Thursday, December 3, 2015

Beauty Favorites - December 2015

I've confessed many times, to my love of beauty products. I have some tried and true favorites that I will never give up but I'm always willing to try something new. Our tastes, skin and hair change as we age and finding new products that work for those changes can be key. Here are some of my recent favorite purchases.

Clockwise from top left: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8






Mizon Multi Function Formula All in One Snail Repair Cream
Ok, after you stop saying ewww or gross or whatever you're feeling, I will tell you about this amazing product. Last spring, I began reading about the Korean skincare revolution and how it was sweeping the U.S. I started doing research. Most articles recommend a 10 step routine. I'm diligent about my skin but I knew that 10 steps would not happen daily in my world. I decided to pick some key items to try. One of the items that was recommended was an All in One cream. This article called out this cream by Mizon, specifically. By the way, the author is incorrect. Snail mucin is actually, the secretion from the snail (not their guts). The cream is more of a gel and you don't need much. A little goes a long way. Hands down, it's the made more difference in my skin than anything I've ever used. I have tiny bumps (a form a cystic acne) that form on my skin, no matter how much I wash. They never get red but at times, they darken a bit. This cream has eliminated them! It's also faded many of my dark spots and it's a great light weight moisturizer (I apply it morning and night). I'm on my second jar and I don't see it ever leaving my beauty regime. Friends have even asked what I've been using. Which I always take as a great sign.




Nexxus Therappe Rebalancing Shampoo
I was offered this shampoo and the other two Nexxus products to try. I was a bit skeptical because I've tried moisturizing shampoos in the past and they left my hair lifeless and limp. They added too much residue. This shampoo is fantastic! It doesn't add that weight or residue. It leaves my hair clean and shiny. It's highly concentrated, so I only need a small amount. I'm sure I will be buying more when the bottle is finished.

Nexxus Humetress Restoring Conditioner
When you have fine, dry hair, conditioning is like walking a tight rope. You need the conditioner or your hair will look like straw but if you use too much or the wrong kind your hair will look flat and a bit greasy. This conditioner is great. I still can't use too much but when I use it, my hair has body and it's moisturized. It has a thick consistency but it's not too greasy for my fine hair. My hair has bounce and shine. I'm impressed.

Nexxus Humectress Luxe Lightweight Conditioning Mist
You wouldn't think this super light, water like mist would be moisturizing, but it is! I spray it on after I wash my hair, before I blow dry. I also sometimes mist my hair with it in the morning before I curl it. I don't know what little miracles they use to make this mist but it's great. I love that even though it's a leave in, that it's not heavy. I really love that it gives my hair sheen without oil.


BaByliss Pro Nano Titanium 1" Curling Iron
My curling iron died and I went in search of a new one. I had read that BaByliss curling irons were great and curled even the most hard to curl hair. My hair curls but the curl would never last. This model got some great reviews, so I decided to give it a try. My curl now lasts two days! In fact, I love my second day curl even better. It looks like a natural wave and it's perfect. My hair doesn't look fried after I use the iron. In combination with the Nexxus Conditioning Mist, my curls look even better.



Paula Dorf Special Camouflage
A beauty blogger recommended peach/orange concealer for dark circles. Sometimes even my holy grail Cle de Peau concealer doesn't totally cover my dark circles, without being too heavy. I decided to give the peach option a try. You wouldn't believe how hard it is to find peach concealer. I looked at tons of brands and places. Only a few even make that color and the ones that do, were no where to be found. I came upon this Paula Dorf version. It also contains a yellow concealer, which I thought would be great. The yellow is much too dry to be used alone. I mix it with the peach at times or with an eye cream. The peach has a creamy consistency that I like and add to my dark circle cover, when I need extra help.



Maybelline the Blushed Nudes eyeshadow palette
Usually I purchase an eyeshadow palette, loving the concept of combining different colors and end up only using 4 or 5 colors. With the exception or two colors, I use all of the colors in the palette regularly. The colors are neutral and have great color but they aren't too dark. They compliment my fair skin well. I love mixing the pinkish tones with the browns and grays.


