Saturday, June 29, 2013

Shopping for swimsuits makes you a potential thief, apparently.

With summer in full swing, vacation coming up, and me having recently lost 10 pounds (woot!), I thought I'd treat myself to a new swimsuit.  A friend gave me a tip that a local store was having a sale on two pieces: buy one separate, get one 50% off.  Sounded kind of awesome, so I decided to check it out.  After all, I'm celebrating body positivism and all that and working on acknowledging and loving me for who I am.  Also, Husband wanted to see me in a bikini.  In fact, the first thing he said when I mentioned that I needed a new swimsuit for vacation was, "Bikini?!"  Yes, sure.  Bikini.  I had one before, but only wore it a handful of times.

So anyway, I strolled through the racks, selected a plain black bikini bottom, a plain top, a pair of swim shorts, and was delighted to find a 60's style black with white polka dots bikini top.  Last one in my size.  Oh, yes, is this ever coming home with me.

I arrived at the changing area and waited while the woman in front of me took her turn with the attendant.  The woman had several swimsuit separates and meekly said, "I'm not sure how many I have here."

The attendant said, "You can take six in with you."  The woman began counting out six items, and the attendant--wait for it--started counting loudly with her, as if this grown woman would not be capable of counting to six unaided.  The woman took her six items to the changing room and left the rest outside.

The attendant turned to me and asked me how many I had there.  I told her four.  She peered over her counter skeptically, and I held up my items and watched her mouth "One...two...three...four."  The woman in front of me couldn't count to six, but apparently I couldn't even make it to four.

I took my items, tried them on, and immediately hated the swim shorts and found the plain black top too big.  The polka dot top was fresh and cute, and the bottoms fit well.  On my way out, the attendant advised me to leave whatever didn't fit on the counter.  I did, and walked off with my top and bottom.  I went back to the swimsuit area and selected a different size of the top that didn't fit, then back to the fitting rooms.

The attendant was sitting on the floor, arranging something on racks.

"How many do you have?" she asked wearily.

"Just one."

"One?" she eyed my hands.  "Did you say 'one'?  You have three."

"Yes, but I tried these two on already.  I'm only trying on this one."  I showed her the one top that I would be trying.

"I can't allow you to take those other two in with you.  You will have to leave them out here."  She gestured to a seat outside the fitting rooms.  The forcefulness of her ruling, paired with the implication that I may actually steal these two other items if I brought them in with me (what kept me from stealing them the first time?) was a bit jarring.  At this point, Husband had arrived on the scene and witnessed her giving me this strange edict.  We both agreed it was a little odd and later wondered aloud if perhaps she was new.

The thing is that I understand people steal.  I do.  Stores from the smallest mom-and-pop operations to huge stores like Wal-Mart and Target have a right and a responsibility to make sure that merchandise isn't walking away without compensation.  I know there are certain rules and regulations in place to minimize theft.  However, these regulations to the average shopper are almost invisible.  Who really pays attention to those sensors by the door?  Or the security guard that doesn't look at you twice if you aren't obviously up to no good?  The store matron in the small shop that ever-so-casually checks you out?  My exchange with this attendant felt different.  It felt like she screamed, "You might steal something if I don't watch you like a hawk!" at me without actually saying it.  The counting the items.  The forceful tone when she said, "I can't allow you to take those in with you."  I've never experienced it before and it really threw me.  I'm the kind of person that will go back and pay if I get to my car and realize there is an item that got lost in the bottom of the cart that I forgot to pay for.  It's happened more than once.  Once when I was a teenager, I bought a pack of stickers and after I got home I found two packs had stuck together and I only paid for one and was gripped by guilt for weeks.  Needless to say, today's exchange felt off.  I understand that she was probably ordered to behave this way, but I'll definitely think twice before shopping there again.  I know you need to protect merchandise, but geez, do you have to be so blunt?

Monday, June 24, 2013

LELO Mona 2 Review

~I received this item at a discount in exchange for an honest review.~

When I first saw the Mona 2, I wasn't particularly impressed.  It looked like it would be too small and I was unsure if the vibrations would be strong enough. But it was so...gorgeous.  There is a definite elegance to the design, and those that aren't crazy about penis-shaped toys will be pleased with the artistic curves.  But as your mother always told you, looks aren't everything.  I've seen many beautiful toys that didn't really do much for me.  The Mona 2, though, definitely lives up to the hype.

