Monday, April 27, 2015

W is for Whipped

It's the last week of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge! This week, we take on the toughest set of letters... W through Z. Today is letter W and I'm doubling it up with Wild Orange Whipped Cocoa Body Butter.

Homemade gifts are becoming more and more popular and it's always nice to have a spa product for yourself. I've assembled more than one Pinterest board for making homemade items including soaps, body scrubs, and of course body butters.

There are a lot of different recipes for body butter out there. While I liked the scent used by Amy over at The Idea Room (and her labels), I actually fabricated my body butter based upon merging a few of the different recipes from my pin boards.

I started out by purchasing some 4 oz. Bell jars. The rest of my supplies came from Bulk Apothecary.


1 cup Raw Cocoa Butter
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
15 drops Wild Orange Essential Oil (use more or less as you see fit to get the strength of smell you want)

When you get ready to put this together, your cocoa butter will be a solid brick. That doesn't mix well. Measure out what you need and then pop it in the microwave for a quick 10-15 seconds, just enough to soften it up, but not so much that it completely melts into liquid.

I blended my ingredients in my mixer and made a serious mess. Not kidding. It was a greasy, sticky debacle. But my hands were super soft when I was all done.

The goop was transferred into jars and sealed up. As it sets, the mixture will harden again. If it's too hard when you're ready to use it, just pop it back in the microwave for about 10 seconds and it will be ready to roll again.

It doesn't take much for this body butter to go a long way. It's a slightly greasy application, but it does soak into skin pretty quickly. Afterwards, your skin will be nice and silky and smell like delicious chocolate oranges. You could probably eat this if you really wanted to, but I'm pretty sure it smells better than it tastes.

A jar of this will last a long time, but may start getting bacterial growth (due to bacteria from your hands as you scoop it out) after 3-4 months. Periodically zapping it in the microwave will extend its life as you kill off some of that bacteria.

Miss any of my A to Z posts so far this year? Find them below...

1. A is for Anna (Easy Anna Cape)
2. B is for Bath (Appliqued Bath Mat)
3. C is for Child (Children's Growth Ruler)
4. D is for Denim (Denim Bib)
5. E is for Etch (Etched Casserole Dishes)
6. F is for Felt (Felt Hopscotch Mat)
7. G is for Good Night ("Good Night" Envelope Pillows)
8. H is for Hood (Easy Hooded Towel)
9. I is for Insulated (Insulated Beverage Cozies)
10. J is for Jumper (Embroidered Spring Jumper)
11. K is for Know (Know When to Hold 'Em/Fold 'Em Laundry Sign)
12. L is for Loveseat (Envelope Loveseat Pillows)
13. M is for Mittens (Fleece Baby Mittens)
14. N is for Ninja Turtle (Felt Ninja Turtle)
15. O is for Owl (Owl Stuffies)
16. P is for Princess (Princess Peg Dolls)
17. Q is for Quilt (Moustache Quilt)
18. R is for Reading (Appliqued Reading Pillow)
19. S is for Superheroes (Superhero Peg Dolls)
20. T is for Tumblers (Custom Etched Barware)
21. U is for Upcycled (Little Kitchen)
22. V is for Vinyl (Vinyl Pallet Art)

Are you visiting from A to Z?

Be sure to leave me a comment (including your blog link) so I can come over and return the favor!

Tomorrow is the toughest letter in the alphabet...X...where I get a little creative with my word usage.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Bout of Books 13 is Coming!

Bout of Books

Hot on the heels of this weekend's Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon comes Bout of Books 13!
The Bout of Books Read-a-Thon is organized by Amanda @ On a Book Bender and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It's a week long read-a-thon that begins at 12:01am on Monday, May 11th and runs through Sunday, May 17th in whatever timezone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 13 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. - From the Bout of Books team.
The timing for Bout of Books 13 is just about perfect for me! It's the first week following the end of my spring semester, so things will be a little more relaxed around here. I will be starting the first set of my summer courses, but things will be a lot more low key and there will be a lot less homework and class time to balance. Thank goodness!

