sailorzeo: (midriff)
I do.  I really do.  I love stat counters, finding out where my visitors are coming from, what they're looking at, how they're looking at it, how they found me, etc.  elodieunderglass on Tumblr had a great post about "silent visitors" on her blog, and I used to be like that with my stats, even way back when in the dawn of my internet usage, having statcounters on my aaaaaancient Geocities fanfic site.  I love knowing what's getting traffic, where the traffic is coming from, everything.

That's kind of why I love that Etsy has built-in stats management.  It makes sense; if you're running a shop, you need to know what products are getting attention, what products aren't getting attention, where your attention is coming from, and where it isn't coming from, so you know how to adjust your marketing strategies and product offerings.

When [ profile] copperbadge featured my shop and GoFundMe campagain on his Radio Free Monday in early February, I saw an immediate spike of shop visitors.  I went from zero orders in January to 17 orders in February, and now back down to 7 orders this month.  I still get an occasional site visit from his blog, and I did get a repeat order from someone who purchased because of Radio Free Monday.

When I post a listing on Twitter, I get a little spike in views.  When I post a listing on Facebook, I get "likes" and shares from my friends, but no visits to the shop.  When I post a listing on Tumblr, I get a couple of reblogs and likes, and an occasional secondary shop view.

I also love checking the map.  For a while, I was getting at least one visit daily from France.  Was that just one person, someone who checked the shop every day to see if there was something worth justifying the international shipping?  In the last 7 days, I've had visits from Malaysia, Russia, Iceland, and the U.K.  My first order ever was from Norway (and she even reordered later!).  I've had an order from Australia, and recently one from Malaysia.

I just love seeing the search terms that bring people to my shop.  Things like "lily of the valley soap," "cherry lip balm," and "sailor zeo" are expected.  Two people found my shop by searching "shiver."  One of my soap scents is "Shiver My Timbers," a bergamot, bay rum, lime, vanilla, mahogany and amber blend.  "LOTRO" and "second breakfast" are in the search terms because I made lip balms and a soap for Matt's LOTRO kin.

I just find all this fascinating.
sailorzeo: (billy)

Sometimes I think I have way too much internal snark to effectively promote my shop.  For instance, I’m currently trying to raise interest in the jellybean lip balms.  I have them advertised as “seasonal limited editions.”  “Only 10 sets available!” I keep advertising.

I’m so tempted to add on, “If you’re all trying to be polite and make sure everyone else who wants one gets one, stop!  Be selfish! Buy now!”

At least the two people who were excited for them bought theirs the day they went live (Jessica actually bought the Spice ones while I was working on the Fruit listing!).  Because seriously, if even they hadn't bought them, I'd be a lot more upset than I am.

(Plus I decided to keep a set of each for myself, because I didn't make overs of all the flavors, and I really liked that black licorice flavor)

sailorzeo: (midriff)
Hey look, a post not about soap or lip balm or Etsy!

I’m hosting a Jamberry party on Facebook.  Jamberry nail shields (wraps) are heat-and-pressure sealed vinyl wraps that last up to 2 weeks on fingers and up to 4 weeks on toes.  They’re pretty easy to apply (for this manicure, the wraps took 5 minutes and the polish took 2 hours), there’s no drying time, and unlike polish, there’s no risk of over-painting (like on my fingers here).  Plus, Jamberry wraps are always Buy 3 Get 1 Free.  If you want to join in my Facebook party, and I don’t have you friended on Facebook, let me know. I can add people to the party group by email address, I think.

Want to request a sample? Want to place an order?

sailorzeo: (midriff)
Last month, I started musing about "seasonal offerings" for my store.  It's sometimes tricky to think of seasonally themed items, because a) I live in Arizona; it's already in the low 90's here, and b) I don't celebrate holidays, so I tend to forget when they are.  But this time, I actually thought, "Oh, hey, Easter's coming up soon...what about a set of mini lip balms in jellybean flavors?  Both spice jellybean and fruit jellybean?"  It took a little time to get all the flavings and tubes, but Monday, I set about to make 10 sets of fruit jellybean lip balms and 10 sets of spice jellybean lip balms.