A little bit about it:  The Mona 2 is a G-spot vibrator that also works well as an external clitoral vibrator.  It's waterpoof, rechargeable, multi-speed and multi-pattern, comes with a travel lock feature, and is made of silky matte silicone with a plastic handle.  By my measurements, it is about 4.5 inches around at the widest point, and 8.75 inches long if you follow the outer curve. On the upper side of the widest part of the shaft, the shape comes to a rounded point along the length.  I haven't seen that particular shape in a toy before, and I'll admit it is very hard to describe.  I've rewritten my description several times.  Let's see if a picture will do:

What I loved:  Let's talk shape.  As I said before, I wasn't too sure whether the Mona 2 would be big enough.  It almost looks tiny in comparison to other toys, but let me say that I found in this case, size doesn't matter.  The Mona 2 really does have curves in all the right places, so even though it's not particularly filling, I don't really feel like the size and shape is lacking.

And now, let's talk vibrations.  Wow.  Mona 2 really does deliver in the power department.  I'm talking almost as strong as the Magic Wand.  No kidding.  The vibrations are deep and rumbly (not buzzy) and amazing for clitoral stimulation.  As for G-spotting, I have to say that I am beyond impressed.  You see, my G-spot has never responded to vibrations, and vibrating G-spot toys were kind of a waste for me.  Then I saw that some other reviewers claimed that their G-spots never responded to vibrations either, but they did with the Mona 2.  I admit I was skeptical that my vibration-ignoring G-spot would take notice, but I held out hope.  They were right.  I'm not sure if it's Mona's shape or the vibrations are just right, but suddenly my G-spot is paying attention in amazing ways.

So, let's talk battery life.  Do you remember in my Salsa and Touch reviews when I said that the vibrations were excellent, but the battery life was something to be desired?  That's not true here.  I used the Mona for 3 sessions of about 30 minutes each before I felt like it was time to recharge.  That, to me, is a huge deal.  Who wants to grab a toy just to realize you forgot to charge it?

What I didn't: Well, if I have to say something, I would say that the tip is a little more sharp than I'd like.  That's it.

Final thought:  I'm not sure that I've ever said this before, but if you can only buy one toy this year, you should seriously consider the Mona 2.  I actually uttered the words, "I think this will replace my Magic Wand."  Husband said, "What, really?"  Really.  It is both a clitoral and a G-spot vibrator, and does both jobs amazingly well.

~I received this item at a discount in exchange for an honest review.~

Friday, June 21, 2013

On Blogging: Being Who You Are

There has been a sudden and very vast increase in sex bloggers lately, especially over the past few days.  Most of them are starting blogs because they are angry with a certain company that they wrote reviews for, but that's not what I'm going to be talking about today.  Not yet.

Whether you are starting a blog because you are dissatisfied with a company you once worked with or you just feel like having a go at blogging, starting a blog can be overwhelming.  Several bloggers have written posts on getting started, and now I'm adding my voice to theirs.  However, my advice has less to do with the finer points of writing a review or backing up your site or even which companies have affiliate programs.  What I have to say is much simpler, and should be obvious, but it's not.

Be your awesome self.

Simple, right?  But not totally obvious to a lot of people.  As humans, we want to imitate, especially when we see something that works, but when we imitate something as personal as blogging style, it will feel unnatural and may even come off as merely a shadow of the original.  To put it another way, imagine you have a good friend that wears very unique, handmade clothes.  They look stunning on her and matches her personality.  If you had an exact copy made for yourself, will the outfit work as well?  Maybe, but probably not.  It's someone else's style, not yours.

Let me note that I'm not talking about colors or layout of your blog, as there are only so many combinations that work well.  No one is going to fault you for having black text on a white background, even though tons of bloggers do it.  It works and it works well.  It's tempting to write with pink text on a purple background because no one else does it, but please, don't.  It may be unique, but it will also be unreadable.

