Blogging

Demonstrating the Difference

A lot has changed in my life in the past 3 to 4 years.  I started powerlifting in 2011 and was in a car accident in 2013 that forced me to quit lifting for a time (about a year, actually). I had ankle surgery (2014), walked the UK (2014), and got hit with some type of autoimmune disorder (2014) which kept me from restarting powerlifting when I wanted.  Then I bleached and dyed my hair (2015), then I hacked it off (2016) to avoid dying in the heat (again).  I joined the SCA (2016) and began researching medieval skin care.  I started using oil to wash my face, based on historical evidence that oil is actually a really good skin cleanser.  I believe I started that in August 2016 as a way to prepare for the first, ever, SCA class I was going to teach at Great Western War. This year, I've had to make a diet change for my health. I had no idea that sero-negative celiac disease was a thing and that I would have it.  So, no more grains and, for me in particular, no more legumes/lentils.  I really don't want to be sick and it doesn't take a lot to make me sick.  I've drunk more water in the past checks calendar 2 months than I have in a few years, and my skin has been very thankful. I've also continued my skin care regimen of oil and rose water, and have just recently added a oil moisturizer to the mix that actually really does some wonderful things for my skin. But, is it just placebo effect, or is there an actual difference? [caption id="attachment_179" align="alignright" width="300"] Left: c. 2014. Note the fine lines at my eyes and the dull, uneven skin tone. Right: June 5, 2017. My skin is even and bright, and there is no evidence of fine lines.[/caption] The image to the right shows me 3 years ago and just last week.  The picture on the left, my skin looks dull.  It looks like its aging.  If you embiggen the picture, you can see fine lines at my eyes.  I look like I'm in my 30s in that picture (which is so very true! I was 36!).  The image on the left is me just last week. I was picking up Geiri from work and had some time, so I snapped a selfie.  My skin looks clearer, even, supple, and there is no evidence of fine lines forming anywhere on my face.  I look like I'm not quite 30 yet (in fact, I've told people just recently how old I am and they've just stared at me in wonderment...they thought I was only about 25). I used to wear a lot of makeup.  I don't anymore simply because it's a lot of work and I don't always have the spoons to do it.  These two pictures have about the same amount of makeup effort going on, which is why I chose them.  Before, I was using whatever products I could buy at the store to wash and moisturize my face. I have acne-prone skin, so many of the things were super harsh and drying (as is evident in the left picture, on the cheek).  My skin care routine has completely changed and the difference was noticeable within a week. My routine is as follows:
  • Cleansing Oil - I use olive oil as a base and add rosemary and tea tree oil to it.  The olive oil, alone, is fine; I like the scent of rosemary and the anti-bacterial properties of both rosemary and tea tree oil.
  • Toner - Toner is good to close the pores.  Rose water is a fresh type of tone that is mildly astringent, so it also helps quell the raging outbreaks I'm prone to have on a monthly basis.
  • Moisturize Me - This part will vary depending on where I am and what I'm doing.  If it's a normal day in which I will not be outside, I use a moisturizing oil consisting of a jojoba oil base with evening primrose oil and palmarosa essential oil.  If I'm going to be outside, I treat my face with commercial sunblock in SPF 30 (Hawaiian Tropics) and the rest of my body with SPF 70 (Neutragena).  I have one skin and I plan to keep it until I die...which isn't going to be from skin cancer.
I have also switched my hair-care routine to include the use of oils for treatments and as part of my shampoo.  My shampoo consists of peppermint castile soap, coconut oil, coconut milk, and a blend of anti-inflammatory oils to help combat the eczema/psoriasis I have on my scalp. I use henna on my hair, now (and for now... I may go back to blue...or add blue streaks or something), and my hair just looks and feels healthier (though in desperate need of a cut). In Egyptian times, oils were how everyone from royalty to slaves cleaned themselves.  In fact, up until the 1950s, oils were the basis for all cleansers and moisturizers.  I find them healing and effective and I think the difference is clear.
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Blogging