Darian has participated in BoB with me in the past, but I'm not sure if he'll be joining in this time or not. He bailed out on Dewey's, so maybe he's just getting too old and cool to hang out with me for read-a-thons. The down side of having a pre-teen boy. (I can only say pre-teen for 2 more months. Frightening.)

We'll see what he decides when I talk with him about it tomorrow. In the meantime, here are my plans for Bout of Books 13:

Elle's Bout of Books...

Elle's Bout of Books 13 Goals:

I've become more of a fly-by-er than a planner for my read-a-thons, but I will have some goals set for myself (otherwise I get sucked into the internet or games on my iPad and blow off reading...not cool).

1. Read every day.
2. Read a total of ten hours (600 minutes).
3. Read at least 3 books.
4. Read at least 600 pages.
5. Participate in a Twitter Chat
6. Participate in at least three mini-challenges.

Elle's Bout of Books 13 Reading List:

This one I'll have to work on. I need to build myself an arsenal to choose from. I'll release the contenders in a post on May 10th.

The Plan

I'm keeping track of my reading using my handy dandy Excel spreadsheet. It hasn't failed me yet!

Assuming I don't have any other things popping up at the same time, I'll be doing update posts every evening with a wrap-up post on the 18th. Challenges may be posted in the daily post or as their own separate post, depending on how I'm feeling about it at the time.

All Bout of Books updates will be posted on the Read-a-Thons page.

What about you? Are you a reader? Are you going to take part in Bout of Books? It's one of my favorite read-a-thons during the year. Come join in on the fun!

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: Wrap Up

Well...I didn't make it back to my book after hour 18. I originally decided on a bit of a nap, but after a few rough hours with the dog and just admitting that my week had been long and hard, I settled in for the long haul and caught up on a few hours of sleep instead. I'm a bit sad that I missed the fun of the last section of reading, but I think it was a good choice. I'm going to go ahead and just extend my own personal read-a-thon to some of my hours today. 

I am pretty happy with the reading that I got done though. This year has been really busy since I've gone back to school and, as a result, reading for fun has kind of gotten the shaft. It was nice to sit down with a few hundred virtual friends and spend time in a good book. I need to allow myself to decompress like that more often.

My push this time wasn't for stats, but to enjoy myself. I'm calling that a success. I did keep track of my numbers just for fun, so here's where I wound up...

Minutes Read Since Last Update: 0 minutes
Total Time Spent Reading : 8 hours and 20 minutes

Pages Read Since Last Update : 0 minutes
Total Pages Read : 436 pages

Books Completed Since Last Update : 0
Total Books Finished : 1

Currently Reading :

End of Even Meme

1. Which hour was most daunting to you?

Apparently it was #18, since I completely crapped out after that. Overall, my read-a-thon experience this time around was my best yet. I made it 100% stress free by not setting goals and that made everything all the more enjoyable.

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a reader engaged for next year?

I need to scope around and look at other people's lists for ideas for myself! I have a few favorite authors that generally work well for me, but I didn't use any of them this time around. Gayle Forman is always a good go to. I need to know what happens with her characters so I don't like to put her books down.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

I don't. I think this one was the best Dewey's yet. Everyone was so happy and involved. It was great.

4. What do you think worked really well in this year's Read-a-thon?

The mini-challenges were fantastic! There were a lot of new, fresh ideas. I didn't participate in everything, but the ones I did I had a good time with. There were a couple of others that seemed like fun, but I didn't want to take my nose out of my book to do them.

5. How many books did you read?

1 1/2. Not a lot, but still pretty happy that I at least finished one book.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

Yes Please by Amy Poehler
Lord of the Flies by William Golding (about 3/4 done)

7. What book did you enjoy the most?

It's not really a fair comparison, but I liked Yes Please the best because it didn't take a lot of effort to read. It was laid back and entertaining, a perfect read-a-thon read.

