What’s up September?

September is looking like it will be a very interesting month for me. I have a lot of new products coming my way to test out and I am excited!

On August 6, I received a survey about a Voxbox from Influenster, I’ve spoken about them before, it’s a review site where you have the chance of getting a box of products to review. There’s a wide range of things you might be choosen for, food, clothing, beauty products, I haven’t seen any for books, video games, or toys but you never know. I’ve been with the site since 2014 and to my knowledge they never sent boxes to the Virgin Islands but when I moved here to France I forgot about the site. They didn’t ship here and I had other things on my mind but I decided to go back to it and review stuff just because. In 2018 they sent their first VoxBox to France and I got it!

The Marc Jacobs Velvet Noir Mascara Volume Spectaculaire VoxBox was my very first Voxbox and I really enjoyed the product. You can read my review about it here It’s the little things. When you complete the campaign you earn a neat little badge that you can display on your profile.

In 2019 I got into another VoxBox, I got into the OPI Tokyo Collection VoxBox, I spoke about it here New Voxbox! and here Influenster OPI Tokyo Collection. I wasn’t really expecting to get this box because France seem to get two surveys a year and I hadn’t gotten into the last one for 2018 or the first one for 2019. I really loved this box because I almost always seem to pick up purple nail polish and this allowed me to venture out a bit.

If the trend stays the same the survey I got from Influenster on August 6 is either the first or last survey of the year. I’m unsure because I received a survey on April 14 about Rexona deodorant but nobody even mentioned receiving it on Instagram or online anywhere. Usually you can see what everyone has received if you follow the right hashtag on Instagram but there has been no real activity on the French Influenster hashtag since last year.

This survey that I received was about a product from OPI, I’m going to be really honest even though I opted in I kind of hoped I wouldn’t get it because my nails are really terrible right now. I picked and peeled them until there is nothing. I’m going to have to get some falsies to do this campaign. While I was hoping not to and hoping to get the VoxBox, it showed up on my profile but I haven’t received a You’re In! email yet. I’ve heard of this happening to people before but this was the first time it has happened to me. With my first campaign I got the email and it took a while for it to show up on my profile and I was worried it had been a mistake.

The other products I’m waiting for are from Le Lab by Doctissimo. On August 5, I received an invite to apply for their Garnier Bio à l’huile de Chanvre Bio (Hemp Oil) campaign. I’ve never been accepted to any of the previous campaigns I applied to so I wasn’t really hopeful but on August 14, I was accepted!

I will be receiving the Hemp Multi-Restore Gel Cream and the Hemp Multi-Restore Facial Sleeping Oil. I was supposed to receive the package very soon but there were unforseen delays and I won’t get it until late September. I’m not really a fan of the Hemp smell but Garnier makes really good products so I’ll just have to wait and see about it.

There’s one other thing I’m hoping to hear about but I can’t say wether or not I’ll be reveiwing it yet. Sometimes things work out and sometimes they don’t so I’ll wait until I hear if I’m actually getting it before I say “I’m going to be reviewing this!”

So, yeah, I’m really looking forward to September.

I’ll obviously be reviewing these products so keep an eye out for those posts next month. Since I’m supposed to receive the Garnier one late September it will probably end up being posted in October.

Phasing my 23andme

Hello there!

As you guys have read about before here, here, and here. I took the 23andme test in June 2018 and got my results back on July 18, 2018. I was left very underwhelded, there was not much to learn from the results.

Take a look for yourself:

Over 100€ for that, I thought my brother’s Ancestry test was much more informative. It was fine though, a couple of months after there was an update and it broke down the African. It still wasn’t the best but at least it wasn’t just West African anymore. My .3% African Hunter-Gatherer was gone while Nigerian, Senegambian & Guinean, Congolese, and Sudanese was separated from the broad West African category. Coastal West African while narrowed down from just West African is still a broad category not to mention the Broadly West African, Broadly Congolese & Southern East African, and Broadly Sub-Saharan African. Just a lot of Broadly.

My European stayed mostly the same. Scandinavian at .4% was added send it made sense since my brother had Norway and Sweden which I assumed came from my Father’s mother. My grandmother’s family has been in the Danish West Indies since the first slaves were brought there. There’s also a mulatto ancestor with the surname Boldt, I admit it’s not much evidence but a cousin who descended from that same line also has Norway and Sweden. Unfortunately Ancestry DNA doesn’t have a Chromosome browser so I can’t see where that Norway and Sweden is located and if my brother and this cousin match on that same chromosome. Since doing my research on my grandfather’s place of birth Saint-Barthélemy, I realized that Swedish could come from that side since the Swedish colonized the Island from 1784 to 1877.

