Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Last Minute Ugly Sweater DIY

Pretty happy face for a kid who's wearing an ugly sweater!

So guess who got the news at, oh, around 9 o'clock last night that this morning is ugly sweater day at school? Yeah, that would be me. So after I stopped panicking, I came up with a pretty decent plan. I took Zara's most embellished sweater (dress) and added my own bits.

A closer look at all its glory.
I had some craft felt so I cut out a shape that's vaguely tree-shaped. I used more felt to do the ornaments, tinsel, and star. I then used a white glue to stick it all together. When that dried, I used a bunch of safety pins to attach the monstrosity to the sweater. My favorite part of this project? It's only temporary! If I had had more energy, I would have added more bits all over, but for a last minute thing, I was happy with it. More or less.


Monday, December 8, 2014

Decorated Baby Wipes Box

So, I lost my crafting mojo a while back, but I think I can feel it slowly returning. Woohoo!!! I really missed it! Even though my daughter has been out of diapers for many years now, I still carry wipes around with me. I have a box in my purse, in my desk at work, and on my vanity to clean my brushes. They're awesome and how did I get through so many years (decades!) without them? I dunno.

I needed a new wipes box. My old one finally fell apart. I found this one at Gabriel Brothers for ¢90. They also had blue and yellow. It had a sticker on it that was easily removed, leaving a blank canvas for my own stickers. I made the stripe using printed tape. It's like Scotch tape. I then used a bunch of scrapbooking stickers that I had lying around to decorate the case.

Even if you don't carry around wipes yourself, this could be a cute idea for someone you know who's expecting.

And speaking of expecting, expect more crafty things out of me in the future. Did I mention how much I missed it? ;-)


Friday, December 5, 2014

Review: Benefit They're Real Push-Up Liner


Fun fact: Magazines in Ireland (and the U.K) tend to come with freebies! I know! So, I was browsing the racks at Eason in Killarney, Ireland and came across this little gem. Elle had included a sample size of Benefit's They're Real Push-Up Liner! Woot! Woot! I've been curious about this liner since it came out, but due to the mixed reviews I hadn't bought it. I was thrilled with the opportunity to try it.

This tiny package has enough for several uses, so I was able to give it a good try.

The tip is a flexible angled rubber.

The gel comes out strangely. It makes a bead on the tip rather than coming out evenly, which can be a mess. (And, yes, I followed the directions. I pushed up a small amount and wiped it off. It always beads up anyway.)

The formula is a bit too dry, so I was never able to achieve an even application. You see the big blob? Yeah, imagine that on your eyelid. The best luck I had applying this, I had to make a small pool of the liner on my hand and then dip the tip into it. I'd have to work with it a bit that way to warm it up to get it to go on my eye. When I take it straight to my eye from the applicator, it's a big honkin' mess. Straight up. I tried this twice and both times I had to go in with my beloved Jessie's Girl Liquid Liner to clean it up.

The good points: It's seriously black. The pigmentation is excellent. It lasts all day and was easy to remove with baby oil on a cotton ball. When I deliberately rubbed it kind of hard, it had a little flaking, but I was really, really going for it. It won't flake with normal use.

I'm so thankful I was able to try this before buying it. I've seen some people have great luck with it, but I wasn't able to get it to work well for me. If you're dead-set on using a gel liner, try Essence Gel Eyeliner with a small angled brush. Same matte highly-pigmented black, easier to use, much (much!) more cost effective.

Have you had a chance to try this out yet? How did it work for you?


Friday, November 21, 2014

November ipsy bag: Girl Meets Glitter

A+ for ipsy!
 Hi, all!
I'm just going to come right out and say it. This month's ipsy bag was amazing! There's not a dud in the group! Not one!

In no particular order (because I loved it all!), here's what I got:

Left to right: Temptu S/B Highlighter, Be a Bombshell Eye Base,
 J.Cat Beauty Wonder Lip Paint, Elizabeth Mott You're So Fine eyeliner

 1. J. Cat Beauty Wonder Lip Paint in WLP 111 Red Potion - This is a full size of J.Cat Beauty's answer to OCC Lip Tars. You need only the tiniest bit on a lip brush to give you a nearly matte berry lip that will last you most of the day. I did need to reapply in the evening after having applied it at 8 a.m. to begin with. One coat will give you a lovely matte(ish) winter berry shade, while two coats will give you deep, dark drama with a satin finish. The website features 18 different shades. (Value $4.99)

Perfect winter lips in a tube.