In Progress )
sailorzeo: (midriff)

This is the cutter I've been waiting for.  It's pretty awesome; it actually lines up perfectly with the soap loaves, so I cut the entire loaf into 13 bars in one cut.  I use the two end pieces (which are wavy and not nice and flat) as samples to include with orders.

These are the bars I cut today.  Front: Wild Strawberry.  Rows, left to right: Brown Sugar & Spice, Spicy Lime, Sandalwood, Coconut, Vanilla, Intense Almond, Bergamot Chamomile.

Tomorrow I need to work on labels and photography, and get them listed for sale.
sailorzeo: (midriff)

Coffee soap, in the mold.  I was pretty proud of this soap; it was made with double-brewed coffee instead of water, with coffee grounds mixed in the soap batter, and whole coffee beans embedded on the top.  It had almost no scent, though, when it finished, which is kind of okay.  The beans on top made it tricky to cut; after a few misfires trying to cut from the top (the blade would catch a bean and push it all the way through the soap, leaving a gouge through the bar), I ended up flipping the loaf over and cutting from the bottom.  I still had a lot of beans fall off as I cut and after, leading to several packages probably sounding like maracas when they arrived at their destination.  :-D

Coffee soap is said to be good for removing garlic and onion odors from hands.  I actually haven't tried that, and the entire batch sold within a week (I think, it sure seemed fast).  I need to make more; it's on the list for when I get more mango butter.
sailorzeo: (midriff)
Seriously, for as much as I don't like math, I always seem to choose math-heavy hobbies.

I had enough mango butter for yesterday's two batches of soap (Intense Almond and Bergamot Chamomile), but now I have crumbs, which is derailing my "make lots and lots of soap OMG RIGHT NOW!!!!" desire.  So I had to sit down and do math and figure out just how many soap batches I get from each pail of oil, in the amounts I usually order.

  • Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, 10 lbs: 10 batches

  • Palm Kernel Oil, 5 lbs: 12.5 batches

  • Coconut Oil, 5 lbs: 12.5 batches

  • Mango Butter, 1 lb: 10 batches

  • Shea non-relevant right now, because I got a deal on a 5 lb pail a while back, and that gives me like 50 batches.

In the past rounds of ordering, I've gotten 20 pounds of soy oil (with a pound set aside for lip balms), to make 19 batches of soap.  But I didn't do the math on the other oils, so I've run out of palm kernel oil and had to emergency order, but only ordered the 5 lb amount, when I still had 15 batches of soap to do.  I ordered coconut oil and mango butter earlier, but that was before my shop totally sold out and I wasn't planning on making this much at once, so I've run out of mango butter and am running low on coconut oil.

I did the math today on what I need to finish out the 19 soaps and still have leftovers, as well as get more lip balm supplies (mainly tubes, some flavors).  It came close to $200 before shipping and tax were figured.  I have $100 coming from my mom, and I have about $40 in my Paypal, so I may need to adjust quantities to get what I need at a price I can afford.

I live!!!!

Feb. 24th, 2015 06:36 pm
sailorzeo: (huh?)
Wow, haven't posted here in over 2 years.  I just...haven't felt the need.  I kind of wandered over to Tumblr and just fell in.

So, a quick update: lost my job in July.  Haven't found a new one yet, but I have an Etsy shop, Zeo's Soaps and Sundries, where I sell handmade soaps, lip balms, bath salts, and soon, cuticle oil.  I'm also running a GoFundMe campaign, trying to get a little extra money to help bridge the gap on weeks where sales are slow.
This has been dubbed "Soaphenge."  All of those soaps have since sold.

