November 19, 2016

From A DIY Lifestyle To A Homemade Brand...


Taking a DIY concept and marketing it to the public is not as easy as you might think. Sharing the "how to" is one thing. But turning it into a consumer product is a serious venture. It takes time to make a homemade craft into a tangible product others will want to use. Especially if that homemade craft is new to your understanding in the first place...

I thought I could create a natural brand over night. I thought I'd be able to whip up lip balms, deodorants and other skin care items on the regular and share them with everyone immediately. I started off thinking that my creations would be in high demand and that I wouldn't be able to keep up. So, fear inclined me to invest my time and money to try every natural idea I'd learned about. I spent countless nights awake staring at my computer for hours just reading and re-reading. Information that became a second language to me. I write and edit recipes over and over. I try making them and they don't turn out as expected so I go back to my notes. I go back to the tutorials and I work out how to make it consistent and pliable.

Those simple lip balm recipes you can find on the net are what I started with. I didn't like them a lot. The recipes were okay but I found overall they were a bit too soft and smooshy. The articles I read just repeated the other recipes on the web. After a short while I created my own recipes. I made a few tweaks here and there. Okay a lot of tweaks, lol. But now I've blended five different lip treatments! I keep coming up with new ideas almost every day!



It was pretty easy to ditch the chemical antiperspirants and choose to make my own deodorant. Even if you use the store bought kind, please, for your health don't use antiperspirant. Our bodies are meant to sweat! When you use antiperspirant, you're clogging your sweat glands. Which, in turn causes your body to emit a stronger body odour. When you eat right and use natural skin care products, your body odour neutralizes and smells sweeter. Believe me. I know this from experience.

The deodorant recipes I found on-line presented similar issues as the lip balm. I knew they would not be loved by the public for two reasons. Many recipes call for keeping the product in a jar. This means you have to scoop it out with your finger to apply to your armpits. Okay, I may be wrong, but no one really wants to stick their fingers in their armpits! And, most of us prefer a proper solid rather than something that changes texture depending on the temperature and the environment.

I've been using homemade deodorant since 2012. However it wasn't intended for the public at first. When I thought about making it for sale, that's when I realized it needed some changes in order to be presentable. It had to work for others too! I merely tolerated the imperfectness of greenish, chunky, goopy and soft deodorants which were the average recipe found on other sites. I decided to try using diatomaceous earth in place of the clays I was working with, and I'm quite pleased with the results. Probiotics add extra goodness to my deodorant. I'll be sharing the recipe soon!



This brand I'm perfecting is a life defining purpose. It's a challenge worthy of my strength, patience and will power. I am so very thankful for all the inspiration and encouragement I receive daily. From the universe, my friends and colleagues. The people who listen to me talk about it all the time... lol.

Sourcing ingredients and packaging from various vendors I found on line wasn't hard at all. I learned where to find resources from fellow bloggers and by searching the items I was looking for on google... I've spent money on useless items and learned many lessons. Some, expensive, but lessons nonetheless. I wasted time and money learning a lot of what didn't work. I tried everything I read about. It also turns out that I worked with a bunch of ingredients that I decided to omit about a year ago; once I made the conscious decision to sell allergen & nut free products, with a few vegan choices. I ceased falling for the newest must-have and I finally stopped including everything I learned. I decided to believe in my instincts. Then, I was able to focus on what worked for me as a created and end-user.

I searched for known allergies regarding the ingredients I had settled on maintaining in my repertoire. I considered which ingredients I absolutely loved most. I focussed on ingredients that had unique properties. And, about a year later, I have just about perfected the majority of my products... Ya, a year later. Because most recipes called for shea or argan or some other nut based ingredient that had to be replaced... Oy!

To be honest I wasn't thinking about selling items in the beginning. I just enjoyed creating skin care for myself and giving gifts of homemade lip balm to others. I seriously handed out lip balm to friends and co-workers on a regular basis just because it made me feel good to do so. I always made about a handful in each batch. I asked their opinions and heard their suggestions. Many people encouraged me to sell the lip balm because they liked it so much. So before I was even certain of what I was doing, I was telling myself I could make a great side business with it. I had no idea it would turn into such an obsession!

