New Hypoallergenic Hooks from Uncommon Artistry on Amazon

michaels hooks vs uncommon artistry hooks

I ordered these “Hypoallergenic” Surgical Steel Ball & Coil Earring Hooks (X100) from Amazon on July 3rd, 2013.  When I bought them, I didn’t realize they were coming from China.  If I had known that, I wouldn’t have bought them.  In fact, I tried to cancel my order right away, but they wouldn’t let me.  I was able to click the link to cancel, but the drop down menu for the reason for returning didn’t have any options, so without a reason to choose from, it was impossible to cancel.  My other reason for wanting to cancel was because of the reviews saying these aren’t actually hypoallergenic which I did not read until after I bought them.

So what I did on July 4th was I went to Michael’s and bought some hooks because I was so excited about making earrings and I wanted to buy the hooks because the sooner I could make them, the sooner I could sell them.  But I found out that they weren’t actually hypoallergenic.  I wore a pair for a couple of days to test them out and my right ear lobe started to get infected.  I decided to just keep making earrings and when I finally got some hypoallergenic hooks from Etsy, I took all the Michael’s hooks out and replaced them with hypoallergenic hooks.

The earrings in the image above are the Michael’s earrings on the left and the “hypoallergenic” surgical steel ball & coil earrings from Uncommon Artistry on the right.  When you are looking at the 2 bags next to each other, you can tell there is a huge difference in the colors.  The Michael’s is like a silver, while the Uncommon Artistry is more of a gray or like a blue gray color.  They actually look exactly alike in the image above with the exception of the curvature of the 2 earrings.

I am testing a pair out on my own ears just like I tested the Michael’s earrings because before I write a review on Amazon, I want to make absolutely sure they are hypoallergenic.  If they aren’t then I can say that they aren’t, but if they are then I can say they are.  If they are hypoallergenic then I can use them and say without a shadow of a doubt in my description that they are indeed hypoallergenic.  Otherwise, I have to note that they aren’t and indeed mention that if you have allergies, don’t buy these, buy the hypoallergenic ones.

So I’ve only been wearing them for like a minute and my right ear is already starting to pulse lol.  It’s like I can feel my heartbeat in my ear lobe.  I’m not quite sure if my ear is still recovering from the infection from the Michael’s earrings.  I haven’t worn anything in my ears for weeks, or since that first test that I did.  I started wearing plastic earrings in those holes yesterday.  When I put the plastic earrings in yesterday, both ears were a bit sore and they were hard to put in at first because I think the holes started closing up or perhaps they were closing because of the (for the lack of a better word) infection juices were causing the holes to close.  LOL I didn’t know how else to say that.  Anyway, I had to clean my ears yesterday because the earring was a little red from forcing it through the back.  They are still sore, so if something is going to happen, it’s probably going to happen fast.

For reference, I finished typing this out at 2:25 p.m. on July 17, 2013.  Will update on my findings…

bent hooksQuality:  I have been reading the reviews and more than a few said there were some that were bent and the coil and ball were missing or whatever.  Well, I was curious to see if there were any like that and as I was putting the normal ones back in the bag, I was counting them.  I counted 112 hooks and there were only supposed to be 100.  But, I think that makes up for the fact that 4 earrings were bent, well, 1 of those wasn’t too badly bent, but well, you see in the picture.  And 2 of them were hooked together and as you can see 1 is missing the ball and coil.  I think I can deal with the loss of 4 earrings and I can unhook those 2 good ones and replace the ball and coil from one of the bad ones.  I still come out on top with 108 good hooks, well 2 of which I am wearing for testing that I cannot actually sell, so 106 good hooks lol.

Update 8:39 p.m.: I had to take them out.  I’m in agony right now.  My head feels tight and my jaw is in a lot of pain, more pain on the right, but in pain on both sides.  These are worse than the Michael’s earrings lol.  At least with the Michael’s earrings I was able to wear them for 40 hours, I couldn’t wear these for more than 6 1/2 hours.  Heck, I was ready to take them out after the first minute because the pain started immediately.  I will not be using these earrings, not even for people who don’t have allergies.  These are going in the trash.  At least it was only $2.32.  Next time I will make sure I read the reviews first.

