Sunday, July 27, 2014

ROUNDUP: Cool Stuff on the Internet Vol. 5

It's time for another round of Cool Stuff on the Internet! Here's some fun stuff I found recently:

You may be familiar with the internet sensation of "Women Laughing Alone with Salad," (a stock photo rockstar, if such a title existed), but these photos somehow make even less sense. The above picture, for instance, seems to lack any discernible meaning or message - is it a play on 'sweet dreams' or something? Although he is definitely not dreaming, as evidenced by his haunting stare. If you're into seeing things like crash test dummies in a loving embrace, a child earnestly sniffing a cactus or two adult men sharing a single white turtleneck sweater then, please, take a gander.

Pictured above is the magnified contents of a random drop of sea water - yes, the same water you frolic in, and which occasionally ends up in your mouth. I know there are obviously sea creatures in the sea. I just don't like it when science is all "just in case you were trying to forget that you're dunking your whole body in a fish's toilet, here is some gross stuff you probably swallowed along the way. LOL!" I don't like the idea that something is so small I can't see it, yet also somehow has, like, 10 legs. Also, what are those curly little things?! Glad you asked - here's a breakdown of each new friend.

Let's take a moment to recover with what is, undoubtedly, one of the cutest things to happen on the internet. From the people who brought you "Tiny Hamsters Eating Tiny Burritos" comes a tiny birthday party full of tiny presents and a tiny birthday cake for a tiny hedgehog. There's just no room for complaining here...this is about as good as it gets. Also, don't miss the cameo from the aforementioned tiny hamsters!

In case you're ever down on yourself for not having a hobby, or maybe having an embarrassing one, please keep in mind that some dude out there is actually dedicating his time, energy and van space (of course he drives a van) to collecting every single VHS copy of the movie Speed ever made (although he also has some laser discs for bartering). He's also wearing two pairs of sunglasses in the article photo know. Part of me likes this and part of me wishes I had a copy just so I could keep it from him.

I'm sure some (most?) of you are like, "uh, cool...a cracker in the bottom of a cup," but when I see this picture I feel a deep calmness in my very being (and I also kinda want a Ritz). Much like "Things Organized Neatly" this tumblr gives me the satisfaction of seeing order and harmony through the lens of everyday objects. Why does it feel so satisfying to see a bottle cap fit snugly into a sink drain? I don't knooooow, but it feels so right.

In this vintage clip, top fashion designers predict what kind of crazy fashion hijinks we'd have gotten up to by the year 2000. Much like most future predictions (e.g. flying cars, robot maids, the value of Beanie Babies) these are pretty off, but entertaining nonetheless. Apparently, we should be covered in sheer mesh by now so that we can, presumes the video's narrator, "catch the males." Also, one of them thought we would wear lightbulbs in our hair. Seems dangerous. 

What cool stuff have you found lately? Leave me some links!


Monday, July 21, 2014

DIY: Custom Face Mask

Face masks are kind of awesome, right? They can give you smoother, clearer, more even skin and all you have to do is slap some goop on your mug and kick back for a cool thirty minutes or so. That's awesome. Very few things in life have such a favorable effort to results ratio, and for that reason alone, I feel it's necessary to dedicate a little time (and the internet version of ink) to this unsung hero of skincare.

I've tried my share of face masks over the years - from the thick, green ones popularized by every movie portrayal of an old woman ever seen to the oh-so-satisfying peel off numbers, and every squeeze tube in between. One of my main girls is Queen Helene and her tingly Mint Julep Masque - so fancy it requires a 'que' ending (although, I don't know who she's trying to fool because it costs less than a fiver), but the 'Most Noticeable Results I've Ever Seen' award goes to Aztec Secrets Indian Healing Clay, hands down.
And the award goes to...
I love this stuff. Not only is it super powerful on its own - it even claims to be "the world's most powerful facial" - but it mixes quite nicely with your favorite add-ins, much like a delicious overpriced frozen yogurt. Did you realize you could customize your own face masks? You totally can. I love to pair this clay with organic apple cider vinegar that has "the mother" intact because it gives me better results and feels more 'active' than when I just use water. Because this stuff is so powerful, it can leave my face a little dry, but I counteract that completely by adding a dollop of honey to the mix. Soft skin ahoy! Finally, I like a little acne fighting help courtesy of tea tree oil.

