How to Clean (and sanitize!) Your Beauty Blenders

Dirty Beauty Blenders. Not something any of us should use on our face. Dirty Beauty Blenders (or any brand of makeup application sponge) not only don't apply your makeup as well as clean ones, they are vectors for spreading old makeup, dead skin cells, oil and billions of bacteria living in that stew of goo in your sponge. Bounce that hot zone all over your delicate flower face and you run the very real risk of breakouts and possible skin infections. Now I don't know about you, but that sounds nasty. And not like anything I want anywhere my face! And I'm willing to bet that you feel the same way. 

Washing Beauty Blenders is a pain in the ass. I get it. But it needs to be done and 'tis best it were done well, don't you agree? Today, I'm going to share with you just how I clean and sanitize my Beauty Blenders so that they are safe for my skin and give me the best makeup application possible.

Just look at those dirty birdies. Foundation, concealer, all of the rest happily residing in the many, many little nooks and crannies of my sponges. EWW! It all needs to go. Now!

Artsy fartsy lighting alert! Toss those manky sponges into a microwave safe  - I'll explain why, later - vessel of your choice. Mmm... Coffee...

With what do I cleanse my Beauty Blenders? Dawn dish washing liquid. It breaks down oil and silicone, helps the spongy cells to release their goopy load of gross and leaves them sparkling clean and virtually stain free.

Everyone into the pool! Nice warm water and a generous dollop of dish liquid. Plenty of swish and squeeze. Now comes time to soak. I like to let them float for a few hours. If you have to take off, just leave them treading water while you are at school or work or getting on with the rest of your day. After they soak, (check the bottom of the bowl and see all of the makeup that has come free of your sponges, it's eye opening) more squeezing to get the rest of the makeup out of the sponges. If there is still residue, I like to add a couple of extra drops of detergent to stubborn spots and gently but firmly work them clean.

Time to rinserinserinse! Rinse and squeeze until the water runs clear of soapy bubbles. Squeeze them out well and set them on a clean surface to dry.

About once a week or every five washings or so, I like to sanitize my Beauty Blenders to help kill any residual nasties that may be lurking in the deep recesses of my sponges.

Rinse the bowl in which your sponges were washed and soaked and add about an inch or so of water and drop in your saturated, now clean Beauty Blenders.

Pop the container into your microwave.

And cook on high for about a minute and forty seconds.

Beep! Fresh, hot, sanitized Beauty Blenders, ready. Grab a pot holder! Remember, the bowl and contents will be hot.

Transfer carefully to the counter and set it in a safe place, out of reach of kiddos and pets.

Allow the water and sponges to cool until they are safe to handle. Squeeze out the water and set your sponges on a clean surface to dry.

And there you have it. Sparkling clean Beauty Blenders, all ready for a healthy, flawless application of foundation and concealer, once again.

Don't have a microwave? An alternate way to sanitize your sponge is to pour some 91% rubbing alcohol into a small bowl, saturate the sponge, squeeze it out and set it on a clean surface to dry. As the sponge dries, the alcohol scent will dissipate. Just never, ever use bleach! Trust me on this. Bleach will destroy your Beauty Blenders. I learned that one the hard way.

Gentle reader, how do you clean your Beauty Blenders/makeup sponges? Any good tips you can pass along? Anything I should try? Please share.

Kleem Organics Intensive Rejuvenating Vitamin C Serum

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Kleem Organics Intensive Rejuvenating Vitamin C Serum, 1 fl oz. $22.99 is a lightweight treatment serum that contains "Stay C 50" stable Vitamin C, Hyaluronic Acid, Witch Hazel and Arginine to help brighten skin, moisturize, tone and possibly boost collagen. 

Formulated with 98% naturally derived, 72% organic ingredients, this serum is cruelty free. The serum is nearly scent neutral, it is supposed to have an orange scent, my bottles haven't really had much, if any. Which is fine... I don't mind. I like orange scent in skin care products but if it is not there, I am not going to cry about it. 

Key Ingredients:
Sodium Ascorbyl Phosphate (Vitamin C) - 20%, Aloe Vera, Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), Vegan Hyaluronic Acid, Witch Hazel, Vitamin E, Carbomer, Arginine, Ferulic Acid, Kosher Vegetable Glycerin, Jojoba Oil, Organic Gotu Kola Extract, Organic Dandelion extract, Organic Horse Tail plant extract, Organic Geranium Extract

This serum is packaged in a sleek plastic vacuum pump bottle with brushed silver tone trim. It looks elegant and refined on my dressing table, among my other skin care products. 