8. Which did you enjoy the least? default that was Lord of the Flies (which I keep trying to type as Lord of the Rings...nope...wrong book lady). It's not a bad book (actually reminds me of an extra crazy Hook if you compare the two sets of "lost boys"), but it wasn't a good choice for reading when I was pooped. I drifted off a couple of times.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year's Cheerleaders?

I was not a cheerleader, but I will say that overall the cheerleading this time was amazing. There were a lot of good interactions and I felt like I really got more than my share of visiting. So THANK YOU guys!

My only tidbit of advice for next time is...please read the posts before you comment. I had a couple of cheerleaders who left comments for me which, while well intended, made it obvious that they really didn't have any interaction with what I had to say in my posts and made it feel worse than it would have if they hadn't visited at all. These were the exceptions to the rule though, so I really do appreciate everyone who stopped by. I know it's tough to balance your read-a-thon with visiting a bunch of other readers.

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

Absolutely. I'll be using the same tactics as this works well for me. I participate here and there on Twitter, which I really like from the fact that it adds a little more to the social experience. 

October is a busy month for me, so I hope the next Dewey's lands in a good spot. But regardless, I will be reading and participating for at least part of the day. This is one of those things I look forward to for the whole year.

BIG thanks to Andi and Heather for coordinating this event. You two do an amazing job. I can't imagine the amount of hours you put in to get this all ready. THANK YOU!!!

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: Hours 13-18

Local Time : 12:00 a.m. MST (Sunday)

Minutes Read Since Last Update: 3 hours, 20 minutes
Total Time Spent Reading : 8 hours, 20 minutes

Pages Read Since Last Update : 144
Total Pages Read : 436

Books Completed Since Last Update : 1
Total Books Finished : 1

Mini-Challenges Completed:

Hour 16: Reading Story hosted by fightevilreadbooks

Currently Reading :

How I'm Feeling : Getting droopy. Going to go ahead and take a short nap.

Snacks Eaten :

Other Things Accomplished : A little bit of web surfing. Fed animals.

Now for a little snooze...

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: Hours 7-12

Local Time : 6:00 p.m. MST (Saturday)

Minutes Read Since Last Update: 2 hours, 55 minutes
Total Time Spent Reading : 5 hours exactly. That's awfully odd.

Pages Read Since Last Update : 180
Total Pages Read : 292

Books Completed Since Last Update : None, but I'm almost done with Yes Please.
Total Books Finished : None.

Currently Reading :

How I'm Feeling : Pretty darned good. It's been a good day. I'm happy to have a good book to read. 
Snacks Eaten : Oh boy. A lot. I'll just leave a picture here...

I'm planning some Little Debbie Snack Cakes here in just a minute...

Other Things Accomplished : I showered and ate. Relocated to the den to eat and read while the husband plays his online computer game and nerds out. I have some real clothes on, but still maintaining the yoga pants for the duration. (As a side note, these yoga pants are completely unfamiliar with yoga. They've never been introduced. It will probably stay that way.) enjoy a short social media break before returning to my read...

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: Hours 1-6

Local Time : 12:00 p.m. MST (Saturday)

Minutes Read Since Last Update: 2 hours 5 minutes
Total Time Spent Reading : 2 hours 5 minutes

Pages Read Since Last Update : 112
Total Pages Read : 112

Books Completed Since Last Update : 0
Total Books Finished : 0

Mini-Challenges Completed :

1. Book: Yes Please by Amy Poehler
2. Character: Umm...Amy Poehler. Perhaps you've heard of her.
3. Actor Name: Kate Winslet or Katy Perry or Katie Couric
4. Why?: Because that's what Amy says she wants. She told me so. In the prologue. I pay attention. Plus, I don't want to piss her off...I'd like her to be my friend. She seems fun.

Currently Reading :

How I'm Feeling : This no plan, no pressure thing is working out awesome! I'm liking my book, enjoying my lazy day and mildly contemplating a shower...but maybe not...

Snacks Eaten : Husband made me breakfast of bacon and eggs (which was totally awesome). Had a few snack bites (both regular and Nutella -- Nutella is AMAZING.)