There are a million ways to mix a custom face mask for your skin (e.g. aloe, vitamin E or jojoba oil for moisture, oatmeal or sea salt for exfoliation, green tea for antioxidant power) but this is how I do my thing - and how you can try it too:
+ Clay Mask {Aztec Secret. which you can get here}
+ Apple Cider Vinegar {raw is best}
+ Tea Tree Oil {cheap at Trader Joe's!}
+ Honey {raw and organic it good, but here I just have the regular stuff}
+ Plastic Mixing Utensil & Plastic Bowl/Cup

Measure out your clay. I use about 1 tablespoon and mix it with an equal part of apple cider vinegar.

Stir with a plastic spoon or other utensil (I'm using an Ikea chopstick). Metal makes it angry.

Add in a healthy plop of honey and a few drops of tea tree oil.

Mix it allllll together and slather on your face. This one is on the thinner side, so it might be easier to apply with a cheap foundation brush (like the $1 one from ELF), but I just used my fingers.

This mask has deeply enveloped my nose stud. Also, ewww.
Let it dry - it should take about 15 minutes but you can leave it on a little longer if you wish. You will look fantastic at this juncture, so this is a great time to schedule any upcoming blind dates and/or photo shoots.

I recommend doing this before you get in the shower because rinsing off a mask at the sink takes forever and annoys me. You can also use a face cloth, but then you get clay all over it and that annoys me too. Try to be less annoyed than me because, hey - you have awesome skin now! 

Have you ever customized a face mask before? Do you like feeling like a swamp thing-type creature for beauty? What would you add to your custom mask?


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

FASHION: Fun Beach Bags

Typically, all of my beach stuff (towel, sunscreen, book, snacks - always snacks) gets stuffed into whatever bag is closest to the door when I realize that I have way more stuff coming to the beach with me than I can carry in my hands. I do have one dedicated beach bag - complete with a bikini-clad kitten in a hammock and the caption "Cat-Nappin'!" - but it is sadly starting to show its age, and I'm keeping an eye out for a cute new beach buddy. Here are some of the cutest beach bags and totes I've seen lately:
One  //  Two  //  Three  //  Four  //  Five  //  Six  //  Seven  //  Eight  //  Nine

Can you even handle that banana print bag? What are you storing all your beach crap in these days?


Thursday, June 26, 2014

BEAUTY: Summer Beauty Essentials

Awwww yeah - it's officially summer! Just like clothes, food and my general outlook, there are plenty of beauty products I change up just for summer. These picks work great year round, of course, but they keep me smoother, brighter and generally more glowy in these hot summer months. Here's my version of required summer reading, except without all the books and with a bunch of nail polish (but also you should totally read books all summer even though no one is making you write a last minute essay on them).

1. Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Flamingo Pose [$5.49 Here]
This shade just pops off your face! A very pink coral, this lipstick is creamy and opaque and stays put much longer than a lot of my other drugstore lipsticks. Milani knows what's up with lipstick. This color would work on so many skin tones and shines as the focal point of a summer makeup look.

2. Revlon ColorBurst Balm Stain in Smitten [$8.99 Here]
Has there been a better drugstore lip product in recent memory than Revlon balm stains? The answer is no. This shade, a deep raspberry pink, works for seriously anybody. It moisturizes and opaquely colors, while its light mint scent tingles and refreshes. The chubby pencil makes for easy application, even without a mirror, and the buildable color is perfect for someone just dipping their toes into the lipstick world.

3. Neutrogena Clear Face Sunscreen [$10.49 Here]
This light formula absorbs quickly with no greasy feeling.
SPF is not optional in summer (or really ever) and I like to use a separate one for my face since body sunscreens can be greasy and thick. This light formula sinks into my skin so quickly and doesn't leave an oily feeling or sunscreen scent. It feels more like moisturizer than sunscreen, but the SPF 55 will keep your fragile face protected even in the craziest of summer suns.

4. Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Creme [$9.00 Here]
This stuff is hardcore - it stays all thick and gooey for hours if you let it just absorb.
I am passionate about this stuff - yes, passionate. I sing its praises to all open ears because it is literally the only foot moisturizing product that has ever caused measurable improvement on my dry feet (Mmmm). I will never stray from this if I want to keep my feet in sandals all summer long. NEVER.

5. Maybelline Color Tattoo Metal in Barely Branded [$6.99 Here]
The hype is real, people! I fell in love with Color Tattoos recently and I fell hard. Application is simple (smush on with fingers!), the color is rich (opaque in one swipe!), and the wear is loooooong, like must-scrub-it-all-off-before-bed long. This shade is soft and shiny, perfect for a light summer 'barely wearing anything' makeup look, but it can also double as a highlighting product! Due to its champagne shade and creaminess, I'm calling this a dupe for Benefit Watt's Up, which is a HUGE compliment. Plus, these babies are waterproof for anyone who doesn't want to give up their beauty routine - even at the beach.