Irish Fair Recap

The Long Beach Irish Fair and Music Festival was fun.  It was not as well-executed this year, likely due to the death of the previous organizer who wasn't known for his delegation.  There were some other issues, as well, but the most significant for us and the other re-enactment groups was that of the Fire Marshal disallowing camp fires.  There was nothing for us to really demo, after that, except for armored combat (which we did on Saturday).  The weather this year was amazing! Last year, it was about 108-F both days; this year, it was a cool 70s-F.  Light rain in the mornings and a strong breeze during the day made it just lovely weather. For those who are coming to this site from the perfumery demos and discussions, welcome!  I hope you find interesting things in this blog.  Pardon the store, at the moment; I have not taken pictures of everything, yet, which makes it difficult to list items for sale. If, however, you'd like to order a custom perfume, please e-mail me at orders@iceandfireworks.com and let's discuss what you'd like. :) On a personal note: I did do a bone-head thing and trip over a lash line on my tent on Sunday evening as I was preparing to break down camp.  I landed squarely on my knees and hands/wrists and it seems my left knee took most of the impact.  Keeping an eye on things, but it's possible I may have a stress fracture in my knee cap.  We'll see how things progress over the next few days. Over all, the weekend was fantastic!  My next scheduled event is Lyondemere Anniversary on July 8!  Hope to see you there!
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Blogging

Potrero War 2017

It's been a long time since I've updated this blog. I do apologize. I've been hugely busy with my dissertation. The good news is I have submitted my proposal for preliminary feedback and have received half of that feedback.  I need to make some edits, then it gets submitted for IRB and RRB review, oral defense, then off to the races with experimenting!  If you're interested in my dissertation stuff (which has to do with using traditional role playing games for training critical thinking skills), feel free to e-mail me and I'll happily talk your ear off about it. Potrero War was this past weekend and it was pretty fantastic!  I spent most of the war volunteering...which ended up being a bit of a mistake for me, healthwise, but c'est la vie! I started by presenting a class on Roman hygiene and perfumes, then started working at Base Camp, Base Camp HQ, and Gate in over-night shifts.  I do love over-night shifts! I decided to run a second iteration of my class, too, because there were people who had wanted to come, but couldn't. It was great and I made sure to give the Queen her own custom perfume (for which she swooned). The documentation for this class and the one I taught at Great Western War are now available for download here.  Enjoy them and if you end up making any of the perfumes, do let me know!
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Blogging

Getting Back to It…

We're home from Great Western War. I'm still fighting some fatigue issues, but I'm working on things for the shop! The skin care class went well and everyone seemed to have a great time. I will be expanding my store to include aromatherapy items (such as bath bombs) for those who may be inclined, and will continue to add new products and remedies from the different time periods. I'm officially in dissertation-writing-and-execution mode, so I may go dark for the next few months; we'll see. By this time next year, I sincerely hope that this will be thriving with information, as well as products for you to enjoy. This is a short update to let you know I'm not dead, yet. :)   Sechen
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Documentation

Skin Care Class Handout

I've spent a goodly amount of time on this monstrosity. I will have these available at Great Western War, but if you would like to print a copy for yourself, that is fine, as well. This particular handout started getting super long and I knew I was going to have to cut it down, so the last part of it is quite truncated from what I wanted to do, originally. I was definitely in lit review mode (which is what I get to start the day after Great Western War). This is a short post because you're getting a downloadable PDF in it that is what took most of my time. Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy it! See you after Great Western War!   gww-skin-care-class-handout
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Music

Sechen Sings

Okay, so along with all this fantastic skin care and historic information, I also sing. Technically, I'm a classically trained opera singer. My voice falls into the category of spinto soprano, baby coloratura. Those are big, fancy words that just means a) I'm loud, b) I don't blend, c) I sing loud, high, and d) my voice is sorta bendy. My composers would have been Wagner, Puccini, and Verdi. The last time I sang any type of "period" music was when I worked at the Ren Faire in PA back in 2001/02. One of the songs I got to sing was "Rose Red," which is a madrigal of sorts. There are three melodies that, when sung together, form harmonies. It's also really hard to sing harmony with yourself. Anyway, I sang the middle portion, which is the highest part, because I have a high voice. I didn't actually learn the other two parts, which you can sort of tell in this song. Here are the various lyrics: Voice 1: Rose, rose, rose red. Will I ever see thee wed? I will marry at thy will, Sire, At thy will. Voice 2: Ah, poor bird! Take thy flight! High above the sorrows Of this sad night! Voice 3: Hey, ho! Nobody home! Meat, nor drink, nor money Have I none! Yet, will I be merry, merry, merry! Hey, ho! Nobody home! It's a pretty song. Cursory searches say it's a round and it's from the Elizabethan era. I'd have to really focus and research a little more, but I'm pretty sure this is actually a madrigal (which, if you don't know the difference, is a song for multiple voices that has a melody and a counterpointe [or countermelody], and can be accompanied by an instrument). This song definitely fits with the melody/countermelodies portion, and it really does sound best with 9-12 voices (3-4 per voice). Regardless. I hope you enjoy it. :) [audio mp3="http://iceandfireworks.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Krysta-Noelle-Rose-Red-a-Madrigal.mp3"][/audio]
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Recipes

