled it up. By this point it was 10 a.m., and we had missed two classes already, with another 20 minute drive ahead of us before we even reached the campus, we knew we would miss the next class as well. Needless to say, we only made our last class that day; Dairy Cattle Management.

After class, we were greeted by the same front tire being flat again, so we put on a donut, and limped over to Firestone, who refused to fix the tire, and Wal-Mart, which also refused to fit it with a patch kit. With an annoyed and exasperated grumble, we drove the normal hour home, except it was now stretched out to two, since we had to use the donut. Thankfully, we had a spare at home.

Ah, but Wednesday, we had our first real taste of the full schedule, and it left us exhausted. Not only did we have a very heavy workload, our actual classes are situated in the craziest way possible. We have to walk from one side of campus, all the way to the other, then back to the far side. Did I mention we have 5 minutes to walk all the way across campus, which spans a couple miles? Whew, fun stuff! On top of that, the packet we needed for our Accounting class was out of stock, so we had to be put on a waiting list, and hope it came in later that didn't. So, we had to drive up to school on Thursday just to pick up our packets, so we could do the homework for our Accounting class.

And we've come to the bane of my existence this Semester; Accounting. Not only do we have assigned seating, oh no, the professor is so OCD he made fill in the blank notes, and specifies exactly how each assignment should be put together, right down to the format, where the staples are allowed to be, how many you can use, and the amount of tape allowed to overlap over any portion. Yeah...this class is going to be my least favorite of the Semester, for sure.

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Battle of Lone Jack, 150 Years Later

"During the summer of 1862, many Confederate and Missouri State Guard recruiters were dispatched north from Arkansas into Missouri, to replenish the depleted ranks of the Trans-Mississippi Confederacy. In Western/West-Central Missouri these included then Captain Jo Shelby, Colonel Vard Cockrell, Colonel John T. Coffee, Upton Hays, John Charles Tracy, John T. Hughes, and DeWitt C. Hunter. Most of these commands were working independently and there was no clear sense of seniority yet established. On August 11 the Federal commander General John Schofield was stunned to learn that Independence, Missouri had fallen to a combined force of Colonel John T. Hughes, William Quantrill, Gideon W. Thompson and Upton Hays. Schofield ordered General James Totten to concentrate his forces to deal with the threat.

The Tater Mess fires at the Missouri Irish Brigade from the garden.

On August 15, 1862 Union Major Emory S. Foster, under orders from Totten, led a 740-man combined force from Lexington to Lone Jack. Other forces were dispatched from Kansas under General James G. Blunt (2,500 men) and Missouri under General Fitz Henry Warren (600 men), but they would not arrive in time for the engagement. Upon reaching the Lone Jack area, Foster received intelligence that 1,600 rebels under Col. Coffee and Lt. Col. Tracy were camped near town and prepared to attack them. The estimate of the rebel command was revised down to only 800 and at about 11:00 p.m., Foster and his men attacked the Confederate camp and dispersed the enemy. The firing of his cannon during this brief skirmish proved to be Foster's undoing, for it alerted Colonel Vard Cockrell and other rebel commands in the area of Foster's position and intent to fight. Foster's men returned to town to rest along the main street, having spent several days in the saddle. Colonel Cockrell conferred with Upton Hays, Lt. Col. Sidney D. Jackman, and DeWitt C. Hunter and determined to give battle the next morning with the intent of overwhelming the much smaller Union force. 

Cockrell's plan was to clandestinely deploy Hunter, Jackman and Tracy's forces in a field to the west of town well before sunrise on August 16 and await the opening of the fight. Hays was to initiate the battle with a mounted attack from the north as daylight approached, whereupon the others would launch a surprise flank attack. Hays did not attack as early as planned, instead reconnoitering the other commands before advancing. As daylight appeared Foster's pickets became aware of Hays' advance. This gave Foster's men a brief opportunity to deploy, spoiling the element of surprise. 

The doorway I was standing in on Sunday, taking pictures from. Two Federal soldiers from the MIB decided to do some shooting out of it. You can almost imagine that those holes in the wood of the blacksmith shop are made form real bullets!

