Friday, August 26, 2011

Beauty Essentials

Inspired by, I thought I would share with you a few of the beauty items that I find it difficult to live without.

1. While I wear foundation nearly every day, it varies as to what brand I will wear. I tend to prefer Fresh. But when I go to add finishing touches to foundation or choose not to wear it that day, I know that I absolutely can't go without Guerlain Meteorites! These little colored pearls (or in my case the compact spots) pack a punch with coverup and brightener all in one! I always get compliments on my complexion when I use this product so I don't skimp on the powder!

2. Lipstick Queen's lipsticks - Here's the pack that I bought and I use them ALL without fail. They are nutritious for your lips and all the colors compliment me! I've lost my Jeans Queen one and it's breaking my heart. I may have to buy another one!

3. Dior Blush - Expensive - yes. Could you get better results with a less expensive blush? I haven't been able to yet. I know many fashionistas are huge fans of Nars blushes but I'm a Dior girl through and through.

4. Lancome Oscillation Mascara - Actually, you can give me ANY Lancome mascara and I am instantly in love. In fact, I can't bring myself to buy any other mascara even if it seems tempting because of the cute packaging. Fairy drops Scandal Queen, I'm talking to you. Don't be afraid of the wand even though it's moving (I was terrified at first), it will put on the best coat of mascara you've ever experienced!

5. Urban Decay Potion Primer - This is a must have when I wear eyeshadow (I don't usually in the summer). It holds tight and makes the colors TRUE to what they look like in the cute containers. I use this is mass quantities and love the original. However, the Eden shade is perfect for my oily lids (TMI) and makes the colors stand out even more.

6. EOS lotions - turned on to this brands by the great blog, All Lacquered Up, I love the body lotions. They smell delicious and true to advertising make your skin soft. Plus, they are not sticky! This is great for a woman like myself who has struggled with dry skin for years.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A New Use for a Vintage Find - Perfume Sample Storage

Ok, Perfumistas, we can't all be Donatella Versace with her fantastic perfume cabinets. If you haven't seen the gorgeous shelves, check out this handy article on perfume storage. We also can't buy ever single bottle that strikes our fancy (try as we might)! So I'm sure that many of you have turned to great websites like The Perfumed Court and Lucky Scent for decants and samples. This feeds our insatiable need to try new things, revisit old favorites long discontinued, and check out niche perfumes. Not only that, if you are a makeup maven, there are plenty of perfume samples provides with cosmetic orders. So what to do with all of these bottles?

I hit a wall where I had bottles and little promo packets exploding everywhere. I would want to wear a sample that I knew I possessed only to find myself digging through boxes and bags forever and come up empty handed. Frustrated by this situation, I started looking for a drawer organizer. But a few problems arose. 1) The drawer that I intended to use was full of wallets and other small goods. Where would I now house them? 2) It is difficult to find an organizer to fit that would also make it easy to access the bottles and their respective brand labels. I even tried spice drawer organizers! After some pondering, muddling, and general procrastination, it hit me like a bolt of lightning (of course, it's months later!).

Here's what now houses my perfume collection.

This is a vintage Mele jewelry box. I happened to already have this one. It had been a container for all the buttons and bobs that come on sweaters and other clothes. I had a better drawer for these so they moved. I also purged my jewelry collection and was able to find homes for the charm collection that was in the upper level of the box. I love Mele boxes because they have multiple compartments that are flexible to being used with a variety of items unlike other boxes that have definite spots for rings or earrings. This box retails on EBay for an average of $10 which is a great deal considering some of the options for storage were much more expensive. Granted my box is not the prettiest Mele box with it's very 70's harvest gold exterior and interior. There's some very chic black ones on EBay. However, I'm perfectly happy with it's utility for now.

I just adore the ability to organize by brand or type. I have organized mine by designer. I also like the ability to have different sized bottles. In the drawers below, I placed the extremely tall or out-sized bottles, in addition to some of the smaller roller balls. Plus, I close the lid and drawers to the box and I won't have to worry about dusting tons of little bottles!

