In Which I Go to an Etsy Psychic

I read this article a few months ago and it opened me up to a whole new world, the world of Etsy Psychics. Technically against the terms of service (maybe? apparently? it’s confusing.) Etsy psychics promise to tell your future without a single word spoken aloud between the two of you.

I’ve talked about my interest in Spiritualism and modern psychic mediumship kind of spills over into that interest. So I went ahead and got a Tarot reading from a very nice Etsy store. I am torn between linking and not linking to them- on the business end of things they were great and I wish them all the success in the world doing their thing, but I’m also kind of, well… irreverent about the whole thing. If reading this post inspires you to visit your own Etsy psychic, let me know and I’ll give you a recommendation!

It was only $3 for a three card reading, which is why I just went with it. Below are the thoughts I typed up as I was going through the initial .pdf I received.

I feel a surprising amount of apprehension before opening the pdf. I don’t know why. I don’t take this stuff seriously and now, suddenly, I think “what if I don’t like what it says.” Am I worried that it will just say “neener-neener you’re a sucker?” I kept my question fairly simple so it’s not anything earth shattering should be contained within. Who knows.

Here goes. For science.

Card: 7 of Swords

Paraphrased explanation: Don’t be fucking passive-aggressive

Thoughts: There is nothing passive about my aggression. Literally sits and pouts. Who’s a big, dumb, Taurus. Me, I’m a big, dumb Taurus!

Card: 3 of Cups

Paraphrased Explanation: Potential reunion with a lost love

Thoughts: Well, I am seeing some of my very best friends in about a week. No lost romantic love there, but it has been a year since I’ve seen some of these friends… Speaking romantically, I have no lost loves. [Update: hanging out with friends in a fav city playing boardgames and drinking wine. If you want to count that as “lost loves” then this was accurate. Otherwise, nah.].

Card: 9 of Cups (reversed)

Paraphrased Explanation: Things are on the up and up

Thoughts: Damn that ghost lady has some knockers.

Thoughts on the whole experience: I’d do it again if I was bored with some spare money. I’d be interested to try some of the other types of psychic stuff that’s out there on Etsy

The Snazziest Med-Alert

I follow Ninnilu2 on Instagram, and this Friday she is featuring some of her customizable bracelets. As you can see in the link, there’s your standard “my name” and “bff” bracelets, but she also features some that can fulfill the purpose of a medical alert bracelet. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this before, but I have a pretty severe bee allergy.

 

Would it be ragingly inappropriate to get two that combined would say “fuck bees, get epi-pen”?

The answer is, of course, yes. I wouldn’t be able to wear it to work, or around my parents, and I’d have to remember to put it on in addition to remembering my epi-pen. But if you’re not a godless heathen with a sailor mouth and you want a med-alert bracelet that’s less sterile than the ones you apply for in a doctor’s office (or you never outgrew the thrill of having your name on things) check out her Etsy page and snag something!

Irreverent Reviews: One Hand Washes the Other (OHWTO)

I found out about Etsy seller One Hand Washes the Other (OHWTO) through the now-defunct (I think) blog Lipstick and Lightsabers. Poking around on the internet lead me to some really great reviews of their Black Magic soap, and as someone who is always on the lookout for things that will make my face feel unoily but also not dry I decided to check it out. The Black Magic soaps come in several options, a small round bar, a large uh, is that a rectangle?, bar, and two different whipped soap varieties. What I really wanted was the cream soap, but I didn’t want to spend $13 on something I wasn’t sure would work with my skin, so I went for the small round bar. 

Having used that product for several week (with breaks on weekends for other soaps), I feel confident that my next purchase will be either the larger bar or one of the whipped soaps because it is working out splendidly for me. The bar is almost too lovely to use, with a wonderful design on the top. It is a true, inky black- but not from any dyes, that’s just the color the ingredient combination makes. It also doesn’t contain any artificial or added scents, but it does utilize tea tree oil as an ingredient. Tea tree oil has a very strong scent that I don’t find pleasant at all, but the Black Magic bar doesn’t have a very strong scent, you can just  tell it’s there. Honestly, it works so well that I would go ahead and keep using it even if it were more pungent.

Now, OHWTO may not use artificial scents in that particular soap bar, but there is quite the fun and expansive scent library that can be used in perfumes (like this masterpiece) and also the other kinds of soap. I also picked up a bar of the exfoliating soap– it has a piece of loofa um, baked? molded? inside of it to provide an exfoliating scrub. I love using it on my feet, elbows, and yes, even my butt. The scent I selected was raspberry gingerale, and it really does smell like the soda. I would be quite content to receive that scent on another product, and I will keep buying the loofa bar.

They’re all round, can I call them bars? Am I creating soap sacrilege? Whatever.

I’m so impressed with the quality of the two items I purchased that I would easily consider buying more of the soaps (I mean, beer soap!!). I actually announced to all my friends that I was buying them soap for Christmas and they all rolled their eyes at me, but I know once they try it they will like it. Black magic bars for everyone! (Just call me Soaprah*) 

I also received a stylish business card, a lollipop (that I haven’t sampled yet, review pending!) and a solid perfume sample of the scent “Drama.” Drama is not a bad scent. It is not a scent that I would choose to wear as a perfume, but I would not mind having it in a soap. I feel like it is a muskier, more conventional smell then say… raspberry gingerale. I actually might give it to one of my friends, I think she would find it quite pleasant.