With sunrise exposing them while awaiting Hays' tardy advance, Jackman, Hunter, and Tracy attacked but were held in check. Hays then performed a dismounted attack from the north. Together his force and Tracy's crumpled the Union right flank, forcing the 7th Missouri Cavalry (commanded by Captain Milton H. Brawner) back onto the artillery. The cannoneers now began a desperate fight. Union Captain Long's 2nd Battalion Missouri State Militia Cavalry concealed behind a hedge row of Osage orange trees poured a crossfire on the Confederates, temporarily repulsing them. 

On the other side of the field Hunter's force was stalled by three companies of Captain Plumb's 6th Missouri State Militia Cavalry. A mounted force (possibly Coffee's) approached on Hunter's flank and he mistook them for Federals. The mounted men attacked but were surprised and repulsed by fire from Capt. Slocum's company of the 7th Missouri State Militia Cavalry behind another Osage orange hedge. Hunter, now short of ammunition, abandoned the field for the ammunition train, exposing Jackman's flank. Jackman was also short of ammunition and retired as well. 

Tracy's and Hays' commands renewed their attack to the north, eventually displacing the Indiana artillerists. With no remaining Confederate threat to the south, Captain Plumb now counterattacked to the north, reclaiming the artillery. Jackman and Hunter's resupplied men then returned to the field. Hays attempted to counter attack but a counter-charge by Plumb forced him to retreat. Much of the fighting then devolved into a war of attrition between Confederates on the western side of the street, Union men on the right with their artillery in the middle. The artillerists were soon routed and the guns changed hands several times. Foster recaptured the guns a final time, being severely wounded himself in the process. 

The Tater Mess

After five hours of fighting and the loss of Foster, rebel Col. Coffee and his 800 men reappeared north of town causing Foster’s successor, Capt. Milton H. Brawner, to order a retreat. The men left the field in good order and returned to Lexington. The cannon were hastily spiked or disabled and hidden before the Federals departed. The Confederates secured a victory, but the approach of Union forces including Blunt and Fitz Henry Warren forced the Rebels to withdraw on August 17. General Fitz Warren occupied the town that day. 

Foster was later criticized for attacking on the first day while being outnumbered and for not awaiting reinforcement. However, Fitz Warren's command did not arrive until two days later, and Blunt's three days after Foster arrived. The Federals fought more vigorously because many believed Quantrill's raiders were present and would be brutal to prisoners.

Federal Capt. Brawner reported Union losses as 43 killed, 154 wounded, and 75 missing/captured, a casualty rate of 34 percent and this was almost certainly too low. Rebel Colonel Hunter reported burying 119 Federals and 47 Rebels, but the true losses are unknown. Excluded from Hunter's total were an unknown number of dead Confederates claimed by their friends and families for burial elsewhere.  A recent roll call list of Federals killed at the action as compiled in service records by Wayne Schnetzer reveals 65 killed and at least 29 who later died from wounds received at Lone Jack. The list of known Confederate participation and deaths is less complete, but at least 55 names are listed as killed, with at least 4 others later succumbing to their wounds. 

Colonel Cockrell succeeded in locating the two cannon and removed them from the field and back to Arkansas. One was later credited with firing the shot that disabled the Queen City on the White River. Because they were in possession of the field, the Confederate recruits gained a substantial quantity of needed firearms. As many as half of the recruits were initially unarmed."

Last weekend, I was given the amazing opportunity to attend the 150th Anniversary Reenactment of the Battle of Lone Jack. The battle, which I detailed above, has become one of those sadly forgotten by many in Missouri. But thanks to the efforts of many wonderful and talented people, history once again came to life! 

Below, and above, are photos I took during the event, so please enjoy!

Janet, Belinda, Myself, and Julie in front of the Wetplate Photographers Tent. Janet played the role of a servant, and amazingly so! She was a complete joy to watch perform. Belinda was very very sweet and made me a neckbow for my Tintype, and Julie was my companion most of the day. All three ladies were a joy to get to know!

