Thursday, January 31, 2013

Mineral Hygienics: The Only Make-up You'll Ever Need

While browsing the make-up isles, you're thinking of all the things that you're looking for: foundation, concealer, primer, and powder. You see a multitude of those products as you look through the sections, so you begin to narrow down the things you want from your make-up: cruelty-free, not pore clogging, good coverage,  long lasting, few ingredients, sun protection, and the ability to make your skin look younger.

Nothing in the isles, or the store, has all of the things you're looking for, so you end up leaving with a vast array of products...and your bill has just gone sky high. Sound familiar?

Now what if I told you that you could get all of those things, including a primer, concealer, and foundation in ONE product? Welcome to Mineral Hygienics.

I have struggled with finding the 'right' make-up since I began wearing it at 13. Only using cruelty-free products cuts down on a huge chunk of the selection, and with skin like mine, acne problems were made worse by using most make-up. For the past eleven years, I have used hundreds of different products. Some made my face feel heavy, others looked oily, and most just didn't give me the coverage I wanted.

I'm really really fair you can see the blue of my veins. I swear, I look like Louis in "Interview with a Vampire" when I go into the sun, and I burn just as badly. Most of the products I have tried in the past wouldn't offer me the sun protection I needed, and the coverage was never enough to hide my dark under-eyes and blue veins.

So I was a bit skeptical when Mineral Hygienics claimed to be able to do just that. After all, it's just powder! No liquid, no applicators, nothing. Just a pot of powder, and a kabuki brush.

Despite the humble look of it, this is the BEST make-up I have ever used. I'm going to be so upset when it's gone. It covers, it's light, and best of all, it only takes me a minute to put it on! I can throw it on early in the morning, wear it all day, and it still looks just as good as when I put it on. Having oily skin, I thought that the powder would lump together and get gross after a while, but it just stays flawless!

Mineral Hygienics is made with only four all natural ingredients. That's right FOUR. It doesn't take much product to cover your skin either. Since it's a mineral make-up, it also won't clog your pores, and has actually helped my numerous  skin problems! Want proof?

Take a look at my own 'before' and 'after' photos.

 The first photo was taken in the morning, right after waking up. It's bad...I know. This was taken the day before I started using Mineral Hygienics. The second image was taken after two weeks of wearing the product. Not only that, but this was about 1 a.m., after getting home from a Civil War era ball! After a night of dancing, my make-up has stayed perfect.

Not only can you not see my horrible dark circles, you'll notice my acne problems have cleared up as well! Since there isn't anything to clog my pores, my skin can begin to look healthier and younger.

If you're looking for a make-up that has everything you could want, and is still easy and simple to apply for a woman on the go, Mineral Hygienics is perfect for you.

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Loyalty of Harvey

As you all know, I am an avid animal lover. I posted a while back about the Loyalty of the Horses used during the Civil War, so I though it was only fitting to continue posting such stories of animal heroism and devotion. I plan on doing these kinds of posts from time to time, so I hope you enjoy them!

One canine “volunteer” who attracted considerable notice during his service was Harvey, a bulldog who went to war with the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry in the late summer of 1862.

Harvey was taken to Vick’s Studio in Alliance, Ohio, probably about the time the regiment was mustered out of the service to have his carte de visite photograph taken.

The 104th was recruited in Northeast Ohio.  The small town of Wellsville, in Columbiana County, provided the recruits for what was to become Company F.  The company was home, according to the regimental historian, to “an undue proportion of ‘toughs’ and ‘deadbeats,’” as well as Harvey and another dog, “that became the pets of the regiment.” Harvey was “an aristocrat,” with more time in the army than most of his regularly enlisted companions.  He came to the regiment with First Sergeant Daniel M. Stearns, who earlier had served nearly fourteen months in the Eighth Pennsylvania Reserves.  Harvey had accompanied his master’s Pennsylvania outfit to the Virginia Peninsula and, according to one source, was wounded there.  By November 1862 Sergeant Stearns had been promoted to second lieutenant, and Harvey was sporting a collar with a brass plate bearing the legend: “I am Lieutenant D.M. Stearns’ dog; whose dog are you?”

Harvey and the men of the 104th spent a long year marching the dusty (or muddy) roads of Kentucky and East Tennessee, compared by many in the unit to Washington’s winter camp at Valley Forge.