This week is full of soapmaking.  I have 13 more 2-pound batches I want to make, and I keep running out of ingredients.  Today, I ran out of lye, which is somewhat essential to making soap.  I have enough mango butter for one more, maybe two more batches.  I have some money coming in, so I'll be able to restock those ingredients, but dang, it's a fine balancing act I'm walking.  Once I get those soaps made and listed, I can breathe a little.

So, that's what I've been up to of late.  Anyone miss me?
sailorzeo: (midriff)

I was 12 or 13 when I bought my first pack of diet pills.

Let me repeat.  I was 12 or 13 when I bought my first pack of diet pills.  I was in junior high.  I’d been hit with so much advertising telling me “thin is in” and it’s wrong to be hungry that I took money I’d saved, either allowance or paper route money, went to the nearby store, and bought a pack of AcuTrim Late Day.  “I snack after 3 p.m.,” the lady in the commercial said.  So did I; that was when I got home from school, and there were still three hours until dinner, so I snacked.  But the commercial said it was wrong, so I set out to get the pill the commercial said would help.

I was terrified.  I thought for sure the cashier would look at me, see my age, and refuse to sell me the pills.  I thought she would call a manager, that the manager would chastise me, take the pills away, threaten to call my parents.  Nothing like that happened; I was sold the pills without incident.

I was afraid the pills would be huge.  I had trouble swallowing pills then, often gagging and throwing up when I had to take the giant antibiotics for my frequent sinus infections and bouts of bronchitis.  They weren’t; they were about the size of a four-hour Sudafed.

I hid the pills in the front pocket of my purse.  I don’t think I told anyone about them.  I don’t remember telling anyone about them.  I took them on the sly, when no one was around.  I didn’t finish that first pack, though.  I went to take them one day, and the foil card was missing.  It wasn’t in my purse anymore.  I started to panic; someone must have found them.  I was sure my mother had taken them, that I was going to be in trouble, that a lecture was coming, that I would be grounded for months and months. 

Nothing happened.  I still don’t know whether it was actually my mother that took them.  If it was my mother that took them, I don’t know why she was going through my purse.  Neither parent ever said anything to me about the pills.  No one came to me and said, “You’re too young to take these,” or “You don’t need these,” or anything else like that.  The pills just disappeared, and that was supposedly that.

I told you I was 12 or 13 when I bought my first pack of diet pills.

I didn’t tell you I wore a size small shirt and size 7 jeans when I bought my first pack of diet pills.

I didn’t tell you that going by pediatric growth charts, my doctor described me as “lean and mean” when I bought my first pack of diet pills.

No one told me I didn’t need those pills.

sailorzeo: (exercise)
I was grumping to myself this morning about my recent inability to stick to the calorie budget.  This week, I've been ravenous by dinnertime, and even snacking at work.  I did some research, as it's period week, as to whether or not that affects metabolism.

Turns out, it does.  A few days before and during menstruation, a woman's metabolism ramps up anywhere from 5% to 20%.  That would explain this week.

Then I looked at my logs.  This is my eighth week logging my food.  The first four weeks, I had no problem staying under budget, ending the week 500 to 700 calories under the weekly limit.  Then, week five, I was 1454 over budget.  Week six, 1203.  Week seven, 1811.  So far this week, I'm 1279 over. 

It's not just the incremental decrease in the calorie limit from losing weight.  It's not just a rebellious attitude.  I figured out what else happened four weeks ago.  I went back on birth control pills.

It's entirely possible that the pills are affecting my appetite and metabolism.  Many women report weight gain after starting bcps.  It takes about three months for this particular pill to "settle in" when it comes to side effects, so for the next two months, I'm going to keep logging my food and trying to weigh weekly, but not be particularly over-worried if I can't keep to the budget without hunger pains, or if I gain a pound or more back.  This actually, timing wise, works out somewhat well.  I should be past the adjustment period starting in January.  January's always a good time to get back on track.