The Confederate Troops made their way to the battle by marching through the cornfield. The sound of them marching and whooping was chilling. This was taken on Saturday, when I was dressed out, and in front of the house with the spectators.

Some of the wonderful Ladies and children who attended, seated on the porch of the Cave House. On the far right is the woman who played Mrs. cave, who was shot during the battle, and later died of infection.

A member of the Missouri Irish Brigade looking out over the Confederates firing at him. This was taken on Sunday, when I was dressed in everyday clothing, and hiding in the blacksmith shop behind the Cave house. Being an event volunteer had it's perks! I managed to get photos no one else could, due to my unique position.

A nice young man who surprised me in my hideout, where I was shooting pictures. He's firing at the members of the Missouri Irish Brigade.

The same young man, putting caps on his revolver.

The Tintype I had done on Saturday, taken by the amazingly talented Robert Szabo.

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Snack Easy with Fun Bites, a Pitch List Event

College is a difficult time, especially for those of us who have to commute an hour to and from school. So eating healthy during this time can be really difficult, especially when you're literally running from one class to the next. I've found that small, bite size portions of food are easiest to sneak during class, or on the move. The downside though, is that it can take forever in the mornings to get all your foo cut up and ready for the day. Not anymore!

I want to introduce Fun Bites! The cutter that makes your life a million times easier.

These awesome cutters are simple to use, and save you so much time! These are marketed toward moms and kids, and I can see why. If you have a picky eater at home, how could they resist using this to make building blocks and shapes out of their food? I chose to try the heart shaped cutter, but there is also an awesome cube cutter as well. Right now, there is an amazing Coupon Code available for Fun Bites Facebook Fans, so be sure to go check that out!

Since I take my lunches and snacks in a Bento Box, it's hard to get a lot of food in there, since they're limited with space. But with this cutter, I can put 50% MORE food in my lunch, and easily portion it out as well! Sadly, my camera died before I could get some photos of my demonstration with this product.

I tried this cutter on on a few different foods: Watermelon, Sticky Rice, Cheese, and an entire PB&J Sandwich. FunBites mastered them all, cutting through with ease, and creating all the fun little shapes that make my life a tad bit more simple in the hustle and bustle of 5 A.M. mornings.

Please Enter for your chance to win one of 10 Heart Fun Bites!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Please stop by these other great Pitch List Bloggers' posts, and see what they made with their Fun Bites.

 Love and Lightning Bugs,

No purchase is necessary to enter. Void where prohibited by law. The odds of winning are based on the number of entries received. This promotion is no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook and is Facebook-compliant. Winners will be notified by email from a ‘Pitch List ‘ Blog. Winners will have 72 hours to respond or risk forfeiting their prize. Prize fulfillment is the sole responsibility of the sponsor. This blogs participating may not be held liable for Sponsors who do not fulfill prize shipments.

Pamper Yourself with TreeHut, A Pitch List Event

As I've said before, being a member of The Pitch List gives you so many great opportunities when it comes to blogging, and tonight I want to share another fantastic product that I was able to review through The Pitch List.

I was given the chance to try TreeHut's Olive & Shea Body Butter, and the Olive & Shea Sugar Body Scrub, both scented like Lavender and Chamomile. Can I just say how in love I am?

TreeHut's products are all made in the USA, Certified Organic, and Cruelty Free! Does it get any better than that? The scent of both of these items is strong enough to last on you for hours, but not so thick that it's chocking you. And they way they feel on the skin...perfection!

 Lavender Body Butter

I have really dry skin in the summer, so I was automatically drawn to the Body Butter first. Imagine my surprise, when it only took a tiny dollop to cover an entire arm! It made my skin feel so nourished, and when I put it on before bed, helped lull me to sleep.

Lavender Sugar Body Scrub

I could go on forever about the Sugar Body Scrub to be honest! I had no idea what a Sugar Scrub was before I tried this, and now that I've used it, I'm never going back! I used this on my legs before shaving, and I have never had a closer shave, with such smooth legs afterward. My skin felt like silk anytime I used this, and the scent still lingers after you dry off!

