BWAV Fave: Nuts.com (Try Their Nuts!)

nuts4I don’t remember how I first discovered Nuts.com, but all I can say is I’m glad I did. I *think* I went out looking for pine nuts and stumbled upon Nuts.com, but I can’t remember at this point.  What’s important is that this is one of my very favorite online vendors to do business with!

They not only sell nuts, but also dried fruit, trail mix, candy, grains, baking supplies… a ton of stuff!  I’ve ordered a little bit of everything from there over the last year or so:  various nuts and seeds, brown sugar, dried mango, colored Jordan almonds, and most recently a huge assortment of red and green candy for a holiday “candy buffet” I’m hosting.

I want to give credit where credit is due.  Most importantly, their stuff is always fresh. nuts1 SUPER fresh.  The dried fruits are soft and chewy, the nuts taste like they just came out of a roaster, and the candy is never stale.  They stand behind their freshness guarantee so I know if I ever do get anything that’s not fresh, they will make it right.

What is almost as important is their shipping speed.  They tend to ship your order the same day unless you’re ordering really late.  I am in North Carolina and my orders always arrive in two days.

nuts2Another plus is the quality of their chocolate.  OMG it is absolutely delicious.  It is some of the best chocolate I’ve ever eaten, especially for the price.  Try the “Ultimate Malted Milkballs.”  You will love ’em!

And that brings me to their prices–they are very reasonable.  And, if you order more than $59 worth you get free shipping.  Go ahead and order that much–try a little of everything–and order some sample packsnuts3 which are a great deal to try new foods!  So far with every order I’ve placed over $59, I have also received a free sample pack  of something new to try!

They make custom gift-trays, as well as custom trail mixes.  You really have to see this store to believe it!  I am truly impressed with www.Nuts.com

Online Therapy

In my last post I was pretty upset.  So much so that I felt I needed to talk to a bh_logo_mediumprofessional.  I knew if I waited for a live appointment I would talk myself out of going, so I opted for online therapy at www.betterhelp.com   I thought I’d fill you in on how that works, in case you’re interested.

BetterHelp.com is an online therapy service, staffed with licensed counselors and therapists.  You fill out a questionnaire so they can match you up with someone.  If at any time you are not happy with your therapist, you can request to change to someone else.  My therapist’s name is Tiffany and she’s got a master’s degree plus she’s a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).  I like her.

You correspond with your therapist in a private chat room.  You can talk as much as you want, as often as you want.  The therapist replies as soon as possible.  I find that Tiffany always responds within 24 hours.  You can also book live chat sessions for one hour, in which you chat real-time.

It’s definitely different than face-to-face therapy, but I like the fact that when I have something to say–even if it’s 2:00 in the morning–I can just say it and get it out.  I know that appointments and waiting weeks or months to see a good therapist would deter me from going through with this process.

I can’t really say what has been concluded thus far.  It’s personal, very personal indeed, and it involves other members of my family who didn’t give permission to have their business plastered all over my blog.  As upset as I am, I’m really trying to respect their privacy.  But, let’s just say there are some deep issues that involve the past and the present that I have to try and stumble my way through and get some closure on.

With most therapists charging $100 an hour or more, I think the price is quite reasonable.  You get the first week free, and you can cancel if you aren’t happy.  After the first week, you have to pay for 11 weeks at $35 a week.  You have to pay for all 11 weeks at one time.  But, that’s less than $400 for 12 total weeks of therapy and I don’t know any place that you can get that kind of assistance for that price.

I’m pleased with the progress we’ve made so far and I am glad I signed up for this.  If you need to talk to someone, give Better Help a try.

Something Fun: A Tie Dye Party

Today I thought I would give you an idea for something really fun to do on a sunny day:   host a tie dye party.  It’s not very expensive, and it’s a lot of fun.

Step 1:  Grab a coupon for your local craft store, then go buy a tie-dye kit.  All three of the major craft chains (Michael’s, AC Moore and Hobby Lobby) usually put out a coupon once a week for 40% off or 50% off one item.  Grab one online or from your local sale flyer and then head to the store.  Buy the Tulip brand tie dye party kit.  It looks like this:

2016-05-27 11.13.54

The packaging may vary, but look for the kit that makes 36 projects.  Realistically, it will make more like 15-18 projects using the colors you really WANT.  Just know that going in.  It typically retails (in North Carolina) for $29.99, so with the coupon, you’re looking at it costing about $1 per project.

Step 2:  Find some stuff to tie-dye.  I order men’s white v-neck t-shirts from Hanes.com, but you can also watch for those at your local discount store.  And, sometimes the craft chains put Gildan brand t-shirts on sale for as little as $1.99 apiece.  But, don’t limit yourself to t-shirts!  You can do tote bags, socks, scarves, and even underwear.

My son really likes to tie-dye boxer briefs.  He once made a pair using the brown dye in the Tulip kit.  It was kind of disgusting but funny.  (Use your imagination).  This is also a good way to repurpose white shirts that have a stain on them, or that have turned yellowish.

Tell guests to bring their own garments.  That way you aren’t trying to buy shirts for everyone, and, they can be sure to have the right size and style of whatever it is they want to tie-dye.  Be specific about how many garments you want them to bring.  Whether it’s one, two or three, or more, make sure you have figured on having enough dye and supplies  for the quantity people will bring.