Hundreds of ideas and tons of advice started flooding in. It got to be a little overwhelming. I'm still trying to filter out the white noise and make it happen amidst life's events. I've had so many aha moments it's crazy! Every item on my list has gone through a rigorous editing process... As I go about crafting by hand, I also keep learning more about crafting from books and articles. Then, I have another aha moment and I update my notes again. I suppose I will always be a student of the craft.

I am lucky that this opportunity graced my life. This all came out because I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and struggling to find my "joie de vive"! This blog and this brand started as self therapy. I can't wait to sell my products at the festivals around here in Essex County and fulfill orders through my Etsy Shop. I believe people out there can relate to my story and my brand. So, I'm gonna keep sharing. I know it will require a lot of work to produce items on a larger scale. I know I can do it because I haven't given up after all these years. After the investments I've made. The precious time and money spent. All the nights crying over failed theories, while contemplated the ratios of endless recipes...

I have been working diligently to change my own lifestyle and promote better health and happiness. I try to live by example. I'm working on over a dozen product hopefuls. Plus, I have a few dozen ideas on the back burner. I also have a bunch of DIY's that I can't produce for sale, so I plan to share those on the blog and I encourage you to try them out for yourself! It's a magnificent feeling when you're creative & nifty.

Sometimes it's difficult being an avid DIYer, trying to establish a side business, working a full time job, and trying to maintain a social life too. Did I mention that I also work afternoons? I have a wonky sleep schedule because of that. So, I have just enough energy to make items I need for myself and I share the odd extra. Committing to producing and selling these items regularly has proven uneasy. And, sometimes I wonder why I even bother. I could just buy deodorant ya know. But it's not just about me anymore.

It's always gonna be a work in progress, isn't it? Balance is the goal here. I just have to stay positive and keep working like a mad scientist in the kitchen, until it pays off. One day, before I know it. I'll be looking back on this post smiling because it all worked out in the end. :)


Thanks for following along,

OXO
Angélique

August 11, 2016

Thankful Thursdays ~ Post Three

Photo Credit: Michelle Séjourné, edited by Angélique Dawn


THREE THINGS I AM THANKFUL FOR

1) Health Care:
~ I am ecstatically grateful for having health care. My company covers the basics, but also includes dental, paramedical practitioners such as massage, chiropractor, etc. and 90% of prescription costs! I don't like to take a lot of medication. I prefer to supplement with natural alternatives. But I am lucky to have the help to pay for the few scripts I do take on a regular basis that provide me with a better quality of life. It's a great benefit to have health insurance in today's world. Many people don't get treatment for the things they struggle with simply because they do not have the money required to pay obscene prices! Having health insurance that covers most of what would cost me out of my own pocket is a godsend.

2) Air Conditioning:
~ Oh My Goodness is it ever hot out there! And, brace yourselves, because the next few days call for a massive heat wave here in Southern Ontario. My air conditioner is about five years old, and designed for a small room. But I also have a bunch of fans to move the air around. I am very, very thankful to have even a little air conditioner giving me moderate relief from overheating. Since I'm a day sleeper (because I work afternoons & have disordered sleep patterns) the air conditioner and fans save me from having to sleep with my windows open for the breeze. It can get noisy outside during the day. And, the humidity here makes Windsor feel almost tropical... Whoever came up with the idea of heating/cooling, bless their souls!

3) Social Networks:
~ I truly wonder how people coped with the distance and time between contact with other loved ones and others whom they did business with hundreds of years ago. How lucky are we to have all this communication technology in our modern world?! I know it's problematic sometimes, because today's youth (and adults) certainly need limits over how much time they spend scrolling on their devices. But when you look at the big picture here, we are a tremendously rich society to be able to connect to our neighbours so far away. I for one know I don't reach out to my close friends and family members as often as I should. However, with social forums we are able to stay connected and aware of others lives even when we don't get the chance to do it in person.

So, this is week three of Thankful Thursdays. Did you sign up yet to follow along? Have I started you thinking more about what has graced your life instead of focussing on what you've missed out on? The deal is to try and find at least a few somethings every week to be grateful for. Thank the universe. Thank the stars! Thank what or whomever you believe in. Just give thanks for receiving what is good in your life. And more good will certainly come to you.

