Tuesday, May 31, 2011

30 Days of Creativity

I love to make things and work with my hands.  Big surprise for a crafter, I know.  Thing is, I often tend to think more practically, draw inside the lines, think inside the box, learn from manuals, etc.  My creative brain often kicks in AFTER my logical brain has the foundation laid for how something works.  Often, but not always.  Your brain can (and should!!) be exercised.  So, I'm going to take the month of June to train my brain to be more creative.

30 Days of Creativity is a social initiative encouraging people to create stuff (anything) every day for 30 days in June. You can participate by using the hash tag  #30daysofcreativity on Twitter or by posting on Pinterest where they will have a board for everyday of the challenge.  

Here are 30 Reasons to Participate, according to the organizers:

Garner a sense of accomplishment.
Form a (good) habit.
Conquer the fear of the unknown.
Find new friends.
Solve problems.
Refine your skillz.
Experiment with something new.
Defeat the resistance that’s in your head.
Save $ by being creative.
Build your portfolio.
Motivate friends and family to be creative too.
Exercise the creativity we’re all born with.
Overcome writer’s block.
Utilize the drafting table, DLSR Camera, Guitar you bought years ago.
Break the monotony of not doing anything creative.
Make your mom proud.
Network with other like-minded people.
Challenge yourself daily.
Show off and be proud of your creative work.
Join a creative community.
Do something free of judgment.
Move beyond your comfort zone
Inspire others.
Get excited about new things.
Improve time management.
Eliminate procrastination.
Have fun.
Gain self discipline.
Use this as an excuse to buy a new (camera/screenprinter/piano/etc).
Create stuff you’ve been wanting to do anyway.

They even provide you with a calendar for inspiration:

So, who's with me?

Monday, May 30, 2011

Woman Warrior: Joan of Arc - A Hero's Tribute

Monday, May 30th is celebrated as the Feast of Joan of Arc.  In truth, this is the day in 1431 that she was burned at the stake for witchcraft.  At the age of 17, she believed that she heard the voice of God call upon her to act.  And act she did.  She raised an army and overcame the British invasion of France in 15 months time.  Instead of celebrating her as a hero, the French bishops labelled her a "heretic, apostate, idolater" and they burned her.  But, Pope Benedict XV canonized her a saint nearly 500 years later on May 16, 1920 so it's all good.  No harm done, right?

Joan of Arc Chain Maille Millais Art Necklace by Mermaiden Creations

Joan of Arc is a shield maiden in it's truest form, a warrior woman, a battle maiden, and perhaps one of the strongest women in history.  She put on her armor and picked up her sword not for glory, but in defense and for love of her country, her people, and her God.  She was a 17 year old girl in 1431.  If you ask common society, she should have been wearing a dress, sewing, cooking, making babies, or any other "women's work" that they deemed fit.  Joan had plans of her own.  She listened to her intuition, was brave, and never wavered from what she knew she had to do to save her country.  She was questioned and tortured and yet remained fearless in her belief.

May 30th, the day Joan was burned at the stake, was the day that she was condemned for being a strong, fearless woman.  Take today to honor her as a hero, not just to her country but to womankind.  Decide today to be fearless, to be courageous, to stand up for what you believe in.  Listen to the voice (for Joan, it was God; for you it might be intuition) inside you to do what you you know is right, what you believe in, what your passion tells you to do.  Believe in yourself and your convictions.  Be a Hero.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Simple Joy Sunday

My week started off pretty crappy: I was counting on three days of work that I didn't get.  That had me in a good rut to start the week off but I still found things to make me happy.

After finding out that I wasn't going to be working, I stopped by IKEA.  It just happened to be in the area I was for my lack of work.  I got a lingonberry soda.  It was tasty and made me happy.  And then I went home and spent a couple hours replanting my succulents and potting a couple new plants that I picked up from IKEA for stupid cheap.  The time I spent outside and communing with the plants was great.  Such a mood elevator!  After doing a few more crafty things outside, I sat down with a beer and enjoyed my work.

palm, red mandevilla, succulents, pineapple, air plant, poinsettia mosaic

I finally framed artwork that I got from estasketch literally years ago!  Scott's a big fan of Spiderman and I love Wonder Woman, so it only seemed appropriate that we have work from this series called My Secret Identity.  Now, we just have to figure out where we're going to hang them...

