Monday, June 15, 2015

BEAUTY: St. Moriz Self Tanning Mousse

I have a love/hate relationship with self tanners. In theory, I love them because they offer a way to quickly bronze up when you just don't feel like broadcasting your it-just-got-warm-out pale calves to the world. In reality, I often hate them because they're stinky, usually turn out at least slightly orange, and are just a hassle to apply. Gotta be honest with you, though - I totally don't hate this one.

I've tried a good handful of self tanners over the years, from mists to lotions to gradual color builders, and I've found some to be acceptable and most to be a waste of time and money. I tend to embrace my paleness until I get a sometimes accidental, sometime purposeful tan in the summer, but I recently picked up St. Moriz Self Tanning Mousse in the shade Medium from Ulta, mostly because I was just really impatient for summer. We just had the longest, coldest, snowiest winter of all time (no, like, literally) and I just felt like hitting the fast forward button to summer. I figured self tanner was an easy way to do that, and if it ended up looking horrible, it's still early enough in the season that I can hide the evidence with pants and sleeves. Luckily, I didn't have to!

St. Moriz Self Tanning Mousse in Medium
The first thing I liked about this tanner is the mousse form (they also have a mist and a lotion), which is very light and easy to spread. To do so, I used a self tanner mitt, which made the job SO much easier, though I'd still recommend wearing a plastic glove on your hand in case the tanner seeps through the mitt. Just like every self tanning tutorial on the planet will tell you, make sure to exfoliate beforehand and apply lotion to dryer spots like knees and feet to get more even coverage.

A lot has changed since I first used a self tanner (a regrettable event at age 10, in which I snuck tanner from my mom's bathroom and applied in such a manner that my legs resembled an orange and brown finger-painted rendition of 'Starry Starry Night' the next morning.) For one, there's no more waiting hours and hours to see your color develop - St. Moriz colors as you go. This means that not only can you see the work you're doing - essential for an even application - you can also start enjoying your color instantly. During your next shower (wait at least 6 hours) the guide color will wash off slightly, maybe half a shade, and you'll be left with your true tanner color.

One minute after application. Don't worry, I tanned my hand too.
Another great development is that the color you get is firmly in the olive family, rather than the orange spectrum, which gives a much more natural look. For me, the color was very similar to how I naturally tan, which is something I've never found before in a tanner. The scent is also much less pungent than I recall from others, though it does still have a tinge of that self tanner odor. Once the application is complete, I toss on loose, dark clothes just to be on the safe side, though it truly feels dry in less than 10 minutes. I've had no issues with it staining any clothes or sheets, either.

My color faded evenly all over, a little bit more each day. For me, reapplying every 4-5 days works well to maintain the color. The bottle holds a good amount of product (6.76 fl oz), and it feels like I'd be able to tan my whole body at least 10 times with what I have. It also comes in a Dark shade, if you're looking for a deeper color.

So, no stink, no orange blotches, and simple, smooth application? We've come a long way, baby.

Have you ever tried a self tanner? Are you more into the pale life? What's your favorite bronzing method?

Monday, June 8, 2015

DIY: Shoe Clips Tutorial

One thing I've noticed about myself as I get older is that I've become practically obsessed with wearing only comfortable shoes. Like, I have actual opinions about arch support! This is a newer development, as I used to be the kind of person who bought shoes because they were cute and cost less than $20. I once wore a pair of studded pointy toe flats that were two sizes too big for me because they were $5 and "cool." I wore them once, and part of that evening involved dancing cheek to cheek with the pavement when I tripped over the cumbersome shoe tip and fell into the street. Who was I?