The TAT was a little slower than I’ve gotten used to experiencing from indie companies BUT when you consider what you’re getting it’s not bad at all. Speaking speculatively, I’m sure they can make backstop of popular items like the Black Magic bar, but how many people are actually ordering raspberry gingerale loofa soaps? The items are all handmade, and that takes time, especially for a custom order. It just means that if you’re going to be ordering these as gifts I would recommend placing an order at a decent interval in advance. I’ll probably make my Christmas order around Halloween, but also I have Christmas Gift Neurosis and am freaking out because I don’t have all my shopping done yet and THAT’S JUST WRONG.

I would encourage everyone to check out the Black Magic bar, if nothing else. I mean, there are samples, so what have you got to loose?

*I am so sorry for that.

Some Observations on Indie Makeup Sites

This post is going to get a little ranty, so I’m going to break down how I plan on it going: I’m not going to name any names here. What I’m doing is voicing some frustrations I’ve experienced trying to use indie makeup sites. Many of these companies I have not even tried the product for. If/when I ever do try the actual product I will give a comprehensive review that may include information on ease-of-use for the site, but until then I’m just going to speak generally and not make this personal for anyone. Having never tried to manage an online store, I really have no idea what goes into it, but I’m assuming it takes capital E Effort. I respect that. Still, several sites have or almost have lost sales from me because I have been frustrated by site designs and I feel like this might be a topic worth discussing. Let’s begin. 

Recently I entered a giveaway through For the Love of Indie, and the number of entries you amassed was based on the number of related pages you “liked,” so I went on a liking spree to maximize my entries (I did not win. Sad day). Still, I was glad to have the chance to be exposed to so many indie makeup companies, some that I plan to investigate in the future as I perhaps become more lucrative (now that I’ve achieved a 50 cent raise and all). One way that I’m able to get the most bang for my buck and try out new products is through sales, and it was trying to take advantage of several sale events Thursday-Monday that lead to the observations and frustrations I had. In no particular order:

  • Multiple storefronts. A number of these shops (enough that it seems to be relatively common) have both stand alone store pages and also shop pages on sites like Etsy and Storenvy (sometimes all three!). In some ways I understand it, different platforms provide different services. I’m not at all familiar with Storenvy, but I know Etsy charges per listing (and sites like ebay take a cut of the profit) and that’s an annoying little bit of overhead to have to account for. I’m sure that I’m not the only person in the world without the technical know-how to pilot my own website, let alone an actual website that takes people’s money. The frustration come in trying to navigate across these platforms. Some sales were offered ONLY at the stand alone storefront or ONLY at Storenvy and a lot of times the products were not the same! I ended up not taking advantage of one of the purchases I was going to make because it was only offered at the store page and I couldn’t find it on the Storenvy… several times special products were mentioned but I could not find them at either place. Is it possible what I experienced were glitches that carried across Chrome and Firefox? Sure, my relationship with computers is largely reminiscent of that ICP song (fucking internets…) but it was really obnoxious. Given that I just wanted to buy some sale stuff to test, I did not go forth and contact any admins.
    • In that same vein, if you’re only offering product via Facebook direct messages or “auctions,” I will not be buying from you. Have some professionalism, please.
  • ON THE PRO SIDE: Many of these companies offer ‘blogger packages’ with a pre-set number of product available for those with active blogs to try out for the sake of a review! They all seem to fall in the $5 range, so even though I’m paying to test it out, it’s at a really reasonable price and if I like the product they will probably earn me as a repeat customer. A few sites were also offering “affiliate” programs, were you could earn a percentage of the sales made through your personal referral link. That’s a great idea, a great way to get b/vloggers interested in your product and why doesn’t Smashbox offer that kind of program and please just let me sell my soul to your primer. *Ahem* That closer relationship between company and customer is another of the pros of indie shopping
  • A lot of the website layout was awkward. Not all of it, but there were some sites that looked like they were trying to be flashy corporate sites and it was harder to navigate and actually find the product page beneath the glitz. This probably just comes down to personal preference but I like a nice streamlined site. Even Aromaleigh’s is a little clunky for me (currently. I mention them because I know they are in the process of moving to a new site that does seem to have a smoother feel, from the test pages they’ve released).
  • The names. This is a really petty complaint, I will admit that super bizarre spellings of things, overly long names, and names that sound too cutesy/childish are turn offs to me. I like ones that are short and sweet yet catchy. Again, personal preference, and there are a finite number of names out there so you have to get creative to be unique, it just seems that some companies are veering a little to close to that kr8tyve ledge.

Obviously take this observations with a grain of salt. I haven’t tried the products of many of these businesses and that is honestly what I care the most about. I don’t think any of these companies have permanently lost me as a potential customer (Even if temporarily I’ve thrown my hands up in frustration), but it would be easier for me to provide them with my patronage if they streamlined things for easy checkout and whatnot. 

