15 October 2018

Deleted posts + yay tea!

I went back and deleted my posts on IVF and adoption.  A couple of reasons: a. I don’t think most people I actually know are still here, we communicate elsewhere so there’s no point in sharing that stuff here and b. It’s just been a sucky year.  After our third failed IVF cycle in a program than has a 90% success rate by this time?  Beyond devastating.  It sucked more than than the first failure, or the second, or in some ways the bankrupted  adoption agency because I truly felt like by now we would be pregnant.  It was just too much having it public right now.

I will say that we have a call with our clinic to discuss what to do and most say they’ll suggest ERA testing.  After looking it up, I am kind of wondering why they don’t suggest it to everyone before a transfer because it has the potential to show that none of our transfers had a chance of working and that the medication protocol / transfer date may need to be adjusted to have a chance. Sure people say it can be painful and expensive but when you’re spending that much money, finding out later that it had no chance?  That extra cost is worth it to get it right the first time or three.  But we’ll see what they say.  May go back to posting that stuff publicly once we know what we’ll do, or may just stay with the fun stuff.

I have decided to drown my sorrows in a new to me subscription box.  Sips By Tea Subscription box to be exact.  Clicking that link gets you $5 off.  I don’t get paid, but do get discounts for sign ups.  I went really vague in my taste profile, basically just specifying vegan.  We’ll see what that gets me, I suspect I will update preferences as I go.  Will post what I get once it arrives!

15 August 2018

Dylusions Dyalog vs J.D. Butterfly Effect book

Dyalog cover and inserts
I own all three current Jane Davenport Butterfly Effect traveler's notebook/journal covers that feature her art and sent the blank one to my mom.  I'm happy with them.  I cannot use all three at once so I really didn't NEED another traveler's journal cover.  Then the Dylusions Dyalog "Believe" cover landed on my IG feed and I knew I at least WANTED it.  It got here today.  Figured I'd compare the two as I searched for that before buying the Dyalog cover and didn't  find anyone doing a comparison.

First if you don't know what traveler's notebooks/journals  are, they're a system that you can use for notebooks or journals and calendars, sketchbooks, etc... The journal or notebook (I've seen them called both) itself is generally just a cover.  They often have an elastic loop closure as the center of the cover.  They come in a variety of sizes though the most common I've seen seem to be around 8"x5".  The ones I am posting about here are canvas but there are a lot of makers of them.  Leather, vegan leather, vinyl, repurposed books, fabric, etc.  You could easily make your own.  My sewing skills exist, but just barely, so I decided to buy mine.  They tend to have a rivet at the top and bottom of the centerfold, they either come with elastic pre-run through those rivets or you can add you own.  That elastic is what holds your paper inserts inside.   There are too many inserts to name but you can usually find calendars, blank, specialty papers (like watercolor or multimedia) or you can just cut and fold your own preferred papers to fit.  They're nice because they're very portable and if you finish one insert, you can just remove it and replace it.

So onto the comparison:

The blue mermaid cover is the Jane Davenport Butterfly Effect cover and the pink one is the Dylusions Dyalog cover.   There are a similar size but the Dyalog is just a little larger, so you shouldn't have inserts that stick out of the cover.   The official Jane Davenport Butterfly Effect book is  8.7″ x 4.9″, while the Dylusions Dyalog is   8.75” x 5.875”.   The JD Butterfly book has slightly rounded corners while the Dyalog is more squared.  They can use the same inserts.

The inside covers are quite different.  The Jane Davenport Butterfly Effect book is blank white.  The Dyalog inside cover is decorated to match the outer cover.  The elastics are very similar The only real difference in their set up is that the Dyalog elastic closure has a metal end piece on both ends of the elastic while the Butterly Effect book put them in one end piece.  The Dyalog cover feels a little stiffer at first but they're both lovely and both soften as you use them.

For me the biggest difference isn't with the covers, but with the inserts available for each (again, you can cut your own or use any books that fits, but I figured I'd try their books too).   The covers boils down to personal preference.  I like both.  If I decided I needed another, I'd go with the Dyalog, but only because I already have three JD Butterfly Effect covers.

There's a much clearer winner when it comes to the inserts.

As you can see, the individual Dyalog inserts are much more substantial.   They are 12 pages (folded into 24, sewn in the middle) and retail for $5.99.

The Jane Davenport inserts are 4 pages (folded into 8, I think the marker one was stapled and the watercolor was loose papers - it's been awhile, I could be wrong) and retail for $6.49.

If I were buying only the inserts, I'd go with the Dyalog ones as you get more for less.  Both are perfectly fine papers.  I personally like the Dyalog papers better.

The Jane Davenport inserts do have blank covers while the Dyalog inserts have art on the covers.  Personally that didn't make a difference for me.  The blank JD cover gave me more canvas, but I don't think that difference is worth the price difference and it's not like you can't just decorate the Dyalog covers too, just they have a premade background for you.