Spiderman & Wonder Woman (our alter egos)

I finally got paid for my first couple of blog articles!  Woohoo!  That's definitely encouraging to me to do more.  I've done a lot of research to find places to write, now I really just need to get down to business and start typing!

One of my 3 Day Tweeps buds @knittingbagel and her daughter drew some pictures inspired by the Armoury.  I must say, this is a first for me and I'm honored!

@AthenasArmoury I'm glad! Here's mine... Though Nib... on Twitpic@AthenasArmoury Niblette and I have been drawing for you.  on Twitpic

Joys for the shop:
-finally adding the Apothecary to the Armoury, starting with some soap.
-new banners and the continuation of a blog makeover.
-getting labels for the metal tins that contain my salves, etc.
-spending a lot of time working on beefing up my Artfire shop (adding new sections, putting some custom items in the gallery, adding a bio, updating the on site blog).

Foodie joys:
-successfully making a tasty pot of miso soup with chicken (I didn't have any tofu in), soba noodles, wakame, and scallions.
-a peach, peanut butter, and cardamom smoothie.
-a cheese calzone big enough for 2-3 meals.

And just because it's a picture of my favorite cat and a pretty plant, it made me happy.

Jack & Lantana Plant

What were some of your simple joys this week?  Share below or write your own blog post (we can exchange links!).  I'd love to hear!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Starting to Build the Garden Bed Frame

Two garden updates in one week!  Yay!  We were actually able to start assembling the bed.  It's actually a fairly simple process, it's just going to take a little bit of time.

First off, we staked a line with string so that we assembled it straight.
String Line for a Straight Line

The keystone getting staked in!

A quick check of the level shows that we did a good job getting the ground even the day before.  Unfortunately, the drill battery died, so we only got this far before we had to take a break.
It's Level! Go us!!  

By the time the drill was charged and we put together a few timbers and joints, we were only able to get a little bit assembled before Scott had to get ready for work.
So far, so good

I decided to stay out and keep working on putting together the timbers and joints for a little while.  Step one: take a joint and put it onto a timber, ensuring that it is on all the way and square.
Step One

Step two: drill out the hole.
Step Two

Step three: drill in screw.
Step Three

Step four: repeat on both ends and both sides.  Admire your work.
Step Four

I got into a groove and was actually having a lot of fun with it.  I got a lot accomplished.
My Progress Assembling Timbers & Joints

We decided to use composite timbers for this project for a couple reasons.  We considered wood, but neither one of us wanted termites to eat it away.  I also didn't want to use pressure treated wood (which they would avoid) because it would leach arsenic (among other things) into the soil and thus into the herbs, vegetables, and plants.  That would be unacceptable.  I hate the idea of putting plastic into a landfill but, in theory, this should last a long, long time.  In addition, we helped avoid putting plastic in a landfill using this: it's made from recycled plastic.  There are many more boxes where these came from!

Our Supplies

Friday, May 27, 2011

More Prep on the Raised Garden Bed

We made some more progress prepping the land for the raised garden bed!  We spent three hours outside working on it (and mowing the lawn) and came in a bit weary, but the foundational work is done.

Last week, Scott finished getting rid of all of those crazy roots while I finished a bit more raking up of weeds and grass.  Basically, this step was all about building up the ground and leveling it.  We had a big pile of dirt from a ditch that Scott had been working on a while ago that we used to build up the area where the garden bed will go.

Big Pile of Dirt

I got busy raking out the soil from the piles that Scott was distributing.  While we were working, I was thrilled to find this lantana plant growing wild in our grass.  I wanted to dig it out and plant it with my (store bought) lantana, but didn't get to it before it was weed whacked.  Scott meant well: he left behind a weed thinking it was the one I wanted.  Oops.  Oh, well.  Maybe it will grow back...  Anyway, the one I have blossoms a very pale yellow and turns pink.  This one was orange and pink.  I really love how they change colors!