Bonus shout out/anectdote: I haven’t tried Hello Waffle‘s makeup yet, but goodness if that is not just the most adorable name on the planet? The owner explains the naming decision: “The phrase ‘Hello Waffle’ is commonly said around my household as he likes to lurk around corners and scare you when you least expect it.” As I read that, Manbeast knocked over a stuffed red tail hawk that was abandoned by my previous roommate. It’s from the Audubon society and when a stiff breeze blows by it, or it falls down on the floor, or you look at it funny it makes an ‘authentic’ red tail hawk sound. We usually respond with “Goddamnit Screechy Hawk!” I realized after that incident and reading the Hello Waffle description that if I were to start a makeup company and name it after a commonly uttered household phrase, I’d have “Goddamnit Screechy Hawk Cosmetics,” which just doesn’t have the same ring to it.

Irreverent Guide to Holiday Shopping

Christmas is my favorite holiday! I love the lights, I love the food, I love the giving and receiving, and I love the snow when I’m lucky enough to have it.

I only have two presents left to get, and I know exactly what they are and where to get them. Then I can start wrapping and shipping them.

My yearly goal is to have my shopping completed by Thanksgiving, this year counts as a partial success as I know what I need to get, I won’t be wandering around a store frustrated looking for the perfect gift. See, I won’t set foot in a mall on Black Friday, and I try to avoid doing it after Thanksgiving. I love the holidays, and going out surrounded by crazy people destroys my holiday zen.

I can’t begrudge people who don’t walk around seeing every shopping opportunity as a chance to complete Christmas shopping, and my technique has it’s disadvantages, as I’m usually not getting someone something they asked for.

But then again,  I don’t end being part of the masses that trample people on Black Friday. See, Black Friday offends me to the deepest depth of my core. From one atheist to all of you- this rampant consumerism is the true war on Christmas (and part of the midset that led to so many living outside their means). So here’s your Holiday Shopping Guide, to you, from Irreverent on the Internet.

1. SHOP LOCAL: You hear these two phrases a lot “shop local” and “vote with your dollar.” Small business is one of those things that gets thrown around a lot every election season, and many people vote for [X] party because they believe that that is the best choice for small business. I won’t get into politics here, but I can drop a fact bomb on you: Tax breaks are completely irrelevant to small business if they aren’t getting revenue from people shopping at them! AND the more you shop at small businesses they are able to adjust their markups so they don’t have to charge as much to make their profit. Small, local businesses have amazing, unique gift selections and they benefit the American economy, your local economy, and help out average people such as yourself. I’m lucky to live in a city that has a fantastic weekend market for holiday shoppers, look for similar events in your area!

“But Irreverent,” you say, “I want to do my shopping on the interwebs, I have to go to places like Walmart.com for that, don’t I?”

Negative darling, but that leads us to point two:

2. WATCH YOUR WEBSITES: Ever heard of Regretsy? Well, obviously etsy has some trash in with it’s treasure, but there’s a bigger problem, and that’s resellers. Spending your hard earned money on real etsy craftspeople is AWESOME and super encouraged. But make sure you’re NOT supporting a reseller! If it looks like it came from Forever21, it probably did. Check sites like Regretsy and Callin’ Out on Etsy to make sure you’re supporting the work of a real person. This same vigilance can be applied to a site like ebay. There are also great independently operated sites Shiro Cosmetics.  I haven’t had the chance to personally try their make-up, but it seems well reviewed, and I’d be remiss to not promote something awesomley geeky and made by a student.

This brings me to my last point:

3. WATCH WHEN AND WERE YOU SHOP: It may be too late for this piece, but DONT SHOP ON THANKSGIVING. Every person that is staffing a store on Thanksgiving is a person not spending time with their family. I had to work Thanksgiving morning, and it was just depressing. Unlike Christmas and other holidays with religious implications, Thanksgiving gets to be for everyone (there’s a discussion on colonialism to be had, but not in this post). Stores aren’t going to stop these insane hours until YOU STOP SHOPPING DURING THEM. Respect the holidays, and respect other people. Stand against human greed and the rampant consumerism that leads to people being trampled to death the day after Thanksgiving. It’s disgusting. It makes me ashamed to be American. It makes me ashamed to be human. Think about your priorities, is it your a family, or that weird-looking Wii thing? Also, stand with Wal-Mart employees in their strike. These employees have just as much right to be home with their families, be paid living wages, and have decent health-care, as every other person. I’m neither Mormon nor a housewife, but I think this post on Feminist Mormon Housewives makes some excellent points. And check out this site as well. “Reason for the Season” makes it sound religious, but I promise it’s not.

Vote with your time and your dollar this holiday season, show your support for workers and their families by supporting small businesses and supporting the sanctity of family time. It’s time to euthanize the false-god of consumerism. You can have shopping and a great holiday without keeping workers from their families and participating in the mentality that allows for people to be injured and killed for a good deal.

Peace, love and pie. Happy Thanksgiving.