Tucson Gem Show 2020

Every year in Tucson, there is a giant gem, mineral, and jewelry convention that takes place for about 3 weeks in February. This year’s gem show just ended, and it was the first time i got to attend. I knew the Tucson Gem Show was a big deal, but I didn’t realize how huge this convention would be. People traveled to Tucson from all over the country, and many events took place all over the city. The events started on January 31st and just ended on Februrary 16th.

I attended a few different expos and spend so much money. The best places to go were in downtown Tucson and included thousands of vendors. The first weekend we went to the Red Lion’s Inn, where the entire place was rented out to vendors and their tents and displays spilled out all over the parking lots. The other place we went was the 22nd street show, which was set up more fairgrounds-style.

I love crystals and stones, so I was super happy to stumble upon some great finds. I got citrine, amethyst, black quartz, and so many more types of crystals. I also got chakra stones, ammoshite fossils, sage and incense, and a ring made of orange Mexican oyster shell. I was most excited to find modavite, because that particular stone makes a common appearance in my favorite podcast. Among many other purchases, I also was excited to find a box made out of crystal to keep jewelry or other items in. I got some gifts for upcoming birthdays and such as well. 

Again, the events happens every year in February all over Tucson. Next year’s show should begin on January 30th, 2021. Here are some of my favorite pics from this year’s show:

Thanks for reading!

Podcast Favorites #7

podcastIf I’m being honest, I haven’t been as invested in podcasts lately as I used to be. I took a break for a smidge when I was going through my Kardashian deep dive, which took quite a while. I’m behind on almost all of the podcasts I listen to, and it will probably take me a bit to catch myself up. But I am starting to get back into my love of podcasts and favorite shows (#1#2#3#4, #5, #6). Here’s some updates and new podcasts on my list:

 

SPOTLIGHT:

downloadDying For Sex: This is the podcast that brought me back to my love of listening. I’m truly inspired and excited by Molly’s experiences. This is a beautiful story that focuses on a woman who was given a terminal cancer diagnosis. She decides to leave an unhappy marriage and start a journey of sexual escapades. The podcast tells her crazy stories as well as the process of accepting her diagnosis and how she dealt with all the emotions as well. It’s a wild ride that I can’t wait to continue as new episodes are released each week.

PATREON:

SSTWR kishtraight Talk with Ross – Kish Kish Club: We all know that I’m Ross Mathews‘ #1 fan and that I’m obsessed with this podcast. So when they recently released a patreon stream with bonus content for less than $7, my membership into the Kish Kish Club was mandatory! Each host of the podcast has their own segment, including Nikki B Life Coach, All The Feels with Cjay, and so much more. There’s also a very good chance that my voicemails make an appearance soon as well. I love having more of STWR -in my life. Also, don’t forget to check out Ross’ new book, Name Drop! REALLY PHENOMENAL WORK.

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Commends By Celebs – Comments from the Couch: This podcast is one that I try to never fall behind on, because I love staying up to date on pop culture by having Emma and Julie break it all down for me. The Kardashian deep dives are of course my absolutely favorite! But I became a patreon of CBC for all the deep dives that are included in the bonus content. Even in addition to the regular episodes that I love, I also get a visual guide through patreon and links to more of the top stories and posts as well. There’s multiple tiers and though I didn’t join the top one, I’ve gotten lots of fun insight into the world and history of celebs. 

NEW PODCASTS:

nickIn Bed with Nick and Megan: I do absolutely adore Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally; they are such a fun couple and I’m always excited to tune into whatever they are up to. While they do add a fun element to this podcast by recording with their guests in their bed, it’s not a whole lot different from other podcasts where celebrities interview other celebrities. It’s pretty standard in that category of celebs interviewing their celeb friends, but again, I do love Nick and Megan so I couldn’t help but subscribe to this one.

cover-image-k0yf970d-dwts__logosDancing With The Stars Official PodcastDancing with the Stars  is one of my favorite shows of all time, so I love having this recap podcast available now! Kym Herjavec (previously Kym Johnson), former professional dancer on DWTS is the host, and she goes behind the scenes with the stars and their pros. We get more interviews, fresh off the floor reactions, and inside information. Kym keep everything light and fun and allows us to connect even more with the contestants. The episodes correspond with the latest season of DWTS, and I hope that this continues with the next season this fall.