Nov. 1st, 2012 06:41 am
sailorzeo: (Default)
I'm doing it this year.  Watch me fail spectacularly.
sailorzeo: (Default)
I've managed to keep logging my food for over a month, almost a month and a half.  I'm down 14.4 pounds.  I will admit, I don't log my weight if it goes up, and it did go up 2 pounds a few weeks back, but I've since lost those, plus a few more.

Having my calorie intake allowance drop when my weight drops is a bit unsettling, though I understand the reasoning.  When I started logging, I was allowed 1841 calories a day.  Now, 14 pounds later, it's at 1749, almost 100 calories less.  Despite being over-budget almost all last week, I still lost weight.  A coworker of mine is using LoseIt now, too, for one of her classes.  She was trying to figure out why my calorie allowance is so much higher than hers (1500s).  The simple answer is, I weigh more, probably 100 pounds or more.

A while back on Suits, there was a bit where Mike (young pretending-to-be-lawyer male) and Donna (legal secretary for the older male) were getting coffee.  He was confused as to why she'd get a skim-milk latte if she was getting whipped cream on it.  She told him, "BECAUSE I got the skim milk, I CAN HAVE the whipped cream."  He still didn't understand it, though it made sense to me.  Donna is by no means overweight, but the principle remains.  If she got both full-fat milk AND whipped cream, then there are more calories.  Getting skim milk gives her a little wiggle room for the treat of the whipped cream.  It's making balance.  For instance, this morning I'm having a large-ish Red Velvet hot chocolate with whipped cream, sausage gravy, and really really dense bread (mishap with the bread maker).  Breakfast is clocking in at 1294 of my 1749 calories, leaving me 455 calories for the rest of the day.  Given that one weekend day is usually spent napping, and it wasn't yesterday, breakfast will probably also count as lunch (also because of the time we're eating: it's after 10 now), I'll have an apple (90 calories) as a snack when I get up, and a salad (290 calories) for dinner, leaving me 75 calories under budget.
sailorzeo: (Default)
I'm still using LoseIt.  I actually earned a badge on the site for logging every day for two weeks.  Plus, I'm down 10 pounds from when I started.  I haven't been keeping up the WiiFit; in fact, I think I've only used it three times.  Timing seems to be the main issue.  I'm out of the house ten to eleven hours a day, Monday through Friday.  When I get home in the evening, I make dinner (most nights), which takes another hour, then eating and cleaning up, and all I want to do is escape into a galaxy far far away for a few hours, or go through my social media links, catch up on the DVR, or collapse in bed and read for a few hours before falling asleep.  I stand a lot at work, so my legs and feet are tired when I get home.  That makes wanting to go work out, using primarily my legs, not a very attractive option.

I got new work shoes, though.  After getting and loving my Crocs sandals, I got a pair of Crocs Work shoes, the Mercy Work.  As a bonus, the Crocs outlet had a buy-one-get-one-half-off sale, so I also got another pair of the sandals.  The first pair was white with blue insoles; the new pair is navy with violet insoles.  Now I just need the black/black and the brown/brown to complete the set.  Anyway, I'm hoping the new, comfy work shoes will help my legs feel less-tired at the end of the day, so I can get a little more motivated to exercise when I get home.  Exercising in the morning is not an option; I already have a hard time getting up and out the door by seven getting up at 5:30 with my current routine.  Adding half an hour-ish of exercise plus a shower would mean getting up at 4 to get the same amount accomplished.  Plus, I hate showering before work.  I prefer to shower before bed.

Still, though, I've kept with it longer than I thought I would, and I'm actually sort of seeing results.  Another 17 pounds, and I'll be down 10% of my starting weight.  Doctors always told me that losing just 10% of the weight would mean drastic positive changes to my health.  We'll see; I think 10% increments will be good for little goals.  I like having goals and rewards--badges, stamps, gold stars, it doesn't take much, just a tangible, visible reminder of "you done good."
sailorzeo: (Default)
What the title says.  :-P  I've just read the first two books in what looks to be an ongoing series (book two just came out a few months ago).  They're classified as young adult, but hey, nothing wrong with YA fiction.

