Finding the Perfect Eco-Friendly Cup of Coffee

Beaver Rock Coffee Ontario

Eco friendly coffeeI love coffee.  I love it.  I love the process of making it, pouring it, and drinking it. I like how it tastes and that it brings me alive in the morning.  I’ve tried switching to decaf, and I’ve tried switching to green tea (and decaf green tea) to make sure it wasn’t having an impact on my rosacea symptoms.  As far as I can tell, this is one of the one things in my diet that I love and that doesn’t make my cheeks redder (provided I let it cool down before drinking it).

That said, throughout my transition to a rosacea-friendly lifestyle, I’ve quite coincidentally started living a greener lifestyle, too. I’ve come to like it and have a taste for living greener.  Soap nuts instead of traditional laundry detergent. Natural skin care full of ingredients I’ve read about and understand. A cleaner diet made with more whole foods and less junk.  It was natural for coffee to make it into my efforts to improve what I’m putting in my body.

As a result, I’m adding a new Green JulieBC section to my Rosy JulieBC blog, to share some of the eco-friendly and natural treasures I’ve discovered as a result of living the Rosy Life.

Changing Coffee Habits

I’d always bought my coffee at the grocery store.  At this time last year, if you’d asked me about my favourite type of coffee, I would have told you it was the Melitta medium-dark roast.  I didn’t have any specific intention of changing.  My main effort with coffee was to find a great sale.

Earlier this year, I attended a skin care webinar.  It was fascinating, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  The webinar was held by M2 Brand Management, which often sends a gift pack to one lucky participant in each of its webinars. That day, that lucky participant happened to be me.

Bulletproof Coffee french pressI’d expected to receive a few skin care samples that were discussed in the video. What arrived at my door was a box filled to the brim with tons of full-size, awesome products.  One of those products was a certified clean coffee.

In my traditional way of doing anything, I started looking into the products I received, including the coffee.  I realized that I could be doing myself – and the planet – a big favour if I turned my love of coffee into a more eco-friendly habit.

A Better Cup of Coffee

Coffee roasters are not all created equal.  Every roaster treats its craft with its own skill and respect level.  There are lots of things to think about when you’re a coffee roaster.  It’s a business, of course, but even beyond operations, costs, marketing and all the business-related stuff, there’s a lot more.  Coffee beans provide a different taste and environmental impact, depending on where they come from.

The part of the world, the individual, farmer and even the specific crop will all impact final taste and environmentally-conscious growing techniques, among other things.  Some roasters are meticulous about controlling their eco-footprint.  These efforts are great for the world, but it also helps those of us who love coffee to get a better cup without the guilt from loving what we love.

Since I’ve started paying attention to this factor, I’ve brought my coffee enjoyment to a whole new level.  The coffee I used to drink before.  The coffee I’m drinking now is outstanding.  Here are some of the roasters – and the coffees – I’ve recently tried and that have impressed me.

The Coffee Roasters

Bulletproof

Bulletproof Coffee LogoBulletproof coffee has fascinated me for a while. It’s found a unique place in the market because it’s not just about the coffee.  It’s also the “additives” like the Brain Octane Oil (which was also a part of my prize box).  To make a real Bulletproof coffee, it takes the coffee, the brain octane oil, and grass-fed ghee (clarified butter). Blend them together until they look like a latte.

The idea is to drink a great-tasting, clean coffee that will fill you up and give you the chance to burn fat, too. What appealed to me was the brand’s dedication to a clean product. It’s Rainforest Alliance certified, and claims it has been “Independently lab tested for 27 performance-robbing toxins.”  Not entirely sure what that means or what “toxins” they’re referring to – I couldn’t find where they specified – but it certainly sounded good.

I also love the idea that I’d be able to have a cup of coffee in the morning that would power me up without giving me jitters, anxiety or chest tightness/pains from too much caffeine.

Beaver Rock

Beaver Rock Coffee LogoBeaver Rock is a roaster I discovered while googling Ontario coffee roasters that are eco-friendly.  This is an outstanding brand. I highly recommend checking out their website to find out more about everything they stand for because there’s no way I’ll be able to do it justice here.

What stood out to me the most at first was their dedication to eco-friendliness.  Since the whole point to my search was to find a green company that also made suuuuper-great coffee, what drew me to this one at first was how much effort it was making to reduce any negative impact on the environment.  Check out some of the great things they’re doing to take the guilt out of each cup:

  • They recycle absolutely everything they possibly can throughout the full process. Even better, they also reuse as much as possible, including their packing materials, cardboard and even their shipping skids!
  • The chaff left behind from the green coffee beans once they’re roasted isn’t thrown away. They send it to local farmers who use it as a fertilizer and mulch.
  • The used burlap coffee bags are also reused! They’re given to local groups for use in neighbourhood gardens.  How awesome is that?

I purchase their whole beans in bags so I can grind them myself before making each pot of coffee.  That said, they also sell single-serve cups.  At first, that made me think they might not be as green as I’d previously suspected.  After all, single-serve cups are like plastic drinking straws.  They’re unnecessary and adding loads to our landfills…except in this case.

Beaver Rock has become the first roaster to offer a single-serve cup that is fully recyclable.  Will that make me think that single-serve cups are good for the environment? Nope. But they’re not going anywhere anytime soon – just like drinking straws – so I applaud this brand for coming up with a more eco-friendly option. In fact, they received the “Grocery Innovation Award” for this improvement in such an otherwise wasteful area.

While I was shopping there, I also learned why these recyclable cups are superior to the supposedly biodegradable cups some brands offer.  The reason is that those cups biodegrade so slowly that they aren’t accepted by most “green bin” municipal composting programs. In fact, they can’t even be legally labeled as “biodegradable” in California for just that reason.  So far, recycling seems to be the top option, and this was the first company to offer it.

Epic North

Epic North Coffee LogoAnother Ontario coffee roaster, I’d been eyeing this one’s website and finally had the chance to try it when I went to Kempenfest this year.  Kempenfest is a huuuuge arts, crafts, food, and music festival in part of Ontario’s “cottage country”.  Several rows of sellers wrap their way around the ‘U’ of Kempenfelt Bay, which is a part of Lake Simcoe. This year, there were over 300 artisans featuring their awesomeness. Lo and behold, just as I was approaching the booth from St. Jacobs that makes the best caramel apples in the whole world, I spotted Epic North’s booth. Finally, a chance to try their coffee!