What I'm talking about here is your individual writing style.  When I first started blogging, I didn't know what I was and what I wanted to be.  I experimented a little bit.  I felt that I really lean closer to the conservative side of things, but I couldn't help notice the success of other blogs that were really vibrant and edgy.  So, I tried to be a little more edgy, and, predictably, I failed.  You know why?  I'm not edgy.  I bake.  I sew.  I quilt.  I'm a homebody.  For goodness sakes, I used to teach Sunday School.    If the center of edgy is the sun, then I'm out in the Orion Nebula.  I think I've made my point.  So, I went back to being boring-but-honest me.  As it turns out, my particular style of blogging fills a need.  Many of my readers wanted information, but, being conservative themselves, wanted it from a site that contained no nudity or what they would consider foul language.

I've been invited to participate wide-reaching blogger games, like posting for Sinful Sunday, where bloggers post provocative pictures.  I'm not judging the people that do, but it's not something I'm comfortable with.  It's not who I am, so I don't participate.

When you start a blog, if you start a blog, remember to be who you are.  The blogging community will meet you where you're at and be supportive of you for you.  Well, unless you lie.  Then expect to be roasted alive on Twitter.

Like I said, many people in the blogging community have come together to write posts about being a decent sex blogger.  Even though other bloggers have said it before, I'm going to repeat it, as I, personally, am still getting asked about it: the free toys issue.  All the brand new bloggers want to know how established bloggers talk companies into giving them toys to review.  The thing is--and you aren't going to like this answer if you are new to the blogging world--some companies won't be interested in you until your blog is established and has been up and active for a while.  How long is "a while"?  That depends on who you ask.

Once you feel you have planted your blogging feet firmly enough to start talking to companies, it's important that you don't get your feelings hurt.  Some companies will say yes, some will say no, some will say later, and many may never answer you at all.  That's just how it works.  Personally, in the lifetime of my blog, I've received a positive answer about 50% of the time, with an even higher positive percentage as time goes on.  This means that if you want to start a review blog, you have to be satisfied for the time being reviewing items that you either already own or will purchase for yourself, then branch out.  However, if your intent in blogging is just to get free toys, you will quickly become frustrated and disenchanted.

For further information, you can check out Epiphora's info for new bloggers and people leaving that one company.  TheSinDoll also has an ongoing list of where to find info for new bloggers. [Warning: Both blogs may contain nudity and/or profanity, and are generally considered NSFW (not safe for work).  You've been advised.]

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Njoy Eleven Review

~I received this item at a discount in exchange for a review.~

Did you ever see something just beautiful and fall in love with it, and then you saw the price tag?  But what if you really, really want it?  Is it worth making that happen?  A lot of sex toy users see the Njoy Eleven and want it, but since it carries a $300 price tag, not many are willing to take the chance without assurance that it is awesome.

A little bit about it: The Njoy Eleven is a huge stainless steel G-spot toy.  Did I mention huge?  Seriously, it's huge.  It is 11 inches long with two usable heads.  The smaller head has a circumference of around 5.5 inches, and the larger head has a circumference of around 6.5 inches.

Packaging: I don't always talk about packaging, but seriously, I need to talk about the packaging here. The Eleven comes packaged in a leather clutch lined in hot pink material, and closes magnetically.  If you live a vegan lifestyle, the leather may be upsetting.  For everyone else, it's a very nice touch of class that shows attention to detail.

What I loved: The Njoy is a beautiful piece of metal.  Shiny, smooth, hefty, with two large, usable ends.  Each end is gently curved for G-spot stimulation.  Although the steel has a lot of drag to it and lubrication is recommended, you can use whatever lubrication you want and a little goes a long way.

The solid, large, heavy sensation of the Eleven is not like any other toy.  I can't say it's like ___, because it's not really like anything.  Like the Stronic Eins, it's totally unique in the toy world.  You can squeeze your vaginal walls against it all you want.  In fact, work your Kegels while you're at it.

I didn't love the Eleven by itself, as it's not quite right for me to get satisfying stimulation from it alone, but when I pair it with a clitoral vibrator, it's pretty fabulous.

What I didn't:  I'm not sure why, but I had to reapply lubricant with this toy more than other toys I've owned.  However, since it is perfectly smooth stainless steel, only a little lubricant at a time is necessary.

Since the two ends are pretty bulbous, it's easy to hit your G-spot, but it's not that simple to stimulate it.  Although the slight curves allow the G-spot to be hit, it doesn't allow it to be hit well.  Because of the shallow angle coupled with the large size, I find it difficult to reliably hit the G-spot in a way I find satisfying.