OTHER:

odysseyThe Odyssey Storytelling Podcast: I started listening to this podcast after my own storytelling event was featured for the hindsight show. There’s all the recordings of the other shows as well as old stories from their archives. The shows for Odyssey happen the first Thursday of every month, and the recordings are uploaded by the end of the month. In between has the archived stories, which are very quick and short episodes. There’s for sure a variety of great things to explore here.

 

Honestly, there are so many podcasts out in the world these days! I might be at full capacity at this point.

Thanks for reading.

Name Drop by Ross Mathews

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I’m sure you know by now how much I love Ross Mathews – I mean, we’re basically friends at this point! We email, I’m involved in the podcast somewhat, and we’re always interacting on social media. So of course, the second that Ross announced that his new book, Name Drop, was available for pre-order, I immediately reserved my copy.

Name Drop img_5772 is a collection of the “really good celebrities stories” that he “usually only tells at happy hour.” I had to wait about 6 months for the release, but luckily for me, Ross did an exclusive reading at a DragCon panel. He read the first chapter of the book, which was about his incredible interaction with Lady Gaga. It was so awesome to see him do the reading, and it made me super excited to read the whole thing.

img_8916The stories in the book include interactions with big names, such as Rosie O’Donnell, Christina Aguilera, The Spice Girls and sooo much more! He truly did not disappoint – these stories were amazing.  They were short, sweet, but packed full of the gossip you’re looking for. Plus, Ross makes everything fun! So not only is there the collection of stories, but he also includes original cocktails and “ROSSipes” with each chapter.

Here are some of the thoughts I had while reading the book (you may have to read it all for yourself to understand fully what I am talking about):

  • Barbara Walters … what a bitch! Not just off camera – ON CAMERA! This had me HEATED!!!
  • Sherry Shepherd and her wigs!! What a woman – this warmed my heart.
  • Cannot wait to make Twice Baked Cutie Potatoes. YUM.
  • Sarah Colonna!!! I miss the days of her and Josh Wolf’s podcast. Did you know she’s on Shameless??
  • Gotta love the Spice Girls!!
  • A PIZZA OVEN?! A PIZZA OVEN!!!!! HOW DID YOU EVEN TRANSPORT THAT?! WHERE IS THIS PIZZA OVEN TODAY?? I have so many more questions. I can’t let this go.
  • “Hi folks!” – my favorite Celine Dion quote.
  • So how can I use my small friendship with Ross to get on Big Brother
  • Woah. I’ll never look at Mathew Perry and Matt LeBlanc the same. Friends is one of my absolute favorite shows, but damn. What assholes. I even watched the interview and cringed the whole time. I really lost respect there.
  • Long live the Divas. Especially Xtina.
  • Ross, you are absolutely invited to my fantasy celebrity dinner party.

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Seriously, take a minute to google Ross Mathews right now and see how much press coverage this book got – there are tons of articles written about his stories! You are not going to want to miss this!

Ross is also going on tour to 30 cities across the US and Canada! He’s got great shows planned with some stand up, games, and insight into some gossip. I’ll be attending The Phoenix show in March – as a VIP, of course! You can visit HelloRoss.com for tour dates or to grab your copy of his book! You can buy Name Drop really anywhere that books are sold – but the Target versions include an extra bonus chapter (which I have not read yet since I pre-ordered my copy on Amazon).

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I truly smiled from ear to ear while reading this book. It was seriously next level good. I mean, I read a ton of books by celebrities – but this was in a class of its own. If you only read one book this year, make it Name Drop by Ross Mathews.

Thanks for reading!

Head2Toe Soaps

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My girlfriend got a soap making kit for her birthday, and it’s led to a mini business venture for us. The kit came with a goat soap base and some natural exfoliants to add, such as rose buds and chamomile. Vanessa also had several different essential oils to create a variety of fragrances, so our first batch came out really well! We sent some to her family and friends to test, and we quickly learned that people would gladly pay for these soaps. So, we decided to sell the next batch! We added in a new 72b4ddf5-0f01-4327-af3e-5693da9fb099honey soap base as well, which was a big hit. We pretty much sold them all in a matter of days, and we learned to get some marketing and business materials together.

Our most recent batch turned out awesome. We had gotten some new ideas from DIY/craft resources to add in some natural exfoliants that we could find around the house, such as coffee and Himalayan salt. We also added new essential oils that included male and unisex fragrances (because the first batch was pretty feminine overall).

