7 batches of soap under my belt! Yay! Hoping this will help other new soap makers. I still don't have it all figured out, but I think I'm getting closer! Lessons learned from this forum that you will not learn from anywhere else (ex: youtube ) 1. Olive oil soaps, whether CP or HP need "months" to cure. If you want to use your first batches of soap any time soon ... do not use olive oil. I'm still waiting to use my first 4 batches of soap! 2. Read! Read everything you can, then read it again. That's the part I missed. Read it all once, thought I had it figured out and now re-reading I see where I went wrong and what didn't stick in my head the first time. Take notes on what you're reading to help with remembering. Soaping is an exact science. There are no shortcuts. Every gram of ingredients matters. All the fatty acid profiles matter. 3. Don't bother trying to get swirls or pretty soap the first time out. Just work on getting the recipe correct. Use the soapcalc or soapmakersfriend and take notes ... lots and lots of notes. What went well, what didn't go well. What was the process you used, how long before ready to unmold etc.. 4. Find a tried and true recipe online with oils you have on hand or can get easily. Fancy butters and oils will not make a better soap, it will just drain your pocket book a little faster while you learn. You will have failed batches, you will make mistakes. It's just part of the soap learning process. 5. If you HP as I do, resist the temptation to stir, stir, stir. Step away from the crockpot - not too far away. Still need to pay attention, but standing too close makes you want to stir more. DON'T DO IT. Your soap will take twice as long and likely will get very dark and dry ... haven't totally figured this one out yet but I know stirring too much was part of the problem. 6. IGNORE all the "fast" hot process vid's. Not sure how they do it, but I haven't been able to get a batch of soap done in a crockpot in less then an hour. Even soaping with oils and lye at 200 ... it did not happen quickly. 7. Hot process soaps take just as long as cold process soaps to cure before using. Do not believe what you see elsewhere online. HP is "safe" to use right away, but it is not fully cured. It still needs as much cure time as CP. 8. The benefit (in my opinion) to using the HP method, is the ability to add things after the cook that would otherwise be ruined if added to CP soap while the lye is still fully active and the oils have not soapanified. 9. Start with small batches. 500g is a good starting point for first batches. Hope this helps someone! If anyone has anything to add, feel free!