After all of the dirt was distributed, we went back and wet the ground.  Our soil is really, really sandy.  We tried to use the tamper without it wet and it just went up in a cloud of dust and scattered everywhere.

Wet is All the Better To Tamp

I took on the task of tamping while Scott went off and mowed the lawn.  I tried to let the tool do the work for me, but it's still damn heavy!

Me Starting the Tamping

By the time we were done, the pile of dirt was gone.

Pile of Dirt is All Gone

And, hopefully, we now have level ground to start assembling the bed.

Level Ground

So excited!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Announcing Athena's Armoury & Apothecary

I'm very excited to announce that I've started incorporating the Apothecary into the Armoury!

This has been a long time in coming.  I've been fascinated with the medicinal use of herbs for as long as I can remember.  In historical stories (whether it be books or movies), I've always been intrigued by the knowledge of the apothecary and the seeming magic of the village wise woman.  Although I've always had an interest, I started studying the herbs in earnest nearly two years ago when I was doing a lot of soul searching to get out of my horrible job.  Lots of reading and researching ensued in addition to concocting, growing, and just getting to know the plants.  As any herbalist will tell you, we never stop learning but I do feel like I'm at a place where I can start sharing what I know about herbs.  After all, herbalism is the people's medicine.

In the future, I hope to share with you simple ways of incorporating herbs in your every day life; not just as remedies but also as nourishment.  I will share some plant profiles with you as well as recipes and projects that you can do with them.  I'll continue to share with you what I learn about growing herbs as we continue the raised garden bed project.  But also, I want to hear from you.  Herbalism is the people's medicine and we should be able to share our knowledge in this community.

The shop is only in the beginning stages of herbal goodness right now.  So far, there are a few different kinds of soap listed in my Artfire and Etsy shops.  I've been testing different recipes on myself and others for months now and have had my testers asking me to start listing it.  Once I get through the remainder of this stock, you will start to see a more unified size of soap, but this is what we have to start.

Coming soon, you will see salves including my sore muscle salve (with a new name!), sleep pillows, bulk herbs, incense, herb beads, and much more.

To celebrate the Apothecary, you'll see a new banner in my shops and the beginnings of a makeover here on the blog.  Also, once there are a few more items in the shops, I'll be hosting a giveaway of herbal products.  You don't want to miss this, so if you're not a follower yet, now's the time (Google Friend Connect and e-mail subscriptions are both available on the right side bar).

I'm so excited about this herbal journey that I'm on and look forward to sharing it with you!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Simple Joy Sunday

It's important to notice the things that make us smile, no matter the size or shape.  Here's some of my happiness from this past week.

Me at the Table

The majority of this week was spent creating new chain maille, shining it all up, and working on my display for yesterday's Women Riders Event.  The event went really well for me, so much better than what I was anticipating anyway.  I really thought that it was going to be more about just promotion for me, but in addition to giving out some business cards & getting names for the mailing list, I also made a few good sales.  I'm not sure if I would have gotten those two bigger sales if I didn't accept credit cards: I am really in love with the Square app and reader for my phone!  Scott was my wingman, keeping me company (traffic was in spurts), and helping me with set up & tear down.  I am so happy that I made those sales!  Not just because it feels good that someone loves my work enough to purchase it, but also because I can now reinvest that money into my shop to order some more rubber rings (I'm all out!) and oil to make soap (I'm nearly out !).

I sold another one of my Jeep accessories!  I still have a few more ads posted on Craigslist, but this stuff has been a good start & I'm grateful.  Work is going to be slim this summer, so anything helps!

I can tell that 3 Day walkers are starting their training for this year's events: I'm getting even more requests for my sore muscle salve!  After plenty more requests for my soap, too, I'm going to add some limited supplies of both into the shop this week.  The packaging/labeling may not be perfect but it will be available to those that need it.  Why is this a simple joy?  Because I am so terribly flattered that people are requesting my products.