The serum is very thin, almost watery, a small amount spreads easily over the skin, is instantly absorbed and leaves a soft, velvety finish. This serum can be used twice a day and I don't experience any stinging, redness or warmth upon application. I use this as my first treatment step after cleansing, before applying other serums, eye cream and moisturizers. 

I have been using this serum consistently for a couple of months, now and I am seeing results. My skin is brighter, the surface is more refined and smoother, overall. I don't know that I look any "younger." I wasn't expecting that, to be perfectly honest. This serum performs, it does what it says it will, it has improved my complexion. 

Every time I go in to have my hair done, my hair stylist, who is a very enthusiastic washer/rinser normally washes off most of my makeup, leaving only a little in the center of my face and my eye makeup. She was doing my blowout and actually turned off the blow dryer and complemented me on my skin. Not my makeup... Which was mostly gone! But my skin. It's been a long time since I received such a compliment. And I believe it was due, in part to this serum and it's brightening and refining properties. 

To be told, at fifty that I have pretty skin? I'll take it! 

Kleem Organics Intensive Rejuvenating Vitamin C Serum is available from Amazon and from their Website. It is affordable, efficacious and I recommend it. When I run out of the sample I am currently using, I plan to purchase and keep using it. 

Have you tried the Kleem Organics Intensive Rejuvenating Vitamin C Serum? If so, have you seen results? If you haven't, would you try it? Please do share, I'd like to hear your thoughts. 

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A Simply Elegant Manicure Featuring Zoya

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Accent nails aren't just for the weekends or for us polish fans. Accent nails can be elegant and can be worn by anyone, just about anywhere as this manicure featuring Zoya Dove shows.

This is Zoya Dove and an accent nail of China Glaze Glistening Snow. My top coat is Essie Good to Go Top Coat

Zoya Dove is a soft, balanced grey crelly. Perfectly opaque and smooth in two very pleasurable to apply coats, Dove smooths up the nail without streaking, pooling, running, dragging or bubbling. This polish self levels beautifully and with a fast dry top coat dries in good time. I had my Barielle Hydrating Ridge Filler on under this manicure and I got a solid five days out of it. I almost fell over! My manicures almost never last that long. I've noticed that the ridge filler seems to help my polish hang in there a little longer. 

Or maybe I'm crazy. A distinct possibility. 

Sadly, China Glaze Glistening Snow is not easily available, any longer. However, if you like this look and were thinking of recreating it, any fine silver glitter polish that will get opaque in a couple of coats would do the trick. A foil, like Orly Shine or holo like ILNP Mega would be beautiful, too. 

What do you think, gentle reader? Do you like this polish combination? If grey and silver aren't your cup of tea, you could try pink and silver, pink and gold, red and gold, black and silver, green and... Well, you get the idea. 

Have you tried accent nails? Would you? If you haven't, I encourage you to try it. If you are into wearing accent nails, what are some of your favorite combinations? Have any I should try? 

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Rituel De Fille for Gloss 48 First Impression

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Rituel De Fille is a new line to online indie beauty seller, Gloss 48Rituel De Fille was created to help you unleash your inner badass. I can dig that. I have two products from the line, and I'd like to share my first impression of them. Let's take a look, shall we?

The boxes and packaging are black, printed in silver and decorated with sprays of tiny silver stars. So pretty and delicately whimsical in a slightly hard bitten fashion.

Forbidden Lipstick in Written in Blood $18.00. ($23.00) Packaged in a slender, twist up tube, this is a matte, beautifully balanced, flattering true red. This lipstick applies and wears much prettier than it swatches. Really! I have it on my lips to test the wear and comfort level, as I am typing this and it's so pretty! I dabbed it on, then smoothed it gently into place with my finger and oh, my gosh, gentle reader. My lips look bitten. As if I've been kissing. Bee stung, in the best way. Comfort is okay for my sensitive lips. 