The first book in the series is The Search for WondLa.  The second is A Hero for WondLa.  The books start with Eva Nine, twelve years old, in Sanctuary, an underground complex.  She's been there her whole life, raised by the robot MUTHR.  She has food pellets and nutri-bars for meals, runs holo-simulations learning how to survive Outside, and relies on an Omnipod, a hand-held omniscient computer about the size and shape of a hand mirror, to help her with her lessons.  Being twelve, she's getting to the age where she has more questions than answers, and MUTHR is less-than-helpful with answers.  Eva found a code inside one of her dresser drawers which gave her unlimited access to the Sanctuary databases, and using a map of Sanctuary, found an abandoned passage.  There, she keeps her "secret stash:" toys, clothes, and other things she was supposed to have outgrown and gotten rid of, but wasn't ready to give up just yet.  One item stands out from the rest; one item that wasn't originally given to her by MUTHR: a piece of pasteboard with a picture of a robot, a child, and an adult.  They're smiling, happy.  The only text originally on the board was La, in ornate script; she later found another piece of it, with Wond in the same script.  She calls her picture "WondLa," and wants to know more about it.  How did it get there?  What does it mean? 

One day, Sanctuary is attacked.  With MUTHR's help, Eva flees to the surface...and finds it much, much different than her simulations.  Her Omnipod is near-useless in these conditions.  She's left wondering if this is even Earth, like she always thought. 

I don't want to go into too much more detail, and really, I can't go into much more without giving away some of the important plot points.  I can't talk about Hero for WondLa without totally spoiling Search for WondLa.  The books have lovely illustrations, and an interactive element: each book has three drawings you can scan (?) with a webcam to be taken to interactive features online--sort of a variation on the ever-increasing QR code.  Not having a webcam, I didn't bother scanning the drawings, so I don't know exactly what they do.

Overall, I liked them, and will wait somewhat-patiently for the next book in the series.  The author is Tony diTerlizzi, who also wrote The Spiderwick Chronicles.

Way Over

Sep. 23rd, 2012 07:35 pm
sailorzeo: (Default)
I'm still using the LoseIt app.  It's been a week and a half, and I haven't forgotten to log anything yet.  I've done fairly well with it; I usually end the day with calories left over.  This week, though, my period finally started, which means I've been craving salt, fat, and carbs.  Today, I'm ending 566 calories over-budget.  I can pinpoint where I went over: I had a 12-ounce can of Coke and a serving of Trader Joe's chocolate-covered potato chips, for 370 calories in the "snack" column, and then we went to Carl's Jr. for lunch, where the small fries and low-carb SuperStar with cheese, no tomato or mayo, ran 880 calories.  Getting the burger without the bun (because of gluten) and no mayo (because I don't like mayo) helped take the sandwich from over 900 calories to 560 calories, but still, those four items were a calorie sink.

I got the Coke because I was seriously craving one the other day.  However, when I had it, it didn't taste like I expected.  It didn't have the "zing" or "bite" I remembered Coke having.  Matt had a sip and agreed, it tasted weak, like watered-down fountain soda.  I also felt it tasted a bit cloying.  I didn't remember Coke having such a negative aftertaste.  I told him that the next time I was craving a Coke, I'd try one of the Mexican Cokes they sell, that are supposedly made with cane sugar, not HFCS, and if it still tasted off, I'd just have to remember that "Coke doesn't taste the way I think Coke tastes anymore."

