Why I Blog – My Mission Statement

I previously wrote a blog post titled, “What I Blog About.” This post was part of my homework from the Badass Babes e-Course I am taking. I am loving this course because I am learning that I don’t have to change who I am or what I want to write about to have a successful blog. I am learning ways that I can make my blog stand out from the rest and still be attractive to sponsorship opportunities.

Our assignment this week was to create a mission statement that described the purpose of our blog and who we are targeting with our blog. I wanted to start by figuring out WHY I blog, why do I put time into the blog, and why I think others should read as well.

1. I love to write – I started writing stories, poems, etc when I was in the 7th grade. There have been times in my life that writing has kept me breathing and has helped me work through a bad breakup or a rough time in my life. And I sincerely hope that something I write, resonates with someone else.

2. I love to educate – I also love to write to educate. I think that we learn best when we read the experiences of other people. Yes, we have to make our own mistakes and educate ourselves. However, I particularly like bring awareness to topics that I am passionate and knowledgeable about.

3. I love giving my opinion – Let’s face it, everyone has one. There have been times in my life that I just needed to give my opinion whether anyone else read it or not. I particularly love reviewing products that help my ‘stay at home’ status easier.

Mission Statement:

About Finding Crystal
Don’t forget to subscribe to my monthly newsletter! My goal is to get 10 subscribers by August 7th. On August 8th, I will send out my first newsletter! I will be sending out links to my favorite posts of the previous month, my favorite products or boxes for that month, and a few extras! You can sign up here:

Subscribe to Finding Crystal


 

 

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Beauty Box 5 July 2014 Review

First of all, I am so excited to tell you that I am now an official BeautyBox5 affiliate. I have been trying to get into this program for a couple of months and I was finally approved! If you decide to subscribe to this box, please do through my link. If you use my link, you can use the coupon code HALFOFF to receive your first box 50% off.

BeautyBox5 is a subscription box that is $12 a month. If you buy more than one month, it’s less than that per month. They send full size, deluxe sample, and regular sample sized products for you to try. It comes with a card telling you what the product is, how to use it, and what the retail price is. It’s a good bargain and great for someone who doesn’t have a lot of money to spend on a subscription box.

Beauty Box July 2014 Review

This is my BB5 box for this month. I received a coupon for mascara so that was really cool!

Revlon Bold Lacquer Mascara Retail $7.99 Full Size: I used this mascara on Sunday to try it out. It’s a new product by Revlon. It totally brightens my eyes and gives the appearance of longer lashes. It was also super easy to apply- just one application and it was done!

HASK Argan Oil Intense Deep Conditioning Hair Treatment Retail $2.49 Sample Size: This is a hair mask for dry or damaged hair. This is ideal if you use styling products, curling iron, hair dryer, etc. I do not use anything on my hair. However, I did try it out for test purposes. It made my hair feel really soft and definitely added some moisture. I probably would not buy this product on a normal basis but it was nice to try it.

Body Drench Candy Licious Lips Retail $3.99 Full Size: This is going to be an awesome tool to have in the winter. It also tastes like peppermint which was really cool. The card says it has beeswax, coconut oil, and vitamin E in it. I put this under lipstick because lipstick tends to dry out my lips. It worked great.

Anna Naturals Glowing Mama Walnut Face & Body Scrub Retail $10.99 Sample Size: The card says this scrub is all natural, vegan, and is infused with moisturing botanicals. It does not have parabens, chemicals or artificial fragrances. I am really careful what I use on my face so I tried this on my arm. It worked great and left the skin soft. However, there is only a small bit- two uses at the most – so I would have to buy more if I wanted to use it again.

Miss Jessie’s Multi Cultural Curls Retail $16.00 Sample Size: I have gotten this in other boxes before and I’m not sure why. I’ve never filled out my beauty survey and said I have curly hair. And no matter what I try, my hair is just not going to curl up. It’s wavy but will not curl unless it is drenched in product. This will be something I’ll give to someone else or swap out.