The only glitches that I found to my storage system were minor. First, I am a little obsessive about keeping the sheaths that surround the sample. I like to have the advertising/packaging available. But since I don't look at it all of the time and all of my bottles are labeled, I flattened the packaging out and tucked it in a box which I can then easily put away in my closet shelves. Second, now that I am relying on the bottles for labels, it may not be easy to read them. Not that I need reading glasses but the lighting in my bedroom is reliant on task and situation lighting. In other words, it's not very bright and to get to a light source, the box would have to be moved - not ideal. As I was cleaning up and going through bottles of lotion by my bedside (who doesn't have a ton of those!), I stumbled across the reading light that clips on to a book, still in it's package - a forgotten remnant of christmas stocking stuffers. The clip is large and durable so I clipped it on to the lid of the box. It's ugly. So ugly that I could not in all conscience take a picture of it. But the light's snake like ability and bright white light make reading bottles a breeze! Maybe I will bedazzle it. No that might be crazy.

In front of the box, my larger bottles of perfume have a home on the marble toilet tray that I purchased from Marshall's. Well, at least some of my bottles!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Blackberry Crush

When I woke up this morning, I reached for my tiny sample bottle of Mistral's Wild Blackberry. With the heat of the summer upon us, even in the mildest way possible here in my NW corner, I longed for the dog days of my childhood summers. My mother would pack up every bucket and plastic container in the house. And we would drive the very short distance in the 1970's station wagon to the elementary school. Normally we could walk this distance but not fully loaded with what we planned to bring home. Behind the cyclone fence, and a long walk across the school's barren playground was the blackberry patch. Now to say patch seems minuscule because it was really acres and acres of blackberries and swamp - more berries than swamp though. We would meet the neighbors there and go in groups because it was so large that my mother was terrified we would get lost in the winding trails. I have never been in a blackberry patch as big as that one since but I'm sad to say that it is now a thing of lore. Development took over the blackberries nearly 20 years ago.
As a child, I hated picking berries in the heat of the day. Not to mention these brambles rose to the sky in mounds taller than my house. There was always a risk that someone would get stung by a bee or worse, stumble across a nest of yellow jackets. We didn't have to cut through too many thickets because someone had always been there before us. However, there was never a shortage of berries and we came out stained not just on our fingers but all over our clothes and shoes. You never wanted to go in the brambles without a good pair of jeans and even then, you were bound to get slashed and scratched through them. And to be honest with you, I'm never sure why my mother took us over to the berry bushes. She wasn't a pie baker. She despised making jam. So we froze the berries and if we were lucky they ended up on our pancakes in the dead of winter. But now that I am older, perhaps in defiance of my mother, I both bake pies and make jam. And what I wouldn't give to go back to that magnificent blackberry nirvana and pick buckets and buckets of blackberries!

In the meantime, to fuel my obsession, I am wearing Mistral's Wild Blackberry perfume which smells like the warm patch in the sun or my blackberry and orange pie.

Image Source - Apothica

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Hour BBC

The Hour, BBC's new series is set in the mid1950's. Chronicling the rise of television and evolution of news reporting as we know it now, The Hour is a beautiful look at a period of history that has captured recent imagination with shows such as Mad Men. However, The Hour is so much more. Thick with plot, it has twists, turns, and surprises which remind me of AMC's sadly cancelled series, Rubicon. Between reporting the news and chasing down spies and murderers, the series is smartly written, leading the viewer on through the looking glass into dark underworlds of London circa 1955. I am absolutely in love with the unfolding of historical events such as the challenge by Egypt to the ownership of the Suez Canal. But I am equally enchanted by the steamy tension between the main characters. Carefully crafted, The Hour boasts richly visual sets and not only a beautiful but talented cast. My only complaint is the soundtrack does not capture the imagination. It seems stale but then I suppose I shouldn't be focused on the music. Let us hope that this series continues and doesn't go the way of other intelligent, gorgeously filmed television. Check out the scenes below from the first two hour premiere episode for a taste of this stylish series!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Manicure Madness

I rarely buy makeup at garage sales. Perfume perhaps but never makeup. It is just not sanitary. Unless that person is a distributor such as an Avon representative and they are selling their stash but even then...I hesitate. However, when it came to the bin of nail polish as a sale on Saturday, I was a sucker. The name was Age of Aquarius which drew me in automatically because I am an Aquarius. The other selling point was that this bottle of polish was made by a local shop, Archibald Sisters. I had NO idea that they had a line of nail polish! I haven't bought their line of lotions, perfumes, and soaps for many years. In fact, I got tired of the front of the shop which is a bit kitschy and full of goofy products that are clearly for a younger, prank-centric market. So you will forgive me if I didn't get to the back of the store which contains the more lush, feminine lines such as what is listed on their website. I'll be honest with you, I'm not even sure that they still carry nail polishes.