2. TEMPTU S/B Highlighter in Pink Pearl - This is a teeny-tiny-itsy-bitsy sample size, and you know what? I've used it a few times and you can't even tell there's anything taken out of the bottle. You really only need the smallest bit to give your cheekbones a gorgeous opalescent pearly highlight. It's very liquid, so you really have to be careful dispensing it. On me, it doesn't last all day, but while it's there it's amazing. (Full size value $27.50, Sample size value $2.75)

Shiny in a bottle

3. Marc Anthony Oil of Morocco Argan Oil Volume Shine Hairspray - Who doesn't love a good hairspray? Well, probably some people, but not me. It's a good hairspray with good things in it and missing some bad stuff. Can't ask more than that. (Full size value $8.29, Sample size value $1.38)

Perfect size for travelling!

4. Be A Bombshell Cosmetics Eye Base in Submissive - I used this as a base under powder eye shadows and it made the colors pop, it didn't crease, and it lasted all day. Perfect! (Value $14)

A pretty, warm bronze. Awesome for Autumn!

5. Elizabeth Mott you're so FINE Eyeliner in Glitterati - This is a gorgeous black liner with fine silver glitters. It doesn't give a super-dramatic glitter effect, so it doesn't look like you tried to wear a smashed disco ball on your face. It's pretty.

Aww, thanks, eyeliner! You're not so bad yourself.
 The brush is a classic liquid liner brush with a very fine tip. I'm awful at liquid liner, but I found this easy to use. (Value $17.99) camera didn't want to focus on the brush, but you get the idea.

 6. The Bag - I really think the bags should get their own place on the list. This one is so stinkin' cute! It's a durable silver glitter (but still smooth) vinyl with hot pink zipper and *black liner. It's in conjunction with Forever 21. It's adorbz and I will love it forever and ever and call it Smooshie. Or not. Whatever. I really do love this bag.


Inner liner and label of Smooshie

The grand total of my bag was $41.11 (plus Smooshie). That included three full-sized products. I'm thrilled and will get a ton of use out of everything. Ipsy is a subscription service for $10/month that sends you 4-5 products. Some are samples and some are full-sized. And it all comes in a reusable makeup bag. If you're interested, head on over to ipsy to find out more. Click here if you'd like to give me some points for signing up.

If you already subscribe, what did you get in your bag this month?


*edited for accuracy

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Winterize your nails!

Poor freezing cardinal!

 Hi, all!
Winter is here! Ok, not really, but it feels like it. It's been snowy and freezing and so miserable here already. Where did Autumn go??? My hands are doing their best impression of the Sahara Desert. They are dry, dry, dry! My poor neglected cuticles are begging for attention. They're saying, "Please, please, please notice us...and oil us..." Well, maybe not because that would be weird if my cuticles started talking to me, but you know what I mean.

Julep's Winterizing Your Nails tutorial.
Click to enlarge.

Enter stage right Julep's How to Winterize Your Nails tutorial. I was recently contacted by Julep. They wanted me to share my tips on nail care. And, no lie, I squeeeed out loud like a fan-girl! They are my hands-down (pun intended) favorite nail company. The polish is usually one coat (the white takes two for full coverage), lasts so much longer than any other polish I've tried, is 5-free, vegan friendly, and has a special formulation making it healthier for your nails. That being said, I bought everything I use in my tutorial myself. (And have had some of the colors for ages.)

Improvising a bit (because I don't own all of the products listed), I followed their tips to beautiful, healthier nails.


Rough, right?

To start out, I shaped my nails using my crystal nail file.  I really love glass files because they last literally forever and are so easy to clean. This one is super gentle. I file going in one direction from one side and then the other. Never saw back and forth. It's too rough and will cause breakage and splits.