I should note that my African went up and my European went down, not by much but I found it interesting nonetheless. My Native American stayed the same and I gained Western Asian and North African.

In May 2019 my results went through another update, they called this a Beta update, my African portion was broken down even more, I lost the Sudanese but gained Ghanaian, Liberian & Sierra Leonean, the Congolese & Southern East African got a break down showing Angolan & Congolese but there was still those pesky Broadly categories.

My European had a revamp, the Iberian category was renamed to Spanish & Portuguese, I lost the little bit of Italian I had. My Native American once again stayed the same. Strangely, I had Central & South Asian added at 0.1%, seeing how categories at that level seem to vanish I didn’t expect to see it at the next update.

Now we’re at my most recent update before I phased with my father. It was updated around September 2019 but if you remember I was pregnant and sick during that time so I didn’t see the update until April of this year. My African Hunter-Gatherer is back at the same percentage too. Southern East African was added at .1%. My Western Asian & North African went up. I had a location for France, Nouvelle-Aquitaine which lines up perfectly with my paper trail, and I had a Caribbean location Dominica, which is right on the money since both my Mother’s parents were from there.

For Father’s Day I decided I was going to buy my father a 23andme kit, it wasn’t a surprise since I had spoken to both parents about it and they were interested, my father got his kit in July and his results were ready earlier this month. I’m not going to lie but I didn’t expect anything in his composition other than European and African. What he received shocked me.

My father apparently has Native American ancestry. Never in my life has anyone ever mentioned him having Native American anywhere in any of his family lines and since both his parents have passed I have no one to ask about it and will probably never find out where it comes from. Even better?

My Native American comes from him. All my life I was told my Mother’s mother had Kalinago ancestry and when I saw Native American in my composition I assumed it came from my Grandmother, jokes on me though, it could have come from a Grandmother, just not the one I thought.

My Father has two region in France and six in the United Kingdom. Nouvelle-Aquitaine and Occitanie lines up perfectly with our paper trail but all the United Kingdom regions are a mystery.

Here’s my results after phasing with my father. My African Hunter-Gatherer is gone once again. Italian has reappeared. My West Asian & North African has gone down again, this time they are trace ancestry.

I guess my course of action now is to test my Mother and see what secrets her dna is hiding.

What’s occupying my time?

I’ve been remiss in updating the blog, I’m sorry, I kept telling myself now is the perfect time but I just get distracted with other stuff.

I’ve been writing letters on the Slowly app, which I’ve talked about here.

So far it’s been really good letters with one or two exceptions, if you get a really icky letter you don’t have to reply and you can report the user which I had to do yesterday. This person sent me this letter:

This was the very first letter they sent and then they followed that up with a media sharing request.

If you’re looking for a partner look somewhere else thank you very much!

Have also been spending my time on reddit, especially on the Ask the Caribbean subreddit, I’m always looking to interact with fellow West Indians and I have not been disappointed in the subreddit.

AskTheCaribbean

Also while perusing Instagram I got a follow from an old classmate but received some pretty iffy messages, was this the work of a scammer or was I being an ass to someone? 🤔 Read and decide for yourself.

So, was I justified in playing around with this person?

Oh, I should also mention that Oyanie made 3 months on the 22nd, my baby is growing way too fast!

When I have a little free time I read a little, I’m currently reading A Mermaid’s Kiss by Joey W. Hill

The synopsis reads like this:

The angelic Jonah has been battling the Dark Ones for centuries. But his noble spirit has begun to tire with the weight of war – allowing a Dark One to strike a blow that severs his wings and knocks him into the sea.

Anna is a Daughter of Arianne – a direct descendant of the mermaid of legend. Anna’s longing for love compels her to risk her very life to protect and hide the fallen Jonah. And the longer Jonah delays his return to the heavens, the more Anna’s secret passions are tempted.

But as she falls more in love with him, Anna wonders if she’s destined to lose her heart and her dreams to save Jonah’s soul?

