Melting Pot

2019 #11 – March Art & Babble

I’ve been practicing a little with my Chromatek watercolor brush pens. I still have a long way to go with them, and this month’s artwork is… meh. But I worked hard on it, regardless of how wonky it looks. I started by lightly sketching a rough idea of the image with pencil and then started with my lighter watercolors and worked my way up to the darker colors. I went in with one of my Chromatek glitter pens to finish the eyes, as well as using a white gel pen for the light reflection in the eyes.

I’ve been trying to prepare myself for a 5k I allowed myself to get roped into doing but the weather has not been cooperative for it at all. I’ve only about a month left till the race and don’t feel anywhere remotely ready for it. I can’t even run the full distance on a mostly level trail. The course has hills. Several of them. It STARTS going UP a hill. I’ll do the best I can when the time comes, but for the moment I feel like my best isn’t going to be good enough for me.

I also started a 28 day “flat stomach” challenge with a fitness app I decided to try. The main thing keeping me from being in the next smaller size pants is my stomach. A smaller size fits my thighs beautifully, but with my stomach in the way I can’t get into them. Today is day 3 of that challenge and my stomach muscles already ache. So it must be working, though the workouts seem too short to be effective (4 minutes start to finish – I don’t know if they get longer as the challenge progresses or not). My beloved Leslie Sansone always says when you slim down your body slims down proportionately. Methinks she isn’t quite right on that. If it were true my stomach would not be in the way quite so much as it is! I’ve lost a lot of weight since moving here almost 2 years ago but I’ve still got a ways to go. Truth be told I don’t care (too much) what the scale says. I’m focused more on how I feel and what I see in the mirror. I learned the hard way years ago that me even owning a scale is a bad idea because I’ll become obsessed with the number and it quickly becomes counterproductive. So I do not even have one – I step on the scale at J’s about once a month and that is that. I otherwise focus on how my clothes fit and how I feel… and while what I see in the mirror plays a role I try not to focus on that too much. I can’t say with any degree of certainty of course but I think I probably see myself as being quite a bit larger than I actually am.

I briefly signed up for an online dating site. I go back and forth between wishing I had someone special and feeling like I’m fine on my own and don’t really want anybody else to have to worry about. I have been stuck in “I want somebody” mode for a while now though. Multiple folks had mentioned I should try online dating. It is not something that ever felt right for me but as J pointed out I’m not exactly a social butterfly so how else am I going to meet someone? So I figured I would try it. I fully admit with the length of time I had the account it could be easily argued I didn’t give it a fair shot but good grief I do not think anything (dating-wise) has ever been so aggravating and depressing! I expanded the search results the furthest distance that was allowed – 200 miles – and set the filters with far less picky criteria than actually exists. My age to 15 years older. No smokers, no drug users. End of filters. 20 pages worth of resulting profiles. ONE seemed genuine and interesting and actually offered up some insight in his profile but my intuition still said to steer clear and there were a couple things on his profile that were, for me, red flags. While I browsed I received about 15 messages in about as many minutes. Not a single one worth a response. They were all “hey sexy” and if that is all they have to say to try to get my attention, they’re definitely NOT someone I want to spend my time on. I ended up hiding my profile the very night I had created it because the messages were becoming annoying. I continued to browse and search hoping for new members, for a few days. But it was always just the same ones I had already seen. So I deleted my account. The whole online dating thing still just feels wrong for me. I know, I know… I don’t really go out much besides work and grocery shopping so I’m not meeting people really. But the online thing just does not feel right, and if something doesn’t feel right I have a hard time convincing myself to do it. If I’m to have a man in my life I need to meet him (somehow) the “old fashioned” way – face to face. Whether it’s being introduced by someone we both know or pure chance, face to face is just how it will have to happen. Otherwise I suppose my future holds a lot of cats… or bunnies. Maybe birds. Dogs. Fish. You get the idea.

I’ve got things I need to tackle so I’m off.

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

2019 #10 – Product Review

Y’all know I like trying out new art supplies. Though most of my artwork is either pencil drawings or acrylic paintings, I am always eager to try new mediums when an opportunity to do so arises.

Chromatek has recently released watercolor brush pens – something I have never used but have always been curious about. So naturally when I was given the opportunity to try them, I couldn’t pass it up.

There are two sets, and I got the smaller of the two sets to try out. It contains 27 colors – each one different, no duplicates – and one blending pen.