I'm not going to beat myself up for going over-budget today, because I've been under-budget the rest of the week.  In fact, even with today's splurge, I'll still be about 500 calories under budget for the week.
sailorzeo: (Default)
So, LoseIt has a number of graphs and reports you can look at to see your eating habits and patterns.  Apparently, I don't like fruit.  Fruit very rarely shows up on my MyPlate report.  This is true; I don't care for a lot of fruits.  I basically like 2 types of apples, green grapes, and grapefruit.  I did have a salad for dinner, so I hit my vegetable quota for the day.  The main reason for the salad was so I could have one of Whole Foods' gluten-free chocolate cupcakes.  I just really needed it.  I haven't had a period since March, but it's been gearing up all week to start, and the PMS was just really, really bad today. 

Just my luck, I should be hitting my heavy flow day just in time for our 8th anniversary.  Whee.  :-P
sailorzeo: (exercise)
A round of WiiSports baseball, 2 rounds of the homerun challenge, a round of bowling, and 3 rounds of WiiFit snowball fight.  If I'd remembered the WiiSports last night, I'd have done that rather than the running.  :-P  I even got Matt back there for the baseball and bowling.  Now that I have the high scores in snowball fight, I fully expect him to come back and wipe them out again.  :)


Sep. 18th, 2012 06:43 am
sailorzeo: (huh?)
So, one of the things with tracking calories, and I've noticed this before, but I always forget about it in between bouts, is that when I start paying attention to serving sizes, I'm always surprised by some of them. 

For instance, this morning, we had pancakes.  Matt made them, so I entered the recipe into LoseIt, then just adjusted the number of servings to be the number of pancakes made.  That was pretty straightforward.  The spread serving size was a tablespoon; that seemed generous enough for 3 pancakes.  The maple syrup (real maple syrup; I stopped using "maple-flavored" syrup years ago) had a serving size of a quarter-cup.  I didn't have a clean quarter-cup measure, so I used the eighth-cup measure...and one of those was more than enough syrup for 3 pancakes.

I remember back in 1999-2000-ish, trying to keep track of what I ate by using recommended serving sizes only.  I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, and was amazed at, I think, the serving size of the jelly compared to the peanut butter.  I don't remember now which was bigger; I just rememeber a comically unbalanced sandwich.


Sep. 17th, 2012 09:14 pm
sailorzeo: (exercise)
Apparently the only exercise you can do on WiiFit without the balance board is the Run.  So I did the Basic Run twice. 

I r dead.

Batteries are recharging overnight so I can do something, you know, FUN tomorrow night.
sailorzeo: (exercise)
So once more I board the fitness/weight loss train.  I'm going into this with no expectations other than, "I fully expect to fall off the wagon in 2 weeks time." 

I never posted about it here, but back in June, we came home from work one day to find the back door wide open and the house totally tossed.  We'd had a break-in.  They primarily stole small electronics: our cameras, the old laptop that didn't work so well, my DS, the Wii and games, some car speakers and an amp.  They also took 2 of my rings, family heirlooms.  Nothing was recovered, but we had renters' insurance.  Allstate has been nothing but good to us through everything. 

How does this relate to fitness/weight loss?  My primary exercise tool was WiiFit.  Interestingly enough, even though they stole the Wii, both remotes, both nunchucks, and the sensor, they didn't take the power cables or the Balance Board.  They also didn't take the actual WiiFit disc.  So, with the insurance and reimbursement, we replaced the Wii hardware.  I was grumpy, though, because that meant any of my previous progress with WiiFit was gone (and even more so when we lost Scamp, it meant his Mii was gone now, too).

I finally got around to remaking my Mii last night, though I couldn't find the same hair it had before.  That was fine; I switched it to a ponytail.  But I had to reset my profile on WiiFit.  Anything I'd unlocked before, I'm going to have to unlock again. 

In addition to the WiiFit, I downloaded an app to both my Kindle and my phone: LoseIt.  It's a food/exercise calorie tracking program which so far, seems easy enough to use.  I like being able to scan barcodes with my phone if the food's not in their database.  Still, I've had trouble keeping food journals in the past.  We'll see how long this lasts.  Like I said before, I'm not overly optomistic about this.  But, I did 2 rounds of Basic Step on WiiFit last night.  It's a start.

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