I think this was a really strong box for me. I’m excited about the mascara and lip balm.

Don’t forget to subscribe to my monthly newsletter! My goal is to get 10 subscribers by August 7th. One August 8th, I will send out my first newsletter! I will be sending out links to my favorite posts of the previous month, my favorite products or boxes for that month, and a few extras! You can sign up here:

Subscribe to Finding Crystal


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The Ultimate Party on Facebook #4

We have made it to our fourth week of The Ultimate Party on Facebook!

The Ultimate Party on Facebook

Last week we had 39 different Facebook statuses

linked up to the party!

Here was my favorite share of the party!

Peanut Butter Cheesecake by Bobbie on 3GLOL

Peanut Butter Cheesecake on Facebook

To participate in today’s party:

  • First follow your hosts and co-hosts on Facebook.

Hosts:

hosts facebook

  1. Tammy from The Ultimate Linky — Follow The Ultimate Linky on Facebook HERE.
  2. Tammy from My Life Abundant — Follow My Life Abundant on Facebook HERE.
  3. Kim from Kid PepFollow Kid Pep on Facebook HERE.
  4. Sinea from Ducks ‘n a Row– Follow Kid Pep on Facebook HERE.

Co-hosts:

cohosts facebook

  1. Crystal from Finding Crystal — Follow Finding Crystal on Facebook HERE.
  2. Paula from Buenos Aires –Follow Paula — Buenos Aires on Facebook HERE.
  3. Amber from Snapshots and Snippets — Follow Snapshots and Snippets on Facebook HERE.
  • Go to The Ultimate Party’s page on Facebook HERE.

  • Add one or two of your Facebook statuses that you want boosted as a comment to the top post on the page. The post says “The Ultimate Party on Facebook, Week 4!!!”

Here is how to find the URL of the Facebook post:
Go to your Facebook page.
Find the post you want to boost (have people like/comment/share).
Click on the time under the title. I would click on “30 minutes ago.”
time for facebook.

Then go up to the browser window and copy the URL. It will look like this:
URL of facebook post

Paste this URL as a comment on The Ultimate Party’s page.

  • Go and boost at least 3 other statuses for every status you link up. Like, comment, or share the other Facebook posts. I cannot be on Facebook all day! The hosts and co-hosts will do their best to boost every post, but we need your help!
  • Please follow our Facebook page (The Ultimate Party) if you want to see our updates!
  • If you wish, you can follow our Pinterest board called The Ultimate Party where all of your hosts can pin your great posts.
  • Optional: You can include your pin URL for that post so that others can pin it if they want to. If you repin the pin, please try to remember to include the hashtag #theultimateparty in the pin description.
  • We would love it if you grabbed our button!
The Ultimate Linky

And we would love some tweets! Thank you!



Before you link up, we have one more special feature that truly makes this Facebook party The Ultimate Party!

Every weekday except for Tuesday, you can share your posts on one of the host’s pages.
Go and link up one of your posts as a comment to the post on the host’s Facebook page. (It will be pinned at the top or will be very close to the top of the page.)

Here is the schedule:Schedule for Facebook share days

Now go HERE to party!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my monthly newsletter! My goal is to get 10 subscribers by August 7th. One August 8th, I will send out my first newsletter! You can sign up here:

Subscribe to Finding Crystal


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eShakti Blouse Review

IMG_0374I was so excited to be approached by eShakti to review a piece of clothing. I had a choice of what I wanted to review. I chose a jersey knit type of shirt that could be used as casual dress or formal dress. The shirt ties in the front and has a satin waist band.

One thing I really loved about eShakti was I was able to put in my measurements and the shirt was tailored to my measurements. They make clothes for plus size women such as myself. If you are plus sized, you know how difficult it is to find fashionable clothes in plus size.