The set also includes a small pad of watercolor paper to practice using the pens. The pad is designed to go along with the video tutorials provided on the Chromatek Youtube channel (located here) – each page has some guidelines printed on it to help you follow the tutorials.

I’ve not had the opportunity to work my way through each of the tutorials yet, but did do the one for a feather. I clearly need lots of practice, but for my first time using watercolor brush pens I think it turned out pretty decent.

I obviously can not compare these to other watercolor brush pens since these are the first I’ve ever used. I really like them, though. I like that the colors are all unique and they’re nicely pigmented. The lids fit onto the ends of the pens which is a HUGE plus in my book! They are very easy to use, though the techniques of course require practice. I like that these would be easy to travel with, if you were ever traveling and wanted to take some art supplies with you. No having to wait for pans of wet watercolor to dry before they can be closed, minimal additional items needed, quick and easy to clean up… I feel like this is a great set for a beginner like me. They’re very affordable, which further makes them a good choice for beginners who don’t know if they want to invest in a larger set yet.

If you would like to check out these brush pens for yourself, you can find them on Amazon by clicking the following link (not an affiliate link):

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DK6SX8P/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_awdb_t1_s7wGCb8Y1C93Z

Discolsure: I was reimbursed for the purchase price of this product in exchange for my honest review; no additional compensation monetary or otherwise was recieved for this review.

Melting Pot

2019 #9

Shopping for clothes is always a challenge. It does not matter if you are tall, short, fat, thin, curvy, boxy etc. There are always going to be challenges finding items you like that fit your unique body well.

Bras are absolutely no exception to this. In fact they’re one of the most difficult things to purchase, especially for those of us who have been more generously endowed in that area. Many women unknowingly wear the incorrect bra size. Many larger breasted women wear the incorrect size simply because of the lack of easily accessible bras in what would be their correct size so they simply stuff themselves into the largest ones they can find even if they’re not the proper size.

I’m no expert on this subject. I’ve just got a fair number of years of experience and frustration that have led me to some general truths when it comes to finding bras that fit me well.

1. Do NOT trust Victoria’s Secret employees to correctly size you. They’re not really knowledgable in that department and their “expert sizing” is going to be no different than you measuring yourself/having a friend measure you. They sell an incredibly limited range of sizes anyway and if you’re bigger than they provide for they will either (again, based on my experience) LIE and tell you that you need whatever the largest size they have is so they can try to make the sale, or just tell you they don’t carry your size without bothering to even guess what your size may be.

2. “Experts” do not necessarily know it all. Even if you find someone more knowledgable and experienced to size you, it does not mean they will help you find the best bra style for your body. I once watched a bra sizing advice video from an “expert” located in New York City. She made the comment that full figured women “should never wear plunge bras, you need full coverage”. That may have been the case for the lady she was using to show an example in her video but it is definitely not true for every woman! I personally do not fit well into full coverage bras, but plunge bras fit me wonderfully!

3. You’re going to have to spend a ton of money and do a LOT of trying out bras to find what works well for you. Maybe not so much if you’re smaller but definitely if you’re bigger. I ordered multiple bras online, in what I thought was my correct size as well as a couple similar sizes. I got different brands and different styles. Then I tried them all on to find what did and did not work for me. This is how I know full coverage is not for me but plunge bras are. I kept the couple that fit me well and everything else was returned.

4. Even once you find what you love that fits well, you’re not necessarily going to have a bra size to shop by. The same way every other article of clothing varies with each brand, the fit of a bra varies from brand to brand. Again, just like other items of clothing, even within the same brand, different fabrics and styles may not fit the same way. Even once you find something you love there will still be a certain amount of guesswork involved, and potential need to return things because they do not fit as expected.

5. The struggle never ends. Your bra size is going to change throughout your life. You gain weight, lose weight, maybe have babies, get older and gravity takes its toll… it means you periodically need to go through the whole process of trying different things again to find what works right now. The good news is the changes that come with time will be able to be based off of what you know already works for you so you’ll at the very least have a good starting point.