I bought my Jane Davenport inserts and covers on Ebay and Michaels.

I bought all of my current Dyalog stuff from the Etsy Store: PerriAnnsArtsNThings (I don't personally know the owner, but have purchased from them twice and was happy both times, so I do recommend starting there for either the Jane Davenport line or the Dyalog line if you want the best price, good CS, and fast shipping).

23 July 2018

Kicking myself

First off, there is no news in the IVF department beyond we're still looking at doing our third transfer this year.  And they have decided the only thing to change is to put me on more estrogen for longer.   Hopefully that's what makes it stick, because we really don't want to pay for three more rounds.  We will if we have to it, but it'd be our last three attempts.

Somehow Amazon Prime Day + me = pencil cases.  On both this 2018 Prime Day and the last, my splurge was a pencil case (well this year I also got headphones but only because mine are dying and I would have been buying new ones anyway).  But this year I am kicking myself over not grabbing up the Pentel 8 Color automatic pencil.  Sure it only would have saved me a few bucks, but with the failed adoption and what we've paid for IVF so far, a buck or three saved here or there adds up.

I've written before about the Pentel Multi 8 set that I bought back in 2016.  They're essentially the same pencil.  The clear colorful one is the American version.  The grey one I bought is the import.  They use the same leads and work the same way.

At the time I bought it, it became one of my fave pencils instantly.  The leads are often described as being closer to crayons than traditional lead.  I feel that's a fair description and that can obviously be good or bad, depending on how you use them.  The leads are proprietary. Depending on where you shop the replacements run $2-6 for two leads.   Leads that are at least half the length of most standard 2mm leads and they have a metal cap at the top that prevents them from sliding out of the pencil unless you intentionally want set it to remove them.  But they are still 2mm leads.  It's taken me awhile, but while organizing this year's Prime Day pencil case that I finally realized I don't really have to buy their refills.  I've been wanting a similar pen for regular leads.  So I grabbed one of the Staedtler 2mm leads I had and cut it.  I was extra careful to make it just a hint smaller than the Pentel branded ones because the way these pencils works = the lead must be fully inside it's slot, so you can turn to open the slot another color is in.  If your cut a lead too long and then try to swap colors you could break your pencil.  My test worked.  And that made me want another pencil.  One for colored leads and one for standard.  I will say their leads do last awhile and for coloring you're ahead to buy the proprietary leads.  But if you travel a lot and don't want to carry a lot of colored pencils and standard leads, cutting your fave leads to fit, means you can take either multiple hardness of leads with you or just extras of your fave all in one or two pencils.

I was also on the look out for a pencil that holds the smaller 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, 0.9 leads in one pencil.  Seems Pentel did have a version a few years ago but it's no longer available and the few I did find were now selling for $200'ish which this girl cannot ever see paying for a single pencil, no matter how many leads it holds.

28 April 2018


So I pretty much never buy myself new clothes.  Maybe once every year or two I'll grab some things during an Old Navy sale or something.  I do, however, have tons of t-shirts.  We're addicted to RIPT Apparel.  Especially the hubby.  He's known at work for his t-shirt collection.  Otherwise I just stock up on necessities like underwear and socks now and then and just don't think much about clothes.  Until recently when I realized I really only wear a couple of skirts.  Almost no pants or shorts.  Honestly I just don't wear as many pants as I used to, we do live in perma-Summer land though so... Anyway, it was beyond time for some new clothes.  But I also feel guilty about spending money on clothes because well the failed adoption agency, IVF, helping some family and friends, and oh yeah we're not rich.  We do okay but we also live in a place where rents on studios are what people pay for huge houses with yards anywhere else.  So even though we do okay, we do still have some tight  months.

That's when I realized the internet has basically the biggest used clothing stores.  I mean there's always been things like eBay, but it's not always easy to do order a bunch of things there.  Unless you find the perfect lot for you, it becomes a lot of work piecing things together and who wants 10 boxes from different sellers just to get some clothes?  

I am not against used if it's in good condition anyway.  So I took a chance and ordered around $60 worth of stuff from Swap.com (Referral link that gets you 20% off your first order or $20+: HERE).    I have to admit, I did feel like their competition had better reviews.  So going with Swap felt like a real gamble.  I did have it not include "fair" which seems to be their rating that includes more damaged or worn out pieces.  They had the best selection of plus sized clothing of the sites I did some online window shopping on.  They also had the best prices.  So I felt like I would be gambling the least there.  $60ish got me a dress (my favorite piece though I put no effort into taking these pics of the first haul), 5 skirts, 2 pairs of shorts, 6 tank/camis.  I was only disappointed by two pieces.  The pink skirt fits me weird.  Perfect everywhere but the waist is snug enough to not be comfortable.  I'll donate it.  Also the geometic skirt you can only barely see since I tried to cram it all in one picture.  It's so cute but I had never owned anything from that company (Jete) so I followed their sizing guide and it ended up being way too big for me anyway.  The dress is the same size and fits fine, a bit loose but not enough to be of concern.  I love the skirt so much though though I will keep it for when we finally do get pregnant.  And I'll probably I did reorder it in a smaller size too.