Epic North caught my eye while I was looking for eco-friendly coffee roasters because they’ve thrown in a socially responsible component, too. They’re partnered with Organic Products Trading Company and Cafe Imports. They work directly with green coffee growers and build relationships with them to ensure these farms and families are being paid a fair premium price for their high quality product, and to improve sustainability during the growing process.

Even beyond that, what stood out to me was that one of their coffees, ROSC, supports first responders with every bag sold (more about that later).

The Coffees

I’d love to go on and on about what I loved and didn’t love about each of these coffees, but I’ve already written way too much, and while I feel like I know a good cup of coffee when I taste one, I’m hardly an expert in describing flavours.  Still, I’ve been trying some phenomenal coffees over the last while, and I do want to share my thoughts about each one.  Here goes!

Beaver Rock Cuban

Beaver Rock Cuban CoffeeStarting off strong – both with taste and preference – this is the best coffee I’ve ever tasted.  It’s my favourite all-time coffee, and I will be buying this for as long as the lovely people at the roaster’s store will tolerate my presence shopping there 😉  I recently sent a box of Ontario products to another YouTuber/blogger, Petite Stephy in a collab, and I wish this coffee had existed at that time because I would have loved to share it with her.

This coffee is a 5 on the darkness scale (I usually prefer a medium-dark roast and this one suits me perfectly.  Comparatively, their dark roast is a 7). It’s a full flavour and just slightly smoky without any hint of being burnt.  This coffee is smooth.  Very smooth.  No bitterness or sourness.  For me, this is the perfect cup of coffee.

Beaver Rock Dark Roast

Beaver Rock Dark Roast CoffeeThis was the first coffee I tasted from Beaver Rock and, until I tried the Cuban, this was my favourite all-time coffee.  It is dark without any charred or burnt flavour. It is very smooth, and I can make a strong cup of it without losing that smoothness.  I love a strong cup of coffee, but many coffees reveal their drawbacks when you make them strong.  Not this one.  It’s a 7 on the darkness scale and ideal for anyone who loves a dark roast.  It’s clear that this is made with skill because it’s easy to go too far with dark roasts.  This one sure doesn’t. It’s completely balanced.

Beaver Rock Black Cherry

Beaver Rock Black Cherry CoffeeThis is one of the most unique flavoured coffees I’ve ever tasted.  I’m thrilled with it.  To be clear, I’m not normally a flavoured coffee person. No flavoured coffee appeals to me in the morning. I save these for Saturday or Sunday afternoons. I like to have several from which to choose so I can complement the mood I need to have.  If I’m writing Irys (I’m a book author as my “real job,” and I’m currently working on the second last step before the third book in the Perspective series is published on Halloween this year), it needs to be something that feels sweet yet elegant. If I’m blogging, something more like this Black Cherry.

It doesn’t taste like black cherry flavoured candy.  It tastes like coffee with a hint of the actual fruit. It’s subtle, smells incredible and perfect for when I wants something special without being sweet or too playful.

Beaver Rock Crème Brûlée

Beaver Rock Creme Brulee CoffeeI drool over this Crème Brûlée coffee.  Godiva used to make a crème brûlée flavoured coffee, and it was my absolute favourite when I was writing Irys.  It feels special, high end and like something Irys would drink if she ever had something in her cup other than what is likely the finest tea on Qarradune.

Beaver Rock’s version of this flavour is even better. Every time I smell this coffee, I’m hungry.  Even if it’s not brewing. If I get too close to the bag, my mouth waters.  Once it’s brewing, it tastes just as good as it smells.  It doesn’t fail to be rich, flavourful and like an expensive dessert.  At the same time, because it’s a fine coffee, I get to enjoy that dessert with all the smoothness and creaminess, but without being overly sweet.  Because this is a coffee, I get all the flavours, none of the sugars. I’m thinking of making a cup right now.  By the time I’m done writing this, I likely already will have.

Beaver Rock Koffee Krisp

Beaver Rock Koffee Krisp CoffeeThe Koffee Krisp flavour surprised me. I was expecting something quite close to a Coffee Crisp bar.  It’s described as double chocolate and vanilla coffee on the brand’s website.  I definitely got a taste of chocolate and I definitely tasted the vanilla.  But somehow, it didn’t taste like Coffee Crisp to me.  The Koffee Krisp coffee struck me more as a s’mores flavour.

That could just be my uneducated pallet, but I could taste coffee, chocolate, and vanilla and when they all came together, it tasted like coffee, chocolate and homemade marshmallow.  It was definitely good. I certainly liked it.  It just didn’t strike me as the flavours I was expecting.  Of the three flavoured coffees from Beaver Rock I tried, this was my least favourite.  That said, I absolutely fall over myself for their coffees, so that’s definitely not saying something negative about the taste of this one!

Epic North ROSC

Epic North ROSC CoffeeEpic North, as previously mentioned, has a coffee they sell to support first responders.  Instead of choosing the flavour I was most likely to enjoy – which, as previously mentioned, would be a medium-dark roast) – I picked the one that would give $9.11 of its proceeds to that cause.

ROSC stands for “return of spontaneous circulation.” It’s a medium roast that combines Costa Rican and Columbian beans.  The official description of the taste says it has notes of “cherry, dark chocolate and butterscotch.” I don’t think my pallet is good enough to pick up those flavours.  To me, this is what I think of when someone says “very good cup of coffee.”

To be honest, my first impression of this coffee wasn’t a fair one. I used the same measure of beans as I previously have when making coffee from whole beans.  I ground the amount, and it brewed and the result tasted like something I’d get at a diner.

Being the second chance-giver I am, I boosted the bean count the next time I made the coffee and what a difference! Yum!  I’d still prefer a darker roast, but, as I said, I chose this one knowing it was a medium roast because of the social cause it supported.

This coffee was extremely smooth without a single hint of bitterness.  It’s the kind of coffee I’d serve to guests because I know not everyone likes a cup as dark and strong as I do.  This is the type of all-around coffee you can serve with confidence when you’re making it for a group.

Still, I will want to give its other coffees a try now that I know how smooth their ROSC is. I think their Freeride (dark roast) or Watt/Kilo (espresso blend) would likely be more up my alley. If I get the chance to try them out, I’ll be sure to do another review or add to this one.