6. Do NOT trust online bra size calculators. Even from companies that sell bras. I’ve never found one that gave me a final result that is anywhere near accurate. I’ve tested them out, knowing what my proper bra size is, and they are all ridiculously off. They may be more accurate for those who are not full figured. I’d still be hesitant to trust the result they offer. Definitely do not trust them if you have big boobs, even if it is from a brand that supposedly specializes in larger sizes. Lane Bryant for example has recently changed their offerings and sizing system, to make things “easier” they say. You take a quiz that does not involve measuring yourself but they ask questions based on how your current bra fits then they tell you what size you “should” be wearing. On my quiz I said my band size fits fine yet my resulting size they said I should be in was the next band size up. It was also very laughably several cup sizes too small. Use such tools with a grain of salt and if you do use their recommended size, only purchase one bra and make sure you can return it if it does not fit. once you know it fits you can buy more. Though keep in mind, as mentioned above, different brands and styles fit differently.

Bra sizing is a little insane and confusing, particularly when you need to make a change. Every bra also has “sister sizes” – sizes that will be close to your proper size, though not actually your proper size. Cup size is not the same among different band sizes. The cups on a 32C bra will be very different from the cups on a 42C bra. If your current bra is a size 36D and the cups fit find but the band is too small, you would not simply get a 38D. You would instead require a 38C. The general rule is “if you go up a band size, go down a cup size; if you go down a band size, go up a cup size”. Further adding to the complexity of bra sizing, different companies use their own size charts and systems; bras made in the UK for example use a different sizing system than those made in the US. (While I’m at it, I’ve found that there are far more UK brands that offer extended sizes for larger breasted ladies than US based brands. My favorite brand is a UK brand.)

Some of the things I’ve learned over the years that have helped me find my ideal size and style:

  • The band of the bra does the majority of supporting your breasts therefore it is essential to get a good band fit. The band should be snug enough to stay in place as you move, but not so snug it is painful or digging into your skin.

  • When your bra is brand new, the band should fit well when you use the row of eyes (the style of closure for bras is called hook-and-eye) closest to the end of the band. The reason there are multiple rows of eyes is so that you can use the eyes further inside the band as the fabric stretches out with time and wear to continue to get a good fit over the lifetime of the bra. If you’re already using the innermost row of eyes to close your bra when it is brand new, you have no way to keep the band fitting well as the fabric stretches out. (This is one reason to avoid wearing a “sister size” to your proper size, if possible.)

  • The shoulder straps should sit comfortably and snugly but again like the band, not so snug they dig in or are uncomfortable. You will have to frequently readjust the shoulder straps – unless you do nothing but sit perfectly still all day every day, the basic movements you make in everyday life are going to make the adjustment sliders move out of place a bit.

  • The center gore (also called the bridge) should sit flush against your chest. This is the part of the bra that is between the breasts. On full coverage bras this part is higher up than on plunge bras – regardless of how high or low this part is on the bra it should touch your chest and be fully flush on your skin for the best fit.

  • The underwire should be centered under your armpit. If the underwire is closer to the front of your body or the back of your body, the cup size is incorrect and the underwire is going to be very uncomfortable. If you do not wear underwire bras, you’ll judge this based on where the underwire would be if it were present. (The seam where the band meets the cup is where it would be.)

    Hopefully some of this info is helpful for some of you ladies. I just did some shopping for some new bras so the subject was on my mind. Bras are such a curious and often infuriating thing I figured the little tidbits I have gathered over the years could be useful to others.

    Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

2019 #8

People assume I’m Irish because of my red hair. Truth be told, I’m not sure if there is a drop of Irish blood in me or not (once upon a time we were sure there is NOT, but digging through our family history has since made us less sure) but I can say even if there is, it is a minimal amount as my family, to the best of my knowledge, is predominately English and German. I know there is more than that but have never delved much deeper into our roots to learn more.

Irish or not, I’ve always held a fondness in my heart for Celtic lore and traditions. One of the things I most adore, though I can’t begin to pinpoint why, is the claddagh.

The hands represent friendship, the heart represents love, and the crown represents loyalty. Three things I’ve always looked for and found essential in a romantic relationship.

The claddagh is perhaps the most recognized Celtic symbol, though not everyone knows there is a meaning in how a claddagh ring is worn.

When worn on the right hand with the heart facing outward (the narrow point of the heart facing away from the wearer) it means they are single. Worn on the right hand with the heart facing inward means they are in a relationship. Worn on the left hand with the heart facing outward means they are engaged. Finally, when worn on the left hand with the heart facing inward it means they are married.

If you want to learn more about the history of the claddagh, check out the following link:

https://www.celtic-weddingrings.com/claddagh-ring-meaning

Did you previously know about the different meanings behind the way a claddagh ring is worn? Did you know anything about the history of the symbol? Are there any symbols from other cultures that are special to you?