Other Things Accomplished : Chatted with the husband and petted my dog. I feel she needs lots of attention and loving on since this will likely be her last week. (She has end stage osteosarcoma at age 11 1/2.) I love her...this week has been killing me. She's eating and wagging her tail today though, happy as always -- which makes me feel happy since I want her last days to be good ones.

Enough sad stuff, she's good today so I'm good. We're all happy and relaxing here today. It's a good day. I'm loving read-a-thon and just so happy that I get to be a part of it today.

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon: Zero Hour

Local Time : 8:00 a.m. MST (Saturday)

Today, the name of the game is relax and read! It's time for Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-Thon!! I'm so happy! Dewey's is a 24 hour read-a-thon that happens twice a year, in April and October. There are participants worldwide and there are all kinds of mini-challenges and social events happening during the day/night. It's a pretty awesome thing.

This marks my third time participating in Dewey's. I've changed the way I do things since my first time playing and I'm super excited to get some reading done today.

I'm starting my read-a-thon just a smidge late. Technically, the read-a-thon started at 6 a.m. my time, but my alarm apparently decided I needed a bit more sleep. It was probably right since this week has thus far been ridiculously long and I've been exhausted for most of it. The extra 90 minutes that alarm failure afforded me will probably pay off.

Let's start off with some Opening Meme questions!

Opening Meme:

1. What fine part of the world are you reading from today?

I'm hanging out at home with the husband and the pet menagerie. We live in the Pacific Northwest in the United States, a little west of Boise, Idaho. 

2. Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?

I've changed the way I work the read-a-thon in order to make things a little more relaxing for me. Part of that is having NO GOALS for the day. I find that I put too much pressure on myself. So, I have no planned books and no planned number of books. I already feel much more relaxed going into things. It should be a great event!

3. Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Now snacks I'm prepared for! I have a sorts of junk and healthy foods waiting for me. There's pretty much zero middle ground, my shopping cart for the event was nothing but fruit and snack foods like Little Debbie cakes and candy. Ridiculous. But my favorite are the snack bites I have waiting for me. I made them last night and I made a batch of Nutella ones. I'm psyched. They're sooooo yummy. The best part is that they aren't that awful for you, they're mostly healthy! Perfect. I'm sure I'll have photos of them later today to show.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!

I lead a pretty busy and crazy life, so things like this read-a-thon are a total oasis at the end of a week. I'm a dentist in "real life", but I also have a family to take care of and I decided to go back to school this year. I'm currently taking 13 credits of college courses working towards adding degrees in English and accounting to my stack of alphabet soup. This week is dead week, which means finals are right around the corner. I've finished up all of my homework so that I have today free for nothing but sticking my nose in a book. I couldn't be happier.

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?

Today's big change is NO PLAN. I'm reading when I feel like reading and socializing when I feel like socializing. There is no set time table. I'll also be taking a few cat naps here and there. I don't have a goal for minutes or pages or books. I will be keeping track of my stats just because I'm a total numbers geek, but I'm not pushing myself to meet some arbitrary goal. I'm just going to enjoy it. I may not even finish a single book (I doubt it, but that could happen) and the thought of that possibility doesn't bother me one little bit.

Currently Reading :

How I'm Feeling :

I'm excited to get going! I'm also looking forward to the yummy breakfast my husband has promised me.

The Plan :

The only plan is for posting. 

I'll be swinging back here on the 6's - there will be an update post at hours 6, 12, 18 & 24. I'll be keeping the format easy, answering the same basic questions for myself and just giving a short heads recap on stats.

I will also occasionally be posting mini-challenges. I have no set plan for which ones I'll be doing, but there will likely be some. Depending on the challenge, I'll either be posting a separate blog post for the challenge or recapping it in one of my 6-hour posts.

I'll also be able to be found flitting about the web during the read-a-thon. I'll be hanging out on Twitter and Instagram while I read and shooting out updates here and there.

Let's go!! Ready...set...READ!!

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