The only downside to shopping at eShakti, it is on the expensive side. However, you have to take in consideration that you are receiving quality fabric and you are customizing your look. Below is me in my jeans and shirt getting ready for a lunch date with my hubby!

eShakti Review*Please note that I received the top at no cost to me. Regardless, the views expressed are honest and are my own.*

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Birchbox Review July 2014

I am loving getting subscription boxes each month. It’s like Christmas comes a few times a month every month.

One of the beauty boxes I get is Birchbox. If you want to sign up for Birchbox, please use my link. It helps me be able to bring more reviews to you! This month’s Birchbox seems like it was all about the hair and body wash.

For this Birchbox, Women’s Health teamed up with the box to deliver a pamphlet on stay healthy and staying active. Even better, I get a 1 year subscription to Women’s Health FOR FREE! How awesome is that! Birchbox also has a point system. When you review products, you receive points towards a purchase. This is very cool.

Birchbox Review July 2014Birchbox always contains 4-5 items that are sample size or just a little bigger. Some of these sizes are great to put in your purse or use if you go on vacation. The following items were in my box and I have included a review for each one:

Klorane Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk: Full Size $16: A friend of mine also has chronic health problems and she loves dry shampoo. I was very excited to see this in my box. I tried it and it works great for me. There are times when I am too tired to wash my hair. This is going to be perfect. It did not weigh my hair down and once I combed my hair, it looked like I had just washed it. I have very oily second day hair so this was perfect!

Naobay Body Radiance Lotion: Full size $24: The card said this was a Spanish favorite. It has olive oil and avocado in it. I wasn’t crazy about this lotion and will probably give it away or add it to my stash of ‘stuff’ for traveling. It had a musky smell to it but on the other hand, it made my skin feel like silk. However, scent is a big thing to me so I will most likely not use this.

Sumita Color Contrast Eyeliner- Raina: Full Size $11: Believe it or not, I am still learning about makeup. I was really into makeup as a teenager and then decided one day not to wear it anymore. I cannot wait to try this eyeliner though. It’s really blue and I have a feeling that it will make my eyes pop (I have blue eyes).

Vasanti Cosmetics Detox Nutrient Rich Purifying Facial Cleanser: Full Size $24: Whenever I run out of this, I will definitely be buying it. I tried it and not only did it make my face feel awesome, it also took off my makeup without scrubbing. I have a feeling that this is one of those products that only gets better the more you use it.

Gingerade Shower Gel: Full Size $24: I wasn’t a big fan of the smell of the body wash. I prefer a more fruity smell. However, it did foam up nicely and left my skin really soft. The card says it contains aloe and green tea.

If you are considering a subscription and like to use natural products, Birchbox is a great subscription to start with. It gives a wide variety of products and it’s always fun to try new stuff. If you want to subscribe please use my subscription link located here. As I said, this allows me to bring more reviews on great products!

Don’t forget to subscribe to my monthly newsletter! My goal is to get 10 subscribers by August 7th. One August 8th, I will send out my first newsletter! You can sign up here:

Subscribe to Finding Crystal


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Psychoanalysis of Antichrist

When I was in high school and college, I excelled at analysis papers. Book analysis, movie analysis, finding symbolism – all of it was something that came naturally. The further away that I get from college, the more I am losing the ability to watch a movie or read a book and write about it objectively. This is one reasons why I still try to do a book review every now and then – I want to keep my mind sharp. That’s often hard to do with Lupus and chronic illness.

I have reconnected with a friend from my childhood. I went to school with him, and while we were not close in school, we were friendly. When I had to quit my job, he became a huge source of support for me. To say that he is a film snob would be an understatement. He writes movie reviews for CultureMass; you can find his reviews here. He has recommended numerous television shows and movies for me to watch.

Antichrist ReviewOne movie that he recommended for me has stuck in my head and will not go away. Because of this, I present to you my psychoanalysis of Lars von Trier’s Antichrist. If you haven’t seen the movie, you might want to watch the TRAILER before reading this post. Also, there will be spoilers in the analysis, so also keep that in mind.

To understand this movie, you have to know that director Lars von Trier went through a very real struggle with dark depression and suicidal thoughts during the time that he was filming this movie. It is part of what he calls the Depression Trilogy, though the three movies are not related.