I will definitely be doing more clothes shopping there because I am cheap.  Also because there's a big variety of clothes all in one place. 

03 March 2018

I had cheese last night because I am dumb.

So we ordered pizza last night because Friday and Saturday are the nights the hubby walks to pick up food and it was raining. I was good as usual and got veggie, no cheese pizza. But since we're currently mad at Pizza Hut (their app kept screwing up, changing prices on us mid-order, got rid of our fave crust and topping, etc), we went with Dominos and their breadstick options all have dairy (unlike Pizza Hut who has dairy free cinnamon sticks) so we went with the spinach feta ones (which probably would have been fine except I forgot they also top them with cheddar). Today my guts are revolting.

Also, today the hubby brings home boxes and boxes of Girl Scout cookies. All of the non-Vegan ones. I'd be tempted but after last night's dairy goof, I am thinking the hubby has four boxes to himself. Who doesn't bring home thin mints? At least I have a safe cookie mix to make at home if I get jealous of his junk food.

So while I am technically vegetarian? There's a reason I eat vegan foods most days and it's not to be difficult, it's because my innards are pure evil. The no meat side is ethical. The super limited dairy is because I don't like being in pain.

02 March 2018

I love Amazon except for their craft section

I know, I know, Amazon is an evil corporation.  Thing is they have the bestest customer service.  Usually they have the best prices.  I have found one exception.  Crafts.  Their craft department is not able to compete with the likes of Joann or Michaels or even your local mom and pop shop (and they're usually the highest priced).

My crafty brain is heading back toward cross-stitch / embroidery.  It's been years and years since I've done that.  I think the last cross-stitch I completed was for CynDee... Maybe because she died just as I was about to send it (still sent it to her mom), I just didn't bother picking up a new after that.  Nothing against cross-stitch, that was just a tough time and I wasn't in the mood.  By the time I was something new grabbed my attention.

I am currently waiting for some yarn from Joann's because that was the cheapest way to get the yarn I need to finish the hubby's 2017 Christmas present (shush, I had some setbacks last year - he still got a present).  Decided to start looking into what it's going to cost me to get back in the groove.  I started with the cheapest and most necessary part of the equation.  The floss.  If you had to you could use any fabric, and you could get by probably some needle you have at home if you're already crafty, but floss?  Necessary.

I checked Amazon first and about choked over how much they're selling single skeins for now.  Then I remembered -- it's Amazon.

I went with Amazon as the seller but some of the third parties there are just as insane.  This single skein of white is an add on product (which usually gets you a really good price) and is currently $4.72 here (they do claim the list price is $10.44 so maybe at one time they sold it by the box and never fixed the page, but most reviews say it is a single skein as does the description).    Even with inflation that seemed insanely high, but some other colors were as high as $9+ for a single skein so maybe prices really did go that high at some point?  Let's check the official DMC site, shall we?  73¢ at the DMC site here.  Well that's the official site.  Obviously they're probably the cheapest.  Let's try the two bigger chain craft stores that I have been known to visit.  What does Joann think this should be priced? Honestly, I don't know.  They don't seem to sell the white 6-strand embroidery floss online but they do sell the more expensive multi color DMC embroidery floss for $1.49 here or a 12 pack of "snow white" for $11.88 (99¢ a skein) here.   Michaels? They list them for 52¢ but they have a 12 skein minimum so while you pay 52¢ per skein, you're paying out $6.24 here which is still way cheaper than either Amazon or Joann's (it does say that Michael's sells the skeins individually in stores but doesn't say if they're the 52¢ or if that is the bulk price only).

I have found a few crafty items at Amazon as competitive as craft stores, but for the most part, don't buy your crafty stuff there.  Or at least price check before actually purchasing.

02 February 2018

Toothpaste and shampoo

So, I really do love my Lush toothy tabs, but I've decided to try the Bite Toothpaste Bits because they have xylitol (which my dentist sort of demands I use).  They sell them on their Etsy store for $12 a bottle but since I already know I prefer the tablet form of toothpaste with charcoal, I ordered from their website where you can get an $8 glass bottle of them in a monthly subscription and then after the first shipment, you get a packet to refill your glass jar.  I ordered a few hours ago (Friday night) and already have a tracking number.  Will update after trying, but I at least highly recommend this style of toothpaste over the paste form.  The Lush Boom! Toothy tabs are $11 and come in a plastic bottle.

I am also trying a handmade knockoff of the Lush Godiva shampoo bars from this Etsy shop  because the same style / scent is $10 for a three oz bar with a tin or $9 without vs the actual Lush version that is $13 for a 1.9 oz bar.  Hopefully this is even just a little bit close,  because honestly the Lush Godiva bar is the best shampoo I have ever used.

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