On February 14, 1864, Captain William Jordan of Company K wrote home to his children describing the various pets accumulated by the regiment. Harvey and another dog named Colonel were described as “veteran soldier dogs” who “go in any of the tents that they want and lay down at night or stand with the sentinels on guard.”  A third dog, Teaser, had been acquired early in 1864 by other enlisted men.  Teaser or Colonel may have been “the blue pup” referred to in Private Nelson A. Penney’s 1886 regimental history.  It is not surprising that some referred to the unit as the “Barking Dog Regiment.”

Harvey, who apparently had a taste for music, posed with the 104th’s coronet band.  It seems likely that this photograph was made at Cleveland, Tennessee, in May 1864 and that the cameraman was Thomas Sweeny of Cleveland, Ohio.  Western Reserve Historical Society.

Lieutenant Colonel Oscar Sterl was the proud owner of a pet squirrel that had the run of the camp and would even “nibble at the ears” of Harvey and Colonel.  Teaser, ignoring the squirrel’s status as a pet, attacked it and was only stopped by Harvey’s intervention.  He carefully grabbed the squirrel in his mouth and carried it to safety.  The rescue  proved unavailing, as the squirrel died of fright shortly after being released.  Other mascots included two raccoons and another squirrel who was kept secured by a tiny chain.

During the summer of 1864, the regiment participated in the Atlanta campaign.  Near Kennesaw Mountain, Harvey was wounded and captured.  The next day, still defiant, he wasreturned under a flag of truce.  From that point on Harvey was the most honored pet in the regiment. On November 18, 1864, Private Adam Weaver of Company I wrote to his brother in Ohio that “Old Harvey” had paid him a visit while on picket duty. Weaver speculated that perhaps he smelled more like a dog than the boys of Company F.  Weaver also recounted that during the soldiers’ campfire sing-alongs, Harvey would bark and move side to side.  “My idea is that the noise hurts his ears,” Weaver explained, “as it does mine!”

Less than two weeks later, Harvey survived the bloody battle of Franklin, Tennessee, where the 104th held a crucial position.  Harvey was present with Company F throughout the slaughter of the Confederate assaulting columns.  Protected by their hastily constructed earthworks, the 104th still suffered sixty casualties, nearly one-fifth of those present.  The regiment captured eleven enemy battle flags.

When members of the 104th Ohio Volunteer Infantry gathered for the obligatory group photograph at their 1886 reunion, they placed Harvey’s picture in the front row.  Massillon Museum.

Harvey’s part in the subsequent Battle of Nashville is unknown, but casualties in the 104th ’s brigade were extremely light.  His original owner, Lieutenant Stearns, had less luck than most.  While serving as an aide to Brigadier General James Reilly, he was severely injured when his horse fell in jumping the Confederate entrenchments.  In January 1865 the 104th was transferred to North Carolina.  During this trip Harvey and the regiment lost a companion, when the blue pup “tumbled off the train” near Cincinnati.  By early summer the war was over, and the men of the 104th had returned to their homes.

Harvey’s subsequent career is lost to history. Lieutenant Stearns finished the war as a captain of Company F.  He was granted a pension for his Nashville injury and eventually became insane, resulting in his confinement in the Northern Ohio Insane Asylum, where he died in 1890.  Although not much past middle age at the time of his death, there is no doubt that he had survived by many years the Yankee war dog who joined the army with him. 

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

This is my Body, not Yours

It's not normal for me to become political on this blog, in fact I try to avoid it most of the time. Politics just angers people, and causes you to lose readers. But when I watched this video last night, I knew I had to share it. Everyone, despite their age, education, gender, or political affiliation should see this video.

As a young woman on little income, I rely on free clinics for my women's health services. Cancer screenings, reproductive health check-ups, general health screenings...all are conducted at a free clinic. Without those clinics, I would not be able to afford general healthcare, and the chances that I could get cancer and not know, skyrocket. The birth control supplied by these clinics also gives women a chance to take their own sexual health into their own hands. At a clinic, birth control is roughly $4 a month. To go out and buy that same pill pack from a pharmacy is about $75.

Some of the things said in this video may not make complete sense to you without the proper knowledge beforehand. When the woman says," I determine who and what goes into my vagina, and when." She is referring to the current trans-vaginal ultrasound debate. For those who may not know, Virginia recently proposed a law that would require a woman to have a trans-vaginal ultrasound before having an abortion performed. They claimed the much more invasive ultrasound was more detailed, and clearer. This particular ultrasound procedure requires a woman to be penetrated with a lubed up, condom covered, plastic rod. Women were in an uproar.