Bulletproof (French Kick + Brain Octane)

Bulletproof Coffee and Brain OctaneThis was the coffee that got me trying all these new options in the first place.  I tried the French Kick, which is a dark roast.  Overall, what I’d say about the coffee on its own is that it is a good, decent coffee.  It’s not as strong or full flavoured as I’d prefer from a good dark roast, but it holds its own and it’s not bitter at all.

That said, the whole point to Bulletproof coffee is to drink it with the Brain Octane.  This is what is supposed to make you feel fuller, help your body to burn fat if you’re doing a keto diet (which I’m not) type of eating plan, and that is supposed to give you a ton of energy.  That ton of energy is what appealed to me the most.  I work 12-14 hours per day, and I suffer from regular insomnia. If I can get more oomph from my coffee, I want it.

As I said, the coffee is nice.  I followed the directions for starting with the Brain Octane, which is essentially a modified coconut oil.  As per the directions, I also found some grass-fed unsalted butter (ghee) to add, too.  Yup, I oiled and buttered my coffee. You’re supposed to start small and ease your way into all that oil and butter.  Eventually, the goal is to add 2 tablespoons of the Brain Octane and 2 tablespoons of the butter.  I never made it that far.

In fact, I made it only as far as about 1 tablespoon of the oil and 1 teaspoon of the butter.  I blended and it looked frothy and gorgeous, like a luxury latte.  While it was freshly blended and piping hot, it tasted kinda awesome. Very surprising.  That said, I have rosacea, which means I can’t drink anything that is piping hot. I have to wait until everything cools down before drinking it or my face lights up to a colour halfway between a tomato and a beet.

I have to say that if you let this coffee cool down, the magic really goes out of it. It separates so there’s a pretty thick oil slick on the top.  Drinking through it distorts the taste and leaves an oily lipped and mouthed feeling that I can’t say I enjoyed at all. This, combined with the digestive issues it added to my day (I have some digestive struggles which include some unwanted symptoms when I have too much fat all at once, and I’m somewhat lactose intolerant, which doesn’t help, either), meant that the full-force Bulletproof coffee just wasn’t for me, particularly when I found out how much it costs.

One thing I do want to point out, though, is that the energy boosting from this drink is not just hype.  It’s amazing.  I loved every bit of it.  All alertness, no jitters.  I can still add a small amount of the Brain Octane to my coffee (no butter) and enjoy some improved alertness, but that’s about as far as I can go.

PHEW – so that’s all of them for now. I’m going to keep trying more local, eco-friendly and socially responsible coffees over time. I’m hoping to have a part-two eventually.

As a small note, in case you’re curious: I drink my coffee black – no cream, no milk, no sugar, no anything but coffee.  I have a regular everyday Sunbeam electric coffee maker that I use throughout the week. On the weekend, I use my Epicure French press.  I have a Hamilton Beach coffee and spice grinder (which I use exclusively for grinding coffee beans). I’m currently debating buying a drip system because the wonderful people at Beaver Rock assure me that the difference is outstanding.  Santa may be getting this request if I’m good this year!

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Made in Québec! (My First Video Collab with Petite Stéphy)

Made in Quebec - Petite Stephy collab with Rosy JulieBC

Hi Rosy Friends! 🌸

I hope you’ve checked out my latest YouTube video.  If not, you’re in for a lot of spoilers here.  Just in case, I’ll add the video so you can have a look and find out what this post is all about before moving on to the rest!

Thanks for watching! I hope you liked it!

My First YouTube Collab

I have wanted to do a collab for a while.  I’ve also known that when I did my first collaborative YouTube video, it would likely be with Petite Stéphy.  I have watched every video she has ever added to her channel.  There’s just something about her that I find very relatable, friendly, and genuine.

When I finally got up the nerve to contact her, I immediately knew I wasn’t making a mistake.  What a lovely person! What a fantastic blogger!  You know when you get a feeling as though you’ve met someone in a former life?  That happened between us!  I think, despite my social anxiety (panic) disorder, if we met in real life, I’d be okay.  That’s saying a lot.

After a couple of fantastic IMs (she was even willing to accommodate the fact that phone calls are triggering for me and didn’t make me feel bad about it at all), we were all set with our video ideas and everything we needed to make it happen.

Sharing Our Local Treasures

I proposed the idea to send each other a box full of some of our favourite products. Petite Stéphy took that a step further with the inspired idea to exchange a box full of products made in our home provinces. Since she’s from Québec, and I’m from Ontario, it was a great way to share local treasures with each other that we may never otherwise have stumbled upon!

I had SO much fun putting together the box I sent Petite Stéphy!  I tried to shop in-person with as many of the brands as possible. I hunted down some of my top products from Toronto and throughout “Cottage Country,” from Innisfil to Collingwood, and from Barrie to Bracebridge, among other places.

In case you’re curious, check out her video here!

What I Got, and What I Thought

Of course, opening up the box Petite Stéphy sent me was just as much fun as creating the one I sent her!  Ontario and Québec sure have some beautiful products.  Amazing companies and brands out there! Of course, I’m sure that can be said about all the provinces, but I’m just speaking for this particular experience.

Here’s what I thought of all the beautiful products Petite Stéphy sent in my surprise box:

  • La Sublime (from Camellia Sinensis Tea House) –  This is a loose-leaf tea that is mild and soothing.  Perfect for bedtime.  It’s exactly what I was hoping it would be when I read the package.  It contains: chamomile, lemon grass, and wild rose.I’m not typically the biggest fan of chamomile, but the lemon grass and rose flavours were a perfect combination. It wasn’t anything like the bags I used to get at the grocery store.  This was a whole other level of yum! Ultra-soothing, this is the perfect tea for someone like me, since I struggle with sleep on a regular basis.  I thoroughly enjoyed this tea and all the fantastic info/instructions provided on the package.
  • Sweet and Salty Zen (from Fourmi Bionique Granola Company) – This was the perfect selection for me. I absolutely love granola in the morning.  I haven’t found one I like a lot that I can find locally, so I typically eat a plain muesli then add pumpkin seeds almonds, shredded coconut, and some fruit (berries, half a banana or something like that).  The Sweet and Salty Zen contains: pumpkin seeds, coconut slices, dark sesame seeds and Matcha tea in its granola!  YUM! It had about ten times the flavour of my normal breakfast! So delicious!  It felt as though I was really getting a treat in the morning.  I still have one serving left, and I’m saving it for Monday morning.  I want to start the week on a happy note.  Definitely something I’ll want to have again. I’m thrilled that I know this exists!
  • Hand Cream (from Kariderm) – If you’ve been following this blog or watching my YouTube videos, you know I have extremely dry skin.  That makes this hand cream the ideal skin care gift for me.  I was very surprised at how quickly it absorbed into the skin, even with such highly moisturizing ingredients. I have it sitting on my desk right now because it’s a great option to hydrate my hands without having to worry about leaving a slime layer on my keyboard. The smell is also delightfully fresh!
  • Mascara (from Zorah biocosmétiques) – This black mascara is a super-find!  My eyes are easily irritated by mascara.  Previously, I’d found only one brand that doesn’t mess with my ocular rosacea-prone eyes for one to two days following wear.  This Zorah mascara has now been added to my list of non-irritating mascaras!  It glides on smoothly without clumps or flakes.  It gives a beautiful black coating to each lash, and the design of the brush makes it easy to reach each one, top and bottom.  It lasted comfortably all day and was simple to remove with a microfiber “eraser” cloth, followed by my usual face cleanser.  The next day, my eyes felt completely fine! I’m astounded and very grateful to know about this mascara. I plan to do a make-up video using this one very soon.
  • Classic Summer Honey (from Miels D’Anicet) – This was such a curious product for me.  I love honey, and I am a regular shopper at a nearby apiary. I laughed when I received this because I’d sent honey to Petite Stéphy, too!  What impressed me about this one – aside from the taste, of course – was all the great info provided on the package, right down to the types of pollen used to make the honey, and the beekeeper behind the little bees who worked so hard to make the honey in the jar. I’ve always thought that the differences between one honey and the next are pretty subtle. I do have certain honeys that I prefer to others, but I never thought a taste difference would be drastic.  So I took the opportunity to test my theory. I sampled the honey I usually buy and then this honey…Holy wow!  What a difference.  They were both delicious, but I really could taste a significant difference. I’m not sure if I would have noticed if I hadn’t eaten one right after the other, but having tried it that way, I can see that they are nothing alike.  Amazing!

Big thanks to Petite Stéphy for agreeing to collab with me and for selecting such fantastic Québec products for me to try.  I hope this won’t be the last time we work together on such fun and fascinating experiences 🙂

 

A Day in the Rosy Life

A day in the rosy life - nighttime rosacea skin care - Rosy Julie BC

Before I became a rosacea blogger and YouTube creator, I was trying a few things to keep my symptoms under control.  That said, since I decided to become a guinea pig who shares all sorts of new products, strategies, treatments and techniques, it completely changed my lifestyle.

I call it “living the Rosy Life”

A day in the rosy life - Rosy JulieBC rosacea
Just came in from a walk in -28ºC weather (-18ºF).

If you’ve been watching my videos or reading my blogs, you’ve likely heard me use this term at one point or another.  It’s the positive-sounding term I like to use for the lifestyle I’ve adopted to help keep my symptoms down, my flare-ups rare and brief, and my spirits up.

Rosacea is a complicated skin condition.  Because of that, no single thing can cure it.  As of yet, there is no known cure.  Even if the symptoms go away, they can still return.  The condition is a chronic one.

I went through several stretches of time where that really got me down.  Just knowing that I’d be dealing with the redness, burning, pimples, stinging, itching and occasional patches of dragon skin made me feel ugly, hopeless and judged by others.

Having rosacea and remaining positive

It wasn’t until I became a rosacea blogger that I started seeing things through a more positive light.  Instead of letting it continually beat me down, I accepted that this is a part of me and if there was something out there I could do to make it better, I was going to find it.  So began the days of guinea piggery.

Self-acceptance and opening myself up to patient new attempts to take control has done wonders for avoiding rosacea-related depression for me.

However, despite the fact that I’m trying new products very frequently – either because I’ve purchased them or a company has been generous enough to send them my way – I still maintain an overall Rosy Lifestyle.

As I write these words, I’m taking a bit of a break from product testing.  I like doing that around the holiday season because it gives my skin the chance to reset before I subject it to something new.

What does living the Rosy Life look like for me?  I thought I’d take this opportunity to share it with you, in case it might help to inspire new strategies you can discuss with your doctor or dermatologist to try for yourself.

Mornings: Out of bed, Rosy-Head!

a day in the rosy life - Rosy JulieBC morning windowMy alarm goes off at the exact same time every day, weekend or weekday.  This is because I have adopted very clean sleep hygiene to help keep insomnia at bay. I have an anxiety and panic disorder and am prone to insomnia, so I do what I can to get the rest I need.  Sleep is vital to keeping inflammation and, therefore, rosacea symptoms down (as well as being great for reducing anxiety and being well overall).  More about this topic later.

When I get up in the morning, I drink a small glass of water to start rehydrating after dehydrating during the night. Hydration is vitally important to a healthy body and healthy skin, so I do my best to get it right. Next, I apply a rosacea salve (the SBT Seabuckthorn Soothing Rosacea Salve) to my cheeks.  Its winter right now and even though I always wear a scarf over my face (light or heavy, depending on how cold it is outside), the salve stops my face from getting chapped and windburned. Because of the scarf and my big sunglasses, I don’t need sunscreen too much at this time of the year, though I wear it religiously during the spring, summer and fall.

a day in the rosy life - Rosy JulieBC granola a day in the rosy life - breakfastI eat a breakfast with whole grains, fresh or frozen fruit, nuts, seeds, and a coffee.  My breakfast doesn’t contain any added sugars because they promote inflammation, and that’s not how I want to start my day.  That said, I absolutely love my morning coffee so I allow myself that indulgence, drinking it black.  I do let it cool to the point that it doesn’t produce steam anymore before I drink it since heat is a rosacea trigger for me.

Next, it’s time for a walk.  I walk a neighbour’s dogs every morning with a friend. It’s a brisk half hour walk and as much as I dread it every single morning, I love it once I get going.  I enjoy spending time with the pups, I adore gabbing with my bestest friend in the world, and the exercise is great for reducing inflammation in the body, promoting overall health, burning off some of the bajillion calories I eat every day and giving me energy to face the day.

Once I get home, I wash my eye area and my face and carefully moisturize. I recently did a video about the routine I’m currently following.  If you’re curious about the sample of custom-designed face oil I mention in the video so you can have it tweaked for your own needs, I hope you’ll go check it out!