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

2019 #7 – February Art & Babble

Not the original piece I had started. That one ended up going south as I worked on it. It’s still ok. Just not worthy of sharing. So I started a new piece with a faster, simpler approach and this morning added the varnish and hung it in my kitchen.

The quote is my own.

As usual it is not perfect, certain things could have been done differently/better. But my heart is in it. And therefore I like it and shall enjoy having it on my wall.

I’ve got the day off today and planned on doing absolutely nothing today as I’m feeling extra tired and a bit down and I just want to stay home. One of my coworkers texted to say she is taking some fried rice in to work with her today though. I may need to get dressed and go to the store to get some. That might sound insane but this is absolutely the best fried rice in the world! She has told me how she makes it and even bought me some of the specific soy sauce she uses but I still fail to make mine taste as good as hers does every time. I’ve not convinced myself just yet that it is worth it to get dressed and leave the house on my day off… but I’m considering it.

I’ve now worked my way through three books for the year, so I’m maintaining a good pace so far for that resolution. I’ve got a fourth book I’m working on but it is lengthy and non-fiction so I don’t read it every day; I read a few pages here and there. I’m not sure I’ll finish it any time soon. Not that I am not enjoying it – quite the opposite – it is just one I’m taking my time with. Of the three fiction books I’ve completed so far only one was enjoyable. I am hoping my next selection will not be another dud. Two blah books in a row means it is definitely time for one I really get into. I’m trying to make all 15 books for the year new-to-me selections but if this trend of them being kind of awful continues I may have to turn to one of my trusty old favorites that I love so much I read them again and again!

I’m getting a migraine. Oh joy. Well that may mean even if I want to go get some of that fried rice I won’tbe able to. I’m going to go take something to hopefully keep it from getting too bad.

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

2019 #6

I seem to have slipped into an emotional funk without realizing it was happening. Usually I notice it happening and can try to take steps to avoid it. But this time it snuck up on me. And it’s making coming up with a blog post tricky.

I’ve tried several times to get a post written. I’ve written about varying subjects, even a couple recipes. But each time, once the post was done… I just deleted it. I’ve been doing the same thing with texts and emails to people. I get it all typed out, then instead of hitting send I simply delete. I feel like nothing I have to say is interesting or of any value. I feel like nobody cares what I’ve got to say. That amusing thing I was about to share? Only amusing to me. That subject that has been kinda bothering me lately? It isn’t a big deal. That question I wanted to ask? I’ll figure something out myself. I want to reach out. But I shouldn’t – I don’t want to be annoying. I want to speak. No, I don’t want my words misunderstood, or worse, twisted into something else.

For every thing I want to say, there are a dozen reasons that flood my head as to why I should not bother. And they all seem terribly valid reasons. So I listen. I delete. I sigh and walk away from my phone, shaking my head, convinced that I simply don’t matter at all to anyone.

I also choose to delete rather than send, when the urge to reach out if I am feeling down strikes, due to past experience with how it tends to go. Some folks simply ignore me. Others, whether intentionally or not, totally dismiss me. They will say things like ‘What could [I] possibly have to be stressed/depressed about? [My] life isn’t so bad.’ They “don’t get it” why I feel this way. And that is precisely the problem… they don’t get it. They haven’t felt this way so they don’t understand. And frankly… I don’t understand, either. So I have no insight to offer to try to help them understand. There is no real rhyme or reason to feeling this way. It simply is. And I don’t know how to fix it. I don’t know what they could possibly say or do to help.

To be clear: I’m not posting this looking for help, advice, sympathy, pity etc. I’m just sharing. Maybe someone else who is struggling will find this and find some consolation, however small, in knowing that even though you feel completely alone, like nobody in the world knows what you’re feeling, there are people out there who do get it. Maybe not anybody you know personally. But somewhere someone else is trying hard to figure it out and get “back to normal” too. Someone else is out there feeling alone and confused and frustrated, with life, with feeling this way, with nobody understanding. There may never be any good reasons for any of it. It may never be fully explained or understood. But there are definitely others who are in the same place. And it will eventually get better. It always does. The funk comes back periodically. But it always goes away again too. You just have to hold on till it does.

Melting Pot

2019 #5

The end of January is already here. Time sure does fly. I have had an interesting and eventful (aka stressful) month. If that sets the tone for the year… oi. I’ll try to stay positive. That is much easier said than done, though.