Now, I live for well crafted shoes that are comfortable, support my high arches, and won't fall apart after one season, which also means I have way fewer shoes because that stuff is expensive! It also means that sometimes my footwear is not the cutest option available. Don't get me wrong, there are tons of cute, supportive shoes, but a lot of what I see (and am willing to pay for) are kind of plain, like these very comfy, but very beige strappy sandals:

The plus side: they feel like clouds, they have mini-wedges and every strap is adjustable! The negative: they kind of look like they were a 60th birthday gift. That is to say, they're a little mature. Or maybe I'm a little immature. Oh, wait - I'm about to show you how to stick plastic daisies on your shoes, so that's probably it!

Even if your shoes aren't plain, you might want to customize them or just generally snazz them up a bit. I think everyone could stand to have a few more options, am I right? Here's how to make some fun shoe clips for when you just want to get cutesy.

Shoe Clips or Clip-On Earrings {with a flat side}
Strong Glue, like E6000
Flowers, Buttons & Other Baubles
Wire Cutters {optional}


Sometimes you can buy actual shoe clip bases at the craft store, but I definitely struck out on that mission this time around. Instead, I opted for these blank clip-on earrings. You'll probably find several kinds of clip-ons, but these ones with the flat side will work best here.

To prep your decorations, you might need to first tweak them so that the backs are as flat as possible, ensuring a more secure bond to your clip-ons. For me, this meant using some wire cutters to snip off the stems of these artificial flowers and the backs of these daisy buttons.
Kind of a lot of daisies, to be honest.
Next, you just pop some super strong glue on your clip-on and press it against your decoration. 
Hold it for about 30 seconds and leave it to dry.
It's best to leave the hinge open while they dry to avoid getting glue on it.
Now all you gotta do is clip these decorative lil' bad boys on your shoes! I added some purple daisies to my ankle strap, and then swapped them out for bright blue buttons before popping on a set of white daisies. You literally never have to decide on one look, and what is better news than never having to make a decision? Literally nothing.

This project is so simple, you can whip up a pile of shoe clips in less than 15 minutes! Any random little baubles you have around but never had a use for will now be right at home on your feet. This is also a great way to reuse old jewelry, and you could even just put actual clip-on earrings here instead of doing any DIY, but I think you know that just isn't my style.

Would you ever customize your shoes? Do you wear heels even though they hurt? What are your feelings on arch support?

Monday, June 1, 2015

BEAUTY: Salux Beauty Skin Cloth Review

Since I've started using the Salux Beauty Skin Cloth, I've recommended it to people looking for something that exfoliates so well that it almost kind of hurts. If that scares you away, then this is totally not the cloth for you, but that's okay! It just means that, for whatever reason, you don't want medium-level pain to be a part of your bathing experience, and that is your choice. I mean, it's a weird choice, but it's your choice. For those of you that scratch mosquito bites until you draw blood and enjoyed playing with your loose teeth as children, this cloth will be your new best friend.

I will, Joie, I will.
Why can't we have more semi-flirty, semi-nude cartoon mascots in America?
The Salux has a fine enough grit to scrub you like it really means it. It might look like just an unraveled loofah, but trust me - it isn't. The texture is much rougher - too rough for your face unless you're realllly careful - and comparing the two is like comparing a chef's knife to a plastic butter knife. I don't mean to make it sound like this thing will rip you to shreds; this is more of a mid-level exfoliator, much stronger than a washcloth, but more gentle than something like a Baiden Mitten, which, in addition to costing FIFTY GODDAMN DOLLARS, allows you to actually see your exfoliated skin balling up around your body. I'm not looking for quite that level of skin shedding, but when I finally complete my transition into a rattlesnake, I'll look into it.

I've heard (who am I kidding? read, not heard. who talks to other humans anymore?!) people say that they just don't feel clean enough if they don't use a Salux, and I can understand that. It gives your skin a much smoother finish and a deeper feeling clean than a traditional washcloth ever could. 