Love what you're reading? Then enter below for your chance to win the same products I tried!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out these other great Pitch List Bloggers to see what they're reviewing, and enter!

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Animal Fun Fact: The Frilled Shark

Thought by some cryptozoologists to be responsible for certain ‘sea serpent’ sightings, the eel-like Frilled Shark (Chlamydoselachus anguineus) certainly looks the part. Featuring a strange lizard-like head, ruffled throat, long, serpentine body and tiny fins, this strange shark might well explain many reports of sea serpents, were it not for two inconvenient facts: it rarely grows longer than about 6.5 feet (2 metres) and almost never visits the surface. But recent research is revealing that the Frilled Shark is a fascinating creature in its own right, every bit as wondrous as any imaginary beast.

Birth: 15-21.5 in (39-55 cm)
Maturity: males 3.2-3.6 feet (1-1.1 m), females 4.4-4.9 ft (1.4-1.5 m)
Maximum: 6.4 ft (2 m)
Maturity: no data available for either sex
Mode: ovoviviparity
Gestation: 3.5 years
Pups: 2-12, average = 6
Juvenile Diet: no data
Adult Diet: mesopelagic squids and teleosts
Habitat: Deep Sea
Depth: 165-4,200 ft (50-1,280 m)
Distribution: Arctic, Tropical Eastern Pacific, Chilean, Caribbean, Eastern North Atlantic/Mediterranean, West African, Southern African, South East Asian, Southeast Australian/New Zealand, Japanese

Named for its six pairs of collar-like gills with frilly edges, the Frilled Shark combines many unusual features. Unique among sharks, the Frilled has its first gill slit continuous across the throat. Its long jaws are terminal (at the end of the head, rather than underneath as in most sharks) and armed with some 300 trident-shaped teeth arranged in about 25 rows. The skeleton is deceptively simple and poorly calcified, probably an evolutionary response to its nutrient-poor deep-sea habitat. Its body is elongate with a low dermal ridge along each side of the belly. The pectoral fins are relatively small, there is only a single dorsal fin, the caudal fin is continuous with the long axis of the body and it has only the merest hint of a lower lobe. Lastly, the pelvic, dorsal and anal fins are located far posterior on the body, resembling the flights (wings) on a throwing dart.

Known from scattered marine locations around the globe, most Frilled Shark specimens have come from Japanese waters. The majority of captures are thought to be from near the bottom, at depths of 400 to 4,200 feet (120 to 1,280 metres), but these may be an artifact of the method of capture: with deep-sea longlines and bottom gill nets, it is often impossible to determine whether a capture was made at the set depth, on the way down, or on the way back up. Recent evidence from stomach contents suggests that the Frilled Shark sometimes makes forays far from the bottom into midwater.

Based on its body shape, it has long been assumed that the Frilled Shark swims by employing an eel-like wriggle. But its body cavity is elongate and packed with a huge liver perfused with low-density oils and hydrocarbons, making the Shark almost neutrally buoyant at depth. This fact, combined with the posterior arrangement of most of its fins suggests that the Frilled Shark may hover in midwater and — using its posterior fins as propulsive surfaces — strike, snake-like at its prey.

At depths between 160 to 660 feet (50 to 200 metres) in Saruga Bay, Japan, Frilled Sharks eat mostly squids. A recent study revealed that they eat not only weak-swimming deep-sea squids but also some surprisingly fast and powerful mesopelagic varieties. Although the study found that cephalopods compose about 61 percent of Frilled Shark diet, it also showed that a further 11 percent is composed of various teleost fishes. While the squids could be identified, often to species, based on their chitinous beaks, teleost prey was in a state of digestion too advanced to allow identification to species or even family. There is also a report of a 5.3-foot (1.6-metre) Frilled Shark from coastal waters off Choshi, Japan, that had in its stomach a 21-ounce (590-gram) Japanese Catshark (Apristuris japonicus). Thus, Frilled Sharks capture prey near the bottom as well as far above it.