Products used:

After that, I settle in to work until lunchtime. During this period, my fingers work so quickly on the keyboard that I’m surprised they don’t make smoke. I keep the room cool but dress warmly so my face won’t overheat. My mornings typically fly by so fast that I’m nearly convinced I’m being abducted by aliens because what else could explain all that missing time?

Noon already!

I make lunch my main meal of the day.  I love a big lunch with multiple parts. I’ve become quite spoiled since I’ve been working at home.  I worked outside the house at a more traditional job for many years and hated making lunches for the next day.  I rushed through them so they tasted awful.  Now that I have the opportunity to prepare my food, I don’t turn my nose up at it. It’s a privilege I greatly enjoy.

I focus on making sure I eat a lean protein along with something hydrating such as soup (every now and again I make huge batches of hearty veggie soup that I freeze in portions for my lunches), some no-added-sugar whole grain toast and an apple or another piece of fruit.

I’ve been making a point of eating mindfully, so while I may listen to an audio book (I’m currently listening to Book 3 of the Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare, “City of Glass.” I really enjoyed The Infernal Devices series, so this lets me stay within that universe. Yes, I love young adult fiction series), I pay attention to the flavours and textures of the foods I’m eating and the way they make me feel. It sounds silly, but it helps to make meals more enjoyable, I’m less likely to overeat, and it makes it easier for me to identify foods that trigger my rosacea symptoms because it slows things down.

For the rest of the afternoon, it’s back to work for me.  Typing, typing, more typing…

Before dinner, I head out for another walk. Another half hour or so. It’s easy to want to avoid exercise because as soon as  the heart rate rises, so does the colour in my cheeks.  That said, the benefits of exercise for rosacea symptoms greatly outweigh the temporary rosiness. Exercise reduces our overall risk of flushes and lowers inflammation, so it’s more than worth it to keep my body healthy and active.

Being Rosy from dinnertime to bedtime

a day in the rosy life - dinnerI usually have a large but light dinner, such as a huge salad with some form of protein to go with it.  The salad might be cold or warm, depending on my mood and how cold I feel after my walk.  Cold salads still work for me in the wintertime because even though I walk in frigid weather, I go fast and far enough to work up quite a sweat in my giant parka.

After dinner, I drink lots of water and herbal tea (I love rosehips and hibiscus) in the evening to stay hydrated and to enjoy something calming as I work for another few hours.

An hour before bedtime I shut down all devices with screens (computer, phone, tablet) and turn down the room lights to help create a calm atmosphere and promote natural melatonin production.  Like my waking time, I head to bed at the same time every night to make it easier for me to fall asleep. I suffer from regular bouts of insomnia, so every bit of extra help counts.

a day in the rosy life - Rosy JulieBC yogaI unroll my yoga mat and do one of four beginner yoga routines I have on a DVD I just love.  I do the Beginner Yoga DVD from Gaiam with Rodney Yee.  Depending on how I feel in the evening, I do the Beginner, Flexibility, Energy Boosting or Relaxation routine.  Each one is 20 minutes long and I try not to do the same one two days in a row.

I’ve only recently been taking yoga seriously.  I’ve tried it out now and again, but I have been trying to do it in earnest over the last while.  As I write this, I’ve done it for over two straight weeks without a day off (and a secret goal in my head to get to 30 straight days). It has been fantastic for my anxiety and my ability to sleep at night – both great for controlling rosacea – but I’ve also found my body becoming stronger and more flexible already.  This has come with the unexpected benefit that I’m less likely to flush from bending or picking up heavy things! Whoda thunk?!  Once I’m done, the TV is shut off and no more device screens are allowed until the next morning.

After my yoga routine is finished and I roll up my mat I shower, carefully washing my face.  Once I get out and dry off, I do my light therapy with the Dual Care Red and Amber High Power LED from Smarter Lights.

I complete my rosacea skin care routine using the same techniques as my morning routine, only with one main product switch, as I use:

All set for bed, I turn on my (cool mist) humidifier so I don’t dry up and turn to dust during the night.  My place seems to turn into a desert during the night in the winter. I’m not sure how I’d live without the humidifier running. It makes a visible difference to my skin and respiratory health.

I take the time to moisturize the rest of my body, not in any rush, using the time to be calm and take care of myself.  I do this while listening to the audio book again, letting me wind down and become restful before bed. This calm is very good for anxiety control and for a good night of sleep – both great factors in rosacea control.  You might not think that making sure you don’t have dry skin on your feet could help your rosy cheeks, but it’s all a part of living the Rosy Life!

a day in the rosy life - Rosy JulieBC - night headphones
Those round dealies are the headphones. They slip right inside the headband through an opening in the back.

Feeling all clean and soft, I snuggle down into my bed and listen to my audio book until I fall asleep.  I used to use ear buds overnight, but they kept falling out and getting wrapped all around me.  I was afraid I’d hang myself with them by accident one day. So I invested in a cool fleece headband with earphones slipped inside (they’re easy to pop out to wash the headband).  It’s soft and comfortable, even if I turn on my side.  The earphones don’t squash my ears, letting me listen to the book in comfort overnight. The headband is quite wide, so while I often use it as though I was keeping hair out of my face, I can also use it as a type of sleep mask to keep the room even darker than my blackout curtains allow.

That’s the end of a typical day in the Rosy Life.  It’s amazing how many habits I’ve developed since becoming a rosacea blogger – nearly all of them for the better…nobody’s perfect 😉

I’m a Big Baby About Having Rosacea

Little Sleepy Head Bath

Hi Rosy Friends!

It’s been a while, but if you’ve been keeping up with my latest videos on my Rosy JulieBC YouTube channel, you know that I haven’t disappeared. I’ve also started tinkering around as @RosyJulieBC on Instagram. Throughout that time, I’ve become quite the big baby about having rosacea…

By that, I mean that I’ve been incorporating a growing number of products meant for babies and toddlers into my life.  I’m not a parent, so I don’t regularly find myself walking/surfing through products meant for little ones.  However, every now and again I’ll come across a product or two as I shop and, despite the fact that they’re designed for teensy tots, they often work better for me than equivalent products designed for us grown-ups!

I recently released a video on the subject (below, in case you’re curious), but I thought it might be nice to dedicate an actual blog post to the topic, since I find it to be an interesting one, and I’ve really let posting slide over the last little bit.  I’m dedicated blogging regularly again (I know, I know, I keep saying that, but I swear I mean it every time haha).