I have taken a liking to a local coffee shop that a friend told me about not too long ago. By that I mean, my first visit was January 2nd and between then and now I’ve stopped in 7 times. I know this because I have a punch card for a free drink and I’m only 2 drinks away from the freebie. If you recall, I do not like coffee. I do, however, like coffee based drinks that no longer really taste much like coffee. So I get lattes and frappes, though they also have tea and smoothies to choose from. It is a nice little place. I’m happy to have been introduced to it.

I am looking forward to spring and warm weather very much. The beach has been cleaned up from the hurricanes now to the point there is still some repair work to be done but the actual beach is clean and safe again and I’m desperate to get back to the ocean asap. There is just something about the ocean, I don’t think I could ever get enough of it. Hurricanes aside, I’d love to live on the coast. But since hurricanes are an issue, I’ll take living within a couple hours drive instead.

My back has been bothering me like crazy since yesterday. I have no idea what I did to make it hurt but it has hurt all day and it seems I can not find a position in which to be comfortable. It has made no difference if I am sitting, standing, or lying down. It still just hurts. I think I’m just getting older and my body is starting to tell me so in various ways. Boo.

I’m tired, so I’m off for now.

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

2019 #4 – January Art

I’ve started a couple new pieces of artwork this month. But if you recall, my resolution is to finish one piece each month. I am still trying to sort out how to finish one, and the other is still very much in the beginning stages. There have been a couple pieces completed as practice pieces, so while I’m not sharing those they do indeed count toward my goal of finishing one piece per month. I also, however, finished this mixed media piece. As usual it is far from perfect – I made some boo boos and could have dome some things differently to get better results. I am pleased with it though and that is what counts.

Overall a rather simple piece but I like it and the sentiment of the text is, for me, quite true. I considered being punny about it and using “shore” in place of “sure’, but decided being punny did not fit with the feel of the piece so left that idea alone.

Some folks think “mixed media” has to have 9,986,000 different elements to it. Clearly I am not among that group. Just using two different mediums in a single piece makes it mixed media, by the very definition of the term. I don’t do mixed media all that often but when I do I usually stick to using just 2-4 different mediums/objects. For me, mixed media is tricky. I feel like it is easy to have too many elements and overwhelm a piece. (Though with that said I have seen other folks do mixed media with a dozen or more different elements, and the pieces turn out absolutely amazing.) Even when you have the right elements to work together, regardless of how many, it can be tricky to get it all placed right to where everything pulls together and looks right.

Are you a fan of mixed media? Do you find it easy or are you like me and find it more challenging?

Until next time. xoxo

Melting Pot

2019 #3

I’ve added a page here to keep track of my books for the year, if anyone is curious to see what I have read or keep tabs on my progress. 2019 Book List

I have a couple art pieces in the works. I have not yet quite worked out how I plan to finish them. They are both mixed media – or will be once all is said and done, anyway. Neither has gone exactly how I had planned so far, but that’s ok. The important thing is taking the time to create something that means something to me.

In the interest of my resolution to complete 1 piece of artwork each month, and also to improve my artwork, I have joined SkillShare. I found out about this site from one of my favorite youtube folks who is a very talented artist. SkillShare has online classes on many varied subjects like painting, writing, business, web coding etc. If you use my referral link below to sign up you will get 2 months of a premium membership for free (you can cancel easily at any time), and I’ll earn a free month of premium as well. Not sponsored at all, just really enjoying the service and want to share. (You’ll also get your own referral link with the same offer when you sign up.)

https://skl.sh/2RhKD9C

I have had a cold for the last week so I feel kind of blah. I’m improving, but still have several days before I’m 100% better I am guessing.

I’ve been making some slow, small bits of progress toward getting the house more tidy and organized. I still have a lot that needs figured out, but the fact I’m making some progress helps me feel better. I so very much dislike clutter. I probably need to get rid of some things. I’m not ready for that part of the process yet though. For the time being, the focus is simply getting as much organized as possible. I’m trying to tackle that chore one area at a time. I’m at a loss what to do to better store my cookware and bakeware. It currently gets shoved into most of the cabinets in the kitchen. I don’t like it. It is not in any sort of order, it is not quite as easily accessible as I would prefer, it is just all around a hot mess. I’ll get it sorted out eventually. Hopefully.

I suppose that is it for this week’s post. Hopefully I can come up with some more interesting content for future posts. I’ll see if I can come up with a list of posts/topics for future posts so I don’t just bore you to death with silly things like this.

Until next time. xoxo