6. Sally Hansen Extreme Wear Nail Color in Lacey Lilac [$2.99 Here]
Pastels are a perennial summer hit and this poppy lavender shade is so pretty you'll want to douse your fingers and toes in it until the leaves start to change. It's somehow soft and pretty while also being bold and interesting. Hands Nails down, the perfect purple. {You can see me use this shade here}

7. Wet n Wild Nail Color in I Need a Refresh-Mint [$2.29 Here]
If I had to pick one polish color for the rest of my life it would be something like this shade. A great formula, wide salon brush, and an absurdly cheap price make this an essential summer polish. This bright turquoise cream works well with many other shades for summer nail art or on its own for an oceanic splash of color. Buy this! {You can see me use this shade here}

8. Sally Hansen Extreme Wear Nail Color in Coral Reef [$2.99 Here]
When I first bought this I was just looking for a coral polish, no big deal. When I applied it and wore it outside I saw that it was, in fact, a very big deal. This shade is SO pretty in the sunlight it almost makes me angry. It's distractingly pretty. Opaque in one coat, this is a very pink coral that's bright and cheery and just the perfect summer shade. I'm getting mad all over again!

9. Mr. Pumice Bar [$2.79 Here]
This goes hand in hand (foot in foot?) with the Burt's Bees foot cream to create the perfect cocktail of smooth, non-wintery feet. The softer side gently rubs off dry skin, while the coarser side hits your feet with fresh pedicure realness for baby feet-like results. The best pumice I've ever used, ever.

10. ELF Shimmering Facial Whip in Lilac Petal [$1.00 Here]
There's no better time to glow than summer and this cheap-o highlighter is a great way to get there. I dab a bit of this on my cheek bone with a small stipple brush (love the ELF one) for a shimmery summer look and it stays put all day. You only need a tiny amount to make a difference, and what a difference it makes!

11. Suave Dry Shampoo [$2.89 Here]
Dry shampoo would probably be in my holy beauty trinity if such a thing existed, and this very affordable and very effective Suave version has a permanent place on the top shelf in my bathroom. Top shelf, ladies. I reach for this a lot to spruce up my bangs or perk up my roots, and in summer - when sweaty foreheads and humidity blossom - this is essential to looking normal without having to shower multiple times a day. (Duh, not happening. I have makeup on.)

What are you favorite summer beauty products?


Monday, June 9, 2014

COOKING: Homemade Italian Soda

It's like clockwork - every year when it gets sunny and warm, I decide to devote my spring and summer to making refreshing homemade treats like popsicles, ice cream, sorbet and slush with fresh fruits and herbs. I decide on ingredient combos, I make lists, the whole nine, but then it's suddenly the end of summer and I'm lamenting all of the fresh raspberries and mint that I didn't buy at the farmer's market and therefore didn't go into my popsicle molds. Bummer.

This year, I'm dipping my toes (SEASONAL PUN!) by trying out some fun drink recipes. I made these homemade Italian sodas a while back and figured you guys might want to try them too since they're very easy to make (this is more of a "recipe" than a recipe) and very, very good. Check it out!

Club Soda
Flavored Syrup
Cream or Half & Half
Ice Cubes
Whipped Cream & Cherries [optional]

Normally, I'd include measurements for the ingredients in a recipe, but this drink wasn't really an exact science - it was more of a spontaneous concoction. I'll give you approximate measurements, but if you make it yourself, play with the ratios to make it sweeter or less sweet, depending on your tastes.

Start with plenty of ice and about 1/2 cup club soda per drink.

Add 3 TBS flavored syrup to each drink. It should mix quickly to color your club soda. I could only find sugar free raspberry Torani syrup at the time, and unless you like diet-tasting things I wouldn't really recommend it. I've since found regular raspberry Torani (at Stop & Shop for you New Englanders), but I also had luck making this with plain ol' grenadine.

Top each drink off with 1 TBS cream or half & half. Don't mix it in - let it sink down into the red and make colorful drippy designs.

This is optional, but you should probably top these babies off with whipped cream and a cherry because there's really no good reason not to, right?

As you drink it, the half & half will mix with the soda and syrup to make a creamy pink liquid that tastes delicious even though your brain will be all like "ummm, why is there cream in my soda?" but then you'll remember that root beer floats are amazing and all will be right by the second sip when your brain is silenced by the constant slurping of your straw.

Have you ever had Italian Soda? Are you a little creeped out by putting cream in a perfectly good soda? Forget that - why aren't you already drinking this?!


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