Apparently it’s part of a trilogy with a few other novellas, I don’t know how I feel about it since I’m not very far yet, I can say that the main characters annoy me…

I’ve also started watching a show on Netflix called You, it’s a thriller about a book store manager who one day meets an aspiring writer and becomes obsessed with her. Here’s the synopsis :

What would you do for love? For a brilliant male bookstore manager who crosses paths with an aspiring female writer, this question is put to the test. A charming yet awkward crush becomes something even more sinister when the writer becomes the manager’s obsession. Using social media and the internet, he uses every tool at his disposal to become close to her, even going so far as to remove any obstacle –including people — that stands in his way of getting to her.

From the POV of the book store manager I feel like they’re trying to get you to sympathize with him and accept that he had good reasons for doing what he’s done. If you haven’t watched it yet, give it a go and see how you like it because I’m hooked!

Aiovak Hair Care

Hey guys!

I thought I spoke about this company before but apparently I didn’t which is a shame because it’s pretty new but their products are quite the rage. I’ve only tried the Ginger Gooseberry Hair Mask which I posted about in my Instagram.

When I tried out the Mask it was the only product offered by Aiovak and they didn’t have a website or Instagram account, I can’t be sure but I think the Mask took a week to reach me which is pretty good considering it came from the US.

The Mask smelled like Gooseberry and had a watery consistency. It ran everywhere when I put it in my hair but it worked like a charm!

Ginger Gooseberry Hair Mask

Now I’m happy to say that Aiovak has rebranded and launched their website at: http://www.aiovakhaircare.com/

You can also follow their Facebook page: Aiovak Hair Care, LLC

And their Instagram:

https://www.instagram.com/aiovakhaircare/

Products offered at Aiovak now are:

Leave-In Conditioner

https://www.aiovakhaircare.com/product-page/leave-in-conditioner

The Leave-In comes in two sizes 8 oz for $15 and 16 oz for $26

Ginger Gooseberry Hair Mask

https://www.aiovakhaircare.com/product-page/hair-mask

The Hair Mask only comes in 8 oz at $15

Hair Oil

https://www.aiovakhaircare.com/product-page/hair-oil

The Hair Oil comes in two sizes 4 oz for $10 and 8 oz for $17

At those prices what are you waiting for? Grab some products and get to styling your gorgeous locks!

Slowly – Connect to the World! (Review)

Five days ago I was scrolling through the Play Store, it’s something I do when I’m bored, sometimes I find something interesting and others I just leave without downloading anything.

That day I came across an app called Slowly – Connect to the World!

Its About this app has the following to say:

🏆 WINNER – Google Play Awards 2019: Best Breakthrough App

🏆 WINNER – Google Play Best of 2018: Best Hidden Gem

✍️ Write letters. Make friends. Exchange Languages.

SLOWLY lets you meet pen friends from your smartphone! Match with someone that shares your passion, write a letter and collect stamps from around the world. Speak your mind – one letter at a time!

SLOWLY is not your typical networking or dating app – we’re bringing the traditional pen friend experience to your smartphone.

The app is created for those who yearns for meaningful conversations with people in the era of instant messaging. We hope to connect people around the world at a slower but better pace – one letter at a time.

Meet a new pen friend, seal your letter & place a stamp – start connecting with the world on SLOWLY!

Features
– Mailing time depends on where you & your pen friend live.
– A nickname & an avatar is all you need. Speak your mind & connect freely to the world.
– Matches based on common interests & languages.
– Collect & unlock hidden stamps!

Slowly app

I made my profile and selected my topics of interest.

I’ve been using the app these past five days and have received 12 letters and made nine penpals. The letters depending on where they are coming from can take anywhere from 2 hours to 2 days.

You can also collect Stamps, some of them are location based while others are linked to achievements you complete within the app.

My penpals so far are from France, Czech Republic, Turkey, US Virgin Islands, Dominican Republic, Australia, United States, and the Philippines.

I’m enjoying the app so far and look forward to receiving more interesting letters and talking to more people.

If you’re interested in sending me a letter through the app my id is J0RP9W.

23andMe Neanderthal Report Update

Recently 23andMe updated their Neanderthal Report, you get this Report when you take their DNA test and it tells you how many Neanderthal variants you inherited from your ancestors.

If you don’t know what a Neanderthal is, 23andMe define it as:

Neanderthals were prehistoric humans who interbred with modern humans before disappearing around 40,000 years ago.

I wish I had taken a screenshot of my variants before the update but I knew it was 102 variants, here is my updated Report:

From 102 to 68!