Earrings for Men

checkered 1

I’ve been so focused on making the keychains and keychain style earrings for women that I totally forgot that I actually wanted to make earrings for men so I could make some for myself.  I finally figured out how to make the studs out of the plastic lanyard “gimp” by only making a couple of stitches before gluing them and sticking them to plastic studs.

black and white 3

This is the pair that I made for myself, I made another pair to sell.  When I was a kid, my parents bought me a pair of Vans with the black and white checkered pattern and for some reason I’ve been a fan of the checkered pattern ever since.  I made one in every color, except for orange because when I mix the orange with black, the orange is translucent so it turns brown.  It’s not pretty.  So I have red, yellow, green, blue, purple and white with black.  I made them in all those colors to sell, but I will be making myself one in each color.

gold and silver I also have a pair in silver and a pair in gold.  The silver is a solid silver ribbon with a mirror finish in clear gimp.  The gold is different though in the sense that it looks gold, but it’s sparkly.  When you look at it and tilt it, you see the little color spots seem to change color with the lighting.  I honestly don’t know how else to explain it.  I would have liked to have bought some solid gold like the solid silver with the mirror finish, but they didn’t have any.  They had the same type of silver as the gold, but I wanted solid silver.

These studs aren’t just for the studs, ladies can wear them too, of course.  I also have the Breast Cancer Awareness pink color in solid pink, pink and white and pink and black.  Anyone can wear those actually.  You don’t have to be a woman to wear them, you can be a man who wears them in solidarity, or whatever reason you have for wanting to wear them.

pink 1

I am quite proud of my ability to make these earrings.  I have listed them on Etsy for a mere $3 a pair.  I didn’t want to ask too much for these earrings because I am not a professional, these are just a hobby and the only reason I am selling them is to help pay for a new bicycle so I can start losing more weight with Noom.  Which reminds me, I’m going to make some solid green earrings for myself for when I start riding my future bike.

So to respond to the men who have asked for earrings, here you go.  If you would like a specific color combination, there is a link in every pair of earrings listed for requesting a custom color.  Just tell me know which two colors you would like and I will make them.

I gained weight this week

week_28-2

Well this sucks.  I actually gained weight this week.  A few weeks ago I hit a plateau at 197lbs, but throughout this whole journey I haven’t once gone up.  This is the first time I’ve actually gained weight.

I’m not worried though because I am confident that my weight will continue going down again next week.  Just the other night I weighed myself and I was 192.8 so this is just a minor setback.

I’ve been feeling a bit off today and yesterday.  I’ve been having dizzy spells and today I was dizzy and my stomach was feeling crappy, so maybe something is happening with my body that is causing me to not lose weight.  The only thing I can think is that perhaps the Michelina’s isn’t agreeing with me.  Who knows, but I am going to be strapped for cash this month so I can’t exactly afford to buy the weight watchers.

Perhaps it’s stress that I am unnecessarily putting on myself because I haven’t had a lot of views or sales on my Etsy shop.  Since I’ve been browsing other peoples shops and their items, things have been picking up for me.  People have been clicking favorite on my keychains and my shop, so perhaps being social will help me get some sales.  I was going to save the money from the keychains and earrings for a new bike so I can exercise, but if I have to use whatever money I get from Etsy for groceries then so be it.  I just put my Nintendo 64 on ebay, so hopefully I can sell that to help me with groceries, who knows if anyone will buy or even bid on it though.

I’m sure things will work out and next week I will have more weight loss.  Who knows, I might be 191 next Saturday.  I’m not going to expect it though, if it happens, then it happens.  If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t.  No big deal.  It’s not like I’m trying to lose weight to fit into a particular outfit by a specific date or anything.  I’ve been fat all these years, what’s a little set back going to do?  Nothing.  I have to be patient and know that the weight WILL come off eventually.  I got this far in such a little amount of time, so I’m happy with the progress I’ve already made.  No worries.