The following are some of the products meant for little ones but that work for big babies with rosacea, like me!

Kids-sized reusable water bottle

Hydration is massively important to healthy skin, healthy digestion, and overall wellness.  To function properly, your body needs to get a certain amount of water through your food and through drinking it, of course.  In my ever-so-humble opinion, living a Rosy Lifestyle absolutely requires you to hydrate properly.

Since I’d prefer not to be a giant hypocrite, that means that I work hard to drink the right amount of water every day. When I head out the door, I need to take water with me. As a result, I have amassed a broad selection of different types of water bottles.  The main struggle with reusable water bottles is that you never really know how well one will work for you until you give it a try.  I have glass ones, stainless steel ones, BPA-free plastic ones, ones with citrus infusers, ones with a straw, ones with a small drinking opening, ones with a wide drinking opening…I’m pretty much the reason the reusable water bottle people are in business!

kids water bottle BPA freeWhile the big ones and the heavy ones (glass!) are great for keeping around while I’m at home or in the car, it’s my kid-sized one that I love the most when I head out to walk dogs, go to outdoor festivals, or at any other time that I’ll need to carry it around. The one I have is Nalgene with a carabiner-style locking flip-cap and a small pour spout-style drinking opening. It’s easy to carry in a bag or attach to a strap.  It locks so it won’t accidentally open and spill, and its opening is small enough that I don’t pour it all over myself when I drink out of it.  I’ve never seen these options in water bottles made for adults. Plus it has a shark on it that says “chomp” and that’s just awesome! 😉 I got this one in clearance in the kids lunchbox section of a department store.

Kid-sized gel ice packs

Keeping cool in the summer can be very difficult, especially when it’s a million degrees outside, humid, and I’m trying to get to sleep despite regular anxiety attacks.

This may sound like a nightmare thing to do during the winter, but in the summer, I take kids’ first aid gel ice packs straight from the freezer and either wrap them in a tea towel or use them straight-up against the back of my neck and/or on the bottoms of my feet.  Sounds crazy, but the next time you’re very, very overheated, give it a try.  It cools you down really fast.

Hello Kitty Boo-Boo Pack gel ice packsSince being overheated is a fast way to turn my cheeks tomato-red, keeping cool is very important.  I got my freezer packs (or in this case, “boo boo” packs) at the local dollar store.  Mine happen to be Hello Kitty themed, but I’m sure that the Strawberry Shortcake or Thomas the Tank Engine would work just as well (as would any other character or non-themed gel ice pack.  I’m 98% sure the theme doesn’t affect the coldness haha).

Baby food fruit puree pouches

Ever since I was a child young enough to be in the target market for most of these products, I’ve been at risk of hypoglycemia.  When I eat the wrong balance of foods or wait too long before eating, my blood sugar levels plummet.  It makes me emotional (hangry!), my hands shake, it spikes my anxiety, and can even cause me to faint. All those things are a rapid path to a rosacea flush – and are rather uncomfortable, too – so, naturally, I try to avoid them.

Reusable baby food pouchOver the last few years, those little baby food fruit and veggie puree pouches have become extremely popular.  I keep them on hand so I can toss one in my purse or bag in case I need a quick blood sugar boost. Since I’m not exactly a fan of the packaging garbage they create, I’ve recently found some reusable/refillable ones so I can simply make my own purees (easier than you think), fill the pouches, freeze them and then take them with me when I think I’ll need them.

Little Sleepy Head Bath Time and Skin Care

If you’ve been following my videos/blogs for a while, you’ll know that I’m always on the hunt for a new sunscreen.  In my opinion, sunscreens are the hardest skin care product to find because the vast majority of them cause my rosacea to flare.  They make me itchy, they sting and they make my skin red and pimply.

In my hunt for a product that wouldn’t do this (because it never hurts to have options!), I came across the Little Sleepy Head Daily Rehydrating Sunscreen.  It caught my eye because it’s safe for babies and toddlers with sensitive skin, as well as being free of “Paba, Parabens, Nano-particles, fragrances, or Phthalates,” non-irritating, water resistant, and non-comedogenic.  What really sold me on it was that it flat-out says that it’s “well received” by people with lupus, rosacea, acne and other skin conditions.  Holy cow!  A sunscreen that directly says that rosacea sufferers don’t often react to it!

Little Sleepy Head Sunscreen, Body Wash, and LotionBefore I knew it, I was unpacking a box with the sunscreen as well as the brand’s entire line of bath time and skin care products! So here’s what I thought of treating my skin like a big baby with Little Sleepy Head‘s skin care line:

  • Little Sleepy Head Daily Rehydrating Sunscreen – I’ve been using this on my face, neck, ears, and upper chest area since I first got it.  On hotter days when I was wearing short sleeves, I used it on my arms as well.  My skin has tolerated it extremely well.  It has no fragrance and is very easy to apply.  I can see how it would be quick to spread on the skin of a kid who is fussing because it was certainly easy for me to apply to myself – and boy can I be fussy! 😉  I liked that it did feel like it was moisturizing my skin, but even if I got sweaty and it ran into my eyes, it didn’t sting. I’d usually wash it off my face as soon as I came indoors again, but it never irritated any place that I applied it no matter how long I left it on. This was a definite find.
  • Little Sleepy Head Gentle Hair and Body Wash – As much as this is meant to be used both as a shampoo and a body wash, I just used this as a body wash.  I have a huuuuge amount of hair and would likely go through the whole bottle in three showers if I shampooed with it.  That said, when using this as a body wash, a little bit goes a long way!  It’s a very soft product that lathers and spreads nicely.  It feels lovely on the skin and smells phenomenal.  I shower before bedtime, so the natural lavender and chamomile in the ingredients provided a beautifully soothing and relaxing bit of aromatherapy to help me combat my typical bouts of insomnia. It was also very effective at washing away the sunscreen, which I didn’t find was at all difficult to remove. As a side note, I know for certain that this product was not meant for this purpose, but in a pinch it also doubled wonderfully as a shaving gel!
  • Little Sleepy Head Hydrating Baby Lotion – After using a baby bedtime bath product it only makes sense to moisturize with the matching lotion, right? This moisturizer also contains lavender and chamomile and has a very close (natural) scent to the body wash. Since it also contains oatmeal, aloe, and shea butter, even my super-sensitive, rash-prone skin tolerated this product very well.  I love that both this product and the body wash are in a pump bottle.  I find that super-convenient.  I haven’t run either of them out yet so I don’t know if the pump bottle lets you get the product right up to the end (some designs. are more effective than others in my experience) but if I run into any problems, I’ll be sure to update this blog post to let you know.