When women are continually denied the way to protect themselves from pregnancy, based on what others think their rights are, how is that fair? How does that solve the issue at hand? Abstinence has never been a widespread viable option of birth control, and it's doubtful it ever will be. Only by empowering women to take their own sexual safety into their own hands, can some semblance of a compromise be reached.

Denying us our right to protect ourselves is not the answer. Legislating away our rights as women is not the answer. Treating us as underclass citizens based on the fact that we have a uterus, IS NOT THE ANSWER. The answer is mutual respect between genders. What men receive in terms of rights, pay, respect, etc...we are entitled to that same level of recognition in this society.

We are strong, brave, and beautiful creatures. Every one of us has an inner Goddess, and we need to realize that she is no one's lesser being. We are not mindless, we are not subservient, we are women, and we are proud to be such.

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Monday, January 21, 2013

The Loss of a Friend

I'm sorry I haven't posted in a bit, but I recently suffered a loss which has been very saddening for me. 

As a Living Historian, you manage to get very close to the people who reenact, and relive history. This can be both good, and bad. You get to see people at their best, worst, and everything in between. You can grow friendships that are so strong, they last the decades. Or you can quickly grow to hate a person. There are fights and arguments, as well as long conversations about history and bonding.

But no matter what, we're always one big family. Living Historians and Reenactors stick together, through both good and bad, and recently, the hobby took a major hit when we lost Chris. 

Chris was in a car accident early last week, which caused major injuries. He passed away Friday, at 6:25pm, surrounded by family and friends.

I first met Chris on Facebook, when he saw a post I made about needing mittens for an upcoming event. We agreed upon an even sway: he would trade me a pair of hand-knit period mittens, and I would take his photos at the event. He greeted me with a huge smile the morning of his photo-shoot  and was cracking jokes the entire time. I spent maybe half an hour with him, helping him pose, taking shot after shot.

He was an absolute joy to work with, and he was very upbeat and excited for the photos to be edited, and sent to him. He was probably my biggest supporter after that event, always encouraging me to come out and take photos, giving me suggestions on what I should charge, more photo-shoot ideas, etc. We talked on Facebook at least 4 times a week after that, cultivating the beginnings of a great friendship...until I heard the news that he was in a car accident.

Chris was an amazing young man, with high goals for his life, and a heart bigger than most people I have met. Almost every time I saw him, he had a big smile on his face, and his humor for life was infectious. He could make you laugh at the drop of a hat, and was always looking out for other people. He was a gentleman, and an absolute joy to talk with, joke with, and laugh with.

He was a beloved member of the Missouri Irish Brigade, and one hell of a reenactor. He knew quite a bit for a kid his age, and what he didn't know, he was more than happy to study and find out.

We lost a wonderful young man, when Chris decided his time here on Earth was over. While I cannot speak for his heartbroken family, I take solace in the fact that Chris is being cradled in the arms of the Goddess, whose eternal love and life-giving womb ensure that his soul's journey is not over yet.

His next life will be filled with all of the most wonderful experiences, and it will be a long and joyous one.

We will miss you Chris. 

Go your way to the land of the Ancestors, 
where they wait for you with open arms, 
there on the edge between this world and the next.  
See; there they stand. 
Ancestral spirits, welcome this one to the place where we all must go.

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Poise and Grace with Orchard Corset

The simple elegance of a corset is something that no other piece of shape-wear has managed to achieve in over 150 years. No bra, girdle, or "spanx", have ever given a woman the type of grace, poise, and beauty that only a real corset can give.

Started in 1968, Orchard Corset was a small shop on the famous Orchard Street in the lower east side of Manhattan. It has since expanded  to a worldwide retailer in authentic corsets, superior shape-wear and quality foundation garments to meet the various needs of today’s women.

I was recently given the amazing opportunity to sample a selection of goods from Orchard Corset, and I was pleasantly surprised by both the selection, and fantastic quality of the goods they provide. I spent nearly an hour and a half on the website, looking longingly at one beautiful work of corsetry after another. They had so many types to choose from: waist training, overbust, underbust, wasp waited, fashion, and more. That was just the corsets! Not to mention the vast array of lingerie, hosiery, modern shape-wear, and accessories as well. I was even happier to see that they used the term 'underbust' correctly on the site! Most modern corsetieres' use the term 'underbust' when actually talking about a 'wasp waist' style of corset, so I know this company is very well versed and educated in the corsetry business.