Until next week I guess.

week_28-2 Update July 15: A few hours after I posted this, I… how do I say this without sounding crude?  I found out that the reason I hadn’t lost any weight that day was because I had a couple extra pounds inside of me waiting to get out lol.  As Jessica Simpson put it, I had to drop the kids off at the pool.  I can still say that I gained weight because I was 193.6 last week and this week I weighed in at 193.8.  This morning I weighed myself and I was 193.0 so at least I am progressing.  I’m not losing weight as fast as I was in the beginning of my weight loss journey, but I am still losing weight and that is all that matters.

My Nintendo 64 on Ebay

Nintendo 64

Today is a sad day for me because I had to put my Nintendo 64 on ebay.  I bought it from someone in 2002 and played it a couple of times, but then I didn’t have time for it because I was too busy playing EverQuest on my computer.  I had a lot of fun playing The Legend of Zelda Ocarina of Time, and I never even got to finish it, but I sadly got bored with it when I got stuck and couldn’t figure out how to continue.  It has sat in my TV cabinet all these years.

I bought the other 2 games South Park and Turok 2: Seeds of Evil in 2010 I believe.  I played South Park for like 5 minutes, but I didn’t play Turok 2 so I never really enjoyed it.  I did however have a lot of time with the Legend of Zelda Ocarina of time.  I only got to a certain point and then couldn’t get past it and gave up.

So I made some videos of the game play so you can see that the system and games do work.

Turok 2: Seeds of Evil – I have to admit, I have never actually played the game so I had no idea where to go or what to do lol.  http://youtu.be/sm_0yG-m1Ow

South Park: http://youtu.be/elYhbZu3Bls

The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time: http://youtu.be/698xbfc4QUE

My original thought was to sell this on ebay so I could save up for a new bike, but I have a feeling I’m going to need the money for groceries this month.  I hope we are going to be okay for food, but just in case, I would like to sell this so we can survive.

Michelina’s are more affordable than Weight Watchers

michelinas zap ems

I have lost a total of 70lbs over the last 6 months with Weight Watchers Smart Ones frozen dinners and Noom.  Money is tight and I can no longer afford the luxury of paying $2 for the WW meals, so instead I had to do some research and find some other cheaper alternative with the same calories, fat and sodium as the Weight Watchers.

My partner of 19 years told me that we should buy the Michelina’s because they were half the price, but I insisted on the Weight Watchers for several reasons.  The first reason is because the Weight Watchers has the name Weight Watchers.  It’s psychological.  If you see it is a product for losing weight, you put it in your mind that if you ate that or Lean Cuisine that you are doing good.  Another reason was because they weighed more than the Michelina’s, so naturally you want more food, even if it was only 1-2oz difference.  My final reason is that the Weight Watchers show up as green in the Noom app while the Michelina’s show up as yellow.  Although, the pizza snacks show up as red.

So since times are tough and we don’t have the luxury anymore, I decided to start buying the Michelina’s.  They are $1.49 at Albertson’s, but they are currently on sale for 10 for $10.  I could be paying .97 cents at Food Maxx, but what’s 3 cents?  I also have coupons for $1 off 5, so if I use 2 coupons then I am really getting 10 for $8.  Not bad.  Although, I printed the coupons and went to the store without them.  Ooops.

michelinas lean gourmet I wrote a post about how the Weight Watchers are better than the Michelina’s Lean Gourmet which I still stand by.  The reason I don’t like the Lean Gourmet is because the sodium is really high and the calories aren’t that much lower than the Zap ‘ems.  They have more flavors in the Lean Gourmet too like the meat and potatoes, which is what I miss from the Weight Watchers.  The Lean Gourmet meals are good, but I have a huge issue with the sodium content.  The Lean Gourmet also show up as yellow in the Noom app, so they aren’t any better than the Zap ‘ems in that regard.