Not all of the variants I agree with, for instance, I have a terrible fear of heights, I can’t look out the windows or go into balconies of very tall buildings, I just can’t do it.

I do agree with the others, I do indeed have a hard time parting with rarely used possessions, I got that from my father. I have a terrible sense of direction, I can get lost very easily which is why I don’t go out walking by myself.

I can’t really say if I agree or disagree with the salty over sweet one, they both have a place in my heart and sometimes I will eat something salty with something sweet, like I love popcorn with chocolate, it’s delicious.

While this was a nice little update I’m interested in seeing if they will ever update the haplogroups.

Only time will tell.

Guess who’s two months?!

Yes guys, just like that Oyanie made two months!

She actually made two months yesterday and I forgot to post it.

*my bad*

Madame Oyanie can roll from her belly onto her back but had yet to master rolling from her back to her belly. She smiles occasionally and never when I have my camera. I’ll get a picture one day…

She is starting to”talk” to us but she prefers to stare with those big beautiful eyes.

I honestly can’t believe it’s been two months already, it feels like she’s been here forever.

Growth spurts are fun

It’s almost 3am and my one month old is still fighting sleep, we’ve been battling for a good two hours, she’s been fed, burped and has a clean diaper. I rock her and her eyes close but as soon as I put her down she cries so I have to start again. I want to cry. I’m running on empty and trying my hardest but it doesn’t seem to be enough.

Finally, after what seems like forever she settles down and falls asleep.

It’s 6am, husband is getting up to get ready to go to work and because I’m a light sleeper I’m awake. I’m fatigued and hope I can get back to sleep. It takes a while but I manage it.

It’s 8am and my son is waking up, he opens his bedroom door which makes a sound and wakes me up. I’m bleary eyed and tired but I know he’ll watch TV and he has everything he needs to make a sandwich so I stay in bed.

I can’t fall back asleep, I want to so badly but it’s not happening, I pick up my phone and check my notifications, I scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Reddit, and my various genealogy and social sites. The baby is squirming I know she’ll be up soon.

My son is playing a video game and he’s not winning, I can tell from his anguished screams, my nerves start to fray. It’s 10am, I think about my life choices and how I ended up here.

Time passes and the baby is now awake and looking for food.

It’s time to get up and start our day.

Confinement

Hey! Welcome back!

Today I’m going to talk about being in confinement after giving birth. While I was in the hospital Naveen was on break from school and Marvin was home from work so I didn’t have to worry about who would watch him.

When I got out of the hospital it was time for Naveen to go back to school but he had a cold so he went one day and was sent home the next and stayed home on Friday. We thought he’ll be fine to go on Monday but then the schools were closed and Naveen never got to go back to school.

We could still go out at that point so we would go for walks which was important for me since I had to walk for my recovery from the C-section. It was good to be outside feeling the cool air and not being cooped inside the house or stuck in there hospital. I stayed there for a while week!

Everything was ok and then we went into confinement, stay home unless you absolutely need to go out, have your attestation of you will be fined, we stayed inside. Naveen didn’t understand why he wasn’t going to school and why we couldn’t go to the park or see his grandparents.

I tried to explain to him in a way he would understand and I think he got it.

My husband is still working during the pandemic so it’s just me, Naveen, and Oyanie. Due to Oyanie waking up every two hours at night to eat we usually stay in bed until afternoon. I try to get a little extra sleep but I’m still so very tired when we get up to go downstairs. Sometimes Naveen comes into the room and lay in the bed with Oyanie and me but he’s mostly up early and downstairs. I try to make sure that he has something to eat and occupy himself with.

While I’m taking care of the baby I sometimes wonder if I’m neglecting Naveen and try to include him or I’ll put the baby down to give him extra attention. It’s hard having two kids especially now when the baby is so small and need so much more of my attention.

Naveen has been a good big brother though, he always asks me if I need help and will bring bottles upstairs for me, reach diapers and wipes, he kisses his sister and wants to hold her.

He will sometimes feed her so I can make myself something to eat or when I need to do something else.

I think I’m adjusting well to having two children especially in these strange times. If I’m being honest I’ve been suffering a bit from being stuck at home, given how my pregnancy went where I was stuck at home with only doctor visits as my time outside its only a given that I’d go stir crazy without a reason to go outside. I miss the air and the sun and I wish things go back to normal soon.