So there you have it.  I have rosacea, and I’m a big baby about it, too!

While I do still love my all-natural skin care for my face from unbelievably great quality brands like SBT Seabuckthorn, Face Addiction and even Celtic Complexion, among others (the list is always growing), I’m happy to add a kids line, Little Sleepy Head, to my sunscreen and sensitive skin care favourites.

What about you?  Have you found a baby and/or kids product that works better for you than the adult alternative?  If so, please share in the comments section below!

 

 

 

 

Rosy Life Kit 2 – What Rosacea-Friendly Products Do You Want?

Take the Rosy Life Kit Survey

Hi Rosy Friends,

After the success of last year’s Rosy Life Kit, I’m creating another one.  This time, I’m asking for your help!  I’d love to know what you want in a gift box full of rosacea-friendly products.

Want to help?  Thank you!!!  Please click the link or button below to take the super-fast, super-easy, no-wrong-answers survey.  It’s completely anonymous, never asks you for any personally identifying info and it has only 5 multiple-choice questions.  That’s it!

Take the Fast, Easy, 5-Question Multiple-Choice Survey!

Take the Rosy Life Kit Survey

Thanks again, Rosy Friends!  Your help means a lot!

I’ve Launched a Free Rosacea-Focused Magazine!

Rosy JulieBC Magazine - Free Rosacea Information Newsletter

Hi Rosy Friends!  I’ve just released a new free publication called the
Rosy JulieBC Magazine!

Rosy JulieBC Magazine - Free Rosacea InformationI’m super excited about this because it gives me the opportunity to share little tips, reviews, recipes and thoughts that just don’t have a place here in this blog or in my YouTube videos.

I also think it’s a great way to share with you in a way that you can read it wherever you are, and you can refer back to it in case you want to use it as a handy resource – especially when it comes to the tips and recipes!

This free magazine can be viewed on a computer, smartphone or tablet.  You can view it in your browser or you can download the free Issuu app (Android or iOS) and use that if it’s an easier format for you.

This rosacea magazine is free…and always will be.

Rosy JulieBC Magazine - Free Rosacea NewsletterYou can subscribe to Issuu (for free, of course) so you can receive notifications whenever a new issue of the magazine is published.  That’s entirely optional, though.  The entire magazine can be viewed without any registration required. That said, the free membership does help to make sure you don’t miss a new issue if you do find that you’re enjoying the magazine.

My goal is to publish one every month.  Depending on the time it takes to publish each issue and your interest as a reader, I may make it more or less frequent.  I’ll wait and see as time goes by.

Click here for the first issue of the Rosy JulieBC Magazine.

Would you like me to cover a specific topic in an upcoming issue? 

Are you interested in (very affordable) advertising opportunities in the magazine?

Please use the comment section below or the following contact form:

More exciting news coming very soon, Rosy Friends.

My rosacea-friendly cookbook is in the last phase of formatting/publishing, and I have a huge Giveaway coming up in just over a week, too!  I’m also trying new skin care that I’m eager to tell you about once I see how it works.

See you soon!

Celtic Complexion Review: 8 Luxury Artisan Skincare Products Tested on Rosacea (Part 2)

Celtic Complexion Natural Skin Care for Rosacea

click to go back Rosy JulieBCContinued from Celtic Complexion Review: 8 Luxury Artisan Skincare Products Tested on Rosacea (Part 1)

Celtic Complexion Eye Elixir Hydrating Serum

Celtic Complexion Eye ElixirOf all the products I tested, the Celtic Complexion Eye Elixir seemed to feel the most luxurious to me.  I’m not exactly sure why that was.  Everything I tried was beautiful in its own way.  This one just seemed to have that extra something special.

Every feature of this product from the dainty roller-ball bottle to the gorgeous product it contained felt like I was treating myself.  It had that “spa treatment” sensation.

Typical of me, I read the instructions which said to use this product very sparingly and then I went ahead and used too much on my first application.  When the instructions tell you that one little sweep under the eyes is enough, they really mean it! I used this product every night for nearly a month before the teensy little container finally ran out.

It made my skin feel soft and smooth and when I woke up I didn’t have giant blue bags under my eyes. I’d also like to point out that I liked the feeling of the stainless steel ball of the applicator.  It was very cooling under the eye.

Ingredients: Argan oil, squalene oil, avocado oil, rosehip seed oil, carrot seed oil, sea buckthorn oil, evening primrose oil, borage seed oil, essential oils of ylang ylang, lavender, myrrh , rosewood, tangerine, bergamot.

Celtic Complexion Tinted Moisturizer

Celtic Complexion Tinted MoisturizerCeltic Complexion Tinted Moisturizer is a hydrating, natural sunscreen-and-foundation in one.

It comes in two shades: Light and Medium.

Mine said that it provides SPF 22 on it, but the website says it has an SPF 31.  I’m assuming that the formula has upgraded its protection since I tried it last summer.

As much as this can be used as a foundation or a moisturizer with a hint of coverage, I used it as a sunscreen under makeup.  If I was going somewhere that I wanted to look nice but where I’d need to be outside, this became my go-to base layer between my skin and my makeup.  It sat well under makeup and didn’t irritate my skin at all.

The sunscreen was a fantastic bonus. Unlike other sunscreens I’ve tried, this is neither drying nor greasy. This was a fantastic product to have last summer.

Ingredients: 25% zinc oxide, artesian spring water, cert. organic organic jojoba oil, cert organic extra virgin olive oil, organic shea butter, vegetable glycerin, vegetable emulsifying wax, vegetable vitamin e, iron oxide.

Celtic Complexion Organic Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin

Celtic Complexion Organic Sunscreen for Sensitive SkinIf you’ve read some of my other blog posts or if you’ve seen some of my YouTube rants, you’ll know that sunscreen is among the types of product I find most challenging to find for my rosacea-prone skin. All but one of the chemical-based sunscreen products I’ve tried have caused my skin to flare up.

On the natural side of the spectrum, most sunscreens usually leave my skin looking chalky white. However, this is not the case with the Celtic Complexion Organic Sunscreen for Sensitive Skin.