Not all of the Zap ‘ems have vegetables in them so what I’ll do is I will buy some frozen vegetables and when I open the Zap ‘ems, I will pour 1 cup worth on the top and then microwave it for double the amount of time suggested to make sure the frozen vegetables will have time to cook.  My favorite is spinach.  I’ve added broccoli and brussel sprouts too.  I would like to also buy some carrots and put those in there.  It just makes it that much more healthier in my mind and it gives me more food.

I don’t have that much more weight to lose to get down to my goal weight of 170lbs.  Last night I weighed myself at 192.8lbs, but today it went back up to 195 for some odd reason.  Last week on my weigh in day I was 193.6 so I would love to be 191 or 192 tomorrow, but we will see how it goes.  I just hope the switch from Weight Watchers to Michelina’s hasn’t made much of a difference, but I will find out tomorrow.

I am trying to buy a bicycle so I can exercise to help me lose weight, but the only way I can is if people help me out by buying a keychain, my hemp choker or bracelet or some earrings on my Etsy store.  You can use the coupon code NODOMA for 25% off.  It would really help me.  The keychains are cheap at $2 and the earrings are also cheap (inexpensive, not cheap) at $5.  It’s only a couple bucks, and they literally take hours to make each and I’m not asking for much for them.

Anyway, thanks for reading.

Help Me Exercise

Huffy Nassau

I have been riding my bicycle for years for exercise because I have a bad back which causes excruciating pain when I walk.  It’s just easier on my back to sit down.  I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease in my lower spine, but since then the pain has gone higher, near the top of my spine.  I have recently had new x-rays on my back and those x-rays will tell the doctor whether I need to have another MRI done or not so that I can finally get something done about it.  I have already lost 70lbs with diet alone, but I feel that by not exercising because I don’t have a bicycle to exercise with, I am probably not just losing fat, but also muscle tissue and I don’t want that to happen, so that’s why exercise is crucial to helping me in my weight loss journey with Noom.

Since I had my accident a few months ago that resulted in a broken arm, I haven’t been able to ride my bike.  It’s not because of the accident, but because of my back tire.  See, it was constantly going flat even though there wasn’t a hole in the tube, so I bought a no mor flat hard rubber tube for it and I couldn’t install it and I think trying to install it I might have made things worse.  The damage that no mor flat tube caused will end up costing me $30 for a new tire and $30 for a new rim, or more.  Well, my bike was only $60 to begin with and I have sunk far too much money into it and it’s old now so I would rather just start fresh with a new bike.

The bike that I want to buy (image above) is from Target.com for $125, although that is a temporary price reduction, by the time I have the money saved it will go up to $140, so that is why I am asking for help to pay for it.  I’m not asking for a handout, but simply asking if people bought a keychain or a pair of earrings on my Etsy store.  Whatever I make on Etsy will help me buy a new bicycle.  I already have half of the money, I just need the other half.

Below are my keychains and earrings and I am making more everyday.  The earrings are only $5 and the keychains are only $3.50 because I don’t feel right about asking for any more than that.  I always feel bad about asking for money, so that’s why I am selling these so cheap.  They literally take a couple of hours to make, so I am working hard for the few dollars I am asking for and also risking damage to my hands because I have carpal tunnel syndrome.

So if you find something that you like, please help me out and if you would like a specific color combination let me know and I will make it.  I have the following colors available.  Red, translucent orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, black, white, clear, translucent blue and translucent pink.  Thank you for reading.

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Michael’s Earring Hooks

all 3 rainbow earrings

I bought earring hooks from Michael’s to use in the earrings that I make to sell on Etsy.  I was worried that because the package didn’t say what type of metal they were and they didn’t say they were hypoallergenic, that perhaps maybe I shouldn’t use them at all because I would hate to go through all that trouble to make earrings that people will have to throw or give away because they irritate their skin.  I decided to still make these earrings because there are people out there who can tolerate any metal earring.