~ Namaste ~ 

OXO
Angélique

August 8, 2016

Facelift ~ Blog Updates & Do-Overs...



I decided to remove my old template and start anew. I just really wanted a simpler, plain look. It's time I started letting my work speak for itself. There's no need for pretty borders and colourful quilts in the background. I have enough to say and show, that's what the blog should focus on. It's still hard for me to get used to though. Plus, I have to go back behind the scenes and go back over tutorials to set things up the way I like it. A few little details have created challenges for me. Like my "Link Within" gadget at the bottom. It's supposed to be below the footer, but the code from the tutorial I went back to just doesn't seem to match up. So, until I can get some advice, or simply focus on it without a million other things on my mind, it's gonna have to wait.

It's interesting to note that some of the code I'd learned and input on my own blog crossed over with the template change. However, other specific code didn't. I don't quite understand code, though. I'm just winging it with the tutorials I found by Dana Fox. :)

I thought I could simply update the background and be done with it. I should've known the new template would override some details. But it's okay because the more I play around with my blog the more I understand how it works. Which, will make upgrading to WordPress that much easier one day. There's a big part of me that wants to switch platforms. But the financial commitment is just not right for me at this time. And, like I've said in many posts before. Blogger is very easy to learn, and a user-friendly platform. Also, it's free!

So, I just wanted to pop in and let everyone know that you may notice some changes on the blog from one day to the next. Now that I'm working with a blank background, getting the colours right for everything else is difficult. So, I'll continue to write and publish posts while I'm working on getting the set up of my blog just right. Again. Please, feel free to comment if there's anything in particular you like about the blog. Help me make this experience right for you too.

See you soon!

OXO
Angélique

August 4, 2016

Thankful Thursdays ~ Post Two



THREE THINGS I AM THANKFUL FOR


1) My Job:
~ I am forever thankful to my boss for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the company I work for. It's my first office job and I've been working there for almost seven years now. It's busy and hard, but also fun and rewarding. I work with some awesome people and we have potlucks almost every month! lol It's a nice place to work.

2) My Apartment:
~ I am lucky to live in such a charming and quiet apartment that is well maintained and worth every penny! Read This Post for a longer story of how cozy my home is! I really enjoy my independence and living in this wonderful neighbourhood lets me be free and relaxed too. Home is a feeling. And my place feels like home!

3) My Friends:
~ I've heard that if you can count the amount of friends you have on one hand then you're a rich person. I must be blessed with great fortune, because I have old friends, close friends and new friends and I'm very thankful for all of them. No matter how lonely I may sometimes feel I always have a few good friends I can count on.


What are you thankful for? Do you take the time to write down your blessings? I know I should write more, which is why I decided to add a theme of gratitude to the blog.

Let's focus on appreciating what we have here and now rather than wasting energy complaining about what we don't have. So, take your time. And write it down for yourself as often as you can think of something new. It might surprise you how big your list turns out to be.

I'm going to try to publish a Thankful Thursdays post every week. I want to share my reasons for being grateful no matter how big or small they might be. I hope you follow along and leave comments about the things you're thankful for too!


~ Namaste ~

OXO
Angélique

August 1, 2016

Mantra Mondays ~ Post Two



Welcome To Mantra Mondays!

These are the words I use to comfort myself when I'm feeling disconnected. Check out more about why mantras are infinitely useful, in my first post, where I discuss the purpose of mantras and how they work. Make sure to sign up and follow along for a new mantra every month!

Mantras are basically a form of thoughtful meditation. Most of the time with meditation, you're told to empty your mind. Clear your thoughts and be aware of only your breath. This, can be quite difficult for some people. Consider a gal like me, whose mind is scattered... Finding a place of nothingness in my noggin is virtually impossible. Every corner of my imagination is constantly lit up!

In my twenties I became familiar with mantras. There were a few that I said to myself daily. Though I usually simply repeat them in my head. Encompassing and directing thoughts steers me away from my anxious, frantic heart.

Something magical happens when you repeat a mantra several times. Your breath begins to fill deeper and more easily. This allows you to stretch your lungs and relax your upper body. Once your breathing feels less forced, a shaky exhale finally steadies. Which rhythmically detoxifies your mind. In between breaths, you'll notice a gentle pause before you naturally inhale again. That is okay. Your breath is patiently shifting to the cadence of the words. Along with the rhythm of your breath you may notice that the mantra you are repeating starts to ebb and flow as well. This is because your body, your breath and your consciousness are all in order. Just let everything go!