Fresh outta the package!
You could use it flat...
...or ball it up!
The Salux is pretty large - 11" x 35". It's similar in size and shape to a drapey evening wrap, so every shower is basically like attending a winter formal. It is also excellent at lathering, and I can use a lot less body wash than I'd typically need to get crazy, over the top bubbles brewing. The cloth dries remarkably quickly, so as long as you give it a good rinse, maybe wring it out, and hang it to dry, it will never get moldy or smelly. Mine never ever appears dingy or mildewy, and you can even toss it in the washing machine (probably keep it out of the dryer) every now and then for extra reassurance.

You can buy the Salux cloth (in seven different colors!) for less than $6 from the official website. One thing I'd caution is that there are several Salux sellers (say that five times fast) on places like Amazon and Ebay that might be selling knockoffs, so I'd buy it from the source (which I did, quickly and easily) or try to find it in an Asian market in your neighborhood, where it might even be a little cheaper.

Are you down with deep exfoliation? Have you ever tried a bath cloth or mitt? Don't you feel that we're ready for more semi-nude product mascots?

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

OBSESSED: (Creepy?) Doll Parts

I hesitate to label doll parts as "creepy" (thus the question mark in the title of this post) because they're not inherently scary or bad, but many people show anything from mild discomfort to full on terror when presented with them. I never had an interest in dolls. As a child, an elderly neighbor invited me over to see her "doll room," which is exactly what you're picturing: a bedroom filled to the brim with dolls. Dolls on shelves, dolls on furniture, dolls in boxes, dolls in Victorian dresses. DOLLS. This visit not only confirmed my doll apathy, but also showed me that the path of a doll lover could end somewhere really weird. I was always more of a stuffed animal girl, anyway.

I understand the creep factor, but I don't fear dolls, and I'm even oddly drawn to doll parts and unique things made from those parts. A whole doll just isn't my jam, but cut off its arms and maybe stick 'em on earrings - then we're talking! Here are some potentially creepy, maybe cute, definitely interesting items made from doll parts that I'm obsessed with:

1. These blank faces are perfect to stuff full of your favorite greenery! It kind of looks like crazy hair, and crazy hair on a baby is ALWAYS funny. {Buy Here}

2. "Please pass the doll legs! Oh, I meant salt and pepper!" A classic dinnertime mistake, but there's no longer a need to differentiate with these disturbing little gems. {Buy Here}

3. Somehow this hollow doll head manages to look - dare I say? - sophisticated. You know, within the realm of skull-based drinkware. {Buy Here}

4. With this set of hooks, it'll be like your own lil' three-handed youngster is tossing you your keys. What could be cuter, and more practical, than that? {Buy Here}

5. I love a good hand soap! Hand soap - get it? Really, though, give yourself a high five every time you scrub up. {Buy Here}

6. Keep your place in any book and trick people into thinking you're harboring tiny creatures within the pages. Win-win! {Buy Here}

7. On a cozy night, watch a little netflix, pop a tealight in her head, and watch it burn while she stares back at you, despite her lack of eyes. Talk about relaxing! {Buy Here}

8. This bottle stopper is great for keeping this "leftover wine" thing that some people seem to have, plus it makes it look like your liquids are spawning. {Buy Here}

9. I don't have an immediate use for these vintage fabric doll faces, but I'm sure I could find something fun to make with them. New phone case, anyone? {Buy Here}

10. This is not only a piece of art created from an old doll head and real quills - it can also hold photos, papers or memos. Very versatile! {Buy Here}

11. You could store candy, jewelry, or other trinkets in this doll-arm-supported dish, or you could go full on creep mode and use it for cereal. {Buy Here}

12. This studded doll head brooch is so adorable to me, which I'm now recognizing as a sign that this obsession may have me veering into "doll room" territory. {Buy Here}

13. We can't forget the queen of all dolls, Barbie. Carry her disembodied arm with you wherever you wander for a slightly horrifying slice of childhood. {Buy Here}

14. More of a leg girl? Pop these danglers into your ears and catch peripheral glimpses of Barbie's dainty feet all day. Bonus: I bet you could find some amazing shoes to attach here. {Buy Here}

Are you scared of dolls? What would you say if a neighbor invited you to their "doll room?" Don't you kind of want to stuff things into a doll head now?