Recipe Trials

I'm slowly getting in the items I need to make some of the recipes that are on my long list of recipes to try. I also have Great Western War coming up next week, which is part of why blog posts have been sporadic, at best. I decided that since our King had invited so many royals (6 different Kingdoms will be represented at GWW), that I would help with the making of Largesse for them. I decided to make something simple: Potpourri. Potpourri has been around in one form or another for centuries. The word, itself, is French; when broken down, pot- means bowl and -pourri means rotten. Literally, rotten bowl. Why would such a wonderful smelling thing have such a terrible name?! We use potpourri to decorate in our homes, and it isn't rotten! But, you see... we use the more common dry method of creating potpourri. The original method for making the scented decor was wet, which means the flowers were rotting in the bowl in which they sat. Decay never smelled so good! The potpourri I made for the Largesse is a simple recipe, designed for use in amor bags or for tying to belts when cleaning clothes or body is not an option. The base of just about every potpourri recipe is roses. Why? Because even after they are dried, roses tend to hold their scents. Other good flowers for scent retention are lavender, germanium, and tuberose. The recipe I used followed one posted on Dave's Garden, modified a bit because I didn't have a large enough container. My recipe follows: 1 quart dried rose petals and buds 2 c. lavender flowers 1/2c. dried hybiscus petals 2T orrisroot powder 6 sprigs of rosemary nettles 10 drops essential oils (I didn't write down what I used and it's been a few days...plus, I put 10 drops in *each container* rather than spreading it out among the three I used, which isn't quite what you're supposed to do). The mixture is supposed to sit for 6 weeks to allow the scents to marry and have a great time on their honeymoon. I, however, do not have 6 weeks, so they will only have a chance to get to know one another and meet their future in-laws. There's no celebration. Agitate the mixture over the course of the 6 weeks just to keep it from settling out. You can then divide the potpourri into whatever containers you desire to give as gifts. In my case, I'm putting it into sachets for the Royalty, and I will likely sell whatever remains for $3/sachet. I also finally got a chance to try Lady Heodez's late-16th century antiperspirant. I had similar problems as she with it being an exceedingly messy application. Unfortunately, it's been so hot here in the harbor area that I don't think it's a fair test of the ability of this antiperspirant. My normal antiperspirant which has the tagline of turning up the protection as your body heat increases, can't even keep me dry when the temperatures sore into the 90s and the humidity tries to match. I do, however, like the feeling of the camphor in it, but I'm going to try to reformulate it to make it a bit less messy to apply. Lastly, since we're going to Great Western War, Geiri will need some type of bug protection. He gets eaten alive, the poor thing. So, I have a recipe for a spider & bug repellent that I'm going to try for his sake. I'll let everyone know how it turned out, whether it works, and if it's something that I'll offer in the shop for other re-enactors who really don't want to be eaten by bugs, but want to have some degree of authenticity. If this repellent works, I may also try to make it into a lotion for those who would prefer not to be seen spraying themselves with bug spray (I'm looking at YOU, my Civil War people). Since it's made with natural ingredients that have been around for a long time, this particular spray should work for any era. I'll do a little more research on the ingredients, themselves, and let you know in a separate post! See you at Great Western!   PS!! My class times have changed! Well, one of them has, anyway! I'm still teaching on Thursday from 2p-3pm; but my Friday class moved to Saturday at noon to help out a Kingdom member. So, please! Do stop in for the class! I'd love to meet you!
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Blogging

Stressing…

I really should research some period-appropriate de-stressers. Besides leeching or blood letting. There is a week and half-ish til Great Western War. Our first war. My first time teaching. ...and I have nothing finished because I've been working on this website and my dissertation. I still have to make garb; I still have to buy tent stakes; I still have to design and make the handouts. I still have class work to complete before I go because I don't know if I'll have the electricity to power my laptop to finish my school work. I also need to make our Baroness' birthday present. And figure out what and if I'm entering the People's Choice art...thing. Wars are stressful, yo! I'm hoping that, by this time next year, I'll be preparing for a different trip: The one that takes me to Denver to march across the stage in a cap and gown and be hooded as Doctor. We may have to skip GWW next year. But, I won't know until early July because that's when I'd have to have my dissertation completed, signed off, and published by, and my petition to graduate turned in. If it's not all finished and submitted by July 15, we'll be at war next year, too. :) Regardless, I also hope I have more garb by this time next year. And maybe some armor. I have a dream of participating in Crown and making it to the finals, then completely throwing the fight because I just want to participate, not win. ;) (I know that's not chivalrous; but it's humorous, and that's my bag). Besides. Who'd want a Mongol Queen, anyway? Regardless, I really should be working on documentation and such. Maybe I'll find some more interesting information to post here and more products to offer. Maybe I will also get the website actually finished... ...and maybe I will sleep at some point. Stranger things have happened...
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New Presence
Blogging