I then used a bit of coconut oil to soften up my cuticles and hands. I just rubbed it on and let it set a few minutes and then wiped the excess off. Then, I used an orange wood stick to push back my cuticles and buffed my nails with my three step buffer.

Julep's Crystal File

A bit better!
 After washing my hands thoroughly to get rid of the oil on my nails, I started the fun part - nail art!

Base color
After applying a clear base coat, I started out with one coat of Julep's Nicolette and painted four nails and did a crescent shape at the bottom of my thumb. Kind of a modified French manicure.

Tree branches

I then took Julep's Fiore and applied it with a toothpick to simulate patchy tree bark.


Using a combination of a crafting stylus and a toothpick, I applied Julep's Nan in a roughly cardinal shape. I Googled images of cardinals for an idea of how it should look. The little pointy bit at the top is too adorable.

Nearly finished

I then added details on the cardinal with Fiore and Gloria (my Mom's name). Gloria is no longer available on the Julep site, but I did find one bottle left on Amazon. Any orange should do. Julep has several still available on their site.

I also drew a snowflake on my thumb using the stylus and added dots with the toothpick in Nicolette.


To finish up, I dotted Nan on the ends of the branches to look like Autumn leaves still stuck to the tree. Let it dry for a bit and then top it off with your favorite top coat.

Julep's Friendsgiving Collection. Gorgeous, right? Kiki reminds me of Frozen's Elsa.

Julep's limited edition Friendsgiving Collection looks amazing. I really thing I need Kiki and Joanne in my own collection.

A few tips:

  1. Always keep your hands and cuticles moisturized. Check the ingredients of your hand creams to make sure it doesn't contain alcohol. Alcohol will dry your skin.
  2. You don't need fancy tools to do nail art. Experiment with different things you already have. I pulled the stylus out of my craft hoard. Bobby pins make excellent dotting tools and so do toothpicks. 
  3. A drop of cuticle oil on your nails each night before bed will make your nails look so much better for longer. Dry, cracked, bleeding cuticles are never cute.
  4. Nail art is temporary. Have fun with it!


Friday, October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!

Sean's looking a little intense. lol

Hey, all!
It's my absolute favorite time of the year again! I love Halloween soooooo much. It's so much fun! Sean and I went cheap and chic for this year's costume. We're black and white film stars. The costumes are a mix of thrift store finds and what we already had in our closet. My outfit cost a grand total of $5. Sean's was $9. (And, for a bit of craftiness, I made his bow tie!)

A better look at our full costumes.

Our own little Princess Jasmine wasn't so cheap, but was terribly chic. Her costume was from the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique at Disney World, so, yeah she was going to wear that thing for Halloween! Maybe even the next five Halloweens just to get value out of it.

Ready for her close-up.

We added the wig, because Jasmine has gorgeous black hair, and a long-sleeved shirt and leggings because it's much colder in WV in October than it is in FL in June. Much, much, much colder.

Just finished up at Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique.

Learning Irish step dancing at Raglan Road in Downtown Disney.

Have a happy and safe Halloween!


Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Many, many mascaras!

Hey, all!
You may or may not know that I have a seriously major fascination with mascara. I keep looking for the next best thing. I love the whole Bambi-eyed look, but I really, really, REALLY don't want to wear false lashes on a daily basis. So, in order of my favorites to not-so-favorites, here's what I've been wearing lately.

1. Urban Decay Perversion ($22) -  This mascara is perfection in a tube. It gives me the volume that I need and lengthens beautifully. There's no smudging or flaking. It removes so easily but stays put all day. The brush is everything I look for in a mascara brush. It's densely packed with traditional bristles and is large, but not too large to miss the corners and the bottom lashes. I looooove this mascara. If I had $22 bucks to spend on a mascara, I'd choose this one.

*Cue Hallelujah Chorus

2. Ulta Voluptuous Volume in Black/Brown ($10) - But since I don't have $22 for mascara, I'll go with my second pick. This does pretty much everything that Urban Decay's Perversion does. The only reason that Perversion is #1 and not this one is that I prefer the brush on Perversion ever so slightly more. Really, it's a toss-up. Even though the color is Black/Brown, it's still pretty dramatic. I had no idea that there was even brown in it until I looked up the shopping link for this post. The best part (aside from the fact it's awesome) is that Ulta cosmetics are constantly going on sale. Currently there's a "buy two, get one free" offer. There's no need to ever pay full price for this, but if you do, it's still only $10. Also, Ulta has amazing coupons. Just sayin'.