The good things about this polish - look at that blue! And with a name like Age of Aquarius, how could you go wrong? It is a matte finish which means it's probably not that old considering the matte trend last fall. It just doesn't look as matte in the pics because I put a gloss top coat over it so it would match the red in finish. A local nail polish? How often do you get to live in a town where there's a LOCAL polish designer! (I have so many questions for Lisa!)

The bad - there are a few such as the fact that this is not 3 or 4 free. Also, it has the most finicky application. I did the best that I could but drying time was hideous and streaks were prevalent.

The red in my manicure is Nails Inc.'s Charing Cross. Isn't it gorgeous and I had absolutely no problems with the application!

But my poor hands, they look hideously beat up! Summer gardening and projects have perhaps caught up with me!

Craft Shed Update

It has been so exciting to watch the conversion of my ugly garden shed into a useful crafting shed. While it is still not finished, we have been working hard on it. My awesome Hubby has been doing most of the hard stuff like nailing things and adding electrical outlets. He even put in the window that I bought at a garage sale years ago!I have a landscaper who will be leaving me soon for better things (I hope but will miss him!). He agreed to do this last job for me and add a retain wall and beautiful patio around the shed. Not only will I be able to craft but with a chair and table, it will be a great place to have a cup of coffee. I even have a folding wicker lawn chair that can easily be tucked away during the rain.

The weekend was spent going around to garage sales and doing various chores. Not much time or money for the shed. However, amazingly the neighborhood sale at my parents' community produced some great things for the shed, including a pair of Pottery Barn cafe curtains for $5. They looked like a sad pile when I came across them. The lady who laundered them didn't iron them. But they were clean and intact so I took them home and a simple ironing made them look as smart as new! I also picked up a task light that will clip on to my shelves. It is industrial looking, probably found at any hardware store but I paid 50 cents for it!

I was also on the hunt for cabinets, shelves, and drawers. I had little faith that I would find something in my price range (next to nothing!). I was pleasantly surprised then to find a Martha Stewart Spice shelve from when there was the fantastic Martha by Mail catalog. I wanted this spice rack then but had no money at the time. It was worth the 12 year wait (lol) because I paid $5 for it. It came with all the spice tins and they were nearly full. Unfortunately, the spices are probably as old as the shelves. However, it didn't buy it for a spice rack. I bought it for the shelves and tins. I will probably clean up the tins and use them for buttons, pin, and bee bobs! I did not take that beautiful picture of the spice rack below. But I did find it on a beautiful and delicious blog called Good Things by David.

Last but certainly not least, while I was out at the flea market, doing some afternoon browsing, on the way home, I decided to chase down a garage sale in my own development. The afternoon isn't the best time to garage sale and this one was tucked way back in the winding roads near my home. Knowing how difficult it is to find some of the farther reaches of this housing area, I hoped there might be a few goodies for me. On the way to the sale, I passed by a house on the corner with beautiful cabinets out front and a sale sign that said, "FREE!". Yes, you read that right! Free. Two cabinets that had formerly been part of a built in desk and a small set of overhead drawers were free. They are a bit scarred here and there because the owners had disassembled the desk and kept only the credenza part. They had barely put them out when I innocently came along and promptly left with them! How exciting!

Step by step, this thing is coming together! I have a list of things still left. Electrical, plumping for my sink, a table, wall shelves, and plenty of white bright paint. And that's not all! But in the meantime, doesn't it took great?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Photo Gallery : What's Right Now

Kate Spade and Poppy King Lipstick Collaboration - Bashful Blush. How glorious is this???? And who do I have to bribe to get a sample? I love all of Poppy King lipsticks. At first, when I was using them, I was skeptical but now I reach for them as often as I do my Guerlain (and that's saying something!) They go with EVERYTHING! So soft and luscious! I LOVE THEM!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Tag Sale Finding Extraordinare

I have been so busy that I didn't blog about my tag sale findings from last week! A friend called me and said that her entire development was having a sale. Would I like to come over and go with her? Yes, please! I love whole neighborhood sales. It's like a one stop shopping marketplace! But amazingly, I showed restraint. Since Hubby and I are in the midst of the craft shed remodel (updates to follow), I feel that my money and time should be flu used on finishing that project. So I took very little cash to this sale. But look what I scored!