Missha M Magic Cushion No. 23
One of the other Korean beauty products that gets rave reviews are their foundation cushion compacts. I'm super picky when it comes to foundation. I can't stand anything that is heavy, greasy or cakey but it has to have good coverage and look natural. It seems that every time I find a foundation I love, it's discontinued. For years I was a fan or Urban Decay foundation but their formulas have completely changed and I don't love their current options. Reviews were great for the Missha cushion. I love it. It gives me great coverage and looks natural. There are only two colors and they are both very fair. If you don't have super fair skin, you will need to look at other brands. The compact is refillable and comes with an applicator sponge.

Those are my current beauty picks. Let me know if you have any questions.


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Thursday, November 19, 2015

How to Read that Laundry Tag (and not lose your mind)

Am I the only one that looks at the care tag on a piece of clothing and thinks HUH?! I know as a fashion girl I should have all of those symbols memorized but I don't. Confessional time...usually I just wing it. Because of this I have ruined a few items of clothing in my life. You'd think I'd learn. I started thinking that I can't be the only one. I did a little research and found some great info. There is an American Cleaning Institute! Living in the DC area, which is home to many associations and institutes, I should have guessed that something like this exists. I found some handy info on their site.



I decided to guess what these symbols meant before looking at the chart. I have to say, I was correct on only three of them. This scarf should be hand washed, with only non-chlorine bleach. It should be dried flat. It should not be put in the dryer, ironed or dry cleaned.




If you know the basics, then you can decipher all of the codes.



I like this guide, so I don't have to memorize anything. I printed out this beauty to hang in our laundry room. For more info on laundry care, you can access the Laundry section of ACI's website. Check out the left navigation of their page for lots of additional links. I am sure this section on Holiday Stains will come in handy soon.




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Monday, November 9, 2015

DIY - Blah to Bad Ass Blazer

I've had this idea in my head for some time to add elbow patches to a thrift store blazer. Specifically, skull elbow patches. I spotted a few sweaters last winter with skulls at the elbows. I went searching for a blazer with skull elbow patches and couldn't find one. This DIY has taken so long because I couldn't find skull patches that I thought were perfect. Then I found these beauties. I'm not a fan of the cutesy skull. I want a realistic looking, bad ass skull. The patch was perfect and of course I ordered two. Then I set out to find the blazer. It had to be either black or gray, in a heavy fabric. I wanted wool but I would have accepted other options. The thrift store gods smiled down on me. I found it, a classic gray wool blazer, by a brand I love! I scored it at the Goodwill Store close to me. Here is the blazer, before.




The gold buttons just wouldn't work with the gray, silver black color scheme. I pictured a blazer looked sedate school girl from the front and girl who skips school from the back. I looked online and briefly considered skull buttons but I didn't want it to look like a costume. Only a crest button in silver would work for what I had in mind. I found several at my local sewing store but ending up splurging on the most expensive option. They were perfect. Since I'd only spent $5 on my blazer and $12 on my patches,  I could afford a little button splurge. Plus I found two coupons and ended up cutting my button cost down by about 40%! Yay for coupons!




I started by removing all of the buttons and finding thread that would work. I chose dark gray thread that I already own. You just need thread that is close to the color of the blazer. The patches were iron on. I also made sure I had thread for stitching on the patches. Elbow patches get wear and tear and must bend a bit. I thought the adhesive might not stay tight. After attaching all of the buttons, I ironed on the elbow patches. I decided after my first wear to stitch around the edges. The patches had already started to lift a bit after only one day. A few stitches helped me feel confident that they would wear well, long term.





It turned out even better than I had hoped it would. It's exactly what I pictured. Business in the front and Bad Ass in the back!





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Friday, September 25, 2015

Frugal Furniture Friday - Bench and Ottoman

Hi Frugal Friends! Although my fashion love never dies, I've really be focused on two things lately, my business (fueling my style fire) and decorating/furniture redos. They are both creative and have been great outlets for me. I'm working hard to get our bedroom redone. I started it a long time ago. After lots of distractions and procrastination, I'm finally getting it all together. I still have one big furniture redo (our bedside tables). Did I mention that distraction and procrastination is a big issue for me? I redid a storage bench and an ottoman, using very different methods.

the finished projects
I started with reupholstering a storage bench that was a hot mess.