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We now have our original soaps – though we are using a shea butter base moving forward, because this is vegan friendly. The natural exfoliants include rose buds, rose petals, chamomile, marigold, jasmine, and ultra blue lavender. Soothing fragrances include eucalyptus, lavender, rose, tea tree, and lemongrass. I’ve used these myself, and they are awesome. We also have other exfoliants and fragrances to use for future batches (such as peppermint and orange), because we are hoping to create many unique varieties.

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To make sure we were as inclusive as possible, our honey batch was geared towards a more gender neutral audience. Most of the fragrances are unisex, but we also have two male scents included as well. These include cedarwood and frankincense for men, along with sandalwood, patchouli, juniper berry and litsea cubeca that are unisex. The honey base is extremely moisturizing, and we added some Himalayan salt for extra exfoliating.

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We also used the vegan shea butter base to create coffee and cinnamon soap – both of which are natural exfoliants and smell amazing. This is also unisex and full of tons of vitamins that are great for moisturizing skin.

All soaps are handmade, and we are excited to try out new ideas, materials, and methods in the future. Generally, soaps cost $5 each for those local to the Tucson area (or 2 for $8), but we are also able to ship any soap for $10 each (or 2 for $15).img_8728

You can find all our soaps on Instagram @head2toe_soap, where I update the availability daily. You can also buy them directly on Etsy at head2toesoap.etsy.com. Feel free to reach out to Vanessa or myself in any way for more information, questions, or requests.

Thanks for reading!

The Shining by Stephen King

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I know, I know – I’m really late to the game here. But I want to make my way through a few classic novels this year – including Stephen King’s The Shining. Both my girlfriend and my mom are avid Stephen King readers, and I had no experience with his work at all. After watching the new IT movies, I decided to finally start reading The Shining.

200 pages into the book, and I was not super happy. In my opinion, there was way too much set up. It took til almost page 250 until they were left alone in the hotel. Instead of any scary or thrilling events, we heard the same back stories from multiple perspectives and got multiple tours of the hotel. Things got better once I got past the lengthy exposition.

By the time I finished the book – I mean, yeah, it was scary. But I was definitely expecting it to be way scarier. I think it was hyped book in freezerup too much in my head. I remember the Friends episode where Joey puts the book in the freezer when it gets too scary – and I really wanted to have that reaction! So honestly, I was a little disappointed. Even though I had never seen the movie, I knew some references – such as the camera work with the tricycle or the girls who talk in unison. However, these were pretty much missing entirely from the book. Maybe this was a decision to add some scary content to the movie? I was definitely hoping it would be a little scarier to see it all come to life. I also knew the ending to the movie is different than the book, which made me more intrigued and added a level of suspense.

s-l300The movie. Holy 70’s! Very very vintage, and clearly made 30 years ago. I totally think this movie would kill if they were to remake this. I do think that the fact that this is now an older movie made some things less scary and more funny for me (especially the acting). However, Jack Nicholson is creepy all the time, even when he’s not trying to be. Can I also just say that like.. okay, I know this was a different time period. But the casual use of the N word in both the book and the movie made me wildly uncomfortable. Again, I know it was a different time.. doesn’t make me feel any less weird about it.

The book and the movie had a lot of differences actually, especially in the plot. I was disappointed to see such an awkward interaction The-Shining-Dannybetween Danny and Mr. Hallorann in the movie, because in the book they were very friendly. The awkwardness doesn’t really explain why Mr. Hallorann was so hell bent on trying to protect him, but their friendship did. Also, the hedges were completely different – which was one of the scariest parts of the book for me! My biggest disappointment was the casting for Wendy. The actress looked like the real life version of a character from The Nightmare Before Christmas. I’m pretty sure Wendy was blonde in the book, and I don’t know – she just really didn’t look at all what I was picturing. She and Jack made a super odd couple, and I spent more time laughing at her than I was hoping for her escape.

Overall, I’m glad I read and watched this. The story is cool; I can see why this is a classic. Next up, watching the new Doctor Sleep movie.

Thanks for reading.

Guided Journals

img_8935I’ve been using these guided journals for over a year now, that focus on doing one thing every day. I bought the first one for myself; it was actually a Christmas gift for someone else, but I wanted one too, so I bought two. The second was actually a gift that I received when I was moving. The first one is titled Do One Thing Every Day That Makes You Happy, and the second is Do One Thing Every Day That Inspires You. These are from ROBIE LLC books, and I know they were available at Target at one point in time, but I’m sure you can find these and others Amazon as well.