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

BEAUTY: Rimmel Provocalips Review

I should’ve known what I was in for when the Walgreens’s cashier gave me a stern-faced warning at the register; Rimmel’s new Provocalips liquid lip colors are no joke. My cashier told me in no uncertain terms that she’d purchased a tube and had to sleep in her lipstick because she couldn’t get the color off her lips. I think she was trying to dissuade me from purchasing, but to me her words meant only one thing: impressive staying power.

Because I like a challenge, I immediately picked up 5 shades: 

I'll Call You - medium, cool-toned pink
Make Your Move - brown-leaning nude
Little Minx - bright fuchsia/raspberry
Play With Fire - deep, blue-based red
Kiss Fatal - dark, cool-toned purple

L to R: I'll Call You, Make Your Move, Little Minx, Play With Fire, Kiss Fatal {natural light}
L to R: I'll Call You, Make Your Move, Little Minx, Play With Fire, Kiss Fatal {with flash}
The full line contains 10 shades, including mainly reds, pinks and nudes. Each tube is double-ended, with lip color on one end and a clear gloss on the other. The gloss is not at all sticky - it’s super slick, and feels similar to the slip you’d get from a silicone face primer. Without the clear gloss, these lip colors can feel a little rubbery or sticky, but one dot of gloss and your lips are totally smooth.

In my excitement, I tried on Make Your Move right there in the drugstore parking lot, and found the coverage to be opaque and smooth. It dried in about a minute, so I topped it with the clear gloss and went on my way. Because the high of beauty buying is ever so fleeting, I forgot I was wearing the lip color until I got out of the shower that night. I’d luxuriated in a full shower, during which I’d even washed my face, but exited to find my lip color was somehow still fully in place.

I scrubbed and scrubbed, but the Provocalips would not come off.  I thought of my Walgreen's cashier's warning and a brief panic ensued, but then I remembered my favorite stubborn makeup remover: Pond’s Cold Cream. Rub a bit on your lips, wipe off with a tissue, and every trace is gone.

I was tentatively in love with this stuff, but wanted to see what challenges Provocalips could stand up to, you know, other than a shower. The bar had been set pretty high.

To test it, I applied the shade Little Minx around 10:00 AM and went about my day. I never found the product to feel heavy or tight on my lips, and any hint of dryness was remedied with a swipe of the attached gloss or another lip balm overtop. After lunch, I expected to reapply, but found it wasn’t necessary. Almost confused by its toughness, I decided that evening to whip out the big guns: the Pizza Test™. Being the true scientist that I am, I ordered pizza for dinner and chowed down carelessly. As everyone knows, pizza is the natural predator of lipstick, but this stuff stood tall. In the end, there was my lip color, unaffected! Yes really.

Is it legal to marry a lipstick?

This is the best long lasting lip color I’ve ever tried. It stays on through eating, drinking, kissing, face washing AND showering. I even brushed my teeth with it on one time - just because I could! Freedom, thy name is Provocalips.

Have you tried this lip color yet? What's your favorite long-wearing lip product? Which lipstick would you like to marry?

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

STYLE: Black & White Stripes

I find it humorous that black and white stripes seem to be deemed a "new trend" every few years. That's like calling out gray as a hot new neutral or suggesting the masses wear less clothing in the summer heat. Those are tried-and-true constants that have nothing to do with trends. Black and white stripes are so timeless and classic that I can't recall a single year or season in my life where the design was not readily available - thankfully.

Though I wouldn't call this look 'trendy,' I would call it cool as hell. A black and white stripe will always get my attention. It's a definitive look that's somehow both tough and feminine, modern and retro. It is all things! Cool, unisex, interesting: it's the leather jacket of prints.
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Do you fall for black and white stripes too? What's your favorite print? How do you feel about 'trends' versus 'timeless'?

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