Holy moly— Humblebee & Me is nine! Today’s post is a bit of a celebratory retrospective, while today’s video is a rather fun reaction-style video featuring the oldest DIYs on Humblebee & Me 😂It was really fun to go back and look at some projects that I was really proud of at the time and see how much I’ve learned and improved! Thank you so much to every single one of you who has helped make these last 9 years possible—I appreciate your support immensely ❤️

Humblebee & Me is 9!

So… this year. It has unquestionably been a strange one. The first half of it (the September to March bit) was pretty normal and lovely. I flew to Kansas to speak at the Topeka Mother Earth News Fair. I was selected to speak at the HSCG’s 2020 conference in Hartford, Connecticut. I booked a spring trip to NYC with my mom. And then… yeah. March hit and our entire world changed. The Hartford conference was cancelled, as was my trip to NYC—pretty much everything was cancelled, really. And I stayed at home and made things.

In the early days of lockdown, I did my first live streams on YouTube—making hand wash, talking about scales, doing a bit of a works-in-progress show & tell, and more. It was so fun to connect with so many of you through the live chat during the video, and it was really lovely to have something social-ish to look forward to during those days where I was home almost all the time.

As the spring and summer went on I worked on improving my videos (including making more Patron-exclusive videos!). Thanks to my awesome Patrons I was able to invest in some new lighting that means I’m able to film in more places, like on my balcony and in front of my fireplace! I’ve also been experimenting with some different video formats, like themed “5 common questions” videos rather than monthly Q&As, and working on honing my editing skills.

I’ve spent quite a lot of time working on optimizing my studio space as well, which feels utterly fantastic. I can’t be the only one who finds a well organized and well-designed studio space very inspiring! Some improvements have included:

  • New, higher legs for my table so it’s counter-height rather than table height (this is SO much easier on my back!)
  • A wheeled kitchen cart for my tools so I can easily wheel them to wherever I need them (+ bonus counter space)
  • A rolling utility cart for storing ingredients for in-progress formulations (I used to put them in cardboard boxes on the floor and then inevitably trip on them…)
  • Re-organizing my shelves so I can put one of my big lights in the corner of the room, massively improving the flow of the space (that big light used to be in the middle of the room and it was very much in the way of pretty much everything)
  • A new-to-me, much bigger mini-fridge for storing ingredients
  • Sorting through the packaging I have on hand and organizing it so I a) know what I have and b) can find it

My Patreon has grown a lot this past year, and I am immensely grateful for the support of all my wonderful Patrons ❤️They are a huge part of the reason I’m able to do Humblebee & Me full time. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU 🐝 If you enjoy the things I share, I’d really appreciate it if you considered becoming a patron if you aren’t already!

I also wrapped up the coursework for my Formula Botanica Diploma in Organic Haircare Formulation! I submitted my final project last week, and I’m planning on sharing my full review of the course in the new year, so stay tuned for that 😄 In the meantime, they are currently offering a free four-part formulation masterclass that you can sign up for here—it’s a great way to get a taste of what their courses are like!

One of my Formula Botanica Diploma in Organic Haircare Formulation final formulations!

And now it’s time for the annual retrospective lists!

5 Most Popular Posts

  1. A Guide to Carrier Oil Substitutions
  2. Homemade lip gloss
  3. A Quick Guide to Beeswax & Liquid Oil Ratios
  4. Mango Mango Shampoo Bar
  5. Moisturizing Overnight Lip Mask

5 Most Popular Videos

  1. How to Make a Basic DIY Lotion (from scratch!)
  2. Cocoa Butter vs. Shea Butter vs, Coconut Oil: How are they different?
  3. How to Make a DIY Moisturizing Overnight Lip Mask
  4. How to Make DIY Cleopatra’s Secret Body Balm
  5. Let’s Talk About Fragrance Oils and Essential Oils

My 5 Favourites from 2019/2020

  1. Moisturizing Repair Cream
  2. Intense Hand Rescue Cream
  3. Argan Rose Pressed Shampoo Bar
  4. French Green Clay Sulphate-Free Shampoo Bar
  5. Cranberry Orange Conditioner Bar
  6. Honourable mention: How to Research Your Ingredients, Part 1 & Part 2

My 5 Favourite Innovations/New Things I Tried

  1. Lots of glycerin in things
    I first tried this in my Moisturizing Repair Cream and oooooooh boy, do I ever love it. You can see most of the lotion/cream formulations I’ve shared since then.
  2. Creamy facial cleansers
    I have been on a big cream cleanser kick this year—I especially love the super-rich-lotion as a cleansing balm/cold cream sort of thing.
  3. Doughy shampoo bars (with clay, with cocoa butter, etc.)
    Many of the shampoo bars I’ve shared in the last year have a doughy consistency that can be hand-moulded or pressed, and I love how workable and flexible these formulations are.
  4. Self-preserving body wash
    This experiment was inspired by Lush’s body washes, and I had so much fun dipping my toe into the world of self-preserving hydrous products.
  5. Water in conditioner bars
    I first tried this in my Cranberry Orange Conditioner Bar after seeing it in a sample formulation and I love how it 1) prevents the funny wrinkles that anhydrous conditioner bars and 2) acts as a solvent for all kinds of water-soluble things.