As we were walking past a garage, this gorgeous office chair sported a large red ink sign that said, "$5.00." I looked at the guy who was running the sale and said, "Are you serious? What's wrong with it?" Well, it had a wobbly arm. Wobbly arm? I happen to know a expert in fixing wobbly arms! (insert husband with tools here!) I handed the man $5 and told hi. I'd be by with a Jeep to pick it up. Amazingly, this chair will work great in my craft area! So it really was in the spirit of the craft shed that I spent the money. And despite the scrapes and minor damages to the chair, it is charming and quite solid once the arm was fixed.

On the chair, you see my J Crew sweater. I splurged and bought it last year. It's as delicate as a spider web but delightfully warm on a cool summer's morn!

Live Fashionably!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Nails Inc. London

I was thrilled when Nails Inc. came to Sephora. I had been waiting for this since All Lacquered Up reported on this brand. I was absolutely in lust with Paddington which I hoped would be a creamy British Racing green. My picture is taken against the British racing green of my husband's car. It was very difficult to get a picture without a ton of glare but you can see it's pretty close. I would say that it has a bit more gray in the undertones than the paint on the car. Plus the car does have a bit more sparkle (even though it needed a bath at the time!). I love the color but it shows every scuff and wobbly brush line on my cuticle. I dropped the cap two or three times when I was applying the polish. This is extremely unusual for me but I've never worked with the sort of thick tube-like shape that is the cap on the polish. With some practice I will probably get used to it. I purchased the colour collection from Sephora so that I could get the other colors as well because they looked like such great autumn shades! The others in the four pack are Charing Cross (a vibrant true red)' St. Pancras (a warm almost chocolately burgundy), and Fenchurch Street (a harvest cross between brown and mustard). The colors are gorgeous in the bottle and as strange as Fenchurch street sounds both my daughter and I oooooo'd and ahhhhhhh'd over it. Unfortunately, the box is no longer available on Sephora but the individual colors were. I didn't buy any of the 3D glitters or crackle coats but I'm sure that I will because I'm a bit of a sucker for glitter and my daughter is madly in love with crackle coats (I'm not there yet).

I was also fascinated by the Kensington Caviar coat which I hoped would put an end to my waiting around for the nails to dry. It's good. But perhaps my application was a bit off. I ended up with minuscule bubbles and scuffs in my finish. I loved the finish with the wet, salon style finish. In the picture below, you can see how wet the finish looks. It's exactly what I've been looking for. The 45 second dry time is great but it's a deceptive time. I found that I still had to take care with my nails. It's difficult to tell when they are truly dry and even when they are dry to the touch, they aren't up to heavy duty usage.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Sock Summit 2011

Full disclosure. I am not a knitter. I can't knit. Literally. My brain does not compute. So the logical question that you are asking by now is, "Why on the earth would you be anywhere near Sock Summit?" and you would be right in doing so. Ah the things that I do for friendship. My BFF, the lovely Sherri, is a dedicated knitter. And she promised me mittens. I'm all about the fingerless mittens. Call me Easy!

But there are advantages for fashionistas at Sock Summit. For example, knitters have cool bags. I've blogged about this before and so you might know that I have a deep appreciation for a knitter's taste in bags. Disappointingly this year, the bags were few and far between. However, I did get some adorable accessory bags from Split Yarn. And in the picture above you can also see my saucy decoupage tin from an unnamed shop (if you are responsible for said tin, please email so I can link to you!).

The other cool thing about Sock Summit is the sheer amount of color and texture in one place. It's fantastic and overwhelming at the same time. Picture the below booth covering the floor space of the Oregon Convention Center in Portland Oregon (home of Sock Summit every TWO years). Presenters, knitters, and yarn/knitting supply vendors come from all over the United States and even parts of Canada to this festival of sock greatness. My BFF has been saving her money since we left the last one (lol).

Here's a picture of the mitten pattern that I picked out from Hazel Knits.

I purchased a gorgeous teal green yarn by the silly name of glow bug from the gorgeous yarn selection from Stricken Smitten for the finished product. I absolutely can't wait until they are finished! Hint! Hint!