Flaming hot mess, right? After years of abuse and our dogs using it as a step stool to jump up onto the bed, I had to reinforce it with tape. I tried to get our dogs to use doggy steps. Didn't work. Those are sitting in the garage. Our oldest buddy would only use this bench. So I couldn't get rid of it. I told my mom about my plan and she said, that I could have some batting and gold upholstery velvet that she had left over. SCORE! Fabric is expensive. I pulled it out into the garage and stripped it down.


You can see why it was sagging. The stuffing was deteriorating and pushing through the webbing. Once I stripped it down completely and removed the top (sorry no photos). I could start rebuilding. I grabbed some 2 inch thick foam at the fabric store. I bought remnant pieces to save a little money. I put one piece on top of the webbing you see (green webbing) and covered that with the cotton batting from my mom.


I used the pieces I removed from the bench as my pattern. Then I covered the top and stapled it down. I cut pieces of foam to place under the green webbing. I wanted this bench to be super reinforced. My original plan was to place it back at the foot of the bed and I knew it would get tons of wear.


I reinforced again with more webbing (I cut strips of the fabric). I used the same fabric to cover everything (sorry no picture).


I realized after cutting that I wouldn't have enough gold to do the entire bottom portion of the bench. I went to the fabric store and found a black white and gold print that worked well. Using that fabric on each end gave it a nice contrast and kept it from looking like patch work.


I finished the bottom edge with a roll of nail head trim, which I just noticed in the picture above, is crooked on one end. All in all, I'm really happy with the results. I definitely didn't follow upholstery practices but it looks good and that is what is most important to me. There were some supplies left over. I have enough of the white, black and gold fabric to make a pillow and enough batting to do my dining room chairs, plus some additional nail head trim. Similar benches go for $150 and up.
Total cost: $45! 

Because I didn't finish in one day, we needed an alternative "step" for the dogs. Our older guy, Blue, was distraught when he couldn't get up on the bed.

How could I say no to that sweet face?
I remembered this old, sad, green, ottoman in {msL's} office. It was a hand me down from a friend many many years ago, along with a matching sofa and chair. The chair and sofa went to Goodwill ages ago. My intention was to use it until the bench was done. Well, the dogs and {msL} liked the size and the height better than the storage bench. So when I finished the bench, it went to the corner of the room and I was faced with a dilemma. I wanted to make them happy but I hated the look of this sad green ottoman. What to do?


Because of the style of the ottoman, I knew it would be a massive upholstery project that I didn't want to tackle. I thought of options, I've seen painted fabric but since it's dark green, black would be the only option. Plus, painted fabric wouldn't be soft and if I ruined it, things might get bad in my house. Then I thought of making a slip cover. That could also take tons of time. That's time I didn't want to spend. I'm not sure how I thought of it but suddenly it came to me.


The ottoman has this weird pillow top. It's indented between the base and the top. Why couldn't I just create a slipcover and attach it with some elastic, like a huge hair tie?! I went searching on fabric sites and didn't find anything I loved or wanted to spend $12+ a yard on. I measured the ottoman with an allowance for the indention and realized that I'd need a rectangular and it hit me. Why not use a tablecloth!? It could be a good print and it would already be hemmed. Bonus! I searched and found a print that I liked and would work with our bedroom. I grabbed elastic from the fabric store and  measured the indented area.


I cut the elastic and sewed the ends together, reducing the length by a few inches to make the fit tight.


I laid the table cloth over the ottoman and centered it.


Then I added the elastic band and started tucking and adjusting the fabric. It was a little long on the ends and the corners but tucking and adjusting helped it to fit.


Hands down, the easiest slip cover EVER!! It took less than 10 minutes from start to finish! When it gets dirty, I can just pull it off and throw it in the wash. Slipcovers range in price from $18 (in really blah fabric) to $85 and up.
Total cost $24!!


It's even dog approved, as you can see by the indention. We'll be using the storage bench as our new hamper. I'm now hunting for a basket that is the right size to fit inside.




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