Start with one long deep breath, close your eyes and visualize each word. As you read over the letters, feel their meaning. Breath. Repeat. And breath some more.


"Life is Easy. Life is Good. Life is Fair. I am filled with Abundance. Many Good things come to me every day. Thank You. Thank You. Thank You!"


I believe the start of this mantra was inspired by some lines I read in the book The Secret. The part about life being easy and good. The Secret is one of the few books I've read almost straight through without putting it down. It is a book I definitely recommend. And, if I hadn't loaned it out and misplaced it in a sea of old friends, it would still be on my nightstand. The Secret defines the concept of The Law of Attraction. Rhonda Byrne captures your attention and keeps it for the duration of her story. Her story being that of a wide group of believers she discovered who used the powers of The Law of Attraction throughout history.

This mantra in particular is partly what inspired the name Easy Goodness and this blog! The idea of a good & easy life is all I strive for. I absolutely believe that life is meant to be simple and painless. Because it is all a state of mind.

Any negative situation is merely that of an upset in the balance of one's body/mind/spirit connection. I use this mantra to remind myself that my existence is not only about me. Life is about peace, love and kindness. And receiving what you deserve. It's not about getting what you want or think you want. Life is about giving and gratitude. And, this mantra is about trusting that everything I could possibly need is and will be provided for me. Thankfully!

When struggles occur and life seems out of control, the universe is reminding you to check your thoughts. It really is that simple friends... If your thoughts are intentional, positive and hopeful, then you are more likely to manifest a fulfilling life.


Cheers!

OXO
Angélique

July 16, 2016

A Mid Summer's Eve ~ I'm So Happy To Be Back In The Game!


Well, hello there... Thanks for your patients. Luckily, I don't have many followers yet, so I am pretty sure that the only person who experienced any withdraws from this blog was me... lol... It's been a long few seasons. But good things come to those who wait. And, sometimes, intentions outweigh preparation.

Spring went by like a flash and now we're just about halfway through summer. We're having a few days of low humidity and cooler temps here in lower Ontario. Which is a blessing! So, the windows are open and the smells of bonfire & bbq are lofting in throughout the apartment. The sun is setting beautifully. It's going to be a lovely evening.

The universe brought me a great miracle!

Apple offered a promotion financing a new MacBook Pro at 0% for three months. I am so very thankful for this deal! I have some money already saved, so I know I can pay the rest before any interest kicks in. But I kept dipping into my savings for other important things like my car and I kept putting off ordering a new computer.

I just couldn't wait any longer! I couldn't pass up the opportunity. I missed this place. I missed sharing my thoughts. I missed regurgitating the things I learn every day! I missed believing that someone out there is reading my posts and feeling changed for the better. I'm so glad I stayed positive and hopeful that I would find a way to upgrade my technology and get back on board this train to self fulfillment!

I was able to make small updates after work and on my iPhone. But it just isn't the same to write a post on another computer, and my thumbs got sore trying to write on my phone. Plus, I couldn't access the photos I needed. I am so thankful I finally have a new laptop. Now I have to get wifi! lol


This happy package was delivered to me a day early! I had to get ready for work soon after, so like Christmas eve, I waited till I got home from work to open her up, get all excited and have a big girly screech because I just could not contain myself! haha

Set up didn't take long. I still have to fully migrate my old computer. So, I'm going to clean that one up and only move the necessities over. I love apple products! They make MY life so much easier!

Introducing PRIMA McApple (lol)

Don't ask why I named my computer... ;) just go with it. I name my plants too. 

This was just a stop in to let y'all know I'm back in the game and ready to play. My technology is up to date and I've got lots of notes from the last seven months to put into action. I also have lots of good news to share! But it's too much for one post so I'll break it up over the next few weeks. I feel so lucky! My life is filled with abundance!

Holding my breath,

OXO
Angélique

January 15, 2016

Thankful Thursdays ~ Post One

*Photo Credit: Chad Pelletier, edited by Angélique Dawn*


THREE THINGS I AM THANKFUL FOR

1) My Blog:
~ I am thankful for the opportunity to start fresh with real attainable goals for the new year! I feel very lucky and blessed to have such a forum to be creative and share my hopes and dreams.