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In 2019, I was really focused on getting to a place where I was truly happy with my life. I had big dreams to go somewhere new, meet new people, and open my heart up to new experiences. I decided on my move to Arizona in the very beginning of 2019, and decided that my goal was purely to get to a place where I was happy. Physically, mentally, emotionally, all of the above. That’s not to say that I was miserable or depressed – I just knew there was more out there for me.

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“Do one thing every day that makes you happy.” It’s not a crazy concept. Focusing on happiness is so important, and I was thankful to have this daily reminder. Not every single day and page in the journal was relevant to me, but I did always have something to be happy about or thankful for.

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Now that I’ve gotten to a place where I am really really happy, I’m focusing this year on my creativity. I have so many goals and aspirations for 2020, and it feels like there’s nothing in my way. I’m diving deep into my writing, getting back into some photography with my new Polaroid, and happy to take on any fun side project. My big focus for the year is to write the manuscript for a book, so I love having this daily reminder to keep myself inspired.

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Some days the journal has me do some writing; some days I get to doodle a little bit. But mostly, the journal keeps me focused. Life can get busy, but I don’t want my creativity to be hindered. Inspiration can come from lots of places – I just have to be willing to find it. And I have no trouble believing that I can complete all of my creative goals this year.

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I definitely recommend having some sort of a daily reminder to push you in the direction you want to go. Maybe it’s a journal of happiness or inspiration, or maybe it’s something different. Whatever works for you, get something daily that reminds you of your goals. Then, don’t be afraid to go after exactly what you want – whatever it is. Life is waiting for you.

Thanks for reading.

Odyssey Storytelling

img_8566Odyssey Storytelling brings together people of all aspects of life to connect through sharing stories. This community showcases monthly events, where several storytellers share their experiences to an audience through story. Each show has a theme, and is held in downtown Tucson at The Sea Of Glass Center for the Arts. I got to participate in the January show as one of the storytellers!

We got to write our own bios, which were all posted online and included in the programs: “Gina Finio is 27 years old and originally from the Philadelphia, PA area. She graduated from a PA university that you’ve probably never heard of and has worked in Human Resources ever since. img_8569She turned her love for cactus into a cross-country move this summer, relocating from Allentown, PA to Tucson. Her dog Ducky is the most important thing in her life and is also her longest lasting relationship. Her hobbies include binge watching or auditioning for reality television, finishing jigsaw puzzles with her girlfriend and then putting it back in the box like a savage, and spending way too much money on crop tops that she will never stop wearing no matter how old she gets. Follow her weird life on social media @ginafinio or read her blog if you feel like it at www.ginafinio.com.” If you’re interested in reading the bios of my fellow storytellers, the picture to the left should show everyone from the show.

The theme of the night was Hindsight: “Stories from the shoulda – coulda – woulda club. They say hindsight is 20/20. If you knew then what you know now . . . how would your life be different? Would you make the same choices or would you take a different path? Are our lives predetermined by fate or do we exercise free will? Or, is it some odd combination of the two?”

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The story that I told was basically my coming out story, which honestly is one that I’m not a big fan of. I didn’t have a bad experience or anything, but if I could go back and do things differently, I certainly would. It’s not about the act of actually coming out, but more the way that I did it. Hindsight has allowed me to recognize this now, which is basically what my story was about. It was also something that I was holding onto in a way that I didn’t like, and by being able to joke about it, I was able to find some closure.

The energy that I felt coming off of the stage was like nothing I’ve ever experienced! It was a lot of highs, and I was truly really proud of myself. People kept coming up to me after the show, saying that they could relate in someway – which was incredible! Whether it was through myself or a family member type of figure – it was crazy to see people feel so connected to my experience. The crowd was amazing, extremely open, diverse, and accepting.

I hope to be able to do another story sometime soon, but I want to make sure it’s something I hold just as close to my heart is this one. I don’t want to tell a story just for the sake of telling it; I want it to be really meaningful. But I DEFINITELY would like to do it again.odyssey

You can listen to all the stories from the Hindsight show via The Odyssey Storytelling Podcast. The recording was released on Friday, January 31st: January 2020: Hindsight. My story begins around minute 47:47. You can also find more information for Odyssey Storytelling and their upcoming events by visiting OdysseyStorytelling.com.

Thanks for reading!