The website was very easy to navigate, and even allowed me to search by the desired color of garment I wanted. That's not all however, as I was looking around, I stumbled upon this:
"Orchard Corset offers professional custom dye on many of our shapewear products and accessories. Choose from over a dozen gorgeous colors to customize your garments to most any occasion or outfit. Please allow an additional 3-4 days before the items will ship from our warehouse for this process."

Not only can I order high quality items for a low price, but if nothing matches the color I need, I can get a blank custom dyed to match! With a dye time of only 4 days, they are also blowing competitors out of the water. Last time I tried to get something custom dyed, it took almost two weeks, and looked horrible when I finally received it.

Being the Steampunk enthusiast I am, my final decision to try out one of their Steampunk themed corsets was a simple one. I fell in love with the Brown Brocade Steampunk Underbust Corset, and was extremely excited to open the package when it finally arrived two days later. To simply say the garment was beautiful is an understatement, It's stunning! The fabric is a durable canvas type brocade, with a 100% cotton lining. It has 14 flat steel bones, so it gives me better support and definition than the modern "fashion" corsets do. Not to mention, I adore the fun antiqued brass clasps used as a front closure, instead of the normal steel busk, or hooks and eyes.

The corset was very easy to adjust in size, and comes with very durable cording in the back, to make sure there is no slipping or wear on the laces that might cause you any undue embarrassment. I was at one of my Civil War reenactments once, and the ribbon that was used to lace up my corset broke...needless to say, my corset came undone, and I made a hasty retreat back to my tent. There's no fear of that happening again with quality like this!

 Orchard Corset has gone from unknown to me, to number 1 on my recommendation list for girls looking for an amazing corset, and an even better price. And while there are thousands of different shape-wear garments available online, only Orchard Corset can give you that subtle elegance that a woman wearing a quality corset exudes.

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

1st Blogiversary Coming Up

As you may, or may not, 1st Blogiversary is coming up soon!

I'm in the process of searching for sponsors for an awesome giveaway to be held for my Blogiversary, and I'm just curious...what would you like to see in the giveaway?

So far I have a few really great prizes, but I want to know what my readers would like to win!

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Are you Ready for a Disaster?

It may only be early January, but here in Kansas, that means Tornado season is coming on quick! Last year we had our first tornado of the season in February, and I was unprepared when the sirens went off. This year, I'm making sure I have everything I need BEFORE the sirens go off. But, the question is, are YOU ready for an unexpected tornado if it comes knocking? 

Image from billyunderscorebwa on Deviantart

Around here, severe storms hit more often at night. Which means that spotting a tornado on the ground is much harder, and that the time between the sirens going off and a tornado hitting your city can be slim to none. In February, we had no watches or warnings, just the sudden blaring of the sirens. It was 9 o'clock at night, and the rain was pounding so hard that it soaked through my thick Carhartt coat in about 30 seconds. The wind was blowing so hard I was knocked off balance four times in the 100 feet it took to run to the storm shelter. Every minute we took to gather supplies and pets, could have cost us our lives. So what's the best option for you in a situation where every second counts?

 A well supplied Tornado Emergency Bag, that you can grab and go!

If you don't have a basement, this is what I suggest using. It takes up very little room in a closet with you, and is easy to keep stocked at all times, as well as grab in a high stress situation. A well stocked bag is key! I use a large messenger bag I had laying around, and keep it packed at all times, except when I'm rotating out supplies. Here's a list of the things I keep in my kit.

I received an emergency flashlight radio for Christmas, and it too has gone into my kit! You can find a great list of them HERE. A whistle is necessary in any kit, as it helps people find you if your shelter is buried under rubble. Small LED flashlights can often be found for just over a dollar in most checkout lines at the grocery store, and are brighter than normal flashlights. I keep an average of three in my kit, as well as one in my camera bag.

On that note, I keep anything I would be heartbroken to lose in an easy to reach place. For instance, all my jewelry is in a small chest on my computer desk, and all my critical paperwork is kept in a folder on my desk as well. Since the desk is right next to the door, it is easy to grab them quickly, stuff them in the bag, and go! I also keep my camera packed in its bag at all times, unless I'm using it. That bag, as well as the case to my laptop, sit on the floor next to the same desk. It takes me 30 seconds to pack my laptop now, so that is more time saved in a hurry! All the important cords to any electronics I take are also in my camera bag or laptop case, so I don't have to worry about that.