This week, I attended a webinar with Kiva Rose.  She's such a smart, caring herbalist and so generously shared her knowledge.  I really learned a lot from her in that short webinar and continue to be inspired by the plants and our Earth.

What were some of your simple joys this week?  Share below or write your own blog post (we can exchange links!).  I'd love to hear!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Women Riders Event This Saturday!

As those of you that follow me on twitter know (and those that don't, click on the linky over there on the right side bar), I've been busy getting ready for an event this weekend.  I've only had about a week to get ready for it, so it's been a bit hectic here in the Armoury. 

I've been busy creating some new pieces including scale maille flower pendants, stretchy bracelets, new Pink Warrior pieces, a couple new necklaces, keychains, etc; and herbal goodness including candles and Sleep Pillows.

I downloaded an app for my Android phone called Square which will let me process credit cards through my phone.  They sent me a free reader and it only costs 2.75% of each swipe.  I tested it out the other day and it couldn't be easier.  I love this little thing and can't wait to use it on Saturday.

The Details:
The event is being held at Jim's Harley Davidson in St. Pete this Saturday, May 21; 10:00-2:00.  Jim's is teaming up with Bikers Raising Awareness (the non-profit that my 3 Day walking team stemmed from last year) to raise money and awareness for breast cancer.  It's a women rider event featuring live music, a poker walk, silent auction, vendors, beer and a 50/50 raffle.  Register for $10 and you can attend a slew of seminars about biking, you will get a free lunch, one poker walk hand, a bag full of goodies as well as two chances to win two $100 Jim’s Harley-Davidson Shopping Sprees.

If you're in the area, be sure to stop by (even if you don't register) to check out the live music & vendors.  It's going to be a beautiful day and I look forward to meeting you!

If you're a 3 Day walker & still trying to figure out your gear, don't forget to check out my Squidoo lens featuring some of what I found to be Essential 3 Day Gear

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesday... on Thursday: Sleep Pillow Contents

I've been so busy getting ready for my event this weekend, that I totally forgot to do this post yesterday!  Oops. Well, speaking of the event... I'm bringing some herbal goodness with me including some Sleep Pillows.  These are the herbs inside them.  Gorgeous, huh?

Sleep Pillow contents

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Simple Joy Sunday

Little victories, things that made me smile...  here are some simple joys from the week.

I used to have a Jeep.  I *loved* my Jeep.  But I had to get rid of her due to a problem that is actually quite well known in that model year as "the death rattle."  I don't know why I waited so long, but it's been about a year and a half since I sold her and I'm just now finally getting around to selling some of the accessories that I had for her. Happy day this week when I sold three things from Craigslist ads!  They were the smaller items which is actually why I didn't think they would sell; I just have the three larger ticket items left.  It's bittersweet, but it really is high time I did this.  So, yay for sales!

I had three instances this week where I just knew that the universe was looking out for me.  I guess I just really need to trust in that more.  Yeah, we all have bad days every once in a while (okay, sometimes more often than not) but overall everything is going to work out okay!  Right?  Right!

Scott and I started working on the yard, but you already heard about that.

I decided to do an event next weekend where I'll be hawking my wares.  I'm excited and nervous.  It's been a long time since I last did a craft fair.  I'll tell you more about it later this week!

I did write another short little paid post this week, too.  Between the yard work, starting to prep for the event, work on the truck, and a dentist appointment, I didn't have much time for researching more online work but at least I did get that one little post done.

The past couple of Christmases, I had been given some money earmarked specifically for two special presents and I finally got around to getting them and setting them up!  I finally have my Foredom Flex Shaft and High Production Jump Ringer with long mandrels.  My work bench looks extremely sexy.

My kitty makes me incredibly happy, too!  He's been hanging with me a lot in the work room lately.  I love that.

What were some of your simple joys this week?  Share below or write your own blog post (we can exchange links!).  I'd love to hear!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

What Kind of Promotional Products Do You Use?