I did buy some hypoallergenic hooks on Amazon, but I didn’t read the reviews until after I paid for them, and I tried to cancel the order right away, but they wouldn’t let me choose a reason for canceling, so I’m stuck with them.   The reviews were basically saying they took too long to ship because they ship from Honk Kong, which I didn’t see when I bought them.  They also said that some of the hooks were bent and that they ended up throwing most of them in the trash and that despite saying they were hypoallergenic, they weren’t.  So when I get those in the mail in August, I will have to say they are not hypoallergenic, but I will test them on myself before I use them.

Of course I will be buying some known hypoallergenic hooks, but they are incredibly expensive.  So unless I actually sell earrings or keychains, I won’t be able to afford to buy the expensive hypoallergenic hooks.

So the earring hooks I bought from Michael’s aren’t doing so bad.  I decided to put in a pair at Midnight on the night of July the 5th 2013 and have had them in my ears for nearly 11 hours and this is how they look in my ears.  The package had 2 different types of hooks, half of each, these aren’t the same type of hooks in the earrings you see in the image at the top.  I have a really bad sensitivity to certain metals and believe me, I will get a reaction after just a few minutes, so if I’ve had these in my ears for 11 hours, then I’m sure they should be okay for anyone else.

earrings 10 hours

As you can see, the hooks haven’t made any impact on my ears.  They are the ones in the 2nd hole in both ears.  Keep in mind that those holes haven’t had an earring in them for years and I had to push them in a bit because they felt like they had closed up in the back.  So if there is some redness, that’s probably why.  They do look a little red in the picture, especially the left ear, but there isn’t any irritation and they aren’t red when I look at them in the mirror.  They seem fine to me.

Of course, 11 hours isn’t hardly enough time to judge whether these earrings from Michael’s are going to cause a bad reaction, so I will keep taking pictures every day for a week and keep updating this post.

Update:  After 16 hours of wearing these Michael’s earrings, I suddenly felt a pressure in my head accompanied by ringing in both ears and slight dizziness.  I Googled my symptoms and found out that a lot of people have asked about earrings causing that and the condition is called Tinnitus.  I took the earrings out and within half an hour my symptoms eased up, but they are still there after another half an hour.  I thought that perhaps it was not caused by the earrings because when I took them out I took a picture and they didn’t look that bad.  There wasn’t any redness, swelling or pain.  I would think that if my ears were having an allergic reaction to the metal they would at least be red.  I didn’t see any redness in the mirror, but I do see it in the pictures.

earrings 16 hours

After having them out for 45 minutes, I decided to put them in Claire’s Ear Wash Antiseptic and put them back in.  The dizziness, tightness and buzzing or ringing is still there, but it’s not as bad as it was, so I don’t know what caused it or why, but I’m going to leave the earrings in and see what happens next.  I really want these earrings to work for me, because if I can wear them, then I will sleep better knowing that I am not selling earrings that people are going to have issues with.  Of course, if you know you have an allergy to certain metals, you know not to buy unless it says it is hypoallergenic, so naturally buyer beware.  I will keep them in for as long as I can.  See how dedicated I am to my customers that I am willing to risk getting an infection lol.

24 hour update:  I have had these earrings in my ears for 24 hours.  Well, minus about 45 minutes from earlier today when I got dizzy and had a constant ringing in my ears.  The dizziness and ringing didn’t come back, so I’m wondering if that was something else.  I have been having dizzy spells, so perhaps that wasn’t related to the earrings.  At any rate, I seem to be doing fine.  Pictures to come tomorrow afternoon.

40 hour update:  I had to take the earrings out of my ears because my right ear was starting to get infected.  That sucks.  I knew these earrings wouldn’t be hypoallergenic, but I was kind of hoping they would still be okay.  Oh well.  Here is the final picture.

earrings 40 hours

I forgot to write right ear and left ear, but you can figure that out lol.  As you can see, the left ear is fine, it didn’t get affected at all, but the right ear is infected.  What’s funny is that neither one of them hurt, even the infected one, so I didn’t even know it was infected until I took the picture.

I will be buying some actual hypoallergenic earring hooks called Niobium as well as plastic earring studs for another type of earring for men.  I actually just bought the plastic earring studs so when they come I can figure out what I will make.  Whatever it is will be made with gimp like the keychains.