But what about when you don't have to worry about just yourself?

We have two rabbits in the house, and unlike dogs or cats, they are NOT easy to just grab and run with. They have special needs that other pets don't, and attitudes to match! As much as they can be a pain, I love my bunnies more than life itself, so there is no question that I take them into consideration when making my Tornado plans.

Pets have to have many of the same things we do in an emergency situation, but they also have to have access to things some people might not ever think about! Here's a good list for any pet owner to use.

If a tornado comes through and destroys everything, pet supplies will be some of the last things brought by aid agencies. First and foremost, you need a crate or carrier to keep the animal contained. Each of my bunnies has a pet carrier for transport, big enough that they fit, but small enough that they won't hurt themselves if they become stressed. If you have to carry your pet, I suggest putting a covered crate in your basement or shelter, so that the pet also has a safe place to be during the storm.

If you live out in the country, like I do, there are no pet shops around to just drive you have to be sure to have enough food and water to last each pet a week. Thankfully, my bunnies don't eat too many pellets, but I have to pack hay and litter, something others might not have to worry about. Each pet should also have a clean container for food and water. I suggest putting all your supplies in a bag like the one below, which comes with collapsible food and water bowls, and a canteen for water.

 Blankets and toys are also a must! Animals can become very easily stressed and scared, which can sometimes lead them to be aggressive. The toys and blankets help calm the animals, as well as keep them dry and warm.

I hope this guide has helped you start to prepare for a possible tornado, and remind you that disaster can happen at any you've got to be ready!

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Monday, January 7, 2013

Lady Margaret

Lady Margaret, most recently performed by Cassie Franklin on the Cold Mountain Soundtrack, has become a beloved tune by many. The interesting thing? This same popularity has existed through the life of this song. The song originated in Scotland in the early 1600s, with no known original writer. The earliest known reference to this song was in 1611, when Beaumont and Fletcher, playwrites of the time, included these lines in the play The Knight of the Burning Pestle:  

"When it was grown to dark midnight 
And all were fast asleep, 
In came Margaret's grimly ghost
 And stood at William's feet."

This song, along with many other, became popular among the Scottish people, and was carried with them wherever they settled. When many Scottish immigrants came to America, and settled in the remote Appalachia Mountains, the song was brought with them. The song was sung by many, and eventually became so varied due to the changes from various singers over generations, that the now different songs only carried the same basic themes.

But what a theme it is. It's a dark love story between a maid and William, who is implied to be a man of wealth and upper class. Sweet William tells Fair Margaret (the maid that he's in love with) that he is marrying another. She sees the bride and William together after the wedding and runs off to kill herself, because of how badly her heart has been broken. Her ghost comes into his bridal chamber and ask him if he loves his new bride, William replies telling Margaret that he loves her much more than his bride. William wakes in the morning saying he had a bad dream and in which he saw Lady Margaret's ghost and goes off looking for her. All he finds is her body in a coffin.

In some versions, soon after the death of  Margaret, William kills himself too. They are buried beside each other and a rose grows from her grave and a green briar from his, ultimately becoming entwined and forming a "lovers' knot". In fact there are over 50 different versions of this song, going back all the way to the 1600's and newer versions still being found as recently as 1995.

Now please forgive the quality of this video, and the horrendous singing, but I wanted to share my favorite version of this song. Maybe one day I'll get up the courage to sing it in camp, along with other period songs....but for now, I'll just  do this, and see what people think of it.

Love and Lightning Bugs,

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Winter Sculptures

It recently snowed here, couple that with the fact that I've been sick for a week, and you get me huddled in a fort of blankets and pillows for a ridiculous amount of time. Oh did I mention that the heater in my house doesn't really work either? We have one wall heater all the way at the back of the house, in the furthest room from the my days have been recently filled with long periods of huddling for warmth, and then quick dashes to another room to gt something, go the bed, etc. Not the funnest thing.

So today, I had to walk the two blocks to the post office to get a package. Since it may be my only outing for a few more days, I thought I would take some photos of the pretty icicles I encountered along the way. Enjoy!

And yes, my fingers almost froze off taking these. it's 15 degrees here, with a 10 mph wind...BRRR!

Love and Lightning Bugs,