Pre-wash all the items, and do not dry them with fabric softener, which can impede the dye’s absorption.  I recommend also drying them once, to shrink them.  Then, wet them again (a rinse cycle in the washer is great). It’s easiest to fold and shape the tie-dye design with a damp garment, which is why you need to rinse them one more time.

(Be sure to tell your guests to do this pre-washing step before arriving, and to bring their shirts damp, if possible.)

Step 3:  Set up a tie-dye station outdoors.  You really need tables for this, if at all possible.  Cover the tables with plastic (the kit comes with a plastic table cover, but you may need more).  Don’t use newspaper!  The dye will soak through it and stain your table.  Just a few minutes before the party, add cold water to the dye bottles and mix them up.  Do NOT pre-mix the dye earlier!  It has to be mixed fresh and used within an hour or two.

The kit contains gloves and rubber bands for tie dying, but you’ll probably need extra gloves and you’ll definitely need extra rubber bands.  It takes a lot of rubber bands to create most of the styles that people want to make when they tie-dye.  So, have extras of those.  Good thick strong big rubber bands are ideal, but whatever you have will work.

Finally, you’ll need to have a supply of plastic bags.  The shirts have to be wrapped in plastic and left to process for at least 6 to 8 hours–24 hours is better.  I recommend a package of gallon-sized Ziploc bags for shirts and larger projects, and a package of quart-sized bags for smaller items.  (They are a little pricey but they are the easiest to use and they ensure that dye doesn’t leak out of the bag).

When you invite guests, you can go ahead and tell them to bring one Ziploc bag per garment.  If they are going to bring their garments damp, the bag is a perfect container for transporting the damp items.

So…. you’ve got a plastic-covered table, dye, gloves, rubber bands, and plastic bags.  Now what?

Step 4:   Start the party and fold the garments.  The dye kit comes with some instructions on basic tie-dye folding and design.  You can also find some great design suggestions and ideas online here (just click here to go to the Tulip website).  Pinterest also has lots of other suggestions that you can search for.  Print out the design ideas for your guests so they have something to look at and refer to when folding and shaping their garment.

This is the fun part, where the table comes in handy.  You have to fold and work the garments, and rubber band as needed.  Once the garment is folded and banded, you put on gloves, apply the dye, and place the garment in a bag.  Rainbow Spider DIY:

My advice for a smooth and successful party is to have everyone fold and shape their garments first, THEN apply the dye.  This way someone who is folding and working on a shirt doesn’t bump into an open bottle of dye that someone else is using.

Step 5:  You’ll rinse the shirts out after several hours.  The package says 8 hours, but I recommend 24 hours.  The dye can process for that long without harming the garment.

You should probably print out these instructions for your guests to take home with them…

  1.  Remove garment from the bag and in a stain-proof sink (such as stainless steel, or a laundry sink), rinse the garment thoroughly until the water runs clear.
  2. Remove the rubber bands, unfold, and wash in the washing machine by itself, with no other garments.  Remember there’s still soluble dye in this item that can stain other things it touches, so it’s important to wash it alone.
  3. Dry thoroughly.
  4. For the first 2 times you wash it, you’ll want to wash it alone, or with other tie-dye garments, just to be safe.  After that, it’s fine to wash with other colored clothing.  I’ve never had the dye rub off on other clothes after that point.

There!  That’s it.  Provide a snack or two and some cocktails and you’ve got a really fun afternoon, with a take-away that guests can keep and enjoy for a long time.

Product Review: LuLaRoe Leggings

2016-02-11 17.12.32Today’s post is about a new pair of leggings I just bought.  I want to review them and tell you all about them, because I am in L-O-V-E!

You can see the picture of my new LuLaRoe leggings.  I just love them!  They are super soft, with no rough seams.  The fabric is “like buttah.”  They don’t bind or pinch anywhere.  Best of all, they FIT me!  A lot of the leggings I own are “one size fits all,” but apparently they meant “one size fits all but your fat ass, woman!”

The LuLaRoe brand comes in three sizes–one for “tween” girls, a regular “one size fits most,” and then a “tall and curvy” size.  I am 5’6″, and wear a size 12 pants.  The ‘one size” fit me just fine and I daresay there would be room in these if I were even a 14.

I really love the way these fit.  The crotch isn’t too short, there’s no sagging in the knees, and the waist comes  up high enough that I don’t have a major muffin top, (while not so high as to resemble grandpa pants.)

And one more thing that I think is worth mentioning… the fabrics are truly opaque.  I don’t mean to sound crude, I’m being serious–you cannot see the crack of my butt through the leggings!  Now, I don’t ever wear leggings without a long top to cover my backside, but…there are women who don’t.  I am always so nauseated when I’m walking behind one of those women who is wearing, ah, shall we say “sheer” leggings?  If they’d just wear LuLaRoe, the rest of the world would be thankful, I dare say.

What is really unique about LuLaRoe is they only cut so many pieces of clothing from a given fabric design.  As you can see in the photograph, my leggings have a Valentine’s Day pattern.  Only so many pairs of those leggings were made, and when they’re gone, they’re gone.  New patterns are always being released, and yes, they have nice solid colors, too, if you don’t like your leggings quite this colorful.

LuLaRoe is a direct sales company that sells through “pop-up boutiques” (ie., home parties), but I didn’t go to a party.  I attended an online pop-up boutique that my friends Amy and Candi hosted on Facebook.  They posted photos of everything available in inventory and shoppers just claimed what they wanted and were invoiced online for payment.

If you you want to be invited to Amy and Candi’s next online boutique, you can join their Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/lularoedazzlingdivas/