Before I forget to mention it Oyanie made one month on March 22, one month already it seemed like I just had her. Time is going by so fast.

My C-section experience

Welcome back!

Today I’m going to talk about my C-section experience.

When I found out I only had two options either attempt a breech birth or have a C-section I was numb, I researched breech births like crazy and they are such a gamble. “What if my baby’s head got stuck in pelvis?” this was the biggest question on my mind and I just wasn’t comfortable with the idea that it could happen.

I asked my husband what he thought the C-section was the better choice.

It was decided, I’d have a C-section, sure there was a chance that the baby could turn down on her own but there was a bigger chance of me going into labor with her still being breech. A scheduled C-section was the way to go.

February 20 and we’re in the hospital for a routine check-up, they check to see if baby had turned but she was still breech, here is where it gets crazy…

The doctor calls in for me to have my C-section tomorrow!

I thought I would have more time to get used to the idea and read up on after care and all that but no, they just drop that bomb on me.

I’m not going to lie but I cried, I was scared, I had to stay in the hospital and wait for my C-section.

There I was in a room all alone with so many thoughts going around in my head. I was not expecting this and I didn’t know how to handle this situation. I tried to relax as much as I could and get some rest.

It’s the next day and I’m waiting for my husband to arrive, the nurses came into the room and wheel me down to check if baby is still breech, she’s still in her cozy spot under my ribs, I’m wheeled back to my room and told to shower with Betadine.

I’ve showered and in the hospital gown when my husband and mother-in-law arrive, now we wait for them to take me to the Operating Room.

We wait and we wait but nobody is coming, finally in the afternoon someone comes and says that there were emergencies so my C-section won’t happen today. I’m spending another night in the hospital alone.

Here I am again, another morning full of nerves waiting to get taken to my first surgery, nurses come and go, I’m waiting for Marvin to arrive, I’m terrified of being taken to the OR without him, a nurse comes to the room and tells me I’ll go in the afternoon, all I can do is sit and watch the clock.

Marvin walks into the room and I’m relieved, I won’t be alone after all! I let him know that they said the operation was going to be in the afternoon. So we wait.

A little after noon two male nurses come to wheel my bed down to the OR, they take me down corridors, into the elevator, and finally to the OR waiting room, Marvin wasn’t allowed in and I wouldn’t see him again until I was taken into the actual OR.

While I’m in the waiting room the nurses are asking me questions and getting me ready for the operation. All this time I don’t know where Marvin is or if I’ll see him before the C-section.

The nurses transfer me from my bed to this table like gurney and wheels this into the OR, I see Marvin and the nurses start prepping for the surgery.

It’s time to get the spinal and I’m shaking, it’s a needle in my spine, with my needle phobia I’m a wreck. I have to bend really far forward and they warn me that I’d feel a prick. It was like a bee sting, this was followed by pressure and they lay me down. I started to feel a cool sensation in my lower region, my feet felt heavy but I could still wiggle them a bit. I was scared I was going to feel them cutting into me.

Up went the curtain, a cap was placed on my head, oxygen was put into my nose, I felt detached from my surroundings. I guess somewhere in my floating they placed a catheter because I did not feel it at all.

I’m just there watching the blue curtain and occasionally feeling a tug on my body when I hear a baby cry, I’m almost in tears but I hold it in. I cried enough.

They bring her around the curtain and place her next to me.

My daughter, she was out, the first thing I thought was that I wouldn’t feel her head in my ribs anymore.

Now they’re going to stitch me up, I watch Marvin walk off with the baby and it was back to staring at the blue curtain until they finished. They roll me out of the OR and quickly transfer me back to my bed.

They want me to move my feet but they won’t cooperate. I feel like I’m in Kill Bill, I kept telling myself wiggle your big toe. I’m not sure how much time passed but finally I could move my toe and then my feet, once I could move both my legs it was back to my room.

Once back in my room I see Marvin and Oyanie waiting for me.

I’m still not feeling my lower region completely and a nurse removed the catheter, I’m supposed to get up and pee on my own.

My legs feel like rubber and they’re shaking like crazy but I managed to stand up with the help of the nurse, I’m unable to pee so she makes me drink a lot of water and promises to return in an hour.

A hour passes and the nurse is back, she helps me stand again and once more I try to pee, this time it’s a success.

During all of this my incision is painful and I’m taking all the meds they give me.

I can’t help but compare it to my vaginal delivery and wish I had been able to have another one.