Inner Glow Cream Blush in Desire, $20.00. ($24.00) This soft, creamy blush is encased in a round black plastic mirrored compact. This blush is a gentle nude/pink shade that is very subtle when applied to the cheeks. I think it would be very pretty for Spring and Summer with a tinted moisturizer for that no makeup makeup look that everyone is so hot for, right now. This blush is very smooth and works easily into the skin. 

So, have you tried anything from Rituel De Fille? Are you a Gloss 48 Shopper? What are your faves? The Rituel De Fille goodies are on sale until February 1st 2015. So hurry to take advantage of the lower prices. 

Check out Gloss 48 and follow on FacebookTwitter and Instagram

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Say Goodbye to Flat Hair with Voloom!

#voloom #iFbboMember  **press sample** **affiliate links**

The Voloom Hair Volumizing Iron is the first ever of it's kind. This patented heat styling tool was created solely to impart volume and lift to your hair! Not a straightener, not a curling iron, this breakthrough design is unlike anything you have ever tried, before.

Six Beauty Goals for 2015

My Beauty Resolutions Goals for 2015 are simple and straightforward.

Gentle reader, I don't do resolutions... I find them too easy to brush off and to break. It is far too easy to open my hand and let them fly off into the wind like dandelion fluff. Goals, I find a little harder to ignore. Goals just feel more reachable, for me. So goals, it is. 

What are my beauty goals for 2015?

1. More Masking! I am pretty damned good about my skin care; I cleanse, never sleep in my makeup, use serums like I am getting paid for it, I moisturize like a fiend and I try to protect my skin from the sun. Where I fall down on the job is masking. I know that masking can infuse more moisture into my maturing, very dry skin helping it to look and feel better. 

2. Finally Find a Holy Grail Under Eye Corrector! Dark circles are an unavoidable part of my life. I have fair skin, it is thin, maturing and dry under my eyes. I endure year round allergies, acute migraines and crappy sleep patterns. My dark circles aren't going anywhere. Creams, vitamins, gallons of water, more sleep... Nothing banishes those suckers. But I know. I just know that there is a corrector/brightener out there, somewhere that can cover them up, brighten them up and help me look better and feel better about myself and less self conscious. 

3. Wear Colourful Eye Shadow More Often! I own a shit ton of neutral eye shadows and gentle reader, I am not finished buying more. I am a sick, sick, addicted woman and I can't lay off the eye shadows. It is what it is. I'm okay with it. Sprinkled in among all of those glorious neutrals I love so are beautiful colours. Some brights, a handful of glowing jewel tones. I think I even have a few that would qualify as Marsala! I really do like the colourful shadows I have and I want to utilize them more often. While I will never be the Phyrra of the makeup world... And let's face it, who else could be! I have been inspired by her beautiful and bold eye shadow looks to branch out more and wear more colour. 

4. Play with False Lashes More Often! I have several pairs of beautiful and wearable false lashes languishing in my makeup case. I did manage to wear one pair, late last year and I really did enjoy them! I need to break them out and use them more often.

5. Do More Nail Art! I enjoy doing nail art. However I am not all that talented at it. And... I'm a lazy slag. And, often, when I do actually get going on my nails, I over do it and it isn't so much art as hot mess. If you search "Nail Art" on this blog, you will see pathetically few posts on the subject, considering that this was, for years, a nail polish blog! I can dot. Stamp. Paint little impressionist roses and leaves. I have guide tapes, and shapes, even some stones and decals. I just need to haul them out and use them. 

6. Pamper My Hair Back! My poor hair has been through it, in the last year and a bit. It is beginning to come back, slowly but steadily. However, I have grown careless, I have been heat styling too much on top of having colour and blonde done and in addition to everything else it has been through, it is in dire need of more pampering, more moisture treatments, more gentle care and less heat, less stress. It's going to be so hard to not reach for my flat iron as often. So. Hard. Help Me! 

Oh! I just thought of another one! Buy and Start Using Lip Liner! Not just the clear barrier pencil I swear by and love almost as much as I do my only child, but lip liners that will coordinate with my various lipsticks and glosses. I have stubbornly resisted their use, as I have never realy liked them but... It's time. My lips, while still looking pretty decent, no longer have that firm, crisp line that they used to. They are beginning to, for lack of a better word, sag a little bit and I think that using lip liners, especially with more deeply pigmented lip colours will help me to wear them more successfully. 