My 5 Favourite Giftable DIYs

  1. Chocolate Rhassoul Shampoo Bars
  2. Little E’s Lemon Shea Hand Lotion
  3. Hand Wash for Lots of Handwashing
  4. Satsuma Shower Gel
  5. Winter Solstice Bath Bombs

My 5 Favourite DIY Purchases/Gifts

  1. 500g x 0.01g scale
    This is SO useful for precise mid-sized batches of things.
  2. A bigger mini-fridge
    I picked up a larger used mini fridge on Kijiji and it is so dang nice to be able to fit all my more expensive/temperature-sensitive ingredients in it.
  3. Taller table legs
    I can’t believe I waited so long to do this. It’s amazing to work at counter height rather than table height. My back thanks me.
  4. Tall & narrow CD shelves for the studio
    Another Kijiji find! These have been brilliant for storing camera gear, beakers, and more.
  5. Ring light
    This bright, portable light has allowed me to start filming in parts of my home I couldn’t previously film in (or at times of the year when it would’ve been really hard due to short daylight hours), like in front of my fireplace!

My 5 Favourite Non-DIY Purchases

  1. Bidet
    I ordered one off Amazon at the very end of the before-times, and I’ve been very happy with it.
  2. A local farm subscription
    Since I knew I wouldn’t be travelling much this year, I decided to finally do something I’ve wanted to do for ages—sign up for a share of a local farm’s harvest. Every Tuesday a bag of fresh veg, fruit, and eggs appears at my door, and it’s great. I rarely have to go to the store, and I’m eating lots of delicious veggies!
  3. Dyson hairdryer
    I found a used one on Kijiji, and I gotta say, it’s great. Relatively quiet, light, and crazy powerful. Before owning this I’d only ever used hand-me-down hairdryers and hotel ones, and now I have seen the light (a.k.a. I have been spoiled).
  4. Salt New York magnetic palette + makeup
    I was so happy to be able to support this small brand with my pre-order of the black magnetic palette and some of the Crème Tint Pros. The makeup is lovely, and the palette feels really high-end and solid in my hands. I’m slowly filling the rest of my palette with some of my favourite homemade makeup for a truly all-me zippered bit of colourful face goodness 😄
  5. Milk cream eyeshadows
    I have been a bit obsessed with cream eyeshadows for the last… several years, at least, but the last two years have been pretty full-on. I’ve been formulating my own, sampling storebought ones, analyzing ingredient lists, and forming theories around what to look for and what to avoid. I’m considering doing a way-too-in-depth review on YouTube, but I’m not sure anyone would care 😂 Anyhow, out of all the ones I’ve tried, Milk Makeup’s Eye Pigments are the best. By a mile. They’re amazing. All-day crease-free wear with no primer 😱They all promise to do that, but so far only this one does. So, of course, I’m pretty sure they’re being discontinued 😭

My 5 Favourite Non-DIY Discoveries

  1. Bar Keeper’s friend on stainless steel
    If you love a good dirty-to-clean transformation, do yourself a favour and scrub down some old stainless steel with Bar Keeper’s friend. I used it to turn some used (and rather gross looking) stainless steel pots and baking sheets into shiny magic 😍
  2. IPSY subscription
    I like trying new things, so this inexpensive subscription service works well. Five smallish cosmetic things for ~$20CAD—I can try new creams, masks, and cosmetics and get heaps of formulation inspiration without shelling out for full-sized versions of things.
  3. Robert Welsh on YouTube
    Robert’s videos have done awesome things for my eyeshadow blending and general makeup skills.
  4. Rubber gloves
    I definitely knew about rubber gloves before this year, but this is the year I started bothering to put them on to wash dishes. I don’t have a dishwasher, so I wash a lot of dishes by hand, and my skin is way happier with the added protection offered by rubber gloves. I guess they’re a thing for a reason, eh? 😅
  5. Taco fires
    I’ve got an indoor fireplace now, and after last winter my fire lighting and tending skills have greatly improved. I’ve developed what I call a taco fire to get ’em going—it’s a sort of hybrid between an upside-down fire and a log cabin fire, and it works a treat. Maybe I’ll do a video on it one day…


Gifting Disclosure

Nothing mentioned in this post was gifted!