This product provides SPF 32 and is chemical free, cruelty free, fragrance free, and is even reef safe.

This product gives my face a very slight whitening effect, but nothing dramatic.  I can see it if I look at myself very closely in the mirror but not from a “normal” distance.

I absolutely loved this sunscreen for the protection it gives from the sun and for not causing flare-ups.  I like that I need to use only a very small amount, that it doesn’t leave my skin feeling as though it has been buttered and it doesn’t make me feel like I’m melting when I start sweating a bit from being outside in the summer.

I felt like it lasted a long time, so I didn’t need to reapply it every few minutes, which was also quite nice. It didn’t have any fragrance or perfumed scent, which I also appreciated because the last thing I want in the summertime is to be even more appealing to mosquitoes than I already am!

As was the case when I tried the Exfoliant, I re-ordered this one very quickly after having tried it.

Ingredients: 25% zinc oxide, Eldorado Springs Artesian Water, certified organic extra virgin olive oil, certified organic jojoba oil, vegetable glycerin, certified organic shea butter, vegetable emulsifying wax, vegetable vitamin e.

Celtic Complexion Youth Infusion 7 High Potency Serum

Celtic Complexion Youth Infusion 7 High Potency SerumOf all the products I tried from this brand, the Celtic Complexion Youth Infusion 7 Serum was likely the one that left the least impression on me. This isn’t at all to say that it wasn’t a lovely product.  It’s only that I couldn’t quite measure any difference that it made in my skin.

I used it twice per week as a part of my “extra effort” skin care days.  I spread a few drops over my face and neck. The product is certainly luxurious and my skin was definitely moisturized and responded well.  That said, I didn’t notice any difference between when I used this on top of the full skin care cleansing and moisturizing routine and when I didn’t.

Perhaps it was just one step too many for my unique skin type, maybe I had no idea what I was looking for or perhaps this is something that works over time in a protective/rejuvenating way and I didn’t use it long enough or should have photographed my progress to see a difference.

It may also be that I’m not quite far along enough in the anti-aging skin care demographic to truly see the difference this product can make.  To be honest, I’m far more focused on my rosacea than my fine lines.  I may have quite the opposite opinion in five years from now, but at the moment, my main goal is to get the redness under control and keep it that way.

While I feel this is a stunning product, it’s the one I’d be least likely to replace at this point…ask me again in five years!

Ingredients: Fractionated coconut oil, carrot seed oil, Indian rose oil, Indian sandalwood oil, frankincense oil, borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, Bulgarian rose oil.

Two Celtic Complexion Products I Haven’t Tried Yet

There are two more products I have but that I haven’t yet tried.  I’m looking forward to testing both of them once I’m finished the current skincare trial I’m undergoing.

The products are the Celtic Complexion the Celtic de Savon Facial Cleansing Bar and the Vida de Fleur Liquid Moisturizer.Celtic Complexion Celtic de Savon Facial Cleansing BarCeltic Complexion Vida de Fleur

 

 

 

 

 

 

Facial Cleansing Bar ingredients: Saponofied oils of olive, palm, shea butter, argan, jojoba, avocado, camellia, goat milk and oatmeal.

Vida de Fleur ingredients: Squalane oil (derived from vegetarian sources), evening primrose oil, jasmine grandiflorum, jasmine sambac.

I’m hoping to test these out in February so watch for my review soon afterward!

Another Celtic Complexion Product I’d Love to Try

At the start of the holiday season, Celtic Complexion had two fantastic sales and during that time, I checked out the Winter Skin Kit, which contains two products I already have (the Vida de Fleur and the Creme) but it also drew the Winter Skin Balm Bar to my attention.

Have you ever kicked yourself for not jumping on the opportunity to try out something great?  Yup, that was me.  It’s also available to purchase on its own in the full-size version.  It looks incredible as it can even be applied on top of makeup to restore hydration during the day.  I can barely wrap my brain around that. Won’t be difficult to guess what I’ll be adding to my next order!

In case you’re curious, the ingredients for the Winter Skin Balm Bar are: Shea butter, jojoba oil, raw organic coconut oil, squalane oil (from vegetarian sources), borage seed oil, evening primrose oil, apricot kernel oil, backhousia citriodora.

Coupon Code Reminder: 30% off your whole order with “roseyjulie

The “fine print”. Using this coupon code during checkout will take 30% off your entire Celtic Complexion order. This coupon code is valid from today until January 20, 2017.  It can be used for every product on the site except the Celtic Jewel.  It can be used to discount your entire order but is not valid with any other offer or coupon.

Please note that this coupon code was offered to me from Celtic Complexion to give you the chance to save money if you want to try the products I have tested. I am not affiliated with Celtic Complexion, I have not been paid to do this review or this blog post and I will not make any money from any purchases through Celtic Complexion or through the use of the coupon code.

About Celtic Complexion

Celtic Complexion is a company founded by Master Esthetician, Jennifer Devlin Waller.  Like me, Jennifer has had rosacea since she was in her 20s.  In fact, it motivated her to become a professional makeup artist as she wanted to be able to effectively cover the redness.

Jennifer worked in the retail cosmetics industry for a decade and, despite the fact that she could try out some of the most expensive luxury skin care lines, she was unable to control and reduce her rosacea symptoms.  In fact, she frequently found that they worsened.

It wasn’t until she spoke with a holistic esthetician that she saw a meaningful difference. She altered her own skin care and lifestyle in favour of a natural, gentle and nourishing one and was astounded by her results.

This led her to launch her own skincare line, which had been her dream since she was in high school.  Now, she formulates and creates each product while she and her husband Steve (Mr. Celtic Complexion) run the company together.

Other Cool Stuff from Celtic Complexion

In my conversation with Jennifer Devlin Waller, she shared some of her exciting upcoming plans with me.  In her own words, here’s what she said:

In 2017, I am venturing beyond great skincare because that’s only one piece of the larger puzzle of how we can slow down aging. I created Anti-Aging University to educate women about how to age naturally and  organically using alternative wisdom that has been used safely for centuries. You will discover mind/body/spirit principles as well as cutting edge diet/tools/supplements/exercises to look your best no matter what your age.

If you’d like to learn more, click here.

Have you tried Celtic Complexion or do you plan to?  Let me know in the comments.  I’d love to hear about it 🙂

As an update, I’m still working on my cookbook.  I’m in the final stretch now.  I’ll let you know when there’s more news! See you soon!