2) My Persistence:
~ I am thankful that I was able to figure out the proper URL for my bloglovin feed which I've connected to the social icons in my sidebar. This techy stuff is a lot of work for me because I am learning as I go. But the more I persist, the better I understand the things that have challenged me.

3) My Car/New Tires:
~ I am thankful that I have a car because it allows me to travel when and how I please. I recently replaced the tires which were quite old. It is winter here in lower Ontario so, I am especially thankful that I have a safe and reliable vehicle to get me where I need to go.


I am thankful for plenty more! But with each Thankful Thursdays post I will share just three things I am thankful for with a brief explanation of why. These posts are intended to be short and sweet. However, occasionally I may write longer explanations if there is some seriously wonderful happenings in my life.

I hope these Thankful Thursdays posts help you pause and think about the things in life you're thankful for too. If things are getting you down taking a moment to be thankful can often be the simplest way to cheer yourself up. It's a good reminder that the universe is on your side. There is always some thing to be thankful for...


~ Namaste ~

OXO
Angélique

January 8, 2016

The Dating Game - Finding a Needle in a Haystack

Ready for the real thing?!

It seems that I've been looking for love in all the wrong places. Actually, love has never found me in the places I happened to be. And, whenever I think about the real thing, it freaks me out! There's just so much anxiety in my gut that I can't handle it. The kind of relationship I want is, well, frankly old school. But I was raised to be self sufficient... Besides, where do women find men who want a housewife these days? And, whatever happened to the times when you could meet the love of your life at a friends house while playing cards?

I really wonder if I'm living in a dreamland. I want a nice guy who will love me enough to encourage me to work from home. I want his support and strength to guide and protect me. I'd like to believe that I'm a loving and attentive partner worth knowing. It's just... I'm very picky over who I spend my time with. So, whoever he is, he will certainly be a lucky guy. I mean, where do men find such affectionate and caring women like me?! :)


It's a complex situation. The battle between my heart and my ego. I'm terrified of commitment. But I'm always talking about settling down. It doesn't make sense, because I'm loyal to a fault, but when it comes to relationships, I've had few and far between.

When I was young, I was more the girl to have relations than relationships. And I didn't even know I was setting myself up for disaster by dating guys who had no future with me... So, there I was getting involved with crushes I met at bars and work or frat parties. I was too afraid to ask for anything serious, because I didn't want to seem desperate or clingy, so I was probably taken as a flake. After months of avoiding a real thing, when the truth came to light that I was merely "their" booty call, I'd end it! As if I didn't know. (I so hope my dad doesn't read this... lol)

I look in the mirror and remind myself that I'm a grown up now. I am lovable. I deserve to be happy and have all the things I want. I belong with my soul mate. My purpose is to create a thriving homestead. So, I'm planning my future while trying to envision a genuine, handsome man by my side. I don't think I want to get married, but I absolutely know I want kid(s) and a partner to grow old with. I'm closer to forty than thirty and I don't wanna miss my window... So, the pressure's starting to build lately. And, I can't figure out why the idea of sharing my life with someone else scares the daylight out of me... What is it that holds me back? Now, that's the million dollar question. ;)

I've put it out to the universe numerous times. But the universe knows I'm scared, so it's responding to my true intentions. I push away any chances. I don't clue in when my girlfriends try to play the wingman. Ya know, being single is actually kinda overwhelming sometimes. It's like I'm perpetually lining up to dive into the deep end. But I can't even climb up the ladder.

A few years ago I joined a dating site. I signed up for three of them actually. I'd read an article that suggested filling out multiple questionnaires for various sites because it was beneficial in helping you get to know yourself and to learn what you're looking for. When I finally broke down and paid for the services (at a discounted rate) I didn't find it any different than the people I'd met at bars & social circles. In fact, people are less inhibited on line, so my impression was that most people were just looking for a hook up.

I chatted with a handful of men through email. I even went off line with one guy and texted him for a month before we planned to meet, then I found out he was lying about who he was. He pulled a "Catfish" on me. I went on a few dates to meet other men, but it never felt right. I feel so foreign when I'm out with a potential mate. I don't know what is wrong with me. I may be irreversibly damaged... sometimes, I wonder.