I've been doing a lot of reading, research, and work on promoting my shop and blog lately.  Ultimately, most of the work I've done and ideas that I've read about have been for online promotion.  That said, I have an event that I will be vending next weekend (more on that soon!) so I was also thinking about promotional products.  To date, I usually include a little charm like this with all of my orders:

macro 365/36 - Samples / Promos for Handmade Holiday Bazaar

It's a little something that has a minimal cost involved so far as the metal goes, but it does take time to make a significant batch of them.

Recently, someone suggested to me that maybe I should think about doing something like promotional pens or customized mugs when I add teas in the apothecary section of the shop.  The idea of doing mugs sounds somewhat appealing to me but I think it's a bit out of my price range right now.  Not only is there a cost for the item, but most places have some kind of logo charge and set up fee.

A lot of small, crafty businesses either make their own promotional items (as I have or like some graphic artists who put their artwork on magnets and such) or they buy stickers, scratch offs, etc. from other small, crafty businesses.  What are some things that you do to help promote your shop?  Do you have ideas for fun little promotional products that customers can walk away with that will make them remember you when they get home from the fair or remember to reorder from your shop?  Let's share some ideas!

Friday, May 13, 2011

It Begins: The Raised Garden Bed Project

I'm excited to share with you that we started prep work on our various yard projects yesterday!  It doesn't actually look like much yet, but it's a pretty huge start for us.  Work on the raised bed (herb, veggie, flower, etc.) garden is underway!

In one of my recent Wordless Wednesday posts, I featured a picture of the hibiscus bush that we had in the yard.  The hibiscus wasn't doing too terribly well where it was planted because of the neighbor's massive tree: it was in the shade (they usually love full sun down here) and the tree's root system seems to be taking over.  Knowing that made me feel a little better about the fact that we had to remove it since it's in one corner of the yard where the raised garden bed will be.  My first order of business was working on chopping it down; Scott had to help me get the roots out of the ground (it was in deep and seemed to be fighting for it's life).  Can I just tell you how it broke my heart to get rid of it?  This is ultimately what it boiled down to:

This Was the Hibiscus Bush

Scott had the not so fun task of working on the massive root system that was taking over that corner of the yard.  The roots there run deep and actually intersect a few times.

This Root System Must Go, Too

This is the corner where the hibiscus bush was before removal.  The garden bed will extend from this corner across the entire length of the back fence line and also come out a feet few along the side fence lines.

Hibiscus Corner

Since this corner is so shady, this is where the mint garden will go.  I already have peppermint, lemon balm, bee balm, and catnip which are all members of the mint family so that's a good start.  I hope to add chocolate mint and spearmint, among others.

While Scott was working on the roots, I started raking to pull out grass and weeds as well as to start leveling the soil along the fence line.  We need to get a tamper to really level things out, but this at least gives us somewhere to start.

Pretty Much the Whole Length of the Raised Bed

Here is the teeny, tiny little container herb garden that I have now.

My Little Container Garden

It includes: rosemary, mint, lemon balm, bee balm, basil, parsley, celery, lemongrass, scallions, and lavender.  The lemongrass and my aloe will go on the opposite end of the yard from the shady mints since it gets SOOO much sunlight down there.  I started a pineapple plant, too, so if that continues to do well it will go in the sun.  Aside from that, everything else is up in the air.

I know I want to get a beautyberry bush (I love the name, it reminds me of a 3 Day training walk when I first spotted one, and apparently you can make wine from the berries!) as well as grow calendula and chamomile.  I had a yarrow plant a while ago, but the poor thing died in the winter so I'd love to grow another one.  I heard that to grow garlic, all you have to do is plant a few cloves of it in the ground: a flower will blossom and eventually, you'll have a bulb of garlic.  (psst: Just found this great post about growing garlic.)  That's really just a few ideas, but there are so many herbs and veggies that I would love to grow!

Coming up next (hopefully next week) in the project will be getting the tamper & finishing to level the soil, finishing up with those huge roots, and assembling the raised bed.  What are you working on in the yard/garden?  Please share!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: I Think It's Going To Make It!!