New Presence

I've been working on a bunch of things. Today, Geiri and I created a Thing for our cats. [caption id="attachment_66" align="alignright" width="225"]Nekko was really excited about his new Thing. Nekko was really excited about his new Thing.[/caption] Nekko (pictured) is about 13 years old. When he falls asleep, he tends to sort of roll to the side. In this case, he rolls to the side away from the window which causes him to crash into the food and water dish below (not in the picture). I suggested building a shelf at the window ledge to keep him from falling, and Geiri came up with this brilliant design. It has a nice, flat surface above the portable dishwasher (which will be covered in carpet), a nice shelf at the ledge (which I will likely make a cushion for), and a pole across the top (from which to hang dangly bits for them to play with). The two side pieces will be covered with rope and/or carpet for them to scratch at, and we're going to make a step stool type thing to act as a shelf and cover for the food and Drinkwell-360 that sit below the new window shelf. We had just put the dishwasher in place and took a step back to admire. I got out my phone and before I could unlock the screen, Nekko was up on the window sill, exploring. I snapped the picture, then said, "Nekko, do you like it?" I was met with a happy sounding meow, so I took it as a win. After that, I sat down and began working on this site. I really want to have it up and fully functional by the end of next week. Geiri and I will be at Great Western War October 4-10; I'll be teaching a Medieval Skin Care Class on October 6 (Thursday) at 2pm, and October 7 (Friday) at 1pm. If you're going to the War, do come and check it out! Space is limited, and the cost is $5 (because I couldn't go less). ...which brings me back to the website... You'll see that things are slowly changing in appearance. I have a logo now! I kinda like it, though I'm sure it will go through some changes as I continue on with things. I also have a bunch of social media links at the bottom of the page! These are all links for this site's social media! There's a YouTube Channel, which I fully intend to actually use for make up tutorials, skin care tutorials, mini-history lessons, and even live streaming. Be patient with me; I'm still learning YouTube. There's a Twitter account, a Facebook page, a Google+ page (which I really need help to learn how to use), and an RSS feed! Please feel free to follow any and all of those! Geiri and I will work on using them, as time goes by. What do you think of the logo? Do you have a better idea for it? Let me know in the comments!
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Blogging

Crash, Burn, & Rise from the Ashes

I had a good many blog entries going. A fair few hours were spent typing each entry, recipe, results update, etc. I had the brilliant idea to convert the site to a standard site; and that went very, very badly. So badly that I lost all of the posts I had made from August til now. There were tears! There were wailings! There were gnashings of teeth! ...and now there's this website. I'm still working on it, quite obviously, but what was once just a blog, is now a blog and online store. Please bear with me as I slowly put up product pictures. I have to find all my gizmos I had on the blog site so that I can integrate them into this one, plus design a logo, plus do art work for the banners, plus do blog updates, plus research recipes, and and and and.... PLUS! Work on my dissertation. For the past two weeks, I had been spending 2-4 hours, Monday through Friday, doing general transcription for a company that shall remain unnamed. If you really want the details, I posted the email exchange with them on my personal Facebook profile. Long story short, they're violating a number of Labor Laws and I was tired of being bullied (it only took once), so I quit. But, that knocks out my income. For those who know me and follow me on other social media sites (like Instagram and deviantArt), you know that I've been doing a lot of art for a long time. It's time I sell my art. And my sciences. I'm doing this stuff, anyway, and I enjoy doing it--plus, it's good for me to do to relax from the stress of the dissertation phases. This site is dedicated to the period re-enactors. The ones who camp out in wool July 1-3 in Gettysburg, PA (you insane people!) for Civil War re-enactments; for the ones who camp out without electricity, preferring a simpler time from the Renaissance and Medieval periods; for those who just really like simplistic face care that will actually improve their skin because it's based on science and history. This site will offer blog posts promoting new products, but also blog posts about different recipes for skin care, or historical documentation for art pieces, or even brief histories on calligraphy or some other aspect of history. If there's something you'd like to see featured, please contact me! If there's a product you want that I don't currently have listed, talk to me and I'll see what I can do! In the meantime, please sit back and enjoy the site as I try to get my previous blog posts back up and running; and browse the shop! Even though there aren't pictures, yet, there's still stuff there to look at! I'm still trying to figure out the gift certificates, so don't buy those just yet. ;)
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