A friend of mine explained Antichrist as Lars von Trier’s artistic attempt at exorcising some of his demons. Well, I think von Trier was doing more than exorcising his demons. I truly think he took those demons and shoved them in our collective faces. He made his audience feel the level of depravity of which humans are capable, and by doing that, he allowed the audience a peek into what he may have felt that he was capable of doing. Antichrist is one of those films that utilizes the brilliance of art to show an emotion, as well as the part of humanity which no one wants to see.

The basic premise of the film is as follows: A couple (two characters who are never given names) is having sex one night as their three year old gets through the baby gate and falls to his death. The mother, as any mother would, deals with a deep sense of grief, depression and anxiety. Her husband is a therapist and feels as if the doctor is giving her too much medication. He takes it upon himself to get rid of her medication and to force her into therapy of which she is not yet ready. In order to provide intensive therapy, he takes her to a cabin in the woods that they own called Eden.

While his wife deeply grieves the loss of her child, the husband doesn’t seem to grieve at all. He is emotionally abusive, arrogant, and provokes his wife to feel emotions that her brain is not ready to process. He even takes her to a place which she admits she is afraid of in hopes of “curing” her there. However, what he fails to realize is that by failing to analyze and deal with his own grief and feelings, he has created a whole other world for himself. Almost immediately, he begins to have vivid and increasingly disturbing hallucinations involving the animals in the surrounding area. After the finale, the viewer is still wondering whether the animals existed at all. Are they merely figments of his tortured imagination, or are these hallucinations a result of not allowing himself the freedom to grieve where his wife felt that grief too deeply? The answers will vary from viewer to viewer.

If I was writing from a symbolical point of view, I would focus on the animals. He encounters three animals in the woods of Eden. I believe these animals represent a certain part of the human psyche. He sees a deer with a stillborn fawn hanging out of its uterus. I believe this symbolizes the death of the child. He also sees a fox which speaks to him in an ominous tone, delivering the message, “Chaos reigns.” These moments lend themselves to multiple interpretations, but from a psychoanalysis point of view, I believe that the fox stands for the ‘chaos’ that is created within the mind when a tragic event occurs. The third animal he sees is a crow trapped in a fox hole and later under the floor of a cabin. I believe that the crow represents the woman being trapped in her own mind; a prisoner of her own grief. It could also represent the man being trapped in his own world of fake acceptance and the constant refusal to “feel” his feelings.

It is only at the end of the film that the viewer realizes that the wife possibly had a pre existing mental condition, which was only made worse by the death of the child. Later in the film, we discover that, prior to her son’s death, she was writing a thesis on ‘gynocide’, also known as genocide. She spells the word with the ‘gyn’ prefix. This is important because she admits that she is scared of herself and is convinced that all women are inherently evil beings. And possibly, having the pre existing depression is yet another reason that she is afraid of herself. The viewer even begins to question whether she allowed the child to die as a result of her own negligence. At one point, He finds pictures which prove that She had put her child’s shoes on the wrong feet, and possibly caused a malformation of the bones in the foot. A brief flashback depicts She and He in the act of making love while the child falls out the window. Trier cuts to her face as she watches her child’s demise, an eerie hint of a grin on her face. During one flashback, a strange event occurs. She is at Eden with her son. She begins to hear a baby’s cry. The cry becomes louder and louder, until it fills the air. Upon further inspection, she realizes that her child is playing peacefully and unharmed.

Antichrist is possibly one of the most disturbing and most beautiful films I have ever seen. It is definitely not a film that you would watch to ‘wind down’ at the end of the day. However, if you are looking for something provocative, this would definitely be the film to watch.

**Please note: The themes in this film pile one on top of the other. There are so many ways in which a writer could interpret the events in this movie, that I don’t think any of them would be wrong. However, I found two other reviews that I thought were interesting. To read more about Antichrist, I would suggest these two: Roger Ebert’s Review and A Movie A Week.**

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Social Saturday/Sunday #bloglovin #stumbleupon #linkedin

Welcome to the Social Saturday and Sunday Linky Party!