It's going to make it!
After being ravaged by a neighborhood cat, I didn't think this catnip plant was going to make it but... look at all of those teeny tiny little sprouts!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Simple Joy Sunday

I missed out on doing a Simple Joy Sunday blog post last week due to lots of work; not necessarily a bad thing, but I did miss my internets.  Let's see if we can get caught up...

I cut up my Tangerine Lavender soap last week.  It's lightly scented and such a pretty color!  I may not have all of my graphics and what not shop ready yet, but I think I might start listing my soap this week since I had a couple more people ask for it.  Who am I to deny a demanding public?  ;)  It also occurs to me that I'm going to have to order some more oil so I can make more soap -- I'm running pretty low!

I've been beading a bunch in the past couple of weeks which is something I really haven't done in a long time.  It's been a lot of fun!  I even got some new beaded stuff listed in the shop.  I don't know if it's just the fact that I've been paying a little more attention to the shop or if it's because of the few new items that I added recently, but I even made two sales this week.  Happy dance.

We got our new fence last week!  It's so bright and cheery!  It's amazing how much light reflects off of it and into the house, too.  They're still installing it in this picture:

fence installation

It's going to look so pretty with all of my greenlings in front of it!  That's the next large project, well combination of projects: the drainage and the raised garden bed.  We're getting a lot of stuff done this year, it just takes time (and I'm not necessarily one of the most patient people, especially when I'm excited to get something done).

I got approved for Project Wonderful and published my first Squidoo lens (3 Day for the Cure Essential Gear)!  My plans to monetize my blog and get word out about Athena's Armoury are continuing along nicely.    Again: slowly, but surely.

Remember a couple weeks back when I mentioned a blacksmithing course I wanted to take?  Yeah, well, the same arts center is now also offering a welding class!  It's probably not going to happen this summer (I just found out how much it's going to cost to repair my air conditioner -- nearly had a heart attack), but I will take both of these classes.  And I'm so excited for it!

I worked my first concert as a stagehand at a new (to me) venue!  Just a little more experience doing different things...  I also worked a load in for another Broadway show and was thrilled to get two extra hours of work on top of the norm.  Actually, as I was crossing the bay on the way to that load in, I spied a few dolphin.  I always feel like the universe is giving me a little gift when I see those guys.

I added Bee Balm, Lavender, and Catnip to my herb garden.  My friendly little toad made a mess of the lavender pot's soil: there was a huge hole where he burrowed and dirt thrown everywhere.  That little guy really makes a mess.  Meanwhile, the catnip got attacked in the night.  Jack (my kitty) alerted me that there was someone outside.  Upon investigation, I noticed one of the neighborhood cats molesting the catnip!  He knocked over the pot, was rolling around in it, and eating it!  I tried to recover it the best I could, but I don't know if the poor plant is going to make it.

I got home from a really long day framing to discover that my tech geek honey not only put in a new video card and fan for me (streaming videos + overheating = me not being able to use my computer for a lot of stuff) but even treated me to a super sexy new monitor.  Since I've been trying to work more from home on my computer, he thought that I could use more screen real estate.  I have to say, it is extremely convenient to have two windows open simultaneously to work from.  Isn't he just a doll?!

What were some of your simple joys this week?  Share below or write your own blog post (we can exchange links!).  I'd love to hear!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Essential 3 Day Walking Gear

In October of 2010, I walked 60 miles in the Tampa Bay Susan G. Komen 3 Day for the Cure and raised over $3,000 in the fight against breast cancer. In training for the 3 Day, one of the most important things a walker can do (beside, well, walk) is to test out their gear. Your gear is going to get your through over 500 training miles and walking 60 miles in the course of 3 days. There is A LOT of trial and error with gear and I dealt with a lot of challenges in preparation for my walk. I'd like to share with you some of the gear that I used  in the hope that it will be easier for you to figure out what will work for you! Different things work for different people, but maybe something you see here will fit the bill. 