Final Thought: I like the Eleven.  It's a unique sensation from a toy that's made with high quality materials and comes in classy packaging.  The size and heft of it provide pretty great stimulation both at the vaginal entrance and along the vaginal walls.  But the question is, do you need one?

Do you like metal toys?
Do you like heavy toys?
Do you like large toys?

If you answered yes to any one of these and can afford the price tag, then the Eleven is worth having in your collection.  However, if you can't afford it or you're not sure the Eleven is for you, don't panic.  Really, even though the Eleven is perfectly lovely, you can live without it.  If you are looking for a high quality stainless steel toy, but aren't too interested in the size, shape, or price of the Eleven, I'd suggest getting the Pure Wand instead.

~I received this item at a discount in exchange for a review.~

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Coming up next...

So, now you know where I've been, what I've been doing, and why I've been a bit quiet lately.  Good news!  I have reviews coming up.  Here's what you can look forward to, in no particular order.  No really, I have no idea what I'm doing first.

Mona 2
Tantus Splash
Comet G
Njoy Eleven

Friday, June 7, 2013

When Depression Rears Its Ugly Head

I'm under a bit of stress.  The kids are out for the summer, which means I'm not interacting with other moms (or other humans) on a day-to-day basis.  I didn't think I'd miss it.  With Husband and I sharing a car, my days are pretty monotonous while he's at the office.  I play with the kids.  I pick up toys.  I do the dishes.  On and on it goes.

Some days are packed with work.  Here's a sample of my days, a la Wednesday: Get up, make and serve breakfast, do the dishes, do laundry, make bread, make and serve lunch, more dishes, more laundry, mow the lawn, break up fights between the kids, serve dinner, do the dishes, more laundry.  By the time the kids went to bed, I was exhausted and frustrated.  I had gotten some bad news about something I was looking forward to, I felt isolated without my daily interactions with other parents, and I was stressing about an upcoming vacation (travel gives me anxiety attacks).  I was feeling really, really down.  I pushed myself through the days, knowing from experience that if I just kept going, the horrible feeling will pass.  I'm no stranger to it; I struggled with depression and high anxiety as a child and teen.  Both problems just about disappeared around the time I met Husband in my late teens.  The less I was home, the better I felt.  When I left for college, I never really returned to my parents' home to live.  Husband and I were married at the end of our junior year.  Anxiety and depression evaporated (mostly).

Occasionally I get just stressed enough, lack just enough sleep, have just one too many things to do, my hormones are just ever so slightly out of line and it happens.  Depression and anxiety show up at my door with their dirty laundry and asking to crash on my couch.  It's different than just feeling sad or overwhelmed.  It's a deeper feeling.  Husband noticed and kept asking me what's wrong.  I kept trying to explain that I felt depressed, anxious and somewhat isolated, but not having experienced such things, he didn't understand.  I tried to tell him that sometimes I just feel this way and it will pass.  He wanted reassurance that he had done nothing wrong and struggled to find a reason for my feelings and what he could do to make it better, aside from getting another car.  After being asked one too many times, I looked at him and said, "Do you not see how dead these fish are?"  He laughed because he understood the reference.  [If you don't, in short it means he was trying to help me "solve" my feelings, but it doesn't work that way.]

Let me remind you that we have a pretty active sex life.  When Husband suggested we have our intimate time, I'm not going to lie.  It was hard to get in the mood.  Then it was hard to stay in the mood.  It was very difficult for a couple of days.  Husband was very understanding and offered to skip any activity.  I decided to give it a shot anyway, knowing how difficult it is to get back in the groove once a few days have passed.

I know this feeling.  And I knew it would pass.  I handled anxiety with breathing exercises and waited for the depression to end.

Today we had to go to a work function for Husband where I chatted with some of his workmates and (Oh, thank goodness!) a woman I knew from the kids' school.  Just the talking about nothing in particular made me feel so much better.  When I got home, I got some exercise in.  I made plans to get together with a friend next week at my house.  By 7pm, I was feeling much, much better.  Back to my normal self.  I'm thankful that I don't live with depression daily, but only have it for a few days at a time when I'm particularly stressed.  My libido is back, I'm laughing again, and I've even made peace with going traveling.