No one has ever seen a Frilled Shark actually feeding, so we have no idea how they find or capture prey. Unlike most sharks, the Frilled has extending along its flanks an ‘open’ lateral line, possibly making this vibration-detecting system sensitive to even the tiniest movement. The Frilled Shark’s large mouth and treble hook-like dentition are well suited to snagging smooth, soft-bodied cephalopod prey and I suspect that its specialized gill slits help by creating a partial pharyngeal vacuum to suck in the weaker swimming species. But, like most aspects of Frilled Shark life, how this species feeds is an almost complete mystery.

One aspect of Frilled Shark biology that recently became a little less mysterious is reproduction. A study of 264 Frilled Sharks from Saruga Bay, Japan, found that here this species breeds year-round, producing an average litter of 6 pups, each about 22 inches (55 centimetres) long. It is hardly surprising that Frilled Shark litters are typically rather small, given this species slender build. In fact, the female Frilled Shark has a trunk proportionately longer than that of the male, presumably to make room for developing young in a remarkably attenuate body. But what is downright astonishing is the duration of the gestation period, estimated to be as much as 42 months (3.5 years). If this is correct, the gestation period of the Frilled Shark is nearly twice as long as that of an African Elephant (22 months) and by far the longest of any vertebrate animal.

Life proceeds very slowly in the deep-sea, and it appears that the Frilled Shark’s breeding cycle is no exception. The intense cold of its deep-sea habitat slows the metabolic processes of the Frilled Shark to a glacial creep. Thus, the secret and mysterious life of this real-life ‘sea serpent’ is fundamentally alien to our own lives, hurriedly taking place in the warm sunshine far above.

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Monday, August 13, 2012

Free Blogging Planner Template

Well, I have been busy! I normally post once a day, but a recent project has had me a bit tied up. I posted a few pays ago about making a Planner from scratch. However, I realized that I may not be the only one who has problems finding a planner that works for them.

So I designed one!

Please click the image below to download a FREE Planner template, with daily entry spaces, Sponsor and Giveaway pages, and a great ideas page. I hope you love this as much as I do!

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Friday, August 10, 2012

DIY Planner

Being a Full time college student, small business owner, and blogger...well, sometimes I have a bit too much on my plate to remember it all. So what's a girl to do? Why, get a planner of course! However....a pretty and functional planner for me was looking to be more expensive than I was willing to spend, so I looked around my craft corner, and decided to make my own.

I started with a plain spiral bound journal, with lined pages. Forgive the silly horse sticker on the front...I like horses. This journal had nothing in it but plain lined paper, no dividers, no tabs, nothing.

After a few hours (ok, two days off and on), I managed to come up with this! Using nothing but scrapbooking cardstock and paper, a bit of glue, and a couple stickers, I made this from that same journal.

The Cover 

 Not sure what I'm going to put on these two decorated pages yet, so I just left them open for now. I'm thinking some kind of frame to put a couple photos in...

I hand drew all my entry places. I made it more like a Student Planner here, having it go from August to August. Each set of weekly pages it laid out this same way, with a place at the bottom for comments, quotes I like, doodles, etc. You can see the monthly tabs I made on the right side, in green.

The end of my calender section. I put some ribbon around this section divider, and put fun paperclips on it so i always have some if I need them. Not sure what to put on the rest of the divider either, so suggestions are nice!

The other side of the same divider. This one has pretty little note cards in it, this would also be a great place for business cards.

 A pocket I made for spare papers, so I don't lose them. 

My favorite divider. No function, but to look elegant and pretty. 

 Other side of the previous divider. I fell in love with this paper set, lol.

This is the inside of the back cover, with again, more pockets. This is actually an accordion style pocket, which opens pretty wide when I pull on it. This has index cards in it.

From the side.... 

In my calender section, I wanted a way to distinguish holidays, birthdays, festivals, etc at a glance. So I went through my stamps, and inked away! These are only a few of my stamps, can you guess what they're for?

It took longer than just buying a planner, to be sure, but I'm so happy with how this came out!

Love and Lightning Bugs,