Gorgeous (and cheap!)

3. Benefit They're Real ($23) - This was the first mascara I've ever tried that made me gasp. I literally gasped. It does gorgeous things for my lashes. It lengthens like nobody's business, it thickens, and it separates. Why isn't it #1? (Excellent question, Tabitha! Why thank you, Tabitha!) It's nearly impossible to remove. I tend to just give up after a while and live with it. Benefit now makes a remover, but I haven't had a chance to try that. The bristles on this brush are the hard kind that poke my eyeballs, but it's totally worth it. I love the knobby bit at the end that gets each and every tiny lash in the corners. I really do love this mascara. I don't love the price and I don't love the near-permanence of it.

Drama in a tube.

4. CK One Color in 800 (Show - True Black) ($18) - This one is a bit strange. There's two different wand settings. One for length and definition. The other is for volume. The formula is great. No smudges. No flakes.  All day wear. When you go to remove it, it flakes like crazy then. It's easy to remove, but it's also easy to forget a flake or two and then people ask why your face is dirty. Kinda embarrassing. Just be aware of that.

Maybe this should be called CK two? *cue rim shot

The wand lengthens or shortens by the twist of the knob at the end of the cap. When the wand is fully extended, that is the lengthening setting, which works beautifully. The lashes are very well-defined. When the wand is shortened, the bristles go from a straight row to a twisted pattern. I've found that this setting works best just worked into the base of the lashes. When I try to sweep the brush up the length of my lashes to the tip, it's clump city. It's like I have five really fat lashes. Not cute. So, the way I use this is to first start with the shortened wand at the base of my lashes, and then extend the wand to define and lengthen. To be totally honest, $18 is a lot to spend on this. I'm not completely blown away by it. It's good. It's just not great. But it is a bit fun to play with.

Left - lengthening, Right - volumizing 

5. Maybelline Great Lash Big in Blackest Black ($5.99) - This little guy has BIG claims. It claims to give a "bigger, bolder lash effect", but seriously, meh. Just meh. I used to use the original Great Lash back in the day. I loved it then. I have no idea why, but I really did. The wand on the original is teeny-tiny. This one is sooo much bigger and it looks a lot like my beloved Ulta Voluptuous Volume. It was a door-buster at Ulta for $1.99, so I thought "Why not?" I'll tell you why not. I'm not into natural looking lashes. At all. Ever. Even when I'm doing a minimal makeup look. I don't get the point. Why go to all the trouble of doing mascara if it's going to look like you've done nothing? (Remember my Bambi eyes comment from earlier?) This mascara is fabulous if you like a natural look. I just happen to not enjoy that look. Others probably do. I dunno.

*edit - November 5, 2014 - Turns out that when you use this a while and let the mascara get a bit older and dried out, it works a lot better. I've been using it a few weeks and for the last few days it's been awesome. It now builds up on itself so well, giving volume and length. Sooo...there's that. If you can live with skimpy lashes for a while, this mascara will eventually pay off. Eventually.

BIG meh!

6. Makeup Forever Smoky Extravagant in Black ($24) - This one is the most expensive on my list and also the most disappointing. The good points: no smudges, no flakes. The bad points: it makes my eyes itch, the brush is diabolical. I've never encountered a mascara that triggered an allergic reaction before, but every time I wear this the skin around my eyes itch all day long. The brush is so weird. It's a tear drop shape with a very thick end that makes it really difficult to get to the base of my lashes without making a mess. I've been using mascara on a daily basis for 26 years (!!!) now and this one tiny, sample-sized  tube has me totally confused. I've never seen anything like it. And not in a good way. I can't comment on volume or length because this mascara bothered me too much to notice and I'm not willing to try it again to see what it does. I love you guys, but I'm not a martyr for the cause.


I hope some of you found this helpful. What mascara have you fallen in love with and which ones should I stay away from?



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