So, there it is, gentle reader. My six... No. Seven Beauty Goals for 2015. I can hit these, without too much trouble. And I think that I am going to enjoy doing it! 

Do you have any beauty resolutions or goals for this new year? Are there things that you want to improve, change, start or stop? Please share in a comment. Inspire me. Inspire your fellow readers. Inspire yourself. 

This is a collaborative post in concert with other bloggers of The Beauty Council. Please don't forget to scroll down and check out my fellow Beauty Council bloggers and their Beauty Resolutions posts. 

IT Cosmetics Limited Edition Holiday Naturally Pretty Celebration Matte Eye Shadow Palette

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The IT Cosmetics Limited Edition Holiday Naturally Pretty Celebration Matte Eye Shadow Palette, $42.00 is a hell of a mouthful of a name. And, a pretty nice eye shadow palette, too.

When you take this palette out of it's outer box, the first thing you notice is that, unlike it's sister palette, the IT Cosmetics Naturally Pretty Volume 1 Matte Luxe Transforming Eye Shadow Palette (reviewed here) the Celebration Matte Palette - sorry, I am not typing out that long name every time - is a sleek, well constructed paperboard palette with a beautiful rainbow holographic effect decorating the exterior. Honestly, I'd have probably bought the palette just for the packaging. I mean, look at how sparkly! And this palette is easy to keep clean, no having to store it in it's outer box.

Open the lid by simply lifting the fold over magnetized lip and the interior of the palette is finished in silver, with the sparkly holo effect around the edges. There is a fair sized mirror in the lid to assist you in your get pretty routine, should you need it. There are fifteen pans of pressed eye shadow, fourteen matte shades and one shimmery shade called the Transforming Ombre Radiance Ribbon.

Okay! I am a wordy thing. I freely acknowledge that but the names on and of cosmetics are getting a little crazy, am I right?

The eye shadows in the IT Celebration Matte Palette are wearable neutrals and well laid out in a fashion that makes sense to the eye as well as for composing eye looks. The shade range is light to deep, there are both warm and cool tones but this palette swings cool, overall. The radiance ribbon is meant to transform mattes to soft shimmers and for highlight. Each of the pans are stamped with the IT Cosmetics logo.

Here are swatches of the shadows, running left to right, top row to bottom. I swatched over primer, as that is how I wear eye shadow.

Overall, the quality of this palette is very nice. The matte eye shadows are soft, smooth and creamy to the touch. A couple of shades, Coal and Hot Cocoa were a little stiff and take a little care in application and blending but they are very workable. These shadows are a little bit more powdery than the shadows in the Volume 1 palette and I had to cope with some minor fallout with the deeper shades. The Transforming Ombre Radiance Ribbon is a golden to champagne shimmer. This shadow is highly reflective, easy enough to use, I just don't dip into it all that often. I would have preferred it to be a large, ivory matte for highlighting and have another matte mid tone shade, instead. But, that's just me.

The pigmentation on these shadows is good, the payoff on the eyes is good. These shadows can fly away or get a bit muddy of over blended. I get the best result by applying over a primer and not working them too much. These are not powerhouse eye shadows. They are softer, gentler in colour and tone. If you like a more subtle, blended eye shadow look, this palette may be for you. If you are into intense, deep, smokey looks, you may not find this palette to be your cup of tea.

For an easy day to day eye look, I dig this palette. It delivers that subtle, neutral look that is my usual. Did I really need it? Probably not. It's sister palette works much the same way for me. I was sucked in by the sparkly packaging and my compulsion to #ownalloftheeyeshadows in the world. What can I say? Some of you are into lippies, others can't lay off of blushes or highlighters. For me, it's eye shadows. I don't regret buying this palette. I had an Ulta coupon, some rewards points which made it a good deal and I am using and enjoying it so it was a good purchase for me.

If you would like to check out the IT Cosmetics Limited Edition Holiday Naturally Pretty Celebration Matte Eye Shadow Palette (seriously... that name) it is still available on the Ulta website and the last time I was in my local Ulta store, there were still quite a few in stock. Pop in, swatch the tester and see what you think.

Do you own this palette? What do you think of it? Please share your thoughts, I'm interested to know how others who own this palette feel about it.

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For Beautiful, Defined Eyes... Tight Line!