The truth is I enjoy my independence! Okay, if I'm really honest with myself and my readers, the truth is, I'm still working through some difficult feelings in regards to relationships. I enjoy my independence because it's stable. I thrive at being independent because I've done it for so long. I crave independence because I have lots of hobbies that keep me busy, so I forget to feel lonely.

Yes, sometimes, at night I wish I had someone to hold me. But, then again, I'd have to deal with him in the morning too. lol, just kidding...

I think I'm still healing from my parents divorce (thirty years ago). And, I'm still learning from every stupid decision I made as a younger woman. Goodness gracious, I was a fool. But I have grown immensely. I have no regrets.

I suppose, right now, I just need to take my own advice and be in the moment. Live for today. I can't force anything. I can't ignore everything either. I can't change what I've done or what's happened to me. But, I am beginning to let go of all the crap that distorts my focus, so that my heart and mind are ready when I'm in the right place at the right time. <3


Thanks for listening,

OXO
Angélique

January 4, 2016

Mantra Mondays ~ Post One



Welcome to Mantra Mondays!

These are the phrases I use in order to calm my mind and comfort my soul. They can also heal an aching heart. Mantras are amazing at shortening the length of time it takes for bad feelings to pass.

The most important thing to know about mantras is that they can bring you into a place of meditation. They should only focus on positivity and progress. After all, we are what we think! Mantras are perfect for beginners who are learning to meditate because when you concentrate on a mantra, the white noise in your head fades away.

I find it very difficult to clear my mind and focus solely on my breath. My chest is always tight and my muscles are often tense. So I rarely give myself enough time or patience to get to that place of meditation where I'm no longer restless...

My mind never stops! It needs something to focus on or it will create a train of thought on it's own. If I think of a mantra, sometimes a new one on the spot, then repeat it over and over to myself, this process allows my mind to slow down and mimic the rhythm of my breath. Which in turn, allows me to breathe easier and my muscles even let go and relax a little. It's a good feeling!

For people like myself consciously thinking and repeating mantras is a manner of living in the moment and using that energy to harness your intentions for the bigger picture. When you turn your attention to a solidifying mantra you are igniting the law of attraction. Everything you put out to the universe comes back to you.

The particular mantra I've used for this post is one that I tell myself almost every day. I say it at night a lot so it's kind of a bed time prayer. It reduces my anxiety and fear. And it catches me when I fall into that place of nothingness during the late hours of the night when I feel estranged from the universe. Especially since it takes me a long time to fall asleep. It's a mantra that's short and sweet and easy to remember. It is a wonderful mantra for vanquishing the sense of despair.

Your posture or position doesn't really matter. But keep in mind that you are transitioning your breath into a tool of itself so you should try to sit up straight or stretch your body out so your diaphragm isn't restricted.

Your chest might feel tight and heavy at first, and that's okay. Try to breathe as deep as you can and hold it for a few seconds. Then exhale and say the phrase with your inner voice. Sense the vibrations of each word. Watch them linger in the air. Sink into the goodness with each syllable. Breathe in again, as deep as you can. Exhale and repeat the phrase another time. Continue repeating this cycle as long as you need to.

By the third/fourth round of breathing deeply, exhaling and repeating this mantra, I guarantee you will no longer feel worried or anxious... The bills, conflicts, health issues, work drama, laundry and household projects that nag you are no longer a concern. Your peace of mind is all that matters. Your breath will be less strained by this point so take the time to continue deep breathing exercises. In turn, the stress will lull away. Thoughtful intentions will bring you to a place of joy and happiness. Let yourself be a priority right now. So, go ahead, try it out.

"I am here. I am now. I am safe and sound. At this moment I am okay. Everything is going my way."

These are words that comfort me in my times of panic. When I feel worried about the future or anxious over the past, I breathe deeply and repeat this phrase to myself. It reminds me that at this moment I am okay. There is no good in fast forwarding to what may be or holding on to what is already done. When I think of this mantra I silence my ego and bring myself back to calm.

I am sending good vibes so that it can do the same for you.


~ Namaste ~

OXO
Angélque
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