One of the first things that I discovered is that I have toes that both overlap and rub together.  This does not bode well for blister prevention!  When I discovered a thing called toe socks, I had to try it out immediately!  Needless to say, I was hooked.  These things saved my toes!  I also wrapped the more trying toes in some nylon wraps that I got from the drug store foot care section.

Body Glide is an anti-chafing formula that I used on my feet, where my arms rubbed against my shirt, and even where my legs touched when I walked.  This stuff is amazing.  It will help prevent blisters on your feet and rashes from skin rubbing.

I used this Coleman 4 Liter Waist Pack (in black) for all of my training walks and the event.  There were other packs that I liked because they felt more secure on me, but they were also at least double the size and that would be a huge mistake.  You don't want to carry anything unnecessary because the weight will add up.  This pack felt like it bounced on me when I first got it, but I also had never really worn one before.  After a few training walks, I got used to it and it wound up being perfect for me.

You will need to carry either a bottle of sport drink and a bottle of water with you or you will need to put half of each into both of your bottles (or camelback, if you prefer).  I started out filling my bottles with ice and then filling in the remainder with Gatorade.  Gatorade did what it was supposed to sport drink wise for me, but it was incredibly sweet.  On a recommendation, I tried Cytomax and liked it much, much better.  It did it's job as a sports drink and because I mixed it (it comes as a powder), I could adjust the sweetness.

I had MASSIVE blister/callous problems basically the entire time I was training and during the event.  This went hand in hand with starting training with problems with my feet and an ongoing issue finding the right shoes.  But, I digress.  On the actual 3 Day, not only will they have medical staff available at camp, lunch, and all pit stops but they also have a self serve blister care area that they highly encourage you to use.  They will provide all kinds of bandages, ointment, moleskin, etc. as well as this stuff called 2nd Skin.  It basically puts a protective layer between your blister and your sock and shoe.  It took me a while but I finally tried this out during training and it really did provide some relief and protection.

Moleskin is included in the 2nd Skin kit, but I also used it in places that I knew could be problem spots.  It gave me a little layer of protection that (usually) helped prevent a blister from forming.  The thing with moleskin is that you must, must, must make sure that it's on with no wrinkles and that the edges don't start to come up and rub.  Those things will totally defeat the purpose of using it and actually cause blisters.

The ASICS Gel Kahana 4 Trail Running Sneakers wound up eventually being my shoe of choice for the walk.  With all of the problems I had with my feet, I had to try multiple pairs of shoes before I found them.  Yes, finding the right pair of shoes can get expensive if, like me, you had problems or if you don't have someone that knows what they're talking about sizing you.  But you must make sure you have something that works.  And yup, you're going to want two pairs.  After walking 20-ish miles, the cushion will need to recover so your second pair will be used on the second day of the walk.

I often used a bandanna or a head wrap like this one by Buff to keep my hair back and to keep the sweat out of my eyes.  Lovely, I know.  You try training in the middle of the summer heat in Florida.  lol.

Underwear seemed to be the ongoing issue with a lot of women walkers and none of them wanted to talk about it.  Well, I'll talk about it.  First of all, I found a couple of pairs of Women's Boxer Briefs by Hanes during my training.  They were a limited edition type of thing, so I don't know if we'll ever see them again but I loved them.  They were long enough that there was no leg rubbing and they stayed in placed.   The only unfortunate thing about them was that they're made of cotton and cotton does not wick moisture very well.  Enter Patagonia Boy Shorts.  These undies rock for all of the reasons that the Hanes were so good PLUS they were moisture wicking.  Again, it's Florida, folks.

You may not think that a stress ball would be that important for a walking event but, trust me, they're worth it!  After walking for a few hours with your hands down by your sides, gravity starts to work and you get sausage fingers.  You'll see people out on the route doing jazz hands, with their hands over their heads, or with stress balls trying to work it out.

This is, by no means, an exhaustive list as there are other things you will need to fill your pack as well as for camping but at least it will get you started with some of the important stuff.  A few other things you will really need: two water bottles, sunscreen, sunscreen for your lips, sunglasses, hat, etc. Please let me know if you have any questions!  Best of luck on your walk & fundraising and enjoy the journey!!