As anyone who has hooded eyes well knows, one of our greatest makeup challenges is defining and making our eyes "pop." If you have hit a certain age and are dealing with the challenge of droopy, hooded lids, welcome to my world! I am the first person to admit, if I had the disposable income, I'd see a good plastic surgeon about this little situation but since correction isn't in my budget and insurance won't pay for the procedure unless the lids were actually interfering with my eyesight, I just have to deal.

One way I deal is with makeup techniques. And one of my favorite makeup techniques is tight lining. Tight lining is a simple application of a gel or creme eyeliner to the upper eye lid's inner rim along the outer waterline and in between the lashes. Personally, I prefer to not line my entire upper waterline right back close to the eyeball. I have extremely sensitive eyes and allergies and liner way too close to my eyeballs has never come to a happy conclusion for me. However, as long as I keep the liner close to my lashes, themselves, I can tight line very successfully.

Of course, tight lining isn't just for those of us with hooded or drooping lids. Tight lining enhances and defines eyes of any beautiful age or shape.

Tight lining takes just a couple of things:

First, you need a good gel or creme eye liner. I have tight lined with pencil and even liquid liner but I prefer a good, smooth gel or creme. Currently I am in love with L'Oreal Lacquer Liners. I own a couple, one in Espresso and one in Slate and I really dig them. They give me the depth of colour and definition I crave but aren't as harsh against my fair skin as black can be. Any brand or colour that you love is fine, just be sure that the gel liner is very smooth and easy to work with, gives you a little time to get it into place then sets fast and will wear all day without smearing into your eyes or blinking down onto your lower waterline. No one wants that faint, smeary transfer. That just isn't lovely.

Second thing you will need is a good, small angled eye brush. It can be synthetic or natural hair, whatever your personal preference. For gel liner, I prefer synthetic. The brush should be thin, have a sharp, clean top line and be firm but not so stiff or prickly that it is uncomfortable or painful to the delicate tissue of your eye's upper waterline and lash line. You might also want to have a tissue and a few Precision Tip Q-Tips on hand. If you are anything like me, they will likely be pressed into service.

Have your stuff together? Great! Let's get started. Okay, before we go any further, I grok that my photos are total amateur hour. This is the first time I ever tried using my camera, tripod and self timer to take pictures while applying makeup. Clearly, I need practice!

First, apply your makeup as usual. I used eye shadows from the Urban Decay Naked on the Run palette for this soft, neutral eye look. My brows... Yeah. We're going to have a chat about that business, very soon.

Moving on.

I like to curl my lashes then apply my eye liner. I find that if I line, then curl, my lash curler pulls some of my liner off and smudges it and makes a mess of my lash curler, too. Not acceptable. Once my lashes are curled, I apply liner to my upper lash line. I am using Urban Decay 24/7 Liner Pencil in Stag.

Next, grab your gel liner and angled brush and dip in and pick up just enough of the liner to evenly coat the tip of the brush. If you get a bit too much of the liner on the brush or the shape of the brush gets a little splayed out, simply lightly dab off the excess and reshape the tip on the back of your clean hand or a tissue. I just do it on the back of my hand. With a little practice you will get the hang of how much liner to pick up with your brush. Most of the time, I can dip in and load up my brush once, do one eye, wipe my brush off really quick, reload and do the other eye.

Okay, here is where it can get hairy, gentle reader. If you have never tight lined, before your eyes are not going to be super happy with the procedure. They may rebel by blinking, you may find yourself puling your head back... Don't worry, with a little time and practice, they and you will get used to it and it gets much easier. Just be patient and don't give up or give in to your eyes and their shenanigans.

Angle your makeup mirror up and your head back, a little bit so that you are looking down into the mirror. Holding your angled brush so that the lower end of the angle is toward the outer corner of your eye, start at the outer corner, kind of "sneak" the brush up and in and gently stamp the liner on the upper, inner rim of your eyelid then use the brush to wiggle the liner gently but firmly in between your eye lashes. This is where that firm brush is really going to do it's thing for you. Now, just move along to the next bit of lid and repeat.

If your eyes are unhappy and you involuntarily blink, just grab a Q-Tip and clean it up, really quick, before it sets. Take a breath, relax, reload your brush and carry on. If you feel your lid getting a little twitchy, pull the brush back, start again from a more comfortable to your eyes spot and go forward. Sometimes that will enable you to move on across the lid and finish the job. One eye will always be a little easier than the other. My right eye is easier than my left, so I always do my left, first. Get the not so fun one over with, first!