Thank you for linking up here at the Social Saturdays linky party! I am co-hosting this party all summer along with the host of this party, Tammy from The Ultimate Linky.

Finding Crystal has been running on autopilot this week because I’ve had the flu. Hopefully, I am at the end of this thing!

Every week, there will be a Bloglovin linky party as well as two other social media linkups! The party will stay open Saturday through Monday. We will also do Youtube and Sverve one week and LinkedIn and StumbleUpon the next, and it will keep rotating every other week. The Ultimate Linky has link-ups for Pinterest, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, and Facebook on Monday – Friday.

Let’s be social get our party on!

  • Please add the button to your sidebar or party page. We also appreciate any shares that you could give! Thanks for your help in spreading the word!
  • Follow the directions down below!
The Ultimate Linky

You can link up your Bloglovin Profile URL here:

You can link up your StumbleUpon accounts here:

You can link up your LinkedIn URL here:


Social media parties every day of the week!

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Hidden Under Her Heart Book Review


Hidden Under Her Heart by Rachelle Ayala is a Christian Romance novel. I’ve never really gotten into this type of genre so I thought this would be something different to read.

Hidden Under Her Heart is about a young woman named Maryanne Torres, a Hispanic and nurse, who has had a string of bad relationships. She has made a vow to remain celibate until she gets married. She has a past of one night stands, promiscuous behavior, and an abortion. The book is also written in the voice of Lucas Knight. Lucas is a black man who is an athlete, ‘law school dropout,’ and is training to compete in a triathlon in the 2016 Olympics. The two meet and begin an up and down relationship. During an argument between Maryanne and Lucas, Maryanne goes to a church party where she is raped and has to make the decision whether or not to keep the baby.

I am going to be giving my honest opinion on this book because that is what I was asked to do. This book was written from a pro-life point of view and my view happens to be pro-choice. For that reason, I will be leaving out that information in my review. I will be reviewing the writing and other themes, other than abortion.

To be honest, I wasn’t a fan. It was a very short and simple read. Being a simple read isn’t always a good thing. If you are looking for something that doesn’t take much thought to read, then this book may be for you. I felt like the themes could have been more developed and the story better explored. It sort of felt like the author gave me the story and that’s all. I would have liked to have seen the story be more developed. I have always felt like a good book makes you feel one way or another OR it confuses you on how you should feel. This book didn’t do either. I truly lost interest in the characters about halfway through.

The book also read like a soap opera. There were too many stereotypes in the book. It felt like with every page there was some sort of drama and the drama went in constant circles. I also felt that the book paid too much attention to the issue of race. If something happened, Lucas assumed it was because he was a black man. I thought this distracted from the primary message of the book and was somewhat irrelevant due to the acceptance of interracial relationships in present day. The book was also highly predictable and that equals boring for me.

This book does have awesome reviews on Amazonso it could be that the book just did not touch me like it did other people. I would recommend it if you are looking for a quick read that will feed you the story. Also, if you are pro-life, it makes a strong case for pro-life as well as pro-choice.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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The Ultimate Facebook Party

We have made it to our third week of The Ultimate Facebook Party!

The Ultimate Party on Facebook

Last week we had 36 different Facebook statuses linked up to the party!

We were also pleased with how easy it was to add a Facebook status to the party and how easy it was boost other statuses. We are going to do the party the same way this week!

To participate in today’s party:

  • First follow your hosts and co-hosts on Facebook.

Hosts:

Tammy from The Ultimate Linky
Tammy from My Life Abundant
click to follow on fb
click to follow on fb
Kim from Kid Pep
Sinea from Ducks ‘n a Row
click to follow on fb
click to follow on fb

Co-hosts:

Crystal from Finding Crystal
Amber from Snapshots and Snippets
Paula from Buenos Aires
click to follow on fb click to follow on fb click to follow on fb

 

  • Go to The Ultimate Party’s page on Facebook HERE.