Once you have finished tight lining, keep your eyes open as best you can for a few moments to let your liner set well then go ahead and apply mascara. My tight line application isn't great in this shot... Trying to line in an unfamiliar mirror and take pictures at the same time was a challenge! This old dog is learning new tricks.

My eyes, finished. As you can see, my upper eye line looks more defined, The extra liner under my lash line not only makes my lashes look a little longer and thicker, a good thing, especially with hooded/drooping lids, the liner breaks up that lighter expanse and makes my eyes more visible.

In this full face shot, you can see the effect in action. Even though my shadow is very neutral and pretty blown out, the tight lining makes a real difference in how my eyes appear at a little distance.

That is all there is to tight lining. It is a quick, easy technique that will help your eyes look prettier and more defined. If you have never tight lined, before, I encourage you to give it a try, it really makes a big difference.

I hope that you found this helpful. Do you like to tight line your eyes? What is your favorite liner to use? If you have never tight lined before, after reading this post, do you think that you might like to give it a try? Please do tell. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Phase Two is Complete!

If you are reading this, the redirects are working for everyone, not just me and somehow, miraculously, I managed to point this blog to my domain without imploding it, in the process.

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 It was quite the drama, redirecting this blog, let me tell you. First... The new name. I agonized  over it. Back and forth, this one, then that one and oh! the dramz!

I went back and forth and I was convinced that I was going to pick another really bad, cornball name and that no one would want to read my blog and I would be forever

Finally I landed on the name you see, above. I'm very happy with it. And I got lovely feedback on it, too. I think it just... Goes with me and will work nicely into the future of this blog, morphing smoothly in whatever directions I travel.

So, once I had my name picked out and FINALLY settled on, it was time to face my fear, bite the bullet, stop being a huge panty waist and buy my domain and move this pile of rust on down the road. Buying my domain was pretty painless. Even this idiot got through that process smoothly. Then came the hairy part... Pointing my blog in it's new direction.

I was so nervous! I was literally shaking.

But I pulled up my big girl panties and got to work. I followed the directions to the letter gentle reader. To. The. Letter. I am very good at following directions. It should have been the five minute breeze I was assured it would be. Uhhh...

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Didn't work.

All I got was error message after error message after error message. What was I doing wrong? I repeated the process... It must have been at least thirty times in the span of two and a half hours. Oh no. I'm not kidding. And, as much as I just wanted to,

I didn't. I just sat and tried, over and over. I wanted to take a break, wouldn't let myself. I'm tenacious. Once I get my teeth into something, I'm going to finish it, if I have to kill it. And come hell or high water, no matter the hour or the pounding in my head, this blog was going to point to it's new domain, dammit! But point, it wouldn't. I knew that I was following the directions. I knew that I was doing things correctly so why wasn't it working?

After about the oh... What felt like millionth attempt but in reality was I think about number thirty, a little voice in the back of my head said, "Psst! Hey, Dipshit! Have you tried looking at the bottom of your domain's manager screen for a Save button?" Oh yeah. You know it. HOURS I worked. Never scrolled the screen to check for a Save button.

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I hit that little bugger so fast and what do you know. My changes locked in. Well, duh!

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Exhausted, excited, hopeful, I went back to my blog's Settings page that had the set up and error message that had been mocking me so relentlessly for so very long and I hit that save button and...

Victory is mine! Victory is mine! Great Day in the morning people! Victory is mine! Yes, this is an unbearable blog post.

And I am feeling quite pleased with myself.

Now comes the fun of a new template, time to spruce up the place, methinks. And I need to do a few other changes. Oh! Facebook? My fan page? That is some fuckery I'll get in to later. I'm pissed to the gills and ready burn some shit down. But, I have a plan. Facebook will not defeat me. Oh, no.

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I hope that you will bear with me a while longer while I get things settled in. It may get a little weird, a little wonky may look a little strange around here for a while but once the dust clears, I hope to have a nice place for us all to hang out.

In the meantime, thank you for your patience. Oh! If you can't comment, just yet, hang in. I'm migrating Disqus. It will be a little while. Hopefully not too long.