  • Add one or two of your Facebook statuses that you want boosted as a comment to the top post on the page. The post says “The Ultimate Party on Facebook, Week 3!!!”

    ______________________________________________

Here is how to find the URL of the Facebook post:
Go to your Facebook page.
Find the post you want to boost (have people like/comment/share).
Click on the time under the title. I would click on “30 minutes ago.”
time for facebook.

Then go up to the browser window and copy the URL. It will look like this:
URL of facebook post

Paste this URL as a comment on The Ultimate Party’s page.

___________________________________________

  • Go and boost at least 3 other statuses for every status you link up. Like, comment, or share the other Facebook posts. I cannot be on Facebook all day! The hosts and co-hosts will do their best to boost every post, but we need your help!
  • Please follow our Facebook page (The Ultimate Party) if you want to see our updates!
  • If you wish, you can follow our Pinterest board called The Ultimate Party where all of your hosts can pin your great posts.
  • Optional: You can include your pin URL that coincides with your post on G+ so that others can pin it if they want to do so. If you repin the pin, please try to remember to include the hashtag #theultimateparty in the pin description.
  • We would love it if you grabbed our button!
The Ultimate Linky

And we would love some tweets! Thank you!



Before you link up, we have one more special feature that truly makes this Facebook party The Ultimate Party!

Every weekday except for Tuesday, you can share your posts on one of the host’s pages.
Go and link up one of your posts as a comment to the post on the host’s Facebook page. (It will be pinned at the top or will be very close to the top of the page.)

Here is the schedule:Schedule for Facebook share days

Now go HERE to party!

 

Enter your email address below if you would like to receive email reminders for this party only!

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Why Do I Insist on Remaining 30?

I turned 31 on July 2. That means that I have had 12 days to get used to the fact that I am 31. However, when I’m talking to someone, commenting on a blog, Facebook whatever, I type 30. I don’t realize I’m doing it- NO REALLY, I don’t. Only when I type 30 do I realize what I typed and I hit the backspace button to correct it. I thought I was doing really well with turning 31- apparently, not so much. Now, I have a degree in Psychology and I like to think I know a thing or two about people. Despite the fact that people continue to prove me wrong, I still like to think that. But when it comes to myself? Not so much.

I'm Still 30

So, I’ve taken a step back from myself, tried to view me objectively (stop laughing), and these are the reasons why I believe I should remain I am still 30.

  1. “You’re only as young as you feel.” Physically, I feel much older. I have Lupus, some of my joints are being eaten away with arthritis, and I have always been told that my body is much older than I am. This is due to other health problems (four open heart surgeries, atrial fibrillation, yada, yada, yada).
  2. I don’t want to feel older. Even though I know physically I feel older, I don’t want to. I try to keep my mind as young as I can. I would really like to think that I’m still 25 but I will settle for 30. 25 was much easier and ‘funner.’
  3. I just forget. It’s been 10 days and I don’t think that’s long enough to come to the realization remember my real age. It takes a little time for the brain to remember something.

I’ve also tried to step back and look at why being 31 is not such a bad thing and why I need to actually remember I’m 31.

  1. “Age is just a number.” It’s just a number. Just a date when I was born that has a year that was 31 years and 10 days ago…it’s not like I’m counting or anything.
  2. I’m much wiser now and can force impart my wisdom on those younger than I am.
  3. I’ve made it this far and there’s no going back. I might as well accept it and look forward. Take the lessons I’ve learned, apply them to my life, and move on.

Did turning a certain age bother you so much that you actually forget that your that age? Or do you hold on to your youth by always remaining a certain age? Sound off in the comments below!

I also will be doing a monthly newsletter about my favorite posts of the month, favorite products, and some of my favorite quotes. My goal is to get 10 subscribers by August 7th. One August 8th, I will send out my first newsletter! You can sign up here:

Subscribe to Finding Crystal



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